The Achilles heel of home projectors in the past has always been the lamp - short-lived, expensive to replace and generating heat that typically needs a noisy fan to disperse. For the past five years or so a solution has been waiting in the wings. LED as an illumination source is much cooler and longer-lasting. But for any other than small unambitious projectors it's been too dim. Or far too expensive. Until now.
Like the previous two projectors I've reviewed here, the Optoma HD91 could be described as an entry-level offering. But compared to the Epson EH-TW490 and the Viewsonic PJD7820HD it's by no means cheap. This is because it's an entry into a much higher class of projector - the semi-pro home theatre category, where prices can easily run into 5 figures. The Optoma HD91 comes in at a hair under £3,000.
There are headsets and there are headsets. This is also the RIG system.
Newly basking in the lime light following winning a prestigious International Forum Product Design Award 2014 in the Audio / Video category, the RIG system is a Plantronics product. It has been designed to allow users to immerse themselves in an audio environment supplied from various sources.
If you are considering Windows 8.1 for you next PC then it really should have touch and this offering from HP has it. Windows 8 was made for touch so if you can change your working style then this could well be a good way to adapt.
The HP Pavilion TouchSmart measures 38x25.5x2cm, the thickest point is at the back and it is barely 1cm at the front. The left side has DC input, Kensington Lock point, Ethernet, full size HDMI port, two USB2 ports and a Card slot. The front is clear, the right side has a couple of pin hole LEDs a 3.5mm socket for headphones, a USB port and the Optical drive. The back is also clear as the screen goes over it. The viewable screen is 36x19.
Its not often a single word describes a product here is does as its a ZIP with USB on one end and splits for Micro USB and Lightning on the other. The second item is a magnetized three LED Torch capable of being twisted to almost any angle.
This is 37cm long – the maximum distance between the cable plugs is 31cm – but when the zip is fully unzipped there can be 60cm between the Lightning and Micro USB plug ends. My unit was yellow with just the plugs in a more normal black, but I see they also do Black, Blue, Red and White. However if you have the normal mass of various cables dotted around colour is a good item differentiator. The voltage supported is up to 2.4amp with 30/30 AWG Micro USB transmission.
The original Amazon Kindle eBook Reader was quickly followed by the Kindle Touch model. This version, in turn, gave way to the current Kindle offering named the Paperwhite.
My review of the Paperwhite is based on the Wi-Fi model which is the technology used when you need to connect to the Amazon Kindle Store for purchasing your choice of literature. With dimensions of 117 x 169 x 9.1mm (W x H x D) and weighing 213g, this eBook Reader gives you a 6-inch viewable E Ink screen area for your reading material delivered at a native resolution of 1024 x 768 pixels.
This is a speaker with a handle that can be mains or battery powered. Apart from Bluetooth, NFC and the ability to have a hands free conversation with it from a Smartphone it also has a 3.5mm socket so an MP3 player can be connected.
The Sony SRS-BTM8 Portable Speaker measures 19x8.5cm at the base and 25x2cm at the top where the handle has all the controls. The total height is a tad over 16cm. With the optional 4x 'AA' batteries inserted in the base it weights 1060grams. At the base of the back you can insert the provided power adapter it has a 1.5metre lead to a small power brick built into a 13amp plug. The base of the back is also where you will find the 3.5mm socket for Auxiliary input.
To paraphrase a certain cake companys claim, HTC designs some exceedingly nice looking handsets. A prime example of this from the Taiwanese manufacturer is the HTC One offering. This product is a smartphone device which is the subject of this review.
With its all-metal silver casing, bevelled polished edges and glass frontage, the HTC One certainly has a touch of style about it. The Smartphone’s dimensions of 137 x 68 x 9mm (H x W x D) and a weight of 143g means it can fit comfortable in the hand as it attracts admiring glances from others or while tucked away safely in a pocket or bag without causing any inconvenience. Leading the way in gathering these admitting glances is the 4.
To avoid any confusion for older readers, I should point out that the subtitle of this next game, Return of the Duke does not refer or have anything to do with Marion Mitchell Morrison (aka John Wayne) who was the star in numerous action films.
The Scuffs 2: Return of the Duke is a Hidden Object Adventure game that is now available on Avanquest’s GSP label. Spread over 10 chapters, this game sets you the challenge of helping Grandpa Scruffs, the rightful heir, become the next Duke of Scruffold. For some reason, not explained in the game, it has taken Grandpa Scruffs 30 years before stepping forward to claim his rights.
In the past I have often asked to review HTC devices as they looked smart and had little extra bits of quality. My name never seemed to come to the top of the list, with this unit however I was offered it I did not even have to ask.
Last year at its annual IRISLink event, IRIS introduced its IRIScan Mouse device with the tag line You swipe, it scans. This year the combination of mouse and scanner has been upgraded to the IRIScan Mouse Executive 2 with the same tag line.
As it titles indicates, the IRIScan Mouse Executive 2 offers dual functionality. It can be used as a regular pointing device which can seamlessly switch to fulfil the role of a hand-held scanner. Unlike the previous version of the product, which was Windows only, this second incarnation of the scanner mouse can be used on either the Windows or Mac platform.
