Reviews

I’m sure many remember making paper snowflakes in an Arts and Crafts class during their Elementary School years.  Paper Snow is a creativity app that brings the art of creating paper snowflakes, which so many school kids are creating this time of year, to our Windows Phones.

Your creations can be shared on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram as well as saved locally to your Pictures Hub.  Paper Snow is a simple, fun app available for Windows Phone 8 and 7.x devices but oddly addictive.

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Xbox One: Comprehensive launch review

Eight long years after the Xbox 360 debuted in 2005, its successor console the Xbox One has finally arrived. The new console brings more than just increased horsepower to the table; it also sports an assortment of unique multimedia features and a new Kinect camera/microphone array that kind of works properly this time.

Before we got to this point, the Xbox One suffered through limp reveal events and E3 presentations as well as widespread controversy revolving around initial plans for the console to require an internet connection to function. Since then, Microsoft wisely reversed course on the online requirement and brought its messaging more in line with gamer tastes.

How does the Xbox One stack up to those tastes, the Xbox 360, and its direct competitor the Playstation 4? Find out all that and more in our lengthy and all-encompassing launch review!

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My Movies is a movie collection management app for Windows Phone that allows you to catalog the movie titles you own or have rented.  The app also lets you track movies you have loaned out, list titles you are looking to add to your collection and those titles you are looking to get rid of.

My Movies database has more than 750,000 DVD, Blu-ray and DVD titles that you can build your collection from and if you find a title missing, you can easily request it to be added.

If you need a Windows Phone app to help catalog your DVD collections, My Movies not a bad choice to consider.

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7 Little Words is a relatively new word game for Windows Phone 8 that has had decent success over on the iOS and Android platforms.  In the short time we have spent with the game, 7 Little Words should have similar success here on the Windows Phone platform.

The game is simple.  Each puzzle has seven clues used to solve seven words and twenty letter groups that will be used to build those seven words. 

7 Little Words is a fun, entertaining, simply laid out game for Windows Phone 8 that makes a very good first impression and is nice option to consider if you are looking for a challenging word game.

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Windows Phone Central Camera Showdown: AT&T Nokia Lumia 1520 vs. Lumia 1020

Nokia has released two eye-catching Lumia Windows Phones this year.  The Nokia Lumia 1020 turns heads with its 41 MP PureView camera and the Nokia Lumia 1520 turns heads with its massive six-inch screen.  The Lumia 1520 also sports a respectable 20 MP PureView camera.

While the six-inch screen of the Lumia 1520 dwarfs the Lumia 1020’s 4.5” screen, but how does the Lumia 1520’s 20 MP camera stack up?  The Lumia 1020 is easily one of (if not the) best smartphone cameras on the market.  If camera performance is key, are you sacrificing too much with the Lumia 1520 for the sake of a larger screen?

We took the two Lumia Windows Phones out this past weekend to see how well they compared.

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Tower defense games can be an entertaining gaming option from our Windows Phone.  Zero Defense hopes to join the ranks of the quality tower defense games available in the Windows Phone Store.

Zero Defense makes a good first impression with a wide variety of defensive weapons and alien invaders you have to defend against.  The game has over thirty hours of campaign mode gaming that spans across three worlds.

If tower defense games are your cup of tea, Zero Defense is worth a try.

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AT&T Samsung ATIV S Neo Review

Windows Phone Central Reviews the AT&T Samsung ATIV S Neo

While the Nokia Lumia 1520 has made a huge splash over at AT&T, another new Windows Phone, the Samsung ATIV S Neo, was released earlier this month in rather quiet fashion.

While some doubted it would ever happen, we had the opportunity to spend a little time with Samsung ATIV S Neo review unit and found it to be a decent mid-range Windows Phone but is not a device that will knock your socks off. 

While the Samsung ATIV S Neo could use a little fine-tuning, it should be appealing to those looking for a budget, large screen Windows Phone.  However, with AT&T currently offering the Nokia Lumia 920 for $0.50 (on contract) the ATIV S Neo may still face an uphill challenge.

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If you like puzzle games to pass the time with, check out the Windows Phone game Move.  Move calls upon your skills of logic to move colored circles into matching squares.

