Windows 10, the latest version of Microsoft’s Windows operating system (OS) is available starting July 29, 2015. The update brings with an improved user interface, virtual assistant Cortana, and a new web browser called Edge. The new OS is available as a free upgrade for Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 users and is available as a 3GB download. In this video we’ll show you how to get it.
5 easy ways to safely charge your phone
These tips are sure to help you do it safely
One of the most common issues for any smartphone user involves the device’s battery. We already covered how you can keep the battery lasting longer, but let’s go into another issue: charging it.
Whether it’s based off their own experiences or through research, most smartphone users know how to properly charge their phones but the same problems still exist. From overheating batteries to phones refusing to power on, a lot of these issues come off as battery-related in the long run.
So, how can we charge our phones the right way? Well, here are some things you can do that can address your battery charging issues.
Use the charger that comes with your phone
Every phone comes with its own charger and accessories. If you’ve been a user of the same line of Android smartphones or iPhones, these things are no different to you. The natural thing to do is to simply reuse the same charger across multiple devices. But, there is a reason why that charger was bundled with that phone.
Companies provide you with a charger that best fits the electrical capacity needed to charge your phone, and you should seriously consider using them. Ideally, both the power brick and the charging cable were designed specifically for your smartphone. Using another phone charger or a generic one could pose dangers to the battery, and to the phone in the long run. Also, take note if your phone uses fast charging so you have a reason to use the charger that came in the box.
Don’t do a 100 to 0 all the time
You’ve come across people who have told you to discharge your phone completely, especially if it’s a new one. These same people have also told you that doing so is actually good for your phone’s battery. The truth, however, is that your battery will eventually discharge faster, even if they will charge faster or at the same rate. Battery University, a website run by battery company Cadex, calls this process “deep discharge.”
It’s better to keep your battery’s charge level at a workable percentage before even thinking of plugging in the charger. If you subject your phone’s battery to a deep discharge, there is a higher chance that you will gradually reduce its lifespan. It’s also recommended that the workable percentage shouldn’t be too low (experts say below 30 percent) as it has the same effect.
Don’t keep your phone charging until 100
There are people who also tell you to charge your phone until you hit the 100 percent mark. Sure, it means that you have proof that your battery is full — and who wouldn’t want that? What you probably don’t know is that doing this adds stress to the battery, which damages it in the long run.
As much as possible, charge your batteries up to a safe percentage. While it would be good to go all the way to 100, working with 80 to 90 percent would already be fine. If you want to maximize your battery life, you can always look up ways to save your battery.
It’s not advisable to charge overnight
Charging your phone overnight is a common practice. At the end of the day, you would want to treat your phone the way you treat yourself: getting enough charge for the activities that lie ahead. So, the logical thing to do is to plug in the phone charger and let it reach 100 percent overnight.
But as mentioned earlier, going all the way to 100 might not be a good idea. Even if your battery reaches its full capacity, a lot of “trickle charges” come into play while your charger is still plugged in overnight. These trickle charges keep your phone at 100 percent as it fills in for the charges that your phone naturally loses. When that happens, you’re just adding more stress to the battery.
Charge when you can, little by little
Instead of charging it overnight, charging it periodically would be the way to go. Plug the charger as often as you would want to within the day, up to a workable percentage for you. It’s also good to keep your phone charged for short bursts of time to keep your device up and running the whole day. While it seems impractical, doing this does not have any harmful effects to your phone’s battery.
4 simple ways to improve battery life on your smartphone
You don’t need a power bank for this one
Owning a smartphone has been a need for a lot of people over the past few years — not just for calling and texting your family and friends, but also helping you book a ride or take pictures. It’s essential that your phone is up and running at all times.
But, let’s say the night is still young and your phone’s battery is close to empty, say, around 25 percent left. You or your friends don’t have an available power bank, and there are no charging outlets in sight. You still need your phone to book an Uber or call your parents to tell them how you’re holding up. Say no more, because here are some tips on how you can make your phone last longer.
Force-close your apps
Let’s say you opened a ton of apps over the course of the day, and you kept them idle while using other apps in the process. Having a ton of idle apps open drains your battery despite just being in the background. Your phone is still using power from the battery to refresh your apps in the background, apart from delivering notifications from these apps.
While smartphones have been getting better at managing battery drain from these apps, what you can do is to simply force-close your unused apps. Android smartphones have a built-in feature wherein you can see all the recently accessed apps and regulate their usage. For iPhone users, simply access the Multitasking feature and close your unused apps and turn off the “Background App Refresh” setting.
Turn down your phone’s brightness and screen timeout
Another feature that eats up your phone’s battery is your screen’s brightness. By default, your phone would have the brightness set to automatic, but if you want to see all the colors in full bloom, you would turn the brightness up.
