A little over a year ago, everything changed. My daughter, Peregrine (Pip, for short), was born, and along with the myriad recalibrations, adjustments, and joyous changes that birth brought with it, I also finally came to terms with the true value of the iPhone camera: baby pictures! Hundreds and hundreds of them (no exaggeration) were taken by me, by friends, and by family, and then scattered over hard drives, social networks, and of course iPhones. The problem then became figuring out how to organize and store them privately and securely. As a devoted Mac user it’s easy enough to keep photos stored on iPhoto, but that’s a local option only, with limited cloud storage and sharing (those 1,000 photos on iCloud? Please!), and god forbid my hard drive crashes without proper backup.
I thought all of my problems with cloud storage for photos were solved when Everpix came along. Here was a fantastic, well-designed app that also had great web-based software and a Mac-based uploader. Best of all, it could load in all of my photos from various social streams, eliminate or hide duplicates, and handle a potentially unlimited number of photos for a reasonable monthly or yearly price.
There was just one big problem though; Everpix went out of business.
Before I get to the heart of this article, there are a few lessons to learn from my Everpix experience.
One: Always keep all of your photos on a local hard drive.
Two: Backup said hard drive as often as humanly possible (something I still don’t do, so do as I say, not as I do).
Three: Never, ever assume that a site, app, or service will exist forever. It won’t; it just won’t. They will all go away at some point. Some will last five years. Some will last a year or two. Some of the very best won’t even make it that long.
So I found myself back at square one, trying to find another good (read, as close to the effortless Everpix as I could get) cloud-based storage solution for my photos. Read on for my look at nine different cloud storage services that work with iOS.
Each week brings with it a wealth of new apps, but, we’ll admit, some weeks are just more exciting than others. Such is the case with this week, with its iPhone 5s and 5c announcements coupled with the long-awaited release of iOS 7. Be sure to catch up on our continuous coverage by checking in at our iOS 7 hub. And if you want more app reviews than you can shake a stick at, be sure to hit our Reviews Archive.
Conveniently fitting into the iOS 7 aesthetic that we’re all growing to quite like, Diptic PDQ lives up to its name by being a Pretty Dang Quick photo collage creation app. It’ll prove immensely useful to those who want to create a collage out of their photos and don’t have much time to do so. Distinctly speedy to use, Diptic PDQ dispenses with any bells and whistles that really aren’t needed; immediately requesting the photos that the user wants to import (as well as offering options to take images directly through the iOS device’s camera). Users are then able to drag and drop the photos into their respective places on the layout. There are 35 layouts in all, and each are the kind of template that one would actually use rather than the kind that are too wacky to be practical. –Jennifer Allen
There once was a man named George Lucas who decided he wasn’t prosperous enough. In search of never-ending wealth, he released three new films in his storied Star Wars franchise. After eventually completing his quest for riches and fortune, Lucas licensed out the rights for his films to Rovio, the brains behind the Angry Birds franchise. And thus a glorious gaming baby was born in the form of Angry Birds Star Wars II. Can this entry make just as big of a splash as the first installment, or have the days of Force-wielding fowl long since passed? Marketing professionals go an entire lifetime dreaming of working with a single brand that even remotely has the clout of a singular Star Wars or Angry Birds. Melding these two juggernauts together is a cross-promotional fantasy that has probably sold an iOS game or two… million. Taking a whack at the more recent trilogy is the aim of the sequel and this time around Rovio has ambitions of pulling out all of the stops. –Blake Grundman
Previously quite the hit for iPad-owning reading fans, Marvin has made its way to the iPhone ably demonstrating just what a great eBook reader the device can be. For those who enjoy reading on the move, Marvin should be a firm choice for a while to come. The app is immediately simple to use. Relying upon DRM-free EPUB books, it comes with a selection of great classics such as “The Picture of Dorian Gray,” “Crime and Punishment,” and many more. Importing others is just as simple, done via iTunes, Dropbox, or a Calibre plugin. Tutorials for doing such things are located via Safari rather than built into the app, but fortunately it’s all quite straightforward. –Jennifer Allen
