Reviews

Sony Xperia Z3 – 4K Day Footage

One thing that makes the Sony Xperia Z3 unique compared to other phones out there is its ability to record in 4K. Having a computer that’s capable of editing 4K, I wanted to put the Z3′s powerful camera to the test and so I headed down to Santa Monica to shoot some footage. My goal throughout this was to treat the phone and in turn the produced footage as if I was an everyday consumer. That means despite being edited together, none of the footage, video or audio, has been altered in any shape.

If you have a TV or computer that’s capable of viewing 4K footage, be sure to click the settings button on the video and select 4K. For everyone else, you can still view the above video in 1080p.

Sony SmartWatch 3 Review – Great Hardware Meets Lackluster Android Wear

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Sony has always been, at its heart, a hardware company. During the 70′s, 80′s, and 90′s when the Japanese giant ruled the consumer industry, it was because of their amazing hardware which defined the analog world. After all, we all had access to the same TV feed or cassette tape but it was the hardware that gave your unit a design that begged to be shown off or the extra clarity during the World Cup. In the early 2000′s, much of this began to change as the world shifted away from hardware at the forefront to software being the key differentiator. After all, Apple was not the first to the MP3 market, but thanks to the integration of iTunes, they were able to create a device far more compelling than their competitors.

Fast forward to today and many of the well-known and multi-billion dollar tech companies that we know of, like Facebook and Netflix, don’t even make a single piece of hardware yet they’re with us at all times. With Sony unable to adapt to a software-driven world, the company began to fall behind well over a decade ago, which is coincidentally the last time they were properly profitable. In that time, we’ve seen Sony’s dominance in tech (excluding PlayStation) fade all but away. So what does this have to do with the SmartWatch 3? Quite simply everything. Imagine a modern product in a hot and growing market that Sony could develop and solely focus on the hardware while a company known for their software could develop the UI that makes the essence of that product.

The Sony SmartWatch 3 is that device. Hardware that is pure Sony and software that is totally Google in the ever-growing wearable category.

Review: Free Your Phone with Bumpies

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Last month at CES 2015, we perused the case section of the convention  - with rows and rows of phone case companies, we had access to a dizzying selection of cases for every phone on the market. Yet, with all the choices available, there was a singular company that stood out in form, function, and lifestyle: Bumpies. We met up with company founders Michael Chapp and Victor Chung to chat about the product, the company, and their dedication to the community surrounding them.

Bumpies_01Bumpies are not your typical phone case. Most phone cases protect your device by covering up the very thing that drew you to the phone in the first place – the design. If you have invested your hard-earned money in a beautiful phone that you’d love to show off, then why should you have to cover it up? Bumpies set out to solve this problem with minimal square footage. Covering just the four corners of your device, Bumpies give you the best bang for your buck – offering a unique and eye-catching design that doesn’t take away from the beauty of your phone despite its better-than-military grade shock absorption tech with ProDyn.

Join us after the jump to learn what makes this company and their product unique.

Should You Buy ‘Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair’ for the PlayStation Vita?

PS_Vita_ Danganronpa_2_Goodbye_DespairThe original Danganronpa was published by NIS America and originally released here in North America on February 11, 2014. It is easily one of my favorite games of the year (Check out my review here). Shortly after its release, it was announced that its sequel would be coming out a short seven months later.

Just like the original game, Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair is a visual novel with a murder mystery twist. Unlike the first game where the characters are trapped in a high school, this time all of the characters (again a set of students from Hope’s Peak Academy) are trapped on the tropical Jabberwock Island.  Does Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair live up to the high quality of the original? Keep reading to find out!

Should You Buy ‘Kung Fu Rabbit’ for the PlayStation 3?

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Kung Fu Rabbit is a platformer that first premiered on iOS and Android devices in 2012. Since then it has released on the Nintendo 3DS, Wii U, and most recently on the PlayStation Vita.  Next week it will come to the PlayStation 3 as a digital title.  This title from Neko Entertainment was highly acclaimed and received several awards as a mobile title. Does Kung Fu Rabbit maintain this quality as it jumps to the PlayStation 3? Keep reading to find out!

Should You Buy ‘Strike Suit Zero: Director’s Cut’ On PS4?

