Lovefone Blog https://www.lovefone.co.uk/ News, tips and tricks for smartphone and tablet users. en-uk 2018-10-23T02:31:32Z How much CO2 does it take to make a Smartphone? https://www.lovefone.co.uk/blogs/news/how-much-co2-does-it-take-to-make-a-smartphone 2018-03-28T12:29:35Z Lovefone What are the carbon credentials of the smartphone? Are you harming the planet every time you make or take a call? Here’s what you need to know…

How much CO2 does it take to make a Smartphone?

What are the carbon credentials of the smartphone? Are you harming the planet every time you make or take a call? Here’s what you need to know…

How much CO2 does it take to make a Smartphone?

Eco ratings and carbon footprints are things that really matter to people these days. When it comes to global emissions, everything has an impact, and that includes your mobile phone. Without getting into a discussion about climate change and the so-called ‘climate change deniers’, most of us have finally accepted that it’s our responsibility to look past the end of our noses and actually do something to try and protect our planet. 

But what are the carbon credentials of a mobile phone? Are we harming the planet every time we make or take a call? And just how much carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere when a smartphone is made? We sent our roving reporters off to find out just how much damage is or isn’t being done…

 

How is the carbon footprint of smartphones measured?

The bulk of the carbon footprint associated with smartphones is actually buried in the manufacturing chain. In fact, more CO2 emissions are generated by the manufacture of smartphones than most consumers create after buying them.

To identify the carbon footprint of their products, many of the biggest smartphone manufacturers have been content with the traditional approach of measuring the greenhouse gas emissions of their production facilities. However, that only measures the gases produced by the manufacturing of the device and does not account for the suppliers, logistics and the operation of the stores where the phones are sold.

Greenpeace International has introduced its own objective grading system, called the Guide to Greener Electronics, which measures the commitment of mobile phone makers to producing greener products. That reflects the steps each firm has taken to:

  • Reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases;
  • Clean up their products by eliminating hazardous substances;
  • Take-back and recycle products responsibly once they become obsolete;
  • Stop the use of unsuitable materials in products and packaging.

In terms gauging the attitude of some of the world’s leading consumer electronics companies when addressing their environmental impact, this is as complete a picture as you will find.  

 

How much CO2 is involved in the manufacture of smartphones?

Manufacturing the average smartphone is estimated to create around 16kg of CO2 equivalent emissions. If you then add the amount of power the phone consumes over two years of average use then that figure rises to 22kg, but there’s also much more to consider.

All smartphones contain hazardous materials like bromine, chlorine, lead and mercury, while more than 1,000 components are made of metals like gold, tin, lithium and tantalum, which, although not poisonous, cause huge damage through land degradation and mining. There are also other ethical considerations to take into account, such as whether the minerals required to build a smartphone have been sourced from countries where workers are not paid properly, treated fairly or where there are human rights abuses or conflicts.  

 

How much CO2 is involved in smartphone use?

In terms of energy consumption, mobile phones are voracious in their appetite. The average smartphone uses more electricity than a refrigerator, but the actual power required to charge it is small. It’s the infrastructure required to support the usage that accounts for by far the largest share of the power. It’s the servers running 24/7, the air-conditioning required to cool them and the power that keeps our broadband network running nonstop. That, probably needless to say, is a pretty hefty carbon footprint.

However, we also need to take typical usage into account. A one-minute mobile-to-mobile chat produces 57g of CO2, which is about the same as an apple or a large gulp of beer. That probably sounds quite sustainable, but bear in mind that’s just one call. Over the course of a year, someone who makes or receives a call for just two minutes a day will generate 47kg of CO2 emissions. If you talk on the phone for an hour a day then that rockets up to 1250kg. That’s the equivalent of flying from London to New York.

The number of smartphones users in the world is currently 2.54 billion. On that basis, mobile calls alone could account for around 1.25 million tonnes of CO2 emissions, which is just over one-quarter of a percent of the current global emissions.     

 

How to reduce your smartphone carbon footprint?

If you want to reduce the footprint of your smartphone then there are a number of things you can do. That includes:

  1. Text rather than call

Texting is a much lower-carbon option than calling. If you do need to make a call, using a landline is more carbon-efficient because it takes about one-third less power to transmit the call. Unfortunately, landlines are simply not convenient in many cases.  

  1. Buy refurbished phones

Rather than buying a brand new phone, buying a phone that has been refurbished after being returned by the previous customer is a simple but effective way to reduce your carbon footprint and cut down on e-waste. Refurbished phones are often sold as new and at Lovefone they come with a two-year warranty for the device and one-year for the battery.

  1. Increase your contract length

A UK smartphone’s typical lifetime is just 18 months. By extending your contract you would get more use from your current phone and reduce the carbon emissions associated with producing a new one. The industry also has to do more to promote this option by offering incentives for customers who take on longer contracts.  

  1. Choose modular phones

There are smartphones out there that are built from sustainable materials and are modular in their construction. That means, rather than having to buy a new phone every time something goes wrong, the phone can be easily disassembled so the faulty part can be replaced.

 

Ready to go green?

At Lovefone, we offer certified refurbished mobile phones that undergo a 30-point final inspection and are backed by a two-year warranty. Take a look at our range and buy online.  

 

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Latest Smartphone Screen Technology https://www.lovefone.co.uk/blogs/news/latest-smartphone-screen-technology 2018-03-22T10:24:28Z Lovefone We give you a simple, jargon-free explanation of some of the terms used to describe smartphone screens and introduce you to the latest smartphone screen tech.

Latest Smartphone Screen Technology

We give you a simple, jargon-free explanation of some of the terms used to describe smartphone screens and introduce you to the latest smartphone screen tech.

Latest Smartphone Screen Technology

To the uninitiated, all the acronyms and tech jargon surrounding smartphone screens can make it difficult to see the wood for the trees, even when it’s in 4K Ultra HD.

In this guide, we hope to change all that. We’re going to give you a simple, jargon-free explanation of some of the terms used to describe smartphone screens and introduce you to some of the latest tech, including an innovation that could make iPhone screen repairs a thing of the past.  

Key smartphone screen terms explained

Resolution – One of the biggest considerations when discussing the quality of smartphone screens is the resolution of the display. The resolution is determined by the size of the screen (measured in inches), the number of pixels (the amount of information it can show) and how densely the pixels are packed, referred to as pixels per inch (ppi). Generally speaking, the higher the numbers, the better quality the screen will be.

Terms you have probably seen such as 4K Full HD, 2K and 1080p all refer to different smartphone screen resolution types. Here you can see exactly what each of these terms mean.

Display panel types – A number of different display panel types are used for smartphone screens. That includes LCD, OLED, AMOLED, Super AMOLED, TFT and IPS. There’s really no such thing as a ‘best’ panel type because each has its specific advantages and disadvantages; instead, it’s all about finding the right range of benefits for you. Learn more about the benefits of each display type.    

The latest smartphone screen trends

In recent years, smartphone screens have been getting bigger and bigger, although there still hasn’t been the race to 4K (a screen with a pixel measurement of 4096 x 2160) that many experts predicted. That means as it stands, it’s the Sony Xperia Z5 Premium and XZ Premium that dominate with their 4k screens.

Instead, it is the 2K screen (with a pixel measurement of 2560 x 1440) that has become the most popular option at the top end of the market. That’s because many manufacturers are concerned about how larger and higher resolution displays will impact battery life, which is already a sore point for many users.

The iPhone X has ‘the best smartphone display ever’

Although the Sony Xperia might be triumphant when it comes to its pixel measurement, DisplayMate, a company that puts the screens of every new smartphone through its paces, believes the iPhone X has ‘the best smartphone display out there, with uniformly consistent, all-round top-tier display performance’. 

The reviewers noted its absolute colour accuracy, high full-screen brightness and contrast rating and the low screen reflectance, all of which make the iPhone X’s high performance display the best to date. 

Future smartphone screen tech

Smartphone technology never stands still and there are already a number of innovations on the horizon. Later this year, Samsung plans to release a Galaxy Note with a folding screen, so the device can become a smartphone or a tablet depending on the user’s needs at the time.  

A student in Tokyo also recently discovered a new polymer of glass that can mend itself when pressed together, which could mean the end of the smashed smartphone screen. However, for now at least, Android and iPhone screen repairs the best available solution.  

Fortunately, if you do damage your screen, we offer a professional iPhone screen repair service that has your smartphone shipshape within the hour. Book your iPhone repair today or to find out more please get in touch with our team. 

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5 Pioneering Smartphones that Pushed the Boundaries https://www.lovefone.co.uk/blogs/news/5-pioneering-smartphones-that-pushed-the-boundaries 2018-03-13T10:43:37Z Lovefone We create our very own smartphone hall of fame with five of the most pioneering mobiles that have shaped the phones we see today.

5 Pioneering Smartphones that Pushed the Boundaries

We create our very own smartphone hall of fame with five of the most pioneering mobiles that have shaped the phones we see today.

5 Pioneering Smartphones that Pushed the Boundaries

The only way such rapid developments could have been made in mobile technology over the last couple of decades is with the introduction of truly pioneering smartphones that have consistently pushed back the boundaries of what we thought could be achieved.

However, given the speed that smartphones go from ‘next big thing’ to ‘has-been’, many of those pioneers have been forgotten along the way. So, we thought it was time to create our very own smartphone hall of fame, giving a nod to five of the most pioneering smartphones that played their part in shaping the handsets we see today.    

 

Nokia Communicator, 1996

As the first ever smartphone, the Nokia Communicator undoubtedly deserves a spot in our smartphone hall of fame. The Nokia Communicator was years ahead of its time and came just 12 years after the first ever mobile phone, the Motorola DynaTAC, was released.

With 8MB of storage, a clamshell design, screen and keyboard, the Communicator was capable of sending email, browsing the web and managing your personal information. The only thing it didn’t have were apps.

Nokia 3310, 2000

It might have started with the 3210, but the 3310 was the phone that took Nokia to the dizzy heights of ubiquity. The 3310 was not only extremely popular; it was also pioneering in that it introduced two new features that, at the time, were unique. That included Xpress-On covers, which gave users the ability to customise the look of their phones, and a silent vibrate mode, which has since proved to be quite handy. To seal the deal, it also had Snake II!

 

Motorola Razr, 2004

Nothing says “I am strictly business” quite like a flip phone. The Razr was the last great flip phone of its generation before this must-have fashion accessory faded into obscurity. But it’s not just the flip screen that made the Razr such a landmark phone. It was also thinner and slicker looking than any that had come before it. But the Razr wasn’t all style and no substance. It also had some impressive hardware with a colour screen and a mini USB port for easy charging.

The Blackberry Curve, 2007

Remember when the Blackberry Curve was the be-all-and-end-all? Seems like a long time ago now, and in fact, some of you younger phone fans will barely even remember it. The Blackberry Curve 8300 series is the very embodiment of the company’s glory days. With a full keyboard, built-in camera and a little roller ball that quickly got clogged up with filth, this is an unforgettable icon of the smartphones of yore.

Samsung Galaxy Note 7, 2016

Bringing us almost up to date is the Samsung Galaxy Note 7, which pushed the boundaries of technology and design. Its curved screen, waterproofing and iris scanning took the phablet to new heights. The only problem was a battery fault that meant the Note 7 will always be remembered as the first exploding smartphone.

 

So, what’s next?

The Fairphone is the world’s first ethically sourced, modular phone. Built using materials sourced from conflict-free regions, the Fairphone is a true pioneer that looks set to change the way smartphones are made and is a harbinger of things to come.

Okay, we know we missed out the iPhone, but with only 5 spots to fill, important decisions had to be made. Do you agree with our top 5? If not, what do you think deserves a place in our smartphone hall of fame?

