Review: iPad Air 2 Case ESR Illustrators Series

Although the design of this case isn’t my style, I’ve got to admit it looks nice and my wife loves it. The pictures are subtle and well designed, and the colours are great. The overall quality is exceptionally high end and functionality wise you can’t go wrong. The case is also nice and compact, without being too thick or adding too much weight.

The case itself will lock and unlock your iPad when closing and opening it which comes in very handy. It’s also a perfect fit for my iPad Air 2, clipping nicely into place and holding the device tightly in place.

One thing that I like most about this case is the ability to rotate the iPad so you can either stand it up landscape or portrait. After using the apple magnetic case this is definitely welcome, especially when typing documents.

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Review: YESSBON Universal Soft-Touch 13/13.3-Inch Laptop Case

The case I used was the black and grey Macbook pro 13 inch case. It feels good and looks premium, so you can’t go too far wrong with the design. There are two sets of popper buttons on either side of the case, allowing you to close it with two levels of tightness. This is handy if you fill the case up with your Macbook and other gadgets (which it has plenty of slots for)

The most pleasing part about this case was this it offered plenty of room for my Macbook, but also other compartments for additional gadgets such as my tablet and mobile phone. As mentioned above, the two levels of tightness when closing the case helps to prevent this from feeling cramped and allows for additional protection for all of your portable devices.

My only criticism of the case is that it feels just a tiny bit too large for the Macbook as there is just a little room for it to slide around while in the case. It’s not a deal breaker and won’t take away from the protection, but it does mean the case takes up more room in your bag which is a shame.

Apart from that one criticism this is a pretty good case, especially when you consider the low end price. For the cost, you get a great deal of style and quality and can’t go too far wrong. Definitely worth picking up, especially if you’re the kind of person who carries multiple gadgets on the go!

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Review: Lavievert Gray Felt Case iPad Mini

I’m not normally a fan of sleeve style cases, but with me constantly throwing my tablet into a bag where it gets knocked about this case came in pretty handy. It feels and looks good, a neutral grey felt finish with a light brown splash at the bottom. The case closes using a popper which stays in place nicely and doesn’t pop open, even when it’s knocked about in my bag.

The case is a good fit for my iPad mini, not too tight which comes in handy if you have one of Apple’s magnetic cases attached to your tablet. It also helps to future proof your case, just in case you decide to switch to another similar sized tablet in the future.

Inside you’ll find a soft felt finish which will help to keep your iPad free from any scratches. it also helps to keep the screen clean (well kind of, it wiped my screen free of some finger prints anyway)

So overall I’m impressed. This is a good looking case with a quality finish which won’t break the bank. If you like the look of it from the pictures then you’ll like it more in person. Definitely one worth considering.

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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?

My Smartwatch Excitement

So wearable technology is finally beginning to take off. We all expected it to but we’ve been left with sub par devices up until now. There are a number of manufactures bringing wearable technology to the market, and for the first time these devices are beginning to look like something people will actually want to use and wear.

LG G Watch R

Now this is a smart device that looks like a watch! I never thought that would be too much to ask for but apparently strapping some weird futuristic device to our wrists was acceptable in major manufactures eyes. Well LG decided against this, bringing a watch to the market that follows Motorola’s circular design. The device runs on Android which gives the user a fantastic range of features in this nice looking device. The thing that stands out the most in my eyes is the circular dial around the outside of the display, which mirrors traditional watches and helps the G Watch R to avoid standing out like a sore thumb.

Stylish, powerful and functional, this is a wearable that’s on my radar.

Motorola 360

After Motorola showed off their wearable I was a little shocked. It looked fantastic and its stand out feature was that it was circular. For some reason the desire for a circular smartwatch had never entered my mind until then, but now I had seen the 360 I couldn’t imagine ever owning a boring square device. I think it’s safe to say that Motorola really stole the show after Google announced Android Wear. All eyes were on the 360 and for good reason.

It has just landed on shelves in the UK and is selling out quickly, with positive reviews coming. I can’t wait to get my hands on one and take it for a test drive and see what Android Wear is really like.

