No Root Screenshot It Review

No Root Screenshot It Review

Aug 4, 2011

It boggles the mind that there isn’t a simple mechanism for taking screenshots on Android. I can’t think of a single good reason for this ability not to be turned on, or for the amount of rigamarole — yes, rigamarole — required to add it. I know this is going to shock everyone, but my phone isn’t rooted and I have no desire to root it, ever. But, you know, every Thursday, it sure would be nice to be able to take clear, quick pictures of the interface.

Enter No Root Screenshot It. From the title, the true purpose of this application may be confusing to some, and while they may find it completely shrouded in mystery, I’ll try to make it 100% clear: No Root Screenshot It is an app for Android that allows you to take a screenshot of your Android device’s screen. And the best part? You don’t have to root your phone.

Finally, you can take screenshots of your phone’s interface in various states of being and have them conveniently stored on your phone for later retrieval. Like this one, for example:

Once you’ve got the app set up, you can choose from a variety of options to take a screenshot. For example, you can “pin” a button to the notification bar and tap it to take a shot. Or, if you’re in a game or other app that doesn’t show the notification bar, you can simply shake your phone. You can set a delay, or have the shot taken immediately. There are a few other options you can set, including where to store the images, image format, size and more. All in all, taking a screenshot is an extremely simple process. Getting the app to work, however, isn’t.

Unfortunately, just because you don’t have to root your phone doesn’t mean there isn’t still rigamarole associated with taking a screenshot. For one, the app requires you to install the ScreenshotItEnabler application on your PC or Mac (no option for Linux users). You then have to set your phone to go into “USB Debugging” mode when you plug in the USB cable. Next, you connect your phone to your computer via USB cable, run the “ScreenshotItEnabler” application and enable the ScreenshotIt app on your phone.

After that’s finished, you can snap as many screenshots as you like, until you reset your phone. At which point, you’ll have to go through the entire enabling process again. But that’s the least of the problems with this app.

I had hoped No Root Screenshot It would be the answer to my prayers, except that it doesn’t seem to work very well. Shots of the phone’s home screen come out just fine, but what about shots of games and apps? Twitter, Google+, the web browser, text messaging and other apps didn’t work at all. Meanwhile, it crashed almost every game I tried it with.

At its worst, No Root Screenshot It would crash my phone and need to be reset if I tried using it with an app it didn’t like. Of course, that means going through the whole enabling process one more time. Quite annoying. Given the US$4.99 price tag, I’d recommend skipping this one.


PowerSkin Review

PowerSkin Review

Jul 26, 2011

These days, I’m getting more usage out of my Droid X than ever before, and it’s all thanks to a gadget called PowerSkin — a rugged, soft-silicone casing with a built-in battery pack that keeps your phone charged while keeping it safe from abrasions and sudden impacts.

Prior to using the PowerSkin, I was getting about 10 – 12 hours of battery life before needing to scramble for a power-outlet. Depending on usage, some days I’d get much less than that. In the best usage case scenario, I was on vacation a few weeks ago, shooting pictures, texting, tweeting, making a few short phone calls, using the GPS and looking up information online. Even while using maximum power saver mode, the battery only lasted about 8 hours. That’s pretty good for how heavily I was using it, but it was still stone cold dead long before we were done having fun. With the PowerSkin, I’m certain it would have lasted much longer.

Despite its awesome power, one downside to the PowerSkin is that it’s very bulky, almost doubling the thickness of the phone while adding a little more weight. The overall width is also increased. In a way, this is a good thing, because it means the case will absorb plenty of shock energy during an impact. However, this is also an annoyance; I had a tough enough time slipping the phone in and out of my jeans’ pocket before PowerSkin; with PowerSkin, forget it. My other concern is that the lip at the top of the case doesn’t extend over the front of the phone enough to hold it in place during an impact. This is the one area where the case seems to have the least amount of grip on the phone, and while I don’t think it’ll pop out, it bothers me that it could.

Finally, it’s great that you don’t have to remove the phone to charge the PowerSkin, but I’ve discovered an odd behavior. While charging the PowerSkin with the phone inside, if the phone’s battery is low enough to draw external power, it constantly behaves as though you are inserting and removing the power cable every second. I don’t like this, at all. It seems to take much longer to charge both devices and I’m concerned that it might damage something to continually go through that cycle. As such, I’ve gotten into the habit of charging the devices separately if they are each significantly drained. Otherwise, I charge the PowerSkin with the phone inside without any problems.

Regardless of these minor issues, I find that I’m very pleased with the performance of the PowerSkin. Compared to other external power devices I’ve purchased, the PowerSkin outperforms them all. I get the security of a rugged, good looking case without the need to carry any additional peripherals. Because of that, I highly recommend the PowerSkin to anyone looking to get more use out of their phone.

For more information on the PowerSkin, and to see if one is available for your phone, simply visit Power-Skin.com.

Droid X Gets Froyo – Officially!

Droid X Gets Froyo – Officially!

Sep 24, 2010

Own a Droid X? Been waiting for Froyo? Not anymore! The Official 2.2 Froyo update for the Droid X started hitting phones early this morning and can be found by going to Settings>About phone>Check for updates. If you’re not sure what the heck we’re talking about, Froyo is the codename for the new Android OS 2.2.

Now all you have to do is hit install and start jumping up and down giddy with excitement. Flash, the new Gmail, and all the goodies of Froyo are now in the belly of that 4.3″ beast.

What’s new with Froyo you ask? It seems Verizon has provided us with a Droid X sized poster listing some of the new features and experience you will be getting once you update your Droid X to Froyo 2.2. Check it out.

So, what are you waiting for! Stop reading this and go get yourself some delicious Frozen Yogurt.

What about Root?
What about Root users? No worries, darkonion over at XDA forums and the Droid2 Rooting method have you covered. Not sure what Root access is? Then you should check out the excellent article written by the amazing guys over at Android Central on the hows, whys, and possible why nots of Rooting [HERE]. Everyone else can read ahead for instructions on how to root your Droid X 2.2 as posted by darkonion on the XDA forums and as always proceed at your own risk.

Sources: Verizon, Android Central, darkonion on the XDA forums