Monday, December 31, 2012

Game Review: Paper Dash


In a flashback to the past, our childhood memories of chucking papers at houses has come back in mobile form. Paper Dash, by Random Salad Games LLC, is one of those classic games that has been done up right. Taking the arcade classic “Paperboy” by Atari (1984) and making the controls touchscreen friendly has been done to perfection.

Paper Dash sets up very quickly with a boy and his bike heading down the road. Then the fun begins with a major accident that causes $10,000 in damages. Your job is to get your paper route, earn $10,000 and pay off all the damages. You earn additional money on your route by collecting pop cans and bottles – among other bonus items. In our first 15-20 minutes of play, we earned $200, so that $10,000 should take quite some time to earn.

The game play is rather simple, just like the original, but as the levels become more advanced, the play becomes harder and harder – almost to the point of being too hard. Paper Dash starts out in the suburbs with nice streets, easy to hit paper boxes and very few obstacles. As you advance, there are more and more objects to avoid, boxes to hit and papers to find.

Paper Dash is one of those perfect classic arcade adaptations that comes along once in a while. Too often, classics become watered down versions of their historic versions, but thankfully, this is not one of those cases. If we were to pick on the low point off the game, it would be that there really needs to be more levels. Hopefully the developer will release a paid version that allows you to go further in the game than the free version, but for now, the ad supported version will keep you entertained for quite some time.

Paper Dash is free in ad supported format, which do not impede the game play at all. You can download it via the Windows Phone Store on your Windows Phone 7, 7.5 or 8 device. You can go directly to the market link by clicking here.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

App Review: SpeedDial Pro

Probably one of the biggest frustrations in Windows Phone is the lack of "auto fill" dialing when calling or texting someone. Auto fill is simply the act of the contact list filtering out people based on the numbers or letters you have already entered. For example, if you press 425 on your device, all of the 206 area codes become a non match and fall out of the list. It makes finding those contacts quicker and easier, but the native Windows Phone dialer doesn't support it.

Fortunately, there is an option in Speed Dial Pro. Simply hit the Speed Dial tile and you are off and running to a simple dialer that allows filtering by name or number. It also allows for quick touch to call or long press to text. With flawless filtering during  testing, this is a must have for anyone missing that Auto Fill feature from their older phones.

The great news is that the $.99 version is free today through App Deals. Grab this deal before it goes away. Try it out and if the features aren't what you are looking for, the stock dialer is just a click of a tile away.

You can pick up App Deals by visiting this link and then download their free App assortment daily from the App directly.

Speed Dial Pro: 4 out of 5 stars (free/$.99)

Sent from my Nokia Lumia 810
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Saturday, December 22, 2012

Pac Man DX and Galaga Legions DX Drop To 99 Cents

For those looking for a bit of mobile entertainment this Christmas weekend, the Store has a hookup for you. Both Pac Man DX and Galaga Legions DX are heavily discounted this weekend to a measly $.99 each. To make this offer even hotter, they are both XBox Live titles.

So, instead of spending hours listening to that boring conversation about Aunt Betty's corn removal surgery, eat some power pellets and blast some aliens. Not only will it be a fun throwback, but you'll start earning a few more achievements for your XBox Live account.

Sent from my Nokia Lumia 810
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Monday, December 10, 2012

Taking A Screen Shot In Windows Phone 8

One of my favorite new features on my Nokia Lumia 810 with Windows Phone 8 is the screen capture feature. For years, I rooted Android phones to accomplish this. As a blogger, you almost need that functionality to use the device for reviews and such.

Step in to the fold, Windows Phone and its lack of screen shooting action. Well, at least until now. Windows Phone 8 certainly added this needed feature, and the folks at Microsoft made it completely simple to use. All the user has to do is press the power button and the Windows key and you have an instant snap shot of your screen.

Reviews take note, I have screen capture back and games to play. Here's to another improvement found in Windows Phone 8, and to hoping it makes the cut to Windows Phone 7.8.

Sent from my Nokia Lumia 810
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Sunday, December 9, 2012

App Review: Games Gone Free

I'm always looking for a better way to find those free Apps and games from the Windows Phone Store. The latest submission to the freebie finder pool is Games Gone Free. The simple App places Apps into categories ranging from price to style of App.

The App is quite well designed, but thr offers aren't all that great. First, many of the "sale" Apps aren't really sales or a decent deal when compared to the regular Store. The Apps that show as $1.00 off are all regular freebies in the Store and the rest are all the normal ad-supported variants of the paid versions.

