Archive for July 11th, 2017

By July 11, 2017 Read More →

Essential Tech To Survive A Festival Weekend

2017-07-11 (3)Festival season has now kicked off, and if you’re planning to spend a weekend away in a field at some of the UK’s best events or even abroad, then it’s best to consider some of the best tech around to keep you charged up and entertained. With a variety of must-have gadgets and technology available – Niall Green, CEO of Second Screen – a cutting-edge app developer for the creative industries – offers his essential tech recommendations to survive a festival weekend.

  1. Download the festival’s app
    The best way to plan your weekend is download the festival’s app. You’ll be able to find stage times, last minute lineup additions, secret announcements, exclusive content and much more. At Second Screen, we produce cutting-edge apps for festivals such as Isle of Wight Festival, Love Supreme, Livewire Festival, Boardmasters, Fusion Festival and many more – all of which enhance the overall festival experience and brings fans that much closer to the event.
  2. Invest in a powerbank
    No festival survival pack is complete without a powerbank. Finding power supply in a field is tough enough, let alone waiting hours on end in the long queues at the recharge tents.The answer is grabbing yourself a nifty powerbank- it should be the first thing to tick on your checklist. Invest in a good quality sturdy powerbank that can offer multiple recharges over the weekend. You’ll find it to be an absolute godsend when you’ve lost your friends in the middle of the night and you’re low on battery power.
  3. Pack a Bluetooth speaker
    When the music stops, it’s officially the campsite after party! Make sure you bring along a waterproof Bluetooth speaker so you can be campsite DJ for the weekend. It’s the worst feeling at a festival when you head back to your tent area after the headliners have finished and there’s no music.
  4. Protect your phone with a tough case
    It’s highly likely your phone will end up in the mud at some point. So, protect it. It’s one thing losing your phone during the craziness that goes on, but if you’re able to provide the best defence for you phone, then you should take full advantage of that.There are so many tough phone cases to choose from, so ensure you pick one that offers the best shock absorption, waterproof casing and screen security.
  5. Take a torch
    Avoid tripping over guy ropes in the middle of the night and endlessly stumbling around in the dark looking for a loo. By packing a torch you’ll solve all your problems with one essential gadget and you wont be loosing that valuable phone battery with its torch.

So whether you’re heading to the mud-covered fields of Worthy Farm or living it up in a teepee at Shambala this year, make sure you’re armed with some handy gadgets and tech to survive your festival weekend.

Second Screen, the brainchild of Niall Green, is a creative concept to bridge the gap between fans, artists and events – via apps. Second Screen has created numerous apps for the likes of pop sensation, Anastacia; as well as several prominent UK festivals, including The Isle of Wight Festival, East London Fringe Festival, Liverpool Sound City and Fusion Festival.

To find out more information about Second Screen go to www.secondscreenldn.com

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By July 11, 2017 Read More →

Vodafone Smart V8 Review

P1030864Picking up great value for money seems to be getting more and more common these days. Vodafone has really put together a very nice combination of high-end features combined with quality materials and a cheap price tag. The Vodafone Smart V8 is pretty amazing value for money and worth checking out.

Vodafone, Smart V8, Android, Google, business, qualcomm, snapdragon, 3gb, 435

Looking around the device on the top we have a small microphone hole plus a 3.5 mm headphone jack. There are also two incisions for the antenna array.

Vodafone, Smart V8, Android, Google, business, qualcomm, snapdragon, 3gb, 435

To the right of the screen is the simple volume rocker, changed from the previous Smart Platinum and Smart Ultra design, this is now has a beautifully milled bevelled edge to the rocker as opposed to the textured approach last year.

Vodafone, Smart V8, Android, Google, business, qualcomm, snapdragon, 3gb, 435

At the bottom are two grills for the mono speaker, the one to the right has a speaker behind it. Plus a microUSB connection, again there are two incisions for the antenna array.

Vodafone, Smart V8, Android, Google, business, qualcomm, snapdragon, 3gb, 435

To the left of the screen is the SIM card tray which also doubles as a microSD card reader. Below this is the power button with similarly bevelled edges. It’s worth noting from last year to this year they have relocated the power button to the left-hand side of the device which may take some getting used to, however, it’s hardly a cause for concern.

