Israeli entrepreneur Izhar Gafni has created the most lightweight, renewable fully-functioning bicycle of all time – one made entirely of recycled cardboard and costs only $9.
"It was difficult to explain my ultimate vision with the bikes, which led me to understand that I need to devote more time towards developing a more comfortable design, lighter and more impressive." - Izhar Gafni
With every new bicycle concept released, prototypes will try and become more lightweight at less cost than its predecessors. But if someone told you they could do all of the above from a couple of pieces of cardboard, would you believe it? Probably not, and I wouldn’t blame you. But it would seem that the impossible has been made possible by Israeli bike enthusiast and entrepreneur Izhar Gafni.
Inspired by an inventor who made a canoe out cardboard materials, Gafni has made a fully-functioning professional bicycle made of highly durable recycled cardboard materials that cost him less than ten bucks.
Gafni’s revolutionary bike prototype utilizes recycled cardboard instead of aluminum or metal and is said to be able to accommodate a person up to 300 pounds. Besides having a very low production cost – between $9 to $12 per bike – the prototype is also incredibly durable, eco-friendly, lightweight and easily carried. Because of its low cost, it is also far less likely to be stolen in urban areas as compared to its pricier counterparts.
Gafni initially ran his idea by some engineers who told him that it was nothing more than a fantasy, otherwise impossible. But he didn’t let that stop him. Gafni worked on his concept even harder and continued to develop his ultra-green and incredibly inexpensive project.
Many work hours and failed designs later, he was able to make an attractive bicycle made entirely out of recycled cardboard that is strong enough to support even the largest of riders, can hold up to humidity and water, and costs about the same as a combo meal at Burger King. But of course, that price tag doesn’t include the huge amount of work Gafni put into it.
The bicycle initially went through a staggering amount of prototyping and tweaking. The final product was dipped in a coating material resin solution that gives it a shiny, appealing outer shell and protects it from harsh weather and other common elements. You really couldn’t tell it was cardboard just by looking at it.
“My first prototypes looked like delivery boxes on wheels,” Gafni says. “They were hefty and it didn’t take much imagination to see that they were made of cardboard. When I met with investors it was difficult to explain my ultimate vision with the bikes, which led me to understand that I need to devote more time towards developing a more comfortable design, lighter and more impressive.”
By repeatedly folding the cardboard to give additional sturdiness, the bike frame is able to support an impressive max weight of 300 pounds, and is also able to withstand common natural elements like humidity, dirt, mud, oil and water.
The cardboard bicycle design could realistically make its way into the hands of buyers all around the world. It would be one of the most inexpensive bike solutions on the market, but not likely to hold up as long as a normal bike. But perhaps the best feature is if you bought one and later had it stolen, it wouldn’t be such a big loss.
Although it’s still uncertain whether or not Gafni plans to produce the bike for commercial purposes, the idea is a sustainable and affordable way for a low cost ride. At $9 a bike, retail value for the cardboard bike would be well below $100, making the option of going green and living a healthier lifestyle by choosing to bike over drive is far more likely. Since Gafni painted his own bicycle, I can also see some potential customization options available for the general consumer market. Gafni estimates that the bike could be sold by retailers for around $60 to $90 dollars, cheaper than some of the most inexpensive metal bikes out there.
Just to be safe, let’s say we just double the price of raw materials which brings us to roughly $24, if we consider the higher end prices. Double it again and you have $48 to a store.
If Gafni’s calculations about the retail price range are correct, that would be a minimum of a 25% mark up, and as much as an 85.5% margin at the top end.
To sum up, this could be commercially viable for the existing distribution structure, which is an important consideration when bringing a product into the market.
In addition, the prototype characteristics and price combination could be extremely attractive to general consumers. If some economies of manufacturing scale could bring the bike to the lower price, you could have a cheap bike for adults could withstand moisture and also be lightweight. If someone, for any reason, steals the bike (and it’s a long shot anyone would bother with something so cheap), the replacement cost would be negligible. This might be the kind of product that could even appeal to the hospitality industry – a great choice for hotels, inns, and even high class resorts.
In either sense, it’s fantastic to see the progress of sustainable innovation created right in someone’s own backyard, especially because of Gafni’s refusal to accept impossible as an answer.
Check out this video below and see how the $9 Cardboard Bike became a reality and what it looks like in action:
While this pair of fully robotic legs aims to master humanoid movement, one central component within the machine could also allow it to help paraplegics learn how to walk again.
A team of researchers from the University of Arizona have successfully developed the world’s most physiologically correct pair of robotic legs. Mimicking human walking required reconstructing the complete human neural, skeletal and muscular systems. The researchers then simplified the sensory feedback systems and used these models to recreate human walking with a robot.
The robotic legs are regulated by an artificial central pattern generator (CPG). The CPG in human anatomy is a neurological system of connections found in the spinal cord (near the torso) that is responsible for producing and sending cadenced electric muscle signals throughout the body. These muscle signals are harmonized by the CPG as it responds to external stimuli. It’s because of the CPG that we are able to walk around rhythmically without actually thinking about walking.
A simplified form of a CPG is known as a half center and is comprised of two neurons alternating their production of an electric muscle signal. The researchers have created an artificial clone of a half center that generates electric signals and gathers feedback from sensors in the robotic legs. For example, its load sensor notices pressure changes when the angle of the surface being walked on has increased or decreased slightly. As a result, these robot legs can walk with the same effortlessness as a healthy adult human.
The research team’s goal was to uncover the unsolved mysteries behind how humans learn to walk as babies and to better understand the various steps that are involved in walking.
“Interestingly, we were able to produce a walking gait, without balance, which mimicked human walking with only a simple half-center controlling the hips and a set of reflex responses controlling the lower limb” said Dr Theresa Klein, co-author of the study. The current hypothesis is that, even before they learn to walk, babies already have a simple half-center, just like the one in the robot. As they gain more experience, the neural network learns how to support more complex walking behavior.
“This underlying network may also form the core of the CPG and may explain how people with spinal cord injuries can regain walking ability if properly stimulated in the months after the injury,” added Dr Klein.
