Author: Keval Padia

iOS 14: Top 5 Features you should know about

Last tuesday, Apple announced the latest versions of the Apple Watch and the iPad at the ‘Time Flies’ Event online. In the meantime, we will just have to wait a few more weeks before the launch of iPhone 12. During the event, Tim Cook confirmed that you can download iOS 14 starting from the next day. iOS 14 is full of great features and it will enable you to change how you interact with your apple devices, something unseen in the last few years.

I know you must be wondering whether you should upgrade your software just yet. iOS 14 is now available to download for iPhone 6s and newer devices and iPhone SE. We all know that last year, the first rollout of iOS 13 was full of problems along with software bugs. It was then established that users should instead wait for the iOS 13.1.

The beta versions of iOS 14 didn’t exactly face similar challenges. Additionally, as the developers only had 24 hours notice before the final release of iOS 13, there is a possibility that most of your apps aren’t updated yet. That being said, there are some amazing features that might prompt you to update your iPhone right away. Let us dive deeper into the top 5 salient features of iOS 14: 

Apple Messages

The Messages App from Apple has always been the best available app out there for mobile instant messages. However, it still faltered behind dedicated tools like Slack because of the feature limitations. At last, Apple has added a few excellent features. 

In Messages, you can now pin the most important messages to the top of the app. It is the best way to access messages with the frequent contacts without scrolling a long list of spams and unimportant messages.

The next major improvement comes in group chats. It is now possible to tag individual recipients, create threaded replies in a group chat and set push notifications to alert you only when someone in the group has tagged you. I do not believe that it will replace Slack anytime soon but the future certainly looks bright.

Widgets

Gone are the days when your Android-using friends used to tease you. The iPhone will now have widgets on your home screen. It is now possible to add widgets directly to the display in multiple sizes. This is much better than the limited widgets on the left side of the home screen. Additionally, there is a Smart Stack widget that displays multiple apps when you need it. For example, it can show you the calendar widget and the weather widget first thing in the morning. 

The Today View widget will stay to the left of your home screen like always, but now you can drag and drop a widget to the home screen. It is very simple to use. You can just tap on the + sign in the top left corner of the screen to bring the widget gallery and choose the ones which you want to add to your device. 

App Library

App Library is the new screen at the extreme right of your home screen. It automatically organizes your apps in specific folders based on the app category. The basic idea is to simplify the user experience by organizing the apps in a single place instead of having to search on the home screen. Additionally, there is a home screen feature now that allows you to hide the apps which you don’t use frequently.

You can use the App Library to open an app that is not displayed on your home screens. To access it, you can swipe from left to right on the home screen. You can either find the app icon from the auto-organized folders or use the search feature at the top. Also, there are two additional folders at the top: Recently Added and Suggestions. These folders will update the apps as and when you download new apps on your device.

Apple Translate App

Why use Google Translate when now you can use the translate app on your Apple device. iOS 14 has an integrated translate app that will enable you to convert text and have meaningful conversations with people who speak a different language. For now, it is possible to translate English, German, French, Chinese, Mandarin, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Arabic, Russian and Portuguese.

When you open the app, you can either type the word or use the voice-to-text option to translate. Once you are done, it will automatically translate what you said into your chosen language. It is best suited when asking a quick question or if you want to hear how to pronounce the word.

Picture in Picture

The iPad has been able to play a video in the picture-in-picture mode for some years now and the Picture-in-Picture mode is now available on the iPhone. The Picture-in-Picture forms a thumbnail of the video that continues to play even when you exited the app. It will automatically appear when you want to reply to a text message while playing a YouTube video but don’t want to stop the video. It is very easy to drag the thumbnail around the screen and also resize it by pinching and zooming. The best part, it works for Facetime video too.

Looking at these developments, we loved the introduction of iOS 14 and now can’t wait for the improved version of the OS to feature alongside the much awaited iPhone 12. Due to advancement in iOS 14, there will be changes in iPhone app development too and we are excited about it.Which feature/s of iOS 14 have amazed you? You can let us know in the comment section below.

Everything you need to know about the rumoured iPhone 12

It is easy to say 2020 has been a nightmare year for humans all around the world. At the same time, it has been a prolific year for new phones, cameras and gaming consoles. We are still in September and an exciting range of products have been launched or announced, including Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2, Microsoft Surface Duo and Motorola Razr 2. We are in that time of the year when Apple announces their latest offering in terms of a new iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch. Today, Apple has announced a special online event “Time Flies” on September 15, 2020. This event will most likely cover the launch of a new iPad and Apple Watch which we will definitely cover next week.

