zBoost Cell Phone Signal Booster Review: Improve Your Reception Indoors!

zBoost sent over their ZB545 signal booster, which improves signal reception for CDMA and GSM 3G. For folks who can’t make calls or use data indoors, is this the right product to fix connection woes? Let’s test it out!

Shop zBoost on Amazon.
More info on zBoost products.

How to Restore Browser Tabs in Mobile Chrome for Android 5.0 Lollipop

I’m not a fan of how Chrome handles browser tabs by mixing them into the main list of apps when multitasking. I think it’s very poor design for a smartphone, cluttered and a waste of space. Thankfully there’s a way to fix this!

Amazon Brings Prime Video to Android Tablets – Still Finicky to Setup

Amazon has been notoriously slow in bringing their Prime Video service to Android. Cross platform compatibility was a key factor in making the Kindle service the most widely used way to consume e-books, but Amazon seemed happy to let Netflix, Hulu, and Google Play run away with the Android streaming video market.

Recently they caved on allowing Android phones to stream video, and now, the most recent update for the Prime Video app includes support for Android tablets.

It’s not all roses however. Getting the service up and running still requires a multi-app strategy. The fastest way we got it running?

  1. amazon prime instant video on android tablet browser chrome somegadgetguyInstall the old Amazon App Store APK manually.
  2. Sign in to your Amazon account through the Amazon App Store App.
  3. Use the Amazon App Store to Install the “Prime Instant Video” app.
  4. Open your tablet’s browser (I use Chrome), and log into your Amazon account through that browser.
  5. Navigate to a video you’d like to play, and press “Watch Now”. You should get an option to “Open with Instant Video”. Use that.

Congratulations, you’ve set up Prime Instant Video on your Android tablet! From here on out, you should be able to continue using the service by using your browser to search for videos to watch.

I don’t see Amazon Prime Video unseating Netflix, Google Play, and Hulu on Android devices any time soon…

Chrome App Tutorial: ARC Welder – Running Android Apps on Windows PC’s

There have been several ways you can run Android apps on Macs and PC’s, but now using the ARC Welder Chrome app, you can load an APK and run it through your Chrome browser just like on a Chromebook. Here’s everything you need to know!

ARC Welder in The Chrome App Store: http://goo.gl/9ykdOI
APK Mirror: http://www.apkmirror.com/apk/google-inc/

Video Tutorial: How to Blur the Background of Your Phone Photos Without Apps or Filters

Got a great viewer question on my Instagram feed from follower kill.the.spiders who asks:

“Do you edit your photos or are they the way they are? The focus is amazing and the blur effect is impressive, also is it possible to make similar shots with phones, like the G3 for example?”

Let’s take a quick look at cameras, sensor size, and depth of field! This video should be watched full screen for the best experience, and don’t forget to increase the quality to 4K!

Android Wear: What is Sync Loop? How to Unlock Developer Options, Take Screen Shots!

I’m just starting to find my sea legs on Android Wear, and one of the things that puzzled me was the persistent notification on my phone. What the hell does “Connected, running sync loop” mean? Here’s the answer!

Shop Android Wear on Amazon.
Shop Android Wear on Google Play.

Review: Asus ZenWatch
Review: LG G Watch
Review: Moto 360
Review: LG G Watch R

Viewer Question: What’s Up With the Black Bars When Photos are Shown on Video?

iphone photo camera review crop pillar box 4x3 somegadgetguyGot a question on my iPhone Camera review from viewer Huber, who writes:

What’s up with the black bars when taking a picture with the iPhone?There are two black bars making the picture small, kind of like a square. All of the other phones the image takes up the whole screen.

That’s called “pillar boxing”. You know how some movies are SUPER wide screen and you see thin horizontal black strips on the top and bottom of your TV? That’s called “letter boxing”. Pillar boxing happens when the aspect ratio of a photo or video isn’t wide enough to completely fill the format it’s being displayed in.

In this case, the video window is 16×9, which is a pretty wide rectangle, but the iPhone shoots photos in 4×3, which is a really squarish rectangle. As that chunky pic can’t fill the whole video window, the software showing the photo adds the pillar boxing. If it didn’t do that, you would either have to crop and zoom in (which would defeat the purpose of me showing the pics in this video) or you would have to warp and stretch the photo to fill the widescreen view.

Cameras like those found on Samsung phones use natively 16×9 image sensors, so both photos and videos are automagically wide screen. Most other phones use an almost square sensor, so any widescreen photos or videos are the result of a crop.

Hope that answers your question Huber, and for more examples of pics and vids taken from all the phones we test here, make sure to follow on Youtube and Instagram!

App Review: Protect your Android Phone or Tablet with Device Manager

We recently covered the news that California will become the second state to mandate a smartphone kill switch on all new smartphones sold after July 1, 2015.

Of course, that’s almost a year away, and for you folksĀ using an Android here’s how you can better protect your phone or tablet today!