Globalgig: International Wifi On The Go

GlobalGig-Laptop

I think I’ve contracted a new illness. The very thought of having no wi fi signal brings palpitations and beads of sweat. I feel locked out; marooned; isolated from my world. Perhaps there’s a medical name for it, but  It’s not a nice feeling. These days, not being on line when you need to be is a serious matter. It’s all very well having wifi capability , but when there is a serious lack of hotspots to choose from and no obvious cafe or hotel lobby in sight, it’s a desperate situation. The other alternative of data roaming charges is too horrible to even contemplate.

Globalgig from Voiamo provides an instant solution to offline stress, giving you a hotspot device you can carry around with you in the UK, Ireland, USA, Australia and more recently Sweden, Denmark and Hong Kong with most of Europe covered by the end of 2013. This is not a simple data roaming device, but a service that connects to local networks such as Sprint in the USA or Three in the UK providing local wi fi connectivity and saving you up to 95% on per gig mainstream data roaming charges. Not only are you saving considerable sums, you can also connect up to five devices at the same time.

In theory it is possible to achieve speeds of up to 7.2 mb per second over local 3G networks but that obviously depends on the signal strength you can get.

I tried out Globalgig on a tour of the USA and found no problem connecting up with the local network and getting on line with both my iphone, tablet and laptop. The biggest issue was the length of time the hotspot device lasted before the battery needed recharging. I left it switched on while I walked around San Francisco and managed to get 90 minutes before a recharge was needed, but then again, if I just switched it on as I needed it to check emails or make the occasional Skype/Viber call, I could get through a day. Then again, you could take a charger with you and sit somewhere with it plugged in, even so, a longer battery life would be make this product  practically perfect.

“Businesses and consumers are becoming acutely aware of the rip off data bills they face when they return from travelling. Major networks are charging hundreds even thousands for data which is unjustifiable.”

Nigel Bramwell CEO at Voiamo

For me, having the relief of on line access whenever I needed it was the perfect remedy to my isolation phobia. Now I just worry about the battery charge……

Costs

Globalgig rates start from just £10 per month for 1 gig of data, rising to £29 per month for up to 10 gig of data with no contract needed, although you do need to buy the hot spot receiver and SIM for £50. However if you take out an 18 month contract you get the receiver and SIM for free.

Find out more at Globalgig

O2’s ‘TU Go’ App: Make Any Device Your Phone

TU-GO

O2 has launched a new app for iOS, Android and Windows 7 PCs that lets you text and call from multiple devices and computers using your existing mobile number. UK customers on pay monthly contracts simply plug their details into TU Go to sync texts, calls and voicemails across their tablets, mobiles and computers.

The new service can be seen as a response to the rise in free texting and VoIP apps, such as Whatsapp, Skype and and Facebook Messenger, now so prevalent on mobiles and tablets. However, texts and calls routed through TU Go are still deducted from a user’s monthly allowance, even if a Wi-Fi connection is being used. There’s no charge to use TU Go itself.

O2 has been keen to emphasis the portability TU Go now gives its customers. “Customers can now take their mobile number wherever they like, even away from their mobile,” said Sally Cowdry, Marketing and Consumer Director. “TU Go lets you take a call on a tablet and pick up text messages on a PC… we’re letting nothing stand between our customers and their number.”

As many of us constantly have our mobiles to hand in any case, the new app may seem of limited use — unless you’re in an area with no data coverage and a strong Wi-Fi signal, perhaps. However, being able to view a combined timeline of calls, texts and voicemails from a computer or tablet with no extra effort does have a certain appeal, and if one of your devices runs out of battery you can keep texting from another.

Installing the app doesn’t affect the operation of your mobile phone, which will still receive calls and texts in the same way (even if TU Go is installed on the same device). To run the mobile app, you’ll need an iOS 5.0+ or an Android 2.3.1+ device; O2 has suggested that apps for other platforms are on the way.

Swivl for iPhone – Get Yourself in the Movies

swivl-iphone-motion-sensor

It’s not easy to capture yourself on a video camera – and if you want to film yourself – or others – practicing your dance moves maybe, or just have a hands-free video call, there’s a nifty accessory made for you.

Swivl, say the makers, is like having your own personal cameraman (or woman). This is a rotating bases, designed to be used with and iPhone, which can enable it to capture video and take snaps while you stay hands-free.

The Swivl works thanks to a sensor that tracks movement and tells the intelligent base how to rotate or tilt to capture all the action. It also doubles up as an iOS digital microphone, so that you grab sound as well.

The Swivl can be used to take panoramic shots, conduct FaceTime chats and to help you multitask. Use it at parties and you’ll capture some interesting footage as the night goes on! hop it on the kitchen table and you can chat to a friend via FaceTime while you get on with cooking dinner.

The Swivl is compatible with iPhone 4, 4S and 5, iPod Touch (4th and 5th generations) and iPad Mini and costs £179.99 from Find Me a Gift

ChargeGenie: Device-agnostic charging on the go

HTC and O2 have already announced their first phone that comes without a bundled charger, so it seems that Energenie’s ChargeGenie first universal portable smartphone charger could have been brought out at just the right time.

