If you’re looking for some high-end gadgets with new and interesting features, then these releases from Canon and Samsung might have just what you need.
We look at a printer for keen photographers, and a cool laptop which steers clear of the usual compromises hybrids require.
Shades of grey
As amateur photography gets more popular, DSLRs are becoming more common among enthusiasts too. These enthusiasts are learning something that professionals have known for a while—that a large, high-quality print can cost a lot of money.
The cost of print media—as high-end paper is known—alone can go up to as much as Rs.400 per sheet, and printers are usually priced at above Rs.1 lakh. This means that for a large segment of DSLR owners—both professional photographers and enthusiasts—taking prints isn’t an option.
The new Pixma Pro range, which aims to fill this gap, consists of three new printers—the Canon Pixma Pro-1, Pro-10 and Pro-100. The range starts with the Canon Pixma Pro-100, which is available for Rs.47,995 and is targeted at enthusiasts and fashion photographers. The Canon Pixma Pro-1 costs Rs.94,860 and is aimed at commercial photographers for in-studio printing, while the Canon Pixma Pro-10, priced at Rs.65,995, falls between the two in quality as well.
According to Canon, all three printers are aimed at a small niche of professionals, but it’s easy to see that the hobbyists will also buy them, because after all, sharing pictures taken with a Canon EOS 5D on Facebook would be wasteful.
The printers don’t use the standard four-ink system—instead, even the basic Pro-100 uses eight inks, including three different shades of black. The top-end Pro-1 uses 12, to produce great tonal shifts even in black and white pictures. Some of the prints truly look like paintings, with a sense of sunlight filling a black and white image.
The printer is not portable—it’s huge, and weighs almost 20kg, so it feels durable. Another positive is that the prints are also relatively fast for this level of quality. While the colour images look less impressive, the black and white images are stunning. It’s easy to imagine a photographer taking prints from his/her office that are ready to be framed.
The print resolution is fairly standard at this level of quality, at 4,800x2,400 dpi, and the Pro-100 also comes with Wi-Fi connectivity, which makes it rather easy to set up.
Given the black and white performance, it’s a great option for a professional, or even an enthusiast who has made some progress with learning the art of photography, though the average amateur, who just bought a DSLR because “it looked cool”, would do well to stay away.
Touch and type
The launch of Windows 8 has also led to a push for touch- screen devices running Windows, whether we’re talking about tablets, looking at the new category of hybrids, or even the humble laptop. Samsung too has launched the Samsung Notebook Series 5 UltraTouch, a stylish laptop with great touch integration.
The new laptop follows the basic design language of ultrabooks—it’s slim and has tapered edges, with a slick metallic finish which looks both stylish and professional. Unfortunately, today Asus, HP, HCL and every other PC maker is releasing similar designs, which makes these laptops look a little boring.
That said, the Air-inspired design is practical as well as good-looking as the laptop is light and portable. The 13.3-inch touch screen runs at 1,336x768 pixels, which makes it really good for most work, or watching movies, and there’s some powerful hardware here.
It has the latest Intel Core i5 processor at 1.7 Ghz and 8 GB of RAM, so it should be able to run just about anything you like. The four-cell battery gives you over 6 hours of battery use, and the standby time is fantastic, so you won’t always be reaching for the power cable.
There’s a 500 GB HDD, an all-in-one card reader, and two USB 2.0 ports, one USB 3.0 port, and a full-size HDMI port, all of which is fairly standard.
The touch experience is really good—while the hybrids feel like devices that ask for a compromise, touch laptops simply enhance the laptop experience without making any sacrifices. When you’re using the laptop on a desk, the screen is at exactly the right distance and angle to be comfortable to use with a finger, and there’s a real sense of flow when using this device.
The only catch is the price—at Rs.64,990 it’s fairly expensive, particularly when you consider that Samsung also launched a non-touch variant (albeit one running on an AMD CPU) for almost Rs.20,000 less. Users who plan to use a lot of Windows 8 apps will get good value from this laptop, but if you’re a professional planning to spend most of your time in desktop mode, then this is not for you.