Wireless Zone® Blog

Your source for mobile technology information and insight.

The Samsung Galaxy S6’s Futuristic Features Are Out of this World

Posted by Andrea Drag on Jun 30, 2015 9:30:00 AM


Samsung is committed to packing as much technology and convenience into their flagship Galaxy smartphones, and the Galaxy S6 is the epitome of this concept. One might even refer to the device as "futuristic" given that many of its features, including a fingerprint scanner and virtual reality capabilities, were considered safely within the realm of science fiction just twenty years ago.

Who would have ever thought these perks would come packaged on a smartphone? Samsung pulled out all the stops, rebuilding the Galaxy S6 from scratch to keep the device competitive with Apple. According to several reviews, the impressive technology makes the contest between the two phones a very competitive race.

New hardware turns the S6 into a true iPhone rival


It should be clear to mobile phone technology buffs that the Samsung Galaxy S6 is no simple rehash of a previous model. The device is chock-full of new technology, some features are a first for Samsung while others are making their first appearance on the market. For example, the Galaxy S6 features a nimble 14 nm mobile processor on its own Octa-core 64-bit Exynos processor. The Samsung-developed hardware replaces the Qualcomm Snapdragon processors found in the S6's predecessors, according to the Guardian.

Also premiering in the phone are an LP DDR4 memory stem and UFS 2.0 flash memory, in addition to new pre-loaded codecs that allow the phone to read and display higher resolution images. The phone's battery received an upgrade as well, and is now capable of being quick-charged by using wireless pad stations. Visiting your local Wireless Zone will give you a chance to try out these stylish, innovative features in action.

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CNN’s product review boasted that the Samsung Galaxy S6 comes packed with one of the best cameras ever to be installed on a smartphone. Both the 16-megapixel front camera and 5-megapixel front camera features feature high-end F1.9 lenses and are equipped with numerous features that help Galaxy owners take crisper, clearer shots from their mobile. Examples of integrated photo technologies featured in the new S6 include IR white balance detection, a smart image stabilization system and automatic High Dynamic Range.

The phone’s display features two curved edges, is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 4 and are equipped with a 5.1-inch Quad HD Super AMOLED screen. The Galaxy 6S screen is so advanced that the device has clinched the record for pixel density with 577 pixels per inch, meaning the Samsung device has the most pixel-dense smartphone display available. The beautiful display, which performs better than most standard high-definition screens, is just the tip of the iceberg, however. It's the technology behind the Samsung S6 screen that is the real star of the show.

Virtual reality is now mobile


Virtual reality is just one of the many futuristic features on the Samsung Galaxy S6.

Nothing evokes thoughts of science fiction films like the subject of virtual reality, but recent advancements in display and motion tracking technology are quickly closing the gap between VR fantasy and reality. Samsung Galaxy S6 is a great example of that shift - consumers can use their new smartphone in conjunction with the manufacturer's Gear VR headset to enjoy a fully immersive experience, said Engadget. Redesigned to fit the 5-inch Galaxy S6 screen, Samsung's latest Gear VR even comes equipped with a USB port for easy charging and better ventilation to facilitate extended virtual reality gaming sessions or 360 degree films.

Content available for the Gear VR is currently slim, but the popularity of Oculus Rift, the base of Samsung's virtual reality technology, means that this content shortage won't last forever. Oculus is currently working on the debut of its own online store that will make it easier for users to access the latest VR software.

Advanced fingerprint sensors add security and privacy


Why lock your phone with a keycode if you can do so with your fingerprint? According to TechRadar, the Samsung Galaxy S6 features a fingerprint scanner that outperforms almost everything else on the market. The resource noted that the system is extremely responsive, requiring minimal contact to activate and deliver impressive consistency. The fingerprint scanner creates new opportunities for app functionality. Users will be able to make secure transactions with their phones. For instance, if the phone can verify a certain user based on the fingerprint reading sent from their phone.



