It is about that time of the year when software packages begin to appear bearing next year’s date as part of the title.
The first such offering to find its way into my hands this year is Bitdefender Total Security 2012. As you can probably surmise from the title, this is Bitdefender’s all encompassing protection offering product that includes antivirus, antispyware, backup, firewall, parental control and home network management in its feature set. My review is based on the one year, one PC licence product – a three-user version is also available.
Verbatim’s Go Mini Optical Travel Mouse is targeted at the traveller who is counting the grams and, at the same time, wants to keep things simple. It is a USB mouse with a spring-loaded ‘wind-up’ retractable cable that should suit the need of the busy person on the move.
Although laptops and netbooks incorporate track pads, a great many people still prefer to use a mouse.However, if they want to take one along on their travels, they are faced with the extra weight, the space that it takes up and, all too often, a USB cable that gets itself into a knot. The Go Mini mouse addresses these issues as it is small in size having dimensions 150 x 42 x 29mm and weighing just 44 grams (less than 2 ounces).
It seems about 18 months ago when Google first showed their Chrome operating system, this notebook from Samsung is the first that I have seen that uses it. Can we get used to an operating system that relies on the Internet?
It rather depends on your use, if you have a solid wireless signal – or you work only in hotels and coffee shops with free Wi-Fi – then yes but should your signal die for whatever reason then there is very little that you can do. The Samsung Series 5 Chromebook measures 29x21x2cm and weights just under a kilo and a half. My unit had a white lid, matt black base and only the screen surround was the nasty shiny black that shows every single fingermark even with a cloth always wiping.
Ravensburger one of the biggest name in jig saws are always a hit at Christmas and not just with the kids, here I am looking at a pair of offerings featuring favourite pets in large quantities, Dogs in one and Cats in the other.
When you try to count the number of dogs in an image – several times – and keep getting a different number you either give up counting or you go very strange, I did the former and found completing the jigsaw quite therapeutic. This is a 1000 piece puzzle that has somewhere near to one hundred dogs on it, quite a lot of Labradors some German Shepherds, Huskies and several Dalmatians, not being a dog expert I will stop there before my limited knowledge lets me down.
On a recent trip to Reading I was allowed entry to a research establishment working at ensuring unwanted hair is not a problem.
We have become use to new devices appearing on a regular, some would say daily basis. Yet how often to we stop and consider the various development stages that must have been completed in order for these devices to have reached the position where they are considered suitable for human consumption and arrive as a finished product for the benefit of users such as you and I.
During my visit to the Gadget Show in Birmingham last April I saw one of these on the HP stand. There and then I requested to review this cross between a Netbook and a Notebook, the HP Notebook DM1, that has an extra front end feature to use.
The HP Notebook DM1 measures 29x20x3.5cm at the back and only 1.5cm at the front and it weights 1560grams. Unlike the majority of small units I have reviewed this has an AMD chip and not an Intel one, in use it seems just as good. The Windows Experience gives an overall figure of 3.7 made up of Processor 3.7, Memory 5.5, Graphics 4.2, Gaming Graphics 5.6 and Hard Disc 5.9.
Needing to charge various devices when on the road can cause problems. The latest IDAPT product offers to help and includes an in-car option.
In the past I have looked at a number of products in the IDAPT range. These products have featured the company’s exchangeable tips that allow a number of devices to be charged simultaneously from a base platform. While the latest IDAPT product, namely the i1 Eco Universal Charger, also uses the company’s exchangeable tip feature and lets you charge a pair of devices simultaneously, it does away with the platform aspect.
When you need a good hotpot recipe, the location of Coronation Street, theUK’s longest running Soap, would seem to be just to place to visit. This was obviously the theory behind the developers ofCoronation Street: The Mystery of the Missing Hotpot Recipe.
Described as a Hidden Object Adventure game,Coronation Street: The Mystery of the Missing Hotpot Recipe is available from Avanquest. Actually the missing recipe, used by Betty to create her mouth-watering, popular hotpot, had been torn into pieces prior to destroying it before it could fall into the wrong hands. However, before the destruction can take place, a gust of wind scatters the pieces all over the place.
While I have been concentrating on children others need gifts and those who have a hobby – in this case photography – can be an older child, a parent or grandparent, so here are a couple of suggestions from Manfrotto.
Even those with a minimal knowledge will have heard of a tripod that is designed to hold a camera steady for a tricky shot either for the distance, the zoom or just for lack of light, sometimes however there is no room for a tripod. That is where a monopod can help, in its basic form it is a stick with a screw at one end to attach your camera to. This offering from Manfrotto in its fully collapsed form is 38cm long.
Continuing its policy of developing mobile phones for a certain age group, this new Doro handset now has a camera feature.
