Tech's Golden Oldies
They are no longer the superstars they once were, but they continue to deliver very good value for money. And keep growing more affordable. Nimish Dubey pays tribute to five super products that refuse to fade away
It was supposed to be the answer to the iPad but in spite of some very good specifications, a few interface and software glitches (you could not access mail in the default mail app unless connected to a BB handset) meant that the PlayBook got a hostile reception. To its credit, BlackBerry has never quite given up on it and has ironed out a lot of the software rough spots with constant software updates (it can even run some Android apps now). It still looks smart enough, works very well even without a BB handset in tow, thanks to a dual core processor and is set to get a BB10 update. Top that off with a massive price cut and you have one of the best deals out there in the tablet market.
Get it for: The BB 10 update and a very good browsing and multimedia experience
Watch out for: The (still) limited number of apps.
Launched at: Rs 27,990 onwards (2011)
Now available for: Rs 13,990 (approx) onwards
No, it did not quite slaughter the iPhone, but the Nokia N8 nevertheless marked a new phase in cellphone history. It made manufacturers realise the role of a good camera in a phone and also ushered in the scratchproof display concept like few devices had before. And yes, while it is indeed a bit long in the tooth now and Symbian no longer rules the smartphone world, the fact is that the N8 still takes staggeringly good pictures with its 12.0-megapixel sensor, serves up a very decent display and a solid metal body with just about every connectivity option you can think of (you can even attach a USB drive to it). And yes, it has among the best battery lives we have seen on any touchscreen device.
Get it for: The fantastic camera and connectivity
Watch out for: The clunky and relatively slow Symbian interface
Launched at: Rs 26,259 (2010)
Now available for: Rs 19,000 (approx)
Sony's NEX series of cameras heralded the arrival of the mirrorless camera phenomenon in India — cameras that let you switch lenses just like DSLRs, delivered images just like DSLRs, and yet were compact enough to fit into a normal bag. And while Sony has since moved on and launched a fresh wave of the NEX series, the NEX-5 remains as good a shooter as any in the market when it comes to sheer picture quality, courtesy its superb 14.2-megapixel CMOS sensor. Thanks to a significant price cut,this one of the best value for money propositions for those seeking to blend DSLR quality with digital camera portability.
Get it for: Lens swapping convenience and great pictures in a compact form factor
Watch out for: A lower megapixel count than some of The newbies and hey, no viewfinder
Launched at: Rs 34,990 (2010)
Now available for: Rs 19,990
Samsung Galaxy SII
This impossibly thin (8.49 mm) smartphone with the brilliant Super AMOLED 4.3 inch display did what many of its contemporaries had failed to to — it rattled Cupertino’s mobile cage, providing the first real alternative to the iPhone. Yes, some cocked a snook at its plasticky build but none dared deny the fact that it delivered staggeringly good performance, courtesy its dual core processor, in a surprisingly slim (for that time) frame. It has since been superseded by the likes of the SIII, the Galaxy Note series, and even a Galaxy SII Plus, but even today remains a fantastic performer for all those wanting a good Android device, while staying in the sub-Rs 25,000 price segment.
Get it for: The brilliant display and slim form
Watch out for: The possibility that Android updates might take some time coming to it
Launched at: Rs 32,850 (2011)
Now available for: Rs 24,500 (approx)
Sony PlayStation 2
Oh yes, we know that its manufacture has stopped in Japan and that the PlayStation 4 is now on the way, but to say that the venerable PS2 is useless would be flying in the face of truth. It costs less than most mid-segment smartphones and still has one of the biggest game libraries with the likes of God of War, Metal Gear Solid and Final Fantasy. Yes, the graphics are not high-definition but the games remain as good to play as ever - and cost a fraction of their PS3 and Xbox 360 counterparts besides. Throw in the EyeToy accessory and you can get some motion sensing gaming too.It can play DVDs as well, and is compact enough to be carried around the house if need be.
Get it for: The phenomenal games library
Watch out for: Less than cutting-edge graphics and connectivity by today's standards
Launched at: Rs 17,900 (2003)
Now available for: Rs 6,990