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Welcome To issue 33

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.

With manufacturers starting to turn their attentions to new users and emerging markets, the low-end could become a surprising new battleground for mobile devices in 2014
On (and off) Andys phone this month
s the year comes to an end its always interesting to look back at the trends of the last 12 months. The biggest is surely the decline in importance of specs. Long touted, it nally came to fruition this year as high-quality components reached a level where they were available to more affordable devices while the benets of the more! more! more! approach in agship devices appeared to be diminishing. The Galaxy S4 has still sold over 40 million units, but some analysts say that is as much as 20% lower than expectations, amid suggestions that the high-end market is now saturated. With manufacturers starting to turn their attentions to new users and emerging markets, the low-end could become a surprising new battleground for mobile devices in 2014, especially as that is where Windows Phone is gaining some real traction. Other notable trends have included the start of Androids move into other sectors, which well see a lot more of over the next year. Smartwatches are going to be the next product every company must have, although theyre likely to remain gimmicky until someone can give them a killer app. And then theres the commodication of the tablet market. Tablets were a niche product only very recently; now theyre accessible to everyone. If youve just got a tablet of your own then be sure to check out our cover feature this issue, along with reviews of one of those specs dont matter devices, the Moto G. All the best for the New Year!


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Contents Inside issue 33

Previews, news and speculation from the Android world 06 The future of Android
Whats in store for Android in 2014? We take a look ahead

17 Special offer for USA readers 66 Exclusive subscription offer


10 Google Glass
We take a hands-on look at Google Glass. Is this the next big thing for Android?

12 Million Sellers
We chat to the team behind LearnEnglish Podcasts


40 Use Android with Xbox One and PS4
Get your phone or tablet working with the next-gen consoles


13 Next-gen browsers
Which is the best browser for your Android tablet?

14 10 things you need to know about mods and add-ons

Will you be building your own smartphone in the not too distant future?

ANDROID AWA RDS The best devices

of the year

16 Shopping apps

A collection of some of the best-looking apps for all your online shopping needs

29 Android Awards

18 Messages

Sound off about anything and everything to do with Android

We reveal our picks of the best phones, tablets and more of the last year

Hacker Zne Explore the limits of

your Android phone
Visit the Android Magazine online shop at

Contents Inside issue 33

for back issues and books

60 Hacking tips and tricks 62 Upgrade to KitKat 64 Flash a ROM using ROM Installer

Your complete guide to Google Play
68 Use apps to unlock new features
A cool collection of apps that give your phone new features

Cutting-edge tablets and smartphones on test 84 Reviews
84 Motorola Moto G 86 Kogan Agora HD 88 Advent Vega Tegra Note 7 90 HP Slate 21 92 Samsung Galaxy NX

T utorials
44 Tutorials

Essential guides to getting more from your phone or tablet 40 Android and the next-gen consoles
Get Android working with your new Xbox One or PS4 44 Use Helium to back up and share app data 46 Add quick settings to notications 48 Automatically mute your phone 49 Power up your lockscreen clock 50 Customise notications with Light Flow 53 Manage system resources 54 Use CheapCast to emulate Chromecast

74 App reviews 80 SMS apps

94 Accessories

high-en Android camed on test ra

Galaxy NX The

The latest apps on test

Textra vs Chomp

82 Game reviews

The latest games reviewed

Power up your phone or tablet with this collection of goodies

App review index

77 77 79 78 76 78 75 82 78 79 76 75 77 79 74 83 79 83 82 77 76 79 83 79 75 75 77 77 79 79 Amazon Cloud Drive Photos Bitcasa Call PopOut Chronus Circa News Cluster Dayframe Dead Trigger 2 F-Secure App Permissions Flyne JumpCam Lynx Browser MediaFire Mixcloud Molto Monster Loves You! Olympic Athletes Hub Papa Pear Saga Plants vs. Zombies 2 Pogoplug Shoto Silk paints Star Wars: Tiny Death Star Stormy Switchr Telegram Tonido File Access Tresorit Waterbot YPlan

This p as chi cheaWhat is ? atch the c

to nG is Mop ho e ps.


56 Droid Support

Readers questions answered, plus troubleshooting tips and tricks

06 Future of Android

Glass, wearable devices, Android 5.0 and more

62 Upgrade to KitKat today

Let us guide you through the unofcial Android 4.4 update Check our website daily for even more news
All the latest from the world of Android devices

Next year promises to bring technological delights for all Android users. We look ahead to what you can expect in 2014




Developers can and will quickly switch their priorities

Our view


t the end of 2013, more than three quarters of all smartphones sold around the world ran Android, with Samsung selling as much as 40 per cent on its own. Android also dominates tablet market share and app downloads, and has been moving into new classes of product including cameras, games consoles and watches. Will Androids dominance continue into 2014, and what can you expect to see from it if it does? Smartphones available during 2014 will initially include the latest version of Android, 4.4 or KitKat, then, later in the year, Android 5.0 and new, 64-bit CPUs such as the new Exynos, eye-scanning technology, enhanced ngerprint technology and advanced camera facilities such as theeightmegapixel ISOCELL sensors to boost image quality. With the recent attention drawn to curved screens, expect to see more of these features using OLED technology. Also expect to see

Tim Sheppard, senior analyst at Canalys

self-healing properties to phone chassis design to protect against scratches. One of the most exciting developments in the phone arena is being created by Motorola under its Project Ara scheme to create a truly modular handset. That is you buy a phone as you would a bunch of Lego bricks and plug in those features you require. On top of a basic structural frame and circuit board, you can choose from a series of modules. Perhaps youll be able to add a better camera, a boosted Wi-Fi antenna, more storage or

Not content with dominating the mobile space, Android will soon be moving into other areas of our lives. Not just wearable devices, but in our living rooms as well. A much rumoured Nexus TV device is likely to be a key component of this. In terms of smartphones Im also hoping to see a bit more innovation, rather than the incremental spec bumps weve had for the last few years.

Andy Betts, Editor

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replace a broken piece to extend the life of your phone. While we may not see a commercially releasable, modular phone in 2014, we should see the end of the development process in that time. While the mobile phone sector is powering ahead, the tablet sector is nally looking good for 2014. According to Canalys senior analyst Tim Shepherd, Android is expected to continue to close the ecosystem lead iOS has in tablets and increase share in coming quarters, he said. Developers can and will quickly switch their priorities as different opportunities evolve and improve.

Market share figures

Android 81% iOS 14% BlackBerry 2% Windows Phone 4% Other 0.3% KitKat 1.1% Jelly Bean 54.5% ICS 18.6% Honeycomb 0.1% Gingerbread 24.1% Froyo 1.6%

For tablets, look out for true wireless charging technologies implemented along with even more powerful CPU technology. Expect to see the emergence of 8-core CPU technology here. Turning to the supporting software for both tablets and phones, Shepherd added: We expect to see a substantial increase in the quantity, as well as the quality, of apps built or optimised for Android tablets over the next 12 months, as Google brings more attention to them through improvements to the Play store and as the addressable base of devices continues to soar. Interestingly, many of the forthcoming developments that we hope to see in 2014 are already signposted in Googles latest Android 4.4 operating system. For example, TV support is directly addressed as KitKat reportedly enables developers to build apps that control switches, televisions and tuners via built-in infrared controllers. Weve already seen IR equipped devices from HTC and Samsung, but these are third-party software implementations to handle your TV.

Smartphone shipments
Source: ABI Research, Q3 2013

Android version usage

Source:, December 2013

Building this support into Android could help create a more unied system and potentially turn Android devices into the ultimate universal remote control. Expect to see more TV-related technologies in 2014. The recent trend for wearable technologies might be on Googles mind too with support for three new

Steve Cheney, industry analyst

NFC is dead Bluetooth will be an industry-leading technology

sensors, including a geomagnetic rotation vector, a step detector and a step counter. This type of support could work with HTCs proposed new wearable technology phone/camera (see Android In The Home) but also Googles rumoured smartwatch,

which utilises Google Now to talk to smartphones. One of the biggest drivers of wearable technology is the mobile app. Companies such as Azumio, Nike+, WebMD and others are producing software that benets wearable technologies. During next year, WebMD and chip manufacturer Qualcomms Life collaboration partnership will help consumers sync collected data and give consumers the opportunity to take charge of their health via a technology ecosystem of digital health apps and third-party devices. The new OS will also handle tweaks and improvements to Bluetooth and NFC. However, industry analyst Steve Cheney believes that, while the former might forge ahead in the Android world, the latter is going nowhere: NFC is dead Bluetooth has arrived. Its been around forever but, up to now, its been crappy. Bluetooth LE (also called Bluetooth Smart) changes everything. Connections, pairing, device management etc will nally work

Next-gen specs in the spotlight

New developments are set to blow away current technologies. 2014 is shaping up nicely

Look out for

Ultra high-denition displays
Not 4K yet, maybe, but 2K displays will denitely feature in some of the years agship phones.

long with advanced operating system software will be advanced hardware. For example, revealed in the assets of Android 4.3 is the so-called XXXHDPI resolution, a pixel per inch density of 640. To put that into context, the HTC One phones full HD screen has a dpi of 480. In other words, Android now supports resolutions far higher than 1080p that implies support for 4K television screens and indeed a Google engineer has conrmed as much. Google has, thus, futureproofed its operating system for use with televisions four times the resolution of most current HD TVs. And to power that new graphics standard? Qualcomm is looking to

release the quad-core Snapdragon 805. This chip integrates faster CPU cores with speedier memory, a more efcient modem and a considerably more powerful GPU. One of the bottlenecks in ARM performance is in memory bandwidth but the controller in Qualcomms Snapdragon 805 doubles bandwidth to 25.6 gigabytes per second. Users will actually be able to use devices rendering 4K images and video without everything grinding to a halt the moment they interact with the content.

Expect to see the new CPU in the rst half of 2014. And to power these wonder phones? How about curved batteries? Or better still, bendy batteries in the shape of a cable? Thats what LGs sub-division, LG Chem, is currently working on. In fact, you will nd them in LGs next suite of phones in 2014.

Tougher hardware
A combination of water and dust-proof designs, along with the rise of exible displays making phones more robust.

Better battery life

More efcient chips and software plus larger batteries should push batteries to the two-day mark.

Low-end is the new high-end

Could we see mass market curved screens?

Vastly improved performance in the mid-range and below will make expensive, high-end devices less desirable to consumers.

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100% of the time and Bluetooth will be a completely bulletproof, consumer-ready, industryleading technology. There will truly be a radio in everything around us and its going to enable incredible experiences in mobile. In fact, Android is the really exciting OS of the future, according to CEO and co-founder of chip manufacturer Nvidia, Jen-Hsun Huang. We believe that Android is going to be a very important platform for gaming in the future and, to do so, we have to create devices that enable great gaming to

Android 5.0: what can we expect?

The rumour mill is already in overdrive with what could be included
Google previously out-manoeuvred experts who believed that Android 5.0 would appear in 2013. Instead, we saw the release of an interim, yet important, release: Android 4.4 KitKat. Before Android 5.0 does arrive, however, Google is attempting to get its house in order by attempting to reduce fragmentation, taking more control of the software. In Android 4.4, this means that more services are becoming standalone apps that can be updated directly via Google Play rather than via an OS upgrade. The idea being that older budget and mid-range phones, running earlier versions of Android, will no longer be left behind. So, if Android 4.4 is allowing everyone to play catch-up, Android 5.0 should move Android onto the next technological level; providing shiny, power-hungry features for high-end phones. Slated for release midway through 2014, possibly at Google I/O, Android 5.0 has been rather coy in revealing its capabilities. There are rumours, of course, including talk of a pattern recognition app launcher, increased automation and a big push to tie all your content and devices together. Its codename will begin with the letter L, but we dont as yet know what it will be.

Jen-Hsun Huang, co-founder, Nvidia

Android is going to be a very important platform for gaming in the future

happen on Android, he said. One signicant movement in this eld is Nintendos rumoured Android tablet. A software engineer from Nintendo of America, Nando Monterazo, posted a series of tweets revealing some of the features hed been testing so far. Those tweets have since been removed but they did include: Experimenting with a tablet of Nintendo, the system is based on Android, fully modied and unied as a database of the tablet. He followed this up with: At the moment, just testing communication environment of educational games that will be shared between the kids using the tablet!. Keep your eyes peeled.

Look out for

Android for other devices
Android 5 will see a push to get the operating system into other devices, with a likely focus on your living room TV.

Increased automation
Your smartphone will become a whole lot smarter, using Googles machine-learning systems to preempt your behaviour.

Google-centric Android
We think the gap between open source Android and Googles version of Android as seen in KitKat will continue to widen.

ROMs go mainstream
The recent $7million investment in CyanogenMod suggest that we may soon be picking the OS we want installed on our phones.

Android saturation
Huang also said Androids potential goes beyond gaming into virtually every corner of connected living. Tegras presence in automotive systems and set-top boxes, data centres, all-in-one PCs and more make it the perfect platform for the future, Huang noted, calling Googles mobile OS the most disruptive operating system that weve seen in a few decades. Cheney, agreed, Theres more to the platform wars than mobile. Android is starting to take off in non-mobile markets in a massive way. To date, Linux has been the dominant OS but Android is now taking some embedded designs which would have run Linux. The effective decoupling of Android from carriers for non-mobile markets, the richness of tools and the existing developer ecosystem will likely cement Android as the denitive open source OS of the next decade. The forthcoming year promises to be quite a ride for Android users and fans.

Android in the home

The worlds most popular OS is set to branch out beyond the traditional

Look out for

Smartwatches galore
The CES tech industry event in Las Vegas in January will showcase smartwatches as the years next big thing.

ndroid is continuing to broaden its inuence during 2014, inltrating into technology areas away from the phone and tablet. HTC, for example, is rumoured to be working on a new smartwatch with an integrated camera. It is slated for a second half of 2014 launch. Google has also recently acquired Android-based smartwatch maker WIMM labs so its clearly keen to explore how the OS can power those devices. Also new on the horizon is a watch by Android a manufacturer that has nothing to do with Google but is now creating its rst, Android compatible, smartwatch.

Google is also keen to see more recent versions of Android OS used within related TV hardware in 2014. Rebranding its Google TV to Android TV, the company has announced that giving manufacturers of Android TV-related products to upgrade their OS to version 4.2 to allow for easier technology integration. Finally, Android is looking to protect your leisure pursuits with the Bluetooth-powered Bitlock, a digitally encrypted, key-less bike lock that pairs with your phone. In fact, you dont even have to take your phone out of your pocket, the lock senses your phone so a button on the lock is all thats required to activate it.

The internet of things

Expect to see more tness, health and other products connecting and sharing data.

Android in your home

TV and gaming will be one of the next big areas for Android, as it seeks to become the dominant OS.

The rise of wearable computers

Google Glass is expected to get its commercial launch in 2014, with controversy in tow.

The Future of Android? Hands on with Google Glass

Does Google Glass represents a bright new future for Android? We put it through its paces to nd out

Google Glass
Launch: Expected 2014 Price: TBC (Explorer Edition

Display: Equivalent to 25-inch

HD screen from 8ft

Camera: 5-MP Audio: Bone Conduction

Google Glass is going to be one of 2014s big talking points

Storage: 12GB usable Battery: One day Compatibility: Android 4.0.3 for
MyGlass companion app

oogle Glass is Googles attempt to bring Android to your face. Okay, it might not look like your phone or your tablet, but inside theres much of the same hardware. It runs on the Android OS, has an ARM CPU, 1GB RAM, 16GB ROM, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, a ve-megapixel camera capable of recording 720p video, a screen (albeit 640x360) and a micro USB socket for charging. So far, so familiar? Whats very different about Glass is that the screen gives you a viewing experience equivalent to a 25-inch screen from eight feet away and audio is delivered using bone conduction straight to your head. Glass uses a customised user interface optimised for use either by voice or using a touchpad built in to the right arm of the glasses. There is also a sensor that is likely to be used to perform actions based on blinks and winks. So thats the technology thats inside, what is it like to use? The $1500 Google Glass arrives in a very smart box containing the Glass itself, a set of clear snap-on lenses, a set of polarised-tinted sunglass lenses, a mono earpiece that plugs into the micro USB port (a stereo set is available for use

The screen gives you a viewing experience equivalent to a 25inch screen from eight feet away
with Google Music) and, of course, the micro USB charger. Setting up Glass is actually very easy either via the MyGlass app for Android or the Google Glass website. In the app or on the website you are prompted to sign in to your Google account and enter the Wi-Fi credentials for your location. A QR-code (2D barcode) is then displayed on screen. Simply turn on Glass by holding down the power button, put it on and when prompted on the display look at the QR-code on your screen. Glass sees it, reads the information, connects to your Wi-Fi and sets itself up. If you are using the MyGlass app on

the phone you can also pair via Bluetooth, enabling data connectivity on Glass when out and about (as well as using Glass as a Bluetooth headset). Its all very easy to use. As mentioned above, Glass is controlled either by voice or using the touchpad. Glass isnt always awake and the display isnt on all the time either tapping a nger on the touchpad or tilting your head to a predened angle wakes it. At this point saying Okay Glass launches voice control where you can activate individual tasks on the device. Again, the same functionality can be achieved with nger swipes on the arm. The ability to perform actions without using voice control is important in a noisy environment or where you just dont want to be seen talking to your glasses. With that said, even without looking like you are talking to yourself, as a brand-new technology, Glass takes a certain level of condence to wear it out in public. People will look at you strangely, stare, ask you questions, ask to try your glasses on and generally wonder at this technology upon your head. Its very exciting stuff.


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Glass in action

Wearing Glass all the time is more compelling than you might expect
ot only is Glass surprisingly comfortable to wear, many of the things you can do with it are genuinely useful. A core set of features is included out of the box and additional apps known as Glassware can also be installed. OK Glass Google When was Norwich Castle built? is the rst option youll come across the results are read back to you as well as displayed on screen but Glass does more than you expect

Google Glass has many useful functions, so long as youre happy talking to them in public

OK Glass Take a picture

OK Glass Start a video call

OK Glass Show me directions

The best camera you own is the camera that you have with you, and with Glass its always ready to go. A picture can be taken either by voice command or using a shutter button. A longer press records a 10-second video, which can be extended with a simple tap on the touchpad.

As youd expect, Glass is tightly integrated with all of Googles main services. The camera on Glass makes for great video calls via Google Hangouts, sending live video of what youre seeing to the other party (and showing their video on the display).

Whether youre walking, cycling or driving, the ability to call up turn-by-turn directions (using the GPS in your phone) is very useful. Voice dictation of destinations can be patchy at best however, with no way (yet) to select a destination on your phone and send it to Glass.

The best Glass apps

We take a look at some of the best apps currently available to Google Glass users

Google Now
Google Now is built into Glass, making the information collated by the ground-breaking service truly glanceable. Viewing Google Now cards is achieved by waking Glass (with a touch or by raising your head) followed by sweeping to the left in the user interface.

Google+, Twitter and Facebook

Google+ integration features heavily, but the other two heavyweight social networks Twitter and Facebook have apps too. This lets you easily post updates, as well as view updates in your Glass timeline.

Word Lens
The Word Lens application provides a genuine insight into the incredible value that Glass might provide in the future. By activating Word Lens and looking at a piece of text, you can translate that text into a chosen language, in real-time, right in front of your eyes. Brilliant.

Strava Cycling
Strava Cycling enables cyclists wearing Glass to track their rides with online syncing to the Strava website, view live information such as speed on Glass display and receive real-time audio and visual feedback. A version of the app is also available for runners.

If the range of apps available for Glass isnt sufcient, IFTTT (If This Then That) provides a way to deliver content from a multitude of services. Support is currently limited to retrieving information rather than activating triggers, but its a very powerful tool.


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Inside Androids most popular apps

LearnEnglish Podcasts

Use the Tapescript to go over previous concepts

Downloads: 1mil - 5mil Developer: British Council Launched: 2011 Price: Free Play store rating: mong the plethora of language learning apps available on Google Play, the LearnEnglish collection is one of the best. The LearnEnglish Podcasts app has far exceeded the million download mark and its clear to see why. Each podcast is 20 minutes long and comes with a range of questions for users to follow and try and answer correctly. Users can also check out the worksheet that comes with each podcast to pick up some helpful hints and tips. Theres also a great Tapescript feature that is perfect for those who want to go over concepts from previous podcasts.

Q&A Neil Ballantyne

Mobile Learning Manager, British Council
How long has it taken to go from concept to a fully working app? The content was already available on the web when we started looking at mobile to reach English language learners through Android, so the concept was already there. We were previously recommending learners to download the podcasts to listen to at their convenience; the leap to making it available on mobile was easy. Can the app cater for both complete novices and people looking to brush up on their English? The content is aimed at elementary and intermediate learners of English, although anyone wanting to improve their English will nd it useful. The content is audio based and follows a couple of storylines throughout each series, with language experts giving learners some guidance on how the language is used. Weve included some comprehension questions for each episode too so learners can check their understanding. There are other apps on the market that help teach English. What makes LearnEnglish different? People worldwide trust the British Council to provide quality English language content so users know to expect a good app among the wide range in the market. We also know that learners need a lot of support when learning languages so this app is just one of a wide portfolio that also covers vocabulary learning, grammar practice as well as more audio and video content. Theres also our free website as well as running classes in many cities worldwide so the app is one part of the learning experience provided by the British Council. What are some of the topics covered within the app? Lots of topics are covered which expose learners to lots of natural and functional language. We have a couple of presenters who discuss lots of the cultural aspects of life in the UK as well as general topics like food and
There are several podcasts to listen to Each podcast focuses on a different subject Questions vary in difculty

cinema. Theres also a feature which follows an overseas student who comes to the UK to study. In series three we also have a couple of language experts who anchor the episodes and provide valuable information on how language is used. And which are your favourites? We provide an audioscript with each episode which moves in time with the audio so our users can listen and read at the same time. Learners nd that particularly useful its an important part of learning a language to hear the language and see it written down. Weve done a lot of research into how learners are using smartphones and our mobile content, and we know they like audio content and they like to be able to engage with it. We were somewhat surprised that one of the most common places to use the app

was at home on the sofa. This has been backed up by other research about where people use apps with an educational focus and this actually makes sense, its hard to learn on a busy bus! Saying that, we also know that learners are listening to the content when theyre commuting and travelling to help immerse themselves in English. I suppose thats one of my favourite features of the app people are using it to learn anywhere. Which countries do you experience the most downloads from? We have a worldwide audience. According to our statistics, LearnEnglish Podcasts is particularly popular in India, Spain, Vietnam, Turkey, Hong Kong, Korea and Saudi Arabia, but we also get downloads from all over the world. We also see large numbers in the UK and US.

A brief history of

Award winners

In this issue we reveal our picks of the best Android phones and tablets of 2013. It is the third year weve had an Android Awards. Here well take a look at some of the winners, including a selection of the most famous and popular devices of all time, and one that seemed quite revolutionary at the time but has since been largely forgotten. How will this years winners be judged in future?

Innovation 2011 Motorola Atrix

This innovative device included a docking port that, when connected to a monitor, would turn the Atrix into a mini desktop computer. Good idea; little success.

Best phone 2011 Galaxy S II

Where it all began for Samsung. The S II was the device with which the company took control of Androids market share, and it has not looked back ever since.

Next-generation browsers
Will the launch of Opera 18 spark a new wave of improved tablet-optimised web browsing apps?

Imagine Publishing Ltd Richmond House, 33 Richmond Hill Bournemouth, Dorset, BH2 6EZ  +44 (0) 1202 586200 Web:

Magazine team
Editor Andy Betts  01202 586254 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

eb browsing on smartphones has come on leaps and bounds in the past few years. Apps like Chrome, Firefox and Dolphin make mobile browsing quick and easier to do than ever before, but the same cannot be said for their tablet counterparts. Although many browsers are compatible with tablets, many arent specically optimised for larger devices, meaning text and images sometimes dont load properly and certain features may not

work. Opera has recently relaunched itself with a tablet-orientated revamp. Not only does it now contain a UI specically crafted for larger devices, it also makes use of the bigger screen by providing a variety of intuitive gestures and additional features to cater for both novices and seasoned users. But how does it compare to the top tablet browsers? Weve put them head-to-head below to see which one comes out on top.

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Opera has been optimised for tablets

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Battle of the browsers

Should the new Opera app be your default tablet web browser?
Categories Ease of use Speed Extras Opera 18
Streamlined browsing experience is easy to understand. Functional UI that is superbly optimised for tablet. Built-in download manager keeps track of any downloads.

Group Managing Director Damian Butt Group Finance & Commercial Director Steven Boyd Group Creative Director Mark Kendrick

Printing & Distribution

Easy to get set up and plenty of great gestures to explore. Chrome handles multiple tabs well and is quick to load sites. Plenty of extensions available to make browsing better.

