04 Feb 2018
4 min read
This past week, the CAN InfoTech exhibition was the place to be for tech enthusiasts like me. With around 155 stalls displaying all the latest IT products, including mobile accessories, software solutions, hardware and maintenance and power solutions, the exhibition was supposed to be a paradise for all techies.
However, for someone who has attended almost every iteration of the event, I was quite unexpectedly underwhelmed by the event. I was quite surprised at the absence of some of the coolest and and most innovative gadgets--which have been available in other countries for quite some time--in the country's biggest information and communication technology (ICT) fair. That said, the event did feature some new gadgets and tech-based products that are sure to prove to be handy for most Nepalis. Here are a few of my picks:
Xiaomi MI 360 camera
The MI 360 camera from Xiaomi Electronics was probably the star of the show at the Chinese phone company's stall. The compact yet elegant camera is reminiscent of the old point-and-shoot cameras, minus the outward extending lens. But the main selling point of this camera is, as the name suggests, its feature of capturing videos with a circular point of view.
The basic steps for shooting a 360 degree video are the following: capture, stitch and play. The MI 360 has several mini in-built cameras, each with distinct lensesófive spherical glass lenses, two aspherical glass lenses and two
right-angle glass prism lensesówhich capture videos from different angles. All the images from the lenses are then stitched together by the cameraís software, which creates the final 360 degree video.
The MI 360ís numerous features can be accessed through a phone app called MI Sphere Camera, which is available for both Android 5.0 and iOS 8.0. At the exhibition, I tested the camera and the app, and I can assure you that this combination makes for a fun videographing experience. The camera also has a feature that allows people to easily share the 360 degree pictures and videos on social media. This feature will come in handy for aspiring vloggers, who can post on the move their daily vlogs and travel diaries on platforms like Facebook and YouTube. Companies that rely heavily on social media for promotion and marketing can also use this camera to shoot videos and make posts without any hassle.
The MI 360 camera is equipped with a 1600 mAh/3.8V battery, which lets you record videos for 90 minutesóprovided that the WiFi is turned off. With the WiFi turned on, you can still record for around 75 minutes. And it takes just two hours for the cameraís battery to charge from zero to 100 per cent. The only downside of this camera is its minor connectivity issue, which isnít a big deal since that will probably be resolved with new software updates.
Price: Rs 49,999
Nebula JBL Mars by Anker
Manufactured by Anker, a Chinese accessories manufacturer, the Nebula JBL Mars is a smart projector that comes with a pair of powerful JBL speakers. The combination of JBL's powerful speakers and a compact projector makes for an impressive portable audio-visual experience.
The Nebula JBL Mars comes with a 19,500 mAh battery, which is enough to power the projector for three hours of continuous video playback. Meanwhile, its Android 4.4 Operating System, powered by a Quad Core ARM Chip with 1GB RAM, gives you the ability to tune in to your favourite streaming portals like YouTube and Netflix. This projector can project videos on surfaces that are as wide as 300 inches, though the images may seem faded over a large area. Thus the recommended viewing size would be between 55 inches and 75 inches. In my opinion, the quality of video can be described as ësomewhere between DVD and Blu-Rayí. But owing to its resolution of 1280x800 pixel, I would say the display quality is mediocrethough itís still high definition.
Given its long battery life and admirable gigantic display, the Nebula JBL Mars, in my opinion, is a useful tool if you had a large viewing audience. In a country like Nepal, this projector would be ideal for bars, especially sports bars that host weekly outdoor screenings of major sporting events for their patrons. For such establishments, this projector can be ideal substitute for large plasma television screens, which usually cost a fortune.
Price: Rs 79,500
UP 3D Printers
It took some time, but 3D Printers finally made it to CAN InfoTech--thanks to the Robotics Association of Nepal. All 3D printers available at CAN were manufactured by Tiertime, which offered different models at the exhibition, including the UP Box+, UP Plus 2 and UP mini 2.
UP 3D printers employ a layer-wise manufacturing technology, which uses a special thermoplastic filament to print the prototypes, easily turning any type of complex module into a 3D image. Users of UPís printers can control the printer through the UP Studio App, which can be used through any WiFi-enabled device. The app enables users to determine what the end product will look like, through its basic building mode called the Puzzle Mode. The printer comes with the added ability to turn 2D images into 3D ones. Another great feature of the printer is that, in case of a power failure, the printer will remember its last position and resume function from that position once power resumes. The UP Box+ is priced at Rs 2,09,999, the UP mini 2 at Rs 99,999, and the UP Plus 2 at Rs 134,999.
TP-Link 3 antenna router
Among TP-Link's lineup of routers, the TL-WR941HP has got to be the most powerful. The 450 mbps router boasts three antennae with the ability to cover almost 10,000 square feet, eliminating the problem of 'dead zones'. It achieves this impressive feat with its high powered amplifiers that penetrate the thickest of walls and which has five times the transmission power of a normal router. All these features make the device perfect for office use, video streaming and gaming.
And those of you who are turned off by the prospect of
going through the hassle of fixing the settings of a router will be delighted to know that this router comes with a user-friendly web interface and a phone app. The web interface allows the installation to take place within 15 seconds. Meanwhile, the phone app, called the TP-Link Tether App, makes it easy for you to easily navigate through all of its features.
Price: Rs 6,000
Portable Printer by Canon
The device that probably caught everyone's attention at Canon's stall was the Pixma iP-110B, a high-tech portable printer. With dimensions of 12.7 x 7.3 x 2.5 inches, and an average weight of 3.8 kgs, this printer is smaller than most mobile printers, which makes it easily portable. An added feature of the printer is that it also supports wireless printing, meaning that you can easily print via your cloud services. It also has a decent battery life, with which you can easily print 290 pages on a full charge.
Now, you may be wondering who might find such a device useful. Well, this printer is most useful for travel photographers, who like to see a quick render of their pictures on paper. Thanks to Canon's years of experience with photos, the printer has the ability to print high-quality photo printouts in a matter of seconds. The Pixma iP-110B is also a useful tool in coworking office spaces where employees of various companies have to regularly make use of printers.
Price: Rs 37,000