Google Photos Lets iPhone Owners Adjust Background Blur

The most recent update to the Google Photos app for iOS added a feature to help spruce up portraits. Photos for iOS allows users to adjust the background blur and change the focus of photos taken in portrait mode. These tools have been added to the editing menu of Google Photos, where new sliders appear for making adjustments. Google didn’t immediately say if the Android version of Google Photos will gain this same feature. Google Photos for iOS is free to download from the iTunes App Store.

Source: Phone Scoop – Latest News

Tribit X-Boom Speaker – Review

Tribit X Boom Speaker   Review

Small Bluetooth speaker. Situation normal then. As I always start these reviews, the Bluetooth speakers tend to slot into to different categories. First, there’s the diddy small speakers, like this one, that don’t have a great deal of bass and tend to be OK for the odd bit of garden dancing. Second is the massive, usually quite hefty Bluetooth speaker which have the extra “oomph” but are also quite weighty too.

Tribit X Boom Speaker   Review

So this one was firmly in the first camp when I got it. Lightweight, with a rubber lanyard and IPX7 waterproof. However, at each end there’s the “Enhanced Bass” system, and – when you pair the thing and start playing some proper dance tunes, these vibrate all over the place and, well, we tested that with Mr Coolsmartphone Duck, which you’ll see in a moment. However, if you’re in a rush, here’s the video review…

This portable speaker has a 24W output and gives a good surround sound experience. There’s wireless dual pairing and it’ll last for around 20 hours after charging for just 4 hours. It’s IPX7 waterproof, which means that it’s able to withstand immersion in water up to 1 meter for up to 30 minutes. So pretty decent then, and there’s a flap which covers the microUSB charging port and the 3.5mm audio plug which is where you can also feed your tunes in.

Tribit X Boom Speaker   Review Tribit X Boom Speaker   Review

Soft-click buttons on the side let you power up the speaker, start Bluetooth pairing and turn on that X-Boom “enhanced bass”.

Tribit X Boom Speaker   Review

I left it on to be honest and you can see just how powerful it is in our “Duck Test” below. These are “behind the scenes” videos that I filmed as I was testing the speaker 🙂

You can see how those two channels on both end vibrate quite a bit to give the bass response and the “oomph” that you feel as it pushes the air about. Yes, it’s good, yes it’s fun to experience, but there’s also a crisp treble and detailed mid response too. It’s a great all-rounder.

Tribit X Boom Speaker   Review
Tribit X Boom Speaker   Review

Here’s another look at that bass response..

Now as you can see, there’s some massive buttons up front for adjusting the volume – you’re really not going to miss then. They’re soft-click ones and you can hold them down to skip tracks etc. You’re definitely not going to forget where they are.

Tribit X Boom Speaker   Review Tribit X Boom Speaker   Review

The sound from this speaker was better than a normal speaker of the same size. The bass was really good, and the battery life was better than expected. It’s a great design and you can also get a couple of these and daisy chain them together to enjoy an amplified sound.

The only minor problem is the price, which is a whopping £167.65 from Amazon UK as I type, however I think this is via a third-party reseller and you can actually get it direct (in the USA at least) for $69.99. I’ll keep an eye out for a cheaper UK supplier though, because it should be around £60 here in the UK.

It sounds great, it’s really easy to use and navigate, plus it’s a solid and well-built product which did really well in our tests. I liked how rugged but how sleek it looked, and it’s a really good product for the price.

Head to Tribit Audio for more information about this one.

The post Tribit X-Boom Speaker – Review is original content from Coolsmartphone. If you see it on another news website, please let us know.

Source: CoolSmartPhone.com News

Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium Gets a Taste of Pie

Sony Mobile today said Android 9 Pie is now available to the Xperia XZ2 Premium. Sony debuted the XZ2 Premium earlier this year. In October, Sony said the XZ2 Premium would receive Pie on November 7. Android 9 Pie includes features such as Adaptive Battery, a new Ambient Display, and Digital Wellbeing for controlling phone use. Sony said owners of the XZ2 Premium can check for the update via the settings menu

Source: Phone Scoop – Latest News

Instagram Bug Inadvertently Exposed User Passwords

A bug in Instagram’s Download Your Data tool left user passwords exposed. “If someone submitted their login information to use the Instagram ‘Download Your Data’ tool, they were able to see their password information in the URL of the page,” said Instagram in a statement provided to The Verge. “This information was not exposed to anyone else, and we have made changes so this no longer happens.” Instagram claims the issue was “discovered internally and affected a very small number of people.” Instagram has notified those impacted by the breach and warned them to change their passwords as a precaution. Instagram debuted the Download Your Data feature in April as a way for users to keep a backup of all their data.

