Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Must Use Apps in China

Featured post on IndiBlogger, the biggest community of Indian Bloggers

Imagine a place where there's no Google, no Whatsapp  and no Facebook ! No, we are not talking about BigBoss house where the contestants are devoid of mobile phones and social media. I'm talking about the country of China. One of the world's most populous nations, the country had decided to block all external social networking apps and use only the apps internally developed by Chinese people. So is there a way to overcome this and access them when you are in China?

A trip to China needs a lot of prepration compared to any other country. This includes submitting multiple documents for Visa, finding the right hotels near shopping centres and Indian restaurants, planning the right itinerary, converting Indian currency to Chinese Yuan(RMB). But the most important step in planning a China trip is to be prepared on the technical front.
Also you can read my China Shopping Guide here .

As stated earlier, all popular social networking apps, emails and even maps have been blocked in the mainland of China (Including Shanghai, Beijing, Xian etc). So this means you don't have "direct" access to the following apps :
  • Google
  • What'sapp
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • Google Maps
  • Gmail 
  • Yahoo Mail 
and other popular social media apps you might be using. This is irrespective of whether you are using a Indian mobile number, a Chinese sim or a hotel /public Wifi. Having returned from a 7 day China vacation myself, I had quite the struggle the first day I was there. Then after extensive trials, research I was able to figure out simple ways to overcome the issues. So here's a quick list of apps and plugins you should install, before you start your journey to China.

1. Mobile VPN 

A VPN is a virtual private network , that basically creates a private "Tunnel" connection for your internet. The tunnel reroutes the connection to a different country and hence protects you from any hacks from outside parties. At the same time it helps you to bypass network/ISP restrictions for any website or app.So if you have a VPN installed in your phone / PC and you turn it on, it'll then be able to access a website/app that was earlier blocked by the host ISP.

Sounds complicated? Dont worry about any of this. Just download a nice VPN app and you're all set.

I used Snap VPN (Free) while on my trip. All you gotta do is , connect to a wifi in your hotel, install the app from the playstore, and click connect. After about 5 seconds, your VPN is connected and all your blocked apps will start working. The network speed was just fine and I was able to even place Whatsapp calls and receive/send images at a considerably decent speed. Sometimes it might get disconnected after about 20-30 minutes of inactivity. But this ain't a problem and you can just switch it on again
Download link : https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=free.vpn.unblock.proxy.vpnpro&hl=en_IN

If you want a professional, superfast VPN ,the most popular choice however is ExpressVPN. Though this is a paid VPN, you have a free seven day trial period. So register it exactly just before you head for your flight in the layover, so that you have access to it for the entire period of stay.

2. VPN for laptop

If you want to access the websites in your laptop like Facebook, Google Maps etc, this is much easier than the earlier step. All you gotta do is install a VPN plugin (be it Firefox or Chrome) . One of the popular ones I usually use is Zenmate. The speeds are great and you even have option to choose the country of connect. The plugin is completely free and you just have to sign up first with your email id. There are plenty of other choices too (though I haven't tested them much).

For Chrome :

Just search for the same , if you are using Firefox.

3. Google Translate (offline Download)



Though all signboards, metros, roadnames are displayed in English, you might struggle in many places since there ain't much English speakers. Be it at a restaurant, mall or to ask for directions in a store, they simply give you a blank stare when you ask a question in English. The best option is to use Google Translate app . Do ensure you download the Chinese language so that it can be accessible offline too.

You can use it for the below purposes :
Type text in English to translate to Chinese and show it to Taxi drivers/shopkeepers
Scan text written in Chinese in products at food stores using the camera option inside the app and it translates the whole thing to English.
Record conversation in Chinese and translate it back to English (and vice versa).

4. Metro Apps for Shanghai and Beijing

The best and the most economical way to travel in China is the subway (Metro).  Though the network is very extensive and more than 15 routes , esp in Shanghai and Beijing, it can be easily navigated. All you need to know is your destination station and you can easily trace the route no you need to take. A very handy app is the Explore Shanghai , Explore Beijing apps. It displays the metro map in a clear mobile friendly version and works without internet.

