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Posted on February 23, 2017

Top 5 messaging apps

phones

Top 5 messaging apps

There is an abundance of messaging apps out there for smartphones, and it’s often very difficult to chose the one that’s suitable for your needs, whether it’s for personal use or business. You’ll likely to do all sorts of research when it comes to a new phone and, after you’ve trawled through different mobile networks, product types and models on tech blogs, you’ll now you need an app that will perform the tasks most important to you. Below, we’ve put together the top five messaging apps for you to consider.

WHATSAPP

WhatsApp is enormously popular with 800 million users worldwide; this could have something to with it boasting apps for iOS, Android, BlackBerry and the Windows Phone. WhatsApp allows you to send photos, documents, text and call over Wi-Fi for free – ideal to avoid the costly MMS charges or if you want to call a friend from abroad for a catch-up. It’s simple to use, free and you can log onto your WhatsApp from your computer, too.

GOOGLE MESSENGER

For all those people out there love to customise and organise their lives, Google Messenger offers you this in the form of colour coordinating your contacts. It has a fluid easy-to-use design that lets you scroll through your messages easily. Unfortunately, all you iPhone lovers out there will be left out with this one as it’s only available on Android. However, that’s not to say that you can’t message someone who doesn’t have Google Messenger, they just won’t have the same colourful responses as you do.

SKYPE

Skype is mostly known for video calls, but you can also send instant messages to any of your Skype contacts. It’s an all singing, all dancing app that gives you three different ways to communicate in one go. Ideal if you want a ‘face to face’ conference call, chat to a relative that lives far away or send an instant message to a friend. It’s very easy to download and can be used on a number of devices. It’s also free if you’re just after the basic package.

If you’re looking for an alternative to Skype, consider the virtual phone numbers for businesses offered by Capital Telecommunications. Not only do they offer a range of 03 and 08 numbers to use for your business, but they allow you to use them from your smartphone.

SIGNAL

A messaging app for those worried about privacy. It comes from Open Whisper Systems (that has the seal of approval from Edward Snowden, no less), is simple to use and your conversations are encrypted. It is available for iOS and Android, keeping its target market pretty open. There is no message backup, so don’t send anything you don’t want to keep permanently, this is because it doesn’t record metadata. So if you need to send a colleague delicate information or you’re concerned about phone hacking, this could be the perfect choice for you.

FROZEN CHAT

Like Signal, Frozen Chat offers end-to-end encryption, but it also has Off The Record Messaging. This means that your messages are protected, and you can verify whom you’re speaking to. Unlike Signal, Frozen Chat is only available on Android but could be the solution to your security fears.

Posted on August 7, 2016

5 Smartphone Games That Are Better Than Pokémon Go

games/ phones

5 things (59)

You might have noticed that things have been a bit quiet around here. Since my 30th birthday at the start of the month, things have been non-stop. Running 3 websites is hard work when you work full time, have a life and move house. So when I got an e-mail asking if someone could guest post on here, I thought why not. I don’t usually accept guest posts, but thought I should be open to the idea seeing as I’ve not updated this site myself in so long! Hope you enjoy. This is a free contribrution to the site. 

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Image courtesy of Pixabay.com

Pokémon Go is in the midst of unparalleled success. People are calling the technology behind it life-changing and the game literally inspires stampedes. Niantic’s servers are overwhelmed on a regular basis. Is it any surprise why many game developers are now rushing to create their own Augmented Reality (AR) games? While Pokémon Go might have brought the idea of AR into the mainstream, it isn’t the first smartphone game that has utilized this technology. In fact, I dare say there are better games that you should take a look at.

Ingress

Created by Niantic (the developer of Pokémon Go), Ingress is a GPS-location based game where players have to build and hack portals in order to defeat the opposing faction. The battle takes place in the real world and players must travel to destinations on the map to hack enemy portals. When players build their own portals, these locations will then pop up on their enemy’s map. At this point, players must work to defend their positions.

Regardless of the faction you choose, you will have access to a global playing field and can further your goals by grouping up with people in your area. In order to achieve victory, you need to cooperate with other members of your group by completing quests, capturing territory and uncovering the mystery behind the game. The game requires a high amount of cooperation and strategy to complete missions. This makes it an incredibly deep and engaging experience.

SpekTrek

Ever wanted to be a ghost hunter? Well now you can experience it first hand with SpekTrek. The app accesses your GPS and location to map out all of the ghosts in your area. It’s up to you to hunt down and catch these virtual ghosts.

This is a simple navigation game when you think about it, but as you delve deeper you realize that it’s a fitness app in disguise. The game tracks the amount of distance you’ve traveled, your habits and even total calories burned. The further you travel and more ghosts you capture, the higher your level. It’s a great game for the whole family as you can plan out your route together while also getting some much needed fresh air.

