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Thursday, September 27, 2012

Apple iPhone 5 Review

Guest post by sara, tech enthusiast and blogger. Currently contributing to many tech blogs such as

Over the past year we’ve seen a galaxy of all-singing, all-dancing smartphones, but there was only one launch that could stop the whole planet in its tracks. If they’d sold tickets to the iPhone unveiling, they would have been snapped up quicker than the canap├ęs at a piranha convention. Thinner, lighter and more powerful, the new iteration of the world’s most influential gadget is unmistakably Apple – because it’s also restrained, shunning pumped-up specs for style, simplicity and a build quality that puts the competition to shame. This 7.6mm thin, 112g gadget is so important that we felt its presence long before it arrived. Mostly in the form of rumours on the internet.
As hot as… the sharp end of a lightsaber

iPhone 5 Features:

Screen Star
The new screen is still a dazzlingly crisp 326ppi Retina display, but it’s now a 4in, 1136x640, 16:9 window. More space for app icons and films, but there’ll be black bars down the side of some apps until the developers catch up.

Graphic art
The new A6 chip has a CPU and a graphics processor claimed to be twice as fast as the A5 chip in the 4S and iPad 2. Apple says this allows for ‘console-quality’ graphics – and we’re pretty sure they don’t mean a SNES.

The need 4 speed
FaceTime gets a 720p camera and the option to use your network connection as well as Wi-Fi. Fortunate, then, that the iPhone also gets 4G wireless – more on that overleaf. Siri, meanwhile, gets improved local search skills.

iPhone 5 has a new connector.
Lightning, as it’s called, is a digital only system, whereas the old 30-pin set-up hooked up to a lot of analogue audio connections. To keep from rendering all those old speaker docks obsolete, Apple has made an adaptor. It’s £25. Ouch. But, it has squeezed a DAC into it – so it should work with your existing dock, in your car and everywhere else your old iPhone worked. So there’s that.

Hands – on with iphone 5

First impressions
It’s fair to say that the initial post keynote vibe was that of mild disappointment. But, you have to touch the iPhone 5 to really get it. The handset is improbably light but impressively solid, all diamond-cut aluminium edges, gently textured anodized surfaces and glass inserts fitted to within microscopic tolerances. It feels more luxurious than any luxury phone I’ve ever held, and thanks to some new screen tech, the pin-sharp image seems closer than ever. If the Galaxy S III is an American muscle car, the iPhone 5 is an executive Audi.

Dock issue? Lightn’ up
A quick play with the Lightning connector had me feeling a little better about that controversial dock change. It’s a microUSB small, tough-feeling connector that plugs into the iPhone either way round, eliminating nighttime scrabbling . In a way, it’s as sensible as the SCART to HDMI upgrade.

Smooth as silk
Maps, the iOS 6 headline feature, shows off the new power on offer. There’s no slowdown when you zoom and pan, and only the data heavy ‘flyover’ mode buffers. The camera app fires up almost instantly, while tweeting and facebooking direct from Siri or the photos app is every bit as polished as you’d expect from an incremental iOS upgrade.

But is it the best?
The 5 makes no game-changing tech leaps – no quad-core chip, no NFC, and only a minor screen extension – but for iOS users, usability, build quality and software are the things that will really make the difference.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Be smart with your smartphone abroad

It's easy to run up a huge bill holidaying overseas - here's how to avoid roaming costs on an Android

We've all heard the nightmare stories of going on holiday abroad only to come home to a massive phone bill, often due to data charges incurred while overseas. Fortunately the EL) has capped data roaming charges at €50, and operators such as Vodafone and Three are offering fixed roaming packages, but despite all of this expensive roaming could still lead to a grey cloud being cast over the sun.
Savvy smartphone users can save a packet by preparing their phone before their trip. The latest phones include the ability to turn all data settings on and off, and even tools to monitor how much data you're using. There are also a few little tricks that can save you even more.
We've concentrated on Android phones for this tutorial, but much of this information and advice is applicable to other devices.
Check your contract
Before you do anything, check your contract with your mobile network. Often these include free data abroad, or bolt-on packages that give you data access for a small daily or up-front fee. If you're in doubt, give your network a call and see what you've got or what you're eligible for.

Google Maps now includes a handy offline mode so you won't incur data costs - or get lost. Fire it up, enter your destination, hit the menu key and choose 'Make available offline'. Pan and zoom the box around the area you're travelling to and tap 'Done' to download it.