It isn't that Games Gone Free isn't a helpful App, but the feeling one gets is that the Apps that are highlighted are a special deal. Unlike AppDeals, there doesn't seem to be a rhyme or reason to the setup, but if all you need is a much nicer shopping experience for the Windows Phone Store, they definitely deliver there.

Games Gone Free is available in the Windows Phone Store and is free.

Sent from my Nokia Lumia 810
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Saturday, December 8, 2012

Review: The T-Mobile Nokia Lumia 810

When looking at a new device, we tend to shy away from strictly looking at the spec sheet. Sure, there are plenty of ways those powerhouse phones can dominate, but to the average user the overall experience the device offers is far more important than any quad-core processor or HD screen. With that said, we begin our look at the Nokia Lumia 810.

The Feel

The Nokia Lumia 810, for lack of a better term, feels perfect in hand. Smaller hands appreciate the 4.3" display’s compact size, while those with larger grips feel right at home with the slightly bulkier feel of the 810. The soft-touch plastic back is smooth in hand, and virtually eliminates the thought of it slipping from any surface, including a hand. The 810 has its charging port and speakers on the bottom, camera, power and volume rockers on the right and the earphone jack on the top. There is nothing on the left side of the device. Overall, the design is very pleasant and feels great in hand.

The Performance

The Nokia Lumia 810 isn’t going to win any awards in the spec department, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t perform well. Powered by Windows Phone 8, it’s easy to see why Microsoft partnered with Nokia. You can take all those iOS and Android speed tests and spec sheets and throw them out on this one. The combination of software and hardware has formed a symbiotic relationship. The 810 is the perfect blend of the hardware the average user will ever want and the software to drive it all simply and effectively. Sure, there’s no PureView camera and it doesn’t have a 12000 Gigapixel screen, but where the rubber meets the road, the Lumia 810 simply performs brilliantly.

The Experience


Coming from Windows Phone 7, expectations for 8 were pretty high. Adjustable tiles, NFC, Data Sense and even Kid Mode were all things that jumped off the page as great additions. Honestly, except for the adjustable tiles, Windows Phone 8 like Windows Phone 7. That’s not a bad thing of course, it’s just strange that this ‘big update’ that required a complete hardware reset doesn’t feel different. Looking at the hardware support for Windows Phone 8, the added bonus of using SD storage and dual-core processors was probably the biggest improvement and the 810 takes advantage of both. Dusting off the old 32GB class 10 card and firing up the 810 for the first time yielded a flawless marriage.

The Live Tiles appeared quickly and ready for be moved. The device was aglow in T-Mobile Pink and green. The blacks were darker than normal LCD’s with Nokia Clear Black on board. The colors popped from the screen with almost perfect saturation. The Lumia 810 gets an almost perfect saturation mark as the colors were almost a bit overdone, but it is an absolutely gorgeous display. Scrolling was extremely fast and smooth. Installing Apps over T-Mobile’s HSPA+42 network went almost as fast as running the device off a 20Mbps WiFi connection. Overall, a user couldn’t have a more perfect out of the box experience with a device.

The other point to touch on during the experience portion of this review is the amazing Nokia Windows Phone Software that is available. Smart Shoot is a pretty useful imaging tool that shoots 5 images of the same group of people in rapid fire mode. You can then select which face you want from each person and stitch the perfect image together. Cinemagraph actually adds animation to your photos… You just have to try it to see how impressive it is. Nokia Music is the ultimate free offline/streaming music client for Nokia phones. Once you try it, you’ll have to decide if you still need unlimited data or not. Of course, there’s Nokia Maps, possibly the best mobile navigation software out, and the only one that offers full offline mapping now. And last but not least Nokia City Lens. Want to find a restaurant? Pick up your phone, open City Lens and tap Food. It shows you everything in town and then some…

As far as handling social media and email accounts, the 810 also handled my 5 email accounts, Facebook account, 2 Google Voice accounts (check out MetroTalk and GoVoice if you are a Google Voice user), and my 4 Twitter accounts easily and within minutes and I was connected to my social world once again. Windows Phone has done this since day one, and still continues to impress everyone that sees it with this feature.

Overall Impressions

The Nokia Lumia 810 is billed as a ‘lower end’ device by most of the reviews out there. Sure, it’s not as prolific as its big brother, the Lumia 920, but the 810 isn’t aimed at the same market. The 810 is for the business professional that needs a good camera, a solid device that takes a hit or two. A device that will deliver corporate emails and personal ones. A device that will let them keep tabs on their LinkedIn network and Facebook. It allows a quick edit to that PowerPoint before going into the office. It’s the ultimate pocket business machine, or the perfect mobile office.

