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Posts tagged ‘Reviews’

19
Nov
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The Best Android apps for yoga, running, and weightlifting [November 2014]


exercise1We all know we need to exercise more often, more strenuously, and smarter, but how? The answer is in your pocket, hip, or purse. That’s right: it’s time for best Android apps for exercising. To make this list convenient, I will be dividing the apps up into categories based on the type of exercise (yoga, running, and weightlifting).

Yoga:

Yoga is a fantastic way to work your flexibility, balance, and control over your body, and the Google Play store has plenty of apps to satisfy even the most advanced of Yogis.

1. Yoga.com Studio:

YogaStudio

Yoga.com Studio is a perfect application for those just starting out with Yoga, while still offering a challenge for those who have years of experience under their belts. The app is free to download and is supported by in-app purchases to gain access to the app’s extended features. All poses are free to view and learn about, but if you want to follow a pre-installed program, you’re going to have to pay $1.99.  All the poses have HD video demonstrations and 3D muscle images to help you learn what exactly you need to be working on during your workout. If you want to get a premium app, but aren’t sure that Yoga is for you, check out Yoga.com Studio.

QRCodePlay Store Download Link

2. Daily Yoga:
DailyYoga

Daily Yoga is by far the most popular yoga app on the market, with downloads in the 1-5 million range. As far as options go, Daily Yoga is one of the most feature-filled yoga applications available. You can choose from between 50 classes and 400 yoga poses to practice for your workout and 3 workout intensities for beginners, intermediates, and advanced yogis. There’s also a forum to communicate with other practitioners of yoga and a way to follow and chat with other yogis. The app is updated monthly with new content.

QRCodePlay Store Download Link

3. Pocket Yoga:
PocketYoga

If you’re certain that you’re into yoga and willing to make an investment, Pocket Yoga is available for $3 on the market. It’s worth the premium as well. With Pocket Yoga, you get 200 poses with posture and alignment, detailed voice instructions with guides for every pose with inhalation and exhalation timing, and a dictionary with the benefits of each pose. The app also tracks your progress with a log to see how far you’ve gone into your yoga journey. Lastly, you can play your own music from your music library during your yoga sessions so you can control your relaxation with a special playlist.

QRCodePlay Store Download Link

Running:

It’s common knowledge that running is one of the simplest, most reliable ways to get in shape. But how far? How intense? Just let these next few apps clear up the confusion for you. Plus, they are all Android Wear and Google Fit compatible

1. Runkeeper:
Runkeeper icon
This is my personal favorite and the app I use for my jogging journeys.  Using your device’s GPS, the app can track running, cycling, or hiking and keeps your pace, distance, time, and burned Calories. You can follow a popular running route for your area, or you can run wherever your heart desires. The app tracks your progress and workouts, and also lets you snap pics of your route for when you pass the most beautiful landmark.

QRCodePlay Store Download Link

2. Nike+ Running:

Nikerunning

Nike+ Running is the popular running app that specializes in pushing you to the brink of your athletic endurance, whatever it takes. If competition is your thing (I know it sure is for me), you can compete with your friends to try to get to the top of the leaderboard, or you can have a head-to-head challenge against your archrival. If you’re new to running, you can get a training program to follow. Lastly, when you hit the wall, and you just can get your runners’ high, you can get a Power Song at the press of a button to keep you going!

QRCodePlay Store Download Link

3. Runtastic:

Runtastic

Runtastic is more of the same: It monitors time, speed, distance, and your route. However, one thing that separates Runtastic from the others is it’s simpler Google Earth style view of your route. Social networking is tied in easily so you can share your results from your workout. If your device has at least Kitkat, you can listen to your music through your running app. Android Wear is of course able to control the app so you can conveniently check your goals without stopping.

QRCodePlay Store Download Link

Weightlifting

No one wants to be scrawny, but there’s more to weightlifting than just developing a physique. In order to increase your metabolism and lower your body fat percentage, you’ll have to hit the weights. But where do you start? Keep reading for some apps with answers.

StrongLifts

1. StrongLifts:

If you’re trying to make the most progress in the least amount of time while learning how to make gains in the gym, StrongLifts is by far the best place to start. Ask any classic bodybuilder for the best way for a beginner to see progress, and you’ll hear about Reg Park’s 5×5 program. StrongLifts is the perfect app to teach you about the 5×5 program and  5/3/1 program and give you the tools to accomplish it. The app is free, but if you pay extra, you can get weight and plate calculators in addition to the logs and calendars already included.

