Honor View 10: Tips and tricks you need to know about

Those of you who are already familiar with Huawei know that it offers many customization options. You can activate gestures, change the background, enable the app drawer, customize navigation links, the font size, the display color, and so on and so forth.

If you’re looking for these kinds of ‘basic’ tricks, I’ll refer you to the article on the Huawei P10 tricks because most of them are also applicable to the View 10. And below I’ll go through some tips not included in the previous article that will you allow you to optimize your device.

Face recognition for notifications and unlocking the device

Honor already released a software update to make this feature more complete and to allow users to unlock the device through face recognition. Whether you’ve received the update or not, I recommend that you activate it, at least to have access to the contents of the notifications from the lock screen.

Go to Settings > Safety and Privacy > Face Recognition.

AndroidPIT honor view 10 9985 The software update completes the face recognition feature. / © AndroidPIT

Histen Audio Effects for the most demanding ears

Just like in the Honor 9, you can experience 3D sound on the View 10. To do this, however, you’ll have to connect wired earphones to your device, since it doesn’t support the use of Bluetooth headphones. The Histen Huawei Audio Effects can’t be accessed under Settings > Audio until you plug in headphones.

Private space: Since everyone has something to hide

With this feature you can create a kind of private island, which is only accessible with a password and a different fingerprint from the one normally used. This is a useful feature for those of us who often share smartphones with friends or colleagues and for people who generally want to make sure that data, photos and apps stay away from prying eyes.

You can learn how it work in this article and activate it by accessing Settings > Security and Privacy > Private Space.

AndroidPIT Private space 8627 It’s like having two different smartphones. / © AndroidPIT

Lock a few apps

If Private Space is too drastic of a solution for you, you can rely on App Lock in Settings > Security and Privacy. You can set a password or fingerprint to open some applications on your Honor View 10. You’ll find a list of apps that allow you to manually lock them by moving the cursor to the right.

Scroll through your photos while charging

Here’s a gem that you may not know about. It’s called Screensaver, and when it’s enabled, the device will automatically scroll through your photos while your smartphone is charging. You just have to allow access to photos and multimedia content and select the source folder as well as the duration of your slideshow. Here’s one small extra tip: place your View 10 on a stand to better enjoy your photos.  

AndroidPIT honor view 10 0006 While your smartphone is charging, it may be a useful time to look at the pictures from your last trip. / © AndroidPIT

Avoid distractions in the Game Suite

Those gamers out there will appreciate this feature allowing you to focus on the game in front of you, as well as saving battery power. Simply open the pre-installed app on your Honor View 10 and then decide how to customize your gaming experience to your liking. You can:

  • Lock navigation keys
  • Choose between Game Mode (optimized performance at the expense of power consumption), Smart Mode (balance of performance and battery consumption) or Power Saving Mode (reduces power consumption as well as gaming performance).
  • Activate uninterrupted games to hide notifications on the screen, except for those related to alarms, calls and low battery alerts.

Turn the View 10 into a remote control

The View 10 integrates an infrared sensor, which when using the pre-installed app on your device will allow you to use your smartphone as if it were a remote control. Look for the app called Remote Control, click on Add Remote Control, select the device you want to connect to and follow the instructions below to pair the devices. There is also a menu with a few customization options.

AndroidPIT honor view 10 0025 The infrared sensor transforms the View 10 into a remote control. / © AndroidPIT

Use your voice to call, find the device and more

Activating voice commands can be useful for all situations where your hands are busy. Go to Settings > Intelligent Support > Voice Command and select your preferred option. To be able to make calls from the unlock screen or search for your device, you will first need to click on Voice Reactivation and say ‘Dear Honor’ three times in a quiet setting. The process is the same as required by Google Assistant, only the magic words have changed and you can decide to customize them.

I personally find this feature useful to make a quick call. Just hold down the lower volume button for a few seconds from the lock screen and say the name of your contact after the beep to start your call. Try to get as close as possible to the microphone or the voice recognition may not work properly.

And more interestingly, you can also search for your device just by saying ‘Dear Honor, where are you?’.

Full screen display for apps and games

The View 10 uses a 18:9 screen, but not all applications use it by default. You can change this setting to utilize the full screen display by doing the following:

  • Launch an app, click on Full Screen Display at the bottom of the screen and then click OK to confirm.
  • Go to Settings > Display > Full screen display and then manually select the applications where you want to activate this feature. Please note, however, that if you do not optimize for this type of display, black borders will appear around the frame of the app.

AndroidPIT honor view 10 9974 You can use the full screen display for all apps. / © AndroidPIT

Cancel a sent SMS (in case you need to reconsider)

For those of you who still prefer sending a text message instead of using WhatsApp or Telegram, it may be useful to activate the Cancel Send function in the Messaging settings. Once activated, you are able to cancel sending a message by clicking on the message within six seconds of sending it.

AndroidPIT honor view 10 9979 Useful for second thoughts… / © AndroidPIT

The Honor View 10 can be customized in many ways. This article will be followed up with an article especially for the camera, so you’ll know how to tweak the double camera integrated in your smartphone. What other tricks and features are you interested in learning more about? Let us know in the comments!

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5 surprising things about smartphone use in China

Cultures and trends determine our ways of living, and it can be very different depending on where in the world you are. In China, people are now paying for things mostly with their smartphones. Do you use your device to make payments? If so, how often? And are you familiar with QR codes?