Adding to its range of mobile handsets, Doro has released its PhoneEasy 615 model. Following the company’s normal practice, this 3G clamshell handset is designed for the older user who will appreciate its large buttons and easy to read text and display. Unlike the other models in Doro’s PhoneEasy range that I have looked at, the 615 has a built-in camera and flash for the easy capture of treasured memories.
While regular readers will not be surprised that the latter does something else almost everything from Brando does, they might be more surprised that the former is far more than a standard mouse but you will need to have Windows 7.
It is 12x6x3cm and weights 130grams with the supplied two ‘AA’ batteries inserted. The base has an on/off switch to save power when not in use. It can also hold the wireless transmitter when not inserted in a USB port of your PC.
I am fairly certain that when I started talking about Christmas items six weeks ago most thought I must have lost my marbles, here in the sixth of my series I tell you about a new game from Ravensburger and perhaps the best known board game of all Monopoly.
‘Reveal the secrets of the speaking animals and find the thief!’ is the tag line on the front of the box. It is a game for two to four players and the stated age is from ‘7 up’. You need to find a missing ring as it protects the Kingdom from the evil wizard who is on his way. Who has stolen the ring find that and you have solved the simple version.
If you are looking for a mobile phone that puts the emphasis on ease-of-use with large keys then Doro could provide the solution.
A slightly different DAB/FM radio from Roberts. Smaller than most but still capable of giving a large sound from the built in speaker. The big difference is that you do not need to be tethered to a mains lead as it can work from batteries.
The Roberts' Unologic DAB/FM radio measures 19.5x12x7.5cm. These measurements are maximum to encompass the tuning knob on the front and the volume control on the right side, the width and thickness are around 1cm less for both everywhere else on the unit. It weights a tad under 700grams with 4x‘AA’ batteries inserted, yes it runs on ‘AA’ batteries not ‘C’ cells as with most.
In the past I have looked at several products that have been based around DAB radio technology. All these units had been designed for playing on a desk, table, shelf or similar platform as they deliver their audio output through built-in speakers. The Pure Move 2500 is a DAB radio but it does not follow this pattern. Rather it is a portable DAB/FM radio for taking on your travels and requires you to wear a set of headphones to listen to its output.
Making up this Pure product are the actual Move 2500 unit plus a ChargePAK M1 1000mAh battery pack, noise isolating headphones with a choice of small, medium and large ear-buds, a power adapter plus the small A6 size Owner’s Manual. In appearance the Move 2500 unit looks like a smaller version of my iPod Classic.
Tact, charm and political correctness are just three of the attributes that you would never associate with the main character of this next title. This can only mean that the third episode of Telltale Games / Staandlooper Animation’s Badge of Carnage is upon us as Detective Inspector Hector continues in his own inimitable way to save the citizens of Clapper Wreake from an unmentionable fate. Those of a delicate nature should stop reading now.
First we were introduced to the beer swilling, curry devouring and rudeness personified Hector with his way of working and interacting with others in an episode entitled We Negotiate with Terrorists. Next came the rather more lengthy offering of Senseless Acts of Justice that had an option to switch characters as you take on the mantle of Lambert who is the antithesis of everything Hector believes in apart from upholding the rule of law.
This is a multi function unit as not only does it print, scan and copy it can also be used to send and receive faxes. What I would like to know is does anyone still send and receive faxes, surely everything is email today.
It is 44x40x20cm to the top of the ADF but you will need another 17cm to the last figure the height to insert a stack of A4 in the rear vertical tray, that should also allow you to place anything on the flatbed of the scanner. There are a total of 31 well marked buttons on the front edge of the unit to control it along with a 6cm long two line display.
While laptops come with a built-in microphone, this is really only suitable for minor tasks. For professional recording tasks, you need a microphone built to professional standards.
While many will regard the Yeti as being kin to Big Foot and the Abominable Snowman as a member of the legendary ape-like family, the people at Blue Microphones are of a different opinion. They know that the Yeti is the brand name given to a microphone developed by the company.
PC World and Currys have several brand names exclusive to them and one of these is Sandstrom. Here I am looking at a DAB and FM radio that also accepts MP3 input as well as having an iPod dock built into the unit.
It is 24x13x9cm but you will need to add another 2cm to the second figure the depth for the D/C lead to be inserted. This includes the eight piece rod aerial that expands to 70cm when fully extended for optimum sound. My unit was shiny black except for the front that was matt black, surely the whole thing in matt black would look better as the matt black does not show finger marks to the same extent so it will look cleaner to the casual glance.
Octobers here and the prime buying time – to avoid disappointment – from the younger ones is well under way. Here two more items that could be of interest to the younger ones, these just maybe, for the slightly older and just for a change both only require a single child to play them.
Apart from being marked as for ‘8+’ this is also small so could well be useful for travel that might lessen the ‘are we there yet’. 10,000+ Brain Busting Puzzles is what the front of the product claims and, joy of joys the batteries are included.