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Thursday, November 24, 2016

5 Tips for Spotting a Bargain on Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Black Friday is famous for the shopping mania either online or offline, while Cyber Monday is a newly-emerging marketing term for the Monday after the Thanksgiving holiday, a term created by marketing companies to persuade people to shop online. On Black Friday, retailers offer a variety of special offers and big discounts, with more deals added online on Cyber Monday.

In order to spot a genuine bargain, here I list five tips for you to follow. Check them out!

 

1. Check the size of the discount

According to experts, before purchase, it is always worth checking if the same product is much cheaper somewhere else. Some specialist sites can tell you if the product has been discounted more heavily before. For example, Camelcamelcamel.com shows the price history of Amazon products - allowing shoppers to see if they have been offered more cheaply in the past.

When consumer group Which? looked back on retailers' offers last year, it found only 90 out of 178 deals were cheapest on Black Friday. Danny Munday, general manager of HotUKDeals, a deal-sharing website, said retailers sometimes increase the price of an item before a sales event to make the discount look deeper. Members in online forums will share their knowledge of sale prices and recommended retail prices, he added.

 

2. Look for price match

With competition fierce, retailers are starting to match the deals being offered by their rivals. John Lewis is one of the main companies that does this, but Currys and Amazon also have in the past, said Gary Caffell, deal editor at MoneySavingExpert.
"When people are price matching each other, look at other factors like warranty and delivery fees," he said. Electrical goods purchased from John Lewis often have longer warranties, compared with the standard one year. That includes five years on televisions, three years on many own-brand electrical goods and two years on other electrical items. Mr Caffell adds what all the experts agreed with: "Don't get sucked in by the hype and buy something you don't need or can't afford."

 

 3. All-store discounts can offer better value

Retailers often have deals "up to" a big headline percentage, but only some stock will be available at that discount.
"The stronger deals are those which are available across the whole store," Mr Caffell said.
For example, Gap is offering a 40% discount on full-price items and the Disney Store has 20% off.
One thing to be aware of with big Black Friday discounts on certain items is that sometimes they are unwanted stock which is of poor quality, Mr Munday said.
It is also worth looking out for extra discount codes on companies' Facebook pages or mailing lists, for example on delivery charges, they said.

 

4. Know your rights

Experts also cautioned that some Black Friday bargains might be non-refundable.
"Online you've got the right to change your mind and take it back, but that's not necessarily the case in-store," Mr Caffell said.
Research by Which? indicates only 29% of shoppers know that they have more protection when returning goods bought online than in-store.
"It's important to do your research so you know your shopping rights before you buy, just in case you change your mind," said Alex Neill, Which? managing director of home and legal.
Jo Causon, chief executive of the Institute of Customer Service, said customers are increasingly thinking about the shopping experience and aftercare, not just price.
"If you're having to take things back and it's difficult, that's hardly a bargain," she said.

 

5. Brace for website crashes

Once you've found a bargain online, though, you do not want to lose it because the website or app crashes.
Sites including John Lewis, Argos and Tesco Direct have struggled with the traffic in previous years.
In some cases the websites have crashed but are still available on mobile or tablet, Mr Caffell said.
By having a page open across multiple devices, you are better protected from crashes, he said. It also gives you an extra place in online queues, which can be very long.
"The busiest time for people logging on is going to be around midnight and then 08:00 or 09:00 in the morning," Mr Caffell said.







Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Top 8 Best Deals for 2016 Black Friday

As is well known to us all, it is Black Friday one day after American Thanksgiving Day. Black Friday is famous for the shopping mania. Black Friday in 2016 falls on November 25th, and may be more important than ever. There are many potential gifts this year, such as 4K TVs, new game consoles, media hubs, mobile devices, wearables and so on. Here comes the question: where do you go to find the best bargains? Here I make a list of top 8 best online deals for you to visit on November 25th, thus you don't have to go to packed stores and shopping malls.

1. Amazon

Amazon likes to go all-out for Black Friday, and that's certainly true this time around.  It's offering some hefty discounts on its rapidly growing hardware lineup, and you should see sales on at least a few big-name products.  It's not disclosing everything at once, but you can check its Black Friday page to see what's new.


2. Best Buy

As is its custom, Best Buy is running big sales not only on Black Friday, but the 24th (starting at 5PM local time) and the 26th.  Some sales are already running before then, and you can usually get them online.

3. Microsoft

Microsoft wouldn't let Black Friday go without some hefty price cuts.  Most of them start on November 24th, and are available both in its stores and on the web.

 4. Newegg

Online retailer Newegg is best known for its PC parts, but its Black Friday deals (starting November 24th) are eclectic, covering everything from complete PCs to phones to TVs.

 5. Samsung

Just like last year, Samsung wants you to skip third-party retailers and buy straight from the source... namely, its website.  And in some cases, its Black Friday sales (which run all week long) will be worth it.