Ultimately, these robotic legs will help scientists better understand spinal cord injuries and, perhaps most significantly, identify how to help paralyzed individuals walk again on their own. For that reason alone, this development could be pretty incredible.
Podtime, the first of its kind in the UK, makes it easy for people to take a short period of rest during the day. The enclosed pods are fitted with a high quality, comfortable mattress and pillows and are peacefully quiet, providing the perfect conditions to re-energize and get back on track after that stressful meeting or tiring business trip.
It’s midway through work and you’d like to take a short nap during a break, but you don’t want to take just any ordinary nap. Then you’d probably love napping sci-fi style in a nearly indestructible polycarbonate tube with frosted doors equipped with the latest technological advancements. If that’s the case, check out Podtime Sleeping Pods!
Podtime was founded by English entrepreneur Jon Gray, who spent much of his London career at Merrill Lynch, and knows only too well how demanding the lifestyle can be, as well as the benefits of a little rest.
Gray says ‘Podtime was set-up to have a positive influence on people’s work at a reasonable price. Sometimes we all need a quick re-charge and now that service is available during the day, within minutes of all Bank workers.’ Gray plans to expand Podtime across the financial centers of London, with the aim to promote a healthier and more alert capital.
A $2,100 Podtime includes a high quality, comfortable mattress and pillows made to fit to the tube’s exact dimensions and “outstanding air circulation”. The Podtime sleeping pods fold down into flat packs for portability and storage. Since each sleeping pod weighs close to 220 pounds, you probably wouldn’t want to carry it around on your morning commute, but it could be moved around on occasion as needed.
And if you’re one of those already thinking how these pods promote uniformity, think again! Podtimes are fully customizable. You can select from a variety of colors and addons such as a secret luggage compartment, TV, ear plug sets, foam and faux-leather covered mattress, and digital radio. The pods themselves boast 15mm wall thickness to keep out noise and are ventilated to allow a flow of clean air. Other design features include a digital clock so that workers do not oversleep and the ability to lock the pod from the inside, ensuring that belongings are secure.
Well the next question I went ahead and asked myself was, “Who really needs an expensive sleep pod anyway?” Well you could make it your own personal office sanctuary for one. It could be the latest thing in luxury camping. And since the pods are stackable, you would have some of the coolest bunk beds ever made.
“Podtime and napping; this is definitely the way forward. As technology continues to develop at warp speed, we find ourselves increasingly limited in terms of how much information we are able to process on a moment by moment basis. The human brain, as sophisticated as might seem, is still developing its capacity to deal with the volume of incoming information traffic that we have to handle in our daily lives. I see the effects of this in my professional and clinical work as loss of productivity, insomnia, burnout and other serious health problems. Enlightened individuals and organizations will increasingly have to look for clever ways of going ‘offline’ in order to optimize productivity, health and wellness. Maybe businesses will even start to see that this is where a competitive advantage may lie,” says Dr. Nerina Ramlakhan, author of ‘Tired but Wired’.
“I just wanted to say thank you for the service provided during our order. From order to dispatch and installation the service provided was exceptional. The Pods installed are well manufactured, solid and functional and when not in use can be easily dismantled quickly and stored away. The personalization service is also fantastic adding branded look to the Pods, by means of logos and color choice, a great cost effective design,” says Jay Vaghela, Building Surveyor of Telehouse.
Already the London Stock Exchange has developed a ‘rest room’ area in the building which included pods as its main feature, along with kitchen, shower, lavatory and a small lounge. This installation allowed critical staff to stay over if necessary for transport strikes or emergency of some kind. Podtimes indeed offer a place to rest and relax for a short time during a particularly hectic or lengthy working day.
Another example of Podtime use is with Interxion, an international data center provider that needs staff to be onsite 24/7, and pods serve as part of their contingency planning. Such data centers host many vital websites so the company must be fully operational at all times, and they have a number of measures in place to allow staff to be on site to make sure none of their servers suffer any down time. Podtimes give staff a comfortable sanctuary in privacy and security in an otherwise functional surrounding.
There’s no mystery that anyone can strongly benefit from a good night’s sleep, but a busy lifestyle in today’s fast paced world can sometimes make it difficult to get your doctor’s recommended nightly amount of sleep.
What’s great to hear is that there is another way to help your body recover itself to its full potential, even if your ideal period of night time sleep is lacking.
Research studies into the science of sleep have concluded that a short amount of sleep during the day can help to accelerate the recovery process your body goes through during regular sleep. Taking a short rest during the day is already a common lifestyle choice in Latin countries, as well as business centers of Japan. Even as little as 15-20 minutes out of your day (power napping as it is more commonly known now) has been proven to restore the body with:
Reduced stress levels
Increased energy and stamina
Reduced risk of heart disease
Improved cognitive and reflex performance
Better mood and emotional state
Greater capacity to learn
Clearer thinking and acuity
Podtimes allow you, your staff, and perhaps even your clients to take advantage of these benefits throughout the day with complete comfort and privacy – making your company a healthier, more productive system.
France-based industrial design student Elie Ahovi’s “Marine Drone” concept could be a possible solution to the difficult but necessary task of cleaning up waterborne garbage.
Robotic Drones have been a popular topic lately in the media. Whether they’re used for surveillance or combat, the idea of drones patrolling our airspace is one that’s not taken lightly or readily accepted by the public. As we continue to discuss and work out compromises to the ethics and legalities of military drones, it’s important to consider that not all robotic drones are created for violence or espionage.
Many of us already enjoy the work of autonomous robots in our daily lives, like the BUFO pool cleaner, the Roomba vacuum, or the Bosch Indego lawn mower.
These self-sufficient drones perform routine tasks that normally take a lot of time away from our daily lives. They also make it possible to do tasks that would be costly or dangerous if carried out by a person. The Marine Drone concept designed by Elie Ahovi and his team of collaborators, is a perfect example of a way drone technology can have a positive impact on society and the planet.
