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best phone accessories

The Best Phone accessories of 2016

07 May 2016


amaysim's tech geek

From chargers to camera accessories and even gear that takes you into virtual reality, 2016 is the year to get into tech for your mobile phone.

There are some seriously cool accessories available out there and here’s a rundown on a few up-and-comers.

For the smartphone photographer: iBlazr 2

It’s all lights, camera, action with the iBlazr 2! This handy little clip-on device replaces the flash on your smartphone camera to help you take better quality photos.

We’ve all had really epic party snaps ruined by dim lighting, but with four extra LED lights, the iBlazr helps you take better photos in low light conditions. It pairs wirelessly via Bluetooth so it can sync with your camera app – all you’ve got to do is clip it on and click away. The iBlazr promises to last up to 300 flashes with one charge and has a range of 24 meters. You can also adjust the colour temperature, brightness and even use it as a lamp. Pretty impressive, right?

For the lovers of sound: BoomStick

If you love your music loud and actually sounding like it’s supposed to, then Boomstick is for you. This USB-sized gadget will have you waving bye to low quality sounding music and hello to loud enriched sounds to your favourite tunes – one side plugs into the headphone jack of your smartphone and you plug your headphones on the other end to filter the sound from your phone to your ears. It uses a range of algorithms to enhance the bass, amplitude, soundstage and high-tone frequencies from whatever audio is played from music to podcasts. Trust me, it works great with any headphones and is a good buy for lovers of sound.

For the eco-warrior: myFC JAQ

Meet the pocket-sized portable charger with a big difference. The myFC JAQ is a completely clean-energy portable phone charger that is almost 100% recyclable. All you need to charge your phone is some salt, water and one of the myFC JAQ fuel cartridges. It’s pretty amazing! The catch is that the cartridges can only be used once and they cost about $5 each, but if you’re travelling to remote destinations, anywhere with unreliable power or just going camping for the weekend you can get all the juice you need with this one palm-sized accessory. The myFC JAQ is currently only available for pre-order but fingers crossed it’ll be available to order online later this year.

For space conscious techies: Wondercube

The one-inch Wondercube really lives up to its name. Its main purpose is to solve a problem that most of us have faced at one time or another - how do you transfer files to and from your phone without having to carry a long phone cable around? Wondercube has the answers.It’s the Swiss Army Knife of phone cables in cube form, folding out to give you access to a micro USB and lightning jack so you can easily sync it up your computer.

Wondercube also works as a USB charger, an emergency battery-powered charger, micro-SD reader and portable storage, LED flashlight and even a phone stand so you can watch movies or FaceTime on the go. It’s small enough so you can just add it to your keys. With Wondercube you’ll have everything you need, wherever you are. The Wondercube is not available in stores yet but you can preorder it online.

For the virtual reality enthusiast: Samsung Gear VR, Zeiss VR One and Google Cardboard

Virtual reality for smartphones has finally arrived and Samsung is leading the charge. Netflix and chill just got a whole lot cooler with the Samsung Gear VR-powered by Oculus. Compatible with the latest range of Samsung Galaxy smartphones from the Note 5 to the latest S7 range it lets you experience games, movies and compatible apps in a highly immersive and complete 360-degree experience.

If you don’t have a Samsung compatible device, there are alternatives – the Zeiss VR One and Google Cardboard. The Zeiss VR One another premium headset compatible with iPhone 6/S; Samsung Galaxy S4, S5, S6; Nexus 5 and LG G3 smartphones while the Google Cardboard is the most basic and affordable alternative compatible with both iPhone and Android devices.

For health and fitness: Fitbit Blaze

There are so many fitness trackers for your smartphone, but which one is the best? Personally, I like the Fitbit range as they keep it simple. The Fitbit Blaze is the new offering – it connects to the GPS on your smartphone so you can map your routes while recording the pace and duration of your workout. Also, it can measure your pulse through its heart rate sensor, has on-screen workout tips and records all of your stats in the smartphone app so you can review it later. Plus has all the great features you’d expect from a smartwatch like notifications and music controls – of course with the added benefit of helping you stay healthy. Win, win!

That is just a taste of what’s on offer, there are so many other exciting accessories available for anything you could think of – 2016 is really shaping up to be the year of the mobile phone accessory!

Stay awesome,

Seph – amaysim's tech geek


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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.