In today’s fast-paced world, many don’t have time to stay fit. In the struggle to find time to work out, many turn to fitness classes and gym memberships. This may be effective, but is expensive and you have to go to the gym to participate in these types of workouts. The Tabata app has a solution for anyone looking for a cheap, effective solution to fitness by offering an effective workout that takes less time to complete than brewing a cup of coffee.
Installation and Setup
The Tabata app can be downloaded for free in the Google Play Store. After downloading and opening the app, you are ready to go. There is no complex set-ups, logins, or installations. The app simply works.
App Use and Exercise
Before we get too far into this app review, let me explain what a Tabata is. Tabata is a type of HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) exercise routine. In a Tabata, exercises are grouped into twenty-second intervals of high-intensity exercises followed by ten seconds of rest. The cycle of exercise followed by rest is repeated eight times for a total workout lasting only four minutes.
To get a taste of what this app and workout style is about, I did two fourteen minute exercise sets a day. These sets consisted of three workouts, each followed by one minute of rest. After doing the exercises every day for two weeks, I feel like a new human. While I live a somewhat active lifestyle, these workouts quickly showed me how out of shape I was. After only two weeks of the workouts, I have more energy, I feel stronger, and friends have commented about my improved posture. I feel the urge to inform/warn everyone, these four-minute workouts will make a huge change in your life, but these short workouts are very difficult.
The design of this Tabata app is very simple and easy to use. The app comes with six preloaded workouts, all aimed at a different part of the body and all four minutes in length. Within each of the workouts, you can track your workout stats, set a schedule that will remind you to workout, and edit the exercises to maximize your repetitions.
In addition to allowing you to edit the preset Tabatas, the app allows you to create and name your own workouts. You can set the number of repetitions, the length of repetitions and breaks in between. The only thing you cannot do is add exercises. While that restriction is significant, the app still offers users a lot of control over their exercise routine.
Tabata is an easy to use app that anyone can pick up. The intense four-minute intervals in the Tabata workout provide workouts that can be done at any time during the day while the variety of preloaded workouts allows users to strengthen and tone all parts of the body. The Tabata app also offers users a lot of control when designing workouts, while the apps scheduling capabilities and statistics keep track of your progress and make sure you don’t miss a day. I would strongly suggest this app to all looking for a little help getting in shape, but be ready for the hardest four minutes of your life.
LeEco takes another step towards relevance in the U.S.
Self-proclaimed technology “disruptor,” LeEco, is taking steps to flesh out its relatively sparse content lineup by partnering with one of the biggest technology companies in the U.S., AT&T.
The Chinese manufacturer of affordable-but-high-end smartphones, TVs and, in the future, self-driving cars, has announced that in addition to opening up ecommerce channels on its website, LeMall.com, on December 1, it plans to offer between three and 12 months of complimentary DirecTV Now access to customers who buy its products before January 5. The breakdown is as follows:
- 3 months of DirecTV Now free with the purchase of an ecophone (Le S3 or Le Pro3), or a Super4 X43 Pro ecotv.
- 6 months of DirecTV Now free with the purchase of a Super4 X55 or Super4 X65 ecotv.
- 12 months of DirecTV Now free with the purchase of a uMax85 ecotv.
LeEco says that it will also begin selling its products in retail stores, including Amazon and physical Best Buy outlets, which should increase its potential distribution massively, especially for those who wouldn’t otherwise learn about the new-to-America company.
The company, which recently came under fire for spending too much too quickly, forcing its CEO to take a significant pay cut, has found significant success with its smartphone and TV business in China. But its ambitious expansion goals took it by surprise, with an internal memo from the company’s co-founder, Jia Yueting, noting that “we blindly sped ahead, and our cash demand ballooned. We got over-extended in our global strategy. At the same time, our capital and resources were in fact limited.” Much of that cash was put towards the LeSee self-driving car project, which is not expected to be released for another five years.
In the meantime, the company’s U.S. expansion hinges on getting its phones, and its content, into the hands of Americans willing to take a chance on an unknown company. This AT&T deal should help, but there’s still a lot of work to be done to build a brand in a saturated American market.
Alexa, turn it to 11!
