Reviewing latest gadgets
Sifting through interesting and quirky gadgets that are worth a look
Price: Rs 5,990
It looks like a retro portable radio with a modern twist—the Carvaan can serve as a Bluetooth speaker and play back MP3s off a thumb drive. The biggest draw —it comes preloaded with 5,000 classic Hindi songs across artistes and moods!
Pros: From the get go, the design and radio-esque tuning knob and old-style controls evoke a strong sense of nostalgia for folks who’ve grown up before the 80s, and once you understand what control does, it’s easy to use. It lasts for around six hours of playback at moderate volumes, charges over micro-USB and is portable (and loud) enough to be taken out on a road trip.
Cons: It lacks an auxiliary input, so it can not be connected to a device that doesn’t support bluetooth.
iPad Pro 10.5
Price: Rs 50,800 onwards
To the casual observer, Apple’s new iPad Pro merely thinned the screen bezels to fit in a larger 10.5in display. The iPad Pro, with its new screen and performance bump, is a delight to consume media while packing in enough performance and productivity chops to appeal to designers and seasoned business travellers alike.
Pros: The big draw for this generation of the iPad Pro is the new ProMotion display, which varies the screen refresh rate between a battery-sipping 24Hz and a fluid and snappy 120Hz. So, you get instantaneous screen response when you’re gaming or sketching with the Apple Pencil, and power saving when you’re doing regular activities like reading text or watching regular TV content. The new A10X Fusion chip outperforms many processors and gives pro-consumers the power they need to make video and image edits on the move. Battery life is a solid 9-10 hours, and the camera has the iPhone 7’s 12MP with optical image stabilisation setup.
Cons: The design has changed just enough to render the previous generation protective cases obsolete. Plus, the new Pro is a pricey proposition and the casual buyer may want to consider the regular non-Pro iPads instead.
Price: Rs 8,999
Samsung’s latest S8 flagships are powerful devices, the DeX station is the missing piece in the puzzle—a docking station that lets you connect your S8/S8+ to a mouse, keyboard and screen, transforming the devices from mere handheld devices to become the brain of a desktop setup.
Pros: DeX adds HDMI, ethernet, and dual USB connectivity to your S8, charges the phone when it’s docked in, and even has a built-in cooling fan to keep your phone from overheating. Once docked, you get the full Windows-like desktop experience on the screen, even though it’s really running Android behind the scenes. Apps adapted to DeX work in full-scale, resizable windows, while other smartphone-only apps open in vertical smartphone-sized windows, and multitasking between open apps is seamless.
Cons: The USB ports are the slower USB 2.0 variety, but the biggest omission is a headphone jack—the phone’s speaker and jack are blocked when docked. The price of admission, if you don’t have the required screen, keyboard and mouse spare, goes higher still. Plus, it serves a rather slim niche—S8 owners who’re looking for a phone-driven desktop.
Honor 8 Pro
Price: Rs 29,999
Huawei’s Honor sub-brand has turned out numerous premium-looking devices in the mid-range segment last year, but the Honor 8 Pro may be its best effort yet.
Pros: Honor has pulled out all the stops with the Honor 8 Pro, you get a punchy quad-HD resolution AMOLED display, 6GB of memory, 128 GB of storage and Huawei’s top shelf Kirin 960 chipset which more than capably hands Honor’s EMUI 5.1 Android interface. There’s a dual camera setup, one RGB sensor and one monochrome sensor.
Cons: While the design may be rather generic, the Honor 8 Pro redeems itself by staying sleek while packing in a capacious 4000mAh battery. Since battery life is average, it will last you a day of moderate use, but not more. It uses the new Type-C port for charging, but data transfer speeds are restricted to the slower USB 2.0 standard.
Bose QuietControl 30
Price: Rs 27,000
I f there’s one reason Bose headphones are super popular with seasoned travellers, it’s their ability to block out outside noise. Until now, Bose took an all-or-nothing approach— you either had noise-cancellation on or off. With the QuietControl 30, you finally get finer control over the level of noise cancellation.
Pros: Bose’s approach works well, and you can choose from twelve levels of noise cancellation from the buttons on the in-line remote or via the Bose app on your smartphone. Audio quality is pretty good but, as with many Bluetooth headphones these days, it’s slightly flat with a slightly exaggerated bass that normal folks (not purists) tend to prefer.
Cons: Since these are strictly wireless only headphones, you can’t plug these into in-flight entertainment systems, so load up content on your smartphone if you pick these up. The collar-style design may not suit you, especially if you don’t like a semi-stiff neckband around your neck—try one out for size at a store before you spend the money on these.