PS Vita Review

PS Vita mainSony PlayStation Vita Review

Our rating: 5 stars

The PS Vita from Sony is one of the newest handheld game consoles on the market right now (December 2012). In a sense it’s a successor to the PSP, the device that Sony brought out in 2005 to compete with the Nintendo DS. In another sense it’s a whole new machine. The PSP is still available but the PS Vita looks set to make a gradual takeover in the next few years as Sony’s flagship handheld console.

So how does it rate? Before you buy PS Vita, keep reading to see what we think.

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Sony PlayStation Vita Video Review

Sony PS Vita Features

PS Vita slantPS Vita price: $249-$299
Battery life: 3-4 hrs
Size: 3.3 x 7.2 x 0.7 inch
Weight: 1.4 lbs
Screen resolution: 960 x 544 px

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What We Like About The PS Vita

5-inch Touch Screen

The first thing you will notice about the Sony PS Vita is the size of its screen. It’s huge! At 5 inches on the longest side it is perfect for game playing. You can see so much more than you can on a smaller device. Controls are on each side so altogether the console is just over 7 inches long.

Then it’s a touch screen. This opens up new possibilities for game developers who can add a new twist to the games playable on home consoles. Where home consoles have had the edge because of their motion sensors, handheld consoles are making a comeback with the potential of touch screen action.

Of course, Nintendo got there first with touch screen technology on the Nintendo DS, but the PlayStation Vita touch screen is a new generation. It’s an OLED screen that gives about the best possible picture quality. The graphics are stunningly vibrant, crisp and colorful. You’ll find it hard to take your eyes off a game running on the PSP.

Ergonomic Design

When you’re holding a device in your hand for long periods of time, it’s important that it’s comfortable and won’t cause unnecessary repetitive strain. The PS Vita is excellent in this respect. It feels great to hold, it’s satisfyingly rounded and the controls are responsive, well positioned and easy to use.

Sheer Power

The second biggest selling point of the PS Vita after the screen is its power. It has a real brute of a processor, some high-end RAM and incredible technology inside the box. This makes games just fly, and adds speed to match the stunning look of the graphics. It’s definitely the best gaming experience out there right now in terms of speed.

The operating system is not something that you usually notice in a game console, but the PS Vita OS really stands out. It is well designed, taking full advantage of the touch screen, and with the power of the processor it can’t be faulted on speed.

In fact, it’s almost like playing a game on a home PlayStation. And there’s a TV out socket so you can even use it at home and see the game on a full size HDTV. For some players it could even replace a home console and act as both home and portable game consoles combined.

PS Vita bundlesPS Vita Games

There are already some awesome games available for the Sony PlayStation Vita and the number is sure to grow as new games or instalments are released. Uncharted, Assassin’s Creed, LittleBigPlanet … most of the big-name PlayStation games are available for PS Vita and plenty of others too.

Looking to the future, Sony are likely to develop exclusive games for PS Vita only, to make full use of the touch screen technology. But even at launch there were plenty of PS Vita games on the market.

Multimedia

As well as playing games, you can use a PS Vita for taking and displaying photos, listening to music and even watching movies. You can surf the internet using the WiFi connection and even make Skype video calls. It doesn’t act as a regular phone however – not yet, anyway!

You can also buy PS Vita 3G, but it’s harder to get hold of right now.

PS Vita Bundles

There are already some pretty good PS Vita bundles available if you want to buy PS Vita and get a game with it. The bundles give you a little saving on popular games and mean you can start playing right out of the box. For example there’s an Assassin’s Creed PS Vita bundle deal, a Call of Duty bundle and a Madden NFL bundle.
View PS Vita bundles here
These are some of the top selling PS Vita games that have been getting great reviews in the gaming press. In the bundles (at the time of writing) you get the PS Vita console, the game and a 4 GB PS Vita memory card.

What’s Not So Great

Battery Life

With such a powerful processor and stunning display, perhaps it’s not surprising that the PS Vita battery doesn’t hold its charge as long as you might wish. You only get 4-5 hours of playing time before it needs a recharge.

PS Vita Memory Cards

As usual with Sony devices, you have to buy PS Vita branded memory cards if you want to expand your PS Vita’s memory – and you will want to, because a lot of the games won’t run without a PS Vita memory card being installed.

So you pretty much have to buy one right away – and they’re not cheap! Expect to pay $15 minimum and that’s a good price for the smallest size of card. A 32 GB PS Vita memory card will cost you anything up to $100.
See PS Vita memory card prices here

PS Vita Games and Console Pricing

Both the console itself and the games for it are more expensive than you may be used to paying for a portable game console of the last generation. The PSP Vita costs almost as much as a home game console.

Larger Size

The big screen means, of course, that the PS Vita is a larger device than you might expect of a portable game console. It’s bigger than the PSP 3000, for example. At over 7 inches long it’s not going to fit in the pocket of your jeans.

Not Backwards Compatible

One of the biggest disappointments about the PSP Vita is that it won’t play most of the old PSP games. Any game that is on a UMD disk will not work in your PSP Vita. So you either have to buy them all again, or keep your old PSP to play those games on.

However, if you have bought a downloadable game rather than getting it on a disk, you can get a new PSP Vita download of the game. So although it’s not backwards compatible you should be able to get those games for your new device for free.

PS Vita Review Summary

Our rating: 5 stars

It may be too early to be sure of the PS Vita’s impact on the market but it’s clearly an incredible piece of technology. Definitely an awesome gaming experience and probably the best you will get in a portable game console right now. The only downside is the price, but you have to be prepared to pay more for the best, so we’re not letting that affect our 5-star rating. Highly recommended – if you can afford it!

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PS Vita Review

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PSP 3000 Review

PSP 3000 mainSony PSP 3000 Review

Our rating: 4.5 stars

The PSP 3000 is the current model of Sony’s PlayStation Portable (PSP) which was first launched in 2005. Since then it has had two updates, from PSP 1000 through 2000 to 3000. The PSP 3000 is not hugely innovative but marks some fine-tuning to a portable game console that was already at the top of the range.

The Sony PSP has always been developed in direct competition to their main rival Nintendo’s portable game consoles. The PSP 3000 goes head to head with the Nintendo DSi XL and 3DS XL.

But now Sony have introduced the PS Vita. So is the PSP 3000 still worth buying, or should you save your cash for something else? Before you buy PSP 3000, check out our review.

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PSP 3000 Video

Sony PSP 3000 Features

PSP 3000 boxedPSP 3000 price: $129.99
Battery life: 4-6 hrs
Dimensions: 6.7 x 2.7 x 0.7 inch
Weight: 0.64 lbs
Screen resolution: 480 x 272 px

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What’s Great About the PSP 3000

Slim Design

The most noticeable change if you compare PSP 3000 and PSP 2000 is the sleek design. It’s a much slimmer device that both looks and feels better. It’s streamlined and easy to carry around. It looks good too. Just what you want in a handheld console.

Crisp Graphics

The graphics are crisp and colorful, performing well in comparison with Nintendo. The only handheld console that really beats the PSP 3000 right now in terms of the display is Sony’s own PS Vita – at twice the price.

