Buying a new Laptop? Read this First!

 

 

One gadget that you will need in your life is a laptop. A laptop is a versatile device that is more easier on you than a desktop. Besides, you cannot lug a desktop to town will you?

Being a device that has virtually pushed the desktop from the lime-light, you have to be very astute when you are acquiring your computing device.

  • The most important thing that you have to consider when buying a laptop is not the laptop itself but the uses that you will use it for. For instance if you are going to be carrying your laptop a lot, you will hardly need a hefty 22 inch machine that will cause back pains from carrying it.

Again, if you are using it as a desktop replacement, then go all the 22 inches and enjoy. Again, if all you will do is type one or two assignments, load a few songs and stuff, there is no point in going for the 500Giga Bytes Hard drive!

  • This may not be an important point but it is very important. The looks count. You don’t want a laptop that feels like you want to throw it away each time friends and foes open theirs. A laptop has to feel right in your hands or lap.
  • Now after this you may consider the specs! Well these are the specifications. I know the geeks will think this is too elementary but trust me a lot of people don’t know this. If you know this leave us alone we the dull heads.
  • Following are the specifications which I think a decent affordable laptop will suffice.

–          Hard drive

If a laptop has a hard drive of 120Gig it is good enough. If you are go towards 500G to 1 Tera Byte, you must be crazy unless you are a pirate who wants to burn movies.

Here Gig stands for Giga bytes, by the way.

–          Memory

Memory is not the hard drive we mentioned above. This is where your document you are typing, the portion of a game you are playing, the portion of a movie or music resides temporarily before it is sent to your screen or speakers or whatever happens next. This is where that portion of whatever program you are using is sent before being processed or sent where ever it needs to go.

So how big is this thing supposed to be? 1Gig will be sufficient, but hell! 2 Gig will be super.

–          Processor

This is where confusion reigns supreme. Yep you will be confused when you listen to the geeks speak. You will hear words like Dual Core, Quad Core, Core i2, Core i3, Core i7. Intel inside, Fools Outside!

Just forget the whole lot, know this anything with a Core i2 or (dual core) processor or higher will do. Core i7 are expensive you will not afford them. Well if you can, do buy them.

–          Screen Size

The screen size is also another major issue you have to consider, you don’t want a small screen that will force you to scroll sideways. Neither do you want a large screen that anyone who is passing from a distance of 10 metres can see what you are typing.

On screen sizes 14 inches to 21 inches will do.

You also have to consider something called the aspect ratio.

–          USB Hubs/Ports

This is pretty obvious, but don’t be fooled. Two USB hubs will be sufficient.

The other thing you have to use it to like it. If whoever is selling you a computer can let you use it before you buy it. Don’t be satisfied with a 10 minute usage. You won’t find out anything. You need at most two days.

Now let us go to the real names of laptops that you can buy, brands which I trust

  • Hp
  • Samsung
  • Lenovo
  • Acer
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Browsers that wil help you save that dollar….

 

Smartphones were made with the internet in mind and a smartphone without an internet connection is like a fish outside water. All those apps that you use access the internet in one way or the other, an internet connection is like oxygen to a smartphone.

Cash Saving? How?

Well the browsers below, preprocess a web page that you request at their servers and they serve you a compressed, smaller file to you. Well, its more like serving you an image of the webpage to you. And since the processing of the page is done at the server computer and not by your phone, these browsers are more faster.

Today we are reviewing phone browsers that you can use on your smartphone, from a Zimbabwean perspective

  • Opera Mini

That is no mistake; Opera Mini takes number one spot! I know some of you are starting to say Dolphin. Geez in Zimbabwe we don’t have data plans and we can’t afford to use “full browser capabilities” can we?

Opera Mini takes the top spot because it renders pages nicely and I like its single column view. You can also check how much data you have used or saved.

Currently, the latest version for Android is version 7.5

  • UC Browser

If you thought all things Chinese were of cheap quality, then think again. Here is one browser that competes with Opera Mini. In fact this browser compresses data as good as Opera. I also love the Voice search feature, which is lacking in Opera Mini. This browser also has a download manager!

