I’ll be honest, I don’t like cases but they’re an absolute necessity. I take really good care of my phone, but even I’m not a stranger to an accidental drop only to find that my new phone has a slight scratch or dent in it. It’s annoying to cover your beautiful phone in an ugly case, but it’s heartbreaking to actually damage your phone because you’re a “no case” kind of person… so here’s a best-of-both-worlds sort of case. Made from premium suede, this iPhone 11 Pro case gives your phone protection as well as a soft touch, while looking absolutely glorious. The velvety suede finish comes in midnight green to match your phone’s wonderful color, and while it doesn’t bounce light off itself the way the iPhone’s glass does, it’s an absolute upgrade over having an ugly silicone or plastic case. I mean come on, it’s suede!
I was in the Scottish Highlands a week ago, on a road trip with the family, with absolutely no network on my Pixel 2 phone. In essence, I was cut off from the rest of the world. No internet, no messages, no calls. All I had was the car’s radio, which happened to be catching some music on a DAB station. I looked at my Pixel 2’s screen, completely stunned to see that without any network or internet, my Google Pixel 2 had identified what song was playing. Right underneath the notification bar, it said “Come Together – The Beatles” (the radio channel was celebrating Lennon’s birthday on the 9th of October). My phone had essentially identified a (pretty popular but) completely random track on the radio… completely on its own. I was partly terrified but mostly impressed. Fast forward to today, a full week later.
I’m sitting in front of my TV, watching the Google Keynote live. I’m feeling a similar feeling of euphoria and mild terror at how incredibly advanced Google’s new devices are getting. The Google Assistant has the ability to work incredibly well WITHOUT being connected to the internet. Everything sits in Google’s small machine-learning chip, allowing your phone to be smart on its own. That’s incredible and terrifying, depending on how you look at it. Google’s devices, its smartphone in particular, are growing increasingly powerful in order to achieve what Google calls ‘ambient helpful computing’.
Google’s keynote, just nearly over a month after Apple’s keynote, feels quite different. In fact, I’d say the roles have reversed. Apple was once a bastion of serious innovation, and Google, a fun-loving company that made delightful hardware to complement its software. Now the tables are turned, as Apple takes on a more informal route, with its partnerships with Oprah and Jason Momoa, and its foray into Arcade and Apple TV Plus, while Google has assumed the mantle of power, having just built the most powerful Quantum Computer among other achievements. The once fun-loving company is all about showing how they can ‘help’ change the world, one product at a time. I mean, they even had an on-stage interview with Annie Leibovitz, to talk about how a professional would use Google’s Pixel camera.
The Pixel 4 is built around Google’s motto for being an incredibly advanced piece of tech envisioned to help you. Its incredible advancement comes from the fact that it’s now the first and only phone to use radar as an input, allowing you to wave your hands in the air to swipe through your music playlist, mute your alarm by showing your phone your palm, and much more. The Soli radar chip, developed in 2015, went from 4 square-feet in size, to a mere 4 square-millimeters, sitting in the Pixel 4’s upper bezel. The Soli is so powerful, it knows what to do before you even tell it to. When your hands approach your phone, Soli activates the facial recognition camera on your phone, so you just need to look at it to wake it up… no pressing buttons or anything. It even reduces the volume of your alarm when it senses your hand approaching the phone. It can detect and differentiate between you waving to a friend versus trying to swipe in the air to change tracks on your phone, making it both ground-breaking and incredibly intelligent for something so new. Google’s assistant grew a tad bit smarter too, being able to work across apps, completely offline, and being able to recognize complex commands without even needing the phrase “Hey Google”. If that wasn’t enough, the Pixel 4 will be the first smartphone to be Google Stadia compatible, come 19th November when Stadia finally launches.
As for the camera, Google’s found new ways to excel in that department. There was a good 15 minute segment just on how Google practically built and perfected computational photography. The camera can now click infinitely better HDR images with HDR+, better Portrait photos with its two lenses, even completing it with realistic bokeh, and absolutely stunning low-light pictures that puts the Pixel 4 in the category of SLR cameras. You’re literally looking at a powerful professional camera touted by Annie Leibovitz herself, that fits right in your pocket.
