When Apple first introduced the MacBook Air, the world looked on in amazement. What kind of sorcery was this? How could Apple squeeze a 13-inch laptop into a case so remarkably slim and sleek? But now we’re spoiled. Making gadgets thinner and sleeker with each new iteration isn’t impressive anymore — it’s expected. Forget the R&D, engineering and technology involved, this year’s phones, laptops and tablets have to be thinner than last year’s models. And so when Apple unveiled its completely redesigned iPad Air, people weren’t nearly as impressed as they were with the MacBook Air back in 2008. While the impact of the iPad Air on consumers can’t possibly match the wow factor Apple achieved with the MacBook Air, those who think Apple’s latest full-size iPad is anything short of a huge step forward should think again. More →
When Microsoft decided to focus the Xbox One marketing campaign around the console’s media capabilities, my main concern was that everything would work just well enough, and nothing about the console would stand out. If the Xbox One was going to be a living room media device and a cable box and a video game console, something would have to give. But Microsoft proved me wrong: First and foremost, the Xbox One is a very capable gaming device, and a worthy successor to the Xbox 360. More →
Killzone: Shadow Fall is a gorgeous mess. What could have been a heavyweight contender in an already crowded market for next-gen shooters is bogged down by a tedious, cliched, and ridiculous single player campaign that Guerrilla Games arguably forgot to finish. Maybe they just didn’t have time. I can’t be sure. Thankfully, the robust multiplayer buoys an otherwise sinking package by building upon what was offered in Killzone 3, one of my favorite competitive experiences on the PS3. More →
Pound for pound, the HTC One is easily among the best smartphones on the planet. Back in August, I pitted the One against Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S4 and crowned HTC’s handset the winner. With a gorgeous design, premium materials, solid performance, a stunning 1080p display and several unique software enhancements, it’s no wonder the One regularly receives praise from those who use it. But unfortunately, the sleek smartphone has done precious little to reverse HTC’s fortunes.
This year’s September quarter marked HTC’s first ever quarterly loss since becoming a public company. HTC makes terrific phones and the One is its best to date, but stiff competition from rivals has proven insurmountable thus far. Not even Iron Man has been able to help the struggling smartphone maker as Apple and Samsung continue to lob billion-dollar marketing campaigns at consumers around the world.
What on Earth is HTC going to do to turn things around?
It’s going to launch a gigantic phablet. More →
If the PlayStation 4 is any indication of the quality of the next generation of gaming, then it was worth the wait after all. I’m writing this review seven years to the day after Sony brought the PlayStation 3 to the United States, a console I swore I would never buy after Sony revealed the ridiculous price tag at E3. Seven years later, the Japanese electronics giant has value in mind and the PlayStation 4 is a bargain at $399.99. More →
“This is the first ultra-compact, “pro-grade” machine from Apple that can last nine hours with the display on.”
It happened: the MacBook Air has officially been trumped as my recommended road warrior machine. And, perhaps unsurprisingly, it’s another Apple product that’s doing the trumping. Released last month alongside the iPad Air and revised iPad mini with Retina display, the Haswell-infused 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display has been my sole computer for the past four weeks. For those who slept right through the announcement, here’s a bit of a refresher: it’s dramatically faster than last year’s model, it’s cheaper, and most impressive of all, it’s thinner.
How thin? At its rear, the 13-inch MacBook Air measures 0.68-inches, whereas the new 13-inch rMBP measures 0.71-inches. (Save your effort reaching for the calculator — this new rig is just 0.03-inches thicker than the MBA’s thickest point.) To boot, Apple dropped the entry price for its smallest pro-grade machine to just $1,299, placing it just $200 north of the baseline 13-inch MacBook Air. For those who spend an embarrassing amount of time in airline seats, Town Cars, and/or questionable-designed hotel rooms, there’s a new champion in town. Read on for my take on Apple’s most fit-for-travel workhorse yet. More →
Nokia, as we know it, is going away. The company itself will remain, of course. It might even be consistently profitable some day. But the face of Nokia that most consumers are familiar with will be a thing of the past. Nokia will soon sell off its devices and services business to Microsoft for about $5 billion as part of a $7.2 billion deal. But in the meantime, the company has a product pipeline to clear and the new Lumia 1520 is certainly one of the more interesting devices Nokia will be launching before the big changing of the guard. The 1520 marks Nokia’s first foray into the increasingly popular phablet category and if not for Apple, Nokia would be the last major smartphone vendor to enter the space. But is the company’s new 1520 just a bigger Lumia phone, or is it also a better Lumia phone that continues moving in the right direction and picks up where the Lumia 1020 left off? More →
The top-down Zelda games started as console releases on the NES and SNES, but as 3D graphics took precedence, the flatter rendition of Hyrule was relegated to the portable platforms. Some have been better than others (here’s to you, Minish Cap), but virtually every portable entry to the series has stayed rooted to the open-world exploration of the original game. It might not be the best game in the series, but A Link Between Worlds for the Nintendo 3DS and other portable consoles is the most open, fluid and distinctive title since Wind Waker. More →
Remember when I said I couldn’t put Samsung’s Galaxy Note 3 down? Well, I put it down. After months of rumors, leaks and speculation, Google finally took the wraps off of its new Nexus 5 smartphone last week and Android fans were elated. The sleek new handset started selling out in mere minutes and by the end of the day, it would be weeks until new orders of some Nexus 5 builds would be dispatched. Can Google’s new Nexus phone possibly live up to all the hype that has built up over the past few months? More →
I have a love-hate relationship with Samsung’s smartphones. I love the displays and, feature spam aside, many of Samsung’s software enhancements offer great features on top of Google’s Android platform. But I hate Samsung’s plasticky housings that make the phones feel like cheap toys compared to devices like the HTC One and iPhone 5s, and I also often find Samsung’s phones to be oversized. The Galaxy Note 3 changed none of that; the screen is gorgeous, the Note-specific software features are great, the build feels cheap and plasticky, and the device is far too gigantic to be used comfortably. So why can’t I put it down? More →
Apple’s iPhone 5s represents the biggest “S” upgrade an iPhone has ever seen. The guts of the phone have been completely overhauled, just as BGR exclusively reported they would be back in May. Beyond the internals, Apple’s new Touch ID fingerprint scanner also makes the 5s the first “S” upgrade ever to include a major new user-facing hardware feature. The processor is better, two of the color options are new, the battery lasts longer, the camera takes better photos and even the display is slightly easier on the eyes thanks to its cooler tone. But as a total package in the context of being an upgrade from last year’s iPhone model, Apple’s iPhone 5s may very well be the least impressive jump to date. More →
Top smartphone makers have a bit of a problem. They got so good at selling smartphones that there aren’t enough people left to buy them at the amazing pace the market has enjoyed over the past few years. The smartphone market is still monstrous, of course, but growth is key and growth is slowing. So for market leaders like Apple and Samsung, it’s time to look for the next big thing. According to a growing number of industry watchers, that “next big thing” is smartwatches and annual sales are already projected to explode into the hundreds of millions of units in the coming years. But are all these companies just trying to make fetch happen, or are wrist-worn devices like Samsung’s new Galaxy Gear smartwatch really the future of mobile computing? More →