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Sunday, April 21, 2013

unlimited knowledge


iPhone tips and tricks with iOS 6

Got a new iPhone 5, or maybe you've upgraded your iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S to Apple iOS 6, the latest version of Apple's mobile operating system? We've compiled a list of dozens of tips for you to get the most out of the new features Apple has added to iOS 6. Some are new, some you might know already, but we can promise this: all will help you get more out of your phone. 


The iOS 6 camera app offers plenty of new tricks (read our full iPhone 5 camera review), including panorama mode and new sharing options. Here are a couple to help you make the most of the new features. 
Go into the Camera app, press on the Options button at the top of the screen, and select Panorama. Tap on the arrow to change direction of the panorama you want to capture - left to right or right to left.
You'll have to hold the phone in portrait for it to work. Hold the phone in landscape mode to do a "vertical" panorama up to the stars.
AE/AF Lock
To change the exposure or the focus of your shot, tap anywhere on the screen and it will change instantly. To lock that exposure or focus (great for dramatic panoramas) press and hold on the screen until the square box "locks in".
To help your picture composition even further in the Camera app go to Options, and toggle the Grid on.
HDR or High Dynamic Range is an effect that lets you take a picture and then have the iPhone try to balance the dark and light areas of the photo. If you want to see this in action, go to Options and toggle HDR. iOS by default will save a HDR and non-HDR photo for you. To turn off that feature, go to Settings > Photos & Camera and scroll to the bottom to toggle that feature off.
Insert Photos in Mail
Go into the Mail app, tap on the compose new mail icon. In the body of the message press and hold with your finger. Wait for the menu to appear that says "Select, Select All, Paste", press on the arrow to the right and then select "Insert Photo or Video"  and select the picture you want.
Share a video to YouTube
Although Apple has removed the YouTube app, you can still upload videos directly to YouTube. Go to Photos select the video you want, press the "Share" icon and then click on YouTube.
Get YouTube back
Go to the App Store, search for YouTube, download the official YouTube App from Google.
Turn on Shared Photo Streams
One of the new features in iOS 6 is the ability to share Photo Streams with others. To do this go to Settings > Photos & Camera. Then toggle the Shared Photo Streams option.
Share a Photo Stream
Go to the Photos app, press Edit, select one or more pictures, press share in the bottom left-hand corner of the screen. When the pop-up menu appears press on Photo Streams. Type the recipient's name, the name of the Photo Stream, and whether you want there to be a public website for all to see. 
Send five photos via email
Go to Photos, tap on the Edit button at the top right of the screen, tap on the five images you want to share, then tap on the share button. Tap on the Mail icon and the images will be put in an email ready for you to send. Trying to select more than five will disable the Mail option.


The Mail app gets new tricks too such as VIP, Flagged emails and per account Signatures. Here's how you go about setting those up. 
Refresh your inbox
In iOS 5 you would have to press an arrow button, now you just drag down from the top of the page as if the inbox was on an elastic band.
If you get a lot of emails and don't want to miss certain emails from certain people (your other half or the boss, for example) you can make them a VIP. To make someone a VIP, find an email from them, press on their name to see their Contacts card. Beneath their details press on the setting "Add to VIP". They are now a VIP. To Remove them go to the same place.
Mark as Unread or Flag
To mark as Unread in Inbox view, press the "Flag" icon at the bottom left-hand side of the status bar at the bottom of your screen. A pop-up menu will appear and you can select to Mark as Unread or Flag.
See your VIP or Flagged inboxes    
In the Inbox view press on the Mailboxes icon at the top left hand side of the screen. It will take you to all your inboxes, and your VIP and Flagged inboxes too.
Multiple email signatures
If you have more than one email account on your iPhone, iOS 6 will let you have different email signatures for different accounts.
To set up your signatures, go to Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars, and scroll down to Signature. Tap on Signature and then Per Account. You can then add personalised signatures for the accounts you want.


A new iOS a new Maps app to learn and master. These tricks will help get you started. 
Change the volume for turn-by-turn directions
If you want to change the default volume for turn-by-turn directions, go into Settings > Maps. And you can then change the volume to "No Volume", "Low Volume", "Normal Volume" or "Loud Volume" if you are in your soft-top convertible.
Miles or kilometres
If you're a KM kind of person you can change Maps to give you distances in kilometres instead of miles. To do this go to Settings > Maps, and then select which metric you want.
To see major cities in 3D with all the Sim City-like buildings, you need to find the city you want to view, make sure you are in satellite mode, and then press the "3D" icon in the bottom left-hand corner of your screen.
See the world
Open Apple Maps, make sure you are in satellite mode, pinch to zoom out as far as you can, and you've got the whole wide world in your hand
How to get Google Maps back 
You can't at the moment, but you can create a home screen icon to access the web version of Google Maps quickly. To do this Open Safari and enter the URL, then click OK when the Notification pop-up appears asking whether you are happy for "" to use your current location. When the page finishes loading, click on the share icon in the centre of the menu bar at the bottom and click on the "Add to Home Screen Icon", on the next pane click "Add" in the top right-hand corner. You are done. When you want to find yourself, simply click on this icon and as long as you have internet access you'll be able to use the Google Maps service.  


Siri gets new tricks and instructions for you to bark at it. Here's a couple to help you get the football scores quicker. 
Launch apps with Siri
Click and hold the Home button and say, "Launch Music", or "Safari", or "Facebook" and Siri will open up the app you've asked for.
UK football scores
Click and hold the Home button and say, "What was the football score for West Ham" or whatever team you support. Siri will go off and find the latest score from the last game your team played. You can also use to find out where they are in the league too. 
What's on at the movies?
You can also ask Siri what's on at the movies. Simply say, "What's on at Odeon Cinema Bracknell today" or wherever you live and it will go off and get movie details for you 


Facebook gets the Twitter treatment in iOS 6 allowing you to quickly share with your friends. 
Post to Facebook
The iPhone now shares stuff with Facebook, allowing you to post status updates from your phone quickly. To do this you drag down from the top of the screen to reveal the notification centre. The tap on the Facebook icon with the words "Tap top Post" next to it.
Update all Contacts
To get Facebook profile photos for your Contacts go to Settings > Facebook and tap on the Update All Contacts button.
Disable Facebook from Calendar and Contacts
If the idea of filling your Contacts and Calendar with Facebook friends sounds too much don't worry you can turn it off. Go to Settings > Facebook and toggle off the relevant settings on that page.
Tell your friends what you are buying
Facebook is now also in iTunes, allowing you to Like tracks and albums. To show your love for a track or an album open a track, tap Reviews, and tap Like.


Sharing gets a lot more control in the new iOS 6. Here's how to make the most of the new features. 
Enable Passbook to work when iPhone is locked
The idea with Passbook, Apple's new ticket wallet hub, is that you use it to access movie tickets or boarding passes quickly. To make sure this works, go to Settings > Passcode Lock. Once you've entered your Passcode lock you can set whether you want Passlock to be accessed or not. While you are there you can also turn-off Siri access.
Limit Ad Tracking
With more and more apps offering you ads, you can turn off the ability for the ads to track you, but it is buried in iOS 6. To do this go to Settings > General > About > Advertising. Toggle the option to Limit Ad Tracking.
Location Services
You can set which apps can see where you are and which apps can't. To do this go to Settings > Privacy > Location Services and select which apps you want to track where you are and those you dont.
Contacts, Calendars, Reminders, Photos, Bluetooth Sharing, Twitter and Facebook
Some apps want to have access to a lot of your data. If you don't want to share that data with certain apps you can now opt not to individually, app by app. To do this go to Settings > Privacy. You can control everything from here.


There are plenty of new features in Safari of which to take advantage, including offline reading, iCloud tab support and the ability to upload images to websites. 
Full-screen browsing
To view your favourite website without any clutter, rotate your iPhone into the landscape position and tap on the two arrows pointing away from each other in the bottom right of the screen. To get the address bar back scroll towards the top of the screen.
Add to Reading list for reading offline
Safari on iOS 6 now supports offline reading, handy if you want to carry on reading an article on the Underground or on a plane that doesn't have Wi-Fi. To do this, on the web page you want to save, press the "Share" icon at the bottom and tap on the "Add to Reading List" icon. To get that page again, press the bookmarks icon at the bottom of the screen and tap on the Reading List option.
iCloud Tabs
If you've got Safari on the desktop you can catch up where you left off on iOS 6 too. In Safari, press on the bookmarks icon and then iCloud Tabs. It will reveal the tabs you had/have open on your desktop computer even if your computer is off. If you've got other devices with iOS 6 on them linked to the same account, it will display those too.
Choose your search engine
As default Safari on iOS 6 uses Google, but if you prefer Bing you can change the iPhone to use that or Yahoo instead. To do this go to Settings > Safari > Search Engine and change to your preferred search results there.
Search within current page
If you are looking for a specific word in a webpage you can search for it via the search box in Safari. Go to Safari, type in what you are looking for then scroll down to the bottom of the page. The number of incidences of the word will appears at the bottom.
Upload images
Previously you've not been able to upload images to a CMS or site such as Flickr from the iPhone, but you can now. To do this go to the site to which you want to upload an image and tap on "Choose File". You can then select an image from your Photos gallery.


