Tuesday, 11 September 2018

New Blog Location!

We have a new website where we will be posting all our Appy Friday blogs from now on, this website is, https://www.appware.co.uk/blog/

Friday, 17 August 2018

The App Stores 10th Birthday!

Did you know that the Apple App Store is now 10 years old? For this weeks Appy Friday, we thought we’d give you some of its highlights from the past decade to celebrate its birthday!

The App Store was introduced on July 10th 2008, and it launched with just 500 apps. The Apps Store’s release was revolutionary for Apple and helped to join together the process of finding an app you want, to buying it and then downloading it. Ten years on from its launch, it's hard to imagine phones without Apps and an App Store. Without it, we’d still all be using our smartphones for just phone calls, and maybe emails and internet browsing. So, here’s our list of some memorable milestones that the App Store has achieved in its first decade.

On December 11th 2008 Apple introduced the charts in the App Store. This meant people could find the top apps of that week or month.

On June 17, 2009, Apple released the iPhone OS 3.0 and along with this came the App Stores next feature which was in-app purchases. To start with Apple limited in-app purchases just to paid apps and games only. Initially they didn’t want consumers to download an app, and then find out they had to pay for upgrades, however, later on, this changed. And as we’ve seen, there are lots of free Apps out there, that now include upgrades paid for by in-app purchases.

In 2010 with the release of the first iPad the App Store got another update, in that the App Store now featured iPad specific apps and universal apps. This included the first iBooks and Netflix apps.

After the success of the iPhone and iPad App Store. On January 6th 2011 the Mac App Store was launched and in the first day alone there were around one million app downloads.

In June 2015 Apple released iOS 7 and with this came a whole new look for the App Store along with automatic app updates.

In October 2015 the App Store also came to watches and TV’s with the release of the Apple Watch and Apple TV.

Now, in 2018 the original iOS App Store has over 2.2 million apps and over 130 billion downloads.

So, that was this weeks Appy Friday. The App Store has made such huge differences in the way we use our mobile phone and revolutionised smartphones for the better. So, happy 10th birthday App Store!

Friday, 10 August 2018

Top 5 Budget Headphones!

For this weeks Appy Friday we’re giving you a list of our top 5 best headphones on a budget. Whether you want some headphones for going to the gym or need some for travelling with. There is a range of different types of headphones in here, depending on what you need them for.

Affordable earbuds:
RHA S500
Price: £29.95
These affordable earbuds have great quality all-around balanced audio with great bass. The earbuds themselves include a remote and microphone for voice control through Google Assistant and Siri. Also included in this price is 3 years warranty and 7 extra noise isolating silicone ear tips and clothing clips for when you’re at the gym or doing sports. Overall these are a great set of earphones for the price.

Affordable wireless earbuds:
Anker Bluetooth Headphones
Price: £22.99
The Anker Bluetooth Headphones are a great option for small, wireless earphones and they last up to 7 hours from a single charge. These earphones have a great lightweight design but also have customisable EarTips and InEar-Hooks making them a more comfortable fit for you. These earphones are also water-resistant, having both a IPX5 water-resistant shell and internal nano-coating so there is a double layer of protection. For this price, you get 4 different size EarTips, 3 different types of InEar-Hooks, a FitClip, Shirt Clip, Micro USB Cable, Travel Pouch and 18-month warranty. So, you definitely get a lot for your money with these earphones.

Affordable noise cancelling headphones:
CB3 HUSH Noise Cancelling Headphones
Price: £69.99
Noise cancelling headphones can come with quite a hefty price tag however these CB3 HUSH headphones have a pretty reasonable price tag compared to other similar headphones. Another great thing about these headphones is that they are wireless as well as noise cancelling so there are no wires to get in the way. However, also included in the price is an aux-cable so it’s up to your personal preference. There is also a little built-in microphone on these headphones. Overall these headphones are great quality for the price as they include the headphones, a carrying pouch, a micro USB, audio cable and an in-flight adapter for aeroplanes too.

Affordable on-ear headphones:
Skullcandy Grind Headphones
Price: £21.99
These are the most affordable headphones on this list and the most bass heavy on here. These headphones do have a built-in microphone, but unfortunately no sound controls. That’s a shame, but for the price, this may be as expected. The Skullcandy headphones are very light but strong so a good option for travelling.

Affordable on-ear wireless headphones:
Creative Sound Blaster JAM
Price: £38.90
These Creative Sound Blaster JAM are very lightweight with great sound quality. However, they seem a little bit fragile and apparently don’t have very good noise cancelling properties as they do let noise in from your surroundings. However, these may be great in an office environment where there may not be too much background noise.

So, there's this weeks Appy Friday. Personally, I think the best on this list is the Anker Bluetooth Headphones as I think that for the price these are the best quality and the easiest for travelling with. Let us know if you have any of these headphones!

Friday, 3 August 2018

Rumours of the new 2018 iPhone and other Apple Releases!

