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If you turn your head to either side, right now, just slightly, chances are you will notice some blurs, blotches, and blips of dirt or gunk on your screen. It’s only natural to get a little grime on your phone or computer, just think about how much you use these things day in and day out. While you can combat smudges with just a microfiber cloth, picking up a screen cleaner that’s specifically formulated to give you a clearer picture is a great way to go. We have found a few options that are all super easy to use and most can fit in a purse or bag so you can take it on the go. You’ll have no excuse for not getting rid of those fingerprints and flecks of dust.
This kit comes with everything you need to keep all your screens clean. In each box is one 3.4-ounce bottle of solution, one 0.5- ounce travel size bottle, and 3 microfiber cloths. This solution is alcohol, ammonia, and odor-free, making it safe for any screen and any user. Simply spray the cleaner onto the cloth and go to town on your phone, computer, tablet, or TV screen; don’t forget to go over each device’s camera so you can get and give clearer pictures. Screen Shine is also a great way to clean your glasses while you’re at it, so you can say goodbye to blurry views for good.
This cleaning spray is 100 percent natural, non-toxic, VOC-free, plant-based, and biodegradable so you can feel confident knowing your cleaner is safe for you and the environment. Each package comes with two 4-ounce spray bottle and an extra-large, 8 x 8-inch, reusable E-wipe to lift dust and dirt from your screen’s surfaces without leaving streaks. It will do a fantastic job on pretty much any screen imaginable: 4K HED, LED, LCD TVs, iPhones, Kindles, sunglasses, eyeglasses, GPS navigators, and more.
Screen Mom knows what she’s doing when it comes to getting a great clean for every screen. It’s formulated to be safe for everyone in your home, including children and pets. This Screen Mom solution can clear away grime and grubby fingerprints from all kinds of flatscreens including LED, HDTV, 4K, Plasma, OLED, and more. The only time you need to use caution is if your screen comes with a specifically designed anti-reflective coating. This kit comes with a large microfiber cleaning cloth and a 16-ounce bottle that can deliver over 1,500 sprays of solution.
If you need something portable and liquid-free, these three little cleaning balls are a great option. Best for smaller devices like a laptop, cellphone, or tablet, these little guys can get a lot done without using a liquid solution. Each ball has a microfiber side to remove difficult dirt and a terry cloth side for fingerprints and smudges. Keep one at your desk, one in your car, and one on your person. and you’ll never have to look at a smudgy screen again.
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Web image compression may have a dramatic effect on search engine results. In April 2010, Google announced that site speed would be a major ranking factor going forward. Consequently, reducing picture size has become the de facto standard for increasing load times. But, compared to importance and credibility, speed is still a minor factor.
Images used on websites should always be compressed before being uploaded. Because of this, you’ll lose weight just by yourself. Enough to keep the website’s credibility and usefulness intact. The two have remained separate thanks to lossy and lossless picture compression methods.How do you Define Image Compression?
When talking about data compression methods, picture compression is the most common and widely used method for digital images. This method is used to lessen the burden of picture transmission and storage.
Image compression, as opposed to more general data compression approaches, yields aesthetically attractive and statistically sound pictures. Using this method, a picture may be shrunk down to a manageable size without suffering any discernible loss in quality.
As image sizes are decreased, more pictures may be kept in the same amount of space. As a bonus, uploading and downloading pictures from the web takes far less time than a few years ago. Thus, you may get better pictures that take up less space, load more quickly, and boost your page rank.Why Is It Necessary to Compress Images?
For websites, particularly mobile ones, photos must be lightweight or minimal in size. Having a quick download time is a top priority for mobile websites. Image compression is a practical method for this. Since compressed photos take up far less space, your website will load much more quickly.
Visuals are just as crucial as words when it comes to information. To put it simply, they are not an ornament. So, they need the same degree of caution as text.
Using relevant images helps to break up the text, making the page simpler to skim. This addition improves the entire user experience. Image compression may improve the user experience and boost your search engine optimization efforts.
Hence, instead of photos to make easy-to-read web pages, you should use images to increase your SEO ranking and provide a rich user experience. The only way to do this is to compress your photographs like you would compress text.Methods of Picture Compression that Improve Search Engine Results
When compressing an image, how exactly does it happen? When compressing images, you may choose between two distinct methods: lossy and lossless.
Please take a moment to look at the two of them together.Lossless Compression
To shrink an image’s file size while keeping its original quality is the goal of lossless compression. It’s analogous to a digital single-lens reflex camera (DSLR) that lets you choose between multiple image files formats like JPEG and RAW.
JPEG files take up less space and won’t quickly fill up your hard disc, but you may lose some information in the converting process. If you are a professional user, you will benefit greatly from working with uncompressed RAW files.Lossy Compression
When compressing images, the lossy compression method is another option since it eliminates data without changing the quality of the picture.
In order to become used to the lossy compression method, it might be helpful to practice by limiting the image’s color palette to the most often used hues and saturations. It’s a common approach for GIF images and is sometimes used for PNGs to reduce file sizes significantly.
With proper training and dithering, one may get results that are almost indistinguishable from the originals. Let’s compare lossless and lossy image compression algorithms so that you can have a better grasp on both types of compression.
Both lossless and lossy image compression methods are available.
