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ZODIAC

Found 15 results

  1. The mobile gaming experience has mostly been viewed as a 'second-tier' experience when compared to PC and console gaming. In fact, I can even say that a lot of people still don't consider mobile gaming even a thing. Well, that's exactly what games like PUBG Mobile and Call Of Duty Mobile, and phones like the Black Shark 2 are here to prove otherwise. Yes, gaming phones, in case you haven't heard of them, are a thing now and we have started seeing a lot of these on the market lately. Razer has what it calls the 'Razer Phone' and ASUS has its own 'ROG Phone'. Even Nubia has launched a bunch of gaming phones and it's expected to launch another one very soon here in India. And then, of course, we have the Black Shark 2. Well, I myself wasn't really sold on the whole idea of buying a gaming phone, until I used the Black Shark 2. Yes, I've been using the Black Shark 2 for a few weeks now and I have a few things to say about the phone and just gaming phones in general. So, let's get on with it. Design & Build Quality We live in a world where even gaming laptops are now cutting down on the flashy looks to make it look like an ordinary piece of hardware. But the companies making these gaming phones are not shying away from showing off the striking hardware. Just like most other gaming phones on the market, the Black Shark 2 also looks very flashy, if I may. © MensXP/ Akshay Bhalla You don't necessarily have to hold the device in your hands to tell how it's different from other smartphones out there. The looks will give it away. Black Shark, in particular, is going with green accents. So, the Black Shark 2 has a bright green chamfered edge that runs all the way around the phone. And the back of the gaming is also equally striking, if not more. Heck, the Black Shark 2 even has an illuminated logo on the back that lights up. Even the case which you can buy for the phone as an accessory has green accents that glow in the dark. So, as for the looks, I'd say Black Shark is going with something that would attract gamers. Coming to the build quality, well, it's built like a tank. The moment you take it out of the box and hold it in your hands, that's when it'll truly hit you that you bought yourself a true gaming phone. The chamfered edges and the back texture make for a really good in-hand feel. I am sure it's not the kind of design that would resonate with everything, but you've bought the phone, then you're probably the target audience here. © MensXP/ Akshay Bhalla Overall, I'd say the Black Shark 2 has a kickass design and an amazing build quality. As a gamer, I go crazy on flashy lights and edgy designs on my gaming gear and using the Black Shark 2 truly makes me feel I am using something that's meant to be used by, you know, gamers. It'll constantly remind you and others around you that you're that person in the room with a gaming phone. Display The display is probably one of the most important pieces of the puzzle when it comes to gaming. That's where you see the game and interact with it, so it's best if you have the best possible display. The same goes for gaming phones too. So, does the Black Shark 2 has a good display? © MensXP/ Akshay Bhalla Yes, it does. For starters, it's a 6.39-inch FullHD+ AMOLED panel. It's an OLED panel with good resolution, so you'll be seeing deep blacks with sharp imagery. Even the colours look nice and punchy, which is, again, good for gaming. But that's not all. Black Shark has decided to throw in some extras to wow all the gamers. First things first, the display of the Black Shark 2 hides the fingerprint scanner underneath it. Yes, it has an in-display fingerprint, and it works just as you'd expect any in-display fingerprint scanner to work. I am not a huge fan of these scanners, but I think it works just fine. That main attraction, however, is the MasterTouch feature. Simply put, Black Shark 2's MasterTouch is similar to Apple's 3D Touch. However, unlike the 3D Touch on the iPhones and the iPads, the MagicTouch feature is more useful and can be used to play games. So, the way MasterTouch feature works is, it lets you configure two pressure-sensitive zones on the display and map it to any custom function in games like PUBG Mobile. © MensXP In the screenshot attached above, for instance, I've mapped the left zone to 'scope' and the right zone to 'fire'. Now when I apply more pressure anywhere inside these zones regardless of the on-screen buttons, the display will register it as 'scope' or 'fire' command for me. Get it? Yes, it takes a little time to get used to it once you've mapped it. However, it'll be hard to go back to a phone without this feature since you'll be so used to it. Not going to lie, it makes up for intuitive gameplay experience and therefore, I am inclined to believe that it's not just a gimmick. It actually works. Apart from that, the Black Shark 2 is also said to have the world's lowest latency touch display. The display has a report rate (not to be confused with refresh rate) up to 240Hz and response time of just 43.5ms. Yes, it doesn't have a faster refresh rate panels like the ones found on the ROG Phone or the new OnePlus 7 Pro, but Black Shark thinks gamers will care more about the response time. I personally didn't find any noticeable difference in the gameplay experience, but I'll talk a bit more about this in the performance section. Overall, I'd say the Black Shark 2 has a really good display that's also very functional when it comes to gaming. The MasterTouch feature did sound like a gimmick to me during the launch event, but now that I've used it, I think it's going to be hard for me to play PUBG Mobile on a phone that doesn't support it. Now, that's one way of retaining customers. Good job, Black Shark! Performance Oh yes, the performance! Well, let me get the specifications out of the way first. The Black Shark 2 is powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 855 SoC, which is the most powerful processor you can get on an Android phone in today's date. The phone also packs up to 12GB RAM and up to 256GB of internal storage, so there's plenty of memory and storage to play games. Now, these are some of the specs that you can also get on some other phones on the market like the OnePlus 7 Pro, for instance. © MensXP/ Akshay Bhalla If you head over to Black Shark's website, you'll see that it's full of fancy words like 'Multilayer Liquid Cooling', 'Gaming AI', 'Ludicrous Mode', and whatnot. These are the things that actually make Black Shark 2 a truly capable phone, at least according to the company. But none of that would make any sense if the performance isn't good, right? Well, Black Shark 2 is one of the fastest Android smartphones you can buy today. It's not just for gaming, by the way. Even when you're using the phones to do day-to-day stuff like browsing the web, taking pictures, etc., you'll notice how smooth everything really is. The animations are buttery smooth and I am yet to notice a single lag or a frame drop while using it. The experience has truly been amazing. If you're someone who likes to go by the numbers, then here are some benchmark figures for you - © MensXP Coming to gaming, I am happy to report that things are just as smooth and solid. Trust me, I played a lot of games before I said that, so you can take my word for it. Playing games like PUBG Mobile, Fortnite, Call Of Duty Mobile, Asphalt 9, etc., was truly amazing. As I said, I have not had a single frame drop on me ever since I switched this phone on for the first time a few days ago. And if you ever feel like you want more power for some reason, then you can also turn on what Black Shark likes to call the 'Ludicrous Mode', which essentially overclock both the CPU and GPU to give you a performance boost. Yes, you can do all geeky stuff on this phone with just a tap of a button. © MensXP/ Akshay Bhalla Black Shark 2 also has 'Direct Touch Liquid Cooling 3.0' which basically takes advantage of an oversized cooling plate, covering all major components to reduce the core temperature of the phone by up to 14-degrees. Despite all the fancy cooling system, I have to admit that the phone did run a little hot while playing games. It wasn't too hot to handle, but the phone did feel a little warm to touch, which wasn't exactly what I was expecting after hearing all the fancy components. Nonetheless, it's not really a deal-breaker, so let's move past that. The Black Shark 2 runs on Android 9 Pie out of the box and I was actually quite surprised to see the phone running a stock version of Android. It doesn't have any fancy skin on top of Android except for a couple of additions like the 'Shark Space'. You can trigger the 'Shark Space' by flipping the slider on the right side of the phone. It's very similar to the alert slider found on the OnePlus phones. The 'Shark Space' will essentially dump everything from the memory to allow for a smooth gaming experience, and it can even stop buzzing the phone with notifications and calls, if you want nothing to interrupt your gaming experience. The 'Shark Space' will also let you display things like 'FPS counter' while playing games, in addition to letting you monitor things like CPU load, WLAN signal strength, etc. You can access all these features by swiping down from the top right corner of the display. It's just a software, but it's things like that, which truly makes it feel like you're using a gaming phone. I mean, I can't expect to do all that on, say, my Pixel 3a or the iPhone XR. Of course, that's not the only reason to buy the phone, but you'll want to use it time and again once you have it. Battery Life The Black Shark 2 has a 4,000 mAh battery and it supports 27W/4.8A quick charging. That means you'll have enough battery for all the games you want and also have the ability to charge the phone quickly when it runs out of juice. As for the battery performance, I wasn't expecting too much since the phone has a lot of powerful internals to push, but it surprised me with its two-day battery life. Of course, you'll find yourself charging the phone more often if you play a lot of games, but with day-to-day usage, you can easily get through two days without an issue. But again, it's a gaming phone, so I am guessing you'll be playing a lot of games as I did, so I suggest you keep the charger with you at all times. By the way, there's no support for wireless charging, but that's not really surprising and the phone charges rapidly with the included the charger. Camera © MensXP/ Akshay Bhalla Cameras on gaming phones have always been an afterthought, to be honest. None of the gaming phones that I've experienced in the past have had a good camera, so I wasn't expecting the Black Shark 2 to have good optics. I am sure Black Shark thinks the same because there's absolutely no mention of the cameras on Black Shark 2's official website. Anyway, the Black Shark 2 has two cameras at the back. There's a 48MP primary sensor with f/1.75 aperture and a 12MP 2x telephoto sensor with f/2.2 aperture. On the front, there's a 20MP selfie shooter with an f/2.0 aperture. The camera software is very similar to what you'd get with a stock version of Android. Very basic, yet very functional. As for the performance, I'd say it's better than what I had expected. It's not exceptional or anything, but the images, I'd say are better than average. All images turned out nice and sharp with plenty of details. I did notice some issues with dynamic range and some shots even turned out over-exposed, but this is a good shooter for being a gaming-centric device. I mean, I don't expect photographers to carry this phone around, so I am not going to go hard on it for not having exceptional cameras like the Pixel phones. Long story short, you won't be disappointed with the cameras on the Black Shark 2. They're better than what you normally get with gaming phones. Here are some samples so you can judge them yourself - Other Features This is the part where I'd usually end my review by giving my final thoughts, but there's still a lot to talk about the Black Shark 2. I have to mention that the phone offers a really good audio experience. It has stereo speakers, which is awesome and it gets really loud. It's great for listening to music or watching movies, etc., with a group of people. For gaming, of course, you'll be using a pair of headphones, but sadly the phone doesn't have a 3.5mm jack. Yes, it's really disappointing to see it being removed from a gaming phone, but you do get a dongle inside the box if you want to continue using your old pair of cans instead of switching to a pair of Bluetooth headphones. And there are things like the ability to add gaming pads to the phone to enhance your gaming experience. These gaming pads don't come with the phone, so you do have to buy them separately as an accessory. However, they will certainly enhance your gaming experience and I can confirm that with the time I spent using them at the launch event. You can also hook the Black Shark 2 to a TV or a monitor and use the gamepads to play games, which is also a nice touch. The Final Say © MensXP/ Akshay Bhalla The Black Shark 2 is now available in India for a starting price of Rs 39,999. For the high-end variant with 12GB RAM and 256GB storage, you'll be shelling out as much as Rs 49,999. And of course, you'll have to pay more for the accessories. So, it's not really the most affordable smartphone out there, but it truly offers a lot for the money. All things considered, the Black Shark 2 is actually a kickass smartphone for the price. Look, I wasn't really sold on the idea of buying a dedicated gaming phone, but Black Shark 2 has made me think otherwise. Yes, you can get other phones with similar specs on the market, but what you're paying for the Black Shark 2 is not just for the power, it's for the true gaming experience. Everything from the way it feels in your hands to all the additional gaming-centric features like the ability to immerse yourself in the game without having to worry about notifications, etc., is definitely, something that's worth checking out. Heck, you can even overlock the phone with a tap of a button to get more performance, which is just insane. Overall, I'd say that Black Shark 2 is not the phone you need. But I can say that you'll keep coming back once you've experienced everything that it has to offer. It's targetted towards hardcore gamers who want nothing but the absolute best gaming experience. As I mentioned before, it's one of those phones, that'll constantly remind you and others around you that you're THAT person in the room with a gaming phone. Now, it's up to decide if you want to be that person or not.
  2. The mobile gaming experience has mostly been viewed as a 'second-tier' experience when compared to PC and console gaming. In fact, I can even say that a lot of people still don't consider mobile gaming even a thing. Well, that's exactly what games like PUBG Mobile and Call Of Duty Mobile, and phones like the Black Shark 2 are here to prove otherwise. Yes, gaming phones, in case you haven't heard of them, are a thing now and we have started seeing a lot of these on the market lately. Razer has what it calls the 'Razer Phone' and ASUS has its own 'ROG Phone'. Even Nubia has launched a bunch of gaming phones and it's expected to launch another one very soon here in India. And then, of course, we have the Black Shark 2. Well, I myself wasn't really sold on the whole idea of buying a gaming phone, until I used the Black Shark 2. Yes, I've been using the Black Shark 2 for a few weeks now and I have a few things to say about the phone and just gaming phones in general. So, let's get on with it. Design & Build Quality We live in a world where even gaming laptops are now cutting down on the flashy looks to make it look like an ordinary piece of hardware. But the companies making these gaming phones are not shying away from showing off the striking hardware. Just like most other gaming phones on the market, the Black Shark 2 also looks very flashy, if I may. © MensXP/ Akshay Bhalla You don't necessarily have to hold the device in your hands to tell how it's different from other smartphones out there. The looks will give it away. Black Shark, in particular, is going with green accents. So, the Black Shark 2 has a bright green chamfered edge that runs all the way around the phone. And the back of the gaming is also equally striking, if not more. Heck, the Black Shark 2 even has an illuminated logo on the back that lights up. Even the case which you can buy for the phone as an accessory has green accents that glow in the dark. So, as for the looks, I'd say Black Shark is going with something that would attract gamers. Coming to the build quality, well, it's built like a tank. The moment you take it out of the box and hold it in your hands, that's when it'll truly hit you that you bought yourself a true gaming phone. The chamfered edges and the back texture make for a really good in-hand feel. I am sure it's not the kind of design that would resonate with everything, but you've bought the phone, then you're probably the target audience here. © MensXP/ Akshay Bhalla Overall, I'd say the Black Shark 2 has a kickass design and an amazing build quality. As a gamer, I go crazy on flashy lights and edgy designs on my gaming gear and using the Black Shark 2 truly makes me feel I am using something that's meant to be used by, you know, gamers. It'll constantly remind you and others around you that you're that person in the room with a gaming phone. Display The display is probably one of the most important pieces of the puzzle when it comes to gaming. That's where you see the game and interact with it, so it's best if you have the best possible display. The same goes for gaming phones too. So, does the Black Shark 2 has a good display? © MensXP/ Akshay Bhalla Yes, it does. For starters, it's a 6.39-inch FullHD+ AMOLED panel. It's an OLED panel with good resolution, so you'll be seeing deep blacks with sharp imagery. Even the colours look nice and punchy, which is, again, good for gaming. But that's not all. Black Shark has decided to throw in some extras to wow all the gamers. First things first, the display of the Black Shark 2 hides the fingerprint scanner underneath it. Yes, it has an in-display fingerprint, and it works just as you'd expect any in-display fingerprint scanner to work. I am not a huge fan of these scanners, but I think it works just fine. That main attraction, however, is the MasterTouch feature. Simply put, Black Shark 2's MasterTouch is similar to Apple's 3D Touch. However, unlike the 3D Touch on the iPhones and the iPads, the MagicTouch feature is more useful and can be used to play games. So, the way MasterTouch feature works is, it lets you configure two pressure-sensitive zones on the display and map it to any custom function in games like PUBG Mobile. © MensXP In the screenshot attached above, for instance, I've mapped the left zone to 'scope' and the right zone to 'fire'. Now when I apply more pressure anywhere inside these zones regardless of the on-screen buttons, the display will register it as 'scope' or 'fire' command for me. Get it? Yes, it takes a little time to get used to it once you've mapped it. However, it'll be hard to go back to a phone without this feature since you'll be so used to it. Not going to lie, it makes up for intuitive gameplay experience and therefore, I am inclined to believe that it's not just a gimmick. It actually works. Apart from that, the Black Shark 2 is also said to have the world's lowest latency touch display. The display has a report rate (not to be confused with refresh rate) up to 240Hz and response time of just 43.5ms. Yes, it doesn't have a faster refresh rate panels like the ones found on the ROG Phone or the new OnePlus 7 Pro, but Black Shark thinks gamers will care more about the response time. I personally didn't find any noticeable difference in the gameplay experience, but I'll talk a bit more about this in the performance section. Overall, I'd say the Black Shark 2 has a really good display that's also very functional when it comes to gaming. The MasterTouch feature did sound like a gimmick to me during the launch event, but now that I've used it, I think it's going to be hard for me to play PUBG Mobile on a phone that doesn't support it. Now, that's one way of retaining customers. Good job, Black Shark! Performance Oh yes, the performance! Well, let me get the specifications out of the way first. The Black Shark 2 is powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 855 SoC, which is the most powerful processor you can get on an Android phone in today's date. The phone also packs up to 12GB RAM and up to 256GB of internal storage, so there's plenty of memory and storage to play games. Now, these are some of the specs that you can also get on some other phones on the market like the OnePlus 7 Pro, for instance. © MensXP/ Akshay Bhalla If you head over to Black Shark's website, you'll see that it's full of fancy words like 'Multilayer Liquid Cooling', 