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Kindle Fire HD

Review of Kindle Fire HD

Kindle Fire HD
Have you been considering purchasing an 8.9 inch Kindle Fire HD? For the past few months, I have been excited to get my hands on one of these new Kindles. While I have an iPad, I have been reading on my Kindle Fire for awhile now, finding it is much better when it comes to reading ebooks. Since I love this tablet as much as my iPad, my husband thought it would be a great early Christmas present for me, especially with a larger Kindle now on the market.

I have to admit, waiting for my new 8.9 inch Kindle Fire HD has not been easy. We put it on pre-order back in September when it was first announced, and I have been waiting every since. I have to admit, I have never been so excited about a piece of electronic in my household. Now that it has arrived, I have spent a few days playing with this brand new tablet. Here is what I think so far of the new Kindle Fire HD.

Kindle Fire HD: Usability

Kindle Fire HD When I first looked at the specs of the new 8.9 inch Kindle Fire HD, I was blown away at just how much better this tablet is compared to the original Kindle Fire. It has a 1.5 Ghz dual core processor and imagination Power VR 3-D graphics core, making it run not only fast, but beautifully when playing games or videos. Unlike most other tablet on the market, it is has an official Dolby sound system, allowing you to get the best sound possible when watching movies on your tablet.  I personally love this feature since it allows me to listen to all of my favorite music on the go.

Having used an iPad for years, I am also happy that the 8.9 inch Kindle Fire HD has both a rear and front facing camera. Having kids, I have found that I never know when the kids are going to be cute, allowing me to take a picture anytime, anywhere on my tablet.  While the front camera may sound like a gimmick, it really is perfect for people like me who work from home, especially since I use Skype to talk to my co-workers and potential clients. Really, the 8.9 inch Kindle Fire HD is perfect for anyone who is constantly on the go with kids!

Kindle Fire HD: Apps

Kindle Fire HD If you have kids, you will absolutely love all the apps that are available through the Kindle store.  So far, there are over 22 million different apps available for the 8.9 inch Kindle Fire HD, including games, ebooks, and other functional apps that are perfect for just about any busy lifestyle. This doesn’t count all the apps that are integrated into this tablet, including Facebook, Twitter, Netflix, Pandora, and Angry Birds. In my household, Angry Birds gets most of the attention since my kids absolutely love playing this game. So far, we have over twenty different games that my kids have been playing on the Kindle Fire, some of them allowing my kids to play with multiple people online. From what I have seen, the 8.9 inch Kindle Fire HD seems to work better through our Wi-fi network than my iPad 3, being much faster and more reliable, making it perfect for gaming online!

Kindle Fire HD: Reading

Kindle Fire HD Since I own both a Kindle and a Kindle Fire, I had very high expectations for the 8.9 inch Kindle Fire HD. My goal was to have a media tablet that could replace my other two Kindles, allowing me to travel with one tablet when I was out with the kids. As someone who is constantly going to soccer games and other activities, it’s nice being able to have a tablet that works for everything and isn’t as costly at the iPad. I have to say that the 8.9 inch Kindle Fire HD new polarized filter and anti-glare technology is amazing for reading, allowing you to read or watch a movie on the Kindle Fire at any angle. I absolutely love this since this was the major issue I had with the original Kindle Fire – you had to hold it at just the right angle to be able to read outside. Now, it is easy to read just about anywhere on my tablet!

If I had to pick one thing I loved the most about the 8.9 inch Kindle Fire HD, it the lending library feature that comes with my Amazon Prime Memberships.  I am constantly checking out books with my Kindle Fire, allowing me to read not only the latest best sellers, but new authors who publish exclusively to the Kindle Fire. While I haven’t used it often, my daughter has used the X-Ray searching tool that is designed for textbooks. I had purchased some ebooks that were meant to help with her math skills, and from what I have seen, this feature is great at finding different definitions and examples in these texts. With all the different magazines and books available on the Kindle Fire, I don’t see how anyone could go wrong with this awesome tablet!

Kindle Fire HD: What Others Think

So far, everyone in my family loves the new 8.9 inch Kindle Fire HD. We have been using it non-stop since Thanksgiving and can’t wait to use it more. Not only is it great at reading books, but watching movies and playing games. Right now, we are considering purchasing another Kindle Fire HD for my husband to help him keep track of all of his different ebooks. Currently, the 8.9 inch Kindle Fire HD has a 3.8 rating on Amazon, making it one of the most popular tablets on the market. Here is what other people are saying about this very popular tablet!

“if you are a PRIME subscriber, this device is a NO BRAINER. Get one ! If not, it is still a great take-along carry-around-the-house gadget, very well built, slim and light. Screen is very responsive, haven’t seen any lag in the Amazon ecosystem Android wrap and the browser is faster than I remember my iPad being. Maybe I am just overjoyed with the fact I spent so little with no great expectations and got this pleasant surprise. I do have one complaint (so far): the power and volume buttons are hard to find and to a certain point frustrating…I saw that in the 7″ and was hoping it would be better in the larger form factor but it is still something that needs improvement (Amazon, are you listening ?). About the ads…really ? I just skip them, so no problem for me. They are not intrusive as you my think, not at all. I am loving this purchase so far.”