Boat browser
All standard features including bookmark syncing. Optimised for tablet, but can be on the slow side. Addition of Flash support is a massive plus to have for tablet users.

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And the winner is... Opera 18

Best design 2012 HTC One X
An early attempt from HTC to put the focus on design. It was a success in that respect although the phone was not able to turn around HTCs ailing nancial fortunes.

Despite Chrome being a close second, Opera 18 is an absolutely superb tablet browser that ticks all the right boxes

Best phone 2012 Galaxy S III

The clear front runner in the race for best phone of 2012. It was so good that many users didnt feel the need to upgrade to its successor in 2013. The S5 will still be 2014s phone to beat.

Best manufacturer Asus

By teaming up with Google to produce the Nexus 7, Asus helped to fundamentally transform the tablet market. High-quality, low-cost tablets were now the standard.

Imagine Publishing Ltd 2014 ISSN 2047-1580z

Visit us daily for news and more

1Moto Maker

If youre in the US andplanning on buying a Moto X device, then be sure to check out the Moto Maker page. Here you can customise the look of the device and also add and remove specic features. The customisable aspects of the site is incredible and makes sure your device is truly unique.


The Phoneblok is made of detachable blocks that connect together to form a smartphone. Each block contains a different phone part, which makes it easy to detach and replace when necessary. Theres also icons on each part, so the user can identify which part goes where.

3Sony QX10

The QX10 add-on turns your smartphone into a digital camera. Thanks to the lens, users can undertake a whole new level of photography that far surpasses the standard smartphone quality thats currently available.

10Wearable technology

Although Google Glass is still in its early stages, its a prime example of add-ons that can really expand the use of a smartphone. Expect to see more smartwatches too.

4Ditch upgrades

The concept of building your own smartphone may feel like a slightly daunting project, but it eliminates the need to take out costly contracts when you can simply switch out a part.

from 9 Starting scratch

One of the best things about building a modular smartphone is being able to piece your phone together singlehandedly. Parts can be sourced independently for your tailored budget. It also means users can look to try out new items that havent been tested together.

PC to 5From smartphone

things you need to know about...

Add-ons and modular devices

7 Developer kits
Motorola is in the process of releasing its very own developer kit to help budding developers get to grips with modular devices and begin crafting specic items for these devices. With these sorts of developer kits nearing completion, expect to see some amazing new tech announced shortly.

People familiar with building their own PC should nd the transition to modular devices an easy project. First and foremost there are far less parts to sort out.


Add-ons come in all shapes and sizes, with the Sensordrone being one of the best weve seen. This unit turns your phone into a weather station, gas leak detector, breath analyser and so much more. Its also very small and is easy enough to travel around with, if needed.

6Project Ara

Motorolas Project Ara looks to bring modular devices to the masses by providing a device that very much looks like its made from LEGO. It works in the same sense as the Phonebloks concept mentioned earlier. Best of all, it should be cheap to buy and upgrading and customising should be easy as well.




Take part in our readers survey for your chance to win this incredible prize


he Parrot Zik headphones are the most luxurious headphones on the market today. Designed by Philippe Starck, they combine elegance with cutting-edge technology. The active noise-cancelling system insulates you from surrounding noise to guarantee the purest sound experience in music or calls while the digital signal processing algorithms recreate the full contours of the music. The Zik headset is Bluetooth controlled and has a touch panel that covers the entire surface of the right earpiece. With a simple swipe you can skip tracks or adjust the volume. And the unique built-in presence sensor means that removing the headset puts it into standby mode automatically. It is this combination of stunning audio quality, beautiful design and cutting-edge tech that makes the Parrot Zik headphones the best around. Parrot Zik headphones retail at 299/$399. However, to be in with a chance of winning one of three sets, all you need to do is head to and take part in our readers survey.

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4 1

6 4 Fab
Specically tailored for those with a keen eye on design, Fab explores some of the latest trends and design that you can purchase. The app consists mostly of homeware, but there are other items available to users.


2 vouchercloud
If youre on the hunt for deals for your favourite online outlets, then vouchercloud is the app that you need to download. Theres some amazing daily deals to be found and the stylish UI of the app is a denite benet.

3 Etsy
Where Etsy stands out from its rivals is that it enables small businesses to sell their wares at heavily reduced rates. Its also great for sourcing more niche products, with over 17 million unique products available.

5 Amazon
Amazon Local tailors deals to you from local businesses, while also pointing out national chains that are offering items and discounts that might be of specic interest to you. Use deals without printing vouchers.

6 eBay
The worlds biggest online marketplace has a stunning app that is really easy to use. Sift through millions of different items sprawling hundreds of categories to nd what you need. It also has a great deals section.

Getjar gives you the latest and greatest paid apps and games for free. All you need to do is complete certain tasks and use the app regularly to unlock further applications. The savings you can make are substantial.

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Inside Android Magazines virtual mailbag

Google Not Now

e: Trending, issue 32. You asked Do you use Google Now?. The answer for me is no. I like the idea and am not too concerned about the privacy issues that many people refer to whenever anything relating to Google is being discussed. But at the moment it just isnt good enough in the UK. When I tried it for a while I found that it was okay at telling me the weather (although not as usefully as the BBC Weather app does) and occasionally told me what the trafc was like on my route to and from work (but not always using the route that I actually take!) and not very much more. I keep hearing about the amazing things it does or is going to do but as it stands it is just a battery hog. I noticed that when I turned it off, and turned off the various location tracking features it requires as well, my battery life became signicantly longer. And as well as the speech recognition works it still doesnt feel natural to talk to my phone, and Im not convinced that it is any easier to do things by voice than it is by touch. Maybe in future Ill start to use it. For the time being though Google Now is more a case of Google Not Yet. Clive Landis We say: We cant disagree about the general uselessness of Google Now in the UK although the speech recognition is pretty great once you start to use it and is getting better all the time.

Letter of the


Google Now still has limited uses in the UK

LG vs LG

It was interesting to see that you reviewed both the Nexus 5 and LG G2 in your most recent issue (32). These two phones have very many similarities, the Nexus 5 as you say in your review was even based on the G2, yet you come to quite different conclusions about them. The biggest was your comment that the lack of a memory card slot on the G2 was a major failing of that device, but that on the Nexus 5 it doesnt matter. I understand that the Nexus is available in a version with double the amount of internal storage, but is that really signicant enough to make a major difference?

Surely these two smartphones, being basically the same, should have been judged far closer than they were. Stephen Bryan We say: The difference in our opinions of the two phones was not all that great: a rating score of ve versus four. But yes the lack of either a memory card or larger internal storage was the biggest downside to the LG G2. Considering that LGs software eats up around a quarter of that space before youve even begun playing around with it is a real limitation for what is a agship device. There were other differences

as well, in particular the weird button placement of the G2. We werent sold on it, and the fact that the rest of the industry doesnt seem like its going to be rushing to copy it suggests were not alone. You do get used to it after a while, but it would be a stretch to describe it as a genuine improvement.

No Nexus

In reply to Ian Case (LOTM, issue 30), Im one of those people who dont care whether to use a Vanilla or a customised Android version as long as there is a good Android experience. But Ill never buy a Nexus device. The reason is simple, its

The fact that the rest of the industry doesnt seem like its going to be rushing to copy it suggests were not alone


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Send us your thoughts on all things Android

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SOURCE Opinion from the

@lgrobot What is the one thing you would like to see in Android phones in 2014?
@JM77 Everyone ready? 1-2-3... BATTERY LIFE. @1byron5 2K screens. @geekinCroatia better games on Google Play Store, especially RPGs. @marcwillmore is there much left that we havent already got?

I dont like to be forced to use cloud storage by deliberately not including an external storage slot
customer respect. I dont like to be forced to use cloud storage by deliberately not including an external storage slot in the device, no matter how big the internal storage is. Im not saying I dont want to use the cloud, but please let me use it on my own terms. As long as this remains Googles way of doing things, Nexus is a no-no for me. Ayman SD We say: This is still one of the most divisive issues among Android users. Some people will resolutely refuse to buy a device without a memory card slot; others dont see what the fuss is about. In our experience, using a phone or tablet without expansion turns out to be not quite as painful as you expect it
Youll need to use the cloud with a Nexus


Some apps havent been updated for Jelly Bean

will be, so long as you dont hope to carry tens of gigs of music or movies with you. We just wish that manufacturers would stop putting a massive price premium on higher storage versions of their products.

LBE not for Jelly Bean

Hello little green men! Loving the magazine and have been a subscriber since issue 2. However, in the latest issue (31) you are extolling the virtues of LBE Privacy Guard. Although I absolutely loved this app originally (on ICS), it hasnt ever worked with JB. It was last updated a year ago and has been screwing up phones in all manner of ways since. Just read the reviews on Google Play! And while youre there could you nd an alternative?Ive tried and failed miserably and I am really missing the features of this app. Katrine Fryer We say: Well put this one down to fragmentation install it on an ICS device and its still pretty awesome. Assuming your device is compatible then wed recommend using XPrivacy, which runs on the Xposed Framework (we had an introductory guide to using this in our last issue). XPrivacy is in some ways even better than LBE was as it gives you much ner control over permissions. You can see which ones are being used and the app will serve fake data rather than simply denying permissions, which should limit the functionality issues that you would normally encounter. For more information on XPrivacy, visit php?t=2320783.

@lgrobot What phone do you own and what is your least favourite thing about it?
@jdpjamesp @htc 8X - least favourite thing? #WP8 Windows Phone 8 :( @mayersk60 An HTC One. Least favourite? Not sure but I wish Id gone for the Samsung Note 3 now... @ibblesan I have the LG G2 and I really dislike having a menu button! Pointless with Android Jelly Bean. @ScottMyers19 HTC One. Cant think of anything I dont like about it @N1troz Moto X. Bad things are: No 4G here in the UK, and sub-standard Camera @addicted2088 Note 3. Least favorite is the slow software (in some things like opening dialer), and that its not Snapdragonpowered (Exynos). :P @a_newbold XPERIA Z. Least favourite thing about it, it bends, causing some peoples screens to crack. Luckily mines been okay so far. @greyone1604 Nexus 4 and you think theres something not to like about it! OK, if pushed the lack of memory expansion.

The KitKat clock isnt as good

My Nexus 7 has downloaded and installed KitKat, just in time to go through your great mag and look into your tips. Thanks. I have come across one difference that has a large impact for me personally, and I suspect possibly many others, being a wearer of, in my case, thick glasses. The original 4.2 daydream charging clock, along with a docking station made for the perfect nighttime viewable device. Now though the 4.4 version has reduced the font to the point that it is unreadable without ferreting for the glasses rst. Oh for a simple setting to change it back. Keep up the great work. Bob Walker We say: There are plenty of alternatives that should ll the gap. Take a look at ClockPlus DayDream, for a Jelly Bean-style replacement; Dashclock for added functionality; or Timely for the best looking clock app on the entire Android platform. They are all available free of charge on the Google Play store.

Let us know your thoughts on these hot topics

 Do you use Google Now?  What do you hope to see from Android in 2014?  Who is your favourite Android phone or tablet manufacturer?
Get in touch!

Follow us @lgrobot to join in the conversation


60 expert tablet tips & hacks



Secrets for getting started
View data usage
Do you need to see how much data your tablet is using? Discover which apps are being resource hungry by going to Settings>Data Usage and viewing the amount of data being taken up in order of size. the home screens of your tablet. Tap the Apps Drawer icon and navigate to the Widgets tab. Tap on a widget and drag it to a space on the home screen to add it. You can get new widgets by going to Google Play and searching for widgets (or check each time you install an app) and you remove them from home screens by holding down and moving them to the trash at the top of the screen. MASSIVE GUIDE FOR EVERY ANDROID TABLET

Turn off sounds

Whenever you tap away at the keyboard on an Android tablet you may hear little clicking sounds which, after a while, become a little annoying. Go to Settings>Language and input and select the settings icon next to the keyboard you are using. Uncheck the box next to Sound on key-press. You can turn off other system sounds by

going to Settings>Sound and unchecking any boxes you do not want.

Lock orientation
To lock your tablet in portrait mode (its default on most seven-inch tablets) or to free it by allowing auto-rotation into landscape mode whenever you tilt the device into that position, pull down the notication bar and tap the Rotation Locked/Auto

Rotate button, which appears in the blocks of options. Note also that not every app is congured to be able to rotate at all.

Sync bookmarks and pages from phone or desktop

Using Chrome, you are able to share webpages and bookmarks between your Android phone or desktop computer. Sign in to Chrome

Manage widgets
Widgets are useful ways to present information from various apps and services on


60 expert tablet tips & hacks


Set up multiple user profiles

Congure your tablet for each member of the family

Three ways to maximise battery life

ith the primary account set up, go to the Settings menu and select the Users category. You will see the primary account here. To add a new user, just tap the Add User button at the top. Tap Set up now to go to the lockscreen. The new user can then sign in and congure the tablet.

to Settings 1 Go Within your Settings, tap on Users and you will

see the primary account holder (you) and an option to Add user or prole. Tap to begin adding a second user.

type 2 Choose Users are able to have their own apps and
content or you can restrict them to certain apps you already have, which gives you greater control.

Battery life can be drained by having your screen too bright. It can also be affected by various services. So pull down the notication bar and alter the brightness. Dont leave Wi-Fi, GPS and Bluetooth on unnecessarily and keep an eye on widgets they could be eating up power.

Switch off services

up process 3 Set A new user will need to go through a set-up

process if you want them to have their own space. They can change apps, wallpaper and adjust settings.

patterns 4 Lock If you want to give a user restricted access,

then you will need to set up a passcode of some sort. The tablet takes you through the required procedure.

After youve got your tablet set up there are a few hidden features that you can tweak to fully get up to speed. Heres our guide to the best of them
on a computer or phone and, under Services, ensure Sync is on and Chrome to Mobile is selected. Whatever pages you view or bookmark on a computer or phone will now be available on your tablet. by tapping. By holding down you not only have another chance to remove an app from the list but you can also view information about it. that will appear here. It will disappear from the home screen and app drawer.

An app such as Tasker lets you automate your tablet. It can keep a check on the current time of day and turn services on and off. For example, you could have Tasker switch off Wi-Fi when you are at work between 9am and 5pm, preventing the tablet from trying to nd a signal during those hours.

Use a management app

Manage auto-syncing
Google apps sync with your Google account, allowing Gmail and Calendar to have backups and be available across devices. To manage it, go to Settings>Accounts and you can congure which parts of your accounts you want to sync and how frequently.

Disable pre-installed apps Recent apps

To the right of the Home button is a button that looks like two boxes overlaid and lets you see the most recently viewed apps. By swiping to the left or right, you are able to close them or you can open them Apps can be removed by going to Settings>Apps, tapping on the app you want to disappear and selecting Uninstall. Apps that cannot be uninstalled such as those pre-installed can be disabled via the Disable button

Close any running apps

Go to Settings>Apps and move along to the Running tab. You will see all of the apps that are currently running on your device. Tap each one and select Stop. The screen also tells you why the app is running so you can make a judgement call on it.


60 expert tablet tips & hacks


Five ways to master multimedia

Connect a games controller
You can plug in a USB gamepad to an Android tablet and you can even use Bluetooth. Check the pad you buy and connect up. They are brilliant for playing console-style games when a touchscreen is a little ddly.

Control your tablet with speech

Take the hands-off approach to using your tablet

Get top-quality tunes

As a rival to iTunes Match, you can add 20,000 songs to Google Play Cloud Music for free. As you upload a song it is checked with existing tunes in Googles library. If it is available it will be made available to you in the best possible quality.

1 Search Tap the microphone icon in the Google search box on

your home screen or within Chrome and you can perform searches using your voice alone. Answers are spoken back.

Now 2 Google On some KitKat tablets you can now say OK,
Google when the tablet is on to search without touching the screen. Then simply speak your instruction.

Create and share playlists

Google Music can organise your music. Buy songs from Google Play and place them into playlists according to albums, songs, artists and even genres. Up to 1,000 tracks can be added into any playlist.

Get directions 3 You can ask Google Now for directions, but when you
are in Google Maps tap, the mic to activate the in-app speech function and speed up your mapping searches.

articles 4 Write Apps such as Email let you compose with the power
of speech. You can also write articles by talking to apps including Kingston Ofce. Tap the mic on the keyboard.

Transfer les from a PC

Plug your tablet into your computer using a USB cable. On the Android tablet, you will be asked if you want to mount the device. Indicate that you do and your tablet will now work like any normal external drive.

Type faster with text expansion

Create short codes in the Keyboard app that will be converted into longer words or phrases whenever you type them

Flash is alive!
Restore Flash to Android
Flash support was removed in Android 4.1, but you can get it back by opening up Chrome on your tablet, searching for archived ash player version and selecting the rst result on the list, taking you to Adobes website. Scroll to the bottom and select the latest Flash player. The .apk le will download and you need to tap install.

Transfer les from a Mac

Go to letransfer and download the Android File Transfer app. You will see folders labelled Movies, Music and Pictures into which you can drop media from other folders on your computer.

Language & Input

Go to Settings and tap Language & Input. You may see various keyboards listed but you need to tap the settings to the right of the Google Keyboard.

Personal dictionary
There will be an option for Personal Dictionary. Tap on this and you will be taken to the text expansion set-up page. Tap the _ icon in the top right-hand corner.

Type a phrase
Type in the long word or phrase into the rst box. Now create a shortcut and hit Back. When you type that shortcut any time in the future, the longer term will appear.

Movie services compared
Categories Price

60 expert tablet tips & hacks


Play store
Typically, older movies cost 2.49 with more recent ones from 3.49 to 9.99.

Films are priced from as little as 99p although newer releases will cost 3.49 for standard renting and 4.49 for HD. You get Tesco Clubcard points too. Its a comprehensive service but it also has movies you wont nd elsewhere and gets them at the same time as Sky. You need to sign up for an account, but once you are in, purchasing is easy. Films can be kept for 30 days unless you decide to buy outright. The service needs a Wi-Fi connection in order to watch (if you have 3G, you can only browse) but the quality, especially in HD, is superb.

Netix is a subscription service and it costs 5.99 each month. For that, you get an unlimited number of movies and television shows to stream. Not as big as you may think. Netix seems to be hotter on TV shows (it is box-set heaven) but dont expect the latest movies they tend to be older. Its very easy to use. You search through genres and recommendations, nd a movie and play it. It remembers where you left off too. Spot on. You wont have an issue with the streams at all. It offers HD and the images are crisp. Sound is great too.

No of movies

There are thousands of movies with a good number of recent lms among them, but its not as comprehensive a library as its rivals. Its as easy as using the Play store you search for a lm, make a choice and tap to download using your standard Google account details. Movies can be watched instantly one device at a time and you can choose between standard and HD quality. Films can be downloaded for ofine viewing.

Ease of use

Streaming quality And the winner is.... Blinkbox

If you want the most recent lms even before they appear on DVD in a lot of cases then Blinkbox wins. You can get a 5 credit when you sign up too. For hassle-free streaming, the Play store is a good choice, and for TV fans, Netix has the best content.

Best tablet games

Hill Climb Racing

Price Free
Games do not come much more addictive than Hill Climb Racing. Its not actually a racing game, instead youre given a car with questionable suspension and have to drive it up a hill as far as you can. Frequent opportunities to upgrade your vehicle give it an endless playability.

Tiny Thief

Price 1.99/$2.99
The tiny sprites of this huge game lend it indisputable charm, and once you pick it up, you will nd it difcult to put back down. The intelligent puzzles, cute graphics and great quests combine in a point-and-click puzzler that has lashings of dry and somewhat strange humour.


Price 4.96/$6.99
It may be rather expensive, but this point-and-click adventure harks back to the past for sheer playability and depth. A beautiful game, which almost looks painted, it has an involving narrative and perfect controls. One of the best-looking games out there and a real thrill.

Price 4.99/6.99

Modern Combat 4: Zero Hour

Call of Duty is one of the most famous franchises around, but Gamelofts own version of the classic series shows real understanding of what makes a rst person shooter so inviting. The graphics are great and youll feel battle weary and exhilarated by the end.

Real Boxing

Price 0.99/$1.49
Although this incredible boxing game has realistic graphics and sound, its desirability goes well beyond mere presentation. With an assortment of moves and a multiplayer mode, it is the best boxing game for tablets as well as being one of the best of its type on any format.

Metal Slug 3

Price 2.49/$3.99
Of course, it has a retro appearance but that is because it is a retro game. This perfect conversion of a Neo Geo classic is just one of many old-school ports, bringing to life a plethora of 8-bit and 16-bit games. As a throwback to the arcades, there are few better than this.

Real Racing 3
Price Free
EA is a big name in gaming and it has just about sewn up the racing market with this offering. Its a huge game 1.2GB and is packed with in-app purchases, but its worth freeing up space for given the detail on the cars, the thrill of the tracks and the beauty of the control system.


60 expert tablet tips & hacks


Eight apps you must download first

Google Drive
Price Free
Not only does this ofce suite grant access to cloud storage but you can also create and edit Google documents and spreadsheets on your tablet and save them. PDFs and presentations can also be viewed and les can be printed.

Price Free
Evernote is the grandfather of note-taking apps, letting you make written, pictorial and audio notes that can be accessed on any webconnected device. Produce to-do lists and organise notes with tags. You can even save tweets or emails.

SwiftKey 3

Price 1.49/$1.99
A very popular keyboard, SwitftKey adapts to the way you hold your tablet and it also has fantastic auto-correction and next-word prediction. By knowing what you may type next, it takes away much of the hassle of typing on a screen.

Price Free
It may be one of many cloud storage solutions but Dropbox is the best in terms of usability and exibility, running across devices, enabling you to upload photos with ease and being able to open documents for reading. A must-have application.

Power up your tablet

More top tips for getting the most from your Android tablet

Tablet shortcuts
Rebooting to safe mode
To boot into safe mode to solve issues with apps, long press the power button, long press Power Off and select OK.

Get app refunds

When you buy an app from Google Play you get a 15-minute trial period with it. During this time, you can click Refund to get your money back.

Use phone as a hotspot

You can connect your phone and tablet and enjoy your smartphones data plan across both devices. On the phone, go to Settings>Wireless & Networks> Portable WiFi hotspot. Add a password and name the hotspot. Now when you go to the Wi-Fi settings on your tablet, you will be able to link up to that hotspot.

Using folders
Place items into folders to organise them more effectively. Long press on an app and drag it over the top of another. Let go and the folder is created.

Access your tablet more effectively

If you have problems with your sight, you can go to Settings>Accessibility and select large text. You can also ask the tablet to speak out any passwords, while text-to-speech output reads all the words on the screen so you can keep up too. Most apps are supported.

Four tips to be more productive

Attach a keyboard You can attach a Bluetooth keyboard (go to Settings>Bluetooth, turn on and nd it), or you can buy a USB OTG cable. The small end plugs into the micro USB port and the keyboard goes in the larger end.

Mouse Again, you can use Bluetooth to attach a mouse. It should show in
Adding Emojis to keyboard
There has been a growing trend for the use of Emojis, which are Japanese versions of the emoticons people use as keyboard symbols. To add them, go to Language & Input in Settings, select the Google keyboard and tap Add on dictionaries. Now install. When you tap on the keyboard, Emojis will appear.

the Bluetooth settings page. You will not need to root the tablet. The cursor should automatically appear on the screen.

USB Media Stick Like Googles Chromecast, the Mobostick lets you wirelessly stream anything from your Android console to any TV or media player. It connects the tablet and the receiving device and it even allows for backups.

Stylus Although the Galaxy Note 10.1 has a stylus built in, you neednt be

left behind. There are styluses for other tablets too. Styluses make inputting on a touchscreen easy, although many dont have the smartness of Samsungs.

There are hundreds of thousands of apps in the Play store, guaranteeing there will be something for everyone. These apps are the ones that every user must have

60 expert tablet tips & hacks



Price Free
It was inevitable that we would include social media in the list given the amount of usage these services get. The Twitter app is robust and intuitive and it enables for quick management and sending of tweets from your tablet.

Price Free
Again, we could not ignore Facebook. The app works well in allowing you to view status updates and see your own page and, given that most people access Facebook via a tablet or phone these days. It is packed with lots of features.

Google Currents
Price Free
Keep abreast of the latest news with a beautiful app that takes content from the web and repackages it in a lovely magazine style. You can pull items from lots of top-quality outlets ranging from The Guardian to Forbes and you can see breaking stories.

Adobe Photoshop Express Price Free

If you want to be able to edit images with a powerful app from one of the best names around, then this freebie will be well worth the download. A more advanced app is available, Adobe Photoshop Touch, should you want to splash out.

