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15 great apps for Android Wear

All Android Wear apps are not created equal. Here are 15 standout selections that actually add value to the smartwatch form.

Expand your Android Wear horizons
Google’s Android Wear platform is pretty powerful out of the box — but with the right set of apps, it can be made even more useful.

Any Android app can actually interact with a Wear watch via its regular notifications. Certain apps, however, take things a step further with advanced features and special interfaces.

Of course, just because an app works on a watch doesn’t mean it’s worth using. Wear apps shouldn’t merely be watered-down versions of what we have on our phones; they should provide meaningful value specific to the smartwatch form — in a way that actually makes sense for a wrist-based device.

These 15 apps accomplish that, and they’re well worth giving a whirl.

Wear Unlock for Android Wear
This app is one you’ll probably never open once you have set it up — but its presence will benefit you almost every day.

Wear Unlock ($1.99) turns your smartwatch into a wireless key for your phone: Whenever your watch is present and paired, your phone won’t prompt you for a PIN or password. When your watch isn’t actively connected, your phone will automatically lock itself and enable a security prompt.

That type of function is available natively in the Moto X — and will be built into Android itself starting with this fall’s “L” release — but Wear Unlock makes it work with any phone today.

Wear Unlock for Android Wear
This app is one you’ll probably never open once you have set it up — but its presence will benefit you almost every day.

Wear Unlock ($1.99) turns your smartwatch into a wireless key for your phone: Whenever your watch is present and paired, your phone won’t prompt you for a PIN or password. When your watch isn’t actively connected, your phone will automatically lock itself and enable a security prompt.

That type of function is available natively in the Moto X — and will be built into Android itself starting with this fall’s “L” release — but Wear Unlock makes it work with any phone today.

Wear Aware – Phone Finder
Your Android Wear watch is always on your wrist — and that means it can help make sure you never leave your phone behind.

Wear Aware (free) runs in the background on both devices and buzzes your watch anytime your phone moves out of range. That way, if you set the phone down and walk out of a room, you’ll figure it out before you get too far.

The app also allows you to manually page your phone from your watch so you can easily find it when it’s out of sight (like those times when it’s magically hidden between your couch cushions).

IFTTT
No single Android Wear app offers more possibilities than IFTTT. The app — which stands for “If This, Then That” — connects to the cloud-based service of the same name.

IFTTT (free) allows you to configure and run all sorts of recipes that bring together different types of Web-driven actions. You can use it to set the temperature on a Nest thermostat, for example, or to activate an appliance connected to a Belkin WeMo switch. You can even use it to trigger a fake call to your phone, if you’re ever desperate for an excuse.

Anyone can create and contribute new recipes, and the list of available options grows with each passing week.

PixtoCam for Android Wear
Google’s native Android Camera app has built-in Wear functionality: When you open the app on your phone, a card appears on your watch with a simple button to activate the shutter remotely.

Handy, sure, but that’s just scratching the surface of the ways Wear can interact with your phone’s camera. An app called PixtoCam ($1.99) actually lets you see through your phone’s lens anytime you open it on your watch. You can remotely snap photos or capture videos and even control the camera’s zoom and flash from your wrist.

The app’s interface isn’t great — but if you’re willing to put up with that, its functionality is fantastic.

Allthecooks Recipes
Allthecooks (free) is a prime example of how an app can adapt sensibly to the smartwatch form. The way it works is simple: You open the app on your phone and find a recipe you want to attempt.

Once you make a selection, the recipe automatically shows up as a card on your watch. You tap it to bring up step-by-step instructions formatted to fit the small screen. Each step is on a single card, and you swipe horizontally to move from one to the next.

That keeps your hands free while you’re cooking and allows you to glance down at your wrist for all the info you need — and that, my friends, is what a smartwatch is all about.

RunKeeper – GPS Track Run Walk
RunKeeper (free) makes excellent use of the smartwatch form. The app is designed to track your walks, runs and bike rides while providing detailed ongoing info about your progress.

Anytime you start a new activity, RunKeeper places a card on your watch that lets you view your current time, total miles traveled and miles per minute. You can pause or stop the activity by using on-screen buttons or by tapping a microphone icon and saying “pause” or “stop.” When you’re finished, RunKeeper gives you a summary card that shows all of your stats, including totals for the aforementioned measurements as well as the number of calories burned.