“I have had my kindle fire hd for over a week now and i love it. I`ve also had a kindle keyboard and original kindle fire. Was not sure about purchasing the fire hd 8.9 at first but decided i wanted to try the larger screen so i pre-ordered it. I never did use the kindle fire one handed so the larger size of the fire hd doesn`t bother me. I love the hd screen and larger size. Fire hd feels very well constructed. I found it very easy to use but that may be because i had the kindle fire and so was not a first time user. It should still prove easy to use for someone who is new to kindle fire. Fire hd is very fast for surfing the web and watching prime instant videos. Display is incredible with hd content and sound is good for a tablet. I really like having the hdmi out port so i can connect it to my home theater. Some have complained about no charging light like the original fire so you can`t tell when it`s fully charged but while that is an annoyance it`s not enough for me to ding the fire hd in my review. Be careful how much trust you place in the overly negative reviews. A lot of them seem to have been written by, a – apple fan boys who feel threatened and so surf the internet writing negative reviews of competing products, b – people with unreasonable expectations i.e. did not fully read product description before purchasing, and lastly, c – people who are not reviewing the fire hd at all but are leaving negative reviews because they have a bone to pick with amazon. Lastly, just a thought about the lack of apps complaints. Amazon is a merchant not a developer, it is up to the developers to make sure their apps work with the fire hd.”

“This screen is AMAZING!!! Every time I look at it, I’m more impressed.”

“Overall this is a great device. Just get it and feel it in your hands and turn on the screen.Also remember anything made by man can malfunction and when you deliver stuff in high volume,some one can easily get a bad one.It happens with every company, even apple. This tablet is great!”

“Wow I must say that they didn’t lie about the better wi-fi! I’m picking up signals in areas I never did with the first fire or the other more expensive tabs. I’m liking this!”

Kindle Fire HD: Where to Purchase

I personally ordered my 8.9 inch Kindle Fire HD from Amazon.com. Even though this was necessary for pre-ordering, I would have made the same decision even if it was on the market when I purchased it. One of the main reasons I purchase all of my electronics from Amazon is that they are a great price and have an amazing return policy if something goes wrong. Like all electronics, it’s possible to have something go wrong right out of the box; making it important you work with a company that is known for its great customer service and return policy. If something goes wrong with the 8.9 inch Kindle Fire HD, all you have to do is print out a return label and ship it back to Amazon. It really is as easy as that! With great prices and customer service, why would you do your Christmas shopping anywhere else?

Kindle Fire HD: More Reviews

Want to see what other people think of the 8.9 inch Kindle Fire HD? Click here to read more reviews written by real people who have purchased this Amazon tablet!

 

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Playstation Vita

Review of Playstation Vita

Playstation VitaAre you considering purchasing a Playstation Vita for your kids? My oldest daughter has been talking non-stop about this gaming system. One of her friends at school got this portable game system for his birthday and my daughter seems to have a bit of envy. She has already been writing her Santa list and I was surprised to see half of the list as different Playstation Vita bundles! Well, the good news is that we at least know exactly what she wants for Christmas!

Since the Playstation Vita costs so much, I wanted my daughter to see if she really liked it before we spent the money on a PlayStation Vita bundle. Luckily, one of my co-workers has a child wanting a Nintendo DS XL for Christmas, so we were able to do an exchange for two weeks. Both the kids were ecstatic since they were able to play with the system they were wanting to get for Christmas. Of course, no one told either child they were getting one for Christmas – just that they could switch system for two weeks to play with a new toy. After having this system for two week, here is what we think of the Playstation Vita.

Playstation Vita: Features

Playstation VitaI have to admit, I am one of those people who love to get unique things for my kids. Most Playstation Vita’s are black, just like the PS3. The system that my daughter played with that was part of the Assassin’s Creed III bundle pack is a pretty crystal white. Once she saw this system, we knew we had to buy this bundle pack since the coloring was unique and fun! Along with this Wi-Fi enables system looking rather sleek, it has a 5″ multi-touch Organic light emitting display (OLED) screen. This touch screen allows kids to get more evolved in the gaming experience. With the dual analog sticks, front touchpad, rear touchpad, six motion sensors, and 3 axis electronic compass, kids are constantly working on their fine motor skills playing just about any game on the Playstation Vita!

For kids who love to take photos and talk with friends, the Playstation Vita also has front and rear camera. My daughter loved this feature since she loves playing with the cameras like this on my iPad 2. Since the system comes with a 4 Gig memory card, you download a variety of games, videos, and music on the Playstation Vita, allowing kids to have a little portable entertainment system!

Playstation Vita: Games

Assassin's Creed III Since my friend wanted my daughter to get the full experience she would get on Christmas day, she gave us everything that came with her son’s Playstation Vita bundle pack. This included Assassin’s Creed III Liberation. My daughter absolutely loved this since the main character of this game is actually a girl! In this game, you play as a French and African heritage assassin who is fighting against the Spanish right before the American Revolution. What was really cool about this game was that it used all the features of the Playstation Vita, allowing kids to control a canoe using the back control pad and allowing kids to find friend to play with over the geo-location network that is part of the Wi-Fi features in this system. Kids can also play with friends who own the PS3 Assassins Creed game, as well as get exclusive content and trophies through the Playstation Network!

While this is the game that came with the Playstation Vita, there are hundreds of other games out for this system. Almost every popular series for the Playstation 3 has a title for this portable system, allowing kids to play as their favorite characters in a variety of games. You can also download classic PS1 games for this system over the Playstation Network, allowing kids to play a variety of inexpensive games that are classics to most adults!

