Compare MP3 Players!

25 Comments | Posted on in MP3 Players.

Think “MP3 player,” and you would be forgiven for immediately thinking “iPod.” In fact, there’s a whole host of people who now refer to the bite sized musical gadgets by the Apple brand. But, contrary to how it might see sometimes, there are loads of alternatives to the iPod, all with the same functionality and many with somewhat more favourable price tags.

Compare iPods

While we compare the prices on all sort of MP3 players from multiple manufacturers, we do (of course) include iPods. From the Nano to the Shuffle right through to the feature loaded iPod Touch, we compare iPods from a number of retailers to show you where you can get the best price.

Best MP3 Players

The best MP3 players will differ for everyone. What do you want functionality wise? Is the ability to play games on it too as important as cutting the price by opting for a simple and functional MP3 player? Do you have a preferred brand?

Compare Prices

You can find quite often that the same MP3 player with the same amount of memory differs in price from one retailer to the next. At Techie Reviews you can compare prices before making a purchase by visiting our MP3 player comparison page.

Keep an eye on the latest MP3 players and get notified of any price changes!

Techie Reviews Launches

1 Comment | Posted on in News.

Well the day has finally arrived – Techie Reviews has launched  its price comparison engine. When I set up the site at the start of the year the idea was always to have a community of techies, sharing their opinions on all the latest gadgets and then give the opportunity for you to buy the products that are being talked about.

The engine is in its early stages and will be constantly updated and improved, with more and more products and prices added as time goes on until we are the biggest and BEST technology price comparison and review site on the web.
For now you can register today to be kept up to date with all Techie Reviews news, watch products for changing prices and start writing reviews for the products you have. We want to build Techie Reviews into a thriving community for techie people and more….but we need your help.

So sign up today and be one of the first in what is sure to be a bustling and fun community!

The Train Line iPhone App Review

No Comments | Posted on in iPhone.

The Train Line website is pretty much the UK’s premier resource for all things train travel. If you want to check a train time, book a ticket, check for delays etc then you will more than likely be clicking onto this website. However with it being a website there was a slight issue – if you weren’t at your computer then you probably can’t check it, and a fair amount of the times it would be useful are on the move, such as on a bus to the station or between work and the station.

Now they have got an iPhone app for this very reason. Currently it is quite a limited app, but as it is free you can’t really complain. This app is mainly about checking the times of the trains, and there are links through to the website if you want to purchase any tickets.

The interface is very simple and intuitive, with some handy features. First option is to “plan journey”, and when you go through to this screen you go to a big list that is set out like the iTunes list on the device of all the stations in the country. You can use the letters down the side as in iTunes to skip to each. It saves your recent ones, and also uses the Current Location feature to show you “nearby” stations also.

The next feature is “next train home”, which lets you set a “home destination” and then takes your current location and gives you a shortcut from the main screen of the app to go to that search and see when the next few trains back to your chosen station leave.

The other feature on the main app screen is a shortcut to the last few searches you have made, which can be pretty useful if you don’t do it often and can speed things up a lot if you are on the move

Thumbs Up:

  • Intuitive Interface
  • Use of Current Location
  • Handy Shortcuts

Thumbs Down:

  • You cannot currently book tickets on the app


Score:
4/5


Summary:
Great little app, easy to use and very useful!

AroundMe iPhone app Augmented Reality

No Comments | Posted on in iPhone.

I downloaded an update for the AroundMe app the other day (along with about 7 other apps) and thought nothing of it, just the usual bug fixes etc. But when I came to use the app today, it flashed up a message saying “tilt sideways to activate Augmented Reality”. I had heard of AR before but hadn’t ever seen it in action. I have to admit I am very impressed.

It simply opens up the camera part of the iPhone, and displays on screen the choices (i.e. the different pubs) that are in the direction you are looking. They are displayed as a sort of sign, and there is a radar style map in the top left corner that makes you feel like you are in a video game! It takes advantage of the compass so you can always see which direction you need to go in.

Now I think this is a great idea, I can see that it is very useful especially directionally when you are in an unfamiliar place and it gives you a much more visual representation of where you are. That said, you will look like an absolute idiot if you use it in the street because you have to point it straight ahead which means holding it roughly at chest level away from your body. So you can’t discreetly look down at it while holding it close to you and pretending that you are changing a song or reading a text like you can do now to disguise the fact you have no idea where you are going and the only reason you will make it there is because of your iPhone. You have to hold your phone in front of you, turning in every direction until you find what you are looking for popping up on the screen. Using this app in public and you will be essentially screaming to the world “LOOK AT ME! I’M TOTALLY AND HOPELESSLY LOST……”………..what did we do for directions before iPhones?!?!

