Hack Your Nook Color to Run Android 4.2 (Overwrite OS, No SD Card!)

A while we did a post showing a Nook Color that I hacked to run Android 4.2 Jellybean, and today you get the knowledge; I’m going to tell you how to do it. The title of this post is a little misleading, but not completely. It says, “No SD Card,” but you do need one in order to perform the root. However, once the root is done, you can remove the SD card and use the Nook without it.

PLEASE NOTE: This root is not the kind where you pop out the SD card and reboot and it’s a Nook again. To my knowledge, this is irreversible. The MicroSD card I used was 16GB, but I believed you can go as low as 4GB for this. Some people used 2GB, but using at least 4GB will speed up the process (and make sure you have space for all the files that you will use).

That aside,
Today I’m going to tell you how to make you Nook Color into an Android 4.2 Jellybean tablet. Here’s what you’re going to need:

OK. Now that you’ve downloaded from the provided links (use the links that I provide, because they all work with each other. If you try to use the wrong version of gapps for CM 10.1.3 it won’t work. These are the files that I used when I rooted my Nook and they should work.), this is what you need to do:

  1. Insert your MicroSD card into your computer using an adapter (or a cable or whatever you need).
  2. On a Windows PC:
    • Launch Win32 DiskImager
    • Make sure the drive letter selected is the location of your MicroSD card (in other words, choose to burn the file to the MicroSD card).
    • Select the ClockwordMod Recovery IMG file that you downloaded and unzipped.
    • Click “Write” and wait. As I recall, this took a while.
  3. On a Mac:
    • Use Disk Utility to erase the MicroSD card and format it to FAT32. Then unmount the MicroSD card from a terminal prompt and use the command line to burn the image to the card. (Detailed instructions here)
  4. Once you have completed the instructions for whichever machine you are using, copy all the other downloaded .zip files files (CyanogenMod 10.1.3, gapps, repartition, and reformat .zips) onto the MicroSD card. DO NOT unzip these files, and DO NOT put them in a subfolder.
  5. Safely remove (unmount, eject, whatever your system calls it) the MicroSD card.

OK, now it’s time to actually hack the Nook. Once you have done this, YOU CANNOT REVERSE IT TO MY KNOWLEDGE. So if you want to use the Nook as a Nook in the future, STOP NOW. If you want an Android 4.2 tablet, continue.

Your Nook should be shut down (turned off completely) to start the hack.

  1. Get into ClockworkMod.
    • Insert the MicroSD card and turn on the Nook Color
    • I believe you will see a loading message in the middle of the screen with skulls on either side (I can’t remember for sure; I did this in February).
    • Then you will come to a menu in amber colored text (I think that it might be blue, actually; once again, I can’t remember).
    • You use the volume buttons to go up and down the menu, Nook button to select an option, one click of the power button to go up a menu
  2. Repartition and reformat Nook’s internal storage (you can skip this if you have done it previously, but I would recommend doing it anyway).
    • Navigate to “Install .zip from SD card.”
    • Select the repartition package (repartition2GBdata-v1.zip).
    • Go back to the main menu (press the power button) and select reboot. (Note on this: I believe that when you do this it reboots as a Nook. If it DOES reboot as a Nook, shut own the Nook [by holding down power] and continue with the next steps.)
    • Navigate back to “Install .zip from SD card.” This time select the reformat package (reformatData-v1.zip).
    • Go back to the main menu (press the power button) and select reboot. (Note on this: I cannot remember whether or not it will reboot as a Nook at this stage. I believe it DOES. If it DOES reboot as a Nook, just shut down the Nook [by holding down power] and continue with the next steps.)
  3. Install CyanogenMod 10.1.3
    • Navigate to “Wipe data/factory reset” and follow the steps to convince the machine that you actually want to factory reset.
    • Navigate to “Install .zip from SD card.”
    • Select the CyanogenMod 10.1.3 file.
    • Select the Google Apps (gapps) file (this is optional, but if you want to download apps from the Play Store, you must select Google Apps).
    • Navigate back to the main menu (press the power button).
    • Remove the MicroSD card from the Nook Color.
    • Select reboot.

