This event took place in London just before Easter 2017 and for the second year I was invited to be among the two dozen European journalists there. Of course the big Malware threat ‘Ransomware’ was high on the list of topics discussed however as always you left with many new concerns.
Firstly let me ask a question, how many connected devices do you have in your home? McAfee themselves have just gone through a big chance in the last week their ownership has shifted away from Intel (who still own 49%) and again they have become an independent company. May I suggest you look at a site that McAfee has created and in a lot of cases has found ways to help those who have suffered attacks.
The Karcher VC5 Premium is a compact, versatile and powerful mains powered upright vacuum cleaner which has been designed with the modern home in mind where storage space is at a premium.
In Karcher’s traditional black and yellow colour scheme the body of the machine incorporates the motor, filters and the bag-less dust container. The handle is built into the top of the body while the telescopic suction tube is at the lower end. When not in use the overall height of the machine is less than 30 inches and so the machine can be stowed unobtrusively in a cupboard or in a corner and just pulled out when needed. The machine weighs just 3.2kg without accessories.
As I was downloading the game of Gem Legend from the Gamehouse.com web site, I was expecting another session of Match-3 game play but I was in for a surprise.
Although the game of Gem Legend is classified as Match-3 on the host web site, it was based on a concept unlike those formats that I have come used to over many playing sessions. Instead Gem Legend had more of a puzzle feel to it although it is based around a series of grids housing different coloured tiles which the program refers to as chips.
Moving files – especially larger ones – between devices like phones and PC’s has always required extra thought, the trouble is they are often last minute thoughts? Here a solution from Kingston that is as easy as plug it in to a USB port.
A while ago their solution for micro USB ports arrived here a solution if your phone has a USB C port. It is 3x1.5x.7cm and weights a tiny 4 grams. The capacity sizes available are up to 128GB the sample that I requested to be sent was 64GB simply because not all phones will accept 128GB.
Unlike the previous Epson All-in-One which I looked at recently, the Epson Expression Photo XP-960 is of the more traditional type that uses ink cartridges rather than the bottles provided Eco Tank models with their ink supply.
Decked out predominately in black, the Epson Expression Photo XP-960 combines print, scan and copy functionality with a choice of WiFi, Ethernet or USB connectivity. You also get the ability to print images of up to A3 in size. As a very welcome bonus item, you are provided with a pack of 50 A3 sheets of glossy photo paper in the box.
A reasonably priced Tablet produced by a company in the toy field but equally useable – without restrictions – for an adult. Unlike a lot of recent Tablets this comes with a detachable keyboard and even the latest version of Windows 10 (v1607).
Kurio describe it as ‘2 in 1 Tablet + PC.’ It is creamy white with blue keyboard and screen surround. The keyboard is a little smaller than full size and has 61 keys these are just about typeable for an adult but ideal for a child. This unit has excellent Wi-Fi and Bluetooth built in. I found the units five point touch perfectly acceptable. The viewable screen is 18x12cm with the notional diagonal display of a tad under 9 inches. The screen display is 1280x800 pixels.
Last autumn I saw what was described as Acronis 2017; my first tests were problematic but settled down once a build 5554 was installed. This is still called Acronis 2017 but has a far higher build number at 6116; the latest editions new features are mentioned below.
It is strange to release two versions both in the same release year this version however has more new features as well as a longer title ‘Acronis 2017 New Generation’. I am sure everyone has heard of Ransomware a very nasty infection that encrypts your files and while ‘Anti-Virus’ and ‘Internet Security’ packages do their best sometimes the nasty people win out.
How are your horticultural skills? I ask merely to ascertain your suitability for the required role of the main character in the game of Jewel Match: Royale. As you might suppose from the game’s title, this particular offering from Suricate Software combines Match-3 game play with a royal theme that might be currently relevant as it involves a romantic encounter between a member of the established royal family and a commoner.
