Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus- The Non-Technical Review

Samsung’s flagship phone is here! The Galaxy S8 Plus packs a punch!

Here is my non-technical quick review

I love the Galaxy S 8 Plus, it looks great, feels great and runs very smoothly –  so far ( I only have it two months!). Coming from a 16 GB Apple iPhone 6 ,I found the abundance of storage (expandable too) … almost overwhelming-  I no longer see warning messages regarding storage capacity being depleted that plagued my iPhone. Apple, why did you make a phone which such a low storage capacity?

That aside, the best part of this phone has to be the screen.

Screen

Samsung has a name for this type of screen, it’s called an infinity screen, and Samsung has really spent a lot of time perfecting this generations display. Yes the screen looks amazing, and as this is a non-technical review, I won’t go into the specs, but this is a display you need to see in person!

There is a curve on the screen (it’s not as pounced as it is in the Galaxy Edge 7 – but it’s there all the same), at times this can be annoying, but mostly –  it just looks really cool!

The Android software on the Galaxy S8 has been adopted by Samsung so if you come across applications that do not support the unusual screen size and unusual curvature, you can have the phone crop the display so you can use the whole lot of this curved display. Or conversely, un-crop the screen if the app looks strange. Yes! It does look a bit odd for some applications and games, mind you, but mostly it works just fine.

On the day you buy this phone make sure you also purchase a decent cover for it! The back of the phone easily accumulates hairline scrapes, and unfortunately, the screen, as beautiful as it is, seems rather delicate and prone to scrapes and scratches. You need to protect the screen, somehow.

I already have a deep scratch on my screen, and a quick internet search seems to indicate –  it’s common enough for this to happen. Yes, I hate covering such a beautiful phone, though – but it needs to be done!

Charging

Wow! Samsung was not lying when they said this phone offers ‘fast charging’ – this phone charges faster than any phone I’ve ever had. Not just a marketing gimmick!

I also bought the fast charging wireless doc this phone supports, it is not as fast charging as connecting it directly, but a small price to pay – I suppose, if you want to use the handy wireless feature.

Features & Software

Samsung’s version of Touch ID, that is, the finger print reader, is in a very unusual location – at the back of the phone right beside the camera lens! What a place to put it. Not a great idea at all and feels a little ‘last minute’, but you know –  you do get used to it.

However, you often end up putting your finger over the camera lens… smudging it for any future photos. There are a number of other ways of unlocking your phone, such as the retina reader, which, when it works is a very handy feature, and of course the face recognition feature.

I will admit, tapping in the PIN works just as well for me!

I had been, up until I bought the Galaxy S 8 Plus, an iPhone user, I had switched back from Samsung, because I found the implementation of touch wiz – that is the Samsung implementation of Android operating system on their phones a massive annoyance, it was slow, glitchy and just a massive pain to use.

Thankfully, those days are behind us, and so far (fingers crossed) the Galaxy S 8 seems to have no problems for me in terms of software smoothness.

I’m happy, I bought this phone overall and Samsung has put a lot of work into this years flagship phone.

Android running slow?

Even the latest android phones, can slow down a point where it impacts  basic usability, here are a few points that can help bring new life to your android device.

uninstall

  • App review – How many installed apps are you actually using? Have a quick slide through the apps screen, more than you thought?  Exactly! Even though you may not be using them, these apps, may be hogging background services, slowing down your device using up valuable memory. Delete them! Even if you purchased them previously but don’t need them now, you can still download them again from the Play store for free when you need them.
  • Space – clearing out the cache and removing old photos and documents will help if your device is running low on space which could cause it to run slow. You can clean the cache by selecting settings > device > Storage > cached data > and the confirm you wish to delete data. Any data an app needs will be re-downloaded when it requires it.

on and off again

  • I hate to say this, but it works. Have you tried turning if off and on again? Seriously, it does help, a reboot can refresh the operation of your android device.
  • Start Fresh – Sometimes the only solution is to reset your device completely back to factory settings, make sure to backup first carefully!

How to install the Amazon app store for android – play store alternative

The Amazon app store for android, is an alternative app store for your android based phone. If you love apps, you could find apps on the amazon app store, that may not be in the Google Play store due to different policies on apps that can be presented to the store.  You can install the app pretty easily enough, but it is not obviously, in the Google Play store.

To begin with you need to change one option in your android settings, the below demo is from a nexus 5 running 4.4, but it should be almost the same on other android based devices.

IMG_20141014_114533

  1. Select the settings option on your device, and from there you need to go to Security. In security you need to check  “Unknown sources” to  allow the installation of the amazon app store, as it is not available in the Google Play store, remember to uncheck this option later on, for security reasons.
  2. From your mobile phone you must now visit this amazon URL, to download the application.  Allow the download to complete before going to step three.
  3. Once the download has completed and you are sure you have completed step one also, swipe down on the top of the screen and run the install file, you need to accept the terms and then you are ready to use the Amazon app store. Simples! Enjoy.