Playstation Vita: Family Friendly

Playstation VitaIf there is one thing I can say about the PlayStation Vita, it is made for the entire family. There are a variety of games not only for kids, but adults as well. While traveling, kids can also read books, comics, watch movies, and even browse the internet if you have access to a Wi-Fi network. What my daughter really loved about the Playstation Vita is that she could play with her friends and make new friends while playing. Through the geo-location service, she could play just about any game with friends, as well as share her trophies through the systems mobile trophy support system. If you want a system that gets kids interacting with other kids, I highly recommend getting this system as a bundle pack for your kids!

Playstation Vita: In the Box

  • PS Vita (Collector’s Edition with the Assassin’s Creed III set)
  • Assassins Creed III Liberation
  • Memory Card
  • Manual

Playstation Vita: What Others Thinks

From what I have seen after two weeks of use, my daughter absolutely loves the Playstation Vita. To be quite honest, she is writing more letters to Santa after playing with this system. On Amazon, other families are talking non-stop about this system. Currently, this portable system has a 4.5 out of 5 star rating, making it one of the most popular game systems on the site! here is what others are saying about the Playstation Vita…

” The crystal white PS Vita is gorgeous. Much better looking than the dull black version. And the Vita itself is an impressive piece of hardware, capable of doing a lot (which by now you can read any number of reviews all across the internet if you’re interested in specifics).”

” What can i say about the PSV that hasnt already been said? This bundle is worth it. You save 60 bucks easily. Bundle comes with a game and memory card along with the usual cords. The game doesnt come in a game case and the memory card isnt packaged like they are in retail stores. Thats one minor gripe. I played the Vita for a good two hours right out the box before charging. The color is nice. Its different and definitely stands out amongst the black ones. Its very sturdy and when using the touch screen, yours screen wont leave a smudge if you have fairly clean non greasy hands. Colors on the PSV are so bright, youll rarell notice any dust or finger prints on the screen unless you look for them specifically. Sound is good if youre wearing headphones. Thumbs often get in the way of the speakers which causes a distorted sound. Havent played AC3 that much but it seems ok. Ive never beaten an AC game before but i hear they are highly respected amongst gamers. This seems no different. Buy now. The price will rise.”

” The Assassin’s Creed 3 Liberation bundle is my first foray into the PS Vita world. I was a huge fan of the PSP, and although I was initially excited for the Vita, it’s launch price kept me at bay. The AC3 Liberation bundle solved that issue however. So now I finally have my hands on this magnificent machine.”

Playstation Vita: Where to Purchase

Since my daughter loves the Playstation Vita so much, my husband and I decided to purchase the PS3 Assassins Creed game bundle for our daughter. To make sure she doesn’t see it before Christmas, we shipped it to my parent’s house where it is sitting in a closet until Christmas. We decided to purchase our bundle pack from Amazon since not only was it the best price I could find online, but was shipped to us free or charge. As well, if something goes wrong or she doesn’t like, I can still send it back to Amazon – no questions asked! Many places have a 30 day return policy, something that is challenging for most Christmas toys – especially if you buy them early. If I waited until Christmas to buy this toy, it would be sold out! If you want to get this hot toy for your kids, make sure to buy it early!

Playstation Vita: More Reviews

Want to learn more about the Playstation Vita? See what real parents and grandparents have to say about this popular game system at Amazon.com’s page. Here you will find a variety of reviews telling you all you need to know about the Playstation Vita bundle pack!

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Playstation 3

Parent Review of the Playstation 3

Playstation 3
Are you considering getting your kids a Playstation 3 for Christmas 2012? While it may be a bit hard to believe, my oldest daughter is a bit of a tom boy. She loves rough housing with the neighborhood boys and playing a variety of co-ed sports. One of the things that shocks so many people, however, is that she also enjoys playing video games. It isn’t too uncommon for her to be switching games with her friends, and also getting into competitions with all of her male friends to see who can beat a certain game the fastest.  Even though I was uncertain about getting her a game system at first, it has been an absolute delight for her and the entire family!

To be honest, I wasn’t really surprised last year when she said she hoped Santa brought her a Playstation 3 for Christmas. After discussing it with my husband, we took our search to Amazon to try finding what we thought would be one of the best packages for my daughter. While we were originally planning on buying our Playstation 3 locally, we found that none of the stores had any Playstation 3 Bundle Packs left in stock, and I refused to get my daughter a game system without an extra game and controller! When she finally did open her Playstation 3 for Christmas, it was a huge hit! After a year of playing on this system, here is what we think of this popular game system!

Playstation 3: Specs

Playstation 3Even though I am not very tech savvy, I am very impressed with the Playstation 3. This system has a large 320 Gig hard drive that can hold lots of downloadable games and saved games. Unlike games of the past, many of the newer games can install more than a gig’s worth of content on your hard drive, making a fairly large hard drive important. With a hard drive of this size, the system can hold up to 1,800 games, 140 movies, 99,000 songs, or 40,000 pictures!

As many gamers know, the hardware in game systems are also important – making it impressive that the PS3 has two processors: an IBM Cell processor and an nVidia graphics processor. I know my daughter and her friends are impressed with how their games look! The only thing I don’t like about the PS3 is that you need an HDMI cable to be able to see games that are capable of being shown in high definition on a 1080p capable television. While you can easily purchase an HDMI cable, this disappointed my husband since he had a hard time finding one right after Christmas. Once we did get an HDMI cable, however, the PS3 looked even more impressive!

