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Powerful Wi-Fi Routers That Don’t Break The Internet & Your Bank Account While Working From Home

You are working from home. The internet is your lifeline. You even upgrade to a faster 100Mbps, 200Mbps, 300Mbps or a superfast 1Gbps internet plan, in the hope that all the file transfers, web browsing, sending heavy mail attachments and the other plethora of work would be smooth. But what happens if the internet you rely on so heavily decides to act up. The thing is, more often than not, we blame our internet service provider (ISP). In a cacophony of curses, gritted teeth and hair pulling, we blame poor services for the unreliable connectivity and poor speeds. However, that isn’t always the case. Your internet line isn’t to be blamed for many cases of poor internet speeds.

So, where does the blame lie? For starters, your modem or router could be, and most likely is, the bottleneck. Here is what you need to do. First, restart the router and see if the speeds return to normal, only to revert to inconsistent, low or no connectivity eventually.

First Layer of Troubleshooting

You must do a speed test (www.speedtest.com; free apps for Android and iOS) ideally on a PC connected hardwired to the internet line via LAN to a laptop, to understand what kind of speed dip you’re suffering from. These speed tests also offer additional data such as ping rates and connectivity stability graphs. These give you a fairly good picture of what is up, including whether the wireless connectivity is to be blamed.

Check your hardware

For most old routers are limited to 2.4GHz wireless networks and cannot support the faster 5GHz networks which is what you ideally need for internet lines faster than 50Mbps. Obviously, then, data transmissions speeds and quality will suffer, since nearby devices such as your microwave oven and cordless phones which also work on the 2.4GHz band, and therefore cause interference. You may need a router that supports the faster “wireless ac” standard too.

At times, the router that ISPs provide is quite basic, which means that while it ticks off the basics required for it to work with a fast internet line, it doesn’t really have the power to either support multiple high bandwidth devices or just doesn’t have the Wi-Fi range.

Next course of action: Buy a new router

It may just be time to buy a new Wi-Fi router for home, if work from home is a reality for you. And here are some of the best options, across different price points.

TP-Link Touch P5 AC1900

Around Rs 6,000 on Amazon

If you feel your home gets fully covered by Wi-Fi signals from a conventional single base router, then the Touch P5 AC1900 from TP-Link is a rather swanky option to consider. It can go as fast as 1,300Mbps on the 5GHz networks and 600Mbps on the 2.4GHz networks, which means a fast internet line really brings out of the best of this router. The party piece has to be the touchscreen control system for setup and network management. Beam forming tech focuses the Wi-Fi coverage towards where the devices are at that time, which should also help in getting better coverage and speeds in the farthest corners of the home.

Netgear Orbi RBK12

Around Rs 9,999

Why would you not go for a Wi-Fi mesh system at this price and make do with a conventional router? What you get is one router and one satellite. The router is to be hooked up directly to your internet line, while the satellite can be placed in a further corner of your home to ensure seamless connectivity all through. This router and mesh combo can cover up to 3,000 square feet of indoor space, which will mean a rather nice headroom for even large apartments and homes. This dual-band setup offers the 2.4GHz band that goes up to a maximum of 400Mbps speed and a 5GHz band that does up to 866Mbps speed. The Netgear app for your phone (free for Android and iPhone) lets you set up and monitor the mesh system from there. Good for internet lines around 500Mbps.

Linksys Velop AC2600

Around Rs 9,999

This started out in life with a much higher price tag, but corrections over time have seen this two-unit combo now fall under the Rs 10,000 price point. What you get is coverage of up to 3,000 square feet of indoor space—which means one node gets connected with the internet line and the other can be placed somewhere else in your home for effectively zero Wi-Fi dead zones in your home. The Linksys app (free for Android and iOS) is quite slick to use as well. This dual-band setup offers the 2.4GHz band that goes up to a maximum of 400Mbps speed and a 5GHz band that does up to 867Mbps speed. Good for internet lines around 500Mbps speeds.

