It’s no secret that iOS mobile gaming leaves us wanting when it comes to physical controls. Fortunately, at CES 2013, iFrogz is out to fill that void with the Caliber Advantage iPhone case-gone-console. The Caliber Advantage, an iPhone 5 and fifth-generation iPod touch accessory, uses Bluetooth 4.0 to connect to the corresponding enabled application rather than the phone itself. iFrogz mentions that a deal with Epic Games and Chair Entertainment to build the basis for the Caliber software powered by the Unreal Engine is in the works. In fact, later this April the company will host its own developer conference aimed at seriously expanding the platform and hopefully adding support for previously released titles.
Marrying a case with a full-fledged controller certainly adds some bulk, but after handling the prototype, the approximate half inch of added girth honestly didn’t incite any ill feelings. The chassis, while clearly heavy on the plastic, felt more sturdy than anticipated, and fairly natural to our hands. As for the buttons? Crisp and responsive, hard though that may be to believe. The unit is set to retail at $70.
Nikon reveals D5200 SLR with D7000-taunting specs: 24MP sensor, 39-point AF, wireless port (hands-on)
The Nikon D5200 is a new mid-range DX-format DSLR camera. The 24.1 megapixel Nikon D5200 succeeds the D5100, featuring a new EXPEED 3 image processor, ISO range of 100-6400 which is extendable to 25600, 3-inch vari-angle LCD monitor, Fulll 1080p HD movies, 5fps burst shooting, 39-point AF system, 2,016-pixel RGB metering sensor, the Scene Recognition System and a new generation GUI Design.
The optional WU-1a Wireless Mobile Adapter can transmit images from the D5200 to an Apple or Android smart device control your camera remotely from your smart device, while the new WR-R10 Wireless Remote transceiver and WR-T10 Wireless Remote transmitter let you control key camera functions from a distance.
Available in three colours, black, red and bronze, the Nikon D5200 will cost £719.99 / €899.00 body only, or £819.99 / €1029.00 with the 18-55mm VR lens. Sales start in December 2012.
Technology’s always getting smaller, right? As such, it shouldn’t be a surprise that Eye-Fi can now cram 16GB of storage and a WiFi radio into one of its SD cards, but somehow, it still is. This is the latest, the Eye-Fi Pro X2 16GB, the company’s first Class 10 unit. It’ll be landing on the doorsteps of tech-savvy photographers in the next week, so we thought we’d take a quick look at how things have improved with this year’s vintage and if it can justify that $100 price-tag.
Apple just introduced its second Retina display MacBook: the 13-inch MacBook Pro, which starts at $1,699 and is shipping today. Just months after the 15-incher was gifted with a display that packs more pixels than your existing HDTV, the 13-inch sibling is receiving similar treatment. Unveiled today in San Jose alongside the iPad mini, the intensely dense 13-inch MBP is true to the rumors — there’s a 2,560 x 1,600 panel, a pair of Thunderbolt ports, a full-size HDMI socket and a MagSafe 2 power connector. Unfortunately, those yearning for a Retina-equipped MacBook Air won’t find their dreams fulfilled just yet, but you can bet that holdouts will most certainly give this guy a look.
For starters, it’s wildly thin. No, not manilla envelope thin, but thin enough to slip into most briefcases and backpacks without the consumer even noticing. Outside of that, it’s mostly a shrunken version of the 15-incher let loose over the summer. The unibody design is as tight as ever, with the fit and finish continuing to impress. In my estimation, this is Apple’s most deliberate move yet to differentiate the 13-inch MacBook Pro from the 13-inch MacBook Air. On one hand, power users longing for a highly portable laptop can rejoice; on the other, this could be seen as reason for Apple to restrict the use of Retina displays to its Pro range for the foreseeable future.
