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Posts tagged ‘Reviews’

28
Oct
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Justin Power Products Review


justin power products

While we like to get external battery packs for our everyday charging needs, often we try to find a particular kind of battery pack, or size, or shape, or function, and we end up landing with an ugly brick-shaped battery that does not fit well in your pocket or purse. Justin Power Products by innovative technology looks to solve this issue by making a variety of different external battery packs to provide for your needs. Here I will be reviewing three of them, the Ultra Slim Power Bank, the Power Bank with Built-In Stand, and the Round Power Stick.

justin power bank with buil-in stand

Justin Power Bank with built-in stand

Power Bank with Built-In Stand

This external battery has a dock built-in, allowing you to stand  up your device while it’s charging so you can watch movies, YouTube videos, or whatever. It has a 6,000 mAh battery, which should charge the average smartphone about twice.

I don’t really use docks (except in my car), but it occurred to me that I could use this one at my new desk job. However, I have outlets at my job, so I had to somewhat force myself to use the battery. This is just personal preference, in saying that I don’t find use for this particular product. However, I could see use for this if you have kids who use your device all the time, putting it down somewhere to charge while they watch a movie.

Nevertheless, the actual battery is great. In a week, it lasted more than 4 days, with each day charging from 40% to 80%. The charge held well, with the level staying the same from one day to the next. Considering it houses a stand and a 6,000 mAh battery, it is not a bad size. However, I would not carry this around in my pocket as it is too bulky, but I don’t think that is what this was designed for. For keeping it on your desk or on a table, it is just the right size.

The page for this product does not claim too much, so the advertised value for this battery is solid. It has a stand that works well and keeps the device pretty sturdy from button presses while standing. The 4 LEDs that indicate the level of the battery work, and actually blink in a neat way while charging (similar to the turn signal on a new Mustang, blinking from left-to-right). The 2.1 A port allows your device to charge quickly without frying it, which is nice. On each product page there this PDF which indicates how much charge a particular battery size should charge your device. While I have a Moto X (2013) (a 2,200 mAh battery) and not a Galaxy S4 (a 2,600 mAh battery), I don’t find the chart far from the truth, if a bit overzealous (but what company isn’t about their product?).

Overall, I had an enjoyable experience with this product. If you find you’re in situations where you need a portable stand with a battery to charge your device, then for $39.99 this is a great option. I give this 4.35 stars.

Here’s a link where you can purchase this online, otherwise Justin Power products are sold at many retailers, here is the page where they’re sold.

justin round power stick

Justin round power stick

Round Power Stick

The lip-stick shaped external battery is a popular form, as it allows a hold of a decent battery size and can fit in a pocket or purse easily. While this battery works well, I find it boring compared to the many options Justin Power provides, and compared to the other two devices reviewed here. This form factor has been done many times before. Nevertheless, it works well.

With a 2,200 mAh battery, this charged my Moto X (2013) about 43%. Of the three, this was the least impressive to me when it comes to its capacity:charge amount ratio. However, it holds its charge well, able to keep its charge for the few days I tested it. The size is great as I mentioned before. The advertised value is alright: it is small and lightweight, the aluminum finish is nice and you have several color choices. However, they not only say that this can charge your device from completely drained to full, but on their PDF describing charge percentages compared to mAh sizes, It does not seem to hold up to normal standards as it should be able to charge the Galaxy S4 60%, and it couldn’t do this for my Moto X, which has a smaller battery.

If you’re looking for a small and lightweight battery that will hold its charge and feels sturdy, then this is good option. At $19.99, and with a not great capacity:charge amount ratio, I don’t find this particular product to be of great value. I give this 3.3 stars, but mostly because of its size and charge hold.

If you’re interested, here’s a link of where to buy this online.

justin ultra slim power bank

Justin ultra slim power bank

Ultra Slim Power Bank

This is easily my favorite of the three products. Maybe because it’s so cool, and looks so good, and is just a great all around value, I’m not sure. What I know is when I opened the Ultra Slim Power Bank, I fell in love. Even my wife who is largely uninterested in my articles and reviews asked if she could use it.

The only thing I don’t like about this product is its battery capacity, as 2,000 mAh, but that’s because it’s so thin. I’m frankly amazed, of how it all fit in it. The battery is about the size of 4 credit cards, and comes with a neat leather pouch with a pocket meant for an I.D., credit card, etc. essentially acting like your wallet. This is a cool spin on the external battery pack. It has 4 LEDs that light up in the same way that the Power Bank with Built-In Stand does, and all the edges have a blue plastic so the whole things glows really cool when you’re using it or charging it. It comes with a tiny 2 inch cord so that you can easily fit the battery and cord in your pocket without hassle. It’s got a metal casing, making it feel very premium.