Playstation 3: Games

If you have a choice of getting a PS3 Bundle Pack or a normal Playstation 3, I highly recommend getting the bundle pack! While the PS3 claims to come with games, this is only a sample disk. With the bundle pack, however, you will get a full game and a 30 day membership to the Playstation Plus Network, which allows you to download free games and extra content for games you own. With our bundle pack ,we got Uncharted 3: Drakes Deception. In this game, the main character, Nathan Drake, is looking for hidden treasure, allowing you to explore and interact with a variety of characters in a shooter setting.  My daughter and husband had a lot of fun playing this game together. Personally, I was awed watching them since this game looked like you were watching a movie, not a video game!

Disney UniverseCurrently, there are hundreds, if not a thousand games available for the Playstation 3. While my daughter loves playing shooter games with Daddy, she also enjoys playing Disney games, such as the Disney Universe series. We have really enjoyed being able to download games on the Playstation Network, allowing us to find a variety of games that are perfect not only for the kids, but my husband.

Playstation 3: Movies

If I had to pick the one thing I love about the Playstation 3, it is that it is able to play Blu-Ray movies! We were considering buying a Blu-ray player, but were able to forgo this extra cost by purchasing the PS3 for my daughter. In my opinion, the PS3 is a video game system and top-notch Blu-ray player in one, saving you money in the long run. From what I have seen, Blu-ray movies are much better quality than a normal DVD and give you the impression you are watching a movie in theatres!

One of the other things my family enjoys about the Playstation 3 is that it is able to stream movies. We are able to use Netflix and Amazon Video. Using the streaming feature is very easy. I personally like it better than most streaming systems since it was designed to be used with a controller – not an annoying remote that doesn’t work half the time. If your family loves to play video games and watch movies – the Playstation 3 really is perfect for you!

Playstation 3: What Others Think

I can say without a doubt that the Playstation 3 was one of the best gifts I had ever purchased my older daughter. Not only can she play video games, but can watch all of her favorite Disney movies on Blu-Ray! With how much this system is used in my family, I can easily give it 5 stars. On Amazon, the PS3 currently has a 4.7 out of 5 star rating, making it one of the most popular items on the site! Here is what others are saying about the Playstation 3!

” I got this the other day as I been wanting a PS3 for a couple years. I finally was able to and decided to get the super slim. I don’t like slot loading drives and prefer top loaders. I also have limits on space. So this came out at a perfect time. It may not be as good looking as the last PS3 model but looks don;t matter much. So far I’m really enjoying it.”

” This is a nice redesign, slimmer and sleeker than the previous PS3. I like this design the best out of all previous PS3 models.

Pros:
Magnificent sleek new design.
It is priced well.
It has tons of great games.
You can buy PS1 and PS2 games digitally on PSN.
There are a huge selection of PSN and PS3 games on PSN as well.
There is no fee to play games online.
No addtional fee to use Netflix, Amazon Video or Youtube apps.
PlayStation Plus is a great service if you are new to PS3 and here you get 1 month free.
Blu Ray + 3D.
Its not loud.
Lower Power consumption.
You can upgrade your HDD with most laptop HDDs.
Uncharted 3 included is pretty awesome.

Cons:
Could have used an extra USB port on the back, but its not really that big of a deal.”

” One of the best values available for the PS3 System. Both games are amazing and that hardware itself is simply incredible. Great buy and fast shipping with Amazon Prime!”

 

Playstation 3: Where to Purchase

While there were some stores cared the Playstation 3in my area, very few of them still had Playstation 3 in stock. I was determined to get one of these for my daughter since I wanted her to have something fun to play on Christmas day. When I took my search online, I found that Amazon.com not only had the best prices, but was able to ship the Playstation 3 to me for free in less than five days. Since it was the middle of the Christmas season, I thought that was quite impressive! With great shipping, pricing, and a selection of Playstation 3 bundles, who wouldn’t want to take care of all of their gaming needs at Amazon.com!

Playstation 3: In the Box

  • Slim Size Playstation 3
  • PS3 Dual Shock 3 Controller
  • 30 Day Playstation Plus Membership
  • Uncharted 3: Drakes Deception Game of the Year Edition
  • $45  Worth of Downloadable Content for Drakes Deception

Playstation 3: More Reviews

Want to learn more about this awesome game system? Read what other parents and grandparents have to say about the Playstation 3 on Amazon.

Hot Christmas Gifts 2012

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Christmas Gifts for that Special He or She

Whether you are a HE searching for a Christmas gift for that special girlfriend or you are a SHE looking for that special gift for your girlfriend, the options are only limited by your imagination.

HE – Gift suggestions:

  1. engagement ring

    An engagement ring?

      Many jewelers offer terrific discounts on engagement rings as this time of year, what’s more Christmas Eve is the perfect time to “Pop the question”.  Getting down on one knee, bring the treasure from the depth of your pocket, opening up that tiny velvet box and watching her eyes begin to brim over with tears of joy.  “Yes,” she says, “YES!”  You dissolve into each other’s arms.  (Not for you?  Try this next suggestion.)