Compared to the 1,280 x 800 resolution of the non-Retina 13-inch MBP, the new display is particularly stunning. Text has never looked more crisp, and colors are stupendously vibrant. Of course, apps, websites and graphics that haven’t been optimized for Retina still look like utter rubbish, and as more Apple machines transition to these panels, the outcry is going to get even louder. But, hopefully, it’ll light a fire under developers to get with the program.
Google really impressed us in San Francisco here today with its 11.6-inch ARM-based Samsung Chromebook. The $249 laptop is 0.8-inches (20mm) thin and weight only 2.43 pounds (1.1kg). It features a 11.6-inch 1366 x 768-pixel matte display, a full-size keyboard, a button-less trackpad and a 30Wh battery for 6.5+ hours of operation. Specs include a fanless dual-core A15-based Samsung Exynos 5 Dual (5250) SoC, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of built-in flash storage, WiFi a/b/g/n and Bluetooth. There’s a full-size SD card reader and a standard 3.5mm headphone jack (with mic support) on the left, plus the power input, HDMI output, USB 2.0 port, USB 3.0 connector and SIM slot (currently unused) in back.
First impressions? This is a solid machine — build quality and materials are fantastic for the price. It’s also pleasantly thin and light, a boon for people who are used to carrying a laptop around every day. We’re happy with the display which is bright and crisp. Viewing angles could use some improvement, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a better laptop screen at this price. The keyboard and trackpad feel great (we’re coming from an 11-inch Core i7 MacBook Air), and two-finger scrolling works like a charm. Performance is somewhere between the original Atom-based Chromebooks and the current Celeron-equipped Series-5 model. The system didn’t have any issues playing back 1080p content in YouTube, but we didn’t get a chance try Hulu or NetFlix.
Ultimately, this is a phenomenal device for the price. If you’re used to working in the cloud, you’re basically getting 80 percent of the entry-level MacBook Air experience for a quarter of the price. Factor in the Google Now integration and 100GB of free Google Drive storage for two years and this latest Chromebook is a winner. Check out the gallery below and hit the break for our hands-on video.
Beats by Dre Pill portable Bluetooth speaker officially drops, we take one per the Dr. and go ears-on (video)
It’s official. Aside from letting loose its first set of headphones post-Monster for the Executive types, Beats Electronics has set its sights on nabbing the portable Bluetooth audio crown from Jawbone’s Jambox. You’ll recall this hitting the FCC a bit ago, but today the Dr. is officially ready to offer you it’s remedy for on-the-go wireless audio with its $200 Pill, an NFC-equipped portable Bluetooth 2.1 speaker. Coming in your choice red, black or white, the cylindrical system is loaded with a quartet of 1-inch drivers, and supports codecs including Apt-X and AAC. An internal battery is said to provide about seven hours of listening at around 75-percent volume (80 decibels), and the unit can be charged via its Micro-USB input. Notably, an auto-off feature turns the unit off after 30 minutes if no audio is streamed to it. As you’d expect, the Pill features a front-facing on-board mic for use as a speakerphone, physical volume buttons and power button, as well as a 3.5mm input if you’d like to play sans Bluetooth. We’re also pleased to notice that the diminutive system also features a 3.5 output if you’d like to send the audio out to another audio ware. The Pill comes with a 3.5mm to 3.5mm cable, a USB to Micro-USB cable for charging with an included wall adapter and, lastly, a carrying shell case that can be hooked to a bag.
We’ve been able to spend about an hour with the system, and we’ve frankly come away very impressed. The unit feels very sturdy, with a stiff metal grille and soft-touch coating around the rest of its exterior. It feels very comfortable to hold in a hand, and will easily fit in a jacket pocket. Actually, one of our only initial complaints is that the included carrying shell doesn’t leave any room for the included cables. All of the buttons have a soft, slightly clicky tactility, which also aids to its premium feel. Using it initially alongside one of Beats’ on-hand Jamboxes in a wired A/B comparison, the Jambox came out sounding like a distorted, rumbling mess up against the pill — we even had a rep bring out a second unit confirm that it wasn’t a dud. If that wasn’t enough, the Pill also managed to get much louder, staying fairly clean (in comparison), and without rumbling on the table as the Jambox did very slightly. As a triple-check measure, we later came up with a similar outcome with our in-house unit of Logitech’s $99 UE mobile boombox — a speaker we find comparable in sound, if slightly better, than the Jambox.