Unlike the military drones that have been the subject of so much controversy, this autonomous robot is designed to operate underwater, and instead of seeking out enemy targets, it will “search and destroy” something equally menacing – ocean garbage.
The world was disgusted to learn of the garbage continent floating off in the Pacific, and now it turns out there’s a whole bunch of them floating around in the other oceans as well. That trash isn’t going anywhere either; it’s just slowly decomposing and poisoning ocean life and environments. It’s just a matter of time before it winds up in our own bodies.
Horrified by the size and scope of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, and its counterparts forming in ocean all over the world, Ahovi and his classmates from the French International School of Design decided to come up with an easy, yet sophisticated solution.
Developed with fellow French International School of Design classmates Adrien Lefebvre, Philomene Lambaere, Marion Wipliez, Quentin Sorel, and Benjamin Lemoal, the Marine Drone would patrol the oceans autonomously, sucking up plastic bottles and garbage into its maw like a butterfly net.
Powered by water-proof batteries, the Marine Drone would have and electric motor to move silently through the water. A sonic emitter would send out and irritating signal to keep aquatic life from coming too close, making sure that only trash goes into its net. When its collection area is full, the Marine Drone would then dock with a nearby mothership, where a maintenance crew would crane the garbage up for collection.
It’s a great concept, and we’d love to see it tested out closer to land first; for starters, they could use a couple of these to clean up New York’s East River. Sure, the thing would occasionally get clogged with cement-shoe-wearing mob informants, but better to work the kinks out here before setting up the deep-sea-going mothership.
After countless debates, theories, and non-human laboratory tests, it seems as though the bionic eye implants are finally going mainstream – first to hit the European market, and then hopefully to the US.
The bionic eye implants are said to restore sight to completely blind patients – but only if the blindness is caused by a faulty retina, like in diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration (which affects millions of senior citizens), or other degenerative eye diseases.
Argus II, the first edition of these bionic eye implants, is already available in Europe. For about 93,800 EUR (115,000 USD), you can receive a four hour procedure to install and antenna behind your eye, and a special pair of camera-equipped glasses that send signals to the antenna.
The antenna is wired into your retina with around 60 electrodes, generating the equivalent of a 60 pixel display for your brain to then interpret. The first human users of the Argus II bionic eye reported that they could see rough shapes and track the movement of objects, and also slowly read large writing. The Argus II was developed by Second Sight, a visual prosthetics company based in Sylmar, California, with offices in Switzerland as well.
Bio-Retina, the second bionic eye implant, was developed by Nano Retina. The Bio-Retina costs a lot less, 48,900 EUR ($60,000 USD) and instead of an external camera, the vision-restoring sensor is actually placed inside the eye, right on top of the retina. The implant procedure only takes 30 minutes and can be performed under local anesthetic. This is the one I’m really excited about.
With patients suffering from macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy, the light-sensitive rods and cones in their retinas stop working. The Bio-Retina gives you a 576 pixel resolution sensor right on top of you damaged retina, and 576 electrodes on the back of the sensor implant themselves into the optic nerve. An embedded image processor then converts the data from each of the pixels into electrical pulses that are coded in a way that the brain can translate into different levels of grayscale.
The very best part though, is how the sensor is powered. The Bio-Retina system comes with a standard pair of corrective lenses that modified so that they can fire a near-infrared laser beam through your iris to the sensor at the back of your eye.
On the sensor there is a photovoltaic cell that produces up to three milliwatts of power – just enough for the Bio-Retina to operate properly. The infrared laser is invisible and considered harmless.
Human trials of the Bio-Retina are set to begin in 2013 – but just like the Second Sight Company, US approval could still take quite some time. But it’s relatively simple to just fly over to one of the European clinics offering bionic eye implants – especially if you can afford a $60,000-$115,000 operation.
In the future, many research organizations will be working bionic eyes with even more electrodes, yielding a higher resolution as a result, but there doesn’t seem to be any progress on sensors or encoder chips that can successfully recreate a color image. A lot of progress has been made in understanding how the retina, optic nerve, and brain process and perceive images, but we still have a long way to go. But who knows what the future has in store?
The Legend of Zelda is a classic NES title released in 1987 and was a huge commercial success. Even with NES emulators, it still remains popular even today. Here are a few classic cheats for the traditional NES user and some cheat codes for the NES emulator user.
Legend of Zelda Cheats for NES emulators
There are various custom codes that people develop throughout the net to customize and work around the Legend of Zelda as they see fit, but they lack uniformity and are usually difficult to work with. Game Genie codes offer the best cheats without drastically altering the game’s setup, and works fairly well within an NES emulator. The Game Genie was a nifty device back in the late 80s that developed specific cheats for all of your NES favorites. Some NES emulators integrated the Game Genie cheat programs into their software to add to the already nostalgic effect of playing the NES. The fact is, everyone used cheats back in the day and still love to today. It’s good for a fun, relaxing run of the game after you’ve nearly died of frustration through the game normally. Nestopia is a very good NES emulator that incorporates the Game Genie cheat codes. You can download Nestopia free from the internet and install on your hard drive or on custom USB drivesfor portability.
The Legend of Zelda Game Genie NES cheat codes:
Be invincible (Take zero damage from enemies) – AVVLAUSZ
Make all items available for free – SZVXASVK + AEVEVALG
Infinite weapon: Bombs – SZNZVOVK
Make character with 8 life hearts – YYKPOYZZ
Make character with 16 life hearts – NYKPOYZX
Wear a red ring – OSKUILTA
Wear a blue ring – ESKUILTA
Keep rubies when purchasing items – SZVXASVK
Legend of Zelda Cheats for NES
Save game without dying
Here’s how you save the game without taking the time to die properly. For this you’ll need a second controller. Press start on controller 1 (this is the controller you’re using for 1st player). This will bring up the pause screen menu. Then press Up + A button on controller 2. The save screen will then appear but you won’t have the option of retry. You can also press Up + Start on controller 2 for a quick save.
No charge for a broken door
For this you’ll need a second controller. Press both A and B buttons on controller 2 immediately after the old man asks Link to pay for the broken door.