  2. Fluffy Blanket

  3. A cozy, fluffy blanket – a blanket big enough for two! Oh yes, any girl will love this cuddling opportunity.  Make it in her favorite color and you’ll have a sure winner.
  4. Picnic Basket

  5. Picnic Basket

    – Present her with a picnic basket overflowing with all the ingredients for a winter picnic!  1-small bottle of wine, 2 crystal goblets, and 2 sandwiches made with flaky croissants and her favorite fillings, 2 small bags of designer baked chips, 2 gigantic chocolate dipped fresh strawberries; “At this time of year, oh how clever of you to find them!” You go!

  6. Kitten

    – If your special lady is an animal lover, give her a kitten!  Of course you’d have to know if she can have a pet where she lives and you will have done your homework on this project to be sure a pet would work within her lifestyle.  But – A kitten?  Oh yes, little soft paws, tiny pink nose and that cute little mewing and the Christmas bow for a collar!

SHE – Gift Suggestions:

  1. Spa Day

    –  A certificate stating the recipient will receive a “Pamper-yourself-hairstyle-nail-pedicure-day” on you and at her favorite salon.

  2. Lunch

     at her favorite Bistro, with her 3 closest friends.  (Including you!)

  3. Car Detailing

    Ask to use her car, (make up some reason, wrap it in a fib) then have her car professionally cleaned from top to bottom.  Ask for “detailed wash and wax” at your local attended carwash.

  4. Snowboarding

    Buy two tickets to take snowboarding lessons on the nearest slopes.  Most ski areas offer these lessons, board rental and all the gear for great prices.  Have fun!

Whether your special friend is a pal or a lover, they deserve the best.  Give a gift that you would like to receive, one that creates a memory; gifts that take his/her breath away and show you cared enough to make it work!

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Nintendo 3DS and Nintendo 3DS XL

Review of Nintendo 3DS and Nintendo 3DS XL

Nintendo 3DS and Nintendo 3DS XL
On many Christmas 2012 wish lists is the Nintendo 3DS or the slightly more expensive Nintendo 3DS XL. This gaming console is similar in many ways to the old Nintendo DS lite but with 3D images that pop from the screen. This 3D effect produces more colorful images with out the need for 3D glasses. It is important to note that the amount of 3D imagery can be adjusted to suit the individual’s comfort level. This is also very important to parents who will want to lower the amount for their children’s use.

This system is a huge improvement over the original DS with colors that are crisp and pop. The wireless component allows games to be download, games to be played against others online and access the Netflix.

The Nintendo 3DS comes with one inner camera and two outer cameras that take 3D pictures. There is an adjustable stylus, 6 AR cards, and fun built-in software such as Face Raiders, Nintendo 3DS Sound, and the Mii Maker application.

Pros of the Nintendo 3DS

Nintendo 3DS

  • This hand held console is one of the highest recommended portable gaming systems. It plays all the DS games new and old. These games are less expensive that other games for other gaming systems. The Nintendo 3DS can be used with little or no previous knowledge of electronic products.
  • This newer console provides a better location for the start and selects buttons. This combined with the new Circle Pad makes navigating 3D environments much, much easier.
  • Parental locks prevent access to Internet, online game store and control 3D capability. Young children should not be exposed to 3D images.

Pros of the Nintendo 3DS XL

Nintendo 3DS XL

  • Albeit the Nintendo 3DS XL is more expensive just about every avid gamer agrees it is worth the extra money to get the much bigger screen on the Nintendo 3DS XL. The new screen is vastly larger – 90% bigger. The picture is crisp with great detail, brighter vibrant colors and the ghosting is almost eliminated. The top screen is in wide screen format. With this new size the stylus is not necessary as it is easier to use touch. The screen finish negates glare from sun and lights. The 3D effect is easier to see on the larger screen.
  • This new Nintendo 3DS XL is overall better built than the Nintendo 3DS. It has a matte finish that eliminates the fingerprint problem. The rounded edges make it easier to hold in the hand.
  • One of the complaints about the Nintendo 3DS was it short battery life, the Nintendo 3DS XL has a noticeably longer battery life. The upgraded model has a 4GB SD card.
  • With both models the backwards compatibility was championed by the gamers and the Nintendo 3DS XL has a better Ds compatibility than the Nintendo 3DS.

Cons of Nintendo 3DS XL and Nintendo 3DS

  • With the Nintendo 3DS the picture is small so you need to hold it close to your face. With the 3D effect this causes eyestrain and for some headaches.
  • With the 3D effect and larger size the battery life is somewhat limited on both models so it is not suitable for long trips.
  • Larger screen has same resolution and pictures can be a bit blurry.
  • Transfer process doesn’t let you share downloads over multiple systems.
  • 3D cameras have a low resolution so are not as sharp as you might like.
  • For the Nintendo 3DS XL colors are limited.

What Others Are Saying About the

Nintendo 3DS XL and Nintendo 3DS

Nintendo 3DS

This system had slow start, but now with a good game lineup on the horizon (Mario Kart, Paper Mario, Star Fox, Luigi’s Mansion, Super Mario Land, Kid Icarus, and a few more), the release of several features such as the virtual store and Netflix, and most importantly, the big $80 price cut, I have decided to bump this review up to a 4 star (originally 3). When the console first launched, it was tough to justify spending $250 on it, but now it is quite competitive at $170.
The graphics are truly amazing, and it’s amazing at what this product can do also! I really like the fact that it can play both DS and 3DS games, though I wish it could play game boy advanced games, but I don’t worry about that too much.

Great gaming system…love! The new Mario just came out and it’s fun to play, and MarioKart 7 is a must for this system.