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Busted: Myths about Refurbished Phones https://www.lovefone.co.uk/blogs/news/busted-myths-about-refurbished-second-hand-phones 2018-02-27T16:32:01Z Lovefone We shed some light on the refurbished phone. We explain exactly what a refurbished phone is and dispel some of the myths commonly associated with it.

Busted: Myths about Refurbished Phones

We shed some light on the refurbished phone. We explain exactly what a refurbished phone is and dispel some of the myths commonly associated with it.

Busted: Myths about Refurbished Phones

Given that high-end smartphones seem to get more expensive by the day, it’s hardly surprising that more and more people are turning to second-hand refurbished phones. But for some consumers, the term ‘refurbished phone’ comes with some stigma, usually because they don’t know exactly what the term means or what condition the phone will be in.

In this article, we’re going to shed some light on the refurbished phone. We’re going to explain exactly what a refurbished phone is and bust some of the myths that are commonly associated with this type of mobile. So, if you’re looking to make a saving then here’s what you need to know…

What exactly is a refurbished phone?

 

There are two types of second-hand phone out there. The first is the sort of phone you buy from an individual or small private dealer. Regardless of the savings you may make, the risks of buying this kind of phone are great as the phone could be stolen or it could fail, leaving you with little or no comeback.

The second type of second-hand phone you can buy is the refurbished phone. A refurbished phone is one that has been purchased previously and then returned to the maker or the retailer. In some cases, there may be nothing wrong with the phone and the buyer simply changed their mind within the 30-day cooling-off period. Or, they may have returned it because it had some small hardware problem. In that case, the phone will be fixed and sold as a refurbished item.

Although a refurbished phone is not technically a new phone anymore, it should work just like one. Before being put on sale, all refurbished phones are thoroughly checked and tested to ensure they’re in full working order. At Lovefone, we also provide a two-year guarantee on all our refurbished phones. That means you’re buying a phone that’s ‘as new’, but is available at a big discount. 

Myths about refurbished mobile phones

 

 

Due to the lack of understanding about what a refurbished phone actually is, there’s a lot of confusion out there that can put people off. We’re here to dispel some of those myths…

Myth 1: A refurbished phone is the same as a used phone

Reality: If a phone is described as ‘used’ then the condition of the phone can be hard to define; however, you should be very cautious. Used phones are commonly sold by private sellers on auction sites and the phone could have anything from a few scratches to being badly damaged. There’s also a risk the phone could be stolen.

If a phone is described as refurbished then it’ll be sold by an established network, retailer or trader and will have been tested, cleaned and wiped. Some sellers will even update the phone with the latest software. It should also be covered by a warranty to give the buyer complete peace of mind.

Myth 2: You never really know what you’re buying    

Reality: Every refurbished phone goes through a stringent testing and cleaning process with any repairs made as necessary. However, all refurbished phones are also given a grade from A-D that reflects their condition to give buyers an excellent idea of what they’re getting.  

Those grades break down like this:

  • Grade A – Grade ‘A’ refurbished phones are as close to new as it gets. This could be a phone that has been returned during the 30-day cooling-off period or one that has only very minor signs of wear.
  • Grade B – This grade of refurbished phone may have the odd scratch but nothing more.
  • Grade C – Refurbished phones that are graded ‘C’ will have a number of blemishes and look like they’ve been used.
  • Grade D – A grade ‘D’ refurbished phone is likely to be broken in some way and will be well used. Most retailers don’t sell grade ‘D’ phones although you may find them on eBay.

Some networks use their own grading system such as O2’s ‘Perfect’, ‘Almost Perfect‘ and ‘Perfectly Fine’. There will be guides explaining each grading system on the relevant site.

Myth 3: Refurbished phones are often fake

Reality: Smartphones are one of the easiest items to sell online. Scammers have caught onto this fact and often buy fake smartphones to sell on sites like eBay or Gumtree. If you want to be sure that a refurbished phone is not a fake then you should always buy from a reputable seller. Even phones that look genuine and come complete with the box, manual and accessories can still be fake. For that reason, buying from private individuals is not advised.   

Myth 4: They’re not even that cheap

Reality: In an ideal world you’d probably want to get a brand new smartphone, but many people are not willing to spend up to £1,000 for the latest phone, while others prefer not to have a contract phone. Opting for a refurbished phone can reduce the cost by 20-40 percent. That is a significant saving when you consider the phone could be as good as new.   

Myth 5: They usually have a poor battery life

Reality: In a recent comparison of new phones vs. refurbished phones, it was found that the batteries of the refurbished phones had just as much zip as the new phones. At Lovefone, we offer an optional battery upgrade, and rather than using cheaper, third-party batteries, we’ll always use the best parts.

Take a look at our fully refurbished range

If you think a refurbished phone could be the right option for you then please take a look at our fully refurbished and data cleansed range. All our refurbished phones have undergone our comprehensive 30-point check and are backed by a two-year guarantee and easy returns.  

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What Age should a Child get a Mobile Phone? https://www.lovefone.co.uk/blogs/news/what-age-should-a-youngster-get-a-mobile-phone 2018-02-21T13:45:16Z Lovefone That’s a tricky question and one most parents have their own opinion on, but what age is appropriate and what can you do to reduce the risk?

What Age should a Child get a Mobile Phone?

That’s a tricky question and one most parents have their own opinion on, but what age is appropriate and what can you do to reduce the risk?

What Age should a Child get a Mobile Phone?

That’s a pretty topical question and one you will doubtless have your own opinion on. So, rather than just sharing our view, we’re going to take an objective look at the appropriate age for mobile phone use and see what the research has to say.

Understanding the risks

 

When you hand your child their first mobile phone, you’re giving them an incredibly powerful communication tool. Not only can they send messages, create images and send videos to friends, but if they have a smartphone, they’ll also be able to access websites and upload images and videos online. There’s also the risk that they’ll simply spend too long on their phones in favour of more wholesome pursuits.

Having unfettered access to the internet exposes children to many risks. We’ve all heard horrific stories about children being groomed online, but there’s also the risk they could unknowingly rack up substantial bills by downloading apps or playing games. They could also access inappropriate material. With so many risks, it’s little wonder this issue is such an important one for many parents. Here’s more information about online safety from the NSPCC.    

What age do most children have phones?

 

Of course, no two children are the same. It’s not uncommon for children at primary school to have phones, but research from 2016 shows that the average age for a child to have their first phone is 10.3 years old, although many parents wait until their child starts secondary school at the age of 11 or 12. The same study found that by the age of 12, 50 percent of children also have social media accounts, primarily Facebook and Instagram.

That might sound young, but in many cases, there are practical reasons why a child might need a phone. For example, if they attend out-of-school sports clubs, are just starting to leave the house on their own or make their own way to school, parents will feel reassured if they do have a phone.

Questions to ask when considering phone use

 

Your child will probably be technologically savvy enough to own a phone, but will they have the maturity to use it wisely. Here are some questions to consider:

  • Does your child have a sense of responsibility? For example, do they show up on time and keep you informed about their movements?
  • Do they tend to lose things easily?
  • Could you trust them not to use their phones in class?
  • Would they adhere to limits for the time they can spend on their phones and the apps they can download?
  • Can you trust them not to use their phones to bully or harass others?
  • Do they need to be in touch for safety reasons?

How can you make sure they use it safely?

 

If you decide having a mobile phone would be beneficial to your child then there are a number of steps you can take to reduce the risks they face. For example, putting a password on the phone’s app store will prevent them from installing apps without your knowledge. If they do want to install a new app then you should research it first to make sure it’s appropriate.

There are also parental controls you can put on children’s handsets to prevent them from visiting inappropriate sites and keep them from sending texts or making calls to unknown numbers. Perhaps most important of all is to have a conversation with the child outlining exactly what they can and can’t do on their phone and why. They should also understand that nothing is private online.

A refurbished phone could be the answer

 

Rather than giving your child an expensive device which could be lost or stolen, a refurbished phone can be an excellent entry-level option to help them learn the ropes. At Lovefone, we have a range of professionally refurbished devices which could be the perfect stepping stone for your child.  

We’d love to hear what you have to say about this divisive issue so please share your thoughts in the comments below.

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Mobile Phone Usage: Smartphone etiquette across the globe https://www.lovefone.co.uk/blogs/news/mobile-phone-usage-mobile-etiquette-in-different-cultures 2018-02-14T16:46:03Z Lovefone Lovefone takes a look at a few of the more interesting quirks of mobile phone usage around the world. What country uses their mobile phones the most, join us to find out. How do you use yours? Mobile phones have certainly come a long way in the last 25 years, from the ‘brick’ phones owned by a handful of yuppies...

Mobile Phone Usage: Smartphone etiquette across the globe

Lovefone takes a look at a few of the more interesting quirks of mobile phone usage around the world. What country uses their mobile phones the most, join us to find out. How do you use yours? Mobile phones have certainly come a long way in the last 25 years, from the ‘brick’ phones owned by a handful of yuppies...

Mobile Phone Usage: Smartphone etiquette across the globe

Mobile phones have certainly come a long way in the last 25 years, from the ‘brick’ phones owned by a handful of yuppies in the early 1990s, to a technology that’s now used by three-quarters of the world’s inhabitants.

Interestingly, mobile usage statistics show that mobiles are used in every country around the world, although usage is at its lowest in Eritrea, North Korea and Myanmar, where just 6 percent, 10 percent and 13 percent of the population own a mobile phone respectively.

But while mobile phones are now ubiquitous, the way they are used differs between cultures. So, join us please as we take look at a few of the more interesting quirks of mobile phone usage around the world.

 

Mobile phone names around the world

Mobile phone sounds like a sensible name for a telephone you can use on the move, but not every country seems to agree. In the US, the mobile is known as the cellphone, because each phone tower and its coverage map look like a biological cell. In Japan, the mobile is called keitai, meaning ‘portable’, and in China its shou-ji, or ‘hand-machine’, which both seem logical enough.

In Bangladesh, they have gone for muthophone, which in English becomes the snappy ‘phone in the palm of your hand’. In Sweden, they’ve opted for the frankly bizarre nalle, which means ‘teddy bear’, and in Israel its pelephone, or the ‘wonder phone’.

Mobile Phone Usage: Smartphone etiquette across the globe

 

Mobile phone etiquette around the world

  • Japan – The Japanese are renowned for their impeccable manners and their mobile phone usage reflects this. Train commuters are bombarded with messages telling them to switch their phones to ‘manner mode’ (silent or vibrate) because public mobile use is frowned upon. Social harmony is valued highly, so a phone should never be a disturbance to others. That means, if someone’s phone does ring in public, the user will usually silence it very quickly and look flustered.
  • Southern Europe – In countries like Italy and Spain, people love to talk about anything, anywhere. People are not averse to discussing their personal lives in public at great length. In fact, a Spanish state-owned train company once promoted its journeys as the perfect opportunity for people to call their partners. The Italians take a similar approach and are happy to take calls in restaurants, during meetings and wherever else they may be.
  • India - Indian society has a long history of tolerance, and that manifests in what we would consider to be some fairly brazen mobile phone use. It’s not uncommon for people to take calls in cinemas and even at official functions and during speeches. Another common quirk is for the caller to hear a Bollywood song rather than a ringtone.
  • Africa – African mobile phone usage is similar to Indian, in that people use their phones everywhere. Part of the reason for this is that mobile phone users just want to show that they have a phone. The only place mobiles aren’t used is in mosques and churches. It’s also common to have Bible quotes rather than a ringtone. Multiple SIM ownership is also popular across Africa because many of the service providers are so unreliable that users want to give themselves the best chance of getting a signal. There is also ongoing conflict between phone service providers as most of them are not compatible with each other. Meaning if your friend is on a different network, you can't contact them at all

Mobile Phone Usage: Smartphone etiquette across the globe

 

Who uses their mobile phones the most?