Although many options exist for compressing images, lossy and lossless compression is the most popular. You may determine which will most likely meet your needs by comparing the two methods.Lossless Compression
By “image compression,” we mean lowering a picture’s file size while maintaining or improving image quality. This is often done by stripping extraneous information from images like JPEGs and PNGs.
Common lossless picture formats include BMP, GIF, PNG, and RAW. Remember that JPEG is a lossy format; thus, selecting the highest quality setting may lead to some picture artifacts or loss of clarity. This issue may arise even when using Photoshop’s “save for web” option.
Lossless compression is preferred because it allows for the preservation of picture quality while yet reducing file size. Thus, lossless compression is ideal if you care about maintaining picture quality.Lossy Compression
The term “image compression” is used to describe a method of reducing the size of a picture by eliminating details that weren’t originally there. A change in this direction cannot be undone. As a result, after you’ve converted the picture to lossy, you can no longer change the original file. More compression results in lower-quality images. Lossy picture formats include GIFs and JPEGs.Conclusion
The website’s load time is crucial to improve the user experience and the site’s overall rating. It’s smart to put a lot of money into the content sector, but don’t forget about the photos; they also have a significant impact on your website’s SEO.
Now that you understand the value of image compression and the many methods at your disposal, you can work to improve your search engine rankings by compressing every picture on your website.
Find out why Instagram contests work wonders for growth on the platform and learn how to plan your own successful Instagram giveaway.
So you’re planning an Instagram giveaway—how generous!
Here’s a step-by-step guide to throwing a successful Instagram giveaway, complete with tips for laying down the rules, promoting your giveaway and picking a winner — plus 11 examples from brands that are doing it right.
Let’s get started, you selfless, noble giver, you.
Bonus: Download 4 free, customizable social media contest templates to help you get started promoting your contests on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.What is an Instagram giveaway?
An Instagram giveaway (or an Instagram contest) is a type of promotion involving a brand or creator gifting a product or service to an Instagram user. Users can enter the contest based on criteria defined by the giveaway organizer.
Here are some common reasons why brands throw giveaways on Instagram:
To get new followers. Contests tend to bring in new viewers to your page.
To collect user-generated content. Contests can be a great opportunity to allow your audience to generate (free and creative) content for your page.
To give back to their audience. Who would we be without our followers? Hosting an Instagram giveaway helps build your relationship with your audience and give them something in return for their support.How to do an Instagram giveaway: 6 steps 1. Plan your contest goals
Start by deciding what the goal of your contest is. More followers? Increased sales numbers for a specific product or service?
Whatever it may be, figure out early on what you want to gain. That will make tracking the success of the contest far easier.2. Set (and share) the rules
Clear rules are essential. When posting about the giveaway on Instagram, it may be best to include the deadlines and promotion guidelines in the caption. This will make them easy to find for your followers.
When sharing the contest on your website, a dedicated landing page, or other social media platforms, include any important rules upfront. If this isn’t possible, direct users to the giveaway post’s caption or wherever else the rules may be outlined.
If your contest is only open to certain geographic areas, be sure to include that information clearly.3. Pick a prize
This part should be fun! Decide what it is your followers will be competing for. It could be a product or assortment of products, a gift card, a service, or something else.
It’s wise to make sure the prize is related to your brand. General prizes like cash or Amazon gift cards will lure in random followers looking for a chance to win a quick buck. Offering products and prizes related to what your page revolves around is more effective—it ensures that anyone who enters and follows you for the contest is engaged with what it is you do.4. Publish your contest (at the right time)
And we’re live! Publish your contest using Hootsuite’s Best Time to Publish feature to ensure that your giveaway is being seen by the maximum number of followers.
Try for free5. Promote your contest
Promote your Instagram giveaway as widely as possible. You’ll want to share it on your Instagram Stories as well as any other social media platform your brand uses. Post about the giveaway multiple times (“One week left to enter,” “Last chance to enter,” etc.) to make sure that no one misses it.6. Track entries with a social media management tool
If you’re running a contest, you’ll probably want to see some concrete numbers proving how it helps your page’s traffic.
Hootsuite is the perfect resource to help run and track contests. Contest posts can be scheduled with the Planner. Comments can be tracked and answered in the Inbox, and mentions/hashtag usage can be tracked via Streams.
Learn more about how Hootsuite can help you with Instagram contests (and, well, all of your other social media efforts):Instagram giveaway template
Bonus: Download 4 free, customizable social media contest templates to help you get started promoting your contests on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.3 recommended Instagram giveaway pickers 11 Instagram contest examples
If you’re searching for inspiration for your next Instagram giveaway, hashtags are your best friend: try searching #contest, #giveaway, #instagramcontest, #iggiveaway, #contestalert, and other similar variations to find millions of examples of contests — or scroll down the list of inspiring examples below.
… and this one involves saving the post…Steal this strategy
2. Tag a friend to enter
If one user tags three friends, those three friends tag three more friends, and so on, pretty soon you’ll have taken over the world. Of course, not everyone will do this… we’re pretty certain that friendships have ended over serial tagging. Even so, it’s a very effective strategy for growth.
