Author Archive: Matt

More than 20 years in the IT industry. Blogging with a passion and thirst for new technology since 2005.

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By December 12, 2013 Read More →

LG Gx details emerge

lgLG seem to have had a pretty successful end to 2013 with two of the more popular Android smartphones on the market at the moment coming from LG; The Nexus 5 and the flagship LG G2.

Already we’re starting to see some details of what could be the LG G2’s successor and if ppomppu.co.kr are correct the device will be called the LG Gx.

Based upon a google translate of the page, the LG Gx will have a diaplay slightly larger than the Nexus 5 and G2 at 5.5-inches,  a claimed 2GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage and LTE-A support. It has also been said that there will be a 13-megapixel rear camera and a whopping 3140 mAh battery.

Where the information seems to have been called in to question is in the chipset department where the claim is that a Qualcomm 600 rather than the ‘usual’ 800 is listed which doesn’t seem to ring true as the devices that the Gx will succeed are 800 based.

We’ll be keeping or eyes peeled for more on this one as we’re pretty big fans of the Nexus 5!

LG-Gx5

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By December 11, 2013 Read More →

Getting the Most Out of Your DSLR Camera: 7 Tips

6860378070_c0501eef67A DSLR camera is so much more than a point-and-shoot tool to take nice family pictures. With a few basics tips and a lot of practice, you can create artistic-studio quality work that you will be proud to share with family and friends. Here are a few tips to help you get the most out of your purchase.

Start with the Basics

Read your manual; it’s a time investment you won’t regret. The great thing about the user manual is everything you read can be applied right away. If the thought of reading the whole thing at once intimidates you, start with a chapter at a time, and experiment with what you learn. Remember to thoroughly clean the camera lens before each photo session. 

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By December 10, 2013 Read More →

Qualcomm Announces Snapdragon 410

qualcomm-snapdragon-chip-580x326Today Qualcomm have announced a new chipset to join their existing, impressive lineup. The Snapdragon 410 will

With today’s introduction of the Snapdragon 410 processor, Qualcomm is extending its leadership in emerging regions by bringing integrated 4G LTE to sub $150 smartphones. With a multimode, multiband world mode LTE modem, users will be able to take advantage of LTE speeds as 4G LTE begins to ramp in China and other emerging regions globally. Qualcomm also announced plans to bring 4G LTE to all tiers of Snapdragon processors.

The Snapdragon 410 will also be Qualcomm’s first 64-bit capable product, ensuring OEMs customers are ready for the transition to the next-generation of mobile operating systems. Additional upgrades to the Snapdragon 410 include the Adreno 306 GPU, support for 1080p video playback and up to a 13 Megapixel camera.

By December 10, 2013 Read More →

Nexus 5 gets Android 4.4.2

Screenshot_2013-12-10-06-30-25Just a few days after the Android 4.4.1 update for the Nexus 5 another alert appeared on my phone this morning advising that there was an update available, this time Android 4.4.2 provided over the air.

This latest Android 4.4.2 update promises further camera improvements for the Nexus 5 with faster shooting, less shutter lag, less motion blur, faster and more accurate auto focus, better white balance and more accurate exposures.

Whist it’s too early for me to pass much of  a judgement, I can say that there is a marked improvement in the shutter lag but I’ll need to take more pictures to comment on the other improvements.

This OS update does state that there are ‘Other Bug Fixes and Performance Improvements’ but does not provide a list. I haven’t seen anything as yet…

UPDATE: As Steve Wilson points out, 4.4.2 is also available for the Nexus 4,7 and 10.

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By December 8, 2013 Read More →

Nexus 5 battery life better with ART

Screenshot_2013-12-08-12-56-34If you have your hands on a Nexus 5 one of the things you may not like so much about the phone is the battery life. While the Nexus 5 battery life isn’t terrible by any means, it’s certainly not one of it’s better features and many of us are just about able to get to the end of the day before the phone is screaming for power.

There are lots of battery optimisation apps on the market and some work better than others. I’m personally using Snapdragon BatteryGuru which seems to work well and gives me up to an extra few hours from each charge. One good thing about BatteryGuru is that it spends a couple of days gethering data about your own actual usage and optimises the battery saving features based upon how you use the phone rather than a stock set of profiles.

If you have a Nexus 5 there is another option that you could try in order to get a little bit more from each battery charge: Switch from Dalvik runtime environment to Android RunTime or ART.

Nexus 5 battery life better with ART

Whilst you may not have heard of Dalvik, it’s the underlying runtime environment for every Android phone and Google have spent a lot of time optimising it of the years. However, the new kid on the block is Android RunTime.

ART comes as part of Android 4.4 KitKat and while you may not notice much of a performance difference, Android RunTime operates in a totally different way from Dalvik as it’s an Ahead-Of-Time compiler. This directly affects how applications run in the background and should have an impact on battery life.

In practice switching to ART does indeed have an impact on battery life and definitely the Nexus 5 battery is life better with ART.

How to enable Android RunTime on the Nexus 5

Switching to Android RunTime from Dalvik is really simple, takes only a few minutes and doesn’t require unlocked boot loaders or a rooted device or anything scary like that.