As for the actual battery, it does fairly well. It charged my phone 51% (better than the one above… see my point?) which isn’t the best, but pretty good considering the size. It held a charge very well over the several days I used it, where I was able to charge my phone, stop and use it again the next day and it do well. The size as I mentioned is great, so it fits easily in a pocket. The advertised value is good, as they don’t really claim much with this device other than the size. The only real issue I came across is while charging your device it can become quite warm, and without the case even hot. Not a huge deal as it cools quickly and I only charged it outside of my pocket, but just a word of caution.

The other problem with this device is its price: $39.99, the same as the Power Bank with Built-In Stand. It’s probably because of the work that goes into making it that small, and the metal casing and leather case. But even $10 cheaper would make this a better value in my opinion. And due to this, it brings my rating down to 4.35 stars. If it was cheaper I’d probably have given it more like 4.75 stars. However, if you’re willing to spend that money I highly recommend this particular battery. The size, the finish, the wallet case. I guarantee when you open this, you’ll know it was worth it.

Here’s a link of where to buy this online.

Conclusion

Overall, Justin Power Products seem to be a different experience with each product. The Power Bank with Built-In Stand and Ultra Slim Power Bank are the best here, and the Ultra Slim would be even better if it was cheaper. The Round Power Stick is average, and that is mostly because of its size. One thing is for sure, all of these hold their charge very well, something Justin Power gets right across the board.


 
 

The post Justin Power Products Review appeared first on AndroidGuys.

24
Oct
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BACtrack Vio mobile breathalyzer review


BACtrack Vio

It’s Friday, time to hit the town with friends.  If you’re going to be drinking you might want to consider adding the BACtrack Vio to your keychain.  The BACtrack Vio is one of the smallest personal breathalyzers I have ever seen, it’s just about the same size as a Bic lighter.  The Vio can be added to a keychain or ride in just about any pocket.  When paired with your smartphone, the Vio is a powerful tool that is easy to carry anywhere.

Setting up and using the Vio is a simple matter of downloading the BACtrack app and pairing the device with your smartphone of choice via Bluetooth.  When you’re ready to test your BAC (Blood Alcohol Content), you fold out a tiny tube that you then blow into.  The app gives you directions that are easy to read, understand, then follow.  Even after a few drinks the Vio is easy to use.

After blowing into the Vio you get a reading that is big, bright and full of information.  A clever feature that the BACtrack app offers is something called ZeroLine.  ZeroLine estimates, then tells you what time you should be sober.  I wouldn’t rely on ZeroLine to tell you if you’re able to drive, but it’s useful information none the less.

The BACtrack system really shines when you use the social features.  You can share your your BAC, location and photos with friends who might not be out with you.  This turns the Vio into something that you WANT to use, rather than something that you HAVE to use.  By keeping track of your alcohol consumption you can be safer when you’re out, so any feature that promote use of the Vio is good in my book.

BAC2

There are a couple negative things to consider before buying your own Vio.  This breathalyzer is not as accurate as others on the market.  I was able to compare the Vio to a portable police issue breathalyzer.  The Vio consistently read several points higher than the professional unit, but the police unit was much bigger.  In the past I had played with personal or mobile breathalyzers and the readings were all over the place.  Not so with the Vio, while it read high, it was at least consistently high.

The only real problem I had when I was testing the Vio was with the app.  Sometimes the app would tell you it was warming up, but then would skip straight to the result page.  Restarting the app fixed the problem, but the same problem would pop up occasionally.  Not a big deal, but it could be something that gets annoying, especially if you’re trying to test yourself while intoxicated.

If you want a personal breathalyzer that is easy to carry the BACtrack Vio would be a great choice, especially for only $49.99.  The social features make this something that is fun to use when out with friends.  The size of the Vio means that it won’t be as accurate as larger units, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t useful.  The Vio could definitely help make a night out with friends more safe, you just need to be aware of the shortcomings.  The police don’t even rely on their mobile breathalyzers for exact readings, so you shouldn’t either.  Just remember that if you are impaired, in anyway, leave the driving to someone sober.

You can buy your own BACtrack Vio here


 
 

The post BACtrack Vio mobile breathalyzer review appeared first on AndroidGuys.

23
Oct
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Alcohoot personal breathalyzer reviewed


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I’ve started to see more and more people using mobile breathalyzers when out for a night on the town.  When I got the chance to review the Alcohoot personal breathalyzer, I jumped at the chance.  Personal breathalyzers have been around for awhile, but they have really been more for entertainment than safety purposes.  I was eager to see how far the devices have come and to see if it is worth investing in an Alcohoot.

The Alcohoot is just a bit bigger than a Zippo lighter so it can fit in just about any pocket or purse.  It should work with any Android or iOS device, as long as you have a 3.5mm port and download the companion app.  This really makes the Alcohoot easy to carry on a night out.  Even if you don’t use the breathalyzer feature, the Alcohoot can help you find restaurants close to you or taxis to get you safely home.  For $99 there are a ton of features packed into the Alcohoot.  But, we’re all here for the breathalyzer so onto the testing.

