Micromax Bharat 1 Review

Micromax Bharat 1 Review

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The Bharat 1 runs on a custom version of Android
  • It comes preloaded with WhatsApp and Facebook Lite
  • It is a dual-SIM device and can be used with any network provider

A few months ago, the Jio Phone grabbed everyone’s attention for delivering smartphone-like capabilities at a feature-phone price. It triggered manufacturers to push down the prices of VoLTE-enabled devices.

One such product is the Bharat 1, which was launched by the Indian device maker Micromax in partnership with BSNL to take on the Jio Phone. Can it offer a competitive balance of cost and features? Read on, we have the answers.

 

Micromax Bharat 1 design

The Micromax Bharat 1 sports a 2.4-inch display and has a numeric keypad at the front. The display has a resolution of 240×320 pixels. Viewing angles aren’t good and colours appear washed out. There are two function buttons, a D-pad with a centre button, call and disconnect buttons, and the number pad. The buttons are made of plastic and have blue backlighting. The keys are hard to the touch but have a reassuring click. The earpiece doubles up as a loudspeaker. The phone also has a VGA selfie camera on the front and a 2-megapixel primary camera on the back.

The rear cover pops off to reveal a removable 2000mAh battery. Under that are two Micro-SIM slots and a dedicated microSD card slot. The Bharat 1 has a Micro-USB port and a 3.5mm headphone jack next to it. Like many other feature phones, it also has an LED torch on the top, which you toggle by pressing down on the D-pad’s centre button.

Micromax Bharat 1 Ports NDTV Micromax Bharat 1 Review

Micromax ships the Bharat 1 along with a hedaset and a charger with an attached Micro-USB cable. The charger is rated at 3.5W and takes over three hours to fully charge the phone’s battery. A detachable Micro-USB cable would have been helpful for transferring files to and from a computer.

Micromax Bharat 1 specifications and software

The specifications of the Bharat 1 look rather good for a Rs. 2,200 phone. It is powered by a dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 205 processor and has 512MB of RAM. There is 4GB of internal storage, out of which you get around 2.13GB to use. Storage is expandable using the microSD slot, and cards of up to 128GB are supported. When connected to a computer the phone goes to storage mode by default, allowing you to transfer files easily.

Unlike the Jio Phone (Review) which has only one SIM slot, the Bharat 1 is a dual-SIM device. There is support for 4G and VoLTE but only on the first SIM. The SIM in the second slot is restricted to 2G/3G networks and there is no way to determine what speeds you are getting at any point. We found that the phone isn’t locked to any carrier and worked fine when we tested it with multiple SIM cards.

There is support for Wi-Fi, which can be used to access the internet without using mobile data. There is also support for Wi-Fi hotspot functionality and USB tethering. Bluetooth connectivity allows you to exchange files with other devices. There is no NFC. Surprisingly, you do get GPS, but there is no app to use it with.Micromax Bharat 1 Screenshots NDTV Micromax Bharat 1

Micromax told Gadgets 360 that the Bharat 1 runs on a customised version of Android. The company didn’t provide specific details and it isn’t stated clearly anywhere, but we saw a few hints that at least some apps, services and UI elements were designed for Android 4.4 KitKat, which is now several years old. There is a tiled menu instead of an app drawer. and everything is accessed using the D-pad to navigate and the centre button to select. Navigating through the menu is easy, and the function keys flanking the D-pad work as ‘option’ and ‘back’ buttons. Sadly, the four buttons of the D-pad itself aren’t mapped as shortcuts, which could have helped to launch apps quickly.

The Bharat 1 has preloaded icons for WhatsApp and Facebook Lite but these need to be downloaded before you can use them. T9 predictive input is enabled on the keyboard by default but you can switch between different input methods. The D-pad can be used to move a cursor around in several apps but it’s clunky. For example, WhatsApp doesn’t feel fully optimised for such phones. On the other hand we tried video calling on WhatsApp and we could carry on a conversation without any issues.

Micromax also offers a link to the YouTube website, a Web browser, music and video players, a file manager, and FM radio in terms of apps in the menu. There is a Fun app powered by Zenga TV that gives you access to live TV, videos and movies, but the content on offer is far less than what you get through Jio’s apps. Also, the screen isn’t suitable for watching content because of its size and poor viewing angles.

Considering that this phone runs Android, we did try to sideload a few apps but Micromax seems to have disabled app installations. There is no way to enable this, which means you can’t take full advantage of the Android operating system. Also, unlike the Jio Phone, there is no voice assistant and you do not have the option to connect to a TV to watch content.

