The Summary: Samsung Galaxy S4

Okay, over the past few weeks, I’ve talked about the good, the better and the best of the Samsung Galaxy S4.

It’s arguably the world’s best smartphone (I said arguably :-/ ). Among the contenders for this spot for Android include the HTC One, the Sony Xperia Z Ultra; with the Lumia 920 and iPhone 5 lagging a bit behind but top in their ecosystems.

Here’s my summary of the reasons you should have an S4 if you can afford it in Kenya

  • Support at the Samsung shops in Nairobi for your phone issues. If you ask me where the Sony Xperia support offices are in Nairobi, I will be blank. HTC too.
  • An Android ecosystem that’s free and easy to use. The best Android has to offer (software
  • Physically sturdy and attractive. Specifications are top of the range (hardware)

Like all perfect things, it has its flaws; hence its perfect in its imperfection (I read that somewhere but it was referring to a person!). Here are my downsides in my use of the phone so far:

  • Radio missing. Like seriously, WTF? I don’t want to stream radio when I can listen to it for free! Data bundles cost an arm and a leg! Please do return the radio (take away the IR blaster for the remote if you must) but let there be free radio in S5. A pity it can’t be fixed with an update.
  • Camera app that freezes and then reboots the phone. You can imagine how frustrating it is. The good news is that this has been fixed with an update so I should update my firmware soon and its fixed. In fact, let me do it right now with night-shift data.
  • Battery life in comparison with the Note II: I am having to charge it more often than when I was using a Note II. The smaller size means a smaller battery. However, if you compare it with its predecessor the S3, it performs much better.

In Conclusion:

Image from www.zedge.net

Image from www.zedge.net

G-Features and S-Features on The Galaxy S4

The G Features I am referring to are Google features that come with the Android version 4.2.2 (Jellybean) on the Samsung Galaxy S4.

S-Voice

It can carry out many tasks quite well when you speak clearly. Setting the alarm, saving a memo, calling someone, texting someone, searching for something on the internet, etc. S Voice can be accessed by double-clicking the home button on the S4.

The Google Search from S-Voice is pretty comprehensive and brings the results into S-Voice (when it has understood them) so you don’t have to leave the app to go to a browser. It’s pretty awesome.

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The really fun part of S-Voice is in having mundane conversations with it.

Me: “Wake up.”

S-Voice: “I’m up, I’m up!”

Me: “Do you love me?”

S-Voice: “I need my space.” (Cue to be less clingy)

It reminds of of ELIZA.

S-Voice and I in action :D

S-Voice and I in action πŸ˜€

Google Now

This is the next thing beyond a personal assistant who you ask to do things for you and find information for you (S-Voice). With Google Now, find the answers you need even before you ask the questions. It constantly gathers information about you, your preferences, locations, traffic situation between home and work (oh it will figure out where home and work are, you don’t have to tell it), flight schedules etc. You can decide what information you want/don’t need by moving the information cards around.

Google Now

Google Now

There are many other g-apps that come pre-installed in phone including g+, google earth (just freaking fantastic way to view the world but tilting and turning it about, plus the vivid screen display of the S4), google talk etc. Most are available in all other Android version but their experience is enhanced specifically for this version of Android.

S- Features

S Features are unique to the Samsung S4 (and some other Galaxy Series) and you will not find them in any other Android devices.

S-Health

For the health-conscious folks (those who watch their calories, I’m speaking to you πŸ™‚ ), S-Health makes a great app. It helps you track your calories intake and those burnt in the course of your exercise. At the moment, it seems I need to make 10,000 steps in order to use up 1,000 calories (I think.) Anyway if you are an exercise freak, this right here is your perfect app.

My S-Health Feature

My S-Health Feature

Story Album

It creates a digital scrapbook from the pictures in your album. You can add descriptions of places and events in the photos, and later you can print it. I’m definitely going to do some kind of album for my now-infant son. The Story Album app also suggests to you albums that it can auto-create so you don’t have to add photos one by one, but you can edit this album to suit your creative self.

This was a suggested album :)

This was a suggested album πŸ™‚

S-Memo

S-Memo is handy for creating memos and to-do lists, something I rely on. I’m a list kind of person. Sorry no screenshot, there’s already a very flimsy curtain between my private and public life, don’t want to do away with it (the curtain) altogether.

However, it doesn’t work as well as it does with the Note II because the Note has the pen for precise screen scribbling. Sure, you can get a pen(stylus) for the S4 but it would be awkward as there is no place to carry it.

The S-Memo on S4

The S-Memo on S4

There is also S-Translator for language immediate translation, Optical Reader for QR codes, words etc Samsung Apps (this is where you will find awesome games that you can’t get in the Google Play store), Samsung Hub (for music, videos, books) and Samsung Link (to link your digital TV, laptop, tablet for media sharing).

Read a more detailed review of Samsung Galaxy S4 software here.

Second Nokia Asha 205-Dual SIM Give-Away!

Last week, I gave away one Nokia Asha 205-Dual SIM to one lucky winner. I still have 3 more to give over the coming few weeks.

The lucky winner last week was one John Njoroge!

