Alvin Thomas finds some devices that are so slick, even the sausage-fingered can use them.
Lenovo has been known for pumping out scores of affordable yet innovative laptops for years. And with the Yoga Book 2-in-1, they have done the same. It’s dubbed the “world’s thinnest 2-in-1”, and it still manages to pack a 25cm (10.1-inch) full HD IPS display, an above-average Intel Atom x5-Z8550 processor running at 2.4GHz and 4Gigs of RAM. At 64GB, the in-built storage is on the lower side but you can expand it using a Micro SD card. This is definitely one of the best alternatives to a tablet computer (just don’t sneak it onto a flight to the US). Yours for RO294 from Lenovo.com.
How much thinner can a phone really get? The answer is very. But here’s a quick reminder: as phones get thinner, they become much (much!) harder to use. For instance, the ultra-gorgeous curved screen on the S7 Edge is incredibly hard to use, and the 4.75mm-thin Vivo X5 Max will inevitably slide while in your hands. This means that you’re left with only one real contender: the Apple iPhone 7. Yes, it has already hit its half-life – meaning, the boffins at Apple already have a replacement on the cards. But the 7 is still a masterpiece in every way – call it the best of both worlds. It comes with a 12cm screen and weighs only 138 grams. Apart from that, it’s got a brilliant 12MP rear camera and iOS10 out-of-the-box. Yours for RO250 (32GB) from luluwebstore.com.
The only reason this isn’t my pick for this week is because it is only available online and not easily through any store in Oman (at least to my knowledge). The Amazon Echo Dot is essentially a standalone device, which can replace the much-loved (and rather tall) Amazon Echo. Just like the latter, the Echo Dot is a hands-free, voice-controlled device that uses Alexa to play music, control smart home devices, research for quick information, read the news, set alarms and so on. Apart from that, it also comes with seven far-field microphones for hands-free control – even in noisy locations. This is the ideal alternative for anyone who wants to keep things on the minimal side. Yours for RO20 from amazon.com.
Let’s face it: televisions are becoming more advanced by the day. A couple of years ago, 1080p was the norm; however, today, it’s all about that 4K (3840 × 2160 pixels or 2160p). And LG, with the Signature OLED W7, has stepped things up a notch. The company has produced one of the most technologically advanced OLED TVs in the market, and at a fraction of the size of a regular OLED television. As a matter of fact, with a footprint of 2.75mm, this is one of the thinnest televisions in the world! You also get picture that is Dolby Vision video ready (provided you can find the content), and a Dolby Atmos soundbar underneath the screen for some extra boom. This is one of those products that has to be experienced to be believed. Yours for RO2,695 from lg.com.
App of the Week
Both you and I know that Android isn’t the most optimised operating system out there. This means lagging phones, bugs in security and a painful experience overall. However, the folks from Lineage, have come up with a solution: a whole new operating system (yes! This isn’t really an app). The new OS will require you to flash your device – meaning – you will lose your warranty, but, if you are running an older device, this is your way forward. What it does is it gives you a skimmed-down version of the latest Android OS (7.1.1), and without the unnecessary bloatware. Yours for free from forum.xda-developers.com.
There are three games that I have been waiting for an official release in Oman: 1) Gran Turismo Sport; 2) Friday the 13th: The Game and 3) Until Dawn: Rush of Blood. Sadly, the first two are yet to make their debut here but thankfully (and rather surprisingly) the latter has made it to the shelves in Oman.
Games whose names end with “blood” usually aren’t stacked at malls and gaming centres here. But I did get my hands on the game and gave it a go this week. So does Rush of Blood stack up to my high expectations from the game? Oh yeah, and then some.
For starters, it is VR (virtual reality)-ready, and it happens to be one of the most polished games currently available for purchase on the PlayStation VR platform. The PS VR headset itself is a delight – with excellent field of view and almost unmatchable levels of comfort – even during prolonged hours of gaming.
The graphics of the game are crisp and extremely well detailed, and there’s an almost eerie feeling to the settings. Throughout my time with the game, I felt like I was in an episode of Courage the Cowardly Dog, and the soundtrack and the graphics do a great job of making you believe you’re actually stranded in the town of Nowhere, Kansas (just like in the cartoon).
The gameplay is rather simple though: it’s a rail shooter in which you have to look around for enemies to eliminate. The VR headset genuinely makes for the game’s X factor, as the element of surprise can have you scanning your environment at all times, looking for targets to eliminate.
It isn’t particularly scary, though. You’ll find (as soon as you enter the game) that you’re dealing with masked clowns for villains and that you’ll also get a host of guns – double barrelled shotguns, pistols, etc – to blow your enemies’ brains out.
However, if there is one shortfall with this game, it is that you still have to make do with the PlayStation’s Dual Shock controller. I’m guessing that the game is PlayStation Move compatible too.
Apart from that, the game is excellent in every sense. The sound effects are realistic, the gun mechanics are outstanding and the VR experience is one that cannot be matched by any other game… yet.
Genre: First-person action shooter
Developer: Supermassive games
Platform: PlayStation 4