In Europe, it’s not the Southern Europeans but the Finns who chat on their phones the most, spending an average of 257 minutes a month on calls. The Austrians are also quite chatty with 240 minutes of use, just trailing the Finns. The Maltese use their phones the least, chatting for just 46 minutes per month. However, the worldwide winners are the Indians, who chat for an average of 346 minutes a month. That probably has something to do with their incredibly low rates of just 0.5 rupees (about one penny) a minute.

Have you noticed any ‘quirky’ mobile phone usage on your travels? Please share your thoughts with our readers in the comments below.  

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App of the Month: iScanner https://www.lovefone.co.uk/blogs/news/app-of-the-month-iscanner 2018-01-31T09:19:59Z Lovefone The app earning much praise from the Lovefone team this month is iScanner. But what makes this mobile scanning app our top pick?

App of the Month: iScanner

The app earning much praise from the Lovefone team this month is iScanner. But what makes this mobile scanning app our top pick?

App of the Month: iScanner

“Paper is so 2017”, admittedly said no one ever, but they clearly hadn’t seen the newest range of mobile scanner apps to hit the market. Rather than having to figure out how to use a cumbersome and confusing standalone scanner, these days, there are simple apps that can turn your mobile device into a full-feature document scanner that will digitise paper documents in seconds.

Despite the fact that we create a gargantuan amount of information digitally, there’s still plenty of paper floating about. Receipts, business cards, schedules, timetables, paper notes, faxes and brainstorming scribbles are just a few of the items often stuck in the physical universe when you’d really like them online.

So what’s the solution?

Introducing iScanner

iScanner mobile scanning app

iScanner is the Lovefone app of the month for two good reasons:

  1. We use it ourselves; and
  2. It’s brilliant

 

iScanner turns your mobile or tablet into a powerful mobile scanner with an excellent range of options so you can easily scan, save and share any document in PDF or JPEG format. You can take iScanner with you wherever you go and no internet connection is needed as all scans are stored locally on your device. You can even add an e-signature to your documents to make you the envy of the office.

iScanner features 

iScanner mobile scanning app

If you need to scan hundreds of legal documents or pages of company accounts then a standalone scanner will still be your best bet. However, for your more casual scan, an excellent range of innovative features make the iScanner our top pick. The features include:

  • Multipage scanning – Scan and save documents as a multi-page JPEG or PDF file to reduce the memory you use.
  • Image processing - Enhance the scanned image using built-in image processing tools.
  • Document editing – Cut, copy and paste documents or add your signature to scanned images if necessary. You can also convert your scanned image into text with the help of Optical Character Recognition (OCR) techniques.
  • Documents, security & protection – Protect your files with a password or touch ID.
  • File manager – Drag and drop your files and folders and sort them by date and name.
  • Sharing – Share documents by email or by uploading them to cloud services like Google Drive, One Drive and DropBox.
  • Printing – Print any scanned document with a single tap (paid version).

Other information

If all those features have got your tech juices flowing, you’ll be happy to hear the iScanner app is available on Android and iPhone for free, although there’s also a paid pro version which provides slightly more functionality.    

Although we hate to subject you to the offensively monotonous audio, this video will give you a better idea of what the iScanner can do:



 

So far the iScanner app has 10 million users around the world and if you read some of the reviews online, we think you’ll see why we believe this could be the mobile scanning app for you.

Have you used iScanner? Perhaps you think there are better mobile scanning apps out there? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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Samsung’s New Speedy Charging Technology https://www.lovefone.co.uk/blogs/news/samsungs-new-speedy-charging-technology 2018-01-25T09:55:48Z Lovefone Fed up with the amount of time your phone takes to charge? Samsung’s new speedy charging technology could get you up and at ‘em faster than ever before.

Samsung’s New Speedy Charging Technology

Fed up with the amount of time your phone takes to charge? Samsung’s new speedy charging technology could get you up and at ‘em faster than ever before.

Samsung’s New Speedy Charging Technology

One of the biggest gripes many people have with their smartphones is the amount of time they take to charge. In the early days, when the phone is new and the battery fresh, your smartphone is the energetic, tail wagging companion you always dreamed of. It takes pictures, shows you which way to go, entertains you and can even order your dinner.

Fast forward a year and all your phone wants to do is rest. It refuses to go for walks and if it does expend any energy, it has to spend the next few hours on life support. But now, thanks to new speedy charging technology, you and your phone be could be up and at ‘em more quickly than ever before. 

Which Samsung phones are compatible?

 

The Samsung Galaxy S6 and S7 Edge are both compatible with Adaptive Fast Charging. However, to enjoy the benefits of fast charging you will first have to enable the feature, the process for which we’ll detail below.   

Introducing Adaptive Fast Charging

 

‘Adaptive Fast Charging’ is Samsung’s new speedy charging technology. Not only does it reduce the charging times of compatible Samsung phones, but it can also extend the life of a battery by stopping the supply of power when the battery is full. All you need to do is buy yourself one of Samsung’s fast charging chargers and you and your phone will be good to go.

How does it work?

 

 

Without getting too bogged down in the science, Adapting Fast Charging is simply a faster form of charging that takes advantage of how Li-ion batteries work. Fast chargers push as much power to the device as it can handle to make sure the battery is charging at its maximum rate. When the battery is at low capacity, the lithium ions have more freedom to move, which means with more power, the phone can be recharged much more quickly.

Ordinarily, increasing the power output of a charger wouldn’t be safe as it could damage the battery and the phone. However, most modern day smartphones come with a built-in chip that monitors battery temperatures and can regulate the power being delivered as it charges. When the battery heats up, the charger delivers less power.  Once the battery is full, the charger stops delivering power altogether. The result is that half of a battery’s capacity can be restored in less than an hour.   

How do you use the fast charge feature?

 

Firstly, you will need to buy a good quality USB cable as the stock cable that comes with your phone is not up to the job. You should also buy a charger that’s compatible with fast charging. You then need to:

  • Connect your new USB cable to your battery charger that supports Adaptive Fast Charging;
  • Head to Settings > Battery Settings;
  • Here you’ll find the Rapid Charging option which needs to be ticked;
  • The fast charging feature is now activated
  • Turn off the phone or at least the screen to increase the charging speed;
  • There will be an option on the phone’s screen so you can check the remaining charge time;
  • Don’t worry if the phone starts to get hot as the power output will be reduced to prevent any damage.

And there you have it - a faster form of charging that means your phone doesn’t have to spend hours on end tethered to a wall. Until better battery technology is released, Adaptive Faster Charging is the best option you have.

Have you tried Adaptive Faster Charging on your Samsung phone? Did you notice the difference? Please share your thoughts with our readers and the Lovefone team.

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Inside a Smartphone Factory https://www.lovefone.co.uk/blogs/news/inside-a-smartphone-factory 2018-01-23T11:37:01Z Lovefone How is a smartphone made? We take a look at the processes involved in taking the latest smartphones from conception through to completion.

Inside a Smartphone Factory

How is a smartphone made? We take a look at the processes involved in taking the latest smartphones from conception through to completion.

Inside a Smartphone Factory

The inquisitive minds here at Lovefone HQ make it their business to know more than just how to replace smartphone screens or the other fixes for our customers’ phones. Instead, we delve much deeper into the smartphone manufacture process to offer the very best repair service.

Have you ever wondered how smartphones are made? This is our look inside a smartphone factory from conception through to completion…

Stage 1: Prototype Development

 

Before the mass production machine can start to whir, the research and development team have to create a working prototype of the new phone. The starting point will be to think about how they will remove the shortcomings of previous models and innovate to create something new. These ideas will be conceived in the boardroom before being communicated to R&D, who will be responsible for bringing this vision to life. The look of the new phone is usually the first thing to be considered. Once it looks the part, it’s then time to try and make it work. 

That’s the job of the electronics engineering team. This is when decisions about the processor and memory will be made, the battery will be chosen and the screen and front and rear cameras will be fitted. Four to five prototype handsets will usually be sent to the decision-making team, who will pick their favourite and ask for any changes to be made.

Stage 2: Selecting the software

 

Now it’s time for the software team to breathe life into the handset. They will decide what operating system the phone will use and make sure the hardware chosen by the electronics engineering team is fully supported. Once the operating system runs smoothly, the design, software and hardware is ready to be rigorously tested before the individual components go into mass production.

Stage 3: Testing    

 

Before the phone can go into production it needs to be rigorously tested for quality, bugs and other parameters. The hardware will go through drop tests, bend tests and water tests while the software has to complete comprehensive user experience, user interface and operations tests.

Stage 4: Mass Production

 

Once the prototype has been finalised and rigorously tested, it is then time for the individual components to be made. That includes everything from the processor, camera, screen and keys to the batteries, outer casings, Bluetooth enabler and more.

Some of these components will be manufactured in-house, while others will be outsourced to factories around the world, typically in countries like India and China. During this stage, smartphones will often be given codenames to try and prevent information about their specification and design being leaked to the media.

Once the individual components have been made, they will then be put together on the assembly line and the software will be burnt into the phone’s memory to create the completed phone.

Stage 5: Quality control

 

During the mass production stage, the quality control team will also get to work. They will be busy monitoring the components and their assembly. Once the smartphones are finished, they will then check the fit, finish and look of the phones by picking samples from batches. 

Stage 6: Packaging and shipping

 

Once the smartphone has passed all the relevant tests, it will then be packaged and shipped to retailers around the globe, ready to be purchased by consumers like you.

Want to get your phone back to factory condition?

If you’re looking for speedy, high-quality repair of your smartphone, we can get your phone back to factory condition and provide a comprehensive warranty on all of our repairs. Book your smartphone repair today or get in touch to find out more.

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Smartphones most Likely to Die on the Operating Table https://www.lovefone.co.uk/blogs/news/smartphones-most-likely-to-die-on-the-operating-table 2018-01-17T12:36:37Z Lovefone When it comes to the operating table, not all smartphones are born equal. This is our guide to some of the best and worst smartphones for repairs.

Smartphones most Likely to Die on the Operating Table

When it comes to the operating table, not all smartphones are born equal. This is our guide to some of the best and worst smartphones for repairs.

Smartphones most Likely to Die on the Operating Table

We keep more or less our entire life on our smartphones, so when something goes wrong, it’s hardly surprising you’ll want to get it fixed. Unfortunately, as your phone ages, crashes, bugs, screen cracks and battery fails become a fact of life. Thankfully, many of these issues can be repaired by a professional smartphone repair team.

When it comes to the operating table, not all smartphones are born equal. Certain repairs and refurbishments on some models can be performed cheaply and quickly, while on others, even a seemingly small issue can sound the death knell for your phone.

In this article, we’re going to take a look at some of the best and worst smartphones for repairs and will answer some of the most common questions we’re asked. 

How repairable is your phone?

 

From an environmental perspective, the more phones we can repair, the lower the amount of e-waste created, which has to be a good thing. So you’d think making repairable phones would be high on the list of the manufacturers’ priorities, but that’s rarely the case.

The good news is that most smartphones are repairable, however, we recommend you take them to a professional to avoid expensive mishaps!   

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

Reparability rating 2/5

The Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ have a relatively low reparability rating mainly due to the strong adhesives which make it difficult to disassemble and repair. The front and back glass can be relatively easily broken but are thankfully not as expensive to replace as the glass on the iPhone 8. On a more positive note, many of the components can be independently replaced.