First of all we need to enable the developer options on the Nexus 5. Head in to Settings > About Phone and then at the bottom of the page tap repeatedly on the Build Number row. You’ll see a message telling you that developer mode is enabled and this provides us with the developer options under the Settings menu.

Once in developer options go to Select Runtime and switch to ‘Use ART’. After a reboot and a short update the phone will restart.

It’s that simple and you can always switch back if you need to.

We’ve discovered that the batter life is certainly better with Android RunTime and while all the apps we’ve tried work just the same under ART there’s no performance improvements to be seen either.

Give it a try and let us know how you get on!

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By December 7, 2013 Read More →

Samsung Galaxy S5 benchmarks show 2.5GHz CPU

Samsung-Galaxy-S5Seems like only yesterday that the Samsung Galaxy S4 hit the scene but already we are looking towards the S5 with eager anticipation.

If the benchmarks that have apparently surfaced claiming to be a Samsung SM-G900S turns out to be the Samsung Galaxy S5 then we really are in for a treat!

The benchmarks appeared on the GFXBench website and show that the device claiming to be the Samsung SM-G900S has an incredible 2560×1440 display (presumably circa 5.5″), a quad-core Snapdragon 800 CPU running at 2.5GHz, Adreno 330 GPU and Android 4.4 KitKat.

So speculation has already started and the guess is that the mystery device could well be the anticipated Galaxy S5 but other thoughts are that it could be the Samsung Galaxy Round.

We are already aware of Samsung’s plans for 560ppi (45 um) displays on smartphones coming next year and 4K displays in 2015 and foldable displays towards 2016 if the technology barriers can be overcome.

By December 7, 2013 Read More →

Bose QuietComfort QC20i headphones review

QC20i_lgQuite some time ago we got our hands on the Bose QuietComfort QC15 Acoustic Noise Cancelling headphones and I was hugely impressed with their performance in noise cancelling and they sounded amazing. However, I’m not a huge fan of over the ear style headphones and prefer a more discrete in-ear style.

So when Bose announced the new in-ear QC20’s I was keen to give them a try.

The Bose QuietComfort QC20 offers the same noise cancelling technology as the QC3 and QC10 but as the headphones themselves are smaller there isn’t room for the batteries and circuitry that fit in side the headphones of the other models. Instead the QC20 has an external control unit and battery pack that holds all the clever stuff. A small compromise and the battery has the convenience of being charges via a micro USB socket.

There are two slightly different QC20 models, the QC20 has an in-line microphone and two-button control which is designed for Android, BlackBerry and Windows Phone devices, while the QC20i is for Apple devices and has the in-line microphone and a four-button remote. Both have play/pause controls but the Apple variant also has volume control buttons.

So lets start off with a look at what’s in the box and a closer inspection of the headphones…

By December 6, 2013 Read More →

More Samsung Devices to get KitKat?

samsung-androidMany manufacturers have already been making announcements about the availability of Android 4.4 KitKat for their current range of devices with updates expected from HTC, LG and Samsung over the coming weeks for flagship devices.

However, Android 4.4 KitKat was designed to be much more optimised than the previous versions of the OS and is capable of running on devices with a lower specification with slower CPU’s and as little as 512MB RAM being possible. But there have yet to be any announcements from any of the manufacturers regarding the possibility of offering an Android 4.4 update to older models.

But that could be set to change if the information that SamMobile have managed to get their hands on. They have apparently managed to secure some internal documentation from Samsung that suggest that many Samsung smartphones are ‘under investigation’ for upgrade to 4.4 KitKat.

These devices include the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini, S3 Mini, Ace 3, Galaxy S, Galaxy Core, Galaxy Fame and Galaxy Fresh.

At this stage there’s obviously no guarantee that any of these devices will see such an OS update but it IS good to see that it is at least being looked in to and there is a further hope that if Samsung do release updates for older models then the likes of HTC, LG and others will be almost forced to follow suit.

 

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By December 6, 2013 Read More →

Nexus 5 gets Android 4.4.1

Screenshot_2013-12-06-10-31-59The Google Nexus 5 hasn’t been with us very long but already we’re seeing an update to Android 4.4.1 being made available for the new phone.

Over the coming days/weeks those with the Nexus 5 should see the OTA update being offered to them but as is always the way with these OTA updates the roll out will be gradual.

Some users have already got their hands on the update and the most significant change appears to be in the Camera department where a number of changes have been made that improves the overall performance of the camera. Good news for those of us that felt that the camera was lacking on the Nexus 5.

If you cant wait for the update to arrive through the official channels over the air then you can force the install if you are happy to jump through a few hoops.

I’m currently updating my Nexus 5 and will return with news of the update!

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By December 5, 2013 Read More →

Huawei announces an in-car LTE unit

HUAWEI ME909TIf you spend a lot of time in the car or you are a chaufer/taxi driver then this may well be of interest to you as Huawei have just announced a new in-car automotive 4G LTE module, the HUAWEI ME909T

The HUAWEI ME909T provides 4G LTE CAT3 connectivity in a 40x40x4mm package that’s designed to be robust for automotive environments.

Full press release can be found below.

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