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Archive for the ‘iPad’ Category

Here’s why you shouldn’t buy the iPad Mini 3

Monday, October 20th, 2014

Last week Apple announced their latest tablets: the iPad Air 2 and the iPad Mini 3. Both tablets are on pre-order now for £80 more than their predecessors, but only one is worth buying. Here’s why.

The Air 2 is something of a technical triumph for Apple, incorporating a faster processor, Touch ID sensor and improved camera in a dramatically thinner frame. Apple spent the bulk of their presentation over the Air 2, and it makes sense – the tablet is a significant advancement over the original Air, and is now probably the most desirable tablet in the world.

Conversely, the iPad Mini 3 was touched upon with uncharacteristic haste. That’s because there simply aren’t any real substantive changes between the Mini 3 and the Mini 2. In fact, the list of useful changes is precisely two items long: the tablet now includes the Touch ID fingerprint sensor and is available in gold. That’s it – no thinner chassis, no upgraded processor, and no improved camera.

If you had a choice between the two tablets at the same price, then you’d pick the Mini 3 – why not? But instead, Apple are selling this tablet for an £80 premium, which makes no sense at all.

So my advice to you is this: if you want a small Apple tablet, pick up the Mini 2 while you still can, and avoid the Mini 3 unless you simply must own a tablet rendered in champagne gold. At £239 the Mini 2 is simply the far better deal.

n.b. If you have an iPhone 6 Plus, you may want to steer clear of the Mini line altogether. The increased screen size of the newer iPhone models means you’ll get much less of a boost in screen real estate when moving from an iPhone to an iPad Mini than owners of previous iPhones did. Already many 6 Plus owners are leaving their iPad Minis at home because they already feel  they have a big enough screen in their pocket.

iPad or Android tablet?

Monday, September 1st, 2014

If you’re looking to get a tablet, one of the first decisions you’ll need to make is choosing an iPad or an Android tablet. While the iPad was the only real choice several years ago, nowadays both the iPad and Android tablets have evolved considerably. In this article, we’ll show you the strengths and weaknesses of each platform – as well as a few recommendations on the best iPads or Android tablets to buy. Let’s get started!

iPad: Strengths

  • Largest range of accessories and apps
  • Easy to use
  • Well designed, inside and out

So – the iPad. It’s the quintessential tablet, and its popularity is one of its greatest strengths. It means you’ll find a wide range of iPad accessories, from iPad cases and covers to chargers, screen protectors and stands. You can find accessories to fit pretty much every need and every style. With only two models – iPad Mini and iPad Air – to be released recently, an entire industry can work easily to support them.

The same popularity also makes the iPad the biggest target for app developers, allowing them to finetune their apps to suit the iPad and make the very best use of its screen and capabilities. That translates into better apps, and more of them.

Apple have always tried to make their products easy to use, and that continues with the iPad. The Apple tablet is simple in places, but that ensures that there’s little that you quickly won’t learn how to do. Even complex tasks like cloud printing are presented well, making it easy to get things set up properly.

Finally, the iPad is well designed, with powerful hardware and a stylish look. The tablet’s processor and GPU are regularly listed among the best in the business, and the battery life of the tablet is considerable too. The iPad is also good looking, with a slim metal design that feels solid and dependable in your hands. The most important strength of the iPad is its display though, which is generally pixel-dense, bright and well-calibrated. 

iPad: Weaknesses

  • Little customisation
  • More expensive

Of course, there are downsides to Apple’s approach. The simplicity they have wrought means that more advanced controls are hidden or not present at all, leaving the operating system far less customisable than its peers. Apple’s tight control of their app store also allows them to remove apps they find objectionable, particularly those on questionable moral or legal ground.

The iPad’s premium materials and hardware command a premium price, making the iPad more expensive than similarly equipped Android tablets. Additional storage is also costly, with a 32GB model costing £80 more than the 16GB option – and there’s no option to add more storage with a microSD card later.

iPad: Recommended tablets

If you’re looking to pick up an iPad, there are only two real models to choose between: the iPad Mini with Retina Display and the iPad Air. The iPad Mini has a gorgeous 7.9-inch display, while the Air moves to 10.1-inches. Both tablets are well crafted out of aluminium, and boast good battery lives in addition to their well-tuned screens. The iPad Mini is the better choice for portable use (with one hand), while the iPad Air makes a better tablet for keeping at home (with two hands).

Android: Strengths

  • Wide range of tablets to suit any need (including low price)
  • Deep customisation possible

The strength of the Android operating system for tablets is breadth and depth. In almost any attribute you can name – dimensions, speed, capabilities, camera, price - there will be tablets that hit every point on the range. Sony produce a range of powerful, waterproof tablets with good cameras. Samsung opt for slim workhorses, many with styluses built in. Amazon have a range of high-performance tablets, tied into their own ecosystem, for a low price. These are just the tip of the iceberg; with sufficient time you should be able to find an Android tablet to fit any requirements.

You also have a lot of choice with an Android tablet after you’ve purchased it. It’s possible to buy microSD cards which will extend your available storage cheaply, and there are a decent range of other tablet accessories available too. While there aren’t as many third-party accessories available as there are for the iPad, that means tablet makers like Samsung and Motorola often produce an excellent first-party range.

