Book Reviews #2

From the time I’ve written the last set of book reviews, I have mostly read fictional books and one on leadership.  This article reviews 4 amazing books:

1. Krishnavatara 1/The Magic Flute

My Rating: 5/5, Goodreads Rating: 4.44/5

An extraordinary tale of Krishna and the prophecy that he had to fulfill. I remember my grandparents telling me bits and pieces of Krishna’s and Balaram’s adventures but I had never got the full story up until now when I got a chance to read this book.

It is beautifully written offering a second, more realistic perspective to the other magical versions of this same story. This book took me straight to that era where Krishna was born and I could easily imagine and experience their life, their surrounding, their difficulties with vividity. This is one of those books where you know that certain events would happen but it wouldn’t change the excitement of getting to read those parts nonetheless.

The description of historical places like Gokul, Vrindavan, Mathura with their lush landscapes, palaces and the lives of people are breathtaking. I felt as if I was transported back in time to those places living with those people.

The book is written in a simplistic yet gripping style. I recommend it to anyone who wants to forget everything temporarily and go on an incredible adventure with Krishna and Balaram.

2. And Then There Were None

My Rating:  5/5, Goodreads Rating: 4.22/5

An enthralling book with a gripping storyline. Once I had started reading it, I couldn’t get myself to stop. The book teleported me straight to Soldier Island, the place where the story is set.

With multiple murders happening on the island, The reader’s mind races to conclude who the killer could be. Each conclusion made will be proved false soon after. It’s an amazing book written in a way where the events are presented as it is so the reader can make deductions. Vivid descriptions of the events and the surrounding give the reader’s imagination fuel to visualize the eerie surrounding and the morose atmosphere. The thoughts running through the minds of people on the island builds the suspense and tension.

The characters in the story are very well picked. We get to experience each one of them trying to best utilize their skill just to survive. Their instincts of self-preservation are completely based on their experiences in their chosen field of work. Whether it’s the doctor, the policeman, the army man or the judge, each one of their contribution to keeping everyone alive is noteworthy.

Murder mysteries have always fascinated me and this one is truly a masterpiece. I can very well relate to the author when she says ” I know how hard it was to write this book”. There are innumerable things that had to be set right for this story to be woven out perfectly and that is exactly what has been done. Loved this book from the start to the end.

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3. The Ant & The Elephant

My Rating: 5/5, Goodreads Rating: 4.21/5

A brilliant book that talks about the working of our conscious and subconscious mind. I loved the analogy of the ant being the conscious mind and the elephant being the subconscious mind as it describes in clarity the potential that we have as humans.

This book is written as a story of an ant and an elephant in a desert with a wise teacher preaching the ant to learn and work with the elephant, guiding it in the process. I loved the simple way in which the author has conveyed the 5 important steps to tune and work with both your minds to reach your goals and become a better leader. The things to learn from it are direct and each lesson is accompanied by the excitement, hard work, and frustrations that we face in daily life and how we can apply the teachings to change our way of thinking and handle situations in a better way.

I felt as if is this book was written for me because the situations and reasoning were exactly what I was facing or had faced before ( turns out, a lot of people feel that this book was specifically written with them in mind) and it showed what I was doing wrong. I could experience changes early on by applying the steps mentioned in the book. Anyone reading this book will have at least one new thing to learn from.

Two quotes I liked the most in this book:
1) Gratitude is the magic ingredient in the recipe for a fulfilling life.
2) No two thoughts can occupy the mind at the same time ( think about something positive when negative thoughts come to your mind) 

4. The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy

My Rating: 4/5, Goodreads Rating: 4.2

When I read that this was a sci-fi book about the galaxy and beyond, it immediately caught my attention. I started reading it and I loved it. It combines two genres ( sci-fi and comedy) seamlessly to bring out a wonderful story of these few people from various galaxies who embark on an adventure around the universe.

This is a book about a book. “The hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy”  is a guide/book that helps space travelers to survive and know about new planets/ start or a solar system, and how to travel throughout the universe. The best thing about this book is the ability to bring out perspective on how a far more advanced life form than ours in the universe can still have the same mentality of people we meet or see every day and what kind of chaos it can create.

Humour is present everywhere. Right from the way different life forms are portrayed to giving consciousness to robots, it’s hilarious ( I just love Marvin.. he’s funny in his own depressed ways). Some of the scientific explanation of what we feel as impossible things are hysterical. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book.

