Archive for the ‘Smartwatches’ Category
Friday, July 18th, 2014
The LG G Watch and the Samsung Gear Live came out earlier this month, and already we’re having a lot of fun with them. The two new Android Wear smartwatches are great, but they do have one big flaw: to charge them, you need a special charger that clips to the bottom of each watch.
That’s not a bad thing by itself, but it’s a bit risky – if you ever lose or damage that charger, you can’t charge your watch. The Samsung Gear Live’s charger is particularly worrisome, as we’ve already have reports that it is very easy to break accidentally.
LG G Watch charger
Samsung Gear Live charger
LG and Samsung do not sell replacement chargers, so we’re sourcing our own chargers to serve as replacements and spares. These chargers will offer the same charging speed syncing capabilities and other features, so you’ll have 100% compatibility with each smartwatch.
Pictured: Broken Gear Live chargers
These chargers will be coming soon to Mobile Fun. In the meantime, you can register your interest and see more information via the product pages linked below:
We’ll bring you more information on these replacement chargers and other LG G Watch and Samsung Gear Live accessories as we have them, including a potential release date and price.
Thanks for joining us and stay tuned for more accessories, news and updates from Mobile Fun. Please feel free to leave your comments below or talk to us on Twitter @mobilefun. We’re always happy to hear from you!
Wednesday, July 16th, 2014
2014 is the year of the smartwatch. These wearable accessories offer notifications, fitness tracking and even the time, all on your wrist. In this article, we’ll share our recommendations for the five best smartwatches on the market.
5. Sony SmartWatch 2
Sony were one of the first mobile companies to create a smartwatch, letting them hit a second generation before most companies had come out with their first. The SmartWatch 2 is a solid choice, with a transflective display that’s easy to read in sunlight, decent battery life and a reasonable amount of apps. The price is right too, usually coming in a fair bit under £100. Unfortunately for Sony, Google’s new Android Wear OS is gaining speed fast, and the SmartWatch 2 is far less attractive as a development target – meaning we’ll see less apps in the future.
4. Samsung Gear 2
The Samsung Gear 2 is another watch to be released just before Android Wear, so it too will have to fight for developers to create apps for it, despite quite strong sales. The Gear 2 is the ultimate do-everything watch, with tons of functionality you won’t find anywhere else – including a built-in camera and speaker, so you can take phone calls and photos from your wrist. It’s all very futuristic, but poor battery life, medicore interface and relatively high price point make the Gear 2 a poor choice if you’re not interested in its additional functions and/or you don’t have a Samsung phone to use it with.
3. LG G Watch
The LG G Watch is one of two Android Wear smartwatches to be released this month, giving the watch a clean touch and voice interface and a rapidly growing stable of apps. The watch’s square design isn’t ground-breaking, but it does the job, and its 400 mAh battery and Snapdragon 400 quad-core processor provide lasting performance. At £150, the G Watch is decently priced too.
The Pebble is the first popular smartwatch, the result of a record-breaking crowd-funding campaign on Kickstarter. Unlike the other watches on this list, the Pebble opts for a Kindle-style e-ink display, allowing it to last much longer – you can get about a week from a Pebble, compared to a day or two from LCD/AMOLED screens. The black-and-white display has a low refresh rate though, limited the kind of apps that can run on it.
In terms of style, the Pebble is a mixed bag. The original, cheaper model is plasticky and hobbyist in looks, although the later Pebble Steel improves on this front considerably. Another plus point is that the Pebble works with iOS and Android equally well, making it one of the few good cross-platform options. The final consideration, apps, goes the Pebble’s favour as well, thanks to a hearty developer community that has been working for a long time now.
1. Samsung Gear Live
The Gear Live is the other Android Wear smartwatch to debut this month. Compared to the G Watch, the Gear Live has a cleaner look with a more form-fitting shape, a neater watch-band and a higher-resolution Super AMOLED display. The G Watch does compare favourably on some points though, as the Gear Live has a 25% smaller battery and fewer watch-faces pre-installed. On balance, the Gear Live is probably the better option of the two, and that’s enough to give it the first place ranking this time around.
