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Michael 84

Technology And Gadgets

The coolest and latest technology with news, reviews and everything on tech, gear and gadgets.

The Nintendo Classic Mini Review – I Finally Got One!

Friday, 2nd December, 2016

Nintendo Mini Classic Review - In The UK

They’re out of stock everywhere in the UK and abroad… Do I look happy? :mrgreen:

As soon as I heard about the Nintendo Classic Mini aka NES Mini, I wanted to get one. I heard about them as soon as they were announced, and thought they’d be pretty popular among a few people like me, who love a bit of retro gaming…I didn’t bother pre-ordering at the launch, they sold out everywhere almost instantly! I didn’t think it would be so hard to get one, and after a couple of weeks of the launch, I finally got one!

The original NES was one of my first ever consoles; I did have an Atari 2600 but probably too young to understand what they really were all about. I got a Nintendo when I was about 7 or 8, I can’t actually remember whether it was a Christmas present or Birthday, but it was obviously my favourite present. Now we can all relive the good times with the brand new Nintendo Classic Mini! 😀

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Introducing Microsoft Surface Studio

Wednesday, 26th October, 2016

microsoft-surface-studio-introducing

Today was the Microsoft event, and a few things were introduced, including a newer, more powerful Surface Book, but the story which everyone is talking about is another great brand new design from Microsoft, the Surface Studio.

Just look at it! Forget about what it can do, why you’d need it or the specs for a moment, and look at it! It looks beautiful, possibly one of the best designs of a computer for a very long time. The design is thin and sleek, minimal, modern and minimal. For a brand new machine, it looks like a brand new design, which is important these days.

First of all we have to talk about who it’s designed for; This is a computer which is aimed at the creatives, and not the general consumer market; That’s quite an important point and you’ll see why later.

So what is it. Well it’s a touchscreen PC, but this is not one of those old fashioned, under-powered all-in-ones which came around several years back. Other than the design, this is a real powerhouse from Microsoft. First off, it has a 28″ Pixelsense display, this is the same kind of display found on the Surface Pro and Surface Book which creatives adore and is widely regarded as one of the best screens for pen input out there. This one of course is bigger, and comes with a 4500×3000 resolution, and is perfect to use as a canvas.

Writing on an upright screen is probably not the best, and that’s where the party piece of the Surface Studio comes into play. It has a special Zero Gravity hinge which allows you to lie it at an angle, perfect for drawing or writing.

In terms of spec, it comes with either an i5 or i7 CPU, 1 or 2TB Hybrid HDD, 8, 16 or 32GB RAM, Dedicated NVIDIA GeForce GTX 965m 2GB or 980m 4GB graphics; Expansion comes in the way of 4x USB 3.0 ports, SD Card Reader, Mini DisplayPort and 3.5mm headphone jack.

Another device to compliment this is the brand new Surface Dial. It can be used as a stand alone to control things, or place it on the screen and it can do more. All of this can be explained better in the video below:

The Surface Studio will start shipping in 2017, and comes in at a starting price of $2999, around £2499. This is a lot of money for a home machine, but remember that this is actually designed for creatives and studio types (hence the name) and not the home, although there’ll be quite a few people wanting this.

Has Microsoft just changed the game?

Let me know what you think of this, I personally think it’s brilliant!


First Look At The Nintendo Switch

Saturday, 22nd October, 2016

nintendo-switch-3

Nintendo do know how to tease us…

If you’re a gamer then you’ll know that Nintendo have been hinting at a new console for a while, and we’ve all been calling it the Nintendo NX, and even though we now know that was a codename, it was actually a pretty good name. Nintendo finally revealed what they’ve been working on and what will be their next console, it will not be called the NX, they teased us with the Nintendo Switch on Thursday, and it looks very interesting.

The first look doesn’t actually tell us a whole lot about the console in terms of spec or what it can do a whole lot, but it does show off what it’s all about, and at least some of it’s capabilities in it’s video (below). In terms of spec, the only thing we know as of now is that it’s powered by an NVIDIA processor.

