Virtual Reality is here to stay.
Virtual Reality is a computer-generated scenario that simulates experience through senses and perception.
It is a fascinating way to travel using nothing more than the power of technology. With a headset and motion tracking, VR lets you look around a virtual space as if you’re actually there. It’s also been a promising technology for decades that’s never truly caught on. That’s changing with the current wave of VR products.
Oculus has the popular Rift, HTC and Valve have the Steam-friendly Vive, Sony launched the excellent PlayStation VR, Samsung recently added a separate controller to its Gear VR, and Google’s Daydream is steadily growing from the remains of Google Cardboard. Meanwhile, Microsoft’s Windows 10 mixed reality platform and a variety of hardware manufacturers working on it are waiting in the wings. There are a lot of promising headsets across a lot of different price and power spectrums
The Big Question: Mobile or Tethered?
Modern VR headsets fit under one of two categories: Mobile or tethered. Mobile headsets are shells with lenses into which you place your smartphone. The lenses separate the screen into two images for your eyes, turning your smartphone into a VR device. Mobile headsets like the Samsung Gear VR and the Google Daydream View are relatively inexpensive at around $100, and because all of the processing is done on your phone, you don’t need to connect any wires to the headset.
However, because phones aren’t designed specifically for VR, they can’t offer the best picture even with special lenses, and they’re notably underpowered compared with PC- or game console-based VR. Qualcomm showed off some cool Snapdragon 835-powered prototype headsets that let you walk around a virtual space without needing to be plugged into anything or have sensors installed around your room. And Google announced standalone Daydream headsets from HTC and Lenovo that don’t require a phone and use built-in position tracking.
Tethered headsets like the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and PlayStation VR are physically connected to PCs (or in the case of the PS VR, a PlayStation 4). The cable makes them a bit unwieldy, but putting all of the actual video processing in a box you don’t need to directly strap to your face means your VR experience can be a lot more complex.
The use of a dedicated display in the headset instead of your smartphone, as well as built-in motion sensors and an external camera tracker, drastically improves both image fidelity and head tracking. Windows 10 mixed reality headsets will likely see similar advantages and disadvantages, but those devices haven’t yet been released to consumers (the Rift and Vive work with Windows 10 systems, but aren’t part of the Windows 10 mixed reality ecosystem Microsoft is building).
The trade-off, besides the clunky cables, is the price. The least expensive tethered options are currently around $400. And that’s before you address the processing issue; the Rift and the Vive both need pretty powerful PCs to run, while the PS VR requires a PlayStation 4.
Sony PlayStation VR
Sony’s PlayStation VR is my current Choice for virtual reality, offering the most polished and easy-to-use tethered VR experience with a relatively reasonable price tag. You can only play proprietary titles on it, like Resident Evil 7: Biohazard, but a theater mode lets you play any PS4 game as if you were sitting in front of a large screen, and the VR games I ’ve tried has impressed me.
Like the Rift, it also requires an additional investment for full functionality; you need a PlayStation Camera for the headset to work at all, and a PlayStation Move controller bundle for motion controls. Still, a bundle including all of those things is available for 449$ or 30,000 rupees.
HTC’s Vive is a comprehensive package that includes a headset, two motion controllers, and two base stations for defining a “whole-room” VR area. It’s technically impressive and can track your movements in a 10-foot cube instead of just from your seat. It also includes a set of motion controllers more advanced than the PlayStation Move. But even its newly reduced $600 price is pretty hard to get past, and PC-tethered VR systems like the Vive need plenty of power, with HTC recommending at least an Intel Core i5-4590 CPU and a GeForce GTX 970 GPU.
Besides the included motion controllers, you can now get new tracking accessories that let you play certain games more naturally. These accessories use the Vive Tracker, a module designed to enable additional object tracking in 3D space. The current first-party accessory bundles available are the Hyper Blaster and Racket Sports Set, each $149.99. The Hyper Blaster includes a Nintendo Zapper-style gun, a Vive Tracker, and a code for the shooting gallery Duck Game. The Racket Sports Set includes a small ping pong paddle and a larger tennis racket, both of which can be attached to the pack-in Vive Tracker, and a code for Virtual Sports. A third-party manufacturer, Rebuff Reality, also offers TrackStraps that add leg and foot tracking to the Vive, at $24.99 a pair.
