Page 1

The Big Picture

Using technology to preserve our entertainment heritage.

I S S U E 9 / Vo l . 1 Ju l y 2 0 1 1

w w w. g l a d ge t . c o. z a


UNRAVEL MEGATRON’S PLAN TO UNLEASH THE ULTIMATE DECEPTICON ASSASSIN: SHOCKWAVE

HARNESS THE POWER OF STEALTH FORCE AND ENGAGE IN EPIC VEHICULAR COMBAT PLAY BOTH SIDES AS THE ICONIC AUTOBOT AND DECEPTICON TRANSFORMERS CHARACTERS WAGE WAR ONLINE – CUSTOMISE AND LEVEL UP YOUR TRANSFORMERS CHARACTER EXPERIENCE THE GRIPPING BATTLES LEADING UP TO THE FILM

13V HASBRO and its logo, TRANSFORMERS, DARK OF THE MOON, and all related characters are trademarks of Hasbro and are used with permission. © 2011 Hasbro. All rights reserved. © 2011 Paramount Pictures Corporation. Paramount and the Paramount logo are trademarks of ParamountTM. © 2011 Paramount. All Rights Reserved. Camaro, GMC Topkick, and Corvette and all related Emblems and vehicle body designs are General Motors Trademarks used under license to Hasbro, Inc. Game © 2011 Activision Publishing, Inc. ’ is a trademark of the same company. All Activision is a registered trademark of Activision Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved. ‘2’ , ‘PlayStation’, ‘PS3’, ‘PSP’ and ‘ ’ are trademarks or registered trademarks of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. ‘ Rights Reserved. Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo DS and Wii are trademarks of Nintendo. © 2011 Nintendo. KINECT, Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox LIVE, and the Xbox logos are trademarks of the Microsoft group of companies and are used under license from Microsoft. All other trademarks and trade names are the properties of their respective owners. All rights reserved.

ì ITíS DIFFICULT TO IGNORE YOUR INNER-CHILD SQUEALING


WWW.TRANSFORMERSGAME.COM FACEBOOK.COM/TRANSFORMERSGAME


Inside 6 From the Editor

8 Saving Cinema Preserving films for future generations 14 Photography Primer Which camera is best? 22 Reviews Awesome hardware, gadgets and other stuff you want to own... 64 DVD Seen The good, the bad and the ugly of the DVD scene... 74 Inner Workings Powered by the sun 76 Dead End The floppy phenomenon 78 Money to Burn Golden notes... Competitions 45 WD TV Live Hub Media Player

THIS MONTH’S COVER Saving old movies helps preserve an important heritage. See the feature on page 8.

cover art by Katia Taliadoros cover model: Dimitra Perros

4

gladget contents • issue 9 • July 2011


Reviews

24

MSI GT780R Notebook

26

Logitech Speaker Lapdesk N550

28

MSI Big Bang Marshal B3 Motherboard GLADGET Volume1Issue 9 July 2011

30

LG IPS226 LED Monitor

32

Nokia N8

Editor: Walt Pretorius walt@gladget.co.za

34

Sony CMT-MX500i Micro Hifi Component System

Sub Editor: Charlie Fripp

36

Nitho PS3 Dock Charger

38

Razer Onza Xbox 360 Controller

40

Western Digital My Book Studio Edition II

Letters: letters@gladget.co.za

42

GMC Double-X PC Case

Competition Entries: competitions@gladget.co.za

44

Nitho PS3 Arch Charger

46

Sony NEX-VG10E Handycam

48

Encyclopaedia Britannica 2011 Deluxe Edition

50

Joystick Junkies Console Bag

52

Nitho PS3 Sports Pack

54

Infamous 2 (video game)

Writers: Dylan Bouch Richard Bingham Alex Scanlon Rob Edwards James Francis Christo van Gemert

Newsletter Subscriptions: www.gladget.co.za Design & Photography: 1337 Media Technical Support: Brian Murdoch Marketing Contact: Katia Taliadoros katia@gladget.co.za

technology. simply. CREATED USING

Adobe CS5

58

Dungeon Siege 3 (video game)

60

Red Faction: Armageddon (video game)

62

Duke Nukem Forever (video game)

MASTER SUITE

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.

GAMECCA is published by 1337 MEDIA

gladget contents • issue 9 • July 2011

Copyright © 1337 Media CC 2009 - 2011

5


Broken Telephone... From the Editor

by Walt Pretorius

T

echnology can, at times, be an incredibly frustrating thing. As we sit here staring down the barrel of another deadline, our telephony provider has decided that it isn’t really necessary for us to have service of any kind. We decided to avoid the country’s major telephone company, because of the odd case of line theft, opting to rather go with a cellular service provider for telephone and Internet services. I am not going to mention any names, because that would be nasty of me. Suffice to say that said service provider, it seems, spends more time not working than actually providing a useful function these days – and we still get billed for these periods of inefficiency. I could literally tear my hair out. Is it unreasonable to expect

6

services that are paid for? I think not. Sure, I understand that things go wrong, but when a business needs – no, depends on – the services you provide, a slack attitude (which seems to be pervasive at this major company) is just not acceptable. We know that things go wrong. We know that things break. We understand that there are unforeseen circumstances. But the value of a company is not how well they perform when everything is going right… rather, the measure of their effectiveness comes from their performance when things go wrong. And we’re just not seeing it here. This month’s cover story is one that relates to efficiency in the race against time. OK, that’s a little leap of logic from my opening, but I had to take this somewhere

positive. Movies, as an art form, are a valuable source of entertainment and information, and the race is on to make sure that many of the gems of the silver screen are not lost forever. In addition to that, we bring you our usual dose of technology related stuff, including a loo at buying the right kind of camera for you, how solar power cells actually work and the story of the floppy disc. And, as always, we have a bunch of reviews to keep you busy. OK, it seems like I am over it now. That little diversion from my ranting helped. What would help even more, though, is for our service provider to do what they supposed to… provide service. But that’s enough whinging from me… we hope you enjoy this ninth issue of Gladget Magazine. g

gladget column • issue 9 • July 2011


© 2011 Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. Screen images are simulated.

INCREDIBLE DEPTH FOR THE ULTIMATE GAMING EXPERIENCE.

South Africa

Experience real-life depth with the new Samsung 3D LED monitor.

Real 120Hz

Brighter* 3D images

2D to 3D image conversion

* Brightness comparison based upon monitors with same brightness in 2D.

www.samsung.com

*3D glasses are required and are included with purchase.


Saving Cinema Keeping old movies alive

Feature

by Walt Pretorius

8

gladget feature • issue 9 • July 2011


T

here are few art-forms quite as popular as movies. This popular entertainment medium has, since 1888, when Louis Le Prince produced Roundhay Garden Scene, widely accepted to be the world’s first movie created using a specific motion picture camera. Through the years, movies have evolved in many ways – from jerky black and white images through to colour, computer generated graphics and 3D visuals. From silent movies accompanied by piano playing and dialogue cards through to full surround sound. From 16mm projectors displaying an image on a roll-up screen (or sheet hung against the living room wall) through to Blu-Ray displayed on high definition screens. Everyone alive today has seen movies, even been touched by them emotionally. And most people love them. Movies do more than entertain, though… they are a window into the past. Even science fiction films from yesteryear display a historical mind-set and open a window to the thinking and culture of a bygone era. Sitting through the series of James Bond films, for example, opens a window not only into the world of 007, but also displays fashions, social norms and behaviours of bygone eras in a most entertaining and illuminating way. But most importantly, movies are a valid art-form… even low budget B-grade films have some merit on an artistic level (if only to see how bad art can be at times.) And, just as we preserve and restore the paintings and sculptures of the great masters, so too should we preserve and restore the works of these modern masters, who’s chosen medium is not paint and canvas and marble, but celluloid and sound. Martin Scorsese is someone who believes this very deeply. “Movies touch our hearts, and awaken our vision, and change the way we see things,” reads his quote on the Film Foundation website. “They open doors and minds. Movies are the memories of our lifetime. We need to keep them alive.” The Film Foundation is a nonprofit organisation that the legendary director established in 1990, with a mission to protect and preserve motion pictures and motion picture

gladget feature • issue 9 • July 2011

9


10

gladget feature • issue 9 • July 2011


history. By providing annual support to leading film archives, the Foundation has managed to help save more than 545 motion pictures from deterioration. In addition, the Foundation also aims to educate people as to the artistic, cultural and historical significance of film. The Foundation’s board of directors is starstudded: Martin Scorsese, Woody Allen, Francis Ford Coppola, Clint Eastwood, George Lucas, Robert Redford, Steven Spielberg, Peter Jackson, Ang Lee, Paul Thomas Anderson, Wes Anderson, Curtis Hanson and Alexander Payne all serve, while Robert Altman, Stanley Kubrick and Sydney Pollack are members in memoriam. A large number of films have been saved thanks to this organisation. These include the likes of: At Bear Track Gulch (1913); The Barefoot Contessa (1954); Ben Hur (1925); The Blue Bird (1918); The Call of the Wild (1923); Eraserhead (1977); The Great Train Robbery (1903); How Green Was My Valley (1941); Metropolis (1926); On the Waterfront (1954); The Red Shoes (1948); Rio Grande (1950); Suspicion (1941); The Ten Commandments (1923); and Witness for the Prosecution (1957). At this time, half of American movies made before 1950 and more than 90% of films made before 1929 are lost forever, thanks to the fact that the medium they were filmed on (cellulose nitrate film base) has degraded beyond repair in some cases, or has even been destroyed by fire in others… it is a highly flammable substance. Even cellulose acetate film, which replaced cellulose nitrate, can degrade rapidly, particularly in terms of colour quality. There are a number of challenges that face those restoring film. Many of the films that are being restored are fragile, and the frame by frame process can be lengthy indeed. Other challenges include damage caused by dust, dirt, scratches and tears. In addition, colour fading and changes can also affect film that was incorrectly stored over many years, and films that were copied from original may feature excessive film grains (the copying process would not only contain the film’s native grain, but also the grain from the original.) There are two modern processes for restoring gladget feature • issue 9 • July 2011

11


12

gladget feature • issue 9 • July 2011


film: digital and photochemical restoration. In the first case, the film needs to be cleaned of dirt and dust, before any tears in the film are repaired, either with clear polyester tape or splicing cement. Following that, each frame of the film is scanned into a digital file. Even at a relatively low frame rate of 24 frames per second, that would mean that a 90 minute movie would require around 129 000 frames to be scanned in. Each frame is then compared to those around it, and restored accordingly. This is partially done with specialised computer programs, while the rest is up to humans to sort out. The process involves fixing frame alignment, correcting colour and lighting errors (to reduce flickering), restoring image quality that is affected by dirt and dust, and enhancing image quality by reducing film grain. The restored scans are then recompiled to form the motion picture. In photochemical restoration similar steps are followed, except that the end result is not a digitally restored film, but rather a master ‘print’ of the original movie. This is done by duplicating existing film with the fewest possible steps, and hunting far and wide to find the best quality originals – sometimes even using only segments from each copy discovered. The Film Foundation is not the only organisation that is promoting the restoration of film. There are numerous others, including Moving Image Collections, which do similar, valuable work. Where the Film Foundation is different is that it has many big names driving it forward, often urging people to contribute money towards film restoration. The process is extremely long and very costly, meaning that public assistance in keeping these important works of art for future generations is vital. However it is done, it is good to know that there are people out there actively working at restoring motion pictures. This fantastic treasure trove is an important part of human history, not just because of the entertainment value it holds, but because of the sentiment it represents, as well s the window it provides into our complex and fascinating past. g

gladget feature • issue 9 • July 2011

13


Photography Primer

The Right Tool What to look for in a digital camera

by Walt Pretorius

14

gladget regular • issue 9 • July 2011


PRESENTED BY

Adobe CS5

MASTER SUITE

T

he market for digital cameras has been flooded with devices, and it seems that every day more and more cameras are added to the already heaving store shelves. The success of digital photography is undeniable, as it places the hobby in the hands of everyone, at a fraction of the price of film photography. Re-usable media, simple image storage and instant access to photographs are a handful of the reasons why digital photography has forced film photographers into a small (and apparently rather snooty) clique. But just having a camera doesn’t make one a photographer… One of the key steps towards achieving excellent photographic results is having the right camera. A well-known photographer once said that a good image can be taken with any kind of equipment – the secret sits behind the camera. This is true… there is far more to photography than having all the right equipment. Skill, knowledge, logic (and a bit of talent and even luck) all add to the equation. But having the right kind of equipment certainly helps. Moreover, spending a lot of money on equipment may not be necessary, if one carefully considers their needs before purchasing photographic equipment. The basis of every photography kit is the camera, naturally. Cameras can be divided into broad categories, namely pocket cameras and DSLRs. These, in turn can be further categorised: pocket cameras can range from simpler cameras through to devices that are extremely capable… often the only difference between these latter devices and DSLRs is the fact that you cannot exchange lenses on the pocket camera. DSLRs run from entry level cameras that guide the user in many ways through to high end cameras that have fewer pre-sets, but allow the photographer more control options. The decision as to which class of camera you’re going to buy should be made before you even get to the store. Do you want something that is quick and easy to use, or do you prefer more versatility and potential power. If you are going to opt for the former, you should consider a pocket camera. While these cameras are simple and fast to use, and tend to be smaller, only the higher end units start touching on the capabilities of a DSLR. However, they are more convenient and take little preparation before you’re ready to take photographs.