PSP 3000 Games

PSP 3000 bundlesThere’s a huge choice of PSP 3000 games on the market. In fact this is one of the reasons for buying a device that’s been around for a few years – you get tons of games. Virtually of the best video games (except those that are exclusive to Nintendo) have been released for PSP 3000. There are also a lot of gaming options that are not so mass-market, so if you have particular hobbies or interests there’s a good chance that there will be PSP 3000 games to match them.

Of course the other advantage of buying an established game console is that you can be pretty sure that major technical issues have been dealt with.

PSP 3000 Bundle Deals

There are several PSP 3000 bundle deals. One of the best deals right now is the PSP MLB 11 & Gran Turismo Entertainment Pack. As you’d expect, this includes both MLB 11 baseball and Gran Turismo car racing, two of the most popular games on the market. This bundle currently comes with a 2 GB PSP 3000 memory stick too. Other bundles come with God of War (adult content), or LittleBigPlanet and The Karate Kid for younger players. Alternatively, you might want to pick a package that includes accessories instead of games.
See more PSP bundles

Multimedia Capability

The PSP 3000 is not just for video games. You can do a lot more on it too. First you can play music on it. It might not replace your iPod if you like the advanced features on that but it’s functional and could mean you have one less thing to carry around. You have your MP3 player and gaming console in one device.

It comes with WiFi capability so you can browse the internet and download directly to it. There’s a built-in browser so all you have to do is hook up to a wireless network and start surfing.

You can also watch movies on the Sony PSP 3000. You can stream them from the internet, although depending on your WiFi connection that could be slow and/or expensive. It’s usually better to either download them or buy PSP 3000 movies on Sony’s proprietary UMD disks which slot into the back of your PSP. This is a great option in case you ever want something to do for a couple hours and don’t feel like gaming.

Expandable Storage Capacity

You might want a lot of storage space on your PSP, especially if you’re going to download movies as well as games. It’s good to know that you can always expand with memory cards (which Sony confusingly call PSP memory sticks, although they are actually cards, not USB sticks). You can have as many of these as you want and swap them out so your storage is unlimited – you’ll just want to keep a note of what is on each one.

What We’d Like To See Improved

Built-in Storage Capacity

The PSP 3000 is a great handheld console but like everything, it has a few points that could be improved. One of these is the built-in storage, or rather, the lack of it. You need some storage space to load and play a game, even if the game comes on a disk, so you have to buy PSP 3000 memory sticks right from the get-go.

It’s true that if you buy a bundle, you’ll often get a memory stick in it – but if you buy PSP 3000 and a game separately, you’re likely to unbox it only to find that the game won’t play. Frustrating, right? We think this is a cheap move on Sony’s part and if they’re going to design the PSP that way, there should be a memory stick in the box whenever you buy PSP 3000.

Fingermarks

The PSP shows up fingermarks and smudges to an extent that can be annoying. You really can’t avoid messing it up and it’s frustrating to have to keep cleaning it. So don’t expect your PSP 3000 to continue looking shiny and new for very long.

Game Loading Times

Games can be slow to load from UMD cartridges, so if you like to pick up a portable game console, switch it on and play, you might be in for a bad surprise with the PSP 3000.

Sony Customer Service

Sony don’t have the greatest reputation for their customer service either in terms of speed or efficiency. This could be an issue if your PlayStation Portable develops any technical faults.

PSP 3000 Review Summary

Our rating: 4.5 stars

The PSP 3000 is an excellent handheld console for the price and definitely worth buying if you want great gaming on a budget. If you can afford the PS Vita it is a step up and you might want to go for that instead. Equally if your biggest wished-for game is exclusive to Nintendo or the Wii then that’s going to influence your choice. But otherwise, the PSP 3000 is still one of the best portable game consoles on the market, and the huge number of PSP 3000 games that are available is enough to make many people choose it over newer consoles.

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PSP 3000 Review

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Nintendo 3DS XL Review

Nintendo 3DS XL mainNintendo 3 DS XL Review

Our rating: 4 stars

The 3DS XL is Nintendo’s latest portable game console. It’s an update or rather, a larger sized version of the regular 3DS released in 2011. The 3DS was revolutionary in itself, being the first handheld console to offer 3D visuals. The 3DS was successful but not a huge hit on the market, probably due to a combination of technical issues and limited availability of games.

Since the 3DS was released, more games have followed, and Nintendo have developed the XL to have another stab at dominating the handheld market with their 3D graphics. It’s bigger than the original 3DS and that’s just about the only difference – but it’s a massive difference. The screen is much larger and this is really noticeable when you’re playing.

But is this enough to make consumers want to buy Nintendo 3DS XL over its rivals from Sony, the PSP 3000 and PS Vita? Let’s take a look.

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Nintendo 3DS XL Video Review

3DS XL Features

Nintendo 3DS XL colorsNintendo 3DS XL price: from $209
Battery life: 3.5-6.5 hrs
Dimensions: 6.1 x 3.7 x 0.9 inch
Screen size: 4.88 and 4.13 inch
Weight: 11.9 oz
Screen resolution: 800 x 240 px
Color choice: red or blue cover
(inside they’re both all black)

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What We Like About The Nintendo 3DS XL

Screen Size

The screen size is the only major difference between the 3DS and the 3DS XL, but as we already said, it’s a huge difference. The Nintendo 3 DS XL screen sizes are 4.88 and 4.13 inches for the two screens, the biggest Nintendo has ever made for a handheld console (although still not as big as the PS Vita). This makes the console 6.1 inches long, just slightly longer than the original DS, although with a significantly bigger screen. It’s still a comfortable size to hold and noticeably smaller than the PS Vita, although it’s too big for most pockets.

Nintendo 3DS XL compare sizeBut the important comparison is with the regular Nintendo 3DS, whose screen was too small for many players. A lot of people had trouble even seeing what was going on in a game, and parents worried about eyestrain. The screens of the XL are an amazing 90% larger in terms of area: that means it has almost twice the viewing area of the original 3DS.

You can see what this means in practice from the Nintendo 3DS/3DS XL comparison picture on the right here. The screen is more like that of a large smart phone and not so far from the size of a small Kindle.

Nobody ever complains about a screen being too big, so it was a great idea for Nintendo to do this. As well as being easier on the eyes, it means you have more chance of getting things right when you are using the stylus on the touch screen. Having tiny targets can be so annoying!

Battery Life

Another thing that is an improvement over the first 3DS is the slightly longer battery life. It’s gone from 3-5 hours to 4-7. That’s still not great but it’s acceptable for a handheld device with the power that this one has. The extra hour or two could be just the difference between lasting through your day and not.

Improved 3D View

The main problem with the original Nintendo 3DS was that you had to hold it in an exact position in order to view the 3D graphics. It was inconvenient at the best of times and if you were riding in a car it was virtually impossible.

They have improved this a little bit and you now have a bigger range of viewpoints for the 3D effects. This helps, although it’s still not perfect if you’re traveling.