These examples are just a few of the innovative features at work in the Samsung Galaxy S6. Tech lovers will be able to find out even more about the new Galaxy's hardware by getting their hands on the device in their local Wireless Zone store.

Click Here To Find Your Local Wireless Zone

Topics: Samsung, mobile device, devices, Smartphones, Device Features, Wireless Technology, Andriod, s6, samsung vs apple, Samsung Galaxy s6, Samsung Andriod, Virtual reality, Cool phone features, Samsung Galaxy s6 Edge, fingerprint sensor, s6 edge, VR, samsung galaxy

Plan the Perfect Road Trip: One App at a Time [INFOGRAPHIC]

Posted by Andrea Drag on Jun 23, 2015 1:56:29 PM


Keep your phone handy the next time you and your friends or family hit the open road. A few smartphone apps can help you optimize trip planning, stay well-fed and find your way off the beaten path. These apps are just a sample of the trip-saving features you can access from the palm of your hand.



Get organized on the cloud

Apps like Google Calendar and iCloud make it easy to share travel plans from your personal computer to your smartphone. Pen and paper itineraries are unnecessary when you can scroll through your entire schedule from a touch screen.

Access the ultimate navigator

Why dig into the glove box when Android and Apple devices both have reliable built-in apps in the form of Google Maps and Apple Maps? You can depend on these devices to get you where you need to go thanks to regularly updated map data and turn-by-turn navigation.

Tag local favorites on the fly

There's no fun in hitting up fast food chains at every stop. Give your family the chance to experience new flavors by tracking down local favorites with apps like TripAdvisor and RoadFood.

Find a place to lay your head

Need to make an unexpected pit stop for maintenance? Forget to secure a hotel before you left the driveway? There's a long list of apps like Hotel Tonight that make it simple to book a room on the go.

Turn up the jams

No road trip is complete without themed playlists and family favorites. You can load music directly onto your smartphone, or play apps like Pandora and Spotify on the car stereo with an auxiliary cable.

Share your entire journey

This is probably a no-brainer, but memorable photos taken with your smartphone camera are just begging to be posted on social media. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter all have easy to use apps that you can use to make your friends feel like they were there.


Download these apps to make your next road trip easier, safer and more fun than ever before. The right smartphone apps and accessories will simplify the entire vacation and let you spend more of your time enjoying the trip with your friends and family.

Topics: apps, Smartphones, travel apps, travel smart, roadtrip, apps for travel, road trip apps, travel, Road trip

7 Tips For Protecting Your Tech This Summer

Posted by Andrea Drag on Jun 16, 2015 11:58:00 AM

Summer is a great opportunity to spend time with your family, relax by the pool and attend fun seasonal events. Whether you plan to spend June, July and August at music concerts or in the comfort of your back patio, you'll likely have your smartphone by your side. Unfortunately, the busy days of summer involve extra chances of dropping your phone or damaging your device - Follow these 7 easy tips to help take extra care when using smartphones during this season's outings.


1. Keep phones away from pools

It may seem obvious enough that smartphones and pools shouldn't mix, but that doesn't stop hundreds of people from losing their Apple iPhones or Samsung Galaxy S6s in the backyard swimming hole. Gigaom emphasized that a quick dip can have catastrophic consequences for your device.

That's why it makes sense to come up with a few alternatives to laying your smartphone anywhere near the pool. Investing in a bluetooth speaker with voice command, for example, would make it easy to use your smartphone to make calls or listen to your summer playlist without having to actually hold the device in your hand. Likewise, consider taking a quick trip inside before sending texts or emails near the water.



2. Protect your phone from sweat

Everyone is prone to sweating during the summer months, especially those who like to stay active. Letting your smartphone swim in sweat is a risk to its internal components, so you should strongly consider investing in an arm-band accessory before your next trip to the gym or track. Phone cases designed for active use are capable of protecting your device from sweat and are the perfect accessory for any smartphone user interested in getting fit this summer. You can test the arm-bands of your choice by visiting your local Wireless Zone location.



