Friday, 18 May 2018

Top 5 Travel Apps Of 2018!

For this weeks Appy Friday, we’re giving you the top 5 apps you need if you’re going away this year or travel regularly. This list contains a range of different apps that can help you find cheap flights or last minute hotels so there’s something on here to help you no matter where you’re going.


Skyscanner

Platform: iOS and Android
Cost: FREE
This app is great for searching for cheap flights if you fly regularly. It allows you to compare what the cheapest days and months are to fly with their colour coded calendar charts. A great thing about this app is that there are no extra fees as they don’t charge any booking fees, so there are no hidden costs. If you do travel regularly then you can build frequent flyer miles by booking through the app.

Airbnb

Platform: iOS and Android
Cost: FREE
Airbnb is great for finding places to stay, organising day trips and experiences. The app has over 4 million holiday home rentals across 191+ countries. You can sort through these with filters of price, neighbourhood, amenities and more so you can find the perfect place for you to stay. Within the app, you can book the rentals for just a few nights or months depending on your needs, so if you’re going travelling for a long period of time this app is great. Through the app, you can also try out new local experiences by native experts.

Hotel Tonight

Platform: iOS and Android
Cost: FREE
This app is great for last minute bookings or long term bookings. You can book hotels for tonight, tomorrow, next week or months in advance. The Hotel Tonight app is great for those spontaneous trips and visits that you can sometimes struggle to get hotels booked in time. This app helps to avoid those difficulties. There is also a range of different filters to help you find the best possible hotel for you.

Packpoint

Platform: iOS and Android
Cost: FREE
This app tries to stop you forgetting something when you go away, as it builds a customised packing list depending on what you’ll be doing, and where you are travelling to. As you are packing you can then tick off the things on the list, ensuring you have all the things you’ll need for your trip.

XE Currency

Platform: iOS and Android
Cost: FREE
If you travel regularly this app is great for you. It shows the latest exchange rates, and stores them from when you last had Wi-Fi, so you can view them even when you don’t have any internet. The app can monitor up to 10 currencies all at once, along with the live rates being refreshed each minute for every world currency.

So, there’s this week's Appy Friday. My favourite of these is a tie between the Packpoint app and Airbnb as the Packpoint app helps me make sure I don’t forget anything and the Airbnb app is just so handy for finding alternative places to stay. Let us know if you use any of these apps!

Friday, 11 May 2018

Wearable Camera Glasses?

For this week's Appy Friday, we are giving you a rundown on the new release from Snapchat, the V2 Snapchat Spectacles. The V1 glasses weren’t the best, and it’s clear to see the glasses have taken a massive step up and could quite possibly be the most wearable and practical camera glasses yet.


The new Snapchat Spectacles V2 is a big step up from the first Snapchat glasses as they now take photos as well as videos. They don’t have the yellow ring in the corner notifying people to the camera and that you’re recording. The V2 glasses are also much more convenient, useful and stylish than the previous model. They are now waterproof so having underwater capabilities allows for much cooler shots to be taken.

The look of these glasses has also improved massively with classier colour options, lighter lenses, slimmer frames and charging cases. The V2 glasses have a much sleeker look and aren’t as chunky as previously. The colour options are onyx black, ruby red and sapphire blue, you then have a choice between natural or mirrored lens. Another great thing about this new and improved model is that there are prescription options which make them more practical for everyone.

The glasses come in a much nicer and more practical case, the bright yellow case is now 1/3 smaller making it easier to fit into pockets or handbags, which again make them much more wearable than before. The battery on the spectacles has also been improved and is said to have enough charge and memory to store up to 150 videos or 3,000 photos. It has 4GB flash storage and there are an extra four charges in the case as well. One more thing that has been massively improved with this upgrade, is the syncing of images and videos to your phone. It has been improved hugely as it’s so much faster than previously. Another thing that has been fixed is that there is now another microphone which helps to keep wind noise to a minimum, and also accounts for people talking so that the user isn’t much louder than the people around them in videos.

Snapchat spectacles are very easy to use as you long-press for a photo and tap to record a 10-second video. Extra taps then prolong the clip to 30 seconds long. The quality of the videos is 1216 x 1216 pixels and the images are 1642 x 1642 pixels. Both of these features light up a small ring in the corner to warn people that you are recording however compared to V1 it’s much more discrete.

