All posts in “Mobile”

The 10 best calendar apps for Android and iOS help you organize a chaotic day

One of the reasons we buy smartphones is because they help us organize our lives. No other apps help you accomplish this better than your calendar app. Smartphones come with built-in calendar apps, but sometimes these apps just don’t quite cut it. There are some great third-party apps that will enhance the basic capabilities of your built-in calendar app so that you can do much more than you ever thought was possible.

We’ve compiled a list of some of the best calendar apps we could find for both iOS and Android. We hope that one of them will be the perfect fit for you and will make your life easier to manage.

If productivity is important to you, don’t forget to check our list of top 10 productivity apps and the best note taking apps for iOS and Android.

The Best

Fantastical 2

Fantastical 2 iOS

For iOS, the best calendar app can only be Fantastical 2. It works with the iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch, and it takes advantage of some of the new hardware features like 3D Touch and Force Touch. What pushes it above the rest of the apps available on iOS is how it supports multiple languages, lets people use speech to create reminders, and even supports the use of simple text phrases to make reminders and alerts. It’s intuitive, quick, convenient, and feature-rich, which is everything you want from an app you’re hoping will make your life easier to schedule.

The iPad app gets its own unique dashboard view, which provides quick and easy access to all of your events and reminders. If you have an Apple Watch, there’s a dedicated app for that as well, which will have your reminders pushed to it, and allow you to speak directly to the watch to add new events, thanks to the Force Touch capabilities. English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, and Japanese are all supported.

Many of the app’s features are standard fare and just what you’d expect a calendar app to offer, but Fantastical 2 strives to make every process more convenient in order to save time. For example, you can start a sentence with “reminder,” “to do,” or “task” to create reminders, or use phrases like “remind me tomorrow at 3PM,” or “alarm 3PM” to set new alerts. You can also add a geofence to an alert so that it’ll go off when you leave or arrive at a specific location. For example, if you head out to a grocery store, you’ll be reminded of the fact that you need milk and bread.

Download now for:

iOS

CloudCal

CloudCal

For Android users, we can’t recommend CloudCal enough. CloudCal has a unique way of showing how busy you are on any given day. The Android app uses a system it calls Magic Circles, which turn the days of the month into clock faces, and show different colored circles, or segments of a circle. Each one corresponds to whatever tasks you have scheduled for that day. If it’s someone’s birthday, there would be a complete magic circle on that day. If you have a meeting at work that same day, there would be another colored segment on the outside of the previously mentioned circle labeled “Meeting.” The goal of the magic circle system is to give people a rough understanding of what their day will be like, and how much free time they’ll have in between everything.

To complement the magic circles, CloudCal features gesture support, customizable views, calendar import, and it can work alongside other apps like Uber, Maps, and Waze. However, that requires those apps to be installed, and you’ll need to purchase the Pro version of the app for $2.50 first. Once installed, you can call an Uber from within CloudCal, or use Maps and Waze to attach locations to scheduled events and tasks. The biggest factor behind our recommendation is the app’s unique Magic Circles system, which is stylish and gets information across quickly. There’s also the fact that you can use other apps like Uber, Maps, and Waze to complement CloudCal’s features and functions. We also like that you can attach photos, audio files, and Dropbox files to events.

Download now for:

Android

7 Moto Z2 Force tips and tricks to make you a better photographer and more

Lenovo’s latest, top-of-the-line smartphone is just as modular and powerful as its predecessor. But in addition to retaining support for the ever-expanding portfolio of snap-on Moto Mods, the Moto Z2 Force packs a powerful dual camera, a high-end processor, and software that lets you fine-tune its appearance. The Moto Z2 Force may not look all that complicated on the outside, but there’s plenty lurking beneath the surface if you know where to look. Here’s a handy list of Moto Z2 Force tips and tricks, including camera tutorials and directions for utilizing voice commands.

How to take DSLR-like bokeh shots

The Moto Z2 Force’s camera is an upgrade from last year’s model. It packs dual, 12-megapixel sensors and comes with sophisticated camera software to match. One of the coolest features is Depth enabled, which is kind of like the iPhone 7 Plus‘ Portrait Mode. The Moto Z2 Force uses the dual cameras to mimic the bokeh, or blur effect, you see on DSLR cameras, with the foreground subject in focus and the background blurred.

