Issuu on Google+

Hands-on with the PS4 Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy Gear reviewed

Dynamic Duo?

With mini ITX, smaller doesn’t mean less power

R evie w s inc luding As us , L o git ech, Sait ek , S t eelS eries , S ams ung, Raz er and more. ..

Internet piracy and South Africa

I S S U E 3 9 / Vo l . 3 January 2014

www.gladgetmag.com

Safe Zone

Options for securing your Android device

Free Online Mag


I S S U E 5 5 / Vo l . 5 Januar y 2014

w w w. g a m e c c a m ag . c o m

Killzone: Shadow Fall Knack Gran Turismo 6 Rocksmith 2014 Ratchet & Clank: Nexus Tearaway and more...

Best of the Best

Gamecca’s Game of the Year 2013 Awards

Over the Wall It’s time for a cold war in Killzone: Shadow Fall

The Last Lap Gran Turismo 6 does it right!

It’s Here!

The PlayStation 4 has arrived in South Africa

Free Online Mag


Taking fun seriously!

www.gameccamag.com


Inside 6 From the Editor

8 Small is Huge

Mini ITX offers and excellent, space saving PC solution

16 From Ho-ho to Yo-ho

Internet piracy and South Africa...

20 Patterni Recognition

The best defence for Android devices

22 Lookng Back: 1998

Monica Lewinsky, peace in Ireland and Windows 98

24 Reviews

Some excellent tech for the new year

46 Did You Know?

More converation starters from the world of tech

48 The Nest Station

Hands-on with Sony’s PlayStation 4

Competition

This Month’s Cover Mini ITX is a great solution for computer users... See our feature on page 10...

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25 MSI GeForce GTX 780 Graphics Card 69 Razer StarCraft II Banshee Headset

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Reviews

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Mad Catz C.Y.B.O.R.G. V7 Gaming Keyboard for PC

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SteelSeries Siberia Elite Gaming Headset

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Acer E1-531 Notebook GLADGET Volume 4 Issue 39 January 2014

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Logitech Z200 Multimedia Speakers

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Saitek Pacific AV8R Flight Stick

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Samsung Galaxy Note 3

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Razer Tartarus Expert Gaming Keypad

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Samsung Galaxy S4 Active

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Samsung Galaxy Gear

Writers: Alex Scanlon Andy Taliadoros Charlie Fripp Iwan Pienaar Lein Baart Rob Edwards Suvesh Arumugam Walt Pretorius

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SteelSeries Rival Optical Mouse

Letters: letters@gladgetmag.com

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Asus GeForce GTX 780 Ti Graphics Card

Competition Entries: competitions@gladgetmag.com

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Killzone: Shadow Fall (PS4)

Newsletter Subscriptions: www.gladgetmag.com

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Knack (PS4)

Design & Photography: 1337 Media

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FIFA 14 (PS4)

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Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag (PS4)

Marketing Contact: Katia Taliadoros katia@1337-media.com

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Need for Speed: Rivals (PS4)

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Battlefield 4 (PS4)

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LEGO: Marvel Super Heroes (PS4)

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Call of Duty: Ghosts (PS4)

Editor: Katia Taliadoros katia@1337-media.com

technology. simply. All rights reserved. No content may be reproduced, copied or transmitted without the express permission of the publishers. Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the editors and publishers. All Trademarks and Registered Trademarks are the sole property of the respective owners.

GLADGET is published by 1337 MEDIA

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Copyright Š 1337 Media CC 2009 - 2014

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SwimmingInSyrup by Katia Taliadoros

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From the Editor

he world collectively had to endure and marvel at much in 2013. We have seen tropical cyclones, flash floods and landslides while Chinese spacecraft Chang’s 3 made a soft land on the moon. We have heard about the underground nuclear tests in North Korea and watched as international concern of meteor explosions and a larger flyby asteroid mounted, leading to questions about the vulnerability of our planet. The first creation of human embryonic stem cells by cloning was published and a 3D printer successfully created a livinggrown ear from collagen and animal cell cultures. The world witnessed the loss of Nelson Mandela, a resignation of a pope and an election of a cardinal while the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Arms Trade Treaty. Egypt was deposed in a military coup d’état, Croatia became the 28th member of the European Union and Cyprus was threatened economically with a severe banking crisis in the island nation. Edward Snowden fled the US, finding asylum in Russia,

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after disclosing operations engaged by a US government mass surveillance program to the media. Now consumer privacy and security revelations regarding surveillance programs and the National Security Agency have given rise to questions that have not been yet answered! Where is 2014 taking us? Technology is very much part of our lives; 2014 promises a step forward in all facets. With 84 million shipments in 2012, Smart TVs are expected to reach 123 million in 2014 and competition between the major players will be tight. Tech companies have been studying the results of curved screens and Samsung and LG have already stated that their TVs will have a bend to them. Curved and flexible screens for smartphones, that fit more naturally when held and perform better in bright light, may be making a technical statement in the New Year. Wearable items, from our socks to our glasses, have found a way to be incorporated with sensors and treated as mini computers. The Google Glass headset is expected to see a wide consumer release in 2014

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and the Google watch will be a smart watch on a whole new level! Look out for flying drones in 2014. Mainstream audience may very well benefit from this technology, since Google’s purchase of Boston Dynamics, well known for making robots of the Defence Department. These robots will be able to carry heavy loads and companies like Amazon has plans to utilise this technology for the delivery of packages. Can you imagine having your package within 30 minutes of ordering it online? We have much to look forward to and 2014 has the promise of inspired thought waiting to manifest into our lives. 2013 was a year to remember for requiring the ability to swim through syrup in the most mundane of tasks. Still, we have to count our blessings and learn that in gratitude we have power. 2013 provided the most outstanding insights into harsh learning curves, combating stagnating comfort zones and building strong foundations. On that note, I wish you all a rewarding New Year, in which no syrup is necessary… except for on your dessert! g


Small is Hu

Interview

Computing is going miniature...

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uge Despite so many Doomsday predictions, the PC is still a stalwart of computiong, be it at home or in business. But as everything else in the world becomes smaller and more efficient, PC computing needs to catch up. Or has it already? With solutions like Mini ITX, computers no longer have to be the massive, clunky desktops we all know and love. Now they can be small and sleek, and still as powerful. We spoke to Michael Hann, Marketing Manager at Corex, about these miniature computing options.

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Interview

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GM: How prevalent are miniature computer systems becoming in the South African market? MH: There are more in South Africa than most people think there are. They are not as prevalent yet as a gaming PC per se, but they are popular as HTPCs or Media Centre PCs. The power of modern CPUs and GPUs is such that a relatively low cost build can be used as the centre of an entertainment setup or as a large screen gaming setup without having a console. There are many creative ways to use miniature computers and it is interesting to see these uses, and of course the growth that is happening in this vertical of the pc market. GM: What are the main reasons for considering a small computer? MH: Let’s look at this from a Positive/Negative standpoint. The positives of a smaller computer would be lower power consumption, less noise, less heat, cheaper build costs, space saving and being extremely versatile in its deployment in the home or office. The negatives of the smaller computer would be less internal space for expansion, limited choice for components due to heat and power rating, limited storage capacity, reliance on more expensive, lower profile hardware and so forth.

It’s a balancing act but thanks to the ingenuity of manufacturers there is actually a lot of choice to build a powerful machine. Now looking at the main reason. That is going to depend heavily on the person and what they want to achieve. For me personally, the reason would be to have something potent but portable that can serve a few functions, such as an HTPC when home, and a portable LAN box (instead of having to lug around a massive PC). The best part of some mini ITX machines is the VESA mount, with which you can mount the machine to the back of your monitor - making the ultimate portable LAN box. I think the main reason people would go for these is to replace a larger pc within the home or office with a device that can be more versatile than its bigger siblings. GM: Will a computer based on a mini-ATX motherboard be a suitable replacement for a more traditional desktop? MH: If you look at my previous answer, it sums it up nicely. With the addition of Low and Ultra Low voltage processors, as well as the higher performance integrated graphics, and newer, low profile, short format graphics cards, a mini ITX motherboard/

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PC can easily replace the traditional desktop in a lot of instances. Yes, it will not have the absolute grunt of its full power stable mates but it will do a pretty good job and run a lot cooler, and save on electricity bills in the process. Naturally a bigger desktop has more internal space so a mini ITX PC would require more use of external sources of expansion but these are becoming more and more prevalent and ubiquitous in the home and office. So for me it’s a yes, overall; although, to be fair, some might disagree. MSI and ASRock agree with me though, with the recent launch of the mini ITX MSI Z87 Gaming Board and GTX760 mini ITX Gaming Graphics Card, and the ASRock M8 Mini Gaming Barebone. GM: What are the biggest advantages of going with a mini-ITX system? MH: The main advantages or pros for a mini ITX system would be cost (of hardware and accessories), power consumption (low power components, low power high efficiency power supply), space (tiny form factor, and VESA mount options) and of course the versatile nature of the machine. Each person will find their own advantages to using a mini ITX PC while the old tower takes a back seat.

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Interview

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GM: And the disadvantages? MH: The main disadvantages again fall into the following: The negatives of the smaller computer would be space constraints, limited expansion, lack of use of exotic cooling, limited choice for components (heat and power), reliance on more expensive, lower profile hardware and, of course, not being able to rate your PC at over 9000 thousand with the cool gadgets and hardware in it. GM: Will a mini-ITX system perform as well as a “traditional” desktop of similar specifications? MH: Like for like, if you can get full performance parts into the chassis, you will see no difference at all. Remember that there are different formats for the chassis of a mini ITX machine. Those that can fit a full length full size graphics card and those that are no higher than a Blu-ray player. Ultimately the form factor of the chassis used will determine the performance of the machine. If you are forced to go for the low voltage or ultra-low voltage equivalents there will be a small difference similar to that of a Desktop vs Notebook. Remember also that most full size chassis have mounting points for mini ITX so you can

buy yourself a massive Antec Nineteen Hundred and fit this puny little motherboard inside. Not efficient and really silly, but it is possible. GM: Are all components required for use in a mini-ITX system specifically manufactured for mini-ITX, or is there an overlap? MH: If you are talking about a mini ITX motherboard then the answer is yes. A mini ITX board uses industry standard components. The CPU socket, memory slots, SATA ports, I/O Connecters, etc., are all the same as you would find on a Micro ATX, ATX, HTPX, E-ATX or XL-ATX motherboard, obviously just stuffed into a much smaller space and with less options. Only the motherboard is purpose built, the rest is industry standard and not specific to mini ITX at all. Had they done something in the other direction it would have been a colossal flop similar to BTX which required new formats of chassis, coolers and system layout. The only thing mini ITX has made more popular is lower power processors for the masses and smaller chassis. To say that it is an overlap is perhaps the wrong way of putting it. It is more an extension and continuation of the PC ecosystem as we know it, in a smaller