3. Be cautious in large crowds

There's a good chance that you and your friends or family will attend at least one large event this summer, be it a state fair, music festival or live performance. It's easy to drop a smartphone or leave one behind at events with large crowds of people. Such events also come with the risk of being targeted by pickpockets as well.

Consider the benefits of leaving your smartphone stowed away while navigating through a large mass of people at crowded events. The subsequent hustle and bustle of people only increases the risk of a random elbow or misstep that could send your smartphone soaring to the pavement.


iStock_000046456230_Large4. Encourage kids to be more mindful

Between day camps, sports leagues and friend visits, there's a good chance the kids will be out of the house quite a bit this summer. If they have smartphones of their own for the sake of staying in close communication with the family, then make sure to emphasize the importance of keeping a close eye on their device. Set expectations for how kids are expected to treat their phones and you can help to reduce accidental damage in the future.

You can also help kids out with taking care of their phone by letting them pick out a case. Instilling kids with bit of extra ownership will help your children to remember their phone is privilege worth looking after on a daily basis.



5. Watch pets around tech

More time spent with your family during the season also means more time spent near and around your pets. Dogs in particular can be a bit unpredictable when it comes to nibbling on pieces of small technology. A wayward tail swipe outdoors could also send a smartphone tumbling toward the pool. Keep an eye on your pets and avoid leaving your device on low surfaces like foot rests or chairs. Unattended smartphones in these locations could be quickly pilfered by a bored or curious pet.



6. Research options for device recovery

If all else fails, you can make sure any device that is lost or stolen this summer can be recovered by thinking ahead. Apple has even done the work for iPhone users - Find My iPhone, an application built into iOS, allows you to monitor the location of your phone online. You can even use the same app to lock your device if you believe that it has been stolen.

Android users have access to the same functionality via the Google-developed Android Device Manager. Like its iOS equivalent, the Android Device Manager allows users to delete the contents of their phone if they believe the phone is no longer recoverable.



7. Rest assured with an insured phone 

Knowing that you’ll be more active during the summer months, you will want to make sure that your expensive smartphone is protected.  We all know that nothing will ruin a fun summer day quite like finding out that it will cost you upwards of $600 to replace your unprotected smartphone.  Aside from saving you hundreds of dollars should an accident occur, protection plans these days also come with a lot of great side benefits (plan dependent) including: cloud back up, on-demand tech support, wipe/lock/locate features, and even a guaranteed buyback value. Don’t end up disconnected from the rest of the world this summer – protect your phone. Learn what options your phone has for protection at your local Wireless Zone

Click Here To Find Your Local Wireless Zone

Topics: Apple, smartphone user, Smartphones, Tips for summer, Andriod, Summer tips, Tips, Smartphone Tips, Protect your tech, Ways, How to, Summer Blog

5 Smartphone Apps Dad Is Sure To Love

Posted by Andrea Drag on Jun 9, 2015 3:35:00 PM


It’s nearly Father's Day, so it makes sense to start thinking about how to honor your Dad. There are plenty of ways to make his life a little extra special and easier, and one way is with a few new smartphone apps. Downloading the right apps onto his phone is an easy way to simplify his daily routine or get more enjoyment out of his favorite hobbies. Choose from this list of popular apps available on both Andriod and IOS to put on Dad's smartphone and you're sure to put a smile on his face this Father's Day.

1. Help Dad get off the couch

Dad_app_JogSupply Dad with a bit of extra motivation to get back in shape this summer by downloading Couch to 5K. The app is full of features that will encourage him to adopt new exercise habits and start taking better care of his health. Features include custom training schedules, progress tracking, motivational tools and resources developed by professional trainers. Users can take advantage of the app to successfully prepare for a 5K race or just as an excuse to start a new lifestyle habit. The app is free, and available for iOS and Android.