Double Dragon celebrated its 25th anniversary with an updated iPhone version, but has it managed to hold on to everything that has made it such a legendary franchise in the process? I was happy to see that the classic visuals, 80′s soundtrack, and damsel-in-distress story were all still present and cheesier than ever before. In terms of the game screen, the amount of buttons is deceptively simple. Although there may only be one directional button and four attack buttons there is an impressive array of moves available as laid out in the command list. Uppercuts, flying knees, head-butts, and special attacks all go towards keeping gameplay varied and particularly challenging to master (especially when it comes to initiating juggling). Let’s not forget the infamous weapons either. Barrels, whips, and steel pipes are all available to pick up and wield against the never-ending parade of thugs. –Lee Hamlet
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If you are looking for the best reviews of Android apps, just head right over to AndroidRundown. Here are just some of the reviews served up this week:
A lot of games find it hard to stick to one ‘type’ nowadays. It seems that every game is of type X though has Y components. It’s not enough to find one solid game mechanic, it seems the trick is to mix several together. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. I’m happy to say that Monster Match‘s attempt at mixing Pokemon and Connect 4 has worked a charm. The premise, as with most good games, is simple. You have a board which is full of coloured gems. You need to swipe at these gems connecting 2 or more of the same color. The more you connect, the better. Better how? Let me explain. –Matt Parker
The past few renditions of the Android devices have had a lot more memory to store apps. The problem is, we can add more stuff to the phone because we have more space, so we do. When we have a hundred or more apps on our devices, it can take some time to find the right app to open. Quad Drawer is a great solution for most people to help find apps faster. After it’s downloaded, Quad Drawer will run a check to find all of the apps on the device. Once it does, finding an app is super easy. The apps are found by simply typing in the name of the application. While this may sound pretty simple, the majority of phones and other Android devices out there do not have a feature like this. –Trevor Dobrygoski
Infectonator Hot Chase has a tough legacy to follow. The original Infectonator was an insane stew with zombies, tactics, humor and originality. This game only has zombies. Being worse than Infectonator still counts as a praise, although I’d much rather have original gameplay extended. But oh, well, maybe we’ll see that later. Infectonator Hot Chase is still fun, though. If you played Dead Ahead, then it’s easy to understand the concept of this game: it’s the same as Dead Ahead, but the heroes are zombies, not the survivals. The main zombie is running constantly to the right, just as the still-surviving humans do. He is also steering automatically to the bottom of the road, while pressing at the screen makes him strafe to the top. The player’s task is to “catch” the humans as the main zombie runs past them, and infect them. The freshly-infected start running alongside the main zombie, and help infect more people, or pick up gold and power-ups. The zombie slows and loses health over time, both of which can be replenished by eating people, or picking power-ups. When the main zombie dies, the gold he picked up is added to the bank, and can be spent to upgrade himself, or special mutations that temporarily imbue him with new powers. –Tony Kuzmin
And finally, this week Pocket Gamer reviews Infinity Blade III and Angry Birds Star Wars II, charts the history of Grand Theft Auto on handhelds, goes hands-on with Pokemon X & Y, investigates FIFA 14‘s in-app purchases, and celebrates iOS 7′s best and hidden features. Check out the Pocket Gamer Weekly Wrap-Up for all of this and more.
Posted by Rob LeFebvre on December 12th, 2012 + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
User-generated MMO game creation engine, Roblox, is now available as a universal app on iOS, allowing iPhone and iPad users to create games together and share with their friends in the Roblox community. It’s like Minecraft for game creators, and it’s free in the App Store now.
With cross-platform compatibility, ROBLOX Mobile users join game servers populated with other iOS device users and with players of the ROBLOX desktop application (which is available for free on both PC and Mac). This connects Web and mobile ROBLOX users in one shared virtual world.
ROBLOX’s online community offers a productive environment for users to spend free time, as they develop programming, promotional, and entrepreneurial skills. Builders can use ROBLOX Studio, a 3D editor, to model anything they can imagine, constructing these models out of virtual blocks. These creations can then be published to the ROBLOX website and shared with other builders. Many creators have built entire virtual worlds out of components published by the ROBLOX community.
Posted by Rob LeFebvre on November 29th, 2012 iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
Popular Mac calendar software, Fantastical, is now on the iPhone, and it’s half off its regular price to celebrate the launch.