The original Amazon Echo hasn’t been updated since it was released just over two years ago. Specifically, the hardware is unchanged, but Amazon has made significant improvements to the software, and connectivity to other services, in that time.
Now, it looks like Amazon is poised to release a huge hardware upgrade to the Echo in 2017, giving the popular cylinder a 7-inch touchscreen and a more powerful speaker to fill a living room with music. According to Bloomberg, the updated Echo will run an improved version of FireOS, the Android fork that powers the company’s Kindle tablets and its now-deceased Fire smartphone. Options will include the ability to pin photos on the color touchscreen, and to easily check email and use apps.
These new features will not supersede the new Echo’s core function, according to the report, which is to respond to voice commands through Amazon’s constantly-evolving Alexa assistant.
The new unit will reportedly be introduced in early 2017, and will cost more than the current Echo, which regularly retails for $179.
What do you think? Is this the right move for Amazon as it takes on Google and Apple to control the living room?
What are the best horror games for VR? .intro
You either love them or hate them, but one thing has become apparent: horror games in VR are an entirely new experience. Shutting out the real world, including your desk, monitor, lights, and family members, and being injected straight into a horrifying world is quite a thrill. We’ve rounded up the best VR horror games available right now that will scare you real good.
Read more at VR Heads!
Get your game on with Facebook Messenger.
Facebook has been steadily adding app support to its Messenger app for a few years now, and today the social media company announced it’s adding Instant Games as a new feature within the popular Messenger app. Rolling out to 30 countries starting today, the update adds a new game controller icon to the chat window, which allows anyone to challenge their friends — individually or in a group chat — to play one of 17 games currently available to play right in the app.
This move makes absolute sense when you consider the popularity of Basketball and Soccer — the latter being a wildly successful easter egg to celebrate March Madness 2016, which led to an incredible 1.2 billion games of hoop played across the Facebook community since it launched last spring.
Now, instead of having to scroll through all the Facebook emojis looking for the next hidden game, Facebook has brought gaming on Messenger to the foreground, adding a controller icon to the attachments panel in the chat window. So far, the games run the gamut from arcade classics, word games, to competitive puzzlers. Facebook Messenger will keep track of everyone’s top scores, so you’ll always know where you rank compared to your friends.
When you get the update, you’ll be able to choose from the following launch titles:
- Space Invaders
- Track & Field 100M
- Shuffle Cats
- Words With Friends: Frenzy
- Endless Lake
- Templar 2048
- The Tribez: Puzzle Rush
- 2020 Connect
- Puzzle Bobble
- Brick Pop
- Wordalot Express
Expect Facebook to continue to add to this list as time goes on, with ads for Messenger games popping up in your Facebook News Feed.
Let us know if you’ve received the update, and what your favorite games are in the comments below!
What do three Android Central community members think of the Honor 8? Here it is, in their own words!
The Honor 8 is a great phone. We’ve previewed it and reviewed it; we’ve spent time with its camera and evaluated it against other phones in its price category.
But we use a lot of phones, and that often leads to a slightly different take on what’s important to the average phone user. So we decided to pass along a few Honor 8s to dedicated Android Central Forum members, people who have experience with devices but could offer a fresh perspective on a popular handset. With the Honor 8 reduced to under $300 in some cases for the holiday, let’s take a look at what forum members Sam (lumivalo), Joice (libra89), and Dan (dpham00) thought of the phone.
On the Honor 8’s looks, feel, and size
The reviewers really like the look of the Honor 8, praising its design. Dan has this to say:
You can really see and feel that Honor put a lot of attention into detail when you roll your hands around the front edge to sides to back…the way it seamlessly flows from the front glass to the rounded and chamfered aluminum side band and then to the back glass.
He notes that the “glass back design makes it feel a bit slippery,” but a case fixes that problem.
Sam says that the phone’s light-refracting glass back “looks very cool,” and that while he “usually put[s an] Otterbox or some variant of tough case on my phones, the Honor 8 was the only phone which [he] could not bear to case over.” I’d have to agree with that; the Honor 8 is a very nice phone to look at, and thanks to its compact size, to hold in one hand.
Joice loves the size, too, saying that “for a 5.2-inch screened phone, it’s amazing how you get a lot of screen in a smaller body that is pocketable.”