My first test of the Alcohoot took place during a night at home with friends.  There were two reasons for this: the first was to use the controlled environment of my home to learn how to use the device properly.  The second reason was to gauge the accuracy of the Alcohoot.  I was able to get my hands on a police issue breathalyzer, an Intoxilyzer S-D5.  This gave me a really good idea how the Alcohoot compares to an expensive professional device.  After the first night of testing, I have to admit to being impressed by the Alcohoot.  Everyone found it easy to use and it was surprisingly accurate for a breathalyzer that fits in your pocket.

The second night of testing took my Alcohoot, friends and me to a local bar.  This allowed me to test the Alcohoot in a real world environment and confirm the accuracy found in the controlled environment of my home.  Everyone knows how dark and crowded bars can be so I was interested to see if that hurt the usability of the Alcohoot.  Overall, things went well.  Again, the Alcohoot was easy to use and gave consistent readings compared to the professional unit.  In fact, at one point I attracted a small crowd of people who wanted to try the device.  It even helped my friends and I find a place to eat, within walking distance, when we were done at the bar.

The Alcohoot was pretty accurate for such a small device, but more importantly it was consistent.  The Alcohoot almost always gave readings within a few points of the more expensive, professional unit.  For example, a friend blew a 0.023 on the police unit, then seconds later blew a 0.030 on the Alcohoot.  While the Alcohoot read higher, it always gave a consistently higher reading.  It never gave a higher reading than the professional unit, then a lower reading the next go around.  This consistency is one of the best parts of the Alcohoot.  While I would never recommend or condone using an Alcohoot to see if you’re able to drive, at least you can use it to monitor yourself.  The Alcohoot has a nifty feature called the SmartLine.  This is a limit you can impose on yourself when drinking.  If you don’t like the person you turn into when you drink too much, you can adjust the SmartLine to warn you when you get too close to your personally imposed limit.

Alcohoot-01

There are a couple negatives that I need to mention.  First, the way the Alcohoot plugs into the 3.5mm port can make using the device difficult to use.  If your phone has a 3.5mm port in an odd place or you use a bulky case it could render the Alcohoot useless.  It really seems like using Bluetooth to connect the Alcohoot and your phone would be a better option.  Secondly, the plastic mouth pieces that you blow into sit very loosely in the unit.  This lead to more than a couple lost mouth pieces in the dark bar.  You can order more, but that could get expensive if you spend a lot of time in bars (10 extra mouth pieces cost $7.99).

Although I had a positive experience with the Alcohoot, I feel I need to point out that these personal device are not perfect.  Even the police don’t rely on their handheld breathalyzers for perfect readings.  The Alcohoot should not be used to decide if you’re too drunk to drive.  IF YOU ARE, IN ANYWAY IMPAIRED, DO NOT DRIVE!!!  Try using the Alcohoot’s taxi feature and get a ride home from the bar.  However, if you are looking for a personal breathalyzer to monitor your drinking, the Alcohoot would be a great option.  It has a ton of useful features packed into a tiny, nicely designed package you can carry anywhere.

You can purchase the Alcohoot here

 


 

The post Alcohoot personal breathalyzer reviewed appeared first on AndroidGuys.

22
Oct
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UNU Superpak Battery Pack Review


unu superpak

Unfortunately, one of the biggest problems that plague our smartphones is the poor battery life. While companies have expressed that they are working to increase battery life, we have yet to see any groundbreaking work in this area. We should be able to watch videos, play games, post on social media, text, and other things without having to worry about the percentage on our phones.

Until then, we have to settle on using external battery packs. The issue with these is your experience can vary, from small mAh amount, to slow charging times, and terrible hold of charge over a long period of time. Well, this battery pack looks to solve all of those.

 

UNU Superpak

This is the UNU Superpak Battery Pack. It is a 10,000 mAh external battery that claims to be the smallest 10,000 mAh battery in the world and to be the fastest charging battery pack ever. Does it hold up?

My experience with the UNU Superpak is a positive one, although not necessarily because of what they advertise. The battery pack is relatively small, but it’s still uncomfortable to have in my pocket. I do think it charges itself fast, but more on that later. What I enjoyed about this battery pack is that it holds a lot of charge for a long period of time that goes far in charging. Confusing, I know. Let’s break it down.

General Charging

This battery pack is 10,000 mAh, which is 3-4 times larger than the battery in the average smartphone. While the mAh in an external battery doesn’t translate exactly to the amount it will charge your device, it should be close. However, this is not always the case. I’ve had experience with external battery packs that is twice as large in mAh amount than my phone, and yet only charges my phone by about 60%. With the UNU Superpak, I charged it on Sunday, and I used it every day until Friday to charge my phone from about 40% to about 80% (I have a Moto X 1st Gen, which has a 2200 mAh battery). On each of those days I also occasionally charged my phone and tablet a little bit. On Saturday, it still had 1 of it’s 4 lights in power! While this turned out to not last very long when I went to use it next, that’s still very impressive. For a work week I didn’t plug my phone in while driving (where I always use navigation and play music), and I didn’t have to worry about charging the battery pack. The other thing this means is from turning it off until turning it on again, it holds the charge it had when turned off, which is something else I have not had great experience with.

