It was more than just games on display at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles – there were also tons of the hottest new video game gear, gadgets, accessories and devices designed with gamers in mind to sample. Looking to give your playroom an upgrade in 2012? Here’s a look at some of the best controllers, headphones, joysticks and more that we could find.
Afterglow Wireless Headphones – PDP– The Afterglow wireless headsets provide 10 hours of wireless use, with high-fidelity surround soon and bass-boosting capability. The devices also feature multi-colored lights, and are a great complement to the company’s popular line of Afterglow controllers.
AV8R Arcade Flight Stick – MadCatz – With a design based on historically accurate WWII aircraft, the AV8R Arcade Flight Stick is designed to accompany the aerial combat game Damage Inc. Pacific Squadron WWII. The game actually marks MadCatz’s first foray into the world of video game publishing, so you can be sure the AV8R Arcade Flight Stick will be a perfect complement for the Damage Inc. game experience.
Dice + – Dice + – This real-life six sided die is seemingly blank, but when it comes close to your smartphone, tablet, TV or other BlueTooth device, it can be used to play a variety of game apps which come free with purchase. There are a wide variety of custom-made and traditional games, such as backgammon, that will have you gathering around your screen like a gameboard with friends or family.
Fusion Controller – Power A – Billed as the controller that “built for gamers by gamers,” Power A’s Fusion line of controllers feature interchangeable soft-touch and regular grips, an ergonomic design that’s been refined down to the millimeter by pro gamers, and buttons that have been machine-tested to withstand millions of presses. With its own hard carrying case, it’s sort of the equivalent of a baseball mitt or personal bowling ball for those serious about video games.
Inflatable Tablet Case for Kids – CTA – Here’s something that’s simple yet brilliant: an inflatable cube with a pocket for your iPhone or tablet computer that will allow your pre-schoolers to play with it without fear of it falling and breaking. Measuring about two feet on each edge, the cubes are currently available in licensed versions featuring Dora or SpongeBob, or in a more generic design.
Moga –Power A –This mobile gamepad hooks up to any Android device and can also be used with any tablet computer, giving gamers on the go access to more traditional home console game experiences using their mobile device. Developers are eager to create games that utilize this additional functionality, as it can allow for deeper game experiences created with more than just touch and swipe inputs.
Power Grip Pro – Nyko – This 3DS attachment promises to triple the battery life of the 3DS while also providing another circle pad on the right side of the screen, just next to the buttons. Although it makes the system’s profile about 25% wider, the proposition of longer battery life and better control is something that makes the larger size worth it.
Razer Taipan – Razer – This ambidextrous mouse from the pioneers in precision gaming is comfortable, lightweight and incredibly precise. Pro gamers helped design it, and you can customize everything from pointer speed to a personalized lift off range for the ultimate PC gaming edge.
Sphero – Sphero – If this glowing orb were simply a customizable and programmable toy device that can be controlled with your mobile phone, that would be cool enough for us to recommend it. But it also can be used with a number of free apps ranging from those that allow easy video-taking and sharing to games that have you put Sphero in your hand on a table to be used as a controller.
Turtle Beach Headphones – Turtle Beach – With designs for nearly every level of gamer, Turtle Beach’s headphones come in nearly configuration available. Gamers can find the design that’s right for them, whether it’s wired or wireless, stereo or surround sound, Xbox or PS3 and more.
Technology for parents & kids: Hints, tips, online safety strategies & more.
While much focus is placed on smartphone and tablet PC applications for specific members of the family, there are quite a few that can greatly benefit the entire clan – kids and parents alike. In fact, many of today’s top apps are meant to be enjoyed by all ages, and can even provide education, utility and positive insights to go with the fun and entertainment. Looking to keep everyone in your household excited and engaged, or need simple solutions to everyday life problems? Here are five of the best family apps that will help everyone get more done around the house, or have more fun after school, on weekends or during family game nights.
Family Apps for Activity Time
Geocaching – Geocaching is a real-world “treasure” hunting game which relies on GPS coordinates to help find hidden stashes. Usually the target is well-camouflaged box with a logbook and a few trinkets, but the treasure in Geocaching lies in the hunt. With the Geocaching app, families can gain easy and instant access to nearby or specific Geocaches, and read clues and logs from others who have recently searched. This app may seem a bit pricey at $10, but after a couple outings where your family is outdoors, working together and working to solve clues, we think you’ll find it’s well worth it.
