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Juice up with goBAT™ 6000 Rugged Portable Backup Battery

Posted by wicked October - 6 - 2015 - Tuesday Comments Off


As long as our phobia of being battery-less and disconnected (nicknamed nomophobia, get it?) exists, companies will continue to churn out portable batteries and chargers and come up with new tech to keep our gadgets juiced even while mobile. If you’re looking for something thin enough to slip into your pocket and pretty enough to not be ashamed to display around, then this might not be for you. But if you’re looking for a sturdy, powerful and tough-looking one, then the goBAT™ 6000 Rugged Portable Backup Battery is your guy.

It may not be the daintiest or prettiest of portable batteries, but who needs those when what you have is a 6000 mAh one that can juice up your smartphone up to 3x? And it can also withstand a lot of “torture” as it meets or even exceeds military drop test standards. It has an IP68 waterproof/dustproof rating which means it can survive dunking, driving, dropping, swallowing dirt, and even going under water of up to 3 meters.

Screenshot 2015-10-05 23.47.31

It also has a Perfect Charge USB port that can hold up to 12W/2.4A of power. It can auto-detect the fastest charge that it can give to any connected device. It has a multi-colored LED indicator that tells you how much juice is left and how much you still need to charge your smartphone.

Screenshot 2015-10-05 23.47.43

It is fully-charged out of the box and comes with a metal alley loop and a carabiner so you can attach it securely to your bags or tents or backpacks. The goBAT™ 6000 Rugged Portable Backup Battery is available at the Scosche website for $69.99.

Screenshot 2015-10-05 23.47.52

SOURCE: Scosche

How to toggle battery percentage and Quick Settings in Android 6.0

Posted by wicked October - 6 - 2015 - Tuesday Comments Off

android 6.0 marshmallow

Android 6.0 Marshmallow may be packing a number of useful new features, but some early adopters are a little unhappy that the ability to display a battery percentage in the status bar or configure the Quick Settings panel are still absent from stock Android. Especially as many other OEM skins have made these features available. However, it turns out that these settings are actually hidden away within Marshmallow, under a secret System UI Tuner menu.

Enabling this hidden menu is actually rather simple. All you need to do is swipe down on your notification panel to bring up the Quick Settings menu and then long press on the Settings icon until a little notification pops up and takes you to the settings menu. The control panel is then located at the bottom.

Android 6.0 Marshmallow System UI Tuner crop

In this new settings menu there is an option labelled ‘Quick Settings’ at the top. Here you can switch the various tiles on and off to save some space on the panel. Status icons can also be toggled from a separate option in the menu, which allows you to switch off the likes of the WiFi or Bluetooth icons if you so desire. All of these are enabled by default.

Also inside the System UI Tuner you will bfind a little check box marked “show embedded battery percentage”, which you can use to display your remaining battery in the status bar. It’s as simple as that and a lot easier to interpret than the regular percentage-less icon. If you want to get back into the UI Tuner, just head back on into settings via the Quick Menu. The Settings icon should now have a little wrench hovering next to it to show that the UI Tuner has been enabled.

Have you spotted any other nifty little tricks hidden away inside Marshmallow?

Is Google Maps draining your battery? Here’s how to fix it

Posted by wicked October - 4 - 2015 - Sunday Comments Off

Google maps new icon AA

Battery life – it’s one of those things every single one of us wants more of. And while it’s understandable apps will make that juice trickle out of your phone little by little, it seems some are just punching a whole through the battery and letting all the goods stream out.

Even more annoying is when you check your energy stats and find out Google Maps can be one of the biggest battery hogs around, as it’s not only a very important application, but it’s one that comes stock with every Android handset out there!

It’s true that Maps is a pretty heavy piece of software. It uses a significant amounts of data, processing power and battery. It’s always rendering new maps, grabbing business information, looking for your location and more. Is there even a way to fight this necessary evil? Not completely, but there are some tricks for improving the situation, and we are here to give you all those valuable tips!

Google Maps is offlineRelated: How to use your Google Maps offline10

HTC One M9 review aa battery

Turn GPS off!

One of the biggest battery hogs in your phone is GPS. That thing will kill your battery so quick you won’t even notice! But that is only if you let it. Of course, one can limit the use of apps that require GPS access… or one could just turn the thing off when not in use!