What we do know is that it’s designed to be a hybrid home and portable console, it comes with a dock which connects to your TV, and when you want to go or have to leave, you simply undock it, and pick up where you left off on the screen. The design is interesting, with the main screen part being the console and having two controls either side which are detachable. The two sides of controllers come with plenty of buttons, so as seen in the video, you can play 2 player games with the one console and the two detachable controllers. Not only that, two consoles can be linked up for play wirelessly which will be fun for gamers being in the same room. For sitting in your living room for bigger games, there’s also a more standard looking controller, probably known as a “pro” controller or something similar.

It’s interesting that it’s going to be a proper console going mobile, rather than a mobile console. So where will the DS line-up fit into all of this?

Games

As for games, there’s the beloved games in the preview; I’m talking about Super Mario and Mario Kart. We also seen Skyrim, Splatoon, NBA 2K17 and Zelda. Nintendo has released a list of all the support which the Switch is going to receive from games, and it’s quite a list. As we know, a gaming console is only as good as the games available for it (Just ask the then-powerful Atari Jaguar!). As for the game storage, it appears to be a card or cartridge similar to an SD card, but will probably be some proprietary Nintendo card.

UK Release Date And Price

The price is TBA, and the release date is March 2017.

My Initial Thoughts

It’s an interesting idea from Nintendo, and I am not sure at the moment if I think it’s brilliant or terrible. It’s a home console which you can carry around with you, it’s bold and new, and something we’ve not really seen before, so it’s hard to judge, especially with the little detail we have. As mentioned, a lot will depend on the spec, games support, as well as the price, and since this is a portable device, how long the battery lasts. If Nintendo can get is all right, it could be pretty hard to resist getting one.

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HP OMEN 15 Gaming Laptop Review

Wednesday, 21st September, 2016

hp-omen15-review-overview

In the past I’ve always associated PC gaming with a traditional PC, because back then, laptops were never really thought of as a gaming machine. However times have changed, and so many people have switched over to a laptop or ultrabook rather than a traditional PC. If you know about gaming then you’ll know that the one thing it needs is power, and I am excited to try out the brand new HP OMEN 15, HP’s PC gaming machine.

The Overview Of HP OMEN 15

So the machine itself is pretty nice. It has a 15.6″ screen which is inside a pretty nice faux-carbon fibre body which is called shadow mesh, and comes  with the red OMEN graphic on the lid. At 2.2kgs it’s actually not too heavy for a 15″ gaming laptop, which are known to be a little on the beefy side. However the relative light weight of the machine does not compromise the power which is under the hood. It packs a 6th generation i7 CPU along with a dedicated Geforce graphics card, SSD drive and 16GB RAM. I’ve got the full details on the spec of this beast below.

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The iPhone 7 And iPhone 7 Plus Announced

Thursday, 8th September, 2016

iphone7-my-thoughts

So yesterday I watched a bit of the Apple conference, and as expected, the iPhone 7 and 7 plus was announced (along with some other stuff like the watch). It was the usual slick presentation, and you have to hand it to Apple, they do these things pretty well. Here’s what we learned about the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, and I reveal why I will not be upgrading.

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Dell XPS 13 2016 Review

Thursday, 25th August, 2016

dell-xps13-me1

I finally got a new laptop, and it’s the Dell XPS 13 2016 edition!

You’ll have seen the Dell XPS 13 laptop on my blog before, and if you follow me you’ll know how much I like this laptop, and how highly I rate it. I have actually had this for a couple of months now, but just got round to writing about it, I’ve been too busy using it!

8 or so years ago I got my first (and possibly last) Apple computer, the MacBook Pro. It was the first of the unibody MacBook’s, and it was great. I really wanted to dip my toe into the Apple world when it came to computers, I like my iPhone and wanted a laptop, so decided to get the MacBook Pro. My requirements were a lot of power, light, and a good design, which this had, and I could use OSX and install Windows too, having the best of both worlds. There wasn’t much in terms of competition, most of the Windows based machines were nothing to write home about, only the Sony Vaio was a decent enough competitor at the time, and as mentioned, I wanted something different.