With a couple exceptions, we hadn’t heard much about Lenovo’s Windows 8 plans until now. Okay, it teased the IdeaPad Yoga back at CES, and recently unveiled the business-friendly ThinkPad Tablet 2. But surely the company wasn’t going to stop there, right? Hardly. Lenovo just announced the IdeaTab Lynx, an 11.6-inch laptop / tablet hybrid aimed at mainstream consumers. Like so many other products with this form factor, it runs a dual-core, Clovertrail-based Atom processor, paired with 2GB of RAM and either 32 or 64GB of solid-state storage, depending on the configuration you choose. Unsurprisingly, the detachable keyboard dock has a built-in 6,800mAh battery of its own, which promises to double the tablet’s runtime from eight hours to 16. In this case, though, the machine benefits from Lenovo’s keyboard know-how, so as small as the 1.45-pound dock is, it still offers an AccuType layout similar to what you’d find on Lenovo’s bigger notebooks.
Detach the tablet from its dock and you have a 1.4-pound tablet that measures 9.45mm thick. That 11.6-inch, 400-nit screen is of IPS caliber, so the viewing angles should be decent if you attempt to use it outdoors or watch movies from an odd angle (say, with the screen dipped forward on an airplane tray). Poke around the device and you’ll find micro-USB and micro-HDMI ports, along with a microSD slot for external storage. It also has a 2-megapixel webcam up front for video chatting, though interestingly, there’s no camera module on the back side. The dock, meanwhile, adds two full-sized USB 2.0 ports. According to Lenovo, the Lynx will be available in December, starting at $600 for the standalone tablet. (The keyboard dock will be a $150 add-on.) Until then, we’ve got some early hands-on photos below, along with the usual spate of press shots.
ASUS VivoTab RT 10.1-inch Windows 8 RT tablet comes to AT&T later this year, we go hands-on (update: now with video!)
The ASUS VivoTab RT is heading to AT&T exclusively this winter with 4G LTE — that much we already knew. But how does it feel? Well, it feels like a super thin (0.33-inches) and light (1.1 lb.) Windows 8 RT tablet. The Tegra 3 quad-core processor packs more than enough power into the 10.1-inch, multitouch Super IPS screen to make swapping between apps and other such affairs a smooth snap, and 2GB of internal RAM certainly doesn’t hurt in the speed department either. That 10.1-inch screen comes with ASUS’ “TruVid” technology, which intends to make your viewing experiences all the more magical — the screen looked plenty nice to us, as did media displayed on it, but perhaps not the “brilliant viewing experience” that ASUS is touting. There’s still no price for the device or its non-RT cousin (not to mention those AT&T data plans), but we expect to hear more in the near future — winter’s only so long, right?
Now that Smart’s second-gen Fortwo Electric Drive EV has gotten its year of time on the roads, the company is ready to announce its successor. For 2013, the car has received some mild tweaks to its design, but the real news is about what’s hiding inside this rear-wheel driven EV. For the first time, you’ll have to option of owning one outright, rather than being limited to a four-year lease at $599 per month. It’s thanks in part to an improved battery, which is now rated for an average lifespan of 10 years. The car has also received a massive power upgrade to 47 horsepower (up from 27 previously), along with an extra boost if you floor the pedal — this courtesy of a beefier engine and drive-train that gives it about 50-percent more power. Put it this way, this EV will get you from 0-60 in about 11.5 seconds, with top speed of 78MPH. Sadly, there’s no concrete word on what kind of range to expect, but it should be well more than the 87 miles of its predecessor. Beyond that, Smart’s added in GSM connectivity, allowing you the abilities to pre-start the car and keep track of its vitals remotely, among other features.
