10 Reasons Why the Galaxy Note 5 Is the Next Best Thing

Samsung’s latest phablet, the Galaxy Note 5, boasts of its own identity that sets it apart from the Note 4 and even the S6. If you are considering upgrading your current phone, consider the following reasons to help you decide.

1. The Galaxy Note 5 is a smaller phablet than the Note 4.

Yes, you read that right. But that doesn’t mean that it’s similar to the S6. The Note 5’s screen size still retains the same 5.7 inches as the Note 4, but it is still physically smaller because of its smaller dimensions. Handling the Note 5 is certainly much easier than its predecessor, but you still have to use both hands to operate it comfortably.

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Galaxy Note 4 (left) and Galaxy Note 5 (right) – Photo via Gordon Kelly and Forbes.com

2. The Note 5 camera features are similar to the S6 — plus the extras.

I’m sure you’ve heard a lot of great things about the S6 camera, and you’ll be happy to know that the Note 5 has all those and more. There’s the 16MP sensor, low light sensitivity, OIS (Optical Image Stabilization), and user-friendly features. Just a couple of taps on the home button at any time and the camera is ready. You won’t miss snapping photos of any moment. The Note 5’s unique camera software features include the RAW capture in the “Pro” mode, an improved video stabilization, plus the ability to manually adjust the shutter speeds.

3. The S Pen brings more to the table.

The S Pen can now be fully stored in the Note 5, and retracts with just a click of a button. It is also easy to take quick notes with the S Pen; just use it to write on the black screen and save it to the S Note. You can also use it to annotate PDFs. The Note 5 also has the Screen Write app, which lets you take screenshots of multiple screens and automatically link them together for future annotating.

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Note 5 S Pen functionality – Photo via Gordon Kelly and Forbes.com

4. The upgraded fingerprint sensor is better than ever.

The S6 and S6 Edge fingerprint sensors were a disappointment, but Samsung has taken notes and has made noticeable improvements on the Note 5. Besides unlocking the phone, the fingerprint scanner can also be used to make in-app purchases, password verification, as well as the impending Samsung Pay.

5. The 4GB RAM will knock your socks off.

sell your deviceNow you have more room to multitask and run a variety of apps all at the same time with the Note 5’s 4GB RAM; that’s 1GB more than that of the Note 4. This also gives you a peace of mind that even with upcoming software updates, your phone will be able to handle them in the future.

6. The higher screen density allows you to see more.

Despite the same 5.7-inch screen size and 2560×1440 resolution as that of the Note 4, the Note 5’s higher screen density fits more content. This means you can see more text, icons, apps, and all other content since they show up smaller on the Note 5.

7. The Note 5 offers fast wired and wireless charging.

With Samsung’s fast charging technology, you can charge the Note 5 quickly using the charger that comes in the box. Wireless charging may not be as fast but it’s convenient to use; just place it on top of the charger and get your boost of battery juice.

8. It is easy to use even with one hand.

Phablets have a reputation to be “too big to handle”, but it’s not the same case with the Note 5, which has incorporated one-handed usability options. For example, just three presses of the home button will let you reduce the screen size to half of its usual size. Tap a button to restore it.

9. It is ready for Samsung Pay.

Launching at the end of September in the U.S., Samsung Pay will let you use your Note 5 to make payments on many stores that accept credit cards via NFC and MST (Magnetic Secure Transmission). This capability is also only available on the Edge 6+.

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Note 5 is Samsung Pay-ready – Photo via Techradar.com

10. The Note 5 is definitely top of the line.

You may have to shell out more money to purchase the Note 5, which costs between $700 and $840 for 32GB and an extra $100 for the 64GB. Of course, the cost also depends on the carrier of your choice.

If you’ve already decided on upgrading to a Note 5, sell your old phone to iCare Repair and utilize the cash on your new gadget. After all, if you’re into the latest high-end technology, it’s all worth it.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

Our Favorite Phones for Back to School

Going back to school means a new set of wardrobe, books, and most especially, a spanking new smartphone. So we have compiled a list of the best smartphones that have been released so far in 2015, so you can take a pick of the best gadget that suits you best. Besides the ability to capture the most photogenic selfies, these smartphones are easy on the wallet and will also help you take notes in class.

For refurbished phones at lower than market price, check out an iCare Repair location near you.