Your role in this game is that of the commoner, Matthew, the son of a gardener working for the Queen Meredith of Nerinia. While growing up as a child, you are allowed to play with the Queen’s young daughter, Sofia. As you grow into adolescence, the friendship between Matthew and Sofia grows into love but Matthew knew in his present circumstance that the Queen would never countenance a marriage with Sofia.
I know the centre of London quite well but move a few miles away it might just as well be a different city so I find Google Maps invaluable and that came into use just south of the Elephant and Castle whilst I was reviewing this unit.
In a car the number of choices off this gyratory roundabout is probably as testing as that near Hammersmith, try either on foot after emerging from Elephant and Castle tube, you might find things even harder. This phone is one of Vodafone’s own range, same high quality as those it sells for other manufacturers but slightly cheaper. It is 15.5x7.6x.7cm and weighs 156 grams. The viewable screen is 12.2x6.9cm which gives the notional diagonal imperial measurement of 5½ inches.
We live in a society where sounds can cause stress but they can also help us relax.
To sleep, maybe to dream and then awake refreshed for whatever the next day holds for you. But sometimes the desire for sleep is difficult to come by. Worries and stress invade your mind thus causing insomnia to take control and block the advance of the longed for sleep condition. Sometime I find the thought of a required early morning rising can have the adverse effect and thus interfere with my drifting off to sleep.
Developed by Lazy Turtle, The Far Kingdoms is a Hidden Object Adventure game set in a fairy tale type land with strange creatures and magic.
Your role in this game is that of Princess Arianna. On your return from a long journey, that appears to have been unaccompanied and carried out on horseback, you find that you hardly recognise your kingdom as the Dark Witch Morgana has enslaved everybody under an evil spell. Everybody, that is apart from your pet bird, Corvus, who takes on the task of acting as your chronicler as you set about saving your people in the game of The Far Kingdoms.
I get the occasional chance to test items from LIDL and as in the case here they sometimes arrive in time to tell you about them before they go on sale in their stores. Here a hand blender that not only is the basic thing but comes with extra attachments for other tasks.
This hand blender measures 29cm long, the green top 17.5cm detaches from the stainless steel bottom 11.5cm, it is circular at a maximum of 5cm at the top and the base and 14cm just above the base is only 1cm across. The total weight is 600 grams with the hard wired 1.5metree lead attached. The top 17.5cm part should only be wiped clean with a damp cloth the bottom 11.5cm bit can be washed normally.
This next offering from the Dell family of products sets out to reduce the amount of office space required for its presence.
I suppose, at a pinch, you could describe this next product, which is the Dell OptiPlex 3050 All-in-One, as a laptop for the desktop. This particular product, which Dell claims to have been “crafted for functionality and flexibility”, consists of a combined screen and system unit partnered with a bog standard tethered keyboard and mouse. An optional extra of a wireless keyboard and mouse is available at an additional cost.
This has a very small edge top and both sides and only a normal size at the base, it is also very thin. However the most important thing is the quality of the image on the screen, this is excellent and while I tried with the controls to better the ‘Auto’ settings I failed.
It is 53.5x31x.5cm the last figure at the edges. The viewable screen is 53.3x30.2cm which gives the notional imperial diagonal measurement of more than 23¾ inches it’s actually 23.8inches. The stand is a ‘V’ shape back to front so it’s only .5cm at the back and 30.5cm at the front in total it is 19.5cm from back to front. A little surprisingly it is a standard 1920x1080 display.
How big is yours – relax you have not suddenly gone to a different type of website – I am talking about your keyboard, 46x17x3cm would not fall into the category of large, here however I am looking at one that can be described only as small.
This Penclic Mini Keyboard measures 27.5x11.5x1cm, it weighs 282grams and can be used as USB or Bluetooth. So that means the amount of desk space needed is far less if indeed any. The provided micro USB to USB lead plugs into the back of the keyboard to charge its internal battery and it can be left in place and if you plug the other end into a USB port on your PC or notebook this provides power either while the keyboard is charging or a connection so it can be used as a USB keyboard.