We are probably just weeks away from Apple unveiling its 2020 iPhones and rumours suggest that there are major changes waiting to happen this year. It is suggested that a number of new features like high refresh rate display and lidar along with 5G support.

If you have been using the first generation iPhone SE or iPhone 5s because of its great design, the latest iPhones might be the ones for you. There have been many rumours floating around that the iPhone 12 will sport squared off edges instead of rounded edges. And all going well, iPhone 12 will come with 5G support which will hook you up for faster data speeds and great display.

iPhone 12: Rumoured Specifications

All the trusted sources of Apple rumors seem to agree that in 2020, Apple will announce four new phones instead of three iPhone models like last three years.

  • A brand new 5.4 inch iPhone, a tad bit smaller than the 5.8 inch iPhone 11 Pro.
  • A low-end 6.1 inch iPhone, which has a similar screen size as iPhone 11 and specifications similar to the above 5.4 inch iPhone.
  • A second 6.1 inch iPhone with premium specifications.
  • A giant 6.7 inch beast, which would be bigger than the iPhone 11 Pro Max.

iPhone 12 Design

The 2020 series of iPhones will boast a revamped design with a metal frame, much similar to the metal frame of the iPhone 4 and the beloved iPhone 5s. As per Apple Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, the 2020 iPhones will have a more complex design and new trenching and injection molding procedures.

The new iPhone will feature a square-edged stainless steel frame, set to replace the current rounded edges and it will still use the front and back glass for the body. Apple is said to use sapphire or tempered glass to secure the grooves in the frame.

iPhone 12 with 5G support

The 2020 iPhones are anticipated to be the first in line to support 5G cellular networks. This clearly states that iPhone 12 will be able to take advantage of faster data speeds. However, this completely depends on the 5G coverage in your location and the version of your next iPhone.

In April 2020, The Wall Street Journal reported that some of the iPhones this year would get 5G. On the other hand Bloomberg advised that 5G is likely coming to four new iPhones this year.

In January 2020, Ming Chi Kuo stated that all new iPhone models will support both sub-6GHz and a mmWave 5G. However, this week even Kuo advised about the 5G plans for iPhone 12 stating the shipments of mmWave 5G iPhones would be lower than expected. Hence, it is definitely not clear as to how many new iPhone models will have 5G support.

Price and Availability

Like we said, this year Apple has postponed the launch of iPhone 12 by a few weeks and instead hosting a special event next week for iPad and Apple Watch. Apple hasn’t shared any details about this event and whether iPhone 12 will be launched next week. As usual, don’t worry if you miss out the “Time Flies” event as we will do a piece next week. Last year, the iPhone 11 was launched at $699 so this year we are hoping that iPhone 12 should be in the range of $599 to $699. However, reports suggest that low-end iPhone may not support 5G and lidar technology. Only time will tell. If you have any updates about the launch of iPhone 12, you can let us know in the comments section.

 

Top 5 MacBook Pro Alternatives (Windows) for 2020

In the last few years, there has been a new trend to ridicule the latest Macbook Pro’s awful keyboard, touch bar and overreliance on USB-C connections though no Windows based laptop has been able to match the balance of screen quality, battery life, weight and performance of the Macbook Pro. As new OLED displays started surfacing in the market, that balance has shifted from the elite Macbook Pro. OLED displays deliver a high contrast and high dynamic range of colours which can outperform the effectiveness of Apple’s Retina Display.

The new 16-inch Macbook Pro has brought some changes, ditched the butterfly switch keyboard for a much better scissor switch based keyboard. However, experts say it is still the same and has no 4K options yet. When compared to a Windows system, an entry level Macbook is still much more expensive. There is one thing that we absolutely love about Windows laptop is the variety. Let us check out the top 5 Macbook Pro alternatives for 2020:

HP Spectre x360

The Spectre is the best 13 inch 2-in-1 laptop available in the market currently. If you compare it with the 13-inch MacBook Pro, Spectre has a better battery life and responsive features. The HP Spectre x360 comes with a Windows 10 Home 64, a 10th gen intel core i5 processor and 256 GB SSD storage. Spectre users are excited with the backlit island keyboard and its trackpad. It is modestly priced at $1,030 on HP website and various online retailers like Best Buy.

