Corsair Vengeance 1500 First Impressions

I’ve finally replaced my headset and I went with the Corsair Vengeance 1500. Yeah I know what that sounds like too =)

I thought there has to be something out there for gaming headsets that’s better than the G35, and I looked at some reviews of some gaming headsets, the other two I considered were the Astro A40 and the Sennheiser PC 360. Both of which are stupid expensive, the Corsair on the other hand was on sale at $70 (usually $100) and I bought it the same time I got a new laptop mouse (Logitech M510, which will arrive later, in “Wine Red” [it was the cheapest color]).

Taking it out the box and looking at it, it looks okay. One thing is that the headphone thingies (go away) are made of this soft velvet like material and putting them on feels like putting your head between two pillows, it’s really comfortable, they clearly thought about their users when developing it.

So far I’ve had no complaints about the mic, I seem to be coming through clearly and no one has complained on Skype. The controls for the headset are inline, which feels so archaic after using the G35’s controls which are on the side of the headset. Another thing is the volume is REALLY loud. On half volume the G35 sounds fine, but hurts my ears with the 1500’s. I have to be on about 25% to feel comfortable.

I did my usual test with Battlefield 3, I played from the beginning and ended the FA-18 level. Although this lacks the bass the G35 had, sounds are more clear and crisp on the 1500 and overall, for that session it sounded good to me. However I’m not sure I got the right experience, as the software is confusing. It has 3 buttons for default stereo mode, 5.1 Dolby Surround and a 3rd button for 7.1 virtual surround. None of this was obvious at first and the only reason I know all this is because I Google’d it.

I am going to play some more games to test it out and when I can watch some decent TV shows I’ll write a proper review. So far I like it, much more than I did an overpriced DJ headphone that I once tried -_-

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Counter-Strike: Global Offensive – First Impressions

Thanks to some underground connections, black market trading and a few broken laws I’ve managed to acquire a CS:GO beta key. I played CS back when it was a MOD and I played Source ever since it came out, in fact Source is my favorite multiplayer game of all time. I never had so much fun and met so many awesome peoples from any other multiplayer game. That and it was insanely addictive. So when I heard they were making another one, part of me couldn’t wait, but another part of me didn’t want them to mess it up.

First off, being a beta I am not judging it as a final product. However, Valve have Source and maybe even 1.6 to base the game off. They have to know what players want, and a lot of us don’t want Valve to mess with our precious baby. But since this is a beta, now would be the time to do crazy things and judge the reaction, such as allowing hats or in game purchases or endless DLC. Who knows what they might come up with.

Now before you say something like “oh it’s just Source but with better graphics”, immediately when you start playing you’ll forget that, if you’ve played Source enough. I literally only just got the beta but I’ve just played cs_italy for at least an hour and I tried the two maps on “Aresenal” mode. I decided to write this after ending the pistol round on de_dust2 against some bots. Here are some things I’ve noticed:

New Buy Menu – It’s this circle thing that’s actually pretty easy to use and each category is assigned a number, just like the menu in CS. Honestly, it’s pretty much the same thing, except for one small difference – categories in red mean that you can’t afford any items in that category. A nice addition.

Weapons – Oh man, where to begin. The UMP among other guns are insanely under powered, at least I felt that way. The Sig and the Aug are quite powerful too, maybe a little more than Source, but it’s not bad. But the big thing that’s going to be hard to fix is the spray patterns. It isn’t Call of Duty where you can run around like a twat and get headshots, you have to aim. Except you can’t spray like you could before with weapons like the AK and the M4 – there doesn’t seem to be any set spray pattern, you just have to take short controlled bursts at range. Although I didn’t play for too long, you could see tracers from your guns and I don’t know how that will help with learning where the bullets go, but for the most part, it seems fairly random to me. Now I know it’s not finished, but all the guns sounded way too generic, but of course it’s no where near close to finished.

The maps – I played a lot of cs_italy. I am glad they brought back the chickens, except they brought them back in full force. They are running around EVERYWHERE! Seriously, I thought I saw an enemy at one point – it wasn’t, it was a bloody chicken! I think they did this to make up for the fact that they changed italy. There’s no hidey hole in the long hallway, that needs to come back. And the alleyway is now intricately linked with the wine cellar somehow. If you’ve ever played cs_italy_extended you’ll sort of understand what I mean, just not quite as elaborate. Remember I said earlier that I played dust2 for a bit? Well, I went to short A and that cinder block that’s on short that you can hide behind – it’s short so that you can’t hide behind it anymore. WTF Valve?! I know you’re trying to make a new game but please put that back, that was a tactical position! Not a big one, but at least it was a jokes place on pubs! I didn’t look around any more because I needed a break, but if Valve are going to mess with things like that, I’m going to have to write an angry e-mail 😛

Graphics/Presentation – The game doesn’t look that good. Not ugly, but not what you’d expect in 2012. I think Valve can do better, but maybe it’s too early to tell. One of the most annoying things was the bloom – everything was shiny and bright and I hated this! There were no advanced options to turn this off, maybe in the full game I hope there will be. Another annoying thing was the dust floating at the ground level in some places. Maybe it’s just me but I found certain places hard to look at. Character models were nowhere near as distinctive as Source. Which brings up my next point, the character models and identifying team mates were annoying. I mean the map is useful but it takes me a split second to decide sometimes if someone is an enemy or not. Doesn’t help that friendly fire is on by default. Maybe I need to get used to it, I did only play for an hour. The mini map is nice though, doesn’t seem cluttered. It shows your team mates, spotted enemies, and places where enemies were seen last and even your FOV. It also shows the bomb area, so overall I think the mini map is a good addition to the game.

Once thing Valve seem adamant about shoving in all their games is their cinematic like kill cams. I am hoping this is a server option and they turn it off because it’s the most useless and annoying killcam I’ve ever seen. Valve are usually pretty good at user experience, but this one is just plain out of character for them. Overall I see that they are trying to make the game more appealing to a broader range of players, but please don’t be stupid, EA and Activision will forever hold the crown for stupidity, we don’t need Valve as another competitor.

Sound – As I said before, the weapons sound too generic and I didn’t get to listen carefully for sounds such as footsteps and distant reloads because whilst I was playing, I was on Skype with a friend who wouldn’t stop jibber jabberin 😛 I’ll report back when I get to fully experience the sound properly. One thing to note, even though you can turn it off, music is on by default. Again, trying to appeal to broader range of players, I get it Valve, but that doesn’t mean turning it into Halo or Call of Duty. Counter-Strike was the number one multiplayer FPS for a reason – because it was CS. Don’t destroy that.