Samsung Galaxy S6

OS: Android 5.0.2 | Screen size: 5.1-inch | Resolution: 1440p | Memory: 3GB | Storage: 32GB/64GB/128GB | Battery: 2550mAh | Rear camera: 16MP | Front camera: 5MP

Featuring a vibrant big display without being “too big” like a phablet, the Samsung Galaxy S6 is definitely a far cry from its predecessors. Its metal and glass body gives it a natural classy look, and its internal powerhouse – the Samsung Exynos processor – paired with a 3GB RAM is definitely something impatient teens will love. The redesigned fingerprint scanner works great and will be the envy of your class.

Best Samsung Galaxy S6 Deals by TechRadar

iPhone 6

OS: iOS 8.3 | Screen size: 4.7-inch | Resolution: 750p | Memory: 1GB | Storage: 16GB/64GB/128GB | Battery: 1,810mAh | Rear camera: 8MP | Front camera: 1.2MP

Millennials love iPhones and who can blame them? The 4.7-inch iPhone 6 is the best Apple device out there today (until the release of the iPhone 6s or iPhone 7 in September). Sleek and simple, the iOS 8 makes smartphone use a breeze and gets rid of overcomplicated menus. The iPhone 6 camera may not have the highest megapixels compared to other brands, but it takes photos in a snap, and the color and brightness can make any landscape look brilliant.

Best iPhone 6 Deals by TechRadar

LG G4

OS: Android 5.1 | Screen size: 5.5-inch | Resolution: 2560 x 1440 | Memory: 3GB | Storage: 32GB | Battery: removable 3,000mAh | Rear camera: 16MP | Front camera: 8MP

If you want to set yourself apart from the iPhone and Samsung bandwagon, the LG G4 (aka “the most ambitious smartphone yet” according to LG) is your alternative. Choose between alluring leather or ceramic back cover that sets it apart from the regular metal and glass offerings. Its large screen is one of the best, and the auto-focus camera takes absolutely amazing pictures.

Best LG G4 Deals by TechRadar

HTC One M9

OS: Android 5 | Screen size: 5-inch | Resolution: 1080p | Memory: 3GB | Storage: 32GB | Battery: 2840mAh | Rear camera: 20.7MP | Front camera: 4MP

When it comes to build quality and elegant design, the HTC One M9 is the hands-down leader of the pack. If you’ve always been an HTC fan, you’ll be glad to know that your old favorites are still there: BoomSound enhancement and the Sense overlay. The HTC One M9 obviously aims to be the best there is, with a whopping 20.7MP rear camera.

Best HTC One M9 Deals by TechRadar

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge

OS: Android 5.0.2 | Screen size: 5.1-inch | Resolution: 1440p | Memory: 3GB | Storage: 32GB/64GB/128GB | Battery: 2560mAh | Rear camera: 16MP | Front camera: 5MP

Having all the sweet features of an S6, the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge adds an innovative flair to itself with its curved edges on each side. They don’t add any functionality but definitely brings something new to the table. The S6 Edge is also $100 more expensive than the regular S6, but if you want to stand out from the crowd, you can’t say no to this.

Best Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Deals by TechRadar

One Simple Text Can Hack 950 Million Android Devices

Your Android phone may be vulnerable to text hacking just by the attacker having your cell phone number. Zimperium, a security research firm, reported that the attackers can remotely execute code through a specially crafted media file delivered via MMS.

Android devices with operating systems from 2.2 to 5.1, which includes Lollipop and KitKat, are affected by the security bug. That’s more than 950 million Android phones and tablets today, or 95% of Android devices.

Why the bug is more complicated than you think

Deleting and not opening the message seem to be an easy solution; however, the vulnerability is more challenging than it seems. Even before the user gets to read the message, it could have already been deleted with nothing save from a notification alert on the smartphone.

Without the user even being aware that his phone has been compromised, any signs of the virus have already been removed.

A dangerous text message

A media playback tool in Android called Stagefright is where the vulnerability resides. Stagefright is a core component in Android devices and is used to process, record, and play multimedia files such as PDFs.

Just by having your cell phone number, the hacker can send a malicious message via MMS and it can quietly infiltrate the device even without no action from the user.