The challenge is that the colored circles move in unison and at times the direct path to solve the puzzle is blocked.  The goal is to navigate all the circles on to their matching squares in the fewest moves.

The game has hundreds of levels and three different game board sizes.  Move is not a very complicated Windows Phone game but challenging enough to keep things interesting.

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It has been quite a while since Crimson Dragon: Side Story debuted on Windows Phone back in September 2012. Believe it or not, Side Story was originally intended as the follow-up to an Xbox 360 Crimson Dragon title that would have launched earlier that year. Shortly before the (seemingly complete) 360 version’s release, Microsoft delayed it indefinitely. The unofficial but obvious reason? So that Crimson Dragon could be retooled as an Xbox One launch title.

With Crimson Dragon’s long delay and Windows Phone origins in mind, we’ve chosen it as our first Xbox One game to review. Many of the larger console sites reviewed a prerelease version of the game whose difficulty and rewards system differed from the final version of the game. I played through the actual release game, so you can look forward to one of the most accurate and comprehensive reviews around.

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Seasons is a relatively new infinite runner game for our Windows Phones.  You play the role of Ezra, a warrior who is in the middle of a heated battle with his brother Aton.  You have to help Ezra race across the land, navigating him past various obstacles along the way.

Game play is not unlike other running games and graphics are well done.  The storyline does get lost after the title scenes but is replaced by a fast paced, challenging game.  You jump, slide and punch your way through obstacles to see how far you can run. 

Add magic attacks, power-ups, multi-player support and the ability to fly and Seasons comes across as an attractive Windows Phone game, well worth a try.

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A game of hangman can be an entertaining way to pass the time and there are plenty of hangman styled games to choose from in the Windows Phone Store.  Mr. Potino is one of the more recent offerings and takes a rather unique approach to the game.

Your hangman is a puppet that moves and flows as you move your Windows Phone.  The game has over 50,000 word puzzles and as you guess wrong on a letter, the puppet loses one of its body parts.

Mr. Potino has a certain amount of appeal but needs just a little fine-tuning.

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Since Windows Phone did not receive a new Xbox game last week, my review this week will look at an indie game from Singapore-based developer Aureoline Tetrahedron.

Terrene is a vector graphics game for Windows Phone 8 that looks deceptively similar to arcade classic Asteroids. In fact, it turns out that “terrene” is kind of a synonym for “asteroid.” Who knew? Surface details aside, Terrene’s gameplay and atmosphere are more challenging and contemplative than Atari’s classic arcade game. Do smart ideas make for smart game design? Read on to find out.

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AE Roulette 3D is an entertaining game that brings a little casino action to our Windows Phone.  The 3D graphics are appealing, game play is realistic and the only thing missing is the noise from the slot machines in the background.

AE Roulette 3D makes for a fun casino game for your Windows Phone and a nice addition to the games of chance genre.

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Although the Lumia 1520 is a huge device, it’s still easy to drop or bang it on accident. The polycarbonate plastic is solid, but not indestructible, so sometimes tossing on thin case is a good idea. Plus, if the color is right, you can spice things up a bit.

Incipio is a well-known brand when it comes to phone cases and shells. The Feather, described as an ‘ultra-thin snap on case’, costs a jaw-dropping $30. I took a look at it this afternoon and although the price is outrageous, between the build quality and the cyan color, I can at least recommend it.

Check out some of the photos and video tour after the break.

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Another week here at Windows Phone Central and another Windows Phone weather app has caught our attention.  This week, it is the Windows Phone 8 weather app Weather Hound.

Weather Hound is a simple weather app that delivers the basics along with Live Tile and lockscreen support.  There is not a lot of flash to Weather Hound but it covers the core weather information rather nicely.

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Last Friday we showed you the bulky but well done E LV Leather Wallet case for the Lumia 1520, and previously we reviewed the Nokia CP-623 flip cover. Today, it’s Amzer’s turn with their Pudding Soft Gel Case/Cover.

Costing around $8 online in either white or black, Amzer is a relatively familiar name and their Soft Gel case is a good deal. It’s not the most protective case, but in exchange you get a light, form fitting cover that will protect your giant Lumia 1520 against small falls.

