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Sound Waves

Turtle Beach in South Africa

LTE incoming

4G or not 4G...

Samsung takes on the Continent

Mobile Africa

R e vie w s inc luding M SI, Tos hiba, S t eelS eries , Acer, F uj iF ilm and mor e. . .

Kaspersky and cybercrime

On Guard

I S S U E 2 5 / Vo l . 3 November 2012

www.gladgetmag.com

Online Mag


for


Inside 6 From the Editor 8 Did You Know?

Facts and conversation starters from the tech world

10 Sound Waves

Alexia Scotten talks Turtle Beach

14 Tshabablabber

Wishing for the old times

16 Surf Safe this Christmas

Don’t let your guard down

18 Stay Safe

Kaspersky Lab takes on cyber-crime

22 Super Speed

LTE is on its way...

24 Emergence

Logitech loves South Africa!

28 Spilled Water on iPad

Kid-friendly apps

30 African Mobility

Samsung Mobile has plans for the cotinent

34 Lookng Back: 1973

All about space...

36 Sound!

Turtle Beach takes audio seriously

40 Reviews

Products to consider for the Festive Season

72 WonderStation

PlayStation, Wonderbook and the video game market

90 DVD Seen

Movies, movies everywhere...

This Month’s Cover Alexia Scotten of Apex Interactive graces our cover. Read her interview on page 10.

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Competition

41 Kaspersky Internet Security 2013

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Reviews

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Ultra-Bestseller

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Turtle Beach Ear Force P11 Headset

50

Acer Iconia Tab

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SteelSeries Kinzu V2 Pro Edition Mouse

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Turtle Beach Ear Force XL1 Headset

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MSI GT70 Notebook

58

Tomtom Hands Free Car Kit for Smartphones

60

FujiFilm FinePix HS30 EXR Digital Camera

62

Acer Aspire V3-771 Notebook

64

MSI R7950 Twin Frozr 3GD5 Graphics Card

Newsletter Subscriptions: www.gladgetmag.com

66

Karspersky Internet Security 2013

Design & Photography: 1337 Media

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SteelSeries Siberia V2 Full-Size Headset

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

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Toshiba Satellite L850-F31R Notebook

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Assassin’s Creed 3 (X360)

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FIFA 13 (PS3)

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Dishonored (PS3)

GLADGET Volume 3 Issue 25 November 2012

Editor: Katia Taliadoros katia@1337-media.com Writers: Alex Scanlon Charlie Fripp Iwan Pienaar Lein Baart Pippa Tshabalala Rob Edwards Suvesh Arumugam Walt Pretorius Letters: letters@gladgetmag.com Competition Entries: competitions@gladgetmag.com

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

GAMECCA is published by 1337 MEDIA

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Copyright Š 1337 Media CC 2009 - 2012

5


Change... H

From the Editor

ave you ever noticed that before any form of change takes place, chaos casts a deranged shadow of turbulence? This erratic period unpredictably slaps you silly until you’re barely awake enough to see the light of progress. And ever so sneakily, as the adjustment of change begins to embark on this journey of fabulous lessons, growth begins to raise its pretty little head and just when you are enjoying this new found comfort zone…BANG, hello CHaoS! This is our 2nd issue of Vol. 3 and quite frankly we are being slapped to a pulp and are ready to be moulded for our next stage in evolution, but I am happy to report that the changes are exciting and, even though we still have some panel-beating to go through, we have much to offer you in the form of tech-tainment. One of the aspects that we have begun to focus on is the presence of the human element. Without it,

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technology means nothing… but sometimes we forget this. It has been said that we are the products of our thoughts and attitudes, that life is a series of events strung together, folding out in an illusion called time and that our perspective of this is just a relative perception of a reality that we have collectively created. Within this reality we call our own, the human race has a constant need to grow and reflect the intricacies of our inner world. When it comes to technology we all know that the growth of this reflection within human innovation and expression is beyond just competitive exponential growth. Technology, as we know it today, is part and parcel of a more in-depth social, psychological and very real human necessity. As a consideration of this new adopted philosophy, Gladget’s new look is represented by a remarkable lady in the industry that we greatly admire.

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by Katia Taliadoros

Marketing Product Manager at Apex Interactive, Alexia Scotten - who is known for her creative, resourceful and deeply motivated personality - has exquisitely graced our November cover. In an interview with us, Alexia introduces her company’s newest, highly anticipated product range -Turtle Beach. If you are a gamer, this is one interview you will want to take a look at, as well as the Turtle Beach product range feature. Speaking of beaches, the end of the year is near and we are all looking forward to some much needed recharging, whether it is time with loved ones or simply the pleasure of contemplation with one’s own company and thoughts. Either way, as the end of the year approaches, we hope that you will find something of value within these cyber pages to give you any kind of inspiration that can assist you during this sure-to-be chaotic festive season. Enjoy the change; I know I certainly will. g


DID YOU

KNOW? 1

…the word ‘cyberspace’ was coined by cyberpunk science fiction author William Gibson when he used it for the first time in the story Burning Chrome from 1982. It originated from ‘cybernetics’, which is derived from the Greek κυβερνήτης (kybernētēs, meaning steersman, governor, pilot, or rudder), and was introduced by Norbert Wiener for his work in electronic communication and control science. According to Wired, “Gibson would later describe it as an ‘evocative and essentially meaningless’ buzzword that could serve as a cipher for all of his cybernetic musings.”

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. … Yahoo Mail users spend US$110 more on electricity per year than Gmail users. While that is technically true, there are several reasons for explaining why that happens. On average, users of Yahoo live in bigger houses that naturally use more power. But according to a study, Gmail users are younger than Yahoo users and often make use of mobile internet connections, are more often out of their house, and have less people per square foot, where Yahoo users more than likely have bigger families and are in relationships.

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Regular

. …Kodak went bankrupt as a result of digital photography. Photographic giant Kodak has been at the forefront of photography for many years, and even pioneered the technology in instant and disposable cameras seen in the late ‘90s and early 2000s. But it was digital photography that killed the company, as they were one of the last photographic manufacturers to embrace the new form of capturing an image. By the time they realised that digital was here to stay, it was too late for them to turn their strategy around and filed for bankruptcy in January this year. When the company was still operating, it failed to turn a profit in five years, which also didn’t make things easier for them.

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Kodak, MP3, Yahoo Mail, light bulbs and cyber-space-guns by Charlie Fripp

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. …Russia takes handguns into space. While it might make no sense at all, Russia is the only nation with a space program that actually takes working weapons into space. The reason for this is not because of some interstellar paranoia, but for their own safety. See, Russia’s space landings aren’t as accurate, and it has happened on more than one occasion that they landed off-course. Russia is a big place, and the reason for the weapons are for… self-defence against bears. The weapon has three barrels that shoot rifle bullets, shotgun shells, and flares, and a folding stock that doubles as a shovel.

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. …the first MP3 was made in 1987. It’s hard to believe the long road that music and music production has taken since the dawn of actually recording instruments and a human voice. But while music production and the various formats available have provided users with hours of listening pleasure, the music revolution really kicked off when Karlheinz Brandenburg chose Suzanne Vega’s song ‘Tom’s Diner’ to fine tune his final version of a then-new format known as MP3. He used the song as the a cappella version provided him with the perfect challenge to get the bit rates correct and refine his codec for the human voice.

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. …the light bulb was actually invented by Henry Woodward. He created the first working light bulb, which made use of nitrogen in a glass housing with drilled electrodes. His version of the light bulb was so successful (to a degree), that he and partner Matthew Evans got a patent in Canada for his bulb. But Thomas Edison has been widely credited as creating the light bulb, as Edison’s creation was the first light bulb that was developed for practical use – which could also be sold and used commercially. g gladget25

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Interview

Soun 10

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urtle Beach headets have managed to create quite a stir the world over,

thanks to some great design and implementation ideas. And now the brand is readily available in South Africa, through Apex Interactive, a company with excellent experience in both hardware and software. We got some time with Alexia Scotten, Marketing & Product Manager for New Releases at Apex Interactive, to chat about the brand and why gamers would want a Turtle Beach headset.

nd Waves Turtle Beach arrives in South Africa gladget25

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Interview

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There is an extensive range of headsets in the market place already, what makes Turtle beach unique?

AS. Have you seen them?! Nothing says “I take my gaming seriously” like owning a Turtle Beach headset. The look, feel and experience they offer is what makes them shine.

Who is your average target market?

AS. Designed for avid gamers, our revolutionary headsets and accessories deliver improved game audio, more immersive experiences, better chat communication and a competitive edge. Probably geared more towards gamers in their 20s and 30s who know the difference between quality and something that plays the sound through my PC/ X360/PS3..

Turtle Beach is a well-known brand overseas, but is relatively new to the South African market. What approach will Apex Interactive be taking to grow the brand’s reputation locally? AS. As you may

know, Turtle Beach have just signed a multi-year partnership with Major League Gaming overseas. These guys know what they are doing. Apex and Turtle Beach have been working closely together building marketing plans, with Turtle Beach offering knowledge based on experience. We have then partnered locally with selected retailers to bring the gamers offers that cant be ignored. In a way that isn’t imposing or arrogant. We are gamers too at the end of the day. To begin with we have a select range in selected retailers.

As a marketing representative of Apex Interactive as well as a hard-core gamer yourself, how do you personally foresee this product being accepted by the South African gaming community? AS. From the little time we have had with Turtle Beach, the response has been mind-blowing. Completely positive in every way. I can’t tell you the amount of emails and tweets we received after the first press release went out. The only problem personally for me is picking the right platform and game to completely show off

what these headsets can really do!

Why do you believe users – particularly gamers – should purchase Turtle Beach products?

AS. The press doesn’t lie. Turtle Beach have won countless awards in this year alone. MCV UK: 2012 Industry Excellence Award, XP400 Wins Best of CES 2012 2012 Bravo! Award from Best Buy Ear Force Tango COD Black Ops: II Wins Examiner.com’s Best Hardware of E3, Ear Force Tango COD Black Ops: II Wins Playstation Universe’s Best Accessory at E3 2012 http://www. turtlebeach.com/ company/awardsand-accolades.aspx

Q6. Will Apex Interactive be distributing the whole Turtle Beach range in South Africa?

AS. Mostly. We have about 75% of the current range in stock in South Africa already with items like the M series for mobile gaming only coming to our shores in 2013. The La range, coming in 2013, (XLa, PLa, ZLa) is one of the ranges that will reach a broader

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spectrum of gamers in terms of pricing and specification.

What kind of support can local Turtle Beach users expect?

AS. We have an in-house support line and dedicated staff member for any and all Turtle Beach queries.

How wide is the range in terms of functionality and pricing?

AS. The range is large enough to give you options but not too big to confuse you. Prices across the various platforms range from RRP R499 for the XL1 up to RRP R2999 for the XP500 (excluding the COD Blops II range)

In a nutshell, what sets Turtle Beach apart as a brand? AS. It’s sleek, distinctive design, premium audio quality and innovation.

As a marketer and user, what are your personal favourite aspects of Turtle Beach headsets? AS. They are customizable. Most headsets can be used across gaming platforms so I dont need to own 3 different headsets to play on 3 different platforms. g

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Back In My Day… Pippa Tshabalala

I

Tshabablabber

’m not that old. I perhaps look younger than you think I am (well I like to kid myself anyway), but I most definitely, positively feel old when I am in conversation with people younger than myself and realise that they have no experience with many of the gadgets that I grew up with. A student that came and job shadowed me a month or so ago was born in the year I was in Grade 9. I had already met my husband then. I didn’t have a cell phone. Cow and Chicken (does anyone even know what that is anymore?) wasn’t even on DStv. Actually I don’t think we even had DStv, just an MNet decoder. With Open Time… I know right? Mind. Blown. I makes me realise too, that my occasional frustration with my mother (who still uses Facebook, the Internet, an iPhone, iPad and other suitably techy things) is completely and utterly unfounded. I mean, damn, she’s 70 and is still open to using and exploring new technologies. My mother was not born in South Africa, she’s Australian (you can save the sheep jokes, I’ve heard them

Author’s photograph by Adrian Louw

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all) and when she first moved here in the ‘60s to marry my father, there were no telephones for her to call her family in Sydney. There was a radio phone on which you booked time in advance and the entire conversation lasted three minutes. My grandmother, many years ago at 85 was using a universal remote and in my naivety I used to think, “Seriously it’s so simple, how can you not understand which buttons do what?” I wrote it down for her on a notepad and she used to refer to it whenever she wanted to change the channel. Perhaps this is truly something that we only learn as we get older. I hear myself complaining to my husband and friends, all of us much the same age, about the MXit slang that is so prevalent in “the youth of today” and while I like to think to myself that I abhor it because it slaughters the English language, and that overall it’s a disrespectful and lazy way of talking to someone, I suspect it’s more because I don’t really understand it. Oh I can decipher it given enough time and effort, but it’s really not something that I care to do. I mean I feel uncomfortable

when I don’t put an apostrophe into a word, let alone writing “HUD” as shorthand for “How’re you doing?” Similarly I once saw someone I follow on Twitter, complain that you can say everything you need to in 140 characters without speaking in shorthand if you simply have a good command of the English language. I look at my son who already knows how to unlock my iPhone (he hasn’t managed to figure out the unlock pattern on the Samsung yet), move icons around, delete them (that’s a fun one), find his favourite apps, and access the features in them. He’s not yet two years old by the way and this is not something he’s only just learned to do. I can only imagine my own annoyance when he gets to be a teenager and rolls his eyes at me in frustration when I don’t understand something of a technical nature – and I’m what is considered to be tech savvy! So next time my mom asks me to show her again how to use online banking, I’m going to try to breathe and do it with a smile on my face. Sorry in advance if I don’t quite manage it Mom. g


Distributed Exclusively by Apex Interactive

Tel: (011) 796 5040

www.apexinteractive.co.za

All rights and trademarks and logos are copyright of their respective owners.

Email: sales@apexint.co.za

www.apexactive.co.za


Surf Sa this Christmas by Iwan Pienaar

Tips to protect you from online attacks

Feature

I

tâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s that time of year when shopping centres are bedecked with Christmas decorations and Little Drummer Boy gets put on what seems like an infinite loop. Most people are getting ready to relax and recharge their batteries for the year to come. And in the digital age of today, they are often doing so with their favourite tablet or mobile device in hand. With so much time spent at home or at <insert favourite holiday spot>, online activity tends to increase considerably as more evenings are spent surfing the internet, indulging in some online retail therapy, playing games, or keeping up with friends via social media. Consulting firm Deloitte recently estimated that online sales now account for the equivalent of more than 5.5 million square meters of retail space. It seems that this year more people than ever will indulge in some online shopping from the comfort of their own home or while on the move with their mobile device.

