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GUIDE TO THE NEXUS 4, 7 & 10

100
you must download

ESSENTIAL APPS

2013 HOTLIST New devices,
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Is this the best pocket-sized Android phone around?

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YEAR 2011

APP OF THE

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Welcome To issue 20

«

HOW TO USE THE QR CODES

“ “In Hacking Made Easy we cut through the jargon, explain all the concepts and, most importantly, hold your hand through the steps involved“
MY HOME SCREEN
On (and off) Andy’s phone this month…
f you’ve recently unwrapped a brand new Nexus device – assuming you’ve been able to get your hands on one – then you will definitely want to check out our bumper Nexus guide that kicks off on page 19. We put the most exciting features of Android 4.2 through their paces and also give the in-depth review treatment to the Nexus 4 and Nexus 10. Without giving too much away they’re both really impressive devices, and the simplicity of Vanilla Android makes us wish manufacturers would tone down the often overloaded custom skins on their devices. If you’ve ever wanted to hack your phone and test out some of the cool custom ROMs and other tweaks that we show off every issue, then this month we have the perfect guide for you. In Hacking Made Easy we cut through the jargon, explain all the concepts and, most importantly, hold your hand through the steps involved. The Android hacking community is getting bigger and bigger by the day, and there’s really no better time to dive in. And if you simply want to use your phone or tablet to its full potential then take a look at our 100 essential apps list. It’s our pick of the very best apps in the Play store, covering an enormous array of categories and uses – if you have a favourite that we’ve missed, or if there’s anything else you’d like to see in the mag then please do drop us a line via the contact details just to the left. It’s another packed issue, and there will be many more in the year ahead. Happy New Year to you all!

Welcome
I
Nexus Media Importer Nook

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. You’ll 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 find bargains on all your favourite purchases!

ShopSavvy Free

APPS IN

Pixlr Express

APPS OUT
trivago

This month I’ve been using:

Nexus 4

Eye in the Sky Weather

Low storage apart, this is one of the best examples of an Android phone.

File Expert

scanning 1 GetShopSavvy, hit the Scan a Open
Barcode button and then hold your phone over a QR code so that it appears in the window.

GET IN TOUCH
/littlegreenrobot

Let us know what you’d like to see in next issue…

the link 2 Launch read, the phone will When it has
beep and vibrate, then launch the link. You may need to choose an app to launch it with.

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CONTENTS
»

Contents Inside issue 20

WorldMags.net www.littlegreenrobot.co.uk

15 Special offer for USA readers » 94 Exclusive subscription offer
Previews, news and speculation from the Android world 06 2013 Preview

Launcher

What trends and devices can you expect to see in the months ahead?

NE US
19 The complete guide to the Nexus 4, 7 & 10 plus Android 4.2

MASTER YOUR

10 Million Sellers

We chat to the team behind WeatherBug to discover what makes a hit app

12 10 things you need to know about getting fit
Keep up with those New Year’s Resolutions with a little help from your Android phone

06 2013 Hotlist
New devices, trends… and Key Lime Pie

64 100 essential apps
Fill up your device today with these must-have apps

14 Gallery of movie apps 16 Messages

Great-looking movie and TV apps you should try out Sound off about anything and everything to do with Android and Android Magazine

4

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Hacker Zøne Explore the limits of
your Android phone
26 Nexus 4
26 Reviews

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54 Hacking tips
Explore the full potential of your Android phone

Contents Inside issue 20

«

56 Hacking made easy

The most accessible guide to hacking an Android phone ever written!

Cutting-edge tablets and smartphones on test
26 Nexus 4 30 Nexus 10 82 Samsung Galaxy S III Mini 84 LG Optimus Vu 86 Acer Gallant Duo 89 Prestigio MultiPad 9.7 ULTRA

Reviews T utorials
32 Search your local area 36 Tutorials

Your complete guide to Google Play
64 100 essential apps 79 Office suites

Apps

Essential guides to getting more from your phone or tablet
The best local apps for discovering what’s happening around you 36 Unleash the power of Xbox SmartGlass 38 The new eBay app 39 Dealing with duplicate contacts 40 Make free phone calls with the new Skype app 42 How to force close apps 43 Slices for Twitter 44 Getting to grips with Google Earth

The ultimate guide to the best of the Play store Get to work with either of these office apps

Full in-depth test of the new Nexus from Google and LG

80 Game reviews

The latest games for phones and tablets reviewed

90 Accessories

App review index
73 81 75 74 80 80 81 81 76 75 81 75 75 81 73 72 76 76 79 81 73 77 73 74 81 79 81 75 81 75 74 18 Months 100 Escapers aCurrency andLyrics Angry Birds Star Wars Army of Darkness: Defense Clear Vision Contract Killer 2 Control panel for Android ConvertPad - Unit Converter Curiosity Exchange Rates Flash It! Fluid Football Glorious Flavour Map iJust InstaMessage iZettle Kingsoft Office Miniclip Android Mobento My EE Newspy Notif Pro Pixel Twist Smart Office 2 Survivalcraft Talking Currency Converter Teeter 3D XE Currency ZPlayer

Power up your phone or tablet with this collection of goodies

The best tablet money can buy? Read our definitive verdict

Nexus 10

30

46 Droid Support

Readers’ questions answered, plus troubleshooting tips and tricks

52 Android challenge

Buy and sell antiques: Get ready for the Antiques Roadshow with the best apps for buying and selling

36 Discover Xbox SmartGlass
Start using this fantastic second screen app for the Xbox 360

56 Hacking made easy

Start hacking your phone today!

Check our website daily for even more news

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All the latest from the world of Android devices

2013
THE YEAR AHEAD FOR ANDROID
2013 will be the year of NFC and Key Lime Pie. We see what else is in store.

Hotlist 2013
Coming this year…
• Key Lime Pie takes Android to a new level • NFC finally goes mainstream • Full HD displays become standard • Processors hit the 2GHz mark • Ecosystems become more important than hardware • Tablets and laptops start to merge

A
6

ndroid has had an interesting year. With the release of Jelly Bean, the most advanced OS seen yet on the platform, the Nexus 7 tablet, Google Now and the PDK – a sort of SDK for hardware manufacturers that should see faster OS upgrades in the future. There’s been some niggles too, of course. The multitude of Android platforms and their confusing proliferation of various Android OS versions, the increasing concern of piracy and malware and the heating up of the competition.

What will be the main issues and trends we can expect to see in the year ahead?

Hardware
There are few surprises on the horizon on the hardware front. The specs race will continue and will see a series of evolutionary, yet no less desirable, developments. Displays will bump up from the 720p we see in 2012’s flagships to full 1080p HD with insanely impressive pixel densities. We’ll see the

Expect the spec wars to show no signs of letting up

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Catch up with the latest Android news and gossip

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Follow us on Twitter for the latest updates

“There will be a billion Android devices in use by the end of the year”
arrival of processors such as the Tegra 4 and the Samsung Exynos 5250 based on the ARM A15 architecture. This is as much as 40 per cent faster than existing equivalent processors, while it’s a safe bet that it won’t be too long into the year before a manufacturer claims bragging rights on the first 2GHz phone. 2GB of RAM will become the standard, enabling speedier performance and smoother multitasking. And, of course, 4G options will become more prevalent (even if 4G coverage in the UK will continue to be patchy enough for it to remain irrelevant to millions of us). Sadly we can’t put too much hope in new innovations in the shape of form factors. The big screen slab will be with us for a while longer yet, a few bright colours being the only thing that will save us from another 12 months of black rectangles. Android in March, and in the face of strong competition from Nokia and Windows Phone, we’d expect to see the mapping features in Google Maps go fully offline some time in the year too. But the big focus must be on tablets. If there’s one thing the Nexus 10 showed us this month it is that the Android tablet app scene is as sparse as it always was.

Industry eye: What the networks say

Vittorio Colao

Chief executive of Vodafone Group
According to Vittorio Colao, chief executive of the Vodafone Group, next year is all about content. “Where we have offered deals jointly with print publishers or TV publishers, we have seen usage going up – Android phone usage has gone up 25 per cent and tablet usage has risen by 50 per cent. People want content,” Colao said. But there is more. Colao points to two important factors: “One, which everyone expects, is higher speed. There will be more video – much more video – with plenty of content integration. The other one, which is very important, is mobile money transfers.” Colao refers to NFC or Near Field Communication, which allows your phone to be used as a sort of credit card. “We announced an initiative with ICICI which is the second largest bank in India and we have a joint venture here in the UK. It is obvious to my mind that transferring money between mobile phones is the most intuitive and normal thing to do. If you think about it, your phone is the one item which is most accessible to you. Even your credit card is less available – it’s in your back pocket which is inside your wallet. It’s hidden. With this sort of technology we improve everybody’s life.”

Software
Android will pass a few landmarks in 2013. Google chairman Eric Schmidt has predicted that there will be a billion Android devices in use by the end of the year. At some point before that, analysts suggest that Android will surpass the iPad in tablet market share. And some time in the first part of the year the Play store will see its millionth app being added. With hardware becoming increasingly homogenous it is up to apps more than ever to provide smartphones and tablets with their power. One of the last big names still absent from the mobile industry, Microsoft Office, is expected to make its debut on

The Droid DNA from HTC is among the first devices to pack a 1080p display

“There will be more video – much more video”

Industry eye: What the manufacturers say
According to Samsung’s digital imaging sales and marketing vice president SH Lim, there are two big happenings to look forward to next year – and one has nothing to do with phones or tablets, it’s all about smart cameras, running on Android. “Android is the most popular operating system at the moment,” Lim said. “Our plan is to evolve this smart camera concept.” Utilising a 16-megapixel engine and 3G/4G connectivity for premium models, they will also include a large control screen, gesture controls and voice commands. The second product to be aware of is the flexible, bendable, display. The company is currently sampling the displays with a few customers. “The key reason for Samsung to use plastic rather than conventional glass is to produce displays that aren’t breakable,” said Lee Chang-hoon, vice president of Samsung’s display unit. “The technology could also help lower manufacturing costs and help differentiate products.” Samsung’s flexible displays will incorporate OLEDs, a display technology that the South Korean company is already using in its smartphones and television sets. By using plastic rather than glass, they make the displays more durable and light. We’re sure you’ll agree, it’s an exciting time to be part of the Android ecosystem.

Lee Chang-hoon
Vice president of Samsung’s display unit

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Industry eye: What the developers say

Calendar 2013 Key dates for your diary
The annual CES tech fair in Las Vegas will see launches from many key mobile players, from processors to new devices, as well as a glimpse of the tech we’ll be seeing in years to come. Expect phones, tablets, cameras and other Android powered devices.

JAN

Nigel Coward

App developer for the TMTI Group
Nigel Coward, app developer for the TMTI Group was adamant: “The rise of NFC will present new opportunities. For people looking for new payment methods, NFC could introduce interesting opportunities that will reflect on the type of work that we get. It may help in how people pick up apps rather than having to go to the app store all of the time.” As for trends? “Windows developments will be interesting. I was talking to a colleague who, for years, has been 100 per cent Android but he was raving about his new Windows tablet. He was saying how fast and smooth it is while running on standard hardware. Google needs to keep an eye on this. In fact, Google has to influence change on the platform, especially as Apple has now released its mini. The game is changing.” Future challenges include the large amount of diverse devices out there: “We know of one thousand. Supporting those, as a developer, is a nightmare. Android is very difficult to work with when you are trying to address all the different screen resolutions.” From a developer’s viewpoint, therefore, there is plenty for Google to work on in 2013.

Mobile World Congress kicks off in Barcelona. The world’s largest mobile technology event is expected to see major launches from the likes of HTC, Sony, Asus and LG. Chances are your next phone will be among them.

FEB

To be confirmed, but the annual Google I/O event could hit in May, and is expected to bring with it our first view of Android 5.0. A major hardware announcement is likely to come with it – last year’s was the Nexus 7.

MAY

The latest rumours peg the Samsung Galaxy S IV launch down for April, with a likely on-sale date of May. It will, of course, be at the revolutionary edge of hardware, but what other tricks will Samsung have up its sleeve?

APR

The IFA event in Berlin is the start of the autumn launch season where manufacturers firm up their plans for the rest of the year. Samsung is traditionally a big player, unveiling the Note II and Galaxy Camera at the corresponding 2012 event.

AUG

The autumn launches kick off in earnest, with all the main players updating their lines in time for the Christmas season. Usually the date for a new Nexus (coinciding with a chance to see what the rest of the industry is doing, with a new iPhone and Windows Phones all joining in the fun).
Tablet apps are essential for the coming year

SEPT-OCT

The big players
Over the last year Android has started to resemble a one-horse race. Barely a month has gone by without Samsung announcing some new sales milestone, while all the rest have had to unveil is set after set of miserable finances. At this point it is hard to see how things can be turned around. Samsung is like a juggernaut with a brace of fantastic products that sell well and create anticipation for their follow ups. Momentum is so important in the mobile industry – the mass market

shopper tends to buy the devices that their friends and family have, and if your products are in favour then you can grow very big, very quickly. But as companies like Nokia and RIM show, once that momentum is lost it can be almost impossible to turn things around. Sony has recently shifted into second place in the UK ahead of HTC, but still lacks any device with the presence of something like the Galaxy S III. With a more streamlined range focusing on fewer higher quality devices, the company’s strengths in

display technology and its recent stellar work in the imaging sector, as well as the goodwill it has built up with users for delivering the most comprehensive range of updates of any manufacturer, could see it grow in the year ahead. Sony is arguably the most equipped of all Android manufacturers to take on Samsung. HTC on the other hand continues to flounder. It did well to introduce a more focused range in 2012, but the great reception given to the One range did not translate into sales.

8

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Get in touch!

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Send us your thoughts on all things Android

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Key Lime Pie

Looking ahead to Android 5

Credit: Manu Cornet www.bonkersworld.net

2013 will see the launch of Key Lime Pie, the next version of Android. If, as expected, it is Android 5, then it will be a major release and could present some radical changes. What exactly will make up Key Lime Pie? Here’s five things we’d like to see Google tackle in the next update.

1. Increased automation
As much as we love our Android devices we’d rather take a more hands-off approach to them. With so much processing power available to them, it seems silly that we’re still having to touch, press and swipe to get them to do what we want, when so much of it could happen automatically. At the very least we should be able to set the phone to stop syncing data between midnight and 7am, or better still our phones would learn that we never check our emails at three in morning. And that’s only the start of it.

nagging feeling that it’s more complicated than it needs to be. The app drawer worked in the early days because it was a metaphor – it was literally a drawer that slid open and closed on top of the home screens. Now it’s just another screen, housing many of the same icons that are also on your home screen. Do we really need so many duplicate icons? Maybe it’s time to consolidate the home screen, app drawer and perhaps even notifications and settings into a single location.

4. Enforce minimum requirements
Even accounting for Android’s well known fragmentation issues it beggars belief that devices running Gingerbread were still being launched half-way through 2012. Google maintains a lengthy list of requirements that determine whether a device is compatible with Android and thus able to have access to the Play store and Google apps. It’s time for Google to be even stricter, for older versions of the OS to be killed off a lot quicker – once a new version of Android is available that should become the requirement for all new devices that want the Play store on board.

3. Better battery life
The next generation of CPUs will be more power efficient than the last, but because manufacturers are so obsessed with specs they will always choose to use that efficiency to increase processor speed rather than lengthen the battery life. Screens aren’t going to get any smaller, and 4G is a notorious battery hog as well. Quite how much Android can do in the face of all this we don’t know, but a quick glance at the battery performance stats on any device shows there’s still plenty of room for further optimisation.

5. Tidy things up

2. Rethink the home screens
For all the tidying up of the Android UI that we’ve seen since Ice Cream Sandwich, there’s still that

Using Android on a daily basis reveals countless tiny details that don’t amount to much on their own but together contribute to the feeling that the OS is not as polished as it could be. The back button, for example, is supposed to take you back to the last screen you saw, but can sometimes take you somewhere else entirely. We also want to see battery life as a percentage figure.

Better marketing of its devices would be a good place to start, but it also wouldn’t be a surprise to see the company ramping up its efforts on other platforms as well. But the reality is that the Galaxy S IV is already positioned as the most wanted Android device of 2013, several months before its release. The latest rumours are suggesting a five-inch, 1080p display, 2GHz processor with 2GB of RAM and massive 13-megapixel camera. With the S III believed to be outselling even the iPhone 5 in the UK, the follow up looks set to be bigger than ever, in all senses of the word. Next year is going to be a challenging one for Android. The competition is hotting up. With Steve Jobs no longer in control, it seems that Apple has taken a more mass market approach to business (Jobs would never have allowed the release of the iPad mini, for example) while Microsoft is currently fighting for its life, putting everything it has into its new Windows operating system. Couple that with new software and hardware technologies to exploit and you’ve got yourself one busy year – and we will be there to guide you through it, every step of the way.

Industry eye: What the retailers say
It was no surprise that Andrew Harrison, chief executive of Carphone Warehouse, looked at 2013 as a means to sell even more Android Andrew Harrison devices. He agreed Chief executive of Carphone warehouse with the NFC model and declared that the upcoming year was all about getting phones quicker and more easily into the hands of people who wanted them. “Customers want things simpler, faster and cheaper,” he said. “If you can crack those three things, you will have a winning business model.” Hence, making sure that retailers are selling in the way that customers want to buy – through any channel at any time. That means, “making sure you have online first as a real philosophy in the business.” Harrison believes that many business leaders don’t understand the multichannel model of business. If they did, even more Android phones and devices would be sold. “There needs to be a real dawn of enlightenment that this isn’t about how you do multichannel,” he said. “It has to be about the way you run your business. It has to be something that starts at the board.” Harrison referred to his company’s Mobile Checkout app, the Carphone Warehouse system where users can buy an item from a store simply by scanning a QR code or entering a numerical code.

“Crack those three things, you will have a winning business model”
9

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Catch up with the latest Android news and gossip
@lgrobot

»twitter
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WeatherBug
W
What makes WeatherBug a hit?

The inside story on Android’s most popular apps
Q&A with WeatherBug’s chief marketing officer, Amena Ali

Millionsellers

VITAL STATS
Price: FREE

WEATHERBUG

Launched: Nov 2008 Installs: 10m - 50m Play store rating:

ith our weather system changing by the day, having apps like WeatherBug around is extremely reassuring. WeatherBug is a great example of how implementing comprehensive software with simple design can make a popular app. The various features help to provide a full weather analysis app, offering users the chance to see a full forecast, latest weather alerts, radar warning and the current conditions in their specific area. One of the best things about using WeatherBug is that the development team behind the app are always looking for ways to improve their software, and with the recent devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy, WeatherBug were first on the scene to offer up-to-the-minute storm warnings and forecasts for anyone nearby.

WeatherBug automatically locks on to your location using your phone’s GPS to provide accurate weather information for your area

Where are you?

Why do you feel people choose WeatherBug over one of the other weather-based apps available on the Play store? Millions of people choose WeatherBug over other weather apps because of our vastly superior weather data, accuracy and alerting capabilities. They recognise our current conditions and forecasts are spot-on and that our weather alerts are fast and targeted. Plus, people recognise and trust WeatherBug. Mobile users know they can turn to WeatherBug for detailed and accurate weather information. We operate the world’s largest network for delivering real-time weather data and currently provide forecasts for 60,000 cities. Our network includes 10,000 street-level, professional-grade sensors available only to WeatherBug users, and we partner with meteorological agencies all over the world to provide weather data from their sensors as well. What are your plans for WeatherBug in the future? We are passionate about keeping people safe from severe weather. In this day and age, everyone should know when dangerous weather is heading in their direction. Our severe weather alerts are helping to provide advanced warning, and are becoming even better as we continually fine-tune our technology. Weather is a leading mobile category and will always be top-of-mind. Almost everyone wants more weather data. To meet this demand, we are continuously adding more stations to our network in places where people live and work. We’re also seeking out new ways to utilise our data to keep mobile users safer from extreme weather. What are your three personal favourite features in WeatherBug? 1. When I’m travelling, I personally like WeatherBug’s My Location feature that automatically updates my weather information to the closest weather station using the GPS on my phone. 2. Another great feature is our Pin-Point Map Conditions that make it fast and easy to get the weather for the locations you choose. When you press and hold anywhere on the map, you can drop a virtual pin to view current conditions and add locations to your favourites list. 3. With my busy schedule, I use WeatherBug to get very detailed current conditions with just a couple of clicks. I also love being able to check the weather in my favourite cities around the world and at my kids’ school.

Alerts

If any severe weather warnings are alerted in your area, WeatherBug will give you all the information you need as soon as it has been available

Lifestyle forecasts

The extended forecast provides users with a comprehensive guide of what to expect weather-wise in their local area. Each day can be expanded on, allowing you to see when to expect that oncoming storm

The days ahead

The journal tab located at the bottom of the app will give you lifestyle-based forecasts. For example, there’s a forecast letting you know whether you’ll be able to play golf that day, as well as one that will alert you to pollen counts in your area

A brief history of…

Amazing names
10

You can keep your HTC One X or your Nexus 4, with their classy, understated monikers. We much prefer the wackier names the industry has appended to Android devices over the years. Sometimes more akin to a specs list, other times simply odd, here is our tribute to the most amazing names in Android… so far.

HTC ChaCha
Where did it all go wrong for HTC? Names like ChaCha didn’t help. We actually quite liked the phone, but always suspected it wasn’t aimed at us…

Verizon Motorola Droid Xyboard 8.2
Motorola has a long and shameful history of making up words, and Xyboard is just about the worst of the lot.

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CROWD SOURCE Opinion from the
Twittersphere
@lgrobot Android lovers – we need suggestions for apps you simply can’t live without! What app do you use more than most, and why?
@dpcalister Tapatalk – I run a website with a large forum and it’s invaluable for keeping on top of everything. @jdpjamesp Other than Gmail App, I use BBC News App most – it’s really easy to keep up to date with news. Particularly as can read offline.

The race for 7” supremacy W
The battle for the 7” tablet market is hotting up. How do the contenders stand?
ith phones getting bigger and bigger, their tablet counterparts are seemingly going in the opposite direction. The Nexus 7 started off a whole new wave of seven-inch tablets arriving on the market, by offering great hardware partnered with a great price. Both Amazon and Barnes & Noble have looked to

get their fair share of users wanting a seven-inch tab with the launch of their respective Fire HD and Nook tablets. Even the iconic iPad now has a mini sibling to attract its most dedicated fans. But with so much similarity between the devices, it’s their ecosystems which really help understand where the big differences are.

“The Nexus 7 started off a whole new wave”
How many apps?
Which platform boasts more apps… Kindle Fire HD: Nook HD:

10,000
Barnes & Noble

51,000

275,000
Apple App Store

iPad mini:

Nexus 7:

600,000
Google Play Store

Amazon Store

@madaboutandroid i use @waze and @copilotlive for navigation with chaton messaging, Google+ and tweetcaster along with plume are also my favourite @edwardsj1978 ubersocial – it’s how twitter should be done. @dsabinojr MX Player to watch videos, Perfect Viewer to read cbr comic files, Evernote, XE Currency to track forex rates, Kingsoft Office. @CammyMacd68 as a bit of a film buff and someone constantly checking who starred in what, it has to be the imdb app. #invaluable @matthew_weir my sky+ app! So handy when you’re out and about and forgot to record something! @Doughnut01 I use Elecont weather app, it gives updates on the weather throughout the day. Best weather app by a long way. @ScuMfuC #FalconPro, best twitter client hands down. @yorkshire_chris Tweetcaster, tapatalk and G+ which enable me to keep up with world events.

Percentage of paid apps in corresponding Total number of songs available to download app stores iPad mini
iPad mini: Kindle Fire HD:

37%
Nook HD:

62%
Nexus 7:

26 million
Kindle Fire HD

iTunes

32%

66%

Amazon MP3 Store

How many songs can you fit in the cloud?

20 million
Nook HD

Nexus 7

Google Music

15 million

Google Music Amazon

250,000
(£24.99 per year)

Nook None*
*no cloud storage included

Books available to download

Samsung Galaxy S II Epic 4G Touch
Some might say having seven words in your name is excessive, but not US network Sprint, which rebranded the SGS II with aplomb.

Ainol Novo 7 Swordman
We aren’t familiar with this budget ICS tablet from China, but the idea of owning something called Swordman is rather appealing.

Casio G’zOne Commando
Random apostrophes and capital letters mean we don’t even know how to pronounce the name of Casio’s military-grade rugged phone.

2.5 million

1.8 million 1.6 mill ion

1.7 million

20,000

iTunes 25,000

None (Partnerships with Grooveshark & Pandora only)
Key iPad mini Kindle Fire HD Nexus 7 Nook HD

twitter
Follow us @lgrobot to join in the conversation

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2Prepare for the apocalypse 1The benefits of Google Now
You can use Google Now to help. For one, you can search for gyms in your local area, as well as using it to find a running club. It’s an invaluable search tool!

A novel twist on an exercise app is Zombies, Run! (£5.49/$7.99, Google Play store). This puts you in a post-apocalyptic land where zombies are everywhere, and it’s up to you to build and maintain a shelter. As you run, you’ll be given instructions about how long you need to run for before you’re safe. Sound like your type of thing? It’s a lot of fun! We promise.

3Watch what you eat
Where a lot of people fall down with regards to keeping fit, is their food intake. With apps like Calorie Counter you can enter everything you eat, and see how many calories you total. You can also plan a whole week’s worth of meals.

10Get the best
tracker
One of the best things about the Google Play store is the wide range of tracking apps on it. Endomondo is one of our favourites, and a great example of a tracking app that will lock on to your device’s GPS, and then track your every movement, allowing you to plan your running routes.

Google 4Using to help Maps

Use Google Maps to help plan running routes in your area. You can also use the Terrain layer to see what the ground is like where you will be running. Tap the Layers icon to find it.

5Find the motivation 9Set your goals
Make sure you set yourself some achievable goals as you begin to exercise more regularly. Use the MyNetDiary app to keep tabs on your progress, and what you want to achieve by the end of the year.

getting fit with Android
7Take up a sport
Team sports are an easy way of getting fit without too much hard work. Get inspiration with the new adizero f50 app from the Play Store, an app dedicated to the new Adidas football boot as worn by Barcelona legend Lionel Messi.

things you need to know about…

Let’s face it, nobody wants to go the gym on a Monday morning, and we all need that little boost. Exercise Motivation Hypnosis is an intriguing app that uses audio hypnotherapy to help get you in the right frame of mind. If all else fails and you can’t get motivated, use your phone to find the number of a personal trainer who can give you the kick you need!

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It’s all good going out for a run, but you’ll definitely feel the after effects. Check out some of the stretching apps on the Play store to help keep your muscles in tip-top condition.

Learn to stretch

6Marathon training

If you’re planning to get serious about your fitness, why not train for a marathon? You’ll find a plethora of training apps, but you can also find marathon planning apps which will tell you when and where the next marathon is being held.

