Review: Botmill 3D Printer

We have been very busy over the past 2 weeks testing out some of the budget 3D Printers for consumers. After having many products designed and printed on commercial printers we decided to go and test out some consumer printers, as I would like to buy one. So the first printer we went and tested was the Botmill 3D Printer.

The printer comes as a kit from botmill.com (you can also buy it prebuilt) the owner said that it was a little fiddly to set up but after getting past some of fiddly bolts and washers he found it very easy. After finding out more about the printer we had a look at one printing some sample prints, and they came out alright, they are not as good as a zCorp or Objet printer but still very good for a DIY printer. The printer is alot like the RepRap printers but made by a different company.

After all of the sample prints finished which took around an hour we had a good look at them and you could see all of the layers that had built up the object.  We could not bring home one of the prints so we went on the botmill site and ordered one of their sample prints for our office. After receiving the print we were surprised at the quality. The printer we saw still needed calibrating properly but produced surprisingly good prints. But after the received the sample from botmill we were shocked at how bad the print was. If the company calibrated their printer correctly it would be a bit better but if this was calibrated properly we are not happy with the printer.

In conclusion we liked the botmill printer but the quality of the prints was not good for the price. Below are some images of the sample print we got from botmill.

Tell us what you think of the Botmill 3D Printer by leaving a comment below or pop us a tweet on @Gromfrog

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Review: Luxe Business Cards

The other day we had been suggested to look at the Luxe Business Cards that Moo.com was offering. Luckily they had a free sample to try, so we ordered a sample. They came well packaged and they were really protected from Royal Mail’s terrible handling skills  (In our area they tend to damage deliveries). On opening the package we were surprised. The presentation of the sample was fantastic, placed on a white piece of card (made the same as the business card) with just an introduction to the product. Attached to the front was the business card and it looked fantastic. I don’t really like plain white business cards (I know ours has alot of white space) but these were really pleasing, with the logo on the front and on the back some specs and info about the product.

The cards are comprised of two pieces of card with a coloured filling, just like a sandwich. Ours came with a red filling but there are 4 different fillings out can get, White, Black, Blue and Red. With the filling between the two sheets of card it really gives the business card something different compared to other cards.

Obviously you have to pay a premium for these at £23.99 for only 50 which is expensive compared to our cards which only cost 1p per card. But they are worth it. We are looking at getting a pack for special clients only as we go through around 3,000 cards a year and using the Luxe Cards would cost us a lot of money.

Overall we are please with these cards. At 600gsm you notice that these are premium quality cards. We would recommend these to anyone who has enough money to spend on these. You can find them at Moo.com where you can also get a free sample too. If you have got a pack of these and would like to share your thoughts  please do leave a comment below or pop us a tweet on @Gromfrog.

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Review: Bluestacks App Player

Today Bluestacks launched the first Beta of the long awaited App Player. The App Player allows you to use Android apps on your computer. We got an email early this morning and we had been sent a link to download the beta version. So we did. We have been playing Angry Birds Space and many more. After using the software for around 4 hours we would say it is fantastic. The performance is great if you are using a high end pc like we used with an i7 chip and 16gb ram. We tried to install it on a 3 year old windows xp laptop with a dual core processor and 2gb ram and we had no luck with the installation. You can download plenty of apps and most of them work flawlessly.

Generally we are really pleased with the App Player. You may know that we are currently working on a large collection of games for iOS and Android where some of the proceeds will go to charity. Well we will be making a version that is optimised for the App Player.

We hope that the developers keep improving the system.

We would give Bluestacks App Player 5 out of 5 for being generally excellent.

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Review: The New iPad

Well it has been just over a week now that The New iPad (lets just call it iPad 3) and finally we have finished reviewing the “iPad 3″. You may be asking, Why has it taken you so long to do a review?, well the person who lent their device to us did not receive their device until last Monday and they only lent it to us for Thursday and Friday. Since then we have been busy working on some new ideas and we have just had the time to write our review.

So lets begin. Starting with the new Retina display. The new display is fantastic, we loaded up images, our site and video and had a good look and we could not see the pixels like you could on the previous versions of the device. We looked under a magnifying glass and you can make out some of the pixels. We tested it along side the two previous versions and we noticed a huge difference.

We only tested the wifi version so we cannot comment on the 4G capabilities, but we have heard that bills can be very high and not always available, we are hoping to test this once we can get hold of a 4G version.

We tested the built in cameras and the rear camera has a good quality but you do notice some noise and the front camera looks alright too.

The performance of the device is fantastic you cannot beat it. The new processor it amazing and really makes everything work fine. There is no lagging in intensive games no drop in performance after using it for a long time and having loads of apps open at the same time.

We really do like the device and we all really want one but it means saving money especially in these hard times. We were hoping to find someone who would let us take pictures or even video of us using their new “iPad 3″ which is a shame but we really did like using the device.

Most people have complained of the device being a little hotter. We noticed that but it is not that much warmer.

The only problem we had with the device was the dictation. It really struggled with out name Gromfrog Media, it typed it out as “dom fog media” which is not that good and it really struggled with one of our team (guess what he is Scottish). But other than that is is a a really good device.

We would give the “iPad 3″ a maximum 5 out of 5 for being the almost ultimate device.

