Bearing the message that its contents was made up of the Worlds Slimmest Soundbar, the subject of this next review arrived in a box that measured 390 x 220 x 1280mm (H x W x L) which did make me wonder about the soundbar that I has just agreed to review. Those measurements and the Worlds Slimmest claim did not seem to match.
The soundbar, which is the subject of this review, is the STA-1200BSW which offers a range of connectivity options including Bluetooth. Opening the outer box revealed a further three boxes and a separate subwoofer unit. The longest of these three boxes, measuring 205 x 100 x 1240mm, was the container for the actual soundbar element, various leads and a button battery remote control unit. The other two boxes (480 x 200 x 200mm) were totally empty.
Clockwork Tales: Of Glass and Ink is a Hidden Object Adventure game from the development team of Artifex Mundi. This game is available in Collectors Edition format from Avanquests GSP label.
As with other Collector’s Edition format, this Clockwork Tales comes with a number of bonus items, many of which are available immediately from the Extra’s option on the title screen. While it is not surprising to note that items such as wallpaper, music and concept art can be accessed straightaway, it might seem surprising to find that Hidden Object scenes and mini-game puzzles are also immediately available.
A Chromebook is an option to a standard Android Tablet. It works in much the same way and the biggest problem it had at first launch of not being able to work offline is now overcome although there are currently less options than with other Android offerings.
This offering from Acer is 28.5x20x2cm the last measurement is at the rear with the thickness at the front only 1cm. It weighs less than 1.2kilos. Startup is less than four seconds and shutdown only two seconds. Close the lid and open it again for immediate response back where you were. Battery life is well over ten hours even with Wi-Fi being used. It is less if Bluetooth is also turned on.
As the household computer system takes over the task of hosting your entertainment content consisting of digital images, music and video/movie collections, so the need increases for software to supply the functionality in order to make best use of this data. Management and playback features plus the ability to reach out for additional information and purchase new content are all issues that need to come under consideration.
TRENDnets AC1900 Dual Band Wireless Router, model TEW-818DRU is a high-performance router that, as well as providing two concurrent wireless networks to virtually eliminate Wi-Fi bottlenecks even for power users, offers both Gigabit and USB 3.0 connectivity in a versatile package that should meet virtually everyones needs.
The router is 38 x 155 x 180mm in size and is designed to be stood upright. It is light grey in colour with “Trendnet” writ large on its two black faces. It has five Gigabit ports – the yellow one for connection to the WAN and the others for the LAN. In addition there is one each USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 ports. All of these are on the rear face of the unit together with the socket for the external power brick, the on/off switch and the WPS sync. pushbutton.
For various reasons I was not able to pursue YouView when it first launched. Here then is my first look at a technology that those with unlimited broadband download allowances can use to catch up with TV programs they missed when they were broadcast.
A very good well illustrated ‘Getting Connected’ booklet takes you through everything required to get up and running. If you have a digital TV then by using the supplied HDMI cable you should be up and ready to watch in around 15minutes.
On the face of it a similar device to the WD My Cloud reviewed a few months ago. Two Terra Bytes of storage available for you to share across your Network. However due to various initial problems a lot of time was spent before all was perfect.
I could write the whole piece and more on the various problems caused by Anti Virus, Firewalls, and Firmware. Let’s just leave it that technical support were very helpful with a long phone calls and this was followed by several emails. Apart from the firmware problem the difficulties were ay my end but once we got past that it seems that the latest version of firmware solved the last problem of not being able to connect wirelessly. So a big thank you to Mary at Buffalo Technical support.
There is more than one way to skin a the reason for my not completing this saying is that I am currently being stared at by a bundle of fur busily sharpening his claws just waiting to see whether I dare or not. While torn jeans might be fashionable elsewhere, it does not include my current abode and also I am somewhat attached to the unblemished state of my legs to risk coming into contact with those claws. However I still wish to make the point that there is often more than one way to achieve an aim. In this case the aim is a method of allowing a smartphone or tablet to access content stored on an external device.