Pebble

Now here’s a smartwatch that hit the market a little while ago but it is only just arriving in the UK, signing an exclusive deal with O2, a major UK telecoms network, for some of its products. Until recently the Pebble hadn’t really caught my attention, but after more research I’ve found myself genuinely intrigued by their smartwatch range.

After using a smartwatch for almost a year I’ve found my biggest pet peeve is that the battery life of these devices is awful. The Pebbles bragging rights are that their smartwatches will last between 5-7 days on a single charge. That’s pretty impressive given that the competition can hardly last a day. Now granted the Pebble does a little less but it still offers the essentials and gives customers a good variety of styles to select from.

All in all this is definitely a product launch to keep an eye on.

So those are the three devices that I’m looking forward to having a good play with this year. Of course next year we have the Apple Watch hitting the shelves and no doubt that will help to really drive this market. Until then however, we have a great selection to play with.

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Apple announces October 16th event

Well it looks like the time for the latest announcements from Apple are fast approaching! So what can we expect?

Well it’s that time of year when the iPad’s seem to get their refresh. I feel it is a safe assumption that we will see a new iPad Mini and iPad Air wielding touch ID and slimmer designs. Fingers crossed we will see a 13 inch iPad Pro/Plus (with mouse input support)

A refresh to Apples Mac line is most likely incoming, seeing their 27 inch display Mac gain Retina Display and perhaps we will see an updated Macbook Pro’s? Of course to go hand in hand with this I’m sure we will see a final build of Yosemite and find out exactly when it will see a public launch.

Should you be excited? Well I know I am, but only if that 13 inch iPad makes an appearance!

My Top 5 Productivity Apps for the iPad

Introduction

So I decided to throw together a quick list of my top 5 productivity tools and apps for the iPad. These are apps that I use myself and find extremely handy, in fact I couldn't do without them! My iPad has come pretty close to replacing my Macbook and without some of these trusty little apps it wouldn't even come close to achieving that.

So take a peak and see if any of them might help you out.

Pages

Pages is Apples take on Microsoft Word and I'm a big fan. Out of every application I have for my iPad, this is top of my list. The entire user interface is very touch friendly and there are plenty of tools to make your documents look absolutely fantastic. This isn't just some cheap word processor like some you would normally find on a tablet, it's a full blown piece of kit that allows real work to be completed.

Another great feature is that all of your documents will automatically sync with your iCloud information, allowing you to access them anywhere that has an internet connection. If you have an iPhone or Mac then it gets even better, with documents automatically syncing across all of your devices, allowing you to start something on one device then resume it on another.

Google Sheets

Google Sheets is a mobile and tablet friendly spreadsheet application. It works in the cloud, allowing you to edit on the go through any browser, simply by logging in with your Google information.

The application works great and is pretty touch friendly. Although you probably won't find yourself throwing together huge spreadsheets using this, the app is more than capable and easy to use. As mentioned above, due to it being cloud based you can do some more serious work on a browser and then complete or use the spreadsheets on your iPad. This comes in great if you're using any form of trackers on the go!

Keynote

Keynote is a powerful presentation creation tool. It allows the user to throw together great looking presentations using nothing but their iPad and it's designed from the ground up to work with touch screens. Although sometimes the lack of mouse input and the smaller screen can make things fiddly, the overall experience is pretty good using the app. The app really helps the user by helping to align images and text boxes, helping you to avoid those little mistakes.

When combined with an iPhone the app becomes even more powerful. Not only do you have the same iCloud sync options like you have in Pages, but you also have a host of presentation tools. You can add notes for each of your slides and use your iPhone to view these while also using your iPhone as a remote for your presentation. This comes in really handy when you give the iPad to someone to view and you can guide them through your presentation with nothing in your hands but your iPhone.

Garage Band

Now this might not really be a super productive app, but if you like to create music then this is a very nifty little app. For anyone who has used the app on a Mac then you will immediately feel at home, with a whole host of tools to help you record real instruments or software instruments. It's powerful and I've never had any issues with input lag etc, recording a range of guitars, vocals and bass using this tool to create tracks.