Steal items without being noticed
Go to the store in the game. Take an item off the shelf and walk around the guy behind the counter in a clockwise direction. Leave the ship when he has his back turned to still the item.
Start game at Second Quest
In order to do this you would have needed to beat the game at least once. When you start, enter your name as ZELDA. You’ll start at the second quest with most of the items.
“The Case of the Missing Door”
This is a pretty well known cheat (although technically it’s a glitch). When you first enter Level 1 in the First Quest of the game, immediately leave and re-enter the area. The locked door in the area will be gone.
Kill Gohma quick and easy
Before you enter Gohma’s room, get your bow and arrows ready. Go inside and quickly shoot an arrow. Gohma will be right in front of you with his eye open so you end up killing him with one shot.
Refill Red-colored Water of Life
Once you use a red-colored Water of Life it will turn blue. This basically means that you can only use it one more time before you no longer have it. You can “refill” it without buying a second Red-colored Water of Life. When you’re Red Water of Life is blue, go to the Old Woman and buy a Blue Water of Life. This will make your Blue Water of Life into a Red one.
Fewer Enemies in an area
Kill all the enemies in a particular area screen except for one. The next time you go through this area there will only be the one enemy you left there, so you don’t have to fight all of them again.
Restore your health automatically
For this you’ll need a second controller. Go to a Lake of a Great Fairy when you health gauge is low to restore it. As you approach the lake, your health gauge will slowly begin to fill up. As this is happening, press Start on controller 1 and enter the item selection screen. As you do this, your health gauge will continue to fill up. Press Up+A on the second controller to return to the Save menu. Select Save, a load your character’s file. Once it’s loaded, instead of remaining at the default of 3 hearts, you character ill have its health fully restored right at the start.
Burner app for iPhone allows you to create disposable numbers that expire after a week.
Phone numbers are a personal thing, a literal link between you and the rest of the world, whatever it may contain. This is exactly why many people don’t like to toss around their digits. You don’t want just anyone calling or texting you.
But what if you could create a disposable phone number for those situations when you want someone to call, but don’t want them to call forever? Well, now there’s an app for that too.
Officially launched on August 8th, Burner for iPhone lets you create as many disposable phone numbers as you like. And each number only works for a limited amount of time. Just to be clear, these numbers are not “fake” numbers — they work just like your regular number, and accept both voice calls and text messages. The difference is each disposable Burner number expires after seven days, or 20 minutes of talk time, whichever comes first.
“Phone numbers are part of an old network that is getting dumber, in relative terms, by the day,” said Greg Cohn, founder and CEO of AdHoc Labs, which created Burner, in a statement. “You give out your number, and it’s all or nothing; it’s out there forever. And in the era of Facebook and social networking, we know the phone can be a lot smarter. Burner is the first piece of this vision.”
In addition to both sending and receiving calls and texts through a disposable Burner number, users can also label each number with the name of whomever you gave the digits to, share the number through Facebook or Twitter, and turn off all notifications from each number individually. It’s also possible to “burn” a number (delete it) at any time.
So, when would one want disposable phone numbers? Giving out a number to strange, smitten bar patrons is one obvious example, or if you’re selling something through Craigslist or another classified ad service. Perhaps you’re a secret agent attempting to rendezvous with an Uzbek drug lord. Maybe you are a drug lord! Really, anytime you want to make sure a relationship is temporary Burner’s got your back.
Burner is available now to users in the U.S. and Canada through the iTunes App Store for an initial cost of $2, which gives you one Burner number. Each additional Burner number costs $2 more.
Google is now an official Internet service provider with the launch of Google Fiber, which will provide 1 gigabit Internet access and TV service.
“Google Fiber is 100 times faster than today’s average broadband. No more buffering. No more loading. No more waiting. Gigabit speeds will get rid of these pesky, archaic problems and open up new opportunities for the Web,” Google said in a blog post.
Initially, Google Fiber will only be available in Kansas City – Kansas and Missouri – and will only roll out after enough people in a given neighborhood sign up for the service.
Google today encouraged residents in the region to pre-register and get their neighbors to sign on, too. Pre-registration is $10 and is open until Sept. 9, at which point Google will see how many people have signed up and decide where Google Fiber will roll out. Neighborhoods need between 5-25 percent of homes to sign on in order for it to be cost effective, Google said.
Google is offering three service packages.
The Web-only Gigabit Internet plan is $70 per month and includes a network box with advanced Wi-Fi and 1TB of cloud storage. The selection includes a one-year service agreement, though you can waive that by paying the $300 installation fee.
With Gigabit + Google Fiber TV, Google promised hundreds of channels and on-demand shows, as well as 2TB of DVR storage and eight tuners. Subscribers will get a new Nexus 7 tablet, which will serve as a remote control. The package will cost $120 per month and include a two-year contract unless you pay the $300 construction fee.
A list of available TV channels is on the Google Fiber website and they include Viacom channels like MTV, BET, Nickelodeon, and Comedy Central. Missing at this point are Disney-owned channels like ESPN, the Disney Channel, and ABC Family, so Google has likely not secured a deal with Disney just yet. Premium channels like Showtime and Starz are on the list, but HBO and Cinemax are not.
“This channel lineup is only a representative lineup and is subject to change,” Google said in the fine print.
Google is also offering free Internet service to those who pay the $300 construction fee. Subscribers will get 5 Mbps Internet access at no monthly cost, though they can spread the $300 fee out over 12 months. Google promised that the free Internet option will be available for at least seven years.
None of the plans include data caps, Google said.
What if you have a service issue? Google said its customer support line will be open from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. CST on weekdays and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends. The company also has a “Fiber Space” in Kansas City, MO. where customers can speak with a Google Fiber team member, but it’s unclear if Google Fiber technicians would be on call like other U.S. cable providers.
Google expects to have fiber connections built to the top 50 percent of “fiberhoods” by mid-2013. After Sept. 9, the company will publish a calendar with an estimated construction order.