1890 numbers ireland: Avoid calling 1890 and 0818 numbers & save money

Many Irish companies offer 1890 support/contact numbers. These, so called ‘low call numbers’, are often excluded from bundled phone plans on both landline and mobile networks. 1890 numbers may cost from 5 cent to 31c per minute depending on network.

Before you call that number take a look at the website for company you want to dial, if you don’t see a national number listed, instead look for the company’s international number – international? Yes! Simply remove the international prefix and use the national part of the number, which more often than not is cheaper than the low call number if it is excluded from your bundled price plan.

Example: AIB banking number is 0818 724 724 – their international number is 353 1 771 2424. Simply call 01 771 2424 if your inclusive phone plan does not include calling 0818 numbers.

This website has great information on charges and more for 1890 charges in Ireland.

 

4 great Youtube tech channels you should be subscribing to

A little tip, when you browse youtube and find a channel you like – subscribe to it.  Then every time you visit youtube you get a much more refined experience, and if you love your tech like, me you get to stay up to date on the latest.

Below, are some youtube channels you should really be subscribed to, if you take take your technology seriously. Sorry though, most of the embeds below are for the iPhone 6, as at the time of posting this, the iPhone 6 had just come out. Enjoy!

1. The Verge – You won’t miss much in the tech world if you subscribe to their Youtube channel.

2. Marques Brownlee – A youtube success story, and with reason. I really enjoy Marques’s videos, he does not tend to be biased, and is not afraid to correct himself if he had a different experience say with a phone than he anticipated in a previous review.

3. DetroitBORG – Do you enjoy unboxing videos – say no more… – There is of course more to his videos, but we all love a good unboxing video!

4. MobileTechReview  – Lisa takes no prisoners with her thorough reviews.

8 things that could make Android Wear a must, for any fitness enthusiast

One caveat to this post, getting notifications is a nice feature, but who is the audience for these “wear” devices? Well, fitness enthusiastic people would be a pretty big audience i’d say, but so far watches like the LG watch and the Samsung Gear 2 rely completely on a connected mobile device.

Sometimes you need to cut the cord with the phone & make the wearable device worthy of being worn….

I think Android Wear is really missing the target here, but, they may be taking things slow, testing the market’s reaction… Let’s see what Apple has later in the year. I for one won’t be buying one of these until they are more than a notification center on a watch.

In terms of fitness what do these devices need?

  • Heart Rate Monitor – tracking for runners, that monitors heart rate at various times.
  • GPS without the need to bring your phone.
  • Spotify or equivalent apps for music control – without your phone.
  • A handy flash light, light is always useful!
  • Intelligent tracking – The ability to use your average running/walking pace and distance to detect how long an activity will take, taking into account, weather, incline and decline.
  • Training tools – which comes back to a prominent failure in android wear – 3rd party integration.
  • Bar-code reader for easy calorie counting.
  • Long life battery – goes without saying.

Glasses for visually impaired people, offer hope

Smart glasses developed at Oxford University for the registered blind are being trialled in public spaces for the first time.

This is a  story of hope, and for me, one of excitement –  this is when technology goes from being a useful tool, to increasing people’s quality of life, possibly  ten fold. The glasses enhance images of nearby people and objects on to the lenses, providing a much clearer sense of surroundings. The glasses don’t replace lost vision but assist with spatial awareness.

We eventually want to have a product that will look like a regular pair of glasses and cost no more than a few hundred pounds – about the same as a smart phone

Dr Stephen Hicks

via

How do I edit my own picture so it is formatted to the correct size to be used as a wallpaper on my iPhone 4?

The Big Bang Theory
The Big Bang Theory

I got this e-mail from a friend!

How do I edit my own picture so it is formatted to the correct size to be used as a wallpaper  on my iPhone 4?

I wanted to tell him to use Google, but instead I decided to write this quick blog post. Let’s see first what Apple has to say about the iPhone 4 screen to get an overview:

  • Retina display
  • 3.5-inch (diagonal) widescreen Multi-Touch display
  • 960-by-640-pixel resolution at 326 ppi
  • 800:1 contrast ratio (typical)
  • 500 cd/m2 max brightness (typical)

The iPhone 4 and the iPhone 3Gs have completely different pixel resolution. The  iPhone 3GS has a resolution  of 480×320 pixel and iPhone 4 has a pixel resolution of 960×640.  The answer is to  use your favorite software  to crop your image to 640 X 960 and you should get a reasonable enough looking custom wallpaper!

If you are looking for a free editing tool give Gimp  (windows) a try. I edited the above promotion picture for the TV show The Big Bang Theory to the correct size as an example – for the iPhone 4. Try it on your iPhone and let me know what you think!