'Gaming AI', 'Ludicrous Mode', and whatnot. These are the things that actually make Black Shark 2 a truly capable phone, at least according to the company. But none of that would make any sense if the performance isn't good, right? Well, Black Shark 2 is one of the fastest Android smartphones you can buy today. It's not just for gaming, by the way. Even when you're using the phones to do day-to-day stuff like browsing the web, taking pictures, etc., you'll notice how smooth everything really is. The animations are buttery smooth and I am yet to notice a single lag or a frame drop while using it. The experience has truly been amazing. If you're someone who likes to go by the numbers, then here are some benchmark figures for you - © MensXP Coming to gaming, I am happy to report that things are just as smooth and solid. Trust me, I played a lot of games before I said that, so you can take my word for it. Playing games like PUBG Mobile, Fortnite, Call Of Duty Mobile, Asphalt 9, etc., was truly amazing. As I said, I have not had a single frame drop on me ever since I switched this phone on for the first time a few days ago. And if you ever feel like you want more power for some reason, then you can also turn on what Black Shark likes to call the 'Ludicrous Mode', which essentially overclock both the CPU and GPU to give you a performance boost. Yes, you can do all geeky stuff on this phone with just a tap of a button. © MensXP/ Akshay Bhalla Black Shark 2 also has 'Direct Touch Liquid Cooling 3.0' which basically takes advantage of an oversized cooling plate, covering all major components to reduce the core temperature of the phone by up to 14-degrees. Despite all the fancy cooling system, I have to admit that the phone did run a little hot while playing games. It wasn't too hot to handle, but the phone did feel a little warm to touch, which wasn't exactly what I was expecting after hearing all the fancy components. Nonetheless, it's not really a deal-breaker, so let's move past that. The Black Shark 2 runs on Android 9 Pie out of the box and I was actually quite surprised to see the phone running a stock version of Android. It doesn't have any fancy skin on top of Android except for a couple of additions like the 'Shark Space'. You can trigger the 'Shark Space' by flipping the slider on the right side of the phone. It's very similar to the alert slider found on the OnePlus phones. The 'Shark Space' will essentially dump everything from the memory to allow for a smooth gaming experience, and it can even stop buzzing the phone with notifications and calls, if you want nothing to interrupt your gaming experience. The 'Shark Space' will also let you display things like 'FPS counter' while playing games, in addition to letting you monitor things like CPU load, WLAN signal strength, etc. You can access all these features by swiping down from the top right corner of the display. It's just a software, but it's things like that, which truly makes it feel like you're using a gaming phone. I mean, I can't expect to do all that on, say, my Pixel 3a or the iPhone XR. Of course, that's not the only reason to buy the phone, but you'll want to use it time and again once you have it. Battery Life The Black Shark 2 has a 4,000 mAh battery and it supports 27W/4.8A quick charging. That means you'll have enough battery for all the games you want and also have the ability to charge the phone quickly when it runs out of juice. As for the battery performance, I wasn't expecting too much since the phone has a lot of powerful internals to push, but it surprised me with its two-day battery life. Of course, you'll find yourself charging the phone more often if you play a lot of games, but with day-to-day usage, you can easily get through two days without an issue. But again, it's a gaming phone, so I am guessing you'll be playing a lot of games as I did, so I suggest you keep the charger with you at all times. By the way, there's no support for wireless charging, but that's not really surprising and the phone charges rapidly with the included the charger. Camera © MensXP/ Akshay Bhalla Cameras on gaming phones have always been an afterthought, to be honest. None of the gaming phones that I've experienced in the past have had a good camera, so I wasn't expecting the Black Shark 2 to have good optics. I am sure Black Shark thinks the same because there's absolutely no mention of the cameras on Black Shark 2's official website. Anyway, the Black Shark 2 has two cameras at the back. There's a 48MP primary sensor with f/1.75 aperture and a 12MP 2x telephoto sensor with f/2.2 aperture. On the front, there's a 20MP selfie shooter with an f/2.0 aperture. The camera software is very similar to what you'd get with a stock version of Android. Very basic, yet very functional. As for the performance, I'd say it's better than what I had expected. It's not exceptional or anything, but the images, I'd say are better than average. All images turned out nice and sharp with plenty of details. I did notice some issues with dynamic range and some shots even turned out over-exposed, but this is a good shooter for being a gaming-centric device. I mean, I don't expect photographers to carry this phone around, so I am not going to go hard on it for not having exceptional cameras like the Pixel phones. Long story short, you won't be disappointed with the cameras on the Black Shark 2. They're better than what you normally get with gaming phones. Here are some samples so you can judge them yourself - Other Features This is the part where I'd usually end my review by giving my final thoughts, but there's still a lot to talk about the Black Shark 2. I have to mention that the phone offers a really good audio experience. It has stereo speakers, which is awesome and it gets really loud. It's great for listening to music or watching movies, etc., with a group of people. For gaming, of course, you'll be using a pair of headphones, but sadly the phone doesn't have a 3.5mm jack. Yes, it's really disappointing to see it being removed from a gaming phone, but you do get a dongle inside the box if you want to continue using your old pair of cans instead of switching to a pair of Bluetooth headphones. And there are things like the ability to add gaming pads to the phone to enhance your gaming experience. These gaming pads don't come with the phone, so you do have to buy them separately as an accessory. However, they will certainly enhance your gaming experience and I can confirm that with the time I spent using them at the launch event. You can also hook the Black Shark 2 to a TV or a monitor and use the gamepads to play games, which is also a nice touch. The Final Say © MensXP/ Akshay Bhalla The Black Shark 2 is now available in India for a starting price of Rs 39,999. For the high-end variant with 12GB RAM and 256GB storage, you'll be shelling out as much as Rs 49,999. And of course, you'll have to pay more for the accessories. So, it's not really the most affordable smartphone out there, but it truly offers a lot for the money. All things considered, the Black Shark 2 is actually a kickass smartphone for the price. Look, I wasn't really sold on the idea of buying a dedicated gaming phone, but Black Shark 2 has made me think otherwise. Yes, you can get other phones with similar specs on the market, but what you're paying for the Black Shark 2 is not just for the power, it's for the true gaming experience. Everything from the way it feels in your hands to all the additional gaming-centric features like the ability to immerse yourself in the game without having to worry about notifications, etc., is definitely, something that's worth checking out. Heck, you can even overlock the phone with a tap of a button to get more performance, which is just insane. Overall, I'd say that Black Shark 2 is not the phone you need. But I can say that you'll keep coming back once you've experienced everything that it has to offer. It's targetted towards hardcore gamers who want nothing but the absolute best gaming experience. As I mentioned before, it's one of those phones, that'll constantly remind you and others around you that you're THAT person in the room with a gaming phone. Now, it's up to decide if you want to be that person or not.
  3. I am super pumped up for the upcoming week. My dream smartphone, OnePlus 7 Pro is hitting the markets on May 14 with a grand global launch across New York, London and Bangalore at 8.15 PM IST. You know what this means for tech watchers like me, right? All we are doing right now is spending hours on Twitter speculating how this product will turn out to be. While this is a huge news in itself, there is something even bigger - a chance to experience the flagship device first-hand before everyone else. How you ask? OnePlus will host a one-of-a-kind 'OnePlus Experience Pop-Up' on May 17 (three days post launch), starting at 7PM at Amphitheatre, Select City Walk, New Delhi. The Experience Pop-Up will be an experiential zone where the OnePlus community will come together to get their hands on the latest flagship from the brand - the OnePlus 7 Pro. There will also be limited stock pop-up stores on May 15 across seven major cities in India - Bangalore, New Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Pune, Chennai and Ahmedabad, where attendees will be the first to get their hands on the device. There's more! Early birds at these pop-ups will also stand a chance to receive exclusive goodies including OnePlus Type-C Bullets, Netflix and Amazon Vouchers, along with OnePlus back cases, OnePlus tote bags and OnePlus 'Never Settle' t-shirts. There will also be exclusive workshops and exciting events for the community, over the course of the month including gaming leagues, content creation and photography workshops. Ready to Go Beyond Speed? Invites for the #OnePlus7Series Launch Event are now LIVE ð¨ Get yours here - https://t.co/qh8beU9AOI pic.twitter.com/JYtn7F8rUU — OnePlus India (@OnePlus_IN) April 25, 2019 So what is that we are expecting out of the brand this time? We speculate that the OnePlus 7 is likely to do away with the dewdrop notch which was introduced in the OnePlus 6T. Instead of the notch, the OnePlus 7 Pro may include a pop-up camera selfie camera instead and also have QHD+ 90Hz AMOLED display. While there are too many speculations and rumours floating across the internet, we can find it all on May 14 when the flagship product launches. More than 8,000 attendees are expected to attend this worldwide launch. But for those who cannot, live stream the launch here.