Pro tips for tablet users

Google Cloud Print
Price 39.99 Compatibilty Most tablets Website
The Maroo KAIMATA has a weighted base encased in plastic to help offer a stable platform for your tablet to be placed on. Your tablet can be placed in either landscape or portrait orientation with two hooks holding them in place at the bottom.

Kensington Folio case

Price 17.99 Compatibilty Seven-inch tablets Website www.
Despite the Folio case being marketed for the Kindle Fire, it ts similar-sized seven-inch tablets well. Its very thin and comes with a handy stand function, enabling you to set the tablet at different angles.

Nexus 7 Desktop Sync and Charge Cradle

Price 19.95 Compatibilty Nexus 7 Website
A neat charge and sync cradle that gives you access to your tablet while youre sat at your desk. It will also connect the tablet to a PC for easy copying of les back and forth.

Open tabs in Chrome can be printed wirelessly and you can also use Cloud Print in combination with documents in Google Drive. Tablets using KitKat can send documents direct using Google Cloud Print of HPs ePrint system.

Remote access

Working with Ofce documents and Drive

Creating documents
Creating a document is easy. Tap the + button on screen and select to add a new doc or spreadsheet. These are saved in the cloud and can be accessed via any device.

Being able to use your Android tablet to access another machine sounds magical, but it is possible. Apps such as Team Viewer, and Remote Desktop Connection work to connect you to other computers.

Editing documents
Open a document and you can edit it. Running across the top of the screen are options for bold, italics and underline, as well as colours and fonts. You can undo and redo too.

Speed up your tablet

Managing documents
You can grant people access to documents. Create a folder and select Add People. Anyone with access can see the docs within a folder. A great collaboration tool.

Sharing documents
With Drive you can tap the share button and send the le either as itself or as a link (the recipient will open it via Google Drive). You can also download for ofine use.

Over time your tablet may slow down but there are ways to keep it at its peak. Ensure your software is up-to-date and use apps such as App Cache Cleaner to clear up cached data. Also uninstall apps you dont use.

Secure your tablet

You can protect your data using an app such as Lookout, which not only scans for viruses and malware but also helps you to nd it should it go missing. It will let you remotely lock your device and send out a noise to help you nd it.


60 expert tablet tips & hacks


Android tablets
screen (tablet mode) or lower to make it more phone like. Be sure to back up the build.prop le rst, of course.

Hacking tips for

The eReader tablet
use the NookManager method and tool from this thread on the website: The Amazon Appstore is included by default, but requires a US account. You can get the Google apps from the same link, and that will give you full access to the Play store. Barnes & Nobles Nook eReaders are based on Android, and if you root it you can unlock the full Android experience. What youre left with is a fully functioning tablet, albeit one with slow processor and limited memory, not to mention an E-Ink display whose refresh rate is hardly suited to uid swipes. However, you can access the Play store, which means you can install the Kindle app (or the excellent Kobo app) if you wanted. To do it you can

Rooting your tablet opens it up to a whole world of new features

any problems you may encounter. Download the SDK from developer.

Syncing feeling
If you own an Android tablet it is likely you will also own an Android phone and will want to run a similar set of apps across the two devices. When you turn your tablet on for the rst time, entering your Google account details will lead to the apps from your phone being automatically downloaded. Grab the app Helium from the Play store and copy your data across this is especially important for games in order to keep your progress in sync. It works well on rooted devices.

Changing the pixel density setting enables you to t more or less content on screen

Change resolution
With so many tablets of different sizes and screen resolutions, you will often nd the number and types of app you can download varies considerably. This is especially the case on the seven-inch tablets, where apps are displayed in their phone or phablet-optimised form rather than the full tablet version. By changing the pixel density of the display you can trick apps into switching to different versions. To do this you need a root le manager such as ES File Explorer, and to locate the build.prop le in the System folder. You can then change the ro.sf.lcd_density setting to something higher to t more on the

The Android SDK is an essential tool for hacking, and how you access fastboot

Master Fastboot
Most tablets run a close to stock version of Android (Samsung Galaxy tablets are the main exception) and these use fastboot from the Android SDK for a large number of their hacks and mods. Its worth getting to know fastboot as this will give you great condence in solving

Some eReaders can be turned into fully edged Android tablets

Using the Helium app you can keep app data synced between tablet and phone

Root your Nexus tab

To root a Nexus tablet you will need to download the Android SDK to your desktop computer before your begin get it from sdk and if youre on Windows you will need to have installed the right drivers from sdk/win-usb.html. The bootloader also needs to be unlocked. Download TWRP Recovery image from and SuperSU from Copy the SuperSU zip le onto your tablet and move the TWRP img le into the platform-tools folder of the SDK. Reboot into fastboot mode, and keep it connected via USB.

3 to root
Recovery and SU


Now you can ash the recovery image. Make sure the terminal or command line window has the platform tools folder as its root directory. To ash the recovery image, type fastboot ash recovery [lename.img]. Wait while the process completes.

Flash recovery

Now you can boot into recovery. With the tablet turned on, type into the terminal window adb reboot recovery. The tablet will now boot into recovery and you can ash the SuperSU zip le by hitting Install and locating the correct le stored on your device.

Hack a Kindle
It is possible to hack some of the many Kindle Fire devices, removing Amazons software customisations and replacing them with a stock Jelly Bean OS. For beginners theres a paid option that makes it easy check out for more information. several other tablets; Undelete, for recovering les that youve accidentally deleted, and GMD for being able to control your tablet using on-screen swiping gestures.

60 expert tablet tips & hacks


The secrets of the kernel

Change your OS
Should you ever get tired of running Android on your tablet it is possible to change it to a different open source operating system. The Nexus 7 is the best option for this, although similar choices may be available for tablets from other manufacturers. One developer has posted instructions on the xda-developers. com website at showing how Firefox OS can be ashed to a Nexus 7, while there is an ofcial build of the Ubuntu desktop OS to be found at wiki. The process of the latter is somewhat more involved than that of merely ashing a ROM (as in the former), so should be considered for more advanced users only.

N2A is a one-click solution for turning a Kindle Fire into a proper Android tablet

ROM choices
Custom ROMs replace the entire OS installed on your device with a newer version, often with added features or streamlined for better performance. Our favourite for tablets is Paranoid Android as it enables you to switch between tablet, phablet or phone-optimised interface on an app-by-app basis. Visit for more information and to download.

Remove unwanted junk

If your tablet came with apps installed that you dont need you may nd that you cannot uninstall them. They can be disabled by going into Settings>Apps then nding the app and hitting the Disable button. This hides them and prevents them from running. Alternatively if your tablet is rooted, download Titanium Backup and you will be able to uninstall the app entirely. Its a good idea to make a backup rst, just in case you ever need them.

f youre happy with the software on your tablet as it is, you may not see the need to ash a custom ROM to replace it. This doesnt mean theres no good reason to not root the device anyway. Perhaps the simplest way to improve the performance of a tablet is to ash a different kernel. The kernel is a slightly abstract concept in that it is involved in literally everything your tablet does, but has no real consumer application. The kernel controls the hardware and how it interacts with the software, and by tweaking it you can signicantly alter a devices performance. The stock kernel used on your tablet will have been optimised by the manufacturer to provide a balance between speed, stability and battery life. A custom kernel will come with its own default

franco.Kernel is one of the most popular third-party kernels

settings and many have a companion app that can be further used to tweak the settings to your own priorities. A good way to do this is by experimenting with the kernels CPU Governors. These set how the processor functions under different types of usage, such as how quickly it will ramp up to full speed when required and how quickly it drops back down again. These have a real effect on speed, battery and smoothness.

Kernel settings to tweak Governor 1 CPU These set how the processor
reacts when required to perform certain tasks. The OnDemand setting will, for example, ramp up to maximum speed quickly and reduce slowly, which is great for multiasking but may be heavy on the battery.

speed 2 Clock Most kernels enable you to

change the clock speed of a processor. Increasing it will make the phone faster but potentially less stable. Contrary to popular belief, underclocking is unlikely to have any real impact on your battery life.

Greenify is one of our favourite apps for running on a rooted tablet

Root apps
By rooting your tablet you can gain access to a whole host of extra apps that will not otherwise work. Our favourites are Greenify, which manages background apps and improves battery life; StickMount, which enables you to use USB memory sticks on a Nexus and

Scheduler 3 Task Kernels generally have two

types of task scheduler, which balance how resources are used. Stock kernels use CFS, optimised for multitasking. BFS prioritises the foreground app and can be great for gaming but not for regular use.

There are several ways to disable, remove or hide unwanted pre-installed apps


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The very best Android phones and tablets of 2013 revealed

013 was another huge year for Android. Another year in which device sales grew exponentially, in which the millionth app entered the Play store, in which the 50 billion download mark was passed with barely a note of


recognition. Devices continued to push the boundaries of what was possible. Over the next eight pages well take a detailed look back at the year and reveal our picks for the best phones, tablets and other Android products in 2013.

Android Awards


2013: Review of the year

We look back at the high and low points of the past 12 months


Best casual game
Temple Run 2
The sequel to the popular Indiana Jones-style game has been downloaded over 170 million times

Galaxy S4 launches
Samsung looks to repeat the success of the S III with the S4. It was the rst of a whole swathe of S4-branded devices to hit the market

The E-Ink smartphone Sony goes waterproof

The year begins with the launch of the rst phone with 1080p display, the Sony Xperia Z. It also marks a trend for waterproof devices The YotaPhone is shown off at Mobile World Congress, complete with E-Ink display. More than a mere concept, itll ship by the end of the year

New start for HTC

The HTC One marks a shift in strategy for the manufacturer, with a focus on far fewer handsets and better design

Pebble launches
The Pebble smartwatch starts shipping in the US. It is the rst of several smartphone companion watches that will launch during the year

Best sports app

BBC Sport
The ofcial BBC Sport app brings up-to-date sporting news in a great-looking and comprehensive app

New tech innovations

Gaming gear, wearable devices and exible screens are among the tech shown off at the annual CES event in Las Vegas

HP joins Android
HP becomes the latest PC manufacturer to try and get some of the Android tablet action. On release, the Slate 7 gets a mixed reception

Flop of the year
HTC and Facebook join forces on the HTC First. Reports suggest it sells only 15,000 units in its rst month, and is quickly discontinued

Sonys Xperia SP
Brings good-looking design and solid performance to the mid-range. Its an early sign of what would be a good year for mid-tier handsets

One and S4 get the GPE treatment
HTC and Samsung unveil Google Play Edition versions of their agship devices, running stock Android

Home comforts
The First is accompanied by Facebook Home, a launcher for other devices. Despite much hype it still has a rating of just 2.6 in the Play store today

More S4s
Samsung follows up the launch of the S4 with the S4 Mini, although it disappoints some commentators with its conservative approach and relatively high price

Sony Tablet Z
Sony unveils the best big tablet of the year in the form of the Tablet Z. It is fast, powerful, super slim and waterproof

Major update for apps

Key Lime Pie is missing in action at Google I/O, but all the main Google apps get considerable updates

Best education app

One of the most innovative apps of the year, Duolingo brings the art of multilingualism to smartphones. If you ever wanted to learn another language, this is how

Phablets on the rise

Other manufacturers begin to cash in. Huaweis Ascend Mate is among the rst and best


Android Awards


013 may come to be seen as the year in which specs became less important in hardware, with the focus shifting instead to performance and design. The Play store also continued its massive growth, pushing through the million apps mark. In our look back at the highs and lows of 2013 we also pick out our award-winning apps.

Googles Chromecast dongle
Introduces movie streaming from an Android phone in a budget package

Design your own phone
The Moto X launches for the US market. It includes the unique ability to customise the look of the hardware before you buy it

Best RPG
Trial by Survival
A massive game with depth in the gameplay, but also a real pick-upand-play quality. Trial by Survival showed the growing strength of gaming on Android

Best social app

One of the most wanted iOS apps makes its way to Android and quickly racks up tens of millions of downloads

The Android-powered OUYA games console launches to a mixed reception

The rise of smartwatches

A big thing for 2014, both Sony and Samsung got in early with their take on what the smartwatch should be. Its fair to say neither has yet set the market alight

Jelly Bean mk3

Android 4.3 arrives, with a few new features and not too much more

HTC One Mini

The Mini is a smaller version of the One. Despite lower specs, the Mini is yet another mid-range phone with impressive performance, performance not to mention that now classic design and build quality the One is famous for

Ta-ra Barra
Android product manager Hugo Barra steps down. He moves to growing Chinese handset manufacturer Xiaomi

Best racing game

Asphalt 8: Airborne
Showing off the graphical prowess of the latest Android devices to the full, Asphalt 8 was the most playable racing game of the year

Best lifestyle app

The years most beautiful Android app was not only an alarm clock, but it was the best-looking alarm clock youll see

High St tablets
High Street retailers in the UK start producing their own low-cost tablets for the Christmas market. Tescos 119 Hudl is easily the best of the bunch

KitKat arrives
Key Lime Pie was replaced with KitKat, and the new OS Android 4.4 launched with bags of new features plus a stunning new Nexus handset

Android 4.4.1 rolls out
A swift update to KitKat is a massive boost to the already impressive Nexus 5 as it xes the laggy camera, along with countless other welcome enhancements

Hello Moto
The Moto G is the last big release of the year, and its an entry-level phone. It could be one of Androids most important handsets

Dual-SIM HTC One

HTC makes a dual-SIM version of the One available to buy through its website in the UK

Cheap quad-core
Quad-core devices plummet in price with the ZTE Blade V being available for under 100 on pay as you go in the UK

IAP alert
A new update to the Play store nally brings guidance on in-app purchases

LG unveils the G2, a new agship device that is also the reference for the Nexus 5. All the buttons are placed on the rear, which may or may not prove to be revolutionary

Curved screens
Samsung and LG both release phones with curved displays in the Far East. The Galaxy Round is curved horizontally; the LG Flex vertically. Which will win?

More big-name games

Assassins Creed is the latest big-name gaming brand to make its way onto Android. Assassins Creed Pirates is one of the most graphically impressive games on the platform


Android Awards


What we said: We found the camera to

Shutter button
With a dedicated shutter button that launches the camera even when it is locked, the Z1 is the ultimate device for capturing those quick snapshots

be among the best currently available on Android. We were able to produce excellent shots in daylight. Low light shots were better than many other devices can muster Issue 31
Samsung Galaxy S4
The camera is the standout feature on the S4, and shows perfectly how Samsung can overload the features without ruining the user experience Issue 26 A big step up from the S III, the camera in the S4 was fast and capable of producing very good images. The software was packed with features, meaning there was something to help even the most casual snapper.

HD display
The large 1080p screen makes the Z1 excel at reviewing images before sharing them on your favourite social networks

20 megapixels
Although it shoots at an oversampled eight megapixels by default, the Z1 is able to produce poster-sized shots should the need arise

With optical image stabilisation it is better in lower light conditions than most smartphones, and generally it ranks among the best Android cameras Issue 32 The G2 had a 13-MP sensor and optical image stabilisation that meant it was ideal for shooting in low light. Only the fancy software tricks of the Z1 kept it out in front.



larger-than-average sensor, fast, highquality lens with an oversampling technique that reduced 20-megapixel images down to eight-megapixel images free from noise and packed with detail in a wide range of conditions. It worked really well, and is something well be seeing a lot more of over the next year. Coupled with the inclusion of a dedicated shutter button, weathersealed design, and a brilliant Auto mode, which was able to adapt to virtually any conditions and you nally had an Android phone that really was able to live with the very best on the market.

The new focus of HTC fewer but better products than in previous years brought us the One. Unquestionably the most beautifully designed Android phone ever it was crafted from a single block of aluminium, incorporated powerful speakers as a design feature and displayed incredible attention to detail. The kind of phone that was loved by its users like no other.

Samsung Galaxy Note 3
2013 was the year of phablets, with most hardware manufacturers launching their own models. But Samsung remains the only company to have created a concept that makes a phablet more than just a massive phone. The inclusion of the S Pen, and a host of apps to use with it, put it in a different league to other phablets, and is the go-to device for anyone who wants to get things done.

Sony Xperia Z1
martphone cameras have come a long way over the last year or so, to the point where they are now unquestionably a viable replacement to a dedicated compact camera. The key to this is less focus on basic hardware specs (although, of course, the laws of physics ensure that they remain highly crucial) and a growing move towards computational photography where the camera supplies the raw image data and the software turns it into a great photograph. This was best illustrated in Sonys Z1. It combined some of the companys incredible imaging tech



Sony Xperia SP
Not one of the years most attention-seeking phones, the Xperia SP was nonetheless one of the rst to highlight a signicant growth in the quality of mid-range handsets. With a fast processor and HD display, plus a smart design and waterproof build, the SP was able to perfectly pitch at users who want a great phone without bleeding-edge specs.

Android Awards


Moto G
n time the Moto G may well come to be seen as the most disruptive product to hit the mobile industry since the launch of the iPhone in 2007. In a single stroke Motorola completely reset expectations about what a budget phone should be. With a fast quad-core processor, 720p display, attractive design and no obvious compromises on build quality, the Moto G would have been a agship phone only a year ago, but here it was being sold for as little as 100 off contract in the UK. There was simply no comparison to other phones in the same price bracket, always saddled with poor screens, sluggish performance and obviously built on the cheap. Better still, a near stock version of Android was onboard, with an update to KitKat promised for within weeks of its launch. No other manufacturer can even begin to compete with that. Motorola is, of course, now owned by Google, and after some delay it seems as though the partnership is nally starting to bear fruit.


Waterproof phones (Sony Xperia Z)
First seen in Januarys Xperia Z, Sonys decision to make all of its devices water and dust proof with no added bulk was an innovation that we could really get behind. The bigger the role our phones play in our lives the more important it is that they are able to withstand the array of conditions we use them in. We hope this becomes the standard.

What we said: We cant help

wondering if Google is trying to do with the Moto G at the lower end of the market what it has done with the Nexus 5 at the higher end Issue 33

720p screen
You should never have to suffer low-res displays again now that HD has found its way to this price point

Fast performance
Most budget phones use older or obscure processors. The Moto G is powered by a brand-new Snapdragon 400 chip, and the benet to performance is clear

ZTE Blade V
For a device of its size and price, the inclusion of a quad-core processor is a great addition Issue 32 The Blade V was the rst phone to provide a quad-core processor in a sub-100 package. Although obviously budget-minded in many areas it represented a real step up for entry-level handsets. At least prior to the Moto G.

Long battery life

The 2070mAh battery is nothing special on paper, but great hardware and well-optimised software keep the phone running for longer than much more expensive phones


Nexus 5
The combination of such cutting-edge hardware and the new OS means the device absolutely ies Issue 32 Nexus devices have become synonymous with great value. If the Nexus 5 didnt quite have the eye-poppingly low price of last years Nexus 4 it still managed to undercut its similarly specced rivals by 100-200.


Android Awards



New OS
As always, one of the big benets of any Nexus device is that the software comes direct from Google. The tablet has already been updated to KitKat

Upgraded build
The design of the new Nexus was updated and streamlined. It was also made much thinner, which in turn made it a lot more comfortable to hold

HIgh-res display
The resolution of the 2013 Nexus 7s screen took it to an impressive 323 pixels per inch, at the time better than anything else on the market

Sony Xperia Tablet Z
The company has eschewed the race to the bottom in favour of the Xperia Tablet Z, a tablet with premium design and build Issue 27
The current leader among Androids ten-inch tablet line up. A beautiful device with impressive speed and power. Only the lack of Android tablet apps lets it down a problem made worse by the big screen.



Nexus 7
or the second year in a row the Nexus 7 is the best Android tablet money can buy. Unlike last year when it was pretty much the only game in town, the 2013 Nexus 7 has had to mix it with a whole host of seven-inch devices with similar specs and similar (or even lower) price points. Google and Asus, who again built the tablet, were up for the ght. The new Nexus 7 improved upon the original in every conceivable way. Performance was better, design nicer, screen crisper, features more cutting edge and battery life even longer. And by having the latest and greatest version of Android (4.3 at launch, since bumped to 4.4) it was able to stay ahead of its rivals. Whether it will be able to repeat the trick for a third year in a row remains to be seen. Signs are that tablet prices will be tumbling further throughout the next year without too great a hit on performance, and differentiating devices could become a challenge. But for now theres none better than the Nexus 7.

It almost goes without saying that the 2013 Nexus 7 is the best Android tablet, and the best small-sized tablet on any platform
Issue 29

What we said:

Samsung Galaxy Note 8

There is no doubt that Samsung is working hard to make its stylus-based devices the best there areIssue 28
The middle child in Samsungs impressive Note series, the Note 8 could be easily ignored. Instead it is a worthy addition, with the S Pen making it more productive than many tablets.


Oree Board Maple
Arguably our favourite accessory of any kind this year. The Oree Board Maple is a compact Bluetooth keyboard designed for tablets and carved entirely out of wood. Much more than a gimmick, it is fantastic to type on and promises to age gracefully over time. Wed have loved a tablet made from wood to complement it as well!


Moga Pro
In a year of Android gaming devices, the Moga Pro was less ambitious than the likes of Ouya and GameStick and all the better for it. Moga is essentially a gloried game controller, and enables you to harness the power of your Android device while avoiding the often clunky touchscreen controls games have.



Edier Spinnaker
There are plenty of products out there for the discerning music fan. Best among them is the Edier Spinnaker. With a striking design they would be welcome in any living room. But its not just looks the Bluetooth connectivity enables you to stream direct from your phone and the incredible audio specs produce superb sound quality regardless of your taste in music.

Android Awards


Nexus 5
n a year that has seen a number of amazing Android phones, the Nexus 5 stands out due to its combination of raw power and incredible value. Unlike the Nexuses of previous years, the specs in the 5 were cutting edge Snapdragon 800 processor, 2GB RAM, 1080p display, plus bags of connectivity options are the kinds of things only seen in the years most high-end devices. It also ran KitKat in its purest form, complete with the Google Experience Launcher that ties together so many of Googles services in a way that makes the phone smarter and more preemptive of your behaviour. It wasnt completely awless, with a camera that was capable of taking excellent shots in a somewhat sluggish manner (at the time of writing we are expecting an imminent rmware update), and battery life that varies considerably depending on just how many of the bells and whistles you want to leave turned on. But at a price that was as much as 200 less than similarly specced rivals it was hard to quibble.

a-jay One+
The a-Jays One+ earphones combine a simplicity in design and excellent performance with an affordable price. What more could Android users want? Well how about a tangle-free cord, a clever one-button remote that controls both talk and music, or a dedicated Android app that helps you get the absolute best from them. A worthy winner in a crowded market.

What we said: With specs that match or

surpass the best that Samsung, Sony, HTC, LG and the rest have produced this year, and a price that undercuts them markedly, it is clear the Nexus 5 is a triumph Issue 32
The Google experience
The Nexus 5 is not really a Vanilla Android device, it is a Google device. From the home screen to the dialer to the messaging application, Google has got a nger in everything

The screen is almost edge-toedge. The minimal bezel enables the display to dominate, while the device ts comfortably in the hand

You could easily argue that HTC has surpassed what Apple has been doing. The One unquestionably looks like the more modern device Issue 24 After a few years in the doldrums, HTC had a real success story with the One. The most beautiful phone on the market, with great screen and speaker, it was a delight to use.

Samsung Galaxy S4
The S4 feels like two distinct devices. Theres the hardware and its awesome power, and the software, overblown with features that youll never use Issue 26 In a strange year for Samsung, the S4 was objectively as good, if not better than any other phone, but the software was so bloated it left us yearning for the more rened experience you can get elsewhere.

1080p display
A year ago there were no phones with full HD screens. Now youre able to pick one up in a device with a mid-range price point


Android Awards


What we said: The

combination of industryleading design, high-quality components and genuine innovation in the software are great enough that you overlook its minor downsides Issue 24
Stripped-back Sense
HTC Sense was much rened, with the overblown animations of older versions removed in favour of something altogether more classy. Other manufacturers take note


Samsung Galaxy Note 3
The Note continues to dene what a phablet should be. The Note 3 is the best Note yet, and probably the best Galaxy device as well. Issue 31 The Note series has a growing band of fans, and the Note 3 has not made them less enthusiastic. An improvement in all the right areas nicer design, bigger screen, smarter S Pen made it one of the best upgrades of the year.

Samsung Galaxy S4

The BoomSound speakers may have had a silly name, but their performance was better than anything weve ever heard in a phone

The S4 offers too much, for every good idea theres at least one bad one. But if you can look beyond this youll nd a pretty incredible smartphone. Issue 26 The S4 didnt quite hit the same heights as the S III did, but it managed to be the years best-selling Android device nonetheless. The hardware was incredibly powerful and the camera was among the best.