 6. Staples

Staples' Black Friday deals this year focus on PCs, but there are a few treats in other categories.  They're typically available both in stores and online.

 7. Target

Target has loads of Black Friday deals in 2016, some of them huge -- it may be your destination of choice for Apple gear. Retail stores open at 6PM on Thursday the 24th, but you can also shop online.

 8. Walmart

Walmart is practically the poster child for Black Friday, and its 2016 deals are a good example of why -- it's cutting prices across a slew of gadgets, in some cases by hefty margins.  Retail stores will offer the discounts at 6PM on November 24th, but they're available all day if you shop online.

Friday, October 28, 2016

11 Things Android Phone Makers Should Copy from Google Pixel

Google is setting the bar high for its Android partners. Here are a few things Samsung, LG, and others can learn from it.
Google has turned up the heat on its Android partners by controlling every aspect of software and hardware for its Pixel line. While it doesn't have every single feature you'd find in comparably-priced phones from LG, Samsung, HTC, or Sony, it does so many things right that it's currently the phone to beat.
Here are some of the things we like about the Pixel that we hope to see in future premium phones.

1. Swipe up for the App Drawer

Eliminating the app drawer button is a little confusing at first, but then you realize that you can quickly access your apps with just a swipe up from the bottom of the screen.
In exchange for giving up a dedicated button to open the app drawer, you gain an extra app in the bottom dock.
I'll take five apps in the dock over four any day of the week. It's just as fast, just as simple, and visually cleaner and more appealing. But it doesn't give up an ounce of functionality.


2. Don't hide smart storage

Instead of forcing users to use some proprietary maintenance app to manage storage space, leave the Smart Storage feature in the Settings app. This is a feature debuting in Android 7.1, and we'd hate to see custom manufacturer Android builds eliminate it, hide it, or replace it with some proprietary nonsense.
Using Smart Storage, you can clear out old apps you no longer use, photos and videos that are backed up and no longer need to be stored locally, as well as clear out the downloads folder of old items.

3. Built-in device support

Without a retail footprint like Apple has, getting support for a problematic device is a hassle. Even then, visiting an Apple store without a Genius Bar appointment is one of the most frustrating experiences ever.
Google is giving Pixel users access to support representatives 24/7 directly in the Settings app via text or phone calls. Those who call in to support can share the screen of his or her device for advanced troubleshooting; no appointment required.
Samsung already has its Samsung+ app to accomplish this, but more vendors need to make this a reality. And Samsung would do well to simply bake this into the Settings, rather than require yet another installed app.

 4. Say NO to Bloatware!

Google finally convinced Verizon Wireless (of all companies!) to limit the number of Verizon-branded apps on phones sold through its stores. Nothing is preinstalled, and only three Verizon apps are downloaded from the Play Store when you first activate a SIM on the network.
Better yet, you can delete the apps instead of just disabling them.
Samsung—the biggest smartphone maker in the world—seems to not have the same influence over carriers to limit bloatware. Or maybe it doesn't feel pressure, because everyone does it, and the carriers will kick over a few bucks?
It's time to follow Google's lead. It's not just Samsung, all the usual Android players bend to the will of the carriers.
When carriers aren't bloating up phones with their own apps, the manufactuerers are. The saddle us with third-party apps like Amazon, Facebook, Evernote, and Lookout Antivirus. Then there's the manufacturer apps and services that duplicate Google's own, only are never as good. You know, like fitness apps or S-Voice.
If we want this stuff, we'll get it ourselves. Come on, let's put an end to bloatware.

5. A fingerprint reader pulls double duty

Android 7.1 introduces a new Setting called Moves. For Nexus owners, Moves adds a central place to control features like twist the camera to switch to selfie mode, or double-press the power button to open the camera.
Pixel users gain an added option of using the fingerprint reader as a sort of limited trackpad. Right now it's limited to swiping down across the reader to show the notification shade—again making single-handed use easier—but hopefully this is something we see implemented in things like Twitter apps or Chrome for scrolling through timelines and webpages.
Android makers will need to implement Android 7.1 and supporting hardware in order to take advantage of the feature, but since they're all taking our advice and moving finger print readers to the back of the phone, that shouldn't add too much more work.
And while we're at it, they should follow Google's lead by putting all "gesture" controls under a single menu in Settings, with clear explanations. No more spreading this all over the Settings, or in separate apps.