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space. GM: Do you believe that this is a strong trend, or is mini-ATX a “fad”? MH: It is certainly not a fad in any sense of the word. There is always demand for smaller, lower power options to replace bigger machines. Had there not been such a need, notebooks would have never taken off, ultra-books would be something in a scifi movie, and game consoles would be massive slabs. The world is chasing the “green” like a greyhound chases a fake rabbit and are looking for more efficient ways of performing tasks. Mini ITX is a natural progression for the PC to a smaller form factor, maybe to keep it relevant as its death has been heralded many times, but also to have a platform that is still more powerful than a tablet, notebook, ultrabook, netbook, cellphone or other such smart device… but in a form factor that is not knee-breaking in the dark. Small form factor PCs are a trend and one that is quickly picking up momentum and will become more prevalent as time goes on. It’s a round-about way of answering the question but it would not be fitting to give this a one line answer. Watch this space. Mini ITX is here to stay and will go from

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Interview

strength to strength. One word for mini ITX… SteamOS !! GM: Currently, who is the main target market for mini-ITX systems? MH: Everybody is a target. That answer sounded like something out of a B-Grade action movie. It is however true, everybody is a target, and everybody can use a mini ITX machine. It is a PC at the end of the day, it’s the venerable old off white/grey box that we know and love with a good dietician, weight loss program and fitness instructor. If you have to target it specifically I would say it is targeted at people that want to build smaller, space saving yet powerful and efficient machines for work, play and entertainment. Did I really just sound like a marketing blurb there? GM: Is the pricing of mini-ATX similar to other desktop options? MH: Overall a mini ITX machine would cost the same or a little less than a normal desktop because the smattering of fancy nice-to-haves that are put on larger boards are not present so the overall cost of the motherboard is much lower and everything else is run-of-the-mill parts. Lower voltage processors have a slight premium as does the memory but everything else is the same parts you are used to.

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GM: Where do you see this trend going in the future? MH: Forwards? Upwards? Onwards? A nice short answer for this one; PCs will continue to get smaller and more efficient and this trend will continue well into the future. The PC is not dead, it’s just changing its looks. GM: What is your personal favourite aspect of mini-ATX systems? MH: I am sick of buying a new mouse every time I rage, and now the PC is small enough that I can throw that instead. Ok, seriously though, I personally love the size and versatility of the form factor. I can use it instead of my Xbox to stream media to my TV, because I still have a massive desktop, all cosy in its 900D chassis. When I do go out and need to take it, its small, I can install a few games on it and stick it in a backpack with my keyboard and mouse. Plus, I am testing SteamOS Beta and mini ITX is awesome for this. It’s obvious that Mini ITX as a form factor not only makes sense, but looks to be a strong contender for the future of desktop computing. With extreme versatility, portability and sensible features like powersaving, the future of computing certainly look small… but in a good way. g

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From Ho-Ho to Yo-Ho Security

The war on piracy intensifies��

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by Suvesh Aru-

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ver Christmas, copyright owners and distributors were licking their chops at the prospect of making big sales for the holiday season. At the same time, piracy enthusiasts and activists for free internet rights were sharpening their tools and wit for a good old fashioned dust-up. While this has always been a more philosophical debate for most countries outside of the US and the EU, things got very real recently for South African copyright violators. One very unlucky Mr Norton, of Athlone in Cape Town, was hauled before a Magistrate on 13 December on charges of contravening both the Counterfeit Goods Act and the Copyright Act. His crime: uploading an illegal copy of what was rumoured to be the latest biography of Nelson Mandela. Aside from his poor taste and terrible timing (so close to Madiba’s death and our national mourning), the unfortunate suspect is also the first of his kind in South Africa to be brought up on Digital Piracy charges. The case exposes some details of the growing campaign by distributors, represented mainly by RiSA (Recording Industry of South Africa) and SAFACT (South African Federation Against Copyright Theft) to combat online piracy. The latest move shows

that efforts are being stepped up and follows the trend of high profile overseas civil lawsuits, like the curious case of Joel Tennenbaum. Tennenbaum, a college student, was sued by Sony BMG for penalties in the millions of dollars for a reported 800 illegally downloaded songs on his hard drive. After a lengthy court battle, with Tennenbaum represented by top Harvard Law free speech advocates,

“ethical” hacker – it would be very difficult to trace someone with the tiny bit of information available (unless they were very stupid). Any services that could link their IP address to a name and address, like YouTube, Facebook or Google – are bound by privacy agreements. The big debate has always been the involvement of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) who have steadfastly refused to turn over private information to assist authorities wwwand piracy police to track down offenders. At the moment, ISPs are not legally compelled to share information unless ordered to do so by a court order. And that is pretty hard to get. In 2008, German court ruled that data gathering to prosecute copyright offenders had to be curbed (in Germany at least) and the use of such data had to be closely monitored so as not to invade privacy – and could only be used in serious crimes with a judicial warrant. So basically, they did not see piracy as serious enough to trump privacy. For South Africans, this may be of great interest as legislation such as Protection of Personal Information Act (POPI) becomes enforced in less than a year, and limits the processing

Digital piracy charges for the first time in South Africa Tennenbaum lost the case and $675,000 was awarded to the plaintiff. Even though the judge eventually reduced the award to $67,500, Tennenbaum’s life was forever changed and he remains the record and film industry’s poster boy to strike fear in the heart on online pirates. What is unclear in both the Norton and Tennenbaum cases – how did they catch them? In the evergrowing ocean that is the internet, how were these two individuals singled out, charged and prosecuted when there are literally millions of others doing exactly the same thing (possibly to a much more severe extent) and remaining anonymous. While SAFACT claims that their case is based on the involvement of an

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and storage (as well as sharing) of private information. German courts drew the wrath of content distributors again more recently in November 2012 when they ruled that the parents of 13 year old who had shared over 1,100 songs over the internet could not be held liable for the piracy of their child. Even though the couple had initially lost the case and were ordered to pay 5,380 Euros in damages, the German Federal Court overturned the ruling on appeal and dismissed all charges, ruling that the parents had reasonably informed their child of the illegality of piracy and were not required to monitor or restrict (through special software) his online behaviour. But don’t be fooled by “ze Germans” – other countries, especially in the US and EU, are not giving up on the fight. Barack Obama’s lawmakers are now focussing on the Transatlantic Partnership (also known as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership or TTIP), which is a proposed Free Trade area between the world’s two largest economies, accounting for just short of 50% of the planet’s GDP. While a large chunk of the agreement focuses on trade tariffs and regulation, there is a sizeable focus on Intellectual Property,

Copyright and Digital Rights. So far Obama’s government has set a fairly consistent tone in pursuing tougher measures against online piracy in favour of copyright holders. After briefly considering the controversial three strikes piracy law in 2010 (after three copyright infringement warnings your internet connection is suspended by your ISP) – which ultimately failed to stem piracy in France and was eventually scrapped in July this year, US congress tried very hard to pass the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). The Act received massive resistance from the US and global public, which would have granted US agencies more powers

School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) released in October this year concluded that online piracy has not hurt the movie, music or gaming industries – in fact, it’s helped them grow. While the study showed that almost 50% of US internet users used torrents for piracy (and 70% of internet users under 30) – it also suggested that internet users who downloaded pirate material were more likely to buy movie, music and game content legally. It also showed that despite claims of piracy causing decline in box office revenues, the movie industry actually increased revenue by 6% in 2012. What our poor Cape Townian friend has made clear through his unfortunate circumstances is that, despite the arguments, copyright infringement is against the letter of the law, and being on the wrong side of it can put a rather large dent in your bank account. Like his unfortunate counterparts battling e-Tolls in Johannesburg, he may just have to wait for this premise to get tested in constitutional court, and hopefully get a finding that will move things in his favour. Until then let’s stick to “Yo-Ho and a bottle of rum” but keep our pirate flags at half-mast just in case.

Sony BMG sues college student for 800 illegally downloaded songs

Security

to put pressure on overseas institutions to crack down and identify online pirates (currently under the Digital Millenim Copyright Act or DCMA). The Act was eventually shelved, though it’s likely to appear in a different form eventually. While many would debate whether targeting individual downloaders is practical, ethical or ultimately constitutionally legal, others will debate that it’s not the point at all. A study by the London

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Pattern Recognition Security

Protecting your Android phone from prying fingers 20

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by Iwan Pienaar

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ith more than one million apps available in the Google Play store and over 50 billion downloads worldwide, there is no arguing the fact that Android is one of the dominant mobile platforms in the market today. Odds are that your mobile device is using some version of the operating system. However, with growing popularity comes the need to be extra security conscious. We touched on the importance of mobile protection a few issues ago such as being wary of free and unsecure Wi-Fi access. But let’s take a closer look at how you protect your Android phone from those who want to re-appropriate your phone for themselves. Android gives you a number of passcode options for your phone. If you go to Settings, select Security, and go to Screen Lock you’ll see a list. These can vary depending on your device and the version of Android, but the most common are Slide, Pattern, PIN, and Password. On more modern devices, there may also be biometric options. For example, if you’re running Android 4.0 upwards, facial recognition is built-in. Current biometric options seem more secure, but there are ways around these security methods when a highly-determined attack is targeted at an individual. Fingerprint security can be compromised using fake latex “fingerprints”, and facial recognition has previously been cracked as well. So that takes us back to the original list. Choosing “Slide” is the least secure option - as that enables anyone to access a screenlocked device without any

passcode or security. Pattern Lock is next. Intuitively, this may seem like secure way of locking a phone and it’s definitely better than nothing. Some of us are better at retaining pattern and spatial information than strings of numbers or letters - so a pattern lock may suit you. However, one real giveaway is that touchscreens retain smears from your fingers, so holding a screen up to the light can reveal to a potential thief the pattern they need to unlock your phone. That leaves PIN and password, which are between them, the least cool and the most secure method of

There are plenty of software solutions on the market (many free), that let you generate random passwords that fit parameters you define - and you can also safely store those passwords and access them on Mac, Windows, iOS, or Android. So what’s the best solution to secure your Android phone? Choose Password in Settings > Screen Lock and use it in tandem with a password manager. Just remember that the best security in the world means nothing if you do not scrutinise every app you download regardless of source. One of the easiest ways to do this is to check out user ratings and reviews. These can spell the difference between installing an app and installing malware on your smartphone. Also understand the permissions before accepting them prior to installing an app. Be careful about grant access to personal and device information or letting apps do other unnecessary actions in order to work. Consider how an app functions. For example, if it is not a phone book app then it doesn’t really need access to your list of contacts. As always, being aware of your activities with your phone – as well as the fact that there may be people out there who would want to access the information you store on it for nefarious purposes – is the first step to safeguarding your personal information and data. A little forethought and effort can go a long way towards saving potentially serious problems.