While the G Watch and the Samsung Gear Live are two great additions to the smartwatch ecosystem, there’s still much more to come that’ll certainly shake up the rankings. The Moto 360 from Motorola launches this fall and has a beautiful circular dial, and runs the same excellent Android Wear OS as the G Watch and Gear Live. Apple’s rumoured iWatch is another big contender, although we don’t yet know what exactly what it will look like. Knowing Apple though, it could be a blockbuster.
It looks like it’ll be an exciting few months. Stay tuned for the latest smartwatch news right here at Mobile Fun, and be sure to let us know what you thought of the ranking in our comments below! You can also reach us on Twitter @mobilefun.
Wednesday, July 16th, 2014
Android Wear smartwatches like the Gear Live and G Watch are quite useful, but a constantly on LCD or AMOLED display ensures that you’ll only get a day or two of battery life. Thankfully, their tiny internal capacities mean that you can fully recharge them quickly if you have a power source. When you don’t have a PC or wall socket nearby, then your phone is often the best bet for a quick fill-up. Using a Samsung Power Sharing Cable, it’s possible to connect directly from your phone to your watch, allowing the phone’s larger battery to refill the watch’s smaller one. With a 3000mAh battery standard on some phones, you could recharge a Gear Live’s 300mAh battery fully while only losing 10% of your phone’s power.
The same principle applies to charging other Bluetooth accessories from your phone too, from Bluetooth headsets to fitness trackers. If you’ve got a tablet on hand, you can even use its even bigger battery (typically 5000mAh or more) to charge your phone as well. One phone can even charge another, so if you’re running low and a mate is nearly full, you can transfer charge from one to the other so you both have enough juice to last the day.
The Samsung Phone microUSB Charging Cable is available now from Mobile Fun. To see more information, please visit the product pages linked below:
Thanks for checking out the article and be sure to let us know what you think in the comments below! You can also reach us on Twitter @mobilefun.
Thursday, July 10th, 2014
Spigen are well known for their screen protectors for smartphones and tablets, but these devices aren’t the only ones covered by the South Korean company. Spigen have also begun to create screen protectors for smartwatches, including the product we’re highlighting today: a screen protector for the LG G Watch.
The idea behind the screen protector is fairly obvious: to keep your watch’s display in good condition. While the glass used here is quite good, it can still be scratched or shattered – and as it is constantly on your wrist, you may run into more situations in which the face is scratched compared to a phone.
This pack includes three screen protectors in all, so you are able to replace them as they take damage, ensuring you always have a clear and distinct display. There are four layers to the screen protector, so you’ll find the last much longer than single-layer alternatives, too. Each is cut precisely to put the G Watch, ensuring an easy installation every time.
The Spigen Crystal Screen Protector Three Pack is coming soon to Mobile Fun. For more information, including live pricing and availability information, please see the product page linked below:
Thanks for checking out the article and be sure to let us know what you think in the comments below! You can also reach out to us on Twitter @mobilefun if you’d prefer.
Wednesday, July 9th, 2014
Google’s Android Wear debuted this week in the LG G Watch and Samsung Gear Live smartwatches. We’ve gotten to grips with the new OS, and we’ve found some cool tips and tricks that’ll help you get the most out of your device – including ways to extend battery life, take screenshots, find apps and even install custom ROMs. Read on to see what we’ve discovered!
10. Switch watch faces quickly
When I first started using the Gear Live, I was disappointed with how long it took to change watch faces… You have to tap the watch, scroll all the way down to settings, and then find ‘Change watch face’… it just takes forever! Later, I learned I was an idiot – you can just tap and hold the screen when the time is shown, and you’ll go immediately to that same setting.