HTC unveiled a standalone Vive headset that doesn’t require a connected PC, appropriately called the Vive Standalone. The device will be exclusive to China at launch, and there’s no word on if it will ever come to North America.
The Oculus Rift was the first big name in the current resurgence of VR, and Oculus still a major player. While the retail version of Oculus Rift is more expensive than the developer kits were, it’s also much more advanced. From a technical standpoint, the headset is nearly identical to the Vive. It also includes the excellent Oculus Touch motion controllers, can support large-area VR like the Vive, and at $399 is a full $200 less than the HTC Vive—and even less than the PlayStation VR with Move controllers.
Google Daydream View
Google’s Daydream is similar to Cardboard in concept. You still put your phone in an inexpensive headset (the $99 Daydream View), and it functions as your display thanks to a set of lenses that separate the screen into two images. A pairable remote you hold in your hand (similar to the Oculus Remote) controls the action. It’s impressive when you can find apps that work with it, and an SDK update allowing for simultaneous Cardboard and Daydream support is helping to expand the platform’s library
Samsung Gear VR
Samsung’s Gear VR is one of the most accessible VR systems, with a catch. To use the newest Gear VR, you need a compatible Samsung Galaxy smartphone (currently eight devices, ranging from the Galaxy S6 to the S9). This narrows down potential users to people who already own compatible Samsung phones, since buying one just to use with the Gear VR pushes the price to HTC Vive levels. On the bright side, Samsung regularly bundles the Gear VR with its flagship phones, so if you’re planning to pick up a Galaxy S9, you might get a headset for free with the purchase.
The $130 Gear VR is a bit more expensive than both the previous iteration and the Google Daydream View, but it comes with a new Bluetooth controller equipped with both a touchpad and motion sensing, in addition to the touchpad built into the headset itself. Samsung collaborated with Oculus to build the Gear’s software ecosystem, which features a solid handful of apps and games, and multiple ways to consume 360-degree video.
Windows Mixed Reality
Microsoft has been promoting its partnership with multiple headset manufacturers to produce a series of Windows 10-ready “mixed reality” headsets. The distinction between virtual reality and mixed reality is so far dubious, but it indicates an integration of augmented reality (AR) technology using cameras on the helmet. Acer, Dell, HP, and Lenovo are some of the early partners in Microsoft’s mixed reality program, and they have most recently been joined by Samsung, which has its own Odyssey headset.
Microsoft has also been working on the HoloLens, an expensive and still developing augmented reality headset with a lot of potentials. Just keep in mind that AR is not VR.
The best laser printers for office use in 2018: The super guide!
Digitalization is increasing day by day. And we are almost on the verge of going paperless. But, until we entirely do away with papers, the world heavily relies on it. So, let’s look at the best laser printers for office use in 2018.
No doubt, email is a prominent medium of instruction in offices. However, it’s not as efficient as handing out paper leaflets. A perfect example of that would be offices for print media: sometimes they require journalists to collect critical information on paper so that there are no chances of cyber theft.
Even at home, you rely on paper to do your tasks which generally involve creating projects for students, etc. Not to forget, the Government works entirely on paper. No work is entirely done using technology; paper is essential.
Albeit, with so much mention of paper, where do you think these papers with text on it come from? As childish as this question seems, it’s printers that process heaps of papers each day.
Printers itself have morphed into various forms: there’s your regular inkjet printer, a laserjet, and the latest iteration- the 3D printer. But for now, let’s contemplate the difference between a laser and an inkjet printer, as our prime focus today is on laser printers.
What’s the difference between a Laser and an InkJet printer?
There’s a huge difference between a Laser and an InkJet printer. And the difference affects how the images appear on the paper and how the final product turns out to be.
Laser printers use toners to produce an image, which is different from the ink used in InkJet printers. Basically, a toner is electrically charged powder that is fused to paper fibers using heat during the printing process.
MeyersDirect explains it as, “Imagine you have a paint roller with an embossed pattern. If you rolled that roller through paint and then rolled it on a wall, the raised pattern would be transferred onto the wall. That is essentially what happens in laser printers, but with static electricity and a ‘drum’.”
