Saturday, 29 September 2018

10 Tips on Preserving Your Battery

Have you ever been lost in a new city and need to book a taxi ride home but you can’t because your phone battery is dead? I know I have. There’s little that’s more frustrating in life than having a dead battery in when you need it the most.

It’s not just us though, a lot of people suffer from this problem but few of us have any idea how to fix it. Today, we’re going to change that by figuring out why a lot of phones have a terrible battery life and how we can stop them from draining so quickly.

There are a lot of reasons that your battery isn’t retaining its charge, and there are some things you can do that may improve the situation, but first let’s take a look at the science behind it all…

How Does A Battery Work?

Batteries work in such a way that they have a certain amount of battery cycles. This means that your battery can be charged and drained a certain amount of times before you begin to see deterioration in the functionality of your phone.

The problem is that smartphone technology is developing so fast that battery developers don’t have time to catch up. Our phones are capable of running all sorts of apps, but these features use a lot of energy, thus causing the battery to use up charge cycles much more quickly.

In addition to this, software updates can cause older phones to struggle under the pressure and cause even quicker battery deterioration. In spite of all this, there are some things you can do to preserve those battery cycles and slow down the deterioration of your battery. Let’s take a look at how.

How To Improve The Battery Life on Android Phones

1. Check Up On Your Power Usage In Settings

Apps can be a major contributing factor when it comes to fast-depleting batteries. It’s often the case that apps are eating up your power even when you are not using them, so go into the settings, check out what’s going on, and remove any apps that are causing a problem.

The OS you are using could also be causing rapid battery loss, so you can try updating the OS to improve the battery life.

2. Get Rid Of Clutter

People tend to have hundreds of apps on their phones, of which they use only a few. Just having a lot of apps can contribute to the speed with which your battery drains, so it may be time for a clear out. Delete anything that you don’t use anymore; delete any games that you don’t play and you should see an improvement in your battery life.

3. Make Use Of Airplane Mode

Although Airplane mode was designed to use when you fly, what the function actually does is stop the phone from attempting to connect to cellular and 3G networks. Both of these functions really drain battery life, especially if you are in a low signal area, as the phone will have to work harder to try to connect to a network. If you’re running really low on charge and you want to preserve the battery for that little bit longer, switch to airplane mode, and you should be able to slow the process down a little bit.

4. Ditch Notifications

Most people have notification set up for pretty much all their apps. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and most other social apps send notifications regularly and this could be causing your phone battery to die faster. Of course, you may want to continue receiving personal message notifications, but if you really want to save battery life, then turn them off on the less important apps.

5. Turn Off Ambient Display

The ambient display allows apps and notifications to cause the screen to light up when they are received. If you receive a lot of notifications, this repeated lighting up of the screen can cause the battery life to drain much faster than when it is turned off. If you have a device that runs on Android 7 and above, you can also specifically select that notifications don’t light up the screen, but messages and other things still do.

6. Make use of Power Saver Mode

Power saver can be your saving grace if you are really trying to save the power on your phone. This function disables power draining features like location services and reduces the quality of animations. For newer model Androids, you also have the option of choosing ‘extreme power saving mode’, which disables data connections when the screen is locked and gives priority to important apps like GPS and messaging.

7. Get a Good Charger

Its no myth that cheap chargers are worse than certified or official chargers. If you want to have the best chance of maintaining your battery life and charging your mobile quickly, purchase a charger from the manufacturer or a certified third party.

8. Don’t Let Your Phone Overheat

All smartphones are susceptible to overheating, and your battery life can be affected by this. If your phone overheats regularly – or even gets too cold, for that matter – you will notice reduced functionality and battery life. Do what you can to keep it at a normal temperature. That might mean removing accessories that stop heat from escaping and keeping it out of direct sunlight.

9. Don’t Let Your Battery Die Too Often

Leaving the battery to completely burn out can be really damaging to the longevity of the battery. The optimal way to charge your phone is to keep the battery charged between 40% and 80% at all times. This will help the battery to run in a more healthy way, and the charge will be likely to last longer.