gladget regular • issue 9 • July 2011

15


Photography Primer

16

gladget regular • issue 9 • July 2011


On the other hand, DSLRs offer a much wider range of versatility, but to take advantage of that you’ll need more storage space – and a bigger budget, as much of that versatility is tied into extra lenses and other equipment (which is pretty much always sold separately.) When you get to the store, keep in mind that the salesman is going to try and sell you the most expensive camera he can. He does not understand your needs, necessarily, and will always look at parting you and your money in the greatest degree possible. There’s nothing wrong with this – it’s the salesman’s job. But if you have a clear idea of what you will need in a camera, you may be able to avoid falling into a trap. The first thing to consider is the megapixel capability of the camera. These days, most cameras are being produced with sensors that shoot images at a very high megapixel rating, but do you really need your images to be that size? Anything that is 10 megapixels and above will produce clear, large prints (even up to A3 in size) but if you are going to be viewing your images via a computer screen, or relying on smaller prints, opting for a smaller megapixel rating will save you some cash. Of course, when working with photographs and megapixels, bigger is better. Reducing a photograph in size will always yield good results, but making it larger will generally degrade the quality of the image. Keep that in mind. The next thing that will be used as a selling point is the camera’s zoom capability. It’s an important, popular and very useful function, but there is something that the buyer needs to be aware of: the difference between optical and digital zoom. When a camera uses optical zoom, the glass within the camera’s lens moves… this results in clear, “true” zoom. With digital zoom, the camera simply enlarges the images pixels, which results in blocky, pixelated images that – quite frankly – look terrible. Many cameras will have an ‘additional’ digital zoom beyond their optical range, but don’t let that distract you. Optical zoom is what you’re after, nothing else. Also, it’s good to remember that many of the lower end pocket cameras only have digital zoom. If it looks like the lens elements can move – in other words, if the lens protrudes from the camera

gladget regular • issue 9 • July 2011

17


Photography Primer

18

gladget regular • issue 9 • July 2011


body – you’re more than likely dealing with optical zoom. If the lens is flush with the camera body, it’s probably digital. As an example, the vast majority of cell phone cameras use digital zoom – their lenses never move. Another thing to consider is storage media. Does the camera use widely available, well-priced storage media, like SD cards? Or does the camera use storage that will be harder to find, and possibly expensive? Personally, I like the idea of SD cards. They tend to be reliable and can be bought anywhere from specialist stores to supermarkets. They are also relatively inexpensive, and can store a lot of data. Also, their small size makes it easy to carry a number of them, so that you don’t ever run out of storage space. Just make sure that your camera can use high-capacity cards before you go buy them! Next up, what kind of battery does the camera use? While cameras that use commercial batteries – like standard AA cells – might seem convenient, the battery consumption will turn out to be costly in the end. The best bet is a camera that uses a proprietary rechargeable battery. It’s also a good idea to get a spare, so that you don’t run out of power when you need it most. These listed above are basic concepts that will get you started on the road to purchasing the best camera for your needs. There are other considerations, too, though – do you need all those added extras, like video and face detection, for example? Is the camera made by a manufacturer that is well supported in your region? Is this a new model, or an end of the line unit? Does it have a viewfinder, or must you use the LCD screen to shoot images? For that matter, does the viewfinder display the true lens image, or is it one of those old-fashioned ‘holes’ through the top of the camera? Does it have facilities for an external flash? Any of these questions - and many more – need to be answered considering what your personal photographic needs are. The best bet is to do a bit of research before walking into the store. The internet provides a wealth of information… in that way, you can walk in and ask for a specific brand and model, and know that you will be getting the camera that suits your needs perfectly. g gladget regular • issue 9 • July 2011

19


And the Award Goes To... Gamecca’s new award system explained

Bronze Award

I

t may seem like third prize, but the truth is that a Bronze Award from the Gamecca crew is nothing to scoff at. This award is given to games that score between 80 and 89 on our extremely technical and algebraically challenging rating system. Needless to say, Bronze Awards will be the most common ones you see. If a game has a Bronze Award attached to it, you should consider looking into it, particularly if you are a fan of the franchise or the genre it is part of. Now you know... g

20

Silver Award

I

f good games get Bronze Awards, great games get silver ones. Games that are rated between 90 and 95 by our panel of experts (well, self-proclaimed experts, actually) then it will get one of these babies. Silver Awards consitute a group of ‘must-play’ games for fans of the genre or franchise they are part of, and should be strongly considered by those that own one of the platforms they appear on. Silver Award games may not be the best of the best, but they are certainly up there, and warrant at least a few more moments of consideration than others. g

gladget feature • issue 9 • July 2011


gamecca • review

Gold Award

T

he best of the best get the coveted Gamecca Magazine Gold Award. Well, we’re hoping it will be coveted. We’re prety sure it will be... Games that score between 96 and... ok, well, in theory a game can never score a perfect 100, but you see what we’re saying. Let’s leave existentialism out of this, shall we? These are the games that should require no second thought, or no questions as to whether they need to be played. These games are essential. These are games you buy new platforms for. g

gladget feature • issue 9 • July 2011

Editor’s Choice

T

he Editor’s Choice Award is not necessarily presented to a title according to score. Sure, a high scoring game might get one, but a low scoring game might get one too. They tend to be rare, though. Editor’s Choice Awards mark games that stand out for one reason or another. They are the Editor’s pick to play... and while he might not be in full possession of his mental faculties, letting him select his favourite titles and stick an award on them helps keep him quiet. Seriously, though, this award marks a title that might not be superior, but still stands out. g

21


Reviews Highlights 24 MSI GT780R Notebook Portable gaming power 26 Nokia N8 A phone with a mission 28 Sony CMT-MX500i Micro Hifi Versatile, brilliant sound 34 Razer Onza Controller An alternative Xbox controller 38 WD My Book Studio Edition II Masses of storage

T

his month we bring you 15 reviews of top notch products, ranging from super-powerful notebooks through to ways to transport your handheld gaming console safely. In addition, we are also bringing you a software review (gasp) which is something that we hope to do more of in the future. That’s the great thing about this magazine - anything that is, or has to do with, technology belongs on these pages! g

22

gladget review • issue 9 • July 2011


MSI GT780R Notebook

A True Player

A powerhouse in a relatively small package by Walt Pretorius

I

have to admit, I am surprised every time a device like this comes along for review. Perhaps it is because I am battling to break out of that old school mould that states “you don’t game on a notebook.” But when you hit the switch on this baby, its power as a gaming machine - and PC in general - becomes more than apparent. It packs more power than a lot of desktops (which run current games perfectly well, mind you) have on offer. While the GT780R is built with gaming in mind, it serves as an extremely powerful and versatile notebook overall. It’s aesthetic, though, screams gamer, so you might want to keep that in mind when you drag it into a business meeting with you. And drag you will. Although not as large as some of the previous gaming notebooks we’ve seen, this laptop is still rather chunky. Not that it isn’t easily portable... but it certainly isn’t the lightest one we’ve ever seen, nor the smallest. That’s OK, though, because it looks impressive.

24

Finished in black plastic and dark, brushed metal, the GT780R looks like it means business. When you turn it on - and the OS boots - the keyboard lights up with a gradiated red-to-green-to-blue backlight, which is a little tacky. A press of a button highlights the WADS keys, while a second press turns the backlighting off. But that’s about the only complaint that we can level at the unit. It’s generous 17.3 inch screen displays performance delivered by an Intel Core i7 processor. This is supported by up to 16GB DDR3 RAM, and graphic power is delivered by an Nvidia GTX 560M chipset with 1.5GB of VRAM. Twin 500GB hard drives (for a total of 1 TB) provide more than ample storage. The GT780R is packed with other features. The keyboard is a chicklet style affair by Steelseries, while sound is provided by Dynaudio. MSI have also built a bunch of useful utilities and overclocking tools into the notebook. If you’re looking for a mobile gaming solution that g l a d g e t h a r d wa r e • i s s u e 9 • J u l y 2 0 1 1


doesn’t fit in your pocket, this is a great option. The overall design is sleek and clever, and the performance that it delivers is undeniably good. It is obvious that a lot of thought went into putting this particular notebook together and - aside from the varied colours backlighting the keyboard - it looks the part from a hard-core gaming standpoint. Sure, one could argue that a desktop is still going to allow for easier upgrading and consequently more power. That has always been the case. But if you are going to be travelling with your gaming machine a lot, having something like this - which is easily transportable and powerful all at the same time - makes tons of sense. We put the GT780R through its paces with some of the latest, more demanding PC titles, and it handled the job beautifully. And then, just because we could, we tried a few office applications on it too. In fact, this review is being written on it, partly because it is a great all-rounder and partly because the keyboard is nice and quiet, even for a smash-typer like me. g g l a d g e t h a r d wa r e • i s s u e 9 • J u l y 2 0 1 1

AT A GLANCE: PROS:

• Good power • Awesome keyboard • Large screen

CONS:

• Some of the backlighting options are… dodgy…

Manufacturer: MSI Distributor: Pinnacle Africa Online: www.pinnacle.co.za RRP: 19199

TECH SPECS: • • • • • •

Max 16GB RAM Intel i7 processor 1.5GB VRAM 1TB HDD HD Webcam USB 3.0

Score

A very powerful notebook for gamers on the go.

92 25


Logitech Speaker Lapdesk N550

Comfort

Turning notebooks into laptops… by Alex Scanlon

F

or the most part, working on a notebook is fine. It might take a bit of getting used to if you’re a desk-top veteran, but the versatility of having a notebook pretty much wherever you go trumps any slight discomfort - which you’ll get over before long anyway. But notebooks do have a few niggles. One is their built -in speakers which - apart from very few exceptions leave a hell of a lot to be desired. Sure, you could use headphones, but that’s not always practical. Another issue is that they can’t really get used comfortably everywhere. Sure, people used to call them ‘laptops’, but perhaps the use of that name fell out of vogue because, quite honestly, using one on your lap is not the best experience. The machine gets hot. It digs into your thighs and it still sounds nasty. Logitech have a solution that gets notebooks back into people’s laps, which may be where they were supposed to be all along (hence the disused name.) The Speaker

26

Lapdesk N550 actually takes care of both problems in one fell swoop... it is a specialised surface that not only makes using a notebook on your lap much more comfortable, but it houses built in speakers to improve the sound situation. In essence, this is a fairly large white board that you place you notebook - or should that be laptop - on top of. Sounds is delivered to the speakers via a USB cable, with easy to use volume controls built into the right hand side of the unit. A pair of flip-up guards at the base of the unit make sure that your laptop doesn’t slip off while you’re using it. This does raise one issue, though - the power for the speakers is drawn from your notebook, which means shorter battery life. It’s not a major problem, but it is something to be aware of. The bottom of the unit is cushioned for greater comfort. The cushion is covered with a four-layer heat shielding g l a d g e t h a r d wa r e • i s s u e 9 • J u l y 2 0 1 1


design, intended to keep the user comfortable. All in all, the Lapdesk N550 works really well. It keeps the user cool and comfortable, provided they’re in a good position to start with. Another downside is that it is specifically designed to work with smaller notebooks - 14 inch and smaller. If your laptop is bigger than that, your comfort levels may be lower or, worse yet, your laptop may not even fit on the unit. In terms of sound, the unit is a real winner - the sound quality is great, which is, yet again, a reminder that the weak point for notebook sound lies with the built-in speakers. However, this unit is not something you should buy for the speakers alone. There are other options for better notebook sound, like external speakers or headphones. But, if the idea of the Lapdesk N550 as a whole appeals, and the speakers are part of that decision, it is a quality product to consider. Just be sure that your notebook will fit on it! g g l a d g e t h a r d wa r e • i s s u e 9 • J u l y 2 0 1 1

AT A GLANCE: PROS:

• Comfortable • Good sound

CONS:

• Only for smaller notebooks

Manufacturer: Logitech Distributor: Logitech Online: www.logitech.co.za RRP: R699

TECH SPECS: • Stereo speakers • USB interface • Independent volume controls • Heat resistant cushioning

Score

A good option for those who spend time with their notebook on their lap

79 27


MSI Big Bang Marshal B3 Motherboard

Appealing! Powerful, but not overly niche…

by Walt Pretorius

T

he competition for the high-end motherboard market is getting hotter and hotter by the minute, with consumers being truly spoiled for choice when choosing a backbone for their desktop PC system. Most of these boards are being built with overclocking performance in mind, which implies that they are aimed at high-end users like gamers. But even the most simple boards these days seem to have some kind of overclocking facility... Not that the MSI Big Bang Marshal B3 is a simple board. Rather, it fits comfortably into the higher-middle range of boards, with facilities that will do all but the most picky of users proud. It features all the bells and whistles that one would need, without going to the lengths of being an enthusiast’s board. That does make it sound like the board is less capable than it actually is, though. MSI are really good at making fast and dependable devices, and it would serve us well to remember that. As with all MSI motherboards that come out these days, this one concentrates on fast performance, which

28

is helped along by the DrMOS system that the board incorporates. Without going into too many details, this system is far more efficient that a standard MOSFET, and the change is noticeable. Another break from tradition comes from the heat-pipe that the board’s cooling system uses. It is around 60% thicker than traditional heat pipes, meaning that the board runs significantly cool than one would expect, even under a heavy load. Another great feature of the board is that it takes a lot of hassle out of overclocking, thanks to the OC Genie system. It’s a very decent automatic overclocking tool that detects hardware and automatically assigns overclocking ratios accordingly. You may want to tweak these settings, but the automatic system delivers a fairly stable and generally improved performance. ‘Military grade’ is a popular sales catch-phrase with hardware these days, and the Marshal makes the same claims, with high standard Hi-c Caps, Super Ferrite Chokes and Solid Caps providing quieter and more efficient performance overall. g l a d g e t h a r d wa r e • i s s u e 9 • J u l y 2 0 1 1


One of the sweeter aspects of the board are the eight PCI-E x16 slots that it sports. Thanks to these, the board becomes a graphic junkie’s dream, able to support up to four dual slot graphics cards in either SLi or Crossfire configurations. Also on the sensory side is the on-board Soundblaster X-Fi MB2 system. When properly set up, the visual and sound performance made possible by the Marshall is excellent. We would have liked to see a few more RAM slots on the board, but with the right kind of RAM four should be enough. Another nice addition - although one that isn’t extremely uncommon - is dual LAN ports, making the machine just that little more versatile in a network setup. Even better are the eight USB 3.0 ports - rather than seeing just one or two, as one might expect at the present time. The performance from the Marshal is superb. While it might not rival some of the really high end motherboards out there, it does a fantastic job ... the majority of users will find it to be very capable, versatile and stable as a motherboard option. g g l a d g e t h a r d wa r e • i s s u e 9 • J u l y 2 0 1 1

AT A GLANCE: PROS:

• Easy to use • Excellent performance • Looks good

CONS:

• More RAM ports would have been nice

Manufacturer: MSI Distributor: Pinnacle Africa Online: www.pinnacle.co.za RRP: R4199

TECH SPECS: • 8 x PCI-E ports • 12 x USB 3.0 Ports • 8 x USB 2.0 Ports • X-Fi chipset • Intel P67 B3 Express • Dual LAN ports

Score

A good motherboard option for tweakers and laymen alike

89 29


LG IPS226 IPS LED 21.5” Monitor

Bright and Shiny! Good looks in every way

by Walt Pretorius

T

here’s a lot going on in monitor technology that we don’t necessarily think about every time we switch on our desk-top computer. As long as it works, we’re pretty much OK with it, it seems. But there’s working well enough, and then there’s working beautifully. In an attempt to attain the latter, LG have introduced a new idea into monitors that combines the more power efficient IPS technology with the clearer, brighter looks of LED backlighting. The result is the IPS226, a 21.5 inch wide screen monitor that not only performs particularly well across various applications, but also manages to look stylish while doing so. The design of the IPS226 fits in well with LG’s general aesthetic, which we’re quite fond of here at Gladget. It features a lot of shiny black plastic, of course, particularly in the thin bezel surrounding the screen itself. The bottom section of the screen houses touch

30

sensitive buttons, and a translucent plastic section below that indicates power and the like. The sturdy base connects to the monitor by way of a stylish clear plastic pillar, the colour of which is best described as ‘fine brandy.’ Once mounted on the base, the IPS226 has a fair degree of tilt, allowing the user to make comfortable use of it in pretty much any situation. The touch sensitive controls are responsive, and the general use of the monitor - apart from the software that comes along with it, which is LG’s usual, generally horrible stuff - is simple, fast and effective. The real beauty, though, comes from the actual display performance of the monitor, which is top notch. With a native HD resolution, the IPS delivers clear images across all kinds of functions, from computing through to video gaming. It also allows for versatility, thanks to having D-SUB, DVI-D and HDMI connection ports in the rear, as well as a headphone jack (always useful for gaming or g l a d g e t h a r d wa r e • i s s u e 9 • J u l y 2 0 1 1


watching movies.) The real star of the show here is the LED backlighting. As with all LED monitors, the brightness and contrast of this monitor is superior to standard LCD offerings, making the pictures look prettier. Even setting it up is extremely simple - apart from the cables, it’s a matter of one screw to connect the base to the unit. And for those that are environmentally conscious, it is extremely power efficient, too. We would have liked to see another HDMI port on the back (LG have used dual HDMI ports in the past) but this is a small niggle. On the whole, not a lot can be faulted with the performance of this monitor at all. The menus are fairly straight forward, and the whole effect - from performance through to design - is effective and stylish. Anyone would - and should - be happy to have this monitor gracing their work-space. g g l a d g e t h a r d wa r e • i s s u e 9 • J u l y 2 0 1 1

AT A GLANCE: PROS:

• Good image quality • Energy saver

CONS:

• Software • Another HDMI port would have been nice

Manufacturer: LG Distributor: Pinnacle Africa Online: www.pinnacle.co.za RRP: R2499

TECH SPECS: • • • • • •

21.5” screen IPS technology LED backlight HDMI port DVI-D port Headphone jack

Score

A great looking monitor that performs very well... and is good for the environment, too!

82 31


Nokia N8

Pretty Tough

Nokia’s smart phone options live up to the challenge by Alex Scanlon

T

hese days, if you’re looking for a good new mobile handset, the truth of the matter is that you have to look at a smart phone; anything less will leave you without any kind of edge. Nokia have long been known - particularly in South Africa - as a top mobile handset brand. But when the “iPhone vs Blackberry” battle started up, some of the other brands - including Nokia - were left reeling just a little. No matter, though, because the brand has caught up quickly, with a range of superior handsets forming part of the N series. Powered by a Symbian OS and featuring the relatively new Nokia Ovi system, the phone puts a whole bunch of applications at the user’s fingertips. The generous 3.5 inch display is scratch resistant Gorilla glass, and offers a very responsive touch screen experience. You might want to fiddle with the initial home screen settings a little, but they are fairly sensible in terms of easy access to important functions. Being a smart phone, the N8 is about far more than

32

making calls. A host of features - most of which are pretty standard, or even expected - are available from the device, including an extremely punchy 12 megapixel camera, built with Carl Zeiss optics. A very decent internal flash also supplements the camera (decent for a phone camera, that is.) As a fully integrated device, the N8 is a brilliant option. It offers everything one would expect, from web surfing and application downloads (via the Ovi service) through to HD video recording and other multimedia functionality; audio playback, video playback, image viewing and the like. The home screen feels a little cluttered, but the responsiveness of the touch screen makes up for that. Aside from the screen, the N8 offers very few other buttons. Aside from power, camera, volume and locking controls, only one other button is to be found - a button that switches between the home screen and an application list. Aside from internal memory, which weighs in at 16GB, the N8 can also handle high-capacity Micro SD cards (up g l a d g e t h a r d wa r e • i s s u e 9 • J u l y 2 0 1 1


to 32GB). That’s fairly chunky for a phone, but it does require an additional purchase. Debates about OS aside, the N8 makes for a versatile, fairly handy device (let’s be honest, there’s no such thing as a practically sized smart phone). It’s quite capable, and finds itself in the middle ground of being both a decent business and entertainment device, without leaning too much one way or the other. Its web access is decent enough, depending on your service provider of course, and its applications allow the user to take full advantage of not only internet browsing, but also email and social networking. Quite importantly, the N8 is a solidly constructed phone. When using the menus, a small vibration initially led me to believe that something might be loose in the device - it just feels odd, to be honest - but the feature was purely there to indicate that the phone was reacting to my inputs. With a good brand name behind it, this is a decent option, if you’re not looking for one of the trendier operating systems. g g l a d g e t h a r d wa r e • i s s u e 9 • J u l y 2 0 1 1

AT A GLANCE: PROS:

• User friendly • Large screen • Versatile

CONS:

• Symbian isn’t the most trendy OS these days

Manufacturer: Nokia Distributor: Nokia Online: www.nokia.co.za RRP: R4799

TECH SPECS: • • • •

3.5” screen Symbian OS 16mp camera HD Video recording • OVI suite • Scratch-proof

Score

A well-built, versatile and fun mobile handset from a trusted manufacturer.

88 33


Sony CMT-MX500i Micro Hi-Fi Component System

All Round Sound An elegant and extremely versatile micro hi-fi

by Walt Pretorius

I

will always remember my Dad’s massive Teac hi-fi system, with all its components stacked up in a special cabinet flanked by two mammoth speakers, hulking in the corner of the lounge of our family home. It was a great hi-fi and my Dad (who is a great lover of particularly classical music) treasured it. Over the years, hi-fi systems got smaller and smaller. In fact, they have all but disappeared, thanks to the prevalence of big name brand portable music players and cell phones that handle all kinds of multimedia files. But there is still something very stylish and upmarket about a hi-fi. Even a small one. And that’s exactly what Sony’s CMT-MX500i is; a small, stylish and upmarket hi-fi. But these days a hi-fi needs to be a bit more versatile, and Sony is well aware of that. So, in creating this particular music system, they took an attitude of “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em”. But more about that later. Being a micro hi-fi, everything about the CMT-MX500i

34

is small, from the central unit that houses the various playback tools through to the speakers. What isn’t small, though, is the sound. It’s magnificent, both in volume and quality. Sound like this can never be achieved by smaller systems. Even extremely expensive portable music player docks battle to replicate the clarity and simple excellence of the sound that this system produces. And here’s the really sweet part... Sony’s approach in the design was to incorporate as many ways of playing music as possible. Actually, make that playing music from as many sources as possible. The unit has a radio tuner built in. It also has a CD player. Nothing out of the ordinary here, except for the fact that it is a single disc CD player. It also has an audio in port, to allow it to be used with most MP3 players, as long as a jack to jack cable connects the two. Then, it has a USB port, and can play music off of a variety of storage media, including USB sticks. And then - and this is something of a surprise - it has a door that, when opened, g l a d g e t h a r d wa r e • i s s u e 9 • J u l y 2 0 1 1


reveals an iPod dock. Why is this surprising? Well, Apple’s iPod range competes with Sony’s long standing Walkman franchise, which evolved into being an MP3 player range a long time ago. Added to that is the fact that Sony isn’t known for supporting formats that they don’t have some kind of interest in. But the iPod’s success is something that Sony has seen as beneficial to this hi-fi, so there it is. No matter what the source of the music is, the CMTMX500i delivers extremely good sound. Its looks will flatter any living room (or any room, for that matter) and it is powerful enough to run a decent sized party. Thanks to modern technology, Sony has been able to create a very small, yet stylish device. And thanks to their willingness to embrace all kinds of sources, they have created what is arguably the most versatile micro hi-fi around. We applaud that! g g l a d g e t h a r d wa r e • i s s u e 9 • J u l y 2 0 1 1

AT A GLANCE: PROS:

• Versatile • Excellent sound • Looks great

CONS:

• Single CD player

Manufacturer: Sony Distributor: Sony Online: Sony RRP: R2499

TECH SPECS: • • • • • •

iPod input Radio tuner CD player USB input Auxiliary input Remote control

Score

With so many options for sources and excellent sound, this is a real winner!

96 35


Nitho Universal Dock Charger

Charge Me!

