Bitdefender: antivirus software that isn’t a resource hog

If ever there was software that became overly bloated it’s antivirus software offerings. Some would say that they make your PC secure because it becomes so unusable you’d never be able to download a virus! But Bitdefender is different.

OK, so apart from Windows Defender, most antivirus software offerings do the basics quite well – they contain comprehensive virus definition databases that get updated quickly. The reason we like Bitdefender is that it doesn’t slow your machine down much or annoy you with silly popups.

Once downloaded Bitdefender will sit quietly in the background, all you have is an icon in your system tray. There’s not a glaring pop up trying to sell you an upgrade or scaring you with stories of fear; just an icon. It will monitor your activity in the background and keep a check on things for you.

If you wish to do an intensive, full system scan then you can. Even when this is running, Bitdefender just shows a small activity picture in the lower right hand corner of your screen.

It works too, from running the full scan on our test PC Bitdefender picked up two Trojans that Windows Defender had missed, which Bitdefender successfully quarantined.

You can pick up free or paid for versions (see here) and you can get Bitdefender to run for free on your Android phone too (see here).

iPhone games to quash the boredom

If you are bored and need to kill some time with a brilliant iPhone game that costs less (much less) that the price of a beer, read on.

We’re looking at 3 killer games today ranging from just $0.99 through to $6.99.

Endless Ducker

Endless Ducker iPhone

It’s a simple, yet addictive premise.  Cody is a tall dude, he runs around.  You’ve got to get him to duck underthings (or jump over).  Our lanky friend Cody runs continually from left to right, tap the screen on the left to make him duck under things, tap the screen on the right to jump over.  This is one of those games that you’ll lose yourself in.  Get it on the AppStore here for $0.99.

Minecraft: Pocket Edition

Minecraft Pocket Edition

Minecraft has a massive cult following and the pocket edition has seen big updates recently that pretty much bring desktop Minecraft to your iPhone or iPad.  Whilst you’re paying a few more dollars for this game it’s a very different kettle of fish.  Minecraft: Pocket Edition is a first person game in which you dig holes to collect blocks.  Sounds simple, however what you do with these blocks is the critical bit – and where your imagination can run wild.  You can build anything from a tiny shack to a full on metropolis.  Get it on the AppStore here for $6.99.

Reigns

Reign iPhone

Sit on the throne as a benevolent (or malevolent) medieval monarch of the modern age and swipe your royal fingers either left or right to impose your will upon the kingdom. Survive the seemingly never-ending gauntlet of requests from your advisors, peasants, allies, and enemies while maintaining balance between the influential factions of your kingdom. But beware; each decision you make might have implications and unfortunate consequences down the road that could put your reign and family’s dynasty at risk!  Get it on the AppStore here for $2.99.

Our Verdict

If we had to chose (like you have to!), we’d go with Minecraft (direct link here).  This is a serious game that you can really invest in for the long haul.  Sure, it’s a few bucks extra but you really get what you pay for.. and really, who can resist that retro look?  We can’t!

Waterproof your iPhone 6 with Tech21 #lifehappens

2016 is the year of the waterproof phone with Samsung as a major leader. However, the majority are Android phones and there’s been no such luck for iPhone users. Drop you iPhone water or dirt the likelihood is that it’ll be broken.

Hopefully you have phone insurance, or even better the new Tech21 Evo Xplorer case. Now, this case is mega – you can submerge your iPhone in 9.9 ft (3m) of water for up to 1 hour, you can throw it in dirt and dust, and after that you can drop it from a 6.6 ft (2m) height and the Tech21 will keep your phone safe and happy.

The Tech21 team engineered the device to ensure that the device works with your life, so whilst it gives your phone the protection it needs you can still enjoy all of your phone’s features. You get access to all the ports and can listen to high quality audio with the case on.

This is great new for those who work in a challenging environment, those who take their phone to the beach or lake and maybe those that just have a tendency to drop their phone in the bath.

You can get the Tech21 case direct from Tech21 (see here) or via Amazon (see here).

FreedomPop: UK mobile data just became free

FreedomPop has been active in the USA for some time now, but it is only recently that they’ve come to the UK.

If you’re lazy and can’t be bothered to read the full article..just click here to get free data with FreedomPop in the UK.

Why should you care? Free data – that’s why. There have always been deals from the mobile networks and MVNOs that give cheap data, but nobody has given it away completely free before.

FreedomPop uses Three’s network, so they don’t own the infrastructure themselves, but that makes no difference to you the consumer and Three he a very robust data network.

They don’t just do mobile data, they offer free texts and calls too – however this is offered via their app (click here for their iOS app) as a voice over IP solution so you don’t get the QoS you would with a network based voice call. However, we’ve only used FreedomPop for data so we can’t comment on much else.