Game modes – The two classics de_ and cs_ (bomb defusal and hostage rescue) return, but there seems to be a new mode called “Arsenal”. These are quickie rounds where there’s no buying of weapons – you’re given a gun with limited ammo (btw I felt I was going through ammo like a fat kid goes through a box of chocolate) and it seems to be a de_ map. There are two new maps I played on – both small, I guess to facilitate the quicker rounds and both seemed fairly well designed. When you get a kill in Arsenal, your weapon is downgraded. I don’t know how low it goes (no limbo jokes please) and whilst it seems fun, it’s probably not gonna stick. It seems like a mode for casual players, but still doesn’t have enough appeal for it to be long lasting. Still though, it’s really simple and easy, which means it has the potential to be addictive. What they should do is add gun game, can’t go wrong there!

In conclusion – from a competitive point of view, there’s still a lot of work to be done. I mean lots of tweaks to the gameplay mechanics, but of course, that’s to be expected. As a new game in general, there’s some potential there to make it appealing, but Valve has to walk the tricky tightrope of balancing the game to make it appealing for more casual players whilst still retaining the interest of the competitive gamers. Even though I think Valve are a talented bunch, I’d say this will be one of their toughest challenges yet, and I can’t wait to see what they come up with.

P.S. I got my key from a friend, if you’d like one, try here.

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Mass Effect 3 Review

Bioware has delivered something Valve can’t – the final game in a trilogy, Mass Effect 3. I’ve reached the end of Shephard’s journey and although in my opinion, the ending left a lot to be desired, the ride was one of the most thrilling I’ve ever had in a game. If you plan on getting this game, I recommend getting the Prothean DLC. Whilst not a story changer in any way, if you really care about the Mass Effect universe, then the Prothean is a good addition.

One of the reasons to buy this game is for it’s story, so in writing this review I’ll assume you’ve played the first two, but if you haven’t, you really should. I think it’s essential to really appreciating the story and how far the gameplay has come since the first game. On top of that, your saves carry over from the previous games. This  continuity is rare in games and I don’t think I’ve ever seen another game do this, as in, continuing a story as well as remembering all the choices the player made in the previous game. There are three different ways the game allows you to play, which I personally don’t think should have been included, but I guess they were trying to appeal to a more broader range of gamers.

The first is combat – the story choices are pretty much made for you and you focus on the gameplay and fighting. I hate, hate, hate this option because the choices and the story are what make this game stand out and there are few other games like this. Alternatively there’s the story mode, where the combat is made easy and you get to focus on the story more, as the name suggests. Whilst this is better than combat mode in my opinion, you still don’t get the full experience. For the real ME experience, I recommend RPG mode, which is a blend of both combat and story mode.

The gameplay in the third has once again improved. In the previous game, in between missions, you went from planet to planet mining, which was incredibly dull. Now you have a scanner attached to your ship, where you go into various zones and scan for artifacts. These help boost your “galactic readiness level”, which goes up to 100%. I’m still unsure what this actually does, but mine was 100% when I played through because I played a lot of the multiplayer when I played. In fact, multiplayer is just one way to boost your readiness, the other way is doing various side missions that gets certain people on your side to fight against the Reapers. Some can be small, such as allowing a news reporter to interview you (and not punching them in the face -_-), and some big, like getting the Batarian fleet on your side. There appears to be a minimum level in the game, which can easily be achieved by playing the game, so it’s not a burden. Besides, it’s an RPG, don’t you want to do the side missions?

The gameplay in ME 3 remains mostly the same, but I feel it’s even more streamlined. One example is the use of the spacebar key… This key is used for pretty much everything and whilst that seems like it would be simple, it is, but it’s also incredibly annoying. I have a beef with this because it’s the fault of console gamers. The game had to be designed so it was easy to play with a gamepad, which I understand, but I wish developers would consider that PC gamers have more buttons to work with than a gamepad. One example where this is aggravating is in multiplayer. The spacebar is used to get behind cover, but it’s also used to heal fallen team mates. What can end up happening, and it happens all too often, is that you run over to a fallen comrade getting there in the nick of time, only to find that when you press space, instead of reviving him/her, you get behind cover. This issue would be solved if they had a use key. I recommend ‘F’, since it really isn’t used for anything. Throwing grenades and using certain powers could be done better too. The Z and C keys aren’t used for anything either and it would make the game a whole lot smoother if these keys were assigned something like grenades and powers. The number keys are fine for certain things, but sometimes in the heat of battle, stretching your finger over to the C key is a lot easier than using the number 6 for throwing grenades. There is one improvement that I like however, and that’s the in game map. It’s so much easier to find important characters now as when you pull up the map, they are listed to be in certain areas, so there’s no time wasted hunting them down.

Besides the controls my other big complaint was the endings. To be honest, this is a difficult task – I’m a huge fan of Deus Ex, Deus Ex: Human Revolution and I enjoyed the previous two ME games. What these games have in common is that the story and character and the world around you is shaped by player choices. However, with the exception of the first two ME games, all those choices simply funnel you into one of three endings, where none of them are any good. Human Revolution especially, because all you did was walk into a room and press one of three buttons. There was a fourth button that made you do something but not much more than pressing more buttons. The same is in ME 3. I won’t spoil what those endings are, but you essentially walk into whatever platform you want for whichever ending you want. And to be honest, none of them bring that much closure. Without spoiling the endings, all three are very similar and none of them really are a good, evil or neutral ending, which is baffling to me since you work hard during the whole game series to make your character either renegade (evil, or really just rude) or paragon (goodie two shoes).

However the good thing is, if you really play the game to it’s fullest it should take you at least a week to finish. There are lots of hours to be had with the singleplayer alone and is one of the most enjoyable games I’ve played in a while, despite it’s control flaws. Eventually you notice there are three different types of enemies – Cerberus, Geth and Reaper. Each has their own types of minions and big bad powerful mobs, and each requires a different tactic for taking down different enemies. Eventually you figure out what works best with the character class you’ve chosen, of which there are the same six classes from the previous games (Adept, Soldier, Engineer, Sentinel, Infiltrator and Vanguard). Each class has it’s strength and weakness. In general I’m mostly an FPS gamer, so I went for the soldier class, however the others are fun to play with too and I recommend experimenting in multiplayer.