 
 

 6. Simultaneous, timely software updates

When there's an Android operating system update, or even just a security patch, it gets released by Google. Then the phone makers build their version of Android for their phones. Then the carriers get it and they test it out, and then finally push it out to the phones on their network. The whole process takes ages, with users on one carrier getting important updates weeks or month ahead of those on another.
Somehow, Apple gets to release major updates to all its phones on all carriers and it's not the end of the world. In fact, carriers are thrilled to sell you an iPhone.
At least Google found a way to persuade Verizon to commit to releasing software updates at the same time Google releases one for unlocked devices.
Instead of reading news that the AT&T Galaxy S7 Edge is getting Nougat, leaving users on a different carrier asking "What about me?" phone makers need to work with the carriers to streamline the update process.
If an update is released for a device, it needs to be released across all carriers at the same time. And updates need to land much sooner after Google issues an Android update. We're not saying anything new, but perhaps Google has got the ball rolling on this for all Android partners.


7. Unlimited online photo storage

Forget special promotions adding 100GB of space to my Google Drive account (that eventually expire). Forget Dropbox adding bonus storage for uploading photos from a phone, or some third-party photo service no one has ever heard of.
Google Photos is where it's at.
Google's unlimited photo and video storage at full resolution for the Pixel line is something all device makers should implement ASAP. LG, HTC, Samsung, Moto: Make a deal with Google to bring this feature to all devices.
Apple, if you happen to stumble upon this, you need to copy this feature too. Give iPhone users unlimited iCloud Photo Storage.

8. Little animation flourishes

Look, the Google inspired bouncing balls that move when you tap on the home button isn't a ground-breaking feature. It's not even something that serves a real purpose other than adding to the user experience. The same goes for the little sound waves emenating from the handset icon in the status bar when you're on a call.
But you know what? Those small thoughtful additions to the overall experience add a playfulness that makes using the Pixel fun, and it's integrated across various apps and aspects of the device starting the moment you turn on your new phone.
This doesn't apply to Samsung, who has had to trim down on the amount of playfulness in its devices over the past couple of years, but LG and Moto offer up what I think is a rather bland take on Android.
What we want to see from Android makers is mindfulness. Show that you care enough to make the experience better without slowing anything down. Sometimes, polishing the basic stuff is worth more than piling on new features.

9. Fingerprint reader on the back

As phones get bigger, and thus taller, one-handed use becomes more difficult. Holding a phone with one hand while trying to stretch your thumb down to the bottom of the display to register a fingerprint is often a balancing act, with potentially disastrous results.
Placing the fingerprint reader on the back of the phone means you can hold it naturally, and still have access to the reader.
It's quick, painless, and something all Android manufacturers should do.

10. Lack of camera bump

I still don't quite understand the trend of adding a camera bump to the back of a smartphone. It's ugly.
It also limits the ways you can use your device. You can't place it flat on a desk without it wobbling.
Wouldn't you rather have a device sans camera bump that's a tiny bit thicker, but with a bigger battery and no bump? I sure would. You can sculpt the edges to make it feel thinner in the hand if you have to.

11. Real speed, not just high benchmarks

The Pixel performs just fine in benchmarks. It doesn't score higher than every other Android phone, but it's in the ballpark of where we expect high-end phones to be.
And yet, when you actually use it, it certainly feels so much faster than every other Android phone you've ever used.
We can't explain exactly why, except to say that Google has probably spent a lot of time optimizing all parts of the Pixel's software stack. From touch latency to device drivers, cache sizes to polling rates, Google tweaked it all.
Android manufacturers, go and do likewise. Don't be satisfied with whatever libraries and drivers your SoC vendor (like Qualcomm), camera vendor (like Sony), or storage vendor gives you. Work with the OS, the firmware, the drivers, everything. Compile, test, measure, and re-compile.
Ultimately, we don't care that the phone we buy has the longest bar on a benchmark chart. We care that when we ask it to do something, it does it right away. That we can instantly switch apps, scroll smoothly through any page, and that all of our swipes, taps, pinches, and slides are met with instantaneous feedback.
Combined with a simple and elegant interface design, this is what makes the Pixel feel good. It's not the kind of "checkbox feature" you can easily market, but believe me, reviewers will take notice, and word-of-mouth from customers will be worth it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Mysterious Samsung Note 7 Overheating Issue Delays Development of S8

It has been nearly two months since Samsung globally recalled Galaxy Note 7. At first, the battery of Note 7 was thought to blame, and thus Samsung replaced the battery by new one. However, the replacement did not help, still causing fire and explosion accidents. As a result, Samsung officially announced that it would stop selling and manufacturing the new device Note 7. So far, the Korean electronics giant has not known the cause for the phone's overheating and automatic catching fire issue. According to report, the mystery is delaying the development of Samsung's next flagship phone Galaxy S8.
Samsung did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but a spokeswoman for the company told Wall Street Journal that it is still searching for the cause of the phone's overheating.
"We recognized that we did not correctly identify the issue the first time and remain committed to finding the root cause," she said. "Our top priority remains the safety of our customers and retrieving 100 percent of the Galaxy Note 7 devices in the market."
The effort to solve that mystery is now having an affect on the S8, according to the Journal. Development of the S8 has been delayed by two weeks as engineers try to determine the cause of the Note 7's overheating issues, a member of the S8 development team told the Journal.
The Note 7, which hit the market in mid-August, was expected to solidify Samsung's lead in the mobile market after a strong showing with its Galaxy S7. The company had just begun to regain its swagger after stumbling the previous year with lackluster products.
But Samsung was soon dealing a massive public relations mess, issuing a worldwide recall of Galaxy Note 7 devices after a battery flaw apparently caused dozens of the phones to explode or burst into flames.
After recalling the device for a second time due to continuing heat issues, the company said in mid-October it would discontinue the device. Samsung estimates the debacle will cost the company $3 billion.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

