With the release of the latest Android 5.0 Lollipop operating system, users have been able to benefit from a wide array of features. One of the most prominent options is the reinvented and more powerful version of Android Beam, which creates a seamless process for sharing large files and applications between devices. This also has connotation for Android gaming, as it is easier for a community of players to share titles and experiences in real-time. Given that Android is already considered as a power house of gaming, this will only enhance such a reputation further.
With this in mind, let’s consider three of the leading Android devices on the current market as we head towards Christmas.
Although it has been a little overlooked in recent times, the iBen L1was actually the first quad core, Android gaming handheld on the consumer market. It earned rave reviews across a host to technology sites, while it was also credited with being well-built, easy to use and equipped with seamless game playing qualities. It was also fitted with large and high quality display, which present outstanding graphics whether you are playing free online roulette or interactive sporting and combat games. While the platform may have been overshadowed by recent releases, it still offers good value as an entry level product.
The GPD G5A
From the old to the new, the GPD G5A is one of the most recent products to have entered the Android gaming market. In essence, it includes many of the features that distinguished previous products while also boasting a unique ergonomic design and exceptionally quick processing speeds. This is thanks primarily to the presence of a RK3188T processor and an excellent 480p resolution, while it also has easy to navigate analogue sticks and an extremely responsive D-Pad. In terms of sheer technology and specification, it is arguably the highest quality product on the market.
The Nvidia Shield Tablet
Without any shadow of a doubt, the recently released Nvidia Shield Tablet is the single greatest Android handheld available on the market. This is especially true with regards to gaming, as its incredible processing power and advanced graphics engine are simply far greater than any competing product. It also offers an outstanding PC streaming function, so games can be shared and accessed from the hard drive of your personal computer in real-time. This is an extremely innovative and attractive benefit, even when you consider the inflated price tag of the device when compared to similar option.
It may still be October but already people across the nation are starting to put together Christmas wish lists. Smartphones are pegged as one of this year’s hottest gifts and with the huge selection of cutting-edge models out there, it’s easy to see why. From super-sized screens and HD displays to front end cameras and all new operating systems, 2014 has seen some exciting new upgrades to all your favourite handsets. To help you navigate the market, we’ve put together a curated collection of the top phones that will be making an appearance under the Christmas tree this year!
When it hit shelves earlier this year the Apple iPhone 6 caused a huge amount of buzz. It’s the biggest model to date, in both size and popularity! As well as a larger 4.7-inch or 5.5-inch display screen, users are also treated to a wafer thin handset, 8MP camera, enhanced optics and a lightning-fast processor. Check out GiffGaff’s leading offer and simple plans.
Nokia Lumia 930
Windows is one of the newer smartphone OS players and the Nokia Lumia 930 has emerged as the software giant’s flagship device. The cutting edge 8.1 operating system offers users a range of exciting new features including the ability to customise lock screens, set unique wallpaper for each individual title and even access Cortana, Microsoft’s intelligent personal assistant. With a 5-inch HD display screen, 20MP camera and state-of-the-art sound pick up, the Nokia Lumia 930 is a tech lover’s dream. O2 are currently offering this on their popular refresh contract and on payg.
Huawei Ascend Y530
It may not be the most sophisticated smartphone on the market but when it comes to value for money, nothing beats the Huawei Ascend Y530. A 4.5-inch screen makes it ideal for viewing pictures and movies, a 5MP camera snaps crystal clear shots and the Android operating system makes using the device amazingly easy. At less than £80 Sainsbury’s are hoping to pull in the punters looking for an affordable smartphone this Christmas.
Samsung Galaxy Note IV
Samsung Galaxies have taken the smartphone world by storm and nothing confirms the series’ reign more than the latest IV model. This version has shunned the plastic body and replaced it with a robust metal frame and sleek leather backing. Screen size still remains at 5.7-inches however developers have boosted resolution to an impressive 2K.
