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Apr 01

The TimeTec RoadHawk DC-2 camera is a fairly high end camera for the dash-cam enthusiast in you. Whether you love to record long drives or are looking for a camera for insurance purposes, this can be your goto camera depending upon your budget. The camera’s standard price is around $179.99 which when compared to other options in the market is a bit steep, but is the price worth the quality ? Lets have a look.

image

Specifications :

Real Full HD 1080p@30fps video latest A5s Processor (Ambarella).

  • High quality image sensor providing excellent video quality and tuned for low light sensitivity.
  • Gyro balanced image stabilisation
  • SD XC compatible up to 128GB (8GB included)
  • Built-in 1hz GPS Receiver
  • Built-in microphone
  • New vertical mount designed to have the lens of the camera sitting closer to the screen of the vehicle minimising reflection
  • Algorithm for detecting SD card errors.
  • Alarm input for remote triggering events and output for communicating with tracking devices.

 

Construction and Installation
The camera feels sturdy to hold and comes with some 3M stickers and a long winding cable. I have connected it to my cigarette lighter but some people may feel like attaching it to the battery directly. The mount that comes with the camera I feel is pretty useless as you cannot take off the camera in a market or a crowded area while parking the car. this is an open invitation for prowlers.

I ended up spending some more money to buy the suction mount which I believe should be standard on this. The camera also has no battery which is a big negative for me since I use it with the cigarette lighter. What that means is that if my car is parked and someone hits it, I wont be able to find out who hit my car.

Audio/Video Quality

One of the main features of this camera is its HD 1080p recording. The company takes great pride in the recording quality of the camera and to be honest it doesn’t disappoint. Here is a sample video where a jerk runs a red signal, as you can see the violation if any would have been recorded quite clearly. Regarding recording number plates, the camera cannot do much on moving cars. However if you stop behind a car you can be certain that its number plate is recorded.

Daytime Video

Nighttime Video

The internal Mic does work well, I cancelled some noise in the video but nothing that should be of concern.

GPS Logger and the G-Sensor

The GPS works great and so does the G sensor. GPS takes a minute or so to lock in at mornings and the G-sensor does go off on rough bumps so I believe if I were ever in an accident it would go off.

Offline software

The Road Hawk comes with a nice side software through which you can view videos with speed overlays and Google maps integration. The software also shows X and Y G-Force for those interested.

image

Overall Impressions

Overall I am very happy with this camera. The battery is one thing I miss the most. Another thing is that the wire is so long it kind of coils near my cigarette lighter. But the joy of recording jerks driving like jerks is really priceless.


Oct 18

I am a hardcore Amazon fan. I don’t mind paying for prime to get the free shipping and the awesome service I receive. So when Amazon opened up its subsidiary in India, I expected similar stellar service and regard for customer from them in India too. Till now I hadn’t had a chance to test Amazon India’s website. This Saturday was going to change all that. Dad wanted to me buy a mixer grinder for the maid and Amazon apparently had a good deal. A maharaja mixer grinder for Rs. 899. Nice deal I thought. Except when I started to search for the item on their website, I couldn’t find it. No matter how hard I searched, I just couldn’t locate it. Here is the ad in question, 100 points to you if you can locate this on amazon.in. I had heard of Flipkart’s infamous billion day sale disaster, but this was new.

Amazon.in fake sale ad

 

I started a chat session with customer care, the session in all its glory is below. As you can see the chat person was polite but really couldn’t do anything to help me out. She tried to search at her end and then just told me to keep checking for it every 30 minutes. As if I don’t have anything better to do than to keep refreshing Amazon.in’s site.

amazon fake sale

 

Well screw you Amazon India, I just went to Infibeam.com and got another deal at a decent price, slightly more than what Amazon had promised though. I also gave feedback at the end of the session asking to be contacted, well no one ever contacted me, strike 2 for amazon.in. For a company that prides itself on customer service, this is a really bad way to start an international subsidiary. Hoping the folks at Seattle take note.


Sep 08

So the folks at Braun were kind enough to send us a unit for review. We have earlier reviewed Schick and Gillette on this site, so Braun electric shaver was the next progression. Disclosure here : I am not a big electric shaver person. I have a cheapo Panasonic electric shaver, cost me around $50 in an amazon deal , which quite frankly is a piece of junk. The lazy bones I am, I let my beard grow and grow and then curse the pinch of electric shavers when they have to tackle my super long beards and also I hate the cleaning up after the shavers. Its been gathering dust for quite some time.

When the Braun Shaver arrived at home, I was a bit blown away. It’s a very fancy device. It comes with a charging base and the shaver itself is very heavy and has a premium feel. There is also a cleaning brush and the base comes with an alcohol based solution to clean the razor.  I don’t know the exact retail price of this unit, but can guess its in the $200s. From the package you wouldn’t be disappointed.

Now I can bore you with the details which mean nothing to you, or we can actually get into the performance of the device instead.

So here was my challenge, a 3 day old beard.