The multiplayer contributes to your galaxy readiness rating, the more games you complete the higher it gets until it reaches 100%. You can still continue playing after it reaches 100% of course. Each class has different races within them. It seems you can have as many characters as you like and once one reaches the maximum level of 20, you can promote them to the singleplayer, which resets the class rank , adds 10 points to your N7 rank (some pointless leaderboard thing) and adds to your singleplayer galaxy readiness… Something I still don’t even know what it does.

The multiplayer is simple really, it’s just survival. On round 3, 6 and 9, there are some objectives to complete, such as killing a target enemy, holding a particular area while some data downloads or downloading data of a somewhat randomly placed computer. It makes it a little varied but in the end, it’s still predictable. Again the three enemy types reappear, Cerberus, Geth and Reaper, and again you have to use the strengths of you and your team to defeat them. There are also not that many levels and although they vary in theme, their designs aren’t really too different and you get used to them really quickly. Despite all that, the multiplayer is a challenge. There are three difficulty levels – bronze, silver and gold. Bronze is fairly easy once you get used to the game but silver is pretty challenging. I have yet to win a gold challenge too. Again, it’s simplicity doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing, after all, the most popular online shooter ever has only two game modes (Counter Strike – bomb defusal and hostage rescue… Unless you want to count VIP mode -_-). This simplicity paired with the class variations makes the multiplayer quite addicting and in all honesty, I think they may of added it as an afterthought, but it’s turned out to be a nice addition to an already great game.

In conclusion, despite the script writing for the last 15 minutes of the game, the game itself is brilliant. It has all of the solid gameplay you’d expect from a Mass Effect game despite a few control flaws and the multiplayer is a surprisingly good addition to the game. Upon completing the game you get a message inferring that there is more DLC to come. Perhaps this DLC might explain the endings a bit more, but beyond that, who knows. The game by itself is worth your money. It’s early in the year, but I think this is definitely going to be one of the best singleplayer games this year and it’s going to be hard to beat.

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Forza Horizon Announced and Why this Pisses Me Off

Read the announcement here.

Long story short, Horizon is a spin off (lol car puns galore) of the series being developed by Playground studios. Playground employs talent that created games like Colin McRae, DiRT, TOCA and Grid. Whilst these games are pretty good, they mostly have an arcade-ish feel to them overall (with the exception of the CMR games). Using this knowledge my guess is that Horizon is going to be more like Need for Speed in terms of gameplay and presentation. And this is what pisses me off.

I mean, isn’t Forza 4 accessible enough? The difficulty settings can be tweaked to make this a somewhat a realistic sim, all the way down to an arcade racer that’s easy for anyone to play. What could they possibly add to Horizon, that shouldn’t be a feature in FM4? Kinect only? Sad. Rally? I’d be disappointed in Turn 10 if they did, this should be on FM4 anyway.

I feel like it’s going to be just another money maker  and you know what? Chances are I’ll buy it, being  a Forza fanboy -_- I’m mostly writing this post because it hasn’t even been a year since they released FM4, I still haven’t got all the DLC, which by the way you have to pay for and now they’re trying to milk the series to get more money. I’m just worried that this will turn into the Call of Duty of racing games, but we’ll see.

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First Impressions of Windows 8

I have installed the Windows 8 consumer preview and my first impression was, WTF is this:

Seriously, on the start up screen when Windows is loading, where you’d normally see an animated Windows logo, they have this instead. This is also the default desktop background. I’m sure there is some complicated reasoning behind it but I thought it a bit weird. I don’t think many people would understand what it means and to be honest it looks a bit silly. At first I thought I had downloaded some sort of virus!

The start menu has been replaced with the big grid thing that takes up the full screen. I think it looks nice, but honestly, I’d rather have the desktop, which by the way is an option. I only opened the thing once, installed Skype and Steam, played one round of a game on Steam and that’s it. Drivers for graphics and Logitech keyboard and headset installed perfectly.

My only issue is turning it off/restarting. You have to go to the start screen (you can get to it by pressing the Windows key), click on settings and then Shut down/restart. A whole lot less semantic than the old “Start -> Shutdown” and I really hope they fix this. I spent almost a minute trying to find it!

Finally, I don’t know if I will upgrade to 8 when it comes out. Windows 7 supports Direct X fully and it’s still a solid operating system. 8 seems more like a visual upgrade. Of course I haven’t seen everything, so a purchasing decision won’t be made until after it’s been released. I know I will definitely never use Mac OS though -_-

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Seido Surface Case for Evo 3D Review

I’ve been using an Otterbox Commuter case for a while and I bought it because I heard good things about it. Unfortunately the two that I’ve had didn’t fit my phone properly and I couldn’t be bothered to constantly get replacements. I assume Otterbox has fixed this, but I’ve moved on.

For some reason, the rubber casing of the Otterbox would expand, leaving a gap at either the top or bottom of the phone. This was bad for two reasons. The first, it makes the rubber part, which is supposed to absorb the shock from falls pointless (almost) and second, it’s annoying to press the power button sometimes. The reason I mention this is because the Seido Surface Case doesn’t come with a rubber case, just the hard plastic shell. This means that it’s mostly going to protect the phone from dirt and dust, but offer little protection from fall damage. I’m okay with this since I tend to treat my phone like it’s my baby (no, I didn’t put it in a blender). Upon taking my phone out of the old Otterbox case, it seemed to be full of crumbs anyway… I guess you could say I replaced it because it was… Crummy -_-

Another thing the Surface case didn’t come with is a screen protector. I kept the original screen protector that came with the Otterbox though. It’s just an invisible/clear shield, which can be bought for cheap anyway. Whilst we’re talking about cheap, I got mine for only $27 from Amazon. I think the Otterbox is a little bit more, but they’re the same retail price on their respective web sites. I actually got the Surface case with the kickstand, which is nice to have. My only issue with it, is that it makes a loud “snap” sound whenever you open and close the kick stand. The first time I opened it, I thought I had broken it already! It seems to work fine for portrait as well as landscape too.

The hard plastic case is easy to put on. It comes in two parts and seems very solid. On the Otterbox, the mini USB port thingy, volume, power button and camera button were covered by the rubber case. This is not the case (no pun intended…) with the Seido Surface. It’s no big deal to me, I never had any problems with my previous phone, which I never even bought a case for. In fact, it makes the camera button much easier to press, which I like (still my favorite camera button on a phone ever).

Finally I want to say that the Otterbox was designed in such a way, that if you placed the phone on a table (or other flat surface) the rubber casing would be lifted slightly so that the screen doesn’t actually touch the surface. The Seido Surface doesn’t have this. Not really a big issue, I mean I don’t intend to place my phone, screen side down on anything, but it’s nice to have. Overall I think the Surface somehow feels slightly heavier than the Otterbox too. Again, not a big deal for me.

