About Kylie Rempel

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Review: Samsung Galaxy S8+ – Infinity display indeed

Samsung Galaxy S+ is all about having the best possible, immersive experience with its always on Infinity Display. It is almost bezel-less, with no physical buttons taking up precious real estate either. Its larger 18:5:9 aspect ratio devotes even more screen than ever to video playback. Although be advised that its HDR, larger aspect ratio doesn’t yet have a lot of content that takes advantage of these new features yet. Support for these features could be expected to be seen in future updates to Netflix and YouTube for instance.

Samsung Galaxy S8+ has even more to recommend it, like an impressive battery life that can easily get you through the day on a single charge. It also offers a Secure Folder area so you can ensure that not only your private info stays private, but also keeps your work and personal data nice and seperate from one another.Samsung Galaxy S8+ beside Samsung Galaxy S8

All in all, this is another super-strong Samsung flagship smartphone that offers a variety of cutting edge, new features unique to Samsung’s Android experience.

So come to one of our eight Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island locations to get yours!

Samsung Galaxy S8+ – Specs

  • OS: Android 7.0
  • Screen: 6.2” WQHD (18:9)
  • Cameras: 
    • Rear: 12MP
    • Front: 8MP
  • Average download speed: check the map for the most up-to-date speeds
  • Fastest download speed:  check the map for the most up-to-date speeds
  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 835
  • Battery: 3500 mAh
  • Storage space: 64GB upgradable with a microSD card up to 256GB
  • Weight: 173 grams
  • Size: 159.5mm x 73.4mm x 8.1 mm
  • Type of SIM Card: Nano SIM

Samsung Galaxy S8+ – ProsSamsung Galaxy S8+ features

  • Its all, new 6.2-inch WHQD in 18:5:9 aspect ration; screen is simply one of the best AMOLED displays available and its near lack of bezels only serves to enhance the effect.
  • It can go almost anywhere you can, thanks to a stellar IP68 cerification to provide water and dust resistence.
  • If you don’t have an incredibly tiny hand, its dimensions are still able to allow you to handle most options even when you’re down a hand.
  • Its whole TouchWiz UX is a good deal more polished and politely professional.
  • It also has an excellent chipset with 4GB of RAM to ensure that it’s one of the fastest and most reliable ones in an, Android smartphone.
  • It has tweaked its video recording abilities adding the ability to record in 1080p at 60 frames per second to make ite easier to upload your YouTube conspiracies in the highest possible resolution.
  • Its all-new display makes it the perfect pairing for an immersive Samsung Gear VR mobile gaming experience.
  • Its base storage model is 64GB, so you’ll have an even longer grace peroid to snap New York in all its glory before you need to back up to iCloud.
  • Samsung’s Dual Pixel camera is easily one of the best in the business. In some lighting it is the best, hands down. It’s difficult to complain about such a solid smartphone camera.
  • Its rear camera is a 12 MP shooter with large dual pixels, f/1.7 aperture, optical image stabilization, phase detection autofocus, and an LED flash.
  • It offers best in-class out-of-the-box headphones.
  • It has a great, long-lasting battery that can make it through a typical day with some charge to spare.
  • You may find some its new TouchWiz features surprisingly useful such as:
    • Smart stay: Eye detection keeps the screen on as long as you’re looking at it
    • Game Launcher: A special launcher that can hold all your games instead of mixing them with apps in the drawer
    • One-handed mode: Swipe up from a corner to shrink the size of the screen so everything can be reached with one hand
    • Finger sensor gestures: Open and close the notification panel by swiping up or down on the fingerprint sensor
    • Quick launch camera: Double-tap the power button to launch the camera
    • Multi window: Open two apps on the screen at the same time
    • Smart alert: This feature makes your phone vibrate when you pick it up and have missed notifications
    • Video enhancer: This setting automatically upscales videos to enhance picture qualityUSB-Type C charging port means it’s easier than ever to plug in and charge your smartphone.
  • USB-Type C charging port means it’s easier than ever to plug in and charge your smartphone.
  • In spite of USB-Type C charger, it still has a headphone jack.
  • Instead of silver it comes in new, gorgeous, rich, orchid grey colour.