  4. HMD Global has launched the new Nokia 4.2 in India. The device was first shown off at the Mobile World Congress earlier this year, and they'll go head-to-head with other entry-level budget phones in the country. Nokia 4.2 Specifications © MensXP If you have a bit more money to splurge, then you can check out the new Nokia 4.2. It's a slightly more premium phone that sports an all-glass design with a polycarbonate frame. On the front, the Nokia 4.2 features a 5.71” HD+ LCD panel with a teardrop notch. Again, the front of the phone looks very similar to the Nokia 3.2 or any Nokia phone for that matter. (c) HMD Global Nokia 4.2 is powered by a Snapdragon 439 SoC and it comes with 3GB RAM and 32GB internal storage. It also runs a stock version of Android 9 Pie out of the box and has a dedicated Google Assistant button on the side. As for the optics, the phone has a dual camera setup which includes 13MP + 2MP sensors. There's an 8MP front-facing selfie camera as well. It also packs a 3,000 mAh battery and has a 3.5mm headphone jack too. Pricing & Availability Nokia 4.2, as mentioned earlier, starts at Rs. 10,990 for the 3GB/32GB variant. Nokia 4.2 consumers get free six-month screen replacement worth INR 3,500 covered under Nokia phone screen protection insurance, brought to you by our partner, Servify. T&Cs apply Consumers purchasing Nokia 4.2 using HDFC Bank Credit and Debit cards on EMI and regular transactions done through Pinelabs terminals in offline stores, will receive a 10% cashback. Consumers can also avail 10% cashback when they use HDFC consumer finance. This offer is available at retail outlets till 10th June '19. T&Cs apply Vodafone and Idea subscribers will receive INR 2,500 instant cashback by way of 50 vouchers of INR 50 each. These vouchers can be redeemed on recharge of INR 199 and above. T&Cs apply.
  5. The moment I said I was going to attend an eSport event in India, a few of my friends burst out in laughter. They simply couldn't resonate with the idea of sitting in a large room staring at a big screen, watching a bunch of players, well, play a game. If you put some thought into it, then you may even start to think that they have a point. Unlike the appeal of the live experience of a traditional sport, where you can actually see professional players perform in front you, in eSports you're just watching a some players sit like statues and become a part of the computer they're playing on. And on top of that, you literally have to watch one of the big screens that are fitted in front of you to see what the players are doing. It's the exact same content you could consume from the comfort of your couch at home on platforms like Twitch. Then why do people pay big bucks to attend something which they can watch for free without breaking a sweat? © Adela Sznajder/ ESL Well, that's exactly what I was itching to find out. So, I attended one of the biggest eSports event in India last week and I am happy to report that I have a lot to share. And, I mean, a LOT! SPOILER ALERT!! If you're a passionate gamer, then let me tell you that's it's worth every penny you spend. But if you're one, then I am guessing you probably already know that, right? Last week, I attended one of the biggest Dota 2 tournaments in the world that's hosted by ESL One. It was the first time I had attended an eSports event ever, and I was filled with mixed emotions. So here I am, pouring my thoughts away to give you an idea of what it's like being a part of an event like this and what goes into putting up such a show. The Arena - Theatrical fanfare! © MensXP/ Karthik Iyer The moment I stepped into the arena, I felt as if I walked into a virtual world. A world, which I had only seen through my computer screen. The stage was lit in red and blue lights, and it was surrounded by big screens, so the entire arena could watch what the players are doing. I entered the arena right before the action, so all I could hear was narratives from commentators coupled with a background sound to build the hype. Together with the lights, commentary, and some base-heavy thumps, the arena felt nothing short of a concert or a pro sporting event like, say, a boxing match. There was some serious energy in there. The arena was also draped with advertising slogans and hoardings of brands like Intel, Vodafone, DHL, and more. And as you can see, there's also a Mercedes standing right smack in the middle, which belongs to the player who's deemed the most valuable throughout the tournament. © MensXP/ Karthik Iyer After I found a comfortable seat to settle, the players of the two teams that were about to battle it out in a do-or-die match were introduced. It was 'compLexity Gaming' vs 'The Pango'. The introduction of the roster, mind you, was an enjoyable sight of its own, with players entering the arena from behind us. I could hear the commentator introducing the players with their game-tags instead of their names. Interesting, indeed! “Welcome Naive-, Iceberg, Ghostik, XSvamp1Re, CemaTheSlayer from team Pango; the roster that'll be going against complexity Gaming”, he said. The crowd started cheering and hooting as the players walked through the center towards the stage, waving hands and throwing high-fives. The turn out wasn't overwhelming, but it was enough to fill the room with excitement. © Adela Sznajder/ ESL The players were allowed to walk in on the stage with their own set of peripherals that they are comfortable with, as long as they go through the referee who makes sure that they are not bringing in any exploits to gain advantage in the game. The crowd started settling in for the action, as the players were setting up their rigs and loading the game. I could hear a lot of distant chatter about what the people around me thought the game was going to be like. Each of them were making their own predictions. Honestly, I was quite surprised to see the sheer amount of knowledge some of these people had, and also their involvement in the game. I remember talking to a 'Pango' fan next to me, who started narrating me what the roster should be doing in that particular match to win. © Adela Sznajder/ ESL As the match started, the Dota 2 fans around me started showing their passion for the sport. It's one thing to sit home and watch the players play their game, and a completely different thing to sit among the people who know the game so well that they literally gushed out of their seats in excitement after watching their favorite player pull a solid victory move. It's a great feeling that you'd get only by experiencing the event firsthand live in front of you. I couldn't sit through the entire 'Best of 3' game, since I had I rush for the backstage tour where the real magic happens. But here are some really cool pictures from the event which you probably won't find anywhere else - A Geeky Gathering Backstage The ESL One team was kind enough to take me and a bunch of other journalists for a backstage tour of the event, to show us how their teams were running the show behind the scene. Unfortunately, we weren't allowed to take any pictures or record video while we were backstage for some obvious reasons, so I suggest you put on your imagination hat and start grasping as much as possible. From massive computer rigs to human-sized machines controlling the lighting system, the backstage is where's it's at. “All the computers that you're going to see here, and on stage are running on the most powerful tech that we can get our hands on”, said Seth Bull, the partner manager at ESL who's taking care of all the backend operation during the event. © Adela Sznajder/ ESL For the record, all the computing power that was necessary to run the operations at ESL One was provided by Intel. “Why we love working with Intel is because they provide us with some of the best and reliable tech we can get our hands on”, added Seth. Seth took through various areas of the backstage like 'Player Lounge', which, as the name suggests is a place where players can hangout after a match. We also saw 'Team Rooms', which is essentially room in which the players gather right before and after a match to discuss or even practice a game or two. As we were rushing through the huge backstage area, I couldn't help but notice the piles of empty monitor boxes that were lying around. Almost all the monitors used at ESL One (or at least the ones I could see) were ASUS monitors. Some of them were the ASUS ROG Swift PG258Q (FHD) while others were the ASUS ROG Swift PG27UQ (4K) units. From the monitors on-stage to the monitors used backstage by the operations team, ASUS is what I could see. © Adela Sznajder/ ESL The TV Production room was where the real work was being done. There were close to a hundred people working together to make sure that the steam was up and running at all time without any issues whatsoever. Seth made it a point to tell us that the level of production work that was going down inside that room was almost equivalent to what you'd see on high-profile events such a 'World Championship' games, etc. During our tour, the entire production unit was closely monitoring the systems as one of the most anticipated games of the season between “Mineski” and “Natus Vincere” a.k.a “Na'Vi” was underway. We could hear the crowd going crazy behind us as the players were walking on to the stage. Anti-Cheat Measures & Other Exploits “ESL's main team in Cologne, Germany is the one that's monitoring all our game data and keeping an eye out for any sort of anomalies“, said Seth, when we asked him if there were any anti-cheat measures in place. We were also told that ESL works with a lot of companies that provides anti-cheat software for games like Dota 2 and Counter Strike. Again, thanks to Intel, the computers both on and off stage have 'Hot Swap Drive Bay' so that each player has a copy of game ready at all times with all the optimum playable settings. Not only does it helps the team save some time, but it also means that no one can access the game files without authorization and tamper the files in any possible way. Also, there was no internet connection for the computers on-stage, an they all were connected to a LAN, ensuring that there's nothing getting into their systems. Intel's booth Was Fun Too Intel, in case you don't know, is one of the main backers of ESL One eSports event, and the company had set up a huge booth at the event venue. Intel's booth was honestly one of the coolest parts of the event as they had a lot going in there. There were a ton of gaming laptops and custom gaming rigs in the booth, and all of them were open for all visitors to check out. © MensXP/ Karthik Iyer I couldn't get good pictures of some of the awesome gaming rigs in the booth mainly because of how packed it was, but I did manage to check out Acer Predator Thronos. Yes, it was the first time checking it out and I am glad that I stopped by. The Predator Thronos, Alienware's Area M51 were clearly some of the coolest products on showcase. © MensXP/ Karthik Iyer I also had a chance to sit and talk with Frank Soqui, VP & General Manager, Gaming at Intel. Lee Machen, General Manager, Gaming Sales at Intel and Prakash Mallya, VP and Managing Director, Sales and Marketing Group, Intel India were also present for interaction. I had a great time chatting with them, discussing gaming, hardware, and more. The Final Say Setting up a huge stage like the one at ESL, and putting up such a massive show without running into any technical difficult is not easy feat. Of course, ESL is working with top brands in the industry like Intel to ensure smooth functioning, but handling logistics worth over $2 million is something that's worth appreciating. © MensXP/ Karthik Iyer The event, in my opinion, was as much a festival as it was a tournament. Could I have watched the entire event from the comfort of my home? Yes, absolutely! However, I wouldn't have heard the loud cheering or the crowd in real time or I wouldn't have witnessed the enthusiastic gamers literally jump up from their seats to show their excitement. Granted, I haven't experienced some of the bigger sporting events such as the Wimbledon or the Super Bowl yet, but experiencing the ESL One Dota 2 eSports competition with hundreds of strangers will undoubtedly go down as one of the geekiest gigs I've ever been a part of. © Adela Sznajder/ ESL Oh BTW, 'Keen Gaming' beat 'Mineski' to win ESL One Mumbai.
