Friday, 13 July 2018

Top 5 Podcast Apps!

For this week’s Appy Friday, we’re giving you our top 5 apps to listen to podcasts on. With the popularity of podcasts on the rise (watch this space for the Appy Friday podcast!), we thought it might make life easier if we gave you a list of the top 5 apps which make listening to podcasts and finding podcasts simple.


Platform: iOS
Cost: FREE
This podcast app allows you to download your favourite podcasts to listen to offline as well as online. Also, using this app, you can subscribe to podcasts, and be notified when they are released so that you never miss your favourites. Another great thing that this app can do is that you can adjust the playback speed. So if you’re someone who takes information in quickly and likes to have videos and podcasts sped up slightly, you can do this within the app. You can also get great recommendations from Twitter to help you discover new podcasts.

Platform: iOS and Android
Cost: FREE
On this podcast app, there are many ways to search for new podcasts. This includes different charts and trending podcasts available to listen to, as well as getting tailored recommendations based on your play history. This app also features many audiobooks, not just podcasts. You can make your own customised playlists perfect for around the house and on long car journeys.

Pocket Casts
Platform: iOS and Android
Cost: £3.99
The Pocket Casts app is a great one for iPad as it features split view screens. It also has the best capabilities out of any of these apps in terms of working on a tablet. The app allows you to automatically build a playback queue so you always know what’s coming up next.  Another nice little feature is that this app can trim silences so that you can finish episodes faster, and you can adjust the speed of the podcast. One more cool little trick this app has is being able to increase the volume of speech, but decrease the background noise within podcasts.

Platform: iOS and Android
Cost: FREE
Stitcher is another great podcast app. It lets you download your favourite podcasts so that you can listen to them offline, and it gives you personalised recommendations and news updates based on what you listen to. Also within the app, you can make your own playlists; perfect for driving, commuting, or just general day-to-day activities.

Platform: iOS and Android
Cost: FREE
The Spreaker app is very similar to the previous app in that it allows you to create your own personalised playlists, get recommended podcasts, and has a keyword search for you to find podcasts that relate to what you want to listen to.

So, that was this week’s Appy Friday. All 5 of these apps are great for listening to podcasts on. However, my personal favourite is the Overcast app as it covers all bases, in that it allows you to you download podcasts and gives you more control over the speeds that you listen to them in. Let us know if you use any of these apps for listening to podcasts!

Friday, 6 July 2018

A Decent Smartphone For Just £99?

For this weeks Appy Friday, we are letting you know about the newest affordable smartphone on the market. Honor has released their cheapest phone yet, the Honor 7S, which is only £99 so great for anyone on a budget. So what do you get for your money? Read on to find out...

If you're in the market for a budget smartphone this year, then this new release from Honor may just be the answer. You may not have heard of Honor, but they’re a subsidiary brand of Huawei, the largest telecoms manufacturer in the world. The Honor company aim to provide cheap devices for smartphone users and the 7S has been no exception to this as it is on sale for just £99! Even the highest quality phone from Honor retails for only £445. The aim of the Honor 7S is to just provide the essentials of what people want from a smartphone.

The 7S’s price is a shock when you read some of its features. There is a 13MP rear camera with PDAF fast focusing technology and a 5MP front camera with LED selfie light. Perfect for capturing images even in low lit areas. Along with this, the phone has a great receiver so that you can make clear sounding phone calls even if you’re in a loud area. There is also space for 2 SIMs and a microSD and a smart managed battery.

The 7S has a 5.45-inch screen with a 1440 x 720 resolution and can record 1080p videos. The phone also has a decent size battery with the capacity of 3,020mAh. The 7S also runs on Android 8.1 (currently the very latest version) and has a 1.5Ghz quad-core processor. There is also the generic 3.5mm headphone jack on the top.

Overall, the 7S sounds like it’ll be the best phone for its price point as it has all the essentials that you need on a smartphone. This phone would be perfect for all those people who don’t have £1000+ to spend on a phone. Although it’s a basic, it would be perfect for anyone who isn’t in need of an all singing all dancing phone, as this has no frills but is great at what it does.

So, that was this weeks Appy Friday. I think this phone is so different from any of the other really cheap phones on the market and is actually pretty decent quality. This phone will be great if you aren’t really in need of a phone that can do it all, just one that can do the essentials. Let us know if you will be trying the new Honor phone! We’ll be getting one shortly at Appware HQ so will let you know how we get on with it.

Friday, 29 June 2018

Top 5 Weather Apps!

As it’s so nice in the UK at the moment, we got thinking about the weather for this week's Appy Friday. So we are giving you the top 5 weather apps you should have all year round. They range from generic weather forecasts to apps which can help you pick good nights for astronomy and stargazing. So there’s should be at least one of these apps that you’ll think you should be using.

Met Office

Platform: iOS and Android
Cost: Free
The Met Office app has the most reliable information on the weather forecast, it shows the rainfall forecast for the next 24 hours and checks real-time UK national severe weather warnings for your saved locations. The app forecasts the weather for the following 7 days with hourly weather widgets. You can also personalise your weather forecasts by saving your locations so that you can see how the weather will affect your day wherever you are.

