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This Week at 148Apps: July 13-17, 2015

Posted by Chris Kirby on July 20th, 2015

July is Heating Up With 148Apps

How do you know what apps are worth your time and money? Just look to the review team at 148Apps. We sort through the chaos and find the apps you're looking for. The ones we love become Editor’s Choice, standing out above the many good apps and games with something just a little bit more to offer. Take a look at what we've been up to this week, and find even more in our Reviews Archive.


Heroki

It’s the visuals of Heroki that will first catch your attention - it’s really quite gorgeous. Its palette is as attractive as many of Sega’s past console hits, immediately capturing the imagination. Fortunately, Heroki isn’t all looks either, being a fairly entertaining action adventure game. While the control methods are never quite perfect, no matter what you settle on, it’s still endearing stuff. Your aim is to save the world from the dastardly Dr N. Forchin. It’s the kind of story that’s been around as long as gaming, so I wouldn’t dwell on it too much. While owing much to platformers in terms of design, Heroki is more about flying than anything. --Jennifer Allen


Infection: Humanity's Last Gasp

Infection: Humanity’s Last Gasp is a digital port of a solitaire board game from Victory Point Games and designer John Gibson that puts you in charge of what is essentially the CDC and tasks you with stopping the end of the world. No pressure, right? I’ve been a pretty big fan of the physical game ever since I first got my hands on it last year. It’s a very brutal and surprisingly intense puzzle that will punish mistakes like spreading your proteins too thin or wasting all of your funding on lab equipment you never use in short order. It’s not so difficult if you have enough time to study the virus and prepare a vaccine, but you won’t have time. You never have enough time. Because the virus can and will spread, eventually wiping out all human life if you can’t stop it fast enough. --Rob Rich


Alphabear

Where so many word games are fun but a little soulless, Alphabear crams in plenty of personality thanks to its focus on teddy bears. It’s an unusual mixture of things, but it works really well for Alphabear. Throw in some varied rulesets and you’ve got a word game that’s going to keep you hooked for quite some time.It seems simple enough. You spell words from a selection of letter tiles on a grid. Each tile starts out with a number that gradually ticks down for each turn that you don’t use it. Once that number hits zero, the tile turns to stone and you can’t use it any more. It also blocks your bears because, oh yeah, bears grow bigger on this grid. For every time you use letters next to a bear, that animal grows a little bigger and so forth. The bigger the bear, the more points you earn. The more points, the more likely you are to gain a new bear with additional powers.--Jennifer Allen


This War of Mine

Due to hardware limitations that eventually gave way to time limitations, I was never able to dip more than a toe into This War of Mine’s murky waters. Just enough to know it’s not the sort of thing you play if you want to feel happy. That’s changed now that I can play it on the iPad.
I was right: it’s not happy. But it is impressive. Unlike most other war-themed games out there (on any platform), This War of Mine covers the horrors of mass conflict from the perspective of the civilians who spend their days cowering in abandoned houses - or get caught in the crossfire. It’s about as pleasant as “Grave of the Fireflies.” But that’s what makes it so compelling. --Rob Rich


FilterBaker

FilterBaker is a photo filtering app with a difference. Rather than offering a series of instant results, it gives you plenty of options to manipulate things exactly how you want them, before allowing you to save your own filter options. It’s pretty useful.Each step of the way is clearly laid out. You can apply a form of photo filter initially before adjusting brightness, contrast, and saturation. You can then move onto more complex tweaks, such as the shadows and highlights, RGB color distribution, and sharpening. By the end, you can have completely transformed your picture. More importantly, it won’t look like you’ve put it through the same process as everyone else as FilterBaker is more individual.--Jennifer Allen


Other 148Apps Network Sites

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:


AndroidRundown


MyScript Stylus

We’ve been working on write ups pertaining to smartpens, and looking at what they bring to the mobile productivity table. For the most part, we’ve found them to be great tools, but only as good as the add-ons that allow them to be harnessed by the platforms they are being used on.One of the names that continually cropped up during reviews and research was MyScript. MyScript is a name that should resonate with smartpen users; it powers a lot of the image recognition software that some smartpen device makers bundle with their products. The premise is fairly simple: one “writes” with a stylus (or finger) on compatible surfaces with compatible peripherals, and MyScript helps translate the script to formal text.--Tre Lawrence


TYLY RIBBN

As our use of mobile devices increases, so does the need to keep them powered. Portable chargers do the the trick, but one key concept is the ability to charge in vehicles.TYLT has established a name in the power accessory segment, and with good reason. The units it puts out tend to straddle the fence between form and function quite admirably; it’s nice to have a piece that looks good, and, well, works. We recently had an opportunity to review its RIBBN 4.8A Car Charger.We didn’t hesitate.--Tre Lawrence

All this, plus news, game guides and even more reviews than we can share here!