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Letter of the

month

The writer of our Letter of the Month wins a Samsung 32GB micro SD card worth £59.99. The Class 10 card is shock, water and dust proof. For more information visit www.samsung.com/ memorycard

No more upgrades!
I really wish the Android industry would take a couple of months off every now and again. No sooner has something amazing come out than something else even more amazing is here, and it can be pretty hard to resist! I’ve had the Galaxy S III since it came out. That’s only about six months, yet I’m already looking at the Nexus 4 – an absolute steal at the price it is going for on the Play store – and seriously contemplating an upgrade. Indeed, it was only Google’s ability to actually run a hardware store with any level of competence that stopped me from getting one on launch day. I don’t need a Nexus 4. I’m perfectly happy with the phone I’ve got, but still. As I write they’ve been out of stock for two weeks, and I’m hoping that by the time they’re available again I’ll be well over it. Am I alone in experiencing such levels of gadget addiction? I really do think the industry should do us all a favour and launch all their devices together. Maybe two windows a year where we can make our choices and then enjoy what we’ve got. Please… Simon Franklin We say: We’re with you on the gadget addiction, Simon, although we can’t agree about the launch windows – this never-ending cycle keeps some of us in work, you know. To satiate your thirst for new things have our Letter of the Month prize – and don’t worry, you couldn’t use it in a Nexus 4 anyway. content to a TV from a Nexus 7, although there are a number of perfectly workable solutions for watching side-loaded content instead. As for the Nexus Q, well, we suspect you’ll be waiting a very long time for that! considering a move to the new Note II for the foreseeable future, unless of course, the proposed updates to the original Galaxy Note don’t actually come to fruition. I originally went for the original Note because of its large screen. Using satnav is one of my main uses for the Note, and its large screen, which is easily visible even in bright light, makes this phone superb for such things as navigation, while housed in its official Samsung Galaxy Note car dock. Other main uses for it are video, mainly YouTube from links in Twitter feeds, note taking, of which I find the handwriting recognition really useful, Twitter and Google+. All these uses mean the large screen makes for a

TRENDING
Let us know your thoughts on these hot topics • Did you buy one of the new Nexus devices? • What do you hope to see from Android in the coming year? • How important to you is 4G? • How many apps have you paid for? Get in touch! qa@littlegreenrobot.co.uk

Streaming Play Movies
I have a Nexus 7 with a DODOcase (best case made for the Nexus 7 and would recommend highly) and I’m trying to find a way of playing my Nexus content to my TV. I mainly want to use it for Google Play Movies on my TV. I have seen ways of using my PS3 but because the movies are protected, all the ways I have tried have failed. Is there a way to use Google TV or another device I can buy to do this. Do you think I will be able to stream these movies on TV now or do I have to wait for the Nexus Q, which still doesn’t have a release date? Ashley Storer-Smith We say: We haven’t come across any way of streaming Play Movies

Note II a worthy upgrade
I have just read your review of the Samsung Galaxy Note II, in your latest issue of the magazine. As an owner and user of the original Note, I was interested to see what your thoughts were, in regard to the improvements over the original Note. From what I can see from your review, and news on the upcoming update for the original Note, there seems little need for me to be

16

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so much more pleasurable experience. Although I also use a Samsung Galaxy S III on a day-to-day basis, I find I use the Note a lot more during the day, simply because of the size of the screen. I don’t have large hands, but never really find the size of the device an issue, mainly due to the one-handed feature in the settings. Overall I would not do without my Note, as it provides all I need from an Android phone, like my S III, but in a bigger, easier-to-see device. I will add that the higher power of the new Note would be an advantage, because even without the new update, I do feel at times that the Note is maybe a little underpowered and worry that it may suffer after the addition of some of the new Notes features. This alone, may make me move up to the new Note once my upgrade is due in a few months. Mr S Postlethwaite

We say: Although the features on the latest version of the Note were fairly minimal, the device does feel like a more polished version, really exploiting the potential shown by the original model. It has been very popular as well, ploughing through the five million sales mark in just its first two months.

Can’t fathom File Explorer
I am in Canada and have just bought the Nexus 7. I am trying to turn the tablet into a tablet as you have suggested in your article in issue 16, Hackers toolkit. I have downloaded the ES File Explorer. Have gone to Settings and Path Settings. Right off the bat in the first screen there is not an Up To Root tab to tick. That particular Up to Root is not there. Is this a particular thing with the North American Nexus 7? Hope you can help. Harry Paterson We say: As you have no doubt noticed, Harry, the recent Android 4.1.2 update brought screen rotation to the home screen on the brilliant Nexus 7 tablet. Therefore you might not need to take the hacking route any more, if that was the main feature you were interested in acquiring. In response to your question, we suspect the likely issue is that your device is not rooted – the advanced options in ES File Explorer are locked and inaccessible by default. Only on a rooted device will you be able to use these extra features. Take a look at our Hacking Made Easy feature in this issue for more on rooting your Nexus 7. Hope that helps!

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Android Magazine is available for licensing. Contact the International department to discuss partnership opportunities. Head of International Licensing Cathy Blackman ☎ +44 (0) 1202 586401 licensing@imagine-publishing.co.uk

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Rooting the Walkman
I’m new to the Android experience and currently using SE Live with Walkman running ICS. I was waiting for Jelly Bean but Sony won’t be releasing any for Live with Walkman. I guess I need to root my phone, install a custom ROM. What do you think? Do you have links on how to unlock the bootloader, backup files, and step-by-step guide on how to install CM10? I really have no idea or experience on how to do this kind of stuff! Bino Valencia We say: You’re in luck! Our hacking feature this month explains everything you need to know to get started with rooting and installing custom ROMs. With a Sony device you do just need to add an extra step of unlocking the bootloader first. You can do this fairly safely via the Sony website itself. Head over to unlockbootloader. sonymobile.com for more info.

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Disclaimer

“The Samsung Galaxy Note II does feel like a more polished version”

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.
© Imagine Publishing Ltd 2012 ISSN 2047-1580

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We put Android 4.2 to the test and show you how to extract every ounce of magic from your new Nexus devices

MASTER YOUR

Master your Nexus «

Feature

T

he Nexus 4, Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 represent the pinnacle of Android devices. Designed by Google, the products epitomise everything that the company feels an Android device should be. As a result they also come fully loaded with the latest and greatest version of the OS, and will continue to do so for some time to come – last year’s Galaxy Nexus is to date the only other device that has been updated to Android 4.2. Over the next 12 pages we will guide you through everything you need to know about the Nexus range and the latest version of the Android OS. We’ll test out some of the best new features in 4.2, including Google’s

amazing new cloud music streaming service and an innovative way to take your photography to the next level, producing the kind of images that leave Instagram looking even more old fashioned than the kind of effects it tries to replicate. With full in-depth reviews of the latest phone and tablet as well, you will soon be able to consider your Nexus well and truly mastered.

“The products epitomise everything an Android device should be” Meet the Nexus family
Nexus 4
• Available in 8GB or 16GB versions • Eight-megapixel camera on board • Fast quad-core CPU with 2GB of RAM
Read th review e p26 !

Nexus 7
• Available with 16GB or 32GB • New 3G version now available • Packs a quad-core CPU and 1GB RAM

Nexus 10
• Available in 16GB and 32GB versions • Has a higher res screen than iPad • Comes with dual-core CPU and 1GB RAM

Read th review e p30 !

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»Master your Nexus

Feature

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Edit photos in the Gallery app
Completely revamp your photos with the new editing suite included in the Android 4.2 Gallery app

1. FRAMES AND BORDERS
The selection of frames and borders you can apply to your photos is pretty vast. Many of them are pretty unassuming, meaning you won't really notice them on your pictures, but there are some clear ones you can use if you wish to.
EXPERT TIP: Make sure not to use a border alongside the crop and rotate feature as it’ll cut off the corners of the border.

2. BLACK AND WHITE FILTER
This filter is one of the key features in the Gallery app, and compared to similar apps, you’ll find this filter to be highly customisable. Use the blue bar to pinpoint the exact levels you want on the photo you’re currently editing.
EXPERT TIP: Alongside the black and white filter, adjust the contrast level of the picture to create a really striking image.

Lighting and effects
Applying effects to your photos has become the norm for many a smartphone user, with apps like Pixlr-o-Matic and Instagram offering a wide range of filters to stylise your photos. The new Gallery app in Android 4.2 follows the same pattern, packing a wide range of fun effects to add to any photo you take. The Vintage effect applies a proper old-school look to your photos, while Bleach neutralises the colours in the image. Other filters include Blue, Latte, Litho and X Process, but the best way to describe them is for you to check them out yourself!

3. CROP AND ROTATE
One of the simplest edits you can apply to your photos is the crop and rotate function. Rotate lets you turn your photos completely on their head, while crop lets you use a grid to pinpoint the exact crop you want to apply to your image.
EXPERT TIP: Move the cropping grid around the image to make sure you select the correct part of the photo you want.

4. APPLY THE BASICS
Photo editing doesn’t need to be full of sparkly effects to be effective, and the Gallery app caters for people who just want to use the basics. There’s an exposure menu, contrast settings, and even a helpful Autocolour menu.
EXPERT TIP: Also in this menu is the Curves settings. Use this to highlight and remove the colour in parts of your image.

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Master your Nexus «

Feature

Notifications and quick settings
Google has developed an intriguing and useful notification system that doubles up as a secondary menu for you to access some of your most important settings
Accounts
In the top-left of this menu lies the User Account menu. This is the place to go if you want to edit any information regarding the account currently logged in to the device, or if you want to switch accounts

On a Nexus 7 the Notifications pane opens by swiping down from the left of the screen; the settings from the right. On a phone the settings are accessed via an on-screen button

Notifications

Toggles

Some of the settings you can change here include the Wi-Fi network you’re connected to, as well as a useful Bluetooth toggle. The Settings button will take you to the rest of your settings

The quick settings pane is on the right-hand side on a Nexus 7. It might take you a while to retrain your fingers to swipe in the right place to make sure you open the pane you want

Settings

Swipe to clear

To remove your notifications from this menu, you’ll find the familiar dash symbol in the corner of the menu. Press this to get rid of the removable notifications that are currently being displayed. The alternate way to remove notifications is to simply swipe them to the left or right

You can adjust the size of this menu by grabbing the bottom of it and moving it up or down. This is a great way of hiding some of your notifications or allowing you to see behind the menu

Size

Multi-user profiles explained
What are Multi-user profiles? These enable you to set up a profile for each user on your tablet (but not phone), so you can keep your emails and other data separate from each other. Will I need to download my own apps and wallpapers for each account? Each account you create will indeed need to download their very own set of apps and wallpapers from the Play store. Creating a new profile will provide a blank canvas for that user, where they’ll be able to customise it to however they want. I’ve limited storage space left on my device, will creating a second user affect that? Although creating a new profile won’t take up a considerable amount of space, you’ll be required to download any apps you’ve previously downloaded a second time to your new account, which can unfortunately quickly use up the remaining internal storage on your device. Is it possible to remove a user account? Any secondary account you create through this new feature can be fully edited and removed by the Admin profile in the User Account section in your phone’s settings menu.

How to add a new user to your tablet Add multiple users to your Nexus 7 or Nexus 10 tablet by following these three simple steps
» Settings
Open up the Settings app and scroll down until you find the Users tab. Open this and select the Add new user option in the top-right of the screen that appears.

» Welcome!
Follow the setup wizard which will guide the new user through the various parts of creating a new Google account. Once complete, you’ll see a quick guide.

» Log in
Once complete, you’ll now have a new account on your tablet. You can now switch between accounts by going to the Users menu, or via your lock screen.

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Photo Sphere
Taking panorama photos to the next level, Photo Sphere lets you take stunning high-res images
companies are fitting their latest devices with some pretty impressive cameras. Android 4.2 brings with it probably the biggest addition to how users will interact with their phone cameras by releasing Photo Sphere. This feature takes Taking pictures on phones has become big news from the smartphone industry, and none more so that the Android ecosystem. The magnitude of camera-editing apps on the Play store has certainly increased in the past year, and more panoramic mode to the next level, allowing you to potentially create a 360 degree photo of your surroundings, by slowly moving your camera in various directions, and then letting the camera put the pieces of your image together.

Master the art of Photo Sphere A quick guide to one of Android 4.2’s best features
» Open the app
Open up the Camera app and press on the camera symbol located in the bottom-left. Select the symbol above the panoramic mode icon to open Photo Sphere.

» Step two
Align your phone in the centre. Slowly move your phone in various directions, making sure to capture different pieces by moving the centre of your screen into the little blue circles.

» Step three
Once you’ve added all the various pieces, press the button on the right of the app. Your photo will now begin to render and will be made available to use from within the Gallery app.

Photo Sphere vs Panorama app 360 Does Photo Sphere beat the best panoramic app on the Play store?
Photo Sphere EASE OF USE
As you begin to scan, small blue dots will appear which you’ll need to align your camera to. It’s a simple and easy way to get it right. As long as you’ve a fairly steady hand, then you’ll find the image quality to be second to none. The app does a great job of rendering. All your images are saved within the Gallery app, allowing you to send and share them via several apps and services. Scanning is really easy, and the app also does a good job of providing you with instructions if it needs to recapture certain bits. From the outset you can select the level of quality you want to set your images at, but the finer details are a bit lacking at times. Every time you save an image using the app, you’ll then be given the opportunity to upload it to your Facebook or Twitter account.

Panorama app: 360

IMAGE QUALITY

SEND AND SHARE

We say The added awe factor in a Photo Sphere image makes it the new champion for panoramas

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Here are five features in Android 4.2 that you may not have realised were on your device…
» BeanFlinger
A little Easter egg has reared its head in Android 4.2, and one that’s a good bit of fun. Go to the About Tablet menu in your Settings app, and press repeatedly on the version number option halfway down. A giant jelly bean will now appear on your screen, and by repeatedly pressing on it, you’ll be able to turn him into hundreds of jellybeans that you can fling around your screen.

Master your Nexus «

Feature

Five things you may have missed
» Malware protection
Google has implemented new technology to help protect your Android device from malware. There’s a clearer way of seeing the permissions of each app you install, as well as a thorough check of each app when you add it to your device.

» Improved Google Now
Google Now was already a massive Jelly Bean feature, but in Android 4.2, it’s taken a step further. There are further cards for displaying flight info, hotel confirmations and shipping details. Dig a little deeper and you’ll find cards for nearby locations.

» Accessibility improvements
There’s been some tweaks to how you interact with certain areas of the tablet as well. You can pan and zoom with two fingers, as well as perform a triple tap to magnify the entire screen. Blind users will also benefit from the new Gesture Mode navigation in Android 4.2.

Android 4.2 is an update you’ll love

Gesture typing

The new gesture keyboard in Android 4.2 allows you to create words by simply brushing over a string of letters in one continuous movement. The keyboard can predict the word you’re typing, allowing you to create entire sentences much faster than before. When you’ve finished a word, you don’t even need to press the space button, as the keyboard will automatically add one in for you. It’s a new and efficient way to power through your messages with absolute ease, but does take a bit of getting used to the first few times you use it.

Swipe your finger over the letters and you will see the word you’re writing magically appear in real time.

You can also type fractions simply by swiping your finger from the numbers to the punctuation marks.

The usual array of corrections and predictions are supported. Highlight a word to change it, for example.

The new keyboard in Android 4.2 is certainly a massive change from what many of us are used to on earlier forms of the Android OS, but is swiping really better than tapping? We put them head-to-head to find out…

Tap vs gesture typing

Results
Our test passage
I love having an Android phone for a multitude of different reasons. In particular I really like how easy it’s to use, and the frequent updates that appear at different times of the year.

» GESTURE

» GESTURE
There’s no denying that the new gesture typing takes a while to get used to, and it certainly feels weird gliding your finger across the screen instead of pressing down. It does work well, however, and once you’re used to how it works, you’ll be banging out words in no time. In the case of the text we used to compete against the traditional keyboard, it was a lot easier to swipe all the small words, but was a little slow for punctuation.

» TAP
The more traditional way of typing is fundamentally a lot easier, but it does come with the same problems. When trying to type at speed, our fingers still occasionally hit nearby letters, and the pesky Spacebar isn’t nearly big enough for us. It is, however, far more easier to use this keyboard when needing to type out long words, and generally longer sentences.

1 1

minute 12 seconds minute 17 seconds

» TAP

There’s actually little difference in the speed of typing with the two different styles of keyboard. Using gestures is easier for one-handed use, but it does tend to come unstuck badly if it doesn’t know the word you’re trying to write.

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Discover Google Music
A cloud-based music hub for your Android device

G

oogle Music is a new addition to the Play store, giving you the chance to buy music direct from Google and download it to your device. It’s a cloudbased service that gives you access to your purchases on any Android device, but is not just limited to new songs you’re buying. All the music already stored on your phone is also available in the Google Music app, while you can also download the Google Play Music Manager from music. google.com, which will automatically scan

the music stored on your PC or Mac and give you access to 20,000 tracks in your cloud storage for free. There’s a built-in audio player for every song in your collection, and the app does a pretty good job of displaying album art – something which many of its competitors fail to achieve. In this mini tutorial we’ll guide you through Google Music, and show you how you can be listening to your 5,000-strong song collection in a matter of minutes.

» Open up the Play store
After downloading the update, which will take a few minutes, open up the Play store as normal. There won’t be any major changes around, apart from the new Google Music tab listed on the left-hand side. Open it to access Google Music.

» Get used to the storefront
The Google Music storefront is laid out in the same way as both the Books and Movies sections. Scroll left and right at the top of the app to see the various sections, including top selling singles, best album and best alternative music.

» Select an album
After finding an album that takes your fancy, select it from the list to be presented with this screen. Each album is broken down by individual songs and the price for each individual track. You are also given the option to buy the whole album.

» Create a wishlist
When looking at a specific album or song page, press the star button at the top of the screen to add the item to your My Wishlist page. This will act as a bookmarking page where you can keep tabs of content you’re interested in.

» Sync your library
The second option available to you when you open up Google Music is to sync your entire library of music that’s stored on your phone. Once uploaded, you’ll have access to it all in one place, alongside your purchased music through Google Music.

» Using the player
With all your music uploaded, you’ll be able to fully explore the Google Music player. As with most audio players, you can search for your music via the Album, Artist and Song tabs that can be scrolled through at the top of the screen.

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Google Music vs the competition
How does it shape up against its closest rivals?

Master your Nexus «

Feature

Per song price from Google Music
iTunes

Audio quality Google Music 320kbps iTunes 256kbps Amazon Music Store 256kbps Storage How many songs available?

Google

59p/69¢ 59p/69¢

Amazon Music

59p/89¢

Google 20,000 million million iTunes 25,000 Amazon 250 (free) 250,000 (£24.99 per year)

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million Amazon iTunes

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Music in the cloud

Is this a new revolution in how we’ll play music in the future?

» Preview a song
When you have each album track listed, you have the opportunity to preview each track by pressing the play button on the left-hand side of each track. You can do this once for each track that’s listed – perfect for making a decision before you buy. The Google Music cloud streaming service is potentially revolutionary in how it will change the way you listen to music. It scans your iTunes or other music folder on your desktop computer, and instead of uploading tracks, it finds matches in the Google Music database, and automatically adds up to 20,000 of them to your cloud account. It all happens via your Google account, so make sure you log in with the same one on the desktop that you’re using on your phone or tablet. As a cloud-based product you will need to have access to an internet connection in order to play your songs. It will cache some tracks, but you will need to make songs explicitly available for offline use if you are heading somewhere where you know you will be offline for some time.

» Simple controls
After selecting a song to play through the player, your track will instantly start playing. All the standard controls are present, but there’s a few added extras. You’ll find a few basic audio editing features built in to help perfect the sound to your tastes.

Don’t expect the tracks to instantly appear. It takes many hours to upload a full back catalogue, and is quite heavy on the processor too, so leave it running overnight.

Tracks that cannot be matched will take you far longer to upload. If you’ve got DRM-protected content in your library that can’t be matched, you won’t be able to upload it at all.

Although designed as a cloud service, you can also download your entire library a limited number of times, as well as your purchased tracks if you want to keep a local copy.

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Reviews
EDITORS CHOICE
Sealed back
The back of the phone is sealed so you cannot remove the battery. There is also no SD card slot, limiting you to either 5GB or 13GB of storage depending on which version you choose

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The Nexus 4 runs the new Android 4.2 OS and will continue to be updated to new versions of the OS for the foreseeable future. If having the latest and best software is important to you then this is the handset to go for

Android 4.2

Micro SIM

The Nexus 4 takes a micro SIM. You insert and remove it via the port on the left-side of the handset

The rounded edges on the glass front make the Nexus 4 feel fantastic when swiping through the UI. The display is beautiful, if not quite as vibrant as AMOLED displays tend to be

Glass front

Crystal reflection

The back of the phone is adorned with Crystal Reflection glass which subtly glistens with a pattern depending on how the light hits it. The silver Nexus logo clearly shows the device’s branding too

Nexus 4
T
26
he Nexus range of devices has always been the one that most excites Android enthusiasts. Although traditionally not as consumer-friendly and therefore not able to match the sales of big hitters like the Galaxy S III, the devices represent Google’s vision of what an Android device should be and often serve as a reference for the handsets produced in the coming months. Since Google’s business is not reliant on hardware sales, the company is also able to sell the handset through its Play store at close to cost

The latest addition to the Nexus range comes with premium build quality, a new version of the Android OS and an unbeatable SIM-free price
SIM-free. The device is also available on contract through networks such as O2 in the UK.

The phone is buttonless. You do lose a few pixels at the bottom of the screen to make room for the virtual buttons

Buttonless

Design and build

On the face of it, the Nexus 4 shows the device is very much sticking to the design of its forebears. It looks virtually identical to last year’s Galaxy Nexus, but is in fact a considerable step up in terms of both design and build. The Nexus 4 is, to put it simply, the most beautifully constructed Android device we’ve seen, even ahead of our previous

favourite, the HTC One X. It shares a few similarities with that device – the full glass front with curved edges which feel great when swiping your finger in from the side of the screen, and also the way the gap between the glass and the screen itself has been reduced to barely discernible levels, making it feel as though the display is literally painted onto the glass. The Nexus 4 certainly makes an unbeatable first impression. The glass continues around onto the back. LG has used its Crystal Reflection glass which sports

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a pattern of dots that gently glow and disappear depending on how the light hits it. It’s subtle and effective, a lovely detail that enhances the smartphone’s high-end look. But as nice as it might look the decision to use glass for the rear is not without controversy. Even though it is made of Gorilla Glass it is scratch resistant rather than shatter resistant, and thousands of iPhone 4 and 4S users will confirm that glass-backed handsets do not stand up well to misuse. It’s not a major issue, but if you’re prone to dropping your phones then it is at least a factor to be aware of. If nothing else, get a case. We didn’t find the Nexus 4 to be as slippery as some other recent phones. Soft touch plastic down the sides helps to make it quite grippy, and the very solid feel of the device meant it felt pretty secure in the hand. It is both thicker and heavier than other flagship handsets, but we weren’t too bothered by that. It fits in the hand and pocket well, and feels very sturdy – there’s no flexing or creaking going on here. As a Nexus device the front is buttonless, and equally minimal around the edges. On the left edge are the volume controls and a covered slot for a micro SIM card (which requires a SIM tool, or paperclip to remove) and on the right the power button. The top houses the headphone jack, and the bottom the micro USB connector, which also supports HDMI out. The back doesn’t clip off so you cannot replace the battery. We’re not as bothered by this as some others are, since we don’t tend to carry replacement batteries as a matter of course. But if you’re buying on a two-year contract it is likely you will notice degraded performance in battery life towards the latter part of the deal. 3GB or so for Android itself and you are looking at 5GB and 13GB instead. If ever a device was crying out for a 32GB option it was this. Elsewhere the Nexus 4 hits the mark on all the specifications, even if it does represent the best of what 2012 had to offer rather than setting the standard for 2013. The screen, as mentioned, looks fantastic, if not quite class leading. With 768 x 1,280 resolution (the extra 48 pixels do make the device a little wider than most others) and with a pixel density of 320 ppi it is immensely sharp and crisp. In comparison to the competition it is a noticeable improvement over the Samsung Galaxy S III, but has less punch than the HTC One X. The display is LCD rather than AMOLED so the blacks are not completely black and colours not quite as vibrant. Of course, you will rarely notice this unless you hold the two side by side. The main complaint we had in day-to-day use was that the auto-brightness settings for the display were not quite as bright as we would have liked. The processor is the quad-core Snapdragon S4 clocked at 1.5GHz. Allied with 2GB of RAM and the latest version of Android unencumbered by bloat it absolutely flies. There is an eight megapixel camera with LED flash capable of shooting 1080p video, and an additional 1.3-megapixel camera in the front for video chat, and with a wide-angle lens that makes it ideal for self portraits. The Nexus 4 is only officially a 3G model, although a 4G mode can be unlocked via a hidden menu. This should be viewed as no more than a bonus feature if you are in a compatible region. It only works on the 1700 and 2100MHz frequencies, and EE, the UK’s only 4G network, runs on the 1800MHz frequency.

“It is a noticeable improvement over the Samsung Galaxy S III”

Hardware

The Nexus 4’s specs are mostly top notch, with a single major point of concern. There is no memory card slot. This isn’t a surprise as Google is most definitely encouraging a move away from memory cards, and is very keen to promote its cloud services as an alternative. But even though those cloud services are appealing they are still not a genuine alternative to on-board storage. The Nexus 4 is available in 8GB and 16GB versions. Take away

It may be thicker than some rivals, but we loved the Nexus 4’s design

Performance tests
Our perceptions about the speed of the Nexus 4 were backed up in the benchmark tests. The device beat the powerhouse that is the Galaxy Note II in both processor and graphics performance and tied in browsing performance. The S4 processor shows itself to be a more than strong rival to the Tegra and Exynos CPUs that have been dominant throughout the Android landscape in 2012.

Processor & graphics
Antutu

GPU
GLBenchmark

Browser
Vellamo

Galaxy Note II

Galaxy Note II

Galaxy Note II

HTC One X

HTC One X

Nexus 4

Nexus 4

Nexus 4

13619

11352

17642

1556

2722

1287

1287

1975

1521

HTC One X

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Reviews
Camera on test

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The Nexus 4 has two cameras: eight megapixels on the back and 1.3 megapixels on the front. The camera software has been redesigned once again, with the camera options now appearing in a circular menu wherever your press your thumb on the 4.7-inch touchscreen. The idea presumably is that it makes it easier to quickly change settings while shooting, although in reality your thumb tends to obscure some of the options. There’s also a dedicated Settings button permanently placed in the corner of the Camera app, and we preferred to use that. The camera quality is a considerable step up from the disappointment of the Galaxy Nexus, but falls short of recent cameras from the likes of Sony and HTC. One feature introduced with last year’s Nexus – zero shutter lag – is curiously absent on the 4, making the camera noticeably slower than the leading devices we’ve seen over the last year. It wasn’t an issue that caused our shots to be ruined, however. As to be expected, image quality was good in decent light and fell away in poorer conditions. Video quality at 1080p was generally impressive.

Image quality is good in decent light, but does fall away as it gets dark

Other highlight features are the inclusion of NFC, through a more versatile Android Beam, and support for wireless charging. The official charging station was not available at the time of writing the review, but the Nexus does use the Qi standard for inductive charging so will be compatible with devices designed for other phones, such as the Nokia Lumia 920.

Software

The Nexus 4 runs Android 4.2, and will continue to run the latest version of the OS for some time to come. The main selling point for the Nexus range has always been the early rollout of OS updates, often months in advance of flagship handsets from manufacturers like Samsung and HTC. If you’re

keen to always have the best software on your phone this point should not be underestimated. Android 4.2 is also available on the Nexus 7 and 10 tablets, but many of its new features are better for phones. These include new lockscreen widgets that enable you to jump straight into the Camera app even when the phone is locked with a password or gesture. Simply swipe right to launch the Camera app and take your snap. If you try and review the image, or back out of the app then you will be have to enter that password before you can proceed. Other lockscreen widgets are also supported and once third parties get in on the act it has the potential to fundamentally change how you use your device, especially for retrieving at-a-glance information.

