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DJI Osmo Action gives GoPro a run for its money

DJI’s first action camera, the Osmo Action, is an ideal action camera for adventurous content creators who don’t have steady hands, writes BRYAN TURNER.

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DJI, a leader in the drone camera space, has released a range of devices for professional consumers in its Osmo range. The Osmo action, its latest innovation, removes the pain points of traditional action cameras, like not being able to see oneself while recording video, and shaky video.

“In the past 13 years, we have transitioned from being a flight controller company to the leading brand for drones and creative cameras,” says Raissa Mendez, marketing manager for DJI Latin America. “Stabilisation is in our DNA, whether it be drones or cameras. Stabilisation and action cameras are an ideal match.”

The mighty camera comes in a small 6.5cm by 4.2 cm body, making it possible to store in a small bag or pocket. The unit we had was a dark grey, and had a protective bracket around it which doubles up as a mount for bikes or helmets. Outside of its case, the device feels premium in hand, as with many other DJI products.

On the front of the camera, a large lens is covered with a lens protector. This is a huge plus for the rougher action camera user who might accidentally crack the lens protector, as it makes it far more cost-effective to replace. A small 1.4-inch screen next to the lens allows users to frame themselves properly when taking pictures and videos of themselves. Overall, the design of front of the device shows it has been well thought out.

The camera sensor is a 1/2.3” CMOS with a 12MP effective resolution. This large sensor, coupled with a 145 degree field of view, allows users to take pictures in various lighting situations while fitting more in a frame. A blazing fast 1/8000 shutter speed affirms this camera as a viable player for action photographers.

The back of the device features a large 2.25-inch touch screen. When looking at it from this orientation, one finds the QuickSet (QS) button on the left side, as well as power and shutter buttons on the top. The QS button allows users to switch modes between photo, slowmo video, time lapse video, HDR video, and video. Having only three buttons is a huge plus for simplicity, and most of the functions are performed with the touch screen.

Advanced functionality can be brought up by swiping down from the top of the screen, similar to bringing up the quick settings functions on a typical smartphone. If I could describe this interface in one word, it would be: intuitive.

We found the auto focus was mostly sharp, showing that DJI’s extensive research and development in cameras is paying off. Some stills felt delayed, but that was because the hard shutter button takes a bit of effort to press down. That said, it’s very quick to get used to. With burst mode, it allowed us to take a few photos before and after the “perfect” moment to select the “true perfect” moment.

Video is where this camera excels. It features DJI’s RockSteady stabilisation technology, that reduces motion shake on recordings. This stability can reduce motion sickness for some viewers. RockSteady is DJI’s electronic image stabilisation to correct motion from a shaky videographer’s hands. It can shoot in this mode in 4K at up to 60 frames per second, which is ideal for content creators wanting to stay at the cutting edge of video recording technology.

It measures up well to GoPro’s HyperSmooth stabilisation technology, while even exceeding GoPro’s technology in some areas. We compared the Osmo Action to the GoPro Hero 7 Black and felt the Osmo Action performed roughly the same. Where it differs is on pricing. The Osmo Action is much cheaper than the Hero 7 Black, and with negligible differences in stabilisation, the Osmo Action is clearly the better option.

RockSteady does take a knock on the battery, reducing the charge time from about 120 minutes to about 70 minutes.

Under a sliding case on the side is a USB Type-C port, which means many smartphone users will be able to charge the camera with the same cable they use to charge their smartphones. It also means users can charge the camera from a power bank when away from a wall socket.

For social photographers, it features a way to send photos and video directly to a user’s smartphone over Bluetooth. This enables faster sharing to Twitter and Facebook, sometimes in a few seconds. The experience was seamless and the transfers were fast. What’s likely to be a limiting factor is the smartphone, if it does not have enough space for 4K video files.

Overall, DJI’s entrance in the action camera is welcome, and packs an impressive set of features into a very affordable price package of R6,000.

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Security issues grow with transition to smart TVs

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You can’t picture a modern home without smart equipment. Smart thermostats, smart refrigerators, robot vacuums, and smart TVs won’t surprise anyone these days. For example, around 70% of the TVs being sold worldwide are smart TVs. Although they bring more entertainment, these devices also carry new digital threats. 

Sometimes people forget that smart TVs are as vulnerable to cybercrime as their smartphones and computers. Daniel Markuson, the digital privacy expert at NordVPN, says that “although smart TVs are connected to the internet and have similar functions to computers, they aren’t equipped with the same security tools, which makes them easy prey for hackers.” 

What’s so scary about your TV getting hacked? As smart TVs gain more features, the amount of your private information they handle increases too. TVs aren’t just for watching movies and shows anymore. Now you can use them for web browsing, streaming video content, gaming, and even shopping online. 

To enjoy your smart TV to the fullest, you need to download various apps and games. These cost money, so you need your credit card details filled in. Putting your financial information, logins, and passwords on your TV makes it an appealing target for hacking. 

According to Daniel Markuson, a smart TV can be used to spy on its users. Hackers can access its camera and microphone through malware, which they can slip into your TV when it is connected to Wi-Fi. They can use footage from your bedroom or living room to blackmail you and your family. By watching your home and listening to your conversations, hackers know what goods you have, where you keep them when you’re away, and what your plans are. 

If you use your smart TV for web browsing, you can infect it with various viruses too, says the digital privacy expert at NordVPN. Like computers, smart TVs run on software, but they don’t have the same strong antivirus and firewall systems installed. Once your TV gets infected, your browsing history, passwords, and other private data become accessible to hackers. And they won’t miss the opportunity to use this information in ransomware attacks. 

