Reviews

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Review – Trident Cyclops case for Surface Pro 3

The Surface Pro 3 is one of the most versatile devices to hit the personal computing scene in quite a while. And for the high number of students, office dwellers, and home users that own one, a laptop sleeve or portfolio cover is usually more than enough to keep theirs safe.

However, if you are someone who totes your Surface around to different job sites, out of your vehicle, or are just plain clumsy, you may find that you may require something more robust.

Whatever the reason may be, anyone looking for extra protection for their Surface Pro 3 should consider the Trident Cyclops case.

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Transport Empire: Windows Phone and Windows 8 review

Every game publisher has its strengths, and many of them have their niches – particular things they focus on as well. European publisher Game Insight practically owns the city building genre on Windows Phone, having released numerous entries like 2020 My Country, The Tribez, and Big Business Deluxe. Of course they all vary in theme, and sometimes quality.

Lucky for fans of the genre, Game Insight has just released one of its best city building games on Windows Phone and Windows 8: Transport Empire. In Transport Empire, you'll manage a network of trains, ships, and airships (but mostly trains) as they travel across a fictionalized Europe to deliver goods and reap profits. If you like trains, this free to play title is worth a look.

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If there's one game developer that knows roller coasters and theme parks, it's UK-based Frontier Developments. From 2003-2005 they made a name for themselves with three Roller Coaster Tycoon games and several expansions before switching publishers to develop a pair of Thrillville games. Eventually Frontier produced Kinect Disneyland Adventures and 2013's Zoo Tycoon for Microsoft, perhaps to less player acclaim.

Now Microsoft and Frontier team up once more for the Xbox One and 360 exclusive ScreamRide. Billed as a spiritual successor to Roller Coaster Tycoon, ScreamRide is a roller coaster building and riding game with a focus on destruction. With three campaign modes and a full sandbox mode with coaster sharing, ScreamRide is surprisingly robust for a game about coasters. But those gameplay pieces don't always fit together as well as they should, threatening to derail the fun.

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With the starting price of a Surface Pro 3 hovering around the $800.00 mark, it is important to do what you can to protect it. A screen protector is a good start and can be found for a fairly low price.

However, not all screen protectors are equal. They may do some things well, but create issues for you in other areas. The Tech Armor anti-glare screen protector for the Surface Pro 3 is a great example. Upon early investigation, it seemed like a real winner, only to end up having one fatal flaw.

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These days most electronic devices, especially high-end ones like the Surface Pro 3, have durable, scratch-resistant glass screens. That makes screen protectors much more of a personal preference than a must-have accessory.

They can also serve other functions, such as glare filtering. Since I often work in a very well lit environment most of the day, I find having a glare filter can be beneficial, so I decided to try a few. Today I will be looking at the JOTO Screen Protector Film Guard for the Surface Pro 3.

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Microsoft Lumia 435 review

Microsoft isn't short on Windows Phones at the lower end of the price and hardware spectrum but that didn't stop the launch of another. The Lumia 435 is the new entry level point for a Lumia Windows Phone.

It's a crowded space, though. With even some of its own stable mates to compete against, does the Lumia 435 have what it takes?

Let's find out.

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The Dell XPS 13 has been a huge hit since it knocked us off our feet at CES earlier this year. And we have been almost equally impressed with Waterfield Designs' cases for the Surface Pro 3.

So when WaterField Designs announced their new line of custom laptop sleeves for the Dell XPS 13, Lenovo, and ASUS laptops, we were pretty excited. I was fortunate enough to get one to check out firsthand.

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Sometimes the simplest of games can be the most enjoyable. Rocket Fireworks is a Windows Phone game that hopes to fall into that category. Rocket Fireworks includes three gaming options where basically get to shoot fireworks on your Windows Phone. Sounds relatively simple, right?

Rocket Fireworks three gaming modes are designed to test your memory, reactions and tapping speeds. You also have time constraints and color sequences to match to keep the game from becoming too easy. The game concept is simple but mastering it may take some time. Available for low-memory Windows Phones, Rocket Fireworks comes across as a nice fit for the simple but enjoyable Windows Phone mold.

