Oct 26, 13
It’s getting real close now – it’s less than a month away from the release of Sony’s next generation offering, the Playstation 4. There are a number of things you may have wondered about prior to getting your new console. Some of these are addressed below:
What’s in the box?
When you get the box home, what you will find is the console itself, 1 Dualshock 4 pad, 1 power supply (no external brick), 1 mono headset, manuals, and for the first time, 1 HDMI cable. So, you will have everything you need to start gaming right away.
Can I play back music over my games like on Xbox?
Yes – but only if you are a Music Unlimited subscriber. For the first time ever, Sony are not permitting audio CD playback, and the PS4 will not support MP3s either. This seems to be a move to “push” consumers to subscribe to the PS4.
Will there be an Always On internet requirement?
No. Microsoft had to back down after much consumer anger over this issue. However, it should be noted that there is a day 1 patch (around 300MB), which will be required to activate certain PS4 features, like Blu Ray / DVD playback. Although, if you do not have an internet connection at all, Sony will actually send you out the patch in the post, on a Blu Ray disc.
Will the PS4 play PS3 Blu Rays?
No. The PS4 is a different animal to the PS3 altogether, so backwards compatibility is not at all possible. However, Sony are expected to announce a contingency in this regard. With their acquisition of Gaikai, it may be possible to stream games from the original Playstation, all the way up to PS3, on your PS4.
Do I need to be a PS Plus Member to play online?
Yes. For the majority of multiplayer games at least. However, some Indie titles will allow for online gaming without a subscription. Also, you do not need to be a member in order to access online services such as Netflix & YouTube (the Xbox requires a Gold membership for pretty much all online activity).
Will my previous Peripherals work with PS4?
Possibly. Further info in relation to this has yet to be announced by Sony, but what is known is that a lot of 3rd Party products, and Dualshock 3 will NOT be compatible with the PS4. 3rd Party headsets may not work with the new Dualshock 4 either. These have not been stringently tested though, so some may, some may not.
Those are just some of the questions that people have been asking in the run up to the release of the PS4. Sony have released a comprehensive list also, which looks to answer all frequently asked questions relating to the PS4.
Sep 22, 13
Apple has recently announced the latest in the line of iPads – the iPad Air. So, what’s in a name, and what has changed since the last iPad was released?
The Air moniker is borrowed from another Apple line, the Macbook Air, which was given this title due to its minuscule dimensions and weight. And with the new iPad, Apple has made serious moves to slim down the tablet, in both dimensions and weight. This means that the side bezels of the new iPad are a lot thinner (similar now to those first seen on the iPad Mini), and it has also lost a lot of bulk – it now weighs in at around the 1-pound mark. The result is a device that is no longer a hand cramping machine, after slightly prolonged use. Plus, it looks even more beautiful. For all the bad things that have been said about Apple, they sure do know how to produce amazing looking products.
And somehow, Apple has managed to make it even thinner than before. How thin? Well, the current ad campaign Apple are running shows a pencil on the edge of a table, and what’s hiding behind it? That’s right – the iPad Air! It’s tiny, measuring it at just 7.5mm thick.
The display in the iPad Air is the very same as in the previous generation model, and this is by no way a bad thing. By it’s very nature, the Retina display cannot get much better, as far as the human eye can decipher anyhow. In theory, they could pack thousands of pixels into each inch, but it wouldn’t make any difference, as they human eye can only see so much. And it’s still the 9.7 inch screen size that features in the Air.
What is new however, is the upgraded cameras, both front and back. The rear lens is now an iSight camera at around 5Megapixels, and a much improved front camera, which is now capable of high def (720P) video calls, and includes face detection and backside illumination, for improved calls.
The system on chip used here is the A7, the very same powerhouse found in the new iPhone 5S, which is plenty powerful for gaming, running multiple apps, streaming video / music, and multi tasking.
The iPad Air ships with iOS7 preinstalled, so has the latest software available from the start. In addition, Apple are now starting to give away some of their “iLife” apps such as iPhoto, Garageband & iMovie, and “iWork” apps such as pages, Numbers & Keynote for free, so this truly is a device that can be used for almost any task. And it is even more capable than ever before with the new A7 chip.
All in all, Apple has again succeeded in presenting an outstanding product to the masses, with the 5th Generation addition to the iPad family.
Sep 13, 13
The iPhone 5C has been rumoured for many years. In the past 2 – 3 years, Samsung and the likes have released mini versions of their flagship handsets, at reduced cost (and features), and Apple have failed to come up with an answer – until now.
With the 5C, Apple have changed the design from metal to plastic, and this is not necessarily a bad thing. While the metal may have given a “premium” feel to previous iPhones, the plastic of the 5C is not bad at all, in fact the phone still feels quite sturdy. And it also comes in a range of hues, reminiscent of Apple’s iPod range from yesteryear.
The good news also is that the 5C has pretty much the same features as were found in the iPhone 5. So, the size, screen resolutions, camera and processor are all the same as were found in Apple’s flagship handset from last year.
Although the chips and insides of this phone are from last year, this doesn’t really matter, and this will especially be the case with those looking to purchase a smartphone at an affordable price. Everything about this handset is fast, and buttery smooth. So, many out there will not care that the inner workings are a little dated. In fact, side by side with the iPhone 5S, many functions such as opening apps, taking pictures etc., seem to happen at the same time – the time difference is almost imperceptible.
iOS7 seems made for the iPhone 5C. The entire experience of using an iPhone has been overhauled with the new iOS7 software, and its colourful nature appears custom made to fit in with the 5C. The whole experience, from web browsing to taking pictures to multitasking, all feels brand new, and a lot more intuitive.