Netgear Nighthawk AX4 4-Stream AX3000

Around Rs 14,000

This is the futureproof router that you need if Wi-Fi 6 is what you were waiting for and have a plan in place to buy compatible devices as well. This dual band 2.4GHz and dual band 5GHz, with up to 600Mbps on 2.4GHz and up to 2,400Mbps on the faster 5GHz bands. Beneath the rather futuristic exterior sits a dual core processor that drives a lot of functionality, including the Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiple Access (OFDMA) which splits transmission signals into smaller data packets allowing better data access for multiple devices that may be connected to the internet at the same time. Each device has to wait less for data transmission, there is improved latency and the mobile devices consume less battery on Wi-Fi networks.



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Tech

Work From Home Buying Guide: Best Laptops Under Rs 40,000 With Windows 10 & Chrome OS

E-commerce is open again. This means you can now order from Amazon and Flipkart and the orders will be delivered to you in all parts of the country, except in containment zones. This must come as a great relief for those who suddenly shifted to the world from home routine ahead of the lockdown to flatten the COVID curve, a few weeks ago. Chances are, you may not have had a good laptop or PC at home, for it perhaps wasn’t really a critical requirement thus far. But now, you can buy a new laptop or PC to rock the work from home situation, and not be bogged down by an aging and sluggish PC, a bad keyboard, a cracked screen or something you were simply bored of. It is also expected that work from home will be quite a regular thing for a lot of workers in a lot of companies, which means you should be armed with a good computing device.

Do not make the same mistake again of thinking the smartphone can be a PC replacement, because when it really comes down to it, you will need a laptop to get genuine work done. Here are some of the best budget laptops, some running Windows 10 and some Google Chromebook options, which you must add to your arsenal of work from home tools. So that this purchase remains light on your pocket, we are looking at laptops under the Rs 40,000 price point—to get the perfect blend between performance and longevity without breaking the bank. Plus, they should look good too.

HP Chromebook x360 - 12b-ca0006tu

HP Chromebook x360 – 12b-ca0006tu

Around Rs32,990

The biggest advantage of the Google Chrome OS software for computing devices is the sheer simplicity of everything. It is incorrect to assume that you must be locked into the Google ecosystem to be able to use a Chromebook—the variety of apps available for the Chrome OS is as wide as Android phones. That is why the full-fledged Play Store is also available on the Chromebooks. Microsoft’s Word, Excel and PowerPoint apps? The Spotify app? Video streaming apps. You name it, and the whole wide world of productivity, utility and entertainment apps are available. For any Android phone user, the switch could prove to be close to seamless—and that is a genuine value addition. In fact, this works brilliantly with the Intel Celeron N4000 processor with 4GB RAM, 64GB internal storage and a card slot if you wish to use that for adding more storage space. What’s most interesting is the square-is aspect ratio of the 12-inch display, and the hinge allows it to be folded all the way back into a sort of a tablet mode. Windows machines have never performed as well on this sort of hardware.

Dell Inspiron 14 5490

Dell Inspiron 14 5490

Around Rs 35,585

This started out with a price tag above the Rs 40,000 mark but price corrections have now pushed this beneath that virtual ceiling we have for this buying advice. That means you get the newer 10th generation Intel Core i3-10110U processor with 4GB RAM and a fast 512GB SSD. There is a 14-inch Full HD display which should do well for most productivity and entertainment tasks. The keyboard is not backlit though—perhaps you need to keep that in mind in case working in a dimly lit room is your thing. Dell’s ExpressCharge Boost tops up a fully discharged battery to 35% in 20 minutes and up to 80% in 60 minutes—great if you need to splash and dash. Then there is the Dell Mobile Connect app which pairs your iPhone or Android smartphone with your laptop, which mirrors most things from your phone on the laptop itself, thereby reducing distractions.

