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Welcome To issue 22

HOW TO USE THE QR CODES

It could consolidate Sonys position in second place, and at a time when others are really feeling the squeeze thats not such a bad place to be
MY HOME SCREEN
On (and off) Andys phone this month
ver the course of the next two or three months every major Android device manufacturer will be refreshing its range for the year ahead. First off the block is Sony, whose Xperia Z builds on the good progress the company made last year and also sets an early standard in specs that the other players will have to match. Sony has been having a good run lately, picking up market share mostly at the expense of former leading lights like HTC and, in the non-Android world, Nokia and BlackBerry. But chasing down Samsung is a different matter altogether. Weve given the Xperia Z the full hands-on treatment this month, and weighed up its prospects for challenging the all-conquering Galaxy S III. That is the most popular Android phone ever and even more than half a year after its launch is still going strong, and we can expect the S IV to show its face long before the summer is here. So can Sony do it? The honest answer is, probably not. But it could consolidate Sonys position in second place, and at a time when others are really feeling the squeeze thats not such a bad place to be. Also this month weve rounded up some of the tech and gadgets that are making Android so exciting right now. The Android ecosystem is showing unprecedented levels of innovation as the OS moves into new product categories and the hardware powering it becomes more capable than we could have imagined. Give it a year or ve and all your gadgets might be run by Android.

Welcome
O
Carbon for Twitter HomeFlip

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

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

ShopSavvy Free

APPS IN

Chrome Beta

APPS OUT
Glimmr, for Flickr

Sony Xperia Z
Temple Run 2

This month Ive tested:

A fast device with a fantastic screen. It feels just that bit too big, though

Pitfall!

scanning 1 Get Open ShopSavvy, hit the Scan a


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

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/littlegreenrobot

Let us know what youd like to see in next issue

the link 2 Launch When it has read, the phone will


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Andy Betts Editor

CONTENTS

Contents Inside issue 22

www.littlegreenrobot.co.uk

15 Special offer for USA readers 60 Exclusive subscription offer


Previews, news and speculation from the Android world 06 Android vs developers
How hard is it for developers to test their Android apps?

Launcher

GALAXY KILLER
18 Hands-on with the stunning Sony Xperia Z

09 Alternative app stores: do we really need them?

Is there any point to using a third-party app store? We give them a test to nd out

10 Million Sellers

We chat to the makers of Hooked to nd out how they made a best-selling app

12 10 things you need to know about Flash


We give you all the facts about using Flash on your favourite Android device

54 Upgrade to Android 4.2


Get the latest version of Android on your device today

14 Gallery of beautiful social apps


Log in to your favourite social networks with this set of great-looking apps

16 Messages

24 25 amazing innovations How

Sound off about anything and everything to do with Android

Android is powering the next generation of tech

Hacker Zne Explore the limits of


your Android phone
88 Huawei tablets and Ascend G330 Cutting-edge smartphones on test
The new leader in budget devices?
76 Galaxy Camera vs the rest 86 Reviews

52 Hacking tips

Contents Inside issue 22

Explore the full potential of your phone

54 Upgrade to Android 4.2

Flash CyanogenMod to update your phone

56 Master CyanogenMod 10.1 58 Hacking solutions


We tackle your hacking problems

Discover the features unique to CM10.1

Reviews T utorials
86 HTC One SV 88 Huawei Ascend G330 90 Lenovo IdeaTab A2109

Your complete guide to Google Play


62 Troubleshoot your smartphone

Apps

Essential guides to getting more from your phone or tablet 30 Master the Samsung Galaxy Premium Suite 34 Tutorials

Solve ten of the most common problems with these apps

The Android-powered compact takes on the top camera phones

Get to know the best features of the new update for the Galaxy S III 34 Google Drive spreadsheets for pros 37 Use your phone as a Wi-Fi hotspot 38 Speed up Chrome 39 Connect and share with Bluetooth 40 Share and sync data between your devices 43 Get rid of bloatware 44 Use the advanced features of the Gmail app

73 Social apps

Snapeous or Pinterest: which is the best?

74 Game reviews

The latest games for phones and tablets reviewed

92 Accessories

App review index


71 70 69 66 71 68 75 75 75 71 70 67 67 70 67 71 75 71 67 74 71 74 71 75 71 68 75 68 ABBYY TextGrabber AntennaPod Beanstalk Bitcasa BoothStache The Dandy Doodle Army Dragon Warcraft Glass Fort Gumtree InDrive Kii Keyboard Loky PLUS MightyText MoodPanda Movie Twist Nick Chase: A Detective Story Norton Zone Cloud Sharing Our Solar System Kids Book Pool King Press Pudding Monsters Small Call Sonic Jump VideoCast Voxeet Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? Zombies, Run! 5K Training

Power up your phone or tablet with this collection of goodies

Superfast 4G Jelly Bean phone reviewed in full

HTC One SV

86

46 Droid Support

Readers questions answered, plus troubleshooting tips and tricks

50 Android challenge

Create a DJ mix: Can you become the next superstar DJ using nothing more than an Android device and a few apps?

76 Galaxy Camera vs the rest


Can the top phones beat Samsungs Android camera?

Set up the Priority Inbox to make your email easier to manage


Check our website daily for even more news

44 Use the advanced features of Gmail

www.littlegreenrobot.co.uk

All the latest from the world of Android devices

599 34%
Distinct brands Are developers producing tablet apps?

of developers produce apps solely for the Google Play store

3997 58%
Total number of Android devices of the apps produced on the Google Play store are created by full-time developers
1200 900
Height

7%
PAID

600 300

93%
FREE

Android 2.2

21%

24% Others

55% Android 1.5

600

1200
Width

1800

2400

THE

Android vs developers
ere spoilt as Android users. There are thousands of devices on offer to us with manufacturers constantly lling their phones with the latest technology, and a wide selection of apps on various app stores to explore. Theres no doubt that Android is the worlds number one OS. But while as users we lap up the latest array of devices and pioneering features, it isnt as joyful for the developers looking to bring you a potentially groundbreaking app, and for those people, Android can lead to a wide variety of troublesome issues. Bobby Gill, CEO of Blue Label Labs, argues that at its roots, the problems in developing for Android is the fragmentation of the OS: Its very tough to build a single app that will work well across the entire gamut of Android devices. We had an instance where one of our UI controls would work ne on a Samsung phone, but for some reason on a HTC phone it wouldnt work. Thus, whenever we take on an Android project we need to select two to three devices along with one or two supported versions of Android and target them. Even with these restrictions, the time to test and verify functionality is much longer than on iOS or Windows. Despite the popularity of the platform, which leads iOS globally by a considerable margin, its common practice to see the biggest new apps released rst in Apples stores, with an Android version following anywhere between a few weeks, or a month later. Flipboard, Temple Run and Instagram have all been massively popular on the Google Play store, but all were released far earlier on the iOS platform. But as CEO of Hipmob, Ayo Omojola explains, the slow process of

big

Are developers producing Which OS are free or paid apps? developers testing on?

Which resolutions are developers testing on?

STORY

With Android cementing its place as the worlds biggest OS, we look at the problems facing the community of Android app developers trying to keep pace

Our view

Its often frustrating to see an app enter the iOS App Store, only to nd that it wont be appearing for Android for weeks, if not months. The reality is developers have to test so many more congurations of device than they do for iPhone apps. Ironically this choice is one of Androids greatest strengths, and something no-one would want to change.

Andy Betts, Editor

Stats collected from OpenSignal Maps and StartApp

54% NO 46% YES

Screen Resolution

Stay up to date
Catch up with the latest Android news and gossip

twitter
@lgrobot
Follow us on Twitter for the latest updates

ide u g rt e p x E

Six steps to making better apps


Use open source libraries to check if the app will work on older versions of Android. Send beta versions of apps to 2 contacts to test them so that bugs can be identied and xed. Great services to use for this are cloud services like Dropbox and Google Drive. Implement services into the 3 app that assist with bug nding once it has been launched.

Daniel Box, head of quality assurance at Mubaloo the UKs largest app developer with over 170 published to date, tells us six essential tips to make developing and publishing apps that little bit easier.

Study and read up on any API changes between different versions of Android. Use community forums to 5 distribute builds of the app for specic devices. The XDA Forums is a great place to start. Developers can now reply to 6 individual comments on the Google Play store. This is a great way to stay in contact with users and solve any problems.

bringing Android ports of these apps isnt necessarily down to the choice of the developer. There has typically been some difculty supporting and testing on the wide range of screen sizes, he said. There are some ways to gure this out manually, but its not easy to ensure a consistent experience across all devices. Weve also seen in the past, and heard anecdotally, of performance issues related to running apps on certain operating systems usually custom Android forks built by OEMs. In addition, because of the way OS updates are handled, you cant always ensure that all your users will be able to use all the features you build. Another factor for developers to consider is the publishing process of their app. For a long time the Google Play store has been the ultimate hub for apps and multimedia, but with a wide range of off-shoot stores from Amazon and Barnes & Noble to name just a couple, the process of simply uploading your application for the world to experience isnt black and white. Every app store requires different resources for you to add with your app, which means spending a lot of time making sure you have got the right graphics for each says Manuel Palacios, software engineer for interactive book specialist PlayTales. Adding our apps to all the different stores can get a bit tedious at times with all the different requirements and restrictions. So whether its the sheer number of devices on offer, the increasingly big screen sizes (while still needing to support the

For developers its great to get instant feedback and not have to wait a matter of weeks
Michael Issacs, co-founder of GetCharitable
older, smaller ones), or the variety of app stores available, developing for Android isnt as straightforward as many think. The lack of a one size ts all solution brings challenges that simply are not present on other platforms. It isnt all bad news, however, and there are signicant advantages of developing for Android over one of the other rival systems. The OS prides itself on being as open as possible, giving the power back to the users and the chance for developers to really interpret their own Android experience. Michael Issacs, a co-founder of the highly rated GetCharitable app believes the openness of the Android platform is the key to further development. I love how open the app store is, and how much faster I am able to push updates than on the Apple App Store. I still believe that the Google Play store is the best out there, with a better search and UX for the users than ever before, Issacs said. For developers its great to get instant feedback and not have to wait a matter of weeks to get your app out to your users. We wont be seeing a less fragmented Android operating system any time soon, of that were convinced, and the problems facing developers certainly wont get any easier. Yet with new potential customers entering the smartphone market on a daily basis developing for Android is still worth the effort. The high quality of apps being produced for users is a sure-re sign that were part of the worlds most exciting mobile OS. Long may that continue.

Want to start developing?


Keen to begin creating your own apps, but dont know where to start? Try these websites to help you get up and running

MIT App Inventor


Although a little more complicated than the others, the MIT App Inventor offers a great way to put all your ideas in one place.

AppsBuilder
If youve got a great idea for a creative app, then AppsBuilder is for you. Theres a wide range of jargon-free features to explore.

Adding our apps to all the different stores can get a bit tedious at times
Manuel Palacios, software engineer

Andromo
Andromo works as a step-by-step program, offering a simple way of creating an app you want to publish. Its also easy to customise.

www.littlegreenrobot.co.uk
Visit us daily for news and more

HOT WHATS The most exciting things in


the Androsphere this month
Phones getting tough with the Galaxy Xcover 2
Samsung is not letting up on the Galaxy range. The companys plan to have a device at pretty much every price, with every screen size and for every user continues apace. The Galaxy Express sits somewhere between the S III and the S III Mini, while the Xcover 2 is tough enough to withstand abuse from even the most demanding users.

Stocks have appeared to be returning to normal

Missing in action
I
Why has the Nexus 4 been in such short supply? Paul Rigby goes investigating
t was released in November 2012 but, until recently, the LG-manufactured phone had remained out of stock on most websites and stores. Cathy Robin, director of LG Frances mobile division, pointed the nger at Google: Supply problems are not necessarily completely related to LG. Google presented sales forecasts calculated according to their previous sales history of Nexus smartphones, Robin explained. Although Robin was eager not to be too scathing of Google, Dan Cobley, Googles UK and Ireland managing director, had no such qualms about blaming LG. Supplies from the manufacturer (LG) are scarce and erratic and our communication has been awed, he said. Despite the squabbling, stocks have appeared to be returning to normal with the likes of O2

Problems are not necessarily related to LG


Cathy Robin, LG
and Three offering supplies for sale. Meanwhile, rumours of a new design have been building since James Fishler, LGs senior vice president, declared that: This is the rst of many devices to come from our growing partnership with this very selective company. Some observers have seen this statement as a sign that further announcements may be forthcoming about additional models in the Nexus range.

Living out your Indiana Jones dreams with Temple Run 2

After the original racked up more than a hundred million downloads, Temple Run 2 is now the must-download app in the Play store. The formula hasnt changed too much, but there are enough new features and power-ups to make this as, if not more, addictive than ever.

Security scare hits Chinese Android users

M
Fully backing up without root
If there was ever an app whose functionality should be built right into the Android OS it is Carbon. This app, available for free with an upgrade via in-app purchase, is the most comprehensive in fact only Android app that enables you to fully back up your phone without being rooted.

China at the centre of a threatening viral scare

ore than a million unsuspecting mobile phone users in China are running a harmful botnet on their Android smartphone, any one of which may have been contracted from one of 7,153 infected apps, dating back to 2011. The botnet can allow smartphones infected with Trojan-based malware to be hijacked remotely and potentially used for fraudulent purposes. Users have been advised to monitor their call and data logs for unusual activity while keeping a close eye on the permissions section. Games requiring access to a phones contacts, SMS, call history and location, for example, should be treated with caution.

KEEP YOUR PHONE SAFE


1: Passwords
Set up a password or PIN to access your mobile phone or tablet device. Dont leave your device unattended when logged on, watch out for people looking over your shoulder.

Three quick hints to mobile safety

2: Using in public

3: SMS and emails

Be cautious about opening links contained in SMS messages or emails. Dont respond to unsolicited messages or phone calls.

Get in touch!

Send us your thoughts on all things Android

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qa@littlegreenrobot.co.uk
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Like us on Facebook to send your comments

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Follow us on Twitter for all the latest gossip

Alternative app stores: do we need them?


The Play store is not the only app supplier out there. We explore the competition

Top four alternative stores

Where else can you go to nd your apps?

hy have other app stores? Its all about promising more attention for apps, said Vincent Hoogsteder, co-founder and CEO of Distimo, an apps analytics company. If you are a developer targeting a specic market, it is easier to put your app in a store focusing on that, instead of losing yourself in Google Play. If you are a consumer, then the idea is to help you nd better applications. Android is very popular but, unless you are a Facebook or a Shazam, getting noticed in the crowd is the big challenge. Finding major apps on Google Play is easy but, There are 50,000 apps in the Play store, while your phone lists only 50 apps at a time, said Hoogsteder. You are seeing just a fraction of whats out there. Independents can provoke problems, however. For example, the security rm Kingsoft Duba said last year that the Android. Troj.mdk Trojan had been found in more than 7,000 apps downloaded from non-Googleowned stores. Nevertheless, alternative app stores can form unique Android habitats. Amazon, for example, has created an in-house app ecosystem that feeds its own hardware (eg Kindle Fire). Importantly for developers, Our apps monetise better on Amazon than they do on other platforms were on, said Simon Newstead, the CEO & co-founder of Frenzoo, publisher of Style Me Girl. Alternative app stores provide competition (you can nd paid app bargains shop around), niche interests and unique app developments. Open source, indeed.

SLIDEME
Offers 13,000 apps and is directed to those who cannot access Google Play on their devices and for those developers who cannot sell their wares on that site.

GETJAR
The largest alternative store with 350,000 apps on the site and around 395,000 developers supporting the site. Go to m.getjar.com and your device will be auto-detected.

AMAZON APPSTORE
Each app arrives with personalised recommendations, customer reviews and 1-Click payment options. The store is curated so you should be able to guarantee security, if not quality.

Arrives complete with a news section, forum zone and developers area plus app recommendations and reviews. A useful app discovery service for nding hidden gems.

ANDROIDPIT

Stay up to date
Catch up with the latest Android news and gossip

twitter
@lgrobot
Follow us on Twitter for the latest updates

The inside story on Androids most popular apps

Millionsellers

VITAL STATS
Price: Free

HOOKED

Hooked
W
What makes Hooked a hit?

Q&A with Prita Uppal, Founder of Hooked

Launched: 2010 Installs: 1m-5m Play store rating:

ith so many games on the Google Play store, nding the right one for you can be a somewhat tricky experience, but thankfully with Hooked around youll never have that problem again. Hooked is a game recommendation app that uses your personal gaming preferences and game play statistics to nd the most suitable paid and free games for you. If you dislike a game recommended, you can simply give it a thumbs down and Hooked will then suggest another one. The more you use it, the better recommendations you get, and the more games youll uncover. Not only is it a clever app to use, its an absolute must-have for any avid Android gamer. Its no wonder that this app has got in excess of a million downloads!

Why do you feel people choose Hooked over one of the other discovery apps available on the Play store? People have chosen Hooked over other apps because of our comprehensive mobile game discovery capabilities. From the off we set out to be a mobile games discovery app and believe we are the best out there. We provide discovery through advanced recommendations, advanced search, real-time trending charts and through the games your friends are playing. We have created a recommendation platform that is intelligent and learns your game preferences by analysing downloads, app ratings and user behaviour to get the most personalised recommendations. Its very rare to see an app exceed a million downloads, what do you think is the secret to a successful app? Find your niche. The Android marketplace is huge and there are hundreds of thousands of apps just in the game category alone. Apps that have a clear objective and purpose will succeed. Its important to listen to your users, conduct focus groups and surveys to understand how you can improve and change quickly. Lastly, dont ignore the analytics. Its important to analyse the numbers, understand them, and make decisions based on what is actually going on. Analytics help to identify what our users are doing and help to understand user behaviours. We continuously improve our feature set based on the metrics we measure. What are your plans for Hooked in the future? We have two major plans for the future. The rst is expansion to iOS; discovery is a continuing and growing problem in iOS and we are looking to expand to that market in the coming months. Our second goal is to expand our services to provide personalised recommendations for all apps and categories. What are your four personal favourite features in Hooked? The advanced Recommendations. I am constantly nding great new games. This has actually caused me to spend scary amounts of time playing games! Live feeds of social circles. Its always fun to see the games my friends and others are playing and this shows me in real-time what they are playing. Easy access. I can access all my games from one place, it helps to keep everything very organised on my phone. Saving Games to the Cart. I love this feature! I can browse new games and save ones that I might be interested in.

As well as being able to see a general overview of what the most popular games are, you can use the Friend button in the top-right of the app to see what your contacts are currently playing, and then download the same game

What are your friends playing?

Each game listing comes with its own individual set of statistics you can take a look at. Most games include a star rating, the amount of ratings theyve had and the average playing time for said game

Check the statistics

Search

What makes Hooked a truly great app is the level of detail you can go into. As well as looking for the most popular app, you can search for games that are currently trending, as well as games that have just come out

Download and install

When youve picked a game that takes your fancy, open up its page and youll be able to download and install it directly through the app

A brief history of

The Play store


10

Android launched in 2008 with the Android Market on board a edgling app store with a few hundred free apps available in a limited number of territories. Since then it has undergone many redesigns, with the addition of countless new features and content sections. The Play store, as it is now known, is a full content service housing a quarter of a million apps, as well as books, music, movies and magazines.

The launch
The Android Market launches with only a handful of apps and Googles famous beta tag. Not much in the way of design, it was as basic as they come.

Froyo
With the launch of Froyo came a vastly improved Market app, emphasising for the rst time ways in which you could discover new apps and games, plus auto update support.

CROWD SOURCE Opinion from the

BlackBerry 10 launches

Twittersphere

and it can run Android apps. We take a look at the new OS

lackBerry, formerly known as RIM, has unveiled the new BlackBerry 10 operating system and two new devices, in a last-ditch attempt to recapture some of the companys past glory. The announcement included some interesting news not least that the OS will run Android apps in an emulated environment. As Android users, we are already familiar with touchscreens and social media integration, but there were some features announced that we would love to see implemented in the Key Lime Pie update. 1. Messaging hub Combining messages, social media updates and emails in one place is a fantastic feature in BlackBerry 10. An Android hub for this would make it easier to manage all your conversations. 2. Different form factors As much as we love our big screen slabs, wed also welcome some more imagination in the Android world when it comes to form factors. The new BlackBerry range includes one of its trademark Qwerty keyboards. 3. Improved keyboard What makes the BlackBerry 10 keyboard so great is its new predictive text system. Although Android users have plenty of options for

alternate keyboards, it would be great to see the default keyboard offer this. 4. Screen share Perhaps the most impressive feature on the Z10 is being able to share your screen with a similar device no matter where in the world you are located. A brilliant solution for working together on projects at the same time. 5. BlackBerry Balance This feature separates your work applications and data from your personal applications and data. It works in the same way as multi-user proles, so would be an easy feature to integrate.

@lgrobot Temple Run 2 has been out for a few days now. Whats your current high score? We want to see what our readers are capable of!
@lennyuk 6 million is mine at the moment, I have been trying not to use more than 1 gem - its no good recording scores without num of gems. @acceler888 embarrassed to say 102, 000 with 1 gem after seeing the other scores posted! Stunning graphics though on the Note 2. @skinnyint just under 2 mil, but ive only had it for an hour or so!

BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins unveils the new devices

@lgrobot Starting to see a wide range of Galaxy S4 rumours. What would you like to see included in the new device? Anyone for added lasers?!
@skinnyint They should do away with Kies and have a robust desktop client, something thats letting them down compared to Apple. @Docker0909 Im hoping we wont see a 5+ screen.. itll be a brick!!!! @chinsand metallic body would be a good addition and cheap contract deals. currently paying 33 p/m for my s3 and its way too much @12westin if it doesnt come with 4G ill be moving over to blackberry 10

Great digital mags

Get Android Magazine from the Play store

hether you own a Samsung Galaxy S III, Kindle Fire or Nook HD, there are plenty of ways for you to get your hands on some of the best technology magazines around. Our digital magazines super-site www. greatdigitalmags.com gives you access to 20 awesome digital editions of some of the worlds best magazines, including our very own Android Magazine. Now available in the new Play Magazines service for Android devices, you can read them, and sync them across your phones and tablets. Missing a back issue? No worries, youll be able to nd many of the previous issues of each magazine available for download as well. What are you waiting for? Get exploring!

@lgrobot So the BlackBerry Z10 is here! Any features youd like to see carried over from the Z10 on to the next wave of Android devices?

2010
Late in 2010 the Market got another redesign, with proper landscape support and the ability for networks to add a section for their own junkware.

ICS
Less than half a year later the Market gets its biggest update yet, with tiles, gestures and whole new categories of content.

Today
In May 2012, the Android Market was rebranded Google Play. The service now sports music, mags and movies, as well as apps and books.

@lionshead91 apart from that new hub feature, z10 looks pants.

twitter
Follow us @lgrobot to join in the conversation

11

www.littlegreenrobot.co.uk
Visit us daily for news and more

1 Streaming with Flash

Flash is one of the best ways to stream content on your tablet, and is used within a variety of browsers and apps. Its remarkably fast at buffering content, and provides a smooth browsing experience.

2 Hacking

Another way to get a version of Flash on your device is by doing some basic hacking. There are a plethora of Flashbased ROMs out there, as well as a selection of alternatives that perform exactly the same function.

updates 3New everywhere

Older devices, and many budget tablets, come with the Flash Player preinstalled on it, and many current users will still have access to the Flash Player. Adobe has promised regular updates for those lucky to have it already on their device.

10

Flash and HTML have long been at loggerheads over plug-in dominance, but with compatibility issues, and a lack of support from the iOS platform, Flash is strongly considered second best to HTML5.

Flash versus HTML5

Pulled 4 from Play store

Adobe decided to pull the app for its Flash Player on the Google Play store a while ago now, with the main reason being a range of unpredictable compatibility issues that affected plenty of devices with the Jelly Bean OS update.

The APK le of the Flash Player can be downloaded from several places across the web, enabling you to side load the le directly on to your phone or tablet. Once added, its easy enough to install and start using without any hassle. Whenever you start side loading on your device, make sure you only download from a trusted source.

Start side loading

a Flash 5Use browser

things you need to know about...

8Audio

Flash
7Security issues
Even before Flashs transition onto mobile it suffered a wide variety of security issues. Most of these problems have been eradicated from the mobile version, but be sure to have a spyware detector installed just in case.

By digging a little deeper in to the app section on the Google Play store youll be able to nd a whole host of Adobe Flash-equipped browsers. One of the best ones to use is the Skyre Browser that includes full Flash capabilities alongside a solid browsing experience.

A common issue when trying to play a Flash game or video is the lack of sound. For the most part, the problem can be simply resolved by restarting the browser or video, but in some cases youll need to download an equalizer app.

Explore 6 browser add-ons

One of the unique ways you can access Flash-based content on the web is by sourcing an add-on for a mobile browser that enables it to act as a desktop one. Phony for Firefox turns your mobile browser in to the desktop version, letting you view and interact with Flash content.

12

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Send us your thoughts on all things Android

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Follow us on Twitter for all the latest gossip

Sony shows off Tablet Z


T

Play store picks


Our favourites from the Play store this month
Les Miserables
Price: Free The story of Jean Valjean seeking redemption after 19 years in prison is a classic recently given the Hollywood treatment.

Sony comes out swinging in the battle for the thinnest tablet

he big news that accompanies the Sony Xperia Tablet Z is not that it includes a quad-core processor or a 10.1-inch 1,920 x 1,200 full HD screen, but actually the fact it manages to pack in all of this in to an extremely thin 6.9mm, waterproof body. This puts it ahead of the iPad in the race for the slimmest tablet, and at 495g it is also one of the lightest big-screen devices around. Also packed in youll nd an eight-megapixel camera with Sonys impressive EXMOR technology, a 6000 mAh battery and two gigabytes of RAM. All the normal micro USB and micro HDMI ports are present and correct, and youll even nd dual-side NFC included to make sharing even faster. The Xperia Z has initially only been announced for the Japanese market, although it would not be a surprise to see it, or an equivalent, make its way to the rest of the world in due course.

Taken 2
Price: 11.99 (HD) After escaping hostage, an ex-CIA agent (Liam Neeson) seeks revenge on the group who kept him and his wife captive.

