Author Archives: Bhavya Desai

OnePlus Watch 2 Review

The latest addition of the OnePlus watch has been launched after a gap of nearly 3 years with a price of Rs. 24,999. At this price point this watch is competing with the likes of Samsung Gen 4 and Fossil’s Gen 6 watches and the likes of others in that category. Now this isn’t really a premium category watch like your Apple and Samsungs watches. And OnePlus knows that, with this they are trying to target a user that is looking for value for money + premium features and also someone who piggybacks on the OnePlus ecosystem. 

Look, Body and Feel

The first thing I notice about the watch is its big dial, a 1.43-inch dial beams out at you with a premium build quality, especially for the price point. And this builds on the IP 68 water resistant rating plus a military grade durability. But while the look is premium the button and rotation dial quality feel average. 

The colour is the flagship green, which can be seen on the OnePlus Pad, OnePlus Open, and the OnePlus 12. But at 80 gms the watch certainly feels heavy on the wrist, may be because of the stainless steel build, in comparison the Apple Watch that I use is about 32 gms. The display can go upto 1000 nits and this now also has an improved resolution of 466×466, which is more than the 454 pixels before. It is bright as daylight and you won’t have an issue viewing this under any conditions.

Dual Chipset

To improve the efficiency of the watch it now runs with a dual chipset, one is the Snapdragon W5 performance chipset that runs Wear OS 4, and the other is the BES 2700 efficiency chipset that runs the RTOS operating system. These run concurrently and in most cases I found it to be running smooth and fast. There is not much lag and the watch is able to handle what you throw at it efficiently. Yes, it isn’t lighting fast as I am use to with the Apple Watch, but full points to OnePlus on this one.

Graphics and Animations

But where I feel the let-down are the graphics. When I use the watch, the graphics, the animation, there just seems something missing in them, I can’t put a finger on it, but something is there. And its even more surprising since it features a 60 hz refresh rate, same as the apple watch which is actually pretty good, but for some reason it does feel that fluid. But the Wear OS 4 runs smooth and feels at home with the back button swipes for android, it’s just so intuitive to just do that. 

Faces & Customisations

One of the interesting things about a smart watch is its faces, and in this case I found the ones in the O Health app to be limited. But you can download upto 80 more faces online, unfortunately that didn’t work for me since under embargo that didn’t seem to fire up. I do have a bone to pick when it comes to customisations as well. I felt those to be limited as compared to what I am use to with other options. But may be in this price segment this could be offering more? 

But the good thing is that with Wear OS 4 now you can get things done easily and also use the google apps on the watch. The watch pairs fast, which is convenient and also will download the apps and access pretty well. But do note that in India specifically Google Pay and Google wallet wont work in India. And also for any iPhone fans, this is not compatible with the iPhones. 

A Battery Powerhouse

One of the biggest things that OnePlus is pushing with this is the battery life. And with its 500 mAh battery, this is truly a battery power house. It allows upto 100 hours of battery and also now offers a power saving mode as well. And what’s interesting, in that mode you can get access to loads of basic functions, which lot of the other watches wont allow you to do. For instance, most smart watches just show the time in the power saving mode. 

But in any case, if the battery also dies then you just need 10 mins to charge your watch. This comes with a 7.5-watt VOOC Charger, which could be better built honestly, but it supports fast charging and is also more than the usual 2.5 watt industry standard.

Health Apps

Now primarily you always use a watch for its heath features and the OnePlus Watch 2 also offers a host of them. And in most cases they work pretty well. Like for instance it accurately detected the bpm and in both the watches I used and that was pretty close. But the metric of calculating steps seemed quiet off. This does feature the new dual frequency for better precision, but there was surely a mismatch in the steps on both my watches. Now I dont know which watch is really giving the accurate step count honestly, but they aren’t the same. They have also enhanced some of the workout modes as well like the badminton mode, which I am looking forward to using it when my injury heals. 

Conclusion

So how do I find the OnePlus Watch 2? Now one of my vices are watches actually, I really love them and I invest in them a lot as well. And for approx. 25k, I think this watch offers a lot and is surely decent. Yes, it isn’t the best at everything it does, but for that you also need to spend a lot more, like the Apple watch, which is nearly 2 times this price. 

The way I look at it is that, this watch isn’t the best at everything, but it actually is consistent at everything, and for the price and the features it offers, I can see it being an appealing buy for users.   

Look at the Samsung S24 Ultra Cameras

Samsung Galaxy S24+ and Galaxy S24 also unveiled

Samsung unveiled the S24 series comprising of the Galaxy S24 Ultra, Galaxy S24+ and Galaxy S24 along with the Galaxy AI to the public. The flagship devices from Samsung comes with the latest Snapdragon Gen 3 processors and specs that will surely make everyone take notice. Under the hood, the Galaxy S24 Ultra provides 12GB + 1TB, 12 + 512GB, or 12 + 256GB memory and storage options.There are two main take aways for me in these phones, the change in the Cameras and also the power of AI in everyday usage.

Cameras

The S24 Ultra comes with a quad camera set up, like the S23 Ultra, which on the face of it seems the same, but there are some interesting changes to the cameras. The cameras include a 12MP ultra-wide camera that features a 120-degree field of view, a 200-MP wide camera with OIS, and two telephoto cameras featuring 5x and 3x optical zoom options. At the front it has a 12MP front-facing camera.But what’s interesting is that there have been some changes that’ve been made to the camera. For instance, the main 200-MP camera now has a new sensor with the same specs as the S23 ultra, the telephoto also now features a 5x zoom instead of a 10x in the previous edition, to deliver a better performance between the ranges of 3x to 10x performance. These are tiny but important changes for the performance, which the users will benefit from. But we can only be certain when we do the full review of the phone.

