smartphones

All posts tagged smartphones

Mobile Tech Tip: iOS 7 Multitasking Gestures

Mobile Tech Tip iOS 7 Multitasking Gestures via BrothaTech.comLike I mentioned in an earlier post, I’m back on my iPhone 5 A.K.A. The Precious from using my Samsung Galaxy S4 for the better part of the 2013. So I’ve been doing some digging to find out if there were any Easter eggs, hidden gems, or just common knowledge stuff I completely missed out on during my iPhone sabbatical.

While I was gone from “home” Apple released iOS 7 that some people love, some people hate. Based on my research, most people hate it because Apple introduced some new and unfamiliar ways to interact with the phone…Mofos hate change for some strange reason. Personally, I don’t think Apple went far enough creating a “new” and “revised from the ground up experience”.

…But that’s another post for another day, so I digress.

What I wanted to share was that while I was (kind of) paying attention to the new features of iOS 7, I wasn’t “all in”. Now that I am, I’ve been finding some cool little features that I thought I may share with you all.

Instead of posting a long drawn-out blog post, I decided to shoot a quick video on some additional iOS 7 multitasking gestures that will help you multitask your multitasking…check it out:

RELAX, I still have my GS4 and a Lumia 1020, so this series of videos will uncover tips & tricks for Android as well as Windows Phone (Sorry BlackBerry users…)

If you have a mobile tip or trick you want to highlight in a future video, be sure to hit my contact page, an add the subject “Mobile Tech Tip” or reach out to me via Social Media and use the hashtag #BrothaTechTip.

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Switching Back To iOS From Android – It Just Works

Switching Back To iOS From Android - It Just Works via BrothaTech

Not sure if I just got bored and wanted to look at something new for a change, or I truly am a fanboy, but I’ve temporarily (or permanently) switched back to my iPhone 5 as my daily driver. I’ve been using my Samsung Galaxy S4 for quite some time and I must say the larger screen size was my main reason for getting one, and it came in handy numerous times on the potty when I had idle time to browse the web, watch a video, or draft an email.

Additionally, I use Google services all day long, so having that “Google juice” baked into my smartphone is an added bonus

Side note: I’m still trying to figure out a full-proof way to use my Google Apps email aliases in Apple Mail for iOS 7. 

So after a while rocking Android, I’ve switched back to iOS.  While my fat thumbs (Lawd, please force Apple to let us use SwiftKey) and bad eyes have to get used to a smaller screen again, going back to Apple has been a pretty pleasant experience.

The first obvious thing I noticed is that getting media (music, movies, podcasts, etc.) on my iPhone was simple because I use iTunes to download and mange my media. I use a doubleTwist to get iTunes content on my Android, but some content (old DRM stuff) just won’t carry over. Plugging up my iPhone and watching the magic happen is simply a better experience.

Another observation was that it appeared that my Android was getting more an more stuttery (word?) and not as smooth when doing basic tasks like detecting when I wanted to type and pulling up the virtual keyboard, switching between apps, and taking pictures. My GS4 had to literally “think about it” for a while before completing the task.

iOS on the other hand, is still a smooth and seamless experience. Now one could attribute my Android issues to the fact that by the time the manufacturer and the carrier are done with Android, the user experience is lessened. But like I said, as time went on, the stuttering got worse…And until any of you Android enthusiasts scoffing at my analysis (or PR folk looking for influential brands…’cause I’d like to consider myself influential in this tech game) want to send me a Google Nexus 5 to truly experience Android, you will have to make due with my iOS vs. Android experience.

Yeah, my phone is tiny, and I will have to figure out some workarounds to continue dependence on using Google services on an iPhone, but I will say my overall opinion of an iPhone is that with all of its developer and ecosystem restrictions…It just works.

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Video: Spigen Neo Hybrid Case for Samsung Galaxy S4

Spigen Neo Hybrid smartphone case via BrothaTech.com

I hate smartphone cases…I prefer my phones nekkid. On the flip-side, I fix cracked mobile devices daily, and I can tell that a little part of the owner has died inside when I assess the damage to their device. The happiness is clearly visable when I return their device to its former glory – One of my recent customers wrote an entire blog post about getting her “baby” back.

All that to say, while I prefer the sleek profile of a case-less smartphone, I can also the see the value in putting a protective case on my smartphone — I would hate to be my own customer. So I did some research and found the Spigen Neo Hybrid smartphone case for my Samsung Galaxy S4. Check out my video review:

The cool thing about the Spigen Neo Hybrid is that it’s reasonably priced starting at $20 bucks, and you can change the colors (for an additional $10 bucks/per frame) to match your current outfit add your own style. It’s not just limited to the Samsung Galaxy S4 either:

  • iPhone 5/5C/5S
  • Galaxy Note 3
  • Nexus 5

So if Santa was good to you and left a fancy-schmancy smartphone under your tree, check out the Spigen Neo Hybrid smartphone case (Affiliate Link) and let me know what you think.