Iron HUD – Augmented Reality Iron Man Edition

If you want to be Iron Man, the Iron HUD is for you. This game puts you inside the cockpit of the Iron Man suit and adds a Heads Up Display (HUD) onto your screen via the built-in camera on your phone. Want to hear what Jarvis has to say? Simply tap the left HUD icon. Tapping the center icon will fire a repulsor shot while holding it down will convert power to the Chest RT. The right icon allows you cycle through different modes. It’s simple to use and a lot of fun.

Yet what’s the point of seeing the world through the eyes of Iron Man if you can’t do everything he can? While the app doesn’t literally give you the ability to fly, it does feature a flight mode where you can control the camera. You can even do some target practice with an in-app purchase. It’s a fairly simple idea, but some of the more dedicated fans have used the app to actually experience scenes from the comic books and movies.

Warp Runner

This neat little AR game turns a flat surface into a mini puzzle/platform arena. It’s up to you to guide your robot safely to the exit. To play you slide between the real world and the puzzle game to solve the puzzles and create a path for freedom. It’s clear the developers didn’t simply throw together a game simply for the novelty of AR. They really took the time to polish the mechanics and design of the game to create a truly innovative experience.

While there are only 16 puzzles, it’s a fun and quirky little game that’s perfect for when you have some downtime at work. What makes this game even better is the fact that it’s completely free. You don’t even need to contend with intrusive ads or in-app purchases!

Zombies Everywhere

Star in your own version of The Walking Dead by playing Zombies Everywhere. This AR game places virtual zombies in the real world wherever you point your camera. You need to survive the massive zombie horde for as long as possible. Luckily, you’ve got a cache of weapons that includes a flamethrower, minigun and an always popular shotgun. You’ll also run into more enemy types than the standard shambling zombie.

The more zombies you defeat, the more weapons you unlock and more new enemies appear. If you’re not in the mood to fight but want to see what a zombie apocalypse might look like, you can turn the game on safe mode and treat the world as your playground.

Staying Safe with AR

If you’ve taken a look at Pokémon Go in the news, you’ve probably noticed plenty of stories about the dangers of the game and people running into dangerous situations by following a trail of Pokémon. Most of these problems would apply to any VR game. While some of the news stories are exaggerated, you should make sure to protect yourself by keeping the following in mind:

  • You’ll want to keep your eyes on your surroundings at all times. Criminals are starting to know what to look for and will take advantage of people who look distracted.
  • Avoid restricted or otherwise dangerous territory, even if the in-game rewards are enticing.
  • Be careful about what internet connections you use. Public networks are almost never safe and using them unprotected can easily lead to identity theft. You should probably use security software as well as a Virtual Private Network to encrypt your connection (Secure Thoughts has a deeper explanation).
  • Be careful about the money you’re spending. Some game developers are more consumer-friendly than others.

There are dozens of AR games available on the app stores in case you get tired of Pokémon Go. We can be certain many more will be making their way onto the market over the next year. Do you know of any other great AR games for smartphones? Any thoughts on the ones mentioned above? Let us know in the comments below!

About the Author: Caroline is a technology and entertainment writer. She loves seeing how game developers are utilizing augmented reality to change the way people play games.

Posted on April 11, 2016

Portable Phone Charger

phones/ tech

EasyAcc Classic 10000mAh External Battery Brilliant Power Bank review

So I have a portable phone charger already, but it’s small and only charges my phone once. I wanted something a bit stronger for when I’m out and about. There’s nothing more doom than a dying phone.

I hopped onto Amazon and bought the EasyAcc Classic 10000mAh External Battery Brilliant Power Bank.

This little guy caught my eye because it has two USBs, meaning you can charge two devices at once. Not that I need two, but it’s aways handy if you have a friend in need!

It also has a charge indicator on it, so you can see how much charge is left.

Charge time is really fast. I find on my smaller charger or if I charge my phone on my computer, it seems to take longer. But if I charge my phone directly from a power plug, it takes almost no time at all to get to 100%. Charging with this device was the same, exactly like charging from a power plug.

I got 4 and a half full charges out of this for my iPhone 6S plus, which I’m happy with. It should charge standard iPhones 5-6 times.

Do you use an external charger?

EasyAcc Classic 10000mAh External Battery Brilliant Power Bank review EasyAcc Classic 10000mAh External Battery Brilliant Power Bank review EasyAcc Classic 10000mAh External Battery Brilliant Power Bank review  EasyAcc Classic 10000mAh External Battery Brilliant Power Bank review

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Posted on March 22, 2016

How to tell when you’re addicted to your phone

featured/ geek/ phones

obsessed with phone

Hi, my name is Corinne and I have a problem. I have an addiction to my phone. I think I might be in love with it. It’s getting in the way of my life. It’s consuming my every thought. I can’t function properly with it, but the thought of being without it cripples me more. I’m not sleeping, I can’t focus on other tasks, I can’t even leave the house without fear of bumping into someone and getting hurt.