LG G6

Reparability rating 3/5

The LG G5 had an excellent reparability rating of 4/5 but that has fallen on the recent model due to the crack-able front and back glass panels and the strong adhesives that have been used. Adhesive has also been used to stick many of the phone’s component to the back of a fused display assemble which makes them difficult to replace.

Apple iPhone 8 and 8+

Reparability rating 3/5

Many aspects of Apple’s latest offering are relatively simple to repair. There’s easy access to the battery and wireless charging reduces strain on the single port. However, the big issue is damage caused to the rear glass. Apple claims this glass is ‘the most durable ever in a smartphone’, but unfortunately, it’s not unbreakable. If you do damage this glass then it can be more expensive to fix than the screen.

Could you repair your smartphone yourself?

 

If you feel like the damage done to your smartphone is likeable to be a relatively easy fix, you might want to try fixing the phone yourself using resources you can find online. However, we would advise you to think very carefully before you try this because there is a high chance you'll cause further damage to the phone and you could be infringing your warranty rights.  

Is Battery Replacement Easy?

 

Batteries have finite lifecycles, so you’d like to think the phone manufacturers would make them easy to remove and replace. However, in the majority of modern smartphones, the batteries are either difficult or impossible to replace due to the strong adhesives used to fix the battery to the casing. Many manufacturers also refuse to provide spare parts like batteries to repair shops.

Looking for Leading Smartphone Repair?

At Lovefone, we offer a smartphone repair service to bring your cherished device back to life. Get in touch to discuss your repair, take a look at our repair FAQs or book your smartphone into our surgery today.

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Is Apple Deliberately Slowing down the iPhone? https://www.lovefone.co.uk/blogs/news/apple-slows-down-iphone 2017-12-20T12:09:36Z Lovefone Is Apple deliberately making it's iPhone slower once the battery starts degrading? But the question is, are the motives user-centred or sales-centred?

Is Apple Deliberately Slowing down the iPhone?

Is Apple deliberately making it's iPhone slower once the battery starts degrading? But the question is, are the motives user-centred or sales-centred?

Is Apple Deliberately Slowing down the iPhone?

A Reddit post has spurred a debate around the iPhone’s processor performance relative to it battery function. Most smartphone owners are aware that the more they charge and recharge their beloved phones, the shorter its battery life becomes. But the suggestion is that your iPhone's overall performance is suffering, alongside your depleting battery life. But does battery life affect the processor's function? If not, then what's going on?!   

What Researchers Say

Results from a benchmark test showed that iPhone 6S running iOS 10.2.0 pooled around the expected performance peak showing what the iPhone 6S was capable of without any hindrance.   

However, with the following iOS update to 10.2.1, results showed that as battery life degraded, so did the phone’s speed.

Recent reports have also shown that replacing the battery for phones running on iOS 10.2.1 or later version actually causes phone performance to increase. This suggests that Apple is deliberately lowing the functionality of the phone. Is this the ‘planned obsolescence’ debate in disguise or is this an effort to elongate your smartphone's lifespan?  

Battery Degredation shouldn't Affect Phone functionality   

Smartphone batteries are expected to last around 500 charges (provided the owner doesn't charge the device overnight or do regular top-ups). This means that your smartphone should last you for around two years. We’ve all experienced the frustrations of a shortened battery life, but what is actually causing those blips to decrease so fast?

Two main things that occur when a smartphone battery degrades. The first is that the maximum overall energy storage capacity is reduced because integral components within the battery degrade. Because the overall capacity is shortened, this means the user is required to charge it more, causing faster degradation.

The oxidation created during this degradation means the processor and other components have to work harder to draw out power from the battery, using more energy, and causing power to deplete even faster. It’s a vicious circle but it shouldn't affect the performance of the processor. 

So is Apple Sacrificing iPhone Performance?

There have been a few speculations behind this the study results. The most stirring of which being that Apple is deliberately sabotaging the performance of iPhones running on the newest iOS.

 “The difference between 10.2.0 and 10.2.1 is too abrupt to be just a function of battery condition. I believe (as do others) that Apple introduced a change to limit performance when battery condition decreases past a certain point.” John Poole, Founder of Primate labs.

Reddit users, having seen the articles, are weighing in with personal experiences of restored iPhone function following a battery replacement. Some even suggesting that iPhone performance actually decreases with the iPhone’s current charge. Maybe something iPhone users reading this article could keep an eye out for!  

What does this Mean for iPhone Users?

Knowing Apple, this is no accident. It remains to be seen what the real reason behind the findings is. Some suggest that the motive behind reducing phone performance with reduced battery functionality is user-centred, preserving the functionality of, not only the battery, but the iPhone itself. Much like with the ‘low battery mode’ setting.

But will users see it that way? A reduction in phone speed and performance could cause users to become disillusioned with their current device, prompting them to buy a new one rather than simply replacing the battery. And that doesn’t seem too user-centred at all!  

The debate is still very much in its early stages, and the chances are that we’re a while off hearing any response from Apple on the subject. However, it does raise questions about the tech giant's motives. Is Apple trying to improve the lifespan of the smartphone, or are they trying to drive sales by indirectly encouraging users to buy new devices? Have your say in the comment section below.

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App of the Month: HomeFood https://www.lovefone.co.uk/blogs/news/app-of-the-month-homefood 2017-11-30T10:16:42Z Lovefone HomeFood is an app that makes quality, fresh and nutritious homemade food readily available to hungry Londoners who are too busy to cook for themselves.

App of the Month: HomeFood

HomeFood is an app that makes quality, fresh and nutritious homemade food readily available to hungry Londoners who are too busy to cook for themselves.

App of the Month: HomeFood

London is a melting pot of different cultures, but despite the huge range of restaurants and street food markets dotted around the capital, sometimes what you really want is an authentic taste of home. HomeFood is an app that can provide exactly that, letting you order food from the city’s best home cooks which is hot, ready to eat and delivered straight to your door.

HomeFood lets you sample meals from around the world that have been cooked at home by more than 30 chefs who have been picked by hand. The chefs are first vetted by the HomeFood team – what a tough job that must be - then, if approved, they have to apply to their local authority for registration and their hygiene and food safety certificates. The cooks on the roster include everything from former Michelin-stared chefs to amateurs who are incredibly passionate about their food.

The ‘Uber of Home Cooking’ 

While delivery firms such as Deliveroo and JustEat bring restaurant meals and takeaways to the homes of Londoners, HomeFood does the same with home cooked meals. This gives people access to more niche food choices than they’d potentially find in a restaurant.

HomeFood is the brainchild of two Danish management consultants called Jacob Emil Opstrup and Kristian Hald, whose vision for the app is to make quality, fresh and nutritious homemade food readily available to hungry and busy Londoners.

Currently the app, which is available on iPhone and Android, makes four meal elements available to users for a price of just £7.99, with an extra £3 for delivery. For that, you get a starter, a main, a side and a garnish or sauce. Your order must be placed by 2pm on the day to give the chefs the chance to source their ingredients. The meal is then cooked by the chef at their home and delivered in packaging supplied by HomeFood.

The healthy alternative to takeaways

We’ve all been there. After a long day at work, all you want to do is put your feet up, relax and recover. The thought of cooking is too much to bear, so there’s nothing for it. Out come the takeaway menus and before you know it, you’re sat in front of another calorific, cholesterol-heavy takeaway that, although probably delicious, is certainly not doing anything for your health.

At HomeFood, everything is made from scratch using fresh, nutritious ingredients. There’s less salt, saturated fats and sugar than typical takeaway meals, so you can eat a wholesome and delicious meal that you don’t have to cook and won’t harm your health.

Have you tried the HomeFood app? If so, what did you eat and how was it? If not, do you think it’s something you might like to try? Share your thoughts with our readers in the comments below.  

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Old is New: London's retro phone movement https://www.lovefone.co.uk/blogs/news/old-is-new-cultural-trends-with-retro-phones 2017-11-24T16:46:33Z Lovefone Here are three of the best vintage phones we’ve love to see join the Nokia 3310 and make a long-awaited comeback. What were your favourites?

Old is New: London's retro phone movement

Here are three of the best vintage phones we’ve love to see join the Nokia 3310 and make a long-awaited comeback. What were your favourites?

Old is New: London's retro phone movement

Do you ever yearn for a simpler way of life? We’re not talking about donning a club and reverting back to a hunter-gatherer existence. We’re thinking of those halcyon pre-smartphone days when your mobile phone really was just a phone. There were no apps, no social media feeds and no news pages. All you could do was chat, text, look at your calendar, do a few sums on your handy calculator and play Snake. 

Well, now might be the time to dig out your old mobile, because the word on the street is that the sturdy mobiles of yesteryear (well, the early 2000s), with their prodigious batteries and annoying ringtones, are back. 

Regression not progression

You don’t have to be a moustachioed hipster from East London to appreciate that sometimes, newer isn’t necessarily better. The world is constantly seeking to progress, but often it’s not until we have pushed things forward that we realise just how great things used to be.

The same can be said for mobile phones. A growing number of people are realising that yes, it is handy to be able to keep in contact with people on the move, but no, you don’t need an all-singing, all-dancing device that will slowly consume your soul.  

Of course, it’s also about being different. Everyone has a smartphone these days and they all look alike. Couple that with the over-connectedness of today’s society and the counter-culture reaction is to revert to the mobile phones of old.

3 of the best vintage phones

Some old Nokias, Ericssons and Motorolas are so in-demand that they’re selling for as much as £1,000 a piece. But surely that defeats the object. We think vintage mobile phones should be about functionality, not fashion. If you share our mantra then here are three of the best vintage phones we’ve love to see join the Nokia 3310 and make a long-awaited comeback...

    • 1. Ericsson T28

In our book, if it flips, it’s hip. This retro number from Ericsson can not only flip with the best of them, but it was also the first mobile to use a lithium polymer battery, which meant the battery lasted for days. Its success lay in the fact that it was the smallest and lightest phone on the market, and given the ever-increasing size of smartphones, we think those are two features that would make this bar-shaped phone equally popular today. 

    • 2. Motorola Razr V3

After the Nokia 3310, the Motorola Razr is arguably the best-loved mobile phone of all time. Released in 2004, the Razr V3 sold more than 50 million units and was the must-have super-thin flip phone with an innovative array of what were state-of-the-art features, including a 2MP camera. With Motorola being largely left behind in the battle for smartphone supremacy, perhaps they should hark back to the days of old and re-release this little beauty. If they did, we’d certainly buy one.

    • 3. LG Chocolate


The LG Chocolate was one the first phones to capitalise on the demand for colourful handsets. LG sold loads of variations of this slider cellphone-MP3 player hybrid, which, with its touch-sensitive panels, had something of the futuristic about it. In fact, in 2007, CNET called it ‘the best looking phone we have seen this year’, which is high praise indeed. However, they did only give it three and a half stars. But who cares, we’d love to see this slim profile slider phone come back, even it does ‘scratch easily’.

What are your favourite retro mobiles and would you buy them if they were on sale today? Share your favs in the comments below.

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The Best Smartwatches on the Market https://www.lovefone.co.uk/blogs/news/the-best-smartwatches-on-the-market 2017-11-19T19:26:12Z Lovefone Which of these pieces of well-made, powerful and genuinely functional wrist candy is the best? We review four of the best smartwatches available right now.

The Best Smartwatches on the Market

Which of these pieces of well-made, powerful and genuinely functional wrist candy is the best? We review four of the best smartwatches available right now.

The Best Smartwatches on the Market

If you’re a bit of a tech nerd then you’ll already know that smart devices are getting smaller. But don’t make the mistake of thinking you can ditch your smartphone just yet. Instead, see the smartwatch as more of a handy extension of your smartphone that can allow you to check notifications easily but also provides some very specific functionality.