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Samsung Galaxy S4 SIM Card Slot Replacement

Samsung Galaxy S4 SIM Card Slot Repair via BrothaTech.com

I would like to think I’ve gotten pretty good with fixing our beloved mobile electronics. Most of my repairs have been replacing other folks cracked/dead screens. Every once in a while I get an unusual repair request from an unusual customer.

A couple of weeks ago, that unusual repair request was to find out why a Samsung Galaxy S4 was not reading its SIM card from the wireless carrier. Oh yeah, that unusual customer was me…For some strange reason, the Samsung Galaxy S4 SIM card slot completely died. I’ve never done this type of repair, so with a little research, I decided to completely replace the SIM card slot altogether.

During my research, I also find out that the SIM card and MicroSD card were a unit, so I had to replace them both.

While not a step-by-step tutorial, I had some time to kill, so I decided to shoot a video to document my repair.

Come to find out, I didn’t have to take the phone completely apart, but I’m glad I figured that out on my own device versus messing around on somebody else’s

“We talking about practice…not a game, not a game”

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Aio Wireless – Cool Gadgets, Fast Network?

Aio Wireless - Cool Gadgets, Fast Network? via BrothaTech.com

You may or may not have heard about Aio Wireless, the new prepaid mobile wireless company that looks to provide an option for consumers who want a cool mobile device, without a confusing and expensive contract, running on a fast network.

For most people, opting to go the prepaid route means that they have to sacrifice one or more of the above qualifications. You either get a simple plan, but with subpar network speeds. Or you can decent network speeds, but the phone selection is embarrassing enough that would rather keep in your pocket rather than lying on the table.

According to Aio Wireless, that doesn’t have to be the case. They want to offer phones that the consumer can be proud of owning, without sacrificing network quality, or signing over their first born child. So they sent me one of their review devices to test the phone and network quality.

Before I get into the device or the network speed, I wanted to highlight that even though Aio Wireless is a subsidy of AT&T and runs on Big Blue’s network, Aio calls the shots on how they operate. As a result, they offer some pretty solid wireless rate incentives to be competitive with the other prepaid companies, as well as the “Big Two + two” (VZW, AT&T…Sprint and T-Mobile).

aio wireless graphic via BrothaTech.comFirst off, there’s no contract — cancel at anytime and not worry about any cancellation fees. Another thing I noticed on the website was that the rate prices included taxes and fees. In other words, you won’t feel like you’re getting “nickled and dimed” every time you look at your bill.

The rate plans are pretty good as well – If you don’t care about a smartphone, but don’t want to worry about using up talk/text minutes — Your plan is a flat $40/month for unlimited talk/text. If you want a sexier phone and more data, plans start at $55/month for unlimited talk/text and 2GB of high speed data and go up to a incredibly expensive [/sarcasm] $70/month for 7GB of data.

That’s pretty much it. I’ve just explained the bulk of Aio Wireless’ rate plans in a two-sentence paragraph. Try that with the other carriers…

Speaking of sexy phones, what makes signing a contract so appealing is you don’t have to buy a high-powered smartphone upfront. You can essentially finance the phone and pay a little at a time. By the time the contract is up, you own a nice phone, and the wireless carrier gets PAID.

With Aio Wireless, you have the option to pay full-price upfront for a phone, and save in the long run because your monthly plan doesn’t have the price of the phone built-in, or bring your own device and activate it on Aio Wireless network (Click here to find out if your phone is compatible).

What kind of phones do they offer? I’m glad you asked. Aio Wireless sent me Samsung Galaxy S4 to play around with in order to test out the service. In addition to the Galaxy line, Aio also offers iPhones and Nokia devices to ensure you’re keeping up with the [smartphone] Joneses’.

Now I’m not going to take up any time reviewing the Samsung GS4 from Aio Wireless, because it’s the same as a GS4 from VZW, AT&T, Sprint, or T-Mobile with the exception of the badging on the back panel, and cool welcome/splash screen when you turn the phone on.

What I will point out is the differences in data speeds. Now, I didn’t experience any difference in call quality, and the network didn’t drop any of my calls during my test. So for the most part, I’ve been doing all this nice-talking about Aio but one thing that could pose a problem from switching personally is that Aio throttles its high-speed data at 8 Mbps (Megabits per second). In other words, if your location can support crazy-fast connection speeds, (check), and you have an fast LTE-compatible smartphone (check), the fastest speed you will ever get is around 8 Mbps before Aio steps in and slows down your connectivity. That could be a potential deal-breaker for the “I need my Instagram selfies to upload yesterday” crowd.

For the other wireless carriers, while I can’t confirm or deny that they don’t put utilize mobile data speed caps. Even if they did, I’m almost sure it would be well beyond 8 Mbps.

I will be honest and say the data speeds seemed okay when I was using the GS4. I don’t know if I either subconsciously expected Aio wireless network to be a little slower, or after the first couple of days, the speed became “normal”; but it worked fine for me. It wasn’t until I did a side-by-side comparison that I visually noticed a difference.