Automatic updates
To make sure you get automatic updates with your boarding passes using Passbook tap the "i" icon and select Automatic Updates. You can also set it to Show on the Lock Screen too.

General tips for iOS 6

It's not just specific apps that have got new features, there are plenty of new bits and bobs to take advantage of around the whole of iOS 6. 
A better alarm
You can now choose to wake up to a song of your choice rather than just a sound. Go to the Clock app > Alarm. Either opt to edit an alarm you already have or press the "plus" symbol to create a new one.
In the next panel press "Sound" and then scroll up rather than down. Press "Pick a song" and choose the song you want from your iTunes Library.
Reply with Message
When you get a call in iOS 6, if it is a mobile phone number you can reject it with a text message to save your having to then go through a number of hoops as you do with iOS 5. Next time someone calls press and slide up the "Phone" icon. To set  several "boiler plate" replies go to Settings > Phone > Reply with Message. You can have three ready and waiting next time someone calls.
Remind yourself to call back
Tap Remind Me Later and you can have your phone remind you "In 1 hour", "When I Leave", or "When I get home". The last two work by using your phone's GPS to register that you are on the move. To set up where home is, make sure your address details are in your own card in Contacts as your home address.
Do Not Disturb
Addicted to work, but need a push to say that you should stop. Maybe an important meeting that you don't want to be disturbed in unless it is really important? Then you need Do Not Disturb. To get it up and running go to Settings > Do Not Disturb. To change the settings of Do Not Disturb however you need to go to Settings > Notifications > Do Not Disturb. Here you can set a schedule (say, every night from 10pm) on whether you'll allow calls from your favourites or those who call you repeatedly.
Tap to go to the top
If you want to go to the top of the page in Safari, or the top of your Inbox, or Twitter list, or anywhere for that matter, single tap on the clock at the top of the screen and you'll zip up to the top of the page. Handy.
Lost iPhone
Prone to losing your phone? iOS 6 has a lost phone mode that can be accessed via the Find iPhone app on another device or via Via the service you can have your phone ring so you can find it down the back of the sofa, or if it is on and got a signal see where it is via GPS. If you've lost it completely you can either lock it or remote wipe it so your data doesn't fall into the wrong hands.
If you are a bit more trusting than that, you can set up Lost Mode that prompts whoever has found it to call a specific number so you can get the phone back.
Setting up different tones for different tasks
Settings > Sounds, and choose the various sounds and vibrations patterns you want for each service.
Vibrate on Ring
You can now have your iPhone Vibrate on Ring, Vibrate on Silent, or none of the above. To do this go to Settings > Sounds and select the options you want.

Share your tips

Do you have any tips for iOS 6 that you want to share? Let us know what they are in the comments below.


Windows 8 beginner tips: Where's the Control Panel and more

Steve Ballmer might have been bouncing about on stage with excitement at the Windows 8 launch, but we know not everything the big B touches is magic. Microsoft has thrown a lot out the Windows (sorry, we had to) with the new operating system, making it a less than familiar place when you first get started.
Keen to speed up the learning process? Why not take a scan of the below? It's a list of straightforward and simple how-tos that should have you blasting through Windows 8 in no time.

How to use the Start menu in Windows 8

You have just installed Windows 8 and all of a sudden you notice your taskbar to be more barren than before. No Start menu. What madness is this?
Windows 8 has ditched the Start menu, replacing it with the Start screen. From here you can do just about everything you would be able to with the start menu, including launch applications and view folders.
To open the Start screen you need to do one of three things. If you have a touchscreen machine, swiping to the right edge will bring up the Charm menu. From there tap the Start charm. If you are using a keyboard, then the Windows logo will do the same. Or you can move the cursor to the lower left corner of the screen, if the start icon appears, click it and you're away.

How to open Control Panel in Windows 8

Another thing we took for granted that has disappeared into the ether slightly with Windows 8 is Control Panel. Getting hold of it isnt as easy as it used to be, but its still there.

All you need do is open the Search charm from the Charm menu as we describe earlier. You can find it by dragging right with your finger or moving the cursor to the lower left corner of the screen.
Once you have done that, simply type Control Panel into the Search charm and there you have it, the Control Panel should be sitting in front of you.

How to use two apps together in Windows 8

The joys of conventional snapping have all but disappeared from Windows 8, meaning you cant easily split your computer screen between two windows. Instead, applications now smartly scale to size, maintaining their core functionality while taking up less of the screen.
To get them to snap, there are again two choices. If you are using touch, simply drag your finger from the left edge to combine the two. Depending on which side of the screen you drag it to, it will snap to either side.
If you are using a mouse, then it is the upper left corner to get the app to appear, then again the same dragging process.

How to shut down your PC in Windows 8

It might seem that shutting down your PC would be one of the most straightforward tasks in Windows 8, but it isnt. The lack of Start menu makes the traditional shutdown route difficult, so instead, you are left with the new Windows 8 ways.
Microsoft is obsessed with putting your computer into sleep mode in Windows 8, but that isnt what we want. We want the whole thing switched off. To do this, open the settings charm we mentioned earlier and then simply click shut down. This will make your PC turn off completely.

How to see all your apps in Windows 8

Again no Start menu means that getting hold of a list of all your applications in Windows 8 isnt as straightforward as you might have remembered it.
To get your list, bring up the Windows 8 Live Tile menu or Start screen and then click all apps. Alternatively you can type the name of an app into your search bar on the Start screen.

How to close an application in Windows 8

Applications you have downloaded from the Windows store cant be closed, which writes them off from the start, but for everything else, there is a way to shut them down.
If you drag a desktop app from the top of the screen to the bottom, it will close. You can also swipe an app from the left edge of the screen out and then back towards it, in a sort of throwing away motion
The other option is to bring up the recently used apps widget, which appears if you drag the mouse down the left side of the screen. Right click on an app and then you can close it.


Samsung NX300

4 out of 5


iFunction control system, low light performance, APS-C sensor, large and bright articulated screen, resolution; plenty of hand-holding for beginners that doesn't get in the way of more experienced users, bundled Lightroom software


Some barrel distortion in more clinical tests, no bundled external charger
It's got the same sized sensor, the same resolution, and bears more than a passing similarity to its predecessors. So what's so great about the NX300?
The sensor is new for starters. The resolution's stuck at 20.3 megapixels (producing 5472 x 3648 snaps), and its physical dimensions still match APS-C, but it's now faster to focus, with combined phase detection and contrast AF marking your quarry in less than a tenth of a second. It's accurate, too, with an excellent hit rate in picking your subject out of its surroundings, and even if it doesn't, the touch screen lets you tap wherever you want it to direct its attention.

Articulated, tactile display

The screen itself is wider, stretching 3.31in (84mm) from corner to corner. That's about 10 per cent larger than its rivals, and while it might not sound much, the difference is obvious. You have more room for menus, and when you're shooting widescreen movies they aren't letterboxed between black bars.
The touch surface is reassuringly firm, so you won't damage the underlying AMOLED display, which is bright and easy to use in direct sunlight. It's also articulated - a first for Samsung's compact system camera line-up - with a strengthened strut on the back to withstand years of folding in and out. The motion works only on the vertical plane, so while you can't fold it around corners you can tilt it up and down for shooting overhead shots at concerts or discreet hip-held snaps on the street. If you're a fan of the latter, you should probably choose a less stand-out colour than the cool white body and lens option, which we have to admit looks great. Your alternatives are black or brown, with all three finished with a faux leather skin.

The UI is attractive, and chunky enough to make it easy to target specific options with a quick tap. It's also fast enough to stay in sync with your finger as you drag through options, settings and shots in review. On this latter point, though, we do miss the old-school scroll wheel on the back of the NX210, which has disappeared in the rush to implement touch in as many respects as possible. Swiping your pictures might be more intuitive, but scrolling them was often faster - especially when you're not zoomed out to the thumbnails.
You can't fault Samsung's build quality. The overall styling has been steadily refined since we met its genesis, the NX100, three years ago, so if you're upgrading from last year's NX210 or the nigh-on identical NX200, it will immediately feel familiar. It's a little chunkier than many rival CSCs on account of the larger sensor and screen, but none of that space feels wasted, and the whole chassis has been capped by a brushed aluminium top plate. It's a great retro flourish.

