Choosing the Right Smartphone

Smartphone arenaAccording to a survey conducted by Online Publishing Association, two-thirds of smartphone owners said that they cannot live without their device. The funny bit is that, apart from making calls, about 47% of surveyed people mainly use their phone to check the local weather!
As simple as it may seem, buying a smartphone that best suits your needs is not quite the cakewalk you may think it to be. In fact, with the plethora of smartphones that are available in the market today, choosing one can actually seem rather overwhelming, especially for first-time buyers. Major manufacturers like Samsung, Sony, HTC, LG, etc., have different smartphone models which have very similar hardware, with little to choose between them.
To add to the confusion, smartphone manufacturers go all out to advertise the features of their phones, often throwing numbers at you, which don’t necessarily tell you the whole story. So, just how do you decide on which smartphone to buy for yourself? Here are some things to consider while you go smartphone shopping.
Size: There is no ‘one size fits all’ for smartphones
This is probably the most important factor when choosing the perfect phone for you. Smartphones, these days, are available in two major size categories―up to 4.5 inches and 4.5 – 5.5 inches. Any larger, and we would be entering phablet territory. In fact, any phone larger than 5 inches is already pushing the boundaries of the ‘regular’ smartphone. For most regular users, a smartphone with a sub-4.5 inch screen would be perfect for one-handed use. Although the 4.5 – 5.5 inch segment is extremely popular these days, it isn’t quite something that can be handled by everyone. This is especially true if you have small hands. The larger screen estate is always welcome, but it also greatly hampers usability, especially over prolonged use.
Build: It is not just about how your phone looks in your hand but also how it handles a fall
When it comes to build quality, I must confess I’ve never been a fan of plastic-bodied phones, and just can’t stand the sight of most cheap phones that can easily pass for a Chinese knockoff. Having said that, I must also concede that there’s a good reason why most manufacturers have persisted with polycarbonate for their smartphones. Yes, the profit margin is undeniably high, but they also have an advantage over metal-clad beauties; they’re a lot lighter. Plastic phones also have a better grip and have a fantastic reception in comparison to metallic phones. Polycarbonate phones have greatly improved on their looks and feel, but they offer no competition to metallic phones in this matter. So, if looks are the most important factor for you, then you can’t go wrong with metallic phones,but if it is sense and sensibility that you’re after, you might want to stick with the lighter plastic phones.
Display: There is only so much that your eyes can see!
A lot of jargon is thrown around when manufacturers talk about their phone’s displays―AMOLEDs, SuperAMOLEDs, LCDs, SuperLCDs, OLEDs, etc. Although these are different display technologies with their own pros and cons, it can be safely said that most of these are, more or less, at par with the others. Then there are talks about the resolution of the screen. Although there’s a lot of hype about it, there’s very little discernible difference be.
Processor: Faster is not always better
Now this is something that most manufacturers have gone all out to advertize and hype. Just how much processing power is good enough? Quad-core processors are passe now and even octa-core processors are soon gonna run out of favor with the manufacturers. So, does more processing power mean better performance? Not quite. Before the quad- and octa-core phones came along, our single-core phones did just fine with no hiccups whatsoever. You might want to keep in mind that the operating system of a phone is optimized to work with the hardware on the phone. So, a dual-core phone should work just fine for you, and you’ll probably not notice any difference in performance, unless you compare it with another phone. For a regular user who’s not really into high-end gaming, a dual-core phone with 1 GB of RAM should do just fine. Gamers who are looking to try out the latest games would need at least a quad-core processor with 2 GB of RAM. Do keep in mind that it is not always the numbers associated with the processor that matter but the brand as well that decides actual performance.
Camera: More pixels do not mean better images
The pixel wars are just hotting up and are now breaching some absolutely ridiculous heights. A lot of factors are involved when trying to get that perfect shot. Apart from the optics, staging and lighting also play a very important role when capturing an image. Unless you are an avid photographer, a 5 MP camera should be just fine to capture the occasional snap. An LED light is great for taking photographs in low-light conditions, but more often than not, the end result usually has a lot of noise. Higher-end cameras fare better in this regard, but they too are far from perfect. If you are an aspiring photographer and can’t carry your trusted SLR along wherever you go, you could find a worthy ally in an 8/12 MP camera on your smartphone. If you really want to get some great shots in low-light conditions, you would be well served by a camera that has IOS.
Memory: Need before greed!
I’ll be honest with you, when I set my eyes upon the LG G2 to be my daily driver, the first thought that crossed my mind was whether I should settle for 16 GB or 32 GB of internal storage (the phone doesn’t support Micro SD card expansion). Although I opted for the 32 GB variant, 6 months since, I’ve realized that I’ve barely used 8 GB (about 2 GB of multimedia files and 3 GB of HD games) of the total memory. If you want to play all the HD games in town and want to carry your entire music library along with you (and that of your friends as well!), 16 GB should be just fine for your needs. 32 GB is for more advanced users who carry all their data on their smartphone, and also those users who love to shoot hours and hours of HD videos with their smartphone camera. If you frequently exchange your phone’s data with your friends or if you aren’t really into gaming, look for a phone with an expandable memory.
OS: Let the apps do the talking
Now, this is something that purely boils down to personal preferences. The three main mobile OSs are Android, iOS, and Windows Phone. All three have their own share of highs and lows. We could have an endless discussion about how the features of one triumphs over the other, but I’d rather sum it up as best as I can. If you are looking for an open source OS (loads of free apps) and want a highly customizable interface, then Android has got to be your OS of choice. If you are looking for high quality apps, are familiar with the Apple ecosystem, and want a real fast OS, then you can’t go wrong with iOS. Windows Phone is ideal for you if you’re looking for a colorful and active interface, aren’t looking for an endless app library, and like a clutter-free UI. Whichever one of these you choose, ensure that your phone is running the latest version of the OS or has a planned upgrade lined up.
Battery: A phone is only as good as its battery
Perhaps, one of the most crucial elements of a smartphone is its battery life. At the end of the day, your phone might have the best hardware and fantastic software to go with it, but without enough juice to power it, would be little more than a shiny paperweight. Look for a phone that has a high capacity battery, or at least a battery that is removable. Do not get swayed by the numbers specified by the manufacturers as, more often than not, these are greatly exaggerated.
There you go. Armed with these tips, you should be able to get your perfect digital companion―your trusty smartphone. At the end of the day, remember, all these pointers aside, pick up a phone that feels best in your hands. Happy shopping then. Cheers.

