Technology

Thoughts on the Kindle Voyage

For a few years I had the Kindle Paperwhite but I missed the press of buttons (or kind of buttons) that I experienced with my first Kindle (the Kindle 4), and I wanted a screen with a higher PPI, so I upgraded to the Kindle Voyage (kindly donated by my dad who didn’t use it as he prefers the fire tablets).

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In all honesty, the Voyage isn’t much different from the Paperwhite, but even when setting up the Kindle and transferring my books over, I noticed a significant difference in the screen. I’m not sure of the PPI in the Paperwhite as I have an earlier version of it (I think), but I know the PPI of the Voyage is 300. Whether they are the same or different, to me the writing on the Voyage looked more crisp and clear, therefore making it a much more enjoyable reading experience.

I love the little ‘buttons’ to turn the pages. It’s much more reminiscent of what I remember from the Kindle 4, where you could turn the pages forward or backwards one handed and you didn’t need to touch the screen. With the Voyage, it is a one-handed experience because of that and because it is so light. The Kindles have never really weighed much and have always been comfortable for me to hold one-handed (even with my dodgy wrists). This is much better than the Paperwhite, which although is very light, requires two hands, as you press on the left of the screen to go back a page, and right of the screen to go forward a page. I know this is a very lazy thing for me to make a comment on, but for a lot of people, it makes multitasking easier. People can eat their food or drink something or stand up on the bus/train and still read. If you travel and are on a train and have to stand up, you’ve got one hand supporting you while having the other hand able to turn the pages no matter which way you need to go.

wpid-kindle-voyage-00f-us-thin-780x840Another thing I really love about the design of the Kindle Voyage is the bezel being flush against the screen. It makes the Voyage thinner and if anything I think it makes the words sort of pop out at you more, so even if the Paperwhite has the same resolution, because the screen is flat with the bezel and not further into the Kindle (like with the Paperwhite), it makes the screen look nicer and crisper.

Although both the Voyage and Paperwhite have a light, there has definitely been a significant improvement since the Paperwhite with the addition of auto-brightness. Although during the day this may not be particularly useful, at night it’ll mean it slowly adjusts to the brightness around you, meaning your eyes will slowly adjust to the darkness and the light of the screen will be suitable for your eyes, meaning it’s not too bright or too dark for you, making it a comfortable experience. The light of the Kindle is, of course, my favourite feature because back when I had the Kindle 4, I struggled to see the screen properly in dimmer lights, and I caused my eyes to strain in darker lighting (like when travelling).

Overall, I do recommend this Kindle, yet I still recommend the Paperwhite too, although the Voyage feels like more of a premium experience. The price for the Paperwhite as of writing this is £109.99 vs £169.99 for the Voyage, and although the functions do not differ much, I do prefer the Voyage. The pagepress sensors, auto-brightness and overall sleek look and feel are worth the extra money, but if you want an e-reader with a light, I see no problem with anyone purchasing the Paperwhite, and it is up to the budget of the potential purchaser as to whether they think the features and slightly more premium build are worth the extra £60.

-Laura

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Nintendo Switch Review

On the 26th June I got a neon Nintendo Switch and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. Since then it has kind of taken over my life. I’ve left school and finished my a-level exams now so I have more time to relax, more time to read, write and play games and spend time with the important people in my life.

11396090-1784485336392124The Nintendo Switch was released in March of this year (2017) and for those who have been hiding under a rock, it is a hybrid console. You can play the switch in a variety of ways, as a handheld, as a home console and each joycon can be used as a separate controller or they can be put as one controller. Now I can’t speak much in terms of games because I only have the one at the moment (Mario Kart 8 Deluxe) but I do love it and I can say that both on the TV and as a portable console it is fantastic. I think the graphics look beautiful, the console feels well-made and the joycons, although being small for my boyfriend, they fit perfectly in my girly hands!

