Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Megir Mesh Chrono M2011 Watch Review

I recently bought a Megir Mesh Chrono M2011 from seller "Watch Me!" on Lazada. I've been wanting to get a cheap but reliable watch to put into my daily wear rotation. I initially set my sights on an automatic Winner watch, but I saw that the Megirs were on sale. I remember researching on a watch forum a couple of months back and saw some favorable reviews for this brand, so I decided to postpone getting my first automatic watch. My dream watch is the Panerai Luminor Marina, so I wanted to get the Megir Low Fly Chrono. However, the local sellers on Lazada didn't have it on stock, so I ordered the Mesh Chrono instead.

Panerai Luminor Marina. My Dream Watch

Megir's tribute to the Pam: Low Fly Chrono

I was apprehensive about getting a Chinese watch online, especially since you can't inspect it or hold it in your hand, but I was willing to take the risk. I wouldn't lose too much sleep over 800 long as the watch works. Fast forward three days later, and what I received was almost certainly life changing.

A brief background before I move on with the story: I used to be a watch snob, thinking that the only watches worth lusting for were the ones made in Switzerland. Growing up, I've had my share of entry-level Swiss watches: Swatch, Swiss Army, Bulova, etc. My most used watch in my daily rotation is a beat-up Tag Heuer 1500. I've also had some Fossil, Ice, Timex, and Casio watches which are totally reliable, but I've never loved them as much as my Swiss ones. They usually end up as a workout or beater watch. Recently, my Mom started sending me fashion watches. In the past few years, she's sent me Lacoste, Zoo York, and Ted Baker watches. I didn't have a high opinion of fashion watches due to my experience with Guess watches during my younger years, and the Lacoste and Zoo York watches confirmed that. The Lacoste watch's faux-crocodile leather peeled off, while the Zoo York's bronze-plated finish wore off and the metal underneath corroded. The Ted Baker watch totally changed my opinion, however. It was exquisitely made; the finish is at par with the more well-known fashion watches like Michael Kors. It felt sturdy and expensive. Even after being my daily watch for the past few months, it still looks as shiny as the first day I got it.

Now, back to the Megir. Buoyed by the positive Megir reviews, I had high hopes for the Mesh Chrono. Let's just say that all my expectations were exceeded when I held the watch in my hands for the first time. The Megir Mesh Chrono is a tribute to Skagen watches, using a Milanese loop strap as popularized by the brand. I do not know how long the Megir strap's finish will last, but I'll update this post if ever discoloration occurs.

The face is made of mineral glass, but it protrudes above the bezel, so extra care should be taken. The dial has a sunburst finish and all the markers/indices are aligned properly. The lume on the sword-shaped hands glow dimly in the dark. The crown is push-type, first indent when pulling is to adjust the date, another pull to adjust time. The date window is a circular cutout. What's amazing to me is that the chronograph works. I still can't believe that you can get a chronograph at this price range. The top pusher starts and stops the timer, while the bottom pusher resets the hands back to their original position. I read that the watch uses a Sunon movement, which is supposedly pretty reliable.

One thing I don't like about the watch is that the case back protrudes from the case, which makes it look like the watch is floating above your wrist. Another minor niggle is the folding grip clasp, which is a bit fiddly. Strapping on your watch requires three things. First, you must hook the clasp to provide initial closure. Next, you'll have to push down on the lock. It's a bit tight right now, but it might settle down after a few weeks of use. It's kind of scary because I'm afraid to push down too hard. Last, push down on the flip lock to secure everything.

The case looks like its floating above my wrist.

In conclusion, the Megir Mesh Chrono is a really good deal. It looks and feels way more expensive than the price leads you to believe. I'll be purchasing more Megirs in the near future before their price goes up.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Suzuki Ertiga GL Manual Review

I had a chance to drive the facelifted Suzuki Ertiga GL with a manual transmission last Sunday. We went to Calatagan, Batangas with a few friends. I must say that I missed driving a stick shift car. It was a really enjoyable experience, especially because of the precise driving controls of the Ertiga. The preciseness of the car was remarkable, particularly at this price point.

The steering was light, and a bit muted. It was so boosted that I could not feel the road that much. However, it was very precise. There was absolutely no "sneeze zone", or dead spot in the center. A small flick of the wrist and the car will turn. You definitely would not want to take your hands off the steering wheel or even drive with one hand while cruising (which is bad practice, anyway).