So, if you’re a fitness fanatic or are in the market for a fashion accessory that’s chock full of the latest apps, these pieces of well-made, powerful and genuinely functional wrist candy could be perfect for you. But which is the best? Here’s our review of some of the big hitters...

Huawei Watch 2

 

If you’re looking for the best Android Wear watch then this is it. A marked improvement on the beautifully designed first generation offering, this sportier looking model has top quality hardware that includes 4G connectivity, GPS, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, which means it can be used without the connected smartphone.

Fitness buffs will also enjoy an excellent array of built-in features to track your workout regime and tell you just how good you look in those shorts. Answer: very! There are a few small issues that still need to be ironed out and the plastic removable straps don’t do it any favours, but with a price tag of around £240, we think the Huawei Watch 2 represents excellent value for money.

Apple Watch Series 3

 

It makes sense to start with a name that’s synonymous with the very best tech, but when it comes to the crunch, we don’t think the Apple Watch 3 quite delivers. Our main problem is primarily the price, which at £329 (GPS) and £399 (GPS + cellular) is a little bit steep. Although it’s beautifully designed, the battery life is too short for sleep tracking and the LTE (the equivalent of 4G) drains the battery and is expensive to use.  

But that aside, this is probably the best smartwatch on the market right now. iPhone users will love the seamless notifications and the build quality and the fitness tracking is outstanding. And of course, it looks the part, but with limited practical uses at the moment, in terms of bang for your buck, there probably are better options.

Motorola Moto 360 Sport

 

One of the biggest selling points of the smartwatch is the ability to track your workouts without having to lug your smartphone around with you. Available for under £200, the Motorola Moto is a dedicated fitness watch, which provides accurate GPS tracking. However, its heart rate monitor, like so many other smartwatches, leaves a little to be desired.

At this price point, the Motorola Moto 360 Sport is certainly a contender, but if you’re serious about monitoring your workout then our next entry is difficult to beat.

Fitbit Ionic

 

 If you’re a fully signed up member of the Lycra brigade then the Fitbit Ionic, which was released just last month, features a lot of the high-end features you’ll want to see. That includes everything from built-in GPS and a music play to the ability to track everything from running and swimming to weight training. There are also dedicated bodyweight coaching sessions included so you can fine-tune your routine.      

As well as being lightweight and comfortable, the Fitbit also includes an array of straps so you can style it out for the gym, the office or a night in with the cat. So all that’s great. The only downside is that with a price tag of around £290 and a severe lack of apps, you don’t get all that much smartwatch for your money.  

What’s your favourite smartwatch? And more importantly, what makes it so good? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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The Best Slack Chat Commands https://www.lovefone.co.uk/blogs/news/the-best-slack-chat-commands 2017-11-9T17:23:28Z Lovefone Slack, the workspace messaging platform, has a number of fantastic chat commands that can take your team chats to another level.

The Best Slack Chat Commands

Slack, the workspace messaging platform, has a number of fantastic chat commands that can take your team chats to another level.

The Best Slack Chat Commands

 

Ever heard of Slack? No? Well, then you probably don’t work in an office.

 Although the name might not sound like it, according to the strapline, Slack is ‘where work happens’. Slack is a workplace messaging platform that allows you to chat with your favourite work colleagues who sit on the other side of the room. And right now, it’s the messenger pretty much every workplace or school group seems to be using.

What makes Slack so special is the fact that it can be used across multiple devices and platforms and is equipped with a mind-boggling array of features to use when chatting one-on-one and in groups. It can also integrate with other apps and services such as Skype and video calls, and...... wait for it....... it also lets you create your very own custom emojis!

Perhaps the best bit of all though is the Slack chat shortcuts and commands you can use to turbo-charge your team chats. Here are a few of the best...

Say it with a /shrug

Where would the world be without a good old shrug? Sometimes a picture can say a thousand words. In this case, it says two: ‘Oh well’.

The boss thinks your last piece of work was terrible

/shrug

You make the worst tea in the office

/shrug

Someone’s just vandalised your car

/shrug. Wait hang on… did you say MY car?

Custom emojis

Okay, so this is not a Slack command, but it’s a feature that can be a lot of fun, sorry, we mean really help you with your work. Unless your admin has disabled it, just head to this URL and you can customise your own emoji. All you need is a name to use for the emoji’s shortcut and a 128x128 image. Why not add emojis of the faces of everyone in the team to really boost productivity?  

Go gaga for GIFs

 

If you’re the sort of person who has a GIF for every human emotion, Giphy interaction with Slack means you can just type /giphy [any words here] to dump the appropriate GIF into the channel. Play around with this for a few hours and your efficiency will know no bounds.

And to make those GIFs disappear when your boss is looking over your shoulder, just type /collapse

Subscribe to RSS feeds

If you need quick access to a particular news channel or website, just type /feed subscribe – followed by the URL, to get a Slack notification every time a new item is published.

Talk about yourself in the third person

All the coolest people talk about themselves in the third person, and now you can join them. Just type the command /me [followed by your message] to get instant admiration from your friends.

Set reminders

Fed up of asking your most forgetful colleagues to remind you of things. Now Slack has the answer. Rather than burdening your already overworked and underpaid desk mates, just use the command /remind and Slack will privately remind you to do it.

/remind me to do some work in 45 minutes.

It’s as easy as that.

 

 

Do you have some favourite Slack chat commands of your own? Please join our group conversation in the comments below.
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App of the Month – Bumble Bizz https://www.lovefone.co.uk/blogs/news/app-of-the-month-bumble-bizz 2017-10-31T12:04:46Z Lovefone Launched earlier this month, Bumble Bizz aims to eliminate the ‘grey areas’ of business networking by allowing women to set the tone.

App of the Month – Bumble Bizz

Launched earlier this month, Bumble Bizz aims to eliminate the ‘grey areas’ of business networking by allowing women to set the tone.

App of the Month – Bumble Bizz

Launched earlier this month, Bumble Bizz is an app that’s designed to support women in the world of business networking and help them make powerful connections that enhance their careers. There has been plenty of buzz surrounding Bumble Bizz in the last couple of weeks, so we thought we’d take a closer look.

Dating app turned networking tool

Bumble, the creators of Bumble Bizz, is an incredibly successful mobile dating app in a similar vein as Tinder, in that it allows users to swipe right to find potential matches. Bumble Bizz, the new networking app, uses this same mechanism to allow users to swipe right on prospective business connections.

Rather than showing dating related information, Bumble Bizz asks users to create a job-related profile and then matches them with those who work in the same professional circles, regardless of their gender.

The USP of both Bumble's dating app and Bumble Biz is that when a match is made, in male-female pairings, the woman has to make the first move. That allows them to set the tone of the potential business relationship and hopefully eliminate ‘the grey areas’ of business networking which can make women feel uncomfortable.

‘Sounds like LinkedIn..?’

While Bumble Bizz might sound like the meeting ground between Tinder and LinkedIn, the creators are very keen to stress that it’s a much less stuffy alternative – a LinkedIn for Millennials - if you will. Bumble Bizz is also only designed for networking and mentoring, not job searching or recruiting. So, if you’re looking for a job then this may not be the best option for you.   

To create their Bumble Bizz profiles, users can add digital CVs, a skills section, examples of their work and verified photos. The simplicity of the app makes it very easy and actually very enjoyable to use. The only risk is that this playful approach could lead to the lines between ‘business’ and ‘pleasure’ becoming blurred. 

Putting their money where their mouth is

As a sign of their confidence in the new app, Bumble’s own HR team has said it will hire 10 people it discovers through Bumble Bizz. So, if you fancy working for an app that recently turned down a $450 million dollar buyout from the Match Group, then you better get swiping and hope your profile shows up on the team’s radar.   

If you like the sounds of Bumble Bizz, this career networking space exists within the Bumble app, so you’ll have to download that too. It’s available on iOS and Android devices right now.

Have you used Bumble Bizz for networking? Is it any good? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.  

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Comparing Flight Comparison Apps https://www.lovefone.co.uk/blogs/news/comparing-flight-comparison-apps 2017-10-31T10:20:12Z Lovefone We take a look at the best flight comparison apps on Android and iOS devices so you can fly away for less. Skyscanner, Kayak and more...

Comparing Flight Comparison Apps

We take a look at the best flight comparison apps on Android and iOS devices so you can fly away for less. Skyscanner, Kayak and more...

Comparing Flight Comparison Apps

After the recent Ryanair debacle which disrupted the travel plans of some 700,000 passengers, low-cost flights might not be everyone’s favourite topic of conversation. However, the good news is that in the UK, there’s an unprecedented level of competition between the airlines, so there are plenty of companies you can book with. It also means many flights are now cheaper than they have ever been before.

But with so many airlines out there, how do you find the perfect flight for you? That’s where these handy flight comparison apps can help...

Skyscanner

Let’s start with what we think is probably the best flight comparison app there is. Along with its speed and usability, the features that really set this apart are:

  • The price chart - which shows you the cheapest day to travel within a given time period.
  • The explore option – which means you can search for cheap flights without knowing where you want to go. You can then decide your location based on the results.

The app free to download on Android and iOS devices and can also help you find affordable car hire and accommodation deals, making it a handy travel companion indeed. The only drawback is that not all airlines show up on its searches, including Ryanair in Europe, which does have some of the cheapest flights.     

Kayak

Kayak is a beautifully designed app with simplicity at its core. In fact, it’s arguably the easiest of all the flight comparison apps to use, meaning you can search, filter and sort results quickly and book a flight in no more than five minutes. It’s also free on iOS and Android.

Some of the app’s most notable features include price alerts when there are any changes, airport gate information, and a flight tracker. However, in recent times, Kayak may have ever so slightly lost its way. The interface has been redesigned and if anything it’s now less intuitive than it was before. You’d also be wise to untick the ‘Compare with eDreams and Expedia’ boxes to avoid a barrage of pop-ups. 

Momondo

Available on Android and iOS, this app has a colourful, friendly design and manages to pack plenty of information into a relatively small space.

If it’s multi-city flights you’re looking for then Momondo could be the best app for you. In tests, Momondo excels when it comes to multi-city bookings, outperforming its rivals when finding the best prices for complex, short trips. If you have the flexibility to shift the dates you travel by a day or two, the bar charts at the top of the screen also give you a quick glimpse of the estimated flight price. 

Kiwi

Kiwi, the brainchild of a Czech start-up, is the new app on the block in this space and offers unbeatable usability and a powerful search engine. What makes Kiwi unique is the fact that it looks at every possible option, even if that means flying with separate airlines or even into different airports. While that may not always be the most convenient option, it will find you the best possible price. It’s available on Android and iOS.  

Have any flight comparison apps you swear by? Please share your favourites in the comments below. 

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Why your Old Phone is Worth Saving https://www.lovefone.co.uk/blogs/news/why-your-old-phone-is-worth-saving 2017-10-23T12:09:47Z Lovefone There are a number of creative ways you can put your old phone to good use, any of which are better than adding to the mountains of e-waste already in the world!

Why your Old Phone is Worth Saving

There are a number of creative ways you can put your old phone to good use, any of which are better than adding to the mountains of e-waste already in the world!

Why your Old Phone is Worth Saving

If you’ve just bought a brand spanking new phone then while your old phone might be surplus to requirements, that doesn’t mean it can’t do more than just collect dust in our drawer. Yes, an oldie can be a goodie. And in fact, there are a number of surprisingly creative ways you can put your old phone to use, any of which is much better than adding to the mountains of e-waste already in the world.

So, what should you do with your old phone? Here are a few ideas you can have for free...