So, what do you get in the box for your £279.99? Actually more than you may expect. You get the switch itself, which is about the same size as an Amazon 7 tablet, two joycons (left and right), 2 joycon straps (please look at the + and – when putting these on!!), the dock, an AC adapter which is USB-C, a HDMI cable and a joycon grip (dock? thing to turn it into one controller?). You’ve got everything you need to get set up and honestly the switch for both portable and home console mode is very easy to set up and it took me a matter of minutes. All the cables are tucked away nicely in the dock so it looks a bit nicer too. A word of warning about the dock though, please be careful. I myself am restraining from using the switch until I my glass screen protector arrives because there have been multiple people say that the dock has scratched their screen (which is a plastic one), so I’d recommend a screen protector or a dock-sock, which you can get from etsy and I’ll definitely be purchasing one at some stage.

Nintendo SwitchLike I said before, the graphics are great and although I’ve only had a full experience with Mario Kart, I have played demos for Puyo-Puyo Tetris and Snipperclips with my boyfriend and they are really fun and Snipperclips is a really funny and silly game. Out of what has been released so far I have seen a fair few games I want, but being the fresh-out-of-school human that I am, it’s gonna take me a while to get money to get games but my wishlist is full and I’ve seen a lot of great reviews for a variety of games and the lineup for what is to come looks amazing. Mario games are coming out this year as well as Skyrim and there are Kirby, Yoshi and Pokemon games being lined up as well. I also hope for an Animal Crossing game. That’ll be amazing!

Other than all that, all I can really say in summary is for the £279.99, this is an amazing console. I love it. I highly highly highly recommend it and I’m so excited to build a collection of joycons and games. Nintendo have done an amazing job on this and it’s really fun. I think my 3DS and Wii U are gonna be neglected for a while but the 3DS will still be one of my favourite Nintendo products. Let me know your opinions on the Switch, if you have one or want one!

Amiibo Cards – Are They Worth The Money?

If you are a fan of Nintendo, you’ll know about amiibos. For those who don’t know, they’re cards and figures that can connect to some Nintendo consoles (such as New 3DS and Wii U) via NFC (near field communication). They can add stuff into games such as Animal Crossing New Leaf, Happy Home Designer (both for 3DS) and Amiibo Festival (Wii U). The figures tend to go for roughly £10ish depending on where you get them, and the cards in the UK come in packs of 3 (1 special, 2 normal) for about £3.49 according to Amazon.
So for just over £1 per card, you’re getting an amiibo. A toy-to-life. But, is it worth it? Personally for me, I love the fauna-ecae38114593b4b3262704833282f7c174c4198025b0e4b637348cd0aa57f440Amiibo cards. As someone who loves collecting and used to collect Magic the Gathering and YuGiOh cards (as well as Vanguard), I love collecting little cards and the fact that these ones, although being more expensive, actually do something in games that I really love, it’s fantastic. I haven’t had the chance to play with them in New Leaf yet, but I have played around with Happy Home Designer and Amiibo Festival and they’ve been really fun.

In Happy Home Designer, you use the cards to phone up specific characters (special characters being ones you can’t design for in any other way) and then you can design their home for them. In Amiibo Festival, if you use an Amiibo Card when organising your town, that specific character can host your game, events can be made around them (such as with birthdays) and if you keep the card with you while you’re in the game, you can use them to roll the dice for you, increasing the chance of getting the specific desired number on the dice, as each character has a specific dice number on the card. Meaning in games, they can be very helpful.

In all, I think Amiibo cards are worth the money and are in general both adorable and fun. They are nice things to collect and can be great additions to certain games. So if you love collecting cards, are a fan of Nintendo, you’ll love these. It just depends on what you think of the price.

-Laura

Review – Kindle Paperwhite 2

I own the Kindle Paperwhite 2 and have for a good couple of years now. I’ve had it probably since around 2014 and since then I have used it a fair bit. It’s something I keep going back to because of how portable it is. I own a lot of physical copies of books, and sometimes I find it much easier to have copies of these books on my Kindle so it is easier for me to carry them around. I take it on long journeys, to school and I use it at home a lot, just recently I finished Star Wars: Bloodline by Claudia Gray and I found it much easier to read on my Kindle than on the physical copy because I’m able to change the font size to something my eyes can handle easier. I will also mention now that my Kindle has a magnetic case on it and I highly recommend these. Not only are they protective for both the front and back of the Kindle, but when you open the case, it automatically turns on the Kindle, saving a little bit of time and effort for you.