An optional $9.99/month subscription offers features like long-term statistics.

Golfshot: Golf GPS

Golfshot (free) turns your Android Wear watch into an intelligent guide for all your golfing adventures. You simply tell the app what course you’re playing on and it puts pertinent info on your watch’s display as you go.

Cards from Golfshot show you the distance from your current location to each hole, along with stats like the par and handicap for every stop along the way. You can also get the distance to the course’s hazards in order to keep track of upcoming obstacles.

An optional $4.99/month subscription enables enhanced features like 3D flyovers and personalized recommendations.

EchoWear Song Search
Google’s ability to identify a song on demand is an awesome feature for music fans — and with a screen on your wrist, it’s easier than ever to access that information.

Install EchoWear Song Search (free) on your Android Wear device and the next time a song that you don’t know is playing, tell your watch to “Start Echo Search.” The app will listen to the tune through the watch’s mic and then present you with a card showing the artist and track title.

Wear Mini Launcher
In theory, Android Wear is designed to revolve around voice commands and contextual information — but in reality, there are also times you’ll want to manually open an app or adjust your watch’s settings. The current version of the software doesn’t make those tasks easy.

That’s where a utility called Wear Mini Launcher comes in handy. Wear Mini Launcher (free) adds a hidden drawer that appears anytime you swipe over from the left side of your watch’s home screen. The drawer gives you quick access to all of your apps as well as tools to adjust the watch’s brightness, view the battery level of your watch and your phone, and remotely toggle things like your phone’s Wi-Fi and volume settings.

@here for Android Wear
Ever find yourself in an unfamiliar area and attempting to tell someone where you are? An app called @here (free) can help.

The app does all the work for you: When you’re in a new location, @here will place a card on your Wear watch showing your current address on a map. You can swipe sideways to see the name of the neighborhood and to get a closer view of the streets around you.

If you’d rather not get location cards automatically, you can also opt to have @here appear only when you explicitly ask for its assistance.

Emergency Alert for Wear
Emergency Alert (free) is an app you probably won’t need often — but one that might be worth keeping around just in case.

The app allows you to set a predefined emergency contact and message. You can then speak the command “Start Emergency Alert” into your watch to have the message delivered via SMS along with an interactive map of your location. (The app does require a single on-screen tap for confirmation to make sure you don’t trigger an alert by mistake.)

Of course, the app doesn’t have to be used only for emergencies; you could also employ it as a tool for quickly sharing your location with a specific friend or loved one to make it easier to meet.

Lyft
Next time you need a ride, try speaking into your wrist. Lyft (free) lets you request a pickup via Wear with an easy-to-remember voice command: “Call me a car.”

Once a driver’s en route, the app delivers card-based updates to your watch that show you the vehicle’s estimated arrival time along with the option to cancel.

Lyft isn’t available everywhere, but if you’re in one of the places where the service is provided, its Wear integration delivers a top-notch — and thus far unmatched — experience.

Fly Delta
Flying the friendly skies? Grab the official Fly Delta app (free), and you’ll automatically get useful info on your Android Wear watch when you need it.

Delta’s app delivers nicely formatted updates about your itinerary along with mobile boarding pass barcodes so you never have to whip out your phone or physical documents. Its updates start appearing as cards as soon as you’re checked in.

(The American Airlines app (free) also provides similar functionality.)

1Weather: Widget Forecast Radar
Android Wear has its own native weather cards, but you can step things up a notch with the aid of 1Weather (free — an optional $1.99 upgrade removes ads).

The app’s main card shows you the current conditions for your area or any other area you select. Swiping over once gives you a glimpse at what’s ahead for the rest of the day — broken down into segments like “morning,” “noon,” “evening” and “night” — while swiping over a second time lets you look ahead at the four-day forecast.

Baby Time: Android Wear Lock
If you spend any time holding a small child, this app might be just what the doctor ordered.

Baby Time (free) offers an easy way to baby-proof your Android Wear watch: Just issue the voice command “Run Baby Time,” and your screen will go dim and stop responding to taps and basic swipes. To get the watch back in its normal mode, you’ll have to swipe up twice and then down twice — something even the most advanced infant is unlikely to do.

