Posts Tagged smartphone

10 Smartphone Apps to Help You Get Fit this New Year

10 Smartphone Apps to Help You Get Fit this New Year

When the new year rolls around, almost everyone you’ll meet will tell you that they’re going to get healthy and lose weight this year. It’s a great goal to have, but a hard one to achieve. However, technological advancements are making it easier than ever to stay true to your fitness goals, with apps available to help with just about any type of workout. In this article, we’ve done the hard work for you and compiled a list of the best fitness apps, so you can focus on working out and dieting hard!

1. Aaptiv

Aaptiv is an audio-only fitness workout platform that allows you to stream workout classes delivered by qualified fitness instructors, straight to your Smartphone. Aaptiv is great for people who like to workout at home whilst still having access to expert classes and instruction. The app is available on iOS and Android, making it accessible on just about any smartphone. The only downside is that Aaptiv isn’t free, but many reviews regard it as worth the money if you’re really committed to working out every day.

2. SweatCoin

For people that prefer to reach their fitness goals at a slower pace, SweatCoin could be the answer. SweatCoin is essentially a pedometer app that rewards users for the number of steps they take. Most reviews regard the idea of SweatCoin as really good, but unfortunately, the rewards really aren’t that exciting. However, tracking your steps is always a good way of encouraging yourself to do more physical exercise, and the app allows you to share your walking achievement on social media too. SweatCoin is free to use and available on iOS and Android. The app also allows you to interact and exchange SweatCoins with other users which could inject some healthy competition into your walking.

3. MapMyFitness

If you’re the kind of person that enjoys meticulously tracking your fitness endeavours then this app could be for you. MapMyFitness is run by UnderArmour and allows users to track just about any type of activity they want to. Whether you want to count your steps or estimate you burnt calories during exercise, MapMyFitness will be able to help you. You can record how long you run for, where you ran, and plan your future routes. It may not necessarily help you to exercise more, but it will sure make you feel as though you’re putting the effort in!

4. FitBod

FitBod is the perfect app for gym junkies and weightlifters. It uses intelligent software to devise highly personalised workout plans that can ensure your workouts are efficient and effective. It offers advice and tips on new exercises and correct form and is available on Android and iOS. Unfortunately, the app isn’t free, but a free trial is available that can allow you to get a feel for how useful the software could be.

5.  HowUdish

HowUdish is an app available on iOS only (sorry Android users!) and is designed to making eating healthy on the go easier. One of the hardest parts about sticking to a diet is knowing how many calories are in foods that you don’t cook for yourself. HowUdish is aiming to make this easier by offering location-based suggestions for restaurants that might fit your dietary requirements and allowances. It also stores your personal weight loss goals and statistics to help you to make better food choices when you are out and about. Despite it only being available on iOS, it is free, which is good news for iPhone users that love eating out.

6. Pocket Yoga

Pocket Yoga is perfect for any aspiring yogis looking to gain flexibility and enlightenment this new year. This app can help you to align mind and body by giving you access to full yoga routines and a comprehensive yoga pose dictionary on the go. There are some similar apps available, but this one is available on both Android and iOS which is why it made the list. Of course, yoga may not help you to shed your Christmas weight quickly, but it can help you to improve your flexibility and muscle fitness which goes a long way to making you feel healthier.

7. Calm

As the saying goes, the key to a healthy life is having a healthy mind, which is why this app made the list. Calm grew in popularity in 2018, as it aims to tackle the ever-present problem of stress and sleep deprivation. The app is available to trial for free on iOS and Android and has got tons of positive reviews. Mindfulness might not be for everyone, but many fitness gurus will tell you that looking after your mental health will help you to be more successful in achieving your diet and exercise goals.

8. MyFitnessPal

MyFitnessPal is another extremely popular app that can help you to diet more successfully. The app is essentially a huge database of food products which you can use to check the calorie and nutritional information of what you’re eating. The app is available from the various smartphone app stores and is a great download for anyone attempting a calorie controlled diet this year.