A universal solution for PS3 and Move controllers by Charlie Fripp

A

lot of companies make peripherals and accessories for all the individual consoles, but first-party accessories are usually a bit more pricey than third-party ones. This is where Nitho comes in, as they supply a wide range of accessories at affordable price for both the PS 3 and Xbox 360. Their Universal Dock Charger solution for PS3 and PS Move controllers is one such accessory, and it works really well. The station is sturdily built, and although the PS3 has to stand upright, it effectively secures it from tipping over. The docking station comes with a small power cable at the back, which plugs into the PS3. The PS3’s power cable plugs straight into the station, which in turn allows all the PS controllers to be charged while the actual PS unit is switched off – which is fantastic. The same goes for the Move controllers. The docking station comes with four special cups that lock into position in order to hold the Move controllers in place while they charge. The only real problem is that the docking station lights up like a kid in a candy store when switched on, and the light emanating from the charge indicator lights is enough to light up a room with blue and green. g

36

AT A GLANCE: PROS:

• Pass-through power system • 2.0 USB hub with 4 plugs

CONS:

• PS3 unit stands upright • Charge lights are very bright

Manufacturer: Nitho Distributor: Gammatek Online: www.gammatek.co.za RRP: R499

TECH SPECS: • Built-in 1,5A AC adapter • Compatible with PS Move • 2.0 USB hub with 4 plugs • Pass-through power system

Score

Really well-built, the charger will ease a lot of charging hassles.

83

g l a d g e t h a r d wa r e • i s s u e 9 • J u l y 2 0 1 1


EACH

9 9 1 R “2”, “PlayStation”, “PS3” and “ ” are trademarks or registered trademarks of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. “ ” is a trademark of the same company.“Ô” is a registered trademark of Sony Corporation. “Blu-ray Disc” and “BD” are trademarks. All rights reserved.

RRP

Stock may vary from store to store.


Razer Onza Xbox 360 Controller

Snakebite!

Razer steps into the console arena by Walt Pretorius

W

hen it comes to console controllers, there aren’t too many third party offerings that trump original, first-party designs. If you’re using an Xbox 360, for example, the controller made by Microsoft is generally the best one to use. There are some, though, that make good alternatives - particularly when they’re created by a company with a lot of experience in gaming controllers and devices... and few companies can claim as much expertise as Razer. The Razer Onza is a wired controller for use with the Xbox 360 console. The fact that it is wired is a bit of a let-down, because wireless gaming is preferable. That said, the cable attached to the Onza is very generous in length, and the user never really has to worry about batteries giving out during a frantic gaming session. The Onza is an extremely light and very comfortable controller. It’s design is well thought out, and long gaming sessions with this controller will lead to a little more comfort than the original Xbox 360 controllers.

38

The device is beautifully contoured, and sits perfectly in the user’s hands. As far as controls go, the Onza uses a standard Xbox 360 configuration, with a little added extra. All the normal buttons are present, of course, but two extra bumpers are mounted on the shoulders of the controller. These can be mapped to any function that the controller has - the most useful of which is probably the L or R3 stick-click. The extra bumpers mean that the original bumpers are slimmer than on a normal Xbox 360 controller. However, they have been contoured in such a way that the player won’t go about accidentally hitting the wrong buttons. As long as the player knows where the buttons are positioned - relative to each other - they will be able to discern between the two sets of bumper buttons easily, without looking. While the other buttons follow a standard configuration, they are a bit different from the standard controller. The triggers are slimmer, for example, and angled in a way that g l a d g e t h a r d wa r e • i s s u e 9 • J u l y 2 0 1 1


is a bit more comfortable. The D-Pad is comprised of four directional buttons, rather than a multidirectional rocker, which makes things a little easier when using it. The four face buttons are extremely sensitive, requiring very little pressure. The analogue sticks do not have nodules on them, so telling the direction the stick is being pushed in can be a little tricky. Additionally, the Start and Back buttons have been inconveniently placed at the base of the controller, near the headphone jack... although the programmable bumpers can be set to take care of their functions. And speaking of the jack, it is not standardised - the older Xbox headset won’t fit. But Razer also produce a Xbox 360 headset, which will probably work just fine with the Onza. Aside from a few niggles, the Onza works just fine. It’s stylish and extremely responsive, making it a good alternative for those looking for an effective third-party Xbox 360 controller. Whether it’s better than the original... well, that will come down to personal taste. g g l a d g e t h a r d wa r e • i s s u e 9 • J u l y 2 0 1 1

AT A GLANCE: PROS:

• Responsive • Comfortable • Programmable buttons

CONS:

• Corded • Some button placements • Headphone jack

Manufacturer: Razer Distributor: Apex Interactive Online: www.apexint.co.za RRP: R599.95

TECH SPECS: • 5m cord • Enhanced ergonomics • Programmable buttons • Precision D-pad • Fast button actuation • Textured surface

Score

A good alternative to first party Xbox 360 controllers.

90 39


Western Digital My Book Studio Edition II

Store It All! A massive data vault…

by Walt Pretorius

O

ver many years, Western Digital have made quite a name for themselves as data storage specialists. While the company may be wellknown for their hard drives, they have several other devices which also stand out. Last month, for example, we took a look at their TV Live Hub media player (which, incidentally, you can win in this issue of Gladget). It showed remarkable quality and performance, and certainly was a bit removed from the devices that made them famous. The My Book Studio Edition II, though, is a little closer to what one might assume is their bread and butter. This device serves as a data storage and backup system and can, out of the box, store up to 6TB of data. It has two modes - the user can either go for maximum storage, or maximum data security. With the second option, the units uses it’s two internal hard drives to create two exact copies of the user’s data. That cuts the capacity

40

in half, pretty much, but 3TB is still not something to sneeze at in terms of data storage. Because of these options, the device is brilliant for those who need to store large amounts of data on what is essentially a very fancy external hard drive. The box punts its use for creative professionals - images, video and music take up a lot of drive space, after all, and this device offers a great option for secure storage without cluttering up the user’s machine’s native drives. The My Book Studio Edition II offers three ways of connecting to a computer; USB, Firewire and eSATA. It sports a single USB and eSATA port, as well as two Firewire 800 ports. Strangely, though, there is no LAN connection facility - an oversight, in my mind. Sure, it can be connected to a network via a user’s PC, but an option for a direct network connection - effectively creating a communal storage repository - would have been a nice added extra. g l a d g e t h a r d wa r e • i s s u e 9 • J u l y 2 0 1 1


It’s not a massive oversight, though, as a little settings tweaking can achieve pretty much the same effect. The unit is an uncomplicated, solidly constructed metal box. The power switch and all connection ports are situated at the back, along with an AC adapter port and a cable lock port. On the front, which is finished in a silver brushed metal, is a power indicator that doubles as a capacity gauge. As the drives fill up, this gauge will indicate usage. It’s a nice extra feature, because it saves just a little time. In the box, along with the unit, you’ll find software for various backup functions, as well as two of the three cables you may want - eSATA is not included. This device is a good option for those who need reliable and secure data storage. Although it lacks LAN capabilities, it still provides a massive storage space - even at half capacity - and is as reliable as it is aesthetically pleasing. g g l a d g e t h a r d wa r e • i s s u e 9 • J u l y 2 0 1 1

AT A GLANCE: PROS:

• 2 operation modes • Tons of space

CONS:

• No LAN connection

Manufacturer: Western Digital Distributor: Pinnacle Africa Online: www.pinnacle.co.za RRP: R4599

TECH SPECS: • 6TB storage • Capacity indicator • eSATA connection • USB connection • Firewire 8oo connection

Score

It looks good, and it performs very well… it even has storage options!

85 41


040 Review GMC Case [2]

Classy

A case to complement any desk top. by Alex Scanlon

K

orean case makers GMC really do produce a mixed bag of products. We’ve seen cases from them that leave a lot to be desired, and others that are extremely good. This one, the Double-X, has elements of both sides of the scale. In terms of looks, this is a pretty case indeed. GMC obviously wanted to go for something a little less edgy and a little more stylish with the oddly named Double-X (only one X away from being naughty) and opted for an all-black metal and glossy plastic design. And when we say all black, we mean all black. The front, sides, back and interior of the case are black, either plastic or powder-coated metal. The effect is extremely elegant, and good looking components built into the case would look extremely impressive, if it had a side panel window. It doesn’t, though - the side panel offers only two places to fit 120mm fans, to aid in cooling. These are in the form of

42

round-holed grills, which you wouldn’t be able to see much through. These fans are not supplied standard, which is a pity. Standard fans come in the form of three 120mm devices - two in the front, and one in the back. The two front fans glow which, thanks to the semi-translucent fan cover that makes up around half of the front of the case, leads to a rather funky effect. If the fan cover is opened (for extra cooling, let’s say) the fans sit behind a fine-mesh removable grill. In addition to the fans, the case has a vent in the bottom, to help with airflow over the PSU (which, unlike most cases, is bottom-mounted here). Above the fan cover on the front of the case is a panel with 2 USB ports, ear- and headphone jacks, a power switch, and a reset switch that doubles as a HDD indicator. Below that is space for a floppy drive (do people still use those?) and above a door to house a single optical drive behind. g l a d g e t h a r d wa r e • i s s u e 9 • J u l y 2 0 1 1


The interior is roomy, with a repositionable HDD bracket, which the user can vary to take advantage of the airflow from the two big front fans. What it isn’t, though, is screwless - always a minus in our book. We have seen some great screwless options from GMC, so why this wasn’t one of them we’re not too sure. For the most part, it’s a good looking case (although the overly pretentious font chosen for the case name on the fan cover is a bit much). It allows for decent cooling, but it isn’t necessarily a case for a high performance system - GMC have other options if you want to go that route. Rather, this is a more understated box, one that look more stylish than mean. It’s roomy enough to work in, and there aren’t too many sharp edges for the PC builder to lacerate themselves on. It’s not a top-of-the-line box, but it does look the part. Aside from not having a side window (which would have looked so cool, thanks to the black interior) and needing screws, it’s a good option. g g l a d g e t h a r d wa r e • i s s u e 9 • J u l y 2 0 1 1

AT A GLANCE: PROS:

• Stylish • All-black • Good air-flow

CONS:

• Needs screws • No side window

Manufacturer: GMC Distributor: Pinnacle Africa Online: www.pinnacle.co.za RRP: R399

TECH SPECS: • 2 x front USB ports • Bottom PCS bracket • Fr0nt sound ports • 3 x 120mm fans

Score

A decent case that looks pretty good, although it does make use of screws.

79 43


Nitho PS3 Arch Charger

Charge in Style! It’s pretty, and it works beautifully…

by Alex Scanlon

T

he market is quite full of third party devices to use with consoles. From controllers through to sports-style add-ons, anything goes really. But the most useful - arguably - section of third party peripherals come in the form of charge stations. Nitho’s Arch Charger for the PS3 is a stylish unit that will charge two standard controllers, as well as two Move controllers (or a Move and Navigation controller) simultaneously. The stylishly designed dock fits the controllers at the out edges, while the Move controllers slot into the middle. And all this charging takes up only one USB port. If plugged into the PS3, the unit won’t charge controllers unless the console is powered up. However, a seperate power adapter is also supplied, which frees up the PS3’s USB ports and keeps the controllers charging constantly. As an added touch, a white strip along the front of the arch houses an LED light for each controller, which changes from blue (charging) to green (fully charged.) The Nitho PS3 Arch Charger is a great way to ensure that your controllers are always at full power. It also saves space, keeps things neat and tidy, and looks really good to boot. g

44

AT A GLANCE: PROS:

• Looks great • Independent power option • Neat

CONS:

• Feels a bit flimsy

Manufacturer: Nitho Distributor: Gammatek Online: www.gammatek.co.za RRP: R399

TECH SPECS: • USB powered • Independant power supply • Charges all PS3 controllers • LED indicator lights

Score

A good looking alternative for charging your PS3 controllers

88

g l a d g e t h a r d wa r e • i s s u e 9 • J u l y 2 0 1 1


c ompe t i t io n • c omp eti ti o n • c om pe tit ion • com pe t ition • com pe t it ion

Entertainment

WIN

A Western Digital TV Live Hub media player! Courtesy of Pinnacle Africa and Western Digital TO ENTER: Send an email to competitions@gamecca.co.za. Tell us the name of the TV Live Hub manufacturer. Insert ‘WD competition’ in the mail’s subject line. Subscribe to www.gamecca.co.za Become a fan on Gamecca’s Facebook Page

Competition closes 31 July 2011. Gamecca subscribers only. South African residents only. Prizes may not be exchanged for cash. Competition closed to employees (& employee’s family) of 1337 Media CC & Pinnacle Africa. The judges’ decision is final.