All metal case

The unibody aluminium chassis looks fantastic and feels incredibly solid, even if it does result in a rather weighty handset. It felt well worth its high price



Nexus 7 (2013)
Amassing some 23% of our readers votes, the Nexus 7 was the only tablet in the running, illustrating just how great the impact is of this cheap-butcapable device. After the original model ensured that 7 tablets had to be affordable if they were to be viable, the competition in the market grew massively in 2013. However, most of them merely caught up with what the 2012 model was offering, and the new one came along to trump them all again. The beauty of the Nexus 7 is that it is the perfect all-rounder. It is cheap enough to be a great rst tablet, powerful enough to be a main tablet, light enough to be highly portable and even hackable enough to appeal to the most hardcore of Android enthusiasts. Little wonder it grabbed the attention of our readers so strongly.

TC fans tend to love the One the way Apple fans love the iPhone. Its that kind of device. Stunningly crafted, with a level of build quality and attention to detail that leaves all other Android players in its wake, it is a phone that will hopefully come to be seen as a turning point in HTCs fortunes. The phone marked a strategic shift for the manufacturer, moving away from the specs race to produce a device that offered great hardware and software working together. As expected, not all of the ideas on show were successful. The hyped ultrapixel camera was no better than others, yet the camera app and Zoe software enabled you to make better use of your photos and videos. Likewise, while HTC Sense was nicely stripped back it appears to have inuenced the look of KitKat in some areas the decision to put the BlinkFeed news app as the main home screen didnt work for everyone. No question, though, there were far more hits than misses in what was HTCs best-ever phone.


HTCs decision to focus on fewer, better devices has served it well in mindshare at least, if not yet on the balance sheet. The triumvirate of HTC One, One Mini, and One Max was the most appealing put out by any manufacturer, and a welcome contrast to the approach favoured by Samsung of pushing out a product for every conceivable gap in the market.

Android Awards


ur pick of best device of the year goes to the Nexus 5, ahead of a wealth of very worthy competitors. The HTC One and One Mini, Galaxy Note 3, Nexus 7, Moto G and Moto X, and LG G2 were all outstanding products in a year when hardware specs became less important and the need for manufacturers to differentiate their devices from one another became ever more pressing. The HTC One set the tone for this early on in the year by taking a wholly different approach to building a agship phone, but by the end of the year, two other phones had made a bigger splash. The Moto G and Nexus 5 were both one price point lower than where they should have been the G masquerading as a disposable PAYG device when it was anything but, and the 5 roughing it in the crowded mid-range sector with specs that beat them all. It will be interesting to see quite how this impacts the market in 2014, as all of a sudden the prospect of spending large amounts, committing to expensive long-term contracts in order to get your hands on a modern and capable phone doesnt seem quite so palatable. Our choice in the end goes to the Nexus 5, which has become our default recommendation for anyone looking to buy an Android phone. It was a worthy choice as best device of the year.

Owned by Google, it should be no surprise that Motorolas software shines. The look on the Moto G and Moto X is that of fully stock Android, but it comes with a few choice tweaks that serve as real enhancements rather than features for features sake. A better camera app and the Motorola Assist task automation tool are among things wed be happy to see adopted in Android in future.

youre a Google user youll nd the Nexus 5 comes without any discernible bloat or gimmicks. It is the polar opposite of a Galaxy, far more similar in approach to the iPhone, and all the better for it
Issue 32

What we said: So long as


The device is bleeding edge and holds its own against all comers Issue 24 One of the most likeable phones of the year from one of the most well liked manufacturers. Strong performance and battery life made it, and the Nexus 7, the main competitors for the coveted title of Android of the year.

Moto X
The signicance of the Moto X runs a little deeper than mere aesthetics Issue 29 The one that got away. The Moto X was only ever sold in North America and was regarded as being one of the phones of the year. It put the focus on performance rather than specs, something the Moto G takes even further.




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Android and the next-gen consoles

Both next-gen consoles connect to your smartphone in a variety of ways

We guide you through the ways you can use your Android devices with the Xbox One and PS4

There are Android apps for both of the new consoles

ne of the best things about the open source nature of Android is just how easy it is to connect to your games consoles. Both the Xbox 360 and PS3 had several compatible apps, both ofcial and non-ofcial, which opened up new features on them for users to explore. Despite both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One being only available for a short period of time, theres already a small selection of apps available that look to do the same as the previous generation of consoles. Both Microsoft and Sony have released their ofcial apps, with Microsoft really pushing the SmartGlass functionality of the console. Similarly, theres a selection of streaming apps that make use of both consoles DLNA functionality. Weve explored all these and more in the following tutorials.

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for getting more from your next-generation console

Does the Xbox One have Bluetooth functionality?

No. The Xbox One doesnt come with Bluetooth support, meaning that users who want to experiment using Bluetooth keyboards and controllers will be out of luck, as will those users wanting to pair their phone to their console.

1 2

One of the simplest, but often overlooked, uses of a games console is that via the USB port located at the front or rear of the unit, you can connect your phone or tablet to it and use it as a charger. It may not charge your device as quick as a DC charger, but the added functionality can be helpful. If youre having trouble pairing your smartphone to your PS4, make sure you enable the correct settings on your console. Navigate to the Bluetooth Devices menu within the consoles Settings page to enable it. When you then perform a scan on your phone, the console should appear as a Bluetooth device. The YouTube app available on both the PS4 and Xbox One can be used in conjunction with the ofcial mobile app. For example, you can sign in to your account on both apps, upload a video from your mobile and then watch it on your console. Although it can be a bit hit and miss at times, its possible to use Chromecast with your Xbox One thanks to the consoles HDMI output. However, you cant cast Chrome webpages across to either console.


3 4

ss e cla th les ter d o as d an ons mdroi en c An xt-g ne
Works with

Android 4.0 and up

Explore the Xbox SmartGlass app

Control your prole and more with the Xbox One companion app on your phone

2 min


Access gameplay videos recorded on your Xbox One through Microsofts cloud sharing app

heres no denying that your Xbox One is a superb gaming console thats capable of a whole host of things. However, if you want to uncover a few more features and have access to your prole when away from your console, then the Xbox One SmartGlass app is a must-have download. The wealth of prole management settings and options are vast and the SmartGlass functionality is great for loading up games, movies and more onto your console without needing to touch a controller. The following tutorial will guide you through some of the best features of the Xbox One SmartGlass app.

Share Xbox gameplay via SkyDrive

After recording some footage on your console, open the SkyDrive mobile app and create a new folder that will be used as the default saving location for the videos once theyre uploaded.

to console 1 Connect When you rst open up the app, youll be

required to connect the app to your Xbox One console. If connected to the same Wi-Fi network, it should take a matter of seconds to pair the two. You can also manually enter your routers IP address, if necessary.

Prole management 2 Scroll from the left-hand side of the app to

load the side menu and select your prole from the top of the list. Here you can check on any messages youve received, track your achievements and leave ratings for players youve recently played with. Uploads take a long time to be added to SkyDrive, but you can check the progress of the upload by checking your console, or via the notication that appears on your phone.

a game 3 Load While on your prole, press on one of your

recently played games. From this menu you can now read more about the game and also read the games manual. You can also load the game through the app by pressing the Play on Xbox One option shown above.

Recording gameplay 4 Whether its your own recorded gameplay,

or someone on your friends list, the Xbox One SmartGlass app enables you to manage, share and watch recorded gameplay. Theres also scope to leave comments and likes on certain videos, or even subscribe to certain feeds. With the video now on SkyDrive, you get full access to it on your phone. If you wish to share it with other people, make sure you set the necessary permissions from within the apps settings.

41 T utorials Use DLNA to stream content to your console

Works with

Android 2.2 and up

Skifta is a free and easy way to stream media to your new console

ne of the best things about both nextgeneration consoles is the range of apps they come with. These apps cover a wide range of functions, and best of all, theyre completely free to download and install. What is lacking, however, is a free streaming app for your media, but by using your Android device, you can soon add this functionality to your next-generation console. The Skifta app is available for free from the Google Play store and is

compatible with most new Android phones and tablets. Through the app, users can pick and choose media les stored on their device of any le format and choose to transmit across via DLNA to their console, where they can watch it without the need to install any third-party application. Its quick, very easy to use, and by following the steps below, youll be streaming from your phone in no time and with minimal fuss.

a source 1 Choose After installing the app on your device,

Stream movies and audio with the Skifta app

or tablet? 2 Phone You should now see a couple of sources

listed. If you want to stream media thats stored on your device, make sure you select it from the list. Theres also the option to stream media via a media server on your device. The example here shows the Plex server.

make sure you follow the setup instructions to correctly congure the app. Navigate back to the main menu and select the Choose a media source option from the top of the list to get started with the streaming process.

Select streaming location 3 The next step is to choose where you want
to stream your media to. Dont panic if your console isnt listed, as for the most part the new consoles will be listed as unlisted players. If you dont see your console listed, simply select the unlisted players option instead.

players 4 Unlisted If you chose the unlisted players option,

carefully read the onscreen instructions provided. These will outline how to make sure you get the best streaming experience possible on your console and also help eradicate any errors you may come across.

media les 5 Select The nal step is to select the media you
want to stream across. You can use Skifta to transmit videos, music and photos across. Youll nd that the size of the le, and the strength of your Wi-Fi connection, will determine how long the le takes to transfer.


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Android 4.0 and up

Link PS4 to the PlayStation app

Manage your prole and downloads when away from your PS4 console

here used to be numerous problems with the Ofcial PlayStation app, but with the recent update to be PS4 compatible, it has had a revamp in all areas. First and foremost, its now even easier to connect the app to your console and theres even a handy tutorial to help new users get started with the basics of how to use it. The main focus of the app, however, is to give you access to your PSN account, enabling users to buy, download and preview games onto their console through their phone without needing to be near their console. This is a great way of adding new content to your PS4 when youre out and about and ready for you to enjoy when you get home without having to wait for downloads to nish.

to console 1 Connect Before accessing your prole its advised

that you rstly connect your console to the app. Theres a step-by-step guide to doing this within the app and it takes a matter of seconds to do. Just make sure both the app and console are connected to the same Wi-Fi network.

Prole and extras 2 You can now begin to explore the app and
also see various details of your account. At the top you can access your notications, messages and game saves, while also being able to see all the trophies youve accumulated through the panel at the bottom of the screen.

a purchase 3 Make Theres also a direct link to the PS Store

included within the app. Here you can set remote downloads to download onto your console even if you arent near it. If youre new to the PS Store, you can also purchase a PS+ account through the app if you havent got one already.

2 min Turn your phone into a PS4 controller guide

By using the BlueputDroid app you can turn your phone into a secondary PS4 controller

After downloading and installing the BlueputDroid app onto your device, press the Scan button at the top of the app and wait for the app to discover your PS4 console. It can take a while for the app to nd the console, so be patient. Once done, your phone will reboot and then load the app.

Once connected, navigate to the Settings menu within the app and customise the options you need to. As well as a controller, you can use the app as a mouse for your console, so ensure you adjust the overall mouse speed. In some cases your console might not instantly recognise the new controller.

Load up a game on your console and give the controller a whirl. Although theres limited support for the shoulder buttons, you can still use the directional pad and other buttons. BlueputDroid does a good job at limiting all lag between your phone and console, which can be a common problem.

Another novel use for the app on your PS4 is to use it for typing. When searching for something on the PlayStation Store, you can simply write the words on your screen and use the app to search for what you wrote by pressing the Enter button located on the keyboard.


T utorials Use Helium to back up and share app data

Works with
Manage data
Using the PC Download option in the menu you can manage the backup of all apps and data to your main computer. While this might sound like overkill, it is useful for syncing app data when you dont have access to both devices

Restore and Sync

Android 4.0 and up

Restore and Sync is the portion of Helium where app data can be synced to another Android device. This can prove useful if youre upgrading to a new phone, and is particularly useful for gamers copying their progress

Switching phones? Helium backs up app data and easily restores it to your new handset

hether youve bought a second device (perhaps a phone or Android tablet) or youre switching to a new smartphone, you will probably want the changeover to be as seamless as possible. This hasnt always been possible, which is why the ability to review a list of apps that you own in the Play store has always been useful. Unfortunately, it is also limited. Restoring apps whether to the same device or a second has always omitted the allimportant app data that is needed to get things up and running quickly and smoothly. Setting up each app individually or reaching the same stage in your favourite mobile game can take a while. Several options are available here, from backing up your data to an SD card or cloud account to syncing directly to another Android device, which is what well be looking at here. To congure Helium and sync your data you will need two or more Android devices, each set up with the same Google account. Then simply read through these steps.

Cloud compatible
Cloud storage accounts can be used to back up app data and other backups created with Helium. To add storage, you should have the necessary cloud app installed on your phone, such as Google Drive or Dropbox. Backups can also be restored from cloud drives

With wireless networking activated and a copy of Helium Premium running on all devices, you should be able to see a list of the Android handsets that app data can be synced to. If not, tapping Refresh Device List should display them

Helium 1 Get To sync app data between Android tablets

and smartphones youll rst need to install the software on each device. After installing Helium from Google Play (choose the premium version) sign in to the app using the same Google account on each device.

the app 2 Install Is your Android rooted? If not, you will be

prompted to install the Clockwork desktop app on your computer to activate the applications backup feature. Rooting makes the process run smoothly; if you cant root, the app still gives you the link to install Helium Desktop.

second phone 3 Find With Helium running on both phones, you

will need to ensure both are connected to your wireless network for best results. Switch to the Restore and Sync option and tap the Refresh Device List button the name of your other Android phone should be displayed here.


Sync other data across multiple devices using cloud storage

1 Sync photos
Using the Dropbox app you can automatically sync your Android photo gallery to other devices. Contacts on your Android phone can be easily retrieved on a second Google-attached device.
2 Google Contacts
Using Google Drive you can sync your photos, music and other les across Android handsets.

3 Google Drive

4 Manufacturer services

Sync data with devices from the same manufacturer using pre-installed apps such as HTC Sync.

With apps likes Kobo and Amazon Kindle, synced ebooks can be read on several handsets.

5 Sync ebooks

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Can I sync app data to any Android phone?

Syncing is only permitted on handsets that you use with the same Google username and password. Youll see a list of available devices in Restore and Sync>My Devices. If you dont see a device that should be registered on your account, open Google Play in your browser then Settings>Android Device Manager. All attached devices should be listed here.

apps to sync 4 Select Before proceeding, ensure the app that

you wish to sync data with is installed on both devices otherwise youll be ghting a losing battle. On the second Android, tap the name of the rst device to display the list of apps and tap each app in the list to sync data.

Restoring data 5 With your selections made, tap the

Restore button to begin syncing app data across. Time until completion will depend on the number of apps and the amount of data that needs to be synced. For best results, avoid syncing too many apps at any one time.

Do I need to buy the app twice?

You dont need to purchase the app twice. In order to sync your data from one phone to another, youll need to install it on both devices using the same Google account. Use the paid Helium Premium option to sync app data, as the ad-supported version doesnt support this.

Complete 6 Sync Once the sync process is complete, thats

it you can use the app on the second device just as you would have done on the rst, with exactly the same user data, account names and saved games. What if youre not upgrading, but want to back up app data?

Back up app data to PC 7 Well, via the Helium settings menu you will
nd an IP address for the Helium Server on your smartphone. On your PCs web browser, open up this address to access the backup options, where you can select apps and data to back up to your hard disk drive.

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selective 8 Be All you need to do is select the apps that

you want to back up and click the Back up my data button. If youre looking to Back up app data only, check this option before starting the backup. Helium will offer you the option of encrypting the backup before it starts.

is manual 9 Syncing You should be aware that the app data

syncing offered by Helium is strictly manual. After you have synced, if more app data is added to Phone A, then Phone B will need to be manually synced to bring its apps up to date. That way, you know exactly whats going on.

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45 T utorials Add quick settings to notifications

Works with

Android 4.0 and up


By scrolling to the right of the apps home screen, you can change the look of certain elements. The colour of each toggle can be altered, as well as the background strip behind. Theres also the option to change the dividers between each toggle

Aside from the customisable notications bar, you can also set up a battery notication through the app. Select the Preferences menu from the tab at the top of the screen and edit how you want your battery monitor and notication to look

Get access to important settings through your notications menu using Settings Extended
As standard, youll nd a random set of ve toggles that comprise your current notication bar. By scrolling down the list of alternatives and pressing on them, you can add to the list at the top. By long pressing on a certain toggle, you can remove it from your bar

y venturing into the Settings menu on your device, you can truly explore everything your Android device is capable of. But with so much on offer, it can soon be a nuisance when youre looking for some of the basic things. Thanks to the Settings Extended app, you can create your very own notication bar that houses some of the most commonly used functions of your device. The bar is completely customisable and you can set the functions it provides, as well as the look and design of it. Once created, you can open up your notications menu and use the toggles youve set to operate some of your phones functions without having to venture to the Settings menu.

Add rows
With so many toggles on offer for you to use, you may decide that having just a handful isnt enough. Scroll right while on the home screen until you reach the Rows option and add as many rows as you like. This gives you more room to add toggles

Extra features in Settings Extended

After creating your new settings notication bar, make sure you check out these sub-menus to access even more great features

Inactive icons
Make sure you change the colour of inactive icons if you set a custom colour for your bar. Without changing the colour, you may nd that certain icons remain the same colour, even when they arent in use. Its best to change them.

Specied apps
Although youll want to use your notications bar for quick access to certain settings, you can also add shortcuts to your most used applications. This option can be found under the Tools section at the very bottom of the Toggles page.

The battery indicator that you can also add with the Settings Extended app can be modied as well. The design of the icon can be changed to suit your preference, or you can remove the icon and instead add it to your created notication bar.

Some of the toggles available through the app are still experimental, meaning they may not work on all devices, nor function properly. Its best to give as many of these toggles a go as you can, and see which ones work best on your Android device


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Available on the following platforms T utorials Automatically mute your phone

Works with

Android 2.2 and up

Dont be woken by notications at night. You can set your phone to silent automatically

hether youre in a meeting, at work or in bed, having your phone unexpectedly go off notifying you of a message or call can be annoying. Although you can simply use the volume rocker to control the audio on your device, those who want more control over their sound will want to check out the ingenious Silent Hours app. This app lets you set up schedules within which the sound on your phone is muted at specied times. To take it a step

further, each schedule you set up can be altered Silent Hours so that only certain areas enables you to of your phone are muted takecontrol of your phonesaudio output on specic days. Not only does Silent Hours help give the user more power over their phones sound output, itll also make sure you arent awoken by a message in the early hours of the morning!

Set a Quick Mute 1 When you rst open the Silent Hours app,
youll be taken to the Quick Mute page. Here you can mute all the sounds from your phone for a set time period. Simply use the slider bar to select your time and then press the Mute button located at the bottom of the screen.

your mute 2 Schedule Scroll right within the app to enter the
Schedule screen. This is where you can create schedules of when and on which areas of your phone all sound will be muted. To start the process of creating a new schedule press on the + symbol at the top of the menu.

timings 3 Select The rst thing youll want to do while

creating a new schedule is to set the appropriate time. Select the numbers from the top of the menu and use the dial that appears to select the time. Be sure to select a time at which you want your phone to be unmuted.

Days and actions 4 Underneath the time selector youll nd

the Actions tab that requires you to select the areas of your phone you want to mute. Tick all the boxes that you want muted. Make sure you select the days which you want your mute to work at the bottom of the menu.

schedules 5 Manage After nalising your schedule itll appear as

an appointment in the Schedules menu. Every subsequent entry you make will also appear here. You can edit each entry at any point by simply pressing on them, but it is important to save any changes you make.

a schedule 6 Delete To delete a schedule simply long press on

the schedule in question and conrm you want to delete the item from your Silent Hours list. You can also disable the Service Running box at the bottom of the screen to stop all your schedules from working if thats easier.

Works with

Android 2.2 and up

Control and management of the DashClock widget is the job of the DashClock Settings. From here more extensions can be added with access to the settings for each extension. To remove an extension from the list simply swipe the extension to the right

Power up your lock screen clock

he rst screen on a device should be informative and useful. So, what would be classed as useful? The time and date are undoubtedly a popular choice, but what else do you want to know? How much battery is left? Whats the weather going to be like, how good is your Wi-Fi signal? These are just a few nuggets of information that you might want instant access to. DashClock is a

The time and date is the default display for DashClock. As more extensions are added, via DashClocks Settings, these are also added to the DashClock widget. Tapping the time will open the default clock widget. To get more details on other widgets simply tap

The appearance of the widget can be tweaked via DashClocks Settings. Tap Extensions and select Appearance. This presents the time and date. To change the appearance of the time, swipe the top half of the screen. To change the date, swipe the bottom half

Discover how to customise the default clock with the help of DashClock
widget that provides the answers. Its main focus is the time and date, but by default it comes with weather, Gmail and alarm options too. Useful, but hardly ground-breaking. The beauty lies in its library of extensions. There are a host of additional extensions that can provide information you want. Want to get your latest Facebook updates, be notied of upcoming events? The best bit is you get to choose.

Extending DashClock

Discover how to add extra services to the standard clock widget with a host of brilliant extensions

1 Find Locate the

DashClock Settings icon and tap to open. This will reveal a selection of extensions to add. By default, there are Gmail, Alarm, Calendar and Weather extensions. To add an extension, tap Extensions and select your preferred option.

2 Share To add another

extension, simply tap Add Another Extension and select to add. Repeat the trick for all default extensions. To change the order, tap to the left, hold and drag. To change the settings, tap the associated settings button.

3 Watch Tap the menu icon

to reveal Get more extensions. Tap the link and select the option to view the extensions. If using a smartphone or tablet, select Play Store. This will display the available extensions. Select and install to add to DashClocks Settings.

The DashClock widget is displayed at a default size, but can be resized. Tap and hold the widget and then remove your nger to activate the resize handles. Now drag the resize handles to the desired size. Extending the size of the widget will add more detail to the screen

Advanced settings
By default, the DashClock settings can only be accessed via the DashClock Settings. To add to the settings, head to DashClock Settings and select Extensions>Advanced. Tap the Hide settings button to add. From here the widget background colour and position can be modied

49 T utorials Customise notifications with Light Flow

Works with

Android 2.2 and up

Use Light Flow to take advantage of your phones LED functionality

he notications on your phone or tablet are fantastic at alerting you to a message, update or missed call, but did you know theres a whole lot more to them than the standard vibrate setting? With the Light Flow app you can carefully put together a variety of crafted notications for each individual app and function on your device that uses the LED light function to emit a colourful glow when the notication appears. In turn, this can help you quickly identify the app or contact the message or

missed call is from without ever needing to open up the notication itself. Theres even the option to attach sounds to your coloured LED notications to make them more personalised. In this detailed 13-step tutorial weve explored the many features of Light Flow to show you exactly how to set up tailored notications. Youll also nd a guide to some of the apps hidden features. We think that every user should make sure they check them out while using the app.

Notication access 1 When you rst open up the Light Flow app,
Getting more from your notications menu couldnt be easier

menu 2 Main Theres a lot of options to explore within

Light Flow, all of which can be accessed via the apps home screen. If you want to explore some of Light Flows more advanced features you need to access the Volume app, but for now open up the Notications icon to get started.

youll be prompted towards the Notication access screen. Here youll need to enable Light Flow to access your notications menu by simply checking the box. Back out from the screen to be taken back to the app.

Explore notications 3 The Notications tab will now display all

the available apps to you that you can apply and edit notications for. Depending on what youve downloaded and the apps currently on your device, you could have any number to choose from. Select an app by pressing on it.

colour 4 Choose After selecting an app to customise, a

menu will appear asking you to pick a colour. The stock range of colours are pretty good and theres also a custom colour option at the bottom of the menu. After selecting a colour, a small coloured circle will appear underneath the app.

brightness 5 Manage Depending on your colour of choice, you

may nd that the notication isnt bright enough for you when it ashes. Navigate back to the main menu and select the Settings option. Scroll down the list of various options until you reach the LED Brightness option.


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How much battery does this use?

In our tests weve found Light Flow to be very easy going on the battery, so you can safely leave it running all the time without any adverse effect on your devices performance.

intensity 6 Change The changes in the brightness of the

notication can make a big difference to how the LED appears so make sure you pick the right brightness levels. You can also use the testing feature within the Tools section to check if the adjusted brightness works for you.

Personalise a contact 7 Go back to the Notications menu and

select the person icon at the top of the screen. Here you can select a contact that you want to add custom LED notications to. Choose a contact from the list and then go through each attached app and set a colour.

an order 8 Select There will no doubt be times where youll

have multiple notications at the same time. Choose the podium icon from the top of the Notications menu to access the Priority Order screen. Simply rearrange the notications into an order that works for you.