It’s pretty easy to use. Open the Camera app, tap the three-button Settings icon in the bottom-right corner of the app, and select the Depth enabled option. Afterward, tap on an object to bring it into focus, and tap on the shutter button to take the shot. Don’t like the result? Not to worry — the Moto Z2 Force’s editing tools allow you adjust the “blur” effect after you’ve taken the shot. You can adjust the intensity, location, and depth of focus using the Depth Editor

How to capture the world in black and white

moto z2 force tips and tricks img 20170814 155106607

The Moto Z2 Force’s camera is good for more than just applying bokeh effects. One of its dual sensors shoots in monochrome, meaning that the pictures it captures come out in black and white. This makes it easy way to make any moment more dramatic, and it’s better than using an Instagram filter.

To capture black-and-white images with the Moto Z2 Force, open the camera app and tap the Settings icon. Then, tap on the True B&W option, and enjoy the world in high-contrast monochrome.

How to shoot photos like a pro

The Moto Z2 Force’s cameras are a powerful pair, but you wouldn’t know it from the phone’s barebones camera app. If the default settings have you feeling a bit constrained, try Professional Mode, which exposes a lot more of the camera’s settings for you to tweak.

Open the camera app, tap the settings button, and tap Professional Mode to turn it on. Now, you’ll see a wealth of adjustable menus on the right-hand side, letting you change everything from white balance and exposure to ISO and focus. It’s every smartphone photographer’s dream.

How to use Moto Actions for quick access to the flashlight and more

Moto Actions have become a staple of the company’s Moto-branded smartphones, and the Z2 Force is no exception. With Moto Actions enabled, you can switch on the flashlight by making a chopping motion with your arm, twist your wrist twice quickly to open the camera app, and flip the phone face down to silence notifications and calls. That’s just the tip of the iceberg.

To switch on Moto Actions, tap the Moto icon in the Moto Z2 Force’s app drawer and tap Moto Actions. Afterward, scroll down the list of options and enable whichever action you want. A few of our favorites include one button nav, which lets you navigate the Moto Z2 Force’s home screen and apps by using the fingerprint sensor, and swipe to shrink screen, which lets you swipe down to the left or right to make the phone’s interface smaller for one-handed use.

How to use Moto Display to save battery — and your sleep

Moto Display, another component of the Moto Z2 Force’s Moto app, optimizes your phone’s screen depending on how you’re using it. When it’s night, the Moto Z2 Force’s screen automatically adjusts to warmer tones that are less likely to interfere with your circadian rhythm. When your phone’s sitting face up on a desk unused, new notifications fade in and out, allowing you to save battery life.

Tap the Moto app shortcut, followed by the Moto Display menu. Afterward, toggle the Moto Display mode you want to enable: Night Display, which enables the Moto Z2 Force’s night filter, and Moto Display, which shows notifications on the lockscreen.

Don’t want all of your apps showing up on the lockscreen? Tap Moto Display to block individual apps from appearing. Tap Night Display to set the mode’s start and end time.

How to use voice commands with Moto Voice

Moto Voice lets you open apps or check the weather just by using the phrase “Show Me.” To set it up, find the Moto app in your app drawer, and tap on Moto Voice. Hit Set up Voice, and make sure the toggle for Voice Control is on. Tap Change or improve voice enrollment, and the tutorial for Moto Voice will begin. Follow the instructions on the screen — you’ll need to be in a quiet environment for the set up process. Once set up, say “Show me Chrome,” or “Show me the weather,” to open apps or check the weather hands-free. You can even use this feature when your phone is on standby.

You can also use Moto Voice to read calls and texts aloud when you are driving. To set it up, launch the Moto app and tap Moto Voice. Tap the Talk to me menu, and enable activities during which you want the phone to talk to you (i.e., when you’re driving or wearing a headset). You can also add places where Talk to me will automatically activate, like your house or work.

How to disable the Google Now activity stream

Google Now, Google’s AI-powered assistant, is accessible from the left-hand side of the Moto Z2 Force’s home screen by default. It’s where you’ll see the weather forecast, sports scores, packages bound for your address, flight statuses, and articles related to the news you’ve been reading. But if you don’t use it, you’re under no obligation to keep it on your home screen. Disable it by pressing and holding anywhere on the Moto Z2 Force’s home screen until you see a settings menu with three buttons: Wallpapers, Widgets, and Settings. Tap the Settings menu, and then tap Swipe Access. To disable the Google Now feed, tap Nothing. That’s it. The next time you swipe to the left-most part of the lock screen, you won’t see the Google Now interface.

Nokia 9 rumors hint the reinvigorated company’s not finished with 2017 yet

Why it matters to you

New Nokia 8 too small for your massive hands? Nokia may have a larger Nokia 9 model in the works.

