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iPhone 5

Posted by Ub3rG33k on Sep 21, 2012 in Apple, iPhone, Tech

Having been able to resist the iPhone 4S last year, I decided to take the plunge and get the iPhone 5. It seems Apple are releasing a ‘major design change’ version every 2 years, and just a tweaked version with only minor speed bumps and features, e.g….faster chip…Siri on the years in between.

Now I know by now you’re sick of reading blogs about to iPhone 5, so I’ll try and keep this more focused on my personal feeling on upgrading from an iPhone 4.

The most noticeable new feature is the screen, now I know they’ve only stretched it 1/2 inch, but that makes a huge difference. For example you now get an extra row of apps/folders on the home screen, as well as an extra 4 apps in each folder. Additionally with the like of the weather app, it utilises this extra screen by displaying an hour by hour forecast, as well as keeping the 5 day forecast. At the moment, there are very few apps that utilise the full screen size, and you do get a black border at the top and the bottom, however with having a black iPhone, you don’t notice it.

The next thing I noticed is how snappy it is, I upgraded the iPhone 4 to iOS6 the other night, and although it didn’t really slow the phone down, it didn’t feel that smooth. I’ve nearly reached my limit of songs on iTunes Match, and the iPhone 4 took a good 30 seconds to refresh my albums when I went into the music app….iPhone 5…instant! I noticed a similar experience with the Podcast App too. I let it sync with iCloud, and within seconds it had populated the app with all my podcast I subscribe too. I know I’ve jumped up 2 processors (the A4 to the A6), but using the apps that I’ve used for the last 2 years feel a hell of a lot snappier.

The design…I love it, the black outer trim, the non glass back, the speaker ports on the bottom…it looks pretty awesome, almost stealthy looking. I’ve currently got the 2 phones sat on the desk in front of me, and the thought that keeps coming to mine is the Robocop remake (weird I know), the iPhone 4 feels like the old Robocop that we know and love, the new one feels like the Remake…if you don’t know what I’m talking about, google it, but the phone is noticeably thinner and lighter too. I know these fact are already in all of the tech blogs you’ve already read, but they are quite noticeable.

I guess one of the features I’ve been looking forward to playing with in Siri, with only having an iPhone 4 and an iPad 2, I’ve not been able to use this feature. After playing with it for a couple of hours, I conclusion is….it’s ok. I think doing simple stuff like opening an app, booking an appointment, or anything that is on the phone should work ok, however ask it something simple like ‘What’s time is the next train from Rugby to London’, it just gets far too confused. I’m not sure if I’m not asking the questions in the correct word order, or it’s just not too smart in the UK, but it was attempting to search for events on the internet, and even thought I was asking about Rome at one point.

The camera has had an upgrade, and after a quick play, it looks like a huge improvement over the iPhone 4 camera, but I’ll have a proper play with it over the weekend and post these up later. I’m interested myself to see how the 1080 video records, as well as the new Panorama feature works.

I think the final thing to note is the new dock connector…it’s tiny! I bet it’s about a fifth of the size on the previous connector. This does mean that the 4 docks in my house are now useless…well, that’s unless I pay £25 each for the adapters.

All in all, it’s an iPhone, does what my iPhone 4 did, only a little quicker, with some additional features to play with, and hopefully it’ll keep me going until the iPhone 6 is released in 2 years time.

Below, you’ll find the unboxing pics.

p.s. this is the first time the iPhone 4 has been out of it’s bumper since I’ve got it, surprising how marked it’s got while being ‘protected’

Apple iPhone 5 Unboxing Apple iPhone 5 Unboxing Apple iPhone 5 Unboxing Apple iPhone 5 Unboxing Apple iPhone 5 Unboxing Apple iPhone 5 Unboxing Apple iPhone 5 Unboxing Apple iPhone 5 Unboxing Apple iPhone 5 Unboxing Apple iPhone 5 Unboxing Apple iPhone 5 Unboxing Apple iPhone 5 Unboxing Apple iPhone 5 Unboxing