9. FatSecret

FatSecret is another diet planning and tracking app, that allows aspiring dieters to log what they eat and cook in a diary. As well as this, FatSecret has a large database of healthy recipes for users to try and rate. The app is available for free in major app stores and advertises itself as being unmatched by other available calorie counter apps, but you can be the judge of that!

10. Lose It!

The final addition to our list, Lose It!, is a popular, all-encompassing fitness app that has elements of many of the apps listed above. If you’re keen on using just one app to reach your fitness goals, then Lose It! can offer you fitness and diet tracking as well as access to a like-minded community of… losers?  Anyway, the app be can download the app on iPhone or Android for free, but there are some in-app purchases available.

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8 Ways You Can Use Your Smartphone To Stay Organised

8 Ways You Can Use Your Smartphone To Stay Organised

Smartphones are fast becoming a necessity and almost everyone has one, but not everybody uses their phone to its full potential. When you go phone shopping, you’re often overwhelmed by salespeople listing hundreds of different features that you have no idea to use. Whilst this can be annoying, it’s possible to use your phone for more than just calling and texting and checking your social media; it could be used as a pocket-sized digital organiser. As much as yearly planners and diaries are nice to look at, they’re less functional than digital alternatives and let’s face it, they’re pretty outdated. If you’re finally ready to make the switch to digital organisation, here’s how to do it.

1. Download a To-Do List App

One of the main things everybody needs to stay organised is a good to-do list. However, many of us are still writing out the most important information on scraps of paper or post-it notes that we found in the bin. If you really want to get organised, it’s a good idea to download a to-do list app, that’s at your disposal, whenever the need strikes you. There are loads of great to-do list apps available across all platforms, and they’re usually free. Some of the most popular include Google Tasks, Todoist and Evernote.

2. Choose a Calendar App

Switching from a physical diary to a calendar app can be quite difficult, but once you’ve committed to the transition, you’ll probably find that you’re much more organised. Calander apps are often very intuitive and can link to other apps on your phone to help your days run more smoothly. For example, if you have a day full of meetings in different locations, you may find some calendar apps that can integrate with mapping apps and weather apps to help you to be prompt and on time for every meeting, and it may even warn you about weather conditions that could cost you time.

3. Re-Organize Your Alarm Clock

Getting out of bed in the morning is usually the hardest task of the day but with the help of your smartphone, you may be able to make it a little bit easier. The idea of using a smartphone as an alarm clock is certainly not foreign to most people, but disorganised alarm apps can cause you problems to your schedule. If you take a look at your alarm clock, you’ve probably got a lot of random presets that you won’t ever need to use. By deleting these you eliminate the risk of accidentally setting your alarm to the wrong time and being late. You should also check which days your daily alarm is set to sound so that you are prepared for all of your working days and you don’t get woken up at 6:30 on your day off.

4. Delete Unused Apps

Are you the kind of person that has hundreds of apps downloaded that you never actually use? You’re not the only one! However, having too many apps on your home screen can cause you to be less organised and lose precious seconds of your day looking for the app you need. If you want to be more organised, delete the apps that you don’t need and organise them so you see the apps that you use most regularly first. If you have any apps that you don’t often use but you really can’t part with, then stick them in a folder out of the way of your important apps like calendars, google docs and social media.

5. Clear Out Your Contacts

A simple email from a co-worker saying ‘Hi it’s Katy – give me a call’ can cause an organisational meltdown if you don’t cultivate your contact list regularly. Having duplicate contacts, not saving new numbers, or not specifying which Katy is which when you save numbers can be a nightmare. In order to avoid awkward interactions and spending time searching for the right person, clear out any contacts you don’t need any more and update your existing contacts to make it clear who they are and how you know them.

