It wasn’t so long ago that the mention of a tablet would refer to a medication. Now entertainment and browsing are more likely to be related topics.
Where ever you seem to look these days, 7-inch tablets is a popular choice with consumers looking for an easy portable device that can provide entertainment, news and email capabilities. Joining this ever-increasing group of devices, with its banner firmly attached to the Android flagpole, is the Vodafone Smart Tab II.
Since reviewing The NEX5 a couple of variety’s have emerged, however new cameras from Sony are not frequent so when I saw a prototype some months ago I immediately requested to review the new NEX6 when it was available.
Small enough to be a digital camera but it’s not. Small enough to fit in a pocket but it has a neck strap. It can have different lenses and mine came with a 16-50mm lens, this can also zoom to 2.8 times. Another reason why this is a DSLR – although Sony just call it an interchangeable lens camera - is that it has something most digital units do no longer have, a viewfinder.
Either of these would be welcomed by anyone who loves their music. First from Sol Republic a rather nice set that you build. Second from TDK a set that would not disgrace a recording studio, I would be happy with either.
I opened the box to be greeted by the two earpieces and nothing to connect them. I have had headphones with separate cables before but a set without any apparent headband. It’s in the box as a single length with adequate padding for the centre 11cm. As this band pushes through the outside of each earpiece it will fit any head however large or small. There are two 2.
Imagine, if you will, a section of interior tubing that has been designed to bend (I was tempted to say “it like Beckham” but resisted) around an obstruction and you will have some idea as to the general shape of the Samsung DA-E550 product. This piece of kit is a Bluetooth, one-piece, audio speaker system with a docking facility.
Decked out in a high-gloss white coating, the DA-E550 unit has dimensions of 462.7 x 122.3 x 151.8mm (W x H x D) and weighs 1.6kg which does take it out of the range of a portable device. Situated at each end of this curved cylindrical tube are the speaker’s cones which display fixed and flexible silver meshes with a silver phase plug protruding from the centre. Arranged near the right speaker is an array of touch sensitive controls for Bass, volume and play/pause.
Both these items are portable speakers, both and single pieces. The first from Edifer ‘Image’ charges from USB but can be used away from power. The second from a new name to me i-Box ‘Twist’ is a portable Bluetooth speaker.
It is triangular like a wedge 26cm long 5.5cm deep and 4cm tall. It weights 321grams. On the left edge is where you connect the supplied .8metre 3.5mm lead. Just below this is where the supplied micro USB to USB lead for charging the unit is attached, this is .75metre. You will probably need to study the getting started leaflet to work out how to switch it on. There is a circular button at either end which reduce or increase the volume. You need to press them both at the same time to switch on.
If, like me, you paid a visit to the Gadget Show held recently at the London Excel Exhibition Centre then you probably noticed the AVES stand with its collection of DAB/DAB+ radios and iPod docking units. You may even have gone on to the stand to check out the various products and, perhaps, wondered about the company’s name.
While the name of AVES might bring forth images of birds as this is the scientific name of the animal category that communicates by visual and audible signals, I am reliable informed that the name AVES is an acronym of the company’s four core values. Thus the joining together of Audio, Vibrant & Vitality, Enjoyment & Entertainment with Social & Sensory produces the British brand name of AVES.
Cast in the role of a princess, your task in this next game is to rescue your parents and other inhabitants from the spell of an evil witch.
The Kingdom had always been a happy place under the benign rule of the King and Queen. Everybody rejoiced when a royal birth brought the King and Queen a daughter. However the arrival of the Dark Queen changed everything as she cast her evil spells on the royal couple and others in the Kingdom. Fortunately the young baby’s nanny was able to spirit her charge away and then raised her away from the gaze of the evil queen.
While my own TV is a unit capable of displaying HD it cannot show 3D, at 32inches by today’s idea of size it is small. So I cleared a larger space in my lounge and here look at a Smart TV from LG that does it all that includes Wireless.
I am no superman but moving it around is not difficult as TV’s are so much lighter than early LCD unit used to be. As always I start with the dimensions. The screen is 95x56x2cm, it can of course –using a kit- be attached to a wall. However a stand is provided and this is a maximum of 52x25cm and it raises the TV by 7cm.
As many move from the desktop to a touch-enabled tablet, ViewSonic takes us in the opposite direction with a large screen AIO touch screen device.
As part of its latest batch of new products, ViewSonic has released its VSD220 offering. This is a touch screen Android AIO Smart Display. However unlike the numerous pocket and bag sized tablets that are currently fighting for market share, this AIO (All-in-One) product has been designed purely for desktop use where it can be placed in an upright orientation supported by a flip-out stand. With dimensions of 513 x 350 x 122mm (with the support stand extended) and a weight of 4.
At a recent TDK event I was shown four new small sets of speakers, all were in a single case. I was subsequently sent one to review, it can run on mains or internal battery and be a wired or Bluetooth connection.
While this was designed as a Bluetooth unit it of course has the ability to accept ‘Aux’ input from any 3.5mm device. Most will use an ‘i’ device or MP3 player but as I recently found the lack of volume in some DVD and Blu-ray films mean volume levels from your TV often go only so far and to hear quiet dialog needs more. It is 24x9.5x5cm and weights 1160grams.
While almost everyone has heard the name Kindle there are other people who make book readers and one such name is Kobo. In fact they do a whole range of devices here I am looking at two the KoboGlo and the KoboMini.