Dell XPS 17 9700

If you’re not big on OLED screens for using editing softwares then your best bet is to go for a laptop with a great IPS display. This is where Dell XPS 17 9700 steps with its remarkable 4K screen and not half as reflective as an OLED screen laptop. It is a tad bit heavier than the Macbook Pro but manageable as it has a larger 17-inch screen. Dell can try to improve on the battery life, however the performance is terrific compared to other Windows laptops. Dell XPS 17 9700 can be quite heavy on your pocket, considering it is available for $2940. It has certainly got good features to compare with the Macbook along with its price. The Razer Blade Pro 17 comes next after Dell XPS if you are looking for a similar design for a much bigger model.

Lenovo Yoga C940

Lenovo Yoga series has always been a favourite amongst people big on design. A slightly bigger body than a 13-inch MacBook Pro, the Lenovo Yoga C940 is unbelievably fast, elegant and feature-rich laptop. Additionally, it can give you a 360 degree screen which enables you to use the laptop like a tablet, which is not possible in a MacBook. The Yoga C940 is available for $1,300 on Best Buy and $1,330 in Walmart. It is one of the best premium midsize laptops available in the market today.

Razer Blade Stealth

Razer Blade Stealth is the best MacBook pro lookalike in terms of its design. If you are attracted to a MacBook Pro for its aesthetic, Razer is your Windows equivalent at a cheaper price. If you are looking for a laptop that matches a 13-inch MacBook Pro, Stealth is your go to option in terms of design, size and weight. The Stealth has a colour calibrated 4K UHD display and discrete graphics, however this will be a disadvantage for the battery life. It is priced at $1,999 on Amazon and $1,250 in Walmart for a limited period only.

Asus Chromebook Flip C436

If you are looking for a budget friendly alternative to the MacBook Pro, you should start your search with the modest Asus Flip C436. The Asus Chromebook is way cheaper than the MacBook Air and is much lighter too. This 14-inch Chromebook can be used as a 2-in-1 laptop if your primary focus is working on cloud. The Chromebook comes in a sleek design and is priced at $800 on Amazon. 

Wrapping Up

Buying your next laptop can be intimidating due to the present scenario of COVID and people opting to go for a budget friendly option. Have you purchased one of these laptops recently? How do you think your laptop fares compared to the MacBook Pro in terms of design, performance and price? Do let us know in the comments below.

Oculus Quest – What is it and should you buy it in 2020?

In the last few years, Virtual Reality felt like a new kid on the block but never really made its mark despite having the potential. In the past we have done a write up on Oculus Go VR headgear which was and still is the most affordable VR headgear. You must be wondering why we are doing a write up on Oculus Quest now, a year after its launch? Let me explain, when Oculus Quest was launched last year, it hardly had any quality games and was short on features. Now, there are tons of games and experiences to choose from. Additionally, due to monthly updates you can have some awesome features like controller-free hand tracking or connecting it to a gaming PC. This beauty can now let you play your favorite game: Half-Life Alyx.

For folks who don’t know about the gibberish I’m talking about in the section above, the Quest is the first freestanding device which tracks in six degrees of freedom (6DOF) without a computer. After years, it feels as if Virtual Reality has arrived and is here to stay.

Oculus Quest Specifications

The Quest headset weighs about 560grams including a stunning 3648mAh lithium ion battery. It gives you roughly 2 to 3 hours of play time but there’s a catch. With the Quest, you get external speakers (not that great) but headphones take the experience to another level altogether. There are two headphone jacks on each side of the headset and a USB-C port which can be used for charging and transfer of data to/and from your laptop/PC. Additionally, it comes with a physical power button and a volume rocker along with a slider at the bottom to control the distance between lenses. Plus point, it comes with a spacer if you are someone who wears glasses.

The VR device runs on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, so while it’s not the best in terms of speed yet it will enable you to play some games effortlessly. There are two variants, one has 4GB RAM and 64GB storage at $399 and 4GB RAM and 128GB storage at $499. Moreover, it has an OLED display with a resolution of 1440 x 1600 pixels and fast refresh rate of 72Hz. It is notable that this is fairly good by VR standards but not at the top of the pack.

What is Oculus Link?

Oculus Link is a banner feature which has been added recently, it allows you to connect the Quest to your PC and then it transforms into an Oculus Rift S headset which will let you play all high-end games on the Quest store. The drawback is that you need a powerful gaming computer to do this because these apps are very GPU intensive. It is best to check out the list of GPUs certified to work with Oculus Link for a better user experience.

