PopSockets Expanding Stand and Grip (Review : Lutch)
(I have this in silver, which was not available on Amazon, but if Blue Nebula was available at the store, I definaetly would have gone for that color) This handy little gadget will put an end to the pain of resting your smartphone on your pinkies forever! It's as simple as sticking a (reusable) sticker on the back of your phone or other device and it immediately has a comfortable resting place for your hand! I personally like to rest it on my ring finger, which only requires my pinkie to barely touch the back of the phone for balance. In addition to the immediate realization of how you've slowly giving your pinkies a phone shaped dent and the relief on the base joint of the finger by using this product, it also doubles as a horizontal stand so you can full screen videos and watch hands free! It pops back almost flat when you're not using it to maintain the sleek design of your phone when not in use. It can still be used with a case, but I would give a rule of thumb that the more heavy-duty the case, the less you're going to need this product because while it's sturdy enough for any phone, the more bulk there is due to a case, the less effective its going to be - for instance, if you have an Otterbox case, you probably won't want to go for this product. But as someone who likes the sleek design of new phones and thus refuses to put on a case, (that's what insurance is for!) this was a cheap solution to a problem I was barely aware of, but immediately relieved to have solved.
Samsung Galaxy S7 (Review : Lutch)
Conover has this phone in black, and Lutch has it in Rose Gold. We could not be happier. I have been a Samsung Galaxy owner since the Nexus and have had no desire to get an iPhone or anything else since. The Google Pixel seems pretty good, but I tend not to want to get the first version of any new device. This one is pretty straight forward. At this point, smartphones basically all do the same thing, so you're either looking for affordability, or top of the line - there's no reason to get anything in between. The biggest thing that has kept me with Android as opposed to iPhone all this time is customizability. The iPhone is great for ease of use and simplicity, but after more than a year of having the phone, I still find myself discovering new features all the time. Simple things like changing my home screen from a 4x4 matrix to 5x5 has allowed me to have one single page of all my important apps organized as I want them, and of course there's an endless list of different free themes to choose from. Most recently however, the biggest advantage has GOT to be the Samsung Gear VR Goggles capability of this phone. That shit is CRAZY. I'm sure iPhone will catch up eventually, but if you want to start experiencing full VR today, Samsung is the way to go
Samsung Gear VR Headset (Review : Lutch & Conover)
Lutch: Talk about plug & play! Turn on your Samsung device's Wi-Fi, plug it into the goggles, and you are immediately thrust into another world! The set up for the Oculus application automatically downloads and starts giving you the orientation on how to use the goggles, how to focus the picture, how to navigate menus and anything else you need to know. Within minutes you'll be experiencing true virtual reality. There's not much to say except it is exactly as awesome as we all imagined it to be - at that's just the intro/free content! Conover got these goggles and $50 credit to the Oculus store (that we haven't even felt the need to use yet) in a bundle deal with his Samsung Galaxy S7, so I'll let him give his take on some of the paid content.
Conover: This thing is friggin ridiculous! I remember seeing advertisements and just assuming it would come to be another overrated, way too hyped hunk. Never thought I'd buy them, but now that I have them I can't believe I was being so reluctant to try. I've tried a bit of this and a bit of that in terms of viewing software and each time I'm left in some sort of Awe, one way or another. If for no other reason I'm experiencing something that I consciously know is not me, but feels like me. Using these goggles creates an extremely immersive experience, whether it be following a girl around having a very "Saw"-esque terror in a mysterious hallway, or looking around a Jurassic forest. I've only scratched the surface of the combination that is the GearVR and the software on the Samsung Galay S7, but already it has left me awestruck by its technology.
Sony PlayStation 4 (Review : Lutch & Conover)
Lutch: I am not a huge gamer by any stretch of the imagination. The last gaming console I owned before they stopped making games for, was my XBOX 360 that I sold for drug money in college. I've always had friends who have had the latest and greatest, so its not like I have no experience, but I tend to stick to Call of Duty (mainly Zombies, rarely playing online,) Grand Theft Auto, FIFA, Madden, and Need for Speed. When Conover brought his PlayStation 3 to the apartment, I definitely had a lot of fun with a number of games like this, but mainly used it for YouTube and Netflix. The height of my excitement was when I started following MMA and wanted to buy the latest UFC game. And while it was a huge disappointment that UFC 2 was not available on PlayStation 3, we were able to get the next best thing, UFC 3: Undisputed, which is confusingly a predecessor to UFC 2. It was awesome to be able to step into the cage. But then we made the decision to upgrade to PlayStation 4, and UFC 2 was our first game purchased. We always wonder how much more realistic graphics can get, yet we are still amazed when the new system comes out and PlayStation 4 is no exception. the degree of improvement in graphics is astounding! Equally as important, if not more, is the processing speed of the console. Whether in-game or switching from between applications or waiting for YouTube videos to buffer and load to HD, the PlayStation 4 is so significantly faster and smoother. It's almost like the Nintendo 64 days when loading wasn't even a thing!
