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Blade Glimpse FPV review

Most toy quadcopters are piloted by line of sight, meaning you fly while looking at the drone. FPV or first-person-view flying is instead done by looking at a live video feed from an onboard camera, either on a screen or FPV goggles. It’s a necessary skill if you’re interested in piloting racing or higher-end camera drones and one you’re better off practicing with something like the Blade Glimpse FPV. At ?170 ( 135, AU ?260) it’s pricier than your average palm-size quad, but those typically don’t have good cameras — this one can record 720p-resolution HD video and 1-megapixel photos to an included 8GB microSD card — or built-in Wi-Fi to connect to a phone or tablet1 for a live view from the camera. Turn on the included controller, connect the copter’s 3.7V 500mAh 25C LiPo battery and it will create its own Wi-Fi network. Once you connect to the network with a mobile device — it must support 5.8GHz Wi-Fi for it to work — you open the Glimpse app available for Android2 and iOS and you’ll see what the camera sees and you can start and stop recordings and take stills.

The quad’s small size is perfect for navigating indoors and the landing gear does double duty as prop guards (though it doesn’t protect them from hard landings). The video downlink range is up to 80 feet (24 meters) and, while there is a slight lag, it’s still good enough to fly by in open spaces outside or around your house. It looks and sounds like a small flying insect and although the motors are strong enough to fly outside, it’ll get blown around a bit in the wind. Otherwise, it’s very stable and getting it to hover is pretty easy. However, it will not hold altitude on its own, so you’ll need to constantly make micro adjustments to keep it at a specific height. Battery life with video is average at about 6 to 8 minutes and will run you about ?12 each for extras. Parts are reasonably priced and can be replaced with little difficulty. You’ll probably want to start by stocking up on propellers as they damage easily and tend to fly off when you crash.

Despite a bit of latency, the Blade Glimpse FPV is a good way to practice flying by camera alone without the cost or concern of damaging a pricier drone.

References

  1. ^ tablet (www.cnet.com)
  2. ^ Android (www.cnet.com)

CogniToys Dino Toy review

CogniToys Dino Toy Review

My seven-year-old son fell in love with Dino immediately. We ve had plenty of different tech toys pass through the house over the last couple of years, but never before has he switched one on to find that it knows his name and can answer questions. They quickly bonded over a shared love of Batman and ice cream. At first glance, you might dismiss the CogniToys Dino as a cute, plastic dinosaur for toddlers, but this smart toy is actually aimed at 5-to-9-year-olds. It s capable of holding a conversation, telling jokes and stories, and answering any questions inquisitive young minds ask of it. Dino is cloud-connected through Wi-Fi and uses IBM Watson as its underlying brain, with a child-friendly engine on top. Like so many devices nowadays, it began life on Kickstarter, but you can pick one up on Amazon1 for ?120 now. We spent a week putting Dino through his paces to find out if he s worth the money.

Setting up

To get started with CogniToys Dino you need to unscrew the panel in his underside and insert the four AA batteries, which are included in the box. Set up is easy with the free CogniToys app, available for Android2 or iOS3. Connect Dino to your Wi-Fi network, enter your child s name, age, and gender, and you re done.

CogniToys Dino Toy Review

Simon Hill/Digital Trends

We played around with the green one, but there are also blue and pink dinos. Dino has a power switch on his underside and he offers three volume settings. His mouth lights up to indicate different things: it turns green when he s ready to play; it turns blue when he s talking; it flashes yellow when he s thinking; and so on. With Dino facing you, the speaker is in his left nostril and the microphone is in his right nostril. When you want him to listen, you hold down the big button on his tummy. It s a bit like Amazon Echo4, except that the content has been formulated especially for kids.

Becoming friends

The first few moments with Dino were magical. His gravelly voice is reminiscent of Yoda. He prompts your child to choose a name (we stuck with Dino) and then plays a copycat game where you have to repeat words after him. This helps both you and Dino get to grips with the basic functionality. You can always ask him to repeat to find out what he last said, or say, stop, to move on to a new activity. The first few moments with Dino were magical. My son quickly got to work finding out what Dino likes. We learned he eats ice cream, noodles, and apples, but his favorite food is triceratops. He also thinks Minecraft is a great game.