10. Use the Screen Dimming Function

If you are facing a battery life emergency, then dimming the screen as much as possible can help to preserve the last bit of charge. You can also use dimming functions to improve the batteries overall longevity too. For Android, you can make use of the adaptive brightness settings, which allows the phone to adjust the brightness of the screen automatically based on your surroundings, in order to reduce the amount of power the screen brightness is using up.

That’s all there is to it! That concludes our 10 tips for preserving your Android’s battery life. Hopefully, these will help you to improve your phone’s battery and avoid getting stuck in any more difficult situations without a charged phone in the future.

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Sunday, 23 September 2018

10 Tips for Charging Your Phone Correctly

One of the most frustrating things about current mobile phones is their battery life. As our devices have become more powerful and technologically advanced, battery manufacturers have struggled to keep pace. All those incredible apps and smart features that come with mobiles in 2018 drain your battery much quicker than they used to.

Because of this, it’s sometimes necessary to charge your battery twice, or even three times per day – particularly if you’re someone that uses it a lot – and that’s just not viable. So what’s the solution?

Well, it might seem obvious, but a surprising number of people don’t know how to charge their phone correctly. By ‘correctly’, I mean in a way that maximizes the battery life both in the short-term and in the long-term, and charges it quickly enough that you can go from 0% to 100% in no time at all, allowing you to fit in multiple recharges per day.

With that in mind, we’ve put together this list of 10 tips that will help you to charge your phone faster and more safely. Let’s get into it!

1. Don’t charge it to 100%

You might have thought that the best way to make sure your phone has enough juice to keep it going through the day is to charge it fully, right the way to 100%. Well, you’d be wrong. Why? Two words: battery life.

Most modern smartphones have lithium-ion batteries, and these batteries don’t respond well to being charged to maximum capacity. I won’t bore you with why that is – it’s far too complex and technical to get into here – but you’ll just have to take my word for it. If you charge them to 100%, you’ll cause a tiny bit of damage to the battery which will, over time, reduce its lifespan. If you do this regularly, after a few hundred charges your battery life will be dramatically reduced.

The good news is partial charges cause no harm whatsoever to lithium-ion batteries so aim to do frequent, short charges of between 10%-20% at a time if you can. If that’s not possible, just unplug your charger before it gets to 100%.

The exception to all of this is if your mobile has a nickel-based battery. Nickel batteries actually benefit from the total opposite due to something called the ‘memory effect’. This refers to when a battery ‘forgets’ its full capacity if its never being charged to it. For example, if you only ever charge it up to 80%, it might forget about the other 20% over time. Sounds weird, I know. Fortunately, you probably don’t have to worry about this too much anyway as very few modern phones still have nickel-based batteries.

2. Don’t let it run too low

In the same way that you shouldn’t ever let your phone charge all the way up to 100%, you shouldn’t let it deplete to 0% either. This actually damages the battery a little bit each time, which will cause the battery life to drop over the long-term. Try not to let it drop below 25% if you can help it.

If you want to be really safe about it, aim to keep your battery charged at between 65%-75% at all times as research shows this is the optimal amount to maintain battery life.

3. Don’t leave it at 0% for too long

If you do fail to keep your phone battery from running out, try to get it charged up again as soon as possible. If you leave it at 0% for too long, it can completely die. By that, I mean totally lose its capacity to hold a charge and refuse to turn on again even when plugged in.

Of course, this won’t happen over a few hours or even a few days. We’re talking about a phone that’s left for months with 0% charge. It does happen sometimes, though, when people store old mobiles in drawers. If you do, just remember to charge it back up to around 50% every now and then to prevent the battery from dying.

4. Use a fast charger

All chargers are not made equal. It’s possible to get ‘lightning chargers’ which are able to charge up your phone faster than regular ones – but only if your phone supports fast charging. Many new Android models do, so if you have one of these phones, pair it up with a fast charger and you’ll be able to charge much more quickly.