2. Simplify his schedule with organized lists


Being a husband and a father can be time-consuming, and Dads are often asked to multitask and keep track of different schedules. Some men are All-Star organizers, but the rest rely on tools like lists to keep everyone and everything in check. Help dad take his list game to the next level by downloading a smartphone app to keep him on track. Praised in a review in PC Mag, Any.do is one of the top list apps available for both Andriod and Apple devices. The app aims to help make Dad more aware of his schedule by encouraging regular reviews of to-do lists that help him stay organized. 


3. Make following the game easier than ever


There's a good chance that Dad is a fan of a few sports. The Score app, created by one of the most popular sports sites on the web, makes it easy for iOS and Android users to keep track of their favorite teams and latest sports news from their smartphone. This app boasts real time coverage of Football, Baseball, Basketball, Hockey, Soccer, Golf, Tennis, Auto Racing, Mixed Martial Arts and Lacrosse so Dad can keep easily track of his favorites. The ability to conveniently keep tabs on sports ranging from the NBA to Formula 1 is a great free gift for your Dad come Father’s Day. 


 4. Get the man of the house back into reading


Even if Dad is all about sports, he may also like to nurture his intellectual side as well. You can encourage him to get his nose in a book this Father's Day by supplying a subscription to Oyster. For just 9.95 a month, iPhone and Android users have access to a near limitless archive of eBooks for their personal perusal. The app is also available on most tablets and ereaders and is an excellent way to celebrate a man who loves to read or encourage Dad to get into eBooks as a new hobby.



5. Provide your favorite grill master with a handy reference

Dad_app_grillingThere's a good chance Dad will take to the backyard this weekend to fire up the grill. Why not simplify his life by collecting the tastiest BBQ tips and recipes he needs onto his phone? This is an easy chore thanks to the Weber Grill App, courtesy of the of America's leading manufacturers of BBQ equipment. Dozens of new recipes are delivered to the app on a weekly basis in addition to technique guides that you can use to hone your grill skills. There are free and premium versions of the app and it is available both for Apple and Android products.



The perfect app will make an even bigger splash this Father's Day as part of a full smartphone upgrade. Visit your nearest Wireless Zone to explore the latest devices and see firsthand what modern apps can do.

Click Here To Find Your Local Wireless Zone

Topics: Android Apps, Android, Apple, iPhone apps, Sport Apps, Grilling App, Father's Day, Apps Dad will use, Apps for Dad, Free apps, Father's Day Apps, Paid Apps, i0S, Fitness Apps

Why Smartphones are the Smartest Gift for Graduation

Posted by Andrea Drag on May 18, 2015 2:44:00 PM

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May through June is graduation season, and many parents are already thinking ahead to the fall. Upgrading your children's mobile device is an easy way to send your kids off to college with a graduation gift they'll love. This practical present will make it a breeze to stay in touch, no matter how far away their academic pursuits take them. The latest smartphones are also powerful technological resources that can provide plenty of organizational support to your college-bound kids - letting them work with the device over the summer will help them master its features before they take the next big step in their journeys. A bit of research will help you pick out the perfect smartphone for propelling your college students toward success in the upcoming semester.

Smartphones are a great resource for college students
Smartphones are ubiquitous on college campuses, commonly found in the hands of undergrads and graduate students alike as they go from class to class. Yahoo Small Business noted that 53 percent of college students currently own smartphones, and that number is likely to increase as more high school students who grew up in the age of smartphones head to the next stage of their education.

One of the reasons smartphones are so popular among college students is because of their use as versatile personal assistants. Business and international business students can surf their favorite news aggregates between classes. Out-of-state transfers can utilize the map app on their smartphone to navigate a new city and a big campus. Tech-savvy students use their smartphones as portable storage devices, carrying important files and class documents with them for class. The extracurricular oriented students will find their smartphones are a priceless asset to access email and social media on the go. Calendar applications provide an easy way for students in every type of program to keep their classes, homework and social life in order.

These are just a sample of reasons why smartphones make perfect gifts for recent graduates. The trick is finding the right device. A quick visit to your local Wireless Zone will make it simple to find a smartphone upgrade that's right for the college-bound members of your household.