iPhone 7 vs. iPhone 6S: Should You Upgrade?

As expected, Apple announced the newest iPhone model iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus and Apple Watch 2 on September 7, 2016. A merely 12 months ago, iPhone 6S was out of the production line. Since the existence of iPhone 7, many iPhone 6S owners might have been wondering whether or not to upgrade iPhone 6S to iPhone 7. Therefore a comparison between iPhone 7 and iPhone 6S is made here in order to help you make a good decision.

iPhone 7 vs. iPhone 6S: Design

iPhone 7 has the similar design of both iPhone 6S and iPhone 6. The metal-clad slab with curved sides and a flat back remains, but Apple has altered the antenna lines slightly to make them less obvious. They now snake around the sides, rather than around the rear, to blend in much better.
The camera hump looks a little different too, but it continues to jut out. Some folk find this an irritation, but we're not that bothered; if a camera bump means a better snapper, we're all for it.
The iconic Touch ID-toting home button is present, but it now offers a haptic response rather than actually depressing. It buzzes when your phone rings too, and apps can use it.


The biggest visual change, however, is the number of colours in which the iPhone 7 will be available. The iPhone 6S came in four hues – Silver, Gold, Rose Gold and Space Grey. With the iPhone 7, Apple ditches the Space Grey option in favour of two hues of black: Dark Black, along the lines of the iPhone 5; and a glossy Piano Black, à la iPhone 3GS.
Turn your attention to the bottom of the phone and you'll notice another significant change. Not only do the speaker holes appear on both sides of the Lightning connector, but the trusty 3.5mm headphone jack is now off in Apple's private graveyard of killed-off sockets along with FireWire and Ethernet.
The iPhone 7 is also the first phone from Apple to be water resistant, and IP67 certified. This is a big upgrade from the iPhone 6S. It's dust resistant, too.

iPhone 7 vs. iPhone 6S: Say Good-Bye to Headphone Jack

The iPhone 7 is the first iPhone to ditch the headphone port, thus you are unable to plug any old pair of headphones into the iPhone 7. To listen to music on the iPhone 7, Apple offers two solutions. Each iPhone 7 is bundled with a new pair of EarPods that plug directly into the Lightning port, and there's also a Lightning-to-3.5mm adapter available that will enable you to continue using your preferred cans. There are also the new AirPods – completely wireless earphones that have a five-hour battery life and charge up in their own case.


iPhone 7 vs. iPhone 6S: Plenty more power, and no more 16GB

With the iPhone 7, Apple replaces the A9 CPU with the A10 Fusion – and the speed improvements appear impressive. It has two high-performance cores, which are 40% faster than before. It's 120 times faster than the original iPhone.
Two high-efficiency cores are there too, which are used when you're doing basic stuff like emailing. The new GPU is 50% faster than the A9, so games should be much improved.
Apple makes no specific mention of RAM in reference to its phones, but the rumours suggest that the iPhone 7 will stick to 2GB, while the iPhone 7 Plus bumps this to 3GB.
There have been some internal storage improvements too; we can finally wave goodbye to 16GB units. Storage will now begin at 32GB and jumps to 128GB and 256GB. The iPhone 6S is available in 16GB, 64GB and 128GB flavours.


iPhone 7 vs iPhone 6S – Mostly Same Display and Battery

The iPhone 7 retains the 4.7-inch Retina Display of its predecessor, but it now displays a wider colour gamut, just like the iPad Pro. The resolution, too, appears to remain the same at 1,334 x 750, but Apple didn't divulge all the inner details. It's 25% brighter, with end-to-end colour management.
Of course, you still benefit from the 3D Touch tech that Apple introduced with the iPhone 6S; this lets you apply different levels of pressure on the screen to access further functionality. This feature is improved heavily in iOS 10 – but this will be available for the iPhone 6S too.
Apple claims the iPhone 7 has much improved battery life, but we'll have to to test it out ourselves to know for sure. During the announcement it was shown you'll get 2 extra hours over the iPhone 6S.

