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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!

PSP Go as an Emulator

I recently obtained a PSP Go from my father, who hadn’t touched the thing in a long time. For those of you who don’t know what a PSP Go is, it’s a smaller PSP that is smaller and the screen flips up (like an older phone) to reveal the controls. It also does not have a UMD drive (which is the type of game disk that PSP’s use), so it is a digital only console, but has a 16gb internal memory for holding games.

31leh7cnpelI looked into it when I got given it and a lot of people have used it as an emulator and I decided to do the same. Now, I’m not gonna explain it too much because I am awful at explaining how to do things but there are a variety of YouTube videos and other things that can tell you how to do it with a PSP/PSP Go. Basically it involved updating to either 6.61 or 6.60 for the software and then getting custom firmware and then installing emulators and putting the ROM files in the folders for the emulators.

I have done it and have PS1, gameboy, gameboy colour and gameboy advance emulators on there and they work fantastically. I watched a couple YouTube videos on them and that managed to stop my confusion and I’ll admit it is a lot easier than I initially expected. I thought it was going to be so difficult to do and I was going to have to do so much but I didn’t. It was simple to do and I am really enjoying the outcome of this. I have my favourite (more relaxing) games on there which I can dip in and out of whenever I get the time and am in the mood for it and it’s really fun.

If you have been considering putting emulators on your PSP I definitely recommend doing it and if anyone has done it let me know what emulators you have on there 🙂

-Laura

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 – New 3DS XL Animal Crossing Pouch

So, in my review of the Mini Elite Transporter Case I mentioned that I wanted a case that’s slightly smaller so I can actually travel with it, and I came across this Animal Crossing pouch made for the New 3DS XL, but of course the new 3DS will fit in there. I saw it had 2 pockets on the inside originally for storing amiibo cards, but I guess you could put anything in there. I loved the design, it had good reviews and it is an official Nintendo product, so for £10.80, I bought it. I bought it on the 15th of April and it arrived on the 18th of April, so I’ve had it for some time and have had the opportunity to test it.

hori-animal-crossing-soft-pouch-1So, what are my thoughts? Well, it fits the New 3DS nicely and I’m able to put in a spare stylus. I use one of the bigger styluses you can get (like what came with the Dsi XL) because I just find it easier and more comfortable to hold. The two pockets fit amiibo cards but I’ve used them for game storage. The case also feels really nice and high quality and honestly, the pattern looks nicer in person than it did in the pictures. Only one side has the pattern that you can see on the picture, the other side is the plain colour. The pouch also has 2 zips which I found strange, as I’m not really sure why you’d need two for such a small case.

In all, I think it is really nice and high quality and perfect for any animal crossing fan, no matter which 3DS you have as it’ll comfortably fit both. It may seem a little pricey, but for an official Nintendo licenced product, I think it’s a good deal. The price does also keep changing on Amazon, but only by a matter of pence. I really do recommend this and it’ll definitely be the main case I use for a very long time!

-Laura

A Month With The Apple Watch – A Review

At the end of March, I got the Apple Watch Series 1 (38mm) in rose gold and since then it has been a big part of my everyday life. For a hefty price of £269, you can actually do a fair bit with it.

apple-watch-series-1-38mm-rose-gold-aluminium-case-with-pink-sand-sport-bandI used to own a Fitbit Flex, and honestly as much as enjoyed it for the basic fitness tracker, it just wasn’t doing it for me anymore, and after seeing what had happened to my old Fitbit Charge and my mums Fitbit Alta, I was starting to get worried my Flex would pack in. So as I was looking into similar things not by Fitbit, I remembered about the Apple Watch. I absolutely love Apple, and over the past 7 years I’ve owned iPhones. I tried out a Blackberry and didn’t like it, and I always find myself going back to Apples technology. I have a friend who has an Apple Watch and after I looked into it not just for the fitness tracker, but for the ability to check and answer messages, phone calls, check your bank and the heart rate monitor, I asked her what she thought of it and she said she couldn’t live without it.

When I got my Apple Watch, I was completely amazed. My first week with the Apple Watch was great. Although I had to charge it every night (which to me was no issue), the battery is quite good, I can easily get through an entire day and that’s when using it at school as well. It benefited me a lot because I am able to check messages from family while in lessons when I’m not allowed my phone out, or even just when I’m letting my boyfriend play a game on my phone. And, although I’ve never been a fitnessy person, (I’m quite lazy and I mainly had the Flex just out of interest to see how many steps I did on a daily basis) but the Apple Watch has kind of made me get more determined to fill up those little fitness circles! I absolutely love this thing. One annoying thing about the watch however is that in the box there was no power adapter. It came with the cable but nothing to plug it into, which I think was a bit of a silly idea from Apple, meaning if people do not have spares around the house (luckily I did), you’ll have to spend money on that on top of the £269 you just spent on the watch itself.

Now cut to a month later, what do I think of the Apple Watch now I’m used it and have kinda gotten over the initial OMG over how cool some of the features (like the heart rate monitor and the scribble feature to answer texts)? I still love it. If my phone is in my bag or whatever at school or during days out, I’m still able to check texts, which for me is essential as it means if anything as an emergency or important comes up from my family, I’m able to check and reply without people really noticing. The fitness stuff really has become quite interesting to me though, although I don’t think I’d ever use the workout app on it, the activity app is useful. I like getting the updates telling me how I’ve been doing with my goals throughout the day and it really has gotten me more determined to try to fill up the circles. I’ve discovered though that it’s easier if I’m out with my boyfriend as I have someone to go on a walk with. The heart rate feature for me is quite useful. As someone who does have an irregular heartbeat, it’s interesting to see how it changes throughout the day and I’ve been able to work out an average for my resting heart rate, but have also figured out ways to slow it down a bit, which makes me a bit calmer about it all.

In all, although this watch is expensive, it has a lot of great features on it and there are plenty of apps available which will suit a variety of people. It’s a great little device and I honestly think it’s become a big part of my life just over this past month. I do highly recommend this watch, but if you’re a swimmer or think you’d benefit from having GPS without your phone, the series 2 (priced at £369 in Argos) is probably a better option for you. The Apple Watch is amazing and I find it so useful. Let me know if you have one and what you think of it in the comments.

-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