Mainly because you asked for it. And also because I got inundated on Twitter and Facebook with a tidal wave of questions I couldn’t possibly answer. It’s another way of chest thumping that last week’s festival-season buying guide was a big hit.
And also because I got a sounding off from the editor that my column was one week too early for the Diwali issue. With so many reasons in play, there was only one thing to do – bring #DiwaliTechMan back for an encore to answer more of your very cerebral questions.
Are the online Diwali sales genuine?
How dare you? Where’s your nationalistic pride? These online buying portals are making world headlines every day about how much more each founder is now worth and you dare question their ethics!
Do you know how hard these people work to increase their valuations... errr... I mean give you things at a discount! Do you see a conspiracy theory in all things?
So what if you found hundreds of things at twice the actual price and then discounted to 50 per cent! So what if most of the cool stuff showed up as sold out in eight seconds flat? So what if things were cheaper at other online stores that hadn’t spent 200 crores in advertising on every front page, TV channel, website and app?
Applaud the effort and the money spent in making you believe that this was the best thing to happen to you, and not the sale or whether it’s genuine or not. You should be ashamed of yourself and made to stand in a corner with every shopping app open on your phone, and forced to order every crappy item that hasn’t sold a single piece in two years and is now almost completely sold out with a 75 per cent off red star next to it.
I’m looking at something quirky this year.
Great! I get your drift and I’m happy to help. Here are things that are different and will also improve your standing as a cool person with friends and family. A DJI Phantom 3 Quad Copter is uber cool, very easy to fly and something that takes hobby flying and photography to new levels. It’s illegal to fly one right now but a new set of rules for that should be out by the time this column is out.
Then there’s this new thing that just launched in India. It’s called a Gocycle and its new version, the G2 is here. This is a semi-powered battery-enabled electric cycle that is super light, easily packs away in two seconds, has an app that gives you full control over it, looks very sci-fi, has no gear, no chain and no oil to mess you up, and is actually a dream to ride. Look out for a more detailed review from me soon.
And if you’re the kind that has always looked at a Segway with a lustful eye – then the new hoverboards are something you must look at. Unlike Segway, these have no handle and no bank that you must rob to own one.
All you do is balance yourself on one and then with the slightest shift of weight these little marvels take off like a rocket (actually at 10kmph, but it feels really fast). Most people are experts in about three minutes. Lots of choices here, but the BirdBoard and the upcoming Xiaomi Ninebot Mini are the best in their class.
You missed out on telling us which laptop to buy, since there are such good deals out there.
I didn’t miss out, I avoided it. Somehow I don’t think this time of light and love lends itself well to notebooks and laptops. But since you insist, here it is.
The best deals seem to be on the Macbook Air series mainly because it’s actually quite an old product with some new hardware within its slim chassis. But at prices as low as Rs 45,000, these thin old warhorses are quite a buy. Just remember that the screen on these look a little antiquated, but the build and battery life are truly awesome.
Other choices are the super pretty and very powerful Acer S7 and the Asus Zenbook UX 305 (if you can find one). Another interesting choice are laptops and Chromebooks from companies that are more in the mobile space. Laptops from Spice, Micromax and Xolo priced at Rs 12,000 or so are quite compelling and actually work very well.
Shouldn’t a smartwatch be on my list?
What about a fitness band to melt off all the Diwali mithai?
Choose between a GoQii with a live coach (at Rs 999 it’s a no brainer) or a Fitbit Charge HR. Anything else isn’t the full package right now.
Is there one thing that I shouldn’t miss out on this shopping season?
Yes, quite a few things. It’s a good time to stock up on microSD cards, USB drives and portable hard drives. The prices are shockingly low if you aren’t looking at high-end capacity levels. Another great buy is the SanDisk Connect Wireless Stick which can give a second lease of life to a tablet or phone that can’t add any further storage. Also, if you’ve got uncle ji or massi or bhai coming down from foreign lands to spend Diwali with you, then the Amazon Echo (detailed review coming up on this one too) may well be a great Diwali stocking stuffer to get for yourself.
Time for #DiwaliTechMan to self detonate now. See you next year. Have no fear, #DTM will always be here – now and every Diwali when the sales hit us with a big bang!
Rajiv Makhni is managing editor, Technology, NDTV, and the anchor of Gadget Guru, Cell Guru and Newsnet 3
From HT Brunch, November 8
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