Published July 25, 2015 by Srikanth Eswaran

Lenovo A6000+ review

Given that I now own an iPhone 6 plus, the next search was to find something useful as a second standby phone. After spending 30s and 40s of thousands on phones, there was an era where phones suddenly started costing 20s of thousands.

With the advent of Xiaomi, people like Lenovo and Samsung faced such a wrath on pricing that they even went to the extent of reduced profits, or even sometimes sacking employees to make good the loss on business somehow. The mobile phone market only got hotter with the introduction of newer - cheaper and equally powered - qualcomm snapdragon series of chipsets at a very sweet pricing of lower than 10000 bucks. So suddenly the need to spend anything more than this price for a good android phone effectively vanished.

As I was busy checking out what I would get at about this price, which suited what I needed, I rummaged through lots of phones on flipkart and Amazon. Primarily my needs for a standby phone were these things in no particular order

  • Very Good battery life
  • 4G sim trays if possible keeping it bit future proof
  • decent screen if not the most sharpest
  • lightweight phone and display of about 4.5+ inches in size
  • Average camera - this wasnt the purpose for me to buy
  • Though service was important I could forego that at the cost of the phone itself
  • Reasonable audio, as my purpose was not this as well

One fine day I chanced upon the Lenovo A6000+ at my friends cube at office. After playing around with it, the next moment I ordered it on a special deal price of about 1000 bucks off on flipkart app. This means, instead of the regular 7200 bucks, I got the phone at 6200 bucks.

When I received the phone, I could not but feel very good about everything that the phone had to offer for that price. I am not a big fan of Lenovo. This was because of my previous bad experience on buying a Lenovo K-900 which I detailed out on this blog. You can read more about that here.

First off when I opened the package, it was simple to open, package contents were easy to notice and understand without even a manual, and I could easily fit the micro sim cards along with memory card and battery without a fuss. Charging it was child’s play as well and nothing special from what used to be before.

Here are some of the positive things about this phone I would like to highlight about the Lenovo A6000+

  • Very lightweight even with the battery
  • 4G sim card support for both sims - very futureproof
  • Screen is quite sharp for the price
  • The VIBE User interface is an amazing joy to use on android - I love the way the icons look and feel and its very modern for my kind of liking
  • Its just the right size for every hand and effortless to carry around
  • Screen protector was included which means no going to the shop just for this
  • I did not want a back cover for this phone as it was a standby phone for me. I guess you may not need it as well
  • Fast boot mode in lenovo simply rocks
  • Clear audio due to dolby compliance
  • Amazing battery life - almost 3-4 days if you keep data switched off, easily a full day on continous data usage - particularly google maps which consumes lots of battery
  • Easily removable back panel making it easy to access sim cards and memory card - though its not hot swappable which is not a big minus point

Every phone built to some price will have its negatives, and the Lenovo A6000+ is not an exception. So here they are:

  • Audio is not loud enough - this was the same grouse in my earlier K-900 and so also here.
  • Call volume cannot be increased beyond a point and in noisy environments this phone is just not suitable to use at all
  • Some people may find the phone too plasticky on all corners and at the back
  • No backlighting for the three android soft keys at the bottom of the phone - this is a major slip for me since you have to press they keys with more of intuition than anything of accuracy
  • The volume sliders and power button are easily accessible but they just dont have that feel to them as you find on other more expensive phones
  • Average camera - remember you are not paying for great optics here so this is the best what you can expect !! 

(iphone 6 plus taken by Lenovo A6000+)

The one single selling point for me as far as this phone is concerned is the FAST BOOT mode that lenovo has put into the software. Rather it is emulating PC bootups by saving last memory status to flash storage and booting off from there the next time.

Whichever way the implementation has been done, I would say the lenovo boots up in just 2 seconds on fast boot. Yes you read it right - 2 seconds !! This is the single most important thing I have noticed as an improvement across all android phones in recent years. Simply mind blowing.

The camera is average - its not the greatest but you could live with images taken off this phone as readability is still clear. I am not expecting low light shots to be great on this phone either. If you are looking for a great camera - look elsewhere like Apple, not lenovo.

So does this phone justify the 6000 rupee price tag? - Heck, absolutely yes. Lenovo has provided brilliant value for money - or rather they have been forced to rethink on pricing by newer players such as Xiaomi who are determined to give them a run for their money. But Lenovo has clearly jumped back into the game and for good. The upcoming Lenovo k3 note is surely going to be yet another example of how good a phone can get for as low as about 11000 bucks. Yes, we already had the Xiaomi Redmi note for much lesser - by almost 40%, but then at 3GB ram the lenovo k3 note will kick some serious ass. The brilliant looking user interface only means better usability and the rather large battery and screen would only produce more fireworks.

For the budget conscious consumer the A6000+ is a very good buy offering some great usability experience, good battery backup, reasonable camera, future ready 4G sim slots and expandable memory and all this in an extremely lightweight shell. Look no further - swipe that credit card now!

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Published July 19, 2015 by Srikanth Eswaran

TPLink Power Line Wireless Extender review and Amazon USA buying experience from India

From a long time I had tried different things at home to improve my wifi network range between my first floor and ground floor at home. The thing is that my ground floor portion has atleast six pillars making mobile and internet signal penetration almost impossible. So I cannot take calls, or browse the net sitting in my family room in the ground floor.

As though that was not enough my super fast ACT broadband connection was provided in first floor which necessiated me to have some way of propogating the signal back to ground floor. I tried my ever faithful netgear wn3000 RP wireless range extender. but from about 25mbps all I got at ground floor due to using this was about 5mbps. Frankly its nothing to do with the extender itself as many people would mistake it, its to do with the way my house has been constructed.

Most people discount this fact and start complaining on the wireless devices. Most of the wireless signal part is also about how it has to traverse through your home. So this having failed my next best, baddest and biggest bet in the recent decade worth of time was to go in for a power line wireless extender. The concept of this technology is very simple. The signal from router is fed via an ethernet line to a powerline adapter plugged into a power socket DIRECTLY into the wall.

From there an additional powerline adapter is plugged at another location in the house along same power line. So now data is transferred from the ethernet lines of your router onto power lines in your house to reach the second powerline adapter. From there on it is converted again into wireless signals and transmitted as WiFi at the second location. This obviously has a stronger signal than any run of the mill type extenders. Further there would also obviously exist a confusion of how that second wifi connection would be named and whether devices in your house always have to latch onto different wifi devices at different levels or rooms in your house. The simple answer is YES and NO. Yes you could have it that way, and NO it need not be that way as you could just clone your existing wifi connection with a single button press on the powerline extender and its the same SSID (network name) whereever you are at home.

Note though that you would need to just switch your WiFi off and on once at least when you move locations within your home in order to catch the stronger signal of the two places though network name is same.

Now was the harder part - how to order it from USA since either Americans believe we dont need better technologies, or Indians love to live with older technology and outdated gadgets being sold here. In a market where mobiles and PCs rule the roost, powerline adapter is the last thing anyone would want in India seems like.

I had two options here. One is to ship it within USA and pay tax and ask someone to bring it home, and the other is to ship it directly to India thanks to Amazon’s new shipping possibilities. Of course on one side this meant state tax and on the other side this meant customs duties. I found that the customs duties were lower than state tax prompting me to opt for the latter mode.

And sure enough as stated, I got the package to my home without a fuss on or before the stated date. What you must remember to consider is to ensure that the adapter is capable of taking a 220V power supply inspite of having rectangular pins. Please please always look at this carefully to avoid buying the wrong product or having to blow up the product you just bought by giving it a wrong power input.

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