A quick drive around Brooklyn also confirmed how peppy and smooth the car was in use, however, not exactly on-par with our experience in Audi’s A3 e-tron — but it is considerably less. As our friends at Autoblog detail, the base model coupe is set to sell for a $25,000 MSRP plus fees, along with your choice of two chargers, which can cost up to $2,200 with installation. Here’s the good news, the car itself actually works out to just $17,500 thanks to a federal tax credit. All in all, this currently makes the cheapest full-on EV you’ll be able to get your mitts on. If you’d prefer to spice it up a bit, Smart will also offer a spruced up cabriolet variant for an extra $3K. Check out our chat with Smart about the car and the press release after the break for all the details.
CEATEC isn’t exactly the first place you’d expect a new notebook to turn up, but Fujitsu’s booth had a bit of a surprise on the laptop front. The Japanese company had its Lifebook UH75 Ultrabook on display running Windows 8. That OS is the real news here: no other real specs beside the 14-inch screen we already knew about. Fujitsu said this machine will launch alongside its new Arrows Tab sometime in late October or November. Check out our video hands-on below the break.
We got a look at Fujitsu’s Arrows Tab at CEATEC last year, and the 10.1-inch tablet is making an appearance yet again — this time running Windows 8 rather than Android Honeycomb. Exact specs were MIA, but the slate sports a front-facing camera along with a rear-facing shooter, plus a micro-USB port and a microSD card slot. Rather than the shiny plastic backing we saw last year, this device has a slightly textured, metallic finish, and it sports much sharper corners than the earlier version’s more curved design.
A booth worker did confirm that the Arrows Tab is waterproof like last year’s model, and while he wouldn’t provide exact availability, he said the tablet will launch within the October-November time frame. Last year’s Arrows Tab F-01 LTE debuted on NTT DoCoMo, and given Japan’s penchant for hydrophobic gadgets, it’s safe to say that the device will be targeted at this country in particular. Head past the break for a quick video hands-on.
Intel just outed its new Atom SoC, and at its tablet event in San Francisco today, the company had a whole slew of slates packing the Clover Trail silicon on hand. Dell’s Latitude 10, the ASUS Tablet 810, Acer’s Iconia W510 and W700, Lenovo’s ThinkPad 2, the HP Envy x2 and Samsung’s Series 5 were all there. However, it was the handsome slice of Windows 8 from ZTE that really caught our attention. Called the V98, it has a 10.1-inch, 1366 x 768 LCD on top of an aluminum chassis with a beveled edge similar to what you’d find on a white iPhone 5. Beneath that handsome exterior is the aforementioned Intel Z2760 chipset, 64GB of ROM, 2GB of RAM and 32GB of storage (plus a microSD slot if you need more digital space). There’s 802.11 b/g/n WiFi, GPS, Bluetooth 4.0, tri-band UMTS and quad-band GSM radios, plus NFC and LTE can be had as options. It’s got an accelerometer, proximity and ambient light sensors, a magnetometer and a gyro, too. An 8-megapixel camera is stuck in the back, while a 2-megapixel shooter resides round front. ZTE managed to stuff all that and a 7,000mAh battery inside a svelte 8.9mm-thin package.
We got to spend a little bit of time with a prototype ZTE model, and found the hardware to be solid for a hand-built unit. Its aluminum chassis makes for quite a rigid device in hand, and the machined and polished bevel gives the V98 a very high-end look. The chromed plastic volume rocker, power button and screen orientation lock switch nestled in the plastic radio reception strip at the top of the device are decidedly less luxurious, however — the travel of each was shallow, and the finish on the plastic appeared a bit cheap to our eyes. That said, the rotating magnetic aluminum door that reveals the SD card and SIM slots is slick — far easier to open and close than the plastic port covers found on most other slates. There’s also a 30-pin docking port on the bottom edge of the tablet, but ZTE informed us it’d be another month or so before the dock is ready for public consumption. Unfortunately, the V98 won’t be available for purchase until Q1 of next year, but you can see if its worth waiting for in our gallery of shots below.