You may joke about China producing fake goods or cheaper smartphones from Gearbest, or hear in the news about the exploitation of workers at Apple or Foxconn. But it’s important to know that China is actually ahead of us in many ways.

china mobile02 Payment via QR codes at McDonalds / © AndroidPIT (photos by Ricardo Sato)

QR codes are huge

Wherever you look in Chinese cities, you will find QR codes which are extremely practical and used by establishments and also on business cards, for example. They are absolutely essential to the economy. Paying for things, sending money to others, you name it: it’s probably using this code.

china mobile03 A task as simple as buying a drink can be done with your smartphone / © AndroidPIT (photo by Ricardo Sato)

In addition, you don’t have access to the Play Store in China. So when you need to download an app from some kind of service, you do it with QR code.

Banks are not the only ones dealing with money

In the US, we have digital payment services such as PayPal, Google Wallet, Amazon Payments etc. All of which are only used occasionally by most, and are not generally used off the internet. They are also limited in the services they offer. This is not the case however in China, where AliPlay, WeChatPay and other companies play a huge role in peoples daily lives.

china mobile05 Apps allow you to make transactions with ease / © AndroidPIT (captura de tela)

With the availability of these apps, the Chinese barely use banks because they pay for items, transfer money to others and even pay their bills using these services.

Card payments are not the norm

If you try to go to many restaurants in China and pay for something with your card, younger staff wouldn’t know what to do with the piece of plastic. Jokes aside, you could pay with cash, although you will be met with a disgruntled look. This is simply because paying for things with your phone is standard procedure.

china mobile01 Paying in a restaurant with your smartphone is common. / © AndroidPIT (photos by Ricardo Sato)

Smartphones are part of their everyday routine, from buying a bus ticket and paying for road tolls, to getting a drink from a machine. The Chinese have essentially skipped past the idea of using cards and began using mobile payments straight away. In the future, payment with QR codes and smartphones may even be phased out, as Alibaba’s supermarket chain Hema is allegedly working on payment with facial recognition.

WhatsApp and Facebook are non-existent

If you cannot live without WhatsApp or Facebook, it’s not a good idea to move to China. With the governments high control over what citizens do, these companies are not viewed in the best light. Almost everything has a national equivalent.

For example social network QQ replaces Facebook, instead of Uber, there is Didi for private transport, searches are made through Baidu rather than Google, Tinder is TanTan, and Twitter is Weibo.

AndroidPIT best messenger apps 2 WeChat replaces the popular WhatsApp in China / © ANDROIDPIT

Instead of WhatsApp, they have WeChat, a highly popular app that also incorporates WeChat Pay, which as mentioned previously is the preferred method to pay for almost anything. WhatsApp have in the past thought about a similar concept, but nothing was developed.

I’ve tested WeChat for a while, and it’s a cool app in many ways but limited compared to WhatsApp. There is no message information displayed so you will only be able to see and respond to messages when you open the app. But I thought the emojis were really cool because they are animated!

Xiaomi is a big player in the smartphone market

Of course, Apple is huge in China as you’d expect, but the Chinese manufacturer Xiaomi is not far behind. And they don’t only make smartphones either. Some of you may already be aware of the companies product line, but those who know little about the brand will be surprised to know what else the company produces.

xiaomi trottinettes 4 Did you know Xiaomi even make scooters? / © Gearbest

Toothbrushes, water and air purifiers, sneakers, safety sensors, smart lamps, backpacks, light fixtures, electric bikes and various security cameras are all produced by Xiaomi.

Brands known in the US, such as Samsung, Sony and LG are virtually non-existent, and in addition to the very popular Apple and Xiaomi phones, you’ll also find many handsets from Huawei, Oppo and Vivo.

Do you think we’ll be paying with our smartphones more in the future? Do you think paying with facial recognition will become a thing? Let us know what you think.

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Review of the Samsung Gear VR with controller: finally something worth getting excited about

Samsung Gear VR release date and price

The Gear VR headset and its controller together cost around $ 130, the controller alone costs just under $ 40. In the box, you get the Gear VR (obviously) but also the controller. You also get a set of two AAA batteries, which are required for it to work.

Samsung Gear VR special features

Samsung Gear VR with controller: software version / installation / compatible devices

To use the Gear VR, you’ll need a compatible smartphone. The ones that are currently compatible are: Samsung Galaxy S8S8+ / S7 / S7 Edge / S6 / S6 Edge / S6 Edge+ and the Note 5. For this review, we used the S7 and the S8.

AndroidPIT samsung gear vr 2017 8981 The Samsung Galaxy S8 and S6 work with the Gear VR headset. © AndroidPIT

What makes the Gear VR headset special is that it’s more than just a set of VR goggles: it also has acceleration and position sensors. It must be connected to a smartphone using a USB type-C or micro-USB cable (both can be used thanks to a removable component).

AndroidPIT samsung gear vr 2017 9033 USB type-C or micro-USB? Your choice.  © AndroidPIT

When you first connect the smartphone to the Gear VR headset, it will install the Oculus system, which is required for it to work. Once that’s done, you’ll then have to unplug it and download around 100 MB of data, including the driver and the Oculus Store. It’s worth mentioning that you don’t have much choice in this matter as the Oculus Store contains all the apps and games that are compatible with the headset.

AndroidPIT samsung gear vr controller 7311 The Gear VR’s new controller is awesome! © AndroidPIT

The controller can be linked quickly and easily to the smartphone through Bluetooth and help from the Oculus assistant. I also had to calibrate the controller the first time I used it.

Using the Gear VR

Let the adventure begin!

