‘There is a Sherlock Holmes hidden in each of us… well, well, let’s say it is Miss Marple, if that pleases you. It could be 007 or Hercule Poirot or even one of the Famous Five that Enid Blyton gave us all. The point is that this spirit of investigation is inside us all. We are all detectives,’ and saying this I calmly looked at my two nieces sitting and listening attentively.

One of them spoke up and asked how we could be detectives without any of the gadgets that most of them seemed to have. ‘James Bond even has shoes that make him walk up fortress walls,’ she said, as if that summed up her conclusion that she could never be a detective.

I said, ‘Detectives don’t always need a revolver in their pocket or a grenade hanging by their belt. But you tell me what it is that they really need.’

Pavni, the elder one, hazarded a guess, ‘They need the latest smartphone.’

‘More than that, they need to be smart enough to use that smartphone,’ I said with a smile and added, ‘Now tell me how I came to know that you were the one who drank water from the glass that I had kept here for myself.’

They were silent but only for a noticeable split second or so and then Shagun, my younger niece, replied, ‘She drank water from that glass. But how did you know? We want to know how you knew it was us.’

‘You must have seen us,’ said Pavni, ‘and are just bluffing. Detectives don’t bluff. They prove everything.’

‘Sure,’ I replied, ‘the proof is all safe inside my Galaxy S4. The detective in me was just helped by the technology in my smartphone. Didn’t I just tell you that you need to be smart enough to use a smartphone.’

Now the two nieces were eager to know how I had managed to find out that it was one of them who drank water from that glass.

‘The mystery of the half-empty glass,’ I began with a slow husky tone, ‘Begins and ends here.’ I pointed to the Galaxy S4 lying in front of me, smiled and picked it up, saying, ‘Let me recreate the scene of crime for you girls.’

The story before the mystery

It was late in the evening and I was thirsty. I filled a glass with water and brought it with me to the living room to sit and sip as I watched the news bulletin. I kept the glass on the centre table when the phone rang.

‘Hello,’ I said.

Specky, my wife was on the other end and she reminded me to check if my new Samsung Galaxy S4 was in perfect condition for our bloggers meet the next day. I said, ‘I’ll get comfortable with its camera right away.’

I knew it was the camera that we’d be using during the meet. So I switched it on and went straight to the camera in this smartphone. Now I must admit here that the camera in the S4 is ultra-smart. As I quickly tapped my finger to go through the various pictures that I could take, I stopped at the ‘panorama shot’. ‘Let me begin with this,’ I said to myself and stepped to one side to take in a nice zippy shot of the room… and experimented with a couple of angles until I was able to capture the glass of water too.

The phone rang again.

‘Hello,’ I said.

It was Specky again and she wanted me to email her a document from her PC and told me that she would reach home late.

I said, ‘Fine… I’ll send that document right away.’ I kept the phone on the table near the glass and went into the Study.

Curiosity of the girls

My two nieces were curious by now. Shagun asked, ‘We know you were in the Study. I guess that you just peeped and watched Pavni drink water from your glass.’

‘No. I did not peep,’ I said, and added, ‘let me tell you that all that happened after this is right here inside the camera.’

I showed them the panorama shots of the living room where they could see the empty table in one and then two shots with one having the glass full of water and the other where it was half-full and was at the other end.

Panorama shot_01_taking me nearer the actual crime scene

Panorama shot_01_taking me nearer the actual crime scene

Panorama shot_02_taking me nearer the actual crime scene

Panorama shot_02_taking me nearer the actual crime scene

Panorama shot_03_makes the crime site clear

Panorama shot_03_makes the crime site clear

Panorama shot_04_the glass of water where it was...

Panorama shot_04_the glass of water where it was…

Panorama shot_05_the half-empty glass of water in its new position makes the crime obvious

Panorama shot_05_the half-empty glass of water in its new position makes the crime obvious

‘Wow!’ said Shagun, ‘It is interesting to be a detective. You need lots of brain power for this kind of work.’

‘And you need a smartphone as good as the S4,’ I reminded her with a smile, and then added, ‘the really interesting part comes after this. You, Shagun, were experimenting with the various modes in the camera.’

Shagun was surprised at this revelation, but then said, ‘Yes, I did fiddle with the mode button there. Can I please see what I did?’

‘You have clicked a ‘sound & shot’ where Pavni is telling the world in her best villainous tone that she has committed the crime,’ I told her, ‘And there are a couple of shots where you even managed to use the ‘drama shot’ mode quite like a pro.’

The 'drama shot'_01_the action captured

The ‘drama shot’_01_the action captured

The 'drama shot'_02_the escape captured

The ‘drama shot’_02_the escape captured

‘Quite like a pro?’ repeated Shagun, obviously pleased at this praise, ‘This means the S4 is easy to use even for school kids, isn’t it?’ I looked at her and knew that I had probably created another demand for her father, but said nothing.

I then addressed Pavni, ‘You clicked the sort of picture any detective would love. You used the ‘dual shot mode and shot the crime scene and the person responsible in a single shot!’

The dual shot picture that brings the victim and the perpetrator of the crime in a single shot!

The dual shot picture that brings the victim and the perpetrator of the crime in a single shot!

When I showed them the dual shot, they were quite elated. ‘This one is such a wonderful thing,’ said Pavni, ‘I wish criminals had this kind of a phone and shot themselves as they committed a crime. It will make things so easy for our police.’

I smiled… but not because she had suggested something unique but because the Galaxy S4 had managed to tickle her mind to do some creative imagination. Technology is ever so successful if it goes beyond its rather clinical brief and helps us convert our children into creative humans.

Well, I’ve created a video of the pictures that the kids took and you can also see the ‘sound & shot’ too in the video. This kind of shot, as the others, can be shared on the social media or even emailed to your friends.

No, I’m not going to tell you about the other simply wonderful features of this phone right now, right here… you can always browse to the Samsung website or go to my review of the S4 ‘The Super salesman‘ and take a look at the features. All I can say is that this smartphone doesn’t end with a camera that helped me write this mystery story… the phone is well beyond all others in features that outdo each other. But then, smartphones need smart people to handle them… right? Or is it that the right smartphone in your hands makes you smarter than the smartest?

The video with all the smart camera features and the story of how the S4 helped me in my detective work:




Arvind Passey
12 July 2013