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However, during these warm and relaxing summer evenings, it is important to remain vigilant. Just because youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re on holiday and getting into the festive spirit doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t mean that those opportunistic cybercriminals will also be taking it easy. During the holiday season especially, more financial transactions will take place than at any other time of the year. Cybercriminals have been known to set up fraudulent Web sites that seem to offer great deals, when in fact they are merely traps hoping to entice unwitting people to enter their credit card details. While it is great that South Africans are benefitting from the convenience and choice that an online shopping experience brings, it is also important that they protect themselves from the growing array of online threats out there as they use their cards and personal details online. Here are some tips to protect you online and making sure that it is not the scammers and cybercriminals who are

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afe having happy holidays. 1. Be wary of unsecured or unknown Web sites. When shopping online, always use reputable dealers and make sure that any transactions you make only take place across secure pages. These are usually denoted by a padlock sign in your browser address bar. 2. Watch out for spam emails. “This year’s top toy 80% cheaper” or “Win all your holiday gifts and get them delivered direct to your door!” Seem too good to be true? Well, it most probably is. Cybercriminals are fully aware of the searches we make online during certain times of the year and they know the kind of emails we wish would land in our inbox. Always be cautious of any emails you receive from unknown recipients or that seem just that bit too generous. 3. Be careful on social networking sites. Gangs have been known to monitor people’s social profiles to find out when they’re going away (for example staying with

relatives over the holiday period and their home will be left empty). Be mindful of this when telling the world that you’ll be spending the two weeks over the festive season away from your own home. 4. Keep personal information secured. Make sure that whatever you happen to be doing online that you do not to give out any personal information. Always be cautious when befriending someone online, particularly via social networking sites where personal information may be easily exposed. People aren’t always who they say they are. 5. Keep your mobile phone protected. Thieves are always on the lookout for opportunities. When out in large crowds doing your holiday shopping, always ensure that you know the whereabouts of your mobile phone and other personal belongings. Make sure that your phone is pinprotected and that you have downloaded a security app which allows you to wipe any personal data, should it be stolen. g

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Keeping S

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Interview

Kaspersky Labs takes on cyber-crime acros

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Safe

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ss the globeâ&#x20AC;Ś....

0000000011111010101010110000000 000101010101000000010010001 In the third quarter of 2012, one in five people using the internet in South Africa came under attack by malware. One third of South Africans suffered a computer virus infection. While South Africa is pretty low on the scale of cybercrime when compared to the rest of Africa, these numbers are still alarming. With a strong local presence, Kaspersky Labs want to ensure that these numbers get lower and lower. But security on all platforms is something that everyone needs to be conscious of. Vasiliy Dyagilev, Kaspersky Labsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Managing Director of Emerging Markets, took time out to discuss the increasing threat of malware, and to explain why no one can assume that it will never happen to them. gladget25

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00000000111110101010101100000000001010101010000000100100011000111101010 101010101010 0000111110101010101100000000001010101010000000100100011000 010101010101010101010 0000000011111010101010110 With 1.5 security threats per second surfacing, how does Kaspersky deal with the situation?

Interview

VD: More than 90 per cent of malware is analysed automatically. The company has special systems, with specific algorithms that analyse the malware. But we also have a group of people – malware researchers – who analyse. So if the software in unable to detect whether code is really harmful or not, it is sent to the specialists who can read the code and understand whether it is malicious or not. So we have a group of people, not only in Moscow but in different sites that we have around the world. Malware is different if it is written in Latin America or China or the United States so you need to know a local language to be able to decipher the code. The algorithms that are used are developed by special analysts, so the 25 000 threats a day are not all handles specifically. The cybercrime world has become complicated. You can go online and buy a virus, or a variety of viruses. Plus, what we’ve seen recently is that malware is evolving. It’s not artificial

intelligence yet, but malware can duplicate itself and changes different aspects of the code, pretending that it is different. But if you dig into the code you will find that it is the same. Not every threat is new… sometimes they are modified version of older threats.

When you speak about computer security, the first thing that springs to mind is the virus. Historically, they are the most well-known. But what is the biggest threat to the user today?

VD: Social engineering. Hackers and criminals understand that people have experience with worms and are using software to protect themselves. So what they do is analyse the behaviour of a guy sitting in front of a PC, trying to understand what grabs his attention and what kind of things people will click on. So, for example, you get an email from a bank, saying that you need to change your details. The email looks like it was sent by the bank, and you trust the bank – because that’s where your money is. But actually, on the backend, it’s just people phishing. Social engineering in the

development of malware is very important. Even if you look at some of the famous cyber weapons and malware, some of them even turn on the webcam to see how a user responds to a message sent to a laptop. The video stream is sent to servers outside the country, and analysed. What we’re trying to say is that security is changing. You need to be aware that people are looking for information of a personal nature: never expose it to anyone before checking who it is. There’s an example of a very famous mobile threat: ‘Mom, I am in trouble. Please send me five dollars so that I can call you and explain.’ A lot of people do. Now just imagine that the funds come from a bank account with thousands of dollars in it. The criminals can get access to it immediately. People working with social engineering are also analysing the behaviour on social networks. We find that, particularly in emerging markets, people will use things like maiden names or parents’ surnames as their password. Just imagine that someone is using Facebook, and he checks into a shopping centre. If you go to the person’s

page you can get their name, and the names of their parents. Using all that information, if you have their card number, you can call the bank and do a transaction, without even seeing or talking to the person. Here’s a great example: if I ask you where you are from, or what your name is, you will tell me. But if I ask what colour underwear you are wearing, you will not answer the question, because I have overstepped a barrier. But on Facebook there was a breast cancer campaign that asked women what colour their bra was. 2.5 million people, in the first day, answered. Because they don’t see the ‘attacker’ in front of you. Even in the physical world… people tell you on Facebook that they have gone on vacation. That means that their home is empty.

How do you deal with that problem, especially when people generally assume that these activities are safe? VD: Facebook itself is safe. The problem is that when you connect to Facebook, you go from your home provider, through another provider, to the servers hosting the service. People

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1110101110001111100000011010111010001010101010101010 1111010101110101110001111100000011010111010001010101 don’t realise that these things can be hacked. The majority of Linux servers in the world are compromised right now. They aren’t hacked, but they are delivering malware to users connecting through these servers. You see the page and think that you are connected to Facebook, but if you trace how you got there you will see that you are connected through a number of networks that could contain malware. For example, I recently checked into a hotel. Before I even connected to the internet, I had a security warning… because I was on their network.

So we are constantly under attack… is that a safe assumption?

VD: It’s better to be safe than sorry. It’s better to believe that you are under constant attack and be protected, rather than believe that it will never happen to you.

That can be taken further: people always think of computers when they think about malware, but aren’t mobiles, tablets and other devices under threat too? VD: Yes. There are many devices available on the market that we

think are unprotected, and we try to address this. Kaspersky One protects all the platforms, but we have separate solutions for each platform. As they become more interesting to hackers, we try to provide protection for them.

What are the major security threat trends in Africa and South Africa?

VD: It’s not really local and different; the internet doesn’t have borders. So while software designed to hit a bank in China won’t affect a South African user, but phishing and social engineering can hit everyone.

So you don’t customise solutions for specific areas?

VD: We try to provide the same level of security for all regions. But we have some technologies that can identify which threats might have more potential in specific regions. Once it has been detected, it is immediately transferred to the rest of the users globally, because you never know how a virus or worm or malware program can change.

Phishing must be a little more difficult to deal

with. How does Kaspersky address the problem? VD: We have an antiphishing model. This is why it is called social engineering. It’s built in a way that you will believe it. If you analyse how their links are structured you will find that you are redirected to a different website. We have a database of phishing links that is regularly updated. The software understands that you are redirected to different sites, and identifies the phishing link.

What avenues does Kaspersky use to educate users about security threats?

VD: We are in talks with major universities across Africa. We have a special program for professors and for students. We share information and guidelines. Our analysts present and discuss security with them. We have found that you cannot teach someone to be safe on the internet if they don’t know how the internet works. People teach based on knowledge and experience, but knowledge has changed dramatically in the last five, ten years. So if the professor doesn’t know the trends, if he doesn’t

have the knowledge, he is transferring outdated knowledge. It’s a big job for us. It’s not commercial, we’re not selling it. It is our job, as a company, to deliver this message. The more people that are protected, the easier it will be for us to fight cyber-crime.

What sets Kaspersky apart from other security providers? VD: The main difference is that we are very local. We are multinational, but we are growing from the ground up. In a lot of companies, people in HQ develop strategies, but local offices struggle to implement them, and they don’t work. So what we try to do is make the local practices a global strategy. Because only people living in South Africa know how South Africans do business, and how to sell the product here. No one in Russia can dictate how to do it. Another difference is that we are rebels with a cause. We are not commercially driven, although we are a private company. We have this evangelist attitude about imparting knowledge and delivering the message. g

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Super

Feature

T

he internet community, as in the real hard-core underbelly of the beast, is relatively small in South Africa. With only one fixed broadband network commercially available from Telkom, and only a few genuine first tier mobile operators, it makes it very difficult to have too many players in the market. With big players like Mweb (with an annual marketing budget in excess of R50 million) it’s hard to imagine that many small players can enter and thrive in the market. Nonetheless the Broadband industry is steadily growing in SA, and the place to follow all the latest trends, tips and top dogs of the industry is the MyBroadBand Conference held annually. This year’s conference at Vodaworld attracted its largest audience ever, with over 1,600 guests and delegates attending from all over the country. This included CEOs and Directors from Telkom, Mweb, Cell C, Afrihost, and most of the major ICT companies in SA. The conference was opened and hosted by wellknown technology fundi and 702 radio personality Aki Anastasiou. While the bulk of the conference was aimed at delivering key note addresses from top ICT personalities like former Mweb CEO Rudi Jansen and Vodacom CEO Shameel Joosub (amongst many others), the real attraction are the awards. The most prestigious of course being the ISP of the Year Award, which was awarded to last year’s winner Afrihost. The ICT personality of the year went to Cell C CEO Alan Knott-Craig, no doubt due to his aggressive pricing strategies which breathed new life into the mobile operator and put them back into the Broadband provider race (Cell C went on to also win the Mobile Service of the Year). The big talk of the conference was LTE. LTE stands for Long Term Evolution and is sometimes referred to as 4G. It’s the updated (souped-up) version of EDGE / HSDPA technologies currently employed by mobile data providers. Now before we say anymore, let’s clear up some debate / debacle around the use of the term 4G in relation to LTE technology. The reason this needs to be discussed is mainly because there was a major dispute brought by Vodacom against Cell C branding their HSDPA+ network as 4G. Cell C eventually lost the dispute brought before the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). However Vodacom’s tenacity may come back to haunt them. A large part of their winning argument was based on the International Telecommunications Union’s definition of 4G as LTE-Advanced or WirelessMan Advanced. Since they are not deploying such technology at present, Cell C will now be actively pursuing a similar action against

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Supersizing South Africa

Vodacom’s labelling of LTE as 4G. So what is LTE? I had a gentleman describe it (very convincingly) as a satellite that shines a data spotlight on you (and your phone) and can deliver up to 4Mbps instantly. I’m afraid my misinformed friend is fairly far away from the truth. As exciting as it would be to imagine little green spacemen beaming my Walking Dead episodes from iTunes straight into my mobile device (or directly into my brain), this is simply not the case! LTE uses GSM Radio broadcast technology. It broadcasts in much higher frequency ranges than existing 3G and HSDPA services, somewhere in the 20MHz spectrum. It also uses different frequency modulation (which is what turns the radio signal into data). So even though it’s based on similar technology, it will require new hardware in the form of LTE compatible dongles or routers, and new LTE broadcast towers. Vodacom currently have 70 live sites providing LTE coverage and 8ta will have several in place very soon (they

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rspeed

an Mobile Connectivity

are currently offering free testing trials to the public). So that’s all great, but what does it mean for the consumer. Well, in theory, faster speed and data throughput. How much faster? Currently 3G can (in optimal closed system conditions) deliver around 10Mbps, depending on the quality of the infrastructure. The reality though, is depending on the congestion on the tower, quality of the transmitters and receivers, most users will experience best speeds of around 3-4Mbps, and anything below that. LTE is being marketed of being capable of anything up to 90Mbps (Vodacom are cautiously saying 60Mbps, while 8ta have made the bigger promises). Again though, this is in ideal conditions in a closed system. However the mobile providers are saying that in real conditions that expect users to receive anything from 10Mbps to 16 Mbps, and in some exceptional circumstances up to 30Mbps. That’s a pretty fair chunk of data. So think about it this way. An 8GB (8,192MB) High Definition movie

by Suvesh Arumugam

download could realistically be transferred in under 15 minutes. A 300MB mp4 series episode could be downloaded in under 5. Sounds pretty amazing. So it may not be extra-terrestrial (which would still be cooler) but it’s a very real leap forward in terms of broadband access. And also no fixed line costs, you buy the dongle (or you get it free in a signup promotion) and so far data charges remain exactly the same as existing 3G/HSDPA rates. That’s a pretty hefty challenge to the fixed ADSL Broadband industry. With the cost of ADSL having been increased by Telkom, it likely that to access higher speeds like 20 and 40Mbps will cost even more. Telkom have relied on the cheaper cost of ADSL to swing customers in their favour, but with recent radical cost reductions in both call and data costs by most providers, chances are that the next year will see a major contest between ADSL and Mobile providers for the ever-increasing Bandwidth Dollar. g

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Emergence

Interview

Logitech loves South Africa

24

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Logitech are a strong force in South Africa, and enjoy a large share of the market across numerous devices. Their newly announced G600 gaming mouse and G710 keyboard are sure to make waves, particularly with those who do a lot of PC gaming. In other words, South Africans know Logitech. But how well does Logitech know South Africans? Where does our fair country fit into their plans? These were some of the things we were wondering when we met with Logitechâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Renko van Den Berg, the man responsible for all Emerging Markets. gladget25

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What is the South African situation? RVDB: We consider South Africa an emerging market. I went to a lot of stores and shopping malls during this trip and South Africa is really not that ‘emerging’ when compared to Russia and so on. It’s a bit more developed in terms of the retail landscape and the quality of the stores.