Either of these would qualify as the smallest dedicated book reader that I have seen so let's start with the larger. The Kobo Glo measures 15.5x11.5x1cm and weighs 183grams. Mine was white with a pinkie red back. It has two buttons on the top a micro USB connection on the base and a micro USB slot near the base of the left side, that is all the connections. The viewable screen is 12.2x9cm.
Marriage and death at Rainheart castle seem to go hand-in-hand. Are you brave and savvy enough to solve a mystery that if Gravely Silent.
The opening introduction sequence lays the groundwork for the story as you awake from a nightmare that features your sister Jennie. You then hear from your brother-in-law, Richard Rainheart, that your sister has died and her body already laid to rest in a private funeral where he was the only mourner. With no more information coming from your brother-in-law, you set out to visit his castle and discover how your sister died.
This is the second such device I have seen that comes with a separate keyboard; the other was the excellent offering from Archos whose only real problem was the price. This seems to be more reasonable in the price department.
The Gemini JoyTAB GEM10312BK measures 24.5x18.5x1.5cm with lid/keyboard on, it weights 1026g, without the external keyboard it weights 726. All the controls and connections are down the right edge, on/off, volume up, volume down, DC input, micro USB, mini HDMI out, headphones, micro SD slot and finally internal microphone. There is a built in camera on the centre top of the screen for Skype etc. The better resolution camera is on the back together with the pair of speakers.
The Canon PIXMA MG5450 is a Photo All-in-One product offering print, scan and copy functionality with a choice of USB or WiFi connectivity. You also get a built-in facility that allows you to print labels directly on to appropriate optical media as part of a second paper input tray.
With a plinth-like top, which houses the A4 flatbed scanner module, mounted on top of the box-shaped ink-jet printer unit, this product has dimensions of 455 x 369 x 148mm (W x D x H). The MG5450’s outer coating of lacquered black seems to want to tempt you to reach out to touch and feel its smooth lines – especially if you share my hang-up about finger smears that tend to congregate on this type of surface.
You should let sleeping Pharaohs remain undisturbed otherwise a whole heap of trouble could be the result as seen in this next budget title from Focus Multimedia.
Regular readers will know that Focus Multimedia has a portfolio of standard game titles and a budget line-up of offerings for the game player. This next game belongs to the BlackLime budget catalogue of titles. Curse of Pharaoh: Tears of Sekhmet is a Hidden Object game with a slight Adventure influence. Your task in this game is to help discover the seven Tears of Sekhmet which have been scattered around the globe.
Yes finally a HP unit I know its taken 18 months since their last offering but at last they have reverted to their original PR agency and so review items have started to become available to be tested, here a rather nice Ultrabook.
tHE HP Spectre XT Ultrabook 13-2100ea measures 31x22x1cm. The last measurement is the thickness at the front and it increases to 1.5cm at the rear. The unit weights 1410grams. It is silver grey in colour apart from the screen surround which is black but rubberised so no fingermarks show. The viewable screen is 29.5x16.5 with a notional diagonal imperial measurement of 13.3inches. The screen resolution is 1366x768. The 1cm empty space above the screen has a webcam mounted in the centre.
Put together Logic3 with Ferrari and you get a collection of electronic audio products with Italian style. Included in this collection is a set of headphones.
To many the mere mention of the company Ferrari brings up visions of high speed cars with the iconic red colour and a prancing horse. However the company has other strings to its bow. It is heavily involved in other areas especially those that deal with the design concept of bringing Italian flare to a range of products in partnerships with other companies such as Logic3.
SSD drives are slowly getting bigger, more quickly they are becoming lower priced. So is now the time to get one? Certainly the PC/notebook units I have reviewed that have at least a small SSD drive show a huge increase in booting speed.
This item from Kingston is a 120GB unit. This is the same size as in the HP Spectre XP Ultrabook to be published very soon, that unit was manufactured by Samsung but in essence it’s the same size in dimensions and capacity. The Kingston Technology SSDNow V300 measures 10x7x.5cm and weights only 90g. First the claims on the box 10x faster than a 7200RPM standard hard disc. Then the 450MB/s read and write speed this can do.
Now that Windows 8 is here we will have to get to grips with it. Even if we haven’t bought a new machine with it installed, all too often, friends and relatives assume we know it all -- even if we haven’t even used it. Windows 8 for Dummies follows on in the wake of previous Windows books in the series and is suitable for both the beginner who is new to computers and the more experienced user who is also faced with something new.
The author, Andy Rathbone, points out that Windows 8 works best with touchscreens and that there is generally no need to migrate to Windows 8 and that most people stick with the Windows version that came installed on their computers. However, “if you manage to figure out Windows 8 once, you’ll know how to run it on all your Windows devices…” This book is not a manual; it is a problem solver that you turn to in time of need.
The One For All Indoor Aerial worked with a TV and TV/Panel the latter reviewed two days ago. The second landed on my desk just before Christmas and for such a small ball it gives a good sound so two amplifying items, both are currently around £15 each.
I reviewed this in two places, the first with reasonable reception where certain groups of channels were received even with amplification. The second where most aerials struggle and with amplification I got acceptable reception on all channels. These two places are either end of my not huge property, so it certainly works. It consists of two parts a single rod aerial and a eight bar offering (highly directional elements) within a sleeve still visible but protected from knocks.