Top 8 Photo Accessories for Android

As just about anyone will tell you, the smartphone has replaced the camera – even the disposable camera – when it comes to holiday snaps, which is one of the reasons it becomes all the more important to free up space on your mobile device at this time of year. But what about if you’re looking for even more from your standard Android camera? There are many different products out there that are designed to do just that, from lens packs that can be used to attach different camera lenses to your mobile device, to portable flashes that can be paired with your device and will supply more light when you hit the take photo button. Unfortunately, there won’t be any selfie sticks on this list, but whether you’re a casual photographer looking for something more or someone who is more of a professional when it comes to taking photos, there’s sure to be something on this list of the Top 8 photo accessories that will suit you. These accessories are mostly compatible with Android devices, hence the title, but many will also work with iOS devices and other smartphones/tablets, too.

8. Photojojo Lens Pack ($44.99)

PhotoJoJoLens

Let’s start with a nice lens pack that provides a few different options that differentiate from your average Android smartphone camera. This one from Photojojo is both neat and affordable, giving you 3 extra lenses to play with that can be easily attached to your smartphone or tablet. In this case, you have a fisheye lens, a telephoto lense and a wide angle/macro lens for those shots from far away or close up. And the great thing about these lenses is that they attach using strong magnetic rings so will not harm your phone at all! – Buy from Amazon

7. Nova Flash ($59.00)

Nova Flash

The Nova Flash is basically an off-camera wireless flash aimed at enhancing the photos taken using your Android device by adding another soft, natural light source to your photos. You can select the kind of light source you want, and then pair it with your smartphone camera shutter so that it goes off at the right time. It’s als slim enough to slide into your wallet with ease, and can be carried around then pulled out whenever you need it so as to provide an extra light source. – Buy from Amazon

6. Joby GripTight Mount ($15.27)

JobyGriptight

There are many stands out there for smartphones that are designed to provide a steady foundation upon which you can snap some excellent photos. The problem that many will find is that these stands or tripods are only really designed to fit particular models or, if you’re lucky, a line of different models. This is the problem that GripTight attempts to solve with their little device, which is designed to bridge the gap between smartphones and tripods and is said to be compatible with just about any combination. The GripTight mount fits any smartphone thanks to its functional spring loaded grip, meaning that you easily attach your smartphone to your tripod even with the case on, and it will fold away for easy portable storage. – Buy from Amazon

5. Muku Shuttr ($36.95)

Shuttr

The Muku Shuttr Remote is basically a simple and convenient way to control the camera shutter on your smartphone from a distance via Bluetooth, and works with both Android and iOS devices. So you can place your device on a tripod or phone mount, ste up the shot and then hhut the button on your Muku Shuttr from up to 30 ft away. Of course, this is idea for those perfectionist photographers who want to get the right angle, but seems to have been marketed more as a selfie remote than anything else. It’s a nice tool to have in your pocket if you take a lot of group photos, too! – Buy from Amazon

4. Photojojo Pocket Spotlight ($30.00)

PocketSpotlight

The second Photojojo product to make the list, this is their answer to the Nova Flash we mentioned above and is basically a small LED spotlight that can be carried around easily and conveniently in your pocket. So yes, if you’re the kind of photographer that feels their smartphone flash isn’t good enough then go with the Nova for more impact, though if you’re looking for a steady light source to illuminate things then the Pocket Spotlight is the product for you. You can either hold the Pocket Spotlight when taking the photo or mount it to the headphone jack or hotshoe, to keep your hands free for other stuff. The best thing about it though is that it charges using USB just like your smartphone and will then hold that charge for over an hour, which is perfect for those long photography sessions or when you’re out and about snapping pics. – Buy from Amazon

3. HTC RE ($125.00)

HTCRE

If you went out looking for weird and wonderful accessories for your Android device, then I doubt you could come up with anything as odd as the HTC RE Camera. This device, which seems to resemble a submarine’s periscope rather than a camera, is waterproof up to 10 feet or 30 feet with its rubber case that comes included. It can capture 16 megapixel or 1080p videos with ease, and there’s really no on button involved: it’s smart enough to tell when it’s being held, then immediately turns itself on and pairs with your Android device so that you can use this mobile lens rather than that on your own smartphone or tablet.  – Buy from Amazon