  6. Intel already has a powerful array of chipsets under its belt, and the company has just announced the new 9th Gen Intel Core H-series processors for laptops. Intel is specifically targeting the enthusiast PC gamers and creators looking to push their experience to the next level. According to the company, the new 9th Gen Intel Core mobile processors deliver desktop-calibre performance in a mobile form factor, and you can get crazy good speeds of up to 5GHz. © Reuters The new top of the line 9th Gen Intel Core i9-9980HK processor is the company's first core i9 mobile processor with up to 5GHz with Intel's Thermal Velocity Boost. It has 8 cores, 16 threads and supports 16MB of Smart Cache. If you are someone who's looking to upgrade your, say, 3-year-old rig, then the new 9th gen processors will give you a performance leap of 33-per cent. And if you are a gamer who's upgrading from a 3-year-old PC, then you can expect to play immersive AAA gameplay with up to 56-percent FPS improvement on select games, and experience 38-per cent faster loading times in CPU-intensive titles like Civilization 6. This is just the new CPUs alone. Pair it with the right GPU, RAM, etc., then you can expect a significant upgrade in your gaming experience. A full range of 9th Gen mobile processors including Intel Core i5, i7, and i9 will be available with the OEMs, so you can expect compelling gaming laptops from the likes of Acer, ASUS, Dell, HP, Lenovo and MSI very soon. In addition to the mobile chips, the 9th Gen Intel Core desktop processor family was also introduced. The 9th Gen Intel Core desktop processor lineup now includes more than 25 total products with options ranging from Intel Core i3 up to Intel Core i9.
  7. What were your first thoughts when you saw the silver screen come alive at the screening of 'Night At The Museum' back in 2006? That was something, wasn't it? The colossal museum and the myriad people and animals from the antiquities coming to life on-screen, and watching Ben Stiller trying to gather his semblance, almost made us wonder what would it be like to experience all that history with our very own eyes if given a chance. © 20th Century Fox Well, tell you what, we finally might have landed a chance to experience something similar, if not the same. Airbnb has teamed up with The Louvre in Paris and is giving a lucky winner the chance to win a 'Night with Mona Lisa'. Yes, you read that right. Here's What This Is All About © Wikipedia The Louvre Museum in Paris is the world's largest art museum and a historical monument in Paris. The museum is celebrating 30 years of the iconic glass pyramid aka the 'Louvre Pyramid' and is giving a lucky winner the chance to stay there! Read The Finer Details Here The stay is scheduled for Tuesday, 30th April, when the Louvre is usually closed. The winner gets to sleep under the pyramid in a “tent-like” bedroom, as well as enjoy a private tour of the museum. © Wikipedia Apart from all that, they will also be served boozy appetizers in a “living room” in front of the Mona Lisa painting, which will be followed by a privately-cooked dinner at the foot of the famous statue of the Venus de Milo. Later, the winner will also be taken to attend an acoustic music concert in the Napoleon III halls. Here's How You Can Try Your Luck © Instagram Sounds like a once in a lifetime opportunity, doesn't it? Well, it sure is! So here is how you can give this a shot and try your luck. To enter the competition, all you have to do is answer “Why would you be the Mona Lisa's perfect guest?” Details of how to enter, and all the terms and conditions are on the Airbnb website or else you can simply head over to AirBnB's official Instagram page and click on the link given in the bio. Happy participating!
  8. If you look at evolution within Bollywood, in terms of good content, it has been slow yet progressive. Various celebrities have held on to the idea of evolving content and they've tried to deliver the same over the years. Somehow though, only a few have managed to stand out with their ubiquitous panache and acting prowess, while delivering some excellent quality content on-screen. One of the fewer actors who comes to mind when I pack these sentences together is Aamir Khan and at 54, he's made a huge mark on the entire cinematic experience in India. © Pinterest He started his journey in 1988, with a romantic drama 'Quamat Se Quamat Tak' and went on to do several others like 'Raja Hindustani', 'Akele Hum Akele Tum', 'Dil', 'Love, Love Love' etc. till he stumbled upon his impeccable comic timing in 'Andaaz Apna Apna', which is talked about while he's praised for it, till date. Over the years though, Aamir encapsulated his finesse as a good actor by doing some pertinent roles both in the 90s and the early 2000s. Films like 'Sarfarosh', 'Rangeela' and 'Ghulam' made him popular amongst young people, for donning relatable roles time and again. But because he's a visionary, he always looked far ahead and looked at how his passion for acting could also make a large-scale difference in society. © Pinterest Aamir takes story-telling as an art that can also change someone's life along with changing the trajectory of cinema in India. Through his stories on real-time issues that plague society, he connects with a larger audience who appreciate his work and acknowledge the sentiments behind it. Here are 8 Aamir Khan movies that have greatly impacted Indian cinema with a great story-telling landscape for the audience! (1) Lagaan (2001) © Sony Pictures Network 'Lagaan' marked the beginning of Aamir's 'films with a social cause'. The film was a historical epic sports drama set in the colonial British era, where a village bound by high taxes, found a way to evade them by beating the Britishers in a Cricket match. The film was nominated for an Oscar award as well. (2) Dil Chahta Hai (2001) © Excel Entertainment DCH was definitely the defining film for Indian cinema with its forward outlook and relatable characters. It promoted deep and meaningful friendships, love and travel all at once and the songs still ring a fresh bell, every time they're played. People still rave about how classy the film was and trust me, 'Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara', another travel based film has nothing on it! (3) Rang De Basanti (2006) © UTV Motion Pictures The cult classic is one of Aamir's most talked about and liked film, and we couldn't help but mention this one. The film revolves around a bunch of young people who revolutionise the idea of Independence while trying to make correctives with the 'system' as outiders. Aamir's role as DJ is very pronounced because he doesn't stand-out as a superstar in the film but as someone who shares equal role responsibility with the rest of the cast. The film also promotes more action to change something than sitting at coffee shops talking and debating about 'change' and maybe that's why the public really enjoyed this one. (4) Taare Zameen Par (2007) © Aamir Khan Productions Talking about Aamir's films that have impacted social norms and given rise to content based on good causes, 'Taare Zameen Par' tops the list for sure. The film explores the life and imagination of 8-year-old Ishaan, who is dyslexic and tries to cope with life through his shortcomings, only to discover his talent elsewhere. The film made a huge impact for people suffering with the same condition and it became a beacon of hope for many. (5) 3 Idiots (2009) © Reliance BIG Pictures '3 Idiots' was based on a Chetan Bhagat novel by the same name and the film did remarkably well. Again leaning toward a social stigma, the film talked about flaws in the Indian education system and how parents and students both blindly fall prey to it. The film was funny in doses but the message was well received by the audience. (6) Dhobi Ghat (2011) © UTV Motion Pictures Aamir's first art and parallel cinema film, 'Dhobi Ghat' didn't do well with the audience but the critics absolutely loved the film. It was also long listed for the 65th BAFTA Awards. The film revolved around the lives of four individuals and how they intersected at some point in time in the movie. It was a beautiful directorial debut by Kiran Rao, Aamir's wife and Aamir produced the movie as well as acted in it. (7) PK (2014) © UTV Motion Pictures Aamir played an alien who comes down to Earth and falls prey to religious fanatics, self-proclaimed God men and blind faith. The film touched a sensitive nerve and became an important topic of discussion but it also showcased how most people blindly follow a religion, in order to believe in something. Aamir did get critical acclaim for the film as it was the first film that initiated debates about some stubborn religious views. (8) Dangal (2016) © Walt Disney Movies Motion pictures At the a time when most of Aamir's colleagues are still romancing actresses half their age on the big screen, Aamir took a rather challenging role and played the least glamorous role of a father to two girls, in his most talked about film Dangal. Aamir plays the role of Mahavir Singh Phogat, an amateur wrestler, who goes against 'what people think and speak' and trains his two daughters Geeta and Babita Kumari Phogat to become India's first world-class wrestlers. The film nailed it at the box office and everyone raved about it, as it was one of his finest films ever. The actor also had to work hard on his physique to build a wrestler's body and surely enough, his hard work paid off well. © Twitter Apart from creating a stern chance for philanthropic work on grave social issues in society, through his films, Aamir believes in his art so much that he never attends a single award function. His vision and ideologies go hand in hand with his dedication towards cinema and we're glad we have someone amidst us who understands the importance of some great cinematic experience. Here's wishing to see some more great work from one of the best actors we have in the industry today.
