Pokemon Go -Niantics Secret Weapon!

4 07 2016

So, after a lengthy hiatus, what a better way to return than a piece on Pokemon Go, Niantic’s new game.

After what would seem a reasonable success to some, Niantic’s second game is unsurprisingly far more hyped than its little brother Ingress.

After an on again, off again relationship with Google, Niantic now stands alone again, having once been part of Googles wider family.

Ingress was rolled out in 2012 in beta form, invite only, with fairly few users, but a very active community. Having obtained an invite in 2013, I’ve had Ingress for a while, and whilst the concept and exclusivity factor made it pretty cool to dabble around in, it never gripped me quite like it has with some.


People now holiday together playing Ingress, specifically trying to capture portals based on real life locations, with large events organised by Niantic on a fairly regular basis.

After struggling to get on with Ingress, but seeing its huge potential, I am hugely excited for Pokemon Go.

Pokemon Go is a location based game, based on the Pokemon series which needs no introduction, with its multi-million game sales on the Gameboy, and DS, and is all about trying to catch as many Pokemon as you can, battling your way to the top !



The screenshots that have been revealed so far, show two different modes, AR & VR, both performing pretty well to engross the user in the overall experience.

Some early testers have complained about the Pokemon appearing to hover over the ground, not blending seamlessly into the background, but what can you expect in an early access beta ?

The game carries over some of the features we loved from the Gameboy games, battling opponents, challenging gyms, and collecting items from specific places (pokestops in the game).

The gym aspect is pretty cool, similar to a portal in Ingress, which can be defended by leaving a Pokemon of your choosing for opponents to battle, much like the resonator equivalent in Ingress. This brings it to life a whole lot more, and makes you think twice about which of your precious Pokemon you leave behind !!

Pokemon Go Screenshots

It is also understood a great deal of the testing that has been carried out this year by beta testers has been around the algorithms which dictate which Pokemon appear where. These are thought to be reasonably intelligent, with water Pokemon appearing near the water, grass near patches of grass and such like ! This element will be particularly interesting, but sadly Australia may be a long way to go to capture a Kangaskhan!


It is understood that there will be an in game purchase capability in the app, unsurprising, but I hope that the game isn’t dictated by this, ruining it for anybody who doesn’t want to splash their cash on it. These purchases are thought to be for items such as pokeballs, potions, revives etc, all of which are thought to be able to be obtained via normal play via pokestops, so if you have a pokestop nearby.. you may be in luck ! The locations of these pokestops are also thought to follow a similar format to portals in ingress, being located at key locations in an area !


As well as in app purchases, there is a physical piece of hardware available for use with Pokemon Go, the Pokemon Go Plus. This is a small device that can be worn as a wrist band, or clipped onto a piece of clothing, the idea of this, is to prevent you having to be glued to your phone, thus being able to enjoy your natural environment when you want, whilst still being able to respond to crucial events in the game such as throwing a Pokeball. This was a bit of an issue for me with Niantic, not wanting to kill the phones battery, or walk down a busy street with your head in your phone!

Pokemon Go Plus

The game its self, could be very poor, but will undoubtably get a tonne of support due to the underlying support of Pokemon.

The firm release date is still to be announced, but Niantic & Pokemon have said this will be in July 2016, with the Pokemon Go Plus pre-orders (Now sold out) being delivered in late July.

No doubt there will be a further update once the game has launched and my Pokemon Go Plus has been delivered, but for the time being, I’ll keep my eyes peeled until a launch date is officially released !

Jumper Card Review

8 02 2014

So recently, I was sent the Jumper Card to review, and was really excited to get my hands on it after reading about it on Indiegogo.

This is a credit card sized device, that can be used to charge your smartphone or tablet, transfer files, or do anything your existing charging cable can do.

This has recently launched on Indiegogo, and you can fund this project using this link – http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/jumper-card-emergency-battery-charger

The product is around the same size as a credit card although slightly more chunky, and fits extremely well into uour pocket or wallet.Image

It is coated in a really nice rubberised material, and is extremely light despite its thickness. It feels tough, and is made to military spec, so you can be sure that it will last.

The device can be charged using the USB port and has the capacity to hold 480mAh of battery, this is enough to get around an hour of use, and can be re-charged again and again, unlike a lot of other products similar to this which can be limited in this area.