Using an advanced natural language engine, Fantastical is extremely expressive, allowing users enter event details in their own style. For example, enter a sentence such as “Lunch with John at 123 Main Street on Tuesday” and Fantastical will translate the sentence into an event and add it to their calendar.
With its powerful natural language event creation, DayTicker, calendar, and event list, Fantastical is the fastest and friendliest calendar you’ll ever use!
As covered in an earlier How-To column, the Purchased apps list is extremely handy for seeing which apps have been downloaded on to your account, and to re-download apps that have been purchased already. By accessing it from the Updates section on iPhone/iPod touch or just selecting its tab on the iPad, a whole world of old apps is there to be rediscovered.
Well, at least if you’re not an appaholic. See, on iOS 6 in particular, if you have a lot of apps in your purchased history (including free downloads), it appears to cause the App Store to crash when trying to pull up the list. It ain’t easy accessing a list of over 1600 apps, apparently. However, there’s a two-fold solution.
First, you can use iTunes on your computer to view your Purchased history. Open up iTunes. Click on iTunes Store in the left sidebar.
Click the Home icon in the upper bar to the left of Music to go the home screen if you’re not already there. On the right side of the window, click Purchased.
Click Apps on the top bar. This takes you to a list with all the apps you’ve ever downloaded, all loaded up at once. It may take a minute, and if you have like 100,000 apps downloaded, it may still crash, but for most people, even the crazy ones like me, it shouldn’t crash! Apps can be downloaded to your computer, and then installed on your device when it is next synchronized. It may also work with automatic downloads enabled.
For those who want to re-download apps that have been removed from public view on the App Store, they will not show up when using the Search bar to filter out the list. However, they will appear when scrolling through the list. Tapping the Sort By: drop-down menu and selecting Name should make it easy to find – all apps are loaded at once, so scroll with care.
Now, for those that may have apps that they really wouldn’t care to see in their Purchased list, like if its presence is causing the App Store to crash, iTunes can be used to remove these apps from the list. Just hover your pointer over the app’s icon, and click the x that appears in the upper-left corner. This will hide it from your Purchased history.
As well, when you go on the App Store, the app will not say “Install” if you search for it, it will appear as if you’ve never downloaded it. Note that for paid apps, this does not mean that you’ve lost your record of having purchased it. If you try to re-buy it, the App Store will pull up a prompt saying that it’s free because you own a previous version of the item. This way, if you change your mind or accidentally remove an app you didn’t mean to get rid of, you can add it back without penalty.
Players will be able to manage their airline from the comfort of their Mac, and pickup right where they left off on their iOS device when they’re on the go! The Mac version also introduces an exclusive plane model, the “X10 Mapple Pro” obtainable only on the Mac version.
In celebration of Pocket Planes coming to the Mac, as well as its recent arrival on Android, we’ve released the first in a series of “Pocket Planes Shorts.” A collaboration with LoadingReadyRun, “Pocket Planes Shorts” as well as upcoming “Tiny Tower Shorts” will showcase the lighter side of living in the bitizen universe!
This week at 148Apps.com, Carter Dotson asked the question that so many iPad owners have thought to themselves: “Why can’t I work from just my iPad?”
“I’m sick of desktops, laptops, and netbooks. The iPad is lightweight, has great battery life, and I don’t have to take it out of my bag when I’m flying. Most of the work that I do is writing, covering iOS and Android, so it seems appropriate to primarily do this work from mobile devices, right? That’s what I want, but there’s still just so many shortcomings that keep it from being a regular reality.
“What I find is that for basic tasks, the iPad is great. I like the focus that the iPad’s limitation of running a single app on screen at a time provides, especially for writing. I use a portable Bluetooth keyboard, and while it’s not full-size, the benefits I get from being forced to focus on what I’m writing is a huge benefit. As well, with the customer support job I work with that uses Zendesk, I discovered that it’s actually quite easy to do it efficiently through Safari and the Zendesk mobile app. I didn’t feel like I was any less productive in working from the iPad than I do when I work from my Mac in this case. But it’s the exception to the rule.”
Meanwhile, Amy Solomon at GiggleApps.com took a trip to the zoo via ABC ZooBorns: “My son, a fan of these other apps, was excited to hear about ABC ZooBorns, asking me about a list of his favorite animals, all of which are included – much to my son’s excitement. I too enjoy the list of animals included – be it more traditional zoo animals, such as tigers or zebras, but also including some unique choices such as Ural owl, wombat or quokka. We do love to look at these animals as babies, especially those are simply precious to look at such as baby Gorillas or Elephants.”
