We all want to do our bit for the environment - but it pays to ask questions and not accept
manufacturers claims at face value. Here we look at the FreeLoader that offers to power your gadgets
for free using the power of the sun. How does it measure up? You may be surprised!
Information on the FreeLoader arrived through the GadgetSpeak letter box a while
before Christmas and was followed up by a phone call - and then a duly delivered sample for review.
A competitively priced product in a field where most manufacturers have at least one entry. This one has CD, tape (I am told this is still requested), MP3, USB and FM/MW radio.
This looks very like those offerings of a few years ago that used to be humped around on the shoulders of youths. It is 34x22x13.5cm. The width (middle figure) is a little misleading as it narrows to only 13cm at each end. The weight is around 2.5kilos. The unit is grey with black mesh over the front. To play CD's you need not only the controls on the top of the unit but also the remote control as amazingly the unit itself does not have a play/pause button.
Are you fed up – like a friend of mine – of everyone peering at your wrist to get the time? Well wear any one of this range of watches from TokyoFlash Japan and they will probably be none the wiser. Could be an outlet for spare Christmas cash.
The first of the two watches I found easy to set and read, the second created more problems not least because the diagram did not look like the watch I was sent. 1259L LED Watch Firstly it is not light as it weights over 130grams. It comes complete with a chunky stainless steel strap. It has two columns of blue LED's. The left column has five LED's a space and then a further nine.
Since taking control of Paint Shop Pro, Coral has added “Photo” to its title and provided annual versions of the software.
Meeting up with an old acquaintance can sometimes be a cultural shock as happened with my first view of the latest version of Corel's Paint Shop Pro Photo product. Now up to X2 (surely if you are following the Roman numeral sequence then this should be XII), has been given a new set of clothes with a graphite grey coloured interface. If this new colour for the interface is not to your taste then you can revert to the familiar old style colour scheme.
This is one of a range of cameras launched at the start of the year. I have investigated a couple from the ‘S’ range and one from the ‘L’ range. Here one from the ‘i’ range and shortly one from the other range the ‘NV’.
There are two items in this range 'aimed at the younger market' the i7 (slightly more expensive) and the one I have the i70. It is 8.5x6x2cm when closed. Slide the screen to the left (this adds 3cm to the 8.5cm length) as a simple way to turn it on or off. It weights close to 180grams so the silver grey colour is a metal. When closed only the flash is visible on the face. The right side has a door to cover the solid battery and SD card (no card supplied).
While perhaps not in the “make your own” category, a new drive from Memorex can be personalised.
Recently I have noticed a trend, already well established in the mobile phone and MP3 player arenas, that is beginning to make inroads into other types of mobile devices. The trend in question involves the way that mobile devices are marketed as much for their style quota as for the functionality they offer to users.
Some games lead you in gently; others throw up a brick wall. This next title falls into the latter category.
With a title such as "Bad Mojo" then you should have a pretty good idea that your luck might just be about to run out. That is exactly the situation that faces Roger Samms, a scientist who has been involved in some vary questionable research and experiments (is there any other kind in the virtual world of gaming). But we are getting a little ahead of ourselves, so the subject of Roger and his bad mojo will have to wait for a moment.
This is described as an ‘Office All In One’ As it is black and grey it is unlikely to pass the ‘lounge police’ but apart from that it is not that tall and the output quality is good. It is actually a multi function unit as it has fax.
The dimensions of the Canon Pixma MX300 are 45x42x16cm however the height required will be increased to at least double the 16cm stated when you insert A4 paper (face forward) in the rear near vertical tray, this should also be sufficient to insert items onto the flat bed. However to fully raise the lid to vertical would require 30cm on top of the 16cm height of the unit.
The trend towards multiple function devices is spreading with the latest product from Pinnacle being one example.
When is a flash drive not just a flash drive? To answer my own question, it is when the main purpose of the device is to act as a TV tuner receiver which is the case with the product from the Pinnacle stable. With this particular product, Pinnacle has combined the capabilities of a DVB-T tuner with 1GB of flash memory that can be used as storage space.
This is a 22inch panel with standard analogue (15pin input) but it also has – not as you may think digital – but HDMI so your high definition Blu-ray or other device connect directly.
I must admit my initial thoughts were disappointment as the maximum display is 1680x1050 although the graphics card in the system will display a screen up to 2048x1536 and does if set but you scroll to the bits not shown on the 22inch display. First the dimensions it is 52x42x6.5cm when on it's circular 22cm base that raises the screen around 7cm above your desk. The actual viewing area is 47x29.5cm giving the 21.6 inch diagonal measurement.