In conclusion, the Surface mostly protects the phone from dirt and dust, but didn’t come with any screen protection. I also wish it had a rubber case too to further protect against fall damage. A somewhat redeeming feature, and the only reason why I don’t dislike this case, is the kickstand on the back – I like having this. I could tell you to save some money and get the one without the kickstand, but what would be the point? Assuming Otterbox fixed the rubber case issues with the Commuter case, I’d recommend that over the Seido as far as features go. If you’re looking for better protection, the Otterbox, on paper seems like the better choice (again, assuming the rubber case fits), but for cheap protection against dirt, the Seido is probably the better choice.

Having said that, I’d still shop for alternatives to both. Specifically for cases that have a rubber casing, if fall damage is your primary concern.

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Hello 2012

If you know me, then you know I think New Years resolutions are for the weak and petty, but if I did have any, it would probably be to blog more and finish the singleplayer games I haven’t completed 🙂 I don’t know why, but I feel like 2011 was a good year for me, for two main reasons. First of all, I landed a really good job. I enjoy the work I do and I feel like I’m making a difference. My boss wants to talk to me about a raise when I go back on Tuesday and he’s even mentioned maybe making me a full time salaried employee, so things are looking great for me on that front.

The second thing that made this year great was gaming. This year was amazing for gaming, especially if you’re a PC gamer. I felt like the last two years were awful, and I even bought some awful games too, mainly because there was hardly anything else. Talks of the death of PC gaming were starting up again, but as usual, it was nonsense! The year started off a bit slow, but ended really well. Here’s my take on the ups and downs of gaming in 2011:

January was a slow month, but that’s normal. Dead Space 2 was released, which seemed like a good game, though I never got around to finishing it. I’ll have to give it another shot when I get the time.

February gave us

  • Test Drive Unlimited 2 – I looked forward to this game because I liked the concept. I didn’t like the first game because the driving model was awful. I got in to the private beta for this game and unfortunately, the same thing as the first – great concept, awful driving model.
  • Bulletstorm – Before this game came out, the developers made a fake game, mocking how Call of Duty is just another run and gun corridor shooter without any thought. They said that Bulletstorm would be different and of course I was interested. Unfortunately the game ended up being an immature disappointment and just like the Call of Duty series it mocked, another corridor shooter. Normally I don’t mind simple shooters, after all, why mess with something that works? But they tried to make the game feel different and failed miserably. It just felt like a Halo game with magic tricks.

March actually had some promising titles. Some were disappointments and some were better than expected.

  • Dragon Age II – first off, I’d like to mention I haven’t actually played this game and I never finished the first one because I never had the time to. When I finish the first game, I’d like to try Dragon Age II but I’ve heard many fans of the original express their disappointment (how many times will I use this word in this post?) with the sequel.
  • Homefront – I was skeptical about this game because I was still salty about Black Ops being a terrible game after it promised so much. And that was BEFORE I take into consideration the performance bug that they took 4 months to fix. Unfortunately Homefront wasn’t that great either. The multiplayer looked fun, but I didn’t want to spend my money. The singleplayer was terrible. I felt like the game treated me like a baby all the way until the end. I can only image they were trying to instill a feeling of teamwork, but they failed at pulling that off.
  • Crysis 2 – I enjoyed the singleplayer of this game. I think the multiplayer tried to rip off Call of Duty a bit, but it seemed fun anyway. But the singleplayer was the best part for me. It was one of those fun shooters where you get from A to B and kill everything in your way. I like originality, don’t get me wrong, but sometimes sticking to a fun formula is just as good.
  • Need for Speed Shift 2: Unleashed – The original Shift wasn’t that bad. It had better graphics than Forza 3 and a slightly more realistic driving model. The same applies to Shift 2. The graphics are nice (important for a simulation) and the driving model leaned more towards realistic, as opposed to arcade-y. Overall I probably wouldn’t recommend it to a casual racer or a hardcore sim racer, but somewhere in between.

The only game worth mentioning in April is Portal 2. Can you believe this game came out in April? It feels like only yesterday. If you liked Portal 1 you’ll like the second one. For some reason I felt Portal 2 was the perfect length. I got tired of it towards the end, no idea why, but it ended just as I was about to say “I can’t be bothered”. Strange.

In May the most disappointing game was Brink… I know I wrote a good review on it, but I think I wrote it too soon. The game was very promising, I loved the movement system and it seemed fun… Except it was lame. The maps didn’t make any use of the movement system, the A.I. was horrible, no one played it online, the weapons all felt the same… The list goes on. If I’m allowed to take back one review per year, I’ll take back this one. The Witcher 2: Assasins of Kings came out as well, and it seems like a great game, but the controls and the way it teaches you to play sucked. I still want to finish it though, it looks like a deep RPG experience with a great storyline, which is always appealing to me.

June brought Alice: Madness Returns (looks fun, but I never spent the time to finish it) and F.E.A.R. 3 (boring and short). But of course, in the spotlight was Duke Nukem Forever. It finally came out and I know it wasn’t going to be the greatest shooter of all time. In fact, I had pretty low expectations of it – I just wanted it to be a fun corridor shooter. Couldn’t even pull that off. The game was awful, with poor level design, weak feeling weapons and stupid A.I.

July didn’t have anything that interested me, so on to August where the most important game (for me) this year was released. Deus Ex: Human Revolution. I actually had high expectations for this game. I mean, if you’re going to make a Deus Ex game, why bother unless you’re going to do it properly? I was a bit worried that it would be ruined because they wanted to make it for all platforms, which meant pleasing those console kiddies, but in the end, the game turned out fantastic! My only two complaints were that the boss fights were unnecessary and lame and all four “endings” were awful. Otherwise the game stays true to the original in both story and gameplay.

In September we had:

  • Dead Island – I was skeptical at first, but I’m glad I bought this. First off, don’t compare this to the Left 4 Dead series. Second, the game isn’t that much fun without friends, so get some friends. After about 2 hours of gameplay, I didn’t really care about the story and the game was a bit buggy at first. But you learn to love this game anyway because it’s actually a lot of fun to play, despite its flaws. I have to admit this was one of the pleasant surprises of this year.
  • Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad – I never played the original much, but I knew what I was getting in to if I were to buy this game. It’s a challenging tactical shooter that I wish I spent more time on, but I didn’t purely because of college, work and another multiplayer game that I’ll mention later (though I know you know what it is).

