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Thursday, June 11, 2015

Brands that have worked well for me and those that didn't!

Over the years, like all of you, I have purchased goods from several shops and brands. Some of them have lasted for a long time, few have failed miserably. This post is a quick brief of what brands have worked for me and what have not. All these products were purchased by me from my hard earned money and this post is to thank those brands that lasted long and served me well and to warn you about certain brands that may not be as good as it seems.

Brands that have worked well for me

1 Woodlands Shoe:
Bought a woodlands shoe in 2008 just before Club Mahindra Binsar trip- only last month I decommissioned it as its sole came off and couldn’t be fixed.  Essentially it protected my feet during several domestic and international trips for close to 7 years. It costed about 3.5k and I was reluctant to spend that much on a shoe back then, but I am glad I bought it.
No points for guessing which brand I bought from again for spots shoe.

2 Lenovo G550:
Compared to earlier HP unit I had, Lenovo has been very robust and long lasting. About 6 years now and it is still going strong. Of courst this is with some maintenance. Have spent 10-15k replacing battery and hard disc and couple of services, in addition to original 35k on the laptop. The Support Shop in Chennai had been my trusted shop for laptop service

3. Niveta bag and Camera bag
Have survived all the abuse carrying my stuff on train, bus, plane and so on. Couple of years since I bought them, no damages yet and in very good condition.

4. Bajaj Discover:
Served me for over 8.5 years before I chose to upgrade to Apache. Needed regular maintenance but overall was good value for money. I wanted to use it for 10 years, but one fine day decided to sell it off and upgrade, as its maintenance needs were increasing and reliability was decreasing. Read long term ownership report.

5 Samsung Corby
My first touch screen phone-Had bought his phone for a massive 6000 Rs several years ago- Had Java OS-that time Andriod was in its early stages. Two years later when I curiously asked for its exchange price at Univercell store, I was offered Rs 1100.

This phone had superb battery life- would last for days- because I used it only for calls, while Sony Xperia U/MotoE was used for internet. I found this two phone arrangement more convenient than carrying one phone with two sim. I get more battery life, less risk of theft etc. But because this Samsung Corby had early stage touch screen interface, typing text was very inconvenient process. So I used to avoid replying to SMSs as much as possible. One day it fell into water and breathed its last.

6. Sony Xperia U
Was my first smartphone, purchased at about 12k and used for an year. Was a bit heavy but very rugged. Lost it (stolen) in Bengaluru near Silkboard last year)

7. ICICI Bank
Using their account for close to 10 years now-only SB account and credit cards- didn't have any negative experience so far.
DSC06209
Read: ICICI Bank long term customer feedback * Cycle advertising in Gujarath

8. IRCTC
Despite all the criticism it gets for being slow etc, I have booked 1000s of tickets over past 6-7 years and didn't have a bad experience. Of course these are normal tickets- haven't bought much in Tatkal. But of late they are focusing on all stupid things like shopping, air ticket etc, instead of focusing on one thing they are expected to do better- train ticket booking.

9. Sennheiser headphones
I got this headphone for free from ICICI bank for spending lots of money through their credit card in 2013. Was working brilliantly for close to 2 years. Recently our pet cat took fancy to it and tore open the wires (see pictures). I thought it is now dead, but despite this much abuse, the headphone was working perfectly fine. But it was getting too clumsy to handle, so I had to discard it. Now using an Scullcandy RXL headphone that I won in an Indiblogger-Nissan campaign.

10. The Support Shop, Chennai
First introduced by my friend Santosh, Support Shop in Adyar has been my one stop shop for all laptop repairs, services etc. They don't advertise much like say Ram Infotech etc, but their work is pretty satisfactory and prices are reasonable. Thanks to their periodic care I am able to extend the life of my Lenovo G550, without having to spend on new laptop (which I might have to do later this year or early next year, because video processing in current laptop is proving to be painful)

11. Sowbaghya Induction cooker: I was little skeptical to buy this lesser known induction cooker brand, but it has lasted for close to 4 years and still going strong.

12. Stayzilla
Has worked pretty well for me whenever I wanted to book Budget accommodation. Detailed review here

13. Zoomcar and Carzonrent: 
Both have some drawbacks of their own, but these two companies have ensured I have a car available whenever I needed one.

And the brands that didn't work well for me.

1 HP 1016 AU Laptop
My first laptop was a HP bought in 2007- it had tablet like features and decent memory in those day’s standards. Still it was very slow and uninspiring. After few years of usage I sold it off for heavy loss. It was probably partially my fault choosing a wrong model for my needs or this product was ahead of its times.