Anthems 90s
Price: 7.99 This Ministry of Sound compilation takes you hurtling back to the Nineties to experience some of the best dance and trance songs of all time.

SMARTPHONES.TABLETS.ACCESSORIES
COMPETITIVE PRICES . RAPID WORLDWIDE DELIVERY

Celebrating 20 years of business

HTC ONE SV

SAMSUNG GALAXY NOTE 2


5.5 display S Pen stylus 1.6GHz quadcore processor 50GB cloud storage 3100mAh battery

SONY XPERIA Z

4G enabled Android smartphone 1.2GHz dualcore processor 8GB internal memory 25GB cloud storage

IP55 & 57 rated Android phone Quad-core processor 5 full HD display 13mp camera PlayStation certied FREE speaker worth 65 with all pre-orders

350

516

522

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Inside Android Magazines virtual mailbag

Letter of the

Higher res or longer battery? Both!


You asked three questions in issue 21 of Android Magazine; these being listed, with my answers, below: 1. Are you happy to buy a phone without a memory card slot? No. I will not buy a phone that does not have the capacity of accepting additional storage. In addition to the many PDF les and Kindle books stored on my phone, I use an ofine satnav package, which stores its maps and POI les on the phone these, I keep on the external RAM card. Were it to be stored on the phone, available RAM would be vastly reduced. The same argument can be said of most of my software (I hate the word app it sounds like a terminal burp!). This also means that if something on the phone breaks, I can recover my les from the RAM card, without having to resort to some nebulous cloud storage that will probably start to charge me for its services. 2. How often do you upgrade to a new smartphone? Roughly every two years or so with the advent of shorter contract terms, this period may begin to shorten, though. I generally try to get a decent phone with good specications, that wont be too dated by the time its time to look for a new contract phone/service provider. 3. Which would you prefer: a higher res screen or longer battery life? Umm. Im greedy. Can I have both, please? Seriously, I actually do. Increased screen size and resolution, along with MUCH better battery capacity, are increasingly necessary with the advent of more complex and capable software including games! that are used on phones. In addition, phones could well replace the smaller tablets currently in use by businesses, and the need for lots of screen space for such things as word processors is going to be highly prized before long. Thanks for producing such a useful and highquality magazine, please keep it up! Roger Stenning We say: Thanks for your thoughts, Roger. On the latter point, were hoping we might nally be seeing a bit of movement. After several years of denying it was an issue, manufacturers are starting to see that longer battery is a benet that users want (or at least that poor battery life can seriously damage the reputation of a device). The new generation of processors should hopefully enable more of a balance between power and cutting-edge spec, Would you forego an HD screen, like on the and a battery that doesnt run out so quickly. HTC Droid DNA, for more battery life?

month

TRENDING
Let us know your thoughts on these hot topics Which phone are you most looking forward to this year? What would you like to see in the next version of Android? Do you worry about security issues when downloading apps? Get in touch! qa@littlegreenrobot.co.uk

Consolidating the cloud


I was just reading the latest edition (#21) of Android Magazine and I noticed you gave a tip about using Otixo to consolidate cloud accounts. As far as Im aware Otixo does not have an Android app. Ive been using an app called Cloud File Manager from Storage Made Easy which is free, and as well as letting me consolidate a gazillion different cloud storage accounts, it also gives me an extra free 5GB on the Amazon S3 Cloud. It also works from a UK location (from what I see from the website they are a UK company) if you sign up for this option. I found it quicker to use than Otixo which I believe is located in the US. Keep up the good work and if you could

consider an article on text expansion from dened keywords, this would be great. Its the one thing I miss from my jailbroken iPhone that I have not been able to gure out how to do on the Android. Tim Lowther We say: Thanks for the tip, Tim. Regarding text expansion, this is something you can do natively on Jelly Bean devices, using the custom dictionary option. Well take a look in a future issue.

My brother has got one of his games (Boom Brigade) from you. I look forward to reading your next edition of the Android magazine. Ethan (age 13) We say: Glad you like it Ethan! If anyone makes any great looking widgets based on our tutorials, do make sure to send us screenshots of them in action.

Apps to SD
Last week I took delivery of my new phone, a Samsung Galaxy S3. Without doubt it is the best phone I have ever owned! But (and always disregard anything following but!) having loaded up all the apps which I had on my old

Thanks!
I really enjoy your Android magazine. And because I read it all the time I have made two widgets, and have got a lot of new apps, like 3D Sketch.

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phone an HTC Desire S, I nd I am unable to move these apps to my SD card. I tried everything without success. I then logged on to a few Android forums and it seems that this facility is not available on Jelly Bean. My version of software is 4.0.4, so I assume this is Jelly Bean? This is a most annoying omission and I would hope that this is rectied in subsequent software upgrades. Ernie Swain We say: This is probably the number one complaint we get from users of the Galaxy S III. Despite the copious on-board storage, most users who have upgraded from older models are really missing the ability to put their apps onto a card. The feature was actually removed from Ice Cream Sandwich and although a manufacturer could bring it back if they really wanted to, it seems that most are not bothering, and given the general movement of Android away from memory cards altogether we wouldnt expect to see it make a comeback any time soon. By the way, Ernie, 4.0.4 is still Ice Cream Sandwich so you should have a couple of updates including both Jelly Bean and Premium Suite (see page 30) waiting for you. Check using the Kies software on your desktop computer. Theyre both very worthwhile updates though, but they wont bring back your much missed feature.

We are being held to ransom


I want an SD card slot
I have just bought your magazine issue 20 for the rst time, primarily to read the reviews on the Nexus tablets but also to get an overview of the latest developments in the Android market place. Early last year I purchased a 7 tablet from a Chinese supplier, Ebellking, to dip my feet into this new technology and I was never going to buy an Apple. I am now at the stage where I want something better but nearly every new product has some shortcomings. The 7 tablet is the ideal size for those who want to use it as a pocket mobile computer but too big for a phone. My Chinese tablet is poor on battery life, and a bit slow, has no GPS, and no Bluetooth. It does have a micro SD card slot. I use it to collect emails, view photographs via the SD card from my camera, view lms saved on an SD card, and read Kindle books. It appears that only Samsung with their 7 tablets make one with an SD card slot. It appears that all the major manufacturers, Apple, Amazon, Google cannot or will not make tablets with an SD card

which I consider essential. You cannot download anything on a long ight no matter how good your tablet/phone. So can we have a tablet, with all the essential features (GPS, Bluetooth, SD card) before trying to develop screen resolutions which look good on 50 televisions but are not needed on 4 mobile phone screens. We are being held to ransom for form over function. Even my basic mobile phone has an SD card slot and camera. Mike Mullaney We say: Were with you all the way, especially on your point about being able to get the photos from your camera onto the tablet simply by taking the card out of one and putting it into the other. There is a workaround that, while not entirely satisfactory, does work well. You need to get a USB on-the-go cable (you can pick them up very cheaply from Amazon, but be sure to check the reviews for compatibility rst) and an SD (or micro SD) to USB adapter to plug into it. Then get the Nexus Media Importer app from the Play store, and the Nexus will now magically be able to read your card, and you can use it to browse photos, play music or even watch videos. As we say, its not ideal, but its something weve been using for many months with great success.

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The publisher cannot accept responsibility for any unsolicited material lost or damaged in the post. All text and layout is the copyright of Imagine Publishing Ltd. Nothing in this magazine may be reproduced in whole or part without the written permission of the publisher. All copyrights are recognised and used speci cally for the purpose of criticism and review. Although the magazine has endeavoured to ensure all information is correct at time of print, prices and availability may change. This magazine is fully independent and not af liated in any way with the companies mentioned herein.
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17

Galaxy killer?

Feature

GALAXY KILLER?
Can the Xperia Z help Sony ght back against the mighty Samsung? We take an in-depth, hands-on look to nd out
ate in 2012 Sony moved into second place among Android manufacturers in the UK. After years of making decent but unspectacular devices the companys split from Ericsson saw it take full control of its mobile destiny, and the rewards are beginning to come. A solid range of handsets and a commitment to OS upgrades gave Sony a good last year, and the early signs from 2013 are that it is set to get even better. Its great news for the Android ecosystem, as Sony is arguably best placed out of all the players to match what Samsung has achieved with its Galaxy range, and ercer competition will always lead to greater innovation. The Xperia Z is Sonys next step. The device catches on to a number of trends superfast performance, larger screen and a lighter skin while also pushing the boundaries in other areas. The Xperia Z is the rst phone weve seen in Europe to pack a full 1080p display, and is also fully waterproof, ensuring it will continue working in all weather conditions. But is the Xperia Z enough to continue Sonys upward growth, and can it make inroads into Samsungs massive market share? Weve gone hands-on with the new handset to discover if it really is a Galaxy killer.

The rst phone weve seen in Europe to pack a full 1080p display
technical specs

18

Operating system................Android 4.1.2 Processor ...................................Snapdragon S4 Krait

1.5GHz quad-core Memory .......................................2GB RAM, 16GB storage Dimensions...............................139 x 71 x 7.9mm Weight...........................................146g Display size................................Five-inch Display resolution ................1080 x 1920 pixels Expansion slot........................micro SD

Feature Galaxy killer?


Spectacular specs

The spec sheet for the Xperia Z reads like a checklist of all the key features for a agship Android smartphone over the next 12 months. It includes a ve-inch display but resists moving into phablet territory such as with the likes of the Galaxy Note II by minimising the casing and tting into a chassis not much larger than the Galaxy S III. The display is full HD 1,080 x 1,920 pixels which amounts to a pixel density of 441 pixels per inch, far beyond last years 720p displays which averaged out at around 320 ppi. The device runs Android 4.1.2 out of the box, with an update to 4.2 already promised (and given Sonys strong track record on updates wed expect to see Key Lime Pie on this handset before the end of the year too). It is powered by a 1.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon S4 processor that has a proven record on speed and battery consumption, while the 2GB of RAM on board is another step up from most devices currently on the market one that is set to become the new standard. There is additionally 16GB of on-board storage which can be augmented through the memory card slot. The phone is able to run on 4G networks, where available, offering download speeds of up to 100Mbps. There is also Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, DLNA, and MHL for mirroring the display on an HD TV. The rear camera features a 13-megapixel sensor, with LED ash and full HD video recording. The frontfacing camera is 2.2 megapixels and is HD capable. Finally the Xperia Z is what you might describe as life proof. It is IP57 certied for dust and water resistance it is waterproof for up to 30 minutes in one metre of water.

The Xperia Z boasts a 13-megapixel shooter, but no dedicated camera button

Hardware and design

The Xperia Z maintains the design language weve seen on the Xperia models from the latter part of last year. It is extremely minimal. The only features on the front are a very small speaker and microphone, and a mostly hidden front-facing camera. The device uses Androids virtual buttons which enables the front casing to be reduced in size, although its not to quite the same striking

extent as weve seen on Motorolas RAZR i. Around the sides, the assorted ports, such as for the micro SD card and headphones, are safely sealed but remain easily accessible. The right-hand side includes a power button located halfway up the body, perfectly placed under the thumb of your right hand but a little more difcult to reach in your left, as well as a volume rocker. In an unwelcome departure for Sony the Xperia Z does not have a dedicated camera button. This may be a consequence of the waterproong and its a shame that it has gone. Not only does the button make shooting photos easier, reducing the likelihood of camera shake ruining your shots as you prod the screen to take a snap, but Sonys implementation in the past had been excellent, enabling you to wake the phone and take a photo with a single button press even when it is locked and password protected. The back of the phone is

at black (at least on the version we were using; other colours are available) and largely featureless. The camera lens, LED ash and Xperia logo are pretty much all you get. A large screen inevitably makes for a large phone, but you might be surprised to nd the Xperia Z is not all that much larger than the S III. Indeed it measures just 0.4mm wider, and at 7.9mm is 0.7mm thinner. The length is a relatively modest 2.4mm greater. However, the device does feel larger than the S III or the HTC One X due to its angular design. While other handsets have curves that help them t very comfortably in your hand, the Z has squared off corners in all directions. This is ne for the front-on prole, but when you grip the phone the edges do dig into your palm and ngers. Its the same effect we encountered with the equally large Xperia T, and though its not off-putting, it does simply have the effect of making the device feel a touch larger than it is.

CLOSE UP

Minimalist
The ultra-minimalist design of the Xperia Z sees an almost featureless front, with even the earpiece tucked quietly away

Key features in the Xperia Z

Power
The power button is positioned halfway up the right side of the casing perfectly placed for right handed users

Camera
The 13-MP camera is located at the top of the rear, with a glass covering. A small LED ash is just below it

19

Galaxy killer?

Feature

Does the Xperia Z have what it takes to stop the Galaxy S III?

SONY XPERIA Z VS SAMSUNG GALAXY S III


OS VERSION: Android 4.1.2 PROCESSOR SPEED: Quad-core 1.5GHz GRAPHICS: Adreno 320 RAM: 2GB CAMERA: 13 megapixels WEIGHT: 146g SCREEN RESOLUTION: 1080x1920 SCREEN PIXEL DENSITY: 441ppi BATTERY: 2330mAh non-removable

SPEC WARS

KEY SPECS

The Galaxy S III is the biggest-selling Android smartphone ever, with more than 40 million units being shipped worldwide since its launch last summer, contributing to the more than 100 million Galaxy devices sold in total. Sonys Xperia Z is arguably the most powerful mobile device ever launched, with a superfast processor, quality next-gen camera and ultra high resolution display, and as a premium phone from one of the worlds largest tech companies, it is being pitched as the ultimate Galaxy killer. But does it have what it takes to halt the Galaxy juggernaut? We take a look at the specs and our hands-on tests to nd out.

OS VERSION: Android 4.1.2 PROCESSOR SPEED: Quad-core 1.4GHz GRAPHICS: Mali-400MP RAM: 1GB CAMERA: Eight megapixels WEIGHT: 133g SCREEN RESOLUTION: 720x1280 SCREEN PIXEL DENSITY: 306ppi BATTERY: 2100mAh removable

KEY SPECS

Sonys device is minimalist in design and rather angular in shape, giving the impression that the phone is larger than it is. It is also weightier than the S III, although it does still slip into a pocket comfortably. For added value the phone is well protected against the weather. Powered by the quad-core Krait processor, the Xperia Z really ies. Even with non-nal rmware the power of the CPU shows itself, and coupled with a skin that feels far lighter than Samsungs TouchWiz wed expect few issues with the responsiveness of this device. The Xperia Z is mostly built around the hardware specs the 1080p display in particular is stunning. All the basics are here, including NFC and HDMI-out capability, but so much of the added extras are designed to get you buying into the Sony ecosystem, whether you want to or not. Lots of Sony apps and services are on board, so if youre a Sony fan youll be in your element, especially being able to use the device as a remote control for your other Sony kit. If youre manufacturer agnostic, you may nd less value in the extras that are on offer. Time will tell how popular the Xperia Z is in the Android hacking community. Sony does offer support through its ofcial bootloader unlocking tool, but past experience shows that Sonys handsets struggle to capture the imagination of the hacking crowd.

DESIGN AND BUILD POWER AND PERFORMANCE FEATURES ECOSYSTEM AND EXTRAS HACKABILITY

A far curvier design than the Xperia Z may not be quite as rened or classy but it feels great in the hand. The tapered edges emphasise the phones slimness so the device feels less large than you might expect. The plastic casing does not have the most premium feel, however. The S III was one of the trailblazing quad-core phones and still offers superior performance. But its limited in RAM 1GB where the noticeable difference lies. It has always been the S IIIs major weakness, especially where the bloated TouchWiz skin is concerned. The S III has all the bases covered, albeit in sometimes obscure ways the MHL port for HDMI-out functionality is proprietary, for example. The camera is excellent and a much larger-than-average battery ensures the phone will keep running throughout the day and sometimes more. Samsung doesnt miss the chance to encourage you to use the S III as a hub for your Samsung gear, but in a more subtle way than Sony. While Samsung does replace virtually all the stock Android apps with its own S-branded alternatives, some of the tweaks do add real value. The Galaxy S III currently ranks among the most popular devices for hacks, tweaks and ROMs, so you can customise the device to your hearts content. With such a large user base wed expect it to remain relevant for some time, just as the S II continues to be a well-used handset.

SAMSUNG GALAXY S III

And the winner is...

It really couldnt be much closer, but were still giving the nod to the S III based on the likelihood that it remains a more hack-friendly handset than the Xperia. If thats not a priority for you then the contest is far tighter. Indications are that the Xperia Z is considerably faster and more powerful, and has a better and less resource-hungry skin. Well need to wait on the nal release of the Z, where we can test battery and uncover any other issues before we are able to make the nal call.

20

Feature Galaxy killer?

CAMERA TEST
The Xperia Z is a rare example of a Sony smartphone without a dedicated camera button. In our view its a backward step for a device that has lots of potential in the imaging department, but it does bring it into line with most other handsets. As the device we were testing was not running nal rmware it is possible that there will be further improvements in the quality of the camera by the time the device goes on sale, but in our initial tests we were happy with the quality and performance of the camera. It is very responsive, with barely any perceptible shutter lag and produced reasonably crisp shots in far-from-ideal shooting conditions. There was inevitably evidence of noise and noise reduction, and the LED ash seems set to be as feeble as they always are. But from what weve seen so far wed have no reason not to expect this to match, if not surpass, the performance of the Xperia T, which is among our current favourite camera smartphone performers.

The full HD display

One of the big standout features on the Xperia Z is the screen. This is the rst time weve seen a 1080p display in the UK, with the only previous models being a couple of HTC devices for the US and Japanese markets. The pixel density of 441ppi puts it way beyond Apples famed Retina display benchmark of 300ppi. The theory is that once you get beyond 300ppi the pixels become imperceptible to the eye, but the Xperia Zs screen shows that this is not the case. True, when youre looking at it in isolation you might struggle to notice the improvements this higher-than-ever pixel density makes. It looks bright, clear and crisp, and you really cannot see the pixels no matter how closely you look. But its only when you put it directly up against a 720p display that you can see how much of a step up it is. Whether it proves to be a major selling point were not so sure, but we can certainly expect the entire industry to move to these HD displays this year. Away from the resolution the screen looks like being one of Sonys best. When we reviewed the

You really cannot see the pixels no matter how closely you look

LIFEPROOF
The Xperia Z will withstand dust, water and anything else you can throw at it
One of the differentiating features of the Xperia Z, and something that is likely to become commonplace on Sony devices in future, is that it is waterproof. This means that the ports around the device are sealed, but we cant vouch for what will happen if the phone comes into heavy contact with water when, for example, youve got your headphones plugged in and there is a port exposed. With all the ports closed, though, we can say that the phone continues to work fully when submerged. Thats great for when youre using the device in the rain, although whether youd want to pluck it out of the toilet and continue using it is another matter.

21

Galaxy killer?

Feature

Benchmark tests
Normally we wouldnt benchmark a device running pre-release rmware, but in the case of the Xperia Z theres really nothing to hide. The quad-core Krait processor has proven itself before in devices like the Nexus 4 and theres no sign that the experience will be any different on the Xperia Z. It beat the Galaxy S III in both the AnTuTu and Quadrant benchmark tests, which test CPU, graphics and SD card reading and writing performance.

AnTuTu
Sony Xperia Z Samsung Galaxy S III

20582 15721

Quadrant
Sony Xperia Z Samsung Galaxy S III

8084 8838 7261 3333 7514 4910 897 883 5050

CPU

RAM

GPU

I/O

TOTAL

Xperia T we found the viewing angles were a notch lower than the likes of the best-in-class HTC One X, but that appears to have been xed in the Z. The on-board Bravia engine ensures good colours and contrast too.

Sonys software skin

The skin on Sonys Android smartphones has for some time been considered one of the best, achieving the aim of giving Sony handsets their own identity while remaining fairly light and understated. Sonys tweaks to the UI have in the past found their way into the stock Android OS, and there are a few on the Z that wed be happy to see do likewise. Most notably is the ability to create folders of apps in the app drawer itself, not just on the home screen. That would certainly go some way towards helping clear up the clutter of apps, as well as bloatware. There is a certain amount of the latter evident on the

Sony Xperia Z. Sony, like Samsung, is increasingly keen to turn its phones and tablets into hubs for all of its products. If you own a PlayStation and a recent Sony TV and want to invest in Sony services then the benets of owning a Sony phone become clearer, but if not, then some of the added software features on the Z may not be relevant to you. Among the added software are a Walkman app and the (subscription-based) Music Unlimited service that replicates much of the Google Play Music experience. Theres also a movies service, and a pictures app to replace the stock Android gallery. For gamers, PlayStation Mobile is included, although that service has yet to gain any traction in the market. There are some extras too that offer varying levels of value bundling security software always seems like a throwback to the old PC days, while Sony Car, with its large buttoned UI for in-car control of music and navigation features seems like it would be of greater use.

Early performance tests

Samsung may nally have itself an Android rival

The device we were using was not running the nal rmware so well withhold our judgement on the devices performance until we get a retail unit for our full review. That said, we encountered no issues with the speed and responsiveness of the system, and the running of some benchmark tests on the device gave us very high expectations of the phones speed. Even pushing around more than double the pixels as the Galaxy S III, the Krait processor was able to take everything in its stride make no mistake, this is a real powerhouse of a smartphone. And just in general use our perceptions are similar. There are no traces of lag, and games and full HD video ran smoothly. The one concern may be the battery life, and this was something we have not yet had chance to test. The device is equipped with a 2100mAh battery, the same size as in the Nexus 4 which was able to run for just about a day on a single charge. With larger screen size, greater resolution and 4G connectivity there may need to be some heavy optimisations to deliver good results with this battery. With this in

mind Sony has incorporated a power management function into the device which disables certain functions when the screen is off or the battery is low. It will also give you a handy prediction of how long your battery is likely to last.

Conclusion

The Xperia Z made a good impression on us during our hands-on time with the device. Were not overly keen on the styling, although the ercely minimalist design is by no means unattractive, but the screen and the general feeling of power and responsiveness are undoubtedly appealing. With a skin that is lighter and more sophisticated than both HTC and Samsung have been able to muster to date, and one of the best records for delivering updates, there appears to be nothing on the software side to scare off users who prefer their Android devices to be up to date and unencumbered by bloat. And if the phone doesnt feel like a massive leap forward over the market leading Galaxy S III, there is surely enough here to help Sony build on its second-place position.

22

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Continuing to push tech boundaries, the future of Android couldnt be more exciting
broadened our ideas about what a smartphone could be, and now it is moving into wholly new product categories as well, where it will revolutionise the way we take photos, play games or just go about our daily lives. Over the next few pages we take a closer look at some of the greatest new innovations in the Android ecosystem, showing how it is changing the gear we already have, and how we will be using it in future. Youll be surprised at just how widespread Android is becoming.

n just four years Android has been transformed from a edgling mobile operating system to one of the leading and most creative platforms driving technology to new exciting levels today. It has expanded smartphones into new markets, and

24

25 Amazing innovations in Android tech


Think Polaroid is old school? Think again

Feature

01

Android cameras
Android is proving rather versatile. That said, it does appear rather perverse that with smartphones being blamed for the downturn in camera purchases, Samsung has decided to bring out a standalone snapper. That it has Android built in, however, ts rather nicely. The Galaxy Camera runs Android 4.1 and its a 16-megapixel beast, which puts the vast majority of smartphones to shame. With a 21x zoom and maximum aperture ranges from f/2.8 at wide angle to f/5.9 at full telephoto, its certainly a powerful system. The 4.8-inch hi-res screen on the back is a beauty too, but Samsung is not the only kid on the picture block. Polaroid is well and

truly up to date with its Android camera, packing in a removable lens too. Having the interchangeable lens means this Android 4.1-powered camera is versatile. The device is based on the micro four-thirds format, ensuring there is already a strong selection of quality lenses available, while the 18-megapixel sensor should produce detailed shots. By taking away phone capabilities, more attention can be placed on what really matters with a camera: the bits inside that let you take the very best pictures. Its great images combined with social functions and much control. And thats why were snap happy.

Samsung continue to be pack leaders

Why an Android camera?


Cameras: Androids next big thing?
One of the big differentiating features in smartphones right now is the camera and these are fast eclipsing the need for standalone devices, says Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group. But he argues producing Android-based cameras is not the way forward: I think the best path will be a better strategy where the camera and phone work better as a pair rather than duplicating much of what is in the phone on the camera. If the phone guys gure out a way to elegantly do lenses before the camera guys, the era of the standalone camera will be all but over. So we will see more Android cameras, but until they come up with a better strategy, that market will largely be ghting a losing battle.

EDITING The large screens and operating system make editing on the camera far easier than rival, non-Android offerings. Whatever editing you can do with images on your smartphone will be possible on these cameras and thats a great bonus to have up your sleeve.

SHARING As well as being able to check your email on your camera (and send images this way), the social media functions let you tweet and Facebook images to your favourite networks. But get this: Dropbox can be used too, which is the perfect way of bulksending photographs.

INTUITIVE By having an easy-to-use interface such as Jelly Bean at your disposal, taking photographs is just a matter of using your ngers to manipulate whats on the screen and using the intuitive menus. Far easier than manual buttons and switches.

02

Remote control cameras


With a mobile dongle and a camera connection cable to match your SLR or advanced compact camera, you can use Triggertrap Mobile as part of your photography setup. It triggers your SLR camera by laser, sound, time or via the Aux port, giving you control over exposure, time duration and more. It was launched with Kickstarter funding and you have to shell out some cash to get it but its a fantastic tool for anyone wanting to move beyond cameraphone photography.

Control your phone via a watch

Surf the web via a pair of specs


Most people have heard of Google Glass but Vuzix has got there rst. Working on the Android platform, you can scan email, use apps and grab updates. And all of this is done via a pair of internet-enabled smart glasses that give a real-life heads-up display wherever you are. They are not cheap and we still have to see what Google will come up with, but this sort of tech is amazing, giving the impression of looking at a four-inch phone screen about a foot or two from your face. Wearable computing is undoubtedly a big part of the future.

04

03

It wanted to raise $100,000. In the end, it raised more than $10 million. And this smartwatch is worth the investment because it lets you connect to your Android phone and control calls, messages, email and music playback via Bluetooth. Its customisable, with developers able to expand on its capabilities, and it works with Android version 2.3.3 and above.