So what is the best solution to secure your Android phone? locking your device. People are used to 4-digit pins and most of us will gravitate towards that when setting a passcode. Unfortunately, that makes brute-force cracking of our phones relatively straightforward. The more numbers you add, the harder your phone will be to unlock. Fortunately, Android allows you to create PIN passcodes of up to 16 digits long. Even then, your passcode won’t be as hard to crack as a randomised password. The base digits are just 10 symbols - from 0-10. With a password you have the entire alphabet, plus numerals and punctuation to choose from. The strongest passcode of all, then, is a password. It must contain a mix of elements, using the full 16-character limit. If you worry that you won’t be able to remember a random password that long, then there’s a solution for that. gladget39

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By Lein Baart

1998 The Rise of the Computer

Looking Back

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998 proved to be a hazardous period for the global community. Wracked by an Asian market collapse, several civil wars, including the Second Congo War (which would prove to be the deadliest conflict since World War 2), the South Asian arms race and global natural disasters, it was a year that saw the world staring worriedly into the future. It was not without its moments however, as the Belfast Agreement (which mostly saw the end of terrorist activity in the British Isles) gave the Irish and English a chance to celebrate, while the rest of the world got a chance to chuckle at the Monica Lewinsky scandal that rocked the American political landscape. In contrast to the upheaval of the global economic and political landscapes, the world of technology was relatively stable in 1998. The first of the major achievements of the year belonged to Japan with the completion of the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge, which to this

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day remains the world’s longest suspension bridge. Taking a full decade to construct at a cost of 500 billion yen (around R50 billion at the time), with a span of 3911 meters and weighing in close to a million tons (including the concrete anchorages), the scope of the project was and still is truly awe inspiring. The nineties though was the decade that saw the rise of the personal computer and with it a number of technologies that have become integral to our daily lives. Of these, the creation of XML (eXtensible Markup Language) was hardly the most exciting to emerge, but in the years since has become critical to the functioning of the Internet, with a usage nearly equal to that of HTML. Designed by an eleven man team (who never met face to face) as a W3C project (the body responsible for the standardisation of the World Wide Web), XML is language whose primary purpose was never meant to be seen by the end user, and focuses

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almost exclusively on the transportation and storage of data. Of the technologies that do make it into the public consciousness though few stand out more than operating systems, and as the year suggest, 1998 saw the release of Windows 98, the second of the Windows 9x OS’s. Despite it being a stop-gap release, with Microsoft having already identified that its NT-based systems were the way forward, Windows 98 spent a significant time in development, and by the time of its public release in June the OS was a solid, stable and superbly crafted piece of software. While on the surface it closely resembled its predecessor, Windows 98 essentially ushered in the age of plug and play, with vastly improved USB support and driver signing. The release of Windows 98 SE just a year later turn a great product into a magnificent offering, and of all the operating systems in the nineties 98 is probably the mostly fondly remembered of the lot.

The rise of the computer though had its drawbacks, and as homes and businesses alike became interconnected through the Web, the potential for devastation through malicious software became an increasing worrisome threat, a fact proved by the release of the CIH virus (also known as the Chernobyl virus or Spacefiller). Created by a Taiwanese university student named Chen Ing-hau, the virus had an ingenious method of delivery, infecting executable files by fragmenting itself within the file then reassembling once the file was run. Designed to overwrite the hard drive partition table, which would cause the computer to crash, and then to erase BIOS, which would render the motherboard virtually useless, CIH caused massive damage, infecting nearly 60 million computers and causing an estimated $1 billion loss in commercial operations. Despite this Cheng was never prosecuted, as the laws at the time required a victim file a lawsuit against him directly. g

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Reviews Highlights 26 Mad Catz C.Y.B.O.R.G. V7 Gaming Keyboard for PC All the options... 28 SteelSeries Siberia Elite Gaming Headset Built for comfort 36 Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Everywhere you go 42 SteelSeries Rival Optical Mouse A true competitor

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nd so with consumers left reeling after the Festive Season spend-a-thon, the world turns an eager eye towards CES, which takes place this month. Tons of exciting new hardware is expected from this trade show, with new technology likely to impress and amaze everyone. But that doesn’t mean we don’t have cool stuff already. In fact, we have numerous very cool items on display in this issue, including a hands-on look at the PS4 (and eight game reviews to go with it). Awesome technology for everyone! g

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a MSI GeForce GTX780 Gaming Graphics Card! Plus bonus download vouchers for Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag, Batman: Arkham Origins and Splinter Cell: Blacklist!

Courtesy of Corex, MSI and nVidia TO ENTER: Send an email to competitions@gladgetmag.com Insert “GTX780” in the mail’s subject line Tell us who distributes makes the GTX780 chipset. Subscribe to www.gladgetmag.com Become a fan on Gladget’s Facebook Page Competition closes 31 January 2014. Gladget subscribers only. South African residents only. Prizes may not be exchanged for cash. Competition closed to employees (& employee’s family) of 1337 Media CC, MSI, nVidia and Corex. The judges’ decision is final. co mp e t i t i on • c o mp et it io n • c o mp et i ti on • com pe ti ti on • com pe ti ti on • com p etition •

com p e ti ti on • com p e ti ti on • com p e ti ti on • com p e ti ti on • com pe ti ti on • com petition • c omp et itio n • c ompetition • co mpetition

WIN


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Mad Catz C.Y.B.O.R.G. V7 Gaming Keyboard for PC

Going

W Review

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ith so many options available, picking the right keyboard can be tricky. But those that have the biggest decisions to make are gamers, because a “normal” keyboard offers less features than one designed with gaming in mind. Aside from gaming, of course, the keyboard also needs to meet other requirements, so a well thought out design becomes one that appeals to tastes, rather than something that can be quantified by other means. That said, there are elements that make some keyboards better than others. For gamers, those elements often come down to accessibility of controls while in the heat of battle. To this end, MadCatz have made some really great decisions in the C.Y.B.O.R.G. V7, as well as one or two odd ones. The most odd of these is the arrangement of the 12 programmable function keys that the keyboard

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features. Six are arrayed along the left edge of the keyboard, within easy reach of the player’s left hand. The other six are on the right edge, and are a little more difficult to get to – depending, of course, on what game you are playing. The good outstrips the bad, though, with this responsive and sturdy keyboard. For example, the C.Y.B.O.R.G. V7 features metal plating on the most commonly used gaming keys (WADS, space bar and so on). It also features backlighting zones that can be individually coloured (with shades of red, amber and green) via an easily accessed and rather handy touch panel at the top of the keyboard. Other controls on this panel include media controls and a gaming mode switch (which disables the dreaded Windows key). The C.Y.B.O.R.G. V7 features gold plated connectors, in the form of two USB anf two 3.5mm audio jacks. It has a pass-through function for USB and audio, via extremely

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Comfort,

by Alex Scanlon

Distance reli

abi lity

… rability and du

sensibly placed jacks on the right hand edge of the board. This helps cut cable clutter quite considerably. In terms of comfort, the C.Y.B.O.R.G. V7 features a detachable wrist-rest that can be adjusted for a preferred angle. And responsiveness is taken care of with an advanced multiple-press engine, aimed specifically at common game control keys. Overall, the C.Y.B.O.R.G. V7 makes for a great gaming option, The keys are generously sized and deliver a decent tactile feedback when used. The function keys are easily discernible and equally responsive, and the sturdy build of the keyboard implies that it will deliver many years of great service to the user. Individual backlighting and the touch controls round out a rather pleasant experience when using the C.Y.B.O.R.G. V7. It is, as far as gaming keyboards go, a great offering from Mad Catz and, provided its configuration meets your needs, is a good way to go. g

Summary

Tech Specs:

If the configuration suits your states, the C.Y.B.O.R.G. V7 provides great performance and comfort, not to mention durability. M a nufa c turer Distributer: O nline:

gladget39

Tough Backlighting zones Sensible throughput jack placement

12 function keys Touch pad Backlighting zones Adjustable wrist-rest USB and audio throughput Hardened gaming keys

M a d Ca tz Comet Computing www.c ometc omputing .c o.za

Pros • • • • •

• • • • • • •

Cons • • • • •

Long term savings No fax capabilities

Score

88 27


28

gladget39

e Th

n

Sib t x e

re...

Comfort

SteelSeries Siberia Elite Gaming Headset

e r i a gen e rat io ni s he

Crafted

Review


by Walt Pretorius

A A

lmost every set of headphones will, after a long period of use, become uncomfortable. Weight, pressure on the ears and a whole lot of other factors can lead to fatigue and even pain after protracted periods. Manufacturers know this, and they do everything they can to make sure that their headset offerings take the user’s comfort levels into account. One of the most successful in this endeavour has been the suspension system used by SteelSeries’ Siberia headsets. The headset automatically adjusts according to the user’s head size, and delivers a high level of comfort by minimising pressure wherever possible. SteelSeries are taking things a bit further in this department with the Siberia Elite headset. Using the suspension system, the Elite also features memory foam padding on the headband, as well as memory foam used for the generously padded overear cups. But that’s not the only thing that makes the Elite a rather nice headset. Comfort aside (and it certainly is comfortable) the Elite is a big step forward for the Siberia range. The most noticeable difference (after those huge ear-cup pads) is the fact that SteelSeries have moves away from an all-plastic construction. The support for the headset is now made out of lightweight metal, which adds a massive amount of durability. In addition, the in-line controls have been removed. In their stead, each ear cup hold a control ring, which is rotated accordingly. On the left is the mic mute function, while volume is controlled by the ring on the right. The beauty of this system is that the user doesn’t have to take their eyes off of the screen (when gaming) to spot the in-line control. Rather, the controls are intuitive, and always in easy reach. The left ear-cup also houses a retractable mic, like previous Siberia models, and is the connection point for the flattened 1.2m cable. This cable can be lengthened with an included 2m extension, for a total of 3.2m, which should be more than enough for any application. Speaking of application, the Elite comes with a variety of adapters, which make it useable with a range of devices. USB, 3.5mm jack and mobile specific 3.5mm connectors are included, adding versatility to the device. Its main function, of course, is PC gaming, and it serves that purpose beautifully. Downloading SteelSeries Engine 3 software enhances the experience even more, and adds more functionality and variety to the whole affair. But even without the software, SteelSeries experience with personal audio shines through; the sound quality of the Elite is excellent across all ranges. With striking looks, good performance and added comfort, the Siberia Elite headset is a great personal audio solution for those that want an excellent quality stereo headset. g

Summary

Tech Specs:

It may be an all-inone solution, but the Pacific AV8R is sturdy, responsive and reliable... exactly what more casual flight enthusiasts want. M a nufa c turer Distributer: O nline:

gladget39

Intuitive controls Great looks Very comfortable

Stereo Memory foam padding Ear-cup controls 3.2m cable SteelSeries Engine 3

SteelSeries M eg a rom www.meg a rom.c o.za

Pros • • • • •

• • • • • • •

Cons • • • • •

Quality costs...

