AuthorLorraine Hanson

Nintendo Wii U a More Detailed Look at the New Console

Now that the advertisements are on television and the games are being announced the Wii U is coming closer and gamers are getting excited. More hard core fans who look for its weaknesses, looking at its memory capabilities and decisions Nintendo have made, but it’s obvious that interest has been raised, especially with some of the upcoming titles.

With some unique exclusives such as Bayonetta 2, a title though long dead there are reasons for gamers to have a newfound interest in what the Wii U is capable of but Nintendo are falling into traps that are almost expected of them. Nintendo never appear to push hardware capabilities to the max, they tend to look to innovate, but at a time when Microsoft and Sony will be pushing for more processing power and better graphics can Nintendo survive on what could be just a gimmick? And a gimmick that Apple and Sony have already used too.

Build
To be cynical the Wii U looks and is shaped like an external drive you would find on a desktop PC, which is the same design as the Wii. I’m sure Nintendo would argue this is to make sure the machine fits nicely in the home without taking up too much space. This is of course the case and its rounded edges does give it that stylish look. The new touch screen control pad also looks good with its 6.2-inch display taking centre stage, with the controls to either side of it. Along with this controller there is also the “pro controller” that can be bought and used for the more action intensive games where the use of touch screen is not needed (or can be used by a second person).

It’s fair to say that the Wii U is not looking at a new design, but it does look better than its predecessor the Wii, especially with the more rounded edges. It will be interesting just how innovative games can be with the new controller, or will it just be a costly waste, we’ll have to get a chance to try out more games when we have the chance.

Controller
Nintendo have pushed a lot of the advertising into the controller itself, especially when they first showed it off at the announcements. Basically the new controller feels like a normal gamepad but with the touch screen in the middle. Noticeable changes have been made since first showings to improve the feel in the hand, changing the controls to be more like the PS3 and Xbox 360 rather than the original Nintendo 3DS feel. There is also a built in camera that can be used in game, one example is Mario Chase, a hide and seek style game that makes use of it.

One worry of course would be the weight of the unit itself, especially during long gaming sessions but at 500g this is not really going to be that much of an issue. The controller also fits in the hand quite nicely, but there may be issues with this for the younger player with smaller hands. As this is a family orientated games console of course the controller is made to take the rough and tumble of use so hopefully won’t break too easy. One interesting issue is that the touch screen itself is only single touch, not double like the iPad or PS Vita which is a step back in terms of usability.

The controller uses a MicroUSB recharger, with premium versions having a dockable cradle. On full recharge there is an average of about five hours of gameplay which should be more than enough. Charging can take up to about two and a half hours.

Features
The Wii U has been designed to be an entertainment system, not just gaming. It can be used as a universal television remote, but for the more social there is also the ability to chat, and the “Miiverse” social network gives the gamer the ability to connect with players all over the world. Add to that the internet browser, eShop for downloadable games, there is plenty to do. This can be done all through the controller too if required, freeing up the television for other uses.

All processing for the controller is done in the main unit itself, the controller is pretty much a dumb terminal and acts as the user interface to the make Wii U itself. You’ll only get one GamePad on purchase but the main unit can support two though there are no titles at the moment that can support this. One of the main issues and one that has been mentioned on social media like Twitter though is the storage space on the Wii U itself, this comes in 8GB or 32GB varieties (32GB being the premium pack) and for a modern console this seems fairly low, especially when games for the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 can take up huge amounts of space. It’s safe to say that Nintendo know what they are doing when the space is so low (right?) but it’s also possible to stick an external hard drive into the main unit if you want to boost the space up to a more reasonable size, it’s surprising though that it’s so low.

Games
One of the most important thing for gamers of course is the launch titles that are going to be available, here are some of them: Nintendo Land, ZombiU, FIFA 13, New Super Mario Bros U, Mass Effect 3 Special Edition and Trine 2 Director’s Cut. This is a fairly nice broad spectrum of games to start off with and I’m sure that Mass Effect 3 will be a huge title for fans (though quite a few will have already played it on other consoles). Football fans have also been kept happy with FIFA 13.