The Nokia Lumia 925 is a 4G premium phone which Vodafone is offering in both 16GB and 32GB versions. It runs Windows Phone 8.0 so that, as well as being a good all-round phone, it is ideal for those for whom compatibility with their desktop applications such as Microsoft Office is important.
The phone is well-built, is black in colour and being 129 x 71 x 8.5mm thick fits comfortably into one’s hand. Also, weighing 139 g it isn’t a heavy burden in the pocket or handbag. The AMOLED 1280 x 768 (WXGA) display is very easy to read both indoors and in ordinary daylight and, being gorilla glass, the screen is robust and scratch-resistant. The micro-USB connector, the 3.5mm jack and the micro-SIM slot are all on the top edge while all the buttons are on the right hand edge.
I seem to be in a run of laser units at present. This time not a colour unit, so here a workhorse unit designed for quick, efficient printing with a high standard of finish without problems, as seems essential today you can still copy and scan.
The HP Mono Laser M125nw measures 41x39x25cm, the middle figure is with A4 loaded in the paper input tray. The front right of the unit has an 18x7cm control panel that has twelve buttons and a 6x1cm display, the whole panel flips up from the top to show at up to 45 degrees from its normal vertical position level with the front of the unit. Whatever the position you use it in it is within the overall dimensions of the unit as the paper input tray juts out 11cm from the front of the unit.
An expression you do not hear often today, but the quality photography within them makes them such items, however they also contain the means for you to improve your image capturing and with practice your photos can be almost as good.
The photographer in question is Sandra Petrowitz and she has travelled over vast portions of the world, the images within the book will at least make you want to visit at least some of the places shown. The book is 25x20cm and has 228 pages a good number of the images are full page without borders. There are 25 chapters and most are less than ten pages.
Magic, stone statues, innovative mini games and spoken dialogue are mixed together with a dash of evil intent in this next two-game pack.
The latest two-game pack to arrive from Focus Multimedia features a couple of offerings from the Grim Tales series. These titles are The Stone Queen and The Wishes. Both titles have been developed by Elephant Games and belong to the Hidden Object Adventure genre. When setting up your game profile for either game you can adjust the volume levels for music, effects, environment and voice plus gamma, special effects, full screen, wide screen and custom cursor options.
This is an Android device that will fit in a larger pocket. It has one huge difference in that it can only be used in portrait mode as there is no way to flip the screen into landscape mode. This may or may not matter but it is certainly different.
The Prestigio Multipad 4 measures 20x13.7x.7cm and weights 408grams. The viewable screen is 16x12cm which gives the notional diagonal imperial measurement of a tad under 8inches at 7.85 inches. The screen resolution is 768x1024. It comes with Android 4.2.1 I see from the link at the end that Kit Kat 4.
Serif WebPlus is a software package that offers to ease you gently into creating your own web-based presence.
Now up to version X7 (that is version 17 for those not versed in current marketing speak), WebPlus is Serif’s latest offering of a web design package for those looking to create their own on-line presence. Rather than dropping the user into the deep end of learning the necessary coding language, this program uses a drag-and-drop approach to placing elements on the page as required.
Amaranthine Voyage: The Living Mountain is the follow-up title to the first Amaranthine game which dealt with The Tree of Life. Do not worry if, like me, you missed the first offering as the Living Mountain is entirely self-contained and requires no previous knowledge of the first game. However your role will remain the same as you take on the mantle of Professor Burns who has now returned to the classroom while still trying to convince the populace at large that the tales of The Tree of Life actually happened.
The PowerShot range from Canon has lost its bulk now they come with a solid battery, so it will easily fit into a pocket, do not however fall into the trap of thinking this is not a powerful unit. It can take excellent pictures with little input from you.
The Canon PowerShot S120 measures 10x5.5x2.7cm the latter when off this figure can increase by 3cm when fully zoomed, it weights 216grams. A lot of novices get put off if the unit has a lot of buttons, they will like this as it has only four – apart from the ubiquitous five position joystick – on the back. The left side has an inset flip button for the pop up flash while the right side has a door behind which are connections for Digital and mini HDMI out.
Are big screen TVs too big your budget? For Chris Bidmead, they're too small for his living room. He likes a blank wall displaying a 100 inch projector screen. For full immersive HD movie watching (in 3D, if you're that way inclined) the ViewSonic's PJD7820HD delivers all this and more - for around £600.
My previous review, of Epson's entry-level EH-TW490 projector, discussed the difference Epson's keen to point out between Colour Light Output (CLO) and the brightness in lumens as normally measured using plain white light. Epson's claim is that while the plain white light lumen count looks good on paper, only the CLO figure represents what the viewer will really experience watching a movie.