JR Raphael is a Computerworld contributing editor and the author of the Android Power blog. For more Android tips and insights, follow him on Google+ or Twitter.


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Galaxy Note 3 deep-dive review: A plus-sized phone with perks and quirks

Samsung’s new big-screen phone has a lot of great qualities, but a handful of issues keep it from reaching its full potential. So is it the Android device for you?

Citizens of the smartphone-using world, hear this: When it comes to what you carry in your pocket, size definitely matters.

Just look at Samsung’s new Galaxy Note 3. The device is the latest in a line that brought big back into style — and now, plus-sized phones are a category all their own.

Lucky for Samsung, size isn’t the only thing that sets the Note 3 apart. The phone’s S Pen stylus opens the door to some interesting and innovative ways of interacting with a smartphone — and this latest model offers some meaningful improvements over its predecessors in both form and functionality.

While the phone has plenty of attractive qualities, though, it also has some noteworthy downsides. So all considered, is it a phone worth buying?
Galaxy Note 3
Galaxy Note 3

I’ve been living with the U.S. model of the Note 3 for several days to find out. Read on to see what the new Note is actually like to use in the real world — and whether or not it’s the right device for you.

(The Galaxy Note 3 is available now on AT&T for $300 with a new two-year contract, Sprint for $250 with a new two-year contract, and T-Mobile for $0 down and a two-year $29.50/mo. payment plan. It’ll be available on Verizon starting October 10 for $300 on contract. U.S. Cellular has said it will sell the phone sometime in October as well but has yet to announce any specific pricing or availability details.)
Body and screen

It may seem obvious, but it has to be mentioned: The Note 3 is a large device. Like, really large.

At 5.95 x 3.12 x 0.33 in. and 5.93 oz., the new Note is significantly bigger than any standard-sized smartphone. As such, it’s not going to be for everyone: The device can be rather uncomfortable to hold in one hand and even more awkward to hold up to your ear for a call. Depending on your gender and pant preferences, it’ll range from being uncomfortable to carry in your pocket to impossible to fit in it at all.

That’s not by any means to say it’s an outright bad form; these days, plenty of people prefer a plus-sized device that’s able to provide the benefits of a smartphone and the screen space of a tablet. I’d simply suggest stopping by a brick-and-mortar store and holding one for yourself to see how it feels to you.

For owners of past-generation Galaxy Note devices, the Note 3 certainly won’t seem outrageous; in fact, it’s pretty darn close to the same size as last year’s model. And thanks to slimmed down bezels, it packs a beefed-up 5.7-in. display, up from the 5.5-in. screen on the Galaxy Note 2.

At about 386 pixels per inch, the Note 3’s 1080p Super AMOLED display looks fantastic: Details are sharp and colors appear rich and brilliant. Display aficionados may note that the display looks somewhat oversaturated — as Samsung devices often do — but for the vast majority of smartphone users, this thing’s gonna be a treat for the eyes.

AMOLED screens in general tend to suffer in sunlight more than their LCD counterparts, but Samsung has made some significant strides with the Note 3’s display: Thanks in part to ramped-up brightness capacity, the Note 3’s screen remains perfectly viewable even in the glariest of conditions. To my eyes, it doesn’t quite match the outstanding outdoor visibility of a top-of-the-line LCD-packing phone like the HTC One, but it’s not at all bad and marks a massive leap forward from past Samsung products.

The Galaxy Note 3 has a silver plastic trim that’s made to look like metal around its perimeter. A volume rocker lives on the left side, while a power button sits on the right. On the phone’s top is a 3.5mm headphone jack and on the bottom is a special USB 3.0 charging port that doubles as an HDMI out-port with the use of an MHL adapter.

The inclusion of USB 3.0 is a nice touch: The phone charges ridiculously fast when you use the included USB 3.0 cable and wall adapter, and the port can provide extra-speedy data transfers if your computer supports USB 3.0. The Note works with regular micro-USB cables, too — you just plug them into the right side of the port — though you obviously won’t get the faster charging and data-transfer speeds when you go that route.

