Reviews

The other day we mentioned that Zubie had released their mobile app to the Windows Phone Store. What is Zubie you ask? Zubie is a plug-in module for your vehicle that will locate your vehicle, log its movements, and monitor critical engine components.

The module will transmit all this information to your Zubie account where you can check in on things through a website portal or the Zubie Windows Phone app. The app is free, but the module runs about $100 and comes with a year's service. The service sparked our curiosity and after using Zubie for the past week, it comes across as a useful tool for those looking to monitor their vehicles closer.

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If you have ever had the need to mark-up or add notes to a photo, you should take a look at Photo Marker for Windows Phone. It is a simple way to write on your photos, save them for future use or share them as needed.

Photo Marker makes it easy to jot down a measurement, emphasize a portion of a photo or even highlight a portion of a map screenshot or document that you've scanned. Photo Marker may not be an app you use daily but it comes across as a handy Windows Phone photography app worth having around.

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There are plenty of quality cooking apps available in the Windows Phone Store and Yummly Recipes Lite is one of the more recent additions that hopes to catch your eye. Yummly Recipes Lite is a recipe search engine and digital recipe box. It combs the top recipe sites for just the right dish and allows you to create collections; much like your Grandmother would do with recipe clippings from magazines that she'd keep in a tin recipe box.

Recipes can be organizes, shared and Yummly Recipes Lite will also let you set up taste preferences so you only get the recipes that match your tastes. Navigation isn't the smoothest but after using Yummly Recipes Lite for a few days, it makes a nice impression and worth trying if you're looking for a Windows Phone recipe app.

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Running with Santa 2 is a lighthearted endless runner game where you have to help Santa save Christmas. The game has you running Santa ragged around the village, through caves and other venues to collect all the presents that have been scattered about.

The game includes plenty of power-ups and a handful of characters to choose from that include a snowboard Santa, an elf and your traditional Santa figure. Available for low-memory Windows Phone, Running with Santa 2 comes across as a decent game well suited for your Windows Phone Kid's Corner or even your main gaming library.

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Frost Free joined the ranks of the many Windows Phone weather apps available in the Store earlier this Fall and we've gotten a few tips from readers on how they are enjoying the app. Frost Free has a clean looking appearance, covers a fair amount of weather information and boasts that it covers more than 8,000,000 global locations.

The layout does take a little time to get used to but does have the ability to track the weather forecast of set locations and your current location. I cannot say that Frost Free is a terrible weather app for your Windows Phone and have to agree with the tipsters that Frost Free has a bit of appeal to it. However, it may struggle to stand out from a very crowded field of Windows Phone apps.

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Don't Hit the Spikes is an arcade game for Windows Phones and Windows 8 devices where you are tasked with moving a game piece around and avoid hitting the spikes and other dangers that are drifting around the gaming screen.

Graphics are minimal, game play challenging and Don't Hit the Spikes has two gaming modes to keep things interesting. You also have unlockable characters and the game is available for low-memory Windows Phones. Don't Hit the Spikes makes a nice first impression and comes across as a nice gaming title to help you pass the time.

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4 Icons 1 Word, a picture puzzle game for Windows Phone

4 Icons 1 Word is a casual picture puzzle game in the Windows Phone Store that, as you would guess, presents you with four icons and you have to guess the correct word all four have in common.

Available for low-memory Windows Phones the game isn't very taxing but has its fair share of challenging puzzles to solve. 4 Icons 1 Word is one of those games you might enjoy picking up from time to time when you are in the mood for a casual game or (for those with children) possibly a gaming title to have in your Kid's Corner.

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Snowboard Party is a well drawn up sports game for Windows Phone and Windows 8 devices that puts you on the slopes trying to master the art of snowboarding. The game has over 75 level objectives, 15 gaming achievements and three different course to run. Graphics and animations are well done and those mid-air tricks aren't as easy as you would think.

Add plenty of gear to upgrade, 15 courses based in the Rockies, Alps and in Japan, and multiplayer competition and Snowboard Party can make a very nice first impression. Available for low-memory Windows Phones and Windows 8 devices, if you are looking for an entertaining winter sports game, you'll want to give Snowboard Party some thought.