We’re also extremely keen on the new keyboard with its swiping functionality. It makes one-handed typing more viable on a handset of this size, although we did find there are certain words you simply cannot train it to type. Most intriguing of all is the new Photo Sphere software. This plug-in for the Camera app uses some of the technology used in Google’s Street View service. It stitched together multiple shots, like a powered-up panorama. It isn’t perfect but is capable of producing some startling results. As a pure Android device there are a few gaps in the software that need to be filled with third-party apps. The video player is geared up for Play Movies purchases, for instance, rather than your own side-loaded content, and unlike most other

Close up
The smaller details of the Nexus 4
NEW OS FEATURES
Android 4.2 includes a new quick access Settings screen

The glass back looks classy with the subtle crystal effect. But beware of dropping it

GLASS BACK

The Nexus 4 does not follow the trend for ever thinner devices. It’s a positively pudgy 9.1mm!

NOT TOO THIN

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-

Review
play.google.com Supplied by www.o2.co.uk

Nexus 4
»More information »

information Price from £239
SIM-free

Battery life

“In many ways the best Android device we’ve seen”
devices you will have to add social networking clients if you want anything beyond Google+. Chrome is the browser of choice for the Nexus 4, and was responsible for the only moments of lag we encountered in using the device. A far cry from its desktop counterpart, Chrome is unwieldy in mobile form and slows right down when displaying large websites to the point where scrolling is a chore. Chrome chooses to download the mobile version of sites by default, which solves a certain amount of the problems, but given that browsers like Dolphin or Firefox are capable of loading the full version with no performance hit, it’s clear that the software is the culprit here.

The Nexus combines everything that’s good about Android

The battery is average. It should get you through the day well enough but you won’t want to forget to charge it overnight.

technical specs

tweaks. The Nexus 4 will be no different, especially when it is being sold through the Play store at such a low price. The only obstacle at the time of review was the limited availability of the handset.

»Operating system...............Android 4.2 »Processor...................................Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 »Memory.......................................2GB RAM, 8GB – 16GB storage »Dimensions..............................133.9 x 68.7 x 9.1mm »Weight ..........................................139g »Display size...............................4.7-inch »Display resolution...............768 x 1,280 pixels »Expansion slot.......................None
Nexus 4
HTC One X
issue 011

1.5GHz, quad-core

Verdict

Performance and battery

That sluggishness when scrolling in the browser was the only time we encountered any performance issues of concern. For the most part the Nexus 4 was buttery smooth, benefiting from the complete lack of surplus software or tweaks. For users more used to devices from the likes of Samsung and HTC the Nexus 4 might feel somewhat naked when you first load it up, but it doesn’t take long to begin to warm to this more stripped down approach. The OS feels light and lean and the look of the UI is thoroughly consistent. It is the kind of marriage of hardware and software that we’ve only really seen before on an iPhone. Battery life is about average compared to phones at a similar level. It’s less than the Galaxy S III was on Ice Cream Sandwich but about the same as it is currently since the Jelly Bean update. It’s better than the original HTC One X. As always, the longevity of a charge will vary depending on how you are using the phone. We found that with light use it would comfortably clear the day; and would need a top up late in the afternoon with heavier use. It equates to about four-and-a-half hours of screen on time.

The Nexus 4 is in many ways the best Android device we’ve seen. The design and build quality is fantastic, Android 4.2 in its purest form is a pleasure to use, and feels so much faster than the heavily skinned alternatives on the market outside of the Nexus range. There are two things we’re not so keen on. The storage limitations are quite severe – the 8GB version, with just 5GB free, will quickly have you juggling your apps and content to make sure you’ve always got space free – and if you use your phone as your primary music device or for high-end gaming you will need to think carefully about whether even the larger 16GB version is big enough for you either. And then there is the relative lack of ambition in the device. It feels more like the culmination of all the advances made in 2012 rather than something that is setting the standard for the year ahead. CES and Mobile World Congress will very soon reveal devices that leave this one trailing. Still, if you’re buying SIM-free, the unbeatable value simply cannot be denied.

None

better than

worse than

The battery could be better, but this is a very fast and smooth running handset As good as any Android phone, the Nexus 4 looks and feels high quality Feature-rich but not ground-breaking, and the lack of an SD slot is a shame The SIM-free model represents the best value smartphone ever

Performance Design

Features

Value for money

Hackability

Nexus devices are always fully embraced by the Android hacking community, producing a wide range of ROMs, kernels and other mods and

The Nexus 4 is, for the time being, as good an Android phone as you can buy
Android 4.2 means this is a super-smooth handset

»Verdict close enough. Not perfect, but

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Reviews
Stereo speakers

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The large bezel around the edge of the screen is not to all tastes, but it does give you something to hold on this hefty device

With speakers located either side of the screen the Nexus 10 produces great sound for those video and music sessions

Large bezel

Tablet UI

The Nexus 10 uses Android’s full tablet UI, which makes better use of the full screen real estate than we saw on the smaller screened Nexus 7

HDMI-out

Nexus 10
G
30
oogle’s first foray into the world of tablets produced one of the big success stories of 2012. The Nexus 7 brilliantly combined power and value to become arguably the first Android tablet with real mass appeal, and single-handedly kick-started the market for seven-inch devices. With the Nexus 10 the company has turned its attention to the ten-inch market dominated by the iPad. Can it possibly repeat the feat? The Nexus 4 is built by LG, the Nexus 7 by Asus and the Nexus 10 by Samsung. As

The Nexus 10 supports HDMI-out so you can use it to play your videos on a bigger screen if you wish

The screen’s pixel density of 300ppi is the best on the market and it is fantastic. It makes photos and high definition videos look simply stunning

Stunning resolution

Google takes aim at the ten-inch tablet market. Here’s how it sizes up…
a consequence there is little in the way of design consistency across the range. Instead they are all built to hit certain specs while being priced extremely aggressively. At £319 for the 16GB version the Nexus 10 is not quite as eye-catchingly cheap as its two sister models but still comes in at £80 less than an equivalent iPad 4. The Nexus 10 is quite a large device. It has got a sizeable bezel around the display which may not be to all tastes, although it does at least give you something to grip hold of since the device is essentially a two-handed, landscape-oriented product. The design is rather nondescript overall, lacking any of the subtle touches that lifted the other Nexuses above average. There are dual-speakers located either side of the screen which produce decent sound quality, although

good for...

Videos
The better-than-HD screen is simply outstanding to use

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Plastic back
The rear of the device is a smooth plastic lacking the subtle class of the Nexus 7’s driving glove effect or the Nexus 4’s crystal reflection

Review
More information play.google.com

Nexus 10
»

information Price from £319
Battery life
Battery life is good for about seven hours use, but is a little disappointing compared to the competition

“The app selection doesn’t even come close to exploiting what the device is capable of”
when holding the device you will unfortunately be obscuring part of them. The front is, of course, buttonless, and around the back is a five-megapixel camera that will produce satisfactory shots should you ever be inclined to use it. There’s support for HDMI-out (via the micro USB port that is also used for charging) but no micro SD slot – like all the Nexus range you are limited to the internal storage (which equates to around 3GB less than the stated amount) and Google’s cloud services. The standout feature of the 10 is the display. It’s a full ten inches corner to corner and has a resolution of 2,560 x 1,600 pixels with a pixel density of 300 pixels per inch, which is notably more than the famed Retina display on the iPad. Can you notice the difference? Not really. Both screens are pretty stunning, but you actually notice the effect of the high resolution more when you switch to a lower resolution device. What the high pixel density does is make videos look fantastic and text very sharp and easy to read. For consuming content, then, the Nexus 10 really does shine, even if holding the device does become uncomfortable after a while. The tablet is powered by Samsung’s own Exynos processor, clocked at 1.7GHz but only dual-core. This puts it behind the competition – even the dirt cheap Nexus 7 managed to pack in a quad-core CPU. In truth, the difference between this and the quad-core alternative appears to be minimal. Android 4.2, which is here in all its unskinned glory, is fast and smooth with no sign of lag, so it never felt slow. The 2GB of RAM ensures that multitasking is equally smooth, and you can switch between running apps without ever feeling like the device is being pushed to the limits. Even 3D games were handled perfectly well. You don’t get some of the fancy graphical textures that the Tegra 3 processor can deliver, but that’s hardly a major complaint if we’re honest. The software uses Android’s full tablet UI, unlike the Nexus 7. This is designed primarily for landscape use and makes more efficient use of the additional screen real estate. Of the new features in 4.2 the multi-user profile support is by far the most useful, finally turning a tablet into a family device that you share with others without having to share your personal information as well. As always with Nexus devices the additional software is quite stripped back so you need to dive straight into the Play store to pick up the old standbys like MX Player for video and Plume for Twitter. Sadly the picture for tablet-optimised apps on Android is still as poor as ever. It’s not so much of a problem on the smaller Nexus 7, but on a massive display like this, scaled up phone apps just look unpleasant and are not enjoyable to use. This is the main failing of the Nexus 10. At least with the Galaxy Note 10.1 Samsung is able to tailor the software around the S Pen functionality, and on a Transformer Asus you can talk up the laptophybrid form factor. The Nexus 10 is a pure tablet – the hardware takes a back seat and it becomes all about what you can do with it. If you’re happy with video and gaming and keeping everything else in the browser then you’ll be fine with the Nexus 10, but the app selection doesn’t even come close to exploiting what the device is capable of. Overall the Nexus 10 ranks as a fantastic tablet. Its low price and stunning display make it more appealing than any other ten-inch Android tablet available, although do make sure you weigh up your storage needs first as the lack of expansion is a real loss. But it’s not even close to being the revolutionary device the Nexus 7 was, and it does highlight just how pressing the need for better tablet apps really is.

technical specs

»Operating system...............Android 4.2 »Processor...................................Samsung Exynos 5, »Memory.......................................2GB RAM, 16-32GB storage »Dimensions..............................263.9 x 177.6 x 8.9mm »Weight ..........................................603g »Display size...............................10.05-inch »Display resolution...............2,560 x 1,600 pixels »Expansion slot.......................None
Nexus 10
Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1
issue 018

dual-core 1.7GHz

None

better than

worse than

Very fast thanks to lots of RAM and the latest version of Android Fairly uninspiring design with few flourishes to give it a lift The lack of a memory card slot will be missed by many users Excellent value on a powerful ten-inch tablet with high-res screen

Performance Design

Features

Value for money

»Verdict Android One of the best

eBook reading
The device may be heavy but text is pin sharp on this display

Browsing
With a fast browser and large high-res screen the device makes a great mobile web tool

Media hub
The screen, HDMI-out and cloud support make the Nexus 10 a great media device

tablets, although the larger screen highlights the dearth of great tablet-optimised apps

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31

T utorials
» masterclass

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Search your local area
How apps can help you discover the world around you
henever and wherever you are in the world, it is guaranteed that you will need information for what’s around you. Whether you are hungry, looking to get to a destination, looking for the latest deal in town or trying to find out what’s happening, there is always an app to lend a helping hand. The local area in any town or city is always going to have a service that you want. If you need to eat, and don’t want to walk too far, that’s easy. If you want a specific type of cuisine, that’s easy as well. If you need a recommendation, try reading a few reviews. If you want to save a few quid, check to see if there are any local deals happening. Everything may not be within a stone’s throw of your current location. A particularly intriguing attraction, gourmet restaurant or shopping destination may well be beyond walking distance. If a trip in the car is required, the quickest route can be called upon without any local knowledge needed.

W

Ask your own question online at littlegreenrobot.co.uk

A lot of sites have the option to sign in with Facebook, but what information does it need?

Different apps require different information from Facebook but in general they only need your basic information such as your name and email address. There is also the option to choose who gets to see what you are up to, for example, just friends. To keep things more private there is the option to select only me. When you’re happy, log in.

“There is always an app to lend a helping hand”
Get more localised services
What’s the weather like?

1. Read a review When looking for somewhere to eat, it can be very much a hit and miss affair, especially if you don’t want to eat at a well-known high street chain. The simple answer is to read a review. This will help you make a quick and informed decision. 2. Write a review Users rely on reviews to help them make decisions. However, someone needs to write a review to help users who are reading reviews. If you have been somewhere that was particularly outstanding, or bad, then it would be a good idea to write a review to help others out. 3. Twitter search Performing and saving searches with Twitter are pretty easy tasks. However, to save time when out, a selection of searches for the area to be visited can be performed at home on a desktop and saved. Then it’s simply a matter of picking a saved search. 4. Switch off, save battery witch It sounds simple and it is. If heavy duty apps that drain the battery are

left running when not in use, battery life will be much shorter than normal. Switch off Wi-Fi, GPS etc to make your battery last longer. 5. Share the wealth Information is a valuable commodity and every time you find a good deal or piece of info, make sure that you share it with others. This can be via Facebook or Twitter for everyone to see. Alternatively, send it via email.

Add to your local knowledge with radio, news and weather

» Sun or rain

Listen to local news

The local weather is an important consideration wherever you are in the world. Check out Android’s default weather application to get the current forecast in your local area. Also check what’s coming up over the next few days.

» Local radio

Bring the news to you

The local radio station can be a gold mine of information. There are plenty of apps to listen to, including TuneIn Radio. Search for local radio and add it to your favourites. Alternatively, search for radio stations from across the globe.

» Google Currents

Local news sources are another useful addition when visiting a new area to you. Google Currents is a great source for news from local to international. Search for the local location and add news sources for a read of what’s happening locally.

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Works with

ss rld cla o ter e w u as r th yo »move und sc ro Di a

» Android 2.1 and up Difficulty » Easy

Get local tweets on your phone
T
Set up and save a local search on Twitter
he twittersphere is awash with tweets on everything you could possibly wish for. It is a hub of information, useful and not so useful. To find out what is happening locally it is simply a matter of performing a few searches. The hashtag is the tool of choice here. Precede the search location with the hashtag and a long list of tweets let users know what’s happening in the area. Results appear in a chronological fashion to further help your search. Switching from the Tweets tab to People gives a different view with tweets containing the term listed. Finally, it’s a matter of saving a search for future reference. Repeat the process for all your favourite locations ready for quick access.

2 min

guide

Get great discount vouchers for where you live delivered straight to your Android phone

Find local deals with vouchercloud

The opening screen presents a collection of featured offers; swipe left and right to view. To swap to nearby offers tap the map pin icon. Browse through the list and tap an offer to view its details.

1

1 Search locationtop-right corner. Tap the search icon in the
Now add the search location, eg #Bournemouth and press Go to start the search. Adding the same search term eg Bournemouth without the hashtag will produce different results. This will display results with Bournemouth in the tweet.

results 2 Searchresults are split into two The search
categories: Tweets and People. The Tweets category will display all the latest tweets with the hashtag you searched for. Switch to People to view Twitter users with the search term in their Twitter name or description. An offer presents a host of options including finer details of the offer and the nearby locations where it’s available. Tap the pin to view the location and tap the arrow icon to get directions.

2

search 3 Save aproduces the desired results it If a search
can be saved for future reference. Tap and hold your device’s Menu button to bring up the Save option and tap to save the search. To remove a search from the saved list, tap and hold the Menu button again and select Unsave.

4 Saved searches To check out any saved searches first
select the Me icon in the top-right. This will present a summary of information on the user. Scroll down the screen until Saved searches is located. This will list all your saved searches. Tap to open and select a search from the list. If you tap Save, an active account is needed to add a voucher to your wallet. This stores all your vouchers. Tap the menu button in the top-left to view My Vouchers. Tap Use now to get a virtual printout.

3

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33

T utorials Get real-time traffic updates with Waze
Works with

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» Android 2.0 and up Difficulty » Easy

Save time and money with communitygenerated realtime traffic information

G

etting from A to B can be a nightmare, while picking the wrong route can mean being stuck in traffic for much longer than desired, so avoiding traffic congestion is one option that drivers will happily embrace. The Waze app is a driving and navigation app that doesn’t simply get its traffic information from the standard sources – it combines information from the driving community. The app is effectively a two-part affair. Users can set up routes, read reports, organise meet ups and

share info via Facebook or email. On the other side it is all about community. Users have the chance to report incidents ensuring that other users are kept in the loop. Add details on traffic, warn other drivers of speed cameras, inform them where the police are hanging out, add any accidents and there is even the option to add the latest petrol prices. Finally, in keeping with the social and community element of the app, users can stop and chat, or message other Waze users via the in-app map.

1 Getting started with an First-time users are presented
introductory video. Tap to watch, or alternatively, tap Other or Sign in with Facebook to get started. The app will use your current location as the basis for the 3D map on display. Tap the target icon to re-establish your current location if needed.

Navigate map 2 To move away from the current location,
drag with one finger to the desired direction. Use the pinch action to zoom in and out of a map. Alternatively, use the on-screen icons to zoom in and out. Watch out for other users on the map and tap to chat or message.

3 Add addressthe bottom-left to open Tap the Waze icon in
the main menu. This has an array of options including Navigate; tap this to open. This allows users to add a home address, work address and a favourite address. Simply tap, add an address and select from the options that appear.

4 View reports To get the latest information on what’s
happening in the local vicinity, Reports is the place to look. This lists police reports, traffic issues and accidents. Users can get nearby traffic information or switch to get On route details. Simply tap an item to view details.

Report 5 Tap the iconan incident corner to in the bottom-right
reveal the Report menu. Now select the issue to report, for example, Traffic Jam, Accident, Hazard or Camera. Each item is icon driven, so select the suitable one, eg, Minor or Major for an accident. Add a few details and hit the Send option.

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Get in touch via Facebook and Twitter
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Find hotel F deals with Hotel Tonight
1 Default location will be By default, a selection of hotels
listed in the chosen location. Scroll through the list to view options, tap a hotel to view more of the finer details. Swipe left and right to view available images of the hotel and tap the double arrow icon to view them in full screen.

» Android 2.2 and up Difficulty » Easy

Discover the latest discounts for a host of hand-picked hotels around the world

inding a good deal on a hotel room is what the Hotel Tonight app is all about. It looks for the latest deals in a number of selected cities across a host of different countries. The app currently offers hotels in the US, UK, Ireland, Netherlands and Canada. The app doesn’t list reams and reams of hotels, but prides itself on picking a select few in each location. This improves quality control. Users can select how many nights they want to stay, read a little info, view a few images before booking a room straight from the app. All that is needed is an account, payment info and you can turn up and head to your allocated room.

location 2 Change icon in the top-left corner to Tap the hotel
view your current location, recently viewed hotels and other locations in different countries. Scroll down the list and tap a specific location to view deals. Alternatively, tap Country and select one from the drop-down menu to explore it.

3 Book a room select the number With a location selected,
of nights by tapping 1 night and selecting from the list that appears. This will filter the results. Tap a deal to view details, more information and a map to view its location. Tap Book a Room to start the booking process before following the instructions.

2 Close-up with Google Maps Local min guide

Find restaurants, cafes, pubs and attractions nearby or at a specific location and write a review, check in or share…

Tap Apps and then select the map pin icon called Local. The first option is to deal with the location. The location can be your device’s current location or a preferred location. Tap the current location and choose between the My current location or Enter an address options.

1

To find nearby restaurants, cafes, pubs or attractions, first tap the appropriate icon. If cafes are selected, a list of nearby cafes will be displayed on screen. To filter the search results by distance, tap Distance and select a specific radius. To filter by rating, tap Rating and select an option.

2

Hit an item from the list to get more information about individual cafes. This will typically include the name, address, a link to Street View and reviews. There is the option to write a review yourself, but a Google+ account is currently needed. To get directions, simply tap the Directions icon.

3

Tap and hold the Menu button to view options including Street View, Share, Check in here and Add as a contact. Street View will go to the address of the chosen item. Share allows users to tweet, Facebook and email the location. Check in allows users to share their location with friends via Google+.

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T utorials Unleash the power of Xbox SmartGlass
Works with

Messages WorldMags.net
If you have any unread messages on your account, a small number will appear next to the envelope icon in the top-right of your profile. Pressing this envelope will take you to the unread message, where you’ll be able to reply or delete it

» Android 4.0 and up Difficulty » Easy

Use Xbox SmartGlass to remotely control, and improve, your Xbox 360 experience

X

box SmartGlass provides a second screen experience, allowing you to connect it to your Xbox 360 account and bring you an array of new interactive features looking to improve how you use your console. The application has a wide range of remote control features, allowing you to organise any movies and TV shows you watch on your console, while also providing key stats to the game you’re currently playing. Microsoft hasn’t stopped there, however, and it has empowered the SmartGlass app to provide you with your Xbox fix no matter where you are in the world. Users can completely manage their Xbox LIVE profile through the app, as well as change their 3D avatar. SmartGlass also supports full messaging functions, allowing you to message your Xbox friends, while also comparing your unlocked game achievements. So read on, as we’ve tried to condense everything that Xbox SmartGlass does to help provide you with a more enriched, and fuller, Xbox 360 experience.

Gamerscore

Your Gamerscore is listed on the left-hand side of the app. If you start playing games while using the app, the Gamerscore ticker will automatically sync itself with your Xbox to monitor any achievement you unlock thereafter

Edit avatar

By pressing on the T-shirt symbol, you’ll be able to edit your avatar. You can change their entire wardrobe, facial features and appearance. Once saved, the next time you turn on your Xbox, your avatar will be completely different

Alert friends

If you want to notify your Xbox friends of the games you’re playing, press the beacon tab here. This will take you to your recent games list, from which you can select a game to get notifications on when your friends play the same game

in to SmartGlass 1 Logdownloading the application from the After
Google Play store, you’ll need to log in with the same account and credentials you use to log in on your Xbox 360. Once you’re fully logged in to the app, press the Connect to Xbox tab in the centre of your device’s screen.

profile 2 View yourthe app’s home screen to Scroll right from
see your Xbox gamer profile. From here you’ll be given the opportunity to edit your profile, your biography and even change the look and design of your 3D avatar. Now, scroll right again to be taken to your recent games list.

Manage recent 3 Your recent games list will games show every
game you’ve played and any app you’ve used in chronological order. Scroll down the list to see how many games you’ve played, and also take note of the achievements you’ve unlocked for each game, which appear underneath the game’s title.

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WorldMags.net quick Five other apps that link to your Xbox 360 tips
1 My Xbox Live
An official Microsoft app that tracks your profile and your Xbox friends’ recent gaming progress. Manage both your Xbox Live and PlayStation Network account through a series of clever widgets.

2 Spark 360

Learn how to get the most out of your Xbox 360 console. A great read for beginners and hardcore gamers.

3 Xbox 360 Guide

4 XBOX Live Statistics

Chat with your Xbox friends and manage your profile through this cleverly designed application.

Put your Xbox avatar on your screen, and make them perform different, novelty actions.

5 Xbox Live Avatar Widget

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What kind of controls do I have for watching one of my movies? 4 Get more informationto see a Select one of the games from a list
breakdown of all the individual achievements you have clocked up. It will also show you what you currently need to do in order to complete the game. Each achievement also has a date by it, so you know when you unlocked it.

music 5 Access your le, and scroll to the far Go back to your profi
right. This section will show you all the media, apart from games, that are linked to your Xbox. Select a film or album from the list to see more details. Press on the Play on Xbox button to see it instantaneously play through your console.

While watching a movie on your 360 console, the SmartGlass app turns into a virtual remote control. By this we mean you’ll be able to perform all the basic pause and play functions, as well as skip between scenes and stop the movie altogether.

Do I have access to the internet through Xbox SmartGlass
If you have the Internet Explorer app downloaded on your 360 console, you’ll be able to browse the internet on your console using the app. It’s a little tricky to use, but your phone does act as a better keyboard than having to manually type out web addresses on the browser. Please note that the Xbox 360 has no other browser readily available for it.

6 Use the remote on your Xbox Any game you have installed
360’s hard drive can also be started through the app. Simply select the game from your recent games list, and select the Play on Xbox button like you did before. It’ll only take a few seconds for the game to start playing.

your 7 Managego back tofriendsprofile Swipe left to your user
and select the friends tab on the right-hand side of the screen. You’ll now be taken to your friends list, from which you can see who is online (or the last time you where seen online) and see what game they’re currently playing.

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8 Check their profile list to Press on any gamer on your friends
take a look at their Xbox profile. You’ll be able to see their avatar on the page that appears, as well as remove them as a friend if you wish, or message them using one of the two accessible icons that live at the bottom of the screen.

9 Send a message in the same The messaging function works
way as you would to type any other message from a different application on your device. Once you’ve typed out your message into the on-screen speech bubble, press the send icon just above your smartphone’s keyboard.

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37

T utorials The new eBay app
Works with

WorldMags.net Main options
The main things you’re going to be using are the blue buttons across the top of the app. Tapping on My eBay shows you a list of the items you’re watching, bidding on and selling, broken down into smaller groups like items you didn’t win

» Android 2.1 and up Difficulty » Easy

Get searching

Reminders

How to get the most out of the recently updated eBay app

The Reminders bar tells you if you have any pressing eBay business to attend to, such as paying for items or posting things you’ve sold. You can check your messages and see what your favourite sellers are up to as well with a single tap

Tapping on Categories is the quickest way to browse through the different categories that are full of the millions of items for sale on eBay. If you’d prefer to be more specific, you just have to tap the magnifying glass above to type in a search

T

he eBay app has gone through quite a few iterations in its life span, but the latest is one of the best we’ve seen. It’s easy to use, full of features, and sure to keep eBayers buying, selling and browsing for a good long while. With a slick and streamlined UI, easy profile managing features and a new, faster way of listing items from your Android device, there’s a lot here to get used to. Fear not though, because we’ve had a play with the app and got to know it so you don’t have to. Here are some of the new features, and how you should be using them to get the most out of your mobile Android eBay experience.

Selling goods

A few more eBay tricks

There are some personalisation options in the eBay app that let you tailor your experience to the way you shop. Here are three of them…

Sell an item is pretty self explanatory. Tapping on it guides you through the process of putting something up for sale on eBay. It’s remarkably simple, and there are hints for each step. You can even scan an item’s barcode to get it up

Watch for it

If you can’t decide whether to bid or not, tap on the eye icon on the item you’re considering. This will add it to your watch list. Combine this action with the next tip for fool proof eBaying.

Let me know

Changing your Notifications settings can mean the difference between snagging a bargain and missing out. Set your device to remind you when watched items are about to end.

Where you from?
If you’d rather look at items from another country’s eBay site, head to the Settings menu and tap on Selected eBay site. Now you can find a bargain in a completely different time zone.

Grab a bargain

eBay Deals shows you the best discounts on the site at the moment, letting you search through them by category, as well as displaying the most popular. They change regularly so it’s an easy way to make sure you’re not missing out on a bargain

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Works with

» All versions of Android Difficulty » Easy

Dealing with duplicate contacts
How to get rid of people with more than one set of contact details in your address book

I

f you’re on your second or third Android device, it’s pretty easy to find it clogged up with a bunch of duplicated contacts. You’ve probably dragged some across with you from an old SIM card, transferred them over via Bluetooth, or got someone in your address book as a Twitter contact, phone number and email address. Fear not though, there are a few ways you can quickly and easily get rid of contacts with more than one entry in your allimportant address book. As well as your device’s

contact book, you’re going to need a web browser handy to help with the spring cleaning as well. Remember, check carefully before you delete any contacts. You might have two Jims because you know two Jims, not because Jim is in your address book twice. When you’re ready to go, head on to the first step and start your spring clean.

