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BlackBerry 10 L-series tutorial videos surface online, give a literal peek at the future (video)

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BlackBerry 10 Lseries tutorial videos surface online, give a literal peek at the future video

Those of us who’ve used a BlackBerry PlayBook will be familiar with the inevitable first-boot tutorials showing how to navigate the swipe-driven interface before we’re let loose. Thanks to a series of demonstration videos leaked by BlackBerryItalia, it’s apparent that we won’t escape that educational process on BlackBerry 10 devices, either. The four clips show the basics of what we know the gesture experience will be like on full-touch L-series phones, including the signature BlackBerry Peek to check notifications and the unified inbox. Anyone looking for a direct clue as to what production BlackBerry 10 hardware will entail might be frustrated, mind you — the rendered phone appears to be a placeholder rather than the L-series or a Dev Alpha B, and the device name is censored in an attempt to protect the source. That said, the clips provide a very straightforward explanation of the new interface concept and give us one more indication that RIM is closer to launch.

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Watch What Happens When an iPhone 5 Is Glued to the Ground

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Gadget geeks scrambled to Apple stores around the world Friday to get their hands on the iPhone 5. If you didn’t dedicate yourself to standing in line at 2 a.m. (or do the smart thing and order online), you might still luck out and find one just laying in the street.

That’s what happened to people strolling through a busy square in Amsterdam, but it was a little too good to be true.

SEE ALSO: ‘Leaked’ iPhone 5 Video Reveals Radical New Design 

A couple of Dutch pranksters glued the prized smartphone to the ground and recorded what happened.

Bigger Screen

The most noticeable change in the new iPhone is its larger, 4-inch screen. The display actually isn’t any wider than the previous one, but instead extends length-wise to a 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio. Its resolution is 1,136 x 640 pixels — that’s not quite high-def, but it still has the same pixel density — what Apple calls a retina display. The taller screen allows for five rows of apps (plus the permanent row on the bottom), and Apple says its colors are better, too.

LTE

The iPhone 5 is the first iPhone with LTEconnectivity, and it’s going to work on the networks of AT&T, Verizon and Sprint, as well as many others across the globe. To accommodate so many different LTE bands, Apple had to split the iPhone 5 into three different models, only one of which works on CDMA networks. That’s a departure from the “world phone” approach of the iPhone 4S, but at least Apple was able to integrate both the LTE and voice radios into the same chip, saving space in the device.

Lightning Connector

The 30-pin dock connector, which has been on Apple portable devices since 2003, is now obsolete, replaced with the much smaller Lightning connector, the name being a play on the Thunderbolt connector on Apple’s Macs. Apple says it’s 80% smaller than the old dock connector, and had the extra advantage of being reversible (no more “getting it wrong” the first time you try to insert it). Of course, the new jack means many old accessories won’t work with the iPhone 5 — unless you buy Apple’s $29 adapter, that is. Even if you do, the adapters don’t support exporting video, so you’re stuck with AirPlay for that.

Thinner Design

All this beautiful new technology means Apple was able to shave off a couple of millimeters of thickness. Thanks in part to the new connector, the combined-radio chip and integrating touch electrodes right into the pixels, the iPhone 5 is just 0.3 of an inch thick. It’s also lighter, weighing just under 4 ounces.

Enhanced Siri

Siri‘s learned a trick or two with iOS 6, and is now able to launch apps and understand things like sports scores. Siri can even post tweets and and Facebook updates for you. She’s also conquering new territory by coming to the new iPod touch.

Watch What Happens When an iPhone 5 Is Glued to the Ground

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In-app ads: How to get 20% engagement and 2000% higher click-through

In-app ads: How to get 20% engagement and 2000% higher click-through

by John Koetsier

This just may be a blinding flash of the obvious, but apparently we like ads that don’t suck. And fit into our current context. And give us something we want.

Whoda thunk?

MediaBrix, the app ad company, ran a survey to discover what people like and don’t like about advertising in apps: Facebook apps as well as mobile apps. I spoke with chief executive Ari Brandt yesterday to get the details.

The first result? We like ads

Well, I’ll qualify that.

