Mixed Media Demo One

COD Advanced Warfare

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May 12, 2014

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An Amazon UK product page for the recently revealed Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare reveals the game’s box art and tons of new details about the latest entry in the shooter series. The game is in development at Modern Warfare 3 co-developer Sledgehammer Games. Amazon says Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is coming to Xbox … Continue reading COD Advanced Warfare

An Amazon UK product page for the recently revealed Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare reveals the game's box art and tons of new details about the latest entry in the shooter series. The game is in development at Modern Warfare 3 co-developer Sledgehammer Games. Amazon says Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is coming to Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, and PC. There's no mention of Wii U. Below is a roundup of details about Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, pulled from the Amazon product page. Of note, we're still waiting on Activision to confirm full details about the game, like specific platform availability. The game launches November 4. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare: Story: Academy Award winning actor Kevin Spacey plays Jonathan Irons. He is one of the "most powerful men in the world," and president of the world's largest Private Military Corporation -- Atlas Corporation. Takes place in a "plausible future" where technological progress and military practices have "converged with powerful consequences." Private Military Corporations have become dominant armed forces. New player attributes: Players have exoskeletons that "evolve every aspect of a soldier's battle readiness." Players will have "enhanced player movement and verticality" skills like boost jumps and grappling, as well as cloaking abilities and biomechanics. This new exoskeleton system "fundamentally" changes the way you'll play Call of Duty across all game modes, Activision says. Weapons: Advanced Warfare will offer a "hi-tech, advanced arsenal and ability set." There will be new equipment, technology, perks, and vehicles like hoverbikes and drones. You can choose between standard ammunition and a new class of "directed-energy weaponry" that is said to enable new gameplay dynamics.

The Best Android Digital Comic...

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May 12, 2014

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Take the Android platform and add digital comic book apps—that’s how you get the best one-two punch since Luke Cage met Danny Rand. There are many digital comic book readers on Google’s mobile platform that can entice comic book fans to tap the download icon, but not all are created equal. Some digital comic book … Continue reading The Best Android Digital Comic Book Apps

Take the Android platform and add digital comic book apps—that's how you get the best one-two punch since Luke Cage met Danny Rand. There are many digital comic book readers on Google's mobile platform that can entice comic book fans to tap the download icon, but not all are created equal. Some digital comic book readers feature integrated stores. Others are stand-alone readers that let you enjoy DRM-free comic files. A few others are publisher-exclusive apps for fans of a particular comic book house. In short, there are a variety of ways to read comics on an Android device, and some are better than others. And that's exactly what we've rounded up here, after countless hours sacrificed to onerous task of reading digital comics: the best. It's a dirty job... Unprecedented Accessibility The basic greatness of digital comic readers is that they let you purchase and read comics from your smartphone or tablet—you no longer need to live near a comic book store to pick up The Mighty Avengers, Sex Criminals, Superman, or other titles. In fact, you never have to get up off your Wi-Fi enabled couch. This is a level of accessibility never before seen in the comic book industry. The still relatively new digital format is fast finding a home with comic book fans. Digital comic books make up roughly 10 to 12 percent of overall comic book purchases—a share that looks set to keep rising. That translates to a great many people reading comics on electronic devices (although the super fans with deep pockets and obsessions may skew the curve a bit). Android tablets, naturally, make for easier reading than Android phones thanks to their larger screens. You can check out our top picks in our Best Android Tablets roundup. That said, if you're set on reading on a smartphone, a large handset like the Samsung Galaxy Note is relatively easy on the eyes. Select Android devices support Comixology's stunning HD comics. The Ones to Sample The five Android digital comic book readers in this roundup are the best of the bunch. We have apps from both the comic industry's digital powerhouses and less-famous but still high-quality offerings, too. The summaries for each app below only brush the surface of what these apps can do; check out the full reviews for a big picture view of each digital comic book app's functionality. Once you've got your apps all picked out, make sure to visit our list of ten digital comics you should read right now, which is updated monthly. 427088-comics Comics Free Android smartphone and tablet-owning comics fans should download the revamped Comics app. A new cart feature adds convenience to the comic-purchasing process, and the panel-to-panel Guided View reading mode is a joy to behold. That said, a few significant back-catalog gaps may drive some fans to visit their local brick-and-mortar comic shop to buy print copies of, for example, Secret Wars II. Still, if you prefer buying the new The Amazing Spider-Man without worrying about mylar bags and backing boards, Comics is the go-to Android digital comic book app. 402560-perfect-viewer Perfect Viewer Free Perfect Viewer lacks an integrated store like the Comixology's Comics app, but it supports numerous comic-friendly file formats, import methods, and reading styles. If you're a digital comic book enthusiast who doesn't want to be locked into Comixology's ecosystem, Perfect Viewer is worth a download. 402562-comicrack ComicRack $7.49 ComicRack for Android lets comics fans read and manage DRM-free comics with ease, but the lack of solid CBR support may turn off a few potential customers. Still, the wireless sync and SmartList features are sweet bonuses in this relatively pricey app. 402563-komik-reader Komik Reader Free Komik Reader may not be packed with high-end features like other Android digital comic book readers, but there's elegance in its simplicity. The app—which supports DRM-free comics—is attractive and very simple to use for both novices and longtime digital comics fans. 427087-marvel-unlimited Marvel Unlimited From $9.99 per month Comixology's Comics app may be the face of the digital comics space, but voracious Marvel readers will find Marvel Unlimited (from $9.99) a satisfying alternative. Instead of focusing on individual issue sales as the Editors' Choice award-winning Comics does, Marvel Unlimited lets users dig through a library of more than 15,000 digital comics. Depending on the subscription tier chosen, the app offers the hardest of the hardcore plenty of geektacular extras, such as exclusive Hasbro action figures.

