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    Sun. Sea. Tech. Easy!

    Getting the most out of your tech, this holiday season.

    Technology: Making your life as easy as possible

    As the summer holiday season approaches, we use our tech more than ever.

    Before we go away, our gadgets help take the stress out of booking travel and researching a holiday destination, and when we’re on holiday we can use our tech to capture family memories, entertain us, and even find our way around new locations.

    ao.com sells a wide range of computing products all designed to make our life easier; this guide aims offers practical advice and top tips to ensure you get the most out of your gadgets while you’re away.

    Holiday Tech Survey

    Modern life can be busy and stressful and we all look forward to a holiday, a chance to escape from the norm and enjoy some time with our families, relaxing. Many of us spend our downtime at home on our smartphone, tablets and laptops but what about when we’re away?

    We carried out a survey to ask the UK public how important their gadgets are to them when they are on holiday. Can they really live without them for a few weeks or are they an integral part of their trip?

    An intro to apps

    Apps offer the perfect solution to make your life easier on-the-go. Whether you’re looking to edit photos, keep in touch with family, shop, find the best restaurants, there is an app for it. Here is our list of some of the best...

    The top 18 apps to use on holiday

    Photo editing
    Maps
    Translation
    Entertainment
    Games
    Things to do

    Tips for using public Wi-Fi networks

    Wi-Fi hotspots in public places can come in very handy, but are often not secure. If you connect to a network and send information through websites or mobile apps, there is a danger that it could be accessed by someone else.

    To protect your information when using these hotspots, you should only send information to sites that are fully encrypted, and avoid using mobile apps that require personal or financial information.

    How Encryption Works
    How to tell if a website is encrypted
    What about mobile apps?
    Don’t assume a Wi-Fi hotspot is secure

    Check the encryption

    When using a hotspot, only log-in or send personal information to websites you know are fully encrypted. To be secure, your entire visit to each site should be encrypted – from the time you log in to the site until you log out. If you think you’re logged in to an encrypted site but find yourself on an unencrypted page, log out straight away.

    Use a VPN

    If you regularly access online accounts through Wi-Fi hotspots, use a virtual private network (VPN). VPNs encrypt traffic between your computer and the internet, even on unsecured networks. You can get a personal VPN account from a VPN service provider. VPN options are also available for mobile devices to encrypt information sent through apps.

    Use different passwords

    Do not use the same password on different websites. It could give someone who gains access to one of your accounts access to many of your accounts.

    Check your settings

    Consider changing the settings on your mobile device so it doesn’t automatically connect to nearby Wi-Fi. That way, you have more control over when and how your device uses public Wi-Fi.

    Mind your warnings

    Many web browsers alert users who try to visit fraudulent websites or download malicious programs. Pay attention to these warnings, and keep your browser and security software up-to-date.

    Always sign out

    Don’t stay permanently signed in to accounts. When you’ve finished using an account, log out.

    Advice on travelling with mobile devices

    Security is tighter than ever in airports and the rules around which gadgets you can and can’t take on a plane keep changing. Here, we take a look at what the current legislation is, and how to make sure you do not incur any unnecessary costs when you use your mobile devices abroad.

    What are the rules about travelling with gadgets?

    Since March this year, large phones, laptops and tablets – basically any device bigger than 16cm x 9.3cm x 1.5cm – are not allowed in the cabin of flights to the UK from Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Tunisia.

    Consequently, you need to pack them in your suitcase, so they can go in the hold. You need to be aware, however, that your travel insurance may not cover the theft or damage of any item which you can’t see or isn’t close to you, i.e. if it’s in the hold. It may, therefore, be worth investing in a proper lock for your suitcase to keep your belongings secure and wrap any fragile/delicate items in clothes and towels in your suitcase to help protect them.

    As a general rule, all passengers flying in to or out of the UK need to make sure any electrical devices they have in their hand luggage are sufficiently charged to be switched on when they go through security. This advice applies to anything with a battery including tablets, phones, electrical shavers, hair-straighteners, travel irons and cameras.

    What does aeroplane mode actually mean/do?
    What is data roaming and why do I need to turn it off when I’m abroad?

    Everything you need to know about capturing your family memories

    Photos are some of the most important files you’ll ever create. We’re taking more images than ever before – an estimated 900 billion will be uploaded to the web this year – and billions more live on our mobile devices. Although digital cameras are still popular, more and more of us are using our mobile devices – smartphones and tablets – to capture our holiday memories. Here, we take a look at how to make space on your tablet to store all your images and well as offering tips on how to take the perfect pictures.

    Rather than storing photos on your tablet, you could use an app that automatically uploads photos to an online account such as Google Photos, Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive or Flickr instead.