Nokia has already launched several smartphones in 2017, including the Nokia 8, its most powerful phone to date. Rumors still persist it has a further device in the works, which is known as the Nokia 9, and it may be a larger, bezel-less version of the Nokia 8.

How can we be sure the Nokia 9 rumors aren’t just false Nokia 8 rumors? We can’t, but a quote from Nokia executives circulating after the Russian Nokia 8 launch event hints a larger screen Nokia phone is still to come, ready, “to meet the needs of absolutely all users.”

Nothing is certain, and the release date is unknown for now; but here’s all the information we’ve gathered about the Nokia 9 so far.

Design

The Nokia 9 may have been confused with the Nokia 8 over the past months, and therefore many of the leaked images said to be the Nokia 9, turned out to be more representative of the Nokia 8. However, one image leaked back in April shows a schematic of what could be a larger device from Nokia, which may be the Nokia 9.

nokia 9

It’s intriguing because the design is bezel-less, unlike the Nokia 8, and therefore more in line with other 2017 flagship Android phones like the Samsung Galaxy S8 and LG G6. The image shouldn’t be taken as final, because when it was leaked, it was accompanied by a similar sketch for the Nokia 8, also with thinner bezels than the final version. This casts doubt over the accuracy of the Nokia 9 image.

Specification

The Nokia 8 is the most powerful version of the new 2017 range of Android phones from the company. The Nokia 9 may share many of the same features, including the Snapdragon 835 processor, and dual-lens Zeiss camera. A version with 8GB of RAM has been seen on the Geekbench benchmarking website, but these results are easily faked.

Where the Nokia 9 may differ is in its screen size. The Nokia 8 is compact at 5.3 inches, and rumors suggest the Nokia 9 may have a 5.5-inch or even 5.7-inch screen. This fits in with the quotes attributed to Nokia from the Nokia 8 launch event, but shouldn’t be taken as official confirmation of the Nokia 9’s existence.

Other features which have been mentioned in rumors include 128GB of internal memory, IP68 water resistance, and an iris scanner. We’d recommend treating all rumors regarding the Nokia 9’s specification as being speculation at best.

Release

We don’t know when, or even if, the Nokia 9 will be released. The Nokia 8 arrived in mid-August, and it seems unlikely Nokia will launch another device in the very near future. We’ll keep you updated with all the rumors.

We can dream, can’t we? Here’s what our staff wants in the perfect phone

Here at Digital Trends we pride ourselves on being able to spot a great product — and every month we come out with more smartphone reviews that are aimed at helping you decide whether or not you should buy a device. But not everyone is looking for the same thing in a smartphone, and while we can all tell when a phone is a quality device, that doesn’t mean that we don’t have our own preferences.

So what are our preferences? What exactly are we looking for in a great smartphone? We asked each of the members of the Digital Trends mobile team for their thoughts on what the perfect phone would look like. Here’s what the team members said.

Get the basics right

When I think of the best phones I’ve ever owned, the story typically goes something like this: Tasteful design, excellent build quality, dependable performance, and software that manages to be both beautiful and functional. I don’t feel that’s too much to ask for.

I’ve never romanticized new technology for its own sake. It’s more important that my phone be there right when I need it, than have a battery-guzzling 4K display. If three or four gigabytes of RAM is enough, why bother spending money on more? If I can unlock my iPhone 7 in what feels like milliseconds with a regular old fingerprint sensor, what good is an iris scanner?

I’ve been through six phones in the last eight years, and my favorite is still the Nexus 4. I bought mine in late 2013 — a year after it launched — and it rarely disappointed. It looked gorgeous, with that shimmering, reflective glass back. The size was just right, fitting my hand perfectly. The power was beyond adequate, and the lovely pulsating multicolored LED below the screen ensured I never had to wake the display to know exactly what kind of notifications I was getting.

It wasn’t flashy, and it didn’t have any back-of-the-box marketing buzzwords to attract early adopters. What it did have, however, was an excellent OS — Android 4.2 Jelly Bean — and two modest features that have come to define modern expectations: NFC and wireless charging. Bear in mind this was 2012, a handful of years before the masses knew how either worked.

Plus, it was the right price — just $250 by the time I picked mine up, right before a trip across the pond for a semester abroad in England. I needed an unlocked phone to get me through my three months overseas. To this day, I don’t think I’ve ever had a better travel companion in my pocket.