Google help 1 Letup, if you’re using your Google account First
on your Android device, there’s a handy way to merge duplicated contacts. Simply head over to contacts.google.com, click More, then click Find & merge duplicates. If there are any, they’ll link together as quick as your browser can load.

2 Address book bring up your Once you’ve done that,
device’s address book. Obviously devices are going to differ in the way they’re set up and the options they have. The options we’re talking about will be there, they just might be in a slightly different place so keep a watchful eye.

3 Lose some accounts It’s likely that when you linked your
Facebook or Twitter accounts to your smartphone they imported all of their contacts into your contact book without linking them to people. Bring up the app’s menu, tap Accounts, and you’ll be able to get rid of them.

custom list 4 Make agot duplicate contacts, it might If you’ve still
be worth building a custom list of who to display. Hit your menu option again, then tap ‘Contacts to display’. You should see some different accounts and profiles. Tap the cog next to ‘Customised list’ to build your own.

who 5 Choose pick andto see You can now choose which
sections of which contact list you get to see in your device’s contact book, ensuring you’re not adding superfluous contacts to the list and ensuring everyone you need to get in touch with is right there at your fingertips.

only 6 Phones simplestplease Perhaps the way of ensuring
you’re not seeing duplicate contacts is to only show contacts with phone numbers. To do this, tap Menu>Settings, then check the right box. No more Twitter contacts getting in the way when you’re trying to find the right person to text.

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T utorials Make free phone calls with the new Skype app
Works with

WorldMags.net

» Android 2.1 and up Difficulty » Easy

We show you a few tricks to get the most out of the recently updated Skype app for Android

T

alk is good, everyone knows that, and if you don’t use Skype, then it’s fair to say that you’re missing out on a decent chunk of the talking you deserve to be having. The service essentially lets you make free phone and video calls with your friends, send out IMs, files and pictures, and keep all of your contacts in the same place. The latest update to the app has brought some neat new features, as well as support for Android tablets, all of which bring the Microsoft-owned

communication tool bang up to date. While it might still look like the same old Skype, there are a few differences under the hood that smooth off some rough edges and let you concentrate on having a good old-fashioned chin wag. So if you’re new to Skype, or you’ve been using it for a while, there’s probably going to be some good stuff in our detailed thirteen-step guide to getting you started and getting talking quickly and easily. Install the app and we’ll get going…

1 Tell the world app from Google Download and install the
Play as you would normally. First up, you’ll want to add a status message to your profile. It’s not essential, but it makes the place look tidy. If you’re new to Skype, you’ll want to add a profile picture as well, so everyone knows it’s you.

Make 2 Now you’ll some friends want to add some contacts. Tap
on the Contacts tab from the main menu, then bring up its options and tap Add Contacts. From here you can search the Skype directory and your own contact book to find your friends and members of your family.

3 Check up on people be Once you’ve added contacts they’ll
included in your contact list, which you can access from the main page of the application. Here you can search for people directly to send them messages, make phone calls to them, or invite them into group chats.

4 Filter for clarity got too many If you find you’ve suddenly
Skype friends, you can add various filters to your contacts that show you only those who are online when you log in. To do this, tap where it says All contacts at the top of the screen then choose one of the options that pops up.

Profi 5 Tappingles contact brings up the ways on a
you can interact with that person, as well as letting you check out their Skype profile. If you’ve connected with your Microsoft account, you won’t be able to call contacts from the app if they’re not signed up to Skype.

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Is Skype the only option for making internet calls?
By no means, although it is the most well known. Also check out Fring and Truphone as two equally impressive VoIP solutions offering free online calls as well as free video chat with fellow users of the apps.

more 6 Gettap on the infooption on a person’s If you More
profile, you’ll see a host of extra contact options to select. Among them is the one that lets you send a file over to another Skype user. Tapping that option will take you to a screen that lets you choose what to send.

send 7 Another way toapplication but If you’re not in the Skype
you still want to share a particular image or a file with one of your Skype contacts, the app should appear in the drop-down list that appears when you tap Android’s system-wide share button. Tap on it to be taken back to Skype.

8 Make some calls and Now you’ve made some friends
interacted with them, if you want to call mobiles and landlines, you’re going to have to add some Skype credit. Head to your profile to check your balance. If it’s low, you can add some more using a credit or debit card by tapping on your balance.

a connection 9 Createcredit has been loaded onto your Once your
account, head back to the main page and tap Call Phones. That will then take you to a simple and familiar dialer screen. You’ll need to select the international dialing code for the country you’re calling by tapping on the flag.

10 Skype calls are free Skype If the person you’re contacting has
installed on any one of their devices, then your call is free. You’ll see the same call screen whether you have selected to make a video or a voice call. If the other person isn’t signed in, then the call won’t be able to connect.

quality 11 Change yourcalls aren’t clear If you find your video
enough, or that you’re using too much data when you’re out and about on the move, you can change the quality of the video by bringing up the settings menu from the front page of the app. Check either High or Low to make the change

12 Sort the notificationsthe While you’re there, you can change
notification settings of the application to suit how you use Skype. The default General settings are pretty intrusive, especially if you’re in a number of group chats, so find the level that suits your level of Skype use best.

in doubt… 13 Ifyou ever get stuck, there’s a really useful If
help section built into the application that should be able to get you out of most tricky situations. Just bring up the menu from the app’s front page, and you’ll find the section at the bottom. The Top FAQs solved any problems we had.

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T utorials How to force close apps
Works with

WorldMags.net

» All versions of Android Difficulty » Easy

The easiest way to halt problematic apps
ccasionally you might find that one of your apps is causing you some problems. Maybe it’s hogging up too much memory, or more likely, it has just crashed, stalling on a screen and not letting you do anything. Rather than restarting your phone, you can perform a force close, or force stop on the app.

O

It’s a way of killing the process, so you can start it up again rather than having to restart your entire smartphone. There are a few ways to do this, depending on which manufacturer your phone is made by, but this simple tutorial is going to walk you through the most common way.

[FIG 3] There are other options on the page, but we don’t need to worry about them now, you just need to tap Force stop to end the process

we’ve come this far. Tap to accept the risk, and when you’re taken back to the screen with the details of the application, you should find that the Force close button is now greyed out – that means the app has stopped and the Force close has worked. Now to check it out…

5. Back to normal
Head back out of the app’s settings menu and restart the app that had crashed or frozen, and everything should be back to normal. A quick force close is a great way to kick a favourite application back to life when it has gone a bit haywire, but bear in mind there’s no need to use it to close apps as you would normally. A Task Manager is ultimately better for that, should you feel you need one.
[FIG 5] Don’t fret about the warning box, it’s incredibly rare that any app will suffer ill effects from being force closed

1. Head to settings
From one of your device’s home screens, head into the main settings menu. You will see a bunch of different options, but the one we’re looking for will be named something like Applications manager. The actual name could differ depending on your type of phone, but when you tap on it you should be greeted by a list of your applications, with their icons and the memory space they use outlined.

particular application you’re looking for, then tap on it to be taken to another screen with more detailed information about the app itself.

3. Close or stop
On that screen you will be able to see a couple of buttons near the top, one marked Uninstall and one marked Force stop or Force close. You’ll want to tap on the one that’s marked Force stop. This should bring up a warning box telling you that force closing an app could make it behave strangely.
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2. Find the app
There will be three different tabs containing apps and processes, but more often than not the app you’ll be looking for will be in the one marked Downloaded. Scroll through that list until you find the

Is there a quicker way to force close applications?
Most devices have a way of force closing through the Task Manager, which is usually accessed by holding down the Home button.

4. It already is
Don’t worry though, because the app is already behaving strangely, which is why

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WorldMags.net
Works with

» Android 2.2 and up Difficulty » Easy

Group slices

Slices for Twitter
T
here are loads of Twitter apps out there, but Slices is one of the few that actually tries to do something different with the micro-blogging social network. Rather than just presenting you with a timeline, it lets you chop the people you follow into slices, so you can keep an eye on set groups rather than the whole thing. It also makes keeping track of trending and popular stories a doddle thanks to some clever tabs, and a set of featured tags and words that it keeps track of automatically. In this tutorial we’ll get you started with the app, show you how to set up your own slices, tell you the best ways to keep up to date with the comings and goings on your feed and let you in on a few tricks that should help you get the most out of Twitter.

You can group people into multiple slices. For example you might want someone in Friends & Family, as well as Co-Workers. You can make as many slices as you see fit. The app even groups people who aren’t in slices yet to make things easier

Menu options

After reading through the hints and tips the app gives you, you’ll be taken to the top of your feed. You’ll want to tap the menu button to bring up all the customisation options and interesting new features that the Slices app has to offer

Learn everything there is to know about this unique Twitter client

Manage Slices

Explore

When you sign in to Slices for the first time, it will automatically group some of the people you follow. You can edit these chunks at any time by tapping on Manage Slices. Tapping a slice takes you to the first unread tweet of that feed

Tapping Explore will take you to the live tabs that show you who and what’s popular on Twitter right now. You can follow live sporting events, and find interesting new people to follow as well. Unfortunately the local feeds are US-only at present

How to edit your slices

Here’s how to create and edit your own slices, grouping people together so you can keep in touch with all the Twitter news much quicker

slice 1 Create a on Manage Slices First up, tap
from the menu. That will take you to a screen with a list of all your slices. At the bottom of the screen you’ll see the words New Slice. Tap on that option to get started.

a 2 Give ityou name to name Next up will need
your slice. This is how you’ll find it the next time you want to check up on the activity in that slice, so make sure it’s something that sets it apart from your others.

Find 3 Now allsome people you need to do is
choose some people to put into the slice. You can browse through the people you follow, or if you’d prefer, search for each user individually. Save the slice and you’re good to go.

Notifications

The default notification setting is a little excessive, especially if you follow more than a couple of people, so it’s worth scrolling down the menu to have a play around with the settings and find one that suits the way you like to use Twitter

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43

T utorials Getting to grips with Google Earth
Works with

WorldMags.net

» Android 2.1 and above Difficulty » Easy

Here’s how to get the most out of Google’s amazing Android app

O

ne of the first apps most people power up when they get a new Android device is Google Earth. It’s no surprise, considering just how impressive the mobile version of the three dimensional cartography wonder is. Google Earth offers panoramic views of some of the most exciting places in the world, as well as plenty of useful local information if that’s what you’re looking for. That first time you look at your house as photographed from above is pretty exhilarating, but

Google Earth can do a lot more than just show you what cars were parked down your street when the Google plane flew over. With that in mind, here’s a handy guide to getting started with the app which will walk you through the basics, and give you a few hints and tips about getting the most out of the impressive suite of tools that Google has given you to play with. Even if you’re competent with Google Earth already, it’s worth a read to see if there’s anything you’ve missed out on so far.

1 Welcome to the world The first thing you should do is let Google
Earth use your current location so it can show you whereabouts you are in the world. While surfing through different parts of the world is fun, it’s always nice to be able to jump back to where you are quickly and easily.

Learn the controls 2 Most of the controls you need are
performed with the familiar two-finger touchscreen gestures. You pinch to zoom, swipe up and down with two fingers to tilt, and twist to rotate your view. Travelling around the screen is a case of swiping with a single finger.

a 3 Take theshortcut lets you type in a Tapping search button
location, but it also lets you look for things in your local area, like pizza shops or cinemas, in the same way as Google Maps does. Typing in a search will add waypoints to the map that show you where the related businesses are located.

again 4 Clean it up, startlooking for, or If you’ve found what you’re
you want to look for something else, just tap the brush icon in the top-right corner of your screen and the marked locations will be cleared away, letting you start on a new search from scratch without a cluttered map.

Nearby places of interest 5 Rather than searching for interesting places
nearby, if you tap on the pull up bar at the bottom of the screen you’re given a list of interesting places in the vicinity. Tapping on one of them will zoom the map in for a better look at whatever location you’ve chosen.

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other cool things to do in Google Earth quick SomeWorldMags.net tips
1 See the world
Tap the menu button and then Earth Gallery to see some amazing shots taken from around the globe. Tapping the ‘N’ symbol with an arrow above it will align your screen, so it’s pointing north.

2 Always face north

3 Change the image quality

Is Google Earth taking too long to load? Lower the quality of the image in its settings.

4 Font too small?

You can also change the font size in the same settings menu if it’s too small for your eyes.

If you want images of the oceans, just tick the relevant box in the powerful Layers menu.

5 See the sea

2
6 A 3D surpriseplaces in that pull up The great thing about
bar is that they are three dimensional, sticking up out of the rest of the landscape for you to explore until your heart’s content. You can go even further – tapping the Wikipedia icon will give you some info about your destination.

guide

Share screenshots min from Google Earth
Sometimes when you find something cool you want to share it with the world. Here’s how…

something cool 1 Find Earth is packed with oddities and Google
surprises. Once you’ve found something you want to show your friends, make sure you frame it just right (as this will be the view that is shared), then tap on the menu button in the top-right of the screen, or the physical button of your Android on pre-4.0 devices.

to share 2 Choose howthe app will Once you tap Share,
automatically take a screenshot of what you’re looking at. After that you’ll be given a choice as to which app you want to share your image with from the ones installed on your Android device. There are lots of different methods of sharing files and content on Android.

your layers 7 Setyou’ve had a little play around, you Once
can customise the Google Earth experience to your liking. Tapping on the Layers icon lets you change the things that are displayed when you’re looking at the app, like businesses or panoramic photos people have uploaded.

more 8 Explore someexpanding, either Google Earth is always
with new sites of special interest or new places to visit and explore. As interactive, ever-changing atlases go, there really aren’t any better than the one you’ve got installed on the Android device in your pocket right now.

or forever 3 Just once whether to use the You can choose
same app every time you share a screenshot from Google Earth, or be offered the choice each time. If you do choose to use the same application, you can change your preference in your device’s settings so that you see this screen again in the future.

for 4 Savedselect,posterity straight Once you you’ll be taken
to the app of choice (such as Twitter or the Bluetooth settings screen) to share your screenshot with the wider world. The image will also be stored on your device in the Gallery app, so it’s a great way to keep things to show people offline too.

WorldMags.net

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DroidSupport
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»troubleshooting advice »hints and tips
expert »email anAndroidGot an
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What is the best way to take notes?
“I’ve been using a HTC One X for a while and it is becoming increasingly disorganised. I use a combination of Drive, Dropbox and Quickoffice to jot things down with, and I really need a good single app to replace them all. I know Evernote is popular, but would that be a good choice for me?”
Nathan Tiler
Hi Nathan. In some ways you have already answered your own question by mentioning Evernote. The app and related service have both been updated countless times for the desktop and Android devices and we now find a setup that competes extremely well against other note-taking services. The free version gives you the ability to quickly capture text notes as well as photos, webpages and even handwritten drawings which can then be synced with Windows and Mac desktops, or through a variety of compatible apps. If you decide to upgrade to the Premium version you can upload 1GB of notes and files every month and also use all of your notes offline if you so wish. There really is nothing missing in the service, but we would always advise trying it for yourself first to make sure it fits your specific needs. Even if you do not like the smartphone user interface, which by the way is very

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Did you know?
You can use music controls on the lockscreen of your Android phone or tablet provided you have downloaded Google Play Music. When you are playing music and have the device locked, the controls will be available the moment you turn the device back on.

A

impressive, you can use a selection of other note-taking apps such as Pocket or Skitch and have them synchronise with all of your Evernote data. The service is hugely popular which helps to guarantee good uptime and we have to recommend it as a truly positive experience which will fit the HTC One X very well indeed. Try as many options from the Google Play store as you can, but make sure that Evernote is one of them and please let us know if you agree with our opinion of the service. We are confident you will.
Evernote is a classy note-taking app for Android

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Sharing appointments
“I know how to create appointments and email invites to others on a desktop computer, but is there an equivalent feature in the Calendar app on Android? Or is there a third-party app that I need to use instead? Thanks.” Josh Branch
Your problem is well known and unfortunately it is something that has not been handled well within the Android ecosystem for some time now. This problem has also led to a lack of convincing third-party solutions that can effectively handle invites, but all is not lost and we assure you that there are some solutions that will work for you. We have tested your problem a few times in the stock calendar with Gmail set up on an Android phone with mixed results.

A

Sometimes the invitations do not get sent even though a confirmation pops up saying so when you add a guest to a new event, but on other occasions they have worked fine. Also, it seems to only work with Gmail accounts and so we would certainly suggest a couple of third-party applications to help you in the meantime. The first is Calendar iNVITE, available from Google Play, which lets you quickly add an event, choose contacts and then send the invites. In our tests it worked very well, but the

Calendar iNVITE lets you send invites…

And Outlook Meeting manages responses

interface could do with a polish because it doesn’t look quite as good as it works. The other problem is responding to invites and here we would suggest Outlook Meeting Responder, which lets you open standard meeting

invitations and accept them as you would on a desktop. Apps are not always the ideal solution and it can become tiresome having to jump between tools, but these ones will do what you need until things are improved in this area.

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

1

Caffeine is an app that stops your device from going into standby and also stops the screen dimming. It is very useful when using your device as a desk clock or other activities that need the screen on all the time.

Stop going to sleep

2

If you own a Nexus Android device and have installed a custom ROM you may think that you can never go back. However, at http://tinyurl. com/c2efby3 is a selection of factory images and instructions to get the stock ROM back.

Bring back the Nexus

3

You can really control your Android screen rotation with Ultimate Rotation Control. It lets you set it exactly how you want and even override the default settings of many stock and third-party apps. Ideal for many specific tasks.

Choose your rotation

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47

DroidSupport

Did you know? WorldMags.net

If you are aware that there is an over-the-air update available, it can be difficult to patiently wait for the improvements. Going to Settings>Apps>All and selecting Google Services Framework may force it to be sent. Simply tap Clear Data and it may work.

Sharing files over Bluetooth
“You will only download emails when you tap the sync icon at the bottom”

You can stop your Gmail from automatically downloading new emails

“As I do a lot of work on my phone I regularly need to copy files either to my PC or to the phone of another colleague. We’re prevented from using cloud services at work so I can’t do that, and emailing them is quite a clunky task. Can you explain the process of sharing files over Bluetooth?” Paul Sweeney
Hi Paul. Learning how to share files over Bluetooth is not difficult at all and once you start using the technology, you will soon be using it every day without even thinking about it. Modern Android devices include Bluetooth technology that only adds a small amount of drain to battery life and they are capable of communicating with a wide range of computers and phones, and at great distance. We will explain how to share files and also offer up some apps that will make the process easier and much more flexible. There is no reason for you to worry about the compatibility of other devices because the Bluetooth platform itself should take care of all of that and you will be left with a solution that just works for you, and hopefully one that you can pass on to your colleagues so that you can all benefit from it. Have a close look at the six steps across the page to get set up.

Log out of Gmail

achieve that. We would suggest using the home screen pattern lock for added security.

I’m a big user of the Gmail app, but I don’t like the fact that it is permanently logged in, downloading mails whether I want it to or not. Is there any way I can force the application to require me to enter my password from time to time as a security measure?

How to block SMS spam…

Claire Downing
The request you have is something that many other Android Gmail users have been asking about for a long time now and it is usually for security reasons rather than just stopping your emails from being downloaded. You can stop the app from always downloading messages by tapping the settings icon in Gmail and then tapping your Gmail account name. Scroll down to the Data Usage section and tap Gmail sync to On. Now tap your account name in the small panel and remove the tick next to Gmail in the next screen. This means you will only download emails when you tap the sync icon at the bottom. It isn’t a full replacement for having a password login screen, but at this time there is no 100 per cent guaranteed way to

A

I have recently started getting quite a bit of SMS spam, and even though most of the messages have the opt-out option included, it doesn’t seem to be cutting down on how much junk I get. Is there any way I can automatically block certain messages from arriving at all, or at least filter them out if they do arrive?

It will read your messages (of course you need to be happy for the service to do this) and then decide which are spam or not. If it decides it is spam, the message will be held in a spam folder for you to check at your leisure. You can define safe senders or mark messages as not being spam to let them through in the future and also decide what level of filtering you require. The real bonus is that the spam detection on offer here is extremely accurate.

A

David Robinson
When it comes to spam, email providers, and in particular Google, have become very adept at filtering it out, but it is much more difficult on the SMS platform. However, we have a solution for you that should solve 99 per cent of your problems in an instant. Go to Google Play and search for ‘Postman: SMS Spam Blocker’. This app includes a huge amount of useful features and will deal with all of your troublesome SMS messages in a way that will make spam seem like a distant memory.

A

Postman can deal with SMS spam very effectively

“Hopefully you can pass it on to your colleagues so that you can all benefit”

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Discovered anything good about your Android phone? Let us know!

5
1 Turn Bluetooth on The first step is to turn your phone’s
Bluetooth on. Go to Settings and tap the Bluetooth icon. It should slide to On and you will see a new icon in the top bar. Tap the Bluetooth section again and a list of local devices that have Bluetooth enabled will appear.

quicktips
top tips for...

EXPANDING STORAGE

2 Pair with another device Now tap one of the listed devices and the
software should try to set up a connection. You will see a code appear on the screen of the other device and this will be replicated on your Android screen. If they match, tap Pair to continue and they will now be connected to each other.

You can get almost unlimited space on your Android phone or tablet

1Wireless hard drive
3 Use the Share button Whenever you are viewing a spreadsheet,
document, photo or any other document, tap the Menu button and then select Share. You will now see Bluetooth in the list of options. Tap it and the process of sharing the file will start. In reality, it is close to invisible to the sender and recipient.

4 A received file that the file is You will see a notification
being sent and then a small panel advising that it has been sent successfully. As we said, the notifications you both receive are very hard to spot, but of course the file will be stored and available on the receiving device.

Wireless hard drives are now available that are highly portable and able to store huge amounts of data. For example, the Seagate GoFlex Satellite is tiny yet it can still hold 500GB of files, photos and videos or whatever else you want to keep with you. It will seamlessly connect to your Android device with no wires and let you access all of the stored files.

2USB OTG

A USB OTG cable can be purchased for a couple of pounds and will let you attach a standard USB Flash Drive to your Android device via the sync port (if compatible). All of the files held on it will then be accessible in Android and available as quickly as locally stored files.

3SD cards

SD cards are the most obvious way to expand memory, but you may not be aware that they are getting bigger and cheaper all of the time. You can now pick up a whopping 32GB expansion card for less than £20 and they are completely compatible with any Android system.

4Online services
5 On and off on and off is a little fiddly, Turning Bluetooth
particularly if you use it often, so go to Google Play and search for ‘Bluetooth Widget’. There are a number of free widget solutions that let you turn Bluetooth on and off with just one tap and the visible indicators are extremely useful.

files 6 Multiple transfer and folders If you need to multiple files via
Bluetooth, apps like Bluetooth File Transfer allow you to select multiple files and to send them all together. It even includes a shortcut to turn Bluetooth on and enhanced security features, plus it makes for a pretty decent file browsing solution.
Check our website daily for even more tips & tricks

Dropbox, Google Drive and so many other online services will let you store gigabytes of files and access them whenever you have a reliable internet connection. The free allowances are usually very generous as well, and the paid-for packages very reasonable. Most also give rewards for recommending their services.

5Internal memory

If you are brave and have the knowledge, you can use code to expand internal memory which fools Android into thinking an SD card is actually internally situated.

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49

DroidSupport
“This will in theory stop auto-syncing occurring on your Android device”

Did you know? WorldMags.net

On a Samsung Galaxy S III or other recent Samsung device a long press on the Menu button opens the search function for whatever app you’re using. On the home screen, for example, it opens Google search; in the Play store you can search for apps.

Turn off data syncing
I know that Android is set up as an ‘always on’ device that is continually dragging information in so that you have it when you need it. But I think I would prefer to only update my apps when I need them. Is there any way I can stop them all from syncing and then update my apps manually?

You have full control over how your Android apps sync

the menu button at the top and untick the Auto-sync Data box. In some Android versions, it is in the Accounts & Sync section. This will in theory stop auto-syncing occurring on your device, but we will presume you have a Google account attached to your Android device and so you now need to go to Settings>Accounts and check your Google account. Make sure that it shows ‘Sync is Off’ below the account name. If you require Google synchronisation, but want to limit specific apps you can change these manually. Within any app that fetches mobile data, you should see an option in the settings for it to not sync in the background.

Russ Allen

The solution to your problem is relatively straightforward, but you will retain the flexibility you need if you wish to change things in the future. The first step is to go to Settings and then tap the Data Usage section near the top. You will see a graph showing your data usage – tap

A

Using MP3 ringtones
Alvin Peters

I’d like to change the ringtones on my phone. Where do I need to put them in order for them to show up in the ringtone settings, and can I choose an MP3 as a ringtone instead?

Hi Alvin. With an Android smartphone you have all of the choice in the world when it comes to setting up your own ringtones. Once you have your phone connected to your desktop, check to see if you have two folders (Ringtones and Notifications) built on the SD card or internal memory if SD is not supported. If they are not built, you should create them and then you can move any MP3 file you like into the Ringtones folder. Now go to Settings>Sounds and tap the Phone ringtone option – you will now see the MP3 files you moved over in the list to choose from. If you move files into the Notifications folder, these can also be used for text messages and emails as well. We would suggest searching on Google Play for applications that can help you trim down the size of the files to save memory, but no matter which tools you use, a lot of choice is available to you. Happy hunting!

A

Changing default apps
“I recently tested out the new Firefox browser and when I clicked on a link in a different app I was asked whether I wanted to use Firefox as the default browser. I said yes, but now I’ve decided that I would like to use Dolphin instead. I know that uninstalling Firefox will solve the problem, but I want to keep it and my bookmarks for it. What’s the best way to apps? manage default apps?” Nick Stace
Hi Nick. Managing default apps is quite easy, but it is not always obvious how to change defaults when you change your mind. For the benefit of everyone reading, when you install two apps that perform similar functions, eg web browsers, you will be asked which one you want to use when you click a link in an email or elsewhere. You can then choose your preferred option and if you also tap the Always tag, your phone or tablet will use that particular browser in the future for all links that you click on. This works very well and suits most people, but from time to time better apps are

A

You can set default apps and change them easily

released or you may just discover a solution that works better for you. If Firefox has been selected as the default browser and needs to be changed, go to Settings>Apps and scroll down to Firefox. Tap on the name and then scroll down again until you see Clear Defaults. Tap the button and you will see the words ‘No defaults set’ next to it. The next time you click a link you will once again be asked which browser should be your default and you can choose a new one and select Always again. You can default and un-default as many times as you like.

50

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Hiding photos
“Is there any way to hide photos from my Gallery app? I quite often have to hand my phone to others to use and don’t really want them snooping through my personal snaps. Is there any way to create a private folder, or hide ones in some way that means only I know that they are there?”
James McDonald
You can customise all of your ringtones and notifications in Android

Update 60% Complete

Stop auto app updates

I’ve noticed recently that some of my apps are automatically being updated without me knowing. While this isn’t such a bad thing, I would prefer to check what’s new in an update before I install it – I don’t want a sneaky developer including ads without me knowing it!

Will Headley
You raise a good point Will and one that has caught a few users out. However, there are options that will let you manually update every single third-party app you install and you can make it the default position for the entire system in seconds. Open the Google Play app and then tap the Menu button. Choose Settings and a new screen will pop up. Tap Autoupdate apps and make sure there is no tick in the box to stop all of your apps updating automatically. That is in effect all you have to do, but you can also tick the Notifications box to make sure that you are notified when updates are available. A notification will show in the status bar and all you have to do is tap it to be taken to Google Play to download. You now have full control over which updates you install. Hopefully that helps!