iPhone 7 vs iPhone 6S – Camera Bump

More than any other area of the phone, Apple loves to talk up the optics. Since the iPhone 4, the company has been on or near the top of the camera game, but that has dropped somewhat thanks to the Samsung Galaxy S7 and LG G5.
The biggest camera alterations this year come to the iPhone 7 Plus model. Its dual-lens arrangement is a first for the iPhone, but the exclusivity to the Plus will no doubt irk many folk.
There are some notable improvements with the iPhone 7 camera, but many of the specs remain the same. It's still a 12-megapixel camera, capable of shooting 4K video at 30fps and 1080p at 60fps. Apple has finally added optical image stabilisation, a feature formerly exclusive to the Plus, and this should help steady shots and video, and further improve low-light performance.
The aperture has been widened to f/1.8, while it's 60% brighter. Low-light shots should be massively improved.
The front-facing camera has been bumped up too, to 7MP. It was just 5MP before.


iPhone 7 vs iPhone 6S – iOS 10 adds some nice updates

iOS 10 will not only be available for the iPhone 7 but for the older 6S too. So even if you decide against a hardware upgrade, you"ll still have some new features to play with this year.
iOS 10 adds in deeper 3D Touch functionality, a redesigned lockscreen, and a clever new Home app for controlling HomeKit-enabled smart home tech.

iPhone 7 vs iPhone 6S – Price

Here's the pricing for iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus in the UK and US:
  • iPhone 7 | 32GB | £599 / $649
  • iPhone 7 | 128GB | £699 / $749
  • iPhone 7 | 256GB | £799 / $849
  • iPhone 7 Plus | 32GB | £719 / $769
  • iPhone 7 Plus | 128GB | £819 / $869
  • iPhone 7 Plus | 256GB | £919 / $969

Friday, September 9, 2016

PlayStation 4 Pro (PS4 Pro) vs. Xbox One S: Which One Is Better?

On September 7, 2016, Sony unveiled the slimmer version of PlayStaion 4 and another game console PlayStation 4 Pro (PS4 Pro) while Microsoft's Xbox One S has been available since August. For many game console users, in order to decide which one is better, a comparison between PS4 Pro and Xbox One S is needed.

PS4 Pro vs Xbox One S – Performance

The performance difference between the PS4 Pro and the Xbox One S is pretty huge, and this directly affects what the two are capable of.
The Xbox One S is essentially the same machine as the Xbox One in terms of internal specifications. There are very minor performance differences in very specific circumstances, but for all intents and purposes it's the same machine. This makes life easier for developers.
The PS4 Pro, meanwhile, has had some significant performance boosts and what looks like entirely new hardware – it's twice as powerful as the PS4 at certain tasks. There's better processing performance and what sounds like an entirely new graphics chip from AMD, using the firm's Polaris architecture that made the Radeon RX 480 PC graphics card such an amazing piece of kit.
In terms of raw power, the PS4 Pro's graphics chip is rated at 4 TFLOPS (trillion floating point operations per second), where the Xbox One is at around 1.4TFLOPS.
As a result, the PS4 Pro is able to deliver higher-resolution content, which we'll get to in our next section.

PS4 Pro vs Xbox One S – Resolution and HDR gaming

Both the Xbox One S and the PS4 Pro support HDR.
The difference between the two here is that the PS4 is able to output games at a higher resolution than Full HD. Unfortunately, Sony hasn't said exactly what that resolution is, but on the company's follow-up stream after its "PlayStation Meeting" event, several game developers spoke of "close to 4K resolution".
It looks like whatever the elevated resolution is will then be upscaled to 4K. If you're playing in Full HD, you'll end up with smoother anti-aliasing, meaning the divisions between objects on screen will be much smoother than on the regular PS4.
The Xbox One S only upscales games to 4K with no visual fidelity enhancements aside from HDR, as mentioned above.

PS4 Pro – No 4K Blu-ray

Features-wise, the two are very similar, but there's one key differentiator that gives the Xbox One S a massive boost, and that's its Ultra HD Blu-ray player. Incredibly, despite owning the UHD Blu-ray standard, Sony has chosen not to include the technology in its new flagship console.
This is quite a stunning omission and points towards two things: a future console that actually includes a 4K Blu-ray player, and the fact that Sony is desperate to undercut Microsoft's competitively priced Xbox One S.
Either way, anybody who was hoping to watch the latest movies in Ultra HD in disc form will have to shell out upwards of £400 for a separate 4K Blu-ray player.

PS4 Pro vs Xbox One S – HDR and 4K content

If you were never planning on buying 4K Blu-rays, you won't miss the Ultra HD Blu-ray player.
Both the Xbox One and PS4 Pro support streaming 4K and HDR content from the likes of YouTube and Netflix, with more services on the way to both.
Of course, you'll need a 4K HDR TV to enjoy any of this stuff.