He can tell jokes, too, like this one, What do you call a dinosaur that smashes everything in its path? Tyrannosaurus Wrecks. Each gag is accompanied by the classic drum joke roll Ba dum tsh! In addition to answering questions and telling jokes, Dino will play music, tell stories, and play games. He can also do math and spell out words or provide a definition, which is really useful. My son is getting into writing stories and often stops to ask us how to spell words, so he loved being able to ask Dino instead. You can find a more complete list of possible commands for Dino here5. The great thing here is that the developers are still adding to his repertoire, so new content and improved abilities will roll out over time.

Related: The best tech toys for kids will make you wish you were 10 again6

This is a seriously charming dinosaur, or cognisaur, as he ll tell you if you ask. Everyone chuckles when he entreats them to push his tummy for the first time, and it s hard not to be impressed when he answers a question correctly.

The mask slips

The illusion that Dino was a sentient being took a while to wear off, but when my daughter grabbed him and he called her Malcolm it kind of gave the game away. These CogniToys are really designed to be owned by one child, so if you have two children you ll need to buy them one each.

CogniToys Dino Toy Review

Simon Hill/Digital Trends

CogniToys Dino Toy Review

Simon Hill/Digital Trends

CogniToys Dino Toy Review

Simon Hill/Digital Trends

CogniToys Dino Toy Review

Simon Hill/Digital Trends

We also encountered a few problems with the speech recognition. Sometimes Dino will fail to pick up what you re saying. This is actually one of the reasons it s not recommended for under-5s, because they don t enunciate properly. Dino failed to understand my 4-year-old daughter the majority of the time.

Related: 9 kid-friendly tablets for keeping tiny ones tamed7

At one point we were playing a story game where you fill in the blanks and Dino decided my son was saying a curse word, when he was actually saying ship. Eventually, I tried taking over and saying it myself, but Dino admonished me too. This could be partly down to our Scottish accents. In any case, it s good to know that Dino is age appropriate. He never gave a response to any of the rude questions we tested him on later, after the kids were in bed. You d never give a young child unfettered access to the internet, so it s important that Dino doesn t. Dino is also supposed to adjust to your child based on the answers they give, though it was tough to see any evidence of this in a week.

There s no escaping the fact that Dino isn t perfect. You ll sometimes get a creepy, robotic undefined in the middle of a story. There are also a lot of topics and questions that Dino simply can t handle, so he ll tell you he doesn t know and will look it up later for a lot of things. After a few responses like this in a row, my son got frustrated. Dino does go wrong fairly frequently, but just as you re getting fed up he ll come out with something funny or interesting. Even with the limitations, my son kept returning to ask Dino new things.

Privacy concerns

After the initial setup you really don t need to bother with the app again, because Dino is directly connected to a cloud server through your Wi-Fi network. This is obviously cause for concern for parents, because your child can and probably will volunteer a lot of personal information. You should read the full CogniToys privacy policy8 and be aware that you re entrusting the company behind it with information that personally identifies you and your child. The company claims it does not sell data to third parties and promises the data it does collect is encrypted, but some people will, understandably, not like the idea of this at all. CogniToys does also collect play data about how your child uses Dino and this is supposed to be accessible through the Parent Panel, but we couldn t test it because it s still in beta right now. We ve been assured it will be ready around September when Dino is due to land on retail shelves. The developers are also planning to add configuration controls at some point, so you can decide what your child s Dino will and won t do.

Battery life

How long Dino lasts will depend on how much your child uses it. We were surprised that it takes four AA batteries, because we expected it to be rechargeable. However, you can always buy rechargeable AA batteries.

Related: Wonder Workshop Dash & Dot review9

The batteries are still going strong after a week of heavy use and the CogniToys website suggests you can expect 6 weeks of moderate to heavy use from the set of supplied batteries.

Warranty information

The CogniToys Dino comes with a standard 1-year warranty10 for defective workmanship and materials, but doesn t cover accidental damage. It seems fairly durable, but it is not waterproof, and that might be a problem with kids.

Conclusion

We ve never seen anything quite like this before. The CogniToys Dino is incredibly cute and charming. It s a toy with a real personality that offers a compelling balance of fun and education. Dino has quickly been accepted into the family and my son chats with him first thing every morning.