Having used the subway/metro at least 5 times each day in my trip, this was extremely useful and I became super dependent on it.
For Shanghai : https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.exploremetro.sh&hl=en
For Beijing : https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.exploremetro.bj

5. Trip.com

Well, technically not an app but trip.com comes in handy to book the bullet trains between the different cities in China. Or you can also book through https://www.travelchinaguide.com (I used this for my bullet train booking).

Note :

Many sites might recommend you to use WeChat Pay (which is pretty much used in every single store) or Baidu ( Google Alternative). But these come with limitations. You need a Chinese account to load money to Wechat money and also need a Chinese person to introduce you to Wechat.
Almost most of the content in Baidu is in Chinese and it's very difficult navigating it. So it's always better to use our comfort Google apps through the above methods.

Sunday, October 07, 2018

Library to a Cultural Centre - A British Council Transformation

Featured post on IndiBlogger, the biggest community of Indian Bloggers

There is something fascinating about books , carrying an unique old world charm , a power to transport you to a different reality, an alternative universe that makes you live with the characters. For some people books are just a hobby to while away their time, but for some it is their passion and share a very close bond with it. I probably may have  spent countless of hours in libraries and bookstores , going over hundreds of books yet never got bored of it.

British Council Library Centre

The last decade however has seen a complete shift in the way books have been consumed. There has been a gradual adaptation of large screen devices , be it 6+ inch mobile phones, iPads and even e-book readers like Kindle. People have begun to prefer to buy an e-book online and read it on the go easily, be it in a car, train or flight. Yes, there are also traditional people like me who would still any day prefer a hardcover book than an e-book.

The digitization of ebooks has impacted a lot of libraries and book stores in India that has struggled to keep up with the pace of technology and modernization. However there are few places that has seen the change coming, evolved into something completely different and at the same time retaining their core values.

One such place is British Council. I'm pretty sure, most people in Chennai with a love of books would have at some point associated with this place. An international organization, British Council was launched in India , exactly 70 years before. Starting as a place meant to promote English education, they setup a major library that stocked thousands of books of every genre. Ranging from fiction, non fiction, management books, comics and even English language books, there was almost everything you could find in a British council library.

The Transformation of British Council

Adapting quickly to the technological demands of the industry, British council has now become a cultural centre, that allows exchange of ideas, networking and a place of learning and cultural activities. In short, a great place for millenials to hang out.

  • The Digital Library of British Council

Being physically present at the venue may not always be easy thanks to tough schedules and work appointments. So instead you can just login to their site and have access to more than 115,000 books and 14,000 journals across a wide range of subject areas.
A wide range of Academic e-books are also available in the same site that offers access to Management, Humanity, Engineering subjects.

This digitization of books and giving access to 30,000 of its members is a major step in embracing change and at the same making resources available in your own device any time anywhere. This step makes sure that though the consumption pattern of reading habits is shifting from physical books to e-books, the habit of reading remains unchanged and would carry on to the future generations as well.

British Council Library Centre
  • Events & Workshops

British Council is not just a place for reading and hanging out , but also a cultural centre for learning. In accordance with it, they conduct a lot of events for students & professionals as well . This include writing & film workshops, thematic events. You can attend film screenings , get your camera skills sharpened at a photography workshop or even understand the world of automation by participating in the robotics workshops.
  • Books & Audio

Books can not only be accessed in the phsyical hardcover versions or the e-readable digital form but also available as an audio file. Similar to a mp3 file , books are also getting converted to an audio book or in some cases as a podcast. So all you gotta do is plugin some headphones, download the audio book or stream the link on to your device and get the file playing.

British Council audio books

The remarkable transformation of British Council at the right juncture is a great indicator for other related institutions to follow suit and become more relevant in the fast paced technological world.

From a library to a cultural learning center, it has set a great example for this industry.