PS4 Pro vs Xbox One S – Games

Both the PS4 Pro and Xbox One S support all the games designed for the PS4 and Xbox One respectively. Some new PS4 games, including Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, will support PS4 Pro out of the box, while any that don't will still work just fine, but will just be upscaled to 4K without any extra graphical enhancements.
The same applies to the Xbox One S – some new games will get HDR support, but those that don't will still work.

 

PS4 Pro vs Xbox One S – Dimensions

The PS4 pro is significantly wider than the Xbox One S, measuring in at 295 x 327 x 55mm where the One S is 229 x 292 x 63.5mm. It's also longer, but ever so slightly thinner.

PS4 Pro vs XBox One S – Conclusion

The Xbox One S and PS4 Pro are two very different devices. Where Microsoft has focused on 4K video content, Sony has gone all-out to produce a more powerful console specifically for games.





Monday, August 15, 2016

10 Best Streaming Services on the Market Right Now

As more and more people have started streaming videos online as their primary way of watching TV shows and movies, maybe you've wondered if you should join the crowd. Lucky for you, many companies are trying to stake their claim on the streaming audience, even YouTube is getting in the TV streaming game, which means you have plenty of options to choose from.
If you are looking for the best streaming services currently available, check out our list below before making your subscription decision.

#1: Netfilix

For many people, Netflix is synonymous with streaming. Not only does this service offer a variety of critically acclaimed movies and television shows, it also produces award-winning content like Orange is the New Black and House of Cards. Its catalogue isn't complete, but you'll have more than enough content at your fingertips to keep you binge-watching for weeks.

#2: Hulu

 If Netflix is the default service for watching movies, Hulu is the default for watching television. New episodes of most major shows are available within a few days of airing. Its free subscription option lets you watch recent episodes, but customers who pay for Hulu Plus get access to many shows' complete catalogues. This service is not just for TV, however: its movie selection may not be as robust as others, but it does have access to the Criterion Collection.

#3: Amazon Prime Instant Video


Available as part of an Amazon Prime subscription or on its own, Amazon Prime Instant Video has a few original series under its belt — including the Emmy Award–winning Transparent — but the thing that really sets the service apart is its access to HBO classics. The company also offers a variety of add-on packages from partners like Starz and Showtime, which also allow you to use your Amazon Prime credentials to log in to their standalone apps.

#4: HBO Now

 If even Amazon Prime doesn't offer enough HBO content to keep you satisfied, don't worry as there are plenty of ways to watch HBO content. The company's newest service is HBO Now, which allows you to watch all of HBO's stellar original programming — Band of Brothers, The Sopranos, and Game of Thrones — without a traditional cable subscription. Their movie selection is narrower than other services, but monthly updates keep it fresh.

#5: Crackle

 Crackle is the streaming service for viewers on a tight budget — it's always 100% free. While admittedly not as impressive as most paid services, it has a solid library that is being constantly updating.There are plenty of choices including Crackle originals like Jerry Seinfeld's Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. The service won't cost you anything to try, and odds are Crackle will work with whatever device you're already using.

 #6: Sling TV


Most services focus on libraries of on-demand content. Sling TV, on the other hand, acts as a sort of cable replacement: its main emphasis is on allowing you to stream live television. A basic subscription lets you watch most major channels, including ESPN, AMC, Cartoon Network, and CNN. The service also offers special add-on packages for an additional monthly fee, including a sports package and "Best of Spanish TV" to personalize your subscription.

#7: PlayStation Vue

 Like Sling, PlayStationVue aims to replace cable subscription by offering live TV streaming. It might even be a viable alternative to a traditional cable subscription, as it offers a pretty good selection of channels for its price. As it currently stands, however, Vue is available only through PlayStation consoles or Amazon Fire TV, which does limit who can use it.

#8: CBS All Access


It may seem odd to pay to stream content from a free broadcast network, but when it comes to original programming, no streaming service can compete with a member of the Big Three. CBS All Access offers thousands of episodes from classics like I Love Lucy and more contemporary fare like The Late Show with Steven Colbert. Stream live or on-demand: new episodes are available on the app the next day.

#9: DISH Anywhere

If you already have a cable or satellite subscription, many now allow you to take your subscription with you. DISH Anywhere, for example, lets you watch TV, movies, and clips for free. DISH customers with a Sling-enabled DVR can access their live TV and DVR recordings, plus the networks they subscribe to through DISH — like HBO, Starz, and TNT.  Other pay-TV companies also offer this kind of deal, so if you're currently paying for a TV subscription, check with your provider to see what streaming options they offer.

#10: Crunchyroll

 Crunchyroll is a great example of a new kind of streaming service: instead of casting a wide net, it focuses on a specific genre — in this case, anime. The site offers free and premium memberships, which deliver professionally translated media within minutes of the original TV broadcasts. Other streaming services, like Twitch and Funny or Die, cater to other specific audiences. These specialized services aren’t as robust as the giants above, but if you’re looking for a specific type of content they may be your best bet.