Verdict
It’s easy to be critical with the Wii U, it’s Nintendo up to its old trick of holding back on pushing the hardware and moving ahead with innovation instead. Touch screen is not as unique as the motion controllers were with the Wii, but they are also a popular interface right now, so fans will probably look at the new controller and be interested. It’s interesting though to see how the hard core gamers will react, many have a love for Nintendo and will most likely take an interest but they are easy to be unimpressed when things are not up to spec.

The fact is though if the Wii U can hold up against the current generation consoles AND survive when the next generation are released then it will stand a chance. Nintendo have to build up a strong fan base for the Wii U quickly before they are lost in the wake of the huge potential of next generation hardware.

Nokia Lumia 920

With each new Lumia upscale fate is the same old story. We say that it is “the smartphone of the last chance” for Nokia. This theme has nothing against a truth-both bad quarters are linked to the manufacturer. See it has all the advantages on his side with the release of the highly anticipated Nokia Lumia 920.

Nokia goes wrong. This sad fact has become a mantra for several years now. To look more closely, the manufacturer no longer enthusiastic crowds since the N95 8GB … in 2008. It has of course been out for several models of interest. But since that memorable smartphone, no further struck by the Finnish logo has managed to unite beyond the ranks of his unwavering fans.

Nokia has taken the bull by the horns in recent months with its Lumia range with smartphones rather attractive. But they had to deal with a number of limitations inherent in Windows Phone 7. Add to that a communication be catastrophic not far from when Microsoft announced Windows Phone 8 and said that the new OS is not compatible with smartphones already out, and you will understand that these devices are not as successful as hoped. Sales totaled millions of copies for each model, which is far from being ridiculous. But it’s still quite insufficient for a manufacturer of the caliber of Finland.

Nokia hopes to finally be able to reverse the Lumia 920 that we test here. To put the odds on his side, the manufacturer has not skimped on the technical details of a smartphone that does not really ashamed of the comparison with any high-end Android. Certainly, we do not find here chipset quadruple heart, but Windows Phone 7 already was doing well on one heart. For the release of Windows Phone 8, Nokia has passed double heart, giving her newborn Qualcomm MSM8960 chipset with a 1.5 GHz Snapdragon. This is supported by 1 GB of memory (RAM). IPS capacitive screen of 4.5 inches for its part offers a HD resolution of 1280 x 768 pixels and a coating Corning Gorilla Glass 2, anti shock and scratches. Capture photos and videos is assigned to an 8 megapixel sensor capable of shooting at a Full HD resolution (1920 x 1080 pixels).

Connectivity side, the device is at the top of the moment. It offers the usual course compatibility with 3G + Wi-Fi (n), Bluetooth (3.0) and GPS (A-GPS). But he is especially compatible with the Dual Carrier network (42.2 Mbps) and even 4G (LTE) French! Similarly, it also embeds an NFC chip. Finally, note that all fits in the dimensions of 130 x 70.8 x 10.7 mm with a total weight of 185 grams on the scale.

Package Contents

The package is provided in which the Nokia Lumia 920 is a bit stingy for a device as upscale. It includes:

• Battery 2100 mAh • A Wired Stereo Handsfree • microUSB cable • A charger • The quick start manual • A tool to extract the microSIM card

We do not formalize the lack of microSD memory card in this pack since it would not help much. The device is indeed no port to play such a card. But in return offers an internal memory of 32 GB

Design

Difficult to be in the least surprised by the appearance of the Nokia Lumia 920. The Finnish manufacturer “recycled” in effect once again design appeared for the first time with the N9 there is more than one year. Meanwhile, the Nokia Lumia 800 and Lumia 900 also sported the same design. The Lumia 920 is the fourth unit to offer. So much so for originality. However, even if it is not innovative, the look of the Lumia 920 is nonetheless very pleasant. Lines at the same time elegant and refined did not take a ride. They always consist of straight lines and great light recesses on the top and bottom ends. The back of the unit is slightly domed. We would have liked to see the same slightly curved front that we could find on the Lumia 800. But it will be “satisfied” with a flat facade as the 900.