Classy glass

It ships with a choice of lens: either the 18 - 55mm unit bundled with our review sample or a shorter 20 - 50mm option. They offer 3x and 2.5x zoom respectively, equivalent to 27.7 - 84.7mm and 30.8 - 77mm on a 35mm camera. In each case, maximum aperture stands at f/3.5 at wide angle and f/5.6 at full telephoto, both of which are pretty much par for the course in lenses of this calibre.
Either should be good to get you going, but if you plan on building up a healthy lens library over time, the NX mount line-up is growing and now includes a 45mm prime lens built exclusively for the NX300 for shooting 2D and 3D movies and stills.

Out in the wild, the 18 - 55mm barrel performed very well, smoothly sidestepping the most common pratfalls such as distortion and excessive chromatic aberration or focal fall-off towards the corners and edges. However, shooting a target in studio conditions did reveal some barrel distortion on examining the RAW files, which had been accurately flattened off by the in-camera JPEG conversion.
You can buy an adaptor that will let you fit Pentax K-mount lenses, but doing so means you'd miss out on the most compelling feature of many of Samsung's own-brand barrels: the iFunction control system.

Controls at your fingertips

This centres on an iFn button on the side of the lens itself that pulls up a context-sensitive menu through which you can tweak aperture, shutter speed, white balance and so on, simply by turing the focus ring at the end of the lens. It's intuitive and very quick to implement, and means you can dial in changes without moving your hands away from the shooting position. The result should be fewer missed shots, or at least fewer shots taken with sub-optimal settings simply because you hadn't had time to navigate regular menus.

iFunction has been extended on the NX300 to introduce a new lens priority mode, which supplements the existing PASM, scene and auto positions on the top-mounted mode dial. This is a blessing for green-fingered snappers as it uses the same twist-to-set analogy for selectively defocussing your subject's surroundings, which means novices no longer need concern themselves with aperture settings and which end of the scale delivers the shortest depth of field.
There's plenty of help for beginners elsewhere, too, with the regular scene modes - night, sunset, landscape and so on - supplemented by more creative options, such as light trace, and a smart waterfall option that shoots multiple frames and overlays them to blur the motion of the water. It works well, but you'll need to use a tripod for best results.

Fidelity and sensitivity

Colour reproduction was good throughout our tests, indoors and out, and under both clouds and clear skies. Even in low light they didn't wander from their true tones, and the level of grain was well controlled at all but the highest sensitivities.

Sensitivity picks up at ISO 100 and runs through to ISO 25,600 - twice the level its predecessors achieved. Naturally at the lower end of the scale the results are entirely grain-free, and although you'll start to notice it creeping in at ISO 800 it's very light and largely confined to flat surfaces. This is well compensated for by the JPEG conversion if you're shooting that format on its own or as sidecars to the raw originals. Even at ISO 3200 fine detail remains clear and easy to make out, so it's only if you want to achieve a specific effect or force a particular set of shooting parameters that we'd recommend routinely switching ISO out of auto.

Movie performance

You can shoot movies directly from any regular shooting mode at 1920 x 1080, 60fps progressive. If you've invested in the 3D lens the frame rate is halved. The results are on par with its stills, with accurate colours and a good level of detail throughout. The soundtrack is cleanly recorded too, so long as you're not standing in too stiff a breeze, as even with wind cut active it was still audible on the soundtrack.

Networking and other features

It's got Wi-Fi built in - b, g and n standards - with a dedicated Wi-Fi stop on the mode dial pulling up various sharing options, including backing up to SkyDrive - although there's no bundled account upgrade as there was for Dropbox with the Samsung Galaxy Camera - sharing on social networks and emailing. You can also shoot remotely using a smartphone and automatically back up your shots to your computer. In previous models, this latter option only worked with Windows; here, it's been extended to the Mac.
There's also an NFC module built in to one end of the chassis that lets you share your shots with a suitably-equipped smartphone or tablet.

All-in-all, then, it's a well-specced and very rounded package that excels in most areas and stumbles in pretty much none.
About the worst criticism we could throw at it is the fact that there's no external charger, although you can buy one as an extra. This is a shame in a high-end camera like this as it means you have to charge the battery in place using the bundled adaptor and Mini USB lead, which effectively puts it out of action until the charge has completed. With a separate charger, you can leave it indoors re-juicing your power pack while you slip in a spare battery and head off for another day's shooting.
Even here, though, there's adequate compensation, as Samsung hasn't skimped on in-the-box software, which runs to a full copy of Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4. That's by far the best bundled app yet shipped with a camera of this class, and when you take off its high street price it make the NX300 look even better than its headline price suggests.


The NX line-up was already strong, and the NX300 solidifies its position as one of the best compact system camera options currently on sale.
There's a pretty heady mix of specs inside its beautiful retro body, with - to coin a clich


Mac OS X Lion - 32 tips for beginners

Apples OS X Lion has been around for quite a while now. Like Snow Leopard before it, the new OS update brought in a significant number of changes that built on Apples already polished user experience.
The success of the iPad and iPhone has led to an increasing number of people looking at Macs to replace their PCs. It means a whole generation of Mac newbies are being created and they need training. You could spend a few hours with one of Apples "Geniuses" post-purchase. Better still, scrap the trip to the store and read our beginners guide, we guarantee you will learn something new.

1) Sort out Hot Corners

One of the best features in OS X is called Hot Corners. It's a very simple way of managing all your windows and generally keeping your desktop tidy while using your Mac. The problem is that Apple changed the way that it's set up in Lion. You now need to go to System Preferences, click on Mission Control and then select Hot Corners in the bottom left of the screen. You can then set them up as normal, choosing what happens when you go to each corner of your display. Say, for example, you want dragging your mouse to the bottom left of the screen to show the desktop, you do it here.

2) Sort out Mission Control

Mission Control is the new exciting feature Apple has included in OS X Lion. It is a major revamp for Expose and helps plenty with setting up multiple desktops. This feature is also in System Preferences. We suggest setting Mission Control itself to the fn key. This means you can tap it and open up all the windows and desktops you have running. Don't forget that the new gestures also mean three finger swipes will let you switch around desktops quickly.

3) Get rid of OS X Lion inverted scrolling

Inverted scrolling was a bit of a controversial inclusion in OS X Lion. Personally we like it when using the Apple track pad, but aren't such big fans if we are going for the MacBook option. Either way, Apple made it surprisingly difficult to turn off. You are going to want to go to Trackpad in System Preferences, then uncheck the box that says Scroll Direction Natural. Fixed.

4) Close a program

Unlike in Windows, hitting the red x icon on the top left of an open program does not close it. If you want to shut down a program completely then long press on its icon in the dock and hit close. You need to try and keep track of everything open otherwise the whole system will get slower.

5) Learn some gestures

Gestures are one of the biggest additions Apple made to OS X Lion. It's now possible to manipulate the entire operating system virtually by just using your fingers. There are far too many to learn to list here, but head over to Apple's website for a full list. Personally, we like the way Safari behaves using Gestures. You can pinch to zoom and use two fingers to swipe forwards and backwards or scroll up and down. The four finger pinch to bring up Launchpad and all your apps is also worth taking advantage of.

6) Use Launchpad

Apple is beginning to incorporate iOS style features into OS X in what we suspect is an attempt to bring unity between its operating systems. Launchpad is essentially iOS on the mac. A four finger pinch will bring up lists of all your apps, complete with folders, which you can then click to launch. A two finger swipe will let you switch between pages of apps.

7) Use full screen apps

Prior to the days of Lion, the silver toolbar that sits atop the OS X screen was always there. Lion changed this by introducing full screen apps, which take advantage of all your screen size. For native Apple programs like Safari things work pretty well, but not all third party apps support the function yet.

8) Create multiple desktops

If you run a lot of apps at the same time then having more than one desktop, particularly if you are on a laptop with limited screen space, will make life a lot easier. To do this fire up Mission Control and click the plus symbol at the top right of the screen. Each time you click you get another desktop. Switch between them using four fingered swipes.

9) Drag folders into quick select bar on left

It might not seem the biggest of benefits at first but, believe us, getting your quick select bar sorted will seriously speed up the way you use OS X. Just drag and drop in the things you want to keep there. Having downloads on the left, for example, means you can easily drop files or delete anything you've grabbed from the Net. Similarly, pictures on the left will allow you to just throw image files straight into your image folder. A bit of practice and you will be swapping and sending files across your operating system lightening quick.