Further, the drum appears as a thick rolling pin. The laser in the printer uses electric charges to draw an image on the drum. The toner deposits at the charges which are then transferred to the paper.
The term InkJet is a literal description of what these types of printers do. Firstly, they use ink instead of a toner and spray that ink over the paper in a series of tiny dots.
An essential problem that arises with InkJet printers is that if you use a low-quality paper, the paper may absorb excess ink resulting in a feathered paper. In addition to that, the images or text on the paper may appear smudgy. But, the list of problems doesn’t end here- the ink doesn’t dry immediately on the paper, leaving out room for accidental smudges.
Although, the problems you face depends upon the type and quality of paper you choose. Usually, a brighter paper may produce the best results when printed upon by an InkJet printer. This is because a bright paper often constitutes a smooth surface. And smooth paper reflects the light back in the same direction making allowing the printer to better analyze printing the image.
Why choose laser printers over InkJet?
- They produce accurate images without smudges.
- They don’t necessarily require the best quality of paper to produce good results.
- Toners (used in laser printers) are more expensive than ink cartridges (used in InkJet printers) but they can print significantly more pages and have a better long-term value.
- Laser printers are costlier than InkJet printers but are cost-effective in the long term.
- They are faster than InkJet printers, thereby saving time- an essential asset for offices.
Things to consider while choosing the best laser printer in 2018
Choosing the best laser printer for office use in 2018 is a difficult job, acknowledging the fact that there are tons of options out there.
But, there are certain perimeters you should consider that’ll help you choose the best one.
The amount of space that the printer requires.
There has been a gradual increase in the number of startups in the past few years, and not all of them can afford to buy playground-sized offices. Taking that into consideration, in relation to printers; the one you should buy must easily fit into the available space.
Usually, InkJet printers have a smaller form factor as compared to laser printers. However, as we’ve discussed above noting down the reasons so as to why InkJet printers are unfit for office use, there’s no other option other than looking for a laser printer with a smaller form factor.
Albeit, there are certain laser printers that do a good job not towering over you at your desk. You need to aim for those. Again, height is not the prime issue here when it comes to accommodating a printer on an office desk. The main issue is the width, which usually decides how much space is the printer going to cover.
Thankfully, the options fitting into these criteria are ever-increasing.
The number of available connectivity options
Offices have employees, that need regular access to the printers.
Small offices that have a minimal employee count do away with USB as their source for transferring data to the printer. However, large offices that have a fairly large employee strength cannot afford every employee to stick their USB into the printer (as this may cause security issues).
Thankfully, printers also have other options including ethernet which enables the user’s ability to transfer files over a shared PC connection. Even though Ethernet is the prime medium for a connection with the printer, offices can also use printers with connectivity options like Apple’s AirPrint, Google’s Cloud Connect, etc.
Latest printers also have an option to transfer print data through near-field communication (NFC), which is basically a technology enabling users to just tap their devices on a specific area on the printer to initiate the transfer and eventually, the print process. However, this requires smartphones and tablets to have NFC support; which isn’t the case in most offices. So, maybe don’t focus on NFC while choosing the best laser printer for office use in 2018.
There are a slew of options out there if you want to select the best printer for office use based on the output quality.
The idea that output quality matters varies in different corporations. For example, if you are an investment firm, you won’t care about output quality. But if you’re someone who works in a more creative field like a print medium, you would need better output quality to print images.
So, depending on what you do, contemplate what printer you want in terms of output quality.
It matters a lot. But it’s entirely dependent on your usage.
If you usually print one or two pages at your office, you should go for an InkJet printer as they are much cheaper than most laser printers. Laser printers are considered to be the speediest.
However, the printing speed of a laser printer also varies among different brands and types. The speediest could cost you more than slower ones. But, laser printers are gradually leveling out the differences between them.
Speed printing is, once again, not required for most offices. But, the stock market, for example, is a field where speed printing is a must. Not to mention, print media also requires prints faster as journalists covering competitive topics value even seconds.
How much do you print a day?
This is by far the most crucial aspect to consider when buying a printer.
