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Gadgets and Appliances Reviews

CFLs vs LEDs vs Incandescent Bulbs

If you have noticed, LED bulbs are all the rage suddenly. They are all over the place – the Philip bulb ads on TV, the Syska LED ads on radio and everywhere else. They have been around for quite sometime – but suddenly have burst into the scene.

So, with incandescent bulbs blowing up around my house, I decided to do a full review and bought a bunch of lights to see which ones stack up.

Here are the contestants:

All types of lights tested

My Setup

So, in my house, we have all yellow lights – which are mostly bulbs and few CFLS. Hence, my test involves LED bulbs and CFLs in the “Warm White” colour – which gives off a nice yellowish, intimate light. But before we go ahead, I present to you a little information researched on various types of bulbs.

This will help you understand why CFLs are more efficient than bulbs and why LEDs are more efficient than CFLs.

It all starts with Lumen

Lumen is a unit to measure the amount of light. If you are interested in the textbook definition, please see here.

In India, we tend to estimate the amount of light given by the wattage of a particular bulb. Hence, most of us probably have a fair bit of an idea on the light given out by 40W bulbs (incandescent) – useful for lamps, etc., 60W bulbs for regular, home lighting and 100W bulbs for outdoor / brighter lighting.

“Watts” or (W) is the unit of electricity consumed.

Incandescent bulbs give us light by passing electricity through a filament which heats up and emits light. In fact, 95% of the energy in these bulbs is lost to heat and only 5% is what produces light (ref). Hence, incandescent bulbs produce only 16 lumens / watt.

CFLs in the way they are built are more efficient and can give us between 50-70 lumens / watt (atleast 3 times more than incandescent bulbs)

LED bulbs on the other hand, can output upto 100 lumens / watt – which make them one of the most efficient sources of lighting. I drew up some numbers to compare these which are in the table below.

How do these compare?

[table id=1 /]

Quality of Light

Artificial lighting sources like bulbs, tubes, etc. are also rated on their ability to reproduce colour. The standard light against which these sources are compared is sunlight and companies like Phillips claim 90 – 95% colour reproduction for even their base models. Because most of us (especially yours truly) cannot make out this difference, I have decided to skip this and instead focus on how the light “looks” to me.

As I have already mentioned, all light fixtures in my house are lamps or wall mounts of some sort. We do not have naked tube lights or bulbs anywhere.

As such, I found the LED bulbs to be quite directional. They are known to not offer the omni-directional light that incandescent bulbs offer – but it was quite apparent to me without making much effort. The light was quite ‘harsh’ for our needs and we decided to not use the bulbs for our lamps.

As a matter of fact, I found the Tornado CFLs to give the best light distribution.

40W Incandescent bulb vs 8W CFL vs 5 LED

40W Incandescent bulb vs 8W CFL vs 5 LED (click for larger image)

As you can see, the incandescent bulb gives the best light distribution – but if you had to compare the CFL vs LED, the CFL (Tornado in this case), creates a much more distributed environment and is not as harsh as the LED.

Which LED bulb should I buy?

There are a couple of bulbs available in the market. I bought and tried the Phillips LED ones and the Alva LED which is an Indian company – and it costs half of what Phillips cost. In my opinion, LED bulbs are quite overpriced at the moment.

However, if you MUST get LEDs, I would recommend Phillips over Alva as I was quite disappointed with the Alva offering.

I bought candle lights from them and this is the light that I got from them:

Comparison of the Alva 4W LED to 40W Incandescent Bulb

The light that the Alva bulbs were casting was quite disappointing – even for use as spotlights (which I did not intend to use them as) – they look quite dirty.

In Conclusion

For me, I have decided to replace all the incandescent lights in my house with CFLs at the moment. There are some fixtures which the CFL form factors do not support (especially the small fixtures with the E14 sockets) – which I am going to continue using bulbs on.

LED bulbs – though exciting – don’t offer the kind of light that I am looking for. Plus the super expensive price point puts me off.

What do you guys think? Would love to hear your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.

Further Reading / Links

  1. Different types of sockets. Don’t get the wrong type of bulb for your fixture.
  2. Phillips LED bulbs on Amazon
  3. Cheaper LED Bulbs on Snapdeal
  4. Myths vs Facts on LED and CFL lighting (especially about mercury content in CFL bulbs)

How to disable 3G on your Samsung Omnia W

This is another tip which I dug around for hours to get.
Posting it here so that it saves some people time.
So in my Samsung Omnia W Windows phone, it defaults to 3G out of the box and there is no visible setting to change it.
If you like me, don’t really want to switch to 3G and would rather prolong the life of your battery, here is what you need to do:

  1. Go into the phone dial mode.
  2. Type: ##3282#
  3. If the screen does not change to “field test”, tap the dial button.
  4. On the next screen which opens up, pop up the settings options from the bottom of the screen via the … button.
  5. Tap settings
  6. In the Network type, select 2G only
  7. Hit the back arrow and go to your home screen.
  8. Your phone will now work on the 2G network and consume lesser battery.