QRCodePlay Store Download Link

2. Fitness Buddy:

Fitness-Buddy

Fitness Buddy’s ideology is more is better. More endorsements, more exercises, more routines, and more videos. Over 1700 exercises, 1000 HD videos 4000 videos, and 75 routines are included in the application. Also included are graphs for tracking body progress and measurements. ESPN, Gizmodo, and Lifehacker all recommend Fitness Buddy to anyone looking to learn how to make progress in the gym. If you really want to learn the most you can about exercise, this app is a must-have!

QRCodePlay Store Download Link

3. BodySpace

BodySpace

The key to making lasting change in your body and health is usually a string support group. People that want to see you succeed can help you motivate yourself to push harder and accomplish more physically. BodySpace knows this and gives you the perfect way to connect with like-minded people and break goals together. The app itself is simple: you get a calendar and a training program depending on what you want to see change, and you track your progress with the Fitness Tracker. Along the way, meet new people to trade tricks with and watch your gains skyrocket!

QRCodePlay Store Download Link

These are my favorite Android apps for exercising. Did I miss any of your favorites? Please let me know in the comments.

Come comment on this article: The Best Android apps for yoga, running, and weightlifting [November 2014]

16
Nov
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Google Nexus 9 Review


Nexus 9

Google has taken both their tablets, the Nexus 7 and Nexus 10, and combined them into a single powerhouse. The Nexus 9, which Google debuted on October 15th alongside the Nexus 6 and Android 5.0 Lollipop, is a top of the line device due to its killer hardware and build quality. The Nexus 9 doesn’t have all the extra features, but it does come with Android 5.0 Lollipop out of the box, the 64-bit NVIDIA Tegra K1 processor, and 2 GB of RAM to power it all. Let’s jump right into the Google Nexus 9 review.

 

Design

The Nexus 9 has three color options available: indigo black, lunar white,and sand. It also has two storage options: 16 or 32 GB. There is an LTE version available, but it is only available in indigo black with 32 GB of storage. The device I have is the 16 GB indigo black version.

This Google tablet is constructed by HTC, who is well-known for their premium design quality on their One series. With a first glance at this device, you can tell that it is made by HTC, but it still has the familiarity of a Nexus device. The Nexus 9 comes with an 8.9 inch display in a 4:3 ratio, that I think makes the tablet easier and more enjoyable to hold.

 

Nexus 9 edge

 

The Nexus 9 is a very solidly built device, and that is due to the surrounding chassis that is constructed of metal. It is squared off, yet slightly angled towards the display away from the back of the device. Coming in at 7.8 mm thick, it gives enough real-estate to rest your fingers on comfortably without touching the bezels and accidentally touching the display.

 

Nexus 9 side

 

On the right side of the frame are both the power button and volume rockers. HTC did a great job of hiding the buttons, and it makes the edge look seamless. This is both good and bad. While it makes the device look as sleek as ever, it also is a chore to find which button to press. Since the buttons are near flush with the chassis of the device, it tough to know if you are on the volume rockers or power button until you press them.

The back of the device has the classic Nexus soft-touch feel that can be seen on previous Google devices. While it is a fingerprint magnet, it is definitely worth it. The soft-touch back makes the device very easy to hold without the fear of dropping it.

 

 

Nexus 9 back cover

 

Display

Google has stepped up their display quality in 2014. The Nexus 9 packs an 8.9 inch IPS display with a resolution of 2048 x 1536. The ppi for this device comes in at 281, which is higher than Apple’s iPad Air 2 at 264 ppi

 

Display

 

The display which is a 4:3 ratio, looks its best when it is showing dark content, especially while watching movies. Since the device doesn’t have a 16:9 ratio, videos will naturally have black bars on the top and bottom of the video to compensate for the extra space. Darker games and movies look amazing on the Nexus 9, but once content has brighter and flashier graphics, the display doesn’t pop as well.

Aside from content, Android 5.0 Lollipop takes full advantage of the display and everything Google branded looks great and very crisp. You can tell that the Google-based apps are optimized for the 4:3 ratio.

While the Nexus 9 excels at displaying darker content and its own operating system, it also is very good at displaying text. The IPS display isn’t very bright or saturated, so it makes it easier on the eyes while reading.