In fact this browser has got some really cooler features than Opera Mini, Like QR Code scanner and download manager!

However, I find this browser to be slower than Opera Mini and the fact that they do the spoofing thing at this day and age is rather counterproductive.  Spoofing is where a browser pretends to be another browser and in this case UC Browser pretends to be Mozilla Firefox.

  •  BOLT Browser

This is another browser that you may install on your amartphone, but it disappoints to say the least. However it saves cash.

Binu Review

 

There are thousands of communication apps that are at our disposable these days. Today we are reviewing Binu a sms and now turned social network app.

Some time ago, I lost my phone and I started using my brothers Motorola phone. All I know is it was an old flip phone. Astonishingly it could go on facebook! Or rather it could connect to the internet. Then my girl friend suggested that I install Binu for easier communication. I did, and boy did I love this app. It ran okay on the old phone.  I mean, since my phone was old I knew that I couldn’t expect more speeds from the poor old phone.

I then bought an Android phone and one of the first apps to find its way into my phone was Binu.

To my horror and shock! Dismay and utter dislike, Binu was dead slow. The navigation was horrible to say the least. The app was just not what I expected to be. My reasoning was since the smartphone was way faster than my Motorola, then Binu was going to run like lightning. Too bad, I was disappointed.

However here are the advantages of Binu

  • Cheap, as it sends sms messages over the data network
  • You can send sms to people without Binu application on their phones
  • Other applications within Binu, like the dictionary which I used a lot
  • Games and stuff, soccer results e.t.c
  • Facebook app within Binu which is a cheaper way of visiting facebook though the experience is not as nice as going via Opera Mini or your phone browser

Disadvantages

  • We are talking about Binu for Android, this application is dead slow and very slow
  • Not so cute experience, the user interface could do with some nicer icons

Verdict

If you are using an old phone, you may install this but on Android there are some better sms applications than this slow app.

Rhino Shield Shatter proof screen protector

This may come as good news to all smartphone  and tablet owners. A person on kickstart, a crowd funding USA website has started soliciting for funds to make a shatter proof screen protector that is able to resist, cracks and shattering if your device falls down or is smashed

Rhino Shield is an impact resistant screen protector

 

The screen protector will also protect your phone from finger print smudges. However, this device is not yet in production so you can hold on tighter to your phones for now. And Zimbabwe being Zimbabwe we may as well see this product in2014 if it suceeds in raising the funds required.

Android Apps for your new Smartphone

Apps for your New Smartphone

Some of you might be amazed as to why we keep focusing on smartphones? Yep smartphones are cool and complicated they need whole books of instructions to get to know. Besides with Google churning out a new version of Android twice a year. Besides, there are millions of apps that can do virtually anything from showing you directions to influencing your dreams. Below is a list of applications that your need to download onto your brand spanking new smartphone.

1. Whatsapp

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Hey, the O’ Level failure rate was at 87% and this was blamed on social networks, chief among them Facebook and Whatsapp. Whatsapp is wildly popular and on Xmas alone 11 million messages were sent and 7 million received. Not to mention that this is an sms killer, it is cooler than sms and way cheaper to use.. I mean dirt cheap.

2. Wechat

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Yes you heard right, Wechat. This is NOT cooler than whatsapp but it sure packs a punch. One biggest letdown is astonishingly, it seems Tencent the Chinese markers of Wechat have put Zimbabwe under the sanctions list. Upon registering, you will notice that Zimbabwe is not on the list of countries and therefore you will recognised as someone in China. When you shake your phone to find other Wechaters near by, you will be told that “Zhiang Kai Zheky” is 100 meters away in Taipei.

3. Anti Virus

 

 

Well, thhttps://zimsmartphones.files.wordpress.com/2013/02/avast-antivirus.png?w=300e third app you need to install is some anti virus. Well this is NOT that important if you install your apps from Google Play only and all you will ever install on your phone is Wechat and Whatsapp. However if you are a power user, you need an anti virus software. AND if you download lots of apps and attachments in whatsapp be careful… The anti virus I trust the most are Trustgo and Avast.

