So I upgraded from my iPhone 12 Pro to an iPhone 14 Pro. Here’re my takeaways after 1 day:
The camera module is huge. There’s a perceptible slope to the phone when lying flat. The phone looks stupid without a case. Like it has sprouted a tumour.
But the cameras take very nice macro images. Will get creative with this in the days to come.
It is and feels heavier than 12 Pro. I am glad I didn’t get the iPhone 14 Pro Max, which I almost did. My little finger is already suffering.
FaceID is noticeably faster.
The dynamic island is cool. Even the parts with the FaceID sensor and the camera are touch sensitive. Hope more apps develop cool features for it.
Although, the notch on the older iPhones had become invisible to me, I still can’t un-see the dynamic island. Also, the Dynamic island sits a bit lower on the screen compared to the older notch, so app content starts even lower. This change is just barely perceptible.
The always on display is cool. Time will tell how much battery it uses up.
The display is cooler (as in colour temperature). I think my iPhone 12 Pro Display was unnecessarily warm.
The 120Hz display difference is visible, especially during screen animations and when using the 12 Pro.
Will sell the iPhone 12 Pro once my eSIM situation is sorted out, hopefully in March 2023.
As you can see, my mobile handsets have gone through different eras:
2003-2005 : Feature Phone era. I generally bought any handset I liked. 2005-2011 : Symbian Era. I mostly had Symbian phones with some other platforms sprinkled in between. 2012-2015 : Lumia Era. I purely had Windows Phones. 2017-Present : Apple Era.
For many years now, I have been a firm believer in having a cohesive, seamless technological experience. I don’t like mixing technologies/products from different ecosystems, as they never work as well. For many years, I had heavily invested in Microsoft’s ecosystem and products. When Windows Mobile croaked, I had to make a decision and I went with Apple. Since then, I have moved almost all of my services to Apple’s ecosystem & am enjoying the comforts of Apple’s Walled Garden.
To lock myself completely in this garden, I also had to move all my family members inside it. Over many years, I was successful in doing so. Below is how life is like, living inside Apple’s Walled Garden:
Large collection of movies available, especially in 4K HDR.
Not as good as Google Maps, but at least they don’t track my movements.
Unparalleled quality, supports Spatial audio and Memojis.
Very fast & responsive .
Functional, supports sharing notes with family.
Can detect and alert user to compromised passwords. Also has a TOTP generator.
Very intuitive and supports data inputs from a huge range of apps and services.
Large number of Homekit devices available on the market. They all work seamlessly without separate apps.
My Walled Garden
It does take a decent amount of money to enter this walled garden, but once you’re in, the recurring costs are not high. Most of their services are decently priced (and can be shared with family) and devices last for years and have a decent resale value.
It was the day after Diwali 2019 in Gurgaon. Because we Indians cannot celebrate festivals without polluting at least 1 element of nature, the AQI was 1999. I already had air purifiers (Different makes) in all the bedrooms, but it was getting difficult to breathe so we decided to get one for the living room.
We had had a very good experience with the Xiaomi 2S, so we decided to get another one for the living room. Headed out to Ambience Mall (I miss you so much) and went straight to the Xiaomi store. We had already decided what to buy, so I asked the sales guy to bill one for us. Instead, he laughed at us and said “Stock hi nahi hai to kaha se du”. (We don’t have stock where do I give it from?). Angry at his rudeness, we decided to get the Dyson TP03 (Also known as Dyson Pure Cool Link) instead. Surely, compared to the Xiaomi (₹7999) the Dyson (₹29999) would surely be much better? How wrong we were.
Here’re my views after using it for >1 year
+ Is Stylish, looks nice in the living room + Setup is easy and app is very nice + App can show historical AQI data – Can only show AQI on a scale from 1-10 (Both the tiny display & the app). No other details – Is noisy – Doesn’t really purify very well or fast. On most days, it couldn’t keep up with outside air leaking in – Since it throws air straight at the user rather than up in the air, in winters it becomes uncomfortable
At the end of the day, I think the company’s Air Multiplier technology is not really suitable for air purifiers. Basically, if the fan draws “X” amount of air from the pedestal (and via the HEPA filter), it draws 15*X amount of air from the back of the air multiplier which doesn’t pass the filter at all. So at any point of time, only 6.66% of air thrown by the purifier is clean/has passed through the filter, compared to 100% for traditional purifiers.