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Nintendo Classic Mini – Relive The 80s & 90s NES

Thursday, 14th July, 2016

Nintendo Classic Mini Announced

I can’t tell you how excited I was when I heard about this today!

Nintendo announced that they are bringing out a new console…Actually it’s an old one! The original Nintendo, aka NES was one of the first consoles I ever owned, and probably the first “proper” console which I actually had and used, and played games on. I got this when I was around 8 or 9, so early 90’s, but it was actually released in the UK back in 1986. It was an 8-bit console, and this was pretty much what people think of as the start of home gaming in consoles (SEGA had their MasterSystem too).

So today Nintendo are embracing the retro fans with this; The brand new Nintendo Classic Mini. You get the vintage look and feel of an original NES, albeit in a much smaller form, but it’s built with 2016 in mind, which means you can hook it up to a modern TV with an HDMI cable. It comes with 30 games, and the absolute classic are on there, including the Super Mario franchise.

As you’ll have read several months ago, I got a JXD retro gaming tablet which is great, but the bad thing about the unofficial hardware and software is that it can be a bit clunky, since the games were not originally designed for the hardware or software. Since there is a JXD and countless other devices, and have been for a while, I think it’s smart of Nintendo to do this, as there are so many fans of 8-bit and also 16-bit generations of consoles. I would love Nintendo and SEGA to officially release more retro consoles like this, they’d definitely be a hit.

You can get your hands on one of these on 11th November, right in time for Christmas, that’s if they don’t sell out.

I have heard that the UK price is said to be £49.99.

Relive your NES days with a Nintendo Classic Mini

What do you think of this?

List of Nintendo Classic Mini Games

Balloon Fight
BUBBLE BOBBLE
Castlevania™
Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest™
Donkey Kong
Donkey Kong Jr.
DOUBLE DRAGON II: THE REVENGE
Dr. Mario
Excitebike
FINAL FANTASY®
Galaga™
GHOSTS‘N GOBLINS™
GRADIUS™
Ice Climber
Kid Icarus
Kirby’s Adventure
Mario Bros.
MEGA MAN™ 2
Metroid
NINJA GAIDEN®
PAC-MAN™
Punch-Out!! Featuring Mr. Dream
StarTropics
SUPER C™
Super Mario Bros.
Super Mario Bros. 2
Super Mario Bros. 3
Tecmo Bowl™
The Legend of Zelda
Zelda II: The Adventure of Link


My Brand New Geforce GTX 970 Graphics Card

Wednesday, 11th May, 2016

Brand New Graphics Card! The NVIDIA GTX 970

Hey guys!

OK, this is a totally geeky type of post, if you don’t like computers and things like that you can make a coffee or something! 😉

I have always built my own computers since I was back at college, I am into computers so it’s always been a hobby, and building your own machine is not really hard, and you can get something much better than a ready built PC. I know most people use laptops now, but as I’ve mentioned in my fashion bloggers desk post, I love a desktop, mostly because I can build and upgrade rather than having to buy a brand new machine every few years.

I am not a big PC gamer (other than Football Manager obviously!), I have always preferred gaming on a console like my XBOX One or a PlayStation, but when I build a PC I usually go for a decent but not brilliant graphics card. My budget is usually around £100-£200 for a graphics card, and my last one was a respectable Geforce GTX660. It was a pretty good card when I bought it, it supports 4K, I can’t remember how much it was, but it would have been around 100-£200 mark.

Anyway, I have gone and got myself a brand new Geforce GTX 970 card! It’s so much more powerful than the 660, it has 4GB of memory which is 4x more than the 660, and all the rest of the graphical improvements along with it too. I have gone for the EVGA FTW+ model, which is one of the higher spec cards of the 970 range. I had a read for a couple of days for recommendations, but to be honest lots of people were saying different things, so I just took the plunge and got this. There’s probably only the 980 and the TITAN cards which are better, and they are too expensive. This set me back around £300, those other cards are £400-£800 which is too much for me to justify!