25

25 Amazing innovations in Android tech


1,080 x 1,980

Feature

05

Super high-res displays


In 2013, the revolution in Android devices will surround one of the most important aspects: the screen. Handset after handset is being unveiled with 1080p, from ZTEs Grand S to Huaweis D2, Sonys Xperia Z/ZL and the ve-inch display coming from everybodys favourite, Samsung. Its set to become the agship standard for manufacturers, with screens boasting ultra-high pixel density. Indeed Samsung has hit 440 pixels per inch with its AMOLED screen. All of which has led to one problem: a possible shortage of such screens, with supplier Sharp having already reported issues in keeping up with demand. But its a good thing. While the benets of a 1080p display wont always be apparent run a 720p video and it wont magically look 1080p anything created in that format will look amazing. Text and icons will be rendered with eye-piercing precision and photographs will take on a new lease of life and vibrancy. Expect lots of app developers to take advantage, and for videos to become almost lifelike in their clarity. The future is ours to see.

The rise of the 1080p display


A 1080p display sports more than double the number of pixels than on a 720p screen, resulting in considerably crisper text and images, and potentially more tting on the screen at one time.

768 x 1,280
720 x 1,280
540 x 960
480 x 854
480 x 800
320 x 480
240 x 320

How pixel density is on the increase


450 400 350 300 250 200 150 100 50 0
306 - Samsung Galaxy S III 252 HTC Desire 219 - Samsung Galaxy S II 181 - HTC Hero

Flagship devices have burst through the 300ppi benchmark 440 - Sony Xperia Z 312 - HTC One X
300ppi: the Retina display benchmark

Flagship Android devices from 2009 to 2013

Strong, thin displays

Waterproof devices

Flexible displays

07 06

Gorilla Glass 3 is going to put to bed many of those worries about damage to your expensive, pride of joy. Unless you are taking your keys to it, youre going to nd this new version of alkali-aluminosilicate sheet glass will be three-times more scratch-resistant than ever. Any scratches will be 40 per cent less visible to the naked eye.

The Xperia Z had us in tears at the quality of the handset. But we didnt need to worry about splashing this device you can drop it into a swimming pool and it would still work, thanks to its incredible waterproof protection. While we know you wont be dunking your phone in this way, it will be great in a rain storm and its good to see that manufacturers are understanding how protective users can be of their phones and building in added protection.

08

The Samsung Galaxy S IV may well be the rst to carry a exible AMOLED display. While we dont expect users to be bending it like David Beckham any time soon, we do think that exible glass will prove rather innovative in terms of practical use. Perhaps it will be curved so that a certain section displays a particular piece of information so that the device doesnt always have to be on. We will nd out soon

Youre going to nd this new version of alkali-aluminosilicate sheet glass will be three-times more scratch-resistant than ever

Superfast processors

Instant expert: Tegra 4 vs Snapdragon S4

09

Chip maker Nvidia is making a lot of noise in the Android space at the moment and its Tegra 4 processor looks set to be one of the chips powering many of the hottest devices launched over the next year. Designed for top-of-the-range smartphones, it boasts a host of features that will take Android to another level, enabling High Dynamic Range photographic capabilities and even 4K video recording and playback. But its not all about power. The company promises that the energy efciency of the processor will be improved, letting handset makers choose between prolonging battery life or offering maximum speed.

TEGRA 4 The worlds fastest mobile processor Consumes less power than Tegra 3 72-core custom GPU Quad-core A15 CPU

SNAPDRAGON S4 Not as fast as Tegra 3 Up to 1080p HD video Up to Adreno 305 GPU Up to 1.7GHz Dual-Krait CPU

26

25 Amazing innovations in Android tech

Feature

Android devices in every room? You better believe it!

Android at home
The Ford OpenXC SDK has been released for Android developers, enabling access to a cars sensor data. Having already produced an API to let drivers access smartphone features hands-free, this allows data such as fuel consumption, GPS info and vehicle speed to be read.

10

Car apps

11

Games console
The OUYA games console is a tiny set top box style device that brings the full power of Android gaming to your big screen TV. With a fully hackable setup it could also double as a streaming TV device,

12

Sharps Cocorobo RX V60 robot vacuum not only lets you put your feet up while it cleans your carpet but it also lets you plan a oor map and work out cleaning patterns on your Android phone, making it a rather fun task rather than a chore.

Vacuum cleaner

13

At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Dacor showcased the worlds rst oven with Android controls. With a seven-inch LCD touchscreen, stereo sound and Wi-Fi, it lets chefs check emails and scour for recipes and enables handy remote control.

Oven

14

Philips is a leading light here with its Hue light bulbs that give control via a smartphone. Grab a starter pack which includes three light bulbs and a wireless bridge device and control over Wi-Fi.

Light bulbs

15

Its a prototype but theres a lot of potential with this 40-point multi-touch 84-inch tabletop display from 3M. Its not just its 3,840 x 2,160 display and wired-based sensors, its the fact you could play pinball. Perhaps.

3M tabletop

Yes, its a little daft but the Android rice cooker is a reality. Made by Panasonic, the SR-SX2 lets users search for recipes on their Android phones and then transmit them to the cooker. And you can even view how much electricity it has used.

16

Rice cooker

17

A refrigerator by LG has the capability to wirelessly deliver a shopping list to your smartphone. Equipped with a touchscreen panel, it utilises a database within the appliance to make life innitely easier. Never forget the milk again.

Fridge

18

Google TV is pre-installed on many televisions but now we have Archos TV Connect which lets you run Android on your television. You have full access to the entire Android suite of apps from Google Play to Gmail to games.

Smart TVs

27

25 Amazing innovations in Android tech

Feature

Android gaming consoles

19
What is it? Price/ availability Features/ specs

Ouya
The tiny console which raised a sizeable fortune on Kickstarter and, in the process, became one of the most anticipated consoles of all time. $99. Pre-orders went fast but due for retail sale in April 2013.

Project Shield
A handheld console with a ve-inch screen that is to be produced by tech giant Nvidia. It takes the portability of Android and adds a controller. Not announced as yet but dont expect it to be cheap. It is due some time in the second-quarter of the year and will sell fast. Android 4.2.1, Tegra 4, quad-core ARM Cortex A15 CPU, micro SD, ve-inch, 720p multi-touch screen, custom 72-core NVIDIA GeForce GPU, custom, bass-reex, tuned port audio system, mini HDMI, micro USB, controller. As well as Android games, you will also be able to stream games which are running on a desktop PC or laptop so it opens up Windows titles.

Gamestick
A rival to Ouya in more ways than one not only is it cheaper but its actually even smaller, coming on a HDMI dongle that can be carried in a pocket. $79. Its another Kickstarter project and while it hasnt had the same impact as Ouya, it has more than exceeded expectations. Due in April. Android Jelly Bean, Amlogic 8726-MX processor, 1GB DDR3/8GB NAND Flash memory, HDMI, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth controller and support for four additional controllers.

MOGA
An add-on controller which connects to an Android device and lets you play your games with greater ease than a touchscreen could ever allow for. $49.99. There is a lot of stock so getting hold of one shouldnt be an issue. Its out now if you wish to check it out. Buy from http://www.powera.com. Dual-analog sticks, shoulder triggers and four action buttons, works with up to 3.2 in Bluetooth enabled Android 2.3+ phones, as well as tablets. 18 hours of gameplay with two (1.5v) AAA batteries.

Nyko Playpad Pro


Its another joystick which offers eight-way motion but doesnt actually attach to an Android device. It does have a decent enough stand to sit it on though. $39.99 and you can buy it from a decent number of outlets at present. Its out now so check it out if this is the kind of device you are after. Full-sized wireless Bluetooth controller, dual-analog sticks, D-pad, four face buttons and left/right dual-shoulder/trigger buttons designed in conjunction with NVIDIA.

Android 4.1, Nvidia Tegra 3 (T33) SoC, 1.7GHz quad-core ARM Cortex-A9, 8GB internal ash memory, 1GB RAM, HDMI 1080p, 1080i, 720p, Nvidia ULP GeForce, USB 2.0, micro USB, wireless controller.

Games

Games must have a free-to-play aspect to them, even if its just a free trial. Lots of development kits have been sent out and OnLive is on board for streaming. The hardware design allows it to be easily opened with a standard screwdriver. It makes modding and add-ons rather easy to do. The software will be fully open as well. High. Inexpensive games on an inexpensive console bringing Android gaming to the big screen and enough pre-orders to make the little green robot dance.

The maker is inviting developers to come on board and produce games for the stick, hoping that it will attract exclusives. It lacks game streaming so far but it may well come. High. The makers are quoted as saying: We are keen to ensure that users have the ability to hack the device if they so wish. The time for closed, proprietary systems is ending, which bodes well for innovation. It is made by PlayJam which is an experienced games company and its also a very inexpensive device that will be well supported, we believe. It will not struggle for games so we reckon it will do well.

So many games dont support the device and while that may change, were looking at a tiny percentage right now. Even games made for consoles dont support the device. Were hoping that someone will hack it so that it becomes compatible not only with more games but with emulated titles too. So far we have yet to see any major hacks for the controller, though. They want to get developers on board but were not seeing this device setting the world alight. Its not the rst controller of its type and we expect to see many others in the future.

The Playpad Pro is compatible with numerous games optimised for Tegra-powered devices. The device works with any Android 3.0 device or higher with Bluetooth. Seems less likely. Indeed the Nyko website proudly proclaims No rooting required. Great for ease of use, but less so if they want to attract the geek crowd in.

Hackability

Were not sure if Nvidia will play to the hacking community but were sure that people will nd a way. It wont be built for modding, though, and it may be too expensive a machine for people to mess with. Project Shield supports Google Play and is capable of streaming PC games and were sure Sony and Nintendo will be a little worried. But one for the hardcore? And will it be too expensive?

Prospects for success

Not that high. The issue with these devices is that it is akin to carting around a console controller and thats not very comfortable. The future, we think, is in Android consoles for television rather than controllers for portables.

Gaming: Androids next big thing?


Gaming is one of the most important features of Android devices. Analytic company Flurry, for example, estimated that more than $10 million was earned from apps in 2012 and that 80 per cent of that total was for games. In terms of time, it has been found that more than 40 per cent of the time spent on an Android device includes a game. Charles Golvin, an analyst for Forrester Research, believes devices will combine with Smart TVs. I think the most likely scenario for bringing Android gaming to the big screen is via Google TV and other scenarios that integrate with the TV, he tells us. There is certainly a healthy future for Android gaming, however, and Charles says consumers already have enough power to take advantage of this much-loved pastime: Consumers benet from the increasing performance of their phones and can therefore get a very good gaming experience without shelling out for an additional device.

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20

The phablet explosion


Take a smartphone. Take a tablet. Merge the two and what do you have? A phablet. And its more than just an awful name. For these phablets are on the increase and they are set to take up a unique space of their own. In general, they are between ve and seven inches and it is the next logical step in the pattern of ever increasing phone screen sizes. It seems people want more from their phones in the physical sense and its not surprising. Although the larger form is more cumbersome to hold, it makes for a considerably more comfortable gadget to view. It will ensure that we use our mobile devices in a very different way. Instead of having two devices a smartphone and tablet we may increasingly see ourselves with just the one. And because holding a seven-inch screen to the ear is Trigger Happy TV daft, it may even encourage a rise in video calling. Experts suggest the market for phablets is set to more than double to 60.4 million units globally and while that is still small fry compared to the markets for the two distinguishable devices, they are perfect for those that want the best of both worlds, enabling for an all-in-one, content-rich solution. And the gap between phone and tablet will shrink ever further the Huawei Ascend Mate has a screen measuring a faintly ludicrous 6.1 inches! The coming months will see many other manufacturers dip their toes in the phablet waters, and as the ultimate convergence device youre going to see a lot more of them on the street too.

An e-ink phone

Dual-SIM devices

21

The YotaPhone is a great device in concept. Here we have a phone that boasts a cool colour touchscreen where it should be and yet packs an e-ink display on the back. Its like having a very portable Kindle with all of those benets, not least the fact that it doesnt eat up battery. Users can put all manner of things on that back screen, from a map to a to-do list.

22

Top 3 phablets
Samsung Galaxy Note 2
Even bigger than the debut model, the Note 2 boasts a 5.5-inch screen and while we did question who would want to make calls on such a large device, it has become a massive seller.

The Kogan Agora phone may have a decent set of specications, but the key is its dual-SIM capabilities. This means you can slot a 2G card into one slot and a 3G into the other. The downside with this particular device is that it doesnt support 4G but we can be sure other dual-SIM devices will, in the future, offer this sort of capability. Better phones include Philips W8355 with its 5.3-inch screen that boasts an impressive 960 x 540 pixels resolution as well as dual-SIM.

HTC Droid DNA

Android & Windows together

Smaller seven-inch tablets

23

Having to choose one OS over another can be limiting, especially when each has its own merit. And while we will never see iOS on an handset with Android, there are Android-Windows hybrid tablets around including the Transformer AiO from Asus. Its an all-in-one Windows 8 PC that can double up as an 18.4-inch Android 4.1 tablet.

24

Vizios seven-inch tablet is the size of a Kindle and thats got to be a good thing. It packs in a Tegra 3 processor, a 1,280 x 800 IPS display, 16GB of storage, a 1.2-MP front-facing camera and Android Jelly Bean, but the smaller form makes it a more compact, usable and comfortable device, which is quite dramatic when compared to a Nexus 7.

An impressive phablet with a ve-inch screen and a full 1080p HD display excels with its fast performance. Great for photographers and those who like face calls, since it has cameras front and back.

LG Optimus Vu 2

Truly affordable tablets

25

The One Laptop per Child tablet makes these sorts of devices so cheap that you wonder why, when it is released, everyone will not have one. Costing just $100, it can run Android on its Marvell Armada PXA618 processor. It utilises 512MB of RAM and it has an eight-inch, 1,024 x 768 3Qi display. Want more? The screen can be turned down in bright light and you can make that battery last even longer.

This ve-inch phablet has a 1.5GHz quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 CPU and it also appears to be a premium build. Efcient and good-looking, its a sure-re winner for LG.

29

T utorials
masterclass

There are a host of fantastic features available from the latest upgrade for S III users
n this masterclass well be taking a look at the new features included in the Premium Suite available for Samsung Galaxy S III users. Photographers will be delighted to learn about the many camera improvements included. Well guide you through the new Low light shot function and Paper Artist mode. Thanks to the new Multi window feature, multitasking is made a breeze now you can open two apps in two separate windows at the same time. In our fourth tutorial, we look at Page buddy, a new feature that tries to read your mind by opening apps on your smartphone for you. In our final tutorial, we look at the new contextual tagging feature, which enables you to tag photos with not only the date and location, but even the weather.

Master the Galaxy Premium Suite


Galaxy Premium Suite features 1. Never miss an important Facebook status update ever again! Now you can view Facebook updates conveniently on your lockscreen. 2. If youre far-sighted or just find the text a little too small on the S III, youre in luck. The new Reader mode solves that problem by enabling you to adjust the text size in your browser to as large as you desire. 3. If youre looking to get your groove on to your favourite tunes, you can perfect the sound by altering the balance of your pair of headphones. 4. The Premium Suite turns the Galaxy S III up a notch. Enjoy faster response and a smoother touch than ever before as you browse your favourite apps. 5. Send SMS to your mates faster than ever before. Continuous input lets you use your stylus pen to type words at rapid speeds.
Ask your own question online at littlegreenrobot.co.uk

Will the Premium Suite be heading to any other Android devices?

Samsung Galaxy Note and Galaxy S II users are in luck the Premium Suite update will be available for download very shortly. Youll receive the same great features as the Galaxy S III did, such as the ability to multi-task and tag your mates with contextual tagging. Theres lots to be excited by!

We look at Page buddy, a new feature that tries to read your mind by opening apps on your smartphone for you
Sharing made easy

These amazing features make sharing with your mates easy

AllShare Play

Big screen

S Beam

Tired of carrying around extra cables? AllShare Play enables you to wirelessly connect your phone to your TV in a snap. Content, such as photos and videos, are seamlessly transferred to enjoy on the big screen.

Share with Android users

AllShare Cast

Simply tap another S Beam device such as Galaxy Note II or Galaxy S III Mini to share. Effortlessly share a 1GB movie in only three minutes or a 10MB song in two seconds. Best of all, no Wi-Fi or cellular signal required!

Share documents

Whether youre getting ready for a big presentation at work or the classroom, Group Cast has you covered. Share and collaborate on documents, presentations and photos via Wi-Fi, all from one feature.

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ss xy cla la e ter Ga it as the Su m ter ium as m M Pre

Works with

Samsung Galaxy S III and Galaxy Note II Difficulty Easy

Automate tasks with Page Buddy


O
Keep your hands off your smartphone and let it do the hard work for you
ne of the most popular and widely discussed features of the iPhone is Siri, a voiceactivated assistant, which helps you at the sound of your voice. Users of the Galaxy S III now have something to be proud of. Do you ever wish your smartphone could read your mind? Unfortunately, were still not there yet, but Page buddy is the next best thing. Page buddy follows your every move on your smartphone and can figure out what you plan to do next. For example, by simply plugging in headphones to your phone, the music library will automatically open for your listening pleasure.

2 min

Tag faces & weather in photos

guide

The new contextual tagging feature lets you automatically tag faces and weather in photos you take

Contextual tagging is more like a group of features that need to be activated separately, but combine to perform a single useful function. Access all of the core settings through the Camera app.

on Page buddy 1 Turn Once you turn on Page buddy youll wonder
how you ever survived without it. To enable Page buddy, go to Settings>Display and locate the correct option. Simply swipe with your finger to turn on Page buddy. If you find it doesnt stay activated, turn it on in the options from step 2.

2 Options With Page buddy enabled, click to show its


options. There are dedicated pages for earphones, docking (when your phone is connected to a charger) or for when you are travelling overseas and roaming is activated. Tick to activate the features you want to use. Contextual tagging isnt automatically turned on youll need to enable it. To do so, open Settings, find GPS Tag and select Contextual filename. Now location and weather will be stored automatically in photos.

music 3 Enjoy Page buddy will be automatically activated


when your home screen is visible, when you connect earphones, when you dock your phone or go abroad. For example, when you plug in your headphones a special music-oriented home screen will open, giving you instant access.

off 4 Turn You can continue to swipe around your


home screens with Page buddy running. When you disconnect your earphones, or undock your phone, Page buddy will disappear. Note that this app requires TouchWiz to function, so if youre running a separate launcher it will not be available. To tag faces, click on the rectangle that covers a face and choose the person that appears in the photo. If you dont see a rectangle on the face, click the options button, then Face tag and tap On.

31

T utorials Multitask with the Multi window feature


Works with

Samsung Galaxy S III and Galaxy Note II Difculty Easy

Multi-task in full-screen mode with Premium Suites new Multi window mode

ets face it; two screens are better than one. If you have a desktop computer you can double your productivity by purchasing a second monitor not so with a smartphone like the Galaxy S III. Users of the worlds best-selling smartphone were limited to painstakingly opening one program in only one window at a time that is until now! The new Multi window mode enables you to open two different apps at the same time, each in its own

window that means you can have two windows open at the same time, folks. Multi window mode is a long overdue feature Galaxy S III users have been craving. Youll instantly enjoy the convenience of browsing the internet while checking your favourite app, all at the same time. The giant-sized, crystal-clear display of the Galaxy S III is perfect for this feature. Youll wonder how you ever lived without the fantastic Multi window mode.

Display settings 1 Adjust Youll need to enable Multi window mode to


start taking advantage of two-window browsing. To turn this feature on, go to Settings>Display and tick the Multi window box. You can leave it activated even if you dont often use it.

Multi window 2 Enable Once youve enabled Multi window mode, a


small icon on the left side of your display should appear. It disappears after some time, but shows up when Multi window is turned on. You can display it again by holding down the back button.

started 3 Getting Tap the icon on the left of the screen to see
your available Multi window apps. Only supported apps are available here the Samsung and Google apps are there by default, although third-party apps can add support as well. The Falcon Pro Twitter app is one good example of this.

screens 4 Two To start viewing in Multi window mode,


select one of the available apps and open it. Next, select a second app and drag its icon onto the screen. It will now open in one half of the screen, with your original app also still being perfectly visible and accessible.

size 5 Window To optimise your devices display, you can


adjust the size of your on-screen windows. To change the size of a window, simply select it and drag it from the corner to either enlarge or minimise. Tap in one window and then hit the full screen icon to enlarge that app.

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ss y la x rc la te Ga ite as he Su mter t ium as m M Pre

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Works with

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Samsung Galaxy S III and Galaxy Note II Difculty Easy

Shoot low light photographs


Put an end to the frustrations of taking respectable photos in difcult conditions Low light mode gives you professional results

ne of the biggest challenges for photographers is snapping clear and sharp photos on a rainy day or at night. It can be disappointing to arrive home and discover that only half of your photos turned out any good. This problem exists because as the light gets dimmer the camera will slow the shutter speed in order to ensure enough light reaches the sensor. Except a lower shutter speed increases the likelihood of camera shake. With the new Low light mode, you can take crystal-clear photos in an instant, even in dark locations. Best of all, you wont need to tinker with your phones settings Low light mode automatically improves your photos once enabled, so youll never miss another photo again due to a lack of light.

new Camera app 1 Your The Camera app within Premium Suite has
been updated with a series of new features. The user interface is the same as it was before, but its worth rooting around the various menus to see what other changes have been made. You can also launch the camera from your lockscreen.

Shooting mode 2 Select Low light mode isnt automatically enabled,


since it isnt required to take photos during the daytime. To turn on this feature for night-time photos, go to Settings and nd Shooting mode. Swipe down and then choose Low light mode. Dont confuse it with the Night scene mode.

your pic 3 Take Now take your shot. Low light mode works
by snapping several shots and combining them into a single, cleaner image. Therefore you need to hold the camera very steadily to avoid adding motion blur to your picture. Once taken, wait a few seconds while the images are merged.

2 min Edit photos with Paper Artist guide


Explore a host of enjoyable and artistic photograph effects

Open your phones Gallery app and choose an image that you want to edit creatively. Hit the menu button and select Edit, and choose Paper Artist from the resulting list. Your picture will now open in the app ready for you to start editing.

Paper Artist is a tool for adding hand-drawn effects. By default, your chosen image will open up as a pencil sketch, and will look pretty good without you even doing any additional editing. View other effects by scrolling through the bottom bar.

You can enhance the effect using the paint brush tool. Pick a size then brush your nger on the screen to add colour or increase the detail in the image. The effect of the brush differs depending on which lter you decided to use.

Pick the pencil icon to add your own drawing, and use the frame icon to add a frame. The eraser icon enables you to wipe away changes, but they wont remove any of the effect of the original lter that was applied.

33

T utorials Google Drive spreadsheets for pros


Options
Works with

Android 2.1 and up Difculty Intermediate

All your formatting options appear at the top of the screen, and include all the basic functions youd expect. As well as making text bold and italic, you can add strikes to certain text and even tinker with some of the data entry options

Create, edit and share spreadsheets on your phone or tablet

n often overlooked part of the Google Docs integration with Drive is its spreadsheet functionality. Providing users with a simple way to create, edit and manage their spreadsheets, youll nd a wide range of features that mimic the likes of Excel, but without being overcomplicated to new and advanced users alike. In addition to simple edits that can be performed with ease, youll also be able to see the changes you make to your spreadsheet immediately on your screen, where before you would need to refresh your page to see them. It also takes advantage of a whole selection of shortcuts and gestures to make formatting your spreadsheet a lot easier, and once youve mastered these, youll nd working with spreadsheets on your Android device a whole lot easier. In this tutorial well guide you through the various elements of the spreadsheet function on Drive, and show you some of the features that are supported but are absent from the apps toolbar. These include the ability to add formulas and links to your documents.

Add entries

Data entry is the easiest aspect of using the spreadsheet feature in Google Drive. By simply doubletapping on a single cell your keyboard will appear and youll be able to add, edit or remove the text from that cell

Multi-cell

By highlighting a whole row of data youll be able to form multi-cell formatting which is a whole lot quicker than doing it individually. You can perform the same multi-cell formatting if you highlight multiple columns

Conrm or undo

Even though the changes you make to your spreadsheet will immediately appear, youll need to use the tick in the top-left of the app to conrm any changes you make. The undo and redo functions are also essential additions

your data 1 Categorise If youre dealing with a large quantity of


numbers, but need to put them in a logical order, theres a quick way of being able to sort through them. A single tap at the top of an individual column will bring up a small menu from which you can select to put your data in a specic order.

formulas 2 Mathematical To perform useful mathematical formulas


with data on your spreadsheet, rst you will need to press on the desired cell you want the number to be inputted to. Then type into the cell: =sum(**+**), replacing ** with the cells you want to add together.

cells 3 Multiple After selecting a single cell, drag the blue


bars that surround the cell across multiple cells to select them. Whatever formatting you choose will take place across every cell. This is a great way of copy and pasting large amounts of data. The undo button will help if something goes wrong.

34

quick Great apps for creating spreadsheets on your Android tips


1 Kingsoft Ofce
Create simple spreadsheets without any complicated features or functions in this clever app. A comprehensive spreadsheet creator that allows you to input complex formulas.

2 Simple Spreadsheet

Fully compatible with Microsoft Excel, Spreadsheet boasts a wide range of features for Excel pros.

3 Spreadsheet

4 e-Droid-Cell

The built-in formula generator is a great help in making sense of this powerful spreadsheet creator.

Create simple spreadsheets and then save them using the apps very own le managing client.

5 Droidsheet

Ask your own question online at littlegreenrobot.co.uk

equations 4 Using Instead of tediously copying over your data


from one spreadsheet to another, you can use an equation to move data effortlessly. With a new sheet open, type in worksheets (sheet1) and then add the cells you wish to copy over afterwards before pressing Enter.

replicated cells 5 Create If you need to input the same piece of data
over multiple cells, theres a quicker way than manually entering it into every cell and copy and pasting. Press and hold on the piece of inputted data and drag it downwards or left and right to put it into multiple cells. Press the tick when done.

