iPhone 5 review

The excitement of the rumour mill, the titillation of every leaked photo led to higher than ever levels of expectation over the iPhone 5 features, and while the announcement was greeted with some derision at the lack of perceived headline improvements, the record sales tell an entirely different story.
Given the underwhelming changes to the iPhone 4S, the iPhone 5 launch really needs to re-energise customers to prove Apple can repeat the game-changing trick it managed with the iPhone 4.
The iPhone 5 price is predictably high, so consumers will need to bear that in mind too when looking for their next smartphone.


We'll begin in the traditional manner: how the thing actually feels in the hand. With the iPhone 5 there will be many types of prospective buyer: the upgrader from the 4 (or more-money-than-sense iPhone 4S upgraders), those tired of their Android handset and those taking their first steps in the smartphone market and want to get one of them iThingies their friend/child has.

iPhone 5 review
Well, all of those picking up the iPhone 5 will have the same reaction: this thing is amazingly light. You've probably heard the numbers by now (20 per cent lighter than the predecessor, as well as beating most of the opposition too at 112g.)
It's an odd sensation, but it actually detracts from the experience when you first pick it up. We've praised the weighty feel of the iPhone in the past, lending it a premium feel in the face of toy-like phones, and it's almost disappointing that Apple decided to join that clan.
However, through extended use this problem quickly disappears, as the overall effect of the phone is still a chassis designed for strength, it just sits more anonymously in the pocket.
You'll obviously see the change in height too – the iPhone 5 stands 123.8mm tall to allow for the larger 4-inch screen. In truth, those not familiar with the iPhone 4S probably wouldn't notice the difference, which is why it's a good move from Apple to include the larger screen if it's not going put people off that hate larger phones.

iPhone 5 review
The decision to stick at 4-inches is Apple's admission that while it recognises people are all over the idea of having more screen real estate to play with it doesn't want to move away from the thumb-friendly nature of the device.
Through a mixture of moving the centre of gravity slightly as well as repositioning the screen within the bezel, it's still possible to scroll your thumb mostly around the whole display one-handed, which Apple is clearly keen to keep hold of.

iPhone 5 review
However, we're not convinced of that argument any more, and the power button was still a little out of reach when using the phone normally, as was anything in the top left-hand corner of the screen.
This was no issue in reality, as scooting the phone down a touch in the palm is a natural action. But if that's the case, then why not offer a 4.3-inch screen at least?
There's more to a phone than a screen these days (although increasingly less and less) and the general construction of the iPhone 5 is excellent to say the least.

iPhone 5 review
We've tested both the ceramic white version and the anodised black, and the two tone effect on the back of the phone is stunning, both visually and under the finger.
It doesn't beat the sheer beauty of the HTC One S, with its micro-arc oxidised back and rounded lines, but it's well-set in second place.

iPhone 5 review
The two sections of pigmented glass at the top and the bottom of the phone add a pleasant effect, and the sapphire glass is meant to be thoroughly durable, to complement the Gorilla Glass on the front.
Apple knows consumers get furious when they drop and iPhone, and is clearly seeking to stop the smashes before they happen with a tougher exterior - although it seems the anodised black version is pretty prone to scratching, with a number of users mentioning chipping on the darker hue.
Phil Schiller, Apple's Senior Vice President of Marketing, reportedly replied to an email from a user pointing out that aluminium will scratch and chip in natural use - and we're also hearing that white iPhone 5 models are being returned through flaking as well.
We kept our black iPhone 5 in a soft pocket in a bag for much of its life, yet saw the following chip with minimal key / coin contact in under a fortnight:

iPhone 5 chip
For a device of this premium quality, users will expect it to survive the pocket test, and especially do so for the first two weeks of life. It's a big fail for Apple to expect users to accept that a product can be damaged so easily.
The same industrial band around the outside is in effect again as on the iPhone 4 and 4S, with small sections removed where the antenna joins.
Apple has gone for a more advanced form of antenna here, meaning the days of lost signal are gone, and generally increasing the power of your call connection and GPS lock on too.

iPhone 5 review
There are other big design changes here too: the headphone jack has moved to the bottom of the phone, and the iconic 30-pin connector has been retired in favour of the new Lightning port, giving a headache to all those that have invested in chargers, docks and other accessories over their iPhone lives.
You can buy an adaptor, but it's pricey at £25. And unless you want to keep it permanently attached to the bottom of the iPhone 5 you'll need to buy a few, which is far from ideal.
However, let's not harangue Apple too much for this: a smaller connector is not only easier to use (you can plug the smaller cable in either way round, and the connection feels more solid), but you're rewarded with a thinner and more compact phone to boot.