When the Nook reboots, it will not run CyanogenMod the first time (It might, but usually it will boot as a Nook from my experience and everything I read online). Just power off the Nook and power it back on and it should start up running CyanogenMod 10.1.3 (which is Android 4.2 Jellybean).

After its first boot up, CyanogenMod will prompt you to configure the Nook (which is an Android tablet at this point) and provide Google credentials.

Well, that’s it! Congratulations, you now have your own Android tablet! You can put the MicroSD card back into your computer and remove the files, and after setting up the tablet, put it in as extra storage.

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Thanks for checking out Handz Studioz!

-The Editor

External Links:
This is the tutorial that I originally used when I hacked my Nook Color this February (I didn’t follow the steps exactly, because I used a different [newer] version of CyanogenMod and Google Apps). Unfortunately, some of the links to his files don’t work anymore, so it is a bit obsolete.


Windows Releases Information About Its Newest OS — Windows 10

Yes. They skipped a number, we know. Hopefully this is an indication of where Microsoft is going with Windows.

With Windows 10, Microsoft did a combination of Windows 7 and Windows 8. You still have the tiles and apps of Windows 8, but the start menu is back! Joe Belfiore of Microsoft said the company wanted to bring back the familiarity of Windows 7 and the functionality of Windows 8. Maybe so, but personally I find 7 a lot more functional than 8; navigation is much easier. Whereas 8 was more of a tablet OS, Microsoft has moved back towards a computer-geared OS model for Windows 10.

Check out this video from Microsoft that shows the new OS in action!

This video shows seamless integration between Windows 10 as a tablet and a PC operating system. In PC mode, the start menu opens the “Windows 7 Start Menu” with the familiar quick launch icons, and the applications over to the side. Switch to tablet mode, and you get the Windows 8 tiles OS. Now you don’t have to use your laptop as a tablet. That was one of my biggest frustrations with the tile system of 8. Thank you Microsoft!

Windows 10 features a new “task view” that is reminiscent of the Mac taskbar, and resizing windows that automatically fill the screen or change layout to match the window size. Users will get keyboard shortcuts that were missing in Windows 8 back, and although that might not be the most groundbreaking news, ctrl+c and other shortcuts can be the most powerful functions on a machine.

Is Microsoft feeling guilty about 8, so they skipped straight to double digits with 10? Perhaps. Microsoft only revealed a few thing about Windows 10, but we will keep you up to date as Microsoft releases more information. You can’t get 10 yet for about a year, unfortunately; Windows 10 is due to release in late 2015.

If you enjoyed this post, please like and follow! Please share this post with others in your community (online or physical) you think would enjoy it!

-The Editor

iCloud Drive — Apple’s “Dropbox-Killer”

iCloud Drive

With iOS 8 came a huge update to iCloud. Before, iCloud was just this service up on the web where you could store files and then pull them down for use. In the update, Apple added iCloud Drive, commonly referred to as the “Dropbox-killer.” It’s basically Apple’s version of Google Drive. Apple currently has a version set up for all of its iDevices (obviously) running iOS 8, Windows machines (7 or later), and Macs (as long as they’re running OS X Yosemite).

Today we’re going to do an analysis of iCloud Drive; we’ll also compare it to Google Drive and Dropbox. Is it really a “Dropbox-killer” or will Dropbox survive?

iCloud Drive looks like a great service. I personally don’t use iCloud, but I may start now that Drive is out. There are a few problems with iCloud Drive, however. First, you only get 5 free GB of space. Google Drive gives you 15 GB of free space. Dropbox, however, only gives 2 GB — but there’s a catch. With Dropbox you can get up to 16 GB of free space by referring friends, something that Apple doesn’t offer. So Apple didn’t beat Google with the free space, and it sort of killed Dropbox. Yes, you can get more space in Dropbox eventually, but to start, iCloud wins here against Dropbox.

Now let’s look at pricing. The pricing options options for iCloud Drive aren’t awful, but they just can’t compare with Google. Look at the following comparison of pricing. Google wins here in terms of storage for the price.