6. Link Your Email Accounts

Despite popular email providers like Gmail and outlook spending a ton of money on smartphone optimised apps, a lot of people never actually get round to linking their email accounts to their smartphone. Although it works, logging into your email via your phones web browser takes much longer than using an app, and it can be harder to read the emails and respond if you need to. Linking your account in the app can help you to keep a better track of your emails when you’re on the go and it only takes a few minutes.

7.  Make Use of Voice-Activated Virtual Assistants

Whilst Siri and Cortana still have a way to go before they achieve the AI greatness we all expect from them, they are extremely useful when it comes to maximising your time and staying organised. Virtual assistants are great for setting reminders, answering questions fast and helping you to send texts and make calls hands free. Learning how to use virtual assistants and finding out what they can do could help to improve your productivity and stay organised.

8. Link your credit cards

Using your phone to pay for everyday purchases is becoming more popular and can help you to be more organised. Apps like Apple Pay allow you to scan your phone as opposed to credit cards when paying. As well as this spending tracking apps can help you to stay on top of your finances by logging what you spend via credit cards and receipt scanning. If saving money or keeping track of what you spend was one of your new year’s resolutions then linking your credit cards to your phone could help you

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10 Best Gifts for Smartphone Lovers this Christmas

10 Best Gifts for Smartphone Lovers this Christmas

Christmas should be a time for mince pies, warm fires, and family fun, but in this modern world, the most exciting thing about Christmas for some people is upgrading their tech. One of the most popular gifts to give at Christmas time is a new smartphone, and this is a great idea for children and adults alike.

If you’re someone who doesn’t know an iPhone from a Samsung, then buying the perfect gift can be hard but you don’t need to worry, because we’ve done the hard work for you. Let’s take a look at the best gifts to buy for the smartphone addicts in your family this Christmas.


1. A Phone Case

If your loved one has just received an expensive new phone for Christmas you can be sure that they will want to protect it from damage anyway that they can. Although a phone case may seem like an inexpensive and thoughtless present, you would be surprised at how much thought you can actually put into choosing the right case. There are lots of different types available, some with backlights for taking photos, some that have a ring on that makes them perfect for selfie-takers and some which are super durable for the clumsiest among us.


2. Headphones

Headphones are always a great gift that are well received and you can really tailor them to any budget. If you have loved ones who love their music then you could try a high-quality pair of full headphones which they can use around the house. If your loved one uses their headphones on the go, then a smaller pair of earbuds might be better suited. Pro Tip: Be sure that the person your buying for has a phone with a headphone jack, if not, you may have to opt for wireless headphones.


3. A Power Bank

One of the biggest drawbacks with modern phones is battery life and smartphone lovers tend to be the people that are most affected by this. For someone who is addicted to their phone, there is no better gift to give than battery life. With a portable power bank, your loved ones can recharge their phones on the go and make sure that they never miss a Facebook update or an Instagram post.


4. Mobile VR

Mobile VR is still in its infancy, but it’s becoming more popular, and better. Devices like the Samsung Gear for are extremely popular for Samsung users and give access to over 800 VR apps. If your loved one loves VR and likes playing games and watching movies using their phone, this could be the perfect gift. Whilst devices like the Samsung Gear don’t come cheap, there are mobile VR devices at a range of different price points.


5. A Phone Tracker

If you or someone you know has spent hundreds of dollars on the latest smartphone, the worst fate imaginable is them losing it. The good news is, you can ensure they always know where their beloved phone is by treating them to a tracker this Christmas. Trackers like the TrackR Pixel are an affordable gift which can be attached to a smartphone case. The device works via Bluetooth and can help users to track down the location of the phone and it can even make the phone ring when on silent mode.


6. Car Accessories

For extreme phone addicts, putting down their smartphone when they are driving is a hard task, but you can help keep them safe this Christmas by decking their cars with smartphone accessories. Accessories like car phone mounts and chargers are a smartphone lovers best friend, as it means they can stay connected whilst on the road without sacrificing their road safety.  

