It seems strange to talk about scales that use batteries but of course unless they are the old type that use weights all modern scales need a display and that normally needs at least a small battery. This is the exception it uses no battery.
The overall size is 30x30x1.5cm and they weigh 1845grams. The plate you stand on is glass and it is split into three vertical areas. Either side is a white smoked glass for your feet and the central strip is divided into three an 8x3.5cm display area to show the weight, the central part is clear glass and the lower largest part is made up of light receptors to such in the light to keep the unit charged. The A5 instruction manual covers sixteen languages.
This is a Bluetooth only set of headphones; it is small enough to take up little more space than a set of earbuds simply because of the design which is to fit around the back of the neck rather than the normal one of over the head.
If this sort of headset is new to you then it will seem like a puzzle as you try to straighten out the earpieces. They naturally pair to each other and become almost fixed into a pair that is only 4cm thick and the sprung part is only 7cm wide so how does this untangle to fit around the back of your neck.
JAM Wireless Audio, the company responsible for the number one Bluetooth speaker in the UK according to GFK (March 2015), has increased its range of offerings with five new Bluetooth models with prices that range from £49.99 to £19.99. The first of this new batch of Bluetooth speakers to come under my gaze is one of those at the top end of the price range. This product is the JAM Thrill Wireless Stereo Speaker.
Adopting a slight squashed cylinder shape, the Thrill is available in a choice of red, blue, black (my review unit) or grey. The Thrill has dimensions of 174 x 65 x 68mm (W x H x D) and weighs 390g. This means you are unlikely to want to slip in a pocket but it could fit snugly in a bag when you need to have some extra boost to your music while enjoying the outdoors.
This Android phone is smart and looks that little bit different from the majority, maybe it’s the copper colour of the back and sides and maybe it’s the shape with edges that do not shave away, whatever it is its just that little bit different.
The Sony Xperia Z3 measures 14.5x7x.8cm and weights 155grams. At the top towards the left edge is a 3.5mm socket for headphones, on the left side is a fingernail opening to reveal the micro USB socket for charging, further down two contacts for a dock. The right side has another fingernail opening for Nano SIM slot which also has a micro USB card slot, lower is a silvered on/off button then the volume rocker and finally a camera button.
This next review brings together a couple of Belkin products that offer to provide some assistance in protecting your home.
The Belkin Netcam, as its title might imply, allows you to keep a check on what is occurring within an area of your home when you are absent. With my review unit being supplied by QVC, the kit consists of a Wi-Fi camera with night vision, power lead, screws and rawl plugs for wall mounting, plus a Quick Install Guide. You will also need an Android or iOS smartphone along with a Wi-Fi router for Internet connection.
With a title that might discourage you from installing the product, Infected: The Twin Vaccine is described on the packaging as a “spine-tingling Hidden-Object thriller”. Developed by GoGii and available from Avanquest’s GSP game catalogue in Collector’s Edition format, this game sets you the task of searching the town of Oxford for a missing girl who holds the key to preventing a global epidemic.
As usual with game of this type, you can set up a profile for individually named players. There is a choice of windowed, full screen or wide screen action with a custom of system cursor. Using slider bars you can adjust image quality and the volume levels for music, sound effects and voice dialogue. You can also opt to play in Casual mode which offers a tutorial, help text and quick recharging rates for the hints and skipping mini-games plus the appearance of glints.
This is a piece of software that in its basic form anyone can download for FREE. I tend to be rather suspicious of any software that claims to speed up your PC, in fact hardly a month goes by without me being offered such items, normally from an unknown source.
Here however I know the company as I have used their software for many years in the CD and DVD arena. Here – still with my normal caution – I heaved out a notebook that hardly ever gets to see daylight as it is so slow. I downloaded the software and put it through the ‘free’ tests it found a number of problems, a lot of unnecessary files and offered to uninstall several programs that were redundant.
While the big boys in the arena of Smartphone manufacturing tend to price their hardware at a level that many of us find incompatible with our financial constraints, other manufacturers of these “must-have devices” have a more economically viable approach to the pricing of their various models. One such company is ZTE, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of telecommunications equipment and mobile phones, with its Blade range of handsets.
Recently I checked out the company’s Blade L3 product and now it is the turn of the ZTE Blade S6 handset. As with the Blade L3, the Blade S6 features a 5-inch HD colour touch-screen with the product being aimed at the young and those of us who often claim to be young-at-heart. However before getting down to the product itself, I need to point out that my review sample, white in colour, arrived without any documentation whatsoever.
Small portable USB3 drives are not uncommon, WD have just enhanced their range by including a 3TB version. I will not bore you about my first internal hard drive of just a few MB or the early small MB USB sticks, just be content that 3TB can store a lot of movies and so many images and MP3 files that the numbers are huge.
The new drives are available in 1TB, 2TB and newly 3TB versions. They are all the same size and in my tests did not require external power other than that coming down the provided USB3 lead, they also work correctly on USB2 drives but of course the data transfer rate will be slower. The ITB is 11x8x1cm and weigh 155grams without the USB lead. The 2TB is is 11x8x1.7cm and weigh 237grams, the provided lead is 40cm long and should be long enough to allow the drive to sit flat in most circumstances.
