As laptops are increasingly becoming the computers of choice, users want speakers which do not take up a lot of space and yet deliver the required performance. The SoundBlasterAxx SBX8 is the smallest in the series from Creative Technologies which, in addition to providing improved audio, incorporates a microphone so is also ideal for Skype and other VoIP services.
The SBX8 is a 57mm hexagon in cross-section and about165mm tall. Five faces are covered with black cloth and the remaining one to the rear, where the connections and the “port” to improve acoustic properties are located, has a matt black finish. In addition to the micro-USB, there are two 3.5mm sockets -- one for headphones and the other for aux/mic. in. The touch controls are on the top, slightly angled, surface which has a polished black surface.
Both these devices are small, one from a source that you expect to produce scales for various purposes, the other from a company that produces all sorts of speakers for ‘i’ devices as well as for other products One Bluetooth the other wired.
A somewhat strange name from a company that produces scales and back massagers but this Bluetooth speaker does give a rather good sound from a very small body. I assume the Jampot comes from the container it arrives in, it does get good protection especially useful if you purchase it by mail order rather than retail. It is circular at 7cm and is 6.5cm tall. A ring around the base and top are black while the rest is a metallic blue.
While this is aimed at ‘4+’ it could at a pinch be used by the child’s parents as in ‘parental’ mode you have access to the Internet and therefore could use it for browsing as a standard Android device. It comes with versions of lots of games for various ages.
Out of its bright orange case, as I suspect any adult user would choose, the KidzStar Tablet from Binatone measures 19.5x11.5x1cm. It is not designed as an adult tablet but should your own PC or Tablet be unavailable then this can contact the outside world. This is primary a tablet for the young, exactly how young will depend on your common sense, there are games to appeal to pre school children but for various legal reasons the box states ‘4+’ as the age group.
Recently my car driving experience has been enhanced by a new product that provides in-car music and hands-free telephony features.
Like many others, I prefer listening to my favourite music while I am driving. I also know, as I am sure you do, that using a mobile phone while driving should only be considered when it is a hands-free device. Offering to provide both hands-free telephonic operations and music playing features from various sources is the iO Play 2 kit. iO is a brand name of Armour Automotive Ltd.
While most new PCs come with Anti Virus software it is normally only a trial lasting for 90 or 60 days. Most of these are from Norton or McAfee and while they work and these days do not slow the PC down that much there are options.
Most people want protection while on the Internet and when running programs and files downloaded from it. These days a growing number of products and updated choices are primary supplied as downloads, this means reinstalling is often tricky or not possible. A few minutes or less unprotected on the Internet is all you need to get a virus or other malware, the first you may know about is a huge credit card bill as someone has captured your personal details and at best it’s a nasty mess.
Recently I have been spending time picking up printed documents from the floor. To find out more about the device forcing me to carry out this task, read on.
With its lacquered black casing, the Canon PIXMA MX515 is an All-in-One device that offers print, scan, fax and copy facilities with an ADF feature that has a 30-page capacity. There is a choice of standalone USB or either wired or wireless network connectivity. With rounded corners and a sloping plinth top, the unit has dimensions of 458 x 385 x 200mm. The top-mounted plinth is actually the scanner lid and combines the ADF feature with the unit’s control panel.
Fancy being the editor of a city newspaper? This is the role you play in a game entitled The Mystery Novel.
The Mystery Novel is a game that is described as a Hidden Object Adventure offering with a supernatural twist. You are cast in the role of the new Crime Editor of the City Times paper. Your predessor at the paper had been investigating a mystery surrounding the assassination of Mayor Lambert as he opened a brand new prison for the community. The assassin was quickly identified, captured and executed.
While all of the UK has now gone Digital there are a significant number managing on a simple device to import and view the signal, a lot are discovering that their video recorder now just does not function anymore.
So here is a small box that not only imports the signals it allows you to record two at once and even has a working pass though that can watch any digital TV using the same single aerial signal and if that is not enough it has an Ethernet connection so that lots of things like iPlayer and other such things are all available on your TV. The box is 31x28x5cm the middle figure the depth is with all relevant leads plugged into the rear of the View 21.
Rather than retyping your handwritten notes to your computer, you could use this next product from IRIS to do the hard work for you.
The IRISNotes Executive 2 is a product that comes with the strap line of “You write, it types”. By this it means that it has the capability to capture your handwritten notes as they are being created and then convert them into a digital format that is editable for transfer to a computer whether it is a Windows or Mac based unit.
Having spent good money on a new laptop, it is only sensible to look after it. One of the first things to do is to choose a suitable laptop bag that will protect it from knocks and other damage as well as ensuring that the necessary cables and power brick are all in one place. STM and Techair are two of the manufacturers producing ranges of bags to fit the different machine sizes and to meet a wide variety of needs. The shoulder (messenger) bags that I’ve looked at from each vendor address a different need.
The actual ones I have reviewed are the for 15inch MacBook and the for 15.4inch PC laptops. The former is 43 x 34 x 14 cm and the latter 42 x 29 x 5cm. Hence, as well as being slightly smaller it is much thinner. They both have convenient carrying handles but, in the case of the latter, the shoulder strap can be removed and it also has a trolley strap and an external rear open pocket for a newspaper etc. Both bags have a padded compartment to provide physical protection for the laptop.