Previously I have looked at a direct physical connection using OTG (On the Go) USB linking. This method is fine if your mobile device supports the technology but not all such devices do so. SanDisk, with its expertise in the development of memory devices, has produced a solution that takes a different route.
This is a smaller notebook offering from Gigabyte that comes with Windows 8. Whilst I did all the necessary updates this time I resisted the offer to upgrade to Windows 8.1. I instead completed my review with just what was delivered and the updates.
It is 33x23.5x1.8cm and weights 1765grams. It comes with Windows 8 and I decided not to do the optional upgrade to Windows 8.1. Gigabyte offer a range of shortcuts in Windows 8 on the Desktop screen some of which are incorporated in Windows 8.1 and these are lost if you do the upgrade. The left side has the Kensington lock fitment, Ethernet, VGA, two USB3 ports one has the option to stay live even when off for charging other devices and a dual headphone/microphone socket.
When I hear the words Dragon Lily it always seems to evoke memories of tales based on espionage featured in numerous old movies that were popular in days gone by. However Dragon Lily is also the name of a flowering plant and a product from Nakamichi. It should not come as a surprise to discover that it is the technology device rather than the horticultural one that is the subject of this review.
The Nakamichi Dragon Lily is a speaker system although I am a little hesitant as to whether a single device can really qualify for the system designation. Of course it could be argued that the various connectivity options available with this product are the reason why it is deemed a system. Options are available for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, USB and AUX connections.
Described as a third-party point-and-click adventure game, Shadows on the Vatican has been adapted from the David Yallop book In Gods Name. This book, which is featured in the game, was inspired by recent events in Italian history.
Unlike most computer games, which tend to be self-contained units, Shadows on the Vatican was designed, right from the start, to be an adventure that is spread over four acts which will be supplied on an individual basis. This approach is, no doubt, partially influenced by the Marvel/DC Comics connection with Lorenzo Ruggiero who is the game’s Art Director. The first act of this adventure, entitled Greed, is now available as part of Avanquest’s GSP game catalogue.
This is a Touch Screen Unit from AOC, it is also an Android unit in the same case, however it can also be used to connect to a PC/notebook via D-Sub or HDMI and if you add the supplied USB cable this gives you a PC/notebook with full touch screen ability.
The AOC A2472Pw4t measures 60x37x3cm and has a viewable screen area of 51x29cm, which gives the notional diagonal imperial measurement of 23inches. The screen looks bigger as there are two borders, the border to the screen and then the actual units surround. To change from HDMI or D-Sub to Android you use the touch screen controls at the bottom right of the screen. This action can be done before boot or even when the Android system is running and it is possible to switch between the two.
As regular as clockwork, new versions of its software arrive from Serif. The latest such offering targets image management and editing.
Now up to version X7, PhotoPlus is the latest edition of Serif’s photo editing and management software. As is the usual policy with the product line-up from Serif, you will need to enter the relevant serial number as part of the software’s installation procedure. You can also make decisions as to the location for the software and any file associations that are tied to the product before settling down to make use of PhotoPlus X7.
Although applications are increasingly able to save files directly as PDFs, there is much more to PDFs and Nuance's Power PDF in particular. While the Standard version will meet the needs of the home and small business user, Advanced is targeted at corporate users with features such as redaction the ability to black out specific names or other pieces of information.
Power PDF is straightforward to install and there is a helpful reminder that, if you change your computer and will want to use it on the new configuration, make sure that you have an active internet connection as this will de-activate your licence automatically so that one can re-install the software again with the same serial number. Once installed it can be treated as either a standalone program or one that is closely integrated with Microsoft applications.
Not long ago most cars had a Sat Nav but now a dedicated system is just another device, a lot of people rely on the mapping on their Smart Phones here is something slightly more than an App from one of the big players in Sat Nav.