10) Customise your dock

The dock that sits at the bottom of the screen in OS X is one of our favourite Mac features. It's easily customised to give you quick access to your favourite apps. Personally, we prefer to use this over Launchpad to get our apps up and running. Some people keep the dock sat on the bottom of the screen permanently, others prefer it to pop up when they hover the mouse over the lower part of our display. Either way, it's a very good egg indeed.

To add an app to your dock simply drag and drop it in. To remove, do the opposite. If you want to change the size and genie effect of apps going back into the dock, you can do that in System Settings. Anything to the right of the dock will behave like a folder. You can open it and select documents and files from within without leaving the dock.

11) Use Photobooth

If you are one of the lucky few who has a new iMac or MacBook, then using Photobooth should be even better, thanks to the new Facetime HD cam. Photobooth is the classic Mac photo warping program. You can snap yourself with a whole host of different effects including mirroring or even green screen style backgrounds. To access Photobooth click on the magnifying glass on the top right and type it in, hit enter when the application icon appears. Great app for instant Facebook profile shots, but just as useful if you need to take a quick serious pic of yourself for the Internet.

12) Install apps

So, this one might seem massively obvious but, believe us, if you have just moved from Windows, it is worth explaining how you get things installed on OS X. Essentially, unlike Windows operating systems, apps are installed simply by dragging them into the applications folder. You might find some applications, particularly those downloaded, come in the form of .dmg files.

If this is the case, double click them to open them and then drag the app icon into your apps folder. Mainstream applications, like Skype for example, once downloaded will open a folder which features the app icon and your normal applications folder. Just drag it to the app folder to install. Easy peasy.

13) Remove apps

Removing apps is about as straightforward as it gets with OS X Lion. You just drag them straight into the trash and hit Empty. They may leave the odd file fragment in your system but it's nothing that a decent cleanup app, say like Cleanmymac, won't solve. You can also actually go into system's preferences, found in the folder marked Library on your hard disk, and delete the related .plist files. Although we do suggest not messing with this folder as it can cause errors. Your Mac shouldn't slow down much over time particularly as its file systems work very differently.

14) Clean up login items

One thing that can slow down your Mac is the system's login items. They are the programs that boot up every time you start the computer. Things like Skype are particularly fond of adding themselves to your login items and will do nothing but chew up memory if you arent using them. Fix this by going to System Preferences, hitting Users and Groups, then clicking Login items and unchecking each box you can see.

15) Swipe from your keyboard

If you are a fan of keyboard shortcuts, you are going to love this one. Hold down the control key and press the left or right arrow to spin through your full screen apps. It uses the multi desktop feature in OS X Lion and builds on the snappy screen switching speed you get with a Mac.

16) Empty the trash

Pretty simple this one and a tip for real beginners. You see that bin you drag documents to when you want them gone? Well it keeps things, a bit like the recycle bin in Windows. You can then restore documents to the desktop if you are so inclined or, better still, empty the trash to make some space on your hard drive. How do you do this? Either click the trash bucket and then hit empty trash in the top right of the window that appears or right click the bin and select the relevant option. Easy does it.

17) Clean up your disk

Mac OS X is fairly nice at mainting its own filesystem but after a few months it can get a tad clogged. This is easily rectified via the Disk Utility app. Find it in the Spotlight which is the magnifying glass on the top right of the screen. Once you have it open, click your computers hard disk. This will be on the white box to the left. You should see to options below a white box that says either "verify disk permissions" or "repair disk permissions". Do both, in that order, and you should see a decent part of your file system fixed. Nothing can beat a full re-install, however, which is why we suggest using Time Capsule.

18) Setup Time Machine

Apple makes its own device called a Time Capsule that will wirelessly backup your whole system. If you own one of these, then the process is virtually the same should you be using a networked hard drive or physically connected one. If you don't have an external HDD, a partitioned drive or a Time Capsule, then Time Machine is not something you can use. If you do qualify, then simply click the clock icon in the toolbar at the top of the screen and hit Open Time Machine. Drag the slider to on and select your hard drive. The program will do the rest.

19) Use the new look calendar

OS X Lion brought a new calendar app along with it. iCal now looks more like the one you see on the iPad and features an easier way to add quick events and manage your commitments. The real thing you want to do with iCal, however, is sync it up nicely with your Google and other web-based calendars. Hit Preferences, then the plus icon and sign in with your relevant credentials. The calendar will then populate with your information.

20) Setup mail

One of the best things about OS X Lion is its Mail app. Now with much better management of messages and conversations, it is worth using. You need just fire the app up and then sign in with whatever email service you use. If you want to add more, click the toolbar, hit Preferences and Accounts, then add however many you need.

21) Change the clock

This might seem like one of the most obvious things you would ever need to do with a computer, and it is, but changing the clock is important. If you can't do it, you could find yourself in a whole heap of do-do should you travel abroad. Fire up System Preferences or just click the clock and hit Open Time and Date Preferences. You then want to uncheck the box that says Set Time and Date Automatically. You will then be able to adjust the relevant settings as you see fit.

22) Customise the Finder

The core experience of OS X Lion is powered by the Finder. It's what makes using a Mac such a nice thing to do. On the face of it, the look and style of the Finder might seem extremely set in its ways. Not so. You can, in fact, alter the Finder quite easily. The cartoon version of two face sat on the left of the dock will call up the Finder. Once you have it open, hit Finder in the top menu bar and then select Preferences. You can then do things like select what items appear on the desktop, spring load folders, select what items appear in the sidebar and manage the way the trash is emptied.

23) Secure empty the trash

With the Finder preferences still open, you should see a few extra options under the Advanced tab. One of them is to secure empty the trash. This will mean that each time your erase things from your Mac, they are deleted to a more extreme level and much harder to find should someone suspect get hold of your machine.

24) Learn some keyboard shortcuts

Keyboard shortcuts aren't unique to Mac, but there are loads that you can use to speed up actions and spend less time opening menus. Many use the cmd, or command, button new to the space bar, but you'll find combinations that also use alt and shift are common. Cmd+space takes you straight to Spotlight, so you can search for what you want, Cmd+A selects all, Cmd+C will copy and Cmd+V will paste, Cmd+S will save, Cmd+W will close. Many shortcuts work across applications, but you'll also find shortcuts within apps, again, saving you masses of time if you use a particular app a lot.

25) Manage your computers sleep settings

Macs are brilliant at managing the way they sleep and wake. The MacBook Air in particular is almost unparalleled at the speed at which it can boot and restart from sleep. A simple way of putting your Mac to bed is just to close the lid. There is, however, an alternative. Fire up those old faithful system settings and hit Energy Saver. From there you are going to get all sorts of options in terms power management. Tick things like "slightly dim the display when using a power source" and "hard disk sleep" and also set the computer to go to sleep after a few minutes and it will save lots of battery in the future.

26) Decide if applications open when you start the system

A long press on app icons on the dock will reveal an options menu. From there you can tell apps to re-open when you fire your computer up. If you want to do the opposite and stop anything from opening at startup, then un-check the box that says re-open windows on startup.

27) Use Activity Monitor

An app we live by is Activity Monitor. By now you should be feeling fairly comfortable with the whole OS X infrastructure and using something like AM can only help. Managing what is up and running on your system is not easy but can be rectified by using the app. Search in the Spotlight for Activity Monitor, set it to stay in your dock and then change the app icon in options to available memory. The amount of RAM left on your system is portrayed like a pie; the more red, the less resources. If things get slow, then take a peek at Activity Monitor and maybe close some things down.

28) Try out iWork

Apple actually does a really good job at word processing, spreadsheet making and powerpoint presentations. Unlike the usual Microsoft Office excitement, everything is done with that Apple shine and costs quite a bit less. Open up the App Store and search for Pages, Numbers and Keynote. All three are the equivalent of Microsofts offering and can save in the relevant formats. Theyre £13.99 each and have iPad equivalents which can manage things just as well.

29) Try out iLife

The core of Apples user experience is driven by things like iLife. Once you get used to each individual application, they all begin to compliment each other perfectly. Start off with iPhoto, upload some images from your camera and then begin tagging them. Really straightforward stuff. iMovie will then let you send stills from iPhoto and even take songs in from iTunes. The last and biggest part of iLife is Garageband.

30) Use Garageband

Garageband is a sort of lite version of Apples much more powerful and complex Logic. It is brilliant if you want to bang together a song or experiment with podcasting. One of the most self explanatory apps Apple has ever put together and capable of quite an amazing amount of stuff should you take the time to experiment, Garageband is well worth trying.

