148 Apps on Facebook 148 Apps on Twitter

Category: Hardware »

Gameloft Drops a Huge Bombshell; First Legit Controller for iOS, the Duo Gamer Coming This Week

Posted by Jeff Scott on October 1st, 2012

Sure we've seen other good controllers for iOS like the iCade. But the Duo Gamer is the first controller approved and supported by Apple. Let that sink in. The first controller officially approved and supported by Apple.

It's the first game controller that doesn't need to pretend like it's a keyboard; it can be a controller. Core gamer nirvana? Slow down those dual analog stick loving thumbs for a second and take a look at this beast.

It's true, it's a real controller for iOS, but there are some downsides. Well, one really big one. You see, to meet Apple's guidelines for a fully supported external device, the device can only work with a single developer's apps. In this case, that means that this controller will only fully work with Gameloft games. It is not, and can never be (under current rules) a universal controller. It is yet to be seen if other developers may be able to unofficially support it. But even if so, without rule changes by Apple, it will only be supported by Gameloft games.

But back to the good stuff. This is a dual analog controller, and it is for Gameloft, the presumed leader in first person shooters on iOS. And if any genre needs strong controller support, it's FPS.

To use the controller, it first needs to be connected to your device. To do so, you connect the controller via Bluetooth. A simple and quick connection. It works with any iOS device that supports Bluetooth. A recent iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad should work fine.

Once the Duo Gamer is conected, if you don't have any supported games installed, a dialog pops up and takes you to the App Store with a list of supported games. That's what official Apple support gives you. A special window on the App Store just for your device. Huge.

I put the controller through it's paces. And while it may not be the most comfortable controller to hold, a little thick, heavy, and blocky for long sessions, it is the best I've tried for iOS. Perhaps the official support makes it a bit more responsive than others, not sure. I'm not completely sure of the technology being used, and the companies involved have been expectedly quiet on it.

The Duo Gamer has dual analog joysticks, a 4-way gamepad, and six buttons (ABXY on the front and two shoulder buttons). That makes it fairly functional for the games we tried. And with the greater hardware support--meaning it doesn't have to play tricks and act like a keyboard--it functions much more smoothly. With other controllers we would occasionally lose a button click or joystick movement--likely a key press event being missed. This hasn't happened with the Duo Gamer controller. Impressive.

After spending a lot of time in NOVA 3, one of the three games currently supported (of a promised six or more), seemed like a dream compared to the touch system, which was already one of the best for a first person shooter on iOS. It's how a game like this was meant to be played. Targetting was a breeze. Movement seemed much more natural. I flew through the already familiar levels, the dual analog sticks giving me new found precise control. It's like a breath of fresh air. Though the button mapping could be better, it is hopefully fixable in an update to NOVA 3.

Asphalt 7 was likewise a great treat. Really being able to use fine control, the car steering alone is almost worth the $80 cost of the controller. Order and Chaos benefits as well, but perhaps the least of the three.

The Duo Gamer controller will be available in a couple days via the Apple online store and Amazon. The downside is it will set you back $80. Perhaps a bit steep when you consider that's more than the cost of all of the games it supports combined. But, if you are a core gamer, looking for an experience on iOS like you are used to on consoles, it's easier to justify.

We can only hope that this controller will be a huge success and we see Apple loosen the rules around external devices a bit. A universal controller would really be a huge boost to the core gaming segment on iOS. But for now, we at least have this controller for the developer making some of the best FPS games on the App Store. It's a step in the right direction.

Backup Battery Deal for the iPhone 5 (and iPad)

Posted by Jeff Scott on September 20th, 2012

As I'm sure everyone on the planet knows, the iPhone 5 comes out this week. If you are a heavy iPhone user you no doubt have some sort of a battery like our favorite, the Mophie for your iPhone. With the iPhone 5 release and the new Lightning connector, these old devices won't work. And Mophie and others don't yet have Lightning and iPhone 5 compatible devices available. We've found a solution, and have also found a great deal for you.

New Trent makes some of our favorite external batteries for recharging all kinds of USB connected devices. The IMP 120D is a massive 12,000mAh at about 1 1/2 the size of a deck of cards. That's enough to recharge the iPhone 5 multiple times. It is a USB charger -- meaning that you plug in a USB cable into the battery and then connect that to your device to charge it. So it works with a wide variety of devices. We've used our with iPhones, iPads, other phones, even digital cameras.

We got an email about a special deal from New Trent and Amazon.com, if you buy the New Trent IMP 120D, and use coupon code 3IMIRROR on Amazon, you get a second, slimmer 6,000mAh battery ($40 value) for free. Here's how to do it:

Add the IMP 120D to your Amazon cart from this link: New Trent IMP 120D

Add the iMirror, 6,000mAh battery to your Amazon cart: New Trent iMirror

Go to your cart on Amazon and enter promo code: 3IMIRROR and the price of the iMirror will be discounted to $0! One note - we have no idea how long this deal will last. If this looks good to you, buy it quickly.

Now when you get the batteries, just plug in the Lightning USB cable you got with your iPhone 5 and you are all set to recharge on the go.

iRig Stomp Review

By Rob LeFebvre on September 6th, 2012
The iRig Stomp is a must-have for any guitarist seeking to seamlessly integrate OS into their effects setup for home or stage.
Read The Full Review »

Logitech Solar Keyboard Folio Review

By Rob LeFebvre on August 10th, 2012
The Logitech Solar Keyboard Folio gets top marks in an already crowded product market for iPad keyboards.
Read The Full Review »

Get More Precision and Protection with the Bladepad Controller

Posted by Jordan Minor on August 8th, 2012

iPhone gaming and mobile phone gaming in general are poised to take over the entire handheld gaming market but there is still one big thing holding them back. Touch controls can be great but they are no replacement for responsive, dedicated, physical buttons. Plenty of hardware manufacturers have tried to fix this problem with varying degrees of a success and now a new challenger, Bladepad, is trying to enter the fight.