Customisability is another advantage with Android. It’s often possible to make deeper changes than on iOS, and there’s also the option to install a new variant of the Android operating system (like CyanogenMod) that will allow you even greater control. There are very few questions you can ask that start “Can I…” that end “No.”

The final advantage to Android is often price. Google and Amazon are well known for their low-cost tablets that still deliver an excellent experience with good hardware; their content-first strategies mean that they’re willing to sell tablets at a loss so you use their stores for apps, music, videos and books.

Android: Weaknesses

  • Some Android tablets are poorly designed inside and out
  • Less apps truly optimised for tablets

As we saw with the iPad, there’s a definite trade-off between simplicity and customisability. The average Android tablet errs towards customisability, which can be overwhelming.

There’s also a high amount of variability when it comes to the design of Android tablets, in terms of both software and hardware. Many Android tablets – including barebones Android found on the Nexus series – are well designed and look good, but there are also many tablets saddled with confusing interfaces, poor designs and underpowered hardware.

The final bugbear for Android is that of apps. You’ll find some great tablet apps, but lazily designed, stretched out mobile phone apps are still relatively common. The large range of Android devices also makes it harder for developers to optimise their apps, so you may find you’re arbitrarily unable to install apps if you aren’t using a well-known device.

Android: Recommended tablets

Google make some of the best Android tablets, which come with a clean version of Android, good hardware and an aggressive point. The most recent release, the Nexus 7, is a great choice with a sharp 7-inch display, good battery life and a simple, durable outward design.

Samsung are the biggest sellers of Android tablets, thanks to a massive range of models, a host of software additions to stock Android and slim designs. The Tab S 10.5-inch tablet is the most recent, and offers a good battery life, a bright and beautiful screen, and a slim chassis.

Sony operate at the highest end of the Android market, with top-notch screens and cameras and stylish waterproof bodies. The Xperia Z2 Tablet is a good example of their approach, with a squared-off waterproof body, good screen and relatively untouched version of Android on board.

Signing off

Thanks for checking out the article – we hope it made it easier for you to choose an Android or iOS tablet! If you have any questions or comments, then please leave them below or speak to us on Twitter @mobilefun.

Top 10 addictive iPhone and iPad games 2014

Monday, August 11th, 2014

In this article, we’ll share ten of the most fun and addictive iOS games for the iPhone and iPad in 2014. Take a look!

1. Hearthstone: Heroes of WarCraft

Blizzard are well known for creating addictive game franchises, from World of WarCraft, to StarCraft, to Diablo. Their latest is a (digital) collectible card game called Hearthstone, which vaguely resembles Magic: the Gathering. Like that game, it’s incredibly deep, with satisfying strategic battles against AIs and online opponents, but here you don’t have to pay a penny for the pleasure.

2. Monument Valley

Monument Valley is probably the most beautiful game on iOS right now, with a brilliant style inspired by the drawings of M.C. Escher. Each level is an impossible puzzle with its own rules, and discovering them is an absolute joy.

3. Walking Dead: The Game

Telltale are the best in the business at creating point-and-click adventure games, and The Walking Dead is one of their best efforts. The game is set in the same world as the TV show, but with a different cast of characters. There are puzzles to solve here, but the biggest challenge is making tough decisions under stress with long-reaching consequences. Each episode is punctuated with a few of these really big choices, and your decision will stay with you for some time afterwards – particularly if things don’t go to plan.

4. Micromon

Micromon is a Pokémon clone, with the same familiar formula of capturing, training and battling. The game is currently #1 on the App Store with a 4.5/5 rating. While the game doesn’t have the depth or the polish that Pokémon is famous for, it’s still one of the best creature-hunting games created for Apple devices.

5. Hitman GO

Hitman GO is a surprisingly good strategy adaption of the assassination-focussed Hitman series. You take turns positioning your hitman, making your hit through stealth or outright bloodshed. The game’s simple rules are extended through the layout and equipment found in each level, and it becomes increasingly challenging to complete each objective as the game progresses. The game has cool “scale model style” graphics too, like you’re playing with a board game.

6. Kim Kardashian: Hollywood

In this game, you attempt to become a major celebrity through fashion, dating, modelling and other such things. While this game looks like it ought to be awful, it’s surprisingly well constructed. Two words of warning, though: in-app purchases. Progressing in the game without spending real money gets increasingly difficult, and the game is making millions of dollars. Don’t get sucked in.

7. Godus

Godus is the latest god game from Peter Molyneux, who created Black & White back in the day. As the name suggests, you act as a god for a growing group of followers, sculpting the landscape, influencing nature and setting an example for your people. The game looks quite beautiful, and developers 22cans have promised more powers to come.

8. Minecraft – Pocket Edition

Minecraft is a leviathan in the gaming world, where players build the most fantastic contraptions from harvested wood, stone and metal. The Pocket Edition is a faithful recreation of the full experience you’ll find on PC and consoles, and is a perfect fix for anyone that’s jonesing for a little creative construction on the go.