Sony NEX-VG10E Handycam

Bigger, Better… A more serious video camera

by Walt Pretorius

T

here’s a strange duality in capturing images, at times; people will go out and get the best still camera money can buy, but will settle for an entry level video camera. They might be sporting the latest DSLR camera, with a bag full of lenses, and will make do with a video camera that fits in their pocket and shoots footage that is just barely HD via a completely automated system. But if people are willing to take the time to perfect their photography skills, surely they would do the same for videography? Perhaps the lack of knowledge, in terms of products, is the problem. Or perhaps they are intimidated by high end video cameras, both in terms of technicality and price. There is a category, though, that sits between the two in almost ebery kind of technology, video cameras included. One could call it “semi-professional”, or could even resort to the horrible, made-up term “pro-sumer”. Either way, Sony have a Handycam that sits perfectly

46

in this niche - it is easy to use, yet allows for a degree of control and versatility that lower range video cameras come nowhere near. The Sony NEX-VG10E Handycam sits on the line between cheap and easy, and expensive and complicated. It has numerous features that allow for ease of use, without stripping away control from the user. It is an area that we don’t often see popular goods in, at least not in terms of video cameras. But anyone who takes their videography seriously, or would even just like the ability to experiment and play with various techniques should seriously consider this kind of video camera. The unit is far bigger than most ‘pocket’ video cameras, thanks in part to the fact that it sports a massive lens. This lens has a great zoom function, controlled by a lens ring similar to a DLSR zoom lens. Another ring can be used to manually focus. And, best of all, the lens can be interchanged with Sony E-mount lenses. In fact, with the right adapter, Sony A-mount lenses, like those used by the g l a d g e t h a r d wa r e • i s s u e 9 • J u l y 2 0 1 1


Sony Alpha DSLR range of cameras, can also be used. Naturally, the NEX-VG10E shoots full 1080p resolution. It can also shoot still images at 14 megapixels, which adds a greater degree of versatility to it. Images and video are stored on SD card, and the device can make use of SD XC cards, for that added capacity. In addition to an interchangeable lens, the unit is armed with a high quality 4 capsule stereo microphone. Video can be filmed via a fold out LCD screen, or via an adjustable top-mounted view finder. In addition, the LCD screen can be used for video playback. Behind the screen there are a host of controls, which the videographer can use to adjust shutter speed, f-stop, white balance and a whole lot more. Of course, they can also choose automatic shooting modes, if they wish. For a rather technical video camera, the NEX-VG10E is surprisingly user-friendly. Anyone who wants to take video that is better than run-of-the-mill should seriously look at this device... it’s a brilliant gateway to greater things. g g l a d g e t h a r d wa r e • i s s u e 9 • J u l y 2 0 1 1

AT A GLANCE: PROS:

• Very versatile • User-friendly • Awesome quality

CONS: • Price

Manufacturer: Sony Distributor: Sony Online: www.sony/co/za RRP: R21999

TECH SPECS: • Full HD • Interchangeable lenses • 4 Capsule stereo mic • 14mp still images • SD XC compatible • E-mount lens compatible

Score

This ‘semi-pro’ video camera is perfect for those who want to further their videography skills…

90 47


Encyclopaedia Britannica 2011 Deluxe Edition

In the Know

Reliable research – what a wonderful thing! by Alex Scanlon

T

he Internet is a wonderfully vast repository of knowledge, and one that proves rather valuable in researching a wide variety of topics. But there are certain problems with the Internet that cannot be denied. Chief among these is the fact that anyone can start up and populate a website with information. These sources aren’t always reliable, or even unbiased. In fact, even reputable websites, like Wikipedia, feature articles that require citation and verification, because they are community driven. This does not mean that there aren’t experts writing for sites like this, of course, but one can never really be sure. That’s where research software comes in handy – and the reputation that Encyclopaedia Britannica carries with it is massive. This ‘publication’ goes back a great many years – some of you may have fond memories of a massive bank of books taking up a whole shelf in the book-case, dealing with almost every topic under the sun. Well, Britannica have kept up with the times. Now, instead of those books, you can get their articles on a

48

DVD, for use with your PC or Mac. The big upside is that research in this medium is very fast indeed, and an Internet connection – although recommended so that you can make use of online updates and extended services – is not a necessity. Additionally, many of the articles covered by the Encyclopaedia Britannica 2011 Deluxe Edition have multimedia content, which enriches the research and learning experience. The 2011 Deluxe Edition offers more than 80 000 articles for you to make use of, which obviously isn’t exhaustive, but covers a great deal of topics. These articles are written by reliable, credible authors, including Nobel laureates, historians and noted experts. In addition, a World atlas, dictionary and thesaurus are included in the bundle. And it goes even further, allowing numerous ways to research, including broad categories and brainstorming pathways, as well as project management facilities, bookmarking and virtual notecards. Images and articles can also be exported, if necessary, to be included in things g l a d g e t s o f t wa r e • i s s u e 9 • J u l y 2 0 1 1


like school projects and other reports. And let’s not forget the benefit of no annoying pop-ups and other Internet related stuff to interfere while you’re doing your research – not even a slow connection can affect it. On the downside, some of the articles feel a little sparse in their information, and one or two of the articles felt like there might have been just a little bias attached to them. If nothing else, though, they serve as a touch-stone for further research, and can confirm facts where there might be doubt. On the whole, this is a very valuable resource, particularly for students and scholars. Also, having an internet connection handy – if you are willing to pay around R50.00 a month for subscription – opens up even more information via Britannica’s online services. In addition, the fact that the software requires very little in terms of computing power means that the package is within reach of a greater number of people. Encyclopaedia Britannica 2011 Deluxe Edition is something that every parent and student should consider. g g l a d g e t s o f t wa r e • i s s u e 9 • J u l y 2 0 1 1

AT A GLANCE: PROS:

• Credible • Easy to use • Extra tools

CONS:

• Some articles feel a bit light…

Manufacturer: Encyclopaedia Britannica Distributor: Phoenix software Online: www.phoenissoftware.co.za RRP: R299.99

With tons of articles and other resources, this software is a must for those needing to do regular research.

TECH SPECS: • • • • •

80 700 + articles Atlas Dictionary Thesaurus Extended online features

Score

80 49


Joystick Junkies Handheld Console Bag

In the BagBag A carrier for everyone

by Alex Scanlon

T

he thing with buying a bag or case to transport a handheld console in is that, so often, they tend to be specific to a particular type. Those that want a little versatility - in other words, not fanboys who only stick to one console - can take a look at this option from Joystick Junkies. Despite being a little on the ugly side (hey, I’m just being honest here) the bag allows for a lot of versatility... purely because it is simple. It is comprised of two pockets, and will fit any handheld currently on the market comfortably. The bag is padded, to help protect the console, and the interior of the bag won’t leave lint all over the screen. In truth, although this bag is made for consoles, it actually offers far more versatility, thanks to its simplicity. A long strap is also provided, but using it does make the bag look a little like a lady’s handbag. The bag is also rather well made, so it should last. If you can get past the looks, it’s a decent option. g

50

AT A GLANCE: PROS:

• Versatile • Tough

CONS:

• Not the prettiest • Price

Manufacturer: Joystick Junkies Distributor: Phoenix Software Online: www.phoenixsoftware.co.za RRP: R499.99

TECH SPECS: • Two compartments • Padded • Strap • Fits any handheld console

Score

A versatile – if ugly – carrier for handheld consoles

75

g l a d g e t h a r d wa r e • i s s u e 9 • J u l y 2 0 1 1


Nitho PS3 Sports Pack

Make Believe Attachments for added reality

by Charlie Fripp

A

lthough the PlayStation 3’s Move is a fantastic piece of hardware, the controller can become a bit bland after a while... especially when playing games that involve hitting a ball with a racquet or paddle – swinging a blob of plastic feels unrealistic. But Nitho has devised a couple of peripheral enhancements that will bring many of the sports games to life, in the form of clip-on attachments for the Move controller that represent a golf club, ping-pong paddle and small tennis racquet. The attachments have been made from durable plastic, especially the ping-pong paddles, which have been manufactured from a sturdy foam-based material. The tennis racquet isn’t the biggest one we have seen – it’s actually tiny, and almost laughable, but it works for its purpose. The same can be said for the golf club, and will be better suited in the kiddie’s toy area, but it conveys its intentions rather well. The Nitho PS3 Move attachments aren’t a necessity by any stretch of the imagination, but it could be fun and worthwhile to get them if there are little ones who make use of the Move and struggle to get their aiming right. g

52

AT A GLANCE: PROS:

• Sturdily built • Functions well • Easy to clip on

CONS:

• Looks a bit silly

TECH SPECS: • 2x golf clubs • 2x tennis racquets • 2x Table tennis paddles • 2x adapters

Manufacturer: Nitho Distributor: Gammatek Online: www.gammatek.co.za RRP: R299

Score

Although some of them look a bit silly, they function well for their design.

78

g l a d g e t h a r d wa r e • i s s u e 9 • J u l y 2 0 1 1


InFamous 2

Electrifying!

Cole McGrath’s adventure continues…

W

hen a sequel comes along to a game that you really enjoy, there’s always a moment - a brief, fleeting moment - that sees you experience just a little bit of doubt. Will the game live up to its predecessor? Theoretically, any sequel should be an improvement on what came before, thanks to advances in technology and game-making techniques. But even the best technology doesn’t mean that the game being driven by it will be a little slice of awesomeness... there’s a lot more to a game than technology, after all. In fact, most of the technology is hidden under the hood, and you might have to really look for it to see it. Rather, it’s the game dynamic that suffers in sequels, in the same way that the plot might suffer in a follow-up movie. It seems, at times, that some game developers rest on their laurels, and create games that are just good enough to ride on the coat-tails of their predecessors. But if you were a fan of the first InFamous game (and if you are a PS3 owner who has not played that title, then shame on you) none of the above will apply. The momentary doubt felt when slipping the InFamous 2 disc

54

by Walt Pretorius

into the PS3 is unnecessary. The sequel, quite simply, is excellent. Its not the first franchise to show major improvements, of course - things like Assassin’s Creed spring to mind - but the improvements made to the game are of such a nature that they aren’t overpowering. Let’s be honest... the first game was pretty great to start with, so the tweaks in this one often seem to be cosmetic. But the technical improvements are there in InFamous 2, rest assured. The game continues the tale of the first game’s protagonist; Cole McGrath is forced to flee Empire City when the prophesied Beast arrives. He makes his way south to the city of New Marais, which becomes the new playground for the player. While Empire City certainly reminded one of New York City in many ways, New Marais has the flavour of postKatrina New Orleans. The sprawling city was also victim of a disaster (in this case a flood that makes controlling the electrically charged Cole a challenge in later stages of the game). But beyond that, the city has the eclectic and bohemian feel that one associates with New Orleans,

g agml ae d c cgae tr evvi di eewo •g ai m s seu e• 1 i s7s u•e N9o v•e m J ubl ey r 22001110


ranging from areas that are strongly reminiscent of the French Quarter right through to shanty towns. New Marais feels wonderfully believable. Naturally, you need enemies in a free-roaming action adventure like this, and InFamous 2 offers the player three varieties. The first are a bunch of militia lead by a charismatic and rather insane, power-hungry local politician. The second are a pack of mutated humans coming out of the swamps (it seems that the power of the ray sphere explosion in the first game affected more than just Empire City.) And the third is a team of mercenaries, augmented by the power unleashed by that explosion. They are South African, too (once again we get to be the bad guys) with accents that range from a passable turn of phrase you might here in the Johannesburg suburbs right through to a ridiculous mangling of the way we speak here. But it’s still pretty cool... besides, we’re used to people not being able to get our accent right. And hearing someone get it just a little wrong (so that, for example, the word “fight” sounds a lot like “fart”) is amusing. Actually, there is a fourth enemy as well, in the form of the Beast. However, we don’t want to talk about him too

gladget video game • issue 9 • July 2011

much, because he is integral to the story. And what a story it is. Just like the first game, InFamous 2 offers a tale that is complex and full of intrigue. And the player has a bit of influence over it, as before. See, the player can decide whether they want to be a good guy, or a nasty villain. This is determined, as before, through their actions, in the form of major choices, side mission selection and general activities while in New Marais. To follow the good path, for example, the player will be able to heal the sick and diffuse bombs. On the other hand, he can attack cops and beat up street performers. Virtually every action has some effect on the way that the people of New Marais see the character. The powers for the two paths are quite different, too, although they are all based on lightning. In addition, Cole will befriend other charcters who also display powers, and they will add options for good or evil actions. These friendships will, at later stages in the game, even modify Cole’s powers, but you’ll have to play the game to find out about those changes. The action in this game is exactly what players of the previous title would expect: free-roaming, with lots of

55


fighting and cool movement options. All of these can be affected by Cole’s powers as they grow within the game. Speaking of powers, a tweaked control system will allow the player to easily change between different kinds of powers - in effect keeping the control scheme simple while adding a lot more variety than the first game had on offer. If a criticism must be made - and it’s kind of my job to criticise - then it would have to fall to certain elements of the graphics. Overall, the game looks stunning, to be honest - a vast improvement over the previous title, with nice little extra details and nuances to make the world even more believable. The problem arises from clipping - every now and then the character models will interact incorrectly with their surroundings, resulting in Cole looking like he’s passing through objects that should be solid. But these instances are admittedly few and far between, and tend to be brief inaccuracies, rather than ruinous annoyances.

