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Category Archives: Technology

This past Thursday was a very important date in the consumer electronics industry because Samsung finally unveiled its successor to the massively popular Galaxy S3 smartphone, the Galaxy S4.

Galaxy S4

Mark Watson’s hands-on picture of the Galaxy S4

International Business Times attended the unveiling and noted a few hardware upgrades. The new smartphone features a 5-inch display that sports a 1920×1080 resolution. This gives the phone a 441 ppi (pixels per inch) and is now the most clear and crisp display on the smartphone market. The phone also improves on battery life, featuring a 2,600mAh battery which is almost 25% more juice than the S3. Lastly, Samsung has upped the ante with a 13-megapixel camera that rivals many other  digital cameras out there.

What does this mean for us students? The bigger battery will give you more time to browse Facebook, text message and coordinate club meets. And heck, even if you’re just using it to play more games, that’s always a plus! The improved camera will give your self-portraits a bit more clarity to a point where it is near impossible to tell that it was taken on a mobile phone.

Although the hardware upgrades are great, what Samsung really showcased in this iteration of their flagship device was the amount of software features that they packed in. CTV lists a few features that intrigued them including:

  • Smart Scroll: the ability to scroll through content on the screen without lifting a finger. The phone will be able to track your eyes and its direction as well as your wrist movements to progress through your reading content
  • Air Viewthe S4’s infrared and proximity sensors will be able to tell when your finger hovers over an email, video, or a text message and shows you a preview of what’s inside. This way you can take a peak at your content without loading it up.
  • S-Health: this feature will benefit students a lot. The phone can track your health with some basic input action and with the built-in barometer, it can determine your comfort based on temperature and humidity levels.

 

Now, if you are like me, you already have a smartphone that is good at what it does. I personally have the iPhone 5 and if you have an iPhone 5 as well, you may want to consider this chart that compares the Galaxy S4 and the iPhone 5 side-by-side. Picture taken from @zilevandamme on Twitter.

Comparison Chart

We can see from the chart that the only specifications that the iPhone 5 wins in is the thickness and weight category. Am I going to make the switch? Probably not. But thats not because I think the iPhone is better, I believe Samsung’s next flagship phone (Galaxy S5?) will be another monumental upgrade and that is when I might heavily consider switching smartphones.
But thats just me! If you feel somewhat convinced after reading this, check out the video below from Samsung Mobile‘s YouTube Channel

 

 

 

Mark Watson’s Hands-on Picture: http://storify.com/elements/fab37a84c4a0a13192b63061
International Business Insider Specs: http://storify.com/elements/adfa3378e023437a3e79773f
CTV’s Top Features: http://storify.com/elements/a08f2282a1dfc180b62c031d
@zilevandamme’s Comparison Chart: http://storify.com/elements/6dc727785b6ffe01aa83efad
Samsung Mobile’s YouTube Video: http://storify.com/elements/59a19c52e52fcbc9f1d3d9cd

 

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This product that I recommend next for students is a smartphone case specifically tailored to students who don’t want to carry a huge wallet and instead put their cards with their phone. The Case-mate card-holding iPhone case tailors to this very specific demographic by providing a way to put all your credit, debit and student cards on the back of your smartphone, therefore allowing you to leave your wallet at home.

Case-mate ID Card Case Purple

This case works for me because I personally hate carry cash, coins and anything unnecessary. The only real cards that I NEED are my debit & credit card, student card, and my driver’s license (for ID purpose). This is because 70% of my wallet is loaded with materials that I don’t need for example: gift cards, pictures of friends, various business cards, stamp cards for restaurants and of course… COINS. I hate coins. I’ll be honest, it took a bit of getting used to because I had to plan my days ahead. If I was going to the mall, I would have to remember to bring the various gift cards I have. If I was going a restaurant for dinner, I would have to remember to look through my coupons or discount cards before going out. Nevertheless, after I developed the habit, I haven’t regretted once not bringing my entire wallet with me.

Now for the case, it feels a bit flimsy but once your iPhone is snapped on, it provides a snug fit. The card slot itself also provides a tight and snug fit. Case-mate brings in eleven different colours for the case so that you’re free to highlight your personality as best as possible. How much does it cost you ask? This ultra-slim case retails for $30 and because Case-mate is a high-end and respectable brand, it is available in most places such as the Apple Store and Best Buy. Of course if you don’t have the time to venture out to a physical store (hopefully because you’re too busy doing work haha) you can always order it on Amazon or Ebay.

