My App Addiction: Poweramp Music Player

My App Addiction: Poweramp Music Player

Mar 15, 2018

I’m really into streaming content now, especially music; with the right utility (and there are several great choices), you can really cover any need for music you have.

Still, there is a place for standalone, dedicated music players, especially for folks like me. You see, there are some old trusty songs I have, and there are times I prefer dealing with offline and onboard tracks.

I don’t think I am too picky when it comes to choice of app, but there are few things I just to have. Some are a bit vain, yes, but my needs are my needs. When it’s all said and done, after a lot of trial time, I settled on Poweramp Music Player. I really can’t do without it at this point.

Why? We’ve been talking about this app since 2010!

First, as the developer is eager to point out, Poweramp wants to do one thing well: play your music. I like the fact there isn’t too much to wade through… just start the app via the widget and go. Another HUGE feature for me is the ability to search out album art from within the app, as it helps me add a visually authentic touch to my catalog.

Further to that, it also has a full-fledged tag editor, which is another biggie for OCD music heads. And when it comes to handling music files, Poweramp gets serious: mp3, mp4, ogg, wma, flac, wav and more. Yes, I still have ogg files. It does gapless play, has a pretty fast scanning process, and helps out with lyrics.

Additionally, you also get a powerful equalizer. This allows users to really tweak the output intimately, such that if you want to underscore a little bit of base in that Dre track, you are good.

Finally, I love that I can make the app mine by customizing it to suit. There are a few built-in skins (plus more available to download), and there are several little touches one can mess around with, from how songs are named to the info attached to each file.

Bonus: Poweramp is one of those premium apps that has a free version that allows you to try it out for half a month.

Well done.

Go ahead. Try it out. You’re welcome for the tip…

Jabra Elite 65t Truly Wireless Earbuds — an extended experience

Jabra Elite 65t Truly Wireless Earbuds — an extended experience

Mar 14, 2018

The recently announced Elite 65t is a newer foray by renown accessory company Jabra into the increasingly crowded wireless — truly wireless, that is — headphone market. Its truly wireless offering, the Jabra Elite were pretty good, so to call a new iteration intriguing is somewhat of an understatement.

The retail unit we were sent shows a familiar looking setup: charging case, earbuds, micro-USB charging cable, eargels and documentation. The earbuds fit cleanly into the case, and the case charges them like a backup battery which itself can be recharged via the included cable. The earbuds resemble the original set, but are smaller and less prominent, with grey tones. The case is smaller than the original too, so again, everything is more compact.

They came with a charge, but we went ahead and juiced for an hour for surety.

These headphones get a whole new companion application, the Jabra Sound+ utility. The app adds some nifty control options and information, including battery level, visual data detailing which piece (left, right or both) is active and the user manual. Additionally, you can tweak the app-hosted equalizer and even select Amazon Alexa as the unit’s voice assistant. The app is also the firmware update portal for the set, and help you walkthrough setup and pairing initially.


In usage, they work well, producing great sound isolation via the seal, and with a great degree of fidelity. I tried them out with plenty of music and podcasts — Dolly, Ye, Baby Bash and the Around the Horn crew came across clear and strong, with little distortion and no decipherable tinniness. I was able to wear the piece in my ear without any distress over time, both singly and as a pair.

Secondarily, I wanted the ability to use these as a dedicated earpiece; why carry two sets of hardware if one can do the heavy lifting? Easy controls make it easy to use the main earbud as a headset for calls, and that aspect of the experience is solid.

Battery life? This probably the best aspect, and is where users might find the biggest improvement over the Elite Sport. The case/charger really does pack power, allowing me to go a fortnight without charging it (the case) with regular usage.

My biggest fuss emanates from the software side; I think Jabra could really consolidate its companion app offerings. I use three Jabra pieces regularly, and (including the latest aforementioned one) now have four apps installed just for them.

Suffice to say, these are really great earbuds. The sound output is really good, and it’s easy to enjoy different types of productions. From a comfort perspective, it’s the first pair of truly wireless earbuds that I’ve used that feel just as at home during a workout as they do when be used to listen to a nighttime podcast. Then, the ability to use it mono, especially as a “regular” bluetooth earpiece for phone calls, is invaluable. These ones have all but nudged aside my adored Jabra Eclipse as my go to call earpiece of choice.

The Sims Mobile Review

The Sims Mobile Review

Mar 14, 2018

Ah… yes. With the fairly engaging news that we have a new — proper? — game on mobile, one overarching thought refused to leave my mind.

More on that later.