The Nokia Lumia 810 is also perfect for those that are social media fanatics. The Lumia 810 and it’s HSPA+42 speeds simply make the perfect combination for music and movie lovers. With over 120,000 real Apps in the Windows Store, there’s enough entertainment to keep you busy for hours on end. The 8MP camera will capture all those moments that need to be put on Facebook or Twitter with ease. Overall, the average social mogul will appreciate how simple Windows Phone and the Nokia 810 make life.

There is an argument to be made about over-paying for the 810 at $149.99 due to the fact that the 920 is cheaper on other carriers. This becomes a moot point if you look at non-contract pricing or even the sales that are currently running on the 810. The Nokia software that is available in the Windows Phone Store adds an incredible value to the handset. These include Nokia Music (offline music listening), Nokia Maps/Drive (offline – yes no data connection needed – mapping and navigating), and many others.

As a proponent of non-contract wireless, the $499.99 non-contract price is a bit tougher sell, but one has to remember that this phone will be upgradable for quite some time. If you factor that a Lumia 800, which the 810 seems to be a perfect replacement to is still selling used for $200-300, even after the not-upgradable announcement, one has to assume that the Lumia 810 will hold its value just as well.

Overall, if you are happy with your T-Mobile coverage and are looking for that next upgrade right now, check out the Nokia Lumia 810. The device is solid, offers an amazing assortment of Nokia specific Windows Phone software and delivers an experience that impressed even this reviewer. The Nokia Lumia 810 is available now and still in stock from Amazon Wireless and T-Mobile stores to have in time for Christmas.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Why Are HTC 8x Sales Soft Compared To The Nokia Lumia 920?

In the world of all things cellphones, there isn’t a better indicator of the hottest devices than the Top 100 Rankings on If you hit that page right now, this is the images that presents itself in all its glory…

You are then met with the Top 10 List off to the side, where the Samsung Galaxy S III takes the top four spots, before the Motorola Droid Razr Maxx breaks in to the top 5. Finally, after a few more Android devices, we see the Nokia Lumia 920 in the 10th spot. This is pretty remarkable given the device is all but sold out everywhere, but how poorly marketed is the additional Windows Phone lineup when there are no others to be seen?

At number 44, Nokia comes in with the Lumia 820, and finally at 47, we see the HTC 8X super phone. Even after the huge launch events, premium branding and features that destroy the best smartphones on the planet, the new HTC offering is just not being accepted like it should be.

The HTC 8X in all rights is a superphone. It is the best combination of amazing hardware, stellar software and a simplistic user interface. It fits anyone from the smartphone newbie to a seasoned smartphone hacker. Sure, they made some compromises where they needed to, just to keep the phone’s cost under $1000, but overall, it’s a perfect marriage of technology and fit.

Running on the Verizon Wireless or AT&T’s LTE networks or even T-Mobile’s HSPA+ network, the 8X offers plenty of speed downloading those new tunes, streaming a hit flick from Netflix, or even downloading the monster PowerPoint presentation you need for that important meeting in just a few seconds. The device is modestly priced between $99 and $199 on contract or a monstrous $599 off contract.

The 4.3” HD display delivers amazing performance and clarity. Colors are rich and well saturated. The 1.5 Ghz dual-core processor drives Windows Phone faster than any device, ever. The built-in Beats Audio processor creates the most realistic music experience available on mobile devices today. Before we pass over the rest of the specs of this beastly device, we have to take a moment to visit the cameras – and yes, we need to cover both…

First up, the backside shooter delivers amazing 8MP photos. With the SmartLED flash technology working with the f/2.0 lens, even the lowest light photos turnout stunning. Shooting video with the rear shooter will reveal amazing quality 1080p video. On the flip side, literally, the front side 2.1MP shooter features an extra wide angle (88 degree view) and a similar f/2.0 aperture lens. It is also capable of shooting the same 1080p video as well.

With this hardware driving the Windows Phone 8 software, we find it amazing that more people aren’t falling for this device the second they touch it. Live Tiles, Kid’s Corner, SkyDrive and the People Tile are enough for most people to run their lives from the HTC 8X. When you add in the full versions of Microsoft Office, Outlook email, Exchanged Calendars and more, the business professional will be more than at home with this powerhouse in their pocket.

If you haven’t checked out the HTC 8X on Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile or AT&T yet, you owe it to yourself to visit your carrier store and take a quick peek at it. Not only will you be impressed, but you just might wonder why you didn’t line up for one of these on release day.