The lenses have been much more thought through on this version, as they have been made more transparent in order to make it easier to use and record in lower light, so you are limited to only using them when it’s super sunny outside. However, they are still UVA and UVB rated so they can be used just like regular sunglasses.

There is one main downfall to these and that is that you can’t download the images and videos straight to camera roll. You have to transfer your content to your Snapchat first then download them to your camera roll. Also, they aren’t cheap glasses they cost £149.99, however, these could be great if you travel a lot as there’s no need to lug around a large camera all the time.

So, there’s this week’s Appy Friday. I think the glasses have taken a giant leap from the first version, as the look, effectiveness and usefulness have improved massively. Although they still have a little way to go I think they’re a really fun gadget to play with and take some great images with. Let us know what you think to these V2 glasses, and whether or not you’ll be trying them!

Friday, 4 May 2018

Top 5 Laptops Of 2018!

For this week’s Appy Friday, we are giving you a list of the top 5 laptops of 2018. There is a range of laptops on here to suit a variety of different budgets from the lower end 2 in 1 laptops to the more high-end laptops with a £1000+ price tag so there’s definitely something on here for everyone.

Above: Lenovo Yoga Book

This laptop is the most expensive on the list as it starts at £1,149.99 and goes up from there. It has a 7th Generation Intel Core i5-7Y54 Processor and has Windows 10 Home operating system. The XPS has a 13.3” FHD InfitiyEdge touch display making it look very stylish and appealing so its price tag matches its looks and capabilities. It also has a widescreen HD 720p webcam with dual digital microphones and a 256GB hard drive.

This laptop comes with a much lower price tag than the Dell XPS 13 at roughly £649.99. The Asus Zenbook has an aluminium body with a 7th generation Kaby Lake processor i3 or i5. Also, you can choose between full HD, 1080p display or 3,200 x 1,800 pixel, QHD+ screen which is 30% more pixels than Apple’s 13-inch retina screens. As well as this the laptop has a fast wake up time and is great value for money.

If you don’t have quite the budget for the first two laptops then this is a great cheaper alternative at £399. As well as this you get 2-in-1 with this laptop as the screen folds flat so that you can use it as a tablet as well. The Yoga Book also has even more versatility as you have the option to buy it with Windows 10 or Android 6.0. Although this has a cheaper price tag it is a great option if you only need a laptop for basic tasks and creating art or watching films as it has an excellent display with a 10.1-inch full HD IPS touchscreen. However, this is very different to your typical laptop as it as it has a hinged keyboard, trackpad and entirely digital keypad with tactile touch typing.

If Apple is more to your taste, the Apple MacBook Pro with Touch Bar is a great option. By far the most distinguishing feature of the MacBook is it’s Touch Bar which is the thin OLED display at the top of the keyboard as this helps with a number of tasks from auto-suggesting words as you’re typing, and offering Touch ID to make logging in much easier. Also like normal, the MacBook has super fast performance making it a great option though it does have a high price tag.

This Chromebook is one of the best on the market with its great performance and more affordable price tag. The Chromebook Flip comes with an Intel Core processor, full 1080p display, backlit keyboard, touchscreen and 32GB- 64GB storage. As well as this it has an elegant tablet mode so is a great 2-in-1 option if you want something that can be used as a laptop or tablet and comes with a reasonable price tag of £549.95.

So, there is this week’s Appy Friday. Personally, I think the Asus Chromebook Flip and Lenovo Yoga Book are my favourites for their versatility as they have a reasonable price tag and are both 2 in 1 laptops making them very useful for travelling. Let us know if you have any of these or plan on buying any!

Friday, 27 April 2018

Is This The Best New Budget Smartphone On The Market?

This week for Appy Friday we’re giving you a great budget alternative smartphone, seeing as not all of us can justify the £1000 Samsung and Apple devices. The new Motorola devices have the potential to be the best budget smartphones on the market. So we’re going to give you a rundown of what makes these devices so great for the price.