Energenie

Why would you want a universal charger you may ask? Well, we guess that should your charger break, or get lost, you can shell out on one charger, that will also charge up whatever phone you happen to buy next. And should the trend for not bundling chargers continue, this could prove to be a useful investment.

Energenie, a specialist manufacturer of smart energy saving and power management products, has devised the ChargeGenie, with a gel pad design, which clamps to the back of any Android, Windows or BlackBerry smartphone. Because a lot of handsets these days have shapely design profiles, rather than being completely flat, the charger’s flexible spine ensure’s it follows the device’s contours for a secure fit.

The charger is connected to the smartphone using a tethered USB cable that neatly unfolds from under the pad and is long enough to reach the handset’s microUSB port, wherever it is on the phone.

The ChargeGenie’s neat shape means that you can carry on using the phone while it is charging – and because it only weighs 75g, it’s easy to pop in a bag or pocket once placed in its plastic storage case.

The device features five LED lights that show the battery power level, and its own internal battery can be charged on the move via USB from a car charger or laptop.

The Energenie ChargeGenie is £24.99 and available to pre-order from www.energenie4u.co.uk. It is expected to go on sale in early December 2012.

Doro 715: Making phones easy with its retro slider design

Finding the right phone for an elderly or vulnerable relative is tricky. They have to be easy to use, have large keys, and not require a weekend reading a manual as thick as War and Peace before you can make a call.

If they also come with some useful emergency features this is a bonus, and it’s why the Doro PhoneEasy 715 is such a treat.

Doro-715

I’ve tested a few handsets aimed at the elderly, and they are mostly pretty big, in order to fit in the larger keys, and often quite plasticky in feel – not good if you know that arthritic hands are more likely to drop the handset.

Out of the box, Doro’s latest release feels pleasantly solid – it is neat in size, thanks to the fact that it has a slider feature, with the keypad hidden underneath the screen, which smoothly slides up to reveal the keys. The screen itself is plain and simple, with the words appearing in a clear, easy-to-read font. The back has a textured finish, which ensures it is easier to hold than some of the fancier smartphones (Apple, I’m looking at you) on the market.

Surprisingly for this kind of phone, it has a 2-megapixel camera, which takes reasonable images, offering the option to send by Bluetooth or use as wallpaper or in your phonebook – handy if the user finds it hard to remember names. Take a snap, choose to share it via Bluetooth, and it asks if you want to activate Bluetooth – just what you need, rather than having to have the know-how to recognise which menu to delve in to switch on Bluetooth.

Doro-715-cradle

The keyboard has shortcuts keys for the camera and texts, and all the keys light up so they’re easy to see in low light. Other features include a torch, organiser, calculator and radio (which can only be listened to if you plug in some earphones).

The standout feature though, for anyone who is looking for a phone for someone who is vulnerable, is the emergency alarm. Should they be in difficulty, they can press the large square button on the back of the handset and it can either set off a loud alarm, call a chosen contact, or both.

There’s also a neat ICE (in case of emergency) section, which can be filled out with full name, address, medical notes, allergies, doctor’s details and emergency contacts should the user be taken into hospital in an emergency or be too confused to give proper details themselves.

Doro has even included a couple of games should you want them – good old Teris is one of them.

Charging is done via a charging dock – again far simpler than trying to fiddle around with charger ports if your hands aren’t as agile as they used to be.

This is a neat, well-made phone with some real thought in the special features for elderly or vulnerable users. The price on our press release was £130, which seemed high for what is essentially a basic phone, but a quick peek on Amazon shows you can now buy it for a shade under £90 – not a bad price to pay for peace of mind.

AOC myPlay: Supersize your mobile’s display

myPlay

Ever get fed up of the miniscule size of your Smartphone’s display? Have you dreamt of a larger screen on your tablet? With AOC’s new 27” myPlay i2757Fm display monitor, you can plug your Android-compatible gadget in to see your screen in large HD quality.

The myPlay i2757Fm is a clever device, and has been much needed, especially if you want to sit back and enjoy watching a movie on a larger scale than being restricted to a screen the size of your hand. Using a special MHL (Mobile High-definition Link) connector, the advanced LED monitor transfers full HD 1080p content from the small screen to the big at the touch of a button. The integrated speakers ensure you can hear as good as you can see. Your Smartphone / tablet’s batteries are also charged at the same time, so you can be sure that you will never suffer any interruptions due to your device running out of power. You can even control the device using your existing DTV remote.

Suitable for use with any Android-powered tablet or Smartphone, the myPlay i2757Fm boasts a full HD premium IPS (In-Plane Switching) screen that measures 27”, meaning it will breathe life into any film, website, document, video, photograph or even game that you choose to display on it. Just think, no more strained eyes or neck as you try to fathom out what is showing on the small screen – especially if you are playing a puzzle game or reading subtitles on a movie – all you need to do is supersize your display by plugging it into the myPlay i2757Fm.

