So the World Cup set you thinking of buying a new TV set. Here's a better idea spend the same amount of money on a projector, and get a screen at least twice the size. You can pick up Epson's stylish 3D-capable EH-TW7200 for around £1900 (or currently £1700 on Amazon) and regale the family with a 120 inch or more display on your living room wall (only die-hard home cinema aficionados insist on a dedicated screen). And when you switch it off, you're not left with a huge blank frame dominating the room.
To be fair the TW7200 itself is something of an imposing presence. This curvy, white machine with styling reminiscent of Flash Gordon, weighs in at 8.4Kg and is a chunky 466 x 140 x 395 mm (width x depth x height). If your living room has a vacant chimney-breast (as does mine) this would be just the place to house it.
A not so small Android Tablet that is advertised as useable in one hand. Certainly for those with smaller hands this maybe a slight problem. It is however a near 8inch screen and means normal web pages display without any problems.
It is 20x14x1cm and weights 372grams. The screen surrounds are creamy grey and the back is silver. The viewable screen is 16x12cm which gives the notional diagonal imperial measurement of 7.8inches. Unfortunately the screen itself is rather reflective, still on a budget priced unit you rarely get non reflective screens. It comes with Android 4.2.2. Boot up is 22seconds and shutdown 4seconds. In the centre of the area above the screen is a 2MP web cam, a 5MP camera is mounted back left.
When putting good money on the line for a PC that will meet the demands of high-end games or other applications such as intensive photo-editing it makes sense to get an equivalent high-end monitor. The 27 inch q2770Pqu from AOCs professional line, having a native resolution of 2,560 x1,440 WQHD, good colour rendition and a wide range of connectivity options will meet these demands as well as being a possible option for those planning upgrades.
This monitor is mounted on a turntable base and, in its normal landscape mode is 25.25 inches wide and so, as one can appreciate, takes up a fair amount of real estate on the desk but never seems overpowering. Its slim black bezel is less than an inch on three sides while the lower edge, with the concealed controls on the underside, is just 1.25 inch.
For the last few weeks I have neglected my phone as I have been using other review units, for my trip out my phone needed to function. I switch it on for it to beep and show 0%. Luckily this PNY device had just arrived fully charged.
It is 10.5x4x2cm and weights 156grams. The front end of the unit has two USB ports and abov3e these centrally placed a micro USB port. It comes with a 50cm long USB to micro USB cable. The unit is brushed metal with a shiny chromium band at the front end. There is an on/off button next to a 1x.7cm % display. I connected the lead to one of the USB ports and the other end to my dead phone. It immediately sprung into life.
Keeping your work and social life separate can result in having a separate mobile phone for each type of activity. There is another solution.
While probably not the first name to trip off your tongue when considering a new smartphone, Prestigio does have a range of handsets that can offer a number of interesting possibilities. Take for example, the Prestigio Multiphone 5500DUO which is currently in my possession for review purposes.
This is a large screen All In One device not a print/scan/copy but an Android device built into the screen of this 24inch offering so you have touch. If you wish you can connect any other PC or notebook to the screen using HDMI to get a large display.
The ViewSonic VSD241 measures 60.5x41.5x3cm. The viewable screen is 51.5x29.5cm which gives the notional diagonal imperial measurement of 23½ inches. The display is full HD 1920x1080 and I viewed various videos and movies both from the Android and PC interfaces and they both were excellent. I am sure the built in 1.7GHz Quad Core NVidia processor make the movies and indeed all applications used function crisply.
Pop into your local High Street computer retailer and you will probably find a number of different printer units available for sale. In most cases these items will be multifunction or All-in-One devices but there could be an occasional appearance of a unit that just provides a range of basic print tasks. The Samsung Xpress M2022W is one such standalone printer.
Decked out predominately in computer grey, apart from a black top, the Xpress M2022W is a monochrome laser printer. In its closed-up state, this printer box has dimensions of 178 x 215 x 332mm (H x D x W). However, once you open the drop-down front of the unit to act as a paper input tray (150 sheet capacity) and flip out the paper support arm for holding printed documents at the top of the printer then the dimensions increase to 260 x 362 x 332mm (H x D x W).
When your master is kidnapped, what is an apprentice to do? In this next game, the answer is to rescue the old guy.
Available from Alawar, The Beardless Wizard is a time management adventure game. Actual it is more a time management game but it does have a flavour of adventure about it as you set out on a rescue mission. In this game, set in a land of magic and challenges, your role is that of Eugene who is an apprentice to a kind, old wizard named Godgory.
Here a more recent solution a record deck that allows you to play your music and even make a digital copy of it. It also has a radio and a CD player, so a complete audio system, should you want more than just an MP3 copy add one lead and a PC and you can.
While it is sold as ‘Retro’ in many ways it is bang up to date. It is creamy white in colour with a clear Perspex lid, the feet are chrome coloured. While it has a twelve page manual all in English the layout could be better. Diagram with numbers on the right hand page and then the key on the left hand page to follow.
Clearing a suitable space in my living room and, at times, putting a strain on my back, it was time to check out one of the new models in Samsungs television line up.