Once the hackers get control of the Android device, they can exploit it via “remote code execution” bugs, which allow them to collect private data and execute several functions. They can turn on the microphone and camera and record audio and video, take and download photos, read emails and Facebook messages, and reroute calls.

“Unlike spear-phishing, where the victim needs to open a PDF file or a link sent by the attacker, this vulnerability can be triggered while you sleep. Before you wake up, the attacker will remove any signs of the device being compromised and you will continue your day as usual – with a trojaned phone.” – Zimperium’s blog post “Experts Found a Unicorn in the Heart of Android”

Zimperium tested how a Nexus 5 running the latest version, Android Lollipop 5.1.1, reacted to the attack.

zimperium screenshots

Source: http://blog.zimperium.com/experts-found-a-unicorn-in-the-heart-of-android/

Android devices running Jelly Bean and older versions (11 percent of devices) are the most vulnerable because there are no recent security updates made on these.

What’s being done about it

Zimperium reported the bug to Google and also submitted patches. Google applied the patches immediately and sent them to device manufacturers, but it may take a long time for companies such as Samsung or Motorola to update customers’ phones. It is unknown how long it will take for the update process to be completed.

Silent Circle has patched the issue in its Blackphone, as well as Mozilla, which uses Stagefright code in Firefox OS.

5 Tips to Prolong the Life of Your Smartphone Battery

Besides glass screen replacements, another popular repair that we do here at iCare Repair is battery replacements. The smartphones we use today consist of rechargeable Lithium Ion (Li-ion) batteries, which last a lot longer than nickel cadmium batteries that our cell phones used to have. But lithium ion batteries don’t always perform at their best, especially when they are not being properly charged.

So the question is: How do we prolong the life of smartphone batteries so that our cell phone usage can last the whole day or even night?

Don’t always go for 100 percent.

You probably charge your phone before you go to bed so by the time you get up, the battery is at its full 100 percent. But this practice can hurt your battery in the long run. It’s fine to do it once a month but if you want to extend the battery life, charge the phone from 40 to 80 percent only so it doesn’t overheat.

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battery charging tips
Follow the 40-80 rule when charging your battery.

Don’t go down to zero either.

Draining the battery until it reaches zero percent can cause internal damages to the phone. Going from zero to 100 and then 100 to zero regularly can take a toll on the battery. Plugging your phone in for tiny charges throughout the day to keep it from 40 to 80 percent is your best bet.

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Drain the battery empty for calibration only once a month.
Drain the battery empty for calibration only once a month.

Stay away from hot or cold temperatures.

Do you leave your phone in the car in the summer heat? Or worse, leave it plugged in? That’s very bad for the lithium ion battery whose biggest enemy is hot temperatures. The battery will degrade much, much faster because of the heat whether you use it or not. But neither is the cold good because it can create moisture within and damage your phone eventually. Keep your phone near to room temperature (72F) as much as possible.

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Leave your phone in room temperature conditions. Too hot or too cold is bad for it.

Don’t always charge fast.

There are chargers that boast of their “fast charging” feature so you can go from zero to 50 percent in just a few minutes. It’s fine to do it once in a while when you’re in a hurry, but beware because it’s not good for your battery. Lithium ion batteries work best when charged and discharged at low, consistent speeds.

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Fast charging is not ideal for your battery.

Avoid wireless charging.

Wireless chargers seem to be the fad today but they only tend to waste energy by generating heat. And remember that heat is bad for your lithium ion battery. The old-fashioned way is still better. Plug your phone using a wall charger for a faster, safer battery charge and unplug before it hits 100 percent.

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Plug your phone instead of using wireless chargers to avoid overheating the battery.
Plug your phone instead of using wireless chargers to avoid overheating the battery.

What temperatures do to batteries

Always maintain room temperatures when keeping your phone because phones can lose a portion of their maximum capacity when it’s too cold or too hot.

Loss of 6% per year – 32F

Loss of 20% per year – 77F

Loss of 35% per year – 104F

Is a battery replacement worth it?

