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.
Even with Bluetooth allowing personal data to be transmitted over the airwaves between devices, business cards continue to be the main method used by many when supplying others with their personal details. The problem then exists of what to do with this information apart, of course, from forgetting about it and leaving the cards in your pocket thus increasing the risk that they could become mixed up with your own cards. Rather than take the time and effort to type in the information into a contact database yourself, you could let technology take the strain by using a dedicated business card scanner.
Recently arrived from that hotbed of Belgium scanning technology is the IRISCard Anywhere 5 product. Released under the tag line of “You scan, it organises”, this product consists of a portable, cordless card scanner and contact management software for either the Windows or Mac platform.
A watery grave returns the mummified corpse of an evil pirate who immediately gets up to his old tricks in the Hidden Object Adventure game.
Available from Avanquest’s GSP catalogue is the Collector’s Edition version of Nightmares from the Deep: The Cursed Heart. Along with the main game, which is classified as a Hidden Object Adventure title, you get a bonus chapter, wallpaper, concept art, music soundtrack and a Strategy Guide. Apart from the Strategy Guide, which is available immediately, the other bonus elements are only accessible when you have completed the main game.
Finally months after its release I receive a small touch notebook designed for Windows 8. While the 11inch screen may be a little small for some the touch features work well as you will naturally sit with the screen well within reach.
It is 30x20x1.5cm, it weights 1416grams. The 1.5cm thickness is maximum as at the front and back it is only 1cm thick. The viewable screen is 26x14.5cm giving the notional diagonal imperial measurement of 11.6inches but it is shiny, so shiny that you could shave in it when off and so in bright daylight you will struggle to use it effectively. The screen shows 1366x768 pixels. There is an 82 key keyboard, the alpha and numeric keys are full width but only 1.
It has been quite a while since I last had the opportunity to check out the performance of a device from Seagate. That over-long interval has now been brought to an end with the arrival of the company’s Wireless Plus product. This offering promises to provide the user with the means of accessing their media data when on the move. As its title suggests, this product is based on Seagate developed wireless technology.
This is the big brother of Motorola RAZRi sometimes called the XT890. Everything about it is larger the screen, the overall size and of course the weight, even the operating system is one point later than on the RAZRi.
It is 13x7x1cm and it weights 147grams. The viewable screen is 10.3x5.8cm.Notional diagonal imperial measurement of 4.7inches. The screen display is 720x1280pixels. While most people tend to leave their phone on I still tend to turn it off on occasions, booting is 28 seconds and shutdown is 4 seconds. The on/off button on the right side has a serrated edge so you can feel it’s the right button even in the dark. Below this is the volume up and down rocker. The top has 3.
Powerline communications is a convenient technology where data is transmitted around the house or office over the mains wiring. It provides an alternative to wireless or long Ethernet cables. Tp-Link’s TL-PA551 adapters are HomePlug AV compliant, are plug-and-play, and are claimed to have a range of up to 300 metres, and provide speeds of up to 500Mbps and so should meet the majority of needs.
Each adapter is 5 x 2.5 inches wide, is black in colour with a white face, and the Ethernet connection is at the bottom. Hence, these adapters cannot be used with mains sockets which are very close to the floor or worktop. A pass-through mains socket on the face of the adapter obviates the need for an additional mains socket. Where one wants to connect additional items, such as a printer or scanner, a multi-way mains extension lead can be plugged into this socket.
Over the years I have been asked quite often what e-mail clients can read the Outlook Express files. This now becomes more pressing as Windows XP support ends very soon. Here is one item that reads these and other file formats, and, if you have one or two mail accounts then it’s FREE.
Bluetooth has been around now for a good number of years but it is only recently that this technology has become the preferred option for transferring data between various devices.
Leading the way in the rise in popularity of Bluetooth technology are the various speaker units that have been designed to enhance the audio output from mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets that are becoming our constant companions. No sooner do I finish checking out one such Bluetooth speaker device than another arrives hard on its heels to take over the task of delivering the audio output from my various mobile devices.
HP first delivered an Envy in the period when they sent nothing out for review, this then is a much later version and is the first to make its way into my office to be given the once over, it may even please the all-seeing lounge police!
The first thing you notice is that the scanner lid is made of clear glass and the whole unit is sleek and very fashionable. It is 42x31x12cm when closed. However that is with the display panel closed and this will automatically open to 45degrees when powered on and this adds around 5cm to the overall depth. The reason that the last figure is ‘around’ is that you decide exactly the angle you want for perfect viewing.
If you are a gamer, one of the hard core brigade, then you will appreciate the need for the appropriate tools that have been specifically developed to fulfil certain tasks. You need to purchase or build the system box with high-end components such as the motherboard and graphics cards and boost its performance with a gaming keyboard and mouse. You might also want to complete the line-up with a gaming headset. One such product is the Sound Blaster TACTIC 3D RAGE unit.