Hope this helps someone.

Importing Contacts to a Windows 7 Phone from your Nokia phone

I recently bought a Windows 7.5 phone which is pretty cool – but this being a Samsung Omnia W and my previous phone being a Nokia E72, I had a tough time importing contacts from one phone to another.
If both phones were Nokia (like the Lumia), Nokia has a very easy app which does this over bluetooth (I think) – but no luck here.
So this is what I ended up doing finally, which worked.
Putting it up so that it could save you some time mucking around with stuff.
You will need:

  1. Your old phone Nokia (Series 60)
  2. A Gmail account
  3. Internet access on your new Windows 7 phone
  4. A Windows computer

Step 1: Export all your Nokia contacts to .vcf files.
Your mileage may vary – but what I did was as follows.

  1. Go to your Contacts screen.
  2. Click on Options > Mark All
  3. Click on Options > Create Backup > Phone to memory card

Wait for a few seconds depending on how many contacts you have.
This will copy all your contacts to your memory card on your Nokia device.
For me, the contacts ended up being in:
Memory Card > Others > Contacts
Plug in your SD card to your computer (or plug in your phone) and copy this contacts folder to a location on your computer. (say C:\Contacts)
Then, concatenate all the .vcf files into one file using the following method:

  1. On your windows machine, click on Start > Run > cmd
  2. Browse to the Contacts folder
  3. Type: copy *.vcf all.vcf

This will put all your vcf files into one.
Step 2: Import your contacts to GMail

  1. Login to your GMail account (or create a new one if you don’t want to mess up your existing one)
  2. Go to the Contacts screen by clicking on the big MAIL text on the left hand side of the screen and selecting Contacts.
  3. On the screen that opens up, click on the More button > Import
  4. Select the all.vcf file and import.
    All your files should now be imported into GMail.
  5. Once this is done, click on the More button > Find & Merge Duplicates
    to let GMail quickly merge any duplicate accounts that you may have.

Step 3: Add this GMail account to your People App to sync all your contacts on your phone

  1. On your phone, click on the People tile.
  2. Pull up the settings from the bottom.
  3. Click on “add an account”
  4. Select Google
  5. Type in your credential
  6. Tap on “Sign in”
  7. Magically watch your contacts migrating into the Windows phone

Make sure that from the Settings section in the People tile (step 3.2 above), you have the Google account selected when you click on  the “Filter my contact list” button service to find contacts.
Thats all there is to it! Hope this is helpful to you!

Microsoft XBOX

Yay ! I wanted to be the first one to write a review on the Xbox on Mouthshut … and I’m so happy that I am !
The fact that no one has written a review yet, is because it is not launched in India as yet … I got mine from the UK. Anyways, enough with the chest thumping … and lets move on …
A 733 Mhz processor, an NVidia Geforce 3 graphics card, 256 Channel Sound output with Dolby Surround Sound, the ability to play Audio CDs and DVDs … if this hasn’t got you excited yet, there is more … read on …
The Xbox is a piece of Engineering Marvel … something in gaming consoles like the Mclaren F1 is in cars and the Suzuki Hayabusa and the Yamaha R1 in bikes …
And when I say it is mind blowing, I mean it IS MIND BLOWING !
The graphics are stunning ! The quality you could never have got on your 15 inch monitor … maybe only with the latest card ! And this one runs your 21 inch + size TV in your drawing room.
The quality of the visuals that the game developers have come up with can make anyone … and I mean anyone stop in their tracks …
In James Bond Nightfire, you will not be able to make out whether the Austin Martin ( Car ) is computer generated or video shooted … Pierce Brosnan’s features … down to the eyebrow lift are totally noticeable …
The cars, planes and other vehicles look ultra – realistic … but the people rendered don’t look that real – yet. You get these animated movie type effects … like that of Shrek … but mind you … Rendering movies like Shrek itself takes tens of high powered PCs … and this black beauty does that in real time …
In the sound front, the Dolby Surround system is terrific. I hooked up the sound cables to my deck and can feel my drawing room rumble everytime a plane crashes or you release your finger of that Bazooka launcher !
You can alternatively connect the sound system to the TV audio / video out jack …
The controls are just P-E-R-F-E-C-T
I read at many places that they are quite big … but they are very comfortable … for teenagers and above.
For kids below the age of 10 … maybe … but the Xbox isn’t designed for kids.
Most of the games in the Xbox are 13+ or 15+ so it is basically for teenagers.
The controllers are very cleverly designed … they have 3 directional axis controls, 8 buttons and 2 triggers that can be easily controlled …
As compared to the PS2’s ( Play Station 2 ) 300 Mhz processor, Xbox has 733 Mhz and also an NVidia Graphics card .
In addition, you don’t have to buy Extra memory cards like you do in the PS as it comes with its own 8 GB hard-disk in which you can save games and create your own song lists from your music CD’s and play them as alternate back ground music while playing the games.
As on the games front, the Xbox has a lot fewer games than the PS … it has … on last count 250 and increasing … but how many do you need to play ? Games like Morrowind have 500 + hours of game play … enough to last a year atleast.
On the games front, I got the best titles available … Halo which is available only for the Xbox, James Bond Nightfire, Morrowind and Silent Hill : Inner Fears .
I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the graphics for the first time … My folks couldn’t make out whether we were playing a game or watching a movie … and my friends have turned green since the last time I talked to them … and as for me, I haven’t slept for … how many nights … I have lost count …
So, this is the time to remember your long forgotten friends in the UK and the US.
Xbox will not be coming to India for another year atleast. So your best bet is to get one from the UK.
US Xboxes, will have trouble running in India because of the power system rating here of 230 V, 50 Hz as compared to 110V, 60 Hz there and also because US Xboxes support only the NTSC TV systems while the UK ones support PAL which is used in India.
The Entire System with one extra controller ( Xbox Ships with only one controller for 130 pounds ), 4 games, and the DVD playback kit cost me 230 pounds … which is approx 17,000 bucks in INR. But the money is worth the experience … believe me … I can vouch for that !!!
BTW, did I mention that the controllers are vibrating ones … and the Xbox can support upto 4 controllers …
The Xbox also comes built in with an Ethernet Port for Online Multiplayer Gaming … if you have broadband …
Go get one ! As for me … who needs sleep anyways ?