Be a British Council  Member

British Council has some attractive subscription plans and you can find the details here:

Pricing is as cheap as 2000 INR for an entire year which is lesser than 170/month. This includes borrowing upto 6 books at a time(including best selling novels and international magazines), accessing their digital library and attend all their events on music,education, literature and arts

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

The Story of My Shirt - A Custom Made Experience

My style of fashion has always been confined to readymades, picking up that jeans (predominantly a shade of blue) and a casual T-Shirt (most probably a plain colour) . The occasion would ideally be for a birthday, Pongal or for  Diwali. Occasionally I pick up a dress that's available during a sale in Amazon/Flipkart. Thanks to a "Everyday casual wear" policy at work, I have never really bothered to get a good collection of Formal shirts and pants.

My style, lately has however been shifting towards a more formal attire, thanks to some solid advice by my good friend.  I even managed to get a nice pair of formal shirts for my birthday and I haven't ever been more convinced. Power dressing indeed. So that basically took off as a tipping point to start leaning towards wearing a formal or atleast a semi-formal attire more often.

This was when I discovered a Customized premium Shirt Store called The Bombay Shirt Company through a friend. Since it was situated close to work in Adyar, I thought of giving them a try and see how a fully customized shirt might look like. The results were pretty fantastic.


What can you customize in a shirt?

Well if your guesses are just size and design, you might be pretty shocked at what Bombay Shirt Company can offer. The no of customizations is 20+ including Fabric, Weave, Pattern, Collar (Style , Contrast,Stiffness) , Buttons among others. Listed below is the step by step process of the shirt customization at the store.

The Customization Process 

As soon as I began , I was handed a iPad that asked me to choose an option for each customization offered. An executive beside me the different options and how I could go about choosing the ideal shirt for myself.

The customization are as follows :
  • Fabric

It all begins with a Fabric Selection . This includes Single Ply, Double Ply, Premium, Italian Fabrics, Japanese Fabrics among others. The single ply shirts are the cheaper options and starts from 1990 INR.

The composition of this fabric includes Cotton, Linen, Tencel, Egyptian Cotton and Denims.

  • Colour

Next you choose a colour. You can be spoilt for choices here, as they pretty much have multiple shades of every colour. So if you have a specific colour in mind, high chances are that you can spot the exact one here. 
  • Pattern

Colour is followed by Pattern selection. You can choose from a checked pattern, striped pattern, Desginer prints and of course finally the standard solids.
  • The Collar

Once you are done choosing the fabric, colour and pattern of the shirt you head on to the collar portion.  If you think this is a relatively easier option was , you are once again mistaken. Turns out there are 5 types of customizations to be done in the collar portion alone.

This includes
  1. Collar Style
Collar Style has the most options including Spread Eagle, Madmen, Prince Charlie, Club, Wing and many more. Spread Eagle is the standard collar that's available in most shirts, while the Evil Pandit Collar is the one Pandit Nehru wore and been quite a style statement among many.
You also get to choose among a few options for each of these collar parts below.

      2.Collar Contrast
      3.Collar Buttons
      4.Collar Stiffness
      5.Collar Piping
  • Cuff Style

Though not immediately noticeable at first glance, the cuff style also plays an important role in the overall look. The options include the standard Single Convertible,, Double Bond ( Just like a James Bond Suit).
  • Monogram 

My most favourite part of the customization was the monogram. You can get to have your initials (upto 3 letters) stitched on the cuff or the back collar.
  • Placket 

Placket is the portion that covers the portion of the buttons. You can either choose to make it as a no background or a regular double lining or even a slim pencil version.

Here's some other customizations that you can do :

My Experience & Review of Bombay Shirt Company

The overall customization roughly takes 30 mins - 1 hour depending on the time you take to choose a colour and design. The shirt I customized was a creamish yellow colour, single ply, a regular placket one, a monogram with HKM as initials, blue buttons, a slim fit on the arms and a few other customization.

With a tailor to assist on the sizing options, the actual fit was almost perfect, exactly to my preferences. The chosen colour was spot on(exactly as shown) and I loved the fabric thickness as well. The overall price was 2200 including taxes. The delivery time of the shirt was less than 7 days, and this is great,given its manufactured as a single piece entirely on the mentioned specifications.

