For $ 20 more than an Apple iPad, you can buy ViewSonic’s biggest tablet. The ViewPad 10s is a 10-inch ( 25.4cm) model with similar specifications to its Apple rival, including a 1GHz dual-core processor and 512MB RAM. It offers a 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera, USB and HDMI ports, plus room for a 32GB MicroSD memory card. But using this ViewPad is hard work. Its 1024x600 screen fades to black on a modest angle, web browsing is buggy, it’s stuck on last year’s Google Android release ( Froyo) and its retooled Google Android menu system seems incomplete. A tablet for less than $ 200? Even the poke-andprod cheapies from Telstra and Optus teetered on the $ 300 barrier. And the Agora tablet offers more than you may expect for the price. For starters, its 7-inch ( 17.78cm) screen is a capacitive ( not resistive) touchscreen, so you do not have to jab it to select apps. Furthermore, this tablet is run by a 1.2GHz chip, features HDMI and Mini USB connections, a 2-megapixel, front-facing camera, a MicroSD card slot to boost its 4GB memory and it connects to the net by wi-fi ( no 3G option). HOW do you follow up one of the most critically acclaimed video games of all time?
This was undoubtedly the question on Valve Corporation’s mind in the four years since making Portal.
Nonetheless, the brains trust used this time wisely and has delivered perhaps not quite the same groundbreaking achievement as the first, but certainly a worthy successor in Portal 2.
Kicking off in the same locale as the first game, only a few hundred years later, Portal 2 once again tasks you with escaping from Aperture Laboratories’ labyrinth of rooms.
Everything fans loved about the first game makes a return, including the blue and orange portals, turrets, the companion cube and cunning physics-based puzzles to solve.
However, you’ll also use a new companion cube that changes the direction of laser beams, a new plate to catapult you and other objects long distances, and then most of the later levels require the use of three new gel-like substances which can be applied to surfaces to change the way you interact with them.
Also new to Portal 2 is a challenging co-operative two-player mode. Either locally on the same console or playing online across the world, you and a comrade can tackle a collection of new levels which have been designed with teamwork in mind. A headset with microphone is highly advisable if playing online, as the ability to talk together is vital.
Second to the actual gameplay, humour is one of Portal 2’ s biggest strengths, thanks to superb voice acting and a faultless script filled with witty, self-deprecating quips, sarcastic digs, and laugh-out-loud one-liners aimed squarely at gamers.
I found myself more engaged with Portal 2’ s three robotic characters than many of those portrayed as humans in other games. As a bonus, PS3 owners receive a free download of the game to play on Mac or PC through Valve’s Steam service.