My Pollen Forecast UK
Platform: iOS (Android alternative)
Cost: FREE
This app is very useful for those of us with hay fever. This app includes a handy map so you can see which areas near you have the highest pollen count. You can also use this app to track and monitor your symptoms over time, and you can learn which pollens you are most allergic to by adding in diary entries.

Drone UAV Forecast
Platform: iOS and Android
Cost: FREE
This is such a great app if you’re a drone user. It not only shows you the weather forecast, but also GPS satellite coverage, solar activity, No-Fly Zones, and flight restrictions all in one place. Perfect for pretty much all drones or quadcopter pilots.

Dark Sky
Platform: iOS and Android
Cost: £3.99
The Dark Sky app has the forecast down to the minute and will send you push notifications for severe weather alerts and when it’s about to rain or snow. So it’s a great app for monitoring extreme weather conditions. This app is also great to use on the Apple Watch and is a good app to have on the go.

Scope Nights Astronomy Weather
Platform: iOS and Android
Cost: £4.99
This app includes detailed night-time specific astronomy forecasts, as well as colour coded forecasts of moon phase percentage, cloud cover, precipitation probability, relative humidity, minimum temperature, wind direction and wind speeds. The app will also tell you the sunrise and sunset times along with moonrise and moonset time. This app is great for planning which nights will be best for stargazing and which ones won’t be so good this summer.

So, that was this weeks Appy Friday. Personally, the one app that I use regularly is the Met Office app as I find it to be the most reliable for the weekly forecast. Another fun one to try this summer is the Scope Nights Astronomy Weather app as it can give you something different to try this summer. Let us know if you will be downloading or already use one of these apps this year!

Friday, 22 June 2018

Everything You Need To Know About Nintendo At E3 2018!

For this weeks Appy Friday, we’re giving you a rundown on everything that Nintendo introduced at E3 last week. E3 is the Electronic Entertainment Expo which is a trade event for the gaming industry presented by the Entertainment Software Association (ESA). There were a lot of highly anticipated games presented. There were also some interesting ideas for the Switch and how it will be used in these new games, making for some great announcements to get excited about when released this year.

The E3 conference was last week and there was a lot announced, Microsoft showed around 50 new titles which incorporated 15 exclusives. Sony went for a different approach, as they only announced a few new titles. However, they went into a more depth with each of them. They featured real gameplay footage and much more information on the games.

However, in this blog, we’re going to concentrate on what Nintendo had to say.

The main thing that people were interested in, is that Nintendo announced was Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. The new game will feature every single fighter from all Smash games they have ever produced, making this an impressive one. It was described by Nintendo as ‘the biggest crossover in gaming history’ so it’s definitely one to try when it’s released! Also set to make a return in this game, is 8 player battles. The Super Smash Bros game will work with the GameCube controller, and they have introduced a new challenger which has been requested for a long time, Metroidbeast.

There was also news of a few highly anticipated games like Fortnite and Hollow Knight along with a few indie sequels being announced. But mainly the conference revolved around the Super Smash Bros game for Nintendo. However, the trailer for the Super Mario Party game was rather interesting as it showed 4 people laying 2 Nintendo switches on a table and then rearranging them to use both screens, which is an interesting idea.

There were also mentions of both Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee both being released on November 16th, accompanied by a PokeBall plus accessory. Also mentioned was a version on Killer Queen coming to the Switch later on this year and being called Killer Queen Black. Also coming to Switch this year is Overcooked 2, DragonBall FighterZ, SNK Heroines Tag Team Frenzy and Octopath Traveler which is out in July.

So, that’s this weeks Appy Friday. There were so many announcements from E3 this year, it’s got a lot of people very excited for the upcoming releases, especially Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Let us know which games your most excited about and if you’ll be getting any when they’re released.

Friday, 15 June 2018

Top 5 Bits Of Tech You Can Buy Right Now!

For this week’s Appy Friday we are letting you know about 5 bits of top tech that you can buy right now. It ranges from phones and TVs to VR headsets so there’s something on this list for everyone to try, with a wide range of prices.

Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus Smartphone

Price: £929
This is one of the best (if not the best) smartphones on the market at the moment as it comes with everything you could want. Great performance, and an especially good camera so you can always capture a great photo. This phone has a lovely 6.2-inch screen, with decent battery life so is a great phone to try this year.

Samsung Q9FN QLED TV

Price: From £2,499.00
This TV has the full works, it’s huge (from 55 to a whopping 75-inch screen!) with great well-rounded sound, and has incredible HDR picture quality. However, this TV does come with a hefty price tag, although the TV is incredibly high quality and you definitely get what you pay for with this device. This Samsung TV uses a FALD (Full Array Local Dimming) panel in conjunction with QLED Quantum Dots to create a brighter and more colourful picture.

Moov Now Fitness Tracker

Price: £47
This small fitness tracker is a great alternative to a FitBit, as it has a great 6-month battery life so there’ll be no batteries cutting out and dying. With this device, you can track your steps, sleep, fitness, and running technique. Along with many other features, you can use it to help you keep on top of your health and fitness this year.

