Reviews

Chaos Rings for iPhone- app review

Chaos Rings is the ultimate RPG thus far on the iPhone. Square Enix has done a fabulous job bringing the console RPG experience we have come to love on to our beloved Apple devices.

Our story begins with several pairings of unlikely partners thrust into a battle they do not wish to fight in a tower competing for rings. Starting the game you are given two choices for characters. Both teams include two people and you are always a party of two. When beginning, you are given a choice of two pairs and both have a similar story but different dialog. Each team has a stronger "fighter" type of character and the other is more of a support/magic character.

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Case-Mate Gelli Kaleidoscope Case for iPad - accessory review

If you're looking for a nice, fashionable, and well-made skin for your iPad, the Case-Mate Gelli [$36.95] may be the case for you.

The Case-Mate Gelli is made from cutting-edge flexible thermoplastic material that Case-Mate claims to be more resilient than silicone and rubber. It fits very snuggly onto the iPad even after removing it several times. The skin feel great in your hands and adds some traction to your grip. It is also very thin; so it adds additional protection without adding unnecessary bulk. All ports are accessible with the Case-Mate Gelli.

The Case-Mate Gelli comes in two different chic designs: Kaleidoscope and Checkmate. I took a look at the Tomato Kaleidoscope skin and it is very beautiful. The thin, translucent case looks great with the iPad's aluminum back. The Apple Logo and iPad branding show through the skin perfectly. The noticeability of the circles designed into the Kaleidoscope case is enough to look great, yet not stand out so much that it seems to be screaming "look at me!" The Kaleidoscope case comes in Tomato, Pink, and Aurora (yellow/gold). The Checkmate skin comes in green, blue, and gray.

I have been very happy with the Case-Mate Gelli case and highly recommend it to anyone interested in a skin case for their iPad.

Video and photos after the break!

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Documents to Go for iPad- app review

As a user of Dataviz's Documents to Go product for years, I was ecstatic for the iPhone release and now even more so for the universal binary for iPad. Documents to Go is a mobile office productivity suite that allows you to create and edit Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint formatted documents and file types on your iPad.

Let's first look at how we can access our documents, there are a few different ways. First, you can create documents on the iPad. Next, you can sync with your desktop (PC or Mac). You can install a free desktop sync tool. This allows you to pick a folder on your computer and sync those documents to the iPad, or use the built-in iTunes sync if that is your preference. Last but not least you can connect to a few different web services in the "cloud" and edit your documents and save it right back to the cloud. Documents to Go supports these services:

  • Google Docs
  • Box.net
  • Dropbox
  • iDisk
  • Public Disk (iDisk)
  • Sugar Sync

Syncing your documents to the cloud is truly fantastic and is something Apple's own iPad iWork suite does not offer beyond iWork.com.

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Pregnancy Tracker from WhatToExpect.com for iPhone - app review

What to Expect when Expecting is one of the most popular pregnancy books available, and they also have an app to compliment their book and website. Pregnancy Tracker from WhatToExpect.com is an iPhone application for pregnant women to keep track of their pregnancy.

There are 5 sections of Pregnancy Tracker. The home screen, called "tracker", is where you see your due date, a countdown to your due date, Baby's gestational age, what trimester you're in, and something to compare your baby's size to. (This week, my baby is the size of a butternut squash!)

The Weekly tab provides useful information about what to expect with your body and also the changes that are happening in your baby's development. This section is very thorough and gives quite a bit of information.

The Daily tab is my favorite part of Pregnancy Tracker because I haven't seen this in another pregnancy application before. Here you are given a new tip, fact, or reminder each day. Most apps have something similar, but it only changes weekly.

You can store photos related to your pregnancy in the Photos tab.

The last tab is for Forums. This is a great section to communicate with other moms and moms-to-be about pregnancy or anything else related. What makes the forums even better is that they are the same forums that you can find on WhatToExpect.com. This opens up the conversations to anyone, not just iPhone users.

Pregnancy Tracker is a great pregnancy application that is packed with information. The main thing it's lacking is good pictures; It would be really nice if nice pregnancy related pictures were added to the app. Other than that, I have been very happy with Pregnancy Tracker. And the best part... it's free!

Video and screenshots after the break!

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iKlenz cleaner solution for iPad and iPhone - accessory review

iKlenz Cleaner Solution for your iPhone and iPad removes, dirt, grime, fingerprints, bacteria and germs, while repelling dust. iKlenz gives your iPhone and iPad ascreen a streak free shine.