Bladepad is a slim, protective case that adds a directional pad, two analog sticks, four shoulder buttons, and four face buttons to an iPhone all with full back-lighting. Like a PSPgo or Xperia Play, players can slide the buttons back underneath phone when they are not needed or just easily remove the case entirely. The case and phone can be simultaneously charged over USB and “the battery life is competitive with both the Nintendo 3DS and Sony PS Vita.” Bladepad, LLC says that the product will work with any iOS device using Bluetooth 4.0 including the iPhone 4S, the new iPad, and presumably whatever new iPhone comes out this fall.

However, the project is still in need of funding. Those interested should check out the Bladepad Kickstarter page where one can pre-order at reduced prices along with shirts and other prizes. Bladepad is currently slated for release this holiday season for $99.

Mophie Juice Pack Pro Review

By Rob LeFebvre on August 3rd, 2012
The Mophie Juice Pack Pro provides sand and shock protection in a massive, difficult to open case for the iPhone 4 or 4S.
Read The Full Review »

iRig Mix Review

By Rob LeFebvre on July 23rd, 2012
The iRig Mix two-channel mixer is great for beginning, casual DJs who want to use their iOS devices to spin, scratch, and mix. Curious that it's only iPhone native.
Read The Full Review »

Logitech Mini Boombox - Bluetooth Speaker Review

By Jeff Scott on May 31st, 2012
While the Logitech Mini Speakers won't fill a concert hall with sound, they aren't meant to. They are meant to be a great option to carry with you and use at the office, in a hotel room, the car, etc. For that, we are very impressed with the Logitech Min
Read The Full Review »

Logitech's Wireless Solar Keyboard K760 is One Keyboard for All Devices

Posted by Carter Dotson on May 31st, 2012

Fresh off the announcement of their solar-charging bluetooth keyboard case for the iPad, Logitech is back with a new solar-charging keyboard, the Wireless Solar Keyboard K760. However, there's one powerful feature in this keyboard that will make it extremely attractive to power users: it has the ability to pair and switch between multiple devices. This means that it could easily be connected to the Mac, then taken to another room with the iPad, and then on the go with the iPhone, with its ability to switch between three devices. The multiple device support, combined with the fact that it doesn't need to have its batteries replaced, and its similar layout to the official Apple Bluetooth keyboard, may make it a more attractive option for anyone shopping for an Apple-compatible keyboard. Now, if only they could find a way to make the Magic Trackpad solar-powered. That thing eats through AA batteries like Pac-Man. The Wireless Solar Keyboard K760 will be available this June for an MSRP of $79.99.

playGO AP1 is the Next Generation of Audio Streaming

Posted by Jordan Minor on May 23rd, 2012

With all of Apple’s relatively recent success in the smartphone and tablet market, we can forget sometimes that what kicked off their modern dominance was a device that simply played music. BICOM, Inc. has been recognizing how important music is to the company with their playGo series of iOS receiver systems. The newest model, the playGo AP1, is their biggest leap forward yet.

Previous playGo models used USB interfaces but the playGo AP1 instead streams audio wirelessly using Wi-Fi, Ethernet, and Apple’s own AirPlay functionality. Music from iOS devices, iTunes and other services like Pandora, Rhapsody, and Spotify are wirelessly pushed to speakers with their high-fidelity audio intact. The playGO AP1 also retains built in USB for compatibility with older devices.

Unfortunately, the project is still in need of funding. However, interested buyers can check out the playGo AP1 Kickstarter page and purchase one early for $199. The funding deadline in July 5th and if it’s a success, expect to see the playGo AP1 released shortly thereafter.

Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover - iPad 2/New iPad Keyboard Case Review

By Jeff Scott on May 15th, 2012
Logitech may have created the best iPad keyboard case yet but there's still room for improvement. Here's our full review.
Read The Full Review »

iCade Core Hardware Review

By Carter Dotson on May 4th, 2012
The iCade Core is a redesigned version of the original iCade, eliminating the original arcade cabinet motif in exchange for a more portable design.
Read The Full Review »

Logitech Announces Solar-Powered Keyboard Case for iPad

Posted by Carter Dotson on May 4th, 2012

Logitech has announced a new iPad accessory that's a really bright idea – literally. The Logitech Solar Keyboard Folio is a folio-style case with a built-in Bluetooth keyboard that will work for typing on the iPad, with support for the iPad 2 and the new iPad. The internal rechargeable batteries are charged by light, whether it be the sun, or even light from indoor lamps. The battery capacity is such that Logitech claims that on a full charge, the battery will last 2 years at a rate of 2 hours daily usage. This sounds bold, but the Logitech Keyboard Case by Zagg can easily go months between charges as well.

The solar cells appear to be on the outer side of the folio holding the keyboard, so it appears as if charging while typing is not possible. The case is designed to hold the iPad in two ways: one for typing, and the other for media watching, where only the front row of keys which contains media keys is available. The case is expected to retail for $129.99, and can be preordered now from Logitech's website.

iCade Mobile Hardware Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Carter Dotson on May 4th, 2012
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: HOWL AT THE MOON
The iCade Mobile is a handheld version of the classic iCade hardware, repurposed to fit the iPhone and iPod touch.
Read The Full Review »

Hammerhead Capo Case Review

By Rob LeFebvre on April 27th, 2012
The Capo case from Hammerhead does what it says it does - protects and serves.
Read The Full Review »