5 Best Features of Latest IPhone 6

iphone6The latest version of Apple’s iPhone series iPhone 6 was launched in the year 2014 worldwide and the expected launch date in India is 4th February, 2015.The salient features of the latest iPhone6 and iPhone6 plus has few enhanced specifications to roll over your requisite necessities. This version of iPhone has larger screen size, high zoom capability, increased camera pixel size and high memory size. However, the biggest and most essential enhancement of this iPhone is its operating system, iOS 8. With this new version, the manufacturing company Apple has made some major changes in mobile’s features and user interface. Iphone 6 succeeded the earlier version of iPhone due to some special enhanced and revised features. Some of the exclusive features of latest iPhone 6 are further discussed below:–

 

1) Larger Screen Size: The screen size of iPhone 6 and iPhone 6/plus are as follows:–

  • iPhone 6 – 4.7-inch screen
  • iPhone 6 Plus – 5.5-inch screen

Compared to all the earlier versions of iPhones these models have bigger screen size and     slimmest body. The camera has improved pixel quality for better image capturing needs.

2) Google Wallet: Both the latest versions of iPhone are incorporated with the best feature of online payment system. The payment procedure can be simply operated through Google wallet, where the mobile can be kept linked with your personal credit card details. So, it can be easier to make payments faster, without wasting much time, to enter data. Apple’s Touch ID fingerprint reader analyses the identity of the individual and the payment for an online transaction can be done with great ease.

3) High Battery Backup: Both iPhone 6 and iPhone6 plus have great battery backup feature, to keep your mobile ON for longer duration of time.

4) Optical Image Stabilization: The picture quality of the camera being great and the iPhone has special added feature of Optical image stabilization, which eliminates any blurring effect of the images. With shaking hands you can easily click images of high quality. Moreover, images of moving objects can also be clicked best by iPhone 6.This feature of iPhone6 makes the image processing much simpler.

5) 1080p Video Recording: Video recording of HD quality 1080p can be effectively done using iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 plus. With the latest version of iPhone, you can conveniently record all of your videos in full 1080p HD at either 30 fps or 60 fps. The video is extremely clear, concise and crisp.

12 iPhone battery life tips and tricks

iphone batteryThe frustration of a dead battery will be familiar to every iPhone owner. But what can you do to avoid it, other than use your phone less?

Apple is good at squeezing maximum performance out of the hardware in the iPhone and that’s one of the reasons that the iPhone’s battery is comparatively small. The first iPhone had a 1400mAh battery, and seven years later the iPhone 6 has a 1810mAh battery, although the iPhone 6 Plus has a whopping 2910mAh offering.

Many of the current Android flagships have batteries rated over 3000mAh, but then they have much bigger displays – the 6 Plus aside, of course. But that doesn’t mean we still don’t struggle to keep our iPhones going for longer, no matter how big the battery pack.

Until the next big leap in battery or charging technology comes along, we’ll have to rely on smarts to get the most out of our iPhones. Here are a few simple tips you can follow to get a whole lot more juice from your Apple smartphone.

1. Keep an eye on signal strength
The biggest culprit for rapid battery drain is often a weak signal, but there isn’t a great deal you can do about that. If you’re in an area with a poor signal then you might consider switching Airplane mode on, which stops the constant searching that sucks the life from your phone.

You should also always use Wi-Fi instead of cellular data whenever possible too, as that offers a more stable connection and will stop all that battery-abusing searching for a signal.

2. Turn off app notifications
Some apps will spam you with pointless news. How many of the notifications you get do you actually want to see? In most cases, very few.

Every one of them is sucking down some battery life, so cut them off at the source. Go to settings > notification centre and tap on any apps you don’t want notifications from. Then choose ‘none’ under the alert style, and turn ‘badge icon’ and ‘sounds’ off.

3. Change display settings
Your display is costly to power, so you want it to shut down quickly when you aren’t using it.

Go to Settings > General > Auto-lock and see if you can live with a shorter time before the screen auto-locks.

You should also head to Settings > Wallpaper & brightness and turn ‘Auto-brightness’ off to save some battery. Set the brightness as low as you can and only adjust it up when needed and you’ll save a decent chunk of power – although this might mean you can’t always see your phone screen in direct sunlight.

4. Stop the animations
You don’t need dynamic backgrounds and parallax, ‘3D’ effects. They’re fun but they’re munching your power. Pick a static image or a favourite photo in Settings > Wallpapers & Brightness, then choose ‘Wallpaper’ and turn ‘Reduce Motion’ on in Settings > General > Accessibility.