Sony Xperia Z3
While changes to the latest Sony Xperia are relatively minimal, it does feature a handful of new features that make it smarter and more practical than its predecessors. Soft rubber corners safeguard the device against accidental drops while the 5.2-inch screen is capable of playing HD movies and shooting in 4K resolution. Users also enjoy an incredible two days of battery life!
HTC One M8
For self-confessed ‘selfie’ addicts, the 5MP front facing lens on the HTC One M8 is a major draw card. The 2014 model builds on its forerunner though still retains the flagship features that won the HTC One so much attention. Speakers are a huge 25% louder while the handset itself has been given an up-to-the-minute makeover. It’s available in Pink too exclusively at Carphone Warehouse.
Samsung Galaxy S5
For those who prefer a slightly more manageable handset, the Samsung Galaxy S5 is the perfect alternative to the enormous Note IV. The latest version of the series features a slightly larger display screen, 16MP camera, water resistant casing and even a built in heart rate sensor. It’s sleek, stylish and inherently smart.
With such a great range of next generation phones out there, Brits across the nation are set to be unwrapping shiny new handsets on Christmas day! From budget friendly smartphones to state-of-the-art technological masterpieces, there’s something for every festive shopper.
So they maybe a few years late compared to the date of the movie, but it’s finally here… Someone is actually producing a freakin Marty McFly, Back to the Future type Hoverboard!
Hendo Hoverboard’s Kickstarter promises to deliver the dreams every movie fan has had since 1989, of being able to hover along on your own real life hoverboard, just like Marty McFly did in the 2nd Back to the Future movie. Sure, if you want them to actually make you one, it’ll set you back a cool $10,000 (that’s about £6,200), but if you ask me, is still a bargain to fulfill a childhood dream.
However, if you can’t afford the full hoverboard price, for the much lower cost of $299 (£185) you can get one of their ‘Whitebox Developer Kits’. This give you your own HENDO Hover Engine set, so you can play with the technology and see what you can make it do!
For more info, hop over to Hendo Hoverboard’s Kickstarter page for more info!
We live in a world where a new gadget arrives on the market everyday; some are even made by your average individual in the comfort of their own garage. From memory foam chairs to edible cups, here are a few that no one has quite yet thought of yet.
A memory foam chair
Those with back problems and sleeping complaints will often invest in a memory foam mattress, yet what if the same material was used to create a chair? The highly energy absorbent fabric could easily be fashioned into an everyday armchair and prove a great benefit to those with back and joint ailments.
A transparent hole-punch
Regardless of whether you’re hole-punching accounts and bills to file away in your McCarthy and Stone home, or alternatively you’re helping your grandchildren with an art project, more often than not, you’ll end up punching the wrong part. A transparent hole punch would be a great invention, as it would stop such a fault from occurring.
A chalkboard that converts chalk dust into new sticks of chalk
It’s amazing how much chalk dust is created when writing on a chalkboard. Having a device that is able to convert this dust back into chalk would be an asset to those who tend to write everything from shopping lists to ‘to do’ lists on a blackboard.
A coffee cup that catches the drips
It happens to the best of us – we make a cup of coffee or tea and manage to drip a little down the side; these drips often end up on the coffee table or sideboard causing the liquid to stain the surface. Having a coffee cup that is able to catch these drips would solve this reoccurring problem in an instance.
A gadget that turns water into wine
Of course this sounds too good to be true, although if it did exist wine connoisseurs left, right and centre would be queuing up for it in an instant! Despite such an invention sounding somewhat of a far-fetched idea, this miracle machine may in fact be in the pipeline, allowing users to create wine from scratch with just simple tap water and a small sachet of magic ingredients.