Sift through notications 9 If youve got a lot of notications to

manage and edit, then it might be easier to put them into a specic order. Press the icon on the top-right of the Notications menu to open up the sort option. You can then view your notications alphabetically, if you so wish.

and sound 10 Colour Certain apps and features can also have a
sound notication attached to them, as well as a coloured LED. Most of the stock apps on your phone will have this option, so its best to go through each individual one and select a sound from the list provided.

notication speed 11 Set After setting all your notications up and

deciding on the colours, the nal thing youll want to do is to set the speed of the notication. Find the ash speed option within the Tools menu and choose how fast, or slow, you want the notications to appear.

NFC options 12 As well as setting up LED lights for your

notications, there are also some great NFC features you can explore in Light Flow. Select the Labs option from the main menu and scroll down to the NFC Settings tab. Here you can apply different NFC settings to your notications.

it working? 13 Is The last thing to do is to make sure each

one of your bespoke notications is working as it should be. You can do this by either one of two ways. For one you can use the Test LED option in the Tools section, or simply wait for a notication to appear on your device.



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Available on the following platforms

Works with

Android 1.6 and up

Tasks list
Everything you do in System Monitor starts with the Tasks list view, in which every pre-installed and purchased app on your Android device can be found. CPU and memory usage is displayed, including the apps status as running in the foreground, background or as a service

Key data
Tapping entries in the Tasks view will display app info, where data on CPU and Memory usage is listed. You will also nd the option to end the task. The Task Info screen also offers an Ignore List which excludes an app from being monitored

Manage system resources

Close tasks and better manage your smartphone with System Monitor, complete with home screen widget

ow do you manage your Android system resources? With a Windows desktop computer, you would open Task Manager or use a third-party solution. Without native tools, System Monitor (free, Goggle Play) might just be the answer on Android. Whether you need to quickly check your phone or tablets storage, battery, CPU or RAM usage with a quick-glance home screen widget, or if you want direct control of the closing of apps and system information that you cant nd elsewhere, this app should probably be your rst option. With a range of options, the app displays everything from information about your OS build and battery health to listing open tasks. Youll also nd the option to close or even manage the permissions of any installed apps on your phone. Most importantly, the app is very easy to use, enabling powerful features with just a few clicks.

System Info
Arguably the most important aspect of the app is System Info, where you can nd information about your OS build, CPU, memory and more. Although there is no option here to make any changes, you will nd plenty of details about your Android devices hardware

Use System Monitor efficiently

Some powerful options are available in System Monitor and these can be accessed more quickly by taking advantage of various shortcuts

App details
tap 1 Long to display options menu
In the apps Tasks view you would typically tap an app in order to see the available options. A far quicker method of accessing this screen would be to long tap the app in question where the same menu options are displayed.

Also in the Tasks view is a column of checkboxes that can be used to bulk select all of the disabled apps. You can also select apps individually by tapping each checkbox in turn. Select apps can be refreshed or ended

2 Swipe through the apps screens

Youll be more inclined to tap the menu Tasks, Packages and System Info when using System Monitor. Far easier (and quicker) is swiping left and right through the screens. Note that you cant open the Settings in this way.

3 System Monitor as a notication

You dont even have to open System Monitor to access the information it stores. Via Settings>Set Launch Options, you can display the CPU and memory usage on the notication bar. A home screen widget is also available.

Using the Packages screen you can browse and search for any app thirdparty or native and gain information, launch, view in Google Play or even uninstall. Viewing package information gives you the option to force stop and disable apps, as well as see notications

Displays everything about your OS build and battery health to listing open tasks
53 T utorials Use CheapCast to emulate Chromecast

Works with

Android 2.2 and up

Discover how to stream video from one device to another and through a TV

he arrival of the Chromecast streaming device from Google opened a new set of opportunities for streaming video to a TV. Its very tempting price point, and some very good marketing meant that the device ew off the shelves. However, not everyone wants to shell out for the device and this is where CheapCast comes in. CheapCast is a free app that emulates the Chromecast dongle. It lets users use an Android device as a target for Chromecast-enabled apps.

This means users can use an Android device to stream video to another Android device to watch video with a few quick clicks. The alternative is to use CheapCast to recreate the TV streaming capabilities of Chromecast. This is not quite as straightforward, though, as additional hardware is needed. To get connected, a MHL cable will be needed to connect a device to the HDMI port on a TV. Please note that, at present, CheapCast is in beta and does not yet offer complete support.

the app 1 Get The rst step to emulating the whole

Google Chromecast experience is to get the app itself. Head over to the Google Play store and search for CheapCast. Download the app and install it on the Android device that is going to act as the main hub.

name 2 Friendly Locate the CheapCast app on your primary

device and open it up to view the options. The rst thing to do is create a name to help identify the device. Tap Friendly name to view the default name. Add your own memorable name and tap the OK option to conrm.

Jealous of those US users with Chromecast? Not any more

Third party 3 The CheapCast home screen offers a

number of options including About. Tap to view related info. Also included is Changelog, which reveals the current state of the version being used. Tap 3rd Party Libraries to view the software used to build CheapCast.

CheapCast 4 Start To use CheapCast, the service needs to be

started. This is a simple process that involves no more than tapping Start Service in the top-right corner of the main screen. To automatically start the service, simply tap the Start CheapCast on boot check box.

Supported services 5 CheapCast is currently in the beta stage

and does not yet support all streaming services. For example, Netix and Play Movies are currently unsupported. However, there is support for YouTube. This is the service were going to use to demonstrate how CheapCast works.


To master the CheapCast app and its services

1 Rename YouTube TV
Go to Settings in YouTube and select Connected TVs. Tap Edit TVs, select a paired TV and rename. To nd out more about MHL (Mobile High-Denition Link) visit http://
2 More on MHL
If you dont see the Chromecast icon, go back and make sure the service has been started.

3 Restart service

4 Donate

The CheapCast app is free to download and use. To help fund its development, tap the Donate link.

See compatible services at google. com/intl/en/chrome/devices/ chromecast/apps.html.

5 Now casting

icon 6 Chromecast With the CheapCast service started, a
Chromecast icon will appear at the top of the YouTube screen. To transmit a YouTube video to another device (with CheapCast installed), rst tap the newly added icon to reveal the all-important Connect to device option.


CheapCast: what min else can it do?

Find out what other features and services the CheapCast app is compatible with

to a TV 1 Connect One of the key elements of the

Chromecast is its ability to stream video to a TV. To achieve the same with the CheapCast you will need some additional hardware. A micro USB to HDMI MHL cable and a TV with HDMI will do the job. Get one from Amazon.

TV 2 YouTube Once the appropriate hardware has

been obtained, use it to connect a device to a TV. When using the YouTube app there is the option to Add a TV. Open the YouTube app and select Settings. Tap Connected TVs>Add a TV and follow the instructions.

to device 7 Connect The Connect to device list will display the

Friendly name (mentioned in step 2) of the second device with CheapCast installed. Note the service should be started on the second device and both devices should be connected to the same Wi-Fi network.

streaming 8 Start Once a device has been selected to

connect to, a Ready to watch screen will appear on the device. Now head to the other device and select a video to view. There will be a slight delay to process the request before the selected video starts playing on the other device.

Music 3 Google CheapCast offers support for Google

Music and Google Movies & TV. This means any purchases made on Google Play are compatible with CheapCast. Tap the Music app on a device and the Chromecast icon will appear in the menubar at the top. Tap to connect.

4 Netix The Netix service is another that is

compatible with the CheapCast app. Using the service with CheapCast is very similar to other compatible services. The Netix app will need to be installed and the user logged in. Then its time to call the Chromecast icon into action.



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How to remove default apps



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Please can you advise how I can remove the unwanted applications that come . Also, installed on my Galaxy S III. is there any application that can help me move applications to the card on Android?

Did you know?

If you cannot push or download new books to your Android Kindle app because too many devices have been registered, go to your account settings at Amazon and select Manage Your Kindle. Now choose Manage Your Devices and de-register any devices you no longer use or own. You can then download new books again.

Hi Femi. We will start by saying no to both requests on this occasion, despite the fact that removing apps is technically possible. The default apps do not take up memory that you can otherwise use unless you want to root your device and install custom rmware that is capable of letting you specify exactly what you want installed. This is a long process and one that could potentially cause problems. Some custom rmware is benecial and is

Quickly nd out whats using your internal memory

You can install Nova Launcher, which lets you hide icons
capable of resolving inherent problems with a device, but if you are otherwise happy with how your S III works we would suggest to not do this. You can, however, install a third-party launcher such as Nova Launcher, which lets you hide icons that you are not using. This will help clean up your home screens and everything will look as though they were never installed. As it happens, Nova Launcher and others also let you customise your phone in many different ways just like custom rmware. Unfortunately, you cannot move apps to the expansion card when using a Galaxy S III, but for most people this should not be a problem. Many apps support the moving

You can hide apps using custom launchers

of game data, which often takes up the most memory, and so you should have enough space left. If you are running out of internal memory take a look at Settings>Storage to see what exactly is eating it up. You may be able to move photos and videos to free up some valuable space. Good luck getting it all to work how you want it to.

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My Nexus 7 wont charge

I have had my Nexus 7 for 14 months and for most of that time Ive been very happy with it. Recently, however, I have experienced problems charging it. Usually it sticks at around 40% and it seems the power consumption is high. Android 4.3 was installed about the time the problems started.
Peter Willoughby
You mentioned in your whole question the steps you have taken to try to resolve this problem and we can fully understand your frustration. The charging problem you describe has indeed been reported on numerous occasions and the response you received from Asus, to pay for a repair, could be jumping the gun and also potentially ignoring what may be a hardware issue. You also mentioned that you managed to get to 100% by using Blu-tack, which would suggest to us that there is an issue with the charging port, but then we

Nexus 7 charging problems are not uncommon

Always check to see if an app is a data hog

consider that you can get the device to 40% so this adds more confusion. Here are some steps to run the battery down to 0% make sure you have backed up your data rst. Charge it overnight and run it down to 0%

again. This may help the software understand the true battery level better. Next, go to the Data Usage section in Settings, or install a third-party app that can do this, and check to see if any apps are using an extreme amount of data. Certain apps have been known to drain batteries very quickly and to even inhibit the charging process. If you are still stuck, borrow a new charging cable and see if that helps or risk

buying an original spare from Outside of these options, you may have to consider the repair, but we would advise taking a rmer stance with Asus as well to see if that reaps rewards.

hints&tips Get more from your Android phone with our handy hints
If you are struggling with slow 3G network speeds, try using an app like Speedtest. net to take readings over a period of time. You can then present them to your provider as evidence. It just may help get the network to resolve the problems.

Prove 3G speed problems

If you have specic functions that you use often or need to multitask in a more advanced manner than that built in to Android, take a long look at Toucher Pro. Its highly congurable and will let you get to everything you need with one tap.

Multitask in style

Most Android devices include a Power Saving mode in the Settings and some will let you turn off specic features. Haptic feedback is an example of a feature that you may not need anyway so you could disable it all of the time to increase battery performance.

Save your power


Cannot delete apps
If apps do not show an uninstall option under settings on my Coby MID7065, how can I uninstall them completely from my device if I no longer want to use them at all? Thanks in advance for your assistance.
Part of my screen is broken
The top left-hand portion of my smartphones screen has stopped responding to touch. I have tried a hard reset and cant afford to upgrade for a while. Any ideas to help me live with it?

Did you know?

Many Android devices with SD card support will let you encrypt it. If you leave your phone unattended and believe that a passcode is enough, consider how easy it would be to remove the card and read the data. The encryption feature will help.

but we cant advise further because you didnt say what phone you are currently using. The fact is that a screen that is not responsive in any area, even a small one, will start to annoy you more and more over time and so we have to advise either a screen replacement or trying to nd a way to upgrade it.

Kevin S. Peterson
This is a problem we have seen with some other budget tablets, but that does not mean that it isnt a curious omission. The fact that the Coby uses the ofcial Google Play store should stop any problems from happening, but one option is to visit the Play store on your device and to search for the applications that cannot be deleted. In theory you should see an Uninstall option in the listing, but if this is not available, things will get trickier. Have you got the very latest version of Android that the device can support

Lucy Scholmore
The main problem here is that the fault is almost certainly hardware related and this limits what you can do to manage it on a daily basis. You could install a third-party launcher and customise the icons to sit in the lower part of the screen, but this will not help you when you have to press in this portion for certain activities. A more effective option would be to look for a replacement screen from eBay or a specialist company. These can cost as little as 5 and include all of the tools you need,

You can delete any installed app

installed? If not, try to upgrade. Also, try re-downloading any of the apps to see if this helps, but the concern is that if you cannot uninstall any apps it sounds more like a general software issue with the build installed. The last resort would be to factory reset, but you should try to contact Coby for help before you do this.

Software can help deal with problems such as a broken screen

S4 and TomTom not getting along

The TomTom Navigation App on my smartphone is great until I receive an incoming call. I have my genuine S4 headphones plugged in to the phone, press the answer button and start a conversation. The Directions screen does not return and sits on the caller ID screen until it blacks out. When I end the call I expect it to return to the nav system but it locks the device and I have to enter the pin to get back to the navigation screen. This is very frustrating as I have a high volume of calls coming into the phone and it is not safe with the current situation which occurs every time I take a call!
Steve Noble
Hi Steve. This is a tricky one. In your whole question you advised the steps you have taken to resolve this and they are exactly what we would do, but we have some other thoughts which may help. This is obviously either a lack of testing with the S4 on behalf of TomTom or a problem with the way the S4 deals with multitasking when calls come in. Normally this is not a problem, but when driving, safety is paramount. As we searched for an answer it seems that some users are seeing their S4s lock

Navigation apps should deal with multitasking reliably

screen after any call and one solution is to press the home button just before the call ends. You can also go to Menu>Call Settings>Call Answering>Ending in the Phone app and set the power button to end calls this has worked for some people as well. Finally, go to Google Play and search for On Call End. This could be the best solution of all because it lets you dene an automatic action after each call.


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Double quick Understand what rooting means

Just downloaded the new version of Quickofce. Is it any different to the version thats already incorporated into Google on my recently bought Nexus 4? When I want to open a text doc it seems I have two versions of the same app? Any thoughts would be appreciated.

James Francis
The installation of Quickofce on the Nexus 4 is a curiosity because it doesnt show up in the standard app drawer, yet it is available to pick when you try to open a le. We believe that the pre-installed version was the Pro version, but since that time the latest version, currently 6.1.181, has been improved in many ways and so even if they are not identical, the new version you have installed should offer a better experience. As it happens, Quickofce is now owned by Google and so you can expect more development in the future and even better integration with the Android operating system. The fact that on the Nexus 4 it is classed as a pre-installed app means that you can end up with two versions popping up and that deleting the original is not possible without rooting the phone. There should be, however, an option to disable the original Quickofce in Settings>Applications>All> Quickofce. That may resolve the duplication for you.

I have a Nexus 7, 32GB wireless which I rooted following your article in issue 29. I currently run Android 4.2.2 but want to upgrade to 4.3. I have tried several times, but aftera very short time it fails and I have a fallen over Android. I have cleared the cache in Google Service Framework, but still get the same response. Do I have to return to the stock Android or am I doing something wrong?
Trevor Inman
Hi Trevor. It sounds as though software, either an app or part of the new build, has changed something in the system partition and to even attempt to nd the exact problem would be time consuming unless you are an expert in Android rooting. There are many ways in which you can deal with this problem and we have added a couple of suggestions to this question in the form of extra tips, but there is a point that should be remembered by anyone who wants to root their Android device. You should always be aware of how the process works and what you can do to x any

Update 60% Complete

update update
We bring you the news and

Updates should always work awlessly on non-rooted devices

rumours on the latest Android updates, and the phones that can run them
he KitKat update program is underway, with the devices that run a stock version of Android being the first recipients. Interestingly, the version rolled out to devices like the Nexus 4 and Nexus 7, do not have the Google Experience Launcher that was such a central part of the version of Android that was seen on the Nexus 5. This means that the update is somewhat less radical than may have been expected you still get things like the updated Gallery app and Hangouts to replace the stock text messaging app, but the launcher with its integration of Google Now is missing. Most of the improvements therefore are under the hood. As promised, Android 4.4 uses noticeably less RAM than 4.3 and earlier versions did, which should bring a multitasking boost to all the devices it is eventually installed on. Google has also pushed out Android 4.4.1 to Nexus devices. This is primarily of benet to Nexus 5 users as it contains a massive improvement to the camera, removing the sluggishness and shutter lag that plagued it at launch while also improving the overall image quality. The speaker has received some attention too, with better and louder sound, and theres a host of bug xes.

problems if they arise. Ofcial updates should always work perfectly on a non-rooted device and in many cases they will be available before rooted versions of the same build, so unless you have a very specic case for a root, try to stick to the ofcial software to ensure as much stability as possible in the long run. In your case, we would suggest unrooting and starting all over again.

huge resource 1 A XDA Developers is the ideal resource to nd

ROMs for your particular device and many that are included will offer specic solutions which may suit your needs perfectly. Almost every Android device has ROMs available for it.

the basics 2 Know Read up on what rooting entails and what you
should understand before you even start. If you do not understand aspects such as the Developer options in Settings, you will ideally need to know more to deal with unexpected problems.

the root 3 Lose There are many tools available to help you
unroot a device should you ever need to, and in the case of the Nexus 7, the automated tool at http://bit. ly/NoomLA will do most of the hard work for you and enable future upgrades to work.
Pre-installed apps can cause confusion


Hacker Zne
status update
Which devices are best for the hacking scene?

Explore the limits of your Android device

Tips and tricks

button and you can select the new launcher. Provided youve congured Google Now, youll also be able to sweep to the left for easy access.

Google Nexus 5

Rooted? Yes Active Development: QQQ High As easy to root as any other Nexus, the 5 will almost certainly become a test-bed for ROMs and mods.

Nexus 7 (2013)

The new launcher requires no permissions

Switch from Dalvik to ART in KitKat

Up until version 4.4 of Android, the default (and only) runtime on the system had been the Dalvik runtime. The runtime is the part of the operating system which runs apps. When developers create Android apps in Java they are compiled to a Dalvik specic format. KitKat includes a new experimental runtime, called rather

Rooted? Yes Active Development: QQQ Medium Easily rooted and with almost unlimited potential for hacks and mods should you need to improve on what youve got.

Samsung Galaxy S4

Try KitKats new launcher on your device

Googles latest version of the Android operating system is out there in the wild, and while you can upgrade now if you have a recent Nexus device, for the majority of Android users there will be a wait for the new release (if it comes to your device at all). A number of the new features are available in the Play store (updated Google Search, Hangouts, Keyboard and more) but to try the new launcher youll need to manually install the APK. Thankfully, its easy. Point your device browser at and download the GoogleHome APK. Install it as normal (it requires no permissions), press your home

unimaginatively ART, which stands for, you guessed it, Android Runtime. ART is labelled as experimental for a very good reason. It is in the early stages of development and it does break some applications at the moment, although developers are updating their software to x incompatibilities at impressive speed. Thats the downside on a positive note, users who have switched to ART are already noticing improved speed and battery life on their device. To switch, repeatedly tap the build number in the About menu to activate the Development menu, then select the option there.

Rooted? Yes Active Development: QQQ Medium If you want to remove some of the Samsung bloatware or optimise the phones performance youll nd many options.

Use an optimised kernel on your Nexus 5

Provided you have unlocked and installed a custom recovery on your Nexus 5 (see our guide below), installing a custom or optimised kernel on your device is a good way to eke out a little bit of extra performance as well as enabling some new features. Options include additional schedulers, optimised compilation, underclocking, overvolting and a multitude of other tweaks and improvements.


Rooted? Yes Active Development: QQQ Medium Not a massive number of ROMs available. However, most of the popular names are present and correct on the device.

Flick this switch to try the new runtime

One of the best things about buying a Nexus device is that its easy and you are actively encouraged to unlock the bootloader. Heres how you get started on your Nexus 5.

Unlock, root and recover your Nexus

2 Flash custom ROMs and kernels

After your device is unlocked, you can again use fastboot to ash a custom recovery. TWRP, one of the most popular options, can be found for the Nexus 5 at Use fastboot ash lename.img in bootloader to ash. Use fastboot reboot to start up the device.

You need to have fastboot and ADB installed on your computer, which are part of the Android SDK from index.html. Enable USB debugging, and from the command line/terminal type adb reboot bootloader and fastboot oem unlock.

1 Unlock bootloader

After youve unlocked your device and installed a custom recovery, the nal step for gaining root access is installing a Superuser application. SuperSU seems to offer the best compatibility with KitKat at this time download the zip le from showthread.php?t=1538053, adb push it to the internal SD card and use adb reboot recovery to reboot and install.

3 Superuser for root


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

Hacker Zne

for download by Google, the factory images enable you to restore your device back to a box fresh state and are offered for all the relevant devices and Android versions. The images can be downloaded from android/nexus/images and ashed from either Windows, Mac or Linux. Locate the ash-all script and run it to ash your device. Remember to back up your data rst!

Install CyanogenMod using its new installer

Installing CyanogenMod has always been a rather complex affair. It generally involves unlocking the bootloader, ashing a custom recovery, downloading the ROM, ashing the Google apps and doesnt really lend itself to being completed by beginners or the faint of heart. The recent release of the CyanogenMod Installer seeks to resolve this issue (and help encourage the spread of the recently commercialised ROM). The growing list of supported devices can be found at http://goo. gl/GQbfRf. As part of the effort to be as user friendly as possible, the installer can be downloaded directly from the Play store ( store/apps/details?id=org. cyanogenmod.oneclick). Note that you will also need a Windows PC to complete the installation (Mac support is to follow). Using the installer to ash the custom ROM may void your warranty on some devices, so proceed with caution.

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.

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.

franco.Kernel is one of the most respected kernel options around

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.

Browsing the Nexus 5 development forum at XDADevelopers (forum.xda-developers. com/google-nexus-5/origdevelopment) shows that there are a lot of options to try. franco.Kernel is from a very well respected developer that supports a large number of devices, so its a good place to start. A custom kernel is installed just like a custom ROM push the zip le to the internal SD card, reboot to recovery and install the zip le.

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.

Factory images let you manually update your device in a ash

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.

Manually update your Nexus device to KitKat

KitKat has now been released for the Nexus 4, Nexus 7 2012, Nexus 7 2013 and Nexus 10. The over-the-air rollout is staged however if youve not yet received your update and youre anxious to try it out (and you dont mind wiping your device), then the Nexus factory images will help satisfy your curiosity. Made available

The factory images enable you to restore your device back to a box fresh state and are offered for all relevant devices and Android versions
SELinuxMode Changer

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

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.

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.

Installing CyanogenMod just got a lot easier

Hacking the easy way

Advanced Logcat Viewer

Get great new features without getting your hands (too) dirty

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.


Nexus 7 Multi-Utility


From: http:// php?t=2454610 Need root? No Advanced Logcat Viewer is a PC utility that helps you make sense of your Android devices logcat output. Originally part of the Virtuous Ten Studio tool, ALV runs on Windows. Its free from the XDA forums, so well worth checking out.

From: Play store Need root? Yes Android 4.4 KitKat has updated the SELinux mode from permissive in 4.3 to the enforcing setting. This can break apps that use root. Use this app to toggle the mode.


From: http:// forum. php?t=2510952 Need root? No The Nexus 7 Multi-Utility for Windows has a number of useful features primarily centred around backing up and pulling data from the device, but its party piece is the ability to enable and customise the new Screen Recording feature on KitKat devices.

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

61 Hacker Zne

Upgrade to KitKat
Dont wait for an ofcial update get KitKat on your phone or tablet today!
AOSP 4.4 is one of the many KitKat ROMs now available

new version of Android version 4.4 KitKat has now been released, and while it is available to download now for Nexus devices, updates from other manufacturers are yet to be made available. For some older devices an ofcial release will never come. So, what if you cant wait to get your hands on the new brilliant operating system? You do have an option in the form of custom ROMs. If youve not used a custom ROM before, there are a few things you need to know. Firstly, some of the steps you need to take to get up and running (such as unlocking your bootloader) may well invalidate the warranty on your device its worth double-checking this rst. Secondly, installing custom ROMs can sometimes be complex and risky. There is a chance you could leave your device in a non-working state for a period of time. If youre not an Android expert you could be very much reliant on the help of your peers to get back up and running! Finally, youll need to wipe the data on your device as

KitKat is more of a renement, but there are a number of very nice features that make it worth having
part of the process, so make sure youve run a backup beforehand. As with the Jelly Bean release, KitKat is more of a renement of Android than a complete overhaul (Ice Cream Sandwich took care of that), but there are a number of very nice features that make it worth having. Youll nd a cleaner, crisper look and feel with its smart white icons, an upgraded keyboard with OS level Emoji support, a vastly improved email app, support for cloud printing, a great new dialer, HDR+ photography, transparent bars on the launcher, enhanced Bluetooth support and best of all, all-round performance improvements courtesy of both under-thehood optimisations and support for the new (experimental) ART runtime. While this is all great, you should also be aware of the pitfalls associated with custom ROMs, particularly those that are on the very bleeding edge. You may nd that stability is not up to scratch compared with a stock ROM, and in addition some features of the device may not work correctly (if at all) while the developers work on the new OS. Things improve very quickly though at the

Pick a ROM for your phone


Samsung Galaxy S4 Samsung Galaxy S III HTC One HTC One XL LG G2 Sony Xperia Z Sony Xperia Z1 Galaxy Nexus Samsung Galaxy Note 2

AOSP 4.4 Omni ROM 4.4 Ofcial HTC One GPe port Unofcial CyanogenMod 11 AOSPA Paranoid Android FreeXperia 4.4 FreeXperia 4.4 Dreams 4.4 AOSPA Paranoid Android

Many phones can be manually updated to KitKat

early stages of development, so be prepared to ash regularly. Daily in many cases! If you are running a device that has a manufacturer skin such as a Samsung with TouchWiz or a HTC with Sense, you will likely lose these customisations as the KitKat ROMs will be based on a stock version of Android. This means no improved camera app, no additional features provided by the manufacturer whether this is a good thing or a bad thing depends on your viewpoint. In most cases, a suitable replacement for a missing app can be found in the Play store, however, in some cases (particularly with hardware specic apps like the FM Radio), you may have to decide whether or not you can live without that functionality.


