Tech | Taking the Intex Cloud 4G Star for a spin!

There used to be a time when feature packed smartphones costed an arm & leg. But as time passes, more & more great phones smartphones are becoming available - ones that really have good features & specifications at a wholly affordable rate.
I recently got the chance to test the newly launched Intex Cloud 4G Star for a couple of weeks (one of which coincided with Lakmé Fashion Week aka the busiest week of the year). It was the first time I was trying something from Intex, so I didn't really know what to expect.

First let's get to what was in the box. If you watch the short video I made below, the first part of it has a clip from when I opened the box for the first time. Other than the phone itself, charging cable & earphones, I was quite impressed to see two additional screenguards & a textured, translucent snap-on case included. With most other phone manufacturers these things have to be purchased additionally.

The phone is quite smart looking too! I have the black variant but it's also available in champagne. It's smooth with a curved, brushed metal back that sits very comfortably in my hand. The phone cover adds a bit more texture without the bulk, making it further slip proof if you so desire.

Airtel has recently released 4G (LTE) connectivity for smartphones in Mumbai & many other service providers are going to follow suit quite soon! As the name of the phone states, the Intex Cloud is completely 4G compatible. It's also dual sim, with a 5-inch HD display that displays colors brilliantly.

The Intex Cloud is also powered by 1.3 GHz quad-core MediaTek MT6735 64-bit processor and runs on Android 5.0 Lollipop. I downloaded & installed my most used apps- twitter, instagram, vine, facebook, periscope, google chrome & dropbox (mostly social media, no surprises there right?)

Everything worked really smoothly with no lag whatsoever. Even did a couple of Periscope broadcasts from there (I'm @magali - are you following me yet? :))

And lastly, let's get to one of the most important things for me - the camera. The Intex Cloud 4G Star comes equipped with with a 13MP camera & a 5 MP front camera. The camera focuses easily with just a tap & chimes once it's in focus. Depending on where you tap too, the exposure is perfect - I tested this by focussing on lighter & darker parts in the same frame & it quickly recognised the correct exposure. See an example of the foliage photo in my video above - both straight out of the camera & edited a bit (just some artsy filters).

As a fashion / beauty blogger selfies are pretty much part of my job description & this captures selfies that are bright & crisp, even in lower lighting situations.

Overall using the Intex Cloud 4G Star was a very pleasant experience. It didn't disappoint me in any way, it was an absolute breeze to use & the whole experience was made even sweeter with it's affordable price tag. It has been declared as the best smartphone under ₹10,000 & after using it I can definitely agree with that & recommend it

The Intex Cloud 4G is available online exclusively on Flipkart at ₹7,299.

Tips for Summer Party Planning

As summer beckons revelers to beaches and barbecues, this time of year is the ideal time to plan the perfect party. Whether it’s a laid-back gathering by the pool or a more formal event under the stars, the season makes it easy to create a fun, festive atmosphere for guests. When planning the perfect summer soiree, take advantage of these tips from experienced party planners. 

Break with tradition by presenting guests with fresh, unique options for creating cocktails that take advantage of the bounty of summer produce. Make a Bloody Mary pop by replacing the vodka with craft beer, then offer a selection of trimmings such as pepperoni slices, zucchini, bell pepper, cornichons, or pepperoncini in addition to the traditional celery spear. Provide guests with bamboo skewers they can use to create the perfect garnish for their drinks. Margaritas can be offered in an astounding array of permutations, from strawberry with sriracha to blueberry and basil. Setting out a plate of farmers’ market-fresh herbs allows guests to put their own creative twist on their favorite summer libations

Creative Corn 
Corn is a classic summer side dish, but its possibilities extend well beyond simply grilling or steaming. Eliminate the potential awkwardness of eating corn on the cob at a social gathering by shaving the kernels off of a pre-grilled cob and then setting them out with herb or truffle butter and toppings such as parsley, tomato, chives, hominy, and the ever-trendy bacon to allow guests to create their own custom corn salads. 

A Childhood Favorite Grows Up 
Popsicles aren’t just for kids. Sophisticated frozen treats can easily be hand made at home by simply throwing a combination of fresh produce and juice in the blender and then freezing in Popsicle-type molds. The wildly popular “green smoothie” creates a delightful frozen treat. Other options include strawberries and rhubarb, lemon and cranberry, or orange and mango. Add a shot of Prosecco for an even more sophisticated, adult presentation. You can also use blended fruit-and-herb bases to create flavored ice cubes that add a cool burst of complexity to spiked lemonade or fruit punch. These frozen creations are not only delicious and festive, but also seasonally vibrant, adding a rainbow of hues to your summer gathering table. 

Who doesn’t look forward to summer parties? Gathering with friends and family is one of the hallmarks of this season. Whether you’re planning a casual family reunion or a formal event with dinner, drinks, and dancing, summer presents endless opportunities for delighting your guests with the season’s freshest and most enticing offerings.


Vacation Ownership Eliminates Excuses

Some people love a vacation in the same locale every year and some like the adventure of exploring new places. Investing in vacation ownership could have you enjoying both and at a lower cost!

What is a Vacation Ownership?
We’d all love to have our very own tropical paradise, but that’s not always financial feasible. Vacation ownerships make that dream a possibility. With a vacation ownership, you can purchase a share of the vacation home, whether it’s a house, condominium, or another type of structure. Because you are sharing the costs with others, and for a limited number of weeks per year, you can afford your dream spot. Face it- if you did outright own a vacation home, it would sit empty most of the year. With a vacation ownership you’re paying only for the amount of time you actually enjoy the residence. 

Maintenance and Upkeep
No sudden surprises like a furnace going out, repairs to the dishwasher, or plumbing leaks. A very low monthly or yearly maintenance fee is usually assessed to each owner in the property. This fund is set aside for routine maintenance and emergencies should they arise. 

Sharing Vacation Time
Ownership in a vacation property works several different ways. Some are set up for each owner to choose how many weeks per year they occupy the home, and others may have a determined time period of one or two weeks. Weeks could be unwavering or they could be on a rotation system. For example, you may have weeks 21 and 22 of one year, then weeks 23 and 24 the next year. With a rotating schedule, everyone gets an opportunity for occupancy during each season. Some contracts allow trading weeks with other owners and subletting or gifting your weeks to friends and relatives. 

For the Explorers
But what about the adventurous side in most of us? No need to be concerned about always having to vacation in one area. Vacation ownership plans are available that permit moving from one property to another. These plans would fall under a flexible management organization so you could trade your week(s) in one location to a different location that is also managed by the same company as yours. 

Buy From a Reputable Company
Protect yourself and your investment by doing a little homework on the vacation ownership industry. Seek out a reputable company and be sure to read the fine print. Talk to other owners so you know exactly what you are purchasing. Companies that have been in the business for years wouldn’t still be around if their clients were not totally satisfied. For example, Blue Green Resorts has been around since 1966 and has satisfied the vacation dreams of thousands of happy sun and beach lovers. 

Traveling on a per night basis can make your vacation very expensive. Vacation ownership is a shrewd way to combat the high cost of nightly hotel rooms and meals on the road. By choosing a property that is furnished, you will have access to kitchen facilities and a lower per night cost. Research is your first safeguard to finding the best property, in the best location for your dream vacation ownership.