Reviews

Quick Review: Air Hockey for iPad

Air Hockey [$0.99 - iTunes Link] by Acceleroto is now a universal binary that works on both your iPhone and iPad (that's right, pay once, play everywhere). It offers fluid air hockey action, simple controls, and a lot of fun.

For more about Air Hockey from Acceleroto as well as video of my son and I playing please stay with us after the break!

Air Hockey lets you choose one or two pucks and one and two players. If you do not have anyone to play with, one player mode gives you a computer opponent with varying difficulty, from kiddie to INSANE. With the larger size of the iPad, however, a human opponent becomes more more do-able, and much more fun.

Take a peek at the video where I play with my son in a two puck game. Who won? watch to find out, but also watch to see how much fun it is.

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Quick Review: Real Racing HD for iPad

Real Racing HD [$9.99- iTunes Link] is a blast to play on the iPad. I have enjoyed the iPhone iteration for some time and I was really looking forward to the iPad version. Thankfully the game is still a blast to play, looks good and has a few new features to keep you interested in this version.

First of the changes is the resolution. The graphics and frame rate are really smooth. The immersive feel of the in- car view is fantastic. This game does have a different feel now on the larger screen and I like it. You can now add your own skin to your car via the Camera Role. This is a great way to customize the cars in the game if you get bored with what is available. Firemint even has a website with skins to download. To install a skin, just save to the Camera Role or use an existing image. You can then apply the picture to a car, giving it a new look.

The other new feature with this version of Real Racing is the ability to save/ load ghost car data. In Time Trial mode you can save your race after you finish. You are then added to the leaderboards. You can view or race against others in your bracket . You can't at this time race against higher ranked players. Firemint says they are listening to feedback and may implement this in a future update.

For a first effort out of the gate, I really am enjoying Real Racing HD and I am looking forward to see how the development will improve on this already awesome game. Gallery and video after the break!

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Quick Review: Evernote for iPad

I am a huge fan of Evernote [Free- iTunes Link]. I knew they were working on an iPad version of their software, but I had no idea what to expect. Needless to say I am pleased with their design decisions and love the completely new layout for iPad.

Evernote for iPad gives you several new and fun ways to view and organize your notes. First, you can view them by thumbnail or details. I think thumbnails work best with pictures. I tend to have more text notes, so details works best for me. It gives me the name, etc. of the note at hand.

I love the way Evernote organizes notebooks and tags; the notes appear stacked on each other just like the Photos album. You can't pinch to peek and open (though that would be cool) instead you simply tap to open the notebook or tags you want. You can also sort by name or by count. There is now a separate area of view notes by place too, you can even use location services to find notes by your current location. Take audio and picture notes? Now you can do both in one note on the iPad app. This is a very nice addition.

If you are an existing Evernote user, you are in luck -- the app is universal. Download it once and use it on iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.

Gallery and video after the break!

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Quick Review: Apple iPad Dock

Picking up the iPad I was tasked with deciding the most useful accessory for the iPad. For me, that accessory was the iPad Dock. I just couldn't fathom the iPad just laying on my desk, I needed a place to set my iPad as well as take advantage of the other features it allowed me to display.

The dock comes by itself, no USB cable or charger; you just get the basics. The footprint is larger than the iPhone dock since the iPad is substantially heavier. The bottom of the dock has the typical "sticky" finish so it does not budge from its place. I would estimate the angle of the dock to be approximately 60 degrees so it is not exactly upright, but close. The back of the dock has the standard 30-pin connector. You can use the USB cable and charger included with the iPad to plug into the wall or computer for charging. You also have a Line Out to plug into a stereo tuner.

Once you have placed the iPad securely in the dock, it has the familiar green charging battery graphic. If enabled in Settings, you have the new picture frame button that turns the iPad into a beautiful digital photo showcase with animated slideshows.

If you don't want your iPad just laying on your desk, you can't go wrong with the iPad Dock. Oh, and don't forget, the dock just might come in handy when you start typing with the Apple Bluetooth keyboard...

Pictures and video after the break!

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iPad Keyboard Dock Hands On

We just took delivery of the iPad Keyboard Dock and what can we say - it's an iPad dock with a keyboard attached to it. Ok, we can say more - the keyboard is excellent, it matches Apple's usual quality with keyboards and while we know some don't like their recent designs as much as the older stuff, we do. The keyboard dock is also heavy, we'd guess at least a pound. The obvious benefit there is that, unlike the standard dock, when you lift the iPad out the keyboard stays put.

The dock works like a standard iPad dock with a charging port and line-out on the back - though unfortunately it doesn't come with any cables or a 2nd charger. At $69.99, that would be nice to see but it's not entirely surprising.