The design is one of the strengths of the unit. Quality manufacturing side, we find again the same materials as before. It is plastic, but of such quality that nobody will blame Nokia for using this polycarbonate. The finishes are perfect, as well as assembly. Nothing to say so from that point of view. The dimensions of the device are quite substantial, but it is not really surprising since it incorporates all the same a display of 4.55 inches. Regarding the thickness, it is not the end of time, but its 10.7 mm are quite reasonable. Note however that the massive appearance of the unit may give the impression that it is thicker. Finally, it does not weigh less than 185 grams, making it a true heavyweight category. We will see in the next section, which focuses on ergonomics and handling if the weight is inconvenient to use. In all cases, this allows the machine to give an impression of rugged durability. Especially the quality of workmanship and finish are impeccable.

Finally, the slopes of the smartphone hide no particular surprise. The Lumia 920 with a design called “unibody”, it leaves no access to the battery. Map microSIM fits on the top of the apparatus in a small trolley provided for this purpose as the Lumia 800 and 900. Windows Phone forces, there is also a physical button on the right side to start capturing photos and videos. For the rest, all the buttons fall perfectly under the fingers.

Nook Simple Touch with Glowlight Bringing Some Light to the Halloween Night

As the Halloween night sets in and the ghouls and goblins are out in the streets what better way for the avid book reader to read but in a darkened room wrapped up in their blankets. For e-reader fans who want a simple e-reader that has backlighting and offers a different option that Amazon’s range of readers Barnes & Noble have their Nook Simple Touch with Glowlight.

This is just Nook is designed for the people who want one thing from their e-readers and that is a lighted view that allows them to read without having to have a light source exterior to the Nook itself. Recently released in the UK there are plenty of options for materials to read, from a choice of 2.5 million titles already (that includes magazines and newspapers). It’s light, cheap and has a bright screen, but does it have what it takes to go up against the Kindle and its new variety of readers?

Design
The Nook Simple Touch is fairly simplistic and square in its design. This means it’s not the most stylish e-reader on the market but it still is easy to hold, which of course is its main task. It’s also comfortable in the hand with its matte rubber finish, so won’t wear on the hand with constant use. The “Simple Touch” part of the name gives away that this version of the Nook is a touchscreen interface, with physical buttons kept to a minimum to save the space for the screen itself. There is a button for sleep mode though which will save the battery on the Glowlight. There are also two buttons to flip the pages if you want to use this method instead of the actual touch screen. The choice is yours.

Features
The specs for the Nook Simple Touch is 2GB of on board memory. 1GB of this is used to store the books with other space used for Barnes & Noble content. This gives you the ability to hold up to around 1,000 books easily. If more space is needed there is a Micro SD slot to expand storage capacity.

Screen

If you are going to be reading in the dark then the important question is how good is the Glowlight technology the Nook uses? The 6-inch screen is an E Ink Pearl Display which is designed to give the screen a “paper” look. The actual screen is not actually backlit though, rather lit from the front. The light levels for this are adjustable to fit your personal taste and need.

Verdict
With a battery life that spans months rather than hours (with constant use you’ll probably need to charge it every month) there is plenty of life in the Nook and as long as it has the titles that you want to read this is a reader that does stand up against the Kindle’s more basic varieties. It fits in your hand, it’s comfortable and well lit for the less well lit places you may be reading so by the look of it is perfect if you want a basic Nook with a little light on whatever subject you are reading.

NVIDIA Project SHIELD a Preview of the Android Gaming System with PC Game Streaming

Yesterday I took a look at the Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 tablet prototype which was an interesting gaming tablet, but the one that is raising most of the questions for gamers is NVidia’s Project SHIELD game system. Looking like a game controller with a five inch touch screen added on the top of it, NVIDIA promise a platform where Android games can be played and full scale PC games can be streamed to the games system and played through the use of shared processing with your computer. This is an interesting idea but also raises a lot of questions.

As tablets and other mobile systems look to steal some of the fire from consoles and PC gaming NVIDIA may be onto something unique with the idea of streaming to an Android tablet like this and it’s a concept that may just work. With questions though on processing power required from the PC and the pricing of the system itself there may be quite risky for the company and too expensive for the average gamer to consider.

Build

As I said in the introduction Project SHIELD as NVIDIA call it looks like a gamepad with a touch screen added on top. The gamepad itself looks reminiscent to the Dreamcast controller from the now long dead console but does feature everything that you would expect from a console, with added features such as speakers and a few extra buttons such as home and back buttons which are obviously for the Android touch screen.