 

Sound

This category is just for this device, since the Nexus 9 is HTC made. The Nexus 9 features HTC’s own BoomSound speakers on the front panel of the device, one on the bottom and one on the top to create a stereo effect. Front-facing speakers have been one of the more popular features to come on devices since HTC made it popular, and for good reason.

 

Speaker

 

Front-facing speakers is a feature I think all devices, especially tablets need to have. I am glad Google included this, and they are loud. The sound is very crisp, even at loud volumes. Mids and highs come through very well, and low-end/bass is better than average. When bass gets too low, it drones out, but that is expected from such small speakers.

My only complaint about the speakers on the Nexus 9 is that they are sunk down into the front of the device. As you can see in the picture, it leads to dust being caught in the speaker grill.

 

Performance

This tablet sports top-notch specifications that render the device ‘future proof’. Google went with the 64-bit NVIDIA Tegra K1 dual-core processor that is clocked at 2.3 GHz. It’s supported by 2 GB of RAM and the all-new Android 5.0 Lollipop.

This is a stock-Android device, so there is no bloatware, just pre-installed Google apps. There is nothing this device can’t handle. On all my previous Android devices, I always tend to modify the animations speed in the developer options and set it at .5x, but this is the only device I decided against it.With the updated Android OS, navigation is as smooth as ever and transitions are always at a high frame rate.

I found myself using the multitasking button more than ever due to how smooth Android 5.0 Lollipop is on the Nexus 9. It is quick and painless switching between apps, and like I stated earlier, the animations and transitions make it everything more enjoyable.

The device does take a little longer to open and close heavier apps/games such as games like Leo’s Fortune. When more screen-intensive apps are open, expect the processor to get warm. It isn’t anything too outrageous.

 

Battery

The Nexus 9 sports a modest 6700 mAh battery that can travel the distance, but it also can be underwhelming. The battery life will definitely be determined on how you use this device, which can be said for all devices.

One thing the device has going for it in the battery department is the excellent standby time. While I consistently use my tablet, it is left to idle the majority of the time during my busy schedule (working, sleeping, and going to school). I will lose around 1-2% over a 8-10 hour period, which is very good.

While the standby time is great, I expected more optimization due to the new ART run-time and the latest 5.0 update. I will give Google a beak on the Nexus 9, due to the fact that Lollipop just got released, and more updates will ensue. Not only did battery life not live up to my expectations, the charging time is the worst part. It regularly takes hours to charge the device, especially if you are down on the 10-15% range.

I can expect around 4-6 hours of screen on time with normal to heavier usage on one charge. Once I start pushing the Tegra K1, there is a steep drop in battery life. Below are some battery statistics screenshots from my device.

 

Screenshot_2014-11-15-15-30-23 Screenshot_2014-11-15-15-30-51


Conclusion

Overall, this tablet is one of the best Android tablets I’ve seen, and is the only one to offer a pure Android experience. If you are an Android-enthusiast there is no question; this is the device you want. Between the awesome Tegra K1 processor and prompt updates, you can’t go wrong.

There is not an area that the device falls behind the competition, and the majority of things that are wrong with it are very fixable via software updates. Android 5.0 Lollipop brings the ultimate Android experience with some bugs, but it is still fairly new. I expect the performance of the Nexus 9 only to improve. Google has brought me back into the tablet world with how well this device performs and I would definitely recommend the Nexus 9 to anyone.

If you are in the market for a tablet, this one won’t come at the cheapest price. The 16 GB version is $399.99, the 32 GB version is $479.99, and the LTE version is $599.99.


The post Google Nexus 9 Review appeared first on AndroidGuys.

5
Nov
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HooToo TripMate Elite Review: One device to rule them all?


Tripmate Elite

When I get ready to leave my house for the day, I have a mental checklist that I rundown every morning.  More and more lately, it seems that I have to remember more accessories designed to keep my various gadgets running.  I’m sure a lot of you know how I feel: there’s an external battery, a personal hotspot, an external hard drive and so on.  I might not use all of those things everyday, but I don’t want to be without if I need them.  Before you know it, you’re carrying a lot of stuff around.  Well, the wonderful people at HooToo took most of these things and combined them into a small, easy to carry package called the HooToo TripMate Elite.

