Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Electricpig.co.uk - tech news fast!

Electricpig.co.uk - tech news fast!


Microsoft Kinect review: Reader inquisition!

Posted: 09 Nov 2010 10:02 AM PST

Microsoft Kinect for Xbox 360 doesn’t go on sale until tomorrow in the UK, but we gave a group of Electricpig readers the chance to play it today exclusively at our reader meetup to see just what they made of it. Much flailing of limbs commenced, but did our fans come away impressed by the new motion controller or not? Read on and find out in our Microsoft Kinect review: reader inquisition!


First impressions

While we set up our Xbox 360, we polled our readers on what they made of the build of Microsoft Kinect – as we mentioned in our original review, it’s a foot wide and several inches deep, so we thought we’d struggle to sit it on the top of many new tellies.

Joseph and Johnny play table tennis on Kinect Sports

Johnny Daly, a solutions designer for Cartesian, agreed, though thought it was fairly innocuous looking nonetheless. “I’d definitely sit it under the telly as opposed to above it…but you won’t notice it I suppose”. His colleague Joseph Robin, a programs manager, meanwhile was actually surprised at the size, having never seen a Kinect in the flesh before, saying that he expected it to be bigger. No one saw any problem positioning Microsoft Kinect on their own TV stand however – surely a good sign.

More of an issue of course is the amount of space required in front of your TV to use Microsoft Kinect. We had no problems in meeting room we used to host the preview, but people’s own sitting rooms come in all shapes and sizes. Joseph admitted that he’d have to re-arrange the furniture in his living room a shade for multiplayer, something he could see others finding an issue with. “I actually got a tape measure out. For two player I’ll need to move the couch,” he told us. “It’s going to sell a lot but it’s a question of how many return it.”

What’s it like to use?

The staff here at Electricpig and our friends and family who tried out Microsoft Kinect all reacted the same way when standing in front of it for the first time – they picked it up intuitively and immediately, and dived straight into the action. And our readers were no different, grasping how to log on to the Kinect hub straight away. “That’s cool,” remarked Johnny as he waved to take control for the first time, the exact same phrase we uttered the first time we tried out Microsoft Kinect.

All our readers picked up how to control Kinect instantly. Here, Matt and Joseph play Kinect Joy Ride. Look ma, no hands!

Everyone grasped the control concept of Kinect immediately, but like us, Johnny had reservations about how far the Kinect gestures extended on the dashboard – namely, the inability to open your own video files using Kinect, rather than paid for Zune moves. “You can do Sky Player and Last.fm, but I can’t use it on all my DivX files…I think they’re missing out on a huge demographic.”

What about the games?

We kicked things off with a few rounds of Kinect Sports, serving up a few frames of ping pong and bowling. No one saw any lag in any of the controls, and Matthew Lyons, an operations analyst for Debenham's website and a Wii owner, was impressed. “I thought it was really good actually, much better than the Wii. I have one and it just doesn’t get played…(Kinect) feels quite intuitive.”

Joseph too found it easy to play despite the “lack of tactile feedback…You’ll get used to it. It doesn’t feel any more stupid than using a Wii remote.”

Johnny and Joseph didn't sense any lag in Kinect Sports

Our trio of readers weren’t so taken with Kinect Joy Ride, a simplistic game that sees you simply steering left and right around a course while the cars accelerate automatically. Matthew bemoaned the fact that “You’re semi in control…most of the game is done for you”, while Joseph summed things up bluntly: “I wouldn’t pay £40 for that.”

Johnny is the braver man and busts a move on Dance Central

Dance Central, which we’ve rated as not only the best Kinect game, but one of the best Xbox games period, proved a hit meanwhile, particularly with Johnny, who enjoyed a session of mimicking moves to Lady Gaga’s Poker Face, and saw the potential Kinect has for getting non-gamers involved. “What it would take for me to buy this is my girlfriend seeing this game,” he said.

Is it worth the price?

£129.99 is a lot to ask for a new controller when you need the console already, especially with the Nintendo Wii on sale with one remote for only a tad more. So did our readers think it was worth the cost – and would they be buying it tomorrow?

Check out our best Xbox games Top 5 now

All three said no initially, but no-one objected to the price rather than Kinect’s limitations. Matthew thought it was “reasonable, like buying two Wii remotes”, while Joseph thought it was “more the next software update than the price” that was holding him back. He plans to hold back at least until Microsoft turns on Kinect gestures for all media, as we predicted many existing Xbox owners might. Matthew felt likewise: “It needs to have a killer app…these games are good for 10 minutes but then you’ll never play them again”

Johnny however might still be picking one up . “I might buy it anyway to get the girlfriend playing – that might make me buy it before Christmas…The potential is huge”.

Verdict

So there you have it: like we found in our original Microsoft Kinect review, everyone was wowed by the technology, and saw the potential for pulling in new gamers to the fold. But Microsoft can improve it even further with a few UI and software tweaks – here’s hoping it does.

Want to come along to the next reader inquisition? Get yourself signed up to our Electricpig VIPs group, and we’ll give you an early heads up. Click here to find out how!

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iPhone 5 and iPad 2: glove friendly screens incoming

Posted: 09 Nov 2010 08:04 AM PST

The iPhone 5 and iPad 2 could put an end to having to wear fingerless gloves or wield a stylus (or even a sausage in some wacky Far Eastern cases) by using a new form of capacitive touch panel. Hitachi Displays has developed a new touch panel capable of detecting input through insulating material like plastic or cloth which means your iPhone 5 or iPad 2 would be able to keep on going even when you need to be wrapped up warm…

The development also sorts the issue with fingernails getting in the way and makes it easier to input handwriting with a pen (cue the Apple Newton's handwriting smarts reborn but…you know…actually good). The new touch screens come in sizes ranging from 3in to 10in, perfect for popping into Apple's iOS range in 2011. Bring on the glove-friendly iPhone 5 and iPad 2!