All of this results in a lot of air flow in the (already very cold) room but very little purification. My impression of all this is that Dyson has over-engineered its purifiers for the simple purpose of purifying air. I feel terribly guilty for not buying 2 Xiaomi purifiers for the same price as this and still have cash left over.
For as long as I remember, I have loved and have been fascinated by Optical Disc Drives. There’s something about the spinning disc, the red laser and the up/down pulsating & sideways shifting of the lens that I love.
It read Audio CDs at a measly 1X speed and had no error correction cache. This meant if I shook the player too hard, the audio skipped. Still, coming from a cassette walkman, the audio quality was mind blowing. There was also something calming and therapeutic looking at the spinning disc through the little window while pristine sound entered my ears through the earphones. One of my first audio CDs was Disney’s Modern Classics which I bought from Jwala Heri market.
My second CD Player was an Aiwa music system with 3 CD changer and VCD capabilities.
It was amazing to watch the CD changer tray come out and the system change the CDs from the top translucent window. You could also copy CDs to cassettes to play in the car later. I remember watching all the Rocky movies on it without having to switch from Disc 1 to Disc 2 manually.
I remember switching to an AIWA portable CD player when I went off to college. Compared to the Sony, it read discs at a blazing 3X speed and had an error correction cache. This meant that shakes were not a problem anymore.
I would quite often listen to CDs with the top door open, overriding the detection switch with some rolled up paper. It was fascinating to see the CD spin at high speed, the player cache the audio and then the spinning stop. All the while the audio continued to play. I would also stop the spinning CD on purpose using my finger to test the caching.
When I got my first computer, it came with a Samsung 48x CD drive.
The first CD I put into this was the shitty soundtrack of this shitty movie (I don’t remember why). It was fascinating to see the green LED on front flash as the CD was being read. I wanted to copy the tracks to my hard drive, so I went into explorer, copied the (1 byte) .cda files to my desktop and was amazed that it was all done within a second. Later I found out this wasn’t the correct way to copy audio CDs and you actually had to “rip” them.
During this time I also found out that there was a second “audio” cable from the CD players to the sound card. Although you could bypass this using software which played Audio CDs digitally. I also got into a habit of disposing off old CDs by throwing them at the ceiling fan and watching them shatter into hundreds of pieces.
All my friends had the fancy Creative CD drive, though. This drive was notorious for having a very high failure rate. When my Samsung drive died, my father had it replaced with the “AudioExcel” version of the drive which was more reliable. It came with many buttons on the front and a remote control. Especially fun was the “Turbo” button which toggled the drive between 36X and 52X speeds.
Eventually, I moved on to Combo drives (DVD reader and CD writer), DVD writers and then the cloud/streaming era but my fascination for Optical Disc Drives never faded.
I still have an external HP DVD writer but nothing to plug it into.
I have been using an Apple Watch for a few years now. I got my first Apple Watch (Series 4, aluminium) in 2018 but gave it to the wife after using it for a few months because of the abysmal battery life & I didn’t like how it looked. Got one again in 2020 (Series 4, Stainless Steel) and have mixed feelings about it
What I like about the Apple Watch
The integration with the rest of apple’s ecosystem is amazing. Everything “just works”. Setup and use are both pain free, like every Apple product.
The cellular functionality is awesome. I leave my phone at home when walking the dog or going for a run. Can take/receive calls if needed and stream music. It is also impressive how so many carriers support it.
Continuing with my series, the next entry in the list is Airtel Internet TV DTH set top box.
I used to have a regular Airtel DTH connection at my place; the non-smart ones where the Set Top Box connects to an external satellite dish antenna and you watch TV. One day the set top box straight up and died so I contacted Airtel for a replacement. They told me that they have an offer where if I pay a years’ worth of subscription fee at once, they will upgrade me to the new Airtel Internet TV set top box. The set top box was supposed to combine the best of DTH TV viewing and App based streaming along with:
1G Ethernet and WiFi connectivity
4K output with 4K Netflix capability (Along with Prime, Hotstar etc.)
Voice activated remote with touch sensitive surface
Internet enabled programme guide
DVR capabilities with storage on external USB devices
I bought it mostly for 4K Netflix capabilities. I was sceptical about getting it because it ran Android TV (Fagdroid), but decided to keep an open mind and give it a try.