iPhone 5 review
There's also a small chink of light on the top right hand side of the iPhone 5 - when the screen is illuminated, you can see it under the band if you really, really look for it. It's been seen by a number of users, but is hard to actually replicate unless you mask the screen and hold it at the right angle.
It's again a sign of slightly under-par machining from Apple, but in day to day use it's almost completely invisible.
The decision to move the 3.5mm headphone jack to the bottom is an odd one, as while it allows you to slip the phone into the pocket head-first when listening to music, which is a more natural action, it's a real pain in the posterior for some apps that will only work in landscape a certain way up.
Using it this way means your headphones experience will be one of having to jiggle the jack around two fingers.
It's not the most comfortable way to hold a phone, and even when using the phone in portrait mode, the jack gets in the way somewhat. Plus it's miles away from the volume keys, which makes it hard to change the audio level in the pocket if you don't use the dedicated headphones.
There are other smaller design changes to the iPhone 5 too, such as the iSight front-facing camera moving to the middle and the home button being noticeably more robust to help reduce instances of a broken portal to your home screen.

iPhone 5 review
But enough about what the phone looks like - the killer question is how the thing feels in hand. And we'll sum it up by saying: smooth. It's a little slippery, and we were always worried we would drop the darned thing.
But that's the only negative thing about the design (apart from the low weight initially and scratching aluminium) as it sits in the palm nicely and allows you to do it all with one hand, including hitting the top-mounted power/lock button with ease.
That lock button is actually still loose, as it was on the iPhone 4S, meaning when you shake the phone around you can hear it clicking away, which undoes a lot of the premium feel Apple is going for.
Make no mistake, the iPhone 5 is one of the most beautifully crafted phones out there - but when you're paying £529 up front for the thing, we'd hope this would be the very minimum Apple would be doing.

iPhone 5 review
And while it looks nice, from the front it doesn't really add much to the design of the iPhone - it's certainly not the same as the jaw-dropping design of the iPhone 4 compared to the 3GS... it's another evolution in the iLine. It's not bad, but for those that hoped the iPhone 5 would be another step change there's a good chance they'll be disappointed about the look... until they feel the lovely back on offer.
There was a real chance here for Apple: remove the bezel and give the front of the screen a look that's similar to the OLED TVs from the likes of Samsung or LG… but instead we're treated to the same lines as before.
You always get the feeling that Apple saves what it can for the next iteration of the iPhone, and while there's nothing wrong with the current construction we can see the edge-to-edge screen becoming something amazing on the iPhone 6 or iPhone 5S.

Snap2PDF – Scan Documents & Share Searchable PDF review

Snap2PDF - Scan Documents & Share Searchable PDF
The Snap2PDF iPhone app uses your iOS camera to create and share PDF documents. With a simple click, you can categorize and easily stay on top of bills, permission slips, forms, and more.
The Snap2PDF iPhone app has absolutely no tutorial, so you must figure out how to use it with a bit of trial and error. For productivity iOS apps, pop-ups and tutorials are–in most cases–a necessity. You have purchased an iPhone app to make life easier, not to make you lose time figuring out what the icons do. Three or four screens with tools, hints, and suggestions that are scrolled with horizontal finger swipes would be excellent additions.
There is a menu bar at the top of the screen where your PDFs are stored alphabetically in a similar interface to the iOS Newsstand app. If you want to sort them by category, you tap the icon in the upper left hand corner. You are transported to a page to create and sort categories. You simply tap a plus, type a category, and it is automatically added to your list. This is a great feature for busy professionals, but also a great tool for families. Every child has a different permission slip and set of forms, and it is helpful to sort easily.
The top menu bar also has three additional icons to access functionality. You can upload a PDF by snapping a photo or selecting one from an existing photo in your library with the camera icon. After you snap the photo, you can rotate, crop, and choose language. Then, you add a name, description, category, and keyword. The PDF is automatically dated and stamped. The icon with the hammer in the top right gives you a chance to categorize a bill, if the existing category did not exist at time of upload. An improvement would be the ability to add a category at the time of upload instead of returning to the PDF in a different screen. You can also email the PDF and sync with Dropbox. Your settings icon allows you to establish the sync, as well as the default resolution of the PDF.
The Snap2PDF iPhone app is an excellent tool for loading and generating a PDF from your iPhone camera. It does not, however, have tools to sign, add text, and further manipulate a PDF. Snap2PDF’s absence of editing tools like DocuSign Ink’s iPhone app makes it less functional. If you are looking for a way to streamline paper clutter, then the Snap2PDF iPhone app is a solid option.

