At Y, we like value for money so Alvin Thomas tests some gadgets that won’t empty your pocket.
Not sold on the idea of having a smartwatch? I mean, why have an expensive “digital” watch when you can have a real analog watch, right? Well, the Ticwatch 2 is here to change your views. Mind you, it’s still very much a smartwatch but what it does is pack a lot of features into an affordable package (when compared with the Samsung Gear and Apple Watch). It does everything its competitors do but also comes with voice, touch, tickle (!), flip, knock and palm control. It also has its own health and fitness tracker, quick cards and notifications. Like every other smartwatch, you can also download numerous watch faces to customise the device. Oh, and before we forget: it’s one of the few devices that you can use to connect to both iOS and Android products. All of this is yours for RO77 from amazon.com.
Bluetooth speakers are the modern equivalent of the boomboxes of old. However, these Bluetooth speakers don’t produce rich tones like their counterpart. Of course, you can make up for that by going grand with your money. But we’re all about saving you that dough. And that’s where the Boombotix Boombot Bass Station Bluetooth Wireless Speaker comes in. You know things will be a tad “amateur” when the product’s name is that long, but, surprisingly, the device is actually very punchy. It’s got great (and by great, we mean excellent) base, and is also waterproof. The speaker comes with its own amplifier and built-in flash drive. Yours for RO15 from amazon.com.
There’s no denying that gadgets are getting more expensive by the hour. A well-equipped touchscreen laptop can set you back anywhere between RO700 and RO1,500. However, what if you want to have one but happen to be tight-fisted? Well then, we have the perfect solution for you; it’s the Air Bar. Like its name suggests, it’s a bar. But it is designed to reside near the bezel of your laptop’s screen, and can be converted into a touchscreen device. A couple of magnets secure the bar in place, and it connects straight into a USB slot. It is compatible with all devices running Windows 10, and with a minimum screen size of 40cm. You also receive the option to use gestures, and the ability to use a stylus, paintbrush, or even a glove. Yours for RO30.4 from amazon.com.
The Google Chromecast is probably one of the most underrated gadgets on the market today. It does what the Apple TV does (stream content onto your television), and at a fraction of the price. The device is roughly the size of a hockey puck, and is extremely light. It plugs straight into your TV’s HDMI port, and lets you stream content from streaming service providers such as Netflix, YouTube and Hulu, using your Android-powered smartphone. Your smartphone also acts as the remote control of the device so everything is at your fingertips at all times. The Chromecast is yours for RO19 from Lulu Electronics.
App of the Week
If Photoshop is the best professional photo editing software, then Snapseed is arguably the best amateur-photo editing application you can download today. We’ve grown to love the app for its slick interface, easy-to-use functions and even its huge range of filters. The app also lets you stack layers, which means that you can jump into edited photos and delete your tweaks. Yours for free from Google Play and iTunes.
Some things in life are better left alone than modified. And if I were to prepare a list of things that shouldn’t be modified, Snake – the beloved game that first hit the streets as an arcade game in 1976 – would be first on the list.
Why? Well, for starters, it is the perfect testament to how beautiful and engaging simple games can be. Secondly, it happens to be among the most significant games of the 21st century (thanks to its presence in early Nokia phones), and it probably deserves to be placed in a gaming museum (if there exists such a place).
So, has Gameloft’s new attempt at the game worked? Does it capture the true essence of Snake? And more importantly, does it feel nostalgic?
To find out, I had to check out a few videos of people playing the game on the newly released Nokia 3310 phones online. Sadly, the device has still not hit the market yet, and a release date has not been discussed for the Asian market.
My initial impressions are that Gameloft has modified the game in every possible way. While Snake is still two-dimensional, the game now allows diagonal movement, meaning there’s more flexibility in manoeuvering the Snake. It isn’t in line with the original game but it still is a welcome addition.
Just like the original game, however, you still have levels. As you progress, the speed and the level of difficulty rises so you’ll find yourself dabbing the buttons (yes, buttons!) harder than ever before.
The game is in colour although Nokia did have a colour version of the game in its devices a decade ago. Oddly enough, though, this time around, it seems unpolished. I remember playing a colour version of the game (in 3D!), in 2010, and it was fantastic.
I’m not sure if Gameloft is still working to polish the game before the official release of the 3310. If not, I’m sure people are going to notice that Snake has taken a huge step backwards.
But the underlying fact is this: I really cannot hate Snake, no matter what. At the end of the day, it is still the game that gave life to gaming on your mobile phone. Without it, we would probably still be using our phones to communicate with people. Blasphemy! Who uses their phone for making calls anymore, right?