Tagging a friend is less of an evil genius move when it actually has something to do with your brand, or the giveaway itself. For example, if you’re giving away a spa package for two, you might ask folks to tag the person they’d bring with them if they won.Steal this strategy
Think about how tagging a friend can provide value to the user, as well—for example, you can give away two prizes (so the tagged friend also gets a prize). Otherwise, you risk your contest simply annoying all the tagged friends.3. Give away a new product
A new product launch is a great reason to host a contest—it helps create hype around the product and share news of the launch with your audience.
Plus, a fresh product automatically has more perceived value, even if the actual monetary value of the prize isn’t super high (for example, this giveaway of ready-to-eat boxed waffles).Steal this strategy
Consider incorporating contests into your marketing strategy when launching new products.
Emphasize the “newness” of the product when promoting this contest—if possible, consider timing the contest so the winner is the first person to experience the product.4. Partner with another brand
Collaborating with another brand or influencer automatically expands the reach of your giveaway because the contest has the potential to reach both your followers and your collaborator’s followers.
You can partner with a brand on both the contest promotion and the prize—for example, in the contest below, a reusable takeout container brand collaborated with a vegan food producer, and the prize includes products or services from both brands.
Or, a contest collaboration can just include a prize from one of the brands, while the other collaborator simply promotes the contest—as is the case with this wedding registry company x KitchenAid collab.
Either way, the most important factor in any collaboration is that your collaborator’s brand values align with your own. Reusable containers and vegan food producers both have the goal of sustainability, while the wedding registry company and KitchenAid have crossovers in their industries.Steal this strategy
Partner with another brand to tap into a new audience for your giveaway.
Make sure that the brand’s values align with your own (in addition to this being a good practice in general, it also makes their followers more likely to love your content).
If it makes sense, make the prize include something from both brands.5. Celebrate a holiday or special occasion
You don’t really need an excuse to have a contest—people love free stuff at any time of year—but if you can celebrate a holiday or occasion with a contest, do it.
This can be a personal occasion (for example, your brand’s anniversary or reaching 2000 followers) or a publicly-recognized one (Valentine’s Day, Christmas, Mother’s Day).
This contest hosted by a grocer celebrates International Women’s Day by giving away a product from a female-owned company.Steal this strategy
Centre your giveaway around an upcoming holiday or special date to give your contest a sense of timeliness and occasion.
If you can, make the contest prize something that relates to the occasion (for example, give away a zero-waste product for Earth Day or a candy cane-scented candle for Christmas).6. Make a creative carousel
When planning your contest, think about how you’re going to market it (after all, people can’t enter if they don’t know it exists). Create attention-grabbing—and informative—visual content to help spread the word about your giveaway.Steal this strategy
Incorporate a marketing plan into your Instagram contest strategy.
Create visuals that communicate everything that users need to know about the contest, without bogging them down with information.
Consider using carousel posts with one super-sharable cover image, then details about the prize in later images.7. Make a Reel
For the giveaway below, the creator made a Reel that first engages users with strong visuals and sounds (an ASMR-ish cooking video) and includes a contest in the description. He keeps the format simple, just like his non-contest Reels. It’s not simply a Reel that markets the contest; it provides value to his audience as well.Steal this strategy
Use Instagram reels to market your contests and giveaways.
Make your giveaway reels match the rest of your content, so it doesn’t feel out of place.
Incorporate value beyond the contest announcement in the reel to make the video more engaging.8. Make it a paid partnership
As a creator, paid partnerships are one of the best ways to make money on Instagram—and as a business, paid partnerships are a great method for expanding your target audience and getting some major street cred.
Do your research into creators or influencers that can help market your contest (and naturally, your business’s product) to find the perfect fit.
Partner with a trusted creator who has an impressive portfolio for the best results—for example, the adorable visuals in the paid partnership contest below.Steal this strategy
If you’re a business running an Instagram contest, do your research into creators that may be able to help you promote it.
Once you’ve found the perfect creator, work with them to develop the contest content (and pay them for their work).
Make sure to mark all posts as a paid partnership, or risk Instagram removing the posts or flagging your account.9. Host a photo contest
Photo contest have been around since the dawn of—well—cameras, and they’re a helpful strategy for connecting with artists and getting some awesome user-generated content.
Contests like these are also a great way to collect testimonials. You can ask users to share their favorite personal stories surrounding the brand, product, or ones that relate to your page’s ethos. The choice is yours, just make sure it’s made clear in the rules that you have the right to repost any of the entries.Steal this strategy
When hosting a photo contest, make sure you have the resources and time to judge it.
Consider using the photo entries as user-generated content (with the photographer’s permission, of course).
Include in the rules that you have the right to repost any entries.10. Make your own giveaway hashtag
Hashtags make for a great way to host giveaways. Like a user-generated content contest, hashtag giveaways require entrants to post to their page or stories under a specific hashtag (you determine what that is yourself).
Ideally, what you’ll end up with is a hashtag with sizeable traffic. This format does not just allow you to easily keep track of entries. It also drives engagement with a specific hashtag, which the algorithm tends to take note of. A well-performing hashtag will drive traffic back to your Instagram post and your page.
Make sure to pick a hashtag that is unique enough that no one else is using it… for example, #goatsarefamily.Steal this strategy
Choose a hashtag that your audience can use to enter your contest.
Make sure the hashtag is creative and that you’re the only one using it.