This VR headset not only benefits from a good build and design, but it’s also very comfortable. The device weighs around 500 grams (with smartphone inserted), which is actually pretty decent, and is particularly useful if you tend to have long gaming sessions. You can configure sharpness of the images using a little wheel on the headset, but to keep the image clear, don’t forget to clean the lenses after each use.

AndroidPIT samsung gear vr 2017 8983 Once the headset is set up, you can begin your VR experience. © AndroidPIT

The light emitted from the smartphone isn’t completely hidden by the edges, which might bother some users. you might be able to minimize this by tightening the headset but in the long term, that might get annoying.

Don’t expect anything sensational in terms of graphics from current Gear VR headsets. You can actually see the image matrix on the smartphone screen due to the magnification by the lenses, the mosquito net effect unfortunately can’t be avoided. This effect can also be seen on more expensive VR systems like the HTC Vive, though it’s less obvious on the latter. The pixel density needs to be much higher to get an actual good image quality, which is currently just not possible on mobile devices.

AndroidPIT samsung gear vr 2017 9029 The Samsung Gear VR front and back. © AndroidPIT

Samsung Gear VR with controller – testing a game

To try out the game play on the Gear VR, I dived into several games and VR apps. Last year, I wrote an article where I said that tactile use with the VR headset was really annoying, so does the controller make things better? The answer is simple: yes! Granted, the VR version of Hitman GO isn’t quite adapted to using a controller, but overall, using a controller provides a generally more comfortable user experience.

While not all games are ready to be used with a controller just yet, some are, like Wands. This game transports you back to London in the 1880s, a city where magicians were going head to head and competing against each other. Thanks to the controller, you can interact with the game quite intuitively as the controller is actually visible in your field of vision. Samsung’s controller has an extra advantage over Google’s controller: it fits really nicely in your hand. The main button is really useful and the Home and Back buttons are easily accessible for your fingers.

AndroidPIT samsung gear vr 2017 8963 You’ll need to place your smartphone inside the Samsung Gear VR. © AndroidPIT

However, the controller isn’t really able to accurately track location. You’d need a much more developed system to do this, which is what the HTC Vive offers. So you might occasionally have to adjust the controller during your game, which you can do by long pressing the home button.

Some games work without controller, like Land’s End. The creators of Monument Valley offer a games that allows you to discover VR, the graphics are really good and the landscape is sublime. You also get a realistic effect of altitude in this game, which can be terrifying.

samsung gear vr lands end Land’s End VR game – definitely worth giving it a go! © Screenshot: ANDROIDPIT

In the Oculus Store, you’ll find over 600 VR apps. Some are free but for most of them, you’ll have to pay, especially for games. The store also includes apps like Netflix and Paint VR, which you can actually see in 360°, either using specific apps or through Facebook or other services.

If you have a Netflix subscription, you’ll be able to watch films in VR but it’s worth noting that the lack of image sharpness can be disappointing. You’ll be able to watch your films on the big screen like at the cinema, but you can forget about Full HD.

AndroidPIT samsung gear vr 2017 9021 Drawing with Paint VR. © AndroidPIT

Paint VR lets you use a virtual paintbrush to draw things. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have any spatial information yet, so you’ll have to draw the pictures around you then using the controller button, change your position in order to get a 3D effect. Here’s the bugdroid I tried to draw with Paint VR:

gear vr controller PaintVR I tried to draw a bugdroid using Paint VR. © AndroidPIT

Gear VR: it all depends on what you expect from it

One thing is clear, the answer to the question “is the Gear VR device useful” is a resounding “it depends”. If you’re looking for the most virtual experience possible, you’ll probably be disappointed. But that said, even VR platforms that use a PC don’t offer the ultimate experience either. Aside from this, the Gear VR experience is really good: when a shark suddenly appears right in front of you, you WILL jump a mile into the air. What matters isn’t really the screen definition but rather the user experience on the whole. The Gear VR will inevitably blow your mind.

Gear VR: old vs new model 

Last year, the S7 and S7 Edge got their own Gear VR model – the Gear VR R322. The new model number is R324. is it worth getting the new model if you already have the old one?

The new Gear VR headset does have a construction issue. On the old model, the protective casing that you put over the smartphone once it’s in the device simply attaches to the end of the headset. In the new Gear VR model, this protective casing is mainly adapted for Samsung’s bigger smartphones. So basically, if you use an S7 or an S8, you’ll have to adapt it so that you can close the casing.

AndroidPIT samsung gear vr 2017 9023 Samsung Gear VR – old and new. © AndroidPIT

The field of vision is better on the new model: we’ve gone from 96 degrees to 101. Practically, this doesn’t make a huge difference but I’m sure VR fans will appreciate it nonetheless.

Samsung Gear VR performance

Whether you use the Galaxy S7 or S8, the performance was pretty good. Both smartphones were perfectly able to display all the games on the screen without showing signs of slowing down or other weakness. The VR effect, so the representation of a virtual world, was done really well and turns out to be really impressive. The sensors placed within the headset mean that the latency between the motion and the image is extremely short – there is no lag.

Final verdict

The controller on this Gear VR has made a world of difference. it only takes a few seconds of using it to realize how beneficial it is: no more irritating touchscreen, the very least we can say about this controller is that it’s very pleasant to use. This controller is also visible in the virtual world (so long as the app or game allows it). Regarding design and build quality, the controller leaps ahead of its Daydream competitor.

Why didn’t Samsung offer this controller with its first Gear VR headset? It’s difficult to say but what do know is that you won’t want to go back after trying it.

