It's not easy being a consumer these days. There's so much choice and it's very difficult to detect a real bargain. Our job at GadgetSpeak is to review products and bring you our experience before you buy. But with the economy the way it is, it's also interesting to take a look at price comparison sites like Ciao, designed to help you compare value from retailers.
This week I took a good look at the experience. The Ciao price comparison site scans on-line stores to deliver the user the best price it can find at the time of your search. The comparison delivers product descriptions, available stores, prices, delivery details and postage. If you're happy to buy second-hand you can also see product listings from Ebay via Ciao Auctions.
If your singing is better than ‘hair brush’ standard then this item from Memorex could get you used to a Microphone so that when you progress you do not make the eating/licking the microphone mistake on your first gigs.
The base of the Memorex Sing Stand is circular at 32cm across and it stands 15cm high. The controls and settings are in the base. In the centre of the stand fits a three piece pole that stretches to more than two metres so that the supplied microphone can be at the correct level for all, no matter how tall or short you maybe. The reasonable quality microphone has a 2.7cm lead attached and even an on/off switch on the arm of the microphone.
Most multi function or All In One packages come with ‘crippled’ versions of OCR software, either full versions of a few years ago or lite versions. However should you want to do more than just convert a few letters to editable text then a full product is what you need.
This offering from OmniPage includes two other full products within the box. So apart from OmniPage 17 you also get PDF Create (sold at £49.95) and PaperPort 11 (sold at £49.95) so in effect that’s all but £100 worth of value before you look at the main product. Of course both have a lot of overlap with the main product. The OmniPage installation (also installs PDF Create) took only 8 minutes on a reasonably fast Vista system. It eats up 1640MB of hard disc space.
Until I wasted over an hour looking for my car keys which, it turned out, had slipped down the side of the armchair, I thought that Doro’s MemoryPlus 335 Wireless Object Locator was just for those elderly people who are losing their memory. In fact, I have realised that there are many of us who could well make good use of it – for example where there is only one set of keys for the car that is shared around the family.
The MemoryPlus consists of three key fobs and one credit card size (but thicker) sensors and a remote control size sender with four push-buttons, one for each sensor. The fobs are then each attached to a set of keys that has a habit of getting lost. Similarly the credit card sensor is placed in a handbag or rucksack. Despite what the makers claim for it, this sensor is far too thick to be slipped into a wallet.
Mention Dyson and you immediately think of vacuum cleaners. Now we have a Dyson cleaner powered by a new engine.
Deep in the heart of Wiltshire, beavering away at their Malmesbury headquarters, are a team of engineers lead by James Dyson. Best known for developing various vacuum cleaners (based on the cyclone principle), this team had recently turned its sights and expertise towards the main component driving these branded Dyson products. That component is the engine.
Our ears are as individual as the rest of us and with TwistJax Atomic Floyd aims to provide a perfect fit for all, combined of course with superb sound.
This is the second set of headphones from Atomic Floyd that I've reviewed, the previous being the . The TwistJax shares many characteristics with it's earlier stable-mate - notably a high quality finish, excellent sound quality and durable design. Each earpiece is solidly manufactured in metal with no external plastic elements. The drum connects to the cable via a metal shaft that is designed to align comfortably with your particular shape of ear.
Not one but two Kensington Wireless mice, both using a tiny Nano receiver that fits almost invisibly into any USB port. The two being looked at are the SlimBlade and then the catchily named Ci95m, both of course are free to move without wires.
The SlimBlade mouse is 9x5.5x2cm the last figure is maximum. It is all back with the exception of a grey surround for the scroll wheel. It weights 70 grams with the supplied two ‘AAA’ batteries inserted. It is just oblong with no curve and the highest point is just behind centre. There are no distinct mouse buttons with the whole front portion of the sides able to be depressed for the mouse actions. This of course means it is suitable for almost any hand size.
System Suite Professional brings together a number of utilities developed to protect, maintain, tweak and optimise your Windows system.
Now up to version 9, System Site Professional has been around for a good number of years. Checking my records, I note that my first experience of System Suite dates back to 2001 when the software was published by Ontrack. Along with the last few versions, this latest edition of System Suite bears the Avanquest brand. As is fairly standard with some Avanquest products, you will need to enter a 24-character serial number as part of the product’s installation procedure.
When searching for a missing professor, especially one involved in magic, it is a good idea to take precautions as the heroine of a game from Alawar discovered.
I get the chance to look at a lot of A4 multi function machines but very few A3 ones often because of the size; those I do see are normally laser units here just for a change is an A3 ink jet offering from Brother.
It is 53x47x30cm and it weights around 16kilos. While few would try to put it in the lounge if you have a large cupboard this is possible as it not only has USB and Ethernet but also Wireless. It is black with a grey trim around the front edge. It does support duplex printing but only for A4. There are two trays so up to 400 sheets of paper can be accommodated.
