Geek

  • RepairLabs Tests Liquipel's Watersafe Treatment

    Curtis Taylor Curtis Taylor
    Posted on January 17, 2014

    RepairLabs, Water Damage, and Liquipel!

    Here at RepairLabs, we deal with water damaged smart phones and tablets on a daily basis, and get asked quite often by the poor victims of water damage what they can do to help protect their phone. Besides the obvious advice to not get your phone wet, there really isn't much we can offer them in the way of protecting it after we've gone in and fixed it.

    With that in mind, we were approached by Liquipel not too long ago after doing our Guide to Dealing with a Water Damaged Phone. Liquipel was interested in showcasing their product to us, so that we could do some unbiased testing on the effectiveness of their coating, and to be able to effectively tell if it is indeed a good investment for those of you who are prone to soaking your favorite portable device. To help keep the testing relevant to most readers, we sent Liquipel one of the most common devices on the market, the iPhone 4.

    First off, to talk about the process as a whole, we'd just like to state that the folks at Liquipel have been great to work with, always being prompt in response to any questions we've had about the process, and having a quick turnaround rate for a primarily mail-in based company. (which we know a little something about!)

    The Liquipel-Coated iPhone Returns

    Upon getting the iPhone 4 back from Liquipel, we were greeted by this awesome Liquipel tin case. From there the experience only got better, with there being a large foam cover directly below the top of the case.

     

    Liquipel Shipping Case

    Underneath that, the phone was stored in a little shipping bag and encased in foam, making sure that your precious device doesn't get damaged during the return shipping. Nice touch, Liquipel!

    As for the iPhone 4 itself, you can see that it came back a bit dirty, but other than that, in perfect working condition!

    Liquipel vs. Pool Water

    A little bit of information on the Liquipel process: Liquipel is a nano coating that surrounds all the tiny little electrical parts in and around your device. It’s completely invisible to the human eye and will not void your warranty. While we can’t say your device is waterproof, we can proudly stand by our hydrophobic technology and say it’s great for accidental occurrences.

    Both us here at RepairLabs and Liquipel agreed that we should keep the testing simple to help avoid any confusions on what the Liquipel coating actually protects you from, so with that in mind, we agreed upon a test that involved three inches of pool water, which is a combination of chlorine and typical tap water, with the Liquipel-coated iPhone 4 and the uncoated iPhone 4 going in horizontally for 60 seconds, then removed and sat out to dry for a full 24 hours before opening the phones up.

    As you'd expect from testing as simple as this, the testing went perfectly, with both iPhones getting a nice soak in the pool water for an entire minute before being removed. After we removed them from the water, we sat them aside on a microfiber cloth to air dry without being touched for the next 24 hours.

    24 Hours Later

    After sitting out for the next 24 hours, we carefully removed the back covers from both iPhones, and were greeted with not-so-surprising results. Liquipel claims that their coating will protect you from your average accident involving liquids, not a coating that would survive a couple days in the Ocean, and the results show just that, with the Liquipel-coated phone being completely dry.

    Both phones side-by-side show very different results, with the uncoated phone still having expected water residue on the battery, even though the outside of the phone has almost completely dried-up, whereas the Liquipel phone looked as if it hadn't even been in the water at all.

    What does all this mean for you, the consumer? It means that if you're accident prone around water, Liquipel is not just a worthy investment, but an investment that we here at RepairLabs absolutely recommend!

    You're not paying for a super-fancy coating, (well you are) you're paying for the peace-of-mind in knowing that your phone can withstand just a little bit more punishment from you before it croaks. And if you have a device that has already taken a spill, call the experts here at RepairLabs, we'll get you fixed up and running like new in no time.

    Note that both RepairLabs and Liquipel do not recommend getting your device wet on purpose, and that the Liquipel Watersafe Treatment is only meant for accidental exposure.

    We'd like to thank Liquipel for working with us on this article, and hope that you've found the information presented helpful in making an informed-decision on whether Liquipel is a good investment for you.

    This post was posted in Tech, Geek, What We Do, iPhone and was tagged with iphone 4, iphone 4 water treatment, liquipel, geek, what we do, repairlabs, Tech

  • Common Phone Etiquette Around The World

    Curtis Taylor Curtis Taylor
    Posted on August 12, 2013

    What Is 'Proper' Phone Etiquette?

    Be honest, how many times have you taken your phone into the bathroom with you, whether to check your email, play Candy Crush, or do something else. We’ve all done it, and it’s not a big deal for the most part, but one of the unspoken rules of phone etiquette is that you don’t take an important call while you’re on the toilet – it’s only common courtesy.

    Knowing that this is common knowledge here in the United States, we here at RepairLabs became curious on what the spoken and unspoken rules of phone courtesy and etiquette were in other countries. Initially we were thinking small, such as Canada and Mexico, but then we realized that we had the opportunity to learn about the culture of so many other great countries that we had to be as diverse as possible.

    With that said, we set out to learn all we could about countries that have had cell phones since the beginning, such as China, Japan, Italy, France, and the United Kingdom, while also looking at countries that are newer to the whole cell phone shtick; Brazil, Egypt, India, Russia, and Thailand. We gathered so much great information in fact, that we decided we should put together an infographic to help the information be more easily digested!

    Click the image below to open the Infographic! 

    Phone Etiquette Infographic by RepairLabs

    A common trend seen across almost all countries, including the U.S., that have had cell phones for quite a while is that we have unspoken understandings when it comes to when it is polite and not polite to talk on our mobile device. Some of the most common places that we understand it’s rude to talk on our cell phone include at a restaurant, the movies or a play, and most definitely during a meeting or interview!

    We also have a much larger attraction to texting over talking on the phone, not only is it more convenient, it’s also silent, for the most part. If you were to go to any of the countries that are newer to the cell phone market, it’s not uncommon to see people talking on their phones pretty much anywhere they want, while also usually having no thought towards their volume level in public. This isn’t to say that the people in these countries are rude or thoughtless; it’s simply that they haven’t been trained properly in the ways of cell phone etiquette, yet.

    Phone Etiquette, And Where We All Currently Stand

    Not all countries are the same when it comes to the proper etiquette of when and how to use a phone. Though it’s considered rude in the U.S. or U.K to answer your phone during a face-to-face conversation with somebody else, in certain parts of the world it’s considered rude not to answer your phone, no matter what you’re doing, there is also no guarantee that if you ignore it, the person won’t just keep calling.