A few days ago, Geektown had the pleasure of visiting The Gadget Show Live 2014 at the NEC in Birmingham. As with last year there where a number of interesting items on display, some practical, some just for fun. Here are the top 6 gadgets we saw at the show:
6. E-Bikes (Electric Bikes)
Last year you couldn’t move for 3D printers at the show. This year’s darlings appears to be the humble bike, but with a twist. There were a number of bike accessories and some foldable bikes, but the one that really caught my eye were the E-Bikes. The show had a big track set up so you could try out a number of battery operated electric bikes, which are essentially normal pedal bikes, but with a battery which can either assist you with your peddling, or take over completely.
It’s a slightly odd, but not unpleasant experience. On full battery power, it’s like free wheeling down a hill, but on the flat. Using it in assist mode is like having someone pushing you from behind. Like having some giant parent pushing you along, like they did when you learned to ride in the first place. The bikes are obviously a bit more expensive that your run-of-the-mill pedal bike, but they tend to get used a lot more, due to the fact the rider doesn’t have to worry about going out somewhere and not having the energy to pedal home again!
5. SunnyCam (Hands Free Video Camera)
I actually first saw the SunnyCam at ComicCon a few weeks back, when one of the photographers was wearing a pair of them to record footage (and if your reading this SunnyCam people, send a pair to Sleepy Hollow star Nicole Beharie as she was after a pair!) Put simply, they’re glasses with a HD video camera in them. No need for additional mounts, or things strapped to the side of your head. Just pop on the glasses and click the record button. They record 720p HD video on to a 16Mb SD card which slots into the arm of the glasses. All the controls are easily accessible via buttons on the top of the arm, and you get 3hrs recording time from a charge. They actually look pretty stylish too!
4. OneWheel (Electric Skateboard)
OneWheel is the world first self-balancing electric skateboard. Taking inspiration from Back To The Future 2’s hover board, they wanted to build an easy to use ride that felt like you were floating across the ground. What they came up with was a board which, although it doesn’t actually hover, still looks awesome and performs beautifully. The main wheel is like a mini F1 tyre, and you control the board by a switch under your front foot. They’re in the process of building the product right now, and are taking preorders on their website. Interestingly, they assumed it would just be used as a fun cool toy, but some of the business guys that are backing them have said they want them for the commute to work!
3. Technology Will Save Us (DIY electronics kits)
Technology Will Save Us create as sell these great little DIY electronics kits. From simple circuits that click together, to more advanced kits that require a bit of soldering, they’re wonderful ways to introduce kids to electronics and programming. Whether it’s creating speakers, musical instruments, or simple hand-held games, it’s a brilliantly put together, inspirational product that totally deserves a place on this list.
2. Tactus Smootch & VitriFender (Phone Covers)
As any regular reader of this site will know, we love phone accessories at Geektown, and the folk at Tactus had 2 which really caught my eye.
First up is the VitriFender screen cover. Pfhh… screen covers a screen cover you say? Not in this case… VitriFender is a piece of 0.4mm tempered glass, with a surface hardness of 8~9H. That means it’s 3 times stronger than your standard PET film. As I walked up to the stand, the sales guys was happily dropping 1 inch diameter ball bearings onto the screen from a fairly decent height without a mark being made on the phone. They even say you can take a knife to it and it won’t scratch!
The 2nd item is the Smootch. Made from ‘plubba’ (i swear i’m not making that up!), it’s a pliable rubber that has micro suction technology, allowing you to ‘stick’ your phone or pad to a smooth surface. At the show they had a number of them just ‘stuck’ to a plexiglass wall of the stand. You could take it off, and the cover itself is not sticky at all. Then just place it back to the wall, and it stays there. It’s like witchcraft!
1. 1stFone/OwnFone (Phone)
For me, this ingenious little device was the star of the show. It’s an easy to use, well built, small phone. Just the size of a credit card, about 0.5cm thick, and very light, you can have it pre-programmed with up to 12 numbers. No text, no apps. Just a phone that make voice calls to the people listed on it.