5. Reduce background refreshing
People imagine that swiping apps closed in the multitasking menu is saving power, but you really need to be taking a look in Settings > General > Background App refresh to really make a difference.

Allowing apps to refresh themselves like this is a big drain on your battery. Go down the list and turn off everything you don’t need – Facebook in particular can drain your battery really quickly. These apps still refresh when you actually load them up, which is a lot more efficient for your battery.

6. Get email manually
There’s some argument about the benefits of push email (arriving when sent) versus fetch (the phone checks at pre-agreed intervals), and it really depends on how much email you get and how often you have it syncing.

Push should only send from the server when a mail comes in, and it will be more power efficient than checking every five minutes with fetch, but if you get a lot of email then push could drain the battery faster than fetch with a slower refresh time of an hour.

Assuming you’re only going to check your email once every couple of hours, getting it manually is going to save you power over both options… but you’ll have to actually remember to do it!

6. Get email manually
There’s some argument about the benefits of push email (arriving when sent) versus fetch (the phone checks at pre-agreed intervals), and it really depends on how much email you get and how often you have it syncing.

Push should only send from the server when a mail comes in, and it will be more power efficient than checking every five minutes with fetch, but if you get a lot of email then push could drain the battery faster than fetch with a slower refresh time of an hour.

Assuming you’re only going to check your email once every couple of hours, getting it manually is going to save you power over both options… but you’ll have to actually remember to do it!

9. Update selectively
Generally speaking updates are going to bring improvements, but it doesn’t hurt to check the feedback from others before you pull the trigger on a software update.

For iOS newness, you should check in Settings > General > Software Update to alter the automatic settings. Don’t let your content update automatically either.

Go to Settings > iTunes & App Store and consider turning all automatic downloads off. That way you can choose when to update and make sure to use Wi-Fi or hook up to your PC to save power.

10. Turn Siri shortcut off
You’ll find the raise to speak option in Settings > General > Siri and if you aren’t using it, then make sure you turn it off, because that sensor check is going to impact on the battery as it’s constantly looking for your face touching the phone.

11. Turn off vibrations
In Settings > Sounds you can toggle ‘Vibrate On Ring’ to ‘Off’. You can also go to Settings > Sounds > New Mail > Vibration and set it to ‘None’. This disables the motor, and that movement really hurts your power.

Finally, go to Settings > Notification Center > Mail and tap on the accounts you use, then choose Alerts and set ‘Vibration’ to none to really cut down the problem.

12. Cut the cloud
Do you need everything to sync with iCloud? Go into Settings > iCloud and take a look at the list. Cloud syncing eats power and data, so it’s worth turning off anything you aren’t bothered about – plus you won’t find you’ve suddenly run out of storage and are constantly getting your iPhone moaning at you about it.

You can make sure this only updates when the phone is locked and charging – a good tip if you want to get the best of both worlds.

Get the Proper Tool for Your Work

What is your job? Do you love to write any articles? Or do you like to write about a certain kind of phenomenon happened in your society? Maybe, being a journalist is your passion. Do you want to work as a journalist? If yes, it means that you need to show your hard work so that you will feel the taste of being a journalist. You also need to make sure that can work based on deadline. Working as a journalist needs to send and write the articles due to the deadline.

Besides of preparing the hard work and the discipline for working, you also need to make sure that you can provide all of the requirements needed. Of course, you do not want to be disturbed for your work with the lack of the tool, right? That’s why you need to make sure that you can prepare all of the things well. You need to have the recording tool to record all of the important information from the interviewees. You can save the information that you need while you cannot take the note for the information.

Furthermore, maybe you also need for having the digital transcription equipment. This kind of tool will be so beneficial for the progress of your writing. This kind of tool will enable you to transcript the voice into text. You can really save the time so much when you use this tool. If you are interested, you can try to click the site to get the best deal about the tool that you need. You can also see which one of the digital transcription equipment that you can choose for your own need. You can find out the best deal from the site. So far, are you interested to choose this tool for supporting your job as a journalist?

The Essential Laws of Supplements Explained

A Comparative Guide to Immunocal and Immunocal Platinum

Immunocal and Immunocal Platinum are very similar to each other – using either one of them will raise your glutathione levels just as effectively. Immunocal Platinum is not stronger than Immunocal.

Immunocal Platinum is an enhanced formula that was specially designed to deal with the problems associated with human aging.

Immunocal Platinum’s target population are the baby boomers – it is designed to help them remain healthy by optimizing organ, muscle, bone, and immune system functions.

The advanced formula of Immunocal Platinum helps decrease the production of acid (a typical result of diets that are high in protein) and assist those people whose diets do not include enough protein, frequently partake in strenuous activities, or are wanting to lose weight without losing bone mass. Immunocal Platinum has safe ingredients which make it ideal for daily consumption because it does not only promote fitness and good health, it also helps people look younger.

Comparison of Immunocal and Immunocal Platinum

Immunocal is a good antioxidant, it boosts your immune systems, rids your body of toxins, helps you be stronger and more energetic.

In comparison, Immunocal Platinum refines and improves the effects of Immunocal. Immunocal Platinum performs with the same potency as Immunocal, with just a few added benefits such as: helping neutralize the body’s production of acid, decreasing bone loss, keeping the muscles healthy, and helping the body digest sugar better.

Components of Immunocal Platinum

The scientists that created Immunocal Platinum took into account both the protein metabolism process and components relating to human aging, and subsequently added two distinct formulations to Immunocal.

