This is an updated version of the excellent ground breaking mobile offering launched last year by Motorola. A few of the missing items that people wanted included have been so what exactly does this updated phone have to offer?
The Motorola Moto-G measures 13x6.5x.6cm and weights 144grams. Like a lot of recent phones that have passed my desk the first puzzle is how the back comes off. After a while a finger nail manages to make progress and eventually the back is off. This enables you to insert a micro SIM and a micro SD card up to 32GB before the somewhat easier task of reassembly. So on the face of it 4G, Android 4.4.
While perhaps not as well known as various titles from Adobe and Corel, Xara Designer Pro has a long standing and well deserved reputation for its performance speed when completing different tasks. In fact several years ago Corel licensed an earlier version of Xara software because its speed of performance made its own software look a little like a tortoise.
Now up to version X10, and part of the MAGIX family of products, Xara Designer Pro is available in 32 and 64-bit versions. As usual with MAGIX products, you are given the option of a Custom or Standard installation with choices that include the destination and whether to have a desktop icon to start the program. Recently MAGIX have been including a bonus item entitled Simpliclean with their various software items and Xara Designer Pro X10 is no exception.
Focus Multimedia has bundled together two titles from the Big Fish Games Fear for Sale series of Hidden Object Adventure offerings. The games forming this bundle are Sunnyvale Story and Nightmare Cinema with both titles being based on mysterious disappearances.
In Sunnyvale Story you take on the role of a journalist who turns up to report on the discovery of a dead body in mysterious circumstance in Sunnyvale. However, as soon as you arrive in Sunnyvale, you are warned off by the mayor of the town although the local sheriff is far more welcoming. He seems keen for you to continue your investigations into the death and other events that are affecting the community in this Hidden Object Adventure game.
A rather nice set of on ear headphones. Nothing fussy just a good quality sound without doing any more than removing from the box and plugging the lead into whatever you normally use to output your sound files from and relax.
The box says ‘Sporty, lightweight and comfortable on-ear design’ yes I think that is another good way of describing them.
While entertainment devices generally have their own built-in audio output, it is not always of the highest quality. This next product offers to improve the audio output.
Itís no secret that to me black coffee is a no no, my days of alcoholic excess are long gone and I prefer something smoother so milk is required. I do like my milk frothy so a device to pump steam in while making good coffee is for me.
This unit is 30x22.5x23cm. The unit is predominately white but the sides are a ribbed black and the area behind the coffee spout is also black. On top there is a chromed strip which lifts up to insert the pod and to the right of the front another chromed area the steam spout. There are three buttons on the face, bottom left on/off, top left heating button, top right steam button. On the right side at the top front a twist knob that is either off (vertical) or on (horizontal).
Where voice quality is important, a headset has a key role to play with vendors such as Jabra and Logitech producing headsets with noise cancelling microphones which are much more effective in meeting user needs.
Although loudspeakers and webcam microphones are suitable for conference calls where there may be a number of people involved, they are not ideal for one-to-one Skype calls and inappropriate when using speech recognition software. Furthermore, while there are many cheap headsets on the market many do not incorporate noise cancellation and, because of cost constraints, they may not be very durable and be uncomfortable for wearing for long periods.
Two useful things, the first for when the selfie needs to be more than at armís length as well as when you need not to be at that place. The second a small item to do just a single job that otherwise would involve several steps to complete.
This is from those clever USB people Brando in Hong Kong. The monopod pole when collapsed is 22cm long and can increase to 98cm. The rear end has a micro USB connection (for charging) and below this an on/off slider. The extended end has a tripod screw but this there to allow the two bits of the adjustable phone frame to be connected together. So once everything is connected your arm length will become something like 1.5metres or more.
If you have not had the battery of a mobile device die on you then you must be incredibly lucky. But do not tempt fate and check out this battery charger.
While data is generally easily accessible from almost any location via the Internet and an appropriate Wi-Fi hot spot, its availability will depend upon whether your mobile device has sufficient battery power to carry out the task. When the mobile device does not have enough power then problems can arise. It would be great if we could simply log on to the Internet or some other system yet-to-be developed and carry out recharging the battery powering our mobile devices.
Do you want a fool proof way to access your photos, videos and music on a range of devices? While OTG is great it does not work on all devices. This uses Wi-Fi to do the work so once the data is on the unit it can be accessed.