4. Tango

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Yes, make video calls over Econet and Telecel networks. Infact this app makes a good compliment to whatsapp. With tango you can video chat, and that means you will need a phone with a front facing camera, mind you but once you install this and invite family and friends to Tango, you wont regret it.

5. Power Amp

This is not free you need to shell out cash for it, but as your music collection grows, your will sadly note that macheso.wma won’t play on your phone. In fact you will be lucky to even see that song in your music library list. Power amp plays .wma files on your Android phone.

6. Viber

 

Just like Tango, this app allows you to make calls cheaply and make Econet a little less poor as you use more for less.

Conclusion

You will realise that just these apps are way better and good than the all too common whatsapp. Unfortunately, upon downloading and installing these apps you will realise that there are almost no users of these apps amongst your friends.

You will either have to force them to install the apps or wait for them to do so in the near future… Hope you find these articles useful.

Low Cost Smartphones you can buy now in Zimbabwe

 

Well the topic just as much excludes Iphones, unless if you want to buy those old phones from your United Kingdom relatives.

Of the smartphones that I have used and which I know will make a mark are listed below

ZTE RACER – II

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You may be surprised as to why big Sammy is not toping the list here. Well at only $75 from Econet, yes that stingy company we all love to hate, comes this cool Android 2.2.2 version. Not the latest version of Android but this is a great entry level phone. Notice the deliberate bold “entry level”. I wouldn’t expect you to own that cheap phone for more than a year.

 

This phone, though has tiny fonts and you will have to squint to read the text at times.

Reading this phone in the sun is almost impossible, unless if you have eagle eyes

2. Samsung Galaxy Range

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Well, we wrote Galaxy Range because there are a number of low cost galaxy phones. From Galaxy Pocket, Galaxy Mini, Galaxy Observer to Galaxy what what, you will find any Galaxy phone ranging from $100 to $250 easily

Nokia Asha Range

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Yes, phones from the dying cellular phone giant still pack a punch. However I am not a great fan of the Nokia Resistive touch Screens. What this means is their touch screens are harder. In fact, if you use the cheaper Racer 2 listed above and this Nokia Asha, you can feel the difference easily. There is smoother scrolling on the Racer 2 than the Asha

Starting with your Smartphone, My Phone is eating Airtime

Most new smartphone owners complain about one thing on their phones…”my phone is eating airtime”. Well, English lessons aside, that how we say it in Ndebele or Shona.

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The main culprit here is not your phone or the fact that you did not set up your phone right, the main culprit here is Econet, Telecel and Netone and their exorbitant, selfish and stingy pricing regime.

Well if these companies had data plans that would make us enjoy our smartphones to their full potential. Right now we are left to use our phones as feature phones, (read dumb phones: whatever that means.

Here are the hints to make that data bundle or $1 dollar last longer.

1. If you are using Econet (what are you using, Econet has 8 million subscribers) buy data bundles. These are cheaper than using straight airtime.

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Here is how you buy data bundles.

–          Juice your phone the normal way, well some would like to sound sophisticated and say top up your phone. Its one and the same thing.

–          Dial *140# and Choose option 1, buy data bundle

–          On the next screen, choose the bundle that you want to buy, Option 1 for 5mb, Option 2 for 10mb and so forth.

–          You are all done and dry, besides if you use your bundle between 12am and 5am in the morning, you get a further 50% discount.

–          If you use your airtime directly, you only get 7mb for a dollar and no discounts for using your phone between 12am and 5am.

2. Secondly, the biggest culprit to eating airtime is background data sync… You kill that you will realise your phone money not getting eaten up.

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–          On an Android phone, Go to Settings

–          Look for Accounts and Sync

–          Disable those

3. Walla, the whole process of owning a smartphone is to enjoy the smartness is the phone. Well it would be cool to use Google Maps and show off to your friends that you will never get lost. Unfortunately Maps uses GPS which in turn chews up airtime like a hungry lion. Disable Maps for good and ask strangers for directions when you get lost, who knows you may make a new friend.

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–          On a more practical note though, save Maps to view off line.

