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Well fellow assassin’s, we’ve done it! Through a crazy viral Ubisoft ad campaign (that all of us ran ourselves) the first ever Assassin’s Creed 3 gameplay footage is here, I’ll shut up and check it out below!!

 

Source: Ubisoft

So the launch day of the Arc and Play is tomorrow, a lot of people are dying to get their hands on these new devices that will be offered from Rogers.

$99 on a 3 year contract and $549.99 with no contract.

Thankfully we were lucky enough to get our hands on them early and are in the process of uploading some videos to Youtube for you all to watch and enjoy (at least hold you off until tomorrow).

So lets do a little review for each, first up, the Play (and be sure to check out our gallery at the bottom)

Xperia Play

At first glance, this Android phone could pass off as any regular QWERTY keyboard phone. It’s thick, and heavy, much like the LG Shine Plus, but not so much to be a real pain. But closed, it’s just a regular Android phone.

It’s running Gingerbread 2.3.2 Googles latest and it’s 1GHZ processor speeds everything along quite well. There’s no real noticeable lag when changing home screens or scrolling, webpages load quickly and are a joy to browse.

The real beauty of the device is when you slide it open and it reveals the full suite of PSP controls. Set all on a brushed metal look, there are the usual 4 directional buttons and the 4 regular Sony Buttons, Triangle, Circle, X and Square.

Inbetween these buttons are two circular dots that are meant to simulate the dual analog control sticks. These work by touching the center middle metal pieces and directing your fingers in either direction to move.

The buttons are quite clicky and responsive, we found trying to use the virtual joysticks to be more of a pain than it was worse, but we can see where Sony was trying to go with this and imagine playing a shooter game would probably be a lot easier.

The weight balances perfectly when slid open in the hands and doesn’t feel topheavy like you would expect it to.

As far as software goes, it’s running Google’s newest baby Gingerbread 2.3.2. Sony has kept modifications to a minimum compared to the X10 and has only created their own new launcher and a few different applications that allow access to the quick gaming features.

Overall the phone is pretty solid and for any mobile gamer is almost a must have. The dedicated controls are awesome and make playing games a wonder.

 

 

 

Xperia Arc

The Arc like the Play is running Androids latest, 2.3.2, and is fast and snappy. The main appeal with this new device is it’s slim appearance, it’s larger 4.2 inch screen and it’s 8 mega pixel camera.

The Arc despite being a very thin phone, doesn’t seem much thinner than any other phone like the Galaxy S for example because of it’s “arc” shape. It is super slim in the middle but bubbles out at the top and bottom of the phone making it seem almost the same size as most other phones it compares to.

It runs very fast and smooth and the camera is for sure the area that this phone shines. It takes great quality pictures and has a decent amount of features and customization that allows you to capture the moment perfectly. Videos also look incredible on this device and for any media junkie this is the phone to get.

 

Take a look at our hands on video of both for more details and get ready for both the Play and Arc’s launch tomorrow at Rogers stores near you!

 

 

EDIT: Arc video will be up soon, technical difficulties!!

EDIT: Its up now!

Thanks to one of our tipsters at Rogers, we’ve got our hands on some of the new training materials being passed around about the new Sony Arc and Play that will be launching any day now. Take a look at them to compare what will make each so unique, some of the things we noticed are:

Arc:

  • 4.2 inch multi touch screen powered by bravia
  • 8.1MP camera with Sony Exmor R
  • built in HDMI connector
  • 16GB micro SD card included
  • 8.7mm thick!!! (thats damn skinny)

They also throw in a nice comparison between the arc, iphone 4, galaxy s and nexus S for good measure!

Play:

  • Worlds first Playstation Certified phone
  • crazy looking dedicated gaming controls
  • 4 inch multitouch screen
  • 8GB microSD card included (why not 16 like the Arc?)
  • Pre-loaded games – Madden NFL 11, Bruce Lee Dragon Warrior, Fifa 10, Star Battalion, Crash Bandicoot, Tetris
  • Sims 3 and Asphalt 6 available as free downloads on the Android Market

Both phones will be running google’s newest OS Gingerbread! So keep checking back as we’ll have our hands on both VERY soon!!

