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Gifts & Gadgets

Gadget Reviews Samsung Galaxy SIII

We take a look at the much anticipated Android phone

The phone that all android fans have been waiting for is finally here - the follow up to the Samsung Galaxy S2 has arrived with all the fanfare of a big and glitzy launch event, a huge advertising campaign that should convince everyone that this phone is in fact a really big deal. If that doesn’t convince you, the fact that Samsung received 10 million preorders should. It is unimaginatively called the Galaxy S3 but that is where the lack of innovation ends. Sporting a huge 4.8 inch screen that displays full 720p resolution, a quad core processor it is…

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Gadget Reviews Wire Worries

This month, Murphy Simmonds is wrapped up in wires

"You got wires going in. You got wires coming out of your skin." So sung Athlete, and while they were relaying the harrowing experience of having a loved one in hospital, we like to sing it at our toaster.

No disrespect to the band and their original sentiment – it’s just that the acoustics right by our toaster are amazing. And, of course, our toaster does have wires going in, and indeed wires coming out.

It’s really the only thing wrong with toasters. They are, by and large, the perfect product creating the perfect foodstuff, hampered only by the big…

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Games Reviews Final Fantasy XIII-2, Soul Calibur V, Resident Evil: Revelations

We cast our eyes over the latest video game releases

Final Fantasy XIII won huge critical acclaim in its home turf of Japan. But while western audiences lapped up its luscious looks and smart battle system, many were frustrated by the linear gameplay. Sequel Final Fantasy XIII-2 (4 stars, PS3/X360, Square Enix) opens up that gameplay to the detriment of its story – a trade-off we’ll gladly accept. Refinements to the combat are welcome too: its core mechanic of shifting "paradigms" is faster, and monsters can be captured and levelled-up to fight as your third party member. This is not a game for those unconvinced by the fighting system first…

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Gadget Reviews Ride in Dalek

This month, Murphy Simmonds is raising a generation of killing machines

Kids these days, eh? You feed them. You water them. You move to the nice part of town to make sure they don’t become crackheads. You do damn near everything for the little blighters, but when the time comes to send them out on an assassination mission, what do they do?

Cry and go to their room, is what. Bam – you lose out on a lucrative £30,000 contract and the Queen of Bolivia, or whoever your target may be, escapes with her brains and skull frustratingly intact.

It was far easier in the olden days. Back then, children had…

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Games Reviews Mario Kart 7, Sonic Generations, Assassin's Creed Revelations

We cast our eyes over the latest video game releases

It’s January, which means the great gaming drought has begun. So we’re taking a look at a couple of big titles from the end of 2011 that we didn’t have space for, because the only new games out this month are things like Cross Channel Ferry Manager and Super Binman.

First up is the best version of Mario Kart for 15 years. Mario Kart 7 (5 stars, 3DS, Nintendo) brings everyone’s favourite knockabout racing series to Nintendo’s 3DS handheld. Why so good? It boasts a wealth of superbly designed tracks (16 new, 16 cribbed from the prequels), it offers a…

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Gadget Reviews VW Camper Van Tent

This month, Murphy Simmonds is camping it up

Do you like camping? We like camping. We love nothing more than to strap sheeting and poles to our back, traipse across a few mountains, lovingly assemble our tent, sit inside it shivering, briefly go outside to defecate behind a bush, then finally fall blissfully asleep with a rock jabbing our spine.

From that description, it might sound like we don’t actually like camping. And you’d be quite right, we don’t. It’s rubbish. Sure, it’s a fun feeling to climb inside a temporary cloth house in the middle of a field, but then the fun goes away, and it’s cold…

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Games Reviews Dance Central 2, PES 2012, Forza 4, Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One, NBA 2K12, Ace Combat: Assault Horizon

We cast our eyes over the latest video game releases

Dance Central 2 (5 stars, X360, Microsoft) is the best reason to own Kinect. This updates last year’s Dance Central with new tracks, added polish and simultaneous two-player action. Busting moves to the on-screen dancers’ prompts is honestly as much fun as we have had gaming for ages. A fantastic party game with plenty of single-player draw.

As FIFA 2012wins the critics’ hearts as the best football sim, is there still a place for Pro Evolution Soccer? PES 2012 (4 stars, PC/PS3/X360, Konami) proves there is. A couple of years in the doldrums has…

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Games Reviews Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Fighter III, Toy Soldiers: Cold War

We cast our eyes over the latest video game releases

A decade ago, Deus Ex combined unremarkable shooting with remarkable freedom of choice to deliver a game which remains tremendously influential today. Chief among those influenced is Deus Ex: Human Revolution (4 stars, PC/PS3/X360, Square Enix) a nominal prequel which updates the formula without losing what made it great in the first place.

Telling a near-future tale of corporations, conspiracy and robotic body enhancements – with a clear debt to Blade Runner – it offers a degree of choice which could be bewildering to those weaned on Call of Duty. Missions can be approached all guns blazing, softly softly using…

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Gadget Reviews Fit Fur Life Treadmill

This month, Murphy Simmonds looks for the best way to walk a dog in the middle of the sea

It’s a common problem. You own a dog, but you live on a small boat in the middle of a sea. Twice a day your beloved pet looks hopefully up a you with his or her loving eyes, only to be told: no, there are no walkies now; there will be no walkies later; in fact, there will never, ever be any walkies for all of the rest of time, because we live on a tiny boat, you and I, and that tiny boat is in the middle of the sea.

Dogs, being dogs, can only grasp the very first…

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Games Reviews Dirt 3, Infamous 2, Infamous 2, Red Faction: Armageddon, Duke Nukem Forever, The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

We cast our eyes over the latest video game releases

Racing is a fiercely competitive videogame genre, second only, perhaps, to the first-person shooter for its raft of triple A titles. Dirt 3 (5 stars, PC/PS3/X360, Codemasters) is a phenomenal new addition. This descendant of the Colin McRae rally series, by racing experts Codemasters, has everything: accessibility, depth, looks, presentation, great tutorials, superb replays, glorious crashes, a tremendous sense of speed and peerless arcade handling.

Infamous gave you superpowers and a city in which to use them. Infamous 2 (4 stars, PS3, Sony) does it again, only better. Treating the place like an urban…

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