Your KitKat ROM guide

We test the best Android 4.4 ROMs

Ofcial HTC One GPe port
Compatible devices HTC One From
Technically not a custom ROM, but if youre running a HTC One with Sense, installing this can get you to KitKat with the minimum of fuss. Although the experience is fantastic, you will lose BlinkFeed, the TV remote app and the fantastic Camera app. Decide whether these features or the latest OS are most important to you, or look into MoDaCo.SWITCH for the best of both worlds.


Compatible devices Samsung Galaxy S4 From

For an unofcial port, the level of compatibility is impressive everything works! The developer, broodplank1337, has downloaded the AOSP Android source and tweaked it to work almost perfectly with the S4. The ash process is in two parts youll need to ash the ROM itself followed by the Gapps suite to add back in all of the Google bits. This ROM is a prime example of a beta release that is being updated frequently. Check the discussion thread regularly to ensure you have the latest version.

Key features

Ofcially supported ROM intended for Google Play Edition that works on all Ones S-OFF and ash the Play Edition hboot / hboot
CID for a 100 per cent conversion

Key features Verdict

Built from scratch by a dev from the community The ROM is undergoing frequent renement
As good as it gets without going for an ofcial ROM

Works perfectly and is ofcially supported

CM11 temaseks UNOFFICIAL Build

Compatible devices Samsung Galaxy S3 From

Dreams 4.4

Compatible devices Galaxy Nexus From

AOSPA Paranoid Android

Compatible devices LG G2 From

The Samsung Galaxy S3 is one of those devices where it remains to be seen whether or not it will get an ofcial release of KitKat. Community development to the rescue! This ROM is based on a CyanogenMod base, with a number of renements and improvements added by the developer, temasek. As the ROM is derived from CM, the experience wont be pure KitKat, there will be a number of additional features from the most popular custom ROM there is. Functionality is virtually 100 per cent complete, so this should be ne as a daily driver.

Key features

Google has been accused of sending mixed messages with KitKat. It has stated that it has made improvements to support older devices, yet at the same time is dropping support for its own Galaxy Nexus. Thankfully the community has stepped in to provide what Google will not. Dreams is another CyanogenMod 11-based ROM that, occasional graphical glitches aside, is impressively stable. A CM base means new features will appear as CyanogenMod features are ported to the KitKat release. It is undergoing frequent milestone releases so ensure you frequent the support topic to stay abreast of developments.

Paranoid Android is another ROM that adds additional features on top of base Android KitKat. It has some of the most innovative features of any custom ROMs such as the critically acclaimed Halo functionality yet still remains close to stock Android in look and feel. The PA team are gradually porting their unique featureset to the new KitKat release, so updating your ROM frequently will give access to new additions as they appear. The G2 port is fully functional and improving in speed and stability all the time, although you will lose the knock knock status bar sleep functionality that is a rather compelling feature of the stock ROM.

CyanogenMod based with additional goodies A customised kernel is included with the ROM Check the known issues list for any problems
Combines the best of KK and CyanogenMod

Key features Verdict

Key features

CM base means extra features over stock KK The dev is working to resolve graphical glitches
Helping the Galaxy Nexus to live on!

PA is growing in popularity all the time Fully functional on the G2 and fast Knock knock to wake works, but not to sleep
An excellent ROM for an excellent phone


Works with Hacker Zne

Android 1.6 and up Difculty Intermediate

Flash KitKat using ROM Installer


Flashing a ROM too complicated? ROM Installer is about to change all that on a 1 Install rooted device

Flashing a new ROM has never been easier

The whole process has been given a massive boost in speed and ease

emember when ashing a new ROM was tricky, a dark art to be apprehensive about, even if your phone was already rooted? Lets be honest: it wasnt really all that long ago. Since the release of ROM Installer a free app (with a premium feature license available) on the Google Play store the whole process has been given a massive boost in speed and ease. Browsing for a new ROM is no longer a case of logging in to or other online forums instead, you just need to check through those listed in the ROM Installer app. This software doesnt just nd ROMs. Installing ROMs is a feature that is also included. Forget about navigating ClockworkMod with your Androids volume buttons a touch interface is provided here, along with over-the-air updates of ROMs and recovery utilities. Naturally, installation of ROM Installer requires Superuser permissions. The app is also currently in beta, which means that some features may not work quite as planned. Also, the app may be incompatible with your device, although it should work as long as youre running Android 1.6 or later. After downloading ROM Installer you can expect to be running a new version of Android complete with a just-in-case backup saved to your phone in minutes. ROM Installer represents a brave new world for all Android users. Here we show you exactly how you can ash a new KitKat ROM, and the get the very latest Android features.

Getting started with ROM Installer means you will need a rooted device with Superuser permissions. Without this, the app wont work. You wont be able to ash a new ROM. If you havent rooted already, check for instructions on how to root your Android.

ROM Installer can also help you to ash app utilities and enhancements that cannot be installed in the usual way. Open the menu and select ROM Installer>Add ZIP>Flashable Zips to search your phone then Install to proceed. Backup and cache wiping options are available.

utilities and 6 Flash enhancements

up your 2 Back current ROM

With the app installed, the rst thing you should do is use ROM Installer to back up your current ROM, ensuring that you can restore your data and apps if things go wrong. Tap the ROM Installer logo to open the menu, then Backup & restore to start the ball rolling.

recovery 3 Which are you using?

Before proceeding you should check which recovery is installed on your phone, as this will affect the choice of ROMs. Youll typically have either TWRP or CWR/CWR Touch in the Flash Recovery screen you can update to the latest version of either in preparation for a new ROM.

gure your 4 Con phone for ROMs

Before you begin downloading and ashing, you should spend a few moments in the Settings screen. Here you can specify the Download Path for your ROMs a good idea if you have limited storage. Other settings are also available, including toggling the ROM update checker.

a ROM 5 Finding to ash

ROM Installer offers you the ability to browse for ROMs stored in online repositories as well as copy them from your computer to your storage card. Note that older devices may not be listed. Use Download ROM to choose a ROM, then ROM Installer to nd and Install.

7 Scheduling ROM updates

If you want to be at the bleeding edge of ROM development, you can set ROM Installer to check for updates. After toggling the option in settings, open ROM Updates to set your schedule. Several notication sounds are available, and the schedule can be easily disabled.

Installer 8 ROM Extras

In addition to the standard features, the app also includes the option to install various tools and utilities. Open Download ROM and scroll to Extras. Here you will nd things like Font Packs, ROM Extras (which includes a useful ad blocking hack) and much more.

menu 9 Shortcut for fast ashing

While the app is intuitive, you can open a selection of shortcuts via the menu button. Here you can nd fast access to options such as Install ROM from SD, Create Backup, Wipe Options, Upgrade and more. There is also a manual command to check for updates.

Premium 10 Basic, and Gold version

Although initially free, ROM Installer has three upgrades: Basic, Premium and Gold. Naturally for the full features (OTA updates, Premium ROMs, Nandroid extractor) youll need to select Gold, but the low-cost Basic option is enough to remove the ads.


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The only magazine for Android!

Unlock your phone

Monitor your home while away


Create your own DJ mix

Improve your tness

From coding your own apps to managing your home security, there are countless new ways you can start using your phone

Add desktop functionality


Unlock your phone



Keep your home safe and sound with a CCTV application

then you can leave the device with its camera facing towards an area you want to monitor. You can then see a live stream of what's being recorded by simply watching it from any desktop computer.

ecurity buffs will want to take advantage of the many apps on the Play store that enable you to keep an eye on your home when at work or out and about. All the apps covered here can be set up on phones or tablets, and

It can also be customised to share photos and videos

AtHome Video Streamer
What makes AtHome a mustdownload app is that you can start a stream over a Wi-Fi or 3G signal, depending on your internet connection. It also includes a nifty motion detector for you to explore.

Ivideon Video Surveillance

Being user friendly is the aim of the Ivideon app, which uses a simple set-up system to make sure every user can get the best recording experience possible from it. It also automatically saves all your recordings to the Ivideon cloud server for you to watch whenever.

Picasa CCTV
As you can guess by its name, this app links in with the Picasa photo app. Every recording you make is shared with your Picasa account. It can also be customised to periodically share photos and videos of your recordings, which guarantees you'll always have a backup.

tinyCam Monitor PRO

Although the vast selection of standard recording features in tinyCam are decent enough, its dening features are the customisations you can apply to make sure each one of your recordings has brilliant audio when you need it.

DroidCam is a rather basic, but highly customisable option for those needing a CCTV-esque camera. The paid version offers different video formats, higher recording resolutions and generally lower network usage. This combination makes it a great CCTV app to use.

iCamSpy PRO
You can watch and listen in real-time with iCamSpy PRO and also control the camera from wherever youre located. There's a even a rudimentary motion detection feature. Recordings can be saved directly onto your PC or smartphone to use as evidence, if necessary.


The best apps to control everyday household items


ith the plethora of electrical devices many of us have in our homes, it can be a challenge to juggle all their remote controls. There are a number of unied remote apps which you can use to control all your devices, but there are also remotes you can try out which control individual electrical devices.

Instead of splashing out for a Chromecast streaming dongle, CheapCast adds the functionality to any Android device free of charge. It's quick to set up and the streaming quality is great.

SmartGlass works brilliantly well with your Xbox console to provide you with a place to track your prole and manage downloads.

Network Audio
Although primarily working with Sony audio systems, the Network Audio app gives you complete control of your music.

Smart TV
One of the best things about the Smart TV Remote is being able to take advantage of various gestures and inputs that you cant normally do.

Unied Remote
Other electrical items will benet from Unied Remote, which acts as a universal remote for a variety of different products.


Unlock your phone



For those looking to do a spot of app coding, the best app to use is DroidEdit. This app turns your phone into a virtual coding device, enabling you to easily create apps.


Create and run an email or web server on your smartphone or tablet
Servers Ultimate
Whether its for your website or email, you can use your smartphone to create and host your very own server. The best app to do this with is the Servers Ultimate app, which opens up this feature on your phone for a small price. If youre new to this sort of thing, no worries. The app will help you create a server from scratch with a handy tutorial system, but more seasoned users will also be able to manage their own servers without the help of the app if it isnt needed when creating it.

from scratch 1 Start Download and install the

DroidEdit app. When you rst open the app, youll nd a blank page for you to start typing your code on.

code 2 Download Theres also the option to

download any previously created code into DroidEdit for you to work on your device at any point.

correctly 3 Format Once you've nished, make

sure you take advantage of all the formatting options to style your coding properly.

culty 1 Dif Open up the app and

select either the Simple or Advanced option. For those new to hosting servers, its highly recommended that you select the former option.

2 Tools Follow the instructions of

the app and enter the necessary instructions when prompted to by the app. Advanced users should check out the Tools menu for further options.

type 3 Server The next step is to select

the type of server you want to create. Open up the drop-down menu when prompted and choose the type of server you want to create. It's that easy.

Install the open-source Linux OS directly onto your device with the Complete Linux Installer app

Complete Linux Installer

Thanks to the open source nature of Android its plausible to install the even more open Linux operating system on your device. Download the CLI app and follow the installation instructions carefully (Fig 1). Once installed you'll have a full working version of your pick of Linux distro to play around with on your tablet (Fig 2).

Fig 1: Follow the instructions closely to avoid errors


You don't have to be limited to running Android on your device

Fig 2: Once set up, you can explore Linux features on your smartphone
Android 4.4 Screen Record
One of the most hidden features found in the Android 4.4 update is the ability to create your own screen recordings. The feature is made easier through the Android 4.4 Screen Record app. If you want to create video tutorials, or simply record some game footage, this feature is essential.

Unlock your phone


Turn your smartphone into a fully functional tness tracker


Got Ya!
Should your phone ever fall into the wrong hands Got Ya! uses the front facing camera to take a picture of the person attempting to unlock it. Images are then sent to your email for you to take a look at. The app also notes the location of your device and if you really wanted, you could get these details posted directly on your Facebook prole.
Apps make improving your tness a walk in the park


Keep t and track your progress on your device

mong the many tness apps are some speciality trackers that can be used to turn your smartphone into a fully functional tness tracker. As well as offering users a way of tracking each exercise section they undertake, these apps

also link well with Google Maps to help you prepare for each situation and mark out the distance you've covered for future reference. We've put two of the best tness tracking apps on the market head to head to see which one you should use.

Sports Tracker
Each individual element is tracked and displays your distance, duration and speed.

Theres multiple screens of tracking information as you exercise, which will please all tness nuts.


DSLR Remote
Avid photographers will want to check out the DSLR Remote that adds all the functionality and settings of your camera straight onto your phone. You can connect your phone to your DSLR by either infrared, micro USB cable or even Bluetooth and begin tinkering with the various settings in real-time on your device.

Youll nd a live feed of your current location and journey plan in Sports Tracker. Endomondo tends to be on the slow side with updating your location on its Maps integration.


Although you can compare individual sessions, theres little else for those wanting lots of data. Where Endomondo outshines all the competition is in this eld. There's lots on offer here for users.

The voice feedback that gives you live tness tracking updates while you exercise is great. The ability to back up and sync your workout data across different platforms is helpful.


And the winner is... ENDOMONDO

Endomondo is by far the best choice for people who want to turn their smartphone into a tness tracker


Unlock your phone

Remote Mouse
After connecting your phone to your desktop computer using the Remote Mouse app and downloading the Use the built-in keyboard to Remote Mouse server type out documents onto your desktop computer, your device will automatically be turned into a fully automated mouse, trackpad and keyboard. The fact you can completely control your computer using your phone, including full mouse functions, is staggering to say the least and it works like a charm on both Windows and Use the virtual mouse either in Mac OS X. portrait or landscape mode


Expand your notication bar and its functionality with Notif
One of the most used areas on your Android smartphone, and perhaps the most overlooked too, is the fantastic notications menu that alerts you to everything thats going on with your phone. With the Notif app, however, you can add a new function completely to it. With the app downloaded and installed, users can create interactive notications, which are automatically added to the notications menu for when you need them. These creations can be in the form of a list, general reminder or even picture-based, depending on the type of notication you need to create. Remember to also set a priority for everything you create in Notif and the app will remind you accordingly closer to the time. There's also the option to get regular reminders by venturing into the app's settings menu.

Making Android work as you wish is one of the beauties of the OS

Choose the right icon for your notication

Set a priority to receive timely reminders


Taskbar brings a traditional Windows-styled menu system to your phone or tablet

Despite the gap between our smartphones and desktop computers constantly getting smaller, some may miss the lack of a traditional desktop to work on while on their smartphone. Luckily with the Taskbar app, you can add your own start menu and taskbar, which then mimics the style of Windows 8. They work in the same vein as their desktop counterparts and offer a handy way to multitask effectively on your device without the need for multiple systems.


Taskbar gives you Windows-style functionality on your Android device


Unlock your phone



Get scratching on the best virtual decks around with the DJ Studio 5 app
DJ Studio 5
Whether you're a seasoned pro or novice DJ, DJ Studio 5 has plenty of mixing options available.

tracks 1 Load After opening the DJ Studio 5

app, press on the '+' icon located at the bottom of the screen. Select the rst track you want to load.

Add your second track and begin playing around. You can alter the tempo and general timing with the various controls.

2 Play and experiment

Once youve sorted out your track arrangement, press the microphone symbol at the top of the app to record and save your mix.

3 Record

Turn yourself into the next Avicii with the help of DJ Studio

Add your second track and begin playing around. You can alter the tempo and general timing with the various controls
Use the iSyncr app to access and manage your iTunes playlists
Sync music 3 You can now
select which playlists, albums and tracks you want to sync across. The actual sync process can take a while to complete.

Accessing your iTunes playlists is something that all phones can do thanks to the brilliant iSyncr app. Not only can you access your playlists, you can also add new content to them and transfer your music across to your iTunes account.


Desktop software 1 After
downloading the iSyncr app, youll need to download the corresponding desktop software from the JRT Studio site.

Server settings 2 Enter the

necessary Wi-Fi and server settings that are required before you can transfer your music across within iSyncr. Press Save to continue.


Apps Molto

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

15min wonder
0-5 minutes
Cool design: looks nice and easy to browse

Want your money back? Youve got 15 mins to decide!

! 5 15 10 ! 5 15 10

5-10 minutes

Email app that makes your inbox exciting again

enter the login information for your account, while for the latter you need to know the hostname, username and password for your incoming and outgoing mail servers. Once Molto has accessed your account it takes a few seconds to set up your inbox and then youre good to go. What you give up for the benet of a more colourful layout is that Molto can only t a few messages on the screen at a time. That might be why

Composing window looks bare but theres no clutter

! 5 15 10

10-15 minutes

Might just make this my default email app

Most email software is mundane because it attempts to emulate Outlook or Gmail or just conform to a layout in which messages are listed in conventional text form. Molto does things differently by integrating previews of images or videos embedded in messages. If an image is not present but a message has an attachment such as a PDF le, Molto shows a


The composing window is bare but you can attach les, photos and videos

Molto lets you tweak its settings so you get the perfect browsing experience

However, the result is an attractive, well-organised layout in which messages are easy to review at a glance
coloured icon for that instead. Moreover, all messages are accompanied by an avatar that distinguishes the sender. The result is a much brighter email experience. Molto for Android supports Gmail, iCloud, AOL, Yahoo!, GMX and IMAP accounts. To set up the former you the developers have so far made it only available for Android tablets and it only works in landscape mode. These are minor aws, though, because its easy to browse message folders by swiping right to left to see messages that dont t on the screen.

On a weak network or a device low on memory, messages can be slow to load, which might mean you are briey staring at a bunch of empty rectangles. When everything has loaded properly, however, the result is an attractive, well-organised layout in which messages are easy to review at a glance. Whats more, you dont have to open a message to read it: swiping up inside a messages box will let you scroll through the text. Swiping down, meanwhile, provides icons for marking a message as read or as a favourite, archiving it or either forwarding or replying to it. Tapping on a message produces a pleasing animation in which all message boxes disperse off the screen. The selected message then opens in an artsy
Messages are displayed with avatars and previews of embedded media

screen that shows the subject line against a patterned background with the content below. Along the top of this screen are icons that give access to the same features you get by swiping down in folder view as well as the customary bin icon for trashing messages, an icon that lets you move the message to another folder and a menu that includes the Reply All function for responding to multiple recipients. Like most email apps, Moltos biggest limitation is the lack of formatting tools. There is no way to add bold, italic or other enhancements to text. As you would expect, though, you can add attachments, which can be captured directly from within the app. In almost every other respect Molto dees expectations and should make mobile emailing cheerful instead of a chore.

Designed for: Tablet Requires Android: 4.0.3 and up

specification Price Free verdict


Performance Design Value

Finally, an e-mail app that is fun, feature-rich and free

best free alternative


OUTLOOK.COM Microsofts ofcial app gives you direct mobile access to the features of its webmail service.

Switchr Telegram Lynx

Turn your device into a digital art gallery
If youve just upgraded to a more recent model of Android tablet and dont know what to do with your old device, this app could give it a purpose. Basically its the equivalent of the iPads old Picture Frame app but with a social angle and many more features. To get started you have the option to sign in to Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, Flickr, Dropbox, 500px, Google+ or Twitter and grant the app permission to access images on your timeline. You can also pick one or more photo streams from a selection provided by the app, which includes a range of artistic categories such as Street Art, Digital Art, Pop Music, Cinema and Graphic Design. Because social networking feeds are constantly updated, you receive a selfrefreshing stream of images that can reect your activities or include some awesome, eye-catching pictures from the developers well-chosen sources. You can preview the images as a montage and then press the Play icon to display them individually in glorious full screen with the details of the person who contributed them. Tapping on that persons information redirects you to their social media account in a web browser. This being a social app, you can also Like pictures you are impressed by if you are signed in and instantly add photos through your own social media account for people around you to see, which could be fun at parties. For those times when you are not around, you can set cut-off conditions so that the app doesnt run down your battery or use up your data plan should you lose Wi-Fi connectivity. Of course, the app isnt restricted to old
When set to play, the app displays full-screen images in portrait or landscape

tablets and works just as well with new ones and on phones. On the latter, however, the tested version oddly works only in portrait mode.

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

specification Price Free verdict

like this? try this!

Photo Slides
Displays images from a devices gallery or SD card or from a local network.

Artsy and cool, but it takes time to set up

The latest images posted by contributors can be previewed as a compilation

Want Windows-style app switching on your Android?
This app switcher mimics the gestures used with Windows 8 or the Alt-Tab key combination from previous versions of that OS. Once its activated you can swipe from left to right on the screen to bring up a stream of icons for all your recently used apps. Selecting Switchr Flow displays icons using a fuzzy but easy-to-use cover ow effect, while Switchr Slide brings up one icon at a time and switches directly to that app. Conguration options include settings to make Switchr launch on startup and dene the margins of the area in which you have to swipe to access it (they need to be as narrow as possible to avoid interference with other Android features activated by gestures). Purchasing the Pro Key removes ads and gives you options such as swiping up and closing apps directly.

Chat away and keep your words to yourself
This cloud-based messaging app includes several features that have been designed to make messaging quicker and more secure. You can set up chats with up to 100 people and make them secret so that messages self-destruct, Mission Impossible style, when the chat is done. Chats are otherwise stored in the cloud so you can access them on any device that has the app and Wi-Fi. Aside from the colourful but conventional interface, there are also the usual messaging features.

Lynx Browser
Cut out internet clutter for speedy surng
Text-based browsing probably sounds like a return to the internets Stone Age but thats not what Lynx feels like. Essentially this browser strips out images and ads from websites, which inevitably works better with text-heavy webpages than those with abundant pictures. The result is a surprisingly clean experience that reduces download times and minimises data usage. If you want to read, you wont be kept waiting.

Price Free Designed for Phone/tablet Requires Android 2.1

Switchr Flow displays icons using an easy-to-use cover ow effect

Like this? Try this!

SIDEBAR PRO Adds a panel to the side of the screen for quick access to favourite apps.

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

Price 3.03/$4.99 Designed for Phone/tablet Requires Android 2.2 and up


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




Circa News
Quick-glance news stories on the go
This news aggregation app gives you the top stories whittled down to short paragraphs, quotes, images and maps. The content wont add much depth to your understanding of whats going on in the world but is a handy way to keep current if dont have time to read the paper. Moreover, its a pleasure to use because of the clear layout and clever way the app shades out paragraphs you arent reading to focus your attention. Stories have links to related entries from Circas writers and the sources they used so that you can track back. You can also get notied when updates are added to stories that interest you and share articles and images on Twitter and Facebook. There is also a home screen widget that lets you see headlines without opening the app. The number of news categories is limited, however, with a focus on the United States, technology, politics, science and health but no section for sport. The app offers additional benets if you register for a Circa account but its not clear what these are just yet.

Gives new meaning to making movies through crowdsourcing
This cool, colourful app resembles Vine to the extent that it enables you to create videos for sharing on social media. One of the major differences is that the length of your creations is not restricted to a few seconds and other people can add to your production over the internet. When you rst start JumpCam you are asked to log in through Facebook or by using an email address. The app will also request access to your Contacts so that you can connect with people that you might want as co-stars in your videos. Regardless of which approach you use, once you are logged in you can record your own video or view, Like and comment on productions posted by others in categories that include music, travel, cute kids and animals. Individual video clips can only be about ten seconds long but you can make numerous recordings or select several videos you already have on your device. The app will then

You can still invite friends to tack on theirs or let anyone contribute
automatically cut each one to the maximum length if necessary and stitch the results together into a short lm that begins with a neat montage of the included clips. You also have the option of applying a lter to give the moving image a coloured tint or a vintage look and add one of the included music tracks.