Google first announced that it would develop ultra high-speed broadband networks back in Feb. 2010. At the time, it promised fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) connections that are “100 times faster than what most Americans have access to today.” By March 2011, Google selected Kansas City for its first network, and earlier this year there were rumors that the search giant would also be offering TV service.
In a statement, FCC chairman Julius Genachowski championed Google Fiber. “Abundance in broadband speeds and capacity – moving from megabits to gigabits – will unleash breakthrough innovations in healthcare, education, business services, and more,” he said. “Today’s announcement by Google, the Gig.U projects across the country, and similar continued advances by providers and municipalities are important and welcome developments that are pushing frontiers in speed and bandwidth, while also enhancing consumer choice.”
The Samsung Galaxy S3 has arguably become the most popular Android phone of 2012 – following in the footsteps of its highly successful predecessor, the Samsung Galaxy S2.
If you’re looking for a smartphone with a really big screen and tons of features, the Samsung Galaxy S3 will give you top notch performance with so many sharing and media features, you’ll still be discovering new ones a year from now.
The Galaxy S3 comes with an enormous 4.8 inch 720p resolution display and a mega-fast quad-core processor running the show behind the scenes. There’s a shiny new design to rave about as well, although with its rounded look and corners, some are regarding it as a bit old school.
The Samsung Galaxy S3 comes in both 16GB and 32GB microSD card storage options. You can, however, expand these on your own or wait for the 64GB Galaxy S3 to arrive later this year. International Samsung Galaxy S3 on all carriers that offer it are very similar, so we’ve compiled performance reports from a number of models we’ve reviewed to give our overall impression of this smartphone. So without further delay here’s our review on the 2012 Samsung Galaxy S3.
Why should I get the Samsung Galaxy S3?
The Samsung Galaxy S3 definitely falls under the “premium” smartphone category. But for those of you on a tight budget, there are certainly quite a few mid-range Android phones on the market that are great as well. The Samsung Galaxy S3 is a smartphone for those who are willing to pay a hefty price tag for an extremely powerful device. If you want HD video streaming, custom web surfing, 3D gaming, and high quality photo capture on a super powered processor with a massive display, then the Samsung Galaxy S3 is definitely a top contender.
Its chief competitor in the Android market would definitely have to be the HTC One X in my opinion, which is also the more affordable choice but not considered as powerful as the Samsung Galaxy S3. The “top rival” position though would definitely have to go to the Apple iPhone 4S, which comes in at roughly the same cost as the Galaxy S3. The iPhone’s iOS software is generally considered to have a simplified interface that’s easier to use than Android. But for those of you who love the freedom and control of that Android’s customization delivers to your digital environment, the Galaxy S3 would be the better choice.
Wi-Fi, Audio, and Call Quality
I was surprised to find that the default call quality was actually very good by today’s standard. Volume was definitely on the high end, with no noticeable distortion from loud inputs. Its speakerphone isn’t quite up to par however, great to use indoors or while driving, not so much in crowded public areas. The integrated microphone did a superb job of cancelling background noise, while Bluetooth headsets worked perfectly with the Samsung S Voice calling system.
Within the Galaxy S3’s call settings, a Volume Boost button bumps up the audio significantly for noisy areas, and a custom call EQ option allows you to customize audio call quality to your specific hearing.
The earpiece sounded crystal clear as well, with EQ customization available for it as well. No issues with its microphone either.
The Galaxy S3 supports Wi-Fi on both 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands in addition to Bluetooth 4.0.
Software and CPU Performance
The Samsung Galaxy S3 runs the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich operating system. Up until just last month, Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich was the most recent version of the Google operating system. Released in July 2012, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean will be officially available as an update to the Samsung Galaxy S3 sometime this fall.
Google’s Android is a very powerful, yet flexible operating system that leaves plenty of breathing room for user customization. Its biggest strength could also be its biggest weakness however, since a multitude of options and tools can be a little overwhelming for the casual newcomer.
In addition to Android, Samsung threw in its own software, TouchWiz. This is the same interface you’ll find on the Galaxy S2 and Galaxy Note. TouchWiz definitely looks great, but it sometimes loses favor in the ease-of-use department.
For example, in order to add a widget to the home screen position of your choice, you have to navigate into the apps view, switch to the widgets tab and then long press on the widget. Another example is the notifications interface. Even if you turn on SMS notifications in the settings, if the notifications icon is toggled off in the notifications tray, you won’t hear any sounds until it’s toggled on. It all works out once you see this icon, but if you haven’t, you’d be lost as to why you can’t hear when you receive an SMS.
Bottom line: Galaxy S2 users won’t have any trouble using the new S3 interface, but newcomers will have to dedicate more time getting used to it.
All Samsung Galaxy S3 models look the same with the exception of different carrier logos engraved on the back panel. Color options include white, dark blue and red exclusively with AT&T. Measuring 5.4 by 2.8 by 0.34 inches and weighing in at 4.7 ounces, the Samsung Galaxy S3 is one of the biggest phones we’ve seen in a long time. It has a removable 2100mAh battery and a microSD card slot with storage support of up to 64GB.
For this model, Samsung went for a more oval-shaped look that resembles the Galaxy Nexus more than its rectangle-shaped predecessor, the Galaxy S2. The Samsung Galaxy S3’s corners are smoothed and rounded, while its curved back is lacking the rear-facing bumps present on both the Nexus and the S2.
Its 8 MP camera is located on the back panel, which, thanks to a highly reflective finish, can double as a pocket mirror. (Just don’t expect to see that on the official Samsung Galaxy S3 features page).
Despite its size, the Galaxy S3 is surprisingly light in comparison to the Droid Razrs and the HTC one series. Nevertheless, the phone is incredibly well built, and light despite its size.
Below the front screen, there’s the physical touch Home button we’re all familiar with, as well as a light-up back button and multitasking button that start out invisible, so you have to memorize where they are or just change the settings to keep them constantly lit.
This button placement is somewhat inconvenient. We found ourselves accidentally triggering them with our hands once or twice because they’re so close to the edge of the phone.
