Fitness bands have been all the rage for a while now, but most of the time I find that most people, once buying a Fitbit or a Nike+ Fuelband, adhere to their newly discovered interest in getting into shape for a short time, and eventually start to “forget” their new wearable tech on the top of the dresser. I, personally, have never been into the bracelet-style of fitness tracker. When Polar sent us their A300 to check out, though, I was far more receptive to trying it out due to its more traditional aesthetic. Of course, it is a lot more than just a watch, and now I am addicted to it.
For the record, this review was written after the site closed. However, due to some shipping shenanigans, I didn’t receive it until the second last day – definitely not enough time to review it. So I am back-dating this post because I am anal retentive and I promised I would review this piece of tech. – ed.
Degauss Labs has been on the mark with their Android-friendly headphones. The last pair that I reviewed, the Dual Driver, was impressive – especially at the price point it occupied. Degauss’ latest product, the Noir, demonstrates their continuing commitment to quality and great sound. These headphones are a little bit more expensive than their Dual Driver cousin – but they are worth every cent of that small jump in price.
More often than not, I play video games to relax. I’m not sure why, but given the choice between something new and something I have played a dozen times, I’ll usually choose the latter. I’ll played through Fallout: New Vegas five times (there’s literally nothing new left for me to find in that game) – but I keep going back to it. Games take the place of Reality TV for me, when I need something unchallenging, something that seems familiar even when I’ve never seen it before. Even though it’s a brand new title to me, Youzu Games’ League of Angels – Fire Raiders for iOS devices immediately falls into my category of “comfort games”. Although it seems like there are a lot of complicated elements and plenty to learn, the game almost plays itself on your behalf. Some people might want a lot more control and strategy than this title gives them – but I dug it, and the hours disappeared the first time I played it.
When I was a kid, one of my favourite movies was Tron. It was so different from anything that was out there – and yet, there was something very familiar about it. Of course, shortly after I saw the film, I would play Tron: Deadly Discs and Tron Maze-a-Tron on my Intellivision at home, reliving the exploits of my electronic hero. Fast forward to the future, when Tron: Legacy hit the scene. I was pretty excited about it, and enjoyed the movie a lot (a lot more than most of my friends, anyway). So, it was a pleasant surprise when Disney Infinity included some Tron-based Power Discs. Now, in an interesting move, characters from Tron are available to play in Disney infinity 2.0: Marvel Super Heroes – but they aren’t your typical Disney Infinity figures. In fact, they aren’t physical figures at all – they are completely DLC for iOS.
There are so many options for gaming now – more than there have ever been. Folks that like to chill at home can purchase a console, or build a gaming PC, while those who spend time on the go can rely on their tablets, laptops, or portable gaming systems (3DS or Vita, for instance) to help fill their gaming needs. Of course, most people can’t afford every system that they might want – and sometimes, practicality dictates that a tablet is the best option for one’s all-around needs. But tablets like the iPad have some decent games, and have a screen large enough to counter the need to squint – plus, with a relatively cheap attachment, can output their screen contents to an HDTV or projector. The only thing lacking in terms of the console experience would be a nice, wireless controller – unless, of course, you happened to own a SteelSeries Stratus XL. SteelSeries sent us one of these devices to check out – and after spending some time with it, I have to say that this controller does nothing but add to the positive experience of gaming on iOS – and I’m not talking Angry Birds.
Over the holiday season I picked myself up and iPad Mini (with retina display), so when the opportunity came up to review Gearbox Software’s Brothers in Arms 3: Sons of War (iTunes or Android), I put up my hand. As a lover of first-person shooters, I was curious to see how this genre made the jump from the console systems and PC to the hand-held device. I must say that I was impressed with the game-play and that I have continued to play the game after the completion of my review. However, as fun and entertaining as this title is, the game-play is detracted from – but not for the reason that you may think.
When I was younger, I used to burn a lot of time playing Arkanoid: Revenge of Doh II (aka Arkanoid 2) on my Commodore 128. I had played breakout games before that, of course, but there was something magical about Arkanoid 2 that hooked me right away. There have been many Breakout clones since then, on many different platforms – with some being more entertaining than others. Isotope 244 recently released their own entry in to the breakout genre with Acky’s Breakout Reloaded – Brick Breaker for iOS and Android devices. While not the most modern-looking game, Acky’s Breakout Reloaded is definitely a fun game with an 80’s arcade feel that won’t break the bank.