Most Android devices will have a GPS toggle in the notification area. Alternatively, you can just go to the Location options in the Settings and turn it off.

location_marker_gps_shutterstock Shutterstock

Disable Google Access Location

If turning GPS off is not enough, you can really kill location features. The only issue is that this will affect other services that may need this information to function, but some of you obviously don’t see much worth in that anyways.

If you fall within this pool of users, just head over to your Settings, select “Location” and turn off the feature.

google maps nexus 5 1

Clear the cache and data for Google Maps

App cache is usually a good thing. It stores data locally so your phone won’t have to load it from the internet every single time it’s needed. Cache can also misbehave or get old, though. It’s a good thing to clear it from time to time.

To do this, simply head over to your Settings app and hit on the “Apps” option. After accessing the App Manager, just look for the Google Maps app and tap on it. Inside you will find options to clear the cache and data.

Downgrade Google Maps

We are not very sure about this one, but plenty of online reports claim that Google Maps became an even bigger battery drainer recently. It might be worth a try, even if only to see if this works. Even if you will end up with an older version of Maps. Just keep in mind that when using an older version of Maps, the service probably won’t be as reliable as it would be if you were to use the latest version.

To do this, simply head over to the App Manager, find Google Maps and select it. There will be an option to “Uninstall updates”.

Google-IO-2013 Google Maps 6 logo 1600 aa

Disable Google Maps

If all else fails, and you really think Google Maps is the main cause of your battery woes, there’s always a last resort – disable Google Maps. In essence, this will make it as if the app is not even installed in your phone. Now, this is a stock application, so it can’t really be deleted. Google Maps will still be there, it just won’t be active. The icon, along with all its functionality, will disappear. This also means some other services that depend on Maps will fail to work.

Are you taking this step? Just head over to the App Manager and find Google Maps. Within the options there will be a “Disable” button. Tap on it and be on your way.

Google-IO-2013 Google Maps 99 1600 aa

Wrapping up

Sadly, Google Maps is one of those apps that we simply have to learn to live with (at least to a minimal degree). Hopefully these tips will help you keep it in check, though. Do hit the comments and tell us if you have tried any of these methods. Which one worked best for you?

10 reasons why your Android battery is charging slowly and how to fix them

Posted by wicked October - 2 - 2015 - Friday Comments Off

You can remember a time when it didn’t take all night to charge your phone. Back in those golden days of yore, your Android’s battery meter went from a pixel-wide strip of red to a fat green bar in a quarter of an hour. Nowadays, however, your poor phone takes ages to recharge, and you’re constantly scrambling from one charge session to the next. Or maybe your phone has always been a snail-paced charger, constantly left in the dust by your friends’ devices.

Whatever your experience, it’s time to finally put your smartphone under a diagnostic microscope and get to the root of its slow-charging issue. Odds are your phone is suffering from one of these ten ailments, and we’re going to show you how to fix it if possible.

We’re going to tackle these roughly in order of decreasing likelihood, so let’s start with the most common culprit…

Possibility 1: You have a bad cable

usb cable Shutterstock

If your phone is charging slowly, checking the USB cable should always be your first step. It’s actually pretty understandable once you consider all the wear and tear your basic USB cable goes through in the course of everyday use. Many people keep using the same charger setup that came with their device for years, unaware that USB cables tend to get beat up pretty easily.

USB cables are dropped, bent, stepped on, left in cars during scorching and freezing conditions, and plugged in and out of devices on a daily basis. One thing to keep in mind is that USB cables are designed to be less robust than your device’s port. When push comes to shove, you’d rather have your cable break than your phone’s port because the cable is much easier (and cheaper) to replace. That’s why manufacturers deliberately construct USB cables to take the brunt wear-and-tear.

Most of the time, it’s the USB cable’s fault

Ever have one of those cables that didn’t seem to “stick” in the phone anymore? It just frustratingly falls out for, like, no reason. Take a look at the underside of the USB male connector. You’ll see two thin little “teeth” that keep the USB firmly plugged into your device. Those are made to bend pretty easily in the event of any trauma – like your phone getting yanked quickly off the charger – and once they’re bent, they’re toast. Also, look inside the front end of the connector. You’ll find a line of tiny little prongs. Those are made of relatively soft metal, because if one gets slightly out of line, you don’t want it damaging your phone’s port.