The Note 3 has one small speaker on its bottom edge, to the right of the charging port. The sound quality is decently loud and clear by smartphone standards, though nothing to write home about.

Next to the speaker is the slot for the phone’s S Pen stylus — a highlight of the device that I’ll get to in a minute.

Design and build quality

First, let’s talk design, shall we? Samsung has long suffered the wrath of many a reviewer (myself included) for its cheap-feeling plasticky constructions. With the Note 3, the company is clearly trying to step things up and provide a phone with a more premium body.

In some regards, it’s succeeded: The Note 3 ditches Samsung’s long-favored glossy plastic back for one with a textured faux-leather finish. The material feels softer and more pleasant to the touch and has a less toy-like (and fingerprint smudge-attracting) appearance than what I’m used to from Samsung. It’s still a bit on the chintzy side — thanks mainly to the somewhat tacky fake stitching around the panel’s perimeter — but it’s definitely an improvement over past Samsung products.

That said, it’s all relative, and the Note 3 still feels less thoughtfully designed than devices like the HTC One or the Moto X. When I peeled off the phone’s thin back panel, for instance, the covering for the camera lens popped right out. I had to futz around with it to get it back in place, bending its flimsy-feeling metal support legs to force it to stay attached before putting the cover back on.
Galaxy Note 3
When the reviewer peeled off the phone’s thin back panel, the covering for the camera lens popped right out.

The phone’s physical Home button, meanwhile, is slightly loose and subtly shifts around with each pressing, often looking crooked as a result (something other early users have also noticed). These kinds of things just don’t scream “premium build” to me.

Speaking of buttons, the Note 3 uses the same odd and dated hybrid button setup Samsung has long clung onto, with a physical Home button flanked by capacitive Menu and Back buttons (the former of which was phased out of the Android platform years ago). This design choice results in some meaningful downsides when it comes to user experience, ranging from hidden and hard-to-find options to an awkward contrast in button sensitivity, especially when using the S Pen.

The setup also forces an almost comical number of inelegant workarounds. You long-press the Home button to get to the Android app-switching tool, for example, and double-press it to get to Samsung’s S Voice voice-control utility. You long-press the Menu button to load Samsung’s S Finder search app and long-press the Back button to load Samsung’s own Multi Window multitasking tool. A single press of the Home button, meanwhile, will usually take you to your home screen — except if you’re already on your main home screen, in which case the same action will pull up the Note’s integrated news-viewing application.

Got all that? Yeah — me neither. It’s not exactly what you’d describe as user-friendly design.
Under the hood

The Galaxy Note 3 runs on a 2.3GHz Snapdragon 800 quad-core processor along with 3GB of RAM. That kind of horsepower should result in flawless performance, but — as we’ve seen with other recent Samsung devices — the Note 3 suffers from some baffling performance imperfections.

For most tasks, the phone is plenty fast: App loading and multitasking are generally fine, and Web browsing is satisfyingly smooth and swift. But the phone has occasional lags and jitteriness, and just doesn’t feel as snappy as other devices in real-world use.

The worst offender is the Note’s Gallery app: I regularly counted five to 12 seconds from the time I tapped the app until it was fully opened and ready to use. The same sort of delay was present when tapping folders within the Gallery. Given the phone’s hardware capabilities, this is a pretty clear indication to me that Samsung’s software is doing something wrong.

The Note 3 does perform admirably in the realm of battery life: The phone’s 3200mAh battery — which, in a move that’ll delight hardcore power-drainers, is removable and replaceable — always managed get me safely from morning to night. Even on days when I had moderate to heavy use — as much as four hours of screen-on time with half an hour of phone calls, half an hour of video streaming, and a few hours of scattered Web browsing, camera use and social media activity — the Note 3 consistently had around 30% of its charge left by bedtime.

All U.S. models of the Galaxy Note 3 ship with 32GB of internal storage, which leaves you with about 23GB of usable space once you factor in the operating system and various preinstalled software. The phone also has a microSD card slot that lets you add up to 64GB of external storage.

The Note 3 supports near-field communication (NFC) for contact-free payments and data transfers. It also has an IR blaster for controlling your TV and other remote-based electronics. The Note doesn’t support wireless charging, though it appears Samsung will sell a separate Qi-enabled case that’ll provide that functionality.