It comes with a micro USB socket, lightning socket, and the older traditional apple fitting. This means you can charge most android phones, digital cameras & other accessories as well as the entire apple range. It doesn’t take long to fully charge the jumper card, and this gives you a decent amount of battery on your device depending on the size of the battery, as obviously this will charge iPhones considerably more than iPads etc due to the size of the internal battery varying massively on device to device.


Now, on charging my phone specifically (HTC One) I was prompted with a message advising that fast-charge was no longer enabled and that the device would charge considerably slower than by using an HTC official charger. This was the case, but the phone still charged well, and also worked really well on my iPhone and iPad. The product also comes with a built in LED light which indicates when it is finished charging and has inbuilt overcharge protection. The product is activated by a simple slider on the side, which can also be used to turn on a bright LED flashlight which is always handy !

At $25, it is an extremely cheap emergency charging option, and can also be plugged into a USB Car lighter adapter which is great for keeping it charged on the way to work or anywhere else.I have been using this thoroughly for around 2 weeks now, and the device still feels as good as it originally did, and I haven’t encountered any problems with it at all and would highly recommend this to anybody who uses their phone as much as I do, and constantly encounters problems with the capacity of modern day batteries !

Slickwraps iPhone 5 ‘The Case’

29 09 2013


So, thanks to the guys at Slickwraps I’ve had the opportunity to review their new ‘case’ for the iPhone 5. The guys over at Slickwraps have been making wraps for a barrel load of devices for quite some time to massive success, and this is their most recent wrap that incorporates a hard case as well.



I’ve tried a lot of different wraps, with varying degrees of success, but this wrap has been by far the easiest to apply of the lot.

Over on the http://www.slickwraps.com website you get a personalised installation video tailored to your device, and in the pack you get an HD screen protector and a great quality microfiber cloth. The HD Screen protector is washable which is great if like me, your terrible at applying them ! This makes installation a lot easier, and personally I find a wet installation easiest with these.

The case obviously eliminates half of the wrap meaning you only need to wrap the front and minimal gaps on the front and side. My wrap was an orange carbon fibre effect which looked really great once the installation was complete. The only point I changed was the home button, as I feel the device looked better with this left off. This is also something that you can buy different variants of, with interchangeable home buttons available on the website. The feel of this is great, and feels stable and not flimsy, which is weird for a wrap, but it feels of a good quality. The colour is also very bright, and although this option won’t suit everybody, it will definitely stand out in comparison to most !

This has only been on for a few days now, so I’m not well placed to speak about its durability or how long it will last but it feels great so far and due to the exact specifications of the wrap and sizes it fits perfect meaning there is no overhang that has the opportunity to catch in your pocket or just from general usage. This was one of the biggest downfalls of all of the other wraps I’ve used, as well as feeling really thin and tacky which this does not.

The wraps also come in wood, leather, metal and glow effects with lots of different available options even including cork and a fantastic design your own case option, the iPhone 5 variants shown on the link below.


Below are a number of pictures of the installation both pre and post. Slickwraps are available on their website www.slickwraps.com

Installation of these type of products is usually difficult but the wrap was extremely easy, and feels like it is built to last.

I would definitely recommend this for any number of devices, and will be purchasing another for my HTC One shortly.

photo image image image image image image image

PS4, Sony’s way back to the top ? or is the Xbox One the way to go ?

22 06 2013

So, the PS3 wasn’t exactly a flop, but Sony certainly did not win the last generation of console wars. Previously the Playstation 2 and Playstation One had a big lead over most of their competitors with the PS2 being  a stable in most households.

PS4 vs Xbox One composite

The Playstation 4 is looking to regain the console crown, and when first released, was hyped as doing just that. With Microsofts stance on DRM ( Digital Rights Management ) Sony was flying in front in terms of pre-orders, but now that Microsoft has had a complete re-think in terms of DRM, will this hamper the PS4?

PlayStation 4 Dual Shock 4 controller

The answer is undoubtably yes, not a lot of people would pay extra money for the Xbox which retails more than the PS4, for a device they can not swap games with friends on, or trade in etc. But now with the massive stance change, a lot of people will be staying with their beloved Xbox.

This site gives a great comparison in terms of specs


The specs are very close, with both devices running 1.8 GHz of processing power, but the PS4 does have a distinct advantage in terms of having 50% more CU’s(Compute Units) than the Xbox One meaning again the PS4 may have its head in front in the Graphics war, which to be fair it mostly always has had ..