So the day has finally arrived, it is March 27th, 2011 and the Nintendo 3DS has finally arrived! Much to our surprise we have not seen any lines, or any big craze for this wonderful little piece of hardware, but we’ll have to see how things continue throughout the day. We were the first to pick up ours today and we thought we’d share the unboxing pictures with you all. We’ll give a full write up and video hands on a little later in the day but hopefully this will wet your appetite for now, and drop us a comment down below and let us know which one or if you’re getting one!

These can be bought for $250 at any major retailer (Walmart, EB/Gamestop, ToysRUs etc) and is the first handheld gaming system to integrate 3D directly in the device and not require any glasses!! It comes in two colours, aqua blue and onyx black, we thought we’d be adventurous and grab the aqua blue and boy does it sparkle!

So without further ado, here are the pictures!

There it is. We thought the blue would be cool!

The bunch of user manuals that come with the 3DS.

The 320 page beast that IS the User Manual... O_o

The first view of the 3DS

The dock for the 3DS

The Aqua Blue shines so nicely...

Joystick, D-Pad, Regular Buttons

SideView

Top View

The other side view

Bottom view

Closed Lid

Sitting In Its Dock

Front view

These are the Augmented Reality Cards

Well we hope that will tide you over for now, we’ll have our full coverage on this later in the day!

So we finally got our hands on the BRAND new Acer Liquid MT that is replacing the older Acer Liquid. Rogers has already begun selling this bad boy and from our short time with it we have to say we’re impressed.

First off, lets start with the hardware itself. The box is the same as usual, a large square-ish box that has a funky way of sliding open. This is the same as the old Acer Liquid and is what we’ve come to expect from them.

The phone itself is housed in an all metal casing that gives it a really solid feel and a nice weight. It is bubbles out on both the front and back giving a nice rounded feeling to contrast the harshness of metal which give an overall really nice feel of the phone. Our only gripe with this design is that the front LCD glass is curves as well which to us at least made it a little less sensitive to touch controls and we found ourselves having to push harder than usual on a capacitive screen.

The rest of the design of the phone is rather ordinary, a dedicated button for the camera and volume on the side, 4 touch sensitive buttons along the bottom of the screen and a lock/power on button at the top left and a headset jack on the top right.

Now what really makes this baby shine is the EXTREME customization Acer has done to the regular Android experience. It’s running 2.2 like most phones nowadays but Acer has taken the time to completely redesign the Android lock screen, home screen, widgets and pretty much every way you interact with your phone.

8 apps show on the homescreen at all times...

Now don’t get us wrong, everyone and their grandmother knows we are die hard Android fans here at eTechTour and LOVE the bone stock Android experience, but something Acer has done here just really shows what you can do with some real imagination.

Lets start off with the lock screen. Acer has designed it to look like a piece of paper that is folding back and you have to peel it away to unlock almost like a sticky note which is both fun and cool looking so we give them credit for that. The other interesting thing is that ALL the home screen widgets are now on your LOCKSCREEN not on the home screen. This means, all the usual widgets like clocks, alarms, weather, music players, search bars, everything you would put on your homescreen now shows on the lock screen, and you can scroll between these locked pages much like you would a regular homescreen!

Slide up to access the widget on the lockscreen

If any of the widgets are interactive, when you tap on them, it shows a small dialog box that if you slide up will enable the widget to be touched or has a cancel button for you to press if it was done by accident.

This is a cool feature and shows some definite ingenuity, I would never have thought to put the widgets on the lock screens like that. It’s nice if you’re quickly trying to look at the time or weather or something but we found it to be somewhat annoying to have to slide up to interact with anything and to lock the phone and start to unlock it again just to see our widgets.

Now the homescreens… or should I say just HOMESCREEN. That’s right, because your widgets are on your lock screen, you only have 1 homescreen. In almost an iPhone/Blackberry 6.0 style display, 8 icons are shown always on your homescreen allowing quick access to things like texting or calls or whatever you use the most. Then through a slide up motion you can access the rest of your apps in a Samsung/iPhone side scrolling pages fashion.

the app tray like iPhones... slides left and right.

