Review: SEGURO® Mini M8S

Manufacture Description

  • Google Android 5.1 Lollipop OS, the newest generation of multimedia player. Preconfigured with the latest XBMC/KODI 16.0, hundreds of free streaming add-ons available
  • Cut your monthly TV subscription and enjoy FREE Movies, shows and live entertainment from all over the world including sports. No restrictions! Forget the limitations and necessary payments by using Apple TV or ROKU! Android on your TV. Install your favorite apps from the Google Play Store. Thousands of apps are compatible with the Mini M8S Smart TV BOX, just like your phone or tablet.
  • The CPU is THE NEWEST Quad-core 64-bit ARM Cortex-A53 up to 2GHz, up to 2.0 GHZ, is way ahead in image processing and computing. Its high machine configuration and 2G RAM,8G eMMC Flash 8GB gives you ultra-fast running speed and professional image processing ability. Awesome home theater and gaming experiences.
  • Hundreds of free streaming add-ons available for KODI 16.0 online, SAVE your money for paying cable, satellite or whatsoever. Preinstalled Kodi(XBMC). Preconfigured with the latest XBMC/KODI, it allows you to download numerous add-ons, like Youtube, Netflix, Facebook, Twitter, Skype, and you also can play thousands of android games in a large screen smoothly. Install your favorite apps and enjoy advanced technology.
  • Built for Entertainment, Home Theater, Business Meeting, Office Work, etc,to share with friends, Your movies, TV Shows, Mofusic all at your fingertips. Online forums, tutorials, and videos are plenty. You want a TV media player to do exactly what you need and something less will just ruin the whole experience

Review
Well this is probably the smallest Android TV box I’ve used to date. It’s slim and compact, and looks good. It has two full sized USB ports, one on the side, and one on the back, along with ethernet, HDMI, optical out.

Included with the package was a standard IR remote, but also a wireless keyboard remote. The keyboard remote is very nice. It fits in my hands nicely, and the qwerty keyboard comes in very handy when entering passwords etc. Combine the fact that it has a mouse trackpad built in, then things become so much easier for navigating. The keyboard also has a dongle included so you can use it with other devices, not just the TV box. My only issue with the keyboard is that it uses Mini USB for charging which is a real shame considering that Micro seems to be the standard.

The TV box itself is very easy to navigate. Like most boxes now it comes with a much more intuitive, TV OS, and no longer resembles a phone OS blown up onto your TV. This makes navigating menus much easier, but it also leads to a much better experience in applications. Things like Kodi and Netflix ran amazingly well, and the power behind this box is really impressive.

Picture quality was fantastic and looked great on my TV. I couldn’t find anything wrong with the image quality, and audio and video always stayed in sync.

I’d highly recommend this TV box. It is a great alternative to more expensive models available on the market.

Review: GreeGear Legend G9021 Mobile Gaming Wireless Bluetooth Controller

Getting a controller right tends to be a pretty difficult job, especially when it comes to the low end price point. This device looks great, but the question is does it perform?

Well, I’m happy to say that it works pretty well, especially considering the price. It feels comfortable in the hand, and for anyone who has used an Xbox controller, you’ll feel right at home with this.

Pairing up with my Android was a breeze, and playing games worked great. There was very little set up required, and the controller was working pretty much straight out of the box.

The phone grip is adjustable, and seems to have a pretty flexible range. When it comes to phones I can’t see there being many devices on the market that won’t fit this, including the larger phablets. The grip also feels sturdy, with two rubber pads to hold the phone in place, ensuring it won’t slip out during gaming sessions.

The controller is charged via Micro USB, a cable is kindly supplied with the device. This is pretty handy considering it means you won’t need to carry around multiple cables.

So you might be wondering why the controller lost a star. Well, it feels extremely light weight and the build quality isn’t quite where I’d like it to be. For the most part all the buttons worked well, but the right trigger felt a little loose, pressing in far too easily, especially compared to the left.

Apart from those small niggles regarding the build quality, this is a pretty great controller. You won’t find much better for the price, and for anyone who wants to game on their phone or tablet, this is a great accessory.

News: Google Cardboard gets an update

The Google I/O has been taking place today and one thing that got announced was an update to Google Cardboard. Now, as a fan of VR, this is something that I find quite fun and intriguing, and after taking the first Google Cardboard out for a spin I was surprised by how well it works.

So what’s new with the latest build? Well, for starters it supports devices with screen sizes up to 6″ which will come in handy considering how mobile phones seem to be continually getting larger. Google have now shrunk the steps to build the device from twelve to only three, meaning once you unpack your new D.I.Y VR kit it will only take a couple of minutes to get up and running.

