I’ve shared my favourite things so here are my biggest letdowns.
- Star Wars Battlefront II : I don’t think I need to highlight the loot crate situation that highlighted EA’s greed to everyone. Yes, this was a big reason but also the first person mode in game felt broken. Confusing customisation and weird UX just made it feel like a rushed game with no love gone into it. I’m glad the community stood up together against EA and although in game purchases are turned off for now it’s still a poorer game than the first Battlefront (which I’m still playing and having fun with).
- Formula 1 2017 : I love my F1 games and I had high hopes coming off the 2016 version. Well the 2017 version reuses most of the assets and ultimately feels like the same game. The physics and driving still feels good but the graphics just don’t come near to the competition. People looks strange and the constant screen tearing reminds me of a 10 year old game. I’ll pick up when it’s £10, that’s all it’s worth.
- Sony 4K HDR TV : This was a pricey TV that suffered from lack of support from Sony to keep Android optimised and up to date. Everything felt slow, confusing and too many steps to do anything. The picture was ok but the OS just meant for a bad experience.
- iOS 11 : So many little niggles for me from a UX and UI perspective. Bugs everywhere and even on an iPhone X it feels sluggish at times. It’s been a bad year for Apple in software and I’m hoping all of the lessons taken from 2017 will improve things in 2018.
- VW Golf GTE : I wanted to love my new car but now I’m a few months in I really don’t like the VW hybrid implementation. I’m finding that for local miles it’s great, if I have a charge I’ll be good on electric. Unfortunately my job requires doing a lot of motorway driving, this isn’t good for a hybrid. Even with a full battery (around 20 miles) I’m getting 40MPG. On a low battery it can be as low as 25MPG on a long run (200 miles). I really want to love hybrid but for me based on the VW experience I’ll be going all electric with a Tesla Model 3 or petrol for my next car.
- Sonos Play 1 : Sounds good but for me the implementation ruins the experience. The app is slow to respond and when using Apple Music it gets bogged down if you have a lot of music. Streaming is pretty solid in terms of play time after hitting play within the app and drop outs however. I’ll be looking at selling and getting a HomePod as soon as I can.
Here are my letdowns, what are some of yours?
Thought I’d share some of my favourite things from 2017. No particular categories just anything that gave me some joy this year.
- Thor Ragnarok : Up there with The Last Jedi as my favourite film of the year and along with Guardians of the Galaxy one of my favourite Marvel films so far.
- Star Wars, The Last Jedi : Very polarising film based on public opinion but on second watching it cemented it as one of my favourite Star Wars films. It plays with some of the rules of the universe, has lots of shocking moments and takes old characters in interesting new ways.
- Stranger Things Season 2 : One of the most original, compelling and well acted TV series of the last 10 years in my opinion. Season 1 was amazing, season 2 took up it up a notch.
- Nintendo Switch : My gadget of the year, goes everywhere with me. Bought on day 1 of release and played almost every day since. Just wish the older games were out so that I could relive the NES and SNES days.
- Zelda Breath of the Wild : What can I say, not been this drawn into a game like this since the original uncharted. It feels like being inside something like middle earth and I think I put almost 100 hours into it. I don’t think I’ve ever been this obsessed with a game in my life.
- GT Sport : Always been a fan of Gran Turismo since the original PlayStation. This new 4K HDR version feels like I’ve come back home. Loads of cars, loads of single player challenges and a cracking online option.
- Lego BB-8 : Hands down my favourite bit of Lego I’ve done all year and a must for any Star Wars fan.
- Sphero R2-D2 : If you can pick this up for under £100 then it’s a must, again if you are a Star Wars fan.
- iPad Pro 10.5″ : Apple have made some good hardware this year but my pick has to be the new iPad Pro. Paired with the Smart Keyboard cover and Pencil it is easily my favourite “computer ” Apple has ever made. As with my Nintendo Switch it goes everywhere with me.
- LG B7 OLED : Dropping our Sony with Android and grabbing this webOS enabled LG is one of the best decisions I’ve made all year. The quality of OLED blows me away every time I watch it and HDR adds a 3D quality you have to see rather than me try to describe.
