Back to Hong Kong for two further USB items, the first a Skype (or other VOIP handset) that is shaped just like an old BT handset. The second a USB stick that is made from a set of three dice, either would make ideal presents.
You only find out how good a supplier is when things go wrong and have to be put right. The service that I’ve had from Brother to deal with problems caused by a faulty laser printer toner cartridge was exemplary but what are the underlying issues.
In the middle of printing a number of copies of a 24 page document, the printer flagged that it was out of toner. It was a straightforward task to replace the toner cartridge and continue printing. Unfortunately, after just a few pages, the paper jammed and, when I cleared the jam, there seemed to be a large amount of toner around. After several unsuccessful attempts to resolve the problem, I phoned Brother Service. (My only complaint that it was an 0844 number and not a geographic one.
Many of our often-used gadgets and tools have shrunk in size over the years. In line with this concept Worx has developed a range of tools for the handyman.
The last time I met up with Worx, the company was demonstrating its gardening tools. However gardening is not the only category of tools available from the company. Worx also develops a range of power tools for the D.I.Y. and home improvement enthusiast. The latest range of handyman power tools to emerge from Worx form the company’s Icon Series which is currently available as a B & Q exclusive.
For some years there has been a growing market for replacement
remote controls for audio-visual products - usually cramming the functions of many
separate devices into one easy to use replacement. The Xsight Touch Remote Control
from "One-for-All" is the ultimate example of this genre.
The unit has a very good, quality feel to it with a good weight. The lower two-thirds resemble a standard remote controlwith function and navigation buttons. The top third contains a touch-sensitive LCD touch screen. While most remotes will happily work for months or even several years on a couple of AAA cells a device with touch screen is going to need more umpth. Recognising this the Xsigh Touch comes with a long-life Li-Ion battery.
Blu-ray players used to be rather expensive. Now a unit costs less than its predecessor and has more functions. So smaller neater cheaper and more functionality seems to be the way to go with the latest model from Sony.
Sony Blu-ray BDP-S370 is 43x23x3cm and weights only 1850grams with the hard wired 1.5metre long mains lead included in the weight. The rear of the unit has mains lead entry point, Ethernet port, Audio and Video out, Component out, HDMI, Coaxial, Optical and USB. The sides top and base are free of sockets while the front has another USB socket on a 1cm shelf protruding just four buttons, on the left on/off, in the centre open, play and stop. Not quite enough to control the unit.
While faster Broadband speeds have reduced the need to compress files prior to transfer, archiving software does have more to offer.
A long-time resident on my various systems, running under different flavours of Windows, has been WinZip. This compression software, which has served me well, has been part of the Corel family for a number of years and is now up to version 14.5. As is standard with WinZip software, the product is available in Pro and Standard editions with this review being based on the former version.
As computers have become faster and capable of displaying realistic graphics so our virtual heroes have developed muscles and gymnastic moves we can only dream about. Yes the Prince is back.
This is I believe the first such product from a known name – yes the Powermat was earlier at 10-1-10 – but for me anyway Powermat was not a known name whereas Duracell are known for their various types of batteries.
The mat is 20x16cm and apart from the left edge is only .2cm thick. It consists of twelve mirrored 1cm wide strips with .2cm gaps between them. The power adapter fits in the top end of the wider/thicker left strip and protrudes by 3cm at the top of the mat. The lead is 1.5metre in length and ends in a slightly larger than normal 13amp plug that holds the power adapter. There are five very thin 2cm round rubber feet under it just to lift it off the desk/table or whatever you sit the mat on.
While perhaps not the first item you would think you might find in a handyman's tool kit, a DECT phone could prove to be a useful addition.
Rather than aim for the fashion conscious market or pile feature upon feature as some manufacturers can plead guilt to, Doro prefers to develop more utilitarian products with a strong ease-of-use feel for specific user groups. Large buttons, clear uncluttered displays and easily accessed emergency calling options are just some features of previous Doro handsets that immediately spring to mind.
I always wanted to own a Mini and now I do! Well I wasn't expecting it to be small and to drive my computer, I was rather hoping to be able to get in it and go shopping! But this little Motormouse can at least help me do my shopping on-line!
You might be familiar with the Motormouse from Dragon's Den. The company was founded by Patti and David Bailey and drove to success when theyattracted investment from James Caan in the 2009 Dragon's Den. The Motormouse is a wireless mouse which looks to all intents and purposes like the die-cast toys by brother played with. I was plesantly surprised by the weight and substance of these little mice. Whilst made of modern materials, they still have that diecast feel.
It was March when I had a chance to wander round the Focus show with a pre production version of this DSLR unit. Now in late autumn I finally get to look at the boxed version and to try all the G2 has to offer for real.