Convenience, usefulness, and usability

For the truly geeky, the ultimate phone is likely to be all about the specification. Processors that are faster than light, more RAM than a crash of rhinos, the ability to run every app thrown at it regardless of operating system, and a massive retina-searing screen. The resulting device would certainly be exciting, and almost certainly incredibly expensive. But my ultimate phone doesn’t need to be “ultimate” in that way. Instead, my ultimate phone is a template. The basis on which other awesome phones can be built; but not a specific model, range, or collection of components. More a smartphone ethos to which everyone subscribes.

The ultimate phone should be about convenience, usefulness, and usability. The hardware should be light at under 150 grams, attractive but not derivative, strong so I’m not sobbing if it falls, and durable so it won’t matter if it gets wet. The software needs to be perfectly stable, with useful apps — that means quality over quantity too — and must receive regular security and version updates, without delay. The convenience factor means it needs to be easy to use, and that includes seamless biometric security systems, a simple yet powerful user interface, and cohesive, genuinely useful features. I never want to Google for how to use something, or miss out on a cool feature because it’s hidden away beneath umpteen menus. Battery life is important, but because the system will be perfectly optimized, and the apps well curated, the phone will run like a well-oiled machine and the capacity won’t need to be monstrous. Besides, 24 hours normal use is more than enough, and achievable without turning the phone into a brick.

Get the underlying platform exactly right, and everything else should fall into place. Stuffing a phone full of features isn’t the answer, nor is thinking up something interesting and then trying to crowbar it into a device while the marketing team figures out who the hell is actually going to use it. I’m not Jony Ive, despite my British accent. That means I’ll leave ideas for breakthrough tech to him and other generously brained individuals. The ultimate phone is about getting all the basics right first, then adding the best camera, a beautiful screen, and a ultra-fast processor to the package. That’s the phone I want to buy. Rather frustratingly it’s arguably achievable now, yet I still can’t do so.

A shatterproof phone

My ideal phone is one that can keep up with my ever-changing lifestyle, and packs everything I’ll ever need while on-the-go into one device. For starters, the phone would have a battery that lasts an entire day after a full charge. Wireless charging capability is also a must, because it means finding an outlet is one less thing I have to worry about.

As for hardware, it needs to be shatterproof but also scratch-proof — especially when hiding in the deep dark depths of my bag, or on concrete thanks to my clumsy nature. It still needs to be bezel-less, super thin, and sleek. It could also support my love for capturing photos with a DSLR-quality camera, that doesn’t require downloading an app to use certain camera modes. I’d also appreciate speakers with amazing sound quality – similar to the stereo sound on the JBL Soundboost 2 Moto Mod, but actually built into the phone.

I know I can get some of what I’m looking for on Android, but as a loyal iPhone user I can’t let go of iMessage – even if my life depended on it. Even though I’m asking to pack a lot into one phone, being the millennial that I am, if we’re talking about “ideal” the price point would be $400 or lower.

Software and hardware optimization

For me, an ideal phone is only partially about great hardware. I see hardware as a way to facilitate great software — and great software is what I’m looking for in my ultimate phone. That’s why my favorite phone to date is still the Google Pixel, even in the era of the bezel-less and technically more powerful Samsung Galaxy S8.

That’s not to say hardware isn’t important — the latest processor, plenty of RAM, and enough storage is all very helpful in creating a seamless software experience. The display is becoming increasingly important, especially in a time when mobile VR is picking up speed. Durability is up there too — who wants to cover their phone in a case?

All this culminates into a list of ideals rather than a list of specifications — a phone needs to be powerful, durable, and attractive, with classy and un-bloated software and a nice, crisp display. Oh, and I’d love a headphone jack.

Better low-light camera

As a photographer, my perfect smartphone revolves around the camera. While I very much enjoy using my DSLR, it’s becoming easier and easier for me to opt for my smartphone camera in certain instances. But before I jump into my dream mobile camera, the phone has to get some basics right.

The latest high-end processor, plenty of RAM and internal storage, a MicroSD card slot, a headphone jack — essentially everything the Samsung Galaxy S8 offers, with a similar edge-to-edge display. I’m fully on-board with the bezel-less trend. A big battery enough for the phone to last a little more than a day would satisfy me, but software optimization is more important. Apple’s harmony between software and hardware is near perfect, and Google comes incredibly close with the Pixel. It not only keeps the phone running smoothly for a long time, but also ensures fast version and security updates. I’m not a fan of glass backs or glossy devices that easily attract fingerprints, so I would prefer a matte, aluminum unibody with plenty of colorful options. The display would ideally also be akin to Motorola’s Shattershield glass, but it shouldn’t easily scratch.

