While most will buy this latest version of PowerDVD for its ability to play Blu-ray movies (providing of course you have a Blu-ray drive) it can and does support other formats. I am not sure why Windows 7 does not nativity support Blu-ray.
As part of its new season range of printing devices, Canon has released the Pixma MP490 All-in-One unit.
Unpacking a new product can sometimes be like a voyage of discover. In the case of a PIXMA MP490 from Canon, I was convinced that the mains power lead and ink cartridges were missing – that is until I opened the paper output tray and discovered them packed inside. Thinking about it, this was a sensible arrangement as it keeps all the relevant components safely together.
The first question I asked myself is why anyone would buy a stand alone scanner when there are perfectly good general scanners that are included for very little extra when you buy a perfectly decent All In One unit
Another minus is the extra space required, well lets cover that instantly this page scanner is 28x6.5x9cm when closed. In the open position the figure the depth increases by 7cm and the middle figure the height increases by 13cm with the supports raised to allow A4 sheets to be loaded, the sheets themselves are 15cm above the support but still sit perfectly positioned ready for you to press the one and only button on the unit ‘scan’.
Taking the opportunity to give my regular laptop pointing device a break from duty, I took a new mouse from Conceptronic on my travels.
For a while now the design concept behind notebooks, and more recently netbooks, has shown an increasingly interest is the areas of style. Colourful, decorative casings along with features such as bevelled edges and round corners have been used to make these types of devices more appealing to the eye and less likely to look out of place in the modern living room.
This is not your typical boy meets girl story. In this instance the girl invites the boy back to her place but then matters take a turn for the unexpected. Events do not follow the pattern you might expect. The girl drugs the boy who then wakes up in what turns out to be the basement of an abandoned house. So begins the game of Lost in the City.
Rock notebooks are built to order, so delivery time is normally around a week. Here I am looking at what would definitely be a top of the range unit, very powerful and rather expensive, it is all but £3000 and today that is not cheap.
This is the first Windows 7 manufacturers system I have seen, and a 64bit version at that. However the only other software supplied on my unit was a copy of Cyber Link DVD Suite V8. I was told a trial of BullGuard A/V should have been supplied. I downloaded it (as I do not like going on the Internet without A/V software) firstly on another system and then when that gave an Error 102 – whatever that is – reluctantly downloaded it directly onto the Rock.
A fear of heights and falling means a helicopter trip is unlikely to feature on my schedule. So I’ll just have to make do with a Bladez Toyz model.
The latest batch of mini helicopters launched by Bladez Toyz, a company headed by ITV Tycoon winner Iain Morgan and financed by Dragon’s Den business guru Peter Jones, includes the Salvation 3D model which is the subject of this review. The last Bladez Toyz helicopter (the Salvation 1) I looked at came with a fairly standard remote control unit with twin joysticks. This was powered by 8 AA batteries.
This is probably the best mini camcorder I have used, image quality is excellent and the sound is also better than other such devices. It is however not perfect as the camera side could definitely be improved from what is available.
The Veho Kuzo Camcorder measures 2x6x10cm, open the TFT screen and the 2cm width becomes 9cm, the total weight is just less than 100 grams. If this were just a camcorder I would seriously consider recommending it for a 5x5 award, the quality is that good. However as it also has a still camera capability that is less than perfect the total mark will have to be less. The rim of the TFT is 6.5x5.4 with the viewable portion of the screen 5x3.8cm; it can be turned through 270 degrees.
Here I am looking at two more unusual items, first a 7 port USB hub with all ports switchable. Second an LCD water powered clock in what looks exactly like a soft drinks can, the surprise for regular readers is only one is from Brando.
Who would have thought when the first mini low-powered notebook made an appearance that we would soon be faced by an influx of netbooks such as a new offering from Packard Bell (now part of the Acer family).
Recently I told you about the Cool-Er the first such device I had reviewed; here is an even smaller unit from Sony. Sony has the advantage of having produced such devices for a while so this is actually something like generation three.
The pocket edition of Sony's popular 'Reader' measures 10.5x15.5x1cm. The viewable screen is 7.5x10cm. It weights 170grams, and sad to say from a male perspective mine was pink. So just like the Cool-Er I needed to review it in the privacy of my own home. No wonder the PR lady apologised to me before sending it out saying it’s the only unit we currently have available. The top has an on/off slider. Both the left and right side as well as the back are clear of controls.
