When the High School Musical Build-a-bear arrived in the Gadgetspeak office the editor and I had a short discussion over whether it counted as a gadget. It went like this: I said "Well it's not really a gadget" and our editor, Pete, said "But it's a fantastic product, and we like good products!" So here it is - the Build A Bear review.
I didn't have to go the Build A Bear workshop specially to do a review as my kids have already been several times. If you have kids under 10 it's a very special experience. And in fact whenever we've been there we've seen quite a few girls in their 20s putting their heart into their bear too. Build-A-Bear is a truly lovely concept. There are Build A Bear workshops (stores) all over the country now.
First an Energy Reducing Kettle and then a power saver device Audio Visual Standby. This is the third of my reviews from the Marks & Spencer Christmas In July event. The first two were of reasonably priced useful items, here I am less sure.
Is it just me but for many years I have added just the amount of water I want to the kettle not just for the point of view of saving the cost of electricity (a great deal more now than previously) but also for the fact it takes far less time to boil. The Marks & Spencer energy reducing kettle claims that it increases the efficiency of your kettle by up to 31%.
Computing for the Older and Wiser, by Adrian Arnold with the sub-title Get Up and Running on Your Home PC will not be of direct value to most GadgetSpeak readers. Nevertheless, I can recommend it to keep the Older and Wiser out of your hair.
All too often, we are called upon to assist someone who has just bought a machine. While this is not a problem in itself, frequently, the result of answering one or two simple questions can be the thin end of the wedge with the newbie just calling again instead of trying to resolve the problem themselves in the first instance.
Up until very recently the mention of the company Teufel would have meant nothing to me. But that was before I was introduced to Thorsten Reuber, Managing Director at Lautsprecher Teufel GmbH which should give the clue that this is not a UK company.
In fact Teufel is a German company which started life as a single Berlin store back in 1979. Since then the company has developed into Europe’s leading direct seller of loudspeaker systems. Now Teufel is bring its direct selling approach of combining quality products with a more aggressive pricing attitude to the UK via the Internet.
An eco friendly hairdryer that is great value, will save you money on electricity, dry your hair fast and give you a smoother than normal finish - unbelieveable but true!
The Babyliss Eco Dry is a lightweight hair dryer that saves you half the energy of a normal 2000W hair dryer. I love being impressed by the products I review - and much to my surprise this one did. Whilst you might normally associate a powerful hair dryer with weight, this one is incredibly light. I was equally surprised by just how much power comes out of this neat hair dryer with quite a blast.
I have not seen the Disney film myself but I still know it is the hit of the year as far as the kids are concerned so I have little doubt that these robot toys will be the top of Santaís list for a great deal of pester power generation.
I must start with a warning these products are extremely difficult to remove from the packaging. If you are giving this as a gift I suggest that it is extracted from the packaging first as by the time you have done it the child will be bored. I found six ties that go right through the packaging and need to be fed out to allow Wall.e to look as if he can be extracted.
We all know we should backup our important data. We all intend to back up our important data. We'll
definitely back up that important data... tomorrow.
The issue of how to back up your data is not new but also has not been solved for the average user. Despite a huge number of software solutions I've yet to find anything that actually works and is practical. Want a solution that will save your data from the most common problem - hard disk failure? A solution that doesn't actually require you to remember to do anything? I thought so.
As the size of software increases, so the capacity of hard drives grows to provide the necessary storage space and the price being asked for such devices tend to fall.
During one of my infrequent clear-outs of kit that was of little use other than being a repository for dust, I came across one of the hard disks that had formed part of an earlier computer long since consigned to the scrapheap. I hate to think how much this item of equipment would have cost when I purchased it.
Whatever your age, the fantasy of being the guitar playing rock star can easily be indulged with this next product.
Having mastered an air guitar you might feel the need to move on to the next level. This is where Guitar RockStar from Tomy could enter the picture. Guitar RockStar is constructed of plastic and consists of the head of a guitar and two and a bit frets overlaid by various controls. Power is provided by two AAA batteries (not included) which fit into a compartment on the back of the guitar’s neck. Also located on the back of the guitar is the speaker grill; 3.
This is a single unit with DAB and FM radio, a CD player and as it also takes SD cards it can playback MP3 and WMA sound files on cards up to 2GB. It also continues from where you stopped playing when you shutdown the previous time.
The Roberts Sound 24 (MP-24) is 30x17x17cm and weights 3.12kilos. This is mains unit and the mains lead enters back left. Rather surprisingly the DAB aerial is of the wire type exiting back right and it is 60cm in length. Just behind this are two 3.5 jack sockets one for earbuds and the other for Auxiliary input for MP3 or iPod. The actual controls are nine buttons on the top edge and a further nine above and below the 8x2cm two line display on the angled front of the unit.