The first new formulation is Cytokine Modulating Proteins (CMP(TM)*), which are considered as the new-generation whey protein subfractions. These proteins assist in cell damage repair, foster cell growth and development, and prevent the growth of abnormal cells.

The second addition is Redox Modulating Formula (RMF). Redox Modulating Formula has successfully resolved the issue of increasing acid production among people who consume protein in high amounts. Recent studies have shown that high acid levels are also present in people suffering from a different health issue like the calcium loss in osteoporosis. RMF resolved this challenge by aiding in the maintenance of muscle, bone, and immune system health.

When is Immunocal Platinum the Right Choice

Immunocal Platinum should be your first option when you want all the advantages of the original Immunocal, as well as components that would: help maintain pH balance, prevent bone loss, and ensure stronger bones, strengthen muscles, balance insulin metabolism and blood glucose, and optimize protein digestion.

Source: Platinum Immnocal

How I Became An Expert on Resources

Your Choices in Solar Panel Mounting Over the course of the last decade, there has been a tremendous increase in the numbers of homes, office buildings, and businesses that use solar panel systems as their primary energy source. Previously, this technology used to be incredibly expensive and, as a result, only really accessible to the most wealthy individuals, businesses, and institutions. Now that the demand for this technology has risen greatly, and various developments have been made in the industry, solar panel technology is now more affordable than ever, as well as more effective and efficient. Available to so many more businesses and consumers, it is now even much easier for someone to install a solar panel system on their home or building themselves. If you have been thinking of installing solar panels on your home or business, it would be very helpful for you to learn as much about them as possible, both about the technology itself along with the various methods of installation. Whether you decide to have someone else install them or install them yourself, learning more about how they work, how they are constructed, and how they are installed, will very likely help you get much greater use out of them. If you do happen to want to install them yourself, it will then be absolutely necessary for you to learn as much as possible about the different installation methods and ways of mounting solar panels. This will not only ensure that they have been properly installed and securely mounted, it will also help ensure that you get the optimal amount of energy absorption, efficiency, and effectiveness. When it comes to solar panel installation, there are three primary types of mounts you can use: flush mounts, roof-ground mounts, and pole mounts. Among these, the least expensive and easiest to use are the flush mounts. Because they can only hold smaller panels and are generally set in fixed positions, flush mounts are used mostly on smaller roofs and structures and vehicles, such as RVs. Roof-ground mounts, as you might guess, can be placed either on roofs or on the ground, and are also constructed so that you can adjust them according to the sun’s positions. These are considered to be the least aesthetically pleasing of the various mounts, but roof-ground mounts can be adjusted to different angles for greater effectiveness.
What No One Knows About Systems
There are also pole mounts, which themselves come in three different types: ‘top of pole’, ‘side of pole’, and ‘tracking pole’. The primary difference between the ‘top of pole’ and ‘side of pole’ mounts is that one is fastened in a way that it sits on top of the pole, and the other is fastened to be on the side of the pole. though not too different from the other pole mounts, the ‘tracking pole’ mount actually as a device or mechanism on it that allows it to follow the sun’s path across the sky. Having a good understanding of your building’s position as it relates to the sun and its movement will help you choose the most suitable mount type for your needs.
What Almost No One Knows About Systems
Aside from the great environmental impact, installing solar panels onto your home or business building will help you save a considerable amount of money on energy costs. Because solar panels are such a valuable investment, be sure to research and learn more about them and which mounting options are best for you and your needs.

5 Cute Things We Did Before Smartphones

Do you ever find yourself looking back to the days before smartphones with a mixture of incredulity and nostalgia? At times, it’s almost impossible to imagine life without them, but sometimes, don’t you just miss those more innocent days when people respected each other’s time and privacy more?

When meeting someone in a restaurant at 8 O’clock meant meeting them at 8 O’clock, instead of texting, whatsapping or pinging them that you’re running late? Or when you could go out and have a nice evening with friends without finding yourself tagged in a photo on Facebook with your makeup running down your face? And remember these other 5 cute things we did before smartphones took over our lives?

  1. Kept Our Work at Work

It’s undeniable that the mobile office has made it easier to work on the go, and almost be in two places at once; on a meeting with the board in New York, while awaiting a flight in London. But having our work emails redirected to our smartphones has started the point of no return, and means that we can never leave our work at the office, switch off and allow our minds to be in one place.

  1. Waited Until We Got Home to Watch Things on TV

Yeah it’s great that we don’t have to wait for anything anymore. We can get all the information we need instantly and be informed 24/7. But remember the days when you actually had to wait until you got home to find out what would happen with Ross and Rachel, or to watch the game you recorded to find out if your team won the playoffs?

Oh, alright then, maybe that’s not such a good example after all. Who wants to wait for that when you can get all the info you need in real time? If you’re looking for the best bidding site for a smartphone or tablet for sale to enjoy the latest episode of Glee, guilt free, then I applaud you.

  1. Took a Camera on Vacation

Remember that? When we were more selective about taking photos, instead of photographing our dinner and posting it on Instagram? Let’s not even get started on the days before digital cameras and we had to wait for the rolls of film to be developed. How long ago does that seem now?

  1. Wrote Notes to Friends in Class or at Work

This is probably the cutest thing of all that we used to do before texting and tweeting and messaging. Remember getting a sneaky note on your desk? Or leaving one for somebody you liked? Using paper and pens to communicate instead of keyboards and touchscreens?

