Small enough to fit in a pocket, a new product from Gear4 comes with the promise of enhancing your audio listening experience.
The Blackbox Micro is an audio system consisting of a single speaker that lives up o its name in most respects. For a start it is box-shaped and is almost completely black in colour. Admittedly one face of the box does feature a reddish orange pad but as that is on the side which rests of whatever surface is being used, it does not spoil the illusion. I was going to say that you do not really notice it but, in fact, you do – more on that aspect a little later.
This is the big brother to the recently reviewed Geneva M (18/07/08), there is an even larger unit (to big for my place) the XL full details on their site. So what does this large unit have to offer?
It is 44x35x28cm mine was black but they also do white and red. It weights just over 17 kilos. Like it’s smaller brother it is a rather good iPod playing device, that just for good measure can play CD’s – of various types – has an FM radio and an ‘Aux’ input to play anything that can connect via a 3.5mm jack plug. Unlike the ‘M’ it has a built in iPod dock and this does have four buttons but they are to control any item attached to the 3.
Routers, and often wireless ones, are increasingly being used for broadband access and often enable more than one PC to access the internet. Consequently, it is only a relatively small step to add a network printer which can be shared by all users on the network. The Brother HL-2170W, weighing just a few pounds and having a footprint of less than 15 inches square, is ideally suited for moving around the house or small office.
In the past the majority of network laser printers have been both too heavy and too expensive as they were intended for heavy-duty office use. Everything has changed with the introduction of products such as the HL-2170W, which is the most versatile of Brother's HL-2100 series of compact mono laser printers. Providing both wired and wireless network connections as well as USB it offers a range of facilities that will fit the needs of many users who have more than one computer.
Dipping into the Sandberg product portfolio produces a device for copying files from one computer to another.
Transferring files from one computer to another used to be a time consuming and user intensive operation as floppy disks were filled with data that could then be copied to the second system. Nowadays with wireless networks dominating the home environment, the task is far simpler and quicker. However not everybody has a network or maybe the transfer operation involves copying to a new computer before it is integrated into a network.
Also called the 'GlowTime', the CRD-51 is a neat little bed-side clock radio that's
available in black, white or pink and offers a very flexible alarm system.
I've been provided with the 'pink' version for this review, a fact that was not lost on my daughter, who promptly disappeared with it to her room where it remained for a good few days until I could rescue it and put it through its paces. This is a particularly attractive product (not only my opinion - my daughter helpfully agreed!) measuring 166 x 60 x 150mm (WxHxD) and weighing around 450g.
Three small methods of moving data via the USB port. The first nicknamed the Jelly Bean from Dane-Elec the second and third from Hong Kong courtesy of Brando the people that send anything anywhere in the word for $3 P&P.
I understand blue is now an acceptable colour (Smarties wise) as it now does not have harmful colourings if the TV ads are anything to go by. This is a small rubberised 2GB memory stick. It is 4cm long less than 2cm wide and only .5cm thick. It could look something like a sweet so do not leave it near a child.
A great little dustbuster vacuum cleaner for your car which runs off the car battery and has a pivot nozzle to reach awkward places.
The Black & Decker Pivot Auto car vacuum cleaner is a very handy little gadget. It is so much easier to use than taking your regular home vacuum cleaner out complete with extension lead! And the suction is good for such a small unit which runs off your car battery. The Pivot Auto has a car lighter jack, so all you have to do is plug it into the car and away you go. The Pivot name refers to the nozzle which pivots from the base to various different positions.
This is the last of the items I saw at Marks & Spencer’s Christmas in July event. This unlike some of the previous items I have reviewed has a real purpose. With all the talk of black outs a radio driven by a alternator certainly has a place.
Slightly blocky in shape and unusual in layout for a DAB/FM radio and add the hand crank on the rear it is unusual. It is 20x12x8cm and weights1060grams. Remember the extra weight of the built in Ni-MH battery and the alternator. The face has a single 8cm round speaker housing, eight silvered well labelled buttons, a grey volume knob and a double tuning knob the outer one for FM and the inner one for DAB.
JBL have produced an excellent speaker system that isn't tied to any specific sound source - use it
to play back whatever you want : iPod, CD player, TV - anything.
I recently had the pleasure of reviewing the excellent . The JBL Spyro is built on the same technology to deliver a powerful rich sound system for a variety of uses. The Spyro comprises a central 'bass' unit (the sub-woofer) that provides 24W output using JBL's 'Atlas' transducer. Higher frequencies, and hence the stereo effect, are generated from two rather attractive 6W satellite speakers that look very much like four-petal flowers.
Following its recent acquisition, Magix has integrated some new technology into its graphic design product.
The recent purchase of Xara by Magix has seen both companies continue to develop their own products for the benefit of the user. However this purchase has also allowed Magix access to the technology behind Xara’s graphics software. One result of this can be seen with Magix’s Xtreme Photo & Graphic Designer 2 title which not only includes the technology but also the name of Xara’s Xtreme product.
This console is a mine of information, putting the Oxford Dictionaries of English, Quotations and Modern Slang, along with the Britannica Concise Encyclopedia, Oxford Thesaurus of English and Fowler's Modern English Usage into a pocket sized unit.