Lenovo IdeaPad 330

Lenovo IdeaPad 330

Around Rs 19,990

If you really are on a strict budget, the Lenovo IdeaPad 330 (model number: 330-15IKB) could be a steady enough pick. Do not expect this to be powerful or do anything more than basic computing, but what you get is a comfortable 15.6-inch HD display. This runs an Intel Celeron processor, along with 4GB RAM. There is a 1TB hard drive, and these basic specs are really all you should expect at this price. While there are many similarly priced laptops that don’t give you a preloaded Windows 10 operating system, this one does—and that is very important. A keyboard that is well laid out and the build quality doesn’t really betray its budget price tag.

Acer Aspire 5 A515-43

Acer Aspire 5 A515-43

Around Rs 38,369

This started out in life with a price tag around Rs 50,000 and that means you get specifications which are quite powerful. This runs the AMD Ryzen 5 3500U quad-core processor (for some reason, many potential laptop buyers still have a bit of mistrust towards AMD machines). This has 4GB of RAM to get Windows 10 and your apps purring along. What should also make a difference is the 512GB SSD, which will speed up performance. You get a 15.6-inch Full HD IPS display. The keyboard isn’t backlit. The laptop weighs around 1.8kg. You should probably also consider this if you are taken in by the large screen goodness of the Lenovo IdeaPad S145 (model number 81W800FXIN).

Lenovo IdeaPad S145

Lenovo IdeaPad S145

Around Rs 35,010

We are specifically talking about the Lenovo IdeaPad S145 (model number 81W800FXIN) which runs the Intel Core i3-1005G1 processor with 4GB RAM and 256GB SSD. It looks like it means business and has the sort of serious personality that most good productivity centric machines have. This is ideal if you prefer large displays—this has a 15.6-inch Full HD screen for you to work on. Not the lightest, tipping the scales at 1.85kg, but that’s the compromise for a large screen laptop. You will quite like the keyboard, which has the sort of inspiration from the more expensive ThinkPad laptops, which make these genuinely good to type on. Lenovo also doesn’t clutter Windows 10 too much by preloading apps, which should also be good in the long run.

HP Notebook - 15s-du0093tu

HP Notebook – 15s-du0093tu

Around Rs38,990

And this price point, you get multiple laptops running the older generation Intel Core processors as well as some Celeron versions. However, this HP Notebook – 15s-du0093tu should hold up well with the Intel Core i3-8145U processor, with 8GB RAM and a 1TB hard drive. What you get is a 15-inch Full HD display, Windows 10 preloaded and six months of 25GB bundled Dropbox storage. This weighs 1.74kg and is 19.9mm thick. You also get a fingerprint sensor as an added authentication layer to keep your data safe. The HP Fast Charge feature charges a fully discharged laptop battery to 50% in 45 minutes, which should be handy in case you need to get stuff done in a hurry and don’t have access to power at the time. Oh, and the keyboard is backlit too.



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Broadband Buying Guide: Spectra Plans Start at Rs 899, Speeds up to 1Gbps & Unlimited Voice Calls

Spectra is one of the oldest and most popular broadband service providers in India. In fact, Spectra was the first among broadband companies to offer unlimited data for home broadband users as everyone went on the work from home routine back in March—anticipating users will need more data as they acclimatize to working remotely in the midst of the COVID pandemic (You can read more here). Recently, in an email communication with consumers, Spectra confirmed that they have upgraded all connections from single path to dual path, which makes connections more reliable. That is good to know, particularly at this time when home broadband lines are as important as the air we breathe. And well, it is among the fastest broadband service providers in the country, offering speeds of up to 1Gbps with the subscription plans.

At this time, Spectra is competing with the likes of Reliance JioFiber, Airtel Xstream broadband and ACT Fibernet, to name a few. And the company has some rather unique plans, in terms of what is bundled, depending on the duration you choose to pay for in one go. Also, plans tend to change from region to region, and the Spectra website simply allows you to enter your present location to check the home broadband subscription plans in your area. At this time, Spectra is available in multiple cities across India, including Delhi, Gurugram, Bengaluru, Pune, Mumbai, Ghaziabad, Noida and Chennai.