2 Bata Formal Shoe:
I find Bata not value for money. If I buy an unbranded shoe for Rs 600 and it lasts for 6 months, I expect a Rs 1800 Bata shoe to last 18 months. But they didn’t. Within 6-9 months they begin to fall apart. I tried Bata formal shoes twice and had same experience. After that I have stopped buying Bata. Khadims seem to be working fine, else I would buy some unbranded ones and buy news one after 6 months.

3 Chroma branded vacuum cleaner:
Works but just not powerful enough. Their cost cutting means slower motors and poor quality. Should stay away from their self-branded stuff (private labels).

4. First Gen Moto E:
Bought this phone about an year ago as it was the most sensible budget phone at that time. Now there’re many other alternatives in 7-8k range. I am not fully satisfied with the phone because of following reason
-  Crashes once a while for no apparent reason and restarts on its own- happens 2-3 times a week.
-  Once in Jan 2015, while I was on train to Coimbatore, display stopped working. Wouldn’t respond to any kind of touches. Miraculously after few hours it started working fine and didn’t give same problem again.
-   Camera is not good in low light and takes shaky pictures. So I am unable to use this phone as a secondary camera when I can’t carry or don’t want to carry the DSLR. (Even GoPro is not good at night, so sometimes I feel handicapped not having a decent camera

Battery life is decent, if wifi and data turned off. If not I can manage from morning to evening only. I understand current edition of Moto E (2nd Gen) has some of the improvements covering issues in previous edition, but not sure if I want to try another Motorola phone in near future.

5. Xiomi power bank- 
Got it as a gift during Indiblogger Tata Nano event at Pune, but it seems to be a defective unit. Works for 10 mins max and then dries out, irrespective of long term charging. On day 1 I thought it is because it wasn’t charged properly- but even after full night charging, it would dry out within 10-15 min when I ask it to charge my mobiles. 

6. SBI Bank: 
Created couple of accounts,[read more] but managing them has been made very complicated due to bank's lazy staff and complex process. As I had other alternatives, have stopped using their services.

7. Vodafone: 
I was their postpaid customer for over an year. But when I lost my phone, they failed to send a replacement SIM Card, even after couple of reminders and waiting for a week. Got tired of them and switched to Airtel.

8. Pindia Blue Wardrobe Storage Organizer Cabinate: Bought this from Amazon as a cheaper way of storing things. But it is very delicate and not really good.

9. Tripod for camera
I had bought a tripod for about Rs 1000 from Chroma few years back, but haven't taken it to a single trip, as I find it more convenient to manage without a tripod. It justs needs more space in luggage and value add is little less, particularly after we have got selfie sticks and GoPros. Nothing wrong with the brand/product as such, but my purchase decision was bad.

10. Car Club and Avis India:
Avis seem to have given up on Self drive rental business- once they were my favorites for car rentals, but today it is Carzonrent and Zoomcar, because Avis is refusing to innovate and stay competitive. Same is the case with Car Club.

Disclaimer: These are my personal experiences. Can not guarantee that what worked for me will also work for you or what didn't work well for me are stupid brands. Circumstances may vary the outcome/experience. Please use your discretion.

6 comments :

shutterbugruts said...

This is maddening list. I must you eally get time to blg so much apart from your daily work lide. How do you manage. How many hours you put daily.. I havent tried Woodland ever. But surely will try Stazilla :)

Shrinidhi Hande said...

@Rutavi

I spend an hour or two on my blog daily. Usually 1 hour in the evening after coming back from work and or another hour early in the morning before getting ready for work. Weekend if I am in home I try to keep couple of posts ready.

Hope this answers

Ankita Sinha said...

I agree with your list completely.Bata definitely has changed something in their products which doesn't make it as durable anymore but still good for on-off use.I got tripod from Chroma too but find it worthless as today I carry my cellphone more :) or even if I carry DSLR I carry it on my bag.

Indrani said...

I am surprised about Bata.

Anonymous said...

SriNidhi in future brands may not have life more than 4 years and that will become a norm for replacement cycle if one has to keep the cyclic demand growing and economy in full bloom. Imagine if a brand lasts 10 to 20 years the company has to shut shop even though consumers may be alive. I think the bench mark for any product is 5 years life span except highly durable one s such as fridge washing machine gas cooker etc. Let us take car too in this category. If car mfg have recycling units which can provide 50% discount on new car for dumping old car which is stripped to its wire that after 5 years than demand for cars too will zoom

Shrinidhi Hande said...

@Ankita

Thanks for concurring! W.r.t tripod I am thinking of buying a Monopod + Selfie stick kind of a device if possible...

@indrani: They give mere 3 month warranty, which is not enough. Price is two-three times an unbranded shoe, so I don't find it value for money.

@True, companies want us to keep buying new things...