The first a food item to fight the big two of Bovril and Marmite and the second a book to provide tasty recipes for Diabetics. Yes the link is tenuous but as I am a Diabetic and I like Toastmate it’s made.
Toastmate I suspect most people will have at one time or other tried Bovril and or Marmite (it seems Paddington Bear is now a convert to the latter) well celebrity chef Antony Worrall Thompson has created a taste that is somewhere between the two. As it's name suggests it's great on toast but it can also make that great British meal essential, gravy. In fact it's superb in sandwiches and many other things.
As a long time user of FileMaker Pro, I was keen to check out the latest version of this cross-platform database product.
While Microsoft would like us to believe that our software options, with regards to Office type products, revolve around Microsoft or Microsoft, there are other options available. For a number of years now my loyalty with regards to a database product has remained constant with FileMaker Pro. The latest edition of this cross-platform (Windows and Mac) database has now reached the heady heights of version 9.
This is the big brother to the recently reviewed HL-4040CN reviewed on the 26-10-07, it certainly is heavier – or I’m getting weaker. This is an All In One colour laser.
First the dimensions it is 40x55x42cm and weights 32kilos. So its bigger dimension wise and heavier weight wise than the HL-4040CN. The software install is quite quick and takes 420MB of hard disc space. It can be connected by Ethernet or by USB. There are two CD's one for PC and one for Mac.
This LCD picture frame boasts a wealth of features that go beyond simply showing your favourite pictures.
Apart from the obvious ability to show a collection of images this frame includes stereo speakers with MP3 playback
and the ability to play back video. Let's start with the basics though. The frame itself is a fairly hefty 275x200x30mm (WxHxD) which hosts an 8" 16:9 aspect ratio
LCD screen. The frame only appears to be available in one finish - black shiny perspex.
Combining natural shapes with technological innovation, Acer’s latest Aspire notebook offers itself for review.
Assigned the role of the Aspire flagship product is the Acer Aspire 5920 laptop. This model features the new design concept produced by BMW Designworks, entitled Gemstone, aimed at adding more than a touch of style to Acer's normal combination of power, usability, performance, with an aggressive price point. Lets consider first the various aspects of the Gemstone approach.
Time to climb aboard a miniaturised tank and tackle all the enemy can throw at you.
Retro never seems to go out of style mainly because it has proven to be a great source of inspiration for game developers looking for ideas on which to build their new offerings. Into this category falls Armada Tanks, a new arcade shooter, from Enkord. As with all Enkord titles, Armada Tanks can be downloaded with the user being allowed sixty minutes of game play before needing to make a decision whether to purchase or not.
This unit has MW and FM radio, plays CD’s of most types including MP3, can play MP3 or WMA from SD cards or Flash Drives, take input from USB or and for good measure supports a range of iPods.
It is 22x15x24cm and shiny black in colour, it comes with two external speakers 22x15x17cm these are also black and should you wish you could also connect a sub woofer. The speakers output are 10watts each. The front of the unit has a range of buttons inputs and sensors, unlike some items I managed to do most things direct from the buttons.
The effects of identifying objects with labels can be ruined by poor penmanship. Why not use the appropriate tool designed to make good looking labels.
One of the first, if not the actual first, names that I think of with regards to the ability to create labels is that of Dymo. Over the years I have used a number of hand-held Dymo devices capable of producing clearly printed labels on a variety of different coloured adhesive labels. My initial experiences were with a unit that had more than a passing resemblance to the type of ray gun often seen in old science fiction films.
This is a All In One as it scans, copies and prints but it also has a built in Light Scribe CD drive so it can also do that bit more, so I suppose it’s an All In One plus unit.
I have seen several small printers that are really designed as photo printers but they were all only for 15x10cm output. This is a full A4 printer and that as well as copying can be down from the four buttons on the interface that slides out 45% at the front, it also has a huge 7x5cm display. The unit is 43x38x19cm and the front of the unit also has four card slots and a USB stick slot that allows Pict Bridge connection.
For anyone with poor sight a mobile phone is normally a nightmare, however this offering has large buttons and an easy to read display, ideal for anyone who wants just a phone.
The ITT EasyUse mobile phone is a light grey colour and the phone weights only 112grams it is 13x5.5x1.5cm and the monochrome 4 line display is 3.5x2.2cm. There are twelve large buttons (four rows of three) each 1.4x1cm and all have a large white numeral on a blue background. Above this are the green call button and the red end call button both with large white illustrations on them these are each 2cm long.