Apple's iPhone and the Samsung Galaxy are great picks for graduates
Apple's iPhones are by far the most popular smartphone among the college-aged crowd, and the latest iPhone 6 has likewise been a big seller among millennial students. The new 4.7-inch model offers powerful hardware and a more streamlined design, along with the numerous innovations packed into Apple's latest iOS operating system.

If your kids are already Apple aficionados it makes sense to stay within the company's stable of products. Streamlined connectivity between products will make it easy for your students to transfer information from one Apple device to another. The iconic nature of the Apple brand also make the iPhone a great gift for kids with a flair for fashion.

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Smartphones allow college students to stay connected with friends and family.

Depending on the needs and preferences of your children, you may want to compare Apple's latest iPhone with the Samsung Galaxy S6. Well received as the best Android option on the market, the Galaxy S6 boasts a 5.1-inch screen that bests the iPhone in color and resolution, according to Laptop Mag. Samsung's flagship smartphone also features a better camera and longer battery life. These improved performance factors make the device a strong alternative to the iPhone if your college students aren't attached to Apple products.

The iPhone 6 and Galaxy S6 aren't the only smartphones on the market with the power and functionality your student needs for college. The HTC One M9's 20-megapixel camera, for instance, is a great benefit to users with an interest in shutter work and photo editing. For busy students with a hectic schedule planned for their first semester, the long battery life of Motorola's Moto E smartphone may be the right choice. A quick conversation about college plans with your kids may provide you with the extra insights you need to pick out the right device.

In-store visits offer extra insights for smartphone shoppers
describe the imageTest running these devices for yourself, or even letting your kids help pick out their graduation gift while in-store, is the best way to feel sure about your smartphone selection. You'll also be able to get more information about your child's top choices from an expert associate. Visiting your local Wireless Zone provides you an opportunity to browse and size accessories your college students will need like headphones, cases and extra chargers. Outfitting your family with these extras before they go to college will ensure they can save their pocket money for pencils and paper.




Topics: Smartphone, Graduation Gift, Best smartphones for college students, Smartphones, Smartphone for my kid, gifts for grads, graduation gifts, grad gift ideas, college graduation, Device Features, Wireless Accessories, tech, gift ideas, high school graduation, Wireless Technology

Top 10 Helpful Apps for Moms

Posted by Andrea Drag on May 4, 2015 3:53:00 PM

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Motherhood is a challenging balancing act. One of the easiest ways to make more time for doing the things that make you smile is by taking advantage of the high-tech time-saver in your purse or pocket, your smartphone. The ten apps listed below are all geared toward making your day more efficient and reclaiming valued hours. Check out how these latest apps can turn your Apple iPhone or Android device into a combination monthly budget, to-do list, fitness planner, photo journal and more.

piggy bank10. Mint.com Personal Finance (free) Moms are often in charge of paying the bills, which is generally not a fun task. You can minimize the hassle of budgeting by keeping records on a regular basis. Smartphone apps like Mint.com Personal Finance make it easy to input spending on a day-to-day basis. Keeping track of the family's budget in this method stops the end of the month from becoming a stressful accounting chore. 


headphones9. SoundHound (free) Mom's with Apple devices will always be able to catch the titles of the radio track thanks to SoundHound. The app is capable of identifying songs in just four seconds by listening to the tune on the radio or simply recording your voice while you hum along to the tune. Using this app will make it easy for you to expand you music library and learn a bit more about the types of artists your kids are bumping on their iPhones.


cooking 18. Epicurious (free) Moms tasked with preparing meals for their families on a nightly basis know that getting stuck in a culinary rut is not fun. Thankfully, a nearly infinite cookbook is always at your fingertips in the form of your smartphone. Epicurious available on Apple, Windows and Android devices offers a database of over 30,000 recipes. It can store favorites as go-to options, including recipes from Epicurious and others collected from your favorite cooking sites. 

