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L (5)

By hackNY.org on Flickr

Amazon Student is a special service offered by Amazon which – you guessed it – caters specifically to students. Available initially as a free six month trial, the service can be extended after the trial for 50% off the price of a regular Amazon Prime account. So what is it exactly that you’re paying for as a student?

The trial version of Amazon Prime Student includes free two-day shipping for the whole six months, and members will receive email updates on promotions. Amazon Prime Students also get early access to Lightning Deals – 30 minutes before the rest of the public.

Being an Amazon Prime Student member has other bonuses that include having access to Prime Video, a streaming service with access to a large amount of movies and TV shows. You’ll also get free unlimited photo storage with Amazon Drive and a subscription to Twitch Prime with monthly games and exclusive in-game content.

For Canadian and American students who enjoy shopping online, Amazon Prime Student is a great option, especially for the free two day shipping that it comes with. Online shoppers will save money on shipping costs and receive their purchases more quickly – which is also great for last minute gifts! Students who enjoy watching television and movies will benefit as well from the large amount of content available on Prime Video. Photo lovers who may be running out of hard drive space, or wish to keep their content in the cloud will benefit from the unlimited photo storage offered. Amazon Prime Student appears to be a great service with great features.

The biggest con here of course is the price. However, you get six free months to test out the service and see if you like it (and use it) enough to warrant the $7.99 per month fee. Keep in mind that you’ll be switched over to Amazon Prime once your four years are up. If you don’t want to spend the money at that point, you’ll need to find another place to store your photos.

For more information on becoming an Amazon Prime Student, check out their website.

Highlights:

  • Six month Free Trial
  • Free Two-day Shipping
  • Unlimited Photo Storage
  • Prime video streaming service
  • Access to Lightning Deals 30 minutes early
  • 50% off Amazon Prime membership

I’ve been an iPhone user for about two years now, and don’t get me wrong, I love my iPhone, but sometimes I miss the features that Android phones of my past provided. I’ve noticed more and more iPhone users switching back over to Android, which had me wondering, what changed? The perfect opportunity to jump back into Android phones arose with the new release of the LG V20. LG claims that this phone has superior true-to-life sound on video playback, a larger camera lens to capture more in photos and a new second screen feature on a phone running the newest Android 7.0 Nougat software. So how does this phone do when faced with the schedule of a busy university student?

PACKAGING

The phone comes in a standard white box with the V20 logo on the front. It flips out into a three-compartment holder. In the left most slot is the phone in all its glory, in the middle there is the phone charger, and in the right most area is the battery. The phone charger comes with a two-pronged wall plug-in and a cord, where one end is a USB and the other end plugs into your phone. This makes it easy to use the cord to plug into a computer or sound system.

DESIGN

The design of this phone is very sleek and quite large. It has a huge display screen, at 5.7 inches, and is about 6 inches tall and 3 inches wide. It weighs about 6oz, so it’s quite light and doesn’t bear a huge burden in your pocket. It’s quite a bit bigger than your iPhone 6, which you can see displayed side by side above. I enjoyed the sleek design, which looks high end. The phone has a fingerprint scanner on the rear right underneath the camera, which to be honest, only worked about 50% of the time, and an additional SD card slot and huge removable battery. The location of the fingerprint scanner was awkward and was difficult to unlock with one hand.

The actual display and design of the phone is really great. I love the way the icons look, and the kind of bubbly style was a great departure from what I remembered the Android software looking like. This made the phone a pleasure to use! The phone does not have any home or back buttons, so on the bottom end of the display is a back button, a home button and a button that displays all open tabs when you touch the bottom of the screen. The screen is very clear and high res, and looks great playing 4K videos. It also remains clear while in direct sunlight, unlike a lot of other LG phones.

One of the cool design features is the upper secondary screen that displays notifications, the time, the date and open apps. Whenever you pick up the phone, this part of the screen turns on, instead of turning on the entire screen display. It also responds to touch, so you can swipe through any notifications without unlocking your phone. It’s a pretty cool feature for checking social media activity without having to open the app right away.

Overall, I like the design of this phone. It’s a big phone, but not too big where it can’t fit in your pocket. Though it is a little bit large to hold in your hands, it was nothing too cumbersome, especially if you lean towards larger screens. I did find the secondary screen feature very cool, but as I mentioned before it turned on whenever the phone was held up or even if it was just in your hand. I found it a little bit annoying that it wouldn’t turn off if I was on the bus and trying to sleep because the light would be bright in my face; but other than that I enjoyed the design through and through.

