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Feb 19

One of my friends recently posted about Transferwise. As a NRI who often has to send remittance to India for various purposes, I was intrigued. For our readers I did the grunt work to find out why this service is buzzing.

So here are my findings :

Its a money transfer service which seems to be headquartered in Estonia from the founders of Skype (claim on every page). I wished to try it out to see if it supports my debit cards. After going through the process I noticed a few things. 

Their exchange rate is competitive, slightly better than Xoom but worse than RIA and Western Union.

I prepared all the details of my transfer entering the recipient’s email address and account information and on the payment information I was surprised to see the method of payment. They want you to actually wire them the money in Estonia. WTH !

Not only would the international wire cost you more money from your bank, wiring money to a third party into a non-escrow account is never a good idea. Yes, the Nigerian prince, I know your game. I also dont see checks and balances of validating who sent the money. Imagine I signup etc. and a terrorist then wires the money, perfect hawala. I wonder if the company addresses identity questions and source of wire transfer some other way. I really hope for the sake of the world that they do.

Another problem I noticed was that the company has a text box for remittance reason to India, most other companies has a list of options in drop down which I think is what it gets classified into at RBI.

Anyway, long story short, I chickened out. Its a billion dollar startup, so chances are you would be ok. However I just cannot wire money to a random bank account in Estonia. Also I fail to see how transferwise makes an iota of sense of non-Americans and NRIs and PIOs in USA. Other sites even without the crappy wire transfer are net green when I compare what value I get in terms of final INR (Indian Rupees received). So even though Transferwise showed a better exchange rate for (USD-INR), the fee made it such that western union turned out to have better overall money in INR.

If you are looking to send money to India, I would suggest using one of these 3, most of these are fee free and do not have bad exchange rates. I usually use whichever is cheapest that day.

Xoom , RIA , Western Union

Ria Logo

Western Union Logo

xoom logo

Since these are affiliate links, you get some bonus for your first transfer anywhere in the world for signing up using the above links. If you have any experiences good or bad to share while sending money using the above links whether to India or elsewhere, let us know in comments. Non Resident Indians and everyone else is welcome. Also let us know if you have any question regarding these services to transfer money to India.

Feb 16


I was a regular Sonicare Essence user, then came an awesome deal on the OralB 7000 Professional and I thought I would upgrade my brush to the top of the line toothbrush. Since I have started using electric toothbrushes, my teeth have improved so much that both my hygienist and my dentist have been asking what I did.

Anyway, so Amazon has this amazing deal on the OralB 7000 and I quickly purchase the same from Amazon and within 2 days the super bulky and heavy package is there. When you unbox and open it, you see the premium-ness of the whole thing. The brush is heavy and has a premium rubberized grip. It even comes with a LCD screen (SmartGuide) which displays the time and brushing progress while you are brushing your teeth. As a gimmick it displays a rating out of 5 stars (its much more arbitrary than the ratings we give here :) ).

Unfortunately I couldn’t find more good stuff about the brush apart from the premium-ness and the bells and whistles, mostly bad stuff, here is a list of cons I observed :

1. The spin motion of the brush is very harsh, I can feel the enamel being worn away, 30 days of continuous brushing and my teeth are now super sensitive. I prefer the sonic motion of the Sonicare vs. the spin motion. I know its cleaning, but it feels like its eroding my teeth while its cleaning.

2. For a MSRP $200 brush, the battery is plain junk. It lasts only 3-4 days and takes 24 hours to charge. There is no excuse for it, my 90s cell phone had a better battery. The thing is also very heavy presumably because of the battery.

3. No 220V charger, for the demographic they should be aiming at, travel is a fact of life, unfortunately for Braun/OralB the whole world doesn’t run on 110V so if you are travelling , there is a good chance you need a spare toothbrush.

4. The handle is far from ergonomic, by mistake I keep pressing the mode buttons,

5. The brushing indicator is a sham, you finish at 2 minutes even with harsh pressure and it will give you 4 stars, spend an extra minute with say the floss/tongue cleaner mode and it will always give you five stars.

So guess what I did with my brush ? I took advantage of the generous Amazon return policy and sent the brush back. I then bought a Sonicare Diamondclean, Will share a review of that soon.

