I have to confess that I’m not entirely sure why everyone’s been so hard on Microsoft’s built-in Music player over the last couple of years. OK, so there’s the bizarre Xbox branding, but hey, that’s going and, err.. getting more bizarre (‘Groove’). But, on the whole, it works pretty well now, with both local and streamed music from OneDrive. Yet there’s an aftermarket cottage industry in replacement music players. Let's have a look at the commercial Core Player.
Recent Reviews - Windows Phone 8 - Page 7
Being, traditionally, more of a fan of four wheel racing then two, I'd only given SBK15 (as in 'SuperBike 2015') a passing glance in the past. Turns out it's a terrific simulation and a great game that if anything, will inspire more people to watch and support the real thing. In fact, it's only by racing, wheel to wheel, right on the edge of a major accident all the time, that you start to appreciate the skill possessed by and the risks taken by the riders in the sport. SBK15 is a meaty game and can take a while to load - but trust me, it's worth the wait. And it works on all Windows Phones, regardless of RAM. Hit!
There's absolutely nothing new here, to be honest. It's a 3D rendered Scalextric-style racer, with Real Racing 3-style freemium mechanics, and from those two clues you can probably imagine the entire title without any help from me. However, that certainly doesn't do justice to the quality of the gameplay, the polish in the graphics, the fluidiity of the action, and so on. Nuts and bolts this may be, but Red Bull Racers is still a terrific game.
New in the Store in the last month, ZAPYA is a (still beta) tool that's cross platform and claims cross-platform file and media transfer, all on a peer-to-peer basis over Wi-fi. So, while you'd not want to Bluetooth a video (for example) to an Android-owning friend and messing around with platform sharing support is too painful, and uploading to Dropbox might take forever, why not use the fact that both of you are on the same Wi-fi network and simply transfer peer-to-peer? Enter ZAPYA. It's not a totally new idea, but does seem popular and... it's now on Windows Phone too.
With this being exam season for many people, I'm all for learning aids. And, in this case, something rather unusual and designed to help someone learn a text off by heart. Perhaps so as to be able to quote sections in an exam paper, perhaps to deliver on stage, perhaps just trying to keep the ol' grey cells stimulated. Memorize It! is unusual and effective and I'll even forgive the Americanised spelling of the name....
At first glance, Pocket Tanks is unimpressive. The old 'Artillery' title from the 1980's, where you guess at angles and power in order to hit an enemy on the other side of a big hill, but just compiled for Windows Phone? Well, this is indeed what it is, but don't switch off, since it turns out to be a lot of fun and quite addictive. In part due to the nature of the original classic, but also because of the imagination of the developer in terms of the weapons at your disposal.
Yes, yes, Pocket Casts does indeed arrive into a very crowded genre on Windows Phone, yes, it's still early days, there are some rough edges and there's no video podcast support yet, but I've been using it exclusively for the last week and have been pretty impressed overall. It may not have all the bells and whistles of Podcast Lounge, but for pure and fast, straight down the line audio podcast listening and management, Pocket Casts is hard to beat.
Back in the midsts of time (2011) I reviewed International Snooker, giving it a rave write-up - but ever since have still been eyeing up the more modern 'Pro' version, effectively a re-write, over on Android and iOS. And now the new, full game is on Windows Phone and I'm expecting great things. Summary: I wasn't disappointed, though do see my caveat in bold below!
Microsoft's own reviewer's guide for this, the Band, talks about it being 'the first device powered by Microsoft Health', and this is the key to understanding the accessory itself. Introduced initially in the USA at the end of last year, there was a feeling that it might never reach the rest of the world in that form, since the Band was quite clearly a 'version 1' and with many flaws. That it has made it to the UK in late April 2015 is handy because it means we get to play with it - and appreciate it, but don't be fooled that the Band is attempting to be a serious mass market product yet. Wait for 'Band 2', slimmer, lighter, tougher and cheaper.
What's a reviewer to do when faced with a trio of official Lumia headsets but to review them? They range in price and purpose too, thankfully, giving me something to get my teeth into - or at least my ears. The one sentence summary if you're into audio quality? Pass on the Comfort and make a beeline for the two Coloud accessories - they're of higher quality in several ways.