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Saturday, August 22, 2015

#Samsung #Galaxy A8: Is it worth the bang for your buck?

Samsung smartphones underwent a major reboot earlier this year with the launch of Galaxy S6and S6 edge, which was on top of the design rethink the company's mobile portfolio went with last year with Galaxy A. This reboot of the mobile strategy has continued since, across various price points, from the budget Galaxy J series to the almost-flagship Galaxy A series.

The latest in the Galaxy A lineup is Samsung Galaxy A8 worth Rs 32,500, which is the company's slimmest smartphone. But that's not the only noteworthy feature of the phone, which has a huge 5.7-inch screen, a big battery, and 16MP camera for starters. In our Samsung Galaxy A8 review, we take an in-depth look at the smartphone to see if it is the best phablet you can buy under Rs 35,000.

Design that turns heads



Last year's Galaxy Alpha was the first truly beautiful smartphone by Samsung, and the Galaxy A series has kept the momentum going since. Galaxy A8 is no exception, in fact it is among the best looking smartphones made by the company.

The smartphone balances the Samsung design language of 2012/2013 with the new look that the company is experimenting with this year. The body uses matte-finish plastic on the back, while the frame on the sides is metal. The metallic edges on the left and right are slightly bevelled, instead of the flat sides you usually see. Samsung has machined the Power and Volume buttons off metal too.

Plastic is, of course, not the most desirable material of construction in the smartphone industry, but the plastic used here is of good quality. Overall, the plastic-and-metal design works well for the Samsung Galaxy A8.

Below the display panel is Samsung Galaxy A8's fingerprint sensor, which is integrated into the hardware Home button. Flanking this physical key on both sides are the Task Switcher and Back soft-touch keys. You will find the 5MP camera, the speaker grille and the usual array of sensors above the display panel.



On the back are the 16MP camera, LED flash and the loudspeaker, which are arranged horizontally, a design choice we have seen in few Samsung phones since Galaxy S3. You get the usual branding on the back as well as the front of the smartphone. The left edge holds the housing for the sim card/microSD card slots.



Samsung Galaxy A8 holds the distinction of being the company's thinnest smartphone yet at 5.9mm; the handset weighs 151 grams. These make Galaxy A8 among the thinnest lightest and phablets you can find in the market right now, and a far cry from the company's mammoth Mega phablets.

In fact, Samsung Galaxy A8's design and dimensions betray the fact that it has a 5.7-inch screen. In fact, the smartphone is small enough to operate with one hand for most people.

An excellent display



Samsung Galaxy A8 has a 5.7-inch Super AMOLED screen with Full HD (1080x1920p) resolution, which may seem a little pale compared to the QHD (1440x2560p) resolution. However, we found Galaxy A8 to have among the best displays we have seen in the market recently. The Super AMOLED screen ensures that the contrast levels are great, though colours may seem a tad oversaturated.

The Samsung Galaxy A8 display panel is among the brightest we have seen, which is remarkable considering its price bracket. Even under direct sunlight you get excellent clarity - at just 50% brightness.

Hardware fails to dazzle

The India variant of Samsung Galaxy A8 is powered by the company's Exynos 5430 chipset, which has four high-power cores running at 1.8GHz and four low-power cores clocking a maximum of 1.3GHz. This chipset is designed on the 32-bit architecture, whereas the international model is powered by the 64-bit Snapdragon 615 chip.

Samsung Galaxy A8 packs 2GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage. If you want to expand the storage, you can slip microSD card of up to 128GB capacity. However, there is a trade-off in this case: though the smartphone supports dual-sim, it can either hold a sim card or a microSD card on the second sim slot since Samsung has opted for the hybrid sim setup.

If you choose to forego the microSD card, you get access to two sim cards. Samsung Galaxy A8 can tap 4G speeds on both sim cards, but not at the same time; if one sim uses 4G, the second sim can only use 2G and 3G networks.

The rear camera of Samsung Galaxy A8 has 16MP resolution, whereas the front camera's sensor is rated at 5MP. Its battery capacity is 3,050mAh.

Clean software

Samsung has adopted a cleaner, trimmer UI since the launch of Galaxy S6 edge and S6 smartphones. This same software skin is used in Samsung Galaxy A8, this time based on Android 5.1 (Lollipop). So you get Google's set of apps, Microsoft's OneDrive, OneNote and Skype apps, along with the manufacturer's own S Voice, Galaxy Apps, and Music as well as a few utility apps.

Overall, the software is very light and the small number of preload apps makes it a breeze to use. You can enable Knox security via Settings in order to ensure greater security of the smartphone.

Though the Galaxy A8 smartphone is not too big to hold, Samsung has given provision for one-hand operation in settings, along with gesture control that work without a hitch. For example, you can double-tap the Home button to open the Camera app even if the phone is not in active use. Similarly, tapping the Home key in quick succession will turn on the one-hand mode.

Source: TOI

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

10 Foods That Make You Smarter

Does what you eat make you smarter? Yes and no. While a well-balanced diet won’t transform you into a Jeopardy champion, it will sharpen your thinking ability. How alert do you feel after eating a greasy bag of fast food or cream-filled doughnut? The road to Food Coma is paved with empty calories devoid of nutritional content. Your brain will perform better if fueled by healthy fats, fiber, protein, vitamins, and antioxidants. If you’d like to boost your brain power, eat these 10 healthy foods that make you smarter.

1. Nuts

If you tend to snack on a candy bar at work, swap that with some nuts for a more productive afternoon. Sugar will give you a quick hit of energy but it doesn’t last long (and is followed by a sudden, vicious crash). Swapping those empty calories with some healthy fats will give you longer-lasting energy and an improved ability to think. Just make sure you stick with a handful or two per day, because there can be too much of a good thing.

