The Tour Of Nilgiris Edition 3 : Riding again

3 out of 3 on an MTB :)

Am riding the now-very-huge Tour of Nilgiris this year as well, and on the same old bike thats seen 2 TFNs already. The routes a lot different, and the Tour will have a 100 riders on it! Have not trained too hard, but a recent weekend of back-to-back centuries with 250kms covered over 2 days in ok shape give a lot of hope.

The first day is a 185km one, though! Traffic free roads, but a real long day nevertheless.

Looking forward to spending more time riding in the Nilgiris themselves this year. And more, and longer sections through the wildlife parks. The 2010 edition is a more backroads Tour than ever before - and there are hardly any major highways.

As usual, hoping to meet a lot of enthu souls on the ride. The camaraderie on the mailing list has been amazing. Itching for the ride to start...

Motorola Quench XT3 Review

I got a Motorola Quench XT3 recently and have reviewed it here.
Overall, pretty happy with the phone - its reduced my need to go-check-mail on the laptop considerably.

Posted via email from bangalorekaapi

The Motorola Quench XT3 XT502 Review

A couple of days ago I jumped onto the Android train and got the Motorola Quench XT3 XT502. The budget was "as close to 10k as possible" given the benchmark set by the Spice MI-300, and I really started to need email and calendar on my phone for Linger related work.

Why this over the Samsung Galaxy3, or the Spice, or others ? Honestly, what clinched it was the build quality/looks. The specs are very very close amongst these 3 - and heard a couple of thumbs downs from the twitterverse about the Samsung. The HTC Wildfire was never in because of being the priciest with the lowest resolution screen.

This will be an ongoing review written over the next few days as I get comfortable with the phone. So far, from day-1 usage:
  • Fast enough with no serious freeze-ups. Hanged once when I was playing with multiple apps.
  • "Dialer One" is way better than the default one
  • Speakerphone's ok, not great. Voice quality is good otherwise.
  • VCardIO helps read vcfs so my E65 contacts got imported ok.
  • Took me a few hours to get used to the ultra sensitive touch keyboard. Fewer typos already :)
  • Battery lasted a little under 24hrs with lots of wifi usage, some bluetooth copying, many calls + smses and a decent amount of first-day-playing-around with the phone.
  • I haven't been able to get Airtel Live to work on the phone yet :(
  • No FM on this phone.
More as I do more with the phone. Email, and calendar sync - my 2 primary needs for this - are already proving handy. A good side-effect is that I'm switching my laptop on lesser for "just checking mail" and getting sucked into the social whirlpool. This might actually end up creating more time in the day in a funny way :)

Day 2 update:

Another rounf of bluetooth transfers, some use of the camera, an hour or so of wifi usage and the usual calls + smses today - and the battery's done much better. No GPRS yet, so still awaiting Airtel "help" on that.

Have gotten much better with the typing. The shortcuts to to toggle WiFi, Bluetooth, brightness etc are v useful. The screen does smudge, but not too bad looking despite that.

More than once person has asked "Is that a Droid?" :)

Days 3-6 :

Carried the Quench on a bike ride and used the preloaded Tracker app to get the distance right (forgot to hit save, and it was lost with the app :() The phone battery was at over 50% that evening, including the morning's 6+ hours ride - with the GPS on for 2.5 hrs or so, lots of email/some tweets over GPRS which was switched on intermittently, and some over wifi at home.

The next days ride was longer. No GPS but GPRS was on, and used for over 13 hours. I had a minor fall but luckily no impact on the phone. The battery was at over 50% again at the end of the ride. The GPRS-Wifi switchover works very very nicely.

Other observations:
  • Have gotten more used to the keyboard(s) - yes - you have 3 options to choose from! Can even type with one hand.
  • Still looking for a good GCalendar app to sync my personal as well as domains calendars in one place.
  • The camera is average (daylight conditions only) and the video grab below average.
  • Music audio is ok thru the speakers but nothing great - have not tried it with headphones.
  • The smudges have not gotten better, or worse. Now keep a soft cloth to wipe it once in a while.
  • Call quality has been good across usage scenarios - including from inside noisy BMTC buses.
  • My SMS costs are going to go through the roof with this phone :)
  • And finally - Android can cure backaches! :) My time on the laptop has reduced considerably, lessening my upper back stiffness right away.

Its been nearly a month, and there's the bigger cousing of the XT3 - the Zeppelin XT5 - available for not much more money. Its essentially got a better camera (the XT3's is strictly great-light-conditions only) and comes with a 2G memory card.

The Quench has been in my pocket through buses, the TFN, light rain, long drives, and taken it all quite alright.

Bug : Some Android phones apparently have this issue where the phone fails to acquire an EDGE/GPRS connection - you switch it off/on and it works and continues to work. Its not too frequent but a pain nevertheless.

Am very impressed with the battery. Charged it just twice on the 8 day TFN! And this with some calls, mails, SMSes though with overall much lesser than normal usage. And I switched it off one night. Even with my typical usage - a fair bit of email, calendar and todo syncing, 12-15 calls and a few SMSes through the day, I see the battery last nearly 2 days.

The phone does not lag at all anymore - as long as I make good use of the task killer. Internet is pretty fast with EDGE.

Just installed Swype on the phone today - its totally mindblowing!

Oh, and rooted the phone using Z4Root. Was looking at a custom ROM install - but got cold feet when I read about Cyanogenmod draining battery on this platform. Will wait a while before I try that.

FxCamera works better than the original camera. Its still not a substitute for a real camera when you need one. And yes, installed Hangman - my first game ever on any phone :)

Overall, quite happy so far with the phone - its doing its primary intended jobs really well.