  9. Shaving might seem to be an extremely simple affair, but it's not. Every man has had bad experiences with shaving, at least once in his life, and it definitely is one of those experiences that one does not want a repeat of. (c) Getty Images There is a correct way and a wrong way to shave, but the trouble is that no one quite knows which is which. You're supposed to glide your razor across your face in a specific direction, that has to do with the usual hair growth pattern on a human male face. Following that pattern will reduce cuts and burns significantly, and also make sure that the stubble that grows afterwards is flawless. (c) Getty Images All you need to do is look at the face shave map here, and follow the arrows to determine the direction in which your razor should move. Make sure to rinse your razor after every stroke. (c) MensXP Say hello to a flawless shave! You're welcome.
  10. Electricity in the air. You. Your date. Stellar ambience. You look deep into each other's eyes. Ah, the magic of the first date! First dates are all about shy glances, getting to know each other, thinking about how to broach a topic and constantly trying to gauge what's going on in the other person's mind. But are first dates really all that about beauty, naivety and nervous charm? First dates are strenuous. The anticipation, the nervousness, the struggle to put your best foot forward. No one wants to make a bad impression on the first date. Like the cliché goes, the first impression is the last impression. But sometimes, no matter how hard you try, things do not work out in the way you want them to. Blame it on yourself, or the other person, the universe or just plain dumb luck, the fact that the date is ruined won't change. A first date does have a lot of potential, though we give too much importance to it, sometimes more than necessary, it is the first initiation in the world of dating. Don't worry. If it's meant to be, it'll happen even if it got ruined once. No one forgets their first date, especially if it was a bad one. We asked six men their worst first date experience and we were mighty surprised and quite amused by what we found: 1. The Blind Date: “It was a blind date. Though we had decided not to look at each other's pictures before the date, I ended up checking her profile on Facebook. Cut to the day of the date, I was running a bit late. I saw her seated at one of the booths of the café. As I approached her, she mistook me for the waiter and asked for a glass of water. Taken aback, I meekly poured the water in her glass and quietly walked away. “Bhaiya, paani yaha lago do please” still rings in my ears. Needless to say, we never dated again.” - Chinmay, 24 2. The Unknown Occurrence: “I met this girl at a friend's birthday party. We hit it off instantly. I was attracted to her and I could tell that she was too. After a few days of talking on WhatsApp, I finally plucked the courage to ask her out. She said yes and we decided to go for lunch. Lunch progressed smoothly and we made plans for a movie. I was very happy with the way things had turned out. After the movie, as I walked her back to her place, she launched into a tête-à-tête about her current boyfriend of three years. I was completely shocked because I had assumed her to be single. I dropped her home and couldn't believe what had happened. No brainer, never went out with her again.” -Krishna, 24 3. Sweet Nothingness: “I met her through mutual friends, and I was blown away by her personality. I asked her out. On the date, I was at my charming best: witty jokes, quick banter, making her laugh. All the works. During dessert, as I was doing my impression of Marlon Brando from “The Godfather” which she was immensely enjoying, I gestured a bit too excitedly and upset the entire hot chocolate sauce which the waiter had just arrived with onto my lap and my shirt. With an incredulous look as I glanced at her, while thoroughly embarrassed and valiantly trying to not scream as the warm liquid trickled down me, I found her laughing her head off. Till today, I can't see chocolate sauce the same way again.” -Shyam, 23 4. The Inception: “We met online. After chatting for a few months, we thought that going on a date was the inevitable next step. We started off quite good as the months of talking had helped us break the initial hesitation of being awkward. As we talked, the talk turned to sci-fi movies. We started debating on the possible end of “Inception”. We both had different views on the matter and we both thought we were correct. Matters started worsening as our theories didn't match. No one was backing down. We started arguing vehemently resulting in both of us leaving the restaurant in a huff. We haven't spoken since. Leonardo DiCaprio owes me an explanation.” -Sayantan, 25 5. Best Friend Forever: “I met this girl in the first year of college. She was cute and I liked her a lot. After much speculation, I finally asked her out. She seemed to be thrilled by the prospect. So was I. The date started normally, we were both extremely nervous and making small talk. Everyone around us could make out that the date wasn't going well. Still, we were trying to act casual. Suddenly, her best friend magically turns up at the same restaurant. I did not think much about it. The friend then proceeded to sit down with us (insert awkward look) and started interrogating me about myself. It was awkward. Then, my date abruptly started crying. The friend then looked at me as if I had done something terrible. They left without a word. I do not know what the matter was till today. Now, when we pass each other in the corridors we just pretend that the other doesn't exist.” -Adwait, 20 6. Beauty And The Beast: “There was this extremely beautiful colleague of mine. Exceptionally beautiful. We were both freshers in the company. Every time I saw her, I would become utterly self-conscious and act stupid. One fine day, she asked me out. I was over the moon. How could I be so lucky? Ridiculously happy, I prepared for the date. On the fateful day, I was a nervous wreck trying to do all the things right. She seemed genuinely interested in me. I was sweating profusely and thus, I politely excused myself to go to the washroom. When I came back, I was surprised to see that she was going through my phone, which I had left on the table. She had managed to unlock it and was viewing my photo gallery in a very nonchalant way. To top it off, she had also eaten more than half of my fries. I was stunned. She looked up and with a smile on her face said “Oh! You are back!”, gave me my phone back as if nothing had happened. My crush on her evaporated as quickly as it had come. Sometimes, appearances can be deceptive. And they can eat your fries too” -Alex, 27 What was your first date disaster? Let us know!
  11. Most transformation stories have this one element of getting bullied at some point of time. Easily, it is like a launch pad for most of the success stories. Tushar Agrawal's success story was also ignited by the same element. It was 2006 when Tushar had hit the gym for the very first time. He was a lanky guy with 45 kilos of body weight. Being underweight throughout his teens and early 20s, he became a bully magnet. Fed up of the never-ending bullying, Tushar decided to steer things around. He was in his 10th standard when he got introduced to weight training. In the hopes of beating up the bullies, he made weight training a staple in his life. 3 years into training hard and eating almost everything, he touched 65kg body weight. A rookie to nutrition, Tushar thought that adding whey supplements to his routine will get him jacked. The dream of getting big was real. He spent money but unsurprisingly, he didn't get jacked. He Did Steroids And Still Regrets It To This Day Tushar used to work out in a nearby gym under the guidance of a regular desi trainer. In 2009, one of the gym's uneducated trainers insinuated him to try steroids. Since he was desperate to get big, he followed through. What followed was an influx of unmonitored usage of oral and injectable steroids. To make the case worse, the usage continued for over 3 years, till 2012. As per Tushar, he used to do one cycle a year. No wonder, he got jacked and muscular. Though at 95 kilo body weight, Tushar's body fat percentage was still on the higher side as his coach knew nothing about nutrition. After prolonged usage, he started feeling that something was wrong with him. He could not figure out what it was since there were no physical side effects till then. Later he realized that it was his guilt of using way too much steroids. Though the drug usage made Tushar really strong and big, poor workout form gave him another shock. He was diagnosed with slip disc in L4-L5-S1 and C3-C4. 2012: A Doctor Friend Saved Him Apparently, one of his old friends, who happened to be a doctor, had returned from Canada around the same time. Tushar shared his ordeal with him and opened up about his steroid usage. He came through very clear that he was feeling depressed. The doctor advised him to stop using it and get a blood test done on priority. Being a medical professional he guided Tushar about the possible side effects of steroid usage. The blood tests, as expected, showed that most of his health markers were in a horrible position. The report was an alarming call! That was the time when he decided that he will never touch steroids in his life. 2018: He Achieved What He Never Expected For almost 15 years now, Tushar chased his dream physique but never was able to achieve it. After 2012, when we gave up using anabolics, he was looking for the best natural way to reach his goals. Finally, in 2018, he came across Team Aminder, an organization that practices and preaches drug-free bodybuilding, online. Ever since being cheated by the desi trainers, Tushar was skeptical in taking up online training. Things changed when he met his friend's wife, who had lost nearly 20 kilos of body fat training with Team Aminder. April 2018, Tushar decided to give a shot to Team Aminder. In 7.5 months from then, Tushar lost 21 kilos of fat and achieved a physique which seems unnatural to most. During these 7.5 months, Jaspreet, his personal coach, kept changing Tushar's diet and caloric intake and worked with him very closely. On achieving such physique today Tushar says, “There was a time when I myself used to think that naturally it is not possible but now that I have done it and that too without any supplement, I must say it is 100% possible. You just need a good coach who has the required knowledge.”