 

IMG_1507IMG_1506

I had to first use the trimmer to shorten the beard a bit and then use the razor to get a complete smooth shave. Some areas I did need to go over a few times for a closer shave, that’s a folly of most electric shavers. However overall the shave was so much closer and more comfortable than what I am used to. I tried it both with foam and without foam, personally it works a lot better with foam and on a wet face. Over the dry face it just kept going over my face without cutting any hair and was quite annoying. I would use it in the shower more than outside it.

After :

IMG_1509

Verdict : If you are in the market for a premium electric shaver, this is one of the foremost options that should come to your mind. The shave was smooth and the razor was very easy to clean using the base cleaner. Its as easy as putting the razor inside the base and pressing a button.

Pros :

Comfortable shave and close shave. The blades and the technology seem pretty advanced.

Comes with self cleaning base.

Premium feel and showoff worthy gadget.

Cons :

Bulky to carry around.

Not as effective on a dry face.

Must purchase cleaning solution after the cartridge is done.


Aug 30

Ok so I got tempted to try out the new Amazon Prime now app, they were giving a 20 off 50 discount in Seattle and I was running out of some groceries so a 40% discount sounded good.

I downloaded the app and quickly realised that prime membership is needed to ake advantage of the app. No problems, switching to my prime account I chose $50 worth of groceries. Never mind that most groceries on Amazon are overpriced and you are better off paying for gas and going to Safeway and Fred Meyer to get them. It was I think around 9-10pm at night and as I checked out I noticed something strange. Amazon wanted me to tip $5 to the delivery person. By that logic I should be tipping the postman, the UPS man and the Fedex guy. What it means is that Amazon’s delivery persons make money off tips in WA state atleast. Amazon, I am not going to pay for your undercutting your employees.

I changed the tip to zero dollars (sorry, I know, but quite frankly I will not tip someone to deliver from an online store, the tipping in this country is anyway out of hand). For a 2 hour delivery Amazon wanted 7.88 dollars I think and delivery next morning was free. Amazon gave me a 2 hour delivery window and since it had perishables someone had to be there to take the delivery. The stuff was packaged in brown bags and the one with eggs was marked as fragile. Overall most groceries on amazon are more expensive than offline and the ridiculous shipping and tipping charges make this service a no-go for me, I live within a mile or 2 from QFC, Target, Safeway and Fred Meyer, I don’t need to pay extra for fast delivery and even more for tipping. I only envisage using this in an emergency.

Below you can see the unboxing of my Amazon Prime Now order, just don’t judge me Smile with tongue out . Apologies for the vertical video.

Disclaimer: The author owns stock of amazon and works in a company which is a direct competitor of Amazon in the enterprise cloud space in IT (not in Retail).


Feb 20

iSmooth 3ft lightning cable

In the May of 2014, I had bought a lightning cable (ignore image, for representation purpose only) from this seller  called AFFLUX on Amazon.com. Incase you get bored and don’t read further, don’t buy anything from these guys. They are a third party seller on Amazon.com

It was an iSmooth iPhone 5s charging cable (3ft), not very expensive, however the cable was always very buggy and often would complain that the accessory is not supported. I battled through it, standing on one leg, re-attaching the wire etc. every time it would happen. However as time passed the wire became more and more unreliable. So much so that it became impossible to recharge using this cable.

I remembered that the cable was iSmooth’s and on their website they claimed a 10 year warranty on their cable products. So I tried to get in touch with AFFLUX through Amazon asking them if they can help in this matter. To my surprise they did not even reply to my complaints.

Next, I contacted ISmooth who offer the warranty, they asked me for the invoice from Amazon and promptly told me that they will not honor warranty as AFFLUX is not an authorized reseller and they are following up with Amazon and AFFLUX. I am currently following up on them regarding a replacement since their warranty terms don’t mention anything about purchasing from them only. However not much I can do if they refuse since its too small for small claims.

I filed a return request with Amazon and this time AFFLUX was super fast, they immediately declined my claim and as the return period had passed Amazon was cool with it. So I am in this bind, the manufacturer says the sale is unauthorized and the seller is AWOL and only responds when I file a claim. That too in the negative.

Anyway I contacted Amazon and they told me since this is by a third party seller they cannot refund me the money but have offered me a promotional credit. I will follow-up with ISmooth and update the thread on that replacement. They have however claimed that the super buggy cables are bound to go bad again.

In the meantime, be careful when buying stuff from Amazon’s third party sellers. This was a fairly low price item but I doubt Amazon would refund $500 after 9 months in such a situation. So that’s the lesson learnt.


Feb 20

Reddit India had this photo posted by an eagle eyed user with a note that even Flipkart uses Amazon’s own services :

 Flipkart using Amazon's package

Then Reddit India cheekily tweeted this. To this, Flipkart responded in a way you wouldn’t expect :

Flipkart tweet about amazon

Something tells me we have not seen the end of this yet, more so because Flipkart still has not explained from what they got delivered to them.

Amazon Response

Modified to include Amazon’s response above.