October and the rest of the quarter was really good. Here’s what stood out for me October:

  • Rage – I don’t know why some people are disappointed with this game. I didn’t expect much from it and I really enjoyed playing through it. I could see areas where it could of been improved, such as graphics and it’s open world concept, but honestly, it wasn’t that bad.
  • Forza Motorsport 4 – I’m sorry, but as the owner of both, any argument as what is the better game between this and Gran Turismo 5 has been decided. Forza 4 I feel is the better game, I always feel compelled to play it, it feels like a much more complete experience and anyone who likes cars can pick it up. I love GT5 but it feels like it’s missing that ‘spark’. I’d be friends with GT5, but Forza 4 has a much more varied personality and she looks great too, which is why I’d be in a relationship with her. (Sorry, but if you’ve made it this far in this post you deserved that).
  • Battlefield 3 – This is the reason I’m not playing any other multiplayer game. I can’t get enough of it and despite my hate for Origin, EA’s greed and the way Battlelog works, this game is amazing. The singleplayer and co-op seem ‘meh’ but the multiplayer is why you buy this game. After the pile of crap called Bad Company 2 I was worried this would end up being terrible as well. Fortunately, it ended up being a real PC game and dare I say it, it might even be my Counter-Strike replacement.

November was hit and miss for me. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (or, if it were an Apple product, Modern Warfare 2S) was one that I didn’t bother with and won’t be missed. You have to be a real pubeless fanboy to buy this game at full price and then say it’s good. They made no effort at all to make this game any different. Skyrim was a hit for me. I finished the main story but there are still so many side quests to complete. My only complaints about this game is the combat feels clunky, the interface sucks (on all platforms) and it seems a bit repetitive at times.

I also played Need for Speed: The Run. I think it took me about 4 hours to complete. So yeah, don’t get that. Serious Sam 3: BFE I got for around $25. It was the worst Serious Sam game ever made, but playing the co-op with friends was still fun. Definitely worth $25, but I don’t think I could play it more than once. The game didn’t have that many enemies in the beginning and a lot of times we were running around trying to find where to go next, which isn’t really Sam’s style. Also didn’t get any cool weapons until later in the game.

December didn’t have anything new but that’s okay because the rest of the year had some great titles and gave me loads more games that I need to finish. Overall I’m happy with the way everything turned out. Of course I didn’t mention every game that came out, you can find a list on Wikipedia, I only mentioned the titles important to me. With that being said, I think 2012 has it’s work cut out. I’ll be amazed if 2012 ends up being another great year in gaming. I can’t think of anything that I’m looking forward to except Guild Wars 2 but I don’t even know if that will be released this year. Either way, I have enough to keep me occupied for the rest of the year anyway.

If you made it to the end of this post, then happy new year to you 🙂

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Evo 3D Review

Scroll down to the bottom for the tl;dr and a link to download some sample 3D images. Evo 3D full specs.

I’ve had my Evo 3D for a week now. I decided to upgrade from my Nexus One as Sprint was offering $125 service credit if I switched. I thought I’d take advantage and get a dual core phone. My Nexus One was the benchmark for me as far as superphones/Android superphones go, at least when I got it. It had the latest version of Android and for a whole year, I never felt the need to root it and install any custom ROMS because, quite frankly, within hardware limitations it did everything every other phone did. Rooting it simply added even more functionality, I had no reason to get anything else.

Now, as I switched to Sprint, the 3D had not been released yet so I temporarily had an Evo 4G. I picked this phone as it would be the closest thing to the 3D. In comparison to my Nexus One it wasn’t that impressive. I liked the bigger screen and Sprint’s WiMax 4G is actually pretty fast. Aside from that, the front facing camera and HTC’s Sense were the main differences between the 4G and the Nexus One. I enjoyed using all of them, except Sense.

You may be wondering what this has to do with the 3D. Well, as I mentioned earlier, I thought the 4G would be the closest comparison to the 3D and since I was getting the 3D, I thought it would help me get used to the new phone a little easier. I was wrong…

The biggest surprise for me is Sense. I expected it to be lame and gimmicky, it isn’t. I don’t like the dock at the bottom, I wish you could customize it more, and I don’t like how certain notifications display on the lock screen, I’d like my privacy. But apart from that, I like everything else! My favorite feature is the new lock screen, which by the way, if you use a pin or pattern unlock you can still take advantage of this awesome lock screen. You can have your lock screen display different things on it, I have the current weather in an animation and it looks beautiful. You can also have a “friend stream” which displays a social networking time line, a photo album or you could just stick with a plain lock screen! Another thing on the lock screen is widgets. You have four spaces to place four app icons of your choice. This is another thing I appreciated as it makes opening your frequently used apps a lot more efficient. The only thing that would make this better is if it had icons for apps that had new notifications, at the moment you can only have four fixed apps.

The notification bar has also been modified in 3.0. As well as displaying your notifications, it also displays a row of icons at the top for your eight recently opened apps. Essentially the same thing that would be displayed if you long pressed the home button. This feature I use occasionally, but I’m already used to using the home button. Still though, Android is all about choice, so it’s nice that HTC included this.

The feature of the notification pull down I like the most though, was access to “quick settings”, a tab at the bottom. This replaces the widgets that used to be on the home screens to toggle certain settings. I loved that they are now neatly tucked away in the notifications pull down, it reminds me of the notification widgets that Cyanogen MOD had. Speaking of which, Cyanogen had a way to swipe away notifications to dismiss them without opening them. Add this feature to Sense and the notification pull down would be perfect!

The dock, like before had the ‘all apps’ button to bring up the app drawer (more on that later), the giant “phone” button (who makes calls anymore? :p) and instead of the “+” button, there is a paintbrush button to access the “personalize” screen. Tap this button from any home screen to customize the lock screen, wallpaper, widgets, add app icons and folders to your home screens and change your HTC Sense “scene”. You can also change sounds for your ringtone, alarm and default notification sound. It’s a really nice and convenient place to do all these things and in my opinion a welcome addition to the phone’s interface. The personalize screen can also be accessed by long pressing an empty space on any home screen.

Sense 3.0 also contains a few new widgets, which look great! HTC includes an app called “HTC Hub” which is like a central place to get new widgets, scenes and wallpapers. At the moment there isn’t too much on there, but I suspect this will change over time as Sense 3 is on more phones.

