Martin Fields Overlay Plus (Archos 101 / Arnova 10 G2) screen protector

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Martin Fields PackagingIntroduction:

Call me paranoid, but given the size of tablet screens, I can't but feel worried that the slightest thing could scratch or even smash them.  The obvious protection for them then is a screen protector and from past experience our favourite brand of screen protector was Martin Fields, but how have the quality of these screen protectors fared over the last few years since our last review? Only one way to find out....

Specifications:

  • Gloss finished LCD protective filter enhances color reproducibility and image sharpening by transfering more light and makes the screen brightly colored. Other filters with anti glare feature make use of diffused reflection instead to eliminate reflection. These sometimes cause lower color reproducibility which may result with a dull monochromic coloration
  • Filters reduce the strain on your eyes by blocking 99% of ultraviolet rays radiated from LCD screens. In addition, the filters allow 90% of light transmission while protecting the LCD screen from degradation as a result of strong sunlight and other natural lights.
  • High Scratch Resistance.
  • Easy to apply
  • Removable, durable,reusable and washable.

Review:

Our past findings with the Martin Fields screen protectors were some years ago when we tested the screen protectors with the then state of the art phone, the Nokia N95 (how things have improved eh?): The screen protectors were simple to apply, made little or no change to the clarity of the screen and helped reduce the glare on the screen.  How have things changed? Well, the test case in this review was the Archos 101 (although the screen protector should fit the Arnova 10 G2 which shares the same body and screen size) which was much larger than the original smartphone we originally tested. Despite this the screen protector was very easy to apply following the instructions provided and a protector was also included for the camera.

In tests the screen protector made no difference to the sensitivity of the capacitive touch screen and helped reduce the glare of the screen in a similar fashion to that we observed on the N95 screen protector. The optical clarity of the Martin Fields Archos screen protector is virtually unchanged with colours as vibrant as before the application of the film.

Martin Fields Archos 101

It is only fair to mention the new pacakging of the Martin Fields screen protectors, which ahs been designed to take into account the environment.  The outside packaging and included instruction leaflet are made from recycled paper and printed with Soya based inks. The screen protector is enclosed inside a reusable Mylar envelope (useful for document storage of protecting important printed photos).

Price:

Between £13.99 and £19.99 (Amazon and direct from  Martin Fields respectively)

Verdict:

4.5/5 - For the price, the Martin Fields Overlay Plus for the Archos 101 (or Arnova 10 G2) provides excellent screen protection from scratching and light impact at no cost to the optical clarity whilst minimising light reflection from the screen.

Luxury Tablet Cases: Noreve Archos 101 Tradition leather case review

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Archos 101_case_blackIntroduction:

The cost of tablet computers is definitely falling but that doesn't mean that they are cheap to replace and therefore the importance of a decent case to protect their screens is as important as ever.  Even in the best laptop bag, there is still the possibility of accidentally putting pressure on and therefore damaging a improperly stored tablet and in our minds the best way of protecting tablets is using a custom fit tablet case designed for the specific model in use.  The tablet cases on the market are many and varied, ranging from cheap pseudo leather chinese imports to more expensive luxury tablets cases.  Of the latter, the custom leather cases manufactured by the french company Noreve have always been some of our favourites and when the opportunity arose to review one of the latest additions to their catalogue, a custom leather case for the Archos 101, we obviously jumped at the chance.

Specifications:

- Elegant case conceived in top quality handcrafted leather

- Practical thanks to its magnetic button closure

- Access to basic functions (multiple openings on the leather)

- Slim and padded design

- Protects the device in an optimal manner

- Three business card slots

- Two Micro SD card slots

- Beautiful interior lining embossed with the Noreve logo

- Possibility of holding the case in an upright position

Review:

As with previous cases we have reviewed from Noreve, the craftmanship shines through from the start, with the case packaged in a lovely logo embossed red and black heavy duty card packaging. The case itself if made from supple leather throughout (we reviewed the black version from the perpetual range) with excellent attention to detail and not a stitich out of place. The case is available in a number of variations both in terms of colours and leather finish with something to suit everyone.

The design of the case is perfectly cut to fit the Archos 101 (and also the Arnova 10 G2 which shares the same casing) with the tablet fitting into a leather "pocket". The case allows access to all of the ports of the device and doesn't mask the volume or power buttons as has been noted with other cases and even includes a cutout to allow the stand of the Archos 101 to be accessed without hindrance.  Additional cutouts that specifically align with the speakers are also present and are covered with a fine stainless steel mesh that both looks stylish but also importantly doesn't muffle the audio output of the tablet. The case is fastened by a simple, yet strong, magnetic catch that stylishly keeps the case firmly closed whilst in transit. The inside of the case flap is imprinted with the Noreve company name and has three credit card slots and also room for two micro SD cards - excellent if you like to take multiples storage cards whilst on your travels.  