31) Take Versions for a spin

New to OS X Lion is Versions. Like Google Docs permanent online saving facility, it stops you losing changes youve made to your work. You can, like Time Machine, step back through documents in the time order you created or altered them. It means you dont go losing major parts of work if the system crashes. One thing though, you need Pages to use it.

32) Install Skype

Skype is one of the best programs you can have on your computer. It allows you to communicate via video, text or audio chat with contacts for free over the Internet. Download it from here and install by simply dragging the app icon into your applications folder. Easy stuff really and it's great for chatting to the grandparents


Google restricts selling Explorer Glass units, threatens deactivation

Didn’t get into the Google Glass Explorer program and were hoping to pick up a snaazy pair on Ebay instead? Think again, as Google actually has some strict rules about selling the £1,000 Glass units. 
Google’s terms of service for those who were able to get the pre-release version of Glass states: “you may not resell, loan, transfer, or give your device to any other person. If you resell, loan, transfer, or give your device to any other person without Google’s authorization, Google reserves the right to deactivate the device, and neither you nor the unauthorized person using the device will be entitled to any refund, product support, or product warranty,” Wired first noted.  
Google, and its all seeing eye, would know if you’ve sold your Glass unit, given that each one is conveniently tied to the buyer’s Google account. One Glass owner speaking to Wired was able to get a Glass auction up to $90,000 on Ebay, but ended it after learning about Google's strict terms of service. 
Google plans to make Google Glass available to the masses by the end of the year. Google earlier began a select program of randomly chosen people through social media, who can pay £1,000 to get their Glass headset before the rest of the market. 
If you’d rather not see your Glass unit deactivated, we suggest you hang on to those bad boys. 


HTC First

3 out of 5
UK price TBD, $99 on AT&T


Solid mid-range device, jumps out of the spec-race, build quality, snappiness, complete Facebook Home experience, stock Android, LTE, battery life


The camera needs some serious work
Weve got smartphone fatigue. Its always a new iPhone, new Windows Phone, new Android phone with Samsungs latest TouchWiz UX, or a lifesaver the folks at BlackBerry are trying to cook up, dominating the news cycle on a daily basis.
This is why we were intrigued with the announcement of the HTC First at the beginning of April, the "Facebook Phone" that had been rumoured since November 2011 when it was supposedly codenamed "Buffy". The HTC First is the first handset to offer Facebook Home pre-loaded, the social networks custom Android launcher to "focus on people and not apps".
The HTC First is modest compared to the Taiwan-based manufacturer's new HTC One, the towering flagship that weve given great marks. But its obvious the HTC First isnt joining in the spec race here, rather it wants to be the phone that the Facebook-addict will buy because its $99 (£65) and has access to the latest pictures their friends and family are posting.
Right now, the HTC First is available on AT&T for $99 on two-year contract, shipping in white, black, blue and red. HTC has confirmed to Pocket-lint that the device will be available exclusively on EE in the UK this summer.
The question is, can the HTC Firsts hardware and build pull off its mission to be the ultimate social experience?


HTC has taken a step back to the design language it invoked in 2012. Theres the soft polycarbonate body that youd expect, not the unibody aluminium that was introduced on the recent HTC One. Thats not to say the polycarbonate body is a bad thing, theres a solid build quality here, something that HTC has seemingly mastered over the years.
In the hand, the HTC First reminds us a lot of Apples iPhone. The handset is 126 x 65 x 8.9mm, where the iPhone 5 is 123.8 x 58.6 x 7.6mm - fairly similar. As for weight, its not like the HTC First is heavy at 123.9g , but the iPhone 5 is a more lightweight 112g.

On the front of the HTC First youll find a 1.6-megapixel shooter for video chat and plenty of "selfies" to put on Facebook. Below the screen there are three capacative-touch buttons: back, home, and menu. We like what HTC has done with the buttons. Three seems better than four, and we cant think of any other button wed need to get in and out of the Facebook Home UI. At the very top of the First theres a simply power button, and a 3.5mm headphone jack.

The back of the device is actually very boring - seriously. At the top youll find a 5-megapixel shooter with LED flash. Thats it, besides the HTC, Facebook, and carrier logos at the bottom of the device. To the right youll find a micro SIM slot for easy phone number switching and Micro-USB for charging and syncing with a computer through HTCs desktop software, if youre so inclined. To the left theres a simple volume rocker that works well - no complaints when turning up the latest Justin Bieber tunage. Speaking of tunage, theres a speaker at the bottom, but dont expect HTCs BoomSound.

Inside the HTC First youll find a 2000mAh battery capable of a theoretical 432 hours of stand-by time and 14 hours of talk time. The battery is seriously solid on this device, getting us through the day fairly easy. A Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor clocked at 1.4GHz dual core will zip you through the OS, mixed with 16GB of internal storage, 1GB of RAM, GPS, and speedy fast LTE.
Unlike the HTC ChaCha - the first "Facebook Phone" that flopped - there is no dedicated Facebook button. However, this make sense given the nature of Facebook Home.


The display on the HTC First is surprising. Not because of its quality and metrics, but the fact that HTC was willing to jump out of the "whos bigger" race and go for something a little more modest at 4.3-inches, which seems like the perfect size in-hand.

On a $99 device, one might expect the screen on this bad boy to be lower quality, but thats not the case. HTC has included a 342ppi display, 1280 x 720 pixels, capable of some very crisp colours and viewing angles that wont leave you wishing for much more. Auto-brightness works well here, and with the screen cranked all the way up to full brightness, things were even better, as long as you dont mind the extra battery drain. Our only complaint came when out in the sun, which you can see in some of our shots of the device.
We are happy with the screen on the HTC First. Its clear that HTC has quickly become the screen-master for smartphones. Thats not say its on a par with the HTC Ones amazing 468ppi display, but again, were not considering the two in the same realm. If you want a spec-heavy phone, theres obviously something else out there.

Hardware and Performance

The Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor on the HTC First isnt the latest and greatest, but that doesnt mean it doesnt zip the device right around. The HTC First is extremely snappy, even with only 1GB of RAM, and it happily takes just about any task thrown at it.
Weve come to realise that any Android device with a custom skin thrown on top usually lags behind with some extremely great hardware. Thats not the case here. Facebooks built Home to be relatively light, and thats exactly why the hardware on the HTC First is plenty to handle it with snappy speeds. We werent expecting that, but we are happy to have been proved wrong.
Thats the overall theme of the hardware on this phone. It does just fine. Its not the monster that has the latest and greatest processor, rather, the HTC First is built modestly to get the job done.
As much as we like, and respect, the hardware, there is one significant complaint...


The rear-camera on the HTC First is lacking, especially for a phone with Instragram pre-loaded - the place where everyone is going to post their cat pictures these days. The HTC First simply cant compete camera wise to the likes of the iPhone 5, Galaxy S3, or HTC One. We know, the HTC First is a cheaper phone, but we feel like the camera should have been one key focus area, given the market for this device, as something used to share things with social networks.

The decision to include a 5-megapixel rather than an 8-megapixel camera, is obviously a choice on HTCs part to keep the price down. Additionally, theres no UltraPixel tech as found on the HTC One, just the plain-old 5-megapixel camera youve come to know over the last past two or three years. The same goes for the front-facing camera, although we're more prepared to live with that.

Can it handle Facebook Home?

"Facebook has a new Home on Android", is the tagline Facebook is sporting when pitching Facebook Home to the masses. That makes sense, because Facebook Home is really just a custom launcher on top of Android 4.1.2. Many elements like the camera, notifications, keyboard, and more remain the same - which is actually a good thing, because truthfully, we love stock Android.
But lets get into the specifics of Facebook Home, because thats the first thing youll see when powering on the device. Weve already given Facebook Home a rather thorough review running on a Galaxy S III. Its worth mentioning that besides the First, Facebook Home is supported on five other devices so you can definitely try before you buy.

The first element of Facebook Home is the Cover Feed that pulls in images and updates from your news feed. Its constantly changing and is accessed by hitting the power button - theres no lockscreen here by default. The Cover Feed is navigated with the swipe of a finger, letting you jump between the latest from your friends. You can also like and comment, right from the Cover Feed.
Its worth noting that notifications for third-party apps on top of Facebook Home are exclusive to the HTC First (weve got a full explanation here). Youll have access to Gmail, Twitter and other applications, which are thrown on top of Facebook Home and can be swiped away or be opened. The way HTC and Facebook have implemented this is actually quite nice.
To get past the Cover Feed and into other apps running on the First, there is a circle displaying your Facebook picture that allows you to navigate. You can swipe it to the left to access Facebook Messenger which takes over all messaging in the device, including SMS, up to navigate through an app drawer, and to the right to access the latest app you were in. The app drawer has access to your most used apps that youve pinned and you can get access to the full list by swiping to the right. At the top youll find shortcuts to post a Facebook status, photo and location check-in.

