Part of what makes or breaks an operating system is the font. When Google revealed Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich), they also showed off a new default font.
Roboto has had it’s fair share of criticism, put has it’s fans as well. I personally really like it, it very simple but looks good in almost any environment. I’m currently running an ICS ROM, and the font really makes texting and browsing the contacts a much more pleasurable experience.
Google have made Roboto available for download via the Android Design Guidelines page. It’s for use in developing Android applications, but you can probably use it for personal use also.
Nokia have just revealed the Nokia 808 PureView, dubbed ‘The Next Breakthrough in Photography’.
The camera has a whopping 41 mega-pixel sensor, with a Carl Zeiss lens we come to expect from Nokia smartphones. The phone also uses an over-sampling technology, which means zooming in on images after it has been taken loses almost no clarity.
“Pixel oversampling combines many pixels to create a single (super) pixel. When this happens, you keep virtually all the detail, but filter away visual noise from the image. The speckled, grainy look you tend to get in low-lighting conditions is greatly reduced. And in good light, visual noise is virtually non-existent. Which means the images you can take are more natural and beautiful than ever. They are purer, perhaps a more accurate representation of the original subject than has ever been achieved before.
Even digital SLR images have a certain softness. With oversampling, however, images can be noise free, yet incredibly detailed and defined. Zoom into the 5Mpix images at 100% magnification on your PC screen, and you’ll see. There’s something beautifully pure about the detail — not enhanced in anyway. Look closely at some grass… it’s amazing.” – Nokia
The 808 also records in 1080p HD video quality, as well as high definition audio.
Just when it looks like Nokia have released one of the most revolutionary phones of all time, they ruin it. The Nokia 808 will not run Windows Phone 7, instead using the doomed Symbian we thought was on its way out.
Size: 123.9 x 60.2 x 13.9 mm (17.95 mm at camera) Weight (with battery): 169 gVolume: 95.5 cc
16 GB internal user memory Support for up to 48 GB with an external microSD memory card Use as USB mass memory device for storing photos, documents and more
When I bought my Razr, part of my reasoning was the styling. I wasn’t a big fan of the copycat ipod look the Samsung Galaxy SII has, and the bulkier, more rounded HTCs didn’t do it for me either. As a result I chose the Motorola Razr.
In the autumn of 2004, there was a phone revolution. In bringing the Razr V3 to the market, Motorola set the standard for a mobile phone. At a mere 14mm thick, the phone was razor-like, and with its altogether sleek design, the Razr was a hit, remaining in production for over three years, and selling over 130 million units, becoming the best-selling phone of all time in the process.
Rather than produce a series of good, solid phones following on from the Razr, Motorola instead chose to attempt to again revolutionise the way we look at mobile technology, tending to choose style over substance. As a result, they failed recapture the success of the Razr, and have arguably struggled in the phone market, falling well behind the likes of Samsung, Sony Ericsson and HTC.
Recently though, it appears that Motorola may have started getting their act together, releasing phones that showed genuine promise in 2011, such as the Defy and the Atrix.
On the 18th October, Motorola announced their latest attempt at re-kindling past glories- the Motorola Droid Razr. Yup, it has pretty much the same name as its daddy, but with 7 years since the first Razr, the name is about as far as the similarities go. The problem is, in the days of 2004, mobile phone technology was still relatively in its infancy, and the market was less difficult to crack. This time, the Droid Razr has to square up to some smart-phone behemoths such as the Samsung Galaxy SII and the recently launched Samsung Galaxy Nexus. So how does it fair?
Well, not badly in truth. Styling has always been something that Motorola have prided themselves on, and with this beauty, it’s not hard to see why. At just 7.1mm thin, the Razr name has never been so apt.
The rear of the phone is covered in Kevlar fibre- that’s what they make bullet proof vests out of! I wouldn’t advise exposing it to gunfire, but at least you can be safe in the knowledge that your mobile will take plenty of punishment.
Something that has helped keep the device so thin is the lack of rear cover. This means that the battery is sealed in, leaving only a side hatch to access memory card and micro sim card slots. The battery itself boasts rather hefty 1780mAh, meaning you should have no trouble getting through the day with medium to heavy usage.
The front of the device is covered with a 4.3 inch screen, boasting Super AMOLED technology. It’s not quite as good as the Samsung screens, but you will be hard pushed to find anything else that comes close. Some have mentioned that the Pentile Matrix pixel layout leads to jagged edges. If it does, I can’t see them, and unless you’re extremely picky, or use your phone from 3 millimetres from your face, I would say that you won’t be able to either.