Seiko have teamed up with Oxford University Press and Encyclopedia Britannica to put their weighty publications into a handheld console similar in size to the Nintendo DS. It's quite amazing to think that a good sized bookshelf's worth of knowledge has been squeezed into this little handy unit. This console would be handy for anyone interested in words and their meanings. Equally useful for crossword fanatics, quiz lovers and students of English.
This is a rather nice camera. It takes great still images and good movies. It is not a pocket camera and not a large (DSLR size) unit. Therefore my only doubt is where in the market it will fit, the other slight problem is that it stores images on MS Pro cards but as a Sony you should expect that.
The Sony Cyber-Shot DSC H50 is 11x9x8cm, the middle figure can increase by 3.5cm when the lens is fully extended. It weights 440grams, this again makes it an in between unit, it comes with two fairly substantial anchor points for the supplied neck strap, again I am undecided about this. The rear has a huge 6x4.5cm TFT display and this not only sits flat but can be tilted either up or down by up to 90degrees by a very clever articulated arm.
Video projectors are not new although they have only recently started started to appeal as
an option for those (with the room) that want the full cinema experience in their own home. With
the advent of high-definition, new projectors are required, spurring Sony to announce the VPL-HW10.
Whether you're a fan of the high-definition broadcast systems now on offer or have hailed the end of yet another format war and opted for a Blu-Ray DVD player there's just one problem... All the components are there - all the technology you need to create your own cinema. But how do you get the effect of a huge screen in your home? Well, the answer is to get a huge screen.
Freesat is a digital television service that has come about as the result of a co-operative venture between the BBC and ITV.
This offering will provide subscription free access to satellite delivered television channels and services without the need to tie a customer to a contract. Currently the Freesat offering stands at 80 channels featuring those available via Freeview with one or two extra morsels. While this is subscription-free, some expense will be necessary in order to receive this service. For a start you will need a Freesat digital box or a television with built-in Freesat capability.
It is no secret that I like puzzle games. As a result I was keen to take up the challenge of a new game from Legendo even if it meant tackling spooky spirits.
Some games immediate grab your attention and hold you enthralled while others have the ability to creep up on you as they keep drawing you back for one more attempt. Spooky Spirits falls into the latter category especially if you enjoy the challenge of solving puzzles in order to proceed to the next level. Developed by Legendo, Spooky Spirits, as its title indicates, has a strong Halloween theme as various spirit-world creatures roam the Earth.
This has been a long and frustrating review. The first unit was incomplete so it was replaced. The second had several paper jams and then decided ‘cannot detect edge of paper’ was it’s message of choice, so it was replaced so this is unit number three.
I have therefore given it a far more exhaustive test than in normal simple to see if the problems return. So far they have not I suspect that the initial problem unit was a ‘Friday afternoon’ unit. It is 40x30x14cm when closed. The front has a drop down door that you store the paper waiting to be printed on, this increases the 30cm depth by another 20cm. The USB lead and the power leads both enter the unit back right.
Tefal have teamed up again with Jamie Oliver to give us the fantastic Advanced Silicone Bakeware. Their claim that "unbelievable cakes will pop out!" is well and truly justified with a range of baking moulds to make you smile.
It's been one of those weeks! And my Mum always said "Whenever you're down bake a cake - you'll always feel better". She's right and I'm sure Jamie Oliver would agree. So between my Mum, Jamie and Tefal my long hard day was brightened up by cake making with the Jamie Oliver Professional Series Advanced Silicone Bakeware (that's a mouthful bigger than the one of the muffins I've just made). I am now eating one of the most delicious cherry muffins I have ever tasted.
Looking more like a toy than a serious piece of equipment, the Flip is one of those devices whose performance exceeds its appearance.
Why, when you probably have a mobile phone that is capable of capturing video clips as part of its functionality, would you also want to weigh yourself down by carrying a camcorder? Two obvious reasons immediately spring to mind. These are ease of use and image quality. Both of these attributes form part of the concept behind the Flip Video Ultra camcorder from the appropriately named Flip Video UK Ltd.
Phone doesn't really cover what O2 have managed to shoe-horn into the
latest incarnation of their XDA smart phone manufactured by High Tec Computers (HTC).
Marketed by O2 as the Xda Ignito and manufactured by HTC as the 'Touch Diamond', this devices measures a mere 102 x 52 x 11 mm, weighing 110g. Into this very modest enclosure the Xda Ignito/Touch Diamond provides a wealth of functionality hosted on the Microsoft Mobile 6.1 Professional operating system. As is popular these days the primary interface is a touch sensitive screen, although the Ignito should really be considered a hybrid device.
Following my meeting in July with Aaron Powers where the main focus was on FreeTxT I was sent a Nokia phone this is required for one of their current services I have extended this look to cover two other services from Vyke Mobile VoIP also requiring a Nokia phone and Vyke Lite 2.0.
If you look at the Vyke site a number of Nokia phones work for Mobile Vyke I was sent an E51 a rather nice looking phone, however I was sent it from Norway and the instructions were in Norwegian luckily it was easy enough to install my SIM card etc so these were not required. I was also sent a letter (in English) detailing the user account and password I had been allocated and the three applications to download from the Vyke site.