5. Turn it off whilst charging

It might seem obvious, but it’s worth mentioning as most people still use their phone whilst it’s charging. If you can, go without it for a few minutes and turn it off. It will charge much quicker as there will be fewer things draining the battery whilst it’s charging up.

6. Stop touching it

If you really can’t turn it off – perhaps you’re waiting for an important call – then at least stop touching it. The screen is usually the biggest battery drain at all, so even just touching your phone to check the time uses up some charge. Try to leave it alone and the battery will charge quicker.

7. Use airplane mode

If you can’t turn it off and you can’t stop touching it, then at the very least switch on airplane mode. This will stop things like WiFi, GPS, and 4G from draining your battery so that it can recharge more quickly. You should also close any apps you’re not using.

8. Use a wall socket

If you just rely on the USB lead to charge your phone, it’s not going to charge as quickly. Instead of plugging it into your laptop, plug it into a wall for maximum speed. If you don’t have a plug and have to rely on the USB, at least aim for a USB 3.0 port as this will charge it quicker than a USB 2.0.

9. Keep it cool

Batteries charge slower the hotter they are. Therefore, you can reduce the time it takes to charge up your battery by keeping it cool whilst charging. This means taking off any accessories like mobile phone cases that might be trapping in the heat. It also means charging it in a cool room, out of the way of direct sunlight.

10. Get a portable charger

Ok, so the final tip is a bit of a cheat. It’s not exactly a way to charge your phone more quickly per se, but it is a way that you can avoid letting your battery deplete entirely and charge it up on-the-go. Buy yourself a portable charger and take it with you to work or wherever you’re spending your day. That way, if your battery starts getting low, you can top it up before it gets to 0% even if there isn’t a wall socket nearby.

That’s it for our 10 tips on charging your phone correctly. Have fun and remember – don’t let your battery ruin your day!

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Monday, 3 September 2018

The Best Mobile Phones for Kids

Back when mobile phones were invented, they were mainly used by adults. Often, when kids got into their mid-teens, their parents would gift them a hand-me-down phone to keep them safe when they were out with friends – but not anymore.

Now, the world is changing. Everywhere you look, you will see people staring at screens – and kids are no exception. In the modern day, the digital world is a children’s playground. For most children, smartphones and tablets are the way they learn, play, and interact with their peers. Many parents still do their best to monitor their children’s screen time and even limit it, but it’s becoming more and more important for children to be able to access online entertainment.

So that leaves many parents asking which device is right for their children. After all, it seems counter-intuitive to buy a 6-year-old the latest model of iPhone, only for the screen to be cracked in a day. However, it’s important that the model you choose is capable of running large gaming apps and browsing the internet. In this article, you can find some recommendations for the right smartphone to buy for your kids.

1. LG Q6

The LG Q6 would be the perfect phone for the clumsy YouTube enthusiast. The best feature of this model is it’s 5.5-inch Full HD display. If your kid likes watching YouTube or reading high-quality picture books this would be a great device for them. As well as its great screen, it also has a 3000 mAh battery, which will help you to avoid those stressful moments on long car journeys when the battery dies an hour in!

The LG Q6 operates on Android – a simple operating system that the kids can easily get used to, and one which has access to the thousands of apps available from the Google Play Store. It also has a great processor and a lot of RAM to ensure games run smoothly.

The Q6 is robust in design, making it a good fit for kids who are active (and break things easily). It’s also one of the cheapest on this list, with a sim-free value of around 445 AUD and cheap contracts available.

2. Nokia 5

The Nokia 5 is a budget-friendly option that may be perfect for your child’s first smartphone. It has similar specs and battery life to the LG Q6 with a slightly smaller screen.

The price, however, is its main selling point as it’s available sim-free from around 300 AUD.