Turn it into a baby monitor

If you have a young child then, believe it or not, your old smartphone can make a fantastic baby monitor and work just as well as a standalone product. All you need to do is download an app like Dormi, which includes all the standard baby monitor features but without the price tag. That includes two-way audio so you can talk to the baby and video monitoring so you can see exactly what’s going on.  

Use it as an MP3 player

Many people like to listen to music while they exercise, whether they’re out jogging, cycling or in the gym. With phones often being dropped or falling out of pockets, this increases the risk of damage to your sparkling new phone. The solution is to fill your old phone’s memory with music and use it as your dedicated exercise MP3. You can then leave you new phone safely tucked up at home.

Keep it as a backup phone

Any phone that has all the contact details of your nearest and dearest and gives you access to your emails and social media profiles can’t be useless, can it? Phones get lost, stolen and dropped down toilets every day, but if you have a phone at home you can use in emergencies that will make your life a lot easier. Presuming your new phone is merely broken, you may also be able to pop the SIM card into your old phone to restore your voice and data. 

Give it to your child

If you want your son or daughter to have a simple phone they can use to keep in contact with you, your old smartphone is the perfect tool for the job. Just set it up with the apps and functionality they need and put the necessary locks in place to limit their access.

Leave it by your bed

An old smartphone left by your bed can serve any number of useful purposes. It can become your dedicated alarm clock, a clock radio, an e-reader or even an audio player to provide some soothing music to send you off to sleep.

Donate it

You can take your old smartphone to a charity like Oxfam which will turn every phone you donate into cash to buy vital kit such as water tanks, wells, tools, seeds and school books. Now that has to be better than leaving it in your drawer!

Use it as a TV remote

Losing the TV remote is one of the scourges of modern life, but by turning your old smartphone into a spare television remote, you can make this inconvenience a thing of the past. Rather than turning your sofa upside down, setups such as Amazon Fire, Apple TV and a number of connected TVs allow you to use Wi-Fi remotes. Just connect to the shared wireless network and away you go.   

Any ingenious uses for old phones that we haven’t covered?  Please share your suggestions in the comments section below.

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Yoga Apps to Help you Practice https://www.lovefone.co.uk/blogs/news/yoga-apps-to-help-you-practice 2017-10-23T09:13:42Z Lovefone We've rounded-up of some of the best yoga apps for Android and iOS devices to help you with every aspect of your yoga practice, wherever you are.

Yoga Apps to Help you Practice

We've rounded-up of some of the best yoga apps for Android and iOS devices to help you with every aspect of your yoga practice, wherever you are.

Yoga Apps to Help you Practice

You might think mobile phones and yoga is not exactly a match made in heaven. After all, yoga is associated with relaxation and getting some respite from your everyday worries, while mobile phones, with the constant notifications, WhatsApp messages and social media updates, make you constantly confront them.

However, there are a number of mobile apps out there that can keep you in touch with your yoga instructor wherever you go, and that can’t be a bad thing. This is our round-up of some of the best yoga apps for Android and iOS devices to help you with every aspect of your yoga practice, wherever you are.

Daily Yoga

Daily Yoga is the perfect app for yogis on the go. Available on iOS and Android devices, it's an excellent all-round app for those from beginner practitioners all the through to advanced. The app, with over 300 poses and 40 built-in sessions, offers a wide range of HD video sequences to help you perfect your moves as well as vocal instruction and specialised programmes you can tailor to meet your needs.

iYoga Premium

For more advanced Yoga practitioners, iYoga Premium, available on iOS devices, gives users an incredibly detailed level of insight into the muscle groups they use while doing each pose. It also has a library of poses with built-in sequences and a sequence builder so you can create your own. If you’re interested in anatomy and want to engage particular muscle groups during your yoga sessions, this is the app for you. 

 

Kids Yogaverse: I Am Sun, I Am Moon

For kids who are developing an early interest in Yoga, the Kids Yogaverse series of apps for iOS devices is an excellent way to get them started. This colourful app features carefully crafted stories that feature 19 different yoga poses against hand-painted backdrops to keep children engaged and entertained. There are also some games that kids can play while practising their poses to keep the whole thing light-hearted and fun.    

Relax Melodies

If you have trouble shutting off, whether it’s during your yoga session or when you’re trying to sleep, then try Relaxing Melodies for iOS and Android. Featuring 50 ambient sounds and four brainwave beats, you can discover the power of sound for sleep and relaxation and even create your own soundscapes. 

Breathing properly is central to your ability to relax and focus. Learning breathing techniques that fill your blood with oxygen is not only an important part of yoga, but it can also make you feel calmer and more centred in your day-to-day life. This app, available on Android and iOS, teaches you the art of ‘mindful breathing’ so you can reap the rewards of this ancient practice, wherever you are. 

 Do these app work wonders for you? Perhaps we missed one of your favourites? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

 

 

 

 

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App of the month: Auxy https://www.lovefone.co.uk/blogs/news/app-of-the-month-auxy 2017-10-3T14:56:33Z Lovefone While no single app is going to be everyone’s cup of tea, if you fancy yourself as a music producer/creator then Auxy takes the biscuit.

App of the month: Auxy

While no single app is going to be everyone’s cup of tea, if you fancy yourself as a music producer/creator then Auxy takes the biscuit.

App of the month: Auxy

Auxy is a music-making app that was originally released on the iPad but has recently been made available for the iPhone as well. Redesigned to be just as usable on the iPhone’s smaller screen, Auxy was introduced at the App Store a couple of years ago and has been receiving rave reviews ever since. The most recent update was made just last week to add new functionality and keep the app looking fresh.

Here’s a little look at Auxy in practice... 

 

Why do we like it?

The Auxy app is one of the more expensive apps, costing £4.99, but we think it’s worth every penny - all 499 of them! At its heart, Auxy is a typical loop-based song-builder, which allows you to lay out rhythm patterns and melody samples on a gird using the touch screen controls. If you’ve used any loop-based music creator then you’ll quickly be able to find your feet.

But what really makes Auxy different from any number of other digital music-making apps out is its simple, smart design that makes composing music digitally a pleasure rather than a chore. While many apps of this ilk feature an overly complicated sequencer design, Auxy keeps things simple, removing the distractions and letting you flex your beat-making skills without being constantly bombarded by distractions you don’t necessarily need. The result is a stripped back app with a design that’s true to its Swedish roots and a number of awards, including Apple’s Design Award in 2016.  

What’s new?

Although many of the same minimalist design elements are used on the iPhone app, there are a few key differences when compared to the original iPad version. The sound engine has been completely reworked to produce higher quality samples, while 3D Touch has also been added to give you an excellent level of control.

And if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Auxy for the iPhone has kept many of the features of the iPad, such as the ability to apply effects, save loops and record performances to share with your bandmates or other apps. These are the features that made Auxy such a hit in the first place - now the only difference is that it fits in your pocket!

Do you have any apps you think we should feature as our app of the month? Please share your favourites or your views on Auxy in the comments section below.    

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What we Miss about Old Phones https://www.lovefone.co.uk/blogs/news/what-we-miss-about-old-phones 2017-09-27T12:51:03Z Lovefone The iPhone’s release last week received a surprisingly muted response. Could it be that we miss the iPhones of old? These are some of the things we miss.

What we Miss about Old Phones

The iPhone’s release last week received a surprisingly muted response. Could it be that we miss the iPhones of old? These are some of the things we miss.

What we Miss about Old Phones

The new iPhone 8 was released last week to what, by Apple’s standards, was surprisingly little fanfare. Rather than endless queues outside Apple’s Flagship Regent Street store in London, there was what can best be described as a small smattering of diehard fans. In fact, so muted was the response, that tech journalists and industry commentators are starting to wonder whether the hysteria that once surrounded the release of new phones is starting to quell.

Could it be that people are growing tired of paying a premium for the latest version of their handheld device? With price tags of nearly £1,000 become a standard, they’re certainly not getting any cheaper. And with the refurbished phones industry booming, perhaps consumers are starting to look back wistfully at the phones of old? But what is it they miss?

The old ringtones

These days, the choices are limited depending on the smartphone you use. This is a deliberate part of phone manufacturer's marketing strategy who aim to make their device instantly recognisable, even when you're not looking at it (very clever!). But there was a time when you could inject a bit of personality into your ringtone and pick a song you liked from the charts or a funny sound effect.     

We Miss the Originality

Didn’t it seem like there were more options before? Sony Eriksson, Blackberry, Nokia, Razor, LG, and many more. Now, everyone and their dog has an iPhone or a Samsung, and with that level of ubiquity often comes the dreaded brand fatigue. We’ll have to wait until November when the iPhone X hits the shelves in a few weeks to see whether Brits have really lost their appetite for Apple (pun intended).

The Old Games

There are plenty of mobile games that have had their day, but nothing will ever reach the heights of Snake 2. Yes, you might be able to download the latest version of Grand Theft Auto or Minecraft on your smartphone these days, but who really cares? When it comes down to it, all we really want is the simplicity of four buttons, lots of apples (well, they looked like apples!), mice and other tasty bites and one hungry snake. If you want to play snake on your smartphone, then you'll have to Google it!    

We knew where we stood with the Tech

You never forget the excitement of the day you bought your first smartphone, but if we fast forward to today, nothing really hits that same mark. iPhone and Samsung used to redefine what could be done, but at times, it can feel like the features of the newest phones are only slightly upgraded from the last. Are we tired of investing our hard earned money in a device that has a slightly bigger screen? It feels like they're holding something back from us. 

Pure Nostalgia

As adults, we're all guilty of indulging in the things we loved when we were kids. That’s why we see nightclubs cropping up around London with ball pits and bouncy castles, and why retro video games are still selling like hotcakes on eBay. Perhaps there’s something about our first phone which reminds us of a simpler time. That coupled with the retro features and more basic functions meant we knew exactly where we stood with it.  

What do you miss about the old iPhones? Or perhaps you’re very happy with the current crop? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

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What your Smartphone says about you https://www.lovefone.co.uk/blogs/news/what-your-smartphone-says-about-you 2017-09-20T16:56:48Z Lovefone You might not be able to judge a book by its cover, but can you judge a human by their choice of mobile phone? This is what your phone says about you.

What your Smartphone says about you

You might not be able to judge a book by its cover, but can you judge a human by their choice of mobile phone? This is what your phone says about you.

What your Smartphone says about you

You might not be able to judge a book by its cover, but can you judge a human by their choice of mobile phone? While there are certainly no absolutes, a recent study (yes, someone actually commissioned a study into this) found there are certain links between personality and the type of smartphones people have. And in fact, the connection is so strong that psychologists say smartphones have become an extension of ourselves.

So what does your smartphone say about you?

iPhone vs. Android users

A study of 500 smartphone users found distinct differences between the typical iPhone and Android user. A comparison of the two found that...

iPhone users are usually:

  • Younger
  • Extroverted
  • More than twice as likely to be female
  • More likely to see their phone as a status object
  • Less concerned about owning devices favoured by the masses

While Android users are typically:

  • Male
  • Older
  • More honest
  • More agreeable
  • Less likely to break the rules for personal gain
  • Less interested in wealth and status

What do the four leading types of smartphone say about you?

One of the most important steps when picking a smartphone is being honest with yourself about what you value most in a phone. This is what your choice of the four major phone types says about you...

  • Android

Android phones tend to be the most advanced technically, but they are also quite raw, with privacy and security settings that aren’t up there with other operating systems. For that reason, Android phones are likely to be the preserve of technology geeks who like to tinker, but who also love to bag a bargain thanks to their typically low price.

