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winter mobile apps

The best apps for beating those winter blues

08 Jul 2016
Mark Headshot

Mark

amaysim's digital stuffologist

We’ve put together a handy list of apps that will take care of your mind and body appetite during the dreary winter months.

Let’s be completely honest with each other; in the deep, dark days of winter we’d all rather snuggle in bed or add to our winter insulation courtesy of a few bags of chips than get up in the pitch black and go for a run. Unfortunately, as our bodies hibernate they also expand and we can be left feeling lethargic, unmotivated and downright sad.

It's great having that chirpy, but slightly irritating, friend who doesn’t seem to notice the cold and will wrench you out of bed for a bout of exercise, but we can’t always rely on that person. And who better to tell you to get off your lazy behind and exercise or suggest a new healthy meal for dinner than your trusty phone? And when the days begin growing longer and warmer you’ll be running rings around the friends who haven’t lifted a finger in months.

Apps for your body

Pokemon Go

It's the craze getting everyone off the couch and bumping into each other. The aim of the game is to catch Pokemon that pop up around you in order to train, battle or evolve them. The workout you get is purely incidental as you walk (or run) around trying to be the best like no one ever was (admit it, you just sang the song in your head). That being said, from time to time the game also requires you to walk between two to ten kilometres in order to hatch Pokemon eggs. Depending on your commitment level this app could be the answer to your gaming and fitness needs.

What’s the damage: Free

Charity Miles

Rather than exercising for yourself, you can exercise and earn money for charities at the same time. The more you run, bicycle or walk the more money gets donated to a charity of your choice (which you chose from a list on the app). But, ‘how does it work?' I hear you asking. Corporate sponsors pledge to donate 25 cents per mile you run or walk and 10 cents for bicycling (for your reference 1mile is equivalent to 1.6km). The charities to choose from include World Wildlife Foundation, Alzheimer’s Association, Wounded Warrior Project, Stand Up to Cancer, Habitat for Humanity and a huge list of others.

What’s the damage: Free

My Fitness Pal

This one is the mother of all fitness apps, tracking your exercise and food intake and allowing you to monitor how you’re tracking on a day-to-day basis. Great for setting goals if you’re trying to lose weight or just keeping track of your calories if you’re wanting to stay healthy. The app has a huge database of foods to help you easily log what you’re putting in your mouth and measuring it against how much you’re moving your body. This one is the ultimate calorie counter.

What’s the damage: Free

Pact

If the idea of losing money whenever you don’t exercise is something that’ll get you out of bed and doing star jumps then Pact might be for you. The app allows you to wager money on whether or not you’ll go to the gym or do a workout when you’ve said you will. If you end up reaching or exceeding the goals you’ve set you can earn some dollars. But be careful, if you don’t you’ll have to pay money into the pot. Putting money in is optional, but it’s really the whole point of the app – you may as well download something else if you’re not all in.

What’s the damage: Free to download and then whatever money you want to bet on yourself.

Apps for your mind

Buddhify

Trouble sleeping or just finding it difficult to wind down from the day? Buddhify is the guided meditation that will have you seriously blissed out. The dulcet tones of the narrators help you slow down your mind and focus on the breath. Choose between several situations – going to sleep, travelling, starting the day, etc. – and then settle on one of the five to six choices in each category. Now, close your eyes and breath.

What’s the damage: $7.99

MINDBODY Connect

Find fitness classes, yoga studies, wellness and beauty services near you and book them all through the app. You can also keep track of what you’ve got coming up in your schedule and how many calories you’ve burnt based on the activities you’ve booked into. Sometimes it’s so much easier to put your fitness in the hands of an experienced professional and MINDBODY Connect is a great facilitator.

What’s the damage: Free

Have you tried any of these or got any recommendations to get us all through the winter months? Let us know in the comments below.

Cheers,
Mark

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Pixel 5

Google Pixel 5: Everything we know so far

13 Aug 2020

Fresh on the heels of the Pixel 4A being announced, the hype train for the Google Pixel 5 is now well and truly underway.

After months of speculation about whether the Pixel 5 launch would be pushed back, Google put much of this chatter to rest by providing a sneak peak of the Pixel 5 during the recent launch of the Pixel 4A.