Despite the low price tag, the Nokia 5 will still give your little ones access to all of their favorite apps using the Google Play Store, and is great for watching YouTube and gaming. The operating system is easy for kids to access and its sleek black design is something that they won’t be embarrassed to show off in front of friends.

3.iPhone SE

If your kids are demanding an iPhone, then this may be the right model for you.

The iPhone SE was brought out between the iPhone 5 and iPhone 6 and bears a strong resemblance to the iPhone 5s.

If your child is a keen gamer, this iPhone’s A9 chip will keep their favorite games running smoothly and lag-free, and the 4-inch, crystal clear retina display will ensure they keep up with the action.

The iPhone SE is also good for the socialite who loves to take selfies and keep up with friends. The HD camera will leave them looking picture perfect and the facetime capabilities mean they can stay in touch with both you and their pals.

Apple is also a great option for cautious parents as its security features keep your kids just a little safer than an Android phone will, and they can use TouchID security to ensure their friends aren’t breaking into their phones.

For iPhone standards, the SE is relatively affordable, coming in at around 625 AUD.

4. iPhone 6

The iPhone 6 is the slightly more expensive model of iPhone that still makes the list despite its price tag.

The iPhone 6, despite being slightly outdated due to the release of newer models, still holds its own against other phones years after its release.

If your child is concerned about having a new model that they can show off to friends, the iPhone 6 could be a good option. Its sleek and widescreen design is quite similar to the newer models and it also offers a lot of the same features.

It comes equipped with an A8 chip, which makes gaming on the device much smoother than it was on previous models and its 4.7-inch screen with retina display offers seamless clarity for any mobile activity.

As with most iPhones, the camera is much better than most other non-Apple smartphones in the same price range, so, if you have an amateur photographer in your ranks, this could be the right choice for you.

The price is the only downside to this phone, as it’s considerably higher than any others on the list. To buy this device sim-free, you’d be looking at spending around 730 AUD. At that price, this device may be better for older, more responsible children.

5. Samsung J3

One of the cheapest devices, and the only Samsung to make the list, is the Samsung J3. This model, which was brought out in 2017, is one of the most popular Android devices.

The main benefit of this device is the screen size. Its screen measures in at 5 inches, the optimum size for mobile gamers. It’s also equipped with a headphone jack, meaning that the kids can watch meme videos to their heart’s content whilst you enjoy some peace and quiet.

This device also has a great battery life compared to others in this price range, making it great for kids who love watching movies on their phones. 

This phone may be great for younger kids as the price is relatively low, costing only 319 AUD for a sim-free device.

That concludes our list of the best smartphones on the market for kids. Hopefully, this article has made it easier to find models that would be right for your little ones. Happy Shopping!

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The Most Expensive Smartphones In The World

It’s no secret that mobile phones have got more expensive in the past few years. We only need to take a look at the price tag on new flagship models like the iPhone X – which will set you back around au$1400 – to see how much buying a new phone can really hurt your wallet.

Of course, this makes a lot of sense. After all, phone technology has come a long way in the last few years, and many of us now value our phones amongst our most important and useful possessions. Seeing as we use our phones every day, many people don’t have a problem justifying paying a little more for a high-quality model.

However, there are some smartphones that are so ludicrously expensive that it’d be easy to think you’d have to be mad to buy them – either that or incredibly rich.

To show you the kind of smartphones we’re talking about, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most expensive smartphones in the world. These luxury smartphones are gadgets loaded with cutting-edge tech and top-end specifications.

They frequently built with rare and expensive materials which cost a small fortune, and they’re the kind of phone you really wouldn’t want to drop. If you did, it would set you back much more than the cost of a repair service were you to break it!

Let’s take a look at four of the most expensive, luxury phones of all time.

  1. iPhone Princess Plus

If you thought the iPhone X was expensive, say hello the iPhone Princess Plus. With a price tag similar to an average mortgage, the iPhone Princess Plus doesn’t come cheap. It costs around au$236,000 so, true to its name, you’d probably have to be a princess to afford this little gem.