Coming with an 8mp shooter, the Razr sits in line with its competitors, rather than ahead of them. 8 mega pixels seem to have been the choice of phone companies for the last 2 or 3 years now, and whilst the Razr takes pretty decent pictures, if you want a camera, buy a camera rather than a phone. For point and shoot pictures, the Razr performs quite well, particularly in natural light. Indoors and in low light however, it does seem to struggle, with many pictures seemingly quite grainy.
The Razr shoots video at 1080p that is crisp and more than good enough for the average person, who only wants to take a few videos of friends etc. Again, if you want a decent camcorder, buy one, as phones still have some way to go before they can compete.
On the front of the phone is a 1.3mp camera that also shoots video in 720p, perfect for video conferencing.
The one major disappointment that most seem to be talking about is the lack of Ice Cream Sandwich, with the handset only coming with the Gingerbread version of Google’s android pre-loaded. Motorola have promised that ICS will be available for the Razr, although when has yet to be disclosed. To me it’s not a major problem. At the moment only one phone does come with ICS- the Galaxy Nexus- so if you want the very latest android has to offer, then that’s the phone for you. If you’re like me and aren’t that bothered, then it won’t be a major problem.
On top of the stock Android 2.3.5, Motorola have used their own interface. It’s come a long way in the past few years, but many may feel it still lags behind the likes of HTC’s sense and Samsung’s Touchwiz. Personally, I love it because it isn’t either of those. I’ve played with both the Samsung Galaxy SII and the HTC Sensation XE, and although Motorola’s effort perhaps isn’t as slick, it’s a refreshing change from having the same UI on nearly every phone. The good thing about android is that personalisation is literally limitless, with 1000’s of wallpapers, widgets; unlock screens and themes all available to download from the Android market.
With a 1.2GHz dual core processor and 1 GB of RAM, the Droid Razr has more power than most computers did at the time of the original Razor’s release. It is more than enough to allow the phone to run smoothly, even with multiple apps running, and will play even the most demanding of games without a hitch. The device comes with 8 or 16GB of internal storage space, with a micro SD card slot for additional room, should you need it.
The Motorola Razr is connected in all the ways you would expect a new smartphone should be. With HSDPA at speeds of up to 14.4 Mbps, web browsing is a smooth experience. 3G and Wi-Fi mean you will rarely find you are unable to access the internet, whilst the phone boasts Bluetooth 4.0, something only a handful of devices currently have. One issue I did have when testing the Wi-Fi was that sometimes when signal strength was weak, the handset struggled to connect, whilst other handsets tested alongside connected without too much difficulty. When signal strength was increased however, the Razr was fine.
Two of the main features on the new Razr are Moto cast and Smart actions. We’ll deal with them one at a time. Moto cast, once downloaded onto your PC, allows you to wirelessly stream documents, music and video on your Laptop or computer to your phone, Provided your laptop is on and both devices are connected to Wi-Fi. It works pretty well provide you have decent internet speeds and means that you can effectively take your laptop with you in your pocket.
Smart Actions is another great idea from Motorola. Effectively, it lets you control your phone’s settings based on external factors. Say for example, when you get to work, you wanted your phone to automatically go to vibrate. Well, you can set up a smart action to do it. There are literally 1000’s of combinations that range from saving your battery at night, to sending an automatic text when you reach a specific location. In testing it worked pretty impressively and often gave us helpful new suggestions that made the overall user experience of the Razr much better.
The phone is also compatible with Motorola’s webtop app system.
After using the phone now for a few weeks, I cannot particularly find a fault. The specification is more than a match for any other device around at the moment, and whilst it isn’t yet running Ice Cream Sandwich, it should be just around the corner. With Samsung having sold over 20 million of their Galaxy SII, it seems unlikely that the Razr will ever be recognised as the top dog, but if you’re prepared to stand out and step away from the likes of HTC and Samsung, then the Motorola Razr may just be the phone for you.
If you’re like me and only have a novice understanding of Photoshop, then adding cool effects to your photos can be a huge frustration, which usually leads to disappointment with the final product. Luckily, last night I stumbled across an extremely easy to use website called TiltShiftMaker, which adds a tilt-shift and bokeh effect to any image you upload.
I find it very difficult to explain what the tilt-shift effect is, so I advise you watch the video below. A YouTube user was imaginative enough to re-create a view of Battlefield 3, with a tilt-shift effect.
As you can see, it makes some things in the shot clearer, and blurs the rest which creates a sort of ‘miniature’ effect.
Below I re-created a wallpaper of a racing track, adding the tilt-shift effect along with some bokeh.
The photo above was the first image I edited with TiltShiftMaker, and I’d say the results were pretty good. The website can also be accessed from an app for Google Chrome. Below is a few more images created using the website. (Click images for photographer’s Flickr)
After spending many hours within Bioware’s Star Wars: The Old Republic, I find myself caught between two very distinct opinions. This game is both amazing and insulting, quite literally, at the same time. The reasoning behind this decision is a much more difficult and detailed description than I envisioned making, but a necessary one nonetheless. I would like to start with the positive, but will be nitpicking over various things as I go.