Micromax Bharat 1 performance, cameras, and battery life

The Bharat 1’s hardware is extremely basic, and the underlying software isn’t as functional as Android on a smartphone, so we didn’t have very high expectations. The performance of the phone is average and we did see lag when doing things like dialing numbers and typing. Even at a normal pace, the dialer would fail to register a few digits at the beginning of a phone number. The pre-installed video player does not support all formats, but it could play an HD video file that we tested it with.

Micromax Bharat 1 Battery NDTV Micromax Bharat 1 Review

If you have used Android on a touchscreen, using it with a keypad might feel a little weird at first. However, first-time users of a smart feature phone like this should adapt to it fairly quickly.

The battery life on the Micromax Bharat 1 is quite good. With light use limited to a few calls and a few WhatsApp messages we could go on for over two days with some juice still left. Since there is no way of installing more apps, you can expect similar battery life. However, if you use the phone as a hotspot, especially with multiple devices, the battery does drain quite quickly. You can also use USB tethering to charge the device while sharing data.

Tap to see full-sized Micromax Bharat 1 photo samples

The Bharat 1’s rear camera does not have autofocus which is acceptable considering its price. We found the viewfinder to be laggy even during the day, and nearly unusable in low light. The app is basic, with the D-pad allowing you to switch modes and zoom. The app also lets you change white balance, and set the exposure level and a timer if required. There is location tagging which uses the GPS chip on the device.

The setting to switch between the rear and the selfie cameras is buried in the settings list; a quick toggle would’ve been more user-friendly. These cameras are barely functional and the output looks good only when viewed on the Bharat 1’s tiny display. Photos lack detail and most will end up blurry if you don’t stand perfectly still after clicking the shutter. We also saw chroma noise in most photos taken indoors. Both the front and rear cameras can record video at VGA (640×480) resolution but the output is sub-standard.

Verdict

If you want a low-cost phone for basic calling, Facebook and WhatsApp, then the Micromax Bharat 1 fits the bill. You will have to shell out Rs 2,200 for the Bharat 1 and you can use it with any network provider of your choice. The advantage of using BSNL is that you can use a special Rs 97 recharge pack which gives you unlimited calls and data only for the Bharat 1.

The Wi-Fi hotspot and USB tethering capabilities, and the fact that this phone has two SIM slots and isn’t locked to a single carrier, give it a slight edge over the Jio Phone. On the other hand, you don’t get as much entertainment content. However, Micromax seems to have limited the usability of Android by restricting the sideloading of apps. Since there is no Google Play store and no way of installing more apps, you have to live with what you get. If you are looking for your first smart feature phone or at a secondary backup device, the Bharat 1 should be able to keep you happy.

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Micromax Bharat 1

Micromax Bharat 1

  • REVIEW
  • KEY SPECS
  • NEWS
  • Design
  • Display
  • Software
  • Performance
  • Battery Life
  • Camera
  • Value for Money
  • Good
  • WhatsApp and Facebook support
  • 4G and VoLTE
  • Dual SIM
  • Wi-Fi hotspot
  • Excellent battery life
  • Bad
  • Low-quality screen
  • Below average cameras
Also See
  • Micromax Bharat 2 (Champagne, 4GB)
    Rs.3,180
  • Micromax Bharat 2 (Gold, 4GB) – OFFER
    Rs.3,499
  • Micromax Bharat 2 Plus (Champagne, 8GB) – OFFER
    Rs.3,949

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

Johnson strengthens grip on world No. 1 ranking

Image result for Johnson strengthens grip on world No. 1 ranking

For much of the final round of The Northern Trust, it appeared that Jordan Spieth would finally get within arm’s reach of Dustin Johnson atop the Official World Golf Ranking. Instead, Johnson only strengthened his grip on the top spot thanks to his playoff victory at Glen Oaks Club.

Johnson has held the top spot every week since his win at the Genesis Open in February, and that streak now won’t end anytime soon. While Spieth passed Hideki Matsuyama at No. 2 thanks to his runner-up performance, he’s still nearly three points behind Johnson’s new average of 12.4156.


Updated Official World Golf Ranking


Other notable moves from this past week included Jon Rahm, who jumped from No. 8 to a career-best fifth with a T-13 finish in New York. Kevin Chappell moved up four spots to No. 26 with a tie for sixth, while Jhonattan Vegas rose 13 spots to No. 35 with a share of third.