Good Build Quality

The Nintendo 3DS XL looks and feels like a well built device. It’s not too heavy but it’s not flimsy as a feather either. It seems sturdy enough to survive being dropped from time to time. Nintendo have a great reputation for hardware and the 3DS XL seems like a good example.

Ease of Use

Compared with the 3DS, the Nintendo 3 DS XL is way easier to use – and not only because you can see what’s happening on screen so much better. The size makes it easier to hold and most important, the controls are better positioned. They’re easier to reach and they also feel much more responsive. The circular pad responds better too. All round, you get a much better play quality.

Backwards Compatibility

The Nintendo 3DS XL plays all Nintendo DS games. Of course, the old games don’t have 3D visuals, but this is a great move by Nintendo because it means you can upgrade from an old DS and still play all of the same games.

It also means there is a huge range of games already on the market, so a new player can buy Nintendo DS games for their 3DS XL as well as the new 3D games.

You can also transfer content stored in the memory of your old DS into your new 3DS XL. This means you really don’t lose anything by upgrading. This is another great aspect for people who already own a Nintendo DS.

What We Don’t Like

Only One Circle Pad

Despite a lot of customer feedback about the single circle pad on the 3DS, there’s still only one on the 3DS XL. This is crazy. Two of these pads would create so many more gaming options, even opening up the possibility of multiplayer gaming like on a home console. Nintendo have missed a great opportunity here.

Limited Range of Nintendo 3DS Games

This might not be a deal-breaker because as we said, you can play DS titles on the 3DS XL, but right now there are not a lot of Nintendo 3DS games that take advantage of the 3D graphics. So you might not see the full potential of gaming on the 3DS XL until the range starts to increase – and that probably depends on whether the device is more popular. If more people don’t buy Nintendo 3DS XL compared with the first 3DS, there may never be a lot of 3D games.

Less Portable

One good point about the small 3DS was its portability. We’ve lost that of course in gaining screen size. The 3DS XL is too big for most pockets. However, if you’re used to larger devices like the original DS, you probably won’t have a problem with that.

Image Quality

Something else that you can see from our comparison picture is that the graphics on the larger device are a little fuzzy. This isn’t just our photo. Nintendo didn’t increase the resolution at the same time that they enlarged the screen, so what you get is the same graphics enlarged to a bigger size. They don’t have the crispness that you might expect from a device released in 2012. They’re just okay, but not up to the quality of Sony’s PSP 3000 or PS Vita.

3DS XL Review Summary

Our rating: 4 stars

If you’re a Nintendo fan then the 3DS XL could be a great choice. If you don’t already own a 3DS you’ll want to see what the 3D games can do, and if you do have a 3DS, you will definitely appreciate the bigger screen, although it’s annoying to have to upgrade so soon. And if you’re upgrading from a DS you’ll be glad to know that your games will work on the new device.

In summary, if you’re looking for the newest Nintendo portable console, then you’ll want to buy Nintendo 3DS XL. But if you’re not specially oriented toward Nintendo, you might be swayed by the conviction that the PSP 3000 is a better device.

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Nintendo 3DS XL Review

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Nintendo DSi XL Review

Nintendo DSi XL blueNintendo DSi XL Review

Our rating: 4 stars

The Nintendo DSi XL console is the latest portable from the company that has dominated the handheld gaming market since the release of the first Gameboy way back in 1989. In the 20+ years that have followed they have continued to release new models, each an improvement on the last.

However, more recently Nintendo have only been making small changes with each upgrade and they have attracted criticism for expecting consumers to pay over and over for only slightly improved devices. The DSi XL seems to continue this trend, being a bigger version of the DSi but not noticeably different in any other respect than size.

But is there more to the Nintendo DSi XL console than meets the eye at first glance? Let’s take a look.

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Nintendo DSi XL Video

Nintendo DSi XL Features

Nintendo DSi XL boxedNintendo DSi XL price: up to $169
Battery life: 3-14 hrs
Dimensions: 6.3 x 3.6 x 0.8 inch
Weight: 7.6 oz
Screen resolution: 256 x 192 px
Screen size: 4.2 inch (both screens)
Colors: Blue, Rose, Burgundy, Bronze (almost black)

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What’s Great About The Nintendo DSi XL

Screen Size

Nintendo DSi XL compare with DSi

Size comparison: DSi on the left, DSi XL on the right (not actual size!)

The great selling point of the DSi XL (and the reason for its development) is the big screen. Users found the original DSi and 3DS screens just too small for comfortable play, and Nintendo have developed the DSi XL and 3DS XL to remedy this.

The DSi XL has two screens, both 4.2 inches. This gives a screen area almost twice the size of the regular DSi, so it does make a big difference. It’s easier to see and to hit targets, as well as being less of a strain for the eyes.

Another aspect of the XL size is that there’s a little more space around the controls. This is great news for older gamers – you won’t feel like the device was designed for tiny hands any more.

Pre-Installed Games

When you buy Nintendo DSi XL you have the unusual bonus of gaming right out of the box with three pre-installed games: Brain Age Express Math, Brain Age Express Arts and Letters, and Photo Clock. Sure, they aren’t exactly A list titles, but this has its advantages. For example it means you can give this as a gift and have the person be able to play while they get to buy Nintendo DSi XL games that they really want.

DSi XL Colors

Nintendo DSi XL colorsThe DSi XL has already been released in several colors and more may be on the way if it’s successful. Right now you get to choose from Midnight Blue, Metallic Rose, Burgundy and Bronze. The Bronze is the closest to a black. They all look stunning and they are well finished, with a professional look and feel.
View all DSi XL colors

Hardware Quality

Nintendo are known for producing devices with top build quality and the DSi XL is no exception. The console looks and feels good. It’s heavy enough that it feels like a serious piece of hardware without being so heavy that it’s clunky. It seems strong and sturdy and should survive the knocks that a portable device tends to get from time to time.

Internet Browser

Yes, you can browse the internet on the DSi XL. You just need a WiFi network to connect to and you’re online.

Audio

You can use the device to play music, so you can store a selection of tracks to listen to and then use it as an MP3 player if you want. Of course, compared with a good quality MP3 player it’s pretty basic, but it does the job.

The sound quality is another feature that Nintendo have improved in the development of the XL version of the DSi. Where the original DSi’s sound quality was a little poor, the audio on the XL is richer and clearer, especially on the deeper notes.

What’s Not So Great

Screen Resolution

When Nintendo increased the size of the DSi screen for the XL version, they didn’t increase the screen resolution at the same time. The result is that the graphics are not the sharpest you will see. They’re acceptable but not as crisp as the graphics on Sony’s PSP 3000, and nowhere near the standard of the PS Vita.

Limited Compatibility

There are no dedicated Nintendo DSi XL games. The DSi XL takes Nintendo DS games. So there’s no problem if that’s what you mostly have.

However, unlike the original DSi, the XL version will not play Gameboy Advance games. This is annoying if that’s your current device.

