It only takes a moment of carelessness to break one’s smartphone. A drop onto a hard surface that breaks the screen would result in a large repair bill and, even worse, one would have to manage without it while it was away being repaired. The Impact Shield multi-layer screen protector from Tech21 is claimed to offer the best available impact protection that doesn’t inhibit a device’s performance.
The Impact Shield screen protector is much more than just a surface veneer and is built up from three layers each of which has a particular function. There is a hard outer layer which spreads the impact; BulletShield impact protection inter-layer with BASF absorption polymer, which is also used in bulletproof glass, to absorb impact; and finally a soft base layer to further absorb impact force.
The first is something to aid the placing and fitting of hook in walls etc, in fact it’s the perfect complete kit of items. The second is something I will never wear in anger but maybe if you are half my age these are serious trekking shoes.
In crude terms its looks like a stapler for walls and what it sends out is pins, pegs and hooks. It is 17x10x4cm. I am sure we all have - at the very least - banged a finger with a hammer when trying to hang a picture on a wall. With Hang Buddy Pro it’s as simple as ‘Load’, ‘Level’ and ‘Press’.
Focus Multimedia has bundled together three titles originally published by Big Fish Games in a Dark Mysteries Triple Pack. The three games are The Secrets of Arcelia Island, Secrets of the Dark: Temple of Night, and Written Legends: Nightmare at Sea. In each case the game belongs to the Hidden Object Adventure genre. From a single front-end, each of the titles can be installed in turn. A separate desktop icon will be created for each game.
Your role in The Search of Arcelia is that of a young woman who embarks on an expedition with her father and a small crew to discover more about the mysterious island of Arcelia. Following a storm you find yourself anchored just off the shore of the island while all the crew members and your father have disappeared. You then need to embark on an adventure to discover what has happened and learn the secrets of the island.
Having recently attended a games event and told you about some rather nice headphones I was offered the chance to review a Bluetooth speaker set that works rather well via USB when connected to your PC its secret is that it’s a single speaker.
I am now really sure where the ‘10’ comes from in the name, a few months ago Michael Fereday got to review the ‘8’ in the same series. It is 30x9x8cm at the back of the unit, the front of this six sided unit is 27cm. All bar the back are covered in a fine mesh material. There are seven touch controls on top of the unit. The rear has three inputs Auxiliary In, Headphones Out and USB connection.
After years of going head-to-head with the Roxio Creator package, Nero now faces a different challenge following Corel’s buyout of Roxio.
Originally starting off in life as a burning software utility, hence its title, Nero has developed into a collection of applications and utilities that are loosely bound together via a front-end. Designed specially for media viewing, editing and sharing with others plus one or two extra items, the latest edition of Nero is now up to version 12 with Standard and Platinum offerings being available. This review is based on Nero 12 Platinum.
Based on a real location that was the home of a dead entertainer, this next game involves searching for a missing song.
It was a case of one of those coincidences that can happen from time to time. I had just finished reading a news article about a school putting on a musical and having to get permission to change the lyrics of an Elvis Presley because one parent had claimed it was too racy. This situation involved an American High School (obviously not Glee) and the 1957 classic All Shook Up. The coincidence came when I picked up the next title in the pile for review.
Having looked at numerous digital cameras, some ‘Bridge’ units and only the occasional DSLR it is always nice to be stretched by one of the latter. A 300 page plus manual is always nice to digest as you try out some of the extras.
Mesuring 17x15x10cm the Pentax K-5 II will let you know this will not be light and indeed it weighs only a tad under 1200grams. The middle figure the width can increase by another 7cm when the 18-135mm lens is fully zoomed out, this is powerful.
Once regarded as an upstart as it offered graphics software at prices well below the accepted standards of the day, Serif is now an established software developer with a range of offerings such as this next title.
While you could easily spend several hundred pounds on a product for creating drawings and artwork (no names, no pack drill), there are more economically priced offerings available for the discerning user. One such title is DrawPlus from Serif. The latest version of this software is now up to X6, that’s 16 to you and me.
This is a three in one device as it scans copies and prints. Scanning can be done without any intervention once you start the wizard, at the other extreme I have never seen so many choices for copying should you wish to use them.
The Epson Expressions Photo XP-750 measures 38x32x12cm, at printing time you will need another 13cm in front of the unit to deliver the printed page face up on the automatically extending paper output tray. The touchscreen TFT also extends out to horizontal but that is within the extension of the paper output tray.
First a game that most will know from paper versions Wordsearch, here a version on themes. Second something intended for those of an age group that I represent the over 55s and this has a serious theme of what you can immediately remember.
This is a rather nice board game for two to four players, stated to be age 8 upwards. It is based on those found in puzzle books, here however no pen or pencil is required. Wordsearch as in the puzzle book version is normally a single player game. Here it is for two, three or four and often the younger players find the words quicker.
There are more smartphones currently taking up space on retailers’ shelves than you could shake a stick at. Many of the more high profile units tend to fall in the expensive category but that is not to say that the budget sector has been ignored by the various manufacturers (Apple apart).
