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Reviews

  • Destiny 2 [PS4] review: go into the light

    Destiny 2 was my first proper introduction to the Destiny franchise. Although I had a brief spell with the first game, I could never find myself enjoying it -- yet now the sequel is all I seem to be playing. Usually, a sequel has more to prove than the first iteration in a series. But this always-online FPS developed by Bungie and published by Activision did well to not only expand on the first instalment, but also improve it. For starters, Destiny 2 actually has a story -- albeit slightly cookie-cutter. Dominus Ghaul, the story's villain, is a fearless conqueror trying to capture the traveller's...

  • Xiaomi Redmi 4A vs Redmi 4X: which should you buy?

    Xiaomi's Redmi 4X is here, but with near identical specs to this year's other release, the Redmi 4A, it may be difficult to make the final call on which phone to buy. So here's a breakdown of just how these two phones differ. The price As the newer (and slightly better-specced) phone, the 4X comes in at R2799 -- R800 more expensive than the 4A, which launched at R1999. But is the extra cost worth it? The looks As far as appearances go, the phones are pretty much the same. They both have around a 70% body-to-screen ratio, and both come in gold and black/"dark...

  • Life is Strange: Before the Storm, Episode 1 review: hella origins

    Life is Strange: Before the Storm leaves behind the supernatural elements of its predecessor and delves deeper into the mysterious and perplexing realm of adolescence, a time when every emotion and experience is amplified by the naïveté and entitlement of youth. It personifies the emotions we have unofficially declared as taboo, and allows us to wear it as a badge of honour. Although a handful of games deal with similar subject matter, it's more often than not decorated in some extravagant dressing. The recently released Hellblade explores the extremities of mental illness, but you're still a badass Viking demon slayer....

  • Acer Swift 3 review: portable, punchy and pretty in pink

    As tech reviewer, I've done the worst possible thing before penning this review: I read other journalists' thoughts of the Acer Swift 3. Usually, that's a bad thing. Usually, others influence your thoughts or make you second guess your opinions. Often reading reviews beforehand rather shapes a review into something that you wouldn't normally pen yourself. But this time, I've actually gained a bit of clarity. Let me explain. A few reviews I've perused suggest that the Acer Swift 3 is just another basement ultraportable trying its heart out to be a MacBook Pro. Others suggest that it misses a bevy of...

  • HP Omen 15 review: expect unlimited HP from this one

    Gaming laptops are generally overpriced. Hell, quality laptops in general can be extremely overpriced. So colour us impressed when we took delivery of HP's Omen 15 (ce004nl), packing some imposing specs into a package that starts at R21 999. Sure, it's still expensive for a laptop, but when compared to other gaming notebooks and the likes of the Macbook range, it's a really tempting purchase. It looks like a stereotypical gaming laptop First up, we have the aesthetics. The Omen 15 is big, brash and borderline gaudy, owing to its stylised vents on the back, the cutouts on the laptop lid and...

  • Sony Xperia XZ Premium review: more than a one-trick pony?

    I've made no bones about my indifference towards Sony's smartphones over the last two years or so. The Z5 range was more of the same from the company (although the Premium and side-mounted fingerprint scanners were interesting), while the Xperia X (review) felt like an overpriced retread. Then the Xperia XZ Premium was revealed at MWC 2017, and you know what? I was actually excited again. Yeah yeah, the 4K HDR screen is pretty crazy on paper but I didn't care about that. No, it was the allure of the slowest slow motion recording around -- 960fps at 720p, compared to...

  • Darkside Detective review: you’ll want to play this

    Darkside Detective is a point-and-click adventure game developed by the Ireland-based five-man indie studio, Spooky Doorway. Although it is the first title to come from the new indie studio, the team boasts an impressive collective experience, sporting the likes of artist Paul Conway, who worked on franchises such as The Sims and composer Ben Prunty, best known for his work on FTL: Faster Than Light. Darkside Detective follows the adventures of the sharp-witted Detective Francis McQueen and his partner, the utterly clueless but equally loveable Officer Dooley. They are the only two members of the heavily under-funded and under-appreciated Twin Falls...

  • Tacoma review: time is oxygen…

    Tacoma is a sci-fi narrative-exploration game developed by Fullbright, the same Portland-based indie studio that brought us Gone Home, one of the very titles that started the trend of this genre. Tacoma is a considerably more ambitious title than Gone Home. Jumping from one voice actor and a 90s American Home to a cast of seven on-board a floating space station in the year 2088, the Fullbright team have definitely gone for a much larger experience. But now the question begs: is this for the better? At first, I didn’t like this new approach. I was a massive fan of Gone...

  • Wacaco Minipresso review: bold coffee, murky value for money

    It's never a dull day at the Gearburn office. One day you're reviewing the latest smartphone, the next you're hand-pressing an espresso like a seasoned, gadget-wielding barista. As luck would have it, I quite like coffee. So my mood immediately perked when the Wacaco Minipresso landed on my desk for review. It's an odd device as first glance, and it gets stranger the more you fiddle. But in summary, it's a miniature, manual espresso press. It has four distinct parts -- a cup, a water reservoir, the actual business end and a compartment for your coffee. You won't be using any granules...

  • Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch: A PC user’s review diary [Week Two]

    The last Apple Mac I used for any length of time was our tech's G5 machine for editing purposes. That was in 2008 and 2009. My only other notable experience with Apple Mac computers came from using a buddy's Mac G4 well over a decade ago. In other words, I'm essentially a Mac newbie then, having spent the vast majority of my time on Windows (with a few brief forays into Linux territory). So when an iStore representative asked if I'd like to review the 2017 13-inch MacBook Pro (no Touchbar, mind you), I figured why not? After all, there have...