We like ads more than paying for apps. On smartphones, 61 percent of us want free apps with ads, while 39 percent would pay to avoid the ads. For the cheapskates on Facebook, those numbers skew to 83 percent free, 13 percent paid.

That’s a consumer trend MediaBrix has embraced. But the company, which started out building marketing campaigns with standard Facebook ads, was looking for something better than a banner ad or a sponsored story.

Instead of interrupting apps, Brandt says, he wanted to integrate into them.

“In-app advertising needs to acknowledge, embrace and respect the user experience,” says Brandt. “Standard pre-rolls and traditional ad banners don’t really work in this space.”

So the company, which works with major game developers such as EA and King, and brands like Proctor & Gamble and Coca-Cola, started looking for alternatives.

The second result? We like the right ads, at the right time

Perhaps iAds had it right, partially. As many as 72 percent of Facebook app users prefer immersive, interactive ads to standard banner ads. The numbers for smartphone users: 60 percent versus 40 percent.

That might sound crazy, since an immersive and interactive ad demands more of your attention. A banner ad, after all, can be ignored.

But the key factor is the right offer at the right time. Here’s how Brandt explained it to me:

“Imagine you’re playing a game, and you need a power-up. So a message pops up and says: ‘John, your power is low. Interact with this Coca-Cola ad and receive five free power-ups.’”

The user is in charge: she can decide to accept the power-up or not. If she doesn’t, she continues playing the game as before. But if she does, the ad unit is engaging, built specifically for the game, and immediately rewarding. And that, apparently, is the key.

“We’ve seen amazing performance,” Brandt says, “including engagement rates as high as 20 percent.” MediaBrix’ click-through rates are high, he told me, as much as 2000 percent higher than Facebook promoted posts … which can have click-through rates of a fraction of a percentage point.

The third result? We hate pre-roll videos

Unsurprisingly, 63 percent of Facebook users don’t like pre-roll ads. And for once smartphone users are almost completely in agreement: 62 percent would prefer to have a choice to play the video or have it shown during a natural break in the app that they’re playing or using.

So MediaBrix created an interstitial-type product for session-based games.  One example is the popular app Fruit Ninja, says Brandt:

“When you complete a level, you get a message: ‘Congratulations, you just slashed 100 pieces of fruit. The next level is loading — please watch this message from our sponsor.”

The message, the art, and the entire ad is customized — integrated into the game experience.

The point for you?

If you’re an app developer, design custom ad experiences into your apps that are innovative and integrated into your user experience. And if you’re a marketer, don’t settle for interruption marketing or annoyance marketing.

Give something to get something.

In-app ads: How to get 20% engagement and 2000% higher click-through

Newton Coull Videos – We are a video performance network.

Chroma Key Your Way to a Green Screen Dream

You just need a little green to turn your video dreams into reality. Photo by Joel Fernando/Wired.com

You just need a little green to turn your video dreams into reality. Photo by Joel Fernando/Wired.com

This is a crash course into the process of shooting video in your very own blue- or green-screen studio space. Chroma keying is a visual effects technique that will allow you to change the scenery behind any actor on the cheap. In just a few minutes, you’ll be able to start shooting all the keyed-out footage that your wild imagination can muster.

You really don’t need much to start experimenting. I recommend that you don’t spend too much money as you get started. Keep it simple.

This how-to was written by Joel Fernando, a Brooklyn-based video scientist specializing in ghetto conundrums.

Contents

[hide]

Materials

  • Blue/green fabric 8 x 10 feet minimum, a green/blue paper seamless roll from a video/photography store, or a bright blue/green wall
  • Camera
  • Tripod
  • Lights (clamp lights, 500-watt work lights, or your mom’s living room lamps)
  • Gaff tape, duct tape or any type of tape that is strong enough to hold your pants up

Prepping The Scene

First you need a wrinkle-free fabric or roll of paper to use as a seamless backdrop. I use a $25 13- by 16-foot piece of fabric that I found on clearance at a fabric store.