Some of the blends and designs available is very unique and I could see some beautiful intricate designs that I haven't really observed in the usual fashion stores like Lifestyle/WestSide/Shoppers Stop etc.

On the whole, with a fair pricing range of 2000-5000 INR (given its a premium blend with 20+ options custom tailored shirt), this definitely would be my primary choice to pick up a shirt for any planned special occasion. In case the fit is not per your liking or slightly different, you get a free replacement or you can also get the shirt altered directly in the store, if its a minor issue.
The only downside is that the general promised time for a delivery is generally 14 days for the second time order and this may not work for you if you are in a big hurry.

You can do the whole shirt selection process online in the BombayShirts Website

(The above link also helps you to get 250rs off on your first purchase when you sign up)

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Entrepreneurs & Startups - The Secret Economy Boosters

A recent conversation with my best friend, who's starting her new business, made me realize a very important thing. The message she conveyed, totally changed my thought process and made me realize some of the things I may have been  probably doing wrong all along. I'm quite sure, that you might be equally guilty of this action at some point in your life. What could possibly be such an incorrect action that you haven't realized so far? Read on...

Source : https://ecowarriorprincess.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Local-Matters-Why-I-Buy-Local-Eat-Local-Support-Local.jpeg

Before we get to the actual problem, let's get a sense of the ground situation here. In any given market, the attraction, trust & eagerness to buy newly a launched Branded product and Celebrity owned/endorsed products is always pretty high. We proudly share the purchase immediately in social media and even list outs its advantages,. Despite a steep retail price (compared to a domestic/in-house brand) we do not think twice before buying it either because i) we can afford it or ii) we want to look cool iii) you just love the brand so much or iv) you may actually "need" the specific product. Absolutely nothing wrong about any of the four points though, because who doesn't love to indulge in a bit of luxury.

But in addition to it, you can also do one small thing.

Encourage and Support a friend's Business !

This could be a relative, friend or even a FB acquaintance who has started their own business .  The first thing you can do to encourage them is by buying their product. This could be anything from a book, a handmade artifact, handmade soap / homemade skin solution or even visiting their cafe/restaurant. A purchase from the friends circle alone can make a significant difference in their confidence, morality and pushes them to work harder . This allows them an opportunity to bring down costs and get more quality products at the same price, while also enabling them to grow their business.

Source : https://stampington.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/20150826_SoapParty_019.jpg

Having been given free samples and products during initial launch phases by top brands, we expect the same from our friend's startups too. Even if its a small product worth say 100Rs, we expect them to give us for free. The bigger brands with deeper pockets can splurge on such activities to expand their market base, but on the contrary it can incur significant losses to small businesses.

Criticism Helps, but don't Bargain ! 

In the rare event that you dislike the product or if it causes any adverse effects, do let them know in private about it (than raising a hue & cry in FB directly about why something didn't work). Any serious entrepreneur would take that negative comment / criticism only as a feedback to make his products better than taking it in a wrong way. It actually helps him more to understand where he might be going wrong and places to improve.

However having said that, the amount of doubts, hesitation and questioning the price point is pretty undesirable. Despite knowing its being sold for very small margins, a lot of us end up bargaining/hassle with these startups and literally force them to sell at zero profit situation. An extra few bucks may not really affect us a lot. But that little extra multiplied by a higher volume can make a real difference to that business.

The Cost of Labour

When we enquire a product's price, all we calculate is its worth of ingredients along with a small margin. We then magically come to a conclusion that its "costly" or "average price". However what we don't take into account is the time taken to make the product, cost of labelling, packaging, expensive instruments needed to manufacture the same, electricity among other things.. More importantly, we forget that there's a "labour" component to this costing. It's very wrong to ignore labour cost or rather assume labour as 0 just because the person who made it herself sells it. The technical skill needed to make any product or even write a book should be rewarded and quite handsomely as well!

Why do we need to do it & why is this important?

Most people are confined to a desk job working from 9-6 for the rest of their lives. They never aspire to do something new or take up their favourite hobby as a profession. There are very few people around you, who actually have the guts and courage to take a risk, leave a stable/high paying job and start their own business. It could be a reseller business, it could be a soap making business or even a person who wants to take up blogging full time ( be it in Travel or fashion). Nevertheless, the motive is the same. Build something wonderful from scratch, become an entrepreneur and be a successful one at it.