  12. For many, Sensation Rise 2018 was going to be all about Nucleya. Yes, I love Nucleya but to say that the festival had nothing else going for it would not be true. Let's just say, from the time I reached the Hyderabad airport, I was in for one surprise after another. The big, red BudXSensation bus was just as I expected, constant, pulsating EDM that wouldn't let you sit still. When we reached the Bud Hotel, there were fridges stocked with beer in the lobby itself. After all, what's a party without some beer at 1 in the afternoon, right? © MensXP/Rhea Dabas In the evening, I made my way to the Gachibowli Stadium for Sensation Rise 2018. On arrival I was greeted with some amazing deep house courtesy Dutch DJ Sam Feldt. Now that's how you kick off a sensation-al show. The entire stadium was dressed in white. Yeah, that seems to be the theme for Sensation. While I wasn't too excited about wearing white at first, I warmed up to the idea eventually. Yeah, white is not the most flattering, but who cares when you're having so much fun? © MensXP/Rhea Dabas DJ Sander Van Doorn helped soften the mood with his set. It was pretty light and had major feel good vibes. But then, Robin Schulz raised the tempo and played super commercial hits like “God's Plan” by Drake and “Havana” by Camila Cabello. It's safe to say Robin managed to get everyone into the mood! For Dutch DJ Nicky Romero's set, I had to go right up to the stage because he is a personal favourite and it was totally worth it. The crowd was going mad, the drops were epic. He played an insane version of Zedd's clarity which blew my mind. Then we come to the headliner, Nucleya. No points for guessing the crowd's reaction when the Indian superstar came on stage. “Akkad Bakkad” wrapped up the event in one of the best endings to a music festival in India I've ever experienced. But, despite everything that happened at the event, it's the crowd that left the biggest impression on me. They were so polite. Yes, they were all for having fun. And the energy reached crazy levels on multiple occasions. But, none of them forgot their manners at any point. Also, you'd expect the ground to be littered with trash at the end of a huge event like this. I could hardly find any garbage on the floor. The people who were puking used the dustbins. Damnit, I wish the entire country were as civilized. So, the two things I learned from this experience? Nucleya sure knows how to end a show and as Harry Hart would say, 'manners maketh a man!'
  13. “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” - Lao Tzu There is something especially invigorating and enthralling about hiking. After all, it's that one adventure sport that - apart from keeping you fit, increasing your stamina and helping you adopt a healthier lifestyle - also makes you feel one with Mother Nature herself. Now when it comes to hiking, there are a lot of essential things that you require so as to make sure your experience is one without any hindrances. These include - but aren't limited to - rain gear, extra water, a hydration pouch, sunscreen, sunglasses and even extra food. But perhaps the one thing that you require the most - a hiking essential you simply cannot do without - is the right pair of hiking/trekking shoes. After all, if you're planning on scaling a mountain, hill or a steep trail, you need to ensure that you're wearing the appropriate footwear. But before investing in a pair of trekking shoes for yourself, there are a few things you should keep in mind. Think of these less as limitations, and more as basic ground rules to follow so as to make sure you make an informed choice: 1. The type of trek you're planning on doing: Depending on the type of trek you're planning on doing - and the type of terrain you choose to trek on - certain shoes will prove to be more durable, adaptable and useful than others. As such, when searching for trekking shoes, you should make sure that you are fully aware of the trek you'll be doing and just how difficult, steep, rugged and long it's going to be. 2. The specific features of the shoes: All shoes come with different types of midsoles, outsoles and uppers. They also come with different types of fastenings. So needless to say, you should be absolutely clear about the specific features of the shoes you're planning on buying. This is important because a rubber outsole will be more durable than a synthetic one, an EVA padded insole will always provide more cushioning than others, and a textile upper will be less durable than a synthetic one. 3. The brand you're opting to go for: While it's never wise to be a brand brat, the hiking shoes you're opting for need to be of OPTIMUM quality. After all, trekking can be a dangerous adventure sport if you don't have the right equipment with you. So ensuring you opt for reputable brands, or opt for brands that are known for curing hiking shoes, becomes of paramount importance. So with those three factors in mind, let us go through a collection of the 12 best trekking shoes for men that will elevate your hiking experience to new heights (pun intended!) Check Out The Best Hiking Shoes For Men In India 1. Adidas Men's Ax2 Trekking Shoes © Amazon India We already know how reputable and sought after a brand like Adidas is, especially vis-a-vis footwear. But what you might not have known is just how durable and adaptable their trekking shoes tend to be, especially these Ax2 variants. Coming with three months of warranty, the best part about these shoes is just how fast and lightweight they can be, with an EVA midsole that provides enhanced cushioning and a high traction rubber outsole that provides optimal grip on wet surfaces. In short, these shoes are comfortable, durable and will make sure that you don't slip or skid on any wet surfaces - saving you from lots of pain (and money!) that you'll have to deal with in case of any accidental injuries. MRP: Rs 5,679 Buy it here 2. Wildcraft Men's Trekking Shoes © Amazon India Just one look at these trekking shoes from Wildcraft is enough to make you want to own them for you next trek. After all, they are ergonomically designed, perfectly applicable for any type of terrain, incredibly durable, and supremely comfortable as well. Add to this their affordable price tag, and you've got a pair of trekking shoes that pretty much does it all. MRP: Rs 3,890 Buy it here 3. Puma Men's Leather Hiking Shoes © Amazon India Perhaps the most fancy and modish looking hiking shoes you'll ever get to use, these leather variants from Puma are as good to look at, as they are useful to put on for a rugged and lengthy hike. Coming with three months of warranty, they feature a durable rubber outsole that will perfectly adapt to even the most treacherous of trails. The perfect amalgamation of style and durability, these hiking shoes are an absolute steal at their super-affordable price of Rs. 3499. MRP: Rs 3,499 Buy it here 4. Lee Cooper Men's Leather Trekking Shoes © Amazon India And you thought Lee Cooper was a brand that was just good for buying a pair of blue jeans from! Well with these modish and durable trekking shoes from their catalogue - ones that are made of premium leather - Lee Cooper has come up with one of the most stylish, affordable and long-lasting pair of trekking shoes that are perfect for beginners and experts alike! In fact, considering what you'll be getting at its price, you've probably got a pair of trekking shoes that'll give you the best value for money of any mentioned on our list. MRP: Rs 2,550 Buy it here 5. Woodland Men's Leather Trekking Shoes © Amazon India Woodland happens to be one of those underrated brands that, while has enough name-recognition to be considered a mainstream footwear brand, is still not counted among the likes of Nike, Puma and Adidas. As such, people often tend to bypass their shoes - even though they always deliver on quality despite being more affordable. So opting for these brown leather trekking shoes from Woodland, ones that happen be durable and modish, will make for a great buy that will prove to be a worthy and long-term investment as well. MRP: Rs 3,236 Buy it here 6. Salomon X Ultra 2 Hiking Shoes © Amazon India When it comes to hiking shoes, Salomon is perhaps the best brand to opt for - after all, they are known for curating some of the best hiking shoes out there, ones that excel in all integral factors - durability, utility and comfort. As such, these X Ultra 2 hiking shoes are no different, what with their low-cut profile that gives your foot optimum freedom of movement, their Sensifit that seamlessly cradles your foot from the midsole, and their lace pocket that provides easy storage for their quick fit lacing system. Add to this the protective heel cap that gives more stability to your rearfoot, as well as an upper that comes equipped with an abrasion resistant lining, and you've got an all-round powerhouse at your disposal that is perfect for any hike you choose to undertake. MRP: Rs 7,874 Buy it here 7. Quechua Forclaz WTP Trekking Shoes © Amazon India The best part about these Forclaz WTP trekking shoes from Quechua are the traction crosscontact soles that pretty much make them perfect for both flat terrains, as well as those rugged and treacherous mountain terrains that can be challenging to scale. They also happen to be incredibly comfortable, aided in no small part by the full-shock absorption enhanced cushioning provided by the EVA midsole. But the icing on the cake, without question, has to be breathable and waterproof membrane that makes these the perfect shoes for even the dampest of terrains. MRP: Rs 4,999 Buy it here 8. Adidas Men's Terrex Swift R GTX Hiking Shoes © Amazon India While these Terrex Swift R GTX hiking shoes from Adidas are made of mesh, don't