A

This is indeed possible and there are a couple of ways to achieve it. The first way is the most complex, but it means that you do not have to install any apps. You need to have a file manager installed on your Android device and to then search for the folder that is holding your images. Now create a new folder outside of this one with a full stop at the start eg ‘.hidemedia’. Use the file manager to move the images you do not want to appear in the gallery to this new folder and they will not show when anyone else uses your smartphone and taps on the Gallery icon. The main downside to this solution is that you have to manually search for your photos each time or set up a shortcut folder on your home screen which still leaves them available. The second way is much easier and involves downloading a free app called ‘Hide pictures -

A

update update
» We bring you the news and

I
You can choose exactly which pictures show in your gallery

rumours on the latest Android updates, and the phones that can run them…
t’s a rare quiet time for Android updates, as the long drawn out process of issuing Ice Cream Sandwich upgrades draws to a close and the move to Jelly Bean is still not in full swing. The HTC One X and HTC One X+ are among the latest handsets to have been given Jelly Bean, as well as many devices in the Droid series from Verizon in the US. These include the Droid RAZR, Droid RAZR M and Droid RAZR M HD. Sony will also be putting out updates to this version of the OS for its 2012 handsets, but not for those from 2011. Which version of the OS users on any device will end up with remains far from clear. Samsung will be putting out an update for the Galaxy S III that incorporates many features from the Note II software (including the split screen view), and these are likely to prove every bit as appealing to users as an update to Android 4.2 would. The S III will be getting that as well (we don’t know if it will be at the same time) as will the Note II. The update process for 4.2 will kick off in earnest in the first quarter of 2013 for those devices that are on Jelly Bean already. Manufacturers have not been overly forthcoming about their plans for devices still on Ice Cream Sandwich – some may jump straight to 4.2.

KeepSafe Vault’, a popular free download from the Play store. We will explain how to use the application in the associated step-by-step that you’ll find below, but there are many alternative apps on Google Play that do a similar job.

1 Grab the app store and search for Go to the Google Play
‘Hide pictures - KeepSafe Vault’. Download and install it and then open it up as normal. You will be asked to enter a PIN number twice – so make sure you use a memorable one and then proceed to the next step.

2 Hide some images in the You can now either tap the icon
bottom-right of the app’s user interface to capture new photos to hide, or alternatively, hit the left-hand icon to bring up your image library. Select the ones you want to hide and tap the Hide option that appears at the bottom.

“Which version of the OS users on any device will end up with remains far from clear ”

hidden images 3 View view all of your hidden images You can
within the application after you have entered the PIN that you created as part of step 1. The display is clean and clear and if you check the main Gallery app on your phone, none of the hidden images will be visible.

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51

Challenge

WorldMags.net

Can you buy and sell
W
e all love a good bargain, and no we don’t mean the buy one, get one free deal at your local 99p store. Finding a bargain is always based on buying something for as cheap as possible, and in some cases, selling it on for as much profit as possible. But could you possibly make this your full-time job? We’ve gathered a wide range of apps from the Google Play store that deal with the art of antique buying and selling, as well as the tools that every budding antique dealer needs to succeed. On the side, we took a look at some pawnbroking applications to see if there’s any money to be made there. In this challenge, we’ll be trying to learn all the skills of an antiques dealer, as well as participate in a few online auctions to see if we can make a profit on anything we buy. Move over David Dickinson, we’re coming for you!

antiques using apps?
Turn old junk into cold hard cash using your Android phone
read the brilliant Guide To Antique Collecting, which soon turned out to be an invaluable tool in knowing what to look for. The app covered a wide range of topics that outlined the basics of the techniques needed to become a successful dealer. What was even more useful was the information it gave us about some of the best places to find bargains, and places where we could consider selling them. One of the areas in which the guide suggested we looked for bargains was old toys. We therefore had a good look through The Secret Of Toy Collecting which helped pinpoint exact types of toys we should look for.

eBay isn’t the premium auction site without reason

Tools of the trade
Before venturing out to buy an assortment of goods, we first wanted to try and get the knowledge needed to buy sensibly. First off, we

Buy small, sell big
Whenever you’re looking to buy something on the cheap, what better place to look than on eBay. We managed to pick up a few action

52

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App checklist
Official eBay Android App
Price: Free Developer: eBay Mobile

Craigslist Mobile

Price: Free Developer: YYH Creative

Gold & Silver Price Checker

Price: Free Developer: Alternative Solutions Development

Antique Silver Makers Marks
Price: Free Developer: Steve Freeman Online

Silver Calculator

Price: Free Developer: Frontier Industry Labs

Ask Uncles

Price: Free Developer: One Result

Guide To Antique Collecting
Price: £0.85/$1.37 Developer: KoolAppz

Antique Finder

Price: Free Developer National A-1 Internet

Secrets of Toy Collecting
Price: Free Developer: bigo

His Guide to Her Jewelry
Price: £0.85/$1.37 Developer: KoolAppz
The eBay app should be your first port of call

Success rating

figures which were going surprisingly cheap. Closely associated with eBay is Craigslist. The auctions may not be as varied as eBay, but it does include a local search function which is helpful. After a few days of waiting, our assortment of items arrived and were ready to be resold. We used the Antique Finder app to pinpoint the prices we should expect to reach when selling our items. In the end we had limited success with reselling our items on eBay, and only managed to make a meagre £4 profit.

[tip] Make sure to check out local junk shops and car boot sales if you really want to uncover a true bargain.

The art of pawnbroking
Another side of antique dealing is pawnbroking. One of the most commonly pawned items is jewellery, so we used the His Guide to Her Jewelry app to help learn about

[tip] Don’t be afraid to make some big purchases, as these are often the best way possible to make a profit.

it a bit more. After scouring through a wide range of thrift and charity shops, we had a decent selection of jewellery ready to pawn. To know their true value we downloaded the Gold & Silver Price Checker, Antique Silver Makers Marks and Silver Calculator apps to give us a comprehensive overview of how much we should expect when pawning our wares. The last app we checked out was Ask Uncles, which provides a great overview on how much you can expect a pawnbroker to pay for a certain item. Our selling attempts fared much better this time around, and we managed to come away with a healthy £19 profit. But, let’s be honest, we’re not likely to go full-time…

complete

80

Verdict:

%

There’s no doubt that you can learn all the tricks of the trade to becoming a full-time dealer, but making a profit is a whole lot harder than we anticipated. You’ll have a lot of fun, but we wouldn’t advise giving up the day job!

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53

status update
Which devices are best for the hacking scene?

Hacker Zøne
Tips and tricks
away from the handset and open up a Terminal window on your desktop computer. Most Android devices, not including Samsung models such as the Galaxy S III, have something called fastboot. This is a protocol that enables you to carry out certain diagnostic tasks via a USB connection between device and PC. These tasks include things like flashing a ROM, a bootloader or a recovery image – it is often required for rooting devices (such as in the case of the Nexus 7), and if you can access fastboot mode then your phone should be recoverable, even if you cannot otherwise boot it. To access fastboot mode you need the Android SDK installed on your computer (and will need the appropriate drivers for your device if you’re using Windows), and be comfortable using a command line interface. See our step-by-step for a quick guide on using fastboot.

WorldMags.net Explore the limits of your Android device

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

Get to know fastboot mode

Nexus 4

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!

Most of the processes involved with hacking an Android phone or tablet can be performed on the device itself using an app with a GUI. Tap a few buttons here, select a few options there and the task is done without you even needing to get your hands dirty. But for more advanced tasks, or to recover your device in the event that things have gone wrong, you might have no option but to step

The new clock is among the 4.2 features you can add to older devices

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.

Nexus 7

Rooted? Yes Active Development: ■■■ Medium Some handy mods are available, but the Nexus 7 isn’t really in need of any new ROMs at this early stage in its life Use fastboot mode on a Nexus 7

The best of 4.2 on your older device

If you don’t own a Nexus then the likelihood is you will be waiting a while before you get Android 4.2 on your device, if you ever do at all. Fortunately, as always, you can add some of the update’s best features

yourself. The new keyboard, Gmail app, Clock and Gallery apps are among those that can be downloaded and installed. In most cases, they aren’t apk files that can be installed normally, but packaged as a zip file that needs to be flashed on a rooted handset – they will overwrite the existing apps, so you will need to make sure you have proper backups of the older versions just in case, and note that they may not be compatible with every ROM. One app not available is the impressive Photo Sphere tool. This app requires server access to run, and is limited to only a set number of handsets. You can find the apps in this thread on the xda-developers. com website: http://bit.ly/Xw6YhJ.

quickhacks
Fastboot explained
Fastboot is your gateway to controlling your device in the cleanest and simplest way. The command line tool is for advanced users only, but learning how to use it can be very valuable. You need the Android SDK installed from developer.android.com first. Open a Terminal window and change the directory to one housing the fastboot utility in the Android SDK folder – the tools folder on Windows or platform-tools on Mac. Use the cd command to change the directory.

1 Launch the Terminal

Boot into fastboot using the key combination you use to boot into recovery, but don’t launch recovery itself. With your phone connected via USB, use the command ‘fastboot devices’ to check the connection.

2 Boot into fastboot

You can now use fastboot mode. For a simple example of its uses, type fastboot reboot (again, it is ./fastboot on Mac) and you can reboot your device without even touching it.

3 Test the connection

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Hacker Zøne

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Buster
OS

“Titanium Backup has been updated and enhanced”

Get up to speed on all the terms you need to know when hacking your phone
Short for ‘operating system’. Often the Android ROM will be referred to as the OS – this just means the system files on the Android device that make up your user experience, similar to Windows, Mac OS X or Ubuntu on a desktop computer.

Unlock 4.2 Developer Options

Keep root even when installing OTA updates

Keep root when updating

With a rooted device the update process can be more complicated than with non-rooted devices. In many instances rooting will mean you cannot receive over-the-air (OTA) updates, especially if you have performed other mods on the device. If you are using a custom ROM then you will have no other option for updating than manually. If you are able to install an OTA update then you will most likely find that your device becomes unrooted in the process, and that your custom recovery gets overwritten with a new, and largely feature-free stock recovery instead. Therefore, you should install OTA RootKeeper. The app makes a backup of your device’s root which it can restore once the update is installed. The app does not support every device but for Nexuses especially it is a very effective tool.

If you’ve updated your phone or tablet to Android 4.2 recently, or picked up one of the new devices that launched with the latest version of the OS, you may or may not have noticed that the Developer Options are no longer in their traditional place in Settings. Don’t worry, they haven’t been removed, just hidden from view, and you can get them back easily. Open Settings on your device and scroll down to About at the bottom and tap it. Now scroll down until you see Build number, and tap on Build number seven times. With four taps to go you’ll see a message counting you down, and

when you’re done, it will congratulate you on unlocking the Developer Options. Now hit the back button to remove the main Settings screen and there you will now see the Developer Options buttons, just as you remember. You can now turn on USB debugging for those USB connections to your computer, and adjust the speed of animations to add some extra snappiness.

ROM

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

Backup system apps

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.

Get your Developer Options back in 4.2

One of the most essential apps in the hacker’s toolkit, Titanium Backup, has been updated and enhanced with two major new features. The first is the ability to back up system apps. Until now the app had been able to create backups of third-party apps from the Play store or downloaded separately, but was not able to do the same with those apps built into your device. This makes it easy to restore system apps to a new ROM, although do note that some manufacturer-specific apps such as those in TouchWiz or HTC Sense will not be able to be installed on devices that don’t run those skins, so the app does not represent an easy way to port those. The other main new feature in the Titanium Backup update enables you to create a flashable zip that simplifies the process of restoring your apps and data whenever you have factory reset your device prior to flashing a new ROM. A lite version of the app is available for free, but we recommend the paid-for offering.

ROM Manager

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 you’ve 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

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 files onto the system folder, for instance.

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. It’s very useful should you wish to restore your phone to its previous state later.

Hacking the easy way
Root Checker

Get great new features without getting your hands (too) dirty App Quarantine Boot Animations

Radio

» Free

From: Play store Need root? Yes Rooted your Android smartphone? The Root Checker app is the easiest way to make sure the process worked well, or to see whether you have still got root after an another update.

» Free

From: Play store Need root? Yes Hide some of the bloatware that came installed on your device. By freezing apps, you can remove them from the app tray and prevent them from launching on startup.

» Free

From: Play store Need root? Yes Tired of waiting for your phone to boot? Well, we can’t do anything about that but we can make it more fun. Boot animations changes the boot screen to something interesting.

‘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 flash memory, a type of solid-state storage. The terms ‘flash’ or ‘flashing’ mean installing new software onto your device’s storage.

Check our website daily for even more tips & tricks

»www.littlegreenrobot.co.uk WorldMags.net

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HACKING MADE EASY

Don’t go to pieces hacking your phone. Use our guide to put the jigsaw together

“The process itself is relatively simple once you know what you are doing”

F
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or Android enthusiasts, being able to hack a phone or tablet is an essential part of the platform’s appeal. It means that rather than settling for what your phone could do right out of the box, it can grow and develop over the life of its contract. Want to give it a new look, or make it run faster? You can. Want to update the OS version long after

the manufacturer has abandoned the device? You can do that too. But the thought of hacking a device can be quite daunting for those who haven’t done it before. It isn’t a trivial task, and things can go wrong, yet the process itself is relatively simple once you know what you are doing. And once you understand some of the

processes and concepts involved you’ll be confident to test out as many ROMs, hacks and tweaks as you want to. In this feature we’ll guide you through those processes and concepts, and give you a full, easy-to-follow walkthrough on hacking your phone. Then you really will be able to unlock your phone’s full potential.

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Before you begin Six things you need to know
charged 1 Stayyou do any of the tasks on these Before
pages you should make sure your phone is fully charged and preferably plugged into the mains. Just about the worst thing that can happen is for your phone to run out of charge halfway through having its OS replaced.

Updating an 3 You can often updateold phone on a handset stuck
an older version of Android to at least one newer version, and in some cases more. However, you shouldn’t always expect a fully stable upgrade – these hacks are unofficial and may push the hardware capabilities of your phone to the limit.

5 Updates ROM The number of
updates available varies wildly from one handset to another. However, the popular flagship phones, like the Galaxy S III or the Nexus devices, are heavily supported by the Android developer community.

issues 2 Warrantyon rooting is always that it The official line
‘may’ invalidate your warranty. Software issues caused when rooting or flashing ROMs will obviously not be covered. If you experience hardware issues then it is recommended that you return the device to its stock ROM and unroot before making a warranty claim.

Follow 4 The generalthe instructions principles of rooting a
smartphone or flashing a ROM are really quite straightforward, and so long as you follow the instructions nothing should go wrong. Always resist the temptation to fiddle with any other settings or options you may encounter along the way, unless you know exactly what they do.

6 Disclaimer give you all the info you This guide should
need to hack your phone but we can’t take responsibility for anything that goes wrong.

How to root your phone
The term rooting refers to unlocking access to system files and functions on a device that are normally blocked for the user. With this ‘root access’ you can perform hacks on just about any part of the phone. The rooting process differs from one device to the next, although there are a number of toolkits that make the job a whole lot easier. These are normally Windows-based, so you may need to borrow a machine if you haven’t got one. When rooting you also need to install a custom Recovery (see over the page). We use ClockworkMod Recovery – this is either Mod installed when rooting or you can install it separately using the free ROM Manager app from the Google Play store. We’ve put a table together below that explains the process for 16 of the leading Android devices on the market today.

Name
Samsung Galaxy S III Samsung Galaxy S II Samsung Galaxy Note II Samsung Galaxy Note Samsung Galaxy Ace Samsung Galaxy Nexus Nexus 4 Nexus 7 Nexus 10 HTC One X HTC One S HTC One V Sony Xperia T Sony Xperia U Sony Xperia S Huawei G300 Motorola RAZR i

Root process
Use Samsung Galaxy S3 toolkit (non-US devices only): http://bit.ly/R1lCdV

Difficulty rating

Manually flash via stock recovery (method 1 found at this link: http://bit.ly/Y5MCLd)
Root via Odin in Windows – root with Advanced CWM method: http://bit.ly/ThTVvR Root via Odin in Windows: http://bit.ly/TZTxAG Use CF-Root for Gingerbread. Find downloads and instructions at: http://bit.ly/RWjfWL Galaxy Nexus Root Toolkit; flash ClockworkMod Recovery through ROM Manager www.wugfresh.com/nrt Root via fastboot and command line. Includes bootloader unlocking, which wipes all data from device: http://bit.ly/R1AUPL Root using Nexus 7 Toolkit. Includes bootloader unlocking, which wipes all data from device: http://bit.ly/UqFDIe Root using Nexus 10 Toolkit. Includes bootloader unlocking, which wipes all data from device: http://bit.ly/UYP0mB Root using All-In-One Toolkit (Tegra 3 devices only): http://bit.ly/XFoRL2 Root using All-In-One Toolkit: http://bit.ly/Y5Zp0j Root using All-In-One Toolkit: http://bit.ly/RWkkhu Unlock bootloader via unlockbootloader.sonymobile.com, then use Root_with_Restore tool (http://bit.ly/Scs00l) and flash ClockworkMod Recovery via ROM Manager Unlock bootloader via unlockbootloader.sonymobile.com, then use Root_with_Restore tool (http://bit.ly/Scs00l), flash ClockworkMod Recovery via ROM Manager Unlock bootloader via unlockbootloader.sonymobile.com, then use Root_with_Restore tool (http://bit.ly/Scs00l), flash ClockworkMod Recovery via ROM Manager Root with the SuperRecovery app: http://bit.ly/ULOqT3 Unlock the bootloader via http://bit.ly/WlLeyV. Root using the RAZR i Root tool, http://bit.ly/WlLjCB. Custom recovery is available from http://bit.ly/Qx4cpI

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First steps
Explaining Recovery Mode
Before you can begin hacking your phone you need to ensure you have a custom recovery installed, and know your way around it. But what exactly is Recovery Mode?
Recovery is a small partition on an Android phone that boots independently of the main operating system that can be used to carry out various administrative tasks. Because it runs separately from Android it is able to access all the Android system files, and change and overwrite them as needed. When you install an official update on your device it will boot into Recovery Mode in order to install it, and likewise you will use recovery when flashing a new ROM of your own. Android devices come with a stock recovery that isn’t really intended for the user, so is lacking in functionality. When you root a phone you must also install a custom recovery – it makes backing up or flashing ROMs an absolute breeze. If one wasn’t installed during the root process then download ROM Manager from the Play store and install it using the Flash ClockworkMod Recovery option. This is the most popular recovery and is well worth familiarising yourself with.

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Touch or tap?

There are touch and non-touch versions of ClockworkMod. Controlling the touch version is obvious; you control the non-touch version using the volume keys to scroll the menus and the power button to select an option

The advanced options are mostly harmless but it’s best to get in the habit of ignoring anything until you know exactly what it does. Randomly clicking buttons is the easiest way to cause damage!

Beware the advanced options

Take your time

Can’t undo

Don’t be in a rush when using ClockworkMod. Backing up, restoring a backup or flashing a whole new ROM can take several minutes at a time and cannot be interrupted once it has begun

You can’t undo anything you do within ClockworkMod so make sure you only choose the things you are certain you want to do. The most important functions have scary confirmation screens that should ensure you don’t proceed by accident.

“It is able to access all the Android system files, and change and overwrite them as needed”

Guide to ClockworkMod Recovery

1 Flash ROMs and other files
ROMs and other flashable files (flashing means system files are replaced) come in the .zip format and can be installed using the Install ZIP from SD card option. You need to have them stored on a card or in internal storage to select them.

2 Reset your phone
If you are installing a wholly new ROM, rather than simply upgrading to a different version of one similar to that which you are using already, then it is recommended that you perform a factory reset first. The wipe cache partition option will clear unneeded app data as well.

3 Back up and restore
Whenever you do any kind of hack to your Android device you should ensure you create a Nandroid backup first. This is a full snapshot of your entire operating system in its full working order, and gives you something to roll back to should you encounter any problems.

4 Access storage
It is also possible to mount your device’s SD card (or internal storage) as a drive on your desktop computer, enabling you to copy files to or from it without needing to exit recovery and reboot the system. It can be a very useful way of backing up those backups.

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App vs Recovery
This guide is showing you how to use ClockworkMod Recovery in manual form, but there are also some apps available that will automate the process for you. If your root process is compatible then ROM Manager is a popular and easy-to-use app that puts a friendlier front on some of the complex tasks. We take a look at some of the pros and cons, and if you decide to stick with the manual recovery option, as we recommend, ROM Manager is still worth keeping on hand if only because it gives you the ability to boot quickly into recovery without needing to power down and restart using the key combination.

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Manual recovery
Pros:
• Very quick and reliable once you know how to use it • Helps you learn and understand the concepts involved • Accessible even if your smartphone won’t boot

ROM Manager
Pros:
• Easy to use • Has familiar, Android-styled, touch-based UI • Enables quick boot into recovery

Cons:
• Not always 100% reliable • Inaccessible without booting into Android

Cons:
• Can be daunting for less confident users

“ROM Manager is a popular and easy-to-use app that puts use a friendlier front on some of the complex tasks”

The next stage
Working with backups
It goes without saying that backups are absolutely essential when hacking an Android device, and they come in two forms: a backup of your data and a backup of your system. The backup of your data is most self-explanatory. This saves the apps you’ve installed, your settings within them, and all your data (such as text messages and files) so that if, as is likely, you need to reset your device before flashing a ROM you can restore everything again as quickly as possible. The best app for this is Titanium Backup. It requires root and is able to create a backup of pretty much your entire phone. Once you’ve flashed a new ROM and are faced with setting up your phone from scratch you merely need to log in to your Google account, download Titanium Backup from the Play store and then restore the backup. You can be up and running again within half an hour. However, you should note that some apps cannot be restored if they are unique to one device – an app from within HTC Sense cannot be installed on a ROM that does not include the Sense UI, for example. The backup of the system is called a Nandroid backup and is even easier to do as it involves no settings and simply creates a snapshot of your entire system – OS and all. If you create a Nandroid backup of your phone running Gingerbread and then flash an Ice Cream Sandwich ROM, restoring that backup would revert your phone back to Gingerbread. For this reason Nandroid backups are not used for restoring data. A Nandroid backup is like a time machine – it takes you back to the precise moment you made it. Any apps you’ve installed since you created it will not be there; any emails will be downloaded again etc. For this reason, the more recent the backup the better it is.

Back up and restore your data
To back up your data, download the Titanium Backup app from the Play store. We’ll use this to create a full backup of your apps, data and settings that can be restored on a freshly reset device. You need to be rooted to use the app.

1 Find your
choices
Open the Titanium Backup app and accept the request for root privileges when prompted. Now tap the tick icon in the top-right corner of the screen to see a very comprehensive list of backup options.

2 Start the
backup
Find the ‘Backup all user apps + system data option’ a third of the way down the screen and tap Run. Hit the green tick and the backup will commence. It will continue in the background if you want to use your device.

3 Restore

the backup

Restoring a backup is as simple as repeating step one but choosing the ‘Restore all missing apps + system data’ option instead. It takes a while to complete so be patient and make yourself a cup of tea while you wait!

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1 ROM
Manager
If you’re using ROM Manager simply tap the Backup Current ROM option, give your backup a suitable name and tap OK. The device will reboot and the backup will begin. It takes a while and you can’t interrupt the process.

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Backing up your system
A Nandroid backup is essential as both a way of quickly reverting back to your previous ROM – very handy if you’re testing new ROMs and don’t yet want to commit to one – and for recovering your phone should you ever encounter any problems.

2 Using

ClockworkMod

Alternatively boot into Recovery Mode using the key combination for your device and navigate your way through the options: backup and restore>backup. The backup will begin straight away with no confirmation required from you.

Restoring your system
Nandroid backups should not be used for restoring data. Instead, use them if you want to revert your phone to how it was before, or if you have problems flashing a ROM and cannot boot into Android. Restoring your Nandroid will get you up and running again.

1 Use

recovery

2 Pick your
backup
You’ll now see a list of available backups. Pick the one you want to restore and accept at the confirmation screen. Once you’ve accepted you cannot interrupt or undo the restore, so back up what you’re restoring over if you want to use it in future.

“Use them if you want to revert your phone to how it was before, or if you have a problem flashing a ROM” ”

Even though you can restore backups using ROM Manager, this task is best completed directly in Recovery Mode. Boot into it in the correct way for your device and then navigate your way to ‘backup and restore>restore’.

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Ready to go…
Flashing ROMs and other things
So now you’re familiar with some of the ideas involved in hacking your phone or tablet, you’re ready to go. Flashing changes or replaces system files, or adds or removes files from your device’s ROM – something that is inaccessible to editing through Android itself. Most of the time you’ll be flashing a ROM, which is an entirely new build of the operating system and gives you the ability to run the latest version of Android on your device even when there is not an official update for it. This is one of the massive draws of hacking. But you can also flash smaller updates, modifications and even apps (newer versions of system apps can often be installed this way – although, don’t just zip up your favourite apps and try and flash them). In this tutorial we’ll show you how to flash CyanogenMod 10, available in Jelly Bean, Ice Cream Sandwich and Gingerbread versions for most devices. The Google apps, such as Gmail, do need to be flashed separately with this ROM.

Flashing a ROM
Step 1: Your phone must be rooted. Step 2: You must have a custom
recovery installed (such as ClockworkMod Recovery).

Step 3: Download the latest stable build of CyanogenMod for your specific device from http://get.cm (or visit forum.xda-developers.com,

locate the forum for your Android device and download it from there). Copy the downloaded .zip file to your memory card.

Step 4: Finally, you’ll need to back up
your data using the Titanium Backup app. Then simply save the backup to your desktop.

5 Boot into recovery
Boot into Recovery Mode and create an all-important Nandroid backup, as explained in the previous section. The Nandroid backup will be saved to your external memory card if you have one, or the internal option if not. Note that a factory reset won’t wipe the Nandroid.

6 Wipe the memory
The instructions for the ROM you’re flashing will indicate whether a factory reset is a good idea or not, but there’s no harm doing it as standard. Return to the main options screen in Recovery Mode and now select the ‘Wipe data/factory reset’ option and confirm.

7 Choose your ROM
Return again to the main options menu and select ‘Install zip from sdcard’, then ‘Choose zip from sdcard’. Locate the CyanogenMod ROM, in the .zip form. Keep scrolling down until you find where it is situated, or browse your way to the folder you saved it in.

8 Confirm and go
Confirm the installation when prompted and the ROM will begin being flashed to your device. Leave it to complete, and don’t try and interrupt the process. It may take a few minutes to finish and once it is done, select the Restart device option to reboot the phone.

The ROM Manager solution

Your phone might take a few minutes to boot the first time, so give it longer than you normally would. Once it has started, set up your Wi-Fi, log in to your Google account, download Titanium Backup from the Play store and restore your apps and data from your backup. Job done!

9 Set up again

Create your backup 10 If you prefer the ROM
Manager solution, the process can be completed within the same app. Choose Backup current ROM to create your Nandroid backup (you will still need to use Titanium Backup for your data).

a ROM 11 DownloadDownload Tapping on the
ROM option enables you to view a select number of ROMs compatible with your device. You can download one directly within the app rather than having to download from the web and copy to your card.

ROM 12 Install theInstall ROM Finally, tap the
from SD card option then choose the ROM you have downloaded. The device will now restart in Recovery Mode and flash the ROM, exactly as happens in step 8. Now restart as shown in step 9.