SOFTWARE

The phone has Qualcomm Snapdragon™ 820 with X12 LTE and 2.15 GHz Quad-Core Custom 64-bit Qualcomm Kryo. To be honest, I’m not too sure what that means, but I do know that this phone has a TON of memory. I use Apple Music, but I don’t have a ton of data, so I usually download my music to my phone. My 16 GB iPhone only lets me download a few hundred songs. This phone had 64GB of internal memory and room to add a 2 TB micro SD card. I downloaded a lot of songs and apps onto that phone with no worry about taking up space. I think the Apple Music app works better on this phone than it does on my iPhone!

I found I could use a ton of apps at the same time – the phone has 4 GB of RAM, so I could operate as many games as I wanted without having to worry about anything being slow. I ran a few action games, like Pocket Morty’s, with no lag, and not a ton of battery being eaten up – which any student would love.

One thing I didn’t like so much about the phone was some of the built-in applications, like the Notes app and the Calendar app. The calendar was simply just not as intuitive as Apple’s Calendar app. It wasn’t as user friendly and the notifications and settings simply were just not up to my standards. The Notes app was strange – it was more akin to ‘Microsoft OneNote’ than ‘Microsoft Word’, which didn’t make it easy to scribble down a note in a hurry. The texting application was okay as well, but nothing special – although I do enjoy the super cute LG emojis!

The phone also came with some cool features that I haven’t seen on many other devices. If you were using the phone one handedly, you could move the keyboard from one side to another to make it easier to type. You can use the Smart Lock feature to keep the phone unlocked when you are connected to your home Wi-Fi, which made life a lot easier. It had a setting which reduced blue light for easier reading and you can view two windows side by side which can be a useful feature – for example, when trying to dial a phone number.

Without considering the LG standard apps, I think the phone performed well and I enjoyed the features it came with. I loved the huge amount of memory and the phone’s ability to process a ton of activity at once without draining the battery.

CAMERA

The camera on this phone is one of the special features that set this phone apart from any others. This phone has TWO cameras on the back and a wide-angle lens camera on the front! There is a 16 MP standard angle lens and an 8 MP wide angle lens on the back of the phone (the iPhone 7 only has a 12 MP), and 5 MP wide angle lens at the front. The amount of content that you can fit into one picture is absolutely AMAZING. I was floored when I started using the camera. The pictures are extremely clear, much better than the ones my iPhone 6 can take. The colours are more saturated, but it makes scenery look so much deeper and richer than other cameras. In dim light, the pictures do lose this colour and end up more pixelated and more grey-toned, even with the flash on. I think on this spectrum the iPhone may be a bit better at taking night photos, but it doesn’t compare to the quality and amount of space you can get into photos with this phone.

The front camera is similar, able to fit a ton of content into one picture. I think Ellen would have loved this camera for the 2015 Oscar’s selfie because it as a group setting that can be used when there are a bunch of people trying to get into a picture. It was really cool how much you could get out of the camera, and it was definitely my favourite part of the phone. If you’re a photographer, I think you’ll love this for any spur of the moment photoshoots. The phone provides a selfie light to make sure that your selfies are well lit, has built in filters to blur out any imperfections and can take quick shots in case you need to snap a pic real quick. I thought this camera was great for selfie taking – I even posted a few on my Instagram account!

As for the video settings, this phone has a cool feature that helps to reduce any shakiness on videos. I wasn’t able to use it on any moving targets, but if you are filming with a shaky hand, it definitely aids in keeping the video steady no matter who is moving. The videos were as clear as the pictures. I think the camera on this phone is incredible and is probably the stand out feature for a product like this. I’ve never seen anything like this on any phone, so it is definitely a cool thing that you can show off to your friends!

LG V20 Vs iPhone 6

Taken with the LG V20

Taken with the iPhone 6

You can clearly see that the V20 shows much more clarity, richer colours and gives off a wider view of the scene.

AUDIO

The audio playback on this device was wonderful. Music that I had downloaded from Apple Music sounded really great through headphones, and the sound capability from video playback was also very crisp and clear. I can for a fact say that the playback from this phone was superior to the iPhone 6 and it was quite nice, as I like to listen to music when I’m walking around on campus. Listening to music didn’t drain the battery life either, which was an added bonus.

The LG website also claims that this device has a very high sound recording capability for video and audio. Video recordings have ‘true-to-life sound’ for clean audio to match your videos. Additionally, when audio recording, you can capture crisp sounds and can record on separate tracks that layer over playback. This would be great for recording memos or even lectures, which is a useful feature to have as a university student.