There is a huge range of virtual/software instruments and rum kits to help really flesh your track out and experiment. Editing your tracks couldn't be easier as the app has been designed to work with just touch input. Throw in the fact that like other Apple apps it syncs across iCloud, this makes the app a really valuable tool for those who want to record music on the go!

Dropbox

For all your online storage needs Dropbox is the perfect companion. It is easy to use with a range of mobile apps and desktop apps, synchronizing with a large range of productivity tools. A large range of my desktop applications allow me to save directly to Dropbox and that's the same within my iPad. Although you'll probably already be using iCloud, Dropbox offers better compatibility with other operating systems.

Dropbox also offers a good range of picture and folder back up for your iPad and mobile devices. You can enable auto backup of your photos and built into the tool you can share any files saved, helping you to work collaboratively with others.

iPad Pro/Plus

With rumors of Apples next iPad’s coming up there is one that has really caught my attention, the larger screened iPad. I had it in my head that Apple would align their naming with their Mac and Macbook range, running with a mini, air and pro, but after the announcement of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus it looks like maybe Pro won’t be appearing anytime soon. Regardless of the name it comes with, if it does come I’m very excited for it!

Some people think I’m a little mad wanting a larger iPad than my Air that I have already, but the only thing that really lets my iPad Air down right now is the screen size. The device itself is very close to being able to replace my Macbook, but the screen is just a little too small. Rumors suggest that the iPad Pro/Plus will come with a 13 inch display which is perfect. Combined with a keyboard dock then it will offer a near perfect solution for portable productivity.

I do a lot of writing on the go and my iPad Air, keyboard dock and Pages app really make work easy to accomplish. I’ve even gone a little crazy at times and completed Keynote presentations and spreadsheets on my iPad, but due to the screen size things get fiddly.

The 13 inch screen size would help to make things a lot easier to complete, removing the fiddly process of constantly zooming in and out of certain areas on the screen. Even with the added weight and potentially added discomfort of holding something so big, that can be easily cancelled out by using a keyboard dock which normally act as a stand as well.

The only issue I have with the idea of a 13 inch iPad is that iOS doesn’t support mouse input unless you jailbreak. Now if I’m going to go keyboard dock, larger display, and potentially replace my Macbook, then I’d love to see Apple implement this into the software. Considering their refusal to do this in the past, insisting that the touchscreen is the only input needed, this could be unlikely. However there are a lot of things happening over at Apple that they always insisted would never happen, so maybe mouse input will show up?

Only time will tell what new devices are coming. We don’t have long to wait, with Apple usually announcing new iPad’s within October. I’ll be keeping a close eye out and really hope Apple come out with something bigger and if they do, maybe I’ll finally give up my Macbook.

iPhone 6 Rumors

We all know it’s coming, in fact in just less than a week we will know all the juicy details, but in the meantime there are plenty of rumours to keep us going. So what are some of the big ones on everyones mind?

Bigger Screen

This one seems pretty likely with all the leaked pictures we have seen and also with the competition increasing the size of their displays so dramatically. Will we see a larger iPhone display? I’d like to think so. I like the current size of the iPhone, but it is pretty tiny, especially after using other devices for a large amount of time. a 4.7″ display seems like a good size to settle one and if there is also a larger 5.5″ device to go along side the 4.7″ that would really make things interesting.

NFC

Will we finally see Apple embrace NFC in their next device? Although some would see this as Apples attempt to play catch up I honestly think if Apple implement NFC in their device then we will see the market finally change. NFC has been around for a long time but no one has really taken it seriously. Apple have the power, influence and ability to really kick NFC into life, gaining a good range of partners to bring it into the retail sector. Could they have what it takes to really spark mobile payments?

Lightning Headphones

Now here’s one I really hope isn’t going to come true. Some believe that Apple will kill the 3.5mm jack and allow the use of headphones through the lightning dock only. Although I could see Apple stepping in this direction, allowing them more control over what headphones their customers use, I really hope this doesn’t come true.

Saphire Display

A super strong display that only diamond can scratch? Sign me up! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve pulled my gadget from my pocket only to find a brand new scratch on the screen. If Apple can bring this rumour to life then I’d be more than happy.