Track how popular the hashtag is, and how many entries you’re getting, to determine the success of the contest.11. Share the winner
Of course, ask the winner’s permission before you do this, and don’t give out any of their personal information. But sharing the winner helps prove your authenticity to users (and might inspire them to enter your next contest).Steal this strategy
Once you’ve picked a winner of your giveaway, ask the person if their first name or Instagram handle can be shared online.
Share the winner’s name to confirm to your audience that you’re legit, and to encourage them to enter again.
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Although it may sound cliché, Realme is trying to redefine the mid-range phone market with the X2 Pro, offering an unprecedented level of performance that will only be surpassed by much more expensive handsets. We especially like the variety of models and configurations to choose from, something which means you can get a 90Hz screen for under £400. For this and many other reasons which are outlined below, this phone is easy to recommend.
Although the initial lineup of Realme phones in Europe is somewhat limited (they can be counted on the fingers of one hand), the brand’s reputation and popularity has grown relatively quickly.
The Realme X2 Pro is the company’s most expensive model, but it is still among the most competitively priced phones at under £400. Also check out the Realme X50 Pro 5G.
In return you get the latest Snapdragon 855+ processor from Qualcomm, which reaches a clock speed of 2.96 Ghz and so will be free from any performance issues whatsoever. Let’s run through the different models and pricing.Pricing and availability
The Realme X2 Pro is aiming to be the brand’s flagship model, combining speed, power and performance whilst maintaining a design that you typically only find in premium smartphones.
Realme has positioned the X2 Pro at a very interesting price point, and it comes in two different finishes – Neptune Blue and Lunar White. We tested the latter, which is particularly striking as the tones changes as they reflect the light.
We like the fact that there’s a variety of configurations to choose from, with Realme allowing you to choose between three different combinations of RAM and storage.
This is, of course, reflected in the price. The phone starts at £399 (€399) for 6GB/64GB, with another 8GB/128GB model and the maxed-out version we tried, which gets you 12GB/256GB for £499(€499).
Unfortunately, the only place we could find to buy the phone in the UK is Clove Technology, where you’ll pay £539.99 for the 8GB/128GB version. However, it might be worth importing from Spain, where you can pick it up the highest-specced model for just €449 on Amazon.
When you buy the phone, there are also additional discounts on some accessories, including two generations of wireless earbuds and a more robust cover to add to the one already in the box. Head to the Realme website to see the full range.
Nonetheless, it faces strong competition from the best mid-range phones on the market.Design and build
During its unveiling in Madrid, which we had the opportunity to attend, the company compared the X2 Pro to the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 and Xiaomi’s Mi 9T Pro, specifically in the areas of photography, battery life, charging speeds and screen quality.
If you’d like, you can read our in-depth reviews of the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 and the Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro.
There are plenty of notable design choices with the X2 Pro. Aesthetically we can’t ignore the generous 6.5in screen, but this shouldn’t make the phone unmanageable for most people. However, at 199g it is among the heaviest phones of 2023.
It differs slightly from other Realme phones on the back, with the quad camera setup moved to the centre of the phone as opposed to one side. The four lenses are aligned in a vertical row, although the camera module does protrude slightly from the back of the device. This can easily be fixed by applying the included silicone case.
The phone is a notorious fingerprint magnet, although the effects less noticeable on the lunar white model. The screen also suffers from smudges, but they are only visible when the screen is off. There is a teardrop notch here to house the 16Mp selfie camera, alongside an in-screen fingerprint scanner.
The glass back blends seamlessly into the curved edges of the device, which help with gripping the device when case-free.
It’s worth mentioning here that we were pleasantly surprised by the responsiveness of the device, as well as its strong performance in benchmark tests.90Hz screen
At 6.5in, the X2 Pro adds just 0.1 in to the screen size of the regular X2, coming in with a 2400×1080 OLED panel. However, the most surprising thing here is the 90Hz refresh rate, something which is very surprising to see on a phone at this price point. Realme has likely been inspired by its successful implementation on the OnePlus 7T and 7T Pro.
Additionally, a maximum brightness of 480 nits means that outdoor visibility should be fine, even in direct sunlight. This should also help people who suffer with chronic tiredness or eye conditions such as presbyopia, as it makes reading on the phone easier.
The higher refresh rate can be toggled in settings, and makes a surprising difference when playing intense games or certain videos. However, it’s worth remembering that the 20:9 aspect ratio will leave black bars at either end of regular video, which is produced in a 16:9 format.
There are also options in settings to activate a blue light filter to combat visual fatigue. This is in addition to changing font sizes and customising the display to suit your tastes.
In everyday usage, you will notice the fast and smooth performance throughout the user interface, and there’s no latency even when multitasking or playing graphic-intensive games. Having 12GB of RAM definitely helps in this regard.Performance
In terms of performance, the X2 Pro comes with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855 Plus, its flagship processor for 2023. Combined with an Adreno 640 GPU, graphics performance is similarly impressive.
Qualcomm say this chipset is suitable for elite level gaming, so it should be able to compete with some of the best gaming phones on the market. The phone has some features perfect for mobile gaming, such as specific vibrations and excellent haptic feedback.
It offers a number of other useful tools, including the ability to respond to messages without leaving the game and easy screen capture and recording tools at your fingertips.