TOR (for the sake of simplicity) is a massively-multiplayer online game set in the Star Wars universe, many years before the events of the movies. You are able to pick one of two factions, Imperial or Republic (good vs evil). Within each faction, you are given the opportunity to move along a Light/Dark path, somewhat reminiscent of the Chaotic Good or Lawful Evil-style systems of D&D. Decisions you make throughout your leveling experience will impact your character’s alignment and appearance, as well as give you access to various goods that would be otherwise unavailable. The quests that allow these decisions are a feature at which Bioware excels. Each of the stories for the various classes is different, interesting, and thoroughly enjoyable to play through. There are a few dull moments here and there, but the individual storylines are well-written and quite excellent.
Where one might begin to see an issue is within the ‘grind’ that appears to occur at each new planet. The formula runs a little something like this: Arrive on X planet to continue main story, be bombarded by side-quests. Do main story quest and attempt next section, but forced by inadequate level to go back and do the far less-interesting side quests, many of which require a decently-sized group. Fine, fine; so you go about your business and finally get to continue the interesting quest. Wait, no, now you have yet another zone of seemingly-endless side quests to complete.
This formula spans the entire slew of planets that you are given to explore. But don’t let the word “planet” fool you; because these zones are more like large zones that span a few pages on your zoomed-in map, but no more. While one surely doesn’t expect a game to have dozens of entire worlds to explore, the concept was somewhat overstated during the marketing process.
More points must be given to the game for voice-acting. I’ll admit, I was skeptical about really needing an actor to tell me to go kill the equivalent of eight pigs, but they did a fine job, and I was more happy to sit through the various conversations than I expected. Bravo here, it really gave the game a more immersive feel. It seems that this is one of those bars that other companies considering or working on MMOs should aspire to. While on the topic of aspirations then, let’s discuss Bioware’s engine and gameplay itself. Here I am afraid that there is more criticism than positive feedback.
First and foremost, mouse smoothing and acceleration are forced (and still so as of 1/27/12). Many PC gamers have thrown up their hands in outrage at this discovery. When people invest large sums of money into their peripherals, they expect to be able to use them to the best of their ability. Being restricted to using a software mouse rather than your well-worn hardware is incredibly frustrating, not to mention a poor business move. If you cater to a particular group in particular, you learn that group’s quirks, interests, and requirements. PC gamers are a picky bunch, and demand quite a bit from their developers. This is why some companies are on nearly-untouchable pedestals while others are the subject of derisive scorn.
The engine itself also appears to need a bit of work. If you’ve ever played World of Warcraft, you’re well aware of what response-time means in regards to pressing a button and having your character perform an action. MMO-players expect that when you hit the cast button, your avatar will begin to cast. Likewise, when the cast is finished, you expect to be able to move around or begin another spell or ability. Not so with The Old Republic. There is a delay between pressing a key and having your character perform an action, and casts are not always properly finished. If, for example, you attempt to use a speeder (the equivalent of a mount), there are three primary actions that must occur. First, your character must begin a cast. Second, you must finish that cast. Third, the animation used to do the cast must complete before you can do something else. Many other games have eliminated step 3 long ago, incorporating it into step 2 or allowing it to work while on the move. This odd requirement vexed me for several minutes while playing, and still irritates me to this day.
While on the subject of engines and options, one should note that the user interface is not terribly customizable, nor are mods yet allowed. Many hardcore gamers absolutely require things like this for an MMO that they are expected to spend many hours on. If a company wants people to treat their game like a digital world and not just a single-player game, the players will require the ability to change things about how that world is presented to them. But I digress.
Regarding in-game content, there is quite a bit to level on. I had few moments where I was utterly sick of a particular planet, and the pace kept me moving fairly quickly. The addition of “Flash-Points” (dungeons) offered a nice refresher from the regular grind of questing and killing monsters, though I can’t help but feel like they were implemented fairly late in the development cycle. Call me skeptical, but they are all accessible from the exact same spot in your factions space-station; perhaps they were added that way in order to allow the developers an easier time when adding new ones in the future. Regardless, each one was quite enjoyable, and occasionally vexing as my group figured out the best ways to deal with certain mobs. Every so often, it was possible to run across a world boss: a large, imposing, and very tough monster that existed in the open world. I made several attempts with a large group at killing one of these, but we were ultimately unsuccessful. However, I feel that this was more a problem of latency delay (lag) than anything. Enough people in one area seems to choke Bioware’s servers, and if they’re all using abilities…. Well, let’s just say that PvP, in its current state, needs some work.