In short, lots can go wrong with a USB cable and they are manufactured to be wimps about it. Grab a new USB cable, and you should be good to go. This and this alone probably constitutes 90% of slow-charging problems. If you swap cables and keep experiencing problems, though, then feel free to move along to…

Possibility 2: You have a weak power source


If you’re using your PC to charge your phone, then your phone is going to charge very slowly. Even with USB 3.0, the standard energy output is only .9A (.5mA for USB 2.0). And that’s under ideal circumstances; any damage to your USB cable or ports can knock that meager flow of energy even lower. Likewise, if you’re using wireless charging, you’re going to get a pretty glacial charge as well. No one’s arguing that wireless charging isn’t cool – it certainly is – but we’re kind of butting our heads against physics and safety at this point. Long story short, it’s just plain faster to plug your phone in.

Wireless-chargers-testingRelated: Best wireless chargers – how they work and perform10

So yeah, there’s your solution. A lot of device owners use inefficient methods because they just think “charging is charging,” but currently the fastest way to get your battery back to full is to use a dedicated wall charger and physically plug your device into it. If you’re doing this and you still have sluggish charging, the problem might lie in your home’s wiring (if it’s a particularly old building), or it could be that…

Possibility 3: You have a bad adapter


Yeah, that little blocky thing that plugs into the wall. Maybe a power surge left it a little wonky or it got kicked around during a move. Once again, this device is made to take on the brunt of any trauma rather than your phone, so they tend to not be the most stalwart little devices. Grab a new one and get back to charging full-speed.

Possibility 4: Your phone may be outmoded

It can be a touchy subject, but it might be time to update your device. Modern devices have processors that support more rapid charging, and some devices have turbocharging capabilities. If your phone feels like it’s charging slower compared to people who have newer devices, this might be your issue.

However, even if you’ve got a solid device that you know used to charge faster (not only compared to your peers), the sad reality is that things fall apart. The center doesn’t hold. Hardware decays. The falcon cannot hear the falconer, and phones are not immune to the inexorable pull of entropy dragging everything to the ultimate heat death of the universe.

Also, you could have a bad battery.

Possibility 5: You have a bad battery

lg g4 vs lg g3 aa (9 of 16)

There have been many instances of manufacturers issuing recalls for whole batches of batteries. Search online to see if your phone’s model came with a bad battery, and see if you can acquire a replacement from your provider. Also, like your phone in general, batteries just get old and bad.

If you happen to own a device such as the LG G4, Galaxy S5 or Galaxy Note 4, good news! If your battery has gone bad, you can purchase a new one from Amazon and pop it into your phone right away when it’s delivered. If you own a device with a non-removable battery such as the Galaxy S6, Note 5, or Moto X Pure Edition, though, you’ll have to send the device in to the manufacturer to get it replaced.

samsung galaxy s6 edge unboxing aa (19 of 20)See also: 5 tips to improve the Galaxy S6 Edge’s battery life23

Possibility 6: The Enemy is You

Take a look in the mirror, because it’s time for some introspection. How addicted to Facebook are you? Do you have a Candy Crush Saga problem? Do you habitually play with your phone while it’s charging?

A surprising number of smartphone users aren’t aware that the biggest drain on their phone’s battery is the screen. Keeping that gorgeous display lit up with high-resolution Facebook drama will use up battery even as your phone soaks it up. If you combine this with one of the other problems above, you might find yourself in a situation where you are using battery power faster than your phone can take it in.

If you need your phone to charge quickly, give it a rest while it’s on the charger.

Possibility 7: Background apps are sapping your battery

nexus 5x first look aa (11 of 28)

Although your screen is the number one battery sucker, you might have some sneaky apps running in the background that are constantly draining power, causing your phone to charge slower. In addition to charging sluggishly, does your phone also feel like it runs through its battery life faster than it used to? If so, this may be your issue. Apps in Android often boot themselves up or run in the background after only being opened for a moment. Although this used to be a bigger problem than it currently is–Android is getting better and better at efficiently managing resources–having a rogue app or two can give your phone’s performance a nasty hit.