Samsung Galaxy S8+ – Cons

  • Unfortunately, Samsung’s own virtual assistant Bixby is not yet fully operational with voice commands and the like, but Google Assistant is onboard to pick up the slack.
  • Its fingerprint scanner is located on the back next the camera, making it all to easy to accidentally get “schmutz” on your camera sensor or lens.
  • Its default keyboard could be improved by emoji suggestions and better predictive typing.
  • Facial recognition unlocking is iffy, annoying and easily beat.
  • Iris recognition, fails to work properly if you wear glasses. Samsung warns you to remove glasses or contact lenses when setting up the iris recognition, but this means you’ll have to either look over the top of your glasses or lift them up for iris recognition to be useful.
  • Iris scanner can also be fooled by a photo.
  • Its battery isn’t replaceable.
  • Some users are reporting an unsightly red tint on their S8 smartphones, but there’s now a software update that should fix that.
  • Be warned the layout of the navigation buttons at the bottom of the screens is different. The back button is now on the right side, with the home still in the middle and recent apps now on the left. You can switch it back or you can just practice with it until you get used to the new layout.
  • New aspect ratio means that content not optimized for 18:9 ratio (which so far is most of it), means that you’ll see more black bars framing the video content.
  • The placement of its main speaker is less than ideal.
  • Starting at $360 on a 2-year Premium Plus plan starting at $90 per month or $520 on a 2-year Premium plan starting at $80 per month OR $1060 to buy it outright, it may be out of your price range. If that’s the case I’d recommend the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge, which is currently on sale.

To learn more about this smartphone, check out its product page or come into one of our eight convenient locations.

Not sure whether Samsung Galaxy S8 or S8+ is right for you, don’t worry we can tell you what you need to know.

Sources: Android Central, TechRadar, AndroidPIT, Android Authority, CNET, GSMArena, TELUS

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Review: Samsung Galaxy S8 – Simply the best

Samsung Galaxy S8 is a focused, polished Samsung flagship that deserves to be at the top of heap when it comes to Android smartphones. This time Samsung has added a variety of biometric unlocking including, fingerprint unlocking, iris scanning and facial scanning.

Samsung has also emphasized the large, 5.8-inch Super AMOLED display which is designed to showcase videos in 18:9 aspect ratio. While little content is ready to take advantage of this new format, expect to see more and more added as the year goes on.

It’s true there are a few features that could be a bit better or more polished, but all-in-all this is one of the best Android smartphones that money can buy.

So come to one of our eight Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island locations to get yours!

Samsung Galaxy S8 – SpecsSamsung Galaxy S8 display

  • OS: Android 7.0
  • Screen: 5.8” WQHD (18:9)
  • Cameras: 
    • Rear: 12MP
    • Front: 8MP
  • Average download speed: check the map for the most up-to-date speeds
  • Fastest download speed:  check the map for the most up-to-date speeds
  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 835
  • Battery: 3000 mAh
  • Storage space: 64GB upgradable with a microSD card up to 256GB
  • Weight: 155 grams
  • Size: 148.9mm x 68.1mm x 8 mm
  • Type of SIM Card: Nano SIM