Despite all the limitations imposed by mobile VR, this headset is nevertheless very successful. It may not revolutionize VR but it is a step in the right direction and it does offer many apps. Samsung smartphone users will love discovering VR with this device. It’s not really worth updating the old Gear VR unless you’re a massive fan of technology.

This device is definitely Google’s VR headset’s biggest rival, but Samsung is leading the dance.

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What CES 2018 revealed about the latest tech trends

Once again, CES didn’t disappoint. This year, the largest electronics trade show has given us lots of exciting information about the next tech trends that will invade our homes for months and years to come. True, there were no revolutionary presentations, but the announcements made show how far we’ve come in the tech world.

Artificial Intelligence

As expected, Artificial Intelligence stole the show this year. In recent times, the American event has proven to be not the center of announcement for the latest smartphones or computers, but a showcase for future technologies. It’s no surprise then, that Artificial Intelligence was the most talked about topic among those in attendance. Thanks to this technology, our devices, cities and our cars will become more intelligent and automated.

AI allows devices to learn and think for themselves; adapting to environments that they were not specifically programmed for. Digital assistants are great examples of this, and are implemented into many everyday objects.

In the war between Google and Amazon, it appears that Alexa has won the first battle as more and more devices were integrating Amazon’s assistant. Light bulbs, speakers, vacuum cleaners, surveillance systems, coffee machines, you name it. And Google was not far behind this competition. Apple however, arrive a little late with their HomePod, which will be launched February 9. For now, Amazon dominates the market, and the figures confirm it. According to Strategy Analytics, an audit firm, 68% of connected speakers sold last year are compatible with Alexa.

AndroidPIT amazon echo show 7197 The successful Amazon Echo / © AndroidPIT

5G everywhere

For many high-tech fans, the thought of having 5G everywhere is heaven. Now it is becoming a reality. It’s slowly starting to develop and its arrival is in sight. Apparently, the first large-scale deployments will begin in 2020. Due to the development of AI, devices will require faster bandwidths after being implemented with smarter features. These next generation devices need huge amounts of transmitted data and a lot of simultaneous connections, more efficiency and less power consumption. For example, autonomous cars will have to communicate in real time to avoid accidents.

Operators therefore took advantage of CES to reveal their progress in infrastructure development, and the advances that can be made with the 5th generation, which will be ten to twenty times faster than 4G. The main telephone operator in South Korea, KT, explained that thanks to 5G, it will be possible to follow the 2018 Winter Olympics that will be held there. They aim to deploy the 5G network this month in certain areas, in order to prepare for the games.  AT&T have also announced their deployment of the 5G network in several US cities by the end of 2018, as it aims to be the first wireless carrier in the US to do this.

AndroidPIT on the phone 0428 With 5G, everything will be faster © AndroidPIT

Improving health

Health was a topic that also played an important role at CES. Technologies are constantly developing to help improve care. Virtual reality for example, could be helpful for training and preparation procedures before surgeries, and we are seeing developments of digital applications to help connect patients and healthcare professionals. Several startups have also introduced devices to improve quality of sleep. For example, Nokia’s “Nokia Sleep” is a device that is placed under your mattress to provide an analysis of your sleep pattern.

Cars and cities will be smart and connected

Lastly, CES gave us a taste of the future of mobility, and the tech event became partly a car show! Big car manufacturers (Kia, Hyundai, Ford, Nissan etc.) along with pioneering tech companies (Google, Qualcomm, Nvidia, Here etc.) presented their vision of the future. Cars will be autonomous, and probably electric, and will evolve in connected cities where everyday objects will be able to communicate. We cannot be certain how or what smart cities will actually look like, but according to analysts predictions, 88 cities will be considered smart cities by 2025, with interconnecting networks using The Internet of Things.

Which tech trends will change your life the most? Are there any that you are afraid of?

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Android Oreo 8.1: No more guesswork about Wi-Fi speed

With the update to Android 8.1 Oreo, Google is introducing a new feature that shows the speed of Wi-Fi networks before connecting. This information can prove extremely helpful when seeking out public Wi-Fi hotspots.

Public Wi-Fi hotspots are always a big mystery in terms of speed. Is it worth trying to connect your smartphone to the hotspot, or is the network too slow anyway? If there are several networks to choose from, you have to try all of them to find out which is the fastest and has the strongest signal. With Android 8.1 Oreo, the trial and error approach is a thing of the past. Even before you connect to a public Wi-Fi network with your smartphone, you’ll be able to see the strength and speed of the network. The Wi-Fi symbol in the network list shows the signal strength: the fuller the icon, the stronger the signal. Below the network name, Google also displays the following four speed levels:

  • Slow: If you can use Wi-Fi calling, you can make phone calls and send texts.
  • OK: You can read webpages, use social media, and stream music.
  • Fast: You can stream most videos.
  • Very Fast: You can stream very high-quality videos.

Of course, this feature works only on public, unsecured networks. If a Wi-Fi network is protected with a password, Android only displays a lock as an icon, because the speed of the network can’t be determined.

Do you think this Android 8.1 Oreo feature is helpful, or not? Tell us in the comments!

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Exynos 9810: All about Samsung's new chipset

Samsung has introduced its new smartphone chip, the Exynos 9810. It takes little imagination to identify it as the heart of the Galaxy S9. The next gen Exynos has a clear motto: “Faster, faster, faster, faster!”

