Reviews

Quick Review and give-away: Polyhedra XL for iPad

Polyhedra XL [$2.99 - iTunes link] is a fun little game that involves creating shapes and avoiding obstacles as you fill the screen. The graphics are beautiful and while the beginning levels are simple enough for a child, they progresses to be challenging for an adult.

The goal of Polyhedra XL is simple: create enough shapes to fill up 66% of the screen.

To create a shape, just hold your finger down on the screen. The longer you hold, the larger your shape becomes. The challenge is that there are enemies bouncing around the screen that will pop your inflating shape when they make contact. Once your shape becomes solid, however, the enemies will bounce right off. Rotating the screen will cause your shapes to be affected by "gravity" and you can use this to your advantage to trap enemies.

Polyhedra XL also features a "Toy Box" mode where you can just create shapes, admire the graphics, and relax. I imagine this mode would be great for kids.

I have really enjoyed playing Polyhedra XL and applaud Binary Hammer for creating such a simple, challenging, and beautiful game.

Now for the giveaway! Binary Hammer has kindly provided us with 3 promo codes to give to you. Let us know why you'd like to have Polyhedra XL on your iPad, and we'll randomly choose 3 winners. Contest begins now and ends Sunday, May 9th at 12pm PST. ( Unfortunately, a US iTunes account is required to enter. Apple's rule, not ours!)

Screen shots and video after the break!

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Walkthrough: How to Jailbreak iPhone 3.1.3 with Spirit

So with the release of the Spirit jailbreak for iPhone, 3.1.3, it’s only appropriate to post a quick how-to, so here it is.  And of course, with a jailbreaking tutorial, here comes the disclaimer:

If you’re not sure what you’re doing and have misgivings about jailbreaking, you probably should stray away.  I will say, out of all the jailbreaks that have been released, this one is one of the simplest, and I’m talking blackra1n easy.  Walkthrough and video after the break!

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Quick Review: Pages for iPad

Having a virtually full-fledged word processor like Apple's Pages iWork app [$9.99- iTunes Link] on the iPad is a big deal. There has been a lot of discussion, however, about how Pages would work on the iPad. How do I transfer/ sync documents? How will my formatting be effected?

I had to use Pages to do some document editing for a house flyer for our home (we are in the process of selling). I figured what a great opportunity to give Pages a spin. First, I had to get the document on the iPad. Email or iTunes? The Pages file was 12MB so I opted to transfer it via iTunes. The process was simple; I selected the Pages app from the bottom of the Apps tab with my iPad attached to my iMac. I clicked the add files button and chose my Pages file. I synced the iPad and my house flyer appeared in the document list in pages.

After importing the house flyer into Pages, I was not greeted with any formatting warnings (to be fair I have imported Microsoft Word documents and did receive warnings. It was hit and miss; some documents looked identical, others, not so much) and I began editing immediately. But, there was one problem...

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Quick Review: GoodReader document manager, viewer for iPad

GoodReader for iPad [on sale for $0.99 - iTunes store] is a gem of an app for anyone who wants to access and manage their documents on the go, especially large PDF files. It is upscaled from the iPhone version, but while the interface isn't radically different this is one case where bigger translates effectively into more and better.

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Quick Review: Words with friends HD for the iPad

Words with friends by Newtoy $4.99 [iTunes Link] is a scrabble-like game for the iPhone and now, iPad.

With Words with friends, you can play online against your friends, against random online opponents, or pass-and play on a single iPad. The nice thing about Words with friends is that it allows you to play with your friends at their own pace, with each move stored online. Push notifications are an option, however, so you know when your friend has made a move.

There's also an integrated chat/IM system so you are able to talk smack congratulate your opponents.

Some things that are in need of an update or fix, however. Account management is poor. Accessing your account details is annoyingly slow and if you want to change accounts, you have to delete the application and then reinstall it. (Yes, really!)

Also, a recent update took away the eyeball icons that previously told you your opponent was actually online. Unfortunately, it also left behind the "Go to developers Facebook fan page" button, awkwardly and annoyingly placed right between the titles and the board.

My last issue with Words with Friends is that you cannot re-arrange your tiles when its not your turn, which is a helpful way to prepare your next word. You also can't delete a game once in play and you can not resign from a game when it is not your turn. So I have about 3 ghost games on the iPad at anytime, which I find endlessly annoying.

All that being said, Words with Friends HD for the iPad is a good deal of fun, a great way to game with all your friends and to make some new ones. If you enjoy playing scrabble then you'll enjoy this!

Video and screenshots after the break!

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Quick Review: Bento for iPad

Bento for iPad [$4.99- iTunes Link] is a fantastic database option for users of Filemaker's Bento for Mac. It is a fast and simple database application for capturing just about anything from invoices to party planning to recipes.