Harman announced a fair amount of JBL-branded speakers back at IFA, but that wasn’t all it had to announce before the year goes out. Today we met with in the company in NYC, where it was ready to show off even more of its upcoming wireless and dock speakers. In fact, don’t tell Harmon that the 30-pin connector is on its way out, as its $199 OnBeat Venue (seen above and $139 OnBeat aWake are ready to pair up with your last-gen iOS devices. The Venue is rated for a peak output of 30-watts and features a stow-away dock a tweeter and woofer combo for both stereo channels, component outputs for use with TVs, an obligatory 3.5mm jack and Bluetooth if you’d prefer to go wireless. The aWake shrinks things down to about 13 watts, and features a digital clock so that you can use it on your bedside night stand — despite its small size, it’ll easily dock an iPad. Both systems also work with free JBL apps for iOS that’ll enhance the experience. According to the company, it’s also working on solutions for the Lightning connector, but wouldn’t reveal any hard details.
Razer’s second attempt at a gaming laptop is just as sleek as its first try, and even more powerful. The second-generation Razer Blade — Razer Blade 2.0, we’re calling it — packs some serious hardware: an unannounced Core i7 processor, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M graphics (a big step up from last year’s GT 555M inclusion), 8GB of 1600MHz DDR3 RAM, a 500GB 7200RPM hard drive, and 64GB of solid state storage. All that hardware is stuffed in a nigh identical aluminum chassis to the first edition, with a 17.3-inch high def screen and the infamous multitouch LCD Switchblade interface (read: that bizarre little touch screen built into the keyboard). And all this for the low, low price of … nearly $2,500. Yikes.
For the savvy, independently wealthy gamer on the go, however, little else on the market compares to Razer’s Blade laptop. The second generation focuses on beefing up the tech specs from last year, and that’s immediately apparent with the inclusion of the Kepler-grade GTX 660M. Not much else is changed in the hardware department otherwise, with the exception of the USB slots all being upgraded to 3.0 — the same LCD touch panel display sits on the right side of the keyboard, and its been bolstered with a new software suite.
Finnish game studio Rovio went from relatively unknown to center stage with the Angry Birds franchise. And in record time, too — the first Angry Birds landed on Apple’s iOS App Store in December 2009, less than three years ago, and has since become an international sensation. The birds spawned a flock of sequels, branded tie-ins, and tons of merchandise. All this adds up to quite a bit of chicken scratch for Rovio, and also quite a bit of pressure to keep the money train rolling.
Today marks Rovio’s first true sequel to the original Angry Birds, and it’s focused on the other side of the farm: the pigs. Enter Bad Piggies. Unlike Angry Birds, Bad Piggies isn’t about flinging anything towards a complicated structure in order to knock it down. Instead, it’s about moving one very green, goofy sounding pig to various points on a map to collect items and reach a goal — it’s much more Cut the Rope than Angry Birds. The same physics-based game mechanics are at play in Bad Piggies that made both Cut the Rope and Angry Birds so popular, and they’re just as fun in this time around. But how do you get said piggy to the goals? You build a contraption, of course.
Each level starts with a build section, allowing players to create all types of vehicles in order to transport the pig from point A to point B (while grabbing collectibles along the way). Only a small handful of build options are available, keeping Bad Piggies just as speedy of a game — to pick up and play while commuting or while waiting at the dentist’s office — as its wildly successful progenitor. It’s hard to say if Bad Piggies will recapture the success that Rovio found with Angry Birds proper, but all the hallmarks are there: quick, fun gameplay, colorful characters, goofy sounds, and accessibility (we couldn’t help but get all three stars on every level, but you don’t have to in order to proceed, should it prove too difficult). Bad Piggies launches tomorrow morning for iOS devices, Mac, and Android.