If I had to name my top 5 items I should always have for my iPhone and iPad this would most definitely be one one them. Since I do a lot of videos, I always ensure my iPhone and iPad are clean before a shoot. I also know that water and/or a shirt (iChadman, bellyrub?!) do not cut it when it comes to fingerprints and oil. Also Windex can cause damage to the delicate surface of the iPhone and iPad, so I never use that on my precious iPhone and iPad.

You just spray the solution on the cloth a few times, wipe the screen clean lightly then fold and dry off with the other side of the microfiber cloth (which comes with iKlenz). It works like a charm and lasts for a long time.

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Galactic Untangle HD for iPad - app review

Galactic Untangle HD for the iPad is a puzzle game. It is simple, yet challenging, and can easily keep you occupied for hours.

In each level, you are a given a bunch of points connected by lines, and your goal is to move the points around until there are no lines crossing. In mathematical terms, you are given a graph and it is your job to rearrange the vertices until no edges are crossing, i.e., result with a planar representation of the graph. This game is very strait-forward and simple, but not generally easy to beat. As you progress, the graphs become much more complicated and difficult to beat.

There are two modes in Galactic Untangle HD. In "free mode", there is no stress of being timed and you can relax and play at a leisurely pace. In "challenge mode" you are being timed and you have an option to submit your score to the world scoreboard. However, even though you are asked to enter your name, the world scoreboard does not display names. As someone who holds a few of the records, I find this annoying.

Galactic Untangle is an excellent game. It is designed well and looks beautiful on the iPad's screen. It has a simple objective, yet challenging gameplay. And best of all, it's a fun way to give your brain some exercise!

Video and screenshots after the break!

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Splinter Cell Conviction for iPhone- app review

Sam Fisher is back in Splinter Cell Conviction for iPhone and iPod Touch. Having played the original way back when on the Xbox, it was interesting see how the game has matured years later on the iPhone. The game has morphed into more of a run n' gun type of game. Yes, you still have to try to be stealthy, but not like the games of old. If you feel like it, just walk right in and start shooting. I actually like this as it gives you a choice in play style; covert or action.

Sam is out for revenge to find out who has killed his daughter; basically, he doesn't care who or what gets in his way to uncover the truth. The game spans 13 levels in 8 different locations and with this mobile iteration of the franchise you get some new gameplay mechanics. First, you are given icons next to cover you can run to. Simply tap the in screen action icon and Sam will run and cover to that location. You can do this successively assuming there is an "icon" to run to.

Next, you get a nifty after shadow that appears on screen to indicate where the enemy thinks you are, or your last known location to them. This adds a fantastic play mechanic that is horribly underutilized. It would have been great to throw small objects or something and cause the enemy to head towards that location. Instead it is used only when you are detected and enemies will head to that area.

You are also given the ability, albeit only in certain situations, to target multiple enemies to take them out with a single button press. Regretfully, you can't use this any time you want, only in certain situations. This is the biggest downside to Splinter Cell Conviction, its restrictiveness. The game plays well, look gorgeous and is fun, but is hampered by the inability to use some of these cool play mechanics on the users terms. It is this flaw that prevents this title from being the near perfect game it so wants to be.

Should you get Splinter Cell Conviction? Good question. If you are a casual gamer looking for a little stealth action, then yes, you can't go wrong. If you are a hardcore gamer, the limitations might prove a little frustrating. For me, I like it and will continue to play it, but I will always be wishing I has complete control over Sam. Check the video and screens after the break!

[$9.99- iTunes Link]

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The Elements for iPad- app review

The ultimate in interactive elements has arrived in the form of The Elements for iPad. I was a little late getting to this app seeing as how it came out at the iPad launch, but I am really soaking up what the Elements has to offer now. It's is basically an interactive book made by the folks at Periodic Table. They make printed books, etc for the education market around the world. This is their first foray into the iPad/iPhone and I have to tell you; wow. I wish they had this stuff when I was a kid.

The way The Elements works is you have a complete listing of the periodic table of elements in front of you. These objects are not just photos of the elements, but actual 3D renders that move. Tap on an element and it takes you to that element's custom page of discovery.

The element page consists of a big render of the element or an example of it's use on the left of the screen and all the information you could want to know on the right including the atomic radius, structure, weight, density and more of the element. WolframAlpha provides additional information and proves to be an awesome resource.