The last main feature of Facebook Home is Chat Heads that allows you to access Facebook Messenger from within any application. Chat Heads is a feature we love, giving persistent multi-tasking capabilities to keep up with the latest texts from your friends.
For our full opinion of Facebook Home, read our full review, but in-short: it's a bit limited. However, the HTC First has no problem handling Facebook Home if you're comfortable looking past software limitations, as the HTC First makes it feel like relatively light software.

The HTC Stock Android

As we mentioned before, Facebook Home is simply built on top of Android 4.1.2. That means it can be turned off with the press of a button, giving you access to stock Android in its fullest, without any custom software added. Interestingly, the HTC First is the first smartphone out of the Taiwanese-based company since the 2010 T-Mobile G2 handset not to run HTC's custom Sense overlay. Given HTC's commitment to Sense, whether customers dig it or not, this is a surprising move.

It's worth noting that stock Android doesn't mean the HTC First gets the executive treatment like the Nexus devices out of Google in terms of having the latest version of Android. Quite simply, stock Android means there's no extra OEM dazzle. On our AT&T version of the First, the only hint of outside features was AT&Ts Visual Voicemail and AT&Ts Wi-Fi app - both of which can be disabled.
Given the Nexus 4 didnt come with LTE, this makes the first stock Android handset running the blazing fast speeds. We have to say it feels great to finally have this happen and may be one of the reasons people buy this device. Quite honestly, after hours of using the default Facebook Home on the HTC First, we turned it off in lieu of stock Android, which feels oh-so-fine.


The HTC First is a mid-range phone at best, and weve made that clear throughout the review. But thats not to say the specs here arent plenty enough to handle what Facebook Home or stock Android has to throw at it. The HTC First is incredibly snappy, handling most tasks with ease. The cameras need improvement given the social nature of this phone, but they do get by.
This smartphone will especially appeal to the entry-level smartphone buyer whos going to simply love it because of the fact that it has Facebook thrown on top. Facebook has an aggressive marketing campaign going, even on the front of, so we wouldnt be surprised if the HTC First, or at leastFacebook Home, takes off.
At $99 youre getting a solid mid-range smartphone. Were happy HTC jumped out of the smartphone spec race and opted for a modest 4.3-inch screen that will actually appeal to a lot of people. Given theres stock Android on the HTC First as well, the handset will jump out to those looking for none of HTC or Samsungs custom Android additions thrown on top, providing Android in its purest form, with a mix of LTE.
The HTC First is not the best phone HTC has made. Rather, its the best phone for a Facebook experience that shields the rest of what Android has to offer by default.


HTC Sense 4+ vs HTC Sense 5: What's the difference?

HTC Sense 5.0 debuts on the HTC One, bringing with it a run of changes to HTC's notorious user interface. We've reviewed the HTC One, but here we're looking at the software experience in closer detail.
To put it in context, we're going to compare it to HTC Sense 4+, the version of Sense on the previous flagship devices from HTC: the HTC One X (after an update) and the HTC One X+. There are few differences between the experience on the One X and the X+ and for the purposes of this comparison, we have it on the original One X.
So if you're looking to upgrade, and want to know whats awaiting you, then we have you covered. If you're wondering what enhancements will come to your existing device - HTC has confirmed the HTC One X, X+, S and Butterfly will be updated to Sense 5 - then read on. You might call this a HTC Sense 5.0 review, or a Sense comparison, or whatever - but there's lots to read here.
As always, it's worth noting that many elements can be altered or customised: here we're really dealing with the stock HTC Sense experience.

HTC Sense 5 review

HTC Sense doesn't have the best reputation in the Android world. It was seen as groundbreaking in 2009 with the launch of the HTC Hero a user interface that made Android consumer friendly.
As Android evolved, customer interest became focused on updates to Google's OS, with many venting frustration at HTC, and the Sense user interface, as a barrier to timely progress. While Sense often encompassed much of what new Android updates offered, the addition of the UI over the top of an increasingly sophisticated core OS became a bone of contention.
Sense 5.0 brings about the biggest change to HTC Sense we've seen so far, taking the interface to a different level. We feel it's less of a barrier and more encompassing of Android's strengths, and having used both the HTC One and the Nexus 4, we don't feel it detracts from the Android experience. We suspect that Android purists will still deride it, but we'll leave you make up your own mind.

Sense visuals: How does it look?

With HTC Sense 5.0 comes a new look and feel. The addition of an upfront feature in Blink Feed is an immediate change, bubbling social and news information to the fore, but it's really under the skin that we see the changes.
First up, HTC has changed the default font, making it taller and narrower. It's a finer font, reflecting that the display of the HTC One is sharper and highlighting that. You're able to change the font sizes in both Sense 4+ and 5, but the new default font looks leaner and more contemporary, with better use of caps to highlight sections and important details.
HTC Sense 5
HTC Sense 4

HTC Sense 5.0 (left), HTC Sense 4+ (right)
This only affects certain system areas of the device, in HTC's apps, the menus and so on, as different apps will pull on different fonts. But in messages, contacts, and labelling on things like the Gallery albums, it looks great.
But that's not all that's changed. Much of the bulk has been removed. Take something like the pattern unlock. It was big fat, doughnut-like rings previously, now it's lean and mean with tighter circles.
HTC Sense 5
HTC Sense 4

HTC Sense 5.0 (left), HTC Sense 4+ (right)
That's the overriding theme of Sense 5.0 over older versions of Sense: toggle switches are sharper and icons are simpler. Head into the settings menu and you'll find that there are lots of visual changes. Where once there were slightly cartoonish icons, now there is a theme of blue roundels and simplified iconography.
The overall result is that Sense 5.0 looks and feels more sophisticated than before. Some of the garishness has gone, it looks more minimal, feels more mature.

Let's Get Started

We've already looked at setting up the HTC One in a separate feature examining some of the integrated options that HTC offers from the off. We won't tread all that ground again from a process point of view - after all, many cater for those moving into the One from a different device - but it's worth highlighting those changes.
There are more options in Sense 5 for getting yourself started and moving existing content into the device from your old phone. The same system of Get Started online is available, although HTC has now implemented Facebook sign-in for the service rather than forcing you into an HTC account.

HTC Sense 5 review

As before, the option to set-up your HTC device is always there. "Transfer content" is now a permanent option in the settings menu of Sense 5.0, and the initial start-up app called Setup is available in the apps tray.

Apps tray and launch bar

Before we get to Blink Feed, it's important to understand the changes made around the launch bar and apps tray.
The launch bar has been getting simpler and simpler in Sense, and now it's a straight bar across the bottom, on which you can add your shortcut and folders. In the centre is button for the apps tray, although the design changes depending on where you are in the device.
This is to allow it to incorporate Blink Feed and that's what the icon represents (panels from Blink Feed) and switching from this to the regular grid of squares representative of the apps tray.

HTC Sense 5 review

Tapping this button will effectively move you from apps to your home page (whether you are using Blink Feed or not). It's quite a change, as previous versions of Sense would want you to press the home button, or back, to return to your home pages.
The new button is always present, as is the launch bar, which changes the relationship between the apps tray and the launch bar in Sense 5.0.
The result is that you don't need to have duplicate icons. Where previously you'd have shortcuts on your launch bar, and then again in the apps tray, leaving the launch bar present when in the apps tray means there's no need. That means less clutter, because once you have your favourite apps on the launch bar (in folders if you like) then they aren't also in the apps tray. We like it, it's much cleaner, and resultantly much faster to find apps you use less often.
HTC Sense 5
HTC Sense 5

That also changes the way that shortcuts are managed to a degree. You can still do everything you did before, but now pressing and holding an app in the apps tray in Sense 5.0 doesn't automatically take you back to the home page behind, instead it gives you options: move the icon, make a shortcut, or uninstall.
Moving might be moving around the apps tray, or adding it to the launch bar. But now you also get the option to create folders within the apps tray (something that Sony Mobile also offers), so again, you can really clean things up, make folders for games, or movies, or whatever you like, rather than having many many pages of apps to flick through.
When you do decide to make a new shortcut, this is for dropping onto home pages as previously, although you can't add app shortcuts to Blink Feed, as it occupies an entire page.
In the apps tray you can search, go to Google Play and change the size of the grid, with 3 x 4 and 4 x 5 on offer. The default is 3 x 4 and it feels like it wastes space, rather like that feeling on the HTC Sensation XL, when the screen space wasn't used to best effect. So we say change it to the more compact offering and get more on each page.