Source: Phone Scoop – Latest News

How do you create a custom ringtone for your phone?

Gone are the days when mobile phones were only able to cope with monophonic or polyphonic ringtones. Now you can grab and use pretty much any music that you want to as a ringtone – provided it is in the right form.

The trouble, though, is that you need to find the right track and chop out the right part of the tune so that it sounds good when you use it. Having the intro isn’t always the best bit.

It’s not that difficult to create a custom ringtone for a phone, but you will need a few tools to get the job done. First though, you should decide on the ringtone that you want to create.

How do you create a custom ringtone for your phone?

On the upper left here you can see that I’ve got the audio recorder running whilst playing a YouTube music video.

Choose an audio clip to use as your ringtone

Basically modern phone ringtones are 30-second audio clips. You’ll not find a phone ringing for much longer as it’ll drop to answerphone. So this is what you should be looking for. If you want, you could browse the numerous online resources that have ringtones that are already created in the form of 30-second clips, but that isn’t quite the same as creating a custom ringtone of your own.

But how do you get the song? Well, with most songs now restricted and playing through streaming services, you may actually find the easiest way is to start the audio recorder on your phone and record the output of a stereo or Bluetooth speaker as a quick-and-dirty way to grab the tune.

How do you create a custom ringtone for your phone?

In most cases when you want to create your own custom ringtone, you should start with a song that you like and try to find a 30-second clip within it that you want to use. After you do you can trim out the rest of the audio file, and end up with your ringtone.

Generally that is more difficult than it sounds, and the song may not exactly have a perfect 30-second clip that you can use. In that case you may want to consider not only trimming out unwanted parts, but choosing several shorter clips and merging them together using tools such as Audio Joiner.

Try to listen for ‘breaks’ in the music that would be good places to cut the audio clip that you want to use for your ringtone.

Convert the ringtone to the right format

Aside from having to choose the audio clip that you want to use as a ringtone, you will also need to make sure it is in the right format. That will vary, depending on whether you’re using an Android or iOS device.

As far as Android goes it tends to support a wide range of formats, and doesn’t have many restrictions. Due to its widespread availability in most cases Android ringtones end up being MP3, though you could use OGG or other formats if you prefer.

After it’s created and in the right format, you can just transfer the ringtone over to your Android device and then select it in the settings.

How do you create a custom ringtone for your phone?

Unfortunately iOS isn’t that liberal, and you will need to create, add, and convert your ringtone within iTunes itself. To do that you will need to import the song into iTunes, set the start and stop time, choose to create an AAC version of the file, and then convert the extension from M4A to M4R – which is ultimately the format that iOS uses for ringtones.

Admittedly there are easier ways and more advanced tools to create ringtones on iOS, but they need to sync with iTunes in order for you to use your ringtone on your mobile phone.

Final words

As you can see creating a ringtone isn’t that difficult, but the exact steps that you need to take will depend on the device that you’re using. Regardless of whether it is Android or iOS however, you should know enough to get started right now if you want to.

The post How do you create a custom ringtone for your phone? is original content from Coolsmartphone. If you see it on another news website, please let us know.

Source: CoolSmartPhone.com News

Review: Marshall Kilburn II

Looking to add a little rock’n’roll to your life? Don’t let the throwback vibe of the Kilburn II from Marshall Headphones fool you. This lunch-box-sized, portable Bluetooth speaker packs the latest tech so it can blast your tunes to the max.

Source: Phone Scoop – Latest News

Deal – Samsung 64GB microSD card – Dirt cheap

Deal   Samsung 64GB microSD card   Dirt cheap
OK. It’s crazy spending time now. Black Tag, Black Friday, whatever you want to call it. If your phone had a microSD slot, check this MyMemory deal on a Samsung 64GB Evo Plus card. It comes with an adapter and is a Class10 UHS-I U3 100MB/s device, so it’s going to be nice and quick.

Up to 100 MB/s read speed and up to 60 MB/s write. There’s not a great deal else I can say about it other than the fact that you can pick it up for a mere £10.99. If you want two of them they’ll do it for £20, and delivery is free. So, great gift idea maybe and a great present to yourself. You’ll be able to fit more photos and video onto your smartphone after you’ve added this.

