Friday, 20 December 2013

Capture Those Christmas Memories

With Christmas day around the corner and Apple hoping to smash their previous record sales around this time, we have narrowed down some iPhone apps that can turn you into the family photographer this Christmas.

For many people purchasing a smartphone, the camera is still one of the key features that help decide what model to opt for. The iPhone 5S now comes with an upgraded 8MP iSight camera which is its best yet but there are still some useful apps that can transform your images.

Here are three of our favourites:

Text Camera
With so many platforms online for people to share their imagery with friends and the online world, captions are becoming the key to many photos. Text Camera focuses on the text and allows photographers to edit their imagery with inspirational quotes or doodles. It does come with its own pre-installed doodles and text but, of course, you can create your own like ‘Grandad has fallen asleep next to the fire, AGAIN!’

Camera Art FX
Filters are extremely popular for photography apps and many come installed with their own interesting features, but Camera Art FX allows some fun functionality.  In fact, they can cover up a lot of the more basic amateur photographic mistakes often seen online. You can add effects like a comic style one, a painted effect or to make it look as if you doodled it. Perfect for when you want to spruce up your ‘selfie’.

This impressive app pitches itself as a tool that can appeal to both amateurs and professionals and comes with a number of high-tech options.  For example, it is fitted with a 6x digital zoom, ability to improve the exposure and focus and even allows the option to take forward facing photographs with flash.  So, this is definitely one for the selfie-fanatic.  Its motto is ‘Shoot like a pro’ and that’s exactly what it lets you do; you can turn your iPhone into one that rivals some of the newest cameras on the market … impressive!
So, when it comes to creating a timeline of your Christmas day festivities, you have a number of apps to help you do it. Have a very Snappy Christmas!

Friday, 13 December 2013

The Console Battle - PS4 vs Xbox One

A couple of weeks ago we wrote an article ‘What’s On Your Christmas Wish List?’ – If you haven’t read it, check it out.  If you have, you’d know that one of the desired presents was a PS4, even though it hadn’t quite been released yet.

Well, it is available now and has been for a week or so and has caused quite a stir. In fact, in its first week of release it broke all records for any console released before it, much to the misfortune of the Xbox One.

The Xbox One was release before the PS4, selling over 2 million consoles in just 18 days, which is still a pretty impressive figure, even if the PS4 is predicted to break this number when it reaches the 3 week mark. The Xbox One has averaged 111,111 units shifted per day since its release so the PS4 has some serious selling to do, but Sony do look likely to beat that total.

But, which one is better?

In terms of pure units shifted, the PS4 is likely to take the crown come Christmas morning, but that doesn’t answer the question of performance. Games for both consoles are always very similar with each having their own individual claims – the Xbox with Forza Motorsport 5 and the PS4’s answer to that, DriveClub (due in 2014). So, there is no real telling them apart from this.

The pricing might help decide … the Xbox One costs £429, while the PS4 is a snip at just £349 – not much difference but the difference equates to the price of a game plus accessories.  PS4 wins this battle!

The controllers have been adapted too, although the Xbox’s has only been modified slightly.  Sony has changed their appearance quite a bit and it looks rather futuristic, whereas the Xbox has opted for a very similar design to their previous console. Winner – PS4.

The console design is where the Xbox really comes into its own, putting the word box in Xbox. Although boxy in shape, it is sleek and stylish and will look great settled next to your LED TV. Winner – Xbox One.

So, with no real difference in performance, games or price, we have to say the PS4 might just pip it this time around. Well done Sony!

Friday, 6 December 2013

Massive Move For Microsoft

Just weeks after the release of its Surface 2 tablet, Microsoft has announced another massive feat, the merge with Nokia.

Microsoft’s takeover of Nokia’s device and services came to the press this week and was met with two thumbs up by the US department of Justice and the European Union.

Microsoft, who has been regarded as inferior to competitors Apple and Samsung in the mobile market, is looking to reverse this perception by merging with Nokia’s line of smartphones. With the Windows Phone 8 operating system, increasing improvement and growth of their app store and Office 2013 software, the future for Microsoft-Nokia smartphones looks bright.

In fact, the recently released Nokia Lumia has sold over 8.8 million units so far, which is even better news for Microsoft.  Nokia was once a front-runner in the mobile world, but until the Lumia (which runs the Microsoft software); their sales were down 27% when compared to last year.

The deal was anticipated to take place in the first three months of 2014, but the move was announced this week, much to the delight of Microsoft.

Microsoft Chief Executive, Steve Ballmer, described the deal as a big, bold step forward. He also said, “Microsoft is a company that was once only known for its software and PCs, but is progressively becoming a company focused on devices and services.”

It’s true; we all know Microsoft for its impressive software and tablets, but there is a lot of potential in the mobile market for a company the size of Microsoft (and Nokia) to compete with the likes of Samsung and Apple.

The deal, that may sound very prosperous for Microsoft, has come at a cost though.  It is thought to be in the region of £4.6bn and will include around 32,000 employees transferring to Microsoft from Nokia. The takeover deal has also included a 10-year licensing arrangement with Nokia, so the Nokia brand can remain on current mobile phone products.

This is no doubt an exciting time for Microsoft and it could be an extremely exciting one for us as the consumer too.