Nintendo 3DS XL

If one looks at the 3DS with an unbiased, objective point of view, there is a lot to love. It was basically a next-gen successor of Nintendo’s vastly successful DS console, with the horse-power of a console somewhere between the Gamecube and the Wii. It utilized a very cool 3-D effect that, when done right, really adds to the overall immersion of the gaming experiences available on it. Everything was an improvement on the original DS.

Atheistically speaking, the 3DS XL is gorgeous. Gone is the awkward size and shape of the original hardware, and in are beautiful curves and a tasteful tasteful matte finish, a sight to sore eyes in this day and age of glossy gadgets. Being matte, the device isn’t prone to picking up fingerprints, and generally looks cleaner and neater even after extended use. The nicely rounded edges of the system also now fit well in the hand, offering a much more pleasant experience while gaming for long periods of time.

This is by all means the best handheld I’ve had by Nintendo since the regular 3DS.
And also, I have never had such a better experience with the 3DS.
XL has given me better quality 3D visuals. It’s not like the regular one where you have to keep it at one specific angle to fully enjoy the 3D. This one is fantastic; because of the bigger screen; 3D is more enjoyable.
I feel like I enter into a whole new world when I use this handheld!

Overall Opinion of Nintendo 3DS XL and Nintendo 3DS

It seems that universally most reviewers feel that the way to go is with the more expensive Nintendo 3DS XL. If you already have the Nintendo 3DS it is a good idea to gift it or sell it and buy the Nintendo 3DS XL. Either way both systems will be much in demand for Christmas 2012.

Hot Christmas Gifts 2012

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A Buyer’s Guide to Artificial Christmas Trees

Guest Post

The Christmas tree is synonym with Christmas itself. One cannot imagine a Christmas celebrations without a tree decorated to the best of the ability and it is a time for the children to show their prowess in beautifying the tree and home with bells, socks, miniature walking sticks, drums and the inevitable trademark cap of Santa Claus. However due to urbanization there is a dearth of Christmas trees which has lead to the usage of artificial Christmas trees. It is convenient to shift to them because they come in parts, which can be assembled at home.

However, there are some points, some sort of a buyer’s guide to Artificial ChristmasTrees, which will ensure that the tree you have bought will serve the purpose.

BE THERE: In this age of online shopping frenzy it has caught up with the Christmas shopping also. But for ensuring that you are getting a working piece, purchase them directly from a shop. Of course you can get a replacement for a faulty piece, but by the time you get that the Christmas will be in the doorstep.

BASE: Most of the models available in the market come in two parts the base and the tree. In the show room the artificial tree will stand straight, fine with all its lights and decoration; because they have taken the necessary steps for that. But the one which you are going to buy should be checked for a firm base that will hold the tree. The three stays (support) should fit into the groove provided for that so that the base will not sway with the weight of the tree.

TREE: for ease of transporting the tree will be made into three pieces the bottom, centre and the top pieces. Fitted one top of the other they will stand tall to the height of six to eight feet. Open the pack you are about to buy and check for the smooth fit of each piece into the other. In the age of when the consumer is the king, they do take care in those aspects, but a check at the shop itself will avoid a confrontation later with the exchange department, particularly during holiday season.

BRANCHES: The branches and the sub branches of the Christmas Trees will be in a collapsed state, made out of rods that can be bent to according to our creativity, see that there aren’t any broken branches or sub branches . The plastic leaves (usually they have the coniferous tree leaves) intertwined into the branches also should be checked for any loose ends, to avoid any extra work at home for you.

THE LIGHTS: In case you are going for the model that come with a serial lights to decorate the tree, check that the lights are in working condition and there aren’t any exposed wires due to a jab received during transport. One cannot be careless when handling things that work with electricity.

REPACKING: kindly check that all the parts of the same tree are packed into the box you are about to buy. Wish you Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

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Kindle Fire

Kindle Fire vs IPad 2: Best Review of the Best Tablet for Teenagers

Kindle Fire
With Christmas right around the corner, many of us are struggling on what to buy our grandchildren for Christmas. If you are anything like me, you are likely struggling with what to buy your teenage grandchildren. My grandson has been asking my son for a tablet all year, but with their tight finances, it is not an option. Rather than get him something that would likely be forgotten in a week, I have decided to purchase a tablet for him for Christmas. With all the competition on the market, it is a bit difficult trying to determine what tablet is best for a teenager.

Being a Kindle owner, I am very intrigued with everything that has come out in the news recently with the Kindle Fire. It seems like a great tablet for the price, and is predicted to be one of the hottest items this Christmas season. While I want to purchase it, I also know that my grandson has had his eyes on an IPad 2. Since both options are a costly investment, I did a bit of research myself on both options, trying to determine if it is worth the money to pre-order a Kindle Fire. I was a bit surprised with what I had found when comparing the Kind Fire and IPad 2.

Usability

One of the biggest misconceptions on the market right now is that the Kindle Fire is an IPad 2 killer. While the Kindle Fire is an amazing deal compared to other Android tablets, it was never built to compete with the IPad 2. In actuality, it is competition for the Barnes and Noble’s Nook. Now, I personally disliked the Nook, finding it to be sluggish and hard to read. I purchased one before buying my Kindle, and was very unhappy with its performance, especially when I was reading in a well lit room.
Kindle FireFrom all the information that is available, it looks like the Kindle Fire is going to be like the Kindle, but better. Instead of being a black and white touch screen reader, however, it will be a full touch screen tablet using vibrant colors. While other touch screens are known to be sluggish, it looks like the Kindle Fire is going to be just like the IPad 2 in usability and speed, mostly due to it’s duel core processor. Even though it may be slightly slower than the IPad 2., it runs rings around the Nook and other tablets on the market, working faster and weighing less than most tablets.