While the Galaxy Note has full LTE support, the model I tested was connected to Sprint’s network — which has pretty spotty coverage in my area — so data speeds weren’t great for me. Voice calls sounded fine, though; I was able to hear people with zero distortion and the lucky souls with whom I spoke reported being able to hear me A-OK.

Cameras

The Galaxy Note 3 comes with a 13-megapixel main camera that’s capable of capturing great-looking images. I did notice a fair amount of noise in some shots that were zoomed in at full resolution, but for most common uses of smartphone photos — like online sharing and standard-size printing — the Note 3’s camera should more than meet your needs.

The exception is in low-light conditions, where the Note 3 — like most smartphones — struggles, especially compared to a low-light-optimized device like the HTC One.

The Note 3’s camera interface is easy enough to use, if a little bloated with silly and gimmicky features. All in all, it’s quite similar to what we saw on the Galaxy S4.

There are, however, a few Note 3-specific camera qualities worth noting:

The Note often seems to stick on a “Processing” message for a few seconds after capturing a photo. This can be annoying when you’re trying to capture photos fast.

The phone’s “burst” mode, in which you can capture multiple shots rapid-fire by holding down the shutter button, was also a bit finicky in my experience and sometimes wouldn’t activate.

The Note 3 has a new camera mode called Surround Shot, which is Samsung’s version of Google’s 360-degree Photo Sphere feature. This was a curious omission in the Galaxy S4; it’s nice to see it showing up here.

The Note 3 is capable of capturing 4K resolution videos, but since most people don’t have TVs or displays that support that resolution, the capability probably won’t mean much for you in practical terms at this point — aside from getting files that take up a massive amount of space on your smartphone’s storage.

The Galaxy Note 3 also has a 2-megapixel HD front-facing camera for all your selfie-snapping and video-chatting needs.
The S Pen

Even if you’re convinced you’d never want a stylus, a few days with the Galaxy Note 3 might just change your mind. The phone’s S Pen is a fun and potentially productivity-boosting element of the device that goes a long way in setting it apart from the competition.

The pen’s actual construction, not surprisingly, isn’t its greatest strength: The stylus is plastic and feels light and insubstantial, almost to the point where you fear that squeezing it too hard might cause it to snap. Its single button is also hard to find by touch alone, since the pen feels the same on its top and bottom edge.

But once you get used to its form, the S Pen is packed with power. Pull the pen out of the Note 3 and you’ll immediately see a new pie-chart-style menu called Air Command on your screen; this new element helps make the stylus feel more like a core part of the Note experience than it ever has before.
Galaxy Note 3
The Air Command menu gives you easy access to a handful of primary S Pen functions.

The Air Command menu — which you can also summon anytime by clicking the pen’s button while holding it over the screen — gives you easy access to a handful of primary S Pen functions. The most useful is Action Memo, which lets you jot down quick notes with the pen. You can either save them for later reference or convert them into action-oriented tasks, like shooting a handwritten phone number into the Phone app for dialing or converting a handwritten note into a ready-to-send email.

What’s vexing, though, is that Action Memo is treated as a separate entity from S Note — the more fully featured note-taking app for S Pen use. Notes written in Action Memo are not accessible in S Note; instead, they’re saved in a separate area that’s accessible only by tapping an unlabeled icon in the Action Memo app.

Confusing overlap aside, the separation between the two apps is frustrating because S Note offers the option for automated syncing with Evernote, which makes all of your handwritten notes available and searchable from any mobile device or PC. The syncing has been seamless and instant in my experience, but any notes taken in Action Memo — which, remember, pops up as part of the Air Command menu while S Note does not — aren’t included.

The Note 3 itself does a good job of letting you search through handwritten notes on the device with its S Keeper function. I also really like its system-wide handwriting-to-text functionality: Anytime you’re in a text field, you can hover the pen over the screen and tap a special icon to input text by writing. The Note converts your handwriting into regular text and puts it right into your document, email or whatever you’re composing.