Conclusion

Well there isn’t a conclusion, it’s all just rumour. We have to wait until September 9th when Apple will unveil their next iPhone. Apple have a lot to prove, so I’m excited by what we may see on the day. In the meantime all we can do is wait!

iPhone 5S Battery Case Review

Normally battery cases like this are relatively large and bulky but to be honest this case doesn’t add a huge amount. Granted, it is thicker and longer, but compared to others I’ve used this is on the smaller size.

The build quality is good, sturdy and well put together. It comes with two plastic surrounds, a smokey brown and a clear plastic. These clip around the iphone, holding it in place and protecting the surround. It feels secure and the case hasn’t come apart once since using it, which is extremely positive. It’s a little fiddley taking the case apart, but you know that means it is nice and secure. One added little thing is that this case redirects your speakers so they are front facing, absolutely amazing for media and also for conference calls on loudspeaker!

The one thing that feels like a let down regarding the quality is the kickstand. It’s a great addition and comes in handy, but on the flip side it is very thin and I can imagine it will quite easily snap off after a knock.

The battery charging, probably the main reason you’re looking at this product, is fantastic. It offered me another two charges which was fantastic. One thing I tested was whether or not this case could charge my phone from flat and I’m happy to say that it could. Other cases I’ve used have failed to do this, so I’m more than happy with this feature. Also the added fact that I no longer need to carry a lightning cable around as this case acts as a Micro USB adapter is a massive win!

At first glance I was concerned that a lot of head phones would not be compatible with this case, but after looking through the box I found the supplied headphone adapter which will help resolve that issue. Everything you need comes provided which is a bonus.

So is it worth the cost? Yes, definitely. It’s well built, solid and offers the power user everything they could need. If you’re looking for a case with built in battery then look no further!

 

 

 

iPad Air Keyboard Case Review

This is a really nice keyboard case, especially for the price. I’m used to using a Belkin, all in one case, which has been fantastic up until recently when it has started to fall apart.

The case itself is very nice, feels great and offers a good level of protection. The lock/unlock function on the case works as advertised which comes in handy. The case feels soft and well made, wrapping around the entire iPad to cover and protect the entire body. All buttons and ports are accessible when the case is closed meaning the user doesn’t have to open the case to use it e.g. charging.

Moving onto the keyboard and I must say I am more than impressed. It’s lightweight and feels solid, the metal casing really adding a premium feel to the device. The keys are slightly smaller than a conventional keyboard but they most certainly aren’t tiny. I found typing on the keyboard to be pleasant and easy to get to grips with. The keyboard has a conventional layout unlike some other iPad keyboards that oddly sacrifice the caps lock and tab keys. The other nice feature is that this keyboard has dedicated functions for all the major operating systems, meaning you can use this with a number of devices, not just your iPad.

So to sum up this is a fantastic buy, especially for the price. Normally in this range you get an average product, but both the case and keyboard feel premium and work fantastically. The only issue I found with the entire package was the magnet that fastens the keyboard to the case when close is not very strong meaning that the keyboard will normally come loose in my bag. Not a massive issue, but slightly annoying.

With a number of styles to select and a fantastic product for the price, this is definitely worth the investment.

Chromebooks

Up until a month ago I had never played with a Chromebook. I saw them as watered down laptop, capable of barely anything, but now I’ve had a tinker with a few, changing my perception.

What got me think was, what do I actually use my laptop for? Writing, browsing and the occasional spreadsheet, all of which a Chromebook can handle. They are nice and lightweight, and the best bit, they are very reasonably priced.

I almost want to get, my carry everywhere device, but that seems a little wasteful considering I have my macbook pro. However it’s something I’m considering for the future. It offers everything that I need and at a pretty good price.

What really struck me was how likely it is that these devices could really start to eat into Microsofts territory. For students a Chromebook is pretty perfect and for a lot of other people these Chromebooks will really fulfil most needs.

What I’d like to see from the Chromebooks is either a 15 inch model, or a hybrid, a great tablet and keyboard combination, like a Surface running Chrome. Fingers crossed either of these things come along, and then maybe I’ll say farewell to my Macbook.