Home pages and widgets

Before we bite into the meat of the Blink Feed sandwich, we'll just make clear that you can add home pages as you always cloud. You can add widgets, with all the familiar favourites on offer and, yes, that classic flip weather clock is there. Home pages in Sense 5.0 work exactly as they've always done and a long press on the wallpaper will take you through to customise them.

HTC Sense

If you're a Sense watcher you'll know that HTC has flipped from scrolling all the way through home pages and back to the start, as though on a carousel, or from one end to the other, as though along a line. We're happy to announce that Sense 5.0 sees you going along the line, whereas Sense 4+ revolves all the way though like a carousel.

Recent apps

Android introduced "recent apps" as a button to handle the ongoing issue of multitasking, or simply moving from one open app to another quickly. Naturally, there's a change on the HTC One because it doesn't have the recent apps button, whereas older devices will.

HTC Sense 5.0 (left), HTC Sense 4+ (right)
Recent apps is much improved on Sense 5.0. Rather than the dubious horizontal scrolling through oblique thumbnails of your open apps - that gives you only eight apps - the new system on Sense 5.0 gives you nine apps on a grid, so you don't have to scroll at all and things are much faster. However, we're not sure how well this would work on a lower-resolution display.

Lock screen

Like the apps tray, the launch bar also sits on the lock screen. As it did in Sense 4+, anything on your launch bar is available as an instant launch option from the lock screen.
However, the awkward swipe ring from Sense 4+ is gone. So rather than swiping shortcuts down, everything swipes up from the launch bar to unlock. There's also the minimalist weather clock widget on the lock screen, again giving you weather at a glance.
The widget is a consistent theme as you navigate Sense 5.0. Swipe to unlock and it slides up the page to sit at the top of Blink Feed. Hit the apps tray button and it's at the top of the apps tray too.
There are other options for the lock screen too: you can have notifications, you can have photos albums displaying, or you can have a music lock screen, as you could in Sense 4+. Sense 4+ gives you 10 different lock screen options, Sense 5.0 only five, but we're not sure you'll miss those that have been removed.

Blink Feed

Blink Feed is one of the new headline features of the HTC One and Sense 5.0. It's a content aggregator that replaces your home page, putting everything out there in a glance-and-go style. The idea is to give you something to peruse in those fleeting moments, presented in nice tiles.
It's new to HTC, but not entirely. Some will remember Friend Stream, a service that we were never fans of. It felt like an ineffective way of recycling content from Facebook, Flickr, LinkedIn and Twitter. It's present in Sense 4+, as it has been for several generations of Sense.
Blink Feed
Friend Stream

Blink Feed (left), the much-maligned Friend Stream (right)
In Sense 5.0, Friend Stream is gone because Blink Feed effectively offers those functions, as well as a whole lot more. That means it suffers from the same problem as Friend Stream: if you follow a lot of people and want to keep up with all that information, then you're possibly better sticking to a lightweight app, especially when it comes to Twitter.
However, what Blink Feed does well is present images, much better than Friend Stream ever did. No thumbnails, instead, if someone tweets or "Facebooks" a picture, it's there in all its glory with text overlaid. But Blink Feed isn't solely about social networks, it's also about news content.
There are several publications set up to pick from, like The Guardian or Reuters, organisations with which HTC has a partnership, like UEFA and Mobo, as well as a number of large technology publications: Cnet, Stuff and TechCrunch are on the list, which is slowly evolving, we guess as sourcing and processing feeds takes place.
Blink Feed
Blink Feed

There are also curated sections, so you can get football news, and there's even a smartphones category offering, which we'll guess you'll be interested in if you're reading this. The source of this information is Mobiles Republic, behind the News Republic app you can find on Google Play, and the categories reflect the offering in that app, although the design is a little different.
But this being an HTC feature, theres more that will roll into Blink Feed. HTCs new TV app can be integrated for example, giving you a glance at whats on TV later. You also get calendar appointments, so you can wake up in the morning, glance at Blink Feed and you know where you're going, and what's going on in your world.
You can pull to refresh Blink Feed, as well as easily customise what it displays. The animation, scrolling up and down the page is nice and slick, so it looks great. We imagine that it would need to be simplified on devices with displays smaller than the 4.7-inches of the HTC One, but we think it would work just fine on a 720p display, so should look great on the HTC One X devices.
HTC One X Blink Feed

How Blink Feed looks on the HTC One X
Is Blink Feed any good? For keeping track of Twitter, then no, unless you follow only two dozen friends or celebs. If you follow 1,000 people, youll never keep up. For Facebook, however, its pretty good, but what we like the most is news. Give it a few categories and then you will discover content that  you might never have gone to look for.
While we've set up and alternative home page, we still can't quite get away from Blink Feed's charms having lived with it for a couple of weeks. In fact, its the sort of thing wed like on a tablet - HTC Flyer 2, anybody?


HTC Sense has always taken a heavy approach to customising the keyboard. The keyboard has a direct impact on how productive you can be on your device and thankfully Android is completely open, letting you change the keyboard if it doesnt suit you.
The keyboards are similar on Sense 4+ and Sense 5.0 and are, in our opinion, pretty good. The layout is the same, but the design has changed to reflect the leaner, meaner HTC. That means squared keys and finer fonts. Both suffer from one design flaw, which is that the secondary characters (accessed through a long press) are in light grey on a dark grey background. In bright conditions, they are invisible.
HTC Sense 5 keyboard
HTC Sense 4 keyboard

However, we like the fact theyre there as it makes it easier to get to common punctuation without having to press an alternative characters key.
However, these days, a good keyboard is more about what it does for you and in Sense 5.0 you have next word prediction included.
Both keyboards offer trace entry, which seems to be gaining popularity now with the launch of Swiftkey 4including Swiftkey Flow, as well as being a part of the latest stock Android Jelly Bean keyboard. However, engaging trace on the Sense 5.0 keyboard disables next word prediction, which is where a third-party keyboard like Swiftkey wins out.

People: Dialler and contacts

The People app in HTC Sense incorporates contacts as well as the dialler, which is more efficient (to an extent) than the native Android offering which has separate apps, but a cross-over in information.
The dialler has made a change in Sense 5.0 making it much more modern than Sense 4+. Navigation has moved to the top, rather than giving you buttons at the bottom, meaning you can swipe across to access different areas of the app, like your favourite contacts or call history. Its all much clean and crisper than before.
In the dialler theres a change from giving you a list of recent calls to showing you the last caller. The same happens when you start dialling. Start tapping in the name or number you want and contacts are returned individually, where Sense 4+ would return a list. You can still access the other contact possibilities via a button press. Its cleaner and weve found, being creatures of habit, that very often it gets the contact you want quickly.
HTC Sense 5
HTC Sense 4

HTC Sense 5.0 (left), HTC Sense 4+ (right)
Open up a contact card and theres more space given over to the contact image. As before, you can very easily change the contact image thats displayed from a contacts linked accounts. It will draw in images from Google, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, WhatsApp, etc, basically those integrated services that carry images. Facebook seems to give the sharpest results from our tinkering, and some images appear a little like pointillism, made up of circles, if a good-quality image isn't available.
Again, like the dialler navigation, you can now move around a contact by swiping across to access the thread, updates and gallery. The information is essentially all the same, however it's much nicer to move through with a swipe of the thumb holding the phone one-handed.
HTC Sense 5
HTC Sense 5

A contacts updates, pulled in from linked social networks, now reflects the Blink Feed style, with information in tiles. It looks great, so much more sophisticated than the list that you get in Sense 4+.
Messages has been liberally cleaned up too in HTC Sense 5.0. Rather than bubbles for a conversation, it's simple text divided left and right. It's clean and efficient, as is your SMS message list, moving the date and time out to the right, and putting the contact name in bold, making it easier to scan through and locate messages.


HTC supplies its own customised calendar. As we noted in our review, the biggest flaw that it demonstrates is a lack of day names in the day view, agenda view or when setting a new appointment. For us this pretty much kills the calendar app dead, as we want to know the day all the time.
Of course, you can flip back to the month view, but thats faff we dont need. Fortunately the stock Android calendar is available through Google Play, so you can install it and know where you are in the week.
However, its a real shame, as the Sense 5.0 calendar follows the trend elsewhere in cleaning up some of the mess in Sense 4+. Again, a big change is doing away with the bottom navigation buttons in Sense 4+, instead giving you those options in a drop-down menu top left, the same as the native Android app.
HTC Sense 5 calendar
HTC Sense 5 calendar

HTC Sense 5.0 calendar: Lacks day names
Its a good move, as Sense 4+ offers a dropdown menu of all calendars that lets you select which calendars you want to display. We might be crazy, but surely this is an option you set once and then ignore? In Sense 5.0 it finds a natural home in the menu, out of the way.
Like in the People app, there's better use of swiping left and right to move through days (albeit unnamed). In the agenda view, you can now swipe side-to-side, rather than it being a long list. HTC has also added pull to refresh in its calendar in Sense 5.0. If you have a shared calendar, being able to quickly force refresh is great - in Sense 4+, you had to open the menu to do so.
Theres another change that affects calendars, something weve been complaining about for the last few years. HTC Sense 4+, by default, as with previous editions of the UI, would launch Locations, HTC's own navigation solution when clicking on an address location link. Locations is now gone from Sense 5.0, so when you're rushing to find that important meeting, Google Maps opens in a snap to serve you up the details.