Samsung Galaxy S8 – Pros

  • It has a big, 5.8-inch, beautiful, Super AMOLED display with all-new 18:9 aspect ratio for a more immersive video experience.
  • Samsung’s Dual Pixel camera is easily one of the best in the business. In some lighting it is the best, hands down. It’s difficult to complain about such a solid smartphone camera.Samsung Galaxy S8 iris scanning
  • Its rear camera is a 12 MP shooter with large dual pixels, f/1.7 aperture, optical image stabilization, phase detection autofocus, and an LED flash.
  • It now offers 1080p recording at 60 frames per seconds for smooth video recording. Video recording also sees the addition of manual controls in the Pro mode, including manual focus for finer control over the focus of your videos.
  • It has a great, long-lasting battery that can make it through a typical day with some charge to spare.
  • IP68 water resistant certification so it can withstand Wet Coast weather.
  • It offers the option of regular wired charging, fast-charging or wireless charging.
  • Finally, we have an Android smartphone that feels as fast and nimble as an iPhone. It has onne of the best and fastest processors in any Android smartphone. It also has 4GB of RAM, so it’s capable of handling anything you throw at it.
  • It has a responsive, pressure-sensitive screen with a virtual instead of a physical home button.
  • It best in-class out-of-the-box headphones.
  • Its front-facing camera has autofocus which can be useful for selfies.
  • It has a solid, curved build that fits comfortably in the hand and makes it feel like you’re holding a much smaller phone.
  • Samsung’s extra TouchWhiz features like:
    • Smart stay: Eye detection keeps the screen on as long as you’re looking at it
    • Game Launcher: A special launcher that can hold all your games instead of mixing them with apps in the drawer
    • One-handed mode: Swipe up from a corner to shrink the size of the screen so everything can be reached with one hand
    • Finger sensor gestures: Open and close the notification panel by swiping up or down on the fingerprint sensor
    • Quick launch camera: Double-tap the power button to launch the camera
    • Multi window: Open two apps on the screen at the same time
    • Smart alert: This feature makes your phone vibrate when you pick it up and have missed notifications
    • Video enhancer: This setting automatically upscales videos to enhance picture quality
  • USB-Type C charging port means it’s easier than ever to plug in and charge your smartphone.
  • In spite of USB-Type C charger, it still has a headphone jack.
  • Instead of silver it comes in new, gorgeous, rich, orchid grey colour.

Samsung Galaxy S8 – Cons

  • Bixby despite having its own dedicated button, is not really ready for the mainstream yet. It may become more useful in the future, but right now it doesn’t do enough to be worth using. But you still have access to Google Assistant to fulfill your digital assistant needs.
  • Starting at $250 on a 2-year plan starting at $90 per month or $490 on a 2-year plan starting at $80 per month or $990 to buy it outright.
  • Facial recognition unlocking is iffy, annoying and easily beat.
  • Iris recognition, fails to work properly if you wear glasses. Samsung warns you to remove glasses or contact lenses when setting up the iris recognition, but this means you’ll have to either look over the top of your glasses or lift them up for iris recognition to be useful.
  • Iris scanner can also be fooled by a photo.
  • Even after you’ve spent months with a phone and you know it like the back of your hand, unlocking a smartphone with a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner means blindly sliding your finger around the back before finding the scanner. It’s bad enough on phones with scanners that are placed on the center of the back, and it’s even worse with the Galaxy S8’s fingerprint reader, which is high up the back and off-center next to the camera lens.
  • Its battery isn’t replaceable.
  • Some users are reporting an unsightly red tint on their S8 smartphones, but there’s now a software update that should fix that.
  • Be warned the layout of the navigation buttons at the bottom of the screens is different. The back button is now on the right side, with the home still in the middle and recent apps now on the left. You can switch it back or you can just practice with it until you get used to the new layout.
  • New aspect ratio means that content not optimized for 18:9 ratio (which so far is most of it), means that you’ll see more black bars framing the video content.
  • The placement of its main speaker is less than ideal.

To learn more about this smartphone, check out its product page or come into one of our eight convenient locations.

Sources: TechRadar, CNET, Gizmodo, PCMag, The Guardian, AndroidAuthority, BGR, GSM Phone Arena, TELUS

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Friday app roundup: Ultra Edition

Welcome to the Ultra Edition of Friday’s app round up. What does “Ultra” mean in this context? I’m glad you asked, it means that to make up for missing writing a bunch of articles last week, this Friday we’re giving you almost four times as many apps in the roundup.