Impact of startups/SME's on Economy

 The top brands may contribute a large to the economy & GDP by employing several thousand workers in each firm. But these startups and SME's also play a vital part to the economy. They create a healthy market environment, find unexplored niches and in some cases produce both nature and people friendly products. Every big company in the world including HP, Apple, Microsoft, Facebook etc started out from a garage or a dorm room. They now result in controlling 70-80% of the market share in their respective industries. Just Imagine contributing to a startup's success and watch it grow multifold in a few years time . This results in three things : More contribution to the economy, growth of new market spaces and of course creation of jobs.

Spread the Love

Supporting a new business is not just about buying their stuff. It could also be in the form of subscribing to one's social media page, sharing/liking their posts , leaving valuable comments and of course spread a word about their products to your network.

So next time , along with your usual list of products, additionally pick up that beautiful handmade soap your friend made, a book your friend wrote or a jewellery / saree /clothes your friend is reselling. It will make a whole lot of difference to them.

Featured : Products made/written by my friends 

From my end, any of my friends & readers who would like their product / book / service to be featured, let me know the same in your comments.. The post here will be updated with the relevant links below.

This post is a small dedication/tribute to my best friend, Deepika who's taking up her passion of making organic, handmade skincare solutions as a full fledged successful business. This includes beautiful handmade soaps, face & body pack/powder , herbal oils among other things. (Social media links to be updated soon).

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Experience Amsterdam in Chennai - A Restaurant that serves Cheese in so many forms & also world's most spiciest Paneer

Have you have had a craving for cheese sometimes, but never got the chance to really fulfill those desires . Except for the occasional cheese-burst pizzas or a small layer of cheese in the pasta, you might have not encountered cheese in different forms in restaurants.

So it's time to rejoice if you are a cheese lover  This restaurant in Chennai has decided to make things go a notch above and has a cheese variant in many (if not all) of their dishes . The restaurant is incidentally called Fromage, another colloquial name for Cheese in French.

To be honest , never before have I seen so many forms of cheese dishes in a single meal and the Fromage dinner totally floored me. Hence a mini food review of the place :

The Vegetarian menu consisted of the following:


Brocolli & Cheese Soup-  Served in a bowl made out of bread with cheese melt on the inside.


  • Mango Screw Driver

A mango based spicy drink garnished with a chilli inside.
This tasted super awesome and perfect blend to have along with the starters.

  • Mango Strawberry Daiquiri

A mango and strawberry infused drink . Had the perfect blend of sweetness of mango and the taste of strawberry slightly overpowering the mango flavour, overall creating a kickass combination for a mocktaill


  • Assorted Bruchetta : Came with different toppings of Mushroom & Onion,  Tomato & Cottage Cheese among others
  • Mac & Cheese Tarts with fillings
  • Assorted Fried Cheese Crumbles (Mozarella)

Main Course

  • Are you Crazy 

The highlight of the entire meal was this. A special one of a kind dish that made your eyes literally pop out. A freshly marinated paneer soaked with the world's most spiciest chilly, "Bhut jolokia".(There's actually a contest where the person gets to go home with a lot of prizes if he manages to finish it all by himself). The spice level is pretty high in this chilly and shouldn't be eaten with hands ( even if you end up touching it, dont take your hand anywhere near your face). Have a small bite of this paneer & chilly . You might feel the initial spice hitting you. But once the coating is done, the next few pieces will not make much of an impact and you can actually get to feel the Paneer. Easily, a definite experience you should try in Fromage.

  • Parmesan Wheel - Ratatouille

Spaghetti or Penne Pasta cooked in the pasta wheel and served with Ratatouille : This is the first time I got to see a Parmesan wheel that was used to cook delicious pasta by melting the cheese layers inside it.  The Penne pasta was indeed excellent and very authentic , compared to the other average pastas served elsewhere.

