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Welcome To issue 30

HOW TO USE THE QR CODES

Weve seen announcements for phones and tablets that will if all goes to plan rank among the very best of the year
MY HOME SCREEN
On (and off) Andys phone this month
nother month, another incredible selection of Android related hardware for us to chew over. In the last few weeks weve seen announcements for phones and tablets that will if all goes to plan rank among the very best of the year. These include Sonys Xperia Z1, where the company attempts to improve on the unremarkable Z from the start of the year, with features including what looks like being the best camera yet seen on an Android device. And the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, bigger and more powerful than ever. More powerful, in fact, than any other mobile device you can buy. These devices will be going up against the new iPhone 5S, but Android will not have a new competitor in the more affordable part of the market as the much rumoured 5C turned out to be a lot more expensive (and thus a lot less interesting) than many had been expecting. A shame, really, as a bit more competition in the sector that is completely owned by Android would have shaken things up nicely for the foreseeable future. Security is another topic that concerns us all, whether its privacy or malware, or simply the thought of losing your phone and all the data and information stored on it. In our main feature this issue weve got the most comprehensive guide to everything you need to know about how to protect your Android gear. Its something many are guilty of not taking seriously enough, but as we show you, it only needs a few simple steps to make sure your phone is as safe as can be. Enjoy the mag!

Welcome
A
Fitbit WiFi Mouse

Zero-click access to the best apps in the Google Play store

A QR code is a 2D barcode that can act as a shortcut for delivering information, such as weblinks. Youll notice them throughout the mag scan them on your phone and you can download apps and send us messages instantly.
Download this free barcode scanner to use our QR codes. Handily, you can scan normal barcodes with it too, to help you nd bargains on all your favourite purchases!

ShopSavvy Free

APPS IN

Soccer Saturday Super 6

APPS OUT
fanatix Sporee

This month Ive been using:

Alcatel One Touch Idol X

Soccer Scores Fotmob

The Idol X is a surprisingly good all round phone

scanning 1 Get Open ShopSavvy, hit the Scan a


Barcode button and then hold your phone over a QR code so that it appears in the window.

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Andy Betts Editor

Hacker Zne Explore the limits of


your Android phone
86

Contents Inside issue 30


54 Hacking tips and tricks
Top tips for the new or experienced Android hacker Practical hacks that every user will want to try

56 10 essential hacks and mods

Reviews
Cutting-edge tablets and smartphones on test 84 Reviews
84 Alcatel One Touch Idol X 86 Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini 88 Prestigio MultiPhone 5430 90 GOCLEVER Fone 570Q 92 Archos 50 Platinum

Samsun Galaxy S g The be 4 Mini


s range pht midone?

T utorials
36 Tutorials
36 38 40 41 42 44

Your complete guide to Google Play


68 Retro gaming 74 App reviews
Relive the golden days of gaming through Android The latest apps on test

Apps

Essential guides to getting more from your phone or tablet


Get more from Androids powerful cloud services

32 Advanced cloud services

80 Media apps
Vine vs Instagram

94 Accessories

Power up your phone or tablet with this collection of goodies

Master Play Music All Access Share les with NFC Set up active notications Open apps with gestures Safely connect to a VPN Recover memory with the Clean Master app 45 Create pop-up YouTube windows 46 Edit images with the stock Gallery app

82 Game reviews

The latest Android games reviewed

App review index


76 79 75 79 83 83 75 83 79 74 83 78 83 75 83 78 79 75 77 82 79 78 83 76 76 82 79 79 83 79 1 Second Everyday Biophilia Blipfoto Digisocial Dropchord Expander GQueues Gurk III, the 8-bit RPG Homestyler Klyph for Facebook Leisure Suit Larry: Reloaded Michelin Travel Minecraft Skin Studio OS MapFinder PAC-MAN DASH! ParkMe PassWallet Photo Editor by Aviary Press Rymdkapsel Samsung Wallet ScreenLocker Sine Mora TopTable Torch Music Trial By Survival Tunester UK Driving Theory Test Wedding Dash Deluxe Yarrly

48 Droid Support

Readers questions answered, plus troubleshooting tips and tricks

52 Android challenge

Learn magic: Pull a rabbit from your hat with help only from apps

36 Master Play Music All Access


26 The hottest devices of 2013
Get started with Googles streaming music service

The Galaxy Gear smartwatch, plus the other hot new kit heading your way soon

Check our website daily for even more news

www.littlegreenrobot.co.uk

All the latest from the world of Android devices

THE

big

STORY

Type faster and smarter


How innovation is reinventing the typing experience on Android phones and tablets

Our view
Keyboards might not seem like the most exciting aspect of an Android phone, but they are among the most innovative apps around, and have a major impact on how you use your device. Apps like SwiftKey have racked up tens of millions of downloads, but the next generation might be even better.

e it for messaging, searching the web or nding the perfect app, one of the most overlooked areas of every Android device is the keyboard. Its one of the areas of our phone that undergoes some of the biggest changes, with the stock Android keyboard now offering an authentic and easy-to-use typing experience. Despite the progress of the stock keyboard, third-party offerings from the likes of SwiftKey and Swype have long been the preferred choice for avid Android users, but advancements in the technology we are using has led to changes in the way users now want their keyboard to function, with some now providing intriguing features for our ngertips.

The new wave of keyboards look to incorporate new ways for us to save time typing and the space keyboards take up on our screens. Although not all of the new keyboards will make your typing experience any easier, some that are available from the Google Play store offer ingenious new ways to try and make typing that little bit quicker and accurate than before. Weve put six of the new crop of keyboards to have recently hit the market through our own specially designed typing test to determine which is the fastest and most accurate offering, one that Android users should be looking to download and give the likes of SwiftKey a run for their money.

Oliver Hill, Senior Staff Writer

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Six keyboards, six different approaches to typing. Which method will help you produce the quickest and most error-free work?

Android keyboard innovations


ith so much variety on the Google Play store, it was tough to pinpoint the six keyboards we really wanted to put to the test here. If theyre to compete with many of the popular third-party keyboards, theyll need to offer an effective typing solution, but also look to bring in new features that can save you time. The likes of Swype have long been the preferred choice for avid Android users who are looking to replace the stock keyboard offering, so we needed to choose keyboards that we thought would be suitable replacements for them and have the selection of features and general usability to match. After much deliberation, we settled on a shortlist of six truly unique keyboards.

Each one includes their own array of features to make it stand out from the crowd, and to decide which one was the best, we designed our own typing test. We tested out each keyboard by attempting to type out the following sentence in the quickest amount of time: I love messaging people on my Android device, but I could do with a new keyboard as the stock one just doesnt work for me. We then measured the success of each keyboard by timing how long it took for us to complete the message and track how many errors we needed to correct once we were done. So which one of the shortlist was up to scratch, and which should you be adopting? Read on to nd out!

Price: 2.48/$3.99 The lack of space that Minuum takes up is a real godsend for people who dont like some of the more clunky keyboard offerings. Every letter and number is listed in a panel, which makes for really quick typing and the included auto-correct dictionary is very accurate.

Minuum Keyboard

32
seconds

errors

Price: Free After switching to the traditional keypad mode, typing is surprisingly accurate. / y long pressing on speci c buttons, you have quick access to the most common punctuation. Its real problem lies with its speed, as having to manually select each letter slows it up.

dodol Keyboard

56
seconds

errors

Price: Free W10 takes a while to get used to, but is by far one of the most ingenious keyboards available. Instead of offering the entire alphabet, you instead have ten of the most commonly used letters, and you combine their shapes together to create the other 16 letters. For example, swiping a c and i together creates a d!

W10 Keyboard

63
seconds

14
errors

Price: Free The keyboard ts into a tiny part of your tablets screen and contains only the most used letters. Users can then swipe at letters to access the rest of the alphabet. Its size means its incredibly easy to use, the keyboard can be moved around freely and the accuracy is spot on.

MessagEase Keyboard

Price: Free Although the sliding input of TouchPal isnt necessarily unique, it combines it with a prediction system which looks to keep mistakes to a minimum. As you type, the keyboard looks to auto- ll words for you, which can lead to the wrong word being added.

TouchPal Keyboard

Price: 0.63/$0.99 iKnowUs design makes it look like a standard keyboard, but the typing experience is entirely based around gesture. / y performing certain directional icks with your ngers, different letters and phrases will begin to appear, but it does take some getting used to.

iKnowU Keyboard

41

seconds

errors

58
seconds

errors

35
seconds

errors

Explore the next generation of apps at Apps World 2013


In its fourth year, Apps World is now the leading global event in the app development industry for developers and enthusiasts alike

Apps World takes place over two days on October 22-23

ew developments in technology are slowly changing how we interact with the apps stored on our devices, and with the likes of Google Glass emerging, the future of apps is indeed going in a completely different direction. To celebrate the continued changes in the industry, Apps World looks to bring together 250 speakers and 8,000 attendees from all over world on the 22nd and 23rd of October. For avid developers, Apps World includes keynotes from some of the most entrepreneurial people in the smartphone industry; this year alone will see Apple co-founder, Steve Wozniak, and the executive director of the App Quality Alliance, Martin Wrigley, take stage. Alongside a range of speakers, there are also dedicated places for specialised app development. For Android fans this comes in the shape of Droid World, a conference to discuss the best Android development practices. It studies the latest APIs you need be aware of in the latest OS update, and reveals the secrets of what truly makes a successful Android app. Whether youre a dedicated fan of the Android platform, or a wannabe developer, Apps World is an event worth checking out.

Four people you cant afford to miss


Planning to go to Apps World? Then make sure you check out these four inuential speakers
Founder, EA

Jeff Seibert

Director of Engineering, Twitter

Trip Hawkins
As one of the pioneers of the PC industry, Trip Hawkins has been at the forefront of making EA a force in the mobile industry. He also founded development company Digital Chocolate, which boasts 200 million mobile app downloads and billions of game sessions.

Jeff has a long history in developing for internet software and is one of the key players in the development of both the desktop and mobile versions of Twitter. Before becoming part of the team at Twitter, Jeff previously worked for the likes of Apple, Increo and Crashlytics.

Steve Wozniak
Co-founder, Apple

Sarah Weller
Managing director, Mubaloo

Apple co-founder, Steve Wozniak, helped changed the computing industry with the launch of Apple in 1976 alongside Steve Jobs. Since then he has been an integral part in the rise in popularity of the iPhone since its initial release and the development of Apples iOS.

Mubaloo has gradually become recognised as one of the leading app consultation and development companies in the world. The companys rapid expansion has been overseen by Sarah Weller, who now boasts clients from Virgin Media, Hewlett Packard and Samsung.

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Amazing digital mags for your tablet

Put your new Nexus to use with the best in digital magazines

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Missing an issue in your Android Magazine collection? You can now ll in the gaps at a bargain price with our fantastic back issue sale. All editions of Android Magazine over six months old are now available via imagineshop.co.uk for half price. This means that if you want to check out our HTC One review, get the lowdown on using Jelly Bean or discover some of the amazing ways you can hack your phone or tablet, you can for the bargain price of just 2.49. Head over to www.imagineshop.co.uk for more details.

ot a new Nexus 7? Theres no better way to put it to use than by lling it with the best in digital magazines. Imagine Publishings

supersite www.greatdigitalmags.com offers over 100 high-quality magazines and books on topics from space to science ction, photography to Photoshop. The titles are available across all main magazine platforms including Google Play, on which Android Magazine is a permanent xture in the top 20 best sellers, as well as Amazon and iTunes. Every magazine is available at a substantially discounted price and is available to you 24/7. As well as Android Magazine you can nd a host of other popular titles, including the most recent addition to our sister publications, All About History.

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1A USB charger charger Included display stand Included 1.2m micro-USB data cable Light-up eyes indicate charging status Moveable arms

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Inside Androids most popular apps

Millionsellers WhitePages/ Caller ID


Downloads: 1mil-5mil Developer: WhitePages Launched: 2011 Price: Free Play store rating:

Keep an account of spam numbers

Find out who has called you recently

hitePages is a great source for nding specic people or businesses in your local area or while youre travelling. It links with Google Maps to provide a top location-based service letting you know the things that really matter to you in the area. Thanks to its success, the app has grown tenfold and there are now a series of add-ons and additional apps that link in with it. One of these is Current Caller ID, a unique app that can help mask your phone number when you dial and also help you uncover those pesky hidden numbers that call you. They may not be the ashiest of apps, but both WhitePages and Current Caller ID are well worth checking out.

Search for businesses in your area

Q&A with Lori Roth, Director of Mobile Products at WhitePages


How do WhitePages and Current Caller ID identify unknown numbers? Was it hard to implement? WhitePages is a leader in providing contact information for over 250 million people and businesses all over the world. Caller ID is a natural extension of WhitePages core business to help users identify unknown numbers. We like developing on the open Android platform which allows us to be innovative, but the biggest challenge was making the UI work across a variety of devices. Is there a limit to how many callers you can block within the app? There is no limit to the number of callers or texters you can block. Does Current Caller ID link to any social media pages? Yes, Current has the ability (with your consent) to connect to your Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter accounts. Currently our app will display social media updates, place of work and title, as well as local news and weather information, alongside a callers name and number when receiving or making a call or text. Current Caller ID also offers information and communication history with contacts. For example, how often do you really talk to your mum or your spouse. Both apps have done astoundingly well, are you surprised with the level of popularity? Customers have a need to be able to manage their communication on their mobile phones. We believe that Current Caller ID is a truly innovative app that provides people the ability to enhance and control their
With so many Android devices on sale at any given time, it is no surprise that manufacturers have taken to adopting new hardware features to try and differentiate their products from the rest. Some are gimmicks quickly dismissed, others are ahead of their time. Heres some of our favourites.

Reverse phone numbers to see who contacted you

communication with a clean, simple user interface, and that is what is driving the high amount of downloads. We do hear feedback from our users on how they have told family and friends about the app. Current Caller ID has more than four million downloads and over ve billion calls and texts made by users. What sort of features have you recently launched in your apps? We continuously receive feedback from our users on new features, and are always looking to improve upon our products and services. In our last release, we included Outgoing caller ID in Current Caller ID, which automatically identies a dialed number and displays the contacts latest social status or their local news and weather while placing an outgoing call, to further inform the

conversation. We found that over half (56 percent) of calls on the app are outgoing, according to user data. We also added Customized alerts where users now have the option to choose the size and content of the caller ID, including the contacts name, location and photo, as well as their most recent social media status on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, plus their weather, local time and details on their last communication. What is your personal favourite feature from either of the apps? Aside from identifying unknown calls and texts, I love being able to use Current Caller ID to connect my Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter accounts. Current helps me weed through all the social noise, so I can see at a glance what is happening with people Im about to call or text.

A brief history of

Android innovations
10

Fingerprint scanner
About to be popularised by Apple, but Motorola got there rst with the Atrix. The rear mounted scanner required a nger swipe and was clunky enough to not catch on.

3D
Both LG and HTC irted with 3D in phones and tablets a couple of years ago. It didnt take off, unsurprisingly, and is unlikely to be back any time soon.

Xbox Music vs the rest


As Microsofts new music service comes to Android, we test how it stacks up against All Access and Spotify

Imagine Publishing Ltd Richmond House, 33 Richmond Hill Bournemouth, Dorset, BH2 6EZ +44 (0) 1202 586200 Web: www.imagine-publishing.co.uk www.greatdigitalmags.com www.littlegreenrobot.co.uk

Magazine team
Editor Andy Betts
andy.betts@imagine-publishing.co.uk 01202 586254

Senior Staff Writer Oliver Hill


oliver.hill@imagine-publishing.co.uk 01202 586285 Sub Editor Philip Morris Art Editor Katie Peat Photographer James Sheppard Senior Art Editor Will Shum Editor in Chief Nick Jones Head of Publishing Aaron Asadi Head of Design Ross Andrews

fter a successful rst year, Microsoft has nally pushed out its Xbox Music subscription service to Android and iOS devices. The new app will enable users to listen, manage and access a vast library of tracks, while also syncing created playlists across different devices and the desktop version of the service. Users will also be able to sync their collection to the Xbox 360 and upcoming Xbox One games console to provide an even better music listening experience. For a successful transition across to the Android platform, Xbox Music will have to contend with strong competition from both the already-established Play Music All Access and Spotify services, both of which have enjoyed tremendous success since their launch on Android smartphones and tablets. With three viable options for music lovers out there, which one comes out on top?

Contributors
Christian Cawley, Sean Cooper, David Crookes, Steve Jenkins, Shaun McGill, Paul OBrien, Paul Rigby, Harry Slater, Sandra Vogel

Digital or printed media packs are available on request. Advertising Director Matthew Balch 01202 586437 matthew.balch@imagine-publishing.co.uk Head of Sales Hang Deretz 01202 586442 hang.deretz@imagine-publishing.co.uk Advertising Manager Jennifer Farrell 01202 586430 jennifer.farrell@imagine-publishing.co.uk Senior Account Manager Nick Marrow 01202 586419 nick.marrow@imagine-publishing.co.uk Android Magazine is available for licensing. Contact the International department to discuss partnership opportunities. Head of International Licensing Cathy Blackman +44 (0) 1202 586401 licensing@imagine-publishing.co.uk

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Head of Subscriptions Gill Lambert For all subscriptions enquiries 0844 245 6963 (UK) +44 (0) 1795 414 972 (Overseas) Email: android@servicehelpline.co.uk 13 issue subscription (UK) 51.90 (CC) 13 issue subscription (Europe) 65 13 issue subscription (ROW) 75

Which streaming service offers the best song selection and value?
Categories Tracks available Sound quality Ofine playback? Cost Xbox Music
30 million 192kbps No, this is online streaming only 8.99/$9.99

Xbox Music vs All Access vs Spotify


All Access
18 million 320kbps Yes, any song can be saved to your device 9.99/$9.99

Xbox Music boasts over 10 million more tracks than its rivals

Circulation

Head of Circulation Darren Pearce 01202 586200

Production Founders

Production Director Jane Hawkins 01202 586200 Group Managing Director Damian Butt Group Finance & Commercial Director Steven Boyd Group Creative Director Mark Kendrick

Printing & Distribution

Spotify
20 million 255kbps Yes, option to create ofine playlists included 9.99/$9.99

Printed by William Gibbons, 26 Planetary Road, Willenhall, West Midlands, WV13 3XT Distributed in the UK & Eire by Seymour Distribution, 2 East Poultry Avenue, London, EC1A 9PT 0207 429 4000 Distributed in Australia by Gordon & Gotch Corporate Centre, 26 Rodborough Road, Frenchs Forest, NSW 2086 +61 2 9972 8800 Distributed in the Rest of the World by Marketforce, Blue Fin Building, 110 Southwark Street, London, SE1 0SU 0203 148 8105

Disclaimer

And the winner is... All Access

All Access has only been around for a short amount of time, but it comes out on top in terms of sound quality and additional features

The publisher cannot accept responsibility for any unsolicited material lost or damaged in the post. All text and layout is the copyright of Imagine Publishing Ltd. Nothing in this magazine may be reproduced in whole or part without the written permission of the publisher. All copyrights are recognised and used speci cally for the purpose of criticism and review. Although the magazine has endeavoured to ensure all information is correct at time of print, prices and availability may change. This magazine is fully independent and not af liated in any way with the companies mentioned herein. If you submit material to Imagine Publishing via post, email, social network or any other means, you automatically grant Imagine Publishing an irrevocable, perpetual, royalty-free license to use the images across its entire portfolio, in print, online and digital, and to deliver the images to existing and future clients, including but not limited to international licensees for reproduction in international, licensed editions of Imagine products. Any material you submit is sent at your risk and, although every care is taken, neither Imagine Publishing nor its employees, agents or subcontractors shall be liable for the loss or damage.
Imagine Publishing Ltd 2013 ISSN 2047-1580m

Projector

Games console
Sonys Xperia Play was a good idea liked by the small number that bought it. But the low-end specs meant it wasnt good enough at its main job.

With the Galaxy Beam, Samsung produced a phone that was as odd as it was surprising. A full built-in projector enabled you to deliver ad-hoc PowerPoint presentations anywhere.

4K TVs are barely affordable yet, but 4K recording is now possible on devices like the Galaxy Note 3 or Acer S2. Keep plenty of SD cards on hand!

4K recording

11

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Visit us daily for news and more

1Live wallpapers
One of the simplest ways to change the look of your device is by adding your own live wallpaper. The stock variety of live wallpapers certainly look the part, but there are also hundreds of live wallpapers that can be downloaded from Google Play.

2 Exclusive features
The likes of the Samsung Galaxy S4 and Moto X include plenty of features that can make your device really stand out. For the most part, youll be able to nd close substitutes to these features through downloadable apps. Weve featured two of the Moto Xs exclusive features in our Tutorial section this month and shown you how to get them on any Android device.

3Moto Maker

Motorolas Moto Maker app enables users to customise the look, colour and overall design of their Moto X device. The level of detail is amazing and the app gives you full creative control. You can even set a replacement stock wallpaper before turning the device on!

10Hacking is key

Although for the most part youll nd many of the simpler customisations can be made without root access, hacking your phone is essential for changing certain aspects of your phone. Having a phone with root access will provide you with much more detailed and varied options.

a new 4Set launcher

9 Beautiful notications

One of the biggest customisations you can add to your phone is by installing an alternate launcher. Although the changes tend to be purely cosmetic, many of the bigger names include new features to explore. The likes of GO Launcher also come with a range of additional themes to download.

The Custom Notication app is a must for anyone looking to radically change how the drop-down notication menu works. You can edit the apps and shortcuts displayed, as well as choose a new design and colour schemes to really make it look different.

Device personalisation
7Android Daydream
Secretly hidden within the Display section of your phones settings, Daydream is a screen saver that appears when your phone is either idle or docked. Although that doesnt sound too exciting, it can be used in conjunction with a wide variety of third-party apps to provide different functionality.

things you need to know about...

5Create a widget
By having both a rm grasp of Java and the Android SDK, you can create a fairly basic widget that you can apply to your phone using the Eclipse program.

8Custom ringtones
Another simple customisation you can implement on any Android smartphone is by applying a custom ringtone. The stock ringtones arent too exciting, but any song thats stored on your device can instantly be set as your ringtone.

6Change fonts

If you own either a Samsung Galaxy S3, S4, Note or Note II, then make sure you download the iFont app. This app contains hundreds of alternative fonts to replace the default fonts on your phone. Youll need root access if you dont have one of those devices.

12

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MUST-HAVE MUSIC APPS

GALLERY OF...

4 1 Play Music
With an extensive library of tracks to purchase from its virtual store and the launch of its brilliant All Access subscription service, Googles Play Music app is well worth checking out to download and is currently the biggest challenger to Spotifys subscription crown. Price: Free

5 2 Deezer
What Deezer may lack in song selection it makes up for with great features. It offers unique ways to discover new music and an array of ways to share your favourite tracks with friends, without being overly complicated to use. Price: Free (subscription needed)

3 doubleTwist

Music Player

4 MixZing
MixZing aims to bring together the best features of other music apps into one package. There are a lot of options to tinker with your music and also any videos that are stored on your device, making it a great all-round package for users to download. Price: Free

5 Radio
In terms of internet radio apps, youll be hard pressed to nd anything better than what Rdio offers. There are thousands of radio stations on offer and you can even create a playlist of your favourites to listen to whenever you like. Price: Free

6 Spotify
Spotify has long been at the top of all the music streaming services available to Android users. Theres a massive array of tracks and artists available, alongside a great playlist creation feature that keeps it ahead of the rest of the pack. Price: Free (subscription needed)

If youve got a large number of songs stored on your phone or tablet, then doubleTwist is a great way of storing them in a simple, but well designed, layout which doesnt cut back on features that make it a pleasure to use. Price: Free

14

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Messages
Inside Android Magazines virtual mailbag

Letter of the

month

The writer of our Letter of the Month wins an Andru USB charger courtesy of www.salom.co.uk

Converted to Nexus

ve been a Samsung Galaxy fan for some time now. Having owned an S II and then a Note II, I assumed that I would be sticking with the brand for the foreseeable future. When I read the review of these devices and the more recent S4 I didnt agree with the main criticisms. I have no problem with their design, and the plastic casing is irrelevant to me since I put the phone in a case as soon as I buy it. I also like TouchWiz. Sometimes I felt as though I was the only person in the world who did, or at least the only person willing to admit it in public. But I think it looks nice and the apps are good. Any bits that I dont need I just ignore. But then I bought a new Nexus 7 tablet. This is my rst experience of what people refer to as Vanilla Android, and its quite an eye opener. At rst I found it a bit sparse. The understated interface and relative lack of apps made it seem as though I was getting far less for my money than I did with Samsung. Yet very quickly the speed and stability, the lack of clutter and the fact that all my apps rst or third-party looked and worked in the same way began to grow on me. It was unexpectedly refreshing to have a tablet that

would only do what I wanted. Now I look at my Note II and all I can see are those showy graphics and cluttered screens with more options than I know what to do with. The result is Im now a full-on Nexus convert, and expect to be swapping my Note for a new

Nexus phone in the autumn, and will be avoiding any skinned Android devices in future. Ian Case We say: So which do you prefer? The clean design of Vanilla Android or a custom skin? Are you a fan of TouchWiz or Sense? Let us know!