The first two phones from Motorola are the Moto G6 and Moto G6 Play. Both of these are due for release in the UK on May 9th 2018. The most expensive of the four new phones from Motorola is the Moto G6 which is £219. There is also a slightly upgraded version of this exclusive to Amazon with more RAM (4GB rather than 3GB) and more internal memory (64GB rather than 32GB) for just £20 more. The G6 has a premium feel with a curved 3D glass design similar to the old Moto X4. The G6 has a 5.7-inch screen with 1080p full HD resolution, there is also an oval shape finger sensor on the phone, to help it keep up to date with the latest more expensive devices. The camera on this phone also keeps up to date with Samsung and Apple as it has dual rear cameras (12MP and 5MP) and an 8MP front camera. The camera also has some great features using AI where you can point your camera at a landmark and it will provide information about it. There’s also another camera mode which allows you to scan text and select only the parts you want to copy.

The Moto G6 Play is fairly similar to the original G6 however it’s a little be cheaper at £169.99. This device has the same size screen as 18:9 with a 5.7-inch HD+ screen so it’s identical to the more expensive version. The camera on this device is a single 13MP rear and an 8MP front camera. So overall there isn’t much difference between the two Moto G6 variations.

The next two budget phones from Motorola are the E5’s, there is the E5 Plus and the E5 Play (though not in the UK). The Moto E5 will cost £119 in the UK, while the Moto E5 Plus is an additional £30 at £149. Both of these phones are due for release during June in the UK.The E5 Plus has an 18:9 6-inch HD+ screen along with a 12MP rear camera and an 8MP front camera like the other two Motorola smartphones. The E5 Plus also has the largest battery out of all the new Motorola devices.

So, there’s this weeks Appy Friday. I think these devices are a great alternative to the £1000+ smartphones, the Moto G6, in particular, is a great device with a good camera and features which make it the best budget phone available at the moment. Let us know if you’re going to try one of these devices!

Friday, 20 April 2018

Top 5 Apps You Should Have!

This week for Appy Friday, we’re letting you know all the apps you should have on your phone. There really is something on here for everyone to try from genius alarm clock apps to the best ways to take notes efficiently. So why not give one a go?



Platform: iOS and Android
Cost: FREE
The Evernote app helps you to stay organised effortlessly with notebooks, checklists and to-do lists. You can also take notes in various different forms. For example; text, sketches, photo’s, audio, video, PDF’s and web clippings to make the best notes for you. The app allows you to scan and digitise your paper documents, handwritten notes and drawings.



Platform: iOS
Cost: FREE
Overcast is a podcast app which allows you to find new podcasts and see recommendations via Twitter, from there you can then create playlists of your favourite podcasts to listen to. The app will also send you notifications when a new episode of your favourite podcast is released. There is also a feature where you can download the podcasts so you can listen to or watch them on the go.



Platform: iOS
Cost: £2.99
This is a great app to take and edit incredible photos. The app has features which let you remove red-eye issues, change shooting modes, adjust clarity, add effects, and digitally zoom so there’s something on there to help everyone.



Platform: iOS
Cost: FREE
This app is quite possibly one of the best alarm clock apps on the market, as it doesn’t just sound out your alarm at a certain time, but it gets to know you and your sleeping patterns so that it can analyse when is the best time for you to be woken up. It aims to wake up in your lightest sleep phase within a 30-minute window that you set for you to be woken up in, it is said to therefore, make it much easier to wake up feeling relaxed and rested.



Platform: iOS and Android
Cost: FREE
Grammarly is a great thing to have ticking over in the background of your keyboard on your phones to help get rid of any of those embarrassing spelling errors in messages and posts. This app looks for grammatical errors, contextual errors, and has advanced punctuation correction built in.



So, there are this weeks top 5 apps you need to try this year. My personal favourite is the Grammarly keyboard as it helps to avoid any awkward spelling or grammar errors at all times. Let us know if you have any of these apps already or if you’re going to try any of these!



Friday, 13 April 2018

New Apple Mac Pro In 2019?

For Appy Friday this week, we’re giving you all we know on the Apple Mac Pro. With it being rumoured to be released in 2019, there are lots of rumours going around about what this new desktop will contain and look like as it’s highly anticipated. So, here’s all we know about the price, spec, look and release dates.


It’s been many years since the release of the last Mac Pro, Apple hinted about a Mac Pro upgrade last year. Then later on in December 2017, they had a press release for the new iMac Pro sale so from then on it was clear that the new Mac was in active development.

The new Apple dedicated desktop is set for release in early 2019 and it’s more than likely that is will cost roughly the same as the current models if not slightly more.