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The reason I got the Kindle Paperwhite is because of the light feature. I had an older Kindle but I couldn’t see it very well in certain lighting, so the fact that the Paperwhite had this light feature so I could read books both in the dark and in sunlight was amazing, and so useful to me.  I remember a trip I went on a good couple of years ago and I wanted to read a book to pass the time during the journey, but I wasn’t able to read anything on my old kindle because it was so dark, so the fact that the Paperwhite has a light built into it has really benefited me and allowed me to read in multiple situations.

Something else I completely and utterly adore about Kindles in general is that Amazon has such a wide variety of eBooks available, and quite a lot of them from various genres are free. As someone who loves classics, I adored that Amazon had so many classics from authors such as Jane Austen and Charles Dickens available for free, and I have most definitely reached into reading classics more often because of this. I also love that if you have downloaded eBooks from elsewhere or even have a PDF file, you can send them to your Kindle wirelessly. I own a Chromebook, so I only have simple features available to me on a laptop, so having the ability to convert eBooks and send them wirelessly was amazing to me and something I have found very useful.

Overall, would I recommend a Kindle Paperwhite? Absolutely! Not only is it so good for reading in various different lighting situations, but they’re so easy to use and the battery is absolutely fantastic. I tend to use my Kindle a fair bit and use it from full to empty without a charge in between and the battery lasts for absolutely ages, but this may be shorter or longer depending on how heavily you use it and what else you do with it. I obviously do not know much about other features on it such as Goodreads, or even how easy it is to purchase eBooks straight from the Kindle, as I tend to use my phone or the Amazon website to do that, but as a basic eReader with a light built into it, it is absolutely fantastic and I would highly recommend one of these to someone who either is a heavy book reader, or even someone who doesn’t read as often, but would like the portability of the Kindle.

-Laura

Review – Polaroid ZIP

The Polaroid ZIP is a tiny portable printer that links via Bluetooth to your phone. It prints the image in the perfect wallet size, just like a little Polaroid camera, and requires no ink whatsoever, as the ink is built into the paper itself. It uses this paper called ZINK Photo Paper, which I assume means ‘zero ink’ and can sometimes be a bit expensive depending on where you get the paper from. To print the photos, you load them up in the Polaroid ZIP app, and from there your phone will connect via Bluetooth to the printer and print your image onto the ZINK paper.

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I got my Polaroid ZIP in Argos about a year or so ago and it’s something I’ve used on and
off. As someone who loves photography, I have printed a few of my favourite photos onto these little bits of paper before and have them in a photo album made specifically for Polaroid sized images. I do absolutely love the thing and it has become very useful. The paper itself is even a sticker, you just peel off the back and stick it to whatever you want. I have used them as stickers before, back when I used a Filofax for my organisation.

I personally think these little portable printers are better than getting a Polaroid camera, as it means we can take full advantage of the camera quality on our phones, and it means we can record the moment instantly, and worry about printing later. It also means that a single photo can be printed multiple times. For example, with a Polaroid-style camera, if you were with your friends and took a photo together, for everyone to have a copy, you’d have to try to take that same photo multiple times, but with the ZIP, you can just take the photo on your phone as usual and print it multiple times whenever and wherever you want. The actual device itself is a little shorter than the iPhone 6/6S but a lot thicker, so it still is portable.

In all, if you’re someone who likes the size of Polaroid photos, but do not want to get a camera, I fully recommend one of these. You can use this for so many things, like making stickers for your Filofax, printing memories out to keep in an album or even using it to create little bits for a scrapbook. It may seem expensive, as it is currently £119.99 in Argos and varying in price on Amazon, but it is most definitely worth it and a handy little gadget for photography lovers or even just a wide variety of people.

-Laura