100Mbps is your entry point

In many regions, Spectra offers 100Mbps as the entry point to its broadband subscription plans. That speed, to be honest, is great for most home users—they work very well for video streaming, document sharing, video calls and even 4K video, as long as your Wi-Fi network isn’t being drained by other devices at the same time. For instance, in Mumbai, Chennai and Ghaziabad, you get the Spectra Starter plan which is priced at Rs 899 per month. What you get is 500GB data per month if you decide to go for the monthly billing option or 1000GB per month if you decide to pay for 6 months or 12 months in advance.

And a push to 150Mbps too

If you want to upgrade the speed a bit more, there is also the Spectra Fast 150Mbps option in cities where 100Mbps is the entry point. This plan costs Rs 999 per month and the data bundling options remain the same as the 100Mbps Spectra Starter pack.

250Mbps plans for 4K and more

If you have a heavy user, which includes generous doses of 4K streaming, sometimes even on multiple devices simultaneously, the 250Mbps plan would be fantastic for you. You get great headroom for video streaming, document sharing, video calls and 4K binging with Netflix and Amazon Prime Video on multiple devices at the same time, without your broadband line even showing the slightest of strain.

In the cities where 100Mbps Spectra Starter and 150Mbps Spectra Fast plans are available, this 250Mbps plan is called Spectra Faster and is priced at Rs 1249 per month. What you get is 500GB data for the monthly billing option, 1000GB per month if you pay for 6-months in advance and unlimited data if you pay for an entire year in one go.

In cities such as Delhi where this is the entry spec plan, the 250Mbps Spectra Fast is priced at Rs 999 per month. Now that is a great deal. You get is 500GB data per month if you decide to go for the monthly billing option or 1000GB per month if you decide to pay for 6 months or 12 months in advance.

Spectra Voice for calling

Spectra has also added the Spectra Voice feature, which enables high definition audio calling over the Wi-Fi network. You need to use the Spectra Voice app for your Android phone or iPhone. This is either free or costs Rs 99 per month, depending on the plan that you have selected. It is a great value addition for someone who may not have a landline phone and struggles with spotty mobile network coverage at home.

Have you also read?

I Want a 1Gbps Broadband Connection For my Home, How Much Does it Cost? Answer: Not a Lot

#StayHome: Spectra is Making All Broadband Plans Unlimited For The Month For Free

500Mbps is all about speed

In some cities, the 500Mbps plan is priced at Rs 1,599 per month and offers 750GB data per month with the monthly billing cycle, 1500GB data per month if you pay for 6 months and unlimited data if you pay for a year in advance.

In other cities, the same plan is priced at Rs 1,999 per month and offers the same data bundles. Do note, that not all cities have the 1Gbps option just yet, and in those regions, the 500Mbps plan is the flagship plan.

1Gbps is the pinnacle of the broadband experience

Incidentally, the 1Gbps journey started long ago for Spectra. They have been offering 1Gbps plans in various regions for a while now—though there have been price revisions since. At present, Spectra has the Spectra Fastest plan which offers 1Gbps speed is priced at Rs 2,499 per month. This is actually an increase from the Rs 1,549 price tag that was slapped on this plan till a few months ago. Nevertheless, you now also get the Spectra Voice VoIP service for free with this plan, which means unlimited voice calls as well over Wi-Fi. If you choose the monthly billing plan, that will get you 1000GB data per month. If you choose to pay for 6 months in advance, you get 2000GB data per month. If you decide to pay for an entire year in one go, then you get unlimited data usage per month.



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Slim Laptops & Convertibles For The Work From Home Warriors: You Can Get One in Every Budget

If you thought having a laptop at home was optional, that was only valid in the previous world order. Here and now, when work from home is something that millions are doing around the world during the COVID pandemic, you need a good computing device at home to get the job done. And eventually, when we do step out of home, you will most likely still need a good enough laptop that is slim and light enough to carry around. It is a good thing then that ecommerce is now opening up in India in the yellow and green zones, which means you can order one and have it delivered.