Samsung AI

And the other important take away is the Samsung AI, which the company has teased a lot. It’s safe to say that it is difficult to leave AI out of phones anymore, and with each new phone, the use case scenario of AI seems to make things increasingly convenient. 

In the Samsung AI world you can now click on a picture, select and search it on google, it will also allow real time translation on calls. But the most interesting thing is the editing tools it offers. Much like google, you can now enable simple edits like erase, re-compose, and remaster. For easier and more efficient optimizations, Edit Suggestionuses Galaxy AI to suggest suitable tweaks for each photo. Generative Editcan fill in parts of an image background with generative AI. When a picture is crooked, AI will fill in the borders. And if an action-packed video needs to be slowed down, new Instant Slow-mo can generate additional frames based on movements to smoothly slow down action-packed moments for a more detailed look. And yes it shows you small stars at the corner if the picture has been edited using AI.

These and host of other features awaits us with AI. But off the top these were the stand out things that we noticed about the cameras of the Samsung S24 Ultra. But do stay tuned and we will bring you the full review of the phone soon.

Photography Trends in 2024

With 2023 behind us, it’s time to focus on 2024! And with the New Year around the corner, what’s better than looking at the biggest Photography Trends that we will get to see in 2024. If you’ve been a reader of the magazine over the years then you would know that every year in our January Anniversary issue, we feature an article on the biggest trends and predictions for the year. And more often than not, we are on point with them. Don’t believe us? Then you can read some of our previous articles from 2023, 2022, 2020.

– By Bhavya Desai

For 2024, these are the biggest trends in technology, products, features I feel will come your way:

Dominance of AI in photography

The biggest trend in 2024 will be the increased dominance of AI and its computational photography. If you remember my article from last year, that also featured the increase in the use of AI tools to execute photography. But in the year 2024, AI and its impact on photography will come into its own. This will be evident with the increased use of AI tools by photographers to increase their efficiency in everyday processes. And this spurt will be helped by mainline software giants like Adobe, Canva, etc. introducing AI features into their softwares like Photoshop, Indesign, etc that will allow users to access AI to enhance/change their pictures. The everyday use of softwares like ChatGPT, Midjourney, Dall-E have also increased phenomenally in the past year.

But what’s interesting is that the increase in the use of AI wont only be in the form of apps and software. Smart devices like phones, cameras, processors etc. will also start using advanced AI algorithms to deliver better results, pictures, making the life of a photographer easier than before. So 2024 is going to be all about AI, its tools and computational photography. Get ready because this year will be ‘Monumental for the Future of Photography.’

Rise of Contextual Photography

Ride with me for a minute! The terms contextual photography can be misinterpreted often. When I refer to contextual photography, I am referring to the trend where a picture provides a context to the viewer. With the increase in the usage of AI tools that allow us to manipulate images, there has been an increased push towards realism in the pictures as well. And with that I feel viewers will/are consuming images and content that delivers a larger perspective and context to images.

Focus on Environmental and Sustainability

And with that context the viewers are also thinking about the planet. Now when I say focus on environmental and sustainability, I don’t mean that as a genre in photography that will be the prime focus. I am referring to users/followers/subscribers of photographers who resonate with the planet and how much does their favourite shutterbug care about the environment. And this will come full circle with not only photographers, it will be applicable to people in general as well. And more specifically if photographers are more responsible of their work in a sustainable manner towards the planet.

I don’t think if I have seen any generation that cares about the planet and its environmental impact as the current one. Which is great, and in this time and era the focus isn’t just on the products that are environment friendly, sustainable, but also what he/she/they stand for.

Death of the Horizontal Picture

One of the saddest inventions of social media is the advent of vertical photos. Think of it! When was the last time you took a horizontal photo, unless you were really forced to? Personally, in the last year I also don’t remember taking too many horizontal photos either. And when I thought about this point, I went back to my library to run a check on the horizontal photos I clicked in the last year. And the result was mind boggling. They amounted to less than 10% of all my pictures.

Now it is common to take vertical pics with phones, for obvious reasons, but I find more and more photographers using their cameras also to shoot vertical pics. And I feel that 2024 is going to be the death of the horizontal images and videos (if it hasn’t already happened).

Drone & Aerial Photography – Coming of Age

This point has been featuring in my list for the past 2-3 years. And that is because the first time I predicted it, drones had just started surfacing. But every year drones have been consistently offering better features, become more affordable and have started coming in smaller packages, and 2024 is the year where you will see them make a major impact.

With more advanced features in smaller packages, use of drones especially in video content is almost a given these days. So get ready for some serious drone action.

Short Form Video Content

I am sure this isn’t a surprise for anyone. Short form content like Shorts and Reels are already becoming more popular than long form content in terms of consumption. And the year 2024 is going to be no different. Perhaps the biggest change that one will find is a shift in the mindset of the creators while creating content.

While short form content was believed to be cringe, corny, etc., it is clear that viewers are consuming short-form vertical content. And by the second half of 2023 people have realised, to get more followers/subscribers/views they also need to focus on this format. And 2024 will see a phenomenal rise in the consumption of this form of content.

Faceless Shots

The only photography style to get featured in this list is Faceless shot. As the name suggests, these are pictures that feature without a face/head. And this is I think will be a very interesting image trend in 2024. Combined with contextual photography, this trend will become a powerful medium to provide a good perspective to the viewer, while surrounding some mystery to the subject.