The bottom right corner gives you additional navigational tools. Tap the right arrow to bring up more information about the element along with even more 3D renders of the the element or it's uses. You can spin/rotate all of the element examples in real-time; there are over 500 renders in this app. You also get a detailed history and story about each element to give even more insight. Of course just having interactive 3D renders aren't enough. No, double tap a render and you are presented with a fullscreen object. Tap the double circle icon and you can view the object stereoscopically. Focus your eyes, you can see a "real" 3D render of the object. Of course, some of us just can't do that. So The Elements gives you a convenient link to order the special 3D glass for $4.95. That is rather cool. I can imagine students sharing the glasses to examine all of the elements in this way and it is really exciting to see the future of interactive education for students.

Alas, there is always another side to the story and regretfully this app has crashes constantly even with the most recent update. I so am looking forward to a few more updates to make it ultra-stable.

The newly formed company TouchPress is responsible for creating The Elements and are on a mission to make more books like this one. What is on my wish list? The human body and the universe, I can't wait.

[$13.99- iTunes Link]

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Marware Eco-Vue case for iPad - accessory review

Marware Eco-Vue case brings executive leather folio look-and-feel to iPad

Make no mistake, the Marware Eco-Vue case for the iPad [$42.95 - TiPb store link] is the executive option for iPad cases. It's the leather bound Cadillac. It's the finely appointed Benz. No, I'm not writing a luxury car review, but that's kind of how this case feels. The quality is excellent -- it smells excellent. Deep black leather with crisp white stitching on the outside sandwiches your iPad providing a think layer of plush protection, softer gray microfiber swaddles it inside while still granting access to hardware buttons and ports. There's also a clear screen protector included to keep the display safe.

A thin elastic band lets you secure the Marware Eco-Vue closed or flipped back and open. There's a leather strap that folds over the top and tucks in to keep your iPad from falling out. I'm paranoid so it didn't de-stress me to the level a snap or velcro or some other form of security would have, but it's long enough and the friction is high enough that the iPad stays put. It's leather-glove tight inside either, which will annoy perfectionists but does make getting the iPad in and out far easier. Since I haven't seen a dock yet that will work with this size case, that could be a plus for those who want to take their iPad out every once and a while.

Inside the Marware Eco-Vue's front cover are a couple of highly useful extras. An elastic leather strap lets you slip one hand inside so you can carry the iPad around and tap away with the other hand without worrying it will slip and fall. A stand folds out to let you prop it up on a table to create a better typing angle. A magnet keeps it from flopping around when not in use. Smart. So smart I kind of wish a magnet was also used to keep the case closed, though the elastic is certainly more traditional.

And if you're wondering about the Eco in the name, Marware says it's made out of substances healthier for the environment and meets RoHS standards.

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BN eReader for iPad - app review

Barnes & Noble has released BN eReader for iPad as an alternative to Apple's iBooks and Amazon's Kindle app. It is an excellent ebook reader and offers many customizations as well as the ability to share books with friends and family.

Reading on BN eReader is a pleasant experience. You can read either in landscape in portrait. In portrait, eReader displays the book as one page. However, in landscape, reading in a two column or one column format depends on what your font settings are (both style and size). If this is not a bug, it is very annoying. I'd much rather see a toggle to turn two columns on or off. You can enhance your reading experience by choosing between one of Barnes & Nobel's five professionally designed themes, or create your own theme by editing the page, text, highlights, and links colors.

One of the big features BN eReader offers that iBooks does not, is the ability to add notes. Just highlight a block of text by dragging with your finger and select "add note". After you've created the note, you can quickly get back to it at any time. In addition, you can highlight text and look up words in the dictionary.

The other huge feature of BN eReader is the ability to share books with friends and family. Barnes & Noble refers to the technology as LendMe. With supported books, you can access your iPad's address book and select which contact you wish to share the book with. Upon accepting the offer, your friend will be able to enjoy the eBook for 14 days. If someone lends you a book, BN eReader will add the book to your library and display the message from your friend.

If you have BN eReader on your Mac, PC, iPhone, and Nook, the last page read will sync across all devices. All notes and highlights will also sync to your PC and iPhone (coming soon).

To purchase a book, BN eReader will launch the Barnes & Nobel eBookstore in Safari. After purchasing a book, you much exit safari and reopen BN eReader; you will see your book automatically add to your library and begin to download. The process is simple, but not completely painless. I'd much rather see BN eReader open an in-app browser because switching between apps isn't very elegant.

Barnes and Noble did an excellent job with their eReader and offers many things that iBooks does not. Having the world's largest bookstore in your hands is definitely a welcomed addition to the iPad.

Video and screenshots after the break!

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