So we’ve got a lot to accomplish this lazy, Friday afternoon, so without any preamble, this week’s roundup includes: a prison simulator game a la Roller Coaster Tycoon; an alarm clock app for the deaf; TellTale Game’s take on the popular Guardians of the Galaxy movie; a communication app for the deaf that includes VRS; a mysterious, magical, musical sword RPG; a pointillist-effect photo editor; a dating app based on friends setting you up on blind dates; a photo editing app that turns your pics into pencil sketches; an eSport-type take on the puzzle game genre; an app to help you pick the perfect distinctive guitar amp sound; a stylish guitar songwriting app; an app of thousands of writing prompts; an addictive brick-breaking game about “ballz”; and a mindfulness app based on realistic, real-world prompts.

App: Prison ArchitectPrison Architect app

OS: Android

What is it? Old school management simulator PC games like Roller Coaster Tycoon and SIM City already were a little bit dark, but this is the mobile game that stops sugar coating it. You are in charge on your own maximum security prison that you need to build and manage rom scratch. You’re in control of everything including prisoner morale, so be careful. Make sure they don’t go all Bastille Day on your ass.

Best review quote: Prison Architect: Mobile is a management simulator that lets you do what the title says it would – to build from scratch and manage your own maximum security prison. This means that you get to lay out the cell blocks and whatever facilities your prison might have for inmates. You also get to manage your staff, their pay, and the morale of the prisoners in your facility. – AndroidCommunity

Get it now: for your Android.

App: Deaf Wakedeaf wake iOS app

OS: iOS

What is it? This is really useful app for anyone who is deaf or hearing impaired. It’s an alarm clock based on more than just an annoying noise. Like the default clock app, you can create multiple descriptive alarms at once. You can even choose from a few different clock faces and it is compatible with Apple Watch as well.

Best review quote: The Deaf Wake clock app offers LED, vibration, and visual-based alarms. You can choose from a camera flash, flashing screen, vibration, or sound, plus you can use more than one at a time. The app lets you create descriptive alarms, so you can easily use it for reminders too. You can pick from different clock faces and you can use your Apple Watch to set alarms. – AppAdvice

Get it now: for your iPhone/iPad.

App: Guardians of the GalaxyGuardians of the Galaxy universal app

OS: iOS, Android

What is it? TellTale has long since mastered the art of graphic-novel-esque playable adaptations of popular TV shows and movies and this time is no different. So while you’re eagerly awaiting Guardians of the Galaxy 2 and it’s sure-to-be amazing soundtrack, this game can help tide you over. You’re on an adventure with the whole Guardians of the Galaxy team to take on the big, purple, gem-collecting baddie himself, Thanatos. Expect each episode to cost about $5 each though or choose to buy a “season’s pass”.

Best review quote: Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series is now available via the Google Play store. More specifically, Episode 1 is now available, the episode is called “Tangled Up in Blue”. If you’ve played any of Telltale’s episodic point-and-click (point and tap?) adventures before, you’ll know what to expect – a well-written story with great voice acting and twists in the plot that you won’t expect. – AndroidCommunity

Get it now: for your iPhone/iPad or for your Android.

App: Convo – VRS app by signersConvo - VRS universal app by signers

OS: iOS, Android

What is it? This is simply put the best communication app for deaf people. It was built by and for the deaf community and is compatible with the types tech tools that deaf users might need like video relay services (a video telecommunication service that allows deaf, hard-of-hearing and speech-impaired (D-HOH-SI) individuals to communicate over video telephones and similar technologies with hearing people in real-time, via a sign language interpreter).

Best review quote: The Convo – VRS app by signers app was created by people who understand your communication needs. You can make VRS and point-to-point calls, use VCO, add contacts to your list, and connect with 3G, 4G, or Wi-Fi. The app also includes access to the Deaf Business and Community Directory for select cities. – AppAdvice

Get it now: for your iPhone/iPad or for your Android.

