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Saregama Carvaan Karaoke Review

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Saregama Carvaan Karaoke Review
Launched in 2017, the original Saregama Carvaan was a wireless speaker unlike anything else available in the segment. With its own built-in tracks focused on Saregama’s vast repository of retro Indian music, the Carvaan was innovative, unique, and incredibly easy to use. Later Carvaan models have added features such as a battery for portability and Wi-Fi connectivity to stream podcasts. However, the core experience remains focused on ease of use, and quick access to music that appeals to older Indian audiences.

Saregama’s latest Carvaan product has everything that the Carvaan 2.0 does, with one big addition – karaoke mode. The Saregama Carvaan Karaoke is priced at Rs. 19,990, and lets you sing along to over 1,000 tracks that have been made specially for the karaoke experience. Is this new feature worth the considerable price? Find out in my review.

The Saregama Carvaan Karaoke has a 9-inch colour screen to display lyrics, and navigate the Karaoke interface

Over 5,000 tracks to listen to, 1,000 tracks to sing along to on the Saregama Carvaan Karaoke

The core experience of the original Saregama Carvaan has been the built-in tracks, covering various eras of Indian film music categorised by singers, actors the tracks were filmed with, music directors, and more. Like previous versions, the Saregama Carvaan Karaoke has over 5,000 pre-loaded tracks that can be accessed directly via its speaker without the need to connect to any external devices or the Internet.

The basic experience is a familiar one. The device is easy to use, relying heavily on the idea of the playlist ‘shuffle’; tracks are categorised and labelled, but the small monochrome display and simple controls mean that the Saregama Carvaan wants you to stumble upon tracks at random, rather than go looking for something very specific. All of this fits into a retro-looking design with big, clearly labelled buttons and tactile dials. The device starts up quickly and you can start using it as soon as you press the power button.

This aside, there’s also the ability to connect to Wi-Fi to access dynamic content curated by Saregama (somewhat aptly called podcasts) like on the Carvaan 2.0, FM and AM radio, Bluetooth, USB and Aux In, and the big new feature that gives the device its name – karaoke. As such, there’s plenty by way of connectivity options, and you can choose to listen to your own music from a different source device if you want a break from the built-in content.

For the headline feature, the Saregama Carvaan Karaoke has an electronically-controlled retracting 9-inch colour screen with a resolution of 800×480 pixels. This screen pops up from the top of the device when the Karaoke mode is activated, and drops back down when it’s switched to another listening mode or turned off. This isn’t a touch screen; the user interface for the Karaoke mode is controlled using either of the two included wireless karaoke microphones. There’s also an HDMI video output on the device, letting you use the karaoke functionality on your own TV if you want.

saregama carvaan karaoke review sources Saregama  Saregama Carvaan Karaoke

Source options include Bluetooth, FM radio, and USB, apart from the built-in music

While the controls for the regular music functionality are all on the speaker itself, the karaoke function is controlled using either of the two included wireless microphones. These are already paired to the speaker out of the box, and automatically connect to it on being turned on. With Karaoke mode active on the speaker, the buttons on the microphones can be used to select karaoke tracks and navigate around the interface, as well as adjust the volume and select favourite tracks. The microphones are powered by two AA batteries each, which are included in the box.

The Karaoke mode on the Saregama Carvaan Karaoke works quite well

We’ve spoken about the core Saregama Carvaan experience across numerous reviews including those of the original Carvaan and the Wi-Fi and podcast enabled Carvaan 2.0. The Carvaan Karaoke offers a practically identical experience, and Saregama continues to build on its podcast library to offer more dynamic content beyond the built-in audio tracks.

Sound quality isn’t exceptional, but the speaker is tuned to make retro music sound a bit better and clearer. External audio sources didn’t sound as good as the built-in tracks on the speaker. As before, the appeal lies in the overall experience, rather than technical performance.

The new karaoke experience is quite unique, bringing home something that you typically only find in bars and restaurants with specialised equipment. It’s impressive how well Saregama has managed to fit this functionality into a small, home-friendly package, and merge it with the company’s tried-and-tested capabilities and music library. The microphones don’t need any special effort to be paired with the speaker, and are functional when the karaoke mode is on.

saregama carvaan karaoke review display Saregama  Saregama Carvaan Karaoke

The Saregama Carvaan Karaoke has a huge collection of over 5,000 built-in tracks, covering various decades of Indian film music

How loud your voice can get depends on the volume of the speaker, but the volume levels of the music and voice are well matched for a pleasant karaoke experience. You can’t adjust the voice and music levels independently, but this wasn’t really a problem. The sound from the microphone had a slight echo to it, which oddly made the karaoke experience sound even better. The display shows lyrics and highlights specific lines and words based on timing, exactly as the karaoke experience would be in a bar.