Interview

How does South Africa fit into Logitech’s plans? RVDB: South Africa is a pretty significant county for us. If you look at Africa, it’s probably one of the biggest markets in the continent, in terms of revenue and our presence in retail. If you go into any big retail store in South Africa you will see Logitech. Logitech is a big brand here. If you look at our four categories – mice and keyboards, webcams, PC speakers and PC gaming – you can see that we are clearly leading the market. In those terms it is a very important market for us. But it is also a tricky market. The number of people that can afford premium equipment is small, despite

26

the big population. It is getting bigger slowly and steadily, but many first time buyers of computers won’t buy premium. That makes things challenging, because South Africa’s population is so diverse. Knowledge, spending power and requirements… if you look at gaming specifically, we range from very high end to entry level. IT is difficult for any brand in South Africa. You need to get your hold brand range in, and find the right product mix. Are you looking at promoting in communities that previously didn’t have a lot of access to computers and computing? Is that a big drive for you? RVDB: It’s not the biggest drive. We believe that if you build the best products and bring your whole range in, at every kind of price point, consumers are intelligent. The market does educate itself to a large degree. If you have the best product at every price point, they will get to where they need to be. We

are not targeting any specific markets – we believe in bringing good products to market. And platforms like Facebook are strong; marketing is changing. If someone advocates your brand in social media that’s a big thing. In terms of your range, how prominent is PC gaming globally? RVDB: The total market for PC gaming is one of the fastest growing markets worldwide. It’s extremely fast growing. Both PC gaming and console gaming is growing. As long as we attach the platforms, we follow that growth. And in South Africa, what is your strongest product category? RVDB: In terms of revenue, it’s always mice and keyboards. Mice and keyboards, then PC speakers, and then the gaming products. But that’s normal. The normal mice market has always been bigger than the gaming mouse market. And although PC gaming is growing fast in South Africa, the size of the market for normal

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keyboards and mice is still far bigger. Do you have any predictions for what we can expect from Logitech in the next few months? RVDB: In PC gaming, at least four or five very interesting launches in the coming year. Because it is a growing platform we are trying to revive the whole line. Keyboards, mice, headsets… everything around gaming. If you were to pick your favourite Logitech product, what would it be? RVDB: Um, can I pick two? Two products that I use at home… one is the Harmony remote control, that I love using. And the other is a new product, not in South Africa yet. It’s called a Boombox, a wireless speaker. You have the smaller version in South Africa, which is good, but this bigger one is amazing. Oh, and I have one other product that I use all the time; my Anywhere Mouse. It works on glass, anywhere. Those are my favourite products. g


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Spilled Wat

la

b

a al

Feature

by

28

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Pi

p

pa

T

a sh


ter on iPads

And child friendly gadgets

I

’m starting with a disclaimer to say that the headline of this feature is sung to the tune of “My Favourite Things.” Go back and read it again now. It might not make complete sense if you’re not a parent, but this is the best test of any gadget you buy. If it can survive a child, particularly a toddler, then we have a winner ladies and gentlemen! When you’ve finally bought a cover that will allow your phone or tablet to bounce (because it will, and you can only hope that it doesn’t break), then it’s time to download some apps that will occupy your child for an extended period of time. I’m going to focus in this case on iOS apps, for no reason other than the fact that I own an iPad and my child has claimed it as his. Do not attempt to even use it for yourself at any point for things like reading, because it will be wrenched away from you and re-appropriated for a better use, namely pop up books and nursery rhymes. Additionally perhaps it’s because I migrated to Android only recently, but I find the iTunes store has greater variety in terms of apps, especially for kids. Oh wait, sorry I didn’t make myself clear. The iTunes Store has a greater variety of FREE apps for kids. This is incredibly important, and here’s why. Your child will try and discard 8 out of every 10 apps you download for them. You might get one that you think is the best, most educational and stimulating thing you’ve ever seen for a toddler, and inevitably they will prefer the one that makes a funny noise when you touch something. The best way to avoid this is to download free apps. This way if your child does actually like it, you can then go and spend

the money on the full version (if it’s that kind of app) with a clear conscience. On that note, these are some of the best (yes, free) children’s apps I’ve come across since my iPad was appropriated. I Hear Ewe. This animal (mostly, it has a weird transport page at the back) sound app is an absolute blessing. Free, with no paid version it quite obviously plays the sound of the animal when the picture is touched. My kid even told me the sound a zebra makes the other day just from playing with this. Language customisable, however if you don’t want to be driven crazy by hearing the somewhat annoying American English voice saying, “This is the sound a … makes” over and over again, you can turn that off and it will just play the sound. Pop up books are another hit, and luckily Riding Hood and Rumpelstilskin are among the better free ones. Once you’ve heard the music and narration over and over again you’re likely to want to throw the iPad through the window, however I have in vain tried to convert him to a different storybook. Red Riding Hood in particular has not only the story but interactive sections as well where you must pack the food basket for Grandma, dress the wolf in Grandma’s clothing and so forth. Another popular app in our household is Easy Xylo, a xylophone app that my son loves. In fact he plays with it for longer and longer periods the more he realises that he doesn’t just have to bang on it to get it make a noise, but that he can actually make a tune. Not much more to say about that one really other than the fact that it has an irritating advert within easy reach, so it tries to access the Internet gladget25

whenever he touches it. Uh, you did remember to turn your 3G off before giving your iPad over to your child right? Good. Songs 4 Kids (there are two versions of this with different songs) would be one of my favourite apps if my child would allow a song to play past the first verse, actually past the first few bars of the song would be good, however he does love it, and on the odd occasion we get past the intro, When You’re Happy And You Know It Clap Your Hands is a particular favourite. Coloring is one of those apps that I suspect will become more popular the older he gets. At this point in time, selecting virtual crayons and colouring in pictures is less of a priority than making the crayons go up and down and make noises, however the ratio of image scribbled over to blank space is getting better and I live in hope that his artistic talent will emerge one of these days. Lastly the absolutely vile but endlessly child entertaining Talking (insert animal name thingy here). There are millions of these damn apps – Talking Tom the Cat (versions 1 and 2), Gina the Giraffe, Harry the Hedgehog, and others that I have refused to download. I hate these apps with an absolute passion, and yet my son finds it incredibly entertaining to hear them repeat his garbled toddler words back to him in a high, squeaky voice, amongst other equally mind numbing activities. You may hate every app I’ve listed here. Actually I hate most of them as well. But it’s almost guaranteed that your child will not, and if they do, well hey… they were free! Ooooo! A Jake and the Neverland Pirates app… Excuse me a second. g

29


African

Mobile handsets

successful in

Interview

Samsung kn

The International Convention Centre in Cape Town recently hosted the Samsung Galaxy Note II World Tour. Journalists and industry insiders were treated to a closer look at the Galaxy Note 2, a stylus driven device that bridges the divide between smart phone and tablet. Within the coming months we will bring you a full review of the exciting new handset, as well as other products announced at the event â&#x20AC;&#x201C; including the awesome Galaxy Camera. 30

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Mobility

s are extremely

n Africa, and

nows thatâ&#x20AC;Ś

With numerous members of the African press at the event, a lot of talk about mobile communication in Africa and Samsungâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s place in that sector was heard. We managed to steal a few moments with Craige Fleischer, Director of Mobile Communications at Samsung Electronics South Africa, to get his take on the situation.

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Interview

Despite a large divide between the haves and the have-nots in South Africa, and Africa in general, the mobile handset is still one of the top aspirational items. How is that divide addressed by Samsung? CF: We have a multiple device strategy, dependant of the segment of the market today. In South Africa today, almost half of the market buys handsets that cost less than R250.00. There is a massive digital divide. Those people aspire to have devices that can connect to the internet, at least. We very recently brought out ultralow cost devices within that segment, which are GPRS enabled. Yes, they don’t give you the best experience, but we have already built in things like social networking feeds. We have a social networking aggregator that Samsung uses to write applications for those entry level Java-based devices. As you move up the value chain you find the feature phone category, which is quite large. As you move higher in price point the addressable market shrinks. From a smart phone perspective, we’re trying to make smart phones accessible to as many people as possible. At Africa Forum we said that we were going to bring the Galaxy experience to a price point below a thousand Rand, which we did with Pocket. It’s specifically built for Africa. The issue here is that you’re not going to get the world’s fastest processor at a cost-effective price point. But as technology pricing comes down, and the cost to manufacture chipsets comes down, as per Moore’s Law, which says that every two years everything gets faster and better and so on, that will automatically happen. So we have, in

32

the smart phone arena, a multiple screen size, multiple processor and multiple operating system strategy, to address various segments of the South African market. That’s really happening world-wide, but we have such a massive portfolio that we have to be specific in what we want to bring to this country. Within that strategy, do products like the Galaxy Note II become the aspirational items within the trend? CF: Yes. We have found that we want to have that aspirational feel to it. The market in South Africa turned with the introduction of Galaxy last years, with the S2. We saw even more traction with the S3 – it created so much hype. The response of the South African consumer has been overwhelming. It’s a humbling experience to see consumers adopting the products in the way that they have. But I think the South African Market is ready from that perspective. The Note II fits, once again, into that space, where we’ve put the best that we can into it: 1.6GHz processor with 2 GB of RAM. That’s almost a notebook of a couple of years ago. And it’s in a handset that you can walk around with. It’s there to create that aspiration; we understand that not everybody will be able to afford that handset, but we can hopefully create a leadership statement with the devices that we bring to market, so that people will also adopt the more cost effective handsets. That’s not to say that they aren’t getting a great experience on a Pocket… they are getting far more than they would on another device at that price point. Internet access in Africa is largely based on

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mobile devices, rather than computer. Do you see this trend continuing? CF: One hundred per cent. The cost of running out terrestrial based service infrastructure is far too high for the incumbents in the market. At least, that’s for Africa. In South Africa, with all the fibre that’s going into the grounds and the evolution of new services like LTE, we’re seeing that the race is now on. It’s great for the South African consumer. It’s great for us at Samsung because we’re already shipping LTE devices to multiple countries, for multiple carriers. We’re very well poised to provide that technology, and take on the technology leap. In a lot of instances, networks are making a jump. They’re going straight from GPRS to LTE technology, because that’s where they want to play. The issue is that it has cost the networks a massive amount of money to roll out and maintain. That’s one of the reasons why we have created the multiple carrier environment, in which the device works on LTE, HSDPA, 3G, Edge and GPRS. This means that no matter where the user is, they can use the device. The trend of a high percentage of people using mobile devices to access the internet will continue because we’re already seeing a decline in the number of laptops sold, versus tablets. In South Africa the market is still pretty small – we’re seeing around 35 000 to 40 000 tablets sold every month, and that share is growing. And what will help is with newer devices and technology, people will be able to start creating content in that space, rather than just consume it. With that being the case, and considering that South Africa’s internet service provision is

considered a bit poor, what is Samsung’s policy towards spurring better internet provision in South Africa? CF: Unfortunately it’s not an area we participate in. We work with our partners in-country to look at providing the best hardware to network pairing that we can. We’re very fortunate in that we have a network driven market in South Africa; in the rest of Africa it is very distributor driven. So Samsung tries to get as close to the networks as possible, because we have found that that relationship works best. Samsung have always been a provider of the technology. We even provide LTE networking and networking infrastructure. We understand how that works, and how our handsets work best in that environment. But it’s not our place to actually drive data, data speed and data provision within the South African context. With devices like the Note II coming to market and displaying a massive step forward in technology, would you hazard a prediction as to wat we miht expect over the next few years? CF: That’s very difficult… I cannot give you a Samsung opinion. That standard answer is that we do not talk about devices that have not been commercially launched to market. But I believe that, if you see where technology is moving… Minority Report style devices will be coming into the market place. I would love to see that kind of technology in my lifetime. Where we get into holographics and that kind of environment. I cannot hazard a guess as to where Samsung is going to go, but that’s what I would personally like to see happening. g

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1973 Who say the space race ended in 1969?

Looking Back

1

973 started out great for the world. With the Vietnam War finally drawing to a close, ending one of the most horrific conflicts of the 20th century, the world could finally settle back into a peaceful state of ideological bickering and tension that didn’t involve the near imminent threat of nuclear devastation. Things were not last though. Just barely a month after the last American soldiers left Vietnam, America was rocked by the Watergate Scandal that ultimately resulted in ‘Tricky Dick’ Nixon’s resignation as president, while in October hostilities once again exploded in the Middle East with the Yom Kippur War, the largest of the Arab-Israeli conflicts. In contrast, 1973 was a quiet year for technology. This year did see the development of Wabot-1, short for Waseda Robot, the first humanoid robot, essentially the earliest android. Wabot-1 was remarkable in that it represented a major stride forward in the field of robotics, with the abilities to communicate in Japanese, walk on legs, transport objects and measure

34

distance and direction using external receptors, namely artificial ears, eyes and mouth. This was the year of space exploration however. With America and the USSR using their space programs as proxies to play “who’s biggest”, 1973 saw a number of ground-breaking developments and discoveries that gave us a hint of the complexity of our own solar system. The Soviet Mars Program kicked into full gear with a total of four launches between 21 July and 9 August. Unfortunately the Mars Program was plagued with hardware malfunctions and failed launches, and not one of the four probes launched that year successfully completed its missions. The Mars 4 and 7 failed to enter Mars’ orbit, and while Mars 5 was successful in this, only 60 images were transmitted back to earth before a pressurisation failure caused the mission to be aborted. The Mars 6 actually managed to land/crash on the surface, being the third man-made object to land on Mars after the Mars 2 and 3, but transmission failed after impact, and of the 224

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seconds of data transmitted, most of it was unreadable due to hardware degradation. On the other hand, the Americans fared much better. The Pioneer 10, launched in 1972, transmitted the first close up images of Jupiter, and at one point the radiation from the giant was so extreme it caused false commands to be generated in the probe, though these were corrected by contingency commands already in place. 1973 also saw the launch of the Pioneer 11, which only in 1979 transmitted the first close-up images of Saturn, as well as discovered one of its moons, Epimetheus. Both of the Pioneer probes carried the now famous Pioneer Plaques in case they are ever intercepted by intelligent extra-terrestrial life. Engraved, amongst other images, is the position of our solar system relative to the centre of the galaxy, as well as the image of a nude man and woman. Small wonder then that the aliens are apparently so obsessed with probingâ&#x20AC;Ś The Mariner 10 was also launched this year, the last of the Mariner program,

and would later be the first probe to reach Mercury. The largest event of the year however went to the launch of Americaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s first space station: Skylab. While technically only the fourth space station to have launched, the Soviets having launched the first station in 1971, Skylab was far more successful than its eastern counterparts, and operated for a total 2249 days, or just over six years. Skylab broke a number of records in its time, with each of the three manned missions breaking the record for the longest time in space, and also saw the first major in-space repair by the first crew. Numerous experiments were carried out over the course of its operating life, resulting in such discoveries as the sunâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s coronal holes, the so called dark-spots on the sun, and over 127000 photographs of the sun, and 46000 of the earth, were captured. It was a landmark time in the history of man, demonstrating the viability of space habitation, and truly opened the way for the exploration of the final frontier. g

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SOU

Turtle Beach

Turtle Beach has landed!