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2012-07-24 :: Category: Education
Finally, AndroidRundown.com featured a story about a fascinating new KickStarter project named InstaCube. Joseph Bertolini writes, “It streams photos directly from any user’s Instagram account and displays them on a large 6.5″ LCD touchscreen. Display those photos from the park yesterday or randomly check in on some friends, because what good are those photos if they are stuck on a tiny phone screen all the time. Probably the greatest element of InstaCube is its ability to stay away from being one dimensional by including full access to Instagram. Doing this allows for photo browsing, ‘liking’ of photos, and InstaCube will even display live photos of sunrises and sunsets from around the world.”
Summer’s heading to a close, but we still have so much more to offer across the 148Apps network. Keep track of all the latest happenings, as well as reviews and contests, by following us on Twitter or liking us on Facebook. You’ll be glad you did.
This week at 148Apps.com, we celebrated the unbelievable 40th birthday of Atari. Writer Lisa Caplan says, “It’s a tiny bit depressing that many of us here are older than Atari. Still as OG’s (original geeks) most of us equate the name with our and their glory years of gaming. Recently the former giant has been reinventing itself, having previously released their VCS catalog and a few arcade hits in a Greatest Hits package for iOS, and with more recent forays into the App Store like Circus Atari and Centipedes Origins. They are also winding up a contest for indie developers who took their original, maybe the original video game, PONG and remade it for iOS. The finalists have been announced and can be found here. The company turns 40 today and much of the recent flurry of activity is to celebrate the occasion.”
GiggleApps.com stayed topical this week with a review of Avengers Origins: Hulk. Amy Solomon writes, “Avengers Origins: Hulk is a new universal interactive storybook apple ication that introduces the classic Marvel character, the Hulk, to children. I really enjoy this re-telling of such a classic story, narrated by Stan Lee who does an outstanding job as one would expect. I enjoy how this story unfolds, especially for children who may be new to this character as this app opens up with a thoughtful introduction, walking readers through Bruce Banner’s difficult childhood, becoming a scientist and the details of the faithful day that Banner becomes mistakenly affected by gamma radiation, developing the uncontrollable ability to turn into the Hulk when he is angered.”
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2012-03-14 :: Category: Books
Finally, 148Apps.biz writer Carter Dotson reports that, “A new report by Localytics shows that more users are sticking with their apps, and iOS users are more likely to stick with apps than Android users are. Where in 2010, 26% of users would open up an app once, and the same percentage would use it 11+ times, now only 22% launch an app just once, and 31% will use it 11+ times. This may show that users over time are either starting to find apps that they would show an interest in using long-term, or app quality is starting to increase. The long-term trend will be interesting to see: will users continue to come back to their apps? Or is this a temporary blip?”
iDolly, the iOS app companion to the service Dolly Drive, has recently been released. The app allows users to access files synced with the Dolly Drive service.
In addition to viewing the files synced with Dolly Drive, the app even lets users make changes to documents and files right on the iPhone or iPad. Those changes will be synced and ready to go when the user gets back to whatever other device they choose to access it on. Other features include browsing photos stored in Dolly Drive, data protection via signing in, built-in viewers for a variety of document formats.
Dolly Drive is an online storage solution and backup service with Mac-friendly solutions in mind. They aim to take the place of securing users’ data after MobileMe ceases to exist and takes with it features such as syncing iPhoto libraries across computers, support for older operating systems, and limited iOS device backup. The service works as a supplement to Apple’s own Time Machine app.
One of Apple’s coolest features, AirPlay, is also one of its least-utilized. Currently, users can easily stream content from their iOS device right to their Apple TV, and the service will be extended in the new OS X Mountain Lion update to allow Macs to do the same. However, there’s never been a way to stream content from an iPhone or iPad to a Mac, until now.
Reflection offers a simple solution to the problem, simply run the app on your Mac, connect your iOS device to the same wireless network, enable AirPlay and viola, you’re all set. While you still control all of your iOS apps on their native device, you can now display them on your Mac, which should make for some pretty impressive gaming sessions at the very least.
