Reviews

Griffin Jumper case for iPad - accessory review

The Griffin Jumper [$27.95] is a nice neoprene case for the iPad. If you're in the market for a sleeve for transporting your iPad, this case may be what you're looking for.

The neoprene material of the is excellent because it doesn't need to be very thick to provide protection. It is also very stretchy so that there is a snug fit around your iPad. In fact, the Jumper was almost too snug when I first received it; but after a few uses, the neoprene stretched out just enough to be snug but not a challenge to use.

The inside of the Griffin Jumper is lined with a very soft fleece-like material. There will be no concern of your iPad receiving scratches when sliding it in and out of the sleeve. In fact, a few of the fingerprints on your iPad likely get wiped off when removing it from the Griffin Jumper.

The Griffin Jumper offers full protection of the iPad except at the corners of the flap. Many times there is a very small part of the iPad exposed at one or both of the corners. This may be cause for concern for some, but I don't see it as a huge problem. Something would have to poke into the spot in order to make contact with the iPad.

I have been very pleased with the Griffin Jumper. The nice slim design, soft interior, and tough neoprene exterior make this an excellent sleeve case for the iPad.

The Griffin Jumper is available from the TiPb iPad accessory store.

Video and photos after the break!

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Sigma for iPhone - app review

Sigma is a puzzle matching game for the iPhone. It is well made and fun to play.

The goal of Sigma is to match three blocks of the same color to blow them up and get points. This game is played in landscape, and on each side of the screen there is a roll of colored blocks. If you tap on the left of the screen, then the center block on that roll will shoot to the right side (and vice versa). Once you make a match, you have a few seconds to add more blocks. The more blocks in your match, the higher your score.

Matching five, six, seven or eight blocks produces special blocks. With five, you are given a block that when used in a match, blows up every block in that row. A match of six gives a block that blows up every block in that row and column. The special block when matching seven is a color bomb, which blows of every block of the color it is matched with. Lastly, a match of eight blocks creates a nuke bomb that blows up every block on the screen.

Sigma has three game modes: Sector, Time Attack, and Multiplayer. In sector mode, the goal is to clear blocks as fast as you can to fill up the progress bar before time runs out. In Time Attack Mode, the goal is to get the highest score possible within the time limit of one, five, or ten minutes. You can play against a friend via wifi or bluetooth in Multiplayer Mode. The fun twist is that if you fill the progress bar, an obstacle block will appear on your opponents screen.

If you like matching games, I guarantee you'll enjoy Sigma. It is designed well, fun to play, and a challenge to score high. If you decided to pick this on up, let us know what you think!

Video and screenshots after the break!

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iBooks on iPhone 3GS - app review

Finally, iBooks for iPhone arrives! I have been enjoying iBooks on my iPad for some time now. With iBooks for iPhone many more people can enjoy portable reading with their phones. How does iBooks measure up? Keep reading to find out!

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Case-Mate Gelli Checkmate Case for iPad - accessory review

The Case-Mate Gelli Checkmate Case for iPad is a beautiful way to add grip and color to your iPad. It is made with a soft silicone base that makes holding your iPad easy and much more secure.

The Case-Mate Gelli is easy to apply and remove from your iPad. The case is translucent so it allows the back of your iPad to still show through. The case also has a triangle pattern on it which gives the case a bit of style in comparison to a regular plain silicone case. The case is very easy to put on the iPad and has open spaces to allow for all the buttons and ports and controls. The case goes over the edges of the iPad so it will protect the iPad against minor impacts.

Case-Mate Gelli Checkmate Case is about 2 to 3 mm in thickness at it greatest points so it is still lightweight but also durable. This case is a nice silicone case as it has good grip but does not feel sticky as some other silicone cases can. I have been using this case for a week and I am quite happy with it. I would have liked if it came with a screen protector.

If you like silicone cases and you like the color selection then the Case-Mate Gelli Checkmate Case for iPad could be what you're looking for.