The UFS 3.0 memory storage also ensures data transfer speeds are among the best out there.
This stellar performance is exemplified in the chart below, where it is compared to some similarly priced handsets. These even include major players like OnePlus and Google.Cameras
The four rear camera setup is headline by a primary 64Mp sensor. Raw files shot with this lens will be in a stunning 9280×6944 resolution, meaning you could print a 3.6m poster without losing resolution.
A second 13Mp telephoto lens provides 2x optical zoom, which can be extended to 20x with the help of software. We loved the UI in the camera app, which allowed us to quickly switch between modes at the touch of a button.
2x optical zoom is the standard so it’s nice to see that here, but we would recommend using the 20x hybrid zoom sparingly as sharpness can quickly be lost.
The third sensor, an 8Mp wide-angle, extended the field of view to 115 degrees, while the fourth and final time-of-flight (ToF) lens allows for greater depth measurements. As a result, sharpness is impressive both at the point of focus and the edges of the images.
Looking at the same image from above zoomed to 5x, the variation in brightness and colour information (known as noise) is much more noticeable.
In portrait mode, it’s nice to be able to choose how much background blur you want in your shots. You can choose anywhere between 0 and 100%, with it set to 60% by default.
There’s also some special modes available here, including Beauty, Nightscape and Chroma Boost. We were pretty impressed with the results, as they allow a lot of flexibility when shooting even before filters are applied.
The X2 Pro supports slow motion up to 960fps, and you can even use the ultra-wide camera to achieve this effect. You can get some great shots as a result, particularly with an ultra-stable mode activated.
The aforementioned Nightscape mode is quite impressive, but it can’t compete with the dedicated low light modes on the likes of the iPhone 11 Pro or Google Pixel 4.Battery and fast charging
In order to compensate for the 90Hz display on the X2 Pro, Realme has included a large 4000mAh battery.
However, the more surprising thing here is the included Super VOOC Flash Charge, which supports an incredible 50W. This technology is known for its use in Oppo phones, where it has had great success.
The X2 Pro charged unlike anything we’ve seen before, reaching a full 100% in just 30 minutes. We can confidently say it’s the fastest charging we’ve ever tested on a phone, and should be a key factor in the decision over whether to purchase this phone.
What’s more, the X2 Pro includes a new heat dissipation process that allows it to cope with any significant temperature rises. A gel helps spread heat across the whole device, ensuring no one component will overheat as a result. This should help it cope with more intensive graphical processes, as well as the staggering new charging standard.
The battery itself lasted 8 hours and 37 minutes in our testing, meaning it should be able to comfortably exceed a day’s usage for most people. This is a similar result to the Redmi Note 8T, but significantly less than the incredible 13 hours and 13 minutes we recorded on the Xiaomi Mi Note 10.Android Pie with ColorOS 6.1
ColorOS also has better optimisation for bezel-less screens, with easy access to the most popular functions and an improved notification bar that can be customised, depending on the style of display cut-out.
The aforementioned Hyper Boost allows you to easily switch between high performance and power-saving modes as it adapts to your own usage patterns.
The game assistant mode allows you to simplify managing notifications and creates easy shortcuts to the most common functions while gaming.
The Oppo Reno 10x Zoom was one of the first phones to come with this new version of ColorOS 6, and you can read our review of that phone here for a more in-depth look at the new software.Verdict
The Realme X2 Pro has plenty of notable strengths, and the fact so many of premium features are being offered at this price point makes it easy to recommend.
We can’t think of any other phone which is offering a 90Hz display at this price point, not to mention the ultra-fast charge which will give you nearly 100% battery in the time it takes to have a shower or eat lunch.
It is worth mentioning some of the deficiencies with the X2 Pro, including the absence of an official IP rating for water and dust resistance, and no support for wireless charging. However, you can quickly forget about the latter when the wired charging is so impressive.
The quadruple rear camera system does not disappoint, producing photos with great sharpness and vivid colours that stand out. It has everything and more that most people are looking for in a phone, including great cameras, superb gaming performance and super-fast charging.
We are extremely satisfied with the end result, even if there is room for improvement in some aesthetic and design aspects. At 199g, we hope the next device is just a little more lightweight too.
Note: This story was originally published in Spanish on our sister site, PC World Spain.Related stories for further reading Specs Realme X2 Pro: Specs
Connectivity: Wi-Fi 5, Bluetooth 5.0, USB-C, NFC, 3.5mm headphone jack, dual stereo speakers
Main cameras: Quad sensor w/ 64MP (main), 13MP (tele), 8MP (wide), 2MP (depth)
Display: 6.5in 90Hz Super AMOLED Full HD+ (2400×1080) screen
Storage: 64GB (UFS 2.1)/128GB (UFS 3.0)/256GB (UFS 3.0)
Battery: 4000mAh w/ 50W SuperVOOC fast charging
Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 855+
Colours: Neptune Blue, Lunar White
OS: Android 9 Pie w/ ColorOS 6.1
Dimensions: 161 x 75.7 x 8.7mm
Front camera: 16MP
Weight: 199 grams
This story has been updated. It was originally published on September 27, 2023.
If you want to navigate your smartphone at top speed, single-finger tapping just won’t cut it. As device manufacturers ditch physical buttons for huge, bezel-free screens, specific hand gestures have become vital shortcuts for powering through emails, notifications, maps, and more.