2. Olloclip 4-in-1 Lens ($69.99)

Olloclip

The Olloclip 4 in 1 lens is slightly different when it comes to iPhone and Android devices, but remains one of the best lens packs you can buy that will suit both amateur and pro photographers down to the ground. There are a bunch of different options included here that are built to suit a range of different purposes and situations, from the fish eye lens that will be the number one pick for those who shoot skateboarding videos, to the wide andle and macro lenses that are excellent when filming nature from both far away and close up. The main drawback with the Olloclip is that it isn’t terrible friendly when it comes to smartphone cases, though I’ve been told that the company is working on a more case friendly alternative.  – Buy from Amazon

1. Narrative Clip ($135.50)

Narrativeclip

The Narrative Clip is a small device that I remember reading about a while back, and remember thiking how much of a gimmick it sounded. A little Bluetooth paired device that you clip to your collar or wherever that takes a photo every 30 seconds with its 5 megapixel camera? Sounds fun, but what is it used for? Well, it turns out that it can be used for just about everything, and is a lot of fun if you’re the kind that makes YouTube videos or just likes creative projects. There’s even a Narrative Clip 2 out there that supports both WiFi and Bluetooth pairing, but we only used the original model and had a lot of fun doing so. It’s nice to have activity trackers that monitor things like sleeping patterns and steps taken throughout the day, but with the Narrative Clip you can now get a visual representation of your day, too. – Buy from Amazon

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Top 8 Business Apps for Apple Watch

One area of the App Store in which the Apple Watch has really sparked some level of innovation and creativity is the idea of business apps; those that you can use for work-related endeavors, such as messaging colleagues or managing some kind of working environment. I suppose the reason for this is simply that the Apple Watch is so convenient: being wearable, you have it available at all times so can manage things at a glance. This can make it especially useful in meetings, where it’s often not practical (or allowed) to pull out your iPhone and start navigating apps. The success of wireless Bluetooth headsets among those who are busy working everyday shows us that it’s not so much about convenience but about the ease with which things can be done. Responding to a call is easier when you have a hands free headset; managing your employees or your work emails or your scheduled tasks is easier when it can be monitored on your wrist. We recently took a bunch of these Apple Watch business apps or a spin and came up with our favorites; why don’t you suggest some of your own?

8. TigerText (Free)

Let’s kick things off with the enterprise app TigerText, which is one of a few impressive messaging apps for the Apple Watch that are designed to not only boost professional productivity but also allow you a secure platform upon which to work. Traditional messaging apps don’t offer the same level of security; only now are we beginning to see products such as Confide which is the first real off-the-record messenger for the iOS platform.  TigerText allows users to securely preview, read and  of course send messages in real time. The best thing about their Apple Watch update however is the speech to text dictation, which means that you can punch out messages and send them on the go simply by talking into your Watch; your iPhone doesn’t even need to be present! – Download from iTunes

7. CommitTo3 (Free)

Commit

CommitTo3 is, put very simply, a goal tracking app that allows you to set up your specific objectives and then check them off with a tap of the wrist. It can work for you at home from a day to day basis with chores, reminders to exercise and the like, but is equally proficient when it comes to professional tasks. CommitTo3 presents the idea of setting up three specific tasks to commit to during the day, then allows you to check them off as and when they are completed. You can even view other commits, which is great for team based businesses.  – Download from iTunes

6. Avaamo (Free)

Avaamo

Another excellent business app with secure messaging in mind is Avaamo, which offers the same kind of speech to text functionality as TigerText but with another couple of additions that set it apart, in our opinion. There are smart emojis, for one, and who doesn’t love emojis? Then you have your file or image and video exchange, which can be very useful when trading material back and forth. The most impressive and convenient thing about such apps however is not even the fact that it provides a secure platform for your work conversations, but that you can manage them with ease at a glance. – Download from iTunes

