I never knew that mini soundbars existed, and I only came across this as my current PC setup required me to have a low-profile speaker as my monitors take up my entire desk space. I searched around and found this little gem, but knew it was a risky purchase as for one it’s from Insignia which are known for sub-par products, and the price was surprisingly low. I already knew that without a dedicated subwoofer this probably wouldn’t sound the best.
I was actually quite surprised when I plugged everything in. This little guy has both analog and digital output as well as BlueTooth and even a remote. For starters, stick with digital optical out if you have the ability as it sounds much better. Second, the DSP installed is awful. Standard is the best, but Theater and News make the soundbar sound like a tinny $5 pair of headphones, it’s just garbage. The soundbar is quite loud and has surprisingly decent bass. I can feel the bass as I type on my keyboard which is cool.
While the pre-built DSP is awful, any software DSP you use will make this thing sound the same. It’s just not meant to be for anything but standard. The quality overall is decent for $40, but still sounds slightly tinny, and no way to adjust the bass or treble. It does its job well and the games sound fine as well as music, but if you aren’t short on space get a full-size PC speaker setup. This would also make a great soundbar for a kid’s room or just for music.
Overall, and for $40, this isn’t that bad of a soundbar. Yes, the DSP sucks, and any form of equalization makes this thing hurt your ears, but it has a remote, does BlueTooth, and has decent bass. I can’t really complain.
So here I am with my first tablet, I swore up and down that, I had no use for one because I have a laptop and a 4″ phone. Why would I need a tablet? Apparently for a lot and this is one of the best devices I have used in a long time. It’s sleek, powerful, and well designed. Why a Nexus 7? Well, the 7″ size is perfect where it isn’t too small or too big. I don’t like 10″ tablets because they just feel big and clunky. You are probably wondering what’s under the hood, why not an iPad Mini, and is the screen nice?
The Nexus 7 is powered by Nvidia’s Tegra 3 chipset which is one of the most powerful on the market. Directly competing with Apple’s A5x chipset in their iPad 3, the Nexus 7 is extremely powerful for a 7″ tablet. This tablet has a whopping 16 cores, a quad-core 1.3Ghz CPU, and a 12-core Geforce ULP GPU. The tablet CPU has a fifth core that is dedicated to running in a power-saving mode during times of low processing needs. That is one powerful tablet. The Tegra 3 chipset allows for some of the most advanced graphics seen on a tablet as well. Games like Dead Trigger, Dark Meadow, Zombie Driver, and a few others optimize their games for the Tegra chipset adding extra effects and higher FPS. The tablet has 1GB of DDR3L RAM rather than DDR2 RAM which is in both the iPad 3 and Mini and it is twice as fast. The Tegra 3 chipset is even more powerful than the iPad Mini and iPad 3 with the Mini having a single-core 1Ghz CPU and the iPad 3 having just a dual-core 1Ghz CPU. Even the ULP graphics chip is more powerful than the iPad 3’s with 416Mhz. If that doesn’t impress you…I don’t know what will.
Asus just stopped producing the 16GB models so only the 32 are available now, but that’s fine. 16GB really isn’t enough space anyway, but there are no expandable storage options. You can use an OTG cable and a USB stick, but most people won’t know to do that. 32GB is plenty for games, movies, music, and books. I have over 30 games on my tablet and still have plenty of room. I found the battery life is pretty decent for such a powerful device. Running high graphic games you get about 3 hours and everything else will last you most of the day, but that’s with Wifi on. With it off it is probably 30% less power-consuming.
The screen is gorgeous. Being better than the iPad Mini with a 1280×800 resolution rather than 1024×768. It also has double the PPI at 216 rather than 163 for the Mini. It also is a 16:10 aspect ratio rather than the Mini’s 4:3 aspect ratio so it is a widescreen tablet. The text is crisp and-and the images are sharp and vibrant. You won’t be disappointed watching high-definition movies or games. I also found the screen to feel very nice to touch and my finger would just glide across. The tablet is also fitted with scratchproof Corning fitted glass, also known as Gorilla Glass to some. The glass is alkali-aluminosilicate sheet glass which is the best out there right now. On the back, the device has a bumpy, leathery texture which makes holding the device easier. I love this texture and feels so much nicer than the hard plastic of other tablets with their sharp edges. You also don’t have to worry about setting it down and scratching it up. The whole device just looks so sleek and smooth.
The tablet comes stock with android Jelly Bean 4.1, but as of a week ago the new 4.2.2 update is out. Nothing else to expect software-wise other than a great Google Android OS experience. However, if you’re a gamer check out Nvidia’s TegraZone app to get started on what games were specifically designed for the Tegra chipset. My only complaint is that there is no rear-facing camera. Just a front-facing 1.2MP camera for video chatting. However, most people don’t use their tablets for taking pictures (unless you are one of those iPad people)
Overall, the Nexus 7 is one of the most powerful tablets on the market and the most powerful 7″ tablet you can get your hands on. With the 16-core chipset, bright vivid screen, and sleek design, any hardware fan will want this tablet. For the low price of $250 for 32GB of storage…nothing beats it! Once you pick this up you will realize why it was chosen as 2012’s best tablet.
Cooking Jam is one of those little games that you wish were just a tad more fun. In Cooking Jam you can make four different kinds of dishes: Hot dogs, burgers, pizza, and tacos. You have four seats in front of you and when customers come in you hand out menus and wait for their orders to pop up beside them. For example, if you’re cooking hot dogs, you have to stick the buns on a bun warmer, hot dogs on a dog warmer, and then put either ketchup, mustard, or onions on them depending on the order. You can adjust the heat on the warmers, but if you wait too long they will burn to a crisp. You can still serve this, but you will get a smaller tip.
Sometimes customers want a soda or even fries. While this sounds simple that’s really all there is to it. Nothing ever gets hectic since you only have up to four people at a time. Sometimes they will order more than once and that can throw you off at first, but everything is always manageable.
The goal is to fill your money meter to make the quota for the day, but this is always too easy even when making food takes money away. If your customers get impatient you can use a “secret ingredient” depending on what type of people they are.
Speaking of that the graphics are really simple and so is the sound. The graphics are bright and colorful, but they are repetitive and nothing really interesting. The same song loops in the background over and over, and the grunts and various sounds are all repeated constantly and it just gets old really fast.
The bottom line is after you try each dish once you will get tired of the game, and I doubt you will play through all 48 stages. I just wish this game had more variety because it has a lot of potential.
If you haven’t already heard the PSP Go is out (a.k.a PSP-N1000) and alongside, this Sony launched the PSP Mini lineup which are cell phone games ported to the PSP. Some of these ports were updated and some weren’t. Bloons is a puzzle game that has a mix of Bust-A-Move and darts and will keep you busy for quite a while.
You are a monkey with an arrow that you can spin around and stretch out. The farther you stretch it out the less of an arch your throw will be. You get a set amount of darts in each level to complete the objective. There are a minimum amount of balloons you need to pop to pass and sometimes there are obstacles in your way. There are quite a few actually from brick walls you need to shoot around, ice balloons that freeze all nearby ones, a bouncy rope that bounces back your darts, breakable bricks, and the list goes on. I never felt bored with this game since each level is different and the progression in difficulty is fairly nice.
The main issue I had with the game is that it was too simple and the arrow takes forever to turn around. The graphics are very simple and don’t really push the PSP at all; plus the sound is pretty empty with the same music loop and annoying sounds. Otherwise, Bloons is an excellent way to pass the time and should definitely be picked up.