The power button doesn’t stick out much on the curved right edge of the S3, so it’s a little inconvenient to use. The volume buttons on the left side of the phone however are big enough to use easily, and highly responsive.
The back of the Galaxy S3 has a high-gloss finish, so those of you with sweaty palm issues beware. The chrome trim also has a super-shiny coating so its sides are kind of slippery. These high-shine surfaces are compounded by all the gentle curves of the phone. Basically after a few days of use I found myself in line for a rubber grip case – which I would recommend you use on all smartphones anyway.
The rounded corners are kind of retro for my taste, reminding me a bit of my Palm Treo 680 days. And yet, the Samsung Galaxy S3 still finds a way to still feel surprisingly modern to me with a luxurious feel. Even with its large screen, the S3 is very manageable. Sure you may have to stretch your hand out a bit to reach everything, but the advantage of having so much room to look at your photos, videos, and apps really make it a big plus in my book.
Overall built quality has been all around strong for the Samsung line smartphones, and the Galaxy S3 is no exception. Despite being made predominately of a glossy plastic casing, it feels reassuringly stuck together. The screen is rock solid and the generous chrome trimming keeps everything in line. I wouldn’t recommend risking a drop however – as I’ve already seen an S3 with a cracked screen after taking an accidental fall.
You can make the S3 faintly creak by squeezing it tightly from the sides. But taking into account that it has a removable backplate for battery, micro SD and micro SIM slots, it’s not surprising. But overall, the design quality of the Samsung Galaxy S3 has a premium look and feel.
The front of the Samsung Galaxy S3 is almost completely taken up by its 4.8 inch, 1280 by 720 pixel Super AMOLED High Definition screen. It’s a PenTile screen, which can sometimes look a little by pixilated, and it’s a bit dimmer than other well known premium smartphones. But you can always turn off the auto-brightness however, which will eliminate the dimness effect. PenTile screen technology is well received for many reasons actually, but mostly because of its low power consumption as compared to simple RGB stripe displays, and its ability to achieve an HD resolution on an AMOLED screen.
The Samsung Galaxy S3 display measures an impressive 4.8 inches on the diagonal which makes it one of the largest smartphones currently on the market. But while you may find your thumbs stretching in new and interesting ways, the main benefit here is that a larger display makes your video, pictures and games look absolutely marvelous.
This is a full HD Super AMOLED screen, which is the same display technology implemented on the Nexus and Note, both of which are also eye candy. AMOLED screens offer vibrant colors and extremely deep blacks. The only downside is that, unlike the Samsung Galaxy S2, the S3 is does not have a Super AMOLED Plus display. That translates to fewer sub-pixels per pixel than the S2’s screen. Some of you might but a little discouraged at this fact, but I sincerely doubt the majority of you will even notice a difference.
Another letdown for me was how the Galaxy S3 performed under direct sunlight. To be honest I was hardly surprised considering not many smartphones do well under the sun anyway, but I had to really struggle to see the S3’s screen during the hours of noon to 3pm, with content ghostly and indistinct and a reflective blue sheen masking what’s on the screen. I spent most of my time sitting at a desk so it’s not a huge issue for me, but if you do need to use your phone outdoors a lot, there are quite a few smartphones that are designed with outdoor viewing in mind.
The Samsung Galaxy S3 pixel density per inch is actually not the sharpest currently on the market. At 306ppi it’s not quite as high resolution as the Sony Xperia at 342ppi, the HTC One X at 312ppi, or the iPhone 4 and 4S at 326ppi. But it is still an impressive screen nonetheless. The general consumer probably won’t notice much difference between all of these displays at all.
The Samsung Galaxy S3 comes with an 8 MP camera, which is no improvement in resolution from last year’s Galaxy S2. It may not have improved in pixel count, but the S3 does have a few extra features, including the zero shutter lag found also in the Galaxy Nexus, and a cool feature that automatically suggest your best shot after you’ve made a few similar captures, basing its decision on factors like smile detection and face recognition. Another new addon that I really loved, also present on the HTC One X, is the ability to take still images while you’re recording video.
The Samsung Galaxy S3 Camera was definitely impressive, producing professional quality close-up shots, both indoors and out, and having a really good shallow depth of field. Overall, its colors are true to life, with the exception of some slight over saturations on some shades.
It’s also really good at dealing with the lower light of an indoor environment, but it does have some very slight issues with variable light conditions across one scene. I found it would wash out parts of the scene, while also suffering from the occasional lens flare.
The Samsung Galaxy S3 camera fairs pretty well against other premium smartphones, beating out the Sony Xperia S, but not quite up to par with the iPhone, HTC One X, or the Nokia 808 PureView.
The Galaxy S3 also shoots full HD video at 1080p resolution. Video results during testing tests were less impressive than camera shots, with a tendency to look a little hazy at times. Levels of detail also change with slight movement of the frame, such as during walking. There is also a 2 MP camera located on the front for video calling, Face Unlock and Samsung’s face detection feature, which stops the phone’s screen from dimming as long as you’re looking at it.
Contacts and Messaging
The Samsung Galaxy S3 contacts application includes some cool new features. When you swipe left over a contact’s name, it will take you straight to the messaging menu so you can send an SMS very easily. If you swipe to the right of a name, it will automatically call the contact without you having to tap twice.
You can create groups or lists of contacts so you can quickly sent emails or SMS to multiple people at one time. If you’re trying to find a contact in your address book, you can press on the corresponding letter of the alphabet in the index at the right hand side to jump down to the right section, or you can also just start typing their name into the search box. The software favors last names over first so make sure you remember that!
The basic messaging interface of the S3 is clean and very easy to use. It displays a speech bubble graphic to show conversation threads. If you’re composing a text in landscape mode you won’t be able to see the preceding messages in the thread, but in portrait mode you can scroll back through to read them if you want. The well known “Swype” style interface is preloaded on the Galaxy S3, which can be switched on, if you turn on the continuous input within the Samsung keyboard settings.