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Fruit Rocks is a Windows Phone game that calls upon you to use fruit trees and rocks to defend Earth against an alien invasion.  The game is a side scrolling action title where you hurl apples and oranges from trees to destroy a variety of aliens that have decided to invade Earth.

The game also includes bonus items that can be shot with your fruit to give you an edge in taking out the alien monsters.  Game play is challenging, cartoon graphics aren’t too shabby, and overall, Fruit Rocks is a fun game to pass the time with.

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Tap The Frog is a collection of six mini-games that are designed to test your reflexes and powers of observation.  The Windows Phone game is nicely animated and full of challenges that will not only test your reflexes but also your powers of observation.

Tap The Frog has likeable graphics, gaming achievements, and an online leaderboard.  The game has its appeal and has a slight addictive quality.  Tap The Frog is a fun game for short bits of time but it can be somewhat nerve racking as well.

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If you’re one of the lucky ones to pick up a Nokia Lumia 1520 on AT&T this morning, you may be looking for something to protect it. While ranges of styles for cases on these devices varies, today we’re taking a look at the biggest one you can get, the leather wallet style.

As a throwback to the PDA days of yore, the E LV Deluxe PU Leather Wallet, which runs for a modest $10, offers solid protection and a few surprises. While its ability to make the Lumia 1520 even larger will be off putting for some, once you go this big, does it really matter?

Head past the break for some more pics and our video review.

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Review: Lenovo's Miix 10 Keyboard Case

Last month we reviewed Lenovo’s Miix 10 and I found the overpriced Atom powered Windows 8 tablet to be less than impressive. One of the possible saving points for the unit might be its optional detachable keyboard; today, we are taking a look at that keyboard and deciding if it lives up to the typical Lenovo keyboard (aka: superb) or falls flat on its face.

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Ninja Jump is a simple, mildly challenging Windows Phone game that has you running up walls, dodging enemy ninjas and other dangers.  Consider it an infinity running game that has you running up the walls instead of across the landscape.  The higher you climb, the higher your score. 

Graphics are nice (although tiny), game pace quick and overall Ninja Jump is not a bad choice if you are looking for a casual game to help you pass the time with.

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Nokia Lumia 2520 Review

Nokia is bringing their first Windows RT 8.1 tablet to market, but is it the right choice?

In a few hours, Nokia’s first Windows RT 8.1 tablet goes on sale in the US on Verizon (AT&T gets it just 24 hours later). It’s a momentous step both for Nokia and Microsoft, who so far have had a tough sell with the RT. In fact, Microsoft and Nokia are the last two manufactures to offer the stripped down version of Windows, with other OEMs opting for the more powerful 32-bit version on an Intel Atom or i5 processor.

So does Nokia have what it takes to spark some life back into the Windows tablet market? And what about Microsoft’s own Surface 2? Read on for our full review of the Nokia Lumia 2520 tablet.

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City-building games with timers are increasingly common on mobile platforms. Xbox Windows Phone has seen a few, including Gameloft’s own Ice Age Village. These games lure players in with their initially rapid progression and lots of loot to collect. But the longer one plays, the less new things there are to see and the more the feeling of sameness pulls in. Do we keep playing them for fun or out of habit?

So the question becomes how to make a city builder with real lasting appeal – one that keeps providing players a reason to play and maybe even spend some money. Electronic Arts found a clever way to do so by adding timers to its Sims franchise and calling it Sims FreePlay. Now Gameloft returns to the genre with Kingdoms & Lords. The hook: they’ve thrown strategic battles into the mix.

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Grantophone is one of those Windows Phone apps that may not appeal to everyone but could prove interesting for those who are musically inclined. It is a feature rich musical instrument that is full of expression and creative potential.

Grantophone has been updated several times since we last looked at the music app and after receiving several tips to revisit the app, we are shining the spotlight on it once again.

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Strata is a wonderfully drawn up, challenging Windows Phone 8 puzzle game.  Strata takes a very simplistic approach to puzzles where you have to weave colored ribbons to match a specific color pattern.

The game has hundreds of levels that vary in size and difficulty as you progress through the game.  Strata is an entertaining game that has an addictive quality to it, making it an attractive puzzle game for our Windows Phone 8 devices. 

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