If you've ever considered streaming video, now's the time to jump in and give it a try. Many of these services offer free trials, so get out there and immerse yourself in the stream. Just be sure to come up for air every once in a while.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

7 Things You Need to Know about Samsung's Galaxy Note 7


Samsung's new phone Galaxy Note 7 will be shipped on the 19th day of this month. The sharp screen is accentuated by a slight curve on the edges that makes the device easy to handle. It has a snappy, 64-bit processor, and it can rock games and virtual reality with the companion Gear VR headset. Samsung’s attention to smaller details makes it a fine device. Here are seven things you need to know about Note7:

 

Many similarities with Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge 

The Galaxy Note7 is a large-screen version of the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge, with a 5.7-inch 2560 x 1440-pixel display. The USB-C port is an improvement over S7's micro-USB 2.0 ports. Common features include a 12-megapixel rear camera, 5-megapixel front camera, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, NFC, Bluetooth and wireless charging. The Note 7 is pre-loaded with Android 6.0.1, weighs 169 grams and is 7.9 millimeters thick. It has 64GB of internal storage and an SD card slot. 




The iris scanner has its own camera


A unique Note 7 security feature is the ability to scan the iris as a way to log users into the device. Here's how it works: Place your eyes in front of the iris scanner—an IR camera located on top of the screen—which will scan your eyes. It will match up the scan against encrypted iris information stored in a secure hardware layer on the phone. Iris scanner works in multiple light settings, but it won’t work with sunglasses, Samsung said.


What chip does your Note 7 have?

In U.S., China, and Japan, the Galaxy Note 7 will have a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 chipset; in other places, it'll be Samsung's Exynos 8 Octa 8890 chip. The Snapdragon 820 has been modulated for cellular networks and spectrum bands in those countries, and U.S. carriers like Verizon prefer Qualcomm's chips for backward compatibility of CDMA networks. The Samsung Exynos chip works on cellular networks in Asia and Europe.


What chip is better?


Qualcomm's Snapdragon has a better modem and a slight edge in graphics over Samsung's Exynos. Regardless, the Note 7 delivers booming graphics and runs applications much faster than its predecessors. The LTE data download speeds could reach up to 600Mbps (bits per second) and upload speeds up to 150Mbps. Snapdragon is more versatile with support for LTE-U, which allows for faster data transfers over licensed and unlicensed spectrum.


Old peripherals will work with the USB-C port in Note 7


The Note 7 has a USB-C port, a first in Samsung smartphones. The Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge have micro-USB 2.0 ports, and many peripherals—like portable mobile phone chargers and storage devices—are designed to plug into that port. Those peripherals can be used with Note7 with a micro-USB 2.0 to USB-C connector that Samsung provides with the new handset.



Note 7 will log you into your Samsung-based Windows PC

Like Apple, Samsung wants its hardware devices to work seamlessly. That's been difficult because Samsung's devices run on three OSes: Windows in most PCs, Android in mobile devices, and Tizen in wearables. The Note 7 shows some results of Samsung's effort to bridge that gap between devices. Users can swipe a finger on the Note 7 fingerprint reader to log into a Windows-based Galaxy TabPro S 2-in-1 tablet/laptop hybrid. Users can also login into a TabPro S by pattern authentication—by drawing specific shapes—on a Note 7.
Samsung Flow is different from Windows Hello, a Microsoft feature for biometric authentication to log into laptops, but a Samsung spokesman said the companies are working together to see how the features could be used together.


No clarity if Note 7 will support Google's DayDream


A great add-on to the Note 7 is the new Gear VR headset, in which the phablet can be fitted to virtually roam cities, play games, or ski down a mountain slope. Samsung declined to comment if Note 7 would work with Google's emerging DayDream VR platform, which will be available in specific handsets by the end of the year. Rather, it runs the same Oculus store and software as the Gear VR for current Samsung phones. The Gear VR headset and Note 7 could be combined for DayDream, which has minimum hardware requirements of a high-resolution screen, specific sensors, and strong graphics capabilities. Samsung said announcements on DayDream-compatible devices will come at a later date.




Thursday, July 28, 2016

5 Troublesome Moto G4 Problems, and What to Do About Them

At the budget end of the Android market, the Moto G4 and the Moto G4 Plus reign supreme. These are great Android smartphones with big displays, good cameras, and decent battery life. We think the G4 Plus is worth the extra $50, but neither of these smartphones is flawless. We've been trawling through user forums and comment sections gathering some common Moto G4 problems and trying to find solutions, or at least workarounds.
 
The two phones have almost identical innards, so it's no surprise that the Moto G4 Plus is suffering from many of the same issues. This troubleshooting guide covers both phones. 