5. Invoice2Go (Free)

Invoice2Go

As any small business owner will no doubt tell you, the process of creating invoices and delivering them can be a real pain. It’s a time consuming process, but the Apple Watch is all about convenience: Invoice2Go makes it easier than ever before to create great looking invoices no matter where you are, simply with a few taps of your wrist. The app allows professionals to monitor the time they spend on tasks each day, then allows them to create and send invoices and even receive payment notifications directly to their wrist! – Download from iTunes

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Top 8 Native watchOS 2 Apps for Apple Watch

Apple’s watchOS 2 was launched a year back (now there’s watchOS 3), which promises an exciting future for the company’s new wearable device, allowing developers more freedom than ever before and most importantly of all removing the connection with the iPhone that makes some Apple Watch apps so difficult to manage. These native apps will be able to run on the Watch without the need for a constant connection with your iPhone, so you will be able to check things like messages and your favorite social media feeds without pulling your phone out of your bag or whatever – much more useful, as I’m sure you’ll agree. While we expect to see a lot more from apps as they update for watchOS 2 over the coming months, there are already a handful of apps that have been updated and work well with watchOS 2. We run through just a few of these right here, hopefully in a way that will showcase the versatility of the Apple Watch and creativity of developers to find solutions and better take advantage of this new technology.

8. App in the Air (Free)

Appintheair

App in the Air is quickly becoming one of the more popular third party travel apps out there right now, thanks largely to its simple displaying of flight info that is always updated. There are many flight info apps out there, but these are largely funded by the airlines themselves and as such you need to download the correct app. App in the Air is grat no matter what airline you’re using, and with this recent watchOS 2 update will update you on the process of your journey, and even give you info on famous landmarks you’re currently flying over at that moment in time. – Download from iTunes

7. Twisty Color ($0.99)

Twisty

So, we should be honest here and state that Twisty Color is really a game rather than an app, therefore should perhaps belong on a different list. It is however one of the first games to take advantage of this latest watchOS 2 update. Twisty Color does this through the Digital Crown, which is the primary input mode when it comes to playing the game. You turn the crown to spin the in game color wheel and while the gameplay is simple and won’t pass the time for long, it’s still fun and shows how developers are thinking outside the box to utilize the best features of the Apple Wach. – Download from iTunes

6. iTranslate (Free)

Voice recognition has really been expanded upon with watchOS 2, and one of the apps first in line to take advantage of this is iTranslate. With this app you can now translate words, phrases and text into around 100 different language directly from your wrist. You can also play back translations through the speaker on your Apple Watch, which makes a huge difference in that it completely removes the iPhone from the equation – you can leave it in your pocket! iTranslate also works with complications in order to give you different options that no other translation app has offered; you can start a translation directly from your watch face without the need for your iPhone, and it will even suggest a language based on your current location thanks to the device’s locational awareness. – Download from iTunes

5. Lifesum (Free)

lifesum

Lifesum is a health and fitness tracking app and among the first to fully embrace the Apple Watch. This is basically a weight loss app, but is an excellent way to maintain a healthy lifestyle, too. It will give you targets for the day and you can then check on these at a glance by looking at your watch face. The watchOS 2 update allows you to spin the Digital Crown and check on the upcoming day, and will also provide you with useful notifications should you need to eat or exercise in order to reach your goals.  – Download from iTunes

4. PCalc ($9.99)

Pcalc

PCalc is perhaps our favorite multi feature calculator app currently available for the iOS platform, so we’re delighted that this one is also among the first in line when it comes to fully embracing the watchOS 2 update. The developers now offer faster loading times and of course a native app that doesn’t require the iPhone in order to function. One of the ways we at Top8 often use PCalc is when calculating tips in restaurants, and this function is one of the more prevalent on the Apple Watch version: you can use the Digital Crown and rotate it for setting inputs, showing the totals when you split a bill between friends, for example. The app also supports Handoff, meaning you can move info between devices and platforms; also, there is a voice dictation option if you prefer it that way! – Download from iTunes