The easiest solution here is to grab a good task manager and check it frequently to see what’s running when it shouldn’t be. When you locate a misbehaving app, try uninstalling it and see if your battery life and charge speed is improved over the next few days.

Possibility 8: Your USB port is obstructed

nexus 6p first look aa (7 of 23)

Your phone spends all day rattling around in your pocket or purse with all manner of lint, dust, and particles. It’s pretty common for a USB port to get a little bit of that trash lodged inside of it. If you plugged in your charger without noticing, it may have packed the obstruction in even deeper, which might be preventing your charger from making a good connection.

Using a bright light and perhaps magnification, look around inside your phone’s USB port for anything that shouldn’t be in there. If you see something that obviously doesn’t belong, grab a thin, pointed object and carefully try to remove it. Remember playing that board game Operation as a kid? We’re in that kind of territory here. Be very careful not to damage any of the port’s components, or you could end up with a bigger problem than you currently have.

I recommend using a plastic (not wooden) toothpick if you can find one. Alternatively, giving your port a good scrub with a dry, brand new toothbrush is a very effective and safe way to make sure it’s free of any blockage.

Possibility 9: Your USB port is damaged

Oh boy. This is what we were hoping it wasn’t. If you’ve made it this far, and your phone still isn’t charging correctly, then you may have broken or bent a pin inside your phone’s USB port. At this point, you should really consider taking your phone to a professional for repair. If you got insurance from your cellular provider, then you may be able to get this issue repaired for cheap or free. Take your phone by a shop and get a quote on a repair job.

Possibility 10: Your USB port is corroded


Yes, you might also have some corrosion in there from sweat or humidity. Corrosion is particularly vicious little problem, because it creates a film over the connective hardware that prevents a proper charge, but even worse, if you don’t get rid of it, it can keep eating away at your device, causing larger and larger issues.

Taking your phone’s life into your own hands is risky business

Once again, you should really consider professional help at this point. Going forward, you risk voiding your phone’s warranty and doing serious damage to the device. However, if you decide to take your phone’s life into your own hands, and you are comfortable and familiar with the process of disassembling and reassembling mobile devices, then you should know that many corrosion problems can be dealt with using just white vinegar and rubbing alcohol.

Disassemble your device to expose the area of corrosion. The intricacies of this process outstrip the scope of this article and will vary from device to device, so once again, unless you’ve done this before and the phrase “disassemble your device” doesn’t make your stomach jerk viscerally, take your phone to a professional. For those moving forward, most corrosion can be removed by using a cotton swab dabbed in distilled white vinegar. Rub down all the corrosion you see with a light touch, and be careful not to get vinegar into the uncorroded areas. I probably don’t have to say this, but getting vinegar into your phone is bad.

Once you’ve coated the corrosion with vinegar, wait 5-8 minutes, then use the tip of a paper towel to remove the vinegar. Repeat this process until there is no sign of corrosion. This accomplished, dab the area with rubbing alcohol on the tip of a cotton swab and let the device air-dry for half an hour. Reassemble your phone, and you should be good to go!


Whew, I think that just about covers it. If you’re getting a slow charge, I hope you found the solution you needed on this list. And I hope it didn’t have to come to you sitting with all your phone’s parts spread around you like a mobile autopsy.

Did we miss anything? Have you experienced any problems with crappy charging that don’t appear on this list? Got a better solution to one of the problems listed above? Let us know in the comments!

Deal: Kmashi 15,000 mAh external battery pack only $13.50!

Posted by wicked September - 24 - 2015 - Thursday Comments Off


Battery, battery, battery. This little block inside every mobile device out there has us going crazy on the daily. There’s nothing worse than running out of juice in the middle of the day, especially during those times when you can’t simply tether yourself to a wall and charge up. It is these times when you realize a portable battery pack is more necessary than we wish it was – these things are life savers!

