Surrounding the release of Apple‘s iPhone there was a flurry excitement surrounding various cases to protect and showcase a consumer’s shiny new obsession. A number of cases including simple cloth slipcovers, protective rubber enclosures, and elaborate leather constructions flooded onto the market, each with different plusses and minuses.
Gear Live has previously reviewed several of the high-end leather cases by Argentinean case manufacturer Vaja, and given our extremely positive experiences in the past, we jumped at the opportunity to check out their new iVolution line of iPhone cases. The iVolution line has a number of different styles of cases and holsters, and we selected the fully-enclosed protection offered by the iVolution Top SP Holster. Click through the jump for the full in-depth review.
We picked up a pair of the new V-Moda Vibe Duos and took them for a spin. The Vibe Duos sound great (almost as good as the Etymotic ER-6s), and feature a microphone for making hands-free calls on the iPhone. They also feature cloth-wrapped cords, durable metal construction, and extended plug (for easy use with the iPhone’s recessed headphone jack) all add up to a stunning package. Check out after the jump for our full review.
A research paper from Electronic Entertainment Design and Research has been released that suggests that games with online support can be crucial to a game’s retail success. Not surprisingly, another way to boost sales is to create a quality game (defined as those with a 90+ score on Metacritic), with these well-reviewed titles outselling the average release well above 5-to-1.
While making good games typically means making good money, naturally, it is a bit surprising to see the report indicate that sales can be doubled by dropping in an online mode. With online games selling twice the number copies that offline titles do, it’s curious to note that over half of games released don’t offer even basic online support.
Read More | Ars Technica
So, let’s cut to the chase - the reason that Apple slashed the price of the iPhone by 33% at the September 5 Apple Event was because Steve Jobs and company felt that was the best way to bring the device to the mainstream phone buyer. Everyone I know who owns an iPhone is someone who is an early adopter of consumer electronics. People who buy Apple products the moment they are available, people who refresh their RSS readers a few times an hour (or more), and people who scour sites like Gear Live for news multiple times a day. The only person I knew who owned an iPhone who didn’t fit the mold was my wife, Monica. I figured I would have her review the iPhone from her perspective - that being someone who couldn’t care less about technology, gadgets, the Internet, or anything that involves something that has to be charged or plugged in to a wall. This, dear friends, is a review of the iPhone from someone who is completely satisfied with the free crappy phone you get when you sign up for any standard cell phone plan.
Do note that the video was recorded prior to the iPhone price drop, so keep that in mind.
The reviews have been coming in for a week now, and they have been phenomenal. Consider that according to GameRankings.com, BioShock is the 4th best game of all time. On Metacritic, BioShock has received more perfect 100 scores than even The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, usually the game cited as the best of all time. Clearly, 2K‘s Mature-rated, failed utopia FPS is a critical smash hit.
Perhaps then there is little need for another glowing review of the game. Except this is not a glowing review in the strictest sense, because BioShock is not exactly the masterpiece of perfection indicated by these scores. Instead, BioShock is a wonderful game that happens to draw to light the inadequacies of the way games are typically reviewed and the inherent inconsistencies of how games are judged.
Now that we’ve spent two weeks with the iPhone, we are now ready to hit you back with our in-depth review and impressions. Needless to say, Apple generated a lot of hype with the iPhone, and many feared it would flop in the face of near impossible levels of pre-release fanaticism. Thankfully I am glad that after a full weeks usage I can attest: Apple actually pulled it off. They lived up to or exceeded every single promise they made about the iPhone.
As a preface, our impressions are quite favorable overall, but the iPhone does have a few flaws. Regardless of those flaws, we think this will be an industry-changing phone and will raise the bars for Microsoft, Symbian, Motorola, HTC, Samsung, and other competitors in the mobile marketplace. We expect them all to produce better phones featuring integration, ease of use, and stability all orders of magnitude ahead of what they now offer.
Quality and Convenience. These are the words that immediately come to mind about Tom Bihn’s Smart Alec laptop backpack and accessories. Available in 4 color combinations, this bag is as stylish as it is functional. But let’s start with Quality. The large, roomy (18.5” x 11.75” x 7.75”), Smart Alec is made of 1050 denier Ballistic and 1000 denier Cordura nylons, and is lined with 500 denier Dupont Cordura nylon. Translation? This bag is strong, and seemingly indestructible, exemplified by their lifetime guarantee. Plus, both the back of the backpack and the straps are heavily padded. My first time out with Alec, I was carrying at least 10 pounds of laptop and other stuff—and yet Alec was surprising comfortable on my back. If you plan on using the Smart Alec as a laptop bag, I highly recommend the Brain Cell, a soft, lightweight but tough-as-nails shell for your computer, with 8mm of durable foam padding. The Brain Cell (which, with its two mesh pockets and shoulder strap attachments can itself be used as a laptop bag) is of the highest quality and durability. The Brain Cell even attaches to the interior of the Smart Alec with “Annex Clips”, further securing your precious PC. I actually dropped Alec twice—with my laptop inside—and wasn’t even remotely concerned about damage to my Gateway. That’s how confident I was in the Brain Cell (my laptop is just fine, by the way).
Our review scoring guide here at Playfeed is very simple and straightforward: games get a single number score, from 1-10, where 5 is considered average. There’s no 0.1 nonsense here, leaving you to wonder what the difference is between a game scoring an 8.2 and another that received an 8.4. We’re looking to provide you with a simple number that sums up the reviewer’s thoughts on the game being reviewed. However, we encourage you to read the text, as it will almost always be of much more help than the review score we assign to a game.
To be clear, a 10 doesn’t imply perfection – no game will ever achieve such a feat. But, if a game receives a 10, rest assured that we cannot more highly recommend it.
10 – Excellent.
9 – Great.
8 – Very good.
7 – Good.
6 – Above average.
5 – Average.
4 – Below average.
3 – Bad.
2 – Terrible.
1 – Bubonic Plague-level atrocity; a sin against nature.
So, Halo 2 for Windows Vista is launching on May 8, 2007, and we have been able to spend some time reviewing the title. Since everyone is familiar with Halo 2, we felt a full review wasn’t in order. Instead, we wanted to clue you in on the ten best improvements we experienced while reviewing the game. These ten features raise the bar for Halo as a whole, and may be a foreshadowing of things to come in Halo 3:
Achievements: If you are looking for something fun that adds another level of fun and challenge to the Halo 2 world, this is it. We have said it before, and we will say it again - Microsoft hit a gold mine with the notion of achievements. No sooner than when we finished a multiplayer deathmatch did we rack up a total of three achievements. Meleeing five people from behind (and thusly earning the Ninja achievement) was nice, but Meleeing someone who already had the Ninja achievement (and thus earning the Flaming Ninja achievement) was even better. We have the achievement to prove it. For those wondering, yes, the achievements you earn in Halo 2 for Vista (or any other Games for Windows game) is counted towards your Xbox Gamerscore.
Nintendo’s Super Paper Mario ships today, and so far the game is tacking up a 90% overall rating on Gamerankings.com. From some of the major game sites, 1up rated the release an 8.0, citing the title’s relative lack of depth compared to its Paper Mario siblings, tacked-on Wiimote controls, and some slowdown evidenced in gameplay. IGN rated slightly higher at 8.9, feeling that the platformer and RPG merger was more successful and that the Wiimote controls felt appropriate for the game, but they felt the amount of writing in the game disrupted the flow, and the 3D elements seemed barren compared to the lushness of the 2D world. Nintendo has also kicked off marketing the game with a “Wii Would Like To Play” TV commercial, shown above.
Read More | 1up
Read More | IGN