    And while no country is perfect when it comes to phone etiquette, we could all learn something from each other. It’s completely common in Egypt to exchange pleasantries over the phone for up to five minutes before beginning the actual conversation, even if talking to a complete stranger. While five minutes may be a bit excessive it does go to show that we all have room to grow when it comes to being polite and respectful.

    Even through all of our research on phone etiquette, we didn't find a single country that finds it acceptable to take an important call on the toilet. This journey taught us all a lot about common phone etiquette in many different countries, but proved that no matter where you are, dropping a log and speaking to your boss at the same time is a no-go!

    We may be considered more polite than some when it comes to our usages of our cell phones, but on the phone we can be some of the most inconsiderate people. With room for all of us to expand and grow, this infographic will, hopefully, be the first step towards a more connected and unified cellular Phone world.

    This post was posted in Tech, Geek, iPhone and was tagged with phone etiquette, proper phone etiquette, repairlabs

  • A Guide To Dealing With A Water Damaged Phone

    Curtis Taylor Curtis Taylor
    Posted on August 5, 2013

    And Other Myths Associated With Water Damage

    We here at RepairLabs spend a lot of time fixing water damaged devices. Now, most of the time, these devices require our specially-designed RepairLabs' Cleaning Process to get back into working order, still we decided it was time to answer the question we get asked all the time: “I got my phone wet, what can I do to fix it?

    To do this test properly, we had to document each step of the process so that you guys can see exactly why one option is better than another. The most common thing people do when they get their device wet, is stick it in rice... That’s the worst thing you can do. Yes, rice will eventually absorb the water, what it will also do is cause massive corrosion build-up inside your device, which is the reason it isn’t working in the first place.

    Rice has always been considered by many to be the top option for drying out a water damaged device, but the truth is that rice doesn’t absorb liquid out of your device very well, increasing the risk of a part shorting out inside the phone due to water, and an increased build-up of corrosion from the chlorine in the water.

    What’s Up With Corrosion?

    Though the general idea behind corrosion is that it makes your phone go from working to not working, which is true, but there is more to it than that. It’s time for a RepairLabs’ Super Awesome Scientific Moment!!

    Corrosion is the result of an undisturbed chlorinated-liquid sitting inside your device for an extended period of time. What this chlorine does is cause corrosion, which eats away lead-free solder, causing your device to have cold joints which is a bad connection between two connectors where the solder use to be. Another issue with corrosion is that it’s conductive, which can cause parts inside your device to short out, such as the battery and LCD, etc...

    Any website or person that has told you to stick your phone in rice after suffering water damage is setting you up for failure. Luckily your friends at RepairLabs are here to help you get things back in working order.

    Getting Our Hands Wet With Water Damage

    We used the five most common drying methods, which are; rice, an alcohol bath, desiccant crystals, a blow dryer, and running a device through RepairLabs' own Cleaning Process. For the sake of consistency, we used five iPhones that have been submerged in a bucket full of pool water, which consists of water and chlorine, since the water will be more corrosive than tap water, but not quite as bad as salt water.

    Each device was submerged for five minutes, removed from the water and shaken out, then put into whatever water drying method it was selected for. After their allotted time, they were all removed and disassembled to get pictures of the rust accumulation inside and the corrosion build up on the LCD connection.

    Desiccant Crystals (48hrs) – The trusty 48 hour emergency water kit. All these are is a little bag full of desiccant crystals, which are used to absorb moisture. We followed the directions on the packaging to the letter, getting the phone into the bag as quickly as possible and then sealing it for 48 hours before re-opening it.

    Results – The rust build-up was pretty severe on the screws inside the phone, along with most of the back housing and metal internal components. There was also a bit of moisture still on the battery, leaving it moist in areas.

    The LCD connection was surprisingly relatively clean of any corrosion, raising the chances that we would be able to fix this particular phone.

    Alcohol (24hrs) – Considered by some our Certified Technicians to be the best way to save your phone after a dip in some liquid. The alcohol will help break down the water while working as a non-conductive liquid to keep your device from shorting out. Note that five to ten minutes is all that is needed in the alcohol. We let it sit in the alcohol for five minutes before removing the phone and letting it air dry for another 24 hours.

    Interesting to see that the phone worked the moment we put it in the alcohol, even after sitting in the pool water for five whole minutes.

    Results – Not nearly as much rust inside the phone as the crystal phone. The screws are rusted and of course the water sensor has been tripped on the phone, which is a given. There is no standing water on the battery or within the device itself, being completely dry, but you can clearly see the water damage to the battery.

    Underneath the cables is the LCD connection, which is almost spotless except for the bit of corrosion on the connector itself, you can tell the corrosion by its teal color.

    Blow Dryer (48hrs) – This is probably your second best bet when it comes to getting your phone working again after dropping it in water. Using a blow dryer on low heat and low speed will gently push the water molecules out of the phone from the open areas. Do this for roughly five minutes, and you’ve raised the chances of getting your phone back in working condition exponentially. After blow drying it, we let it sit for an additional 48 hours to let it completely dry out.

    We used the blow dryer for five minutes on the phone, constantly turning and flipping the phone to help evaporate as much water as we could.

    Results – Similar results to that of the alcohol bath phone. There is minor rust damage inside the phone besides the screws. Again the battery is pretty thrashed, which is why we call it water damage.

    Not surprising, since the rest of the internals look similar, the LCD connection is roughly the same as well (in comparison to the alcohol phone), with there only being minor corrosion damage on the connector cable itself.

    RepairLabs’ Cleaning Process (24hrs) – The idea here is to let the phone sit powered down for 24 hours, the average amount of time a water damaged phone sits before it is normally taken/shipped to a repair center for water damage repairs. After 24 hours, we ran the phone through our RepairLabs’ Cleaning Process to break away the corrosion.

    Results – After getting the 24 hour treatment, this phone was torn apart and cleaned of all corrosion, and the results are pretty amazing, with the phone showing next to no signs of water damage after having been submerged in pool water for five minutes.

    The LCD connection is spotless, with not an ounce of corrosion to be found.