Overall, for somebody looking to cut costs across the board in our current financial climate, their monthly wireless bill is a good place to start now that carriers like Aio Wireless can provide quality less expensive options. Additionally, Aio Wireless is a solid option for those who otherwise couldn’t not afford a monthly contract to start with. Mobile is the only way some people get access to the world wide web (Think digital divide)

BUT

Based on my tests (results may vary in your area), albeit, a small amount, you will have to sacrifice some wireless data speed in order to get a nice smartphone on one of the carrier’s simple no-contract plans. The question you will have to ask yourself is which is more important.

Be sure to visit Aio Wireless to learn more about their plans, and if your area is covered.

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Thanksgiving Road Trip with the Nokia Lumia 1020 Camera

Thanksgiving Road Trip with the Nokia lumia 1020 Camera via BrothaTech.com

No doubt that the Nokia Lumia 1020 Windows Phone has one of, if not the best smartphone cameras currently on the market. I was also able to get my hands on the Nokia Camera Grip add on for even more smartphone camera awesomeness.

This past weekend, the Tech Fam’ did some holiday traveling to visit my family in Indiana. Normally, I would pack up the “big” family camera to snap some pictures during our trip. This go ’round, I decided to leave the family camera at home and bring the Nokia Lumia 1020 camera and Camera Grip to see how well the unit functions as the only camera I use during our trip.

First, let me say that we don’t technically have a “big” camera — It’s actually one of those compact “mini” DSLR’s that has a pretty dope 16 megapixel camera with the ability to add all the attachments to mimic a traditional DSLR, but without the size. All that to say, lugging around our family camera isn’t a big deal at all.

On the flip side, the ability to carry a 41 megapixel camera, that does other stuff too, in your pocket is a very attractive option. Even with the added size of the Nokia Camera Grip, I could still stick the 1020 in my coat pocket (It was kinda chilly in the “Nap”) or even in my pants pocket.

Lumia 1020 Camera Road trip - Tripod via BrothaTech

Speaking of the Camera Grip, I could’ve easily just used the 1020 without the grip, but the value-add to using the grip is:

  • Extra battery life – The grip doubles as an 1020 mAh external battery for the Lumia 1020 that offers up to additional 55 minutes of shoot time. So I wasn’t worried about wasting all my smartphone battery life taking a bunch of pics.
  • Better ergonomics with taking pictures…It felt more like a traditional ‘point and shoot’ camera than a smartphone where I’m not sure where I put my fingers when taking pictures.

…Additionally, I can add a tripod for more stability and better shots. I didn’t carry a tripod with me, but this will come in handy when I need to quickly shoot video for a gadget review and I forgot to charge my main camera.

Taking pictures with the Lumia 1020 camera was much faster than our family camera as well. I could use the physical camera button on the Camera Grip to wake the phone an immediately go into camera mode. Actually taking pictures with the 1020 is no different than your average smartphone — It has all the same modes, options, filters, and features as other smartphone cameras. Where the 1020 shines over other smartphones…and our family camera is the ability to quickly edit pictures after the image was taken. I particularly like the ability to easily zoom in and refocus the image with a few swipes.

Another positive for the Lumia 1020 over our family camera is the fact that it’s a smartphone that can connect to the web. Similar to the Samsung Galaxy Camera, I can quickly share images to my social networks, as well as automatically sync all my images to Microsoft’s SkyDrive cloud storage service. Normally, I have to pull out the SD card, connect it to my computer, and initiate a photo transfer if I were using the family camera.

Lumia 1020 Camera Road Trip - Camera via BrothaTech.comEven with the Lumia 1020 camera and all its features, nothing beats a traditional DSLR when it comes to manually adjusting settings to get the “perfect shot”. There are so many additional options that the 1020 simply does not have. Since I’m not a photog that doesn’t know what the hell ISO means, the family camera stays in “auto mode” anyway. So for me, there’s no real advantage. I can also hand the 1020 to Mrs. Tech and she can quickly take good shots – She’s less of a photog than I am.

I shouldn’t have to clue you in on the fact that the family pics turned out dope, so the experiment was well worth it. As a result, I could easily suggest a Lumia 1020 if somebody is looking for a smartphone that takes great pictures. As proof, all I would have to do is show them a slide show of all the images I took during our 2013 Thanksgiving road trip (Click sample images below).

Yeah, it’s Windows Phone, and is not filled to the brim with apps like its Apple and Google competitors. Personally, the ability to swap my SIM card between my iPhone 5 or Galaxy S4 to my Nokia Lumia 1020 camera when I ONLY want to carry a high-powered camera, that’s also a smartphone is idea for me, even if I can’t update my Google+ status.

When was the last time you looked at Google+…That’s what I thought

Disclaimer: Some links in this post are Affiliate Links #AffiliateFlow

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