Hang the screen in any wide open space — your garage or living room will work, but you’ll want at least an 8-foot-wide wall with at least 8 or 9 feet of vertical space where you can be positioned 10 to 15 feet away from to set up your camera. You want the fabric to lie on the floor with a curve.

Set up your camera on a tripod and determine the distance that the camera needs to be placed away from the subject depending on what lenses you are using.  You want to make sure that the subject is a good 5 to 7 feet in front of the blue screen; this will prevent shadows from being projected by the subject onto the screen behind them.

If you have some money to drop, buy or rent a light package, but if you are going guerilla, you can use high-wattage lamps and any other lights that you have around the house. The goal here is to get the backdrop lit evenly. The best bang for your buck is to buy three or four 500-watt tripod-style work lights from the hardware store for about $35 a piece.

Light the Blue Screen Independently of the Subject

When lighting your “studio” set up, you’ll want to light the green screen first, then you can start lighting the subject. The main goal with a green screen is to maintain even lighting over the whole screen with no wrinkles or shadows that can cause variations in the hue of the screen. You can keep it evenly lit by diffusing the lights with wax paper and making sure they are at least 5 feet away from the screen to spread the light.

Shadows Are Your Worst Nightmare

Be aware that shadows from your actor’s movements or overexposed light spots on the blue screen will make the final product have a grainy artifact pixelation that glitches in and out in a sick way. Maybe you like that….

Now just place two lights on either side of the subject and play with the placement of the lights to tweak your style of lighting on your subject. Imagine the lighting of the scene that you are going to be creating for them in post-production.

While Filming

A full setup, complete with tape, rigging, and lighting. Photo by Joel Fernando/Wired.com

A full setup, complete with tape, rigging, and lighting. Photo by Joel Fernando/Wired.com

Once you have your backdrop, lights, and camera setup, you are ready to shoot. If you are directing your subject in a small space, make sure that their body parts don’t move outside of the framing of the screen or they’ll be cut out of the shot. Shoot that shit, fool.

Post-Production

Once you are done shooting, all you have to do now is transfer all that footage onto your computer and use the keying filters to get rid of the green. I prefer Adobe After Effects with the Keylight 1.2 filter, a super powerful plug-in. Also, Final Cut Pro and Adobe Premiere have chroma keying filters that work really well. Newer editing programs have made keying pretty simple and effective. At this point it is really up to your imagination how far you want to go with effects and layering. Now you can layer all of that green screen footage of your subject on the timeline and psych all of your friends out.

Check out the video tutorial from Andrew Kramer of Video Copilot for post-production keying tips.

Chroma Key Your Way to a Green Screen Dream

 

Oprah Discusses Rihanna’s ‘Next Chapter’ Episode

 

 

*OWN has made available online the trailer for “Oprah’s Next Chapter” featuring an in depth interview with Rihanna, scheduled to air next Sunday, Aug. 19, at 9 p.m. EST.

As previously reported, Oprah Winfrey flew to Rihanna’s native island of Barbados for the taping. The two chatted about her career, her family, the recent passing of her grandmother and the price of fame, according to OWN.  She also “reveals how she really feels about Chris Brown-and her relationship with him today.”

Rihanna will also drive Oprah around the island to tour her childhood neighborhood and meet her mother, Monica Fenty, “for a surprise announcement.”

Oprah Discusses Rihanna’s ‘Next Chapter’ Episode

Carli Richards, Aurora Shooting Survivor, Calls For James Holmes Death Penalty By Firing Squad

A survivor of the “Dark Knight” massacre has publicly called for the alleged shooter to suffer the death penalty by firing squad.

Carli Richards, who escaped the infamous July 20 Batman screening scarred with multiple bullet wounds, said that such a sentence for suspect James Holmes “would be totally justified,” according to TMZ.

“Just injecting him is painless,” Richards, 22, told the website. “I had enough needles in me that night to know that a needle isn’t that bad. I want him to see what it feels like … I wish someone would shoot him and let him bleed out.”

On Monday, prosecutors charged Holmes with 24 counts of first-degree murder and 116 counts of attempted murder.

Andy Kahan, a victims advocate based in Houston, Texas, called the comments “not shocking.”

