Almost ripe for the taking HeaDPHone Review Halo HeaDPHoneS

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Almost ripe for the taking HeaDPHone Review  Halo HeaDPHoneS Powered By Docstoc
iPaD DeBut                                                                                                                  Wear your halo — for a
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  fRiDay aPRil 2, 2010   B4   toDay

Almost ripe for the taking
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Point of view
                                                                                                                            sound that’s pure enough
                                                                                                                             HeaDPHone Review | Halo HeaDPHoneS                                                The mobile gaming migraTion
SEATTLE — People who lined up to buy the first iPhone        And rice, an avid photographer, hopes it will be a way          SOMETIMES the simplest ideas are the best ones. like combining          Just a matter of time before                   Apple’s iPhone and its App Store. In a                For example, I was disappointed with         A-list games, such as God of War and Super
knew what they were paying hundreds of dollars for: A
new mobile phone that promised to be better. Apple’s
                                                             to hand people an “album” and let them flip through
                                                             photos of his travels.
                                                                                                                             a pair of headphones with a headband — which is what you get
                                                                                                                             with the Halo Headphones.
                                                                                                                                                                                                     smartphones drive gaming                       survey conducted in March 2009 by
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Multimedia research consultancy of
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     EA’s lacklustre FIFA 10 on the iPhone; the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Xbox 360 version is simply awesome.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Mario Brothers, which will probably never
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       be available on the App Store.
newest gadget, the iPad tablet computer, falls into a             Will Zich, 11, started saving money late last year              You have to manually insert the pair of headphones into the        devices to obsolescence                        147 executives from 136 mobile games             Only occasionally will you get games                    Yet, no one can deny the convenience
category that’s foreign to most people.                      for a new iPod Touch, but changed his mind when the             headband. This process is a snap — just ensure that the headphones                                                     companies, 71 per cent of the respond-           (such as Hero of Sparta) that play better         of a mobile phone that doubles as a gam-
    And yet it is clear that many have already happily       iPad was unveiled in January.                                   face the inside of the headband. Slip on the one-size-fits-all head-                                                   ents agreed that the iPhone is the most          on the iPhone than on the PSP.                    ing device. casual gamers, for example,
dropped US$499 ($698) or more for a device they’ve                He can rattle off all his reasons for wanting one,         band and align the headphones over your ears for a snug fit.                                                           successful development OS in the mo-                  In addition, the iPhone’s touchscreen        will not be bothered to carry two devices
never seen, in the hopes it will be some previously          such as the e-book store, plus a bigger screen and faster            The washable headband feels really comfortable. Other than                                                        bile gaming market. They also believed           interface is not everyone’s cup of tea, as        around just so they can play Bejeweled 2.
unidentified missing link in their digital lifestyles.       processor than his iPod Touch.                                  using it for your workouts, you can even wear it to sleep or on your                              tRevoR tan           that Google’s Android OS would follow            some prefer buttons in order to play ef-                And the significance of casual games
    Apple won’t say how many iPads it has sold in                 He says the iPad will be useful on road trips, and for     long-haul flights. It stayed put during my workouts and, usefully,                                                     iPhone’s example in the future.                  fectively. And for non-touchscreen smart-         cannot be downplayed — they occupy
advance of their debut tomorrow, and it’s hard to pre-       playing games and surfing the web early in the morning          soaked up my perspiration. Its short, metre-long cable does away        I rEcEnTlY gave my Sony PlayStation                  This is a far cry from nokia’s ill-fated   phones like BlackBerry, the buttons are           one third of the video games industry’s
dict how many enthusiasts will camp overnight and            when the rest of the family is still sleeping.                  with annoying dangling wires, although the constant tugging on          Portable (PSP) to my six-year-old nephew,      n-Gage platform, which despite having            not geared for serious gaming.                    worldwide revenue in 2008, according
swamp Apple stores when the doors open at 9am, as                 To be practical, Zich says he might also take it to        the wire as you run may cause the headband to slip down.                much to his delight.                           the Symbian OS, never took off. Many                  Besides, Sony and nintendo have              to research and Markets. This report also
they did for last summer’s launch of the most recent         school and use it to record homework assignments.                    In terms of performance, the headphones deliver rich bass               What he doesn’t know — and doesn’t        attributed its downfall to the fact that it                                                        forecasts that casual gaming on all plat-
version of the iPhone.                                            Media companies are betting that the iPad’s larger         without distortion, while keeping the mid-range audio lucid and         care about — is the threat that dedicated      seemed to be neither a phone nor a gam-                                                            forms will grow to account for over 46 per
    That happened even though people could “pre-             size — its touch screen is 9.7 inches diagonally, com-          sharp. Vocals are crisp even with the volume cranked to the max.        mobile gaming devices are facing from          ing device. Its buttons were not good                                                              cent of the industry’s total sales by 2012.