So, these were the 4  books I recently finished reading and all of them were awesome. Share your thoughts and recommendations in the comments below.

Phone Review #2: Samsung Galaxy S6: High Performance Android Phone With Lollipop

Samsung’s latest flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S6 is loaded with top of the shelf features and some of the best specifications in the market. Though the S6 is similar to its predecessor in terms of screen size, it has been significantly improved in almost all the areas. Right from screen resolution to the secondary camera, it has been improved. However, the battery capacity has been reduced but without any significant loss of usage time. With amazing features, Samsung has made the S6 attractive to the high-end smartphone market.

Features and Specifications

Weighing just 138 grams, the Samsung Galaxy S6 comes with a high-resolution Quad HD, 5.1 inch display. It has a high pixel density of 557 pixels per inch. This resolution easily beats its competitors like the Sony Xperia Z3 or theiPhone 6. The S6 sports a powerful 8 core, 64 bit processor with a clocking capacity of 2.1 GHz. It is capable of multitasking and running high performance games without a glitch.  It also comes with 3 GB of RAM and a fixed internal storage of 64 GB.  It contains a multitude of sensors with some new ones like the Heart rate monitor. It is a single SIM android phone running the latest Android Lollipop OS. It holds a 16 Megapixel primary camera, capable of capturing fast and high clarity pictures in any light environment. It also comes with an upgraded 5MP secondary camera for selfies and video conferencing. Finally, this phone includes a 2550 mAh battery but is lesser than its predecessor’s 2800 mAh battery. This leads to few questions as to how better this may perform or would be a compromise of some sort.

Design and Quality

Samsung is known for its state of the art design and build quality and it can be seen in this phone as well.  It comes with four different colour variants of Black, Blue, White and Gold. The S6 has an aluminium body and Gorilla Glass 4 on its display. It is rounded on the top but much flatter at the bottom. At the bottom of the screen is the Home button in the centre with fingerprint scanner. 2 capacitive keys on its either side for calling and navigating back. The left side of the device houses separate volume up and down button. The right side holds the Nano-SIM slot along with the power button. The audio jack and micro USB charging point is located at the bottom side of the phone. This phone is comparatively easier to hold than compared to the bulkierGalaxy S5.

OS and Tech

This phone runs the latest Android OS, the Lollipop. This OS brings with it the material design to the phone. This provides a fluid and comfortable usage with a veryuser friendly multitasking window. Lollipop is designed to make more use of bighigh resolution displays and thus fits perfectly within the S6. It is also highly customizable, thus making sure that the phone user can change the settings to his or her liking.Samsung has also added a few features of its own like gesture control to make the usage of the phone simpler.

Camera and Multimedia

The high resolution camera will not disappoint the user in any type of condition and will continue to take great quality pictures. This phone can capture real time HDR images which can produce very crisp images. The secondary front camera also is great for taking high quality selfies and video chatting. The user of this phone can get a rich and a very high quality multimedia experience. This is mainly because of the 2560 X 1440 pixels display, which is just perfect for watching HD Videos or playing graphic intensive games.

Battery and Memory

Battery on the S6 is not that great. It is a non-removable battery and it doesn’t stay long. On a moderate usage, it is expected to give around 6 to 7 hours of backup. In the competitive world of smartphones, 7 hours of up time seems to be less. This model comes in 3 variants of memory that is: 32, 64 and 128 GB. It also houses a 3GB RAM which makes the phone suitable for high performance usage and multitasking.

Pros and cons

For Pros:

•             Metallic design for rich look and feel

•             Very powerful processors

•             Excellent high resolution display

•             High camera quality

•             Latest Android OS

For cons:

•             Not satisfactory battery life

•             No expandable storage

•             Not weather proof

Verdict

The Samsung Galaxy S6 is a strong competitor to phones like Apple iPhone 6, HTC One M8 or the Sony’s flagship phone the Z series.  The improvements made from the Galaxy S5 are significant and is easily visible. High performance processors, High quality display and variety of other quality features place the S6 among the top desirable phones in the market. However, the not so good battery performance might be a cause for some potential customers to opt for another phone. User reviews on the e-commerce websites are mixed with majority of them providing high rating to this phone.