The main downside to the Kindle Fire, compared to the IPad 2 is that it has no microphone or camera. The IPad 2 has two cameras, one in the front and one in the back, making it perfect for taking pictures and video conferencing. The Kindle Fire has no camera or microphone, making it a simple starter tablet. As well, the Kindle Fire only has Wi-Fi capability, unlike the IPad 2. which is capable of being put on a cell phone network with its 3G capability.

Media

The area where the Kindle Fire may very well be a killer for the IPad 2 is when it comes to media. While the IPad 2 is very powerful, it is also not as user friendly. The IPad 2. was designed to be a laptop killer, allowing individuals to have a mini laptop that they can bring with them anywhere to do work or run special programs that have made Macs famous for years (mostly artistic and writing programs). This can sometimes make the learning curve for using an IPad 2 a bit high, especially if you want to use it to browse the web or watch movies.
Kindle Fire
When it comes to a media, the Kindle Fire is designed to be both user friendly and have the most options available for people who love to listen to music and watch movies. While the IPad 2. is locked to ITunes, the Kindle is designed to use most applications and music formats since it will be linked to Amazon’s own application store and Amazon’s music download site. This gives individuals access to cheaper programs and music than is available on the IPad. As well, for Amazon Prime members, you can enjoy their streaming service, allowing you to watch as many movies and shows as you want without paying anything more than your normal membership.

Along with having the Amazon application store available, Kindle Fire users will also be able to access the Android store, a feature available on all Android tablets. This will allow users even more access to free applications and cheaper applications that are available on the market. This is a major plus since many programs on ITunes are expensive and heavily monitored by Apple, leaving many Apple users (including those with the IPhone) frustrated. With the Kindle Fire, you will not have to worry about Jail Breaking your system, something that is commonly done with IPad 2. to access non-Apple applications.

One area that has confused many individuals when it comes to the Kindle Fire is that it only has an 8 Gig hard drive, which is much smaller than the IPad 2 (its smallest system has a 16 Gig HD). Part of the reason for this is Amazon gives Kindle Fire users access to the Amazon Cloud. This allows them to watch movies and listen to music anywhere on the go without having to store anything on their tablet. This keeps all of their applications in a safer locations, allowing Kindle Fire users to have a faster system that feels more like their home PC. The Amazon Cloud also allows the Kindle Fire to be excellent at syncing music and movies, allowing users to watch a movie on their tablet, and then later transfer the movie to a local TV with only a push of a button.

Cost

Kindle Fire
For grandparents like me who want to get their grandchildren a tablet, the Kindle Fire looks like a better deal for purchasing a tablet for teenagers. For only $199 you are getting an excellent starter tablet that is wonderful for watching movies, reading books, and listening to music. As well, there are hundreds of different applications available at very low prices, allowing your teenager to do just about anything they want with this tablet. Unlike the IPad 2. which is similar to a smart phone, the Kindle Fire is a true tablet, allowing teenager to have a powerful touch screen tablet that will do just about anything they want – even homework on the go!

If you are buying a tablet for a college student, however, I highly recommend buying an IPad 2. While it is more expensive with the cheapest IPad 2 being $499, it is more like a mini PC for college students. It will allow students to do everything the Kindle Fire does while also having all the benefits of owning a small laptop that can go with them anywhere. In many ways, the IPad 2. is like purchasing a laptop and tablet for your grandchild in one!

Comparison

To help make things easier for other grandparents, we have put the specs of the Kindle Fire and IPad 2 side by side. I know this helped me determine if I should preorder the Kindle Fire for my grandson.

Kindle FireIPad 2
Price: $199 (Wi-Fi Only)Price: $499 (Only Wi-Fi) - $829 (3G Network)
Storage: 8 GB Hard DriveStorage: 16 GB, 32 GB, or 64 GB Hard Drive
Touch Screen: 7 Inch ScreenTouch Screen: 9.7 Inch Screen
Battery Life: 8 hrsBattery Life: 10 hrs
Operating System: Android OSOperating System: iOS
App Store: Amazon App Store, Android AppApp Store: ITunes
Weight : 14.6 ozWeight: 1.33 lbs
Resolution: 1024 x 600Resolution : 1024 x 768
Size: 7.5 “ X 7.7” x .45”Size: 9.5” x 7.31” x .34”
Camera: NoCamera: Front & Back

 
 

Where to Purchase the Kindle Fire

Currently the Kindle Fire is available only at Amazon.com, which it will start being available for purchase on November 15. Currently, the Kindle Fire is available for preorder, allowing parents and grandparents the opportunity to buy this excellent tablet early to make sure they have it for the Christmas season. Most tech experts are expecting the Kindle Fire to be the hottest tech item of the 2011 Christmas season. With the Kindle Fire’s low cost, I have already preordered it for my grandson, finding it much more cost effect for me with my current budget.


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Learn More About the Kindle Fire

With Christmas being right around the corner, I highly recommend preordering the Kindle Fire now to guarantee you have one for Christmas. To learn more about the Kindle Fire, click here.