  • iCloud: $0.99/month for 20 GB
  • Google: $1.99/month for 100 GB
  • iCloud: $3.99/month for 200 GB
  • Google: $9.99/month for 1 TB
  • iCloud: $9.99/month for 500 GB
  • Google: $99.99/month for 10 TB
  • iCloud: $19.99/month for 1 TB
  • Google: $299.99/month for 20 TB
  • Google: $399.99/month for 30 TB

We see here that Google wins in terms of storage for price, but Google’s storage plans aren’t quite as user friendly as Apple’s are. I would probably only need 20 GB, so I might go with Google’s free (15 GB) plan. Apple’s plan costs $0.99 for 20 GB, then Google charges a dollar more for 5x as much (100 GB) storage. Sorry Apple.

Then things start to lean in Apple’s favor. Whereas Google jumps straight to 1 TB for $9.99 (few users need this much), iCloud goes to 200 GB for $3.99, a much more affordable price per year. Then Google jumps to 10 TB for $99.99/month! The problem here is that Google’s prices are better up to 1 TB, but then it jumps so high that the user would be paying A LOT for their storage. Ultimately, I probably would go with Google simply because it’s the same price for 1 TB as it is for Apple’s 500 GB.

How does Dropbox compare? Not very well. You have to upgrade to a Pro plan and subscribe to monthly or yearly (depending on how you would like to pay) Pro 1 TB plan. The Pro plan costs $9.99/month or $99/year, so it’s comparable to Google Drive.

Apple has a big marketing slogan for iCloud Drive, “Edits you make on one device appear on all of them.” What do we have to say about this? Big deal. Not! (More tactful comments, right?) Apple says “all of your devices,” but what about accessibility on Android platforms? That’s where Dropbox and Google kind of kill Apple. You can get Dropbox and Google Drive on all devices, but iCloud is only available for Apple devices. That’s not very helpful. Dropbox and Google Drive win here.

So is iCloud Drive a Dropbox-killer? Not currently. Is it better than Google Drive? Not currently. As Apple updates iCloud Drive (as I’m sure they will), and more pricing and storage options become available, iCloud Drive could become real competition for Google. Is iCloud Drive competition now? Sort of. It provides some competition due to the sheer number of Apple users, but on a large scale it simply doesn’t compare right now.

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-The Editor

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#Bendgate — Fact or Fiction?

iPhone 6 Plus Bend
Ever since Apple released the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, the internet has been riddled with the “Bendgate” phenomenon. Basically, the iPhone 6 models are quite thin (6.9 mm for the 6, 7.1 mm for the 6 Plus), and people have been saying that the 6 Plus has been bending in their pockets. Now let’s think about this. The iPhones are made of aluminum and glass; aluminum, unless it is a highly refined alloy, is fairly pliable. That’s why knives are made of steel, not copper or gold, or particularly aluminum. So we know that aluminum isn’t the strongest material, but is Bendgate really something to be worried about?

A lot of the complaints on the internet talked about the iPhone 6 Plus bending in their front pockets. We’re inclined to think that this is a little ridiculous (that was tactful, wasn’t it?). In all seriousness though, it’s silly to say that a phone made of metal (yes, it is aluminum, but it’s still metal) will bend in a front pocket. I mentioned earlier that the internet is full of these rumors; Apple finally came out and said something about this the other day. Apple says that (despite all the reports online) they have only received nine (9!) complaints. That’s nine complaints out of over 10 million combined sales of the 6 and 6 Plus.

TechRadar did a post on this recently, and did a “bend test” on the new iPhone 6 Plus.

As you saw in the video, it takes quite a bit of force to bend the 6 Plus. So will it bend? Yes, he says; but that depends on the tightness of your pants. Notice also that the iPhone had no case, yet it still took a lot of force.