If you’re upgrading from the smaller DSi, you cannot just transfer your downloaded games across to the new device. You have to download them all again and you may have to pay again. That’s very frustrating!

Less Portable

Because of its increased size, the DSi XL is naturally less easy to fit into your pockets than the regular DSi. However, it’s still significantly smaller than the PS Vita.

No Video

Unlike its PlayStation handheld competitors, there’s no video player on the DSi XL, so despite the browsing and the music, it’s not a complete multimedia device. This is probably not going to be a deal-breaker for most buyers but it would be nice to have that extra capability so you could watch a movie on your device on a long trip if you were tired of games.

Nintendo DSi XL Review Summary

Our rating: 4 stars

We think the lastest generation of PlayStation handhelds have the edge over Nintendo. If you’re not attached to the Nintendo brand already, take a look at the PSP 3000 before you buy Nintendo DSi XL.

For Nintendo fans, you might want to look at our Nintendo 3DS XL review before you decide. It’s a little more expensive but it has the ‘wow’ factor of offering 3D graphics for games that support this.

And if you already have the original DSi? Upgrading will be worthwhile if you find it too small, but if you’re happy with your regular DSi you might as well stick with it. The XL has very little to offer you besides the bigger screen, and you’ll find it frustrating having to redownload your games.

In summary, the Nintendo DSi XL is worth having if you like Nintendo and don’t have a recent release. It’s not perfect but it’s still a step up from the older portable game consoles and you won’t regret the purchase.

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Nintendo DSi XL Review

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Xbox 360 Review

Xbox 360 250GB main with KinectMicrosoft Xbox 360 Review

Our rating: 5 stars for Xbox 360 250GB
4 stars for Xbox 360 4GB

The Microsoft Xbox 360 first hit retailers’ shelves in 2005, so it’s been around for quite a few years now. It was the successor to the original Xbox released in 2001, and it is still hugely popular. Some people would say it hasn’t been beaten at all.

New Xbox 360 games are coming out all the time, including many top quality title releases. The next generation Xbox console is not due out for a couple more years, so you don’t have to worry about it becoming obsolete the day after you bought it. In fact, the Xbox 360 games console is still one of the best video gaming options on the market.

But there are many different options to pick from when you buy Xbox 360, with different storage capacity and hardware as well as game bundles. So how does the Xbox 360 games console measure up and what are the options that you should be considering? We’ll take a look in this Xbox 360 review.

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X box 360 Review Video – Xbox 250GB Holiday Bundle 2012 Unboxing

Xbox 360 Features

Xbox verticalXbox 360 price: $199 – $485 depending on options chosen.
Storage capacity: 4 GB or 250 GB.
Battery life: 35 hrs.
Headset: included.
Additional media formats supported: CD/DVD.
Online subscription: Xbox Live (optional).
Motion detection: Kinect (optional).

Click on the ‘today’s price’ graphic below and you can compare all of the options: Xbox 360 250GB or 4GB, each with or without the Kinect Xbox 360 controller, and each with or without the Digital Entertainment bundle (Xbox Live Gold membership plus 5 extra digital games – Acqua, Load Runner, R Type, Snoopy, and The Maw). Just select the different options below the price and stock information on that page.

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What’s Great About the Xbox 360

Storage Capacity

One of the best things about the Xbox 360 is the range of storage options. Microsoft have released different sized X box models at different times. The models available at the time of writing are a measly 4GB and a generous 250 GB, but you can add to whatever model you have with a bigger hard drive, up to 320 GB.

Bigger storage capacity is important if you want games to load fast. If you have a big enough hard drive you can store all of your favorite games right there on the machine so you don’t have to wait for each game to load before you can start playing. It also means you have a backup of the game, and the wear and tear on the original copy is less so you are less likely to have to replace games.

Kinect Xbox 360 Controller

Another great feature of the Xbox 360 is its Kinect motion control system. This is a unique experience that a little like the Wii and yet even more fluid. Many gamers would not consider another console after trying Kinect. It allows you to control games through your body motions alone, instead of having to hold a controller. It’s top quality technology and adds a lot of realism to the experience of gaming.

If you already have an Xbox 360 then you may have the Kinect and you can upgrade to a new game player without buying another one. However, if this is your first X box 360 order then be sure to get a package that includes Kinect.

Xbox 360 Games

For the Xbox 360 there is a huge range of games available. Some of the most popular video games in the world are commissioned by Microsoft and are only available for the Xbox, like Halo, Gears of War, Fable and Forza Motorsport. For many people, these must-have games make the Xbox 360 the only option among game consoles.

Depending on the package you choose, you may get a games bundle when you buy Xbox 360. These are not usually the most high profile games but they are fun to play and worth having, especially if you are new to Xbox 360 or are buying it for a child or somebody who doesn’t already have a lot of Xbox 360 games.

If you’re a Star Wars fan then you’ll definitely want to consider the Xbox 360 Star Wars Bundle. This package includes the Xbox 360 with 320GB hard drive and Kinect along with the Kinect Star Wars game plus the regular Kinect Adventures games that come in most bundles.

Xbox 360 Headset Included

Unlike some of its rivals, most Xbox 360 bundles include a headset right out of the box. This is useful for reducing noise that might annoy other people while you play, and essential for chatting online on Xbox Live.

Low Running Noise

Some video game consoles produce a lot of buzzing and humming noise in themselves, separate from any sound effects from the game. This can be annoying. The Xbox 360 is one of the quietest in this respect, but if you are really sensitive to this issue you can reduce even that small amount of noise by running the games from the hard drive.

Slim Box

The original X box and early versions of the Xbox 360 received some criticism for the clunky size and design of the box itself. However, the latest Xbox 360 models are way better designed, with a slim, attractive black box that looks pretty sleek.

What We’d Like To See Improved

Laggy Menu

If we have one criticism of the Xbox 360 it’s the dashboard function. The dashboard is the main menu where you access the console’s functions, and it’s still laggy and slow. It’s not a deal-breaker because it doesn’t affect play once you’re in a game, but Microsoft should really improve this to give a smoother user experience.

Game Installation

Games are big users of processor time and so installing games onto your hard drive can take a while. If you’re used to console gaming you might find it frustrating to have to wait the first time while your game is installed. On the other hand, the Xbox isn’t any slower in this respect than most computers, so if you’re used to gaming on a computer then you probably won’t even notice.

Games Unique to Other Consoles

As we said earlier, some of the big hit games are available only for the Xbox – but on the other hand, some other games are only available for the PlayStation or the Wii. So if you want a game console to play a particular game, be sure to check that it’s available before you buy Xbox 360.

Xbox 360 Review Summary

Our rating: 5 stars for Xbox 360 250GB
4 stars for Xbox 360 4GB

Xbox 360 is definitely worth buying and with the right package, we give it 5 stars. It’s a top level game console that many players feel can’t be beat. It takes most of the best games and offers a uniquely exciting gaming experience through the Kinect motion sensor.

In fact, if you’re wondering which is the best video game console to get, we’d say buy Xbox 360 almost every time. The only reason not to get it would be if you want a feature or a game that is only available for the Wii or PlayStation – and there are not many of those.

