Saturday, May 16, 2015

Mi4i review: More than what meets the ‘i’

Xiaomi follows up on the Mi4 with a handset that is more value and better build

When Hugo Barra, Xiaomi’s Vice-President International launched the Mi4i, he described it as the ‘Mi for India’. The global launch of the device was in India, but we’re not exactly sure what he meant by ‘for India’. May be he was just playing with the model name ‘Mi4i’, which is the successor to the Mi4 launched a few months ago.
Though Mi4i is a successor to the Mi4, it has lesser RAM (2GB against 3GB in Mi4) and a lower megapixel front camera. But Hugo went on to emphasise the high quality components that go into the Mi4i. Even the processor is the second gen version of Snapdragon 615. Though Xiaomi disappointed its fans with the predecessor, it has come back with aplomb with the Mi4i - at a price that’s perfect to take on the competition.
Read the full review at

Friday, March 21, 2014

Beware of Matrix

If you are travelling abroad and considering taking a Matrix Global SIM, avoid it.
I almost had a bad experience last time, but Matrix managed to solve it, as it was a billing related issue. I also gave a good review in sites like MouthShut.
This time, I took a card for Thailand, as I would be spending several hours there while in transit.
When I landed in Swarnabhumi International Airport in Bangkok, I switched on the mobile with the Matrix to inform my family that I had arrived safely. But all I got was a recorded message from the Thai mobile company saying my SIM card was not valid. The message asked me to contact ‘customer care’ but no number was given.
As I had taken the Matrix card, I had not bothered to activate roaming in any of my mobiles. I tried to use the airport WiFi, but the connectivity was extremely poor.
I spent the entire transit time of around four hours unable to contact my family.
It was the same during the return transit. What was worse, there was no way to contact Matrix as the SIM itself was not valid.
My family was also trying desperately to contact me. They had no way of knowing whether I had landed safely.
The shocker came when I returned to India and complained to Matrix. “We could have done something had you complained from Thailand. Sorry, we can’t waive your rental.”
I immediately went on Twitter tagging Matrix. Soon, I got a call and an email asking me to wait till the generation of bill. I replied to them that apart from the bill waiver, I was also expecting some compensation from Matrix for the mental trauma of losing all contact with my family.
When there was no response even after the generation of the bill, I sent Matrix an email. I got a reply that they would “look into it”.
But there was one more shocker the next day. Matrix had debited my credit card for the bill amount. I shot off another email to Matrix. I was assured that the rental would be waived. I again reminded about the compensation part. Matrix refused.
I once again went on Twitter and Facebook against Matrix. I filed a complaint with and alerted Akosha.
Soon, there was a call from Matrix asking me what compensation I expected. I said I was expecting a reasonable sum of Rs 5,000, considering the mental trauma faced by me and my family. After some time, I got an email offering me Rs 2,500 worth Matrix voucher.
Here was a customer getting fed up of Matrix, and Matrix was offering me a Matrix voucher. That too for half of what I had sought.
I replied to them rejecting the offer. Matrix replied back saying “As suggested, we have issued a compensation of Rs.2500 worth free talk time here, valid till 30th April, 2014, which is actually the best possible resolution we can offer. We do not issue cash rewards or cash discounts as a compensation and I am sure with you being well versed with Industry standards and norms, would be aware that product compensation is not rewarded in cash in such industry practices.”
I replied back: “I have not accepted the Rs 2,500 Matrix voucher for two reasons:
1. I am not a frequent traveller, and even if I travel on reporting assignments, I don't think I am going to spend that much. You must also understand that I will go for Matrix only if I am satisfied with the response to my complaint.
2. Rs 5,000 is not big for a corporate like Matrix. I am not dealing with an individual who can't pay. If it had been the case, I would have readily reduced the amount. I might have not even asked for Rs 2,500.
The amount is not much, as I had already said, considering that my family made numerous ISD calls trying to track me, and you would know how much ISD calls cost. So, the amount I have sought is not unreasonable.
I am not asking for rewards and discounts as you have mentioned. I am asking for compensation. If you don't have a policy of compensating by cash, you can offer it by talktime in other networks (which is your area of operation), or gift vouchers. 
And by offering a Matrix voucher, you are forcing a dissatisfied customer to go for a Matrix product again, which is not fair.”
That was the end of the conversation.
Matrix has come out as a totally insensitive company. I am waiting for the response to my complaint to and Akosha. The next step is to go to a consumer forum.

So, what do you do if you are travelling abroad? The best way is to buy a local SIM in that country. Most countries have SIMs for travellers with some ISD minutes free. At least, you can call their customer care and get your problem solved. But with Matrix, you are screwed.

Here are some alternatives to Matrix:

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Blog post on Transformation of BSNL



For over a decade, I kept away from PSUs as much as I could. I had had bad experiences with both BSNL and a PSU bank, and I swore I would never ever have anything to do with PSU telecom companies and banks.

But I kept hearing about how the two PSU behemoths were changing...and adapting to the times.

My experience at Valparai, a hill station in Tamil Nadu, forced me to get a BSNL SIM card. I had to be without even basic mobile connectivity for two full days at Valparai, as only BSNL had services there.

Read more at the Business Line Blogs

Saturday, August 03, 2013

A layman’s review of Maryan


Heroines in Indian movies have usually nothing to do except run around trees or provide the glamour element. When was it the last time when you saw a heroine provide a memorable performance? Parvathy Menon is a surprise package in Maryan. Bharat Bala has tried to extract the most from her and she has not disappointed him. Parvathy performs like a seasoned actress, providing a scintillating performance, leaving everyone else, except of course Dhanush, far behind.

Once you see Maryan, it is difficult to believe Dhanush debuted in what was almost a semi-porn film. Again, the credit goes to Bharat Bala. Dhanush manages to up his performance level in every film. We can rest assured that we have a brilliant actor to replace Kamal Hassan. It was not surprising that there were people in the audience who felt Dhanush could be the next Kamal Hassan after his performance in Maryan.

I had a feeling that A.R. Rahman, was losing his touch and was increasingly churning out garbage. Were the producers and directors responsible for the decline of the genius? Maryan proves it – the other way round. ARR is in full flow in the movie. ‘Innum Koncham Neram’ and ‘Nenje Ezhu’ are sure to be chartbusters.

The breathtaking cinematography by Marc Koninckx takes the film to a higher level. This is one reason why you must watch the movie in big screen.

If this is a movie review, why is there nothing much about the movie itself? It is just because Bharat Bala seems to lose his way after the interval. Dhanush’s ‘escape’ from the kidnappers is so long drawn that you desperately feel like having a fast-forward button. It doesn’t mean the movie is brilliant before the interval. You don’t know whether the guy who murmurs something to Maryan and longs for Panimalar (Parvathy) is really ‘The Villain’. He unceremoniously disappears after a blow from Panimalar’s at the end of an aborted rape attempt.

There is also the pointless death of Dhanush’s friend Appu that doesn’t help the narrative in any way. Bharat Bala also appears clueless about Dhanush’s mother, who is dead against the love affair. The director shocks everyone, including Parvathy, by a sudden inexplicable change of heart.

The director compensates Dhanush’s listless escape with the emotional reunion scene. There is nothing of the dramatic mad rush towards each other. Parvathy gradually realises Dhanush’s presence near her. There are hardly any words exchanged. This is the Bharat Bala Maryan misses through the most part of the movie.