Featured_PS4_Strike_Suit_Zero_ReviewSince the release of the PlayStation 4 (and even before, with the PlayStation 3), Sony has made it clear that they want more indie developers and games on their console. I personally enjoy these smaller game experiences and as I play more of them I am finding myself drawn to them as much if not more than the standard AAA title. Having said that, I was very excited to get my hands on the space shooter Strike Suit Zero: Director’s Cut. Strike Suit Zero was originally funded through Kickstarter in 2012 and released on PC in 2013.  The game comes to PlayStation 4 in  Director’s Cut form with new features and updates. Does Strike Suit Zero: Director’s Cut shine on the PlayStation 4? Keep reading to find out!

Should You Buy ‘Deception IV: Blood Ties?’ (PS3/PS Vita)

Deception_4_Blood_Ties_ReviewI have been a fan of the Deception franchise since  Tecmo’s Deception: Invitation to Darkness released for the original PlayStation in 1996. In that game you play as a servant of the devil and are tasked with defending ‘The Castle of the Damned’ from all manner of heroes and adventurers who are unfortunate enough to enter. The gameplay was in the 1st person perspective and to defeat the enemies the player had to set traps to either stun, kill, or capture the intruders. My preteen self enjoyed the dark story and unique (at-the-time) concept of playing as the ‘bad guy’. Fast forward  to today and it has been 9 years since the last Deception game. This week Deception IV: Blood Ties  released here in the United States and became the newest entry in the franchise. Does Deception IV: Blood Ties stack up to its predecessors? Keep reading our full review to find out!

Should You Buy ‘Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc’ for PS Vita?

PS_Vita_Empty_Trigger_Happy_HavocThe first time I heard about the concept for the  Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc, I was immediately intrigued. The game has elements of many other games including Persona 4, Ace Attorney, and Virtue’s Last Reward. As a fan of all of these games, I was excited at the prospect of playing Danganronpa, especially on a portable console like the PS Vita.

In Danganronpa, the player controls Makoto Naegi who, along with 14 other students, was recently accepted into the highly elite high school Hope’s Peak Academy. Hope’s Peak only accepts students who are considered the best or “ultimate” in their respective field. Examples of some of the others students include: the Ultimate Baseball Star, the Ultimate Fan Fiction Creator, the Ultimate Fashionista, and the Ultimate Moral Compass. Makoto, on the other hand, does not have a specific talent or skill. Instead, he won a raffle and was accepted into the school as the winner making him the Ultimate Lucky Student. Everything quickly takes a turn for the worst as the students realize they have been trapped in the school by an evil remote-controlled teddy bear named Monokuma.

Is Danganronpa truly a mix of Persona 4, Ace Attorney, and Virtue’s Last Reward and does it work? Keep reading and find out in our official review.

Should You See ‘Her?’

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Her is so complex in simple ways, it’s hard to keep my thoughts brief and confined to a normal sized review. But I’ll try. This gem of a film by the gem of a director Spike Jonze dishes up two hours of quirky, heart breaking, humorous goodness in ways that are both familiar and uncomfortable.  Her tells the story of Theodore Twombly, a man who makes his living writing personal letters for people who are otherwise too busy or too out of touch to express their emotions themselves. His skill at tapping into the most touching thoughts of his clients, whom he gets to know over years of working with them, contrasts with his own inability to express himself. A quality which led to his divorce from the woman he obviously loves. Jonze fills the spaces in the back story by showing silent flashbacks, underscored by the dialogue of the current moment. In this way the present and the past collide in the same space.

Should You Play ‘Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag’ (PS4)?

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There’s something to be said for trying something different. Taking a chance, bucking the trend, eschewing the conventional. Unfortunately, that’s not something said too often about the Assassin’s Creed franchise. Since the seminal Assassin’s Creed II in 2009, Ubisoft Montreal’s tentpole franchise has been reliant upon building on what worked, little by little, while letting some mechanics idle and age with each passing release. With Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, the follow up–and partial prequel–to last year’s Assassin’s Creed III, Ubisoft has pushed forward a little bit more, maybe enough to be something that’s a must-buy for any PlayStation 4 owners.