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Xbox 360 Review

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Wii U Review

Wii U blackNintendo Wii U Review

4 stars

The Wii U is a new console from Nintendo released just in time for Christmas 2012. It’s the first new console to hit the market in 5 years, with Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 finding nothing to improve on. And Nintendo are clearly going for novelty with the Wii U, stressing the new things that it can do rather than improving performance of the same old game functions.

The Wii U is different from the original Wii in that it doesn’t have the same motion control nunchuk or board. Instead you have a gamepad with a screen that looks more like a regular games console or tablet. However, there are still sensors that pick up your movements, so it’s like the original Wii in that. It’s still all about action and not just sitting pressing buttons.

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Wii U Video

Wii U Features

Wii U whiteWii U price: $349/$429
Storage capacity: 8 GB / 32 GB
Battery life: 3-5 hrs
Online subscription: WiiWare
Motion detection: WiiMote/Gamepad
Other media formats supported: n/a

The Wii U currently comes in two size options: the Wii U 32GB that our main ‘check the price’ links go to, and the smaller Wii U 8GB. The 32GB includes NintendoLand games as well as more storage so right now (December 2012) we think it is a much better buy. Our review therefore mostly refers to the Wii U 32GB.
We would only give the Wii U 8GB 3 stars.

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What We Like About the Nintendo Wii U

Wii U Console: the Gamepad

The best and unique thing about the Wii U is the new Wii U console, called the gamepad. It’s more complex than any previous games console or controller. It includes a large touch screen, camera, microphone, accelerometer, and gyroscope. There’s also a stylus.

All of these components add up to a powerful and verstatile controller that can offer many kinds of play. But keep in mind that the screen is only the controller – it’s not where the game is shown in most cases. The gaming normally takes place on the TV (although you can have games run on the Wii U console instead if the TV is being used for something else). So the gamepad screen is mostly an extra way to interact with the game. It offers some great innovations, like the possibility of having two different views of the game environment.

The gamepad can also be used for internet access. You can download new games, socialize through the Miiverse or even browse the web.

Nintendo Miiverse

The Nintendo Miiverse is the new social network for Wii U users. It’s a great network that has many new and interesting ways of interacting with other players online, that the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 cannot offer (yet).

For example you can leave messages and pictures on message boards, comment on other people’s messages, follow other users and give a ‘Yeah!’ for something you like, a lot like the ‘likes’ on Facebook or Youtube.

One thing where Nintendo need to improve the interface is in transferring your Mii from your Wii to the Miiverse. This isn’t as easy as it could be. But designing your Mii avatar is fun and the Miiverse is sure to get bigger and offer more potential as the number of users grows. Nintendo are great at coming up with new ideas, and we’re sure they will have plenty for the Miiverse.

Storage Capacity

As we have already said, you can get either a basic Wii U 8GB or a ‘deluxe’ Wii U 32GB. We think the 32GB is a much better option. You’re going to want that space for storing games and possibly for playing them.

You can also connect the Wii U to an external hard drive, which means you can have almost unlimited storage off the console. This might make the basic 8GB model seem more attractive but keep in mind that you also get the NintendoLand games bundle with the Wii U 32GB (jump to packages and bundles). The price difference is not great, and we think anybody who is willing to spend over $300 on a Wii U should go the whole way and get the bigger model. You’ll probably regret it if you don’t.

Wii U Games

If you already have a Wii you’ll be glad to know that the Wii U has backwards compatability so you can play your old Wii games on the Wii U. Of course you won’t have all of the functionality of the Wii U because the games weren’t designed for that, but it’s good to know you don’t have to buy them over again.

There are also plenty of titles now coming out in Wii U version. They tend to be a little more expensive than games for the regular Wii or other consoles, but that’s because there is more involved. One of the most popular is New Super Mario Brothers U which is excellent fun for up to four players. You can see all the Wii U games here.

Wii Hardware and Compatibility

The Wii U is also backwards compatible with older Wii U hardware including the nunchuk, the Wiimote and the balance board. So you can continue to use Wii Fit and play Wii games the way you enjoy them on the new Wii U.

Wii U Performance and Power

In terms of power, the Wii U is a huge step up from the Wii with way better graphics. It even has a slight edge on its main rivals, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. The games look very similar across all of the consoles right now but the Wii U has the potential for greater flexibility and performance if the designers choose to take the Wii U games to the max in future game development.

Packages and Bundles

As we have already said, right now just after launch (December 2012) you just have two choices when you buy Wii U. You can pick either the basic 8GB model which comes with no games, or the 32GB deluxe version.

Compare Wii U package prices

The Wii U 32GB offers a lot more as a package. The basic package includes the console, controller, stylus and almost nothing else. You can use it with games you already have, but you don’t get the full potential.

NintendolandIn the Wii U deluxe bundle you also get a charging cradle, stand for the controller, a subscription to Nintendo Network Premium and best of all, the NintendoLand games bundle which is a $59 value by itself. Plus of course you have four times as much storage capacity: 32GB instead of 8GB.

The Nintendo Land Wii U games are a fun way to discover the potential of the new technology in the Wii U. In the same way that Wii Sports got people familiar with how to use a Wii, the NintendoLand bundle will familiarize you with the Wii U.

In the NintendoLand Wii U pack you get 12 very different mini games. Most of them are based around Nintendo names like Super Mario, Donkey Kong or Zelda. You can play them either solo or in multiplayer mode. We think they are a great way to start enjoying your new Nintendo Wii U!

What’s Not So Great

Unfamiliar Technology

If you love discovering new gadgets then you’ll probably be at home with the Wii U but for the rest of us, it takes a little time to get used to this innovative way of playing. Of course, that was true for the original Wii and it was still a huge hit. We’ll have to wait and see whether the Wii U is as popular.

No Killer Game Release

In most cases when a new style of games console is launched it also introduces a new triple-A game title. The original Wii was new enough that it didn’t need this, but the Wii U could benefit from a new game that people are just dying to play, that you need the Wii U for: like the original Xbox had Halo, PlayStation 3 had Killzone and Xbox 360 had Gears of War. There’s no game like that being launched along with the Wii U. It may come later, but some people will want to wait and see if such a game arrives before they buy a console that doesn’t offer a unique killer game.

Battery Life

The battery life of the Wii U console is not great. In fact, it’s not even good. You need to recharge it after just a few hours of play. In practice, that means having it connected up to the power almost all the time when you play, or else you risk losing power in the middle of a game.

No Blu-Ray or DVD Player

The introduction of the Wii U would have been a great time to introduce a Wii that plays Blu-Ray or DVDs, but they haven’t done it. That is a missed opportunity these days when other game consoles are beginning to offer this. Sure, most people have a separate player, but it would be great not to have to buy a new one if it fails. It’s also cool not to have a ton of different gadgets under your TV. One console that does everything would have been nice.