The Exynos 9810 is an eight-core processor manufactured using the 10-nanometer process. Four CPU cores provide maximum performance and clock speeds of up to 2.9 GHz. Samsung relies on a customized ARM design. Four further cores ensure energy efficiency with less burdensome calculation tasks. The ARM design Cortex A55 is used for this, the clock rate is at a maximum of 1.9 GHz. The graphics is provided by the GPU Mali G72 MP18, which ultiizes new tricks for faster VR calculations. Samsung also mentions optimizations for machine learning applications, but a dedicated chip seems to be missing. With these key figures, the processor is likely to provide peak values in benchmarks.

The improvements in the area of the imaging chip are interesting. It supports up to four image sensors, for example a dual camera on the back, as well as a selfie cam and an iris scanner. Samsung promises improved images in low-light conditions, but above all, video fans should benefit from some new features: Video recordings can be taken in UHD resolution with up to 120 frames per second. The chip allows the images to be compressed using the 10-bit HEVC method. This allows videos to display up to 1024 different gradations of red, green and blue.

exynos 9810 2 Samsung Exynos 9810 / © Samsung

Technically impressive, but in practice rather insignificant are the new speed records of the LTE modem, which is Cat. 18-compatible. This should enable downlink speeds of up to 1.2 Gbps and interconnect up to 6 carrier frequencies. Uplink speeds of up to 200 Mbps are also record-breaking.

Samsung has given the Exynos 9810 an additional Security Processing Unit. This is intended to secure security-relevant data, especially the processing of fingerprints, iris or facial scans.

According to Samsung, the processor is in mass production. The announcement does not directly say that the Exynos 9810 is meant for the Galaxy S9, but that much is obvious, at least. It remains unclear whether Samsung will make the Exynos 9810 available to other manufacturers.

If the precedent set by previous Galaxy S models is followed, the US version of the S9 will likely not carry Samsung’s in-house chipset, but instead come with the Snapdragon 845.

What do you think? Has Samsung managed to outclass Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 845 with the Exynos 9810?

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Best backup apps: never worry about losing app data again

Android and data backups: why do we need backup apps?

Android has lacked a flawless backup solution for years. Only with root access is it possible to create a complete backup, making an iPhone-style switch an excruciatingly complicated affair. Enviously, we look upon iOS users who can upgrade their iPhone and, at the push of a single login, have all their old data and settings magically restored. Since Android users can’t move over their app data easily like this, we have backup apps instead.

The following backup solutions will help you back up your app data, but often root privileges are required for the app to get access to relevant parts of the file system. What this means and how it works is explained in our article on how to root:

Want to save your SMS messages, calendar, contacts and call logs? With the exception of text messages, this data is stored in your Google account and automatically moved from your old device to the new one. We talk about this further in our article on how to back up and recover text messages.

Want to back up photos and music files? These can be simply copied to the computer using a USB cable and thus do not require a special backup app. But if you’d rather not go to the trouble, then you can let Google Photos take care of your images.

Jump to section:

Titanium backup

Assuming you have root access, no other backup app comes close to Titanium Backup. This exhaustive app can save almost anything: apps, application data, messages, system settings, widgets, backgrounds, you name it.

Its recovery services don’t just work on stock devices but also across most hardware, Android versions and custom ROMs. Anyone who likes an experimental Android experience and has flashed their device will appreciate Titanium Backup.

Pros and cons

+

Extensive backup options Confusing interface
Access to system apps How to use it barely explained
Almost total control offered through fine-tuning  
App management  
Removal of bloatware and old data  

best backup apps titanium backup Left shows the overview screen, right is the main menu in Titanium Backup. / © AndroidPIT Titanium Backup ★ root Install on Google Play

Helium

Helium (formerly Carbon) comes from the makers of ClockworkMod and is one of the few backup apps that puts on a winning performance not only through its functionality but also with its attractive design. Even without root privileges, it is possible to use Helium to backup not only your apps but also messages, Wi-Fi passwords and application data. Backups of media files such as photos, music and videos are not possible with Helium.

The paid version provides a backup schedule, cloud connectivity and the removal of all ads. 

Pros and cons

+
Simple solution Limited range of backup options
Doesn’t require root access Some apps take a while to backup
Full cloud connectivity  
Automated backups possible  

best backup apps helium Backups and restorations don’t require much explaining in Helium. / © AndroidPIT Helium – App Sync and Backup Install on Google Play

Other backups apps

Ultimate Backup Lite

Ultimate Backup Lite offers a mix of features for devices with and without root privileges. Thanks to an introduction and clearly arranged UI, it’s easy to navigate from the off. Various file formats and areas of the smartphone can be backed up, with SMS being the most recent thing to be included.

You can upload your back ups to Dropbox, Google Drive and Box. For super-users, you can also freeze an app’s state and restore it later.

Pros and cons

+
Great design No support for media files
Comprehensive information on programs  
Root functionality excellent  

best backup apps ultimate backup lite Ultimate Backup Pro provides more detailed information than the other apps. / © AndroidPIT Ultimate Backup Install on Google Play

Backup Your Mobile

Backup Your Mobile is a free backup tool that’s handy for root and non-root devices alike. With it, you can back up various data such as SMS, MMS and call logs, contacts, dictionary and more. User apps and some system settings can also be backed up. If you’re a rooted user it also allows you to back up secure system settings such as app data and WiFi passwords. Backups can be automatically scheduled and stored locally or uploaded to Google Drive, Dropbox or OneDrive.

Pros and cons

+
SMS and call logs included Backing up to new devices unreliable
Cloud compatibility Video ads
Automatic scheduling of backups  

Screenshot 20171018 144127 1 The root and non-root options are clearly indicated / © AndroidPIT Backup Your Mobile Install on Google Play

Super Backup

Super Backup can not only back up messages and contacts but also applications, call logs, bookmarks and your calendar. Super-user privileges are only required for backing up settings and app data. You can set it to automatically send a copy of any back ups you create to your Gmail address, and it now supports the same with Google Drive.