The keyboard has some nice functional touches as well. You can (obviously) use the shift + arrow keys to select text; command + X/C/V works for cut, copy, and paste; and finally there are is a row of buttons at the top for various iPad functions. You can jump to the homescreen, go to Spotlight search, adjust brightness, start the lock-screen slideshow, toggle the on-screen keyboard, control the iPod, adjust volume, and finally instantly lock the screen with the top row. Another nice bit is that hitting any button immediately turns on the iPad without forcing you to slide-to-unlock.

So it's a nice keyboard and has Apple's standard elegance. Unfortunately it's not a great travel keyboard - both the weight and the fact that the stand doesn't fold down means that road warriors will likely be doing some very serious soul searching when they think about tossing it in their gear bag.

Video hands-on and gallery after the break!

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Quick Review: NOVA HD for iPad

Here we have NOVA HD [$9.99 - iTunes Link] for iPad, an action-packed first-person shooter (FPS) that should make any Halo fan feel right at home.

For video of me playing (kinda funny), pictures, and more -- stay with us after the break!

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iPad review

iPad is Apple's attempt to define something between the smartphone and laptop, to give the masses silky-smooth software and multitouch glass all wrapped up in unibody aluminum and complete ecosystem control -- to make mainstream the computing appliance starting at just $499. To do this, to justify the iPad's existence, to make us buy a device too big for our pocket and too small for our server room, Steve Jobs said it had to do several things better than either of the categories so well established before: browsing, email, photos, video, music, games, and eBooks.

Given the companies and products that have tried and failed before it, that's audacious even for Apple. Especially for a first generation attempt. How close did they get? Did they get close at all?

Dieter goes hands-on with the iPad hardware and Rene dissects the iPad software after the break!

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Quick Review: Twitteriffic on iPad

Twitteriffic on the iPad is straight-up elegant and clean. Although it's not quite the powerhouse of Twitter mania that is Tweetdeck on iPad, it makes up for it by having a nicer and more intuitive layout.

In portrait mode, you get a large list of tweets, but the real excitement comes in landscape. Twitteriffic uses the now-familiar setup of a list of options on the left, the main window on the right. Your options are simple and straightfoward - viewing recent tweet, messages, direct messages, favorites, a search bar, and so on. I'm especially happy to see lists on the sidebar - that's a feature that's been lacking on many other Twitter clients. The app offers a $4.99 in-app purchase to enable multiple accounts and eliminating ads. Twitteriffic also does a great job with links - photos appear in a small pop-up and web-links appear in a large pop-up browser that's very usable. Tapping a profile brings up an iPhone-style pop-up that lets you browse that user's tweets.

I do sort of wish the lefthand bar was customizable - I'd rather see multiple accounts listed there rather than Twitter trends. You also can't change accounts on an active tweet you're writing - instead you have to back out of one account and into another.

Video and gallery after the break!

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Quick Review: Mirror's Edge or iPad

Mirror's Edge is flat-out fun. More than any other game I've tried on the iPad so far, it shows what the potential for gaming on the platform can be. The basic mechanics of the game are simple: you control Faith, sending her running over the city and through tunnels to, well, do something that clearly has The Man unhappy. Whatever, the story is secondary. You control the game with a series of simple gestures - swipes left, right, up, and down - with the occasional tilt here and there. There are no health indicators, ammo bars, or anything else to get in your way.

I think it's a great game for iPad because you can perform these swipes without covering up half the screen - you can always see the action and it really does feel pretty immersive.

The game is relatively simple to beat in story mode, but there's plenty of extras to keep you in the game - including speed runs, going back to find hidden bags, and even a multiplayer option. It's a little pricey at $12.99, but it's addictive enough that I've lost a solid two hours to the game just toda. It's only through great force of will that I was able to stop playing long enough to write this quick take.

Video and gallery after the break!

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Quick Review and Give Away: PAC-MAN for iPad

Namco brings the classic arcade game PAC-MAN [$4.99 - iTunes link] to iPad.

PAC-MAN for iPad is a great remake and include three game modes: easy, normal, and classic. Easy mode comes with an extra 2 lives, normal is slower than classic, and classic is just like arcade version. To control PAC-MAN, you just swipe in the appropriate direction anywhere on the screen or you can limit yourself to using only the joystick. Playing PAC-MAN for iPad brought back some childhood memories of playing this classic in the arcade room of pizza parlors!

Now for the giveaway! Let us know in the comments below why you enjoy PAC-MAN and where you first remember playing the original game. We'll randomly select one of you and send you a promo code. (Note: promo codes only work in the US App Store, so if you don’t have access, you won’t be able to claim a prize. They also expire so if you get one, use it fast!)

Video and screenshots after the break!

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