Patch to Download

Unfortunately, Nintendo haven’t gotten it together enough to release a Wii U that actually works without you having to download an update patch before you start. This is a 4GB file and it can take almost an hour to download and install. It’s real annoying that you have to do this before you start playing. Pretty soon they should bring out a new version that avoids this but meanwhile, if you’re planning to buy Wii U for a gift you might want to do this update before you have your kids or whoever open the package.

Wii U Review Summary

4 stars

The Wii U is going to be a must-have purchase for some gamers and we think in the long term it will be a success. Most customers are delighted with it once they are past the update patch issues. It’s a pity there are no killer games for it and if you already have a regular Wii you might want to stick with it for a while to see how the Wii U shapes up. But we think it will be a hit so you’ll likely be glad you got it.

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Wii U Review

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Wii Review

Wii mainNintendo Wii Review

Our rating: 4.5 stars

It’s a few years ago now that the Nintendo Wii hit the market with its revolutionary motion control that had people getting up off the couch onto their feet to play video games. It was a remarkable innovation and made people all over the world buy Wii just to try it.

The Wii proved that it was more than just an overnight sensation. It settled into the market as a serious competitor with the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, as well as offering very popular fitness training through Wii Fit.

But now Nintendo have developed the Wii U with improved graphics and a different kind of Wii controller and gaming experience. So is the original Wii destined for the dumpster, or has it carved out a niche in the market that it can defend against all competitors? Read on to see what we think.

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Nintendo Wii Video Review

Nintendo Wii Features

Wii boxedWii price: $159-$229 for different bundles
Storage capacity: 8-32 GB
Battery life: 30-60 hrs
Extra supported media formats: n/a
Online subscription: WiiWare
Motion detection method: WiiMote

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What’s Great About the Nintendo Wii

Wii Games

Nintendo was in the video games market for many years before they developed the Wii, so they were able to produce plenty of great games for it very fast. There is a huge range of games available, including some top names that are not available for other games consoles.

Some of the best known Wii games include Super Mario Galaxy, Zelda, Mario Kart, Just Dance and many more. There are many A-list Wii games to tempt you.

The Wii offers a very different gaming experience than the Xbox 360 or PlayStation. In most games there is at least an element of motion and action. Instead of sitting on the couch pressing buttons, you are actively moving around and taking part. Motion sensors record what you are doing and score your activity on that basis.

Many Wii games are designed to appeal to kids but adults will enjoy them too. To generalize, they are based more around movement and entertainment than the Xbox and PS games that tend to be more focused on shooting, fighting and detailed fantasy worlds.

Of course, it is possible to use the Wii while sitting on the couch too! But you won’t be making the most of it if you do. It’s not designed for that, so the graphics and processor power are not the best you could get. If you want that type of game, you should be looking to buy Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 instead.

The Nintendo Wii console is designed for pure, unashamed fun. It’s great for family games and parties, as well as keeping fit in a fun way. The Wii games range reflects this. Using the Wii will keep a smile on your face!

Wii Design

The Nintendo Wii is probably the most sleek, simple and pleasing design of all of the video game hardware. The box is very small, comes in black or white and can stand upright or be kept lying flat to suit your home. The black box especially would be unnoticeable among other home entertainment equipment, where many video game consoles stand out brashly.

Of course, the small size and flexible flat or upright storage means that it’s perfect for the smaller home or tighter storage space – although in a small room you might not have so much space for playing the very active Wii games.

Wii Motion Control

The Nintendo Wii was the first motion control game console and was unique when it was launched. Other game consoles now offer some type of motion control (and the Xbox’s Kinect is perhaps even better than the Wii) but in those cases it’s secondary to the main designed use. With the Wii, motion control is central and everything is designed around it, including Wii games.

Packages and Bundles

When you buy Wii you can usually pick from a bunch of packages that include different games. Which one you choose will depend on the games that most interest you. We recommend the Wii Hardware Bundle which comes with Wii Sports and Wii Sports Resort. These games make the most of the Wii’s motion sensor, challenging you to perform all the actions involved in real sports like bowling, fencing, boxing and many more.

But if sports are not your thing, right now there’s a Wii bundle including Just Dance 4, or bundles that include Super Mario Brothers or the Mario Kart driving game. If you want to see all of the options to buy Wii, check out this link: click for Wii console options

Fun For All The Family

The Wii is excellent family fun with games that everybody can join in. It is pretty much guaranteed to have everybody smiling and laughing. Many of the games have multiplayer options so that everyone can take part, and you’re getting up and moving too. It’s probably about the healthiest video game console that you could buy!

What’s Not So Great

Graphics

There is definitely room for improvement when it comes to the Wii’s graphics and Nintendo have addressed this in the new Wii U. The Wii U is not exactly an update of the Wii but a different experience that comes closer to challenging the Xbox 360. It would be good if Nintendo would also bring out a new version of the regular Wii with better graphics, but so far there hasn’t been much improvement.

Not Good For Gun-Based Action Games

If your favorite type of video game involves guns and shooting, you will probably not be happy with the Wii. The Wii controller is just not suited to that type of fast-trigger play. Not surprisingly therefore, the best gun-and-run video games are designed for other consoles. Check out our Xbox 360 review if you like that type of game.

Not The Best Motion Sensor On The Market

Although the Wii was unique when it first came out, the technology of Xbox’s Kinect has now overtaken it in some respects. The great thing about the Kinect is that it can sense your movements without you having to hold or press anything. The Wii can’t offer that right now – but the downside of the Kinect is that there are not so many games for it.

No MultiMedia

The Wii is a games console and no more. It can’t also play CDs, DVDs or Blu-Ray disks as some Xbox and PlayStation models can. That’s not a deal-breaker for most people because you probably have other equipment that can do that, and it’s one of the reasons that the Wii is so sleek and easy to store.

Review Summary

Our rating: 4.5 stars

The Wii is a dedicated game console that specializes in a particular type of game: those involving physical movement and action. It’s great for kids, parties and fitness.

If you want top quality graphics and games with a lot of shooting or detailed fantasy worlds, the Wii is not a good choice. But for all round family fun, the Wii can’t be beat and is highly recommended.

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Wii Review

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PlayStation 3 Review

PS3 mainSony PlayStation 3 Review

Our rating: 4 stars

The Sony PlayStation has been a market leader for well over a decade, and the PlayStation 3 has been hugely successful as a model. The latest version is the PS3 Slim.

There is a new Sony PlayStation expected in 2013 (PS4) as well as the competition from rivals Xbox 360, Wii and Wii U. However, Sony have undertaken to continue to support PlayStation 3 and produce new games for it for at least another two years after the new version is launched.

So is the PlayStation 3 still worth buying? What is the PS3 best buy for Christmas 2012, and how does it rate against its competitors? Scroll down to find out what we think.

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PlayStation 3 Slim Unboxing Video

Sony PlayStation 3 Features

PS3 boxedPS3 price: $299 for PS3 best buy
Storage capacity: 160 – 500 GB
Battery life: 30 hrs
Other media formats supported: CD, DVD, Blu-Ray
Online subscription: PlayStation Network
Motion detection: Sony Move

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What We Like About The Sony PlayStation 3

PS3 Games

PS3 verticalThe PS3 (as the PlayStation 3 is often known) is a gamer’s dream. It offers all of the top video games except for those that are exclusive to one or other of its competitors. It also has some exclusive titles of its own, including Killzone, Uncharted, Little Big Planet and Gran Turismo 3, probably the best game console driving simulator in the world. PlayStation games offer something for everybody.