But yes, Sims Mobile is here on Android. Drink that in. Sims goodness in the palm of your hand, on the go. Everything we could ever want in Sims game made for an increasingly mobile world. It’s been in development for quite some time, so its official release should be momentous.

Right? Let’s see.

The Sims franchise has come a long way, and, in its own way, is kind of a living history of modern gaming in and of itself. The latest PC-borne versions retain the original charm, but clearly give it a mobile bent

Play-wise, you start with a singular Sim. You can start with a template (and there are several to pick from) and then tweak to perfection. Then, you get a starter house in a community. Through the beginning stages, the game walks you all the way through the selection of property and introductory merchandise, and gives you a feel for the game.

Bottom line? Help your Sim thrive. Interactions — with purple and objects — are performed by tapping, and successful interactions earn goodies like game cash. Game cash can buy stuff line furniture, which improves your character’s lifestyle and ability to do better at work. Get better at stuff, unlock hobbies, so on and so on.



There is an energy requirement, but that’s almost to be expected in a free-to-play game like this. A weak Sim can be uplifted by snacking, or doing stuff like resting, but one great way is to leave them be… go away and come back.

All in all, it won’t replace the PC version, nor is it meant to be. Crossover play would have been nice, as a one-time “unlock everything” fee as an in-app option, but for folks who are looking fora quick hit, this might satisfy the craving.

Pre-registration opens for Westworld Mobile

Pre-registration opens for Westworld Mobile

Mar 12, 2018

If you’ve ever caught an episode of Westworld, you’ll want to hear this news.

Yes, we’re referring to the Michael Crichton-inspired futuristic show that comes on HBO. Hey, when you get a mobile companion game as a TV show, you know you have really, truly arrived. Well, Westworld has arrived, and a game is due out soon.

Guess what? You can pre-register for it now, RIGHT HERE.

And this one looks like it’s gonna be fun… for real; players who pre-register will get some exclusive goodies.

Per the presser, we hear there is some tight collaboration between show writers and producers with WB Games developers. WB Games VP Jonathan Knight can’t wait for the finished game to make it to franchise fans.

“This game is an opportunity to give mobile gamers a fresh and exciting way to interact with the engrossing themes and enigmatic narrative explored by the Westworld series,” he says. “We can’t wait for fans to get their hands on the game to develop their own unique strategy to orchestrate and explore the perfect park experience.”

Enjoy the teaser trailer below:

[via Westworld Mobile]

Gravity Dash: Endless Runner launches on Google Play

Gravity Dash: Endless Runner launches on Google Play

Mar 12, 2018

There is a new runner in town. Welcome to Gravity Dash: Endless Runner… courtesy of Jedd Goble.

This game is all about blocky art, obstacles, anti-gravity, randomly generated levels, dangers and the need for quick, quick reflexes.

The game’s founder, Jedd Goble, talks about paying homage to an ageless genre. “Gravity Dash is an ode to the classic runner, with a unique twist,” he says. “Through the “one-button” input system that allows you to invert gravity, newbies and veterans alike can pick up and play Gravity Dash for a few minutes – or a few hours. The pixel graphics and synth-driven music score give it an unmistakable retro feel, and the adaptive difficulty level means that the game never gets old. Players of all ages will have a blast every time they play.”

Gravity Dash: Endless Runner is available for free — with optional in-app purchases — on Google Play.

Check out the trailer below:

Rocking Huawei’s freshest offering: Mate 10 Pro

Rocking Huawei’s freshest offering: Mate 10 Pro

Mar 12, 2018

It’s that time of year where everyone is dropping new devices, and if you’re a techie, this is akin to heaven on earth. So much stuff, and precious little time to play with them all.

Huawei gave us some time with its new device, the Mate 10 Pro. Well, we figure Huawei should have gracefully shed any claim to being an non-prominent Android player a while back, so we went into this one eager to see it continue to please us.

Ah… c’mon Review Package. hw3

It is a relatively svelte device, quite light in hand and maybe even becoming in its sharp blue finish. it packs a 6.0″, 2160 x 1080 pixel “FullView” display into a 6.07 x 2.93 x 0.31 inch frame. It has well set camera and fingerprint sensor (which works well with fore finger), with rockers on the left, and micro USB C port at the bottom. Altogether, it’s a nice looking device, and the screen is striking.

Under the hood, it packs a HUAWEI Kirin 970 processor (Cortex octacore CPU) to power Android Oreo out the gate.