I can still remember the “box in the corner” scenario when you might be the only family in the street who had a one-channel television. You could invite some neighbours round to share the entertainment being broadcast while occasionally some others could be invited to raise the envy and jealous levels.
Relish is the name for a pilot 4G fixed network initially covering the central London area just launched by UK Broadband. It is being offered as an alternative to fibre.
At present the service covers the core area from Kensington in the west to Canary Wharf in the East and from North to South, Shoreditch to Southwark. Having launched in central London the plan is to roll the service out to Greater London and other UK cities in due course. “We do not have a fixed time line. We would like to roll-out quickly but our focus right now is on providing a great service for central Londoners.
The Duo stands for dual SIM and with various companies offering good deals for one service or another having a dual SIM phone can save a lot of money. As Prestigio phones are sold unlocked you can even use SIMs from two different companies.
I have reviewed a couple of other Dual SIM phones in the past. The last one used a full size SIM and a micro SIM. This uses two full size offerings which piggy back on top of each other but fit in different ways. Also nearby is where any Micro SD card you use fits. All require the back to be removed to insert, but only the SIMs require the battery to be removed.
A simple device to do one job I seem to have written that a lot recently but it is something that most people can use to make things easier. It is a USB hub on a long lead meaning you do not need to be tied that closely to your PC or even a power outlet.
The lead when unfurled is three metres and the power lead that connects to is another one and half metres long so in effect you can charge or power items up to four and a half metres from a power point. Of course this can be even further away if you use another lead extension. So on a nice day you can work away in your garden and still have power. The box contains the Life Hub, the Cradle that holds the wound cable, the mains cord, the power adapter and a small multi language manual.
Like with many boys of my generation years ago, cowboys & Indians was a popular pastime but somehow getting involved in a gold rush never came into it.
The year is 1849 and the location is California. At this time and location you are wondering how best to make your way in a world of opportunity with minimal laws to thwart any plans you may devise when the blood pounding cry of “There’s gold in them thar hills!” begins to be heard. This is the chance you have been looking for. But it is not for you the risky business and hard labour of joining in the gold rush.
An Android Tablet with an added plus it can be used when Wi-Fi is not available so it can be a phone or with the correct service with Mobile Data. So what does this recent offering from French company have to offer the user?
The Archos 79 Xenon Android tablet measures 19.7x13.4x.7cm and weights 315grams. The viewable screen is 12x16cm. The unit is cream in colour with a silver back. At the base of the back is a pair of reasonable speakers. At the top of the back is a 2cm cream strip that is your way to inserting SIM and Micro SD Cards. At the left corner of this strip is the camera. Immediately above it on the top edge is the on/off button.
When I am hungry I can be tempted by a snack (crisps and chocolate tend to head the list) but what do you do if your mobile device is hungry for power?
Mobile devices, as their classification implies, are at their most useful when you are out and about. They can provide you with facilities that you come to rely on where ever you are. However, despite the numerous advantages on offer, mobile devices can prove to be extremely annoying. I am referring to the “lack of power” syndrome as you are faced by a “dead device” when attempting to make a call or download some vital information.
The popular Blackwell series of point-and-click adventure games draws to a conclusion with the Blackwell Epiphany unless, of course, at some later date Wadjet Eye does an about-turn and comes up with a further episode to challenge the player.
Wadjet Eye’s latest offering is the Blackwell Epiphany adventure game. If you are familiar with other Wadjet Eye titles then you will not be surprised to discover that the Blackwell Epiphany takes a decided retro approach to the graphics that make up this game with its various scenes and two-dimensional characters that always move in straight lines.
An Inkjet multi-function machine that means it has fax - as well as scan, copy and print. This is part of the OfficeJet range and as such has a more substantial paper input tray than you might find on those units designed for home use.
The HP Officejet Pro 8610 is also a bit boxier given that it probably does not have to pass the lounge police, however with Wi-Fi there is no reason why it needs to be in view, it could sit behind a sofa or even in a cupboard. It is 47x44x29cm. The power, phone and USB/Ethernet should you use either of the latter all go into the back left of the unit.
The Prestigio Multipad 4 Diamond 7.85 3G is an Android tablet with a number of installed apps aimed at business users. Having both 3G and Wi-Fi, it will enable the user to keep in touch virtually anywhere while on the move and, in addition, will be able to handle movies and music for leisure time.
Running the widely used Android 4.2 (Jelly Bean) it has a 199mm (7.85 inch) screen. Its overall size is 200 x 138mm and it is less than 9mm thick and weighs 470g complete with its black slip-in case with stylish red stitching and lining. As one withdraws the tablet from this case it automatically wakes up, and vice versa, so is always ready for use. The actual body of the Multipad is of brushed black aluminium with silver edges.
Around a year has passed since I last looked at a Doro handset. This latest handset has cut back of features and has a reduced price tag.