With colours that include Blush and Dusty in their description, it has to be another Sony Ericsson handset that has been the focus of my attention
Joining the ranks of Sony Ericsson slider phones is the W395 model. Available in a choice of Blush Titanium or Dusky Grey, the handset is constructed of brushed aluminium with a design and feature set aimed at appealing to the youth market (well that leaves me out of the equation). The W395 has dimensions of 96 x 47 x 15mm (H x W x D) when closed with the height expanding to 127mm when open. The handset weight is kept down to a reasonable 96g.
For those who have not had the pleasure previously, let me introduce you to Natalie Brooks. This teenage detective is not only curious and adventurous but also impossibly slim. Having been the heroine of two earlier adventures, Alawar has brought Natalie back to solve the mystery of Hillcrest High.
Following an animated comic book style opening sequence, the Mystery of Hillcrest High opens with Natalie receiving a letter from her old school friend, Chad. It is the contents of the letter which sets Natalie on the trail of this latest adventure that involves the infamous Black Cat Gang and their attempt to commit the crime of the century.
With things like TV’s continually getting lighter why is it that laser printers seem to be getting heavier? This is not that large but heavy to the point that even strong couriers struggle to carry it by themselves, or course the box does say two to move it.
It is 48x42x40cm with cables inserted, the light grey colour with black area around the control panel will certainly not ingratiate it to the ‘lounge police’ so the wireless ability of this unit could have it stashed away in a cupboard say under the stairs so as not to offend. The stated weight in box is 29kilos it certainly felt heavier to me. The main difference between a laser and an inkjet (apart from the weight) is that the claimed print speed will be achieved.
Not everybody can get on with the ear-bud style of headset. If you fall into this category then a Sennheiser headset is a viable option.
I seem to be in the minority. I say this as a result of the content supplied with the vast plethora of mobile devices that are currently available. Otherwise why would the different manufacturers all take the same approach of insisting on including an ear-bud style of headset for personal listening if the majority of users prefer the ear-muff style of headphones.
A rather nice small digital camera that I have had a chance to review for slightly longer than the normal two weeks which means I can delve more fully into the various styles available with it while taking out and about with me.
It is 10x6x3cm; with the lens fully extended the 3cm width becomes 7.5cm. The camera is quite weighty for a pocket portable at a tad over 200grams. This weight gives it a very solid feel and also helps with the overall balance. The solid battery is stated to last 1000 shots between charges and while I never managed that many images I never charged it after the initial charge. 10x optical zoom is a decent figure that can still be held still without a tripod. 12.
Here I am looking at two of Brandos more whacky gadgets. First what looks like a Hamburger but it is a hand warmer and massager. Second what looks like a largish mouse (not the rodent) but is a card reader with a memo taker.
While you cannot claim any real ‘medical’ powers for this device it is fun. Imagine a lightly browned burger bun with a burger inside and then a rather garish bright green thick layer of lettuce and that is it but don’t stop reading now as it does have a couple of uses. It is 5cm tall and 8cm across.
Oysters are usually associated with pearls and a shell fish that does not appeal to everybody. Now an oyster is offering to add speaker capability to various devices.
My first portable (not quite a luggable) music playing device was a record player with its own built-in speaker (this was the time when mono was still the accepted standard). It would play the rather larger and breakable records of the hits of that period while keeping my arm muscles well exercised through the need to wind-up the unit in order for it to work.
As you might guess this is based on the Pure Elan however it is rather different. While the sound quality – as with all Pure units – is excellent I suspect the style police have had something to do here and this would look good almost anywhere.
The Pure Elan II measures 38.5x15.5x10cm (without the rod aerial extended), the six piece rod aerial fully extended will add 64cm to the last figure the height. The whole unit apart from the silvered handle ends and the control area on the top is a wonderful matt black so if you have this in the kitchen no finger marks are likely to show as they do with a shiny surface. It can be run on batteries or even a Pure ChargePak (optional accessory) however most of my tests were run on mains power.
As house guests go I would not normally consider allowing a gorilla to share my abode but in the case of this minigorilla I might well make an exception.
When is enough considered enough? If the question refers to computer storage capacity or speed of operation then the answer is probably “Never”. The same is, no doubt, true when making up a wish list for the battery life length for our various portable devices.