Last years flagship device, the Pixel 4, was a phone full of potential. As we've come to expect from the Pixel series, it featured an incredibly powerful camera, however its average battery life, held it back from being a serious contender for phone of the year.

While the Pixel 4 had its flaws, it was still a really good phone overall, and it will interesting to see how this years model, stacks up against other flagship models from 2020 such as the Samsung Galaxy S20 and Apple's highly anticipated iPhone 12.

With all this said, we wouldn't count Google out from delivering something special and with such a positive early response to the Pixel 4A, perhaps 2020 will prove to be the year of the Pixel.

To help bring you up to speed on what Google has in-store with this years flagship Pixel device, here's everything we know so far about the Pixel 5.

at a glance: rumoured Google Pixel 5 features

  • Expected October release
  • 5G connectivity
  • Android 11
  • New camera features; Adjustable Flash, Motion Blur & Audio Zoom
  • 120Hz refresh rate
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G

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    Expect 5G

    It's widely expected the Pixel 5 will include 5Gconnectivity.

    The feature was all but confirmed in early August with the announcement of the Pixel 4A, where Google teased two new 5G devices, the Pixel 5 and a 5G version of the Pixel 4A, both of which are set to be released during the final quarter of 2020.

    Release Date

    Since the phone’s inception back in 2016, Google has remained incredibly consistent with their release schedule for the flagship Pixel series, with all previous launches taking place in October. This trend is set to continue, after a leak surfaced from a Google affiliated website in France, claiming the Pixel 5 will be available for pre-order from October 8.

    Android 11

    This shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise, since a beta version of Android 11 is already available for public download, however it’s expected the Pixel 5 will be the first device to don the latest Android software straight out the box.

    Some of the expected improvements and features of Android 11 include a new media player widget, easier ways to control smart home devices using your phone, a new power button menu and refinements to the messaging system and conversation bubbles.

    Pixel 5 Render
    Image Credit: Google

    Design & Display

    Last year Google teased images of the Pixel 4 in the months leading up to its official launch. This time round, the only confirmed sighting of the Pixel 5 has been the side image (seen above) which Google teased during the launch of the Pixel 4A.

    Outside of this image, there have been a number of different leaks floating about which have helped paint a picture of what this years phone might look like.

    Like the Pixel 4, it's expected the Pixel 5 will feature an OLED panel, with a matte glass finish on the back and full HD/QHD resolution. According to Front Page Tech who gained access to an early Pixel 5 prototype, a forehead bezel on the front side of the device is also expected to remain.

    In terms of refresh rate, last year we got to enjoy a smooth 90Hz experience with the Pixel 4. However with Samsung (and others) already making the jump to 120Hz and Apple reportedly looking to do the same with the iPhone 12, it will be interesting to see if Google sees this as an important feature upgrade and whether they'll look to roll out a 120Hz refresh rate with the Pixel 5.

    A Mighty Fine Camera

    While earlier leaks suggested the Pixel 5 would include a triple-lens camera on the rear of the device, more recent leaks suggest Google will once again opt for a two camera setup on the back.

    The quality of images with the Pixel 4 were outstanding, so it's not as if this should be a concern. For some though, the added flexibility of a third, wide angle lens, would of been the cherry on top, for a camera that many consider one of the top-tier mobile phone cameras.

    With that said, Google doesn't appear to be standing still, instead opting to fine-tune the Pixel's two-camera setup by adding new features.

    Expected new features include an adjustable camera flash, a new motion blur feature and the introduction of audio zoom, which will allow you to zoom in when recording video to help you capture audio more precisely.

    Long story short, it looks like we're in for a treat with this years camera setup.

    Under The Hood

    In the past, Pixel devices have typically featured the best Qualcomm chip available, which this year would be the Snapdragon 865 Plus. With the Pixel 5, this might not be case, with an inside scoop from 9to5Google suggesting the phone may be shipped with a Snapdragon 765G processor.

    The Snapdragon 765 is more of a mid-range chip, unlike the high-end Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 which powers the latest Samsung phones. This would suggest slightly less processing power than some of its competitors. With that said, the 765 is obviously no slouch and will still pack a solid punch in terms of performance.

    In terms of RAM, while it hasn't been a huge strength of the Pixel series in the past, there should be improvements on this front, with the Pixel 5 set to include 8GB of RAM in comparison to last years 6GB.

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