    Rice (72hrs) – The most misleading myth when it comes to phone repair probably ever. Putting your phone in rice is a terrible idea. The moisture absorbed is minimal at best compared to the amount of corrosion you will build in return. We let the iPhone sit inside a full bag of rice for 72 hours before opening it to check for corrosion.

    Results – Wow... There really is not a better word to explain the phone after sitting in the rice for three whole days. The rust build-up is intense and there is still water on the battery itself, leading me to conclusion that the rice did an absolutely porous job of absorbing the water. In the battle between rice and water damage, water damage won hands down!

    Gross, that corrosion means this phone is basically shot. Yes, it could be put through our water damage cleaning process, but there is no guarantee this phone could be saved with this much damage to the internals.

    For reference, this is what an iPhone looks like after getting wet in pool water and sitting for eight whole days. The corrosion inside is so bad that this phone has probably seen its last days. Though we clean all phones that come through, not every phone can be saved.

    Conclusion

    The results speak for themselves. If there is no way for you to get your phone to us right away, either put your phone in a quick alcohol bath or run a blow dryer over it on low for a bit. The 48 hour emergency kits aren’t a bad idea if you’re out and about when this happens, but the two previously stated methods are cheaper and you normally have both in-house.

    Putting your phone in rice doesn’t help, so don’t bother. The standing water on the battery and corrosion build-up makes it pretty clear that you’re much better off doing something else with your phone if you get it wet.

    We personally recommend the blow dryer or alcohol, whichever is more convenient for you, but the reality of the situation is that choosing a repair center to handle repairing your water damaged device is your absolute best option!

    This post was posted in Geek, How To, What We Do, iPhone and was tagged with water damage 101, how to repair water damage, water damage repair, water damage, geek, what we do, repairlabs, iPhone

  • Why Your Cell Phone Loses Signal

    Curtis Taylor Curtis Taylor
    Posted on July 31, 2013

    Why Is There No Signal Bars On My Phone? Where Have They Gone?

    How many times have you been in the worst situation possible, and your cell phone doesn’t have a single bar of reception. It seems like we lose signal entirely at the worst times possible. Though we here at RepairLabs can’t magically help you get bars when there are none to be had – we can help you understand why you have none, and what you can do to help improve signal.

    With our super awesome interactive infographic detailing how cell phones work, and why we lose reception, you will have the tools necessary to conquer the world of mobile communication, at least as well as we possibly can.

    What Makes A Cell Phone Work & Why You Lose Signal

    Before we could explain why the cell phone loses signal, we first had to figure out what exactly makes your cell phone work in the first place. We all know the general gist of it -- your cell phone sends a signal to a tower and then to whoever you're calling, but there is a lot more that goes into it, and we were able to gather all this data so you don't have to!

    You may hear lots of big terms and fancy words thrown around when talking to know-it-all’s about why your phone drops your call. Luckily we understand your frustration and are here to break it down into digestible bits for you.

    Upon further testing and research, we've found out several extremely interesting facts about why your phone loses signal, including what materials cause the signal to be dampened, and which cause a cutoff completely.

    Having figured out what is causing the signal to be lost, we were able to compile a few simple tips that can help you retrieve some of that lost reception when you need it most, and no, sitting there yelling at the top of your lungs will not help your phone get signal back.

    Please click the image below to open up the full, interactive infographic! 

    RepairLabs Infographic: Why does my cell phone lose signal, and how does it work?

     

    Whether you are simply curious, or are furious with your cell phone for not obeying your every command, there’s something we can all learn from the information gathered, mostly being that our phones are unreliable at best.

    This post was posted in Tech, Geek and was tagged with how cell phones work, loses reception, loses signal, how it works, reception, signal, cell phone signal, why your cell phone loses signal, repairlabs

  • RepairLabs Makes iPhone 5 Screen Repair Affordable For All

    Curtis Taylor Curtis Taylor
    Posted on June 14, 2013

    Where the Phone Repair Industry Is

    RepairLabs Talking Media Heads About Repairs

    Those quotes above are from some of the most well-respected technical news sites around today. What they were saying was true, but it’s not anymore. With costs for iPhone 5 glass replacements ranging anywhere from $199 for a cheap repair to over $300 for a repair by a quality, trusted repair shop – the idea of fixing a broken iPhone 5 was ludicrous.

    What does MarketWatch, BGR and Geek all have in common? They all agree that the cost of parts is why the iPhone 5 costs so much to get it fixed. It’s quite simple really; the OEM screens are sold at a premium, with the number available being low, which causes the repair shops to drive the price up to actually make any profit.

    Almost one out of every three iPhone users will damage their phone this year... You read that right, think of how many people you know that have an iPhone. It’s an epidemic, and Repair Shops are beginning to refuse iPhone 5’s for repair because they’re not profitable for them.

    What is the point of dropping that much money, when you could go out and practically buy a replacement phone for that? In the ideal world, you could have your cake, and eat it too, but that’s not the case, until now.

    Is The Price Right For Repairs?

    Look around the web; you’ll still see prices varying wildly, with a lot of the cheaper options being from repair shops that don’t have a solid, credible reputation. The cheapest option available to the public right now is through Apple themselves, who recently announced that they will be repairing iPhone 5 glass for $150 per unit, which is substantially less than the 3rd party shops.

    The problem with going through Apple is the hassle of finding an Apple Store, scheduling an appointment to get the phone in, and then having to wait even longer while they do a full system quality check before fixing the screen. Is the price great? Sure, but it doesn’t make it any more convenient.

    Try, Try, Again

    Seeing how the Industry was taking such a large hit from the cost of parts with this new generation of phones, the Research and Development Department here at RepairLabs began work on a new, revolutionary process that would completely change the repair business as we know it. To this point, they’ve put over 100 hours into this new process.

    RepairLabs Top Secret Work

    Most companies are willing to stand idly by and only replace a handful of iPhone 5 screens each month because of the cost of the parts alone, but we weren’t satisfied with just replacing the part at a huge premium to the customer. Instead, we took the time to learn the ins and outs of the iPhone 5, what makes it such an expensive device to repair, what the common issues were, and how we could work to bring the best service available to you at a more manageable price.