#1 Problem: Overheating


We noticed some serious heat during extended gaming sessions on the Moto G4 and there are also a lot of reports online about the Moto G4 Plus overheating while people are using the camera to record video. All phones are going to heat up from time to time –particularly when playing graphic-intensive games, recording video, or charging — but if your Moto G4 gets uncomfortably hot at other times, or the performance starts to suffer, then you may need to do something about it.

 Workarounds:

  1. Take regular breaks to let your phone cool down.
  2. People using Moto G4 cases should try removing them and see if that helps.
  3. Don't use your Moto G4 while it's plugged it in and charging.
  4. Don't use the Turbo charger. Charge with a regular charger, or through your laptop or PC.
  5. Keep your Moto G4 out of direct sunlight or really hot environments.

Potential solutions:

  1. Take a look in Settings > Storage & USB and tap on Cached data, then tap OK to delete it. Restart your phone by pressing and holding the Power key for 10 to 20 seconds.
  2. It's worth ruling out a third-party app as the cause. Press the Power key, then tap and hold Power off and tap OK when Reboot to safe mode appears. The Moto G4 will reboot and you should see Safe Mode in the bottom-left corner. If the overheating issue is gone, then a third-party app is probably the culprit. You can simply restart the phone to get out of safe mode. Try uninstalling apps that you've installed one by one and test to see if it makes a difference in performance.
  3. You could try a factory reset. Make sure that all your precious files are backed up first, then go to Settings > Backup & reset and make sure Automatic restore is off. Afterward, tap Factory data reset and Reset phone. Test the phone before you enter your Google account to avoid automatically downloading all the same apps.
  4. If you've tried all of the above and you still have an issue, then it's time to contact your retailer, carrier, or Lenovo and ask for a replacement.

#2 Glitch: Ghost touches when charging


Quite a few people have reported an issue with ghost touches when they try to use their Moto G4 or G4 Plus while it is plugged in and charging. The notification shade might come down by itself, or they find that they can't answer calls. Some people are also reporting severe lag on the touches that do work.

Workaround:

  1. Don't use your Moto G4 while it's charging. It will charge faster and you'll avoid potential overheating issues.
  2. Try using a different cable and charger. Some people report that this alleviated the problem, though it didn't work for others.

Potential Solutions: 

Find out where your nearest service center is and contact it, then send your phone in for repairs.

 #3 Issue: Crashing in some apps or games


A few Moto G4 and G4 Plus owners have reported regular crashes associated with specific apps or games. If you find that you get a high volume of crashes when playing a specific game or when trying to open it, there are a few things you can try.

Potential solutions:

  1. Turn your phone off. Press and hold the Power and Volume down buttons until the Moto G4 starts up. Use Volume down to highlight Recovery mode and press Power to select it. You should see the Android mascot on screen. Hold down the Power button and tap Volume up once, then release the Power buttonUse the volume buttons to highlight wipe cache partition and press the Power button to select it. When done, use the Power button to select Reboot system now.
  2. It's also possible that this problem is being caused by your MicroSD card. If you formatted your card as internal storage, then that could be the culprit. You should have triggered a warning if your card is too slow, but there's always a chance that something has gone wrong after the initial formatting. You can find out more at the Motorola site.

#4 Annoyance: Yellow tint no display


There have been some complaints about a yellowish tint on the Moto G4 and G4 Plus display. Some people feel it's too warm, or more specifically, that whites appear slightly yellow.

Workaround: 

You could try using an app like Screen Adjuster Free to see if you can alter the color to your satisfaction.

Potential solutions:

  1. Take a look in Settings > Display > Color mode and change your settings.
  2. Consider contacting your retailer, carrier, or Lenovo and asking about a replacement handset.

#5 Problem: Headphones not working properly


A few people have been having trouble getting their headphones to work properly when plugged into the Moto G4. In most cases, the problem is that sound only comes through on one side, so you only get sound in the left ear.

Potential solutions:

  1. Make sure that your headphones are properly plugged in. Try blowing gently into the port to make sure nothing is stuck in it.
  2. Try a simple restart by holding down the Power button for 10 seconds or so, or until the Moto G4 goes off and comes back to life.
  3. Make sure that you test your headphones with another device and test different headphones with your Moto G4. Quite a few people report that some headphones work and others simply don't.
  4. A third-party app could be causing your problem. Press the Power key, then tap and hold on Power off and tap OK when Reboot to safe mode appears. The Moto G4 will reboot and you should see Safe Mode in the bottom-left corner. If your headphones work properly, then a third-party app is probably to blame for your problem. You can simply restart the phone to get out of safe mode. Try uninstalling apps one by one, starting with anything that has an obvious audio component. Restart your phone after each uninstall and test to see if the problem is resolved.



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