This is a neat idea but we don’t like the look of how 8 icons stay static when all the apps are display so you have scrolling apps beneath 8 non moving ones.

new notification bar and settings options...

The other major thing that they have changed is the notification bar. No longer is it up at the top and accessed with a drag down motion, it now sits just above the 8 icons on your homescreen and is accessed by tapping it. This brings up your notifications like any other Android device but you also have the option of swiping sideways to access settings for things like bluetooth, wifi and other such features or swiping to the left to edit the clock and any alarms you may have.

This is a cool idea and in practice is kind of fun. The only issue we had with this was the bar is so small that you have to tap on that we found ourself often missing and having to tap multiple times just to get the notifications to show!

Recent app history for quick switching...

Last but not least, the other major thing that Acer has included is a recent apps history. It can be accessed by swiping to the left on the homescreen and displays as scrollable mini windows (much like windows tabs) that show the last few apps you’ve been in. This allows you to scroll through them and then tap on one to take you right back into the app.

This is probably my favorite feature of the Acer customizations, not only does it look cool, but it allows for fast switching back to things like messaging or the dialer if you quickly jumped out to use something else. It also has a quick button at the top that allows you to delete your history if you find there are too many apps shown or you just like to clean up your homescreen.

All in all we have to give it to Acer. Previous phones they added cool widgets that we really enjoyed and now they’ve gone and changed Android all around in some pretty nifty and interesting ways.

It seems that these customizations would be pushing the 800mhz processor they crammed into it fairly heavily and we wonder how well it can hold up once lots of other apps have been installed but we’re liking where Acer is headed with this design. It will definitely be interesting to see what they plan to do once Gingerbread and Honeycomb are available for all phones if these kinds of customizations will still be there or not.

If you want to grab one of these phones just head over to your local Rogers store and pick one up for a small $49.99 on a 3 year with data or a surprisingly low $399.99 with no contract.

Check out the video below for hands on with most of the features!

After the big announcement about the coming of the new 9800 Blackberry Torch, we at eTechTour actually got to go hands on with a real test unit of it before it launches on AT&T on August 12th. While reps would not let us know when it will be launching on other networks (in Canada and other countries) we have had some time to play around with it and so we thought we’d give all you a look at what the new Blackberry is all about.

Blackberry 9700 (left) beside the new Blackberry Torch (right)

I’ve been using the Blackberry Torch for about a week now and I’ve got to say, this is a huge step forward for RIM and Blackberries. I think a lot of people are going to be pleasantly surprised. The one thing I’m hoping people will do is reserve judgment until they’ve actually taken a spin with this device as I’ve seen people online already complaining about the screen and this and that, and honestly, there’s nothing quite like this when you’re holding it. But enough with that, let’s get onto the preview/review.

Hardware

Backcover grooves.

The first thing we noticed was the changed back plate. Our initial reaction was “what the heck is RIM thinking?” when we saw the grooved backing, but as soon as we held it in our hands we could tell they had made this choice for a reason. True there was no more faux leather, but the soft plastic combined with the grooves on the back just feels satisfying to the touch. I’ve found myself more than once just running my finger along the back of the phone playing with such grooves. They’ve kept the same look as the Bold with it’s dark chrome edges and soft curvy edges that still lends itself that very professional look which we really enjoy.

Comparing the width of both (9700 Bottom, 9800 top)

It’s a little heavier than any of the other blackberries, but it gives it a really nice solid feeling, not like some other cheaper feeling phones. The buttons are well placed and are easy to reach while holding it with one hand (especially the lock/unlock button which is amazing).

With the Keyboard Out (9800 Left, 9700 Right)

The slide mechanism on the Torch is appropriately well built as well. It has a good push to it as you open and a nice pull as you bring it closed both giving a satisfying click as you here it move into place.

This brings us to the keyboard. The keyboard is identical to the Bold 9700 with its same spacious 4 rows of clicky buttons that were already a major hit so we’re sure will be a huge crowd winner as well. Looking at the device you’d expect it to feel top heavy with it slid open but it seems to rest perfectly in the balance at just the right weight. You can tell they really thought long and hard about this design hoping for a winner.