For the camera, I want the ability to take better low-light images. Daylight photos are more than satisfactory these days, but a larger image sensor on smartphones would help all around, especially in low-light environments. This would require a thicker phone for heat dissipation, but ideally we would have figured a way to keep the phone thin and cool. That’s it, really. There are a lot of phones and apps that offer manual controls to make low-light photography a reality, but it often requires tripod and a lot of tinkering. It would be very interesting to see how a smartphone fares with a larger image sensor, with familiar features like 2x optical zoom, and a wide-angle camera like the one on the LG G6.

A cheaper Galaxy S8, please

Some futurists predict that the phones of tomorrow will roll up like a sheet of newspaper, download apps faster than home fiber connections, and anticipate our needs before we ourselves do. That all sounds good and fine, but when it comes to smartphones, I’ve never been about the bells and whistles.

My ideal phone is beautiful. It’s functional. It’s something I’m proud to tout around when I slide it out of my pocket, but it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. Of all the phones I’ve owned, borrowed, and reviewed, the Galaxy S8 Plus comes the closest. Even after three weeks of carrying it around pretty much nonstop, I’m still enamored by its curved, colorful screen and fast-as-lightning facial detection. Its camera captures the clearest images of any phone I’ve used by far, and even its low light performance, an Achilles heel for the best of camera sensors, trades blows with my former Pixel XL. Its battery lasts a whole day, easily.

The only sore point is the price. At more than $800 MSRP, Samsung’s commanding a premium for the Galaxy S8’s design and features. But for phones that break the mold, like the S8, I’m willing to bend my rules a little. I’m not sure what my next phone will look like, or who will make it. But I know what I want: An eye-catching design, a great camera, and a long-lasting battery. Everything else is window dressing.

Perfect in every way

The design has to be attractive, but it should also feel great in hand. We touch our phones so many times in an average day that it really matters how a phone feels. The screen should be bright, sharp, and as large as possible without making the phone comically big. An expanding display, so that the phone is compact in your pocket, or when you want to use it one-handed, but can be much larger for gaming or watching movies, would be great, but it’s difficult to imagine an elegant design that would accommodate this.

The phone should be capable of instantly recognizing you for rapid secure unlocking that works flawlessly every time. Performance has to be fast, fluid, and responsive with minimal load times. It needs to have a high-quality camera that’s very fast, to help you capture spontaneous moments. If we can’t have week-long battery life, without brick-sized batteries, then our phones should be able to charge themselves wirelessly in our pockets or bags (without risk) and charge super-fast when plugged in. It should be virtually indestructible, able to take a dip in the bath or a tumble onto concrete without chipping or cracking. It should not have any bloatware. When required, it should seamlessly, wirelessly and securely connect to all the other phones, tablets, TVs, computers, and laptops in my home (regardless of manufacturer) for easy content and file sharing.

Classic fighting game ‘Tekken’ is now available on mobile

Why it matters to you

If you’re a big fan of the series and are looking for more mobile games, this release is going to be perfect for you.

The classic fighting series Tekken has been a fan favorite for nearly a couple of decades. The first game debuted way back in 1994, and Tekken 7 was the latest release in 2015 — with a re-release earlier this summer. Originally starting out as a PlayStation release, other games in the series eventually became available on Xbox 360, Xbox One, Wii U and PC. Now the game will be making its way to the mobile world.

Japanese game publisher Bandai Namco Entertainment has just announced that the popular game will be coming to both Android and iOS very soon, according to AndroidHeadlines. The game is open for pre-registration today, and iOS users in Canada have already been given a preview of the game. Special in-app bonuses will also be given to anyone who pre-registers for the game. As more and more people pre-register, more and more content as well as in-game rewards will be made available during the global launch of the game. You might want to get your pre-registration done today!

There’s going to be a lot to unpack and plenty of fun things for fans to look forward to in Tekken Mobile. You’ll have a vast selection of fighters to choose from, as the game will allow you to collect over 100 playable characters, all of which will have upgrades and new moves to unlock. You’ll even be able to create an original play style for them. Players will have to choose a team of three different fighters, much like Mortal Kombat X and Injustice 2 for mobile, to compete in online matches or Story Mode.

In Story Mode, you will create a team of three to help Kazuya Mishima defeat a new enemy named Revenant, a character created just for the mobile game. Bandai Namco is also going to be hosting live events with different-themed content, and you’ll even be able to challenge other players in Dojo Mode.

Players will need Android 4.4 and more than 1GB of RAM to be able to play the game on your phone or tablet device. The game will have plenty of other titles to compete with, so it will be free to play once it launches globally.