You can start your own videos or add to those created by others

Your videos will begin with a montage of the clips they are composed of

best free alternative

INSTAGRAM The worlds most popular picture sharing service can bring your videos to the world, too.

Photo-sharing app that puts privacy rst
Shoto tries to balance easy photo sharing with simplied control over privacy. First you have to tell the app whether you want to share pictures with the whole world, friends who were at events you attended or no one. You also need to give it permission to access your Contacts so that you can nd people to share pictures with. Once youre set up, Shoto will start creating virtual photo albums based on events you were at or locations you visited. Images can be snapped in the app and adjusted with a range of lters or imported from a devices gallery. Once an album has been created you can invite friends to view and contribute to it. Shoto is a nice-looking app that uses gestures smartly but it needs a more comprehensive tutorial to help rst-time users nd their way around.

The front page presents the latest news headlines in several preset categories

Price Free Designed for Phone Requires Android 4.1

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

Like this? Try this!

PHOTOSAFE Never mind online privacy; this app keeps images on your device away from prying eyes.

It is easy to apply privacy settings with a single swipe in Shoto



like this? try this!

Compile clips into videos up to an hour long and remix clips.

top apps for...


specification Price Free

Designed for: Phone/tablet Requires Android: 4.0.3 and up

Performance Design Value
An easy way to make movies with friends anywhere in the world

Pogoplug Free
When you are satised with your creation, it will be uploaded to JumpCams own social feed and you can share it on Facebook or Twitter. That neednt be the end of the story, though, because you can still add additional clips, invite friends to tack on theirs or let anyone contribute. This feature is particularly useful if you have recently come back from an event at which several guests have recorded some action and you want to easily compile it.

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

After a much-needed update, this apps interface gives easy access to Pogoplugs cloud service and if you have a compatible device effectively unlimited storage on your home network.

0-5 minutes

Looks like most other video sharing apps

5-10 minutes

Tonido File Access Free

Like Pogoplug, this app works with a hardware device (the TonidoPlug) hooked into your home network. With the two together you can stream media to your mobile device anywhere.

We like the way clips are combined automatically

10-15 minutes

Finally a creative way to put your videos to good use

With imagination you could be creative with this


A cloud storage service that promises data protection
This app is a client for the Tresorit cloud storage service, which has been designed with privacy and security as priorities. On the Tresorit website, the developers tempt hackers with a nancial reward if they crack the servers, which might not be the best idea if you want to convince potential users that your service is secure. The free plan offers 5GB of storage and you can quickly double that by downloading this app. If you dont have an account already, you can sign up directly in the app, but make sure that you write down your password. Thats because the company behind Tresorit claims to keep its distance from your data and therefore wont recover it. Once your account is set up, the Tresorit app acts like those available for most other cloud storage services.

Amazon Cloud Drive Photos Free

With 5GB of free space and brand name reliability, Amazon Cloud Drive Photos is a good choice for preserving pictorial memories.

MediaFire Free
This app feels a bit like a work in progress, but is attractive and easy to navigate. Thats important because the services big appeal is up to a whopping 50GB of free space.

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

Bitcasa Free
Bitcasa is gaining popularity thanks to its Innite Drive, which offers endless space in the cloud. The app could be tweaked but you cant complain when there are no limits. It is easy to sign up for an account in the app, but dont forget your password

Like this? Try this!

CLOUDFUZE This app lets you access and sync several cloud storage services with a single login. Check our website daily for even more app reviews


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


F-Secure App Permissions


Create collages of pictures from family and friends
Cluster is a classy, artistic app that takes collections of photos taken by you and your friends and combines them into cool and attractive collages. Before you start you have to create an account, which involves entering your email address or logging in to Facebook. Once you are registered you can create clusters, which are basically albums centred on themes or specic topics such as places or events that you went to. To populate a cluster, you select images from your devices gallery
Albums can be set for Private or Public access, and Cluster can search for photos by time and location

F-Secure App Permissions

Make sure your apps arent operating undercover
As mobile device users we are repeatedly warned to be wary of what permissions we grant to the apps we install. Its hard to keep track of them all, however, and if you install lots of apps, its tedious to read the details every time you download something new. Besides, wed all like to think that most developers are honest. With this app installed, you can check if thats true. It does a detailed review of the permissions granted to each app on your device and displays them on screen. You can then make sure you know which apps can access messaging or calling features, location tracking or personal data. You can also nd out if any apps are accountable for harmless but irritating side-effects like eating up your battery. If you lter apps that have specic permissions you can uninstall those that have rights you arent willing to grant.

or get the app to automatically nd pictures taken within a specic time frame or at a particular location. Once pictures have been added, the app prompts you to decide if the cluster should be public or private and to invite contributions from friends. Thus, its easy to collate different images of the same thing taken by several people who were at the same event. A large number of potential contributors can also easily be invited through the creation of a unique share code and a link.

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

Keeping an eye on your apps is advisable and F-Secure is a good solution

Like this? Try this!

F-SECURE LOKKI From the same developers, this app lets you know where your loved ones are.

A beautiful minimal home screen widget

like this? try this!

A exible, feature-packed app for creating themed collages from multiple sources and sharing them online.

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

specification Price Free verdict

Performance Design Value

A simple and clever tool for bringing shared memories together
Photo collages can be automatically created from images on your device

This combined calendar and weather widget makes a virtue of the notion that less is more. In addition to the date and time, which are displayed in a classy combination of bold and normal text (and is also customisable), it shows a small weather icon with a phrase summarising the current conditions. The high, low and current temperatures for the day are also shown. Beneath this information is a list of upcoming events with their times and locations. This can be set as a lock screen or home screen widget on compatible devices and there are numerous conguration options to enable you to tweak the appearance. If you want more details about any of the information that is displayed, you can tap the weather icon to bring up an additional panel with data supplied by AccuWeather or Yahoo! or you can tap an event to bring up the details.

Price Free Designed for Phone/tablet Requires Android 4.1 and up

The weather is shown in attractive text and icon form under the current time

best free alternative


PHOTO GRID This app makes it easy to create photo collages and share them on Instagram.

Like this? Try this!

DESPICABLE ME WEATHER WIDGET These fun animations involving everyones favourite minions will make you smile.

Keep up with the news via social media
This aggregator compiles up-to-the-minute news stories, blog entries and updates using social networking. With the free version you can view stories from sources on the apps Popular Feeds stream. If you like what you see, you can supplement this through in-app purchases that let you log in to your own Twitter or Feedly account and customise your feeds. What is most impressive about Flyne is the attractive graphical design and layout in which stories are presented in their entirety.

Silk paints YPlan

Creative app that lets your artistic instincts ow
This simple painting app lets you create unconventional art with just a few swipes. You start with a blank canvas and pick a colour from a slider. Then, when you swipe across the screen, the action produces a owing stream of that colour. You cant create ne details but its surprising what you can produce with some patience and imagination. You can use multiple colours, save images to the gallery or use them as wallpaper. Different brushes can be added with in-app purchases.


Much more than music you can dance to
The ofcial description of this app on the Google Play store states that some of the worlds top DJs use it to get their x of dance mixes and podcasts. That might suggest that its aimed squarely at fans of the dance music genre, but far from it. Various musical genres are covered in the content categories, which also include sections for podcasts on technology, sport, food and other interesting topics. In trying to be different its a bit of a hodgepodge but it has a nice clean layout that makes it easy to navigate.

See whats happening in the worlds coolest cities

YPlan shows you a very small selection of whats on in two of the worlds most vibrant cities and enables you to book it. The list is attractively presented as a series of large images and covers the current day and events that are coming up. These cater to various interests, including music, comedy, food, drink and theatre. Each entry shows the location, time and entry price and when you tap on an image you get the option to book tickets and earn rewards by getting friends to book up too.

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

Price Free Designed for Phone/tablet Requires Android Varies

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

Price Free Designed for Phone/tablet Requires Android Varies

Get visual weather updates without using a widget
This combined weather and wallpaper app shows the time and date and gives updates on the temperature and current weather conditions at user-dened intervals and locations. This information is presented against an image that is automatically downloaded and suggests the current conditions. Although the ofcial description calls it live wallpaper, the images dont move. It seems to have a hard time nding the current location but it does cache the last ten images to avoid depleting a data plan.

A helpful tool for keeping your houseplants alive
This simple, practical app is designed to remind you when its time to water your houseplants. You add plants to its database and select an icon or take a picture to identify each one. You then set the number of days up to 20 that should elapse between waterings so the app can notify you when a plant needs a top-up. Your botanical collection is presented in an attractive list showing the icons or images you selected and an indicator bar for each plant that represents its decreasing water supply.

Olympic Call PopOut be interrupted by Athletes Hub Never nuisance calls again
Keep up with your favourite athletes activities
If youre excited about the next Olympic Games and want to know what your favourite Olympians are doing to get ready, this app gives you the latest. It aggregates postings by athletes from their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts. You can read updates from everyone covered by the app or lter by name, team, sport or game. If you log in with Facebook or Twitter or sign up for an account, you can also earn rewards based on your dedication. This app makes it less intrusive when a call comes in while youre in the middle of something on your smartphone. When the phone rings the callers name (and thumbnail image if you have one saved in your Contacts) appears with four icons that let you take or drop the call, mute it or forward it to voicemail. You can easily activate any of these options by dragging the thumbnail over them. The pop-out can be triggered to appear by all the applications on your device or just a selection if thats what you want.

Price 0.61/$0.99 Designed for Phone/tablet Requires Android 4.0 and up

Price Free Designed for Phone/tablet Requires Android 1.6 and up

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

Price Free Designed for Phone Requires Android 2.2 and up

Which one of these apps should become your default SMS app?

specification Price Free

Designed for: Phone Requires Android: 4.0 and up

Although the stock messaging app is okay for your basic messaging needs, it lacks the features you can nd in third-party apps. Weve put two of the best alternatives on the market to the test to see which one comes out on top

specification Price Free

Designed for: Phone Requires Android: 2.1 and up

Textra SMS
When you begin a message, the person icon will appear enabling you to quickly add a contact. Manually typing in the phone number is also an option here. Although you can quickly add videos, images and media les, Textra requires you to download additional les and apps to get access to a set of Emoji icons. Surprisingly, you wont nd many tools at your disposal to effectively keep your inbox in tidy shape. Theres a basic delete option, but little else available to users. Various menus and messages can be customised in Textra SMS, be it the font or colour of them. All of which is built into the application when you rst open it. Among the apps settings is a feature which automatically manages les that are sent to you and directs them to specied folders for you to easily access.

chomp SMS


chomp SMS provides the same two options as Textra, but manually typing in the number is noticeably slower at matching what youve typed to a contact. Theres a great selection of Emoji icons pre-installed and through the respective icons, adding media les is easy enough, if not a little on the slow side at times. By highlighting a contact you have plenty of options available to you. The blacklist feature is superb and blocks all future texts from a specied contact. You can customise the design of each message thread through downloadable packs, but youll notice some signicant slowdown in the apps performance. There are some fantastic security options onboard to keep your messages safe, but the selection of extras is slim compared to what you can in the Textra SMS app.



And the winner is...

Where Textra SMS stands out from chomp SMS is with the added extras you can nd if you dig around the app a little. Its also lightning quick for sending SMS messages, but if you want more tools to manage your inbox, then you should also check out chomp SMS. BUILD A BETTER WEB

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Available on the following platforms Games Plants vs. Zombies 2

Scan these QR codes for direct links to the Google Play Store
Plants vs. Zombies 2

Dead Trigger 2


Squash the zombie onslaught once and for all in this instant classic
The original Plants vs. Zombies was a massive hit on the Google Play store, and did a good job at blending solid gameplay with a great story line to boot. You can expect more of the same with the second instalment, which follows in its predecessors footsteps perfectly. PvZ 2 sees you hurtling around different eras of history eradicating zombies as you go. Although theres not much emphasis on the time travelling aspect of it, zombies have been cleverly themed to match the era. Egyptian zombies come dressed up in full Egyptian headwear and robes, and so on. The basis of placing owers to repel waves of zombies is exactly the same here, with the user needing to strategically place plants on different pieces of the board. To help you along the way, theres a range of new powerful plants that can be placed at different sections. Each has their own pros and cons to use and are ideal in different situations. Its a pity there arent too many types of plants this time around, but the few new additions are great fun. As you progress further into time, the difculty levels are cranked right up. It gets harder to predict which

Place traps and decoys to divert their attention

Zombies come in different shapes and sizes

specic place zombies will attack, and with the amount of zombies youll end up facing, you have to be ridiculously quick to get your defences in place. There are several new zombies to face as well, with some taking a lot (and we mean a lot) of punishment before vanishing. Theres not a lot of new content in PvZ 2, but the additions it does include keep the series feeling fresh.

The lack of new stuff isnt necessarily a bad point, as both the gameplay and graphics exceed what we saw in the original a few years back. If youre on the hunt for the next big Android game that you need to play, this is it.

Price Free Designed for Phone and tablet Requires Android 2.3

what weve been playing


Plants vs. Zombies

Dead Trigger 2
The award-winning zombie shooter is back
Following on from the monumental success of the original, Dead Trigger 2 throws more zombies, more guns and a lot more blood for you to handle. Players of the rst game will feel right at home here, with the gameplay being largely the same in most areas. This time around theres a much greater focus on multiplayer gaming, with each user having access to the Global Resistance radio that produces live updates on
Connect a joystick for better gun control

Although were well and truly obsessed with the second instalment, that hasnt stopped us revisiting the brilliant original.

Thor: TDW - The Ofcial Game

Were decidedly mixed on Thors appearance on Android so far. The touchscreen controls need some work.

Recommend a game



how players are getting on all over the world. Theres also numerous global missions and side quests that require users to partner up. Story wise, its your job to help ght off the zombie plague. Again its a pretty similar offering to the original title with a nice selection of

levels. Whether youre new to the series, or a seasoned player, Dead Trigger 2 is a gory game for all.

Price Free Designed for Phone and tablet Requires Android 4.0

Star Wars: Tiny Death Star
Monster Loves You! Papa Pear Saga

Star Wars: Tiny Death Star
In a pixelated galaxy far, far away
Star Wars has undergone a pixelated revival in Tiny Death Star, as you work with the Emperor to defeat the Rebel Alliance once and for all. To do so, you need to build oors of the Death Star, with each one having a different purpose. The range is pretty varied and ts in well with the Star Wars theme, even if a few are quite samey. For each oor you create, youll also need to hire citizens to manage it and earn credits for you. Theres 30 different species to choose from, including Ewoks and Droids, and each looks brilliant in their pixelated design. There are side quests that give you credits and keep the gameplay varied, such as

Alhambra Game
Based on the traditional board game, Alhambra requires you to gather currency and build new land. Youll need to brush up on your nances to succeed.

Add new oors when you have credits

Characters look pixel perfect

capturing rebels spies and completing the evil schemes of the Emperor. Fans of the iconic Tiny Tower series and Star Wars franchise will feel right at home here.

Price Free Designed for Phone and tablet Requires Android 2.3.3

Treasures of Mystery Island 2

After being transported into the past, you need to help Alex and Lisa nd their way home by nding objects and clues.

Papa Pear Saga

Ping your pears to glory
As far as puzzle games go, Papa Pear Saga is as crazy and colourful as they get. The premise is simple enough, with you needing to launch Papa Pear at a bunch of pegs with points being accumulated for every peg you manage to hit. To get past each level, you need to accumulate a certain amount of points, and it follows in the same vein as Angry Birds, using a three-star system to give you a performance rating. As you progress through the game youll unlock power-ups and additional items that can help give you a points boost when needed. With levels getting quite difcult near the end to complete, these added boosts are too few and far between for our liking. Theres also the usual plethora of in-app purchases on offer, but the game can be completed Price Free with ease Designed for Phone and tablet without ever Requires Android 2.3 needing to purchase one.

Tekken Arena Free

Instead of actually ghting, Tekken Arena gets you to customise characters and earn power-ups by taking part in tournaments around the world by watching animations. Its time-consuming and hard to play without using in-app purchases.

The choices you make determine the outcome of your character

Champ Man Free

With over 400 playable clubs spanning 21 leagues, Champ Man is a fantastic football simulator. Its detailed enough to keep all football fanatics happy without being too difcult for new users to get stuck in to and guide their team to glory.

Monster Loves You!

Shape Monsterkinds destiny

Monster Loves You! is an interactive story where you live the life of a monster and need to make life or death decisions that will ultimately save or lead to the demise of Monsterkind. The game links in with fairy tales and provides the players with a range of choices to enhance their monster in a variety of ways. For example, do you choose to protect Goldilocks when the three bears discover her? Or do you turn a blind eye? Its a surprising amount of fun and the choices you make ultimately develop your character in different ways, and with over a dozen endings, theres plenty of replay value. Monster Loves You! is a game that many people wont take notice of, but it offers one of the most truly individual gaming Price 1.78/$2.88 experiences that Designed for Phone and tablet Android users Requires Android 2.2 should certainly be checking out.

Car Wash & Design Free

Give every car a clean and a new lick of paint that comes through your car wash. Although specically aimed at kids, its a fun little game when you have a few minutes to spare. Just dont expect any engaging storyline or real longevity.

Drift Mania: Street Outlaws

Sporting 3D graphics and a great control system, Drift Mania is a strong contender to Asphalts racing crown. The more pegs that hit the buckets, the more points you earn Check our website for even more game reviews

83 Reviews

Motorola Moto G
The budget Moto G from Motorola sets new standards for low-cost phones

Android 4.4

Well, not quite yet, but an upgrade to Android 4.4 is promised and should be hitting quite soon

hen the budget is tight and you want a smartphone, its easy to think that you are going to get a very much lesser handset if you dont have lots of money to spend. Motorola has set out to dispel that idea with its Moto G, which offers some extremely tempting features for a handset that costs less than 150. Well, thats not quite true the bit about the Moto G costing 150. There are actually two versions of this phone. Theyre identical in every respect except for their built-in memory. For 150 you can have 8GB. Up your spend to 174 and you can have 16GB. Make your choice carefully as theres no micro SD card slot. On our review handset an 8GB model, there was 5GB of free storage space. If you are hunting down a thin and attractive phone this might not be the place to look. At 11.6mm thick, the Moto G is a bit chunky, and it is heavy too. It feels somehow heavier than its 143g. But really, dont let those things bother you as this is a great phone. Motorola has thought carefully about how to make its G stand out, and has come up with the clever idea of allowing you to personalise the phone. There are ip shells which are tted by removing the rather tight-tting rubberised backplate and replacing it with a textured back that is hinged into a front cover.

Good screen

Bright and high-res, the screen is impressive. 720p was previously unheard of at this price

Memory matters

The Moto G comes in 8GB and 16GB variants. Theres only 5GB free on the former, with no micro SD slot

good for...

Saving money
Youd normally expect to pay at least double for a device of this spec Review
Motorola Moto G
There are also grip shells that t around the back of the handset and add some protection and some colour to the Moto G. There are plenty of colour choices in both cases so you can spruce up the device from time to time when you feel it is looking a little old and dowdy. The Moto G goodness doesnt stop with shells. For a low-cost handset is it quite remarkable that Motorola has been able to make it water resistant. Theres no coveted IP rating here, but still, we think it should be puddle-proof, which can turn the phone to silent mode at set times, even checking Google Calendar to nd out when you are in meetings. Itll let persistent callers through the barrier so emergency calls should be catered for. You get an FM radio as well, plus a handy tool for migrating your data from your old handset. The 1.2GHz Snapdragon processor is very efcient in both speed and power, and theres a big kick in the teeth for other low-cost handset makers in that Motorola has built the Moto G

information Price 148

More information

Battery life
The battery seems a bit small but is still able to get you through a full day without a top up reasonable well

Theres a big kick in the teeth for other low-cost handset makers in that Motorola has built the Moto G around Android 4.3, with a promise of an upgrade to 4.4
and denitely rain-proof. The battery is sealed in place to help protect it from water splashes. One area where low-cost handset makers can often make the wrong decision to compromise on features is the screen. Motorola has not made a mistake here. The 4.5-inch screen has 1,280 x 720 pixels, making it good enough for ebook reading, video viewing, web browsing and other date-intensive activities. The viewing angles are good enough, and Motorola has used Gorilla Glass 3, which isnt something we see on every low-cost smartphone. Android has been left alone for the most part, but Motorola has added in an app called Assist, around Android 4.3, with a promise of an upgrade to 4.4. Android 4.4 is only currently available on Googles Nexus devices and doubtless the reason Motorola can offer it so early is that Motorola is now owned by Google. Most budget handsets launch with an outdated version of the OS and stay there. We cant help wondering if through Motorola Google is trying to do with the Moto G at the lower end of the market what it has done with the Nexus 5 at the higher end offer a superb handset that really gives the competition a hard act to follow. If thats the strategy, wed say it has been implemented well.

Operating system...............Android 4.3 Processor...................................Snapdragon 400,

technical specs

1.2GHz quad-core

Memory.......................................1GB RAM, 8 or 16GB storage Dimensions..............................129.9 x 65.9 x 11.6mm Weight ..........................................143g Display size...............................4.5-inch Display resolution...............1,280 x 720 pixels Expansion slot.......................None

Motorola Moto G
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better than Performance

worse than

Offers solid mid-range performance and good battery life

Slightly chunky. Feels more solid than most budget devices

Not many extra features, but the quality of those here is high

Value for money

Flip covers
The Moto G doesnt support the same comprehensive customisation options as the Moto X did, but you can still change the look of the with a range of different covers and shells

Simply unrivalled. About half the price youd expect to pay

Verdict Dont look anywhere else if

Spice things up with coloured ip covers for a personalised look

The lower-end quad-core processor is able to handle most tasks fairly comfortably

Not being disturbed

Motorolas built-in software can silence the ringer at set times

youre on a budget. The Moto G sets a new standard for entry-level phones

85 Reviews

Kogan Agora HD
Two SIMs
With support for two SIMs, a cheap local SIM when you are abroad can be accommodated for

The Kogan approach to budget Android handsets is to give you a quad-core processor and a ve-inch screen. We put the Agora HD through its paces to see how it fared

Big screen
The ve-inch screen is nice for the price, and the HD resolution is very welcome too

Among a few software tricks is one that enables you to set the phone to go off and come on at set times to conserve the battery

ogan is a well-known brand in Australia, and it launched in the UK earlier this year. It specialises in selling at a low cost, and its rst smartphone, the Agora, was a dual-SIM supporting, ve-inch screened model for a little over 100. We didnt hate it, but we didnt think it was fantastic, even at that price. Kogan has pushed the boat out again with the Agora HD, again a ve-inch handset that can accommodate two SIMs, and which this time has a quad-core processor among its top features. At 149, it is more expensive than the earlier model. There is a lot of good news about this handset. Theres been a reasonable amount of attention paid to the build, and the rubbery backplate is useful in a handset that is this large as it helps you get a rm hold. The curved edges are attractive and the Agora HD is nicer to look at than Kogans earlier model. A ve-inch screen is not to be sniffed at, and at 1,080 x 720 pixels, it delivers enough resolution to show video and text to good effect. The IPS panel delivers good colour depth too. The screen isnt perfect, but for the price it is perfectly adequate. That quad-core processor is far from the leading edge, running at around 1.2GHz, but we found it responsive and it was able to handle what we asked of it. Android 4.2 is here in its raw form. Kogan has added just a couple of extras. Theres an FM radio and a couple of apps a le manager, to-do app, notes app, and Backup and Restore, which uses a micro SD card for backing up. There are also a few useful tools to let you take advantage of the two SIMs.

good for...

Money saving
This low-cost handset is priced in an affordable bracket Review
Four cores
The unnamed quad-core processor is not the fastest weve ever experienced, but it was nippy enough for normal day to day tasks

Kogan Agora HD

information Price 149

More information

Nice design
The design is quite attractive, and theres a grippy rubber nish to the back

Battery life
Youll need to be careful about your usage if youre to get through a whole day without needing to recharge

technical specs
If you only have one SIM then the handset wont mind itll work as normal. If you do have two then when you switch on the Agora HD you are immediately offered preset default settings for voice calls, video calls, messaging and data connections, and you can change these right away or at any time. And, of course, you can then override your settings in the dialer by picking whatever SIM you want to use on a case by case basis. Why might you want two SIMs? Well you might travel abroad and want a cheap local SIM, or you might have a second SIM for work-based calls, for example. Be aware that, as is the norm, only one of the SIM slots is 3G, while the other is stuck at 2G.