But how can you tell when to make specific motions? The correct swipe isn’t always obvious (especially if you’ve recently upgraded your years-old iPhone to one without a Home button or swapped iOS for Android). Here are the gestures you should add to your repertoire.Useful iPhone gestures Hide the keyboard Go back (and forward)
Certain iOS apps, such as Safari and Messages, offer a back button somewhere on the left side of the interface. Instead of hunting for it, you can use a gesture to return to the previous screen: swipe right from the very left edge of the display. To go forward again, swipe left from the very right edge of the screen. This should work in most, but not all, apps.See message times
Messages doesn’t automatically display the arrival time of every response. A gesture can change that. While viewing a conversation thread, swipe left on the screen without lifting your finger, and the exact timing of each message will appear on the right.
Get the time stamp for any message in iOS messages with a simple gesture. David NieldZoom into maps
When you want to examine details on a map, you have a few different options. The traditional pinch-to-zoom gesture works, but depending on how you hold your phone and whether you have both hands free, this can be tough to pull off without bobbling your handset. For an easier option, in Apple Maps, double-tap to zoom in and double-tap with two fingers to zoom out. If you prefer Google Maps, double-tap and hold on the map with one finger, then move that digit up to zoom out or down to zoom in.
[Related: 14 tricks to get more out of the underrated Apple Maps app]Delete digits on the calculator
In the iOS Calculator app, you can remove one digit at a time by swiping either left or right on the main number display at the top. For example, if you’ve typed “8011” when you wanted to enter “801,” swipe left or right on that 8011 to erase the final 1. Then carry on with your calculation.
You just can’t undo a digit deletion by swiping the other direction David NieldSelect multiple photos
When you use the Photos app for iOS, you normally select multiple photos by hitting Select and tapping each image you want to highlight. For a faster process, tap Select and then swipe across the photos you want to choose. This action will select everything between the first and last images you touch—not each individual one you run your finger across.Save email drafts
You’re composing a missive in Mail when a new message arrives in your inbox. To check the incoming email without losing your work, just swipe down on your draft. This will stash it in a minimized New Message window at the bottom of the screen, with your inbox visible above. Once you’re ready to finish writing, tap the shrunken draft to pull it back up.Speed-sort emails
If you don’t want the left swipe to flag an email, you can customize it to do something else. David Nield
To keep Messages tidy, swipe left on any conversation. This will bring up two options: mute alerts for that thread or delete it entirely.Power through notifications
Many notifications appear as banners on the lock screen and in the Notification Center. Swipe right on one of these to open it in the relevant app. If you’d rather get rid of it, swipe left. Once you do this, you can dismiss the notification by tapping Clear, or mute that type of alert by tapping Manage.
[Related: It’s time to turn off some notifications]Open the Control Center
The iOS Control Center includes shortcuts for many iPhone settings, including rotation lock and Do Not Disturb. To easily pull it up on screen, swipe down from the top right corner of the display up from the bottom of the display on the iPhone X or later, or up from the bottom of the screen on other phones.
The iPhone’s Control Center is a great place to stash apps and tools you need frequently. David NieldRun a search
To look up anything—whether that’s a contact stored on your iPhone or a Wikipedia article on the web—place your finger in the middle of the home screen and then swipe down. This will bring up a comprehensive search option.Reach the top of the screen Newer iPhone gestures
In 2023, Apple removed the Home button from the iPhone X, and newer models come with reconfigured gestures. The following motions will work only on iPhones without a Home button.Unlock and go home
No home button, no problem—look at your screen and swipe up from the bottom to unlock your phone via passcode or Face ID. When your phone is open and you’re using any app, that swiping-up gesture will return you to the home screen.View recent apps
You can check out recently-used apps on an iOS multitasking screen. To get there, swipe up from the bottom to the center of the screen and hold your finger in place to bring up a carousel of open apps. You can also switch from one recent app to another by swiping right along the very bottom of the screen.
We won’t judge how many apps you have open. David NieldUseful gestures on Android phones Jump to Quick Settings
When you swipe down from the top of an Android’s screen, notifications will pop up. Perform the same downward swipe a second time, and you’ll see the Quick Settings pane, which will allow you to quickly access Bluetooth, Airplane Mode, and other settings. If you want to go straight to Quick Settings without viewing notifications first, swipe down from the top of the display with two fingers instead of one.
[Related: 24 hidden Android settings you should know about]View open Google Chrome tabs
Speaking of swiping down, when you perform that single-finger gesture on the address bar in the Google Chrome browser, it will pull up all of your open tabs. Long press on a tab to select it and move it on top of another tab to group them together. Back on the address bar, swipe left or right to jump between tabs—no matter if they’re grouped or not.Zip through notifications
When notifications appear on the lock screen, you can tap each one to open it. Or, to quickly sort through a long list, do a hard swipe left or right to dismiss individual alerts. If you do a slow swipe left or right, you’ll reveal two icons: Tap the clock to snooze the alert or the cog to change the notification settings for that particular app. To really cut down on the number of notifications you receive, do a long press on an alert you don’t care about. This will hide that app’s notifications in the future.