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A A

good headset is essential, particularly for gamers of all types. And it is those gamers that Turtle Beach have squarely in their marketing sights when it comes to their Ear Force headsets. Making use of high grade components, sturdy materials and a bunch of really clever ideas, Turtle Beach produce personal audio solutions that go above and beyond the call of duty. Turtle Beach is a brand created by Voyetra Turtle Beach, Inc. This company has been a frontrunner in music and audio technology for over thirty years, and is seen as a pioneer in PC audio technology. Voyetra was founded in 1975, specialising in synthesisers and sequencers. Their hardware and software won numerous awards around the globe. Turtle Beach was formed ten years later, and was acquired by Voyetra in 1996. They launched their first integrated stereo headset in 2006, after dabbling in sound cards.The rest is history, as they say; Turtle Beach products have consistently won awards and accolades for their top notch quality and performance. Headquartered in Valhalla, New York, and with offices in California and Europe, Turtle Beach sells products in fifty countries over five continents. According to the official website, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Turtle Beach will continue to provide the gaming industry with innovative new products. Designed for the avid gamer, these revolutionary headphones give gamers a more immersive, and private, game audio. We pride ourselves in our quality, professionalism, and integrity.â&#x20AC;? And this idea shows, with innovative ideas like making 50mm drivers standard in all headsets, building in audio boosting to improve sound quality and ensuring that their products provide the best fit for all gamers across numerous platforms. And now Turtle Beach products are available locally, too, allowing South African gamers to experience the great quality that they offer. Apex Interactive, a company with many years of experience in video game software and hardware, have secured the distribution rights for Turtle Beach products in South Africa. g

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by Walt Pretorius

UND!

37


Turtle Beach

Ear Force Z2

Ear Force XL1

Ear Force TX02

Ear Force PX21

Ear Force X42

Ear Force XC1

38

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Ear Force P11

Ear Force PX5

Ear Force X12

Ear Force X32

â&#x20AC;&#x153;Designed for the avid gamer, these revolutionary headphones give gamers a more immersive, and private, game audio.â&#x20AC;?

Ear Force Z11 gladget25

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Reviews Highlights 48 Turtle Beach Ear Force P11 Headset Wired sound for the PS3 50 Acer Iconia Tab A different mobile option 52 SteelSeries Kinzu V2 Pro Edition Mouse Simplicity is key... 56 MSI GT70 Notebook A Gaming Monster 60 FujiFilm FinePix HS30 EXR Digital Camera Zoom forever!

T

he year is slowly drawing to a close, which means the race to get new products to market before the Festive Season is well and truly under way. Not only are we seeing a host of new products from existing brands hitting shelves, but we are seeing new entrants into the sphere as well. And that’s always good news. We’re bringing something new to the table as well: this issue sees our first comparative review, in which we measure six Ultrabooks against each other. In addition, we have a whole bunch of other exciting products for you to look at, too… g

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com p eti t io n • c o mp eti ti on • c om pe tit ion • com pe t ition • com pe t it ion

From Russia With Love

WIN

a Kaspersky Internet Security 2013 suite Courtesy of Kaspersky Lab TO ENTER: Send an email to competitions@gameccamag.com Tell us which country hosts the Kaspersky Lab HQ Insert ‘Kaspersky’ in the mail’s subject line Subscribe to www.gladgetmag.com Become a fan on Gladget’s Facebook Page

Competition closes 30 November 2012. Gladget subscribers only. South African residents only. Prizes may not be exchanged for cash. Competition closed to employees (& employee’s family) of 1337 Media CC, Kaspersky Lab and Orange Ink. The judges’ decision is final.


VIRT U AL ACA D EMY

V I RTUAL AC ADE M Y VIRTUA L A CA D

Ultra-bes Small, sleek and powerful... thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s what Ultrabooks are all about. But which is the real

Virtual Academy

best-seller?

42

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DE MY

VIR T U A L A CA D EMY VIRTUAL AC ADE M Y

VIR T U A L

stseller Sleek and sexy is the key idea behind the looks of Ultrabooks, but what really matters to the user is what lies under the hood. With Intel backing the Ultrabook “movement”, there are numerous manufacturers bringing these light, easily-portable notebooks to the market. That can make things tricky if you’re looking at buying one. So here’s a quick guide to six options in the Ultrabook market, which should help to make those often difficult purchasing decisions just a little easier. Oh, and they’re arranged in order of physical size, from smallest to largest…

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43


Prepare to compare

44

Asus Zenbook Prime

Acer Aspire S5

Produced by industry experts Asus, the Zenbook Prime is the smallest of the Ultrabooks we have in this round-up. It is also one of the most striking. The brushed metal exterior and stylish chicklet style backlit keyboard, along with a rather nice track pad, make it really good looking. When closed, it is very slim indeed, with the edges coming together in an almost blade-like fashion. The small size and light weight make it extremely portable. The i5 CPU is supported by 4GB of RAM, and the overall performance of the unit is rather good. On the downside, the hard drive space provided by the Zenbook is a little light. It provides the user with two USB 3.0 ports, as well as a headphone ports and mini HDMI output. The Zenbook Prime is a great example of how a small Ultrabook can still be very impressive. Its good looks really carry this unit, which is impressive not despite its size, but rather because of it. Asus have long understood that looks are very important in the marketplace, and the Zenbook Prime shows that understanding. g

Acer, another long standing PC manufacturer, have entered the smalland-light market with the Acer S5, a very sleek looking unit indeed. The S5 eschews the metallic tones that are so common these days, opting for a very stylish all-black look that is really impressive. From the black brushed metal top through to the keyboard and track pad, everything here is black. The keyboard has no backlight, but is a rather nicely spaced affair none the less. An odd looking key, when depressed, results in a panel sliding open at the back of the device with a funky robotic whine. This reveals two USB 3.0 ports, as well as a full sized HDMI port. The nice thing about this is that these ports are protected when the ‘hatch’ is closed. Other ports include a headphone output and multi-card reader. It’s a good looking machine, and the inner working are not too shabby, either, based on an i5 CPU and 4GB of RAM. The hard drive space, though, leaves a bit to be desired, as much of it is inaccessible. The S5 revels in its unique, stylish look. It is extremely portable, and has some rather nice features built in. But the user may need to consider an external hard drive. g

Score

88 gladget25

Score

82


HP Folio 13-2000

Gigabyte U2442

Being one of the first Ultrabooks to hit the market – at least from the HP stable – the Folio seems a little less powerful than others. The i5 CPU puts out a little less power than others in the round-up, for example, and the hard drive space is a bit on the small side. It sports 4GB of RAM, though, and offers a very long battery life, which is always a plus. Two USB 2.0 ports are available for use, as well as a multicard reader, HDMI output, headphone jack and LAN port. Once again, the USB ports aren’t quite what one would want, what with 3.0 ports on most other models, showing the age of the Folio… and these days, it only takes a few months for hardware to start feeling dated. Still, the Folio is wonderfully light and small, making it a decent option in terms of portability. It’s brushed metal finish looks good, while the black keyboard and track pad complement the overall look rather nicely. That said, it is not the most stylish Ultrabook around… but if looks aren’t something that bother you too much, and you’re willing to get a slightly older piece of hardware, it may end up being a great option for you. g

Gigabyte is a brand that is, locally at least, strongly associated with video gaming. One would assume then, that their Ultrabook offering may be a bit on the flimsy side. And the CPU, being an i5 processor, might be, but the 8GB of RAM and really fast CPU clock speeds make it look a lot better. In fact, there are a lot of features around this particular Ultrabook that make it look very appealing, including great graphics, a backlit keyboard and stylish looks. The light grey metal finish clashes a little with the black keys, but the two USB 3.0 ports, 2 USB 2.0 ports, card reader, HMDI output and full audio ports make up for that little complaint. While it is not strictly an Ultrabook per se, the U2442 fits into this round-up well, thanks to many features that are similar to other Ultrabook units. It is a little larger than the previous few, and is not as light and sleek as the others… but generous storage and decent performance make it a solid choice. g

Score

80 gladget25

Score

92 45


Prepare to compare

46

Samsung Series 9 900X

HP Envy 6

Samsung is showing a great understanding of devices, and the Series 9 Ultrabooks are no different. Although it is a larger Ultrabook, it still manages to be light and sleek. The light silver finish complements the attractive lines of this notebook beautifully. The black keys are a little jarring, but the large track pad more than makes up for this. At its core is an i5 processor, although not the quickest, is supported by 4GB of RAM. In terms of storage, it is a little on the light side, but it makes use of only SSD technology for its storage. This makes it particularly speedy. Being the second largest model in the round-up, it is a little less portable than some of the other Ultrabooks we looked at. But this added size means that it can squeeze a few extras in too. It provides the user with two USB 3.0 ports, as well as a single USB 2.0 port. Additionally, it has an SD card reader, headphone port and mini HDMI output. In short, it is a very solid option for those who want their Ultrabook to be a bit bigger. The performance is good, and the overall look of the device is quite impressive. g

HP have a lot of experience in all aspects of notebooks, so it is hardly surprising that their Envy is the most visually striking device we looked at. The unit is mostly finished in black, with a rather unusual and attractive burgundy base. While it is the biggest Ultrabook in the round-up, it remains surprisingly light and portable. The size also means that the keyboard and track pad are generously sized, too. With around 500GB of hard drive space, the Envy is among the larger in terms of storage space. On the other hand, the i5 CPU and 4GB of RAM make it a little average in terms of performance, and there is no SSD to speed things up. Not bad, mind you, but the visuals of this machine imply a little more performance punch than it actually delivers. A multicard reader, three USB ports, full audio ports and an HDMI output are all provided. In addition, the audio – supported by Beats – is far better than expected. Great looks and good performance combine in the Envy – it’s not quite HP’s flagship Ultrabook, but it gets the job done in style. g

Score

88 gladget25

Score

85


Final Words CPU

RAM

HDD

SSD

Screen Size

Closed thickness

Weight

Battery life

Asus Zenbook Prime UX21A

i5-3517U (1.9GHz)

4GB

N/A

128 GB

11.6 inch

9mm

1.1kg

5 hours

Acer Aspire S5

i5-3317U (1.7GHz)

4GB

N/A

128 GB

13.3 inch

15mm

1.2kg

6.5 hours

Hp Folio 13

i5-2467M (1.6GHz)

4GB

N/A

128 GB

13.3 inch

18mm

1.5kg

8 hours

Gigabyte U2442

i5-3210M (2.5GHz)

8GB

750 GB

128 GB

14 inch

18mm

1.6kg

5 hours

Samsung Series 9 900X

i5-2537M (1.5GHz)

4GB

N/A

128 GB

13.3 inch

15.7mm

1.3kg

7 hours

HP Envy 6 i5-3317U (1.7GHz)

4GB

500 GB

N/A

15.6 inch

20mm

2kg

9 hours

For all intents and purposes, the Gigabyte U2442 is faster and offers more in terms of expansion, as so forth. Its mid-range size and fairly light weight make it a great option for all kinds of sage, and the large amount of storage is a real boon. If you want to go small and sleek, though, the Asus Zenbook Prime is an awesome idea. Good looks combine with a fair amount of power and extreme portability, making it a conversation piece as well as a great notebook. Battery life – if that’s something that is important to you – is the province of HP, with better battery performance (on paper, at least) than the other brands. But if it came down to a single choice – we’re talking a gun-to-thehead style choice – we would more than likely opt for the Gigabyte. It’s generous storage and faster processor make for a compelling argument. g gladget25

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The

Sometimes, wired is a good thing…

W W

Review

Turtle Beach Ear Force P11 Headset

hile wireless headsets certainly are a luxury, they bring with them certain issues. The most prominent of these is the fact that they lose power. In a best case scenario, they can be recharged. In the worst case, they need batteries replaced. And while wireless headsets are considered to be the cream of the crop, the reliability of wired headsets outweighs the inconvenience imposed on the user by the cable. This is even more applicable when that wire is generous, and has ways to be managed. Turtle Beach’s Ear Force P11 headset, for PS3 and PC (or Mac, if you are so inclined) is a good example of a wired headset that will deliver excellent performance, while allowing the user to retain a modicum of control over the generous cable. This headset comes with a positionable boom mic that can be swivelled out of the way when it is not needed. The large ear cups fit over the users ears, and are finished with fabric mesh cushions, which allows for better air-flow. This means that they are pretty comfortable; the padded headband adds to this aspect as well. What is most important for headsets, though, is sound quality. The most comfortable headset, wired or not, means little if the sound quality is not great. And while there is some debate about the effect of driver size on sound quality (which seems a little silly, really) Turtle Beach seem to believe that bigger is better. And they prove it time and again, thanks to the 50mm drivers that they use in the P11, and pretty much all of their other headsets. In short, the sound quality here is excellent. And the set comes armed with some really nice features too. This goes beyond the in-line volume control, which features independent volume controls for chat and audio. Bass boost and amplified audio also make a difference, and a mic monitor system allows you to hear what you are saying in-game. The only real downside here – and it isn’t that much of one, if you think about it- is the fact that the headset needs to be plugged into audio ports as well as a USB port. The USB port is used for power, only, which is a bit of a pain if you’re running short on USB space. Still, it is a minor inconvenience overall, particularly when considering the excellent performance that the P11 delivers. Once again, Turtle Beach have displayed a keen sense of what is required from a gaming headset. It doesn’t have all the bells and whistled of some of their higher end products, but as a mid-range offering it is reliable, and performs extremely well. g

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gladget25


One by Walt Pretorius

Summary

Tech Specs:

Armed with a generous cable, this headset provides excellent performance for PS3 and computer users.