And speaking of little gems – the iPhone Princess Plus is covered in them. Diamonds, to be specific. 318 of them, to be even more specific! Of these 318 diamonds, 138 are princess-cut, which is where the phone gets its name. It’s also covered from top to bottom in pure, 18-karat white gold.

The bad news is that the iPhone Princess Plus luxury features starts and ends with these aesthetic differences. Other than that, it’s just a regular iPhone. In other words, it looks incredible, but it doesn’t perform any better than a regular iPhone.

If you have a spare $236,000 lying around, though, and you think that all those diamonds and gold is worth an extra $235,000 over a standard iPhone, then this might just be the phone for you!

2. Lamborghini 88 Tauri

Who could be a better luxury smartphone manufacturer than a brand that already manufactures luxury cars?

Back in 2015, Tonino Lamborghini released their second luxury Android smartphone, the 88 Tauri. At over $8,300, this phone is much cheaper than the Princess Plus, but still expensive enough to make most people wince.

Unlike the Princess Plus, this phone at least backs up its premium price tag with some premium features. It isn’t just about aesthetics.

It features a quad-core 2.3 GHz processor, 3GB of RAM and 64GB storage space. The build quality is also excellent, as only the most durable and luxurious materials were used. Its frame is made from stainless steel and it comes with a classy, Lamborghini-esque leather coat.

In terms of processing power, the 88 Tauri doesn’t disappoint. It comes with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor and has a quad-core CPU which delivers the very best speeds, a 1080p display, and a 20MP rear camera.

All these features are especially great when you consider this phone is now 3 years old, but that’s not the real reason you’d fork out on this device. No, the real reason is the prestige that comes with owning a Lamborghini device.

3. Vertu Aster Diamonds Red Alligator

Vertu is one of the most famous brand names in the luxury smartphone scene. Their confusingly-named Aster Diamonds Red Alligator device was released in 2017 and costs around au$14,000.

Whilst this phone again comes with some fancy specs – like a 1080p display, Android Marshmallow OS, and a 2.3GHz quad-core processor – the real value comes from the aesthetic features.

The Aster Diamonds Red Alligator is wrapped in a stainless steel case which is covered in 55 white diamonds, hence the ‘Aster Diamonds’ part of the name. The ‘Red Alligator’ part comes from the fact that it’s also wrapped in classy-looking red alligator leather.

If you’re willing to spend the $14,000, you can also at least know that your device was made with some TLC, as every device is handmade to ensure uniqueness.

4. Gresso Regal Black Edition

This $6,950 Android smartphone is a more sophisticated alternative to the above. It doesn’t skimp on the luxury materials (it’s made from titanium and 18-karat gold), but it doesn’t shove them in your face as much as the other phones on this list.

No, the Gresso Regal Black Edition is more tasteful and sophisticated. It has sharp lines, elegant dark tones, and an understated, classic look. It also comes with a quad-core processor, 2GB RAM, 32GB of storage space and a full HD, 5-inch display.

If you’re looking for an unassuming, sophisticated phone, and you have $6,950 to spare, this might be the right luxury phone for you.

That’s All!

That’s about it for our list of the most expensive smartphones in the world. There are a few more luxury phones out there worth mentioning, but we don’t have time to cover them all, so check that out on your own time!

For those of you that aren’t part of the elite super-rich, you might also like to read one of our other articles on the best smartphones in 2018 to find something more suitable for the regular consumer.

Happy shopping!

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Best Android Phones That Cost Under AU$300 in 2018

Mobile phones have come a long way in the last few years and we’ve seen some incredible phones, like the iPhone 8+ and Galaxy Note 9, hit the market. But as the bar for top-end mobile phone performance has climbed higher and higher, so too has the price.

The latest flagship models are can set you back thousands of dollars, which makes them out of reach for many consumers who struggle to justify these costs. If you’re one of these consumers, don’t worry – we have good news.