Price and Availability

The new Quest is priced at $399 for 4GB RAM and 64GB storage and $499 for 4GB RAM and 128GB storage. Now, there are two main issues with these models. One is the chin strap on the device is not that comfortable after long usage and you can get chapped skin. You can get a silicone cover for $12 to solve this problem.The second issue is about the battery which gives you two to three hours of play time. Now, you can get a $60 external battery (10000 mAh) which will give an effective playtime of 6 to 8 hours easily. The Quest is available to buy in store and online on all major platforms like Amazon, Best Buy etc.

Is Oculus Quest worth it?

We have mentioned all the pros and cons of the Quest above. It is really handy when you have $400-500 spare as you can compare it to a gaming system or playstation which more people can play at the same time. The tough question is, should you purchase the Quest or wait until the new version comes out. According to rumours, the Quest 2 may be announced soon and we will update it on this article or come up with a new article based on a comparison between Quest and Quest 2.

 

Microsoft Surface Duo: The coolest Smartphone of 2020

Last week we featured Samsung’s Unpacked Event with an exciting launch of the Galaxy Z Fold 2. Now, Microsoft has come up with their most ambitious project after the debacle of Microsoft Hololens 2 last year. With the Surface Duo, Microsoft is returning to the smartphone market with a dual-screen, hinged and foldable device which runs on Android. Looking at the past, Microsoft should be wary of their smartphones not doing too well compared to Apple and Samsung. However, we are excited with the look of the new Surface Duo and will discuss the technical aspects, price and availability today.

Personally, I have never been a huge fan of dual-screen devices due to the sheer size and durability factor. Not to mention, the price which it comes at. In recent times, we have seen similar products like Galaxy Z Fold 2 and Motorola Razr. Looking at this scenario, I am thinking if foldable smartphones will be the new normal? Or is it just a smaller version of the microsoft surface tablet?

Microsoft Surface Duo

We have to agree that product reviews have been bizarre in 2020 and nothing tops the Surface Duo. The device comes with an embossed logo of Microsoft Windows on top. It looks like a small stylish notebook made of glass and metal. There are two 5.6 inch OLED screens which form a formidable 8.1 inch display restrained by a unique hinge which Microsoft has been working on since years.

Surface Duo – Technical Specifications

Microsoft Surface Duo smartphone is powered by Google’s Android and it is kind of a major aspect to look forward to. It has two 5.6 inch OLED displays connected by a hinge to mix work with pleasure. After combining the two screens, you get a huge 8.1 inch screen which is efficient for web browsing and working on the go. The Surface Duo Smartphone is 9.9mm thick when closed and 4.8mm when open with a weight just around 250gms, which is a steal. Two screens are best when working on one screen and watching a video on the other as it can stand easily at a variety of angles. It is petite but still depends if you want to use it as a phone or a tablet. 

App Support, Pricing and Availability

When a company like Microsoft comes up with a major product release, app makers have to follow through. Due to the middle seam or partition, many popular apps will have to provide support for the device. For example, Amazon has been working on the Kindle app to run on the Surface Duo smartphone and we believe many major apps will follow suit. Microsoft has gone with a not-so-modest price of $1399 with 128GB storage which converts to about AU1,960 or INR 1,05,000. The price may look high, given the previous debacle of Microsoft into the smartphone segment but still competitively priced than the $2,000 Galaxy Z Fold 2. Microsoft has started pre-orders this week and will start shipping from 10th September 2020.

Wrapping Up

Microsoft is taking a huge leap into the foldable smartphone segment and we believe it can make or break the market. Looking at the recent trends, we think we are not far from the day when foldable smartphones will rule the world. The only drawback we think with Microsoft Surface Duo is the lack of 5G at this price as now you can get a good quality smartphone + a tablet/laptop at this price, or even less. Whatever the case may be, we are all up for the leap in technology and more foldable smartphones means more competition. This will ensure the tech giants not to be complacent and get better upgrades for the end users at a competitive price. If you liked our blog about Microsoft Surface Duo, do leave us a comment below and let us know which product you would like to see next.

 

GDPR Compliance: Everything that you need to know in 2020

In 2012, the European Commission drew plans for data protection revision across the EU to give Europe a better chance at Digital Privacy. One of the key elements of the reforms is introducing a General Data Protection Regulation(GDPR). This novel model applies to businesses across the European Union and beyond. The European Commission enforced a plan for businesses to comply with GDPR and if you don’t, well then there are serious repercussions (a fine of 4% of revenue or upto 20million euros). I am sure no business wants to get down that road.