    Where We Are Now

    It’s with great joy that I bring to you today the news that not only has our R&D Department figured out what is needed to fix the iPhone 5 instead of replace the broken screen, but also a way to do it at a price that our competitors just cannot match.

    With our new specially designed RepairLabs process, we’re able to fix your iPhone 5 glass for a fraction of the cost of our competitors, while bringing you the highest quality repair possible, which is what RepairLabs has always been known for.

    Our process we call the RepairLabs Ecto-Dynamic System makes it possible for us to bring you iPhone 5 glass repairs for $139, with quality that will rival any Companies replacement screens or repairs.

    This post was posted in Geek, What We Do, iPhone and was tagged with marketwatch, geek, bgr, iphone 5 glass repair, glass, 139 glass repair, ecto-dynamic system, replace, iphone 5 screen replace, iphone 5 screen repair, what we do, repairlabs, screen, repair, iPhone 5

  • Xbox One - The Next Big Thing?

    Curtis Taylor Curtis Taylor
    Posted on May 21, 2013

    What is the Xbox One?

    Well the Xbox launch event has come and gone. We here at RepairLabs got to admit, we were pleasantly surprised. For the past month, everybody has been throwing around rumors and speculation, and frankly, I’ve been a bit underwhelmed by the whole process. As much as I love my Xbox 360, my PlayStation 3 has received quite a bit more playtime. Not only because it has a Blu-Ray drive and a lot more quality exclusive titles, but also because it supports 7.1 HD Audio and is free to use online, plus we won't even get into the Red Ring of Death.

    When the Xbox launch started up, and Microsoft came out instantly talking about, and showcasing the console, I became extremely interested. First thing’s first, the name of the new Xbox is the Xbox One... I find it a bit confusing and even contradicting. It is, after all, the third Xbox console, but I understand what they’re going for – one console to rule them all! Anyways, from a design perspective, the new console is really going for that HTPC look, which I really dig. Nice clean lines and the look of a glossy and matte black body. Now if it’s made from aluminum, or some form of light metal, I will be completely sold on the design.

    RepairLabs - Xbox One First Look

    With no word on pricing or release date, (Coming Later This Year) the specs are really the biggest thing we have to go off of. Looking at them, I can tell that Microsoft wants to compete with Sony, and the pieces are in place to do so – I’m just not sure if going with DDR3 memory was the best course of action. If you recall, I did a piece awhile back on the differences between GDD3 and GDDR5, and why it’s a worthy investment for console developers.

    What it may lack in processing bandwidth via the memory, it will more than make up for with its eight-core CPU – twice as many as what’s in the PlayStation 4. The inclusion of a Blu-Ray Drive, HDMI Out AND In, as well voice and gesture controls made possible by the brand-new Kinect Sensor, and USB 3.0, 4K Video, and Cloud-Based support, Microsoft is really building the Xbox One with the future in mind. At this time, there aren’t many games or tech that can fully utilize eight-cores or 4K video, but when they become industry standards somewhere down the road, the Xbox One will be ready to go, instead of falling behind the times like the Xbox 360 with its measly 512mb of RAM.

     

    Xbox One Specifications

    • 8 GB of RAM DDR3
    • 8 Core CPU
    • Blu Ray Drive
    • HDMI In/Out
    • Voice and Gesture Controls
    • Kinect Included
    • 500GB HDD
    • Cloud Based For Saves And Media
    • USB 3.0 Support
    • 4k Video Support
    • 7.1 Audio Support

     

    Xbox One Specifications

    Xbox One and the Kinect

    Sadly the event lacked much in the way of gameplay for upcoming titles. It did, however give us a rather in-depth look at the new Kinect, and I have to say that I was thoroughly impressed, and that’s hard to do!

    Now I have a Kinect at home – and like most of you, I never use it. With the new Kinect offering up a sensor that completely blows its predecessor away in every way imaginable, I cannot wait to get my hands on it. Sure, I’ll probably tear it apart and see what makes it tick, but I’m sure before I do that, I’ll yell at my TV and flail my arms like a dummy for a while first.

    Seriously, the hand gestures, voice control, responsiveness, and intuitiveness of the entire system makes me excited! I think the redesign of the controller is cool, but the new functionality of the Kinect will make the controller unnecessary when utilizing the system outside of gaming. I only hope that the Kinect sensor doesn’t need to dial itself back in often like the previous iteration does to be at its best.

    If you’re like me though, the power and functionality of the system are great, but I want to know what games are going to be like on the system, I want to see Fable 4 and Halo 5 (yeah, right) in action on this baby, but alas we’re going to have to wait until E3 to get a glimpse of some in-game footage. The only true action we got was the Call of Duty: Ghosts world-first footage, which looked brilliant, but doesn’t have the same effect as seeing an Xbox-Exclusive title on the system.

    RepairLabs Xbox One -

    Image courtesy of Wired.com

    What did you think of the event? Did Microsoft hit all of the necessary highs and avoid the lows? Personally, I think the only way the event could’ve been better was if there was some Fable 4 footage shown. A few things that I think would've been nice to get more info on is if it'll be able to play used games, and if it requires being online all the time. The announcement by The Verge that it will not be backwards compatible is sad news though. Other than that, they gave us the console, controller, specs, and announced some exciting things like 15 exclusive titles in the works, with eight being entirely new franchises!

    The future is looking awfully bright for game consoles, and I can't help but feel that the Xbox One may be leading the pack when it's all said and done. Sony impressed me a few months back, but Microsoft and the Xbox One just took it to a whole new level, especially with their willingness to run through the demonstrations two or three times, showing that it's fully functional, which is key to their entire design.

    The Xbox One is set to launch sometime later this year.

    This post was posted in Tech, Geek, What We Do

  • Are Traditional Phone Batteries Still Viable?

    Curtis Taylor Curtis Taylor
    Posted on April 23, 2013

    Phone Batteries... Is It Time For Change?

    Tell me if you’ve ever been in this situation. You’re at work, right in the middle of a business call and bam your phone dies. Has this ever happened to you? Well, even if it hasn’t, it’s happening to plenty of people around the globe on a daily basis.

    As I’m sure you are well aware, there have been quite a few solid guides and how-to videos made over the past couple years that go into the general questions as to why your phone is always dead, and things you can do to help prevent the battery from draining so quickly. (Close some apps people) That’s all fine and dandy, and most definitely not the reason we are here today.