Snooze those notifications you don’t want to deal with just yet. David NieldArchive messages
In Android’s default Messages app, you only have one swipe option, but it’s a good one: Swipe left or right on a conversation thread to quickly archive it.Deal with emails
Choose your own swipe-venture. David NieldType with one hand
The Gboard Keyboard, the default on Pixel phones and available for download on other devices, gives you an easy way to type with one hand: Press and hold the comma button, then swipe up to the icon on the left. This will open a one-handed mode with a smaller board so the letters are easier to reach. Tap the arrow on the side of the keyboard to move it from left to right and adapt it to your dominant hand.Zoom into maps with one hand
As we mentioned in the iOS section, you don’t have to settle for the usual pinch-to-zoom motion in Google Maps. If you only have one finger free, you can double-tap, hold the digit in place, and then slide it up or down to zoom in or out.
[Related: 5 uses for Google Maps beyond navigation]Swipe to uninstall
To uninstall an app on Android, you don’t need to open the Google Play store. Instead, find its shortcut in the app drawer (the master list of apps) or on the home screen. Press and hold that icon, then drag it up to the Uninstall button at the top of the screen. Tap OK to confirm you want to get rid of it.Switch between apps
To jump from your current app to the one you were using previously, swipe left or right on the pill button—the line at the bottom of your screen. This particular gesture is handy for checking details between apps. To scroll slowly between apps, swipe right on the pill button and hold your finger down. Then move that digit left or right.Put apps in split-screen mode
You can now perform this task from the recent apps screen. Slowly swipe up on the pill button, then press and hold the app icon at the top. Finally, choose Split screen. Just be aware that this option only appears if the app supports split-screen mode.New Android 10 gestures Shake for selfie mode
You can easily summon your phone’s camera by quickly double-pressing the power button. By default, the camera will open using the lenses on the back of your device, but you can activate the front camera by shaking your phone twice. The same gesture also works to go back and forth between cameras.Flip your phone to shush it
If you’re on a meeting and forgot to activate Do Not Disturb mode, you might get interrupted by your phone’s vibration and sound announcing an incoming call. Instead of unlocking it and rejecting the call in a panic, all you have to do is flip your phone screen side down to automatically silence it.Tap to check notifications
Having your screen on all of the time is a quick and sure way to drain your battery, so it’s better to have it light up only when you need it. When your phone is locked, tap on the screen once to turn on the screen to check the time or if there’s anything there worth your attention.
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Written By Jen McCaffery
Published Nov 3, 2023 5:00 PM
Indulgent gifts are exciting, but there’s just something about a gift you didn’t know you needed that now makes your life easier every day. While they may not all have wow factor, these practical picks help solve problems for everyone on your list. And many of them are designed so that your gift recipient will be proud to show them off. Here are some of our favorites that are available right now:Best for travelers: Gravel Explorer PLUS & Explorer SLIM Combo Pack Best for outdoors enthusiasts: YETI Rambler 14-ounce Mug
When you’re out camping, the last thing you want is to get fussy about your dishware. That’s why the YETI Rambler Mug is a great gift for any outdoors enthusiast. The stainless-steel Rambler doubles as a bowl, so it’s great for both coffee and chili. The mug comes with a sliding lid for reliable access, an easy-grip handle, and is available in a range of fun colors and sizes (10-ounce, 14-ounce, and 24 ounces). You can also order versions for your company, school, or get one engraved for a more personalized touch.Best for new photographers: Qubii Photo Storage Drive
That relative who never quite gets around to saving their family photos on an external drive or the cloud? Save them from oblivion by giving them the Qubii Photo Storage Drive. Compatible with Apple devices, the Qubii automatically backs up your photos, videos, and contacts while charging your phone. All they need is a USB port. It comes in versions with SanDisk microSD cards (128GB and 256GB) and solo (just add your own microSD).Best for new homeowners: Le Creuset Dutch Oven
It may not be the most comforting thought when considering a gift, but the Le Creuset Dutch Oven will likely outlive your gift recipient. There’s a reason this classic line shows up on so many registries. Made of cast iron and enamel and available in a range of rich colors and sizes (3 quarts, 5.25 quarts, and 8 quarts) the Le Creuset Dutch Oven can serve up everything from seafood stew to short ribs. This durable piece can stand up to the heat of the stove and oven and still look beautiful on the table for decades to come.Best for fitness buffs: lululemon Studio Mirror
A fitness mirror might not seem like a practical gift at first glance. But lululemon’s Studio Mirror is worth the splurge—and it’s almost half off if you use the code “LLSTUDIO700”. Unlike other home fitness equipment, this elegant brushed steel-and-glass mirror blends easily into any decor. The corresponding fitness platform (sold separately by subscription) provides a portal to more than 10,000 workouts from some of the top fitness instructors around without having to leave your home. And the 5-megapixel camera and high-fidelity surround-sound audio make workouts a truly immersive experience—no hiding in the back row. Adding to the practicality is that it’s also just a mirror for when you’re getting ready for work or a night out and want to admire the results of all that cardio, yoga, etc.Best for cleaning: Eufy Handheld Vac
Little messes have a way of materializing: dust on a bookshelf, crumbs on a car seat, spilled sugar on a kitchen counter. They don’t all warrant breaking out a super-sized vacuum, though. The Eufy Handheld Vac makes cleanup easy. The handheld device weighs just 1.2 pounds, but it comes with an impressive 5500pa of suction power, a crevice attachment for those difficult-to-reach places, and a washable filter. All you need is a USB port to charge it and it will last for 20 minutes—plenty of time to make quick work of a little mess.Best for foodies: Disco Hot Sauce
People have strong opinions about hot sauce, but a pick like this medium-hot offering by Disco can help bridge the divide. Made with all-natural ingredients—including jalapeno and habanero peppers; pineapple; cider vinegar; orange and lemon juice; brown sugar; garlic; and salt—this hot sauce is light and sweet. It pairs well with everything from eggs to wings to stir fry and cocktails. And at this price, you can stock up.Best for the absent-minded: Tile Mate Tracker
That person who’s always scrambling for their keys, phone, purse? You will greatly cut down on the wasted time spent searching with the gift of the Tile Mate Tracker. Just have them attach the Bluetooth-enabled tracker to their keychain and set up the app. Then they can use the app to make the tile ring so they can locate their device. The giftee can also use voice commands, as the Mate is also compatible with Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri. It reaches a radius of about 200 feet, but if you want more reach, you can opt for the Tile Pro for a few more dollars and up to 400 feet of range.