MyScript Stylus Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Rob Rich on May 4th, 2015
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: COOL BUT IMPRACTICAL
MyScript Stylus is very good at recognizing handwriting, but it’s slower to use than a regular keyboard.
Read The Full Review »

Take Note - The Jot Script 2 Evernote Edition Stylus is Here

Posted by Jessica Fisher on April 1st, 2015

Adonit'sJot Script 2 sylus has an all-new edition that's meant to be Evernote's BFF. The sylus has been redesigned to work better with iPads and give youfaster stroke tracking, smoother linerendering, and better tip-to-line accuracy.

The body of the stylus is also thinner now, making it more confortable to grip when writing down your important ideas. It comes with abuilt-in USB rechargeable lithium-ion battery that charges up in about 45 min, and gives you around20 hours of quality writing time.

The Jot Script 2Evernote Edition is available for$74.95 and comes with 6 months ofEvernote premium. You can pick one up on theEvernote website.

Ten One Design Reveals the New and Improved Pogo Connect 2

Posted by Jessica Fisher on November 19th, 2014

Ten One Design has redesigned their new touch screen stylus, Pogo Connect 2. The stylus will be compatible with all iPads and uses Bluetooth 4.0 technology, making for a really long battery life.

The connection time for the stylus has been shortened to make it more responsive and lend a more realistic feel to painting. Ten One Design has also improved the palm rejection for iOS 8.

The Pogo Connect 2 uses the new B3 tip, which has five interchangeable magnetic tips to let you choose what kind of brush strokes you prefer to use. You can try your hand at painting with the stylus using a variety of apps like Procreate, Paper by FiftyThree, Noteshelf, and Air Stylus.

If you misplace your Pogo Connect 2 don't fret. The stylus transmits a signal to the free Pogo Connect app to help you track it down, and once you do locate it the stylus has a smart clip to attach it to your iPad's cover.

The Pogo Connect 2 will be available for pre-order for $79.95 on Nov. 25 and starts shipping in the beginning of December.

Pencil Stylus From FiftyThree Review

iPad App - Designed for iPad
By Jeff Scott on December 17th, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar ::
A specialized stylus modeled after a carpenters pencil, this flat yet easy to hold stylus offers an ease of use that feel natural from the first moment of use.
Read The Full Review »

FiftyThree Launches its Bluetooth-Enabled Pencil Styluses with Simple Draw and Erase Functions

Posted by Andrew Stevens on November 19th, 2013
iPad App - Designed for iPad
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: :: Read Review »

Engadget reports that FiftyThree has launched its bluetooth-enabled pencil stylus in two different styles: Walnut + Magnetic Snap for $59.95 and Graphite for $49.95.

The pencils work with FiftyThree's app, Paper, and come with palm rejection so users don't need to worry about resting their hand on the iPad while drawing. It also comes with an eraser that allows users to simply turn the pencil over to erase away any unwanted marks. Users can even use their fingers to help smooth over certain areas, blending them together.

Pogo Connect Stylus Tips Review

By Jeff Scott on October 9th, 2013
These new tips for the Ten One Design Pogo Connect stylus are more than just a gimmick. The tips provide new ways to interact with the stylus and the iPad. Recommended, with reservations.
Read The Full Review »

Intuos Creative Stylus by Wacom Review

iPad App - Designed for iPad
By Jeff Scott on October 7th, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar ::
The first touch sensitive stylus for iOS from Wacom shows all of the quality and attention to detail one would expect from a company with their many years of experience.
Read The Full Review »

Pogo Connect Bluetooth 4.0 Stylus for iPad Review

Posted by Lisa Caplan on February 22nd, 2013

The iPad’s form has been seducing digital artists and those who love to doodle since its launch. It’s also the ideal size for taking hand-written notes. There are dozens of apps that create rich drawing or writing environments, but until recently input devices have been limited. Fingers just won’t do when precision is needed so artists and copious note takers usually rely on capacitive styluses which simulate the feeling of a pen, but are limited by the touchscreen interface. They aren’t sensitive to pressure, they offer no control over line thickness, and holding one comfortably tends to leave palm marks on the virtual page. Ten One Design offers one solution with their Bluetooth 4.0 Pogo Connect stylus. It doesn’t get everything right, but it’s a solid start in a promising direction.

At 5.1" (130mm) with a price tag of $80, the Pogo Connect sports a stylish silver barrel with a rubber tip at one end and decorative cap at the other. There is a single button on the side and a LED light. It uses one AAA battery and because it’s Bluetooth 4.0 that battery will last a long time. A little wider than a regular stylus, the pen lacks heft, but it fits comfortably in the hand and has good balance. The tip is the same thick dark rubber that one finds on traditional styluses and is magnetic for easy replacement. Ten One promises new tip designs in the future.