Why is GDPR important?

GDPR is a set of norms designed by the European Union that impose a strict set of rules around how it’s citizens data is collected, stored and managed. Essentially, almost each and every facet of our life revolves around data. Ranging from Social Media agencies to retailers, govt. Organisations and banks involve the collection and management of our personal data. To give you a perspective, our name, address, phone number and credit card details are collected, monitored and stored by businesses. These laws have shaped the data protection laws in the United States too. It is extremely important to comply with GDPR laws or lose a chunk of your business revenue if found guilty.

How does GDPR work?

GDPR constitutes one of the most robust data security laws in the world. It enables the people the right to ask organisations how their private data is collected, stored, used and request it to be deleted. It creates a liability for organisations to explain how, where and why your personal data is stored and used. Additionally, users can raise an objection if their personal data is used inappropriately for certain purposes like direct marketing. If you are searching for bags and start seeing ads for similar products, it is creepy and should be able to ask the business to stop using your personal data for marketing activities. GDPR ensures this along with other rights.
European citizens have these rights given to them by Law. However, some organisations may understand it’s better to use GDPR protection policies for all their customers and not just limited to Europe. For example, Microsoft announced that it would provide all users control of their data under the new GDPR rules with a dashboard where users can manage their personal data. Whereas, Facebook, has changed their privacy settings and tools globally but EU users do get special rights due to GDPR laws. Users from other countries still not get the same rights from Facebook till date, which state how GDPR is accepted by each organisation is different.

How does it work for Non-EU Nations?

GDPR comes into play if you have a business website that:

  • Engages in Direct Marketing to the European Union
  • If you collect/store personal data from the citizens of the European Union.

So, even if you are a business not located in the EU but are interacting with EU citizens then GDPR is a must have for you. For example, if you have a website which tracks user data to monitor website traffic, or a blog where users can comment or subscribe to your newsletter, or have a contact us/inquiry form then GDPR applies to you. To be clear and precise, if you have the following service pages and a EU citizen lands on your page, then you have all the reasons to worry about. However, if your business complies with GDPR laws then you have no reason to worry about.

How to implement GDPR policies?

The GDPR policy is all about empowering the end user visiting your website. Hence when a user comes to your website and before loading cookies/ or a tracking code, it is essential to inform the end user of all the ways you are collecting, storing and using their personal information and give them an option to decide. Additionally, it is imperative that you have an easy to understand privacy policy and details of your cookies and the timeframe through which it is stored on your server. It is also necessary to have an easy process for a user to make a formal request for all the personal data you have stored. There should be a seamless system where the users can ask you to change or delete their personal data within 30 days.

We have listed all major concerns relating to the use of GDPR compliance and safe business practices within the EU and global business alike. If you have any concerns or questions pertaining to GDPR, you can contact us to know more.

Top 5 Takeaways from Samsung’s Galaxy Unpacked 2020

Samsung’s eagerly awaited product launch event “Galaxy Unpacked” finally happened and we have compiled a list of takeaways from the event if you didn’t get a chance to live stream. Earlier last month, we did a piece on the expectations from Galaxy Unpacked 2020. The Galaxy Note 20 and Galaxy Note 20 Ultra are now genuine products along with Galaxy Tab S7, Galaxy Watch 3 and bean shaped Galaxy Buds too. Let us find out if Samsung could pack a punch and stay true to our expectations.

Galaxy Note 20 and Galaxy Note 20 Ultra

The new Samsung Galaxy Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra have herculean specs starting at $1000 and $1300 respectively. Both these models have fiery Snapdragon 865 Plus processors along with 5G support and IP68 waterproofing rating. Additionally, there is support for wireless charging but they are different in some ways.

Samsung provided a 64MP telephoto lens in the Note 20 and the Note 20 Ultra has a 108MP wide-angle lens with 5x optical zoom. It is important to note that the Note 20 Ultra has a 120Hz refresh rate OLED screen along with better RAM and microSD. The battery is spectacular for both Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra, allowing it to charge 50% in under 30 mins. The Note 20 comes in three colours :Mystic Bronze, Mystic Gray and Mystic Green whereas Note 20 Ultra is available in: Mystic Bronze, Mystic Black and Mystic White.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 is the successor to the vertical-folding Galaxy Fold. The outer display when closed, is much bigger than the previous version. Galaxy Z Fold 2 is 6.2 inches long but when the main screen is unfolded, the device is actually 7.6 inches. Samsung stated that it improved the phone structure to make it stronger and improved the hinge. This is said to increase the durability of the smartphone. Moreover, there is a punch-hole front camera, with 12GB of RAM and 5G support. It is worth mentioning that more details about pricing and availability will be provided by Samsung on 1st September.