A cool new feature on TouchWiz is Samsung’s eye tracking technology. This uses the Galaxy S3’s front view camera so it can keep the screen on if it detects a face looking at it. It’s a really cool addon that works great if you’re holding the phone directly in front of your face. But if for any reason you’re looking at it from an angle, (maybe you’re resting your head on a pillow or something), it won’t register your face and will turn off anyway. The flashing eye symbol is also a bit distracting, delivering a constant, eerie reminder that your S3 is watching you.
Face and Voice Unlock
Using the S Voice feature I’ll mention talk about a bit later, The Samsung Galaxy S3 allows you to set a facial and voice recognition code before it unlocks the phone. It’s pretty straightforward to set up, but I can’t imagine many people wanting to talk to their phone every time in order to unlock it.
On this high resolution display with the S3’s powerful processor, it’s almost a given that this phone would have excellent web browsing. Websites are very quick to render (depending on your cellular network of course) and look absolutely gorgeous on this larger display. Still no support for Adobe Flash however, so some embedded video and other content won’t display.
The S3 even trumps the new iPad in this test. Apple’s newest tablet scored 1,890.9 when we benchmarked it, while the iPad 2 was about the same at 1,884.6 — both taking slightly longer than the S3.
One cool little thing to mention first within the Apps section is that the Samsung Galaxy S3 comes with two years of included online storage for Dropbox, giving you 50GB worth of memory to dump all of your files and media in.
The former Apple exclusive app, Flipboard, comes with the Galaxy S3 and turns updates from your favorite social networks, websites, and blogs into a clean, magazine-style layout. The Galaxy S3 also comes with a lot of preloaded Samsung apps, several of which, including S Suggest and Games Hub, give you additional ways to get content on your phone, as well as being able to download apps from the Google Play Store.
Samsung’s Music Hub app makes an appearance on the Galaxy S3, which links through to a 7 Digital-powered music store where you can listen to clips and download songs right on your phone.
Purchasing songs is a fairly simple task, organized similarly to Apple’s iTunes.
Once you’ve download all your favorite music you can play them using the Samsung Music Player.
This includes the Music Square feature, which designs custom playlists based on the music your listen to.
In addition to Music Player, Samsung had the FM Radio app which comes with an analogue-style knob interface and the ability to save station presets so you can easily come back to them with a single tap. From this app you can also record content from the radio station you’re listening to.
With its 1.4GHz quad-core processor, the Samsung Galaxy S3 is more than capable of delivering high resolution video and graphically demanding 3D games. Its performance feels smooth with little to no lag on some of the heavier graphics games.
Well, I guess what I’m saying is it will be very difficult to find a game on Google Play that will stretch a processor to its limits. Gameplay overall its smooth, with no noticeable slow down.
AllSharePlay is a Samsung feature that creates a network for your content stored on multiple devices so you can easily access it from your Galaxy S3. Think of it as the “cloud”. To set it up all you need is a Samsung accounts and then download the AllSharePlay software to the devices where you want to access your data from, such as a laptop or tablet.
After you’ve installed the program and logged in, you be able to locate your files when launch AllSharePlay on your Samsung Galaxy S3. In addition to viewing your content, you will also be able to download files locally on your Samsung Galaxy S3 through the app as well. That means you can access your files and download them even when you don’t have a Wi-Fi connection.
S Voice is a voice control assistant application that resembles Apple’s Siri. Just like the iPhone feature, S Voice has a “tap to talk” microphone icon interface that can perform task like making a call, setting an alarm, giving you the weather, controlling music playback or taking a picture. For the most part though, just like Siri, I had to repeat what I wanted a couple of times and even then I wasn’t guaranteed a right answer. Most of the time I think it’s just quicker to navigate to the feature you want on your phone manually then through voice control.
This Samsung feature allows you to design both text or scribble hand drawn notes. It’s has more options than Apple’s Notes app, with a range of pens and colors to pick from, as well as its ability to allow hand written notes, not just typed text. You can also attach photos to memos, encrypt your private memos and add an audio recording too – pretty handy if you like to record a meeting, seminar or lecture as you take notes.
This is the Samsung Galaxy S3 calendar app that comes with some cool features. For example, you can pinch to quickly zoom in and out from day view, to week, to month and to year. S Planner can also directly synchronize with Google Calendar. Among other you can set reminders, add event participants, and link the app with S Memo, so you can attach notes along with your calendar appointments.
The Samsung Galaxy S3 comes with a removable 2100mAh battery. A full brightness, the S3 will run through your battery life fairly quickly, so keep an eye on your battery icon at the top corner of the screen. Ideally on any smartphone, you should avoid full brightness for long periods of time.
With the display set to 50 percent brightness, the S3 battery dropped from 100 percent to 60 percent just after around 4 hours of streaming HD video over a Wi-Fi connection. By comparison, the HTC One X went down to 30 percent battery in the same test. So assuming that you don’t crank up the screen brightness all the way, you should be able to get 6 to 7 hours of video streaming on a single charge.
Expect to have to charge your phone every single night – perhaps even sooner if you’re a smartphone junky like me. Something interesting to note is that the Galaxy S3 charges a lot slower over a USB connection. So if you need a lot more power on a quick charge, I’d suggest hooking it up to a wall socket.
Samsung also included a “power saver mode” feature that automatically limits CPU performance, dims the screen, change the background color in web browsing and turns off haptic feedback (tactile vibrations).
But, you could argue that the whole point of getting the phone in the first place is to take advantage of these features, which then brings us to the question of whether a quad core processor isn’t overkill for a smartphone. But the Samsung S3’s performance does make it quite fun to use.
With applications downloading and launching super quick, HD video playing smoothly and menus and gallery photos reacting simultaneously to your finger gestures, the Samsung Galaxy S3 has certainly proven itself as one of the top smartphones of 2012.
Firefox Home is a mobile iOS app from the Mozilla Organization. It’s basic function is to give you mobile access to your Firefox Internet Browser History, allowing you to open tabs and bookmarks on your iPhone or iPad.
With its mobile Awesome Bar, you won’t have to retype long URL addresses or spend time on Google searching for your favorite websites. To top it all off, Firefox home comes with a locking feature that allows you to access your data only by entering an encrypted password.