3. Lose It! (Free)

lose-it

Lose It! was among the first fitness apps to grace the Apple Watch, and remains an excellent way to get in shape and maintain a healthy lifestyle by tracking the food you eat and your daily activity. And now that you can do all of this from the convenience of your wrist, the whole process seems a lot less painful. While Lose It! has been updated for watchOS 2, the changes are minimal: chiefly, it will show you if you’re under or over budget for the day. That is, if you still need to do some work in order to hit your goals: if you need to burn some more calories in order to stay under budget. The fact that you can now check on this info at a glance is very useful indeed. – Download from iTunes

2. Dark Sky ($3.99)

Dark Sky

Dark Sky remains one of the most popular third party weather apps out there right now, and is certainly an app that suits the at a glance nature of the Apple Watch. For those who haven’t yet used Dark Sky (grab it now – trust us!) this is a weather app unlike most in that it focuses solely on inclement or bad weather, ensuring that you are always aware should there be even the slightest chance of rain, sleet or snow in your area. This information can of course be gleaned with a single glance, which is part of what makes apps like Dark Sky so very useful. This is one of the first apps to support the new watch face complications that has been made possible with the new watchOS 2 update. The weather info you now receive on your wrist is customizable, and you can even use Time Travel and move the Digital Crown in order to see the weather details for the day ahead. – Download from iTunes

1. Streaks ($3.99)

Streaks

As you may have noticed by now, many of the more popular Apple Watch apps that are looking to take advantage of watchOS 2 are those related to goals and health in particular. Streaks is another one of those, allowing you to track your progress relative to six different tasks at a time. The format it presents is like a game, inviting the user to check off these tasks in succession and subsequently build up a streak. The watchOS 2 changes here are minimal, but the ability to check on the progress of your goals will be an indispensible function for many users. – Download from iTunes

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Top 8 Retro Games for Android

This Top 8 list is for all the retro gamers out there: those that enjoy today’s big budget offerings, but would just as happily dust off their old console and fire up some SEGA or Nintendo classics. Playing retro games via emulators on a computer is something that has been available for some time, but only in the last ten years or so have we seen the idea of retro gaming take off with companies clamoring to buy the rights to old games and then port them to the latest consoles so that players can relive moments of nostalgia from their gaming past. Perhaps the most ideal platform for these retro games is of course the smartphone or tablet, since so many of the games aren’t at all demanding on the system. The problem tends to arise when you have games that were designed for a console and a control pad, and as such aren’t much fun to play by tapping the screen. Some ports are rushed and you can tell so immediately; whereas others are more lovingly brought to this new platform, with a control system that helps rather than hinders. We recently took a look at some of the the retro games available for Android in search of our favorites. Warning: this list contains a lot of bias!

8. Tetris (Free)

First off, hands up how many of you lost hours to Tetris at some point in your lives? Those of you with your hands down must be lying! Tetris has always represented one of those gaming concepts that is so simple and unique that it transcends such things as time and fashion. Even today, with the huge amount of money in the gaming industry and complicated games out there, with all their flashy graphics, Tetris holds its own down to pure gameplay and replayability. That was always one of the things that struck me about Tetris upon first discovering it on the Gameboy as a kid: the fact that every game was different, and as such so was the outcome. This is a trait that can be seen in a number of classic games, from Worms to Sim City. When the game is contructed in a way that each play through is a different experience, then it exists in a league of its own in terms of longevity.  – Download from Google Play

7. Prince of Persia Classic ($1.99)

I never did play much Prince of Persia as a kid, but was always a fan of platformers and remember this one being one of the more striking options out there on the market. Prince of Persia is now a franchise, of course, purchased by Ubisoft and turned into new games and movies. In many ways, this seems to have distracted from what the game stood for in the first place, and any version of Prince of Persia that moves away from this 2D side scrolling look really removes all the charm of the game. – Download from Google Play

6. Carmageddon ($0.99)

Video games have always been in some way controversial; typically blamed for one thing or another. Before Grand Theft Auto became the poster boy fro this kind of complaint, Carmageddon was becoming a huge hit with kids all around the world. In fact, I think the first games for each franchise were released within months of each other, which perhaps tells you where the game industry was at that particular time. Carmageddon has spawned a bunch of similar games over the years, but nothing quite compares to the perverse and wicked original. – Download from Google Play