I want to add a new person to my spreadsheet, but can I implement read only privileges?
When you add someone to your spreadsheet, you can select the read only option from the menu. This means that the person in question will have full access to the spreadsheet but wont be able to make any changes to it.

Is it possible to edit my spreadsheet in the desktop version of Drive?


After youve implemented all the changes you want to on the mobile version of Google Drive, youll have full access to it on the desktop version. Not only will you nd all the same features that appeared on the mobile version, youll also uncover a host of new functions, as well as further support for formulas.

hyperlinks 6 Input Directing people to websites using


spreadsheets isnt easy, but by following a formula you can input hyperlinks into single cells. As an example using YouTube, type =HYPERLINK(www. youtube.com;[youtube]) to add a hyperlink to your specied cell.

a new sheet 7 Create At the bottom of your current spreadsheet


is a large + symbol that allows you to create a new sheet for your spreadsheet. Once pressed youll have an entirely blank sheet to work on, and youll also be able to make a duplicate of your previous sheet to work on.

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columns 8 Hide While working on the spreadsheet, press


on the options button in the top-right and select Open in Browser. Your spreadsheet will now open in the browser version of Drive, and from here you can select columns and rows to minimise so they arent taken into account when creating formulas.

third-party access 9 Add Press on the person icon in the top-right of


the app to add a person to your spreadsheet. Using this option will allow you to choose someone who can edit the spreadsheet when its not in use by you. Enter a contacts name, or their email address, to invite them.

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Works with

Android 2.1 and above Difculty Intermediate

Discover how to set up and manage a wireless hotspot

Use your phone as a Wi-Fi hotspot


here will be times when Wi-Fi is not available. When this happens a 3G or 4G connection is the obvious choice to get connected. However, not all devices carry a 3G connection, so the solution is to improvise. A device with a 3G connection can be turned into a wireless hotspot allowing other Wi-Fi devices to take advantage of the 3G connection. The conversion to a hotspot effectively makes a device a mobile router. Nearby users can connect to the hotspot, with a password or key and start browsing the web. Be warned, a portable hotspot will use a lot of data. Ideally, only run with an unlimited or all-you-can-eat data plan.
[FIG 2] The default security settings are perfectly adequate for use, but modifying makes them easier to use. Change the SSID to a name you will recognise and change the password to a preferred choice

connections. Two is a reasonable number but there is the option for more.

4. Get connected
Now turn on the Portable Wi-Fi Hotspot by tapping as requested. This will make the devices security settings unavailable, meaning that users cannot make any modications while the hotspot is switched on. To connect to the new hotspot, locate it on the device to be connected and enter the password.

5. Advanced settings
[FIG 5] When using a device as a Portable Wi-Fi Hotspot it will eat through the battery life quickly. By default, the connection is disabled after ten minutes, but change this to save more battery power

Tap the Menu button and select Advanced from the options. The Hide SSID option will hide the SSID, or router names, from devices so they cant connect. Tap LAN settings to view an IP address and select Power mode to choose power saving.

1. Locate settings
Get started by locating and opening your Settings app. Under Wireless & networks will be the Portable hotspot & tethering option. This can vary from phone to phone (the screenshots for this tutorial are taken on a HTC). If needed, tap More to uncover the Hotspot option. If the Portable Wi-Fi Hotspot option is switched on, switch it off to get access to the hotspot settings.

encryption is typically the best available, so it is best left as it is. Finally, a randomly generated password will be assigned to your new hotspot. Change to a password of choice, or at least take note of the new password if you keep it. For extra security, tap the Show password button to hide the password from view.

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3. Manage users
A hotspot is like any Wi-Fi connection, the more users that connect, the less effective it becomes and the more bandwidth it uses. When creating a Portable Wi-Fi Hotspot it is best to have an unlimited data plan. To control the number of users, head to the bottom of the screen and tap Manage users. This allows for the selection of the maximum number of

2. Security
The Portable Wi-Fi Hotspot will be given a selection of security settings. The Router name (SSID) is the title that is used to recognise the hotspot on devices searching for a Wi-Fi connection. Change the default to a preferred choice or alternatively leave it as it is. The default

Do I need an unlimited data plan to create a Portable Wi-Fi Hotspot?

It depends how heavily you intend to use it. For short term use you should be ne on any data plan, but a networks T&Cs often prohibit tethering, so you may need a specic plan for more dedicated use.

37

T utorials Speed up Chrome


Works with

Passwords

Android 4.0 and above Difculty Easy

The Save password option does little to speed up the browser, but does speed up the browsing experience. It is switched on by default and will display saved and never saved passwords. There is the option to delete passwords under Never saved tap the desired password URL and select Delete to remove

Making predictions

Chrome helps speed up the browsing experience by predicting where a user might go next on the page. Data is loaded in the background so links will open quicker. By default this is set to Only on Wi-Fi. Open Bandwidth management and set to Always if you have an unlimited data plan

Privacy

Tweak Chromes settings for a quicker and more efcient web browsing experience

The Privacy setting includes the Clear browsing data option. By default, this includes browser history, cache and cookies. Tap Clear to remove default data. Hit Passwords and Auto-ll data for a speed and security boost

he Google Chrome browser is now the default Android browser and not without good reason. It is a quick, lightweight browser that is intuitive and easy to use. However, as swift as Chrome can be, there are always a few tweaks that can be applied to a browser to make it more productive for the user, and Chrome is no different. The browser has a host of options neatly tucked away under the Settings section. Chrome offers a selection of basic and advanced settings, both of which can contribute to a faster browsing experience. The most obvious is the option to clear browsing data this removes history, cache, cookies, site data etc, freeing up resources to make the browser more secure. Beyond this there is auto-ll, bandwidth management and data clearance for individual sites.

Safe and speedy browsing

Send reports?

Its what we all want, right? Chrome has a selection of features that will make the user experience more intuitive and your browsing more secure

Usage and crash reports is part of Privacy and is set to Never send by default. This means that no reports will be sent to help improve the performance of the browser. To send reports via the optimum option tap Usage and crash reports and select Only send on Wi-Fi

Advanced settings
Add Auto-ll
The Auto-ll form option is switched on by default, but does not contain any data. To speed up the form lling process, there is the option to add a prole as well as credit card details. Tap Add prole or Add credit card to complete.

Browse in private
Chrome allows users to switch to Incognito mode, which offers more privacy for the user. Tap the menu button and select New incognito tab and add URL. Incognito does not record page views and cookies are removed when the tab is closed.

Tabs

Tabbed browsing is standard on most browsers and allows users to open more than one site at a time. To switch to another site, just hit a tab. By default, a new tab will show the Most Visited pages for quick and easy access.

Content settings contains Website settings and offers access to advanced settings for individual websites. Tap Website settings to view which sites have data or location permissions stored on the device. Each site is assigned an icon to represent data or location access. Tap a site, hit Clear stored data and select Clear all to delete data

There are always a few tweaks that can be applied to a browser

38

Works with

All versions of Android Difculty Intermediate

Connect and share with Bluetooth


Pair two devices to transfer les from one device to another

he average gadget happy consumer and business user is likely to have more than one device. Whether its a couple of smartphones, a tablet and smartphone or even multiple tablets, theres always another device to get connected to. Users may want to transfer photos, data, les, music or videos to another device. Bluetooth is a technology that devices have in common and is the ideal solution for short-range connections. With two Bluetooth-activated devices in

action, they just need to be paired to allow for the transfer of les. The rst step is to switch on Bluetooth to make a device discoverable. It is likely that there may be more than one device within range, so make sure you know the name of the device you want to connect to. Once paired it is time to start sharing les between the connected devices.

on 1 Switch To pair devices, both will need to have


Bluetooth switched on. Head to Settings and under Wireless & Networks will be Bluetooth. If switched off, slide the switch to on. Now tap Bluetooth this will display the current device and name. Tap the menu icon to rename a device.

2 Visibility Devices will not be visible until activated.


Tap the device name of the devices to be paired, which will then state it as visible. This has a default Visibility timeout of 2 minutes before it becomes invisible. Tap the menu button and select Visibility timeout to get more time, eg 5 minutes, to pair.

3 Search After making both devices visible, the next


step is to search for devices. Tap Search for devices (you may need to use the menu to nd the command) and any Bluetooth devices within range will appear under Available Devices. To start the pairing process, tap on a device from the list.

4 Pair A Bluetooth pairing request pop-up window


will appear. This will state the device to pair with and the passkey, which will also appear on the screen of the other device. If this matches, tap Pair on the rst device and on the second device and wait. The paired device will now show.

les 5 Share Now two devices are paired, the user can
share les. Select an application that offers sharing capabilities. For example, webpages can be shared via Chrome. Tap menu, select Share and choose Bluetooth. The le is sent, just drag down the notication bar to accept a le.

6 Unpair Paired devices will remain paired for as long


as you wish. When Bluetooth is switched off, the device remembers who it is paired with. To stop a device being paired, it needs to be unpaired. In Settings>Bluetooth, hit the paired device settings icon and select Unpair.

39

T utorials Share and sync data between your devices


Works with

All levels of Android Difculty Intermediate

Make sure all your data is up to date, whichever device youre using it on

ecause there are so many different Android devices out there, its not possible to sync them in the same way you can iOS devices. Instead there are a number of different ways to share information across multiple devices. Youll nd during the course of this tutorial that your Google account is your best friend, so if you get a new Android device, make sure you sign up to it using the same Google account as you signed up to your old ones this way you can share information and app

data without having to install apps other than the Google ones that are already present on your devices. There are better ways to sync rooted devices, and more ways to make sure that devices from the same manufacturer are in sync, but this tutorial is going to assume your tablet and phone arent rooted, and that theyre running slightly different versions of Android, which is more than likely the case. Make sure youve got both devices to hand and well get them singing from the same hymn sheet.

your settings 1 Check First up we need to make sure that your


Account settings are all set up correctly. Pick one of your devices and from your home screen tap the menu button, then scroll down to the Accounts section and tap on your Google account.

account 2 Select On the Accounts page you should see the


Google account thats linked to that device. Make sure its the same one thats linked to the other device, then tap on it. If you use multiple accounts, choose the one thats linked to both devices.

to sync 3 Set Here youll nd a list of different items you


can sync. Run down the checklist and tick every box, then repeat the steps on your other device. Everything in your Google account, including Google Play purchases, should now sync.

it work? 4 Did An easy way to nd out if the sync is


working is to head to the Google Play store on one device and download the free song of the week from the Google Music section. Conrm your purchase then swap to your other device.

at your notications 5 Look If everything has worked, you should get a


download notication on your second device. Slide down the notications bar, and make sure that the download is the song that you just purchased. If it is, tap on it and youll be taken to the music player.

40

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Is there any way to share my game saves between devices?


Not easily, although there is a solution that works on rooted devices. Its called DataSync and is available from the Play Store. The app shares and syncs your saves via the cloud.

for starters 6 Synced If everything has worked out, you should


now be listening to a track you downloaded on a different device. Thats the rst part of the tutorial over, but theres more to come. Its time to head back to the Settings menu.

your backup 7 Set In the Settings menu, you need to set up


your backup utility so that it remembers app data and reinstalls it when you reinstall the app. Check the two boxes and then head back out to the Google Play store.

your apps 8 Find From the front page of the Google Play
store you should be able to nd all the apps youve ever downloaded and installed using your Google account. Just tap on the button at the top that looks like a downloading symbol.

the list 9 Check You can now go through the apps that
youve bought or downloaded and install them on a different device. If youve turned the backup on, you should get the same data installed on the new device as well as the old device.

your browsing 10 Sync Finally you can use Google Chrome to sync
your web browsing across multiple devices as well. If you havent got it installed already, grab it for free from the Google Play store and get it installed on both of the devices.

your devices 11 Find Once Chrome is installed, bring up the


menu and nd the section marked Other devices. Tap on that and you should be taken to a tab of the browser that will let you sync your devices to share bookmarks and other browsing information.

devices 12 Sync Simply tap on the screen where it says


Enable sync. This will not only sync your two devices, but any other devices you use Chrome signed in to your Google account, such as a PC or an iOS-powered device.

and pages 13 Bookmarks Not only can you now share bookmarks, but
pick up reading a webpage where you left off on your tablet on your phone. After these steps, your information, entertainment content and apps are shared seamlessly across your Android devices.

41

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App info

Works with

All versions of Android Difculty Easy


Force stop
If an app is misbehaving and needs to be temporarily stopped from operating, the Force stop button is called into action. This will stop the selected app from causing issues on the selected device. To turn back on, simply open the app again

Access to the App info screen for a chosen app is via the app icon. First head to the Apps screen, tap and hold the selected app, which switches to the home screen to reveal the App info links. Drag the icon onto the link to open

Get rid of bloatware


Streamline and speed up your device by disabling unwanted system apps

ifferent manufacturers offer different system apps, but it is almost guaranteed that most users wont want to use many of the pre-installed collection. Having a host of unwanted apps clogging up your app screen is irritating. The problem with system apps is that users cannot simply uninstall like third-party apps. The answer is to disable a selected app to not only hide it, but to help save on resources and speed up a device. Disabling an app to hide bloatware is one reason to stop an app. However, it can also be called upon for system apps that are misbehaving. If an app is causing lag, or any other unwanted behaviour, disabling an app will help resolve the issue. There is no need to panic if the wrong app is selected, it can be re-enabled at any point.

Disable Clear data


Each app contains a selection of information relating to how much storage they are taking up and how much info is stored in the cache. Selecting Clear data will delete all data including any related settings, databases, accounts and les

The Disable option is used to hide or freeze system apps. These are apps that cannot be installed. Disabling an app will help free up resources and stop any apps causing issues. The app icon will be removed from the Apps window

App information

Each app installed on an Android device will have a different set of information attached to it. Here we show you how to nd a disabled app to view and re-enable

apps 1 Find A disabled app will not be


available in the usual places on a device. To locate a disabled app, the rst step is to head to Settings. Under Device, locate Apps and tap to open the Apps window.

apps 2 All The Apps window opens at the


Downloaded list by default. This is the list of apps that you have installed. Disabled apps appear under the All section of the Apps window; swipe left to locate the list.

app 3 Enable Disabled apps will appear at the


bottom of the All list. Tap a disabled app to bring up the App info screen. Tap Enable to reactivate the disabled app. Head back to the Apps screen to see the app back in action.

Permissions

All apps have a set of permissions attached to it. These allow an app and a device to interact. To view the different permissions browse through the list. To view more details of what a permission actually does, tap the appropriate permission to view a pop-up

43

T utorials Use the advanced features of Gmail


Works with

Android 4.0 and above Difculty Intermediate

Use labels and the Priority Inbox feature to get the most out of your Android mailbox

ven if youre not the busiest of people, it is pretty likely that your Gmail inbox sometimes looks like it could do with a cleansing re to clear it out. Whether its work emails, friends connecting, order conrmations or just the steady stream of special offers and voucher websites that ll up your inbox everyday, it can feel like a daunting task trying to get on top of things. Thats where labels and your Priority Inbox come to fruition. These handy inclusions in the ofcial Gmail

app let you keep a close eye on what actually matters to you, and leave the rest to read when youve got a spare minute. Here then are some simple tips and tricks to help you get a better hold of your on-themove email communications. With a bit of tinkering and some sensible labelling, youll soon be the master of most of the mail coming your way, and thats a great feeling. These tweaks will change your internet email inbox too, giving you almost complete control.

your priorities 1 Find Firstly, open the Gmail app on your Android
device. Depending on what screen size youre using, you should either see Priority Inbox in the list on the left, or be able to bring it up by tapping on your account name.

Priority Inbox 2 Select Tap on Priority Inbox and youll be


confronted by a series of emails, all with a yellow symbol next to them. That denotes them as important, and tells Google to set them as a priority. Assume Google is going to be wrong

the importance 3 Toggle There are two ways to change the


importance of an email, and the sender of that email, in the Gmail app. First you can do it from within an email by bringing up this menu and changing the setting to important or not.

you could do this 4 Or Alternatively, select an email from your


inbox, then tap the label icon to toggle its importance. This is useful if you want to label a batch of emails as important or not, but also quickly change an emails settings.

your settings 5 Change Obviously the more emails you mark as


important, the more information Google gathers about what you class as important, and the better the service becomes. Next, go into the menu and tap Manage labels, then tap on Priority Inbox.

44

quick Make sure you keep getting the most out of your Android email facility tips
1 Do it often
Mark and unmark emails as important whenever you can it helps the system keep working. Dont be afraid to use multiple labels on the same email if it needs them. Its key to keeping organised.

2 Use multiple labels

If youve got multiple accounts, forwarding them to one account is easier than constantly swapping.

3 Forward your mail

4 Archive to keep things tidy


Archiving emails sends them to your All Mail tab, keeping your inbox clear without deleting stuff.

Use the Mark as Unread tool to remind you to do something in an important email.

5 Mark as Unread

2
alerts 6 Get Here you can change the way your Android
device sends you notifications, setting it up so you receive alerts when you get emails to your Priority Inbox. If you still want to receive notifications about your regular emails, theres a quick trick to telling the difference.

guide

Use labels to get min more out of Gmail

Now your Priority Inbox is set up, its time to get your labels in a smart working order as well

a label? 1 Whats A label is a tag you can add to a


conversation to group it together with others about the same subject. Theyre a further layer of grouping, and while Gmail comes with some built in, you can add your own too.

the web 2 Hit Unfortunately you cant make new labels


on the Gmail app, youll have to do it on the web. Once youve made some though, theyll appear in your long list of labels at the left of the screen or from a drop-down menu at the top.

the tone 7 Set Set up your priority alert with a different


tone and youll be able to tell whether the email youve just received is one that demands your attention straight away, or one that you can check back on when you get a chance.

your favourite 8 Choose Finally, head back to your inbox and bring up
the settings menu, then tap on your account. You can now set your Priority Inbox as the default inbox, meaning that youll get all your important emails the second you open up the app.

a label 3 Add You add a label in similar ways to marking


an email as important, either by tapping on the label icon when youre in the email, or selecting a group from your inbox then adding one via the bar at the top of the screen.

notifications 4 Quick-look You can check all emails with the same
label by tapping on the name of the label in your inbox, and even set up ringtones and notifications for different labels in the same way you set them up for your Priority Inbox.

45

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The best DVD conversion app?

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I have just bought a Samsung Galaxy S III & two Nexus 7s. Ive been having a real nightmare nding DVD software to convert to play on the Nexus 7s, as I bought two as in-car players for my kids! I have tried six applications now and only two worked well, but before I commit to the 35-50 to buy the full working pack can you please recommend one that works without limited use or logos on screen? Alex

Did you know?


Creating your own ringtones is easy, but by default they will play from the start of any music track you select. RingDroid, from Google Play, lets you select a particular part of a track (the chorus works best) to play when your phone rings. See page 52 for more details.

This is a question we hear often and it is understandable because there are countless solutions on the market designed to convert DVD software, and each claims to be the best solution available. When playing converted DVD les, you will need to concentrate on two areas: what format the DVD is converted to and how good the quality is, and also what formats your Android device can support. Handbrake (http://handbrake.fr) is a free solution that has a peerless reputation for ease of use and quality output. It can also output

Handbrake is manual to use, but not difcult to understand at all

the converted movies in formats that are supported natively by the Nexus 7. If you choose MP4 as the default output format you will not go far wrong, but you can also look at another video playing app such as MX Player to cover all bases. Handbrake is slightly manual in the way it works and does not offer the one-click conversion process other solutions offer, but once you have converted your rst DVD it will soon become second nature and you will have a lot of control. Note that if youre attempting to rip DVDs that are encrypted you may encounter

some problems and will need to nd a workaround you can take a look at a program such as MakeMKV (www.makemkv.com) for this, although it is only able to convert les to a large and uncompressed MKV format (and remember that breaking copy protection on discs is still something of a legal grey area). In our experience though the conversions from Handbrake are always of a high quality and you can be almost guaranteed of a good viewing experience every single time. Few solutions work as well as Handbrake and remember, its a free download!

46

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My unknown phone number


I have a Samsung Galaxy S III and in the status screen my phone number is shown as unknown. How do I enter the correct information? I had surfed and read that the only x was to remove the micro SIM, put it in another phone, enter my phone number, and then re-install on the S III. Duncan Carmichael
This is without doubt an annoying problem and one that seems difcult to x, but it is far from unusual. We have seen this happen with many different phones, not just Android models, on each of the major carriers and there appears to be no denitive explanation for its occurrence. The rst question to ask yourself is how important this problem is and what problems it actually creates. Chances are that it will have little bearing on the way your phone works or what you can do, but we can also understand the need to want to x it. Go to

Contacts and then select Settings >Own Numbers. Press Menu and select Create and type in your mobile number. Now turn the phone off, leave it for a few seconds, and then turn it back on again. In theory, your phone number should now show in the status screen and be correct. There have been reports that certain versions of Android have problems in this area and some versions of Android will not allow the process above to work, but with a Galaxy S III it should work as you want it to. It may vary from carrier to carrier as well depending on

Your phone number should always be displayed in the status screen

You can input it in Contacts which should solve the problem

how they encode their SIM cards, but we would suggest trying the above x and if it does not work to not lose too much

sleep over it. It may be annoying, but we believe it is not a fault that will affect your day-to-day Android usage.

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

Ever found something on your computer and wished you could add it to your phone? Well, go to Google Play and install Chrome to Phone to send maps, links and selected numbers and text straight to your smartphone.

Send anything to your phone

You can stop specic contacts from calling you by going to their listing in your contacts app and then choosing Edit. Depending on your phone, you should be offered the option to block the contact or send calls directly to voicemail.

Block specic contacts

There may be times when you wont have internet connection or signal. Hit the menu key in Google Maps and select Make available ofine. This will enable you to see where you are on the map without a signal.

Ofine Google Maps

47

DroidSupport
K-9 Email offers many other useful features

Did you know?


You can test out all the latest features of Chrome by downloading the Chrome Beta app from the Play store. It runs separately to the normal Chrome app, so youll need to sync your bookmarks again to get them all in place.

Printing emails wirelessly

The Gmail app does not offer many printing options

though you have the Epson iPrint app installed, the Gmail app is not offering the option to even send to it. However, there is a solution, and in our tests it worked well. K-9 Email is available from Google Play and when in an email you can press the menu option and then choose Share. Epson iPrint will be shown in the list and if you select it, you will see the email content appear within the app. All that remains is to print the document with one further tap and the process is complete. K-9 Email offers many other useful features so it could be worth using it all of the time anyway.

This could be tricky to answer because you dont say which HP printer you are using, but there are some ideas we can offer which may help. HP ePrint Home & Biz, available from Google Play, is a free app that claims support for more than 200 HP printers. It can deal with wireless printing and comes with many options to ensure that things will work when you try to print, and also claims it automatically identies HP wireless printers or other supported HP printers available on your local network. We would also suggest going to http://bit. ly/XqpVhR, a page listing all of

but Ihave no difculty printing the same emails on our Windows laptop (also on Wi-Fi) which displays a printer icon. Can you help?

We have an Asus Transformer tablet 101 using an EE/Orange Wi-Fi internet connection. The printer is a Wi-Fi Epson with Epson iPrint app on the tablet. We are using Gmail for emails. The problem we have is in printing from emails, both inbox and outbox,

Vicki Howes
The main problem we can see here is that the Gmail app is not great at sharing the content that is currently being displayed. Even

Samsung to HP printing
Martyn White

My old and trusty HTC Flyer will print to my HP network printer with no problems, but my Samsung Galaxy tablet will only print to a Samsung printer. Is there a way to print to HP from my Samsung?

HPs free app should help you wirelessly print to most HP printers

Change your email colour scheme


Hi there. Any ideas on how to change the email screen from a black background with white lettering to the opposite? Many thanks.
Pat Kearney
Unfortunately you have not advised which phone you are using, so that makes the task of answering your question slightly tricky. For everyone else please let us know what phone you are using because it really helps us to solve your problems. Now, for you Pat, we have a number of potential solutions that may or may not work for your device. The rst is to go to Settings>Accessibility and look for a negative colours setting not all phones include this and it can change the colours for most of the apps you use so test it and see if it works for you. Some phones also offer the ability to change the screen colours in the Email app, but others do not. Jelly Bean, which we presume you are running, also likes to hold

on to the white on black look which does not help either. Another option is to go to Google Play and search for an alternative email app that lets you customise the appearance of your inbox. Just because your phone comes with a solution, that does not mean you cannot experiment with something else. That is one of the reasons Android is so exible and personal to each individual.

Accessibility settings can help anyone who uses an Android phone

That does not mean you cannot experiment

48

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the supported HP printers that will work with various cloud services. The information may not be specic, but it will help you decide if your printer may come across this problem in the future. However, technically you should be able to print using the HP ePrint Home & Biz app.

No Google Play
For the last week I have had no Google Play store. After numerous emails and various attempts at resolving the problem still nothing. Im regretting moving to Android, but Ive got another two years so this problem needs to be addressed. Ive noticed Im one of many and as Google basically control our phones which we pay our hard-earned money for, I think they should be making a lot more effort to resolve this situation. Kevin Roberts
It can be frustrating when you are having problems accessing the main resource for Android apps, but we have a selection of tips of which one may hopefully help you get around the problems you are experiencing. You havent mentioned what exact problems you are having with Google Play or what device you are using, but there are some common problems that can cause users to not be able to access the store properly or to download and purchase applications. If none of the three answers work for you, try connecting over 3G only and not Wi-Fi and if that works, you may want to change the set up of your Wi-Fi router to hopefully resolve the problem for once and for all. You should also try your account on another Android phone to see if it works on that and then try changing your

Update 60% Complete

MMS issues

I have a Samsung Galaxy S II, and two members of my family have the Samsung Galaxy S I. One has access to internet on a mobile, and myself too, but the one in France does not. We have all tried many times to send photos by means of text, without success. Another family member has the iPhone, but cannot send/receive photos, via text only, to/from Samsung phones not even one photo at a time!

update update
We bring you the news and

S
Google Play can be temperamental at times

rumours on the latest Android updates, and the phones that can run them
ony has maintained its excellent track record for rolling out OS updates, with the Xperia T being the latest to get a piece of Jelly Bean action. You might of course question why the T wasnt released with Jelly Bean on board in the rst place, given it came out last Autumn, several months after 4.1 made its debut, but at least users will have not had to spend too long on Ice Cream Sandwich. The update is for Android 4.1.2, and its not clear whether there will be one a further one for 4.2, or whether the device will skip straight to (what is expected to be) 5 some time around the latter part of the year. The newly released Xperia Z, which we preview in the full this issue, launches with Android 4.1.2 but Sony has promised that will be updated to 4.2 shortly. Other devices getting a 4.1.2 update are the Samsung Galaxy S II and Note. Both handsets have already received signicant updates they both launched with Gingerbread back in 2011 so its great to see the handset continuing to be supported by Samsung long after many other manufactures might have been tempted to desert them. This again highlights one of the benets of buying the more popular handsets where possible.

