WiFi's become an almost indispensable adjunct to our computing and home entertainment, but it has its quirks. It passes easily through interior stud walls - unless they happen to be foil-insulated - but can grind to a halt when confronted with brick. UK regulations limit transmission power, and hence the range, and dead spots are not uncommon in traditionally-constructed British homes. Sod's law dictates that these will exactly coincide with the location of your Net-connected set-top box, or your favorite place for using your laptop or tablet.
It's a problem that happily has a neat solution. But until the Netgear WN3000RP arrived on my desk I had no idea how simple it could be to set up a Wi-Fi extender.
Ever since the original launch, my smartphone of choice has been the Motorola Moto G device which combines good performance with a reasonable price point. Motorola has recently upgrading this excellent handset with the new second generation version which is available in single or dual SIM flavours with a choice of either 8GB or 16GB. Also included with this second generation of the product is a micro SD card slot enabling the user to increase storage by a further 32GB.
When purchasing this new Moto G handset you have a choice of colours while Motorola has retained the customisation feature of replaceable back and flip type shells. The new version of the Moto G is slightly larger at 70.7 x 141.5mm (W x H) than the original offerings 66 x 130mm (H x W). As a result any peripherals, such as covers, from the original model will not fit with this all-new version. There is also an increase in the weight which rises by 6g up to 149g.
This is a wireless (Bluetooth) Boombox that is able to get reasonably wet and has an uncanny look like a sculptured shape with its fourteen upward facing edges which are there to project the sound, twelve of them have a speaker grill finish.
I remember the Sunday morning when I removed this from the box and bleary eyed thought for a long time – without reading the instructions – the difference between ‘in’ and ‘out’. Then slowly the penny dropped as this is not only Bluetooth speaker but also a battery charger.
The Linksys WRT 8-port Gigabit Ethernet switch model SE4008 provides an easy means of adding additional Ethernet-connected devices to one’s home network. It is simple to install and has been styled so that it will not look out of place in a family room.
This is the second portable – untethered – unit I have looked at this autumn; my home is looking rather clean by my standards anyway. This unit that is not heavy comes in a very large and heavy box as it comes with not one but two batteries and a charger, these are the weighty bits.
When assembled it weighs 3.4kilos, it is 1.1metres tall, 28cm wide at the cleaning head and a maximum of 25cm deep also at the head, the top 40cm is the handle and unlike the Hoover recently reviewed this does obediently stand in the corner when not in use. The reason this stands is that it locks in an ‘L’ shaped position when not in use, unlike some cleaners that are difficult to get ready to work a small pressure on the foot of the unit is all that is required.
Everybody enjoys their private moments and the next product allows you these moments when listening to your favourite music.
This is an inkjet unit and it can also print A3 as well as the normal A4. Two sided printing as standard and as it has four separate cartridges only the required empty ones need changing so you should also save money with this unit.
Available from Samsung, the SD590 takes a different approach to adjusting its settings.
While the model number of this next product, which is SD590, gives little away with regards to the functionality of this item, the tagline of “Minimalist design. Maximum vision” does provide a pointer as to what it might be. This Samsung product is a 24-inch LED monitor offering the user a choice D-SUB or dual HDMI connectivity. My review sample was supplied with a HDMI lead and a two-piece power lead.
In this next game you play not one but two different characters with one investigating the other.
Mystery Agency: Visions of Time is a Hidden Object Adventure game available on Avanquest’s GSP label. Before embarking on this Hidden Object Adventure game, developed by Cranberry Productions, you can make various adjustments that include the volume levels of music and sound effects plus whether to play in full screen mode. This game has two difficulty levels referred to as Beginner and Pro while those with an understanding of German can play the game in that language.
I normally think of Olympus as a manufacturer of removable lens cameras which normally makes then larger than pocket size. Here a unit that will easily fit in a pocket and also one that can survive the odd drop or immersion in water.
The Olympus Tough TG-850 measures 11x6x2.5cm and weights 216grams. Because it is waterproof the zoom is internal so the dimensions given are maximum. There is a printed ‘Basic Manual’ in 29 languages, the full manual together with software is on a supplied CD-ROM. Charging is by USB but lose the supplied lead as the end that fits in the camera is not standard. The face has the lens top right with the flash beside and slightly behind it 1.5cm away.
Adding to its range of multifunction inkjet device, Canon has developed its PIXMA MG6650 model.
The Canon PIXMA MG6650 is a multifunction device offering print, scan and copy capabilities. When connection this device to a computer system you have the choice of USB, wired or wireless connectivity with the access points for the first two being located at the rear of the unit. The rear also houses the mains power connection which is recessed into the body of the device.
