MSI SOMETHING PANOCAM
A few months ago a friend who works at MSI had told me that by the end of 2014 MSI would come out with something completely different, a wifi web camera.
My friend said that MSI was planning to break into this market but didn’t give me too many details. I had a lot of questions in my mind at this time. Mainly, MSI was known for their Notebooks, Motherboards and Graphics Cards, how they planned to enter this market which was already so dominated by other companies a market that seemed already crowded.. Well after we finished chatting he sent me a sample for me to take a look at, so here it is, the MSI SomeThings PANOCAM.
My first impression was that the MSI SomeThings PANOCAM was not too large but had really high quality packaging. I really love the blue colour they have used in the packaging and especially love how clean and modern it looks. Inside the box was a quick start guide. Three simple instructions to get underway. The camera has a fish eye lens and is supported via wifi. The small cylinder was completely different from any webcam I had ever seen before. And the name? Well my friend had said that “SomeThings” was a name that was to mean “service” — it seems MSI had not created just a camera, but an entirely new line of focus.
The back of the packaging showed some of the features provided by the PANOCAM, which included 360 degree viewing angle, iOS and Android compatibility — with an App that can be downloaded easily from both the iTunes App Store and Google Play. So I opened up the iTunes App Store on my iPhone and searched for “SomeThings” to begin my download.
When I opened the box and looked over the quick start guide I was glad to see that they had used that gorgeous blue colour again! The layout of the quick start guide was simple and I found it incredibly easy to understand, the pictures and simple steps made for a great first time user experience.
While the instructions are provided in English my friend had told me that a multi-language version would be available soon.
However, with the included pictures and very brief set up I don’t think that non native English speakers would have any difficulty setting up the PANOCAM with the current quick start guide.
Next was the unveiling of the main event, the beautiful cylindrical silver camera. Sleek in design with a nod to the look of the iconic MacBook in some ways. The metal outer layer with protective plastic molding. My friend had said that the camera differed from cheap plastic cameras currently available on the market and I agree that this modern almost artistic design would fit in well along most home décor but with class comes expense so I joked to him that it was more suited to the home accessories area!
So first I took a look at what parts came inside the box. A 10W power supply, A rubber cushion covered in black material emblazoned with MSI which I soon learned was to allow the camera to lay flat to support different angles of shooting and lastly pieces to allow you to mount the camera to a wall or ceiling.
The powercord connected to the machines body is 2 metres in length, which if you are mounting to a ceiling or wall is very useful!
I used a coin to pop open the cover. Inside there is a Micro SD slot so in order to be able to save images or video I inserted a 32GB Micro SD card.
Next to the Micro SD card slot there was a small black hole which is used to factory reset the camera, my friend had said if there were any issues to use a pin to factory reset while the unit was plugged in and just to hold for about 5 seconds and it would beep at me! In the middle of the device you can also see the threading where it can be mounted to a tripod another small convenience for end users.
On the protective film over the lens the words ‘Manual Focus’ appear. My friend had said though that minimal tweaking would apply.
So now I am ready to set up my camera and have listed the steps I took below.
Firstly I factory reset the unit to make sure it was ready to use. Even though I reset it the hardware stayed the same as the last update, so I needed to check first if there were any updates required for the software.
Before testing the camera I downloaded the App from the store and confirmed that my Wifi was working and had a strong signal. The camera relies on Wifi to transmit the video so having a strong signal is essential. I then plugged in the power adaptor and switched it on and began to boot the machine. The LED in the front of the machine glowed red and the machine made a loud sound indicating the boot was complete, this did take a little time so if yours doesn’t beep straight away there is no cause for alarm. The red LED light shows that the machine is not connected yet to Wifi.
Then opening the App I used my Facebook account (But you can also use G+ if you prefer, or your email) to register my account. As most people have email, Facebook or G+ I don’t imagine that the process will be too draining on users!
Before logging in you are given the option to publicly broadcast. This will automatically connect you to a camera set up in the reception of the MSI offices which you can watch if you have not yet bought the product and want to see how it works. It is almost like a reality TV show haha, what a great marketing exercise!
Using the application to set up the system generated a password which was sent to me. After logging in you are of course able to reset the password to anything you desire.
After logging in you can see the function menu which is simple and easy to set up.