You can check out my making video here :

  • Veg Lasagne

A vegetable , multi layered lasagne served with a bit of cream on top and topped with fried basil and cheese.


Death by Chocolate : Yes, it's finally available in Chennai at Fromage and you don't need to visit Corner House in Bangalore for this anymore. A 24 layered chocolate cake that can make this fantastic dinner even more better . Order one for an entire table and that'll be more than sufficient.

Oh , I also was lucky to meet the wonderful music director, Yuvan Shankar Raja who also happened to dine at the restaurant at the same time

Thursday, July 05, 2018

Battle of Premium Smartphones

Premium smartphones in the Indian market, until 4-5 years back, was only confined to two brands only. Apple iPhone(iOS) and only Samsung in the Android zone. Premium smartphones constituted any phone above the 30-40,000 price band.  Though there were more than 100 brands fighting for the market share, no one dared to venture into the higher priced segment and played it safe in the < 20,000 price segment.

premium smartphone battle

Some of the top brands were Micromax, Sony Ericsson, Nokia, Samsung , Karbon, Asus , Motorola and LG.  But except Samsung , noone had a premium phone in the higher bands. This was because of expensive raw materials, lesser margins and relatively lower purchasing power.

The first two brands to actually break the barrier, offer expensive features at a relatively mid-premium segment was OnePlus and Xiaomi.  At just 20K, the OnePlus One and the 14K Xiaomi Mi3 became a major viral hit. Even some of the brands didn't take these two brands seriously , only to be hurt badly years down the line. The success of these these phones with premium features made the users aware of the need of top quality phones.

It didn't take many years for the launch of premium smartphones by almost every other phone manufacturer, including Huawei, Honor , Vivo and Google.

Here's a look at the best selling smartphones of 2018 that comes loaded with all the best premium features

OnePlus 6

I have written a detailed review of the OnePlus 6 in my previous post. This premium smartphone, priced at 35,000 comes with a Snapdragon 835, 6GB RAM and 64GB capacity. It sports a 6.28″ Optic AMOLED display along with a Dual camera with 16 MP resolution. 

oneplus 6 premium smartphone

Honor 10 

Almost days after the release of OnePlus 6, Honor followed suit and launched their version of premium smartphone, called the Honor 10. This "AI" enabled smartphone was priced at 33,000 and  came with the following features
  • 6 GB RAM | 128 GB ROM
  • 5.84 inch Full HD+ Display
  • 24MP + 16MP Dual Rear Camera | 24MP Front Camera
  • 3400 mAh Battery
honor 10 premium smartphone

Google Pixel 2

Though it was released last year, the Pixel 2 is still a popular phone (after a massive price drop of nearly 21,000 rs barely two weeks after it's release). The Pixel 2, offering a pure stock android experience, AR features  came in two versions : 2 and 2XL. The phone had 4GB RAM, 64GB capacity, unlimited online photo storage and a 6' Quad HD display. With a discounted price tag of 40K+ for the Pixel 2 and 52K+ for the Pixel 2 XL it certainly gave a good fight to Samsung's S8. The phone also ranked 98 in DXO mark.

pixel 2 premium smartphone

Asus Zenfone 5Z 

This is a "To be" launched phone from Asus . Asus had a fair share of success when their brand of Zenfone series had a good run , esp the Zenfone 5 around 2014 and disappeared post that. After a brief hiatus, Asus is launching a high-end premium smartphone called the Asus Zenfone 5Z.
The phone launches on 9th of July. The initial launch price is 30,000 for the 6GB, 64GB variant.
The phone comes with a Snapdragon 845 processor,  6.2'  FHD Display  and an Artificial intelligence system(that actually distinguishes between different objects).

asus zenfone 5z  premium smartphone

The Zenfone 5Z has a powerful Adreno 630 Graphics chipset and an Octacore CPU.
Coming to the camera, the Zenfone 5Z comes with a  12MP SonyIMX 363 Sensor camera with a 1.8 Aperture and 4K recording capabilities and promises good low light photography.