No sympathy for the High Street

On 25th August I went down to my local Currys store to either buy or reserve a newNexus 7 secondgeneration 32GBwireless,which was tobelaunched on the 28th August. Having read all the reviews on the web and noted the price of 199 for the 16GB and 239 for the 32GB I was amazed to see them priced up in the store at 299 and 339! The salesman explained these priceswerecorrect even though their web store price was a 100 less. I

found it interesting that other tablets were selling instore at the same price as their website, for example, Samsungs latest Tab 3 and Note 8 series were matched. While I appreciate that staff wages are a factor in High Street stores, these prices are a complete rip-off. I insteadplaced an order with Ebuyer at 239 and next day delivery! How can they justify such high retail prices in todays world? John Wellock We say: You do have to shop around before buying your much-vaunted gadgets these days, as prices can vary massively from one store to another. Let us know of any great bargains youve picked up or any rip-offs youve spotted.

Let us know of any great bargains youve picked up

Im back on Android!

Android tablet gets plenty of automatic updates when I do something on my mobile device. My only worry is at what point will I nd that I will not get any further After spending a lot of time using Android updates. While Jelly Bean 4.1.2 Android phones and tabs, I did something bad I tried Windows 8 and from Sony is likely to be followed by an Apple. It was time for a phone contract update, how long before I nd myself like the poor guys with an HTC One S. It renewal and a new phone. I went for a HTC Windows phone running version 8. is a real shame that there is no sort of guarantee that you will get updates for It was difcult to get on with so I tried a set period of time. an iPhone 4S.Another bad move, it just was not me.Now I am back. I have Kevin Belsey a Sony Xperia SP. It is great to be back with Jelly Bean, so easy to do We say: Weve long felt that devices everything and thanks to Google my should get a guaranteed number of

16

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Send us your thoughts on all things Android

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updates, although the reality is many users outside of the enthusiasts neither know nor care what version of Android theyre on, so there isnt a great enough clamour for updates when they are not forthcoming.

We say: Excellent tip, Paul. Well be looking at some of the other hacks you can do on an OUYA console in future issues.

Rooting OUYA

Security tip

running. Backup and all. Just make sure everyone ticks the remote access settings in the menu. It could get you out of hot water one day. Stephen Lowe We say: Android Device Manager is certainly a tool every Android owner should be using. Check out our big security feature starting on page 20 for more top tips on how you can keep your phone and data safe.

Just read your article in issue 29 regarding rooting an OUYA. You mention that each OTA removes Superuser/root. There is a solution to this available from an XDA dev which uses the Xposed framework. It does also require the ClockworkMod recovery to be installed. It works by adding the les/ apk for root to the system update zip, which invalidates the sig and is why CWM is needed as this enables you to force the upgrade. The mod also has several other features and they can be found in detail over at http://bit. ly/1dUW4Jr. Paul

I locked myself out of my phone using a security app. The Dev was unhelpful but what got me out of hot water was a fully backed up phone and Android Device Manager. I sent a wipe code and ten minutes later was back up and

ADM is a tool every Android owner should be using


We say: We are aware of this so-called Wii that you refer to, but the hardcore gamers on the team decided it doesnt count so chose to ignore it.

No love for Wii?!

TRENDING
Let us know your thoughts on these hot topics

OUYA has quickly become a hackers favourite

In issue 28 you had a timeline of the last 20 years of mobile and console gaming. I had to smile at the 2005 sector where you stated that the PS3 and Xbox 360 fought for dominance no mention of the Nintendo Wii which launched that year and went on to annihilate both of them! Please do your research better in future I expect better of you. Anthony B

What is your all-time favourite app? Are OS updates important to you? What is the main use for your phone?
Get in touch! qa@littlegreenrobot.co.uk

PixelArtFactory

Secure your phone

Feature

Cloud security may have its detractors, but that doesnt mean you should shun it

Cloud and wireless security


It would therefore be silly to have blind faith in cloud services. Flaws in security procedures do happen. Yet you should not shun them. You just need to use intelligence and ensure that the information you upload isnt of such sensitivity that you would be over upset if it was somehow compromised. Frequent difcult-tocrack password changes are another answer. The same concerns relate to wireless features too. Near eld communication (NFC) is becoming more popular. It operates at a range of a few centimetres and it will enable contactless payments and closerange data exchange between devices. You will be able to sign in to secure networks to identify yourself. With sensitive data owing, surely this would be as dangerous as cloud computing? Only it is not: a hacker would have to be extremely close to you to be able to get hold of the data, given the short range. Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are far more precarious, which is why you should never divulge important information over unsecured networks (such as those in coffee shops) and keep your Bluetooth functionality off when you dont need it.

here are many cloud storage services available. Google Drive, Dropbox, Microsofts SkyDrive, Amazon Cloud and Apples iCloud are only a small number. They enable you to save documents, photos, videos and many other les on remote servers, giving you access to them on multiple devices and letting you keep backups of your most-important data. They are not entirely watertight, however. In the same way that you put your life in the hands of a pilot when boarding a plane, you are trusting your data with something you have never seen, and problems do arise. Security experts Kaspersky blogged, No cloud-based storage system is completely secure and we have seen accounts being compromised. In 2012, Dropbox found a stolen password was used to access an employee account that contained a project document containing user email addresses, for example. And Google Drive may now have 128-bit Advanced Encryption Standard on all data uploaded, but some have pointed to the log-in system it only needs your Google account details. So if someone gets hold of your credentials, they can access your les too.

Dropbox is a great way to store documents, just be sensible with what you upload

Google Drive provides an impressive 128-bit Advanced Encryption Standard on all uploaded data

Creating secure passwords

Two-step verification
A good way to protect your data is through a password that is difcult to crack, but why stop there? With two-step verication, you get an extra layer of security, so not only do you have a password but a security code that will either be

The perfect solution when a password just isnt enough


generated by a mobile authenticator app on your Android device or by text to your phone. While you can tell the service not to ask for the code again on the device you have set it up on, it will be asked for on other devices if someone tries to log in via a password alone.

LastPass
Claiming to protect against malware and phishing scams, LastPass costs $12 a year and lets you log in to websites with a single tap on your device.

Set up 2-step verication with Twitter

RoboForm
Storing passwords, credit cards and other information on your device rather than the cloud, it makes lling in forms far easier and more secure.

Two-step verication is available for a host of apps from Google to Dropbox and now Twitter. Tap the Me icon and then the Settings gear icon. Now tap Settings, then your name.

Go to Settings

Tap on the Security option. You need a conrmed email with your Twitter account. Verify, then tap Login verication. Conrm, then store the code safely. It is needed to access the account.

Log in verication

19

Secure your phone

Feature

It may well be on the rise, but how can you avoid these bugs?

Malware

ccording to security company McAfee, the amount of malicious software developed to target Android devices grew by 35 per cent between April and June this year. It added more than 17,000 Android samples to its database and it says that it has collected almost as many mobile samples in the rst six months of this year than in the whole of 2012 put together. Whats worse, BT reckons a third of Android apps contain malware. It makes for frightening reading and it appears to be ammunition for those iPhone owners who say their devices are malware-free. After all, when you consider that SMS-intercepting banking malware is getting

Millions of users are not being plagued by viruses, so while the danger is growing, it is still affecting only a small percentage
Android bugs and scams
Ransomware

around two-step authentication beware of Android/ FakeDropper.A and Android/FakeBank.A and that adult entertainment software is hiding malware and leading to spamming, then you can see the developers of such software are going after all markets. Spyware and targeted Trojans are being hidden in what appear to be legitimate apps and much of this is because Android is such an open operating system. A major plus of Android is therefore also something of a downside. By making it easier to create an app for the Android operating system by removing any type of verication system, it is opening up opportunities for a new breed of cyber criminals to deliver devastating results, among them ransomware. But when you consider that the market share of Android in the UK alone is 56.2 per cent, you have to expect an element of targeting. At the same time, millions of users are not being plagued by viruses, so while the danger is growing, it is still affecting only a small percentage of users. Bear in mind, too, that antivirus companies can sometimes overstate a case since they are selling a product that acts as the solution. Wireless industry analyst Roger Entner, of Recon Analytics, says they are frequently offering a vaccine to a virus that they are making themselves and saying this could be out there.

Screen grab needed change phone

Tips for avoiding malware


Six simple ways to keep your phone or tablet protected
Keep updating. If you can push your device to the latest version of Android, then do so. For example, Jelly Bean will alert you if an SMS is being sent to a premium testing service. Install antivirus software. As long as you select an app from Google Play from a company you recognise, you will get peace of mind with a package that scans your device for issues. How popular is the app? Has it been downloaded thousands of times but with no reviews? Scammers will articially inate the number of downloads to get it ranked higher.

These rogue apps lock Android


devices and the only way to unlock them is to get your wallet out. Pop-up dialog boxes and notications will keep appearing if you do not pay.

Phishing
Since many people use their Android devices to manage their nances, phishing attempts try and extract personal details and log-ins to gain access. Sometimes users are tricked into installing malware.

Fake apps
Fake BBM Android apps keep cropping up on Google Play but they are just the tip of the iceberg. Fake Angry Birds and Cut The Rope apps used premium rate text messages to defraud customers of 27,850.

Check app reviews. Be sceptical and read reviews. Over-positive reviews should set off alarm bells. Reviews that make mention of viruses are a godsend; avoid these apps like the plague.

Stick to Google Play. Malware developers do target Google Play, but they target third-party marketplaces more. Rogue apps are better spotted and agged up in Google Play.

Check permissions. What is the app actually looking to do and how far-reaching are the permissions? Question exactly why the app you are downloading may need certain access.

20

Secure your phone

Feature

We put three of the market-leading antivirus apps to the test


Mobile Security & Antivirus Norton Security antivirus

Antivirus head-to-head
Lookout Security & Antivirus

Scan your device to ensure it is clean of any malware and viruses with an antivirus package. We look at three of the most popular and put them through their paces by comparing them over ve different categories. Which will come out on top?

specification Price Free


Designed for: Phone and tablet Requires Android: 2.1

specification Price Free


Designed for: Phone and tablet Requires Android: 2.1

specification Price Free


Designed for: Phone and tablet Requires Android: Varies with device

This Avast app wanted us to upgrade to Premium straight away. We decided to stay free and it got on with the task, scanning 59 objects in 1.42 minutes.

It took a few taps before we got to the scan. It was incredibly quick (148 les in just 23 seconds). SD cards can be scanned too.

You can have two devices connected for free. Scanning 148 installed apps took more than four minutes to throw up the same results as the two other apps.

ANTI-VIRUS

If a virus breaks and ruins your device, we want to call on a backup. Selecting Backup took us to Google Play and prompted us to install avast! Mobile Backup for free.

Backup is a paid-for feature. It also brings web protection and registration for multiple devices, but that did not help us here.

Again, Backup is for premium users, giving photo and call history backup, as well as restoring or transferring data to a new device. It will back up Google contacts for free.

BACK UP

Avast lets you track down your device, placing it on a map and giving you the ability to lock it, activate a siren or wipe it clean. You can also be told if the SIM has been changed.

Having forced us to sign in or create an account, it takes us to the screen that asks us to upgrade to the full version to get this feature.

Like Avast, this is free. You can make a lost device scream, locate it in a browser, save its location before the battery runs out, wipe it, lock it and take a photo.

PROTECT APPS

ANTI-THEFT

By locking apps, you can better protect them from prying eyes. Avast enables you to lock any of the apps on your device simply by tapping it and entering a pin.

Unfortunately the free version is rather cut down and so there is no ability to password lock apps. It does not appear in the upgrade either.

Lookout does not have password protection of apps as a feature either. Its a shame because it adds another layer of security and helps to tailor access on your device.

When you tap on Application Management, you are able to see information about each app including the permissions they are granted to access.

Unfortunately, there is no privacy advisor. It is not available as a premium feature but it will block unwanted calls and text messages.

To see the apps which access private information including location, contacts, SMS and MMS data, you will need to upgrade to the full package, but it does exist.

PRIVACY

MOBILE SECURITY & ANTIVIRUS

And the winner is...

Given these companies have free apps, we wanted to test them without having to pay, and it was close between Avasts offering and Lookout. For us, the speed and clarity of Mobile Security & Antivirus edged it and we loved its password protection and SIM-change notication features. 21

Secure your phone

Feature

Helping you understand what app permissions really do


hen you download and install apps, you get a list of permissions requesting access to certain features on your smartphone. There are dozens of them and they appear for both legitimate and illegitimate apps. However, some people believe that you are essentially allowing the developer to spy on you.

Making sense of privacy issues


With legitimate apps, this is not the case. The permissions are vital for the smooth running of an app. For example, if an app has a share function, it may want to access your contacts to make this feature work well. But you need to be wary of the permissions you are granting and work out whether an app is asking for access that appears suspect. A third of apps ask for features they shouldnt. But dont be too scathing of all apps that want access to features you would rather they didnt. Some inexperienced developers merely tick a load of boxes they dont understand. It may ask for a particular permission but there are cases where the app doesnt follow through with access.

Get to know the acceptable and dubious uses of common app permissions

When permissions go bad


Permission Read contacts Make phone calls Modify/delete SD card contents Read social stream Write secure settings Your location

Good
As well as being able to auto-ll contact details in an app, allowing the reading of contacts can also be useful for apps that need quick-dial or that have share functions.

Bad
Any app that has access to your list of contacts will be able to harvest email addresses, which it could then use to spam each person in your list.

Both Google Now and Google Maps will want to be able to make phone calls using their voice activation functions. Similar apps will want to do the same thing.

Some rogue apps have been known to call premium rate services. They can hide the whole call process from you so you would not know.

Apps may want to use the extra space on your SD card to save media. Many camera apps, word processors and video apps will want to do this for convenience.

If an app can modify or delete from your SD card, then they could install viruses. All apps that work on Android 1.5 and below have this activated by default.

Since most of us are on social networks these days, a cottage industry of apps has grown around them. Some of them need access to your social stream in order to work.

But be aware of what these apps can pick up. What if they nd out personal details that can answer questions when accessing other accounts?

Google apps will ask to do this and thats good because it will be ensuring that the settings are suitably watertight for the processes the app will want to carry out.

The fact that only rst-party apps can do this should set alarm bells ringing if you see this. You may well see it appear if you have a rooted phone.

A maps app may well want to know where you are. Similarly, any app that recommends places of interest in your area will want to know your location.

An app may want to bombard you with locationbased ads or gather data on your movements. It can give developers info you may not want them to have.

Constantly plagued by unwanted callers? Heres how to stop them


We all get them. Blocked calls. A call from someone who we dont know and wont let you know. With Android, it is possible to block unwanted callers from reaching you and it is also possible to prevent numbers you do know from calling too. There are many apps on the Play store that will let you do this. They will also enable you to block SMS spammers too. But while you may want the exibility of an app, you can also perform the task via the phone itself by going to Phone>Menu>Call settings>Call rejection and then selecting the Auto reject list. Tick the box next to the numbers you want to block or add some of your own. You can also prevent nuisance emails from reaching you. Within Gmail, for example, there is an option for you to select Report Spam on any email that has come through that you deemed a nuisance. It will then be blocked from arriving in the future.

Block callers and SMS spammers

You can put a stop to nuisance calls with ease

22

Secure your phone

Feature

Are apps leaking your data?


Download Clueful to nd out once and for all what your apps are up to in the background

ot all apps work for the common good. Some developers are choosing to grab data that you may be blissfully unaware of. Angry Birds, for example, wants to know your location

even though it works perfectly well if you deny it that ability. Apps want to access all kinds of things. Some can leak your unique device identier, others want to monitor phone calls or track your location

in the background. To get a grip on what is being leaked, were going to use the app Clueful. It gives you clear pointers regarding the security risk of various apps installed on your device.

Download Clueful from Google Play. Its free and needs Android 2.1 or above. When launched, it will give you your privacy score out of 100. It will also list high, moderate and low-risk apps.

Privacy score

Tap on each of the categories to see just why each app is deemed a risk. Any points in red indicate high risk, orange equals moderate and green gives you no issues to worry about.

Go to Settings

If you dont like what you are seeing with one of your apps, then you can choose to dislike it or uninstall it. This way, you can quickly clean up your Android device in no time at all.

Dislike or uninstall

Online security

Secure apps
Browse the web and check your email privately
Such happenings affect the UK as well, with The Guardian saying GCHQ has a vast program of tapping bre-optic cables in the UK and is therefore collecting lots of data. Bigger forces are at work. Perhaps the answer is to switch away from the larger companies products to open source alternatives. You have to be careful which ones since some could be by rogue developers and youll be jumping from one ame to another, but there are certainly great alternatives (see two options to the right) that will not be spying on you and sending data back to the government. Then again, if all you do is fairly innocuous, you shouldnt be afraid.

How private is the internet? Recent news says its not


oogle hit the headlines when it told the world that it should not expect privacy when sending emails to a Gmail address. With 425 million users, billions of emails are sent to such addresses every year, so for the search engine giant to make such an admission prompting John Simpson, Consumer Watchdogs privacy project director to say, Google has nally admitted it doesnt respect privacy draws a question over our levels of online security. It has come at a time when news emerged that many tech companies were taking part in the National Security Agencys clandestine PRISM surveillance program in the US. Google, Yahoo, Facebook and Microsoft were allegedly said to have been paid millions of dollars for taking part.

InBrowser - Incognito Browsing


Browse the internet with complete anonymity. InBrowser does not save any of your data.

But there are certainly great alternatives that will not be spying on you

my Secure Mail
The subject of online security is very newsworthy at present

This app has TLS and SSL support and the ability to pull in a host of different email accounts.

23

Secure your phone

Feature

Remotely secure your smartphone


T
here are a plethora of security features you can use to successfully secure your phone, many of which can be found in the Security page on any Android phone. Unless youve been keeping a really close eye on your device, you may have missed the new Android Device Manager feature that has been side-loaded by Google onto any Android device running Android 2.2 or higher. This feature can potentially locate and remotely wipe your phone when lost or stolen, without the need for a third-party app. By enabling the new feature, and then going to the ofcial Android Device Manager webpage on any browser, you can track down and control your smartphone, including doing a remote factory rest of it. Although remotely wiping your phone may seem a bit extreme, it can save a random person gaining access to sensitive data on your device. Android Device Manager is fairly well hidden on your device, but with this tutorial, youll be up to speed in no time.

Use a combination of your phones security settings alongside Android Device Manager to locate and remotely wipe your phone if lost

Youll nd the Android Device Manager hidden deep within the various settings and toggles on your Android smartphone. Open up the Settings menu and scroll half way down the main page until you nd the Security tab. Open it once youve located it.

Open Settings

Although the layout of the Security section is different depending on which Android OS update your phone is running, youll rst need to locate the Device administrators option. Once selected, you should see the Android Device Manager feature listed within.

Search through Security

Similar to how an app is installed on your phone, youll be able to read through what the Android Device Manager actually involves and the effects it will have on your phone. After youve read through the guide, press on the Activate option located at the bottom.

Activate Device Manager

Go to android.com/devicemanager on any web browser and log in to the Google account linked with your smartphone. Google Maps will load, as well as a box displaying your devices general details. It should look to connect to your phone immediately.

Sign in and locate

Although it may take a few minutes to complete, the browser will soon locate your smartphone and pinpoint in on its location. If its a simple case of you losing your phone, you can select the Ring device option from the menu to see if the device is nearby.

Locate and ring

24

Secure your phone

Feature

If youre worried that your device may have actually been stolen, you can also use the Remote Wipe option from the menu. This will automatically connect to your phone and wipe the phones contents, but not data stored on any connected micro SD cards.

Remotely wipe data

Troubleshooting Android Device Manager

If ADM cant locate your smartphone, follow these tips

If you choose to remotely wipe your phone, and then manage to get your hands back on your device, youll be sent a password via email that Google has created for you to gain access back to it. Use this password when you turn your phone on for the rst time.

Putting it back together

After activating the Android Device Manager feature from within the Device administrators screen, open up the Google Settings app and select the Android Device Manager option listed right at the bottom of the apps available to you.

Google Settings app

Youll now be shown two options regarding locating and wiping your smartphone. If youre having trouble locating your phone through ADM, then make sure the top option is checked. You should also check the bottom option if you intend to wipe your phone.

Tick necessary boxes

Due to the remote wipe, you may need to activate the Android Device Manager option once again. You may also need to link it with your primary Google account again, so go in to the Google Settings app, and select the Android Device Manager to do so.

Set it up again

The next step will be to clear any data and devices associated with the Android Device Manager. Open up the Settings menu again, navigate to the Apps section and select the Google Play services app from the list provided in front of you.

Activate Device Manager

The Clear data option is listed halfway down the page and by choosing this any data associated with the ADM will be removed. The process can take a while to complete, but once nished, you can boot up ADM again and your phone should be located.

Clear data

25

Hottest phones & gadgets

Feature

ANDROIDS A DS ST HOTTEST P ES & PHONES GADG 2013 GADGETS


Phablets, smartwatches and agship phones. We take a look at the hottest kit heading your way soon

his year we are being swamped with upcoming and maturing technologies that are making an immediate impact upon our mobile life. Big screens, in fact, very big screens, have dominated the phone sector, forming a whole sub-genre of their own: the phablet. Expect even larger screens in the near future. Then theres 4G. Future phones and tablets will all feature it. With mobile carriers increasing their 4G capacity every month, Vodafone made some signicant announcements recently, it makes sense for phone manufacturers to take advantage. NFC (near eld communications) has got off to a slow start but expect to see it within a wide range of products from the end of the year. Theres also plenty of renements. Expect to see thinner and lighter mobile products, and larger tablets. Weve already seen 12-inch and 20-inch models. Theres more to come. Oh, and expect to see big improvements in the mini-tablet sector, with better screens, faster speeds and more ergonomic designs.

Hottest phones & gadgets

Feature

BEST NEW PHONES

SONY XPERIA Z1

hose looking for a high-end camera within their mobile device should look no further than the intriguing Xperia Z1. Sporting a mighty 20.7-megapixel image sensor, plus a top spec G lens and a Bionz image processing chip, this phone will full a massive range of photography duties. Apparently, the sensor and the glass it includes have been enlarged a touch, making it a good performer in low light conditions. It will also provide an accurate method of recording documents and other lifestyle ephemera as an augmented reality recorder, along with image critical services such as accessing QR codes for those who like to get to grips with the latest technology and features. Like its predecessor, the Xperia Z, you can also spill your beer on the chassis without howling at the moon in despair because Sony has waterproofed it. In fact, you can submerge the phone in 1.5 metres of water for up to 30 minutes. Tripping up and launching that coffee all over your phone doesnt have to be the traumatic experience it once was. At launch, the phone will be running Android 4.2.2. A shame because it is not the most recent version (4.3 as we write this) but an update is on its way, according to Sony. Despite the rather square chassis shape, this glass front and back design is attractive, while the single piece, milled aluminium bezel band gives the phone a sense of elegance. The new design enhancements add a subtle touch of luxury while the supercharged specications will ensure that it will without doubt compete for a top-of-the-league place for a long time to come.