Pogo Connect doesn’t pair with the iPad in the usual way a Bluetooth device would. To assist in getting everything set up correctly, users can download the free Pogo Connect app to link the stylus and then each of the 19 compatible apps - up from the original 13 - goes its own way. Some apps like Procreate just find the pen, while others like Noteshelf require users to poke around in the settings. It's easy.

Because the stylus uses Bluetooth 4.0 it is only compatible with 3rd and 4th gen iPads and the iPad mini. Ten One offers iPad 2 owners a less-than-elegant work-around: there is a Pogo Bridge app that connects to the iPhone 4S or 5 and then sends the signal to the iPad 2, but at present only one app - Procreate - has incorporated the feature.

One of the more glaring flaws when I first tested the Connect back in December was that it didn’t prevent palm marks, but recent updates have improved that functionality. How well it works seems to depend more upon the app than the stylus.

And what about pressure sensitivity? That’s the key selling point, but it’s very hit or miss. Some apps respond to pressure by varying line thickness, others opacity, and none respond to a light touch despite claims that the proprietary Crescendo Sensor technology requires “0 grams of activation force.” That said, the Connect outperforms captive models. It's not transformative, but with the right app and practice, sketching feels more holistic.

There are a couple of neat features worth mentioning: the Pogo Connect app has a pen locator, the button on the stylus works as an undo command, and the LED light indicates the active ink color. Still, while somewhat more intuitive than capitative models, the Pogo Connect needs a lot of tweaking before it warrants the hefty price tag, much less turns the iPad into a device that can compete with a dedicated graphics tablet.

A full list of compatible apps can be found here on the Ten One Design site.


Sensu Portable Artist Brush And Stylus Review

By Rob LeFebvre on November 30th, 2012
The Sensu Portable Artist Brush And Stylus refreshes the paintbrush form for the digital age with a well-crafted, easy to use stylus and brush combination.
Read The Full Review »

Adobe Photoshop Touch Updated for iPad Mini, Adds New Effects, More

Posted by Rob LeFebvre on November 29th, 2012
iPad App - Designed for iPad
Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: SIMPLE AND POWERFUL :: Read Review »

Adobe updated its Photoshop Touch app today, optimizing things for the new iPad mini. It also adds a host of other improvements, including:

· Added support for three pressure-sensitive styli for iPad: Pogo Connect, Jot Touch and JaJa
· New ways to share completed projects to Facebook and Twitter directly from the app
· Added effects including Lens Flare and Stamp Pattern
· New performance and workflow enhancement including smoother brush strokes and new color selection workflow

Ten One Design Shows off Stealth Bluetooth Stylus

Posted by Lisa Caplan on March 19th, 2012

If ones uses a capacitive stylus on their iOS device - those pseudo-pens that are great for handwriting, sketching, typing, and just tapping - the name Ten One Design may not be familiar but it’s very likely they've come across their Pogo stylus line.

This month the iOS accessories company released news that should make iPad artists and note-takers smile. Temporarily dubbed the Blue Tiger Stylus, it’s something completely different. It uses Bluetooth 4.0 to pair with the iPad, particularly the new one. The result is direct input not from the screen, but from another gadget, which allows for much more user control.

The Blue Tiger won’t simulate pressure; it will react to it with genuine sensitivity and be better than traditional styluses (styli?) at distinguishing between intended strokes and palm prints. The killer feature is best described by Ten One founder Peter Skinner: “When using Blue Tiger in a drawing application, the user can control stroke thickness ... which is displayed on the multi-colored LED button.” There’s no word on a release date or price, but if it’s durable it will be well worth paying a premium for, as it should outlast traditional styluses with inflated rubbery nibs.

Remarks Review

iPad App - Designed for iPad
By Lisa Caplan on February 10th, 2012
Our rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar :: UNREMARKABLE
Remarks has the raw ingredients of a great app, but lacks some basic features.
Read The Full Review »

Pogo Stylus

Posted by Tony Kicks on November 11th, 2009


**UPDATE** Apparently the new iPod touch ring-out system Apple will be trying in it's retail stores this holiday season will also be using the Pogo Sketch Stylus for capturing signatures.

Let's take a brief look back at the epic but short lived war that was started with the "Yuck" heard around the world spoken by Steve himself when he first proclaimed "Nobody wants a stylus." I still remember the mass outcry of horror and disbelief from Palm and Windows Mobile users world over as they prepared to dig into their trenches. I, being a long time Mac addict, was amongst the first to enlist on Apple's side and purchased the original iPhone on 7.11.09 (yes folks, this was pre-app store). The next 5 months consisted of allowing skeptics, wether I was on a plane, at a hockey game, or even in the movies, to sit there and play with my phone as if it were a toy. Quickly the tides turned and by the holiday season of '07, just less than a year since the iPhone was announced, the war was all but over. With every major phone manufacturer announcing or selling their own non-stylus driven touch screen phone the stylus appeared to be dead. And yet here I sit in disbelief as I hold a stylus made for the iPhone…