On the Honor 8’s features
All of the reviewers agree that the Honor 8’s fingerprint sensor and button combination is excellent, and incredibly fast. Dan notes that in fact, for him it is “more accurate than on my Galaxy devices,” and “the placement is perfect for my index finger when holding the phone in either the left or right hand.”
The Honor 8’s fingerprint sensor is “more accurate than on my Galaxy devices.”
Joice says something similar, remarking that the Honor 8’s rear sensor recognizes a fingerprint even after “wash[ing] my hands or recently put lotion on.”
Even better, “Honor programmed the fingerprint scanner to be more than just a scanner. You can program what happens when you press the button once, press and hold, and press the button twice. Those functions can be anything you choose, whether it is to open an app, open the camera, or activate the flashlight. Additionally, you can set it up to have it show your notifications by swiping down on the scanner.”
These are all features that the reviewers seemed to value, setting the Honor 8 above the rest of the phones in its price point.
On the Honor 8’s battery
There’s a consensus on the Honor 8’s battery, too: Dan says the Kirin 950 chip is able to sip power, letting the 3,000mAh battery “get 6-8 hours SOT (screen on time) in a typical day using Gmail, Hangouts, and Chrome.” Of course, more intensive uses, like gaming and extended photo-taking lowers the battery, but no more than a typical Android phone.
The Honor 8 lasts me an entire school day, something most phones struggle to do.
Sam notes that the “Honor 8 lasts me an entire school day, something most phones struggle to do, due to my multitude of background processes I enjoy having on my phone.” Though the Honor 8 doesn’t support Quick Charge, it has its own fast charging technology, and Sam was happy that it charged quickly using a USB-C battery pack.
Joice goes even further:
The battery life is good! For someone like me who get battery anxiety, but also don’t want to be married to the charger, I have had no anxiety with this phone at all. For my usage, I get a day and 6 hours at minimum before putting it on the charger. I have run it down a few times to 4%, just for testing, and I was able to get almost 2 days on a single charge with 8 hours of screen on time.
On the Honor 8’s camera
The Honor 8 has two 12MP sensors, one color and one monochrome. Together, they are supposed to offer improved photography abilities, but how does it work in practice?
Dan says that the Honor 8’s camera compares favorably to the iPhone 7 Plus, a phone double the price:
Indoor shots are excellent quality for the price range, and the flash is bright enough to illuminate a small pitch black room. This is true both with and without flash. The camera really shines in low light and outperforms the competition.
Joice reiterates that claim, noting that daylight shots are excellent on the Honor 8, and the only weakness comes in low light:
However, it is not a complete wash in the least, thanks to wide aperture mode. That mode does exactly what it sounds like it does, increase the aperture to allow for more light.
Sam sums it up nicely: “The dual camera is one of the most highly-touted features of the Honor 8, and I must say the image quality is some of the best I have ever seen, apart from flagships like the Samsung Galaxy S7 and the Google Pixel XL.” Great value for the money.
On the Honor 8’s software
Sam says about the Honor 8’s EMUI software that it is “actually quite bearable, and once I applied Nova Launcher, I found it to actually be quite nice-looking (but with some odd quirks, like black text on the dark notification panel not showing up well for Outlook notifications).”
EMUI 5.0 is much closer to what most Android users expect.
Joice says that EMUI 4.1, which ships with the Honor 8 on Android 6.0 Marshmallow, “has a number of similarities to iOS, such as the lack of an app drawer and the settings menu. Whether you are fine with it or you hate it, it packs a lot of functionality, but it is a slight learning curve.”
Dan got into the EMUI 5.0 / Android 7.0 Nougat beta right before he published his review, and really likes the changes. He says, “EMUI 5.0 is much closer to what most Android users expect. New features to Android 7.0 like split screen and double tap the multi-task window to quick switch work fine.”
It’s not clear when EMUI 5.0 will roll out to all Honor 8 users, but it should be a big upgrade when it does hit, likely in the new year.
On the Honor 8’s value
All in all, this device will probably work well for many and it is worth the hype.