Things are bad man.. are you addicted to your phone, too?

Here are some of the ways to tell.

how to tell if you're addicted to your phone

How to tell if you’re addicted to your phone. 

  • You panic when you’re battery goes under 40%
  • You’re late to events because you need extra time to charge.
  • You press your home button to check for notifications even if it’s not lit up.
  • You press other peoples home button out of habit.
  • You panic about losing your soul phone so have to check it’s still there every 5 minutes.
  • Having it in your bag panics you YOU NEED CONTACT AT ALL TIME.
  • You refresh every social media app constantly, then start again.
  • You get in your car and spend 5 minutes looking at your phone before setting off.
  • You drive home and spend 10 minutes sat in your car looking at your phone before you get out.
  • You often think of pulling over en route somewhere to check WhatsApp and reply.
  • You’re known for waking up at silly O’Clock, sending a message or Tweet and then going back to sleep.
  • You use an average of 25GB of data a month (thanks Vodafone for that text!)
  • You have to add extra data to your bundle each month.
  • You often go to the bathroom without even needing it just to check your phone :/
  • Everything feels pointless without your phone.
  • You know you are doomed.

obsessed with phone

Are you an addict, too?

If you wanna talk about it, I’m here bro.

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Posted on March 5, 2016

How to get your iPhone’s battery to last longer

featured/ phones

iphonebattery

The struggle IS real for iPhone users.

I’ve been there so many times, when at 36% it suddenly goes flat. It jumps from 40% to 15% in a matter of minutes.

I honestly think that iPhones have a mind of their own. They’re like cats, they know how much we love them and need them and pander to their needs so just get all diva on our ass.

So when you’re sick of your iPhone battery dying (why can’t it be as good as an iPad, right?) then these tips might be for you.

iphone battery life

  • Close your apps. Double click the home screen and swipe away all those apps running in the background.
  • Turn down your screen brightness. 
  • Turn of any notifications. I have group chats muted and don’t get any notifications from Twitter, Instagram or other apps as it drains your battery faster to have notifications constantly lighting up your screen.
  • Turn off vibrate. Do you need your phone to vibrate every time you get a notification or message? Not only is it annoying, but it drains your battery a bit more every time.
  • Watch your signal strength. If you’re in a place where signal is bad, or no existent (think of your locker at work), flip your phone into airplane mode otherwise it’s going to be constantly trying to find a signal and will drain your battery doing so.
  • Stop being so addicted. Do you really need to check every app obsessively and constantly press the home button to check for any messages? I do. But it’s killing our batteries. Let’s stop.
  • Turn off push e-mail. I have my e-mail set so it only refreshes when I manually refresh it. If your phone is trying to fetch e-mail conversantly and checking your new mail, it’s going to drain your battery.
  • Get a portable charger. I have a portable charger for when I know I’m going to be out of the house for a long time. I usually get a full charge out of mine, but there are some that give more charges. An absolute life saver!

Do you have any battery saving tips?

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Posted on December 16, 2015

iPhone 6S Plus Rose Gold is Bae

featured/ phones

iPhone 6S Plus Rose Gold

I went and did it. I went and upgraded my iPhone 6 to the iPhones 6s Plus in rose gold.

I was going to wait until the 7, but I wanted the bigger screeeeeen so I could watch YouTube and Netflix at the gym – I was also in dyer need of the longer battery life as my iPhone 6 barely lasts 9 hours! I have to charge it in the car on the way to work and on the way home.

iPhone 6S Plus Rose Gold

I love the size of it, when the plus first came out I thought it was stupid. But I’ve warmed to the idea of it now and I’m in love with the phone. It feels like the perfect size and I can’t even image having an old iPhone 4!

iPhone 6S Plus Rose Gold

iPhone 6 Plus vs iPhone 6s Plus

I’m not going to go through all the details of the phone, as most of you will be familiar with it, but I just wanted to highlight some key differences.

iPhone 6S Plus Rose Gold

  • Has an A9 processor chip, vs the iPhone 6 Plus’s A8
  • Weighs very slightly more than the iPhone 6 Plus
  • 2GB ram, instead of 1GB
  • Better camera, 12MP rear, 5MP front vs 8MP rear, 1.2MP front
  • Bluetooth 4.02 vs Bluetooth 4.0

iPhone 6S Plus Rose Gold DSC_0047 DSC_0049 iPhone 6S Plus Rose Gold

I’m so happy with this phone and I’m also excited to see what the 7 will bring. I don’t think I’ll ever go back to a normal size iPhone now. The plus is perfect for what I watch it for and it makes viewing Instagram much better with larger photos!