You can’t backup all media formats with Super Backup Pro, but for those files it does support, the operation is self-explanatory and simple to carry out. The Pro version is devoid of advertising.

Pros and cons

+
Easy to create backups No automated backups through alternative cloud storage solutions
Ability to send backups automatically to Gmail Can’t backup media
No root access needed  

best backup apps super backup Clear and simple: Super Backup. / © AndroidPIT Super Backup & Restore Install on Google Play

MyPhoneExplorer

For those who are reluctant to let their data stray too far, MyPhoneExplorer allows you to create a complete back up locally on your computer. Simply connect to your PC over Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or a USB cable through the Windows program and you’re ready to go. The tool focuses not only on backing up data, but it also provides additional functions such as sending SMS messages via PC and app management (start, uninstall).

Pros and cons

+
All data available offline Requires Windows
Backs up all file types  

best backup apps myphoneexplorer If you’re attached to your back ups, MyPhoneExplorer transfers everything to your PC. / © FJ Softwaredevelopment MyPhoneExplorer Client Install on Google Play

MyBackup

The target group of MyBackup is newbies. A simple interface and deliberately limited backup options make the app very approachable. It also includes root-requiring options to back up application settings, data and APKs.

Regular users can create back ups of their programs, messages, system settings, APNs and contacts and call lists. Cloud storage is only available from the manufacturer itself, and it’s limited to 100 MB. If you want more space, you will need to pay for it.

Pros and cons

+
No need to register Only one cloud storage option
Offers local backups Selection of media made difficult
Simple interface  
No root access required  

best backup apps mybackup My Backup Pro: only if you sign up do you gain access to cloud storage. / © AndroidPIT My Backup Install on Google Play

Conclusion

Thanks to the automated backup of photos through Dropbox or Google+, as well as music through other cloud storage solutions, there is hardly any need for full back ups of smartphones or tablets. One of the most important uses of backup apps, however, is for backing up application data and settings, so you can transfer these over to a new device with ease.

In this regard, Helium is the best solution for unrooted devices, but super-users still stand to benefit from the extended options it provides. For the smartphone hobbyist, Titanium Backup is the Swiss army knife of backup apps, being simply littered with options.

Have you tried any of these apps? Which backup apps do you trust?

Android News + App Reviews + Hardware Reviews – AndroidPIT

5 things everyone should know about Google I/O

Choose Driving or Action-adventure.

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    Driving

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    Action-adventure

1. Machine learning is Google’s new battle horse

Machine learning is the basis for artificial intelligence. By improving it, the user experience on all devices with AI will be improved. Bixby, Sense Companion, Alexa, Siri and Google Assistant are all virtual assistants that will get better the more we use them. How? Thanks to machine learning. Google Translation will learn to translate better, false news will be detected more easily, advertising will be more effective, information will be more personalized, etc. Machine learning doesn’t just help Google learn about what you like, it also allows it to learn new things.

The first new feature that was announced by Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai during the keynote event was Google Lens. Having begun its life cycle as an integrated feature on Google Assistant and Photos, Google Lens can now do so much more than you could have imagined. If you point your smartphone camera at a flower, the software will tell you what species it is; or you can point it at a restaurant to get more details about it and decide whether it’s worth a visit or not. When you’re taking photos with friends, the system can recognize their faces and automatically share the photos with them. Your life could change significantly with Google’s strategic new feature.

google io 2017 031 The possibilities are endless with Google Lens. / © Screenshot: AndroidPIT

2. Google Home will overtake Amazon Echo in 2017

In discussing Google Assistant, we inevitably broach the subject of Google Home. When it comes to smart assistants, Amazon’s device often emerges victorious, but this year could be a turning point for Google Home. With the improvements that have been made to the multimedia loudspeakers, Google will finally be able to show its potential.

As announced at the Google I/O event, with Google Home, you can now talk to your home without having to use an app or a smartphone. You can organize meetings or set reminders, input your telephone number by default, play content from Spotify, Deezer or SoundCloud and all without having to actually hold a physical device in your hand. The user experience will be more comprehensive as it will use the maximum potential of Google’s ecosystem (for example, using all the devices you own, whether these be smartphones, tablets, Android TV or other) so the Assistant will be even more integrated than that of the Amazon Echo.

google io 2017 082 Google Home will be the best virtual assistant on the market. / © Screenshots: AndroidPIT

3. Your smartphone will be more reliable and will have a better battery life

If, in the coming months, you decide to change your smartphone or if you’ve bought a new device within the last year, you’ll be among the lucky few who will be able to benefit from Android 8.0.

The main features that will be implemented in future versions of the operating system include better security through Google Play Protect, an integrated Play Store platform that will control installed apps and will eliminate those that are deemed dangerous for the device. In addition to this, if you use your devices intensively, note that Android O will allow you to better manage applications that are running in the background, ensuring improved battery life.

4. VR will be more accessible and less elitist

having announcned an independent headset, meaning that it doesn’t need to be connected to a phone to work, the Google’s world of virtual reality world could be about to take a turn. The new device, which includes a screen, not only emerges victorious over models such as the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and PlayStation VR, but also the VR will be more mobile in the truest sense of the term. Cutting the link between smartphones and VR headsets means breaking the rules imposed by smartphones, which is often expensive.