Installation providing you have a serial number is just a matter of downloading the main file to your SmartPhone I used Android but I am told there is a Apple version. Once the file is downloaded enter your serial number and then choose which part of the worlds variety of maps you want.
I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of Free things I have reviewed, perhaps the most famous is Skype. Here an App for Android users that allows you to capture an image possibly a selfie and then use the tools provided to enhance it.
Cyberlink are a company that produce a range of very good software for PC users here however it’s a free App downloadable from the Google Play Store it is around 40MB so quick to download on a Wi-Fi link. I saw this shown when I was attending an event for their latest version of Power DVD a review will follow later.
While Nuances OmniPage is the dominant force in the field of OCR, it is not the only option as this next offering clearly indicates.
FineReader is an optical character recognition (OCR) software package. It has been developed by ABBYY to convert scanned paper documents into an editable format. The latest version of this software is FineReader 12 Professional. Despite the Professional tag, this appears to be the standard version of the software and it is available from DownloadBuyer.com priced at £89.10.
These are new to the UK although a sister company brought out a very good Blood Pressure watch some years ago. Here I am looking at Smart Scales, Smart Blood Pressure Cuff and a Smart Pedometer these with a free App that can monitor your health.
Currently the App is only available to work automatically with IOS devices using the recent version of Bluetooth. A version to run on Android is promised shortly. However those with older IOS units can enter their details manually. These are very smart bathroom scales, they have a wipe clean safety glass top and the rubber feet make it feel quite secure but perhaps best of all the scales are easy to read.
While ruling the roost on tablets and smartphones, touch screens have yet to do more than scratch the surface with computer desktop monitors.
Monitors often have a habit of hiding their functionality behind a model number which means little or nothing to the average purchaser. Take for example the current monitor sitting on my workspace and providing feedback as I type in this review. AOC, in its wisdom, has decided that this particular monitor should be known to all and sundry as the i2472Pwhut/BK model.
In the Dreamatorium of Dr. Magnus game, you are cast in the role of Sarah Green, a young detective about to embark on her first solo case. She is given the task of solving the mysterious disappearance of a local doctor. This is Dr. Magnus, of the games title, who has been acting strangely following the tragic death of his wife and daughter in a car accident.
The opening sequence of The Dreamatorium of Dr. Magnus is less than inspiring as a series of static images and printed text introduce you to your character, a victim of some strange dreams that are relevant to the story, and the case that is about to be investigated. Options are available to adjust the volume level of the background music and sound effects plus play in widescreen or windowed mode. Two levels of game play difficulty are available.
This is a Multi-Function Device in that it can print, scan, copy and for those who still use it fax. Unlike the recent offering that was monochrome this is colour and of course somewhat larger but in real terms really not that much larger.
The HP Colour Laser MFP M177fw measures 42x41x32cm, the only figure that needs a little more space is the last one if you are raising the lid on the flatbed, but as there is a rather good sheet feed then you only really need the flatbed to copy pages from books or magazines. The paper input tray is at the base and paper is inserted face up, it is delivered from the output shelf just under the scanner face down. All the connections power/network/USB/phone are back left.
I first came across wireless charging for mobile phones about four years ago. The device was called the Powermat, and it worked with my BlackBerry Pearl. Unfortunately the phone had to have a bulky new back attached for this to work, making the phone too thick to fit into its nice leather case.
Times have changed. A few of today's phones come with wireless charging already enabled; others, like my Galaxy Note 3, have internal connections already in place to accept a wireless charging receiver as an after-market add-on. These can either come as an external protective case, or as a paper-thin internal attachment that fits under the existing removable back and adds hardly anything to the overall bulk of the phone.
The internally attached wireless receiver supplied by Luxa2 for this review is skimpy enough to allow the Galaxy Note 3's flexible back to be reattached, giving this otherwise straight-backed phone a barely perceptible curve. Fitting the receiver was a cinch, the electrical hookup being only a pressure connection between a set of three contacts, with a sticky adhesive strip to hold the new addition in place until you replace the back.