Bubba Watson had briefly dipped outside the OWGR top 50, but he’s back up to No. 49 after a T-10 finish while former U.S. Open champ Webb Simpson jumped nine spots to No. 40 with a tie for sixth, his second top-10 finish in as many weeks.

The only other change near the top came at No. 6, where Justin Thomas passed Sergio Garcia with a T-6 finish. Johnson and Spieth are now followed by Matsuyama, Rory McIlroy and Rahm, while Thomas, Garcia, Henrik Stenson, Jason Day and Rickie Fowler round out the new top 10.

Idle since February because of a back injury, Tiger Woods fell 17 more spots to No. 1121 in the latest rankings.

7 useful tech products and accessories under Rs 1,000

Image result for 7 useful tech products and accessories under Rs 1,000ET Wealth lists 7 interesting tech products and accessories available under Rs 1,000.

What can you get for a thousand bucks? There are some very interesting products and accessories available in this price bracket that often get lost in the crowd of listings. ET Wealth lists the items worth considering from amongst the swarm.

7 useful tech products and accessories under Rs 1,000

MI WIFI REPEATER 2: Rs 999
Depending on your router placement and area of your home/office, there might be areas where WiFi does not reach or has poor reception. For such areas, you can get the WiFi Repeater 2 from Xiaomi. It needs to be connected to a USB port for power (any wall charger can be used). Setup is easy via the Mi Home app and once its configured, it extends your WiFi network coverage. The repeater can support up to 16 devices simultaneously.

7 useful tech products and accessories under Rs 1,000

MI VR PLAY: Rs 999
There are a plethora of VR headsets available today in both the online and offline markets. However, we recommend the one from Xiaomi for its fantastic build quality. The headset has a Lycra cover for comfort and durability and can support up to 5.7-inch smartphones. Instead of the usual clip-on design, it has a zipper to hold the phone to avoid accidental slips and drops plus a textured metal button on top. The headset is compatible with Google Cardboard and works great for YouTube 360 degree videos as well.

7 useful tech products and accessories under Rs 1,000

PHOTRON FL100: Rs 199
A number of brands have started adding an LED flash on the front of the phone for selfie lovers. If your smartphone lacks this feature, you can add it. The Photron FL100 is a small flash module with 16 LEDs with three level of adjustable brightness. It can be fixed on your smartphone’s 3.5mm port for selfies as well as use as an emergency torch. It has a rechargeable battery and it charges via microUSB port.

7 useful tech products and accessories under Rs 1,000

PORTRONICS CAR POWER III: Rs 624
With the number of devices we carry increasing day by day, you need multiple ports for charging devices. For people who spend a a lot of time travelling in their car on a daily basis, this car charger offers 4 USB ports for charging. It has a 1.5m cable that is accessible by people sitting on the back seat. It has 6A charging capacity. Depending on the number of devices connected, it can charge at 1A to 2.4A (more devices will lead to slower charge as current is distributed).

7 useful tech products and accessories under Rs 1,000

POPSOCKETS: Rs 999
This is a combination of two things—a pop clip and a mount. The pop clip sticks on the back of your phone and can be used for grip, stand or as a headphone cable organizer. The mount can be stuck on any surface which is easily accessible (your desk, in your car etc.) and the pop clip fits on to it. This lets you mount your smartphone anywhere. You can get them in various colours and designs and the Pop Clip can even be purchased separately if required.

7 useful tech products and accessories under Rs 1,000

USB-POWERED PORTABLE LAPTOP COOLER: Rs 999
One of the common complaint users with heavy work requirements have is that their laptops tend to get uncomfortably hot. If the laptop becomes too hot it even shuts down on its own to prevent any damage. To solve this issue, you can invest in a USB powered laptop cooler. Just place the laptop cooler on your laptop’s heat vents and connect it to a USB port for power. The laptop cooler has a silent fan that sucks out the hot air from your laptop to keep it cool.

7 useful tech products and accessories under Rs 1,000

WATERPROOF BIKE MOBILE STAND: Rs 599 Onwards
There are multiple options available when you look for a dock or stand for your mobile in a car. For bike users it’s a different story. They have to keep the phone protected from dust and water so mounting using a standard clamp is not recommended. Instead, get a waterproof mobile stand. It has a weather sealed pouch in which your phone can be placed for protection and has a touch compatible transparent membrane on top for viewing and operating the touchscreen.

