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!
Fresh from a mountaineering trip up Everest, I set out once again but this time to explore the Amazon Rain Forest.
Following on from Hidden Expedition Everest reviewed recently, Focus Multimedia has now released the next title in the series, namely Hidden Expedition Amazon. Although this game takes a different approach in some respects, it still retains the basic hidden object style of game play.
Gardening and I have never been even closely compatible as partners but maybe after playing this game I should try even harder.
Whenever I have attempted to place any bulb or seed in the ground, the results have more in common with a buried rather than a planting. Fortunately this next game brings together these two types of event. Appropriately entitled Plants vs. Zombies is a game conceived and designed by George Fan (I would hate to share his nightmares), who was previously responsible for Insaniquarium (a title I seem to have missed out on). Supporting both the Windows and Mac platforms, Plants vs.
My own modem/router started playing up just a couple of weeks ago and a few days before this arrived it gave up working at all, the wireless side had stopped working some months ago and recently I had to reboot it often two or three times a day.
So when a modem/router suggests that you need no knowledge to attach a new unit I took this with a large pinch of salt. Insert the CD and it autostarts. A number of questions are asked – and answered – by the information already held within the PC. A range of tests are conducted – by the unit – and then it reboots itself. Done, no questions at all. However the one proviso is that your PC was live and then this scenario is correct.
A colour laser printer with an RRP of less than £200 surely is worthy of further investigation. The size is not that large something that earlier printers could not say and it prints quite quickly without colour pages printing at ¼ speed.
The Canon i-SENSYS LBP 5050n is 38x4325cm and as printed pages are delivered face down on the top of the unit no extra space is required. It weights around 18kilos so should be easily moveable if required. When I removed it from the box I noticed there is a cardboard sling that makes removing it easy.
Anyone who can follow a receipt can make bread successfully with a decent bread making machine as it does all the kneading, proving and cooking it will then even keep it warm for you to eat when ready.
There are two tantalising smells freshly brewed coffee and freshly baked bread, either will get most happily out of bed in the morning. The Antony Worrall Thompson (AWT) breadmaker from Breville measures a maximum of 41x27x30cm with the right hand part where the controls are being somewhat less. There is a hard wired power lead emerging from the bottom back right, above this are a couple of protrusions to allow you to wrap the 1.2metre lead around when not in use.
Considering the importance of having an up-to-date backup, it is not surprising that there are numerous products developed to carry out this task. One such offering, aimed at the home user, is Acronis True Image Home.
Since the last time I took a look at Acronis True Image Home, the product’s title has changed from using a version number to featuring the year as the means of identification. As a result this latest edition of the software bears the title of True Image Home 2009. This version brings together several new features to sit alongside its main disk image creation functionality.
A camera that sits very nicely somewhere between the ‘point and shoot’ and a DSLR. This unit does have a flash shoe but works perfectly well with the excellent built in flash. In fact the 5x wide zoom and 15MP images make this a very powerful unit.
It is 10x7x4.5cm this last figure the width can increase by up to another 4cm when the lens is fully zoomed. It weights a chunky 400grams. Having recently looked at a couple of very powerful units I was concerned that going back to a basic digital camera would be something of a culture shock. However this powerful unit was a very enjoyable experience. Some might even put this on a par with a DSLR. The rear of the unit is dominated by the 6x4.5cm TFT display.
Last August I requested to see this DSLR unit from Nikon and a series of miss communications means it finally arrived with me recently, was it worth the wait, it sure was! I always enjoy being stretched when I review a DSLR.
The Nikon D60 Digital SLR camera measures 12x9x7cm without a lens attached. Mine came with an 18-55mm unit and this increases the last figure by up to 10cm. It weights 820grams not heavy by some DSLR standards but enough for you to value the supplied neck strap. Unless you are a DSLR expect your first port of call should be the Quick Start Guide and this 60x42 double sided (four columns per side) sheet has more information than some cameras User Guide.
Sometime a degree of patience is required during the interval between seeing a new product and getting your hands on a review unit. With this next product that wait lasted six months before I was able to confirm or adjust my initial impressions.
Classified as an Internet Media Tablet, the Archos 7 is the latest addition to the company’s portfolio of PMP (Personal Media Player) type products. As its classification indicates, this product combines Internet access and media storage/playing facilities within a single device. The number “7” of the product’s title specifies the diagonal dimension of its high resolution (800 x 480 pixel) touch screen.
This is another in the range of marvellous Canon Ixus offerings that I have enjoyed reviewing over the years. Not only me but those of my friends who have taken my advice and purchased one of these little Ixus offerings.
The Canon Uxus 980IS measures 9.5x6x2.5cm and the last figure, the width, can increase by up to another 3cm when it is fully zoomed. It weights 178grams. Mine was matt silver with chrome sides and round the lens. It is also available in black. Looking from the rear the right side has the anchor point for a wrist strap and a bung covering A/V out. The left side is clear. The base has entry point for the solid battery and any SD/MMC card you might use, it also has the anchor point for a tripod.