AndroidPIT VR One Plus zeiss 3752 Separating smartphones from the VR world could reduce the cost of devices. / © AndroidPIT

To a certain extent, Google has admitted defeat since most new devices are totally disengaged with the DayDream world. But Google is responding by circumventing the problem: “you don’t want to adapt your devices for our VR?” Never mind, we’ll create it without you”. For a while, we thought that the price of headsets would be reduced, although the Pixel and other top-range devices continue to be priced around the $ 1000 mark. So for this reason, VR should be able to become less elitist and more popular.

5. Google Photos could lead you to a divorce

I left this until the end, perhaps because the title will make you laugh, but in reality, it’s not funny at all. With the new feature offered by Google Photos (a platform that downloads 1.2 billion photos every day, according to a press release by the firm), you’ll be able to create Photo Books, including printed physical albums for $ 9.99/19.99, and you’ll be able to automatically store and share your photos.

google io 2017 112 Are you sure that Google will always automatically send the right photo?! / © Screenshots: AndroidPIT

The keynote speaker’s example was this: “Imagine that you’re taking photos of your kids, and they’re automatically shared with your wife”. We put a lot of trust in Google, based on the amount of personal data that we entrust them with day to day, but what if the wrong image is sent by mistake? And what if the facial recognition system doesn’t pick up the right person? It’s a basic functionality, but one that you should pay close attention to.

Opinion by Sveva Biocca

I’m dubious about how accurate Google’s photo facial identification software will be

What do you think?

6 participants

Which Google service or product do you think will change the world in 2017? Have you tried the Google Assistant? W’d love to know your thoughts in the comments below.

Android News + App Reviews + Hardware Reviews – AndroidPIT

To jack or not to jack: all about smartphone audio

Ever since Apple famously removed the headphone output jack, HTC, Google, and now Huawei have followed the lead, giving ol’ jack the boot. Whether you’re a bona-fide audiophile or just happy that your pair of Beats works with whatever came in the box of your latest smartphone, you wouldn’t be alone wondering what’s the best way to listen to your favorite tunes on your phone considering all the options currently out there.

Smartphones now offer a variety of different ways to handle audio for music listening but it all comes down to two main cases: wired using the 3.5mm headphone jack, or wireless via Bluetooth and in some cases over WiFi. Yes there are wired Lightning and USB-C headphones but for the sake of simplicity (and sanity), I won’t be adding those in the mix here as these aren’t as widespread and likely interim solutions for big tech’s wireless agenda. Before even deciding what headgear to use though, there’s a bunch of variables you’ll need to consider that play a role in your listening experience.

Lossy vs lossless

When deciding what headphone solution works for you, it’s important to think about your listening habits first, and how they can affect overall quality. Digital audio starts at the quality of the source, so if you listen to music from .mp3s or through streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music, remember your source is already ‘lossy’ or ‘compressed’. This means the audio’s file size is smaller and optimized for fast data transfer.

Compressed audio tends to remove a lot of the music’s dynamics and ‘body’ as opposed to ‘lossless’ audio formats like .wav, .flac, and .alac, but compressed audio is also quite ‘plug-and-play’ for the casual listener—the formats are ubiquitous and actually capable of sounding great for everyday listening.

Know your DACs and your dongles

Now to get any music heard, your audio falls into the hands of the all-important DAC or ‘Digital to Analog Converter’. Fun fact: DACs are everywhere and they’ve been with us since the CD player came out. They’re the component that processes information from a digital audio source into an analog audio signal that speakers or headphones can reproduce.

Every smartphone has a DAC built-in. But now, some dongles do as well. If you have an iPhone 7 for example, you might still be using the ‘courtesy’ Lightning to 3.5mm audio jack adapter that came with the phone to connect your wired headphones. The adapter translates the audio signal because there’s a special DAC on the Lightning side of the adapter.

AndroidPIT headphone jack vs wireless audio 3859 The onboard DAC on your phone makes this connection possible. / © AndroidPIT

Even the most basic DACs are well suited to playing compressed or ‘lossy’ music so if you aren’t exactly an audio nut, there’s no reason to complicate things by looking at this spec when buying a phone and might as well use the Lightning wired headphones that came with that iPhone 7 instead of the dongle. But if you simply like better than average sound, smartphones like the LG V30 and HTC U11 are good examples of manufacturers going the extra mile to please music fans by integrating better DACs and software features in their flagships.

AndroidPIT headphone jack vs wireless audio 3793 Dongles are cumbersome and can get lost easily so smartphones like the HTC U11 include USB-C headphones. / © AndroidPIT

The V30 in particular prides itself in housing an ESS Technology ES9218P Quad DAC with a 32-bit interpolation filter when listening through the headphone jack. And Both the LG V30 and HTC U11 feature advanced software features to customize and enhance the listening experience.

AndroidPIT headphone jack vs wireless audio 3844 The LG V30’s Quad-DAC offers on-board EQ(Equalization) and filtering options to adjust the output dynamics / © AndroidPIT

The promise of wireless

So if you don’t like the idea of carrying around dongles, should you go wireless? If you ask Apple or Google, the answer is a definite yes. But you knew that would be their answer already. Sure, Bluetooth audio is improving with new high definition codecs like Qualcomm’s aptX HD and Sony’s LDAC now making their way into devices. But it’s still got a ways to go to match the diversity (and convenience) of possibilities available with standard wired setups.