Operating system...............Android 4.2 Processor...................................1.2GHz quad-core Memory.......................................1GB RAM, 4GB storage Dimensions..............................144 x 74 x 11mm Weight ..........................................153g Display size...............................Five-inch Display resolution...............1,280 x 720 pixels Expansion slot.......................micro SD

Kogan Agora HD
ZTE Blade V
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Motorola Moto G
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That quad-core processor is far from the leading edge, running at around 1.2GHz, but we found it responsive and it was able to handle what we asked of it
There are two cameras. The back-facing one shoots stills to eight megapixels. It is nothing special, though you might like playing with the time-lapse shooting mode. The front twomegapixel camera is perfectly good for making video calls. However, two things drive this handset down in our estimation. One is the battery life. The Agora HD has a 2,000mAh battery and its probably only going to keep the phone alive for a day if you are a light user. We do really like the little software feature that lets you set the Agora HD to turn itself on and off at set times. You could use this to turn the phone off in the wee small hours, but come back on in time to sound your wake-up alarm. The other annoyance is the amount of onboard storage. The headline gure is 4GB. That would be a fairly small amount if it were whats free after the operating system has taken its toll. But it is the before amount. The after amount is just 2.6GB. Given that you cant store apps on micro SD cards with Android as was once possible, you should only consider this handset if you are not that into third-party apps. Its hard not to like what Kogan has done with the Agora HD, but we do wish it could have found room for more internal storage.

better than Performance

worse than

Not bad for the price, although there are limitations on what apps you can use

Quite plain but okay build. Nicer than the previous model

Some neat features including dual-SIM. Real lack of storage

Value for money

Good bang for your buck, albeit with some limitations

Verdict Very good value if you can live

with the Agoras serious lack of useable storage

The large, ve-inch screen is good for watching video

With support for two SIMs, this is the ideal phone for travellers

Websites look good on the Agora HD thanks to its decent pixel count

87 Reviews

any of our readers will remember the original Advent Vega, which launched just over three years ago. Yes, three years ago. It arrived at a time when ten-inch tablets were expensive and underwhelming, bringing with it a rock bottom price tag, support from a top UK retailer and a powerful Nvidia chipset. Throw in a high degree of hackability and it was exactly what the market needed it sold in huge numbers and to this

Advent Vega Tegra Note 7

day is fondly remembered among Android fans. The successor has been a long time coming and while it shares some key features with its predecessor a Nvidia processor is still on board and its still very competitively priced it has also changed to reect how the tablet market has matured since the original was released. The Advent Vega Tegra Note 7 is, as the name suggests, a seven-inch tablet. The release of the

Dixons own-brand Advent made a big splash when it released the original ten-inch Vega. Can it repeat the feat with its new device?

Nexus 7 another Nvidia device changed the tablet market completely. Prices dropped, practicality increased and the device was a runaway success. With the 2013 Nexus 7 moving to Qualcomm internals, you could argue that the Vega device is that devices spiritual successor too. Overall, the Vega packs good specs, albeit lacking in some areas compared to its main rival, the aforementioned 2013 Nexus 7. At the heart of the

Weak screen Connectivity ports

The micro USB power socket on the Vega is on the top, alongside the micro HDMI port, 3.5mm headphone port and the power button, which has a nice rm click to it. The volume buttons and the micro SD socket are on the right of the device The 1280 x 800 IPS screen is the weak point the colours dont pop like they do on some of its rivals. The screen has a fairly wide bezel but the tablet is still easily held with one hand

Stylus functionality
If a tablet with an in-built stylus is a must, your options are pretty limited only the Galaxy Note 8 offers similar functionality and its a lot more expensive. The DirectStylus is a high point of the device it feels great

Great sound
Why do other companies put speakers on the back of their devices? No such problem for the Vega. The speakers are loud and clear, even if they dont quite go up to 11 for intense gaming sessions

Portable size
The Vega is 9.4mm thick and weighs 320g. Its very similar in size to the original Nexus 7 and in that regard, its surprisingly pocketable particularly when using the optional ultra-thin case

good for...

The powerful processor and GPU make gaming silky smooth, while the speakers draw you in

88 Review
Advent Vega Tegra Note 7

information Price 179.99

More information

Battery life
Nine to ten hours of normal use is achievable, but gaming will shorten the lifespan considerably.

Distinctive design
Its unashamedly black plastic, but a textured back and distinctive design make the Vega interesting to look at and to hold. An optional smart case and stand with automatic wake and sleep functions slides into a groove on the devices side

Camera Awesome
The camera itself may not be awesome, but it uses the Camera Awesome app to take pictures, and it is one of the best, most functional and easiest to use camera apps for the Android platform

Operating system...............Android 4.2.2 Processor...................................Nvidia Tegra 4 1.8GHz quad-core Memory.......................................1GB RAM, 16GB storage Dimensions..............................120 x 190 x 9.4mm Weight ..........................................320g Display size...............................Seven-inch Display resolution...............1280 x 800 pixels Expansion slot.......................micro SD
Advent Vega Tegra Note 7
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technical specs

device beats a Nvidia Tegra 4 heart a quad-core CPU and a very powerful GPU ideally suited to the most demanding of games. 1GB of RAM is onboard (surprisingly, given the trend towards 2GB of RAM on devices now) and 16GB of storage. A micro SD slot, something that is arguably essential as many games grow to well over a gigabyte in size, supplements this. The usual array of connectivity is present micro USB, micro HDMI for connectivity to a TV, Bluetooth 4.0 and, of course, Wi-Fi. A ve-megapixel camera is included if you need it, together with a VGA front-facing camera for video calling and seles. The camera itself is acceptable for a tablet, using SmugMugs Camera Awesome as the camera app. The screen on the Vega is a 1,280 x 800 IPS unit. Its not bad, but it feels a lot like last years screen both in resolution and clarity. It certainly pales next to the new Nexus. The new Vega, as with the original, is a device thats engineered to a budget price point some compromises are evident and this is one example. Nvidias background is in gaming and the Vega is a great gaming tablet. As well as the powerful hardware and expandable storage, the device includes dual front-facing stereo speakers. With PureAudio technology built in, they crank up to a decent volume and its an often-overlooked

Nvidias background is in gaming and the Vega is a great gaming tablet

feature that really contributes to an immersive gaming experience. The Vega has one more party piece up its sleeve and the clues in the name. The tablet ships with a stylus and a silo in the device to put it in. The stylus itself has a great weight to it and an angled, spongy tip that lets you vary the thickness of screen input dependent on the pressure you put on it. The bundled apps for use with the stylus are fairly basic, but with the Google Play store on board, plenty of alternatives are available. Out of the box the Vega includes Android 4.2 in a very stock Android style. A handful of game demos are included and a couple of Nvidia Tegra specic apps, but if you like your Android pure, you wont nd much here to offend. Performance is silky smooth and battery life is good, although heavy gaming can deplete it quickly, as with any device.

Nexus 7 2013
issue 029

better than Performance

worse than

The Tegra 4 processor is highly capable and will handle anything you throw at it

Its a slab of black plastic. Some nice detail on the back, but the front is bland

Software is relatively pure Android, but the core hardware features are comprehensive

Value for money

While the device falls behind the class leaders, it represents excellent value

Verdict The Advent Vega is a worthy

follow up to the original. Its not the right tablet for everyone, but if it fits your need, its well worth a look

The stylus is more useful than you think. Grab Sketchbook Pro from Google Play and create!

Bluetooth controllers
Choose a case with a good stand to prop the device up, and its great fun

Taking pictures
Its not going to replace your point and shoot, but the included app is one of the best

89 Reviews

HP Slate 21
Hefty bezel
We dont mind the bezel so much, but the fact that it sits half a centimetre above the screen makes some gestures difcult to execute

HPs all-in-one device gives you the full Android experience in a 21-inch display. What could possibly go wrong?

s its name implies, the HP Slate 21 has a 21-inch screen. It runs a mobile OS and is located in the Tablets section of HPs website, yet it weighs 4.85kg and runs off the mains. Is it really a tablet, then, or is it a desktop replacement? Or something else? When you rst set the Slate 21 on your desk it feels as though it should be used as a desktop computer with a keyboard and mouse. With three USB ports, plus Bluetooth, you can attach them, or you can tilt the screen right back on its hinge and use the device almost at. Trouble is Android isnt really optimised for

Reective screen
The screen is of great quality but we found it to be quite reective. Keep it pointing away from windows

Ports galore
There are loads of connectivity ports round the back, including three USB, one SD and even Ethernet

Loud speaker
The speaker below the screen is very loud and produces good quality audio. Theres even 100 volume levels to give you precisecontrol

good for...

Media centre
Big screen and loud speaker equals above-par multimedia performance on Android

90 Review
HP Slate 21
keyboard and mouse, so you invariably nd yourself needing to prod and swipe anyway. Android isnt especially well optimised for a 21-inch display either. The soft keyboard is hilariously oversized (not to mention surprisingly laggy) while the status bar is overly small. This means the standard gesture of swiping down from the top-left of the screen to open the notication pane becomes excessively ddly, and is not helped by the fact that the screen is inset about ve millimetres below the bezel. We also encountered numerous apps that had problems. From those designed only to run in portrait mode so ran pillarboxed with black bars either side, to word-processing apps whose default font sizes had been set with much smaller screens in mind, to games that needed tilt controls. Even the browser is set up to use mobile websites rather than the full versions. Once we were fully set up and had started to gain an understanding of where the Slate 21 would work and where it wouldnt, it became somewhat useable. It never felt like anything other than a kludge, though, rather than a perfect marriage of hardware and software. Which is not to say its all bad, just that the strong points are all hardware related. The 1080p IPS screen is outstanding. It is bright and crisp and has pretty much unlimited viewing angles. The speaker below the screen was also impressively loud. Between them they made the Slate 21 a decent media centre. And when we did nd apps that worked well there was some fun to be had in the big screen we especially enjoyed a spot of zombie bashing in Dead Trigger 2, even if it did make our arms ache. On the design and build front we were fans of the large rear hinge that enabled us to position the screen at any angle we wanted. We were less keen on the very plasticky build not a major problem for a desktop computer but much less appealing for something that invites you to touch it. The Slate has no battery, so requires access to mains power at all times, making it a deantly non-portable device. With a beefy Tegra 4 processor clocked at 1.66GHz performance was good, although we would have preferred more than the 1GB of RAM. The AnTuTu benchmark test of processor and graphics performance put it up with the Galaxy Note 3, currently the most powerful Android device, and the Vellamo test of HTML5 performance put it ahead of everything. Of course, were comparing it to Android phones and tablets. The Slate 21 may look like a desktop computer but neither the hardware nor the software are up to the task of replacing an actual PC for anything approaching a task that would be regarded as demanding. At the outset we asked whether this was a desktop computer or a tablet. In truth it took us about ten minutes with the Slate 21 to nd the answer: its neither. It is too large and unwieldy to be a tablet, and runs software not suited to a desktop. It is an interesting idea, a kind of logical next step on from Asus Transformer series of tablet/laptop hybrids. The main difference being those devices work as either/or, unlike the Slate 21. HP suggests it is ideal for the kitchen or bedroom; we cant see why a proper tablet wouldnt serve you better in either case.

Price 329
More information

Battery life
The Slate does not have an emergency backup battery, so the device needs to be plugged into the mains at all times

Operating system...............Android 4.2.2 Processor...................................Nvidia Tegra 4 1.66GHz Memory.......................................1GB RAM, 8GB storage Dimensions..............................530.9 x 353.8 x 67mm Weight ..........................................4.85kg Display size...............................21.5-inch Display resolution...............1920 x 1080 pixels Expansion slot.......................SD, 3 x USB

technical specs

HP Slate 21
issue 003

issue 003

better than Performance

worse than

Fast but software is not optimised for this form factor

Hinge works well. Chunky bezels obscure some of Androids gestures

Software compatibility is mixed. Lacks anything to tie hardware and software

Value for money

Okay price but youd surely be better off with a tablet

Verdict A nice try but essentially

a flawed concept. Android simply doesnt suit a device of this size

Swiping your way around Google Maps and Street View is awesome on this device

Load up a few streaming TV apps like BBC iPlayer or Netix at will

Put a few choice widgets on the home screens and you can get organised easily

91 Reviews

Samsung Galaxy NX
Large sensor
The 20.3-MP APS-C CMOS sensor is on hand to produce high-quality images that are sharp and vibrant. Even at ISO 3200, images are crisp, clear and true to life

The worlds rst Android powered compact system camera has reached new heights of connectivity, but can it take great photos as well as download apps?

Android powered
The Galaxy NX is powered by the Android 4.2 Jelly Bean operating system, meaning that you have access to thousands of free and paid-for apps on the Google Play store

Lens system
The 18-55mm kit lens performs well, but there are also 12 other compatible lenses for the NX system. These include a 3D lens, 20mm prime and 60mm macro lens

The camera body is bulky but comfortable to hold, and also relatively lightweight at just 495g with the battery

he rise of cameraphone photography has created an obsession with sharing shots as soon as possible after taking them. Were now too impatient to wait until we get home before uploading our photos to the internet and want to keep everyone updated in real-time while were on the go. Of course, the problem is the lower quality of smartphone snaps that restrict you from showing off your photography skills in all their glory. Never one to miss an opportunity, Samsung has stepped into the breech with what it is heralding as the most connected compact system camera in the world the Samsung Galaxy NX. This Android-powered interchangeable lens camera has both Wi-Fi and a SIM slot, so you can share your photos exactly as you would on any smartphone. It also means that you can surf the web, communicate with friends and download apps onto the camera. And although you cant actually make phone calls, you can still keep in touch via apps that enable internet calls, email and even text should you want to. The Galaxy NX runs Android 4.3 with Samsungs TouchWiz UI in a version that is basically the same

Sample photos

Detail is good and with the large sensor you can control depth of eld well

Colours captured are bright and vibrant, without appearing over-saturated

Plenty of detail is captured up until ISO 3200 where images gradually lose quality

as weve seen on most of its 2013 phones. This includes a number of photo-oriented apps and functions. Photo Studio enables you to access huge libraries of images taken by others based on your location, giving you inspiration for composing your own travel shots, while Story Album organises, reframes and resizes your images to create photo books that you can display and print. Built-in creative lters such as Vignette, Fish Eye and Sepia are also immediately on hand to help you produce arty shots, and you can experiment with an array of Smart Modes including Panorama, Multi

Exposure and Sound and Shot for recording audio with still images. Something else the Galaxy NX has in common with the rest of the Galaxy range is the large 4.77-inch touchscreen. The display takes up the entire back of the camera and is fantastic for reviewing images. Unfortunately, this also means that there is no room for any physical buttons to control the camera, so almost everything has to be controlled by touch. This is not good news if youre not a touch-control fan, but it doesnt slow down operation too much, and in fact makes selecting a

92 Review
focus point much easier. The mode dial on the top of the camera is blank and is simply used to scroll through the digital mode dial on screen, plus if you are using a lens with Samsungs i-Function technology and press the iFn button, it can be used to change your exposure settings too. Although we didnt nd using the screen too difcult in bright sunlight, you can also frame your shots using the electronic viewnder. It Of course, what really sets the Galaxy NX apart from a smartphone or tablet is the image quality. The large 20.3-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor is the same as the one found in the superb NX300 and produces crisp, detailed images, even in low light. Noise doesnt appear until ISO 3200 and only becomes a major issue at ISO 12800 and above. The Advanced Hybrid Autofocus system also performs well, combining phase detection and

Samsung Galaxy NX

information Price 1299

More information

The 20.3-MP sensor is the same as the one found in the superb NX300 and produces crisp, detailed images, even in low light
automatically switches on when you put your eye up to it, however, it can be a little slow in doing so and is easy to accidentally switch on by moving your nger in front of it. Although a compact system camera, the size is more akin to that of an entry-level DSLR due to the chunky grip and large viewnder protruding from the otherwise slim-line body. It is comfortable to hold for long periods however, and although it feels rather plasticky, this also means that it wont weigh you down too much. Situated inside the large grip, there is a similarly large battery that is necessary if you plan on using the camera to surf the internet or play Angry Birds. It doesnt drain too quickly but it does depend on what you use it for. Next to the battery are two slots, one for a SIM card and one for a micro SD, an unusual sight on a dedicated camera. You also get 16GB of internal storage and 50GB of free Dropbox storage for backing up your shots. contrast AF to deliver sharp shots quickly and effortlessly, although it does struggle a little in low light. The only thing that will really slow you down is the series of painfully drawn out welcome screens that appear every time you start up the camera. Once you are switched on, going in and out of stand-by mode by pressing the on/off button is instantaneous, but powering down the camera completely could mean you miss an unexpected photo opportunity waiting for it to slowly spring back into life. Despite this slow start up and the rather unattractive design, the Samsung Galaxy NX is a fantastic bit of kit for those who want to take high-quality images and share them instantly. However, as it is so technologically advanced, it also comes with a rather eye-watering price tag. Until this falls dramatically, it is likely to only end up in the hands of Android enthusiasts with plenty of disposable income.

Battery life
Youll get around 350 shots with the NX, although it does depend how heavily you use the other features

Operating system...............Android 4.2 Processor...................................1.6GHz quad-core, DRIMe IV

imaging processor

technical specs

Memory.......................................2GB RAM, 16GB storage Dimensions..............................136.5 x 101.2 x 25.7mm Weight ..........................................495g with battery Display size...............................4.77-inch Display resolution...............1,280 x 720 pixels Expansion slot.......................micro SD
Thanks to the large sensor, image quality is superb, with accurate colours and lots of detail. It performs well at high ISOs and focusing is quick

The body design is ergonomic but also feels quite cheap and very bulky for a CSC, with a size similar to that of a DSLR

RAW shooting
The Galaxy NX gives you the choice of shooting in JPEG and RAW, and you can process images in-camera

As well as full manual controls and plenty of handy built-in functions, you can also download apps to extend your shooting, editing and sharing possibilities even further

Value for money

Although the Samsung Galaxy NX is at the height of connected camera technology, it is still very expensive

Verdict Streets ahead of your

Touch only
The external controls are sparse, but they are just enough to get by alongside using the touchscreen

smartphone camera, of course, but the price is simply too high to be able to recommend

93 Accessories

Netatmo Urban Weather Station

Braced for all weather
Both sensors are quite heavy and encased in a thick coating of aluminium. We tested both sensors in the midst of a storm and neither sensor had a scratch on them by the time we were done

The most detailed weather report of all time

Manage data

All the data thats picked up via both sensors is automatically added to the Netatmo app on your Android phone. Its also added online to the Netatmo servers, which you can log in to and see whenever you want

Real-time notications

Seasoned users will want to check out the notications feature, which enables users to create custom notications that will alert them to drastic changes to the current climate in their area


The two sensors are charged in different ways. The smaller indoor sensor can be charged via the DC power unit that comes with it, whereas the larger outdoor sensor is powered by four AAA batteries

ou can be forgiven for being a little bit suspicious of the real use of the Netatmo Urban Weather Station and it isnt until you really explore the units capabilities that you appreciate its benets. The weather station consists of two sensors, one which you situate close to your Wi-Fi router, while the other is placed outside in a safe and secure place. Thankfully the tough aluminium exterior of both sensors means they can pretty much handle any weather elements thrown at them. After then installing the Netatmo app on your Android device, you can

begin to track the weather conditions in your local area. Although being able to track the weather conditions is a nice feature, its the various other features on offer that make the Urban Weather Station a very interesting piece of kit. Theres scope to track humidity levels both in your home with the smaller sensor and outside, as well as tracking CO2 and noise levels. After prolonged use, you can begin looking at creating your own tracking system using the sensors to measure the things that really matter to you. The customisation is really impressive

and the level of detail you can go into on your Android smartphone is superb. To take it a step further, you can also use the free app to set up notications to notify you of when theres a massive change in the weather conditions. Despite being a very niche product, the Netatmo Urban Weather Station really is the best piece of kit weve ever seen for tracking the weather and other conditions in your local area. Theres no denying that the item itself is for a very niche audience but it certainly manages to do the job it sets out to complete.

Price 139/$179
More information

Performance Design Value
Weather fanatics will nd exactly what they need




GameStick looks to become the Android gaming king

After numerous delays, the GameStick is nally upon us and despite several changes, its sole aim is to provide a solid gaming experience powered by Android. The GameStick plugs directly into the HDMI port on your TV and is controlled by the controller that comes free of charge, even if the odd controller shape wont please everyone. Setting up the console is easy enough and the selection of games on offer is fantastic. Its hindered with lag issues throughout, which sometimes make games unplayable. Theres also problems with certain games not playing at the correct resolution, with some simply being poor upscales of current Android versions.

Price 79.99/$79.99 More information

Tangle-free earphones with their own Android app

The a-JAYS Five earphones have a few features that lift them above the norm. First, theyre tangle-free. The cord is at and rubberised and is literally impossible to get tangled no matter how carelessly you throw them into your pocket. Its also quite heavy as a result, and longer than average too, and wearing them dangling in front constantly felt as though they were being gently tugged from our ears. Next up is an Android app that enables you to congure the phones, including the performance of the button and various audio settings. The remote control works perfectly well without the app, and we tended to use the equalizer settings in our audio app of choice to tweak sound. On the whole we found the audio output to be very good if not spectacular it was certainly good enough for streaming music. Finally the Fives feature MEMS technology for improved speech quality, and here it did indeed perform very well. These earphones come beautifully packaged and look great. A good buy.

a-JAYS Five

Price 75/$99 More information

Treat yourself to a truly premium audio experience

The Parrot Zik headphones are not cheap, but for the audiophile they are worth the price. The design, by Philippe Starck, is gorgeous theyre large but light and perfectly weighted. The materials and build quality are brilliant. The headset connects to your phone via Bluetooth but does not forgo the added connectivity you get with a wired unit. The right ear piece has a built-in controller that enables you to skip tracks and adjust the volume, and theres also a sensor in one of the earpads that detects when you remove the headset. The accompanying Parrot Audio Suite app gives you control over your music, including what the company calls the Parrot Concert Hall effect. This expands the sound, although despite its rather grandiose name we didnt feel it to be a must have and were quite happy listening without. On the whole though theres little to quibble about headphones dont get too much better than this.

Parrot Zik


Headphones dont get too much better than this

Price 299.95/$399.95 More information Accessories

Super smartphone
Give your device a battery boost with one of these handy portable chargers

TYLT Syncable
Price 25.00/$29.99 More information

Kit: Emergency charger

Price 34.99/$55.99 More information

The small size of the Kit will please a lot of users, and with the necessary cables folded into the chargers design, its easy to carry around on your person. Out of the group, the Kit has the smallest battery life, meaning youll need to charge it often. Unfortunately this does also mean it takes a long time for it to get your phone fully charged and the LED lights that line the front of the charger to notify of charging levels tend to be misleading. Although its size works in its favour, the Kit has little else going for it.

The at build of the TYLT Syncable stops any tangles and tears from happening, with the thin rubberised coating being tough and durable. Although we only tested the smaller 12 inches, which happened to be more than enough for charging all Android devices, there are longer versions of the cable available if required.

PowerSkin PoPn
Price TBA/$69.99 More information

What really makes the PoPn charger completely different to the other chargers on test here is that its suctioned front means you can stick it to the backplate on your phone and charge it at all times. It does add a fair bit of bulk to your device, but the speedy charging process makes up for that. One problem with prolonged use of the PoPn is that youll soon notice the ex in the plastic casing, which really detracts from the otherwise stellar performance.

MobileLite Wireless
Price 55.19/$59.99 More information

Despite the primary use of the MobileLite being a superb SD and USB reader, it also has a great charging function for users to check out. Its a bit slow at getting devices to full battery life, but the other things the unit is capable of make the MobileLite a very useful piece of kit. Its also noticeably thinner than many other portable chargers and lightweight enough for you to keep on you at all times.


All your Android annoyances, and how to x them

From John M. Edmond Used HTC Desire C

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Your amazing Android snaps
From Alan Negus Used Samsung S4 From Russ Lewis Used Samsung S III

Taken a great shot with your Android phone or camera? Send it to us at:



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From Robert Harris Used HTC One


The hardware and software you need to keep your phone bang up to date


The hottest new Android phones and tablets tested in full

Issue 34 goes on sale:

23 Jan
Rock. Talk. Charge. Splash



Superb apt-X Bluetooth audio Slick NFC connectivity

Splash-proof aluminium design Pair 2 for True Wireless stereo

12hr battery can charge phones Brings Bluetooth to any hi-



Ultra-rugged, water-resistant design O 12hr battery life can also charge phones O Bluetooth music and hands-free calls


White hot bargain Braven O 10hr battery life can also charge phones O Bluetooth music and hands-free calls


Bigger Braven; 20W of apt-X audio power O 20hr battery; can also charge phones/tablets O Bluetooth music and hands-free calls


Big & rugged with 20W of apt-X audio power 20hr battery; can also charge phones/tablets O Bluetooth music and hands-free calls