Alienware 17 review

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May 12, 2014

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The 17-inch laptop is a unicorn these days. But in the gaming world, the arguably huge form factor is alive and well. Alienware has doubled down on its colossal clamshell, simply known as the Alienware 17, with an AMD-powered variant. With an AMD Radeon HD R9 M290X pushing the pixels behind its 1920 x 1080 … Continue reading Alienware 17 review

The 17-inch laptop is a unicorn these days. But in the gaming world, the arguably huge form factor is alive and well. Alienware has doubled down on its colossal clamshell, simply known as the Alienware 17, with an AMD-powered variant. With an AMD Radeon HD R9 M290X pushing the pixels behind its 1920 x 1080 anti-glare screen, this version of Dell-owned Alienware's notebook comes in $350 (about £207, AU$373) cheaper than its Nvidia-toting counterpart. Given that AMD's latest mobile GPU houses twice as much video RAM – 4GB to the GeForce GTX 860M's 2GB – that's not a bad deal at all. Aside from that, nothing about the Alienware 17 has changed, including its gigantic frame. Both the MSI GS70 Stealth and Asus G750JX are thinner and cheaper, but fall on different ends of the spectrum in terms of hardware, design and overall focus. [Editor's note: Since I have yet to test the latest Nvidia GeForce GTX 800M series versions of either of these Asus and MSI machines, I will continue to compare the Alienware 17 to the 700M series editions of these products. This review may be updated after testing MSI, Asus and even Alienware's most current Nvidia-equipped products.] Alienware 17 reviewMore subdued, but still a sore thumb at the coffee shop Design If you're familiar with Alienware's latest design ID, then none of this will be a shock. But for those coming from the Alienware M17x 2012 perhaps, plenty has changed. The pronounced curvature of the old has given in to a more angular silhouette throughout. Not only did that make more custom lighting zones a possibility, but it allowed for an all-aluminum lid and magnesium alloy base. This grants the Alienware 17 an even more premium look and feel than before, one that's slightly more subdued – a much welcome change, frankly. Alienware says that these and other revisions have increased the system's weight in metal materials considerably, while overall the unit comes in nearly 0.25 pounds lighter. Regardless, this is still a notebook that warrants its own line of custom-made backpacks and shoulder bags. Alienware 17 reviewIt looks as if it could take off at a moment's notice The keyboard and its lighting received a welcome change as well, moving on from chiclet keys to a more mechanical, switch-based board sitting on an aluminum plate. And in place of the garish, front-facing speaker lights, the entire base is now wrapped in slim, sleek strips of light. Plus, the entire touchpad now illuminates – not just its border. Flaunting it with AlienFX Unique to Alienware's laptops is the wide variety of lights that line their chassis and illuminate their keyboards. The company calls this AlienFX, and it returns in full form on the Alienware 17 with incredibly deep customization, thanks to an app of the same name. AlienFX allows for specific color profiles for each zone of lighting. For instance, if you wanted the Alienware logo and strips of light on the lid in a crimson red, with the lights lining the base shining a cool blue, there's nothing stopping you. Furthermore, four zones of the keyboard can be illuminated in different hues. (And that's not even close to all.) Alienware 17 reviewSee? Those cooling vents could easily double as thrusters Digging even deeper, the Alienware 17's lighting scheme can cycle through multiple themes at a certain tempo. And, through the AlienAdrenaline tool, you can create special themes for different games and apps. The options are nigh limitless, and aesthetically set the Alienware apart from the lot of boutique gaming laptops. More importantly, AlienFX brings a bit of the custom flair of gaming PCs to laptops. Now, let's see what else about the PC gaming experience Alienware manages to emulate.