Temple Run 2 review

Temple Run 2
The Temple Run 2 iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad app is an exciting game where you guide your runner through an obstacle course, earn power-ups and abilities with your accurate gesture controls, and save a precious idol in the process. The graphics are an intriguing mix of Indiana Jones meets the Mayans, and the gesture controls’ simplicity fool you into believing the game will be easy to beat.
The Temple Run 2 iPhone app has an excellent tutorial process to get you started. The home screen has an ancient temple graphic and text that encourages you to to grab the idol and run. To introduce you to the gesture controls, the directions appear briefly on the screen. Then, you have a chance to try them out on the actual course. You will appreciate the ability to experiment with each gesture control and get the hang of it within the game’s interface. You use vertical and horizontal swipes intuitively. To jump, you swipe up. To slide under an obstacle, you swipe down. To turn left, you swipe to the left horizontally. A right turn requires a right horizontal swipe. You tilt your iPhone in the appropriate direction to grab coins and power-ups. You double tap to use a power-up.
temple run 2 iphone app review
The gamescape of the Temple Run 2 game is filled with details and challenges. You are running from a monster, so the perspective is just behind your character. When the monster creeps up, you’ll see it just behind you. This perspective also gives you just enough time to use the appropriate gesture. The gesture controls are extremely accurate. For example, as you approach a turn, you have to swipe exactly to the left or right. If you try to make the turn with your character by swiping vertically just a bit then to the right, you will jump and miss the turn. The fast-paced nature of the game makes you want to use gesture controls that simply will not create successful results. The ability to be calm, show restraint, and be accurate is the key to winning this game. Appropriate timing and perfection in gesture controls are necessities, as you encounter bridges, ziplines, waterfalls, ruins, and wheels with spikes. You may need to tilt, swipe up, and swipe to the right in just a couple of seconds to grab coins, gems, and power-ups.
You can earn points quickly. As you earn points, you can change characters. You can also earn abilities and power-ups to double your coins, boost your speed, spawn, and protect yourself. You can also make an in-app purchase to select from different abilities and power-ups ranging in price from $.99 to $19.99.
temple run 2 iphone app review
Both addictive and exciting, the Temple Run 2 iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad app is a great choice, and the free price makes it a no-brainer for those who like to earn rewards instead of purchase them.

Givit Video Highlighter review

Givit Video Highlighter
Are you looking for a video editing iPhone app to trim your videos of the boring fluff or unintentional misspoken words, so you can keep the most important moment you captured? The Givit Video Highlighter iPhone video editing app is a solid choice to edit, enhance, and share your videos. It has simple tools and functions that appeal to most–including the ability to strictly control your sharing. The Givit Video Highlighter iPhone app also has some fantastic, unexpected video enhancement tools like instant replays, changes in speed, and nuanced transitions.
givit video highlighter iphone app
The Givit Video Highlighter iPhone app has a nice intro video, but you will find the tips, tricks, and hints in helpful pop-ups and sliding navigation bars. There are pop-ups that shade the screen and a menu bar with directions to help you understand the gesture controls. Generally, you will make your Givit video with just taps on the appropriate icon.
You can create videos through the in-app camera by touching the record now icon on the home screen, or you can choose existing videos in your iPhone photo gallery with a touch on create highlight. After an authorization to access the photos, you will find a matrix grid of your videos. The advantage to shooting a video through the in-app camera is the ability to select highlights from your video during the recording process. The interface to select the most cherished moment of the video is the same. You tap on the screen to highlight the previous seven seconds on the left side of the video, or you tap on the right side of the video to highlight the video currently recording.
givit video highlighter iphone app
After you have selected videos or you shoot them, you move to the editing interface. There are four choices–highlight, effects, music, and finish. With highlight, you select the preferred parts of your videos. You can select several videos to link together into one movie. In the effects section, each highlight and the transition period between each highlight can be manipulated with a touch on a selection. For the video, there are several icons that pop-up on the menu bar at the bottom of the screen like slow, fast, instant replay, and double take. For the transitions, you can fade to black, slide, and zoom. You can play with the video and transition effects to add your personal touch. With music, you can select the level of the audio from the video you created. There is a volume bar, so you can select to emphasize a song from your iTunes music library or the video audio. The sharing features of the Givit Video Highlighter iPhone app allow you to share your video with YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, or selected private users.
Instead of telling a friend who is watching your video, “Just wait. The good stuff is coming up.” With the Givit Video Highlighter iPhone app, it’s just the good stuff.