So in conclusion, is Bendgate real? Well, sort of. It is real, but certainly not on the scale that it’s made up to be. Would I worry about it? No. The 6 Plus is in danger of bending, but certainly not in your front pocket, and probably not in the back pocket. You saw the force it took to bend the iPhone, and a case will certainly solve that problem. Remember, Apple only received nine complaints about this, and out of 10 million combined sales, that’s not awful.

Is this a show stopper for the 6 Plus? I don’t think so. Bendgate is something to be careful of, but a case will protect your iPhone 6 Plus, and it’s unlikely that you’ll have to deal with this problem.

If you enjoyed this post, please like and follow! Please share this post with others in your community (online or physical) you think would find it interesting!

-The Editor

The Smart Watch Industry: Will It Work for Apple?

The Samsung Galaxy Gear can be summarized with one word: flop. Let me repeat that: FLOP. The simple truth is that people just didn’t really want the Gear, and it was too expensive, etc. Personally I think that the Apple Watch will do quite well. Why? Because it’s an Apple product.

I once was in a class (long ago) where the teacher commented, “If Apple released an iToilet, people would line up outside the stores to buy it.” It’s amazing the truth in this statement, as silly as it sounds. Let’s look at the economy of the US (I’ll try not to make this boring): the US economy is a free market system, meaning that the government is involved as little as possible (thank God), and competition among businesses controls the prices and wages. Another part of the free market system is that the customers can go wherever they want to buy the products. Thus, a company that has a history of good products will have a loyal following of customers. Now I’m not saying that Samsung is a bad company, or that they make bad products; rather, they make great products. But Apple was the company that made the smartphone popular, and really everything after that is just another company’s take on the smartphone.

Another reason why the Apple Watch should do well is that there are supposed to be several models to choose from. Apple put the three models up on their website: the Apple Watch, the Watch Sport, and the Watch Edition.

Apple Watch
The Watch will have a stainless steel back, a sapphire crystal display, and choice of leather, fluoroelastomer, link bracelet, or Milanese loop for a band.

Watch Sport
The Watch Sport will have strengthened “Ion-X” glass, an aluminum back, and a fluoroelastomer (high-durability rubber) band, with five colors of bands to choose from.

Watch Edition
The Watch Edition will have an 18-carat gold back, a sapphire crystal display, and a leather band. On the Edition all of those are customizable, save for the display. You can choose what color of leather and gold you would like.

The Samsung Galaxy Gear didn’t really have any options to choose from; you just bought it or you didn’t. Apple is doing things the right way here.

To answer the question in the title: we think so. Apple is doing things the right way here, with customizable options; they’re not taking a “one-size-fits-all” approach. People like to have options, they like to be unique, even in things as small as the kind of watch they wear. If Apple can provide that to customers (and it looks like they’re going to), the Apple Watch will probably do very well.

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By the way, we’ve started to post daily, so you can look out for a new post each day!

-The Editor

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iOS 8 Review — Handz Studioz Goes in Depth (Part 2)

In Part 1 of the iOS 8 review, we looked at the features added in iOS 8, and then we reviewed the Mail, Messages, Photos, and Camera apps. In Part 2 we’ll go over the remaining apps and features in iOS 8.

OK, so when Apple updated Safari I think they overlooked a few things. First of all, it seems that Apple set up Safari that when you open something in a new tab, it keeps the data in your cache until you move to the tab that it’s in; once you tap on the tab it then loads the page. I find this frustrating and slow. I personally thought that the iOS 7 Safari was just about perfect. You could open a practically unlimited number of tabs, with no problem. Now, if you open too many, the webpage sometimes doesn’t even load because there’s too much information in your cache. That’s definitely a con.

However, not all of the updates were bad. One that could go either way is the new clear history function. Whereas in iOS 7 you could only clear all of your history, now you can, “Clear Last Hour,” “Clear Today,” “Clear Today and Yesterday,” and “Clear All History.” Usually when I clear history I just clear it all anyway (You should consider doing this. If you have a lot of items in your history, after a while those can add up and eat storage space on your device), to save space on my iPad, but this could come in useful at some point. For instance, if you have a family iPad (or iPod, whatever), and you’re buying Christmas presents, you might not want to clear all of the history, but you certainly don’t want your family to know what you’re getting them.

