“If you’ve already nailed down a use-case scenario for a tablet in your life, this one’s worth the premium.”
— Darren Murph
Review
iPad Mini Retina Review

Retina iPad mini: The best tablet you can buy, but do you really need one?

Retina iPad mini: The best tablet you can buy, but do you really need one?

By on December 12, 2013 at 11:10 AM.

Listen, I don’t have the greatest history when it comes to tablet relationships. We have… a checkered past. I was pitched on this fabled third device long ago, but I can’t help but feel that we’ve all been hoodwinked. I’ve found myself maximally productivity on a flash-based laptop, and on the go, with a phone at least keeps me in the game. I’ve been struggling to figure out how a tablet fits into such a workflow for years, and after living for a while without one, I talked myself into giving the whole thing another whirl. More →

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“I started by strapping yet another notifier onto my wrist, but I came away a far less stressed individual.”
— Darren Murph
Review
Pebble Smartwatch Review

More is less: How a Pebble smartwatch brought sanity to a hyperconnected iPhone user

More is less: How a Pebble smartwatch brought sanity to a hyperconnected iPhone user

By on December 11, 2013 at 11:45 AM.

It’s the Kickstarter project that has largely defined what’s possible on the service, and if you’re reading this, you’re well aware of how many millions the Pebble team raised in order to concoct a wrist-worn notification device. A device that just so happened to emerge as the term “smartwatch” was taking hold. It was something of a perfect storm, really; years ago, Fossil and Sony Ericsson tried to bring the Dick Tracy motif to the masses, but the world wasn’t yet ready. Today, we’re all ready. More →

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Featured
Apple iPad Air Review

A month with the iPad Air

A month with the iPad Air

By on December 3, 2013 at 11:25 AM.

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 →

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Review
Xbox One Review

Xbox One review: Microsoft delivers a solid contender with unlimited potential

Xbox One review: Microsoft delivers a solid contender with unlimited potential

By on November 27, 2013 at 12:30 PM.

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 →

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Review
Killzone Shadow Fall Review

Killzone: Shadow Fall (PS4) review

Killzone: Shadow Fall (PS4) review

By on November 26, 2013 at 2:20 PM.

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 →

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Review
HTC One Max Review

HTC One max review

HTC One max review

By on November 20, 2013 at 10:20 AM.

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 →

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Review
Super Mario 3D World Review

Review: Super Mario 3D World for the Wii U

Review: Super Mario 3D World for the Wii U

By on November 19, 2013 at 4:10 PM.

If you had asked me a month ago which consoles I’d be spending the most time with over the holidays, the Wii U and the Nintendo 3DS would not have been on that list. Two huge releases later, however, and I’m having trouble deciding which Nintendo console to power on. More →

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Review
PlayStation 4 Review

PlayStation 4 review: Sony scores a direct hit in latest console war

PlayStation 4 review: Sony scores a direct hit in latest console war

By on November 19, 2013 at 10:55 AM.

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 →

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“This is the first ultra-compact, “pro-grade” machine from Apple that can last nine hours with the display on.”
— Darren Murph
Review
Apple 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro Review

Apple 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro review (late 2013)

Apple 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro review (late 2013)

By on November 18, 2013 at 11:40 AM.

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 →

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Review
Nokia Lumia 1520 Review

Nokia Lumia 1520 review: Nokia’s first phablet is full of surprises

Nokia Lumia 1520 review: Nokia’s first phablet is full of surprises

By on November 18, 2013 at 9:00 AM.

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 →

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Review
A Link Between Worlds 3DS Review

The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds (3DS) review

The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds (3DS) review

By on November 14, 2013 at 1:00 PM.

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 →

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Review
Nexus 5 Review

Google Nexus 5 review

Google Nexus 5 review

By on November 6, 2013 at 10:25 AM.

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 →

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