“You’re going to have some victims who push for a slow excruciating death and some who push for life in prison without parole,” Kahan told The Huffington Post. “They feel that it is even more horrific than death itself, knowing that you are never going to get out and will never have any contact with a living person again.”

Kahan added that survivors, like Richards, are the “only unwilling participants in the criminal justice system.”

“Everyone else — the lawyers, judges, police — chose their role,” he said. “Nobody has ever asked to be a victim.”

Carol Chambers, the district attorney and head prosecutor on the Aurora case, is an outspoken supporter of the death penalty, according to Denver’s Westword blog. Her office plans to interview victims’ families and survivors to determine whether to pursue capital punishment against Holmes.

Richard’s boyfriend, Chris Townson, was also at the theater when Holmes allegedly opened fire on the audience, killing 12 people and wounding 58 others.

A fundraiser — Care For Carli — is collecting money to pay for medical bills and counseling.

Richards’ Facebook profile — where she calls herself Carli Dirtyrotten — features a batman-themed memorial banner for victims of the Aurora massacre.

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DRAKE: ‘I DEEM MYSELF THE FIRST PERSON TO SUCCESSFULLY RAP AND SING’

by: Amy Sciarretto

Drake

Humility, thy name is not Drake. The Canadian rapper, who is also Jewish on his mother’s side, is a big believer in his own talent, and he should be, since his albums debut at No. 1 and he has millions of fans, spread across both male and female fanbases.

His nasal delivery is unique and unlike anything else in his genre. But he made a pretty massive, full-of-hubris claim to The Jewish Chronicle, one that might infuriate his hip-hop brethren and peers.

While Drake did give props to his predecessors, saying, “There were people who incorporated melody before me,” he finished his statement by uttering the following words: “But I would deem myself the first person to successfully rap and sing.”

Deeming yourself the first, huh?

Those superlatives are usually the accolades bestowed on an artist by critics, not by the artists themselves. There are also plenty artists in the history of the genre, many of which have come well before Drake, that have been able to successfully rap and sing, so Drake is most certainly not the first.

Drake also made another controversial claim in the feature, addressing the fact that he is young and doesn’t need to be committed or to be oh-so-serious at this point in his life. It’s a cavalier attitude for sure.

“I’m 25 and single,” the reported former flame of Rihanna said. “I’m not supposed to care about deeper things right now, I’m supposed to be wild. But there are nights when you sit back and wonder, ‘Damn, is this right?’”

It’s good to have fun, Drake, but it’s good to take stock of your life and put what’s important first. It’s always good to care about deep things, whether you are 25 or 85!

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Jobless Recovery: 43 States Have Fewer Jobs Now Than They Did Before Recession

By CHRISTOPHER S. RUGABER

Three years since the recession ended, 43 states have yet to regain the jobs they lost in the downturn. The figure is a reminder of how weak the nation’s job market remains.

The states that are the furthest behind in job growth are those that were hit hardest by the housing bust: Arizona, Florida and Nevada.

Overall, the U.S. economy has 3.5 percent fewer jobs than it did before the Great Recession, which began in December 2007. The national unemployment rate has been stuck at 8.2 percent.

As slow as the recovery in jobs has been, a few states are doing quite well. Seven have more jobs now than before the recession. Some – North Dakota, Texas and Alaska – are benefiting from an oil boom.

But most states have lagged behind.

“Except for these energy-producing states, everywhere there’s still this caution in terms of hiring,” Steve Cochrane, a regional economist at Moody’s Analytics, said.

Last month, unemployment rates rose in 27 U.S. states, the most in almost a year.

Unemployment rates fell in 11 states – the fewest since August – and were unchanged in 12, the Labor Department said Friday.

Nevada had the nation’s highest unemployment rate in June at 11.6 percent. The state also had 12.4 percent fewer jobs than before the recession, the biggest percentage of jobs lost of any state.

The state is still reeling more than four years after the housing market went bust.

Nevada had the highest rate of foreclosures in the nation in the first half of 2012, according to RealtyTrac. In the first three months of the year, 61 percent of homeowners were “underwater,” or owed more on their mortgages then their homes are worth, according CoreLogic, a real estate data firm. That’s also the highest share in the nation.