cooking 27. BigOven (free) Sometimes your busy schedule prevents you from making as many shopping trips as you'd like though you and your family still need to be fed in the evening. The BigOven app, available on Android, Apple and Windows devices, has a novel "leftovers" feature. Simply input different ingredients in your kitchen that you'd like to clear off the shelves and the app will scour its 250,000 recipe database for dishes that match your ingredients.  

shopping bag6. Coupon Sherpa Mobile (free) A bit of extra research goes a long way when it comes to making smart purchases for the home. Coupon Sherpa Mobile boasts having regularly updated savings opportunities at over 5,000 well-known retailers. This app will save you time spent hunting for deals by collecting coupons for stores you already frequent. This convenient shopping app is a must for moms who want to spend less time running errands and more time at home.



5. smart-ICE4family (paid) Part of being a mom is being ready for any emergency. The smart-ICE4family app provides direct access to a long list of emergency services from one easy-to-use interface. The app delivers the user's location to services automatically and can hold notes about your family's medical details. Having this information handy on your phone can be a lifesaver if a family members is rushed to a hospital and their medical records aren't available. 


planner4. Things (paid) With a smartphone in your hand and the right app, you can review an entire day's worth of chores and goals with a single glance. Things is such an app, and you'll find using it helps you keep to your schedule without letting important appointments slip through the cracks. Errands are conveniently sorted by date to ensure your mobile to-do list never gets too confusing or overwhelming.


fitness3. FitStar Personal Trainer (paid) Exercise can help give moms the extra energy they need to stay motivated and moving throughout the day. Finding the time to visit the gym or track calories, however, can be a serious challenge. FitStar Personal Trainer eliminates obstacles of fitness lifestyles by bringing professional workouts to your smartphone. The app asks questions after every workout to check your fitness level and suggests routines for your next visit to the digital gym.


photos2. 23snaps (free) Your smartphone makes it easy to act as your family's professional photographer, but sharing those photos conveniently is another story altogether. That's why 23snaps, which streamlines the process of organizing and sorting photos of your kids, is such a great download for moms. You can even create a profile for each child to make browsing through existing photos as simple as possible. 


bed1. Sleep Machine (paid) At the end of the day, nothing helps to make sure you've got energy and enthusiasm for the rest of the week like a good night's rest. Apps like Sleep Machine allow you to create playlists and mixes that help you slip into a slumber more easily. Tracks can be set to smoothly transition from one to the other, allowing you to drift off into sleep without being distracted by jarring changes in music.  


We hope all you Moms found these apps helpful and fun. Be sure to visit your nearest Wireless Zone for amazing Mother's Day deals just for you! 

Topics: Apps for Moms, Top 10, Top 10 List, For Mom, Android Apps, apps, Mother's Day, iPhone apps, Moms, Mother's Day 2015, Top 10 Helpful Apps for Mom, family technology

Get your hands on the HTC One M9 before deciding on your next smartphone

Posted by Andrea Drag on Apr 23, 2015 8:09:00 AM

Check out the new One M9 and see what feels different about the HTC's flagship phone.

  atihome.com wzdata Personal andread My Documents My Pictures HTC girl taking selfieYou'd be mistaken if you were to believe that the search for the perfect Apple iPhone alternative began and ended with the latest Samsung Galaxy. In reality, there are numerous high-end smartphones offering their own handful of technological perks that help them stand out from the crowd. The HTC One M9 is one such smartphone that offers enough style, functionality and power to appeal to discerning smartphone users. Learning more about the unique combination of features that the device has to offer will help you make a more educated decision during your next smartphone upgrade.

Perks push the HTC One M9 into view
Striving to distinguish itself from  Apple and Samsung, HTC added a few twists to the routine smartphone formula. An article on ZDNet.com points out that the most noticeable way that the HTC One M9 breaks away from the mold is by fitting squarely into the user's hand. While Apple and Samsung devices continue to inch up in size, HTC has committed to developing a device that users can still hold snugly in their palms while on the go.

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HTC’s latest device has plenty of surprises in store.