Looking to get a portable charger? There’s plenty of options out there, but we must say you would be hard pressed to find a deal that beats today’s offer on the Kmashi 15,000 mAh portable battery pack. Usually priced at $59.99, the battery is currently on sale for $19.99. On top of that, customers can use coupon code “YURUURCO” to get an extra $6.49 off, effectively bringing the price down to $13.50! Shipping is free for Prime users or if you spend over $35 in your order.


That is a lot of battery for the price, guys. Just to put it into perspective, the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 has a 3,000 mAh battery. This Kmashi battery has 5 times more battery than the latest Samsung phablet! The battery comes fully packed with a microUSB energy input, a couple full size USB ports (2A and 1A) a switch and a battery indicator light.

You really can’t go wrong with this one, so go ahead and buy one if you are on the search for a good battery pack. Who is signing up?

Buy Kmashi 15,000 mAh battery pack from Amazon!

App Freezer lets you save up on RAM without having to root device

Posted by wicked September - 16 - 2015 - Wednesday Comments Off

There are a lot of useful apps that have awesome features, but eats up your device’s RAM like ants to sugar. Then there are those that are not so useful but you can’t seem to remove, and yet they still eat up a lot of RAM. There are apps out there that can help you manage those issues, but you’d have to root your device. Until now. App Freezer optimizes and, obviously, freezes unnecessary apps, all without rooting and just by installing.

With just one click, or rather, tap, App Freezer allows you to select which of your apps are consuming too much battery and too much RAM so that you can hibernate them without necessarily having to uninstall them. Eventually, if you’ll need them for one reason or another, the you can just un-hibernate the app. Freezing and unfreezing is practically easy.

And just in case you’re afraid you might accidentally hibernate an important app without noticing, you can create a whitelist of apps that can be protected from hibernation. Another thing that the app can do is let you track and observe battery and RAM stats from your smartphone, if you’re into that sort of thing.

You can download App Freezer for free from the Google Play Store. There are micro transactions and in-app purchases available, as well las “Limited Offers” which will suggest other apps you can download. Although, that may defeat the purpose of freeing up RAM space if you keep on adding unnecessary apps right?

Hush reduces battery drain by 16% by letting your phone really sleep

Posted by wicked September - 16 - 2015 - Wednesday Comments Off

Considering the fact that battery drain is one of the biggest concerns of a lot of mobile users, it’s strange that it’s the first time a large-scale study “in the wild” has been conducted regarding this aspect of our lives. But that’s exactly what researchers at Purdue University, Intel Corp, and startup Mobile Enerlytics have done, and the result is the creation of an app that will supposedly reduce battery drain by 16%. What does it do? It simply lets your device really sleep when it’s supposed to be sleeping.

In the course of their research, what they discovered is that even when your device’s screen is off, it still has a 45.9% battery drain. And 28.9% of this drain is due to the fact that some apps occasionally wake up and run in the background, therefore using up your phone’s memory and battery. This is normal of course, but in a perfect world, they should let your device go back to sleep after updating. But because of “software bugs”, this is not happening. Specifically, this is because of the “incorrect use of Android power control application programming interfaces called wakelocks.”

The solution the researchers have come up with is an app called Hush. What it does is identify which apps are not useful to the user, and so therefore, doesn’t need to “wake up” every once in a while when your phone is on rest mode. It basically “surpasses” the background app activities so as to preserve your battery, especially when you’re sleeping. Turning the smartphone off is definitely not something done by most users, and so Hush is theoretically the next best thing.

Hush is available for free through Github. The research is far from over though, as they will continue trying to discover more preventive battery drain measures, especially with the 5G wireless network design.

SOURCE: Purdue

Thoughts on the Galaxy Note 5 from an iPhone User [Opinion]

Posted by wicked September - 9 - 2015 - Wednesday Comments Off

Late last year I was sitting in my car playing with my tiny iPhone 5c. I had just finished reviewing the Sony Z3v and it dawned on me. I missed Android. I started messaging with everyone at Droid Life and within a few minutes I decided I was going to switch to Android. I have an upgrade coming up in October so I figured I would upgrade to the Note 5 since it would be the latest phone out then. Then I got to spend some time with the Galaxy S6. It was a great phone with some shortcomings, but surely the Note 5 would be the phone for me.

