To recognise those products that missed out on a 5x5 award by just a whisker, we've introduced the
'Highly Commended' status. Products still have to be pretty good to get one of these and out
of almost 3,000 reviews on GadgetSpeak (as of December 2010) only around 180 have gained the required
marks to be Highly Commended!
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.
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.
All Android tablets are the same is something I have heard stated, well I disagree and here is a great example of a company giving more than you normally get, one such added extra is a full size USB port so importing or exporting is just a matter of attaching a USB stick.
This particular Android table is from Polaroid and measures 26.5x16.5x1.3cm while weighing 672grams. The viewable screen is 22x12.5cm. The system is delivered with Android version 4 (Ice-cream Sandwich). There is a small 28 page User Manual that is well laid out with illustrations to explain all the controls and connections. The screen is capacitive and multi touch so enlarging or reducing something is just a matter of opening or closing two fingers.
Storing your documents, images and music in digital format on your computer is now the de facto choice of many. But how would you manage if this data became corrupted especially if you did not have a backup?
Over the years Acronis has built up an excellent reputation for producing back-up software for the Windows platform. The company’s flagship product of True Image is now available in its 2013 edition. This product features a set of tools designed for back-up and recovery tasks and includes support for Windows 8.
Following my favourite breakfast of bacon baps, I was introduced to a new handset that has become my mobile device of choice.
Combining the talents of Google, Motorola and Intel produces the RAZR i. This Motorola handset is the first smartphone to combine the Android operating system (4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich) with an Intel chipset. Consisting of a sealed unit, therefore no access to the unit’s 2000mAh battery, the handset has dimensions of 61 x 122.5 x 8.3mm (W x H x D) and weighs 126g. The RAZRi is built around an aluminium frame with a decorated Kevlar padded backing.
While a new version of an OS (Operating System), such as Windows, might take a number of years to make a commercial appearance, utilities designed to keep the OS running smoothly operate on a short gestation period.
New versions of utilities are generally released on an annual basis with the year appendage being used to identify the current version. One such product that falls into this category is TuneUp Utilities 2012. Available with a three user licence this product provides a range of tools covering different aspects relating to the smooth running of your Windows computer system.
With a different company name and a newly designed interface, there is a new look to an old favourite with DIskeeper 2012.
Once upon a time there was a company called Executive Software. In 1981 this company turned its attention to the problem of data being fragmented on hard disks causing deterioration in the overall performance of the host computer. This was, and still is, a big “No, No” for users everywhere. The solution produced by Executive Software was a product entitled Diskeeper.
NASA technology and a branded set of ear-buds are just two of the features found on a new HTC smartphone.
As part of its One series of smartphones, HTC has released its One S model. My review unit, kindly supplied by Vodafone, has an appealing if understated aluminium body with dimensions of 130.9 x 65 x 7.8mm (H x W x D). Weighing just 119.5g (battery included), this smartphone fits comfortably in the hand and slips into a pocket or bag without causing an unsightly bulge or over-burdening you.
With so many people turning to iPods or MP3 those –like me – who have large CD collections need a way to condense the output and this offering allows an easy way to transpose to WAV, MP3, Flac or Ogg Vorbis with little effort from you.
This comes with a rather good database that identifies most published recordings and fills in all the information for you while it is ripping your CD’s. Then with your library stored you can create playlists of simple select by Album or Artist what to play by just using the remote and the units display, just attach headphones or speakers.
This small keyboard allows you – with the aid of a free download from the Apple store – to create small musical masterpieces on your iPod Touch or your iPhone and even for a novice the results can be rather good.
The Gear 4 "PocketLoops" measures 35x13.5x1.5cm and weights 330grams without the iPod inserted. It consists of a two octave keyboard with a dock at the left end for the iPod. The keyboard itself is totally dumb and also completely soundless, it is just of inputting notes into the iPod it has no power of its own any everything is drawn from what it outputs to the iPod.
This is a very sleek unit – almost flattened – so while the height is tiny there is some width and depth increase. It is a six ink offering ideal for those who need to print decent images, however it still scans and copies.
The Epson PX730WD Epson All In One PX730WD measures 43x52x15cm, for those who place things on shelves – it would need to be a wide shelf so maybe the top of a low cupboard would be better - another 5cm should enable things to be slipped under the landscape scanner lid. The power lead enters back left and both USB and or Ethernet cables enter back right of this unit.
This – sometimes called Mi-Fi - allows you to create a wireless network with up to five devices all using the same mobile signal so if your broadband dies or maybe you live in an area where dial up is your only solution providing you have mobile this could be the answer.