56

As an added bonus, those who played the first game will be able to import their save games into InFamous 2, which will give them a few small advantages. While playing the first title isn’t absolutely necessary to enjoy InFamous 2, it certainly is advised; the continuity between the two games is great. As far as free-roaming action adventure games go, Sucker Punch are running two for two with this really great franchise. And when you consider that the first game can still hold its own against newer titles, then the improvements made to the new InFamous are really something worth experiencing. This is a game that every fan of the genre should play - it’s a reason to buy a PlayStation 3, if you don’t have one already. And it’s a reason to get the first game, too, if you somehow managed to miss out on it. This franchise is superb... there will be no momentary doubts if a sequel to InFamous 2 comes out. g

gladget video game • issue 9 • July 2011


An awesome addition to the franchise… fans will be thrilled by McGrath’s adventures in New Maarais. Developer: Sucker Punch Publisher: SCEE Distributor: Ster Kinekor

Parental Advisory Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

16+ gladget video game • issue 9 • July 2011

Accessibility Hard-Core Medium Casual

PS3 Platforms

AT A GLANCE:

PC X360 Kinect

PS3 Move

Wii PSP DS 3DS

Score

97 57


Dungeon Siege 3

Reinvention Prepare for some teamwork

F

ans of action adventure games - particularly the kind in which the player gets to beat up throngs of bad guys in a fantasy setting - will likely be familiar with the Dungeon Siege franchise. The first two Dungeon Siege games saw players taking on a whole bunch of fantasy-type high adventure as they went from zero to hero in a rich and diverse world that allowed for a fairly free-form adventure style, complete with tons of equipment and side quests. There has been a change in the Dungeon Siege franchise, however, in terms of development and publishing. The third instalment of the game got put together by Obsidian (instead of Gas Powered Games), and was published by Square Enix (rather than Microsoft.) A change in publisher does not always mean that the game will be effected, but when its Square Enix, you can pretty much be sure that things are going to change, even if just a little. The company seems to have a strong idea of their identity created through the games they publish, and so it seem that titles touched by them get influenced. And Dungeon Siege III is no different.

58

by Walt Pretorius The changes are noticeable right off the bat; while that game is not a JRPG, it does have some elements that have been influenced by this genre - which is exactly where Square Enix made their name. The story features a lot of cut scenes and a fair amount of reading, and the character menus, while not strictly JRPG in nature, certainly do have a feel that stems from the genre. Similarly, some of the character design seems to have been influenced by popular Japanese cultural movements... we’re talking moderately crazy hair and the like. On the other hand, Dungeon Siege III also has elements that felt a lot like the more ‘traditional’, Westernised action adventure; an isometric view-point and real-time combat that doesn’t take a hell of a lot of strategy to get through. So, in the end, Dungeon Siege III is a strange and rather refreshing mix between the two, which makes for something of a change. It is very important to note that this particular game was built with co-op in mind. Like Darkspore (which we reviewed last month) it is a game that is unforgiving to the single player. While it is not impossible for a single player to smash their way through some of the game’s

g agml ae d c cgae tr evvi di eewo •g ai m s seu e• 1 i s7s u•e N9o v•e m J ubl ey r 22001110


Additionally, one player will be responsible for saving the game’s progress, and team mates who miss out on sections will be automatically levelled-up when they rejoin. But this requires the same team to meet time and again - characters do not carry over between different game sessions. The four playable characters work well to complement each-other. Each has a close and ranged attack, and some are better than others. A full team works well, particularly if the players understand their characters’ strengths and weaknesses. In the end, Dungeon Siege III will be exactly what the players make of it. It’s far from perfect, but it does provide an enjoyable hack-and-slash stop-gap until You-Know-Who 3 finally arrives. As a single player game it’s a little on the tough side, but it works well as a co-op title. With the right attitude and good teamwork, Dungeon Siege III will provide players with a rewarding enough experience. g

AT A GLANCE: It’s quite a break from the rest of the franchise, but will provide a decent experience in co-op mode. Developer: Obsidian Publisher: Square Enix Distributor: Megarom

Parental Advisory Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

16+ gladget video game • issue 9 • July 2011

Accessibility Hard-Core Medium Casual

X360 Platforms

bigger challenges, they should be prepared to die a lot in the process. Rather, the best way to experience this game is in four-player co-op, with each player controlling one of the key characters in the title. In that mode, many of the game’s weaker aspects (like lacklustre voice acting and graphics that could have been better) have less of an impact... it turns into a very fun way to kill a few hours (and monsters)with friends. Certain things have been built into the title to support this idea. The inventory system, for example, won’t see characters quibbling about equipment and spending time chopping and changing items between themselves. Rather, specific characters use specific items and no matter who picks them up, the items will appear in the inventories of the characters who can use them automatically. This helps keep the action fast paced and avoids unnecessary arguments. On the other hand, gold is communal, so you’ll have more than enough to quibble about when buying new equipment from in-game vendors. The game is pretty generous with items, though, so the need to actually spend the team’s gold to get that really cool sword or rifle (yes, there are guns in the game) is kept to a minimum.

PC X360 Kinect

PS3 Move

Wii PSP DS 3DS

Score

76 59


Red Faction Armageddon

Red-headed Step-Planet

Aliens and rebels out to ruin your day.

T

he original Red Faction was awesome. Just as a concept it was truly unique, when just about every other FPS on the scene was very samey. The developers had Geomod technology: a physics and terrain system that allowed for destructible environments. The demo famously had a test room with some glass panels and interactive terrain that let you sample the engine’s wares, while the full game had a few novel uses of this technology. We’ll ignore the second game because it was terrible and jump straight to the third, 2009’s Red Faction: Guerrilla. Guerrilla gave us some of the trademark Red Faction destruction, in an open world. It was Grand Theft Mars. With less pedestrians to run over and a whole lot of nothing on the Martian landscapes. It felt awesome, driving around and causing havoc, but there wasn’t really much in the way of things to do outside the missions. Armageddon backtracks a bit, exchanging open environments for a more linear level-based mission structure. The destructible environments persist, but

60

by Christo van Gemert

remain limited in what they bring to the actual gameplay. In fact, this would be the same game without the Geomod physics. Sure, you now have the awesome magnet gun that lets you magnetise two surfaces and use the physics engine to dismiss enemies, but it doesn’t bring anything new to the missions. Whether you make an enemy fly towards a magnetised wall and let him splat, or make the wall crumble apart and crush a group of unsuspecting marauders, makes no difference. It’s still a case of “arrive at checkpoint, get instructions, take out a wave of enemies, proceed to the next area”. What RFA really needs is fully destructible levels, not the impervious walls and rocks it currently has. Shoot a rocket into the ground to create a hole for a trap. Smash your way through a wall, using the Maul, and flank your enemies. Yes, it’s a linear game, but it’s still possible to make players feel like they have the freedom to complete objectives in different ways. All we get are semidestructible rooms with some scenery to smash up. At least doing the latter will gain you “salvage”, the game’s currency for buying modifications for your character.

g agml ae d c cgae tr evvi di eewo •g ai m s seu e• 1 i s7s u•e N9o v•e m J ubl ey r 22001110


- and the action is really fun. Sadly, there’s little physicsbased gameplay here, and you’re left relying mostly on “shooting things with weapons” rather than “make a building collapse to defeat a bad guy”. There are two types of Infestation maps, too. Survive maps, as the name implies, require you to fend off aliens until you die. Defend maps see you protecting a structure, fending off attacks and repairing damage before it gets demolished. Were it not for the multiplayer mode, this wouldn’t be a particularly noteworthy title. The campaign is good, but a bit of a let-down as far as creativity goes. There are far better single-player experiences, but this brings fun to the table with an excellent online mode. If you enjoyed the Horde mode in Gears of War, this will tide you over until the third game arrives late this year, but it won’t last much longer than that. Let’s hope the next Red Faction title makes better use of its great environmental physics. g

AT A GLANCE: Get this for a fun Martian multiplayer romp, even though it’s a bit bland everywhere else. Developer: Volition Publisher: THQ Distributor: Ster Kinekor

Parental Advisory Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

18+ gladget video game • issue 9 • July 2011

Accessibility Hard-Core Medium Casual

X360 Platforms

As it stands, the linear missions and semi-interesting storyline make it a by-the-numbers action shooter. The awesome selection of weapons isn’t done justice, though, as you can just use bullets to kill most enemies, or explosives to kill hordes of them. It’s not particularly pretty, either. Player models are quite pretty, but the colour palette is a very Martian selection of red, brown or hues of grey. Now and then you’ll get some bright blue lights, but don’t count on the diversity of a Pride parade. Controls are spot-on, with no complexity to get in the way of the fun. The sound is also very good, with the assault rifles sounding impactful, while explosions can rock the room if you’ve got a subwoofer. Where RFA does come into its own is the multiplayer mode. Instead of featuring a co-op campaign (which could’ve been quite cool, had they chosen to implement more physics-based puzzles and action) there is a hordemode type game called Infestation. Here you can partner with up to three buddies and fend off thirty waves of enemies. There are a number of different levels available - with more probably planned as downloadable content

PC X360 Kinect

PS3 Move

Wii PSP DS 3DS

Score

76 61


Duke Nukem Forever

Finally!

But was it worth the wait?

D

o you know that feeling you get when a beloved family pet grows old? That nostalgia mixed with sadness and pity? It’s a feeling I suspect that many fans of Duke Nukem felt recently when Duke Nukem Forever arrived, after many years of promises, delays and waiting. Fans around the world were thrilled when the title was first announced (around the time that Noah looked out a portal and said that it looked like the rain was letting up) but the numerous delays and stalling dampened any hope of seeing the title actually arrive. Then, when Gearbox announced that they were picking the license up a few months ago, a resurgence of enthusiasm flowed through fans of the Duke. I mean, Gearbox, right? Borderlands? Brothers in Arms? It seemed that Duke Nukem would finally get the next outing many believed he so richly deserved. But when it comes to kicking ass and chewing bubble gum, it seems that Duke Nukem’s dentures are loose and he has arthritis in his feet. The game doesn’t so

62

by Alex Scanlon much charge along as hobble, possibly with the aid of a pulpit walker. Duke is old, tired, and probably long past his sell-by date; the game feels extremely anachronistic, both in execution and concept and, when finding the same old jokes that we came across in Duke Nukem 3D repeated here, the realisation dawns that this game wasn’t created for fan-boys, but rather by fan-boys. And that’s really surprising, because Gearbox is a very decent studio. Even if they took up development where other ill-fated teams left off, surely they should have created a game that stands toe-to-toe with modern firstperson shooters? I promised myself that I wouldn’t compare Duke Nukem Forever to games that didn’t apply, and that I would look to the spirit of the title, and whether it was in line with the spirit of the older games. It is. But you cannot overlook the fact that this horse is tired right out of the gate. The game’s plot has about as much depth as was expected which, in all honesty, isn’t much at all. It’s all about killing aliens and rescuing babes, which is fine. It

g agml ae d c cgae tr evvi di eewo •g ai m s seu e• 1 i s7s u•e N9o v•e m J ubl ey r 22001110


the fact that I had held out hope for this game, only to discover that the time for this type of title is long gone. The concept is old, the humour is old and the franchise is old. It was a game that I hoped would ressurect the flagging Duke Nukem franchise, but it didn’t. It assured me that the glory days of the Duke and his war against aliens are over. There are a lot of people that defend this game and, to their credit, Duke Nukem Forever does have it’s moments - particularly for those that enjoyed Duke Nukem 3D. But the truth is that nostalgia is not something that features strongly in the fast-changing world of video gaming. Duke Nukem Forever may strike a cord or two with older gamers, but it cannot stand toe-to-toe with games that are flooding the shelves these days. And even though the average age of gamers gets older every year, the younger market is very strong in the activity, and they may well not take well to game dynamics and humour that harkens back to a bygone era. g