Conover: Well we did it. Lutch and I decided to treat ourselves before the holidays and got ourselves a Sony Playstation 4. It was one of those things where I brought my PS3 up to the apartment when we moved in together and we always said, "yea I mean, this is good enough, we don't need PS4." That said, when we decided to make the purchase the price was right and we definitely don't regret spending the money. Right off the get we could tell the difference in graphics, so much better than PS3. The processing speed is SO much faster than the PS3, less loading time, less updating time, it just simply moves faster than previous systems. I can't wait to get more games and see just how awesome this system can be.
EA Sports UFC 2 - PlayStation 4 (Review : Lutch & Conover)
Lutch: Not having played UFC 1 , I can only compare this to UFC 3: Undisputed for PlayStation 3. All I can say is DAMN! This game is epic! The game-play is far more responsive and versatile than the previous console's version. In addition to that, there is a really cool feature that corresponds to real-life live UFC events. For example, at the time I am writing, the next upcoming UFC event is UFC 207 - the return of one of the fighters featured on the cover of the game after a year outside the cage. This game allows you, similar to fantasy sports, look at the whole card for the fight, pick the winner of each bout, and even choose what you think will be the result of the fight and in what round the fight will be over, and then play as your chosen winner for each bout, all with the ability to win points to be used in other game modes. You can win points for picking the fighter who wins, the method by which they won, and the same round it happened in the real fight, and for being able to recreate that result in an in game bout. And of course, the graphics are simply phenomenal. At a glance, you can easily mistake game-play for a real fight happening on TV!
There are only a few things I do not like: When standing and striking, you don't the ability to cover enough distance - if you are a shorter fighter, you'll have to stand further away from your opponent to be safe from attack than you have to be in order to land your own attacks. In real life, these fighters have the tendency to keep their distance and lunge forward with an attack to make up for that gap, but in the game you have to walk right into your opponents reach and get close enough to strike, which gives an extra boost to a reach advantage. My only other criticism is the complexity of the ground-game control. It is rather difficult to complete a submission yet you do not have as much control over what the fighter is doing as is necessary to simulate a realistic offense/defense. For example, if my opponent has grappled to my back and is in the position to apply a choking submission, I know that I would want to focus my defense on taking hold of the opponent's wrist, but the game only allows to you defend based on the generalized interface, which is far more nuanced than in UFC 3: Undisputed, however still has a bit of a room for improvement. But this is hardly a criticism at all. The game is overall a homerun (or should I say a 1st round KO?!)
Conover: I don't have as much of a comprehensive understanding of MMA technically speaking as Lutch does, so I can mostly only review UFC2 from a gameplay standpoint. First let me say that Lutch and I had UFC 3: Undisputed for PS3 and thought that was a damn good game. Well now that we have PS4 (reviewed above) the first game we had to get was UFC2. This game is pretty damn incredible. UFC has definitely cornered the market with MMA and now more specifically fighting games, it will be quite a challenge for another company to top this game. Realistically speaking, graphics wise, loading speed, you name it, this game is tops. I look forward to EA Sports' next installment of its UFC franchise.
OtterBox Defender Series - Samsung Galaxy S7 (Review : Conover)
Finally, I have a nice phone. I've always been a bit behind the eight ball in terms of consumer electronics so when I decided to upgrade my phone, now that I've got the money, I went for broke. Lutch has the same exact phone and I knew I wanted one. In doing so, I knew with the type of work I do (i.e. constantly outdoors, always moving, sweating, you name it), needless to say I wanted a quality, durable case to protect this investment. The OtterBox delivers. I was already familiar with their products, but was still open to browsing the other brands, and did find one that would be considered comparable. That said, I went with the OtterBox. I've had friends with this case and knew it would hold up. And thus far, it has done just that.
ION Tailgater Speaker (Review : Conover)
A neighbor of mine has a speaker a lot like this and my brother always was a huge fan of it. So when his birthday came around this past year, I knew that this would be a perfect gift for him, and it has not let either of us down. We were having a cookout for his party, gotta love Jersey weather in August, and I told him to open his gift before the party so we could use it, and let me tell you he was not disappointed. He and I have since used this when we've gone camping, other outdoor parties, and when we're just hanging out working on the cars. The speaker absolutely bumps volume and bass wise, so lets just settle that here. I know good sound quality, and this speaker has it. So the advantages of this specific tailgate speaker are its detailed features. It has a USB port to charge your devices, it connects via Bluetooth, auxillary and even has an AM/FM raido so even could connect with an FM transmitter. The ION comes with a microphone which has made for some very fun nights after a few drinks, you know the song? Go sing along. As much as we have used it, we can tell already how well it holds up to the elements and its solid durability. All this qualities and features, and its still extremely portable. You can throw it in the back of your 2 door coupe, or in the bed of the truck. Great buy!