There are around 1,000 tracks in Karaoke mode, categorised by artistes, directors, and the actors the songs were filmed with. This makes it easy to find a track you can sing along to, and is sensibly not as random and uncontrollable as the regular listening mode, given that you would need to be able to find music you’re familiar with for a good karaoke experience. While obviously not as vast as the main library, the karaoke selection is decent enough and covers various tracks across multiple decades of Indian film music.

The speaker has a 5,000mAh battery, and charges using its own 18W power adapter, which is quick to top it up. I got around four hours of battery life with mixed use, but this can vary significantly depending on how you use the Carvaan Karaoke. The karaoke and Wi-Fi modes will use more power than playing the built-in music or using this device as a Bluetooth speaker, but even sparing use won’t get you much more than 5-6 hours of battery life by my estimates. This isn’t exceptional, but you do of course have the option to use the speaker while plugged in.

Verdict

Saregama’s Carvaan range of speakers has seen gradual changes and improvements, but the core experience remains familiar and exceptionally well positioned for its audience. The latest change is a rather interesting one that will appeal to many, and can also liven up parties you have at home. All in all, the Saregama Carvaan Karaoke is an interesting product that does what its supposed to very well.

However, it’s hard to get past that price tag. At Rs. 19,990, the Saregama Carvaan Karaoke is over twice as expensive as the Carvaan 2.0, with only the karaoke functionality to justify the difference. It only makes sense if you’re a huge fan of singing along to retro music; if you can skip the sing-along part, the Carvaan 2.0 offers largely similar capabilities at a much more justifiable price.


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Microsoft Partners With Inworld to Bring AI Game Development Tools to Xbox

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Microsoft Partners With Inworld to Bring AI Game Development Tools to Xbox


Microsoft is teaming up with Inworld AI to create game development tools for Xbox, enabling developers to create characters, generate entire scripts and quests, and more. The multi-year deal brings an AI design copilot and an AI character runtime engine to the forefront, both of them being totally optional to use and to varying degrees. Of course, the use of AI in art has been criticised by many for simply lacking originality, in addition to running the risk of fewer jobs for artists — a growing fear among many considering the alarming number of layoffs seen at game studios this year in an attempt to cut costs.

“At Xbox, we believe that with better tools, creators can make even more extraordinary games,” Haiyan Zhang, GM, Xbox Gaming AI, said in a blog post. “This partnership will bring together: Inworld’s expertise in working with generative AI models for character development, Microsoft’s cutting-edge cloud-based AI solutions including Azure OpenAI Service, Microsoft Research’s technical insights into the future of play, and Team Xbox’s strengths in revolutionizing accessible and responsible creator tools for all developers.”

The aforementioned AI design copilot is a toolset that will help game designers turn prompts into scripts and dialogue trees. In contrast, the character runtime will enable dynamically generated plot beats and quests. We’ve already seen heavy AI integration in games by way of procedural generation — a more recent example being the 1000+ planets in Starfield. Not to mention, enemy AI has been around for way longer.

Inworld made headlines in August when it launched a modded story mode for Grand Theft Auto V, Sentient Streets, in which players had to investigate the rise of a bizarre AI-worshipping cult — a segment loaded with characters that spoke in AI-generated dialogue, on the fly. The mod was later taken down by publisher Take-Two, leaving a permanent strike on the creator Bloc’s YouTube channel. As per The Verge, Inworld’s AI technology can also be used for narration in top-down RPGs to warn players about any events awaiting off-screen and respond to questions like we’ve seen in the past year with AI chatbots like ChatGPT and Bing Chat. Microsoft has also been heavily banking on artificial intelligence, having made a $10 billion (about Rs. 83,254 crore) investment in OpenAI. The company has also integrated AI tools into its popular suite of services and also added an AI copilot to Windows.