So, the free allowance gives you 200mb if data per month (although they have an offer on at the moment upping this to 1GB – see here). Whilst this isn’t a lot (and certainly wouldn’t suffice for heavy usage…but you can upgrade at competitive rates), we find it plenty for staying online between the office and home, etc. It’s worth noting that FreedomPop isn’t our main mobile connection, but the nano SIM has been used in an iPad mini and a 3G dongle with great success.

You do need to pay for the SIM card and to activate it – a total of £0.99. We assume this is to avoid people ordering hundreds of the cards. This is a one off payment though, and seems manageable to us.

You can get a micro or nano SIM card. The nano SIM slotted straight into our iPad mini. For the 3G dongle we needed an adapter such as this to change the nano sim to a full size SIM:

Mudder 5-in-1 Nano Micro Standard SIM Card Adapter Converter Kit

The 3G dongle we’re using is a great bit of kit, it lasts for a whole day of usage and is small enough to stick in your pocket. It is not 4G but can still push up to 21Mbps over a decent 3G connection:

TP-LINK M5350 3G Mi-Fi Hotspot

In summary, this is actually the real deal. You often hear about free data deals which, when you look into them, have unreasonable caveats such as long term contracts. Whilst there is an initial payment of a few quid, this seems like a great deal for lightweight data usage.

Find out more at FreedomPop UK here.

Speed up your Windows PC, Mac or Phone with Ccleaner

Cleaning up your PC can give you more storage space back, and give you a speed boost as your computer is not bogged down processing unnecessary files or instructions.

Actually cleaning up this space is rather more challenging though. You need to first of all figure out where the files are that can be removed (without damaging anything in the process) and then you have to actually delete them which is rather tedious.

Enter Ccleaner an application for PC, Mac & Phones with both free and paid for versions (see here for more details). Once you’ve downloaded and installed Ccleaner it will safely clean up space by removing unnecessary files left on your disk by Windows (or OSX) and applications that you’ve installed, on top of this on Windows PCs it will analyse your registry to pick up problems (such as dangling references to dlls, etc) that could be slowing down your machine.

When cleaning files you get a nice interface which allows you to select which files to look at – if there are some applications that you don’t want Ccleaner to touch (we left Chrome alone for example) then you can untick this. The application first analyses what can be done – our analysis found roughly 23gb of space that could be restored – if you are happy to go ahead then the application will remove these files. Note, it permentanly removes the files! No going back.

Speed up your PC

On the registry side of things a similar process is followed. Ccleaner will first analyse your registry for problems. However, given the sensitivity of the registry and the potential for damage, it gives you the option to backup the registry to file first. We strongly recommend doing this. As it happens, there were no problems when we ran Ccleaner on our registry.

Speed up your PC

Ccleaner doesn’t just work on a Windows PC, it will run on your Mac and your Android smartphone too.

Ccleaner is highly recommended and comes in free and paid for versions (see here for more details).

Levitating (and rotating) Wireless Phone Charger.. Yes, you read that right

We love gadgets here at IGB Reviews and this Kickstarter project rocks.  You have to watch the videos (link below), really it’s crazy.  Forget those silly mats that you have to put your phone on for ‘wireless’ charging, this thing actually levitates and rotates your phone whilst charging it… in mid air!

Click here to see it on Kickstarter.

It’s called the OvRchargeand uses a combination of wireless induction charging and magnetic levitation (yes, like a maglev train).

Here’s how it works, you stick this pad on the back of your phone (apparently most phones are supported but iPhones seem to appear a lot in the videos) or your iPad. It’ll keep track of how charged your phone is and stops charging once the battery is full – of course it keeps levitating and rotating, which is the cool bit to this.

It’s clearly causing a stir too – of the $40k CAD target it is already at $55,768 CAD with 3 days to go.

Go check it out on kickstarter!

Essential iPhone accessories that won’t break the bank

In this short article we’ll review and recommend the essential accessories that you need for your iPhone that won’t break the bank.  Each recommendation has a direct purchase link so that you don’t need to go and search for them (note: UK readers if you don’t see GBP prices in this article follow this link).  We’ve recommended products that fit the iPhone 6/6S, however with most of them they are either compatible with other iPhones or will have variants that are – just follow the links through and you can pick the right version for you.

iPhone Case

A phone case is essential to protect your expensive new gadget.  There are literally hundreds out there to chose from, so any recommendation needs something a little different.  We like this case from Dockem which looks cool, protects your phone but also enables you to slide your credit cards in the back.  This value add is great and removes the need to carry a bulky wallet around with you.  It costs only $14.99 on Amazon here.