Ivor Novello music awards to include gaming music category

No Comments | Posted on in Games Consoles.

Very interesting article saying that the Ivor Novello music awards, the pinnacle of songwriting achievement, have added a new category this year called “Best Original Video Game Score”.

After my previous blog post the other day on video game demographics changing this was further proof that video gaming is becoming a lot more “acceptable” in society. The nominations for this award are generally the elite songwriters, and it will be good to see game scores get recognised, as they can be sometimes very epic.

Over the years game music has been much revered, to the point where Video Games Live have managed to pretty much sell out tours of USA in 2007 and 2009, with another big tour in 2010. They offer the chance to see video game music spanning the history of video games played live by an orchestra.

Over the years video game music has become almost as iconic as the games themselves in gaming circles. Sonic the Hedgehog and Mario music are very well known.

Personally I am a massive fan of Sonic the Hedgehog music from the days of the Sega Megadrive, however much it just sounded like a series of bleeps to most people! I personally think the obsession with video gaming music is down to memories. I associate Sonic music with being a child, carefree just playing on the Mega Drive. The music soothes me, I even used it as my relaxation music in uni when I had stress to do with coursework and exams. Its the sort of music that blends into the background, and brings back good memories.

Nowadays the music is a lot more epic-  they are sweeping orchestral scores, created as if they are soundtracking a film. The games now are more like films anyway, with complex storylines and sprawling worlds.  It is these scores such as the forthcoming new Final Fantasy game that will be nominated for the Ivor Novello next year, this series was one of the purveyors of orchestral game music and is very likely to be in the running.

This is yet more proof of video games becoming more widespread in society.

Sonic 4 to be released after 16 years

1 Comment | Posted on in Games Consoles.

It has been 16 years since the last Sonic the Hedgehog game was released on the Sega Mega Drive (or Genesis if you are in America). That game was Sonic 3, completing a trilogy of great adventure games that a whole generation grew up with, including me.

I got my Sega Mega Drive when I was 6, and it came with Sonic 2, which I spent hours and hours playing trying to complete. I think I completed it once, but could never get past the last level. After this I got Sonic 1 in retrospect and then got Sonic 3 the day it came out in 1994. What I always remember is the music, which when I hear it now reminds me of playing on the Mega Drive– it is soothing, relaxing music.

Now it has been announced that Sonic 4 will be released on the Playstation Network, Xbox Live and downloadable on the Wii (along with an intriguing “and ??????????” – which gaming system is this referring to? iPad/iPhone are rumoured).
The game will be a direct sequel to the Mega Drive/Genesis games. Most Sonic games since then have been 3d and have all tried to be very “innovative”, but this has been at the expense of the gameplay and enjoyment of the game. The team at Sega have realised this and now are going back to basics, with a 2d scrolling game in HD with 3d rendered models.

The early video footage looks excellent and it looks just like the Sonic games of old.

The level designer from Sonic 3 is working on it, and while the entire Sonic Team isn’t working on the game, this gives it the much needed credibility and makes it very clear that this will be going back to when the Sonic games were at the height of their quality and popularity. The new levels appear to be based on the classic ones, and the gameplay looks exactly like it used to with all the old moves.

Personally, I am very excited about this, and I will be downloading it on the very first day of release. The Sonic games are my favourite series of games ever, and I have been waiting for another 2d one for many years.

Oh yes – this is called “Sonic 4, Episode 1”, meaning that there will be more. Ace!

Muse iPhone App Review

28 Comments | Posted on in iPhone.

Being a massive Muse fan I was naturally very excited when I saw there was a new app to coincide with the release of the single “Resistance”, which incidentally is an excellent song and fully deserving of the massive digital campaign it has been given. Yes the app cost £1.79 but is easily worth it if you are a fan.

It is a clever promotional tool because to access all of the features you have to be signed up to the Muse.mu website, and this is made clear when you load up the app as it pops up saying as much, and gives you the options to sign in or register, so essentially you have to be signed up to the website before using the app. It is a great marketing ploy that gets many more names on their mailing list.