    Today RepairLabs is going to present the technical reasoning behind your phone always being dead. We’re going to cover the different types of batteries on the market today and how they compare, then we’ll have a throw down between three of the hottest phones on the market, with each one having a specific role to play in the testing of the batteries held within. Last but not least we’ll talk about the future of batteries; what’s out there, what’s the next logical step, things of that nature.

    Strap yourselves in, because you’re about to get a crash course in phone batteries!

    Lithium What?

    Most of you probably don’t know what type of battery is in your phone. Perhaps you know the mAh of it, (that’s milliamps per hour) but don’t actually know what type of battery you have. Don’t worry; it’s not relevant knowledge to a large percentage of people. But for those of you who have wondered into my little slice of Tech paradise, you’re about to get the deluxe package when it comes to batteries.

    What types of batteries are prevalent on the market today?

    There are truly only two options when it comes to batteries in your phone today. Lithium-Ion and Lithium-Polymer.

    Lithium-Ion: Li-Ion batteries are the most commonly found type of battery in phones today. They’re older technology than Li-Po batteries, but have also proven themselves to be reliable. Though they may be phased out eventually -- the fact that we’re able to stretch them up to 3,500mAh at this point in time, while still being slim enough to fit in a phone gives credence to the fact that Li-Ion isn’t going down without a fight.

    Li-Ion offers the most convenient product to cell phone manufacturers, with its average 5-10% self-[i]discharge rate a month, and components that are environmentally safe. It also doesn’t hurt that they are readily available, and lighter than equivalent batteries.

    If these batteries are so great, then why is my phone always dead is what most of you are probably thinking. This is because there are some caveats to Li-Ion batteries, mainly being that the [ii]cell capacity diminishes with use, causing the battery to hold less and less of a charge. This is made even worse when you factor in high [iii]charge levels and elevated temperatures, both of which cause hastened degradation of the battery.

    They are also flammable, which is most definitely a con for any product that you hold near your face.

    Lithium Ion Phone Batteries Charging

    http://repairlabs.com

    Key Interior Difference Between Li-Ion & Li-Po - “The primary difference is that the lithium-salt electrolyte is not held in an organic solvent but in a solid polymer composite such as polyethylene or polyacrylonitrile”  Wikipedia - Lithium-Polymer Batteries

    Lithium-Polymer: Li-Po is the younger, more advanced brother to Li-Ion batteries. In theory they are nearly identical in design, as can be seen in the diagram above, but there are some key differences between the two.

    For starters, the Li-Po offers a more predictable self-discharge rate, which also happens to be lower than that offered on the Li-Ion batteries in general, clocking in at 5% a month. They also are more adaptable than Li-Ion, offering up the ability to use them in a wide variety of packing and shapes. And I can’t forget to mention that they are more reliable and rugged than the Li-Ion they hope to fully phase-out.

    The downside to the Li-Po is that it holds less of a charge than that offered on your standard Li-Ion battery. This reason alone is why they haven’t fully phased out the Li-Ion. Though the technology used is newer and more advanced, it just doesn’t offer the power necessary to reliably power these crazy big devices hitting the market today in its current form.

    One of the biggest backers of Li-Po batteries is Apple, including the Li-Po in each iPhone dating back to the iPhone 4. Though the mAh (1440mAh on the iPhone 5) numbers are far below that of the competition, we still see the power necessary to competently power the device for a full day of usage. That may lead you to believe that the battery is indeed in a position to compete with the Li-Ion, but the numbers can be misleading. Though the specs on the iPhone 5 are similar to that of the competition – the biggest deciding factor in battery drain is pixel density and resolution. The pixel density and resolution on the iPhone clock in at 640x1136, giving us a pixel density of 326ppi across its 4” screen. This here is a huge difference from what you get from the Android offerings, which come in at 1280x720 or 1920x1080, stretched across 4.7”+ displays.

    Putting the Phone Batteries to the Test

    Now that you’ve heard about the types of batteries we utilize on a daily basis, let’s get into something a bit more useful to those of you who are visual learners. Below you will find a video that I put together showcasing three of the most popular phones on the market; the Verizon exclusive Droid DNA, the iPhone 5, and the Samsung Galaxy Note 2.

    Each phone is popular for different reasons, and each one has its faults. One thing that sets them all apart though is the battery within. For the Droid DNA you have a 2020mAh Li-Ion battery, while the iPhone 5 has the previously mentioned 1440mAh Li-Po battery. Bringing up the rear of the pack is the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 with its massive 3100mAh Li-Ion battery.

    As you can tell, the Note 2’s battery is loaded with power, but is running on the older Li-Ion technology. Will this make a difference when going head-to-head with the iPhone 5’s newer but smaller 1440mAh Li-Po battery? Spec-wise the Droid DNA is the one most set up to fail, and that’s thanks to the design choices made by HTC. They took a beautiful 5” 1080p display, with a quad-core processor and 2 GB’s of RAM and stuck it in into a casing that houses a measly 2020mAh Li-Ion battery. Why HTC wouldn’t spend the extra $$ needed to go with either a 2020mAh Li-Po or a more powerful Li-Ion, I don’t know.

    Droid DNA

    • 1080 x 1920 pixels, 5.0 inches (~441 ppi pixel density)
    • Quad-core 1.5 GHz Krait
    • 2 GB RAM
    • Adreno 320 GPU
    • Lithium-Ion 2020mAh Battery

    iPhone 5

    • 640 x 1136 pixels, 4.0 inches (~326 ppi pixel density)
    • Dual-core 1.2 GHz
    • 1 GB RAM
    • PowerVR SGX 543MP3 (triple-core graphics)
    • Lithium-Polymer 1440mAh Battery

    Samsung Galaxy Note 2

    • 720 x 1280 pixels, 5.5 inches (~267 ppi pixel density)
    • Quad-core 1.6 GHz Cortex-A9
    • 2 GB RAM
    • Mali-400MP GPU
    • Lithium-Ion 3100mAh Battery

    Without further ado, let’s get to the video showcasing each phone running the RepairLabs video on loop until they die a horrible death.. You know, by running out of battery life. The test is to simulate a full-day of usage in the span of a few minutes once sped up. Obviously to record actually utilizing the phone all day would be unfeasible, so I went with the next best thing. Will the small Li-Po be able to keep pace with the big and bigger dogs?