A smartphone is only as good as its battery. If your phone can’t keep a charge, is it time to replace the phone or just get a cheaper alternative of getting a new battery? The answer depends on the phone you have. If it’s an old model and it can’t keep up with the newer software updates anymore, it is recommended to get a newer phone. However, if the phone is still in great working condition, you can just simply opt for a battery replacement.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

5 Reasons to Buy the New iPod Touch

The iPod has consistently evolved from a musical/gaming device to a total entertainment package that fits right in your pocket. It’s an iPhone without the phone, but we still get all the wonderful goodies and apps available that convince us that the iPod is here to stay for a long, long time. After being on hiatus, Apple has finally released its latest iPod Touch upgrade, and it is said to be the best one ever yet. Yes, we recommend the new iPod Touch and we have judged it to be well worth your money. Here are five reasons to help you consider if it’s time to replace your old iPod.

It’s as fast as an iPhone 6.

Powered by the same A8 processor used in an iPhone 6, the new iPod Touch is six times faster than the A5 chip inside its predecessor, which scored 215 on a single-core test and 410 on a multi-core test. In contrast, the new iPod scored 1379 on the single-core test and 2440 on the multi-core test.

In a test run by TechCrunch, the iPod appears to be slightly slower (1.10 Ghz per core) than the iPhone 6 (1.39 GHz per core) but this may be designed as such in order to preserve battery life better. Moreover, the difference does not really matter because the iPod Touch has a smaller screen and lower pixel count than the iPhone 6. This means the iPod won’t really need that much power from its A8 processor.

The iPod’s 1GB of RAM is also the same as that of the iPhone 6.

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iPod-touch-mid-2015-CPU-benchmark-iPhone-screenshot-001
Source: http://techcrunch.com/2015/07/15/apple-shows-ipod-touch-some-love-with-a8-processors-camera-upgrades-and-new-colors/

 The iPod Touch has a much improved camera.

Depend on the iPod as your new point-and-shoot, thanks to the upgrades made on both the back and front cameras. The back shooter now has 8 megapixels of resolution (previously 5MP), while the front camera now supports burst mode, which makes taking selfies easier and faster.

The iPod Touch also works great for taking 1080p videos at 30 frames per second — just the same as the previous generation but now packed with better features, such as slow-mo videos at 120 frames per second, burst mode at ten frames per second, cinematic video stabilization, improved face detection, and time-lapse video.

It doubles as your personal fitness tracker.

You’ve probably heard of the M8 motion coprocessor being used inside the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPad Air 2, and iPad Mini 3. And now, the new iPod Touch also has it so you can track your motion and fitness data and record it in the Health database. Don’t worry about the battery because it can track movement on its own without having to use the battery-draining A8 processor.

The new iPod Touch supports the latest Gigabit Wi-Fi.

The fastest wireless standard today, the Gigabit Wi-Fi is supported by the new iPod so you can expect your wireless usage to be three times faster. Connect your iPod to a compatible 802.11ac hotspot provided by a compatible router or modem to gain the speed benefits.

It has adopted Bluetooth 4.1.

Not even the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, or the Apple Watch has Bluetooth 4.1 (they’re at 4.0), but the new iPod Touch has it. What is it for, you ask? You can get a more efficient power management, and at the same time, quicker data transfer without the hassle of interferences with LTE bands. And you don’t have to keep on reconnecting your devices after leaving the room, for example. The Bluetooth 4.1 fitness sensors can automatically transfer data from your run or any physical activity when you get back home.

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9 Funny Questions to Ask Siri

The great thing about smartphones is it keeps us in touch with our significant others. But what if you’re currently single or in-between relationships? Well, good thing there’s Siri who is always there to be the object of our affection. So if you want to get cheesy with Siri, go ahead and she’ll be ready with a witty response. In fact, we have tested her out and she didn’t disappoint! (But be forewarned, we don’t want you to be like Joaquin Phoenix’s role in the movie Her.)Siri, what do you look like? The thing about Siri is she’s not just hilarious, she’s also pretty dang smart! She always comes up with her own form of entertainment even though she does not necessarily sing. But hey, she has a talent for haiku poetry!Siri, do you have a boyfriend?You can be playful with Siri — well you can at least try. But Siri knows how to respond to your flirtations in her own hilarious way. And be careful because she knows how to put you in your place.Do you love me, Siri? Well, you're definitely starting to grow on me.What should I be for Halloween, Siri?Siri, I'm naked. And here I thought you loved me for my mind. Sigh.

Sell Your iPhone (Before the iPhone 6s Comes Out!)