Sony Xperia Z1
Price range 600 Best for Photos, all weather use and video Consider if You enjoy photography Internet browsing Live on a boat Upgrade from Xperia Z | Samsung S III | HTC One X

SONY XPERIA Z1 SPECS SCREEN UPDATES VALUE


Quad-core 2.2GHz CPU, 20.7-megapixel camera and 16GB of internal memory Five-inch display with 1080p resolution utilising Bravia TV-level technology Sony is being a little vague on OS update timing Concentrates on offering superb hardware, at a premium

SAMSUNG GALAXY S4
Quad-core 1.9GHz CPU, 13-megapixel camera and up to 64GB of internal storage Same size screen, offering 1080p magic via its Super AMOLED technology Expect to see an Android 4.3 update in October Features everything but the kitchen sink

VERDICT
The Z1 is a powerhouse with a big battery to back it up In short, the Xperia Z1 has a crisper display Samsung is on the ball in terms of updates The S4 squeezes the lot into its svelte chassis

LG G2 L
The G2 is a large phone with a high-quality, HD screen. Offering an edge-to-edge display and a high-power quad-core CPU running at 2.26GHz, it can access 2GB of RAM. Note, the G2 uses a faster memory than a Samsung S4 that should be reected in performance. The featured camera is also powerful, sporting 13 megapixels, optical image stabilisation and an anti-ngerprint sapphire glass lens. The controls for the phone are situated around the rear of the chassis. Best for: Power-hungry apps and video play Consider if: You dont get on with the standard Android button interface

Asus Fonepad Note 6 A


Built around a six-inch, Super IPS+ LCD screen, this dual-core phablet is based upon an Intel Atom Z2580 with Hyperthreading and a glossy plastic chassis that holds an eight-megapixel camera plus a 1.2 megapixel, front-facing, camera. Video fans will be pleased to see stereo speakers positioned in the landscape viewing position. Arriving with either 16GB or 32GB of memory, the Asus comes complete with a stylus to control the interface, similar to the phablets that make up the Galaxy Note series. The included 2GB of RAM will also give you a decent amount of power when necessary. Best for: Stylus fans Consider if: You watch lots of videos

Oppo N1
The new Oppo will feature a phablet-sized 5.9-inch screen and a 16-megapixel camera offering a choice of zooms up to 15x, with an N-lens and Pure Image optics. Best for: Photography and web browsing Consider if: You need exible multimedia facilities

New Nexus
Rumoured to arrive with 4G and Android 4.4, the Nexus 5 will apparently feature a Snapdragon 800 CPU, plus a 1080p display along with features such as NFC support. Best for: Power apps and HD video play Consider if: Youre looking for a Googlecentric device that will offer a featurepacked, but cost-effective, price

ZTE Blade V Z
Offering a basic, four-inch WVGA screen, Android 4.1, long battery life and 2GB of storage, the Blade V offers a low-priced option to enter the quad-core, smartphone world. Best for: You are on a budget Consider if: You want to dip your big toe into the smartphone pool

27

Hottest phones & gadgets


S Pen

Feature

PHABLETS: THE NEW GENERATION

SAMSUNG GALAXY NOTE 3


amsung has taken a serious look at the Galaxy Note and tweaked it to perfection, paying attention to the look and feel of this phablet by adding a soft, leather-look and replaceable panel to the rear chassis. Arriving with Android 4.3, an enlarged, crisp and clear 5.7-inch screen offers plenty of space to access the myriad of functions that are packed into the device, while video play is especially enjoyable as the Note 3 features a higher resolution than the Note 2 (386 pixels per inch as opposed to 264ppi). The Note 3s meaty quad-core processor will push around those images easily, while the internal 32GB or 64GB storage should provide plenty of elbowroom. If not, a featured SD card slot promises more storage space. The inclusion of the S Pen enables you to hand write notes, add comments to a screen-captured image, utilise the devices search facilities and trigger access to one of eight S Pen app icons by doing nothing more than drawing a box anywhere on the screen. Fans of photography will also be happy to use the built-in 13-megapixel camera that includes auto-focus and Smart Stabilisation to help reduce blurred pictures.

Despite the increasing use of natural nger touchscreen interfaces, there is still a demand for a stylus-pointed device from users with large ngers or those who nd touching a screen unnatural

Lights, camera, action!

The built-in exible camera is also capable of producing high-quality, 1080p video running at 60 frames per second, while the included CRI LED ash will improve low-light photography

Design touches

The addition of the leather-look chassis gives the Note 3 a classy, almost journal-like presentation. Such a civilised make-over adds a note of respectability to the phablet concept

GALAXY NOTE 3 VS ACER LIQUID S2 VS XPERIA Z ULTRA


Note 3
Spec
Running a 1.9GHz quad-core CPU, 3GB of RAM, up to 64GB of storage with different other variants also available to users, 13-MP camera and a 5.7-inch screen (386ppi).

Acer Liquid S2
Spec
Features a 2.2GHz quad-core CPU, 2GB RAM, 16GB storage (not expandable), 13-MP camera with 4K video recording and a six-inch screen (367ppi).

Xperia Z Ultra
Spec
Also offering a 2.2GHz quad-core CPU, 2GB RAM, 16GB storage and an 8-MP camera, the 6.4-inch screen holds just 344ppi, which is well below its rivals.

Design
The chassis spans 151.2 x 79.2 x 8.3mm, weighs 168g and is controlled via touch and the included S Pen stylus. The round-edged, larger chassis features a touchscreen and spans 168 x 86 x 9mm but its weight is currently unknown. The large, squared chassis spans a bulky 179.4 x 92.2mm but is svelte in thickness at 6.5mm while weighing 212g.

Features
Android 4.3, plus barometer and humidity sensors, full media players and editors and free Dropbox storage. Android 4.2, basic sensors and audio/video players are included. Individual oating app windows is a highlight. Arriving with the Android 4.2 OS installed, the basic sensor array is topped by excellent audio and video play features.

Price
Samsung has yet to reveal a price, but expect a premium gure around 600. Typical tariffs are free from 47/month. No price information is forthcoming from Acer, as yet, but expect a premium price for this large format phablet design. At last, a denite price! And exact too. At 612.99, the Z Ultra is another premium priced phablet handset.

VERDICT:
Despite being challenged on individual features, the Samsung Note 3 provides more features, better performance and a lighter, compact user experience

28

Hottest phones & gadgets

Feature

SMARTWATCHES

AMAZING INNOVATIONS
sensible idea. One has to ask, though, is the current crop of new devices a truly serious attempt to attract that mass market or are they proof of concept designs: platforms for the live testing of a new array of subminiature technologies? After looking carefully at each model, the latter is more likely. The designs are still too large which means that only a niche audience will be interested, compatibility with phone models is generally limited at the moment and voice-activated features are not available. The age of the smartwatch will arrive, its just not quite here yet.

martwatches are not new. Older designs have been capable of playing video, taking pictures and making phone calls without a smartphone connection. None of the earlier designs ever caught on, largely because they were too big. The market for a smartwatch is now seen as viable because of recent technological advances in Bluetooth Low Energy, low-power screens and curved glass with improved battery performance. Voice activated searches have also reached a usable maturity, while push notications make regular monitoring of a wrist-based device a

Qualcomm Toq Samsung Galaxy G l G Gear


To be used as a partner device with Galaxy Android products, the Gear uses a 1.63-inch Super AMOLED, 320 x 320 display and a 800MHz Exynos CPU offering 512MB of RAM. Youll also nd a 1.9-MP camera, speaker, microphone and 4GB internal storage with a days battery use between charges. Using a low-power Mirasol screen, the Toq uses power at the same rate as an Amazon Kindle meaning that time between charges should reach several days. WiPower technology means that you can drop it on a charging pad to charge wirelessly. Other features include an unused mic and accelerometer.

Sony SmartWatch 2
The SmartWatch 2 features a 1.6-inch screen packing in a 220 x 176 display set within an aluminium body, plus a micro USB charging facility. There is no microphone, camera or speakers available but there is NFC and Bluetooth with a reported three-tofour day battery life between charges.

SONY QX100

CAMERA ACCESSORIES

THE eREADER SMARTPHONE

B T
his camera lens, featuring minimal controls, ts onto just about any smartphone via an adjustable clip while featuring both NFC and Wi-Fi for connectivity purposes. Actually a stand-alone camera, using the same sensor seen in the high-end Sony RX100 II compact camera, the QX100 includes a one-inch Exmor-R CMOS 20-MP sensor, plus a 3.6x optical zoom used via the freely available Play Memories Mobile app. Battery life spans 110 minutes in use.

ALCATEL ONE TOUCH HERO AND E-INK CASE

ased upon a phablet design showing a six-inch screen that is still smaller than the Acer Liquid S2, the styluscontrolled Hero sports a 1.5GHz quad-core CPU and 8GB of internal storage. Intriguingly, it also arrives with an E-Ink cover that connects to the phone via a series of pins. This second screen will enable you to read text and browse basic information using information provided by the phone. This gadget will certainly reduce eye strain.

29

Hottest phones & gadgets

Feature

GET READY FOR ANDROID KITKAT


What can you expect from the next version of Android?

he notion of product placement is a common one within movies, TV shows and music videos, while sponsors can be seen plastering their logos over everything from football stadia to taxi cabs. That a commercial enterprise should lend its name to an operating system, however, is a distinct novelty. You may be surprised to hear that a range of KitKat bars will be produced bearing the Android robot and offering a range of freebies such as a free Nexus 7 of Google Play credit. Surprising but not quite choc horror. Android, in fact, has just passed a noted one billion activations. As such, the OS has never been so popular. Slated for a release in late October or early November 2013, the latest iteration of the new operating system may prove to be the wisest move that Google has or, indeed, hasnt made for some time. That is, it has resisted releasing version 5.0 of Android (widely assumed to have been called Key Lime Pie). Why? Because 5.0 would, we can predict, have included ructions within the Android fraternity, triggering major overhauls of the entire operating system. The effect would have been to leave older and less powerful devices even further behind while certain Android-based brands would take a long time to get around to updating their hardware. The dreaded fragmentation issue would thus be further exacerbated. As Todd McKinnon, CEO and founder of Okta, a startup that helps corporations manage log-ins and identity, conrmed with some measure of

Android KitKat will rene current features

frustration and exasperation: You have, rst of all, about six major versions of the platform. Then you have, beyond that, minor versions that are forks and congurations You have different resolution devices, small screens, massive screens. Instead, if this new iteration is any indication, Google has decided to give Android hardware outts more time to catch up with the rest by only improving those aspects of the Android operating system that are already currently present within the OS. Enhancing what is already there. To back up this move, Google has just published

You have about six major versions of the platform different resolution devices, small screens, massive screens
Todd McKinnon, Okta
fragmentation gures that do appear to add strength to the argument. For example, almost half of activated Android devices now run Googles most recent Android version, Jelly Bean. 43.1 per cent, in fact, are on the Jelly Bean OS, signicantly up from last months37.9 per cent. Of the rest, 30.7 per cent are on Gingerbread, down from 34.1 per cent last month and the older Ice Cream Sandwich is down to 21.7 per cent. And none too soon, it appears. According to a recent study based on data by the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Android devices are more at risk of getting malware, putting ofcial government agencies using that system in a vulnerable position. In fact, the test came up with some intriguing numbers: 79 per cent of attacks of this kind observed during the study happened on Android devices. This was in conjunction with a very small 0.7 per cent for iOS phones and 0.3 per cent for both Windows Mobile and BlackBerry. The much-maligned fragmentation issue across such a wide array of Android devices is, therefore, an important issue which version 4.4 of Android should go some way to diminish.

WHY YOU SHOULD BE EXCITED ABOUT ANDROID 4.4

Reports say that the KitKat upgrade will use the Linux 3.8 kernel instead of the current 3.4 issue. This will mean that the new operating system variant should provide a lower memory footprint with improved multitasking support to boot. The latest Android OS should appear within the new Nexus mobile phone, the Nexus 5. Expect to see announcements of older Nexus OS upgrades to follow, shortly after. The Nexus phones always receive the Android OS upgrades rst. Low-powered devices should be able to run Android 4.4, which will be good for older phones and tablets. This will also

mean that Google is putting effort into helping correct Androids fragmentation problems.

2
30

4 5

Dont expect to see mind-blowing features within 4.4. Do expect to see upgraded and enhanced features to your current OS though. Targets will include an improved battery life and the usability of the UI, as well as other associated services.

Google has been hinting about users being left up in the cloud. One possible improvement in how Android handles the increasingly popular and important cloud integration could be an easier and more straightforward way of backing up information, and enhanced security features.

THERE'S AN

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T utorials
masterclass

Advanced cloud services


Make sure youre getting the most out of the cloud services you use on your Android device
ere constantly being told that the future of computing lies in the cloud, and slowly but surely were seeing a lot of our data and information being stored somewhere other than on our physical devices. You might use your phone to take a photo, but instead of saving it solely in the memory of the device, youll upload it to a cloud server, letting you get fast access to it on a number of different devices wherever youve got a connection to the internet. It means were not worried about running out of space on our SD cards, and that a lost device doesnt mean a loss of irreplaceable pictures and other les. In this tutorial were going to look at some more advanced cloud techniques that let you really get to grips with using your Android device to connect to the

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That all depends what you want it for. Dropbox is one of the most popular, and it lets you share items quickly and easily across multiple devices. Its easy to use too, so its a good bet for beginners.

Which is the best cloud storage service?

cloud. With stronger mobile data connections on the rise, and Wi-Fi hotspots becoming more readily available, theres never been a better time to start using the cloud, and if you follow the hints and tips in this tutorial, you can be sure that youre making the most out of the vast possibilities cloud storage can offer Android users.

Top cloud tips


1. Make sure you dont use the same login details for all of your cloud services, because if one of them becomes compromised they all will be. Change your passwords often to keep your data safe and youll be ne. Also, from time to time, check which apps you have connected to your cloud accounts, and revoke the ones you no longer use. 2. Look for special deals that will get you more storage. Dropbox usually offers extra storage for lling in a questionnaire, and there are phones that come with free cloud storage too. Shop around to make sure youre getting the best deal. 3. Setting a sync time for when youre asleep is a good idea, especially if youre at home. Then you can use your Wi-Fi connection to make sure your folders and les are up to date when you wake up in the morning. 4. Delete les from your phone or tablet that are stored in the cloud, that way youre not using up space unnecessarily. And keep your cloud folders clean too, especially if you have limited space, otherwise you could nd your uploads stalling. 5. Consider roaming charges if youre going overseas on holiday and intend to take lots of photos. Its best to turn off any automatic uploads, otherwise you might end up with a huge bill when you get home.

With stronger mobile data connections and Wi-Fi hotspots on the rise, theres never been a better time to start using the cloud
Cloud up your contacts
Find your account

How to save your contacts to the cloud right now Check the right box Sort out your contacts
Ensure your contacts are merged with your Google account as well. Open Settings and tap on Merge with Google. Choose the right account and when you buy a new phone your contacts will be waiting for you.

In settings

Head to Settings and scroll down to nd the Google account tab. Tap on this, then select which of your Google accounts you want to sync the contacts to and tap on it to go straight to the sync settings.

Sync up

Make sure the box next to contacts is ticked. This means your contacts are being synced with the rest of the content that youve got set to sync to your Google account. Now go to your contacts.

Make sure

32

ss d cla ou ter cl as ed ces mvancervi Ad s

Works with

Android 2.1 and up

Search all your cloud services


CloudMagic lets you search across multiple cloud services with a single query

2 min

ight now youre probably signed up to multiple cloud services, some of them without even knowing it. A lot of phones come with a Dropbox account, youll have a Google Drive account if youve got a Google account and a SkyDrive account if you have an MSN account. Keeping control of the content spread across these different services can be a bit of a nightmare. Thats where CloudMagic (free, Google Play) comes in. With one search you can nd les across a huge number of services, meaning youre never going to be trying to remember which folder that important document is in again.

Back up and share photos

guide

Make sure your photos are always safe in the cloud and ready to share with this Amazon app

Once youve installed Amazon Cloud Drive youll need to sign in to your Amazon account. This automatically grants you 5GB of free cloud storage. Once signed in youre taken directly to the app.

up your accounts 1 Set After youve installed the app you need to
create a CloudMagic account, then set about entering the details for the various cloud services you want to be able to access. This is as simple as nding the right one and entering your details.

a search 2 Have Once youve connected the accounts you


want, you can search for any les, emails or other information by typing it in to the bar at the top of the screen. This will trawl through the various services you have linked to nd relevant content.

Now choose whether to automatically upload photos. If you dont have much data in your monthly plan, turn this off, as uploading all the photos you take could eat it up quite quickly.

a lter 3 Add Tapping on the button on the bottom-left


of the screen lets you add some lters to your search. If you know its a le youre after, you can set CloudMagic to only search for les, for example. Tap again to turn it off.

security 4 Extra Obviously thats a lot of information to have


in one place on your device. You can set a passcode system, as well as a login password. Go to the Settings menu, then tap Passcode lock to set one up that suits you.

If youve chosen to automatically upload photos, the app will now populate your cloud drive with your gallery. Alternatively, you can select which ones you want to save manually instead.

33

T utorials Sync files between multiple cloud services


Works with

Android 2.1 and up

With the FolderSync app you can get all your cloud services working nicely together

olderSync is a great way to manage uploading your les to a variety of different cloud services. It gives you greater control of how your les are moved around, and thanks to support with task manager apps it means you can set times to sync your content with cloud services. You can easily set up linked folders to exchange content between your devices, and the easy-to-use UI means youre always on top of your various les and services. This tutorial will show you how to get started with the app, setting

up your accounts and using FolderSync (1.95/$2.95) to start taking control of your cloud services. Theres a free version of the app too, so if youre unsure whether FolderSync is for you, we suggest you download that rst. It lacks some functionality, but its a good introduction to how much easier things are with the app installed. Upgrading unlocks additional features. Once youve downloaded the app from the Google Play store its time to get started by logging in to all of your various cloud accounts.

up accounts 1 Set First youll need to sign in to the cloud


service of your choice. Tap Accounts, then tap on the button at the bottom of the screen. Name your folder, then add in your login details and youre good to go. You will be able to add extra services now or when you sign up to them in future.

more 2 Add You can now repeat the steps to add extra
accounts for the other services you use if you want. Bear in mind that the free version only lets you add two accounts though, so if you want more than that youre going to have to pay for the full version of the app.

Link your folders 3 Now you can set up a folderpair. This will
let you share items easily between a local folder on your device and a folder in the selected cloud service. Youll need to give it a recognisable name, and select the folders in both locations that you want to pair up.

local folder 4 Create Its worth creating a unique local folder to


store all of your items in. Do this by tapping the Add button when youre selecting a folder. Once youve named it, youre ready to pair it with the cloud. Head back to the folderpair menu to complete the job.

up schedule 5 Set Now you can set when you want your
folderpair to sync together and which way. Tap sync interval to choose how often the sync should occur. Use the other options to set how les should be handled, and when youre happy, tap the disk in the top-right to save.

34

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ss la ud rc lo te c as ced es c mvan ervi Ad s

Android 1.6 and up

Download from S web to Dropbox


Use the Dolphin browser and a clever add-on to download les directly to Dropbox from any website

ometimes youre browsing the web on your phone or tablet and want to grab a le to look at later on your computer. This can be a bit painful, unless youre clever and follow the steps in this tutorial. Using Dolphin browser and a handy add-on, you can download les directly from the web to your Dropbox, meaning they will be viewable on any device you sign in to with your Dropbox account, rather than just your phone. Its something thats remarkably easy to do, and pretty soon youll be wondering how you got on without this useful function. The rst thing youll need to do is install the latest version of Dolphin browser on your Android phone or tablet. When youve done that its time to go to step one of the tutorial.

the add-on 1 Get You can either grab the Dropbox for
Dolphin add-on from the Google Play store or from within the Dolphin browser itself. Either way, its free. Once its installed youll need to set up your Dropbox account. This will make a brand-new folder in your Dropbox account.

from the browser 2 Access To access your Dropbox from the Dolphin
browser, tap on the menu button and then select Add-ons. Alternatively you can swipe from the right of the screen to slide the pane open. You should see Dropbox at the top of the list of your add-ons. Tap on this to open it.

the settings 3 Tweak You can set it so once an item has


downloaded itll automatically upload to your new Dropbox folder. This means itll instantly be accessible on other devices. It does use data though, so you should be careful if you dont have unlimited data in your monthly plan.

2 min Create photo albums in Dropbox guide


A guide to organising your cloud-based photos into easy-to-manage albums that make browsing easier

Once youve opened up the Dropbox app, tap on the photo icon that should be towards the very top of the screen. This will take you to the photos youve uploaded to your Dropbox account from your Android smartphone or tablet.

Next, long press on one of the photos you want to add to an album. This will select it. Now tap the photos you want to add to the same album. When you have chosen, tap the album icon at the top of the screen.

Now youll have to give the album a name. Type something, and when youre done, tap on the tick icon and the app will create the folder for you. Itll be accessible from the Albums tab in the Photos menu and also viewable through a browser.

Now the photos are grouped together in an album, not only is it easier to nd the ones youre after, it also means you can share them as a group with just a couple of taps. To create more albums, simply repeat the steps.

35

T utorials Master Play Music All Access


Works with

Android 2.2 and up

Sound control

Theres a lot to discover in Play Musics new subscription service

Although you can use the volume rocker on your device to control volume within All Access, theres also a built-in equaliser, within the Settings menu, which you can use to pinpoint audio levels to your exact specications

lthough Play Music has quickly become one of the leading music apps available for Android users, until recently it only supported music uploaded to the app, as well as music purchased from the Play store. Thanks to the release of its All Access subscription service, all that has now changed. Launched as a direct competitor to the likes of Spotify, All Access looks to encompass the current features of the Play Music app, alongside a new service to provide on-demand music no matter if you stream through Wi-Fi or your phones 3G/4G connection. Tracks, albums and playlists can also be downloaded to your device for ofine listening. Although there are plenty of similarities between All Access and Spotify, All Access includes a wide range of features that propel it to the top of the current crop of available music subscription services. In this tutorial well be looking at the various features of All Access, as well as discussing how to integrate your uploaded music into the All Access feed.

Listen Now

The Listen Now menu will provide you with details of all the recently played and added songs linked with your All Access account, enabling you to quickly revisit them if necessary

Radio

What makes the Radio feature a brilliant addition is that it enables you to select one artist and hear songs not only by them, but also artists that are closely associated with them

Quick controls

When you play a song through All Access, a bar at the bottom of the app will appear enabling you to quickly switch songs or simply pause it. By scrolling up on the bar you can see the full album artwork

Import current music 1 After signing up to All Access, youll


automatically be asked if you want to merge together all the stored music across all your Google accounts into your All Access account. This is generally a good idea as it stops you needing to switch between accounts to listen to songs.

side menu 2 Access Press on the headphone symbol once the


import is complete to open All Accesss side menu. Here youll nd the various features that All Access opens up to you. In this rst instance press on the My Library option to continue to get instant access to your music.

songs 3 Managing Youll nd all of our stored music included


in the My Library section of All Access. If it is music purchased directly from Play Music, youll nd all the artists listed alphabetically, with the remaining music listed under Unknown Artists at the very bottom of the page.

36

quick The best equalisers to help tweak your music tips


Create a specialised equaliser setting for each genre of music you enjoy listening to.

1 Equalizer

This ve-band equaliser runs in the background so you can change it without stopping the song.

2 AnEq Equalizer

Although fairly basic, EQ Manager includes some nifty presets for people who dont want hassle.

3 EQ Manager

4 Bass Treble EQ Volume

One for fans of dance music, Bass Treble EQ maximises the bass capabilities of your smartphone.

Advanced users should check out Equalizer FX, which enables users to change every aspect of their audio.

5 Equalizer FX

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Is it possible to block explicit songs and lyrics?


Although you cant block individual songs that contain expletives through the main Explore feature, you can permanently block them from the Radio feature in All Access, which means the song will be instantly skipped if it appears in your Radio feed.

similar songs 4 Find One of the benets of having All Access is


the fantastic and useful recommendations you receive. As youre playing a particular song, scroll down to the bottom of the screen and nd songs and artists that are closely related to the song youre listening to.

Radio feature 5 Use Another All Access exclusive feature you


can access through the feature-heavy side menu is Radio. Through this feature you can select your favourite artist and hear a continuous mix of their most popular songs, alongside similar and recommended artists.

Can I import the music from other Google accounts in to my All Access account?
By opening up the Settings from your All Access account you can switch between your Google accounts and import all the music associated with them into your one primary account. Depending on how much music you have stored, the process could take a while to fully complete.

playlists 6 Creating If you nd a song thats of particular


interest, you may want to create and add it to a playlist. While on the songs page, press on the menu button to the right of it and then select the Add to Playlist option. You can access your playlists through the side menu.

Explore 7 Access To source new songs in Google Music All


Access, youll want to navigate to the Explore section via the side menu. When you rst load this section, youll nd different playlists and recommendations for you to check out. Scroll left or right to go to a different section.

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the charts 8 Check The Charts section of Explore will list the
most popular songs each week. You can play any song here, or add the song to your library of stored songs via the menu button. If you want to purchase a song or album, you can also follow the link to the Play Music shop listing that is provided.

your favourite 9 Find With so many artists and songs available,


it can be hard trying to nd individual songs. Use the search function at the top of the app (the magnifying glass) to nd someone specic. All Access will then provide you with albums, artists and songs based on your search in real time.

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37

T utorials Share files and data over Android Beam


Works with

Android 4.0 and above

Use NFC technology to send and share files to your contacts

here are plenty of ways you can share files from one Android device to another, but none of them are as quick and easy as near field communication (NFC). Devices running Ice Cream Sandwich and later are fortunate enough to have the capacity to launch Android Beam. This feature automatically configures all your NFC connection settings, and leaves the user only needing to select the file they want to send, and its recipient. Unfortunately for older devices, Android Beam is not

available, and the process of using NFC is a little harder to set up and use, if it is supported at all. In this case the best way to access your phones NFC capability is by downloading the File Expert app. In this tutorial we will show you how to set up Android Beam, as well as how you can connect and start sharing a file from your device. We will also show you around the File Expert app, and highlight the various menus and settings you need to enter to establish a strong, and quick, NFC connection.

to the settings 1 Go Open up your devices app drawer and go to


the Settings app. Scroll down through the page of options until you reach the Wireless & Networks sub-menu. Some devices have this sub-menu at the top, and some near the bottom under the Accounts tab, so keep your eyes peeled.

NFC 2 Activate The Wireless & Networks menu lists how


your device connects to other devices and the internet. To be able to start sharing files and contacts to other NFC-enabled devices, you first need to tick the NFC tab. Once activated, open up the Android Beam option underneath it.