Note: A recent study published in Neurology found that a diet high in omega-3 fatty acids did not improve cognitive function in older women. The jury is still out but nuts are a positive and convenient alternative to sugar-laden snacks that won’t sustain you.

2. Fish

A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that increased fish intake could reduce the risk of dementia by 20%.

3. Tea

If you’d like a morning pick-me-up that will boost your brain power, start your day with a cup of green tea. Tea is packed with antioxidants that increase neuron production in your brain. A study published in Molecular Nutrition & Food Research found that EGCG, an inorganic compound in green tea, prevents memory loss and degenerative diseases.

4. Spinach/Leafy Greens

Swap your fries with a salad or green vegetables for a more positive brain-boosting alternative. Leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, collard, and mustard greens are packed with antioxidants that could slow down or reverse memory loss. A study at Harvard Medical School followed 13,000 women for 25 years and found that increased vegetable intake was associated with reduced cognitive decline.

5. Oatmeal

A bowl of Captain Crunch might be tasty but it isn’t beneficial for your brain. Simple sugars provide you with a sudden rise in blood sugar that is followed by an equally sudden crash. Oatmeal is a slow-digesting food that will provide you with sustainable energy and brain power that will last for several hours.

6. Berries

Think oatmeal is a bit gross by itself? Sprinkle it with some brown sugar and berries for a tasty treat your brain will appreciate. A study at Brigham and Women’s Hospital found that eating berries could “delay cognitive aging by up to 2.5 years.”

7. Chocolate

A study published in the journal Neurology found that drinking two cups of hot cocoa per day for 30 days improved memory and brain blood flow in elderly people with impaired blood flow.

8. Coffee

A cup of Joe will provide you with an immediate hit of energy that will help you focus on the task at hand. To discover how beer and coffee affect your brain, click here.

9. Eggs

Egg yolks are a quality source of chlorine, a substance that strengthens your memory and brain power. A study at the Boston University School of Medicine found that high chlorine intake is associated with better scores in memory tests and reduced likelihood of brain changes that precede dementia.

10. Water

Dehydration can damage your ability to focus and recall information, so make sure you’re drinking at least 8 cups of water per day to keep your brain happy and hydrated.

Make sure you have one of these foods that make you smarter with lunch to avoid mid-afternoon exhaustion. If you used to eat fast food for lunch and have since made a healthy change, did you notice a difference in your energy or memory as a result?

Source: LH

Thursday, August 6, 2015

The 11 Health Benefits of Whisky

Whisky is one of the most popular alcoholic beverages in the world, thanks to its distinct flavors and the fact that it’s the least likely to give you a hangover. Add to that the fact that whisky also holds several medicinal property, and you got yourself an obvious success story.

Please remember that whisky is alcoholic, so drink it responsibly and as always - in moderation.



A Brief History




The first confirmed accounts of whisky distillation are from the early 15th century, when the Irish and Scottish distilled it, calling it “Aqua Vitae” (Water of Life / Lively Water), for medicinal properties.

During the American Revolution, it was used as currency and George Washington even owned a distillery in Mount Vernon. In the Prohibition era (1920-1933), whisky was the only alcohol permitted for consumption with a doctor’s prescription.

The Health Benefits of Whiskey:

1. Memory Boost: Whisky contains antioxidants that help improve the health of the brain, additionally, alcohol boosts blood circulation, both of which contribute to your memory. In addition, the Ethanol in whisky helps your neurons function properly, which also aids with memory.

2. Stress Relief: In moderation, whisky can reduce stress and calm the nerves. The combination of slowing down brain activity and increased circulation, which helps provide the body with oxygenated blood, are essential for achieving calmness.

3. Fight Weight Gain: Compared to its counterparts, whisky is a low-calorie alcohol, free of fat and cholesterol. If you’re on a diet but still want a drink – it’s your best choice.

4. Reduce the Risk of a Stroke: Whisky prevents cholesterol from accumulating in the cardiovascular system and can help remove excess cholesterol from the body. It also relaxes the walls of the arteries, reducing the risk of obstruction. All of these factors help reduce the risk of stroke considerably.

5. Reduce the Risk of Cancer: Whisky contains an antioxidant called ‘ellagic acid’, an acid that stops DNA from coming in contact with cancer-causing compounds, such as nitrosamines and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.. It is also said to help protect the body from damage during chemotherapy.

6. Helps with Digestion: For centuries, whisky was considered a digestive aid, drunk after a heavy meal. Whisky's composition and high alcohol percentage also makes it an effective appetite suppressant.



7. Live Longer: The antioxidants in whisky help fight free radicals – the number one cause of aging, as well as prevent various diseases. This double-whammy helps your body live a longer, healthier life.

8. Diabetic-Friendly: Containing zero carbs, it won’t affect blood sugar levels, making it the number one choice for diabetics.

9. Improve Your Heart's Health: Drinking whisky actually helps your heart stay healthy, similarly to red wine. It reduces the risk of blood clots, thus it can prevent strokes and heart attacks. The antioxidants in the whisky also inhibits the oxidation of low density lipoprotein - a main factor in heart disease.

10. Improve the Health of Your Brain: A 2003 study found that, thanks to the antioxidant qualities of the ellagic acid, moderate consumption of whisky reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia, as well as improve cognitive functions. Basically, one drink a day will keep the doctor away.

11. Prevent & Treat Cold and Flu: Whisky is known for its positive effects towards allergies and colds. It’s an effective cough syrup for people suffering from an itchy throat, and the alcohol helps kill bacteria in the throat. The best results are achieved by adding a little bit of whisky to a cup of hot water and lemon.

Source: ba-bamail