This week, in addition to covering all the Cyber Week deals we could find, we also reviewed some unique gadgets. Steve Dent and a licensed drone pilot roamed the French countryside with the help of the DJI Mavic 3 drone, while Terrence O’Brien played with the Animoog Z app, a sequel to ten years of development. Also, Cherlynn Low played with Android 12 to see her new Material You design.
Steve Dent spent some time with the DJI Mavic 3 and a licensed drone pilot in the French countryside to see what the new device is capable of. He reports that the Mavic 3 is not only the easiest DJI drone to fly, but the large 4/3 sensor and dual camera system produce incredible images, and the 46-minute range is twice the time it could capture the previous model. It tested the standard model in the $ 3,000 Fly More combo pack, which includes three batteries, a charging center, an ND filter set, and a carrying bag. The Mavic 3 is also available in Cinema mode with a built-in 1TB SSD and Apple ProRes 422 HQ video support.
While the Mavic 3 was easier to maneuver thanks to its improved obstacle avoidance, it was also easy to fold the 899 gram drone into a more compact size for storage and travel. Steve says the camera and video specs are impressive – the main camera was built in collaboration with Hasselblad and has a 24mm f / 2.8-f / 11 lens with a color profile for accurate tones. The video camera can record 5.1K at 50 fps or 4K at 60 fps; Steve says the larger sensor provides better low-light performance, more detail, and a large dynamic range. However, there are some downsides, namely the price, but also that the additional features that DJI promised (such as ActiveTrack5 and QuickShots) are not available now, but will be released in January. Overall Steve says the Mavic 3 delivers, but it’s best for professions and prosumers.
Cherlynn Low knows that the many versions of Android make it a bit difficult to review core features, but updates to the latest version of the operating system provide a refreshing experience and provide more transparency about data and privacy. That’s largely thanks to Material You’s redesign that has tidied up the user interface and expanded the buttons and sliders, among other things. Cherlynn especially liked the Privacy Dashboard that informs users when the camera and microphone are activated, along with the apps that require them. Android 12 also has new indicators for when the camera or microphone is being actively used.
Cherlynn noticed a few things that let her down, namely the default way to summon the Google Assistant and the confusing charts and graphs in the battery and privacy panels. She was also excited to try audio coupled haptic feedback, but couldn’t find any apps that supported it. Overall, he said that visual updates on Material You and increased privacy tools made the system feel drastically different, in a good way.
Terrence O’Brien was eager to try Animoog Z, the continuation of Moog’s original software instrument that used wavetable synthesis. This sequel to the app has largely the same core anisotropic synth engine, consisting of dozens of waveforms you can choose from, ranging from analog saw wave samples to more digital sounds. However, the new version adds a third dimension to the X / Y axis of the original: a Z axis along which the notes can be moved.
Terrence says this gives the new app a bit more depth and room to evolve. He found that certain presets took advantage of the additional modulation path to produce more complex and unique sounds. There’s also a new effects section with loop, delay, filter, and arpeggiator, plus MPE support. Plus, Terrence says the redesigned look of the new app makes it feel more modern and easier to navigate. After testing, he declared the Animoog Z a worthy successor to the original innovator. A limited version is available as a free download, with the full-featured version priced at $ 10.