Beam 3 Android If youre new to the concept of NFC, then


make sure you read through all the instructions listed. Although a simple process, it can be a little confusing at first, so make sure you understand it. Turn the switch, in the top-right of the screen, to On when youre ready to proceed.

ready to beam 4 Get At this point youll want to make sure you
have a second device to connect with. On the secondary phone make sure you follow the same steps as above. Once youre ready to beam put the two phones back-to-back and hold them there until you feel a vibration or a hear a pinging noise.

to beam 5 Touch While keeping the phones together, you


should now notice the Touch to Beam screen appear on both phones. Whatever is currently being shown on the device can be beamed over by simply touching the screen. The beaming process takes a few seconds to complete.

38

quick Five other ways accessories and devices are utilising NFC technology tips
Sony SmartTags can be programmed with simple tasks and connect directly to Sony Xperias.

1 Sony SmartTags

Googles new wireless payment system lets you pay for everyday items solely using your phone.

2 Google Wallet

Newer HDTVs come with NFC capability enabling you to stream videos and photos.

3 Connecting to TVs

4 Access to information

NFC-enabled phones can be tapped against certain advertisements for the user to nd out more info.

Payment for London Underground Oyster Cards has used NFC technology for a number of years.

5 Going underground

2
6 Launchers Android Beam shares whatever is on screen
at the time. If one of the phones has a third-party launcher installed you might nd it wants to share that with the phone it is connecting with. Avoid touching the two devices together with the home screen showing if you encounter this problem.

guide

Establish an min NFC connection

Older devices will need the File Expert HD app to set up and unlock their phones NFC capabilities. Heres how to use it

the app 1 Download Go on to the Play store and search for


the File Expert HD app. The app is a free download and doesnt require any unusual app permissions to run. Once installed on your device, open up the app and familiarise yourself with its home screen. Press on the My Files option to continue.

your les 2 Access The app will now list all the les currently
stored on your device. You can access les saved on your phones internal storage, or on your external SD card. Once youve found a le, or multiple les, you want to share with another Android phone, long press on it until a dropdown menu appears on screen.

over contacts 7 Sending Sending a contact to a phone over NFC


works in a similar way to sending over a le. Simply go to the contacts page on the rst phone and then put it back-to-back with the second. The contacts page will then beam over and youll be greeted with the Create contact page.

rm the contact 8 Con Choose the Google account you want to


link the contact with, or you may want to save it directly onto your smartphone. After conrming this, the contacts details will now load in your phonebook where youll be able to edit or change any details, if necessary.

to share 3 Start The menu that will now appear will show
all the sharing options available to the le(s). Scroll down the list until you see the NFC Tapping option and select it. The app will now ask permission for it to automatically turn on Bluetooth on your device. Accept it and wait for the app to bring you to the transfer screen.

phones together 4 Tap At this point you should now present the
other device youre trying to share with. To work, the device will also need to have the File Expert app installed on the device, and have Bluetooth functionality enabled. Once the phones are together the le should start transferring automatically. Its as easy as that.

39

T utorials Set up active notifications


Works with

Varies with device

We show you how to get the Quick glance Depending on the app youve Moto Xs new Active received a notication for, see a preview listed at Notication feature on any youll the top of the lockscreen. If you receive an email or SMS, Android smartphone youll receive a brief overview
he Moto X has some amazing new features to explore, but not all are exclusive to Motorolas new agship device. One of the best additions to the Moto X was its new Active Display, which provided quick shortcuts to notications through the lockscreen on the phone, without actually needing to unlock it. Although a fairly simple feature, its extremely helpful if you want to quickly see the latest emails youve received, or if you want to check out the details of any important calls that you missed. Thanks to the free DynamicNotications app on the Google Play store, this new feature isnt exclusive to the Moto X and instead youll be able to set it up on nearly any Android smartphone.
of the message, and a missed call will display the contacts details

No security

One issue that may put off some people installing the app is the lack of security it leaves on your phone. Using the DynamicNotications app will automatically override any PIN, password or pattern security feature youve previously added

Unlock

Although the layout of your lockscreen may look different with DynamicNotications set up, unlocking your phone is virtually the same. Simply scroll downwards to the lock symbol to gain access to your phone

Explore DynamicNotifications settings


Although it may just look like a replacement lockscreen, theres a whole lot more to the DynamicNotications app, as we show you below

Free or paid?

When you open the app, youll be taken straight to the settings for it. Although the free version has some great features, the paid version includes additional settings that are worth checking out.

Notication types
The rst setting youll want to explore is the Notication types menu. Youll nd a list of your installed apps, and you can select the apps you dont want appearing on your lockscreen.

Set timeout

Theres also the helpful timeout menu which can be used to set how long you want the lockscreen to appear before your phone goes to sleep. Wed advise to keep the time as short as possible.

There will be times when youll have more notications available on your lockscreen and these will be listed around the circle outline. To see a preview of the notication you can hold your nger on it and it will appear at the top of the screen

Additional apps

Custom brightness

Another problem that some users have noted is the issue with brightness. Although you can alter the brightness of your phone via the Settings menu of your smartphone, youll have to pay for the premium version of DynamicNotications to modify the apps brightness setting

40

Works with

Android 2.3 and up

Open apps with gestures


A
nother one of the great features of the Moto X is the ability to use gestures to open up specic apps, saving you the time and hassle of needing to go through the process of nding it within your app drawer. Thanks to the fantastic selection of apps available on the Google Play store, this feature can be easily accessed on any Android smartphone via the Twisty Launcher app.

Shake, twist and tilt your phone to open up apps


Twisty Launcher enables users to implement a series of specically assigned gestures to any app, while also providing simple instructions to make sure each gesture works properly, as they can be a bit ddly to get working occasionally. In this tutorial well be taking you through the process of setting up the Twisty Launcher app, as well as looking at some of the specic gestures you can implement straight away.

up the app 1 Open After downloading the free Twisty Launcher


app from the Google Play store, open it up and take a look through the small tutorial that appears in front of you. The app runs in the background of your phone at all times, but it doesnt have a massive effect on battery life.

a gesture 2 Select There are a great selection of different


gestures you can implement straight away, with some being a bit more complicated than others. Each gesture includes a small tutorial for you to follow and get to grips with what the gesture requires for it to work properly.

an app 3 Select Next to the gesture, click on the app


symbol to be taken to your app drawer. Here you can choose the app you want to select to work in conjunction with the gesture youre looking to implement on your phone. After selecting the app, youll be taken back to the Twisty Launcher app.

it out 4 Try Before implementing any of the gestures


available through the app, make sure you now test the one you just set out. You should nd that if youre doing the correct action, and followed the steps provided, the associated app will open straight away. Here weve launched the camera.

makes perfect 5 Practice As you make your way through the list of
available gestures, they tend to get a bit more complicated, with the actions becoming harder to perform correctly. We found the best way to get each one of gestures working correctly is to simply keep practicing them.

further gestures 6 Unlock Although Twisty Launcher is a free app,


some of the gestures on offer will require a small payment to unlock. If you select a gesture that does require payment, a menu will appear asking you whether you want to purchase it, or continuing using the free gestures provided.

41

T utorials Safely connect to a VPN


Works with

All versions of Android

Access private networks and add security to public Wi-Fi using Androids integrated and external VPN support

he web is a wonderful place, but from the moment you connect there is always an element of risk. There is always the worry that a net-connected device can be compromised. One option for securing a connection is the use of a VPN. A Virtual Private Network is pretty much what its name suggests. It is a private network that uses the internet to connect and send data. Security is a key reason for connecting to a VPN. Users can use public Wi-Fi hotspots with more condence, make it more difcult to access VOIP calls and generally stay private. Other good reasons include being able to access content outside of a location, eg US-only content and to keep searches private. In this tutorial we are going to demonstrate how to get connected using the default integrated support in the Android OS. In addition to this, we recommend a selection of secure third-party apps that can be used to connect to OpenVPN, dedicated services and selected VPNs.

Android has support for PPTP and L2TP virtual private networks, which means users can connect without the use of a third-party app. To get started, head to Settings and locate Wireless & Networks. Tap More to continue to the next screen.

& Networks 1 Wireless settings

VPN 2 Edit Listed will be VPN and youll need to tap it


to view the VPN window. This will list any networks that have already been set up. Typically, this will be empty with no virtual private networks listed. Tap the + icon in the top-right corner to open the Edit VPN prole window.

PPTP type 3 To add a VPN prole, rst add a name.


Make this memorable and relevant to the network. Now choose which type the network is going to be, PPTP being the default option. This is the Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol that ships with Microsoft Windows.

types 4 Alternative Android also supports the VPN type L2TP.


This is recognised as a more advanced version of PPTP and is typically used when a secure data encryption is required. Another option is IPSec Xauth, which adds a level of security to a users authentication process.

VPN 5 Save The PPTP is the easiest to congure as it


only needs a server address. Add the appropriate server address, for example, 23.26.67.2. Before saving, tap Show Advanced options to view more features. Leave as it is for now and tap Save to add the VPN to the list.

42

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Can I connect to my work intranet?


You should be able to, so long as you are allowed, but you will need the correct settings and for the rewall to be congured to let you through. Youll need to speak to your IT administrator to get him to set you up with what you need.

connection 6 Test After a VPN has been set up the next step
is to test that connection and open it up. Tap the name of the VPN to be used and enter the credentials, ie your username and password, needed to get connected. Tap Save account information and tap Connect.

prole 7 Edit After a prole has been set up a user can


add more proles as needed. Once a prole has been added it can be edited or deleted via the VPN window. Tap and hold the appropriate VPN to view the Edit and Delete pop-up. Tap Edit to change any settings. Tap Delete to remove.

mode 8 Always-on Android provides an Always-on mode,


which is ideal for moving between unsecured public Wi-Fi hotspots. The connection will remain active and secure. The rst step is to connect to a VPN, making sure that Save account information is ticked. Now tap the menu.

it off 9 Turn Tap the Always-on VPN option in the


menu that appears. This will bring up a window with the appropriately created VPN proles. Select a VPN and tap OK. To switch off the Always-on mode, go back to the menu, select Always-on VPN and select None.

OpenVPN Connect 10 Get Android doesnt offer integrated support


for OpenVPN networks. This is the de facto standard in the open source networking space. To use the OpenVPN protocol, a third-party app is needed. Head to the Google Play store, download and install OpenVPN Connect.

proles 11 OpenVPN To use the OpenVPN Connect app, the user


needs an OpenVPN prole and a server to connect to. Proles use the extension .ovpn and there are several methods available for importing a le. To view the available options, go to the menu and select Import to view.

VPN 12 Dedicated Beyond the integrated support and


OpenVPN options, the Google Play store offers a host of good apps for connecting to a private network. TunnelBear VPN is a dedicated app that connects to TunnelBear connections. It offers 500MB of free tunnelling every month.

apps 13 VPN ExpressVPN is a third-party app available


from the Google Play store that is quick and easy to use. This is a paid-for service, but does provide a 24-hour trial to enable users to test the app before purchasing. Tap Free Trial and add an email address to start the free trial.

43

T utorials
Works with

Varies with device

Recover memory with Clean Master


Give your phone the ultimate spring clean
hether youre browsing the web, downloading apps or simply playing a game, data is constantly being saved to your smartphone and its important to keep tabs on it. Eating up your devices memory and storage can have a detrimental effect on your phones performance, so removing the junk is

key to a speedy device. Although there are a multitude of cleaning apps available on the Google Play store at present, we think the best of the bunch is Clean Master; a simple enough app that thoroughly scans and streamlines your phone and all les and data stored within it. Heres how it works.

[FIG 2] After doing a scan of all the junk on your smartphone, you may be surprised with the amount of space you could save

together a list of how your phones memory is currently being used. You may be surprised with how many background processes your phone is actually running. Once the list has been collated, use the Clean button to stop the selected apps using up your RAM.

5. Manage apps
The third and nal section of Clean Master worth checking out is App Manager. This section creates a list of your most unused apps, and lets you know of the potential storage space you could save if you uninstalled them. Theres an uninstall function within the app which enables you to remove apps in bulk, but make sure you know what youre uninstalling rst.
[FIG 5] App Manager lets you see the space you could save if you uninstall the apps you no longer use

1. Find the junk


When you rst open up the Clean Master app, itll automatically do a full scan of your phone to see the areas in which your phone can be cleaned. From the main menu, select the Junk Files option and then the Scan Files tab to enable the app to show you the apps that can be deleted on your smartphone. Depending on what it nds, this process can take a few minutes to complete.

option at the bottom of the screen for the app to remove the les in question. Once again, depending on how many les are included, this process can take a while.

3. Check storage
After freeing up your rst lot of storage, navigate back to the main menu and check out the two pie charts listed at the top of the app. These charts will let you know of the storage you currently have available and also indicate any potential areas of danger that are overloaded with data that needs to be cleared urgently.
Ask your own question online at littlegreenrobot.co.uk

2. Clear les
After the scan is complete, youll nd the details of how much storage you could open up at the bottom of the screen. Double check you arent removing anything you still need, then press on the Clean

How often should I clear out my phone?

4. Free up memory
Now open up the Tasks option from the main menu, which when opened will put

Your storage space will soon get eaten up on your smartphone, making it essential to at least scan your phone with Clean Master on a weekly basis.

44

Works with

Varies with device


Closing
To close the window, simply press the X in the top-left of the pop-up window. Although this will close the window, by opening up the YouTube app youll be able to continue watching the video from the point you closed it, so you wont miss a single second!

Create pop-up YouTube windows


B
e it fashion, gaming or smartphones, YouTube has millions of videos for you to enjoy. Although the service is good, one of the problems with the Android app is that as soon as you look to do something else on your phone, the video then stops. However, by using the Floating YouTube Popup Video app, users can select their favourite videos and create a resizeable and interactive pop-up video

Resize

Depending on whether youre using a tablet or smartphone, use the corners of the pop-up window to resize it to your needs. Depending on how big you want the window to be, a major resizing can sometimes cause the video to crash unexpectedly

Play on loop

Watch your favourite videos while you continue to browse your phone

Although playing individual videos is still great, the app also caters for your created playlists. By selecting your playlist through the YouTube app, each video will automatically load after one another though the Floating YouTube window

window which will keep the video running while you casually browse your phone. Every YouTube video is fully supported, with the app even supporting playlists, meaning you can have an endless cycle of your favourite videos. In this tutorial, well be guiding you through the app, as well as pointing out some of its best features. For those unsure, weve also included a quick guide on getting started.

Control

By pressing on the pop-up window, youll open up a range of settings and options for you to change to your tastes. If you press the YouTube icon, youll be taken back to the YouTube app where you can continue watching the video, where the Settings icon will enable you to change volume and graphic controls

Create a pop-up window

By having YouTube and Floating YouTube Popup Video, creating a pop-up window couldnt be simpler

1 Find Open up the


YouTube app and navigate to either one of your playlists, or a single video that you want to watch. After the video has nished buffering and begins playing, pause it and select the share icon located at the top of the screen.

2 Share YouTube videos


can be shared through loads of different platforms, but youll want to scroll down until you reach the Floating YouTube Player icon located near the bottom of the list. Select it and youll be taken back to your home screen.

3 Watch After a few


seconds the video will appear in the pop-up window for you to watch. If its your rst time using the app, you may nd itll take a while to fully buffer the window and you may be asked to resize the pop-up window straight away.

Using apps

Even with the pop-up window open, you can still open up other apps and use them. You may notice a slight icker in the video quality when you initially open up an app, but that wont last long. Use the resizing function to make using the apps easier

45

T utorials Edit images with the stock Gallery app


Works with

All versions of Android

Manipulate your photos with the default set of Gallery tools

aking photos and saving images to a device typically leaves little room for more than viewing. However, the Gallery app has a host of easy-to-apply effects and options to add panache and preference to any image. The app offers a collection of options including lters, frames, crops and adjustments. There is enough on offer to manipulate and modify any photo, ready for printing. The selection of lters will provide an instant refresh and add much-needed vibrancy.

Alternatively, there are lters to age an image. The lters are great to experiment with, but if you dont like the selection they can be undone. A collection of frames add an edge to recreate Polaroid-style photos. Crop features a set of tools to crop, straighten, rotate and mirror an image. Finally, Adjustment gives users a number of tools to ne-tune a photo. Users can sharpen an image, adjust individual colours and add effects to specic parts of an image before saving.

options 1 Edit Locate the Gallery app from your home


screen and select an image from the selection available. To start editing an image tap the pencil icon on the bottom-left of the screen. Alternatively, tap the menu icon and select Edit from the menu. This will reveal the different options.

2 Filters The default setting reveals a selection of


lters with None selected. To add a lter simply tap the lter of choice. Slide the lters to the left to see more of them. Again select a lter with a single tap. To remove a lter use the Undo arrow at the top of the screen.

Add a frame 3 There is a selection of frames that can be


applied to the current image. Tap the frame icon, second left, to view options. Slide the frames to the left to view more. To apply a frame, simply tap the frame of choice. Again to remove a frame tap the Undo arrow at the top of the screen.

effects 4 Applied Details of the lters and effects that have


been applied are hidden. To view the applied effects, tap the menu button and select Show Applied Effects. This will list the effects, or lters, that have been applied to the image. This is ideal when multiple effects have been applied.

control 5 Take Tap the Crop icon to switch to view the


crop options. Hit Crop to activate a grid. To resize manually grab one of the resize handles and drag to suit. To change the grid, tap Crop and select a different option. Now drag and resize to suit again. Finally tap the tick to apply.

46

quick The finer points of editing your images tips


To take an image back to its original state, head to the menu icon (top-right) and select Reset.

1 Reset

When working on an image each action is stored. To go back and forward, use the undo or redo arrow.

2 Undo/redo

To add a differ hue to an image, head to the Adjustment option and select Hue. Experiment to get it right.

3 Change hue

4 Take control

Change the shape of the Vignette option by selecting the double line handles and adjusting.

Use the Curves Adjustment option to fine tune levels and adjust reds, greens and blues.

5 Individual colours

2
and rotate 6 Straighten Tap the Straighten icon to view the image.
Tap the screen with two fingers and a grid will appear. Move your fingers to tilt the image or straighten it, tapping the tick to apply the movement. Use the same method for Rotate. The app only rotates at 90-degree angles.

guide

Fine tuning colours min and balance


Take control of the editing options and discover how to finish up an image with some smart fine-tuning

image 1 Sharper Select the Adjustment option to reveal


the colour options, and swipe left and select Sharpness. Use the slider to set the sharpen level. Tap Sharpening to select the alternative structure. To adjust the setting, use the slider. Tap the tick to apply effects.

options 2 Local Go back to the Adjustment icon and


select Local. This will add an element that lets users adjust a specific part or element of an image. Tap, hold and drag the element into position. Adjust size by using the resize handles. Adjust the Brightness with the slider.

colours 7 Customising Tap the Adjustment option and select one


of the options to view. This will have a default option, so use the slider to adjust. Tap the tick to apply. Tap the cross to exit. The same method applies to most options. The Vignette offers more, letting you resize and reshape.

up 8 Finishing After adding effects, the obvious option for


saving an image is to tap Save. This will automatically save the image to Edited Online Photos. Once an image has been saved, use the Share button to share via Email, Twitter, Google Drive and much more.

brightness 3 Adjust To adjust the saturation and/or contrast,


tap Brightness and select from the list. Again, use the slider to adjust the option. When happy with the combination of effects, tap the tick to apply. Alternatively, tap the trash icon to remove the current adjustments.

action 4 More The local element is not confined to just


one option. To add additional elements, simply tap the + icon to the left of the slider. This will add a new element in a very minimal state. Tap and grab a handle to resize and drag into position as you see fit.

47

DroidSupport
troubleshooting advice hints and tips
an expert email Got an Androidrelated problem that you need solving? Let us know!

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Multiple email account problems


I have used my Nexus 7 for ages with no problem. I had my email on Hotmail and my wifes on BT Internet with no problem. However, I lent the tablet to someone for a couple of days as theirs was broken and when it came back my email wouldnt work. I did a reset, but now when I try to set up the two email accounts, I get the same message saying unable to connect. Is there a setting that needs changing? Anthony Deighton

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Did you know?


A battery on a phone or tablet can drain intermittently and at times extremely quickly. Most devices include a battery monitor which will show you what is using your power and if not, there are many available on Google Play. Chances are a rogue app is causing the problem.

This is indeed an unusual problem and our immediate thought is that it is a problem with the device. We are presuming that you can connect to the internet normally and if so we would

If youre struggling with connection issues, try setting up a Google account from scratch

advise to rst of all try to connect to your email in the browser. It may not sound logical, but connecting via a browser has been known to help this kind of problem. Also, we would suggest setting up a Google account rst, even if you have to create a dummy one, and see if that helps. There have been reports of email connection problems on the Nexus 7 and it seems to be something that affects many different provider accounts. Other suggestions include turning SSL off in settings and we would also obviously advise doing a full hard reset before you go any

All Android devices can cope with multiple email providers

further. Finally, check with your colleague to see if they did anything unusual to the Nexus. In theory they should not be able to do anything that would cause this problem and so we would suggest contacting Google or Asus as a nal option if you cannot solve it any other way.

48

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Can you please please help me, I dont understand. I bought an Orange SIM card & put it in my Samsung Note. I then topped up and within seconds my money was gone and Id only downloaded a few apps and sent a few texts and couldnt understand where my money had gone, so I topped up again and within seconds it was gone again. Whats going on?
Lorraine Thorpe
You mentioned in your full question that this keeps happening so you will need to turn on Airplane mode or connect to Wi-Fi before you go any further. Some pay-as-you-go SIM cards are very expensive for data, and downloading even a couple of apps could wipe out your credit. You should ask Orange if you can pay for a data bundle on your SIM which will work out to be much better value. There is also potentially an irony at play here in that some network facilities and apps may be downloaded as

Phones can be data hungry

Opt for a bundle to save you money

soon as you turn the phone on, but in theory these should not count towards your allowance. In the Settings menu you should see a Data Usage option. Select this to see what exactly is eating up all of your data. It will break down each activity which is useful to see what happened each time. There are also third-party apps available from Google Play, such as My Data Manager, which can alert you when you are near your limit. If you are going to use your phone a lot, we would strongly suggest not using pay-as-you-go

Many Android phones have data management installed

data and opting for a bundle to save you money and increase your exibility. Some plans run at 65p/MB which means a small 20MB app download will use the entire 10 credit.

hints&tips Get more from your Android phone with our handy hints

Trustworthy apps

If possible, try to only download apps from Google Play as these are more likely to be secure. You should still check the permissions when installing and read the reviews, however, to be completely sure that they are legitimate. Always be careful when installing new apps.

Try to stop viruses

There are many apps and services available that are designed to stop viruses getting through to your Android device. AVG AntiVirus is a very good example and will make you and device much more secure it is also very easy to use and get up and running.

Protect data

Use an app like 1Password Reader to gain access to your most important passwords and log-ins, while ensuring that the information itself remains secure. You should always use an extra level of protection like this on top of the main lockscreen security system.

49

DroidSupport
does everything I need (and more). Anyhow on my BB when I sent texts or received texts, they would be shown in little bubbles or different colours. Now friends of mine who use Samsung phones have this on their texts. I have been unable to set this up on my Nexus or nd anything online. Is there a way to sort this out?

Did you know?


If you nd that performance and capture is not smooth when recording video, try to record to the main memory and then move the video to an SD card. If it is only the playback on the phone that is choppy, you may need to release some memory.

Dont delete emails from the server

Stuart McDonald
We would advise looking at third-party apps to give you what you need. For some reason the options are limited on your phone, but there are solutions that offer even more. For example, Light Flow can customise the LED colours that show when a new text is received and also works in many more situations such as for your calendar and emails. SmsPopup will show text alerts on the screen when they arrive and you can also customise them to show in different colours and sizes. There are many other options available as well, but in our tests these two worked very well and so we would say to try them rst.

I have a Nexus 7 and when I delete emails from my BT default account on the Nexus 7, they delete them from the server. Im sure there was a setting somewhere on the Nexus 7 that stopped this, but I cannot nd it now. Please can you help?

however, a good habit to delete emails from the server if you can as this will save you a lot of time and ensure that both your mobile device and desktop computer are in sync all of the time. Dont forget that there are other email apps like K9 that

Mike Hodder
There is a setting for this, but it is quite well hidden. While you are in the default email app, tap the menu key and then choose Settings. You will now see two options listed: General preferences and your email address. Select your email address and scroll down to the Server settings panel. Now select Incoming settings and at the bottom you will see a Delete email from server option. You can either choose Never or When I delete from Inbox. It is,

You can easily customise text alerts with third-party apps

Text bubbles and alerts

Hi guys, was wondering if you can help me. Im an ex-BlackBerry user whos now using an LG Nexus Google phone. The phone is brilliant and

Some important email settings are well hidden to users

Random Wi-Fi connections


My Galaxy S3 keeps disconnecting from my Home Hub router, but the actual internet connection is ne. What causes this to happen so often?
Sophie Bekinsale, via email
It is easy to presume that the problem is with your Galaxy, but that may not be the case. You need to check rst to see if any other devices experience the same problem with the Home Hub and if so we can safely presume that there is a problem with the router itself. We would suggest turning it off for a minute and then back on rst and checking to ensure it has the latest software installed. If this does not help, dive a little

deeper into the settings and check to make sure that all devices connected to the router are set as b/g only. This is a common settings problem that can cause mobile devices to randomly disconnect. Also, dont discount that there may be a physical fault with the router. Xbox gaming consoles can struggle with the Home Hub and there are reports that suggest you are not alone. Finally, call your service provider if every other attempt to x it fails.