For full details of specs and price reviews head over  here.
Image source: GottaBe Mobile

Phone Review #1 : Lava Iris Icon: A mid-range powerhouse camera phone

Lava aims to bring top smartphone experiences to the masses. It brings out low and mid-range smart phone packed with a lot of features. The Iris icon is no less.  It comes with amazing specifications when compared to the price. It houses an excellent camera, which seems to be of main focus. Running the Android KitKat OS and a high-resolution display this sure looks to win the hearts of the many. The previous experiences in selling mid-range phones have given LAVA the correct measure to price this phone and with that price, it is sure to last an impression among the mid-range phone buyers.

Features and Specifications

The Iris is a dual SIM smartphone with both SIMs having GSM support. It houses powerful 1.3 GHz Quad core processors. This brings about a pleasant experience in high-performance usage. The performance is also backed by the 2GB RAM which will help making multi-tasking and gaming a breeze. The Iris has an impressive 5-inch capacitive touch Display. This HD screen gives the user a vivid video watching experience. However the glass on the display is not of the stronger type, making it vulnerable to easy damage. The primary camera is the spotlight of this phone. It is a 13 Megapixel camera with LED flash. It capability to take High definition images increases its credibility significantly. It also has a 5MP secondary camera for taking selfies or for video chatting. The internal storage is 16 GB and provides support for external memory up to 32 GB. The Iris Icon houses a 2500 mAh battery providing a decent Standby time approximately 9 hours. It also provides a talk time of 20 hours approximately.

Design and quality

The Icon is a stylish 7.7 mm thick phone with high-end features. It has a metallic look and is mostly rectangular in shape. Its corners are rounded. Both the volume button and the power button are located near the centre of the right side frame. This phone has no hard buttons but 3 capacitive buttons at the bottom of the screen. These 3 buttons form the options, home and back buttons.  A single speaker is present at the back of the phone. The back side holds the Primary camera with dual flash.  The Iris Icon comes with a new LAVA logo at the bottom of the back side. The black finish of the phone provides the phone a great look.

OS and Tech

This phone runs the Android KitKat OS. This isn’t an old OS so it works very well with the high-end specifications and features. The KitKat is designed to support multitasking and handle processor intensive apps very well. Lava has also added a few of their own gesture control to the OS. These gestures involve creating a custom drawing to activate some of its features. It also allows the user to create a few gestures of their own to launch apps of their choice.  This phone aims to provide a lag free usage to its users.

Camera and Multimedia

The camera is the most attractive feature of this phone. It comes with a 13 MP primary camera. This is capable of capturing images with great detail. It also comes with an LED flash to help the users during low light conditions. Beautiful landscape pictures can be taken using the HDR and panorama modes. However the camera sensors are known to perform poorly in low light conditions and they tend to produce grains and sometimes noise in the images. The Icon also has a decent 5 MP front camera. This can be used for taking good quality selfies or for video chatting. The HD display gives the user a good experience in multimedia. This IPS display is capable of producing 294 pixels per inch that generates great quality videos and images.

Battery and Memory

The battery enclosed in it is a 2500 mAh battery. This is claimed to make the Icon a perfect phone to carry on the go as it provides long battery life. The Icon claims to deliver a talk time of around 9 hours with the use of 3G.  While compared to phones in the similar range such as the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4G or the Huawei Honor 4X which have batteries over 3000 mAh, the Icon seems to have lesser capability. The Icon also comes with an internal memory of 16 GB which is quite a lot and it also supports external memory up to 32 GB. It also has a 2GB RAM for handling multi tasking and other applications seamlessly.

Pros and cons

For pros:

  • High-quality primary camera for bright ambient light
  • High-performance quad core processors
  • Stylish designed
  • Dual SIM support
  • External memory support

For cons:

  • An average performance of camera in low-light
  • Not a very long lasting battery
  • OS is not the latest

Verdict

The Lava Iris Icon is a very good phone in the mid-price range series. It gives a tough competition to other phones like Huawei Honor 4X, Xiaomi Redmi Note 4G and also the Moto G 2nd gen. The powerful processors, a good display and decent camera make it a suitable choice for many users. The battery might be a downfall for users who use the phone for intensive gaming or processor intensive apps. Users of this phone seem to be attracted by its stylish design.

For full details of specs and price reviews head over  here.

Image source: BGR.in