From Easy-Operate Drones to Happn: Tech in Review
The first time I ever flew a drone, I flew it straight into a wall. I’m not much better at it these days, but that doesn’t mean I won’t take every single opportunity I get to mess around with one. Shenzhen company DJI are the just about the only name in drones these days, and recently I checked out their new entry-level Phantom 3 Standard model. This quadcopter may be for beginners but it still comes with most of the bells and whistles, including a camera that shoots stabilized 2.7K video and 12MP photos, livestreaming footage straight to your tablet or phone. They’re stable and surprisingly easy to fly, although the half second or so lag in the transmission time takes some time to get used to. I can’t wait to take one on my next junk trip.
Psst… A while ago, I also got a few minutes to play with the pro-level Inspire 1 model. It’s a lot more responsive and has way more features, but it also costs $29,000 more. Also, it’s loud, sleek and genuinely terrifying when it’s flying towards you.
DJI Phantom 3 Standard, US$699 ($5,400) from www.dji.com.
Another excellent toy: the Ricoh Theta 360-degree camera. This little device comes with a fisheye camera on either side, and it takes two pictures in one and stitches them into a single whole, sending it straight to your smartphone. The photo goes right to a phone app and you can pan, zoom and share it as you wish. The new Theta S—which I’m dying to get my hands on—streams full HD video to your phone, as well as just taking normal photos. The main limitation? It’s a real pain to pull a photo off the app and onto any other kind of device. Still, it’s worth it for the interest it generates… from other geeky men, admittedly.
From US$300 ($2,300), theta360.com.
At last! Junk 360! #ricohtheta #fabulous #theta360 - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA
Newly launched in Hong Kong: the Netatmo Welcome, a Wi-Fi enabled home security camera with built-in face recognition. How does it work? You download the accompanying app and place the (admittedly rather sleek looking) camera facing your door. The camera will automatically recognize the various faces of your household, and you can set up various notifications to be sent straight to your phone, depending on who’s doing what. Want an alert when your SO gets home, or someone tries to steal your TV? Easy, and everything’s recorded in full 1080p video.
$1,899 from stores including www.jselect.hk, smartliving.hkt.com and www.nobletimehk.com.
New App Corner
This new Hong Kong food app is like if you stuck Openrice, Instagram and Facebook in a room, turned off the lights and came back half an hour later to catch them going at it like bunnies. The app builds a food-based social network: Friends and (literally) tastemakers post their top dishes and reviews, plus you can search for new restaurants and invite friends straight from the app. In our foodie-obsessed city, chances are it’s gonna do well…
So you’re on the MTR and your eyes lock for a second with a super-cute girl/guy/granny. But you’re late for work, they’re listening to a podcast and you never find the opportunity to strike up a conversation. Instead you’re just two ships passing in the night, always wondering what might have been. Well, Happn has just been released in the SAR to try to save you from yet another what-if situation. If you cross paths with another person with Happn installed, the app will tell you—and if you like the look of each other (again), you can get in touch. Basically, it’s like Tinder for people who physically move. And that can only be a good thing.
The Hong Kong iteration of the city transport app launched about a month ago, and it’s all about making getting around the city easier. What makes it different from regular old Google Maps? Real-time public transport updates, for one, as well as notifications to your phone when it’s time to get off your bus or tram. Coverage is pretty good so far, although there are no red minibus routes listed yet. Although we don’t blame them for that: When it comes to red minibuses, if you don’t know—you don’t deserve to ride.
All free on iOS and Android.
Email Adam White at [email protected], follow him on Twitter at @adamawhite and on Instagram @adamawhite.