 

App: Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EPSword and Sworcery EP universal app

OS: iOS, Android

What is it? This is one of the best RPG games you can play on your iPhone. At its core it is an audiovisual marvel in which you (a wandering warrior monk) travel by moonlight and use a sword do battle and evoke sworcery to solve odd musical mysteries. You can even cooperate with your friends in the game using Twitter.

Best review quote: Superbrothers: Sword and Sworcery is an adventure RPG game with a spooky story and a unique, rather intoxicating soundtrack.

It’s hard to go into too much detail without spoiling the experience, but here’s what I can tell you: Its 140-character story snippets are easy to toss on Twitter for co-op play. You can ask for help and lead your friends into the mystery of the Megatome and the Trigon Trifecta.

The pixel art and stick figure sprites work well to add to the atmosphere the game creates, because everything is supposed to be unclear. – iMore

Get it now: for your iPhone/iPad or for your Android.

App: PointillistedPointillised iOS app

OS: iOS

What is it? Make your photos stand out from the crowd by channeling Georges Seurat and his distinctive pointillist art-style. The app is a simple, easy-to-use way to up your Instagram game and become the envy of your friends.

Best review quote: Be an electronic Georges Seurat! The Pointillisted app generates pointillist artwork using images from the Photo Library, including those shared in iCloud. – DigitalTrends

Get it now: for your iPhone/iPad.

App: Wingman+Wingman+ iOS app

OS: iOS

What is it? This dating app’s gimmick to set it apart from the other dating apps is that it is based around the concept of a close friend introducing you to potential partners. As such, the app will not work without the cooperation of one of your close friends. They set up a profile for you, playing up your strengths (presumably with your full approval) and then select partners in the app that they believe match your values and the qualities you are looking for in a potential mate. It may seem like a tough sell, afterall you have to convince a friend to manage your dating matches for you, but my advice would be buy your pal a beer of their choice (for their hardwork and attention to this matter) and then hand them your phone. At the very least, you’ll find out what your friends think of your love life and your taste in romantic partners. Also be advised this app is still in beta testing.

Best review quote: Where most apps start by asking users to set up a profile and swipe their way to romance, Wingman lets friends weigh in on your best qualities. Think of it as a digital matchmaker where other people get to talk you up, then send you potential mates they approve. – TheVerge

Get it now: for your iPhone/iPad.

App: Pencil Photo SketchPicture Pencil Sketch Android app

OS: Android

What is it? This is another neat photo enhancing app. In this case photos you run through the app quickly become transformed into a nice colour sketch effect. So mix it up on your social media with some tastefully pencilled sketches of you and your photos.

Best review quote: Pencil Sketch is A powerful photo editor is also built-in within this app, which includes many useful and fast manipulations of your pictures. Pencil Sketch Photo Creates more attractive and beautiful photo. This app will automatically detect the picture content and apply the filter accordingly.In the next step it will apply a nice color sketch effect to your photo. – AndroidandMe

Get it now: for your Android.

App: BazooBazoo universal app

OS: iOS, Android

What is it? This is an action-based puzzle game where you need to hone your skills and then take on absolutely everyone else who plays Bazoo to become the high scoring champion. It’s a bit like a puzzle-based eSport of some kind. It’s both easy to learn and difficult to master. So dive in and prove your worth by besting online challengers.

Best review quote: Bazoo has three modes – Ladder, League, and Battle. The gameplay is simple, but pretty difficult to master. You will need to take down online challengers as fast as possible, solving puzzles, stacking up towers, hitting one combo after another. But not unlike all the arcade games you played before, Bazoo will reward you for skill – because each player gets the same number of blocks, in the same order. It’s now up to the player how to use them wisely. – AndroidCommunity

Get it now: for your iPhone/iPad or for your Android.