When in roam
'Roaming' allows your phone to connect to mobile data services when you're abroad, but fortunately it can be turned off. From the home screen, press the menu key, then go to 'Settings'. In older Android devices you'll find roaming settings in 'Wireless & networks' followed by'Mobile networks'.

Roam sweet roam
In newer Android devices roaming settings are accessed by going into 'Settings', and then tapping on 'Mobile network'. Different devices have quick ways of turning the mobile network on and off - on new HTC phones you can pull down the notification bar and find it under 'Quick settings'.

Wi-Fi? Why not?
The majority of modern hotels include Wi-Fi access, either in your room or in the lobby. Sometimes there's a fee for this - but we'd recommend paying as it usually works out a lot less than connecting via a mobile network. If you thinkyou'll be using a lot of data it's worth checking before you book.

New Android phones have a data usage monitor. Under 'Menu', 'Settings' and 'Usage', set 'Reset data count' to the first day abroad, then drag the green and red lines down to your holiday data limit. Next, drag the green line below the red line. You'll be warned when near your limit and data will turn off if you hit it.

Sun, sea and sims
Buying a pay as you go sim in your destination country is guaranteed to save you cash on calls and data, but it can be complicated - you'll need an unlocked phone, as well as the linguistic ability to ask for a sim and top-up. In most cases it's easier to visit and order one there.

Enjoy your trip
Your phone should now be set up to use when you're abroad - more importantly, without incurring huge costs. One final tip: don't fret too much if you lose or forget your phone's charger - often nowadays hotel lobbies have loads of spare ones so you can fill that battery to your heart's content.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Best Wireless And Portable Speakers

Giving Your Music Some Extra Clout No Matter Where You Are

Are looking for some of the awesome wireless and portable speakers for you iphone and ipad? recently posted reviews of unique accessories for iphone and today we’ve decided to post 5 unique wireless and portable speakers for iphone.

Jawbone Jambox

The JAMBOX's packaging pitches it as the successor to the boombox, and given the instantly eye-catching look of this speaker you wouldn't bet against that one day becoming the case. The JAMBOX is a powerful speaker set-up wrapped in meshed aluminium, available in four colours. The sound that rumbles from the product is fantastic, as are the space-age noises that it emits each time you turn the JAMBOX on and off. To keep it at the cutting edge in every sense, the JAMBOX can in fact be updated by plugging in to your computer, where you can download new preferences and software updates.

Cost: $199.99              Where to Buy:

Veho M4 Bluetooth Wibeless Speaker

Lightweight and stylish in design, the Veho looks like the perfect portable speaker to throw in your travel bag. It can also back up its looks in sound quality, with an output that will surprise you given the size of it. Over Bluetooth you can get two hours of battery life out of the Veho, although this is extended if you use either the microSD or line in cables that come with it. The built-in controls illuminate when the device is turned on, which is a nice aesthetic touch on top of the quality you get from the product.

Cost: £59.95                        Where to Buy:

Desa A Beat Box Bluetooth Speaker

Packs a very good audio punch for it's diminutive frame, the Beat Box has great bass and comes with a built lithium battery which promises to give five hours of music when fully charged, You can control volume from your device as well as the speaker, although it should be noted that the volume controls are combined with the track skipping buttons and can become frustrating if you forget to hold down to change audio levels. But this is nonetheless a very easy-to-use speaker, and it's stylishly designed as well. A solid booster for your device via Bluetooth or output cable.

Cost: £49.99                        Where to Buy:

Gear4 Houseparty Portable

The only piece of gear here that requires an app to complete the wireless connection, the Gear4 is still a very potent music amplifier, hence the HouseParty tag. You can also use the speaker as a docking station thanks to the hidden port behind the Gear4 logo on the front of the speaker. There's a handy kickstand to keep the speaker steady, and the whole package is very lightweight so you can easily move it without any hassle. The speaker has customisable power settings, so you can go completely wireless if you wish thanks to the lithium polymer battery, or plug it in to keep power levels up.

Cost: £129.99                     Where to Buy:

Braven 625s Portable Bluetooth Speaker

The BRAVEN speaker certainly looks the part, with the polished metal speaker covers and ridged silicone wrapping. You can connect your device to the speaker via Bluetooth or by using the line in or USB connection that come with the product. The sound quality is also good, though with a caveat. The BRAVEN's sound levels are dictated by the levels on your device, and this feels like it's restricting things slightly. But the rugged look and nature of it do balance it out, as you feel confident about taking this to the park or beach without fearing for it's safety. A balanced if slightly compromised offering for the price it's asking for.

Cost: £149.99/$179.99                    Where to Buy:


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