[“Source-economictimes.”]

American Gods Season 1 Finale, Episode 8 Recap: Come to Jesus

American Gods Season 1 Finale, Episode 8 Recap: Come to Jesus

Kristin Chenoweth as Easter in a still from American Gods

HIGHLIGHTS

  • American Gods streams on Amazon Prime Video
  • The first season contains a total of eight episodes
  • Episode eight introduced Kristin Chenoweth as Easter

From its start, American Gods – from creators Bryan Fuller and Michael Green, with the author Neil Gaiman as an executive producer – has been unafraid to alter its written source, to either update it for our times, place a bigger emphasis on the book’s minor characters, or set things on a course that takes longer to come to fruition. During the first season, which ended this week, that has resulted in some fascinatingly unique episodes on television (“A Prayer for Mad Sweeney”) and others that tended to meander for no obvious reason (“A Murder of Gods”).

The eighth episode, “Come to Jesus”, is far from an ideal season finale. It manages to bring together the disparate and separated cast together for a spring outing, but the show meets none of the usual expectations from a finale: there’s no big revelation, nor a setup for the next season, nor even an offer of some closure. Sure, Wednesday finally uttered his real name upon Shadow’s insistence, but since the audience has always been so far ahead of our “hero”, it didn’t come as a surprise to anyone.

The bigger reveal in the season finale was the story delivered by Mr. Nancy, the alter ego of the African spider god Anansi, whom we first met in the second episode. He’s a storyteller by nature, and he starts off with the most traditional of openings: “Once upon a time… See? It sounds good already. You’re hooked.” It helps that Orlando Jones is a fascinating orator, from his enunciation to his mannerisms, but the story is equally fascinating.

From the Bar’an temple in 9th-century BCE Yemen, where a queen participates in an orgy, and a nightclub in 1979 Tehran, which is stormed by Shi’a revolutionists, to her turn as a homeless person in the land of Hollywood, Nancy describes the fall of a goddess who had it all. The story is also constructed as an attack on all women by the world of men, in his own words, which serves as an allegory for the rise of sexism over time. Through it all, the show hints at her identity, with her ability to make people disappear with sex.

american gods s01e08 bilquis American Gods

Bruce Langley as Technical Boy, and Yetide Badaki as Bilquis in a still from American Gods
Photo Credit: Jan Thijs/Starz

With her best days behind her, she is paid a visit by none other than Technical Boy, who offers her the gift of an iPhone. Or more accurately, a gift of what’s on the phone. It’s a Tinder-like app called Sheba, which gives her unrestricted access to a bigger pool. And going by what we saw of Bilquis in the season’s beginning, it’s safe to say she readily accepted the deal handed to her by the New Gods. It’s a different arc for the character from the book, but it makes a lot more sense since dating apps weren’t exactly around in the same fashion when Gaiman wrote American Gods, which was published in 2001.

Nancy, of course, is more interested in the moral of the story. Shadow doesn’t have a clue – “Did you get this one off the discount rack?” Nancy jokingly asks of Wednesday – but the old man knows what he’s referring to. After killing Vulcan, who was part of the New Gods’ team, Wednesday needs a queen of his own. He then berates Shadow for not understanding “the concept of pissed off”, and the latter eventually accepts that he’s very confused.

In a short dream soon after, Shadow climbs a mountain of skulls to come across a buffalo with fire in its eyes. He wakes up in a shock to find himself on the passenger seat, with Wednesday driving the Cadillac. The bunnies from the previous episode make a return, except there’s a colony of them this time around. Their attempts to drive Wednesday off the road, like one did with Laura, don’t work, as he knows what they represent, and instead just floors the accelerator. Thank goodness American Gods doesn’t deem it necessary for the rabbits’ killing to be given its usual graphic treatment.

What follows for the next few minutes is a gallant depiction of the production designer and food stylist’s work. The house they arrive at is brimming with the colours – Shadow is quick to remind us that it’s Easter in the show’s timeline – from the ostentatious decorations, the multi-coloured beans and macaroons, and the bright dresses worn by the guests. Wednesday then proceeds to deliver the history behind the holiday, culminating with a raised glass to Ostara.

american gods s01e08 wed shadow American Gods

Ian McShane as Mr. Wednesday, and Ricky Whittle as Shadow Moon in a still from American Gods
Photo Credit: Jan Thijs/Starz

Shadow is smitten from the first moments he lays his eyes on her, and after a brief encounter with a Jesus Christ – not the, but one of the many versions people believe in – he checks with Wednesday: “That’s Easter? Because people believe in Easter.” Easter (Kristin Chenoweth) is surprised to find Wednesday at her home, and she toys with Shadow who face turns into a full blush after greeting her.