Even with my embarrassingly sloppy penmanship, the system did an impressively good job at deciphering (most of) my words. Particularly with longer messages, I often found it quicker to input text like that than by using a traditional on-screen keyboard.
Galaxy Note 3
Action Memo lets you jot down quick notes with the pen.

Unfortunately, the handwriting-to-text functionality doesn’t work everywhere, as it’s supposed to; I encountered a handful of apps, including Chrome, Twitter and Google Drive, where I couldn’t get the handwriting-input icon to show up. That inconsistency was irksome.

While some of the other S Pen functions struck me as more gimmicky than practical, the stylus also holds serious value for artists or anyone who wants to sketch or scribble on the go. The Note 3 ships with a version of Autodesk’s Sketchbook software that shows off the pen’s excellent accuracy and pressure sensitivity. And while the bundled Polaris Office app does a poor job at stylus-based PDF markup, programs such as RepliGo PDF Reader ($3) or the fully featured OfficeSuite Pro ($15) work well with the pen for that purpose.

Last but not least, Samsung has included a smart feature called S Pen Keeper that sounds an alert on the device anytime it’s separated from the stylus by a certain distance. It kept me from leaving the pen behind on a couple of occasions; you just have to be sure to head into the phone’s settings and enable it right away, as it’s deactivated by default.
The software

The Galaxy Note 3 runs custom Samsung TouchWiz software based on the Android 4.3 (Jelly Bean) operating system. Aside from the aforementioned S Pen elements, it’s essentially the same user interface and feature set present in the Galaxy S4.

There are, however, a handful of new features in the Note 3’s software:

Samsung’s Multi Window multitasking feature has a few new tricks up its sleeves. The feature — which lets you split your phone’s screen in half and have two apps open and visible at the same time — now allows you to drag and drop content between windows. With certain programs, like chat services, it also lets you have two instances of the same app open side-by-side.

With the Note 3’s large screen in particular, I found Multi Window to be both cool and useful for times when I wanted to write an email while referencing a Web page, for instance, or look something up in Chrome while watching a YouTube video. Even if you only use it once in a while, it’s a valuable option to have.

The Note 3’s new news-viewing tool, My Magazine, is unnecessary and annoying. It’s basically just a custom-branded and dumbed-down version of Flipboard, and it’s integrated into the Note at such a core system level that it’s hard to avoid and easy to launch by mistake.

Excellent Google services take a back seat to subpar Samsung alternatives on the Note 3, even more so than on past Samsung devices. The Note 3 has system-wide access to the shoddy S Voice app, for instance, but not the far superior native Android Voice Search tool. And there’s no longer a system-wide shortcut to get to the frequently praised Google Now intelligent assistant.

From a corporate-goal perspective, it’s not difficult to understand Samsung’s motivation in promoting its own services over Google’s — but from a user-experience perspective, given the sharp drop in quality, it’s disappointing.
At a Glance
Galaxy Note 3
Samsung
Price: $300 at AT&T, $250 at Sprint, $300 at Verizon Wireless (starting October 10) with a new two-year contract; T-Mobile for $0 down and a two-year $29.50/mo. payment plan; U.S. Cellular sometime in October (no price yet available)
Pros: Excellent display; USB 3.0 for fast charging and data transfers; microSD slot for storage expansion; good battery life; superb pressure-sensitive stylus with accurate handwriting-to-text functionality
Cons: Hardware design feels cheaper and less premium than other smartphones; dated button configuration; inconsistent performance with occasional stutters and delays; bloated user interface; sporadic software errors

I’ve encountered semi-regular software glitches while using Samsung’s S Pen apps and functions — usually several seconds of black followed by a force-close error. This kind of thing absolutely shouldn’t happen with native software on a new phone. I can only hope Samsung addresses these issues with an over-the-air update soon.

I’m not going to spend much time talking about the Note 3’s user interface, since it’s largely unchanged from the Galaxy S4, but I will say this: You’re getting Samsung’s standard mishmash of clashing colors and inconsistent elements. You can, at least, cover up some of those sins with a custom Android launcher such as Nova Launcher, Apex Launcher or Action Launcher Pro. I tested the Note with each of those apps, and all the S Pen-specific enhancements — and even general Samsung-added software features like Multi Window — were accessible and worked fine in the third-party environments.
Bottom line

The Galaxy Note 3 is a standout device with plenty of perks. It has a large, gorgeous screen, fast USB 3.0 charging and data transfers, and a microSD slot for storage expansion. It also has a superb stylus that’s full of interesting potential for productivity and creativity alike.