 A next level camera with plenty of tricks
Advanced camera functionality is quickly becoming a necessity if a manufacturer wants its smartphone to compete directly with industry leaders. HTC has equipped the One M9 with plenty of software features that will invite photo-friendly smartphone users to visit their local smartphone provider and try out the camera for themselves.

For instance, users can switch between the One M9's four unique capture modes easily and on the fly, according to Digital Trends. Built-in software can also turn your photos into printable cards, the ability to create your own custom photo capture modes and transform your photos into new themes for the phone's home page. Users can even program their camera to automatically take a photo when the viewfinder senses a smiling face. These and other built-in software upgrades help users get the most out of the device's 20 megapixel camera

Reliable software will appeal to Android purists  atihome.com wzdata Personal andread My Documents My Pictures M9 Girl on phone
Fans of the Google Android operating system will find plenty to love on the HTC's newest smartphone. HTC has long been known for delivering one of the most cohesive, user-friendly executions of the Android 5.0.2 Lollipop OS on the market, and the manufacturer hopes that the latest release will stay true to brand. Again, the HTC One M9 offers users extra customization when it comes to the look and feel of their phone's interface. The layout that the device displays applications in, for example, can be modified for the user's convenience.

HTC's iterations of Android have also been some of the most timely updated OS upgrades in previous smartphone generations. Those looking to take advantage of a finely polished Android experience will be hard pressed to find a better deal than the HTC One M9, according to Computerworld. While none of these perks may seem like enough to stray from a user's favorite brand, smartphone buyers may feel different once they give the lightweight, powerful HTC One M9 a test drive in the showroom of their local Wireless Zone. Afterall, you can always earn a bit of extra insight about a phone's performance when you try a device out for yourself.


Topics: choosing a new phone, Android, Smartphone, HTC, mobile device, top device, HTC One M9, style, smartphone upgrade, M9, One M9, devices, functionality, power, Wireless Zone, cell phone, Camera, Product Information, smartphone user, photo friendly

Holiday Gift Guide

Posted by Chris Cardinal on Nov 21, 2014 4:51:00 PM

If you’re like most of us, the holidays are a whirlwind time focused on friends and family. That’s the good part. The bad part is trying to decide what sort of gifts to get your loved ones that will stand out and make them feel special. Our best suggestion? Don’t focus so much on what you’re going to buy, but who you’re buying it for. Most people fit into broad categories you can use that make shopping for them much easier.

Outdoorsy types will love things that will help protect their mobile devices while they are out doing cool but messy activities.  Take a good look at waterproof cases, rugged cases, or even something like glass screen protection. These all make excellent stocking stuffers, no matter who you're buying for.

Teens will bow down to your greatness for giving them a device designed with their needs in mind. Think large screen and plenty of storage for all their movies and music, with enough horsepower to keep game-playing fast and furious.  

Everyone has at least one audiophile on their shopping list, and there are plenty of gifts to choose from that will feed their need for music. Bluetooth enabled speakers can be paired with any mobile device. Or for something more personal, a set of high end headphones can let anyone enjoy a concert without the whole world listening in.

There are going to be a lot of great deals available on Black Friday, so make your choices now to score a direct hit when you go out and make your holiday dash through the stores.

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Topics: Android, iphone, holidays, black friday, christmas, hanukkha

App of the Month: WAZE

Posted by Chris Cardinal on Nov 21, 2014 4:47:00 PM

First, let me tell you that WAZE is probably the most relevant traffic app available. Why? Because it is a unique hybrid of advanced mapping technology and social media. The nuts and bolts aspect of WAZE, getting from Point A to Point B in the most direct way is pretty much spot on.  Simply type in (or speak) a specific address, or even something like “pizza in Danbury, CT” to start your journey.  WAZE will provide the most direct route, alert you of problems along the way, and give you a surprisingly accurate ETA for reaching your destination. Plus, as a bonus, you can share your route via SMS or email. The recipient can even watch your progress via this link to see if you encounter traffic along the way. Simply incredible!