Score

90 29


It

Review

Acer E1-531 Notebook

Business

T

30

T

he notebook market is, as it has been for many years, full of options. With Ultrabooks having made a big splash a while ago, it seems that more “conventional” notebooks – larger in size and armed with optical drives – are still considered more practical in some territories. Indeed, when it comes to business applications, more powerful notebooks still make a lot of sense… particularly if the makers of those notebooks keep up with the times. In the case of the Acer E1-531, that means a higher component specification and a move to Windows 8. Anyone doubting the solid business focus of this particular notebook just needs to take a look at the device’s full keyboard (which includes a num-pad). Arranged in the traditional “spaces” around the arrow keys are dedicated currency keys, one for dollars and one for euros. It might seem like a small thing, but hunting for the euro symbol (in particular) can be a massive pain; this small addition may not mean much to some, but it does indicate a practical approach to the design of the E1. First impressions of the E1 may not be the greatest. With Acer having opted for a plastic body, the device feels light and maybe even a little fragile. Perhaps this move was to keep the notebook a bit lighter – even with the plastic body, it still weighs a fair bit. Unless you’re planning on beating the E1 up, though, its construction proves solid enough for all reasonable kinds of use. And it may be a compromise that users don’t mind making, because under the hood the E1 is a fairly impressive machine. It all starts with a 2.2GHz Intel B960 processor. This, combined with a fairly decent 4GB of RAM, makes the E1-531 a fairly nippy notebook, with performance that shouldn’t leave too much to be desired. An SSD would have really sped things up, but the E1 doesn’t feature solid state storage; rather, designers have opted for a 500GB HDD. It’s a little on the shy side if you’re going to be storing lots of large files (like multimedia files) but should be more than enough if you stick with the business-like nature of this laptop. There are two areas in which the E1-531 shows a bit of age… the first is the screen. It’s a great screen, 15.6 inches in size and crystal clear. But it’s not touch sensitive, which is something that many notebooks take advantage of when using Windows 8 as an OS. Secondly, there is a conspicuous lack of USB 3.0 ports. There are three USB ports, but none offer the latest technology. Despite a few negatives, the E1 is a powerful performer, and serves perfectly well as a business notebook. g gladget39


E 1 to

up ep ke with

gy Summary

The Acer E1-531 shows its age a little, but is still a very decent businessoriented notebook.

Tech Specs:

Manufacturer D is t r ib u t e r O n l in e

• • • • Good CPU speed Great keyboard Clear screen

Ac e r Ac e r www .a c e r .c o .z a

2.2GHz CPU 4GB RAM 500GB HDD 15.6 inch screen DVD drive

Feel fragile Showing its age

• • • • • •

• • • •

olo

Cons

c te

hn

Pros

da t ed

by Alex Scanlon

An u p

Score

80 gladget39

31


The

Review

Logitech Z200 Multimedia Speakers

A desktop audio solution

32

gladget39

G


Ground

by Walt Pretorius

W W

ith so many different ways to consume media these days, a set of speakers is quite a good thing to have around. While there are many Bluetooth options out there, these only work with devices that are Bluetooth enabled. That leaves many PCs out of the mix. So the need for more traditional desktop speakers still exists, and Logitech have more than a few solutions for those who still rely on their PC more heavily for their entertainment. Not that a product like the Z200 Multimedia Speakers are PC-only, mind you. They’re great for anything that requires a 3.5mm jack to connect to sound, which includes most smart devices. The biggest downfall that the Z200s possess is that they require power. They are not rechargeable, nor are they battery operated. That means that they need to be within reasonable range of a wall socket – less than reasonable, actually, because the power supply that ships with them has a rather short cable. Basically, the Z200s are going to be more or less bound to the location they are used in, which will be determined by the proximity to power. This pretty much makes them desktop speakers, when all is said and done. Yet they can be moved around, with a bit of effort, and even when they are “permanently” connected to a PC, their front panel houses an auxiliary sound input, should the need to connect another device ever arise. They also feature a headphone socket on the front panel, which is rather handy, but does not necessarily work for those who need to make use of a headset with a microphone. Still, for general use, it’s easier to just plug headphones into the speakers, rather than rearrange all those wires. Also housed on the front panel of the right speaker is a volume control, which doubles as an on/off switch. Which leads is rather neatly to what really matters as far as speakers are concerned: sound quality. Each speaker in the stereo set houses two 63mm drivers. With recent advances in technology, smaller drivers are becoming more and more capable, yet the Z200’s sound quality does leave a bit to be desired. It is functional, rather than fantastic. Bass level is set via a small dial on the side of the speaker, but even when it is turned up, the Z200s don’t really deliver the punch that other options (including headsets with much smaller drivers) do. The desired crispness that one expects simply is not there. As speakers that serve only to deliver sound – perhaps for someone that only occasionally makes use of PC audio – they work well enough. But they certainly won’t be on the list for audiophiles. g

Summary

Tech Specs:

Although one or two specs are lower, the Active performs admirably against the original S4, and the elements.

M a nufa c turer Distributer: O nline:

gladget39

Headphone jack Auxiliary input

Stereo 4x 63mm drivers Adjustable bass Auxiliary input Headphone jack

Log itec h Log itec h www.log itec h.c om

Pros • • • • •

• • • • • • •

Cons • • • • •

Not the richest sound around

Score

78 33


Saitek Pacific AV8R Flight Stick

Simple

M Review

M

ost people enjoy playing their games on a more casual level, but when players decide to get really serious, they may want to consider alternate control devices, to enhance their experience and potentially improve their performance. This idea, for the most part, applies to either driving or flight simulators. For driving fans, there are wheels and pedal setups. For flight fans, there are a wide variety of control devices that mimic the controls of actual aircraft. These run the gamut from simple, all-in-one solutions right through to advanced schemes that closely resemble a real cockpit. The Saitek Pacific AV8R falls into the former category. While it is still more specialised than using a mouse and keyboard, or game pad, to experience a flight simulation, it does not go far beyond being a single solution for those that enjoy flight sims, but

34

aren’t going to go to the effort of recreating a cockpit in front of their computer. But just because it falls into that category doesn’t mean that the AV8R is a bad flight stick. In fact, within its class, it really is very good. It is responsive and allows the user a wide range of options by way of sensibly placed controls. And it is great for World War II enthusiasts, because it is closely modelled on the flight sticks used by real WWII aircraft. Despite being light in terms of weigh, it provides a surprisingly sturdy feel. Even though the base does not attach to the surface it is standing on, the AV8R is rather stable, with only the roughest of motions potentially causing it to move. The comfortable, textured stick offers a trigger, three function buttons and a POV switch, while the base houses four more function switches (modelled to look like old fashioned toggle switches) a mode switch

gladget39


o

b

ol u t io n fo rc

m

ht simul g i l f at

s n o ati

ne o n i An all-

s

by Rob Edwards

and a throttle, which can be used in single or double mode at the touch of a button. The stick itself can also be twisted left and right, for rudder controls. While purists may prefer a setup that includes an independent throttle and foot controlled rudders, those that still want the experience provided by a simpler flight stick will do well with this controller. It is wonderfully responsive, and the mode switch means that the user will be able to map numerous functions to the stick. Its sturdy build also brings a sense of confidence for the user, because it not only feels like it can take a beating, but also like it will be stable under virtually any conditions (the AV8R even comes with special braces for leg placement). This is a good bet for those who want to get a simpler stick experience, or who want to use it as an initial step towards a more “realistic” set up. g

Summary

Tech Specs:

It may be an all-inone solution, but the Pacific AV8R is sturdy, responsive and reliable... exactly what more casual flight enthusiasts want. M a nufa c turer Distributer: O nline:

gladget39

Sturdy Great for WWII enthusiasts Responsive

5 stick controls Dual throttle 4 toggle switches 3 modes ST software Leg supports

M a d Ca tz Comet Computing www.c ometc omputing .c o.za

Pros • • • • •

• • • • • • •

Cons • • • • •

May to too simple for some

Score

80 35


Samsung Galaxy Note 3

A step forward for Samsung’s “phablet” range

Review

Phantastic!

gladget39

36


by Walt Pretorius

B B

eing innovative is one thing; improving on those innovations is something completely different. Often one manufacturer will innovate, and others will improve. But Samsung have managed to do both with their Galaxy range of smart devices, including the new Galaxy Note 3. Some may say that Samsung produces new iterations of products a little too often, but this practice does result in the electronics giant being able to produce a steady stream of new ideas and unleash them on the public. The Note II made quite an impressions (sometimes good, sometimes bad) when it was first released, but what most people commented on was its size. Not much has changed with the Note 3. The changes in height and width are almost microscopic, with the Note 3 being a little taller but narrower than the Note II. It is quite a lot thinner, though, and is 14 grams lighter (it doesn’t sound like much, but it does make a difference). Samsung have gone with a more sophisticated look, too, for the Note 3. The glossy plastic back – all too common these days – has been replaced with a leather-finish back. It’s still plastic, but the textured back grants the device a little more grip, and helps it stand out visually. Other improvements include a better screen and improved S Pen functionality. But where things really get impressive is under the hood. The Note 3 now comes with a 2.3GHz CPU (1.9GHz in some territories) which beats the 1.6GHz CPU of the Note II hands down. It also has another 50% RAM, for a total of a rather impressive (for a smart device) 3GB of memory. The combination of the quicker CPU and copious RAM means that the Note 3 is responsive and alert. In terms of storage, the Note 3 offers 32GB and 64GB options (dropping the 16GB available in the previous model) and allows for expandable storage of up to 64GB via a microSD port. Other features include some things that are expected, like an integrated camera. But at 13 megapixels, it’s a pretty impressive photographic device. It can even capture 2160p video at 30 frames per second, or standard HD (1080p) at 60 frames per second. All in all, the Note 3 is an impressive device. The fact remains, though, that this is either a very large phone, or a very small tablet. As with most “phablets”, many people may find the Note 3 difficult to use because of its hybridised size. It’s very big to use as a phone, but relatively small for tablet-style usage. However, if you are one of those who enjoys the convenience offered by this kind of smart device, the Galaxy Note 3 certainly is a great option. g

Summary

Tech Specs:

The Note 3 shows solid improvements over its predecessor, and is a good bet for those who want a hybrid smart device. M a nufa c turer Distributer: O nline:

gladget39

Great improvements Better looks

2.3GHz CPU 3GB RAM 32/64GB storage 13mp camera 5.7 inch screen Expandable storage S Pen

