Reviews

Chain Link Pro for iPhone - App Review

Chain Link is based on the concept of creating as many links as you can and dragging them into the vortex in the middle of the screen without disturbing any other types of links.  The game starts off fairly easy and gets harder pretty quick.  There's also support for OpenFeint to share your scores with your friends and other Chain Link users.  I found the game pretty addicting after a while.  Hit the jump for more screens and a walkthrough.

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XGear SHADOW case for iPad review

XGear SHADOW case for iPad is for those who want a tough exterior case for the back of their iPad but want to keep the front completely open for easy access. so, yes, it's pretty much identical to the XGear Folio case for iPad I looked at earlier... without the front cover.

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StarDunk for iPhone- app review

Once in a while there is a game that comes out that is simple, fun, addictive and priced for the masses. Ladies and gentleman I give you StarDunk!

StarDunk is brought to us by the fine folks at Gozilab that made iMoki. The premise behind StarDunk is to make baskets (as in basketball) with a ball and complete globally against other players. You have two basic game modes; offline and online. Offline is where you hone your skills and when ready you are ready, compete online.

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Camera+ for iPhone - app review

Camera+ for iPhone is a photography application that allows you to take photos and edit them. tap tap tap claims Camera+ is "all about one thing - GREAT PHOTOS!" How does Camera+ hold up to this expectation? Follow along to find out.

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Calcbot for iPad (and iPhone) - app review

Calcbot is a universal calculator application for iPad and iPhone. It is a basic scientific calculator but is designed well with big buttons and tape. For this review, we will be focusing on the iPad version.

In landscape, you will find the calculator on the left and tape on the right. The calculator has two pages of buttons which keeps them nice and big. Just swipe the calculator to the left to bring the next page of functions. The first page is primarily numbers and basic operators as well as power and root functions. The second page contains a more functions such at the specific powers of 2 and 3, square root, factorial, log, natural logarithm, exponential, and trigonometric functions. Tapping the shift key (up arrow) will change the trigonometric functions to their inverses. Calcbot lets you chose between radians and degrees as well. The second page does not include an equal sign. This is annoying because a calculation does not appear on the tape until the equal sign is tapped.

If you want to re-enter a calculation from the tape, just tap the desired calculation and a menu pops up to use result, use expression, copy, send in email, or delete. You can also swipe to delete any expression. To email or clear the entire tape, tap the wheel in the upper right hand corner. If you're not interested in seeing the tape, rotate to portrait mode to view only the calculator.

Calcbot is an excellent little calculator app that looks and works great. There is nothing fancy about it, but that's part of it's appeal. Calcbot is strait-forward and to the point which makes it easy and intuitive to use. Simply put, Calcbot is another visually appealing and terrifically designed app by Tapbots.

Screenshots after the break!

[$0.99 - iTunes link]

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Otterbox Commuter for iPhone 3GS - accessory review

Otterbox Commuter Case for iPhone 3GS strikes the perfect balance between convenience and protection. If you're rocking Apple's other big smartphone release this year, the $99 iPhone 3GS (or the unlocked iPhone 3GS, depending on where you live), or still lucky enough to have a 16GB or 32GB iPhone 3GS from last year, this case should be on your radar. (It also fits the iPhone 3G.)

Confession: I thought I'd hate it when it first arrived. I don't know why exactly, maybe it was fear of layers bulk, uncertainty about dual color schemes, dunno, but I was not looking forward to testing out the Otterbox Commuter. Then I put it on.

AD&D analogy time -- If skins are the chainmail of the case world and the Otterbox Defender is the full plate armor (yes, even the pink one), the Commuter is the in-between, plate-mail option. It's strong but still a but flexible, solid and secure but still snug and light.

Like plate-mail it comes in two layers, the silicone that you slip on first, and that has covers for the 3.5mm headset jack and 30-pin dock connector, and the plastic shell that goes over it. Together they provide protection against scrapes and scuffs and minor impacts.

The Otterbox Commuter also comes in a ton of colors -- yellow, white, blue, green, brown, burgundy, and black. (Yes, I'll spare you the strained surcoat analogy).

Again, not as big as the Defender, not as thin as a skin, I found myself leaving it on even after my typical week-long review period was over. Since I've been carrying an iPhone 4 around as well, maybe I was a little more concerned about my iPhone 3GS getting damaged, maybe I started to like the look, or maybe I wanted my fellow SPE editors to think I had an imaginary, super-secret iPhone 5 prototype hidden in a fancy camo case (I'll never tell!)

But leave it on I did.