Samsung Galaxy Buds Live

Samsung Galaxy Buds Live are the latest wireless earbuds by the company, leaked way ahead of the event. It is famously shaped like Jelly beans and is super small compared to Galaxy Buds Plus. Though it is smaller than the predecessor, it is more technologically advanced. Active noise cancellation is a key feature in premium wireless earbuds and Samsung doesn’t compromise. It is said that Samsung has gone step ahead when we thought the Galaxy Buds Plus was the best earbuds from Samsung. Everyone knows how well connected Apple’s Airpods are when you switch between multiple devices. Samsung might have cracked the perfect code for connectivity for these cute bean shaped earbuds.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 and S7 Plus

In our previous article, we mentioned that if you are a Samsung fan, you must know that there are very few companies that take Android tablets seriously but Samsung ceases to amaze us every year with new variants in the Galaxy Tab lineup year after year. On August 5, Samsung announced two sizes of the Tab S7, an 11-inch tab and a 12.4-inch one. Both Tab S7 and S7 Plus run on Android 10 with OneUI software with Snapdragon 865 Plus processors. The smaller S7 has an LCD screen whereas the S7 Plus is bestowed with an OLED screen and a 120Hz refresh rate.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 is sleeker than Samsung’s previous smartwatch models. That being said, it features a stunning 1.4-inch display. The Galaxy Watch 3 will be available in two sizes: 41mm(Mystic Bronze and Mystic Silver colour) and 45mm (Mystic Silver and Mystic Black colour). The watch is equipped with fall detection and is notably lighter and thinner too. Galaxy Watch 3 is priced at $399.99 and $429.99 respectively.

Wrapping Up

As promised we brought you the key takeaways from Samsung’s first online event: Galaxy Unpacked. We are still waiting for an update on Galaxy Home and will do a write up once it is launched. If you like reading our blog on the latest trends in technology, please comment below and share it on your social media and do give us a shoutout. 

 

Top 5 Smart Locks for 2020

A smart lock is one of the most essential parts of a new-age smart home. It will enable you to come and go as you wish along with monitoring your visitors when you are away. Some smart locks can be operated from your smartphone or tablet. A range of smart locks lets you assign a special privilege pass to your family/friends or the cleaning staff. Whereas you can activate some locks with the help of a voice command.

What is a Smart Lock?

A Smart Door Lock costs a hell lot of money compared to the traditional locks. There are a few low range ($100~) smart locks, however if you want more features for your smart lock you will need to spend somewhere in the range of $200-300~. Most smart locks have a dedicated mobile app to let you lock/unlock doors with a single tap. There are some locks which provide a web app to control the settings through a computer/laptop. 

How to install a Smart Lock?

It is extremely easy to install a smart lock and doesn’t take more than 15-30 minutes to install a smart lock depending on your existing setup. Most smart locks available today use the normal pre-drilled holes so no need to drill new ones. Moreover, there are smart locks available that can be attached to the inside of your door. These locks are built to use your existing hardware which means you don’t have to make difficult changes.

Let us look at the top five smart locks for 2020 along with features and price range:

August Wi-Fi Smart Lock

The stylish August Wi-Fi Smart Lock is extremely easy to install and has great features in its concise frame. It is the smallest smart lock model by the brand at $249.99 and is the first to offer Wi-Fi compatibility. The good part is compatibility with Google Assistant, Alexa, Apple HomeKit just like the previous models. The smart lock is available in silver or more stylish matte back with a textured grip and an August logo indicating the status of the door. You can use it as a manual lock by turning left or right to unlock or lock respectively. The only drawback is a short battery life and a pricey product.

Wyze Lock

The Wyze Lock uses your door’s inherent keyed cylinder, deadbolt and hardware. It comes with a plug-in gateway module, 4 AA batteries, a mounting plate, adapters and user guide at $89.99. Impressive right? Certainly. The Wyze Lock sports a minimalist design with an aluminium finish. The LED on top of the lock will be green during installation, dark green if the door is locked/unlocked and will turn red when it fails to lock/unlock. The Wyze lock runs on four AA batteries and has an embedded Bluetooth and Zigbee network, however there is no Wi-Fi compatibility.