BATTERY LIFE

To put this product to the test, I took it to school for an ENTIRE day. And that means travelling with me from about 8:30am to 10:00pm, because it takes me about an hour and a half to get to school and from there I had class from 11:00am to 9:00pm. On a daily basis, I use my phone to listen to music in between classes and when on the bus, and constantly use my phone to check social media, text and research things. Now, I typically don’t have my data on all the time – at school I’m pretty much always connected to the WiFi. To give you an apt comparison, when I use my iPhone, by the end of the day I’d say my phone is in the 20-35% battery left category for the same length day.

With this phone with me through my day, I was left with 36% battery power – and the phone indicated to me that this meant another 7h and 43 minutes of usage (which was probably only standby time) but still, that’s a lot of battery power left. This was with Wi-Fi on, with the phone on vibrate and the game battery saver on, but not the regular battery saver. Though it performed about the same as my iPhone, I will say that I was pleasantly surprised that the battery lasted so long. It did a great job and a college student would have no issue taking this phone out for the day and not having to worry about it dying. And it charges really fast – it took about 4 hours to charge completely and was ready to use again, which is great for the student on the go.

OVERALL

PROSCONS
· Large, clear screen

· Great cameras

· Great audio playback

· Long lasting, quick charging battery

· Expensive – $480 retail!

· Poorly designed fingerprint scanner

· Poor built-in app design

I must say that I was pleasantly surprised by this device. In the past, whenever I have used an Android phone, I was never impressed because I had an iPhone, but this phone changed my outlook completely. I think this phone is great – it comes power-packed with a bunch of features, more than the iPhone has, and is less than half the price (but is still quite expensive when compared with other Android devices). The camera changed the game for me – the resolution of the pictures and the wide-angle camera lens is like nothing the phone world has seen before and definitively changes the game. There are so many great features to this phone that makes it practical for those on the go, the gamers, the social media stars, the photographers, etc. This is a phone that has features that cater to everyone, whether it be music, video, audio, or battery life. Though it’s not perfect (and nothing is), LG did a great job on this phone, and I can definitely say that it is a phone that students will love.

Overall rating: 8/10

window

By download.net.pl on Flickr

Microsoft’s release of Windows 10 gives customers a new look into how future operating systems might function in the future. For users coming from Windows 7 or 8, the changes will be very apparent at first. For the purposes of this article, we’ll be looking at the changes since version 8.1.

As expected, installing Windows 10 was a bit of a lengthy process – it took about an hour to install a 3GB size download. Downloading the operating system itself and switching over to it caused a few hiccups (involved re-installing drivers for my GPU). Other PC users encountered similar issues after installing the OS where GPU drivers were forced to be upgraded or had to be re-installed. Such a process isn’t too lengthy and for many users did not occur, so there’s no need to expect the worse when downloading.

Once Windows 10 is loaded and installed, the first thing you will notice is the darker theme that Microsoft has chosen to go with. While it is only the default theme and can be changed, previous defaults on Windows 7 and 8 were of a much lighter shade. Applications in the taskbar and desktop have not changed, but volume and and wifi icons have. In addition, the action centre icon has a new appearance and will open up a sidebar with a list of notifications when clicked on. The default changes that Microsoft has made should not confuse a user of older OS’s; in fact, it’s a nice visual change.

Microsoft has brought back the start menu that many people enjoyed in Windows 7, but in a new form. When clicked on, the start menu opens up a “drop up” menu with app icons, file explorer, setting and power options. Windows 8.1 users will surely enjoy this new take on the start menu rather than being taken to an entirely new page filled with default Microsoft apps. The hot corners/sidebars that Windows 8 had are also gone which will benefit many of the touchpad or laptop users who may have been annoyed by the feature.

Using many of the Windows 10 features such as the new browser “Edge” proved that Microsoft has dabbled in new areas while attempting to optimize the user experience. Both the browser and the Microsoft store are easy to navigate, with the Edge feeling a bit basic as a brower. The lack of customizability with Edge is a bit of a nuisance, but the integrations of Outlook and Google Calendar work so well that you might forget about it. Certainly for Google Calendar, a new addition, the app works very well and is incredibly easy to navigate. Other key apps that stand out include the new Word, Excel and Powerpoint mobile which can be used on tablets with ease, and also on a Windows 10 PC.

Though Windows 10 has a tendency to be buggy within the first couple of months, it should be not be overlooked as a new operating system. While you may encounter bugs post-installation or during use, the many new additions and features on Windows 10 are sure to impress users. As a user who has upgraded from Windows 8.1, I would definitely recommend upgrading to Windows 10 or upgrading once the first service pack has come out.