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Wrap up
Quick and easy OS updates Highly configurable

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The best ROMs to get you started
Completely new look Same software… but more power

» www.cyanogenmod.org The best place to start, and the easiest way to upgrade your phone to a new version of the OS. Versions are available for dozens of devices, and there are hundreds of unofficial builds as well.

» CyanogenMod

» MIUI » Paranoid Android

» www.paranoid-rom.com Based on CyanogenMod, Paranoid Android gives you three choices for the user interface: phone mode, tablet mode and hybrid mode (a la the Nexus 7). Available on 46 devices.

One of the most popular ROMs to experiment with, MIUI has a radically different user interface to ‘normal’ Android and has a vast range of skins for further customisation.

» en.miui.com

» Android

AndroidRevolutionHD A good choice if you like your phone’s original software and skin but would like an enhanced version of it.

Revolution HD » www.facebook/com/

FAQ Your problems solved
I’ve flashed a ROM but now my phone won’t boot!
Don’t panic, you will inevitably encounter this at some point the more ROMs you try. Turn the phone off (pull the battery if necessary) and boot into recovery again. Try re-flashing your ROM or restoring your Nandroid backup. Or you can download a new ROM, copy it to your SD card and try flashing that instead.

This may be an IMEI problem, as seen on some Samsung devices. Restore your Nandroid then create a backup of your ‘\efs’ folder, which contains the IMEI details.

I can’t connect to the network after updating my ROM

I’ve flashed a ROM but the phone keeps crashing
Remember that these are unofficial, enthusiast projects. Some ROMs, like CyanogenMod or MIUI, have reached commercial levels of quality, but others may be of varying levels of quality and stability. It’s a good idea to try several ROMs before settling on a single one.

I don’t like this ROM, how can I go back?

This is what your Nandroid backup is for. Boot into recovery, or use ROM Manager, and restore the backup you made before you flashed the ROM.

I think I’ve bricked my phone!

Titanium Backup doesn’t work on my Android
Your phone needs to be rooted for Titanium Backup to work. Repeat the root process again.

My Nandroid backup won’t restore

If the Nandroid has corrupted you’ll need to locate another ROM to flash. Head to forum. xda-developers.com, find the forum for your specific device and search for a stock ROM.

‘Bricking’ only really applies to devices that no longer function at all. If yours still does something then it should be recoverable. If you can boot to recovery then either restore a Nandroid backup or flash a new ROM. If not, look into using fastboot (or download mode on a Samsung device). That should enable you to get your smartphone back up and running.

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FOR THE GNU GENERATION

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With a tablet in one hand and a phone in the other, we take a look at the apps you must download
ranging from multimedia to utilities and this showcases the sheer breadth of what is out there. Our choice has been based on their usefulness to the average Android user or, in some cases, their ability to astound us on a technical level. With these on your device, you will seldom be bored, that’s for sure.

here are hundreds of thousands of Android apps available to download for your device. Many of them are free, some are paid for but not all of them are good. Which is where we come in, presenting the 100 apps that every Android owner should consider. We have grouped them into specific categories

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Your phone is now your go-to media hub. Here’s a rundown of the best apps for it

»100 essential apps

Feature

Multimedia

FilmOn Live TV Free
» Price Free
In a hotel room and fed up of the BBC World Service? Use this app to watch more than 120 live television channels from across the UK, Europe and USA. The menu-driven system makes it as easy as tapping a channel to call up the broadcast on screen. A truly essential application for all users.

Audible for Android
» Price Free
If you want to catch up with your reading while you’re doing other things, this audio book service is the perfect choice. As well as being able to buy audio books, this Amazonpowered app offers free try-before-you-buy extracts, the ability to post to Facebook, tweet or use email and a news feed. But Audible also gives you the perfect way to listen to audio books. You get a full array of playback options, with some neat swipes that let you bookmark the audio or go forward and back 30 seconds. You can also turn a sleep mode on if you want to play an audio book until you nod off. Audio can be sped up or slowed down, and books can be played in the background. There are very few all-in-one audio book packages that are anywhere near as comprehensive as this.

DeaDBeeF Player
» Price Free
The name may be rather bizarre but this is an otherwise straightforward music-playing app that allows the use of a wide variety of file formats and gives you the ability to place them into playlists. There are lots of ways of playing music and there is even last.fm ‘scrobbling’ as standard.

BeyondPod Podcast Manager » Price Free
As well as being able to download, listen and watch podcasts from your Android device, BeyondPod also doubles as an RSS reader. It’s free for seven days but it is well worth paying after that for an app which lets you filter by topic, import local files and access via a widget. Give it a go.

BBC iPlayer
» Price Free
The BBC iPlayer has long been a television institution and is a highly popular way of catching up on the last seven days of television and radio, while also being able to watch and listen to live broadcasts. Even better news, it works wonders over Wi-Fi and 3G, and is an absolute breeze to use.

“A highly popular way of catching up on the last seven days of television and radio, while also being able to watch and listen to live broadcasts”
Kobo
» Price Free
Kindle, iBooks… there is a lot of choice in the eBook market, but Kobo is an excellent choice with millions of free and affordable books to choose from.

MX Player
» Price Free
Install the MX Player codec within the app then enjoy watching movies stored on your device on a host of formats, even files with surround effects.

My Xbox LIVE
» Price Free
Show off your achievements on the bus and connect with your pals on Microsoft’s Xbox Live system. You can even easily change your avatar.

Shazam
» Price Free
An innovative app which absorbs a few seconds of a song you don’t know, processes it and then comes back with a suggestion as to what it is.

» Price Free

Sky Go

Have a Sky subscription? Stream all six Sky Sports channels, the 11 Sky Movies channels and other greats such as Sky Atlantic direct to a phone.

Sky+

» Price Free
View the Electronic Programme Guide and record an entire series on your Sky+ box at home with just a few taps on your smartphone’s screen.

Spotify

» Price Free
Being able to stream from a choice of millions of songs to your phone with offline listening makes this music app worth every penny of its subscription fee.

TuneIn Radio Pro
» Price £0.61/$0.99
Hundreds of radio stations – both mainstream and niche – from across the world come to your ears in clear audio, and you can record them too.

UberHype for Hype Machine » Price Free
We love new music and love applications like this which scour the web looking for brand new tunes for us to discover, tailored to our taste.

Vevo

» Price Free
Music videos can be watched for free via this popular app, pulling in from a catalogue of more than 50,000 videos. Well worth a download!

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Genius Scan
» Price £0.99/$0.99
Scan documents using your device, email them as PDFs and JPEGs or upload them to a cloud service such as Dropbox.

Let these apps provide essential support for your everyday life

Productivity

Hullomail
» Price Free
This app not only allows you to manage voicemails, it also lets you record and send voice messages to other people.

Jorte Calendar
» Price Free
An amazing personal organiser that is customisable and feature packed. You can sync with Google Calendar.

AirDroid
» Price Free
AirDroid lets you manage your phone from any browser, without the need to install software to your PC or Mac. As well as being able to transfer files and delve into items on your SD card, you can install and uninstall apps and manage your media, from images to music.

Any.DO To Do List
» Price Free
This slick affair will ensure you never forget anything again and remain megaorganised. Record tasks as soon as you get it on your phone and sort by date, folder or priority. Tasks are categorised according to today, tomorrow, this week and later so you know just what is coming up.

Call Blocker
» Price Free
As one of the most useful inventions known to mankind, you can use this app from the Google Play store to input the phone numbers of callers who annoy you. Once inputted, they will never be able to call you again. Unwanted calls can also be sent auto-text messages.

Lookout Security & Antivirus » Price Free
Lookout lets you track down a lost Android phone and its in-built antivirus helps to protect your phone.

MightyText – SMS from Computer » Price Free

Send texts via your Android phone number through your computer and have the messages sync with your device.

OfficeSuite Pro 6 + (PDF & HD) » Price £9.36/$14.99
If you need to create, edit and share office documents on the move, then there is no finer option than this app.

OpenDocument Reader
» Price Free
Frustrated at not being able to read OpenOffice and LibreOffice docs? With Open Document you needn’t worry again.

Dropbox
» Price Free
Install Dropbox on your PC or Mac, place files within the special folder and they will be accessible on your Android device – and vice versa. Having files synced across devices is brilliant. Dropbox supports loads of files, including PDFs and it ensures they stay with you on the move.

Easy Voice Recorder
» Price Free
Although supported by adverts, Easy Voice Recorder doesn’t distract you from its main task which is to record, share and manage audio and voices. You can choose the quality of your recording which is great for keeping storage space to a minimum or ensuring top-notch audio.

Evernote
» Price Free
With a visual overhaul, Evernote on Android is better than ever and arguably the best of its kind on any platform. This note-taking app syncs notes made on any system on which you have access to Evernote and its note-taking abilities go beyond text to video, images and audio.

Pageonce
» Price Free
Keep an eye on your finances and ensure your bills are paid on time and your investments are making money.

Scan

» Price Free

QR code readers are essential nowadays and this app keeps everything simple with automatic recognition.

Skype

» Price Free

Free video phone calls between Skype users is always a bonus which is why we love this app. It doubles as a great IM too.

Timer

» Price £0.63/$0.99

Need to remember when that egg is done? Using Timer gives you a countdown for any task you wish to perform.

“Its note-taking abilities go beyond text to video, images and audio”

Writer

» Price Free

Word processors can be distracting with their endless features. Writer strips things down to give clarity.

There’s a brilliant app for everything you can think of

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»100 essential apps

Feature

Social
» Price Free

Keeping on top of your online life has never been easier

Boid for Twitter
Although Boid is no longer in development (it has been made open source so other developers may take it up to work on), it still ranks as one of the finest Twitter clients around. On our tablets, it makes excellent use of the screen, showing a list of the most recent tweets in white and blue text on black in a way that enriches the Twitter experience. Tapping a tweet gives you options to write your own tweet, star the one you are reading, retweet and share to various media giants like Google Drive and Facebook. Tweets can also be copied with a couple of taps and you can also view global trends. We just love the way it lets you manage columns – you can add a column dedicated to one of your saved searches – and gives a clean and simple Twitter environment free from clutter, just as the service was always intended to be. There are some equally good-looking apps in development, but all lack features that you take for granted.

“Where Instagram comes into its own is in the effects you can add”
» Price Free

Instagram
Instagram enables you to share retro-enhanced photographs using existing social media such as Facebook and Twitter and it is an extremely popular social network in itself. One of the most fun aspects is being able to view other people’s images by tapping the Explore icon. This gives you lots of inspiration for your own photographs which you can quickly take using your device’s camera. But where Instagram comes into its own is in the effects you can add to your images. Photos really shine with Polaroid-style end results thanks to an array of filters which give photos a very retro, vintage feel. Instagram is a classic example of an app that ‘just works’. It has the magical ability to add interest to virtually any image, helping you get the most from your phone’s camera in the process. And yes, it saves the original, untouched version of your shots too.

Falcon for Twitter
» Price Free
Falcon is a great widget for those who want to dip in and out of Twitter with the minimum of fuss. It cuts out the process of having to tap the Twitter app to see the latest tweets. You can read your timeline via the main screen of your Android and still be able to tweet and retweet.

Flickr

» Price Free
It’s an old service that predates the mobile age but it’s still the best online service for photography enthusiasts. And what better way to take advantage of it than being able to take a photo via this application, edit it with the brilliant built-in tools and send it directly to Flickr?

Foursquare
» Price Free
Foursquare is the perfect fit for your Android device given that it allows you to record and share the places you visit, and then see what other people in your circles recommend for you. The portable nature of Android devices makes this a must-have application to download from Google Play.

Go SMS Pro
» Price Free
Text messages are still as popular as ever and you can take them to another level with this app. The most useful functions are the ability to schedule your SMSs and the function for simple group texting. With a great range of skins it’s also a fun app to use and customise.

HaxSync – 4.x Facebook Sync
» Price £0.89/$0.99
HaxSync takes the data on Facebook and applies it to your Android device, letting you pull images for contacts and sync events to your calendar.

Echofon PRO for Twitter » Price £2.99/$3.99
A good-looking Twitter client for your Android device, which gives you a handy desktop widget and instant notifications of any direct messages, mentions, follows and retweets.

LinkedIn
» Price Free
Don’t mix business with pleasure. Use LinkedIn to keep a check on your business contacts and upload a CV-esque profile. The app is easy to use and gives most of the functions of the website.

SoundCloud
» Price Free
If you need to record a segment of audio and then edit them, SoundCloud is the go-to application which gives you trim, edit and fade functions among many others.

Tapatalk Forum App » Price £1.99/$2.99
Forums suddenly become far more user-friendly and easy to use when you download the unique Tapatalk Forum App. It formats the forums to fit perfectly with your device.

Tumblr

» Price Free
With Tumblr, you are able to use your phone to share all manner of media to this popular social network, as well as view messages and write to others.

Waze social GPS traffic & gas » Price Free
There is no point driving in isolation and with Waze you can hook up with other drivers and share real-time traffic information and accident reports.

WhatsApp
» Price Free
WhatsApp Messenger is a cross-platform messaging gem which brings together users of all of the major smartphone operating systems.

Wikitude
» Price Free
Using Augmented Reality, you can place an extra layer on your real-life surroundings with information overlaid on moving footage of your vicinity.

zeebox UK
» Price Free
When watching television, use Zeebox to hook up with other people and see what they think and chat about your favourite parts of a show.

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IntoNow
» Price Free
When you’re watching TV, you press the green button and it identifies what’s on screen, letting you get extra info.

Turn your Android device into the most important thing you carry around

Lifestyle
CoPilot GPS
» Price Free

Jamie’s 20 Minute Meals
» Price Free
With 60 recipes, you won’t go hungry as Jamie shows you how to prepare a range of dishes via high-quality video and text.

National Rail Enquiries
» Price Free
Rail travel is much easier with this app, given that it shows you real-time information and detailed timetables.

Pattrn

» Price Free

Does nothing more than give you a pretty wallpaper on your Android device, but the quality is there for you to see and enjoy.

After a short while unpacking data to your phone, then downloading maps (which take a while), you’ll be able to motor with ease. CoPilot GPS is a wonderful offline route planner that gives you directions to wherever you wish to go and has detailed maps containing lots of points of interest. It is one of the most essential downloads for anyone who travels.

» Price Free

Official eBay Android App

It may have been around a while but this app has no equal when it comes to trying to sell and buy unwanted items. Improvements have been made to the selling side of the app and it retains its usefulness as an on-the-go tracker of your eBay activity, letting you bid and make offers, pay and get notifications for crucial times.

Perfectly Clear for Android » Price £1.25/$1.99
Photo manipulation can be a pain but this app takes away the hassle with Automatic Image Correction.

Hailo

» Price Free
Want a cab in London or Dublin? Fancy a ride in Chicago, Boston and Toronto? Open this app, hail a cab with it and then get out when you arrive, having paid on your Android device and got an emailed receipt in return. When you open the app, it will highlight your location and then look for licensed black cabs which are around the area. If there are none, it will let you know (don’t forget it only works in certain areas) but if it does find any, they will be flagged up with large yellow icons. You simply tap Pick Me Up Here and the driver is alerted. It’s a completely seamless experience – all we need now is an app that will take care of the small talk with the driver for you.

Rightmove
» Price Free
When you are looking for a property, having up-to-date information on your phone makes it all less stressful.

BaconReader for Reddit
» Price Free
Delivering Reddit content with a clean interface and tailored for both those who are new or old to the concept.

Songkick Concerts
» Price Free
If you love going to gigs, then scanning your music tastes to find concerts that best suit will prove a great accessory.

TripAdvisor City Guides
» Price Free
Gone are the days of carrying a weighty travel guide around. The TripAdvisor city guides are packed with great information.

WebMD for Android
» Price Free
No substitute for a doctor but WebMD can fill you in with details of various ailments and give accurate advice.

“It’s a completely seamless experience”
Endomondo Sports Tracker PRO » Price £3.99/$4.99
Endomondo assists you when running, cycling or walking, tracking your exercise and letting you gain encouragement live from friends. With a heart monitor, goals, graphs and a low power mode, pretty much everything has been thought of. Well worth the money.

Xbox SmartGlass
» Price Free
This app will become ever more useful. Not only can you use it to play games, you can also navigate the Xbox menu.

Groupon – Daily Deals, Coupons » Price Free
Excellent for buying stuff you never knew you needed, Groupon is nevertheless a place for bargains. This app allows you to select your location and buy and redeem Groupons direct from your device, giving you access to all manner of spas and teeth-whitening specialists.

Songify
» Price Free
Lots of fun, if not pointless, Songify takes your best speaking voice and transforms your words into a music extravaganza by setting it to a tune. It works by auto-tuning your voice over background music of your choice. It’s a bit of fun – perfect for handing your phone to the kids.

Zombie Run!
» Price £5.49/$7.99
Zombie Run! combines a fitness app with a zombie survival game. Run faster to escape the marauding undead.

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»100 essential apps

Feature

Utilities

From web browsers to digital toolboxes, Google Play is awash with brilliant utilities

GO Backup Pro
» Price Free
Being able to back up your contacts, messages and apps makes life easier if you ever lost your device or have it stolen. It is also good for when you switch to a new device. This app works best on a phone that is rooted, granting it superuser access. When rooted, the app can back up app data, but unrooted phones still get a comprehensive backup that can even be done to Dropbox.

HD Widgets

» Price £1.49/$2.99
After a fiddly set up in which you must restart your device, this app gives you access to some snazzy new widgets which you select by going to your home screen, tapping Menu and then Add>Widget. There are widgets of various sizes and types ranging from clocks and switches to weather, and they can be configured to suit you. It’s a great way to customise your device’s look.

Light Flow Lite – LED Control » Price Free
The notifications feature of Android is already a great service – and one which Apple took inspiration from – but this app can make life even better by letting you control it with LEDs, sounds and vibration. This ensures you know what kind of notification is coming in at any one time. Not all phones are compatible with Light Flow, but it’s well worth a try because it is a free download.

Apex Launcher
» Price Free
Created for Android 4.0 and up, this works wonders on the new breed of tablets and on higher-end phones. The idea is that you are able to customise the home page and ensure you have an experienced tailored for you. There are lots of different themes from which to choose from and a scrollable dock which can fit seven icons to a page. It’s a fantastic app that is able to maintain the same look as your current home screen while adding bags of extra functionality and customisation options. We also find it to be quite a bit faster than many of the built-in launchers that come on today’s leading devices.

Dolphin Browser
» Price Free
With voice search, sharing on social networks and the ability to create a personal gesture for websites that you use the most on your device, Dolphin Browser is hot on ideas and it implements them very well in an offering that is feature laden and very fast. Dolphin is arguably the fastest browser on Android – much quicker than Chrome – and renders pages accurately too. It’s a proper desktop-quality app.

» Price £1.19/$1.99

Battery Widget? Reborn! Pro
Knowing when your battery is about to go is important when you are using your Android device day after day. This app helps you to save power and also tells you how long you’ve got before the battery runs dry. It comes with a beautiful-looking widget, making it a pleasure to use.

» Price £1.90/$2.99

Beautiful Widgets

Widgets are what stand Android apart from iOS since they let you place essential information on the homepage of your device. This app gives you hundreds of lovely looking widgets, themes and skins for the likes of weather alerts and clocks. With so many combinations your choices are almost endless.

ZDbox (All-In-One toolbox) » Price Free
Offering widgets which let you increase Android’s speed and power, you can quickly turn Wi-Fi on and off, adjust the settings and so much more.

mSecure – Password Notif Manager » Price £6.99/$9.99 » Price Free
One of the greatest fears of smartphones is losing them and all of the associated data, so it’s great that this app locks down logins and account details. Produced for Jelly Bean, Notif gives you some control over your Notifications and lets you remind yourself about ongoing events with some style.

X-Plore

» Price Free
A file manager is an important tool for Android, giving you access to the various data stored on your device and X-Plore is one of the very best.

Onavo

» Price Free
Data plans are rather tight these days so use Onavo to get more out of it by compressing your mobile data so that it eats up far less quickly.

Opera Mobile web browser » Price Free
There is no point being stuck with the in-built browser when you can have what is billed as the fastest browser on Earth. It compresses web data.

QuickPic
» Price Free
If you want to display your photos in a better way, then this viewer not only lets you quickly find the images you want, but adds great browsing capabilities.

Skifta

» Price Free
A digital media player which lets you play music, videos and photographs on any connected device such as a television, Hi-Fi or games console.

Swiftkey 3

» Price £2.99/$3.99
On an Android phone, some find the keyboard tricky but SwiftKey addresses any fiddling with accurate corrections and the ability to learn as you type.

Tasker

» Price £3.99/$6.49
Why put in the legwork when you can automate tasks with an application such as this, giving you the ability to set alerts and dialogs. Brilliant stuff.

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Appy Geek
» Price Free
For those who love their tech-related news, Appy Geeks taps into the top feeds on the web and delivers them to you.

Feed your mind with these brilliant news and factual apps

Information

Feedly – Google Reader RSSMeals » Price Free
RSS readers are still very much a great way to read content from various sources on the internet and this is no different.

Google Goggles
» Price Free
Google Goggles never ceases to amaze us even thought is has been around a while. It is such a versatile app that allows you to translate from one language to another simply by pointing your device’s camera at a word and telling it which language you wish to see it in. It works the majority of the time and can be astounding. But that’s only one of the functions of this app which taps into Google’s rich history of search. It’s image recognition technology is able to identify landmarks and objects and it is possible to feed in contacts from a business card or scan a barcode or QR code and make sense of it. It is one fine app.

Flipboard
» Price Free
Flipboard is a quick, slick app which uses your Facebook and Twitter feeds and turns them into a social magazine.

Live Score Addicts
» Price Free
A comprehensive live scores app which not only delivers results but gives you an array of statistics and formations.

Met Office Weather Application » Price Free
Look out of the window or get a glimpse into the future with this highly authoritative app with up to five-day forecasts.

NASA App
» Price Free
Space is ace and so it proves with this NASA app that pulls in stories and tweets but, more than that, loads of images.

NBA Game Time 2012-13
» Price Free
The only app which delivers a high standard of live coverage of NBA games, throwing in live radio and video alerts.

“Allows you to translate from one language to another… by pointing your device’s camera at a word”
Zinio
» Price Free
Zinio bills itself as the world’s biggest newsstand and it allows you to look through the magazine racks of international countries too. Each magazine entry enables you to read a synopsis and buy not only the current issue but also purchase something from its back catalogue. You can also subscribe to your favourite magazine. You’ll never be short of reading material.

Pocket

» Price Free

Security is an important part of Android. Encrypt your data so that only you can view it using a master password with Pocket.

Racing UK
» Price Free
Racecards and results are the order of the day, although you have to pay £9.99 a month to see live broadcasts.

StumbleUpon
» Price Free
Ever accidentally seen something that you love online? StumbleUpon is full of user-submitted gems.

Sky Sports News
» Price Free
Straight from the Sky Sports News Centre comes an app that delivers pretty much every bit of sporting news possible for UK audiences to devour. As well as being able to glimpse the top stories in a list, a tap of the menu allows you to burrow down to view the latest in football, cricket, rugby, golf, tennis, F1 and boxing. Tables, results and video complete an impressive mix.

IMDb

TED

» Price Free

Inspirational and educational, there is no getting around the quality of the people who make up the videos here.

The Guardian
» Price Free
News, sport and lots of specialist subjects make up one of the best news apps around on the Play store.

Although you can use IMDb to find information on every movie known to mankind, complete with credits and synopsis, the app also doubles as a solid movie news app and a preview of forthcoming films. You can watch video trailers of films on your Android device and narrow searches to movies, television and celebrities, about which there is plenty of satisfying trivia. A must-have!

» Price Free

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Master Android
Harness the power of your Android phone or tablet with our fantastic range of magazines and bookazines for users of all levels
Bookazines Back issues
£4.99 each

WorldMags.net

Android Tips, Tricks & Apps Vol. 1

Step-by-step advice to help you unlock the full power of Android’s features. Tutorials designed to help you tap into the hidden talents of your phone. The very best of the Android Market, including GPS navigation and eBooks. £8.99 with code

Android for Beginners Vol. 1

Everything you need to get started with your Android device. A comprehensive introduction to Android with step-by-step guides and tutorials covering setting up, Gmail, Maps, Android Market, Kindle and much, much more. £8.99 with code

Android Tips, Tricks, Apps & Hacks Vol. 3

Take £1 off these Android bookazines with the code…

Discount code

If you really want to get under your smartphone’s skin, then these expert guides to rooting your phone and ingenious hacks will help you rebuild your Android from the ground up. £9.99

ALIEN

The Android Book Vol.1
From getting to know the default apps to guides for lifestyle, productivity and entertainment – along with all the best apps – The Android Book is the ultimate resource for all Android users. £8.99 with code

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MAGAZINES

BOOKS

DVDS DOWNLOADS WorldMags.net

GIFTS

Apps iJust

WorldMags.net 15min wonder Playmarkers
Scan these QR codes for direct links to the Google Play Store
iJust
! 5 15 10 ! 5 15 10 ! 5 15 10

Want your money back? You’ve got 15 mins to decide!

»0-5 minutes Finding »

barely any users in the UK

5-10 minutes Uploading the first batch of images on our phone

»10-15 minutes
keep

Struggling to find new content to look at

A new social media site to rival Facebook and Twitter?
problems with the app cropping the wrong part of the image. Compared to Facebook and LinkedIn, your profile page is far more basic in iJust, with only minimal details required. This works both ways, and where some people will be able to keep stuff about themselves hidden, others won’t be impressed with the lack of options. The rest of the app is split in to four distinct sections that can all be accessed through the tabs at the top of the app. On the far right of the app is the News section. This is the closest thing you’ll find to a news feed, but the one part that doesn’t include any images. On this page you’ll be able to see a condensed list of everything that your friends have been up to, as well as quick links to their profiles. Next to that is the People section that houses the information regarding your current contacts. Each contact will have a corresponding thumbnail, as well as the distance they’re from you based on the GPS within your Android smartphone. By then pressing on one of the thumbnails you’ll be taken to their full profile.

refund

We’ve seen a wide range of social media startups appear on the Play store, and with decidedly mixed results. It can be a tough challenge to match the likes of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. iJust tries to do something a bit different, with the aim of diverting some of the attention from these sites on to its currently small database of users. The app takes a more visualcentric approach to social media, allowing users to share details about their life through images. To start with you’ll need to create a standard profile, from which people can then connect to you via. The profile system is a simple enough affair to complete, but when adding a profile picture, we encountered several

The next tab is Grid, a collection of the most recent images brought together by your contacts. The principal here is that without many contacts, this section will be made pretty redundant as you simply won’t have enough content within it to want you to keep checking back. Being able to find people to connect to in the iJust network is a real problem, as there just isn’t enough interest in it yet, and for a photo sharing/social media site, the key is to have people uploading as many images as possible. The saving grace, however, is the List tab. This puts together all the sections in a visual news feed format, allowing users to comment and like pictures as they wish, as well as send direct messages to the application’s uploader. There are plenty of good features within iJust to make it stand out from the likes of Facebook and Twitter, but there simply isn’t enough interest in it from users to make it warrant a download just yet. That could all change though.

The Grid tab provides a visual interpretation of your news feed

» like this? try this!
The king of social media sites now has a decent app to accompany it.