Nest X Yale Lock with Nest Connect

The most recent addition to the Nest smart home devices is the Nest X Yale Lock with Nest Connect available at $279. It is a hi-tech smart door lock that can be controlled remotely using a mobile app or web app. The Nest X Yale is pretty easy to install and provides features like One-Touch locking, Auto-lock and a timeline depicting who locked/unlocked the door at a particular time. A small speaker and terminals can be used if the batteries run out of juice. The keypad is slick and remains dark till you touch the Yale logo. Once you touch the logo, it displays the keypad, a check button, back button and settings option. We would advise you to go with Nest X Yale Smart Lock if you have other products from the Nest family. 

Ultraloq U-Bolt Pro + Wi-Fi Bridge

The Ultraloq U-Bolt Pro is a versatile smart lock that enables you to unlock your door through a mobile app, fingerprint scan, a keypad, a conventional key or even a voice command. So cool, right? The Ultraloq smart lock comes with a Bluetooth radio, devoid of Wi-Fi radio. It enables you to lock/unlock the door with Alexa or Google Assistant voice commands, however there is no support yet for Apple HomeKit. There are some cool features like Auto-Lock which locks the door after a set period of time and Auto-Unlock which uses your smart phone’s location to unlock the door when you are near the door and a Magic Shake which allows you to unlock the door when you shake your phone in front of the lock. Also, there is a feature to set temporary/permanent pin codes and you can configure according to your needs.

Schlage Sense

The Schlage Sense deadlock allows you to use your iPhone to lock/unlock doors, customise access codes and set up access schedules. The Schlage Sense is a compact single cylinder lock with a luminous keypad and low battery alert. It is easy to install, easy to program it manually or using the user-friendly mobile app to add users, set up schedules and access codes. Priced at $229, it comes in two variants: the modern century style and a classic Camelot style. The only cons are the price and compatibility only with iOS devices and hence would also require Apple TV for remote control.

If you are interested to buy a smart lock but don’t want to make a change to your existing hardware, it is best to choose one of the above smart lock options available based on your budget. Do let us know in the comment section which topic you would like to see in the next “Top 5 every week” blog.

Top 5 Live TV Streaming Services in 2020

As the world continues to encounter financial crises as we are fighting the battle with COVID-19, ditching the cable TV cord is a great way to cut down on family entertainment. All thanks to streaming, it is possible to ditch cable while still holding onto the live TV channels dear to you. We know live local and international news are so important along with live sports like IPL and Barclay’s Premier League starting to return. You can enjoy them all using an affordable streaming service without a cable box or antenna.

Live TV streaming services start at $20 per month with 0 fee or contract. You can now view your favourite shows on streaming apps on your smart TV, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV etc. The pro, you can watch at home or while commuting on a smartphone, tablet or a web browser. In most cases, these streaming services cost far less than a cable TV and you don’t need a professional installer to visit your home, in times of social distancing. Let us check out the top 5 Live TV streaming services according to us in 2020:

Sling TV Blue

Sling TV has a wide range of channels, more options to choose from and a better user interface. It is one of the best budget friendly streaming services available in the market. It is a tad bit expensive than Philo, however considering the wide range of channels, it is still much cheaper than other premium streaming services. Sling TV is definitely more cost effective than premium services like Hulu Plus Live TV or YouTube TV due to few local stations. Additionally, it provides two $30 per month channel packages, Sling Orange and Sling Blue. There are some common channels on both Sling Orange and Sling Blue, there is a considerable change between other channel offerings.

Hulu Plus Live TV

Hulu Plus Live TV became a global favourite when YouTube TV price increased by almost $15. It has a robust channel offering for a modest price and Hulu’s integration of live TV with a decent catalogue of on-demand content is commendable. When compared to YouTube TV, the interface does lag behind and you will need to pay $10/month to be able to skip advertisements on Hulu’s cloud DVR. Due to the increase in the price of other streaming services, Hulu Plus Live TV now gives the best budget experience at $55. 

YouTube TV

YouTube TV improved it’s offering with the addition of eight new channels by June end. YouTube TV, priced at $65 now has more top channels than other services so it is an instant win if you want a premium experience. Additionally, it also has the best cloud DVR of the bunch, including unlimited storage and a generous nine months to watch recordings. Other services, only allow you to watch recorded shows for a maximum of 30 days. The interface is simple to use but has more options than your cable TV. There are no variations provided, it only has one price for the entire package. Pretty neat.