Dan sums up his thoughts with this:
Overall, I think that the Honor 8 is the most well rounded phone in its price range. It has very good battery life for a high end CPU, and the build feels like a premium smartphone. To top it off, it adds a best in its class dual camera setup. You can’t go wrong with one at the retail price of $400.
Joice says something similar, noting that the Honor 8 is “worth the hype”:
It is generally a solid device and it is in a class of its own when it comes to performance, cameras, one hand usage all while still fitting in the pocket decently. The midrange might have a lot of competition but when it comes to those three things together, there is no other. All in all, this device will probably work well for many and it is worth the hype.
And finally, Sam says the Honor 8 is great value:
The Honor 8 is for people who value looks in a device, and yet want power for their money. It is a great option, even in the face of phones like the OnePlus 3. The EMUI interface can be difficult to use, but if you have a basic knowledge of Android customization, it should be easy to get around it.
So that’s it! Three Android Central community members, three favorable reviews. Thanks Dan, Joice and Sam for voicing your opinions, and we’ll see you in the forums!
What do you think of the Honor 8? Do you agree with their assessments? Let us know in the comments below, or join the conversation in the Honor 8 forums!
See at Amazon
- Honor 8 review
- Honor 8 specs
- 5 things to know about the Honor 8 in Europe
- All the Honor 8 news
- Join the discussion in the forums
Amazon has big plans for Echo.
According to Bloomberg, the online retailer is planning a major update to its line of voice-activated speakers. It is developing a premium speaker with a 7-inch screen. Amazon’s original Echo speaker is a cylindrical device that can be controlled mostly through the a digital assistant named Alexa. By adding a screen, Amazon is hoping to make it even easier for users to access content.
- Amazon Echo: What can Alexa do and what services are compatible?
The upcoming speaker will apparently be larger and equipped with higher-grade speaker. It’ll also tilt upward so the screen can be visible when it sits on a tabletop while someone is standing and using it to look up weather, calendar appointments, and news. This Echo-like device, which runs an optimised version of Fire OS, is expected to be unveiled by the first quarter of 2017.
Fire OS is used to power Amazon’s Fire tablets and set-top boxes. With this software, the speaker will still respond to verbal commands and spoken questions, but it’ll have new capabilities, such as a feature that allows users to pin items like photos to their speaker’s screen. Think of it like a refrigerator door. In other words, Amazon sees a lot of potential for Echo in the kitchen.
Amazon reportedly plans to keep selling the Dot, Tap and Echo speakers, which cost $50, $130, and $180, respectively. The new model with a screen will likely cost more. If you recall, The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this year that Amazon’s Lab126 hardware unit was working on an Alexa-powered device with tablet-like display (it’s known internally as “Knight”).
When you think Maserati, you probably think if its thoroughbred Italian racing heritage, the glamour and slick sports car lines. It was perhaps totally fitting, then, that the day we headed into the Cotswolds to test the new Maserati SUV, the UK issued 19 flood warnings.
A stroke of luck, you might call it, that we were driving a four-wheel drive SUV, rather than a hunkered-down rear-wheel drive speed machine. Slipping into the cosseted interior of Maserati’s new luxury SUV, hitting the heated seat button and speeding off along flooded roads, we did wonder if we’d be better in one of Maserati’s sponsored racing yachts.
Maserati say that the Levante brings a completeness to the family of cars it offers, a luxury alternative, a lifestyle model, that through its SUV lines it offers wider appeal to a wider range of owners than some of its sports cars.
Maserati Levante: Design
Many will look at the way that Porsche, Bentley, Lamborghini and others are producing SUVs and see that Maserati is very much following the trend. We’re seeing SUVs dragged out of the “utility” class and transformed into something all the more special, a bigger driving experience, a lifestyle choice without sacrificing the brand values that sit at the heart of some of our best-loved cars.
For Maserati, retaining the visual identity at the front in a similar fashion to Bentley with Bentayga, gives that sort of toy car charm. The seriousness of Maserati’s GrandTurismo – its best looking model – is reflected but diluted as the Levante grows into its bigger body. The result is a rather long bonnet, scowling lights flanking a snarling grille on the front, centred on that Maserati trident. It’s an angry-looking car from the front, taking sporty over boxy design.