Tony Richardson
This is an interesting problem and unfortunately one that we have seen time and time again with specic phones. While MMS works perfectly for many Samsung phone users, we have read reports of continual problems for some, especially those using the earlier Galaxy models. We tested using MMS on the Three network with a Galaxy S I and had many problems getting them to send and we also only received one of the three MMS messages we sent to ourselves. So, the next step was to see if the software was the problem because MMS worked ne for us on a Galaxy S III using the same SIM card. We installed GO SMS Pro and guess what, every single MMS message we sent was delivered and all that we tested were received as well. This would lead us to believe that the messaging app is troublesome in some cases, but curiously not for everyone. The combination of network provider, tariff and phone can make nding solutions difcult, but in this case we are inclined to advise you to try a new MMS client rst of all to see if that resolves the problem for you once and for all.

account password. Its not always easy to pinpoint the exact problem, so it really is a case of trying everything you can and hoping one solution works for your phone.

the time right 1 Get Always make sure that the time stored on
your particular Android device is as accurate as possible. If it is too far out, connections to Google Play and other services are likely to fail without an adequate explanation being presented. It may seem trivial, but its worth keeping an eye on.

a new account 2 Try It takes seconds to set up a new Google


account and we would advise you to do this to see if your normal account is causing Google Play connection problems. Google rarely admits to a Google account causing the problem, but it could be the root of your issues.

Clear the cache 3 Go to your devices Settings menu, then


Apps and look for Google Play. Now scroll down the screen and select Clear data followed by Clear cache. This has been known to resolve Google Play connection issues for many users and works the majority of the time.

49

Challenge

Can you produce your own DJ mix with apps?


Get your hands on some vinyl and spin your own tunes

f youre keen to get involved with making music, but learning an instrument doesnt take your fancy, then one avenue you could go down is to start producing your very own DJ mixes. The process itself is a lot harder, however, but at the end youll have your very own mix you can share with the world. It isnt a cheap hobby, however, and the cost of some of the necessary equipment will certainly set you back. Luckily, your Android device is there to save the day. Weve gathered a handful of some of the best DJ-based apps available to see if its possible to create and publish your very own DJ mix.

basic techniques rst. The How to Be a DJ app is an insightful guide to the basics of putting a mix together, as well as choosing the right songs to include. Although it lacks a little information on perfecting the techniques and skills needed to become a DJ, its a highly useful app all the same. We also took a look at the DJ Trainer TechnoTrance app, which was essential in learning about the timing needed to put a mix together, and gave us an insight on controlling volumes and tempos of songs. After playing with the apps built-in simulator, we felt ready to try our hand at a spot of mixing.

One scratch at a time


The Google Play store has a whole host of DJ apps that you can try out, but we managed to nd a few of the best ones. To get started we had a go with edjing not only does it include a

Know your LED from MIDI


Before getting stuck in with some of the DJ apps, its a good idea to learn the lingo and
edjing provides a simple interface for beginners

50

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Sixty Million Postcards: www.sixtymillionpostcards.com

App checklist
edjing
Price: Free Developer: DJiT

Master DJ PRO SoundCloud DJ Control

Price: 3.99/$3.99 Developer: Spartacus Rex Price: Free Developer: SoundCloud Price: Free Developer: Borce Trajkovski

How to Be a DJ
Price: 0.85/$0.99 Developer: KoolAppz

DJ Studio 4

Price: Free Developer: Beatronik

The Booth Rap Studio Pro

Price: 3.11/$4.99 Developer: Bitnaut, LLC

Pocket DJ Vintage
Price: 1.63/$2.99 Developer Beatronik

DJ Trainer TechnoTrance YouTube


Master DJ Pro is one for more experienced users

Price: 0.65/$0.99 Developer: Wortel Drie Price: Free Developer: YouTube

Success rating
simple interface for beginners, it also includes a social aspect allowing you to keep contacts posted on your progress. Once we started getting a real feel to how these apps work and the overall mixing process, we delved a little deeper and started using Pocket DJ Vintage, DJ Control and Master DJ PRO. All three apps arent for the faint hearted as they each include a comprehensive and sophisticated deck system that sounds brilliant. After creating a cheesy mash up of two Eighties classics, we downloaded The Booth Rap Studio Pro to apply some distinctly average vocals. [tip] Make sure to use your ngers when scratching decks, as a stylus will stop you pinpointing desired sounds.
[tip] Aside from Android apps, there are a wide variety of websites that youll be able to upload your created mix to for other fans.

Verdict:

up. Distributing your own tracks is something that theres a distinct lack of apps for, but we did manage to use SoundCloud and YouTube to display our nished products. edjing also includes its own social share system, but this was quite buggy whenever we tried to use it.

Time to release
No matter which app we tried, exporting our mixed track took a while, and the Galaxy Nexus we were using soon heated

Get more detailed in Pocket DJ Vintage

Learning to become a DJ isnt easy, and even more so on your Android device. There are some great DJ apps on the Google Play store you can use, but they tend to be on the complex side, which might put off potential casual users.

Complete

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51

status update
Which devices are best for the hacking scene?

Hacker Zne
Tips and tricks
from a predened pool of random data for most of its tasks, and when that pool becomes empty it has to be replenished, causing the momentary lags and stutters so common on many devices. Seeder replenishes this random data every second, thus eliminating those stutters. Having tested it on a number of devices weve experienced varying results, with clear improvements seen on older handsets and little apparent benet on newer and more powerful ones. Some developers have dismissed the app as mere placebo, while concerns about security and battery life (the app wakes the device every second to function) have also been raised. But its a small app with no conguration required, so its worth testing to see the benets for yourself. Let us know your verdict!

Explore the limits of your Android device

Amazon Kindle Fire HD

Rooted? Yes Active Development: Low You can put the Play store on a rooted KFHD, but not a whole lot else.

Seeder: serious speed boost or placebo?

A new app that uses the LEDs


devices. You can congure which notications occur, how they look and what reaction they make, and all apps that produce notications are supported, whether third party or built-in. ButtonLED is not available in the Play store, but can be downloaded from the developer GermainZs thread at XDA Developers from this link: http://bit. ly/WdDEHB. Make sure you have got your smartphone set to allow apps from unknown sources before you try to install it.

Sony Xperia T
Rooted? Yes Active Development: Low The James Bond phone has been rooted but there are few ROMs or kernels to play with. Jelly Bean is available, though.

A new and ingenious hack is claiming to offer signicant speed boosts to most rooted Android devices. It is called Seeder, and is available as a paid app from the Play store or for free from XDA Developers (http://bit. ly/XAXj5p). The app deals with an issue in Android where the OS draws

HTC One X+

Rooted? Yes Active Development: Medium A few options are available, but the device is not nearly as popular for ROMs as its predecessor the One X was.

Nexus 4

Use your buttons as LEDs


Will Seeder speed up your phone or not?

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

If your phone has capacitive buttons, such as on the Galaxy S III or some of the HTC One devices then you can make use of a new app that uses the LEDs that light up these buttons as a series of powerful notication lights. The app is called ButtonLED and promises to work on all rooted

Congure your buttons to work as notication lights

quickhacks
Design your own ringtone
While its easy to set your own MP3 les as ringtones to replace the normal ones that come pre-installed on your device, the ultimate in aural personalisation is to create your very own ringtone that no one else has at all.

Download RingDroid 1 The rst thing you will need to


do is download RingDroid and open it up. You will then see all your current MP3 les. You can choose one of those, or edit one. Click the blue arrow on the right and Edit.

Edit MP3 2 You can chop out the part of


the song you want as your ringtone by moving the two sliders or entering in the start and end times. Once you have done that, save the MP3 by pressing on the disk icon.

Record new ringtone 3 Go back to the main menu


and press Record New. Play your instrument or sing into your phone then press stop. You can then edit it as before, save and then set as ringtone or contact tone.

52

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

Hacker Zne

Increase storage on the Note II

Back up your apps to the cloud

Back up APKs and app data to Drive

Android is set up with both internal and external SD cards, internal being the internal storage, external the actual physical card you place in your phone. Theres an old hack that lets you switch how the system sees these cards, one that was always very useful on older devices with limited built-in storage that would ll up quickly. This has become less of a problem in recent times, with on-board storage increasing on high-end devices, but apps now install exclusively to the internal card, so if youre a big gamer you might still

nd that those 1GB+ titles are using more space than youre happy with. A solution has been developed for the Galaxy Note II that switches the two SD cards, so all your apps and games will go onto your memory card, and the 16GB of built-in storage is viewed as if it were an external card. All you need is a rooted phone, a compatible ROM and a fast enough memory card (at least class 4), plus the mod zip le from: http://bit.ly/11ztRSb. Flash the zip le through Recovery and upon a reboot your memory should have received a considerable expansion.

OS

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

ROM

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

Congure any kernel with one app


If you use custom kernels on your Android device you will be familiar with how they can greatly enhance the performance of the device, but that it can also be somewhat inconvenient having to use a different dedicated app for each one. It makes it so much more difcult to switch between and evaluate different kernels. But now a new app has been produced that should enable you to control multiple kernels. You can set the frequency and governor and other more advanced functions as well. The app is called SKU Kernel and is available cheaply in the Play store. Devices do need to be rooted, and while it should theoretically work on all devices and most kernels, the latter cant be guaranteed in all cases.

Root

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.

ROM Manager

If youre fully invested in the cloud then it becomes the logical place to store your phone and data backups. A new app, Carbon, enables rooted devices to create backups of all their installed third-party and system apps, along with the data held within them, and save them straight to Google Drive or Dropbox. Through the app you can choose exactly what you wish to back up this makes it easy to restore an entire collection of apps onto a new or second device, and nding your data and settings are fully in place without ever needing to juggle SD cards. At the time of writing Carbon was still available only in time limited beta form, which suggests it will be a paid app in future. But if you have more than one device and you need to keep them in sync then it may prove to be well worth it. Visit http://bit.ly/ Y9xQ7e for the Google+ post from the developer, with a download link.

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

Titanium Backup

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

Unrevoked

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

ADB

Increase the storage on your Note II

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.

Create backups of all installed third-party and system apps


Three tweaking utilities that may or may not require root access Absolute System Root Tools ClockworkMod Tether

Nandroid

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

Hacking the easy way


Superuser

Radio

Free

From: Play store Need root? Yes With Superuser you can manage which apps on your smartphone can have access to root privileges. You can use it to revoke rights for apps you no longer wish to use.

1.23/$1.99

From: Play store Need root? Yes A suite of tools that gives you access to many popular functions for rooted Android smartphones, including the ability to move or copy certain les or change your boot animation.

Free

From: Play store Need root? No From the maker of the popular recovery console, ClockworkMod Tether provides you with a tethered internet solution. A premium version is available as an in-app purchase.

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

Flash

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

Check our website daily for even more tips & tricks

www.littlegreenrobot.co.uk

53

Works with

Hacker Zne Upgrade to Android 4.2 with CyanogenMod ROM


Check www.cyanogenmod.org Difculty Intermediate

Get tips, tricks, help & advice


Send us your comments, tips and questions through email and social networks

Keep your phone up to date with Android 4.2, and future versions as well

ere all familiar with the process of waiting (and waiting) for the manufacturers of our phones to see t to release an update to the latest version of Android. It can take months, and its almost guaranteed that by the time the update is available youre lusting after an even newer one. Without question the easiest way of keeping your phone fully up to date is through CyanogenMod. This popular ROM the most famous and well established of all custom Android ROMs is based on the open source version of Android, meaning that the moment the Android development team drops the code for the latest OS release onto its servers, the CyanogenMod team immediately sets about updating its own ROM with the in-demand new OS software. You might be waiting four or six months for HTC and Samsung to put out a new software update, but the CyanogenMod team can have a relatively modest update, like the jump from 4.1 to 4.2, ready to go in a matter of weeks. Better still, the latest versions of CM include an over-the-air updater that keeps you informed about when new stable releases of the ROM are put out, so you will no longer have to track down those 0.0.1 updates you will automatically be alerted to their existence.

up your data 1 Back As part of the ashing process


you will need to wipe your smartphone, so download Titanium Backup from the Play store to back up all your data rst. Tap the tick icon in the top-right corner and select Backup all user apps + system data. This will create a full backup of your phones contents.

Android 4.2 via CyanogenMod


Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Samsung Galaxy Note Google Nexus 10 Google Nexus 4 Samsung Galaxy S III

your data 6 Wipe From the main Recovery menu


Acer Iconia A700 Asus Transformer Pad Innity Asus Transformer Pad LG Optimus 2X LG Optimus Black
select Wipe data/factory reset. Scroll down a few times to conrm, then your Android phone will begin resetting. Note, that it wont affect your external memory card, so your data backup and Nandroid backup will both be safe if you need to restore them at a later date.

Which devices are compatible through ofcial builds?


Google Galaxy Nexus Samsung Galaxy S II Google Nexus 7 Samsung Galaxy S II Samsung Galaxy S Motorola Xoom

Plus dozens of unofcial builds available via forum.xda-developers.com

54

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Go to www.cyanogenmod.org and locate your specic device. You can now download the latest version of the CyanogenMod ROM wed recommend choosing a stable build rather than a Nightly. Version 10.1 is based on Android 4.2, but not all devices will have a build of this available for them. Check the list on the previous page as a guide.

2 Download CyanogenMod

it to 3 Move your card


Copy the CyanogenMod ROM to your memory card by connecting your Android smartphone to your desktop computer and dragging the ROM into the window for your card. The ROM will be in the form of a zip le, but dont unzip it. You could alternatively download the ROM straight to your storage card via your devices browser.

to Recovery 4 Boot Shut down your phone and


reboot into Recovery mode. You do this through a combination of key presses, such as holding the volume down and power buttons at the same time. A simple check online will quickly bring up the correct combination for your particular handset.

backup 5 Second Now you must back up your


current ROM, in order that you will have something to roll back to in the event of encountering any problems with your new one. You can restore your phone from this in future. Go to Backup and restore>backup and it will start straight away.

& conrm 7 Flash Now select install zip from


sdcard and then pick the location where you saved the ROM. Scroll down to the ROM, and keep scrolling if its not on the rst page. Click on the ROM and conrm when prompted. Flashing will begin straight away and will take a few minutes to complete.

apps 8 Install When the ROM has nished


ashing you may need to install Googles standard apps separately. If you downloaded them alongside CyanogenMod in step 2 then repeat step 7 now, only choosing the Google Apps zip instead of the CyanogenMod one. Flashing these should be much quicker.

9 Restore Now boot your phone and


enter your Google account details when prompted. Your rst task will be to go to the Play store and re-download Titanium Backup. Once youve done this, use the app to restore your backup from step 1. This will take some time to complete so be patient.

up updates 10 Set Finally go into your Settings


panel and locate the CM Updater. You can use this feature to alert you to new builds of the ROM, and you can choose between stable builds only or Nightlies, which are more experimental ROMs. Choose how often you want CM to check for new updates to proceed.

55

Works with

Hacker Zne Beyond 4.2 extra features in CyanogenMod


Check www.cyanogenmod.org Difculty Intermediate
From a powerful lockscreen to UI enhancements, CM10.1 is packed with features and tweaks

Get tips, tricks, help & advice


Send us your comments, tips and questions through email and social networks

ouve ashed CyanogenMod 10.1 and your phone is now running Android 4.2. Youre now fully equipped to enjoy the new keyboard, lockscreen widgets, improved notications and all the other small but very welcome improvements seen in the most recent version of the OS. But you neednt stop there. CyanogenMod is more than just a plain version of the Android OS. It has a few extra features that enable you to congure and tweak how the system looks and works. The options are subtle and, as is typical with CyanogenMod, so perfectly integrated into the system that you would never know they werent a default part of the OS. The features that well look at in this tutorial are split into two sections. The rst concerns the new lockscreen with widget support. In CM10.1 you can stretch the lockscreen widgets to full-screen view, making it even easier to get your at-a-glance information without needing to unlock your phone. And if you do unlock your phone, there are a massively increased number of options there too. The other area well look at is the status bar and another of the new 4.2 features, the Quick Settings pane. Here you can not only adjust how to open it, conguring it for left or right handed use, but also customise which options youll be able to access from within it. Its these small touches that continue to make CyanogenMod the most popular, and indeed best, ROM around.

screen 1 Lock Go into Settings and locate


the options for the Lock screen. The rst setting to tweak is the Slider shortcuts. With this you can add up to four apps or functions to launch directly from the lockscreen. Tap the Slider shortcuts button then drag your nger to one of the empty dots located on the circle.

buttons 6 Setting Back in the Lock screen


settings well now take a look at Button actions. This enables you to congure how the hardware, or capacitive buttons on your device function when you long press them, adding extra functions if needed. You can also check how they are currently congured.

The options are subtle and perfectly integrated


56

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action 2 Assign The Edit shortcut and icon


window will now open. You can choose from the various apps and other shortcuts (such as items within Settings) that you need to access regularly from the home screen. You can also tap on the icon to choose your own option from an icon pack.

out widgets 3 Max Make sure you save and


apply your changes to apply them by tapping the disc icon in the bottom-right hand corner. Now go back to the Lock screen settings page and tick the box marked Maximise widgets. This will afford a greater amount of space to your lockscreen widgets.

screen 4 Full Switch the screen off and on


to view your lockscreen. Your widgets are now being displayed in full-screen mode. Swipe right to launch the camera, and swipe left to add extra widgets as normal. Some third-party apps are also now adding their own lockscreen widget capabilities.

5 Unlocking With your widgets


maximised you cannot now unlock the phone simply by swiping the lock icon. Instead you need to maximise it (and minimise the widget). Swipe it upwards from the bottom of the screen to do that, then unlock the phone in the normal way.

7 Flashlight Choose one of the buttons


available on your device and tap on it. A series of actions will now be displayed that you can assign to each of your buttons. These include a switch to silence the sound, music controls, or the ability to use the LED as a torch (although this may not work on all devices).

settings 8 Quick Now return to the main


Settings screen and locate the options for the Quick settings panel. There are a large number of ways you can congure this new feature in Android 4.2. First you need to turn it on, so tap on the Quick pulldown option at the top of the menu.

hand 9 Choose You can set the Quick


settings panel to open when you swipe down from the top-right of the screen, or the top-left, and which you choose will probably depend on whether you are right or left handed. Also tick the Auto close panel to make sure it closes after you select an option.

shortcuts 10 Add Finally tap Tile and layout.


You can add extra shortcuts to the panel by pressing the Add button and selecting from the list. You are also able to rearrange the order in which the icons are shown by holding on them and dragging them into position, making your most used ones more accessible.

57

Hacker Zne

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Hacking solutions
We delve into our mailbag to solve some of your biggest hacking problems
Over-the-air updates should install on rooted, but otherwise unmodded devices. If yours is failing it suggests that you may have made a change to some part of the system, even something relatively benign like removing a pre-installed app through Titanium Backup. If this is the case then the easiest solution is to download the entire stock ROM from the Nexus 7 forum at xdadevelopers.com and ash that, rather than nding workarounds to apply what is only a small update. It wont lose you any of your data, and because it is stock it will get you back on track with any future over-the-air updates.
Nightly CyanogenMod builds are designed for testing only

CyanogenMod Nightlies

I rooted my Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 from Honeycomb to Ice Cream Sandwich with no problem and then on CyanogenMod 10 Nightlies. Now when I try to install a later Nightly release I get so far before the system crashes and tells me I have a status 7 error. I just cant nd a solution and it is slowly driving me crazy with frustration. Can you please help? Warwick Leek Although we dont recall having come across this problem ourselves it does appear to be a reasonably common one associated with CyanogenMod Nightlies. The most common cause of the issue seems to be incompatibilities with either your Recovery or kernel. You should therefore try ashing the new Recovery that should have been included in your CM10 download package. Once this is updated you can try again to ash the ROM. It is worth remembering that Nightly builds of any ROM are designed for testing, not normal use. They can be a good way of getting an early look at new features being added to a ROM,

but also tend to be buggy and unstable. You should keep a stable ROM as your daily choice, and if you choose to test the Nightlies then do give feedback to the developers to help them with their work.

themselves are relatively straightforward. Be aware though, the process of unlocking the bootloader on any Android device will wipe it completely.

Downgrading the G300

Rooting the Xperia Ray

Cant update the Nexus 7

Ive been thinking about upgrading my Huawei to ICS. Ive installed MyBackup but I was wondering if it is possible to revert back to Gingerbread after upgrading, and I would appreciate any tips as this is my rst upgrade. Toby Charles Assuming you are talking about using the ofcial Ice Cream Sandwich upgrade for the G300 then yes, it is

Ive been trying to root the Xperia Ray with no success. I think it has something to do with the bootloader. Please assist me with any tool that might be of help. Ernest Mbuthia You will need an unlocked bootloader in order to root your Xperia Ray. The bootloaders on Sony devices are locked by default, preventing them from being hacked, but the company is very supportive of the Android enthusiast community and so makes it relatively trivial to unlock the bootloader. Simply go to unlockbootloader.sonymobile.com and follow the instructions. There are quite a few steps involved in the process so it is probably not for casual users, even though the steps

Ive had a little update waiting for me on my Nexus 7 for quite a few weeks now but every time I click on the button to install it, the process begins, gets so far then fails and the device restarts unchanged. Im guessing that this is something to do with the device being rooted. Do I need to unroot to install the update or is there a workaround? Paul Hargreaves

Youll need to unlock the bootloader before you can root the Ray

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make as a precursor to ashing ICS. This will not only restore the OS but also your data to the state it was in at the time of the backup, so you may lose a few text messages that youve since downloaded, and nd a few deleted apps are back.

A new kernel
It is possible to roll back the G300 to Gingerbread

indeed possible to roll back to Gingerbread should you want to and the mixed reports concerning the ICS experience on the G300 suggest you may want to. There is an ofcial downgrade available from Huawei, for devices on Vodafone in the UK you can download it from

http://bit.ly/105H84q. If youre going it alone and upgrading on a rooted device then reverting back to a previous version of the OS is far easier. You can either ash a Gingerbread-based ROM in the same way you ash the ICS one, or even restore the Nandroid backup you

Can you explain what the point is in ashing a different kernel? I know all about ROMs and its easy to see what you get from them, but not kernels. Also, which is a good one to start out with? Charlie Morgan The kernel is one of the key parts of an operating system. It is the interface between the software and the hardware. Flashing a ROM replaces the software, and with it can bring a changed user interface or

different set of apps benets that are immediately noticeable. Flashing a kernel changes how your software and hardware work together and though these changes are under the hood they can be equally important, especially in the areas of power and battery life. Most manufacturers use kernels that offer a compromise between the two, with the main emphasis on stability. With a custom kernel you can choose to increase the performance of your device, or use them to temporarily use more power for gaming session or a similar intensive task, or to extend its battery life. Some kernels also have additional features that can be accessed through an app. However, their true rewards come through tweaking the settings to nd what works. If youre expecting dramatic improvements right from the off then you may be disappointed.

Reasons to root?

I have rooted my Galaxy S III but having tested out a few ROMs Ive decided that I like the stock TouchWiz best. If I unroot will I be able to update the phone using Kies again, or are there any good reasons to keep it rooted even if Im not ashing ROMs? Russ Porter
Unrooting and reverting to a stock ROM, and also using the Triangle Away app from the Play store will remove all traces of the hacking and modding youve done on your device and will enable, once again, you to get your rmware updates via Kies. However, there are many reasons to keep your phone rooted even if you arent planning on using custom ROMs

Despite Androids move towards cloud computing, it is still not possible to fully and reliably back up every part of your device, unless youre rooted. With a rooted phone you can back up not only your data but your apps as well, and with Titanium Backup can even package them together in a ashable zip for easy restoring.

1 Create full backups

An unrooted device has access to hundreds of thousands of apps. A rooted device has exclusive access to even more. These are the apps that enable you to access functions that youre not supposed to, such as adding USB on-the-go functionality, or adding tethering support when your network has removed it.

2 Use powerful apps

When your device is rooted you can access, edit and make changes to Androids system les, and this means you can fundamentally change how the phone looks or runs. For example, you can make tweaks to the build.prop le that have the potential to speed up your device or make small changes to the UI.

3 Quick mods and tweaks

59

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Apps Troubleshoot your phone

TROUBLESHOOT YOUR PHONE WITH APPS


Essential apps to tackle common problems on your Android device

T
62

heres no doubt that Android is the best OS in the world, but it isnt without its problems. From time to time youll be faced with an issue that you cant get your head around, and need some help to gure it out. Luckily, with thousands of tool and utility apps littering the Google Play store, theres always help on hand to make sure any problems you face are quickly solved and you dont need to be a technical genius to use them. Weve

collected together a list of ten of the most common problems and issues that Android users face when using their phones and tablets, and picked out the best apps you can use to solve them. Youll soon be able to work with all your les, extend your battery life and reduce the number of junk calls you get with just a few taps of your screen, and your device will be back working as smoothly as it ever did.

Troubleshoot your phone

Apps

Control data limits


3G Watchdog Pro Price: 2.16/$2.99 Going over your data limit can be costly, and without knowing, you can soon rack up pounds upon pounds of unforeseen charges. Although the default data management screen is an okay solution, it cant compare to the sheer amount of features found within the 3G Watchdog Pro app. The app itself is highly customisable, allowing you to input your data allowance each month, and it then tracks your data usage in that time period. Whenever you get close to your data limit, the app will notify you, and then suggest the changes needed to ensure you dont go beyond your allowance.