HTC Sense 5.0, like Sense 4+, offers you a customised version of the Android browser. Both offer all the modern elements you'd expect in a mobile browser, including Incognito mode, searching from the address bar, and multiple tabs.
The first change in Sense 5.0, apart from the slightly cleaner look, is the removal of the bottom navigation again from Sense 4+. This pop-up bar, giving access to bookmarks, saved pages and allowing you to "add" the page to bookmarks and so on, can be a little hit and miss in practical use, so we're not sad to see it go.
HTC Sense 5 browser
HTC Sense 4 browser

HTC Sense 5.0 browser (left), HTC Sense 4+ browser (right)
HTC has also increased the number of tabs the browser supports. In Sense 5.0 you get up to 16 tabs, in Sense 4+ you get a rather limiting six. That said, if multiple tabs is what you're after, then Chrome handles them much better than Sense's tweaked browser.
The advantage that HTC's browser offers is lingering support for Flash. Although this has been mostly routed out of mobile devices, it does mean you can enable Flash and head to a site that's still using it. Otherwise, the Browser hasn't changed much.


We're now moving into an area where there's a distinct change in HTC Sense 5.0. Both Sense 4+ and Sense 5.0 offer a connection to online services in the Gallery app: Facebook, Dropbox, Picasa and Flickr. Sense 4+ also includes SkyDrive, but that option appears to be gone in Sense 5.0.
The opening page of the new Gallery, however, pulls out images, rather then giving you folders or services. It's engaging instantly and a marked change.
There are top level folders giving you access to "My photos", which contains all images of yours either from the camera, downloaded, sideloaded, edited and so on. Basically anywhere a folder is created for images, it will appear here.

As in Sense 4+, you can view photos by album, locations, or events. It's in events that the real magic starts to happen, as these albums are now animated. Where in Sense 4+ you'd just get a grid of images taken on a particular day, now it flicks through in images, adds effects so when you're scanning through your images it looks great.
Open up an event and you get a highlight at the top, with the Gallery spinning it into a 30-second summary video. There are effects, neat cuts, brilliantly stylised. It will incorporate all content in the event, with stills, video and "Zoes" (if you have the HTC One) all feeding into the summary video.
You don't lose anything though, you can still dive into galleries and flick through your pictures, share them and edit. Editing is now much simpler than previously, whether you're applying effects or cropping images.
The nice thing is that the effects in the gallery can be applied to images you import as well as those you take, so you can spin-up a movie summary of any set of images you have. We really hope this feature isn't limited to the HTC One, because it's really one of the shining gems of the new offering from HTC.

You can edit these summary videos to an extent, you can switch through a number of different styles, as well as selecting those images, Zoes or videos that you think are the most important. You then essentially leave it to HTC to give you a result. Everything can be shared to HTC's own Zoe Share service, an online portal for sharing, although content only lasts for 180 days on the site.


It's natural to roll into the camera now, having dealt with the gallery experience. This is where things become a little less distinct. While HTC has confirmed that Sense 5.0 features are coming to older devices, some of that we're dealing with in the camera is hardware dependent. The HTC One has the so-called UltraPixel sensor, and brings with it Zoe capture, so we'll try and tread between those elements to highlight software differences.

HTC Sense 5 camera

HTC Sense 5.0 camera interface
The interface itself has been simplified even further than Sense 4+. On  the right you still have the important capture buttons for both stills and video, as well as access to your gallery and effects.
On the left, however, Sense 5.0 now only offers flash control and the button to toggle Zoe capture. To switch from rear to front camera you simply swipe in from the right side of the screen. It's brilliantly effective and so simple, again, perfect for using the phone one handed.
Otherwise, operation is pretty much the same in the camera as before, but you get Zoe, of course, which captures 3-second videos, along with 20 consecutive photos, so you can bring your photos to life. There's more information on the Zoe experience in our HTC One review: we're not certain this feature will roll-back to older devices.

Entertainment: Music and movies

HTC Sense 4+ adopted the hub-based music system, with the music app opening up to give you a player, as well as a place to add shortcuts to other music services. It also offered to collect music from media servers, so was a useful one-stop-shop for everything music related.
Now that Sense 5.0 will support folders in the apps tray there is a media folder by default containing the apps that formerly sat in the music hub. Therefore the music app essentially offers everything that you'd find in the "my phone" section in Sense 4+, but pulls in the topline menu, giving you access to media servers.
HTC Sense 5 music
HTC Sense 4

HTC Sense 5.0 music app (left), the music hub from Sense 4+ (right)
You get the same organisation options, like artist, album and so on, but Sense 5.0 now adds podcasts too.
However, the biggest change in the music player in Sense 5.0 is the incorporation of visualisations and lyrics, so you can sing along, with information being drawn down from Gracenote.
The menu now offers you lots of options, like sharing, sending to another connected device, SoundHound music identification and the ability to set up a queue of songs, as you had before.
HTC Sense 5

While on music, it's worth noting that Beats enhancement now applies to the BoomSound speakers on the HTC One, however, if you're upgrading, we think it will apply only to headphones as in the past, if you have a Beats device.
On the movie front, HTC Watch is still there to sell you movies on the move, in addition to the regular Google Play offerings. Play Movies still handles personal movies you sideload on to the device, anything captured from Zoe, in addition to videos you capture through the camera.
Play a movie and you can now get the time and battery status when you tap the display in Sense 5.0, as well as the capture frame option as in Sense 4+.
Gone, however, is the native video editing option that Sense 4+ offers. When we were first introduced to HTC Sense 5.0, it was mentioned in a passing comment by an HTC exec and we thought nothing of it at the time, with the spokesperson saying that no one really wanted to edit video on a mobile device.
The options through Zoe means that's mostly true, as there's an alternative route (on the One at least). There's no shortage of video editing apps you can obtain from Google Play, but it's something that's been removed from Sense 5.0.


Talking of things that have been removed, Footprints is also gone. We never really used the service (along with Locations) and we guess that's probably the case for many people. Otherwise, many of the additional apps, like the clock and weather are pretty much the same, but with tweaks interfaces to make them fit the new design.

HTC Sense 5

Car has had a facelift, with a Speak option giving you voice control over music and contacts. It works pretty well and can be activated with a three-finger tap when you're in the Car app.
There's also now a kids mode. From here you can set up a profile for your children and appropriate content will be added to keep them entertained. There's also a Best Deals app, that will serve up local offerings like restaurant discounts.
Finally, HTC has added a TV app, although this works in partnership with IR blaster on the HTC One, so we're not sure if it would come to older HTC devices without that piece of hardware.
HTC Sense 5 TV
HTC Sense 5 TV

The TV app can be configured to your region and gives the chance to nominate some of the sorts of programmes that you like to watch. It will then serve you recommendations, as well as giving you access to a TV guide. This information flows forward into Blink Feed, as well as being added to your calendar if you set a reminder.
If there's an IR blaster the TV app then lets you control your devices as a universal remote, as well as letting you browse programmes and hit what you want to watch to change the channel. As we said, as this is hardware dependent, we're not sure how much, if any, of the TV app will come to other devices.

Summing up

The HTC Sense 5.0 is the biggest change to HTC Sense yet. Visually, the changes feel like a reflection on the company and the devices it produces. The move to Sense 4.x was great, but the step up to Sense 5 is a distillation of the best bits of HTC so far.
Gone is the bloat, and gone are many of the unnecessary design elements. It's a user interface that understands that the user isn't stupid, removing labelling and maturing the experience. Things are more consistent and things are in many cases done the Android way.
It's also a user interface you should want. We can't wait to see this arriving on the HTC One X and HTC One X+. We think it will revitalise those devices, both of which still have plenty of power and excellent displays.
Of course, we'll keep an ear in with HTC and we'll bring you any information about Sense 5 updates that we hear.
If there's anything else you'd like to know, feel free to leave a comment!


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