App: BIAS Amp for iPhoneBIAS Amp for iPhone app

OS: iOS

What is it? Are you an avid guitar player? Well, this app is professional amp designer, modeler and processor that gives you a stunning replications of 36 of the most sought -after vintage and modern amps in rock ‘n’ roll history. It’s another tool in your belt for you to play around with so you can help your band find its sound. At the very least it can help you decide what kind of amp to buy for your electric guitar.

Best review quote: […] with Bias you can make your own custom amp head.

These apps are [sic] perfect for practicing. You can throw on a pair of headphones and play all night, and these amps sound good! You have amp models like Mesa Boogie to Marshall, Orange, and much more. One of the best features of these apps are the ToneCloud presets. You can download famous guitar players sounds and use them for your own playing! – ChasingSound

Get it now: for your iPhone/iPad.

App: Chord! – Guitar Songbook, Chords and ScalesChords! universal app

OS: iOS, Android

What is it? This other guitar-centric app is about writing your own songs by simply dragging and dropping chords. You can transpose it in any key, generate the fingerings with any tuning and generate printer-ready PDFs of your tunes. You can also use it to import your existing songs in text format, link audio tracks from your music library and play them at the same time as adjusting their pitch/speed. Really, it’s a must-have for any aspiring rock stars out there!

Best review quote: If you remember any of the Guitar Grimoire series of books, Chord is very similar to having a chord, scale, and tuning dictionary right in your pocket. You can build complex chords or scales you’ve never played before, use it as a quick reference tool, and so much more. This app is an invaluable resource for every type of player. I also heard as beautiful as this app is, it may be getting an overhaul, so stay tuned! – ChasingSound

Get it now: for your iPhone/iPad or for your Android.

App: PromptsPrompts iOS app

OS: iOS

What is it? Flex your inspiration with these unique writing prompts. You can use these rando ideas as mini writing exercises to keep your creative juices flowing or as a jumping off point for a sprawling five-book epic. Either way, it’s a fun, resource to have to liven up your journal entries.

Best review quote: More than 300,000 unique writing starting lines and creative writing prompts to inspire you and give you ideas for creative writing. Whether it’s poetry writing, journal writing, storytelling, or anything else. – DigitalTrends

Get it now: for your iPhone/iPad.

 

App: Ballz

OS: iOS, AndroidBallz universal app

What is it? This is a highly addictive mobile game brought to you by the minds behind 2048, Stack, Escape and Light On. The game play is pretty simple, you’re swiping your finger to throw balls to break the bricks. You need to make as many bricks as possible before they move to the bottom. You can also collect items to gain additional balls. The level of bricks increases after each round that you throw balls. Remember that the hitting the right angle is the key to winning.

Best review quote: “Ballz” is similar to “Breakout,” where you use a ball to break through layers of tiles or “bricks,” but with a few twists: Each block has a number, and you must hit the block that number of times in order for it to break. – BusinessInsider

Get it now: for your iPhone/iPad or for your Android.

App: Sway

OS: iOSSway iOS app

What is it? Sway is a self-described “interactive meditation” app. It includes six unique levels designed to help you practice more mindfulness in your everyday life. Activities vary from the simple, moving your phone in your hand while sitting down or lying in bed, to gently swaying your body in place to slowly walking around the office. It gives you a series of activities to help you capture your ever-elusive bliss.

Best review quote: “Direct your attention to the movement,” the app Sway told me as I unconsciously sped up the rhythm of my languid to-and-fro. “You were going too slow,” it prompted me a few minutes later when I accidentally dozed off. After five minutes of this repetitive motion, a gentle chime sounded, and a notification popped up telling me I had met my meditation goal for the day. – WIRED

Get it now: for your iPhone/iPad.

Sources: AndroidCommunityAppAdviceAndroidCommunityiMoreDigitalTrendsTheVergeAndroidandMeAndroidCommunityChasingSound DigitalTrendsBusinessInsiderWIRED

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