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Phoenix Wright, Ace Attorney for iPhone- app review

Phoenix Wright is Capcom's latest game for the iPhone. It's a port of a port (GameBoy to Nintendo DS to iOS) that still retains it's fun factor through the years and is a great addition to any iOS gamer. The concept behind Phoenix Wright is simple; you are a new a attorney and you have taken on your first criminal case as a defense attorney for your best friend from high school, Larry Butz, and he is accused of murder!

The main game play takes place in the court room. Just like any court case, you are given evidence that you can reference at any time from the court record. And you WILL need to reference it as your clients future depends on it.

Your first case deals with Larry's girlfriend's murder. The witness pins Larry as the killer... but is he? This is where the fun begins. It is up to you to prove his innocence. In the courtroom you listen to the witness testimony and try to find holes in it based on the evidence you have in your possession. Regretfully, I can't give away too much more without spoiling the story... There are additional levels though and each one gets more and more challenging, you even move out of the courtroom to gather evidence yourself.

As fun as the game is, the writing is geared towards a younger audience. Even though the subject matter is adult, it often uses "childish humor" to get points across at times. Though I shrug this off, it may bother some adult gamers, kids will love it. But I do admit, I chuckled from time to time. It is important to note that this game is not 3D but instead kind of like one of those old Choose Your Own Adventure books. The game is based primarily on reading and critical thinking skills and lends itself as a quick pick up and play game, but you will be spending some quality time with it. The good news is that you can save anytime and it usually places you right at the spot you were last at in the story.

In the end I found Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney very enjoyable and fun. Was it challenging? Yes. Was the crude humor at times? Yes. Will I play it again? Most definitely.

[$4.99- iTunes Link]

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XGear Shield Case for iPad – accessory review

If you’re looking for a sturdy and transparent skin, the XGear Shield case for iPad for $29.95 may be the case for you.

The XGear Shield is made from dual-compound materials that creates a shock absorbing bumper on the edges. Translation: it has thick edges that fit securely to the iPad that can reduce damage to the corners if bumped. Though not completely transparent, XGear Shield has more of a frosted backing that and not only looks good but totally protects the back and sides of iPad and gives you complete piece of mind from scratches.

There are two things that I really like about this case. The first is how secure it is. There are some cases that fit, but the edges and corners are loose. While this may make for easy removal, I fear it can get caught on something and slip off of the iPad. This is not the case with the XGear Shield. The edges are actually a challenge to put on and remove so you know the case isn't going anywhere. On the downside, it doesn't allow for docking with the iPad dock. All of the openings are there, but the power button has given me some challenges. Turning on is easy though by tapping the home button instead.

Video and photos after the break!

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MindNode for iPad- app review

I am always looking for tools to help me be more productive. I am very excited over discovering MindNode. MindNode is a suite of mind mapping products across multiple Apple platforms that allows you to brainstorm or mind map out thoughts and ideas. MindNode is available as a universal app for iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad as well as a free and paid version for the Mac. Today I will be looking at the iPad version, but functionality is the same across apps.

You start off with a simple node. That node can be an idea or thought, perhaps an object. You can rename the node to what ever you like. From here, you can add another node by tapping the plus icon. You can really start to branch out quickly too. You can branch from the main node, any children nodes, or just make a new node from scratch. If you find your ideas are taking over on a particular node, you can detach it and make it a new node.

To help differentiate nodes and thoughts, you can change colors of the connector lines and the node itself. You can even setup the colors that will be used and what order they appear if you like. If you need to move around a node, simply drag the title to a new location, or you can cut, copy or paste by double-tapping on the node. To help keep your mind maps organized, MindNode gives you the ability to search within your document and look at a list of all of the existing nodes and their parent-child relationships in your document.

Sharing documents is a snap in MindNode. You have several options at your disposal:

  • Mail to MindNode
  • Freemind
  • png
  • Text Outline
  • OPML Outline

Desktop:

  • WiFi sharing with MindNode Pro only
  • Websharing, provides URL, port and user name/password

For all that MindNode does it is an incredible value. The ease of exporting is a particular plus in such a specific type of product. If you enjoy visually brainstorming ideas, concepts and more, MindNode for iOS is a fantastic product that helps to make us more productive.