News has just filtered through regarding a new wireless speaker system soon to be made available. This is the innovatively named BeoSound Shape product which promises to combine high quality sound with a unique customisable design concept suitable for different environments.
BeoSound Shape is a wall-mounted modular system that is based on hexagonal tiles that have been developed by Bang & Olufsen, a company originally set up in 1925 by Peter Bang and Svend Olufsen in Struer, Denmark. Starting life as a developer of high quality audio reproduction, Bang & Olufsen has gained a reputation for the performance and design excellence of its domestic technology products as well as diversifying into other areas of audio delivery.
Around four years ago I reviewed my previous Kodak printer, I was told they were shutting that part of the business but still producing cartridges for their units. I saw a Kodak offering last month from Curry’s for a Kodak Printer so this sent me into detective mode.
The Verite name has been appended to the word Kodak and here I am looking at the ‘65 Plus’. This is an All In One unit which means it Scans, Copies and Prints. It can be connected via Wi-Fi or USB and it can also connect to mobile devices by several methods including installation using NFC. The unit is a black box so your other half may insist it resides behind the sofa or in a cupboard, so Wi-Fi would be needed for most in this case.
Adding to the range of wearable devices is news of a new type of headphones coming from Australia.
Headphones come in a variety of shapes, sizes, styles and functionality to appeal to the needs of different users. There are in-ear, on-ear and my particular favourite of over-ear models. They can come with features that include noise-cancelling and wire-free connectivity, such as Bluetooth, to add to the offered underlying audio quality.
Glimmer is a Match-3 adventure game set in the land of Elithium. Developed by Gamestudio Ludomo, this offering takes an approach that is different from the many other types of Match-3 game play that I have encountered.
In this game of Glimmer, which includes options to turn off background music and sound effects by clicking on icons tucked away in the lower right corner of the title screen, gives you the option of taking on the role of either Myrana or Khar who are from the same small village and are childhood sweethearts. As far as I could tell there appears to be no difference in the ability of the two characters other than in their appearance.
Having recently looked at various large and high resolution panels there is something soothing about a panel of average size with average resolution. This offering the GW2270 is exactly what the review below is all about, a 22inch panel displaying 1920x1080.
The display is 50x30x1.6cm the last figure at the edges, it has an ‘L’ shaped arm connected to a 28x12cm stand, the central 6cm is another 7cm deep to keep the unit stable on your desk. The notional imperial diagonal measurement is 21½ inches. There is only a couple of degrees of forward movement and a good 15% of back movement. There is no side to side movement but as the unit is quite light it is easy to turn the unit and stand.
As part of its presence at CES 2017, Huawei launched its Honor 6X handset. This latest addition to the company’s popular range of handsets comes with the claim of being the world’s first smartphone to come with dual-camera functionality priced at under £250.
Available in a choice of grey, silver or the gold back plates, as is the case of my review sample, , the Honor 6X has dimensions of 150.9 x 76.2 x 8.2 mm (H x W x D) and weighs in at 162g. While the unit’s rounded corners have a degree of style, the white framing of the Smartphone’s screen will not appeal to everybody.
This is the last of the five recently launched Health items from Philips. In fact for most the words should be ‘unhealthy items’ but that would infer that the items are unhealthy when in fact it’s the user who has the health issues. ‘Unhealth’ should perhaps be the word, when we go to see our doctor most visits will be to a ‘Health’ centre when surely it should be ‘Unhealth’ centre but that word gives my spell checker palpitations.
The Thermometer is 13.5cm long 3.5cm wide and 2.5cm in a slight curve it weights 75grams. It is powered by two ‘AAA’ batteries that are supplied. If you have been in hospital then a similar type of device has been stuck in your ear to enable a nurse to determine your temperature that works almost instantly this takes a few seconds and if you are taking your own temperature then two small beeps tells you it has a reading.
Almost every bus journey I make sees babies in a pram or pushchair playing with their parents SmartPhone. Now the SmartWatch is growing in popularity kids are going to want to play with that as well so here something that might prevent that confrontation.