<a rel="nofollow" target="_blank" href="http://go.redirectingat.com/?id=2469X582620&xs=1&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.mymemory.co.uk%2Fsamsung-64gb-evo-plus-micro-sd-card-sdxc-uhs-i-u3-adapter-100mb-s.html&sref=rss"Head here for the deal.

The post Deal – Samsung 64GB microSD card – Dirt cheap is original content from Coolsmartphone. If you see it on another news website, please let us know.

Source: CoolSmartPhone.com News

HP X2, 2 in 1 Chromebook – Review

HP X2, 2 in 1 Chromebook   ReviewA number of writers here at Coolsmartphone Towers predominantly use a Chromebook as our main devices. I have been using an Asus Chromebook flip since its release a number of years ago, and it still runs as fast today as it did the day I bought it. This is one of the main advantages of Chrome OS.

As Chromebooks have increased in popularity, device specs have gotten higher and higher, with the pinnacle being Google’s own Pixelbook, a device that I would dearly love to own but I can’t justify the £1000 price tag. 

Well for a couple of months now, I have had my eye on the HP X2 2-in-1 Chromebook. It’s a device which as has the same screen panel as the Pixelbook, high specification internals, and a detachable screen, thus giving you a 12.3 inch Chrome OS tablet. The X2 Chromebook also has full stylus input and includes the HP stylus in the price. So, when a holiday to the US approached, I duly pre-ordered one from Best Buy and collected once there, as it was not yet available here in the UK.

Device Specs:

  • Processor: Intel Core m3-7Y30
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Storage: 32GB
  • Ports: Two USB-C, Micro-SD, headphone jack
  • Display: 12.3-inch, 2400 x 1600 pixel
  • Battery: 48 Wh, rated for 10.5 hours
  • Dimensions: 11.5 x 8.32 x 0.33 inches
  • Weight: 3.07 lbs with keyboard; tablet 1.62 lbs
  • Keyboard (not backlit) and stylus included
  • B&O Play tuned speakers

Good Points:

  • Gorgeous screen
  • Stereo front facing speakers
  • Pressure sensitive pen input
  • Lightweight in tablet mode
  • 2-in-1 design
  • Lightning fast
  • Nice keyboard to use
  • Good responsive trackpad
  • Battery life
  • 45 Watt fast charger
  • USB Type C port on both sides (charge/data/display out)

Bad Points:

  • Currently not available in the UK, hence US plug
  • Heavy when in laptop mode with the keyboard attached
  • No backlit keyboard
  • Durability of faux keyboard
  • A little top heavy when used on lap
  • Does get quite warm when charging (not a problem as not on lap)
  • Screen is a bit of a fingerprint magnet
  • Only USB Type C ports, so dongles are required

 

What’s In The Box:

Unlike competing devices like the Surface Pro and the iPad Pro, the Chromebook X2 includes everything you need in the box. The keyboard is attached to the screen when you remove it from the box, and the pen is packed in its own plastic packaging. Unscrew the battery housing for the pen, pop in the included AAAA battery, and start using the pen — no pairing required.

Also included is a 45-watt USB-C charger. Although the X2 will charge from any USB charger or power bank, I found that some with only provide a ” Low Power” charge, meaning the battery won’t charge while the device is being used. The included 45-watt charger, on the other hand, means it can charge the device from completely drained to full in about an hour and a half, after I had purchased a UK plug adapter that is.

Design:

The first thing I have to mention is the display. The X2 has the exact same panel that’s been used in the Samsung Chromebook Plus and Pro and the Google Pixelbook which has a resolution of  2400 x 1600 PPI, and 3:2 aspect ratio.

I’m just going to come right out and say it, this display is gorgeous. I don’t have the best eyesight, but everyone I have shown this display to struggled to make out any pixels, images are accurate and vibrant.

Surrounding this display is a nice-sized bezel — not as large as the one on the Pixelbook, but still enough to comfortably hold the tablet portion without accidentally touching the screen. I found the touch response excellent, with no discernible delay between touching the screen and an action occurring. Housed in the top bezel is an HP Wide Vision 5 MP Camera and HP IR Camera with integrated dual array digital microphone. Hidden within this bezel, one either side of the screen are B&O Play tuned speakers, which are loud and provide excellent sound quality.