M a nufa c turer Distributer: O nline: RRP:

gladget25

Very comfortable Great audio Multi-system compatible

Wired USB powered 50mm drivers In-line volume control Amplified audio Bass boost

Turtle B ea c h A pex Intera c tiv e www.a pexint.c o.za R899.95

Pros • • • • •

• • • • • •

Cons • • • • •

USB powered

Score

82 49


Another

Acer Iconia Tab

Option

Despite not being famous, awesome performance…

W Review

W

hen people talk about tablets, you generally hear two names more than any others: Apple and Samsung. The prevalence of the iPad and Galaxy devices are not dissuading other manufacturers, though. We’ve actually reviewed more tablets from other manufacturers that Apple and Samsung combined here at Gladget. And we’re about to add another to that list. Acer are well known for their portable computing devices, at least in the form of the Aspire notebooks that they produce. They’re also known, to a slightly lesser degree, for other computing bits and bobs, like monitors. But they’re not really reputed for their tablet devices. Their experience in mobility shows, however, in the Iconia Tab. And it gives other, more prominent tab brands a run for their money. At the core of the device is an Nvidia Tegra dual core

50

GPU that chugs along at 1GHz. Nvidia aren’t really well known for anything other than their GPU devices, but this CPU does the job admirably. Supporting that is 1GB of RAM, as well as 32GB of internal storage. Thus far, it sounds good, but nothing there necessarily sets this 10.1 inch tablet apart from the competition. The most noticeable difference is that it is a bit bulkier and slightly heavier than other devices. But this bulk and weight comes with perks. Not many tablets can boast the level of connectivity that this Android device offers. Ports, for example, include a mini-HDMI output, as well as a USB port, in addition to the expected inputs and outputs. The device is also mini-SD compatible, so it offers expandable memory. Even down to the rotation lock switch (an extremely handy feature, let me tell you) the Iconia offers the user a lot. And it is obviously fully supported by the Android App

gladget25


by Alex Scanlon

service, which makes a lot of sense in South Africa (where Apple offerings are still a little lacklustre in those terms.) The device powers on and off very quickly, and the screen is extremely responsive, in addition to being very clear. Connectivity comes by way of Blue Tooth, WiFi and multiple cellular bands, including HSDPA, Edge and GPRS. The device is even GPS ready (meaning that is has GPS support, which will kick in provided you have access). It may not have specs that match up to the latest competitive offerings, but you could do far worse than the Iconia. Its responsiveness is excellent, and the expandable memory (not to mention added connectivity in physical terms) provide things that many competitors do not. Yes, it may be a bit harder to carry around, but the added bulk and weight are not that great as to make it an unviable option. In fact, it’s a very decent option indeed. g

Summary

Tech Specs: • • • • • •

It may be a bit bigger and heavier, but the performance and versatility it offers make up for that.

M a nufa c turer Distributer: O nline: RRP:

A c er A c er www.a c er.c om A pprox. R8 000

Pros • • • • •

gladget25

Very responsive Lots of connection options Expandable storage

1GHz CPU 1GB RAM 32GB storage HSDPA / EDGE / GPRS 10.1 inch Micro-SD compatible

Cons • • • • •

Bigger Heavier

Score

88 51


Simplicity SteelSeries Kinzu V2 Pro Edition Mouse

It can be sublime...

W Review

W

hen looking for a high performance mouse, most people – particularly gamers – tend to see just how many buttons they will have to play with. While there is practicality in this approach, what with taking some controls away from the keyboard and assigning them to the pointing device, the idea that more working parts mean more can go wrong is accurate quite often. And, when it comes to a mouse, buttons are working parts… SteelSeries take a different approach, pretty much across their whole range of products. They don’t try to squeeze every possible thing onto a mouse unit. Rather, they produce items that work well, thanks to their simplicity. The Kinzu V2 Pro Edition is such a mouse. When reading on the packaging that the device is developed in close co-operation with leading gamers, one would

52

assume that it has all kinds of bits added to it to make it appear extremely impressive. But, when you get down to it, this is a simply shaped device that sports three buttons… one of them being the scroll wheel. So, what makes the Kinzu so special, then? Well, instead of concentrating on added extras, SteelSeries put their efforts into what really counts: performance. The sensor in this cabled mouse performs 3200 counts per second, with an acceleration of 30G. The speed works out to 65 inches per second, which is really fast. The device also allows for two preset sensitivities, which are changes by a fourth button situated behind the scroll wheel. Two presets may seem a little light, but it really is more than enough – you either want fast speeds, or slow speeds, realistically, and setting between the two is quicker than flicking through numerous preset options. Using this lightweight mouse is great – it’s comfortable,

gladget25


by Rob Edwards

ambidextrous design means that it not only allows for extended playing without fatigue, but anyone can use it. Left handed folks often battle to find an effective mouse, thanks to some extremely fancy ergonomic designs, but this one works for anyone. In addition, the high performance Teflon feet mean that it almost literally glides over any surface, meaning even less work and strain in gaming or day-to-day use. The biggest challenge that faces the Kinzu is the fact that it doesn’t necessarily look the part. Quite honestly, the appearance of this mouse belies its abilities, and people have a habit of judging books by their covers. Seeing is believing with the Kinzu, which goes a long way to prove that complexity doesn’t always equate to quality. It may be really simple, but it provides exactly what the gamer (and any other user) needs: performance and accuracy. And that’s what really counts in the end. g

Summary

Tech Specs:

It might not look the part, because it is very simple. But the Kinzu is a great high performance mouse.

M a nufa c turer Distributer: O nline: RRP:

gladget25

Sensitive Comfortable Ambidextrous

4 buttons 2m cable 3200 CPI 30G acceleration 2 CPI presets

SteelSeries M eg a rom www.meg a rom.c o.za R399

Pros • • • • •

• • • • • •

Cons • • • • •

Perhaps too simple for some?

Score

89 53


Xbox Comp A lower price doesn’t mean poor quality…

W Review

Turtle Beach Ear Force XL1 Headset

W

hen someone says that a particular device is at the lower end of a range, that can often mean a whole lot of bad things. But, for some devices and certain brands, all that really means is that it has a few less bells and whistles, and is more cost effective. That certainly is the case for Turtle Beach. Take their Ear Force XL1 headset as an example. This is their low-end Xbox 360 offering. But, in terms of comfort and performance, you wouldn’t really think so. At the core of the system are the 50mm drivers housed in the ear cups. This shows the Turtle Beach approach beautifully – these drivers are used across their entire range, delivering great sound no matter which model you choose. The result of this larger drivers is clear sound across all frequencies, including excellent bass response. While one could easily be forgiven for expecting compromised performance in a device like this, that simply isn’t the case. As one would expect, the XL1 is a wired headset. While this means that you will have to deal with wires, the upside is that there is no recharging or battery changing required. And the cable is very long, measuring almost 5 meters. In other words, you can comfortably play your Xbox 360 games using this headset, pretty much regardless of what kind of set-up you have. The downside is that this headset isn’t particularly versatile. It’s made for Xbox 360, and that’s what it’s going to work with; unlike some other Turtle Beach options, you’re not going to be using it with any other device. That said, its range positioning means that it is at a lower price point than other devices, so its specific nature won’t impact your pocket too much. While it doesn’t have some of the special features that one would find with more expensive Turtle Beach products, it offers enough to make it a compelling option. In other words, this isn’t just a bog-standard headset. It comes armed with amplified audio and bass boost, which help deliver very good sound quality. Mic monitor allows you to hear your chat input clearly, and the in-line volume controls have independent settings for audio and chat. In terms of comfort, the generous, fabric mesh covered ear cups don’t put too much strain on the ears, and the padded headband adds even more comfort. And the device only weighs 181g, meaning that the user will stay comfortable after long usage periods. On the downside, it requires a USB port to be powered. That said, if you have a newer Xbox 360, that shouldn’t be a problem at all, because the new consoles have lots of USB space. Just because something costs less doesn’t make it cheap – the XL1 is great proof of that, and is a good option for Xbox gamers. g

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panion

by Walt Pretorius

Summary

Tech Specs:

A great option for Xbox owners on a tighter budget who want awesome personal audio...

M a nufa c turer Distributer: O nline: RRP:

gladget25

Good value Comfortable Good sound

50mm drivers In-line volume control 4.88m cable USB powered Bass boost Audio amplifier

Turtle B ea c h A pex Intera c tiv e www.a pexint.c o.za R499.95

Pros • • • • •

• • • • • •

Cons • • • • •

USB powered

Score

79 55


T T

Review

MSI GT70 Notebook

he idea of a gaming laptop is not fairly pervasive; a lot of people are using them these days, particularly in areas where LAN culture is still strong. MSI has had their eye on the PC gaming sector of the market for a good long while – as evidenced by a number of their higher end motherboards and graphics cards- so it is small wonder that they produce gaming laptops too. In fact, this isn’t the first one we have seen from their stable… but it is the newest one, and it packs a punch that will make some desktop PC users turn a lovely shade of green as their envy gland kicks in. The MSI GT70 is not exactly a small device. Sure, it’s easier to lug around to LAN parties than a desktop PC, but it isn’t as portable as an Ultrabook. Still, it allows you to game (and do other computer-type stuff) pretty much anywhere, which is a big bonus. The large size of the laptop extends to the spec list as well. It starts with a 17.3 inch, full HD, non-glare, LED display. There isn’t a single descriptor there that you cannot like. Under the hood, the core of the beast is an i7-3610QM processor, supported by an awesome 12GB of RAM. Sure, 12 is an odd number for RAM, but it’s still a lot. Visuals are courtesy of an Nvidia GeForce GTX 675M chipset, along with a rather chunky 2GB of VRAM. The result is quick, reliable performance. Further speed is gained with the inclusion of a 128GB SSD. While we’ve mainly seen these devices in Ultrabooks, it is great to see one included here. In addition, 780GB of traditional HDD space adds to storage, providing the user with space just shy of 1TB in total. That’s pretty awesome for a notebook! Input comes by way of a SteelSeries keyboard and a trapezoidal, left aligned track pad. And because no self-respecting gamer will use a track pad for playing games, the device can be deactivated with a handy button just above it. Audio is taken care of by a rather nice Dynaudio system, although there are the obligatory audio ports forwhen the integrated speakers just won’t do the trick. Other ports include surround sound audio outputs, two USB 3.0 ports, two USB 2.0 ports and a multicard reader. Oh, and an optical drive too. Ther performance of the GT70 is excellent, and it keeps itself cool even under pressure. It isn’t as flashy (read as gaudy) as other gaming notebooks, either, opting for a downplayed visual style that is a bit more elegant. In almost every way, this notebook is a winner. Power, performance, looks… they’re all there. g

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gladget25

Powe A notebook to put desktops to


er-Play shame…

by Walt Pretorius

Summary

Tech Specs:

Power and performance combine in this monster notebook, which is great for all computing purposes- particularly gaming. M a nufa c turer Distributer: O nline: RRP:

gladget25

Fast Powerful Good looking

i7-3610QM CPU 12 GB RAM 2GB VRAM GTX675M GPU 128GB SSD 780GB HDD

M SI Pinna c le A fric a www.pinna c le.c o.za A pprox. R24 000

Pros • • • • •

• • • • • •

Cons • • • • •

Bulky Pricey

Score

92 57


Handy

A great hands free kit from the GPS maker

Tomtom Hands Free Car Kit for Smartphones

by Rob Edwards

T Review

T

omtom are known for getting us to where we are going, but now they’re helping us do it safely, too. While the company is well known for their GPS devices, they have released a really great hands-free device too. The model we got to look at supports virtually all smart phones in either portrait or landscape orientation. With Blue Tooth technology and an extendable microphone, as well as noise and echo cancellation, the user gets a really clear conversation with this device. With cell phone laws for drivers getting more and more stringent, having a good hands free kit is becoming essential. With this device, the user will get an excellent experience, overall. The sturdy construction and true hands-free operation will help ensure safer driving, without losing out on phone calls. It’s sensible, well build and keeps your phone secure, too. g

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gladget25

Summary

Tech Specs:

Sturdy, and handy. This is a great way to keep communicating while driving.

M a nufa c turer Distributer: O nline: RRP:

Safer driving Great performance Secure

Smartphone compatible Bluetooth Noise and Echo cancellation 2Wspeaker Extendable mic

Tomtom Tomtom www.tomtom.c o.za A pprox. R900

Pros • • • • •

• • • • • •

Cons • • • • •

A bit bulky

Score

80


/HITMAN ©2012SquareEnix,Ltd.“2”,“Playstation”,“PS3”and“À”aretrademarksorregisterdtrademarksofSonyComputerEntertainmentInc.“Ôisatrademarkofthesamecompany.KINECT,Xbox, Xbox360,XboxLIVE,andtheXboxlogosaretrademarksoftheMicrosoftgroupofcompaniesandareusedunderlicensefromMicrosoft.Allothertrademarksarethepropertiesoftheirrespectiveowners.


Review

Among other great featuresâ&#x20AC;Ś

FujiFilm FinePix HS30 EXR Digital Camera

Super by Walt Pretorius

60

gladget25


Zoom! F F

ujiFilm are known for their great photographic devices. The company has been around for ages, and early entrance into the digital photography scene allowed the manufacturer to get valuable experience in the field. The result is a range of very reliable and effective cameras. They might not carry a brand name that everyone knows, but they certainly deserve their reputation. The FinePix HS30 EXR is a camera that would fall into the nastily named “prosumer” category. That means that it sits somewhere between consumer and professional in terms of abilities and performance. But that category has a very different meaning these days, as more and more people get into, and get good at, digital photography. Essentially, it means combining the simplicity of a pocket camera with the power and versatility of a DSLR. These days, though, pocket cameras are becoming much more capable, and without the benefit of a small size or interchangeable lenses, the HS30 sits in a bit of a strange space. That’s not to say that it isn’t a good camera. It produces a 16 megapixel image, which is pretty good. But the real prize here is the camera’s zoom capabilities. It offers the user a massive 30x optical zoom, which equates to around 720mm in DSLR terms. So, to put it into perspective, the lens it comes armed with is essentially a 24 – 720, which is a stunning range. This, combined with several shooting modes (including a rather capable full manual) and ISO settings that range from 100 to 12 800, means that you have a really decent all-rounder in the form of the HS30. Naturally, it comes with a whole bunch of fancy extras, because cameras really need those to be viable in today’s market, full as it is with convergence and the need for single solutions to multiple problems. So things like full HD video recording, 360 degree panoramic shots, 11 frames per second burst shooting and a whole bunch of presets and effects are all built into the HS30. The back of the camera features a generous 3 inch screen that cam be repositioned, although it doesn’t show the wide range of positions that other cameras sometimes offer. The back of the camera seems pretty cluttered, too, with lots of buttons and controls on hand. These do make things easier, though, and setting up quick shots with the HS30 is relatively simple because of it. Rather than digging through menus, the user will have most of what they need right there. The camera also offers a dioptre, and a hot-shoe flash mount, which sets it apart from pocket models. This really is a good camera, even if it does occupy an ever diminishing niche in the market. It is powerful, effective and extremely versatile. g

Summary

Tech Specs:

It occupies a strange niche in the market, but this camera is versatile, powerful and takes great images.