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iPhone Storage Expansion

Storage expansion for your iPhone enables you to add to the internal storage capability of your phone, but also move files back and forth between your iPhone and your PC.  To do this you need the equivalent of a USB stick with the Apple Lightning connector.  We recommend the SanDisk iXpand which has both a USB and lightning connector and comes in storage sizes from 16GB all the way up to a whopping 128GB.  The device starts at just $38.50 here on Amazon.71h-NlEZRnL._SL1500_

iPhone Battery Pack

It’s a killer when your phone runs out of power.  You can get around this by taking a portable battery pack with you.  As you’ll be carrying this around, portability is key here.  We’re recommending the Anker Powercore+ mini as it has enough juice to top you up, but won’t be a pain to carry around.  It also comes in a range of colours (check out the Amazon link to see them).  It starts at only $12.99.

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An alternative route to go is to get an iPhone battery case which combines protecting your phone with extra battery power.  The cases are, inevitably, a bit bigger but they are a good solution.  Check out the Anker battery case here as a good option.

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iPhone Screen Protector

If there is one thing you must add to your iPhone it is a screen protector.  Without one you will inevitably scratch the screen on your keys (or some other sharp thing) in your pocket or bag.  Luckily they are really cheap.  As they are rather fiddly to put on we’d recommend getting a pack with more than one protector in (so you can muck up putting the first one on!).  Check out the Tech Armour protectors which are just $6.95 with free shipping for a pack of three (click here).

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iPhone Travel Charger

If you travel internationally with your iPhone then you need a travel charger.  These nifty little devices come with a range of plugs which you just snap on for the relevant country.  We’d recommend one with multiple USB ports so that you can charge your other devices too.  The aLLreLi is a good device with 4 USB ports and plugs for US, AU, UK and EU.  It’s only $15.99 with free shipping on Amazon.

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iPhone Headphones

An iPhone isn’t much good without headphones!  There are many on the market, but finding a pair with good sound production, a microphone, remote controls and that is comfortable is hard.  After much hunting around we came back to the beginning and strongly recommend Apple’s own headphones.  They look great and function really well.  You can pick up a pair for only $19.99 on Amazon here.

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The World’s Most Secure Phone

Blackberry is not over, and security is a big thing.  These are the critical messages that are coming with Blackberry’s latest phone, the Blackberry DTEK50 which they are marketing as The World’s Most Secure Phone.

It will not appeal to all users, it’s not flashy and it’s not bling.  What it is though is a solid and secure device for those that want things to work, and work is a secure fashion.

Unlike Blackberry’s long history of phones, the DTEK50 runs on a modified version of Android 6.0, loaded up with Blackberry’s secure apps and software.  This means that you can access all the usual Android apps through the Google Play store, but you can also use all of Blackberry’s secure services.  This is a clear play to Enterprise users here.

The DTEK50 won’t break the bank either, you can pick it up on Amazon for just $333.27 (direct link here).

The hardware is good, although inline with other Android phones:

  • 16gb Storage with Micro SD Slot
  • 3GB RAM
  • Snapdragon 617 Octa-Core, 64 bit
  • 5.2 inch/ 1080p screen

If you are buying this phone, you won’t be buying it for the flashy specs – there are others out there such as the OnePlus 3 (see it here) that would be a better deal – you’d be buying it because you believe that Blackberry has the history of, and capability to deliver, a secure mobile environment that others can’t.



Emberlight review – Add wifi to your standard home lighting

Here we’re checking out the Emberlight – a cool little device that hooks your lights into your wifi.

The Emberlight (only $49.99 on Amazon here) is a small device that sits between your light socket and the bulb and gives it smart capabilities. Firstly this is great because you can use which ever bulb you want (not an expensive proprietary one – for example, Philips’ bulbs are $13 each).  We’re using some nice dimmable Edison bulbs similar to these that cost $3.30 each: Edison bulbs.

Simple setup
Before you setup your Emberlight you must download the app first. Take your bulb out, screw in the Emberlight then screw your bulb into the Emberlight. Setup is really simple, it’s all done through the app and primarily involves logging your now smart light bulb into your wifi network and giving it a name.

Simple control
That’s really it, you can now control your bulb from the app. A simple slider adds dimming capabilities to your bulb and tapping the dimmer on the app turns the light on and off. The bulb is very responsive with no noticeable lag when moving the slider on the app. If you have multiple Emberlights you don’t have to control them one by one.. instead you can group them together.

Advanced control
You can also hook you light up to other services via IFTTT (if this then that). For example, you could connect it to a timer when you are on vacation so that the light comes on and off in the evening to stop your house looking empty. You can get really creative and link it to many of the IFTTT services out there!

UK users
So, this Emberlight is an E26 screw fixing whilst the UK uses E27 fittings – this means there is 1mm difference in the socket sizes. Not a problem… The photos you see here are from a UK light socket running on a 230v power supply, the Emberlight fits in fine and the bulb fits in fine. The socket was actually a bayonet so we’ve used a bayonet to screw adapter from Amazon for £0.72 to make this fit.