The 2013 Mac Pro computer was first seen at the 2013 Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in June 2013 and was then released for sale in December 2013. That being the case it is still possible for the new desktop to be teased at the WWDC 2018, however, it’s unlikely that the computer will make it into the public's hands before early 2019. If it doesn’t make an appearance there, however, it could be seen at the latest in October/ November time after the September iPhone launch.

Apple said that the new Mac Pro would be designed for the pro customers as it will be designed to the highest level of performance and design. The system also will have a new high-end display. There were some rumours in September that it would have an 8K resolution screen with a 32-inch display.

Something that you don’t have to wait for though is the release of the Product (RED) iPhone 8 and 8 Plus which is released on 13th April. Apple released the Product (RED) iPhone 7 at a similar time last year with some of the proceeds going to fighting HIV and AIDS in Africa.

So, there’s all we know about the 2019 release of the new Mac Pro. Also the new Product (RED) iPhone 8 and 8 Plus release today, let us know if you’ll be buying the red iPhone or if you’re waiting to buy the Mac Pro in 2019.

Friday, 6 April 2018

Top 5 Phones To Try In 2018!

For Appy Friday this week, we’re giving you a rundown on the top 5 smartphones that you should potentially try this year. From some of the most expensive phones on the market, to more affordable devices to suit your needs over the year.


Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
The Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus is said to be one of the best Android phones available in 2018. The phone has a great 12MP rear camera and an 8MP front camera so it’s great for those who love taking photos on their travels. As well as this the S9 Plus has a great screen size and resolution for watching high-quality videos and images. So this is a great phone to try this year.

iPhone X
One of the big releases of last year was the iPhone X, with its great camera and screen. It’s just a great gadget to have if you don’t mind spending a bit extra on a phone that looks super slick. Although the phone is very expensive, it’s a great device to have with you at all times.

Google Pixel 2 XL
This phone is an excellent alternative to an iPhone or Samsung Galaxy as it has a great 6-inch screen with high resolution so you can carry out all the daily tasks you need to on this device with ease. Also, this phone is much cheaper than the iPhone and Samsung phone, however, it still doesn't have a headphone port which seems to be getting phased out across lots of phones, unfortunately.

Huawei Mate 10 Pro
This device is great for anyone who needs their phone to last a long time between charges, as this phone has one of the best batteries on the market. As well as this, the phone has a 20MP rear camera and 12MP front-facing camera. The Huawei Mate is also quite affordable in comparison to some of the others on this list but still has a list of great features.

LG V30
The LG phone has a great high-quality camera however it does struggle with low light photography so that’s something to bare in mind. As well as this, the device has excellent battery life and amazing audio performance along with its affordable price point.

So, there are our top 5 smartphones on the market. The one I'm personally thinking of trying this year is the iPhone X or the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus as both these devices seem to have the best specifications for my needs. Let us know what phone you’ll be trying this year or if you have any of these phones already.

Friday, 30 March 2018

Best Travel Accessories For 2018!

For Appy Friday this week, we’re giving you a list of the best travel accessories for your tech when you’re travelling this year. There’s a range of things on this list to get you through your travels, from portable chargers to socket adapters for all countries.



Cable Organiser Bag
There’s nothing worse than opening your bag and all your wires are in one big knot, so this bag helps to avoid that. There are lots of different varieties of this bag available on Amazon that range in price massively, however, the Defway Travel Cable Organiser is great on price and look as it is only £13.99 and the bag comes in 2 different sizes depending on how much tech you carry with you.

Noise Cancelling Headphones
Noise cancelling headphones are essential when travelling. Whether it's via plane, train or bus it’s ideal to have noise cancelling headphones so that you can block out whatever is going on around you. These headphones can set you back a few hundred pounds. If you don’t use them regularly, then this can seem like an unnecessary purchase. Regardless of this, Sony have a pair of more affordable noise cancelling headphones, the Sony MDR-ZX770BN that cost £89.99. So if you’re travelling a lot this year, it might be a good idea to pick some of these up.

Tripod For Smartphone
A Tripod for your phone is ideal for taking on holiday with you when you’re wanting to photograph your surroundings and get steady images. Having a tripod also allows you to take great time lapses and panoramas of everywhere you are. There are a lot of tripods available for a range of prices, this Joby GripTight GorrilaPod Stand is great as its affordable and has bendy arms so that you can attach it to anything you want.