Reflection will run you $14.99 for a license on a single Mac and $39.99 to install it on up to five separate computers. This being the first version of the app there are still some bugs and crashes, as well as a bit of input lag, but we’re sure that will get tuned up in future updates. In any case, we’re pretty impressed that someone got AirPlay running from iOS to Mac, and in a surprising twist it wasn’t even Apple.
This week at 148Apps.com, we pined for the release of the newest version of Mac OSX, named Mountain Lion. Brad Hilderbrand writes, “Apple shocked the world today by announcing a brand-new operating system for desktop devices, less than a year after the launch of OS X Lion. Codenamed Mountain Lion, the latest update further blurs the line between home computers and tablets, bringing a host of features that make your MacBook or iMac run more like an iPad.
Our GiggleApps compatriots were busy this week as well, reviewing the latest apps for kids. Amy Solomon reviewed David and Goliath for the iPad (the MVP Edition), and had this to say about it: “The quality of this application is undeniable. Although I am not always a fan of computer-generated animations and the use of 3D effects, the look of this app is impressive, with vivid colors and a thoughtful use of pitch-perfect music that creates an incredibly rich experience. I love the details found throughout from the clouds in the sky and other details of nature as well as textures found within, seen in the tents used often-times as backdrops for these characters. There are also some interesting moments of silhouetting characters for a nice effect that I enjoy.”
iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad
Released: 2011-10-04 :: Category: Books
Finally, 148Apps.biz kept a brisk pace this week as well. Jack-of-all-trades Brad Hilderbrand reported on the success of Apple’s iPhone 4s, saying, “Anyone still wondering if the iPhone 4S was enough of an upgrade to help Apple maintain industry dominance can stop pondering, as a recent report from Gartner claims that Apple has officially surpassed Samsung as the maker of the world’s most-wanted phones. According to the numbers, Apple moved 35.5 million smartphones in Q4 (primarily driven by the iPhone 4S), while Samsung trailed with 34 million. Not only have these numbers allowed Apple to become the dominant force in smartphones, but the company has also surpassed LG to become the third biggest vendor of all mobile devices, period.”
Another week is in the bag, but that doesn’t mean we’re done. No, sir, it doesn’t! Follow us on Twitter or Like us on Facebook to get the latest updates on news, reviews and contests. It really is that simple. See you next week, web-heads!
Apple shocked the world today by announcing a brand-new operating system for desktop devices, less than a year after the launch of OS X Lion. Codenamed Mountain Lion, the latest update further blurs the line between home computers and tablets, bringing a host of features that make your MacBook or iMac run more like an iPad. Here’s a rundown of some of the major additions and how they work.
Messages – Built to replace the current iChat system, the Messages app seamlessly integrates with iMessage, allowing users to chat across platforms. If you’re at work but want to get a message out to a loved one’s iPhone all you have to do is pop into Messages and start typing. The service is free and supports text, photos and even high-def video sharing.
Reminders – Create and organize tasks and to-do lists on your computer, then push them out to all your devices via iCloud. Need to run a bunch of errands this weekend? Reminders has you covered.
Notification Center – Another iOS concept ported over to the Mac, Notification Center groups all your alerts in one place to easily view and/or dismiss at your convenience. No more alerts popping up all over the screen, now things are contained to one place off to the side, minimizing interruption.
Game Center – You know it, you love it, it’s here. Any questions?
For those who can’t get enough, Apple has also released the following video showcasing all the cool new features present in OS X Mountain Lion:
While no price has yet been announced Apple expects to launch Mountain Lion this summer. Furthermore, developers can sign up for access right now and begin tinkering with this new, iOS inspired operating system. Apple has long been the company most devoted to making the desktop and mobile experience as analogous as possible, and things seem to be going to a whole new level with Mountain Lion. In the immortal words of Philip J. Fry, “Shut up and take my money!”
Spotify has landed in the US with a great deal of press coverage and speculation, but what is it, exactly?
Spotify is a streaming music service – more akin to Rdio or MOG than the randomly-generated playlists of Pandora – that has one killer feature its competitors don’t. It’s free. Yep, once an account is established (which is tricky at the moment – more on that in a bit), streaming is enabled for Macs and PCs through the iTunes-like Spotify desktop client. The catches are relatively minor. The free service is ad-supported, so expect to hear song snippets when you least expect them, or see an ad for Coke dominate your Spotify screen for a few seconds. Taken as a whole, however, it’s a lot of content for the surprising cost of nothing.
