Reliance Jio: Good for data and apps, calls still sketchy

Nothing in the world comes free, goes the saying. Yet, we seem genetically inclined towards freebies: free stuff, free software, free calls and now free data along with it. No wonder there were serpentine queues at Reliance stores to avail of Reliance Jio's welcome offer - free calls and data till the end of the year.

I tried the service out on an Asus Zenfone 3, a VoLTE-enabled handset (the only way you can make voice calls on the Jio network) and found out that the service offers blazing-fast data but faces issues connecting calls to other networks. But it's early days, and once the interconnectivity issues are sorted out, say hello to crystal-clear voice calls. Yes, the times I could get through, the calls offered excellent clarity and video calls were better than what I get on my broadband connection. Let's find out what else does Reliance Jio offer:

MyJio: This is the starting point - one has to download this app to join the service and manage one's account.

JioCinema: Truth be told, I spent most of the time using this app or Netflix. Using apps from Ookla, Trai and Netflix, I measured the speed of the connection. It varied between 18 and 26 Mbps at my east Delhi residence; inside my office, which has patchy reception, the apps reported speeds of about 2 Mbps.

JioMusic: This app has a decent collection of contemporary music and does well for casual listening. As long as you don't go in thinking this would take on Apple Music, you're good. One thing I liked was the eclectic (though not exhaustive) mix of tracks - from classic Hindi music to the latest EDM tracks.

JioXpressNews: A news aggregator, one can search or configure it according to one's interests, language (around 9 Indian languages available) as well as publication. Though truth be told, the list of dailies misses some big names. I liked the fact that one could adjust the font and save articles to read later. Best of all, this also works offline.

JioMags: This app has a good collection of international magazines, and I started downloading them as soon as I logged in. But then, after the initial exhilaration, I realised it could be a pain to read magazines on the small screen. If you have a phablet, you'd love this app.

JioTV: If you're a television addict, you could get your daily fix in the palm of your hand. I liked the fact that one could choose to display only the HD channels.

JioChat: An all-in-one chat app, this is possibly Jio's oldest app. Voice calls were fabulous, as were conference calls, provided all participants had stable internet connections. But you probably have more friends on WhatsApp.

JioDrive: Offering 5GB space, this is Jio's cloud service, with extras such as categorisation thrown in.

JioMoney: With the mobile wallet, one can add loyalty cards as well as avail of special offers.

JioNet: This is the Wi-Fi service but since hotspots are still few and far between, I couldn't test it.

Jio4GVoice: This app lets one turn any 4G non-VoLTE phone VoLTe-ready.

To conclude, I must say I'm having a lot of fun using Jio as a data and apps solution and this will become my second connection. That said, one should wait till the interconnectivity issues are sorted till one shifts to Jio as one's my primary number.

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