Given the fact that The Old Republic is fairly new, and that the Bioware team seems to be at least reasonably responsive when responding to forum movement, I believe that we will be seeing quite a few improvements over the next couple of months. For now, I will keep my subscription active, and I very much want to see TOR succeed. Only time will tell, but given the current state of content, I am going to give it the following score:
I review games based on a five-point system. Ten and one-hundred point scales offer too many options, and many gamers will not go near a game that has anything less than a seven or seventy. There is no need for the abundance of extra points when trying to convey a simple score. Let’s break down a few of the features that influenced my decision below.
Story gets a wonderful score, with sound receiving a very similar one. Gameplay suffers from the latency and delay issues, while customization takes a major hit with the lack of options presented to players. Immersion would score higher, but the constant frustration with delay and inability to remove the software mouse kept me from enjoying the game as much as I felt I would normally be.
>As well as all the big game releases like Halo 4 and GTA 5 coming in 2012, without a doubt the most exciting release to come is Playstation’s new portable device, the PS Vita. Basically the PS Vita is more advanced version of the PSP but with greater features like HD graphics and touch screen ability. However there is a lot more that the Vita can other to topple Nintendo’s 3DS.
As said previously the first change compared to the PSP is the Vita’s greater performance. The device has a high performance CPU and a OLED screen to enrich the gaming experience. Playstation have also announced some of the games that will be released in 2012. These include Playstation titles like Uncharted, LittleBigPlanet and Wipeout 2048. Unlike the PSP, the Vita does not use the small UMD’s found in the previous system. Instead the games are produced on small chips that slot in on top of the console.
Another of the Vita’s biggest enhancements is the addition of both front and back facing touch screens. The front screen helps to interact with the console like a smartphone. As well as using it with elements within the games, the touch screen allows you to push, pull and grab things in the home screen and within other apps. However both touch pads are mainly used in games. In some games, the front screen can be used for certain controls while the back touch pad can be used for other controls. The back touch pad is essential with most games to stop players covering the screen with their hands to make certain touch controls on the front touch screen.
Obviously the PS Vita will include the Playstation Network to play and download games online and the internet browser found in the PSP. But Social media is at the heart of the new console. To help Playstation compete with the great functionality of Xbox live, the Vita will not only include Facebook and Twitter apps, but will also include modes such as Near and Party modes. “Near” basically is a type of location service which shows where you are, but also any other Vita gamers around you. Therefore you are able to invite them to your games and leave gifts for each other. Near also shows your activity by showing your Trophies, what games you have recently played on and the rating of the games. Party mode is just like the Xbox live equivalent in which you can voice-chat with your friends and invite to your games. It will also allow you to talk to friends on the PS3 aswell as on their own Vita consoles.
The PS Vita will be released on the 22nd of February. Price for the Wi-Fi will be £229, while the Wi-Fi and 3G model will be £299.
EA have kicked off their new Christmas Sale on iOS applications, offering amazing discounts on the most popular of games.
The games, which usually cost from £2.99 to £5.99, now cost 69p/$0.99 each.
Below is a list of the applications on sale.
Battlefield: Bad Company Battleship Boggle Bop It! Command & Conquer: Red Alert Dead Space FIFA 11 Madden NFL 12 Mirror’s Edge Monopoly/Monopoly Here & Now NBA Jam Need for Speed Hot Pursuit Pictureka! RISK SimCity Deluxe Tetris The Game of Life Transformers: Dark of the Moon HD Trivial Pursuit Master Edition Ultimate Mortal Kombat Yahtzee
Battlefield: Bad Company Battleship Boggle Bop It! Cluedo Command & Conquer Connect 4 Dead Space Deal or No Deal FIFA 10 Fight Night Champion Madden NFL 12 MMA Monopoly Here & Now NBA Jam Need for Speed Undercover Pictureka! RISK SimCity Deluxe The Simpsons Arcade The Sims Ambitions The Sims 3 World Adventures Skate It Spore Creatures Tetris The Game of Life Transformers: Dark of the Moon Trenches II Ultimate Mortal Kombat Yahtzee Adventures
Two users of HotUKDeals have just found some amazing deals to be found in store at HMV.
The entertainment retailer, which is currently in some financial difficulties, is offering a deal on both the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3.
First, is the Xbox 360 4GB. This can be grabbed for £129, which includes either Fifa 12, Battlefield 3, Need For Speed: The Run, Forza Motorsport 4, The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim, Batman: Arkham City or Saints Row: The Third. This deal means that you are getting the Xbox 360 4GB for less than £100.
Also on offer is a 160GB Playstation 3, with any of the games above, for only £169.99!
As far as we know, the deal ends on Christmas Eve. Why not treat yourself, or somebody else to this excellent deal for Christmas?