EMUI — updated to version 8.0 no less — remains the fairly clean overlay its been in recent iterations; anyone with a rudimentary prior usage of stock Android OS should be at home with this interface.The system itself packs things like MirrorShare, which is its version of MiraCast, and things we consider standard at this point, like NFC.

It happily took our play around T-Mobile SIM, and we used it for a while as a daily driver. As a call device, no major mishaps; no dropped calls, and no static-y backdrops. As a test, we used it to do everything we did on our usual daily driver, and outside a few proprietary utilities on my regular device, the Mate 10 Pro did its thing, and did it respectably.

So all things being equal, with relative feature parity on major devices, it boils down to the itty bitty extras. My biggest whine with regards to this device is its size, and even that is admittedly a minor quibble.

No mind. This a device that is just about right for any mobile warrior, anywhere.

Round and about the Steel Media world (March 9)

Round and about the Steel Media world (March 9)

Mar 9, 2018

It’s about that time…

Here we go, providing you with a sample — small, but juicy — of some the content you mi?ht have missed from our sister sites in the Steel Media network. Why? Well, there is so much stuff, and so little time to get to it.

We’re talking reviews, news, commentary, podcasts, and video.

Why wouldn’t we? Here you go, fresh off last week’s presses on Pocket Gmer, i48apps and AppSpy.

Pocket Gamer

Wanna maximize those simoleons? Dave Aubrey out at PG has you covered with a formal walkthrough for the recently released Sims Mobile. Then, feel free to head on to check out Jon Mundy’s food for thought with regards to seven mobile games he figures will translate better on Switch.

Speaking of Sims and simoleons, there is another nifty podcast episode available. Episode 434 talks about Sims Mobile and Super Smash Bros Switch.


We start with some golden content for folks looking to get a leg up in several games. In fact, if you need tips and tricks for Monster Merge, Temple of Spikes: the Legend and/or Clash Royale 2v2 mode, 148apps has you covered.

Oh yeah… but of course: a comprehensive list of the best iOS games that came out this week, courtesy of Harry Slater.


You’ll wanna check out AppSpy’s current Gem of the Week (per Christian Valentin), which bread popping battle to bear in Toast Time.

And no one does video reviews better than AppSpy; it’s latest is for Temple of Spikes. Check it out here:

There you have it… can’t wait for next week!

NBA TV and MLB Network get added to YouTube TV

NBA TV and MLB Network get added to YouTube TV

Mar 8, 2018

It looks like YouTube TV is looking to become an even better value for its subscribers with today’s news: it now also has NBA TV and MLB Network in its channel lineup.

Sports lovers rejoice!

This should be especially great news for folks who, for instance, crave the banter between cutups Ernie Johnson, Kenny the Jet, Sir Charles and Shaq on encore showings of award-winning show Inside the NBA, because such folks can have their fill, and can even get in on shows like Hardwood Classics and the irreverent Shaqtin’ a Fool.

For baseball fans, MLB Network brings live game coverage, spring training and a host of baseball-related programming.

YouTube TV is available across platforms, and costs $35 per month after a free trial. Hey, if you want (and you should), check out how and why YouTube TV grew on us during our trial/review period.


[YouTube TV: growing on us.]

Criminal Case: Mysteries of the Past Review

Criminal Case: Mysteries of the Past Review

Mar 8, 2018

Criminal Case: Mysteries of the Past takes you way back… on a mystery solving tip.

To be clear, developer Pretty Simple has come up with a few games of the same style with the Criminal Case imprint; this one has an interesting period angle which should somewhat set it apart from the rest.

And like its predecessors in the series, Criminal Case: Mysteries of the Past is a sleuthing caper that encases a hidden objectcc3 game. The core idea? Find objects hidden stills, and proceed with the clues found to ultimately solve mysteries.

It’s leveled, and the the action itself is interspersed with procedural dialogue that helps push the secondary action along. It starts with a crime, and you, the detective, needs to find listed objects in the area shown. Of course, these items are not that easy to find, and it takes a bit of searching to find the items.

Stumped? There are hints. When you finish finding the object, the game leads you on a mission to do “real” police work, like analyzing clues, and drawing inferences by interviewing suspects. Then, it’s up to you to use the gleaned facts to solve the case and arrest the culprit.

It actually works well.

In the end, it’s a pretty fun game. The biggest plus is that it has great pedigree, in that its developer has experience in this genre, and that experience shows in this latest extension of the franchise. The scenes aren’t as haphazard as you might find in other games of this kind, and the period backgrounds are interesting almost on their own.

Now, if you’re not the biggest fan of hidden object mystery games, the continual searching might grate on your nerves a tad, but the procedural aspect of the game should help alleviate that somewhat.