Most laser printers can print about 16-20,000 pages per day until the printers start to wear out. And offices, unlike homes, consume printed papers in a vast majority. So, an easy way to know how much you print is to measure how often do you buy paper bundles.
Based on that, you can decide whether what printer with the suitable capacity is applicable for you. Additionally, you must also decide if you’re gonna do a lot of duplex printing (printing on both sides of a paper at the same time), and based on that, foresee if you need a printer with duplex printing capabilities or not. Although, the best printers for office use in 2018 do have duplex printing as a default feature.
As much as everything else’s concerned, you might now want sensitive data from your office to leak out. You might not want to be the guy who messed up everything in the office.
Offices have tight digital security. Workstations require passwords and biometric authentication to get access to data servers, databases, etc. However, that same data is also transferred to printers for printing. And it could be easily hacked by an intervention in the transfer.
Admiringly, a vast majority of printers today have added security features like encrypted transfers, secure firmware, etc.
Although, it’s you who have to choose just the right kind of printer that is just as secure as it is versatile. Remember, your company’s identity depends on your choice.
This is the rule for every product. You must, at all costs, check for extra features in the product.
Extra features may include anything, but, speaking of printers, those include a scanner, a fax machine, etc. Even in 2018, there aren’t many printers that offer extra features. But those that do, have a hefty price tag.
But, if you think it this way: you won’t have to spend cash on additional scanners and fax machines if you buy a printer having these features with a hefty price tag. Such printers have the most utility. And that’s a thing you should consider as well when buying the best office printer in 2018.
That said, let’s take a look at some of the best office printers in 2018.
Brother has earned fame with its high-quality printers. Its printers dominate the market and most office spaces.
Similarly, the Compact Monochrome Laser printer, HL-L2350DW lives up to Brother’s brand name. It is compact and can fit in the smallest of desks at the office. Its square-shaped form-factor makes it the most adorable printer in the market, weighing just 15.9 pounds.
However, I wouldn’t deny that its design is a bit boring, part of which is owing to the lifeless dark grey color. It has minimal controls which are present as buttons rather than a touchscreen. And speaking of buttons; there are just seven of them which control the entire printing process. This is as minimal a printer could get.
It’s a monochrome printer which means that it can only spurt black toner out of its cartridges- no color printing on this one. This comes from Brother’s passion to create cost-effective printers. This one particularly focuses more on that part. So if you have a small office or a home office, this printer from Brother is the best for you.
Delving into the technical stuff, this printer can print up to 32 pages per minute, which is not a bad number for printers in this price range. You can store almost 250 pages at a time in the tray, including both letter and legal sized paper.
It supports duplex printing which means that it can print on two sides of one page, thereby saving paper.
Any printer’s quality significantly depends upon the toner or ink used in it. In this case, Brother uses high-yield replacement cartridges identified as TN 760. It has the capacity to print up to 3000 pages, which, again is not that bad. Also, this printer has Amazon’s Dash support- a service provided by Amazon wherein if the toner is about to get empty, the printer will automatically order more from Amazon.
The Brother HL-L2350DW also has splendid connectivity options. It supports wireless transfers from smartphones, tablets, PC’s etc. Internally, it has a 64 MB memory that can be used for incomprehensive printing.
However, this printer doesn’t show traits of being secure. So, if your office deals with a lot of sensitive stuff, my advice is to reconsider buying this one.
Lastly, Brother offers free support in form of live chat, call, and online for this printer.
Unlike Brother, HP is not just a printer company. It has various divisions that produce several other products including laptops, cameras, phones, tablets, software etc. Though, out of all these products, HP is most well-known for its printers.
The HP LaserJet Pro M402n has a sleek design with accented aesthetics. And, unlike Brother’s printer featured above, this one is meant to look good in an office. Although, having a white color could harm its charm in the long run with continuous usage, and it certainly won’t be an easy task cleaning it.
This printer is also a monochrome one and also has better specifications than Brother’s which has been mentioned above. For starters, it has a 1.2 GHz processor which converts the data that you send to the printer in a format readable by the printer. A printer processor is also called a printer driver.
