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Nintendo Switch throws fitness into the Ring

Yesterday, Nintendo launched the Ring Fit Adventure, a fitness accessory for the Nintendo Switch. BRYAN TURNER tried it out

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Following from the success of Wii Fit in getting people moving while gaming, Nintendo has launched Ring Fit Adventure for the Nintendo Switch. In a similar way to which the Wii Fit was coupled with the Wii Fit Board, the Ring Fit couples with a tension ring called a Ring-Con and a leg strap.

The game features various adventures and modes that are set in immersive maps. Each mode features its own daring challenges, powerful enemies, and even a villain that players must fight. The trick to winning in the game world is putting in the real world work. The exercises mimic common exercises like jogging in place, squats, and overhead shoulder presses. These actions are masked behind fun gameplay that makes it feel like one isn’t doing strenuous workouts.

Before starting the game, users need to remove the Joy-Con controllers from their Nintendo Switch console. The left Joy-Con fits into the leg strap, which must be fasted to the left leg, while the right Joy-Con is attached to the Ring-Con. The Ring-Con provides resistance when it is squeezed or pulled apart by the handgrips.

The big plus of the Ring-Fit is the varied experience levels. This means the fit and unfit alike can start their fitness journeys where they feel comfortable. Players can also change the exercise intensity at any time to suit their fitness level from day to day. It’s worth noting that this same approach is what made the Wii Fit so successful.  

In the game’s Adventure mode, players run through stylised worlds, with the end goal of defeating an evil bodybuilding dragon called Dragaux. Each level along the way offers different challenges by focusing on different body parts like arms, legs and one’s core. As players progress through the game, they earn experience points and collect ingredients to craft in-game smoothies that help them on their virtual fitness journey. Nintendo says the fun aspect of the Ring Fit Adventure can help players remain on a fitness journey for longer.

Transportation is supported by players performing actions like doing a squat to use a launchpad, and using the Ring-Con against one’s abdomen to use paddleboards, among other actions that incorporate difficult exercises into in-game events.

If players are strapped for time and would like to fit in a quick workout, they can select the Quick Play mode. It offers similar adventures to Adventure mode, but in bite-sized mini-games, which range from breaking boxes with gusts of air triggered by squeezing the Ring-Con, to flying a parachute by pulling the Ring-Con overhead.

For those who prefer a more straightforward workout, there is a mode called Simple, which does away with flashy animations. This mode allows players to pick the part of the body they would like to work on, and lets them work it out. Along with Simple mode, Set mode offers the same functionality, but allows players to line up workouts in a playlist.

With the power of Nintendo Switch, the game can be taken anywhere, letting players work up a sweat away from a TV. For those who don’t have their Nintendo Switch with them, the Ring-Con can be taken around (with a Joy-Con attached) to track exercise while away from the console. When a player returns to their Nintendo Switch, the exercises will be synced to their profile to earn experience points and in-game items.

Ring Fit Adventure is available in retail stores and includes the game card, Ring-Con and leg strap accessories. For more information about the game, visit here.

Product of the Day

iPhone 11 Pro Max selfie cam scores in top 10

DxOMark has announced the iPhone 11 Pro Max has scored in the top 10 devices in its selfie scores.

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The iPhone 11 Pro Max is Apple’s most recent top-of-the-line smartphone, featuring a large 6.5-inch “Super Retina” XDR OLED display, Apple’s most powerful A13 Bionic chip for processing, 4GB of RAM, IP68-rated sealing for dust/water protection, and Qi wireless charging.

The front-facing camera benefits from a hardware upgrade over previous models, with a higher-resolution 12MP sensor for sharper shots and wide-angle 23mm-equivalent lens. The lens is still fixed-focus, with the same f/2.2 aperture as the lens on the XS Max, but the wider field of view will certainly help fit more into the frame. Other features include smart HDR, and bokeh shots with Apple’s SL (Structured Light) 3D camera doing the depth sensing.

Front-camera video has been upgraded, too, with the iPhone 11 Pro Max now capable of 4K (2160p) capture at either 24/30/60fps frame rates, as well HD (1080p) capture at 30/60/120fps. The video module also benefits from gyroscope-based electronic image stabilisation (gyro-EIS) for theoretically smoother video capture using the front camera.