Perhaps the biggest update is that Google Cardboard will now support iOS, meaning that all of you iPhone users out there will get to have fun with some makeshift VR.

For anyone out there who wants to experience virtual reality without handing over a huge sum of money then this is probably worth taking a look at. Google can now boast to having over 1 million Cardboard users and over 500 apps available for the VR market. Not bad eh?

Review: 1byone® Wireless Bluetooth Keyboard

I was sent this product to offer an unbiased review and I was pretty excited to see how this keyboard and trackpad combination performed. I’ve been keeping my eye out for this sort of product for a little while now to combine with my Nvidia Shield Tablet so naturally I jumped at the opportunity to review this product. So, did it live up to what I was hoping for?

The Good

  • Stylish and slim
  • Keys feel good with no skipped presses
  • Micro USB charging
  • Good battery
  • Function keys for Android and Windows
The Bad
  • No grip for the bottom
  • A little too slim, flexes when typing
  • Trackpad sometimes stops working for a few seconds

The keyboard is very easy to pair with your device, literally hold the function key and the C key and then search for the keyboard in the bluetooth settings on the device you wish to pair with. Within only a couple of minutes of unwrapping the keyboard I was paired and ready to play.

It’s comfortable to use, with keys that feel great to type on. They offer a good click and are adequately spaced unlike some portable keyboards that have a plushy and cramped feel to them. My only criticism of typing on this product is that due to the keyboard being so slim it does seem to flex a little when in use.

Moving onto the trackpad is a slightly mixed bag. On the one hand it works straight off the bat with Android and offers something closer to a laptop experience on your tablet. The trackpad is large enough to use for browsing, but it does feel a little cramped, but I suppose that’s to be expected. The one thing that really let the mouse side of things down was its tendency to either lag or just disappear entirely for a few seconds. However, it performed well enough that I didn’t need to carry a portable mouse around with me.

The design of the device is great. It’s slim, lightweight, and the keys fill up pretty much all the space on the device, giving the user a great typing experience. However, the biggest flaw with this product is in the design. It has four rubber nubs on the top, obviously to help protect your tablet screen if its faced down while in your bag, however it doesn’t have the same nubs on the bottom. It does have four, very tiny and recessed slivers of rubber in each corner on the bottom.

The issue with this design flaw… Well if you type on a smooth surface it causes the keyboard to go sliding all over the place. In the end I had to seek out some form of rubber to stick on the bottom of it because out of the because the keyboard was just too slippery to use on a smooth surface. It’ not the end of the world, but it does require some additions in order to be usable.

So in conclusion this is a pretty good keyboard, especially at the price range. Are there better keyboards out there? Of course there are, but you’ll be paying extra for that. If you’re after something to combine with your tablet for some on the go use without paying a premium then this is going to cover everything you need.

Yes it has its flaws, but for the price being asked you can’t go wrong.

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First Impressions: Half Life 2 Android Nvidia Shield

Recently I picked up a new Nvidia Shield Tablet and so far I love it. Obviously one of the first things I did was redeem my free copy of Half Life 2 and take it for a spin. So how does this amazing game hold up on an Android device? Are we anywhere near the stage of being able to use tablets for serious gaming?

Well the answer to the above is that it plays surprisingly well. Feel free to check out my gameplay videos that have all been recorded directly from my Nvidia Shield Tablet. The game handles well and I’ve only encountered a few slow downs in my 5 hours of gameplay so far. It tends to struggle a little when I blow everything on screen up or go a little mad with the gravity gun, but apart from that the device plays Half Life 2 amazingly smoothly.

If you really want to have a good time you’ll need a gamepad, in fact Half Life won’t run without one. Even if you hook a mouse and keyboard up to your device Half Life still won’t run. A minor issue but it works well enough with a decent games controller.

But what about that small screen? Well for starters it’s pretty much next to my face so it doesn’t really limit the experience. On top of that the display looks fantastic and really helps to bring the game to life. No issues with the screen size here! Although if I were to play on the Nvidia Shield Portable I’m not so sure I’d find it as enjoyable.

The 8 inch display on the Shield Tablet is just about perfect for gaming at the coach. My perfect set up is my Shield Tablet on the arm of the chair as I kick back and relax.

I’ve taken the game for a test run in console mode and I’m pleased to say it runs just as smoothly. Outputting onto my TV allowed for a true console like experience playing the game which again left me exceptionally surprised. The game looks awesome on a larger display and you can easily forget that you’re running it from a tablet.