let that make you underestimate just how appropriate (and durable!) they are going to be for your next trek. In fact, the mesh upper actually ends up being a boon as it provides your feet with more breathability and comfort. Add to this the durable and cleated rubber outsole and the padded insole, and you've got a great pair of trekking shoes at your disposal. Fair warning though, these shoes don't come with any warranty! MRP: Rs 8,821 Buy it here 9. Wildcraft Men's Trekking Shoes © Amazon India A trek can oftentimes be more challenging that it initially seems, especially if you end up underestimating just how daunting the trail could be. So owning shoes that will, at the very least, not make you compromise on comfort becomes essential. That is where these trekking shoes from Wildcraft end up being a godsend. They make your feet feel lighter and more at ease while you trek up to extreme heights. They also happen to be the most affordable shoes mentioned on our list, making them perfect for those who may be on a tight budget. MRP: Rs 1,695 Buy it here 10. Salomon Outpath Hiking Shoes © Amazon India As we've already stated above, Salomon is one brand that is widely known for producing the best hiking shoes out there. As such, these synthetic Outpath variants are no different as well! They come equipped with a outsole that is perfect for damp terrains, a seamless Sensifit that gives your feet just the right grip and a durable upper that will be resistant to wear and tear. MRP: Rs 7,499 Buy it here 11. Reebok Men's Freedom EX Trekking Shoes © Amazon India There is so much going for these Freedom EX trekking shoes from Reebok that make them a great option to opt for. Be it the incredibly durable materials that are used to create them, the built-in boot fit that makes sure your feet don't start paining after a single trek, a rubber outsole that provides enhanced stability and structure, and a lightweight EVA midsole for more comfort, these shoes are simply in a league of their own. Add to this Reebok's signature Flex Grooves and Dual Decoupling technologies and you understand just why they are worth their hefty price tag. MRP: Rs 14,370 Buy it here 12. Nike Air Zoom Tallac Lite Hiking Shoes © Amazon India Yes, we understand that the price may be a tad bit too high, and we also understand that not everyone out there would be willing to splurge so much on a pair of hiking shoes. But ones who consider themselves to be absolute experts at hiking, and those who harbour an irrational and unwavering love for the adventure sport, NEED to own these kickass Air Zoom hiking shoes from Nike. Made of 100% synthetic, these durable and resilient shoes also happen to be incredibly stylish, and are guaranteed to give you bragging rights for owning them for a long time. MRP: Rs 31,197 Buy it here
  14. The struggle of surviving yet another semester in the college hostel is real, as is the fact that the mere thought itself can be pretty soul-crushing. Those of us who have gotten a taste of 'life in a hostel' can attest to the fact that times in a hostel room can be pretty testing more often than not. via GIPHY Sure, we may often end up meeting some “friends like family” in our dorms and make many-a-lasting memories in their company but let's face it, none of it seems to help in real moments of struggle when the independence you craved so much for, looks more like living on your own with limited means and dreary bouts of homesickness, every time things come a little undone. via GIPHY While all the hostel fun and games are here to stay and so are the difficult times that end up making us more skilful individuals in the long run, we bring to you these awesomely quick and pocket-friendly hacks to help you breeze through a few of the hiccups you might face during your time of 'life in a hostel'. 1. Save Up On Extra Wash Load via GIPHY Doing laundry is perhaps one of the biggest put-offs of your hostel life but here's how you can get away with using the same bed sheet four times before washing it and save that extra wash load. Simply use a double bed sheet folded in half for your single bed by simply flipping the sides! 2. Anytime Maggi Using An Electric Kettle Love it or hate it, you still can't deny it that on most days we survive on Maggi noodles after the measly and bland mess of a food our hostel mess provides. But this hack here will be your saviour when you want to fill up on something that's a classic and tasty too. 3. Save Up On Constantly Washing Dishes Washing the dishes and other utensils we might need to use, can be quite a hassle and nobody wants to constantly wash up after every meal. So all you gotta do, is cover your plate with cling film before you put your food and simply take it off once you're done. Clean plate, without any washing! © YouTube 4. Midnight Snacks Using An Iron We've all been there, right? Midnight hunger pangs are real deal breakers and we've all spent many sleepless nights over it. Well, not anymore because now you can quickly grill a cheese sandwich in your room using an iron and a few other supplies. Here's how: 5. More Closet Space With No Extra Cost This one is a total lifesaver for those of you who like to own a few “extra” pieces of clothing. The limited amount of closet space available to us isn't always enough to hang all our (once worn) ironed clothes that we'd want to use again. So, all you need to do it save those metal tabs on your soft drink cans and use them as shown to hang more clothes in your closet! © YouTube 6. Emergency Ironing Hack If you happen to find yourself in an emergency which involves ironing your shirt and no electricity, fear not, because we have the perfect jugaad for you! Simply fill a saucepan with water, boil it and use the saucepan to iron your clothes with. You'll be amazed by how wonderfully it works. © YouTube 7. Keep The Buttons On Your Shirt From Falling Off Admit it, we've all been in situations when we are getting ready for class in a hurry and suddenly notice that one of the buttons is this close to coming off. So, when sewing is not an option in such situations, a quick hack is to keep a clear nail polish handy and apply it over the loosened threads of the button to keep it from unravelling. Now, you can go about your day with a worry. © Pxhere 8. Save Up On Muscle Power While Cleaning The Toilet A lot of you might know about this already, but we figured there still remains a bunch of you who are unaware of the fact that this actually works! So if hygiene is one of your concerns, simply splash some Coke inside the toilet pot, let it sit for a while and flush it off for a cleaner-looking toilet with no extra hard work! 9. 2-Second Shirt Folding Method No one needs to explain to you why we absolutely avoid folding our shirts/t-shirts after every wash! Why? Because it's a LOT of work to fold the shirts neatly when we can simply throw them in the cupboard. But the wrinkles after that can be pretty awful too. So, try this 2-second shirt/t-shirt folding method to save yourself some pain. 10. Lengthen The Life Of Your Razor With This Hack This hack has been an absolute game-changer for us because it allowed us to sharpen the dull blades of our razors and give them a second lease of life. So, now we can use our razors for a longer period of time with no added cost! Here's how to do it: There you go. Hope you find these hacks useful. Let us know how these work out for you.
  15. Yes, Netflix has confirmed that it is testing showing ads for its original content. It is currently experimenting with making users watch advertisements in between episodes of certain shows. The company confirmed to tech-website ARS Technica on Friday that it is testing promos for its original shows and movies in between TV episodes while users are binge-watching. A number of Netflix subscribers were quick to complain on social media, with many taking to the Netflix Reddit community to find out if others were experiencing the same thing. © Reuters "We are testing whether surfacing recommendations between episodes helps members discover stories they will enjoy faster," Netflix (NFLX) explained in a statement. The company has reiterated that videos are not ads or commercials, but personalized recommendations for other shows and movies that appear on Netflix. Even so, having to manually skip the promos is not sitting well for some users. © MensXP One particular thing that people love about Netflix is the ad-free experience. When compared to television, not only can the user stream content on demand, but also don't have to waste an average of 20 minutes of watching commercials in an hour-long episode. The platform also gives you the option to skip credits or intro of any show with just a click. Netflix hasn't confirmed how long this testing period would last, or whether these ads will be becoming a permanent thing. The ads would be exclusively for Netflix original content and not shows or movies licensed from other networks, a Netflix spokesperson said. © MensXP That being said, 'Better Call Saul' originally aired on AMC and is not a Netflix original, so it appears that Netflix is still sorting out this new system. Many users aren't happy with this change and a Reddit thread about the same has been trending. Many users are also threatening to cancel their subscriptions if the change is actually brought permanently. Keep in mind, this is just a test Netflix is conducting to see whether users relate with the given suggestions and can the company make the user see more of its shows. If users click on the ads or start consuming content based on them, then it is likely that Netflix will see the test as a success and roll it out to more users. Source: ARSTechnica
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