Reviews

Now that several wired controllers are available for Xbox One (Power A's Mini Series controller and Spectra controllers, plus some on the way from PDP), a gamer could easily run short of USB ports on his or her shiny new console. Plug a hard drive and keyboard into your rear ports and you're left with only one to spare. You can hardly plug in multiple wired controllers or flash drives with media files under those situations.

Thus a USB 3.0 hub is in order. Of course there are no Xbox One-specific USB hubs, but pretty much any USB 3.0 hub will do the trick. With that in mind, I grabbed the Sabrent 4-port USB 3.0 Hub (HB-SGAR) for a mere ten bucks on Amazon. This little hub is perfect for Xbox One and 360 use (it supports USB 2.0 as well), and also goes great with Windows 8 and RT devices like the Surface.

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Even though Verizon put the Lumia Icon out to pasture less than a year after the launch, it doesn't stop current owners of the under-rated phone from needing a good case for it. Neither does it change the fact that the phone is alive and well in other markets around the world under the pseudonym Lumia 930. And for that reason, we give you the Incipio Feather ultra-light case for both.

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Incandescence is an upbeat Windows Phone game that will test your rhythm, reflexes and speed. Described as a finger drumming game, you try to keep pace with the background music's beat and tap circles that light up in rhythm with the music.

Incandescence reminds me a little of the popular Windows Phone music game SongArc but noticeably scaled back. The game still has its fair share of challenges but needs a little more meat on the bone to avoid getting stale too quick. Incandescence is available for low-memory devices.

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Nokia Lumia 830 – Unboxing and first impressions

Does the Lumia 830 live up to its name and is it a worthy upgrade? The answer may surprise you.

Last week I showed you in detail the Nokia Lumia 735 'selfie' phone, including my initial thoughts. While I begin wrapping up a full review for that phone later this week, the Lumia 830 arrived on my doorstep.

Dubbed 'the affordable flagship' by Microsoft, the Lumia 830 has a lot going for it, including a much sleeker design than its more powerful Lumia 930 sibling.

So how good is the Lumia 830? Check out my unboxing video, hardware tour, and first impressions of the latest Lumia phone to hit the market.

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Enter Orckid is an action packed Windows Phone game where you take control of a young orc warrior who has to hack his way through the various game quests.

The storyline has the Orcs nearing the brink of extinction and it is up to the young Orc warrior to save the day by defeating the enemies of the Orc. Available for low-memory devices, Enter OrcKid has decent graphics and challenging game play.

The game has potential but quirky controls tends to hold this game back and will a little fine-tuning to give Enter OrcKid a better chance of success.

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Review: Body Glove Satin Case for Lumia 520

I'll admit it right off the bat. I was wrong about the Body Glove Satin case for the Lumia 520. When I first saw the Body Glove Satin case in its packaging, I immediately thought that it would be a rubbery case that served little purpose, other than to render the sleek, pleasant-to-hold Lumia 520 bulky and difficult to use. What I found instead was an equally sleek case that compliments the form of its companion device.

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Our Windows Phones can be rather convenient at times, from checking the weather to sending a quick email to even casting a little light on things. Lightbox Pro is a Windows Phone utility app that offers eight different ways to use your camera light and phone display to light things up.

From the basic flashlight to a party ball, Lightbox Pro hopes to be your one and only Windows Phone light source. The app does have a certain level of appeal but a poorly designed trial version may likely turn many away.

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Last week we promised to bring you more Xbox One accessory reviews, and we weren't kidding! I have no less than six controllers and other accessories in the hopper, just waiting to be put through their paces so that our readers can know what's up. First up will be the new Xbox One Mini Series Wired Controller from Power A (makers of the MOGA controllers.

The Mini Series Wired Controller is exciting for a number of reasons. Along with Power A's Spectra Controller, it's one of the very first two wired controllers for Xbox One. Many gamers prefer wireless for comfort, but wired controllers can still be very handy. The Mini Series controller is also smaller than a standard Xbox One controller, making it more suitable for players with small hands. And last but not least, it sells for $39.99 – $20 less than the standard controller.

Read on to find out whether the Mini Series Controller is right for you.

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NFC Safe is an interesting Windows Phone app that allows you to secure important date, images and credentials on your Windows Phone. The app utilizes your Windows Phone's NFC abilities to create a NFC Tag key that will open the app. Otherwise, your information is locked up and secure from prying eyes.

NFC Safe includes OneDrive support to back up your information, Live Tile support for direct access to folders and you can create multiple NFC tags just in case you are prone to losing things. It's an interesting app and a handy way to keep things private on your Windows Phone.