9. Clean up your watch face
By default, your dimmed watch face will include a card at the bottom of the screen, below the time. That’s convenient for glancing at the weather or how many steps you’ve walked without turning on the watch, but it can block you from seeing the bottom of some watch faces and makes for a more visually complex look. You can turn off this card from the Android Wear app on your phone – just change the ‘Hide cards on dimmed screen’ option to ‘always hide’.
8. Check your pulse
The Samsung Gear Live includes a heart rate sensor on its backside. To check your pulse, just say “OK Google… Show me my heart rate.” You’ll be asked to ensure that the watch strapped fairly tightly around your wrist, with the face on the front or back of your arm. Hold still, and your pulse will be measured. The result is a bit variable in my trials, but it’s certainly a fun party trick.
7. Turn on silent mode
Sometimes it’s nice to take a break for a while. Thankfully Android Wear includes an easy-to-toggle silent mode. Just pull down and hold from the main watch screen and the watch will vibrate, showing that you’ve entered silent mode. When you’re ready to be notified again, just repeat the procedure.
6. Find Wear-compatible apps
Google have made it quite easy to find apps that are compatible with Wear on the app store, with the creation of an Apps for Android Wear category on the Play Store. We’ve also recommended a few apps that haven’t yet appeared on the list in our blog of top 5 Android Wear apps.
5. Extend your battery life
Want to easily extend your battery life on Android Wear? One easy way to do it is to completely turn off the display when the watch is idle, rather than just dimming it. You can do this through the Android Wear app; just untick the ‘Screen always on’ option. You can also change this setting in the watch’s own setting menu. There are other ways to extend your battery life too; we’ll cover one of the most effective options in our final tip (#1).
4. Take screenshots
Taking a screenshot is quite useful for bragging about your new smartwatch on Twitter and writing articles about smartwatches… and probably there are other uses as well! However, taking a screenshot is a bit tricky.
You’ll need to enable developer mode on the watch by tapping repeatedly on the build number in Settings -> About. Next, go into the Developer Options and enable ‘ADB debugging’. Then connect the watch to its charging box, and a USB cable from the charger to your PC. Download the Android SDK and run the commands shown here in the command line to take the screenshot and then transfer it back to your PC. A slightly more convenient method is to use the Nexus Root Toolkit, then use the ‘screen capture’ option in the Advanced window.
You may find you need to install Android Composite ADB drivers, find the ‘Gear Live’ or ‘G Watch’ option in Device Manager, then manually select the drivers you installed.
3. Control stuff with IFTTT
IFTTT (If That, Then That) is a cool service that links triggers (you did something) with actions (it does something). The IFTTT team has added Android Wear as a channel on the site, letting you make your own recipes or use other people’s. So far I’ve found the ‘share a map of my location on Facebook‘ recipe quite useful, as well as the ‘preview photos taken on your phone on your watch‘ one.
2. Run Wear apps
The G Watch and Gear Live don’t just show notifications – they can also run full-blown apps like Tinder, a Flappy Bird clone, a compass and many others. To run these apps, you’ll need to tap on the main screen that shows the time, scroll all the way to the bottom of the list and select ‘Start…’ Then you’ll find a list of all apps that can run on Android Wear. Don’t fret if an app you just installed doesn’t appear immediately – it sometimes takes a few minutes for the new app to make its way to the list.
1. Install a custom ROM
Want to go off the deep end? You can become the ultimate Android Wear fan by installing a custom ROM. The first such ROM is called Gohma, and boasts improved battery life, reduced lag and other beneficial tweaks. You’ll need to download the ROM, unlock your watch’s bootloader and root… but at the end of it you’ll have a custom ROM installed. If you’re willing to take the risk, check out the full thread on Rootz Wiki to get started.
I hope you’ve found these tips useful! Feel free to share your own pro tips in the comments below or on Twitter @mobilefun. Thanks for checking out the article and have a great week!