Out in the lawn, Wednesday and Easter’s conversation gets hostile after he takes the blunt route. Sure, the holiday is in her name, but it’s Jesus Christ that people remember. Even as they enjoy searching for hidden eggs, no one prays in her name, he says. An aghast Easter drags Wednesday back into her home, and demands why he’s trying to spoil her day. Wednesday then spins the death of Vulcan as an orchestration of the New Gods – he’s a big liar, as Nancy attested – and pitches his war to Easter.

“They will worship you, if you make them pray,” Wednesday concludes. When Easter points out the bigger importance of Christ, Shadow butts in to add: “But he’s not the goddess of spring.” Wednesday’s plan is to starve people, to make them work for the food on the table. The show seems to be ignoring the involvement of science and technology in food production today, and the excuse of being a fantasy show doesn’t work when you’ve got New Gods around. Hopefully, we’ll get to see a Science God too.

Meanwhile, new guests – some familiar faces in Laura and Mad Sweeney – have arrived. After a bunny brings Easter word of dead in her home – it’s a holiday of rebirth, after all – she meets the pair in the bathroom. Sweeney asks Easter to resurrect Laura as a favour, but she concludes it can’t be done since Laura was killed by a God. A surprised Laura turns to her new favourite move – putting the screw on Sweeney, this time on his scrotum – who confesses that it was Wednesday’s plan all along.

american gods s01e08 technical media American Gods

Bruce Langley as Technical Boy, and Gillian Anderson as Media in a still from American Gods
Photo Credit: Jan Thijs/Starz

The get-together is complete with the presence of Gillian Anderson’s Media, who’s dressed as Judy Garland from the 1948 musical Easter Parade. She has her own pitch to make, with the faceless goons from the lynching by her side. There’s talk about brand makeover, ‘religious Darwinism’, and an underlying threat as always. Frankly, it’s gotten a little repetitive considering we’ve heard it a few times already.

Wednesday crashes the party to offer his counter arguments, which is slightly newer though a retelling of the same basic principle. “People create gods when they wonder why things happen,” he adds. “Do you know why things happen? Because gods make them happen.” It’s an immediate warning to what’s about to occur, as Wednesday rejects Mr. World’s worldview and delivers lightning from above to strike the faceless goons.

It also sets up a dramatic reveal of Wednesday’s true identity, which seems anti-climactic given the show itself has undone its work over the season, having hinted at it so much since the beginning. He lists a dozen names, and finishes with the most popular among them all: Odin. The problem is that the look on Shadow’s face can’t possibly match with the viewer’s, as mentioned previously, and the moment doesn’t carry the power it had in the book.

Thankfully, the show has a trick up its sleeve: Wednesday hands the baton to Easter, and tells her to show them – the New Gods – what she’s capable of. With a simple lift of her arms, she opens the skies and makes the wind blow, as hundreds of petals start to revolve around her. As her power builds, the land around her turns from green to brown, with all the trees and crops withering instantly, receding into the sprouts they once were.

american gods s01e08 ostara American Gods

Kristin Chenoweth as Easter in a still from American Gods
Photo Credit: Jan Thijs/Starz

And if it wasn’t clear enough, Wednesday confirms Easter’s doing: “Tell the believers and the non-believers: tell them we’ve taken the spring. They can have it back when they pray for it.” It’s addressed to Media and Technical Boy, who control all the channels of distribution in today’s time. Shadow’s belief system has been overturned – he believes everything, he says – but the moment is interrupted by Laura, who’s interested in a tête-à-tête with her husband.

The oddness of that moment, as evinced by the two actors and the musical cues, underscored the failings of the season finale. As an hour of visual splendour, it was top-notch as always, thanks to Fuller’s sense of crafting exquisite TV. But as season arcs go, the episode didn’t deliver enough on that front. At the same time, they are only a handful of shows that spend half their first season – a shortened run of eight episodes on that – fleshing out minor characters.

Those moments and asides have given us the season’s best moments – an empowering gay scene involving an Omani native, and commentary on vigilante gun violence and Mexican immigrants among others – which have hopefully shone through despite American Gods’ emphasis on experience over narrative. Now, we pray and wait for season two.

[“Source-ndtv”]