The black colouring and nice design though does make SHIELD look good and it definitely will catch interest in that respect, but it’s questionable as to how comfortable the controller will feel in your hand, especially when you want to use the multi touch screen features as well. It may take some time to get used to the feel of it, but it does show some potential.

Features
Project SHIELD will come with the Jelly Bean variety of the Android Operating system and will be a fully working 5-inch tablet (other than 3G connectivity, this will be through Wi-Fi which will include connecting to your PC for streaming). This game system though portable in nature is probably designed to be used around the house, especially to play your PC games. The fact is though as well as Android games you’ll have the ability to download all kinds of apps onto the system itself. For games you’ll also be able to use the NVIDIA TegraZone to download games too.

Screen
At 5-inch the screen looks perfect for Android games and I’m sure there will be little issues. NVIDIA state it’s also multi-touch which is pretty standard with tablets such as this now. The problem I can see is with the PC game streaming. Games on the PC rely on big screens, rich textures and high resolutions to look good so it’s debatable whether they will really get a lot out of running on a small 5-inch screen. The idea of streaming the games is quite fun, and quite a gimmick but it’s questionable really if you would want to run a game like Skyrim on such a small screen, though it should be noted an HDMI socket is provided to connect to a TV but that defeats the purpose really. If the games themselves look good enough then this may be an interesting concept. It is fair to say that NVIDIA do know what they are doing when it comes to getting the most out of hardware graphically, and with their new Tegra 4 chip it will be interesting what they can pull out of it.

Performance
The power for Project SHIELD will come down to what the Tegra 4 chip can provide. This is a quad-core processor so will provide all the performance needed for the Android side of things. Graphically NVIDIA also state the GPU horsepower is six times that of the Tegra 3, so there is a lot promised from the new chip. Future reviews will of course be able to look at just how good the chip is, especially when it comes to streaming. It’s also interesting to note that to work alongside the chip the Android Operating System is unmodified which is fairly unique from manufacturers now.

The interesting part is the specs required for the PC you are wanting to stream your games from (which is its main selling point. System requirements at the time of writing (and are likely to change) are an Intel i5 or equivalent CPU, GTX 650 or 660M(Notebook) GPU as minimum, 4GB or RAM and Windows 7 or higher. A router will also be needed for the Wi-fi element of the system. This is a fairly powerful machine to have to stream from, so again questions are raised again.

Verdict
There are a lot of questions around Project SHIELD but there is also a lot to be excited about. The gaming system gives you all the best from Android gaming and also provides the capability to stream PC games and play them anywhere around your house. The question is though is there really a need for it?

Another big question will be what NVIDIA are looking to price the system at, which in ways could make or break the success of SHIELD. Gamers won’t want to pay more than they would for a console, and if the price comes anywhere near a cheap gaming PC it’s likely that many will be put off by this. This creates an argument that Project SHIELD would have to be fairly cheap or interest will vanish quite quickly, and in the end if it’s only streaming games from the PC do we really need that? When tablets are coming out that can power console quality games without the need to stream from a powerful PC will they be a more interesting route instead? Time will tell on this one, and it may be a fact that the Android gaming will dominate the gaming system anyway.

Oculus Rift – Will this New Technology Kickstart Virtual Reality?

Virtual reality as a means of gaming is something that has been tried a few times, and by quite a few big companies and one of the most notable of these was the Nintendo Virtual Boy. This may have had some potential but ended up being one of the biggest disasters that Nintendo ever attempted. Since those years little has really been seen of it, other than in old episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation with the Holodeck.

Back in the days when virtual reality was looked at, the graphics were pretty basic but the idea and the gameplay did prove that if the technology was there and people wanted to actually have a big headset on their heads? It was something that may actually happen. Now with processing power being able to create stunning graphics and the technology for flat screens improving all the time it looks like Virtual Reality may be back in the form of Oculus Rift, yet another creation funded through a Kickstarter campaign.

Technical Side
The examples that people have been shown shows (in this early phase) that the headset is still there, but not as bulky and definitely looking better. The actual gameplay comes through a small seven inch high resolution screens, combined with high-powered GPUs to power them. One thing to note of course is that it’s based on PC only compatibility at this time.