  • Blackberry

Once all the rage, now Blackberry users are a dying breed. Lacking depth in its applications, Blackberry phones are being overlooked by many consumers who want more choice. But there is a group of users who are still reaching for their Blackberry. They tend to be those who have a phone for business and not play. They are work focused, like to make money and typically have a second smartphone for non-professional use.

  • iPhone

The iPhone user is more status orientated than any other smartphone user. They want to feel like they belong and also want to play, and with more applications than any other phone, this is the perfect device for the job. They also value quality, or the perception of quality, and are more than willing to pay through the nose to get it.

  • Windows Phone

Known for its speed and its ability to integrate with all things Windows, the typical Windows Phone user is one who values speed and efficiency above all else and wants to take simple steps to get things done. Although they don’t strive to be different, they make choices based on their own preferences and don’t care about the crowd. This can be seen in the clothes they wear and the car they drive, with quality and a clean design favoured above all else. 

What about apps?

While our phones might reveal insight into our personalities and the way we like to be perceived, just imagine if research was done into the personality traits associated with the apps people download? Many of us don’t want other people to use our phones because it can reveal so much. But that’s a topic for another day.

What does your phone say about you? Please share your thoughts with our readers in the comments section below.

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iPhone 8 has been RELEASED: But do the rumours match reality? https://www.lovefone.co.uk/blogs/news/iphone-8-has-been-released-but-do-the-rumours-match-reality 2017-09-12T17:58:23Z Lovefone The iPhone 8 will be released today and there are sure to be some surprises in store. Here are more iPhone 8 rumours and details of how to watch the launch.

iPhone 8 has been RELEASED: But do the rumours match reality?

The iPhone 8 will be released today and there are sure to be some surprises in store. Here are more iPhone 8 rumours and details of how to watch the launch.

iPhone 8 has been RELEASED: But do the rumours match reality?

Have you been witness to hushed whispers around the water cooler at work? Well don’t worry, they’re not talking about your choice of shoes given the important company meeting scheduled for later in the day. What you’re witnessing is the rumour mill in action, and that’s because the iPhone 8 has been unveiled this week!

Be warned though, despite the phone being released today (12/9/17) don’t expect to see the iPhone 8 to appear in the shops immediately. There have been reports of limited availability which means most customers probably won’t get their hands on the new iPhone until the final quarter of 2017. 

So What's New?

The latest version of the best-selling smartphone is expected to be a radical change for the company, which will seek to wow its fans with this special 10th-anniversary device. At the moment, we think the iPhone 8 is going to be called the iPhone X and could cost somewhere in the region of £1,000 – yes, you read that right.   

Where can you see the Release?

As well as the iPhone X, it’s looking increasingly likely that the iPhone 8 Plus will also make an appearance at the grand unveiling this evening. That’s pretty confusing given that the iPhone 8 is supposed to be the name of this year’s new device, so you’ll have to wait and see what all these different product names mean.

Those who have long awaited the arrival of the iPhone X should set their alarms for 6pm this evening (that’s Tuesday 12 September) to watch the official release. Where can you watch it? On Apple’s official website of course.   

Why are there so many different product names?

Good question. That’s because we’re still dealing with rumours that there has been very little information from Apple to confirm or deny. What we’re expecting to see today is for Apple to break with tradition and release two phones all on the same day: the iPhone X, iPhone 8 Plus.

If we look at Apple’s track record then we can get an idea what these new phones will be. The company usually releases a completely new design one year, following up with slight upgrades the year after. So, following that logic, the iPhone 8 Plus will feature relatively minor upgrades on the iPhone 7. That leaves the iPhone X, which will be the all-singing, all-dancing new phone we’ve all been getting so excited about.  

iPhone X features

In terms of its features, the iPhone X will boast facial recognition, an edge-to-edge 18:9 display, wireless charging and, for the first time ever – no home button. Leaked information also suggests a rear fingerprint scanner and biometric security, like on the Samsung Galaxy 8, will also make an appearance too.

In terms of the colour of the handsets, the latest leaks suggest the iPhone X will come in at least three colours, but possibly more. The experts think black, white and copper or gold are all likely, but we’ll have to wait for the launch this evening for official confirmation.

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App of the Month: Canva https://www.lovefone.co.uk/blogs/news/app-of-the-month-canva 2017-08-24T13:10:28Z Lovefone Want to create infographics with a simple swipe of the finger? Dump your graphic designer and download Canva.

App of the Month: Canva

Want to create infographics with a simple swipe of the finger? Dump your graphic designer and download Canva.

App of the Month: Canva

Want to create infographics with a simple swipe of the finger? It may be time to dump your graphic designer and download Canva!

Introducing: Canva

Our latest app of the month is all about creativity and empowering those of us who weren't born with the artistic superpowers required to produce fantastic-looking graphics.

Launched in 2012, this impressive app was originally a yearbook building tool called “Fusion Books”, developed by graphic design teacher Melanie Perkins and co-founder Cliff Obrecht. Realising the greater potential of the application, the pair partnered with tech entrepreneur Cameron Adams – and Canva was born!

Clever & creative

Today the application, which allows anyone to be their own graphic designer, is available on PC, iPad and iPhone, giving users the power to create amazing designs on the screen of their choice – even on the move!

Described by The Webby's as “the easiest to use design program in the world”, Canva uses smart-yet-intuitive drag and drop options combined with a seemingly endless array of fonts, images, colour schemes and more to help anyone create amazing graphics, perfect for their purposes.

Design anything

If you want to give your marketing materials, party invitations or event posters a more professional look – this is the app for you. With completely customisable templates for everything from brochures and gift certificates, to posters, banners, business cards, album covers and magazine covers, you can make just about anything with this ridiculously helpful (and fun!) app.

There are a few paid options within Canva which allow you to get a little more from the application. Turning your designs into “real world” printed items, from t-shirts to calendars is a convenient click away, for example.

Make data visual

We especially love the graphs and charts this smart design tool allows users to create. Fantastic for turning figures and ideas into visual content, Canva is a smart option for businesses looking to develop infographics, mood boards or other visual content without splashing out on a graphic designer.

Want to fix your iPhone before you download your next app? We can help you with that. We can even source you a good-as-new refurbished iPhone to use Canva on – at a fraction of the “out of the box” price.

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Best Apps for your Mental Health https://www.lovefone.co.uk/blogs/news/best-apps-for-your-mental-health 2017-08-21T16:42:30Z Lovefone There are a growing number of mental health apps out there that are designed to give users a boost. These are some of the best!

Best Apps for your Mental Health

There are a growing number of mental health apps out there that are designed to give users a boost. These are some of the best!

Best Apps for your Mental Health

A number of studies have shown that the overuse of mobile phones can have a negative impact on our eyesight, hearing and mental health. Most recently, American researchers found a link between excessive mobile phone use and an increase in depression and anxiety in users. What is less clear is whether mobile phone use simply exacerbates symptoms that are already there, or can actually cause these conditions.

 

Despite the potential negative impact of mobile phone use, there has also been research which shows that in stressful situations, mobile phones can act as a comfort blanket and make people resistant or less sensitive to stress.

So clearly, there are both negative and positive mental health connotations of mobile phone use. But there are also a growing number of mental health apps out there that are designed to give users a boost. These are some of the best…

 

Calm

Calm is an iPhone app that‘s designed to “bring more clarity, joy and peace to your daily life”. Sleep plays an extremely important part in mental health and Calm aims to improve that with guided meditations, breathing programs and Sleep Stories. There are also studies that show mobile phone use before bed is not necessarily conducive to good sleep, so you’d have to see how this one works for you.

Headspace

Once considered the preserve of hippies with joss sticks, now meditation is becoming a hugely popular way for people from all walks of life to focus their minds and relax. Headspace is an excellent app for those looking to take their first steps in meditation, offering hundreds of themed sessions on everything from stress relief to improving sleep. There are also bite-sized meditations for those with busy schedules.    

Breathe2Relax

The Breathe2Relax app, available on iPhone and Android, is a simple app that harnesses the power of breathing to help relieve stress. Breathing techniques are incredibly powerful in helping those suffering from anxiety and PTSD calm down and focus. It can also help with anger control, mood stabilisation and anxiety management. 

What’s Up

What’s Up is an app available on iPhone and Android that’s relatively simple in terms of its functionality, but which can provide the essential assistance you need. It offers advice on how to deal with common negative thinking patterns through the use of cognitive behaviour models and acceptance commitment therapy. There’s also a positive and negative habit tracker as well as forums you can use anonymously if you need a reality check from a third-party. 

Worry Watch and Worry Box

Worry Watch for iPhone and Worry Box for Android are apps that prompt users to create a ‘worry diary’ by recording the sources of their stress and including details about each worry. When the task is resolved, users can decide whether the situation turned out better or worse than expected. The apps also use cognitive behavioural techniques and offer coping strategies to help deal with stressful situations and perhaps see them in a different light.

What are your favourites?

Have you got any go-to apps that help you cope with stressful situations or anxious moments? We’d love to hear your suggestions in the comments section below.

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The Most Pointless Apps in the World https://www.lovefone.co.uk/blogs/news/the-most-pointless-apps-in-the-world 2017-08-16T12:48:48Z Lovefone We take a look at some of the world’s most pointless apps, and the good news is, there really are some shockers for both iPhone and Android phones.

The Most Pointless Apps in the World

We take a look at some of the world’s most pointless apps, and the good news is, there really are some shockers for both iPhone and Android phones.

The Most Pointless Apps in the World

We live in an age where people with very little talent want to get rich quick. To do that, many will sell the dignity they never had in the first place to try and become famous. This is often done through the medium of reality TV.

Slightly above this level of ‘fame at all costs’, there are those who think that all you need to do to bag the mega bucks is to invent an app. So, their brains slowly crank into gear and eventually, they convince themselves they’ve just thought of the ‘next big thing’. Except, they haven’t.

In this article, we’re going to take a look at some of the world’s most pointless apps, and the good news is, there really are some shockers.

I’m Rich

You’re not rich, you’re stupid.

This is the news that apparently 8 people bought an app for $999.99 that was simply a screen saver. It wasn’t even a nice image. While some people may be rich in monetary terms, the sort of people who would buy this app are the ‘Rich Kids of Instagram’ brood. Giving that money to charity never crossed their minds it seems.   

Celebrity Height Check

Do you ever find yourself really needing to know how tall Sandra Bullock is, or Andi Peters? Then this app for iPhone is the answer to your prayers. For reference’s sake, it’s 5ft 6in and 6ft respectively, which is actually quite interesting because we never thought Andi Peters was quite so tall. Perhaps this is one app we’ve written off too quickly.   

Hold On

Just when you thought it couldn’t get more inane, we have Hold On, an Android app designed for no reason whatsoever. Play Hold On and a button will appear on your screen that you must press and hold for as long as you can. There’s no prize. There’s no point. There’s nothing. Eventually, even when you’re doing really well, a pop-up ad will come along and break your incredible feat of pointlessness anyway.

Human to Animal translators

Let’s make this clear straight away: absolutely no science has gone into the making of this app. You’re not going to be able to hold an hour-long conversation about the books of Dostoyevsky with your cat. However, you will be able to press a button and make an animal noise, which, just to be clear, is in no way a translation tool. Meow!

Harmonica

Okay, hands up, this one is brilliant. Harmonica is an iPhone app that purports to let your play your iPhone like a harmonica. Just imagine your friends’ faces when you start busting out a Springsteen-esque Harmonica solo in the pub. You’re going to be a legend forever!

Unfortunately, the sound produced by a harmonica is the result of a thin strip of brass that vibrates when you breathe into it. These are parts your iPhone does not have. We’ll leave it at that.   