order” the device, just as they can for the iPad.            pared to 3.5 inches on the iPhone — is one reason                    However, I did not experience                                      the rapidly proliferating smartphones.         enough for gaming and its size was                                                                       not everyone will want a PSP or nin-
    Matthew rice, who works for pharmaceutical com-          people might pay for news and information that is               the unique surround sound that                                               In the past, mobile phones without        too bulky for a mobile phone.                                                                       tendo DS but more people are getting
pany Merck and co, won’t be ripping open any boxes           often free in other formats online.                             Halo claims to deliver.                                                 an operating system (OS) had no chance               With advanced operating sys-                                                                     smartphones. And it’s these smart-
tomorrow, but only because he chose to wait a few                 The iPad has also turned the heads of folks who                 Sound reproduction, while                                          against dedicated mobile gaming devices        tems, developers can create games                                                                       phone-wielding casual gamers who
extra weeks for a US$829 iPad with a 3G data connec-         have been lukewarm on Apple gadgets.                            decent, may not be precise and                                          like the PSP and the nintendo DS because       that are equal to or better than                                                                         will play a pivotal role in the growth
tion, which won’t ship until the end of this month.               nick Braccia, a creative director at a digital ad-         accurate enough for serious au-                                         of the latter’s superior graphics and play-    games on dedicated mobile gam-                                                                           of the mobile gaming market.
    It will be perfect for carting around PDF versions       vertising agency in San Francisco, uses a BlackBerry            diophiles. But for the rest of us,                                      ability.                                       ing devices. For example, there                                                                              According to IDc, the growth of
                                    of scientific articles   phone and music player that connects to the rhapsody            the Halo is good value for money                                             Those phones were never designed          have been a few pretty impres-                                                                        mobile online gaming market is ex-
                                    he needs to read         subscription service.                                           — especially if you lead an active                                      to allow games to be played intuitively.       sive 3D games demonstrated on                                                                        pected to grow and achieve a compound
                                     for his job, he says.        Braccia thought the iPad would be too expensive            lifestyle.                                                              Their buttons are small and the interface      the upcoming Windows Phone                                                                           annual growth rate of 19.9 per cent from
                                                             for him to even consider. When he learned that the                   At $69, it comes with a two-                                       is cranky. More importantly, there’s no        7 Series.                                                                                              2008 to 2012 in the Asia-Pacific region
                                                                     starting price was US$499, he was sold. It didn’t       pin airline adapter and a black head-                                   unifying OS for developers to work on.               However, while some full-                                                                        (excluding Japan).
                                                                      hurt that the iPad will come with electronic           band. If you use them regularly for                                          But smartphones (mobile phones            featured games on iPhones or                                                                                 With such high growth, it will
                                                                       book-reading software, and can be used to             exercise, you can also buy sepa-                                        with an OS) are changing the mobile            Android phones exist, those are                                                                         only be a matter of time before smart-
                                                                        replace the nook e-book reader from Barnes           rate headbands which come in five                                       gaming scene.                                  still the minority. The smartphone                                                                      phones replace dedicated mobile gam-
                                                                         & noble his girlfriend monopolises.                 other colours — like white (picture)                                         The rise of the mobile gaming             version of the games sometimes fails                                                                   ing devices. The only question that
                                                                              Braccia thinks he’ll use his iPad for surf-    or red — at $19 each.                                                   smartphones can be partly attributed to        to impress as well.                                                                                   remains is: When?
                                                                         ing the Web over morning coffee, for read-               The Halo Headphones are
                                                                         ing e-books and maybe watching movies.              made by an Australian-based firm
                                                                               And he justifies it as a smart purchase
                                                                          for work, because his clients make video
                                                                                                                             called Softwear and is sold here by
                                                                                                                             Distexpress (
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Smooth operator                                        There is also a cool accessible interface
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     on the sides of the liquid’s home screen
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             The liquid comes with 256MB of built-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        in storage for your applications, and the
                                                                          games. aP                                          tRevoR tan                                                                                                            SmaRtPHone Review | aCeR liquiD                   that presents media and bookmarks as               microSD slot supports up to 32GB for stor-
                                                                                                                                                                                        tRevoR tan                                                                                                   thumbnails, letting you flick through them         age expansion. Acer is bundling a 2GB card
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   WITH the plethora of Android-based de-            easily.                                            with the smartphone.
  This battle’s sunk                               hunting tactics. I even sunk my submarine
                                                   in my own shipyard because I used a big-
                                                                                                        For the first time in the franchise, you
                                                                                                   can walk through the entire submarine in
                                                                                                                                                    single-player campaign. Yes, this means
                                                                                                                                                    you have to be online to play the offline
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   vices set to flood the market, how can a
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   new smartphone that’s preloaded with the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The phone runs version 1.6 of the An-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     droid OS. An upgrade to the much-slicker
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             The smartphone has the standard 3.5G,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity features.