5
Use 3G Watchdog Pro to keep your data limits in check

best features of 3G Watchdog Pro

1. You can view which apps are currently using the most data, and then force close troublesome ones within 3G Watchdog. 2. The app can send you daily breakdowns of how much data you used that day, and alert you to the areas of your phone which used the most. 3. For an even more detailed look at your data usage, 3G Watchdog includes an itemised list of each megabyte of data used. 4. There are a selection of widgets you can add to your home screen to quickly monitor your current data levels. 5. If youre worried about exceeding your allowance, use the Limit feature to set a cap on your data usage.

Deal with awkward file types


AndroZip File Manager Price: Free Although phones and tablets are adept at handling a large portion of le types, there are a few that will often leave your phone stumped. Plenty of third-party les are packaged in the .ZIP format due to the lack of storage space they take up. By using the AndroZip File Manager app, youll be able to unlock, use and share various ZIP and RAR les currently stored on your device. The app also caters for more awkward le types.

Avoid viruses and malware


Lookout Security & Antivirus Price: Free With the amount of new apps that are uploaded to the Google Play store, the likelihood of downloading a potentially malicious app has increased tenfold. To combat the threat, installing Lookout Security & Antivirus is a good start. The app uses a detailed scanning system to detect malicious les and get rid of them. It also provides virus protection when you download new apps, and will alert you about any harmful les or websites.

Keep multiple le types organised

Keep your phone safe

Improve battery life


JuiceDefender Ultimate Price: 4.99/$4.99 Whether youre watching movies, playing a game or listening to music, the battery life on your Android device will drain quickly. A great way to keep a closer eye on your battery life is to grab a copy of the JuiceDefender Ultimate app from

Welcome suggestions

Individual apps can be manually traced if you believe theyre draining your battery. The app will suggest ways of cutting down usage

Google Play. The app automatically manages the most common areas of your phone that drain your battery life the quickest, while also streamlining your phone to make sure youre getting the most from your battery life.

Working secretly

JuiceDefender works in the background as you use your phone or tablet. By opening up your notications bar youll be able to see what the app is currently monitoring and take a closer look at your battery

Use JuiceDefender to control when your social networks update and save valuable juice levels

Automatic updates

63

Apps Troubleshoot your phone

apps to solve tablet security issues

Boost Wi-Fi and 3G signals


Network Signal Speed Boost Price: 1.97/$2.99 By constantly refreshing your network, the Network Signal Speed Booster app helps deliver the best mobile data speeds. With the app installed, it will automatically search for the strongest connection in your area, and look to refresh your mobile data plan until it reaches the same levels. Not only is this great if youre struggling with poor data speeds, its the perfect accompaniment if you live in an area with poor signal. Get better signal for your device

Block unwanted calls


BlackList Pro Price: 2.12/$3.49 One of the features lacking from the vast majority of Android devices is the ability to simply block unwanted contact from certain numbers. BlackList lls the void by enabling the user to create a blacklist of contacts and numbers that they dont want to receive calls and texts from. Once youve created your blacklist, you can then set the app to perform a certain function when one of the numbers attempts to contact you. Blacklist unwanted contacts

It isnt just your phone that needs protecting


1. Titanium Tablet Security Price: Free One of the best features of TTS is the rewall it includes, which does a fantastic job of making sure no malicious apps make their way on to your device. 2. Kaspersky Tablet Security Price: 11.95/$19.95 All your personal information that is added to your favourite tablet is protected by a safety net of passwords and anti-theft features.

Boost your devices volume


Volume+ Price: 1.25/$1.99 For a lot of people, using their device for music is an integral part of their phone usage. Unfortunately though, the default volume settings and options are often far from impressive, often leaving you with average sounding tunes. There are a whole host of audio enhancers on the Play store, and one of these is Volume+. The app includes an equalizer bound to please many an audiophile with the level of customisation on offer. In its simplest form, Volume+ can also easily boost the maximum volume coming from your devices internal speaker. On a device with modest sound output like the Nexus 7 that makes it worth the purchase price on its own.

3. ESET Mobile Security Price: Free The app is fantastic at quickly recognising any dangerous les or data attempting to access your phone and offers advice on how to deal with it.

4. g7enius Tablet Security Price: Free Another great app for storing all your private data. You can choose to back it up within the app, or just apply a password system stopping outsiders accessing it.

Achieve better sounding audio

The app includes an equalizer bound to please many an audiophile


Volume Equalizer Price: Free Although more basic than the competition, Volume Equalizer is extremely useful in a variety of ways. The main one being its wide variety of widgets that can be applied, and the simple functions they perform.

Three great alternatives to Volume+


5. MMGuardian Tablet Security Price: Free A slight alternative to the standard tablet security app, MMGuardian is aimed at providing you settings and features you can implement to keep your child safe. Music Volume EQ Price: Free A simple equalizer that has a wide variety of presets that you can apply to your phone based on your music tastes. Audio levels can be easily adjusted, and theres a handy widget you can use on your home screen. Smart Volume Control+ Price: 2.69/$3.99 Quick and easy sound prole manager that lets you control every aspect of your devices sound. Volume levels can be altered, but it does highlight the dangers of setting your devices volume too loud.

64

Troubleshoot your phone

Apps

Back up and restore files


Backing up your les is a crucial part of Android life, but which app is up to the task?

Password protect your apps


APP Lock Price: Free If you have a range of applications that hold some sensitive data, chances are youll want to encrypt them in some sort of way. With the APP Lock app, a free download from the Google Play store, you can add a password or pattern to each app you have stored on your Android device. The app also provides a wide range of alternative settings. You can even get APP Lock to encrypt your apps for some added peace of mind.

My Backup Pro
Price: 3.15/$4.99
Although theres a vast amount of detail that has gone into the app, creating a backup and restoring data is easy enough. We made My Backup Pro perform a full backup of our device and it took a decent four minutes to complete. Theres a fantastic feature enabling you to log on to a website and view everything thats being backed up.

GO Backup Pro
Price: Free

Protect sensitive data

EASE OF USE SPEED OF BACKUP ADDITIONAL FEATURES

Everything you need to use in GO Backup is only a few presses away. The le system could do with a little work. Although we found the backup to be a lot quicker, nishing in two minutes, a number of les werent properly backed up. You can sync all your backups to Google Drive and Dropbox to make sure all your les are kept safe and sound.

Manage Bluetooth connections


BToolkit Price: Free Although Bluetooth is a rather simple aspect of any users device, it can run in to a multitude of problems. BToolkit is the ultimate Bluetooth management app, offering an easy way to stay in complete control of your Bluetooth connection, and troubleshoot any issues you come across. You can choose how you want to connect to other devices, nd the best network to connect via and manage currently paired devices.

And the winner is...

My Backup Pro
Solve GPS issues
GPS Status & Toolbox Price: Free

Although GO Backup is a great app to use, the functionality and comprehensive nature of My Backup Pro means its the number one choice when it comes to backing up and restoring your les.

Master your Bluetooth settings

The GPS on your device is a great asset to have if you like travelling, or are an avid user of Google Maps. It can frequently run in to software issues, however, and you may need the help of an app to get you unstuck. GPS Status & Toolbox is a feature-packed application that not only can tell you the current status of your GPS, it can also x a variety of problems that you may come across while using it. Heres a quick guide to using it.

1. Open up the app and follow the instructions to make sure GPS is activated. Press on the back button once youve switched it on to be taken to the apps main screen.

2. Here youll see the settings, including your current location. If youre having problems, you can access the tools section by pressing the menu button.

3. Theres a variety of ways the app can help x your GPS, and the best policy is to play around until it starts working as youd like it to. Changes will appear automatically.

65

Apps Bitcasa
Cloud storage apps are appearing all over the Google Play store, but Bitcasa is the rst to offer completely unlimited storage for free, but this does come with some downsides, which well cover later. The app caters for a wide variety of les, so whether youre looking for a place to store your work documents, your various videos, your entire music library, or even all the edited photos you currently store on your device, Bitcasa can handle it all. After opening the app youll be greeted by a great-looking home screen which uses tiles to display the various categories of les you can upload and access. At the top of the tiles will be your last viewed uploaded le, and at the bottom

Playmarkers

15min wonder
Bitcasa Want your money back? Youve got 15 mins to decide!
! 5 15 10 ! 5 15 10 ! 5 15 10 layout and use of tiles

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

0-5 minutes Loving the 5-10 minutes Painfully 10-15 minutes Web
client is really easy to use slow uploading process for a few photos

Keep uploads to the cloud small and youll love this storage app
youll be able to select your favourite les. Theres no limit to how many les you can ag as your favourites, but it doesnt really have any use apart from looking good on your home screen. Each category has its own set of uploading options for you to go through, but theres a mass upload option that is far easier to use. The uploading process is very slow, and even the smallest of les will take a while to complete. If your phone has a lot of les to upload, you could be waiting for at least a couple of hours for it, and even longer if youre looking to upload numerous movies at one time. Once uploaded youll have full access to all your les, and the built-in audio and video viewer are fantastic to use, but the photo viewer lacks the nesse of the standard Android Gallery app. Once your les are uploaded, you have the ability to then share them among your contacts, and most share options work well. The web client of Bitcasa works in the same way, meaning youll have no trouble uploading your les from your mobile,

keep

refund

and then accessing them on your laptop. This process can be reversed, but be careful when it comes to le extensions, as your device may struggle to open up certain ones. Any le you upload on to Bitcasa can be encrypted and password protected to make sure no-one can access it, but transferring les between platforms requires you to enter the password each time which can soon be a laborious task. Bitcasa should be applauded for being a truly free service that does enable you to upload whatever les are stored on your device and share them among different platforms. Its sorely let down by painstakingly slow upload times which will leave you frustrated, and ultimately make the app unusable at times, especially if you need a quick way to transfer your les. That aside, if you only want a cloud storage app to transfer small les, then Bitcasa is a great alternative to the likes of Dropbox and Google Drive.

You can link Bitcasa to your devices camera for automatic uploading

like this? try this!


Secure place to store all the les on your phone without any hassle.

Mozy

specification Price Free


Designed for: Phone and tablet Requires Android: 2.3

verdict
Performance Design Value
Great service, let down by painfully slow upload times
All your music can be uploaded to Bitcasas server, but it might take a while

best free alternative


66

GOOGLE DRIVE The kingpin of cloud storage apps. Share any le over a multitude of different platforms.

Loky PLUS

MoodPanda

Kii Keyboard

Our Solar System - Kids Book

Create a virtual vault of your les


Loky provides a secure place to back up and store all your contacts, texts and les in case you lose your device, but still enables full management of said les from your phone or accompanying desktop client. With all the contents of your phone stored, you can then use Loky to send and receive text messages and track your call log. Once youve installed the Loky app on your phone, youll be able to use a free two gigabytes of cloud storage that the app provides from the start. If you have a large volume of les on your

Loky PLUS
device, however, youll soon breeze through the two gigabytes and will need to pay for extra storage. Uploading is quick, and no matter the size of your les, Loky does a good job at creating virtual backups in decent time. Each type of le has its own dedicated section in the app, and theres even a virtual list system you can use to store your contacts information. One of the best features of the app is that once a contact is added to it, the app automatically intercepts messages you receive from them and brings it instantly to your Loky inbox, saving your phones internal storage. The app does include a few issues, however. Loky prides itself on being a one-stop app for uploading your entire phone contents online, but, more security features could be implemented to make sure les are
Upload speeds are very quick

truly safe. Similarly, the security log that tracks log-in attempts crashed on several occasions, rendering it useless. For rst-time users of this sort of app, a tutorial or guide would also be useful. Despite the problems, Loky remains a solid enough cloud storage app that benets from quick upload speeds and great design throughout.

Designed for: Phone Requires Android: Varies with device

specification Price 3.59/$4.81 verdict

like this? try this!


Security is the name of the game here, offering a great place to store sensitive data.

Safe In Cloud Password Manager

A few niggling issues, but a solid enough cloud storage app to take a look at

MoodPanda
Track your mood and stop feeling the blues
In what must come under the intriguing category, MoodPanda is a diary that keeps a daily account of your mood. It uses a simple slider system for you to judge your mood, and also supplies a small text box enabling you to explain why you currently feel happy or sad. After a few days youll be able to analyse your mood, and compare it with others around the world. The timeline feature lets you do just that, and theres even the option to send hugs to anyone whos feeling a bit down in the dumps. If you want to keep your diary personal, however, there are options to make all your posts private, letting you analyse your moods in peace. Its an interesting application to use and one thats pretty unique, but it lacks any real substance, and it would be great to include a little more detail with each post you create.

Kii Keyboard
Combining SwiftKey and Swype in one keyboard
When you rst begin to use Kii youll soon notice the similarities it has to both SwiftKey and Swype, and thats no bad thing. Combining both a great predictive text system, and an easy-to-use swipe system, Kii does a good job of catering for a multitude of users. Keys are well spaced apart, and various punctuation and emoticons are easily found. Although still early in development, there are plans to bring out a variety of themes.

Our Solar System


To innity and beyond

Kids Book

Keeping your kids interested in the Solar System just got a whole lot easier with Our Solar System. This interactive book guides you through each planet in the Solar System, giving you vital information about each planet, as well as including a variety of interactive elements too. Occasionally youll come across the odd game to help break up the learning process, which is a nice twist to include, and should keep your kids interested for longer.

Price Free Designed for Phone and tablet Requires Android 2.1

best free alternative

T2 MOOD TRACKER Help manage your anxiety and depression with this intuitive and informative app.

Price Free Designed for Phone and tablet Requires Android 2.1

Price Free Designed for Phone and tablet Requires Android 2.2

67

Apps
Voxeet
Conference calls made easy
Using the conference call feature on your phone can have distinctly mixed results, often suffering from complicated set-up issues, or poor call quality. Voxeet is a new app attempting to provide a simple and high-quality way of making conference calls. The app is split into various sections, but all are accessible via the main menu. The Contacts section will let you import all your contacts from Facebook and the People app into Voxeet, but to avoid creating nuisance multiple proles of the same person, make sure you choose the manual import option. You can create a virtual prole in the Prole section of the app to let others see your details and current call status. In this part of the app theres also an integrated news feed where youll be able to see the latest calling statuses of your contacts. Using the Call feature will let you begin your conference call, and all youll need to do is select your contacts and away you go. The in-call options are a little basic when compared to similar apps, but the overall call quality is second-to-none.

Playmarkers

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

Voxeet

Zombies, Run! 5K Training

The Dandy

Zombies, Run! 5K Training


Push yourself to the limit with zombies on your tail!
Even if youve experienced several of the exercise apps on the Google Play store, you probably wouldnt have encountered anything like the Zombies, Run! series of tness apps. Zombies, Run! 5K Training is an intensive eight-week training program that will help tness beginners improve their stamina so they can run a ve-mile distance. The app includes 25 workouts which progressively get more elaborate and difcult to complete, while also aiming to improve your overall body condence and self esteem. The workouts alone are fantastically put together and are displayed brilliantly. What sets it apart from the plethora of other exercise apps is when you start to involve the brilliant zombie aspect of the application. Alongside the workouts is an audio story thats tailored to each workout. The story involves your survival against the zombies who have taken over the world. The workouts are used to train you to help your fellow township nd supplies and generally protect buildings and their inhabitants. Its a whole lot of fun, and youll soon get lost in the storyline, while also getting tter. After a few workouts you can upload your distance and running route to the integrated ZombieLink service. This lets you compare your

Price Free Designed for Phone Requires Android 2.3.3

As you progress youll nd a variety of alternative exercises you can undertake

The more workouts you complete, the more advanced they will become

The Dandy
The classic comic goes digital
It has been a long time coming, but The Dandy has nally released a digital edition. All the usual characters are present, as well as a host of new ones which helps keep each issue feeling unique. The app enables you to purchase individual issues of the comic, as well as take a look at a virtual joke shop. Unfortunately the app does suffer from a series of problems, which undermine it. Animation is superbly drawn, but takes a while to load, and when youre trying to read a whole comic, this is a real pain. Comic tiles arent rendered properly, meaning they

wont t on a lot of phone screens, and the app also has a habit of force closing. Its fantastic to see a classic comic make a digital appearance, but until the plethora of design problems are eradicated, this app cant be recommended.

All the classic characters are present

Price Free (issues extra) Designed for Phone and tablet Requires Android 2.2

68

Beanstalk

like this? try this!


Keep track of your distances and routes using the brilliant Endomondo app.

Endomondo Sports Tracker PRO

quickhits
top apps for...

Keeping track of weight loss

distance and route with other people, and is a great way to meet people who are beginners to this type of tness. The upload process is a bit slow in all honesty, but not so much that it impacts on using the application. If the standard tness exercise apps dont take your fancy, then Zombies, Run! 5K Training is a great way to add some fun to the effort. Your tness program is about to get lot more enjoyable.

specification Price 1.49/$1.99


Designed for: Phone and tablet Requires Android: 2.2

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

verdict
Performance Design Value
A truly unique way to kickstart your tness regime

0-5 minutes Checking


out the rst workout to the great storyline

Undertake daily tasks to not only lose weight, but to also create positive lifestyle changes. Each day youll be sent a Noom score to show how well youve done.

Noom Weight Loss Coach Free

5-10 minutes Listening 10-15 minutes Running


away from a horde of zombies and a rabid dog!

EDITORS CHOICE

keep

refund
BRAINSSS Okay, so it wont get you t, but who can resist a zombie game where you play as the zombie!

Offering a supportive and easy-to-follow program, Lose It! also includes an in-app diary letting you input your dietary details and the level of exercise youre currently undertaking.

Lose It! Free

best free alternative

Beanstalk
Take complete control of your cloud storage accounts
Beanstalk is the ultimate cloud storage management app, enabling you to effortlessly move les across your Dropbox, SkyDrive and Box accounts, as well as your SD card. The app requires you to log in to each individual account, and then wait for it to upload all your les. It can take a while for this to be completed depending on the amount of les. Youre then free to begin sharing your les across various accounts. The process requires just a few touch gestures to complete. If you want to merge all your les into one singular account, you can use the syncing feature to do so. With SD card support, you can also transfer les to and from your phones internal storage. It would be fantastic to see Beanstalk branch out more, but its already a must-have app.

Get all the nutritional info for any food or drink product and compare it to similar products. It also shows you nutritional information regarding fast food outlets.

Fast Food Nutri. & Weight Loss 1.85/$2.99

Diet Point manages your diet by keeping tabs on what you eat, and how you can improve your diet based on this. Theres a large community of people to talk to if you need some inspiration.

Diet Point Free

Price Free Designed for Phone and tablet Requires Android 3.1

best free alternative

ES FILE EXPLORER Stay in complete control of everything thats stored on your device.
Check our website daily for even more app reviews

Keep track of the calories in each meal you eat, and check to see what you should be eating. Use the app to create tness and dietary goals that you can keep track of.

Calorie Counter - My Fitness Pal Free

www.littlegreenrobot.co.uk

69

Apps

Playmarkers

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

MightyText

InDrive

AntennaPod

MightyText
SMS from your Android tablet

InDrive
Aiming to be the perfect travel companion
We all know using our phones while driving is very bad, so having an app like InDrive around is a helpful addition. The app combines all your current driving data and GPS locations with quick access to some of your phones features and an integrated music player. The app offers a quick display for you to see your current speed, the total time youve been driving and even your stopping time. There are also panels regarding your longitude and latitude and other GPS-related stats. Scrolling left reveals a section which you can attach quick shortcuts to. For example, you can add a contact to this page, or create a direct message shortcut that sends a message to a contact as you press it, keeping your hands as free as possible. The nal part is an integrated audio player which syncs with Poweramp and gives quick access to your music library.

In terms of usefulness, you cant knock MightyText, as it provides a genuine service that most people can benet from. To put it simply, it enables you to send and manage your SMS messages via your tablet. After installing the accompanying phone version of MightyText you can then connect the tablet version and gain complete control of your messages. Sending a SMS message is a simple enough process, and the benet of having a far bigger keyboard to type on is a major plus. There are a selection of options to help manage your inbox of messages that can then be customised to provide the best service for you. If you dont have your phone to hand, then MightyText is an absolute dream of an app. Theres no lag between receiving

Manage up to eight conversations at any single time

Price 1.20/$1.99 Designed for Phone Requires Android 2.2

messages on your phone and receiving them on your tablet, and due to the ease of sending a message, theres no reason not to download it on to your tablet and phone right away.

like this? try this!


Get all the details about your current journey with this helpful app.

Car Home

like this? try this!


Link your phone to your tablet via Bluetooth and start sending messages.

Tablet Talk

AntennaPod
Open source podcast app for streaming and downloading
All the basic podcasting features can be found in AntennaPod, including downloading and streaming your favourite shows. Theres a built-in guide to help you source new shows to listen to, as well as an import system enabling you to transfer over your current subscriptions from other podcast apps. The process is a little slow, but saves you the effort. Theres an accompanying widget that works as a quick control panel for the podcast. Its a little ddly to use at rst, but it has a wide range of functions. The amount of channels on offer is great to see, and sound quality is generally above average, but youll experience the odd amount of static now and again. AntennaPod offers a simple podcast system to rival the best out there. It boasts great design and usability, but sound quality can be a mixed bag.

specification Price Free


Designed for: Tablet Requires Android: 3.1

verdict
Performance Design Value
A fantastic and alternative way to stay in contact via your tablet

Price Free Designed for Phone and tablet Requires Android 2.3.3

like this? try this!


Manage your various podcast subscriptions and RSS feeds ofine.

DoggCatcher

70

quickhits
Norton Zone
Transfer your les privately between devices
Adding to the already endless amount of cloud storage apps, antivirus pioneer Norton has released its own cloud storage service. Norton Zone gives you 5GB of free storage to get you started, with further space available to purchase. It caters for all types of les, and upload speeds are fast. As you upload you have the option to scan each le for viruses and malware, which is a nice touch, but does slow down upload times.

VideoCast Movie Twist


Broadcast yourself live to the world
By using a combination of the VideoCast app and the camera on your Android device, you can start to broadcast yourself live to the world. As you broadcast using the app, people can log in to their VideoCast account and watch you live. Creating a broadcast is easy to do, and you can share your live stream over various social media sites to get more viewers. After recording you can then choose to save the recording to watch at a later date, although theyll take up a lot of your devices internal storage, so be careful.

Small Call
Dont be interrupted by pesky cold callers again
Nothing is more frustrating than being interrupted by a phone call or incoming message when youre trying to browse the internet or watching a video. With Small Call, however, you can set a range of settings that will enable you to continue what youre doing without the nuisance value of calls or messages. As well as minimising incoming calls, you can also set Small Call to send an automated text message to the dialer to tell them youre currently busy. Its a surprisingly ingenious app.

Find the movie thats perfect for you


Movie Twist is the rst AI movie search app that looks to nd you the best movies based on your tastes and search parameters. You can go into a great level of detail to nd the perfect movie for you, and the parameters can be altered at any time. Each movie listing comes with a blurb so you can read more about it, as well as movies that are associated with it. Finding recommendations is quite easy, but be specic.

Price Free Designed for Phone and tablet Requires Android 2.3.3

Price Free Designed for Phone Requires Android 2.3.3

Price Free Designed for Phone and tablet Requires Android 2.3

Price 0.61/$0.99 Designed for Phone Requires Android 2.2

BoothStache ABBYY Gumtree A Press Turn your friends into stylish way to read your Localised classied site for Chuck Norris lookalikes TextGrabber motors, jobs and a whole RSS feeds
Turn your phone into a mobile scanner lot more
With the ABBYY TextGrabber open you can photograph passages of text and have them immediately translated to your device. Capturing text is easy, and the app does a good job at making sure each word can be seen. You can also use the app to scan a variety of documents and receipts, which on top of being able to save on your device, you can then send via SMS. Without being a ashy app, this really is a perfect scanner. No matter what youre looking for, Gumtree is a great alternative to the likes of eBay and Amazon. The app lets you perform searches for specic items in your local area, as well as search for jobs or for places to rent and buy. The localised aspects work well, but theres no way to save your preferences, meaning every time you enter the app youll need to alert the app of your location. Each listing you nd can be shared through various social media accounts. Press is a stylish new way to read and sync your various RSS subscriptions. For it to work it requires you already to have a Google Reader account, which is a bit of a pain, but its worth the hassle of signing up. After adding your RSS feeds from Google Reader, you can view them in the simple Press reader that includes a variety of features to make reading easier. Images render well, and articles are quick to load. You dont need to be connected to the internet for it to work, but you can press on the articles title to be taken to its original page on the web. Adding to the list of funny effects you can add to your photos is BoothStache, a moustache-adding application that is guaranteed to give you and your mates a few giggles. You can select a picture from your Gallery or take one directly through the app and then apply a variety of different moustaches to it. The transformation process is instantaneous and you can even edit the photos to perfect your look. All your created images can then be shared on Facebook, Google+ or Twitter for widespread humiliation.

Price 3.11/$4.99 Designed for Phone Requires Android 2.2

Price Free Designed for Phone and tablet Requires Android 2.3.3

Price 1.89/$2.99 Designed for Phone and tablet Requires Android 4.0

Price Free Designed for Phone and tablet Requires Android 2.1

71

Master Android
Harness the power of your Android phone or tablet with our fantastic range of magazines and bookazines for users of all levels
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head tohead to head


Which of these edgling photo-based social media apps reigns supreme?

SNAPEOUS vs PINTEREST
specification Price Free
Designed for: Phone Requires Android: Varies

Mixing in elements of photography alongside social media is a great way of putting two ideas together. Both Snapeous and Pinterest are at the forefront of this type of app, but which one is better? We put them head-tohead to nd out

specification Price Free


Designed for: Phone and tablet Requires Android: 2.2

Snapeous
You can connect Snapeous to your Facebook account for instant access, or sign up for a new account from scratch. Either way, its quick and easy and works well. As soon as you log in to Snapeous, youll be able to view nearby proles around you. The app doesnt do a good job at recognising your location, however. For each post created by a user, you can leave a comment or attach your own picture in response. Its rather simplistic, but very easy to use. The app is easy enough to get around, but there are a wide variety of menus which mean its a bit confusing trying to nd what youre looking for. Snapeous includes a wide range of pre-loaded comments that you can use to reply to people. Its a little bland, but certainly a time-saver.