Portable Power Bank
When travelling you spend a lot of time on your phone, tablet or laptop and there’s nothing worse than that battery running out and having nothing to do for hours on end. So, it’s important that you’ve got a good power bank with you to keep all your devices charged up. A great one is the Zendure A2 Power Bank that costs £29.99 and gives you plenty of charge to keep your devices topped up.

4-in-1 Travel Adapter
No matter what country you’re travelling to, it’s likely that you’ll be needing an adapter for your plugs. So it’s handy to have one that can suit 4 different types of sockets. There is this Flight 001 4 in 1 Worldwide Travel Plug Adapter for £22.00 which is great if you travel regularly to different countries.

So, there are our best travel accessories to try in 2018. The one thing I can’t travel without is a portable charger, and the Zendure A2 is a great one. Let us know what your travel essentials are and if you use any of the things on this list!

Friday, 23 March 2018

Top 5 Finance Apps!

For Appy Friday this week, we’re helping you get on top of your finances, by giving you a list of the top money managing apps available at the moment. There’s something on here for everyone. From apps that help you save your change, to apps to help you pay off debt.


Mint
This is a free money managing app that you can use to track all your bank accounts and balances. You can also keep on top of your credit score so you always know where you stand. Within the app, you can set budgets for yourself that are easy to follow, making it easier to stick to them to help you save and spend.


You Need A Budget
This app allows you to view all your accounts in real-time and helps you with paying off debt. It does this by letting you know how much you need to cut back on each month, and what you need to put aside in order to pay off the debt. The app also produces a report on your spending habits and where the majority of your money goes.


Wally
The Wally app gives you a clear view of your accounts while allowing you to gain a deeper understanding of your spending habits. It displays all this information in simple, easy to read charts to help you adapt the way you spend your money. On this app, you can also have groups so you can share financial accounts, payments and plans with people. For example, if you need to share payment plans with people you live with for household bills.


Acorns
This app is great for investing all your spare change, when you buy a product that costs you £2.60 then the app rounds the price up to £3.00 and puts the 40p in your savings. Over time you’d be surprised how much you could save. This app acts like another bank account that will store that spare change that you can withdraw at any time.


Yolt
Yolt is a great app to track your spending and recent transactions on all your accounts in one place. The app also predicts your spending for the following months, once it has been installed for a few months and has learned your spending habits. This app also gives you the ability to set yourself budgets for the month, and lets you know how much money you have left to spend that month.


So, there are our top 5 finance apps to help you stay on top of all your accounts. My personal favourite app is Yolt. I use the app regularly to check all my balances in the same place and to help me set budgets for the month. Let us know if you use any of these apps or are going to download them!

Friday, 16 March 2018

New Apple Headphones Coming Soon?

This week for Appy Friday, we are giving you a rundown of the new rumours on suspected upcoming products from Apple. The predicted over-the-ear headphones and AirPods 2 are the two main rumours for this year’s releases from Apple in terms of accessories, so we’ll be giving you all you need to know on these and when to expect them.


There are reports that Apple has been working on an over-the-ear headphone which is set to be released at the end of 2018, just in time for Christmas. However, it’s predicted these headphones won’t come cheap. With AirPods already costing £159 these headphones will likely be more than that.

The rumoured headphones are said to be wireless and noise cancelling much like various Beats models. The design of these headphones is unknown as of yet, however, there are lots of discussions on whether they will take the same design as the Beats headphones, or will they have a complete redesign to match the newer Apple releases.

Another rumoured Apple product is the AirPods 2, these AirPods have a suspected release date of either Spring 2018 or at WWDC in June 2018.

The AirPods 2 are rumoured to have a ‘Hey Siri’ feature in which you can activate Siri through them by simply saying that phrase. Another predicted feature of the new earphones is that they with be noise cancelling like the rumoured over-the-ear headphones. As well as these features they are assumed to work with the upcoming release of Apple’s own wireless charging pad. Also, there is a prediction for the third generation of AirPods to be water resistant in the future.

The AirPods 2 are likely to cost a similar amount the original AirPods but they could be slightly more pricey with the additional new features added.