    Let’s find out!

    The results are exactly what I predicted they would be. Coming in at four hours, the Droid DNA finally saw itself to the afterlife. An hour later and we see the iPhone 5 finally crash out. In a position to either succeed, or crash and burn, the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 was most definitely the phone hardest to predict. With that huge battery, I expected it to last the longest, but you also have to factor in the lighting needed to properly light such a large display. In the end, it didn’t matter, with the Note 2 going for a whole nine hours! Surprisingly if you watch the screens once the warning battery indicator pops up, we see that both the iPhone 5 and Droid DNA last roughly one hour before completely shutting down, while the Galaxy Note 2 goes for an additional two hours after we get the low battery warning screen.

    The test proved exactly what it is I was trying to show you guys. Even though the Li-Ion is older tech, size does indeed still matter when it comes to phone batteries, but only to a certain extent. The Li-Po showed that even though it was almost 600mAh weaker than the Li-Ion in the Droid DNA, it could outpace it. You can’t do a direct apples-to-apples comparison due to the massive screen differences, but you still get the idea here.

    Another thing to keep in mind is that these phones last four, five, and nine hours respectively – but if you used the phones daily for another year and ran this test again, you would be lucky to get even 75% of the performance you got from them when they were brand new, luckily if your battery ever gets to the point where it doesn't hold enough of a charge to get you through the day, we here at RepairLabs can swap the crummy old battery out for a shiny new battery.

    The diagram above showcases how the ions inside your battery slowly but surely lose their ability to hold a quality charge. This is why with all phone batteries, they eventually need replaced. The constant charging, discharging, and usage are what cause the breakdown inside the phone. At this point, there is no way to get around this with liquid-based batteries in the state they’re currently in.

    What Does The Future Hold?

    Alright so now that you’re a bit more comfortable with where we sit right now when it comes to batteries, let’s move into where we’re headed.

    Li-Ion and Li-Po can only carry us so far. Eventually here soon we’re going to have to mix up what it is that we use, then we’ll have to either advance the technologies that we use, or start utilizing something completely new.

    Updating Preexisting Liquid-Batteries

    This is where some of the brightest minds in the field are hard at work. Some of the most feasible ideas that have been floated around include enhancing preexisting batteries with silicone nanoparticles as well as using new types of conversion alloys – both of which could dramatically improve the viability of Li-Ion and Li-Po batteries.

    There have even been recent developments regarding Lithium-Ion batteries by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. These new batteries have the power density to charge your phone 1000x faster than standard batteries, the only issue is that what the battery offers in power density, it lacks in energy density, so until they make more progress on these inventive new Lithium-Ion batteries, I will have to hold them off the list of the most promising – for now.

    Even if we extend the life of current batteries another four or five years, we’re eventually going to need new types of batteries to further the advancement of smartphones. When it comes to future options, there are two that truly stick out in mind as being extremely strong options; Lithium Sulfide based batteries and Solid-State batteries. There are some less exciting options like Lithium-Air and Lithium-Imide batteries, but until there is better information on them, I don’t feel them relevant enough to be included in this section.

    Future Options For Batteries

    Lithium-Sulfide is one of the many options that have presented itself as a solid alternative to the Li-Ion and Li-Po batteries we use now.  Li-S not only offers a higher energy density than Li-Ion, but also has reduced production costs due to using sulfur.

    Though Li-S batteries are a definite option that we could explore sometime in the near future, like say 2014, there isn’t enough data on the capabilities of Li-S to think that it is the logical next step in batteries. As it stands right now, the engineers who are working on this are still dealing with the fact that sulfur on its own isn’t conductive, which is a massive issue in a product that relies 100% on conductivity!

    Solid-State Batteries are definitely the brightest option when it comes to future batteries. Instead of being liquid-based like the batteries on the market these days, Solid-State batteries offer us batteries that are solid inside, much like what you would find inside a solid-state drive for the PC.

    Though engineers would love to have these solid-state batteries in our phones right now due to their greatly increased life cycle over legacy batteries, plus they also happen to be safer with a better energy density to that of other options. The reason that we don’t have these already is because of the massive cost of production, with the price soaring up to as high as a $1,500 for a single phone battery.

    Engineers are also still trying to work out a solution to their sensitivity to low temperatures. Recently I spoke with Professor Kevin S. Jones from the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Florida, about this very subject; this is what he had to say.

    ”I do believe solid-state batteries have tremendous potential but there are significant research challenges that need to be addressed. Because you replace the liquid electrolyte with a solid that is much thinner you can achieve a significant weight saving, as well as being much safer. However it remains a challenge to develop an inexpensive manufacturing method that overcomes the challenges of joining solid layers together. In addition, there is a new class of materials called conversion alloys that are being explored for liquid batteries. These materials have the potential to significantly increase the capacity of liquid batteries. Research is necessary to prove if these materials will work with solid state batteries. So the potential is there to revolutionize the cell phone battery, but we have work to do before it becomes a reality.” 

    Professor Jones statement holds true to what I’ve been saying all along. There is still potential for liquid-based batteries, but the future is moving more and more towards solid-state batteries. For those of you who have not read his excellent piece on the state of solid-state batteries, I highly recommend it.

    The End to a Long Journey

    What a ride. We’ve laughed, we’ve cried. Had epiphanies, revelations and probably even a few eye-opening moments.. Ok, perhaps we didn’t quite cover that wide of a spectrum, but we did take a long look at where we’re at with batteries and where we hope to be as soon as possible.

    The Li-Ion and Li-Po batteries we use today still prove to be viable options for the time being, but as was made apparent in the time lapse, the more powerful the phone, the less amount of time you will have to enjoy it without a charger. Sure, you can carry around a charger with you, have one at your desk, house, and in your car, but that’s not the point. Phones are portable devices – attaching cables to them defeats the entire purpose of a portable phone.

    Though the near future is a bit cloudy on what we’ll do next, with there being a few interesting options floating around. None of them are ready for primetime, that much is apparent, but possibly by mid-2014 we can begin phasing out the old and start ushering in the new.