Metallic Blue Case-mate Case

Over at Tech Crunch, they write that “Between the easy-slide plastic adhesive sheet for the back of the iPhone and the thumb-sized hole at the base for sliding cards out, you can tell they definitely put a lot of thought into this”. Their conclusion is that if you can minimize your life down to a couple of cards, this is definitely the accessory for you.

What’s cool is that I got a lot of positive “wow” or “woah” reactions when pulling it out. It is a very simple concept yet very functional and is sure to impress friends. In a nutshell, it can help minimize a student’s baggage when going out. Amongst all the heavy textbooks, binders and laptops that are irreplaceable, the Case-mate ID Card Case is a product that I wholeheartedly recommend in order to simplify a student’s life.

Check out Tech Crunch’s review at: http://techcrunch.com/2010/09/22/review-case-mate-id-credit-card-case-for-iphone-4/

Evernote LogoEvernote is a note-taking software that is compatible for Mac, iOS, Windows and Android. What’s different about this to other notebook or note-taking software is that it is absolutely free, and comes fully packed with features that you would think would cost a premium.

Evernote automatically uploads everything you put into their server’s, making it available for immediate syncing to all of your devices whether it be your computer, tablet and/or smartphone. The basic unit of information in Evernote is the note. You can collect similar notes in a notebook, creating as many notebooks as you need, or even throw everything in one main notebook. I like to create a different notebook for every class that I have and organize my notes according to the weekly lectures.

Evernote gives you a plethora of ways of capturing notes. You can type directly in the Evernote client, drag text, embed images, audio, videos and even record audio and videos. If you don’t want to type out a graph or chart in one of your lectures, you can just take a picture with your smartphone within the Evernote app and seamlessly embed it into your note! After capturing the desired note, the client gives you the ability to share it via email. You can add tags to notes to help categorize them further, this allows you to find them ease using the built-in search function that scans your entire notebook library. The killer features is the syncing. Documents and notes I keep on my laptop are instantly connected to my iPhone so that I can look at my notes without having the computer with me.

Here is a video that details the basic functions and visuals of Evernote. Watch in HD and Fullscreen!

I personally use this as my daily app for taking notes for all of my classes. I believe it is the best student software that delivers the most fluid, seamless and easy to use word processing experience. You can download the computer client at www.evernote.com and the mobile app versions at the App Store on iOS or the Google Play Store.

 

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Students who picked up (or got for Christmas) Apple’s new iPad mini are going to be pleased to hear that Logitech has announced a new keyboard cover is both aesthetically pleasing and comes with a package of functions. It attaches via integrated magnets and allows the cover to put your table into sleep as well as awaken it simply by putting the keyboard cover over it.

Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Mini

During usage, the cover acts as a stand to hold your tablet in landscape mode; through Bluetooth, it pairs with your iPad in order for the keys to function seamlessly while typing. The keyboard comes with dedicated keys for controlling brightness, search, and music playback.When you are done using your iPad, the keyboard easily detaches and can be used as a cover to protect the front of your Apple tablet. It also comes in both white and black to match your tablet.

Logitech Keyboard Mini White

This is an amazing product for students because it can potentially replace the laptop for taking notes during class. Users of on-screen keyboards will testify that typing with a physical keyboard is always preferred. The tactile response of physical keys is a great While enclosed with your iPad mini, the case is extremely thin and light at 7.33mm thin and 220 grams so it fits very well in a school bag filled with textbooks and binders. It also comes with a rechargeable battery that lasts up to 3 months if you’re using it for 2 hours daily. Not only is this product the perfect accessory for taking notes but also for daily social activities such as blogging, browsing the web and networking on social media such as Facebook and Twitter. The Logitech keyboard cover simply allows writing content on your iPad mini a breeze with its ease of setup and use.

Darrell Etherington of Tech Crunch reviews the keyboard cover and writes:

“While the typing experience isn’t perfect on the Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard, it’s about as close as you can get without adding a lot more bulk to a Bluetooth keyboard for the iPad mini. It still dramatically increases your ability to enter text, and beats using the software keyboard by a very wide margin. If you’re looking for an iPad mini keyboard that maintains the smaller tablet’s considerable size advantage over its big brother and still greatly improves the experience of typing anything longer than a tweet”

David Carnoy of CNET also praises the tablet accessory but mentions that the keyboard cover leaves the back of the iPad mini unprotected and exposed, which has the potential to be scratched easily.

Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard

If you have the budget for an $80 mini keyboard, this is going to be a phenomenal accessory for students. The tactile feel of a physical keyboard, combined with the thin elegant design of the cover makes for a product that perfectly pairs your iPad mini for portability and productivity whether it be browsing the web or taking notes.