7. App Store Vouchers

It can be really hard to get smartphone lovers gifts because it often seems like they don’t do anything but play on their phone, but the truth is that they probably spend a lot of money on the various apps that they use on a daily basis. Whilst some people feel it’s impersonal to give cash for Christmas, vouchers are a more acceptable present. It’s easy to find vouchers for all the major app stores, but be sure to find out which operating systems your loved ones are using, to avoid any disappointment on Christmas day.


8. A Smartphone Camera Lens

This gift is perfect for the selfie kings and queens among us. With the growth of social media platforms like Instagram, a lot of different products have become available to help us to capture the perfect snap. One of the better products is the detachable lens for smartphone cameras. Popular models such as the Moment Tele Lens make a great mid-range gift for Christmas and are sure to be a hit with young social media moguls.


9. Smartphone Remote Control Toys

These are gifts that are more exciting for the younger generation of smartphone lovers and are sure to sufficiently annoy everyone on Christmas day. There’s a good selection of robots available that link up and can be controlled using a smartphone. Popular models include tanks, planes and the Sphero BB-8 for the star wars lovers.


10. Bluetooth Speakers

This is the perfect gift for smartphone lovers who enjoy a good party. Bluetooth speakers link to smartphones easily and can provide a great backing track to any event. You may find that you’re Christmas day is overrun with cheesy Christmas tunes if you buy this as a gift, but they are sure to be a hit with the music lovers in your family.


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Smartphone Batteries Don’t Last Forever, So You Need To Maintain Yours Properly

Smartphone Batteries Don’t Last Forever, So You Need To Maintain Yours Properly

Lithium batteries generally power today’s smartphones and tablets. In your lifetime, you’ve probably owned a half-dozen or more smartphones. Every device features a battery with a specific rated capacity. Did you know the actual capacity can vary from battery to battery? Typically, the average smartphone owner doesn’t understand how their smartphone’s battery works or what care should be taken. There’s a lot to learn about these batteries, and you can take various steps to maximize a battery’s lifespan.

A Quick Bit Of History On Batteries In Smartphones

Early smartphones utilized nickel-cadmium batteries to keep devices running. Nickel-cadmium batteries suffered from a memory effect as well as other shortcomings. Awhile back, smartphone manufacturers started to use lithium-ion batteries instead. Lithium-ion batteries are smaller, more efficient, and they last quite some time before needing to be replaced. Arguments could be made for either type of battery, but lithium-based batteries long ago established themselves as the battery of choice for smartphones.

Manufacturers Build Smartphone’s With A Specific Lithium-Ion Battery Capacity

When a manufacturer builds a smartphone, the device features a lithium-ion battery with a rated capacity. This is the official rating for the battery in milliampere hours (mAh). As previously mentioned, this number is the official rating rather than the exact rating. Small differences in manufactured batteries means your smartphone’s battery capacity could come slightly above or slightly below that mark. You don’t have to worry about getting a battery that’s more than a few mAh off the official rating, though.

Manufacturers Also Like To Seal Batteries With No Option For Removal

In years past, smartphone makers created devices with removable batteries. You’d pop off the back cover of the phone, and you’d have immediate access to the battery. This was necessary to hard reset some devices, and the situation made it possible to replace a dying smartphone battery. Lithium-ion batteries don’t last forever, and they often don’t last more than a few years. As smartphones became thinner and lighter, manufacturers moved toward making batteries non-removable.

Most of today’s smartphones hide the battery behind proprietary screws and plenty of other obstacles. Some manufacturers might cite safety as a reason for embedding batteries with no option for removal. However, others will tell you that doing so prevents you from replacing a battery yourself. You’ll instead have to send the device to the manufacturer and pay a hefty fee for a replacement battery. Millions of consumers lament past days where accessing the battery took less than five seconds.

How To Properly Care For Your Smartphone’s Battery

Proper battery care and maintenance is surrounding by dozens of myths. You’ll find a lot of misinformation related to smartphone batteries for one reason or another. For instance, many people take battery maintenance tips for nickel-cadmium batteries and apply them to lithium-ion batteries. All of the same rules don’t apply to both types of batteries, though. Therefore, you’ll want to follow this guide on how to properly maintain your smartphone’s battery throughout the course of ownership.