More time passed and I continued to evaluate. Would the Note 5 meet my needs? Can I live with a more advanced OS that doesn’t get apps or updates first? Can I give up iMessage for SMS? I had lots of questions and few answers. Read on to get my impressions of the Galaxy Note 5 and what I decided. 

S Pen

The Good

S Pen

I don’t think I need a phone with a stylus, but whenever I used it I enjoyed it. Most of the time I used it just to mess around or as a workaround for the lack of a TweetShot app for Android. Right before we recorded an episode a podcast I co-host I needed to jot down some questions. I immediately went for the S Pen, opened S Note and started scribbling. Could I have just typed the questions? Sure, but I’m about as fast on a tiny keyboard as I am handwriting nowadays and it worked perfectly. So again, while the S Pen is far from essential in my book, like NFC it can be a cool tool to use when appropriate.

The Rear Camera

Samsung has been putting out phones with stunning cameras for several generations now and this is no exception. While the shots are sometimes a little too low in contrast that’s nothing a little editing can’t fix. Overall the Note 5 has an incredible camera that launches quickly and takes great pictures with little effort. That’s all I need.


The display on the Note 5 is amazing. It has incredible brightness levels that make it usable in all but the brightest direct sunlight and it also gets incredibly dark for those low light situations like getting some reading done while your child sleeps next to you. The only downside to this display is that the colors were sometimes too vivid for my eyes, leading me to choose a more muted wallpaper.


The Note 5 never stuttered or hiccuped for me once. Maybe it’s the processor. Maybe it’s the RAM. Maybe it’s the toned down TouchWiz. Maybe it’s Maybelline. Whatever it is, it’s working. This phone flies with everything you throw at it.

S Health

I think MyFitnessPal is a better app overall, but S Health is incredible as a built-in fitness app, especially when compared to Apple Health. With S Health you can count your calories, track your steps, check your heart rate, track and log exercise, and more. There are better apps out there with more restaurants for calorie counting, but if you just need the basics for watching what you eat and exercising S Health works great. The only thing I dislike is when I’m going for a run and I’m at the last bit and the phone says, “Almost there. You can do it” in the most monotone, robotic voice possible. If you’re going to throw in an encouragement like that record it with some inflection!

Somewhere in the Middle


Big Phones Still Have Big Problems

I’ve actually been really happy with the size and feel of the Note 5. I even went running with it regularly with the Note in one hand and my dog’s leash in the other. The problem I have is that most of Android is still designed to have a lot of the UI on the top of the display, which is unreachable for normal people with a phone this big, never mind with something like the Nexus 6.

As I’ve been using the Note 5 and trying to reach taller areas with one hand I’ve wished not only that apps would start moving UI elements to the bottom of the screen, but also that things like notifications would sit there too. I’m using Nova Launcher so I’m able to set the notification tray to come down with a swipe down on my home screen, but when I’m within apps I’m stuck doing dangerous shimmies or using two hands.

Matias Duarte has continued to pull over more and more bits of webOS during his tenure at Google; why not bring over webOS notifications too? On the Pre they made sense because the top of the phone was harder to reach with the keyboard extended; we have the same problem today, but no one has done anything to solve it. I don’t think big phones are going to go away, so it would be nice if Android as a whole moved towards making these giant phones easier to wield.


The Note 5 is a big phone, but the curved back makes holding the device not only enjoyable, but less of a nuisance. I wish Samsung would have kept the slight curve they included on the front of the S6 (and even enhanced it a bit), because without it the Note 5 looks like every other Samsung phone before it. I also wish Samsung would have used a recessed speaker grill like Sony has done in the past instead of the flashy silver grill. The metal trim around the edges is nice and gives the phone just enough grip. The camera protrudes just a bit from the back of the shell, but not enough to make the phone easy to wobble when placed on a table. It’s a good design, but it’s nothing amazing. I’d love to see Samsung step this up even more, specifically with the face of the device.

The Front Camera

The front camera on a phone is becoming increasingly important. Most of the time I think it takes a nice shot, but especially in low light I feel like it is doing too much processing or something. Details often look soft like the ‘beauty’ feature got stuck on max. In great light it works great, but otherwise it’s just ok.