It looks good before you even get into the app, with the “Resistance” brightly coloured artwork as the logo on the main iPhone screen. When you go inside there are 8 sections to the app, and here is a brief overview of what you can do in each:

  • Tour – The tour page is a list of all the upcoming tour dates in 2010, ordered either by date or by country. It also says whether the gig is sold out or if there are tickets left. Selecting a date takes you through an information page about the gig, sometimes it is ticket prices, others it is what stage the band is playing at a festival. It also provides a link to buy tickets if there are any left.
  • The Resistance – The latest album, and loads of stuff here. There are 30 second clips of all the songs on the album, a really cool “appbook” which has the song lyrics and some artwork, the full video for the “Resistance” single and full song “United States of Eurasia”, both totally downloaded to the iPhone not streamed off the Internet.
  • Muse Store – There is a link to a special iPhone optimised version of the Muse online shop, where you can buy all of the band’s merchandise.
  • Map – A very interesting feature where you can see where other members of the Muse app are located, and can search via city in list view also. Really cool but I cannot properly work out whether it is showing the cities where there are a lot of fans or whether it is showing all active people on the app at that particular time.
  • Feeds/Links – Self explanatory really, links to the Twitter feeds etc.
  • Video Player – This is a brilliant little feature where you can link to stream any of the band’s songs, videos or live DVDs over the Internet through your iPhone. A revolutionary concept and the videos come through perfect quality as you would hope.
  • Gig Pics – This is where you upload a photo from a gig and then tag it to the specific venue. This ties in with a feature on the map where the photos appear.
  • Forum – Another iPhone optimised version of a feature on the website, it gives you a much easier to navigate version of the forum.

Thumbs Up:

  • SO MUCH content
  • Video for the best song on the album
  • Lyrics for the whole album
  • Streaming of old DVDs and Music Videos
  • The map is immense – am interested to see where this goes in the future

Thumbs Down:

  • Absolutely nothing at all


Score:
5/5


Summary:
There is so much in this app that they could have chosen to make it more expensive, as the Resistance video alone is worth the £1.79. Very impressed. Muse are the type of band who always go that little bit further to give their fans something different and have done incredibly well again.

Every company/band/team should aspire to have an iPhone app as good as this one.

Tesco clubcard iphone app (for those of us that lose things)

No Comments | Posted on in iPhone.

The recent news that Tesco has launched an iPhone app for their Clubcard reward scheme has been met with some excitement. It is an app that allows existing Tesco Clubcard holders to link their iPhone app to their Clubcard account and it essentially turns the iPhone into a Clubcard, just without having to carry an extra card in your wallet. It makes it much less likely that you will be losing your Clubcard, though if you do it is much more of a disaster than it was before!

It works in any Tesco store that has the facility to scan the Clubcards. However, the app doesn’t work with the self checkout machines and a few of the older stores that have not had their technology upgraded recently.

It’s a great idea, as plenty of people lose their loyalty cards on a regular basis and are unlikely to ever get them renewed – this has happened to me with my Boots Advantage card, maybe they should look at releasing an app for theirs now?!

It opens the door for so many other companies to do similar apps, and companies like Voucher Cloud have already started. They have exclusive smartphone vouchers that you have to show at the place of purchase. This is being copied by a number of other voucher providers, and soon it could become the norm for all vouchers to be done in this way as more and more people get smartphones such as the iPhone….

Why I love on demand TV technology

No Comments | Posted on in Technology.

It is not long ago that in order to watch a television show you had to be sat there in front of the TV at the specific time the show was on or set a video to record it. Due to limited space on the videos and the inability to change between analogue and sky/cable, your options were pretty limited!

If you wanted to follow a specific show you would have to make sure that you kept up to date, or have a lot of video tapes lying around. You would also have to watch adverts as you’d most likely be watching live.

The invention of Sky+ a few years ago revolutionised television viewing. You could record loads of shows, and as long as you kept an eye on the space (many video tapes worth!) you could leave things on there for ages while waiting to find time to watch them. The best feature of this however is “Series Link”, which allows you to tell the box to record a show every time it is on, meaning you won’t miss an episode of your favourite series because you forgot to set it to record. You can also fast forward through the adverts. Sometimes I even start the show 10 minutes later, meaning you can go through the ads.

Another great recent development is the TV show on DVD. Back when we were on VHS, it’d cost near to £100 to buy a season of a TV show on DVD, but now you are looking at about £20-30 for a box set, meaning it is so easy to catch up on shows that you didn’t see or ones that you missed first time around years ago.

Online streaming has been a great new invention, with BBC iPlayer and 4OnDemand leading the way. For a week after a show has been on you can watch them online, and there are some older shows that you can permanently watch. This is another step towards completely on demand TV. To be honest I don’t watch TV live much anymore at all, as the only time I get chance is when the Saturday night reality stuff or the soaps are on, and I’d rather be watching an episode of 24!