$ 169, optus. com. au
OPTUS’S 4G wi- fi modem comes in a simple black plastic shell with a prominent power button, but you might struggle to work out how to fi re up its menu. It’s the WPS button ( also used for fast pairing), which brings the small LCD screen to life. Optus is currently the only telco running different types of 4G network in Australia, but the E5776 should switch between both without issue. It ran neck and neck with Telstra’s Advanced Hotspot for battery life and, given Optus’s data rates are cheaper, this is a very good device if you can get good Optus signal where you are. cover, and it’s also rather bulky, feeling a little like a mobile from 10 years ago. It can connect up to fi ve devices, but the battery life is not great. On- board menus are easily laid out, although to make any real changes you’ll have to connect to your web browser. The Pre- Paid Wi- Fi 4G’s saving grace is the inclusion of 5GB of data with a 30- day expiry.
$ 169, vodafone. com. au VODAFONE’S big claim with its 4G network is that the bandwidth it has access to should give it a leg- up in the speed stakes. The 4G Wi- fi Hotspot certainly didn’t push that claim all that much in our tests, with solid but unexceptional speeds that wouldn’t look out of place on a 3G device. But that can vary widely with any broadband service. Confi guration of the Pocket Wi- Fi 4G is easy enough, although it uses a simple menu and power button to display SSID setup. Otherwise, the small LCD display simply shows a tiny connection status and a large Vodafone logo. Battery life was acceptable.
$ 319, netgear. com. au WHEN it comes to modems, for most consumers it’s confusing in picking one over another. The Nighthawk stands out from the crowd for several reasons, including its unusual design of three antennas popping out on the top. It uses the most recent 802.11ac wi- fi as standard. It has features aimed at bandwidth- hungry gamers ( including automatically giving bandwidth priority to Xbox), but it’s the ease of set up, parental controls and wide coverage range that will impress. Our one complaint is that the modem’s bright LED display doubles as a night light. Clearly we’re not the only ones to complain, because Netgear plans to release a software update to disable the LEDs.
FORGET the tower defence action this franchise is known for, Garden Warfare sees the original formula replaced by a familiar third- person, online multiplayer, class- based shooter which for the most part works.
As with other games of this ilk, the opposing plants and the zombies have four classes, each with unique powers and weapons. For example, some characters are agile on the battlefi eld but easy to take down, while others are built like tanks, but also sluggish. Some have healing abilities, others repair equipment, while some can deploy airborne attack drones.
The collection of different skills for each character offer a quirky twist on the familiar classes found in the likes of Battlefi eld and Call of Duty.
The main aim of the game is to form teams with friends online and then to choose characters with skills that suit the team’s strategy, depending on which of the game’s three modes you’re playing.
Team Vanquish is a take on team death matches, where the fi rst team to reach 50 kills wins. Garden Ops is a spin on the horde mode found in other games, which sees your team facing off against increasing waves of enemies.
My favourite, Gardens and Graveyards, reminds me of Battlefi eld’s Rush and Conquest mode. Here the zombies are trying to build graveyards where the plants have their gardens. Each graveyard that is successfully built pushes the plants back to their last stronghold.
All your accomplishments are rewarded with in- game currency, which you can spend on sticker packs. These contain a variety of different rewards, from character customisation options and health packs to class variants, which are aimed at improving your character’s basic abilities.
Unfortunately, the contents of the sticker packs are completely random, so there’s no way you can buy that specifi c item you might need. Unsurprisingly, after a while it proves annoying earning pack after pack only to fi nd nothing that you really needed.
That aside, Garden Warfare is refreshingly cartoony, cheerful and charming in a genre that is known for the exact opposite.