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Happy Friday – Nexus 7 Review

Finally Friday! I’m sure to my North American readers this was a short week (between Canada Day and Independence Day it made for a very short week in North America, I’m sure), but for me the week has dragged on, with every day since Tuesday feeling like Friday.

Nexus 7 Logo owned and copyright Google. From Google's site.

Nexus 7 Logo owned and copyright Google. From Google’s site.

Unfortunately, with such a slow week, I really haven’t had too much to post about (a trend that continues). So, I thought I’d write a quick review about one of my favourite gadgets (one I’ve mentioned in passing several times), my Google Nexus 7!

<TL;DR version>

Nexus 7 > iPad Mini. Great apps, free apps, independent apps, and side loadable apps. Upload your music to Google Play to access anywhere, anytime. Great visual quality, runs smoothly. No 3G on most models, but can be overcome with mobile WiFi devices (if you need to – normally lots of free WiFi available). No rear-facing camera (but you probably have a mobile in your pocket with a decent camera already). Definitely a recommended buy if you’re not an Apple person, and you should consider it anyways if you are.

</TL;DR version>

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Alcatel Y800 Mobile WiFi Review & Humble Bundle with Android 6 update

The Alcatel Y800 Mobile Wifi adapter available at EE. Image from EE's site

The Alcatel Y800 Mobile Wifi adapter available at EE.
Image from EE’s site

So, I’ve mentioned that I was getting an Alcatel Y800 Mobile WiFi adapter from EE (and said Liz had picked it up in my next post), so I thought I’d give it a short review.

Here it is: It’s great!

Okay… I should probably expand on that a bit. I’m really quite happy with it. Great connection quality pretty much all along my train journey between home and work (it drops down to 3G and 2G in 2 locations, but it really isn’t something I’d have noticed if I hadn’t been checking the device while I was going). I’ll admit that I haven’t done too much with it – there’s part of me that’s a little weary of reaching my data cap so I’ve been a little bit more cautious with it than I probably need to be, but I figure I’ll start cautiously and ramp up as I get a gauge of how long it’ll take me to reach 3GBs (and based on what I’ve seen so far, I can go nuts without concern).

As that last statement indicates, I’m on the 3GB plan for £15 a month. I can up my limit at any time should I choose to, or, after 1 year, I can drop it down to 1GB a month. If I hit my cap, the device simply stops (as opposed to letting me continue and charging me for over usage), which is quite nice – no need to constantly watch usage.

It’s light, small enough to put in your pocket, and has surprisingly long range – yesterday my wife and I were both connected to it while at the station. I decided to go to the far end of our platform to scan a portal in Ingress, and I was able to do so without Liz’s signal getting any weaker. It also has great transfer speeds (umm… I actually think it’s considerably faster than my home internet, tbh, but I have free, slower internet through work, that gets the job done, so I won’t complain).

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Weekend Recap: No Superman and EE’s Alcatel Y800 Mobile Wifi

Image from Wikipedia. This is a logo owned by DC Comics, Inc. A subsidiary of Time Warner (c)2008.

So, this weekend we had only one real plan – see the new Man of Steel movie at the cinemas in Staines. Seems like an easy task, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, the universe was conspiring against us… Firstly, engineering works were taking place on the trains – if we wanted to take the train, we’d have to go to Staines at 11am, and leave to come home just before 9pm. An annoyance, but not really a hardship, so that became the plan (go to Staines, have lunch, shop the open air market and some of the stores, go watch a 4pm showing of the movie, have supper, and then come home. No problem!).

Enter 8:30am and the alarm going off. An alarm that I seriously didn’t want to have going off. Neither did Liz, for that matter. After some quasi-linguistic grunting at each other, I think we determined that we should turn the alarm off and see what comes of it. Alarm off, back to blissful sleep.

10:30, out of bed, still talking about alternative methods of travelling into Staines. Open the blinds and see how completely miserable it looks outside. Raining, cold, dreary… Not really encouraging us to go stand outside while waiting for a bus, and then spending all that time on the bus, walking around Staines, and then either taking the bus or train back.

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Microsoft XboxOne update and Humble Bundle with Android 6

Xbox One

Xbox One. Image from BGR

Two main topics today: Microsoft’s apparent reversal on the XboxOne stance, and the Humble Bundle with Android 6.

Let’s start with Microsoft, shall we?

You can find a great article by Jason Schreier on Kotaku, but basically it boils down to the following:

  1. No 24 hour check-in requirements (only a one-time system activation will be needed)
  2. No limitations on disc based game sharing, trading, or re-selling (digital content cannot be shared, traded, or sold – so, just like any systems today)
  3. No online game activation required
  4. No online requirement for offline play, even for digital copies of games
  5. Games will be region free

Now obviously this is great news. If they could just drop the price to match the PS4, I would even be torn about which system to buy (first). This having been said (and I hate to sound like the guy who’s never happy), I kind of have to wonder how much of this was a marketing ploy… Yes, they got some bad publicity at the start, but it did get everyone talking about their system rather than other systems. Heck, a large part of Sony’s marketing ploy was aimed directly at countering everything ‘bad’ that Microsoft did, thus calling more attention to Microsoft’s system. And then, when they’re getting lots of hate and anger about their choices, they suddenly swoop in and make huge changes and come out saying ‘See! We listen to our valued customers’. Which then leads to a whole lot of people talking about the system and how great Microsoft is for making the change, and also leads to a lot of people (like me) writing about how it was all just a ploy to get our money. All of which is more (free) advertising and marketing.

Read the complete post here

PS4 vs Xbox One, anyone?

*UPDATE* – It seems Microsoft has done an about face on many of the points against the Xbox One listed below. Once you’ve read the post below, you may want to read this one which provides the changed information.

So… E3… There’s a lot of great coverage of E3 available out there. I won’t start running through every little thing about what’s been shown. In fact, due to time constraints, I’ll only mention the obvious slap-in-the-face that Sony pulled on Microsoft. Some of you may recall my negative reactions to the Xbox One presentation a little while back. My thoughts on the Xbox One haven’t changed much, unfortunately, and the extra details that Sony released on the PS4 really didn’t help Microsoft much:

  • PS4 has no restrictions on loaning, giving, and re-selling of games. I’m not too concerned about the loaning and giving personally (the rental industry is certainly on its way out, and I simply don’t have many local console gamer friends), but I do like my discounted pre-owned games (and I like the ability to buy them cheap on eBay if I can’t find them in stores).
    Read the complete post here
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