Special Features

Something that is interesting about this battery pack that UNU advertises is their “uSmart” technology on the ports you plug your devices into. They claim that the port will detect what device is plugged into it, and apply the proper charging accordingly. While tablets will usually require the 2.1A port, smartphones can be plugged into either port and not be fried by the output. While this is hard to test, I can say that whenever I plugged my phone into the 2.1A port (as opposed to the 1A port), I never had any issues.

The other thing UNU advertises is that their “SuperX” technology allows the battery pack to get a charge faster than other devices. Here is what I can tell you from my experience: it does not necessarily charge fast, but compared to other devices it charges relatively faster. When I plugged in the UNU Superpak, it took a little over 9 1/2 hours to charge. In my opinion, this is by no means fast, as that’s over the 8-hour average of sleep time, meaning you’d have to think ahead to plug it in if you want it fully charged before you wake up. However, I plugged in another battery pack I’ve had for a while that’s 5000 mAh, and it took 7 hours & 45 minutes. See the difference here? A battery with half the capacity took almost as long as the UNU Superpak. Apparently this is done by the battery pack controlling its own input current through the SuperX port. Pretty neat.

Conclusion: 4.35 stars out of 5

To be honest, I’m not one who is big into making an accessory like this more than it is. A battery pack should hold a charge for a long time, and make that charge go a long way. However, it seems UNU is able to hold its ground pretty well.

Currently you can get this battery pack from the UNU site or Amazon for $39.99, which isn’t a bad deal considering all you get from this specialized battery pack. And UNU has offered readers of this article a coupon that is valid until the end of the month. I’ll put that info below. This can easily do in the place of an outlet if you’re going on a long road trip or camping. With a little more than 4 stars, this is a solid option.

COUPON CODE: SUPER5AV

Gives another $10 OFF, bringing the Superpak to $29.99 till the end of this month (October 2014)!


 

The post UNU Superpak Battery Pack Review appeared first on AndroidGuys.

22
Oct
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Activehours: A new way to get paid faster


activehours3

For years and years, we as people have kept to the tradition of how we get paid; work, work some more, work again, and keep working until payday rolls around and we can actually enjoy the rewards of putting in our time. It can be hard to wait so long until you actually receive the money you deserve every day.

This is where Activehours comes in, a very neat and innovative way to get paid way before our payday comes along. Does this sound crazy? Sure, but it’s true.

Activehours connects with your bank account and where you work, and you take a snapshot of your time sheet for the day or the week, send it in to Activehours and then money is automatically transferred to your bank account whenever you want. You can cash in all your hours worked, or only a few if you wish. The app does not charge you at all or put interest on your transfers, but gives you the option to leave a tip. It’s up to you.

activehours

 

activehours2

The app itself is very sleek and professional looking. Navigation is simple, and it was very easy to understand all the areas of the app (there really aren’t that many). Establishing connections is very secure (they use 256-bit encryption to protect confidentiality of information) and the app will send a couple test transfers to your bank account to see if everything is working. Of course, the test transfers are empty and contain zero money.

The app is available to workers as well as Uber and Lyft drivers that have direct deposit set up with their employer. The maximum amount you can cash in per day is $100 but can increase the more you use the service and tip the app.

Activehours announced a new feature today called Lightning Pay, where cash-ins can transfer to your bank account in seconds including nights and weekends and marks a new era for the paycheck- On-demand pay.The service is now offered in beta to select users on the Activehours mobile app and is only available for certain banks that support it, so I haven’t gotten to test it out yet.

This app is a really convenient way to get paid when you want to rather than waiting awhile for payday. As a college student, two weeks can seem like forever as I wait for my paycheck, so this app has been helpful for grabbing twenty bucks in time for the weekend. I urge you to try the app out like I have and let us know how it’s treated you so far!

 

 


 

The post Activehours: A new way to get paid faster appeared first on AndroidGuys.

22
Oct
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First iPad Air 2 Reviews: ‘Ridiculously Fast’, ‘Vibrant Display’, Thinner Profile Comes at the Cost of Battery Life


Following Apple’s October 16 event that saw the debut of the iPad Air 2 and the iPad mini 3, Apple provided multiple publications with review units. The embargo has now lifted on review posts, so we’ve gathered some of the relevant excerpts from each site in order to highlight general release reactions to the new tablet.

ipadair2c
Apple’s iPad Air 2 is an entire millimeter thinner than the original iPad Air, and Apple has billed it as the thinnest tablet in the world. It offers a new A8X processor, Touch ID fingerprint support, an anti-reflective screen coating, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, and an improved 8-megapixel rear camera.