You may say why bother upgrading the graphics if you don’t play games…Well it’s to make my PC better, and it will be more “Futureproof”…Not that there is such a thing in computing! 😛 I think VR is going to be a big thing, as with 4K, so a better graphics card will benefit me for these things. Back in the olden days of the early 00’s all you needed to do for a significant upgrade for a computer was buy more RAM…I remember going in computer shops and upgrading from 32MB to 64MB, all in the aid of playing Championship Manager a bit faster, and then later doubling and tripling RAM. Now RAM is not such a big factor, I have 32GB which is more than enough, and 16GB is actually more than you’d really need, it’s become more about graphic power and as always, CPU power too.

So there we go! I am ready for the future, and with all my new graphic power I may even venture in the PC market and buy a game for the PC! 😀


HP Spectre 13 Ultrabook 2016 Edition – First Look

Wednesday, 13th April, 2016

hp-spectre-13-2016-2

WOW…Just Wow!

Back in the day which feels like a lifetime ago (and it was in tech terms) I got a MacBook Pro. That was the first of the unibody Macbooks, way back in 2008. It was beautiful, a design masterpiece, and it’s something which Apple has tweaked and changed over the past few years, but the general design remains the same. Back then it was probably the best looking laptop on the market, and I fancied trying out OSX too…I was not much of a fan, and put Windows on it, and it was still the best Windows offering at the time; Well there may have been a VAIO but I’d already had one of those and wanted a changed.

Fast forward to now and Apple still have the same design, not that it’s bad but it looks a bit dated, and other manufacturers have stepped up their game, and are producing amazing machines for Windows. There’s the Dell XPS with it’s infinity display, The Microsoft Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book, both have impressed me, and now there is this from HP…

Last week Hewlett Packard showed off their brand new HP Spectre 13 and it looks amazing! HP are calling this the thinnest laptop on the market, and it looks simply stunning. The design looks original, sleek and like an ultramodern piece of art, rather than a computer. It looks almost like a blade, like it could cut you, and is a blend of black and golden colours, or copper which HP are calling it. Made from aluminium and carbon fibre it looks simply beautiful. It has Bang and Olufsen sound which you can hear through the stylish speaker grates, and even the HP logo has had a makeover; Gone is the HP in a circle which looks dated, and in comes an edgy HP logo which sits well on the back of the lid of the laptop.

The keyboard is a modern Chiclet style which I actually am not a fan of, but that’s the way the world has gone. It’s backlit which always helps, and like everything else in this laptop, it’s stylish. It comes with a glass trackpad too which is something which I like, a good Windows trackpad has been the downfall of many laptops of the past. They said that the design is based on a piece of jewellery, and that’s something which comes across as soon as you see this. Laptop hinges are usually really ugly if they’re exposed such as this one is, but the colour and metallic design actually adds to this.

As for power it’s no slouch. There’s i5 and i7 CPU options available, with up to 8GB RAM , so blows the MacBook out of the water which uses the M series of processors. The hard drive is a PCIe SSD drive which are usually really fast and go to up 512GB. The screen is a full HD 1080p screen, and comes with three USB-C type ports on the back. Sadly the spec does not go up any further, with the Dell XPS offering 16GB of RAM, this is a real shame, hopefully it may get that option in the future.