A recent addition to the more affordable smartphone offerings is the ZTE Blade III model which combines a pleasant appearance with some useful features at a price that should not make you wince as you consider the hit on your budget. With dimensions of 120.3 x 63.5 x 10.
I have previously reviewed several offering from Orbitsound. However unless my memory is failing this is the first with a sub-woofer and is certainly a first for a wirelessly connected sub-woofer, the main unit can be connected several ways.
Recently I attended an event devoted to Bluetooth. Perhaps it should have been called an event for iPhone and iPad. Anyhow of the few companies present who had items available that did not require an ‘i’ device this was the only one who has so far come through on their promise to send an item or items for review. Orbitsound have two new models the M9 and the M12, both should be available by the time you read this review.
In the past I have looked at a number of Doro products of which the greatest majority were handset designed specifically for the older generation. These handsets, whether of the candy bar, slider or clamshell variety, feature an easy to use interface combined with large style buttons with a useful emergency facility.
The Doro experience has now migrated to the world of tablets and desktops. Doro has developed an application, suitably entitled Doro Experience, for use on the Android family of devices and the Windows desktop. My review is based on the Android version of this software, Currently the Doro Experience app for Android is available for downloading from Doro’s website and Google Play.
Fancy joining the FBI? You get the opportunity in this next title as you return to your home town to investigate a series of murders.
Classified as a Hidden Object Adventure game, Mystery Valley casts you in the role of Elizabeth Dark, an FBI agent who suffered from horrific nightmares as a young child. These nightmares continued until she left her home town which had the unusual name of Mystery Valley.
This is a wireless (Bluetooth) speaker system that can also import via 3.5 jack and ‘i’ device dock. Pioneer is one of the better names in audio and the 30 watts output may convert you to this unit. So have they shrunk size to compete in this competitive area?
Pioneer XW-BTS3 bluetooth speaker measures 33x10x16cm, the last figure is without anything in the iPod device dock. My unit was white but they also do it in more standard black. Bluetooth is the main selling point here; it was easy to link to a range of devices. You can also use the ‘i’ device dock which of course will also charge your device while in place provided you keep the power lead connected to it.
Having recently finished running the rule over the PIXMA MX395, it was almost a case of de je vu as I unpacked the latest unit to arrive from Canon, The new unit is the PIXMA MX525 and, like the earlier model, is a multifunction device offering the user print, copy, scan and Fax capabilities. The PIXMA MX525 was extremely similar in appearance with its rounded corner plinth top and reflecting black coating. Even the dimensions of 358 x 200 x 455mm (D x H x W) were similar. However there are some cosmetic and functional differences that become evidence over time.
This one-box unit follows the usual arrangement of the inkjet printer with accompanying input/output paper trays supporting an A4 flatbed scanner that is topped off with an ADF (Automatic Document Feed). Tucked away out-of-sight at the rear of the box are connections for mains power, USB, telephone line, external device such as a telephone or answering machine, and wired LAN. A second USB option is at the front when you need to access material stored on a camera or flash stick.
This is new camera from Samsung. It’s a digital offering verging on what some call a ‘Bridge’ unit. This is a full HD video unit with still images up to 12.4MP. It can take 4:3, 16:9 and 1:1. It has a flip out viewfinder like a lot of camcorders.
The Samsung EX2F 'Smart' camera measures 12x6x4.5cm, the last figure the width can increase by 2.5cm when fully zoomed in. The weight of the unit is 309grams. Looking the rear of the unit the left side has only a neck strap anchor point, the other anchor is on the right side that also has a flip door behind which are sockets for mini HDMI and USB. The front has the Schneider zoom lens 52-172mm (about 3.3 times zoom).
The first a set of Bluetooth headphones that allow you movement without wires. The second a device to turn almost any audio system into one that is wireless. So you choose if either or both these devices have a place in your life.
A set of on ear headphones that can be Bluetooth or connected via a standard 3.5mm audio cable which is supplied. The headphones come in a zip all around hard sided case which is oval at 19x15x7cm and considering the headphones are full size this is quite small. The secret is that they fold in at the point of expansion, click back to open and you have up to 3cm of enlargement on each arm. The earpads are leather as the middle 16cm of the headband.
Sometimes follow-up products arrive quickly but in this case there was a gap of years between my look at speakers from the same family.
About three years ago I took a look at a product that had been developed by XMI PTE, a technology driven company that was based in Singapore. The product in question was a small, capsule-shaped speaker that went under the title of X-Mini™ MAX II. If memory serves me correct, I was reasonably impressed with the build quality and general performance of this speaker which could link to various audio devices via a standard audio lead with a 3.5mm jack plug.
The first is a remote control that can replace several units, even those that the dog has tried to chew because you them more attention. The second a book called Vintage Tomorrows to help us all see the possible future of technology.
This is a universal remote control that can replace up to four devices. The second line of buttons on the control suggests, TV, PVR, DVD and extra which could be a gaming device like an X-Box an Audio system or anything else. It has 45 keys but it is not at all crowded and for those who like to watch in subdued lighting the control is backlit. It is 20.5x5.5x2cm, these are maximum figures and in the central waisted area its only 4cm wide. You need two ‘AAA’ batteries.