The app drawer is also different now. It has buttons at the bottom to view all apps, downloaded apps (ones that didn’t come with the phone) and frequently used apps (useful). The apps display in pages now, not the continuous flowing way, however, if you’d like such functionality back you can change the view to “list view”. This makes the app drawer look like how apps are listed when you go to uninstall them. Not as pretty, but functional and flowing.

There have been quite a few changes and additions to Sense that make the phone a pleasure to use, but I can’t list all of them here, there are articles on blogs out there that go over everything. I’ve talked about most of the major changes, all of which make using your phone a much more positive experience. As mentioned above, I only have a few small complaints about Sense, none of which take away from the experience as a whole. I used to think I was a die hard stock Android only person until I used Sense 3. If you were like me, Sense 3 isn’t that bad, in fact it makes using the phone a real pleasure. However, if you want to go back to stock Android and have a myriad of customizations, I’m sure the home screen replacements in the Android market still work, and at the time of writing, the Android developers have figured out a way to get root, so custom ROM’s and mods should appear soon.

The next thing that surprised me was… 3D! I thought it would be gimmicky and I wouldn’t care for it at all! However, the combination of nice looking stock 3D images, as well as the camera being able to take some good quality 3D stills itself, the camera is such a pleasure to use! I miss having a dedicated camera button (my G1 had one) so I thought that it was great they put one on the 3D. However, it’s not just a button you simply press, it’s a two stage affair. Once you open the camera app (by either using the app icon or holding down the camera button) you press down lightly to focus and then all the way down to take the picture. I know there are a lot of actual cameras that do this, but it’s wonderfully simple an intuitive I feel like taking photos all day with it! I hope HTC includes this button on all their future models! As for switching between 2D and 3D photos and video, it’s a simple slider switch on the side next to the camera button. You can also convert 3D images to 2D jpegs for sharing with those who don’t have a glasses free 3D screen.

The phone comes preloaded with a Spiderman 3D game which was fun and ‘The Green Hornet’ in 3D. I haven’t watched the whole film, but that’s because I’m not too interested in the film itself. The 3D looked good though. I really hope this phone becomes popular and developers take advantage of 3D, I think it has the potential to make some really cool and creative apps and less of a gimmick. I haven’t stared at the 3D for too long, I’ve heard it can give you headaches if you do stare for too long, so I thought I’d mention that.

Battery life is well… Android. It does have a dual core and Sense has a really nice looking interface, but it has a bigger battery than the old Evo 4G and Nexus One. As a heavy user, I get the same amount of battery life as I did with the Nexus One and Evo 4G. I NEED to have a charger at work otherwise I won’t make the day, but again, I am a heavy user, plus I get a 4G connection at work, so the 4G radio is on all day. I’d say I get about 4 – 5 hours before it runs down to about 10%. I believe with light to moderate use you can easily last 8 – 9 hours.

Oh, and about that dual core. It’s fast. Everything is quick and snappy and there is no lag at all! Uninstalling apps that would normally take maybe ten seconds is now done in an instant! I feel like opening a bunch of apps to see if I can slow it down, but I don’t think anything will work. And it does all this whilst running the latest version of Sense. I’m quite impressed with the performance and even though some people may say that, whilst true, a 1Ghz single core is good enough, having a dual core does make a difference.

Speaking of speed, the 4G is great. I get about 4 – 10Mb down and I’ve gotten up to 1Mb up if I remember correctly when I did a Speakeasy.net speed test. This is great for browsing and watching HD YouTube videos, everything loads pretty quickly. My only complaint is that the radio signal seems a bit weaker than the Evo 4G. It’s pretty rare that the signal drops though so it’s not a big issue. The qHD screen is a larger resolution and looks okay, but still is nowhere near as good as the AMOLED display on the Samsung Galaxy S phones. You also need to turn the screen brightness up for decent viewing in direct sunlight. I think this is a problem on a lot of phones, except the Samsung ones, so HTC, please fix this!

Another issue is the capacitative buttons are a little too sensitive. I had this problem on the Evo 4G, but not the Nexus One. Especially if I use one hand it’s all to easy for my palms to accidentally press the home or search button. This is fixed somewhat because I have an Otterbox case on, which makes the phone a little easier to hold, but the problem is still there. Speaking of which, the phone feels thinner than the Evo 4G and lot easier to hold. The thickness may be about the same, but the width is slightly smaller and makes one handed use a lot easier. The speakers don’t seem to be too loud either. They are good enough for ring tones and notifications but for listening to music and maybe watching YouTube videos, you may want a pair of earphones.

Speaking of watching YouTube videos, for the brief amount of time I had the 4G I enjoyed using the kick stand at the back. This is gone with the 3D, not quite sure why, there’s room for it. It would have been nice if they had included the kick stand from the Thunderbolt, as the Thunderbolt’s stand can be used in portrait as well as landscape. Though there are cases that have stands on them. Another thing I miss is a trackball like I had on the Nexus One. The trackball is so much better than having to use the on screen controls to navigate input text, it just feels more intuitive and easy. This isn’t really a big issue, but it’s weird the compromises that HTC makes as they evolve (no pun intended) their phones. Don’t know why they wouldn’t include a trackball or trackpad.

There are a lot of apps preloaded by Sprint on the 3D as well. Thankfully Sprint/HTC now allow you to pretty much uninstall ALL of these bloatware apps. If you’re like me, you will find this a blessing. I don’t know about you, but when I get a new laptop, the first thing I do is uninstall all the trials, demo programs and other bloatware that comes with it. With the exception of Sprint Zone for account management, I don’t really need any of the other Sprint apps. The phone has 1GB of memory for app storage also, which is quite a bit. You should be able to fit enough apps on the internal storage without having to move them to the SD card. The phone comes with an 8GB SD card, which isn’t really that big, especially considering you can record 720p videos, but of course, this is a cheap upgrade to get up to 32GB’s of storage, SD cards aren’t that expensive.

It comes with the latest version of Android on it, Gingerbread 2.3.3. Well actually 2.3.4 is the latest version for phones, but that is only a minor upgrade which I’m sure will be available in the future. HTC is probably the best manufacturer for getting updates out in a somewhat timely manner and there is absolutely no way with a dual core and 4GB ROM that they wouldn’t keep this phone updated. It will be able to handle anything! I thought I’d briefly mention that I didn’t really like the stock keyboard that the phone comes with. It also comes with Swype too though, however this is Android, so you always have a choice. I am actually using the SwiftKey X beta and I love it.