Arizona has also struggled to regain the jobs it lost, with 8.2 percent fewer in June than before the recession. That’s the second-biggest loss. It had the nation’s second-highest foreclosure rate in the first half of the year.

Florida had 7.8 percent fewer jobs in June than before the recession, the third-biggest decline. It had the second-highest proportion of underwater homes in the first quarter.

Nationwide, job growth slowed sharply this spring. Employers added just 75,000 a month from April through June, down from a healthy 226,000 pace in the first three months of the year.

Despite the weak job market, seven states have regained the jobs they lost during the recession.

North Dakota is by far the best. It had 15.7 percent more jobs in June than it did in December 2007. It also had the nation’s lowest unemployment rate at 2.9 percent.

The state’s oil production has soared in the past five years. Drillers have learned how to access previously unavailable oil reserves using a process known as hydraulic fracturing or “fracking.”

The number of oil wells in North Dakota has doubled in the past five years, and oil production has increased fivefold.

Alaska had 3.8 percent more jobs in June than before the recession began, the second-largest gain. It has also benefited from oil production. So has Texas, which had 2.4 percent more jobs in June than before the recession, or third best.

The other states that have regained all their lost jobs are: New York, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and South Dakota. New York has seen broad-based gains in education and health care, financial services, and other professional services such as legal services and accounting.

A few states are getting close to the positive column. West Virginia and Nebraska are just a few thousand jobs short. Virginia, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Maryland are down less than 2 percent.

Economists at IHS Global Insight, a consulting firm, estimate that 8 states won’t return to their pre-recession peak employment levels until 2016 or later.

There are some encouraging signs for many of the hardest-hit states, particularly those out West.

Cochrane said that industries such as information technology and aerospace have accelerated job growth recently in states such as California, Arizona and Utah. The region is also benefiting from trade with Asia, he added.

California added 38,300 jobs in June, its second straight month of big gains.

Florida is recovering, but not as quickly, Cochrane said. Travel and tourism is growing and adding jobs. But there aren’t many other healthy industries.

Jobless Recovery: 43 States Have Fewer Jobs Now Than They Did Before Recession

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KANYE WEST SAYS HIS MUSIC IS ‘PERFECT,’ IS THE BEETHOVEN OF OUR LIFETIME

by: Trent Fitzgerald

Kanye West

Kanye West had another one of his infamous outbursts at a concert event recently. While the rap superstar was performing ‘Flashing Lights’ at his show in Atlantic City, N.J., he spazzed out about how the tabloids write false stories about him.

“If you have something to give the world, a lot of times the press is trying to take everything negative,” he told the crowd. “Just look at MediaTakeOut, they so f—in’ full of s—! Show your motherf—in’ face, so I can smack the s— out of you!”

“I am flawed as a human being. I am flawed as a person. As a man, I am flawed. But my music is perfect!” Kanye continued. “This is the best you gonna get ladies and gentlemen in this lifetime, I’m sorry. You could go back to Beethoven and s—, but as far as this lifetime, though, this is all you got.”

As we previously reported, West performed a two-night concert stint at the Revel Hotel in Atlantic City, N.J. During his show, he performed ‘Cold’ and ‘New God Flow’ (with Pusha T). He also professed his love for his boo Kim Kardashian and dedicated his song ‘Hey Mama’ to his late mother, Dr. Donda West.

This isn’t the first time West had a moment of absurdity onstage. Last month, he scolded a fan for throwing a coin onto the stage while he was rocking the mic. “Don’t throw no hard s— up here while we’re performing, seriously,” he yelled at the violator. “You f—ed up for everybody. I was having a perfect show, flawless victory.”

Oh, Kanye.

