Christmas is just a few days away. It’s crunch time for finding the perfect gift for that family member, best friend or special someone. This year’s generations of givers and receivers are more technological than ever before. The release of the Microsoft Xbox One and the Sony PlayStation 4 are just two examples of the newest technologies out this year. Urban Views Weekly decided to do some research on some of the other technological gifts this year. With the help of CNet.com, a CBS-affiliate website that publishes reviews of the latest technologies, and product websites, we will look in detail at some of the most popular gifts coming out this year.
Release Date: November 15, 2013
Pros: The new system already has, according to the PS4 website, 184 games in development. The company also boasts revolutionary graphics and memory capacity with “8 GB of ultra-fast GDDR5 unified system memory, easing game creation and increasing the richness of content achievable on the platform.”
Something even more amazing is its new DUALSHOCK 4 Wireless controller. According to the PS4 website, this
is new feature includes a six-axis sensor and a touchpad on top of the controller. This allows for “a completely new way to play and interact with games.” The control also actually has a “share” button which allows the gamer to record their actual game play and stream it live for others to see. This enhances the community experience of gaming, the PS4 website said.
The system also has an entertainment system that includes NBA Game Time, Amazon, Redbox Instant by Verizon, Netflix, Hulu Plus and Crackle. Along with that a new social media-like platform called PlayStation Plus was introduced through the PS4. This new feature allows gamers from around the world who have similar interests (game-wise) to get together and play on a digital platform.
Cons: According to CNet.com, PlayStation 3 games are not compatible with the PS4. This puts a strain on a lot of gamers who already had the PS3 because it means they would have to switch between the two gaming consoles. Though not many cons, this is the biggest that puts a strain on gamers and may have them choosing other systems to buy and experiment with.
CNet Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Release Date: November 22, 2013
Pros: The XBox One, according to its website, is the gaming system that is custom made to the gamer. It boasts that an individual can “listen to music while playing a game is a snap. And you can jump from TV to movies to music to a game in an instant, where your experience is custom tailored to you. And the entertainment you love is all in one place.” This experience is brought by the multiplatform entertainment. A gamer would be able to watch movies, shows and even skype on the XBox One all while being able to instantly switch back to playing the game. All this is possible through, as the XBox One website states, the 8-core x86 processor. Players will also be allowed to watch TV through the XBox by connecting the console to the television via the HDMI cable that comes with the console.
The new XBox One has also improved its Kinect feature so that it has a greater field of view to see all of the players, a better motion sensor to enhance the Kinect experience and has voice recognition so it knows who exactly to listen to. With the new XBox SmartGlass app, connecting a tablet or phone to control the console is also something the XBox website is promoting. This app is compatible with Windows 8, Windows Phone, Android and iOS.
Cons: It’s still being debated whether or not one is able to play XBox 360 games on the XBox One, so gamers would have to wait and see or research it for themselves. The website says if bought digitally, XBox 360 games are able to be played on it. The other downside, CNet said, to the XBox One was the price. It costs $100 more than the PS4. The new dashboard, powered by Windows 8, may also be confusing to gamers who just want a simple layout. CNet also said that another downside is that an XBox Live Gold membership fee (which is $59.99 for 12 months) is needed to use most of the new features.
CNet Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Nintendo Wii U
Release Date: November 18, 2013
Pros: Nintendo has released another interactive console in the Nintendo Wii U. All the favorite characters like Mario and Luigi are back for the newest generation of Nintendo. The Wii U includes a portable console. This means it can be played outside of the home through the GamePad, what Time Magazine describes as a 6.2 inch diagonal screen. This GamePad also has thumbsticks, bringing back the retro feel that Nintendo is known for.
Unlike the PS4 and XBox One, which charge for online gaming on their consoles, there are no additional fees for playing the Wii U online. Time Magazine also boasts that the Wii U has better graphics than the other two consoles with 720p, which they say is the average resolution for flat-screens in today’s home. The Wii U also has a library of classic Nintendo games such as Super Mario Bros. 3. Lastly, the Wii U is backwards compatible, meaning it can play old Wii games and use old Wii controllers.
Cons: According to CNet.com, the operating system sometimes takes too long to load. The GamePad battery life runs out quickly. Also, though they bragged about the resolution, CNet.com says it’s on the same level as the current XBox 360 and PlayStation 3.
CNet Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.
Samsung Galaxy S4
Release Date: June 26, 2013
Price: Depending on the plan, starting at $89.99.
Pros: The Samsung Galaxy S4 has an all around 13 mega-pixel camera. It’s able to record video and pull pictures from it. The owner can then edit the pictures and/or video with the editing software available with the phone. The Samsung website boasts its “super -wide, full HD screen,” which measures at 5 inches. It also has a slim appearance and light weight and great memory (with options of 16, 32 and 64 GB) according to its website.
Samsung promotes this product as a “community phone” with its Group Play feature. This application allows users (with the same phone) to share music, pictures, documents and even play games instantly. According to CNet, the Samsung S4 can even act as a remote with Samsung products.
Cons: After sampling the product, CNet found that the S4’s features take a while to get used to. They also saw that the power button sometimes “turned on at undesirable times.” Some of the camera features it boasted also tend to not work.
CNet Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Release Date: May 2013
Pros: Though not a gaming system or phone, the Fitbit Flex was ranked on CNet’s top gifts under $100. This lightly-designed wristband is comfortable for an individual to wear and acts as a tracking device for those who want to stay healthy during the holidays. It is able to track, according to its website, activities such as distance while running, the number of steps taken in a day and the amount of calories in food. The watch is also able to track weight through its Wi-Fi scale and measure how long and well an individual sleeps. The Fitbit Flex is also able to sync wirelessly with both iOS and Android products. Lastly, the band comes in four distinct colors: black, blue, green and pink.
Cons: According to CNet, the Fitbit Flex’s “strap shut is tricky. Direct syncing is only available with the iPhone, the Samsung GS3, and the Galaxy Note handsets.”
CNet Rating: 4.5 out of 5.