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Save the Day with the Windows Phone game Hand of God

Hand of God is a fast pace, time waster of a game for Windows Phone where you must save people from an erupting volcano and the havoc it is creating.

Game play with Hand of God are simple and straightforward with the pace of the game creating most of the challenge. The game is available for low-memory Windows Phones and features two gaming modes to keep things from growing stale too quickly. First impressions are good with Hand of God and it could be a fun game to pass short bits of time with.

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The versatility of the Surface Pro 3 is one of its strongest assets. And I not just talking about its functionality. I am also referring to its aesthetic versatility. The Surface has the ability to look at home in an art studio or an art gallery, a living room or a board room.

A big part of what image it gives off is the accessories that accompany it. The Exact Express Envelope sleeve case for the Surface Pro 3 is a plain and simple sleeve for business professionals.

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Last week we broke the news that Gameloft would be updating Order & Chaos Online for Windows Phone at long last. In the same story, I mentioned that the publisher also has plans to update some of its non-Xbox titles to include Xbox features. We named Asphalt Overdrive as one game that will be switching to Xbox-enabled, but also promised there would be more.

Today the first game in the "more" category has become an Xbox Windows Phone title: World at Arms! A military-themed city building game with a strong player-versus-player focus, World at Arms is even more enjoyable with Xbox Achievements. It's free to play and compatible with 512 MB RAM devices, to boot. Read on for our detailed impressions of the newly-enhanced game.

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2 Cars is a fast paced Windows Phone game that could drive you a little crazy. It's a racing game where you have to control two cars at the same time collecting certain targets and avoiding others.

Controls are simple, game play plenty challenging and 2 Cars does have a slight addictive quality. We were tipped by several readers about 2 Cars and after tinkering with the game for the past few days, it comes across as a decent time waster of a game for Windows Phone.

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Accessory Review: 180s Headphone Ear Warmers

It's that time of year again, when the warmth fades from the air and the landscape turns to a barren white wasteland. Okay, we don't get so much snow in Texas. But even here you can walk around without fear of spontaneous combustion, so we're all in the holiday mood.

When you're out and about in the cold, your normal headphones likely won't do much to protect your ears from the elements. Lucky for tech enthusiasts, a company called 180s has products that will keep your ears both warm and entertained. 180s makes Bluetooth ear warmers (ear muffs) and several styles of wired ear warmers. Having used a couple of pairs over the last few weeks, it has become tough to brave the falling temperatures without them.

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Xbox One TV Tuner review

Besides gaming, the Xbox One is pretty handy as an all-in-one home entertainment tool. Oneguide and the overall integration with your cable box is certainly impressive, but the key item is the cable box. If you're using free-to-air TV, there hasn't been any integration at all.

Until now.

For selected markets in Europe there's now this, the Xbox One TV Tuner and for all intents and purposes it's designed to provide the same exact experience as plugging your cable box into your console. Only without the cable box.

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Kaboom Monsters is a strategy, card battling, adventure game where you travel the lands in search of a dark wizard who has cursed your village. In between you and the dark wizard is countless hordes of monsters that are intent on ruining your day. You'll have to work your way through twenty-five levels of play, strategically taking over the game board with each level.

Available for Windows Phone (including the low-memory models) and Windows 8 devices, Kaboom has three card clans to choose from with plenty of opportunities to upgrade and enhance your cards. Kaboom Monsters has a slightly casual game pace that has its fair share of challenges. Graphics are nicely drawn up and Kaboom Monsters comes across as an entertaining addition to the Windows Phone and Windows 8 gaming library.

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If you like simple, fast paced racing games with quality graphics and exciting game play you will need to take a look at the Windows Phone game Perfect Shift.

The game includes multiple racing modes and over 25 customizable street racers. Gaming environments range from deserted city streets to abandoned tunnels. Timing is key and if you miss a shift by the slightest, it could cost you the race.