I have been using Bento for Mac and iPhone for a while now. I was very excited to get the iPad version. Bento looks great. There are elegant themes that make Bento appear like a leather- bound book or clipboard. You can create a database on the fly from one of the supplied templates and sync it back to your Mac and iPhone. If you want, you can even make a database from scratch right on the iPad. When creating your database you have a choice of several fields including checkbox, choice, number, text and several more. Adding these fields to your new database couldn't be easier; click the pencil icon and drag the field to the workspace. Once placed on the screen, choose that fields properties. One of the more impressive features I found was the ability to add a Media field and insert a picture directly from Saved Photos on the iPad. There is a nice shadow effect behind the image and it looks really good.

Overall I am very pleased with the iPad version of Bento. The one feature that I would really like to see would be the ability to either export or send via email a record from Bento; there is currently no option to export data from Bento for iPad.

If you have an iPad and need to have a database with you, you will love Bento. Anyone from parents managing their kids schedule to a small business can use the portability and power Bento has to offer. For only $4.99, you are getting a huge value.  If you aren't the creative type, you can always download templates from Bento's Template Exchange.

Check out the Video and Gallery after the break!

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Quick Review: UNO HD for iPad

UNO HD for iPad [$4.99 - iTunes link] by Gameloft brings the classic card game to bigger, bolder life on that 9.7" screen. At first blush, UNO more so than something like NOVA feels like it could have been a universal binary, sparing existing owners of the iPhone version from having to buy it twice. However, Gameloft wisely upped the anti based on the iPad's-size, offering a 4 player option that makes it eminently more suitable as a true board-game replacement -- you can realistically sit 2 or 4 people around an iPad and start up the multiplayer version of the game, share the screen, and get your UNO on.

You can of course also use single-player mode, or multiplayer between devices either locally or online. The graphics look prerequisite-ly great on the iPad, though we did find the controls a tad challenging (choosing and playing cards weren't quite as buttery smooth as we'd like).

A side effect of the game being run on an iPad instead of with real cards is that it's almost impossible to make mistakes or (gasp) cheat. The game only allows you to play cards you're allowed to play, when you're allowed to play them. Whether that's a good or bad thing we'll leave up to you and your consciences to sort out.

If you like UNO and you want to bring a little bit of real world social interaction back to your family and friends, grab an iPad, fire it up, pass it around, and let us know what you think.

Video of me taking on a challenger, after the break!

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Quick Review: PCalc for iPad

PCalc [$9.99 - iTunes link] is one of the leading calculators for iPhone and now its computing power has been updated (as in universal binary) to include support for iPad.

PCalc is an (optional) RPN calculator that is great for scientists, engineers, programmers, and students. It includes a list of common constants, an ample amount of conversions, a paper tape that can be shared via email, and support for binary, hexadecimal, and octal calculations. You can also customize the look of PCalc with different themes and digit fonts.

The interface on iPad is rather beautiful in both landscape and portrait. The buttons are nice and big and everything is easy to read. Navigation between the menus is a much more pleasant experience than on the iPhone.

To see PCalc in action, watch the video after the break!

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TiPb Give-away: iMaxi iPad Case

Remember the iMaxi iPad Case from Hiphandmaids that we took a look at just before the iPad launch? Well, Hip Handmaids were kind enough to send out one for editor extraordinaire, Rene! How did we select between the white and red 'lived in' versions? Our Twitter followers got to choose!

So stay with us after the break to see Rene unboxing the iMaxi iPad Case, to find out whether your votes got him the white or 'lived in' red version, and to see how you can get an iMaxi iPad Case of your very own. (That's right, we're doing a give-away!)

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Quick Review: Epicurious for iPad

Epicurious [Free - iTunes Link] from CondeNet is one of the best cooking apps you can get on the iPad. It has almost everything you could ask for including over 28,000 recipes, with the number growing daily.

The interface is beautiful with the recipes neatly organized depending on main ingredient, health restrictions, nationality, what's new, and more. The cookbook section of Epicurious is even easier to navigate on the larger iPad screen. You can have the recipe instructions displayed on the side while looking at the ingredients, photos, user reviews, and nutritional information. There is even a little bookmark so you can keep your place as you look at other sections.

Finding what you want in Epicurious is also a breeze. It has a search tool which allows you to find your next meal by keyword. On the sidebar you can simply click or un-click ingredients to filter the results further and match any dietary restrictions or keep the choices narrowed to just the ingredients you have in the house.

Epicurious also has a wonderful shopping list button and if you want to share your latest recipe with your friends you can email it.

For screenshots and video of this must-have iPad cooking app, stay with us after the break!

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