The control buttons on this printer are also fewer. Albeit, another improvement here is that the HP LaserJet Pro M402n has an LCD display. While having LCD displays don’t necessarily add value to the printer, it increases its accessibility. You’ll know if something goes right and also when something goes wrong.
Printing-wise, it has the ability to let roll around 40 pages per minute and has a 350-sheet paper input capacity in the tray. It comes with pre-installed toners, which can be replaced with even higher quality cartridges.
But, the one thing that this printer sucks at is productivity. You cannot connect to the printer wirelessly, and the only options available are to connect through Ethernet and USB. But, it’s completely appropriate for a work environment. However, extra connectivity options further enhance the experience and maybe speed up the process.
HP’s this printer is strongly focused on security as well. It encrypts the data transfers between the host and the printer and constitutes a fair and secure transfer. Security on this printer has been stretched to an extent that even its cartridges come with a unique chip for identification. With this, you won’t be able to use third-party toners which often degrade the printer.
It also smartly turns itself off and on based on the duration of inactivity, which saves a lot of energy.
Amazon also hosts its Dash technology in this printer, using which the printer can automatically detect low powder in the toner and order itself a new one. Lastly, 24×7 web support along with one-year limited hardware warranty comes along with the package.
Gaining the third spot on this list of the best office printers in 2018, the Brother MFC9130CW printer cannot be defined in words. Yet, I’ll attempt at it.
The most notable thing about this printer is that its an MFC one. MFC stands for Multi-Function Center. It’s basically an abbreviation assigned to printers that have two or more functions. Take this one, for example- it’s a printer, scanner, copier and a fax machine. A more casual name for these types of printers is ‘all-in-one printers.’
Inside, it’s a laser printer, but on the top- it’s a scanner and a copier. And once again, on the inside, it’s a fax machine.
You can transfer information to it wirelessly using a smartphone, tablet, laptop, basically anything with access to a wireless internet connection along with printing functions.
Although, as it’s said- a jack of all trades becomes master of none, which is the case with this printer. It’s good in everything else, except for printing itself. Unlike other printers in this list of the best printers for office use in 2018, it prints at a very slow rate- only 19 pages per minute. This could act as a boulder if you have a busy office.
On the bright side, however, it also outputs color prints at 19 pages per minute, which is a significant rate. On top of that, this printer offers better controls than the last two options. It has a full-fledged keypad along with color touchscreen allowing you to have a better grip of the prints.
It has 48-bit color processing (input), 24-bit color processing (output), grayscale: 16-bit color processing (input), 8-bit color processing (output). Also, it supports high-impact business printing, at up to 600 x 2400 dpi using Brother’s Digital LED Print Technology.
Lastly, one more caveat in this printer is its inability to manage duplex printing. I’m sorry, I should’ve put my words together properly- it doesn’t have duplex printing.
Design-wise, well, it looks like a printer should. Albeit, this is the one that could tower you while you’re working at the desk. So, if you’re not a speed-freak and don’t care about duplex printing, this printer is for you.
Like I said, HP pretty much dominates the printer market. And this printer is an additional drop to the ocean of available options in HP’s database.
It ships with laser print technology, making it a laser printer, while it allows other functions as well including scanning and copying. Inside, 256MB of RAM powers its memory. Basically, a printer uses RAM to remember the pages allocated to it for printing. And this one does a good job doing just that.
It has a duty cycle of 75,000 pages and prints black and white as well as color at a rate of 31 pages per minute. You can set in as much as 250 sheets in its tray at a time.
Design-wise, it has beautiful curves that define the simple printer-like design. Although, the color combination is off-limits and would not suit an office room. So if you’re someone who is super conscious about how the office looks, you must reconsider buying this printer from HP.
It has a 3.5-inch GCD touchscreen display, as the printer doesn’t sport any physical buttons. That makes the printer look more minimalistic and less daunting while operating it.
This printer supports duplex printing and has an ability to host 10 envelopes in its tray ready to print. Connectivity options include HP’s own e-print and Apple’s AirPlay. However, you always have the option to connect to the printer via Ethernet or USB.
It’s secure as well to the HP standards. So, this is almost the printer you should go with.
This is the best office printer you could get in 2018. It’s the ultimate printer there is in its class.