Convertibles and slim laptops are something that have become common in the ecosystem of machines running the Microsoft Windows 10 operating system. Slim laptops pretty much define themselves, whereas convertibles are those that have hinge mechanism that allows you to push the display all the way back into a tent, presentation mode or a tablet mode. There are many options, in either category to choose from. The likes of HP, Microsoft, Lenovo and Dell have been making slim laptops and convertibles fashionable for a while now. While approaching this story, we did exactly what a consumer would do and went around shopping for the best prices and the possible deals. That is what a potential buyer would want, wouldn’t they? All the info in one glance, so they can weigh the options and make a decision.

The Dell XPS 13 has remained one of the best ultra-slim laptops even as the generations passed by. For some strange reason, the Dell India website seems a little shy about listing the variants and the individual pricing. It is just inconvenient to have to either call a toll-free number or chat with a human being just to get the price tags. That is a business decision by the company, and we are no ones to criticize it, but as a consumer, we wouldn’t want to spend much time on it anyway. Update: Dell has shared the pricing of the two XPS 13 models currently on sale in India via their Dell Exclusive Stores, large format retail and multi-brand outlets. These are the 2019 updates mind you, and the entry-spec variant with the 13.3-inch Full HD display, the Intel Core i5-10210 processor with 8GB RAM and 512GB SSD is priced at Rs 113,990. The higher spec option, with the Ultra HD display, the Intel Core i7-10510, 16GB RAM and 512GB SSD is priced at Rs 173,990. Nevertheless, here are some really cool slim laptops and convertibles that you can splurge on right now. At least get the feel-good factor going as you slog during work from home.

HP Pavilion x360 14-dh0107tu

HP Pavilion x360 14-dh0107tu

Around Rs 44,990

HP was one of the first PC makers, and remains one of most aggressive, with convertible PCs for consumers. The Pavilion x360 line-up has grown leaps and bounds over the past year and a bit more. The version that we are looking at here, specifically, is the HP Pavilion x360 14-dh0107tu. This gives you a 14-inch touchscreen with a geared hinge that goes all the way back to make this into a sort of a tablet. It is not short on power either, though you pay a slight premium for the convertible functionality. It runs an 8th generation Intel Core i3 processor, with 4GB RAM and a 256GB SSD. The SSD really helps with the performance aspect as well. The screen is a HD one, with the 1366 x 768 resolution, and that is adequate for most work as well as media streaming functionality—another positive being good battery life as well. The speakers are tuned by Bang & Olufsen, which certainly shows its results because the sound is richer and more detailed than what laptop speakers usually manage. You can buy this in the Mineral Silver and Natural Silver colour options.

Microsoft Surface Pro 7

Microsoft Surface Pro 7

Rs 72,999 onwards

The Surface Pro design, over the years, had not really been matched by anyone else. Not for lack of trying, but Microsoft has pretty much gotten this spot on to balance functionality as full-fledged laptop and the convenience of a tablet. The latest arrival, the Surface Pro 7, is no different. It is just the right size, just the right form factor and doesn’t compromise either on performance or battery life. But do remember, the Signature Type Cover keyboard, the Arc Mouse and the Pen are all optional accessories. The keyboard itself costs around Rs 10,000 depending on offers and deals, which adds to the cost. But once you do put this all together, it is worth the experience.

The Surface Pro 7 will be available in four variants in India, in the Platinum and Matte Black colour options. The Core i3 variant with 4GB RAM and 128GB storage costs Rs 72,999. The Core i5 version with 8GB RAM and 128GB storage costs Rs 88,999 while the Core i5 option with 8GB RAM and 256GB storage is a lot more expensive at Rs 1,16,999. The top spec Core i7 option with 16GB RAM and 256GB storage costs Rs 1,41,999.