Walt Mossberg, Re/code:

So when Apple brought out new iPads last week, and I had a chance to test them over the past four days, you might think I’d be pretty excited about them — but I’m not. They are, in most respects, the best iPads ever made. But for average users, they represent only a modest evolutionary improvement over last year’s models, not the kind of big change that the first iPad Air or the Retina display iPad mini did last year. [...]

The Air 2 didn’t allow me to hold or carry the tablet longer and more comfortably than the Air. Its weight of 0.96 pounds isn’t discernibly lighter than the Air’s weight of one pound. And its thickness of 0.24 inches is a barely noticeable reduction from the Air’s 0.29 inches.

Nilay Patel, The Verge:

The Air 2 has a vibrant, sharp display that looks almost painted on. Apple says the new antireflective coating on the Air 2 reduces glare by 56 percent, but I didn’t really notice it making a huge difference; you definitely can’t use it in bright sunlight. [...]

Inside the iPad Air 2 lies Apple’s new A8X chip, which is a variant of the A8 found in the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus with additional graphics capabilities. It’s ridiculously fast — noticeably faster to load web pages and launch apps than my iPad Air, and it has so much graphics headroom that I’m eager to see how game developers take advantage of it.

Darrell Etherington, TechCrunch:

The 6.1 mm chassis just makes all the difference when it comes to the Air feeling like something that you could comfortably hold for long periods of time, and even for all-day computing, should you need it (and it’s easy to imagine an event coordinator, for instance, needing exactly that).

Our review unit came in Apple’s gold finish, and let me just say that on the iPad, that means there’s a lot of gold going on. Apple’s take on this particular metal color is better than most, but this definitely isn’t my favourite finish. The Air 2 in either space grey or silver still looks fantastic however, and the gold is definitely going to stand out in a crowd, especially if you’re also using the iPad as a camera.

Brad Molen, Engadget:

A thinner profile comes at the expense of battery size. The new Air’s is 5.1Whr smaller than the old one, but Apple still promises that you’ll get the same 10-hour battery life because the A8X is more power-efficient. Real-life use shows that the original Air still rules the roost; after a day of heavy use, I typically went to bed with around 20 percent left in the tank. If you’re only using it moderately — say, for casual content creation or consumption — you should get a little over two days. In our video test, in which an HD movie plays through the life of the battery, the Air 2 squeezed out 11 hours and 15 minutes, significantly lower than last year’s Air and about an hour short of the Samsung Tab S. [...]

ipadairipadair2comparison
The Air 2 also doesn’t have a mute switch, which I didn’t think would be a huge loss until I actually found myself trying to use it and becoming frustrated more frequently than I expected. Your new options are to press and hold the volume down button or go into the Control Center and press the mute key; if you used the switch to lock screen orientation, you’ll need to do that in the Control Center as well. A microphone now sits where the mute switch once was; there’s another one right next to the camera.

Joanna Stern, The Wall Street Journal:

That anti-reflective screen also makes a great, though admittedly ginormous, viewfinder for snapping nature shots with the revamped 8-megapixel camera. It takes much crisper shots than before, and in many cases, ones as good as those I can take with my iPhone 6. But I won’t bring my iPad to some mountain peak, as some Apple promo shots suggest.

Besides, when I set the iPad Air 2 down for a second on a bench, it slid off and hit concrete, shattering the screen. Sure, I’m to blame, but if Apple wants me to climb every mountain armed with nothing but an iPad, ruggedness should be as important as anti-reflectivity.

Harry McCracken, Fast Company:

The weirdest fact about the iPad Air 2 is that Apple isn’t publicizing (or even acknowledging) one of its best new features. The tablet now has 2GB of RAM, up from the rather cramped 1GB allotment in the original iPad Air. (Some competitors, like the Galaxy Tab 10.1, have even more.)

Doubling the RAM means that the iPad can keep more apps and browser tabs in memory without having to reload anything. That results in a speed boost which which is very apparent as you hop between apps and load new web pages.

Lance Ulanoff, Mashable

To get an anecdotal sense of the performance, I installed a pair of console-level games: Asphalt 8 Airborne and Modern Combat 5: Blackout. Each of these games is notable for rich imagery and physics including smoke, water, rain, and reflections. The games looked and worked great on the original iPad Air and worked just as well — if not better — on the iPad Air 2.

iPadAirGeekbenchScore
However, Apple isn’t just blowing smoke when it says the A8X is more powerful. I ran Geekbench 3 on both Airs and found that that Apple’s A8X has 3 cores (the A7 had 2) and that the multicore score for the iPad Air 2 is nearly double that of the original Air. The singlecore score for the iPad Air 2 is only slightly better than that of the iPad Air.

Other Reviews:

Farhad Manjoo, The New York Times
Samuel Gibbs, The Guardian
David Pogue, Yahoo Tech
Chris Davies, Slashgear
Matt Warman, The Telegraph

The iPad Air 2 is currently available for pre-order from Apple’s online store, with prices starting at $499. Apple has not yet revealed when the new tablets will be available in stores, but the first pre-orders will be arriving to customers this week.