  1. Talked to People on the Phone

No texting, no messaging, no Instagram, no Facebook, no Skype. We actually picked up the phone and called our friends using full sentences, and spoke for hours. But while watching these cute customs disappear into the past is bittersweet, let’s admit it; we wouldn’t give up our smartphones for anything in the world. So check out 1Bid1.com for the best cell phone auctions and start snapping away at your dinner with wanton abandon, because you can.

 

9 tips for recording better video with your smartphone

Landscape

Nothing ruins great footage like having two black vertical bars along both sides of your video. To avoid this amateur mistake, make sure to use landscape orientation and not portrait orientation while recording.
Not only does landscape make your video seem more aesthetically pleasing in general, it’ll also make it more enjoyable to watch when viewed on a widescreen or television. Plus, you’ll capture more in the actual video.
So just remember: never hold your phone vertically while recording, unless you really like or want those vertical black bars included.
Framing
Now that you’re recording in the proper orientation (see above), completely fill the frame with your subject. You can also put him or her or it slightly off-center to create a more visually interesting scene. Just play around and see what looks best.
Zoom
Nothing is more gross than digital zoom – just ask any professional photographer. Most smartphones unfortuantely feature digital zooms, which are just software tricks that’ll make your subject appear closer but not without copious amounts of pixelation.
In order to zoom in while recording without losing the crisp, vivid quality you desire in videos, you’ll have to get closer to your subject (or use an accessory, but more on that later). In general, you should always get as close as you can, especially for tight shots on faces. Let us see those freckles and fine lines and cheek fuzz
Flash
We’ve all seen those videos where the subject has yellow skin and red devilish eyes combined with super dark backgrounds. The culprit? Well, yes, it’s the photographer…but it’s also the flash.
Smartphones, you see, come equipped with LED lights that are too bright and can easily skew the color temperature of photos. Also, video will often times still come out poorly lit in the end. If you want to record a photo at night, you’ll have to find another light source.
Get creative with available lights such as a neon sign or juke box. They can add a little bit of needed glow while also jazzing up your video with colour.
Backlighting
There’s something else you should keep in mind when thinking about flash and lighting in general: avoiding backlit-settings.
You may be able to see people and their faces when they’re backlit, but your smartphone camera usually can’t and will output footage with a bright light haloing a dark figure. That figure will also have no visible features, meaning you just missed whatever it was you were trying to capture.
To avoid this situation, try configuring a basic light setup. Those of you who are recording on the fly can also improve a backlit situation by moving to one side or another. Although some stock camera apps try to reduce the effects of backlighting, you should try reducing the effects on your end as well.

Time lapse
Time lapse or time-lapse photography is a cinematography technique whereby frequency at which film frames are captured (the frame rate) is much lower than that used to view the sequence. When you replay this sequence at normal speed, time appears to be moving faster and thus lapsing.
Simply put: time-lapse photography is time manipulation. Objects and events that would normally take hours, days, months, or years can be captured and then viewed later at a much faster speed, thanks to time-lapse photography techniques.
Before the Instagram team debuted Hyperlapse earlier this year, creating a time-lapse video with your smartphone was both tedious and, to be honest, hard. Hyperlapse is an iOS-only app that now allows you to create time lapses in no time at all, and without much effort. It also features impressive built-in stabilisation.
In fact the app’s stabilisation feature is what makes it stand out entirely from Apple’s new time-lapse feature in iOS 8. For more information about how Hyperlapse stabilisation works, check out Pocket-lint’s in-depth look at the app.
GIFs

GIFs are everywhere. On any given day, you’ll see them on Tumblr, news sites, adverts, and any other site imaginable.
They’re like little stop-motion video clips that you can send via email, social networks, or SMS messages. Not only are they brief to watch and easy to share, but they’re also simple to create. All you need is a camera-equipped smartphone and an app. Tumblr lets you make gifs. So doesn’t Giphy. Even Google Photos offers a GIF option.
Pocket-lint also has a guide that details the best ways to make a GIF. You can get started today, and it probably won’t cost you a thing except maybe a bit of time. Check out Instagram’s Boomerang app too. It takes bursts and then stitches them together into a HD video loop. The loop starts to play forward but then plays backward, creating a GIF-like video that does not include audio.
Instagram recommends that you find something that’s moving, then record it while holding still, and voila! From there, you can share it on Instagram. Boomerang also automatically saves the video to your camera roll.
The idea is that – with a GIF – you’ve made an interesting little video clips that can easily go viral. Just check out these GIF examples of cats and dogs riding robot vacuums, all of which have gone viral.
Accessories
Let’s be honest: smartphone cameras are just not as good as the powerhouses made by Canon or Nikon or Sony, mostly because smartphone cameras and their stock camera apps lack fine controls and other things.
If you therefore want to take your smartphone video-recording skills to the next level, without having to buy a pricey DSLR, you might want to consider buying accessories that reveal your camera’s true potential. You can get everything from tripod mounting systems to creative lens add-ons.
A website called Photojojo sells a tonne of different accessories at a variety of different price points. You could get a bike mount for your Android phone, for instance, or a telephoto lens for your iPhone. The possibilities are endless (and addicting).