Facebook

» specification Price Free
Designed for: Phone Requires Android: 2.1

» verdict
Performance Design Value
A good starting point, but it is desperate for more people to join in the fun
All your contacts are kept in the People tab You can choose to like and comment on pictures

»best free alternative

TAGGED » Meet new people with this nifty application for friendship and dating.

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Newspy Glorious Flavour Map 18 Months Mobento

A one-stop app for tracking RSS feeds – with mixed results
Trying to keep tabs on all of your various news sources can be a constant problem to many, but with Newspy, you’ll have a hub from which you can store all your sources in one place. The main part of the app is the Source list, which displays every feed you’re subscribed to. Depending on how many sources you’ve added, the list can look quite cluttered, especially if you’re solely adding new websites. You can add a new feed at any time, and the variety of news feeds you can subscribe to is terrific. As well as the usual RSS feeds and websites, you can subscribe to Facebook and Twitter feeds, which is a really nice touch. As you start to add more feeds, you’ll soon find more content being added on a regular basis. The app includes a built-in reader for you to look at the news that has collated. Compared to similar apps, the reader is a little too basic for our liking, lacking functionality that you will find as standard elsewhere. Text is generally okay to read, but images are poorly rendered, and don’t expect to watch any video through the app. If you did the aforementioned and subscribed to any Twitter feeds, you’ll find the formatting of the content when trying to view it is really poor. Having a place to store all your news feeds is done brilliantly by
Enter the details of your favourite sites and Facebook feeds

Newspy

Newspy, and it definitely competes with Google Reader on this level. It’s severely let down, however, by the below average reading experience of

the app that lacks the finesse and attention to detail of many of the other apps that excel in this space of the Play store. And plenty of those apps are free, too.

Designed for: Phone and tablet Requires Android: 1.5

» specification Price £1.24/$1.99 » verdict

» like this? try this!
Functional and stylish, Google Reader is the ultimate RSS feed hub.

Google Reader

A tale of two halves. Newspy has some high points, but is hindered by plenty of issues

Glorious Flavour Map
Find the best foods Britain has to offer
With so many restaurants, patisseries and other food outlets in the UK, it can be hard to find the best food out there, but Glorious Flavour Map aims to be the culinary guide you need. The map outlines the best user-reviewed places in the UK to eat – whether it be an Indian restaurant or ice cream parlour, the choice is terrific. Each suggested place has a street view map so you can see its exact location, as well a highlighted user review that tells you about the place. If the choice is too varied for your liking, you can filter the results to display only a singular type of food, or even a specific dish for a specific price. The level of precision displayed here is brilliant, and something that the app should be applauded for. A great app for foodies.

18 Months Mobento
Accompaniment to Calvin Harris’s new album Plenty of knowledge to feed the masses
This app is an alternate way to listen to Calvin Harris’s new album, 18 Months. Each track is listed as well as a free preview of each track on it. To unlock all the songs you’ll need to purchase the full album, from one of the sources provided via the app. Each track played can then be set up to be used as a great exercise tool, as you need to keep moving to keep the track playing. With the dancestyle of Harris’s music, this app acts as a great way to not only listen to a new album, but also lose some weight! Mobento is a hub for educational videos, with content that spans over a wide range of interesting topics. Each video includes an expert from that specific field, with the option available to either stream the video, or download it on to your device. Videos are quite big, in terms of file size, so make sure you’ve plenty of spare storage if you choose the latter option. Video quality is great throughout, and with new content being added regularly, there’s always new stuff to discover. It’s a free app, as well.

» like this? try this!
Find the latest deals on the restaurants in your area with this voucher-based app.

DailyGobble

» Price Free » Designed for Phone and tablet » Requires Android 2.3.3

» Price Free (album extra) » Designed for Phone » Requires Android 2.1

» Price Free » Designed for Phone and tablet » Requires Android 2.2

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Apps
A digital ‘knot in the hanky’ app

WorldMags.net Playmarkers
Scan these QR codes for direct links to the Google Play Store
Notif Pro ZPlayer andLyrics

Notif Pro

Notif is a customisable app built for the Jelly Bean update. The app allows you to create notes and reminders that format themselves to be shown in the notifications menu on your device. Each notification you create can be fully customised to suit your needs, and after they’ve been added, you can open up the menu and resize them and remove them. In total there are four distinct sets of notifications you can create. The most basic ones are the regular types of notifications you come across in the menu. These consist of you adding a title and a line of text. The Big Text option is also self explanatory, bar the text being a lot bigger and the title being much bigger. Our personal favourite has to be the Big Picture option, which lets you display a resizeable picture in your notifications menu with a caption. The fourth and final option is the List feature, which as the title suggests, lets you create a bullet pointed list that’s saved to your phone’s notifications.

ZPlayer
Designed to enhance your music listening experience while using your Android device, ZPlayer is a comprehensive audio player that lets you tailor your music to how you want to listen to it. As a whole, the player is simply designed, with all the usual categories being made available on the homepage of the app. Users can search for their tracks

Add a touch of class to your music collection
can use to tinker with your music and suit your needs, as well as presets you can enable to enhance your music further. Without any of the presets or equalizer tinkering, the sound which emits from ZPlayer is phenomenal, and it’s some of the most immersive we’ve ever heard. As well as being an audio player, ZPlayer has a good selection of other features you’ll want to check out.

Your music gets a very visual presentation

via the songs, artists or music videos. As you begin to scroll through your tracks, one of the things you’ll notice is how similarly styled this is to the stock Windows Phone music player, and while it may feel a little out of place on Android it is not exactly unattractive. When you’re listening to your music, there’s a built-in equalizer you
ZPlayer is packed with additional and useful features

The app’s style will be familiar to Windows Phone users

»best free alternative

CLOUDSKIPPER » A simple and stylish music player that is great for casual listeners.

andLyrics
Karaoke will never be the same again…
There’s a huge catalogue of lyrics within andLyrics. As well as having most of the latest songs, you’ll find a good selection of some of the classics as well. People are also able to add their own lyrics, meaning that the library is always fresh and bang up-to-date. The search function is also very simple to use, although it does show repeated entries for the same song on the odd occasion. Once you’ve found a song that is of interest, you can scroll through the lyrics, and zoom in and out of them to take a closer look. By using the controls at the top of the page you can sing along with the lyrics as they move, making it a great accompaniment for anyone interested in karaoke. There’s the occasional issue with the formatting, but they’re few and far between.

» Price Free » Designed for Phone » Requires Android 2.1

» Price £0.62/$0.99 » Designed for Phone and tablet » Requires Android 4.1

Any notification you create can be resized

» like this? try this!
The only dedicated music player which displays lyrics to the song you’re listening to.

TuneWiki

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Flash It!

» like this? try this!
Although it can take a little getting used to, this is a feature-packed audio player.

Poweramp

5

quickhits
top apps for...

CONVERTING CURRENCY

There’s an internet radio and podcast feature you can use to tune in to your favourite stations, as well as a discovery section that brings you recommendations of music and artists you like based on your current track list. ZPlayer is the complete package when it comes to audio players. Not only does it have a stunning design, but it also keeps things simple while not holding back on the amount of features it includes. If you use your phone to stream music on a regular basis, ZPlayer is a must-have app.

» specification Price £2.18/$3.50
Designed for: Phone Requires Android: 1.6

15min wonder
Want your money back? You’ve got 15 mins to decide!
! 5 15 10 ! 5 15 10 ! 5 15 10

» verdict Performance Design Value
Hands down the best audio player for casual and hardcore listeners alike

»0-5 minutes

As well as offering converter tools for other things, ConvertPad has a simple currency converter that will give you the information you need without any fuss.

ConvertPad - Unit Converter Free

Finding the style similar to Windows Phone

»5-10 minutes

Altering the bass levels using the equalizer

»10-15 minutes
keep

Buying new albums based on the recommended apps list

EDITOR’S CHOICE

A superb currency converter that displays current rates with charts and live updates. Every world currency is accounted for – something you don’t see in this type of app very often.

XE Currency Free

refund

Exchange Rates
All the main currencies are catered for, and everything is displayed in a simple interface that’s perfect for people new to Android – and seasoned users too.

Flash It!
Morse code messenger for your Android phone
If sending a simple text or email isn’t your sort of thing, then why not try your hand at a spot of Morse code. Flash It! lets you send and receive full Morse code messages, using the camera and flash on the back of your device. With the app loaded, you need to direct your phone in the direction you want to send your Morse code to, type in the message you want to send and let the app do the rest. When you receive a message back, the app automatically deciphers what has been sent, and gives the reply to you in plain English. All of your messages are logged for you to re-read if necessary, and there’s even an SOS mode which puts Morse code as your primary means of contact. The app is unbelievably clever, but we’re not sure how useful it is.

£1.50/$3.00

» Price £1.20/$1.99 » Designed for Phone » Requires Android 2.3.3

As the name suggests, the difference here is that this app talks to you. There’s plenty of countries covered, and hearing the results by voice is a nice touch.

Talking Currency Converter Free

» like this? try this!
Manually send Morse code messages via vibrations, flash or beeps.

MorseCoder

A thorough currency converter that includes a selection of widgets that you can add to your home screen to perform quick converts without ever needing to open the application.

aCurrency Free

Check our website daily for even more app reviews

»www.littlegreenrobot.co.uk WorldMags.net

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Apps

WorldMags.net Playmarkers
Scan these QR codes for direct links to the Google Play Store
Control panel for Android iZettle

Insta Message

Control panel for Android
Gain quick access to your most popular settings
Instead of having to trounce through various menus to find the settings you’re looking to adjust, Control panel for Android puts them all in one place. Within the app you’ll find a variety of tabs that correspond to your most used settings, and from which you can open up to explore the settings for each part. You can set an alarm, edit your ringtone, turn your Wi-Fi on and off, as well as a few other simple techniques. When you download the app, you’ll also find a permanent addition to your notifications menu has been added. This tab will let you edit the volume and call settings on your device, even if it does tend to be a bit unresponsive at times. Apart from that small setback, Control Panel for Android is a great little tool to help save you some time, especially considering it’s a free app.

InstaMessage
Instagram for your text messages
InstaMessage adds a visual element to the bog-standard text message you send to your friends and family, by helping you apply a wide range of effects and templates to them. After typing out your message you’ll be taken to a screen that allows you to select from some great, and not so great, templates. Each template falls in to a specific category that you can search through, and although there are plenty of free ones to choose from, you’ll want to spend a bit to unlock the entire catalogue. There isn’t a whole lot of editing you can apply to your message after that, apart from changing the transparency and font size, and in particular, this is an area where InstaMessage is a real let down. The message editing part is one of the main reason there is so much interest in these types of apps, but with a sheer lack of choice, InstaMessage falls short of the competition. Sharing also comes with problems, as on a handful of occasions it took a long, long while for a message we put together to actually send. The premise of InstaMessage is a good one, and the simplicity of it will certainly appeal to some. It’s let down, however, by a poor selection of editing choices, and the occasional problems in its function.

» Price Free » Designed for Phone and tablet » Requires Android 2.2

Type your message

»best free alternative

POWER TOGGLES » A beautifully designed way to control how your smartphone is operating.

Before applying any effects, you’ll first need to type out a standard text message. Although the app is free, you will need to pay extra for sending a message that exceeds 120 characters

iZettle
Wireless payments with small businesses in mind
iZettle is a wireless payment system that allows you to receive card payments through your smartphone or tablet. The app works alongside the iZettle Card Reader to manage all transactions they receive on their device, in an easy and functional manner. As well as accepting payments, it also generates receipts that you can print out to customers, and even provides a breakdown of your monthly intake. The financial breakdown of the app is phenomenal, and for those who like to keep on top of their finances, but just want clear and concise information, this is a great app. One thing that may put people off, however, is that with any card payment you receive through iZettle, the company will take 2.75 per cent of every transaction, which is a slight annoyance.

“With a sheer lack of choice, InstaMessage falls short of the competition”
Find the right effect
With so many to choose from, you might find it difficult to choose the right one for your message

» Price Free (card reader extra) » Designed for Phone and tablet » Requires Android 2.2

Apply a free one

»best free alternative
76

PAYPAL » Manage all your incoming and outgoing transactions through your PayPal account.

As standard, you’ll find around 20 different templates and effects to apply to your text messages. There’s some great variation within each folder, so scout around.

Purchase more

There are a wide range of extra effects and templates you can apply to your photographs, although you do need to part with some cash to gain access.

Where to share?

Unfortunately, some of the effects don’t always look the part when you have sent them, so make sure you choose a decent platform, like email, to share them over.

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My EE

My EE
Manage your 4G account
The official EE app is the place to go to check up on your 4G phone account. The app holds a vast amount of features to help you manage every inch of your account, and even edit it, if necessary. You can check your data usage for the calendar month, as well as your text and minutes bundle to make sure you haven’t reached your limit. There’s a payment feature also included, allowing you to pay any outstanding bills you have, but when we ventured to this section, the app seemed to crash on several occasions. The crash-friendly nature of this section made us a bit wary about making any payments through the app, as we certainly didn’t want to be charged multiple times for one single payment. At the other end of the app is the EE storefront, allowing you to shop for a new 4G phone, compare contract prices, and manage any add-ons currently associated to your account. Instead of having a storefront built in to the app, the official EE website is instead loaded, which has problems of its own, and not having a mobile version of the site is a bit of a letdown if we’re honest. The app is an essential download for anyone with a 4G EE contract, or planning in investing in their first 4G phone, but with several software and design issues bugging the user experience, the app can’t be highly recommended just yet. Hopefully an update fixes these issues soon.

Choose your effect

There’s a great variety of effects you can add to your texts to make them stand out more. Every effect is put in to one of many categories

Basic editing

Once you’ve placed an effect you can undertake a few basic editing tools to personalise the image as you wish

» like this? try this!
Send and share picture and texts free of charge over your data connection.

WhatsApp

Send and share

You can send and share the text message via a variety of the usual social media platforms

» specification Price Free
Designed for: Phone and tablet Requires Android: 2.2

» verdict
Performance Design Value
A great idea, but the implementation needs a bit more polish
The My EE app lets you shop around for the best deals

Designed for: Phone Requires Android: 2.0

» specification Price Free » verdict

Perfect accompaniment for EE customers. Shame about the constant crashing

»best free alternative

CUBIE MESSENGER » A fun messaging app that lets you draw and chat at the same time.

»best free alternative

YOUR ORANGE » Manage your Orange UK account from the palm of your hand.

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THERE'S AN

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head to head tohead
Which office suite is the best app for dealing with your work documents?

SMARTvs OFFICE 2 KINGSOFT OFFICE
» specification Price £7.38/$9.99
Designed for: Phone and tablet Requires Android: 1.5

With an office suite on your phone, you can create, manage and edit all your files wherever you are. The two on test here have full .doc, .xls and .ppt compatibility, meaning you can edit them on your phone and then transfer them to your desktop…

» specification Price Free
Designed for: Phone and tablet Requires Android: 2.1

Smart Office 2
Finding the simple editing tools is a bit difficult, but adding and removing text is an easy enough job. Inserting pictures can sometimes force close the app. You’ll have full access to all your Word, Powerpoint and Excel files, but the Excel creator is by far the most comprehensive and useful to use here. Smart Office links with your Dropbox and Google Drive accounts. We didn’t like having to trawl through our SD card to find specific files, however. There’s a wide range of templates in Smart Office to get you under way. There’s everything here, from wedding invitations to a CV planner. After editing your documents you can choose to save your file to your SD card, or upload it to Dropbox or Google Drive. The process is quick and easy.

Kingsoft Office

CREATING NEW DOCUMENTS DOCUMENT COMPATIBILITY ACCESSING FILES CHOOSING FROM TEMPLATES SAVING AND SHARING

As you create documents, all the tools you need are listed at the top of the app. Each tab at the top houses a variety of editing tools you can use. There’s full compatibility with your Microsoft Office files, and each uses the same design scheme, making it easy to access your various options. When you log in to the app, it automatically brings all your files from various cloud apps and internal storage. This saves you the time and effort. The choice of templates is a little disappointing, and the ones that are included don’t feel finished, or in some cases, aren’t usable. There’s a wide range of choices when it comes to saving and uploading your files. Add them to your cloud accounts, or another compatible app.

And the winner is...

KINGSOFT OFFICE

Kingsoft feels a far more polished and comprehensive app than the competition, and that’s the fundamental reason it has won. Another thing to note is that the app is free, and for what you get, it’s a no brainer – this is a must-have app.
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79

Games

WorldMags.net Playmarkers
Scan these QR codes for direct links to the Google Play Store

Angry Birds Star Wars

Army of Darkness: Defense

Gameplay is as addictive as ever

GAME OF THE MONTH

Angry Birds Star Wars
In a galaxy far, far away…
You’d be forgiven for thinking that this tie-in of two popular franchises is a recipe for disaster, but thankfully, that couldn’t be further from the truth. The game plays in the same style as the traditional Angry Birds format, but with the inclusion of Star Wars characters. The evil piggies are now Stormtroopers, while your band of birds depict a wide range of heroes. Luke Skywalker is your main hero, with Han Solo, Chewbacca and Obi Wan also starring. Through bonus levels you can even play as R2-D2 and C-3PO. What’s not to like? Although the crux of the game is the familiar Angry Birds format, the feel of Star Wars is clear throughout. Each bird/character has its own specialist move to aid you to clear levels faster. Luke uses his lightsaber to plough through debris, Han Solo uses his trusty pistol to blast enemies, and Obi Wan simply uses the ‘force’. The different worlds you travel between are also Star Wars-themed, meaning you can take the battle to Tatooine, Hoth and even the Death Star. You still need to try and collect the fabled three stars on each level, and

It’s birds versus pigs, but not as we know it

the need for a good strategy to get through each level is more apparent than ever. The game gets tough, however, and you’ll soon find yourself throwing strategy out of the window and manically throwing your characters in every direction just to complete the level. Rovio should be congratulated on the fine job it has done throughout the game. It would’ve been very simple for it to stick with the same old trusty formula, and apply a few minimal Star Wars changes. Instead it has gone out on a whim to provide a fresh experience, filled with the charm of Star Wars but the addictiveness of the Angry Birds series we know and love.

» Price Free » Designed for Phone and tablet » Requires Android 2.2

Visit locations from the Star Wars world

what we’ve been playing
This charming platformer offers a solid gaming experience, while still providing some brilliant retro elements. An engaging story line and gorgeous graphics.

Army of Darkness: Defense
Tower defence game with a steep difficulty curve, but plenty of rewards
Based on the gory horror cult-hit Army of Darkness, this tower defence game puts you in control of Ash, an unassuming hero who must protect the castle from the onslaught of the undead. All the fundamentals of a defence game are present, with you being able to unlock new powers and different troops along the way. The variety of troops you can unlock is surprisingly vast, and there’s a good array of powers too, even though some are greatly overpowered. Playing is easy enough, with only the basic directional controls needed to control Ash, and a few summon buttons to call on different troops at anytime you like. The difficulty curve is steep however, and instead of a thorough tutorial, you’re thrown straight in to the action – some will cope, and some won’t. It’s a free download though, so well worth a try.

Another World £1.99/$3.16

With the release of Angry Birds Star Wars we’ve been valiantly trying to get the last remaining stars from the Angry Birds Space. It’s a lot harder than it sounds, but still a whole lot of fun. Hack and slash your way through the army of skeletons Pick up more powers and get stronger as you progress through the game

Angry Birds Space Free

» Price Free » Designed for Phone » Requires Android 2.1

Recommend a game…

80

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@lgrobot

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Pixel Twist Fluid Football 100 Escapers

quickhits
Pixel Twist
A curious case of pixel distortion
image that’s displayed in the corner of the screen. To do so, you must rotate the bundle of pixels on each level until they exactly match the image. There’s a lot of puzzle-saving elements, as rotating distorts the It’s hard to put Pixel Twist into a certain type of genre of gaming, and for that reason alone, it’s a must-play title. The basis of the game is for you to recreate an pixels, and when it boils down to it, there’s a lot of trial and error to get the right rotation. Images start off fairly simple, but are still time consuming, but then soon become devilishly hard. Apart from the main game mode, there’s a time attack mode in which you must solve as many images in the quickest amount of time possible. With the built-in leaderboards, you get a real sense of competitiveness, even if your scores will be well off the pace on your first few attempts. It isn’t a long game by any stretch of the mind, but Pixel Twist is definitely a fun time-waster you should take a look at next time you hit the store.

A simple take on the labyrinth format, asking you to navigate around the holes on each level to make it safely to the end. Plenty of levels to keep you occupied for a few hours.

Teeter 3D Free

» Price Free » Designed for Phone and tablet » Requires Android 2.2

100 Escapers
Frustrating, annoying, but ever so addictive
EDITOR’S CHOICE
The popularity of the 100 Rooms saga of games has seen a plethora of similar offsprings launch on the Play store and 100 Escapers falls slap bang in to that category. First things first, despite the name, there isn’t 100 levels here, but the 30 levels you find have plenty of depth to keep you going for hours on end. Each level starts off with an ordinary scenario, from which you need to find the right combination of items and places to get out of the room or situation you’re in. Sound easy enough right? But no, unless you’re a connoisseur of this genre of gaming, then you’re in for a tough time. Although it doesn’t bring anything new to the genre, 100 Escapers adds to a growing genre of thought-provoking games.

Minecraft gets serious with this adaptation, putting your survival skills to the test. The object of the game is to build a shelter, and survive for as long as possible. All the Minecraft charm is here.

Survivalcraft £2.99/$3.99

Use your sniping skills to assassinate targets you’ve been assigned. There are a bunch of scenarios to complete that are time consuming, but the lack of levels won’t keep you for long.

Clear Vision £0.65/$0.99

Fluid Football
Football simulation fit enough to hit New Star Soccer’s lofty heights
Fluid Football comes from the team that brought you LMA Manager, combining the elements of New Star Soccer Flick Kick to make a tactical football game. You play in a variety of cups, with the sole aim to win each match in the cup by completing a set criteria of tasks that are outlined before the start of each match. You’re then placed in control of a small team of players, from which you can dribble, pass, lob and create runs before you attempt to score. What makes the game stand out is the level of tactical awareness you need to have – you need to negotiate the offside trap, while also making sure the receiving player is free in the penalty box before you shoot. On top of it all, you get commentary from gurus Andy Gray and Richard Keys.

Miniclip Android
Get a large portion of the Miniclip library with this superb arcade app. All the classics are here, and even though there are a few issues, you’ll find hours of fun.

£0.62/$0.95

This is as thorough a shooting game as we’ve seen in a while, combining first-person and third-person controls well throughout. Action comes thick and fast, and graphically, the game is phenomenal.

Contract Killer 2 Free

» Price Free » Designed for Phone and tablet » Requires Android 1.5

» Price Free » Designed for Phone » Requires Android 2.2

From legendary game designer Peter Molyneux comes this intriguing game, which needs you to undercover what is in the box. Join millions around the world to find out.

Curiosity Free

Check our website for even more game reviews

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81

Reviews

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Samsung Galaxy S III Mini
Smart stay
You can set the screen to stay on all the time you are looking at the phone. Handy for eReading

The Galaxy S III Mini looks superb and has some great features, but can it survive in the cut-throat mid market?
Downgraded camera
Both cameras on the Mini are a notch lower in spec than the full S III, but they deliver good performance

Good screen

The screen is sharp and bright, and at four inches, possibly the perfect size

The classic Samsung Galaxy S III design is replicated well here, giving the device a premium quality look and feel

Stylish design

Pop-out video player

You can play a video on top of an existing application

T
82

o attract potential buyers with around £300 to spend on a SIM-free handset, Samsung has released the Galaxy S III Mini. It looks like a top-end handset because it is styled just like the Galaxy S III. But it isn’t quite an S III with a smaller screen – its specifications speak more to the price. The big question, then, is can any phone really stand up at this end of the market, in the face of

the £239 Android 4.2-based Google Nexus 4. Certainly, if your main interest is in the operating system version, Samsung falls down immediately, offering merely Android 4.1. The processor is a dual-core 1GHz offering and that’s overshadowed by the Nexus’s quad-core 1.5GHz offering. Memory runs to 8GB or 16GB with the 8GB version costing £299 and that is what we were given for review.

“It looks like a top-end handset” good eReading for...

The screen can be set to stay on while you are looking at it

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“A nice smartphone with some enticing features”

Review
Samsung Galaxy S III Mini
More information www.samsung.com/uk

information Price £299.99
»
Battery life
Average users should get a day between charges, more demanding ones will need a late afternoon top-up

Hidden memory card Samsung apps
Samsung’s own app store includes a few free goodies, but we’re not convinced it is necessary

technical specs

It’s annoying that the memory card slot is underneath the battery

In the looks department this phone is top notch. The white chassis with silver trim is stylish, the tiny curve at the top and bottom edges presents neat detailing, and the distinctive Samsung physical home button has a familiarity that Samsung fans will no doubt enjoy. The connectors and buttons are located in just the right places – safe and dull yes, but also convenient and unlikely to cause problems. So the headset slot is on the top, USB connector on the bottom, volume rocker on the left and power button on the right. Samsung doesn’t do the Android recent apps button, but a long press on the power button delivers this feature. To the left and right of that button are touch sensitive backlit menu and back buttons which disappear completely when they’re not being touched. A long press on the menu touch button calls up the search function. The shiny backplate isn’t the best for grippiness and anyone interested in hot swapping micro SD cards will be irritated that they need to remove the battery to get to the slot. Overall this is a great device to hold in the hand being well-sized and nicely weighted. And the screen is nothing short of delightful. It may only sport 800 x 480 pixels, but at four inches it hits the sweet spot between being too large to carry and too small to use efficiently. The AMOLED technology is extremely sharp and bright too. While this is an upper mid-range device, Samsung has equipped it with some of the features used in the flagship Samsung Galaxy S III. So, the pop-out video player which lets you view

video over another application is here. It doesn’t work quite as well in the small screen, but it is nice to see no less. The motion sensitive features might be more of a gimmick, though some people will no doubt like the ability to call the contact that’s currently on screen by the mere act of putting the phone to your ear, or tilting the phone to zoom when looking at photos or using the web. You can select a number of motion sensitive features individually rather than having to opt for all or nothing. Less gimmicky is Smart Stay – the screen can be set to stay on as long as you are looking at it. This is handy if you’ve got auto time-out set to a short time – 15 seconds is the minimum – and you are eReading. It uses the front camera to monitor for your face, and it works well. We’re fans of Samsung’s S Planner replacement for the standard Android calendar, and also of Samsung’s take on Contacts, but we can see that wholesale fiddling with Android won’t be to all tastes. The Nexus 4 wins again here as it is pure unskinned Android. This also means, of course, you might not get software updates as quickly on this phone as on the Nexus. What this boils down to is that the Samsung Galaxy S III Mini is a nice smartphone with some enticing features. It may be around 25 per cent more expensive, but it has a memory card slot and some very nice features added to the basic Android software. It is those features that give the S III Mini more of a consumer feel than the Nexus 4 has, and it’s those features that give the device its main selling points.

»Operating system...............Android 4.1 »Processor...................................Dual-core 1GHz »Memory.......................................8GB storage »Dimensions..............................121.55 x 63 x 9.9mm »Weight ..........................................120g »Display size...............................Four-inch »Display resolution...............800 x 480 pixels »Expansion slot.......................micro SD

Samsung Galaxy S III Mini
HTC Desire X
issue 019

Samsung Galaxy S III
issue 013

better than Performance Design

worse than

Capable, if not outstanding, in the speed department Has a quality look – it is literally a shrunken-down S III Some nice software extras give the S III Mini added value More raw speed is available for the money, if that is your preference

Features

Value for money

»Verdictsegment but It’s a crowded

Video
The S III Mini’s pop-out player puts video on top of another app

Motion control
There are lots of motion control options bound to impress users

Style
The handset looks very attractive for a mid-range device

the S III Mini offers enough to hold its own. A good alternative to its older brother

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83

Reviews

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A phablet-style handset from LG to rival the Samsung Galaxy Note II?