For this weeks Appy Friday, we are giving you all the rumours surrounding Apple’s upcoming releases this year, usually announced at their September event. The most anticipated being the new iPhones, however, there are also a few other exciting rumours flying around at the moment that we will go into.

This year, Apple is rumoured to be releasing another 3 phones. The first being the second- generation of the iPhone X, it’s said to have the same 5.8- inch OLED screen. The second phone rumoured to be released is the iPhone X Plus with a larger 6.5- inch OLED screen. The third phone is slightly different for Apple, they are rumoured to be releasing a more affordable phone. This is said to have a Full Active (which allow much smaller, tiny bezels) 6.1 inch LCD screen which is improved technology over the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus’ display.

All three of the new iPhones will have an edge-to-edge display and they will all have a TrueDepth Camera system with Face ID, meaning this will probably mark the end of the traditional look of Apple’s flagship phones with the Touch ID. The new devices will be likely to have A12 processors.

The two main OLED phones with be fully kitted out with all the usual cool features, it’s rumoured that the 6.1- inch phone will have fewer features in order to keep the cost low. This device will have an aluminium frame instead of the usual stainless steel frame, it also may not have wireless charging and may only have a single lens rear camera.

The 5.8-inch and 6.5-inch OLED phones are assumed to have the same dual-lens rear cameras and may have 4GB RAM. It’s predicted that at least one of the new releases will have a dual-SIM functionality. Another thing that could be slightly different about the new iPhone releases is that the colours will be of a much wider variety. Potentially offering the usual silver, space grey and gold but for the 6.1-inch device could come in grey, white, blue, red and orange.

Some other devices that have been rumoured is a new Apple Watch with a larger screen. The new redesigned screen is wider, and the bezels on the edges aren’t as thick as the previous model. Also, this new release is said to have a larger battery and therefore a longer battery life. Another couple of things rumoured to be released, is a budget laptop, an upgraded Mac Mini and new iPads. However, there isn’t much information on these potential releases yet.

So, there was this weeks Appy Friday. Personally, I am most excited to see what the more affordable iPhone will look and perform like, as this could be quite different for Apple. Let us know what you’re most looking forward to and if you’ll be buying any of these potential releases? If the rumours are true of course ;)

Friday, 27 July 2018

Top 5 Apps For Summer 2018!

For this weeks Appy Friday, we’re giving you our top 5 apps for the summer, from finding things to do this summer, to finding out when is best for your skin type to be in the sun without you burning. There are many apps on this list to help you have the best summer and make the most of the weather!

Platform: iOS and Android
Cost: FREE
The Eventbrite app helps you to discover events near you. The app can give you personalised recommendations for events that you may enjoy. You can also see what events your friends are going to. Once you have booked your events you can access all your information for the event via the app. Another thing that is great about this app is that you don’t need any paper tickets as your tickets come through via the app so there’s no more losing or forgetting your tickets.

Platform: iOS and Android
Cost: FREE
The GetYourGuide app is great for if your going somewhere new and aren’t sure what to do or see, or even in the place you live there may be things that you have never done/ never thought of doing. That’s what makes this app so helpful is that for on those days where you feel stuck for things to do and have just run out of ideas then this app comes in so handy, especially with the summer holidays just starting!

Platform: iOS and Android
Cost: FREE
This app is another great one for finding concerts and gigs in your area. You can even follow the bands and artists you are interested in, and then the app will send you a notification if the band or artists announce any shows near you.

Platform: iOS
Cost: £0.99
The Wolfram app is very clever and is a great app to have in these high temperatures. The app learns your skin type and then tells you when you should stay out of the sun. And when you will be most likely to get burnt depending on your skin type. The app also tells you how long it’s safe for you to stay outside for, and what the UV forecast is for your area. This app also works in many different places so is very useful if you are going on holiday.

Platform: iOS and Android
Cost: FREE
The TripIt app helps you to keep all your plans in one place. Once you book something you simply forward on it on to the app and it puts together an easy to follow itinerary. This makes it a lot easier to see everything you have going on this summer. It can also store the confirmation emails that you may need to use to get into some of your plans so that you don’t have to rummage through your email inbox for the emails for each thing.

So, that’s this weeks Appy Friday. My personal favourite apps are the Eventbrite app and TripIt as they are both just so useful. The Eventbrite app is so great for finding things to do, and the TripIt app is also so helpful for keeping all your information for trips in one place. Let us know if you use any of these apps and which ones are your favourite!

Friday, 20 July 2018

How To Record the Screen on Your iPhone, Android phone, PC, or Mac!

For this weeks Appy Friday, we’re giving you a quick how-to guide on screen recording for Apple devices, Android devices, on Windows PC’s, and Mac’s too. Screen recording is so helpful when you’re trying to explain something to someone, and you don’t want to write it out in a lot of wordy text.