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Lenovo's new 8-inch tablet has a few tricks, but taking notes is probably not one of 'em.

Besides catching that wrath of security and privacy hounds worldwide recently, Lenovo is also known to make some interesting consumer devices. One of those is the Yoga Tablet 2 with AnyPen, announced earlier this year at CES.

Luckily, this tablet is not part of the Superfish scandal, which only applied to a few notebooks.

The 8-inch Windows tablet is a port of sorts from the popular Android version, but with a twist in the form of AnyPen. The $250 tablet is now available and I besides the unboxing, I give you a quick tour and some initial thoughts about this exciting consumer tablet.

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Gun Strike 2 is an action packed Windows Phone game where you play the role of a local mercenary who faces a wide assortment of combat assignments. Game play is along the lines of a robust Hogan's Alley styled game with your enemies popping out from behind walls, through windows and other areas of cover. While the missions vary in context, the ultimate goal is the same, take the enemy out before they take you out.

Available for low-memory Windows Phones, Gun Strike 2 has plenty of weapons upgrades and mercenary types to unlock. The game has its fair share of challenges and comes across as an enjoyable title for our Windows Phone gaming library.

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Farmville is a popular online game developed by Zynga and has many Facebook users addicted to farm life. Farmville 2: Country Escape brings the Farmville concept to our Windows Phones and Windows 8 devices with a slight twist from the original game.

While the original Farmville was more free-play in nature, Country Escape is more task or quest oriented. You still have a farm to build and manage with crops to grow and livestock to raise, but the game seemed to have more structure.The Farmville gaming genre is a fun way to pass the time and Farmville 2: Country Escape came across as a nice installment.

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From its immaculate screen to its horsepower under the hood, the Lumia 1520 is an impressive smartphone. But let's face it, its size and slick polycarbonate chassis make it a little hard to handle sometimes. And being that it is also pricey, the last thing you want to do is drop it.

So as soon as I bought mine, I also picked up some snap-on cases to give my Lumia 1520 some added grip. One of the cases I got was the Nillkin Ultra Slim Case, which I really like. The other is EnGive's Quicksand Hard Matte Skin Case.

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Mash&Co is one of the latest Windows Phone games that is the product of Microsoft's AppCampus. For those not familiar, the AppCampus is a collaborative effort between Microsoft and Aalto University to help build Windows Phone content. AppCampus alumni include such hits as Dark Lands, Mossad, Sheep Up and Zombies got a Pogo.

Mash&Co. hopes to continue the AppCampus string of successful Windows Phone titles by bringing an interactive children's game to the table. Mash&Co. is a multimedia, episodic learning app (plays out more as a game) for pre-school children. The game includes performance monitors for parents to review and see how their children's skills are improving.

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The other week we took a look at the Windows Phone game Field Goal Tournament where you try your skills at kicking field goals from various spots on the football field. The same developer has released a similar game that centers around the basketball court to see how good of a jump shot you have.

Basketball Tournament has two gaming modes that will challenge your ability to make a basketball shot from various spots on the court. Some shots are gimmes while others send you downtown. As with Field Goal Tournament, Basketball Tournament is available for low-memory Windows Phones and is a fun game to pass short bits of time with.

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Grand Theft Seagull is another endless runner installment to the Windows Phone Store that has you guiding an pesky seagull down city streets. You duck, dodge and avoid a wide range of dangers that includes cars, pedestrians, wrecking balls and more.

Oh and you get to shoot poo at various targets as you soar down the street. Grand Theft Seagull is available for low memory Windows Phones and has a slight level of appeal. Unfortunately, while the game tries to stand out from the crowded field of endless runner games, it falls a little short of the mark due to annoying ad-support.

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WhatsApp is one of the most popular messaging clients around, especially for Windows Phone users. One limitation though with the app is the inability to send particular videos due to their size. Whatsapp force-edits (shortens) your video to meet the 16 MB requirement for sending videos, which is a bit odd.

Luckily, there is now a solution through a free third-party app called WhatsApp Video Optimizer.