Frankly, you won’t have much space left in your small office if you go for this one, but if you have an office that can blissfully accommodate this beast, it’s the best option. Its design does justice to its size while being accessible at the same time. You don’t have to set this printer on a table (you can’t) as its height is enough for you to be able to reach to its controls easily.
This printer is also the best performing printer in this list. It prints a staggering 58 pages per minute, though, being monochrome. It has a 4.3-inch color touchscreen that enables smooth interaction with the printer. The touchscreen is also very vibrant, unlike other printers with a touchscreen in this list.
This printer nails the connectivity part by offering almost every option available out there. You can use AirPrint, Google’s Cloud Print, HP’s e-print, WiFi direct, Ethernet connection, USB, and even NFC. Additionally, having a hefty price tag, this printer also nails the security aspect. With end-to-end encryption and other similar security features, your data should do good.
It also has HP’s automatic On/Off function which enables the printer to put itself to sleep after a certain number of minutes of inactivity. The beast from HP also ships with a software- HP JetAdmin which allows a user to manage the printer, troubleshoot errors, and overall make using the printer dead simple.
The recommended monthly volume for this printer falls around 5000-16000 pages and supports duplex printing. It has 3 levels containing input trays, each having different capacities- 100-sheet input tray 1, 500-sheet input tray 2, and 500-sheet input tray 3.
Also, the various media sizes supported are letter, legal, executive, statement, 8.5 x 13 inches, 3 x 5 inches, 4 x 6 inches, 5 x 7 inches, 5 x 8 inches, envelope, and the US postcard.
This printer is for offices that require the most use of a paper, like print media, investment firms, etc.
These were the best office printers in 2018 that you could spend your or your company’s valuable bucks on. Just like everything else, printers are also getting smart these days. But for how long would we need them? My take: not for long.
Do you have any other options that you thought should’ve made the list? Let us know in the comments below.
Facebook hires chief of chip development at Google for its own chip-making ventures
While many technology giants have initiated producing their own chips, Facebook is little late in the game. But, better late than never. The social media company has hired Chief of chip development at Google for its chip-making ventures, Shahriar Rabii, according to Bloomberg.
Facebook has been out of the chip-making game for a long time, and hiring an engineer for its chipmaking ventures indicates that the company doesn’t want to wait longer. It has hired Shahriar Rabii to be the VP and head of Silicon, while previously, Rabii worked for Google in a team in-charge of creating chips for Google products, which includes the visual core chip embedded in Pixel devices.
The new hire will work under Facebook’s head of Virtual and Augmented Reality, Andrew Bosworth. This indicates that the social media giant could be working on creating chips for improvement of its virtual and augmented reality systems. Other use could be to improve processing in its vast data centers.
Apple, Google, Amazon, and several other companies have already invested their time, capital, and workforce in producing chips in-house. Apple has been producing mainstream chips for iPads and iPhones since 2010, while also creating chips that control Bluetooth, take pictures and conduct machine learning tasks. Although, now, seemingly, it’s Facebook’s time to hop into the chipmaking business.
Facebook’s venture into chipmaking could also be taken advantage of in instances involving handling serious social issues using virtual reality and machine learning. For those who don’t know, Facebook has been struggling with a lot of issues lately. The string of issues initiated, with Facebook being largely involved in the Cambridge Analytica Scandal, haunting people with privacy perversion. A lot of bugs endangering data privacy also followed. But, seems to be stabile now.
With most major companies producing their own chips, chip manufacturers like Qualcomm and Intel could face serious dents in their profits. However, there’ll always be secondary companies that could keep funds flowing for chip manufacturers. But, it wouldn’t be the same. Chip manufacturers would have no reason to bring about breakthrough innovations. Recently, trusted sources purported that Apple would create mainstream chips for MacBooks henceforth, canceling out Intel’s chips to be considered for production.
However, in order to get a leg up and gain orders from companies like Apple, Google, and Amazon, chip manufacturers would have to produce chips that would be out of bounds for tech giants like these.
Hopefully, Facebook’s venture into chipmaking will prove healthy for its vast user base.
iPhone camera accessories? Here are top 7 of them you should try!