HooToo-TripMate-Elite-HT-TM04-Wireless-Travel-Router-NAS-Dual-USB-Wall-Charger-Power-Bank-AP

 

Before I tell you how The HooToo TripMate Elite worked during the review period, you need to know what it is.  The TripMate Elite takes a bunch of devices you probably already carry and reduces them into a single device.  The TripMate Elite gives you an external battery, dual USB wall charger, personal cloud, travel router and personal hotspot.  All in a package that is just a bit bigger than an Apple power adapter that comes with most Mac books.  When you open the box you see the glossy black TripMate, a felt bag to protect it, a USB to micro USB cord and the directions.

Besides writing for the Android Guys websites I’m also a student.  This gave me the perfect environment to thoroughly test the TripMate Elite, in particular one classroom that gets a terrible WiFi signal.  I’m always on the lookout for accessories that can make my life easier and the TripMate Elite seemed to be right up my alley.  I have to admit that I wondered if the TripMate was trying to do too much, would it work as advertised?

61nyR-EgOlL._SL1200_

 

First, you need to setup the TripMate: download the app, connect it to your WiFi network, setup a password, etc.  The process was simple and took just a few minutes.  Once done with the setup, the first thing that I played with was the personal cloud.  I attached my external hard drive and was able to quickly transfer files, pictures and videos to and from my connected devices.  When I was researching the TripMate the personal cloud sounded like a nice feature, but I didn’t know how much I would use it.  I already use Google for most of my cloud needs, so I didn’t know how much I would use a personal cloud.  I couldn’t have been more wrong, this has quickly become my favorite feature.  I have started to leave my external hard drive attached while at home so I can access movies from any device at any time.  Whenever I need something from my external hard drive, it’s just a couple clicks away.

The feature that initially attracted me to the TripMate is the travel router or personal hotspot.  This allows you to connect the TripMate to an existing or weak WiFi network, then you connect your devices to the TripMate network.  I thought this would be helpful in a class I have, that has a terrible WiFi signal.  Before I had the TripMate, the network was unusable, even if I could connect to it.  When I used the TripMate, things improved greatly, now I’m able to use the network, although the speeds could be inconsistent.  I’m inclined to believe that any issues I had at school were because of the weak signal in the classroom, not because of any issue with the TripMate.  When it was connected to my home network, I saw much better performance.  If you travel a lot, this feature alone could make the TripMate well worth the price.

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I keep an external battery in my bag mostly for emergencies.  I didn’t use the TripMate in this function much, but when I did it worked well.  I was able to fully charge my LG G3 after using the network features earlier in the day.  Having an external battery is one of those things that you forget about until you need it.  When I needed it, the TripMate stepped up and worked perfectly despite heavy use hours earlier.

I almost feel like I am going out of my way to find something negative to talk about, but I do have one complaint.  The mobile app and web interface aren’t very good.  The mobile app is better than the web interface, but not by much.  The mobile app gets bonus points because it assisted me with the setup, which was a breeze.  Both apps feel dated and aren’t very intuitive.  You get the hang of them pretty quickly, but I feel like the TripMate Elite deserves better.

It’s not often that you find an accessory that does so much well.  I couldn’t have been happier when using the TripMate Elite.  After a little more than a week in my care my TripMate has a few scratches, but works perfectly.  For $47 this one accessory can do the work of many.  It’s a great deal, especially when you consider how much it would cost to buy an individual accessory for each function.  Yes, it can pick up a few fingerprints and the apps might not be the prettiest, but those are minor issues.  The TripMate Elite would be a worthy addition to almost any briefcase or backpack, check it out.

http://ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ss&ref=ss_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=smarterwatc03-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=B00IMYMG12&asins=B00IMYMG12&linkId=PPPILKYQR76PSNO2&show_border=true&link_opens_in_new_window=true

Source HooToo


The post HooToo TripMate Elite Review: One device to rule them all? appeared first on AndroidGuys.

4
Nov
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Engadget Daily: Nexus 9 and Parrot Zik 2.0 reviews, a tour of Android Lollipop and more!


Google’s Nexus 9? Check. What about Android Lollipop and Parrot’s super-fly Zik 2.0 headphones? We have you covered. Read on for the rest of our news highlights from the last 24 hours, including Taylor Swift’s breakup with Spotify and our review of Google’s set-top box, the Nexus Player.

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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


alcohoot-650x245

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


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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


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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

 

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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.

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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. […]

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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.



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