  PC Game Review                                   ger map to plot the navigation course, not      first-person view, climb the ladders to the      portion of the game.                                                                           operating system stand out?                       2.1 version, which includes speed improve-         The battery kept going for an average of 16
  Silent HunteR 5: Battle of tHe                   knowing I needed to avoid the numerous          deck and interact with your fellow crew.               Perhaps, that is why the startup of the                                                      The Acer liquid ($788) faces this chal-       ments, an updated browser and new fea-             hours even with intensive use of 3G and
  atlantiC                                         docks of the shipyard.                               But the interaction is merely super-        game is so slow, as your saved games has                                                       lenge. It certainly attracts attention with its   tures like animated wallpapers, will be            WiFi for web browsing, push email and
                                                       Even with time compression allowing         ficial. For example, I do not understand         to be synchronised with the servers.                                                           handsome display and pristine, glossy back        available through the Acer website in the          media playback.
  Silent Hunter, the submarine simulation          you to speed things up, looking for mer-        why the morale of my cook increases just               After encountering so much frustra-                                                      in white (picture), red or black.                 second quarter.                                         Under normal usage, it could last us up
  game series, has a history stretching all        chant or enemy ships is time consuming          by me talking to him. And when the sub-          tion, I wasn’t looking forward to the mul-                                                         The smartphone’s a bit too chunky                  Driven by a 768MHz Snapdragon proc-           to one-and-a-half days.
  the way back to 1996. In this fifth instal-      and can be an absolute bore.                    marine is suffering from water leaks, the        tiplayer portion. Thankfully, after logging                                                    — 13.5mm thick — to fit in your jeans front       essor, this multitasking device zips along              The liquid sports a 5-megapixel cam-
  ment, Silent Hunter 5: Battle of the Atlantic,                                                   crew doesn’t seem to panic or take actions       on to the server for 20 minutes, there were                                                    pocket, and leans a little on the heavy side      pretty well. We could easily listen to music       era with autofocus and adjustable ISO. The
  puts you as the commander of a German                                                            to stop the ship from sinking.                   still no games in progress that I could join.                                                  (135g) as well. It’s got some nice curves         while playing games and running Face-              lack of flash results in noisy pictures in dim
  U-Boat taking on the Allies in the Mediter-                                                           On the bright side, the developers did      Of course, I could start one myself, but                                                       though and sports cool icons on its top shell     book, along with a few loaded browser              surrounds. We found the camera button
  ranean and Atlantic Ocean.                                                                       a great job with the graphics, painting a        why would I want to do that?                                                                   that glow and appear only when you have           tabs. The liquid only started to lag when          rather hard to press, which sometimes
       As a newbie to the series, I was hoping                                                     realistic picture of your submarine interior                                                                                                    new messages or incoming calls.                   we were running seven applications si-             hindered us from taking quick snapshots.
  for some tutorials to get me up to speed                                                         and its crew. The audio effects are realistic,   veRDiCt                                                                                            Acer-specific features include a desk-        multaneously.                                           The Acer liquid’s considerable process-
  with the intricacies of submarine warfare.                                                       with a pulsating soundtrack when you             Unless you are an ardent fan of subma-                                                         top application that syncs the contacts                The capacitive touchscreen felt respon-       ing power and good battery life might at-
  However, all I had was one simple tutorial                                                       are in battle.                                   rine warfare, Silent Hunter 5: Battle of the                                                   and calendar in your phone with Microsoft         sive as we navigated through menus and             tract demanding users. It’s future-proof too,
  in which I sank three stationary merchants                                                            Although not the first to utilise a dig-    Atlantic is not a game that the                                                                Outlook. Photos and videos in the microSD         surfed the web, but lagged a little when           thanks to the upcoming software update.

                                                                                                                                                    average gamer will enjoy,
  ships and I was thrown into the deep end                                                         ital rights management engine, the game                                                                                                         card can also be synchronised with selected       playing fast-paced games that require quick             It comes up a little short, however, in
                                                                                                                                                    with its lack of tutorials,
  in a single-player campaign.                                                                     forces you to be continually logged on           steep learning curve, bugs                                                                     folders in your Pc. Just like any Android-        reflexes. The 3.5-inch display is gorgeous         the looks department as well as in differ-
       There are no tutorials on navigation,
  torpedo targeting on a moving ship and
                                                                                                   to Ubisoft’s Online Services Platform in
                                                                                                   order to play your saved games in the
                                                                                                                                                    and boring gameplay.
                                                                                                                                                    tRevoR tan
                                                                                                                                                                                       5                                                           based handset, integration with web-based
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   services from Google for video, mail and
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     — photos and videos look clear and vibrant.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     The speakers were too soft for our liking,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        entiating its software and usability from
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        the standard fare of Android-based smart-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   calendars are baked into the device.              though.                                            phones. may CHua

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