- Apple AirPods: I know they technically didn’t come out this year but that’s when I’ve been using them. Easy to set up, use across devices and design to easily make them my favourite headphones of all time. I still think they look a little funny but I’ll take it over wires dangling and getting caught on things.
So here’s some of my favourite things this year, what are some of yours?
There’s been a lot said in the press and on social media after Apple admitted they slow down hardware with less than optimal batteries.
It’s now resulted in them publicly apologising and reducing the cost of their battery replacement service.
I’m left thinking do I still trust them?
Well, in a nutshell yes.
They stated a while ago that they would be making changes in iOS to address random shutdowns and it would be mad for them to purposely slow down older hardware. A portion of the users slowed down would surely switch to Android.
They failed big time in their communications this time around and hope they learn a hard lesson. The perception that they slow down older hardware to make you buy new is going to haunt them for at least 5 years.
This on top of other software problems isn’t good reading for Apple in 2017. I’m hoping they put a lot of effort into their software in 2018.
I still trust Apple above any other technology company with my data and trust they are making the software decisions based on current hardware limitations.
I tend to get a couple of Lego Star Wars kits a year, when I saw the BB-8 larger model it had to go on my wish list. Well I must have been good because Santa brought me one this year.
This kit is one of the more tricky I’ve done and requires a bit of forcing! The main body is held together by an elastic band until you get all of the sides on so be prepared for some swearing.
Assembly took about 4 hours at a relaxed pace and aside from the above it’s a pretty easy one.
I’d guess that anyone over the age of 10 will be ok with this but might need a hand with the centre section of the body.
Once assembled it had a moving head and lighter opening. You control these via either side, spinning the disc on each side will move the mechanism inside to make the magic happen.
This is the first Lego I’ve had with a display stand. It’s actually pretty great and comes with a mini fig you can put just in front of your full sized model.
So overall if you are any kind of Star Wars fan then this is a must buy. As a Lego collector it’s not a complicated build so best if you are a fan of BB-8.
I’ve owned the PSVR since launch and now we are over 9 months on I wanted to share my thoughts on whether it was a good purchase and if it’s worth investing in yourself.
Spoiler: it’s not worth the investment.
When it launched and for quite a few weeks afterwards I was loving playing job simulator and demoing it to visitors. I then started to notice very little being added to the catalog with VR support.
With the exception of Resident Evil there wasn’t anything worth buying. Loading the store and trying to find VR games got a little demoralising and now PSVR has dropped in importance on the front page.
This coupled with the feeling that no games makers are embracing the platform has me worrying for its future.
The only game on the horizon that makes me excited is Ace Combat but I’ll get motion sickness. I’ve found slower paced VR games sit better with me .
I’m left with a device that’s sole purpose is to play job simulator.
Sony haven’t invested the time and money it takes to get game developers on board and take it seriously. Unfortunately like a lot of Sony projects I feel this is destined for the scrap heap.
Ambitious and a groundbreaking price for the technology but I feel strongly that it’s not living up to it’s promise and one to avoid.
I may look back on this post with embarrassment in a few years but I’m confident in saying VR just isn’t mainstream enough.
I’ve been typing on keyboards for as long as I can remember (ZX Spectrum was my first computer if you are interested!) and it’s all catching up on me as I get older. I have experienced shoulder, hand and wrist pain over the years of working on a computer for 8 hours a day and wanted to share how the iPad has been helping me to manage this.
If you have been following me for a while you will know that I am a big advocate of using an iPad to get your work done and with the incoming iOS 11 update it’s an even more important time to start to look at if you can alter your work habits.
I’ve found using an iPad Pro as my daily machine for writing and as a supplement to my 9-5 machine to really improve how I use a computer and thus having a positive impact on my RSI issues.
In my day job I am at a standard Dell laptop but supplementing this with my iPad has made a difference to how I’m sat and my posture throughout the day. I use my iPad for all my notes and sketches in the day (I’m in meetings at least 2 hours a day). Using the iPad encourages me to change my position, allows me to stand up and walk around and change my hand position.
90% of what I do on this site is produced on the iPad and Apple Pencil. Using this combination allows me to change my sitting position, use the on screen keyboard, the smart keyboard cover and the pencil for navigation – basically it gives me loads of flexibility.