So, that’s this week’s Appy Friday. Personally, I am most excited about the over-the-ears headphones and hope they go with a new design rather than the Beats designs. Let us know what you think to these releases and what you’re most looking forward to.

Friday, 9 March 2018

Top 5 Gadgets To Try In 2018!

This week for Appy Friday, we are going to give you the top 5 gadgets you should try this year. There are a range of different pieces of tech on this list from phones to TV’s. So if you’re looking to invest in a new bit of tech this year then why not try one of these.


The S9 and S9+ aren’t too different from the S8 devices, the only key difference being the improvement in the camera, so if you’re interested in a phone with a great camera then this is the device for you. However, if an excellent camera doesn’t really bother you then maybe just try the Samsung S8 or S8+ for the other great features of this Samsung phone.

This TV from Philips is a great gadget for 2018 with its unique Ambilight technology that makes the screen feel much wider. As well as this the edges of the TV are lined with small LED’s that emit vivid colours which are said to make an extension of what's happening on screen by subtly illuminating the surrounding area of the TV giving a relaxing glow.

If you’re looking for a great all-around portable speaker, then maybe give this one a try. These aren’t the cheapest speakers on the market as they start at £99 and go up from there. However, this is a great speaker if you’re in the market for a high-quality portable speaker. Also, the speaker has heavy bass levels and is completely waterproof so you can literally take it anywhere.

Nuraphones are very clever headphones, they adjust to your hearing by learning and adapting to your hearing, making them great for your hearing health. The headphones learn about your hearing by measuring your hearing in 60 seconds, by monitoring otoacoustic emissions and uses this information to mould the sound to your match your hearing. It all sounds very scientific!

The Fitbit Ionic is the strongest smartwatch from Fitbit and anyone who loves health and fitness is guaranteed to love this new smartwatch. The new Fitbit has the ability to track any workout with ease, and all these abilities of the smartwatch are encased in a stylish but comfortable design.

So, that's this week’s Appy Friday. Hopefully, we have given you some inspiration for some new bits of tech you may want to get your hands on this year. Let us know if you have already bought any of these or you’re planning on buying any of them!

Friday, 2 March 2018

Smartphone News From This Week's MWC (Mobile World Congress)

For this week's Appy Friday, we are breaking down all the news from Mobile World Congress (MWC) and just letting you know the most important new releases



Samsung
Samsung announced the new S9 and S9+ although we all had a pretty good idea that this was going to be the case. The new S9 and S9+ biggest change from the S8 is that it now has a variable aperture which allows the camera to take in much more light when it’s dark. This means you can now take great pictures even when it’s dark. Another way that the camera allows you to take high-quality photos in the dark, is that it now takes 12 images per shot to combine them all together to reduce noise in images. Samsung predicts that the new camera will cut out background fuzz by 30%. Other than the updated camera not much else has changed, the screen is the same size as the S8’s as well as the battery life. A couple of other changes that don’t revolve around the camera are that the speaker is said to be 40% louder than on previous models, and the fingerprint sensor has been moved to just beneath the camera bump. Another announcement from Samsung is the Bixby smart-speaker, which is set to compete with the Apple HomePod and will be released in the second half of 2018.

Nokia
Nokia is recreating the Nokia 8110 which was originally released in 1996. However, this new model has a curvy design with a sliding bottom section. As well as announcing this reboot, Nokia also announced the new Nokia 8 Sirocco. This is completely at the other end of the spectrum to the 8110. This high-end phone has face unlocking, and a 2K 5.5 inch P-OLED screen with a 6GB of RAM. Another Nokia release from the MWC is the new Nokia 7 Plus. This device has a 6-inch HD screen and has a rear camera with dual sensors to improve photography in low lighting and zoomed images. Nokia also announced an updated Nokia 6 with a new battery that can go from 0%-50% charge in just 30 minutes. Finally, the last thing Nokia announced was the Nokia 1. This is on the lower end of the all the new releases from them as it is expected to cost around £79 in the UK. It has a smallish 4.5 inch 720p screen with a plastic back.