Routers can be as problematic as mobile devices

50

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mimic the desktop display better on a mobile device.

Travelling with a tablet


Update 60% Complete

Missing apps on a Kindle Fire


Morgan Bliket

I recently purchased a Kindle Fire HD and was surprised to see that some of the apps I normally use are not available on the Amazon app store. Is there any way for me to get them without hacking the device?

update update
We bring you the news and
An Android device can assist you on any trip or holiday

This is a problem that many new Kindle Fire users experience because it is not obvious that Google Play isnt available at rst. This means that you have to rely on the apps Amazon offers, of which there are many thousands, but in some areas there are very popular apps missing. You will need to go to Settings>Device and make sure that the Allow Installation of Applications option is toggled to On, which will let you install apps from other sources. You should always be careful where you obtain apps from, but for example you can install Dropbox by going to www.dropbox.com/ android in the browser and then downloading the .apk le. Tap it and it will install automatically. Similar processes are in place for apps such as YouTube, but can be quite complicated to set up. You can give yourself access to the services you need without having to root the Kindle and once they are installed you should be ne for future use. The good news is that the Amazon app store is growing all of the time and there are various offers in place that are not always available in Google Play.

Im visiting Australia in November and will have no phone, just my trusty Nexus 7. Can you recommend any good apps for my travels? Im also looking for a contact app, never tried one, but would like to keep in touch while away. I have looked for Viber, as I have heard its easier to use than Skype, but it seems to have gone missing in the Play store. Your advice would be welcome. Steve Parker
Viber is not technically compatible with the Nexus 7, but there are some Android forums where you can download the .apk le and install it manually which has proven to work for many people. Also, you cannot register Viber on two devices with the same number so be careful of that. We would suggest having both Skype and Viber installed so that you have options, but

rumours on the latest Android updates, and the phones that can run them
ndroid 4.4 is on its way, and in classic Android fashion it should be perfectly timed to coincide with the start of the rollout of Android 4.3 to non-Nexus devices. Samsung will be among the rst off the rank, with the Galaxy S III getting yet another update. The planned 4.2 rmware release was canned in favour of jumping straight to 4.3, and that should start in October. It will be at least the third major software update for the S III in just eighteen months of availability. The HTC One is also getting the same update, and one that will x a commonly reported problem with the camera when used in low light conditions. At the time of writing very little is known about Android 4.4, or KitKat. Given that Google has assigned it a new name it can reasonably be expected to be a bigger update than 4.3 was, but is unlikely to bring about any major UI changes. These would be expected in version 5. It also seems as though Google is attempting to tackle the fragmentation issues that have plagued Android since its inception. Word is that the new OS will be optimised to run on older or less powerful hardware, removing obstacles to upgrading, with key features being pushed out independently of the full OS update itself.

there are many other apps that will prove vital. We have listed three of the best, but the best advice is to think about your needs and nd the ones that will suit you perfectly. Google Maps is already installed and many of the solutions you need come with the Nexus 7 so you are well covered, but the main benet of Android is the huge variety of third-party apps that can cover every conceivable task.

Yellow Pages Australia is a good example of the diversity of apps on Android. If you need to nd local businesses, this app will be perfect for super-quick searching.

local 1 Find businesses

directions 2 Perfect TomTom makes professional


routing solutions for a number of countries and there are add-ons that can make a massive difference. The trafc monitoring service in particular is very accurate and not too expensive.

organised 3 Get Before you leave on any trip,


there will be a lot to get organised. An app like TripIt Travel Organizer will help you produce an itinerary of trips, keep records of important documents and ensure you do not miss anything crucial.

Some important apps are missing on a Kindle Fire, but you can nd workarounds

51

Challenge

Can you learn magic using apps?


We hid our wands and put the best magic apps to the test

52

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App checklist
Magic- Tricks Tutorials
Price: Free Developer: New Media GmbH

Magic Training
Price: Free Developer: xaharx

Magic Card Tricks


Price: Free Developer: montysmagic

Coin Tricks

Price: Free Developer: Feather Tech


How To Learn Magic


Price: Free Developer: AMNcom

Audio Quick Magic Handbook


With visual guides to performing basic tricks youll be able to get started very quickly Magic Training is a great app to start with. Youll pick up the basics, and some classic moves, in no time

Price: Free Developer: Fruity Production


Easy Magic 1

e wont pretend to know much about magic as a whole, but being able to cut someone in half is a pretty incredible feat! For this challenge, however, weve set our sights a fair bit lower, and want to see if by using the various magic apps available on the Google Play store, we can, not only learn the basics of being a magician, but also start building a library of tricks that can leave our friends and family completely dumbfounded.

Price: Free Developer: montysmagic


If youre serious about magic, check out the online store included in Magic Training, which includes various kits for you to purchase.

Price: 0.85/1.37 Developer: KoolAppz


Beginners Guide

Sleight of Hand Card Master


Grasping the basics


Magic has come a long way from the days of pulling rabbits out of top hats and the rise in its popularity has paved the way to a selection of magic apps now appearing on the Google Play store. Our lack of previous experience meant we needed to start right from the bottom with both the How To Learn Magic and Magic Training apps. Both include comprehensive guides on the equipment needed and also an introduction to magic in general. We also used both apps to help learn some of the very basic tricks that anyone can look to master. One problem we did nd out with both apps is the lack of video content to help us really master each trick and without any visuals to guide us, we struggled at times.

some great tutorials relating to certain tricks, while not being overly complicated to follow. A couple of other apps we checked out at this point were the Illusion Master and Coin Tricks apps. The rst provided a more comprehensive overview on more tricks, but we soon realised we werent ready for what was on offer. Although the Coin Tricks app isnt strictly magic, it does point out some very cool and quick tricks that can be done with any coin you have spare.

Price: Free Developer: Master Paul


Illusion Master

Price: Free Developer: Master Paul

Shufe up and deal


Another area closely linked with magic, and one that has seen a large number of apps covering it, is the trusty card trick. Thanks to the basics we had learnt previously from the magic apps we had previously covered, using the Magic Card Tricks app was easy. Not only were the tricks easy to remember, there were video tutorials which proved invaluable by the end. To take it to the next level, we then downloaded the Sleight of Hand Card Master, which instead of focusing on card tricks, showed how magicians implement sleight of hand into their routines. It isnt an easy thing to learn, to say the least, but for anyone who has a remote interest in becoming a magician, or just being able to take on more advanced tricks, then this app is an essential download.

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Practice makes perfect


After mastering the absolute basics, we looked to expand our library of tricks pretty rapidly. There were many, many apps we tried out, but the best were the Magic- Tricks Tutorials, Magic Tricks: Beginners Guide, Easy Magic 1 and Audio Quick Magic Handbook apps. Out of all these apps, we especially liked the Easy Magic 1 app which offered

There are some brilliant magic apps available for download from the Google Play store, with most of them not costing you anything. The selection is so great that anyone can try their hand at some basic tricks, be it for magic, cards or even coins! Go on, its time to pull that rabbit out.

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status update
Which devices are best for the hacking scene?

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Tips and tricks
as you have an Android phone or tablet with root access and an unlocked bootloader, youll be able to install a ROM based on Android 4.3. The best place to check is XDA-developers.com, where you will find ROMs that can be installed on a wide selection of current and older phones using tools such as ClockworkMod Recovery and TWRP. CyanogenMod 10.2 is the most common Android 4.3 ROM, and is the latest version from the CyanogenMod team that has been building alternative ROMs since Android Gingerbread. It supports the widest number of devices, and often gets ported to less popular handsets as well, bringing easy updates to the widest number of users. Dont wait for your mobile network to eventually get around to pushing an upgrade to Android 4.3 you can take matters into your own hands! There are various online resources offering ROMs based on Android 4.3 (also known as Jelly Bean), and all you need to do is search, confirm that there is a suitable ROM for your device and download the file. As long

Explore the limits of your Android device

Nexus 7 (2013)

Rooted? Yes Active Development: nnn Medium Easily rooted and with almost unlimited potential for hacks and mods once the worldwide launch gets fully under way.

Manually upgrade to Android 4.3

Samsung Galaxy S4

Rooted? Yes Active Development: nnn Medium This flagship device is being adopted by devs just a widely as its predecessor the Galaxy S III was.

HTC One

Rooted? Yes Active Development: nnn Medium Most of the usual suspects are present and correct. Hopefully there will be more unique tweaks and mods still to come.

Nexus 4

Get quick access to contacts with a swipe

Save time making calls with these easy-to-access shortcuts buttons

Rooted? Yes Active Development: nnn Yes At such a low price the Nexus 4 is has become one of the must-have devices for developers. Great news for the rest of us!

Android 4.3 is waiting for you on XDA-developers.com

Browsing through a long list of contacts can be a pain, especially when youre trying to get hold of someone in a hurry. While the Android Call Log screen can be useful, it is less than ideal. Contacts Notification+Sidebar is a very useful app that enables you to set up to eight regular contacts that

can easily be accessed via the notification bar or a hidden sidebar menu, opened with a small swipe. Once a contact is selected, you can opt to call, email, message or even make a video call; this can be done from whatever application youre currently running, saving a lot of time and enabling you to make more or less instant calls. If the sidebar doesnt suit you, meanwhile, this app also lets you access your contacts via the notification bar. Contacts Notification+Sidebar is available free from the Google Play store.

quickhacks
Get Moto X features
The new Moto X handset from Motorola the first new phone from the company since Googles buyout comes with several slick extras. Rather than wait for these extras to arrive in future Android releases, you can get your hands on them now. Heres how

to launch 1 Flick One impressive Moto X feature


is the ability to shake the phone to launch the camera app, which can save time when a photo opportunity arises. Get the same feature by installing Twisty Launcher.

Go hands-free 2 Perhaps the ultimate handsfree feature, Motorola Assist is a combination of Tasker and Robin. Robin reads incoming messages and suggests new routes, even providing Facebook updates if youre stuck.

notifications 3 VIP Although the notification bar


flashes updates, if the display is off you can miss them. The Moto X Active Display presents updates as they arrive; you can replicate this with DynamicNotifications.

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Jargon Buster
Get up to speed on all the terms you need to know when hacking your phone

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Floating apps for Android multitasking

Whether you use a phone or a tablet, there are various apps that you can call upon that will appear as windows on your Android home screen just like a desktop PC. Various apps (just search for oating on Google Play) can be installed, covering everything from pop-out YouTube players that can sit in the corner of your home screen (although you can place windows wherever you want) to calculators, image galleries, browser windows and even phone dialers. If you want to get productive, youll nd a useful collection of free mini-apps called Tiny Apps (Floating), which includes a note-taking app, paint tool, calculator, sound recorder and music player, all of which can be opened on your Android home screen in their own oating windows. Floating apps and multitasking tools are getting increasingly popular for Android, so keep an eye out for similar tools in coming months.

Remarkably you can save battery life by leaving wireless networking enabled when your Android smartphone goes to sleep. As crazy as it might sound, this works because it prevents your phone or tablet switching to 3G/4G and these require more battery than Wi-Fi. To congure Android to leave your wireless connection open when the device sleeps, open Settings>Wireless & networks> Wi-Fi and select Menu>Advanced, where the option to keep Wi-Fi active can be found under the Wi-Fi sleep policy. Youll want to set it to Never. Older versions of Android might have the Keep Wi-Fi on during sleep option, which should be set to Always. Now, if your battery is particularly low on juice, we wouldnt advise this step, but should you have a strong charge and want to keep connected without sacricing battery life, this is a useful trick to know.

Dont let wireless networking sleep

OS

Short for operating system. Often the Android ROM will be referred to as the OS this just means the system les on the Android device that make up your user experience, similar to Windows, Mac OS X or Ubuntu on a desktop computer.

ROM

Stands for read-only memory. In the context of Android, the ROM refers to the les that make up the operating system installed on your device. Gaining root privileges allows for replacement of the standard ROM with a custom one.

Root

3G and 4G connectivity can use more battery than Wi-Fi

Rooting your phone gives apps access to parts of the OS that are normally hidden from consumers. This enables you to run more powerful software and install custom ROMs on your phone.

Yes, Android really can multi-task all you need is a trip to the Play store

Most Android devices should enable you to take screenshots, but working out the correct method can be tricky. In current iterations, the screenshot can be captured by holding the volume down and power button together youll see when the shot is

Cant take screenshots? Try this tip

taken as the image will briey freeze. Should this fail to work, try holding the power button on its own the power menu may feature the screenshot option. Older versions of Android may also support the Power button and Home combination, while there are various apps you can install from the Google Play store. Using an app can prove useful some can be congured to capture the screen image using just a gesture. If none of these tools or combinations work, you can always try AirDroid for your desktop computer, which also enables you to take screenshots once the Android client application is installed.

ROM Manager

An app available from the Android Market that enables you to install a whole new version of your OS with a single click. It requires a rooted phone to use and is ideal for those new on the scene.

Titanium Backup

This app from the Market enables you to back up everything on your phone apps, data, settings and all. It means that you can restore your phone to how it was, even after youve updated or changed the ROM.

Unrevoked

Available from www.unrevoked.com, this is a one-click tool that can be used for rooting many popular HTC smartphones.

ADB

Working out the correct method can be tricky


Wugs Nexus Root Toolkit

Stands for Android Debug Bridge. ADB is mainly used for software development, but it also has some uses for hacking your phone. It can be used to push les onto the system folder, for instance.

Nandroid

You might come across the phrase perform a Nandroid backup. This means using a custom recovery tool to make a back-up image of everything currently on your phone: OS, apps, data, etc. Its very useful should you wish to restore your phone to its previous state later.

Hacking the easy way


Android Tweaker (PRO)

Get great new features without getting your hands (too) dirty Cydia Substrate
From: Google Play Need root? Yes Cydia gained notoriety as the software manager for jailbroken iPhones; with Substrate you can install various tweaks and enhancements to modify other apps.

Radio

2.53/$4.00

From: Google Play Need root? Yes Your choice of tweaking utility is largely limited by device, version or ROM, but Android Tweaker enables audio, connectivity and other system-tuning hacks.

Free

Free

From: XDA Need root? No Now including support for the Nexus 7, this collection of rooting tools unlocks bootloaders, offers one-click root and even manages restoration of your stock ROM.

Radio refers to the software on your Android device that deals with making phone calls and data connections. Updating your radio version can bring better battery life and signal strength to your device. Some ROMs require the latest radio.

Flash

The storage in your device comprises ash memory, a type of solid-state storage. The terms ash or ashing mean installing new software onto your devices storage.

Check our website daily for even more tips & tricks

www.littlegreenrobot.co.uk

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10 ESSENTIAL HACKS AND MODS


Practical hacks to help you get more from your phone or tablet

Rooting an Android device is a process that differs from one model to the next, and can be done using methods of differing levels of complexity. The simplest way to root is by using a one-click tool. These utilise an app that either runs directly on your device or via a USB connection to your desktop. The benets to these is that you dont require any real knowledge of what is going on and that they are quick and safe. In most cases they will not install a custom recovery as part of the process, so you will need to install ROM Manager and do this yourself before youre able to start ashing any ROMs or mods.

Root your phone with one-click


Framaroot
Framaroot can be downloaded from bit. ly/145Ifjs and works for many Galaxy, Motorola and LG devices. It runs on the phone and gives you the choice of exploits to try and root with. Pick one and see what happens.

SuperOneClick
Available from shortfuse.org, this legendary app enjoys wide device support and runs natively on Windows or Ubuntu-based machines. Enable USB debugging on your device and ensure youve installed the drivers for your computer. Then click Root.

Root Transmission
Download Root Transmission from bit. ly/13D0g9j. This tool enables you to root a phone using another rooted device. The rooted device needs to have USB On-The-Go capability and is a useful tool when you dont have access to your computer. Works with many Galaxy and Asus devices.

Root_with_Restore
Download from bit.ly/Scs00l. It works mostly with Sony devices, but also the Nexus 7 and select models from HTC, LG and Samsung. Download and extract the software and then run it by double-clicking the RunMe.bat icon. Now just follow the onscreen instructions.

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Tweak your own custom ROM


2

Add your own selection of apps to your favourite custom ROM


enable you to take a ROM and repackage it. For this project were using dsixdas Android Kitchen, which runs on Windows, Linux and Mac, and can be used to modify existing shipped ROMs, custom ROMs or your own Nandroid backups. You can add or remove apps and make other tweaks, including using your own scripts.

f youre into hacking Android, you will no doubt have explored the world of custom ROMs. With dozens available for almost every device you can normally nd one that you like. Yet what happens if you cannot nd your perfect ROM? The answer: make your own. Android is an open source operating system, and the open source

ethos runs rmly throughout the Android hacking community. You can pick a ROM that you like, and further tweak and tailor so that it meets your needs. It is complicated, though, and starting from scratch requires you to be either a developer or keen to learn. The best place to get started is using Kitchen apps that

the tools 1 Prepare To begin you will need to download and


install dsixdas Android Kitchen. Depending on whether youre using Windows, Mac or Linux you may need to download a few other things as well in order for it to work. Follow the FAQs at bit.ly/Xks0xs for the full details.

the kitchen 2 Run To launch the Kitchen, unzip it and open


up a Terminal or command line prompt. The required commands differ depending on the OS. Change to the kitchen directory using the command cd followed by the path to the kitchen folder. Then type ./menu to launch.

base ROM 3 Import Locate your source ROM, or Nandroid


backup that you have copied from your phone. You can use this to add or remove apps. To import it to the kitchen, simply drag and drop the ROM (do not unzip it if it is in the .zip format) into original_update in the Kitchen directory.

and remove 4 Add ROMs often feature apps you dont


need, and lack those that you do. When in the Kitchen you can add or remove apps by adding or deleting the .apk le in the system/app folder in the WORKING_myrom directory. This is an easy way to customise your ROMs features.

the APKs 5 ZipAlign After adding new apps you will need to
zip align them. This optimises the apps, and will greatly improve performance. In the Kitchen menu, press 5 and Enter, and then press Y. Once this is done use option 23 to check for any errors. You can now rebuild and ash the ROM.

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10 ESSENTIAL HACKS AND MODS

Override settings for each app


3
App Override enables you to congure a number of system settings on a per-app basis

pp Override by Runaway Fridge (currently in Beta testing and free to download from the Play store) is an application that enables you to congure a growing number of system settings including Screen Orientation, Font Size, Input method, Screen Timeout, Minimum CPU Speed, Maximum CPU Speed, Sound Mode and Wi settings for individual applications. Rather than conguring these settings system wide, App Override will automatically set them as the chosen application is launched and restore them back to the system default when you leave the app. There are often times when you might want to have, for example, a larger font size, but not want it to take affect right across your device and App Override makes that possible. Root access is required for some of the options (currently only Input method, Minimum CPU Speed and Maximum CPU Speed), but if you dont have root access you can still use the application however your choice of controls will be more limited. App Override is compatible with all versions of Android from 2.3 Gingerbread onwards and can be switched on and off with a main toggle button. When the application is active, an icon is displayed in the notication area (which can be disabled if you choose to do so). App Override can be started manually or congured to start when your device initially boots up.

app 1 Download Search for App Override in the


Play store and download the application. After installing and opening it from your launcher, you will be presented with your application list. Pressing the toggle button in the top-left labelled Off will enable the application and youll see a notication icon appear.

The orientation lock enables you to set a specic device orientation for an app. You are not limited to portrait or landscape you can also set reverse portrait or reverse landscape, as well as automatic. This could be useful to prevent the browser rotating when youre lazing on the sofa!

6 Orientation lock

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to Control 2 What By default, App Override will


only enable you to control Input method, Orientation and Screen Timeout. By pressing the What to Control button you can toggle the other items including Font Size, Minimum CPU Speed, Maximum CPU Speed, Sound Mode and Wi. Enable them all if you feel like it.

on boot? 3 Start The third button, labelled


Settings, lets you choose whether to display a notication bar icon and whether App Override should start on boot. While you test and get used to using the app, its probably best to display the icon when active and not have the application start on boot (the default).

override 4 First The main App Override view


gives you a long list of all your installed applications. Clicking the name of an app enables you to congure the options that you have enabled. For each option you can choose the apps start behaviour whether to ignore the launch, set to default or customise.

font size 5 Set The Font Size option lets you


specify a custom font size for your app, which might be useful for an app where you are reading a lot of text content but the app doesnt let you congure the font size. You can scale the font to a massive 170%, but you can also decrease the font size down to 60% too.

Isnt it frustrating when you are reading something on your device and the screen times out? App Override lets you set the screen timeout to a level between 30 seconds and 12 minutes. Be careful itd be easy to accidentally run down your battery by leaving your screen on in a customised app.

7 Screen control

Provided you have root access on your device, the ability to lock minimum and maximum CPU speeds can be useful. If you have a power-hungry app where you need maximum performance, you can crank up the speed. If you want to save battery in a low stress app, try reducing the maximum speed.

8 CPU speeds

There are a number of different ways of managing Wi-Fi, and we nd one of our favourite ways is to use WiFi-Matic to enable or disable by location. App Override gives another alternative enabling Wi-Fi only for specic applications, perhaps ones that might use a lot of your data allowance.

9 Toggle Wi

One of the best things about Android is the ability to use different Input methods. Some are better suited to different apps than others however. For example, you might want to use App Override to switch to an Emoji-enabled keyboard just for when youre sending instant messages to your friends.

10 Input methods

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10 ESSENTIAL HACKS AND MODS

Control your background apps


4
Sick of apps draining your battery and bandwidth? Its time to give Greenify a go
ow often do you recharge your Android smartphone or tablet? Daily? Twice a day? Do you need to keep it docked to maintain the charge for when you head out and about? If so, the chances are you have a few apps that are causing problems by working in the background when they should really be resting. The resulting network connections can drain your battery in just a couple of hours, something that can prove both inconvenient and costly. With Greenify you can instruct Android to block apps from running in the background. Greenify requires your device to be rooted, and draws a line in the sand to stop apps from draining your resources after all, theres really no need for it to happen. Unlike other app-killers, the secret of Greenifys success is in the hibernation of

the resource-draining apps. This is in contrast to the cat-and-mouse, stop-startstop that can occur with some (resulting in additional battery use), and unlike Titanium Backup Pros freeze feature, you can still use apps hibernated in Greenify. While not ideal for alarm clocks or messaging apps, Greenify is a superb, lightweight solution for Android devices to battery-draining apps.

interface 1 User The most effective apps are simple to


use, and Greenify is certainly no different. The rst screen will list your choice of Hibernated apps, but of course on rst run this will be empty. To add an app to the list, tap the + button to display a list of all apps.

Analyzer 2 App The screen listing your apps is the App


Analyzer, where you will see your apps grouped into categories such as Running in background, Scheduled running and May slow down the device. If the app you wish to hibernate isnt listed, tap More or use Search (top-right corner).

and select 3 Search The Search button returns you to the


home screen where you can nd the app you wish to add to Greenify using the App Picker tool. You can also browse through the app list, tapping the App Picker button in the Notication Area when the app is running.

apps to hibernate 4 Select In the App Analyzer you can hibernate


multiple apps by selecting each in turn. You can just as easily select a single app. To apply Greenifys hibernation magic, tap the tick button in the top-right corner. Greenify will inform you that the app is being hibernated.

the list 5 Manage As you hibernate resource-hogging apps,


they will be added to the Hibernated list, the rst screen you encounter when running the app. This vital screen enables you to launch hibernated apps by tapping Play; similarly you can put them back to sleep using the Zzz button.

The App Analyzer list can prove a little tricky to handle, especially if you dont know which apps are draining your battery. Apps listed under Running in background should be your priority as these will be using up resources.

6 Which apps should you hibernate?

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Restore your data the easy way


Use Titanium Backup to quickly ash all your apps and data after ashing a ROM

running 7 Scheduled Apps listed under Scheduled running,


meanwhile, can perhaps be the most dangerous. If there is no need that you can see for an app to run on a scheduled basis, then you should consider hibernating it so that it is only activated when you permit it.

pro 1 Go If you havent already got it, download


Titanium Backup Pro from the Play store. Youll need root access to be able to use it, so grant this when prompted. Tap the tick icon in the top-right of the main screen to start setting up your rst backup.

up your data 2 Back First you need to back up your data. In


the Backup section of the Batch Actions screen choose your preferred option Backup all user apps + system data will create a full backup of everything on your phone. Hit Run to set the process in motion.

down apps 8 Slow Any apps listed under the May slow down
the device heading are those that rely on particular events to launch. These are resourceheavy apps that should only be used in certain scenarios again, this list should be short, focusing on regularly used apps.

apps, save 9 Hibernate your battery


Battery performance can be improved using Greenify, and apps that you have hibernated are easily woken up. For added control, you can use the Disable auto-hibernation menu option to prevent hibernation of any apps.

update.zip 3 Create With the backup complete, scroll down


the Batch Actions screen to Recovery Mode and select Create update.zip from app+data backups. You can now choose which data you want in your ashable zip. Make your choice and then hit the green tick button.

to restore 4 Flash Your data is now fully backed up and


ashable in either CWM or TWRP recovery. Now when you wipe your data before ashing a ROM you can ash this update.zip as well, and when you reboot into the new ROM all your apps and data will be waiting for you.