AT A GLANCE: Although it has its moments, the long awaited Duke Nukem Forever feel dated. This is for true fans only. Developer: Gearbox Publisher: 2K Distributor: Megarom

Parental Advisory Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

18+ gladget video game • issue 9 • July 2011

Accessibility Hard-Core Medium Casual

X360 Platforms

even features a few highly amusing mini-games and lots of crude toilet humour, just as was expected. But it still doesn’t fly. It feels old in far too many ways. Take the graphics, for example; there are moments of really good looks in the game. But that’s not enough... we don’t want our games to sometimes look good. They have to look good all the time, and Duke, sadly, doesn’t. The voice acting is hammed up (which was to be expected) but it feels far too forced. The controls, too, are sluggish and feel like they belong in a game released ten years ago. And that’s just the thing. This is a game that should have been released a decade ago. For all intents and purposes, when the previous developers went bust, the project should have gone to its grave. It almost seems like this is a case of cashing in on a long-awaited game, and the hype that could be generated around the fact that it took so long to come out - rather than a project to which the development team was dedicated to the right degree. I know this all sounds rather angry, but it isn’t. I feel saddened by this, a horrible melancholy that stems from

PC X360 Kinect

PS3 Move

Wii PSP DS 3DS

Score

69 63


Movie of the Month DVD Seen

Breaking barriers

64

gladget regular • issue 9 • July 2011


The King’s Speech Imagine you have a speech impediment that you have struggled with all your life and suddenly extraordinary obligation requires you to inherit the role of King of the United Kingdom and the Dominions of the British Commonwealth, the last Emperor of India and the first Head of the Commonwealth. No pressure! This is a true story of the life of King George VI, more commonly known as Bertie (seeing as his name was originally Albert), in his struggle to overcome his obstacles in public speaking during a turbulent time of the growing tensions leading towards World War II. ‘The King’s Speech’ is a phenomenal portrayal of an in-depth glimpse at the psychology of the man behind a King, played by an inspiring Colin Firth. Encouraged by his wife Elizabeth and future Queen Mother (Helena Bonham Carter), Bertie, finds treatment with an eccentric Australian speech therapist named Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush). Through a bizarre set of techniques, an unlikely and unusual friendship develops, Bertie finds the courage, confidence and voice to boldly address the nation. This film is pure artistry, with solid direction from Tom Hooper, crisp editing and an exceptional approach to cinematography – the camera work alone conveys the emotionally charged situation beautifully. And it’s not as dry as one might think… the chemistry between the three lead actors is extremely enthralling, helping demonstrate why this film was such a big hit at the Oscars. Whether you enjoy dramas or not, this is a film every person should watch – if only to see how movies should be made. g DIRECTOR: Tom Hooper DISTRIBUTOR: Ster Kinekor

FPB Rating: 1PGL Score

STARRING: Colin Firth Geoffrey Rush Helena Bonham Carter

98

MOVIE

OF THE MONTH gladget regular • issue 9 • July 2011

65


DVD Seen

Broken Hill

A woman who works at a local hospice as a grief councillor becomes a widow herself and has to deal with her own grief… but as the widow soon discovers that this won’t be her biggest problem. Her husband, who died in a hit and run accident, leaves behind a son who soon takes over and becomes the problem child from hell. The Stepson was a good idea but just could not deliver. This movie could have been a real intense thriller, but instead the director decided to rush the film near the end… most probably due to time constraints or budget cuts. At least that’s the way it feels as the plot suddenly speeds up in the latter part of the film. Perhaps the script writer didn’t quite know how to handle the situation he created. Who knows? The acting of Christina Cox is definitely outdone by the strange Stepson Jon McLaren, who’s performance in the film is a very intense and insanely creepy one . g

66

DIRECTOR: Anthony Lefresne DISTRIBUTOR: Ster Kinekor

FPB Rating: 16VLN Score

STARRING: Christina Cox Jon McLaren Chris Potter

50

The dream of being a prolific composer is what inspires Tommy (Luke Arnold), a young hardworking teenager living in the harsh Australian outback with his strict father (Timothy Hutton), to do whatever it takes to fulfil his urge to re-create what he envisions and hears all around him. In his eagerness to impress Kat Rogers (Alexa Vega), a rebellious new American girl at school, he falls into a little trouble. This begins an unusual journey of choices that leads him down a path that merges his passion for composing with uplifting a group of prison inmates and unwittingly impressing the girl he is falling in love with. Although perhaps a little more toned down, I was reminded of the same inspirationally emotional stir of Kirsten Sheridan’s ‘August Rush’. This is a truly sweet movie with an Australian flavour that is family friendly with a couple of empowering messages that all ages could associate with. g

STARRING: Alexa Vega Luke Arnold Timothy Hutton

DIRECTOR: Dagen Merrill DISTRIBUTOR: Ster Kinekor

FPB Rating: PG Score

The Stepson

70

gladget regular • issue 9 • July 2011


Gun

The premise of Frozen is a bit of a strange one. From the box art it will almost seem impossible to make an entire film from the description that reads “Three skiers are stranded on a chairlift and forced to make life-or-death choices that prove more perilous than staying put and freezing to death”. Umm… there should be only two real choices here to jump or stay put and wait for help. But we didn’t make the film and it was up to director Adam Green to ensure the film comes to life (or death - which ever you prefer). Frozen is one of those films in which you just know that you can’t expect too much from the plot, directing or characters, but watch it anyways. The film isn’t bad per se, but little things could have made it a bit better - like a deeper story line. They are skiers, trapped on a ski lift. And their only choice is to stay in the chair and freeze to death or jump out and ski to safety? But that aside, the acting isn’t as bad as one would expect, even though nobody remotely famous plays in it. As for the direction, it’s always a bad idea if the director wrote the story himself. g

DIRECTOR: Adam Green DISTRIBUTOR: Ster Kinekor

gladget regular • issue 9 • July 2011

FPB Rating: 13VL Score

STARRING: Emma Bell Shawn Ashmore Kevin Zegers

60

Whatever happened to Val Kilmer? The last time he appeared in a good movie was 2005 (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang) and despite no lack of trying he just can’t seem to come close to his former glory. He was at one point famous enough to be Batman for a while, but these days everything with him in it is bound to be dismal. To avoid such examples, don’t watch The Thaw or Kilmer’s other collaboration with Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, Streets Of Blood. Gun suffers from two flaws also found in those unepics. First, if you were expecting a solid action movie (including a cameo by badass numero uno, Danny Trejo), the story is too convoluted. It tries (and fails) to be some edgy drama about criminals and their choices. The second problem is Kilmer himself. He looks bloated and disinterested, as if he is following in the footsteps of Marlon Brando. Even Steven Seagal’s new stuff is more interesting than this. g

STARRING: Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson Val Kilmer Danny Trejo

DIRECTOR: Jessy Terrero DISTRIBUTOR: Ster Kinekor

FPB Rating: 16VLS Score

Frozen

45

67


DVD Seen

Blue Crush 2

This one is a bit odd. Not odd in the sense that the film’s plot doesn’t work out, but in odd in the way that it stars well-known actor Malcolm McDowell and nobody else of any significance. The film has a high age restriction for a few scenes in the very beginning, but other than that, it’s fairly tame in all the other departments. But the plot revolves around a group of students who sleep with very wealthy men in order to get scholarships. McDowell plays the middle-man, and when something goes wrong, the film takes on a twist in the form of a who-dunnit. Besides for the ample eye-candy that the film likes to flaunt, McDowell is pretty much the saving grace and if it wasn’t for him, the movie would have turned out to be just another B-grade. Sure the acting is a bit dodgy at times, but at least it’s not all bad, and can provide for some interesting entertainment. In the very least it will have the viewer thinking about what lengths teenagers will go to, to get what they want. g

68

DIRECTOR: Tamar Simon Hoffs DISTRIBUTOR: Ster Kinekor

FPB Rating: 18VSNL Score

STARRING: Malcolm McDowell Ashley Wren Collins Timothy Bottoms

60

Blue Crush 2, a straight-to-DVD release from Universal, tells the story of a young woman who is haunted by the death of her mother, and decides to return to the land of her mother’s birth: South Africa. Oh, incidentally, both the girl and her mom are surfers, so the girl decides to travel the country and surf at all the spots her mom did before she went to live in the States. OK, so we have teenage odyssey mixed with surf film. That should pretty much sum up the plot, which contains all the kind of stuff you would expect from this kind of film. The real joy – and tragedy – of Blue Crush 2 is the setting. See, it’s South Africa as imagined by a script writer who actually has no idea about the country what-so-ever. Yes, it was filmed here, and some of the cinematography is awesome, but the film makes it quite plain (to anyone who knows our beautiful country) that the writer had no clue at all. It’s actually pretty funny. Also, opting to have American play South Africans is always a bad idea, particularly when there are so many talented actors right here in SA. There are some local actors in it, of course… including, ironically, Gideon Emery, who was raised here but plays the girl’s American father in the movie. g

STARRING: Sasha Jackson Elizabeth Mathis Gideon Emery

DIRECTOR: Mike Elliot DISTRIBUTOR: Nu Metro

FPB Rating: 13 Score

Pound of Flesh

68

gladget regular • issue 9 • July 2011


The Stranger

Beer for my Horses

DIRECTOR: Rob Lieberman DISTRIBUTOR: Ster Kinekor

gladget regular • issue 9 • July 2011

FPB Rating: 16V Score

STARRING: Steve Austin Eris Cerra Adam Beach

60

There’s something extremely amusing about red-necks. And, if you happen to watch Beer for my Horses, that’s what you’re going to see a lot of: truck-driving, bucklesporting, boot-wearing red-necks. That’s part of the film’s charm, the whole small town Sheriff thing. The characters are rather stereotypical, but it’s worth a laugh or two, at least. The story revolves around Joe Bill Racklin, a Deputy Sheriff from Oklahoma who ‘goes rogue’ when the object of his desire is kidnapped. The plot is nothing we’ve seen before and, aside from an impromptu male choir forming in a public bathroom (which is rather funny) the film feels pedantic and sticks to well-worn paths. There are a few cool stunts and a couple of funny lines, but nothing that elevates it above the level of ‘ordinary’. It’s really odd to see Claire Forlani in a film like this after the exemplary job she did a few years ago in Meet Joe Black, but there you have it. The rest of her cast members feel a bit forced, with lead actor Toby Keith seeming uncomfortable in his own skin for most of the film. Special appearances by Willie Nelson and Gina Gershon don’t make too much of a difference, either. g

STARRING: Toby Keith Claire Forlani Tom Skerritt

DIRECTOR: Michael Salomon DISTRIBUTOR: Ster Kinekor

FPB Rating: 10VL Score

A mysterious stranger, with no memory of his past, travels the country to find what has happened in his personal history. Constantly confused, the memories that are buried deep within the broken man are worth millions but with the Russian Mob and the FBI on his trail, finding the truth won’t be as easy as he (or they) thought Steve Austin is roughly the best feature in this film, speaking in Russian, Spanish and English fluently… but that’s not saying a lot about the rest of the movie. The fight scenes looked pretty decent . Steve Austin has made a few other films where he has choreographed fighting scenes but you can still see that he has taken most of the manoeuvres straight from the wrestling ring. The dialog seemed under-acted, or maybe overwritten, with generally weak delivery . The chase scenes and filming in general felt badly done and look very cheap. If you’re looking to watch a Steve Austin movie, rather see Damaged, the Condemned or the Longest Yard. g

65

69


DVD Seen

13 Assassins

Saw 3D:The Final Chapter

70

DIRECTOR: Takashi Miike DISTRIBUTOR: www.amazon.com

FPB Rating: TBC Score

STARRING: Koji Yakusho Takayuki Yamada Yusuke Iseya

90

As everybody knows, the Saw films have become a bit of a staple watch over the last seven years. Yes, it has been that long since the first film came out. Well, it was actually made pretty clear by director Kevin Greutert that he wanted to release one Saw film every year when the first film was released in 2004. Not exactly sure what it is about them, but the film’s franchise has been incredibly popular. It might be the gratuitous violence, the trapped human element or just purely entertainment, but they have been a box-office smash since day one. The last film recently made it onto DVD, and Saw 3D: The Final Chapter is no different to the rest. Ok, it does follow a multi-arch plot with some of the previous films, but all the violence and gore is still there for fans to enjoy. Once again, it stars Tobin Bell as the infamous Jigsaw and Costas Mandylor as Det. Mark Hoffman, but this time around the fight is more internal that aimed at random victims. With Jigsaw’s demise (what do you mean you didn’t know?) a struggle erupts over who will continue his legacy - and that’s the short version. The acting is of the usual standard fare, and the violence is brutal and gory. It might not be for everyone, but if you are a fan of the franchise, it’s definitely worth a watch. g STARRING: Tobin Bell Costas Mandylor Betsy Russell