Huawei
At this MWC Huawei did not announce a new smartphones but did announce the MateBook X Pro and a few new tablets. Their new laptop MateBook X Pro is a 14-inch notebook which has a 3k screen, the camera in the notebook is hidden away in the top of the keyboard which can be shown by the press of a key. The MateBook X Pro also has an Intel Core i7 processor with up to 16GB of RAM. When it comes to the three tablets Huawei have announced, two of which are versions of the MediaPad M5, which has both an 8.4-inch version and a 10.8-inch version. The third tablet being the MediaPad M5 Pro which only comes in the 10.8-inch version. All these new devices have eight core processors which run Android 8, the larger options of these devices have four built-in speakers for the surround sound feel. Also to go with the M5 Pro, they announced the M-Pen with 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity.

Lenovo
The Lenovo Chromebooks have been made to be more durable and able to cope with those accidental drops and spills. One of the Lenovo Chromebooks lets you take notes using a regular pencil on the screen, and the other Chromebook has a lag-free stylus. The most expensive of the Chromebooks is only around £253 and is, therefore, a cheap alternative to a traditional laptop.

Sony
Sony announced the updated versions of the previous Xperia XZ1 and Xperia XZ1 compact. Imaginatively called the Xperia XZ2 and XZ2 Compact. Both of these updates come with a whole new design. The blocky shape has been replaced with curved edges, and the XZ2 has a new all-glass back on top of a metallic colour. The XZ2 compact has a matte finish in a variety of colours. The new devices have the same 19-megapixel rear camera, however, the XZ2 has a 5.7-inch HD screen and the compact has a 5-inch screen.

So, there are our more important announcements from MWC 2018. There are so many exciting releases on their way this year to get ready for. Let us know what your favourite product from MWC was and which things you’ll be buying!

Friday, 23 February 2018

How To Amp Up Your Phone Photography!

This week for Appy Friday we are teaching you how to amp up your photography when using your phone. Whether you’re trying to get the perfect Instagram image, or just making memories there’s something in here for everyone. From clip-on lenses to give you higher quality images, to simple photo editing apps to help assist you in enhancing your images.



Clip-on lenses
The first way to improve your phone photography is by using clip-on lenses to transform the look and quality of your images. These clip-on lenses range in price massively for £5-£85 so it all depends on how much you are willing to spend on these accessories, for example, one of the cheaper clip-on lenses is the Magniband macro lens for the majority of smartphones which can be bought for just £5.62. A more expensive alternative is the Olloclip 4-in-1 lens for iPhones 4-6s plus. However, this lens is £69.95 but the price reflects the quality of the product and this lens has 4 different capabilities.

Lighting
The lighting is vital for making your photography good when using a phone to capture images. The best lighting for photography on a phone is soft natural lighting. If the image you wish to take is in the dark, then rather than using your phones flash to take the image, use a torch. Either from another phone or a physical torch so that the focal point of the image is photographed in a much nicer way and isn’t too harsh or sharp.

Use the rule of thirds
When creating the set up for your images, try and use the rule of thirds so that you have a better composition for your images. When the rule of thirds isn’t possible try and use symmetry to create the best looking images when using your phone. More information about the rule of thirds can be seen here.

Don’t zoom. Crop afterwards
When photographing something far away, don’t use your zoom as it makes the image quality much poorer. So, when taking an image of a landmark, for example, it may be slightly far away so just take the image from where you are with a good composition. Then, later on, put the image in an editing suite to crop the image to ensure it’s still of the highest quality.

Photo editing apps
There are many photo editing apps available in the app store. One of my personal favourites for filters is VSCO. Some other great photo editing apps are Google Snapseed, Adobe Photoshop Lightspeed and Adobe Photoshop fix. So once you’ve got your perfect image, you can give it some touch ups to enhance your photos.

So, there are our top tips to help you take incredible images without having to carry around a big bulky camera and associated kit. Personally, I love using a clip-on lens and VSCO to take and edit all my photos, so that they are the best they possibly can be. Let us know if you either try some of these tricks or have some more of your own.



Friday, 16 February 2018

Top 5 Motivational Apps!

This week we’re giving you our top 5 motivational apps to help get you through this year and be as successful as possible. There are a range of different motivational apps that will help you in all aspects of life to keep you motivated in your day to day tasks, and to keep you motivated to stay on top of your fitness regime.



Way Of Life
Platform: iOS and Android
Cost: FREE
The Way Of Life app is very helpful for either getting rid of a bad habit or making a good new habit. Way of Life uses colour coded systems to track your daily routines. The app also gives you reminders to ensure that you break the bad habits and continue with the good habits. Also within the app, there is a diary feature so that you can write down what triggered the bad habit.