The most important thing for concepts like this is to get developers behind it, if there is nothing to play on the hardware then this is where the Oculus Rift will fail. The good news on this side of things is that not only developers but hardware specialists like Razer are helping, providing support from Hydra motion controllers, Leap Motion device (a portable hand sensor) and even an all-directional treadmill from Virtuix to make the experience immersive for the player (if they use all that hardware of course).

Games
What good would a virtual reality system be without games? Not much, and this is why even at this early stage demonstrations are being shown with fairly well known games. Doom 3, Unreal 3 and Hawken have been used to show how the technologies potential with first-person shooters though reports say that the games can be quite hard to control, though this will probably change when people get used to the technology. The number of games ready for the time Rift is released will no doubt be quite high, especially if games already on the market are updated to work with the new headset. Valve as an example of a big name in the gaming industry have already updated Team Fortress 2 to use the headset which means a potentially huge fan base could be caught just out of that sort of industry support.

Verdict
It’s hard to say how Virtual Reality as an interface will take off, especially when we don’t know the price. If there is a market out there though for this, then this is a step in the right direction for the technology. The future of gaming will be to make it a truly immersive experience for the player, and with the technology that is being incorporated to do this, it looks like the Oculus Rift is on the right track. In the initial stages motion sickness is still said to be an issue, but this is something that is to be expected at times. With a small headset though and excellent graphical quality, it does look like virtual reality has a future.

Online Advertising- A Profitable Means of Promotion!

Online Advertising can be in any form. A banner advertising campaign, a classified ad, a social networking ad, a PPC ad, email marketing etc. all these are categorized under advertising. Banner advertising is however the most commonly adopted means of online promotion among brand owners and advertisers. Online Advertising is considered a profitable means of promotion among small and big business owners. It is researched that online media is also the fastest means of reaching out to a wider target group. Following are a few more advantages of advertising.

An online advertising campaign is targeted in nature. One can easily reach out to those prospective customers through a single online ad campaign of a brand. The number of internet users has dramatically increased over the last few years. People surf internet for social networking with friends or for watching videos or simply to study or find out valuable information about places, people and of course brands and businesses. By placing an online ad, any brand owner can easily reach out to those internet users among which many prospective customers could also be included. A random online ad campaign can even reach out to many customers who surf the site where the ad is displayed.

Any advertising campaign provides two-way communication flow between brand owners and customers. Most of the online ads provide contact details or website link or address of the brand where interested customers can contact and seek any detail.

Unlike television commercials, an online ad is more interactive. These days the social networking norm among brand owners is quite in vogue. Brands that have social networking accounts continuously communicate with their target groups. Besides bridging the communication gap, customers find it more accountable to check out a brand on a social networking site and follow it for any update or offer.

Evaluating all the benefits of online advertising, it can be well summed up that online media is indeed a profitable means of promotion.

Fastest means of brand communication Internet is the fastest means of communication among people across the world. Internet is also the easiest and fastest means of communication between brand owners and prospective customers. For example, a brand promotion campaign launched few minutes back can be accessible for various customers within minutes. Also with customers’ heavy reliability on internet media, online advertising is the best branding solution for any brand, service or business.

Many business owners have benefitted from various online advertising campaigns. If you want to join their league, start adopting the various internet advertising means. Good luck!

Open the iPhone?

My friend William Hurley (whurley to most) has a post up on his blog about opening up the iPhone. This has proven to be predictably polarizing as is often the case when opinions regarding Apple or Open Source are voiced, for reasons I can’t say I fully understand. Don’t worry, it’s a harmless robot, see? I do think the the topic is an interesting one, though. It seems inevitable that Google’s Android, being open source, will propagate to a wide variety of devices from various manufacturers that will function on many different carriers’ networks. This broader market penetration will back Apple into a corner and force them to open the iPhone platform to some degree.