Apple MacBook Air 2020

Apple MacBook Air

Rs 92,900 onwards

Refreshed just a couple of months ago, the new MacBook Air gets the latest 10th generation Intel Core processors and now start with twice the storage, which is a 256GB SSD. At this moment, you can buy the MacBook Air in the Core i3 and the Core i5 options—but you can have this configured with up to an Intel Core i7 processor and as much as 2TB of storage. The 13.3-inch Retina HD display remains one of the best in the laptop space—and supports True Tone as well which matches the colours on the screen according to the ambient lighting, to reduce eye strain. You can connect a 6K external display as well. This is also the first time the Magic Keyboard comes to the MacBook Air, a journey that started with the MacBook Pro 16 late last year and culminated a few days ago with the refreshed MacBook Pro 13. It runs macOS Catalina. The trackpad is 20% larger and you get the Touch ID security feature as well. Speakers have been upgraded as well, with the ability to sound louder and also reproduce twice the amount of bass the predecessor could. Design remains the sleek wedge-shape, and this is made of 100% recycled aluminum. Your colour choice remains between Space Grey, Gold and Silver. Weighs just 1.29kg.

HP ENVY X360 - 13-ar0118au

HP ENVY X360 – 13-ar0118au

Around Rs 74,998

This is a very powerful Windows 10 convertible. For starters, there is the AMD Ryzen 5 3500U Processor with Radeon Vega 8 Graphics. That’s paired with 8GB RAM and a fast 512GB SSD. This mid-range chip should be more than powerful enough for most productivity tasks and even the occasional gaming sessions for casual gamers. What you get is a 13.3-inch Full HD resolution display. There is also the geared hinge that goes all the way back to make this into a tablet if that is what you need. There is a kill-switch that closes the webcam to protect your privacy. You also have a fingerprint scanner as an added layer of security for your Windows 10 installation and files. The backlit keyboard is very well laid out and a delight to type on. This is a very powerful convertible for enterprises as well as home users—it fits brilliantly in either usage scenario.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 7

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 7

Around Rs 1,31,028

Business users and enterprises tend to swear by the Lenovo ThinkPad laptops, and the X1 Carbon is one of those machines. This slim business laptop is now in its 7th generation, which should give you an idea of how popular it really is. In fact, its popularity isn’t just restricted to the men in suits. This runs the Intel Core i5-10210U processor and gets 8GB RAM and a 256GB SSD with it. It is incredibly light, at 1.08kg and even lightest laptops have not been able to shed so much weight. This is robust too, with the military-spec ruggedness ratings—for extreme temperature changes, spills and drops. By default, you get a 14-inch Full HD IPS display, but you can configure this to a 4K screen as well. You’ll get a fingerprint reader, but a lot of the other stuff is optional, which means you will pay more for the likes of NFC and mobile broadband modules. Lenovo claims battery life of up to 18.3 hours on a single charge.

MarQ Falkon Aerbook

MarQ Falkon Aerbook

Around Rs 41,990

This is a pick out of the left field but hear us out on this. You get a 13.3-inch display in a form factor that is slightly smaller than most 13-inch laptops. And every little bit shaved off means more space in your bag, less bulk to carry around and is lighter as well. More to that point, this machine weighs 1.26kg, which is quite light for a laptop that isn’t compromising on specs. The MarQ by Flipkart Falkon Aerbook runs an 8th gen Intel Core i5-8265U processor with 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD. The keyboard is well laid out, the display is bright as well as crisp and the design doesn’t betray that this is a slim laptop on a budget. In fact, the silver finish gives it a very sophisticated look. Windows 10 loads quickly, app response is snappy, and it doesn’t feel sluggish for most tasks in your regular workflow. If you need a compact machine that doesn’t burn a hole in the pocket, and gets your work done, this is a very reasonable laptop to consider.