This looks like a SmartWatch for kids. In truth it initially seems little more than a watch with extra screens and items to keep them occupied. This I suppose makes the watch Smart as most parents dream of keeping their small charges occupied; at home this task might fall to the TV or video/download. When at pre-school then this falls to the teacher or teaching assistant, but on a journey be it on a bus, train or car it’s down to the parent or guardian.
NETGEAR continues to develop its Arlo home security systems with the release of its Pro product.
Following on from the original Arlo and Arlo Q offerings, the NETGEAR Arlo product has now reached its third generation with the Arlo Pro. For those not familiar with the Arlo family, this product range offers HD security camera facilities. In the case of the Arlo Pro, the product combines indoor / outdoor, 100% wire-free connectivity with 2-way audio capability. I have had the opportunity to check out the basic VMS4130 model of the product.
I think only one previous Sat Nav that I had seen has had a specific bicycle mode, this was interesting as it enabled things like bridle ways into the journey equation. A pedestrian Sat Nav would allow progress down one way streets. This offering from Beeline is rather different again.
The Beeline cycling Sat Nav uses your Mobile Phone to plan the journey and then has a small circular sealed rubber device that you attach to your handlebar to point the correct way meaning your phone can remain safely in your pocket. It is circular at 5.5cm and 2cm deep, there is a 3cm rubber loop that goes around your handlebar and its total weight is 60grams. It has a built in clock – once initially linked - which can show the time even when your phone is switched off.
More expensive than champagne when sold in cartridge format, Epson can supply ink in bottles for some of its printers.
The Epson ET-2600 is a multifunction device that can provide print, scan and copy facilities. As well as the print, scan and copy features with WiFi connectivity, this multifunction device comes with the promise of delivering cartridge free printing as indicated by the “ET” part of the product’s model number.
The arrival of a comet starts you off on an adventure to defeat an evil demon who threatens to take over the world.
In ancient times a dreadful demon came to our world and began to wreck havoc. Druids, who had mastered the power of Avalon, tried to defeat the demon but with no success and many died. Eventually the ArchDruid cast a dark spell to entomb the Demon in a cavern. Here the demon would be forced to stay until a comet hid behind the moon and thus cause the sky to turn purple. This state of affairs would result in the demon being set free thus allowing it to take over the world.
The cameras supplied with this product are truly wireless – no Ethernet and no power – as they run on the supplied batteries that last for on average two years. So once an intruder is detected the image is on its way to the Cloud and then back to your phone instantly.
The initial units sent to me were designed to be used indoors but there is soon to be an outdoor version which seems to have overcome the one obvious shortfall of looking through glass. This I will of course test as soon as it’s available. Unlike all the other cameras I have recently tested this has no physical connections so no power required and no visible data transfer method as it is done wirelessly to a ‘Sync Module’ that connects to your Wi-Fi. The cameras are 7x7x2.
Adding to its range of speakers, Edifier has delivered a Bluetooth portable speaker with microSD capability.
While headphones, of whatever variety, are an excellent means of listening to your favourite music when out and about, they are limited in being just a private personal listening tool. For those occasions when a group listening situation is called for, then headphones can be replaced with a portable speaker system such as the Edifier MP233 product which combines AUX, microSD and Bluetooth functionality in a device that has a stylish look to it and is portable.
At the end of last year WileyFox launched two new SmartPhones, at the event it was let slip that another was soon to be launched, during terrible January weather it was launched and this is what it was all about a larger screen with higher resolution and a larger battery.
However unless you have them side by side you might struggle to tell them apart for example the screen is .2 inches larger – remember that is a diagonal measurement – the screen resolution is higher and the battery is larger. The version of Android shipped with is still six but I am told Android 7 will be downloaded onto devices by the end of ‘quarter one 2017’. The Swift 2x measures 14.6x7.2x.7cm and weights 153grams. The viewable screen is 11.4x6.