Platform: iOS and Android
Cost: FREE
The iWish app helps you to achieve life goals, there are 1200 inspiring ideas built into the app if you don’t have many goals of your own, but want something to aim for. Once you have set out what your goals are, you can keep track of how you’re doing with those goals.  You can also add in all the accomplishments you’ve made towards your long-term goal. The app also features areas to add in to do lists, priorities, and reminders to help you stay on track.

Platform: iOS and Android
Cost: FREE
This app is great for motivating yourself to go out and get walking with the added element of competition to help motivate you. The app allows you to compete with your friends and be the one with the highest amount of steps, which will help to motivate you if you’re a highly competitive person.

Platform: iOS and Android
Cost: £1.46
The Wonderful Day app is great for helping you add your goals and activities that you want to work on over the following weeks and months. You can also choose what days you want to work on your activity. For example, you can add an activity like ‘go for a run’ every day as a daily reminder or ‘volunteer work’ as a reminder once a week. Then at 8am every morning the app will remind you of the tasks you have to do that day.

Platform: iOS and Android
Cost: FREE
The Coach.me app is great personal coaching app. Within the app, there are 3 main features. The first is that you coach yourself to track your progress and get rewards for it. The second is when you take part in community coaching; Where the Coach.me community will help to answer your questions and you can take part in that community to help better yourself. The third and final feature is that you can hire a private coach to personally help you, however those prices start at £14.99.

So, there we have our top 5 motivational apps to help you throughout the year and stay on top of your goals and aspirations. My personal favourite one of these is the Way Of Life app, this app is so great at helping you crack all those bad habits and stay on top of new habits. Let us know what apps you use to help keep you motivated and on top of your goals.

Friday, 9 February 2018

Apple HomePod - All You Need To Know!

Apple has finally entered the smart speaker industry and is releasing it’s very own ‘HomePod’. So, this week we’re giving you a rundown on everything you need to know about Apples smart speaker with its release date being today. This rundown will give you all the information you need from the prices to what the specs of the device are.


Release Date
The Apple HomePod was available for pre-order from Friday 26th of January and is actually released on the Friday 9th February (yes, today!). The HomePod will be available first in the US, UK and Australia with France and Germany getting it in spring.


Price
The HomePod will be on sale for £319 in the UK and $349 in the US. You will be able to buy the HomePod from Apple’s online store as well as their high street stores. Also, the new Apple HomePod can be purchased from places such as John Lewis and other Apple stockists.

With the new Apple HomePod being so expensive in comparison to other smart speakers on the market today, for example, the one smart speaker seen as most similar to this one is the Amazon Echo which is priced at £149.99 with the smaller Echo Dot selling for £49.99.

P.S. If you're interested, read our MD, Richard Eaton's initial review of the Amazon Echo on his personal blog here https://medium.com/@richardjeaton/amazon-echo-an-initial-review-e02a1dd06cdd


What To Expect From The Apple HomePod?

The Apple HomePod is mainly a music speaker, with high-quality audio that is comparable to the Sonos wireless speakers. However, since this comparison was made between the HomePod and Sonos wireless speakers, Sonos have announced they are in the process of creating their own smart speaker. The HomePod has the ability to still hear your voice over the top of loud music that is playing from the speaker, but not only does it respond to sound but also touch. Various tap sequences instruct the HomePod to do various different things like pause, play, skip or activate Siri. The HomePod not only has high-quality audio but also answers all your questions with Siri and sends messages and makes calls.

The HomePod has an A8 chip which allows spacial awareness capabilities so that the HomePod is able to analyse the room which gives it the ability to provide the best audio for its surroundings. Apple has said that the HomePod brings together Apple Music and Siri in order to learn your music taste. The HomePod has a very simplistic minimalistic design as it is covered in a seamless mesh fabric, it comes in two different colours white and space grey and is only 18 centimetres tall.

So, there’s everything you need to know. Personally, I think the HomePod is a good investment if you enjoy playing high-quality music throughout your house. However, if you’re just looking for a smart speaker which you can ask questions and get the answers quickly then I think there are better, cheaper alternatives for that use. Let us know what you think about this new release from Apple and whether or not you’ll be buying one.