Round the side of the display is the aluminium chassis of the device. On the left side is a USB Type-C port, a Micro-SD card slot (I currently have expanded the storage to 128 GB, while I eagerly awaiting the OS update that will allow installed Android apps to access this storage). Along the top of the display is the power/standby button, and on the right is a 3.5mm headphone jack, the volume up/down controls and the second USB Type-C port.

HP X2, 2 in 1 Chromebook   Review
HP X2, 2 in 1 Chromebook   Review

HP X2, 2 in 1 Chromebook   Review

The back of the device is coated with white ceramic and houses a 13 MP camera and a centred HP logo, overall giving the tablet portion of the set up a real premium feel in the hand. Other reviewers have commented that the white coating has picked up some colouring from bags and backpacks but as yet mine has stayed blemish free.

HP X2, 2 in 1 Chromebook   Review

The keyboard is black on the bottom, and blue on the top with a faux leather texture, which again feels excellent to the touch. My only concern is the longevity of this finish. The included Stylus (or HP Active Pen) sits in a loop to the right side of the keyboard and does feel a bit flimsy, feeling as if it may well rip if not looked after.

HP X2, 2 in 1 Chromebook   Review

 

In Use:

If you have ever used a Chromebook before, the X2 experience is exactly the same, with the same ease of setup.

Log into the device with your Google credentials and there you go; everything is just how you have left it. Another advantage of the Chrome OS is that I can log into one of the other writer’s Chromebooks and hey-presto, its the same setup as I have. Even if you’ve never used a Chromebook, you’ll soon be able to pick up and use this without any issues.

The device does feel a bit top heavy which can be expected really, as all the components are held within the screen section. That said, it can easily be used on your lap, as the hinge is strong enough to hold the screen upright.

The hinge gives about 120-degrees of travel so if you want the screen flat on a table, you’ll need to detach the screen. This is done by giving a strong pull to release the magnetic hold to the keyboard. All the usual combinations can be achieved as well: “tent mode”, presentation mode” and the keyboard can be left in place for “tablet mode”. But unlike other 2-in-1 devices, the keys are hidden and not felt on the back, which is one common annoyance of 2-in-1 style of devices.

HP X2, 2 in 1 Chromebook   Review
HP X2, 2 in 1 Chromebook   Review
HP X2, 2 in 1 Chromebook   Review

One thing I did notice is that when detached, the screen portion of the set up is very lightweight, and its a pleasure to hold and consume media, and read on without much muscle strain. But that means that the keyboard section is quite heavy, and considering it doesn’t hold any battery etc, it must be weighted to give the package its overall balance. Thus it makes the overall package feel quite heavy.

HP X2, 2 in 1 Chromebook   Review

Magazines are a joy to read on the X2, here is my subscription to VWt

That being said, the keyboard on the X2 uses the same layout as every other Chromebook, so previous Chromebook users will feel completely at home using it. I found the keys well spaced, with a good travel and clicky feedback. I am by no means a speed typer but I found this keyboard as good as any other I’ve used. The trackpad is large enough to navigate around a page or app easily, and to use Chrome’s navigation gestures. It has a reassuring click when pressed.

The keyboard connects to the tablet section using POGO pins, so no need to worry about pairing or interference from a Bluetooth connection. HP initially said it would have a backlit keyboard, but it doesn’t. As familiar as I am with the Chrome OS keyboard layout, I still need to look down at the keys sometimes. The lack of a backlit keyboard is a  real negative for the X2, especially considering its price. Similarly priced devices like the Asus C302 and the Samsung Chromebook Pro, for example, offer a backlit keyboard.

The Active Pen uses Wacom AES technology, and is therefore pressure sensitive. Also included are a number of pen tips, one which is labelled to give the feel of pen on paper, which it really did.

I thought that I wouldn’t really use the pen as an input device, but I have to say this: It’s constantly in my hand, and I use it all the time to select, swipe, and annotate on the screen. This is a good thing really, as I find that the screen is a bit of a fingerprint magnet.

HP X2, 2 in 1 Chromebook   Review

HP X2, 2 in 1 Chromebook   Review

The X2 is the first Chromebook with a 7th-generation Intel Core m3 processor, meaning this thing really flies.

The newer generation processors are a bit more battery efficient than previous ones, and that reflected in my use. I could comfortably get 10 to 12 hours of use from the Chromebook X2, with five or six tabs open, browsing web pages and typing documents in Google Docs, on about 75% screen brightness.