The unit is chunky at 14.5x8.5x2cm and weights 250grams. Data can be attached or removed by USB and this device has both USB3 and USB2 ports. Charging of this solid battery powered unit is by a lead provided. One moan that when charging there is an LED that shows red from empty till fully charged when it shows green, it would be nice to know something in between. There are three other LEDs on the face on, Wi-Fi working and Wi-Fi linking.
Vax has introduced a battery-powered upright vacuum cleaner, the Vax Air Cordless, targeted at those who want the power of a full-size cordless cleaner without the inconvenience of having a trailing mains cable to plug in or even trip over.
Weighing in at 4.2kg, it is largely grey in colour with royal blue details – mainly for switches and release catches. In addition to a removable dual-purpose cleaning wand and a soft cleaning brush it comes supplied with two Lithium ion battery packs and their charger. While one battery is on the VAC, the other can remain on the charger even when fully charged.
Look after your health and it will look after you Ė so goes the saying and this next product could prove useful.
Personal health and fitness is an issue that should concern us all. However, for some it is easily ignored due to the demands of everyday living. Fortunately help is available from various wearable devices that offer to provide feedback regarding certain health issues. Originally these devices tended to concentrate their efforts on a single topic such as how far the wearer has walked in a given period. But now devices are available to check on a range of health issues.
This next Focus Multimedia offering bundles together two Big Fish titles that feature a magical world.
Mandolins are great for giving very thin slices of vegetables, they have one nasty problem they are very sharp, most are sold with a guard but these often produce a lot of waste, all other Mandolins are push action this is a pull action.
When I saw this demonstrated at a recent event I thought it was interesting and worth looking at myself, after all a lot of things look great when used by a professional, they are less good when used in the home. The first time I used it I was amazed I cut apple slices so thin that you could see through them, OK interesting but not a lot of use as who really wants apple slices that thin.
With a brand name that suggests an explosive device and an appearance that reminds me of a slightly squashed sweet I enjoyed when I was younger, the subject of this next review is a Bluetooth portable speaker unit.
Forming part of the BOOMPODS range of products, the Downdraft speaker adopts a circular discus-like shape with a diameter of 55mm and a height of 30mm at its thickest point. Weighing 112g, and with its compact size, the Downdraft can easily be transported between locations by slipping it into a pocket or bag.
Smartphone prices are falling fast, reaching the point where you may be thinking of buying your next one outright and topping up monthly with PAYG. Budget smartphones are the sweetspot, but you'll need to choose carefully if you're not going to end up lumbered with rapidly obsolescent technology. The brand new Moto G LTE at around £150 looks like a pretty good bet.
Let's first clear up the distinction between this new LTE (4G) version of the Moto G and the now year-old previous version, because I foresee some considerable confusion, not least because the two models are externally physically identical. There's a good deal of confusion too about what 4G (Fourth Generation) and/or LTE (Long Term Evolution) actually mean.
This is the latest small and powerful option from Gigabyte who are best known for their Motherboards. They do however make some rather nice powerful notebooks that may even satisfy the lust for speed of the modern gamer.
It is 33.5x23.5x1.7cm and weights 1719grams. The viewable screen is 31x17.5cm which gives the notional diagonal imperial measurement of 14inches. The screen is full HD 1920x1080. Going round the perimeter finds a Kensington Lock port, Ethernet port, VGA out, two USB3 ports and a dual external headphone/microphone 3.5mm socket; these are all on the left. The front is clear apart from five pin hole LEDs.
First a small round ball with a rubber strap to allow it to be attached to a bag or belt, the result you can take photos remotely on more than one device. Second a tiny 32GB microDuo OTG flash drive for transfer of data and this is USB.
With the amount of available content, either free or subscription based, you might need help to access it. This next product could help.
The Roku Streaming Stick, as it name might imply, is a product for adding streaming capabilities to a device. In this case it is your television set. Resembling one of the original flash sticks, the purple coloured Roku Streaming Stick has body dimensions of 70 x 25 x 10mm (L x W x D) and simply slots into a HDMI port of your television set.
This can work as a single triangular speaker or via a hub form a multi room offering. It can work wired, wireless, Bluetooth or even via an Auxiliary cable. If this is not enough with the right sort of TV you can improve the TV sound with the M7.
They are useable with or without a provided prop. The shape is rather like a large section cut from a round of cheese. Front to back the speaker is 20cm. Side to side it is 39cm. It is 13cm tall. The prop fits in the back near the connections and makes the unit stand firmly at 36cm. There is a curved cover for the back and remove it to reveal, mains lead connection, Ethernet, Service Port, 3.5mm input and two plus buttons for additional speaker link and WPS router connection.