As many move from the desktop to a touch-enabled tablet, ViewSonic takes us in the opposite direction with a large screen AIO touch screen device.
As part of its latest batch of new products, ViewSonic has released its VSD220 offering. This is a touch screen Android AIO Smart Display. However unlike the numerous pocket and bag sized tablets that are currently fighting for market share, this AIO (All-in-One) product has been designed purely for desktop use where it can be placed in an upright orientation supported by a flip-out stand. With dimensions of 513 x 350 x 122mm (with the support stand extended) and a weight of 4.
At a recent TDK event I was shown four new small sets of speakers, all were in a single case. I was subsequently sent one to review, it can run on mains or internal battery and be a wired or Bluetooth connection.
While this was designed as a Bluetooth unit it of course has the ability to accept ‘Aux’ input from any 3.5mm device. Most will use an ‘i’ device or MP3 player but as I recently found the lack of volume in some DVD and Blu-ray films mean volume levels from your TV often go only so far and to hear quiet dialog needs more. It is 24x9.5x5cm and weights 1160grams.
While almost everyone has heard the name Kindle there are other people who make book readers and one such name is Kobo. In fact they do a whole range of devices here I am looking at two the KoboGlo and the KoboMini.
Either of these would qualify as the smallest dedicated book reader that I have seen so let's start with the larger. The Kobo Glo measures 15.5x11.5x1cm and weighs 183grams. Mine was white with a pinkie red back. It has two buttons on the top a micro USB connection on the base and a micro USB slot near the base of the left side, that is all the connections. The viewable screen is 12.2x9cm.
Marriage and death at Rainheart castle seem to go hand-in-hand. Are you brave and savvy enough to solve a mystery that if Gravely Silent.
The opening introduction sequence lays the groundwork for the story as you awake from a nightmare that features your sister Jennie. You then hear from your brother-in-law, Richard Rainheart, that your sister has died and her body already laid to rest in a private funeral where he was the only mourner. With no more information coming from your brother-in-law, you set out to visit his castle and discover how your sister died.
This is the second such device I have seen that comes with a separate keyboard; the other was the excellent offering from Archos whose only real problem was the price. This seems to be more reasonable in the price department.
The Gemini JoyTAB GEM10312BK measures 24.5x18.5x1.5cm with lid/keyboard on, it weights 1026g, without the external keyboard it weights 726. All the controls and connections are down the right edge, on/off, volume up, volume down, DC input, micro USB, mini HDMI out, headphones, micro SD slot and finally internal microphone. There is a built in camera on the centre top of the screen for Skype etc. The better resolution camera is on the back together with the pair of speakers.
The Canon PIXMA MG5450 is a Photo All-in-One product offering print, scan and copy functionality with a choice of USB or WiFi connectivity. You also get a built-in facility that allows you to print labels directly on to appropriate optical media as part of a second paper input tray.
With a plinth-like top, which houses the A4 flatbed scanner module, mounted on top of the box-shaped ink-jet printer unit, this product has dimensions of 455 x 369 x 148mm (W x D x H). The MG5450’s outer coating of lacquered black seems to want to tempt you to reach out to touch and feel its smooth lines – especially if you share my hang-up about finger smears that tend to congregate on this type of surface.
You should let sleeping Pharaohs remain undisturbed otherwise a whole heap of trouble could be the result as seen in this next budget title from Focus Multimedia.
Regular readers will know that Focus Multimedia has a portfolio of standard game titles and a budget line-up of offerings for the game player. This next game belongs to the BlackLime budget catalogue of titles. Curse of Pharaoh: Tears of Sekhmet is a Hidden Object game with a slight Adventure influence. Your task in this game is to help discover the seven Tears of Sekhmet which have been scattered around the globe.
Yes finally a HP unit I know its taken 18 months since their last offering but at last they have reverted to their original PR agency and so review items have started to become available to be tested, here a rather nice Ultrabook.
tHE HP Spectre XT Ultrabook 13-2100ea measures 31x22x1cm. The last measurement is the thickness at the front and it increases to 1.5cm at the rear. The unit weights 1410grams. It is silver grey in colour apart from the screen surround which is black but rubberised so no fingermarks show. The viewable screen is 29.5x16.5 with a notional diagonal imperial measurement of 13.3inches. The screen resolution is 1366x768. The 1cm empty space above the screen has a webcam mounted in the centre.
Put together Logic3 with Ferrari and you get a collection of electronic audio products with Italian style. Included in this collection is a set of headphones.
To many the mere mention of the company Ferrari brings up visions of high speed cars with the iconic red colour and a prancing horse. However the company has other strings to its bow. It is heavily involved in other areas especially those that deal with the design concept of bringing Italian flare to a range of products in partnerships with other companies such as Logic3.
SSD drives are slowly getting bigger, more quickly they are becoming lower priced. So is now the time to get one? Certainly the PC/notebook units I have reviewed that have at least a small SSD drive show a huge increase in booting speed.
This item from Kingston is a 120GB unit. This is the same size as in the HP Spectre XP Ultrabook to be published very soon, that unit was manufactured by Samsung but in essence it’s the same size in dimensions and capacity. The Kingston Technology SSDNow V300 measures 10x7x.5cm and weights only 90g. First the claims on the box 10x faster than a 7200RPM standard hard disc. Then the 450MB/s read and write speed this can do.