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Nintendo 3DS XL

Posted by Ub3rG33k on Aug 16, 2012 in 3DS, Nintendo

For some reason, the 3DS didn’t really bother me, granted I was intrigued at ‘glasses free’ 3D when I saw it announced way back at E3 2010, but unlike more gaming gadgets, I didn’t go for a day one purchase.
Roll on a year, and the announcement of the 3DS XL, again I wasn’t too bothered, to be honest I have a DSLite and a Wii and can’t remember the last time I switched either of them on.
Then a couple of weeks ago more and more of the midlifegamer community started to buy 3DS’s and exchange friends codes , I suddenly got the urge to buy one, and unfortunately when I get the urge to buy something, it tends to be on the forefront of my mind until I actually buy it. I then listened to an episode of the midlifegamer podcast, on which one of the hosts discussed the fun time he was having with his new 3DS XL and I was sold and ordered one.

Now the stupid thing is, I’m about to embark on a year long challenge where I’m not allowed to buy a game, which is quite honestly going to be hell. As you can imagine, deciding which platform to buy for when it comes to Birthdays and Christmas is going to be a hard decision.

Ok, so history over, and today it turned up. The first thing to note is this is huge in comparison to my old DSLite, however wasn’t really shocked as this apparently has a 90% bigger screen. For some reason I went for the Red and Black version, it just seemed to look better, I one point I did have the Blue one in my basket, but changed.

My previous experience of the Nintendo handheld interface was on the DSLite, and lets be honest it was rather basic, so seeing this new shiny UI was a sight for sore eyes. Still to this day, I think the Wii has the best user experiences on all the current generation consoles, it’s clean, easy to use and very user friendly, and Nintendo have brought that to the 3DS XL (I’m assuming the 3DS also).

One thing that I really like about the software is the ‘Activity Log’. Somebody who used Google Latitude and Foursquare to track my real world movements, and 5 different gaming sites to track my gaming time and achievements/trophies….being able to track the time I use the device gave me a happy little twinge.

The console has a couple of camera, a front facing, and 2 at the rear to allow you to take 3D pictures and up to 10 minutes worth of video in 3D. I’ve had a quick play, and actually quite like what I’m seeing. My assumption is that these can only be played back on another 3DS, but I’m sure Google will be my friend.

With the 3DS there are a handful of augmented reality games that use the camera, which are ok. I got something similar with the PSVita, I played them all once then didn’t really go back to them either.

As expected with a newer handheld, the Nintendo store is available for you to download some old school titles, which is good if you want to go back to the GameBoy slot has been removed. I did however have this slot available on my DSLite and never used it.

Now the fun stuff, (and how Sony should have done it instead of using the terrible ‘Near’ service), when you fire up the 3DS, you’re asked to create your Mii, very much like you do on the Wii. Once created this becomes your avatar, which I’m assuming can/will be used in games, however the cool bit is this avatar represents you in the StreetPass. I’ve not been out and about with it yet, but from what I understand, if I’ve got my 3DS with me, and it’s in standby mode, and I’m in the vicinity of another 3DS, they will automatically talk to each other and offer a friends request. Again, if I understand correctly, you can only have 10 ‘friends request’ queued up, but once accepted, these will become other avatars within your games.

I would like to point out that if you have a Wii, and like me you spent many evening creating Mii characters, you can transfer these to the 3DS. I currently have , Beavis and Butthead, and many random Star Trek, Star Wars, Matrix, Simpons and Red Dwarf cast members running around my Mii Plaza.

Finally, the 3DS does have an integrated web browsers, which is…ok, however nowhere near as smooth or as usable as on my iPhone, so don’t really see me using it very much, it also seems to take far too long to render the pages.

As it stands, I’ve not actually played a game on it, as I’ve been too busy exploring the device and setting it up, but I’ll post what I think of the games on my gaming site.

All in all, a cracking device, not sure how long it’ll be before the honeymoon period wears off and it’s sat on my shelf next to my DSLite, PSP and PSVita, but so far so good.

As always, unboxing pictures below, and a great unboxing and instructional video from Oli.

Accessory kit, 3DS and charger In the box The Box Content Out of the box ...and open The case The Accessory kit

Just so you can get a size comparison, below is an image of the 3DS and PSVita together….yup, it’s huge!

Screen size compared to the vita

 

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Apple TV 2nd Generation

Posted by Ub3rG33k on Oct 4, 2010 in Apple, Films, Tech

So today my Apple TV (2nd Generation) turned up, and I have to say I’m pretty impressed.