Key front camera specifications:

  • 12MP-resolution sensor
  • Fixed-focus, 23mm-equivalent f/2.2-aperture lens
  • SL 3D camera
  • Smart HDR
  • Portrait mode with bokeh and depth control
  • 4K 2160p/60fps video

DxOMark provided the following review:

Achieving a DxOMark Selfie Score of 91, the front camera on the iPhone 11 Pro Max offers a nice improvement in image quality over the XS Max, and ranks just inside the top ten in our database. The addition of a wider lens on the new device is a big plus, helping you fit more into the frame and get better compositions in a range of situations. There are other strengths, too, including a higher score for focus, with both faces and backgrounds boasting good detail at a range of distances, and effective bokeh shots when you want to blur the background. Selfies pack plenty of punch outdoors, too, with accurate exposure on faces, and fairly wide dynamic range ensuring well-controlled highlights and skin tones even in very bright conditions.

Colour rendering has been improved on the iPhone 11 Pro Max, too. White balance is typically a little yellow, but the warmer skin tones can be attractive, and good saturation ensures that colours are pleasant and often vivid in outdoor shots. Details are also well preserved, with well-defined facial features in both single and group selfies at close and medium range; and skin tone rendering usually looks natural.

Bokeh shots are also a key strength for the iPhone 11 Pro Max’s selfie shooter, and the strong background blur looks really striking. Apple’s SL 3D camera generally does a good job with depth estimation and subject isolation. A notable area for further development, however, is noise, which is often very prevalent in both indoor and low-light images. Noise has improved slightly since the XS Max, but front-facing cameras from key competitors continue to offer smoother results in low-light conditions.

Video shows some of the same strengths and weaknesses as stills. The lens’s wider field of view, good focus at most distances, and extended depth of field make the iPhone 11 Pro Max’s front camera a much more suitable solution for vlogging compared to previous iterations. Video exposure is also very good, with the inclusion of HDR processing offering a fairly wide dynamic range in bright outdoor lighting conditions, which is still a little rare for video on front cameras. Colour is pleasant when white balance is accurate, and although slight white balance instabilities are evident, the device generally avoids any offensive colour casts. 4K capture also ensures good detail in videos; fine detail is well preserved, especially in outdoor conditions, and the texture-versus-noise compromise is good. Detail and noise in indoor videos is the main opportunity for improvement, however, with a significant loss of detail and strong noise visible in lower light conditions.

Read more about how the scores are calculated on DxOMark’s website.

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New Acer TravelMate convertible coming

The Acer TravelMate Spin B3, which features a flip-over screen and an 11.6″ screen, will launch in April.

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Acer has announced a convertible TravelMate Spin B3 device, intended for the education market. The 11.6-inch notebook comes with enhanced performance and has a sturdy design to protect it from knocks.

The TravelMate Spin B3 features the latest Intel Pentium and Celeron processors, intended to give students the power they need for classroom work. The laptop also complies with the MIL-STD 810G military standard, meaning that it’s strong enough to survive bumps and accidental spills. A pressure-resistant top cover, shock-absorbent rubber bumper and reinforced corners all add to the durability of the device. The notebook can also get students through the school day (up to 12 hours of battery life) on a single charge.

The TravelMate Spin B3 adapts to the demands of a school day via four usage modes: students can write essays in clamshell mode, watch videos or lectures in display mode, make space on a desk in tent mode when they need to work by hand, and make use of tablet mode when they need to write by hand in maths or art class, for example. An optional world-facing camera above the keyboard allows students to capture photos and videos in tablet mode. It includes Wacom AES technology to provide a natural writing experience, and comes with a dockable stylus.

There is an optional battery indicator light on the front cover which enables teachers to see which students’ laptops are low on battery. The devices have anchored keys that are difficult to remove and an easy-fix keyboard, making it convenient for the school’s IT technician to repair.

The laptop comes with: Ethernet, two USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports, an HDMI port and on select models, a fully-functional USB Type-C port that allows for charging, 5GB/s data transfer and connection to external displays.
The TravelMate Spin B3 will be available in April, starting at R4000.

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