Welcome back to Mosh Pit. This week we have an eclectic mix of things, including some designer cardboard, a monitor, an old anime from 2007 (yes, old – 2007 was an entire decade ago), and a pair of hot new smartphones.
Although the launch of Nintendo’s Labo is only expected on 30 April, you have to marvel at how cool this seemingly simple idea is. For the uninitiated, Labo is essentially a series of Nintendo toys made almost entirely out of cardboard and elastics. You construct these toys yourself, and they’re then brought to life by the power of the Switch.
It’s essentially a set of add-ons (called Toy-Cons) for the Nintendo Switch’s Joy-Cons (and the console itself, obviously) that you can buy pre-packaged (complete with instructions on how to piece them together) or make yourself using CAD designs from Nintendo’s website. Each Toy-Con comes with an accompanying mini-game that you can play on your Switch.
The Variety Kit (which includes cardboard designs for an RC car, a miniature piano and a fishing rod) will set you back R999, while the Robot Kit (which comes with everything you need to turn yourself into a big, stompy robot – just look at this) costs R1,199. You can pre-order your Labo kits today.
LG 29UM68-P 21:9 Ultrawide monitor
Monitors with an aspect ratio of 21:9 are picking up steam in the market, and there are lots of good examples of this odd-looking panel design available from Samsung, LG, BenQ, Acer, and other manufacturers. LG’s 29-inch 29UM68-P is one of the cheaper 21:9 offerings on the market, and it’s such a good deal that resident hardware guru Wesley Fick actually bought one for himself. Expect a full review any day now.
It’s an IPS panel with nice, deep blacks and vibrant colours out of the box. It’s got a decent menu interface, built-in speakers which are actually useful, and AMD FreeSync support with a range of 40-75Hz.
At around R4,000, this is a decent choice for a mixture of gaming and productivity.
Darker than Black / Darker than Black: Gemini of the Meteor
It’s no Ghost in the Shell, but we’re quite impressed with Darker than Black, a 2007 anime mini-series created by Tensai Okamura. Okamura’s filmography includes classics like Cowboy Bebop, Medabots, Sword Art Online, and My Neighbour Totoro.
Darker than Black is set in an alternate universe where humanity has split into three species following several meteor impacts: regular humans, Contractors, and Dolls. Contractors are killers for hire with no remorse, having shed their humanity as payment for gaining supernatural abilities, while Dolls are psychically connected humans that can use their powers to locate anyone on Earth, and occasionally see into the future.
There’s a lot of supernatural weirdness that comes along with these new species of humans, including the disappearance of a chunk of South America following a battle between several Contractors. Darker than Black’s themes are often complex and mature, and there are moments where it critically analyses the human condition. You can buy the DVD box sets at Raru.
Apacer PT920 Commando NVMe SSD
“I want an SSD, but it needs to look cool. Guns are cool! Can I have one that looks like a gun?!”
If this is your usual thought process when buying computer hardware, then Apacer’s uniquely styled PT920 Commando solid state drive is right up your alley. It’s a standard four-lane PCIe NVMe SSD boasting sustained read speeds of 2.5GB/s and sustained writes of 1.35GB/s, which is blazing-fast compared to SATA drives.
Pricing is below R10/GB at local retailers, which works out to around R2,300 for the 250GB model and R4,000 for the 480GB model. It’s also got a three-year warranty with local coverage, and it looks like a gun.
Xbox One or DualShock 4 controllers for R899 from Game
This is a really good deal, even if you don’t own an Xbox One or a PS4.
Until 6 March, Game is running a special on Xbox One and DualShock 4 controllers for R899, which is a saving of R200. Sony’s DualShock 4 controller works natively on any computer with a Bluetooth connection (preferably 4.0), and also has native controls in the Steam client – complete with trackpad support.
The Xbox One controllers seem to be the new ones that are Bluetooth compatible, but just keep an eye out in case you buy the older versions that require the Microsoft Wireless Adapter (which is a R439 add-on). You can follow this simple guide to figure out if you’re looking at the new Bluetooth model or the older one.
Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+
Samsung’s latest flagship duo comes fresh out of MWC 2018, bringing with it a new generation of camera tech. The Galaxy S9 and S9+ have all the bells and whistles you can think of – wireless charging, an AI assistant, slow-motion video capture, augmented reality features, and much more – but the real star of the show is the camera.
Samsung’s new ISOCELL camera features a mechanical aperture (a first for mobile phones) that uses muscle wire to close or open an aperture that operates at either f1.5 or f2.4 stops, ensuring you’ve got the best possible chance to nail those low-light shots.
Running on Android 8.0 Oreo, the Galaxy S9 and S9+ will become widely available in mid-March 2018, and both are rated IP68 for dust and water resistance.
In other news, if you’ve been planning to pick up a Galaxy S8, they’re likely to be heavily discounted soon.