Vodafone, Smart V8, Android, Google, business, qualcomm, snapdragon, 3gb, 435

To the rear is a slightly pronounced 16-megapixel autofocus camera with a LED flash to it right. The camera is capable of capturing video at 1080p, 30 frames per second and we’ll get the results later on. Below this is a fingerprint reader. Further on down the shiny brushed Steel rear is the Vodafone emblem. To the top and the bottom are pieces of textured plastic again to help with the antenna array.

Vodafone, Smart V8, Android, Google, business, qualcomm, snapdragon, 3gb, 435

The front of the device has a 5.5 inch LTPS IPS LED LCD capacitive touchscreen with a resolution of 1080 by 1920 working out at a PPI of 401. Whilst there is no Gorilla Glass on here Asahi Dragontrail has been employed instead.

Inside the device is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 435 backed by 3gb of RAM and an Adreno 505 GPU. This octa-core 1.4 gigahertz processor is hardly the speediest on the block however it certainly does manage to make easy work of most day-to-day tasks. Flipping through various social media applications I never noticed any slow down and gaming proved to be quite successful especially with some high end games like Grand Theft Auto.

A 3000mAh battery sits inside, and coupled with the low powered Snapdragon 435 processor is more battery than you would need for a full day of heavy use. Whilst the smart V8 does not manage two full days on one charge it gets very close.

Vodafone have kept the device almost stock save for a few Vodafone-branded applications to assist with calling, messaging or just general assistance on the go there are a few extra applications that have been thrown in that may assist in day-to-day business, for example the private space application that allows you to lock down various portions of the phone or applications to avoid information being compromised if the phone is lost. Interestingly enough, Google cardboard applications are installed as default which we tend not to see terribly often.  

One thing that really surprised me for £150 is the camera. It really is very good, examining some of the photographs taken in broad daylight shows little degrade or pixelation and the colour representation is quite faithful. Even in low-level light the camera and LED flash function very well and proved to be fast and responsive.

The digital zoom works quite well, there isn’t a huge amount of loss in the image once zoomed in.

Vodafone, Smart V8, Android, Google, business, qualcomm, snapdragon, 3gb, 435

There isn’t a tremendous amount of toys built into the camera save for some filters, a Panoramic function and some HDR settings anti-shake have been included, you can adjust the function of the volume keys during picture taking, set up camera quick launch using the volume keys and adding watermarks.

Video footage is passable, not the hottest quality in town, but far from horrible. The footage is uploaded directly to Youtube from the phone and the only compression to the video is that which Youtube applies. The microphone is incredibly sensitive, picking up some heavy breathing from me, distant grumbles from the dogs and managing to filter out a some of the wind noise.

Here is a selection of images from the camera. Colours are well represented and manage a depth we would expect from a higher end phone.

To the front of the device is an 8 megapixel camera that is perfect for selfies and works rather well in low-level light without the assistance of a flash. I expected this to be fairly rubbish however it works out very well and Vodafone has even taken the time to add a few extra features, for example, being able to add smoothing to the skin in the beauty function.

If there was a missed opportunity I was to complain about it would be the fingerprint sensor as, of this time of the review, I was unable to find any way of adding any extra features to the fingerprint sensor other than unlocking the phone as with other phones on the market we have seen some clever additions added to the fingerprint sensor.

Vodafone, Smart V8, Android, Google, business, qualcomm, snapdragon, 3gb, 435

The phone is originally built by ZTE, who have really upped their game in the last five years to become one of the major competitors on the market. Interweaving this with Vodafone’s business minded network put together a pretty lethal combination in a very competitive world and bringing an excellent option for business users everywhere with an exceptionally competitive price. Coupled with Vodafone’s recently upgraded 4G network this will provide terrific communications for a small and growing business.

With the Vodafone Smart V8, it’s hard to believe their flagship is a budget phone. However, it really shows how budget phones are closing the gap and catching up on the overpriced flagships being produced by companies for four or five times the price. Right now I would consider using the smart V8 as my main driver if I was on the Vodafone network as this phone easily handled everything I have thrown at it, and getting me through the day with plenty of juice to spare.

Posted in: Phones, Reviews
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