Another update that isn’t really good or bad, necessarily, is that Apple redid it’s address bar to be more like Chrome. Now, just like Chrome, when you scroll down a page, the address bar is hidden. This might work well on iPhones since they have a smaller screen size, but on iPads screen size isn’t an issue. I personally found that hiding the address bar was a little annoying, because I constantly switch between tabs. Having to scroll up every time I wanted to switch tabs was a bit frustrating. We haven’t been able to get an iPhone 6 yet to review, but if we do, you can be sure this function will get tested on a smaller device! Another update to the address bar was just a reorganization of icons. So now, the history and bookmarks icon is on the left of the address box, instead of the right. That’s really the only major difference. Also, the blue bar that indicates how fast the page is loading is not in the tab anymore; it’s in the address box.

Conclusion: we like some of the features, but it needs some work. A combination of the iOS 7 browser and the new iOS 8 features would be good. I’ve found myself using Chrome for a lot more now than I used to because it’s faster and doesn’t cache your pages. It just loads them normally, like a web browser should.

Apple created a version of Tips for iOS now, but it’s not quite like the Mac application. Currently the Tips tell you almost nothing. Eight tips come preloaded when you install iOS 8, but mostly they just introduce you to the new Mail, Camera, and Notifications functions. Currently Tips isn’t very helpful now, but hopefully Apple will add more tips that are helpful. (By the way, Apple released a new tip this morning that has to do with .com shortcuts.) Tips is a pro for this review, because of its intended productivity in the long term. However, right now it isn’t very useful yet.

Apple changed things up in settings a bit in the iOS 8 update. Icons changed, and navigation through the app changed a little bit. Things like battery usage are now buried deep within settings. This is neither a pro nor a con, really. Basically nothing changed and the features are still the same.

iCloud Drive
In the update, iCloud got a bit of a makeover, and iCloud Drive was added. iCloud drive is supposed to work like DropBox and Google Drive. Unfortunately, you only get 5 GB of free space (whereas you get 15 with Google Drive); however pricing options are pretty good. A list from Paste Magazine tells us that it’s $0.99/month for 20 GB, $3.99/month for 200 GB, $9.99/ for 500 GB, and $19.99/month for 1 TB. So while only 5 free GB a month isn’t great, the pricing options are pretty good. If only used for documents, the 5 GB might work, and certainly the 20 GB option would. $12 a year isn’t bad for cloud storage. We’ll go in depth later in another post on iCloud and iCloud Drive, so be sure to follow to be notified when it is released!

Contro Panel
Control Panel was improved so much in this update. It’s funny that I say that, because basically nothing changed — except one important thing. Remember in iOS 7 how the Control Panel swipes up and is bright, but the rest of your screen gets darker? Well, it still does that, but now when you change the brightness, it brightens the rest of the screen so you can see how bright you’re actually making it (and then goes back to bright Control Panel and dim everything else). Before, it was kind of a guessing game as to how bright your screen really was. This alone made Control Panel ten times better. Control panel: Pro.

Notifications (which unfortunately doesn’t have a logo):
This got better. A lot better. One of the things that makes the Notifications in iOS 8 so good is the new “Swipe to Address” function, where basically you just swipe a notification to address it right there, without opening any apps. You can still tap on the notification if necessary, but for things like Messages this is really helpful. Now, instead of tapping on the notification to go to Messages to reply, you just swipe the notification down and it opens a little text box right there in the notification, and you type, send, and then swipe the Notifications bar up to dismiss. This is great for when you’re browsing the web or in a meeting or something, and you don’t want to close the app that you’re in; you just swipe, type, swipe. Done. Notifications is a huge Pro for this review.

In conclusion for this iOS 8 review, the update is great(ish). The new Notifications functions are great, Messages is pretty cool with its new functions; the integration with Notifications is amazing. iCloud Drive? We haven’t looked into this much, but we’re going to go more in depth on iCloud Drive soon, so be sure to follow! Camera and Photos are better (that’s the goal in an update), and Control Panel is much improved. Safari and Mail could use a little work, since Mail has a couple of bugs and Safari uses the cache in an unhelpful way, but the new features are good. They just need to fix the old ones that they messed up!