The Levante is peppered with Maserati hallmarks, like those side gills, rear quarter badging and so on. With sporty in mind, the rear roofline drops and the rear side windows get smaller as you move back. The rear window itself, in keeping with those sporty lines ends up rather small.
That, combined with a rear seat central headrest means that rear visibility is fairly poor. If you’re a sports car driver that’s par for the course, but the Levante loses the natural advantage towards the rear that SUVs often offer: it’s not actually that big.
But this isn’t about challenging the Discovery with a cavernous rear, it’s about providing a Maserati SUV.
Maserati Levante: On and offroad skills
Maserati’s aim was to produce a car that would drive like a Maserati on the road, but be happy wallowing in the mud too. It adopts the Ghibli’s four-wheel drive system, with a bias towards the rear wheels. In most driving conditions it will send the power to the rear, but with the ability to switch it through various steps of division up to a 50/50 split.
This works in tandem with driving modes from Maserati’s Skyhook system – normal, sport, offroad and increased control and efficiency (ICE). This system, like the sort of driving modes you’ll find in your average Audi, uses engine, gearing, stability and the AWD components to give you the best setup for the type of driving you’re doing.
There’s also an air suspension system that offers a lot of travel, riding at 210mm high normally, but being able to drop the car down to 175mm in aero2, a special automatic mode reserved for when you’re driving at speeds over 170kph. This latter mode is automatic, you can’t decide to drop into this low-slung position, the car decides when to do it.
That’s something we didn’t get the chance to use, given the poor road conditions we faced when driving the Levante, but we did get to test the descent control, feeling the car brake and control downhill speed on some very muddy slopes. We were driving on standard winter tyres through some very slick mud across fields and through woodland.
The Levante is perfectly comfortable in such conditions, with enough clearance to let you drive into the rough stuff without the worry that you’re going to catch a piece of the bodywork on the way. No one really expects this to be a rival to the Range Rover’s offroad skills and the likelihood is that the Levante won’t find itself being set to task in those conditions too often.
However, find yourself offroad and the Levante certainly offers enough to give you the control and handling that some softer crossover cars won’t, so if you do need to take your trident-badged luxe SUV through a muddy field to deliver your welly-wearing friends to a picnic, you shouldn’t have a problem.
Sitting under the hood is a 275bhp V6 diesel engine, the same you’ll find in Ghibli and Quattroporte, that will whisk you to 62mph in 6.9 seconds. Maserati says this is the most powerful engine of its size in this segment, but it’s not the most powerful SUV out there, and will be left in the exhaust fumes of some of the more flighty models. Put your foot down and there’s that reassuring purr, but this isn’t a noisy drive, it’s mostly quiet and refined, save for that moment you put your foot down and everything wakes up to remind you you’re driving a pumped-up sports car.
There’s plenty of weight to the steering, but we found the column-mounted shifters to be a little too big: the left shifter pretty much blocks access to the indicator stalk and we’re pretty sure that you’ll be using that more regularly than you will be manually dropping gears.
There’s a distinct lack of choices available, and that’s perhaps the problem that the Maserati Quartoporte faces: the competition is so widely varied and with companies like Audi churning out S and RS Q models, Porsche pushing its Cayenne and a widening selection of Range Rovers, there’s a lot of choices, some higher quality, some higher performance and some more practical in this highly fluid SUV category.
What the Maserati succeeds in doing is making an alternative choice: there will likely never be a shortage of Audi Q5 or BMW X5s on the road, and this Maserati is there for people who want something different.
Maserati Levante: Everyday tech
With that in mind, the Levante interior finds itself filled with familiar technologies, many that haven’t been offered on a Maserati so readily. There’s an effective blind spot warning and lane departure system. There’s collision warning, emergency braking, adaptive cruise control and so on. Dealing with that slight lack of visibility, there’s also 360-degree cameras and parking sensors, to make sure you don’t drive into that low wall in the Waitrose carpark, as well as the option for a kick sensor for the boot so you can easily get your shopping in.
There’s also a central touchscreen controller for your media, satnav and other car systems. It’s been designed to be familiar for users coming from other systems, offering both touch and rotary dials, although we don’t quite have the confidence in its user interface that we do for BMW or Audi systems. It’s easy enough to use, but doesn’t quite have the sophistication and maturity of some of its bigger brand rivals. It is responsive to the touch, but you sometimes have to dig a little deep to get to something, like the passenger’s heated seat for example.