Fingerprint Scanner and Home Button

The fingerprint scanner works most of the time, but it’s been a mixed experience for me. First of all, it’s a rounded rectangle which makes it harder to place my whole thumb or finger over it at certain angles, leading to me having to re-scan my thumb far more often than I have to do on my wife’s iPhone 6. The button is also placed very closely to the bottom of the display, which has led to errant presses far more than I have on the Moto X with its software buttons. I get why Samsung is still using physical buttons like this and I think fingerprint scanners are a must-have for any flagship, but I think a little more space between the button and the screen would help.

Android Apps

There have been plenty of think pieces about the differences between Android and iOS apps. Heck, I’ve written several of them, but with the Galaxy Note 5 so many of my hunches and feelings have been solidified. To be clear, most apps work just as well as their iOS counterparts, but there are some that have strange behaviors that seem inexcusable in 2015.

For example, I love reading comics in Marvel Unlimited, but the transitions between pages are jarring. When I swipe between pages the motion is smooth as I touch the screen, but as soon as I let go it jumps to the next page instead of completing the smooth transition. Is that so terrible that I just can’t use the app? No, but it’s the kind of detail that matters in an app where one thing I’ll definitely be doing often is swiping between pages. This isn’t an Android problem, either. Comixology, for example, scrolls totally normally between pages. Marvel has just decided that its Android users don’t deserve as good an experience as their iOS users.

It isn’t just Marvel Unlimited, either. Many Android apps are still second to get features that premier on their iOS counterparts. Again, for most users this isn’t a deal breaker, but it doesn’t make me want to jump ship to Android when it’s been demonstrated time and time again that many (not all) developers consider it a second class platform. If you’re already on Android then this isn’t a new problem, but as a potential returner to Android this was a big hurdle.

The Not So Good

S Health

Volume Level Warning

I complained about this in my thoughts on the Galaxy S6 and I still found it to be a maddening issue with the Note 5. When you plug in headphones and adjust the volume it sometimes warns you about excessive volume levels. I get having that warning, but the reality is the software has no idea what the levels of the media are that I’m listening to. The warning actually didn’t do it the first time I went above volume it deems safe, but it popped up within a day or two. Then it went away for a few days and then it came back up on top of the notification screen. After that I never saw it again. Again, I get why this is there, but it really isn’t helpful or accurate.

Volume Level Consistency

This is another complaint that I mentioned with this S6. I’ll be listening to a podcast or music and then need to pull my headphones our tape adapter out of the phone momentarily. When I plug the headphones in again, even if it’s only been one second, the volume level has dropped. I imagine this is part of Samsung’s well meaning safe volume level campaign, but if I set the volume to a certain level I don’t want it reset when I plug my headphones back in. On iOS the volume level stays the same (it is separately saved for with headphones and without, though, which is nice) no matter how many times I plug or unplug headphones; Android should do the same.

I also had a weird issue on two runs while I was listening to music. It was fine for the whole run and then when I got to a certain location at the last bit the volume would dip and then soar back and forth which was annoying and painful. I’ve never had that issue with my iPhone using the same wired headphones and I have no idea what caused it, but it happened twice at the same place.

Media Playback Controls on Headphones

Another repeat, but absolutely worth repeating. On iOS if I triple tap the mic button it goes back a track. If I double tap and hold it fast forwards; triple tap and hold it rewinds. I’d love to have those controls built into Android. It makes controlling media while driving so much easier.

Location, Location, Location… Location. Location.

The Galaxy S6 had a bug where it would display a “Location Found” notification far too often. When I was using the device it was new so I figured they would fix the problem with a software update in the future. The Galaxy Note 5 has the exact same problem. Most of the time it pops up and goes away and it isn’t an issue, but on one afternoon it popped up over and over and over again for a good two hours, making notifications inaccessible and unusable. The only option that I can find to fix this problem is to disable location altogether, but I’d really rather just disable the notification. I’m glad it found me, but I don’t need to know every 2 seconds.

The battery life on the Note 5 is about as good as it was on the Galaxy S6 in my experience. That means with heavy usage I’m charging in the afternoon to get through the rest of the day. I sort of understood that with the Galaxy S6 even though it was bigger than my two year old iPhone 5c that did about as well, but the Note 5 has no excuse. This thing is massive – where’s my massive battery?