    The future begins to look much brighter 2014+ thanks to the advancements we’ll be making in solid-state technology. As soon as it becomes viable from a price-standpoint, I have no doubt all of the major phone manufacturer’s will begin to use them in their newest devices. (Can anyone say iPhone 9?)

    As it stands right now, the degradation rate on batteries is sitting at a manageable but unacceptable one to two years. (If you’re really lucky) With newer and better technologies, hopefully we can extrapolate that number into the double digits, making the need to buy new phone batteries or even phones less of necessity and more of a commodity.

    Curtis Taylor, "RepairGenius" Blogger
    Visit me here:

    [i] Discharge RateThe rate, usually expressed in amperes or time, at which electrical current is taken from the battery.

    [ii] Cell CapacityThe maximum total electrical charge, expressed in ampere-hours, which a battery can deliver to a load under a specific set of conditions...

    [iii] Charge LevelsThe percentage of power in phone batteries at any one point in time.

     

    This post was posted in Tech, Geek, What We Do, iPhone and was tagged with Li-Po, Solid-State Batteries, Li-Air, Li-S, Li-Ion, Testing Phone Batteries, Phone Batteries, Droid DNA, Samsung Galaxy Note 2, iPhone 5

  • What the $%&!!! Is GDDR5 for PlayStation 4?

    Curtis Taylor Curtis Taylor
    Posted on March 1, 2013

    Artist's illustration of the difference between PS3 and PS4 GDDR5 from RepairLabs.com

    Check of the difference between the two renderings. Notice how much more detail the GDDR5 provides. Original image from http://www.fanpop.com/clubs/300/images/222280/title/300-movie-publicity-still-photo

     

    As we RepairLabs geeks were snooping around and stalking the PlayStation website, we stumbled on a rather interesting tidbit of information, which may have massive consequences for the newest version of the PlayStation, the PS4.  Among many upgrades and changes since the release of the PS3, we noticed the addition of “GDDR5 8GB” in the Memory Specs.

    What is GDDR5?

    GDDR stands for Graphics Double Data Rate, a type of high performance graphics card memory. This has 32 times the amount of GDDR (graphics capacity) as the PS3, which weighs in with 256 MB GDDR3.  GDDR5 performs at 8-bit wide data buffer that will allow for 20% more processing capabilities compared to GDDR3.

    So? Let’s put this in perspective:

    Alienware Aurora  is considered one of the best computers on the market right now for gaming; many designate it as the industry standard for computing--and it only has 4GB of GDDR5. The PlayStation 4 will have double that amount. This means that the PlayStation will be able to process double the memory as the current top-notch gaming computer on the market.

    GDDR5 will be able to process such graphics like no other RAM out on the market today. If you haven’t seen the image on the PS4 of the blue balls dropping in check it out here, at 10 seconds in, to get an idea of the massive processing capacity required to animate each ball individually. Most power does come from the onboard GPU made by AMD. The GPU makes the balls, and the RAM  (or GDDR5) makes them move. So let’s put that in perspective: if one of those balls is 1MB then that means the PS4 at the same time can process 8000 Blue balls at the same time. Insane. Take a sec and think about that. In the “World of Mario” we were used to having only 1 or 2 flame balls at a time shooting at us.

    And the GDDR5 8GB is advanced. Like years ahead of its time. (Remember, the PS3 has stayed relevant and useful for 8 years now. That’s millennia in tech years.) It is safe to say that you won’t be able to go to Best Buy and buy a computer with that amount of memory for a couple of years. The reason for this is because there is no need for that amount of memory--unless you’re gonna have some crazy processes to perform, such as the games that will be released in a few years.  The PS3 has been around since 2006—and that console provided around 8 to 9 years of solid performance. This newest version has to be similarly 8-9 years advanced to provide an equivalent experience.

    So, what GDDR5 means to the 3D world?

    GDDR5 will enhance 3D appearance on games, and will enable even more complex functionalities to evolve as graphics evolve. The 3D experience right now with PS3 is very minimal and doesn’t look 3D, like movies and other 3D  interfaces out there. But now with the 8GB of GDDR5 Ps4 will have much better details, allowing for a terrific 3D experience unlike anything else yet to be seen. No games on the market right now can even come close to touching the memory capabilities of GDDR5.

    All of this indicates that we are in for gaming and technological advances beyond our wildest dreams. Anything a graphic artist can imagine can be rendered digitally, and beautifully, at a level of detail never previously imagined. The GDDR5 is just one aspect of the new PlayStation gaming console, but it could be the game changer.

    by , Tech Expert, Freelance Writer.

    This post was posted in Tech, Geek, What We Do and was tagged with Capacity Processor, Gaming, Game, PS3, PlayStation, Graphics, RAM, Memory, PS4, GDDR5

  • The Best Tech Gifts for Cyber Monday 2012

    Curtis Taylor Curtis Taylor
    Posted on November 23, 2012

    The Top Tech Gifts for Every Type

     

    Ultimate Tech Gift Guide for 2012

    There are great tech gifts out there for every type of person you can imagine.  Here at RepairLabs.com, we thought we’d make out a list of our favorites for your approval just in time for Cyber Monday. If you're sick of the same old gift ideas, you've come to the right place. Everybody knows an iPad mini or a Nexus 7 tablet would be an awesome gift. But sometimes that's just not the right gift, the perfect gift, the magical rainbow unicorn of gifts.  Actually a tablet is a pretty personal choice. Instead give them a tech gift that they're certain to love, no matter what type of person they are. Here's where you can get your creative juices revving:  you’ll find gifts from $8.00 - $800, and something that certain to tickle the techie fancy of someone you love. We’re sure you’ll find an idea that you love.

