This morning, Microsoft hooked us up with an early preview of the next Xbox 360 Dashboard Update. We were able to get a look at the new Netflix features (which no longer require a PC,) the Avatar Marketplace, Game Ratings, Games on Demand, and more. While more coveted features like Twitter, Facebook, Last.fm, and Zune Marketplace won’t be landing until the fall, the update is still a solid one. Here are our thoughts on the next update, which lands on your Xbox 360 on August 11 (or sooner if you apply for early access!)
God, what a lonely-looking stand they had this game set up on. Look at that. Really?
When it comes down to brass tacks, at least to me, Rock Band and LEGO go together like peanut butter and chitin. After being revealed to discerning eyes during Dan Teasdale’s GDC talk, the game has garnered some attention from puzzled, clueless journos like myself. LEGO Rock Band is a game for the little’uns, principally, tooled to a younger age demographic and given a fresh coat of paint to keep the drooling cretins jamming away on modern pop hits. So if you’re coming in looking for some Pantera, you’ll be disappointed. But I digress.
Hit the jump for some impressions of LEGO: Rock Band.
Consumer Reports says that Apple’s new iPhone 3GS is still at the top of the smartphone heap in terms of multimedia, browsing, battery life, display, and navigation. The Palm Pre with WebOS, Samung Omnia, and BlackBerry Storm were close behind, however. The Pre scored higher in messaging and multitasking. CR also claims that Verizon seems to be the carrier that most believe to be the best when surveyed, but that’s no big surprise.
Read More | Consumer Reports
The HP Pavilion dv2 Entertainment PC aims to fit into the gap between full-featured notebook, and ultra-portable netbook. In fact, depending on your needs, the dv2 could be the best of both worlds. It’s very thin, weighing just under four pounds, and packs an AMD Athlon Neo processor with 4GB RAM, Vista Home Premium 64-bit, a widescreen 12.1-inch LED-backlit display, 320GB hard drive, HDMI out, quad-mode Wi-Fi with 802.11n support, and a 5:1 media card reader. Even better? Since we are talking about full-featured notebooks, the dv2 even has an external Blu-ray drive. We’ve got our full review thoughts on the device, after the jump.
We got our hands on the Hauppauge HD PVR 1212 personal video recorder, and we bring you a review of this unit in this episode. The Hauppage HD PVR 1212 connects to your HDTV peripherals using component cable, and then goes out to your display over component as well. It captures the video output live, and records it to a computer, which will then let you edit that video. It is fantastic at recording video game sessions in full HD resolution, as we demonstrate in the video. Take a look, and if you want one, you can pick up the Hauppauge HD PVR 1212 on Amazon.
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Bayonetta had been making a few waves even before E3 rolled around this year, what with the tight fitting clothing and the guns in the shoes. But at the conference, the game ended up being the critical darling of many of the journalists that waited patiently in line to play the demo. It’s unusual for a new IP to make such headway on its own merits, but Bayonetta managed to prove itself to us in the best way possible.
Also, breasts. Let’s get that out of the way.
Hit the jump for our breakdown of Bayonetta.
Since Apple announced the iPhone 3GS at WWDC 2009, the buzz has been non-stop. There are obviously those Apple fanboys that are hyping this as the Third Coming, as well as those who are a bit more skeptical as to if the speed boost is truly real, and truly worth it. Oh, and of course, the lead-up to the iPhone 3GS launch hasn’t been without controversy, but AT&T stepped up in a big way to make it easier on iPhone 3G owners who want to upgrade without breaking the bank. So the question remains - is it worth it?
iPhone 3GS: The ‘S’ is for ‘Speed’
Okay, so many of us were speculating that this phone would be called the iPhone video. After all, when video came to the iPod, it was called the iPod video, and video would certainly be the big feature if it was included in the third iPhone, right? Wrong. Video takes a back seat to speed when it comes to the iPhone 3GS. I know, that sounds all sorts of silly, but allow me to explain. Apple has been focused on optimizing and refining OS X, as evidenced by what we are seeing with Snow Leopard. Remember, the iPhone is based on OS X at it’s core, and Apple wouldn’t neglect bringing those refinements to their flagship mobile device.
That said, believe the hype. This phone is very noticeably faster than the iPhone and iPhone 3G—even if you have an iPhone 3G that is already running the faster iPhone 3.0 update. You are able to launch and quit the core apps in a snap. Internet speeds are faster. Launching those games that take a while to load is nowhere near as frustrating. And best of all, despite this being a “little thing,” the little nagging stalls and overall lack of responsiveness are just gone.
God dammit, Warner Brothers, how the hell am I supposed to come into this convention without any bias when you set up a demo center like this?
They brought in their own little slice of Arkham Asylum to display the latest Batman game to attendees of E3 ‘09, and while it took for-f*cking-ever to get a turn to play it on the 360, it was well worth the wait.
Hit the jump for our impressions of Batman: Arkham Asylum.
We’ve had the NewerTech miniStack v3 quad interface powered hub external storage solution running for 9 months now, and we are reporting back with our review of the device. The miniStack v3 is a hard drive enclosure that had FireWire 800, FireWire 400, USB 2.0, and eSATA ports, giving you four ways to connect this external storage device to your computer. It supports Plug and Play, and is simple to set up and use. Plus, as you’ll see, it sits atop a Mac mini perfectly, hence the name miniStack. Check out the video for our full review of the NewerTech miniStack v3.
You can get the miniStack v3 in the following configurations:
I am usually not one to go for third-party controllers. It is all about familiarity and once I am accustomed to something – I don’t want it to be changed. Because of this, I was skeptical at first as I walked by the Evil Controllers booth at E3 2009; but Gears of War 2 was the game they were using to demo the game. How could I resist?
The controllers are a base model of the rapid fire controllers for the Xbox 360. The mod is operated by pressing and holding the modded button on the underside of the controller.
The analog sticks or “Evil Sticks” feel incredibly smooth and can feel how this would improve your gameplay in First-Person Shooter game. Evil controllers also give you the option to customize the controller lights to blue or red, if you really want to fancy it up.
Although pricey, they are an upgrade to a official Xbox 360 controller. If you are serious about your shooters, I would recommend giving these controllers a try. Evil Controllers run from $109.99-$169.99 and you can buy the “Evil Sticks” alone for $69.99.
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