If you want to give a phone to your young child so you can call them, and they can call you, but don’t want them to have internet access or be able to run up huge bills, then you can give them a 1stFone, and it will only let them call the people programmed into it. Or if you have an elderly relative that struggles with technology, then an OwnFone will let them have a set of numbers they can call at the push of a button. You can even design the front to have photo buttons rather than names, or even have the letters in Braille for blind users. All the numbers are stored in a cloud, so if you need to change a number, just call them up, and they’ll change it there and then. If you need to change the names, you can get your phone re-printed (they’re 3D printed) for £10 with the new names or photos on them.
Prices for the phone start at a very reasonable £40, and kids (or big kids) can pick and chose from a number of colourful designs. You can even upload your own images to customise the cover. Contracts start at £7.50 a month, and also come on pay-as-you-go. It should in theory also be safer from theft. Apart from the fact it doesn’t really look like a phone, what would be the point of someone stealing a phone that can only call preset numbers?
A genius, simple, easy to use product, with a wide range of uses.
With new technological advances happening every minute of the day, keeping up to date with the latest in play sporting events seems like such a generic task. This is reality. With different apps that cover a broad range of sports, allowing fans to maintain the most accurate minute-by-minute account of different events.
ESPN Sports Centre – Free
With ESPN being one of the largest and most respected sports broadcasters in the world, it is only fitting that their app co-inhabits in a similar manner. It offers the most up to date information, with a fantastic supply of videos, news, scores, stats and standings. The app itself puts the fans in the heart of their chosen sport with the most current issues and breaking stories. There is also a link to twitter that enables fans to interact with the app and cast their opinions of the latest information. It offers an efficient way of keeping all of your team’s news in one place.
The Racing Post Mobile App
This app will be key for upcoming events such as the Grand National 2014. With horse racing becoming more and more popular, it was imperative that the sport became a part of the rapidly rising 21st Century. The historic organisation the Racing Post have developed an app that allows fans to watch the live section that provides a constant stream of useful racing news and tips 24/7, as well as being a great resource for race-by-race commentary and results during the afternoon and evening events. With the fantastic database that runs similarly to the online version, it allows the consumer to gain an insight into the necessary information to make an informed bet on every race. This is key for upcoming events such as the Grand National 2014. The fact that you can read the Racing Post the night before it is even in the shops makes it a tempting offer for any pundit. Never again will you miss a bet with impressive app.
CBS Sports – Free
In terms of US sport, broadcasters don’t come much bigger than CBS. They supply one of the biggest round-ups of sports such, football (both NFL and NCAA) as well as basketball, baseball, ice hockey, golf, tennis and soccer. One the most unique features about this app is that you can personalise the news you receive to which suits you best via the unique push notifications, allowing you to really become a part of the action. This app also has a fantasy feature, which gives fans the opportunity to compete against friends and the rest of the nation as your favourite NFL rides the season.
Sky Sports Live Football Score Centre – Free
The Sky Sports score centre app offers an unrivalled service when it comes to live coverage of the World’s football results and scores. It features a well-updated live Vidiprinter, live commentary, photos and betting odds. It also provides in depth stats and comprehensive line-ups and analysis, as well as live league tables throughout games.
Team Stream – Free
People who are familiar with ‘Bleacher Report’ will recognise the excellent coverage it provides, alongside the thorough journalism and fantastic media accompanying it. Team Stream is the iOS companion to Bleacher, allowing you to select a team and bring together all the stories and information surrounding your team, taken from various sources across the web, featuring local news outlets as well as national sites and blogs. Again, Team Stream boasts an excellent interface.
BBC Sport – Free
With the BBC being the oldest broadcasting company on the planet, it enables them to depict their experience in breaking the news via their app. The wealth of knowledge and experience held by their team of journalists is expressed through the level in depth information on a regular basis. It offers the most up to date stats and facts and is the ideal set up for any fan looking to closely follow their chosen sport or sports.