Watching video nets me about the same life, while the battery seems to last forever when reading books and magazines.

The camera interface on Chromebooks has improved a bit over the last year. It has added the option for video recording and the ability to switch between front and rear cameras, but I don’t think I will be taking many photos with the X2. I would probably use the front-facing camera for video calls etc.

HP X2, 2 in 1 Chromebook   Review
HP X2, 2 in 1 Chromebook   Review

Conclusion:

As I said at the start of this review, I had been eying up the X2 for a while, as it wasn’t available here in the UK. The price listed in the USA was $599 (£466) but it has suddenly appeared on the John Lewis website, priced at £799 (which is a bit of a mark up). But some eagle-eyed people have spotted a landing page on the Google Chromebook site where the X2 is retailing for £599, which is more in line with the 1 dollar = 1 pound exchange rate we seem to get for technology these days.

I’m OK with the 32GB of internal storage on the X2. I can see this being a stumbling block for others. At the moment Android apps can’t take advantage of Micro-SD cards (but hopefully this will come along with an OS update), so this low amount of storage will be limiting for those that want to download Netflix shows offline, or download large Android games.

Some people have wished there was a cellular 4G/LTE connected version of this device, but I’m ok tethering from my phone’s internet connection. I suppose having the option for integrated cellular 4G/LTE means users could just open the device and get to work rather than wait to connect to their phone or connect to unsafe public Wi-Fi points. It’s just not a dealbreaker for me.

If you’re a Chrome OS user there are a number of 2-in-1 choices – the new Samsung Acer Chromebooks, or get more power and storage with the Pixelbook. There aren’t many other detachables as yet, but I absolutely love the X2. It is now my one portable device: I have a full keyboard, a full desktop browser, and even pen input for productivity. I can then remove the keyboard and read a mag or watch a bit of Netflix.

This is one of the more expensive Chromebooks out there (especially if you buy it from John Lewis!). I think it’s more for people used to Chrome OS and want to have a higher specced device. If this is the market you’re shopping in though, the X2 is certainly a device that should be on your radar.

The post HP X2, 2 in 1 Chromebook – Review is original content from Coolsmartphone. If you see it on another news website, please let us know.

Source: CoolSmartPhone.com News

Verizon Prepping RCS Text Messaging for Early 2019 Launch

Verizon Wireless plans to roll out support for RCS messaging in early 2019, according to Aparna Khurjekar, SVP of consumer products at Verizon. Google has been pushing the RCS standard on carriers for several years. RCS is the next-generation messaging system that was designed by the GSMA to provide media-rich messages, including read receipts, video calls, and group chats, to Android devices around the world. Carriers, however, are the linchpin, as they must support it on the backend. In the U.S., Sprint and T-Mobile announced support for RCS earlier this year, and each is in various stages of deployment. AT&T supports a version of RCS, though not the Universal Profile, which is what makes RCS work across carriers. Verizon hasn’t said if it will support the Universal Profile, nor has the company said exactly when it will launch RCS. Verizon already offers a media-rich texting app called Message+ to its customers. It’s not clear if Verizon will add RCS to that app, or launch a brand new app.

Source: Phone Scoop – Latest News

Black Friday – Galaxy S9 and OnePlus 6T

At some point soon we’ll the Black Friday shopping frenzy. Traditionally it was just for one day but now seems to have evolved into almost a month of craziness.

The boys and girls at Mobiles.co.uk are chipping in too, with deals on the Samsung Galaxy S9 and OnePlus 6T. They’ve announced their lowest ever price on the Galaxy S9, which is available at £23 per month after a £90 upfront payment. Over the two-year deal it makes the cost of the deal £642, which is over £100 cheaper than buying the phone outright.

Black Friday   Galaxy S9 and OnePlus 6T

If you’re looking for a top-end phone for less money, this could be worth a gander.

Black Friday   Galaxy S9 and OnePlus 6T

The OnePlus 6T, which we saw just recently during the launch, features an on-screen fingerprint scanner and also has a capacious 6.4″ display and 20MP+16MP dual camera arrangement. You can get it on an EE 4GB plan for £22 per month if you’re prepared to front-up £175. If you want more data, they have a 9GB plan for £28 per month and £90 up-front or a 30GB plan for £33 per month with £50 upfront.

The post Black Friday – Galaxy S9 and OnePlus 6T is original content from Coolsmartphone. If you see it on another news website, please let us know.

Source: CoolSmartPhone.com News