I think of Epson as a producer of printers and projectors, their parent company is Seiko so timing systems and quality watches are their bag. Here however a health product that combines a watch with a whole range of other features.
When a company known for something launches a new product in a different field it always takes a while to bed in. This product from Epson is no exception. There are a range of products on the market in fitness and health, none that I know on can do everything that Epson is trying to do in a single product.
Two items that are both connected with telecommunications, the first a rather patriotic telephone that I can see being popular is places like Notting Hill and the Leef Bridge 3.0 a high speed USB 3 flash drive offering a standard USB connector at one end and micro-USB at the other for Android devices.
This is a very conventional well-made push button telephone. Maybe it will find its market in posh stores for its decoration as it is tastefully decorated with the union jack, while the red, white and blue are all correct the finish is matt. It is 23x21x12cm these are maximum dimensions as it is less than 3cm at the front. The shape is one that was favoured by BT in their later years and it bears the GPO label which is not to convey that they are old stock but the current owner of the GPO brand.
This next product could give you the opportunity to improve your street cred as you wear a music output device on your hip.
Unlike the other speaker units in the Jam range from HMDX that I have looked at in the past, this next offering has been designed specifically for use outdoors as you “strut your stuff” when out and about. The product in question is entitled the Jam Street. This is a wireless tubular stereo speaker unit. With dimensions of 2,5 x 1.8 x 6.
Canon make two ranges of small cameras the very tiny – but powerful – IXUS and the slightly larger – but a lot smaller than they used to be – PowerShot. Here an IXUS offering don’t dismiss it because it’s small as it’s still a very good camera.
The Canon IXUS 155 measures 9x5.6x2.5cm and weights only 140grams. The last measurement the thickness can increase by up to 3.5cm when the lens is fully zoomed. This is a 20MP camera with 10x optical zoom. These are impressive figures backed up by the quality of its CMOS which is what determines the quality of the images you shoot. Press the Function Set button to get a simple range of choices. Canon use L, M1, M2, S and Wide as there way of showing the capture size.
Sometimes due to the layout of the environment and traffic demands, a wireless network can struggle to deliver. This next product offers to help.
Sometimes modern technology can encounter problems regarding its performance within a more traditional environment. Take for example the case of wireless technology attempting to provide the required connectivity in many homes especially when entertainment is available from various online streaming sources.
Avanquest has gathered together four Match-3 games for this next offering from the company’s GSP label.
Jewel Legends is a new addition to Avanquest’s 4-Play series of games available on the company’s GSP label. This offering consists of four Match-3 titles developed by Rokapublish. The four titles are Farm Quest. Jewel Venture, Safari Quest and Yeti Quest. Each of the four titles needs to be installed individually from the same front end which has to be reloaded after each installation.
This is a rather nice square speaker from Polk; it can be used with Bluetooth or via a 3.5mm lead to connect to older music devices. This has an internal battery so in Bluetooth mode no cables are required so it can be placed almost anywhere.
The Polk Audio Camden Square bluetooth speaker, as the name suggests, is square measuring 17.5x17.5cm and 8cm deep. It is not light as it weights 1935grams. The face is one large speaker with a white patterned grill. Both sides have a more conventional grill mesh 11.5x6cm. The base and top are covered in leather and the back has a grip to enable movement as well as four 15mm round rubber feet as it can be used lying on its back.
Arriving with the promise of containing “your 10 most wanted new features” is Nero’s latest version of its multimedia product. Now up to version 2015, this product is available in either Classic or Platinum editions with my review being based on the latter product.
The installation process of the Nero 2015 collection of tools is not particularly quick. It requires the entry f a lengthy serial number as well as the acceptance or rejection of a number of options. Firing up Nero 2015 brings up a Windows 8-like launcher with tiles grouped into specific categories that are displayed against a white background. These categories are entitled Manage & Play, Edit & Convert, Rip & Burn plus Backup & Rescue.
This is a 7.85inch Android Tablet from a company that has loads of other brands Binatone. It has almost the latest version of Android operating system and something that a novice user will appreciate a 68 page printed User Guide.
It is 13.5x20x1cm and weights 380grams. The native display is 1024x768. Unlike most other basic Android Tablets this marks every socket and connection which are all in one corner of the unit on the top and left side. Micro SD card, Volume rocker – and + and once onto the top the power on/off button, 3.5mm headphone socket, micro USB for charging and pin hole microphone. On the back near the top is the units camera and to its right the internal speaker.