If you run a small business what do you do in a power cut, unless you have a standard BT type phone that will be down, Broadband will be down as your modem requires power, unless you keep your notebook charged you will not even have that. So what do you do, sweep the floor – you certainly can’t Hoover it – as you have no power. This then can keep you going for the - hopefully short - time without power providing you have charge in your notebook or Smartphone.
It is small enough to fit in a pocket and can handle your productivity and entertainment needs but takes a different path to other non-Apple tablets.
The BlackBerry PlayBook is a 7-inch tablet that is decked out totally in black. With a weight of around 425g and dimensions of 130 x 194 x 10mm, the PlayBook could be slid into a pocket when not required or held comfortably in one hand for most tasks. I say “most tasks” because I found it a little uncomfortable to hold when getting my regular fix of Angry Birds. Still as I tend to restrict myself to one session of bird-projecting a day, this is a minor issue.
This is another in a range of decent good sized panels recently seen. This one from Viewsonic offers a not particularly reflective screen and joy of joys someone has produced a panel surround that is not reflective shiny black.
The Viewsonic VX2336S panel measures 55x33x6cm but only 2.5cm thick at the edges. The viewable screen is 50x28.5cm giving the diagonal imperial 23inch measurement. Under the viewable screen are five clearly marked buttons to allow any adjustments you may wish to make, these are on the face and not hidden on the bottom edge where knowing what each does means trial and error.
A lot of these Smart TV’s are too big for the average room but Samsung have a 40inch version. This fits remarkably easily into the space my heavier older 32inch offering took. It has so much more than TV to offer.
The Samsung UE40D6530WK television is a thin 40inch TV, it measures 92x54x2cm, it comes with a stand 47.5x25.5cm that raises the TV 8cm from whatever you stand it on. If you prefer you can purchase a wall mounting kit and it is not as heavy as you may think. The initial tune of this Freeview HD unit found 115 channels made up of 75TV, 24Radio and 16Data. It took around four minutes and gave you the option to exclude Analogue where it also found the standard five channels.
Several people have pointed out to me that it has been a long time since anything from Lenovo has been reviewed so here is one of their latest notebooks a very powerful Intel i5 quad core machine with 6GB of RAM.
The Lenovo IdeaPad Z570 measures 37.5x24x3cm the latter at the rear and only 2cm at the front. It weights 2.6kilos. The viewable screen is 34x19.5cm which gives the notional imperial diagonal measurement of 15.6inches. Mine was two shades of grey except around the screen where it is the normal shiny black. The screen is reflective but a lot less than some. The left side starts with Kensington Lock port, then the DC input, VGA out, HDMI out, e-SATA and finally a USB2 port.
Where once tablets were a form of medication, now they take on the role of an entertainment and information delivery device.
When the words “Galaxy” and “Tab” appear in close proximity then you have a clear idea that the subject matter is a Tablet device from Samsung. In this case it is the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 product. The 10.1 part of the unit’s title refers to the size of the WXGA screen that delivers a resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels encased within a body that has dimensions of 256.7 x 175.3 x 8.6mm (W x H x D).
PowerShot are the larger of two small Digital Camera ranges offered by Canon. This unit is larger than most and on first glance could be mistaken for a DSLR unit. The main difference is that its lens is not interchangeable.
The Canon PowerShot SX40HS measures 11x11x9cm but the width can increase by another 6cm when fully zoomed, it weights 605grams without neck strap. The right side has a door behind which are HDMI and AV sockets, there is also neck strap anchor point. The left side has only the other neck strap anchor point. The base has solid battery behind a door where any SD card you might use also resides and there is also a tripod screw. The face has the 35x zoom lens (4.3-150.
I first saw this early last autumn at the impressive restaurant at OXO tower. I took some great images from their outside balcony over the Thames and have been impatiently waiting to get my hands on one to give it a thorough review.
My memories were correct this is a super camera. It is a little larger than a digital camera that fits in the pocket but smaller than a DSLR unit. It is 11x5.5x9.5cm and the weight with the supplied 18-55mm lens fitted is 475grams. Even with my initial test photos the quality was superb and when used at various gigs as I always do as part of all round testing the results were stunning.
From their base inGermany, the people at Nero have been busy developing the latest version of the company’s multimedia software which is the subject of the review.
The latest version of Nero’s multimedia software is available in Standard and Platinum flavours. This review is based on Nero II Platinum which contains a tool set that allows you to rip, burn, convert, edit, backup and organise your media to suit your individual needs.