As-is, it does work particularly as a spot time water at the very least, and a whole more at best.

Tekken Review

Tekken Review

Mar 7, 2018

Yessir… it has landed!

Tekken is here, we decided to check it out.

Nuff said.

Now, if you’re asking what the heck Tekken is, I’ll resist the urge to fight you, and tell you this: it was everything.

And. Then. Some.

So, first, the visuals should be a great, especially for folks who played these on those bulky consoles of the 90s. Glorious 3D graphics, with interestingly familiar swarthy characters and glitzy backgrounds. The shifting views that characterized the earlier versions of the game are reproduced somewhat faithfully, and the sound packs in the bravado, violence and overall auditory oomph of the source material.

Okay, okay… let’s get to the fighting.


The game has a fairly extensive tutorial, and it takes you through just about the whole things, hands-on style. The controls are pretty easy to get with, and mostly involve tapping, gestures and long-pressing to effect offensive moves and blocking. Beyond that, winning yields goodies and new, better fighters and tougher opponents (in particular modes); rarity is something to be treasured here.

The cool things with the fighters is that they have special moves and such; there is a card attack system employed, and tapping a rage card at the right time can be devastating to the opponent. As hinted at earlier, there are different modes to dive into, including an online one… team vs team.

So, here’s a game that is looking to be a new portal for a fantastic tenured console game. It mostly manages to do that, even while subtly building in an RPG-style marker battler that should appeal to those folks — dare I say “millennials?” while propping myself up with me walking cane — who are new to the concept. It’s a hard feat to merge a retro hit with the modernity of mobile tablets, but I figure this one makes more than a valiant effort.

Microsoft Word: My Chromecast’s lower case missing piece

Microsoft Word: My Chromecast’s lower case missing piece

Mar 5, 2018

The Chromebook, as a daily driver, has certainly gown on me.

No mystery there. There isn’t much to dislike. It has all the charm of a web machine, plus the power of Google’s ecosystem behind it. It has all but retired the laptop, as I can mostly manage with it comfortably wherever there’s safe internet access. Even if I have to do heavy lifting, I can always tunnel in via Chrome Remote Desktop; as an added bonus, since it is a touchscreen device, I can interact with Windows remotely by touching the screen.

I could go on and on, but you can tell, I like Chrome OS.

With Google Play access — and I picked up an Acer machine that got that feature relatively early — I also get a whole lot of apps that extend my Chromebook’s functionality. Hold up though… shortly after, we found out that MS Office, the app I coveted the most, wasn’t available for Chromebooks, ostensibly because of its screen size.

This was bad. You see, I do use Google Docs a lot, and dig its usability. Still, I came of computer age in the late Nineties and early Aughts, and I respect the right of monopolies to crash the party early. All hail first to market, and give me Microsoft Word!


At least I can still access my desktop remotely. Even when pouting.

Whining aside, this was a major piece for me. I don’t enjoy Office 360, and I already have a machine side loaded with Linux. I wanted to eat my Chrome OS cake and have it too. I get that Microsoft Office on what is, in essence, a Surface competitor might not make sense from an MS point of view, but what about ME?

But what do you know? Is Microsoft reaffirming its drive to be on every device versus creating all the hardware? Don’t know, and frankly, i don’t really care. What matters is that Android Office suite is again available to the Chromebook.

All is right in my mobile world.

Round and about the Steel Media world (March 2)

Round and about the Steel Media world (March 2)

Mar 2, 2018

We’ve said it before: we have a lot of content, and we are quite willing to please. Just in case you missed this goodness from around the Steel Media world, we’re providing just a glimpse of all the things you’ll want to enjoy.

Pocket Gamer

If you’re into Peak Rider — and, unless you’re stodgy and mean, you probably are — you must get a hold of Dave Aubrey’s expansive tips and tricks guide; you’ll be king of the (snowboard) slopes in no time. Then, be sure to check Harry Slater’s review of narrative adventure A Normal Lost Phone.


Campbell Bird sets off with an in-depth review of Holy Potatoes! We’re In Space?; you’ll wanna hear the thoughts on being a starship commander. Also, find the time to check out the updated list of the best games on sale for iPhone and iPad right now.


All hail the Hidden Gem! This week, it’s Knotmania, and Christian Valentin lets us understand why we might wanna get in on this zen puzzler. And, you can NEVER go wrong with AppSpy’s video review — this one is for Lichtspeer:

There you have it… plenty of stuff to enjoy and ruminate upon.