Now that Windows 8 is here we will have to get to grips with it. Even if we haven’t bought a new machine with it installed, all too often, friends and relatives assume we know it all -- even if we haven’t even used it. Windows 8 for Dummies follows on in the wake of previous Windows books in the series and is suitable for both the beginner who is new to computers and the more experienced user who is also faced with something new.
The author, Andy Rathbone, points out that Windows 8 works best with touchscreens and that there is generally no need to migrate to Windows 8 and that most people stick with the Windows version that came installed on their computers. However, “if you manage to figure out Windows 8 once, you’ll know how to run it on all your Windows devices…” This book is not a manual; it is a problem solver that you turn to in time of need.
The One For All Indoor Aerial worked with a TV and TV/Panel the latter reviewed two days ago. The second landed on my desk just before Christmas and for such a small ball it gives a good sound so two amplifying items, both are currently around £15 each.
I reviewed this in two places, the first with reasonable reception where certain groups of channels were received even with amplification. The second where most aerials struggle and with amplification I got acceptable reception on all channels. These two places are either end of my not huge property, so it certainly works. It consists of two parts a single rod aerial and a eight bar offering (highly directional elements) within a sleeve still visible but protected from knocks.
Available from the Avanquest GSP catalogue of games’ titles is Jewel Legends which is described as “3 gem-matching adventures in 1 great pack”. This triple play collection bundles together The Legend of Atlantis, The Legend of Egypt and The Legend of Rome. Obviously this package is aimed at those who can not get enough of match-3 action.
A single installation routine, covering all three titles, is provided. While I sometimes feel that the Avanquest installation procedure is not the quickest around, and this title is no exception in that respect, I have always found that I was able to access the accompanying program without any problems. This Jewel Legends bundle definitely bucked the trend by refusing to load any of the three separate titles.
This is a Blu-ray player and a sound system, Pioneer call it the BCS-SB626. The Blu-ray has some extra features including 3D. The 2.1 system includes a meaty sub woofer and a sound bar to sit in front of your TV.
While I suspect that you could put a sound bar and a Blu-ray combination together for a smaller part of the price I doubt that the sound quality would be as good. Often people rave about large cinema systems and if you have the room and can hide the multitude of cables then you can have a similar experience to that of a cinema. While TV has improved out of all proportion to even say ten years ago a sound bar offers much more, link it with a sub woofer and you are getting something even more.
One day last summer, I know it was summer because it rained on that day as I attended an event that included an introduction to a product known as View21. As can sometimes happen with an introduction look at a product, several months were to fade into distant memory before I was able to get my hands on a product to check it out.
View21 is a twin Freeview HD television tuner/recorder. Included in the box with the View21 box are the two-piece power lead, HDMI cable, aerial linking lead plus a remote control unit with the accompanying two AAA batteries. Although not included in the box, you could find an Ethernet cable, SCART lead and a modem/router would prove useful in some situations especially when giving you access to content that might be available from the Internet.
I have always imagined that time travel would be an invention of the future but this next game has the development of time travel in the past.
Do you fancy being a hero? The opportunity could present itself with a new game from Alawar Entertainment. The game in question is the Age of Adventure: Playing the Hero. In this new time management title you take on the role of an actor who finds himself cast in a part that is perhaps too near real life for his particular comfort and ease of mind especially as death could prove fatal.
This is a rather nice Smart TV, it is also a good large screen panel. I have seen a report saying the new black is white; this almost qualifies as the back and base are both white, the face is however still a traditional black colour.
The Samsung C24B750X measures 63.5x47x20cm. The base is integrated so cannot be removed, that does however give a nice stylish sweep to it. The viewable screen is 60x33cm giving the notional diagonal imperial measurement of 27inches, the normal 1920x1080 in PC mode.
Creative has added to its range of speaker systems with the release of a new model in its Inspire series.
Although Creative has put a lot of effort into the development of its Sound BlasterAxx™ generation of Bluetooth wireless single speaker units, the company has not neglected the more traditional offerings of a speaker set up made up of a subwoofer with attached satellite speakers. As a result Creative has launched its new Inspire™ T3300 speaker system. This is a 2.1 system made up of a subwoofer, two satellite speakers and a permanently attached remote control unit.
Extensively it looks like a small to mid sized portable radio. However with all the bits this has inside its small frame perhaps ‘Tardis’ would be a better description. Not only is it a conversional radio but it can record and more.
It is 19x9x1.5cm (without the seven piece rod aerial being raised) it weights 270grams so small enough to fit into a deep pocket. As a radio it has stereo - unusual for such a small unit – the bands are FM, AM and SW. For me I found that I did not need to raise the rod aerial for FM. You can record radio. It can record MP3 or WAV by using the inbuilt microphone or by attaching an external microphone with a 3.5mm end.
All Android tablets are the same is something I have heard stated, well I disagree and here is a great example of a company giving more than you normally get, one such added extra is a full size USB port so importing or exporting is just a matter of attaching a USB stick.
This particular Android table is from Polaroid and measures 26.5x16.5x1.3cm while weighing 672grams. The viewable screen is 22x12.5cm. The system is delivered with Android version 4 (Ice-cream Sandwich). There is a small 28 page User Manual that is well laid out with illustrations to explain all the controls and connections. The screen is capacitive and multi touch so enlarging or reducing something is just a matter of opening or closing two fingers.