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App planning for holidays

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If you haven’t  as yet booked accommodation for your December getaway here are a few apps to help you get things done a little quicker.

Whether you’re looking for a local stay-cation, wanting to enjoy a white Christmas in Europe, or planning to relax on a sandy beach somewhere, there are some great smartphone apps to help you find the right place to stay. Alcatel recommends these handy apps for holidaymakers:

Booking.com Hotel Reservations

This highly rated travel app offers great accommodation deals across the globe. It makes the process simple for you, providing instant confirmation, paperless check-ins and offline maps.

Get it here: Booking.com Hotel Reservations

HomeToGo: Holiday Lettings & Apartments

HomeToGo is the world’s largest search engine for holiday rentals and apartments. HomeToGo will identify the best price available, according to your requirements, by comparing offers from hundreds of websites.

Get it here: HomeToGo: Holiday Lettings & Apartments

Airbnb

Find adventures in faraway places or in your hometown on the world’s most famous accommodation marketplace.  Airbnb connects people looking for accommodation with people who have second homes or spare rooms to rent out. Alternatively, you could become a host and start earning money through renting out your space or second home.

Get it here: Airbnb 

trivago – Compare Hotels & Save Money on Bookings
Compare prices, and search for the best deals and travel discounts. Trigavo has over a million hotels from more than 200 worldwide hotel booking site for you to find your perfect holiday.

Get it here: trivago

WhereToStay
If you choosing to stay close to home then WhereToStay is the app for you. This holiday accommodation directory lists over 4,000 commission-free lodgings across Southern Africa.

Get it here: WhereToStay

Kamp Is Lekker

Another great South African app is Kamp Is Lekker. Get inspiration for your next camping or glamping trip. This app will get you planning the next best outdoor adventure.

Get it here: Kamp Is Lekker

LodgeSA

LodgeSA is specifically South African with a focus on finding affordable, high-quality BnBs and lodges across South Africa for your next holiday.

Get it here: LodgeSA

TripAdvisor Hotels Restaurants

Choose your December break with TripAdvisor Hotels Restaurants app. With over 500 million reviews and opinions by travellers, TripAdvisor makes it easy to find the lowest airfare, best hotels, great restaurants, and fun things to do, wherever you go.

Get it here: TripAdvisor Hotels Restaurants

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Low-cost wireless sport earphones get a kickstart

Wireless earphone brands are common, but not crowdfunded brands. BRYAN TURNER takes the K Sport Wireless for a run.

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As wireless technology becomes better, Bluetooth earphones have become popular in the consumer market. KuaiFit aspires to make them even more accessible to more people through a cheaper, quality product, by selling the K Sport Wireless Earphones directly from its Kickstarter page

KuaiFit has an app by the same name which offers voice-guided personal training services in almost every type of exercise, from cardio to weight-lifting. A vast range of connectivity to third-party sensors is available, like heart rate sensors and GPS devices, which work well with guided coaching. 

The app starts off with selecting a fitness level: beginner, intermediate and advanced. Thereafter, one has the ability to connect with real personal trainers via a subscription to its paid service. The subscription comes free for 6 months with the earphones, and R30 per month thereafter. 

The box includes a manual, a USB to two USB Type B connectors, different sized soft plastic eartips and the two earphone units. Each earphone is wireless and connects to the other independently of wires. This puts the K Sport Wireless in the realm of the Apple Earpods in terms of connection style. 

The earphones are just over 2cm wide and 2cm high. The set is black with a light blue KuaiFit logo on the earphone’s button. 

The button functions as an on/off switch when long-pressed and a play/pause button when quick-pressed. The dual-button set-up is convenient in everyday use, allowing for playback control depending on which hand is free. Two connectivity modes are available, single earphone mode or dual earphone mode. The dual earphone mode intelligently connects the second earphone and syncs stereo audio a few seconds after powering on. 

In terms of connectivity, the earphones are Bluetooth 4.1 with a massive 10-meter range, provided there are no obstacles between the device and the earphones. While it’s not Bluetooth 5, it still falls into the Bluetooth Low Energy connection category, meaning that the smartphone’s battery won’t be drastically affected by a consistent connection to the earphones. The batteries within the earphones aren’t specifically listed but last anywhere between 3 and 6 hours, depending on the mode. 

Audio quality is surprisingly good for earphones at this price point. The headset style is restricted to in-ear due to its small design and probable usage in movement-intensive activities. As a result, one has to be very careful how one puts these earphones, in because bass has the potential of getting reduced from an incorrect in-ear placement. In-ear earphones are usually notorious for ear discomfort and suction pain after extended usage. These earphones are one of the very few in this price range that are comfortable and don’t cause discomfort. The good quality of the soft plastic ear tip is definitely a factor in the high level of comfort of the in-ear earphone experience.

Overall, the K Sport Wireless earphones are great considering the sound quality and the low price: US$30 on Kickstarter.

Find them on Kickstarter here.

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Taxify enters Google Maps

A recent update to Taxify now uses Google Maps which allows users to identify their drivers, find public transport and search for billing options.

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People planning their travel routes using Google Maps will now see a Taxify icon in the app, in addition to the familiar car, public transport, walking and billing options.

Taxify started operating in South Africa in 2016 and as of October 2018 operates in seven South African cities – Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni, Tshwane, Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth and Polokwane.

Once riders have searched for their destination and asked the app for directions, Google Maps shares the proximity of cars on the Taxify platform, as well as an estimated fare for the trip.

If users see that taking the Taxify option is their best bet, they can simply tap on the ‘Open app’ icon, to complete the process of booking the ride. Customers without the app on their device will be prompted to install Taxify first.

This integration makes it possible for users to evaluate which of the private, public or e-hailing modes of transport are most time-efficient and cost-effective.

“This integration with Google Maps makes it so much easier for users to choose the best way to move around their city,” says Gareth Taylor, Taxify’s country manager for South Africa. “They’ll have quick comparisons between estimated arrival times for the different modes of transport, as well as fares they can expect to pay, which will help save both time and money,” he added.

Taxify rides in Google Maps are rolling out globally today and will be available in more than 15 countries, with South Africa being one of the first countries to benefit from this convenient service.

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