I think it should be an interesting year seeing how Chromebooks evolve and push their way into the market. They’ve become serious competitors now, offering more than enough to steal users away from Windows. Who knows what the future hold, but with Microsoft offering a hugely pricey Surface 3 in response, the future isn’t look bright for them.

WWDC Confirmed by Apple

Apple has confirmed that this years WWDC will take place from the 2nd to the 6h of June. I’m sure we will see all the latest from iOS and OS X. It will be interesting to see how closely Apple joins the two operating systems, which have gotten progressively similar year after year.

What are you most excited to see from Apple?



Warhammer Quest Review

Introduction

I’ve sunk a fair amount of time into Warhammer Quest and must admit I’ve found it to be a pretty good game. It looks fantastic andworks extremely well with touch input. Clearly a lot of thought has gone into making this game.

GameplayImage

Warhammer Quest is a top down dungeon crawler. You take control of four warriors who move from town to town, collecting quests and searching dungeons. There are a number of classes to control and lots of loot to discover.

Combat and movement follows the conventional rules of Games Workshop, giving your warriors a set number of move and combat points per turn. This slows the combat down and forces the player to take a little more time planning their strategy which works fantastically well on the iPad.

One thing that is a little disappointing is that Warhammer Quest is all about searching through dungeons and nothing more. It’s fun for a while but I’ve found myself wishing the game was a little more deep, allowing me more freedom to explore other landscapes or even just the towns I visit.

However for the cost I can’t really complain. They pretty much nailed the gameplay.

Graphics

This isn’t the kind of game that’s going to blow your socks off when it comes to graphics but it still looks good. I loved the art style of the dungeons and the animations of the warriors worked very nicely.

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Conclusion

For anyone looking for a casual RPG dungeon crawler this is the game for you. There’s enough content to hold your interest for hours and it’s well worth the price. It’s a great game for killing time and it’s new and original, taking advantage of touch input and making great use of the controls.

Download – iPhone Download – iPad

iPhone 5S Review

Introduction 

Its been a long time since I used an iPhone for personal use. I fell in love with Android some time back and shunned the iPhones seeing them as basic and small so I really expected to dislike the iPhone 5S, in fact I wanted to dislike it. However the opposite has happened, I’ve fallen in love with it.

Look and Feel

Apple have done what Apple do well, built a device that looks and feels amazing. Its superbly lightweight and the screen looks fantastic despite it being relatively small. The iPhone feels premium, beautifully crafted and fantastic to handle.

I’ve been put off the smaller screen of the iPhone for some time now, preferring the mammoth sized displays you find on Androids. However using the iPhone reminded me of what this device is, its a phone. It no longer takes up every bit of space in my pocket and it feels comfortable to hold during lengthy calls. It still does everything else well while at the same time doesn’t over stretch its purpose. With tablets at such reasonable prices why do we also opt for giant displays on our phones?

If you are used to previous generations of Apple devices then you may find yourself in need of new charging or dock accessories as the port in the iPhone 5 and above has changed. There was outcry when this happened but at the end of the day it saved on time and also this device charges up extremely fast.

User Interface

I wasn’t a fan of iOS 7 on the iPad but on the iPhone it works well. Its punchy and sharp and responds extremely fast. Noticeable differences from the previous OS are the complete change of style, new launcher options and revamped multitasking.

We still lack some of the customisation options that you would find in an Android device but iOS 7 is pretty nice. Its fast and intuitive and above all else its extremely simple to use. Like all previous iOS devices Apple have maintained that quality where anyone can pick up a device and find their way around it regardless of experience.

Camera

Here’s where things aren’t quite as good. The camera is an improvement over previous models and the dual LED flash is a welcome addition. I managed to snap some great looking pictures on the go and with the additional camera functions, such as slow motion videos, things got really fun.

However, where the camera falls down is against its competition. Its the best Apple camera on any of its devices but when pitted against competition flagships it falls short. The main devices I have used along side the iPhone 5S are, Galaxy Note 3, Xperia Z1 and the Lumia 1020. What we do need to consider however is that they pack a better camera but they are also huge devices when compared to the iPhone. Its a trade off you need to decide on.

Battery

Battery life was surprisingly good, easily lasting me a full day. Its what I’ve come to expect from this kind of device. It won’t blow you away and you’re still going to need to charge this on a daily basis.