DIRECTOR: Kevin Greutert DISTRIBUTOR: Ster Kinekor

FPB Rating: 18VL Score

In the avante garde movie geek circles of tortureporn and Japanese weird stuff, the name Takashi Miike means a lot. Apart from creating such extreme treasures as Ichi the Killer and Audition, he is also behind psychologically offensive masterpieces like Visitor Q and The Happiness Of the Katakuris. This is the kind of director guys like Quintin Tarantino want to be friends with. Apart from his reputation, Miike also makes other movies - he has a few Yakuza crime sagas under his belt and even took a stab at trendy Japanese ghost horror with Phone. But 13 Assassins, his tribute to the Samurai movie, transcends all of that. Samurai films have inspired the Westerns of Sergio Leone and Clint Eastwood, so even if you don’t know anything about the genre, you’ll find common ground in this brutal tale of thirteen samurais who set out to stop an evil lord. g

70

gladget regular • issue 9 • July 2011


Now here’s an odd comedy. First of all, it’s one of those that is only occasionally funny, but when it is, it’s really funny. Also, the film makers seemed to think that combining the story with interview-style footage was a good idea. It wasn’t really. Andy realises that his relationship is on track for heartbreak when he hears his girlfriend sigh after sex. He embarks on a mission to find out what he is doing wrong, seeking advice from a wide range of sources; books, friends, religious leaders, doctors and even porn stars. But his greatest lesson stems from the fact that it isn’t only technique, but intent as well. It’s an odd film, because it has some elements that are really great, and others that are just plain nasty. Some of the acting is good, but some of it isn’t (because porn stars don’t get famous for their abilities as thespians). Some of the editing and direction is good too, but some of it falls flat. However, this film will deliver a good laugh every now and then, particularly in some of the stranger situations the characters end up in. It feels like the makers were aiming for a more adult version of things like The Hangover and Due Date. Unfortunately, they miss the mark more often than not. g

DIRECTOR: Scott Culver DISTRIBUTOR: Ster Kinekor

gladget regular • issue 9 • July 2011

FPB Rating: 16LS Score

STARRING: Krysten Ritter Josh Meyers Jenna Jameson

60

Flesh Wounds The need for content has spawned a new market in low, low, low budget movies. This market was originally created by video rental companies, who would fund the production of cheap rip-off movies you could rent out. One of the biggest studios in this market is Asylum, famous for Titanic 2, 18-Year Old Virgin and Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus. Now much of that goes to satellite and cable channels, most notoriously SyFy and its b-grade monstrosities like the excellent Sharktopus. But Flesh Wounds is just a mess. Even if you can stomach the bad acting and poor effects that come with these low-fi movies, this Predator clone is just drab and sad. Kevin Sorbo looks like he was just woken up for the scene and the cliche support cast would be cool if they weren’t such painfully obvious cliches. This is a straight-to-TV movie. Rent, maybe, but try not to own it. g

STARRING: Kevin Sorbo Bokeem Woodbine Heather Marie Marsden

DIRECTOR: Dan Garcia DISTRIBUTOR: Ster Kinekor

FPB Rating: 16VL Score

How to Make Love to a Woman

20

71


Collectables DVD Seen

A Tale of Tragedy

72

gladget regular • issue 9 • July 2011


The Queen Political dramas certainly aren’t everyone’s cup of tea. But we selected The Queen as our choice of collectable films this month for various reasons. Firstly, it has a strong correlation to our movie of the month, The King’s Speech. Secondly, and most importantly, it is a powerful, moving film. Set in the months after Princess Diana’s tragic death, The Queen tells of how the British Royal Family – particularly Queen Elizabeth II – reacts to the event, as well as the public outcry that it resulted in. But the Queen’s silence on the matter is shaken by a new, young Prime Minister – Tony Blair – who wants nothing more than for the monarch of Great Britain to speak to her subjects at this time of national tragedy… no matter what her feelings to her ex-daughter-in-law were. Stephen Frears expertly directs a brilliant cast in this powerful film, which affords the viewer a rare – if somewhat romanticised – look into the private lives of one of the world’s most famous and powerful families. Helen Mirren is exemplary in her role as Queen Elizabeth II, and Michael Sheen’s portrayal of Tony Blair – a role he would reprise later – is insightful and elegant. While The Queen won’t appeal to everyone, it is a moving and thought-provoking film, and one that shows events that many ‘commoners’ were not privy to during this period. It offers the viewer not only these insights, but is also a well-paced drama that shows much skill in the film making process. The Queen is a definite must-have for collectors who enjoy deep, poignant and splendidly crafted films. g

DIRECTOR: Stephen Frears DISTRIBUTOR: Ster Kinekor

FPB Rating: PG Score

STARRING: Helen Mirren Michael Sheen James Cromwell

85

COLLECTABLE OF THE MONTH

gladget regular • issue 9 • July 2011

73


Power Me Up Using the power of the shiny disc

Inner Workings

by Charlie Fripp

A

s humans start to expand their civilisation, the need has grown bigger for more power and energy. A bit of a buzz word these days is being ‘green’. Not green as in eating too much broccoli, but being green in the sense that someone is aware of the environment and that it needs to be protected. Without sounding preachy, one of the many ways in which we can ensure that we don’t run out of power is by using renewable energy sources. These come in many forms, such as wind power, hydroelectricity and recycling, but one source that has come to be the most prominent is solar energy. In layman’s terms, solar energy is the practice of harnessing the power of sun’s rays to create an energy source. A few decades ago it would have almost seemed impossible to do, let alone conceive, but as humans evolve in their own special way, we develop the most fantastic ideas and eventually put them into practice. So, solar power is using sunlight to power electrical

74

goods. But how does it actually work? How does holding a shiny piece of metal in the summer sun give us energy to operate household goods and even cars? Well, to start out, there are two different kinds of capturing the sun’s energy - either directly, by using photovoltaics, or indirectly, by using concentrated solar power (CSP). There is a third, splitting water into hydrogen fuel, but we won’t be focussing on that. Concentrated solar power makes use of a whole lot of mirrors to focus the sun’s light onto a small beam. These in particular are the giant radar-looking dishes that one would find in the middle of the desert. For photovoltaics, the process involves converting light into an electrical current using the photoelectric effect electrons that are emitted from a consequence of their absorption of energy. This method is fairly popular. We already know that CSP concentrate light onto a beam, but it’s a bit more technical than that. Using the mirrors and a tracking system, the heat created from gladget regular • issue 9 • July 2011


the concentration of rays is used as a heat source for a conventional power plant. It all sounds very impressive, but the real magic lies within photovoltaics. It’s probably the best known method, and everybody has, at some time or another, seen the black solar cells it requires. From the very useful Wikipedia we can learn that “Photovoltaics (PV) is a method of generating electrical power by converting solar radiation into direct current electricity using semiconductors that exhibit the photovoltaic effect”. These semiconductors that they are referring to are the solar panels that we know all too well – they’re the same kind that are used to power solar geysers. This system is also the fastest growing power-producing technology, and already provides power to more than a 100 countries. The solar panels consist of hundreds of solar cells that convert the sun’s lights into electricity, and are thus a solid state electrical device, using photovoltaic effect - the magic behind the generation. gladget regular • issue 9 • July 2011

As we said before, the photovoltaic effect uses energy from electromagnetic radiation of a very short wavelength (sun light) to produce power. It gets all very technical at this point, but “the photoelectric effect requires photons with energies from a few electronvolts to over 1 MeV in high atomic number elements.” In terms of light-matter interaction, the photovoltaic effect is considered to be a low-energy phenomenon. But for laymen like us, the process can somewhat simplified. When sunlight hits a solar panel, the silicon semiconductor (cells) absorbs a portion of the light and its energy. When it strikes, the electrons in the silicon begin to flow freely as they are knocked around, and electrical fields start to herd the electrons in a certain direction. The flow of the electrons is what creates the electrical current, and can be trapped or gathered by using metal contact points at the bottom of the solar panel. Using the sun’s energy, the electricity can be used immediately. g

75


Flexibility

The rise and fall of the floppy disc

Dead End

by Walt Pretorius

I

recall, in the early 1980s, when my cousin introduced me to the world of computers. It was amazing for the time, although the clunky boxes and monochromatic monitors of the day don’t much resemble what we have these days. The computer he showed me could do lots of different things, which were amazing for the time… and all of the programs it ran were housed on great big 5 ¼ inch discs. The floppy disc was the standard for data storage and transfer for almost 30 years. The design of these discs was very simple, which made them easy to use and effective. A magnetic storage medium was housed in a plastic casing, which in turn was lined with fabric to

76

prevent scratches and remove dust. Earlier floppy discs really were floppy, housed in a flexible plastic sleeve and measuring 8 inches at first, and later 5 ¼ inches. Later, 3 ½ inch discs were introduced, housed in a hard plastic case with a metal slider covering the disc’s access area, for added protection. The first floppy discs were invented by IBM’s David L Noble in the late 1960s, and became commercially available in 1971. At the time they could store a whopping 79.7kb of data. Within five years, this capacity had grown to 6.2mb. At the same time, though, 5 ¼ inch discs were introduced, and quickly became the preferred format of gladget regular • issue 9 • July 2011


manufacturers and users, even though they could store less data than their 8 inch cousins. In 1982, the death knell of the 5 ¼ inch disc sounded when the first 3.5 inch discs appeared. They were smaller, tougher and could potentially store much more data than any disc before. Through the 1980s and 90s, these discs became ubiquitous, thanks to their increasing capacities and the relative ease with which they could be used to distribute software, store data and create back-ups. By the late 1990s, 3.5 inch high density floppies were offering storage sizes of up to 240mb. But these capacities just weren’t enough for some users, gladget regular • issue 9 • July 2011

and as technology marched on, the demand for improved storage formats increased. While software started being distributed on compact disc in the 90s, home users still had to contend with floppy discs… that is, until recordable compact discs became available on the market. Since then, all manner of data storage media and devices have appeared on the market – DVD discs, Blu-Ray discs, USB drives and external hard drives, just to name a few. The floppy disc held on valiantly… in fact, it can still be found in use in older PC systems. But the decline of the format has been quick, and soon these stalwarts of the industry may disappear forever. g

77


Solid Gold Sounds

Money to Burn

Does it only play Golden Oldies?

by Walt Pretorius

E

veryone likes listening to music – well, almost everyone, anyway. And what better way to enjoy your music in private than with an MP3 player. MP3 players are everywhere, and people generally like to show them off a bit, particularly if they’re iPods. Well, here’s one that trumps most iPods for bling factor… unless we’re talking about a blinged-up iPod, of course… the TrekStor i.Beat Organix Gold. It is apparent, on a side note, that really expensive things have really expensive sounding names… often with the word ‘gold’ in them. Even coffee. But, in this case, it’s not so much a name as a description – this MP3 player is actually encased in gold. It was commissioned by a Russian-Canadian Billionaire originally, named Alex Schnaider, who also owns the Midland Formula 1 team. Perhaps he needed a good MP3 player track-side, to drown out the annoying whine of the cars. The casing, which is made up of 750 grams of 18 carat gold, is further adorned with 63 one carat diamonds, and comes with a chain ‘beautified’ with aquamarine stones. But, quite honestly, this player isn’t all bling. It’s a relatively decent – strike that, make it very good – MP3

78

player, too. It features multiple file format playback (MP3, WAV, WMA, OGG, ASF) as well as FM radio, with the facility to preset fifteen radio stations. It has a storage capacity of 2GB (which is a little flimsy these days) and can record from line-in, the radio and voice. It also features a digital clock, alarm, stopwatch, equaliser, variable play speed and a number of other really cool functions. The battery might take three hours to charge, but it delivers 25 hours worth of play-time, which is rather decent. It also comes armed with SRS WOW, for that surround sound experience, delivered by a pair of Sennheiser earbuds (which are great.) In short, it’s a capable, good MP3 player. But is it US$20 000 good? Well, no, no MP3 player can be that good, really. I mean, for that price, you can buy a truckload of superior products. They won’t be coated in gold, of course, but that’s just the thing, isn’t it? It’s the gold you’re paying for. And while you’re getting great sound from this particular unit, you’ll probably not notice it, because you’ll be worrying about potential (extremely fortunate) pick-pockets more than what songs you have on your playlist. Sometimes one has to wonder if products like this exist purely because rich people don’t know what to do with all of their money. g gladget regular • issue 9 • July 2011


Gladget Magazine July 2011  

Gladget Magazine July 2011 (volume 1, issue 9)

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you