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The Xbox One launched with a killer fighting game that continues to be updated even now. That would be Killer Instinct, which will start its second season of content next week. While the new Killer Instinct was originally developed by Double Helix, Chicago-based Iron Galaxy Studios eventually took over on development duties. Iron Galaxy has quite the history with fighters, having developed/ported several Xbox 360 fighters for Capcom.

Now Iron Galaxy has just published its own fighting game Divekick: Addition Edition + on Xbox One as part of the ID@Xbox program. Divekick is anything but serious, filled with joke and parody characters and requiring only two buttons to play. It's a fighter boiled down to the barest essentials. Bring your sense of humor and appreciation for fighting games and you're going to love the art of divekicking. Read on for our detailed review and watch Jonathan Dollison and I divekick it on video!

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They say the simplest things in live are often the most enjoyable. Square Me is a Windows Phone game that hopes to tap into that philosophy and find its way into your Windows Phone gaming library.

Square Me isn't a very complicated game. You are presented with a collection of colored squares and have to find the one square that doesn't match the rest. The goal is to try to solve as many puzzles in one minute. While all this sounds easy, you may be surprised how hard it is to find the one tiny little square that is just a fraction of a shade different than the rest.

Available for low-memory devices, Square Me is an appealing, addictive, sometimes frustrating Windows Phone game that is a nice option to choose when you have a few minutes to kill.

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If you are a fan of celebrity food fanatic Alton Brown, you may know that the one thing he steers clear of when equipping his kitchen is a "unitasker," an object that can only perform a single function. That is what I like the most about the Patriot FUEL Active Mobile Rechargeable Battery. It combines a mobile device battery charger, something many of us will only use occasionally, with a flashlight.

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Forza Horizon 2 for Xbox One is a really huge game, with more than 200 cars to collect and race throughout the cities and countrysides of Europe. For some automotive enthusiasts, no quantity of cars could ever be enough. That's where DLC cars come in. The game launched with a VIP membership that offered five exclusive rides and some additional goodies. But even still, Forza Horizon 2 lovers like me wanted more.

This week, Microsoft released the Mobil 1 Car Pack to help fill that need for speedsters. The pack adds six new cars to the game. These can be bought individually, together as a pack, or as part of the Forza Horizon 2 Car Pass. And as a bonus for all Horizon 2 players, the Mobile 1 Car Pack's 1988 BMW M5 is completely free to all.

We recently picked up the Car Pass and took all six Mobil 1 cars for a test drive in order to bring you these detailed impressions.

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Early this summer, a big batch of Xbox Windows Phone and Windows 8 games disappeared from the Store and into the ether. Some of these games would return without their Xbox features, we reported, while others would stay gone for good. One of those delisted titles was Carcassonne, a strategic board game from German developer Exozet games. This week, it finally returned to Windows Phone.

Formerly a Windows Phone 7 title, Carcassonne has been upgraded to Windows Phone 8 status. The new version looks better and plays faster than ever. It has a new cross-platform online multiplayer mode that should make playing with friends easier than before. And even better, Carcassonne supports universal purchases. Buy it once and get the Windows Phone and Windows 8 and RT versions. Read on to find out how the game plays and what changes the Remastered version brings!

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Over the summer, Roku officially released a Windows Phone 8.1 and Windows 8.1 version of their Roku app, which turns your device into a handy remote control for your Roku device.

The Roku app has a simple interface and will automatically detect your Roku devices. We've been using it for about a month and find it to be a nice app to have handy for situations such as when you've lost your Roku remote, too lazy to get up and get your Roku remote or are in the mood to battle your better half with dueling remotes.

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FIFA 15 for Xbox One Review

I've been playing FIFA 15 on the Xbox One in the past two weeks and I'm hooked. I don't follow football closely, but I love playing this game. It looks great, and it features several modes that are going to make Xbox One owners keep coming back for more. Whether it is a quick single player game, tournament, or online multiplayer, it's hard to get bored with FIFA 15. I haven't even mentioned FIFA Ultimate Team yet, which is EA Sports' most popular mode that I thought would be overwhelming, but has become my favorite feature of this game.

If you're still undecided whether you should buy FIFA 15 for the Xbox One, continue reading for the full review and watch our video demonstration.

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Review: TYLT VU Qi Wireless Charging Pad

There isn't a lot that goes into a Qi charging pad, or at least you would think. After all, you plug it in, plop your phone on it and there you have it. Most charging pads are designed with this mindset, being nothing more than flat pad with a plug that your phone sits on.

