Picking our favorite things of 2010 is hard but picking our favorite reviews isn’t. Here are some of our best chunks of opinion, in no particular order, expressing the mirth and wisdom of the entire CG staff.
So with this we begin my iPad review. I’ll tip my hand right now: My official opinion is to wait. The device, as it stands, is so close to the original iPhone that you get a sense of Deja Vu when you open the box and are exposed to the empty canvas bare of apps. Out of the box it is, at best, a large iPod Touch. As Adam Engst wrote on Tidbits: “Here’s the thing that I’ve realized after using the iPad – it’s a blank slate, a tabula rasa.” This is both good and bad. Because even the iBook store is not pre-installed, Kindle konverts may be disappointed and because most of the best functionality comes in the form of iWork for iPad and any number of apps and games, as a pure, unadulterated Apple artifact it is a bit underwhelming.
But what should you wait for?
I certainly enjoy using the device, and I will be purchasing a 3G model when it comes out because I don’t want to be tethered to Wi-Fi. You could also wait for the second generation and I think many of the unconverted iPhone users will take that route once they see enough iPads to get jealous. But that’s getting ahead of ourselves.
Sony sent us 4 games along with the PlayStation Move. Two of them make me want to turn off the PS3, curl up into the fetal position, and cry my pain away. One is decent. One of them is so damn good that I want to invite everyone I know over for a glimpse into the future.
The platform that Sony built here has incredible potential — now it’s up to game developers to make it worth while.
There will be no pleasing either side of the Apple fanboy divide with this review so I’ll say it up front: If you’re looking for an alternative to a heavier Apple laptop – a MacBook Pro, say, or an Apple Powerbook 170 – and you travel, the MacBook Air is an excellent choice. If you rarely travel and/or are not a Mac fan, you will probably be better served by a cheaper netbook.
Dyson AM02 Tower Fan
It’s been a long, hot summer here on the homestead. John-John gets the whoopus when the dust kicks up and the house, such as it is, is about as hot as an oven most days. Most of August, when one of the neighbors rides into to town to check the bank thermometer and we find out that it’s well into the nineties, we usually just headed out to the old horse trough and poured water on our shirts. But this year we got a fancy, city-slicking Dyson AM02 and I’m here to tell you that whatever man made this fan is a friend to our simple, country family.
Mint Floor-Cleaning Robot
It’s not for everybody, but it sure is for guys like me. This cleaning bot for hardwood floors is a dream come true for dust-haters, and it’s cute to boot.
Canon Rebel T2i DSLR camera>
An outstanding consumer DSLR and liberating video recorder, the T2i is a powerhouse media device in a small and relatively affordable package. What I think of as killer features, however, may not be viewed as such by the buying population at large.
Ceramic Speakers by Joey Roth
These designer speakers have a unique design and excellent sound. Their appearance may not be for everybody, and the lack of a subwoofer affects a portion of the bass, but apart from that these are a true high-fidelity audio solution.
Parrot AR Drone
We’ve seen the AR.Drone floating around multiple events this year including CES but we never really got a chance to play with it until this week. Before I get into my review, I’m going to tell you a story. People ask me all the time “What’s the coolest thing you’ve seen” and like a football stadium toilet attendant being asked how his Sunday went, I always reply with a downcast face and a sad, slow sigh. “Nothing,” I’d answer. “Nihil.”
But the AR.Drone has renewed my faith in gadgets. It is, in short, the coolest thing I’ve seen in a long, long time. This quadro-copter floats effortlessly through the air and has all of the self-righting capabilities of a Segway. The iPhone controls are amazingly intuitive – just press a button and move the iPhone in the direction you’d like it to go. Emergency controls take over when you screw up. It is fun, technologically advanced, and, in short, amazing.
Oh, Microsoft. You just can’t seem to help but be the last one to every party you attend. You launched the Kin just as messenger phones began to die, then you launched Windows Phone 7 when the smartphone wars were so far underway that most folks had already declared an allegiance.
And now you’ve got your motion gaming platform, the Kinect, hitting the shelves years after the Nintendo Wii and months after the Playstation Move. I’ve spent the last week living with a Kinect in my life. How does it fare?