Sa msung Sa msung www.sa msung .c o.za

Pros • • • • •

• • • • • • •

Cons • • • • •

Still unwieldy

Score

82 37


T

Review

Razer Tartarus Expert Gaming Keypad

T

echnology advances without stopping; that’s a well-established fact. But sometimes those advances are not quite as obvious as they could be. Take, for example, Razer’s Tartarus Expert Gaming Keypad. It’s newer than the Orbweaver, which we looked at a few issues ago… but the changes are, at a glance, not all that easy to spot. The main aim of devices like this is to replace the keyboard with a more focussed gaming device, which the user can program to suit their needs. It is most certainly a gaming-only device – there is no way that such a unit could replace a more traditional keyboard when it comes to general use. But for focussed gaming application – once you get used to it – the Tartarus is fantastic. It saves space, for one, and it ergonomically designed to have every function at the user’s fingertips, while offering a high degree of comfort. So what are the differences between the Orbweaver and the Tartarus? Well, it’s easier to start with the similarities. Both units offer a backlit keypad, an 8-way directional thumb-pad, 1000Hz ultrapolling and an unlimited number of profiles (via Razer’s Synapse 2.0 cloud storage system). They also both feature instantaneous switching between eight different key maps. The differences are fewer; the Orbweaver features 20 programmable keys, while the Tartarus features 25. The Orbweaver offers adjustable hand, thumb and palm rests, for maximum comfort; the Tartarus is simpler in that regard, with a soft-touch adjustable wrist rest. The next question that arises is: which one is better? The answer is not all that simple, particularly not with a device as customisable and “personal” as these gaming keypads can be. The choice between the two comes to a toss-up between increased comfort or increased control (as well as any price differences that exist). The experience that it provides is also a matter of taste – these kinds of devices certainly aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, and they take a bit of getting used to. If, however, a more focussed gaming controller is something that you’re after, the Tartarus makes for a very solid option. Personally, I would select added control over comfort, but it also comes down to the kind of games you’re going to be playing with the device. Some need more option, other need less. No matter which one you may choose, these unique and handy devices from Razer can, in the right hands, not only enhance the gaming experience, but will even potentially lend the user an edge, thanks to localised control and lots of customisation options. And they’re talking points, too, with dramatic lines and solid construction. Razer once again shows that they understand how their customers think. The Tartarus may not appeal to everyone, but those that take to it will love it. g

38

gladget39


Control Rig

lm of your hand… a p e h t ht in

by Walt Pretorius

Summary

Tech Specs:

While not for everyone, the Tartarus makes for a great alternative to its stable-mate, the Orbweaver.

M a nufa c turer Distributer: O nline:

gladget39

Great control Comfortable Highly customisable

25 programmable keys 8-way thumb switch Synapse 2.0 compatible Adjustable wrist rest

Ra zer Corex www.c orex.c o.za

Pros • • • • •

• • • • • • •

Cons • • • • •

Very niche Not ambidextrous

Score

88 39


Tough One As r die tur lax Ga ers

lov

Samsung Galaxy S4 Active

ors tdo ou or

yf by Rob Edwards

T T

Review

he biggest problem with mart phones is that they are generally fragile. Sony realised the need for tougher smart phones a while ago, building the Xperia Z to take a beating. Now Samsung are following suit, with a new edition of the Galaxy S4, created for those who love the great outdoors. Or is it? It is created to be dust proof – with the highest dust-proof rating awarded to it – as well as waterproof. It can be submerged up to a depth of 1m for up to 30 minutes. Not great for scuba diving, but it does mean that spillage and shallow water incursions won’t damage the phone. The headphone jack is hardened against the elements, rather than hiding behind a flap. With specifications that are, for the most part, on par with the S4, the Active is a viable choice for those who want their phone to be a little tougher. Not sure how shock or drop resistant it is, though…. g

40

gladget39

Summary

Tech Specs:

Although one or two specs are lower, the Active performs admirably against the original S4, and the elements.

M a nufa c turer Distributer: O nline:

Waterproof Dust proof

5 inch screen 8 megapixel camera Dust proof Waterproof 2GB RAM 16GB expandable storage

Sa msung Sa msung www.sa msung .c o.za

Pros • • • • •

• • • • • • •

Cons • • • • •

Some lower specs Slightly heavier

Score

85


Flick of a Wrist by Walt Pretorius

No te

3

Samsung Galaxy Gear

A

s ci -fi w

ion n a p atch com

A A

gladget39

e

Summary

Tech Specs:

It’s a great idea and has some solid features, but the Gear has a way to go before it is the perfect communication companion. M a nufa c turer Distributer: O nline:

Some convenient and useful apps Wrist calling

1.63 inch screen 1.9 megapixel camera Bluetooth 4.0 Call capable

Sa msung Sa msung www.sa msung .c o.za

Pros • • • • •

• • • • • • •

Cons • • • • •

Only works with the Note 3 Poor battery life

Score

74 41

Review

few years ago the Samsung Galaxy Gear smart-watch would have been something out of sci-fi. But Samsung have created this device to act as a partner to the Galaxy Note 3, in essence an extension of their new phablet. The Gear allows the user to perform multiple tasks, including taking photographs and making calls (yes, talking to your watch like something out of a spy movie). Various bits of information are provided to the user vie the Gear’s 1.63 inch touch screen, including message alerts (although messages need to be read on the parent device – the Note 3) time, weather and a few others. In essence, this device seems like the perfect complement to the bulky Note 3, but (despite stylish looks and tons of practicality) the Gear has a way to go. The battery life, for example, is poor. Needing to go to the parent device to read messages is also not ideal. It’s a good start, but may need a few generations to truly shine. g

th r fo


M M

Review

SteelSeries Rival Optical Mouse

uch of what we are presented with in the market these days is driven by the increasing demands of users – particularly power users, who squeeze every ounce of performance out of the devices they use. And when it comes to computing, gamers are by far the most common – and most demanding – of power users. So it’s a pretty safe bet that when something is considered a gaming product, it’s going to be great for virtually any other application. SteelSeries have been working with a number of professional gamers for some time now, listening to their demands and meeting them in the design process. One of the results of this cooperation is the new Rival Optical Mouse. While the box doesn’t say it’s a gaming product, the fact that is comes from SteelSeries, combined with an impressive spec list and customisation options, makes it clear that this mouse is meant for demanding, competitive gamers… and anyone else who expects more than average performance from their pointing device. The Rival is an optical mouse, which some may say doesn’t quite live up to laser-equipped devices. But with a 1 millisecond response time, as well as a sensitivity of 6500dpi, the Rival is just that; a strong competitor that takes other mouse devices head on. And that responsiveness is evident, not only in operating the mouse, but also in the feel of doing so. New switches used for the buttons deliver a wonderfully tactile experience. The Rival features six programmable buttons, with two of those being mounted on the left side of the mouse. That, combined with the fact that the mouse is ergonomically shaped to fit the right hand beautifully, means that lefties are out of luck; unlike many SteelSeries mouse products, the Rival is not ambidextrous. The shape is further enhanced by an antisweat coating across the back of the mouse, and generous, textured rubber grips on the sides. The shape and surfaces make using the Rival a comfortable experience, and the added grip really adds confidence. And, of course, the Rival features a number of customisation options. These include multiple profiles (with the help of the new SteelSeries Engine 3 software application), as well as customisable colours, allowing the user a range of more than 16 million colours to apply to the device’s built-in lighting. The Rival even has a name plate on the back that can be customised with any 3D printer (if you’re lucky enough to have access to one). What really counts, though, is performance, reliability and durability. These three elements are well looked after by the Rival. Its buttons are rated up to 30 million clicks, and it’s solid construction means that it can handle a beating. And performance? It’s exactly what we would expect from the quality SteelSeries stable. g

42

gladget39


‘em

A mouse with a lot of fight! by Walt Pretorius

Summary

Comfort, reliability and great performance combine to make the Rival one of the best SteelSeries pointing devices yet. Tech Specs:

Great response Very comfortable • • • •

Pros

S te e l Se r ie s M e g a r om w ww .me g a r o m.c o .z a M a n u f ac t u r e r D is t r ib u t e r O n l in e

Not ambidextrous

Optical mouse 6 buttons 6500 dpi 1ms response time Customisable

• • • •

Cons

• • • • • •

Score

95 gladget39

43


Unstoppable

J J

Review

Asus GeForce GTX 780 Ti Graphics Card

ust below the Asus logo of the GeForce GTX 780 Ti box is the slogan “in search of incredible”. It seems that, with this rather monstrous graphics card, Asus may well be close to that lofty goal. The GTX 780 Ti is, quite simply, an incredible graphics card. But it also serves to illustrate a growing trend with these particular components; it seems like only yesterday we were “oohing” and “aahing” over the initial GTX 780 cards. It wasn’t much longer ago than yesterday, in truth, but newer technology seems to be springing forth from an apparently endless well of technical inspiration at an alarmingly increasing rate. If you bought one of the initial GTX 780 graphics cards, you’re already working on something that is, technically, no longer top of the line. Not that you’re sitting on a card that won’t perform, certainly not. But technology is moving so fast these days that an upgrade is old almost the second you lift it off of the store shelf… at least that’s the way it seems. Most won’t see a major difference between the cards, to be honest, but when you really dig into things you will find improvements from the newer Ti cards that will make a difference. And this Asus model delivers the kind of performance and reliability you would expect from a brand that has managed to establish such a strong reputation for itself. It performs admirably under strain, with that punchy GTX 780 Ti chipset and 3GB of memory. Those that want a little more out of it can make use of Asus’ GPU Tweak software suite, which also enables live video streaming of gaming activities. And, naturally, the use of high grade components means that it runs a bit cooler and quieter than lesser cards, and will have a long lifespan too, despite that unstoppable technological march that will have newer and brighter offerings before long. The technology that Asus build in to their video cards is very good, resulting in reliable and powerful devices that perform beautifully. This particular card is a prime example, delivering top notch graphics at a relatively low power consumption, and without generating tons of unwanted heat. In terms of ports, the card offers an HDMI output, a DisplayPort output and a pair of DVI ports. That’s pretty standard fare, but not less than one would expect from a great graphics card. Naturally, this card comes with a fairly hefty price tag, but the visual performance it delivers makes it well worth every cent. And as for that constant technological growth… well, perhaps we should celebrate it, and quietly hope that all our upgrades are well timed. g

44

gladget39


e!

r

t

e tg

s

fa

by Alex Scanlon

s hic

ju s rd

te s fa

d an

r ste

ca

ap r G

Summary

Tech Specs:

This is a very impressive graphics card, with tons of power for those that need – or want – it.

M a nufa c turer Distributer: O nline:

gladget39

Very powerful Great reliability

GTX 780 Ti chipset 3GB VRAM Direct CUII Technology GPU Tweak suite 2 DVI ports HDMI port DisplayPort

A sus A sus www.a sus.c om

Pros • • • • •

• • • • • • •

Cons • • • • •

It’s getting more and more difficult to keep up!

Score

90 45


Did You

Know? 1…that you can buy a gold Xbox One?

By now the Xbox One has been released in most of the major territories, but for those with more money than sense in the unreleased areas, they will be able to net themselves an ultra-rare specimen of Microsoft’s latest console. For a mere $9,800, gamers will be able to get their hands on a 24-karat gold plated Xbox One from famed retailer Harrods of London. Apparently the unit is fully-functional, but it is still unclear if the store has only one unit in its inventory, or if there have been any buyers of more units.