M a nufa c turer Distributer: O nline: RRP:

gladget25

Awesome zoom Easy to use Nice controls

16 megapixel 30x optical zoom 3 inch LCD 11 frames per second HD video recording

FujiFilm FujiFilm www.fujifilm.c om A pprox. R5 499

Pros • • • • •

• • • • • •

Cons • • • • •

Quite large No lens swapping

Score

88 61


S Review

Acer Aspire V3-771 Notebook

S

Big Boy

leek and small don’t always go hand in hand with powerful performance. This is particularly true of notebook computers. And while there are some very enticing offers in the former category on the market these days, the truth of the matter is that sometimes you need power, and lots of it. In these cases, buying an Ultrabook or a netbook may not be the best option. Sure, going for a larger notebook may well mean that you are compromising portability, but that’s the way of things. Acer have some entrants in the Ultrabook market, true, but they haven’t added these products at the expense of their other notebooks. The Aspire V3-771 stands testament to that. Endowed with a 17.3 inch LED display, it’s a pretty big device. Big enough to handle a full sized keyboard, in fact, complete with a num pad. But it’s not just big in size – the V3 has a lot of ‘big’ where it counts, too; under the hood. The heart of the machine is an Intel i5 processor that runs at 2.5GHz. This can be boosted up to a really chunky 3.1 GHz using built in Turbo Boost technology. The CPU is supported by 4GB of RAM, which is fairly standard, but is still not a number to sneeze at. Visuals are provided via Intel HD 3000 graphics technology, and storage is provided by a fair sized 500GB hard drive. It’s not SSD, but it does the trick rather nicely. In terms of looks, the V3 bucks the brushed metal trend, going rather for something that could be considered a little anachronistic: shiny black and silver plastic. As a result, it doesn’t feel quite as tough as it should, but it does make a visual impression. The keyboard is black, set on a matt silver background, and a large left-aligned touch pad completes the input ensemble. The large display is a little too shiny for our tastes, but it supported by very decent audio, thanks to a Dolby Home Theatre sound system. When it comes to ports, the V3 is well provisioned. Two USB 3.0 and two USB 2.0 ports group together with audio ports, a LAN port, HMDI output and VGA output, while a multi-card reader (something that is becoming ubiquitous in notebooks) is positioned at the front of the device. On the whole, the Aspire V3-771 is a rather good workhorse. It is a bit heavy, but that weight speaks of the power it provides the user. It looks a little more at home on a desk than on the go, but it is still portable enough to make sense. And it offers the kind of performance that many users would want. g

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y

With the power that goes along with it… by Alex Scanlon

Summary

Tech Specs: • • • • • •

A big, bulky notebook that delivers good levels of power.

M a nufa c turer Distributer: O nline: RRP:

A c er A c er www.a c er.c om R5 999

Pros • • • • • gladget25

Powerful Good port options

2.5 GHz CPU 4GB RAM 500 GB HDD 17.3 inch display 2 USB 3.0 ports 2 USB 2.0 ports

Cons • • • • •

Bulky

Score

80 63


Cool & Col MSI R7950 Twin Frozr 3GD5 Graphics Card

Taking everything in its stride

G Review

G

raphics cards are something we have seen a lot of over the last few years of publishing. In fact, I would hazard a guess that these devices fall comfortably into our top three for device review categories, if not the number one slot. That should tell you something about the graphics card market. It’s full, busy and constantly evolving. This is both a good and a bad thing. On the one side, there is always new technology available. On the other, it means that your brand new card is out-dated very quickly. Such is life in IT… MSI are right up there when it comes to both running with new technology and implementing great ideas. We have seen a number of their graphics card offerings and, quite honestly, we enjoy what we see every time. From their lower end cards right through to the high end devices, MSI manage to deliver great performance

64

pretty much consistently. And that counts for the R7950 Twin Frozr 3GD5, too. Armed with a Radeon 7950 chipset and an awesome 3GB of GDDR5 RAM, this card chews through the most challenging graphics without breaking much of a sweat. And it does so without turning the inside of your PC case into a sauna, too. The great heat performance is largely due to MSI’s Twin Frozr technology, something that we have seen time and again (and are still impressed by.) Twin turbine style fans combine with extra thick heat pipes, high density heat sinks and a direct contact design to bring the heat down significantly. The packaging claims 10 per cent cooler than reference cards… while we can’t say that for certain, we can agree that this card does run a lot cooler. The airflow increase granted by the fans alone is significant. In keeping with their usual modus operandi, this card

gladget25


llected

by Walt Pretorius

makes use of Military Grade III components, which aside from reliability and stability also means that the card’s operation is quieter. Even with those two big fans, this device doesn’t make a lot of noise, even under strain. As for performance? Well, the specs say it all; this card does the job with grace and ease, even after protracted periods of use. There is a downside to this otherwise excellent device. While most graphics cards make use of two DVI ports, this one only offers one. It also has an HDMI port and two DisplayPorts. Sure, you can connect four monitors to the card, but in certain set-ups, it will require more PT to get right. DVIis still a very common standard, so reducing the number of ports for that standard seems odd. But that will only affect some people, and those that buy a card like this will certainly be willing to make a plan. It is worth it. g

Summary

Tech Specs:

Lots of RAM and GPU power, little noise and heat – a great graphics combo!

M a nufa c turer Distributer: O nline: RRP:

gladget25

Quiet Cool Powerful

7950 chipset 3GB GDDR5 RAM 1 DVI output 1 HDMI output 2 DisplayPorts Military Class III components

M SI Pina c c le A fric a www.pina c c le.c o.za A pprox. R3 700

Pros • • • • •

• • • • • •

Cons • • • • •

Only one DVI port

Score

89 65


Protected! Effective and non-invasive…

Karspersky Internet Security 2013

by Rob Edwards

T Review

T

he need for good system security is paramount. It’s always better to be safe than sorry, so having a good malware protection suite is the best idea for anyone who works on a computer. Kaspersky Labs have spent many years honing their craft when it comes to this, and their Internet Security 2013 product shows just that. It addresses everything that needs to be looked at for an effective malware protection system: it’s not invasive, easy to use, and effectively manages to protect your computer without hogging a lot of system resources. In addition to malware protection, it also features system tweaking, online banking protection, parental controls and more. It even protects while you are visiting Facebook and other social networks. If you want an effective solution for malware problems, this latest option from Kaspersky Labs will certainly deliver the goods. g

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gladget25

Summary

Tech Specs:

A very effective way to keep your PC protected...

M a nufa c turer Distributer: O nline: RRP:

Light on resources Easy to use Full protection

Safe Money Hybrid Protection Parental Control Anti-virus Anti-spyware Anti-phishing

Ka spersky La b Phoenix Softwa re www.phoenixsoftwa re.c o.za A pprox. R299

Pros • • • • •

• • • • • •

Cons • • • • •

Yearly subscription

Score

90


The Suspen

Review

SteelSeries Siberia V2 Full-Size Headset

That’s where comfort lies…

68

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nsion!

W

by Walt Pretorius

W

e’ve seen a lot of headsets over the last few issues. That’s often the case when new brands come to market and, within the last while, we have seen two major brands arriving in South Africa, via two different distributors. One of those brands is a focussed headset manufacturer, while the other looks at a broader range of peripherals. It is the latter that we are looking at here. SteelSeries prefer simplicity. They say as much in their mission statement. And yet, hidden in the simplicity is an idea that – while not extremely complex – is so good that it makes the Siberia V2 Full-Size Headset just about the most comfortable thing that can go on your head. At least, in terms of headsets. At first glance, the design of this particular headset looks quite different, and possibly a little flimsy. That’s because there is lots of space built into the headset. It’s a large device, despite the fact that there are big gaps and negative spaces in the design. One such gap appears between the two supports that, initially, appear to be associated with the headband. But they simply hold the ear cups in place. The headband--- well, that’s where the magic of that clever idea happens. See, the headband uses a simple yet effective suspension idea. What this means is that the headset more or less automatically adjusts in size. And it also is extremely comfortable. You need to take some care when putting them on, but you get used to that. Even more comfort comes from the large ear cups, which feature sound dampening foam for passive noise reduction. Housed within these ear cups are large, 50mm drivers. These are a good distance from the ear, too. The result is exceptionally good sound. We mean really good. SteelSeries know, just like the other headset manufacturer we feature in this issue, that large drivers and well-designed ear cups are crucial to good sound. Another great feature here is the retractable mic boom. It pushes back into the left ear cup, keeping it safe and out of the way. An in-line volume control allows the mic to be muted, as well as adjusting audio volume. The device comes with a one meter cord attached, and a two meter extension cord. The one meter cord is a little short – you will almost always be using the extension cord, which is a bit of a pain. SteelSeries has a strong focus on PC gaming, and it shows here. This device is not directly compatible with consoles, but anything that uses a 3.5mm jack can be used with it. It’s a small downside, considering the excellent performance and comfort… g

Summary

Tech Specs:

Extremely comfortable and great sound... that really is enough said.

M a nufa c turer Distributer: O nline: RRP:

gladget25

Very comfortable Great sound

50mm drivers In-line volume control 3m total cord length Retractable mic 3.5mm jack Sound dampening foam

SteelSeries M eg a rom www.meg a rom.c o.za R899

Pros • • • • •

• • • • • •

Cons • • • • •

Simple in-line controls ‘PC only’

Score

90 69


Books &

Review

Toshiba Satellite L850-F31R Notebook

You should never judge the one by the otherâ&#x20AC;Ś

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Covers

A A

reliable notebook is always a good thing to have around, particularly if you do a lot of travelling. With Ultrabooks taking the ‘lightand-easy’ market by storm, though, one cannot help but wonder where notebooks are going to be just a few years from now. For the time being, though, there is still a viable place for a heavier, larger machine. That’s partly because the technology driving miniaturisation still has a way to go, and partly because people still need things like optical drives in their mobile computing solutions. If you are such a person and you need to find a good notebook in the middle-range of things, the Toshiba Satellite L850-F31R is worth a look. It’s an attractive machine that eschews the very fashionable brushed metal look we see so much of these days for a slightly old-fashioned durable plastic finish, all in dark greys and black. While the looks might not appeal to everyone, it does perform well within its category. Powered by an Intel i5 CPU that chugs along at around 2.5GHz, the performance may not be blazingly fast, but it does get the job done, without a doubt. Performance is supported by 4GB of RAM standard, which can be expanded to 8GB. Storage is provided by a 640GB hard drive – a bit of an unusual size, but certainly better than the common 500GB we see a lot of in notebooks. The glossy 15.6 inch screen displays graphics via a fairly decent Radeon HD7670M graphics chip, complete with 1GB of dedicated RAM. That’s a lot more than we see from a lot of notebooks, other than dedicated gaming rigs. The display itself allows for a resolution of up to 1366 x 768, and is LED backlit, which makes for a bright, clear image. While the sound that this device delivers is better than that from notebooks a few years ago, it still leaves a bit to be desired when using the internal speakers. The L850 sports a chicklet style keyboard, complete with a numpad and various multimedia controls. Along with that, control is provided via a rather old-fashioned right-aligned track pad. In terms of ports, the L850 offers a multi-card reader, two USB 3.0, one USB 2.0 and HDMI ports, in addition to the expected LAN, audio and VGA output ports. It also offers a Multi-Drive optical drive. In a nutshell, the L850 is a decent notebook with a few anachronistic features, like the looks and the track pad. Still, it does the job well, and is generally reliable. It might not be up there in the fashion stakes, but it is a fairly powerful notebook when all is said and done, with solid graphic performance and a larger than expected storage capacity. g

by Walt Pretorius

Summary

Tech Specs:

It’s a bit old-fashioned in looks, but the L850 delivers decent performance.

M a nufa c turer Distributer: O nline: RRP:

gladget25

Nice performance Reliable

Intel i5 CPU 4GB RAM 640GB HDD 15.6 inch screen Radeon 7670M GPU 1GD VRAM

Toshiba Toshiba www.toshiba .c o.za A pprox. R6 999

Pros

• •

• • • • • •

Cons • • • • •

Bulky Looks outdated

Score

79 71


WonderSt

Interview

The State of the PlayStation N

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tation

Nation.

With the Festive Season around the corner, many eyes are on what is happening in the South African video game industry. With a plethora of amazing titles on the way, as well as the new Nintendo console in-coming, we wondered how things were shaping up for Ster Kinekor, the official South African PlayStation distributor â&#x20AC;&#x201C; as well as distributor for several major video game publishers. Mario dos Santos, CEO of Ster Kinekor Entertainment, took some time out of his hectic schedule to talk to us about Wonderbook, PlayStation in South Africa and the state of the gaming nation. gladget25

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Augmented reality is core to the principle of Wonderbook; while people may have initially seen this kind of game dynamic as a gimmick in the past, there seems to be a definite trend towards it now. How is PlayStation taking advantage of that? MDS. Sony entered into partnership with Disney and the BBC. One of those has resulted in Walk with Dinosaurs, which will be the next title to take advantage of the Wonderbook and PlayStation augmented reality technology. From the Disney side it has been announced that there will be three titles coming up. That gives you an idea of who they are trying to engage. Those have been the announcements up to date. Now the technology is there, the tools are there. We hope, certainly from our side, that our other publishers also get on board.

they will be between R799 and R899. We know that people are hard pressed out there, so we are trying to hit the perfect pricing point.

So the Wonderbook is more of a ‘peripheral’ than a game? MDS. Yes. The Wonderbook consists of certain elements that will work with different software. There’s a detective title coming out, for example. We’ve got Walking with Dinosaurs, the Disney content… they’ll all make use of the Wonderbook.