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10 ESSENTIAL HACKS AND MODS

Hack and tweak with one click


6
Andromizer and Andromizer Pro give easy access to a plethora of modications

ndromizer is a universal toolkit that provided you have root access and a Busybox binary installed gives access to a huge number of modications, tweaks and hacks on your Android device, all via an easy-to-use interface. Available in both free and paid (1.81/$2.76) pro versions, the app includes a host of universal modications, as well as device specic tweaks for a growing number of devices primarily Samsung products at the moment. In addition, Andromizer provides a number of easy-to-use features including a system information viewer, reboot tools, a one-touch optimisation option, a ROM cleaner, user and system data backup and restore features (pro version required) and a tool to back up and restore SMS and call logs. If you are using a TWRP or PhilZ recovery image, one-touch links are also provided by Andromizer to boot to recovery and run a backup, restore, wipe or zip installation. As with all root applications (and particularly modication or hacking apps), using some of the tweaks can be dangerous you should take a full Nandroid backup of your device before you start and copy it to your computer, in case you have to completely factory reset. Well show you how to install BusyBox on your device so that you are ready to use Andromizer right away, as well as taking you through a selection of the features that the application offers.

BusyBox 1 Install BusyBox is a binary that


includes a host of useful shell commands. These are often used by hacking applications, but they are also useful if you run an ADB shell. To install, download Busybox by JRummy or Stericson from the Play store. Launch the app and install BusyBox as prompted.

The One-Touch Kernel Tweaks option, found in the Tweaks section, enables you to quickly and easily change kernel options including frequency, governor, scheduler, power saving and more. You can apply changes temporarily (until reboot) or such that they survive reboots. Try rst!

6 Kernel tweaks

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Scan 2 WiFi Interval


Andromizer lets you set the WiFi Scan Interval for your device. This value, set in ms and found on the Settings page of the application, controls how often your device checks for new networks when not connected to one. Increasing this value can help save battery power.

the 3 Increase WindowMgr


Also found in the Settings page, some users have found that increasing the WindowMgr Max Events Per Second value can help with scrolling and animation smoothness, as it lets the Window Manager to process on screen tasks more quickly.

Density 4 LCD Changing the LCD Density of


your device enables you to make onscreen elements smaller (by increasing the value) or larger (by decreasing the value). Not all applications will appear correctly at different densities, so there is likely to be some trial and error required in nding a value that you like.

Heap Size 5 Dalvik The Dalvik Heap Size


corresponds to how much heap (memory space) an app (actually an instance of the dalvik VM) can use. Apps can be slowed down by memory management tasks if their usage approaches the maximum size, in which case increasing this value may offer some benet.

The Build Prop Manager lets you edit your devices build.prop values. Using the editor you can change your device to appear as something else, change the ROM version display, switch default locale or modify a whole host of low level settings. This is a particularly dangerous area in which to play!

7 Build Prop

The 3G/4G Optimizer enables you to modify your HSPA settings. By modifying the HSDPA (download) category and HSUPA (upload) category you may be able to improve data speeds. To check the meaning of your current values you can refer to the HSDPA and HSUPA pages on Wikipedia.

8 3G/4G settings

If youre not sure which settings to change but you want a quick and easy boost to your system, the One-Touch Optimisation option is worth a try. The low risk changes applied here should give your device a small performance upgrade. If you use logcat, note that it is disabled by this option!

9 Optimiser

Andromizers ROM Cleaner function clears a host of different caches, which could help you regain some of your devices precious storage space. Many of the areas cleaned should be automatically maintained by Android, but we did regain a little bit of space by running the tool, so its worth a go.

10 Regain space

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10 ESSENTIAL HACKS AND MODS

Run Linux from your phone


7
ant to test out a version of Linux, or do you tinker with your PC to such an extent that you need to keep a rescue system on hand? Using the free utility DriveDroid you can boot directly into Linux simply by connecting your phone. DriveDroid simplies the process, ensuring your phone is compatible then guiding you through the download and boot processes. Your phone will need to be rooted, and you will need to ensure youve got plenty of free storage, plus a USB cable to connect to any PC.

Boot any computer into your Linux distro of choice with just a few simple steps

up your phone 1 Set The opening step for DriveDroid is to follow the
guide to ensure your phone is set up properly to work. Dont skip this step; if you encounter any problems, the solution is likely to found be in here.

an image 2 Download When that is complete you will need to get a


Linux image to boot in to. The app will give you access to a long list of supported Linux distros, so pick and download. For testing, Ubunutu is a good start.

the image 3 Choose With your Linux image downloaded you are now
ready to boot your PC. Select the image le from the DriveDroid main screen and choose Writable USB or Read-only USB. The former is preferred for full OS access; the latter good for working on an infected PC.

and go 4 Connect Make sure USB boot is the primary boot


method on your computer, then connect your smartphone via USB and power on the PC. It should now boot into Linux rather than Windows or whatever other OS you have got installed.

Set your phone for one-handed use


Give root permissions

Use Assistive Zoom to zoom in and out with just one nger Follow the setup guide

Give root permissions to the Assistive Zoom app. You will now be launched into the conguration screen for the app. Follow the instructions to get up and running.

The app is accessed by tapping the magnifying glass that appears anchored to the side of the screen. Hold on the icon and slide your nger to zoom in or out.

Now launch an app that supports pinch to zoom, such as a web browser. Zooming starts once you lift your nger from the screen. Long press to view extra settings.

One hand zooming

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9 Remove unwanted system apps


Get rid of a manufacturers bloat-heavy skin

ost phones come with a certain level of customisation. Often this will amount to not much more than a few extra apps, but sometimes a phone will have a huge custom skin packed with additional features that you dont need. Usually these apps will not be able to be removed through normal methods, so youre stuck with them cluttering up your app drawer and possibly even using system resources whether you like it or not. With NoBloat Free you can safely rid your phone of much of this junk. You can disable or even completely uninstall the apps you dont want, safe in the knowledge that you can restore them just as easily should you ever change your mind. Your device must be rooted for this app to work.

or delete 1 Disable Download and launch NoBloat Free, and


grant root access when prompted. Tap the System apps to see all the built-in apps that cant be uninstalled. Pick an item you would like to remove, tap on it and choose either Disable or Backup and delete.

apps 2 Re-enable Disabled apps are kept in the system but


are hidden and will not run. This is a good option for apps that run in the background by default, and a good way to test the impact of removing an app before you delete it. Go to Disabled apps to re-enable or fully remove them.

from backup 3 Restore Go to Backed up apps to restore those


apps you have deleted. Obviously you cannot restore an app you did not back up, which is why it is important to do so. If youre absolutely certain youll never need the app, you can delete the backup instead.

10

Recover deleted files with Undelete


Scanning your selected storage area may take a few minutes depending on how large it is and how much activity there has been on it. When complete, all the deleted, but recoverable les, will be shown. Swipe sideways to lter by content, or type a lename. Tap on a le or multiple les and hit the Restore button at the bottom of the screen. The free version of the app only works with image les, so register if you want to restore les in other formats. Not all les will be able to be recovered, so this is a last resort app only.

Ever deleted a precious le by mistake? You might be able to get it back using this free download

Grant superuser permissions when prompted on launching Undelete. Tap select storage to choose whether to scan internal or external storage. Your options will be limited to only those drives supported. Select the option then tap Scan storage to continue.

Finally for added security you can also choose to Shred les. This will remove them completely from your memory card and make sure they cannot be recovered at all. The process is the same as it is for restoring: choose the les and hit the Shred button.

65

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Retro Gaming on Android

Feature

RETRO GAMING

ANDROID
ON
Thanks to the rise in emulation, retro has never been so relevant

68

Retro Gaming on Android

Feature

Emulator FAQs
What are the legal issues surrounding emulators?

Is it illegal to run a console emulator on Android? No. Emulators are used to mimic A a gaming console and are not
illegal by themselves. Running ROMs that you dont have the right to run on them is illegal, however.

emember the years of impossible bosses and blowing endlessly into the bottom of cartridges to get them working? Well, if you fondly remember those days then youll be happy to hear retro gaming is getting a bit of a revival on the Android operating system. Were treated to some of the most jaw-dropping games on our smartphones, but nothing can match the old school feeling of ring up a spot of Contra on the Nintendo Entertainment System. By venturing onto the Google Play store, there are hundreds of retro-styled games readily available for you to download, with companies such as Sega re-releasing some of its classic titles for a new wave of users to enjoy. Third-party developers are getting in on the act too, with a number of stellar 8-bit inspired titles springing to the top of the download charts.

Emulators open up a new and diverse way to get your hands on the games you love
best games of yesteryear, it also gives them a chance to modify the way in which they play them. There are plenty of legal issues surrounding emulators and the games you can play on them, many of which weve addressed in the panel on this page, but emulators open up a new and diverse way to get your hands on the games you love. Emulation is very much here to stay.

What are the restrictions of running a ROM on an emulator? The only games you can play on A an emulator are ones that are
legally available to play. This normally discounts commercial games.

Am I allowed to play homebrew games on my smartphone? There are no issues downloading A homebrew games onto your
smartphone, as long as it has been downloaded from an appropriate place.

Can I download a ROM of a game that I own a physical copy of? No, this is a misconception. It is a A grey area of the law, may differ
from one country to the next, and copyright law is currently changing in the UK. Broadly speaking though, owning a physical copy does not entitle you to own a digital copy, especially one not ofcially released.

Why emulation is key


Most of the credit for the retro revival on Android has to lie at the feet of the wave of emulators readily available. Being exact mimics of the consoles they represent, emulators are now on par, if not better than their desktop counterparts. Controls can now be fully mapped, saved games can be stored both locally and within the crowd and there are even apps to help connect your modern day game controllers to your phone. Emulators not only give the chance for a new generation of gamers looking to enjoy some of the

Create your own


The other dening factor for the retro rise on Android is due to the ever-increasing number of developers creating homebrew and open-source games for users to enjoy. The nature of the Android OS enables developers to put together their own ports of popular games using available source code and readily distribute to the masses. Many of these games are available on the Google Play store, but some are found lurking in the dingy areas of the internet available as free downloads. Although theres a distinct trend to focus more on the high-end games, we now see more people looking for an old-school gaming experience. These sort of games rekindle some of the best gaming moments from some of the most loved consoles of the past. To celebrate weve even covered a selection of the most popular homebrew games in this very feature.

Is it legal to play games whose owners are now out of business? Even though there may be no A actual owner to these games, due
to the company going out of business, its still illegal to download these ROMs.

What legal action could I face if Im caught using a ROM? You could face prosection, A although in practice there are very
few test cases to clarify exactly what the law entails.

69

Retro Gaming on Android

Feature

CORRECTLY CONFIGURE AN EMULATOR

Connect an external controller


Use Bluetooth and Sixaxis to connect your PS3 controller to your smartphone

Follow these steps to guarantee your emulator works awlessly no matter what device you use
there are a few that youll need to adjust and congure based on your smartphone. The four steps below will walk you through some of the common settings youll need to explore in any emulator, but for the purpose of this tutorial, weve used the MyBoy! Game Boy emulator.

here are a ton of settings to consider when looking to correctly set up an emulator, so much in fact that it can be a bit overwhelming for those without previous experience in using them. Although many of the settings of an emulator can be left how they are,

Compatibility
Alongside the Sixaxis app, make sure to download the Compatibility Checker app, which will scan your phone and ensure your phone is compatible to pair with the PS3 controller.

the basics 1 Learn For most emulators, youll see a main


page that looks like the one above. Although most of these sections will go untouched, chances are youll need to toggle with certain things relating to the video and input of the emulator on your smartphone to get the optimum playing experience.

c features 2 Speci Firstly venture into the features section


of your emulator. Here youll see how the emulator copes with the more advanced features. One of the benets of having a smartphone is that you can take advantage of things like motion control, so make sure to have that option enabled.

Pair the controller


After conrming a compatible smartphone, open up the Sixaxis software and press the Pair button. It can take a while for the controller to rst connect to your phone, but any future pairing will be much quicker.

Map controls video 3 Edit Depending on how old your phone is,
youll need to adjust the Frame Rate option in the Video section. Setting a lower frame rate skip will mean the game will run at its full capacity, while a higher frame rate skip will mean it runs a more condensed version that is better for older phones.

states 4 Save If the emulator you are using supports


game saves, then make sure to change the types of saves it makes each time. Some saves can take up a lot of your phones internal storage, so its best advised to choose a small Flash save or completely disable the feature altogether, if you see t.

Load up a game currently stored on your phone. Depending on the game, there should be a menu where you can map out the controls to match the layout of your PS3 controller.

70

Retro Gaming on Android

Feature

ANDROIDS BEST CONSOLE EMULATORS


1981 BBC MICRO Beebdroid
Price: Free It can be a bit ddly to get working initially, but Beebdroid is one of the most sophisticated emulators available to Android users free of charge.

Relive the best videogames of all time with these classic console emulators

1982 ColecoVision ColEm Deluxe


Price: 1.99/$1.99 ColEm does a great job at displaying the Colecos classic arcade-styled graphics. It also includes full mapping support for any Bluetooth controller.

1982 Commodore 64 Frodo C64


Price: Free Theres plenty of competition for Commodore 64 emulators, but Frodo C64 is the easiest to set up and use for people needing a quick C64 x. We loved it.

1983 MSX MSX.emu


Price: 5.49/$7.99 The largely unheralded MSX console has been brought to life with MSX.emu, which offers the original style QWERTY keyboard that was needed for certain games.

1988 Sega Mega Drive AndroGens


Price: Free The competition for the best Mega Drive emulator was tough, but AndroGens is the most detailed for those who want to customise how they play their games.

1985 Atari ST SToid


Price: 0.61/$0.99 Thanks to the combination of onscreen controls, automatic saving and an auto re mode, SToid provides a better overall experience than the console itself!

1985 Sega Master System GENPlusDroid


Price: Free GENPlusDroid is a faithful representation of the Master System and more powerful devices can take advantage of the various shaders to increase graphic quality.

1983 Nintendo NES NES.emu


Price: 2.99/$3.99 The NES was famous for having some of the hardest games known to man, but NES.emu includes a handy cheat system for you to make things a lot easier.

1991 Sega Game Gear MasterGear


Price: 3.99/$4.99 Although Segas handheld console didnt hit the dizzy heights many expected, MasterGear boasts a selection of nice features users should checkout.

1991 Neo Geo Arcade NEO.emu


Price: 2.99/$3.99 Despite the sheer power that the Neo Geo brings, the NEO. emu app does a good job at keeping up with all the graphical power that is needed for the console.

1990 SNES SuperGnes


Price: 2.49/$3.99 Some of the original SNES artwork and controller design has been used to bring the most authentic SNES experience possible for all users.

1989 Game Boy VGB - GameBoy


Price: 3.99/$4.99 Arguably the best handheld ever released, the Game Boy has been beautifully recreated, D-Pad and all, within VGB - GameBoy, which handles all GB games with ease.

2005 Sony PSP PPSSPP


Price: Free Some great customisation options enabling gamers to perfect their PSP experience make PPSSPP the best handheld emulator around on the Play store.

2001 GameCube Dolphin Emulator Alpha


Price: Free There are some frame rate issues here, but Dolphin Emulator Alpha does support a wide range of the nest GameCube games. There are still issues to iron out, however.

1996 Nintendo 64 SuperN64


Price: Free Although youll occasionally run into some graphical issues, the team behind SuperN64 are constantly bringing out improvements and new features for users to enjoy.

1994 Sony Playstation ePSXe for Android


Price: 2.37/$3.75 Its amazing to think something as powerful as the Sony Playstation would work on your phone, but ePSXe has done a great job at bringing its best features to the much smaller screen.

71

Retro Gaming on Android

Feature

HOMEBREW HEAVEN O
The best homebrew and open-source games for Android
ne of the major reasons for getting back into retro gaming on your Android smartphone is the amount of open-source games now available for every user to enjoy. Although not all of them are readily available from the Google Play store, if you search the web you can really nd some true homebrew treats

4
Price: Free

No Way But Down

Nothing says retro more than text-based adventures and No Way But Down is the best open-source one we found. As well as a traditional RPG storyline, theres also a great map creator tool within the app for people to add their own levels.

Andors Trail
Price: Free

Battle erce monsters and discover the truth about the disappearance of your brother in this true retro-styled dungeon crawler RPG. Theres a lengthy campaign to get through, plenty of hidden treasures to discover and a forum where you can discuss the game with other players.

OpenTyrian
Price: Free

Teeworlds
Price: Free

OpenTyrian is a direct port based on the classic original DOS shooter game, Tyrian. This port contains four full campaigns to get through, with each varying in difculty. Along the way youll be able to collect ship upgrades which add a new function to your ship, as well as general power-ups to enhance your shooting power. The game carries the same difculty level as the original game, but a helpful tip is to use an external controller. The source code is available online for budding developers if you want to try your hand at creating your own port!

Teeworlds is one of the rst opensource multiplayer games on Android, enabling users to square off against people all over the world with a variety of weapons and gadgets. Users can create their own private servers, add their own mods and even design their own maps.

2
Price: Free

Commander Keen

OpenTTD
Price: Free

As far as platformers go, Commander Keen is strange, but one that has the style and humour that makes it a must-play game for a quick retro x. There are plenty of levels to get through as you aid Commander Keen around a crazy and colourful world.

Even though you dont see many business sim games on Google Play, that doesnt mean they arent wanted. OpenTTD puts you in control of a virtual city, with the sole aim to successfully manage the transport links. It may not sound exciting, but its denitely worth a go.

3
Price: Free

Ur-Quan Masters

Dweller

Price: Free

Not many games can match the complexity of Ur-Quan Masters, and as far as homebrew games go, its hard to think of anything better. As a captain of a spaceship, you must travel the galaxy, gather resources and use strategy to defeat enemies.

Blending together elements from some of the best dungeon crawlers and RPGs around, Dweller is a colourful take on the format. All the classic features are there, including a great storyline, engaging characters and more items and monsters than you could shake a sword at.

72

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Apps Klyph for Facebook


Playmarkers
Scan these QR codes for direct links to the Google Play Store
Klyph for Facebook

15min wonder
Want your money back? Youve got 15 mins to decide!
! 5 15 10 ! 5 15 10 ! 5 15 10

0-5 minutes It takes a while to scroll through the legal jargon 5-10 minutes But soon youll be browsing Facebook like never before
Klyph puts the ofcial Facebook app to shame

10-15 minutes We think


refund

A slick, new way to browse Facebook


Facebook may be the kingpin of social networking, but when it comes to browsing Mark Zuckerbergs brainchild on your Android device, it still leaves something to be desired. Facebook has always been optimised for desktop computers it wasnt until after the company went public that it began to focus on its mobile app. The ofcial Facebook app can be summed up in three simple words: ugly, slow and clunky. It seems a lot of the Android brotherhood feels the same way, as a slew of third-party apps have been developed for browsing Facebook. App developer Abewy is the latest developer that looks to rectify Facebooks

keep

shortcomings with an app of its own. Klyph for Facebook can be best described as Google+ Lite. It looks and acts like the Google+ app. This excellent app lets you browse Facebook without dealing with the sub-par ofcial app. The interface is smooth, sleek and easy to use. Each action is preceded by a smooth fading sequence. Its optimised for your Android device to give you the best possible Facebook experience, whether youre using a tablet or mobile device. You wont need to deal with Facebooks annoying ads and suggested apps because the app is almost ad free, except for some at the bottom (although you can upgrade to the pro version to go completely ad free).

As always, theres a privacy concern when using third-party apps like Klyph. Similar to when you give permission to an app on Facebook, whether its Farmville or Twitter, youll have to give Klyph permission to access all your personal information. If youre comfortable with that you shouldnt have a problem, but its something to consider since Facebook stores a lot of your personal information.

Access core features including your timeline, albums and events from the top of the app

Klyph offers users the same core functionality that the ofcial Facebook app delivers. You can update your status, post on your mates timeline and upload photos and videos. The app is easy to learn and convenient to use; swipe to the left to browse the different features of Facebook or swipe to the right to see your notications. Klyph is fully customisable by offering a host of aesthetically pleasing themes. The app does have some aws. Chat currently isnt supported, but the app developers promise they are working hard to include it in a subsequent update. Also, due to Facebooks limitations on third-party apps, a host of features are not available, including liking a post, tagging a status, commenting with @, and sharing statuses, photos and videos to your mates timeline. Although the app offers the same core features as the ofcial app, it does have some kinks to work out. The app doesnt do the best job of giving you up-to-the-second status updates. While browsing our newsfeed we found the same posts from friends repeating over and over again. Also, notications werent pushed to us. We had to refresh the app to see new notications. The app is in its early stages, so were sure the developers will work out its aws. It will be nice to see a more polished version released with all the bugs xed.

specification Price Free


Designed for: Phone/tablet Requires Android: Varies with device

verdict
Performance Design Value
Klyph is a great alternative to the ofcial Facebook app
Your newsfeed is presented in an easy-to-read fashion

like this? try this!


As a more polished Facebook alternative, Flipster is worth a shot.

Flipster for Facebook

74

OS MapFinder

Blipfoto

GQueues

Photo Editor by Aviary

OS MapFinder
Ordnance Survey has long been established as the foremost source of UK maps for those interested in outdoors pursuits. OS MapFinder is the organisations rst ofcial Android app, and whether youre a walker, cyclist, hiker or otherwise enjoy the great outdoors, then the content on offer here simply cannot be beaten. The app looks great. It has been built specically for Android and conforms to its design guidelines, so ts in well with all your other apps. And the key features youll need while out on the road are here: theres a compass, you can plot routes and set waypoints, record your route as you are on your travels, as well as import and export them. Theres also a powerful search function that works with places, postcodes and grid references. Its all pretty great stuff, except we do have a couple of major issues with the application. First is that it is a free download, but is essentially useless without in-app purchases. You get a low-res overview map of the UK for free, as well as a sample for part of Exeter, of all places. Detailed mapping, in 10km x 10km squares costs 69 pence for 1:50,000 scale and 1.99 for the more detailed 1:25,000. Depending on how much you need, it can prove cheap or very expensive. Theres also no way to make batch purchases, so if you want ten tiles, thats ten Play store transactions. And then theres the fact that the app is 413MB in size even before you add your maps. This apparently covers the overview map and ofine searching, but strikes us as a very inefcient use of a phones storage, especially for casual users.

Ordnance Survey brings its much-vaunted maps to Android

Designed for: Phone/tablet Requires Android: 2.3 and up

specification Price Free verdict

Great mapping, but large and potentially expensive


The app looks great and is fully consistent with the Android design guidelines

Blipfoto
Chronicle your life with one photo a day
Blipfoto has been a smashing hit online, but it isnt until recently that the photo-sharing website launched its own app on the popular Android platform. Although you could previously access the website on your mobile device, the new app optimises and enhances the experience. If youre new to Blipfoto, no worries; its essentially a journal, but instead of words you use your own brilliant photos to express yourself. Theres a catch though you can only share one photo daily and youre limited to new photos online. Blipfoto is all about community. You can share your photos with your mates and enjoy their photo collections as well. Blipfoto has similar features to Facebook, such as the ability to tag, which only enriches the experience.

GQueues
Task manager app that integrates with Google
Are you looking for an easy way to keep your hectic life organised? GQueues might just be what youre looking for. This brilliant app is a fully featured task manager that will change your life forever. It will make your life more productive and stress-free by helping organise your life. The app is fully integrated with Google Calendar; it sends you push reminders of upcoming important tasks and deadlines. The app is fully in sync with its web counterpart, making it easy to stay on top.

Photo Editor by Aviary


Photo editing made easy
Are you looking for a quick and easy way to edit your photos? Look no further than Photo Editor by Aviary. Photo editors today often have too many features to choose from; this brilliant app strips out all the unneeded features and delivers just the basics. You can apply magnicent effects and frames with one tap. All the basic features like crop, rotate and straighten are included, as well as more advanced features like colour splash.

like this? try this!


Try out the worlds most popular photo-sharing app.

Flickr

Price Free Designed for Phone/tablet Requires Android 2.2 and up


Adding captions and tagging your mates only makes this app that much better

Price Free Designed for Phone/tablet Requires Android 2.2 and up

Price Free Designed for Phone/tablet Requires Android 2.3 and up

75

Apps

Playmarkers

Scan these QR codes for direct links to the Google Play Store

1 Second Everyday

TopTable

Torch Music

1 Second Everyday
Capture your life one second at a time

EDITORS CHOICE

They say life passes you by in an instant, so 1 Second Everyday prides itself on coming to the rescue. As the name suggests, it captures one second of every day, so youll never forget another day again. Its easy to forget the special moments, and now in only six minutes you can relive an entire year of them. The app has a slew of features to make documenting your life easy. You can quickly access any recorded video on your Android device and sort videos by date. Similar to Facebook you can set up timelines to document your life. You can set up a timeline for yourself, one for your kids, your mates, and even your pet goldsh. You dont have to document a whole year either. The app makes it perfect for use whether youre going on a two-week trip or a six-month trip around the world.

