Gameloft took its sweet time getting its games in the Google Play Store, but when the French developer finally got its act together it offered some great stuff. The Asphalt series of racing games has been a mainstay of Android for a while now, and the newest incarnation, Asphalt 7, has finally launched. Now that there are so many alternatives, should you still be revving your engine for Asphalt? Let's see.
A good backpack plays an important role in the life of a geek. It's a catchall and a safe haven for gadgets. While we've looked at a very good traditional backpack once before, today we're going to look at one that is anything but traditional: the Solid Gray backpack.
It doesn't take an eagle-eye to notice that the Solid Gray is quite unlike other backpacks. In fact, the only similarity between the Solid Gray and a traditional backpack is that they both go on your back.
Superhero tie-in games are inevitable. But over the last decade or so, gamers have found that they're not inevitably bad. Spider-man and Batman have both had something of a renaissance on consoles, helping us to forget some truly awful licensed titles. Batman: Arkham Asylum and Arkham City have demonstrated that exceptional gaming experiences can spring from licensed titles, at least when enough talent, creativity and resources are directed at them. It was these two games, even more than its movie tie-in, that inspired Gameloft in the creation of The Dark Knight Rises for Android.
Like many technophiles, I have a soft spot for wireless audio gear. While cord-free is moving in the direction of Wi-Fi and mesh networks at home, the world of portable gear still belongs to Bluetooth. Earbuds, headphones, portable speakers - they're all different, and so far none I've tested are perfect. Once I find the perfect one in each category, I'll be sure to let you know.
A few months ago, I reviewed the MEElectronics Air-Fi AF32 - a full-size over-the-ear set of wireless headphones that ended up scoring surprisingly well while at the same time not breaking the bank.
The Meizu MX 4-Core is a truly interesting phone. And as an extention of that, Meizu itself is an interesting company. Founded by Jack Wong, it gained international notoriety when its M8 smartphone drew unwelcome comparisons to Apple's iPhone, particularly from Apple's lawyers, resulting in an early end to its production run.
Meizu claims to be fully vertically integrated - manufacturing, marketing, and selling its phones, a start-to-finish philosophy that results in decreased overhead and more control over its products (it should be noted that Meizu does not actually make all of the components in its phones, however).
Bluetooth may be a mature technology, but it's far from perfect. It follows, then, that headphones that use the standard would share the same imperfections in addition to their own. Such is the case with the Mobiband Bluetooth Headphones made by BBP; while they're certainly not bad, they're not good, either. Unfortunately, the performance simply doesn't justify the $60 price tag of the headphones. In fact, mediocrity is the theme across the board, which is unfortunate if not entirely surprising.
Over a year ago, I reviewed an interesting life journal app called Friday. The app aimed to record every single interaction a user had with their smartphone, including calls, texts, mails, photos, social activities, and songs played. My conclusion was that while Friday was a polished app, it was doubtful whether it would actually be useful. The developer Dexetra then spent a year running alpha and beta tests, and their latest version of Friday is a lot more polished, with an improved focus.
As mobile gaming starts to mature, new developers and properties have had a chance to shine. While Rubicon's Great Little War Game hasn't reached the lofty heights of some of the more mainstream titles, its mix of cartoonish humor and solid turn-based strategy has made it one of the most popular games on Android. The sequel, craftily named Great Big War Game, brings elements from both new and old strategy games to make a more cohesive whole.
You know what I can't stand about packing to stay away from home? Having to bring 40 different chargers to power all of my gadgets. Camera, smartphone, tablets, laptop, etc. - and they all use a different chargers. It seriously drives me nuts. Then I heard about the AViiQ Portable Charging Station ($99, direct from manufacturer), which combines a cable management system with a USB hub and a single charger for charging up to four devices at once.
The portable Bluetooth speaker is fast becoming a standard accessory in our increasingly tablet and smartphone-centric world. But with so many options out there, how do you know which one is actually the good buy? Having used several, when I saw Braven's line unveiled earlier this year, I was intrigued. Not only did they look good, Braven promised high functionality to go with that sleek form factor. What did make me a little suspicious is the fact that Braven isn't actually a new name in the business - they previously marketed their speakers as the Spar Zephyr line, and have undergone a makeover for their next generation of hardware (which looks exactly like the previous generation).