If you're looking for a combination of protection and convenience, something strong but still light, check out the Otterbox Commuter Case for iPhone 3GS available now from the TiPb iPhone 3GS accessory store.

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iLuv Casual Fabric Case for iPad - quick look

The iLuv Casual Fabric iPad Case with Band Clip for iPadis a pouch-style enclosure that you can use to keep all that precious glass and aluminum tucked away safe and sound.

The iLuv case itself is snug. I could shake it -- gently -- upside down with only minor panic that it might slip out. However, with the velcro belt in place it's locked in. Shake away!

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Fruit Ninja for iPhone- app review

My latest favorite iPhone game is Fruit Ninja. The premise of Fruit Ninja is simple; slice fruit, don't miss any and don't slice a bomb by mistake. Sound easy? Think again grasshopper! After beginning a game, fruit flies up from the bottom of the screen. You use your finger (or fingers) to slice the fruit. If a fruit falls back off the screen without being sliced, you receive an X. Three X's and it's game over. To make things interesting, bombs are thrown into the mix as well. So, not only are you trying to slice a lot of fruit coming at you and not missing any, you have bombs that shoot up as well. The challenge is, if you slice the bomb, it's instant game-over.

When it comes to difficulty with this game, it is a nice and smooth curve. The issue is that once you get good at it, it would be nice to start at a higher difficulty. However, Fruit Ninja always starts you back at the beginning. Your efforts are not at a loss though, the game has plenty of achievements via Open Feint and unlockables. Different colored swords and backgrounds can be unlocked if you have the dedication and skill of a true ninja.

Fruit Ninja also has two different play modes. First is Classic. This is the primary play mode I have described above. Score points by slicing fruit while avoiding the bombs. Zen mode is fun and fast. There are no bombs, but you have a time limit to slice as many fruits as you can. This is not hard, what is hard to is to slice with combos to rack up more points. Check out the Open Feint leaderboards and you will see what I am talking about.

I can't say enough about this game. It has great art direction, animation and fun. When you lose, it even gives you facts about fruit. This is a near-perfect game, I love it!

[$0.99- iTunes Link]

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Case-Mate Barely There Case for iPhone 4 - quick look [sponsored]

The TiPb store just got the new Case-Mate Barely There Case for iPhone 4 in stock, so I decided to take a quick look at it. As you'd expect by the name, it's super thin and doesn't add any perceivable bulk to iPhone 4. Same token, while it will protect against scrapes and bumps, there's no padding to help you out in case of a high fall.

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Penultimate for iPad review

My latest productivity app this week? Penultimate for iPad. There are several competing "free hand" note taking apps on our favorite tablet device. After our recent TiPb at Work Post, I thought I would see if Penultimate tries to separate itself from other note apps on the iPad. Is being simple with just enough  of a "feature" to get the job done enough?

Penultimate starts you off with a single notebook. That notebook serves as a tutorial to show you how to use Penultimate. The example notebook is excellent as it "teaches" you everything you need to know about the app. The basic setup is this; you can have virtually unlimited notes in your notebook. You tap the bottom right corner to go to the next page and the bottom left corner to go to the previous page. You have a pen, eraser and a clear page button at the bottom as well. On the main screen you can create your own notebook, email or delete notebooks as need, you can even rename them by tapping the name located below the notebook.

Writing in Penultimate is a pure joy. As you draw or write with your fingers, the developers have given the virtual ink a very distinct look, almost like calligraphy. The ink is thick in some areas and thinner in others. If you want to adjust the thickness or color of your ink, simply tap and hold the pen icon at the bottom of the page to make your changes.

You can create new notebooks with the tap of a button located in the top left hand corner. The top right hand corner gives you additional settings. The style of paper be changed from graph to lined for example, you can reposition the tools (pen, eraser, etc.) to the top of the page and even email the entire notebook or just the page you are on via email. Penultimate converts the notebooks to PDFs for emailing.

I like Penultimate for what it does; it is a simple no-frills note taking tool. I find there to be a couple of irritations however. In landscape view, you are given a cropped view of the page and you can flick the right side of the screen to scroll towards the top and bottom. I feel there has to be a better way to implement this, or, give me completely different functionality in landscape. The other issue is that there is no way to zoom to give yourself more space; the notebook is it's real size and there is no zooming. I would have liked to have seen a pinch-zoom function that increased the size of your note area. Ah, perhaps in a future release. Regardless, Penultimate is a beautiful fun and easy note taking tool that most of use can find a  use for in our busy lives.

[$2.99- iTunes Link]

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