Animoog review

Animoog is the newest iPad app from Moog Music. Despite being a four letter word, when it comes to synthesis, names don’t get much bigger than Moog. A legend in analogue synthesis, Moog’s contributions to the growing iOS musical apps scene are always fascinating.
Animoog is the latest of such efforts. Proving that disses aren’t the sole preserve of the hip-hop community, Moog have billed their newest app as the first “professional” analogue synthesis app for the iPad. Ouch.
Animoog iPad app review
So what separates Animoog from the slew of other music apps out there? And does it justify its hefty $30 price tag?
Well the engine behind Animoog is Moog’s new Anisotropic Synthesis Engine, a name alone that sounds expensive. Fortunately this isn’t just clever branding as Animoog captures the vast sonic vocabulary of Moog synthesizers, bottling years of experience into a formidable looking interface.
Animoog iPad app review
Moog’s “mission statement” as far as Animoog is concerned, is to take their real world analogue synthesis prowess and apply it to the modern touch surface paradigm, which means user can quickly sculpt incredibly fluid and dynamic sounds that live, breathe, and evolve as you play them.
So does this dream align with reality? And is it any fun? Well yes and yes. The first thing you’re likely to notice when you fire up Animoog is the giant X/Y pad that dominates the screen real estate. This “allows you to dynamically move through an X/Y space of unique timbres to create a constantly evolving and expressive soundscape”. Is less high-falutin’ language it enables you to visualise the way your sounds evolve and interact with the development of notes as you play them. The app-dev team obviously had a lot of fun with this as the present sounds come in a colourful variety of shapes like triangles, stars and question marks.
Animoog iPad app review
Rather than ignore the realities of touch screen life or religiously try to recreate existing synths, Animoog fully embraces the iPad’s surface. With Polyphonic Modulation you can simply slide your fingers to control multiple modulation parameters in Animoog right from the keys, which makes doing so whilst performing feel natural and intuitive. In addition Moog threw in some Polyphonic Pitch Shifting, so you can easily manipulate the exact pitch of each note in a chord by rotating or sliding your fingers.
An app synth is only as good as what you put in and Animoog’s diverse library of timbres is derived from analog waveforms captured from classic Moog oscillators, both vintage and modern, and run through a boutique’s worth of high-end outboard and analog signal processors, including modular synth panels, Moogerfooger pedals and more.
So whilst “the first professional synth for the iPad” might seem like a bold claim, it’s definitely the first to justify such a hefty price tag.