Now that Apple is set to unveil its latest iPhones, the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, now is the perfect time to sell your old iPhone. You’ll be able to get the best possible price for your smartphone, and you can use that cash to offset the cost of buying the new iPhone.

According to rumors, the next generation iPhones will be released on September 18. So while you still have time, better cash in your old phone.

How much is an old-generation iPhone worth?

Based on the prices gathered on eBay and analyzed by NextWorth (a gadget trade-in site), resale values will start falling by about 10 percent in September and October. As many iPhone users prefer to have the latest Apple device, they start selling their handsets as they wait to purchase the new iPhone. The market now becomes infiltrated with a huge supply of older iPhones. As we have learned in economics, when the supply goes up, the prices go down.

By the end of the year, the value of your phone can lose as much as 30 percent of a phone’s secondary market price, according to CNN Money. Nextworth has seen this trend happen consistently for the past four years every time Apple releases the latest iPhone.

Where can you sell your old iPhone?

You’ll want to shop for prices first before you sell your iPhone. Here at iCare Repair, our prices are real-time and are based on the prices of our online competitors. So you can be sure that you’re always given a fair value for your iPhone, no matter the condition.

An AT&T iPhone 6 with 128GB can be sold to us for as much as $293 (as of the time of publication of this article). If you wait until the end of the year, you may only be able to sell it for as low as $205.

A T-Mobile iPhone 6 Plus with 128GB can fetch you up to $315, but by December, it may only be worth $220. Of course, your iPhone’s value will depend a lot on its condition, storage capacity, whether or not it is unlocked, and if it is under a contract.

Get an instant quote on your iPhone or smartphone.

What to do before selling your iPhone

Before selling your iPhone, make sure to back up your memory and do a factory reset of your phone. You don’t want the next person to be able to get ahold of your personal data. Here’s our Lansing manager, Nando, who will explain the proper steps you should take before selling your iPhone.

On the flipside, now is also the best time to upgrade your iPhone to a later model because of the large supply of iPhones in the market. iCare Repair offers pre-owned iPhones at our several locations, so give us a call and ask for the model you want.

KeyRaider Malware Affects Jailbroken Apple Devices

If you have jailbroken your iOS device, then you may be one of the at least 225,000 jailbroken users whose Apple IDs and passwords were stolen by the KeyRaider malware. According to the report released by security specialists Palo Alto Networks, this may be the “largest known Apple account theft caused by malware”.

See also: One Simple Text Can Hack 950 Million Android Devices

How KeyRaider steals information

If your device was not modified, then you should breathe a sigh of relief. The malware targets only hacked or jailbroken iOS devices using the Cydia repository to steal your account information. Cydia is an app store for jailbroken iPhones, and it allows users to download paid apps and in-app purchases for free.

Palo Alto Networks’ Claud Xiao explains, “the malware hooks system processes through MobileSubstrate, and steals Apple account usernames, passwords and device GUID by intercepting iTunes traffic on the device.” The stolen data is then uploaded to the malware’s server. The attackers use the stolen account credentials to download apps from the App Store without paying.

And it doesn’t stop there. KeyRaider also steals Apple push notification service certificates and private keys, which then prevents the infected device from being unlocked by the passcode or the iCloud service. Some users found their iPhones and iPads being held in ransom because of this malware attack.

Why jailbreaking is dangerous

So if you’re thinking about jailbreaking your iPhone or iPad, this is a reminder that it’s NOT a good idea especially when you are not aware of the tweaks you’re installing.

Jailbreaking is the same as hacking into the device because the user is going around the built-in security protections, making it vulnerable to malware attacks like this. KeyRaider is not the first of its kind; there was also the “Unflod” that intercepted encrypted traffic to steal passwords. The malware AppBuyer not only stole account information but also purchased apps from the App Store without the user’s permission.

How safe are you from KeyRaider

The bulk of the malware attacks are in China but it expands to up to 18 countries including the United States. China is the biggest victim because the malware was distributed through Chinese Cydia repositories, and many pre-jailbroken iPhones are being sold to customers.

The 225,000 users affected is only a very small percentage to Apple’s 885 million iTunes accounts (as of 2014). However, this in eyeopener to curious minds about the potential dangers of jailbreaking your device.

If you’re having software issues on your iPhone or iPad, visit our iPhone Repair and iPad Repair list of services.