The interesting aspects to watch are Apple’s choices about timing and methodology. Will they pre-emptively open up or dig into their proprietary position, only to be dislodged when there’s no other alternative? What aspect of their platform will they open — will it be possible to buy applications from alternative publishers, or for unlocked iPhones to be sold legally, or will they actually open source aspects of the phone’s software stack, hoping to extend the ecosystem to other devices? jailhouse rock

Given Apple’s seeming preference for maximum control, the most likely path is one of very conservative moves made incrementally, each one spun as radical steps towards openness. A surprise announcement about DRM, for example, or additional carriers licensed to sell the iPhone. Still, Jobs has proven himself capable of springing genuine surprises on the market before, so anything is possible.

What seems certain is that mobile computing is truly beginning to come of age. The App Store, with 10,000 applications and 300 million downloads, is undeniably a breakthrough. Achieving what no wireless carrier or handset manufacturer could accomplish before, Apple has opened the door to a new era where a mobile client is becoming a standard feature of every up and coming new Internet application.

That’s openness from which we all benefit.

Optimus Black, First android phone LG has a front camera 2 MP in the World

The black nuance was covering the launch of first android phone LG who came out fourth in Indonesia, LG Optimus Black, in the morning on Mei 25, 2011 at the Hotel Aston Kuningan Suite.

First android phone LG has a front camera 2 MP

Previous LG Mobile Indonesia has presented Optimus One which the first phone to use Froyo in Indonesia, LG Optimus Me android phones at affordable prices, and first android phone LG has dual-core mobile in the world.

LG Mobile in Indonesia introduced first android phone LG which using the NOVA display. This technology presents an optimal brightness of 700 units, so that users can read in bright or outdoor atmosphere.

The first android phone LG at this time has a sleek shape and lightweight, only 9.2 mm and 109g. LG Optimus Black is normal priced 4 million rupiah. But, special for HSBC credit card holders became 2, 999 million rupiah with 0% installment for 6 months. There was also a special price 3, 499 million rupiah during the exhibition at the Mall Kelapa Gading which took place on 28-29 May 2011.

In addition, the display on the LG Optimus NOVA Black P970, the first android phone LG is circulating in Indonesia also has another advantage, namely the front 2MP camera. Chief Marketing Manager of LG Mobile Indonesia was claiming that LG is the world’s first Android phone that has a front camera 2MP.

The first android phone LG is back of the camera and the facility itself has a 5MP autofocus, timer, white balance and macro mode. Similarly, a video recorder produces high definition images are very clear too smooth.

Ouya – Are Open Source Consoles the Way of the Future?

The Ouya Android console is arguably one of the success stories from Kickstarter, raising more than $8 million dollars for the project and making sure that the console would be made. With that level of backing it showed that there was an interest in a console that could be made cheaply and use a lightweight operating system to power the games.

Journalists and backers were given a preview at the GDC this week of the console, and although it’s arguably early days in terms of the impact it will have the overall impact seems to be positive. Looking at the experiences of the people who saw the demo and were able to try the console it’s possible to gleam some information about what we can expect.

Console and Controller
The console itself look quite simplistic, but this was already known from the images that have already been shown. The controller that comes with the Ouya is obviously shaped in the same veign as the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 design which is a wise decision as this is a design that is known to work. The dual controls and button placing all look to fit what we are used to so as long as the games play well, there is no obvious reason why the controller should hold gamers back. Although small in design the Ouya has to perform well to catch the gamer’s eye.

Features & Hardware
The Ouya will be powered by Google’s Android 4.1 Jellybean which is the latest operating system, so is another plus. The menu system for the Ouya appears at this time to be quite simplistic but in a way this can actually work in its favour. The more intuitive the interface is to use, the easier gamer will adapt to it and accept it as a gaming console.

In terms of connections the box itself has an Ethernet port, though Wi-fi is built in. HDMI is available for the connection to the TV with micro-USB and USB ports available to copy files onto the box. This is obviously for use for developers who will be testing their software on it. A menu option called “Make” also provides the teasing chance that amateur programmers can write their own games and test them on the machine, this is obviously something that will provide an edge for hobbyists. With USB confirmed to allow for external storage, this also means the machine can be upgraded.

The actual power behind the Ouya is the Nvidia Tegra 3 chipset which is powerful enough for most Android gaming, to put it into context with smartphones and tablets this is the chipset you’ll find in the Nexus 7. This is obviously a good sign, but when it comes to consoles will hardly compete with the bigger names and the next generation consoles, but that is hardly the point. The Ouya is not designed to do that, but more aimed at the more casual gamer, or as previously noted the hobbyist developer maybe.