Apple have also added a radio feature, imaginatively titled “iTunes Radio”, which is also built in. This is a “Pandora” style service, which many users are bound to fall in love with, and use on a daily basis.
Battery life is unchanged from the iPhone 5, and there will be plenty of juice to keep this phone powered throughout the day, with medium to large amounts of usage. The camera, while also unchanged, is really very good, and is capable of taking fantastic photos in a very quick manner. The camera has also benefitted from the upgrade to iOS7, and is now even easier to use than ever before.
All in all, the iPhone 5C is a wonderful device for somebody that is looking for a smartphone that is feature packed, and at a low price point. Apple has achieved what it set out to do with the iPhone 5C, without compromising on build quality or having to drop specific features. The iPhone 5C is sure to be on many Christmas lists this year, and it appears Apple are again onto a winner.
Sep 02, 13
Apple have recently released their latest iteration of the iPhone – the iPhone 5S. Superficially, not much appears to have changed. So, is it worthwhile upgrading from your iPhone 5 to the newer model?
Let’s first take a look at what is new with the 5S. One of the main selling points, and a feature that is sure to be replicated and implemented across the smartphone spectrum is the new Touch ID feature. This is basically a fingerprint scanner, implemented into the home button of the device. So, instead of passwords, the phone reads your finger, and unlocks from there. This feature has been implemented very well, with the iPhone being able to read fingers very well. And if all else fails, there is always a backup password feature there too.
Under the hood, Apple have upgraded the chip from the A6 to the A7. This change means that the iPhone 5S is the world’s first 64 bit smartphone. This means that the iPhone 5S is going to be faster all around, with better graphics for gaming, and will be better suited to true multitasking.
The 5S is also packing a new camera on board, and this is a real step up from previous offerings. Although the megapixel count hasn’t increased (it’s still an 8mp), Apple have improved other things like the aperture, for better images in low light conditions (f/2.2 aperture). The new camera, combined with the power of the A7 chip mean you will have the ability to capture some awesome still and moving pictures. There is even a super slow mo. mode now built into the camera, which enables you to shoot videos at 120 frames per second, at 720p. Finally, the camera is now capable of taking a “burst” of photos, by simply holding down the shutter button.
Battery life on the 5S has improved in certain conditions, like overnight, when the phone is not being used. However, there has not been much improvement, if any, in the general drainage rate during normal usage. It is worth noting however that this phone charges really very quickly.
For many people, browsing the web on their device is quite an important issue. With the release of iOS7, the whole experience of browsing the web has been improved upon. The Retina display helps in this regard, and the A7 chip also has its part to play in the rendering of text and images on screen – all of which are handled effortlessly.
So, is it time to upgrade? Perhaps, depending on how important computing speed, camera improvements and futuristic finger print scanners are to you. While the upgrade from 5 to 5S has been seen as an “interim” upgrade between the iPhone 5 & iPhone 6, there are a lot of changes here to make the 5 & 5S feel like 2 different devices.
Aug 23, 13
With the recently announced new Macbook Air, Apple are using the slogan “All the power you want. All day long”. This tagline has proven true, in more ways than one.
The new Macbook Air comes in 2 varieties – an 11 inch & 13 inch model. For a device that is so thin, Apple have managed to get the maximum amount of battery life out of each model. So, the 11 inch variant can manage up to 9 hours of constant use, whereas the 13inch model has an awesome 12 hour battery life. This means in theory at least, you can work all day on your Macbook, and still have some juice left over to watch a movie on your evening commute home. It should be noted that these are Apple estimates, and several online sources have tested the battery life, and discovered that Apple may be understating the amount of life available. One source found the 13 inch model to have 14 hours & 25 mins worth of battery life.
Both models come equipped with a 1.3GHz Intel Core i5-4250U CPU, and have 4,096MB DDR3 SDRAM, 1,600MHz Memory. Graphics are handled by a 1,024MB Intel HD Graphics 5000 card, so you know this is one seriously capable machine, when it comes to power requirements.
Looks wise, the new Macbook looks the very same as its predecessors, and this is no bad thing. The Air has long been the leader when it comes to extremely thin laptops, and some of the newest Ultrabooks are only now catching up. The design of the Air is classic, and with it being so light and thin, should stick around for some time to come.
Storage on the Air has always been Flash, due to the sheer thinness of the device. The newer models now come as standard with twice the capacity of previous models – 128GB. Apple are also claiming that the storage is now also up to 45 per cent faster than previous models. So, even if the device has been in standby mode for a month or so, the screen will still come to live in an instant.
Connectivity has also been well catered to. There are 2 USB 3.0 hubs on each device for very fast data transfer speeds, and the next generation of Wi-Fi connectivity, 802.11ac Wi-Fi is on board, for up to 3 times faster wireless performance. There is also Bluetooth so you can connect a range of devices such as speakers.
Apple have the best trackpad in the industry included with the Air, a multi touch trackpad that blows the competition out of the water for multi touch gestures.
So, there are many factors to take on board when it comes to the new Macbook Air. This is a laptop that can be used every day, for a variety of tasks, and you will find that it will be hard come by another laptop that is quite as useful.