Torch Music
Impressive social music discovery app
Music apps are one of the most crowded types of apps available. With fantastic apps like Amazon MP3, Pandora and Google Music All Access, is there really a need for a new music app? Well, Torch Music takes a fresh approach to the genre. It touts itself as the social music discovery app. Not only can you listen to the music that you love, you can share your music tastes with the world and discover new artists and genres of music. Getting started is easy. Simply type the name of your favourite artists and start enjoying high-quality music straight from your Android device. Torch Music is fully compatible with the ofcial Facebook app, so you can log in to your Facebook account and see what your mates are listening to and share your own playlists. And if youre on the lookout for new music? See whats trending on Torch Music or check out the suggested music list.

Price Free Designed for Phone/tablet Requires Android 4.0 and up


View your life like never before by taking one-second snippets of daily life

TopTable
Restaurant booking made easy
Theres nothing worse than arriving at a crowded restaurant with a charming date with no table in sight. TopTable makes booking a table at the UKs premier restaurants easy. With over 4,000 of the nest restaurants at your disposal, youll never have to wait in line again. Instead of wasting time waiting for a table, you can spend more time enjoying the food. As the name suggests, TopTable brings the top restaurants directly to you. Find the best restaurants nearby; conveniently search by location, date, time and party size. If youve never been to a restaurant before, no worries. The app includes a star rating so you can see if its worth your while. Are you looking for a deal? The TopTable app even includes special offers, so youll know the closest place to get sh and chips half price.

Share your music tastes with the world and discover new artists and genres
Favourites
Youll soon build up a list of your favourite artists and be able to view them here

Get to know

Torch Music makes searching for new and exciting music easy. Weve highlighted three of the best ways below

Price Free Designed for Phone/tablet Requires Android 2.3.3 and up


Search for restaurants based on star rating and type of cuisine

Related Artists

best free alternative


76

OPENTABLE Book a table at over 20,000 of the nest restaurants in the US, Canada and Mexico.

Whether youre a fan of Madonna or Mick Jagger, nd related artists youve never even thought of. Torch Music makes discovering easy.

Options

Torch Music is called the social music discovery app for good reason. Discover music thats currently most popular by heading to the Everyone tab.

Follow

Use the Follow option to see what your mates are listening to. View their unique playlists, libraries, and even the artists they are following themselves. themselves.

Press

Search

The search eld lets you quickly nd your favourite artist and albums among Torch Musics vast library

The layout is very intuitive, as you would expect. Youll nd albums from the artist you searched for prominently placed

Albums

Press
With the slew of RSS reader apps to choose from, it can be a chore to nd the right one. After Google closed its doors on its popular Google Reader this year, news junkies were once again on the hunt for the perfect news app. If youre looking for a bare bones RSS then look no further than Press. The

A simple way to follow the latest news


like this? try this!
Feedly offers an easy way to follow your favourite RSS feeds, blogs and channels.

Feedly

Even when youre in the tube with no reception you can enjoy the latest news; the app supports ofine

If youre looking for a bare bone bones RSS then look no further
app is fast and clean, delivering the latest news directly to your device. Whether youre using a tablet or a phone, Press looks great. It utilises your devices full screen, so you can see as much content as possible. Its easy to browse and well laid out, so nding what you want is easy. reading and image caching. Press is friendly towards fellow news aggregating apps; you can sync it with Feedley, Feed Wrangler, Feedbin and Fever. The controls are intuitive and easy to use; simply double-tap the screen to zoom in on an image or mobilise an article.

Discovery

You can listen to well-known music like Beyonc while youre on the lookout for something fresh and exciting

like this? try this!


Pandora offers the largest selection of internet radio stations in the world.

Press looks great whether youre using a smartphone or tablet

Pandora

specification Price Free


Designed for: Phone/tablet Requires Android: 3.2 and up
Youll quickly nd a list of articles to read, but managing your feed is simple enough

verdict
Performance Design Value
Torch is the newest social way to listen to great music
News is categorised making it easy to nd what you want to read

specification Price 1.93/$2.99


Designed for: Phone/tablet Requires Android: 4.0 and up

verdict
Simple app that puts ease of use high on the agenda

77

Apps
Theres nothing more aggravating than trying to nd a parking spot in a busy parking lot on a Sunday afternoon. With petrol prices going through the roof, the more time you spent driving around searching for a spot, the more time and money you waste. This brilliant app helps solve this headache by assisting you to locate not only the closest, but the cheapest, spot around. Not only do you save money, but you arrive at your destination faster. With ParkMe youll know ahead of time how much you should expect to pay for parking. The rates are conveniently laid out on the apps map, making it easy to search for the cheapest parking nearby. The developer is constantly improving the app; in certain cities you can even view a live map of available parking at parking lots, garages and city blocks. ParkMe is constantly growing too, it features parking spots in over 500 cities worldwide, including London, Paris, New York and Toronto.

Playmarkers

Scan these QR codes for direct links to the Google Play Store

ParkMe

Michelin Travel

Screen Locker

ParkMe

Michelin Travel
A new way to travel the world
Travelling the world can be fun and exciting. It can also be confusing. When youre in a foreign city for the rst time, it isnt always easy to nd out the best tourist attractions to stop by. Michelin Travel is your virtual travel guide that guides you across 85 countries and over 30,000 of the world tourist attractions hand-picked by the Michelin Green Guide. From the Eiffel Tower to the Great Pyramids in Egypt, the Michelin man has you covered. Finding one of the many tourist attractions is quick and easy. Simply search via the apps search engine or maps. Each attraction includes descriptions, recommendations, photos, notes and reviews, so youll know if its worthwhile to visit. You can even access the app ofine, a good way to avoid costly roaming charges when youre in a foreign country.

Find parking space, avoid road rage

View the rates and payment options for each parking space

Price Free Designed for Phone/tablet Requires Android 2.3 and up

best free alternative

VOICE TRANSLATOR FREE Instantly translate speech in over 50 languages, including French, Italian and Japanese.

ScreenLocker
A fun way to protect your Android device
Finding a parking spot will soon become a breeze thanks to ParkMe

like this? try this!


Find out when the bus is coming at over 20,000 bus stops in London.

London Bus Checker

specification Price Free


Designed for: Phone Requires Android: 2.2 and up

verdict
Performance Design Value
ParkMe makes nding a parking spot and payment a calm experience

For some, losing your Android device can be just as bad as losing your wallet. With all the personal information available, it can be a treasure trove for thieves. ScreenLocker helps keep your Android device secure from prying eyes. It claims to be a top-secret, mind-bending ngerprint unlocker, but its actually just a nifty app that only makes you think its scanning your ngerprint. Setting up and using ScreenLocker couldnt be easier. Start by pressing the red light in the top corner and select the number of cycles using the slider. Be sure to remember the cycle number, as this will be the secret to unlocking your phone. Once youre ready to unlock your phone, press your nger on the scanner and hold down for the number of cycles, and voil, your phone will instantly unlock! The app is simple yet effective.

Price Free Designed for Phone/tablet Requires Android 2.2 and up

best free alternative


78

APP PROTECTOR This app offers an easy way to keep your most sensitive apps secure.

quickhits
PassWallet Digisocial
An easy way to store your precious passwords
Are you overwhelmed by the number of passwords you have to remember? Youre not alone. Thankfully theres an easier way. PassWallet provides a safe and secure way to store your most sensitive data on your mobile device. All data is encrypted in 256bit AES encryption used by the military. PassWallet brings the same level of security from BlackBerry to your Android device. Theres even a top-secret stealth mode, so no one will even know the app is installed if your Android device is lost or stolen.

Add voice recordings to your favourite images


Instagram move over, you have company. Digisocial joins the already crowded domain of photo-sharing apps. What makes this app unique is the ability to add voice recordings to each and every photo. For example, if youre watching reworks you can record the sounds of explosions and laughter, or if youre a serious photographer you can explain your photo in detail. As the name alludes, Digisocial emphasises social interaction with your friends. You can send private messages and share your photos.

UK Driving Homestyler Theory Test


Design your own home in brilliant 3D Pass your test rst time
How would you like to pass your theory test the rst time? This app is money well spent. It helps fully prepare and avoid the heartbreak of failure. The mock test helps simulate the real theory format by testing your knowledge of driving to see if youre fully prepared. The detailed test results at the end of each quiz helps you learn from your mistakes so you wont make them on the actual test. Whether youre a professional interior designer or youd just like to take on your own home design project, this fantastic app helps make it a lot easier. Getting started with Homestyler is simple; take a photo of a room to create your own 3D home design. Add furniture, light xtures, rugs, and more to see how your room will look. Homestyler makes remodelling a lot easier no need to tire yourself moving stuff!

Price Free Designed for Phone/tablet Requires Android 2.2 and up

Price Free Designed for Phone/tablet Requires Android 2.1 and up

Price 1.99/$3.04 Designed for Phone/tablet Requires Android 2.3.3 and up

Price Free Designed for Tablet Requires Android 3.0 and up

An anonymous, remixable photo app for Android


Who ever said all apps had to be serious? Yarrly is a silly photo app, perfect to give your mates a good laugh. The application is fairly simple to understand snap a photo, react to it, add a unique caption, and let the fun ensue. Yarrly is totally anonymous, so you wont have to worry about anyone criticising your work. Just go crazy and let your creative side take over. Sharing your masterpieces is as easy as you would expect. You can send a link via email, SMS or upload to one of your social sites.

Yarrly

Tunester

Finally a simple music player graces Google Play


Are you looking for a simple, yet powerful, music player to listen to your favourite tunes? Tunester is designed with the minimalist in mind and claims to be the worlds easiest music player. Not only is this simple app fast, it has all the core features you want, including shufe, single hand control and full screen album art. Finding your favourite tunes is easier than ever thanks to gesture controls; nd the song youre looking for in only one or two clicks. Its free too, so well worth a look for music fans.

Samsung Wallet

Biophilia

A virtual wallet to store your concert tickets


Boarding the train just got a lot easier thanks to the newly released Samsung Wallet. This app acts as a virtual wallet, letting you store all your boarding passes, coupons, membership cards and concert tickets. Loading your tickets to the app is a breeze, but the app is only compatible with devices from Samsung, including the S3, and S4, Note and Note 2, but hopefully it will work on more in future updates.

An immersive music experience like no other


Are you looking for a unique music experience? If so, you should check out Biophilia. Biophilia can best be described as a multimedia exploration of music, nature and technology. Who ever said music and art couldnt be one in the same? World-renowned musician Bjrk has worked with top artists, designers, scientists and writers to deliver a unique visual experience. Youll have to try it out yourself to believe it.

Price Free Designed for Phone/tablet Requires Android 3.0 and up

Price Free Designed for Phone/tablet Requires Android 2.2 and up

Price Free Designed for Phone Requires Android 4.0.3 and up

Price 8.49/$12.99 Designed for Phone/tablet Requires Android 4.0 and up

79

Apps head tohead to head


Which one of these media sharing juggernauts comes out on top?

INSTAGRAM vs VINE
specification Price Free
Designed for: Phone and tablet Requires Android: 2.2

There are some fantastic photo and video sharing apps readily available on the Google Play store, with both Instagram and Vine being the biggest of the bunch. However, which one has the feature set that means you need to be getting it right away?

specification Price Free


Designed for: Phone and tablet Requires Android: 4.0

Instagram
The Explore page in Instagram shows you the latest and most popular photos from all over the world, but the interface tends to be a bit cluttered. Some may prefer Instagrams bare bones proles, but the lack of customisation on offer wont be to everyones tastes. Its surprisingly basic unfortunately. Any pictures you especially like can be linked directly to your contacts through various social media networks and other options such as cloud storage apps. Theres a wealth of wellimplemented interactive options available in Instagram, with users able to comment, like and share photo responses. By far the best additional feature of Instagram is being able to geo-tag your photographs and also see the location of other photos that have been taken.

Vine

LIVE FEED

Although Vine is a far more stripped-back application, the live feed feature is very slow to load, with Vines sometimes not even loading at all. Proles can be as detailed as youd like, with Vine including a wealth of options that rival many social media sites. A hands-down winner in this category. As well as allowing for traditional sharing options that youve come to expect, users can also tag their friends in Vines to alert them to watch it. Vine keeps the interactions to a minimum here, with users able to leave comments on Vines, but not too much to interact with other users. To make Vine that little better, the development team has created links with both Facebook and Twitter so all your Vines are added straight away.

PROFILES

SHARING

INTERACTION

OTHER FEATURES

VINE
80

And the winner is...

Although both are superb apps, Vine takes this one purely due to the design of the app. Its far more functional, better designed and just generally works better than Instagram, which occasionally can look cluttered and messy. Go download Vine right away!

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Print edition available at www.imagineshop.co.uk Digital edition available at www.greatdigitalmags.com
Available on the following platforms

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Games Trial By Survival


Survive two weeks alone to prove your innocence

Playmarkers

Scan these QR codes for direct links to the Google Play Store

Trial By Survival

Rymdkapsel

Editors ChoiCE

Buy any ammo and medicine you need at the end of each level

Collect supplies to get vital ammunition

Some levels will put you in complete darkness

Trial By Survival is a post-apocalypse RPG that sees you trying to survive in the wasteland after being cast away by your colony for crimes youve been accused of the only way to clear your name is to survive alone for 14 days. When you first start out youre given just a handful of ammunition and items to use; luckily each area you come across includes various items to scavenge that you can put to good use. You can also scavenge

from the bodies of dead players from all over the world, which is a great addition. Each level also includes hordes of the undead, so you need to cleverly navigate your way around without taking too much damage as replenishing your health is difficult. As you progress youll start finding bits of currency which can be used to buy ammunition, upgrade weapons and health items. Weapons break often and youll soon run out of ammunition, and if this happens when youre being followed by a

horde, then its pretty much game over. One of the coolest features we found was the perks that your character can have equipped to them. They are pricey, and the currency you find is better spent on medicine and ammunition, but the perks can be helpful if youre low on health and about to perish. What really makes Trial By Survival great is that its completely up to the player how the story unfolds. By visiting different areas through the map provided, you can explore

different regions which are randomised each time you play. If you make it to the end, the ending youre shown is based around how well you survived alone and there are plenty of different ones on offer. This is not only one of the best Android games of 2013, its one of the best Android games weve ever played.

Price Free Designed for Phone and tablet Requires Android 2.2

what weve been playing


EA has been piling up the updates, with new buildings and characters to unlock as you play. Too many in-app purchases, but there are a lot of laughs in return.

Rymdkapsel
Look past its name and enjoy this gem
Even though its name may leave your tongue twisted, Rymdkapsel is a deep and broad strategy game that takes place in space. Although most strategy games of this type see you facing off against enemies, Rymdkapsel puts the focus on you building the best base possible, while also exploring the galaxy around you and puzzle solving. As you begin to explore the galaxy, youll be able to harvest various resources needed to make your base bigger in order to build

The Simpsons: Tapped Out Free

iSlash Free
iSlash has been out for some time, but it still remains one of the best puzzlers. Cutting down a shape sounds easy, but throw in a time limit and objects you cant touch, its a proper brain teaser.

Your empire will soon grow and controlling your people becomes harder

Recommend a game

82

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defences if you come under attack. The levels are vast and it can take a good while to get going, so users wanting a quick gaming fix should probably look elsewhere. However, if you can invest time, this is a must.

Price 3.29/$3.99 Designed for Phone and tablet Requires Android 2.3.3

Expander

Leisure Suit Larry: Reloaded

PAC-MAN DASH!

quickhits
Expander
Fast-moving puzzle title that will leave you frustrated
Youre tasked with guiding a small cube through a series of different corridors and passages which all vary in size. To successfully complete each level, youll need react to the size of the upcoming corridor and quickly resize the cube so it will fit through. With the game going at such a quick pace, resizing can be tricky, but the simple controls do make the process a little easier. As you progress, youll also be tasked with collecting stars on each level, which will help boost your score and unlock new levels. The placement of certain stars is frustrating, however, with some of them placed so close to the wall of a corridor, youve no option but to crash straight into it. Although Expander is a frustrating experience, its a solid game for puzzle fans to download.

Gurk III, the 8-bit RPG


1.30/$1.99
If dungeon crawlers are your thing, then Gurk III will be perfect for you. Using a combination of old school graphics and a chiptune soundtrack, this third instalment of the classic RPG series includes a bigger adventure and more monsters to defeat.

Reactions are key to success in Expander, and what starts off as a fairly standard puzzler soon turns into a fast-paced brain teaser which frequently frustrates.

Dropchord 0.64/$0.99
Inspired by some of the best music players, Dropchord is a music-driven reaction game that requires you to keep a beam running from one end of a circle to another without touching any objects.

Price 0.69/$0.99 Designed for Phone and tablet Requires Android 2.3
Youll need quick reactions to collect all the stars on each level

Sine Mora 1.99/$2.99


Sine Mora is a frantic airborne shooter which lets you manipulate time to help get one over the enemies. Levels are vast and the animation is amazing, but the difficultly level is tough.

Some locations have hidden objects for you to find

Collect power-ups to perform special moves

Wedding Dash Deluxe


0.65/$0.99
Wedding Dash attempts to bring a successful wedding planning game to Google Play, but lacks any real quality and depth. Some nice animations, but little to warrant a download.

Leisure Suit Larry: Reloaded


A love story with a risqu twist
Leisure Suit Larry has been a major hit on most home consoles, but his Android debut is a vastly updated version of the original game launched in 1987. The game takes you to the city of Lost Wages, as you try and help loveable loser Larry finally find true love. To do so, Larry needs to impress through a variety of puzzles, while exploring the city around him. For those who havent played Leisure Suit Larry, you may be surprised with just how risqu some of the content is. Theres plenty of adult-themed gags and even though there are some brilliant jokes throughout, this is one to keep your kids away from. This reloaded version of LSL has the same charm the original did.

Pac-Man as youve never seen him before


Weve seen plenty of Pac-Man games released for Android, but none quite like this. PAC-MAN DASH! is an endless runner, putting you in control of our ghost-chomping friend as you look to gobble up as many cookies and ghosts before dying. Using the touchscreen controls, you control Pac-Man through 70 varied levels, with them gradually increasing in their overall difficulty. The more cookies and ghosts you eat, the more points you accumulate, which can be used to unlock various power-ups, which keeps the game feeling fresh throughout. If youve already played any sort of endless runner game, then youll have seen what PAC-MAN DASH! is all about, but although it borrows heavily from similar games, fans of the Pac should certainly check it out.

PAC-MAN DASH!

Minecraft Skin Studio


1.99/$2.99
Working as an official add-on to Minecraft, Skin Studio lets you create and customise skins for your characters and share them. You can also download skins that other people have created.

True Skate 1.28/$1.99


Skateboard sims are rare, but True Skate is arguably the best. Youre given a huge skatepark to explore and modify, and after mastering the physics, youll be grinding away in no time.

Price Free Designed for Phone and tablet Requires Android 2.3

Price Free Designed for Phone and tablet Requires Android 2.3.3

Check our website for even more game reviews

www.littlegreenrobot.co.uk

83

Reviews

Alcatel One Touch Idol X


Its rare to see a 1080p display outside of the biggest manufacturers, but the IPS screen here is fantastic, making text easy and comfortable to read, and watching videos a treat

With specs to rival the worlds best smartphones, can Alcatel really mix it with the industrys big players?

Stunning screen

Thin and light

The Idol X is very thin and light, masking the high-end technology found inside it. It is made mostly from plastic which gives it a slightly cheaper feel

ts probably safe to say that Alcatel is not the rst brand you seek out when looking to buy a new phone. Despite being one of the worlds biggest phone manufacturers (currently sat just outside the top ve) the company has little prole in the West, with the bulk of its success being based on lower-cost devices in emerging markets. That may be about to change. The Alcatel One Touch Idol X is, on paper, as impressive as almost any smartphone currently on the market. Fast quad-core processor, 2GB RAM, 13-megapixel camera, full 1080p, edge-to-edge display, all packaged together in a chassis less than 7mm thick. Its what youd expect from the latest agship Samsung or HTC phone. So can it compete with those big name players, or is there a catch somewhere? The Idol X scores well for rst impressions. Its neatly designed and solidly built, if predominantly plastic. It feels quite a tall handset due to the fact that it has minimal bezel along the edges. The ve-inch display is not quite edge-to-edge, but the bezel is only around a millimetre either side, and it looks fantastic. Beyond that it is all standard fare: no physical buttons on the front, a power button top-right thats a little harder to reach than wed like, and camera, LED ash and speaker on the rear. Our unit had dual-SIM slots, one on either side, but the phone is also available in a single SIM version with micro SD slot on the opposite edge. The dual-SIM edition does not have micro SD support. The phones striking appearance is enhanced by coloured backplates ours was a vibrant red, and there are yellow and black options. The laminated IPS screen is stunning. Measuring ve inches and with full HD resolution it is up there with the best, being bright and with accurate, not overly saturated colours, and wide viewing angles. Performance was impressive. Our benchmark tests put the quad-core processor, clocked at 1.5GHz, in line with the last generation rather than cutting-edge 2013 models, but we had a mostly lag-free experience, aided by the ample 2GB of RAM. Theres 16GB storage, of which around 13GB is available to the user. The main disappointment on the hardware front was the speaker, which was fairly feeble and offered mediocre sound output. Theres a 13-megapixel camera on the Idol X, and it surprised us with its quality. It is

84

Review
The phone is available in a few different colour options. Ours was a bright red and rather appealing

Colour options

Alcatel One Touch Idol X


One of the few design concerns is the placement of the power button on the top edge. Its the only way to wake the phone so is annoying that you need to use your other hand to press it

Out of reach

More information www.alcatelonetouch.com

information Price tbc

Battery life
No better than average. With heavy use you will need a midafternoon top up to keep it running

The skin on the X has obviously been inspired by iOS 7 with its bright colours and at icons. It looks okay, but we dont believe it is any easier to use than the normal Android UI

iOS 7 skin

technical specs

Operating system...............Android 4.2 Processor...................................Quad-core 1.5GHz Memory.......................................2GB RAM, 16GB storage Dimensions..............................140.4 x 67.5 x 6.9mm Weight ..........................................130g Display size...............................Five-inch Display resolution...............1080 x 1,920 pixels Expansion slot.......................micro SD (on single SIM version)

On paper, as impressive as almost any smartphone currently on the market


accompanied by the most basic camera app weve seen. You get to switch the ash on or off, choose between normal, HDR or panorama modes and thats pretty much it. But it takes very good pictures in good light (with the inevitable drop off as light levels diminish). There was a touch of shutter lag so is not ideal for taking pictures of fast-moving subjects, but this may be improved with subsequent rmware updates. And now onto the bad news. The Idol X has been heavily skinned, using the One Touch Launcher, and it isnt very good. Similar to the skin weve been seeing recently from Alcatel, the app drawer has been removed, meaning that all your apps and widgets share the same space. Its disorienting for experienced Android users, and quickly becomes a jumbled mess. The design is also not at all Android-esque. The icons are bright and at and clearly inspired by iOS 7. As always when faced with skins like this we installed Nova Launcher to bring back the app drawer and make the phone at least look like Android once again. Theres no great performance hit when doing this since the skin is not bloated in the way that something like Samsungs TouchWiz is. The extra apps are small and mostly useful, like a torch or compass app, and theres a nod towards gestures but it is very understated and easily ignored. Battery life was average at best. The 2000mAh battery non-removeable looks small on paper and so it proves. Theres some interesting battery management software installed that enables you to control which apps sync in the background, or to turn things off altogether, and this did enable us to eke out a bit more time. But the fact is that with heavy use youll need a mid-afternoon top-up, and only with more measured use will you be able to get through the entire day. On the whole, though, the Alcatel One Touch Idol X is a welcome surprise. The X may not quite match the likes of the HTC One or Galaxy S4 in its sheer performance, but its a good-looking handset with a great screen and impressive camera, and it generally doesnt leave you craving more.

Alcatel One Touch Idol X


Sony Xperia Z
issue 023

HTC One
issue 024

better than Performance Design

worse than

Smooth and lag free. Battery life could be better Very smart with near edge-to-edge screen and a very thin profile Camera and 1080p screen are among its highlights Expect a competitive price for this device against other flagships

Performance tests
The Idol X falls some way behind the biggest devices of the year in benchmark tests of processor and graphics performance. It is more in line with last years agships, as well as current upper mid-range phones.

