Thursday, June 26, 2014

5 Free iOS Apps for Instagram Lovers!

1. PixlrExpress+

This app is jam packed with a ton of features and options. It amazes me how it remains free without ads or in-app purchases. None of the free collage makers in the App Store can match up to the customizations in this app. There are plenty of collage frames and you can tweak its thickness, colour and roundness with a slider. It also includes:

  • 17 Adjustments
  • Borders
  • 87 Filters 
  • 343 Overlays
  • Text with a range of fonts & colours
  • Stickers
Pixlr Express Screenshot

2. Squaready

Instagram can be quite annoying when it comes to its square cookie-cutter. Photos which you don't want to crop can be resized to fit into a square using Squaready. You can change the background colour to add an extra something to the photo.
Squaready on iPhone

3. PicPlayPost

Make video collages using this app. It can be a bit confusing to use at first, but once you get the hang of it you'll love how it keeps your posts unique and different. You can make a video collage, a picture collage or a combination of the two. The last one is quite popular.

My attempt at a video-photo collage

4. Flipagram

Ever caught in a dilemma where you've got lots of good photos and you simply can't choose "a few" good ones? Flipagram basically makes a slideshow of your photos in the form of an Instagram video and background music from your library. Unless you can pay $1.99, a watermark in the form of the Flipagram logo appears in your videos. An alternative is the Everlapse app.

Popagraph on iPhone

5. Popagraph

This app is pretty unique in what it does, which is to make your subject "pop". You can apply filters to the background or to the subject itself, add frames to contain the background and even add text. It's pretty easy to use and fun experimenting with.

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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Nokia X Review

Nokia is hands down the best phone manufacturer in terms of hardware. Even Siri has admitted that the best phone is Nokia's Lumia! The windows operating system inherent in Nokia smartphones is excellent but what it lacks is the thousands of apps available on iOS and android. By combining android apps with an interface similar to Windows, Nokia X is the solution to what is keeping Nokia back from gaining a larger market share in smartphones.



Have you heard about that Brazilian policeman whose phone saved him from a bullet? Yeah, that was a Nokia. The company has a legacy for building durable and sturdy phones and the same applies here. The back case is made of a kind of tough plastic and you have a choice of six bright colours to choose from. The interchangeable case is great for keeping the phone looking fresh and new as it covers the entire phone and its buttons, excluding the screen. The case is so tightly attached, that we found it difficult to open and insert the SIM card.

On the right side, there are hard volume keys and a power/lock button. At the bottom of the front there is only one soft back key. The device is quick to charge, taking less than 2 hours to fully charge through the micro-USB port. A headset is included within the box which can be plugged into the 3.5 mm audio connector.

Nokia Store on Nokia X
The Nokia X does allow the installation of android apps but you can not download via the goldmine of android apps, Google Play, without "rooting" your phone which in turn voids the warranty. People have complained about the lack of Google apps but you honestly don't feel the absence. The Nokia Store is pre-installed hosting a variety of apps but missing many notable ones including Whatsapp. To download these apps (without rooting) you can download third party app stores. 1Mobile Market is a good choice and has exactly the same interface as the Play store but it does not automatically update apps. I used a combination of 1Mobile and the Amazon Appstore.


Considering its low RAM, I was not expecting it to be amazingly fast but its performance exceeded expectations. It performs well and doesn't lag with heavy use. Games run well and the phone is quick in opening apps. Surprisingly, there is no task manager and neither is there a direct multi-tasking button. You can download task managers to track and kill open apps but it is disappointing to not see one by default. Instead there is a fastlane which serves the dual purpose of displaying notifications and recent apps, and can be quickly accessed by swiping to the left of the menu. Dual SIMs are supported which is quite handy in a country like Pakistan where SIM cards are cheap and you can get a broader network coverage and reap the best of packages from two networks simultaneously, although it can affect battery life.

Nokia X Fatslane

Picture captured by Nokia X in direct sunlight
A 3.15 megapixel (with no flash) can be found at the back with a range of features, like
  • Auto and Manual White Balance settings
  • Active toolbar
  • Still Image Editor
  • Face recognition
  • Auto Exposure
  • Center weighted auto exposure
There is no front camera but you can still make video calls through Skype. 


The default keyboard is wonderful and very nice to people with big thumbs. It has word recognition, next word prediction, swype and includes upto 30 languages including Arabic, Urdu, Hindi, Italian and more.

You can download other keyboards from an app store, but I did not find it necessary.


For the cheap price of Rs.13,000 you can not get a better deal. It has an excellent body, processor, interface and audio quality. I would definitely recommend this to first-time smartphone users who do not have past experience and specific app requirements. If you can shell out an extra Rs. 4,600 then get the Nokia XL which features a 5 MP camera and a larger screen. Or wait for the release of the Nokia X2 which seems to be an upgrade on the Nokia X. However, current users are upset about Whatsapp not functioning properly and considering that it is a staple for all those living in South Asia, Nokia must resolve this issue quickly.

Note: At the time of writing Whatsapp is no longer running smoothly on the Nokia X; the app asks for an update (which is not available) and will not open. You can receive messages and with some skill navigate to its home screen from where you can send a message. When contacted, Whatsapp has said that due to hardware limitations the device is no longer supported. 
On twitter @NokiaPakistan had this to say: 

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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

App of the Week: Download Accelerator Plus (DAP)

Download link

Platform: Windows
Function: Enables faster downloading

This app was a huge favourite of mine back in the days of dial-up and still is, now that the entire family (including Grandma on her iPad!) is hogging up the internet speed. I mostly use it for videos and large files which would otherwise take ages and lots of patience. Statistically it downloads files 2-4 times faster than your normal speed and you really do feel the difference. What I like best about it is the continuity; your downloading does not pause even for a second and the speed stays constant rather than go up and down. A pause and resume feature is also included which can be quite handy. It's quite simple to use; you can either copy and paste the download link into the program or use its built-in browser to navigate to the file location online and download directly within the program.

Top Features:

  • Accelerated download speeds
  • Pause & resume files while downloading
  • Integrated download function within Microsoft IE, Firefox, Chrome, Opera and Netscape.
  • Built-in browser
  • Downloads videos directly from Youtube, Dailymotion, Metacafe, etc.
  • Converts online videos to MP3 audio files
  • Preview videos while downloading them
  • Anti-virus check on files being downloaded

Any recommendations for "App of the week" or do you disagree with this weeks choice? Leave a comment and share your opinion. You can share this post using the buttons below or in the right sidebar. Follow by email to stay updated and thank you for reading!