There’s no UK pricing on this yet, but it’s set to be released in May with pre-orders being taken in April. It’s around $1169, so you should see them coming in at under £1000, my guess would be starting at £899.

hp-spectre-13-2016-1


Dell XPS – The Best Fashion And Lifestyle Blogger Laptop

Friday, 1st April, 2016

The Dell XPS 13 - Best Laptop For Bloggers

So if you’ve been reading my blog you’ll have seen my desk of a fashion blogger post where I shared my physical space of where I blog on a day to day basis. I love a desktop, but I do have a laptop too, and have been thinking lately of getting an upgrade. The obvious advantages of a laptop are that they are portable, you can work on the go and take them anywhere with you. Being a blogger it can be advantageous having the option of a full-blown PC rather than just a tablet device. There’s so many options on the market these days, so which is the best? I have been looking at the Dell XPS laptop range for a while, and they are brilliant.

Dell XPS 13 – Looks And Display

First off we can start with the easy stuff, the looks. It looks brilliant. It’s sleek, thin, and small. This is the world’s smallest 13.3″ laptop on the market, it packs in the screen, keyboard and all the tech goodies inside the same size frame as it’s 11″ competitors. It’s already a winner in terms of it’s size, getting a 13 inch laptop in an 11 inch space is something which nobody else is doing. This is thanks to it’s beautiful almost borderless design which really sets it apart from the competition. It’s slim too, coming in at 9-15mm, and light to carry weighing only 1.22kgs.

It’s made from aluminium with a carbon fibre composite palm rest, so from the looks and materials used, it’s a premium style of laptop without even getting to the technical specification. The touchpad is made from precision seamless glass and has an integrated button which feels premium.

The XPS uses an UltraSharp QHD+ resolution, 3200×1800, which Dell call Infinity Display. This gives unbelievable detail with 5.7M pixels which is 276ppi, with some models uses a full HD display which gives even more battery life. It comes with a touch screen or non touch screen option, so you can utilize the touchscreen features of Windows 10.

Technical Features

One of the good things about the XPS 13 is that it comes in an array of configurations, with all having fast SSD drives and the latest 6th generation Intel processor, and of course, Windows 10 as an operating system. If you’re looking for space, there’s an option for a 1TB SSD drive, along with a colossal 16GB low profile DDR3 RAM at 1866mhz which will aid in multi-tasking, and super fast i7 CPU. The higher end options come with Intel Iris graphics, with the others coming in with Intel HD graphics.

It comes with features you’d expect to find in any laptop; There’s a widescreen HD webcam, card reader, 2 USB 3.0 ports, a Thunderbolt port, a 3.5mm headset jack as well as a battery gauge so you know exactly how much power you have left. The keyboard is a chiclet style which is backlit, once again emphasising how premium this laptop is.

Battery life is said to be around 10 hours with reasonable usage on the Infinity Display models, which is more than enough for a full day of working and blogging on the go without a re-charge, and the FHD model is said to give a mind boggling 18 hours more than most, if not all laptops in this class.

XPS 15 – The Big Brother

The Dell XPS 13 would be my perfect choice when it comes to laptops, but it has a bigger brother. If you prefer more screen real estate, the XPS 15 is here for you. In terms of looks and build quality it is more of the same as it’s smaller 13″ counterpart. This means that the 15.6″ screen once again fits into a small frame thanks to the tiny bezel, it has the same infinity display, with it kicked all the way up to 4K Ultra HD resolution; Amazing for watching back videos or photos.

The XPS 15 is also a powerhouse. The smaller XPS will do most you will throw at it, for blogging and everything you could want to do it will be more than capable. The XPS 15 comes with another party piece, a dedicated graphics card, a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M with 2GB GDDR5. This will make playing games better, and if you do higher end video rendering or other graphic intensive tasks it will be able to handle them better than it’s little brother.

Verdict

The XPS range is right up there with the best laptops on the market currently. The XPS 13 has so much power and in such a small form factor, not to mention the fact it looks stunning and fashionable. I personally think that it’s currently the best laptop on the market for blogging, and pretty much everything else for that matter. If you want the larger screen size the XPS 15 is the more traditional size, you get the added bonus of it being an even bigger powerhouse, with dedicated graphics if you need that extra performance boost for gaming or high end rendering.

The Dell XPS Laptops start at £849, you can get them at Dell directly here.

This post was written in collaboration with Dell

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