Monitoring and Recommending Applications
YogiPlay – For parents, it can be hard to not only keep track of what your kids are playing on mobile devices, but to also know what sort of apps you should download for them. YogiPlay provides both of these services for parents, and it’s especially useful for those looking for educational apps for their preschoolers and elementary schoolers. Although there’s not exactly a YogiPlay app to download per se, the Parent Center dashboard can be accessed through any game which is YogiPlay enabled. From there, you can view your kids activity logs and success in specific educational areas, and receive recommendations for free and paid apps that are generated based on your kids likes, skill level and needs. To check out YogiPlay, simply search for “YogiPlay” in the app store and download an app that features their service.
Calendars and Appointments
Cozi Family Organizer – The Cozi Family Organizer app makes it really easy to keep everyone on time and in line with an intuitive calendar app that features color-coding for every family member, as well as e-mail and text reminders and check-ins that are fully customizable. Cozi also features a cool “shared” shopping and to-do list feature which lets anyone see, view and add items that need to be done. At the very least, Cozi helps make it really simple for Mom and Dad to stay on the same page, and hopefully remember who’s turn it is to take the kids to soccer practice. The Cozi app is available for free, but does contain ads, and an ad-free “premium” version costs $3.
DinnerSpinner Pro – If you have an ingredient on hand and need recipe idea, DinnerSpinner Pro can help with that and much more. Although a free version of the App allows you to search for recipes based on one ingredient and a time limit, the $3 Pro version gives you even more flexibility to search for up to eight ingredients and create shopping lists based on meal plans. You can even scan items in the grocery store to add it to your spinner. Other great features like the ability to easily tweak the number of servings and have the recipe updated make DinnerSpinner a winner for families.
Virtual Piggy – Parents now have more control than ever over monitoring their kids spending and earning of their allowances. The Virtual Piggy app helps manage your kids allowances using the Virtual Piggy online service, and allows parents to set conditions for where kids can spend their money and how much of it they can use. So after setting aside money for saving and charity, kids can then spend their dough at any of Virtual Piggy’s affiliate merchants, with mom and dad still having final say on whether or not to approve the transaction. It’s a great way to keep an eye on kids’ spending while also maintaining the ability to help them wisely spend their hard earned money.
When Apple unveiled the first iPad in 2009, it drew some scorn. “It’s just a big iPhone,” said critics. “Who’s going to want it?” As it turns out, a lot of people. The iPad’s popularity drove other smartphone manufacturers to develop their own tablet computers and now there’s a huge selection at shopper’s disposal. But which are the best tablet PCs money can buy? Good question: The answer depends on what you want to do with the devices in question, and which operating system you prefer—not to mention your personal budget. All tablets are extremely convenient for mobile surfing, games, applications, and e-book reading, but some boast specialties as well.
Here are the five best tablet PCs currently on the market:
Apple New iPad (aka the iPad 3) – The iPad remains the best-known tablet, and it’s not hard to see why. It utilizes iOS, the same operating system that runs the iPhone and iPod Touch, which makes it comfortably familiar to use. The iPad’s universal interface also makes it a snap to download new applications: Everything is done through the App Store, same as the iPhone. The iPad’s connection to the App Store and its plethora of software programs makes it the number one choice for music, movies, productivity, TV, games and more.
Asus Transformer Pad – Unfortunately, the Transformer Pad doesn’t turn into a little robot on command, but it’s still a good tablet. It runs on Android, and can typically for under $400 USD. It’s a more economical choice for anyone looking to pick up a tablet for work and web browsing.
Sony Tablet S – The Sony Tablet S also runs on Android, and it’s an excellent alternative for anyone who’s not a fan of iOS. Fans of retro PlayStation games will especially appreciate the tablet’s ability to download and play certain PSOne and PSP titles, including Crash Bandicoot, Wild ARMs, and Jumping Flash.
Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 – The quality of Samsung’s mobile offerings is enough to keep Apple on its toes, and the Galaxy Tab 10.1 is no exception. It’s light, it’s thin, and it’s 1280 by 800-pixel resolution screen makes it ideal for web surfing and e-book reading, as well as enjoy killer multimedia content.
Kindle Fire – Amazon’s Android-based Kindle Fire eReader is smaller than the iPad, but far cheaper too (typically selling for $199.99 USD). Its portability makes it easy to tote around as an e-book reader, to say nothing of its direct access to the Amazon Appstorem and ability to play video and music on-demand. The Kindle Fire can also be used to surf the web and play games, making it a worthy iPad alternative that costs far less.
For more a detailed breakdown of these tablets, visit:
Best 5 Tablets on CNET
How to Buy the Best Tablet at PCMag.com
Side-by-Side Tablet Comparison at Popular Mechanics