Feb 15

 Reese - Peanut butter chocolate spread

Reese has a new spread in town, and it tastes different from Nutella or Hershey’s spread. Influenster recently sent us a Voxbox with the delicious chocolate and peanut butter treat and my family seems to adore it.

The product has a premium feel and taste to it, tastes almost like nutella minus the hazelnut and plus the peanut butter and amazingly has no HFCS. Personally I have had it as a spread and as a dip for veggies. It tastes nice as a spread on bread and muffins, so +1 there. I also tried to mix it with milk, that experiment I am sad to report did not go that well , basically it was yuck :)

In terms of health, not the healthiest option, a 37g modest serving has 190 calories with a good 100 coming from fat. However considering that most of the fat should be from peanut butter, your dietician wouldn’t throw a fit. The dextrose and hydrogenated fats suck though.

Nutrition information - Reese

Overall for taste I would give it a 4/5 and for health 3/5.

Jul 12

Disclaimer : The razor was provided to us by Gillette for testing, the opinions are 100% genuine.

Folks who read our reviews know that I am a Mach 3 Turbo user, I use the disposable razor or the cartridge one occasionally breaking the pattern for my Panasonic electric razor. So when Gillette sent me this bad boy, I was thinking it would be ok but I would continue to use my Mach 3 Turbo.

So lets get to the technology behind the blade, realistically, I don’t think the blades differ that much from the other proglides and there might be a marketing spin there.

They claim it has thinner edges and low resistance coating but to be honest, I have always found my Mach 3 Turbo to also have fairly thin edges and offer very little resistance even with a week old beard.

In terms of comfort, the Proglide did adjust to the contours of my face better than the Mach 3 and much better than the Schick Hydro razor. I got zero nicks and cuts on my neck which is sort of a record for me :) I used it both with the grain and against the grain and it was effortless.

Now depending upon the cost, this has real potential to be my new razor replacing my buddy since school, the Mach 3 Turbo. Also need to see how the blades and the flexball age to confirm if this really is worth it.


Jun 02

Tropicana with worm

Its been an interesting week for Tropicana India in social media. A couple of days ago I saw a friend had shared a photo of Tropicana’s Guava Juice 200ml tetra pack with what seemed to be a worm coming out of the straw hole. Its hard to tell from the photo whether its a worm, a baby snake or just clay someone put there to claim some fame at the company’s expense.

I went onto Tropicana’s facebook page today, and its full of ‘concerned’ consumers posting how they will never purchase Tropicana juice again, a mini PR disaster to say the least. However I found Tropicana’s calm handling of the issue praiseworthy. The responses posted by them on Facebook do narrate that the brand showed concern at the complaint and is taking steps to figure out what went wrong. Whether it results in anything worthwhile from the brand is to be seen or will they just try to stifle the flame.

They cannot blame packaging here. Something which Cadbury had done during the worms in chocolate scare as they use Tetrapack which is globally known to be a multilayered impenetrable aseptic packaging for food items.

We will keep you posted and in the meantime, empty your Tetrapacks into glasses before consuming to avoid becoming an accidental non-vegetarian.

Apr 26

If you have not heard of MetroMile, you can be forgiven. Its a new age insurance company with all the glamour of being a silicon valley startup that has started a pay per mile insurance company. You basically pay more if you drive more. Makes sense, doesnt it ?

Before I move onto the gadget itself, a word of caution there. We cannot endorse the insurance company. For some reason, I could not find any review of MetroMile’s insurance products or their claims process. I even scoured their Facebook page, but unlike traditional insurance companies wherein customers are either complaining or praising staff, there was again no mention of peoples’ experiences with this company.


Now onto the device itself. MetroMile has developed a device which would be used to track vehicle usage. They call it the Metronome. The device fits into the OBD II port of any modern car and is ready for business. Among the things it tracks are the speed of the vehicle at all times, its GPS location and if there are any problems with the engine or not. The device also displays tripwise and average gas consumption. Any other analytics being extracted by MetroMile are not shown to end users.

The device is mandatory to be placed by all their insurance customers. But worry not, even if you are not a customer you can signup to test out their device. They will send a free unit to you and you can have access to a large variety of reports. I received my device within a week of ordering, it took me 10 minutes to install it into my 2014 Toyota Corolla. After collecting data for a few days, here is what we think of the device.

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