The average lithium-ion battery holds up over 1,000 full charge and discharge cycles. Whether you charge your battery 1% or 100%, every charge counts toward a partial cycle. You’ll start to notice that battery life begins to suffer after 500 or so full cycles. A smartphone might only last an hour or two per charge by the time 1,000 cycles come and go. For heavy smartphone users, a battery might be done for after a year. Lighter users might get ample use out of the battery for three or more years instead.

What To Do WIth A Brand New Smartphone

When you get a new smartphone, you’ll want to charge the device to 100% before doing anything else. This particular tidbit is a recommendation rather than a mandatory action. Long-term harm from turning on the phone without charging it is highly unlikely, Still, it’s nice to start ownership of a new phone with a fully charged battery. You don’t have to charge the device for 12 to 24 hours, like some manufacturers recommend. That guideline pertains to nickel-cadmium batteries rather than lithium-ion.

What Are Your Charging Habits Like With Your Smartphone?

Charging habits have a lasting impact on the health of your phone’s battery. Some people believe you should keep devices charged to 100% as often as possible. On the other hand, some think you need to let the phone discharge to 0% on a regular basis. Both of these steps will leave you with a dead battery sooner rather than later. Lithium-ion batteries are healthy and happy while in a charged range from 20% to 80%. Of course, your battery won’t become unusable or die for good outside of this range.

Most of us like to plug in our smartphones while going to bed and then taking it off the charger in the morning. Unfortunately, this leads to dozens of “micro-charges” throughout the night, and your battery receives unnecessary wear and tear from so much charging. You’ll want to keep your phone charged between 20% and 80% to avoid putting too many unnecessary charging cycles on the device. Your phone doesn’t need to be fully charged every day, and better charging habits keep the battery healthy.

Temperature Can Kill A Battery In Multiple Ways

While using a smartphone, you should avoid extremely cold or extremely hot temperatures. A smartphone heats up during use, but it’s designed to withstand normal operating temperatures. Leaving your phone out in the sun, however, could heat up the battery and damage it. Extreme heat could cause the battery to swell up and catch fire, or even explode. Similarly, extreme cold puts unnecessary wear on the battery. Don’t expose your device to temperature extremes, or the battery could meet a premature end.

What Is The Future Of Smartphone Batteries?

Scientists across the globe continue to develop new battery technologies. None of them have proven viable for the consumer market (smartphones, tablets, laptops, etc.) yet. At this point, developments in lithium-ion batteries have reached somewhat of a climax. Scientists can only stuff so much energy into each battery, and nobody wants to walk around with a brick of a smartphone in their pocket. Promising batteries involving graphene and other materials may materialize in the next decade.

Until that happens, we’re stuck with the tried and true lithium-ion battery. You should take the time to properly care for and maintain your smartphone’s battery. Chances are you can’t replace the battery by popping out the old one and putting in a new one. Plenty of consumers simply replace their smartphone as the battery starts to hold less and less of a charge. With that in mind, proper care can prolong the life of a given lithium-ion battery by a noticeable amount of time.

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Saving Money When Buying a Smartphone: How to Decide What’s Important

Saving Money When Buying a Smartphone: How to Decide What’s Important

Smartphones come at a staggering array of price points, and individuals on nearly any budget can find an adequate phone. While paying for a premium model will almost always result in a great experience, those looking to spend a bit less will need to find out what features of their phones are most important. Here are a few of the features that drive up the price of phones and some tips for deciding which features are most important to you.