Anybody who knows me or has been reading these my post, will know that over the last couple of years, I’ve become an Apple fan boy I’ve gradually replaced my MP3 player, my phone, my PCs and even my entire network with Apple products, and as time has gone by, I’ve organised my entire music collection to be “iTunes friendly”.

I’ve been toying with the idea of an Apple TV for a while now, and very nearly bought one of the 1 generation ones about 2 months ago.

I’ve been using a piece of software on my MacMini called MediaLink, to stream my iTunes content to my PS3, which to be honest has been working pretty well, apart from the fact that it won’t play DRM media.

So the announcement was made early in September that a new Apple TV would be out shortly, so me being me ordered one.

So what’s it like ?

Now this is the first time I’ve used an Apple TV, so some of the features I’m raving about, might have been in the first generation.

First of all, it’s size, this thing is tiny, it literally fits in the palm of my hand.

The device has a very small white light on the front, the flashes with the remote press. The rear has a USB port, a HDMI port, power port and an optical output.

Setup, as with any Apple product was painless, plugged it in, selected my language, added my apple ID and that was it, good to go.

So what is an Apple TV ?

Basically, it’s a device which allows you to stream content from the web, and a PC or Mac which is running iTunes home sharing (please note, you have to have iTunes 10 installed for it to be picked up)

The main menu gives you a few options.

Movies, and then the sub menu of Top Movies, Genres, Search and in Theaters.

The movie collection is huge, and everything I searched for came back with a result (kinda like the movie selection in iTunes)

The “in Theaters” option was essentially what you get on Apples trailer site, all the trailers for whats in the cinema right now.

The next tab is Internet, with the option of YouTube, Podcasts, MobileMe, Flickr and Radio.

The Youtube option will allow you to sign in and see your subscriptions.

The podcast option does what it says on the tin, it opens up the content as found in the iTunes store and splits them into Audio, Video or all. You can then “add to favourites”, which will let you know how many unwatched episodes you have, it also remembers your position which I thought was a good feature.

I don’t have a MobileMe account, but assume if I had, I would be able to stream from this.

The Flickr allows you to subscribe to public users and view their content. I can’t see a way of signing in, as this would be perfect as I’m a Flickr pro subscriber and have my entire photo collection hidden online, it would be nice to be able to access these.

Finally there’s the radio, which is the same content as the Radio tab in iTunes.

The next tab is Computers. Basically any machine that you have iTunes on (version 10 or above) with Home Sharing enabled, you can stream all you content from them.

Finally you have the settings tab, which you can…..well change the settings 🙂

2 interesting features in the settings are the AirPlay, and Remotes.

The Airplay allows you to use the Apple TV as an Airport Express, and the Remote option allows you to use you iPhone as a remote control. As your probably aware, the iPhone remote app has recently been upgraded to support the Apple TV. The app works with gesture controls, swipe left and right for fast forward and backward, tap to pause and play, and the godsend was being able to type in when searching. There is also flick up to get to chapter, and 2 finger left swipe to roll back 10 seconds, you can even move the onscreen content using this !

The AirPlay is pretty cool too, now granted, to play media from my Mac by selecting Computers > Mac Mini > Music > Album > Play or I also have the option to connect to my MacMini via the Apple Remote app, select the Album > Play > select the Apple TV as the speakers. This will not only output the audio to the Apple TV, but it will also display the album art and ID tag of the track being played.

Now I subscribe to a lot of podcasts, and it’s nice to see that if I’m looking at my Computers library, I then watch or listen to a podcast, this syncs back to the library. There was nothing more annoying than watching something using MediaLink, then having to Screenshare onto my MacMini to mark them as watched. This seems to be the same for Movies and TV too.

So far I’ve very happy with this device, and I guess I’ll be spending the next couple of months converting all my DVD’s to mp4 format and adding these to my iTunes library.

For anyone who uses iTunes for their media content, and if you have a spare £99, I suggest getting one of these.

As always, unboxing photos are below.

Apple TV Unboxing

Apple TV Unboxing

Apple TV Unboxing

Apple TV Unboxing

Apple TV Unboxing

Apple TV Unboxing

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