Firefox Home works directly with Firefox Sync, so you’ll have to download and restart Firefox first. As soon as you finish that, you’ll have to connect Firefox Home to your Firefox Sync account. I’ll be walking you through the set up process as it does get a little tricky for some users and then show you how to use all the Firefox Home features.
Open Firefox on your computer. If you haven’t already, download Firefox and thenimport your bookmarks and internet history from your previous Internet browser. Click on the Firefox button at the top of the Firefox window (Tools menu in Windows XP). Next click Options, and in the Options window, click on the Sync Tab.
Click Set Up Firefox Sync.
Click Create a New Account.
You will be provided with a Recovery Key. The Recovery Key is use to secure your data before it’s sent to Mozilla’s servers. Think of it as a key that locks away all your personal information in a safety deposit box that only you can open, and Mozilla’s servers are the bank where the box it held. Just like at a bank, this means that neither Mozilla or anyone else can access your “vault” of information without first having access to your Recovery Key to unlock it. This is a really good time to make a note of your key and store it in a really safe place. When you’re finished, click Next.
Confirm that you’re not a robot by enter the text found on the image. (Those things are always impossible to read I know). But try your best, and then click Next.
You’ll be greeted with a Setup Complete! message. Click Finish to close the setup window and take you back to the Sync panel.
There’s nothing else you have to do on your part. Firefox Sync will now automatically synchronize all of your browser data in the background from here on.
You’re first sync should be rather quick, especially if you just download Firefox. But it could take some time if depending on how much information has to be uploaded.
Get the easy setup code from Firefox Home
Download Firefox Home from the App Store, launch the app, and then tap on I Have a Sync Account.
The twelve character code to add this device will be displayed.
Connect Firefox Home to your Sync account
Here you’ll have to enter the setup code on your Firefox browser to connect Firefox Home to your Sync account.
To do this, first go to the default Mozilla Firefox home page.
At the bottom of Firefox’s home page, click the Sync link to open the Sync settings window.
Next click the Pair a device link and the Firefox Sync Setup window will open.
Enter the twelve character code created on your iOS device and click Next.
As soon as the code is accepted you will see a Device Connected message and your device will automatically begin to sync over all of your Bookmarks, Tabs, and Internet History.
Note: If you’re not near a computer, you can still add Firefox Home to your Sync account by simply entering your account information. From Firefox Home’s Connect to Sync screen, tap on I am not near my computer… Next, enter your email address, password, and recovery key and then enter the information.
Searching your bookmarks, history and tabs
This is exactly like having the Firefox Awesome Bar right on your iPhone or iPad.
If you aren’t already exploring the search tab, Launch Firefox Home and then just tap on the search button at the bottom of the Firefox Home app window.
Tap on the search bar at the top of the window and the keyboard will come up.
To search through your various bookmarks, open tabs, and Internet History, just begin typing the first few letters of the website you’re trying to find.
As soon you start typing, Firefox Home will begin displaying all of its related results.
The results will indicate if they’re a bookmark, an open tab or a history item with an appropriate icon on located the left.
Usually, just two or three letters of a word will get you to the results you want.
To visit a link, just tap on the listing in the search results. It’s that easy.
To then go back to your search results, you can tap on the Home button located at the top of the window.
Searching the web or going directly to websites
If you want to visit a site, but it’s not in your bookmarks, tabs or Internet History, don’t worry! We can still get there.
Go ahead and tap on the search button again at the bottom of the Firefox Home app window.
Tap in the search bar at the top of the window and the keyboard will come up again.
Type in the name or address of the website you want to go to.
If you type in the complete address or if the word you entered matches a top domain, clicking the link that’s displayed will take you right to the website. If Firefox Home can’t find a match for what was entered then the app will simply take you to the Google search results.
If you want to then go back to the previous screen, tap the Home button at the top of the window.
Accessing your open tabs
Working on some Internet research and want to pick up where you left off with access to the tab you had open on your computer? No problem.
Tap the Tabs button at the bottom of the app window and all of your open tabs will then be listed.
To visit a site on your tabs, just tap on its listing.
To return to your open tabs, tap the Home button at the of the window.
Accessing your bookmarks
Now you can have access to all of your favorite Firefox bookmarks without being stuck having to just use the Safari App on your iPhone or iPad. Neither do you have to keep typing in all of those long URL addresses. You don’t even have to type anything in at all. All of your Firefox bookmarks are synced right here.
Tap on the Bookmarks button at the button of the app window and all of your bookmarks will be listed.
The bookmarks toolbar will be listed first followed by your bookmarks menu and then you unsorted bookmarks.
To visit one of your bookmarked websites, just tap on its listing.
To return to your bookmarks, tap the Home button at the top of the window.
Using the integrated web viewer
Once you’ve selected a website, it will open in the iPhone’s integrated web viewer. The controls are at the bottom of the web viewer window.
For your convenience, there are back and forward arrows for navigating through all of the websites you’ve opened.
There is also a reload button to refresh the current page as well.
Finally, there is an export button that lets you view the current website in Mobile Safari, Email the website’s URL using the iOS Mail app, or copy the URL.
To return to Search, Bookmarks or Tabs, tap on the Home button at the top of the window.
Update your information in the Settings section
Every time that you launch Firefox Home it will update its copy of your bookmarks, history and tabs from your Firefox Sync account. If, for any reason, you need to make Firefox Home update your information while you’re still using the app, just tap on the Refresh button in the Setting section.
If you’re having some problems seeing your information in Firefox Home, one thing you could do is a full refresh of your data.
In Firefox Home, tap on the Settings icon at the bottom of the window and then tap the Sign Out button at the top of the window.
Click the Sign Out button again and you will be presented with a log in screen.
Enter you Firefox Sync username or email address, and password to log in and automatically refresh all of your data.
This is my blog about anything and everything that sparks my interest. You can look forward to posts about my life, my job at USB Memory Direct and all the other random things I find interesting. Please leave me a comment and tell me what you think, I am always open to suggestions!