2

…that TellTale will make a Game of Thrones title?

TellTale Games, responsible for the hugely-popular The Walking Dead episodic titles, announced that it is currently working on Borderlands and Game of Thrones titles in the same style. Dan Connors and Kevin Bruner, the co-founders of Telltale said the titles should be released next year, and that it will be similar to The Walking Dead in that it will have a number of episodes. Connors and Bruner also said they will listen to feedback from fans and modify it as necessary. As for Borderlands, it will be titled Tales from the Borderlands, and there is already a trailer available.

3…that the PlayStation 4 is the

fastest selling console in South Africa?

Regular

While gamers are still waiting with bated breath in South Africa for a release date of the Xbox One, players took no time to notch up a record for PlayStation distributor Ster Kinekor. The company announced in December that the PlayStation 4 (PS4) has officially sold out in South Africa in less than 24 hours, making it the fastest selling console in Ster Kinekor Entertainment history, according to its most recent sales figures. With such sales figures in a PlayStation-dominant country, Microsoft will have a tough fight on its hands to retain users.

46

gladget39


Gold Xbox, Microsoft TV, dismal years and Amish computers... by Charlie Fripp

4…that Microsoft will produce

television shows?

Taking a leaf from popular streaming sites such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, technology giant Microsoft announced in December that they will start to produce their own original television content that will be made available on their Xbox console at first. There has been some speculation that the Steven Spielbergproduced Halo series will be one of the first shows, but the company’s president of entertainment and digital, Nancy Tellem, is still trying to figure out the business model behind it. As a result, the original content should only be available by middle next year.

5…that Nintendo’s Wii U had a

dismal year?

Sticking a bit to consoles (since there are two shiny new models on the market), there is another console that users shouldn’t feel ashamed about almost forgetting – the Wii U. Things aren’t looking up for creator Nintendo. The latest console sales figures for the UK was released in mid-December, and while Xbox One sales were 170,000 units in its first week, the Wii U managed 150,000 units - after a year on sale. In comparison, that’s around 100,000 less than PlayStation 4 managed in its opening weekend.

6…that there is a computer for

the Amish?

The Amish communities in largely the US live without the modern implements and tools that we would consider necessities – such as electricity and cars. But at a recent trade fair, a company has started to market a computer for their purposes. While some live with electricity, they tend to shy away from modern inventions, and only justify using them if it’s for business. Called the Deskmate Word Processor, it does exactly, and only, that – it processes word. The unit has no video, music or internet capabilities, and let’s users do basic word-processing, spreadsheets, Microsoft Publisher and accounting. Oh, and it has a program to look up farming parts included. g

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A quick look at the PlayStation 4 gladget39

by Walt Pretorius

The Next Station

49


Disc feeder port

Optical audio output

Power input

Feature

O

Power button

HDMI output

Eject button

Auxilliary port

LAN port

n the 13th of December, 2013, South Africans joined the other territories that had seen the release of latest generation hardware; the PlayStation 4 launched amid much social media and press noise, and flew off the shelves at record breaking speeds. Local distributors Ster Kinekor tried valiantly to keep up with the demand, landing a second shipment of PS4 consoles just before Christmas. But even then demand outstripped supply, meaning that there are many out there who have yet to get their hands on Sony’s latest gaming machine. Perhaps you are one of those people. Or perhaps you are a pragmatist who wants to learn a bit more about the console before committing to what is a rather hefty price tag. Either way, out quick guide to the PS4 is for you. It bears mentioning that this is not a review - reviewing a console is a bit redundant, because so much of the console’s performance relies on the software created

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USB ports

for it. But it is a set of first hand impressions and opinions, based on several weeks of use with around 12 different games (both boxed copies and downloaded titles). Don’t expect a score... but do expect some useful insights and advice. Also, this article deals with a bare-bones PS4 system: literally a console and controller. Other elements, like the PS4 camera, will be included in later issues. The first impression is that the PS4 is much smaller than one would assume. It is a rhomboid shape, with an angle running from top to bottom, making it rather stylish to look at. Mostly finished in matt black plastic, it features a shiny black section on the left hand side (or top, if you stand it on its side). Separating these two sections is a long LED bar that serves as a status indicator: blue for starting up, white for powered on and orange for standby. If it blinks red, the PS4 has overheated, and you should probably give the system a break. The front of the PS4 houses a disc feeder port, which

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Status indicator

is rather noisy when ejecting or loading discs; a stark contrast to the otherwise very quiet system operation of the PS4. Next to the disc feeder, and level with the status indicator on the top, are power and elect buttons. These are touch sensitive, and sometimes slow response times for ejecting discs (along with the lack of tactile or audio response from the buttons) makes it hard to tell if the PS4 is responding to your command. However, both power and disk ejection operations can be handled from the user interface, and switching the PS4 is as easy as hitting the PS button on the Dualshock 4 controller - a much better option. Also on the front are two USB ports, which allow several devices to interface with the PS4. This includes the rather short charging cable for the Dualshock 4 controller. Many people have complained about this cable length, but we found it easily remedied with a USB extension cable.

The back of the console features a number of interface ports. These are an optical audio port (handy for those with extensive home theatre set ups) an HDMI port, a LAN port and an auxiliary port, to allow accessories and other devices to be used with the PS4. Lastly there is a power port, which allows a power cable to be plugged into the PS4’s internal power supply. Without an external power brick, the PS4 has very little cable clutter. The HDMI port is the only option for video output, so you’ll need to ensure that your TV or monitor can handle it. Additionally, video capturers are going to have to wait for a future system update to lift the HDCP copy protection applied to the HDMI port. Sony have promised that this will be amended for video games. Also included in the box is a single ear in-ear headset, with a in-line microphone. This is used by plugging it in to the headset jack at the base of the Dualshock 4 controller, and serves to deliver voice chat while online. It isn’t the

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D-Pad

Share button

Feature

Speaker

Touch pad

Options button

PS button

Headset jack

best solution around, but it does the job well enough. Hopefully Sony (or a third party manufacturer) will develop some better solutions before long. The Dualshock 4 controller is the basic way to interact with the PS4 and games. It is a much improved design over its predecessor, although the battery life is a bit too short. The controller required frequent recharging. The controller is a bit larger than previous PlayStation controllers, and features a tweaked design that is far more comfortable than before. While most of the controls, like the D-Pad and face buttons, remain largely unchanged, the dual analogue sticks have been improved, delivering a much more comfortable and secure experience. Similarly, the triggers are now concave, feeling more like actual triggers, and deliver a much better feel. The shoulder buttons are a touch smaller, but feature a much finger-friendlier shape. The controller also features a Share button; this allows

52

Face buttons

Dual analogue sticks

the user to instantly share a cool gaming moment with the world. The PS4 essentially records (much like a PVR) a limited amount of game-play constantly. Hitting the Share buttons allows this to be uploaded and shared. Between the Share and Options button is the biggest addition to the controller - a touch sensitive pad. While this hasn’t been used all that much yet, intuitive directional swiping in Killzone: Shadow Fall has demonstrated that usefulness of this device, which adds tons more control options, should developers take advantage of it. The front of the controller features, above the USB port, a light bar that can indicate various information. Generally, it identifies which player is using which controller, but games (like Killzone: Shado Fall) can also use its colour changing abilities to indicate various conditions within the game. It also allows the PS4 camera to track the controller. So, you have your PS4 unpacked and set up. A quick note on placement - you’ll need to find a good spot for

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Shoulder buttons

Triggers

Light bar

USB port

it. Standing it up on it’s rather narrow edge can be risky without a stand, while lying it flat means it may wobble is pressure is exerted on the left side, thanks to rather odd bottom support placement. Turning it on reveals, after a short setup process, a rather slick user interface. There will doubtlessly be updates, both for the system and the games you play. These however, are handled neatly in the background. You can even keep gaming while a system update is downloading, and the unit can be set to download and charge controllers while in standby mode. This means great time savings and less interruptions to gaming, and is one of our favourite aspects of the new Sony monster. In addition, various functions - like popping back to the UI to check messages or tally trophies - can be done without interrupting gaming. The game simply pauses while you nip out to do your thing. There are numerous other features and abilities that

we have not touched on here but, suffice to say that the PlayStation 4 is a rather impressive piece of hardware overall. Its power shows through game performance, and its user-friendly nature makes it a joy to play with. It should be noted that playing online now comes with a cost; while Xbox Live has always charged users for their service, Sony is only now attaching a price to PSN gaming. But with free games added in to the mix, the cost is somewhat mitigated... and is not all that high to begin with. How it fares against the Xbox One in terms of the South African market remains to be seen, and is something we’ll look at when the Microsoft console arrives during the course of 2014. For now, though, South Africans can rest assured that they have access to a powerful new gaming platform in the form of the remarkable PlayStation 4. The future of console gaming just keeps looking brighter and brighter, thanks to innovative new products like this. g

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Killzone: Shadow Fall

Rising from the Shadows No more gritty, claustrophobic, tunnel-rat missions here…

by Walt Pretorius

W

of the title. But these problems are relatively isolated, and the overall effect is not one of disappointment or frustration on the part of the player, but rather of awe and enjoyment. For the longest time, the Killzone franchise has explored the war between the Vektans and the Helghast, two factions who were once the same people, but who have been changed due to the different environments that they inhabited. In Shadow Fall, though, the Helghast home world has been all but destroyed and, in an act of almost angelic altruism, the Vektans gave half of their planet to Helghast refugees. That paints the picture for the game, which takes place several decades after the events of Killzone 3. But it also sets the tone for a plot that is sometimes a little silly, and others downright

Review

ith the release of Killzone: Shadow Fall, Dutch developers Guerrilla Games have created an instalment of this franchise for five of the six platforms that have borne the PlayStation logo – PS2, PS3, PSP and PS Vita previously, and now PS4. One would assume that they have a great amount of experience with the technical side of creating games for PlayStation platforms, and this shows through in Shadow Fall. But aside from technical aspects, this latest Killzone title does still offer one or two niggles. The worst of these come down to an AI that can, at times, come across as shoddy. Additionally, in breaking away from the standard Killzone fare (more on that later) Guerrilla have added a few segments to the game that just don’t feel as good as the rest