In use, the case allows unhindered use of the tablet, whilst when closed provides excellent protection from impact to the screen.  The case is cut perfectly (and we mean perfectly) to fit the screen and all ports are easy to access, meaning you don't ever need to take the tablet out of the case once installed.  Usefully, especially if you use the case with a tablet model without a specific stand, the Noreve Archos 101 Tradition leather case also can act as a basic stand to hold the tablet in a vertical position - great if you want to watch films, read or listen to music without holding the tablet in your hands or on your lap!

Price:

£50.18 + P&P - (direct from Noreve or through Amazon)

Verdict:

4.5/5 - Although the Noreve Archos 101 Tradition leather case is priced slightly higher than the majority of mainstream tablet cases, the price itself is excellent for a full leather tablet case, expecially given the actual quality of product you get for your money.  This is one tablet case that not only looks brilliant but really lives up to its' looks!

First person shooter: Call of Juarez: The Cartel Review

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Call of_Juarez_-_The_CartelPlatforms: Xbox 360, PS3 & PC 

Publisher: Ubisoft

Developer: Techland

Rating: 18

Release Date: Out Now

Review Author: David Holmes




 

Storyline

The Call of Juarez series started off life as a first person shooter like no other. Making a break from all other games in the genre, Call of Juarez was set in the old west as opposed to being yet another modern shooter or World War II adaptation. The first game in the series was a good start but far from perfect: With solid shooter mechanics but very clumsy platforming sections.

The sequel, Bound in Blood took the foundations of the first game and build on them to create a very impressive and somewhat underrated shooter following the tale of two brothers after the US civil war.

For Call of Juarez: The Cartel, developer Techland have decided to shy away from the Wild West setting and instead have decided to make this second sequel a modern shooter. This was a poor decision in my opinion but might have something to do with the incredible Red Dead Redemption released by Rockstar in 2010.

Call of_Juarez_-_The_Cartel_1

After a bombing at the Drug Enforcement Administration buildings, an elite team is put together to find the perpetrators. Ben McCall along with FBI agent Evans and DEA agent Guerra are tasked with taking down the Mendoza Cartel. The action takes place in various locations ranging from the ghettos of L.A, to the dusty deserts south of the border in Mexico.

Playability

Gameplay wise The Cartel is a mixed bag. The most important part of any FPS is the feel of the controls, thankfully shooting feels pretty solid throughout and I liked the addition of the flanking system with you’re A.I. control sidekicks offering cover fire while you sneak up on the enemy. I was a little surprised that driving plays a big part in the campaign. During a lot of the missions the game has you hopping into the drivers seat of an SUV and making chase whilst your partners do all of the shooting. I would have preferred this to be the other way around however, as the driving controls are pretty poor. This was an unnecessary and overused inclusion to the game.  These sections of the game are a lot better when playing with friends cooperatively.

Presentation

The presentation leaves a lot to be desired. Things start off badly with a poorly executed chase scene followed by a trek through a Californian forest shrouded in what can only be described as fog. Thankfully things start to look up after the first couple of missions with some of the urban environments looking quite impressive, with the graffiti covered streets of L.A. being my personal favourite.

Sadly the game doesn’t run very smoothly. On more then one occasion I noticed significant screen tearing and frame rate issues. The voice acting also leaves a lot to be desired.

Call of_Juarez_-_The_Cartel_2

Best Points

From the outset,  it is clear to see Techland’s main goal was to create an enjoyable fully cooperative experience. In this regard they have succeeded: Your friends can drop in and out at any point of the campaign to help you on your quest for justice and this is by far the stand out feature of the game. 

Worst Points

Sadly there are more cons then pros with this title. The story is uninteresting and poorly told. The driving sequences are extremely overused and badly executed, if anything they feel a little tacked on. The presentation also fails to impress. Some of the locations can look pretty good at times but overall the with the voice acting and technical issues you would expect a lot better from a current gen release.

Call of_Juarez_-_The_Cartel_3

Overall

2/5 - Having played through the previous titles in the Call of Juarez series I was expecting good things from The Cartel. Sadly the game turns out to be a let down. Leaving the old west behind was a big mistake as this was something that set the series apart from the other first person shooters on the market. The campaign is worth a play through if you are after a coop game to play with some friends, but there are definitely better games out there.