Vivo X21

 Though Vivo was always a stronger contender in the 10-20K segment, they made their entry in the premium smartphone segment with the Vivo X21. The phone comes with a 6GB, 128GB ROM, a 6.28' FHD AMOLED Display . However it comes with just a Snapdragon  660 processor (usually available in 15K phones itself) than going for a 800 series. The phone's pricing is quite steep at 36,000 though it has a few premium smartphone features such as in-screen fingerprint scanner, dual pixel sensor camera and face unlock system.

vivo x21 premium smartphone

Which is your favourite pick among these phones and what phone do you currently own?

Friday, June 29, 2018

OnePlus 6 - Detailed Review

It's been a month since I got the OnePlus 6 and having it used quite extensively, exploring all features I have written a quick review of the phone , listing its advantages and disadvantages.

oneplus 6 detailed review

RAM : With 6GB /8GB of RAM (mine is the 6GB variant), the phone functions smoothly even when many applications are running in parallel.

OnePlus Gallery App : Thankfully many stock android phone manufacturers offer only the Google Photos as an inbuilt photo editing/viewing app. But the OnePlus 6 comes with a nice gallery app with easy editing options. Yes, you always have Google Snapseed to edit your photos in an advanced level, but I feel a simple gallery/edit photo app should be provided by manufacturers.

oneplus 6 gallery app

Face Unlock : The face unlock is pretty fast and unlocks in a split second. Even in a dark environment or a low light setting, the face unlock works without an issue .

Gaming : I tried PUBG, Asphalt and a very other less memory intensive games. The phone doesn't lag even for a bit, even in a high graphic mode setting. Yes, the phone slightly tends to heat a bit in gaming (but that's normal for any phone) and nothing of a concern in the least.

Camera : I wasn't initially too convinced about the camera ( given the Pixel 2/S8/Iphone X) are way ahead in camera quality. But I seem to have changed my opinion on the same and totally vouch for the OnePlus 6 camera quality. The lowlight photography is probably one of the best in the industry, portrait pictures are coming out quite beautifully and the 6.2' AMOLED screen just makes it a whole better while viewing the photos.

oneplus 6 photography review

Yet to try the "Manual" mode in detail which involves changing the ISO, White Balance, Shutter Speed modes among other things.

oneplus 6 photography review
Shot at 8.45PM in Besant Nagar Beach with no Flash in Auto Mode

oneplus 6 photography review

Slider Button : Sourced from the iPhone, OnePlus has a mini slider in the top right corner to change from Vibrate - Silent - Ring modes . This comes in super handy when you want to change to a silent mode in a flash without unlocking the phone and navigating to the menu bar and changing it.

Display (Size and Clarity):  I was skeptical about the 6.2' size and if it would be too big for my hands. But it turned out to be good and I am able to hand the phone with ease . The phone is however slippery without a cover and you could go in for a good shockproof case which can protect the phone.
The no notch display is pretty amazing . Do try out IGTV in Instagram to see its full potential.

igtv app review

Battery : The battery though only 3200+ mah , lasts easily a day with a lot of usage
(Whatsapp/Instagram/Facebook/Payment apps etc). The fast charger ensures a full charge in roughly 30-40 mins. Esp when you are heading out somewhere, all you need is 5-10 mins of charge to push it upto 40% in a jiffy.

Things that could have been better in the OnePlus 6

OnePlus 6 ,though retaining the 3.5mm headphone jack unlike other brands has fumbled on the placement of the port. The socket is right next to the USB-C charging port and at the exact position where you hold the phone. So while listening to music, it's almost impossible to message quickly and you need to hold the phone in both hands.

oneplus 6 headphone jack review

The call answering options have been reversed. Almost all phones have a "swipe up" to accept and "swipe down" to reject. But the options have been reversed in the OnePlus. So basically you need to swipe down to accept a call.

The OS though running a close stock android version still has a few buggy issues which needs a bit of fine tuning (Can always be easily fixed by future updates).

Lack of IR : I am not sure how many times I actually used the IR option in my previous phone, but it certainly comes in handy when you want to change the channel (while searching for the remote).

On a whole, would I recommend it : Definitely yes. Great value for money , good camera, excellent display and hopefully longer lasting than other brands.