The iPhone has a great camera and the fact that it’s undebatable ignites the idea that it can be utilized much more professionally than most smartphone cameras. In fact, iPhone cameras have been in contiguous comparison with DSLRs. Still, a camera sensor on an iPhone is only capable to produce industry-standard pieces if paired with authentic accessories meant for enhancing the overall quality of an image/video. But, the question is: What are the options when it comes to the best iPhone camera accessories?
Illustrious directors like Steven Soderbergh and Sean Baker have proved with films like “Unsane” and “Tangerine” respectively that those little devices in your pockets are capable of giving birth to stellar movies. Although, just by observing the quality of the film, it can be easily made out that the piece was not shot on a professional device. Yet, the iPhone can outdo professional film cameras for a split second, if not the entire span of the movie.
1. DJI Osmo Mobile 2
The first thing a perfect snap or a video might need is a stabilized frame. Owing to the fact that smartphones, no matter what company, are incapable of capturing extremely stabilized shots, a gimble might help.
Usually, while recording a video on a smartphone, there’s plenty of shaky bits. Even though smartphone manufacturers do their best to reduce instability, they aren’t able to compete with industry grade tools produced specifically to reduce volatility. DJI’s Osmo Mobile 2 Gimbal, though, is one such product that will produce remarkably stable shots. Just clip the iPhone, or for that matter, any smartphone with a decent camera sensor. This gimbal’s controls are quite impressive. With just a click of the button situated on the handle, the mechanical part rotates to a preset position.
Besides, cinematic panning is also one of the options that DJI packs in, which is quite impressive owing to the fact that the only use of a gimbal was to stabilize stuff– not sport cinematic sequential tricks. The DJI Osmo Mobile 2’s handle is designed in a manner that resembles a helicopter joystick. It feels sturdy and solid; at the exact moment– it’s lightweight. You can also attach a tripod to the handle. Plus, DJI ups the ante by catering an application specifically designed to take advantage of the gimbal. Identifying a subject and stabilizing the gimbal while focused on the subject, for example, is one of the many impressive features.
Additionally, what’s the use of a gimbal if it can’t capture breathtaking panoramas? Well, the gimbal from DJI does that too! The DJI Osmo Mobile 2 is available on Amazon for $129.
2. Jopree 4-in-1 Camera Lens Kit
iPhone cameras aren’t just sought-after for video recordings, photos too, turn out to be fantastically vibrant. Although, there can be only so much the little lenses glued to the infamous unibody designs can do. For starters, they can’t click wide-angled shots. Macro shots are out of the question, and regular lens zoom grains the shot.
But, it seems technology today has revolutionized things in such a way, there are a million workarounds to a single problem. And the solution to this particular issue of iPhone camera lens’ limitations is a set of custom, detachable camera lenses. There are tons of them available on Amazon, while most of them being low-quality, cheap workarounds. There are some mid-priced kits as well, though. But Jopree is currently one of the best iPhone camera accessories.
The kit houses 4 lenses altogether– a 20X Macro lens, 2.0 X Zoom Telephoto lens, 120 Degree Wide-angle lens, and a 180 Degree Fisheye lens. While this kit is not necessarily intended towards an iPhone, it best fits with the same. You can use this kit even for a Samsung device, or for that matter, any smartphone– if at all it fits the design.
3. Manfrotto Pixi Mini Tripod
Taking shots at creating the best project ever- be it for college or an internship, sure requires stellar lenses and even spectacular sensors enhanced by stabilizing gear. But, sometimes, you need to extend your boundaries by adding maybe one or two time-lapse sequences.
Time–lapse photography is a technique whereby the frequency at which film frames are captured (the frame rate) is much lower than that used to view the sequence. Capturing one demands patience and grit, and the human mind, as well as its coordination with the hand, is far from the perfect condition to capture a unique time-lapse. Well, a tripod could ease things a bit. And the tripod we have in-sight is the Manfrotto Pixi Mini Tripod. Manfrotto has its base in Italy, which is also where all of its products are designed. The company is already prominent in stocking up tripods for DSLRs, so it is safe to say that it would perform just as well with smartphones.