Ultimately, should you upgrade to iOS 8? Yes, you should; the pros definitely outweigh the cons.

If you enjoyed this post, please follow Handz Studioz using the toolbar on the right. Please share this post with others in your community (online or physical). We do reach a decent number of people currently, but we’re looking to reach more, and to get more followers. Let’s see if we can get 5 new followers from this iOS 8 review, shall we?

-The Editor
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iOS 8 Review — Handz Studioz Goes in Depth (Part 1)

Update Screen
My first reaction to iOS 8: “Holy *beep*” OK, not really, but speaking of sound effects, one of the updates added the ability to send short audio messages through iMessage. That’s just one of many added updates, so in order to save time and keep posts shorter, the iOS 8 review will be split into two parts. In Part 1, we’ll look at all the features that were added in iOS 8, and then I’ll review the Messages (iMessage), Camera, Photos, and Mail apps, which were, of course, part of the update. In Part 2, I’ll review the remaining features and apps in iOS 8.

What’s new in iOS 8? A LOT:

  • The ability to edit .rtf (Rich Text Format) files in Notes
  • Tips App
  • Time lapse in camera, burst mode patches for front facing camera in iPhone 5s, panorama mode for iPad Air and iPad Mini with Retina Display
  • A “Recently Deleted” folder in Photos (it’s like the Recycle Bin on Windows machines)
  • Safari updates such as different tab layouts
  • A much improved Control Center
  • A new keyboard, QuickType, which is basically just the Android keyboard, because now they added suggestions to a bar above the keys.
  • iCloud Drive
  • Believe it or not, improved battery life!
  • And more

So as you can see, iOS 8 was a big update, but you’re now probably wondering, “Can I get this on my iDevice?” Here’s a complete list of compatible devices from Evad3rs:

  • People had said the iPhone 4s would be dropped, but it is supported.
  • iPhone 5
  • iPhone 5c
  • iPhone 5s
  • iPhone 6
  • iPhone 6 Plus
  • iPad 2
  • iPad 3
  • iPad 4
  • iPad Air
  • iPad Mini
  • iPad Mini 2 (w/Retina Display)
  • iPod 5th Generation

Before you go to update, double check how much space left you have on your iDevice (Settings>>General>>Usage) because this is a big update. The download is 1.1 GB, and with the way Apple has it set up, it took me about 15 minutes to download at fairly good internet speed. The unpacking of it takes about another 30-45 minutes, and then the install takes about 45 minutes as well; this update takes a long time. I wouldn’t recommend starting it before bed, however, because you have to manually start the install after the downloading and unpacking is complete.

Now let’s get on with the review!
I really like the new iMessage App. The biggest hype about this has been the ability to send audio messages through iMessage. Personally, this isn’t the biggest deal to me, but it is pretty cool. Now the part that I really like is the integration with notifications. Now, when a notification of a message pops up at the top of the screen, you can just swipe down on the message to reply right there! This makes things SO much faster, and is definitely a pro from this update.

The Mail app didn’t change much, other than to add more features when you swipe a message to the left or right in your inbox. Swiping from right to left brings this up:
Swipe Right
and swiping from left to right brings this up:
Swipe Left
A bug that I’ve noticed in the app is with displaying unread messages. You know how it will say at the top, “Inbox (X number of messages),” right? Let’s say that you got two new messages. It would say “Inbox (2),” and then it would change to “Inbox (1)” after you read one message. However, in the iOS 8 Mail app, the number does not change until you open a different email. For instance, it would not say “Inbox (1)” until you open the second message. Likewise, it won’t just say “Inbox” until you open a message that you’ve already read. It’s not really a big deal, but it is annoying, at least to me.