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ludicrous. Why would the Vektans invite the Helghast, who perpetrated terrible war crimes against them, to inhabit half of the planet they fought so hard to defend against invasion? Guilt for what they did to Helghan? Maybe, but it seems to be a bit of a stretch. Neverthe less, this uneasy symbiosis is key to the telling of a tale that brings forth thoughts of a divided Berlin after World War II. A massive wall separates the Vektans and Helghast, with the result being a cold war always on the edge of eruption. To help combat Helghast incursions and aggression, the Vektans formed a group of operatives called the Shadow Marshalls… and, surprise, it is to this group that the player belongs. Putting the plot and setting aside, Shadow Fall offers the player a fantastic experience – and one

that breaks away from what we expect from a Killzone title. Gone are the claustrophobic, linear, gritty levels of the previous games – they have made way for expansive levels that allow freedom of movement and exploration more often than not. Missions are often dotted with secondary or optional objectives, and the vast playgrounds really let the player explore not only the environment, but also their approach to varied situations. To this end the developers have even introduced stealth capabilities to the game, but they aren’t handled particularly well. The options are limited and, ultimately, single players will find that an all-out, frontal approach is probably the best. Weapon choices are fairly limited as well – the player begins each weapon with a standard side-arm, as well as a handy rifle that can convert from

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detailed. If you really are wondering about what kind of graphics the PS4 can produce, this game gives you a great idea; considering that it’s a launch title, there are likely truly breath-taking things on the horizon. In addition, Guerilla have refined the way the game handles and feels. The heaviness that seemed inherent in the previous Killzone titles is all but gone, with the character feeling lighter on his feet this time around. The controls have also been tweaked, shifting the default aiming and shooting controls from the L1 and R1 buttons to the more sensible L2 and R2 options. And Killzone makes simple, yet effective, use of the Dualshock 4’s touchpad. Aside from the roughly ten-hour single player campaign, Killzone: Shadow Fall introduces some great multiplayer ideas, too. Instead of using the

Review

an assault weapon to a medium range sniper rifle. In addition, the player is accompanied by an OWL, which is one of the better aspects of the game. The OWL is a multipurpose drone… using the touch pad, the player can change the OWL’s functions, choosing between stun, assault and shield options. The OWL can also deploy an extremely handy zip line that opens up more play options for the player. All of this is neatly wrapped up in a presentation package that is truly fantastic, at least in terms of console gaming. The environments are rich and superbly detailed, while the characters that the player meets are exceptionally well handled. Some of the voice acting is a little on the weaker side but, for the most part, NPCs are memorable and highly recognisable – not to mention wonderfully

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tried and tested (and old) “levelling up to unlock new equipment” idea that we have seen for a long time now in shooter multiplayer, Shadow Fall pretty much gives the player everything they need from the get-go. The emphasis moves to skill, rather than having the better guns, which is a refreshing change. In addition, the idea of Warzones keeps things really fresh. These multiplayer matches are produced with fair regularity, and allow the player to spend more time gaming and less time shuffling about lobbies. Also, players can define their own Warzones, giving them the ability to create a truly wide variety of options and challenge types. There are also more traditional game modes, of course, with ten vast maps to enjoy them on. Killzone: Shadow Fall is not a perfect game;

it has a few quibbles and occasionally dips into single player repetition. But, for the most part, it is both an excellent launch title for Sony’s latest console, as well as a great new direction for this long-running franchise. Perhaps most importantly, though, is the fact that it demonstrates what the PS4 can do. Considering that it is a launch title, and that developers constantly tweak more and more performance out of consoles as they discover new things of doing things over the platform’s lifespan, Killzone: Shadow Fall is a game that not only promises great things from its own franchise, but also from the console on which it makes its exclusive home. Add to that some pretty nifty ad innovative multiplayer ideas, and you have a title that will entertain (and sometimes frustrate) PS4 owners for a long time to come. g

AT A GLANCE: First-person Shooter

While it still has a few faults, Shadow Fall shows vast improvement for the Killzone franchise, as well as a much needed new direction. Similar to: MaxPlayers Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

Killzone 3 Local

1

Network

Online 24

Guerrilla Games SCEE Ster Kinekor

Parental Advisory

18+ gladget39

0

Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

Accessibility Hard-Core Medium Casual

Reviewed on:

PS4 Platforms

Genre:

PC X360 X0 PS3 PS4 Wii U PSV 3DS AND iOS

Score

88 57


Knack

All the Little Bits A great game for youngsters, and the young at heart…

by Walt Pretorius

T

not a perfect game, but it is far from deserving the lambasting that it has been getting from people who really should know better. The most important thing to consider is that Knack is aimed at a younger market; with so many shooters and the like having made their way on to the PS4 already, it fills a vital gap for the console. And it is equally important to remember that the younger market doesn’t necessarily care about linearity, or a weak plot, or experiences that kind of lead one to think that there are more rails here than there should be. It is a market that is primarily focussed on enjoyment, and Knack – if approached with the right kind of attitude – can deliver enjoyment in spades. The plot is pretty laughable, to be honest, and stems from a weird cobbling together of sci-fi and fantasy.

Review

here are times when those of us who take our gaming seriously allow that approach to cloud what we perceive when playing games. We lose sight of what is important at times, and in doing so manage to scupper our own experiences. Take the PS4 launch title Knack as an example. Because we got the PS4 (and the launch titles) a bit later than the USA and Europe, there has been a lot of time to read reviews of games from those territories. And the reviews for Knack have been generally rather harsh. But what is most important here - core to the experience that every gamer is seeking – is fun. And it seems that a great number of those reviews have managed to misplace their emphasis, with fun playing second fiddle to a host of other attributes. Basically, what it all boils down to is that Knack is

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When human settlements are attacked by armies of goblins (which have mysteriously been given tanks) it is up to a small team of adventurers to get to the bottom of the story. This starts a tale that involves a bit of comedy, long-lost love- betrayal and tons of adventure. All of it is predictable, but somehow that doesn’t remove the enjoyment from this light hearted action adventure. In fact, the predictability is part of the tale’s charm. One of the adventurers in this group is an inventor who has managed to harness the power of ancient relics to create a sentient creature. This creation is the titular protagonist of the title: Knack. Barely understood ancient devices power Knack and keep the relics he is made up of together – rather than being a solid being, Knack is made up of lots of relics that

are grouped together. This means, in essence, that Knack can absorb more relics as the game progresses. Adding more relics not only heals any damage that he takes, but also makes him grow larger. In addition to a bigger size, the extra relics also grant Knack more powerful attacks and a longer reach. Conversely, when Knack takes damage, he literally loses bits and gets smaller, does less damage and has less of a reach. There are times when Knack gets truly mammoth, trudging through cities and other environments like a Godzilla-esque monster, dealing massive damage to his foes. At others, he becomes tiny, able to easily navigate air vents and the like. The biggest issue with this idea is that the developers have pretty much decided when different sizes are necessary, and leave the player no room to change size at will – there isn’t

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In addition to relics and sun stone energy, the player will also be able to collect parts for devices that help enhance the game (like a converter that turns sun stone energy into relics when the player’s health is low, or a combo-meter that increases the player’s damage with successive strikes) as well as crystals that can transform Knack into a slightly altered creature. It is impossible to collect everything in a single play through, which adds replay value for completionists. As far as the game dynamic goes, Knack is a fairly straight forward platform title. There is little room for exploration; for the most part, the game involves running through levels, finding secrets and fighting a variety of foes. While the entire thing turns out to be pretty linear, the combat is where the most fun lies.

Review

even a mechanic to alter size at will. This is part of the game’s linearity… giving players this option would have added a lot of challenge and variety to the title. One option that the players do have is when to use one of three super-moves that Knack can perform, These also use relics, but relics spent in this way are reabsorbed as soon as the move is completed, so other than expending a super-move energy slot (which are refilled by collecting the energy of specific crystals liberally scattered about the place) they have no true negative effect. The slam, whirlwind and barrage moves all help the player, without too much hindrance. That said, spending energy on a move at the wrong time could leave the player wanting during difficult situations.

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The enemies are varied, and almost all of them require a slightly different approach. Taking on a goblin with a bow is a bit different from one with a boomerang, even though they are both ranged units. The combat doesn’t really work with a button mashing approach, and leads to often entertaining fights. There are a few boss battles, too, with some being more challenging than others. That’s the thing with Knack – its difficulty curve isn’t a steady upward climb, but rather moves through peaks and troughs. And that’s a great fit for the intended target market. Additionally, Knack is fairly forgiving when the player dies. While the checkpoints are sometimes far apart, the player will retain things like sun stone energy when Knack gets taken out. Particularly difficult sections may, then, become easier if they

are repeated a few times – the player will be able to gather up sun stone energy, at the very least, to help them through. Knack really is what the player makes of it. If you’re approaching this game with a desire for deep complexity and tons of exploration, you will doubtlessly be disappointed. However, if you’re looking for a game for the kids, or even want an inoffensive, fairly lengthy title to plug away at without too much strain, Knack is a great fit. It’s a game that one can relax with, and it can become rather addictive, too. It’s not about high action and head shots – rather, it is a fun-filled, almost innocent adventure that strikes a number of right notes, despite linearity. Most of all, though, Knack can be great fun… and that’s really what’s important, right? g

AT A GLANCE: Platform

Reviewed on:

Knack isn’t deep, or complex. It doesn’t even allow for tons of freedom. But it is great fun for the whole family. Similar to: MaxPlayers Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

Crash Bandicoot, Ratchet & Clank Local

1

Network

Online

0

Japan Studio SCEE Ster Kinekor

Parental Advisory

7+ gladget39

0

Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

Accessibility Hard-Core Medium Casual

PS4 Platforms

Genre:

PC X360 X0 PS3 PS4 Wii U PSV 3DS AND iOS

Score

80 61


PS4

Reviews

Revisited

B

ecause South Africa lagged behind just a little in getting the PlayStation 4, a number of launch titles have already been reviewed in previous issues. The following six reviews are for games we have already looked at - but the new console means they deserve a second look. Below we have their original scores and the issues they were reviewed in... a great comparison for those still unsure about whether they want to take the PS4 plunge! g

62

59 FIFA 14 Reviewed November 2013 (X360)

79

60 Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag Reviewed November 2013 (PS3)

93

61 Need for Speed: Rivals Reviewed December 2013 (PS3)

79

62 Battlefield 4 Reviewed November 2013 (X360)

80

63 LEGO Marvel Super Heroes Reviewed December 2013 (PS3)

89

64 Call of Duty: Ghosts Reviewed December 2013 (X360)

80

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FIFA 14

An Even More Beautiful Game More platform power equated to more realism…

by Alex Scanlon

O

AT A GLANCE: Sports

Reviewed on:

The added power of the PS4 has benefitted FIFA 14 greatly, with new physics making it more realistic than ever before. Similar to: MaxPlayers Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

FIFA 13, PES 2014 Local

4

Network 22

EA Sports Electronic Arts EA South Africa

Parental Advisory

3+ gladget39

Online 22

Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

Accessibility Hard-Core Medium Casual

PS4 Platforms

Genre:

PC X360 X0 PS3 PS4 Wii U PSV 3DS AND iOS

Score

84 63

Review

ne of the games that shows a marked difference – and not just in looks – between older and newer consoles id EA Sports’ FIFA 14. The reason for this is simple; the developers wanted to make use of a whole lot of new physics systems that simply couldn’t work on older consoles. On PS4, these new systems are in full swing, thanks to a whole lot of added power that the new Sony console brings to the table. What this means for the player is that the whole experience is much more realistic than before. There is a whole new physicality to the game that carries through every aspect. From player movement and momentum through to the way the ball performs, everything has been given an overhaul. It is the tweak that the franchise needed, because the last few iterations have been struggling to improve on what came before. Not that it’s all roses, mind you – the new systems mean that the player will need to spend some time, at least, getting used to the feel of FIFA 14 on PS4. While things may be a lot more realistic, they are also different. It’s probably the biggest step the franchise has taken in changing the way the game performs in a very long time. On the upside, getting used to the way FIFA 14 handles on Next Generation consoles is well worth the effort. We now have a game that looks and feels more like the real thing than ever before. And, needless to say, it looks that much better too, with well modelled and animated players competing in stadiums that are lively and loud. It’s a new approach to FIFA, for a new (more powerful) console generation.g


Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag

Oh So Lush! It’s AC4 again, but there’s more of it…

by Walt Pretorius

A

Review

64

AT A GLANCE: Genre:

Adventure

Reviewed on:

PS4

It’s the same as AC4 on older consoles, except for the fact that everything feels richer, lusher and much more detailed... and so more engrossing. Similar to: MaxPlayers Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

Assassin’s Creed 3 Local

1

Network

Online

8

Ubisoft Ubisoft Megarom

Parental Advisory

18+ gladget39

0

Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

Accessibility Hard-Core Medium Casual

Platforms

ssassin’s Creed 4: Blag Flag was pretty fantastic on PS3 and Xbox 360. There’s no denying that the adventures of Edward Kenway brought players a vibrant, lively world to play in. On PS4, though, it just seems more vibrant, and livelier. The game is, for the most part, unchanged. It features the same story and the same activities. In fact, one would be hard pressed to find any real differences in the way Edward handles between this new generation and the previous one. Even issues of locking on to objects instead of going where the player actually wants him to go are still around. But if you divert your attention away from him for just a moment… The difference here lies in the extreme detail that has been injected into the world around the main character. Jungles are denser and lusher. People seem more detailed, and environments (impressive before) are now teeming with people and creatures. Even the deck of Kenway’s Jackdaw looks better, occasionally awash with sea brine as it crashes through the waves. The main difference here, then, is in the details, and all manner of deities are reputed to reside there. It is, as a result, more engrossing and more enjoyable. Sure, we’ll bang on about graphics not being the beall and end-all of gaming, but it certainly does allow the player to become even more engrossed in an already captivating tale. In short, it’s Assassin’s Creed 4 all over again, but there is simply more of it. That’s hardly surprising; while many were under the false impression that this new generation would revolutionise gaming, the truth is that, until developers start really pushing the hardware, we’re going to be treated to games that present us with richer (if not changed) experiences. g

PC X360 X0 PS3 PS4 Wii U PSV 3DS AND iOS

Score

95

g a m e c c a r ev i ew • i s s u e 1 7 • N ove m b e r 2 0 1 0


Need for Speed: Rivals

Pretty, Fast.

What’s going on under the hood is what counts here… by Alex Scanlon

T

AT A GLANCE: Racing

Reviewed on:

It simply feels better on the PS4 (and certainly looks better). That’s probably got to do with a whole lot more processing power and RAM for the developers to play with. Similar to: MaxPlayers Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

NFS: Hot Pursuit, NFS: Most Wanted Local

1

Network

Online

6

Ghost Electronic Arts EA South Africa

Parental Advisory

7+ gladget39

0

Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

Accessibility Hard-Core Medium Casual

PS4 Platforms

Genre:

PC X360 X0 PS3 PS4 Wii U PSV 3DS AND iOS

Score

83 65

Review

here is a quality to games on the PS4 (and presumably the Xbox One, but we haven’t seen it yet) that brings a certain, almost undefinable aspect to them. One presumes that this is because there is a lot more than can be happening under the hood, thanks to the PS4 being so much more powerful than its predecessor. Room for developers to manoeuvre, as it were, and add more elements to the programming than they could with older hardware. Need for Speed: Rivals is a game in which this becomes apparent, if you pay attention to it. In terms of the obvious – graphics – this game really does shine. The cars and environments look fantastic, and special effects like water running over the car’s body after a rain storm, or clouds of dust getting kicked up off-road, or even the added birds and other environmental elements, all add up to making this a very pretty game indeed. But the true improvements to the experience are not only visual – there is more going on in the background here than there was in the same game on older platforms. The proof really is in the pudding. Need for Speed: Rivals on PS4 feels slicker, seems to handle better and just provides the player with an overall improved experience. That’s not to say that some of the issues that plagued the game on older consoles aren’t still here… they’re just not as apparent. But the load times are still long, the track listing is still limited, and sometimes the AI seems to wok vehicular miracles that the player just couldn’t see coming. Still, it’s a decent racing title, and the best Need for Speed iteration we’ve seen in a while. And it feels better on the PS4. g


Battlefield 4

Bigger Boom! So that’s what it was supposed to look like…

by Walt Pretorius

Review

T

66

AT A GLANCE: Genre:

First-person Shooter

Better multiplayer graphics are the biggest win here, and the game no longer struggles with some of it’s more complex aspects. Similar to: MaxPlayers Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

Battlefield 3, Call of Duty: Ghosts Local

1

Network

Online 66

DICE Electronic Arts EA South Africa

Parental Advisory

18+ gladget39

0

Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

Accessibility Hard-Core Medium Casual

Reviewed on:

PS4 Platforms

he biggest problem we had with Battlefield 4 on the Xbox 360 when we reviewed it was that, despite requiring a hard drive for installation of files and game data, the multiplayer portion of the game really didn’t live up to the extremely good graphics of the single player game. The fact that anyone who didn’t have an internal drive in their Xbox 360 couldn’t play the game didn’t help, either. The major difference that comes in to play on the new platforms – well, PS4, at least – is the fact that not only does the single player campaign look a lot better, but the multiplayer game is visually far superior to that on older platforms. Let’s be honest – the new ideas and systems, like bullet drop and destructible environments are pretty demanding on a console, and space had to be made in processing cycles for that on the older machines. Graphics were the thing to go. Now, though, the much higher specifications of the PS4 means that the console handles everything in its stride. In fact, the complex system that Battlefield 4 presents are probably a cake-walk for the new Sony platform. Added to this is the fact that the PS4 can handle much bigger multiplayer games (in terms of player numbers) and the whole thing just starts screaming with potential. The chaotic action brought about by vehicles and infantry engaging in huge battles, in massively changeable environments, demonstrates that the PS4 is a very capable platform, and games like this benefit from that. It’s the same game again, really, but it looks so much better that even playing through the sometimes laughable single-player campaign once again is quite a treat. g

PC X360 X0 PS3 PS4 Wii U PSV 3DS AND iOS

Score

84

g a m e c c a r ev i ew • i s s u e 1 7 • N ove m b e r 2 0 1 0


LEGO: Marvel Super Heroes

A Little Polish … and that’s about it.

by Alex Scanlon

N

AT A GLANCE: Adventure

Reviewed on:

PS4

It looks a bit better, but that’s all that sets LEGO Marvel Super Heroes apart from versions playable on older hardware. Similar to: MaxPlayers Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

Games Games Games Games Games Local

2

Network

Online

0

Traveller’s Tales Warner Bros Ster Kinekor

Parental Advisory

7+ gladget39

0

Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

Accessibility Hard-Core Medium Casual

Platforms

Genre:

PC X360 X0 PS3 PS4 Wii U PSV 3DS AND iOS

Score

82 67

Review

ot every game is showing big graphic upgrades or massive behind-the-scenes improvements thanks to the PS4. Some games are just appearing on the new platform because they should be on it and, quite frankly, every new platform needs launch titles. And the PS4 sorely needs family friendly launch titles. Other than the PS4 exclusive Knack, there isn’t a whole hell of a lot for Sony’s new console that could be described as family friendly, or appeals to younger players. Enter LEGO: Marvel Super Heroes. Here is a game that not only entices players (young and old) with marvellous (ahem) LEGO versions of their favourite movie and comic book heroes, but does so in a light-hearted, entertaining and highly accessible way. We previously described it as the best LEGO game yet, and that description still stands. However, it certainly isn’t a title that will inspire people to move away from their old consoles to the next generation platforms. In fact, aside from a few texture and graphics improvements, one is extremely hard-pressed to find any real differences between old and new console versions. That doesn’t make the game any less fun, of course, but it would have been good if the developers had done something to make this title feel like less of a direct port. Improving textures and looks is one thing, but with so much more power behind it, surely a few more tweaks would have been in order? It’s fun to play, for the most part, but that can be said of any of the platforms it appears on. And it appears on virtually everything. It’s sad that the developers didn’t exploit the added power of the PS4 but, as stated earlier, it’s good to have another family-friendly title for the new Sony console. g


Call of Duty: Ghosts

Spit-Shine An overall better experience…

by Walt Pretorius

Review

L

68

AT A GLANCE: Genre:

First Person Shooter

It’s hard to say exactly why the PS4 version is better to play, probably because the improvements have been rolled out pretty evenly across the board here. Similar to: MaxPlayers Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

Call of Duty: Black Ops, Battlefield 4 Local

1

Network 18

Infinity Ward Activision Megarom

Parental Advisory

16+ gladget39

Online 18

Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

Accessibility Hard-Core Medium Casual

Reviewed on:

PS4 Platforms

ike Battlefield 4, Call of Duty: Ghosts is a game that is possibly too ambitious for some of the platforms it was released on. It asks a lot of the hardware and, in areas where the hardware cannot deliver the goods, the developers will have needed to make compromises. Sometimes those come in the graphics department, while at others certain dynamics and mechanics need to be toned down. But, like Battlefield 4, Call of Duty: Ghosts is more at home on the newer consoles – in this case the PS4 – thanks to vast improvements on the hardware side of things. The net result is games that run smoother, look better and generally deliver better performance. Unlike Battlefield 4, though, the improvements in Call of Duty: Ghosts are not as readily apparent. That might be because the graphics upgrade, for one, has been more even across this title (where the other game showed massive improvements in multiplayer, and more minor ones in single player). Playing Call of Duty: Ghosts on the PS4, compared to the Xbox 360 version we previously reviewed, just feels better, but there are no real areas that jump up and identify themselves as the reason for this. Ultimately, we’re all going to have to move to next generation consoles at some point or another, but the improved performance of games like Call of Duty: Ghosts inspires confidence in that requirement. The game is the same as before, in terms of player modes and single player plot, but there just seems to be a lot more spit-and-polish going on here. What exactly the differences are is difficult to pinpoint, because it really comes down to an overall improved experience. g

PC X360 X0 PS3 PS4 Wii U PSV 3DS AND iOS

Score

83

g a m e c c a r ev i ew • i s s u e 1 7 • N ove m b e r 2 0 1 0


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