Perfect Shift is a fantastic racing title to add to your Windows Phone gaming library. It is a game well suited for when you have just a few minutes to waste or are looking to sit down and enjoy the game for longer.

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Review: Inateck Bluetooth 3.0 ultra slim keyboard

Usually, when you think of wireless keyboards, names like Microsoft and Logitech come to mind, as they have long been the standard bearers of such devices. However, one name that may not be familiar to you that deserves a look is Inateck. They have put out an ultra slim Bluetooth 3.0 keyboard that warrants your consideration.

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If you are tired of the same old same old with endless runner games, take a look at the Windows Phone game Octagon. It is minimal in design but by no means is the game without challenge.

You are tasked with guiding a ball down an 8 sided tunnel full of holes, gaps and obstacles to avoid. The game comes with two gaming modes, is available for low-memory Windows Phones and after playing Octagon for the past few days, it comes across as a fun time waster of a game.

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Tablet sleeves are a dime a dozen, and most of the ones you come across are pretty similar to each other. You know the ones I am talking about; the familiar zipper-top neoprene bag that may or may not have a side pocket. There's nothing wrong with them. In fact, I use one myself for my Surface Pro 3. They dutifully do their job, eliciting neither fanfare nor disappointment.

Inateck (www.inateck.com) set out to veer from the norm with their Felt Surface sleeve.

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Punfound joins the Windows Phone word game ranks

Punfound is a relatively new Windows Phone word game that has you filling in the blanks and completing a series of puns. For example, you are given a picture of a briefcase and you have to complete the pun "Just in …"

Some of the puns are humorous, some a little obscure and others you have to scratch your head to figure out. The game, which is available for low-memory Windows Phones, contains over 300 pun puzzles to solve with more puns available through in-app purchase. Punfound has had a decent level of success on Android and iOS devices and hopes some of that success carries over to our platform. The game has potential and has its fair share of challenges, but Punfound may end up being more of an acquired taste than an across the board hit.

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Sketchable is a feature rich drawing app for Windows 8 that will let you tap into your creative juices. It approaches things in journal fashion with pages you can fill with doodles, detailed sketches enhance photographs and more.

Sketchable provides layers and PSD export support along with a host of drawing tools and a custom color palette. The app was recently updated to version 2.0 with a host of improvements and while my talent at drawing leaves a lot to be desired, Sketchable should be very appeal to those with a talent or knack for sketches.

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A couple of months ago, we reported on a unique accessory from Console Tuner that allows gamers to play any of the four big systems ( Xbox One and 360, Playstation 3 and 4) with controllers designed for other systems. I could imagine numerous potential uses: enhanced comfort from using the controller you like best, the ability to use expensive accessories like arcade sticks and racing wheels you already own for older systems, and much more.

At last I've picked up a Titan One and put it through its paces on my Xbox One and 360. With the diminutive USB adapter, I managed to play Halo: the Master Chief Collection with Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 controllers, Forza Horizon 2 with a Playstation 4 DualShock 4 controller, and even Killer Instinct with a USB Sega Saturn Pad for PC. Some of the Titan One functions have a bit of a learning curve, but our detailed review and hands-on video will show you how to get started with this must-have peripheral.

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One of my all-time favorite games launched without a version available for the new generation of games consoles. We're talking Grand Theft Auto V, of course. Despite being restricted to the relatively aged Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 systems, it was still one of the absolute greatest games ever made.

Around a year on from that, GTA V is back. Back for a grand re-launch, and this time around we can play it on the Xbox One. It has been given a spruce up to take advantage of the new hardware, but at its heart it's the same game we've seen before. All the crimes, capers, shooting, and driving you could want, both in single-player and online.

So should you buy it? Is it worth playing for a second time? Let's find out.

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Strike Wing: Raptor Rising is an action packed, feature rich space combat game for Windows Phone. The game puts you in the cockpit of a wide range of space ships where you'll do battle with the enemy.

Available for low-memory Windows Phones, Strike Wing features two gaming modes, plenty of upgrades, user-friendly controls and eye pleasing graphics. Strike Wing: Raptor Rising is an appealing Sci-Fi game to add to your Windows Phone library.

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