The Philips USB Docking Stand provides a quick and easy means of connecting a laptop to a large external monitor, external peripherals and the network. It will be especially useful to those who use their laptop both at the home and in the office and need a wide range of facilities.
Not the first back massage unit I have reviewed, as – like a lot of people of my age – I have a bad back they are always met with my backs apprehensive approval. This has one advantage over other powered units its small size when rolled up.
While the back is 55x48cm and the connected seat 36x45cm it comfortably rolls up with the power lead and adapter together with the car adapter into a box 45x17x17cm. Previous items I have reviewed have done more than this item, often they have Shiatsu ability built in, however if you just need massage to your back with or without heat then this is priced as a near impulse buy.
Not to be confused with a similarly entitled graphics product from the same company, Xara Photo & Graphics Designer 11 combines elements of creative design and photo editing software within a single package.
With this latest version of the Photo & Graphics Designer, Xara has integrated a number of new and enhanced features, which you might well expect with a new version, but, more surprisingly, has reduced the price being asked for this software by almost 30% and that is for new users. If you are upgrading from the previous version of the product then this software is currently available, as an introductory offer, at less than half price.
When you are out and about with your Tablet or Notebook there are many times when you want Internet access. The vast majority of such devices do not have mobile SIM slots so up until now you have to rely on café and other places open Internet, not any more.
At a recent Christmas In July event by the Dixons Store Group this was the stand out device that I saw on the day and I got the chance to test it. It is an EE device that provides a mobile hot spot for I am told up to ten devices, I tried it with three. The device is 7.5x7.5x1.3cm and weights 92grams with band attached. Three different coloured bands are supplied which could be used to identify the network or just for fashion purposes.
With the tag line of “Liberate your Sound”, the CHANT is a portable Bluetooth audio speaker developed by the House of Marley. This product is available in Mini and BT versions with this review being based on the larger BT model which shares many of its features with its smaller brethren.
The CHANT BT is available in a choice of Black, Navy or Blue Hemp. Unpacking the product reveals the CHANT unit; a recyclable aluminium carabineer clip for attaching the CHANT to a belt or other accessory; one of the shortest standard-to-micro USB leads, measuring just 20cm, I have seen; and a folded sheet of instructions using a font size that immediately had me reaching for my magnifying glass.
Eastville Chronicles: The Drama Queen Murder describes itself as a “whodunit Hidden Object game full of love, passion and intrigue”. Developed by Queen Media and published by TAG, this game is now available as part of the Avanquest GSP catalogue.
As usual with games of this genre, you can set up profiles for individual players containing their own range of settings. Adjustments can be made to the volume levels for music and sound effects. As the sound effects just consist of a couple of noises that occur when you locate one of the hidden objects, you may want to reduce this particular volume level.
There are numerous streaming services available; few however allow you to stream in high quality. Qobuz even have a service that lets you download and keep the music that however is not that cheap. Here is a service that works providing they have the music you want.
Before you commit yourself you can try it out with the normal proviso that you only get 30seconds of a track. The two stream qualities that I had available were MP3 320mbps which is quite good and the excellent FLAC 44.1kbps which is CD quality. However even with the higher quality selected some of the time only the MP3 standard was available, this was often with music that was recorded a number of years ago.
The Ricoh SP 3600DN product is a mono laser printer. This particular unit has been developed to replace the Ricoh SP3500N, SP364510DN and SP4100NL models. As such Ricoh believes this product would be best suited for use in a small office or home office environment where it could service the printing needs of between 2 and 5 users.
Decked out in light and dark shades of computer grey, the SP 3600 has a sturdy appearance which is backed up by the unit’s weight of 14.5kg and dimensions of 370 x 392 x 268mm (W x D x H). The DN part of the product’s model number gives the indication that this device has both Duplex and Network capabilities built into the unit.
The Heston Blumenthal Dual Platform precision kitchen scales from Salter greatly improve the accuracy in weighing of ingredients and so will find favour with anyone who takes their cooking seriously.
They cover a wider weight range than the majority of scales and also enable one to weigh out small quantities accurately -- something that is beyond the ability of the majority of kitchen scales. The scales, which come supplied in a storage case, are solidly built with the metal body matt black and roughly 260 x 165mm in size overall while the two stainless steel platforms, each of which has a red styling line around its edge, are respectively 165 x 145 and 80 x 70mm in size.
Security in one form or another is a big market. Here I am talking about home security in this case an easy to install and setup solution supplied to me with a single camera but the software with it is able to handle many more cameras.
The outside of the box has a simple strap line, “Connect a camera, create an account, see your stuff”. They go on to say “The only cloud camera that stores the last seven days for free, with no subscription’ So lets see how I go in proving the claims made above. The camera itself is 12cm long and with the light shield is round at 7cm. The supplied wall mount fits underneath the rear of the unit and can protrude by up to 5cm.
This item would be for those who go out and about a lot. As soon as a say ‘high quality’ it also means ‘high price’ but the two can go together to produce an excellent well-made product so if you walk a lot then you are made for this item.
This back pack is manufactured to take a notebook first and everything else second. It’s weight when empty is 1565grams. It is 46x30x13cm but the last figure the width does stretch. There is a filled 13cm long handle on the top for comfortable carrying when it’s not in residence on your back. The outside back is packed with an airmesh material that lets your back breathe and so lessens sweat. The top collar is 6cm wide leading down to the straps that are 7.