9. Hoplite

Hoplite isn’t much to look at, but beneath the simple pixel graphics there’s a game of immense strategic depth. Like other roguelikes, you’ll find elements of randomisation and permanent death, so it’s important to choose each move carefully if you want to survive long. It’s an addictive experience for strategy aficionados.

10. Two Dots

Dots was a simple but brilliant game, tasking you with connecting the dots in a colourful and frantic manner to beat your high score. Two Dots is the sequel, an extension of that basic concept into a deeper game with adorable artwork and more varied objectives.

Bonus: 868-HACK

868-HACK is probably the most challenging game on this list. It’s a roguelike set in a 6×6 grid, where you’re tasked with hacking “precious data while the world sleeps.” Threats like viruses and glitches will seek to distract and destroy you, while you seek siphons to gain cash, energy and abilities – and ultimately to escape to the next level. It’s very hard, and very addictive. Good luck.

Conclusion

I hope you’ve found these recommendations helpful. If you’d like to share your own selections, please do so via the comments below or talk to us on Twitter @mobilefun. Thanks for reading the article and have a good one!

Top 5 iPad Air cases – July 2014

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

Today we’re going to have a look at some of our most popular iPad Air cases. Let’s get right into the selections!

5. Stand and Type Case for iPad Air

Stand and Type Case for iPad Air - Black    Stand and Type Case for iPad Air - Black

Our first featured case is the Stand and Type. The case is one of the most affordable folio-style cases for the iPad Air, offering good screen protection and a stylish contemporary look. The Stand and Type part of the name refers to the built-in stand, which allows you to keep the case at one of two convenient angles. The case includes wake/lock functionality, with a small magnet ensuring that the screen turns on and off when the cover is opened and closed. A stylus is included with this case, which is a nice value bonus as well.

4. FlexiShield Skin Case for iPad Air

FlexiShield Skin Case for iPad Air - Clear    FlexiShield Skin Case for iPad Air - Clear

The FlexiShield Skin is an unusual iPad Air case in that it isn’t a flip cover or folio; this is a simple gel case that covers the back and sides of the iPad Air, while leaving the screen fully accessible. That means you’ll likely need a screen protector, but you do get the benefit of a thinner case and no flip cover to get in the way. The FlexiShield is inexpensive too, so it’s a good value option.

3. Smart Cover with Hard Back Case for iPad Air

Smart Cover for iPad Air - Blue Smart Cover for iPad Air - Blue

The Smart Cover with Hard Back Case is a nice slim flip cover case which includes additional protection to the rear and a wider variety of colours available. The case even includes sleep/wake locking and a folding stand that looks great.

2. OtterBox iPad Air Defender Case

Otterbox Defender Series For Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0    Otterbox Defender Series For Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0

If you’re looking for considerably better protection, the OtterBox Defender is one of the best options available. The Defender includes a triple-layer design, comprising of strong polycarbonate shell, a silicone skin and a detachable holster that also serves as a stand. This design ensures that you will able to put the case through a lot of punishment without risking your iPad inside.

1. L.LA Case and Stand for iPad Air

L.LA Case and Stand for iPad Air - White    L.LA Case and Stand for iPad Air - White

Our winning case today is the L.LA Case and Stand. This case is one of the most stylish options on the market, with a cool two-tone design. There are plenty of colourways available as well, so it’s easy to find a look that fits your style. The case is practical too, with a built-in stand and sleep/wake functionality. In recognition of this style and the case’s slim design, we’re recommending the L.LA Case and Stand as our number one option this time.

Conclusion

Thanks for checking out the article! Be sure to let us know what you think in the comments below, or speak to us on Twitter @mobilefun!

iPad Air 2 cases leaked, showing TouchID sensor

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

A Chinese case manufacturer recently published photos of cases made for the upcoming sixth generation iPad, aka the iPad Air 2. These cases show a few interesting details about Apple’s next full-size tablet, so let’s take a look.

Probably the most interesting addition to the iPad Air 2 is TouchID, Apple’s system for unlocking devices with a fingerprint scanner. Touch ID is exclusive to the iPhone 5S at the moment, but it would make sense to see the system be included on tablets like the iPad Air 2 as well. You can see the ringed home button which signifies the inclusion of TouchID in each of these photos.

Internally, it’s expected that we’ll see an A8 processor (to debut in the iPhone 6 before the iPad Air 2) and an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera. Screen size and resolution are expected to stay the same, although the thickness of the screen (and therefore the tablet) should be reduced by a small amount.

It’s  possible that we’ll see an increase in storage space, with the base size moving to 32 GB of internal memory. Apple have seen a decline in iPad sales while their iPhone and Mac lines have continued to grow, so they’ll be looking to shake things up a bit and prompt greater sales of the new model.

They’ll be helped in this aim by the release of iOS 8, which is already slated to include “Continuity” features between Mac 10.10 and iOS, widgets in the notification centre and updates to almost all core iOS apps.

The iPad Air 2 will likely be released in November 2014, at a similar price point to the existing Air, around £399.

Are you interested in picking up the Air 2 once it is released? Let us know in the comments below, or speak to us on Twitter @mobilefun. Thanks for reading the article and have a good week!

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