10
Oct
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If you’d like to hate yourself, you should play Daddy Long Legs


Daddy Long Legs

Everyone remembers Flappy Bird. It was so frustrating. It was so simple. Tap to fly, and that’s it. Yet, we all continuously played it, expecting more to come from the game. There’s a new game out that offers the same amount of frustration, but packaged in a well-illustrated, simple, and beautiful package. It’s called Daddy Long Legs.

The goal of the game is simple: walk. That’s it. Walk as far as you can. When you fall, you start back over again. You play as a spider, or, a spider with only two legs, rather. Tap the screen to move a leg, and tap it again to switch to the other leg. It takes awhile to get used to the momentum of the spider, but there is a groove to it. Daddy Long Legs 3

This game is frustrating. There’s nothing to it. But I can’t stop playing it. You can download it for free on Google Play from the link below, if you dare.


 
Deals, Discounts, Freebies, and More! Click here to save today!

The post If you’d like to hate yourself, you should play Daddy Long Legs appeared first on AndroidGuys.

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8
Oct
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OnePlus One Review: Still worth a pre-order? (Video)


OnePlus One cover

What does OnePlus mean?

1 represents a user
+ represents sharing

 

1 represents the status quo
+ represents improvement                     -OnePlus

 

Created just last year, the small company called OnePlus set out to create the perfect smartphone under the motto “Never Settle”, which caught the attention of thousands of Android fans wanting that top-tier smartphone without any of the drawbacks. OnePlus revealed bits and bits of information on their One phone leading up to the launch, and each announcement had people drooling.

By the time of the announcement, almost all the high-end specs were already announced for the One, but OnePlus was prepared to hit the ball even further. The “Flagship Killer” would only cost $299 for 16GB and $349 for a whopping 64GB.

But months have passed now since it’s debut in April and the phone is still almost at pre-order status. With lots of phones coming out in the meantime, is the OnePlus One still “The Flagship Killer”?

BUILD

Before launch, OnePlus claimed their smartphone would be one of the best looking phones on the market, and that’s a brave declaration coming from a brand new company in an industry where the HTC One is serenading critics with it’s gorgeous all-aluminum design.

Well I’m here to tell you that the OnePlus One is a beautiful device. In fact, it’s one of the best looking devices on the market.

When I first unboxed it and peeled off the protective screen cover, I laid the phone on the table and just stared at it for a solid couple of minutes. The phone is not flashy whatsoever, and resembles the minimal look of a Nexus phone; no ugly logo on the front, just all screen. Just on the outer border of the screen is a silver lining that gives the phone a very premium look and definitely not something that costs half the price of competing flagship phones.

The sandstone back cover on mine is indeed a very unique feel and provides a solid sense of grip when holding it. I wouldn’t say it is comparable to sand paper, because it is not rough at all on the skin, but almost like a cloth feeling. Imagine holding the matte plastic Nexus 5, but with a slightly rougher feel to it.

The phone feels just as premium, if not more, than any other flagship out there, and is surprisingly light too. At just 162 grams, the phone is a bit lighter than the similar sized Galaxy Note 3.

I don’t plan on dropping or bashing this device to test its durability, but I feel very safe knowing that the screen is protected by the powerful Gorilla Glass 3.

DISPLAY

The 5.5 inch LCD display on the One is a beautiful thing. Colors look beautiful, but not over saturated, and viewing angles are great but a little dimmed when looking from the sides. One of the first apps I installed was Zedge to scroll through beautiful wallpapers and shed a tear over how great New Zealand mountain ranges look on this full HD phone. Web browsing and text looks extremely crisp and just about every app is updated for 1080p displays. I’m really glad OnePlus stuck with a 1080p display instead of a 1440p display, because I truly don’t think we are ready for 2K on a smartphone just yet. With a 401 ppi on the OnePlus One, you’re going to have to look really close for any pixels, but you’ll probably hurt your eyes in the process.

The side bezels are thin, but not as thin as the LG G3. But I like how the OnePlus One wasn’t as wide as the G3. It sort of takes after HTC’s approach of being more narrow than other phones.

The OnePlus One, however, is still a phablet.

The Nexus 4 was my daily driver before this, and with the One’s screen being almost a full inch bigger, it took time to adjust to the size of this beast. Unless you already own a Galaxy Note or a One Maxx, you are probably cautious as to if you should upgrade to this size. After almost two weeks of using the device, I feel comfortable with it and often times forget that I’m using a phablet. It’s only when I see other phones now that I realize the size difference. For example, I saw a friend with a Galaxy S4 and I honestly had think if it was the regular S4 or the S4 mini, because all phones seem small now! At times I do miss having a smaller phone for one-handed use, however. If you are a person who loves having their phone accessible with one hand, than you might want to look somewhere else.