It seems odd to leave this so near the end of the review, but remember this is actually a phone and it DOES make phone calls! Call quality was good and I have not received a dropped call yet, so that’s also good. I don’t know how I sound on the other end, but I don’t think this phone has a noise cancelling mic. Still though I’ve had no complaints so I’m assuming it’s fine.

Overall the build quality of this phone feels incredibly solid. HTC’s build quality has always been superb for me and this is no exception. It feels nicely weighted, although heavier now that I have an Otterbox case on. I will say it still looks like a generic HTC phone, which bothers me a bit. I wish it looked a little more unique. In fact, if it was white instead of black, that would do the trick! Such a simple change would make this look like a completely different phone compared to all the other HTC Evo clones out there.

I had my Nexus One for a year before I decided to root it and MOD it. Within hardware limitations there wasn’t anything it couldn’t do. So when my contract was up, I waited patiently for a phone that would be a worthy successor for the Nexus. The 3D, as it turns out fits the bill. I was mostly expecting a faster, smoother experience with Android, I really got this phone because I wanted 4G and a dual core, but I feel like I got more than what I expected. I got the extra speed from 4G and the dual core, both of which are great, but I was surprised at how great Sense 3 is to use and impressed with the 3D features. The downsides however, is that with heavy use the battery life isn’t good and I wish the screen looked a bit nicer. Other than that, unless  you happen to be upgrading from another dual core phone, this phone is amazing and worth every penny. I would not hesitate to recommend it.

I’d give the Evo 3D an 8/10.

 

tl;dr:

Good:

  • 3D is actually really cool, hopefully developers will make more 3D related apps.
  • Sense 3.0 is amazing (this coming from a stock Android lover) and really makes the phone a pleasure to use!
  • Dual core and 1GB memory means everything is super fast, absolutely no hiccups or lag in performance whilst I was using it!
  • Truly the best dedicated camera button I have ever seen on a phone, all phones should have a button like this!
  • 4G coverage in my area at work and at home is good. 4G speeds are fast and make browsing the web, tweeting and watching HD YouTube videos as good an experience as if I was at a computer with a dedicated broadband connection.
  • Feels thinner than the Evo 4G and much easier to use with one hand, screen size is perfect.
  • Latest version of Android.

Meh:

  • Battery life still isn’t good enough for a heavy user! This has been a problem for me on every Android phone with a stock battery that I’ve had!
  • Screen looks good, but still nowhere near as good as the AMOLED on Samsung Galaxy S phones.

Sample 3D Images

Download 3D.rar

Above is the link to download a rar file with .mpo files in them. These can only be viewed on 3D capable displays. If you have an nVidia card that supports steroscopic 3D, they can also be viewed on a regular monitor with the red and blue 3D glasses. If you have the nVidia control panel installed, simply double-click one of the .mpo files and it will automatically launch a set up wizard for you.

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Brink Review

*Obligatory I know I haven’t posted in a while intro*

Now that that’s out of the way, on to the review. I normally don’t review games this quickly, but I feel I have played enough of Brink to write about it. So here goes. As usual, the review will be on my Amazon reviews as well.

My first issue with the game, was before it was released. There were multiple DLC’s for preorder that were exclusive to certain retailers and you got a different one depending where you preordered from. If it was something cosmetic, like the skins, then that would be fine. But some DLC’s also had weapons, which affect gameplay. I don’t like this new trend in the gaming industry, but it’s not like any of the publishers will listen to I guess I’ll have to live with it.

Brink is actually a multiplayer game with co op. The fact that the game has co op might suggest that there is a singleplayer campaign. There is, sort of. It’s not a scripted story based campaign, it’s just you versus bots. This isn’t too bad as the cool thing is, you can open the game up to the public, or to friends, and people can join to replace the bots on your team. This is really nice, in fact I’d say it’s the preferred method of going through the campaign. The AI in Brink is absolutely awful! It’s pretty much all up to you to do the objectives and, depending on what point you are on the level, the enemy AI can either be too easy or too hard.

This is a game that must be played with other people and thankfully, you can have human players on both sides, thanks to the free play mode. Free play lets you create or join a custom match. The levels are the same ones in the campaign, except there are humans, instead of bots on either side. The bots can fill in for humans until the server fills up. In free play, you can also set custom match settings, in case you want to mix things up a little.

Another reason to play with humans is the team play aspect of the game. Whilst you can easily head to a command post, change to the required class (more on classes later) to complete the main objective, you can’t do it on your own, especially not with a team of bots. Usually only one class is needed to complete the main objective, but without a medic, you’d be dying all the time, or without a solider you’ll run out of ammo a lot. There isn’t much room for tactics, though, it mostly just involves grouping up and storming an area together. Whilst this may seem dull, there is plenty of action going on and no one is ever bored, not even medics as there’s always something to do. The game lets you set objectives for yourself via an objective wheel, it’s a really slick and smooth interface that’s done really well. My only gripe with this, is that the objectives aren’t always clear. For example, the objective might say “guard the door”, but what it really should say is “plant explosives on the door” or “guard the soldier who plants explosives on the door”. Fixing that, would make it perfect.

The classes. There are four of them; Soldier – refills ammo for themselves and team mates, can also plant explosives on objectives. Medic – pretty obvious, this guy buffs themselves and team mates health. The medic can also heal and revive team mates and do the same for the VIP in “Escort” missions.  The Covert Ops can disguise as enemies, just like the spy in Team Fortress 2. The covert ops guy places “hack boxes” on objectives and must be protected whilst he hacks the objective. Finally, there is the Engineer. This guy can plant mines and turrets and buffs weapon damage for themselves and team mates. For objectives, the Engineer can disarm explosives planted by enemy soldiers, and disarm enemy mines spotted by Covert Ops. Only Covert Ops can see enemy mines. The Engineer also heals vehicles (non-drivable) in Escort missions. When you start the game, you make a character (that can play all of these classes) to level up and customize.

Customization seems limitless. There are countless ways to configure your appearance, weapons and abilities. There are 20 levels in the game and each one grants you one point to spend on your abilities. Abilities can upgrade the skills of each class as well as skills for all classes. Your appearance can also be customized with different clothing and the game, cleverly uses the players’ character models in the cutscenes, which I thought was pretty cool. Weapon attachments can be unlocked from the challenge mode. Challenge mode doesn’t take long however, so you’ll end up having all of the weapon attachments in no time. I have no issue with that either, but you end up finding attachments you like and putting almost the same ones on all your guns. All the guns in the game can be customized and you select a default one (one that you will spawn with) for a primary and secondary weapon. You can change your weapons at any time from a command post. There are also three different body types that determine what weapons you can use and how you move. The fast body type has low health and can only carry light weapons, but moves and climbs really quickly. The medium, my personal favorite, has medium health, can move almost anywhere and can carry light and medium weapons. The heavy body is the opposite of the light. Lots of health, but fat and slow, however, he can carry heavy weapons.