4. Forget about using that built in Browser, no matter how cool pages look in it. It sucks airtime like a Hoover Cleaner. Instead, dumb as it may sound, Download Opera Mini and use that instead. It compresses pages like hell and still retain the page quality.

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Now you have done all that your phone won’t eat airtime. But wait I have just turned my smartphone to a dumb phone. Not really, once in a while, go to an internet Cafe, visit the internet via Wifi and enjoy the smartness in your phone.

Android vs Everything Else…

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Well we all know how people get excited upon hearing the word “Iphone”. No denying it, Iphones are really cool gadgets but Android has some cool things going on, infact the Android features listed below will make even the coolest Iphone look redundant.

  1. A wide range of choices of Android devices. There is Samsung, HTC, Asus, Nexus, Huawei, ZTE and all other brands, with android you are spoilt for choice.
  2. With a wide range of Android phones, you also get a wide range of prices. Android has some awesome looking and great sub $100 phones like the ZTE RACER-II and it also has some of the coolest top of the range phones like the (you guessed it) Samsung Galaxy S3.
  3. There are lots of people with Android devices and it means if you get a glitch or problem, you are more likely to find someone with tech know how to fix your phone.
  4. Remember the topic of this article (Android vs Everything Else). Blackberry is not really a viable option for Zimbabweans, unless if you are a late adopter. Blackberry is as good as dead and the software lacked a good update. Besides you cannot I repeat, you cannot use BBM in Zimbabwe. Well

 

Phones to look out for in 2013

Yes you have realised that you buy a phone today, next thing you don’t feel it. You want another one.  In fact I suspect phones will end up being disposable.

But that has not yet happened. You can’t dispose your phones as yet. Below we have listed the phones that we think will make a statement this year.

1. Samsung Galaxy S4

Yes following the success of the Galaxy S3, we are sure that once the Galaxy S4 is released, people will leap on it like hot chips. Rumours and leaks keep surfachttps://i2.wp.com/asia.cnet.com/story_media/62218759/S4_sc.jpging here and there about the Galaxy S4 but nothing is set in stone as yet until the phone is released. One feature we liked about the S4 is the flexible screen

2. BlackBerry BS10

Blackberry, the dying giant is about to release the last kick of a dying horse. Well from the features list we read about the BlackBerry, you are sure to be shocked and pleasantly surprised. In fact, if the rumours are true this phone is almost better than the Samsung Galaxies of this world and the Android.

3. Iphone 5S

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You may be shocked as to why we placed this phone on number three. This is because of the price. This super exquisite phone easily beats out the two above phones but because of it’s exorbitant price it has to sit on number three. However, this is one phone that will take your breath away.

4. Samsung Galaxy Note II

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Samsung has appeared again in this list. The large phone which was once mocked by many has become the icon of phablets.  These super large phones that are a combination of tablets and phone in one a joy to use. Of course not counting the odd look you will get in the Kombi when putting such a large device to your ear when making a phone call.

5. LG Optimus G

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LG could have taken the 4th spot but save for the fact that it copied Samsung Galaxy Note II. This sees it land on spot number 5. This phone packs a punch and it’s a good choice for people who are simple tired of hearing Samsung this, Samsung that!

Well above you may note that we listed quite expensive phones. Unless you actually get paid your returns in Pyramid Money Schemes which is highly unlikely, you may have to admire those phones from the safety of glass cages in shops. Below we list low cost affordable phones which may make a statement in 2013

6. Nokia Asha 301

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This dual sim phone from Nokia is a refreshing take on dual sim smartphones. With a whole host features from this phone this gadget is bound to take your breath away. And it’s affordable

7. Samsung Galaxy Young

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This year forget about the Samsung Galaxy Mini and Samsung Galaxy Pockets. They belong to 2012. The Galaxy young has the newer version of Android. This cute phone has a bigger screen than the Mini and the Pocket.

8. Huawei For Africa Windows Phone

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How can Huawei miss this list? This year forget the Huawei Ascend and stuff and consider this Windows Phone instead. Huawei is known for its quality and strong phones but the fact that they are using windows lands them on this 8th spot. Windows is not a growing mobile software.