Editing
And finally, sometimes a little editing is required in order to make your footage go from “meh” to “wow”. And nowadays you can do some intense editing on your smartphone as well, meaning you won’t need to invest in fancy desktop software.
Everything from basic trimming to adding transitions, titles, and effects is simple on both iOS and Android mobile devices. Whether your next video is a montage or a school project, mobile apps can streamline the video-editing process.
Apple’s own iMovie for iPhone and iPad, for instance, includes titles and transitions and even supports making theatrical trailers on the go. Other features include picture-in-picture, split screen, and slow motion effects. It’s very similar to iMovie on the Mac, in fact.
Pinnacle Studio is another good example, as well as Videon and Magisto. But that’s not all: Adobe’s new Premiere Clip app for iPhone and iPad is a powerful video editing tool with many of the features of Premiere Pro, though it’s stripped down and can be used by anybody

Smartphone Buying Guide

It’s right up there with your wallet and keys, and it can sometimes even double as your wallet and keys. Your smartphone has become an indispensable companion, helping you stay on top of email and social updates, take and share photos and videos, play music and games, and do a whole lot more. So we probably don’t have to tell you that choosing the right device is a big deal.

Our smartphone-buying guide covers everything you need to know before you buy, ranging from operating system and screen size to the camera and the carrier. Use this advice to make sure you get the very best handset for your needs and budget. Deciding between Apple’s and Samsung’s latest flagships? Check out our Galaxy S6 versus iPhone 6 face-off.
Operating System: Android, iOS or other?

Android
Android dominates worldwide sales of smartphones, and for good reason. You’ll find many more choices than iOS or Windows Phone when it comes to design, display size, specs, capabilities and price. Plus, Android is an open OS, which means it’s easy to customize with widgets, launchers, your choice of keyboard and more. Some Android-phone makers, such as Samsung and LG, trick out the software with additional enhancements, such as more-robust multitasking and easier access to settings.
With the latest version of Android, 5.0 Lollipop, the OS offers a slicker and more intuitive design, improved quick settings, and Priority Mode for showing the notifications only from people who matter most. Plus, Android offers a huge number of apps in its Google Play store. However, when a new version of Android arrives, it can take a while for the updated OS to hit your phone.

iOS 8
The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus run the latest version of Apple’s operating system, which offers all sorts of enhancements. You’ll find an improved Photos app, interactive notifications and (finally) the ability to swap out your keyboard. Plus, Family Sharing lets up to six people in your family share iTunes, books and app purchases.
The biggest reason to opt for an iOS device is its selection of apps. Apple’s App Store tends to get the hottest apps and games before Android, partly because developers have an easier time targeting a smaller set of devices that have similar specs. By the same token, iPhones enjoy the broadest array of accessories, because there’s less variation in design from one model to the next.
Windows Phone
Windows Phone has never caught on, but the upcoming Windows 10 could change that. Developers should be able to easily port Android and iOS apps to the platform. Windows Phone offers some compelling features on its own, such as a dynamic Start screen and the Cortana digital assistant, but they haven’t been enough to sway shoppers.
BlackBerry
Unless you’re already a fan, don’t touch this. The company formerly known as RIM has struggled to win over shoppers with BlackBerry 10. On the plus side, there’s a Hub that aggregates everything from email to social updates in one place. It’s also fairly easy to multitask on these phones, and you can get a physical keyboard from the BlackBerry Classic. However, the UI is not intuitive, and the app selection is pretty skimpy.
Screen Size
Although bigger screens are en vogue, you’ll still find a wide variety of display sizes. And size is only part of the story.

Small Screen (Less Than 4.5 Inches)
The main reason to buy a small-screen smartphone is for its compact design. You won’t have to stretch your thumb to reach anything. But this size range is falling out of favor as more and more people gravitate toward larger canvases for media consumption and gaming.
Medium Screen (4.5 to 5.4 Inches)
This has become the smartphone sweet spot, with such devices as the iPhone 6 (4.7 inches), HTC One M9 (5 inches) and Galaxy S6 (5.1 inches). Most phones are fairly comfortable to use with one hand in this category, depending on the button placement.
Large Screen/Phablet (5.5 Inches or More)
Smartphones with displays larger than 5.5 inches, such as the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus and LG G4, and the 5.7-inch Galaxy Note 4, are often called phablets because they are tablet-like in size. These are more likely to be used as two-handed devices, but there are lots of people who prefer larger displays for watching videos, reading eBooks and even running two apps side by side, as you can on the Galaxy line.
Size and Weight
The weight of a smartphone is mostly dictated by its screen size. The 4.6-ounce iPhone 6, for example, has a 4.7-inch display and is one of the thinnest and lightest handsets on the market.
At the opposite end of the spectrum are big-screen phablets such as the Nexus 6, which has a 6-inch display and weighs 6.5 ounces. Once you get above 6 ounces, you’ll really notice the weight of a phone in your pocket. If portability is paramount, shoot for a handset that’s less than 5 ounces.
Display Quality

The size of the screen is only one consideration. Pay close attention to a smartphone’s resolution, brightness, color quality and viewing angles.

Make sure that the smartphone you’re shopping for has a panel that’s bright enough you can read it outdoors in direct sunlight. (See the nit measurements in our reviews to compare.) Having wide viewing angles is important, too, because you’ll want to be able to share what’s on your screen with others and play games without the screen washing out when you tilt the device.
Our smartphone reviews include valuable test results on brightness, color gamut and color accuracy, to help you make the most informed buying decision.
Design

Defining a good or bad smartphone design is highly subjective, but if you care about build quality and aesthetics, look for a unibody design, which you’ll find on the iPhone 6, Galaxy S6 or HTC One M9. The S6’s glass-and-metal design is particularly attractive, especially the S6 Edge with its dual curved display.