[$5.99- iTunes Link]

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iOS 4 review

Complete review of Apple's iOS 4 software for iPhone and iPod touch

iOS 4 (previously iPhone OS 4.0) continues Apple's relentless yearly mobile OS update cycle. If 2007 was the mainstreaming of the multitouch user interface, 2008 all about the App Store, and 2009 was filling in the feature list, then iOS 4 promises to be... well, that's why we're here.

(And yes, iOS. That's the new name Apple has licensed from trademark-holders Cisco to represent the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch -- and maybe soon the Apple TV and who knows what else -- family.)

Back on April 8 at the sneak preview event, Apple promised 7 "tent-pole" features and 100+ general user features overall, along with 1500 major new API for developers. We're going to walk you through the ones that matter most.

Note: iOS 4.1 is now available. See our complete iOS 4.1 walkthrough for the latest on Game Center, HDR photography, Ping social music network, and the other new features.

See also our iPhone 4 review for more on hardware specific features.

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iPhone 4 preview

Everything you need to know about Apple's new iPhone 4

iPhone 4 is the most significant hardware revision to Apple's widescreen iPod, breakthrough internet communicator, and phone since the original iPhone 2G was released in 2007. But how significant is it? Apple CEO Steve Jobs said there were over 100 new features and singled out 8 for special attention. We'll take the most interesting of both and see just how important they are, after the break.

(For more on the software, see our massive iOS 4 feature walkthrough).

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Guitar Hero for iPhone - app review

During the WWDC 2010 keynote, Activision announced and released Guitar Hero on the iPhone. This game is well made and provides a lot of enjoyment for players as they strum, tap, slide and whammy to the beat of popular rock songs.

The gameplay of Guitar Hero is fun, unique and includes much more than tapping notes. An arrow pointing left or right indicates that you need to tap the note where the arrow begins and slide your finger to where the arrow ends. This action needs to happen fairly quickly. If two or more notes are connected by lines, then you must tap the first note and slide your finger to the next notes. Your finger needs to reach each note connected in the line at the appropriate time that corresponds to the beat of the song. A vertical line means that you must hold down the note until the line ends. Sometimes these appear at the end of an arrow which mean you must slide and hold. The last thing that comes up is an orange bar that is the length of all four notes. This bar simply needs to be tapped at any location.

Some notes have stars on them. Successfully hitting all these notes in a sequence adds to your star power. There is blue bar on the right of the screen which indicates how much star power you have. Once it reaches half-way, a blue bar will appear above the note catchers. Tapping this activates your star power and doubles your score multiplier. The more star power you have, the longer it lasts.

Guitar Hero also offers character customization, leaderboards, Faecbook sharing, and in-app purchases. If you want more than the 6 songs included with Guitar Hero, then you must purchase songs in bundles of three. Each song pack costs $1.99. There are no free songs available for download.

Guitar Hero includes the following 6 tracks:

  • Queen – “We Are The Champions”
  • Rise Against – “Savior”
  • The Rolling Stones – “Paint It Black”
  • Vampire Weekend – “Cousins”
  • Weezer – “Say It Ain’t So”
  • The White Stripes – “Seven Nation Army”

The downloadable song packs via in-app purchase are grouped by the following artists:

  • The Faint, Minus the Bear and Silversun Pickups
  • Band of Skulls, Obits and The White Stripes
  • Darkest Hour, The Dillinger Escape Plan and Protest the Hero
  • A Day to Remember, AFI and Breaking Benjamin
  • Vampire Weekend
  • Queen

I have thoroughly enjoyed the short time I've spent playing Guitar Hero and don't plan to stop playing anytime soon. The game runs great, looks great, and is very well designed. It's only a matter of time before I become a famous rock star!

Videos and screenshots after the break!

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