The Doro PhoneEasy 508 is a new addition to the Doro family of easy to use handsets. Designed for the more elderly members of society, this candy bar style of mobile phone is available in a choice of black, white or graphite. With its plastic casing, dimensions of 118 x 53 x 13mm (H x W x D) and a weight of 81g (including rechargeable battery pack), this handset can easily be slipped into a pocket or bag without causing an unsightly bulge.
A lot of people of my generation still have a lot of vinyl, however a good number of those have nothing to play it on. Here a more recent solution a USB deck that allows you to play your music and even make a digital copy of it.
It is 37x35x8cm with cables inserted. While a USB lead takes the data to your PC or MAC you will also need the hard wired RCA lead provided. This can end in two plugs or a single one and both possibilities are catered for. Here I stress RTFM (read the !!!! manual) in fact there are two and both are clearly written (less than ten relevant pages) in a good sized type.
The Cygnett 1A ChargeUp is a charging device that helps you out when your phone or tablet goes flat and a power plug is not in sight. However this has another feature that can also have a use when power is lost it has a built in torch in the end of the unit.
The device measures 9.6x2.8x2cm and weights 72grams. It comes with a 30cm USB to micro USB cable that has two uses dependant on the way it is connected. There is a single button on the base of the unit that will turn the torch on, this button is flush to slightly indented so you are unlikely to turn the torch on by mistake. You also need to press the button for at least a couple of seconds to turn it on/off.
In what could well develop into a popular trend, this next game, entitled Moebius Empire Rising, owes its existence to support from Kickstarter partners ($435K raised by 5,836 backers).
Developed by Pinkerton Road, Moebius Empire Rising is a point-and-click adventure game. You are cast in the role of Malachi Rector who is an expert in the field of antiques and has a reputation of being able to detect fakes no matter how well they have been made. The game is structured around a points’ system which you receive for making the correct decisions and actions as you move around environments and interact with other characters and objects.
This is a small digital camera that can be used in Auto mode to give you nice images, however should you want more then it can also help you learn and set you on your way to capturing great images should you wish to progress.
The Ricoh Digital Camera WG-4 is a small Waterproof unit that follows the recent Ricoh course of having built in levels and even a clock on the face, I can see the point of knowing you are capturing a straight image on land but if you are under water why should it matter, as for the clock! It is 16.5x6.5x3cm and weights 235grams. The right side has a chunky wrist strap, the left side is semi circular and has nothing.
This next product is available from the Gizoo.co.uk web site.
The “thumbsUp!” Retro Touch Speaker is described on the packaging as being a wireless one touch, bedside smartphone speaker that can double as a USB phone charger. I have to state right from the start that the appearance of the product in question, does not live up to this multi-tasking description.
Rather than the usual PC platform, this next game is available for Android devices.
Several months ago I reviewed a Big Fish game entitled Fairway Solitaire that was available as part of the Focus Multimedia catalogue. Now it is time for a follow-up offering that has the title of Fairway Solitaire Blast. Unlike the original title, which was for the Windows platform, this follow-up Big Fish offering is an Android game available free-of-charge from the Play Store.
A tool to do a single job, link to various web sites such as YouTube and relay whatever you have on your phone or Tablet and via some electronics in the supplied HDMI dongle and show it on your TV with sound, so any non Connected TV is updated.
It is 7x3.5x1cm, the middle figure the width is at the fatter back just behind the connection it is only 2cm so should not block any nearby HDMI ports. However if this is a problem on your TV an HDMI extender cable is supplied. It is also supplied with a 1.5metre lead which fits into the end of the Chromecast and is a USB lead who’s other end is either a standard USB plug or fits into the supplied 13AMP plug, this is required to provide power to the Chromecast.
A regular source of products that I feature in reviews is the Denmark based Sandberg company. The latest offering to arrive from Sandberg is the Bluetooth Stereo Headset Pro product priced at £53.99.
The Bluetooth Stereo Headset Pro is an over-the-ear type of listening device. It is predominately black in colour apart from the brushed metallic face plates decorating each ear piece and a logo-bearing strip attached to the top of the headband. When not in use, this headset can be folded into a smaller shape making it easier to be packed away when in transit.
Often new phones are available from the large providers before the actual company who manufacture them. This is a case in point this unit was supplied by O2. It is the most recent Samsung SmartPhone to become available in the UK.
The Samsung Galaxy S5 measures 14x7x.5cm and weights 145grams. The viewable screen is 11.2x6.4cm which gives the notional diagonal imperial screen measurement of 5.1inches. While I have used other Android 4.4 this unit (Android 4.4.2) has a lot of features I have not seen or used before and the short one week review time did not give me the chance to try more than a few. However those small things I tried I liked. One I did try was the excellent camera for both still and movie capture.
This is another version of the recently reviewed item from thumbs UP that got the highly desirable and very rarely awarded 5x5 award. It has the same great volume increase ability to turn a low volume from and speaker into something desirable.
It is somewhat larger and also has a separate volume knob, it can show video on the screen if placed correctly and lets the sound come out of the speakers, yes I said speakers so there is stereo and while it can be run on batteries it is also possible to run on mains power. It is also possible to charge your playing device via USB while in situ. On the basis of what I have said above this surely is worth another 5x5 award.