Even though smart TVs are vulnerable to cyber threats, Daniel Markuson says there is no need to panic yet. The expert names a few simple principles every smart TV owner should follow to protect their device.

Always update your TV’s software whenever a new version becomes available. The expert says that software updates are crucial for cybersecurity as manufacturers do their best to patch vulnerabilities. Updates often repair security flaws, fix or remove various bugs, add new features, and improve the existing ones. Some TVs install updates automatically by default. With others, you may need to check for updates periodically to make sure your device runs on the latest version. 

Use available security measures such as a VPN. The best practice for any internet-connected device is to install a firewall and use a VPN such as NordVPN. It secures your device and lets you enjoy fast internet access with encryption-powered privacy.

Connect your smart TV to the internet only when needed. It isn’t necessary to have your TV connected to Wi-Fi all the time. To make it less vulnerable to hacker attacks, turn on the Wi-Fi connection only when you are using it.

Download apps from official stores only. Do not install any programs and games from unofficial sources on your smart TV. Make sure that both the app and its provider are reliable. Moreover, if an application asks for access to your data, camera, or microphone that isn’t necessary for its operation, never accept it.

Be careful with personal files and financial data. Shopping online on a big smart TV screen might be fun, but be careful providing your credit card details and other sensitive information this way. Although some manufacturers equip their TV sets with security features, they cannot guarantee safety online. “People who synchronize their smart TVs with their computers to access compatible media content should be especially cautious,” warns Daniel Markuson. The connection between your smart TV and your computer can be a weak link and lead to a data breach.

Use strong Wi-Fi passwords. This practice is the most obvious and the easiest to follow. Create a strong password to protect your Wi-Fi connection at home and don’t share it with any outsiders.

Turn off your TV camera when not in use. Whether it’s a built-in camera or the one connected to a TV via Wi-Fi, turn it off when not using it. If you can’t turn off your camera, use a piece of tape or a sticker over the camera lens to cover it. 

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Tech too complex? It stresses out even the tech-savvy

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Picture by hobvias sudoneighm on Flickr.

Even the savviest members of the tech industry get stressed by common devices that power their everyday lives, according to a recent poll conducted at CES 2020 by Asurion, the global leader in helping people connect, protect and enjoy their tech.

Survey screen by Asurion at CES 2020.

Asurion surveyed nearly 1,400 attendees of CES 2020, the world’s largest and most influential tech industry event, about their relationship with personal tech and their role as tech expert for family and friends. What the tech care company found is that even the tech-savvy, tech DIY’ers and early adopters stress out over some of the most ordinary devices in our hands and homes.

So, what tech tops the list of devices that stress out some of the consumer electronics industry’s tech enthusiasts?

  • Mesh routers and Wi-Fi networks (33%)
  • Phones (26%)
  • Smart home security systems (23%)

And, the tech-related activities that even the tech-savvy dread the most?

  • Troubleshooting a device that worked perfectly yesterday (39%)
  • Device security (27%)
  • Setting up devices (nearly 27%)

Asurion helps nearly 300 million customers worldwide unlock the potential of their tech with a team of over 10,000 Experts who are just a call, click or tap away. The company’s Experts provide ongoing tech support, same-day device repair, and same-day delivery and setup services. They’ll meet customers virtually, in-home, at select partner stores, and in more than 540 uBreakiFix stores across the country or wherever it’s convenient.

“The tech industry just spent four amazing days experiencing and celebrating the latest innovations in the future of tech,” said Teresa May, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at Asurion. “What we heard is that even common tech tasks and devices can be challenging. Every day, our Experts help people across the country with their devices – everything from setting up a new phone to troubleshooting streaming issues on their smart TVs. Our CES poll reveals that the industry’s top tech innovators share the same pain points affecting millions of Americans.”

Asurion’s Experts received more than 18.5 million calls and chats from customers seeking tech help last year. And while the No. 1 question this holiday was a strong “How do I activate my new phone?” Asurion Experts also received many questions ranging from “How do I connect to Wi-Fi?” to “Can I sync my smart speakers to play them in tandem?”

And while the tech industry may have tech challenges of their own, they also get tapped by family and friends for help. Eight out of 10 attendees surveyed said their family and friends rely on them to help set up and troubleshoot their tech. Nearly two-thirds (63%) said they hesitate to gift tech to their loved ones because the recipient won’t know how to use it, and nearly half (46%) gave pause to gifting tech to family and friends because they didn’t want to be the one to help set it up.

Asurion CES Tech Poll

Consumer Tech Devices That Stress CES Attendees Out the Most

1. Mesh Routers and Wi-Fi Networks (33%)
2. Phones (26%)
3. Smart Home Security Systems (23%)
4. Smart Home Assistants/Hubs (20%)
5. Bluetooth Printers (19%)
6. Smart Home Automation (19%)
7. Laptops/Tablets (18%)
8. Smart TVs (17%)
9. Smart Appliances (14%)
10. Home Energy, Lighting and Switches (13%)

Tech Activities That Stress Out CES Attendees the Most

1. Troubleshooting Tech That Worked Perfectly Yesterday (39%)
2. Security (27%)
3. Setting up a Device (27%)
4. Privacy (23%)
5. Helping Others With Their Tech (20%)
6. Managing or Connecting Multiple Devices (19%)
7. Wi-Fi Connectivity (19%)
8. Paying for Personal Data Storage (18%)
9. Learning a New Operating System (17%)
10. Choosing Which Brand To Purchase (17%)

To learn more about where you can get tech support and protection, visit Asurion.com.

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