PERFORMANCE

OnePlus One comes equipped with Snapdragon 801 processor and Adreno 330 GPU. Navigating through the phone is on par with the speed of the Nexus 5 and no lag has been found so far. I’ve been trying different launchers, including Google Now Launcher, Nova Launcher, Action Launcher and Buzz Launcher. All of them were extremely smooth and a joy to use. You’ll never need to worry about how many apps you have running either because of the monster 3GB RAM found inside.

You can’t get much better in the gaming category either unless you have a device with a Tegra K1 chip. Playing through Riptide 2, Modern Combat 4, Injustice, Asphalt 8 and more was a real pleasure and only on some games like Dead Trigger 2 and Godzilla did I notice some FPS slowdown. But playing Injustice in full HD on this thing felt very close to console quality graphics. There’s a lot of power in the OnePlus One, and it’s still one of the fastest phones of the year.

CAMERA

The 13 megapixel camera on this phone is built by Sony, and is capable of recording video at 4K QHD resolution, as well as full HD 1080p. You can also record in slow motion at 1080p 60 frames per second or 720p 120 frames per second. I was very impressed with the quality of pictures I took, as it’s clear Cyanogen has put quite a bit of effort into tuning their camera app. HDR pictures look fantastic and I’m a very big fan of Clear Image Mode, a feature they recently added to greatly reduce noise found in darker pictures. Taking pictures at night presented no problems thanks to this camera mode.

The UI on the camera app is slick and presents a lot of options and features in a simple and fun to use way. Swiping through pictures modes was fun and effortless, and using the settings was as very easy.

 

IMG_20140913_184043
IMG_20140904_170254
Auto
HDR
Auto
HDR
HDR
HDR
Auto (much noice)
Clear Image Mode (nice)

 

 

SOFTWARE

The OnePlus One is the first phone powered by CyanogenMod 11S, a custom Android software that looks and feels like stock Android, but gives you more customizable options and freedom.

The first difference you’ll notice is the new Cyanogen lockscreen, which is very sleek and kind of has a Windows Phone 8 feel to it. Behind the lockscreen we have a very stable version of the popular CyanogenMod that allows you to change a lot more stuff behind the scenes. From customizing your soft keys, to tweaking your notification lights, there’s a lot to fiddle with. You can even turn off the software navigation buttons in favor of the hardware keys if you prefer more screen space.

Easily one of the most impressive features is the ability to toggle gestures when the screen is off. For example, you can draw a ‘V’ shape when the screen is off to turn on and off the flashlight, or draw a circle to go right to the camera app. Cyanogen has taken after LG and HTC to bring double-tap to wake on the One, which is really really nice when holding a phone this big. To turn it off, you can double tap the notification bar at the top of the screen.

The OnePlus One contains software all Android geeks should crave. It can be as vanilla Android as you want it to be, but then tweak every aspect of it should you desire. Using multiple Nexus phones in the past, I’ve always rooted in favor of more freedom and the ability to calibrate my screen for more color saturation. With the One, I have no desire to root whatsoever. CyanogenMod 11S is as fast and fluid as stock Android, however I have noticed more RAM usage, which is pointed out in the video.

The One I am reviewing is running the latest Android KitKat 4.4.4 and Cyanogenmod software, which brings a host of bug fixes and camera features. One of the biggest fixes they have brought is the removal of off-screen gestures accidentally being activated in your pocket. Before this update, my flashlight and music player was constantly being turned on in my pocket because of accidentally being swiped against the leg. But with every update, I’ve noticed a few new bugs. I’m glad Cyanogen is frequently updating this phone (as they should), but there’s much more room to improve on their end, compared to the high-quality build of the hardware side by OnePlus.

BATTERY

The 3100mAh battery powering this phone may sound like the god of all flagship batteries, but really there has been some mixed results. It’s the inconsistency that has me a bit worried about the battery life. It is a powerful battery, and it does get me through the whole day, from about 8:30am to about 11 or 12 pm, but some days I’ll need to really find a charger by 10 or 11 but then some days I’ll have a solid 15-20% by 11. Without a dedicated battery saving mode too, you’ll need to be cautious late in the evening.

I wouldn’t call myself a heavy user either. On average, I make 2-4 brief phone calls a day, some average texting on Hangouts, some Gmail, check my Facebook and Instagram several times a day and browse my favorite sites a couple times a day with the occasional Reddit surfing, and maybe a couple pictures when necessary.

Ever since a couple Cyanogen updates though, the Android OS has been using most of my battery with my screen being the third biggest battery hog. Typically the screen should be the biggest battery hog, especially with this glorious 5.5 inch 1080p one. Overall, battery life is definitely comparable with the Galaxy S5, One M8 and G3, if not a tad bit better. However, without a battery saving mode, the other phones will probably squeeze a bit more life out.