ASUS ZenBook Flip 14 UM462DA

ASUS ZenBook Flip 14 UM462DA

Rs 64,990 onwards

This is another one of those convertibles that really don’t hold back on the style and the performance bit. Your choice is between the AMD Ryzen 5 3500U and the AMD Ryzen 7 3700U processors, along with 8GB RAM and a fast 512GB SSD. We would recommend the Ryzen 5 for most users, unless you really intend to multitask and run really processor intensive tasks and apps, in which case do consider the Ryzen 7 for the extra performance headroom that it’ll offer. The 14-inch display is Full HD and Asus slimmed the bezel on the ASUS ZenBook Flip 14 UM462DA by 10% compared with the predecessor ZenBook Flip 14. The ErgoLift hinge allows you to push the display back as much as you want, all the way till it is flush with the base to become a large tablet. And when you are using this as a laptop, the keyboard tilts and lifts up, to give you an even more comfortable typing position. Asus claims battery life of up to 9 hours. The speakers on the convertible are configured by Harman Kardon, so expect better sound too compared with most laptops.

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Jabra Elite 75t Review: These Wireless Earbuds Are Absolutely Brilliant And Worth Every Penny

It is not even up for debate. Any wireless earbuds launched at the price at which the Jabra Elite 75t land, which is Rs 15,999, will be compared with the Apple AirPods. Not the AirPods Pro, but the AirPods second generation. I quite have an idea of what to expect with the Jabra Elite 75t, having experienced the brilliance of its predecessor last year. The Elite 65t delivered excellent sound, great battery life, noise isolation that worked and the IP55 water resistance rating as well. A lot of expectations from the Elite 75t. No pressure, then!

The Jabra Elite 75t is going to be one of the toughest follow-up jobs ever. And it is off to a great start by being smaller and lighter than its already fairly compact predecessor. It isn’t about shaving off a few millimeters and then you having to squint to see a difference. It’s a very visible change. Each of the earbuds are 25% smaller than before. These now weigh 5.5 grams each and are incredibly comfortable as they sit in the ear. Perhaps the Samsung Galaxy Buds are still smaller, but I really have nothing to complain about the Elite 75t. Yet, the weight reduction doesn’t take away one critical element, which is the ruggedness. The Jabra Elite 75t are IP55 rated, which makes these earbuds dust resistant and also can hold their own against a sustained water jet spray. Great then, if you also intend to use them outdoors for running or even in the gym for workout sessions.

For me, the shrinking of the footprint of the case is perhaps the highlight. The previous one wasn’t a hardship at all, but it is even smaller now. That means it’ll stay in your trouser pocket with a less significant bulge to go with it. Yet, it doesn’t compromise the battery life. In fact, the Jabra Elite 75t retains fantastic battery stats. In my tests that were usually at volume around 50%, the Elite 75t lasted more just under 8 hours on a single charge—which is fantastic. In fact, Jabra claims battery life of 7.5 hours for the Elite 75t wireless earbuds, and to eke out even more battery runtime in real world usage is great. Top up using the charging case, and it works out to a brilliant 28 hours in total before you need to reach for the charger. It is more than what the AirPods offer, and more than what the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless earbuds offer. The latter cost significantly more. It simply adds to the brilliance that is the Jabra Elite 75t.

The Jabra Elite 75t's companion app for iOS and Android is by far the best we have seen in the wireless earbuds ecosystem (Image: Vishal Mathur / News18)

The Jabra Elite 75t’s companion app for iOS and Android is by far the best we have seen in the wireless earbuds ecosystem (Image: Vishal Mathur / News18)

Do we also have the right to feel relieved that the charging case gets juiced up with a USB-C port? Of course, we do!

The rest of the spec sheet of the Jabra Elite 75t buds tick off the requirements of one-touch access to a virtual assistant (Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa or Apple Siri, your call). The Jabra Sound+ app for Android and the Apple iPhones is a companion app that really adds to the entire experience. You can tweak sound modes, enable or disable Hear Through, choose from music presets including Bass Boost, Smooth, Energize, Speech and Treble Boost. You can also alter the sound equalizer for when you are on a call, check for firmware updates and set the voice assistant. Most earbuds don’t always get a companion app as capable as this, which does leave a bit of a gap in the experience. Sony is another brand which does well with the companion app for its audio products, but most others still have a long distance to travel to catch up.

You have probably already done this with Bluetooth headphones over the years, but in a rarity for earbuds, the Jabra Elite 75t can be paired simultaneously with two devices. You can have this paired with a phone perhaps, to handle voice calls, and with your PC to listen to music—this is a priceless versatility.