    Another way to free up valuable space is to delete any apps you don’t need when you’re away, such as shopping apps, and then re-install them once you get home.

    It is also imperative to update your software when prompted – those automatic update requests should not be ignored, as they often give you some valuable space back.

    And don’t forget to clear caches and cookies from your social media accounts, in particular those that use a lot of images such as Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp and Pinterest.

    How to take perfect pictures on you phone

    For some top tips on how to take the perfect picture on your tablet, we have spoken to professional photographer, Ben Davis, who has offered his expert advice below:

    Set the focus

    It only takes a second, but if you want sharp, fuzz-free pictures you need to set the focus. Simply tap with your finger on the screen on the main subject in the shot. It could be a smiling face, your fancy lunch, or a tiger in the zoo. Taking this small but essential step will ensure your pictures are off to a good start.

    Banish blurry shots

    As well as setting the focus to make your subject stand out, you can also keep detail pin-sharp by holding your tablet or smartphone as steady as possible.

    You can achieve this by:

    • Standing still with your feet shoulder width apart
    • Tucking your elbows into your sides so your arms don’t wobble
    • Resting your camera on a solid surface, like a wall or table

    Set the right exposure

    Sometimes our pictures suffer from being too bright or too dark, and this is often caused by the the light in the background being totally different to the light on your subject. If you tap the subject twice, most smartphones and tablets bring up a slider that lets you adjust the brightness.

    Perfect holiday portraits

    The most commonly encountered problem with holiday portraits is that the faces are too dark. To solve this, tap on the face to set the focus and the exposure. You might find the face is still a little dark, so turn on the camera’s flash to light up the face, giving you a perfect portrait with a vibrant background.

    Shoot stunning sunsets

    There’s nothing more relaxing than sipping a cocktail and watching the sun go down, but taking pictures of a special sunset can be a challenge. To ensure your sunset shots are nothing less than stunning follow these easy steps:

    1. Tap with a finger on the brightest part of the sky to set the exposure
    2. Adjust the brightness slider so your picture’s a bit darker and the colours pop
    3. Look for something that would make a good silhouette

    Two ways to improve your compositions

    One way to get better looking photos is to turn on the grid overlay in your camera’s settings. This will help you line up the horizon to keep it straight and avoid those drunk-looking, wonky pictures and instantly improve your shots. To make holiday snaps more pleasing on the eye and less amateurish you should avoid placing your subject squarely in the middle of the frame.

    Take pictures with amazing light

    For the nicest light it's best to avoid taking pictures in the middle of the day; as this leads to harsh light, squinting faces and less vibrant colours. Instead plan to take your pictures early in the morning or late in the afternoon an hour or so before sunset. This is known among photographers as the golden hour and makes for flattering, warm light with nice soft shadows.

    Keep your gear safe

    Tablets and smartphones are vulnerable to the sand on the beach or splashes around the pool. Avoid damaging your device by keeping in a zip-lock freezer bag when you feel it may be at risk. You can still use it and take pictures through the clear plastic, but with added peace of mind.

    Packing checklist

    Although going on holiday is something we all look forward to, the run-up to going away can be quite stressful. Keeping on top of everything you have to do and making sure you’ve packed everything you need can cause a lot of tension. In order to help you be as organised as possible, we’ve created a packing checklist template, which you can download and fill out at your leisure. After all, who doesn’t like a list?

    Travel documents
    Electronic devices
    Toiletries
    Medical
    Adult suitcase
    Kids' suitecase

    Storage at a glance

    Most tablets come with 16, 32 or 64GB of internal storage, however you can buy extra storage in the form of a MicroSD card, which can give your tablet additional storage. But what does this really mean, and what can you actually store on 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, or even bigger storage tablets?

     

    Videos

    Apps

    Images

    Songs

    16GB

    10 hours of Full HD videos

    400

    4,000

    3,200

    32GB

    20 hours of Full HD videos

    800

    8,000

    6,400

    64GB

    40 hours of Full HD videos

    1,600

    16,000

    12,800

    128GB

    80 hours of Full HD videos

    3,200

    32,000

    25,600

    256GB

    160 hours of Full HD videos

    6400

    64,000

    51,200

    512GB

    320 hours of Full HD videos

    12,800

    128,000

    102,400

    1TB

    625 hours of Full HD video

    25,000

    250,000

    200,000

    Understanding tech

    When purchasing a laptop or tablet for your family, you need to get the right technology to suit your needs. AO has a wealth advice to demystify tech and aid your purchasing decision, as well as ensure you get the most out of your tech this summer to ultimately make your life easy!