CONCLUSION

OnePlus is a company that got me excited for something new in the smartphone market, and just about all the hype and build-up for it was well worth it. Dreamable hardware, awesome software, and a killer price has been brought to us in a very sleek and unique phone. There is something for everybody in this phone, and it can be customized to your exact liking without needing to root it. If you are lucky enough to grab an invite, I recommend you take advantage of that and buy this monster of a phone. If you are a fan of big phones with more power and space than you can even use, the OnePlus One is for you. If 5.5 inches is too big for you and don’t want to been seen carrying around a phablet, then this phone is not for you. But if there’s any thought in your mind that this phone has already lost it’s cool, think again. Cyanogen will support this phone for a long, long time. If they’ve only stopped supporting the Galaxy Nexus after 3 years of life, they’re definitely going to support an official Cyanogenmod phone for a long time too. With the hardware OnePlus packed into it, the One is going to be relevant for a long time.

If you have a OnePlus, let us know what you think about it in the comments, or share it with friends who are skeptical about buying a flagship smartphone from a brand new company. Take my word for it though, it is quite a wonderful phone.


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The post OnePlus One Review: Still worth a pre-order? (Video) appeared first on AndroidGuys.

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8
Oct
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Lumsing Dual USB Car Charger review


Lumsing car

In the vast world of car chargers out there, it may get a little overwhelming when trying to pick one out for yourself. “Why is this one more expensive than that one?” “What features am I losing if I go with the cheaper option?” We’ve all come across these questions before, and that may be where Lumsing comes in.

For quite some time now, Lumsing has offered quality products at an inexpensive price point. This car charger is no exception. Let’s take a look and see whether you should invest in the Lumsing car charger or not.

Build

The Dual USB Car Charger comes in either black or white, and both offer a smooth feeling plastic body. The top of the device has some Lumsing branding on it, while not causing too much of an eye sore. It actually blends in quite well. The reverse side is completely blank, so it’s easy to hide the branding if you so choose.

At the bottom near the USB ports reads the port labeling. This is what is a little odd about the charger. The USB ports and labels are backwards. The port that is above the corresponding label is the correct port. For instance, in the picture below, the right-most port is actually the 2,400mA port… not the 1,000mA one. Weird, right? It doesn’t alter the performance of the charger in any way, but it’s still a bit confusing.

Above the port labels is a small blue light that shines when there is power running through the charger. We find this helpful when making sure the charger is off when we’re not using it. It’s just an easy way to tell.

Lumsing car 2

Performance

Car chargers are one of those “either it works or it doesn’t” products. This one works. It charges quickly, and that’s really all you can ask for in a car charger. And don’t worry… you can use both ports simultaneously.

Lumsing car 3

Should I buy?

It depends. This is a wonderfully built car charger that looks sleek. However, one of our gripes is that it doesn’t include a USB cord. So if you don’t have a spare one lying around, you may want to opt for one that has a cord included. The car charger doesn’t include a USB cord, but it makes up for that by its low price tag.

You can pick up the Lumsing Dual USB Car Charger from Amazon for only $7.99. We’d say that’s a pretty good deal considering the quality of this product.

Pick up a Lumsing Dual USB Car Charger from Amazon for $7.99.


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The post Lumsing Dual USB Car Charger review appeared first on AndroidGuys.

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7
Oct
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Tap Cash Review


TapCash-App

Unless you’re currently reading this article on a yacht somewhere in Cabo, I’m guessing that you could probably stand to earn a little bit of money. What if I told you that you could get cash just by downloading a free app. If you’re thinking this sounds like a pretty sweet deal then it may be time to check out Tap Cash.

Overview

Tap Cash is an app that works on a credit system, wherein you exchange credits for certain “gifts” ranging from a $1 Paypal card for 1000 credits to a $10 Google Play gift card for 10000 credits. Every dollar is worth 1000 credits from the app. To get these credits you can download apps or share the app with your friends. The amount of credits you earn is based on the app. For example an app that all you have to do it download and start is going to be worth far fewer credits than one you have to provide information for. Furthermore sharing the app with others is worth more than most apps other than the ones that require a lot of personal information.

What’s especially interesting about this app though is that it creates a little game out of earning these credits. It shows the highest earners for the week, the month, and in total. So far the highest amount earned is about $262, a pretty good haul considering I’ve only managed to earn about ¢10 so far.

Click to view slideshow.

 

My Experience with Tap Cash

For the most part it seemed like a pretty great app. I never was able earn enough credits to be able to exchange it for “gifts”, but from other users reviews it’s clear that if you do manage to earn enough credits they will follow through and give you your money. The only problem of any significance is that sometimes I would download an app that would promise credits if I just started it, but even after doing so I wouldn’t get the credits. I would like to stress that this did not happen with every app I downloaded, but it did happen with a couple. It can also take quite a while to amass enough credits to get a sizable amount of money, but it is certainly possible to do so and many people have.

Will this app turn you into some King Midas figure? No, unfortunately it won’t turn stuff into gold. But will downloading this app be able to earn you a little money that involved little to no effort? Absolutely!

BONUS CREDITS!

Bonus! If you’d like a promo code for 300 credits here’s the link.


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The post Tap Cash Review appeared first on AndroidGuys.

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