Samsung UE40H6400

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May 12, 2014

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Clean lines, classic Samsung From a design standpoint, the H6400 is refreshingly conventional. It’s a relatively slim set with characteristic translucent edging and chromed pedestal stand. The panel itself is thin enough but bulges toward the base to accommodate two downward firing stereo speakers. Connections will cover most needs. There are four HDMIs, one of … Continue reading Samsung UE40H6400

Clean lines, classic Samsung

From a design standpoint, the H6400 is refreshingly conventional. It's a relatively slim set with characteristic translucent edging and chromed pedestal stand. The panel itself is thin enough but bulges toward the base to accommodate two downward firing stereo speakers.

Ports on the Samsung UE40H6400

Connections will cover most needs. There are four HDMIs, one of which supports ARC, plus legacy Scart/component/composite inputs with stereo phono audio inputs, Ethernet and three USBs. There's also a digital audio optical output, headphone output and CI slot. A single Freeview HD tuner provides over the air content. Wi-Fi is built-in. Alternatively there's a Wi-Fi direct mode for non-network wireless connection as well as Screen Mirroring for Android phones.

Features

As you might imagine, this Samsung is well equipped when it comes to connected functionality.

While Samsung's Smart Hub doesn't look overly different this year, there have been a number of changes upfront and behind the screen. The set now boasts a Quad core processor. Screen animations can still appear jerky, but the extra processing power provides a relatively nippy ride.

Samsung UE40H6400 Smart TV trending screen

Onscreen the Smart Hub now boasts a Trending window which presents full screen tweets from what appear to be largely random TV shows, as well as a Timeline thumbnail TV guide built upon viewing recommendations. Samsung is also keen to ride the casual gaming bandwagon, offering a dedicated slate of titles.

Football mode own goal

While Samsung has traded extensively on the fact that it offers viewers a full complement of big channel catch-up TV services, at the time of writing neither iPlayer or Demand 5 were available on the H6400 and the company was unable to specify just when they'd land. It's a certainty they will be added at some point, though.

Time line view Samsung UE40H6400

Also new this year is a revamped Football Mode. In addition to 'optimised' picture settings (which are positively hallucinatory), the set can auto record match 'highlights' to a USB device, triggered by crowd noise.

Multimedia playback support from USB and networked devices is comprehensive, with a wide selection of file types supported including AVI, MOV, MKV, and WMV; audio compatibility covers WAV, FLAC, MP3 and WMA.

Galaxy S5

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May 12, 2014

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A year ago, I wondered if HTC’s gorgeous, metallic One would inspire or challenge Samsung to leave behind its cheap, plasticky ways and build a smartphone as beautiful as it is feature-rich. The Galaxy S5 is not that phone: it’s every bit as utilitarian and function-first as its predecessors. It has a slightly larger display than … Continue reading Galaxy S5

A year ago, I wondered if HTC's gorgeous, metallic One would inspire or challenge Samsung to leave behind its cheap, plasticky ways and build a smartphone as beautiful as it is feature-rich. The Galaxy S5 is not that phone: it's every bit as utilitarian and function-first as its predecessors. It has a slightly larger display than last year's model, and the phone is thus slightly taller and wider, but it's still light (5.1 ounces) and thin (8.1 millimeters), and really feels no different than the S4 or any other phone this size.

Samsung's phones are still commodities, made to be sold but not loved

It's plastic everywhere you touch. It comes in black, white, gold, or blue, each with a ribbed chrome edge that sticks slightly above the front face of the phone. It's Samsung's best use of plastic ever, with a soft, stippled back that doesn't collect grease or shine the way the S4 does. It's far more pleasant both to look at and hold than the S4, or even the fake-leather Note 3. Samsung is slowly learning how to make premium plastic, though it could stand to learn a lot more from Nokia and Apple on the subject.

The real feat was taking that thin, light, plastic shell and somehow making it waterproof. The S5 is rated IP 67, which means it can be submerged in up to a meter of water for up to 30 minutes. You can't use it underwater, of course — the touchscreen goes haywire when it's wet — but it means you can spill coffee on your phone (which I did), get caught in a rainstorm (check), or drop your phone in the urinal (twice), and it'll live to see another day. I've had one phone ruined by rain and another by a random beer spill, so it's nice to let my paranoia go for a change.

But the S5 is still creaky and cheap. It doesn’t feel thoughtfully crafted the way the One or the iPhone 5S does. The carrier and manufacturer logos aren't integrated into the back's dimpled design, just slapped on like rectangular stickers. The capacitive keys next to the phone's home button bleed an ugly circle of white light. Every time the phone vibrates, its back rattles. These are small things, but they betray the fact that Samsung believes a phone that works is good enough, that it needn't be something we love or care about. That leaves me cold, underwhelmed — I can't imagine anyone walking into a store, picking up the S5 and the new One, and not immediately feeling the difference.