Top Quality Graphics

The graphics on the PlayStation 3 are often said to be the best of any game console, easily beating the Wii and Wii U, and slightly crisper than the Xbox 360. There’s plenty of detail and the frame rates are smooth. In terms of graphics, PlayStation 3 is probably the best gaming experience you can get.

Storage Capacity

The Sony PS3 has plenty of storage options going right up to 500 GB. Having a big hard disk is an important feature if you want to store games there rather than running them from the disk every time, and most players appreciate having the space to do this.

Of course, since the PS3 also has DVD, CD and Blu-Ray player functions, you may want to store regular movies and music on there too. The bigger sizes give you the chance to treat your PlayStation as a true media hub.

Blu-Ray Player

We just mentioned the Blu-Ray player but it’s worth pointing out that the PS3 is the only game console to include one so far. This could add to its value if you want to use your PlayStation as a full home entertainment system.

Packages and Bundles

Like most of the game consoles, you can pick different combinations of hardware and games when you buy PS3 console.

Your choice of games will depend on what you enjoy, but we think one of the PS3 best buy packages is the Assassin’s Creed III bundle. This includes the PS3 500 GB console plus a copy of the Assassin’s Creed III game. This is the third and newest instalment of this hugely popular game with a recommended retail price of $59.99 by itself.

Free Online Service

All of the latest game consoles offer some kind of online service but most of them only give you a short trial membership for free. But Sony’s PlayStation Network is free all of the time, you just need your regular home broadband. So you can connect with others and play games online through your PlayStation with no extra fees. That can be a lot of fun.

What’s Not So Great

PS3 Price of Games

Games for the PlayStation tend to be a little more expensive than those for the other popular game consoles (except for the Wii U which is currently showing some very high game prices). This can be annoying and it adds up if you buy a lot of games.

Sony Customer Service

Sony customer service doesn’t have a great reputation with PlayStation customers, as you will see if you look at online feedback. They can be slow in response time and unhelpful with technical issues. So if your PlayStation develops a fault, you’ll have to be persistent.

Game Exclusivity

As we said earlier, some games are exclusive to the PS3 – and some are exclusive to the other game consoles, so you can’t get a PS3 version at all. Examples are Halo (Xbox 360) and Super Mario Galaxy (Wii). It’s worth thinking about which games you want to play before you buy PS3 or another console – especially if you’re buying the console as a gift.

PS3 Review Summary

Our rating: 4 stars

While some customers may be happy to wait for the new PlayStation to be released in 2013, the Sony PlayStation 3 is still a great buy for those who want a PlayStation right now. You get an excellent game console with high quality graphics and some great games, and a whole home entertainment system that can play DVDs, Blu-Ray disks and music CDs too.

It doesn’t have the same type of motion sensor control as the Xbox 360 or the Wii, but that’s not important to everybody. If PlayStation is what you enjoy, there’s no reason not to buy PS3 console now.

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PlayStation 3 Review

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portable console compositeWhat Is The Best Portable Game Console?

So what is the best game console when you’re on the move? Portable game systems have been around for more than 20 years now, since the first Nintendo Gameboy came out. They’ve come a long way but the basic principle remains the same: they offer a great video gaming experience while being small enough to carry around.

Nintendo continued to dominate the market for many years, fighting off competition from the Atari Lynx, Sega Gamegear and other early handheld consoles. Most recently, Sony entered the market with its PSP (PlayStation Portable) in 2005. This was an instant hit and Sony have followed up with other equally successful devices.

Now Sony and Nintendo between them provide the vast majority of portable gaming systems that are sold in the world. But when you’re asking what is the best game console it’s not just a straight either/or choice. Both companies offer several different models, and all of them have different strengths and weaknesses.

We’ve reviewed most of the latest portable gaming systems in our review pages, but in this article on the best gaming consoles we will summarize the points that we think are important about each one, to help you make your choice. There’s a link to the individual portable game console reviews at the end of each section.

One thing you’ll need to understand before we start is the position regarding games. Some games are developed by independent software companies who release them in different formats for the different portable game systems. So if you look at a game like Lego Batman you’ll see you can get it for a lot of different systems, home and portable, including both Nintendo DS and Sony PSP.

But a lot of the most popular games are developed exclusively for Nintendo or Sony, for example LittleBigPlanet (Sony) or Super Mario (Nintendo). So if you want to buy portable game systems for other people, e.g. for kids, your first question should be is there a special game that they want to play, and if so, which portable console is it available for?

Now let’s move on to our portable console comparison.

Nintendo DS and DSi

Nintendo DSi XL blueThe Nintendo DS is a hugely popular portable console that was a must-have for most Nintendo fans when it launched. It now comes in various different models: the basic DS has been superseded by the DSi and there’s also now a DSi XL.
View our Nintendo DSi XL review

To a non-expert, the DS and DSi are very similar, and the DSi XL is bigger, with larger screens that are easier to see and play on. The downside of the XL is that its bigger size means it’s not so convenient to carry around.

Nintendo DS Games

All brands of game console have some exclusive titles that are not produced for other consoles, to give themselves a unique selling point in the market. If you want to play that game, you have to buy that console. Nintendo is no exception and they have an excellent range of games that are a lot of fun and don’t take themselves too seriously. These include New Super Mario Bros, Advance Wars: Dual Strike, The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks and many more.

All of the popular non-exclusive games that you can play on a portable console come in a DS version. The DS has been around long enough that it has a ton of games.

Nintendo DS games also run on the DSi so that’s a big bonus for the DSi. Many times when a new console comes out there are no games for it at first. This isn’t true of the DSi because it can access that huge backlist of DS games – and if you’re upgrading from DS to DSi, you can play the games you already have.

Dual Touch Screen

The Nintendo DS and DSi have two screens, including one on the inner side of the top that you flip open. If you hold it open sideways it looks like a book (and in fact you can read a range of classic ebooks on it, with one page on each screen, as if you had a book open).

But the main function of the extra screen of course is for gaming. Having these two screens allows Nintendo DS games to have extra features that can offer more to the gamer than a regular game on one screen. Most DS games take advantage of this, so you get a very different gaming experience than on single-screen game consoles.

Check price of Nintendo DSi and DSi XL

Nintendo 3DS

Nintendo 3DS XL mainNintendo’s most recent and best gaming consoles in terms of features are the 3DS and 3DS XL. These offer stunning 3D graphics that allow you to view games with 3D visual effects.

The original 3DS came out in 2011 but it was not a huge hit because many gamers found it too small. Detail on the screens was difficult to see clearly, raising concerns about eyestrain and making games difficult to play for many people.

So in 2012 the 3DS XL was released. This is exactly like the 3DS but bigger. Everything is simply scaled up. It’s much easier to see and play on, although being a bigger size it’s a little less portable.