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Nintendo 3DS XL review: bigger is better, but it’s still not quite enough

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Nintendo 3DS XL review Bigger is better, but not quite enough

If you like your portable gaming three-dimensional, clam-shelled and big, then Nintendo’s 3DS XL fulfills those broad, unconventional requirements. It’s a design refresh that more closely references bothprevious generations of DS hardware (and the incoming Wii U) — all while touting a substantially bigger, 3D-capable, parallax-barrier screen. Aside from a larger battery, the XL’s internals rehash what we first saw over a year ago: the controls remain the same, with no addition of a (mildly) hardcore gamer-courting second analog stick. For what it’s worth, the device does arrive with a 4GB SD card in-box (up from 2GB in the original), matching the approximate doubling in physical dimensions. 18 months is a long time in gaming,especially these days, and although 3DS sales have recently rallied against Sony’s latest, we reckon the 3DS XL has double the appeal of its forebear. We’ll explain why right after the break.

It’s a huge relief to see Nintendo return to the cleaner, tidier lines of the DS Lite and DSi. Gone are the awkward tri-colored gloss and the angular, bizarre shape of the 3DS. Instead, it’s now a simple, softly curved oblong, which looks more mature and considered. Closed, the 3DS XL’s matte finish wraps around both halves — and unintentionally reminds us of Sony’s Tablet P. Fortunately, the casing is far more solid than that Android tablet, and feels much slimmer. In fact the device’s thickness feels (and measures) roughly equal to the 3DS, despite the explosion in screen size, improved battery life and a 46 percent weight increase to 336g (11.85 ounces).

Nintendo 3DS XL review Bigger is better, but not quite enough

While gamers with smaller paws may not agree, the 3DS XL feels more at home in-hand than the 3DS — not to mention, it looks a good deal classier than what came before. Thanks to those rounded corners, the device doesn’t dig into your palms like its slightly squarish predecessor. The circle pad is still supremely comfortable, just the right side of tactile, while the faithful Nintendo button medley and D-pad still do the trick.

Even more than what’s changed, it’s what’s still missing that baffles us. Given that the 3DS has been furnished with a secondary analog stick through a slightly unwieldy peripheral, we don’t understand why they couldn’t have embedded one into the 3DS XL — certainly, it’s not for lack of space. Our review sample arrived with Resident Evil: Revelations in the slot — a game that’s not very forgiving without that second stick. It’s also worth adding that while the plastic stylus on the bigger hardware remains functional enough, we miss the classy, extendable chrome pen that arrived in the original 3DS. The collar buttons are just as responsive as Nintendo’s preceding handhelds. And if you weren’t a fan of the cheap-looking button trio underneath the secondary screen, you’ll be glad to hear that the odd bar has been replaced by three more standard-looking — and feeling — buttons. The SD slot has been repositioned to the right edge, meaning that Nintendo’s sticking with standard removable storage. There’s also now a horizontal cubby for the aforementioned stylus, referencing the DS Lite and DSi of gaming past.

Displays

DNP Nintendo 3DS XL review Bigger is better, but it's still not quite enough

Bigger is better. Maybe it’s our review-jaded eyes, but the larger, 4.8-inch screen (just shy of the width of the PlayStation Vita, although slightly taller) seems to make the 3D effect less taxing, not to mention more immersive. The similarly expanded secondary screen also offers more real estate for touch-heavy titles. The pair of screens, however, still looks a little incongruous, each boasting different sizes and dimensions. While matching the humble resolutions found on the original, we found the screens both had comparable (if average) viewing angles. The main screen may be 1.8 times larger, but it packs the same 800 x 240 resolution of last year’s model — now spread a little thinner, with the more typical ‘flat’ 320 × 240 display also unchanged on the secondary.

Purely number-wise, it doesn’t sound impressive to anyone spoiled by Retina displays and the like. The screens on the original weren’t the sharpest back then, but the jagged edges on fonts and detail is noticeably more pronounced on the bigger model. It goes without saying that the Vita’s screen is a stronger performer, both visually and technically (being capacitive and all). We presume this is why Nintendo imposed filming and photography restrictions on its reviews for the 3DS XL, even though pixel math dictates that the bigger screen won’t look so hot close-up. Even if the 3DS XL doesn’t win on crispness, however, Sony’s onyx wonder can’t — and never will — output 3D content.