What I liked

Surprisingly I loved the size of the device. It felt almost perfect to use as a phone with all the smart added extras. For me it is nearly perfect as I carry a tablet around everywhere I go and have the option of using my iPhone as a mobile hotspot. For some, the size will be a let down, for others a massive bonus.

What I disliked

The price. Yes Apple have made a beautiful and premium device but I still cannot accept that it is worth the asking price. It has lovely features and is well crafted but its a hefty price tag.

Stand Out Feature

The finger print reader for me was the stand out feature. I expected it to be a gimmick, something that rarely worked. Instead I found it to be fully functional and pretty handy. Literally I pressed my thumb on the home key and voila! No need for patterns, codes or pin numbers.

Conclusion

In conclusion I loved the iPhone 5S and I can’t really fault it. Potential buyers need to decide on what they really need from a phone and take a look at what other devices they carry. If you lug a tablet around with you then the iPhone is a nice companion. If you’re looking for an all in one device for heavy browsing on productivity on the go then this device probably isn’t for you.

Is it worth the price tag? Hard to justify really. However its one of the most surprising devices I’ve used in a long time and for once I’ve been pleasantly excited while using the iPhone.

Check it out here: iPhone 5S

My Top 10 Gadgets 2013

Below is a list of my top 10 favourite gadgets that I used throughout 2013. I got to play with a whole load of different toys and enjoyed most of those. Check out my thoughts below and click the links for more details in Amazon.

1: Macbook Pro Retina 13 inch 

 

Recently I took the plunge and upgraded from my 11 inch Macbook Air and I’m very glad I did. The Macbook Pro is a stunning machine. Its fast, responsive and above all the screen is beautiful.  

I’m no Apple fan boy, far from it in fact, but I’ve got a place in my heart reserved for MacBooks. So far my pro has served me well and is a fantastic step up from my Macbook Air. I love the larger screen size and the retina display is to die for. 

The device just feels premium and is everything I could ask for. For what I need, the Macbook Pro Retina is perfect and I would recommend it above everything else. True love has been found in 2013. 

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The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 was my personal phone for the best part of 2013 and I loved it. I recently changed to the Sony Xperia Z1 and find that I miss the screen size and stylus from my Note. Even it’s cheaper plastic finish isn’t enough to put me off, in fact its a bonus, making the device light weight. The Note 2 is easily my favourite phone that I used in 2013. 

Sony hit a niche market with this product. The camera on my phone is one of the biggest features I use and now with the QX10 lens I don’t really need to worry about the camera quality onboard my chosen phone. The device has god battery, is small and compact and relatively easy to use even for an amateur like myself.  

The zoom is absolutely fantastic and snapping pics in low light conditions is amazing. The lens far exceeds any dedicated camera built into a smart phone that I have used so far and that includes the Nokia Lumia 1020. 

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So I felt it was time to upgrade my graphics card in 2013 and I’m glad I did. This was the first year that I played some big name single player games from start to finish and actually enjoyed them. Games like Bioshock Infinite ran like a dead dog on my previous card but after installing my GTX 680 it ran like a dream. 

Nvidias physx also added a little spice compared to my previous AMD card. Its nothing to really shout about but there were a few noticeable differences in certain games that caught my eye, the biggest being in Planet Side 2 with its oddly beautiful teleporter effects. 

2013 was the year that I returned to dedicated portable gaming hardware thanks to Pokemon’s lure. I had always used a tablet or phone for casual gaming, singing the devices praises and condemning portable gaming hardware, saying how redundant it was. It wasn’t until I returned to true hardware controls that I realised how wrong I had been. 

The 3DS is a lovely size and very comfortable to hold. Its got a great sized screen and has a pretty good catalogue of games. I’m glad I made the move back to a portable console and couldn’t be more impressed with this device. 

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I have a love hate relationship with Sony. I want to love their products but I’ve always been unlucky in the past with all my Sony branded products going faulty. So with great reluctance I gave up my note 2 and got myself an Xperia Z1. 