The gear shift was tight, and accurate. Not once did I miss a shift or grind gears. It was very smooth as well. The pedals were spaced properly, and the action was light. Even in standstill traffic, I did not have problems modulating the accelerator and clutch. The pedals did not have any slack. It was easy to start from inclined roads.

The suspension is one of the best I've experienced in this segment, ride quality-wise. Bumps were well damped, and it did not permeate through the cabin. Even on with six passengers on board, it did not bottom out. It's tuned more for comfort, though, as it felt quite wallowy. Body roll was not that evident during highway runs, but going through some unpaved roads, I felt that the suspension was anchored on jello. I think that sport-oriented tires and gas shocks would solve most of my complaints.

My only real gripe is the engine, which is actually just perfect for city driving. On out of town trips, though, you will find that the Ertiga is underpowered. With a full load (six people and about 100 pounds of luggage), you'll have to rev hard and shift late to get moving. I found myself close to the redline a couple of times while overtaking. I normally wouldn't mind, but the engine is quite noisy at high RPM.

The interior space is quite tight, which is understandable for a short, three-row car. The habitable space seemed as big as the Livina's. In a Nissan Livina, I could fit in the last row, though. I didn't try with the Ertiga, but looking at my 5-foot daughter in the last row, I doubt that my 6-foot frame would fit. The other edge that the Livina has is that it has a bit more cargo space. With the Ertiga's third row seats up, there's only a shoebox-sized space left for your things. We only put one seat up for the third row so that we could fit our things.

Overall, the Suzuki Ertiga is a nice car. I totally understand why it's so popular these days. I would choose this over the Toyota Avanza even if the Avanza has more space. It's not every day that I'll get to use the third row, but it's there when I need to ferry more people. Ride-wise, it's just slightly behind a Honda Mobilio. I would maybe even choose the Ertiga over the Mobilio because of the creature comforts. The Ertiga's interior is way better than the 90s-inspired interior of the Mobilio and the Ertiga is also better equipped, but the Mobilio has way more legroom.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

My Angkas Experience

I've been using Angkas for well over two months now. From my house near Pasig City Hall, I've never had to wait longer than 15 minutes for a ride. Average is around 10 minutes of wait time during early afternoon. I started using Angkas not because it's a cheaper alternative, but because of the time I save versus taking an Uber or Grab. Without any promo codes, a ride from Pasig to Makati is usually around P116. An Uber or Grab ride would be anywhere from P130-P160 during these times. As you can see, the difference isn't much, but I save about an hour's worth of travel time.

Being a former motorcycle rider myself, I relish the opportunity of being able to ride different kinds of bikes everyday, even if I'm a pillion rider. I've been riding since I was 9, when my dad gave me a 50cc Yamaha Jog and my granddad gave me a 50cc Honda Tact in a span of a few months. I've had all kinds of bikes from underbones to standards. I only stopped riding because my wife thinks that all bikers are "chickboys".

Angkas bikers are usually chatty, and one of the things I usually ask is why they chose their bike. In my opinion, scooters are the best for Angkas bikers. Why? There are no gears, no clutch, good seating position, compact dimensions, and low seat height. These attributes are the best for weaving in and out of traffic.

Here are some of the more memorable bikes that I've ridden and a short review of each:

Honda RS125 - This bike has such low clearance. The bottom always scrapes humps. Disappointing.

Bajaj/Kawasaki Rouser 180 - Smooth and powerful. My favorite out of all the Angkas bikes.

Honda CB110 - I thought it would be underpowered, but it's sufficient even with my 200 pound carcass on the back seat.

Euro RKS 150 - Vibrates a lot, like my Chinese Honda Wave copy (Loncin 125). Would be tiring to ride for long trips. Your hands and legs will be numb after an hour of riding. Looks good, though.

Yamaha Mio - I understand why this scooter is so popular. Low seat height, easy to drive. Gets a bad rap for having a low ground clearance, but I've never experienced any scraping over humps. The Honda RS125 is much, much worse.

Suzuki Skydrive - Same ride quality as the Mio, but a bit more powerful. This would be my choice if I were an Angkas biker.

Kymco Super 8 - I'm not sure if I was wearing tight pants, but it was hard to get on to, and the seat seemed too wide.