Software

So apart from size, the hardware hasn’t changed that much. The same can be said for the software, but it’s a good chance to see how Nintendo’s embraced online content and gaming in the midst of strong smartphone contenders. Since launching last March, Nintendo’s baked-in software, including eShop, Spot Pass, Mii Plaza and online functions, have had time to grow and it’s particularly noticeable when it comes time to interact with other users. During the first few months of use, you weren’t going to pick up many Mii visitors — not unless you were hanging around gaming writers, tech bloggers and importers, anyway.

DNP Nintendo 3DS XL review Bigger is better, but it's still not quite enough

Now, whether we flit across the country by train or park somewhere in center city, we pick up new Miis — and accessories — in the process. Admittedly, the games that tie into this social component really aren’t worth your time, but the simple process of connecting with other users — and being notified of it — still makes us smile. The uncomplicated approach makes online gaming a cinch. With access to WiFi, we could connect in-game with a single option selection and would soon be battling strangers with far greater skills than we could ever muster. The friend PIN system also allows you to connect with real-life competitors.

The augmented reality games are still baked into Nintendo’s newest portable, although they haven’t moved on in any way. If you’ve played with them on the original, you’re getting the same deal again here. The Nintendo eShop has expanded its offerings since we last opened our online wallets for the 3DS launch, with its wares separated out for ease of navigation. “In Stores” houses demos of incoming 3DS titles, and is presumably where the full-length games will be housed in the near future. Next is the Virtual Console, wrapping up NES, GameBoy, GameBoy Color and (gasp) Game Gear titles for anyone over 20 to replay again. It’s joined by software and mini-game channels and a recommended videos collection. Unfortunately, the likes of Netflix and Hulu weren’t available on our review model here in the UK and overall it’s still not as good as it could be. While it does give taste of how content will be sold through Nintendo in the future, we’d like those to be available now, not in another two months.

Battery life

DNP Nintendo 3DS XL review Bigger is better, but it's still not quite enough

Nintendo reckons you’ll see around three to six and a half hours of gameplay from 3DS titles, and between five and eight for simpler DS games. In our experience, we managed an average of four hours of playtime in full-fat gamer mode, with the 3D switch and brightness cranked up to maximum, WiFi connected and around two hours of online play folded into our test. As even Nintendo forewarns on the console, how the 3DS XL is used has a huge impact on total runtime. Switch off the 3D mode, dabble with older DS titles and retro hits, and you’ll see a substantial improvement in battery life. We did just that, also switching on battery saver mode and dropping brightness down to the middle setting, and got closer to nine hours of playtime — it’s a substantial improvement but obviously means limiting your gamer habits to some extent.

Transitioning

DNP Nintendo 3DS XL review Bigger is better, but it's still not quite enough

Nintendo’s explanation for the lack of an AC adapter in both European and (some) Asian countries is that most buyers will be coming from older hardware — naturally. Thus, buried in the settings menu, is the option to transfer your content — like your digital purchases — across from original 3DS consoles and the DSi. You’ll need both devices and an SD card to get it done, and it feels like an exercise in frustration compared to the effortless systems in place for other gaming challengers like Google Play, which allows you to house your purchases on multiple devices without so much hassle.

Wrap-up

DNP Nintendo 3DS XL review Bigger is better, but it's still not quite enough

After playing with the 3DS XL, we returned to the original only to find it difficult and awkward to use in comparison. The new size is an improvement in so many ways, including ergonomics and playability. The bigger screen makes 3D gaming less tiring, and offers a larger sweet spot for Nintendo’s all-important gaming effect, while the curved edges simply fit your hands better. Competition remains tough, however. The Vita remains clearly ahead technically, while Nintendo banks on its strong in-house software team to bring in the customers. Pitch Resident Evil: Revelations against Uncharted, or Super Street Fighter IV 3D against Marvel Vs. Capcom 3, and it’s clear to see on those big ole’ portable screens which has the most potent hardware. But if you’ve been waiting out for a 3DS Lite before taking the plunge into 3D waters, then we can’t help but recommend Nintendo’s latest. We just hope the company can give its online content offering a shot in the arm soon, as it’s really starting to age the hardware.

Nintendo 3DS XL review: bigger is better, but it’s still not quite enough

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