This is a single powerful speaker sold by a company who make musical instruments and amplifiers to professional standards. So while you could say this is just an ‘iPod Dock’ you know to expect that it could give more.
Certainly this is not designed to blend in with the lounge furniture with its black colour unusual shape and heavy chrome handle and fittings all set off with the large holed metal grill all of course give it the effect desired. It is 20cm across around 30cm tall with iPod in place and around 25cm deep with cables protruding from the rear.
Here a dock that can ramp up the volume even without mains power, in fact it can work even if the ‘i’ device is not even docked in the unit. Yes in this form it is Bluetooth enabled even though it mentions Wireless, so connected or not.
The HouseParty Portable is 34x14x7cm and weights 1221grams with your ‘i’ device which can if required be docked. While most iPods can be docked using the standard connector later iPod Touch and the Phone and iPad can all also connect Wirelessly. Let me state here that ‘Wirelessly’ means without visible connection as it uses Bluetooth.
In this next game you get the choice of switching between three different characters as you attempt to rescue a fourth character and discover a hidden treasure.
A large panel that is not limited to 1920x1080 resolution. In fact in can display up to 2560x1440 which is a good step up from 1920x1080, this of course can be used to show more detail or just to display more than a single window.
The screen surround is 62x37cm and the ‘y’ shaped stand lifts it a basic 8cm from your desk but there are other choices. The basic front to back of the stand is 32cm and side to side at the front of the ‘y’ is 52cm giving stability. The viewable screen area is 66x34cm which gives the notional diagonal imperial measure of a tad under 27inches.
Despite the “Solo” connotation of its title, this product is available in single, twin, triple or quad offerings depending upon your telephonic needs.
Binatone has added to its range of iDECT phones with the release of its Solo product. There is a choice of glossy red, white or black units that combine docking stations and handsets. This review is based on the twin version of the product. As you would expect there are two handsets, each with a curved shape and a detachable back which gives access to a compartment to hold a pair a pair of AAA rechargeable batteries that are supplied.
Released in a Deluxe Edition version as part of the Hidden Mysteries series, Notre Dame Secrets of Paris is a Hidden Object Adventure game. The reason for the Deluxe Edition classification is that Focus Multimedia has chosen to bundle the bonus offering of Lost Secrets™ Bermuda Triangle which also belongs to the Hidden Object genre.
Notre Dame Secrets of Paris allows you to adjust the volume levels for background music and sound effects plus whether to opt for a full screen view and a custom cursor but there is no choice of playing difficulty level for any of the five profiles that you can create.
This is possibly the best Android Tablet that I have used so far. I will qualify that statement by saying it is most like a standard PC notebook and therefore easiest to use by anyone coming from a PC background to use an Android device.
The Archos G10 XS Android powered tablet measures 26.5x17x.5cm but it is supplied with a keyboard that allows the screen to sit at around 100 degrees from flat and allow near normal typing. The keyboard is 16.5cm deep and it matches the width of the unit. If taken out with the unit it forms a magnetic sandwich and this of course protects the screen so it is even more like a notebook.
When you have multiple products covering different aspects of media editing and creation, it make sense to combine some of them together in a bundle. This is the approach taken by Cyberlink with its Director Suite offering.
Well versed in the area of digital multimedia and with software solutions that cover Blu-ray disks, digital home entertainment and TV-on-PC aspects, Cyberlink has bundled together four titles from its Create Director Family and named this offering as the Cyberlink Director Suite. These four elements making up the suite are AudioDirector 3, ColorDirector, PhotoDirector 4 and PowerDirector 11.
Netgear XAVB5201 Powerline 500Mbps adapter kit provides a viable alternative to wireless or long Ethernet cables for adding an extra device in another part of the house onto one’s network. It is quick and easy to set up and has the speed to meet virtually every need including online gaming or HD TV streaming or even providing a convenient means of connecting a printer, that lacks a wireless connection, connected as one moves it from one room to another around the house.
All the box contains, and all that is needed, are the two Powerline adapters, two Ethernet cables and two leaflets. In essence all that one has to do is to plug the adapters in: one near one's router and the other one near the computer or other device to be connected, connect the Ethernet cables and you are in business. Hence, it is the ultimate plug and play product. In fact, it is so simple that it is easy to forget to change the default encryption key.
The first a rather nice small 2.1 speaker set from Edifier that I tried in my lounge replacing my handmade speakers. The second I used out and about not however on the device it was made to be for a bicycle as I no longer ride. Both cost less than £40.
This is a three piece speaker set, the two satellites and the sub woofer. Small yet powerful, their weight is light in comparison to my own hand crafted offerings of half a lifetime ago, these are also a lot smaller in dimensions. Playing music from the same source through both produced good results but as the Edifier cost not a lot more in 2012 money to what my own speakers cost in 1960s pre decimal money and that the Edifier take up a lot less space… They are 15.