Features

Value for money

13816
Ultra X

11872

HTC One Mini

Verdict The Idol X sees Alcatel take

CPU & graphics

AnTuTu

23212

HTC One

25368

the step up to competing with the industrys bigger names and more prestigious devices

Galaxy S4

85

Reviews

Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini


B
This phone knows when you are looking at it and keeps the screen on for you

Smaller version of the market-leading S4, with some cut down features. Will it be enough to grab the mid-range attention?
oth HTC and Samsung have produced smaller versions of their leading edge, agship handsets in the past, and Samsung is continuing that strategy with the Galaxy S4 Mini. The small format phone retains lots of the things that have made the Samsung Galaxy S4 so popular, but puts them in a more hand-friendly shell. While it has 4G and NFC built in, not everything has been carried over. Of course, the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini is smaller than its full-sized counterpart. Its 4.3-inch screen (versus the ve-inch screen of the full-sized Samsung Galaxy S4) is just about the perfect size for reading webpages and text, and for viewing video too. Samsung has reduced the pixel count considerably though, in comparison to the Samsung Galaxy S4. The 960 x 540 pixels deliver just 251ppi compared to the Galaxy S4s 1,920 x 1080, 441ppi. Thats a shame, however, the screen is still ne in everyday use. A smaller screen means a smaller phone, and the Galaxy S4 Mini feels very comfortable in the hand. The design is every inch Samsung, and effort has been made to mimic the button placement and general look of the larger handset. While 1080p video capture and a 1.9-megapixel front camera are retained from the original Galaxy S4 model, Samsung has reduced the main cameras capabilities of the Galaxy S4 Mini. There are eight megapixels as opposed to 13, and fewer fancy shooting modes. Youve still got quite a bit of exibility here, though, with high dynamic range, best face, beauty face, best photo, panorama, continuous shooting and Samsungs sound shot mode, which adds a short sound clip to photos. A couple of those modes (best face and best photo), let you select from a range of photos taken in quick succession to produce the best composite single image. There are more instances of reduced capabilities over the Samsung Galaxy S4 in the core specications. 2GB of RAM in the full-sized model is reduced to 1.5GB here and the processor is a less capable 1.7GHz dual-core model rather

Smart Stay

Small

With a 4.3-inch screen, the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini is a more hand-friendly option than the original Galaxy S4

Eight-megapixel stills and a range of clever add-ons give you solid camera performance

Camera

Portability good25368 for...

Galaxy S4 S4 is a much easier phone to This shrunken


carry than its big brother

86

Review
Screen test
The display is one level below HD and shows when placed alongside an HD display like the S III. Its acceptable for its target market, although remember the HTC One Mini does have a 720p display.

Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini


More information www.samsung.com/uk Supplied by www.clove.co.uk

information Price 366



Battery life
You should manage a day between charges easily enough here

Galaxy S4 Mini

Galaxy S4

Galaxy S III

than a 1.9GHz quad-core. To be frank, these reductions dont affect performance hugely. If you are experienced with quad-core processors in handsets then you will notice a denite slowing, but for those people upgrading to this phone, the knowledge that the S4 Mini is smooth under the ngers will be welcome. The RAM is still above the average of 1GB and does help for switching between multiple apps as well. This being a Samsung handset, Android 4.2 is bolstered not only by the TouchWiz user interface but also by a huge range of add-on applications

also made it into the Galaxy S4 Mini. Air gestures are absent the ones where you hover a nger above the screen and S Health is not here either. But you can tilt the phone for plenty of actions and the rather good Smart Stay, which knows when you are looking at the phone, is present. In the end, then, the S4 Mini is not only smaller in size to the Galaxy S4, it is also less capable. In a sector that is proving highly competitive with some excellent handsets from HTC and Sony, the decision to go with this model may not be quite as clear cut as it is for the agship version.

technical specs

Operating system...............Android 4.2.2 Processor...................................1.7GHz dual-core Memory.......................................1.5GB RAM, 8GB storage Dimensions..............................124.6 x 61.3 x 8.9mm Weight ..........................................107g Display size...............................4.3-inch Display resolution...............960 x 540 pixels Expansion slot.......................micro SD

These reductions dont affect performance hugely for those upgrading to this phone, the knowledge that the S4 Mini is smooth under the ngers is welcome
and usability tweaks. Not everything from the full-sized handset has made it across the divide, and if you want everything the Samsung Galaxy S4 has to offer then you should do a detailed comparison online to check out all thats missing. Notably present features include Samsungs S Planner, S Translate, Samsung Hub, WatchON and ChatON apps, variously duplicating some Android features and offering a separate app store. These features divide opinion whether you see them as bloat or useful is a matter of personal opinion. If you are on the bloat side then you may be disgruntled to learn that the 8GB of built-in memory is reduced to 5GB thats user accessible, partly because of Samsungs pre-installed apps. Theres a micro SD card slot next to the micro SIM slot under the battery for extra data storage. Many of the gesture and motion-based features that are loved by Samsung smartphone fans have

Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini


Samsung Galaxy S III Mini
issue 020

Sony Xperia SP
issue 026

better than Performance Design

worse than

Memory

With 5GB of user accessible memory, the micro SD card slot that sits under the battery will be welcome

Moves along at a good pace despite the cut-back specs list Every inch a Samsung design youll know by now whether you like it or not Some key Galaxy S4 features are missing and the screen is not HD Not quite as cheap as you might hope for with these specs

Features

Powerful

Dont expect the full quad-core experience of the Samsung Galaxy S4, but the dual-core processor here is powerful enough

Value for money

Verdict Neat and tidy certainly, but

Photography
There are some neat camera features that make shooting a lot of fun

Gestures
Samsung likes gestures and motion control, although their practical value can vary wildly

4G speeds
The handset supports 4G so is a good option if you need fast connectivity

some of the latest Samsung elements are missing

87

Reviews

Prestigio MultiPhone 5430


With an Intel processor, the Prestigio MultiPhone 5430 is an intriguing proposition could it live up to our initial excitement?
Just 1GB

The camera shoots to eight megapixels, but a bit of lag means shots of moving subjects dont look great

Photo story

Theres only 1GB of free internal storage for your favourite apps, so make sure youve got a large memory card to hand

Good screen

The 4.3-inch screen is one level below HD, but is clear and quite sharp, and it has good viewing angles

Theres an Intel processor at the heart of this phone which is a rarity. In reality we were nonplussed by its presence

Intel inside

good for...
88

Web
The screen is clear and crisp and decent for viewing webpages

Review

restigio might not be a name you know well. The company is new to the UK smartphone market, though it is established elsewhere in the world. It has recently launched the MultiPhone 5430, an average-sized Android device with a 4.3-inch screen that sits inside a body thats made from slightly creaky plastic. The front has a minimal design, the sides are characterised by an inoffensive silvery plastic strip, but the back is not to our liking. The large gaudy branding logo and ashy patterning give off a bit more of the budget vibe than we like to see. That 4.3-inch screen offers 960 x 540 pixels. Text is crisp, but not super-sharp, and viewing angles are good. The Prestigio MultiPhone 5430 has a point of immediate interest in its specications as it sports an Intel processor. Now, it isnt ploughing an entirely new furrow here. Weve seen Intel processors in handsets before. But they remain something of a rarity, and much as Intel might want to push its way into the lucrative smartphone market, progress has been slow. What we have here is an Atom Z2420 running at 1.2GHz. It has a single core, which might

The backplate is somewhat gaudily adorned with logos for Prestigio and Intel. It gives it a less rened and classy look than you might prefer

Blingy back

Prestigio MultiPhone 5430


More information www.prestigio.com

information Price 190

Battery life
The battery is pretty strong and should last you a day with careful use

technical specs

This technological wizardry caters for a virtual rather than a real second core
immediately make it sound old hat. But this is a relatively new processor, and it includes hyperthreading. This technological wizardry caters for a virtual rather than a real second core, enabling the processor to work faster when it needs to, just as a multi-core processor does. We didnt feel the processor held the handset back at all it responded well to nger presses and swipes, webpages resolved quickly enough and video played without stuttering. We cant see why anyone should avoid the Prestigio MultiPhone 5430 because of the processor choice. Although, equally, the Intel Inside logo on the back doesnt constitute a selling point either. With 1GB of RAM, the all-round performance was adequate, while never pushing the boundaries. Theres only 4GB of storage built in and this is far from the whole story as theres just 1GB free for your own use. Thats not even enough to store some larger apps like games, so perhaps it is a blessing that the handset is equipped with Android 4.0. True, this is far from the leading edge, but at least you can store apps on a micro SD card. Prestigio also gives you the option when you set the phone up not to include some apps it considers you might like to have. You can opt to install or not an eReader thats also a portal for purchasing eBooks, Evernote and the MobiSystems Ofce Suite. Leaving those off should save space, and we welcome the fact that they are optional, when so many manufacturers install countless and often unremovable extras whether you want them or not. The micro SD card slot isnt accessible until you remove the battery, so if you are into hotswapping music or video to your smartphone this isnt going to be the ideal phone for you. Prestigio has not skinned Android 4.0, so you get the Vanilla Android experience. Thats ne by us. Android has not been left entirely alone, though. Theres an FM radio built in, and the Android standard keyboard has been augmented with a Prestigio alternative that has a number row. We like this it beats long pressing keys. As if to counter the pleasant keyboard theres a bit of shutter lag in the eight-megapixel main camera, which is a bit annoying if you are trying to photograph a moving subject. Actually, a bit annoying isnt a bad way to sum this handset up. It does have its good points, and the Intel processor is not a bad thing. But theres not enough internal memory, sound quality through the speakers is not great and the design lacks strong appeal. Even the fact that the handset ships with a sleeve-style case doesnt really draw it out from the realm of the average.

Operating system...............Android 4.0 Processor...................................1.2GHz single-core Memory.......................................1GB RAM, 4GB storage Dimensions..............................126 x 64.7 x 10mm Weight ..........................................140g Display size...............................4.3-inch Display resolution...............960 x 540 pixels Expansion slot.......................micro SD

Prestigio MultiPhone 5430


Acer Liquid Z2
issue 027

Motorola RAZR i
issue 019

better than Performance Design

worse than

The Intel processor does a decent job in spite of its single core Creaky plastic casing and gaudy backplate dont sit well Basic but serviceable. Theres nothing to make it stand out Reasonable value, but theres many similarly priced devices

Features

Value for money

Verdict Average is the best

Video
Viewing angles are very good, which helps with video watching

Protection
You get a sleeve-style case with the phone to bump up your protection levels

Keeping it simple
Unskinned Android is refreshing to see, as is the lack of nasty bloat

description of this phone. It offers little to give it an edge over the competition

89

Reviews
The shape, textured plastic back and home button are very reminiscent of the Galaxy Note II. This phablet is much thicker and heavier, however

GOCLEVER Fone 570Q


Shooter
More information www.goclever.com

Clone

information Price 249.99

Battery life
A large battery ensures you should be able to get through the day with no problem

Theres a vemegapixel camera around the back. Its fast but tends to produce washed-out images

Android 4.2 is here in its stock form. A few additional apps have been added, and can be easily removed if you dont want them

Stock Android

The 5.7-inch display is quite sharp, thanks to its 720p resolution. It isnt great in sunlight due to the relatively low brightness and reective glass

Dull screen

technical specs

Operating system...............Android 4.2 Processor...................................MTK6589 1.2GHz quad-core Memory.......................................1GB RAM, 4GB storage Dimensions..............................156 x 83 x 11mm Weight ..........................................212g Display size...............................5.7-inch Display resolution...............720 x 1,280 pixels Expansion slot.......................micro SD

GOCLEVER Fone 570Q


f youve fancied getting in on the phablet action but nd the Galaxy Note II a bit too rich for your tastes, then GOCLEVER has the answer. The Fone 570Q is basically a clone of the Note near identical shape and design, same home button, it has the back button on the right instead of left, and even the water-drop sound effect when you turn the screen on and off seems Samsung-inspired. Its less rened, though. It is thicker and noticeably heavier, and while it does come with a stylus stored in a silo, its a dumb stylus with none of the fancy tricks Samsung has packed into its S Pen. GOCLEVER is a European company making devices manufactured in China, and in the Fone 570Q has put together a well specced device at a good price. The build is all plastic but its heft gives it a solid feel. The button and port placement sees everything in the right place, including the power button beneath your right thumb. The display is 720p, so acceptably crisp, but its not overly bright (especially on auto-brightness) and extremely reective, so not ideally suited to outdoor use. Theres a noticeable air-gap between the front glass and the display panel itself, giving it the look of devices from previous generations. The software is largely stock Android 4.2 with a few rough edges, such as a crazily exaggerated

GOCLEVER Fone 570Q

Can this Note clone ll that phablet-sized hole in your pocket?

None

Samsung Galaxy Note 11


issue 018

bounce-back effect whenever you scroll to the end of a list. An apparently random set of extra apps has been pre-installed you get both the Documents To Go Viewer app and the free Kingsoft Ofce for some reason while some of the standard Google apps are absent. Fortunately this can be rectied, as most of the junkware can be easily removed, and the Google apps can be downloaded separately from the Play store. Performance for most tasks was ne. The phone is powered by a quad-core processor clocked at 1.2GHz, and it is smooth and responsive for everyday tasks, though this still is not a high-end gaming machine. There is support for two regular sized SIMs, plus a micro SD card (which youll need sharpish), all located beneath the battery cover. Onboard storage is extremely limited, with just around 1GB for apps and 1.5GB for other data. GPS performance was poor, taking far longer to get a x than we would expect on any other device and not managing to at all indoors. Overall theres little in the Fone 570Q to get excited about. Its a big phone with a small price, and if that is your main priority then go ahead. But with uninspiring design, a mediocre screen and some performance issues, be sure to keep your expectations in check.

better than Performance Design

worse than

Mostly fine for basic use, but a few issues in some places A thicker and heavier version of the Note II, with a poor reflective screen Basic feature set with nothing to add real excitement Not too pricey for a large screen phone, but its relative to the features you get

Features

Value for money

Verdict A pretty mediocre phablet.

Look around for a good offer on a Note to get your hands on the real deal

90

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Reviews

Archos 50 Platinum
Under the backplate you will nd slots for two SIM cards. Only one of them offers 3G connectivity, so the other will most likely be kept for calls only

The Archos 50 Platinum has a large, vibrant screen and supports two SIMs, but it doesnt get everything right

Two SIMS

rchos has been around for a long while and has a solid name in mobile technology. It has a serious range of Android tablets in its portfolio that offer a good balance of value and performance. But it has taken the company a while to come to the smartphone sector. Archos has recently launched two phones, one with a 5.3-inch screen (the Archos 53 Platinum), and the Archos 50 Platinum which has a ve-inch screen. Its an interesting toe in the water, because both phones support two SIMs. The smaller of the pair, the Archos 50 Platinum is a relatively affordable 209 a nifty price for a dual-SIM, large-screened Android handset. It is notable that only one SIM supports 3G so youll need to be careful about which you pop into which slot. The two slots are well labelled to help you though. Dual-SIM handsets are useful when you travel abroad and want a local SIM, or if you need to use a separate SIM for work though in the

Android is unskinned here. That wont necessarily mean the phone will get fast (or even any) OS updates, but it does mean smooth performance and a consistent, easy-to-use design

Vanilla Android

Neat

With no branding on the front and classic good looks, the Archos 50 Platinum is nicely designed and understated

good for...
92

Travel
Use a second SIM while you are away, and avoid those pesky roaming charges

Review
Archos 50 Platinum
More information www.archos.com

information Price 209

Battery life
We were really impressed by the battery its above average for a small phone

The ve-inch screen is large enough for video viewing or reading text comfortably. The resolution is one step below HD

Big

technical specs
Archos provides video and music apps with connected features for easy media streaming

Video and music apps

latter case the speed restriction here will be an issue. Its likely youll only want to use the 2G SIM slot for calls. The handset doesnt do overly well at helping you differentiate between the SIMs in everyday use. You cant label them, so that when you make a choice between them in the dialer, for example, it is SIM1 and SIM2 you are selecting between, not home and work or however you might label them. Its a pity Archos has not been more sophisticated about the management features on offer, as theres a whole lot more they could have done with it. Still, theres a lot more to like about this phone. It is solidly made and feels sturdy in the hand. The curved edges look good. We like the minimal branding with nothing at all on the front, so that when the screen is off, the appearance is minimal. The Archos branding is on the shiny backplate. Headset and micro USB port sit on the top edge, volume and power buttons on the left and right edges respectively. Everything is where it should be for good ergonomics of use. Archos has broken under the 10mm barrier for thickness too, so the Archos 50 Platinum feels rather good in the hand despite its size. Theres nothing revolutionary about any of this, of course, but it is neatly done and ticks all the boxes you want a modern smartphones design to tick. The ve-inch screen has 960 x 540 pixels on offer, and the screen is sharp and bright with good viewing angles. Again no new ground is broken here, but it should be easy to watch video, read text and generally work efciently. We did encounter a problem with the screen though. The keyboard was remarkably difcult to use at times thanks to poor touch sensitivity,

It is neatly done and ticks all the boxes you want a phones design to tick
which meant refusal to register some key presses and multiple registrations of others. A software update from Archos could x this; lets hope so because it is a serious blot. Archos has made some odd choices in a couple of respects. For a company that specialises in media it is irritating that the speaker is on the back where it gets easily muted, and the at, in-ear buds are the least good design for staying in ears. Sound quality is reasonable, but not outstanding. Rather bizarrely the two cameras cant shoot higher than 720p video, though the back camera can manage eight-megapixel stills. And most annoying of all for us is that theres just 4GB of memory with a mere 1.2GB free for users. You will need the micro SD slot quickly. Android 4.1 is unskinned, with only a couple of apps having been added by way of music and video players. Both are good additions. As youd expect from Archos they can connect to media servers and share les over Wi-Fi, and help to esh out the multimedia experience quite nicely. The Archos 50 Platinum is a good entry to the smartphone world. Its a neatly designed, good-value purchase, and with a few xes and improvements on the software side of things, would have plenty to offer.

Operating system...............Android 4.1.2 Processor...................................Qualcomm 1.2GHz quad-core Memory.......................................1GB RAM, 4GB storage Dimensions..............................143.4 x 72.4 x 8.9mm Weight ..........................................160.2g Display size...............................Five-inch Display resolution...............960 x 540 pixels Expansion slot.......................micro SD

Archos 50
ZTE Blade III
issue 026

HTC One Mini


issue 029

better than Performance Design

worse than

A couple of issues with the touchscreen need fixing ASAP with new firmware Neat and understated design, if not ground-breaking A solid set of specs behind the unskinned Android OS Well priced for what is a generally well specced phone

Features

Value for money

Verdict A good smartphone from

Media streaming
The music and video apps share features and make streaming a breeze

Reading
The ve-inch screen is comfy for eBook reading on the move

Video
The large screen also makes watching video a pleasure if not quite in HD

Archos but it needs a firmware update before it can be fully recommended

93

Accessories

Versus VP350 Photo Plus


T
he Photo Plus is one of the rst wireless printers specically built for Android devices, enabling users to directly print their photographs in seconds. It benets from being extremely light and portable, but the lack of full A4 printing may put off some people. Design wise, the Photo Plus is a rather unassuming unit, with a single micro USB port located on the top and a paper tray located at the front. Apart from the DC cord needed to power the unit, there are no wires or complicated menus to worry about. Changing the ink cartridge is easy too through a handy side panel. To use the printer, youll need the accompanying app; again this works well and makes selecting a photo to print easy. There arent many options for users to customise how they want their photos to print, but the basics are taken care off. From our experience, printing results are a decidedly mixed bag, with some photos looking surprisingly grainy and some images completely washed out, but for the most part we were happy with the overall quality of our printed photos. Although the Versus VP350 does have some initial teething problems, it will offer a quick and easy solution to print your photos directly from any Android smartphone or tablet.

Pain-free wireless printing from any Android device


Accompanying app
Alongside the printer is a free app available from the Google Play store. Through the app you can select the photo you want to print, create a collage of your images and even alter some basic printing settings

Print quality

Although the large majority of your photos will print out in high quality, you may nd occasionally that your images will print out looking washed out or slightly on the grainy side

specification
Price 139.99/$TBA
More information www.versusuk.com

verdict
Performance Design Value
A few problems deter from whats otherwise a solid wireless printer for Android

Changing ink

By removing the panel located on the side of the VP350, you can quickly change the ink cartridge. Youll also want to remove this panel if youre trying to sort out a pesky paper jam

94

Accessories

NudeAudio Move M

Style and quality in one package


This Bluetooth speaker from NudeAudio is just small enough to make it portable, but it doesnt substitute on sound quality in the process. The single 40mm driver is powerful enough to offer immersive sound, but could do with a bit of adjusting to make it a bit louder. Theres also an included bass port that helps give those dance tracks a nice edge. What really stands out about the Move M is the lack of detail on its design, with the mesh front of the speaker being the only notable thing. That isnt a bad thing, however, as the Move M just looks and feels like a premium unit, with the high-end price tag to match.

Price 39.99/$79.99 More information www.nudeaudio.com

Fitbit Zip

EDITORS CHOICE

Take your tness regime to the next level


Despite its small stature, the Fitbit Zip is a comprehensive tness tracker that tracks the calories youve burnt while exercising. Its small plastic exterior feels well made and it includes a small hook that can be used to attach it to your body while exercising. Included on the front of the Zip is a small LCD screen that tracks the distance and steps youve covered and a selection of icons which indicate battery life and connectivity. Alongside the Zip is the ofcial Fitbit app that is used to store all your tracked data and measures your overall progress and lets you interact with other users through its forum system.

Price 49.99/$77.99 More information www.mobilefun.co.uk

ColcaSac Uintah
Trendy bag to transport your smartphones and tablets
The Unitah may look like your standard satchel, but it includes a range of compartments for you to store your smartphones, tablets and laptops in. Each pocket is layered with a wool-like material which stops any scratches when moving about, and also keeps the device fairly still as well. If you do take advantage of the range of pockets and compartments available, youll nd you wont be left with much space for any other everyday items youll want to travel with. Theres also an issue with the Velcro strips used to keep the covering ap attached, as they came loose frequently.

Price 64.95/$124.95 More information www.gearzap.com

95

Accessories

Tablet treats
Enjoy a more complete tablet experience with these great accessories

Edifier Bric Connect


Price TBA/$99.99 More information www.edifier-international.com

Thanks to its Bluetooth capabilities, connecting your tablet to this speaker is easy. Although it isnt as portable as wed have liked, its powerful drivers really help push out some amazing sounds, and its sleek design means itll fit in well into most decors. Theres a remote control included, but youll soon find it a bit redundant when you can simply control the Bric Connect using your tablet instead.

Editors ChoiCE

Tylt Y-Charge + Syncable


Price 29.99/$29.99 More information www.tylt.com

There are plenty of reasons why the Tylt Y-Charge + Syncable is a fantastic product. First and foremost it allows for dual-charging of both your tablet and smartphone at the same time thanks to the 2.1 amp Y-Charge unit. It also includes a dual-USB car charger to help keep your tablet ticking over while youre out and about. We also really like the fact that this cable and unit combo includes a non-tangled wire that can be an issue for products of this type.

Xoopar SPIDER
Price TBA/$30.00 More information www.xoopardesign.com

Even though the Xoopar SPIDER may look like a bit of a novelty charger, it provides an invaluable source of power for tablet users. Once connected to your tablet, the fascia of the Spider will glow to represent the current level of charge, and the amount of time required before you need to charge the Spider itself. The charger also comes with a silicone case that houses a micro USB cable, meaning theres little clutter with this tiny unit.

Editors ChoiCE

96

Accessories

CleanSeal
Price 9.99/$15.99 More information www.mobilefun.co.uk

No matter which tablet you use, fingerprints will always be your worst enemy. CleanSeal is a simple cleaning formula that looks to keep any sized tablet screen squeaky clean. As well as removing fingerprints, the liquid also adds a resistive layer to the top of your tablet to keep it safe from scuffs and scratches. For the most part, the liquid works well, but it struggles to get rid of any deep marks on your tablet screen. The accompanying cloth is also too small for most tablet screens.

Kensington Folio Case for Galaxy Tab

Price 39.99/$39.99 More information www.kensington.com

Simplicity is key for this Folio case, as it not only fits the Samsung Galaxy Tab, but any other seven-inch tablet. Its easy enough to get the tablet into position and the tight grip of the covering leather keeps the tablet in place. Each port has been left uncovered for easy access and the cover can be transformed into a stand if you need it.

Price 22.95/$35.99 More information www.mobilefun.co.uk

DAGi Touch Panel Stylus

Cross Tech3 stylus


Price 55.00/$55.00 More information www.cross.com

For those looking for a simple and no-frills stylus, then the DAGi stylus might be perfect for you. Its lightweight body feels good in hand and the rubberised nib is perfect for all sizes of tablets. What makes it even better to use is its impressive angled use, which enables you to move the stylus in different directions and ultimately hold it in a position that makes your hand comfortable. You dont get the same level of precision as you would with a more costly stylus, but this does the job for those on a budget.

As well as containing your standard rubberised ending to be used on your tablet, the Tech3 also includes a ballpoint pen, precision pencil and red editing pen that can all be accessed by simply twisting the shaft of the stylus. Its surprisingly lightweight, but noticeably bulkier than many of the styluses we usually see, which may put off some potential buyers. It works incredibly well, however, and if you can get past the sizing issue, then the Tech3 stylus is a worthwhile, if expensive, investment.

97

From Terry Vick Used Nexus 4

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