HTC Vive VR Headset

Price: £499
If you’re into VR, then this could be the perfect headset for you. The HTC Vive claims to be the best VR headset on the market. The resolution is of the highest quality with a 1080p screen per eye. Although the headset comes with a rather high price tag (and you also need a high spec computer too), if you're in the market for a VR headset then this is the best one on the market to try this year.

Sennheiser Momentum Wireless Headphones

Price: £272.50
This pair of headphones is a pretty good all-rounder as it has wireless capabilities, great battery life and a nice sleek look. As everyone looks for something slightly different in headphones (whether that be ones to go to the gym in or just headphones for watching things on the go), these are the best all-rounders with them being both wireless and having great high sound quality.

So, there is this week’s Appy Friday. Personally, the one gadget that I would like to try this year is the Momentum Wireless Headphones or the HTC Vive as the Vive is such an innovative high-quality product which is the best in its field. Let us know if you’ll be trying any of these devices this year!

Friday, 8 June 2018

All You Need To Know From WWDC 2018!

For this weeks Appy Friday, we’re giving you all you need to know from this years WWDC (Apple's World Wide Developers Conference) 2018 in California. At the event, Apple announced a range of things starting with the updated iOS 12, Apple Watch updates and a few more handy new features.

The main announcement from WWDC 2018 from Apple was the next generation of iPhone operating system, iOS 12. The iOS update comes with a range of new features including group FaceTime, improvements to Siri and new Animoji. Another thing that Apple will be rolling out in 2018 is the ARKit 2.0, which is the next generation of augmented reality on iPhone. The ARKit 2.0 showed 3D object detection, improved face tracking and shared experiences.

Last year Apple introduced Bitmoji’s and at this year’s Apple event they brought Animoji. The new version introduces a way to create custom avatars to look like you. Also, the announcement of group FaceTime calls is massively welcomed as you can now FaceTime with up to 32 people with the iOS 12 update.

Apple also showed the new features that will appear in the Apple Watch with the updated operating system. One being that there are new workout types added, like hiking and yoga as well as with Siri shortcuts. As well as this, you can now talk to your watch like a walkie-talkie.

Another interesting feature that Apple introduced, are options to track your usage on specific apps and you can now set time limits to spend on apps so that you don’t get too distracted by your phone. There are also improved parental control features taking phone usage much more seriously.

In the Mac world Apple announced the new operating system, Mojave is the latest update which has a ‘dark mode’ which dims the screen, great for when your working at night. They have also introduced a new way of viewing documents in Finder.

The final thing that Apple announced was that you can now create custom Siri commands. You can do this by piecing together a few activities and questions within Siri which gives users the chance to respond to voice commands.

So, that's is this weeks Appy Friday. I think the most useful new feature will be the all-new group FaceTime which is going to be very useful when you’re trying to organise something with a group of people. As usually, it's near impossible to arrange something that everyone can attend. Let us know what feature you are most looking forward too?

Friday, 1 June 2018

Top 5 Camera Apps!

For this week’s Appy Friday we’re giving you our top 5 camera apps. These range from helping improve your camera’s zoom, to giving you more control over the lighting and sizing of the images. This helps you make them look that little bit more professional, even though they are taken on your phone.

Platform: iOS
Cost: FREE
The Camera + app is a great all-rounder camera app. It has editable exposure and focus so that you can control how light or dark your images come out. Another thing this app has is alternative shooting modes. For example, there is a stabilizer to steady your phone to achieve the best quality photos. There is also a digital zoom, front flash, horizon level and the innovative Lightbox feature which lets you quickly skim through all your images to get rid of bad shots quickly.

Platform: iOS
Cost: £5.99
The ProCam 5 app is a great tool to help your phone photography. Although it’s £5.99 the app covers all areas of photography with its 8 shooting modes, including night mode and slow shutter. It also features 4 shutter release options so you can get some really interesting shots. The ProCam app has the most varied features to help you achieve the best images.

Platform: Android
Cost: FREE
The open camera app is one of the best on Android as it allows you to auto-stabilize your camera at the perfect level. There is also support for focus modes, scene modes, colour effects, white balance, ISO, exposure compensation and face detection. The app also features different remote controls for setting timers and an auto-repeat mode. As well as this, the app has a clever feature where you can take photos remotely by making a noise, whether that be by voice command or whistle.

Platform: iOS and Android
Cost: FREE
The VSCO Cam app is a much more social media based app. It turns the camera app into something similar to Instagram, in that you can post the images you take and edit within that app. You can then share all your creations with followers that you can build up in the app. You can also get inspiration from other creators by following their work.

Platform: Android
Cost: FREE
This camera app for Android devices has full manual DSLR controls. You can set ISO, focus distance, exposure and shutter speed. The app also gives you the ability to combine shooting modes like a timer, HDR, stable and timelapse.

So that’s this week’s Appy Friday. My personal favourite is the VSCO Cam app and the Camera + app as these are great all-rounders. They just take great images and have editing capabilities built into them, so you can take the image, edit it, and post it all through the same app. Let us know if you use any of these apps!