The Android operating system and touch capability go together like fish & chips even when served up on the desktop.
The ViewSonic VSD241 is an All-in-One (AIO) device that brings Android functionality to a 24-inch touch screen enabled monitor. With dimensions of 604 x 419 x 187mm (W x H x D) and weighing around 7Kg, the VSD 241 is definitely a product that will be more at home when seated on a flat workspace. An adjustable book stand attachment enables the VSD241 to be positioned upright on an appropriate work area for easy access when carrying out various tasks.
A virtual system has been launched which enables people to access a GP and other healthcare services via their smartphone. Named babylon not to be confused with the online translation service or the Babylon Search toolbar it will enable users to be put in touch with an experienced GP or, as appropriate, a specialist consultant. It is the first organisation of its kind to be registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and receive designated body status from NHS England.
First an apology these arrived sometime ago and a friend said great could he borrow them for a couple of days as he was compiling a quiz. I forgot and he forgot and it is months later when I got them back so this is a very late review.
For those times when mains powered speakers or even large headphones are not acceptable then maybe a thumb sized speaker that enhances sound through what it rests on or maybe a set of decent earbuds may answer your needs.
This is shaped like a barrel being 3.5cm wide at the top and bottom and 4.5cm at the widest part in the centre it is also 4.5cm tall. The central 3.5cm strip is rubberised as is its lid. It weights a tiny 47grams and this includes the metal clip that allows you to fit a strap and it also holds the lid when flipped open. There are just two connections a micro USB (for charging) and a 3.5mm socket should you want to output music from any device that does not have Bluetooth.
The Canon PIXMA MX535 is a multifunction device that offers print, scan, copy and Fax capabilities. Other features include an ADF (Automatic Document Feed) and automatic Duplex printed to help save on paper. There is support for both wired and wireless connectivity when adding this device to your computer set-up.
Predominately black in colour with white labels, the PIXMA MX535 has dimensions of 458 x 385 x 200mm (W x D x H) and weighs in at 8.5kg. Rounded corners and a tapered top help give the unit an element of style but, even so, this product would be more at home in an office environment or, at a pinch, a study room for the home worker. Built into the scanner lid, sitting on top of the unit, is the AFD module.
A lot of my time recently has involved showing screens of one device on another device (Mirroring) this is a young task and the solutions sometimes do and sometimes dont work. This tiny device from Kingston is rather better at transferring data between two incompatible devices.
A few Android devices had a simple cable that connected a micro USB port to one that allowed you to insert a standard memory stick into it as if it was a standard USB port; this was a great feature that for some reason did not work with all devices. If you can persuade your Android device to show USB storage then this will normally work. To do this I found that a free App from the Play Store ES File Explorer is the most likely to give you this functionality.
With the adverse weather conditions we have had to endure of late in the UK, we should not be surprised at the arrival of waterproof devices such as this next product.
“Splish, Splash, I was taking a bath” is the first line of a pop song of the last century. It was a hit for both Bobby Darin (better known for his Beyond the Sea and Mac the Knife hit records – check Google for some of his performances) and Charlie Drake (a comic 5 foot 1 inch bundle of energy with red hair). Obviously I am showing my age with these memories as both performers have been dead for a number of years now.
Atlantis has long been a popular source of inspiration for those creating different types of entertainment including computer-based games. One such offering is Legends of Atlantis Exodus. Developed by Boonty Nexway Games, this title, belonging to the Time Management genre, is now available from Avanquests GSP catalogue of titles.
According to legend, the island state of Atlantis was a centre of civilisation and a haven of culture far beyond that which had been obtainable by the rest of the known world. However disaster struck and this idyllic paradise was swallowed up by the surrounding water. This game concerns the events that led up to this destruction.