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Pirates and Dragons is a relatively new Windows Phone game from MissinGames, an AppCampus alumnus. The game has an arcade, maybe even an endless runner feel where you pilot an airplane across thirty levels of game play, battling pirates, dragons and other creatures as you hunt down treasure.

While the game has a slight casual pace it doesn't lack in challenge. Graphics are well drawn up and in playing Pirates and Dragons over the past few days, it comes across as an addictive, entertaining Windows Phone game.

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Slingpin for Windows Phone, bowling with a slingshot

Slingpin is an arcade styled Windows Phone game that puts an entertaining twist on the game of bowling. Instead of rolling your bowling ball down the lane to knock the pins down, with Slingpin you shoot your bowling ball from a slingshot.

To add to the challenge you have obstacles to bank your shots around, barriers that have to be destroyed to get to the pins and laser beams to avoid. Slingpin has over seventy levels of play that are spread across four difficulty levels. Available for low-memory devices, Slingpin may not be the most action packed sports game in the Store but it is a fun way to pass the time.

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Incredible Circus Remix is the follow-up Windows Phone game from iNdT, a non-profit research and development institute founded by Nokia. Incredible Circus Remix picks up where Incredible Circus left off with you taking on the role of daredevil Pierre as he works his way through 85 levels of death defying stunts.

The physics based game has plenty of challenges and dangers such as man-eating lions, knife throwers and fire rings. Available for low-memory Windows Phones, Incredible Circus Remix is a nice sequel to the original and not a bad Windows Phone game to pass the time with.

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When it comes to tablets, people vary on how much they value a good pen. While a stylus is the old way, companies are now focusing more heavily on quality pen inputs, thanks in part to the Surface Pro 3.

Toshiba's Encore 2 Write (2015) is their latest entry into the competitive Windows tablet race, and it looks to be a hit. Coming in 8 and 10-inch versions ($349 and $399, respectively), the new Write tablets utilize Wacom's latest pen recognition technology dubbed Active Electrostatic (Active ES) to ensure highly precise input.

Microsoft is currently selling the 8 and 10 inch Write tablets online, although physical stores do not have them in stock. Buying through Microsoft ensures that they are Signature Editions, which just means it is pure Windows with no bloatware on board. I have one on hand to show you what you get in the box, specs, and our hands-on video. So, is this tablet worth it?

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Shred It! - downhill fun for your Windows Phone

No argument here. There are a boatload of endless runner games in the Windows Phone Store. Luckily, while these titles seem to be growing like rabbits, most of them are entertaining Windows Phone games to pass the time with.

Extra Miles Studios hopes that their offering, Shred It!, will soon join the ranks of the quality titles in the genre. The game places your gaming character on a snowboard and you will have to maneuver around, over and under a wide range of obstacles.

Shred It! is not available for low-memory Windows Phones and in playing the game over the past few days, it comes across as yet another entertaining Windows Phone game to fill our endless runner appetite.

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Not every type of game works great on touch-screen mobile devices. The lack of precision with touch screens is a key element that led to the birth of the endless runner, a platformer in which players need only controls jumps and attacks – not movements. Some endless runners like Rayman Fiesta Run have distinct levels and feel a lot like console gamers, just with less control over the character.

What would happen then if you took an endless runner and adapted it to consoles? That's just what indie developer A Crowd of Monsters has done with its first Xbox One game: Funk of Titans! Yes, Funk of Titans is an endless runner with 45 distinct levels, all based around Greek mythology with a modern musical twist. If you're looking for a nice simple platformer without any puzzle elements to slow things down, this game really brings the noise and the funk. Read on for our full review.

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Lamp Head is yet another endless runner styled Windows Phone game but the game isn't your run of the mill endless runner game. The goal is to run your gaming character as far as possible, flipping up and down to avoid deadly obstacles.

Fitted with a lamp to shed a little light on these dangers and keep the darkness at bay, Lamp Head is an entertaining Windows Phone game to pass the time with. Available for low-memory devices, Lamp Head also includes missions or goals to work towards and global leaderboards.

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