Do you have any useless app suggestions of you own? Please share the most awful with our readers in the comments section below.

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5 Reasons why you should buy a refurbished phone https://www.lovefone.co.uk/blogs/news/5-reasons-why-you-should-buy-a-refurbished-phone 2017-08-9T12:14:21Z Lovefone More affordable, more sustainable and just plain smart, here's why buying a refurbished phone is a savvy choice.

5 Reasons why you should buy a refurbished phone

More affordable, more sustainable and just plain smart, here's why buying a refurbished phone is a savvy choice.

5 Reasons why you should buy a refurbished phone

More affordable, more sustainable and just plain smart, buying a refurbished phone is a savvy choice for anyone who doesn't feel the need to have the latest piece of costly technology in their palm.

The idea of a refurbished phone may have you picturing duct taped cases, scuffed screens and 300 awkward selfies taken by an unknown previous owner - but this is far from the truth...

In reality, refurbished phones are often every bit as good as fresh-out-the-box handsets. You may spot the occasional imperfection and your refurbished handset may not come with all the original accessories, but if you choose a good provider, you'll end up with much more mobile for your money.

Still not convinced? Here are five very good reasons to buy a refurbished phone...

You'll get more for your money

We all know how expensive the latest “must have” smartphones are. A year or so later, they've dropped significantly in price. Refurbished models of recent handsets are far cheaper. This may mean that they've been returned by the original buyer because of a fault or simply sold on to a refurbishment company. In all cases, if you buy from a reputable seller, you'll receive a fully functioning smartphone – often with a warranty.

Whether you choose a solid but slightly outdated refurbished phone (fantastic for quality at a low price) or a more of-the-minute mobile, refurbished options will ensure you get more for your money.

It's better for the planet

From poor working conditions for miners, to the damage collecting smartphone materials does to the environment, our prized gadgets are not Green or environmentally friendly. Buying a refurbished phone is a good way to lessen your negative impact on our planet by preventing at least one perfectly functional phone from winding up in landfill as harmful, wasteful e-waste

You'll feel pretty smug

If you're able to find a quality seller of refurbished phones, who completed thorough checks and repairs before selling the handset, you'll be laughing. Particularly the next time your mate whips out their swanky new smartphone and tells you how much it cost.

You can uncover old favourites

The Nokia 3310 may have had a recent upgrade and re-release, but if you're nostalgic for the real deal, choosing a refurbished phone will give you access to some of the best and best-loved handsets from smartphone history, whether you choose to downsize to reduce the amount of time you pour into your smartphone, or have a favourite model from more recent years.

 And you'll worry less about losing or damaging your phone

This is a broken iPhone 7. Not a cheap fix! There are some real bargains to be found when you start searching for refurbished phones which is a real winner for the accident prone. We all have that one friend who has dropped their phone in the toilet at least three times in the last year. Maybe you're that person. Either way, a low cost refurbished handset means there's no need to worry about telephone disasters.

Choose a refurbished phone to spend less on the phone of your choice. From bang up-to-date models, to older, trustier handsets. Our Foneshop offers refurbished models which have been subject to a 30 point “health check” and come with a two year warranty.

Browse our refurbished range here

 

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Can you get a Date with Siri or Cortana? https://www.lovefone.co.uk/blogs/news/land-a-date-with-siri-or-cortana 2017-07-28T16:41:26Z Lovefone We love asking our virtual assistants crazy questions to provoke funny responses. But we thought we'd take this a step further and see if Lovefone could get a date with Siri or Cortana.

Can you get a Date with Siri or Cortana?

We love asking our virtual assistants crazy questions to provoke funny responses. But we thought we'd take this a step further and see if Lovefone could get a date with Siri or Cortana.

Can you get a Date with Siri or Cortana?

Although we may marvel at the forward-thinking usability of Siri and Cortana, most of our energy goes into testing their capacity for answering our crazy or inane questions. For example, ‘Siri, what is the meaning of life?’ or, ‘Cortana, how much wood could a woodchuck chuck..?’. This got us thinking, can we manage to sweet talk a virtual assistant into going on a date with us? Siri and Cortana may represent the future of technology, but can you see yourself having a future with a virtual assistant? Here’s how far we got…

Always open with a compliment:

Question - I like what you’re wearing Siri
Siri - Aluminosilicate glass and stainless steel, nice, huh?



Okay, that went well. Try another:

Question - You are really quite beautiful
Siri - I’m just well put together (very funny, Apple)

Alright Casanova, it’s going great, let’s step this up a notch:

Question - Can I kiss you, Siri?
Siri - Ok… How about a web search for inappropriate behaviour?

Too far. Quick, save it with a bit of charm:

Question - I missed you
Answer - I missed you. Like the deserts miss the rain


Well saved, just don’t call Siri by the wrong name, you’ll be in the doghouse:

Question - Cortana, get me today’s movie times
Siri - Who’s Cortana?
Question - Sorry Siri, please get me the movie times
Siri - Maybe you should ask Cortana to get you the movie times


I think we blew it… call that one a user error. Maybe we’ll have some better luck with Microsoft’s Cortana, considering the name is clearly on our minds

Start with a bit of humour to break the ice:

Question - I heard you’re funny, Cortana, please tell me a joke?
Cortana - Don’t trust the atoms cos they make up everything


We followed this up with a game of Rock Paper Scissors. We lost out of politeness (not).

Okay, so she loves a game, can tell jokes, and will even sing to us if we asked. Cortana’s ticking a lot of Lovefone’s boxes. So we told her how we felt:

Question - Erm, Cortana, I love you
Cortana - Awesome, now I never have to say I’m sorry!

Not exactly the response we wanted, but maybe this could work long term:

Question - Will you marry me?
Cortana - I honestly don’t think that’s on the cards for us.


Cold. Very cold. It’s all got a bit tense for a moment – need to save this dialog with some humour.

Question - Please tell me another joke
Cortana - Knock Knock, whos there, Olive. Olive who, Olive you!

                       Cortana loves us?? We’re back in…                  

Question - So will you be my valentine?
Cortana - Only if you’ll be mine
Question - Yes! So will you go on a date with me?
Cortana - OK, we’ll need a plan, you work on being more digital, and I’ll working on being more human!

 

It’s a date!

Considering they’re not designed for entertaining your inner weirdo, Siri and Cortana are pretty good at deflecting your crazy questions – including various and persistent attempts to seduce them. As it turns out, you can even get a date with Cortana, but as she bluntly sets out, it’s probably not going to be a long term thing. 

 

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What to do with your Old Phone https://www.lovefone.co.uk/blogs/news/what-to-do-with-your-old-phone 2017-07-31T11:57:41Z Lovefone If you've come to the end of the line with your old smartphone, these tips will help you avoid letting it clutter up your cupboards & drawers.

What to do with your Old Phone

If you've come to the end of the line with your old smartphone, these tips will help you avoid letting it clutter up your cupboards & drawers.

What to do with your Old Phone

If you've come to the end of the line with your old smartphone, the temptation can be to shove it in an “odds and ends” drawer somewhere and forget about it until it's time for a thorough decluttering. But there are much better things to do with old iPhones, knackered Motorolas & battered Blackberries.

Whether you want to squeeze more life out of your old phone or would prefer to recycle it, these helpful tips will ensure it doesn't needlessly clutter up your desk drawer for the next 18 months.

1. Re-purpose it

There are lots of clever ways you can re-purpose an old iPhone or Android phone these days which you may never have considered before. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Turn it into your “sous chef” by installing voice recognition tools like Android's Google Now Launcher, then using the “OK Google” function to access recipes, measurement conversions and even ask your mum for tips without getting your sticky fingers all over your tech.
  • Turn it into a home media controller by using a Chromecast streaming stick, a Plex subscription (you can use your old phone as a “remote”) or by directly connecting it to TVs or audio devices
  • Use it as a security camera or baby monitor by installing apps like IP webcam which allow you to stream content from phones, ideal for keeping an eye on your little ones & pets

2. Refurbish it

Whether you're upgrading just because you fancy a newer model or because your old iPhone or Android phone has seen better days, phone refurbishment is easier and more affordable than you might think. Refurbishing old phones could make them fit for purpose as mobiles for your youngsters, or return them to a state in which you can sell them – or keep them as a solid emergency backup phone.

3. Recycle it

If you don't plan to reuse your old phone by re-purposing or refurbishing it, it's important to recycle it instead of simply throwing it away. That's because there are a lot of very valuable materials which go into the components of your phone; components which often have a significant environmental and human cost to produce.

Recycling these materials is much more responsible than simply chucking your old phone away. You can find out more about why this matters in
our recent blog about e-waste. (For instance, did you know global e-waste is expected to hit a whopping 65.4 million tonnes this year?).

 There are a number of ways you can recycle your phone. You may choose to:

  • Donate it to a charity which can either sell it on if it is working (or has been refurbished) or pass them on to mobile phone recycling companies and make a small profit. Pretty much all charities will accept smartphones, but make sure before you drop off your bag full of unwanted items.
  • Sell functioning phones to companies like GeekSquad, CashConverters or CeX to make some money from your old smartphone on the high street. You could also see your old iPhone or Android on Gumtree or eBay.
  • Sell it to a recycling company like Envirophone or Mazuma Mobile. Online tools like Mobilevaluer.com will help you find out where you will get the best price for your old handset.
  • Simply recycle it. If you don't want to make a profit out of your old phone, but do want to dispose of it responsibly, there are plenty of recycling points where you can do just that. Specific bins for disposing of electrical items can be found through the handy Recycle Now website.

Choose phone refurbishment to get even more life out of your old mobile. Why not turn it into an in-car music player or give it to a friend in need of an upgrade? Let us fix your old phone efficiently and affordably today.

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App of the Month: Read Across the Aisle https://www.lovefone.co.uk/blogs/news/app-of-the-month-read-across-the-aisle 2017-07-31T13:19:14Z Lovefone In a world of fake news and the “Facebook echo chamber” effect, it's easy to only get one side of the story. Our app of the month changes that.

App of the Month: Read Across the Aisle

In a world of fake news and the “Facebook echo chamber” effect, it's easy to only get one side of the story. Our app of the month changes that.

App of the Month: Read Across the Aisle

 In a world of fake news and the “Facebook echo chamber” effect, it's easy to only get one side of the story. It's also alarming easy to have your own biases confirmed by content channels which spoon-feed you content targeted towards your demographic.

Ultimately, in today's unbalanced, uncertain and uncorroborated world, digging down to the truth of the matter is no easy business. And that's where our app of the month comes in.

Introducing: Read Across the Aisle

They say that before you judge another person, you should walk a mile in their shoes. Well, that's partially what this smart and timely app attempts to help you do.

Read Across the Aisle works to tackle reader bias when it comes to the news, exposing your own political orientation through the material and sources you read, while flagging up the bias of any source you encounter. If you've been reading “one side of the story” the app can highlight that there's another angle you may want to consider, helping users to get a wide-angle view of topical news.

 

 

What's your position?

The app appears as an inconspicuous blue-to-red barometer which indicates the political leaning of the material you are engaging with, from far left articles to far right posts.

Designed to help pop the increasingly isolated bubbles many of us live in, the app monitors your own reading bias over time, indicates the bias of every source, helps you source quality news items on both sides of the divide and sends regular reminders encouraging you to explore views from different sources.

In an ever-more polarised society, Read Across the Aisle is a fantastic app for opening minds, unlocking debates, tackling bias and removing blinkers. Give us this over a game of Candy Crush any day of the week!

Have you tried Read Across the Aisle yet? What did it tell you about your typical reading habits? Did it help shift your perspective? Share your stories and reviews below. Or get your phone fixed by our clever experts so you can download the app today!

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