Tell us what you think of The New iPad “iPad 3″ by leaving a comment below or pop us a tweet on @Gromfrog

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Review: Adobe Photoshop CS6 Beta

We have been playing with the public beta of Adobe’s popular image editing software. I have been using Photoshop since 2007 from CS4 through to CS5.1 and now I am on CS6. The file took around 10 minutes to download and to install the software took around 15 minutes, this was surprisingly fast compared to previous versions. CS6 has an all new UI design and 65 new features. A simplistic black interface makes Photoshop look more sophisticated and it is alot easier on the eyes in darker conditions. I do like this new UI design as I do most of my design work in the evenings in the dark and CS5 would hurt my eyes after a while and I would have to have a break and put on my glasses, but with this new design I have not yet had to do this.

We have also noticed a performance change in the new version. We had an image we took on a Hasselblad H4D – 40 with  40.0 MegaPixels (7304×5478 pixels) a couple weeks ago during a test and made a change in both versions of Photoshop (CS5.1 and CS6) and we noticed a change in the time it took to apply the change. We then saved the changed to a Jpeg from RAW and the times were amazing, in CS5.1 it took 21.2 seconds and in CS6 it took only 9.8 seconds. That is a big improvement. Just incase you were wondering what the specs of the machine we was using they are below:

4GB DDR3 RAM, i5 Processor,2x 2TB Harddrives and a 128GB SSD.

We were amazed at the speeds of the new version. There are loads of new features and we have also been trying them out but one which has stood out is the video editing capabilities that they have now incorporated. We tried it out and the image editing effects and tools we use work really well with video and the playback is smoother than Avid Media Composer (The one we use) on the above specs. We are really please with this version and cannot wait for it to come out. We only have one problem. The price, Photoshop has always been very high and has put people off buying the software, but will Adobe bring down the price to attract more people to the product.

What do you think of the new version? Tell us below by leaving a comment or pop us a Tweet on @Gromfrog

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Review: Windows 8 Consumer Preview

We have been using the developers preview of Windows 8 to develop apps and we really liked it even though there was a few bugs. But the Consumer Preview is a big improvement. Microsoft said that there is around 100,000 new features and we are really enjoying them. The Metro UI looks great but we have one big problem with the OS.

The design based on Windows Phone 7 is not exactly what we want from a PC. Yeah PC’s and Mobile devices will be combined but they need to keep the OS’s separate. But you can share data like iCloud but Microsoft should not merge their two operating systems.

The performance of the OS is great. We tested the OS on and high end PC running Windows 7 and XP, with i7, 3TB hard drive and 16gb of RAM. We used 4GB of Ram 1TB for storage. Running on this spec was really fast and had no errors. We only had problems when we first booted the OS when it could not recognise the Ethernet or WiFi connections.

We do like the OS and we will buy it when it comes out. But we won’t use it as our main OS we will continue to use XP and 7.

We give Windows 8 Consumer Preview 4/5. We want to know what you think of the OS. Pop us a tweet on @Gromfrog or leave a comment below.

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Review: Angry Birds on Facebook

Today Facebook launched Angry Birds for Facebook. In one word “Fantastic”. I have been playing the game all morning and it is best game on Facebook by far. I have got some great scores on the game and I am the only person playing the game on my whole friends list so as you can guess I am number one. The graphics are fantastic and look really great. The performance of the game is also the best I have seen on Facebook. The only issue I have had is the servers lost connection but that is expected if loads of people are playing the game. We really do recommend this to everyone that uses Facebook.

We rate this game 5/5. The Best Game on Facebook Ever

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Review: Letris 2 for iPhone

We received an email a month or so ago asking us if we would do a review on their latest iPhone game, Letris 2. We have been playing Letris 2 for around 1 1/2 months and we love it.
The game comes from Ivanovich Games.

Located in beautiful Barcelona, Spain, Ivanovich Games is a privately held company founded in 2009 by independent developer Ivan Cascales. With an focus on innovation, the company is dedicated exclusively to create and promote games for the iOS platform.

The aim of the game is based on Tetris the classic tile game and Boggle the classic word creation game.

Over the time we have been playing the game we have ha a lot of fun and really do like this game. We have been playing the games each night for the past month or so and we have found no problems with the game.  I have personally been finding the game hard as I find words and numbers one of the hardest thing as I am dyslexic. But the other people here at Gromfrog Media have had fun with the game. We love the design of the app and it is really easy to read the letters and it is really fast compared to similar games.

We have had some inspiration for interface design for one of our Android apps. We would like to give this app 5/5.

 

Well done Ivanovich Games for the great app keep it up.

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Review: Timeline Movie Maker

In one Word “FANTASTIC” It may have taken a while to create but the final product is fantastic. The site allows you to use all of your images, videos, status updates and stats and publish them in a video. I have just finished an published mine and I love it. What do you think of the Timeline Movie Maker. Tell us via Twitter @Gromfrog or leave a comment below.

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Review: Corona SDK (App Development)

Over the past 2 months I have been experimenting with the Corona SDK from Ansca. The SDK is jam packed with features and beats Unity3D (which I have been using for around a year). I really like the built in Physics engine as it is better than having to program one your self if you are using the Android SDK or the iOS SDK. The SDK uses the programming language LUA which I picked up really fast and is so simple to remmeber. The SDK allows you to create games and apps for the Android and iOS platform with just one set of code. Also you can build for the Nook and Kindle Fire Tablets. I have been experimenting with the SDK for 2 months and I have just started developing my 2 games on the SDK, they just may take a long time to develop as I only have around 2 hours a day to work on it. We will be doing a complete section on our site including work on our game and Tutorials. We will be starting the tutorials as soon as possible.

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