Unusually Halfords decided to hold their Christmas event not in July as everyone else does but at the end of September. While it was predominately bicycles, there was a range of items for motorists and a smattering of technology items.
Firstly it seems that you need a name to sell a bike so Victoria Pendleton, Bradley Wiggins, Laura Trott to mention just three all had examples on show together with a range of others for young children up to adults at prices from reasonable for a basic model to eye watering to me as a lapsed cyclist since I finished doing my paper round in the late 1950’s. For young children there were a range of sit in cars and also a range of scooters.
What do Rio, Sydney, Boston and Ibiza have in common? They are all product names for headphones.
Established in 2010 and based in Stockholm, Sweden, Urbanista is a company that was formed out of a vision to glorify the urban lifestyle following a concept of designing for life in motion with the development of its various headset products. A rather high fluting look at the company’s raison d’être you may think but it does provide me with an opening for this piece.
A very powerful gaming notebook from HP with a screen resolution that I have only previously seen on very large monitors 3840x2160, lots of memory and the latest Intel i7 processor and just for good measure Bang & Olufsen speakers.
It is up to you to ensure your computer and mobile devices are protected from malicious threats.
Described as “Our best protection for your family on PC, Mac, Android™, iPhone & iPad”, Kaspersky Total Security software comes as either a download or retail purchase package. Actually that is not strictly true as the retail package does not contain a physical copy of the Kaspersky software.
It was the title that first caught my attention with this next game.
With a title that reminds me of some earlier arcade games that use to dominate my game playing sessions many years ago, Invasion 2: Doomed seems like a follow-up title which it is but isn’t. It is a follow-up in that the two lead characters are the same as those in Invasion: Lost in Time but the story line has no connection.
Soon – dependant on how early you need to get up – it will not be in daylight, so those morning rise ups for work become harder. There is a way to wake up more gently and that is by something like this light rather than a harsh alarm clock.
Not an entirely new product as I have used and reviewed several previous versions, this however is certainly the smallest unit. It is circular but on a tilt so it’s 20cm across and 20cm tall and has a footprint with power lead attached of 14cm. The light part is the vast majority of the front with only the lower 7cm being the digital clock and touch screen control buttons below that.
Sometimes it is worth taking a second look at a product that failed to impress the first time.
It was about two years ago that I first encountered the Chromecast technology that allowed user to stream content from the small screen of a mobile device to the larger viewing area offered by a television set. It has to be stated that my experience with the product and technology was hardly inspiring. In fact I was so disappointed that I quickly put the product to one side and forgot about it as more appealing offerings grabbed my attention.
This is the latest SmartPhone offering from Vodafone, as its their own brand you pay a little less but still get all the functionality that a recent Android SmartPhone has to offer, it looks Smart but you save just a little on the cost of it against a similar device from some manufacturers.
The Vodafone Smart Ultra 7 measures 15x6.9x.7cm and it weighs 162grams. The viewable screen is 12x6.8cm which gives the notional diagonal imperial screen measurement of 5.5inches. For those - like me – who turn their phones off the 30 second boot time is not that impressive but the shutdown is more normal at 3 seconds. Going around the outside has the 3.
These buds are ‘tuned for performance, won’t fall out’ according to the box, so while the only gentle jogging I do is when I am late for a bus or train I can do lots of violent head movement that will often make earbuds lose their seating.
The pair given to me at an Xmas In July event were turquoise blue. Unusually no buds were fitted to the unit; instead there were four different sets in a plastic bag. This can be a good idea as you are not tempted to try the buds fitted without thinking are they right for me. I decided on the second smallest and I have worn this pair without problems during all my tests.
It is that time of year when the latest version of a piece of software, which seems to have a permanent residence on my various computer systems, makes its annual appearance.
The software in question is Paint Shop Pro. This product has developed, over the years, from a file conversion utility into a photo editing and graphics designer package. As with the previous version, Paint Shop Pro X9 is available in either a Standard or Ultimate offering. When installing this product I was given the choice of either working with the 32 or 64-bit version or, as I finally opted for, going for both varieties.
This is one ‘reasonably’ priced brand that is sold by high end audio retailers. So if they choose Sennheiser from the vast range of headphone manufacturers surely anything that Sennheiser bring out must be worth a look at.
This is specifically a gaming headset that is designed for 7.1 systems but also works quite well with 5.1 systems or lower. With the headphones spread to the earpieces being parallel and the extension arms fully extended there is 21cm from the base of the earpad to the top of the well-padded headband. This includes the maximum extension of 5cm each side. Let’s just say if I met someone with a head that size I would not pick a fight with him.
If you need to extend the range of the WiFi signal used by your network then there is a choice of products including the NETGEAR Nighthawk™ X4.