Games
Not much can be said about the games really at this point because there is not much information about what will be available. As with all consoles this is something that can make or break the initial spending spree from gamine (use the Wii u as an example here) but with a release date in June this is something that will obviously be worked on during the build up to the release.

Verdict
With the possibility of media streaming and a few hidden extras still to come the Ouya does seem like a good console, for what it’s aiming to provide. More hard-core gamers will no doubt be more hesitant when considering it as something for them, but maybe they can be won over? The fact is the Ouya needs one of those special titles that will pull them in and make them consider paying the reasonable $99 price tag. As one of the first consoles of its kind though it’s always interesting to see what is possible. It’s too soon to really give a verdict on the console and time will obviously tell, for now though I think the Ouya has still done enough to keep people interested.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-3D1 Taking Pictures and Recording Video in 3D

3D seems to be the buzzword for entertainment now, in the home and in the movie theatre. There are plenty of ways to watch and enjoy it but when it comes to creating 3D media there is not much available to the home consumer. This is where products like the Panasonic Lumix DMC-3D1 come in.

The DMC-3D1 is a camera that can provide a true stereoscopic image by the use of its two lenses, and sensors that it uses when taking pictures and recording video. This is fairly new in cameras as most like the Sony Cyber-shot and Olympus cameras use software to create a 3D effect. Of course the use of hardware like this in theory should be superior, although a pricey option.

Controls
Easy to turn the on the DMC-3D1 is ready to be used as soon as you slide down the lens cover from the dual lenses. It seems to be designed to make taking pictures as easy as possible for the user. It’s possible switch between 2D mode and 3D, which offers two type of file. 3D files are saved as MPO files, while 2D is the normal JPEG which is more standard.

Each lens has a 4x optical zoom and although the two lenses are designed for 3D imagery it is possible to use one lens for a wide shot and the other to zoom on an object within the shot. This could over complicate the function for the user but it’s still a nice option for some complicated shots, with an added unique look. The images are treated as two separate images by the camera meaning on the screen on the back of the camera you can either view the wide shot or look at the smaller image the other lens has focused on.

Screen
The DMC-3D1 is a compact camera that easily fits in your pocket but the screen itself does not suffer because of this. Coming in at 3.5-inch the touch panel has a 460l-dot resolution LCD screen. This means there is no need for psychical buttons on the rear of the camera meaning less space is stolen from the screen itself. The screen is one weakness in the DMC-3D1 camera though if you compare it to the Fuji-W3 which is another 3D camera. That camera comes with a screen that is able to represent what the 3D image will look like, the DMC-3D1 can only achieve a 2D picture, which is of course disappointing.

Image Quality
The DMC-3D1 is a camera that not only offers 3D still shots but also video. It records the video at 25fps in HD (in either 2D or 3D) and offers two file formats of AVCHD or MPEG4 compression. When recording in 3D the user has to think more about the shots they are trying to take. 3D tends to flesh out the picture more and of course there will be more focus on the objects that are closer to the camera than further away, this is the nature of 3D photography. If you organise your shot so that there is just as much to focus at in the background than in the foreground (closer to the camera) this actually makes the camera work better and you get to feel the 3D more.

The 4X zoom is available during recording video clips which is very useful, especially for 3D. Though there is some loss of definition the wider the shot is recorded. Even though there are extra sensor settings to handle low light shooting it was also found that the performance is not as good as promised, providing quality similar to lower budget cameras.

Verdict
The DMC-3D1 offers around 200 2D shots or 150 3D shots on full battery charge so although not spectacular is adequate for normal use, there is not too much battery drain when using the extra features. To say this is a compact camera it does feature plenty of functionality in the slim packaging and this is one way it beats the Fuji-W3 which although being a superior 3D camera is far bulkier and far less compact.

The 3.5-inch LCD screen is a big selling factor though and is definitely easy to use but it is a shame that trying to use the 2 lenses for 2D shots can be quite confusing at times. This camera is perfect for the “early adopters” of the 3D world and shows that there is true potential in cameras like this; it will be interesting to see what other companies come up with in the future.

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