Storage Space

One of the primary differences between price points on a particular model is the amount of storage space the phone has, so determine how much you’ll need. The lowest-price phones often come with only 8 GB of memory, and much of this memory will be used by the operating system itself, often only leaving a few GB of space left. While this is sufficient for a minority of phone users, most people will want at least 16 GB. For those who want space for many apps, especially games, upgrading to 32 GB might be a wise decision. Storing songs and video files on your phone will also demand more space, although many people rely on streaming services instead of internal storage. Check if the phone you’re interested in can hold an external SD card if you’re interested in carrying your music collection with you instead of streaming.

Screen Resolution

Smartphone resolutions have increased dramatically over the years, and some smartphones have resolutions higher than those used to project films in theaters. However, even the lowest-cost phones have resolutions that are perfectly adequate, and 720p resolution provides a crisp and clear image when streaming videos. Devices with a higher resolution typically provide a slightly more crisp look for text, making them better suited for web browsing and other reading. Still, the difference can be fairly minimal, so try out a lower-resolution device and determine if it’s sufficient for your needs. Lower-resolution devices have another advantage: better battery life.

Battery Capacity

More battery life is always better, but cutting-edge batteries are often expensive. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to estimate the battery life of a potential phone, but reviews and specifications can provide some guidance. While being able to use your phone all day is a nice perk, those who work at a desk typically have access to a charger, so recharging is simple. Furthermore, those who don’t use their phones for heavy gaming or other activities might find a smaller battery to be more than adequate for making it through an entire day or even longer. If you’re concerned about using your phone in places where outlets aren’t available, consider picking up a phone with a replaceable battery so you can carry an extra with you when needed.

Build Material

One of the primary differences between premium phones and other devices is the materials they’re built from. Although there are some exceptions, premium devices typically use materials other than plastic. However, plastic has a number of advantages over metal devices, as it won’t dent. Plastic won’t shatter like glass can. Although they may lack a premium feel, using a phone made of plastic can be a great way to save money. Furthermore, many people place their phones in cases, and premium materials do little to enhance the phone experience if they’re placed behind a case. However, it’s still worth looking at overall build quality, as some phones are built to a higher quality regardless of what material they’re made of.

Screen Size

In the past, phones with larger screens almost always cost more than their smaller counterparts. While this isn’t always the case today, smaller phones still generally cost less. Small screens have advantages as well: They can be easier to carry and hold while you’re talking. It’s always worth trying out phones when you have the opportunity, so note the size of screens when you’re exploring various phones. If a larger screen would enhance the experience, budget a bit more to purchase a larger device. If you prefer the easy-to-grip design of small phones, they can be a great way to cut back on costs.

Gaming Performance

All phones sold today have sophisticated GPUs in place that can provide rich 3D gaming performing. Some premium devices, however, place a larger emphasis on gaming performance than less expensive devices. If you’re only interested in casual games, or have no interest in gaming at all, feel free to ignore these capabilities, as your phone will have the graphical capabilities needed to stream video handle web browsing adequately. If you want to push mobile gaming to its limits, on the other hand, consider investing in a phones with a more capable GPU.

Camera Resolution and Features

Smartphone screens have advanced tremendously over the years, and premium phones can take excellent photographs. For those not terribly interested in photo quality, however, it might be worth placing less of an emphasis on the camera’s resolution. Furthermore, many current smartphones use multiple lenses for the main camera, but the benefits can be minor. Smartphone cameras provide amazing quality for their small size, but even the most expensive cameras can’t match the quality of a standalone camera. If you take photography as a hobby seriously, consider saving money on your smartphone and instead invest in a camera.

Even the least expensive smartphone is capable of handling phone calls, web browsing, video streaming, and navigation well. Considering how often we use our smartphones, however, it’s worth spending a bit extra to make the experience a better one. Fortunately, those willing to look at phones outside of a single manufacturer have plenty of great options to choose from at nearly all price points. If you’re on the market for a new phone, make of list of the features that are most important to use. Start doing your research early, as your ideal phone might be one that hasn’t yet been released but that’s coming on the market soon. A bit of research can go a long way toward helping you make a purchase you’ll enjoy until it’s time for your next upgrade.

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