The Pixel 4 comes in three colors, with no fingerprint sensor and a massive square camera bump that easily overtakes the iPhone 11 Pro in its photography capabilities (although there’s a high chance the 11 Pro still dominates in the video department). Google’s very cleverly moved on from showcasing trivial details like wireless chargers and fabric cases (or even the Pixel 4’s battery life) to focusing on the larger picture, like how the Pixel 4 is an incredibly powerful digital assistant in your pocket. From being able to anticipate and understand your needs much in advance and being able to read your gestures in mid-air, to being able to allow you to talk to its assistant in a natural seamless manner (so the technology recedes into the background), the Pixel 4 is a great phone for users, while being a complete magnum opus for Google, showcasing its absolute potential as a dominating force in practically every department, from Voice AI to the state-of-the-art computational photography. That feeling of delight (with the zest of terror) is a pretty interesting one. It shows that there’s still a lot left in the smartphone innovation department, that Google is capable of still blowing our socks off, and there’s no stopping them.
Call it a bungee cord and harness, call it a seatbelt, call it whatever you like, the KOALA is a literal lifesaver. Its universal design firmly grasps any phone, preventing a ‘butter fingers’ moment where your expensive phone slips through your fingers or falls out of your pocket and hits the floor. KOALA has a non-invasive way of firmly grasping any smartphone, even if it has a case, protecting it from drops, damage, and loss.
It’s hard to say if the guys who created the KOALA accidentally dropped their phones into the snowy slope of a mountain while on a ski-lift, but that’s just the sort of situation the KOALA was designed to avoid. Its silicone grip wraps securely around the edges of the smartphone, while a coiled urethane tether and polycarbonate clip keep your phone permanently attached to you. In the event that your phone does accidentally slip from your hand (you could be on a ski lift, a bridge, in a boat, or just walking on the road), KOALA’s coiled cord allows it to spring back up into your hand. The rigorously tested gripping device can take a good 45 pounds of weight, and stretches up to 4 feet (the 4-foot stretch is for taking selfies. A phone hanging from the KOALA will deflect it about 8-10 inches).
Yes, KOALA can help avoid eventualities, but it isn’t a license to be reckless!
You could be one of the billion people playing Fortnite or Clash of Clans, or even Pokémon Go on your phone. The point is that even though all of them are technically mobile games, their controls are completely different and require different interfaces for effective gameplay. Some need complex joystick movements, some simple swipes and taps. LumiControl’s design brief was to design a controller to cater to them all.
The mobile joycon titled ‘LumiControl’ comes with two grips and an expandable design that fits your smartphone in between. Designed to cater to different phone sizes, the grip expands outwards and then promptly snaps around your phone, firmly gripping it from both sides. The controller connects to your phone, understanding the interface requirements of the game you’re playing, and adjusts its controls accordingly. Two touch-sensitive circles on the grips light up with the controls, allowing you to tap, slide, and maneuver your way through whichever game you play. The controller’s backlight adapts to the game you’re playing, allowing you to play anything from a racing game to a shooter to an MMORPG with the same device, while Making sure you’ve got an ergonomic set of controls that don’t cover your smartphone’s screen, making for more comfortable and immersive gaming!
Despite the undeniably powerful photographic capabilities that the newly released family of iPhones has brought with them, we can’t help but miss the iconically minimal and design that its ancestors were famed for carrying! This case aims to restore some of this clean design language, whilst simultaneously offering a welcomed level of protection!
On the reverse of the case is a metal cover that conceals the mind-boggling cameras; the gentle and smooth slide of this component not only reveals the lenses, but using the case’s embedded NFC technology, it automictically turns on the camera. This considered operation leads to a beautifully simplistic user experience!
Born out of necessity, according to designer Dennis Sedov, the C4 camera is for people who’d love to own a camera as versatile as the one on the iPhone, without shelling out over $999 to buy one. Fashioned in midnight green, just like its inspiration, the C4 is a pocketable point-and-shoot that you can carry along with your phone. With 5 different lenses to shoot with, you’ve got a choice between focal lengths of 13mm, 24mm, 35mm, 50mm, 90mm (much like having a DSLR with lens attachments). A nifty scroll wheel on the front (giving the C4 the appearance of an iPad Shuffle) lets you focus on a subject, scroll through lenses, and even navigate through the gallery of photos you’ve clicked on the camera. You’ve also got a pretty powerful flash sitting right in the center of all those lenses, brightening up your photos with a professional touch! Designed as a concept to bridge the gap between DSLRs (that have multiple interchangeable lenses) and phone cameras (that are portable), the C4 is a pocketable camera that gives you absolute photography props without needing to own a fancy, expensive phone… or an expensive camera with even more expensive additional lens kits!