The TYLT VU Qi wireless charging pad is an exception to that. It is thoughtfully designed to be a little bit more than just a place to lay your phone to power up.

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Enhance your Windows Phone photos with Afterlight

Afterlight is a Windows Phone photo editor that joins the crowded field of photography apps available in the Windows Phone Store. Afterlight hopes its simple design and snappy tools will help it stand out from this crowded field of apps.

Afterlight offers 8 adjustment tools, 57 filters, 66 textures, 79 frames and cropping tools to fine-tune your photos and give them a little pop. You also have in-app purchase opportunities to expand your editing tools, Instagram integration, Pictures Hub integration to choose Afterlight as an editor and an in-app camera app.

On the surface Afterlight comes across as a capable Windows Phone photo editor but a cumbersome interface and tiny thumbnail controls holds this editor from standing out from the crowd.

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Back at the beginning of September, Microsoft pulled the curtain back on three new Lumia phones: the Lumia 730/ Lumia 735 and the Lumia 830. Just four weeks later and those devices can be found at various retailers and carriers around the world.

Today I am taking a closer look at the Lumia 735 including an unboxing video, sample camera images, high-resolution photos of the phone, and my first thoughts on the successor to the Lumia 720.

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A few weeks back, Bungie finally released its first post-Halo game under the Activision label: Destiny. Destiny revolves much more around completing missions and hunting for loot cooperatively with friends than Halo, with far less narrative driving players forward.

Everyone knows about Destiny, but did you know the Xbox One has another cooperative action game with just as much content and even more features at a fraction of the price? Warframe is a free to play third-person action-shooter, similar to Destiny and multiplayer classics like Phantasy Star Online. With tons of missions and playable characters, full clan support, and a very fair free to play model, Warframe has become one of the Xbox One games I just can't put down.

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Bit Raid is a retro-styled arcade game for Windows Phone where you are tasked with protecting your bit-base from bit-bombs that fall from the top of the screen.

Graphics are minimal, much like you would find with a Pong era game than a current day video game. Game play is fast paced and has a decent amount of challenge.

Available for low- memory devices, Bit Raid may not appeal to everyone but if you are a fan of retro styled games, it comes across as a fun time waster.

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HiLight is a simple Windows Phone game where you have to retrace flashes of lights. The game's backdrop is a collection of wonderfully drawn up landscape images.

However, don't let the game's simple premise and good looks fool you. HiLight can drive you a little crazy trying to keep pace with and remembering the light's path. HiLight is a challenging, fun game to pass the time with and it's available for low-memory devices.

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Forza Horizon 2 is one of this year's biggest exclusive games for Xbox One and Xbox 360. The latest in the Forza racing game series, this installment allows players to explore and participate in a huge variety of races throughout an idyllic European countryside. With unparalleled graphics, realistic AI opponents, robust online features, and tons of gorgeous cars to collect and drive, Forza Horizon 2 is the racing game to beat. No wonder we gave it such an enthusiastic review.

Although Forza Horizon 2's in-app purchases have been toned down significantly compared to last year's Forza 5, the new game still has some optional up-sells for serious fans of the game. Chief among those is the VIP membership. Becoming a VIP promises extra cars, faster progression, and in-game recognition for other players to see. We've tried out the $20 membership in order to bring you detailed impressions of its benefits and value.

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Mini Dogfight is an air combat Windows Phone game that puts you behind the controls of World War I era fighter planes. The mission oriented game pits you against a host of enemy Aces where you battle to be the Top Ace.

Available for low-memory devices, Mini Dogfight offers a host of planes from single winged fighters to sea planes to bi-planes. Power-ups and health bonuses fall from the sky during combat missions to help improve your chances and there are currently ten missions where you will face off against enemy Aces to fight.

Graphics are nicely drawn up, game play challenging and overall Mini Dogfight is a fun game to pass the time with.

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Every now and then, we check out Windows Phone Store title designed for our younger audience, finding ourselves stumbling upon a gem of a game or app. Pango Zoo is one such app that is an attractive, dare I say impressive, Windows Phone children's game that lets your child interact with a host of zoo animals.

The game has more of a storybook feel than a gaming feel with five adventures for your child to discover and play through. The illustrations and animations are nicely drawn up and while the user interface does require a little exploration, that isn't necessarily a bad thing for children's game.

Available for low-memory devices, Pango Zoo comes across as a fun Windows Phone gaming title well suited for your Kid's Corner. It is a fun time waster of a game that you and your children should enjoy.

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