With its logo of three colourful finches, ViewSonics latest monitor to arrive for consideration has high specifications and a price to match
The ViewSonic VP2772 is a 27-inch IPS SuperClear LED wide screen monitor which is capable of delivering a resolution of WQHD 2560 x 1440 pixels when the appropriate connection is applied. When setting up this monitor you first need to connect the panel to its companion metal stand. The two elements slot together and are held in position by a single screw. The resulting LED monitor has dimensions of 642.7 x 469.7 x 347.8mm (W x H x D) and weighs 8.
The Freecom ToughDrive SSD is a portable 256GB USB3.0 drive that, being all solid state, will not be vulnerable to the knocks that could well damage a conventional hard drive. Consequently, despite its price, it should meet the needs of road warriors who want a physically small, large capacity, lightweight and robust portable storage device.
The ToughDrive comes in a rubberised case which can fit nicely into the palm of one’s hand. It is mainly grey in colour with dimensions 14 x 8.3 x 1.9cm and weight 172g including the short permanently attached USB3 cable that neatly stows away into a convenient slot on the body of the drive. This cable forms part of the eggshell blue styling strip running around the case.
I have looked at several home monitor solutions here is a very well priced solution and it is easy to setup and install. So for added security at a low price this solution from Y-Cam could well be at a price that cannot be turned down.
The camera is 8.5x8.5x3cm and comes with an adjustable bracket whick will increase the last figure to 8cm if wall mounted. The bracket is ‘L’ shaped 8cm tall 7cm wide and 6cm deep. It is supplied with two screws and rawplugs so can be mounted into walls or door frames. This is an indoor unit and needs mains power. The lead provided is 2.
Here I am looking at a board game that has had several incarnations over the years it is suitable for 8-88 years olds. Second a game also a reincarnation suitable for the same age groups but I think far younger will enjoy the dough.
This is a game where you are a high powered corporate trader. There are two versions of this game Apprentice and Executive. The Apprentice is of course the more basic version. The object of the basic version is to form companies and then sell them and also trade brands to other players the object is to reach a Billion. The Executive game adds takeovers and that allows more strategy. It is played on a 45cm round board that has a total of 24 squares around the outside.
And you thought the Red Riding Hood story ended with the death of the wolf at the hands of the woodman but that was only the start.
I saw these items at a retro event showing lots of items from Brauns past and also an exhibition of specially commissioned posters in a trendy setting of a furniture showroom. The Trimmer was available to take away the chance to review the shaver followed later.
While at the event I said to a journalist I have known for years what use is shaver to you as he has always had a beard, his answer was it still needs to be trimmed. Indeed this is of course true and this offering from Brawn could be the answer. This is 15cm long including the head and shaped like a pen, the thickest bit is in the centre where the single ‘AAA’ battery sits behind a pull apart section.
What would you do with an extra 8 terabytes of available storage? In my case I opted to use this storage space for a full system backup plus my collection of digital music and videos for starters.
As can sometimes happen, especially when an occasional urge prompts me to start (and rarely finish) one of my infrequent clear-out sessions, I came across a couple of 5.25-inch floppy disks just as I was about to begin this review. Those were the days when fully-fledged applications could fit on a single 720K disk with room to spare. Nowadays DVDs, or large downloads eating into data quota, are required when installing applications and games (smartphone and tablet apps aside).
Based on a H. P. Lovecraft novel, this next game places you in the role of a detective attempting to defeat a recently raised-from-the-dead murderer.
Dark Mysteries: The Soul Keeper is described on the box as a “thrilling and supernatural Hidden Object Adventure” game. This title, developed by Cerusus Media, is now available in Collector’s Edition format from Avanquest’s GSP games’ label. Along with the main game, there are some bonus items which I will return to a little later.
With a lot of people downloading everything I rarely get the chance to review few audio systems with a CD now. While the number of us still buying media is falling we are still a substantial part of the market and CDs need to be played.
While my own unit is smaller in width the total size of this includes the speakers so with everyone having less space for everything this could make an extremely good multi-unit. It is 34x20x11cm, the middle figure is with leads inserted in the rear. The only other requirement is for the built in five piece rod aerial that rises 68cm when fully extended. On first switch on make sure the rod aerial is extended and it should Auto tune for DAB in my case it finds 67 stations very quickly.
While desktop and lap systems usually feature an optical drive with burning capabilities, the supported format tends to be of the DVD variety. This next product includes Blu-Ray support.
Whatever others may state, size is important. However it does not really matter what the actual dimensions are as long as they are suitable for the user’s current needs. Currently the IT industry is throwing its not inconsiderable weight (and that is another issue that needs to be taken into consideration) behind mobility and the associated subject of miniaturisation.
Colour lasers are no longer huge, they are no longer that expensive and they print colour at 25% of the speed that mono pages do. In fact the other half could even be happy as it can connect wirelessly so does not need to be in sight.
It is 40x42x31cm no further space is required as the output tray is within those figures. The only thing that protrudes from the bulk of the unit is the input tray at the base by 8cm and I have included that in the overall dimensions. It weights 14kilos. It is ready to work 20seconds after switch on. A 3second push on the on/off button is required to turn it off. All the connections are in a vertical line back right, that is AC power, Ethernet, USB and phone line.