My worst day with the Note 5 should have been my best day. On my way out to church I listened to music and then the phone sat in my pocket for the next few hours unused while I helped set up the stage, ran rehearsal, led worship, and cleaned up the stage. I jumped into my car and discovered the battery was in the 40s. Normally my 5c (which is also on Verizon) would be in the 80s at worst. The week after the same thing happened. I suspect the poor service in the building may be part of the problem, but there’s no reason why a phone with half the battery size (1507 mAh) of the other (3000 mAh) should last substantially longer in the exact same conditions.

On the bright side the Note 5 charges incredibly quickly, which doesn’t make up for the average battery life, but it helps.



After spending the last two weeks with the Galaxy Note 5 I’ve decided to get an iPhone 6s. I still love Android and I have plenty of issues with the iPhone, but I have more with Android. I wish the iPhone had a better built in health app and wireless charging and fast charging and better notifications and came with more built in storage and didn’t bend, but I also know that I prefer to have the best apps first over the most featured operating system.

The Galaxy Note 5 is a great phone that I will happily recommend to my friends on Android who don’t mind the less than stellar battery life in exchange for a great display, great performance, a fingerprint scanner, and a great camera. We may not have the perfect phone still, but the Note 5 is still one of the best devices in 2015.

Thoughts on the Galaxy Note 5 from an iPhone User [Opinion] is a post from: Droid Life

Samsung using new free-form battery technology for the Gear S2

Posted by wicked September - 8 - 2015 - Tuesday Comments Off

gear s2 batterySamsung’s Gear S2 smartwatch is a bit smaller than the original Gear S, and it has a completely round design. Aesthetically, it looks fantastic, but typically small, unusually shaped electronics also have batteries that are way too small.

The good news, though, is that Samsung is using extremely new free-form battery technology for the battery in the Gear S2 that was critical to actually producing the device. Samsung’s SDI tech allowed the manufacturer to cram in a 250 mAh battery inside the Gear S2, since the battery can be manipulated to fit the limited space inside the watch much better than traditional batteries.

If a normal, squared battery like we’re used to seeing was used in the Gear S2, we’d likely be seeing a 200 mAh battery in the watch. That’s a 25% swing in favor of Samsung’s new technology, and even though the battery is still kind of small (it’s a watch, after all) the implications of that for bigger devices is huge.

The Gear S2 marks the first device to market with the free-form battery technology, but I’d bet we can expect Samsung to take full advantage of being able to cram as much battery into all of their high-end devices going forward.

source: Business Korea

Come comment on this article: Samsung using new free-form battery technology for the Gear S2

Researchers create li-ion battery that can be recharged by sunlight

Posted by wicked September - 7 - 2015 - Monday Comments Off

Because “nomophobia” is a real thing (fear of being out of mobile contact), having battery power is of the utmost importance for some people. But sometimes, you do run out of power bank juice and you may be in a place or situation where plugging into the wall socket is not possible. So for times like these, wouldn’t it be great if you could use natural elements to power up your device or even your battery? Researchers in Japan have come up with a prototype of a lithium ion battery that can recharge simply by using available sunlight.

The group, led by Mitsunobu Sato, president of Kogakuin University and professor at the Department of Applied Physics, School of Advanced Engineering of the university, had previously created a translucent Li-ion rechargeable battery back in 2013 which they presented as a thesis. While Li-ion rechargeable batteries were already a thing, they used the same materials, but used oxides to make the positive and negative electrodes as thin as 80nm and 90nm to give out a high light transmittance.

This time around, they were able to make a prototype of the solar powered rechargeable battery. And up next, they want to present a “smart window” which will serve as a large-area rechargeable battery and which also will be able to receive sunlight because it is a photovoltaic cell. It will lower light transmittance since it will be pigmented. At a recently concluded trade innovation show in Japan, they showcased an experiment that showed that the optical charge and discharge of the battery are repeated five times when using near-ultravioet light. That is just about 1/10 that of sunlight.

If this comes to fruition and will be picked up by any of the OEMs, they have the chance of creating a semi solar powered smartphone. This might solve some of the problems facing people whose batteries are always in need of a charge.

VIA: Nikkei Technology

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