Camera

We’ve now arrived at a point in smartphone evolution where the camera matters more than the processor, especially since most people use their phones as their primary shooters. More and more smartphones boast cameras with 16 megapixels, but don’t go by numbers alone. Instead, pay attention to image quality, aperture, speed and features.
The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, for example, have 8-MP sensors but capture relatively large pixels and accurate color. However, the Galaxy S6’s 16-MP camera tends to offer more-saturated colors, better contrast and more detail, though it can blow out subjects in bright sunlight. Look at photo samples from Tom’s Guide in our reviews and camera face-offs before you buy.

Processor

A good processor inside a phone should translate to faster open times for apps, smoother gameplay and quicker photo editing, but you don’t have to pay attention to clock speed. It’s better to look at the performance results in our reviews, such as Geekbench, which measures overall performance. Qualcomm’s Snapdragon series used to be the fastest game in town, but now Samsung’s own octa-core Exynos 7420 chip (inside the Galaxy S6) has taken the lead.

RAM

Here’s an easy way to look at smartphones’ RAM, which is critical for multitasking. Try to avoid handsets with just 1GB of system memory. On midtier devices, 2GB is good and standard. But 3GB (found on phones like the Galaxy S6 and LG G4) is even better. Only one device (the Asus ZenFone 2) offers 4GB of RAM thus far, but it could be the start of a trend.
Internal Storage

Given that some games can easily take up more than 1GB — not to mention how many high-res photos and videos smartphone owners are capturing — we highly recommend opting for as much internal storage as possible. The minimum on most handsets, like the iPhone 6, is 16GB, but more phones (such as the Galaxy S6) are coming standard with 32GB. We recommend 32GB or more.
A microSD card can help expand your storage. It’s available on phones such as the HTC One M9 and LG G4, but keep in mind that microSD can often store only a portion of apps. These cards are better for storing media.
Battery Life

Many factors — including the screen size, processor and operating system — determine how long a smartphone lasts on a charge. However, shoppers looking for the longest battery life possible should check out our list of endurance champs. We consider any phone that lasts longer than 8 hours of straight 4G LTE surfing to be good, but greater than 8.5 hours is better.

Removable Battery
Removable batteries seem to be falling out of favor with most smartphone makers. But there are some benefits to this kind of design, found on the LG G4 and Galaxy Note 4. Once your existing battery stops holding a charge for as long as it did when it was fresh, you can just buy a new one without having to pay for a replacement service or new phone.
Third-party vendors, such as Mugen Power, make high-capacity replacement batteries that offer more endurance than the originals. Also, if you carry a spare battery, you’ll be able to swap in a new one to keep your phone going longer.
Other Key Features
Wireless Charging
With myriad competing standards and a lack of direction from both smartphone makers and the carriers, wireless charging is more of a nice-to-have feature than a must-have at this stage. The idea is to place your device, such as the Galaxy S6, on a compatible wireless charging mat. While it may be convenient, wireless charging likely won’t take off until the technology is built into everything from cars to furniture.

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Top 10 battery tips for your smartphone or tablet

You know smartphone battery life doesn’t last forever. Sure, the smart thing to do is to always have your charger handy. But life doesn’t always go according to plan. So if your charger’s at home and you’re not, how can you stall that powerless feeling for as long as possible?

Here are our top 10 battery tips you can do before you leave home, as well as when you are away and don’t have a charger:

1. Carry a spare charger that doesn’t require an outlet
For optimal charging, use the approved wall charger for your device. But if you can’t be wired to a power outlet, you can still charge your smartphone or tablet battery with an accessory such as the mophie® powerstation™ or a mophie pack case.

2. Pamper your battery
Keep the ports where your battery plugs into your device clean. Don’t let your device get hotter than about 95 degrees Fahrenheit, and limit your usage outside in colder weather, too. For additional reassurance or to give your hot battery a break, you might consider carrying a spare that you can pop in when you’re caught in the red.

3. Upgrade your device
Newer smartphones such as the Droid Turbo 2 by motorola have considerably longer-lasting batteries than older phones. Depending on usage, the Droid Turbo 2 can deliver up to 48 hours of performance before needing a boost.

4. Economize
Turn off Wi-Fi when not in use. Wi-Fi gobbles a lot of power on all devices because it’s always looking for a signal. You can also turn off 4G LTE if you happen to be somewhere without a strong signal. Keep the screen as dim as you can stand it, and close apps when you are done with them so they don’t run in the background. Extend the refresh time: Set your email to get new messages every 15 minutes (or even longer) rather than as soon as they arrive on the server. And whenever possible, put your device to sleep.

5. Turn off push notifications
Yes, you want to know breaking news as soon as it happens or keep up with Facebook® comments the instant they are posted to your wall, but these notifications require power. Turn them off when you need to conserve energy and disable location-based services when not in use.

6. Change your settings
Change the display settings on your phone so that your screen time-out is at a lower setting. Make sure Bluetooth is turned off when not in use so your device isn’t trying to pair with an accessory that isn’t there. Turn off your GPS options, too. Live wallpaper applications can also affect battery performance. While you’re in settings, see if you have the latest software, and if not, update it! Also, make sure you have enough battery life to complete a software update. Note that it also takes at least three days to see battery improvement after updating the software.

7. Do some digging
Look for apps like iOptimizer or Battery Graph that help you monitor your battery use.

8. Don’t turn it off
Really—your tablet or phone will use more juice powering back up than it will quietly napping. When at home, you’ll want to power cycle the device every 48 hours by turning it off, waiting 15 to 30 seconds, then turning it back on. A power cycle will reboot the device, and will turn off any apps that could be inadvertently running in the background and draining the battery.