Developed by Creative, the Sound Blaster TACTIC 3D RAGE has been designed specifically with gamers in mind, although that should not preclude others from sampling its performance. This headset breaks what I thought was a rule for gaming peripherals. Rather than a tethered device, which is meant to give a faster performance, this TACTIC 3D RAGE offering is a wireless headset that comes with a USB receiver already paired to work with the headset.
As part of the latest batch of games to arrive from Focus Multimedia is that one that continues the adventures of a young journalist in search of her husband.
In the follow up to Green Hills Sanatorium, Haunted Halls: Fears from Childhood returns you to the role of a young journalist who continues in her quest to rescue her beloved Tim from the hands of the villainous Doctor Blackmore. Following his fortunate escape at the end of the previous title, Blackmore flees through a portal to a strange world with the captured Tim. You follow in close pursuit in this Hidden Object Adventure game.
This is the current latest version of Microsoft Office, it has a very new and somewhat sinister edge to it in that it is now a item that comes with a licence to allow its use for 12 months after that you need to pay to keep using it.
The latest Canon printer to arrive in my work space belongs to the company’s small office/home range.
As part of its latest refresh of small office / home range of units, Canon has released its PIXMA MX395 model. This is a multifunction device that provides print, scan, copy and FAX capabilities with a built-in ADF (Automatic Document Feed) feature. While this is a fairly standard combination of features, this particular model does lack one aspect that has been a regular feature of the other Canon models I have looked at recently.
This is another large flat panel, and, what a unit this is. Not only is it big at 27inches but it also can display a lot more that that seen on most other panels as the maximum resolution is 2560x1440 and not the glass ceiling of 1920x1080.
It is 64x39x1cm the latter at the edges; it does become 2cm thick further in. The stand is circular at 25cm and2.5cm thick. The arm that connects it to the panel can collapse to 6cm or raise to 16cm and the movement is so smooth. Almost all monitors and panels I have ever reviewed have a dumb stand meaning that its purpose is simply to support the panel. Here while the connection method is still into the back of the panel the base has a USB hub.
Although an ordinary flat-bed scanner handles individual documents and photos without any difficulty, there are problems when one needs to scan pages in a book or any other bound material. This is because the spine prevents the pages being held flat on the scanner’s platen and so you get a very distorted portion of the image. With its OpticBook 3800, Plustek has produced an effective solution to this problem in a machine which does not take up too much desk space and is ideal for the serious student, library or SoHo worker.
It is black and silver in colour and is roughly 11 x 18 x 4inches high. With its large Cancel, Colour, Grayscale and B&W buttons it has a business-like appearance. Unlike normal flat-bed scanners, where the edge of the glass platen is an inch or more from the edge of the machine, this is very much reduced in the OptiBook where the platen, together with the scanner head, extends to within about 0.25 inch of the edge of the machine.
Here I am looking at two full size headphones. First a set from Creative primarily designed for gamers but also great for other uses. Second a name most known for quality in Formula One Ferrari and marketed by Logic 3.
Most gamers refuse a wireless headset on the basis that the supposed latency gives them a disadvantage. Not so with this offering as people who use it have even been accused of cheating as they can hear things with more direction early enough to move away, so it is possible for a wireless headset to even give you an advantage. My interest however is not the 16 hours of use between charges but simply the fact that a volume level once set can be held.
As its title indicates, Letters from Nowhere 2 is a follow up to the original Letters from Nowhere. In this second offering you continue in the role of Audrey who is still searching for her missing husband Patrick. As I missed out on the first episode, I have no idea how that game ended but I believe the style of game play remains fairly similar in this follow-up offering.
Available on Avanquest’s GSP game label, Letters from Nowhere 2 is a Hidden Object game that spreads itself over 11 episodes. From the game’s opening menu, you can create your profile and make adjustments to the volume level for both the background music and various sound effects. This set of options also includes Help information for the game which you can check out. There is no choice of difficulty level when playing this game.
Having recently looked at larger TVs from LG and Samsung it seems only right to look at another of the major manufacturers Toshiba, while most will think of Toshiba for notebooks they also do TVs and other home items.
It is 91x52x4cm and it is only 2cm thick at the edges. The viewable screen is 89x59cm giving the notional diagonal imperial measurement of 40inches, the stand is glass and is 38x20cm it raises the screen by 7cm from the table or whatever you stand it on, four fittings are supplied to allow you to fit into a wall kit should you want to wall mount. The stand allows around 15degrees of side to side movement. The screen however is fixed in the normal vertical position.