Forget SpecSavers, the myPlay i2757Fm display monitor could very well be the ultimate sight for sore eyes. Visit www.aoc-europe.com for more information.

Best iPhone 5 cases

The dust has settled from Apple’s unsurprising “surprise” iPhone 5 announcement and case makers have been scrambling to either update or innovate on old designs and get your iPhone’s covered. I like the iPhone 5 design and it feels like a shame to wrap it up at times – but I’m also aware that it’s a £700 piece of technology just sitting in my pocket waiting to be broken and it never hurts to be cautious. Plus case designs have become better and better, becoming an important way to differentiate your phone in a world where an awful lot of people have already joined the cult of Cupertino. Post iPhone 5 release my inbox was flooded with 3D models and artist mock-ups of iPhone 5 cases but I thought I’d take a look at some of the cases that had actual made it to market.

Smoothie

QDOS Smoothies Racing, is as you’d expect from the name, an extremely streamlined case which snugly protects your treasure. The case comes in purple, khaki and blue with transparent sides and cut out sections to access your volume/mute controls. The coloured backing is scratch proof and on a raise bevel edge, with the transparent edges somehow making the colour pop a little more. From £19.99 available from www.qdossound.com

Griffin are stalwarts at the Apple accessories market and can be relied upon to hit the ground running. They have released a number of cases to cover (sometimes puns happen, get over it) the iPhone 5 market.

The Mustachio is a smooth, impact-resistant polycarbonate shell case which cases in on the moustache craze that seems to be sweeping the nation (every other Internet profile I see seems to be a woman ironically pretending to have a moustache or a man who has ironically grown one). Simple, to the point and on trend. If you’re less cool there is the Moxy, another hard shell case but with time with an understated wild jungle pattern. This case isn’t as visually striking until you get up close but the pattern has amazing texture and feels great to rub. If you’d rather the iPhone design spoke for itself, there’s the Reveal, slim-fit case which has an ultra-thin see-through hard shell and a protect rubber, “flex” edging to protect from drops. If protection is your thing I urge to try other Massive Attack albums (I’ve dated myself with that joke, both in terms of time and also that only I would want to hang around with me), but also to look at the Protector, rubbery silicone skin case that absorbs jolts and bumps but also protects your iPhone from looking good. If even that’s not good enough then you need to get serious with the military-grade Survivor. The equivalent of driving your iPhone around in a tank, the Survivor protects against sand, dust, wind, rain and being dropped. It also comes with a heavy-duty belt clip. All these cases have an RRP of £19.99 with the exception of the Protector which is £14.99 and the Survivor which is £34.99. Visit Griffin.

Ultimate-Pack

If you want to go all out in a completely different way then there’s the surprisingly inexpensive iPhone 5 starter kit from mobilefun.co.uk. The £19.99 kit comprises 6 handy add-ons for the iPhone 5 – a desk stand, car holder, FlexiShield Skin wraparound case, mini portable desk stand, USB car charger and screen protector. MobileFun also has a range of affordable iPhone 5 cases.

zBoost 4G DataBlast Signal Booster: Stay connected

4G is set to be 3G’s stronger, older sister. Providing mobile users with a faster, stronger connection, this network will roll out in 16 UK cities by the end of 2012, and expand further next year.

DataBlast

Just like 3G, no doubt it’s something we’ll quickly take for granted, which is why it’s going to be doubly frustrating when we hit a weak signal spot and can’t enjoy the speedy connection we’re used to. A recent study by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project showed that over 75% of mobile users in the US experience slow download speeds that prevent data from loading as quickly as they would like.

That’s where the zBoost 4G DataBlast signal booster comes to the rescue. Resulting in 4G speeds up to 20X faster than devices not using the booster, the device is specially designed to combat poor indoor signal. It helps users maximize the potential of the 4G connection and improves user experience and speed when accessing the web, gaming, downloading music, streaming video and uploading pictures.

Developed by Wi-Ex, a leading provider of cell phone boosters in the US, the device is set to roll out stateside from next month and will retail for around $399. It uses patented technology that protects the carrier network, while providing a solution to slow download speeds. The device comes in the form of a plug-in base and antenna, which is designed to pick up signal from multiple transmitter towers.

“The extreme data requirements that smartphones require make consumers even more aware of the reliability and strength of their cell phone signal. LOW signal means SLOW signal; recent industry statistics reveal that more than 75 percent of cell phone Internet users experience slow download speeds that prevent things from loading as quickly as they would like. With the newest gadgets from Apple, Android and Amazon sure to top holiday wish lists, a poor indoor cell phone signal can result in millions of unhappy holiday customers.”

Sharon Cuppett with Wi-Ex.

The device will initially be available to customers on T-Mobile and Verizon networks, and is the first of its kind within the 4G network.

Wi-Ex is one of the most innovative and successful cell phone signal booster developers in  the industry. Having won multiple awards and accolades, they have garnered more sales and locations than their competitors combined. Originally focusing on business and commercial boosting in corporate settings, the company have branched out to meet consumer needs, and continue to do so with their newest product.