9. Charge it
But not too often. For optimum performance, “reboot” your battery whenever you can by waiting to charge until the battery is down to about 10 percent. Then, fill ’er up to 100 percent. Try to avoid overcharging it except for newer devices, which is recommended.

10. Have a tablet? Drain its battery regularly
For optimum battery performance in a tablet such as the Ellipsis® 10 Tablet, once a month, let your battery drain completely before recharging. It appreciates the exercise.

7 Tips Every Smartphone Owner Should Know

Whether you use an iPhone, an Android phone or a Windows phone, some tips are universal. Follow this advice, and you’ll save a lot of time, money and heartache in exchange for just a little extra effort. Here’s what you need to know to get more out of your smartphone, regardless of who made it:

Back Up Your Photos

Don’t leave the fate of your photos to chance with manual backups. Instead, set your phone to automatically back up photos online so you’ll never lose any memories if your phone is lost or stolen. You’ve got plenty of options for doing this, many of which allow you to just set it and forget it.

Dropbox’s Carousel app and Microsoft’s OneDrive app can automatically back up photos to cloud storage, though you’re limited to 5 GB of free storage for the former and 7 GB for the latter. (Windows Phone users can download the unofficial CloudSix for Dropbox app, or use their phones’ built-in OneDrive camera backup function.) You can also use the Google+ app for iOS or Android, which backs up unlimited

photos if you go into settings and limit resolution to 2048 pixels. Or use Flickr, which gives you 1 TB of storage for high-resolution photos and videos.

Here’s the really important part: Bugs happen, and data gets lost even when you think you’re backing it up. Use more than one of these services at the same time–and keep manually backing up photos to your computer–to drastically lower the odds of losing anything.

Get Your Music from the Cloud

Why spend an extra $50 or $100 on more storage for your phone when you can lighten the load by storing your music online? Google Play Music can store up to 20,000 free songs, which you can then access through apps for iOS and Android (or unofficial apps for Windows Phone). Just download Google’s Music Manager software, and have it upload your computer’s music folder. If you need more storage, Amazon Cloud Player will store up to 250,000 songs for $25 per year. You could also subscribe to a service like Spotify, Rdio or Beats Music for $10 per month, and build your own cloud music library from millions of tracks.

What if you’re not online? All of these services allow you to download songs, albums or playlists for offline listening. But because you’re using a smartphone, and most smartphones now have 4G LTE data connections, the odds are increasingly slim that you won’t be able to get to your music.

Check Out Alternative Browsers and Email Apps

It’s easy to stick to the defaults for core functions, but if you take some time to try alternatives, you might find one that’s better for your needs.

Mailbox is a great email alternative for iOS and Android, letting you dismiss emails with a swipe, attach files directly from Dropbox and set reminders for messages that you want to answer later. Gmail users should also check out Google’s own Gmail app for iOS, as it’s better than the iPhone’s default Mail app for searching and for viewing long conversation threads.

For web browsers, Chrome and Firefox both let you view any tabs you have open on another device, though Firefox is Android-only. Dolphin Browser gives you a desktop-style tab view and includes frilly features such as gesture controls and add-ons.

Use Some Logic to Sort Your Home Screens

Has your home screen turned into a chaotic mass of unorganized apps and folders? Take a few minutes to sort things out, and you’ll save yourself some headaches later.

Take your absolute favorite apps (not counting the ones on the bottom tray), and place them directly on the bottom two or three rows of your main screen, with no folders. That way, you can easily reach them without stretching your fingers. Above those rows, use folders for your favorite app categories, or add a widget or two on an Android phone. (I like to have a “Utilities” folder for random things like the calculator, voice memos and reminders.)

For subsequent screens, try organizing them by use case, so you have a page for games, a page for reading and so on. Ideally, you won’t fill every page, and your phone will have a logical way to grow as you acquire more apps.

Use Your Phone as a Wireless Hotspot

You wireless carrier might prefer if you signed up for a tablet data plan, but you don’t have to. In most cases, it’s cheaper to use your phone as a wireless hotspot, which can provide Wi-Fi to any tablet or laptop. This service is already included if you have a shared data plan on AT&T or Verizon, and while it’s not quite as convenient as having 4G built into your tablet, it’s a lot cheaper in the long run.

Get to Know Your Shortcuts

There’s almost always a faster way to do things, it’s just a matter of memorizing the necessary swipes, pinches or long-presses for your particular phone. On the iPhone, for example, you can swipe up from the bottom edge to bring up quick settings, or double tap the home button to bring up a recent apps list. You can then close an app (say, if it’s misbehaving) by swiping upward on it. (iMore has a good list of other hidden iOS gestures.)

And here’s a cool trick for Android: When viewing notifications, you can either pinch outward or long press and drag down to expand a notification, showing a larger overview of your emails or messages. In general, Android shortcuts are a bit trickier, because each phone has its own button layout and software tweaks, but if you play around with long-pressing or double-tapping on each of the main navigation buttons, you may discover some hidden functions. (The Samsung Galaxy S5, for instance, is filled with these shortcuts.)

Don’t Buy Insurance (Unless You’re a Klutz)

Next time a phone salesman tries to scare you into buying an extended warranty or insurance, keep this old trick in mind: Instead of buying the insurance, just set aside the money you would have paid, putting it into a piggy bank, savings account or whatever. Do this for all the electronics you buy where a warranty or insurance plan is offered, and chances are you’ll save enough of your own money for a repair or replacement if something does go wrong. And you won’t even have to pay an outrageous deductible. (One exception: If you have a history of losing track of your phone, maybe insurance is a good idea.)