Despite being a Microsoft-affiliated AI toolset, it would be interesting to see whether titles using them will be allowed to thrive on other platforms. In July, Valve claimed that it would be cracking down on games that included AI-generated assets if the developer didn’t own the copyright to the piece of art. For the uninitiated, when you insert a prompt to create something in AI, the software simply repurposes existing assets found online and mushes them together — basically stealing from other artists and writers without appropriate commercial licenses. Infringing them would lead to the game not being distributed on Steam, forcing the developers to seek proper licenses for the asset by reaching out to the AI companies involved. It’s unclear how Microsoft’s partnership will play out — as long as AI content is being used as a catalyst to innovate and create something new, it should be fine.


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BSNL Offers Free 4G SIM Upgrade: Here’s How to Get It

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BSNL Offers Free 4G SIM Upgrade: Here’s How to Get It


BSNL (Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited) is a state-owned telecommunication company in India. Earlier this year in May, the government said that the firm started rolling out 4G services in the country. By December, the networks were said to be upgraded to 5G. However, at the India Mobile Congress, BSNL chairman P K Purwar said that the company will launch 4G services in December and then roll it across the country by June 2024. The chairman added that the 5G upgrades will take place after June next year.

In a post on X shared by BSNL’s Andhra Pradesh (@bsnl_ap_circle) unit, the company confirmed that BSNL users can upgrade their older 2G or 3G SIMs to a 4G SIM for free. Not only will the upgrade be free, but a promotional image shared with the post suggests that users who opt for the upgrade will also receive 4GB of free data that will be valid for three months. It is speculated that BSNL is aiming to boost its upcoming 4G services with this offer. The announcement was first spotted by Telecom Talk.

To access the free data offer and the free upgrade, BSNL users are requested to get in touch with executives at BSNL’s Customer Service Centre, franchisee or retailer stores, or contact one of their Direct Selling Agents (DSA). The promo image also adds in a finer print that the offer is available with certain terms and conditions, but hasn’t detailed any, so far.

Reliance’s Jio recently launched the 4G-supported Bharat B1 feature phone in India. The handset is priced at Rs. 1,299 in India. Alongside 4G connectivity, the phone comes with JioCinema and JioSaavn applications pre-installed.

The Jio Bharat B1 is equipped with the JioPay application, which is said to allow users to make UPI payments. Aiming to increase accessibility, the phone supports 23 languages overall, including multiple regional languages.


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Realme GT 5 Pro Teased to Feature 3,000 Nits Display; More Details Revealed

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Realme GT 5 Pro Teased to Feature 3,000 Nits Display; More Details Revealed


Realme GT 5 Pro’s launch date is not far away. The Chinese smartphone brand on Tuesday (November 7) confirmed the arrival of the new GT series smartphone in its home country. The Realme GT 5 Pro is teased to come with a display with over 3000 nits of peak brightness. It is also confirmed to pack a larger heat dissipation area for thermal management. The handset will ship with Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 SoC. The Realme GT 5 Pro is expected to come as a successor to the Realme GT 5 that debuted in China in August.

Realme, via Weibo, announced the arrival of the Realme GT 5 Pro in China. The display of the handset is confirmed to offer 3000 nits peak brightness. It has also been teased to offer heat dissipation with a surface area of around 10,000mm2. It is confirmed to ship with Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 SoC. The post doesn’t specify the exact launch date of the smartphone, however, given the release of the teasers, the launch could be just around the corner.

The Realme GT 5 Pro has been in the news a lot lately. It is expected to feature a 6.78-inch (1,264×2,780 pixels) AMOLED display and is tipped to come in 8GB, 12GB, and 16GB RAM options along with 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB inbuilt storage options.

For optics, the Realme GT 5 Pro is said to have a triple rear camera unit comprising two 50-megapixel sensors and an 8-megapixel shooter at the rear. The camera setup might include a Sony LYTIA LYT808 sensor, an OmniVision OV08D10 secondary sensor, and a Sony IMX890 telephoto sensor. For selfies, there could be a 32-megapixel sensor at the front. It is said to carry a 5,400mAh battery with support for 100W wired charging and 50W wireless charging.

The Realme GT 5 Pro is expected to come with upgrades over Realme GT 5. The latter was launched in China in August with a price tag of CNY 2,999 for the base model with 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage.


The Motorola Edge 40 recently made its debut in the country as the successor to the Edge 30 that was launched last year. Should you buy this phone instead of the Nothing Phone 1 or the Realme Pro+? We discuss this and more on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Spotify, Gaana, JioSaavn, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.
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