Sunday, 14 November 2010 - tech news fast! - tech news fast!

Electricpig opinions: Call of Duty Black Ops, HTC 7 Mozart, BlackBerry Bold 9780 and more

Posted: 14 Nov 2010 05:00 AM PST

Want to know what the Electricpig staff think about the latest gadgets in stores and soon on the way. You’re in the right place. Join us as we roundup our latest opinions on the tech we’ve got up close and personal with this week, including Microsoft Kinect, Call of Duty: Black Ops, HTC 7 Mozart and more.

Is Call of Duty: Black Ops worth the hype?

The week started off with the year’s biggest gaming launch, Call of Duty: Black Ops. Yours truly headed down to the official launch party in London’s Battersea Power Station, before getting a full hands-on play for myself in our Call of Duty: Black Ops review.

The verdict? As usual Call of Duty offers some of the best first-person shooting action you’ll find on any console. Unfortunately Black Ops still suffers the same problem Modern Warfare 2 did. The single player campaign, while much improved, delivers much of the same. The pacing is ridiculously fast. Not that that’s a bad thing. But those looking for something different will have to look elsewhere. It still is a great title.

Where Black Ops really excels is in its multiplayer. Particularly in the addition of Wager matches offering different modes. Gun Game remains our favourite. “As multiplayer modes go, it's one of the best we've ever played, as you have to constantly adjust your tactics with each kill you make. And you can guarantee nearly every player will be rocking a different weapon. It's brilliant and inspired, and a mode we hope will become a CoD mainstay,” I wrote in my review earlier this week. It’s good stuff.

Is the BlackBerry Bold 9780 worth your cash?

Reviews editor, Ben Sillis reviewed the BlackBerry Bold 9780 this week, giving it four stars – a great score, but future Bold devices will have to do much more. “Is this all RIM can manage to improve in a year? That’s OK for now but doesn’t bode well in the future,” Ben says.

Searching on the device remains utterly convenient, and the Social Feed app is a delight, and its web browser opens up pages quicker, with tabs. But the minor changes weren’t enough to totally keep Ben at ease with it.

“The company can't rely on BlackBerry Messenger and an amazing keyboard for ever, though if this is all you want, there's no doubt that the BlackBerry Bold 9780 is the phone to go for – and it's unquestionably the best BlackBerry available. The problem is that once again, RIM is catering to loyalists while doing nothing to get Android and iPhone fans to cross the boards, and it really would be best to do that sooner rather than later.”

HTC Mozart review

A few weeks ago a flurry of W indoors Phone 7 phones were unleashed. Andrew Williams got his hands on another, the HTC 7 Mozart. Andrew’s bottom line was that, although a capable WP7 smartphone, the HTC 7 Mozart’s “features aren’t up to scratch.”

While in praise of the Dolby Mobile musical skills present, Andrew would rather have it ditched and have 16GB of internal memory to play with instead of the 8GB on offer. “With Windows Phone 7, there's no opportunity to expand this memory either, so you're left with 8GB forever. As an MP3 player replacement, the HTC 7 Mozart doesn't excel beyond the cheaper HTC 7 Trophy.”

Even the 8-megapixelXenon flash camera is disappointing says Andrew. “Get up close to an object and the Mozart will simply refuse to focus properly – you need to be further away than most top-end camera phones, and that's disappointing.

“The HTC 7 Mozart is a quality phone, but upon closer inspection, the things that are meant to make it stick out aren't quite as special as you might hope, making this phone a bit of a tough sell up against the cheaper HTC 7 Trophy and the giant HTC HD7.”

Mubi film streaming for PS3: Any good?

Andrew Williams also cast his eye over the Mubi film streaming service for PS3 to deliver his first impressions. Mubi isn’t entirely well known to all. It sneaked onto the PS3 only recently. Unlike LoveFilm, it’s more suited to arthouse types. You know, the sort of films that, while quite good, nobody has heard of them before.

“There are plenty of decent films available, but Mubi's much more useful as a cinematic discovery tool than your one-stop video shop,” Andrew notes.

“With a white and black colour scheme, Mubi's PS3 app looks as classy and mature as its cinephile remit sounds, with films shown as thumbnail screengrabs from the flicks themselves. Mubi's put a lot of thought into how its PS3 app looks, but its execution isn't quite as slick as its looks.

“We tested Mubi on a 20Mbps home internet connection – enough to stream in HD video fairly comfortably – but found that navigating through the app's menus wasn't as quick as you'd hope. Next to the BBC iPlayer, it seems sluggish – more stylish, sure, but speed counts for a lot when you're talking about a mere bridge leading you to the good stuff.”

All that said, Andrew reckons it could be just the ticket for arty film fanciers, but only for the monthly fee.

“Like the PS3's own video rental store, we're not quite sure about the £3 cost for a movie rental though. If you fancy having a delve into arty films, the £9.99 monthly fee represents a much better bargain because not only will you not find many of these films on rival streaming services, you won't find some of them in your local DVD retailer either.”

LG Optimus One reviewed

In need of a small Android phone. Ben Sillis gave his verdict on the LG Optimus, hailing it as “undemanding and pleasant” but adding that it’s already been outclassed by both mid and low-range handsets already available.

“The LG Optimus One marks the first time LG's managed to release an Android phone with the latest build of Android on, and while it's much more usable than previous models, it still fails excite us with so much competition.”

Instead, Ben recommends the Orange San Franciso as a budget Android alternative: “The LG Optimus One is on sale now for around £20 per month on contract, but there are just too many options at the same price-point to make it worth a look: if you want a pay as you go Android phone, the Orange San Francisco packs a better screen for much, much less, while the beautiful and much more high end HTC Legend lingers around the same mark as well on contract. LG, get back to the drawing board and come back when you've got a Samsung Galaxy S rival good to go.”

Want to share your opinions on the latest reviews? Then jot them down in the comments section below.

Related posts:

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  2. Call of Duty: Black Ops: comes with added Gary Oldman and Ed Harris
  3. Call of Duty: Black Ops revealed and dated

Video of the week: iPhone Star Wars augmented reality awesomeness

Posted: 14 Nov 2010 01:00 AM PST

The Nintendo Wii, PlayStation Move and Microsoft Kinect has already given us some hope that we might one day play the perfect Star Wars lightsaber game. But now we’ve seen Star Wars Arcade: Falcon Gunner in action on iPhone, what we really want is to shoot down TIE Fighters in our back garden. Star Wars Arcade: Falcon Gunner will let you do that. Read on for the video showing you how.

Star Wars Arcade: Falcon Gunner uses augmented reality technology to display virtual objects (in this case, TIE Fighters) onto your surroundings. The result is you can take control of a Millennium Falcon to laser up the buggers across any setting you point your iPhone or iPod Touch’s camera at.

Like many idevice games it uses two virtual joysticks (that look to work pretty well) to manoeuvre and shoot. Star Wars fans will also note the authentic sound effects and music.

Star Wars Arcade: Falcon Gunner, which is being developed by THQ isn’t available on the App Store just yet, though we’re sure iPhone and iPod Touch gamers will be queuing to snap it up. You’ll probably be too after seeing it in action. Check out the video below to do just that.

iPhone + Star Wars + augmented reality = geek heaven

Related posts:

  1. iPhone + Star Wars + augmented reality = geek heaven
  2. iPhone laser tag: Apple patents augmented reality awesomeness
  3. Video of the week: Google Goggles for iPhone augmented reality magic

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