If you got your first phone anytime between the 1980s to the 2000s, chances were, it was a Nokia. Practically the biggest phone company in the pre-smartphone era, Nokia was a household name back in the day. My first phone was a Nokia, my parents’ first phone was a Nokia, my uncles and aunts, cousins, everyone bought a Nokia first, before moving onto the other brands like Sony Ericsson, Samsung, Blackberry, and then later on, Apple. While Nokia’s seen quite a lot happen to it ever since the dawn of the smartphone, it’s one of those companies that fondly remains in all our hearts as making the most robust, dependable, affordable, and long-lasting phones around (I remember charging my Nokia once a fortnight).
Nokia’s 2720 (designed by HMD Global) is the revival of an absolute classic. It’s also possibly the only smart-flip-phone with Whatsapp, Facebook, YouTube, Maps, and Google Assistant. Designed with nostalgia, but practically perfect for kids of today, the 2720 has everything you need from your phone, without the overtly addictive bits. The lack of a massive touchscreen, and of a camera means people will spend lesser time obsessing over addictive apps (it doesn’t have Instagram either), and use it for the practical things like communication and navigation. The phone comes equipped with 4G, giving you seamless internet access, and has a battery standby time of 28 days, which means with moderate usage, you’ll probably need to charge it 2-3 times a week. Its flip-phone nature means you get the satisfaction of flipping your phone open when you want to use it, and slamming it shut after a phone call (I always loved doing that). Plus, it’s a Nokia, so it can easily take a little rough usage.
Telephoto, wide, and now ultra-wide… your phone has all these incredible lenses that let you shoot farther, or fit more into a frame, but uHandy lets your phone manage the opposite, and remarkably so! The uHandy Duet isn’t a macro lens… it’s a literal mobile-mounted microscope. You can zoom in on bugs, microorganism, even cells, to experience life on a scale that’s too small for the eye to see. Duet’s microscopes (there are two of them) attach to your phone, and use small sample-gathering stickers to collect everything you can find, be it hair, pollen, dust, or anything else you want to dive deep into.
A lower-intensity Lo-Mag lens allows you to observe small details like textures, or a butterfly’s wings, while the more powerful Hi-Mag lens lets you zoom in as much as 30x~200x to be able to view things or microorganisms as small as 1 micrometer (imagine being able to look at a small cluster of the transistors on the new iPhone’s chip!) The Hi-Mag lens uses its own light-source, and is roughly the size of a hockey-puck, giving you the ability to view literally an entire new world with your smartphone! The uHandy seems like a perfect toy to get kids curious about the micro-world around them, but truth be told, I’m probably just as eager to own one of these!
Verizon may soon carry OnePlus phones. According to Android Police, sources say Verizon and the Chinese manufacturer signed a deal and that the phones could arrive in 2020. It's unclear which model (or models) that would include, but PhoneArena claim...
Familiar within the photography circuit as one of the absolute biggest companies in film-camera photography, Kodak famously lost out on one of the largest opportunities to pivot to the digital format as the world was slowly moving away from purchasing camera reels and towards the now-ubiquitous SD cards. The company lay low for a while, but is now making its comeback with accessories for the most powerful camera to sit in billions of pockets… the one on your phone!
Kodak’s Smartphone Photography Kit has everything you need to take stunning pictures. They add to your phone’s ability to create great images by giving you depth, lighting, and stability. The kit comes as a collective of three accessories (which can be bought separately too), namely a mini tripod specifically for smartphones, a portrait ring-light that clips onto your phone for great low-light selfies, and a set of 2 clip-on smartphone lenses to give your phone the ability to click ultra-wide and macro images, allowing you to either look at the bigger picture, or to zoom into minute details. With Kodak’s comprehensive smartphone photography kit, you can take that powerful camera in your pocket and click pictures that are incredibly stable, thanks to the tripod, or have a beautiful diffused glow, courtesy the ring light, or just explore the world through literally a different set of lenses! It’s a Kodak Comeback!