After spending years reviewing audio products across brand, I’d like to believe that I’ve got a fairly good idea about the expected sound signature. For instance, pick up a Bose headphone, and you’ll be welcomed by a warm yet crisp sound. Switch to a Sony, and the sound is a bit more of the “V” in an equalizer with powerful bass and equally focused vocals. With Jabra, it isn’t as simple. And I mean that in the nicest possible way. It is something I had quite appreciated with the Elite 65t, and that continues with the Elite 75t. The sound you get is vibrant with a slight leaning towards bass. In a way, these earbuds sound happy. If your playlists are filled to the brim with peppy music, this is the sort of sound signature that you will love. If your music library is more about bass heavy music, then slightly tweak the EQ in the Sound+ app and you are good to go there too. For voice, such as podcasts, leave it at the out-of-the-box setting and clarity is fantastic. But what I really love about the Elite 75t’s sound is the sheer vibrance in the sound, and the ability to reproduce the finer details which a lot of other buds miss out on—either because they just can’t, or these get drowned out because the ambient noise isolation isn’t as good.

The consistency of connectivity is good, and I did not notice any dropouts at all—either with any individual bud behaving eccentrically or the pair dropping connectivity. And to be able to reproduce that across the board—iOS, Android, iPadOS and macOS just lends credence to the fact that Jabra has thought this through.

It is not hard to say this, but mind you that in terms of sound, the Jabra Elite 75t does punch higher than what its price tag would suggest—and that means its closer to the AirPods Pro than the second-generation AirPods. That’s brilliant, whichever way you look at it. What Jabra probably needs to add to the successor is noise cancellation and a wireless charging case, and you’ll have the checklist completely ticked off.

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Amazon Great Indian Sale: Buy This Samsung 55-inch 4K TV For as Low As Rs 29500

Television deals are back with the latest Amazon Great Indian Sale, which is now Live for everyone. If you are looking for a big screen 4K TV, the Samsung UA55NU6100 could prove to be a rather interesting proposition which you must consider. This is priced at Rs 52,999 and that is already a discount compared to the Rs 59,999 price tag in the previous sale. That is before we factor in all the discounts and free add-ons that the deal offers.

In case you are paying with an SBI credit card, you will get a straight discount of Rs 1,500. This is part of the 10% Instant Discount up to Rs. 1500 on minimum purchase of Rs. 5,000 worth of products during this sale. This means the price of the Samsung UA55NU6100 TV becomes Rs 51,499 since you will be eligible for this complete discount. However, the real steal comes with the exchange offer, which could give you as much as Rs 21,999.60 off on the new TV too—with fairly generous exchange values being offered for older TVs, you could find a steal deal. Amazon is also bundling an Echo Dot smart speaker priced at Rs 2,899 with the Samsung UA55NU6100 TV.

You can also choose to avail the No Cost EMI option which includes credit cards from American Express, Axis Bank, ICICI Bank, Amazon Pay ICICI card, HDFC Bank, Citi Bank, SBI, IndusInd, Yes Bank, Kotak, RBL, HSBC and Standard Chartered, as well as select bank debit cards, Bajaj Finserv EMI cards and Amazon Pay EMI.

The Samsung UA55NU6100 4K TV is part of the 2019 line-up of Series 6 smart TVs from the Korean technology giant. This 4K TV supports HDR10+ and HLG high dynamic range standards. This is powered by a quad core processor. Streaming apps including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, Jio Cinema, Sony Liv, Eros Now and Sun NXT, to name a few. You can also enable remote control with the Samsung SmartThings app for the Smart Hub compatible smart home devices. Needless to say, this is a fantastic deal for anyone who may have been looking for a large screen 4K TV, but one that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.

Incidentally, the Samsung NU6100 series is also available in the 50-inch screen size which is priced at Rs 46,999 before similar discounts and offers become applicable and the 43-inch screen size that is priced at Rs 34,999 before discounts.