5. Crazy Taxi Classic ($4.99)

SEGA’s Crazy Taxi was another of those games that seemed to bring a whole new breath of energy to the industry at the time. I remember first playing it in an arcade and just wanting to continue driving, driving, no matter how much money it would cost and no matter the checkpoints and things that I was missing. The game might actually be too new to be considered a proper retro game but it’s certainly one that stays with me in terms of nostalgia. – Download from Google Play

4. Secret of Mana ($7.99)

https://youtube.com/watch?v=KB1-K2YQB5Q

While Final Fantasy was the game of choice for so many of my friends, I remember being first introduced to Secret of Mana on Nintendo’s SNES and being blown away. Then, I realized that both games were made by the same development company and all of a sudden I knew where I wanted to work as an adult. Secret of Mana remains one of the best RPG games to ever exist, and in many ways reinvented what was then known as the classic RPG with its real time battle system. You may think that the control system used here when playing on a smartphone or tablet takes away from the experience, but it’s good enough and gets the job done – it’s nothing like playing with a proper controller, but what is? – Download from Google Play

3. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 ($2.99)

As Sonic games go, the best was always that first sequel – wasn’t it? I mean, I get how exciting Sonic was when it first game out on the SEGA Genesis, but the introduction of Tails as a second player at that time (though ridiculed in some quarters) was a real stroke of genius and I remember sitting around friends’ houses who actually owned a SEGA console (Nintendo man here) and being mesmerized by those almost three dimensional tunnel like landscapes and special stages. Of course, Sonic at heart was always a platformer, and one that not only redefined the slow and plodding genre at the time with a fast paced an colorful new look, but also blazed a path for the games that were to come in the future. This port is one of SEGA’s best, and brings you all the nostalgia of those earlier gaming memories but without the annoyance of a clunky control system when playing on the smartphone. – Download from Google Play

2. Double Dragon Trilogy ($2.99)

I’ve always been a fan of side scrolling beat em ups, and the Double Dragon trilogy has constantly delivered in this area. Ever since its arcade debut in 1987, the franchise has attracted millions of players worldwide. It might even be the case that this one came out before your time, so what are you waiting for? Now you can enjoy all of these games remastered in one fairly affordable package, and with a bunch of cool features such as the support for bluetooth controllers meaning that you can play the games as they were meant to be played! – Download from Google Play

1. Final Fantasy III ($15.99)

Square Enix has brought many of its titles to the mobile platform, and each of these are going to set you back a few dollars if you wish to relive nostalgia. Which is the best Final Fantasy game out there is a continuing debate among friends of mine who also grew up with these fantastic RPGs, but we typically agree on a handful each time. Back when it was first released in 1990, Final Fantasy III stood alone and wowed western audiences with its combat system and the depth of the adventure you could embark on. – Download from Google Play

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Top 8 Touch ID Apps for iPhone

Back in 2013, with the release of the iPhone 5s, Touch ID quickly became the standout new feature from Apple and something of a revolution when it comes to adding security to your technology. Initially, Apple confined the use of Touch ID – which is essentially a fingerprint reader that you can use to protect your phone – to unlocking your home screen and confirming purchases in the App Store. That has changed with the introduction of iOS 8, which allows developers to utilize this fantastic technology within their own apps. Whether it comes to making secure purchases, storing passwords and the like, Touch ID has undoubtedly made the use of your iPhone a whole lot more safe and secure. But what apps are out there that have been updated or released with Touch ID integration. We take a look at some of our favorites that can be purchased iTunes right now!