BlackBerry’s Dev Alpha handset proved to be quite the popular item when it was revealed earlier this year. It was so popular, in fact, that the company ran through the 5,000 it constructed in short order. So, it had to build a whole new batch of developer handsets to meet the demand, and thus was the Dev Alpha B born. We got our mitts on this new bit of kit and had a chance to see how it handled RIM’s latest incarnation of BB10, so join us after the break for our impressions.
Considering the recent glut of smartphone announcements, news of yet another Galaxy S III variant shouldn’t have you tittering with glee. But for those of you tied to MetroPCS and hankering for a beastly mobile option, that 4.8-inch handset is almost ready to ship. Shown off at the carrier’s booth here at Pepcom, the designed by nature device is virtually unchanged, save for branding on the back that nods to the 4G network it runs on. Otherwise, it’s the same TouchWizzed Android ICS experience we’ve come to know and love. There’s no official word on pricing or a concrete release date — outside of a very vague end of Q4 bow. But still, if you want to take a sneak peek at this off-contract option, check out the video after the break.
Oh, and if the Hasselblad Lunar isn’t quite rich enough for your blood, why not take a look at the H5D medium format camera? The device looks a good deal like its predecessor, maintaining a similar video camera-esque form factor, with an optical viewfinder that extends from the front of the body to the back, above a larger, brighter, easier-to-read display. You’ll also find a smaller, monochrome display on the top of the camera to the right of the optical viewfinder. The H5D’s also a bit more ruggedized than its predecessor, with improved waterproofing and larger controls — and it certainly does feel like a big, sturdy camera.
As with the Lunar, the version we played with is still in prototype stage and wasn’t quite functioning perfectly, much to the chagrin of the Hasselblad rep. When the camera hits in December (functioning properly, no doubt), it’s going to start at a (perhaps not surprisingly) pricey €13,000 here in Europe, going all the way up to €30,000, depending on whether you opt for the 40-, 50, or 60-megapixel variety — because hey, what’s another €17,000, right?
The Lunar has landed — at Photokina, at least. Hasselblad was showing off a slew of different designs for the forthcoming camera — and while we were told that its still in prototype mode (both from company reps and signage on the device itself), the camera seemed to be in mostly working order. The first thing you’ll notice, once you get past the space-age design, is the fact that the camera really does feel like a rebranded Sony NEX device slipped into a new shell, and as such, it takes those Sony e-mount lenses. And on the back, you’ll find that similar collapsible display.
That said, it really does feel quite nice in the hand — the device we played with had a leathery grip — there are a number of carbon fiber and wood options available, as well. All of this is punctuated by a metal top with large metallic knobs, and inside you’ll find an APS-C 24.3 megapixel sensor. The Lunar will start at €5,000 when it launches in Q1 of next year. And in case that’s not rich enough for your blood, you can tack a “significant” amount onto that by getting the models decked out in pricier materials.
Late last month, Canon added yet another model to its Cinema EOS line — the C100 captures 1080p video, rather than the 4K clips enabled with the C500, but it also costs a heck of a lot less, at just shy of eight grand. It also offers some other nifty features, such as a pair of built-in mics and a duo of XLR inputs at the front of the top handle, SD card slots on the rear and a new autofocus button — it’s not a continuous solution, offering only single-shot, but it sure beats not having the feature at all.
The camera is surprisingly lightweight, given its size and capability, and can be held quite comfortably with a single hand, as we did during our hands-on at Photokina earlier today. With a modular design, the camera featured a 3.5-inch 920k-dot LCD in its current configuration, and offers the standard suite of ports, including HDMI output with embedded time code. It also includes an ISO range of 3200 to 20,000, a maximum shutter speed of 1/2000 second and a built-in ND filter. The C100 is expected to hit stores in November for $7,999, but you can take a closer look right now in our gallery below and the hands-on video just past the break.