If you’ve got a dedicated griller in your life, you can help make the months when the Weber in the backyard is blanketed in snow a little easier to take. Place the Lekue Microwave Grill in the microwave, and its slats heats up just like a grill’s. Enjoy the taste of the grill with fish, chicken, meat, vegetables, and more. Plus, this ingenious device doubles as a panini maker. And when they’re done? The non-stick surface is easy to clean: Just toss it in the dishwasher.Best for concertgoers: Vibes High-Fidelity Earplugs
Buying surprise concert tickets for someone can get dicey—even if you know they love the artist, it’s hard to make sure their calendar is and will remain open before they get the gift. Or that they won’t just buy tix themselves. But something you can do is improve every concert experience with reusable earplugs. Low-profile, with a carrying case and multiple sizes of eartips (just like your favorite wireless earbuds), the Vibes Hi-Fidelity Earplugs use an attenuating filter in the central sound tube to reduce harmful sound levels by 22dB without muffling what is heard. This improves everything from performances to weird conversations in the bathroom line. These earplugs may only cost $30 (stash an extra pair in the car for yourself or a forgetful friend), but someone preserving their hearing is a priceless gift that keeps on giving.Best for cinephiles: ViewSonic M1 Mini Projector
That friend who always knows the best new series to stream? They’re going to love you when you make it possible for them to create a truly cinematic experience from wherever they are. The ViewSonic M1 Mini Projector packs plenty into its .6 pounds. It’s designed with a USB port that lets the user just plug in and play with a dongle or other device. It provides vivid colors and its JBL speakers ensure a quality audio experience. The battery life of up to 1.5 hours won’t get viewers through an especially long binge, but you can’t beat the portability. (Know someone really into gaming? There’s a projector just for that.)Best for people who eat at their desks: MagicFiber Extra Large Microfiber Cleaning Cloths
Honest question: How much gunk is stuck to your computer or smartphone screen right now? It’s a lot, isn’t it? That’s OK. We’re not here to judge. We can help, though. These extra-large microfiber cloths are about the size of a hand towel and can clean the crud off just about anything with a screen or lens. It may seem like a lame gift until your recipient sees their screen in brilliant, soy-sauce-speckle-free clarity. — Stan HoraczekBest for sustainability: Lifx LED Light Bulb
There are lots of smart light bulbs on the market, but the Lifx bulb simplifies the process of upgrading. They don’t require a hub like most of the other Wi-Fi bulbs, they throw out the equivalent light of a 75-watt bulb, and best of all, they work natively with all of the different smart assistants, like Google Assistant, Alexa, and Apple HomeKit. — Stan HoraczekBest for the business travelers: Polardo Travel Clothes Steamer
No matter how carefully you pack, clothes always look a little wrinkled when you take them out of the suitcase. But the Polardo Travel Clothes Steamer will keep the business traveler in your life from looking like a hot mess. Designed to work with tap water, it comes with an electronic pump system and steam channeling that let you steam at any angle without dripping water on your clothes. With 120 volts of power, the steamer heats up in less than 25 seconds and is safe on a range of fabrics, from wool and cotton to satin and embroidery and sequins. Plus, at 3.4-inches long by 7.7-inches high and weighing just over a pound, it won’t take up too much precious space in a carry-on.Best for handy people: Yala Life GeeKey Pocket Tool
Is there a person you go to when you need something fixed stat? Or maybe you do it yourself. Either way, the GeeKey Pocket Tool incorporates the functionality a handy person needs in a durable, stainless steel unit that’s designed to be attached to a keychain. Multiple screwdriver and open and closed wrench capabilities can handle an array of quick projects, while the protractor makes sure you get them precisely right. And the can and bottle opener will always come in handy.Best for home office: Anker 10-Port USB Data Hub
Computers are getting slimmer, but that means they’re also getting stingier with their USB ports. This 10-port dock has seven high-speed USB-3 data and charging ports, as well as three high-power 2.1 Amp charging-specific ports for faster top-offs. Not bad for a device the size of a candy bar. Note: Actual candy bars also make good gifts, but they’re not very practical. — Stan Horaczek
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