If you want something a little different for party food and fun - have a look at the Giles & Posner table top Candy Floss machine.
It's party time of year, and Giles & Posner have brought us the . It's a neat little counter top unit in baby pink colour. This Candy Floss Maker is designed for at home parties - where a few guests can have fun twirling their own sticks as melting sugar is spun around. It's not designed for mass use - such as the one we use at the school fete. It is however, very easy to use, assemble and to clean afterwards. Although you do need to clean quickly as sugar is very sticky stuff.
Heavily involved in the high definition arena, despite some setbacks, Toshiba has developed a camcorder to take advantage of the technology.
Many more years ago that I care to admit, I spend an enjoyable summer season as a beach photographer at a local holiday resort snapping away at holiday makers in the hope they would purchase my photos. The camera, a French Sept, was a converted movie camera designed for heavy duty work and had a clockwork motor. It was certainly heavy enough to double as a weapon of considerable destruction. How things have changed as I look at the Toshiba Camileo Pro HD camcorder.
Departing from the usual black-box approach to iPod speaker Systems JBL brings us something a little different - without sacrificing sound quality.
The JBL Radial does not follow the more common brick formula to iPod speaker systems, instead effectively being a vertically mounted donnut with the iPod nestling securely in the middle. The first things that strikes you as you take the JBL out of the box is just how striking it looks - you don't need to hide this unit away in a corner. You're more likely to want to have it in clear view as a focal point to a room in it's own right.
While this is a hand blender it can also be used as a mini grinder or even with a whisk attachment to beat cream, make mayonnaise etc. So I suppose this is really three tools in one.
Firstly the Krups GPA3 is a 600watt hand blender. In this format it is 39cm long. The motor part is 20cm long and the stainless steel blender clips onto the end making the 39cm length. A single push button at the end of the motor part allows the blender to be removed and placed in the sink etc without your hands having to touch it. The motor part has a rubber grip that goes from the top for 9cm.
Leapfrog have long been in the world of teaching kids to read. Here they use some of the latest page reading technology with their Tag system to make reading interactive and fun. The Leapfrog Tag Reading System is one of the Dream Toys 2008 top 12 pre-school winners.
Leapfrog make reading interactive with the use of a Tag pen to help read the book and play games. Your child can hold the pen and touch a symbol on the page to read the story to them by the characters in the book, with a signalling sound to tell them when to turn the page. Alternatively they can touch another symbol to have just that page read to them.
Another couple of items shown at the Marks and Spencer Christmas In July event. First a somewhat strange combination an FM radio and a flask. Second a game that has been around for years Cludeo, this time in a new format.
What took my eye was the radio and only when I tried to find out the price did I find it was paired with a flask. It is 20cm tall and 6cm across the capacity is stated at .35 litres. It has a removable leather style cover and best of all the dimensions are the same throughout for ease of cleaning. Apart from a small cap/drinking cup there are two inner lids meaning that items stay hot or cold longer.
The Dyson Baby DC22 Allergy is a cylinder vacuum cleaner designed to tuck away into the smallest of storage spaces whils still giving a performance clean.
As it's name suggests this is Dyson's baby of the family. This cleaner is ideal for you if space is at a premium but you still want a high performance cleaner. The DC22 Allergy is a compact vacuum cleaner that still manages to incorporate the Dyson Cyclone technology. It's designed for homes with very little storage space and not too much vaccuming! The Dyson Baby DC 22 is simple to assemble.
Whatever your current storage capacity, you can usually benefit from an increase especially when at an attractive price.
How much capacity was available on your first hard disk? If you have been around personal computers as long as I have then I’m guessing it will be a low number. There is a distinct correlation between available capacity and the length of time involved with computers. Those who have been around the longest will respond with a low figure while more recent members of the computing community will quote a much higher capacity.
If your kids love building things then Magnext is a deceptively simple construction toy that you should definately put in their Santa's Sack this year.
Recently we were sent the - I was really impressed - as you'll see in my of the iCoaster. When researching the background we saw that the iCoaster had won the in the "SMart Play" category. On that list we also noticed the it's parent product the MagNext (winning "SMart Build" category) - so we had to give MagNext a go! MagNext is a deceptively simple construction toy with lots of play value.
This product almost has the voice recording market to itself, the method buy the opposition, worked a while ago. Donít get me wrong it is a very good package and could well put a lot of typists out of work. It is also happy to work unsocial hours for no pay.
The product comes on a DVD and took around 15 minutes to install on a reasonably fast XP system. Add another 10 minutes for the basic training and microphone testing and you are ready to go. Give it some documents and emails to analyze (this can take a few minutes) and it will already have a good idea of your style, this will help. My initial few test sentences had only one error that to me is near perfection.