Paws For Thought: Pavel Barter has news of a dystopian cyberpunk adventure…
Wander – PS5 (Interactive Annapurna)
A stray cat roams the streets of a cyberpunk dystopia with his drone companion, trying to find a way out of this seedy underworld. The first thought that comes to mind when playing Wander is: why has no one had this idea before? Controlling a cat – jumping on tables, prowling rooftops, collecting items and solving puzzles – is made for gaming.
The slummy underworld where lonely robots abandoned by their human owners survive is beautifully crafted. Our mustachioed hero is aided by B-12, a floating robot with torches and translation services. The tasks aren’t incredibly taxing, but the world, story, and mundane tasks (finding sheet music for a walking robot, for example) are absorbing.
The designers, inspired by their own pets, have captured the essence of what it’s like to be a cat. You can scratch your claws on carpets, meow at drunks, or stick your curious head in a paper bag. There are fantastic action sequences – and serious commentary on class systems, AI ethics and environmental astrology – but holding your Dual Sensor controller purring in your paws while your feline friend makes a nap is just as satisfying.
Misplaced / PS5 pic.twitter.com/TFmUxgAjgL
— CBVP 📸 Virtual Photography (@Chris25551) August 27, 2022
Galaxy Book2 Pro 360
Samsung’s new 2-in-1 is all about feel. The device is tactile like other tablet-laptops are not. The 13.3-inch version of the Pro 360 is light and small enough to fit in a large purse, yet sturdy enough to transition from laptop to tablet without fear of breakage.
The HD AMOLED (1920 x 1080p) touchscreen is a perfect fit for the S-Pen stylus that comes with this Pro. When taking notes and drawing sketches on apps like PENUP, Samsung’s answer to Microsoft Paint3D, the pen is tactile and fluid. The keyboard is compact but its keys are chunky and responsive for frequent typists. The device doesn’t have a storage bay for the S-Pen, which makes losing the stylus likely (for this klutz, at least).
The display might not be 4K, but the colors and images are vivid enough for movie streaming and photo editing. The version we reviewed had 16GB of RAM and 456GB of storage: reasonable stats similar to last year’s iteration. The webcam, however, has been refined from 720p to Full HD 1080: a giant leap for the Samsung genre. You can also eliminate jams with improved sound, thanks to AKG technology and Dolby Atmos.
AXS Audio Headphones
Music industry veteran Rikki Farr has created his own headphones. Farr is something of a legend in music industry circles: a promoter who launched an ungodly televised rant from the Isle of Wight music festival stage in the 1970s, and a music prodigy. audio who designed the sound for live performances by Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Bob Marley, Guns N’ Roses and Nirvana.
Like Neil Young, Farr was disappointed with the collapse of audio fidelity in modern consumer audio devices – MP3s are compressed to within an inch of their lifetime and are distant cousins to original studio sound. – and he hopes to remedy this with his AXS Audio headphones.
The sound is clear and succinct through the ears – from crisp highs to low lows – although listening to tracks on Spotify via Bluetooth never comes close to sitting behind the recording desk in Abbey Road, frankly. Nevertheless, these headphones are equal to the Apple AirPods in terms of audio fidelity. You’ll get about ten hours of battery life, and a fully charged case will keep you riding for another 38 hours. AXS includes six pairs of ear tips for your neat ear canals and lets you change the volume by pressing each earbud.
However, answering a call proved tricky when I tested the buds. When someone called, I was practically punching myself in the face before he picked up the call.
Samsung A53 5G
Let’s compare and contrast the new A53 to last year’s A52. Well, from first impressions, the two phones are totally indistinguishable. Both have 6.5-inch screens, which leaves room for a 32 MP selfie camera. The cameras are also pretty much the same: five lenses on the back, including a 64MP main lens and a 5MP macro lens for close-ups.
Unlike the A52, this year’s phone doesn’t have a headphone jack. There is nothing wrong with any of these statistics. In fact, the stereo sound offers a boost from the speakers and the IP67 dust and water resistance rating would make it the preferred smartphone choice for Sponge Bob SquarePants and his underwater buddies.
But if you already have the A52, this phone is more of a replacement than an upgrade.
For more tech updates and music interviews, check out Hot Press’ new Electric Picnic issue.