John Njoroge with his new Nokia Asha 205 Dual SIM

John Njoroge with his new Nokia Asha 205 Dual SIM

This phone comes in many different colours to stand out from the usual grey/whites in the market. It comes in five colours i.e. black, cyan, magenta, yellow, and white.

The main features of the phone include its QWERTY keypad, relatively wide screen, a browser that can compress data up to 90% of original size (saves your MBs), social networking abilities as well as making sharing of multimedia easier through the Slam feature which allows users to share multimedia content like photos and videos with nearby friends almost instantly via Bluetooth. Through Slam, users are able to share content faster than with Bluetooth alone (no need to do any initial pairing.)

This week the challenge is quite simple. Click on the ad-it’s a Nokia Asha mobile site so it should work on the phone as well-and then answer the following questions:

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1. How many games are on offer for free to East Africans and what’s their total worth in Kenyan Shillings?
2. How many days after opening the ‘Gift Icon’ is the games offer still valid? (Hint: follow the offer for games link on the Asha Mobile site)

The first correct answer wins! Leave your answer in the comments section below.

This competition is open to Kenyans only. Comments close on Friday at mid-night. Winner to be announced on Saturday noon.

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The Nokia Asha 205 (Dual SIM) Lucky Winner

First, I want to thank all the readers who took part in the first part of this Nokia Asha 205 Dual SIM give-away. Your comments were all quite creative and appealing, I had a hard time choosing one.

The Nokia Asha 204 Dual-SIM

The Nokia Asha 204 Dual-SIM

However, one of them did stand out for its, should I say, poetic appeal. The winning comment is by a John Mwangi:

I can tell a story of how I dropped my touch-screen smartphone and it shattered to pieces. I can tell a story of a phone that dropped into (toilet, yuck!) water and that was the end of it. I can tell a story of a smartphone which had me tethered to a socket. I can tell a story of broken finger nails prying open the back covers of phones to exchange SIM cards.

With the Nokia Asha 205, I won’t have to tell these stories anymore.

Dear John, do email me your contacts (savvy.kenya@gmail.com) and I will make sure this phone gets to you. I hope you enjoy it.

In the meantime, I still have 3 more phones to give out, look out for the Monday post announcing the giveaway. However, I can still give you a clue.. find the Nokia banner on this blog and click on it, it should lead you to the mobile site from which I shall ask a question. You never know, you could be next!

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Karata the (Android) Card Game

We’ve all played cards one time or another, from poker to other forms of card games. I remember being an addict of card games at some point in my life, we were gambling with money. Well, it wasn’t a lot of money because I used to play with my brothers and we were in primary school so the money on the table was like a shilling from everyone!

Karata is a card game where you start with 4 cards in your hand and the aim is to get rid of the cards before your opponent does. You put the card on the open pile depending on the card before you. It has to match in number/pattern. The game is developed by a Ugandan friend who’s a very good programmer.

You can choose to play as a single player (vs the phone) or against other friends, although it seems they have to be online at the same time.

I chose to play as a single player and this game can sure occupy your afternoon or it helps you pass time as you wait in line at a bank/hospital or as you wait for that friends who’s stuck in imaginary traffic (this has to be the most used lie for lateness. Let’s hope the Nairobi governor doesn’t eliminate traffic or which other excuse would we use for lateness?)

Home screenshot

Home screenshot


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And the game starts with four cards for each player. No of course you cannot peak at your opponent’s cards!
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And off we go, card the game starts

And off we go, card the game starts


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Things are heating up as we each try to get rid of our cards
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Things are heating up, I need to win this!

Things are heating up, I need to win this!


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And guess who wins!
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I win! Take that you Android processor! I'm the karata master :D

I win! Take that you Android processor! I’m the karata master πŸ˜€

You can download Karata from Google Play and enjoy yourself.

10 Cool Things You Can Do with the Samsung Galaxy S4

1. Screen Mirroring

You can mirror whatever is on your phone to your TV Screen. This can be done with a cable or wireless. You can watch the videos you’ve shot, remember the S4 shoots videos in high definition (HD) mode so don’t worry the videos will be clear on the screen. You can even play games on the screen with your phone acting as a controller.

Screen mirroring bia Allshare Cast

Screen mirroring bia Allshare Cast

Find out how to set up your S4 for mirroring by clicking this link.

2. Remote for Your Devices

You can use your S4 as a remote for most of your home devices. It’s not just a dumb remote though, the WatchON app learns your likes and preferences and suggests to you programmes to watch.

This especially came in handy for our TV whose remote has been missing for a while.

The Samsung S4 as a remote

The Samsung S4 as a remote

This is how to set up your S4 as a universal remote.

3. Air View

This lets you preview contents of an email/text or view a larger image/text on the browser. The good thing is, air view can be turned on/off and you can choose the specific items which you can use air view with.

Image from techradar.com

Image from techradar.com

4. Air Gestures

The air gestures let you manipulate the phone without touching the screen. Useful when you don’t want to smudge your screen with dirty fingers, particularly when receiving a call. Very cool when demonstrating it to friends πŸ˜€

Image from http://www.3g.co.uk/

Image from http://www.3g.co.uk/

5. Smart Stay/Smart Scroll

Smart Stay is a feature that lets the phone watch you as you watch it. As long as your eyes are on the screen it won’t go off, very useful if you’re reading a book and you don’t have to tap the screen each time it goes off to save power. When you look away for long, the screen automatically detects you aren’t looking at it and goes off by itself.