I think it’s quite incredible to think how far Tablets and other mobile devices have come in such a short amount of time. It wasn’t that long ago that Half Life 2 was running on a current gen console! Within the year I honestly believe that Tablets will begin to really find a place in the gaming market, especially if they continue to get the support from developers such as Valve.

So is it worth playing? Definitely! If you’re a fan of Half Life and you happen to own an Nvidia Shield Tablet then why on earth are you not playing this game?

 

 

 

 

 

Neptune Pine

So a little while ago, back in December last year, I decided to back my first Kickstarter campaign. A new upstart company with an idea for a smartwatch that does it all. The device was a beast, more like something the Predator would wear rather than a normal person, but I loved the idea of it.

The device was due to ship in January this year, optimistic in most peoples eyes, but nonetheless the backers were excited. So what do I think about my new gadget? Well, it’s still not here, and the company behind the Pine are jumping from one story to the next.

There have been all sorts of reasons for delays, but the worst part about the Neptune Pine, is the inconsistent updates coming from the company, and thats when they even bother to update backers. Most people understand that backing something on Kickstarter is different to just buying a product, but when the company you are backing outright lies or withholds information, the backers start to get a little annoyed.

At this point I find myself skeptical about whether or not the Pine will ever actually ship. The updates that have come from Neptune haven’t been positive, with models getting cancelled, straps that don’t work, and features that can’t be included yet for one reason or another.

So what’s the point in this post? Nothing really, I just fancied a bit of a rant. Something so interesting and exciting, ruined by a lack of clear and open communication. If Neptune had have just been open throughout this process then the backers would be in a much happier, patient, state of mind.

Looks like I will just have to wait for a new piece of wearable tech to come along and take my fancy!

Amazon TV Fire

The new Amazon TV Fire is an intriguing bit of kit. It’s a set top box, but a pretty powerful one, one that represents Amazons first step into gaming.

Alongside the TV Fire, Amazon also announced a controller to go along side their device, and also a new in house games development studio. They’ve had some top talent from within the gaming industry joining their team and this could spell the start of something very interesting.

For me it’s not the media capabilities that interest me, but the fact that a large brand such as Amazon has put their money behind a product that will act as a mini Android gaming console. The media stuff has been done before, and in fairness so has the gaming, but with the resources Amazon have available this could be the beginning of something very interesting.

Android Wear

Well with the revelation of Android Wear things in the wearable department just got a whole lot meatier! It’s great to see that wearables will soon sport properly developed OS’s to work with our small devices rather than what we have at the moment.

What really caught my eye was Motorola’s new watch, the Moto 360. It looks smart, sleek, and above all like a watch. I can’t wait to see the flood of new wearables that will soon be hitting the market. There have been a fair few manufactures jumping onboard this announcement, proclaiming their intent to bring wearable tech to the market.

For a long time now we’ve been forced to wear clunky devices, that feel more like test products than anything else, if we have wanted to dive into the world of wearable tech. With Google’s latest announcement, a sort of Nexus platform for wearables, things look like they will soon be changing.

 


Dungeon Hunter 4

Slashy slashy time!
Slashy slashy time!

So I decided to delve into another one of Gameloft’s clones. They make some pretty good mobile games and Dungeon Hunter 4 is no different. It’s a great little game, packed filled with some brilliant RPG elements, fantastic graphics and great controls. The gameplay is fun, button mashing mayhem. I’ve sunk hours into hacking and slashing my way through hordes of enemies and upgrading my loot. For a mobile game this is pretty great fun.

This is something you will see a lot during the game
This is something you will see a lot during the game

Where the fun stops however is Gamelofts insistence on in app purchases. Simple things like using potions more often than every couple of hours will end up costing you gems, and gems will cost you real world cash. In order to progress in the game you need better equipment and the quickest way to get your hands on this is to spend some gems on it. In fact pop up sales will appear in-between loading screens, enticing you to spend spend spend. Now, you can earn all the loot for free and upgrade gathered loot with in gold that you find in game. However this is a long process. I’ve already repeated one level about 20 times in order to grind my way to the higher level equipment.

At the end of the day this game is free to play and you’re not being forced to spend any money. However in app purchases pop up around every corner, leaving me wishing I could just pay for the app up front and have a better in game experience without being pestered every other minute.

I’d recommend giving this app a go if you fancy playing a premium RPG on your mobile device. It others some good old fashioned button mashing fun and is worth giving a chance. Just make sure you avoid the temptation to blow your real world cash on this game, it could turn into a real money pit.

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