Back to the movement – something I’m sort of impressed with, but not. I’m impressed with the way it works, it’s so smooth and it feels natural when vaulting over a something or climbing up onto things… But I’m disappointed that they did not make good use of it in the game. The three things that make Brink stand out from the crowd are; myriad of customizations for your character and weapons, team play and the movement system. The movement system is nice, but I was a bit let down, that most of the maps play almost like any other shooter. I was hoping the movement system would spice it up a little.

The presentation of Brink is good too. The menu system is clean and crisp and very simple and easy to use. The in game objective wheel is also incredibly simple. The story in Brink, is that the city, “The Ark” is getting overcrowded and there is a plague spreading throughout the city. Or something like that. Truth it, not only is the story unimportant in this game, when you play the levels, especially the one with the shopping mall, it doesn’t seem like such a bad place! Still though the graphics look decent, a cross between the colorfulness of Team Fortress 2, mixed with the grim reality of a war. Not that you’d notice, the pace of the game can be pretty quick some times, but this is generally the case with most shooters.

Despite having quite a selection of guns a lot of them feel the game. All the pistols feel the same, all the SMG’s feel the same etc. I wish there was a little more variety. Having said that, this is counter-balanced by the attachments that really let you make a weapon your own. I’ve already mentioned the customization that’s possible for the guns, using them though, is just as good. They pack solid punches, even the pistols, but don’t expect too much variety, despite how much you can modify each one. Also don’t expect anything new here, there’s no “super cool” weapon. Whilst the guns may not be based on anything real, you have your standard shooter arsenal here, save for rocket launchers.

In conclusion, after 2010, I was skeptical about preordering a shooter, since all of them seem to be console ports these days. In the end, I’m glad I bought Brink, it’s well worth it. It’s biggest flaw is the awful AI, but that is remedied by playing with humans. I’ve seen some people complain that the scoreboard does not show kills/deaths, just XP earned and some people have complained about this. I personally don’t care, for once! I really feel compelled to be a team member in this game rather than trying to rack up the most kills. After all, the game is designed in such a way, that that’s the only way to win. There is a section in the game for DLC, and as of the time of writing there isn’t any yet, but hopefully they will add new levels. What I’m hoping for are levels designed to make better use of the movement system, if they did this, then that would be the icing on the cake. But in it’s current state, and despite the AI, which doesn’t really ruin the experience, the game is a lot of fun and has restored my faith in not only FPS games on PC, but PC gaming in general. Just a little. If you haven’t already, buy this game!

I’d give this game a 9/10.

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CES 2011

I’ve been following CES 2011, sort of. Not everything, mostly phones and a few tablets. I am especially interested in the phones that were shown as my contract is up in February. I don’t wish to stick with T-Mobile which means I’d also have to give up my Nexus One. Which is sad as it’s still a great phone. I’ve decided to make a post on some of the things that I thought were cool or interesting and some items that I might consider getting.

Motorola Atrix 4G

I thought this was pretty cool. This definitely seems like the future of true mobile computing, being able to carry your data and programs anywhere on a small device. Then being able to plug it into anything and the OS will instantly change to reflect whatever input and output devices it’s connected to. It’s almost as if bringing back “dumb terminals” lol!

The only downside to this, is that it’s on AT&T. Otherwise I might of considered getting this one.

Tegra 2 Gaming on Motorola Atrix 4G and LG Optimus 2X

Both these phones have some impressive specs – including dual cores. But the main point here is nVidia’s Tegra 2 graphics. As you can see, the frame rate is incredibly smooth. But that’s not the only impressive thing. With these phones, you can play multiplayer games cross platform! So if I’m on my Android phone, bored in the doctor’s waiting room, I can play against my friend on PS3! I’ve been waiting a while for cross platform multiplayer gaming, but I never knew it would start with mobile phones. I hope this develops further and we get to see many more games released.

Motorola Xoom

Nothing special about the tablet itself. What makes it great is that it’s the first tablet running Android 3.0, aka Honeycomb. The OS made just for tablets. I have to say, it’s a slick looking interface and I’m very tempted to buy one. But I know I don’t need one. Here’s a video that would make anyone drool:

Honorable mention: BlackBerry Playbook

I can’t find the video right now, but there was one on Engadget where they had the Playbook running Quake 3 (demo mode), a 1080p video, a picture slideshow and some music playing all at the same time with no slowdown! I found this impressive. They showed all four apps running side by side and all of them were running smoothly. It got a little choppy when they were trying to open each app, but hey, this would even be impressive on a desktop PC! Of course, it being a tablet I still won’t buy it. That, and BlackBerry is quite lacking in apps compared to other platforms. But still, a very competitive product RIM has here.

Phones I Might Get: Droid Bionic or HTC Thunderbolt

First of all, I’d like to mention that these aren’t the only two phones I would buy that were at CES. The other two that I’d consider are the Motorola Atrix 4G and the LG Optimus 2X. Both have Tegra 2, dual cores, 4G and great specs, but unfortunately both will be on AT&T. AT&T isn’t the best network here and with all the iPhones on the network slowing it down even more I doubt I’ll have a great experience. Which brings me to my next point, I might switch to Verizon.

I’ve heard good things from about Verizon from friends, co-workers and general opinions on the web. With the iPhone coming to Verizon, I’m a little worried about network bandwidth being eaten up, as I know a lot of iPhone users are only on AT&T simply because it was the only choice. But on to the actual phones. Both the Bionic and the Thunderbolt have 1GHz CPU’s… Which is plenty of speed now, but with 1.2Ghz CPU’s and dual cores coming out, I feel like by the end of the year I’d be behind. Having said that, the 1GHz in my Nexus one is incredibly quick and snappy and I don’t do a whole lot of gaming on it anyway. I still haven’t decided which of these two phones I’d like, so I guess I’ll have to wait until they are released and can get a hands on try.

One final note – the two carriers I was planning on switching to were Verizon and Sprint. I would have preferred Sprint, but the only new phone they introduced was basically a baby Evo 4G with a slide out keyboard. Not enough new stuff for me to really want to switch.

Anyway, here is some info and pictures on both the Droid Bionic and the HTC Thunderbolt. Both of which will be on Verizon’s 4G LTE network. Can’t wait!

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