The changes to the Camera app were diverse, depending on which model of iDevice they were applied to. The whole Apple lineup received a time lapse function that allows you to take those cool videos of clouds moving and things like that; they also received a self timer (3 and 10 secs) so that you can take family photos and the like. Beyond that, things are different for different devices. The iPad Air and iPad Mini w/Retina Display got the panorama feature added to their cameras, and the iPhone 5s apparently had a glitch that disabled burst mode for the front facing camera, which was fixed (I don’t have a 5s so I don’t know much about this glitch).

On to the last part of the review today: the Photos app. Photos got a major overhaul in the iOS update. Two new albums were automatically added the the Photos app: Recently Added and Recently Deleted. Recently Added holds all of your photos that were, well, added recently (imagine that!). Recently Deleted holds all of the photos that you recently deleted (that’s a deep thought!). It’s basically like the Recycle bin on Windows machines, except that it only holds pictures. The photos are kept for 30 days or until you delete them permanently. I think the same applies to the Recently Added album, but I’m not completely sure because I didn’t take any pictures from August 30 to September 5. iOS 8 also added better editing features to Photos, like light retouching, color balance, and degree of saturation (color VS black and whiteness of the photo).

So there’s Part 1 of the Handz Studioz iOS 8 review! If you enjoyed this post and/or found it helpful, leave a like, and please share this post! If you enjoyed this post, please follow Handz Studioz; it’s free and your information will never be shared.

Be looking for Part 2, coming out soon!

-The Editor

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Sneak Peek: What’s Coming Up on Handz Studioz — Lots of Apple

On Tuesday, September 9, Apple released information regarding its newest smartphones, the iPhone 6 and 6+, the long awaited iOS 8, and a long-speculated Watch.

Tim Cook, Apple CEO, said, “iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are the biggest advancements in iPhone history. The iPhone is the most loved smartphone in the world with the highest customer satisfaction in the industry and we are making it much better in every way. Only Apple can combine the best hardware, software and services at this unprecedented level and we think customers are going to love it.” Personally, agree with Mr. Cook. As you may, or may not know, a while ago we posted about speculations regarding iOS 8 and the iPhone 6; that post contained rumored specs as well as other information. Now we have confirmation about the specs and new features, release dates, etc.

As expected, Apple will release two models of its 6th-gen smartphone: the 6 and the 6+. The 6 will have a screen size of 4.7″ and a resolution of 1334 x 750, and the 6+ with a screen size of 5.5″ and a resolution of 1920 x 1080. This will allow for competition with larger phones like the Samsung Galaxy s5 and LG G3.

Apple also released information about an Apple Watch (commonly referred to as the iWatch) that will be comparable to the Samsung Galaxy Gear. You can expect more information about the Watch within the next few weeks.

Apple then released information about iOS 8, which will have a revamped messages app, a new health app, and better iCloud syncing, along with other features. You can look for an in-depth iOS 8 review on Handz Studioz after iOS 8 comes out on September 17. The iOS update begins at 10 AM Pacific Time (1 PM Eastern).

You can pre-order the iPhone 6 and 6+ starting on September 12 (today). The new iPhones will be officially out on September 19, but with cool new features such as 240 fps at 720p HD, iOS 8, a revamped camera, and more, maybe the pre-order is worth it. We’ll see what we can do about getting our “Handz” on one to review for you.

Don’t forget to follow to be notified about our upcoming iOS 8 review, the Apple Watch, iPhone 6, and more! This was just a sneak peek; there’s a lot more to be watching for. We plan to have an in-depth review for each aspect of Apple’s new lineup so you can have a relevant, comprehensive reference as these are released.

