Posts Tagged 79.99
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Golem Arcana, the point-based army-building board game from Harebrained Schemes – and its accompanying app – are now both available. The app will allow users to connect to the game’s figures, board, and cards via a Bluetooth-powered stylus – with a tap on the pieces or the board from the stylus sending information to the app.
The board game challenges players to assemble an army and take on the enemy with their combination of attributes and special actions. The story behind everything begins with the rise and fall of the Great Khan, with the ensuring chaos causing tribes and clans to rise up and take back their sovereignty and empires to reclaim their lost territory and honor. Now the heirs of the Khan are battling to take control of the Gudanna Dominion.
The app manages all the math for the player, meaning players do not have to memorize a complex ruleset. The app will also download new scenarios and will tally the results of every game into the overall conflict, with major developments triggered by the collective results of the players.
The Golem Arcana app is available on the App Store now as a free download, and the board game is $79.99.
Price: $79.99 (When available)
Device Reviewed With: iPhone 5,
Hardware Design Rating:
Integration with iPhone Rating:
+ Super light and slim
+ Extra battery life on the go
+ Keeps all iPhone 5 ports accessible
– Not quite a full extra charge
– Occasional disconnects
The iKit NuCharge is entering its final week of promotion on the Kickstarter website, and it’s already garnered twice the amount of its original funding goal. There’s a good reason for this, of course. The NuCharge is a well designed, light, slim battery case that can offer almost a full extra charge of the iPhone 5 battery case for a reasonable price.
Our review unit came with the battery module, a brushed aluminum face piece, and a slim clear plastic case that fits snugly on the iPHone 5, and to which the other pieces snap onto te back of. The Li-Ion Polymer battery pack is surprisingly light and thin, adding a small amount of thickness to the iPhone when snapped into place. The brushed aluminum face plate is attractive enough to use when the battery module is either charging or when I didn’t want the little bit of extra bulk. The battery pack is easily removed, though the aluminum face plate takes a bit of effort to slide off when attached.
The NuCharge has a fairly flimsy kickstand on the back, which works to hold the iPhone 5 in a landscape orientation. It’s functional, but doesn’t feel as solidly constructed as the rest of the unit. The battery module is charged at the bottom of the unit via an included micro USB cord.
Other battery cases I’ve used offer a pass-through charging system, which the NuCharge does not. It will not charge the iPhone while the battery pack itself is connected. This isn’t a deal-breaker, as the iPhone 5 lightning connector is accessible at the same time, allowing for a dual charge scenario.
Once the battery case is fully charged, it’s a simple matter of removing the recessed Lightning cable from the back of the battery unit and connecting it to the iPhone’s own Lightning port. The rubberized connector cable feels solid and rugged, ensuring regular use for a while to come. The NuCharge was able to bring my iPhone up from 10% or so up to 94% several times over many days, which is a respectable amount considering the low weight and profile of the entire unit.
The one issue that cropped up during a few of my charging tests was an odd disconnect of the charging system. I’d have the Lightning cable connected to the bottom of the unit. The cables felt solidly plugged in, but the unit didn’t charge the iPhone until I either re-plugged the cable in or fiddled with the charging button. It didn’t happen every time, but enough to be a concern. This was a pre-release unit, however, so here’s hoping the retail version won’t have this issue.
Ultimately, the combination of solid features make the NuCharge a fantastic bit of kit, giving iPhone 5 owners that extra full battery of charge for a competitive price. While it’d be great to have just a bit more charge in the module, the weight and slim profile more than make up for it.
Device Reviewed With: new iPad, iPhone 5, iPad mini
Integration with iPad/iPhone Rating:
Hardware Design Rating:
Re-Use Value Rating:
The SteelSeries Free mobile wireless controller is a wonder of miniature design and quality. It’s solidly built, feels good in the hand, and controls a wild variety of games on iOS, Android, Mac and PC. This review focuses on iOS gaming, but I also tested out the controller with Mac & PC computers, finding it easy to connect and use with a variety of games.
Pairing the SteelSeries Free is a simple matter of tapping into the Bluetooth settings on an iOS device, holding down a couple of buttons on the controller, and waiting a few seconds. That’s it. No pairing number emulation, no weirdness, it just works. As soon as the controller is paired, popping into any one of the almost 100 compatible games will get players rocking arcade games with a separate controller. The SteelSeries Free uses Bluetooth keyboard emulation, similarly to the ION iCade system, so iCade games are also compatible here.
The tiny little controller feels good even in my big hands, with its dual sticks, four face buttons (plus start and back buttons), two shoulder buttons, and a d-pad for all sorts of game control needs. SteelSeries has extensive experience in the pro-gaming scene, and it shows here with a quality vident from the first touch. There’s even a cute little bag to keep the controller in, away from potentially scratching things deep in a bag or pocket.
The only niggles I have here are not even SteelSeries’ fault. One, I’d love to see a controller that can do more than emulate the iCade. While it works fantastically for arcade and platform games, I’d like to see better support for dual-stick shooter type control schemes that really need two analog sticks. The other problem is that since the SteelSeries Free uses Bluetooth keyboard emulation, the iOS keyboard doesn’t pop up when the device is paired with the controller. Again, it’s a systemic issue, rather than one with the controller, but with such a tiny controller, it’s easy to forget that there won’t be a keyboard to use until the external game pad is disconnected.
Overall, the SteelSeries Free mobile wireless controller is delightful to use, with a solidly built and fantastically designed controller that is extremely portable and easy to use with a wide variety of gaming devices. While it would be nice to have support for games on iOS that require more than iCade-style Bluetooth keyboard emulation, what’s here is as close to mobile gaming perfection as is possible in today’s iOS world.
If there was one reason I’ve heard more than any others about why someone bought an Android or Blackberry phone over the iPhone, it’s that the person doesn’t like to type on touchscreens. Regardless of my argument that after a few weeks, I ended up typing MUCH faster on the iPhone’s onscreen than on my old Blackberry, people often opt for a physical keyboard.
The NUU MiniKey is by no means the only physical keyboard case for the iPhone (there’s a flip-out one available at ThinkGeek and another popular one by BoxWave), but it has a few interesting features and sturdy-looking design (though it looks like it may almost double the thickness of the iPhone).
The MiniKey has navigation keys to allow easier movement between characters than using the magnifying glass on the touchscreen. Like most cellphone keyboards, the MiniKey has function keys to allow quicker typing of symbols and numbers. Something I haven’t seen on other iPhone keyboards is backlighting. While it isn’t helpful to a skilled typist like myself who doesn’t need to look at the keys, other more novice typists may need to see what keys they are pressing. The MiniKey is also compatible with the Mac keyboard shortcuts like Command+C for copy and Command+V for paste. And finally, it has a key to toggle between the physical and onscreen keyboard. I assume this key simply turns the keyboard on and off (which would be great to save battery life).
The NUU MiniKey is selling for $79.99 on Amazon (free shipping). This won’t appeal to those of us that trust that Apple knows best and if we needed a physical keyboard they would have given us one. But to anyone who is on the fence between iPhones and other phones, accessories like this may be the deciding factor.