Is Ster Kinekor looking at promoting gaming among markets that previously might not have had access or resources within South Africa? MDS. There are a bunch of buzz-words out there to define different trends, but essentially it’s all the same market. The aspirations are exactly the same. We’ve done our research, and the consumers we target cover all kinds of classifications of race, class, income. I think it’s less about targeting specific people, and more about getting things to affordable price points for everyone. Getting the software out there for a great price will drive the hardware, which brings in whole families.

Interview

Is there an educational aspect to Wonderbook? MDS. Certainly. It is aimed at a younger market and Sony believed that this was the right platform to go with. Walking with Dinosaurs will certainly have an educational element, for example. That’s at the core of the offering – good value, education and so on. I am sure that side of it will come through pretty strongly. When will we see Wonderbook hitting shelves? MDS. November 16th. The book and software – the initial purchase – will be R399. There will be a lot of bundling with Move controllers, which you will need, and

74

Moving on to PlayStation in a broader sense in South Africa: historically this country has been a stronghold for the brand. Is that still the case? MDS. Market share is still close to seventy per cent for the PlayStation. The reality is that Xbox has gained some traction, with great offers to the consumer. Our challenge is to make sure that people still have a good experience. If they have a good experience with another console, like an Xbox or a Wii U, they may move over… so that’s our challenge; making sure that owners of existing PlayStation units stay in the “family” when the next generation arrives. We are still the leading format, though.

In your position you have a very good view of the ‘state of the nation’ in terms of gaming… is it healthy? Growing? MDS. It is a little soft year on year, for two reasons. Obviously the consumer is feeling the pinch, but there has also been little really compelling software released in the last few months. We need those to drive the market, so

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that’s one of the reasons why things are a bit slow at the moment. I am sure, though, that with the content going into the market now – across all publishers – I am confident that we will end up ahead of last year. Which is a pretty healthy state when looking at a number of the European markets, which are showing a double digit decline. So you’re expecting a strong Q4 / Q1. MDS. Very strong… but Q1 comes with its own problems. There’s a lot of stuff that’s coming in that quarter. My concern is that there will be less spending then, as a result of the Festive Season, which is going to pose problems. As Ster Kinekor, you sit in a very interesting position – you are not a single product distributor. Do you find that this impacts on your business? MDS. Fortunately, the impact is mostly positive. It gives us a good spread of titles, so we don’t go through those massive troughs and peaks. We don’t have months where we have no new titles. The biggest impact has been the stable of publishers that we have, and their catalogue titles. The market has been consistently, month on month, seeing more catalogue sales than new releases. It crossed over in around April of last year and, barring the Festive Season, it is a strong trend. So we are pleased to have strong franchises that have longer shelf life. That raises an interesting question: do you believe that the catalogue titles are strong because of the financial situation, or rather because casual gamers are willing to buy older games, and there are simply more casual gamers out there than hard-core players? MDS. That’s exactly what it is. I am sure there is an influence from the financial situation, but there are definitely more casual gamers out there than people think.

So this indicates a growth in casual gaming? MDS. Definitely. But the catalogue titles that are particularly successful are those that do well on day on, too. It’s the people who don’t need to get the title on day one, who are happy to wait a few months and get the games at a lower price. The new release volumes have not changed in around three years. If you were doing X number of sales on day one three years ago, you’re still doing that amount now. The shelf time of games has extended. Is that an international trend, or is it happening mostly in South Africa? MDS. It is an international trend, but it indicates very strongly here. The markets have shifted all over, but here we’re talking beyond fifty per cent. So the Ultra Slim PS3 arriving now is good news for that particular market? Will the new, more affordable hardware spur the market on? That’s what we’re hoping. There’s always been a mindset that games are so expensive. But that’s starting to shift. We’re starting to see people finding that they can pick up older titles for lower prices. Once that perception is out there, that you can get the console and have a great experience month to month, without having to spend a lot of money each time, the market will benefit. In closing, any predictions for the next two or three quarters? MDS. Well, there is a lot of great content coming. There is also a lot of development for PS3. But there is also a drive to get Vita out there, to drive the platform. It’s a little soft, but it mirrors where we were with PSP at the same time. And we did very well with PSP. It’s all about price point. Once we get to the right price point, we will hopefully see the same performance as we did with PSP. g

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I S S U E 4 1 / Vo l . 4 N ove m b e r 2 0 1 2

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

Assassin’s Creed 3 Dishonored FIFA 13 Medal of Honor: Warfighter Forza: Horizon and more...

Vengeance Dishonored reviewed

Next Generation

On the Ball with FIFA 13

Assassin’s Creed 3 Reviewed

Go Psycho Talking Far Cry 3

Free Online Mag


www.gameccamag.com Taking fun seriously!


Assassin’s Creed 3

New Blood A whole lot of new going on…

by Walt Pretorius

W

character as a young man, but rather kicking off before he is even born. We’re not going to throw spoilers in here. Rather, we’re just going to say that the first section of the game feels a little frustrating, simply because you are not yet using Connor – the hot-tempered, sometimes enigmatic Native American half-breed hero that we’ve heard so much about. It seems as though you’re wasting time in these stages, which set the scene for the rest of the game. But once you get to Connor and he dons the new variation of the now famous Assassin garb, you realise that not only has the scene setting helped the story along enormously, but there is a vast game in front of you. There is so much to do in Assassin’s Creed 3 that it’s almost a good idea to work with a checklist. The player helps rebuild a homestead, which becomes a base of

Review

hen making sweeping changes to an existing, well-loved IP, developers always take something of a chance. That’s what faced the team behind Assassin’s Creed 3; not only were they breaking away from the familiar setting of the previous three releases, but they were making changes to the way that the game has been played since day one. A new control scheme and ideas await the player, and they might just take a little getting used to. Let’s step back for a while, though, before we get into the details. Assassin’s Creed 3 takes the player to the New World, starting in America just before the Revolution that ousted the British and won independence for the fledgling nation. The story here is far more sweeping, not starting with the principle

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operations, finding artisans and workers to help earn money. The game’s economy is trade based, so money is generated by producing goods and selling them. This is a more complex system than the previous outing, in which the player simply bought shops. Then the player can also contribute to the economy by hunting, selling pelts and other trophies. The player also undertakes various liberation missions in Boston and New York, as well as naval mission in an upgradeable ship. There are frontier missions, too, given to the player by hunters and other frontier folk. The homesteaders will have missions, which result in upgrades, too. There are feathers, chests and almanac pages to find, forts to capture and convoys to attack (or protect, if they are under the player’s control). Have I left anything out? Probably… and we haven’t even spoken about the story missions and assassinations yet.

So, quite honestly, the game is massive, with huge amounts of things to do. Even just exploring the countryside and finding animals will keep you busy for ages. If you blast through the story missions, without a sideways glance, you will probably spend around twenty hours in Connor’s reality. But if you play the game as it was meant to be experienced – in other words, exploring the world and the life of the main character – you will be lost in Assassin’s Creed 3 for ages. The world is beautifully presented, with detailed, large cities rubbing shoulder with wilderness areas that hide all kinds of dangers and treasures. This beauty comes through the graphics, to a large degree, which are excellent. Facial animations and character movement are top notch. Textures are detailed and while there is repetition of various models here and there, you won’t

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do so with. In fact, the load-out takes a bit of thoughtâ&#x20AC;Ś do you forgo the accuracy and damage of Italian flintlock pistols for the convenience of reloading less granted by double barrel pistols, for example. Naval combat is equally smooth, with a great system for ship to ship warfare that adds significantly to the game. But that cannot be said about everything. Some tasks do feel a little out of place and tacked on â&#x20AC;&#x201C; but only a little. Other tasks can be a bit of a chore. Setting up trade convoys, for example, takes too long, as the player has to choose each resource and merchant it is destined to go to individually. Still, following the activity means that there is more money to be made, which means more upgrades and equipment. Then again, the player can get money from looting fallen enemies. That option illustrates a core principle of the game.

Review

notice it too much. There is too much else to distract you here. The control scheme takes a bit of getting used to, as said before. Instead of having buttons assigned to parts of the characterâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s body, as before, the new scheme is more oriented towards flowing combat. The counter-kill based system is still there, but the player will spend less time waiting for opponents to attack. It just flows better, making Connor look like the ultimate hand-to-hand killing machine. Additionally, different enemies will require different approaches and tactics. On the whole, it feels much better getting in to fights. The AI opponents will dominate the action less, and the player can literally have Connor blazing a swathe through the bad guys with relative ease. And there are tons of weapons, which can be bought or crafted, to

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Connor keeps banging on about freedom, and it is something that the developers obviously wanted to give the player in spades. Fort assaults are a great example. The player can carefully navigate the fort, staying out of sight, or take it on in an al-out assault, killing everything that moves, or even perform a lightning, dashing strike to take out critical targets before the enemy knows what hits them. Sadly, the game is not without its problems. Bugs and graphic issues arise from time to time – a result of the vast scale of the game. In fact, the size of the game, while being a great asset, is also the cause of its biggest issues. But most of them, aside from causing a modicum of frustration, are forgivable. There is nothing that will keep you from playing, and some can even be a little amusing.

With a massive single player campaign and compelling multiplayer offering, Assassin’s Creed 3 is great fun. The changes and improvements aren’t as apparent as they were in AC2 (we were spoiled with that one) but they are there, and the brilliantly scripted narrative is full of complexities and twists. Is it the best Assassin’s Creed game? That’s hard to say. It is certainly on par with the best, but it isn’t a clear winner. That will really come down to how you perceive the title personally. There are numerous improvements, yes, but there are also ideas that could have been implemented a little better. What can be said is that it is well worth playing. It draws the player in beautifully, and presents them with a world that feels free and real, crammed with interesting characters, nefarious plots and a hell of a lot to do. And that, in the end, is what we want from an Assassin’s Creed game. g

AT A GLANCE: Action adventure

Reviewed on:

X360

A massive new world, a great new character and tons – and we mean tons – to do. Just what we want in an Assassin’s Creed title. Similar to: MaxPlayers Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

Assassin’s Creed 2, Red Dead Redemption Local

1

Network

Online

8

Ubisoft Ubisoft Megarom

Parental Advisory

18+ gladget25

0

Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

Accessibility Hard-Core Medium Casual

Platforms

Genre:

PC X360 Kinect

PS3 Move

Wii PSV DS 3DS

Score

90 81


FIFA 13

Live the Beautiful Game! Experience all the drama and excitement of world class football

by Suvesh Arumugam

F

since 2002 (FIFA 2003) that has a single player gracing it’s cover (last year’s title featured Real Madrid’s Kaka and Machester United’s Wayne Rooney). It’s also the first edition since 2006 (FIFA 06) that Rooney has not featured on the game cover. From a gameplay perspective, FIFA 13 seems to be very similar to 12. There are a few very cool improvements to the gameplay though. There’s a lot more realism is how the ball moves and the physics of player motion. For instance, previous versions wouldn’t take into account players running across the ball and would only allow an intercept if a button was pressed at the right time, regardless of the player blocking the path of the ball. Now the ball will bounce realistically off a player’s leg, and will not land predictably, adding to the realism and luck factor found in real football.

Review

IFA is one of gaming’s longest running and most successful franchises, on consoles and PC (and now recently smartphone and tablets). There is always great anticipation and conjecture when a new release is due, and each instalment is finely scrutinised against previous ones. This year’s version features Lionel Messi from Barcelona, who has won World Footballer of the Year several times. The diminutive football genius, also knows as The Atomic Flea, had previously graced the 2009 – 2011 Pro Evolution Soccer covers, and was also involved in the motion capture for those games. It must be no small victory for the folks at EA Sports to have the endorsement of arguably the best player in the world. Given Messi’s status in the football world, it’s no wonder that this is the first FIFA title

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A few adjustments have been made to defensive tracking, easing off the harder controls introduced in 12, but on harder levels you still have to do most of the work (instead of just holding in X like before). The most noticeable addition to FIFA 13 is the skills challenges. The designers of the game brilliantly took this to the next level by making the skills challenge a stand-alone mode, as well as very convenient way to kill time before starting your next match. The skills range from hitting targets or lobbing balls into barrels to dribbling in-between cones, but each of them have them have three levels of difficulty. Completing the challenges in the given time or with the required level of skills wins skill points which can be used for your created player or team. They are also a great way to master certain aspects of the game like dribbling and

free kicks. For the first time, FIFA 13 now supports motion control. On both the PS3 and Xbox versions, the Move and Kinect respectively are supported. I was lucky enough to play the game on both consoles, and just as the motion control is designed very differently, the motion control features are very different. Briefly, the Kinect does not allow direct motion control in normal games, though it does offer more for the Be a Pro version. What it does offer is voice recognition, so while controlling your players with the 360 controls, you can use voice commands to access in game strategy options like Mentality, Formation and even substitutions. For the Be a Pro gameplay, you can also use Voice Recognition to call out player names and instructions, which also applies to Be A Pro:

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which decides for you. While it’s an interesting novelty, I can’t see many serious fans opting for this except as a challenge. As with the last few FIFA versions, there is a large emphasis on online challenges and play. I really liked the weekly challenge in 12, and I was pleased to see that this has been made even more awesome in 13. Along with the challenge of the week chosen from one of the major European leagues, there is a choice of several interesting “games of the week” from leagues all over the world, featuring a range of teams with varying skills levels. In both versions you can now play as either team, to either repeat an amazing performance, or change history by achieving a different result. Along with the EA leagues and Ultimate Team modes, playing online is one of the coolest pick up and

Review

Goalkeeper. The PS3 Move version is very different. Here you use your Move controller to directly control your players, as well as in-game strategies. This applied to normal and Be A Pro modes. At first the controls feel clumsy and inaccurate. The inability to get full 360-degree wrist movements (as one would with an analogue stick) makes it feel very uncomfortable. Once you figure out that you need to point where you want to go or at the ball, it’s starts making more sense, but ultimately it still feels uncoordinated. Stopping on the ball is literally impossible. There is also no sprint button, so using pace is difficult. The square button is a single skill option, which also limits possibilities on harder levels. You only have a single option for pass or through pass, the Move button,