-The Editor

Laptop Review — Dell XPS 14z

Recently I decided that my old laptop from 2007, with its 2 GB of Random Access Memory (RAM) and a mere Intel Pentium Dual Core CPU, was going to have an ‘exploding CPU (processor) hazard’ as I like to call it. One of my interests outside of coding is making short films, and the program I’ve been using is Sony Vegas. Now as you can imagine, my computer was getting REALLY hot. I actually burned myself once after a while. Now this wouldn’t be all that bad, except that wasn’t from video editing — it was from web browsing. I decided I needed something better, and although my original plan was to build a high powered desktop, I thought, “Why not just buy a high powered laptop?” The problem with that was that high powered laptops are expensive. My answer to the problem came in the form of the Dell XPS 14z:


Now you may not be familiar with this machine, but you may be familiar with the Dell XPS 15z, and the 14z is similar, but with a 14″ screen instead of 15″. One of my favorite things about this laptop (see in the picture) is that there is very little space around the screen. You open the lid, and basically all you see is seamless glass 720p HD brilliance. This laptop has been called by several computer websites (this quote from CNET), ” an attractive, powerful 14-inch laptop built into a 13-inch body…” This powerful laptop comes all wrapped up in a sleek aluminum and magnesium alloy casing.

I’ve started calling mine the “WinMac” because of the aluminum case and also the touch gestures. Similar to Macs, multiple fingers on the touchpad do different things, like two finger scrolling, for instance. CNET says that in a laptop this size, especially one with a MSRP of $1,299, they’d like a higher resolution in the screen. The 14z has a display just over the resolution of 720p HD (1,280×720 pixels), at 1,366×768 pixels, and CNET says they’d, “like to see a 1,600×900-pixel display or better.” Personally I found the display on the 14z great; when looking at the pixels on the screen I found them to be about the same size as on a 15″ Retina MacBook Pro.

Now before I move on to more specs, I’ll address the issue of price. The the i7 model of this computer is $1,299 (i5 model $899, $999 for i7 but only Intel Graphics) and I mentioned that I wanted to pay less than $700. So how did I get it? Let’s just say I have… connections — *ahem* relatives who are skilled at finding good deals.

Now let’s get on with some specifications:
We’ll begin with the physical specs like weight and dimensions.

  • Dimensions: 13.2×9.2 inches
  • Height: 0.9 inch
  • Weight w/ and w/out AC adapter: 4.4/5.3 lbs

Now let’s get on with the software and hardware specifications:

  • Hard Drive: 750GB at 5,400 RPM
  • CPU (Processor): 2.8GHz Intel Core i7-2640M, can run at up to 3.5GHz with pre-installed Intel TurboBoost
  • Chipset: Intel QM67
  • Operating System: Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit
  • Memory (RAM): 8GB, 1,333MHz DDR3
  • GPU (Graphics): High end model: Intel Graphics + 1GB NVIDIA GeForce GT 520M; Low end model: Intel Graphics
    Now let’s get on to the ports:

  • Data: 1xUSB2.0, 1xUSB3.0, SD card reader
  • Video: HDMI, Mini DisplayPort (no VGA port, that’s one of the few things I don’t like about the 14z)
  • Audio: Stereo speakers, stereo microphone, headphone and microphone jacks
  • Networking: Ethernet, Wi-Fi 802.11n, Bluetooth 3.0
  • Optical Drive: DVD burner

Just a few notes:
I really love that this computer runs cold. Like, COLD. In order to get this thing hot, you have to have it on High Performance Mode using the NVIDIA GPU for an hour give or take a little time. The second thing that I like is that this has a button on the side that has five small lights next to it, and that lets you see the battery charge while the computer is in sleep. One thing that is both good and bad is that all of the ports except the SD slot (and of course the DVD drive), the microphone and headphone jacks are in the back. That’s great for the Ethernet cable, which is what I use when at home, but for the USB ports it’s a slightly annoying sometimes. I haven’t used the HDMI or Mini DisplayPort yet so I don’t know if having the ports in the back will be good or bad. Lastly, this computer has excellent backlit keys, with 2 brightness settings (plus the off setting). The light shows through the letter on the key, as well as showing around the whole key itself. All in all I’m quite pleased with this machine.

Thanks for visiting Handz Studioz and I hope you enjoyed this post! Comment and tell us what you thought, and be sure to follow the site to be notified of future posts.

-The Editor
External links:
CNET Review: http://www.cnet.com/products/dell-xps-14z/
PC Mag Article: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2395124,00.asp
PCWorld Article: http://www.pcworld.com/product/1148860/dell-xps-14z-notebook.html