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.

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