View our Nintendo 3DS XL review

Both the 3DS and the 3DS XL offer dual screens, so they’re very like the DSi but with the additional 3D graphics in games that support this. 3D gaming is definitely the way forward for game consoles and Nintendo have made a smart move by getting in early.

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Sony PSP 3000

PSP 3000 mainSony’s PSP (PlayStation Portable) is now in its third iteration, with a redesign making it smaller than ever without losing screen size. The first PSP was launched in 2005 to rival the Nintendo DS and despite the huge number of fans that Nintendo games had already won, Sony were able to make a big dent in the market. They have hung on to this market position and the PSP remains one of the best gaming consoles that you could buy.

View our PSP 3000 review

Sony PSP Games

Just like Nintendo, Sony have some exclusive games that you can only get for their equipment. These include God of War, Gran Turismo and LittleBigPlanet. Fans of these games will need to get a Sony portable game system.

Multimedia Capability

Sony’s portable gaming systems stand out for two things: their stunningly crisp graphics and their multimedia functionality. The PSP offers a lot more than just gaming. It can browse the internet and play music – and while the latest Nintendo consoles also offer these features, they don’t have the ability to play movies and videos, which the PSP does. This makes the PSP 3000 a full portable entertainment system for traveling.

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Sony PS Vita (PlayStation Vita)

PS Vita mainThe PS Vita is the newest portable console from Sony and it marks a big step up in terms of technology. It completely outclasses the Nintendo consoles and even the PSP 3000. With stunning graphics and massive power, it really is like a portable PlayStation.

View our PS Vita review

PS Vita Games

Although the PS Vita is very new there are already some great titles for it including Uncharted, Assassin’s Creed and LittleBigPlanet. There are even some titles that are exclusive to PS Vita. These are excellent games and will make it worth buying PS Vita.

Huge 5″ Touch Screen

The PS Vita boasts the biggest screen of any portable console, beating even the XL versions of the Nintendo consoles. The graphics are incredibly crisp – way better than anything Nintendo can offer on their XL screens.

This large screen does mean that the PS Vita is bigger to hold and carry than most consoles. But we think the sheer quality of the gaming experience more than makes up for that.

Awesomely Powerful

The PS Vita’s power is truly awesome. This is what gives it the ability to display such amazing graphics without losing speed.

So altogether, the PS Vita is our answer to the original question: what is the best game console. Its power, its huge screen and its stunning graphics put it in a class of its own. The downside is the price. It is more expensive than other portable gaming systems but it is worth the money.

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What Is The Best Game Console: Portable Game Systems

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Sony Reader PRS-T2 Review

Sony PRS-T2Sony Reader Review PRS-T2 2012

Our rating: 3.5 stars

The Sony Reader PRS-T2 is the latest Sony Reader touch screen model, coming onto the market to challenge the Nook Simple Touch and Kindle Touch.

Sony has been in the ereader market since the very beginning. Even if these days when most people think of an ereader they think Kindle or Nook, there are still a lot of people who prefer to buy a brand that is not tied into an online bookstore. For many of those people, Sony is the name they trust.

So how does this new Sony ereader stand up to the competition? Continue reading to find out.

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New Sony eReader Video

Sony Reader PRS-T2 Specs

Sony Reader PRS-T2 colorsPrice: from $129.99
Release date: 2012
Battery life: up to 60 hrs reading with WiFi off
Screen size: 6 inch
Display: e-Ink
Weight: 5.9 ounces
Storage capacity: 2 GB
Connectivity: Wi-Fi
Main eBook format: ePub

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What We Like About the Sony Ebook Reader PRS-T2

Easy To Use

One of Sony’s major selling points is that the Sony Reader is simple to use. The menus are not at all complex, so the display is clean, it’s all intuitive and you have a minimalist feel to it which a lot of people love. At the same time, everything you need is there. You’ll find your way around it easily in no time.

Touch Screen

As you would expect from an market leading brand in electronics like Sony, they are right up to date with the technology. Touch screens are definitely in right now so it’s no surprise to find the new Sony Reader has one.

The Sony Reader touch screen is simple and effective. It performs well against the touch screens of its main rivals, the Kindle Paperwhite and Nook Simple Touch.

Size And Weight

Sony claim that this is the lightest ebook reader ever made at under 6 ounces, and at the time of writing it’s true as far as we know. It’s not quite as small as the smallest Kindle but it is a little lighter. It’s also still easily small enough to slip into a purse or even a pocket and hardly notice that you’re carrying it.

Handwriting Technology

One of the unique features of the Sony Reader is what Sony call ‘handwriting technology’. You get a stylus with the Sony Reader PRS-T2 and you can use this for writing on the screen.

This is a great way to make notes on a book that you’re reading. It’s way quicker than typing everything out on a keyboard, even a touch sensitive keyboard. With the Sony Reader, you can just write like you would with a pen.

It takes a little practice to get used to writing with the stylus but it’s just like signing for a delivery, you get to know the right angle to hold it etc, and after that it’s a breeze.

You can also use the screen as a blank page to make memo notes, shopping lists etc. After making your notes you save them, and then you can access them from the menu screen.

Expandable Memory

Like most ebook readers, the Sony PRS-T2 offers 2 GB memory of which around 1.3 GB is available for storing books. This gives you space for around 1200 ebooks depending on their length.

However, the new Sony eReader also offers a micro SD slot so that you can expand the onboard memory. You can go right up to 32 GB if you want, which would be more than most people could ever use for ebooks. This is an excellent feature which is not available on most Kindles.

Fast Page Turning

The speed of a page turn is one of the things that ereader users comment on the most. It’s frustrating that some ebook readers have a slow page turn, especially if you are a fast reader. But the Sony ebook reader is great in this respect. The new page is displayed quickly and we think you’ll hardly notice the interruption to your reading flow.

What We’d Like To See Improved

Design

The Sony Reader looks good but it’s not real comfortable to hold. The design is not very economic, with sharp corners that become uncomfortable in the palm of your hand.

Another problem with the design for the user is that the button to turn the page is not in a position where you can easily reach it with the hand that’s holding the ebook reader, so you can’t read with one hand. You do have the touch swipe option of turning the page but again you need to use another hand for that. There are much more convenient ways to arrange this, and both the Kindle and Nook do it better.

Text Display

The Sony Reader has an e-Ink display that really is just okay. While other ereaders are making huge strides toward clearer and crisper text and whiter backgrounds for easier reading, Sony seem to be standing still on this. The display doesn’t match up to the competition in our opinion.

Sony eReader Review Summary

Our rating: 3.5 stars

The Sony Reader PRS-T2 is a pretty good eReader but it doesn’t have that wow factor that would give it a real high rating in our opinion. It hasn’t been designed with so much thought for the user as some of its competitors. We think there’s better value elsewhere. But if you’re a Sony Reader fan and you’re happy with the design, you’ll probably like this latest model in the range.

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Published November 25th, 2012

Sony Reader PRS-T2 Review

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