AndroidPIT headphone jack vs wireless audio 3886 Bluetooth headsets are offering better and better lossy audio quality and there’s no wires to get tangled. / © AndroidPIT

Bluetooth enabled devices work by emitting short-range radio waves that receive or transmit digital data—such as an audio signal. What you might not know is that no matter what level of audio quality the input is, any Bluetooth audio codec will always output lossy audio—even aptX HD which confusingly enough, is technically “near lossless”.

These limitations we currently have with Bluetooth are probably because it was never designed specifically for music. It has its roots in military voice communication but as we know, it has grown past it’s single use case and now used to transfer all sorts of data wirelessly.

That doesn’t mean the wireless headphones already available aren’t good though. Major headphone brands like Sennheiser, Bose, Sony, Bowers & Wilkins, and more have already begun releasing premium and mid-level wireless models. So if you’re not particularly attached to the headphone jack and want standard or above standard lossy sound from your smartphone, you already have some pretty impressive options like the Sony MDR-1000XM2, and the Bowers & Wilkins PX.

Bluetooth headphones: No strings attached?

But as with any transitional moments in tech, there is an adjustment period. And when it comes to wireless audio, there are already some points you need to bear in mind. On a convenience level, wireless headphones may seem like a dream. Just turn on the cans, put them on, and listen right? The reality right now though is that you’ll have to deal with a lot more variables in the setup.

For one, you’ll now have two batteries to keep an eye on instead of one—keeping the headphones battery charged will be essential unless the headset (and your smartphone) has ‘backup’ wired connectivity options.

Opinion by Gerald Ortiz

I’d rather risk a tangled wire than worry about running out of battery.

What do you think?

9 participants

And depending on a host of different factors that can cause interference, you may occasionally find yourself at the mercy of choppy streaming or fickle connectivity as any wireless connection would. Not to mention that even if your phone is already paired with some wireless headphones, there’s always the possibility interference would cause some delay in establishing the connection.

And if you’re excited about being able to listen with a newer high-quality Bluetooth codec, just because your smartphone supports the desired format, doesn’t mean all wireless headphones do as well. Sony’s LDAC codec is incredibly performant firing up to 990 kbps of data transfer. But until Android Oreo came out, it was only available on other Sony devices and the core tech is still very hush hush under Sony’s control. LDAC in particular also has three connection modes that dictate the level of streaming quality—adding another level of complexity. See where this is going?

The future is wireless—whether we like it or not

We mere mortals may not have much stake in the eradication of headphone jack from smartphones, so it’s likely there’s no use in fighting it unless brands like LG continue cultivating a nested niche by including the 3.5mm headphone jack as a new ‘premium’ for their flagships.

AndroidPIT headphone jack vs wireless audio 3847 LG’s V30 prides itself on including the headphone jack among other state-of-the-art audio perks for music lovers / © AndroidPIT

And let’s be honest, for the first time in ages tech companies are truly interested in advancing audio for every kind of listener so there’s surely better in store for the future of wireless.

But it’s clear that lines have been drawn in the sand. Until now, the little 3.5 mm stereo jack was the emblem of a truly democratic audio universe. Any audio device with the analog input or output could be interconnectable. That meant any product across consumer, hi-fi or pro audio industries would be interchangeable in a truly universal way.

Given the intricacies of audio streaming and their dependence on active control from a smartphone’s OS, wireless headphones may be most appealing if you’re already a tech-savvy listener who doesn’t mind tinkering with settings and following something of a ‘process’ no matter how minimal.

Nevertheless, you’d still be hard pressed to find anything more simple and instant as plugging in a wire, putting your headphones on, and hitting play.

What’s your current preference? Are you totally sold on wireless audio or are you sticking with the dongle solution for the time being?

Android News + App Reviews + Hardware Reviews – AndroidPIT

We talk with Eric Lin about the creation of the Razer Phone

Razer sees the entry of a new contender into the hard-fought smartphone market that not only includes Samsung, Apple, Huawei, LG, etc. but also other ambitious brands such as OnePlus and Honor. After the London launch event, we had the opportunity to speak with Eric Lin, Razer Phone’s Product Marketing Manager, regarding the creation of the first Razer smartphone.

Do we really need another smartphone manufacturer? Not really, but in the case of Razer, it could succeed, because unlike most other smartphone manufacturers, Razer is familiar with the needs of its target audience. Gamers primarily need a high-performance phone with a display that can achieve very high frame rates and, of course, produce rich sound.

razer interview still In an interview, Eric Lin explained to us how the marriage between Razer and Nextbit came to be. / © AndroidPIT

Razer is familiar with its target audience’s needs so, what now? During the launch event for the first Razer phone, we had the opportunity to sit down with Eric Lin, Product Marketing Manager for Razer, and talk about how the gaming smartphone was conceived. Since Eric had previously worked at Nextbit, he spoke very openly to us about the “marriage” that formed between Nextbit and Razer and why the Nextbit Robin’s cloud features did not find their way into the Razer phone. 

In our interview, Eric also gave us a small glimpse into the origin of the Razer phone. Since all Razer employees are also hardcore gamers, employees were continuously able to test the devices and functions during development, which ensured that gamers’ needs were actually fulfilled. 

In addition to additional comments by Eric regarding the making of the Razer phone, this interview covers how Scott Croyle, Tom Moss and Mike Chan, the founders and minds behind Nextbit, stayed on board.

What do you think of the Razer phone? Would you call yourself a gamer and if so, what kind of games do you play the most?

Leave us your comments about the Razer phone below! Feel free to comment even if you have any open questions about the Razer phone. We’ll collect your questions and put them to Razer in future interviews.

Android News + App Reviews + Hardware Reviews – AndroidPIT