The Kensington notebook expansion dock with video model K33367EUB is easy to use and brings a number of the advantages of a desktop machine to the notebook user. It provides the user, when at home or in the office, with a quick and simple means of connecting their notebook to an external monitor as well as full-size keyboard, mouse, the network and other peripherals.
Although one of the advantages of a notebook is its portability there are downsides and, as far as I'm concerned, it is a tool but not one of choice when I have an alternative. I prefer a full size keyboard, a proper mouse and, ideally, two screens. Obviously, I cannot have these while on the move.
Over the past few months I have looked at a number of phones, mainly of the DECT variety, from Doro. As a result I am almost tempted to paraphrase a popular advert and say that Doro “makes an exceedingly wide range of phones” but perhaps not.
The latest Doro DECT phone to come under my gaze is the Form 35R model which combines a digital cordless phone with an answer machine. This two-piece unit, consisting of the handset and base station, has a sand-silver fascia with black backing. The handset measurements are 140 x 48 x 24mm (H x W x D) while the base unit’s dimensions are 147 x 97 x 90mm (W x H x D). Leads are provided for mains power and telephone line connection.
When we found ourselves in a new home with none of the usual white goods, we were very pleased with the versatility of the Morphy Richard Intellichef multi-function cooker and the Intellisteam.
The IntelliChef is billed as "A versatile 9 in 1multi cooker". I have put it through its paces, along with its partner, the IntelliSteam. We recently moved into a new home with no conventional cooker or microwave for a couple of months. Boy were we glad to have the Intellichef and Intellisteam to help us through. Between these two machines and a small George Foreman grill, we were able to make a wide range of meals for a family of 4.
As I am sure everyone knows the Digital Changeover is coming (in fact it has already arrived in some places), so to keep perfectly good Analogue TV’s working set top boxes were made to translate the signals, then the PVR (to replace the video recorder), then the PVR had Freeview built in. Now something slightly different.
Here not one but two exciting precision tools for the home hobbyist. First do not confuse these items with toys they are definitely not, these items are tools for the home hobbyist. First an engraving stylus and then a quality soldering iron.
First the dual tin that it comes in, the top part is divided into various compartments to store bits and pieces while they are a work in progress. The second larger part is what holds the stylus and the charger as well as various parts to fit on the stylus. It is powered by a Lithium-Ion battery to enable you to work in restricted areas. The stylus itself is shaped like a backward facing gun. The holding arm is 10.5x3.5x4.5cm.
The proliferation of mobile devices using different video standards has created a market for companies to develop video conversion product such as the subject of this next review.
You may remember that a few months ago I took a look at a product that had been developed to aid the conversion and transfer of multimedia content from one format to another. Unfortunately I was less than impressed with the results I was able to achieve with this title which shall remain nameless. Now a competitive product, offering similar functionality, has appeared. This product, from Avanquest, is entitled TransferMy Video.
The SP200 is one of the newer budget additions to the GN Netcom’s Jabra range of Drive ‘N’ Talk Easy Bluetooth Speakerphones. It is easy to use without taking one’s eyes of the road and so is possibly safer to user than a number of products on the market.
It is a neat matt black unit which fits comfortably in the palm of the hand. While at first glance the visor clip, made of blackened spring steel wire, appears cheap it is extremely effective and is able to accommodate quite a range of different visor thicknesses. I did, however, feel that with a thick visor it is quite likely that unsightly marks would remain on the visor where the wire clip had been.
Two different phones both designed for people with a disability the first for perhaps the more serious disability the HandlePlus 334gsm. The second the PhoneEasy 342gsm for those with less agile fingers.
It is 12x5.5x1.5cm mine had a white face with a black back. The face has a 3.5x2.2cm display and under this only eight keys. Two rows of two and under this the letters A to D in a single column with space beside to put a name. These can be the numbers of anyone you wish such as a son or daughter a neighbour or a close friend. This phone would enable someone with very limited digit control some range of independence to lead some form of life.
Browsing the web using a mobile phone used to be a painful experience. Low-fi ‘WAP’ sites were a pathetic shadow of the real internet and the cost could be astronomical. It's good to see that things are changing!
Now all the networks – Orange, O2, 3, T-mobile, Vodafone and Virgin - offer high-speed ‘3G’ internet access, allowing you to get online at decent speeds so you can browse the web and access email on the move. Even better, you can skip the phone entirely and pick up an affordable mobile broadband deal. What a mobile broadband package does is allow you to connect to the internet using a mobile phone network, but without having to use a phone.
When is a mouse not just a mouse? The answer, as I discovered recently, was when the mouse is also a presenter’s tool.
As part of its new line up of SlimBlade mice, Kensington has come up with a device that combines the usual functionality of a mouse with those of a tool to control a presentation via Bluetooth connectivity. Appropriately enough this product goes by the title of SlimBlade Bluetooth Presenter Mouse.