Philips 3300 Watt (FW-V720) Stereo System

If you love music and are planning to buy a new stereo system … then you can’t do better than the Philips 3300 Watt System ( FW-V720 )
It is one of the newest kids on the block and it sure knows how to bring the house down …
Calling this music system just another stereo system is like going to the Indian Ocean and saying that its wet …
First let me tell you about the features it comes with …
It comes with a 3 CD changer, dual tape decks, a radio tuner and ability to connect to its AUX system.
This system is one heck of a looker … one of the prettiest and funkiest systems on the block. It also comes with 2 surround satellite speakers and 4 main speakers and also 2 small tiny ones ( 2+4+2 = 8 ) … It has the ability to play MP3 CD’s and it can display the song list on the TV screen if you want it to …
It has a very thoughtfully planned interface and is very very easy to operate.
Also the remote control … unlike the ones I saw of other companies is very well laid out and a lot of thought has been put into designing the system.
I bought it for a price of Rs. 23,500/- It may sound a little steep to some people but believe me … its worth every paisa for the music it plays out.
It has this new amazing technology called WOOX which makes up 2 speakers of 1100 watts of the system … They amplify the Bass to such a terrific level, that if you play the right song, it may shatter all the windows in your place.
Just turn on the system and you are in heaven … its just so ecstatic … Oh yes … It also plays VCDs, Audio CDs and Mp3s. I have been using this product for about a year now and so far I haven’t had any problems …
When I saw it in the showroom, I just knew that I had to have it and that was one of the smartest decisions that I might have made so far. It doesn’t have too many flaws … just that the CD playback lacks a random feature to play the songs. It DOES have a programmable memory of about 50 + songs I think … but I am not so sure. Also, the auto – switch feature is missing in the tape department and the fast dub feature …
I think that the architecture of this device prevents the company from putting these features in the tape dept. Other than this … there is no other flaws … Also, the sound quality of this system compensates for any flaw…
Even when played at the max volume of 40, there is hardly any loss in sound quality. For such terrific sound quality and such stunning looks and also for the plethora of features … I give it two thumbs up 😉
And for the people at Philips … keep up the good work guys …
PS : In case I forgot to mention … you can also copy songs from one tape to another and from CD to tape … the usual features …
Also has a digitally set – multi channel radio. 12 presets for your listening pleasure There are 3 level controls for the WOOX speakers ( excluding OFF )
Also there is an option for INCREDIBLE SURROUND … which affects the surround speakers so the next time you watch Jurassic park, feel the footsteps or when you see Gone in Sixty Seconds, you can really feel the revs of the Shelby Mustang …
Also has a Karaoke system in which you can connect the mic and there is a volume control for the mic also and also some special effects like echo and stuff … And if you still don’t believe me … check it out for yourself and while you are at it, also check out the other features that I may have missed … Cheers and signing off … –
Saurabh Warning : The system can be a real pain once you get it … for your neighbours !!!