9800 torch keyboard

Size comparison (9800 left, 9700 right)

The screen itself is big enough, much bigger than most Blackberry’s but not so large that it would seem imposing like some of the larger touch screen devices now. It’s very bright and colorful and the touch is snappy and responsive (a huge step up from the Storm!) The screen just seems to fit the phone, we don’t think they could have done it any other way really.

Lastly and almost most importantly the Torch is only slightly thicker than the Bold meaning that it is in fact still very pocket able which will make the transition much easier for people upgrading as we would imagine new holster’s will be almost the same size as the ones currently for the Bold.

Software

The Torch is the first Blackberry to come with RIM’s new baby 6.0 installed on it. It’s hard to describe all the things they have changed with the new version of the OS without experiencing it for yourself but we’ll try our best.

The overall look of the homescreen at first is very familiar. You see the normal wallpaper, clock, date, carrier, signal, battery and sound profile but what you come to realize soon enough is that 6.0 is not about changing the old experience to something completely different, it’s about making it function better and more easily.

Top view (9700 left, 9800 right)

Each area of the screen has been optimized with shortcuts and things begging to be touched. Briefly clicking on the time gives you all your connection options, or tapping the profile icon allows you to choose a new profile on the fly. The search button allows you to use the new Universal search that searches contacts, calendars, the web, the app world, emails everything to find what you’re looking for. Or if you take the main window for a drag you can expand to see all your icons or swipe left and right to see your other “quick menus”.

The quick menus allow you to customize your experience further or get to the information you want faster. All the categories are “All, Favorites, Media, Downloads, and Frequent”. These are all pretty self explanatory.

All– shows you all your applications and options.

Favorites– allows you to tag applications, contacts and other things and they’ll show up here.

Media– shows your media options and applications

Downloads– stores all your downloaded apps for you

Frequent– lists out the most commonly used applications for quick access.

Besides the home screen, all the menus and options have been completely overhauled giving a nicer, prettier more finger friendly version of their former selves. All the old options are still there with added extra’s like more tutorials and more setup wizards accompanied by videos that walk you through some of the features.

The overall look of 6.0 is very polished and we like it a lot. It offers a refreshing take on the old OS and seems new enough to make you want to play around with it for quite some time.

Another top down Comparison (9700 left, 9800 right)

Browser

One of the big things everyone has been hearing about in the past few months is this new “webkit” browser that RIM has implemented into its new 6.0 batch.

The browser first off looks nicer than the old browser. This is a cleaner, more polished browser for sure. You’re first greeted with a page that displays any bookmarks you have and your recent history so you can get you common webpages quickly or you can begin typing a web address right away.

Loading times have decreased a great deal as the pages load quickly and promptly. We’re not sure if we’d say this is the fastest browser available on the market but it should probably be ranked up somewhere with the top ones.

Doing tabbed browsing is also a lot easier with this new browser as they’ve added a quick button for opening and closing tabs where you can preview each window that you have open which is both convenient and fast! Switching between these tabs is extremely quick which is very nice to see.

Camera

The newer camera interface is very nice as well. It gives all the options one would need out of a camera such as GeoTagging, AutoFlash and many different picture modes.

The picture modes it offers are Auto, Face Detection, Portrait, Sports, Landscape, Party (dim indoor environments), Close-Up, Snow, Beach, Night and Text. That’s a lot of options there. It also offers a quick button to get to the Gallery easily.

Video capture is very similar and captures a solid video as well, check out the video and pictures below to see for yourself.

Conclusion

Overall we’re pretty impressed with the new Blackberry Torch. It’s changed enough in our minds that it deserves its own spot in our pockets but at the same time it’s still doing everything that RIM has done in the past and is just doing it better. BBM is still there and we’re positive will be stronger than ever on this new platform and the touch screen will complement it very well.

What do you all think? Has RIM go itself a winner? Or will the changes come a little too late after others like iPhone 4 and the Motorola Droid X have already entered the scene? Let us know if you want to know any other info we didn’t cover here either!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KoxeQoWLE18&hl=en&fs=1]