For those wanting more, Spotify offers an Unlimited Plan for $4.95 which features unlimited streaming to PC/Mac with no ads or a Premiere Plan for $9.95 a month to stream all content to the iPhone and select other devices. If you’re hurting for an invite to join the fun, you can jump to the head of the line by purchasing an Unlimited or Premiere plan…or…
You can win one of two invites to Spotify USA by helping us reach 2,000 fans on our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/148apps. Once we hit that magic number, all of our recent fans’ names go into a hat for a random drawing. Two lucky winners will receive invites to the music party of the year.
If you're a Mac user, Squirrel 2 is an excellent iPhone app for keeping track of your spending. It supports budgets and multiple accounts, and syncs wonderfully with the Mac application. Windows users, however, will be disappointed by Squirrel for iPhone as a stand-alone app.
Do you ever wish you could squeeze a little more space out of your desktop screen? Say, ten inches or so? Avatron Software can help you do just that. Avatron has made a name for itself by producing excellent productivity software, namely Air Sharing for iPhone and Air Sharing HD for iPad, and looks set to continue this trend with its new Air Display app for iPad.
Just launched on the App Store, Air Display allows users to connect an iPad to their computer via Wi-Fi and extend its screen real estate by dragging windows onto the iPad screen. This seemingly magical technique frees your main screen from clutter and allows you to keep your Mail client, calendar or any other application in view while you work. Just like attaching an additional monitor, Air Display effectively extends your workspace by the 9.7 inches the iPad provides.
“We’re really thrilled to see how well Air Display is being received. But we’re just getting started!” Says Dave Howell, CEO of Avatron. “The foundation of frameworks we’ve built for Air Sharing and Air Display is a platform for some really exciting new products in our pipeline.”
Air Display has many uses beyond a home for your utilities as well. Musicians can use the extra space as a control surface and Photoshop users can store their palletes on the iPad screen, the possibilities are almost endless. At present Air Display only works with Macs but a Windows version is on the way and interested users can visit the Avatron site to sign up for notification of its launch.
For you lucky Mac users, $9.99 is all that’s standing between you and a bigger desktop area.
If you’re using Apple’s Keynote app for iPad you’ll be exited to hear that new template options now exist outside of the default themes that come with the presentation app. iPresentee has announced the launch of its Keynote Themes for iPad pack that includes 33 themes designed specifically for the iPad. Priced at $25, users need to have a Mac and a copy of iWork ’09 in order to use the theme pack which can be purchased from the iPresentee website.
All of the themes included in the pack are available in both 1024×768 and 800×600 pixel dimensions and can be used on the iPad as well as the desktop version of Keynote. If you’re already making use of your iPad as a presentation device, this great set of templates is definitely worth considering. We’ve included a gallery showing off some of these exciting new themes below.
If you’ve used HippoRemote Pro before you’ll know how effective it is at controlling your computer, either Mac or PC, over Wi-Fi. The app allows users to control their computer as well as a host of popular applications using its multi-touch trackpad and built-in keyboard. HippoRemote also offers a web browser and Twitter client. If all these features weren’t enough, however, the latest update to HippoRemote turns your iPhone into an advanced games controller too.
With many Mac and PC games requiring control via the mouse and keyboard, controllers like those found on consoles aren’t compatible and therefore tie the user to their desk in order to play games. HippoRemote 2.2 offers freedom from this traditional setup by replicating mouse and keyboard control from your iPhone. Whether you’re playing a full on RPG, an intense shoot ‘em up or just a simple Flash game on the web, HippoRemote allows you to customize the control layout and use only the keyboard buttons you need for a particular game. Controls can be set for different games with either a trackpad or a button pad and game-specific profiles can also be downloaded from the HippoRemote website. At present, HippoRemote is compatible with the iPhone and iPod touch but we’re excited by the possibilities introduced by the iPad and look forward to a compatible version in the future. If you love your PC games but want that console feel, you might well have already bought the best controller, you just need HippoRemote to take advantage of it.