    Dad:

    inflatable universal car rack from RepairLabs.com Tech Gifts Guide 2012

    • If the car doesn’t have luggage racks, this is an ingenious solution. Inflatables! Now dad can haul nearly anything up top.  Universal roof rack $89.99. Buy it here.
    golf swing analysis tool  from RepairLabs.com Tech Gifts Guide 2012

    Mom

    kalediscope  from RepairLabs.com Tech Gifts Guide 2012

    EyeVac Crumb vac from RepairLabs.com Tech Gifts Guide 2012
    • Eye Vac, just sweep the crumbs in its direction and it sucks them right up.  $99 Buy it here.
    Towel warmer  from RepairLabs.com Tech Gifts Guide 2012
    • Towel warmer for her spa day, or to warm the kids’ hats, mittens and gloves:  $89.99

    Boyfriend:

    Tankbot smartphone cubicle toys from RepairLabs.com Tech Gifts Guide 2012

    • Smartphone controlled tankbot for his cubicle; he’ll entertain his office buddies for hours.  Buy it here  for  $24.99

     

    Girlfriend

    Teen

    Portable Bluetooth Speaker from RepairLabs.com 2012 Tech Gifts Guide

     

    Kid

    Bike Wheel Lights from RepairLabs.com 2012 Tech Gifts Guide

    • Bike wheel lights, graphics synthesizer, generates thousands of changing colors and patterns. Kids will ADORE this gizmo. And extra safety and visibility for parents’ peace of mind. A perfect tech gift! $50

    New Parents

    Self-folding Origami Stroller  from RepairLabs.com 2012 Tech Gifts Guide

    • This stroller folds itself. FOLDS ITSELF. It also is lighted and charges your iPhone. Is there a tech gift new parents could love any more?  Oragami Stroller http://www.4moms.com/origami  $849.99

    Baby

    HTML for Babies Book from RepairLabs.com 2012 Tech Gifts Guide

    Gentleman

    Gentleman's Travel Charger Kit from RepairLabs.com 2012 Tech Gifts Guide

    Geek

    Ultimate Charging Stationfrom RepairLabs.com 2012 Tech Gifts Guide

    • Get them the ultimate recharge station, the Kaynex Sydnee Smart Charging Station $149. It holds everything.

    Potterhead

    Team Don't Read Crappy Books Sweatshirt from RepairLabs.com 2012 Tech Gifts Guide

    Hipster

    Instant Digital Polaroid from RepairLabs.com 2012 Tech Gifts Guide

    • It’s instant! It’s digital! It’s awwwesome!  $159. Your own personal hipster WILL want this instant digital camera.

    It Girl

    Subtle Sparkle iPhone Decoration oid from RepairLabs.com 2012 Tech Gifts Guide

    • For the girl who has everything? Give her something no one else has. Custom Cemented iPhone Jewels in Subtle Sparkle.  $103 US dollars, but she’s gotta send in her phone across the pond, for this perfect tech gift. http://www.crystalskins.co.uk/atelier.html

    Motorhead

    Slime Flat Tire Emergency Repair Kit from RepairLabs.com 2012 Tech Gifts Guide

    • The easy answer  when your favorite gearhead and motor-er gets a flat: Slime Safety Spair:$38 this special sealant will get them safely to somewhere they can replace a flat tire, in only 7 minutes!

    Caffeine Junkie

    8 Bit Heart Mug from RepairLabs.com 2012 Tech Gifts Guide

    Prepper/outdoorsman/Camper:

    Kinetic Power Charger for Devices from RepairLabs.com 2012 Tech Gifts Guide

    • Whether he’s getting ready for the zombie apocalypse, or just likes to keep his device with him out in the wild, this kinetic device charger: http://www.npowerpeg.com/ is the perfect find. $199.95

    Health Nut :

    My Blend Bottle Blenders  from RepairLabs.com 2012 Tech Gifts Guide

    • They need to blend up their smoothie on the run? This blender actually attaches to the bottle, so they can grab and go.  My Blend Bottle Blender.  http://www.oster.com/myblend/  $29.99

    Foodie

    Digital Measuring Spoon from RepairLabs.com 2012 Tech Gifts Guide

    • Save time and energy measuring and weighing with this little doodad. Digital Spoon Measure - the  link to buy is  at the bottom - $25.85

    Pet

    Sensor Pet Water Fountain  from RepairLabs.com 2012 Tech Gifts Guide

    • Let your lil sweetie get a cool drink whenever he wants with a Doggie water fountain: $79.50. It senses when your pet comes up to it, so he can always have fresh water. Really great for labs who love to drink from the hose!

    Jock

    • Jawbone UP activity tracking wristband. Works with your smartphone to track sleep cycles and activity levels and goals 129.99 https://jawbone.com/up

    Belieber

    Heart Headphone Splitter from RepairLabs.com 2012 Tech Gifts Guide

    • Heart iPhone earbud splitter. Because where there’s one Belieber there is always another.  And they need to be able to share the beats too. $18

    Designer/Artist

    Inkling digital sketch pen from RepairLabs.com 2012 Tech Gifts Guide

    Gamer

    iPhone Joystick from RepairLabs.com 2012 Tech Gifts Guide

    • For all of the retro joy of 8bit games! A guaranteed hit.  iPhone Joystick  $13.49

    Mr./Miss OCD

    Neatdesk description from RepairLabs.com 2012 Tech Gifts Guide

    • Neatdesk  $349.88 Scans business cards, receipts and full sized sheets of paper, and then instantly organizes them! SWEET.

     

    *All prices are accurate at the time of publishing, but we can’t guarantee that they won’t change. Good Luck, and Happy Shopping for great tech gifts that they will LOVE!

    by , Tech Expert, Freelance Writer.

    This post was posted in Opinion, Tablets, Gifts, Tech, Blog Candy, Geek, What We Do, iPhone, iPad, Uncategorized and was tagged with every, person, type, gizmos, gadgets, Cyber Monday, gift, tech gifts, guide, Gifts

  • The History of Sony's Gaming Console - "Playstation" [Infographic]

    Curtis Taylor Curtis Taylor
    Posted on October 18, 2012

    When most people think about the words "console gaming", one of the things that come into mind is the Sony Playstation. Ever since this platform was introduced back in 1994, the world of home entertainment has never been the same. From friend, families, rivals, to (former) kids fawing over Final Fantasy 7's Tifa Lockheart, many people bonded with their loved ones over this gaming rig.

    The Playstation had some remarkable evolution: from it's bulky, rectangular shaped console to the slick and handheld PS Vita. Sony had some ups and downs over every console, but nonetheless the PS still reigned supreme for many years. If you are curious (and I know you are) on how this God-given console evolved, then check out this infographic below:

    History of Sony Playstation

    This post was posted in Opinion, Tablets, Tech, Geek, What We Do, iPhone, iPad

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