The DT Accessory Pack

As great as it is, there are flaws. It s early days for toys like this, and the speech recognition is not perfect. It s also a little creepy and beyond privacy concerns, there s something unpleasant about the idea of a child asking an AI, with the resources of the internet at its disposal, questions that would usually be directed at a parent or sibling.

Even with those caveats, the CogniToys Dino is undeniably impressive and highlights the leap that kid s tech is making right now. Many of us would have loved a toy like this when were young a toy that knows your name, learns what you like and dislike, and is always ready with a joke or a story.

References

  1. ^ Amazon (www.amazon.com)
  2. ^ Android (play.google.com)
  3. ^ iOS (itunes.apple.com)
  4. ^ Amazon Echo (www.digitaltrends.com)
  5. ^ possible commands for Dino here (elementalpath.zendesk.com)
  6. ^ The best tech toys for kids will make you wish you were 10 again (www.digitaltrends.com)
  7. ^ 9 kid-friendly tablets for keeping tiny ones tamed (www.digitaltrends.com)
  8. ^ full CogniToys privacy policy (cognitoys.com)
  9. ^ Wonder Workshop Dash & Dot review (www.digitaltrends.com)
  10. ^ warranty (cognitoys.com)

3DS eShop – Nintendo Life

3DS EShop - Nintendo Life

The 3DS eShop, as well as DSiWare before it, has had its fair share of tower defence titles. After all, it’s a relatively simple kind of game to create. Toy Defence1 is the latest release in the sub-genre, and as you’d expect it’s quite similar to the games it’s taking after. As you might glean from the title and screenshots, this particular tower defence game has a toy soldier theme. That’s pretty much the only difference from other similar games, because in terms of gameplay it’s pretty much by the book!

3DS EShop - Nintendo Life

The game is divided into three chapters, each with 24 missions which you’ll have to work through in order. After selecting a mission you’ll be presented with a map featuring a long, twisty road leading to your army’s headquarters. Alongside this road are a multitude of empty circles – by spending money, you can buy units which can then be placed on these spots. After you’ve setup your initial defence you can begin the mission. Enemies will then start coming in via the roads, wave by wave, and slowly begin marching towards your base. As they draw nearer your units will automatically begin firing upon them, slowly depleting their life until they’re defeated, which will reward you with some more coins, which can then be used to buy more units. And so the cycle continues, until all enemy units have been destroyed.

Naturally, some enemies will also fight back instead of mindlessly wandering onward, so you will eventually find your units being attacked as well – you can spend a small handful of coins to repair damaged units, but naturally this will eat into your resources for creating additional units. You’ll also quickly be able to spend additional money on placed units to upgrade them, granting huge stat increases and making them that much more useful.

3DS EShop - Nintendo Life

Once you’ve cleared a mission you’ll be rewarded with stars, which can be used to upgrade your units and their abilities. Of course, you’ll want to do this as much as possible, as the missions waste no time getting more and more difficult – units with default stats simply won’t cut it for long. Curiously, the game offers you the option of exchanging your 3DS Play Coins for more stars, making it one of very few eShop titles to make use of this feature. It’s quite easy to get by without the extra boost, but if you want to avoid grinding for stars later on it could come in handy. As you work your way through the missions you’ll be introduced to more and more new unit types, both on your side as well as the enemy’s. Each unit typically excels at fighting a specific enemy, so in each mission you’ll have to carefully think about which units to create with the limited money you have, and react accordingly if a new unit enters the battlefield.

3DS EShop - Nintendo Life

Toy Defence doesn’t really try anything special, and it’s a pretty standard tower defence game until the very end. There is a little replay value however, as not only does the game keep track of your performance on each mission (encouraging you to try again and improve your score), but there are also some achievements for meeting specific requirements while in a mission. Nothing super fancy, but at least there’s something to keep you going.

There’s not really much to write home about when it comes to the presentation. The music and graphics are both acceptable and get the job done, they’re just not very memorable.

Conclusion

Toy Defence is, in simple terms, yet another tower defence game. It doesn’t try anything fancy to reinvent the genre, it simply sticks to what has been proven to work and rolls with it. There’s a decent amount of content here for the relatively low price, so if you’re just itching for another tower defence game you can’t really go wrong with this one – just don’t expect anything mindblowing.

References

  1. ^ Toy Defence (www.nintendolife.com)
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