But, for cases wherein your battery is already low, it is advisable to turn it down to conserve energy. Also, you can turn down the screen timeout settings on your phone to the quickest time. The shorter time your phone’s screen is on, paired with low brightness settings, the more your battery conserves energy.
Turn off some phone features when not in use
Apart from idle apps open in the background, your phone also has main processes and features running. Functions such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, cellular data, location services, and auto-sync are normally on by default. You would want to keep these running at all times to stay connected, and obviously in case of emergencies.
However, it’s best to turn some of these features off, especially if you’re not actively using them. Of course, the easiest way of turning off your Wi-Fi and cellular services is by turning on Airplane Mode. For the rest, you have to turn them off manually through your phone’s action center. Doing so stops the background processes for the time being, saving your battery life for a while longer.
Use ultra power saving mode
Let’s say your phone is now bordering on the 10 to 15 percent mark, and you are desperate to keep your phone alive. You’ve tried all the things above but your phone’s battery is still depleting by the minute. Luckily, your phone also comes with different battery saving options accessible through its settings.
When you go to your Settings menu, enter Battery options and you’ll likely notice that your phone has both a power saving mode and an ultra power saving mode. If you want to keep your phone on for as long as possible, turn ultra power saving mode on for good measure. While on ultra power saving mode, you only have access to your calls, texts, and other necessary apps you prefer.
There are other ways to improve battery life, but these are the easiest, most accessible ways to do so. Let’s hope your phone had enough power left to scroll through this article!
How to use your smartphone camera’s Pro Mode
Taking your photography skills to the next level
I wasn’t blessed with a powerful camera to take high-quality pictures of people and places. It’s not just because standalone cameras are expensive, but also because some of them are pretty bulky. If I’m going out of town with my friends while packing light, the next best thing I have is a smartphone.
Within the past two years, there have been a long list of Android smartphones that sport at least two rear cameras that allow you to maximize the quality of your photos. One key feature that they possess is Pro Mode, complete with adjustable settings to achieve that quality and depth. I’m going to show you how you can use Pro Mode to take your photography game to the next level.
1. Understand the interface
You can access Pro Mode by opening your phone’s default Camera app and going through the list of modes available. Once you have selected Pro Mode, you will be greeted by a screen with several adjustable settings.
The different settings on the interface include: metering mode, ISO, shutter speed, exposure levels, white balance, and focus. Adjusting these settings is crucial if you want to take photos of any scene, day or night. Another feature on the interface is the horizontal level meter that helps you take steadier images — for people with shaky hands like mine.
In Pro Mode, you have the option to save your images in RAW files for post processing through photo-editing apps like Adobe Lightroom. You can also choose to disable this feature through the camera’s settings while in Pro Mode to save space.
2. Start with your metering
After you have understood how the interface works, it’s time to dive deeper into preparing the photo you want to take. The first setting you should pay attention to is the metering of the image. Metering ultimately determines how your picture will look given the amount of light that the camera detects.
If you want to take a picture of a whole scene, stick with the default Matrix Metering setting. Matrix Metering allows your camera to use the whole scene, and collects data on the highlights and shadows in them. It uses this data to determine how much light is emphasized on the image. Matrix Metering typically works in any scene.
But, let’s say you want to narrow down your subject when you take pictures. There are two other metering modes for you to choose from. One mode is Center Metering, which puts greater focus on the subject as long as it’s in the center of the frame. Another is Spot Metering, which allows you to focus on any specific object within the frame.
3. Adjust all other settings accordingly
Once you have your metering mode set, you can now proceed to tweaking all the other settings to suit your needs. Keep in mind that whatever metering you choose, all these settings are set to Auto, and will display values depending on the environment.
Here are things to keep in mind when adjusting these settings:
If you want brighter images, especially when taking them in the dark, increase your ISO setting. Broad daylight shots, meanwhile often require low ISO values because of natural sunlight. If you want to capture fast moving objects properly, adjust your shutter setting to how fast (freeze motion) or slow (motion blur) you want it.
If you still think that certain parts of the image should stand out (like the beach in the background), adjust the exposure value (EV) to offset the brightness (positive EV) or darkness (negative EV) of the image. Depending also on the environment, it is also good to consider changing the white balance settings for a warmer or cooler tone.
For the focus settings, you can use the default One Shot Autofocus for quick still photos of objects. If you want to take photos of moving objects, it’s best to use the Continuous Autofocus setting. Of course, there is a Manual Focus option if you want to take full control of the camera’s focus points.
Once you have all that down, go ahead and take your wonderful photo! For comparison, take the same photo with Pro Mode turned off and see what you get there.
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