Recording the Screen on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod)

  1. First, go to Settings then to the Control Center and click Customise Controls. Scroll down the page to find the Screen Recording option and tap the little green plus next to it.
  2. Then open the Control Center.
  3. In order to record sound with the screen recording, press with pressure on the white filled in circle and then tap Microphone Audio On.
  4. Then tap the circle symbol again and wait for the 3-second countdown.
  5. Finally, to stop the recording open the Control Center again and tap the red circle, or tap the red bar at the top of the screen and then tap stop.

Recording the screen on your Android device
  1. Firstly, download the AZ Recorder app and tap on the icon once downloaded.
  2. Once the app has opened you should then see some icons at the bottom of your screen. When you are ready to record in the bottom left corner there is a shutter icon, tap that. The overlay will disappear when you start recording, then when you are finished and want to stop recording, drag down the overlay and then you can either stop or pause your recording.
  3. Also in this app, there are some editing tools. There is also a photo icon on the overlay, this option will let you cut and edit the video as well as crop the screen.

Recording the screen on your Windows PC
  1. To screen record on the desktop open up the ‘Use Loom’ website.
  2. Continue by either selecting to use your Google account to log in or your Slack account to log in. Then install the extension.
  3. Once you have done this, there will be a small icon in the top right-hand corner on the toolbar on your browser. Then a pop-up box will appear in which there are a few options, the first being to record both the screen and through your camera, then there is just screen or just the camera. Once you have selected which you want to record press the start recording button.
  4. Then to stop recording in the bottom left-hand corner there are some icons, the green tick will allow you to stop recording.
Recording the screen on your Apple Mac
  1. To screen record on a Mac, open Quicktime. You can do this by holding command and space in order to bring up Spotlight search then begin typing QuickTime.
  2. Next, right click on the QuickTime icon, and then choose New Screen Recording from the menu. Once you have pressed this a screen recording box will open on your screen.
  3. Next, to the record button on the pop-up screen recording box there is a small white down arrow, press this to see more options like choosing if you want to record the audio also and other options like this.
  4. When you are ready to record you can select whether you want to record part of your screen or all of it. If you only want to record part of the screen, click the record button and then a message will pop up telling you to drag the marque across the part you want to record, once you have done this click the record button again. If you wish to record the whole screen then just click the record button and then click anywhere on the screen to start recording.
  5. To stop the recording right click on the QuickTime icon again and choose stop recording from the menu.
So, that was this weeks Appy Friday. I find screen recording so helpful when you’re trying to explain something technical, as it takes away so many of the complications of explaining how to do something. Let us know if you have any other apps that you use for screen recording that you find useful.

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!

Friday, 25 May 2018

Nintendo Labo!

For this week’s Appy Friday we are giving you a rundown on the Nintendo Labo. It’s a range of DIY toys to make the accessories for the best selling Nintendo Switch. Whether you’re a lover of music and want to make the cardboard piano or want to build your own robot, the Nintendo Labo range allows you to create anything.

The Nintendo Switch was a huge success for Nintendo when it was released in March 2017 and sold over 10 million units within the first 10 months of it being available which made it the fastest-selling console of US history.

Now Nintendo has produced the Labo which was announced in early 2018. Labo is a line of DIY toys that can be connected to the Switch or Joy-Con controller which opens up a new range of games on the Switch. The Labo acts like the extra accessories you could buy for the Nintendo Wii. Accessories like a steering wheel for Mario Kart, but with Labo, you make your own accessories out of the cardboard pieces.

When you buy one of the accessories from Labo it comes in a small kit. In the kit there are multiple pieces of pre-cut cardboard, specifically cut to create your own little constructions that Nintendo call Toy-Cons. Also in the kit, is the digital manual to guide you through building the toys on the Switch itself. The hope of the Nintendo Labo is to get people interested in the engineering of devices, design and gaming.

There are many toys available to create; a fishing rod to play the fishing game, you can make a piano, you can even build a robot suit that has a visor and backpack to turn you into a real-life robot! And you can even put together a small car to drive around your house. There are two main Labo kits, the first being the ‘Variety Kit’ which comes with several toys to make and costs £59.99, the second being the robot kit which allows you to build the robot suit and it costs £69.99 which was released April 27th, 2018.

On the Joy-Con controllers, there is an embedded camera and the console has a touchscreen. This means that if you have the piano Toy-Con, it can actually watch the piano keys to see which you are pressing and see how well you are doing. The Nintendo Labo has endless opportunities to make new and innovative creations. This makes the games more exciting and interactive, getting people involved in creating the toys themselves.

So, that’s this weeks Appy Friday. I think the idea of creating your own accessories is so innovative. It makes the idea of the Switch so much more ingenious, as no matter what your age, you can enjoy building the Toy-Cons. It’s very different from anything any of the console manufacturers have done before. Let us know if you would try the Labo or already have some of the kits!

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.


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.


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.


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!