Pinterest

CREATING A PROFILE MEETING NEW PEOPLE INTERACTION

The Pinterest sign up system is easy enough to complete and youll be able to upload your rst load of pictures within just a few minutes. You have to manually search for new people by their name, email or by sharing a similar interest to you. If youve got a lot of people to add it can take a while. Pinterest follows a similar format to Snapeous, enabling users to leave comments and picture responses to posts. Pinterest is nothing but an absolutely beautiful app. Pictures look fantastic and the minimalist approach to design works wonders within the app. The app allows for a lot of prole customisation, and it supports a wide range of le types that Snapeous simply cant compete with.

APP DESIGN ADDITIONAL FEATURES

And the winner is...

PINTEREST

By a narrow margin, Pinterest gets the nod over Snapeous. Both are great apps to use, but Pinterest includes a wide range of little features that not only make it look fantastic, but one of the best social media platforms on the Google Play store. 73

Games
Pudding Monsters
Cut the Rope follow-up proves just as addictive
From the creators of the brilliant Cut the Rope comes a new puzzle game thats as addictive as its predecessor. The pudding monsters require you to save them from the evil fridge owner, by piecing them together to create the ultimate pudding. To do so, you need to slide each piece of pudding in to one another in as few moves as possible, and without going off the screen. Once connected, your overall pudding monster will get larger, and the level will end once you have connected each piece together. On each level are a variety of obtrusions that you can use to help control your monsters movement, and without using them, youll simply slide off the edge of the screen. Knowing the right direction and combination of movements can be quite tricky, but thats fundamentally the main charm of the game, as it

Playmarkers

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

Pudding Monsters

Pool King

always keeps you on your ngertips. Although the graphics wont push the capabilities of your device, their cutesy and animated charm has to be admired, and the accompanying selection of sounds are also pleasing to the ear. As you progress further youll come across an array of Take advantage of each monsters special ability alternate pudding makes the game feel slightly monsters that have their own special laboured at times. Theres 75 levels abilities to help you. The slime to get through, but a large portion of monster, for example, leaves a these are tutorial-based, and the destructive trail of goo wherever you rest wont take you too long to blast slide him, which will in turn catch the through either if youre accustomed other pudding pieces when it comes to the odd puzzle game, or have a in contact with them. decent amount of common sense! Its a great way of keeping the Pudding Monsters is a great game fresh and innovative, but also

Levels require a great deal of thought to complete in full

The more stars you land on, the higher your end rating will be

follow-up to Cut the Rope by the team over at ZeptoLab, and showcases the fact that some of the best Android gaming experiences can be simple affairs when done right. This is a great example.

Price Free Designed for Phone and tablet Requires Android 1.6

what weve been playing


Broken Sword II Smoking Mirror
The ultimate point-and-click adventure series makes its second appearance on Android, and is still as immersive and difcult as ever.

Pool King
Pinpoint cue action at your ngertips
Surprisingly, snooker and pool games are few and far between on the Google Play store, so if done right, Pool King has the potential to be a massive hit. As youd expect, the main crux of the game is playing pool, with the added bonus of various game modes to keep things interesting. The Time Mode puts you against the clock to clear as many balls as possible before the timer runs out, whereas the Play Mode puts you in a variety of scenarios to clear all the balls on the table in as few shots as possible. Both modes feel
In Time Attack, you must pot all the balls as soon as possible

2.99/$3.99

Weve only just started MC4, but its by far one of the most graphically capable games available for Android devices, but doesnt deter from offering great gameplay too.

Modern Combat 4: Zero Hour Free

Recommend a game

74

twitter
@lgrobot

remarkably similar, and its a massive disappointment not to be able to play a full frame of pool when similar games offer that as a standard feature already. Cueing is good, and ball physics are spot on, but the lack of options to ne tune each shot is another let down. Despite the bad points, Pool

King lls a gap in the market adequately while not doing anything special to make it a must-have game on your Android device.

Price Free Designed for Phone and tablet Requires Android 2.2

Nick Chase: A Detective Story

Doodle Army

Glass Fort

quickhits
Nick Chase: A Detective Story
Point-and-click puzzler with mixed results
Take on the role of private investigator Nick Chase in this Twentiesstyled point-and-click game as you try and solve the trace of puzzles left by the man youre trying to uncover, The Collector. Each scenario is beautiful hand drawn, and you get a real sense of the lm noir landscapes throughout. The subtle mix between puzzles and the point-and-click aspects is pleasing, and makes sure not to deter from the accompanying story line. It isnt without some major aws, however. In many of the tasks you need to complete, youll be required to nd specic items located in the corners of your screen, but the game isnt very good at picking up any detection on the sides or corners, so often youre left mindlessly pressing the screen in hope. The difculty level might also be an issue for some people without doubt, this is one of the most punishing games in this genre on the Play store.
Not Sonic as you know him, but still with all the charm. Essentially, this is a platform jumping game from which you need to climb to the highest peaks, while collecting rings and dodging attacks.

Sonic Jump 1.46/$1.99

Price Free Designed for Phone and tablet Requires Android 2.2
Each background is beautifully hand drawn

Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?


Staying faithful to the TV show, test your knowledge and see how close to a million pounds you can get to. The lack of questions is a bit disappointing though.

2.99/$2.99

Glass Fort
Jenga gets a face-lift
Glass Fort is a simple enough puzzle game, in which you must systematically remove the blue blocks from a tower of glass blocks. The game is controlled by a variety of touch controls, giving you a full 3D effect as you play. Although on paper it sounds an easy enough challenge, you need to account for gravity and physical collisions that could send the tower toppling. Smash enough blocks and its game over, so thinking up the perfect strategy is key. There are numerous levels to get through, with some of the latter levels being particularly devilish to complete. Your performance on each level gives you a certain amount of crystals at the end, and if youre an avid puzzle gamer, theres no doubt youll want to get every crystal thats available. It will take time though.

Pumped: BMX promises the most realistic BMX experience on Android, and it certainly delivers. The control system is fantastic, and enables you to be in control of all the jumps and obstacles.

Pumped: BMX 0.62/$0.99

Doodle Army
Mowing down the enemy one bullet at a time
This one isnt for the faint hearted, and includes a generous helping of ying limbs and a splattering of blood. As part of the Doodle Army, its your job to rescue civilians and soldiers behind enemy lines, while also getting rid of any enemies you come across along the way. To do so youre given an arsenal of weapons to salivate over, an array of different battle zones and various vehicles to take advantage of. There are no levels as such, and instead Doodle Army is an endless shooting experience from which youll occasionally switch between vehicles and locations as you go. Although the variety is decent, it can soon get a bit tedious, and some of the landscapes are recycled. Theres also a free ad-included version to check out.

Mixing both elements of a hack-and-slash adventure and tower defence game is a winning combination. Choose from an array of weapons and units to defend your castle from your enemies.

Dragon Warcraft Free

Help Nemo and his friends build a reef, and create an underwater paradise. Youll nd all the characters from Disneys hit movie, and plenty of missions to keep the kids happy.

Nemos Reef Free

BattleFriends at Sea
Take part in a fantastic social game as you battle for control of the high seas. There are a wide variety of missions and a fantastic arsenal of weapons to utilise.

Free

Price 0.82/$1.69 Designed for Phone and tablet Requires Android Varies with device

Price Free Designed for Phone and tablet Requires Android 2.3

Check our website for even more game reviews

www.littlegreenrobot.co.uk

75

Reviews

Samsung Galaxy Camera vs the rest


76

Group test

With the compact camera market shrinking is there any need for the Galaxy Camera?

We pitch the rst dedicated Android-powered camera against the leading Android smartphones to denitively nd out which device you should be using to get the best snaps

ameras have been one of the major areas of growth in Android smartphones over the last year or so. Many manufactures, like Sony, are using their expertise in the imaging sector to create vastly superior camera phones, while others like HTC are using the camera as one of the key selling points of its entire range of devices. So it was no surprise when one manufacturer decided to build a dedicated camera powered by the Android OS and

it was no surprise either that the manufacturer responsible was Korean giants Samsung. With the Galaxy Camera, Samsung has combined the best parts of the already impressive camera in the award-winning Galaxy S III both hardware and software with elements common in dedicated standalone cameras that still elude smartphones chiey, full optical zoom. But with the compact camera market shrinking as people nd they already

have a more than capable shooter, is there any need for the Galaxy Camera? Can Android really revitalise a product category in decline? We pitch it square against three of the best Android phones: the Sony Xperia T with its 13-megapixel sensor, the HTC One X+ complete with a dedicated imaging chip for superfast performance, and the Nexus 4, with some brand-new software features exclusive to Android 4.2. But which is the best? Lets nd out.

77

Reviews Galaxy Camera in focus


What makes the rst true Android camera different?

REAL-TIME FILTERS LOTS OF SETTINGS


As a consumer-grade camera with smartphone inuences there are lots of shot settings that help you get the best picture every time. These include settings for shooting in certain conditions, such as snow, as well as ones that will help you pick your best shot from a set. It wouldnt be a mobile device if it didnt have the ability to apply Instagram-style lters to your images. Instagram is pre-installed, by the way, but you wont need it for anything other than sharing, as you can apply retro lters to your pictures in real time as you shoot.

21x ZOOM
Where the Galaxy Camera excels over any smartphone is in its optical zoom. Most smartphones have wide lenses to help you t more into your shot. With the Galaxy Camera you can home in on the action without any perceptible loss in shot quality.

FULL ANDROID
Press the home button and the lens retracts and youre sent straight into full Android. Here you can edit and share your photos using built-in features as well as apps from the Play store. But you can also use Dropbox or even Maps and Chrome if you wish.

HIGH-QUALITY SHOOTING
Although the Galaxy Camera packs a sensor the same size as many smartphones it benets from a larger lens and produces shots more lifelike and less obviously processed than most phones are designed to create.

FULL MANUAL CONTROLS


There are two auto shot modes for those users that want no more than a simple point-and-shoot experience. But if you want to take more control then the full manual controls, as well as aperture and shutter options, are for you.

78

Pause live video

With the video recording side of things, you have a simple pause button during live recording, which was really useful. It meant we could come back to the video at a later point if we desired and pick up where we left off

While we mentioned in the review, the battery can be hot-swapped out. It actually uses a 1650mAh battery that is found in the Samsung Galaxy S II. Thus you can buy additional batteries for as low as 4 from eBay

Samsung Galaxy S II battery

Group test
information Price 399.99
www.samsung.com

You cant use the ash as a light source for your video recording because it is a proper ll ash. But the Xenon ash, when combined with photos for indoor use, did a great job

Xenon ash

Samsung Galaxy Camera

More information

technical specs

Operating system........Android OS, 4.1.2 (Jelly Bean) Processor...........................Quad-core 1.4GHz Cortex-A9 Memory ..............................1GB RAM, 8GB storage, micro Dimensions......................70.8 x 128.7 x 19.1 mm Weight..................................300g Display..................................4.8 (306 ppi) Corning Gorilla Connectivity....................Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth V
4.0, GPS (including tagging), HSDPA, 21 Mbps; HSUPA, 5.76 Mbps, micro HDMI port Camera ...............................16.3-MP rear (Xenon flash), 21x optical zoom, 1080p full HD video with live pause Glass 2, 720 x 1,280 pixels SD and 50GB Dropbox

head-to-head
Optical zoom
Picture quality
The 21x optical zoom is accessed using a small slider next to the dedicated camera button and it enables you to get quite close to objects from a greater distance without impacting too much on quality

Samsung Galaxy Camera


T
The Galaxy Camera wont replace a DSLR but it does brilliantly to bridge the gap nicely
real-time previews and helpful descriptions of what each mode does you have full manual control. Samsung has equipped the Galaxy Camera with the same size sensor as used in smartphones, so images did inevitably get noisier in lower light, but the inclusion of a pop-up Xenon ash did at least ensure shots snapped in darker conditions were very sharp. The ability to zoom gave the device an instant benet over any phone, and the macro function was excellent, letting us get up close to an object. We also liked the ability to pause live video recordings and use the superb optical zoom during video takes. Tap the home button and the lens retracts and youre in full Android mode. We liked the extra photo editing software (including Instagram) and the ability to download additional apps from the Google Play store. On-board storage was limited to 4GB and battery life does drain quickly for heavy usage, but you can boost the storage up to 64GB via a micro SD card and the battery can be hot-swapped on the y. he Galaxy Camera has a sleek and contemporary look and a large 4.8-inch HD touchscreen, which was highly responsive. Additionally, alongside its 21x optical zoom, dedicated camera button (with thumb zoom control) and pop-up Xenon ash, the Samsung Galaxy Camera certainly emanates the feel of a high-quality, premium product. It is quite weighty, but to combat this, and to improve handling reassurance, Samsung has engineered an ergonomically shaped hand grip with a rubberised coating to the right and supplied a lanyard in the box. Booting up the Galaxy sends you straight to the intuitive camera interface which was by far the most feature-packed in the group. The main controls are split into three on-screen modes offering an Auto mode for simple point-andclick shots or an excellent Smart mode containing a series of preset camera modes. For advanced users, you click on the Expert mode which features an on-screen mock up of a camera lens, along with

Indoor shots in low-light conditions were similar to the Sony, but there were less traces of noise. However, its Xenon ash produced excellent results. Colour matching and accuracy was also good outdoors, even in wintery conditions.

General performance
The dedicated camera button or touchscreen focus alternative provided reassuring feel and it processed the majority of shots quickly. Its interface is brilliant, providing intuitive controls and helpful descriptions of each function.

Features
No front-facing camera, but it still has a wealth of features, including voice control, social sharing options and excellent optical zoom. Underneath you also have a great Android experience with plenty of editing software and Google Play.

Battery life
If you tap into the Android experience heavily you can expect regular charging at the end of the day. Unlike the other products, the battery is removable and you can hot-swap this on the y.

Those who want to seamlessly back up, edit and share without needing a computer will be blown away

Verdict

79

Reviews
HTC One X+
More information www.htc.com Supplied by
www.clove.co.uk

information Price 446.40


Operating system........Android OS, 4.1.1 (Jelly Bean) Processor...........................Quad-core 1.7 GHz Memory ..............................1GB RAM, 64GB storage Dimensions......................134.4 x 69.9 x 8.9mm Weight..................................135g Display..................................4.7 (312 ppi) Corning Gorilla
Glass 2, 720 x 1,280 pixels

The HTC has a lot of camera features but not all of them are as easy to access as the Sony. The settings drop-down list is quite cluttered and it gets confusing when trying to pick out the option you want

Interface

technical specs

(Dropbox 25GB online storage)

Video tracking

Connectivity....................Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth

4.0, GPS (including tagging), HSDPA 21 Mbps, HSUPA 5.76 Mbps, TV-out (via MHL A/V) Camera ...............................8-MP rear, 1.6-MP front, 1080p full HD video recording

The full HD video recording provides touch-focus support and this works okay. However, when viewed back on our computer, you see how it could not handle the camera panning the image broke up with any sign of movement

Something we did not have space to mention in the review was the ability to take screenshots from your pre-recorded videos. In fairness this is something the Samsung can do, but its a useful function none the less

Screenshots from videos

head-to-head
Picture quality
Shots taken from the macro function were its best feature, with accurate colour matching. But with the auto-focus in play, the sensor didnt cope well outdoors (especially when overcast) and it struggled with overexposure issues.

Native wireless printing support

General performance
Shot times are lightning fast, especially in burst mode. Unfortunately, despite the wealth of camera features the interface could have been more intuitive. We also had to constantly check our nger placement so it didnt cover the lens.

Samsung had native printer support for its Samsung printers, but most of the other products required a third-party app download to print to other printers eg Canon. With HTC you have a native wireless printer solution that seemed to work with a number of manufacturers out the box

Features
The HTC is packed with camera features and supporting software. Its macro function was good, but sadly its HDR mode was less effective than the LGs and its panoramic mode was ddly. HD recording was thwarted by poor speeds.

HTC One X+
T
he HTC One X+ has a quality feel, with a fantastic 4.7-inch HD screen, superb audio quality, a lightning-fast processor and a comprehensive software suite. However, unlike the Sony or Samsung, it does not feature a dedicated camera button, nor does it provide a removable battery or memory card expansion. It does, however, ship with 64GB of internal storage and 25GB of online Dropbox storage to compensate. Additionally unlike the other products which required third-party apps, the HTC provided universal built-in wireless printer support which enabled us to print effortlessly to our Canon printer. As for the camera interface, HTC has incorporated a wealth of features, from the lightning-fast burst mode which takes up to 20 shots at a time, HDR, fun special effects modes and full HD video recording with the ability to take photos at the same time. Unfortunately, its still not the most intuitive to use. Its settings become cluttered and various options are

A powerful Android handset in its own right, but has HTC nally produced a camera worth shouting about?
located in unexpected places the panorama mode being one example. The HTC is let down slightly by its camera lens placement which was constantly being impeded by our nger. The camera also struggled outdoors, especially in overcast conditions. For example, videos had problems tracking sudden changes of movement and we suffered issues with exposure and loss of detail. We also found that while the photos look great on the screen, that didnt transfer onto a desktop monitor after importing. Advanced options such as ISO adjustment and exposure helped a touch. But its HDR mode was still less effective than on the Nexus 4. On a positive note, its front-facing camera took some respectable portrait shots and the ash was impressive. Its macro function was also good, revealing the potential from the optics of the camera. Likewise, with its on-board editing software, you have the potential to do some neat ne tuning, while battery life was surprisingly good considering its high-end spec.

Battery life
From an Android point of view (especially video playback) it did better than we expected, beating all the other products. However, for heavy use you may still need to recharge the phone daily.

Verdict HTC offers a great Android

experience, but not a good camera. Youll need to master those fiddly manual settings

80

Android 4.2

Even though the phone is made by LG it is still a Google phone at heart. Because of this you get the latest Android OS and all of its enhancements. Additionally you should get all future Android upgrades a lot sooner

Group test
LG Nexus 4
More information play.google.com Supplied by
www.clove.co.uk

information Price 279 (16GB)


Its camera offers a true panoramic mode which enables you to quickly capture an entire room (unlike the other devices) and then view back the results on your handset or via the Google+ desktop

Limited options

The OS is limited to standard Google apps and the same rule applies to the camera interface/ feature set. However, a lot of the options are transparent to the user, such as face detection and the editing software is held in the Gallery

360-degree Photo Sphere

technical specs

Operating system........Android OS, 4.2.1 (Jelly Bean) Processor...........................Quad-core 1.5GHz Krait Memory ..............................2GB RAM, 16GB storage Dimensions......................133.9 x 68.7 x 9.1 mm Weight..................................139g Display..................................4.7 (318 ppi), 768 x 1,280 Connectivity....................Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth V
4.0, GPS (including tagging), DC-HSDPA, 42 Mbps, HSDPA 21 Mbps, HSUPA, 5.76 Mbps, TV-out (via MHL A/V) Camera ...............................8-MP rear (LED flash), 1.3-MP front camera, 1080p full HD video recording @30fps

head-to-head
Picture quality
Despite the lack of expandable storage you do get a mouth-watering spec sheet with the Nexus 4. On top of a quad-core processor you also have 2GB of RAM. Thus for the cost of the phone you are getting a very quick device

Ample spec

Its biggest problem was with underexposure, but this could be xed with the HDR mode or by adjusting the white balance. This then resulted in more colourful images and improved detail. Low light shots did produce more noise.

General performance
Shot times were quite quick, but it does rely almost completely on its auto focus. The interface however is simplicity personied, with almost no visible on-screen options. Its something you will either love or hate.

LG Nexus 4
T
he LG Nexus 4 feels solid to hold and the design is aesthetically pleasing, with a lovely glass backing that reects a chequered pattern when tilted in certain light conditions. The handset though is on par with the HTC in that it doesnt feature a removable battery, a dedicated camera key, nor does it have removable storage. On a positive note, the LG device is powered by 2GB of RAM, a quad-based CPU and the latest Android 4.2 OS along with all of its graces, including multi-touch controls and better notications. Put it this way, the device ran as smooth as silk! On the ip side we found the supplied software was limited to standard Google apps and this minimalist approach transferred over to the Camera app. The interface is intuitive because most of the functions are quick to access by touch or simple gestures. There are a few additional features including a macro mode and gimmicks like face detection. Long pressing the screen does enable you to quickly access some

Like the OS, the camera is kept minimal, but with a bit of know-how it can produce some impressive results
advanced options (albeit limited), such as exposure, white balance and a HDR mode on the y. You also get to use the phones party piece, which is the 360-degree Photo Sphere option. This lets you effortlessly photograph an entire horizon in all its glory. It works similar to the other products panoramic modes, but on a greater scale. For a simple point-and-click shooter, shot times were quick and the zoom was marginally better than the Sony. Sadly like the latter, indoor shots with the ash suffered more from noise and a lot of the images outdoors suffered from underexposure. As a result we had to enable the cameras HDR mode or adjust the white balance to improve matters. Which they did; detail and colours were brought to life, resulting in a better nal image than the HTC could muster. However, while its video audio capture quality was good, there were issues with auto-focus locking in to macro mode and its battery life was also under par any heavy use will require regular charging.

Features
Features are kept minimal. It lacks the advanced options of the Samsung (including memory expansion), but it does have a nice Photo Sphere option. Its video recording tracks okay with good audio, but the focus locks into macro too easily.

Battery life
We expected this to be the best in the group, but it proved completely the opposite. Due to its high spec, heavy general use (with Wi-Fi and multimedia in operation) would see regular charging.

Verdict If you adjust the white balance


or enable HDR, this simple camera does a respectable job for the lower price point

81

Reviews
Sony Xperia T
More information www.sonymobile.com Supplied by
www.clove.co.uk

information Price 346.80


Operating system........Android OS, 4.0.4 (ICS) Processor...........................Dual-core 1.5GHz Krait Memory ..............................1GB RAM, 16GB storage

The Sony Xperia T features a stylish curved backing and a side port for quick access to the micro SD card slot and SIM. The build quality struggles to match that of the HTC or LG though

Design and build quality

technical specs

Multiple focus

Dimensions......................129.4 x 67.3 x 9.4 mm Weight..................................139g Display..................................4.55 (323 ppi) shatterproof

expandable via micro SD

head-to-head
Picture quality

and scratch-resistant glass, 720 x 1,280 pixels Connectivity ....................Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 3.1, GPS (including tagging), HSDPA, 42.2Mbps; HSUPA, 5.76 Mbps, TV-out Camera ...............................13-MP rear (LED Flash), 1.3-MP front with 720p video @30fps

The Sony has various focus modes including auto and macro. You can even access a multiple auto-focus option which essentially tries to nd the higher contrast point for focus to get the best results (its a quick way of getting improved results without a lot of setup)

Sonys dedicated camera button may be a tad small, but it still gives you more control over the standard touchscreen variants that are supplied on the HTC and LG. You can also use it to launch the camera interface

Dedicated camera button

4.55-inch HD screen with Sony Bravia Engine

A few shots came out slightly overexposed in overcast conditions but for the most part the images captured the colours correctly with a pleasing natural tone. In indoor lowlevel light conditions it suffered more from noise, but not much more than the others.

The screens HD resolution and Bravia Engine did help produce more natural/sharper colour tones for video playback (though it was still less impressive than the Samsung). But, more importantly, it coped well shooting outdoors

General performance
The shots times were a tad slower than the others due to the time it takes to focus, but the interface was much more intuitive and better laid out than the HTC. It also helped having a dedicated camera button which gave a reassuring feel.

Features
Its camera features are dwarfed by the Samsungs with special effects handled by the Album editing app. But it does provide a respectable spec with expandable storage, great auto modes and effective HD video recording.

Sony Xperia T
T
he Sony Xperia T is similar in size to the other smartphones, but despite its curved rubberised backing and stylish black look, its build quality still felt a tad under par. But unlike the HTC and LG, the Xperia does feature a small dedicated camera key which gave us more exibility when taking shots. Couple that with memory card expansion and you have an effective camera platform ready to go. Of course, being a traditional smartphone it boots straight into its Android ICS OS, though you can quickly access the camera interface via the lock screen, icon or camera button, even when the device is locked and password protected. We found the Android experience was okay, but nothing more. As for the camera interface, it contained a solid range of features with a much more intuitive interface than the HTC, but like the LG you will nd that some of these features, such as the special effects like transforming an image to sepia, are hidden under the apps separate editing functions.

Its Android experience may lack sparkle, but it more than makes up for matters in the camera department
Outdoors we found the 4.55-inch HD screen coped well and we liked the various focus modes, including the HD recording and the cameras multiple autofocus which nds the high contrast points for focus. However, the shot times were slower due to the time it takes to lock in the focus. Mind you, the slight delay proved effective with pictures producing stronger detail and better colour accuracy than the HTC. Digital zoom was no match for the Samsung (and best avoided altogether) and indoors in low-level light conditions, the results were somewhat grainy. On the ip side, you have its auto scene recognition mode, which provides the best exposure for any given scene. As cameras go, it was certainly the most consistent performer out of the phones on test. The xed battery (850mAh) was reasonable, but you should expect regular charging with heavy usage. With its on-board smart power-saving modes and a future power-saving Jelly Bean update, this may improve battery life down the line.

Battery life
From a camera point of view it was on par with the Samsung, but from an Android experience it fell short of the HTC. Disappointing given that it has a smaller screen, yet a decent-sized battery.

Verdict Its Android experience was

not the best, but its camera was, producing some very impressive shots

82

How do the cameras match up?

Test shots

In good light, images from the Galaxy Camera show accurate colours, good
exposure and are crisp and vibrant. The camera has the ability to shoot at different sizes and with different aspect ratios for added control.

SAMSUNG GALAXY CAMERA

The Nexus 4 shots, in 4:3 ratio, are of a satisfactory quality, although are
slightly cold in tone, less vibrant than the other cameras and a touch underexposed. Its Camera app has a few unique tricks available though.

NEXUS 4

The Xperia T produces images of good exposure and colour, and are sharp and Images from the One X+ are extremely vibrant to the point of being
pleasing to the eye. Shutter lag was not in evidence, but the camera was generally slower in functioning than the others on test.

SONY XPERIA T

HTC ONE X+

oversaturated (which tended to show itself even more in the red channel). They do look stunning on the HTCs screen, but less so when printed.