8. Memoir (Free)

Memoir

People seem to be aware of the more popular apps to have taken advantage of the Touch ID technology, but what about those that aren’t (yet) household names? Memoir is one of those, and we predict it might just become the next big thing! It’s basically a life logging app that takes into account all of your social activity on the web and then arranges all of this so that you can browse through your memories with ease. It’s a lot like Timehop which has seen a lot of success recently, but has more sheen and looks a lot more professional – it also has a lot more detail! And of course, such memories are personal things so why wouldn’t you want to lock them down securely with Touch ID? – Download from iTunes

7. Scanner Pro ($2.99)

scanner

Scanner Pro by Readdle is another of those that has been upgraded with iOS 8 to take advantage of Touch ID. It allows you to scan documents with your iPhone or iPad, and is probably the best in the business when it comes to this kind of thing. If you’re the kind of person that scans docs often, then you might have scanned one or two sensitive or personal pieces of paper in your time – those containing information such as bank details that we wouldn’t want to see in the wrong hands. This is why Readdle have been quick to update their best selling app so that you can protect these documents securely using Touch ID – what’s more, the app is cheaper than it used to be at just $2.99, so it’s now the perfect time to buy! – Download from iTunes

6. 1Password (Free)

1password

Another important app that has really helped people to keep things secure on their phone is 1Password, which basically brings together all of your login details under one roof. And what’s more dangerous than leaving your password to one site lying around? Well, leaving your password to many sites lying around! Hence the recent Touch ID update for 1Password, which ensures that your convenient single password is safe and secure. – Download from iTunes

5. Authy (Free)

Authy

Yet another great security app is Authy, which basically makes dealing with verification codes a whole lot easier – currently supporting such popular apps Facebook, Amazon and Evernote, and many more! The management of account verification on such sites and with such apps is obviously quite a sensitive process – but one that is necessary when it comes to the security of your accounts. Well, with the recent Touch ID update for Authy you can now protect your info behind two walls instead of one! – Download from iTunes

4. Mint Personal Finance (Free)

Mint

By far the most successful and impressive personal finance app on the market – well, one of the best websites, and the app is just an extension of this. When it comes to managing your finances, whether for your home or your small business, no service does it quite like Mint. Before signing up and using the service myself, I admit to having a faint idea of where my money was going but the iPhone app makes it crystal clear – with graphical breakdowns that are easy to read, even for someone who is uninitiated when it comes to financial terminology. And the folks over at Mint.com obviously understand that the security of your financial details is of the utmost importance, hence this recent update with iOS 8 that secures them all behind the verification of your fingerprint! – Download from iTunes

3. Evernote (Free)

Evernote

Evernote has risen to become one of the most successful apps out there, and if you’ve been reading our website then you know that we are big fans! Evernote really is an indispensable app when it comes to documenting your day. From mere grocery lists to imaginative story writing ideas noted down in audio, the app is designed to be there as a notepad to store all of your info when it is fresh in the mind. I’ve used the app from time to time to note down things such as passwords, verification codes, even bank details so – and I’m sure it’s the case for most people who are reading this – there is a strong chance that your notes will contain sensitive info. As such, it’s important to lock that down if you can. Unfortunately, you can only enable a passcode lock on the Evernote app itself if you upgrade to the Premium version of the app which costs $5 a month or around $50 a year – I believe, though please correct me if I’m wrong! With this added feature, you can then decide to pass on the passcode lock and use Touch ID instead. – Download from iTunes

2. Google Drive (Free)

Drive

Another indispensable app and one that we use a lot is Google Drive, which can be used as an important professional tool when it comes to storing and managing and even editing files. It’s really the one thing I use for work, since it’s so easy to access across a range of platforms and keeps all of your stuff in one place and constantly synced to any updates. What’s more, if you use Google Drive to write documents on your desktop computer like I do, you can set up an offline mode which basically stores any updates on your computer if you are without a connection and then updates the files when you next connect. Of course, these files can be personal which is why it is important to keep them secured with something like Touch ID – recently integrated into the iOS version of the app! – Download from iTunes

1. Amazon App (Free)

Amazon

As mentioned before, one of the first things that Apple did with Touch ID was to employ it on the App Store so that purchases could be committed securely and only by the owner of the account. This was bad news for those pesky kids of yours who like to grab in-app purchases on Candy Crush or whatever, but great news for everyone else! And what service do people use more than any these days when it comes to purchasing items? Amazon, of course! The recent update of the Amazon app for iOS 8 allows you to take advantage of Touch ID security in order to access your account and carry out purchases. You can even set it to replace your regular password, which makes the whole process a lot easier. – Download from iTunes

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