I also find that I enjoy using the pencil for navigation as a way to take a break from typing and walking around with it allows me to give my shoulders a rest.
SO DOES IT ACTUALLY HELP?
Unscientifically for me – yes.
I find that the iPad forces me to change my position and with the pencil on hand to navigate with it gives my wrists a much needed rest. It’s important to point out that regular rests (every 30 mins or so), even if it’s just standing and sitting again is important anyway and having an iPad on hand to use especially in the day job forces me to break my laptop typing and use something else.
Get up, walk around with the iPad and make the most of this amazing technology we have at our fingertips.
I’ve had about 2 hours with the Sphero R2-D2 so wanted to share a few of my thoughts on using it so far. (For context I already own the Sphero BB-8 and am using on iOS).
- The box is beautifully made and the unboxing experience is a step up from BB-8
- Couldn’t see any instructions in my box
- Comes with micro USB to charge
- Has a charge indicator on the droid, this is great
- Having sounds coming from Artoo is great, BB-8 doesn’t
- On board LED lights are great and he looks just like the movies
- Easier to control than BB-8
- More predefined actions at the tap of a single button
In short, I love this new Sphero. It’s a must for any Star Wars fan if you can get it under £100.
I love Lego, especially Star Wars ones and I was so pleased to receive the new BB-8. These come with the minifig and a stand to display it all.
I’m looking forward to the build and I’ll report back on it with a full review.
I saw my second viewing of The Last Jedi yesterday, this time with my daughter. It felt even more like a Star Wars film to me this time.
I enjoyed it first time around but was conflicted about a few parts. Having had this second viewing, taking more in and seeing my daughters reaction I have to admit that it’s it up there with my favourites in the franchise.
I watched Return of the Jedi in the cinema when I was a kid and this feels a lot like that. Cool planets, space battles, creatures and a couple of good baddies.
I think some people are picking apart the mythology a little too much. I just sat back and enjoyed it for what it is – a Star Wars movie.
I should preface this to say I’m a massive geek for Star Wars but I do like what Rian Johnson has done with the storyline, breaking away from the Skywalker family.
I love this movie.
As we’ve already talked about 2017 was a mixed year for Apple. Moving into 2018 it’s a good opportunity to think about what I’d like to see in 2018.
Between iPhone 8 and X Apple have had mixed reactions from the public. The 8 isn’t different enough and the X is too expensive. Personally I’d love to see how many iPhone SE and 7 models have been sold since the 8 and X were released, it may surprise you. I feel that they have sold rather well. I know a new line up has been rumoured already but here goes what I’d like to see
- A new 4.7″ LCD that goes edge to edge, which replaces the current SE
- The current 8 gets replaced with an edge to edge 5.8″ LCD
- Plus model dropped
- The current iPhone X gets a price reduction with 128GB storage option
- A new 6.5″ OLED iPhone X to satisfy the current Plus owners
- All models except the SE have a dual lens camera
- All models have FaceID
- All models start at 64GB and offer 128GB
The current line up is solid, I don’t think we’ll see much on the iPad front aside internal bumps. No edge to edge design needed or FaceID this year I feel.
I’d like to see dual lens on the iPad Pro and FaceID but I don’t see it happening this year.
As someone that using a Mac maybe 20% of the time it’s a hard one.
I’d say improved keyboards on The MacBook and MacBook Pro.
Deliver on your promise of a new modular Mac Pro.
I wear my Apple Watch everyday and love it, don’t see where the hardware can improve at this point.
I’d like to see improvements in software
- Third party watch faces
- Improved proactive health detection
iCloud is pretty solid for me so mine is more around consolidation. Roll video into Apple Music or create a new video streaking app. Stop the bloat on iTunes and finally split it up.
Create a new Amazon Prime like service where you pay once and get all of the services in one package.
Improvements to core Apple apps such as Reminders, Calendar and Mail. They are unusable for when you want to get things done and I often use a third party app such as Fantastical.
Consistency, this is something that should be top of Apple’s list when it comes to software improvements. I am a bit sick of Apple’s own apps all having their own personality rather than a consistent approach. For example Music has the new larger header style but Reminders has the older list view that is inconsistent. Please Apple chose one style and stick to it.