Additionally, you get a smartphone mount capable of housing even the iPhone 8 Plus. Although, there’s not much assurance as to the fact that it couldn’t be used with cases. If you have a smaller iPhone with a case, you’ll have no issues. The Manfrotto Pixi Mini Tripod is available on Amazon for $30 (with the smartphone holder) and for $19.14 (just the stand).
4. Griffin Survivor Extreme
Being a photographer/videographer is difficult. You have to go to extreme lengths just to capture a single shot/video. However, while in haste, there’s a high chance of capturing instruments to deter. Cameras, usually, are very delicate and a single drop could end up them being dysfunctional; most of the times, even rainfall wrecks one thing or two internally.
The same effects can be expected on an iPhone. Sure, it’s water-resistant but it won’t manage to bear extreme conditions. There are indeed phones for extreme conditions, but they don’t have impressive cameras. The Griffin Survivor Extreme comes to the rescue- a case that protects an iPhone in the harshest conditions. It has a 3-meter drop protection onto concrete. Internal foam lining, shatter-resistant polycarbonate frame, and shock absorbing silicone are its highlighted features. And believe it or not, these are the only things that can protect the little masterpiece living in your pockets.
Griffin has also added an anti-scratch screen clamped along the case that stonewalls the original screen. But, a downside is the case doesn’t have a covering for the camera- which is a prominent issue when it comes to photo/video production. Yet, it does protect the phone from drops and harsh weather. And it’s available on Amazon for $40.91 for the iPhone X.
5. Hitcase Pro
The Hitcase Pro is another case constructed to provide durability in raucous conditions one meets when filming a video or capturing a shot. But there’s a reason it’s different from the Griffin Survivor Extreme- it is a case meant for photographers.
You can’t compare it with a GoPro, but it makes an iPhone appear as one. The case has a mount that can be clamped to almost anything compatible with a GoPro. In fact, it also comes with a wide lens. But, like the Griffin Survivor Extreme, the Hitcase Pro does not offer a 3-meter drop protection. But on the bright side, the latter is far more good-looking when compared to the former. Everything on the case works magically- more like magnetically. With an iPhone X, iPhone 8 (Plus), and iPhone 7 camera attachment that magnetically attaches to the case, this case could be highly considered one of the best iPhone camera accessories- as it covers almost every aspect of photography/videography.
6. Manfrotto LED light
Even an entry-level photographer would know that photography is a game of lights. The correct manipulation of light entering the sensor could result in award-winning photos/videos.
But, there are numerous instances when an additional source of light is required to produce a grain-free photo or video. At times as such, the Manfrotto LED light might come in handy. A pocket-sized LED light that looks like a credit card (a little bloated), Manfrotto has surely gained a good grasp of the visual world. It’s not that the flashes on an iPhone wouldn’t help, but they are far from efficient in catering adequate lighting conditions.
A clamper is shipped pre-attached to the light which enables the LED to be placed on tripods, or even certain cameras. Although, it does not support clamping on smartphones. But, there is a flurry of tools out there for an iPhone that enables it to sport a dock- like a case etc.
The box comes with 2 lithium ion batteries included. And guess what? The Manfrotto LED Light could go hand-in-hand with the Manfrotto Pixi Mini Tripod– which is also described in this list. However, the LED is available on Amazon for $33.95.
7. Anker Powercore 20,100 mAh Portable Charger
A portable charger would be the least involved with photography, but its applicability is way more significant when it boils down to dealing with an iPhone.
An iPhone 8 has 1821 mAh battery which lasts for a day and a half tops if its obtained for regular usage. However, recording a video all day isn’t an instance of the term ‘regular iPhone usage’. Capturing photos and videos utilize almost every mechanism on an iPhone, or for that matter, any smartphone- which implies the battery would wear off soon. You wouldn’t want a dead iPhone while filming your most important frames. And the only way to save your battery is to bring extras. However, since the iPhone does not sport detachable batteries, portable chargers seem to be the only way to keep the roll going.
Anker’s Powercore portable charger is a reputable choice. It has a 20,100 mAh battery capacity which means that you can charge an iPhone 8, 12 times. A staggering 12 times. Not just that, Anker’s battery packs are known to usually last longer and are much less prone to relentless damages.
Let us know your picks in the comments below, and we might as well add it to the second part of this post.