Fortunately for those of us with a more modest budget, it’s not just the top-end phones that have seen huge improvement in the past few years. Phones have improved dramatically right across the board, from the lowest-priced budget phones to the most expensive, newest models. It’s now possible to get powerful smartphones with all the latest features on a budget.

To illustrate this, we’ve compiled a list of the five best phones for under $300.00 that you can get your hands on in 2018.

Without further ado, let’s get into it!

1. Xiaomi Redmi Mi A2 Lite

This phone takes our number one spot as it’s simply a great budget phone. It runs Android One and comes with 4G LTE, and it’ll set you back just over $300 Australian dollars.  

You might have thought budget phones all come with low-resolution displays, but you’d be wrong. This used to be the case a few years ago, but now, budget smartphones frequently come with full HD displays – and the Xiaomi Redmi Mi A2 Lite is no exception.

It comes with a 19:9, Full-HD+ display and it also has a decent-quality dual-camera which takes pretty average photos. It’s not the fastest phone on the market, as you’d expect, but the performance is definitely usable and you’ll hardly notice any performance lag

It also comes with enough storage space for most people’s needs – 64GB. If you do need more, you can always buy a microSD card and add it to your phone for as much as 256GB extra storage space.

Overall, this is a great value phone.

2. Motorola Moto E5

This phone comes in at a close second on account of its price. It doesn’t offer as good performance or as many modern features as the Xiaomi, but the cost more than makes up for this.

At only $210 Australian dollars, this phone’s price tag makes it one of the cheapest budget phones that won’t make you want to throw it against a wall after a few days.

It’s got a slick design, attractive display, and it’s durable – what’s not to like?

It’s battery life also deserves a lot of praise as it’s much better than many other phones in a similar price range, and it even comes with a fingerprint scanner.

You could almost trick yourself into thinking this was an expensive smartphone – almost, but not quite.

3. Moto G6 Play

The Moto G6 Play costs around $300 AUD and takes our third-place spot on this list of the best budget Android phones in 2018.

Surprisingly, it’s almost as good as the other (more expensive) G6 smartphones but it has the added benefit of having an even better battery life. It’s also got some great features, such as a cool fingerprint sensor, headphone jack, and 18:9 display.

It has an attractive, well-made design which looks just as good as more expensive phones. Sure, it’s made from plastic and the build quality isn’t quite as good in terms of materials, but this isn’t as important of how it looks and feels in your hand.

4. EE Hawk

The lesser-known EE Hawk costs around $270 and is a bit of a dark horse in the budget smartphone market. When you consider the price tag, the build is pretty good and the Android software it runs on is clean and powerful.

In terms of performance, videos run without much lag but you’ll struggle if you plan on using it for gaming. The camera quality is also fairly low, so if Instagramming and taking photos is a priority, you might want to opt for a more expensive phone with a better camera.

Other Options

There you have it – 4 of the best budget Android phones in 2018.

Some other budget phones that are good but didn’t quite make this list include: Honor 9 Lite, HTC Desire 12+, Nokia 5, Vodafone Smart N8, and Alcatel 3V.

There’s also always the option of buying a Chinese smartphone. These are phones from lesser-known Chinese brands that you won’t find in the UK in phone shops on the high street. You’ll have to source them online, which can cause issues down the line if your phone is faulty. However, if you’re willing to give them a shot, they’re typically much cheaper than the big-name brands on the UK high street. Chinese phones typically offer mid-range specification at budget prices.

It’s also sometimes cheaper to buy sim-locked phones than it is to buy unlocked phones. This is because network providers want your business and will offer better prices on sim-locked phones for their network as an incentive to get you to sign up with them. If you go down this route, you may able to get better value for money and keep phone costs as low as possible.

As a final tip for getting the best value phone for your money, try to get a sim-only contract and buy your phone separately. This way, you can avoid the high interest and marked up prices that come with getting a phone on contract and save yourself some money.

That concludes our guide to the best android phones that cost under au$300 in 2018 – I hope you enjoyed it! Happy shopping!

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