DL Favorites: Lock Screen Replacements

[DLF], or Droid Life’s Favorites, is a series of articles reviewing our favorite apps in a given category. The goal of these articles isn’t to extensively review every single option out there and determine which is “the best,” but rather to give you a few of our favorite apps in a category. This week we look at Droid Life’s favorite lock screen replacement apps.

Your lock screen is one of the most personal and important parts of your phone. It’s the gateway to your device, often adorned with an image of loved ones or fan art for the new Star Wars movie. But sometimes, the lock screens that come on our phones are annoying to use, limited in features, or just get boring after a while. I tried a ton of different lock screen replacements from Google Play, looking to shake things up, and these three are my favorites. (more…)

DL Favorites: Twitter Apps

[DLF], or Droid Life’s Favorites, is a series of articles reviewing our favorite apps in a given category. The goal of these articles isn’t to extensively review every single option out there and determine which is “the best,” but rather to give you a few of our favorite apps in a category. This week we look at Droid Life’s favorite twitter apps. 

I really love Twitter. I love Twitter so much I bought some Twitter posters to hang in my apartment (you can buy them here). There are a lot of Twitter apps out there for Android, but these four are my favorite.

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DL Favorites: To-Do List Apps

[DLF], or Droid Life’s Favorites, is a series of articles reviewing our favorite apps in a given category. The goal of these articles isn’t to extensively review every single option out there and determine which is “the best,” but rather to give you a few of our favorite apps in a category. This week we look at Droid Life’s favorite to-do list apps.

I’m almost always busy. My week is packed with my normal day job, my part time job at church, writing for Droid Life, and spending time with friends and family. It’s a good life and I like it, but if I don’t keep track of what I need to do then I end up remembering at the last minute and having to rush to get something done at the last minute or completely forgetting and having to disappoint someone. Having a good to-do list app is critical for me. Read on to see my recommendations for to-do list apps on Android.

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Smartwatches Aren’t Smart Enough

Smartwatches are back in the news again thanks to Apple’s latest event, and it has me thinking about a topic that I am tired of thinking about. It’s not necessarily that I don’t want a smartwatch or that I can’t see their prospective usefulness, but rather, much of the press seems to be going through the motions of gazing out at the distant future and hoping it appears on the latest wearable.

Almost everyone seems to agree that Apple failed to provide a story for the product, or the ideal reason why we should want an Apple Watch, which has led to some people remaining skeptical until they try it and others waxing on about how it, unlike Android Wear, is going to change everything. It’s that second group that I’m growing weary of. I keep hearing stories about how the Apple Watch is going to save so much time, and how it will enable us to be more personable since we won’t be looking at our phones anymore, and how it will remove friction from our lives when we use our watch for everything.

Are smartwatches really the thing that will make us better conversationalists, use our phone less, and get more work done? Let’s take a look at some of the promises we have been hearing about smartwatches and examine just how viable they are. (more…)

Choosing the Best Smartphone Camera [Opinion]

Megapixels. Sensors. Aperture. White balance. Shutter Speed. Optical Image Stabilization. Ultrapixels. ISO. Bokeh. Exposure.

Every year we see new flagship phones released, followed by more buzz words explaining why each OEM has the best camera on their smartphone. If you are not a camera aficionado, seeing these kinds of words probably raises more questions than it does answers. Do I actually need optical image stabilization in my smartphone? This phone has a 20 megapixel camera compared to this one’s 8 megapixel camera, so the 20 megapixel camera is better, right? How do I cure the f-stop blues?

Here’s the truth: in the best lighting conditions, any modern smartphone can take decent pictures, but it does take some education to know which smartphone has the best camera in the most situations. My goal is not to give you a Photography 101 lecture, but rather, to give you some basic pointers so you can better understand what different manufacturer’s cameras are offering. Read on to find out a little bit about how cameras work, what marketing information actually matters, and what this all means when you are comparing smartphone cameras. (more…)

Magic Touch: Wizard for Hire from Nitrome Now on Google Play

Magic Touch, the latest game from London-based development company Nitrome, puts you in control of a wizard who has been hired to defend a castle. As enemy knights descend from the sky via attached balloons, you swipe on the screen to cast spells that destroy the various types of balloons.

As you progress through the round, the enemy knights descend faster and require more spells to pop their balloons. Your goal is to stop as many knights as you can from reaching the castle; as soon as they do, it’s game over.  (more…)

Review: Falcon Pro 3 is a Nice Twitter App, Needs More Features to Truly Compete

Falcon Pro 1 gave Android users a widget that was essentially an entire Twitter client. Joaquim Vergès, the app’s developer, turned Falcon Pro into a full-fledged Twitter app in late 2012. By February of 2013 the app had reached its 100,000 token limit.

Vergès opted to reset the tokens for all users in an attempt to allow new users to use the app, but the token limit was quickly reached again in June, prompting Vergès to release the app for free in July with a secret method to bypass the token limit. The app stopped receiving updates in July, prompting users to move on to other Twitter clients.

Now, Vergès is back with Falcon Pro 3, a complete rewrite of Falcon Pro with new features and Material design. (more…)

5 Things Android Enthusiasts Care About Today

Last week I had the chance to hang out with Kellen and Tim while I was visiting family in Portland. One of the things that we talked about was what it was like to be an Android enthusiast back in 2009 and on. Back then, Android was about rooting, installing custom ROMs and kernels, customizing your device, and pushing the limits of the hardware.

It was also about not using an iPhone; at the time the iPhone was considered the state of the art device, and it would arguably continue to be a superior overall package for several years. While the iPhone had more apps and a more established ecosystem, the Motorola Droid boasted both a physical and software keyboard, real multitasking (it’s hard to remember now, but the iPhone didn’t get real multitasking until iOS 4), a higher resolution camera with a flash, customizable home screens with widgets, expandable storage, and a user-replaceable battery. It was the antithesis of the iPhone in so many ways, and those of us that used it were proud to say we didn’t use iPhones.

As I was reflecting on this, I began to wonder what it means to be an Android enthusiast today. How much has changed and how much has stayed the same? Read on for my top five things Android enthusiasts care about in 2015. (more…)