Highlights:

  • New start menu
  • No hot corners
  • Cortana (For American users)
  • Google Calendar App
  • Mobile Word, Excel and Powerpoint
  • New look
  • Microsoft Apps improved all around

Cons:

  • Buggy (Can be a big issue for some)

Click here to download Windows 10.

Image by Evic Dong, Flickr

Image by Evic Dong, Flickr

The latest addition to the family of GoPro cameras introduces a smaller and more compact camera than its predecessors in the $399.99 price range. The Session provides customers with many of the same benefits that the larger models have but in a smaller version for the casual user.

With the distinct GoPro look, using the Session should feel no different than with the Hero4 Black or Silver. The lightweight version of the new model and its low profile frame allow it to be used for a variety of angles or heights. Mounting the Session is fairly easy due to its size, and the model is compatible with all GoPro accessories – meaning you won’t be losing out on anything due to the Session’s size. The camera should also be paired with the mobile GoPro app which you can download from both the App Store and the Android market. Unless you’ve purchased the mobile remote already, the GoPro app will allow you change the settings and modes of your camera. Just make sure to pair the two together (Session and App) and you will have full control. The Session is a waterproof camera (including its microUSB and microSD ports) up to 33 feet deep.

Performance wise, the Session is very strong for its small size. There are options to film at upwards of 120 fps, but with lower video quality and vice-versa. While the Session doesn’t come with 4K capabilities, it still provides many of the benefits that make GoPros so popular. Testing the Session demonstrated that it’s just as powerful as its predecessors with few differences. The Session performed just as strongly in different lighting and was great at capturing strong colours. Moving while using the Session was similar to other GoPro models and captured video well, with a few bumps because of the lack of stabilization. The new audio quality implemented into the Session is noticeably better, especially in water environments. The Quick Capture mode that was introduced recently also works very well with only 4-5 seconds from turning on till it captures video.

As for battery life and camera size, the Session is set to last around 2 hours for full use, lasting longer if the camera is idle. The camera size, while obviously smaller at the 1.5 inch sides, is still big enough to capture most videos you’ll need.

For the casual user, the Session is certainly a model that should be considered when looking to purchase a GoPro. It provides all the essential elements that make GoPros amazing, at a cheaper and smaller size. While there are certain aspects of the Session that are noticeably weaker in comparison to its brother, it is still a phenomenal camera built to last.

Highlights:

  • Small size
  • Quick Capture mode
  • Improved audio quality
  • Waterproof
  • Compatible with all GoPro mounts

Cons:

  • Not 4K ready
  • Some stabilization issues
  • Video quality slightly worse than siblings

Image by Stanley Young, Flickr

Image by Stanley Young, Flickr

The Noontec Zoro HD headphones are stylish headphones that deliver with great sound quality for a great price. Going Between $50-$80 on Amazon, these headphones are perfect for the casual listener who wishes to upgrade their basic headphones.

The build of the Zoro HD is fairly standard as headphones go. As an on-ear headphone, these one’s are very light and potentially prone to breaking if not taken care of properly.The frame itself is fairly durable, but users should wary as it bends easily and should be treated harshly. On the ear, these headphones are fairly comfortable with upper part putting more pressure on the ear then the bottom. Wearing glasses with the headphone are an issue as it will put a lot of pressure on the upper ear holding the glasses. As such, I couldn’t wear these headphones with glasses for longer than a couple minutes before my ears became very irritated.

Long use of the headphones do cause a bit of pain as well because of the pressure, but it does block out a good amount of noise from the environment. For working out these headphones work very well, blocking out a decent amount of noise while also having great sound quality.

The sound quality of the Zoro HD is the main attraction that has kept me using the headphones despite some comfort issues. Not too bass heavy, I found the sound to be incredibly balanced and clear. The headphones will satisfy almost any user, unless they crave that deep bass other headphones might offer. Listening to a bass heavy track such as The Weeknd’s “King of the Fall” sounded incredible, with the all around balance of the sound standing out. An older track like ELO’s “Fire on High” had a just as incredible sound quality where the sound balance stood out even more. The Zoro HD’s can be used to listen to a wide variety of genres and provide quality sound that users will thoroughly enjoy.

While the Zoro HD has comfort issues for long term and glasses use, the sound quality is unmatched at the price range it sits in. Commuters, gym rats and casual users will certainly enjoy this headphones if they are upgrading from a basic pair. Those who wish to purchase a great pair of headphones should look no further as the Zoro HD provide sound quality on oar with headphones double it’s price.

Highlights:

  • Sound Quality
  • Great Price
  • Lightweight
  • Small

Cons:

  • Not for glasses wearers
  • Comfort issues for long use
  • Not too durable