The Galaxy Cameras killer feature is the 21x optical

THE BENEFITS OF OPTICAL ZOOM

zoom, which gives the kind of creative control over your composition that a smartphone simply cannot match. Its not perfect, though. We found it a touch soft at the long end of the zoom, and its also very difcult to track moving objects when zoomed. But if you work within its limitations and quirks, it offers many rewards.

83

Reviews

The winner
Samsung Galaxy Camera
aving spent the last few weeks taking hundreds of shots with the Galaxy Camera we have grown to respect the device in many ways. Granted it wont replace a professional DSLR and it lacks the phone element for ultimate convergence, but boy is it easy to use. For those who want a device to learn the various expert modes or how a particular function works then its an ideal stepping stone into the professional world. You have so many easy-to-access modes that we have to admit this made the device exciting to use

GROUP TEST WINNER


Sadly, while the HTC offered a better Android experience, its nal image quality was disappointing with several traces of overexposure evident in the majority of shots (though conditions were slightly overcast at the time of testing). The LG suffered on the opposite end of the scale with underexposure, but if you can live with adjusting the white balance or enabling the devices HDR mode then it can provide some really good shots for a simple point-and-click shooter, especially at its bargain price.

and experiment with certainly far great than any of the other smartphones could muster! Its Android experience was no slouch either and Samsung has thrown in a powerful specication list and a host of apps to support the camera. From the smartphone entries, the Sony Xperia T was the best out of the three at producing a consistent range of quality images. Thats not to say it didnt struggle in some areas, as it lacked some features of the HTC and its low-light shots were a tad noisy, but it was still the best choice.

HTC One X+
Processor Memory Camera Platform Display resolution Weight Dimensions Connectivity Overall score
Quad-core 1.7GHz 1GB RAM, 64GB storage (Dropbox 25GB online but no SD expansion) 8-MP rear (LED ash), 1.6-MP front camera with 720p video recording Android OS, v4.1.1 (Jelly Bean) 4.7 (312ppi) Corning Gorilla Glass 2, 720 x 1,280 135g 134.4 x 69.9 x 8.9mm Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS, HSDPA 21 Mbps, HSUPA 5.76 Mbps, TV-out

LG Google Nexus 4
Quad-core 1.5GHz Krait 2GB RAM, 16GB storage (no micro SD card expansion) 8-MP rear (LED ash), 1.3-MP front camera, 1080p full HD video Android OS, v4.2.1 (Jelly Bean) 4.7 (318ppi), 768 x 1,280

Sony Xperia T
Dual-core 1.5GHz Krait 1GB RAM, 16GB storage (expandable via micro SD card slot up to 32GB) 13-MP rear (LED ash), 1.3-MP with 720p video, 1080p full HD video Android OS, v4.0.4 (ICS) 4.55 (323ppi) shatter proof and scratch-resistant glass, 720 x 1,280 139g 129.4 x 67.3 x 9.4mm Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 3.1, GPS, HSDPA, 42.2Mbps; HSUPA, 5.76 Mbps, TV-out

Samsung Galaxy Camera


Quad-core 1.4GHz Cortex-A9 1GB RAM, 8GB storage (plus micro SD and 50GB Dropbox storage) 16-MP rear (Xenon ash), 21x optical zoom, 1080p full HD video @30fps Android OS, v4.1.2 (Jelly Bean) 4.8 (306ppi) Corning Gorilla Glass 2, 720 x 1,280 300g 70.8 x 128.7 x 19.1mm Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS, HSDPA, 21 Mbps; HSUPA, 5.76 Mbps, micro HDMI

139g 133.9 x 68.7 x 9.1mm Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS, DC-HSDPA, 42 Mbps, HSDPA 21 Mbps, HSUPA, TV-out

84

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Reviews
Solid design
The curved edges and back plate feel brilliant in hand, and although the device is coated in plastic, it feels well built

The One SV is no exception to the rule

Where the One SV is lacking is with its 4.3-inch display. At 480x800 pixels, its remarkably dull

Screen issues

Best Sense yet

Even though its still behind the pure Android experience, Sense 4.1 is the best iteration of the custom skin yet

The HTC One SV is one of the rst mid-range devices that will ship with 4G connectivity in the UK

Try 4G

Theres no Android 4.1 here, and instead the One SV runs Android 4.0 from the box

Waiting for Jelly Bean

HTC One SV
H
86
TCs One series is slowly putting together a formidable library of phones. From the high-end One X, to the budget One V, each and every device certainly has its high points. To ll the gap in between, the mid-range HTC One SV looks to bring together the best features from both ends of the market. The One series is renowned for its sleek design, and the One SV is no exception to the rule. The black fascia includes no notable features, apart from the three physical buttons embedded at the

HTCs mid-range device looks to highlight the best bits of the impressive One series
bottom of the device. Turn the device around and youll nd a white, removable backplate with an embossed HTC logo in the centre of it. With the back of the device slightly curved, and the edges of the device also curved, the One SV feels good in hand. Its small, but slightly weighty build, helps the One SV feel like a well put together device. Around the edges of the device are your standard ports, including a micro SD slot, 3.5mm audio jack and micro USB port. Where HTC has compromised with the One SV, is with its display. When turning on the device youre greeted to a 4.3-inch display sporting a WVGA 480x800 resolution. Its grainy throughout and there are visible pixels that are easily identiable on the bright home screen of the SV. Viewing angles are also limited, but thats forgiveable with a device of

good for...

Portability
This phone is the perfect size for one-handed use and is surprisingly lightweight

Review
HTC One SV
Expandable storage
The micro SD slot means you can expand the 8GB of internal storage up to 64GB

More information www.htc.com Supplied by www.clove.co.uk

information Price 291.66



Battery life
Average users should make it through the day just fine

By far the best version of its custom skin yet


this size. The problem is most noticeable when viewing pictures and watching movies, which doesnt bode well for the ve-megapixel camera included here. The camera is distinctly average in the daytime, but below par in low-light conditions. One of the best features of the camera is that you can take 30 quick-re shots in a matter of seconds, but once again the grainy quality spoils it. You can record in 1080p HD, which is a massive plus for a mid-range device, and the 1800 mAh battery handles this feature well. Despite the display, the One SV is very quick, and the Qualcomm dual-core processor handles most tasks well. Whether youre browsing, downloading apps or simply just moving around the device, the processor handles it all very well. The accompanying 1GB of RAM might be a little disappointing to some, but caters for a smaller device like this well enough, and copes with basic multitasking without facing any software lag. As with any HTC phone youll get its very own skin here in the form of Sense. The One SV ships with Android 4.0 and runs Sense 4.1, which is by far the best version of its custom skin yet, and there are some quality feature additions that the One SV can be proud of. Messaging has been vastly revamped, there are a new range of entertainment hubs for your les and the browser has had a few tweaks to improve general use. It isnt up to the standard of the pure Android experience, but its making ground thats for sure. The main selling point of the One SV is the fact its one of the rst mid-range phones in the UK with 4G LTE support. Although the availability of 4G in the UK is still limited, its great to see cheaper devices getting 4G support. Youll also nd NFC, DLNA and Bluetooth 4.0 capabilities in the One SV for those not lucky enough for 4G speeds just yet. HTC has done a great job at pitching the One SV as a true mid-range device. It does lack in certain departments, mainly the display and camera, but it excels in others. Not only is it a superbly built device, it comes with the best version of Sense yet, and offers the average user a competitively priced chance at getting their hands on a 4G device for the rst time.

technical specs

Operating system...............Android 4.0.4 Processor...................................Dual-core 1200MHz Memory.......................................8GB storage Dimensions..............................128 x 66.9 x 9.2mm Weight ..........................................122g Display size...............................4.3-inch Display resolution...............480 x 800 pixels Expansion slot.......................micro SD

HTC One SV
Sony Xperia J
issue 021

HTC One X
issue 011

better than Performance Design

worse than

Great processor, but below average display and camera let it down badly A truly great looking phone thats easy on the eye, and in the hand The best iteration of Sense yet, but still a bit behind pure Android Youll be hard pressed to find a better mid-range device than this

Features

Value for money

Verdict The HTC One SV excels in


Entertainment
The new entertainment hubs are great solutions for storing your various media les

Design
The simple, crisp nish of the One SV makes it look and feel like a great device

Browsing
The speedy dual-core processor will get you around the device with no lag in sight

most areas making it a great addition to the companys already impressive range

87

Reviews

Huawei Ascend G330


O
Front camera
It is nice to see a front camera on a budget handset like this one

Huawei updates its popular Ascend G300 with a new budget handset, the G330
ne of the more popular budget smartphones of 2012 was Huaweis Ascend G300. At 100 SIM-free it packed in a four-inch screen and a 1GHz processor both at the time of launch were specications worthy of more expensive smartphones. Hoping to capitalise on the success of the G300, the Ascend G330 is in fact only a minor upgrade, and one which fails to steal the limelight in quite the same way that its predecessor did. The Huawei Ascend G330 features an updated processor in the shape of a dual-core 1GHz model, but this is supported by the same 512MB of RAM found in the handsets predecessor. This means that while it runs smoothly for workday tasks, if you nd you need to push the multimedia capabilities of the phone, or are a power user switching between multiple apps at the same time, it may complain and judder. Storage is not a strong suit of this phone, either. With 4GB on board, the initial vibe is good, but in fact only 2.5GB of this is user accessible. You may well nd you need to use a micro SD card to augment that, and unfortunately Huawei has not made the best job of locating the micro SD card slot. It sits underneath the back cover, and you have to remove the battery to get at the slot. It basically means you will need to t in as large a card as you can get, because you wont want to ever nd yourself juggling cards on the go. The build quality of the G330 is good in that the phone is relatively solid and tough. But aesthetically things arent great. Yes, the back is rubberised to assist with grip, but overall the impression is not of a device that is pushing the boundaries of industrial design. At least the four-inch screen with its 800 x 480 pixels is sharp and bright. This is in fact the same specication as found on the G300. But it is still a pretty good spec as the budget end of the market is still cluttered with far lower resolution screens, even in the hands of some of the industrys most prestigious names like Samsung. Wed love to see a 4.3-inch screen make its way into the budget sector, but for the time being, this will sufce.

Large screen

Measuring in at four inches, this is a solid effort compared to other budget models, and the resolution is acceptable too

Memory

With just 2.5GB of user storage built in you are probably going to need a micro SD card

good for...

Web
The large screen makes the Huawei Ascend G330 ideal for web browsing

88

Review
Huawei Ascend G330
Bland design?
The blocky design might look bland to some eyes. It does to ours anyway

information Price
BBC iPlayer
More information www.huaweidevice.co.uk

free on 10 monthly contract from TalkTalk Mobile

If you love catch-up TV, then the pre-installed BBC iPlayer app might appeal, though you can pick it up for free from the Play store anyway

Battery life
You might struggle to get through a day if youre heavy on the media functions

technical specs

Operating system...............Android 4.0 Processor...................................Dual-core 1.0GHz Memory.......................................4GB storage Dimensions..............................122.5 x 62.6 x 11.2mm Weight ..........................................130g Display size...............................Four-inch Display resolution...............800 x 480 pixels Expansion slot.......................micro SD

Huawei Ascend G330


Huawei Ascend G300
issue 012

A neat lockscreen gives you quick launch into the call log, messaging and camera apps
Under the hood Huawei has chosen to go with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. Slightly behind the times, as Android 4.1 Jelly Bean is very much in the wild, it is still a pleasure to see this version of the OS in a budget phone. And Huawei has added a few tweaks of its own without obscuring Androids own primal goodness. Huawei makes a bit too much of the fact that the BBC iPlayer app is pre-installed. Its not particularly difcult to download this from the Play store onto other handsets. Perhaps people will be more impressed by EA Games Sims Freeplay, but here too we are nonplussed. To get to the game you have to pass a screen advertising trial versions of other EA games, and Sims Freeplay is also downloadable from Google Play. What we do like is the inclusion of a DLNA app, le manager and All Backup which can be used to back up your SIM, contacts and other information. Theres a ashlight app too, and you can get to this by long pressing the home button beneath the screen when youre in the screen lock app. This is the one true innovation evident on the G330, and is a feature we really like and would love to see other manufacturers emulate. It is easy to change the number of home screens on offer you can go between three and ve, and a neat lockscreen gives you quick launch into the call log, messaging and camera apps, as well as the ability to control music playback and that already noted torch feature. Overall the Huawei Ascend G330 represents a reasonably effective update of the G300, but as weve seen with other landmark budget devices (like the famous Orange San Francisco), it is very difcult to pull off the same trick twice. With last years phone, any weaknesses were easily overlooked due to the handsets incredible value. This time around, not so much. Itll be ne for someone on a very limited budget, but its not a ground-breaking phone likely to grab any attention from the wider Android world.

Sony Xperia U
issue 014

better than Performance Design

worse than

Can judder if the processor is pushed, but fine for most tasks Nothing special, and a little chunky for a device with this screen size Some useful extras but nothing to make you go wow The Huawei Ascend G300 is good value if the budget is really tight

Features

Value for money

Verdict Worth a look if youre on

Music
You can cleverly control music playback from the phones lockscreen

Text creation
The large screen means tapping at the keyboard is a comfortable experience

Sharing
A DLNA app is ideal for streaming from your Wi-Fi network

the tightest of budgets, but theres plenty of options out there with more to offer

89

Reviews

Lenovo IdeaTab A2109


Screen lock
Its nice to see a screen lock button on the chassis. These come in handy more often than you think

The Lenovo IdeaTab A2109 is a strong tablet with some good features, but the nine-inch screen is denitely not one of them

Front and back facing cameras are here, the latter shooting stills to just three megapixels

Cameras

Theres a micro HDMI connector, but to take advantage you will need to buy a cable

HDMI

Stereo speakers

Twin speakers provide for reasonably good quality sound

L
90

enovos IdeaTab A2109 is yet another tablet aiming itself at around the 200/$299 price point. The idea, of course, is that those who cant afford top-notch tablets, but want to steer clear of the kind of rubbish that tends to clog up the very lowest end of the market, will gravitate around this price point creating plenty of market for different manufacturers. Theres a logic to the view, but people are also looking for quality products,

and as weve said before, the Nexus 7 is the target everyone has to shoot at in this price range. Lenovo isnt perhaps the rst name you would associate with a mid-range Android tablet, but the company has in fact been around the Android scene for a while, and it brings some interesting features to its 200/$299 IdeaTab A2109. Lenovo is quite clear about this being a tablet aimed at entertainment. To that end, stereo

Lenovo brings some interesting features to its IdeaTab A2109 good Multimedia out for...
The micro HDMI slot could be a really useful feature

Review
Lenovo IdeaTab A2109
More information www.lenovo.com

information Price 199.99

Battery life
Battery life is on the high side for a big tablet, getting you through a few days easily

The backplate is solid, scratch resistant metal, which feels quite robust but makes for rather heavy hardware

Metal

technical specs

speakers sit on the back of the device, and SRS TruMedia support is built in. Music quality is certainly better than many devices weve tested recently, and the volume racks up rather nicely too. There is some distortion at the top volume end, but its not a disaster by any means. Theres also very welcome micro SD card support, with the slot sitting under a small, thin, narrow backplate which surrounds the speakers and camera lens. The backplate is a little tricky to get off, and some will not like the need to remove it in order to hot-swap memory, but aesthetically the look is better than having an open micro SD slot on the edge of the chassis. And having memory expansion means you can boost the relatively generous 16GB of internal storage. You dont always nd a camera on these middle-of-the-road tablets. Here, though, there are two. A front-facing 1.3-megapixel camera is bolstered by a back-facing three-megapixel offering. This is hardly cutting-edge stuff, but it is good enough for 720p video recording and will support video chat too. Performance, as you might expect, is middling, although its unlikely to be a major consideration in your buying decision. We also like the micro HDMI connector that sits next to the micro USB slot, and the toggle button which locks screen rotation that sits next to the volume rocker and headset slot. Youd be surprised how often locking out auto-screen rotation comes in handy, and its far better to have a hardware solution for this than the software toggle that is standard with Android. And we also appreciate the metal backplate which is tough and solid and a step up from some of the plastic build materials weve seen before. However, the IdeaTab is not light, coming in at 507g. We werent too happy about holding it

one-handed for extended periods. In terms of look the metal is attractive, as are the rounded edges with their silver trim. On the short edges theres a neat outward rake towards the back that is barely noticeable, yet adds a certain style. The Nvidia Tegra 3 1.2GHz quad-core processor with 1GB of RAM is punchy enough to see this tablet cope with demanding tasks, and Android 4.1 is present which means the IdeaTab A2109 just about passes the up to date test. Lenovo adds a fairly large number of apps to the Android standards, including the Kindle app, Documents To Go, a le explorer, Evernote, Nortons Security app, a Lenovo print app, Skype, Sugar Sync and Zinio. All this is mostly very positive stuff, though we tend to prefer fewer pre-installed apps, especially when they are in fact free and widely available through the Google Play store anyway. But the IdeaTab A2109 has an Achilles heel, and is let down by a pretty poor display. The nine-inch screen offers 1,280 x 800 pixels a lowly pixel density of 167ppi and it lacks vibrancy and punch to compete with similar devices in this price range. Website text can be pinched, but its not especially easy on the eye, and in general, the screen lacks the sparkle of bright colours and vivid reproduction that is a key characteristic of a truly great tablet. While not an absolute deal breaker at the price point it does serve to reduce the tablets effectiveness for functions that rely heavily on text. You wont want to use this for lengthy bouts of eBook reading, for instance. Overall the IdeaTab A2109 has some good features, and the processor is a real plus point. As always, a low price point does mean compromises, and here it is with the screen. Swift performance, HDMI support and expandable memory might be enough to make up for it though.

Operating system...............Android 4.1 Processor...................................Quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 1.2GHz Memory.......................................16GB storage Dimensions..............................259.8 x 178 x 11.65mm Weight ..........................................570g Display size...............................Nine-inch Display resolution...............1,280 x 800 pixels Expansion slot.......................micro SD

Lenovo IdeaTab A2109


Versus Touchpad 9.7
issue 019

Nexus 10
issue 020

better than Performance Design

worse than

The processor really packs a punch, and is able to handle all tasks smoothly Nothing radical in the design but there are a few extra hardware functions we like Android 4.1 and a range of pre-installed apps, plus HDMI and SD support impress The price is quite appealing for a device of this specification

Features

Value for money

Verdict The screen is the only thing

Gaming
A good processor means gaming fun is a real prospect

Music
Stereo speakers are on board and are surprisingly good

Media richness
The large nine-inch screen makes the Lenovo a decent movie player

that brings this tablet down. Otherwise, it is an attractive, well-priced all-rounder

91

Accessories
Horned design
The unusual curved horn of the Spinnaker system is certainly a talking point. Not only is it aesthetically pleasing, its fairly lightweight when considering its size

Sound quality is absolutely superb


Bluetooth connected

Each speaker is capable of being connected to your phone via Bluetooth. You also have the option to connect to one of the speakers instead of both

Music hub

The silver dome that accompanies each set can be used as a wireless remote to control the music thats played, and to customise some of the basic volume controls

Through the Optical Input port at the bottom, you can connect each part of the Spinnaker system to a games console, and then customise the sound using the dome hub

Connect to a console

Style has never sounded so good

Edifier Spinnaker
tanding at 15 inches tall, each Spinnaker speaker tower certainly has the wow factor. Each unit sports a curved horn look, which makes it look aesthetically pleasing, and the lack of features and built-in controls is certainly a plus on the design front. The entire fascia of each speaker is encased in a thin mesh that covers a 2.75-inch mid-range driver, 19mm tweeter and a four-inch subwoofer. On the bottom of each speaker lies a range of ports to cater for more hardcore music fans, including an optical input port to connect the speaker to a game system. The back of each speaker is lined with a hard plastic that is not ngerprint friendly, adding to the already sterling design job here. The Spinnaker system is Bluetoothenabled, and connecting your phone to the speakers is an easy process. To then control whats played you can use the small silver dome packaged alongside the speakers. The dome acts as a wireless remote control that does a good job of implementing some of the basic sound functions. Even more impressively, the hub doesnt need to be placed directly next to the speakers to work, and instead youll be able to change the controls from several metres away.

EDITORS CHOICE

For the price youre paying for the Edier system, youd expect nothing but a perfect audio experience, and thats exactly what you get. Sound quality is absolutely superb, and whether youre in to heavy metal or smooth jazz, the system does a great job in catering for everyone. The ability to then connect them to an external subwoofer improves the quality more. There are plenty of things to love about the Edier Spinnaker system, and although the price may be steep for some, youre getting a terric set of speakers that ensure you get the best experience possible when youre listening to your favourite tunes.

specification
Price 299.99/$349.99
More information www.edier-international.com

verdict
Performance Design Value
A brilliant system for design and sound quality

92

Accessories

www.littlegreenrobot.co.uk
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BEST BUY

TurboCharger 7000
Need a portable charger for your device? Weve got the answer
There are plenty of portable chargers on the market today, but not many can compare to the TurboCharger 7000 in terms of power and function. The unit includes two USB ports from which you can connect two devices at any one time, as well as a mini USB port to charge the TurboCharger. On top of the unit is a single button that when pressed will notify you of its current level of charge, and you can expect to get around ten hours worth of charging out of the device before needing to recharge it. Alongside the TurboCharger are two retractable cables that can be used to connect the unit to any device, and youll also nd a wide selection of connectors that cater for most devices. Despite the price, the TurboCharger 7000 is an essential piece of kit that every Android user should own.

A remote-controlled warthog? Now weve seen everything


The iHog is a colourful toy that doubles up as a remote-controlled warthog by using your phone or the accompanying external controller. There are six blades attached to the top of the hog to give it some stability while ying, and it has some funny design features that kids and big kids will love. Although connecting the iHog via Bluetooth is simple enough to complete, it can be a bit temperamental to get working at rst, and the control system is also quite awkward. On more than one occasion youll nd being gentle with the controls will lead to the iHog shooting off in a different direction altogether. The blades which control iHogs movement can also be erratic from time to time, but thats only a small issue. Once youve mastered it though, this ying hog will certainly give you a few giggles.

iHog

Price 54.95/$74.95 More information


www.proporta.co.uk

Price 35.00/$50.11 More information


www.teroxtoys.co.uk

An essential piece of kit that every Android user should own

BTP05 WAE

Stylish speaker specically designed for the vast community of Android music lovers
The rst thing you notice about the WAE speaker is its modern and ergonomic design, and the chrome-like effect used throughout. Both the front and back of the device have a grille which house the powerful speakers, and a variety of connectivity and power ports on the back are the only other noticeable design inclusions. Encased in the ngerprint-loving handle are two basic volume controls and a power button at the bottom. Connecting to the device via Bluetooth is easy enough, and the speaker is quick to pick up on any music track youre currently playing. Sound quality is fantastic throughout, and really works well with the aesthetic qualities of the actual speaker. Its portability means youll be able to use it whenever and wherever you want.

Price 179.99/$199.99 More information


www.hercules.com

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Accessories

Tasty tablet treats


Weve rounded up a few of the best items to use with your Android tablet
Price 16.99/$29.99 More information www.sciencemuseumshop.co.uk

Rubix speaker

You cant fault the Rubix speaker for its design, as its almost an identical size to the original Rubix cube. Each panel is beautifully coloured, and within its hollowed centre is a small speaker. Unfortunately, sound quality is a definite mixed bag, partly due to the sound only coming through one side of the cube, instead of all six. Along the bottom of the cube is a 3.5mm audio jack to connect it to your phone and start playing your tunes.

iBallz Mini
Price TBC/$24.95 More information www.iballz.info

By dropping your tablet you could inflict a lot of damage, or render it useless. By using iBallz Mini, you have a simple way of providing some basic cover in case this happens. Each ball fits onto the corner of your tablet, and can be adjusted by using the accompanying pull cord. They act as great shock absorbers if you accidentally drop your tablet, but you wouldnt want to rely on them from a high distance. By configuring the balls you can also implement them into a handy stand, but it isnt as stable as similar products.

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Accessories

Price 3.34/$TBA More information www.dynamode.net

All-in-One Mini Card Reader

Compatible with 55 memory card formats, the All-in-One Mini Card Reader from Dynamode is an all-round superb product. There are a wide range of slots for differentsized memory cards, all of which can then be easily inserted and removed when needed. With the accompanying USB cable, users can connect the unit to an Android device and begin transferring files between different locations. Its extremely lightweight as well, meaning your only real worry is misplacing it!

Connect the unit to an Android device and begin transferring files

Price 47.95/$79.99 More information www.stmbags.com

STM Flight shoulder bag

PBK-68 portable charger


Price 9.99 More information www.lmsdata.com

For transporting your tablet around, the Flight bag from STM is a good all-rounder. Theres plenty of space for chargers and extra batteries, and a padded area where any seven or ten-inch tablet will slip nicely in to. While moving the tablet feels secure, it doesnt bounce away like they tend to do in similar bags. The bag itself is adjustable, and the padded shoulder strap can be removed if needs be. Highly useful, and a great little bag.

The PBK-68 is a truly portable charger its lightweight design means youll be able to take it anywhere. The unit itself contains a 3000mAh battery to help give your device some extra juice when you really need it. By connecting the charger to your Android device via the micro USB port, youll find your device fully charged within a few hours. Its small size means youll need to charge it after a couple of phone charges, but that is only a small dent in what is otherwise a stellar product.

Black leather style case for Kindle Fire HD


Price 24.95/$29.95 More information www.proporta.co.uk

This trendy black leather effect case looks and feels great. Its light without the tablet within it, and is still extremely portable with the tablet fitted. On the inside of the case is a soft inlay, with a holder for your tablet to slide in to. The tablet feels secure while in it, and all the ports have been catered for. It even doubles up as a handy stand.

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Issue 23 goes on sale:

21 March

YEAR 2011

APP OF THE

1.6GHz Dual Core CPU 16GB Solid State Storage Super Slim Case IPS Screen

AVAILABLE IN THREE SCREEN SIZES

Jelly Bean 4.1, Dual Core Processor, a micro SD card expansion slot, HDMI out to watch lms or play the latest games on your TV. Theres something for everyone in the TouchPad Collection.

Only at Argos from:

119.99