It is 12x8x12.5cm and weights a tad over 600grams. Normally these units are supplied with a 14-55mm lens here it was a 14-42mm one. Deliberately when it first arrived I did not read the manual, I did not investigate the potential, I just turned the wheel to ‘Auto’ and took images, and I then pressed the video button and took videos. Card out and the results were okay. But what a waste, if you have a wonderful unit such as this read the manual and try things out.
Chilli Technologies have produced a head cam ideal for wide angle shots for those times when you do not have an available hand such as cycling. The second is a mouse that does not require desk space to function this from Brando in Hong Kong.
The camera is 9x4x3.5cm and weights 130 grams when mounted on the tiny platform attached to a 3cm wide elastic band to fit round your head. The controls are simple an orange button on the top of the camera turns it on, press that button again and it starts to record, press it again and the recording stops. Press and hold the orange button to turn the unit off. There is a second small orange button under a 1.
A classic toy never goes out of fashion. It's 30 years since I opened BigTrak in the Christmas of 1980, and it's as much fun today as ever. Great toys work through the ages. An excellent present for small kids and to remind big kids of their childhood. A big exciting bit of kid for around £30.
Bigtrak by MB first appeared in UK toy shops in 1979/80. It was a nifty-looking six-wheeled tank with a front-mounted blue photon beam headlamp, and a programming keypad on top.
Robots, a flying house and cartoon graphics all come together in a couple of games developed from two popular films.
One of the first names that tend to pop into my mind when thinking about animated cartoons is that of Disney Pixar. While better known for its cinematic offerings, such as WALL-E and UP, some Disney Pixar’s creations have made the transition from the big screen on to the much smaller computer monitor in the form of games. The previously mentioned Disney Pixar film titles are two examples of this trend. WALL-E and UP are games developed by Asobo Studios.
I remember well the adverts for Sodastream in my childhood, but only now do I have the pleasure of owning this remarkably handy soft drinks machine. It's fast become one of our favourite kitchen gadgets. As it says on the box SodaStream turns tap water into fizzy drinks in seconds.
We love soft drinks in our family, but boy do they take up a load of space in the pantry and in the boot of the car coming home from the supermarket. Then there's always a difference of opinion on what flavours to buy. The Sodastream puts an end to all that heavy lugging and storage problems and it's good for the environment too - saving our landfill from all those nasty plastic bottles. It's a really simple device to use.
Not the absolute latest Camcorder from Sony, but this current version will do everything that most will want. A hard disc to record to, great video in full HD and the ability to take still images at a size that can be reproduced at A4.
The Sony HDR-XR155E measures 11.5x6.5x5.5cm and weights 345grams. With the TFT display open you add 8cm to the width. The TFT can be rotated through 270°. While there are controls on the unit almost everything can be done by touch using the TFT itself and this includes zooming.
The PENTAX Optio RZ10 is the perfect Christmas gift for those wanting a new compact camera. It is a solid little chunk of technology featuring a new-design sensor which reproduces stunningly true-to-life colour and detail.
We haven't been able to experiment with absolutely of the possibilities offered by this excellent and competitive compact camera but as far as taking excellent photos right out of the box - it certainly does! What is clever about the Pentax is the way that the highly intelligent Auto-Picture-Mode works SO well - especially in combination with the rock-steady digital shake reduction - to deliver crystal-clear images with deep colours every time.
A telephone call alerted me to the possibility of being one of the first to check out a new Blu-ray drive from Buffalo.
With more and more companies providing support for Blu-ray technology, it is perhaps time to consider adding a Blu-ray drive to your computer system. You could, of course, opt to just add a drive with read capability but why stop there when there is the greater storage capacity available with Blu-ray burning calling out to you. Maybe a drive with read/write features would be more appropriate. One solution could be the Buffalo Blu-ray product.
While you may have thought that after escaping from Rosecliff Island, you would be able to relax for a period but you would be wrong. Those diabolical and inventive people at Spintop Games have other ideas for your immediate future. Allowing you to believe that you were merely on a peaceful trip through the countryside, the developers came up with the idea of an earthquake which leaves you trapped in an abandoned village. Your only hope for survival is to Escape Whisper Valley.
The vast majority of items I tell you about are sent for review, however just occasionally I purchase something myself as here with this Currys Essential Upright Freezer that replaces a unit that reached end of life.
I am not sure how old my previous offering was, certainly thirty years so when its red warning light started to come on telling me the temperature was too high I knew the time had come to look around. Placing a thermometer inside got a figure of only around minus 13c but at least it kept working although it was running constantly to maintain that. I checked the local independent shops as well as the likes of Comet and Currys.