LG Optimus Vu

Memory

With 32GB of storage there’s a lot of room to play with, but there is no micro SD card support despite the size of the device

There’s NFC support and three tags to get you started with this upcoming wireless technology

NFC

There is a stylus included that caters for hand-drawn input but it is not pressure sensitive. It’s not quite to the same standard as Samsung’s S Pen

Stylus

Wide

At 90mm wide the LG Optimus Vu is extremely awkward for smaller hands. It’s a much squarer device than we’re used to seeing

“It was impossible to reach around for one-handed use”
84
WorldMags.net

With a five-inch screen this is a great device for video watching although the aspect ratio is less ideal than the standard Android widescreen

Big screen

good for...

Video
The vast five-inch screen is perfect for watching your videos on

WorldMags.net

Review
LG Optimus Vu

information Price £349.99
www.lg.com/uk Supplied by www.expansys.com

»More information »

SIM-free

Battery life
You might be lucky to scrape through a day

“The Optimus Vu looks like a steal”

technical specs

»Operating system...............Android 4.0 »Processor...................................Nvidia Tegra 3

L

G has launched its five-inch handset into the UK market, giving Samsung’s Galaxy Note II a direct rival. Until now, Samsung has had the ‘phablet’ sector pretty much to itself. So will the Vu cause Samsung any problems? On pure price terms there’s no contest. With the Galaxy Note II selling at over £500 SIM-free, the Optimus Vu looks like a steal at £349.99. And if you compare some of the core specifications the Vu still looks to have the edge. It has a Nvidia Tegra 3 quad-core processor running at 1.5GHz, 32GB of internal storage, an eight-megapixel camera and a five-inch screen with 768 x 1,024 pixels. Oh, and of course it runs Android 4.0. You also get three NFC tags in the box. Meanwhile, the Galaxy Note II is blessed with Android 4.1 and a 1.6GHz quad-core chipset. It has just 16GB of built-in storage but its screen resolution and overall size match those of the Vu, as does its camera resolution. It sports a front camera too, just like the Vu. Both handsets require a micro SIM. In the case of the LG Vu the SIM sits in a slot on the left edge of the chassis, and to get the slot open you need to use a small pin. It’s not an unusual system, but not our favourite approach to SIM support, and you’d have thought, frankly, that LG could have managed to accommodate a full-sized SIM in hardware that’s a hefty 139.6 x 90.4 x 8.5mm. Design wise, we prefer the Galaxy Note to the LG Vu. The Vu has a somewhat blocky design with our black sample sporting the textured back that is reminiscent of the Prada range of smartphones. We do like the sliding micro USB port cover on the top edge though. What really matters about the LG Vu, though, is that screen and how you use it. The aspect ratio of

4:3 makes the Vu a wide handset, and this is its downfall. It was awkward to hold for making calls and it was impossible to reach around for one-handed use of the screen. There’s a note-taking app, of course, and this has a dedicated button on the top-edge of the chassis which we found tricky to reach onehanded. Press it and you can make notes direct to the screen using either a finger or the provided stylus. You can also use the stylus to navigate the device generally. However, the stylus has no pressure sensitive features, and there’s no stylus housing on the chassis. Nor can you use any old pen end for the job. Notes are saved into the Notebook app, for which there’s a shortcut on the main screen. This app has a couple of fonts and font colours and can accommodate images. LG adds its TouchWiz overlay to Android, there are seven home screens and LG has added a few additional apps to boost Android, but not so many that you feel overwhelmed. We like File Share, Google Chrome and Polaris Office in particular, with the latter able to accept hand-drawn input. LG has also included Tag+ which works with the NFC tags provided to allow you to apply custom settings. You can’t remove the backplate which means you can’t get to the 2100mAh battery and there’s no slot for you to expand on that already noted 32GB of built-in storage. That’s rather different to the Samsung Galaxy Note II whose internal memory can be expanded with a micro SD card and whose backplate can be removed so you can access the battery. In the end, it is the overall dimensions which let the LG Optimus Vu down rather than anything about its specs. It’s just too wide to use one handed with anything like approaching ease.

»Memory.......................................32GB storage »Dimensions..............................139.6 x 90.4 x 8.5mm »Weight ..........................................168g »Display size...............................Five-inch »Display resolution...............1,024 x 768 pixels »Expansion slot.......................None

1.5GHz quad-core

LG Optimus Vu
None Samsung Galaxy Note II
issue 018

better than Performance Design

worse than

Powerful processor is an impressive part of this phablet Too wide to hold comfortably, onehanded use is not convenient Not enough strong pen-supporting features to make it a stand out Less expensive than rivals, but less impressive too

Features

Value for money

»Verdict do a sideMake sure you

Photos
The eight-megapixel camera is quite an impressive shooter

Writing
You can take advantage of handwritten input via the provided stylus

Speed
The quad-core processor is very powerful – you’ll zip around your daily tasks

by-side comparison with the Samsung Galaxy Note II before parting with cash

WorldMags.net

85

Reviews

WorldMags.net
BEST FOR VALUE

Acer Liquid Gallant Duo

The Liquid Gallant Duo from Acer is an Android smartphone with a unique selling point – it has two SIM slots

A
This handset can cope with two SIMs and has some good software to make the most of the feature

Two SIMs

The power switch sits on the back of the chassis. That’s an odd, but not inconvenient, location

Power switch

Big screen

cer might not rank among the most popular of handset makers, but it does keep churning out Android smartphones to generally little fanfare. What the company’s low market share does do is give it the freedom to experiment with its devices. The Liquid Gallant Duo is a great example of that. For £160 it is pretty well specified, but it’s a lot more than just another budget Android phone. It has that most rare of features – support for two SIMs. Why would anyone want dual-SIM support? Well, here are two thoughts on that. You’re on holiday and have bought a local pay as you go SIM to avoid roaming charges but also need to use your main SIM so that you can be contacted via your usual phone number. Or you have two numbers: one for work and one for personal use, and you don’t want to merge them into a single number and don’t want to carry two handsets either. With the Liquid Gallant Duo that’s no problem at all. Acer provides plenty of support for the dual-SIM arrangement and has enhanced the handset’s Settings area so you can configure things precisely how you need them. Would you like one of the SIMs to be the default for all voice calls? No problem. Would you like the other one to be the default for data? Easily done. And you can choose which SIM is the default for messaging and 3G services. If you’d rather make your SIM choice each time you communicate, then that’s possible too. On the whole it’s a really solid implementation of the idea, and makes it far less complicated than it might otherwise have been. That on its own isn’t bad in a handset that costs just £160 SIM-free, but there’s more. Physically this is a well-made phone with a good solid feel to it. Mostly the buttons are well placed, with the headset and USB connectors on the top, volume rocker on the right. But oddly the main power switch is on the back of the phone, very near the camera lens. While this sounds very strange it’s actually easy enough to find the button when it is required by touch as well as by sight, and it’s safely away from being accidentally pressed when you pick the phone up or pull it out of a pocket. We

With a 4.3-inch screen the Acer Liquid Gallant Duo is good for visuals

good for...

Travelling
The phone’s dual-SIM support will suit the international traveller

86

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Review
Acer Liquid Gallant Duo

While lower priced phones can sometimes suffer from poor build quality, that’s not the case here

Good build

information Price £160.99
www.acer.com Supplied by www.expansys.com

»More information »

SIM free

Battery life
Battery life is one of few letdowns and you will need to top up before the end of the day

Memory

With under 2GB free you will need to add a micro SD card quickly to make the most of this phone’s capabilities

technical specs

»Operating system...............Android 4.0 »Processor...................................Mediatek MT6575 1GHz »Memory.......................................4GB storage »Dimensions..............................129 x 65.9 x 9.9mm »Weight ..........................................145g »Display size...............................4.3-inch »Display resolution...............540 x 960 pixels »Expansion slot.......................micro SD
Cortex-A9 single-core

“It’s a really solid implementation of the idea, and makes it far less complicated”
can’t say we prefer it to the more normal location of two-thirds of the way up the right-hand edge of the phone, though, where it is always within reach of a thumb or finger. The specs aren’t too shabby for a handset at this price. The screen is a really good effort. It measures 4.3 inches and has a generous 960 x 540 pixels, which was considered top-end just a year ago. It is easily up to the job of delivering webpages. Reading email and watching video are acceptable too. We even did a bit of eBook reading via the Kindle app without too much hassle. The handset motors along quite well thanks to a 1GHz processor. It’s only single-core, so is not up to playing a selection of high-end games, but it is powerful enough for most common tasks and is aided by a very healthy 1GB of RAM. Acer could have cut corners here and used less RAM, so thumbs up to them for using the full gig. It certainly helps keep the device responsive. Android 4.0 is on board too, making the Liquid Gallant Duo stand out from the budget crowd that still so often runs older versions of the operating system. There’s a light skin which includes a HTC Sense-esque ability to unlock the device to one of four applications, but more interesting are some of the software enhancements. Acer has built in a power scheduler that will automatically switch the handset on and off at set times. So you could leave its volume up into the evening, have it turn off at an appropriate hour, then on again ready to have fed itself with email and such for you to read in bed before you wake up – if that’s your bag. A clever data use tool separates out the figures for both your SIMs, and Acer has built in several other useful apps including Swype, DLNA, a barcode scanner, some Bluetooth utilities, file manager and FM radio. One irritation is that the 4GB of storage that’s on board is reduced to a very measly 1.5GB accessible out of the box but there’s a slot for a micro SD card to bolster this easily enough. Battery life isn’t the best either, and you’ll probably need to budget for a midday boost, which isn’t ideal. Still, considering the eye-catching price, this is a pretty unique and desirable mobile with far more in the pros column than the cons.

Acer Liquid Gallant Duo
Orange San Diego
issue 015

Motorola RAZR i
issue 019

better than Performance Design

worse than

The dual-SIM function is well implemented. Not fast, but quick enough Nothing remarkable about the design, but the device feels good in the hand Specs range from modest to impressive, with one rare standout feature Super value for money for a device packing a real innovation

Features

Value for money

»Verdictchoice at an An interesting

Work/home doubling
Two SIMs means one smartphone for work and one for home life

Video
The large 4.3-inch screen is good for video viewing

Browsing
Web browsing is a comfortable experience thanks to the screen

appealing price. It may have niche appeal, but it offers value to those that need two SIMs

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Reviews

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Review
Prestigio MultiPad 9.7 Ultra
Price £199
»

Prestigio information MultiPad 9.7 Ultra
More information www.prestigioplaza.com

Battery life

A single A8 processor is simply not enough to power a device of this size. It handles the most basic of functions well enough, but don’t even think of multi-tasking or playing NOVA 3 on it

Speed issues

The 7000mAh battery will keep your tablet powered for a full day at the very least

technical specs

»Operating system...............Android 4.0 »Processor...................................1GHz ARM Cortex A8 »Memory.......................................1GB RAM »Dimensions..............................243 x 190 x 10.5mm »Weight ..........................................620g »Display size...............................9.7-inch IPS LCD »Display resolution...............1,024 x 768 »Expansion slot.......................micro SD (up to 32GB)

Average noise

Ice Cream Sandwich

We tested the speakers on the Prestigio, and winced at what came out. The stereo audio playback is well below par to what we’d expect to see on a tablet, and others in the budget tablet market perform much better

Having Android 4.0 from the get-go is a massive bonus for this tablet, as it means you’ll be able to experience all the features we’ve grown to love The simple black slab design is in one of the newest updates underwhelming, but the back of the design is available to users comfortable and makes holding the tablet for a prolonged period of time easy to do

The HDMI connection allows you to stream from your tablet to your TV, and although on paper this seems like a good idea, the lag involved when streaming video lets it down

Stream

Prestigio MultiPad 9.7 Ultra
Disgo
issue 017

Galaxy Note 10.1
issue 018

Solid design

better than Performance Design

worse than

B

Ultra by name, but is this budget tablet ultra in quality?
efore using the Prestigio MultiPad, you’ll notice the handy leather-effect case it comes packaged in. It’s a surprisingly tough case, and perhaps something that other budget tablets should consider coming with. The tablet itself is the familiar 9.7-inch black slab affair that we’ve become accustomed to, with a wide bezel on each side of the screen. The solitary feature on the front of the device is the two-megapixel front-facing camera in the top-right corner. Turn the device around and you’ll find a glossy plastic back, which feels comfortable to hold, and the lacklustre two-megapixel rear-facing camera as well. Both the volume rocker and home button sit on top of the device, while the rest of the ports are included on the right side. There’s the headphone jack, which sits next to the tablet’s two tinny speakers, two micro USB ports, a HDMI port and a micro SD card slot which supports up to 32GB. At the bottom is the DC connector and power button. The Prestigio MultiPad runs Android 4.0 from the get-go, and although on paper this is a positive, it doesn’t make for a good tablet experience. Everything suffers from a great deal of lag, and when you combine this with a single A8 processor, the experience doesn’t improve. Moving through the various menus is a bit of a chore, and although all the Android 4.0 features are there, the fact this budget tablet plods along at such a slow pace means you probably won’t want to look into them in any detail. The 1,024 x 768 ratio is standard among these kinds of tablets, and in this case, it isn’t too bad. App icons look good, watching video is bearable, if the lag doesn’t get you first, and playing some basic games certainly looks the part. Reading is also a major plus for the tablet, and includes Prestigio’s very own eReader client, which is surprisingly thorough and easy to use. Prestigio includes plenty of stylish inclusions that from the outside make it look like a promising tablet. It’s when you start to really use it, however, that the problems that often plague budgets tablets start to rear their ugly heads.

With a tablet of this size, you really need the power from a dual-core processor Unassuming black slab tablet, but some nice touches on the back Pretty average stuff, though HDMI out is good and it comes with a nice case! The MultiPad pushes the boundaries of budget, but there are cheaper options

Features

Value for money

»Verdict a solid The MultiPad is

enough device let down by some laggy software and a poor processor

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89

Accessories
EDITOR’S CHOICE

WorldMags.net

Making sense of HUD

For those not used to it, the HUD can be a little confusing at first, especially if you’re trying to use it on the move, but the variety of information it monitors and displays is phenomenal

Excellent form factor

Oakley Airwave Snow
S
now goggles aren’t something you’d normally associate with Android, but the Oakley Airwaves are something different altogether. From the outset they look like your bog-standard snow goggles, with full chassis, lens and adjustable strap. They feel really sturdy, and with the reputable Oakley name attached to it, you know you’re getting a quality product. It isn’t until you try them on where you start to notice the real change, however. These Oakley Airwaves are equipped with a full heads-up display (HUD) that acts as a monitor while you’re snowboarding, displaying your current altitude, speed and direction.

Although a lot has been said about the HUD, we were also impressed with the overall look and design of the Airwaves. Oakley products always offer a good level of style, and these are no different

An expensive investment

The price tag will be a definite deterrent for the casual buyer, but for anyone interested in winter sports, then these are definitely worthy goggles to add to your collection

Sophisticated snow goggles with breathtaking full-HUD support via your Android device

“Providing you with full phone functionality”
On top of this, the HUD also uses the GPS built-in to it to give information on your surroundings. What makes it stand out from similar products is the Prism Technology it’s built around. This technology helps display all the information you’re looking at on a 14-inch screen, but also helps get rid of it as you ski. Each set of Airwaves comes with full Bluetooth support, enabling you to

connect it to your Android device. You’ll also find a wrist strap which connects to both your phone and goggles, providing you with full phone functionality without needing to use your actual phone. For example, if you receive a text while boarding, your HUD will display the text, and you can use your wrist strap to then respond. You can also use this to control your music stream, and the wrist strap acts as the perfect remote for skipping between your various songs. It’s an intriguing concept, but one that’s pulled off well and shows how you can start to use your Android phone with everyday products.

» specification
Price £500/$599.95
More information http://uk.oakley.com

» verdict
Performance Design Value
A glimpse of what technology can really do

90

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Accessories Accessories

More accessory reviews online

WorldMags.net »www.littlegreenrobot.co.uk
“Projects a live stream of what it currently sees from the monitor”

iZon Remote Room Monitor
A handy wallet-and-charger combo that has form and function in equal measure
At just 7mm in width, you’ll be hard pressed to notice the small TurboCharger in your wallet as you carry it around. The charger itself includes a micro USB cable allowing you to connect it to your Android phone when no other charging solutions are available. Its size means you’ll need to charge it regularly, but it works well. The accompanying wallet is made of leather and has a nice simple, but elegant look to it. There are a handful of compartments for your money and cards, and a small section for your charger. You’ll find the charger doesn’t overheat, meaning keeping it in your wallet won’t be a safety hazard after you’ve used it.

Power Wallet Bundle

Keep track of your location and surroundings
With iZon Monitor you can keep a watchful eye on things while you’re away from your home. The unit itself connects to both your phone and Wi-Fi connection and projects a live stream of what it currently sees from the monitor on the front of it. You can then access the accompanying app on your phone to see what’s happening in your home. It’s mountable to any hard surface, and the sturdy build of it means you won’t have to worry about it falling or coming loose. As well as including a video camera, it also has a microphone which is surprisingly thorough when picking up even the slightest noise in the vicinity.

www.proporta.com

» Price £22.95/$29.95 » More information

» Price £99.95/$TBA » More information
www.firebox.com

Get the most from both portrait and landscape viewing on your tablet

Nexus 7 Swivel case
Providing both a sturdy case and a suitable platform for watching media on, the Nexus 7 Swivel case from Proporta does both of its primary functions well. The case fits around the Nexus 7 nicely, without being too tight to the corners of the device. It has a peculiar hole in the back of the case to accommodate its second function as a stand. The stand can be rotated to fit in either portrait or landscape mode, with the former a bit fiddly to get sorted at first. When not in use, the case comes with a smart strap that holds the two sides together well, and certainly looks the part when carried around. Although there are niggling issues, this item is certainly a suitable case-and-stand combo.

» Price £24.95/$33.95 » More information
www.proporta.com

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91

Accessories

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Bass of all sizes
» Price £259.95/$349.95 » More information www.sennheiser.co.uk

We’ve put together a selection of bass-hungry products that pack a punch no matter what size

Sennheiser Amperior

Editor’s choicE

The metallic feel of the Amperior headphones gives them a sturdy feel, and the cushioned headband makes a nice change. For the price, you’d expect brilliant sound quality, and that’s what you get. Although they aren’t the biggest headphones, they’re certainly comfy and lightweight enough for regular use.

Editor’s choicE

AQ SmartSpeaker
» Price single: £159/$179; double: £299/$349 » More information www.aqaudio.com

The SmartSpeakers are more than just a couple of Pope’s hat-resembling speakers. The technology behind them makes them really stand out from the crowd. With AQ Direct you can use wireless streaming from your phone to the speakers without the need to be connected to a Wi-Fi

network. Streaming is easy, and no matter where you are, and the sound quality is always superb. You can get them as singles or in a pair.

92

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Accessories

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“Offers the same level of quality as something thrice its size”

» Price £24.95/$49.95 » More information http://kitsound.co.uk

deadmau5 portable speaker

KitSound Boombar

» Price £49.99/$69.99 » More information http://kitsound.co.uk

Inspired by the iconic deadmau5, this portable speaker features two LED lights that light up when it’s connected to your phone. As expected with anything associated with the deadmau5 name, the sound quality is beyond amazing, and offers the same level of quality as something thrice its size. The buddy jack around the back allows you to connect a number of these speakers together to create the ultimate party.

Things don’t come more simple than the KitSound Boombar, but still offer gorgeous sound no matter when and where you use it. Most of the entire front of the bar is encased by a mesh which houses two speakers, with a series of simple volume controls attached to the right of it. There’s a handy stand to keep the bar upright, and connecting it to your Android phone is a breeze.

» Price £79.99/$99.99 » More information www.supertooth.net

SuperTooth Disco2

You can connect your phone to this well-designed speaker via Bluetooth, allowing an easy way to stream your songs and take phone calls at the same time. Its sleek stature helps store a powerful speaker which copes with the most bass-heavy tracks well, even if it very rarely picks up a small amount of interference. Although the speaker does need to be charged at times, it has a ridiculously long battery life that was really impressive in testing.

Boombero
» Price £44.99/$72.19 » More information www.firebox.com

» Price £9.95/$14.95 » More information http://kitsound.co.uk

KitSound Mini Buddies
keys or person. No batteries are needed to use the speaker, but you’ll be required to charge it every so often via the micro USB port at the bottom of it.

These adorable pocket speakers come in a variety of different animals, ranging from pigs, penguins and birds. Each speaker is encased in plastic with a speaker located at the back of it. There’s an adapter allowing you to plug it directly into your Android device, as well as a keyring for you to attach it to your

A great docking feature lets you connect your phone to this powerful speaker with no problem. It can be adjusted to fit a variety of styles, so feel free to put the speaker flat on the ground, or even vertical. Its stylish design partners the superb quality that the speaker emits on a regular basis, while not being too overpowering. It has the annoyance of needing three AA batteries to work if you aren’t near a USB port, and unfortunately they drain fairly quickly.

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93

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EDITORS CHOICE
Sealed back
The back of the phone is sealed so you cannot remove the battery. There is also no SD card slot, limiting you to either 5GB or 13GB of storage depending on which version you choose The Nexus 4 runs the new Android 4.2 OS and will continue to be updated to new versions of the OS for the foreseeable future. If having the latest and best software is important to you then this is the handset to go for

Android 4.2

Micro SIM

The Nexus 4 takes a micro SIM. You insert and remove it via the port on the left-side of the handset

The rounded edges on the glass front make the Nexus 4 feel fantastic when swiping through the UI. The display is beautiful, if not quite as vibrant as AMOLED displays tend to be

Glass front

Crystal reflection

The back of the phone is adorned with Crystal Reflection glass which subtly glistens with a pattern depending on how the light hits it. The silver Nexus logo clearly shows the device’s branding too

a pattern of dots that gently glow and disappear depending on how the light hits it. It’s subtle and effective, a lovely detail that enhances the smartphone’s high-end look. But as nice as it might look the decision to use glass for the rear is not without controversy. Even though it is made of Gorilla Glass it is scratch resistant rather than shatter resistant, and thousands of iPhone 4 and 4S users will confirm that glass-backed handsets do not stand up well to misuse. It’s not a major issue, but if you’re prone to dropping your phones then it is at least a factor to be aware of. If nothing else, get a case. We didn’t find the Nexus 4 to be as slippery as some other recent phones. Soft touch plastic down the sides helps to make it quite grippy, and the very solid feel of the device meant it felt pretty secure in the hand. It is both thicker and heavier than other flagship handsets, but we weren’t too bothered by that. It fits in the hand and pocket well, and feels very sturdy – there’s no flexing or creaking going on here. As a Nexus device the front is buttonless, and equally minimal around the edges. On the left edge are the volume controls and a covered slot for a micro SIM card (which requires a SIM tool, or paperclip to remove) and on the right the power button. The top houses the headphone jack, and the bottom the micro USB connector, which also supports HDMI out. The back doesn’t clip off so you cannot replace the battery. We’re not as bothered by this as some others are, since we don’t tend to carry replacement batteries as a matter of course. But if you’re buying on a two-year contract it is likely you will notice degraded performance in battery life towards the latter part of the deal.

3GB or so for Android itself and you are looking at 5GB and 13GB instead. If ever a device was crying out for a 32GB option it was this. Elsewhere the Nexus 4 hits the mark on all the specifications, even if it does represent the best of what 2012 had to offer rather than setting the standard for 2013. The screen, as mentioned, looks fantastic, if not quite class leading. With 768 x 1,280 resolution (the extra 48 pixels do make the device a little wider than most others) and with a pixel density of 320 ppi it is immensely sharp and crisp. In comparison to the competition it is a noticeable improvement over the Samsung Galaxy S III, but has less punch than the HTC One X. The display is LCD rather than AMOLED so the blacks are not completely black and colours not quite as vibrant. Of course, you will rarely notice this unless you hold the two side by side. The main complaint we had in day-to-day use was that the auto-brightness settings for the display were not quite as bright as we would have liked. The processor is the quad-core Snapdragon S4 clocked at 1.5GHz. Allied with 2GB of RAM and the latest version of Android unencumbered by bloat it absolutely flies. There is an eight megapixel camera with LED flash capable of shooting 1080p video, and an additional 1.3-megapixel camera in the front for video chat, and with a wide-angle lens that makes it ideal for self portraits. The Nexus 4 is only officially a 3G model, although a 4G mode can be unlocked via a hidden menu. This should be viewed as no more than a bonus feature if you are in a compatible region. It only works on the 1700 and 2100MHz frequencies, and EE, the UK’s only 4G network, runs on the 1800MHz frequency.

“It is a noticeable improvement over the Samsung Galaxy S III”

Nexus 4
T
26
he Nexus range of devices has always been the one that most excites Android enthusiasts. Although traditionally not as consumer-friendly and therefore not able to match the sales of big hitters like the Galaxy S III, the devices represent Google’s vision of what an Android device should be and often serve as a reference for the handsets produced in the coming months. Since Google’s business is not reliant on hardware sales, the company is also able to sell the handset through its Play store at close to cost

Hardware

The latest addition to the Nexus range comes with premium build quality, a new version of the Android OS and an unbeatable SIM-free price
SIM-free. The device is also available on contract through networks such as O2 in the UK.

The phone is buttonless. You do lose a few pixels at the bottom of the screen to make room for the virtual buttons

Buttonless

The Nexus 4’s specs are mostly top notch, with a single major point of concern. There is no memory card slot. This isn’t a surprise as Google is most definitely encouraging a move away from memory cards, and is very keen to promote its cloud services as an alternative. But even though those cloud services are appealing they are still not a genuine alternative to on-board storage. The Nexus 4 is available in 8GB and 16GB versions. Take away

It may be thicker than some rivals, but we loved the Nexus 4’s design

HTC One X

On the face of it, the Nexus 4 shows the device is very much sticking to the design of its forebears. It looks virtually identical to last year’s Galaxy Nexus, but is in fact a considerable step up in terms of both design and build. The Nexus 4 is, to put it simply, the most beautifully constructed Android device we’ve seen, even ahead of our previous

HTC One X

Nexus 4

Nexus 4

Nexus 4

13619

11352

17642

1556

2722

1287

1287

1975

1521

HTC One X

Design and build

favourite, the HTC One X. It shares a few similarities with that device – the full glass front with curved edges which feel great when swiping your finger in from the side of the screen, and also the way the gap between the glass and the screen itself has been reduced to barely discernible levels, making it feel as though the display is literally painted onto the glass. The Nexus 4 certainly makes an unbeatable first impression. The glass continues around onto the back. LG has used its Crystal Reflection glass which sports

Performance tests
Our perceptions about the speed of the Nexus 4 were backed up in the benchmark tests. The device beat the powerhouse that is the Galaxy Note II in both processor and graphics performance and tied in browsing performance. The S4 processor shows itself to be a more than strong rival to the Tegra and Exynos CPUs that have been dominant throughout the Android landscape in 2012.

Processor & graphics
Antutu

GPU
GLBenchmark

Browser
Vellamo

Galaxy Note II

Galaxy Note II

Galaxy Note II

27

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