There are choices for a range of interior packages, with a leaning towards luxe or sport, and we found the interior to be comfortable and reasonably quiet when underway – despite all the water on the roads. The seats are comfortable and there’s enough space in the rear, although the centre rear might be a bit of a squeeze for a fully grown adult.
Choosing the Luxury pack (£5,950) brings some cost advantages over the individual elements it offers, as well has giving you some upgrades that can’t be found on the options list and offers you a higher quality finish in the interior, while the Sport pack gives you things like the shifters and aluminium pedals for more of a racing look and feel.
But with all that said, the Maserati Levante does elevate itself above many other SUVs that it rivals. As wonderful or as technically proficient as many of them might be, some are getting very commonplace.
If nothing else, then that’s what the Maserati Levante offers. It’s an alternative that sits in the luxury segment, flying the flag for a smaller brand with heritage. It’s a car that, on first impressions, does have a few quirks, but it is interesting, and if you’re looking at spending £55k on an SUV, that’s important.
Our time with the Maserati Levante was a little limited and we can’t profess to having driven it in anger on the road. What we can say is that as much as we don’t think the Levante will worry the luxe SUV segment’s leaders, we can’t help liking it.
Universal and Nintendo have just delivered some bombshell news. Nintendo themed attractions will be built at all three Universal theme parks around the world, in Osaka, Japan, Hollywood, California and Orlando, Florida.
Nintendo is working collaboratively with Universal’s park designers to help create the attractions, that will be targeted at all ages, so older visitors can get their nostalgia fix, while youngsters can begin to learn about Nintendo’s illustrious history.
- Nintendo games consoles from the 1980s to now: Which is your favourite?
The two companies have said the attractions will make you feel as if you’re playing inside your favourite video games, only in real life. There’s no word just yet on what games will be made into attractions, although Mario is mentioned in the press release. And besides, what Nintendo themed park would be complete without everyone’s favourite Italian plumber?
The attractions are said to be opening separately over the next several years, with each individual park announcing its Nintendo plans soon.
- $350m Nintendo Land theme park attraction to bring Mario to life
We’ve already heard that a Nintendo-themed area would be built at Universal Studios in Osaka, but now there’s confirmation the US sites will benefit too.
Sky has officially announced its entry into the mobile network market with Sky Mobile, its first 4G service.
It is initially offered with 12-month contracts and SIM only, although phones, such as Samsung devices and iPhones, will become available in 2017. It is also designed to be simple to understand, with three different price points for data.
There are also simple prices for calls and texts. If you opt to “pay as you use” it will cost you 10p per call minute or 10p per text. Or you can pay £10 per month for unlimited calls and texts.
Sky TV customers, however, get the latter for free. And it applies for up to five SIMs per household.
They will only pay for the data, which is offered at £10 for 1GB per month, £15 for 3GB per month or £20 for 5GB per month.
- What is Sky Mobile, how much does it cost and what is roll over data?
- What is Sky Q, how much does it cost and how can I get it?
- Now TV vs Now TV Smart Box vs Sky+HD vs Sky Q: Which Sky package is right for you?
- Sky Q review: The future of multi-room television?
Where the Sky Mobile deal differs from plans from other providers is that if you do not use all of your allotted data allowance, it rolls over. Some do roll over data to the following month, but Sky’s will be available for use for up to three years.
It is also cumulative, so you tot up more in reserve every month you use less. You can cash in your reserve data 1GB at a time.
Sky is offering other incentives too. Even though its plans are contracted for 12-months, you are free to change your plan up or down each month, so you can opt for more or less data allowance depending on how much you use.
The final incentive, called Sync, allows Sky TV customers to sync their home TV planner with their phones through Sky Go, to watch anywhere they like – over Wi-Fi, 4G or downloaded for offline viewing. It effectively gives Sky TV customers free access to Sky Go Extra.
This will be limited to Sky+ subscribers only at first, but Sky Q customers will also get it in the new year.
Sky Mobile is now available for pre-registration, with the first customers receiving their SIMs before Christmas. A more general release will start in mid-January.