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play options these days. Also following from previous year’s version, FIFA 13 will be available on iOS (iPad and iPhone) and Android (Samsung, HTC and Google) devices. The FIFA 12 Tablet and smartphone versions were extremely limited, and delivered mostly novelty value. It would be a great to see a much more serious edition. It would also be interesting to see if any future tablet versions will start to use the touchscreen more effectively, rather than just having analogue controls mimicking console version, and it would also be great to see more integration between your regular console profile and mobile profile. That way players will be able to get in a few career or league matches during lunch or in the doctor’s waiting room. In addition to all this, there are now more domestic leagues and international teams than ever, truly

making FIFA 13 the most authentic football sim on the market today. It all amounts to FIFA continuing to be the most popular football series. The pre-release demo was downloaded an incredible 2 million times in only three days! Just goes to show how many fans are out there waiting for the new and improved game. FIFA 13 delivers on all it’s promises. It has the perfect combination of arcade fun with real life sport simulation. With just about every club and national team faithfully recreated (they even have the Indian soccer – which I didn’t even know existed) with surprisingly current player rosters. With so many different modes to choose from, there is no doubt that many hours, days and weeks can be invested in careers, tournaments and online challenges over the next year (until the FIFA 14 arrives). g

AT A GLANCE: Sport

Reviewed on:

Footballs biggest video game delivers gaming’s biggest thrills in one of 2012’s most anticipated releases. Similar to: MaxPlayers Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

PES 2013, Football Manager 2013 Local

7

Network 22

EA Canada Electronic Arts EA South Africa

Parental Advisory

3+ gladget25

Online 22

Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

Accessibility Hard-Core Medium Casual

PS3 Platforms

Genre:

PC X360 Kinect

PS3 Move

Wii PSV DS 3DS

Score

90 85


Dishonored

Life or Death The choice is yours

By Lein Baart

C

Wracked by a rat-borne plague, Dunwall is a city at war with itself, as class oppression, blatant decadence and unabashed greed struggle with the needs of the general populace who are frightened by the very real prospect of a torturous, diseased death. The desperation is almost tangible, thanks in large part to the talents of Viktor Antonov, designer of Half Life 2’s City 17. Shattered windows, discarded debris and swarms of rats all lay testament to a rotting city, while guards patrol on stilted walkers behind electric gates, ruthlessly subduing any hint of rebellion from the working class. It’s a grim backdrop, and Dishonored wastes little time in building on this theme. Framed for the murder of the Empress and the kidnapping of her daughter, Corvo Attano is a man driven by revenge. Freed from the prison in which you were brutally tortured while awaiting your execution,

Review

hoice is the bane of a strong narrative. Too much of it and the story loses its impetus, becoming little more than an optional, drawn out side quest, while too little means a game is robbed it of its greatest strength: interaction. It’s a balancing act so fine that only a few titles in the history of gaming have mastered it, and they stand out starkly. Think of games such as Deus Ex or Bioshock, and the freedom they gave you while still drawing you down the same inevitable path, and you get the idea. It’s the illusion of choice and the tantalizing realisation that while the road ahead may be set, you’re arriving on your own terms. And it’s this elusive quality that makes Dishonored one of the best titles of the year. Set in the city of Dunwall, a Victorian styled metropolis at the heart of an empire of five islands, Dishonored is a story of betrayal, vengeance and consequences.

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you’re given the chance to enact your retribution by a group calling themselves the Loyalists, and a mythical being called the Outsider who grants you supernatural powers. From an Admiral with a hidden bloodlust to a servant who sells out his neighbours, the darkness inherent in the world of Dishonored is never more evident than in the fantastic cast of characters behind the plot, where innocence and true nobility are seemingly nonexistent qualities. Freedom of choice, though, lies at heart of what makes Dishonored great. It’s a philosophy that permeates nearly every level of its design, and the choices you make can have surprising ramifications later on. The plot itself is fairly linear, with a series of missions in which you are given your target, then let loose to wreak havoc… or not. While there are action games out there in which you can play the

benevolent hero, Dishonored takes it to a new extreme. Not once in the entire game are you ever required to kill anyone, not even the targets that need to be “neutralised”. Or perhaps you wish your reprisal to be a bloody massacre, bathing Dunwall in blood as you slaughter anyone who had a hand in your betrayal, no matter how indirectly. Of course there’s a third option, the stealthy assassin who deals death with a measured hand. The point is that it’s always your choice, no matter the situation. Just be prepared for the consequences that follow, as the world around you will echo your actions. The more violent you are the darker the world becomes, with plague victims, rat swarms and the watchmen all appearing in larger numbers as Dunwall sinks further into chaos. The freedom you are offered is reflected in more than just the story. The levels are large open areas, essentially

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as they are the only weapon that is nonlethal. For those inclined towards trickery rewire tools are indispensable, allowing you to reverse the foe detection of electronic defences set up by guards, causing general chaos as pylons starting flinging electricity at the watchmen they were supposed to defend, while you walk through unscathed. Your true preference though will be determined by your selection of powers, and the bone charms you equip. Runes scattered through every level will allow you to purchase and upgrade a suite of six active and four passive powers, though there are never enough to runes to allow you to access all of the abilities available. By far the most versatile of the powers is Blink, a short teleportation that can be used for exploration, stealth and combat, while others, such as Windblast, clearly favour a more

Review

self-contained sandboxes. There are a myriad of paths, from the obscure to the direct, all allowing you to tailor your play style to the situation at hand. External ducts, rooftops and cramped alleys suit those who prefer stealth, while open thoroughfares and courtyards provide plenty of bodies waiting to be slaughtered. The overall design of Dishonored is fantastic, and while there are the occasional invisible walls and ceilings, there are never enough to detract from the feeling of freedom that each level has. Your style will also be reflected in the equipment you use. Besides a folding sword Corvo has several tools at his disposal, utilising a pistol, crossbow or even razor-mines. The crossbow in particular has a variety of ammunition, and for players not wanting to butcher their way across every level the sleep darts are invaluable,

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violent approach. The brilliance of the system though is the creative uses you can put your powers to. Combining powers can lead to some viciously satisfying executions, and Dishonored actively encourages you to experiment. Bone charms also play an important role in this, giving Corvo small, specific benefits such as being able to choke someone into unconsciousness quicker, or regenerating health when hit by a plague infected Weeper. You can only equip a maximum of six however, meaning that careful selection is vital in order to get the most out of your character. All this culminates in a title which is essentially two games in one. The stealth approach practically resurrects the gameplay of the Thief series, in which patience is as much a necessity as a virtue as you carefully observe movement patterns, looking for the opportune moment to

strike or slip in unseen. The combat approach is a much faster, bloodier affair, reminiscent of Arkane Studios’ earlier titles such as Dark Messiah and Arx Fatalis. Dishonored is a game that practically demands to be played through at least twice, as you can never experience everything the game has to offer in one play-through. It’s not without flaws, for instance the AI is prone to stupidity, and the control scheme can be a little slow to respond in context-sensitive situations such as assassinations, but the brilliance of the game easily eclipses what are ultimately minor faults. It’s a title that draws on so many inspirations, many of which developer Arkane Studios had a hand in, that it can seem unoriginal at first glance; yet it melds all these influences in to a near perfect fit, and the final result is a game that is possibly one of the finest of the past decade. g

AT A GLANCE: First-person Stealth

Reviewed on:

PS3

Dishonored is the rarest of the rare, a truly brilliant game that is utterly compelling, and always leaves the decision up to you. Similar to: MaxPlayers Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

Thief, Deus Ex, Bioshock Local

1

Network

Online

0

Arkane Studios Bethesda Ster Kinekor

Parental Advisory

18+ gladget25

0

Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

Accessibility Hard-Core Medium Casual

Platforms

Genre:

PC X360 Kinect

PS3 Move

Wii PSV DS 3DS

Score

92 89


DVD Seen

DVD S

Movie of the month 90

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SEEN One Life It isn’t often that a documentary stands out head and shoulders above the more traditional, fiction movie fare. But One life is a very different kind of film. It is the amalgamation of several teams’ work around the globe, capturing some of the most fascinating footage ever – all in stunning, high detail. Whether it be a strawberry poison arrow frog transporting her tadpole to safety, a trio of cheetah hunting, Japanese monkeys luxuriating in hot springs or a tiny sengi fighting for survival, One Life offers exceptional visuals and unusual footage. Narrated by Daniel Craig, this film is a celebration of life. It doesn’t rely on shock tactics like so many nature films do these days, but rather angles itself on the perpetuation of life, and how this is the driving force of every living thing. Instead of concentrating on the effect we are having on the globe, it looks at how the creatures around us survive. That in itself makes this movie unique. If nature films are your thing, you simply cannot miss this BBC Films production. Even if you are not a documentary fan, the visuals are simply breath taking. Our only complaint is that this remarkable film could have – should have – been a lot longer. It would have made a wonderful series, even. It’s 101 minute running time is simply over too quickly.

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DIRECTOR: Michael Gunton DISTRIBUTOR: Nu Metro

FPB Rating: PG Score

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Citizen Gangster

When a group of teenagers go on a holiday at a secluded forest cabin, they enter a terrifying world in which they must fight to survive. Ok, you’ve heard that a million times before. But what makes The Cabin in the Woods stand out is that it is crammed with black humour and tongue-in-cheek fun-poking at the slasherhorror genre. Written by Joss Whedon, who was the brains behind the highly successful Buffy the Vampire slayer TV show, The Cabin in the Woods works to explain all the weird and wonderful things we see in these movies... it would be easy to give a spoiler out right there, but we’ll avoid it. This is the freshest slasher film made in years. The humour fits right in with modern cultural ideas, too, so expect some shocking, off colour and very funny scenes. Director and co-writer Drew Goddard does a great job in guiding the cast, which includes the likes of Chris Hemsworth and Kristen Connolly. The end result is a great blend of suspense and humour... and zombies. There’s always room for zombies. g

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DIRECTOR: Drew Goddard

DISTRIBUTOR: Ster Kinekor

FPB Rating: 16LVS Score

STARRING: Chris Hemsworth Kristen Connolly Anna Hutchinson

86

When a down-on-her-luck woman accepts the only job she can find, she is thrust into the world of hunting down fugitives. Employed by her cousin, Stephanie Plum becomes a bounty hunter... and the case she really wants is to hunt down an ex-boyfriend who is running from the law. But there is more to the situation than meets the eye, and she soon finds herself kneedeep in a world of conspiracies and organised crime. Katherine Heigl does a rather convincing job as Plum, with a New Jersey accent that is just subtle enough to be believable. She is joined by Jason O’Mara, an actor we hope to see much more of, as the fugitive ex. Other names include John Leguizamo and Debbie Reynolds. One for the Money, under the directorship of Julie Anne Robinson, is a fun, often funny film. But it also feels rather anachronistic, like the script was written in the ‘80s. That said, it is entertaining, and will prove fairly gripping, and often very amusing. It’s not the be-all and end-all of action comedies, but it is worth the effort of watching. g

STARRING: Ketherine Heigl Jason O’Mara John Leuizamo

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DIRECTOR:

Julie Anne Robinson

DISTRIBUTOR: Nu Metro

FPB Rating: 13PGLV Score

The Cabin in the Woods

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What to Expect When You’re Expecting

There are few films that can present an extremely simple situation yet make it so compelling that the viewer cannot help but watch, enraptured by Beautifully written, blistering dialogue. What Love Is is such a movie. Tom plans to propose to his girlfriend Sara on Valentines Day, but gets home to find that she has packed her bags and left him a ‘Dear John’ letter. The problem is that he has invited his buddies from the bar to help him celebrate, and one of them has invited a group of beautiful women. What follows is a film in three acts; the first is the guys talking relationships, the second is the girls doing the same thing, and the third is when they get together and mingle. What Love Is deals with a number of taboo topics, and doesn’t pull any punches. The dialogue is excellent - of a quality not often seen these days. And the performances by the stellar cast are sublime and awesomely convincing. It may be a comedy drama, but its subject matter and excellent production are things that anyone can relate to - at least anyone who doesn’t just like mindless violence in movies. What Love Is is a hidden gem, a masterpiece that will take you by surprise. g

DIRECTOR: Mars Cllahan DISTRIBUTOR: Ster Kinekor

FPB Rating: 16L Score

STARRING: Cuba Gooding Jr Sean Astin Gina Gershon

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It has a long name and an excellent cast. What to Expect When You’re Expecting is, essentially, a romantic comedy with a fairly healthy dose of testosterone thrown in for the guys. It looks at the lives of several people who are expecting babies, and investigates the idea from almost every angle. The result is a complicated film with lots worked in to it - and yet it is an often moving, sometimes tender comedy that will tug at your heart strings while it tickles your funny-bone. It is an ambitious film, as far as romcoms go, but director Kirk Jones does an admirable cast of keeping things balanced and keeping the various plot lines clear. And, as the name suggests, the film looks at bringing a new life into the world from every angle from unwanted pregnancy through to adoption and traumatic birth... it’s all here. With names like Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Lopez, Dennis Quaid and Chris Rock in the cast list, you’d expect great performances, and you would be right. And the script is very well crafted, making it one of those rare chick flicks that guys can also relate to. It’s fun, and doesn’t take itself too seriously, even when serious subjects are investigated. g

STARRING: Cameron Diaz Jennifer Lopez Chris Rock

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DIRECTOR: Kirk Jones DISTRIBUTOR: Nu Metro

FPB Rating: 13L Score

What Love Is

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Collectables 94

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SEEN DVD SEEN One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest If you’re a Jack Nicholson fan, there is simply no way that you can avoid watching One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Tis film is one of his best performances ever, garnering him the Oscar for Best Actor in 1975. In fact, it got five Oscars... the other were Best Film, Best Actress, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay. And watching it, you will understand why. This two hour film is a tour de force, both in terms of acting ability and plot. Nicholson plays Randal P McMurphy, a petty criminal sent to do time in a mental hospital. But his unconventional ways, chaotic nature and free spirit soon has the place in an uproar. The results are sometimes funny, sometimes tragic and often thought provoking. One aspect of this film that makes it so fantastic to watch is the cast. Much younger Jack Nicholson is joined by Brad Dourif, Danny DeVito, Louise Fletcher and Christopher Lloyd (in his movie debut, no less). Director Milos Forman shows exactly why he has such a high regard in Hollywood with this remarkable classic. There are simply not terms strong enough to describe the brilliance of this movie, which shines through in every aspect of the production. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest has aged very well, too - even if it is almost forty years old. But it also shows a golden age of cinema, when acting and dialogue were more important than special effects. It is pure cinematic gold, and a must-watch for any true film enthusiast. g

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DIRECTOR: Michael Cimino DISTRIBUTOR: Nu Metro

FPB Rating: 16LV Score

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Gladget Magazine November 2012