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Game On: Microsoft Xbox One and Sony Playstation 4

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Ladies and Gentlemen, boys and girls, and children of all ages, the matchup we’ve been waiting for years is here. With both Microsoft and Sony revealing their latest Xbox One and PlayStation 4 one consoles to the world, the high stakes battle for your gaming and entertainment console spend and as some would say, the war for your living room even, is set to take place later this year! Here’s what you need to know about both consoles on five key criteria and how both square up against each other.

Hardware: The hardware advancements were a given, but what is more interesting to note is that specs wise, these two consoles are so nearly identical, it could almost have been a case of separated at birth. Both consoles pack in a powerful 8-core custom AMD processors based on the x86 architecture (similar to processors found in desktop PCs) and a capacious 8 GB of memory, both of which represent a massive jump compared to current consoles. Sony’s offering uses the speedier GDDR5 memory, which translates into a huge difference in the amount of memory the system can utilise at any point of time. While this gives the PS4 the edge in raw computing power, Microsoft’s approach is to offload some computation tasks to their servers in the cloud, which may potentially free up your Xbox One’s local resources.

Controllers: The controllers, on the other hand, are largely iterative updates to their successful predecessors — while Microsoft delivering an ergonomically similar that adds in higher precision and better rumble (vibration) capabilities, Sony’s controller adds a touchpad and a built in speaker, both of which may prove handy during gameplay.

Motion and Voice Control: Now no longer an optional accessory, the second-gen Kinect motion gaming accessory will be bundled with every Xbox One unit, only this time, the Kinect will watch you even more closely with the ability to track more individuals in the frame and even some degree of finger and wrist tracking! More crucially, Kinect can also listen to and respond to voice commands, letting the user control the console with simple word commands. For its part, the PS4 controller will pick up where the current generation Move controller left off and will includes a "light bar" in the front that lets the PS4 track the position of each player and identify where the controller is and, if need be, actually adjust the split-screen orientation during multiplayer couch gaming.

Both consoles have their line-up of exclusive games, many of which will be shown off at the annual E3 game conference next week. Here’s what you need to know — and it’s quite the shocker going by initial reactions — neither the PS4 nor the Xbox One has backward compatibility with the games of its immediate ancestors (PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360). This isn’t just limited to physical discs — not even digital purchases made through the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live will make the cut. What’s more, Sony may completely block used games from the PS4, and Microsoft is rumored to be planning to charge some sort of a fee to play them! Outrage!

Beyond Games: Microsoft’s pitched the One as all-in-one multimedia powerhouse, the one box that will rule your TV viewing experience and let you connect with your family via full HD Skype calls, potentially making the current generation of smart TVs outdated…really fast. To be fair, I’m a bit dubious about how well the live-TV functions this will work in India, if at all, and much prefer Sony’s gaming focused approach to the PS4 announcements, including the big support it has shown towards indie game developers. Personally, appealing to the core gaming audience rather than a do-something-for-everybody is what has kept consoles relevant thus far.

Culinary Guide
Cook a mean meal, do you? Fancy seeing yourself on a cooking competition some day? The ChefPad from Archos can help you sharpen your cooking skills – it is a 9.7-inch Android tablet that comes pre-loaded with some great apps for cooking enthusiasts. With content in a range of categories including recipes and drinks, the ChefPad is the perfect companion to whip up new dinner ideas or the perfect wine pairing / health drink. What’s more, it’s kitchen-safe courtesy the included silicon case and can be propped up with the included stand.

Price: $209.99

Copy That!
If you’ve got an iOS device, you’d know that Apple’s Camera Connection Kit will let you transfer photos to your iPad, but it doesn’t allow you to copy any other files off the iPad. with The Only Read and Write iPad Flash Drive (phew!) from Hammacher Schlemmer, you can both read and write files between the drive and your iPad, with support for up to 35 file formats including Microsoft Word and Excel files, PDFs, JPGs, MP4, and MP3. Pricey but so worth it!

Price: $169.95
On Blast Mode
Do you know what pool parties have been missing all along? The Ultimate Ears UE Boom, a Bluetooth speaker which can survive the splashes that a riotous pool party ensures. You can even wirelessly link two UE Booms together using the Android or iOS app to play them in either stereo-to-stereo mode or traditional left / right stereo mode.

Price: $199.99

technocool at kanwar dot net
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