Am I glad I did? Kind of. The camera is hit and miss, half of the time it takes better quality photos than I’ve ever taken before, the other half it captures horrid blurs. It feels so solid and premium unlike most Android devices which is a welcome change and the waterproof feature actually works! Its beyond fast, responding like lightning and very rarely lagging. 

The downside is its huge and my device is already faulty which is a real shame. I’ve had it exchanged and the second unit was faulty so it appears my bad luck with Sony has continued. 

The Nexus 7 is my tablet of choice at the moment. Its a relatively low cost, yet powerful device. Sporting pure Android with no manufacturer interference leaves the Nexus running blazingly fast. 

Its light weight and feels great in the hand, its rubberised back and sides stopping it from sliding all over the place and making it easier to grip. The screen size is both a positive and a negative, small enough for light browsing, gaming and work but too small for anything more. 

Overall I’m impressed with the Nexus and have so far enjoyed using it on the train to work.  

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Ah the iPad mini. This would easily be my device of the year if it wasnt for a certain software update. The iPad mini feels and looks fantastic. The screen size is perfect for on the go work and gaming. Its not too big and not too small, the best tablet size I have used. The battery life was good and it ran smoothly, never skipping a beat. 

So what changed? iOS 7 landed, turning my iPad mini into a horribly slow device. My iPad was so slow it had become unbearable to use. I understand that older Apple hardware begins to run terribly slow as new software updates land but the iPad Mini was still a current device at the time of iOS 7. In my opinion this was a terrible move by Apple. 

I miss my iPad mini as it was easily the best tablet I have ever used. After the way Apple destroyed my device I don’t think I’ll be taking the plunge and updating to the latest model. 

My first Windows 8 tablet. There is huge potential from these hybrid devices but I still don’t feel like any manufacture has gotten dit right so far. I really enjoyed my time with the Ativ Smart PC Pro but it ultimately felt like a jack of all trades. As a tablet it was average and as a laptop it was average. 

The keyboard dock was plagued with disconnection issues and as tablet the device was just too big and bulky. The thing that really killed my experience was Windows 8 which offered a very jarring experience. Modern UI and desktop mode just don’t fit together at all killing any seamless experience you would expect from a device such as this. 

The concept is sound and the potential is massive but I can’t help but feel that these hybrid devices are just lacking. 

So I mentioned already that I have a love hate relationship with Sony and the same applies with the Xperia Tablet Z. I loved the feel of it. Its so slim, with a beautiful screen and gorgeous matte finish. Its probably the nicest looking Android tablet out there. 

However its incredibly slow. Almost everything I did on the device was laggy unless I installed a custom launcher. Web browsing was poor and just navigating menus was slow. I’m not entirely sure what Sony did to this device to make it respond so poorly! Needless to say my time was short lived with this device.

 

 

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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Technology Got Stuck

I can’t help but shake the feeling that right now technology feels stuck in the novelty and experimental stage. Progression seems to be mixed with different companies and industries experimenting with all sorts. Where will a product line end up?

Let’s take tablets and netbooks, hell, even laptops as an example. Apple undoubtedly managed to persuade the general public that every single one of them needed an iPad to replace their laptop and now other manufactures are following this example. But who’s going to come out on top? Everyone is experimenting. We have ultrabooks, we have hybrid tablets, we have convertibles we have plain simple tablets… then we have iOS, we have Android, we have windows…. and thats just tablets…. there’s more operating systems coming!

This isn’t the only example. Look at smart phones currently. Manufactures are simply recycling their older products and bumping up the screen size and internal specs. Where has the innovation gone? I remember eagerly watching as a phone was announced and being wowed or shocked by the complete new design. Gone are those days.

I just can’t help but shake the feeling that manufactures are pushing their products into niches they just don’t fit into. It reminds me of the HD DVD vs BLU Ray race. People held off dedicating themselves to a technology because they didn’t know what would win out. I feel the same right now, especially with things such as tablets/laptops. I honestly couldn’t say which is going to win out and last into the foreseeable future.

Everything just seems as though its manufactures testing the water and experimenting without actually truly dedicating to what it is they want to do. Come on guys back to what made technology so exciting! Stick with the direction you want to go in and throw your weight behind it! 😀