The Note is held back, though, by some troubling issues. Despite improvements over past models, the phone still feels cheaper and less premium than competing products; its dated button configuration creates awkward usage scenarios that detract from the user experience; its performance is imperfect and its software is bloated and visually inconsistent.

Still, the Note 3 has a lot of good things going for it. If you want a plus-sized phone, the new Note is hands-down the best product you can buy today. And if the functionality of a stylus appeals to you, you’ll be absolutely thrilled with what the S Pen can do.

Just be sure you’re okay with the compromises those benefits require.


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Career PC Multimedia Training Courses In MCTS Network Support

Because you’re doing your research on MCTS courses, the chances are you’re in 1 of 2 situations: You might be wondering about completely changing your working life to the field of computers, and research demonstrates there’s a growing demand for people with the right qualifications. In contrast you could already be in IT – and you want to enhance your CV with the MCTS accreditation.

When looking into training providers, ensure that you steer clear of those that short-change you by failing to provide the latest Microsoft version. This will only hamper the student due to the fact that they’ll have learned an old version of MCTS which doesn’t fall in with the present exams, so they’ll probably fail. A training provider’s focus must be centred on the most for their students, and everyone involved should have a passion for getting things right. Studying isn’t simply about qualifications – the process should be all about helping you to decide on the best course of action for you.
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It’s essential to have an accredited exam preparation programme included in your course. Because many examining boards for IT are from the USA, it’s essential to understand how exam questions will be phrased and formatted. It’s no use just answering any old technical questions – they must be in an exam format that exactly replicates the real thing. A way to build self-confidence is if you test your depth of understanding by doing tests and mock ups of exams prior to taking the actual exam.

There are colossal changes washing over technology over the next generation – and this means greater innovations all the time. We’ve barely started to see just how technology will affect our lives in the future. Computers and the web will profoundly revolutionise how we see and interrelate with the entire world over the next few years.

Let’s not ignore salaries moreover – the typical remuneration in the UK for a typical person working in IT is considerably better than remuneration packages in other sectors. Odds are you’ll make a whole lot more than you could reasonably hope to get in other industries. With the IT marketplace developing year on year, it’s predictable that the requirement for well trained and qualified IT technicians will continue actively for decades to come.

Make sure you don’t get caught-up, like so many people do, on the training course itself. Your training isn’t about getting a plaque on your wall; this is about employment. Focus on the end-goal. It’s a sad fact, but a great many students begin programs that seem amazing from the syllabus guide, but which provides the end-result of a job that is of no interest. Try talking to typical university leavers for examples.

It’s a good idea to understand what expectations industry may have of you. Which precise qualifications they will want you to have and how you’ll go about getting some commercial experience. Spend some time assessing how far you think you’ll want to go as often it can control your selection of accreditations. Talk to a skilled advisor that has a commercial understanding of the realities faced in the industry, and could provide an in-depth explanation of what tasks are going to make up a typical day for you. Getting to the bottom of all this before commencement of any study program will save you both time and money.

Many trainers will provide an useful Job Placement Assistance program, to assist your search for your first position. Don’t get caught up in this feature – it’s easy for eager sales people to make too much of it. In reality, the massive skills shortage in the United Kingdom is why employers will be interested in you.

Nevertheless, don’t leave it until you have finished your training before bringing your CV up to date. As soon as your training commences, mark down what you’re doing and tell people about it! Quite frequently, you will get your first job whilst you’re still studying (occasionally right at the beginning). If your CV doesn’t say what you’re learning (and it isn’t in the hands of someone with jobs to offer) then you won’t even be considered! Actually, an independent and specialised local recruitment consultancy – who make their money when they’ve found you a job – is going to give you a better service than a recruitment division from a training organisation. They should, of course, also know local industry and the area better.

A slight frustration of many training companies is how hard people are prepared to work to get qualified, but how little effort that student will then put into getting the job they have trained for. Don’t falter at the last fence..

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