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.
The first a smaller version of the USB dongle I reviewed last year, this one less likely to protrude excessively. Second a large capacity USB stick that has lack of overall size as the connection to the port is interior rather than exterior. The last is a simple thing for a simple job.
If there was a drawback to the AC 1200 reviewed in November it was possibly when moving a notebook around the larger size could possibly cause difficulties. Size or rather the lack of it is both the plus and minus points for this excellent unit. Size is not that important when used in a static unit with lots of free USB ports, size is vital on a notebook or laptop with limited ports available.
I have reviewed a number of large DAB units, a few units that can be considered audio systems but I think only two units previously that are small enough to move out and about without the tether of a mains lead connected.
This is both a DAB and FM unit. It is 16x9.5x3.5cm this figure is without leads inserted into mains input or optional earbud/headphone output or the six piece 67cm total height aerial extended. It is mains or battery powered the latter by four ‘AA’ batteries. I tried both standard and rechargeable units without problem. It was possible to charge the latter in situ by using a tiny flip switch in the battery bay. The left side has a line of three sockets. USB for firmware updates, 3.
It has been a while since I last had the opportunity to check out a HP printer. If memory serves me correct, this unit was a home photo printing model that I reported on in 2008. It was therefore quite a surprise when HPs PR agency rang me up out of the blue and asked if I would like to review the HP Deskjet 2540 product.
The HP Deskjet 2540 is a multifunction device that offers print, scan and copy facilities with the option of either USB or wireless connectivity. With dimensions at the base of 398 x 195mm (W x D), this unit expands through its height of 156.60mm to a top measuring 425.23 x 305.82mm. Decked out in non-reflection off-white, making a pleasant change from the usual diet of black (either of the matte or lacquered hue) models, this device has a fairly clean-cut look with rounded corners.
Like the grandmother in Red Riding Hood, there is a connection between the grandmother in this tale and a creature of the wolf family.
The Curse of the Werewolves is a Hidden Object Adventure game developed by Nordcurrent. The game is available in Collector’s Edition format from Avanquest’s GSP game label. This title bundles a couple of extra items with the main game. You get a jigsaw game with three different pictures to complete plus a similar number of wallpaper options. Both of these bonus items are immediately available from the game’s main title screen.
A set of not that heavy on ear headphones. A novel touch that you notice immediately is the slim red and blue rings that sit in the centre of each earpiece to help you decide which way the earpieces fit without looking for the little L.
They are 18cm from base of earpieces to the top of the headband. There is 2.5cm of expansion on each side of the band so these should suit all but the largest of heads. The total weight is just 200grams. The lead is hardwired into the base of the left earpiece. 15cm down the 1.4metre length is the phone answer silvered toggle. The lead is round and rubber, the 3.5mm plug is of course gold plated.
This next product has been designed as a container to turn a smartphone into a more appealing educational tool.
In the past I have reviewed a number of soft toys designed to pets. This list includes a Dragon’s Den bear (it had a tape recorder built into its stomach), cats, dog, penguin and a parrot. Now I can add the Ubooly which, unlike the other pets mentioned, is of a breed previously unknown to the public at large. So perhaps a few words of explanation would be beneficial.
The Pentax K3 is a weighty and powerful 24M pixel DSLR unit. I was sent the body and a 18-135mm lens. It went on my various journeys for several weeks, so not only did I get my normal range of test shots but some interesting Landscape offerings.
The K3 measures 13x9.5x15cm the last figure with the lens fully in, add another 6cm for fully zoomed out, surely a situation that should be used very rarely and then only when mounted on a weighty tripod. The camera and lens weight is 1250 grams. The right side has neck strap anchor point and below this a flip door that hides two SD card slots. Below this a rubberised door to take (optional) DC power.