AT&T TV

In the beginning, HBO subscription was bundled with AT&T TV. Now, you will have to shell out an additional $10 a month. Even without HBO, the streaming service still lacks more top channels than other premium services like Hulu Plus or YouTube TV. The DVR quality is also lagging behind YouTube TV. AT&T TV has a decent style interface due to the flipper-friendly ability to swipe left and right to change channels.

FuboTV

We all have those sports fans around us. If you are not one of them, you definitely know at least 5 sports fans who could make the most of FuboTV. FuboTV offers a great variety of channels to choose from. This is second only to YouTube TV and due to the sports focus, FuboTV is a major hit with football fans. However, it is available at$60, which is the second most expensive service after YouTube TV. Recently, FuboTV has added a bunch of new channels like ESPN and Disney. We would recommend you to go for FuboTV, only if you are a big sports fan and more than 80% of your viewing time is dedicated to sports.

Wrapping Up

As we have discussed the top 5 Live TV streaming services based on their price and features, the platform is still evolving. Almost all major streaming services have increased their prices by at least $5 in the last few months along with available channels. We would like to conclude that though streaming is the future, there is still some time before we see a good pricing model to go with the services offered. 

 

Typewise Keyboard – High Speed, Precision Driven Typing Made Possible

Late last year, there was a wonderful case study about smartphone typing published by ETH Zurich, Aalto University of Helsinki and University of Cambridge. According to this study, smartphone users are able to type 70% faster than desktop using only 1 or 2 fingers. However, the maximum typing speed on a handheld device is only 36 WPM. It is notable that the younger generation between 13 to 18 type way faster than someone in their 50’s. 

Over the last decade, the keyboard layout hasn’t updated much in comparison with the smartphone updates each year. All smartphone keyboards are still using the age old QWERTY keyboard. Interestingly, the QWERTY keyboard was never designed to be used with two fingers/thumbs. It was designed to be used by all 10 fingers on a typewriter. 

In 2016, we did a write up about WRIO keyboard when they came up with an exciting new keyboard app for iOS and Android platforms to improve the typing speed by 20 to 70 percent when compared to your routine QWERTY keyboard layout. In the last quarter of 2019, WRIO has now been rightly renamed to Typewise, we know it is an apt name for the keyboard app. The team at Typewise advised that after the initial success of WRIO they started working full time on the app and have spent thousands of hours to build a dream keyboard for hand-held devices.

Features of Typewise Keyboard

Speed & Accuracy

Typewise benefits from years of experience of working on keyboard apps for hand-held devices. They believe that the normal QWERTY keyboard on a smartphone is not very user-friendly due to the small sized keys. It empowered them to come up with a large sized hexagonal keyboard which helps the precise movement of your fingers to reduce typos and increase speed and efficiency. 

Gesture Equipped Typing

By performing simple gestures users can type a capital letter, delete or backspace text or restore a text deleted by mistake. This is possible through a left to write swipe or an up/down swipe. There is something great about this gesture based typing which increases the efficiency of the Typewise keyboard.

Advanced Auto-Correct

According to the study, auto correction helps to improve a user’s typing speed. However, there is no improvement in error rate. There could be two simple reasons: one, the autocorrect doesn’t recognize the correct word and second, it tries to correct an unknown word for example: a name. Typewise has solved this problem by enabling a language independent autocorrect feature. Moreover, it is also equipped to learn most repetitive words from another language and offer corrections accordingly.

Multi-language Support

One of the best features of Typewise is its multi-language support. Typewise allows you to choose from 30+ languages and you can use multiple languages simultaneously. It also has a custom dictionary which can learn input languages and provide predictive text accordingly. In addition to this, Typewise has added support for the Hinglish language specially for Indian users due to growing demands from the indian subcontinent.

Simplicity

When you think about all the possible tasks possible on Typewise, one would think of it to be a clunky app to use. However, the look and feel of the app is sophisticated and extremely simple. The layout is very easy to adopt with easy to learn gesture navigation.

Price and Availability

The Typewise app is free to use with basic functions. The price for Typewise premium has been reduced by 70% for all indian users and the new price is ₹249/year or ₹49/month. The app is completely ad free and protects privacy. If you would like to know more, you can download the android or iOS app.