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Reckless Racing 2 review

Reckless Racing 2 is here for the iPad and iPhone from Polarbit and sells for $4.99 in the App Store. If you like top down miniature 3D drag racing games, RR2 is a worthy app purchase. The original game (Reckless Racing) had tremendous success and a sequel is a welcomed addition.
The game starts out asking you to choose an avatar from one of 17 hand drawn characters and entering your name. Reckless Racing 2 introduces dynamic difficulty where the game engine will automatically adjust the difficulty level to match how good (or bad) you are playing.
Reckless Racing 2 review
Reckless Racing 2 has 4 gameplay modes: Career, Arcade, Single Event, and online multiplayer.
Career mode: Play and unlock 12 cups. Winning one unlocks the next cup. The initial rookie cup is called Roadrunners and you can work your way all the way up to Outer Peak. Every cup comes with anywhere from 3-5 races for you to complete. Each event has a unique set of challenges to complete (Race, Hot Lap, or Elimination) and you earn difficulty points as well based on your effort level.
Arcade Mode: Finish races in 3rd place or higher to move to the next challenge. There are a total of 40 challenges in this mode.
Single Event Mode: Here you are free to jump in and race in any track, cup, & event with any car you’ve unlocked. Play in either a race, hot lap or an elimination race.
Online Multiplayer: Either host a race or join an already hosted online game room and race against other users.
Reckless Racing 2 review
Garage: View your cars on a platform and rotate the car using touch gestures by dragging it up/down/left/right. Your garage starts out with one car, the Sansiban XL. Winning races earns you prize money that can be used to buy additional cars, upgrade performance such as Speed, Acceleration, and Handling, or change the look of your cars such as rims and paint jobs.
Controls: Choose from 5 steering and gas control options. The standard setup gives you 4 buttons (2 for steering and 2 for steering) which gives you the best amount of control overall. Adjusting the steering sensitivity can help fine tune getting around corners further to you liking. Other control presets are Tilt, Halfwheel, Fullwheel, and Tank. You can also customize the placement and size of onscreen control buttons. The game engine provides for realistic physics when you collide with objects alongside the road like gravel, sand, cones, railings. The action packed powerslides, drift racing action that made the first episode famous are all back with a vengeance. You can even fall off cliffs and bridges if you’re not careful.
Options: Show or hide the Race Line, Pace Note, Chase Camera, and the Mini Map, plus the ability to disable Dynamic Difficulty.
In-app Purchases: If you don’t feel like earning your money, Reckless Racing 2 let’s you buy credits via real money. Coin packs cost anywhere from 1-$10 for 50,000 to 2,000,000 credits.
Graphics: RR2 has noticeably higher quality graphics and better HD quality artwork. Characters, race maps and the 18 new cars all look extremely polished. Playback on the iPad 2 and iPhone 4S are smooth and fluid.
Complaints: Tilt controls are nearly unusable in the game. Not many people in the online game rooms yet, though this will most likely improve as more iOS users buy this game. In game music is quite repetitive and borderline mind numbing in RR2 and desperately needs some variety. What’s missing is the fun banjo music that gave the original character. Leadrerboards require registering for a new an account with Pixelbite.
Reckless Racing 2 adds value with its fully customizable race cars and HD graphics with a ton of new races and tracks to complete, enough to keep you busy for quite some time.

Download Reckless Racing 2 at iTunes App Store
Price: $4.99
Developer: Polarbit AB
Version: 1.0.0
Size: 111.11 MB

Super Snack Time review

Super Snack Time
The Super Snack Time iPhone app is an arcade game that incorporates elements of pinball and Space Invaders. The free download from the iTunes App Store is fun and appealing, but the simplicity of the gestures and the relatively slow movement of certain elements of the game in the early stages may turn off those who prefer more complex iOS games.
The Super Snack Time iPhone app has a typical free game interface. The simple home screen offers one touch selections to play by selecting levels, play arcade style (available with unlock), shop, and adopt. You can also earn coins by connecting on Facebook and Twitter. The screen for play by levels is fun, and it is reminiscent of Super Mario Galaxy. There are five, quasi-planets, and you start with the highlighted one in the upper left hand corner. At first, you just tap the world, tap the level, and hit play. As you unlock skills and power-ups, then you can tap additional items bought or unlocked and incorporate them into your game play.
super snack time iphone app review
The Super Snack Time characters are known as gobblens, and they are cute, circular blobs that you fling and toss at obstacles crossing in the sky. In a similar vein as Space Invaders, the obstacles move across the screen in different layouts. There are berries that require multiple wallops to eliminate them. You may hit dynamite to explode and take out multiple obstacles at once. You earn extra points by knocking out multiple obstacles at one time through achievements and power-ups. You can also hit cannons and high-powered items to win, and then, you use them to shoot more frequently and earn points quickly.
To shoot an item out of the sky, you point and fling your gobblen with a simple swipe and flick. The flick is a responsive gesture control. You can pull back and release, or simply fling it into the sky. To use a power-up, you adjust the direction of the item with your finger and tap the icon. The gobblen can also bounce off exploding items and the side of the screen, then take out additional obstacles for extra points. You can spend your points on costumes, power-ups, and rewards.
super snack time iphone app review
The Super Snack Time iPhone app has responsive gesture controls, nice graphics, and a solid interface. It doesn’t get too fast and difficult quickly, and it may not suck folks in swiftly. The arcade mode would make up for the slow arrival of challenges, and it’s unlocked in just a handful of levels. It’s certainly worth a look for those who enjoy arcade iOS games.