While we are often encouraged, and sometimes make the effort, to be energy efficient with regards to our home and car environment, the home computer is generally an area that is neglected in this respect.
Recently I have been talking to my computer. This should not be regarded as a sign of any mental disturbance but more to do with testing the latest speech recognition software from Nuance.
Nuance, the leading provider of speech solutions, has released the latest version of its best selling speech recognition software. This is Dragon Naturally Speaking (DNS from now on) which is now up to version 10 and arrives just over two years after version 9. The product is available in Standard, Preferred, Preferred Wireless and Mobile, and Professional flavours. This review is based on DNS Preferred.
Put together an 18-inch display, Blu-ray drive, Intel Core 2 Duo processor packaged inside a Gemstone Blue design and the result will be the Acer Aspire 8920 which is currently residing on my work space.
Unlike most Medion kit that is sold through Aldi where if you are not queuing on the day they go on sale before the store opens you don’t get one this tiny notebook is one of two currently being sold by Sainsbury’s both online and in their larger stores.
This is the third Netbook I have reviewed both the others (Acer and Asus) were running Linux this however runs Windows XP Home. It is 25.5x17.5x3.5cm and weights only 1130grams. It is totally black apart from the area surrounding the keyboard that is silver/grey. The screen is 22.5x13cm giving the notional diagonal measurement of 10.2inches. The screen resolution runs in 1024x600 but it has a VGA port and runs a second monitor/panel without problems at a higher resolution should it be required.
When I first opened this box I thought another DAB radio from Pure, after a few minutes use I knew this was something that takes things to the next level. This is not simply a good DAB radio it is much much much more.
The Pure Evoke Flow DAB radio measures 21x14x9cm. The rear has six connections. USB, auxiliary speaker, headphones, stereo out, auxiliary in and DC power input. Towards the top of the back a 70cm seven piece rod aerial starts. There is also a door on the back that can take a proprietary charge pak to allow it to be used on batteries. Neither of the sides or the base has anything. So this leaves the front, the single speaker is on the left on the right is the six line 6.5x3.
If you need a set of kitchen scales that are supremely accurate and look great as well, then take a look at the Salter Mix 'n' Measure
January is still shiny and most of us haven’t had the chance to break our resolutions yet. If you decided to lose weight or spend more time cooking gorgeous meals from scratch, I have just the product for you – the Salter Mix ‘n’ Measure scale. Now if you thought weighing ingredients was just a matter of chucking some flour or sugar in a bowl let me enlighten you. Most scales either leave you peering at a dial or work in increments of 5 grammes.
Just over two years ago I reviewed a coffee machine from the people who made the coffee Nescafe. Now there is a new version and this is from the people who make the machine Krups. It’s still the same coffee but the machine is even better.
In the ensuing two years my Dolce Gusto article has been well read and I am told is one of the top reads ever on it certainly still often features in the monthly top ten reads as it is still an extremely popular coffee machine. So what is new or different well lets deal with the consumables first the Chocolate was launched after the review and has had some favourable comments. If you have a spare half an hour why not read all the numerous comments to my original review.
This is a digital camera that is easily small enough to fit in a pocket or purse but this does not mean it is lacking in features. It is a 12MP offering that has scene recognition, face detection and auto red eye removal to mention just three.
It is 9x6x2cm and weights only 165grams. Doing a quick run round the unit mine was a rather nice matt black with silver fitments such as the Fujinon lens F=8-24mm. Above and to it’s right by a minimum of 2cm is the flash. The left side is bland while the right side has wrist strap anchor point and A/V out behind a door. The base have the rechargeable battery behind a door that also hides the card slot, to the left of this is the tripod anchor point.
Recently I heard about a Swedish Phone company, I went along to their presentation and was given several of their phones to try. This was the first offering a rather nice slim DECT phone called the TH80.
The phone is 15.5x4.5x1cm and weights only 120grams. It comes with a base station that you plug into the wall socket and this is 11x11x3cm both the phone and the base station are black. The phone has a silver back. The base station also charges the phone. If the phone is away from the base station you can page the phone from it, great if you have a large garden and the person in the garden has it in their pocket. Also useful if you forget where you left the handset just follow the tone.
At the start of 2008 GE launched a range of cameras into the UK. While some were on show and have been reviewed during the year as they became available. Not even a dummy mock up of this unit was available at the time, finally it has become available, was the wait worth it?
A lot was made at the initial event of all cameras sharing the same manual. Well this unit does have the same ‘Superior Features’ sheet featuring Face Detection, Panorama Stitching, Smile Detection and Blink Detection but while the manual itself is in five languages it varies quite considerably simply because the controls are in vastly different places. The reason, this is an almost totally touchscreen camera.