Due TBC | £TBC | Apple (via Patently Apple)

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Call of Duty: Black Ops: how many of you queued?

Posted: 09 Nov 2010 07:30 AM PST

Yesterday we asked you if you were planning to camp out at a store opening at midnight to get your hands on Call of Duty: Black Ops. It seems most of you were being sensible, with 50 per cent of you saying that you were waiting until today to get your hands on a copy, and 19 per cent of you having ordered yours to arrive in the post. 30 per cent of you said you would be queuing. Some HMV and Sainsbury’s stores opened at midnight, but if you waited till the morning there were some trade in deals to be had. If you haven’t bought yours yet click here for our pricing roundup.

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Android users lust after iPhone

Posted: 09 Nov 2010 07:15 AM PST

Android owners are four times more likely to covet an iPhone than iPhone users are to covet an Android smartphone, a survey from MyPhoneDeals.co.uk. But is this true? Do you Android users secretly want an iPhone? What can the iPhone do that makes you lust after it so, leaving your HTC Desire out in the cold?

Almost a third of Android owners admitted to longing after an iPhone, whereas just seven per cent of iPhone users said they'd prefer an Android. It’s not just Android owners either. More than half of BlackBerry users said they preferred smartphones to their CrackBerries.


Note: answers are anonymous and cannot be traced back to you, should you be trapped in the Apple fanboy closet.

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Steve Jobs: more powerful than Zuckerberg

Posted: 09 Nov 2010 07:01 AM PST

Last week we asked you whether the Forbes list of most powerful people in the world was right to put Steve Jobs a full 23 places above Mark Zuckerberg. Some highly intellectual debate ensued in the comments, around what really constituted power, and whether business people who sell things can be said to be more powerful than world leaders. The outcome of the poll, regardless of the powers of Sarkozy vs Zuckerberg, was that you think Steve Jobs wields more power over our lives than Zuckerberg, with 58 per cent of you voting for Jobs, although the vote was reasonably close, with 42 per cent voting for Zuckerberg.

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Nokia takes on Symbian development: can it save the OS?

Posted: 09 Nov 2010 06:25 AM PST

All change in Symbian town. Nokia has grabbed Symbian development from the nabobs at the Symbian Foundation. The ailing OS needs some serious love and it seems Nokia is determined to do just that. Sure Symbian 3 isn't too bad on the Nokia N8 but against iOS, Android and Windows Phone 7, it's a little flaky.

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Nokia says the Symbian Foundation will be looking after Symbian licences and the patent portfolio but it won't be doing the heavy lifting anymore. Nokia will be working on the development of the Symbian platform and bringing future versions of the OS to the world. But can Nokia turn Symbian around or is it a sinking ship?

Out now | £varies | Nokia

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Mutant Bash TV iPhone: id rages onto iOS

Posted: 09 Nov 2010 06:03 AM PST

Mutant Bash TV is the second seriously impressive iOS game we've been teased with this week. After Infinity Blade, it's not quite so thrilling but hell, id has done a bang up job with the graphics. Based on the Rage engine for iOS, Mutant Bash TV will be a rails shooter with tilt control to aim and onscreen buttons to dodge, fire, reload and cycle through weapons. It'll be a fairly cheap app when its released later this month but word is id is prepping a more full fat Rage for iOS game for 2011.

Out this month | £TBC | id software (via Touch Arcade)

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Call of Duty: Black Ops: apple defies virtual gravity

Posted: 09 Nov 2010 05:20 AM PST

The first Call of Duty: Black Ops glitch has surfaced, and it’s tragic, game-ruining stuff. Not really, it’s a floating apple. It’s probably a good thing that it’s there, reminding everyone who’s been playing since midnight that reality in Call of Duty: Black Ops is not the same as life in an office job. Click through for the full video and brilliant commentary…

The gamer has found a stack of fruit that when shot at, leaves an apple floating in mid-air, complete with shadow. It’s a dinky glitch that has no impact on Call of Duty: Black Ops game play, as reflected in the tongue in cheek commentary. Enjoy…

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Found any glitches yourself? Drop us a line in the comments and tell us what you’ve found!

[via Kotaku]

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Electricpig Prime Cuts: See what all the fuss is about

Posted: 09 Nov 2010 04:52 AM PST

We've had a phenomenal response to our new Electricpig Prime Cuts weekly newsletter. If you haven't signed up yet, you're missing out. Don't just take our word for it though, check out these previous issues and see what you could be gorging on every Friday.

Every Prime Cuts subscriber also enters a draw to win a Nokia N8 from Vodafone, so don't delay, sign up today!

Issue 1 – PSP Phone has Android on a knife edge

Issue 2 - Kinect has won the console war

Like what you’re seeing in our weekly Prime Cuts newsletter? Then share it with other gadget fans, and join our Electricpig VIP group for the inside track on all our new projects.

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What did you think? Give us your Call of Duty: Black Ops review

Posted: 09 Nov 2010 04:22 AM PST

You’ve seen the Call of Duty: Black Ops review fodder scattered across the web, but if you queued up late last night, dashed to the shops, waited for the postman early this morning or somehow bagged a copy early, you’ll have your own thoughts by now, and we want to hear them.

Click the “Read more” button, give us your Call of Duty: Black Ops review in the comments section, and we’ll reward the very best with an exclusive Electricpig mug!

That’s it solider, you’re in to the full post, now scroll down to the comments section and give us your best Call of Duty: Black Ops review!

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