You can see three steps to complete the set up. All you need to do for the Wifi set up is enter the password once your network as been automatically detected.
The next step will see the device make noises and as according to the drawings press the button for three seconds.
Then move to the next screen is the most essential part of the whole setting up process, “mobile phone squeak” that is, DOV (Date over Voice), simply, the phone will send a bunch of sound, the sound will be transmitted to the camera, the same thing will happen with the image, then the device will connect to the Internet and started in operating normally — in short, the device will sync to your phone.
A sound will play from the device, after a while the camera will send three images to your phone and if the message is successfully delivered the camera’s LED will turn green indicating that the Wifi is working.
The screen will show the machine appear to search.
After a while the screen will show that the machine is connected successfully and the LED light will turn blue. The blue light indicates that the camera has successfully paired with your mobile phone. If the camera however issues a beep then re-execute the steps for pairing. I noticed that my device paired the first time I tried, I held my phone close to the camera during these steps. Overall the set up was very easy.
A reminder however to use the power supply that is provided with the product. Although another power supply may fit this could be dangerous or damage the machine.
After the setup is complete, this screen will appear in the camera list, there will be just the camera for which the setup is complete, the system’s default name for the camera is Camera 01, if you wish to rename the camera you can do so by clicking the pencil icon in the top right of the screen.
The next step is to test sharing.
The fisheye camera supports vertical or horizontal display, the built-in G-sensor, can automatically determine if the presentation of the results is somewhat different. The picture above and some below show the images captured from the camera onto my phone. You can use your fingers to adjust the angle of rotation of the image to the appropriate location which is very convenient and the images from both above and below are taken from the same shot. You can zoom the imageif you wish to view the picture in finer detail.
However, if the camera is in the horizontal position, first click on the upper right corner to adjust, then an adjustment bar will appear underneath, adjust to the desired angle, then click done in the upper right corner.
In the case that an SD card is not installed your phone can still support the snapshots you take and you can access thesevia the media library at the bottom of the screen.
You can select the top right corner of the image correction to rotate the image to the desired viewing angle.
When you are finished browsing you can select the “done” button and the camera will return to the original viewing angle. Please not that this feature is only available when the camera is in the upright position.
The bottom left icon images can be saved to the phone’s gallery, as other use. Use the trash can icon to delete the bottom right of the image.
Because there are so many snapshots available to be saved I personally suggest deleting snapshots as you go to avoid the time consuming process of having to go back and sort through old snapshots later on.
The Microphone icon shows that you can use two way sound between your mobile phone and the device. I found the sound quality to be excellent. If you wish to transmit sound from your mobile to the camera, tap the microphone icon until it turns blue, when you wish to just hear sound and not to transmit simply tap the icon again turning it grey.
Next is the video function, previously mentioned, you will to insert an SD card into the camera order to save video, when it is not inserted into the icon is yellow, after inserting the SD card, will show the anti-gray. If your app has not been formatted for video use with an SD Card you will need to update your app once formatting is complete, click on the bottom right of the video icon to enter the video function menu.
Then click on the top right corner to see the setting screen.
There will be time with the time-lapse video recording setting screen, where the first video as an example of the timing.
The default start and end time are for eight o’clock and five o’clock, you can click the time to adjust.
After adjusting the time, you can press the start within a set time for video.
After the recording is complete, the calander screen will highlight the days which video was recorded with a blue dot as shown above.
When clicked you will see video files you can view.
Provided with time intervals and duration of the set of videos, the user can do different adjustments in accordance with their own needs, you can start after the setup is complete click the upper right corner.
To watch a video file, select the picture in the video data time-lapse video, there will be a list of files, click on the file you want to watch.
To go back to the main screen, tap the arrow in the upper right corner of the symbol, the menu will pop up, this camera also supports: 1. The music player can play music to the distal end of the camera.
2. You can be alerted to know at whether the other users are sharing connections to watch.
3. Adjust the camera end of the volume.
4. From here you can also enter the video settings screen
5. The notification feature set.
To sum up:
- The shooting angle camera section is really wide, which is great who want to watch a wide angle.
2. The speaker works well, whether it is a call or to play music, very high quality audio.
3. Easy setup. Most users will find the process rather painless.
4. Using Wi-Fi, reduces difficultly to install.
5.APP operation interface means that the device is extremely easy to use and highly compatible.