I’ve also put Christmas wallpapers on to get in the mood and bought the most adorable giraffe case for it. Love.

What phone do you have?

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Posted on November 25, 2015

Microsoft Lumia 735 // The Selfie Phone

phones

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With a massive 5mp front facing camera, the Lumia 735 is without doubt one of the best phone out there for selfie lovers.

You can get it SIM free for around £150 – so it’s pretty mid range, slightly more expensive than the Lumia 640, which is similar in specs apart from having a slightly larger screen and a lower quality front facing camera.

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The Specs:

  • Display: 4.7 inch
  • Camera: 6.7mp
  • Front Facing Camera: 5mp
  • Memory: 8GB
  • Network: 4G LTE
  • Processor Type: Quad-core 1.2GHz

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It’s a slick looking phone, the plastic back case covers the sides – which can be replaced by new ones you can buy at various places if you want something more unique.

It doesn’t feel like a cheap phone and is very responsive to touch – there’s nothing more frustrating than a laggy touch screen.

As usually, the battery life on the Lumia 735 kicks ass.

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The display is stunning – very clear and crisp – the phone can play games and apps no problem.

It runs the Windows OS, which I’m not going to go into too much detail about as I’ve spoken about them in previous Lumia reviews.

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Let’s go onto the good old camera test now! Same photo, one taken with the iPhone 6 and the other taken with the Lumia.

iPhone 6

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Microsoft Lumia 735

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How do you think the quality weighs up?

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Read the Previous Reviews: 

lumia 640

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Posted on October 21, 2015

Microsoft Lumia 640 Review // My Favourite Lumia Yet

featured/ phones

Nokia 640 Lumia Review

The Lumia 640 is the third handset I’ve tried out of the Lumia range from Microsoft.

I’ve also reviewed the Lumia 830 and the Lumia 930 – and although the Lumia 640 isn’t classed as one of the high end phones amongst the range, it has to be one of my favourites.

nokia lumia 640 review

The Specs:

  • Display: 5 inch
  • Camera: 8mp
  • Front Facing Camera: 0.9mp
  • Memory: 8GB
  • Network: 4G LTE
  • Processor Type: Quad-core 1.2GHz

http://skinnedcartree.com/2015/03/nokia-lumia-830-review.html

The specs are not top of the range, the memory isn’t the biggest and the camera isn’t the best according to the numbers. Though take away the numbers from the equation and you wouldn’t have been able to guess the specifications aren’t high compared to a lot of models on the market in 2015.

You can pick it up sim free for around £120 – which baffled me as it felt like it would be worth much more. It’s a budget phone, for sure, and I think you’d find it hard to get a better phone any cheaper.

microsoft lumia 640 review

The thing I love most about the phone is it’s design. It’s cased in a bright orange cover (other colour options available) and the screen is vibrant.

The cover plastic, which may seem cheap to those used to phones that are housed in, or finished with, metal bodies, but I liked the feel of the plastic and how light the phone seemed to be. There was a difference you could tell between the Lumia 640 and my iPhone 6.

microsoft lumia 640 review

microsoft lumia 640 review

The winning point of the phone for me was it’s bright, clear display.

I downloaded a few games, just to test the graphics of the phone and how well games ran. After experiencing some lag on the previous Lumia handsets, this phone seemed to run like a dream.

It offered a smooth gaming experience and beautiful graphics.

microsoft lumia 640 review

microsoft lumia 640 review

The operating system is now familiar to me and I keep finding more and more functions within the Windows OS. My favourite yet has to be being able to pin individual Whatapp chats to your home screen – and when I am in so many group chats, I like to easily be able to access the ones I use the most.

I have to mention the OneNote application again – as it’s something that has changed the way I work since discovering it on the first Lumia handset I tried. It’s a note app that lets you create different notebooks that each have tabs to use in various ways. I have it downloaded on my iPhone and use it daily at work to keep a track of things such as to do lists, photos of figures, information and passwords I need to keep coming back to and more.

The camera also worked well, without any of the lag I’ve experienced before.

Lumia 630:

microsoft lumia 640 review

iPhone 6:

microsoft lumia 640 review

The images from the Lumia 640 are a lot sharper than the iPhone 6. It captures detail great and the camera app is easy to use.

Overall, I’m impressed with this little phone. It offers so much for those looking for a cheaper option. The graphics are beautiful and I loved the feel of the phone when I was holding it.

Well done, Lumia!

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Read the Previous Reviews: 

830 930

 

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