Implement overlays on your homescreens for quick access
The customisable nature of our smartphones means there are plenty of options for those who want to personalise it. One of the best ways of doing this is to add a variety of widgets and app shortcuts to your homescreens for quick access; however, with the Overlays app you can take this a step further.
Through this app it’s possible to create permanent overlays that can be implemented onto any number of screens on your device. What makes them different is that overlays can be as personalised as you want to make them. As well as working alongside a plethora of apps and widgets, the app itself provides a variety of phone features in the form of widgets. There’s some great choices and only add to what’s already a fantastic app.
HTC’s assault on the low to mid-range market continues with the Desire 510, is it cheap or cheerful enough?
It almost gets tedious repeating the same message, but for manufacturers to succeed in the Android market it’s important that they have to have a very compelling set of low to mid-range devices – just having fantastic flagships isn’t enough. HTC have been the most guilty of ignoring this reality in recent years – they have delivered fantastic products like the HTC One (M7) and the HTC One (M8), but in doing so they appear to have taken their eye off the ball when it comes to the devices that really have the potential to sell in large volumes.
The good news is that they have finally woken up to this fact and they are trying to do something about it, courtesy of the refreshed Desire range. We’ve reviewed the Desire 816 (which is about to be superseded by the Desire 820), a surprisingly good 5.5” device and also the Desire 610, a reasonable effort hampered mainly by its overly optimistic price tag.
So here we have the Desire 510, which sits below the 610 with a RRP of only £149.99. This is both good and bad news. It’s good because it’s a great price-point to come in at and it’s bad because it’s pitted against one of our very favourite devices of recent times, the mighty Moto G 4G.
How does the Chromecast compare to other Android streaming devices? Let’s get investigating…
Chromecast has helped kickstart a new wave of streaming devices that are available to Android users all over the world. There are now lots of new streaming sticks on the market, offering users different ways of getting the content that they want, when they want and we’ve taken it upon ourselves to discover which one is right for you. Our criteria for this group test was simple; we wanted to explore the various streaming options that each one of these devices offers and just how easy they’re to set up. It was also important to identify what areas each excel in and where each of them falters as well. Both the Chromecast and Roku are considered two of the best on the
market and both are featured here, but we’ve also taken a look at two of the more obscure choices currently available. The Elgato EyeTV and the Neo G4 offer a different variation on streaming, with the former being a highly regarded TV hotspot and the latter offering users a complete Android interface for your TV. But can any of the alternatives realistically take on Chromecast’s run-away streaming success? Read on to find out which one comes out on top. You might be surprised.Google Chromecast
The Amazon Kindle Fire HD 6 and Amazon Kindle Fire HD 7 should be out before the end of the year.
Amazon is sticking to its guns when it comes to the Fire range of devices. Both of their new HD 6 and HD 7 tablets are based on previous models, but aim to be better, cheaper and more accessible than before.
The new 6″ Fire HD will be on-sale for just $99, while the slightly larger 7″ version will be on-sale for $139. Both of them will have quad-core processors in some capacity, but it’s not known what these will be clocked at, as of yet. One of the most intriguing things about the revamped Fire HD tablets is the range of colourful backs users can choose to implement. It’s not as varied as Moto Maker, but it’s a fun extra.
Battery life is set to be between 8 and 9 hours on moderate use and both have a display resolution of 1280 x 800.
Employ the beautifying tricks used by fashion magazines
Do you hate having your picture taken because you always seem to look bad in photos? If friends are always snapping you on a night out to post the pics to social media, insist that they use your phone and then you can edit the results afterwards in Facetune! This portrait-focused photo editor has now arrived on Android. Which is great news because it can produce some amazing transformations, using similar blemish-removal effects and morphing tricks to those employed by fashion magazines.
If you’ve used an advanced desktop image editor before, you’ll feel at home with the tools here. Novices needn’t worry either, though, as upon selecting each tool, you’re giving tips how to use it and can even practise on demo photos. Alongside standard options such as cropping, rotation and red-eye removal, Facetune offers a range of advanced tools. One of the most effective is Patch, which is used to clone pixels from one area and paste them into another. This is ideal for removing obvious facial blemishes such as large spots. Just tap the area to alter, then drag to another to use as a replacement; you can pinch to alter the size, and rotate it to match the surrounding texture. Naturally, you can zoom right in for more precise control, although it’s still a little fiddly to rotate patches on smaller phones.
For more general blemish removal, the airbrush-like Smooth tool comes in handy. As with most other tools, the effect of each swipe is quite subtle, so you’ll need to do it repeatedly, but this does give you finer control. And if the effect is too strong, the Erase tool can be employed to reduce it. Another useful tool is Tones, which is used to lighten (or darken) areas, by picking up a shade from one area and applying it to another; this is great for removing dark circles around the eyes. For a brighter smile, Whiten is ideal, while the Details tool sharpens up areas for better definition and Defocus blurs the background to make the subject stand out better.
Can the latest version of the Moto G prove it’s the quintessential budget device?
The original Moto G was released to a good amount of fanfare, providing users with a cost-effective way of getting their hands on the latest version of Android (4.3 at the time). The Moto G 4G, which added dual-SIM capabilities, then quickly followed it up and lightning fast download speeds were achievable through 4G connectivity. The Moto G 2014 is the latest in the series that offers current G owners a recognisable device, but also one with several key changes.
This time around you’ll find predominantly the same design, with the only addition being the two front-facing speakers that offer superb clarity for your music. Motorola has still chosen the same curved back to help cater for the bigger 5” display and the device is just about usable with one hand, but a noticeable leap from the previous 4.5” screen. The bigger size also means it’s slightly heavier than its predecessors and chunkier as well. One of the biggest additions to the Moto G 4G was dual-SIM capability and thankfully Motorola has carried that over. Although it won’t be as big of a deal in the UK, access to dual-SIMs is perfect in locations where signals just aren’t very good. Another thing that’s carried over is the 2070mAh battery. It provides enough juice to get through the day, but the bigger screen puts it under a bit more pressure.
One thing we’ve grown accustomed to is the presence of stock Android on all Motorola devices. The same can be said here and it’ll be pleasing for those who want to customise the device themselves. There are a couple of additional apps, but we wouldn’t describe them as bloatware. Migrate can help you sync contents across from a different phone, Alert stores emergency contact information and Assist is a fantastic automation tool. Users have access to a decent 8GB of internal storage, but this is expandable to 32GB through microSD.