Cool, ey?

Cool, ey?

Smart Scroll allows you to scroll through the browser with a nod of your head. However, I’d say it’s faster and more accurate to just use your finger.

6. Multi-Window

It’s not just about multi-tasking anymore. You can have more than one active window (app) on the screen at the same time. Makes things like copy pasting from one app to another much easier. Here’s how to set it up.

So now you have a preview into my private apps

So now you have a preview into my private apps

7. Drama Shot

Capture an action into one continuous shot. It captures a series of images in one seamless shot. Let me borrow a picture (from a fellow blogger: Nancie Mwai) to demonstrate what I mean

A drama shot captured on S4

A drama shot captured on S4

8. Dual Shot

Lets the ‘taker’ of a picture be in the picture too. Take one picture with both the front and back cameras.

I think I already talked about the dual shot in a previous post

I think I already talked about the dual shot in a previous post

9. Group Play

Lets you connect up to 7 other Samsung S4’s so you can share pictures, videos, documents or play games/music simultaneously. They connect over NFC. Now it’s a good thing everyone around you seems to have an S4, no?

Booming music with S4's group play

Booming music with S4’s group play

10. Quick links

The Samsung Galaxy S4 pull-down bar at the top has more shortcuts for switching on/off functionality. Widgets/apps can also be customized on home/lock screens. Android Jellybean offers more flexibility including the option for simplistic (plain) homescreens.

The pulldown bar shortcuts

The pulldown bar shortcuts

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The Nokia Asha 205 Dual SIM

Great news everyone!

For the next four Fridays, I am giving away a Nokia Asha 205 Dual SIM phone to one lucky reader of this blog (new winner each week).

The Nokia Asha 205

The Nokia Asha 205

This phone with its games and applications, and simple user interface, plus the QWERTY keyboard is best suited for someone who likes chatting on social networks. Or someone who likes texting, a lot.

For this week, all you have to do is describe the feature you like most about the Nokia Asha 205 Dual SIM or what you would do with the phone if you got it, in less than 100 words. On Friday I will pick the one that stands out the most and give the phone to that person.

Comments will be closed on Thursday mid-night and a winner will be announced on Friday at noon. Competition restricted to Kenyans.

So go ahead and leave a comment below!

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The Wallpaper Monday App

Mutua Matheka’s photography certainly needs no introduction. He has this series he runs every Monday: Wallpaper Monday. He takes the trouble to prepare wallpapers for your desktop, iPad/tablet and touch-phone. And now there’s an app in the Android market (or is it Google Play store? That name has just never stuck) for you to download awesome wallpapers to pimp your phone with.

I tried out the very simple to use app with impressive results.

Once you’ve installed the app, this is the welcoming screen:

Welcoming screen

Welcoming screen, so cool!

There are a number of wallpaper photos already available, and clicking on the white circle loads more wallpapers. When a new wallpaper is out, you get a notification to open the app and the new wallpaper downloads.

Inside the wallpaper app.. you swipe left to write to view the available pictures

Inside the wallpaper app.. you swipe left to write to view the available pictures

If you long press on the wallpaper you want, you get the option of sharing it to social networks, downloading it to your phone, or directly setting it as your wallpaper.

Options when you select the wallpaper you want.

Options when you select the wallpaper you want.


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And voila! wallpaper set.

The wallpaper is set on my phone!

The wallpaper is set on my phone!

Get your Wallpaper Monday App today! This is definitely one local app I’ll be using regularly.

Highlights on Casino Cruises

The summer travel season is upon us. As this time draws closer, many are not planning their summer getaway. There are many different types of vacation that can be chosen. Some chose their holiday based solely on the destination itself while others may consider what activities the destination may offer them. Some travelers enjoy certain types of holidays for the mode of transportation they can use. This is especially true for those who opt for a cruise. Cruise holidays provide travelers with everything they need as they sail from port to port. While sailing on the high seas, there are many entertainment options that cruise lines have available for their passengers. One of these can include casino gaming. Cruise lines often have their own casino aboard the ship.

Many travelers want to participate in casino gaming as it is one of their favourite pastimes. Online casinos have made this form of gaming even more popular by making it much easier to access casino gaming. Many of the new cruise ships have even larger and more up to date casinos. Las Vegas casinos are often the model when designing these casinos. One can expect to find most of their favourite casino games. These could include table games like roulette, craps, blackjack and various poker variations. You can almost always count on slot machine and video poker machines being found in these casinos as well easily rivaling most online pokies sites like www.luckynuggetcasino.com/au/online-pokies

The casinos on cruise ships often offer special comp programs. This is designed to provide gamblers on cruise ships with some of the same benefits afforded to them in land based venues. Usually these programs may only focus on table game play. The programs rate a player’s gambling to determine what comps they may be eligible for. Generally, these are discounts on future cruises or cash rewards.