What helps the app really shine is the continuous stream of travel data that is input from other users as they drive to their various destinations. Is there a car broken down on the shoulder on I-95? Just a few taps on the screen and everyone in the area knows to look out for it. The same thing goes for traffic, accidents, road hazards, and (yes) speed traps. This continuous stream of data is more accurate and more reliable than anything that could ever be generated by other means.

Instead of relying on data provided by the DOT or local traffic cams, it uses real time input from actual drivers. This means no matter how remote the area is you are traveling in, there’s likely to be a real time report of value to help your trip. Stuck in a seemingly endless traffic jam in unfamiliar territory? No problem. WAZE also offers up alternate routes and shows exactly how much time is saved by using them. My all-time record for time saved is 53 minutes (really!) when part of I-84 was closed due to an accident. While everyone sat on the hoods of their cars and waited, I happily sailed along on some very obscure back roads to arrive at home on time for dinner. The laundry list of great features also includes providing accurate local gas prices, and a trip calculator to take you to the best gas price in whatever town you may find yourself. It may sound like a cliché, but it’s so good it’s scary.

In short, put your old-fashioned GPS up for sale on eBay and download WAZE for your phone!


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Topics: apps, Android, iphone, WAZE, GPS

Smartphones: Is bigger always better?

Posted by Chris Cardinal on Oct 20, 2014 9:00:00 AM

There’s been a lot of hype surrounding the latest mobile device releases these days. One maker boasts their newest smartphone has a 5.4” screen, a second points out they have a 5.5” screen, and yet another touts their chart-topping 6.4” screen. So which one is best?  Is bigger really better when it comes to smartphones?

If you’re like me, comfort is high on your list of must-haves with a new device. While I am truly tempted by the monstrous screens on the iPhone 6 Plus and Samsung Note 4, I would feel a bit conspicuous pulling it out in public just to send a text. However, if you ask my wife the same question, she would tell you the larger screen is a great way to catch up on her reading at the beach, for watching a video while waiting to pick up my son after school, or easily answering all of her email while on the go. I guess that means the decision is a bit like buying a pair of shoes. Make your decision based on how you will use the device, how well it suits your user style, and how well it fits you.

Personal preferences aside, there are some real-world physical limitations to keep in mind. As you can see in the graphic below, not everyone’s hand is large enough to use – let alone hold some of the larger phones currently available.

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I recommend two simple tests to try before making your purchase: First, grasp each phone firmly in the space between your thumb and index finger. How much grip do you have with the larger phone? The larger phones also tend to weigh more, which can negatively impact comfort.

Second, hold the phone in one hand and swoop your thumb across the screen in an arc; much like a windshield wiper. What percentage of the screen does your thumb comfortably reach? Is it enough to cover your typical day’s app usage?

For iPhone users, Apple built in some help for those with limited reach: Tap the home button lightly twice, and everything at the top of the screen jumps to the middle, making it much easier to access – regardless of phone size. Additionally, some apps like iMessage have controls that live in the lower right corner, near your thumb.

Most users with large phones end up learning how to operate them with two hands, or developing “unusual” ways to hold them. I feel that if you start looking like a contortionist, you might want to consider moving to a smaller phone.

Another often overlooked part of the purchase decision comes from answering the question: “How will I carry this”? Does the phone fit into your typical pants or shirt pocket? How about a small “evening out” purse or your everyday “mom bag”? There’s nothing in my wardrobe that a large phone wouldn’t fit comfortably into, and my wife could hide a full-size PC in the day-to-day bag that she lugs around.

After all that, what’s the best advice I can give? It’s actually quite simple: Try the new device on for size before making a purchase; and don’t just try one – test drive a couple of alternatives. Your wireless retailer genuinely wants you to leave happy and satisfied with your shiny new purchase, so take the time to choose wisely.

Topics: large phones, choosing a new phone, Phablet, Note 3, Note 4, iPhone 6 Plus

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