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Nintendo DSi XL

Nintendo DSi XL Red Bundle

Nintendo DSi XL Red Bundle

A year ago the Nintendo DSi XL Red Bundle was introduced to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the extremely popular Super Mario Bros. game franchise. This hand held gaming system has been upgraded with 93% larger screens than the DS Lite.

Although many of the reviewers feel this larger DSi is targeted at the older generation it is a great Christmas gift for all ages. The two larger screens (4.2 inches diagonally) make gaming easier. The clarity and vivid colors are stunning. The games look great. The crisp clean wide angle screen makes it possible to play without having to hunch over the unit. It has an intuitive touch screen that comes with a full size stylus plus a stylus inserted into the console. It is easier to grip with the matt underside and the larger size helps to keep fingers from blocking the screen. There is less glare with the Nintendo DSi XL.

It has a kid friendly camera that can make movies and functions like a webcam so gamers can see each other. In fact there are two digital cameras. One on the back that points away and one that points at the user. The sound is much improved. The clear audio makes it great for listening to music or to record.

The Nintendo DSi XL Red is more interactive. The Pictochat software allows friends to draw or text to 16 others within the local Nintendo Wi-Fi connection.

While thin and sleek the unit is durable. Larger and heavier than the DSi it is not suitable for a pocket so it is less likely to be dropped. A real plus with this DSi XL is the long lasting battery.

The Nintendo DSi XL Red Bundle is a perfect Christmas gift and is suitable for ages from 5 and up (including many seniors). It comes preloaded with Brain Age Express Math and Brain Age Express Arts and Letters and Mark Kart DS Game Pack. Don’t wait until they are all sold out order today!
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* For a complete review see Parent Review of the Nintendo DSi XL Red Bundle

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Xbox Kinect for Xbox 360

Review of Xbox Kinect for Xbox 360

Xbox Kinect for Xbox 360
We are again putting the Xbox Kinect on our most sought after Christmas gift for 2011. Introduced in November 2010 it appeared as a hot item for Christmas 2010. It has continued to be in demand with in excess of 10 million units being shipped in the first six months and is considered to be the “fastest selling consumer electronics device”. Once it was in the hands of consumers and owners were able to experience all of its features the Xbox Kinect has continued to fly off the shelves.


It works with a webcam add-on device to the Xbox 360 console. People love the ability to manipulate it with gestures and voice commands. The use of voice and gesture control moves the Xbox Kinect from being just a gaming console to a broader application.

The camera sensor is a vertical bar that is designed to sit above the video output. It is capable of recognizing the face and voice of up to 6 people plus 2 motion players.

People have endorsed it particularly for dance and yoga applications. It gets couch potatoes up and moving in fun crazy moves. For the gaming crowd the ability to play without a controller is very appealing.
Xbox Kinect for Xbox 360
With Microsoft working hard to have people use their search systems they are streaming Netflix through the Xbox Kinect. By using your voice you can order up your favorite flick.

Rating and Reviews

Looking through the reviews it is getting 3.5 out of 4, 8 out of 10, and on Amazon.com 4.5 with 721 reviewers. This is what is being said:

This has given my adult family and I more quality time together. We laugh, play, and exercise at the same time. The games are energetic and raise your heart rate up. Love the pics that we share with each other. The pics are just like the amusement park pics you receive when you are on the roller coaster. Great entertainment.
WE LOVE OUR KINCETS. I BOUGHT TWO OF THESE ONE FOR MY 16 YR OLD DAUGHTER AND ANOTHER ONE FOR MY SON IN LAW. THEY LOVE THEM
Kinect is a responsive, sharp piece of hardware that capably delivers all it promised. Its motion-sensor is extremely accurate (even for my 5-year-old), and its voice control is infinitely better than any other I’ve used by Microsoft

All the features make this a perfect Christmas gift for all people. With its launch popularity it is bound to be in high demand this Christmas.
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*Note: You need 6 to 8 feet of space to play the games with this device.

**A full review can be found at http://www.grandmastoyreview.com/review-of-the-xbox-kinect/

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Toboggans

Mountain Boy Sledworks Toboggans

Mountain Boy Sledworks Toboggans For winter fun there is no great joy than tobogganing. The very first snowfall brings out all the equipment for flying down the hill. There are as many devices to sit on as there are people to ride upon them. None of these objects is as reliable and beautiful as a well built toboggan.

Under many Christmas trees this year were these beautiful Mountain Boy Sledworks Toboggans. For a true classic tobogganing experience there are no finer sleds available.

Bruce Hoskin has combined his wonderful talent with wood and his love of tobogganing into making these fabulous toboggans. They are hand made from steam bent, knot free boards of basswood. In the traditional shape they are wide – 17 inches with a spacious curve that accommodates adult feet. Bruce uses a lead-free, non-toxic marine grade finish on them. For extra speed users can wax the bottoms with ski wax. Furniture oil on the upper surface will protect it for years to come.
Mountain Boy Sledworks Toboggans The large 6 foot toboggan can accommodate four adults and is perfect for a family of five. The 4 foot toboggan is great for one or two people. It is a perfect size for children. Both sizes have willow cross pieces, stainless steel screws, leather grommets. An extra long rope makes pulling the toboggan easier.
Mountain Boy Sledworks Toboggans These beautiful Mountain Boy Sledworks Toboggans individually crafted toboggans are built for durability, speed, and quality. If cared for they can be passed from one generation to another.

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