It would be safe to say that this was the worst product (across all categories) I ever bought in my life & realised it the same day. Android TV (Fagdroid) is the worst OS ever to power any gadget in the world, period. Some of the complaints that I faced (On day 1) were:
Slow as fuck interface (Even with things like quad-core Qualcomm processor etc.). I blame this part entirely on the Android TV (Fagdroid) OS. Even changing channels took 2-3 seconds.
Apps crashing all the time. Even the TV app which showed content from satellite crashed regularly with no apparent triggers.
The smart Bluetooth remote control froze from time-to-time. The only way to recover it was to remove the batteries and insert them back again.
Doing a factory reset was not a straight forward job. After the reset, half of the channels would disappear and would require going into settings and entering some satellite related parameters manually.
Advertisements showing up randomly on the UI & also a perpetual, huge Airtel Logo on the corner of the screen
Software updates would fix some issues and introduce others.
After tolerating this for a few months, I had had enough & even with 8/9 months of subscription remaining, I threw it in the trash. When I asked Airtel to move me back to the old (non-smart) set top box, they told me that was no longer possible. Eventually, this brought to an end the era of DTH in my house forever & I moved to streaming services permanently; also cementing my resolve to never buy anything Android (Fagdroid) powered ever again.
Continuing with my series, the next entry in the list is the Microsoft Lumia 950XL, which was my 29th phone.
I was super-excited to buy this phone since the day it was announced by Microsoft. In the months leading up to the actual launch, I used to send my family members to the Microsoft Store at Ambience mall every Sunday (one-by-one) to ask about the phone’s launch date. I even had a Google search alert setup which sent me emails as soon as any news article were published about this phone. Although this phone was great on paper (Great hardware, huge display, excellent camera), this phone was my 7th Windows Phone overall and by the time this phone launched, Windows 10 Mobile was all but dead.
I remember the day this phone launched; I had just started a new job that week. I immediately dropped everything I was doing and went to Ambience mall to buy it (For ₹55,000; of course, I had pre-booked the phone months ago). The store employees told I was the first person in North India to get my hands on this phone. At that time I thought I was special. In hindsight, it is clear now, I was one of the few fools in North India to buy a Windows Mobile (at the tail end of 2015).
Within months, Microsoft announced the death of Windows 10 for mobiles. Within weeks after that, app developers abandoned the platform. There was still a small community online of loyal fans but we were more and more reliant on 3rd party apps for basic services. Uber, specifically, was a huge pain point. There was no easy way to search for destinations, you had to zoom out on the map, zoom in to where you thought you wanted to go and mark the location manually.
I also remember claiming some of the phone’s cost from my company (There was a company BYOD policy) and my manager laughing at me that I spent such a huge amount for such a phone.
Slowly and painfully, over the next year, the number of useable 1st party apps dwindled to almost zero and I eventually made the jump to Apple’s (Walled) Garden putting an end to my Lumia misery. If I could do things over, I should have bought an iPhone for the same amount and prevented myself from a year of misery.
Continuing with my series, the next entry in the list is the Bose QC 35 II headphones, which I regretted buying.
Don’t get me wrong, the Bose QC 35 II are great headphones, with stellar sound quality and impressive noise cancellation. I just realised after buying them that I am not a “wearing huge headphones in public” kind of guy.
A bit of history, my earphones of choice used to be the Bose Soundsport Wireless, which I happily used for a few years, but lost during my last trip to Xiamen, China. I was quite devastated and for some time, considered buying the same earphones again, but couldn’t find them anywhere in Xiamen. I almost bought Apple Airpods from the Xiamen Apple store, but somehow controlled myself because of the poor audio quality.
After returning to India, I saw the Bose QC 35 II on sale at half price and I had wanted to dip my toes into Noise cancellation, so bought it.
The sound quality & the noise cancellation blew me away (Sony MX3 performs even better they say, but I was a Bose purist then). However, after the first few days of use, the novelty began to wear off. I would feel awkward walking in public with them around my ears, sitting at my desk in office. Having phone calls on them looked even more awkward so I started regretting my decision very soon.
On top of that, Apple soon launched the Airpods Pro, which had everything I wanted in the original Airpods and I was done with the QC 35 IIs.
I eventually sold them to a couple of illiterate Gym Bros via OLX at almost the same price I bought them for, so the regret didn’t last for long.
This is first of a series where I reminisce about my best purchases and purchases I regret to this date.
I will start with something positive, my second smartphone. The O2 XPhone II, 9th in a long list of phones I have used over the years. Although I did have an N-Gage QD before this, it was barely a smartphone, severely crippled by software.