Now, I’ve went from N64 to PS2 to Wii to PS3 to Xbox 360, so to be fair.. I’ve experienced a few different consoles, and to say I have a preference is null and void. I’ll be choosing my next console on a couple of different factors, Price, sheer power, and the quality of the games it will possess. The games for the PS3 were great, mines just reached the end of its lifespan, and the individual games for Xbox were also great .. but which one will have the next stand out ?

The Xbox has already shown games off like Metal Gear Solid, and Forza, with the PS4 showcasing The Order and Infamous amongst many others.

Both devices look like massive improvements on the current in terms of game performance, which ultimately is what most gamers are looking for. The additional features are features to seal the deal, but ask most gamers what they would prefer, great extra features or a good solid device and you will likely only get one answer.

My money isn’t down on any of the Devices yet, when Microsoft retracted the DRM policy to allow traded games etc, my money quickly came off of the PS4, and I shall await further revelations in the console battle !

No more games for Wii U says EA

23 05 2013

So, as the heat of the biggest console war of the last 10 years heats up ! The flame is slowly put out on the hopes of Nintendo.

The Wii U was never really built up by many gamers, but Nintendo placed a lot of hope of it saving there position in the console world, but instead.. has more or less sealed the end and saw them again receive the wooden spoon with Nintendo being about .5 million consoles behind where they had forecast to be by this point.

EA have announced that they will be making no new titles for the Wii U. Although this only 1 game maker, it is a pretty substantial blow for Nintendo. EA have made games like Need for Speed and Mass Effect for the Wii U, and many will be disappointed to see the company pull out of the console altogether !

Wireless Touch Speaker Review

23 05 2013

The Wireless Touch Speaker by Thumbs Up is a product sold by The Great Gift Company UK.


The product retails for £30, and is pretty competitively priced in the market with a great deal of competition seen online, as well as any local music stores/HMV etc.

These sort of devices have came out in barrel loads over the past number of years, with sizes decreasing and more increasingly clever ways of making them portable and wireless.

The thing that interested me most about this speaker was the fact that it did not connect to the device it was amplifying by any cables or Bluetooth. I’ve reviewed an amplifying solution that did this before, but never to the extent of this device. It works by claiming to use ‘Near Field Audio’ technology. This means that the device does not connect to the phone or mp3 player, and simply if the device is placed on top then the music is amplified using the inbuilt speakers with the volume being controlled by your device as you usually would.

There is also an option to plug your device into the speaker with a Headphone jack on the device, and also an option to plug into DC if you don’t want to use the 3 AA batteries required to use on the go.

The amplification is massive, I was astounded as to how loud it was at first. Due to the wireless nature, I had expected to be let down, but I wasn’t in the slightest. The volume can fill a room easily, and for £30 it is a pretty good purchase. The device feels well made, it is simply designed to look at, and includes a rubber band to hold your device to the speaker if you are using this on the move.

Discovering a flaw with the NFA technology, the amplification only works when the speaker is directly on top of a certain place on the device. As you can see in the videos posted, If the iPod is turned 180 degrees, no amplification is achieved. This was discovered completely by accident, but I am assuming this is to do with the technology it uses. This could potentially be an issue with centrally located speakers, and I’d also be curious to see how this would work with devices such as the HTC One with front facing speakers.

Coming up to Father’s Day, www.thegreatgiftcompany.com has lots of great items that anybody would be thankful for and reasonably priced. If your looking for something unusual or unique, I’d recommend giving this website a look, especially if your stuck for ideas as there is a lot of items that will spark anybody’s imagination !

TDK ST700 Over-Ear Headhones review

6 01 2013

The ST700’s by TDK come in at an RRP of £129, but can be bought for cheaper than this in most places ranging from £70-90.



The headphones are extremely comfortable, they grip but not too tight and the ear cups fit well over/on the ears to give some great noise cancellation.

The wire is attached to both ears and isn’t removable, it feels like it will last well but this could potentially cause an issue if this breaks, where as similar headphones this can be replaced if the wire is detachable.

The sound off of them is great, they are round about £60 cheaper than Beats Solo HD, but definately do not sound it. There is no distortion even at full volume, and they have a great vibrant bass filled sound. Many have wrote the sound of these exceed the Solo headphones but I’m reserving judgement giving it an ‘each to their own’. These are some great headphones and if you cant spare the extra money for Beats, I’d wholeheartedly recommend them.




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