That old chestnut of a question that asks “How long is a piece of string?” could well be adapted to apply to the WiFi signal in your WLAN. “How wide is the range of your WiFi?” The answer will depend on the circumstances regarding the layout of your home and the surrounding environment. Distances and signal strengths could be affected by the number, thickness and constitution of walls and other blockages plus household applications.
Putting sibling rivalry to one side, your role in this next game is to save your brother and his family.
This small digital camera is made to withstand a tough life. It is also able to function underwater the claim is 15metres and the shock proof claim is 1.75metre drop, neither did I test but I take the manufacturers word, it has a bright yellow front just in case you drop it underwater.
The Fujifilm XP90 rugged, compact digital camera measures 11x6.5x2.5cm and it weights 207grams. Any camera that has a waterproof element needs to be well sealed which firstly means no visible movement of the lens when zoomed this is achieved by a periscopic movement within the case and the lens itself needs to be double skinned, next any part that opens IE the battery bay needs a good seal and a double lock.
While it makes sense to insure your valuable possessions, surely this action should also apply to your data with the insurance taking the form of a backup product.
Since it was founded in 2003, Acronis has built up an impressive reputation with its backup disaster recovery and secure access solutions powered by the company’s AnyData Engine. With more than 50 patents, Acronis currently protects the data of over five million consumers and 500,000 businesses in over 145 countries.
A simple thing that I am sure we all have at least one of, this however is something different as it is a lot taller than most, it is very solidly constructed and I see that it comes with a ten year guarantee and it still costs only £10.
Milk pans are often flimsy things and normally quite low the one I have had for years is 14cm across and 7cm tall, it weights 325grams. This offering from Wilko is still 14cm across but 12cm tall and weighs 675grams. The inside is coated in a non-stick material, the outside is stainless steel.
I am told there was a long struggle with authorities before this name could be listed as a trademark in the USA. However now this underwear brand has passed naming tests I put a pair through wearing tests to see if they do what they claim.
What claim you may say, well it’s in the name that your balls will be comfy. A few years ago I would have said that this article would only be on interest to men but I read that the vast proportion of male underwear is purchased by women and I assume not for their own use. Trunks, Y-Fronts – remember them – briefs are just three types of underwear, these are described as long boxers.
Salter does not just makes scales, it also produces a gift set that includes a set of scales.
With the numerous televised food programmes, especially the Great British Bake Off, food and its preparation has become a hot (no pun intended) topic. Jumping on the bandwagon, Salter, part of the HoMedics family and the UK’s number one brand for domestic weighing scales, has released the Kitchen Gift Set. This set comes with the claim of being ideal for the avid baker, whether of the Mary or Paul variety, and even those who are just beginning their culinary journey.
The Salter Precision Bowl scales model 1083 BKSSDR provide a most useful tool to enable a cook to measure ingredients both easily and accurately.
Having a maximum capacity of 3kg (7lb) with a resolution of 1g (0.1 oz.) the scales have an enhanced resolution of 0.1g when weighing amounts of up to 999g. The scales, which are supplied with a 1 litre capacity clear plastic dishwasher proof bowl, are actually quite small with a 12cm stainless steel weighing platform that occupies all the rear of the unit. The two push-buttons and the LCD display are at the front.
Philips have long been a big name in lighting and their range of Wake Up Lights are very popular and far more humane than an alarm clock, more recently they have had a range of infinite coloured bulbs controlled by an App here something different a kids projector with 24 images which can also be a nightlight.
Think an upside down cone with the sharp end removed, it is 12cm tall 4.5cm across at the top and 11.5cm across at the base. The images are on a circular disc that has eight images spaced around its edge, there are three of these they fit in the unit 5.5cm from the top and can be turned when in the unit to show whichever image you prefer. At the base is a three position slider which in the rightmost position is a night light the central position is off and the leftmost the top facing projector.
Adding to its range of massaging products, HoMedics has developed a handheld device.
Shiatsu was officially recognised as therapy by the Japanese Government in 1964. It is a physical therapy used to support and strengthen the body’s nature ability to heal and balance itself. The concept originated in Japan from traditional Chinese medicine with influences from more recent Western therapies.
When a mortal falls in love with a Goddess, there are bound to be problems that need to be overcome.
Not in itself a new item but apart from the normal screw fitting style available for this sort of Wi-Fi bulb this unit also comes with bayonet fittings far more often found in UK home and because these bulbs are thicker after the thread they often will not fit into wall fittings.
This unit plugged straight into one of my hang down from the ceiling leads and once switched on immediately gave a nice bright light far stronger than the standard 60watt bulb it replaced although the notional figure is 75watt equivalent it seemed brighter. Next download the LIFX App from either the iOS or Android store again straightforward and just 17.1MB on my Android device.
Streaming audio to speakers that do not support Bluetooth can be carried out using this next product.
Adding to its Chromecast product, Google has developed Chromecast Audio. This is a small pocket size device that can be carried around and used when necessary to provide the facility to stream (or cast) audio to your favourite speakers or whatever is available such as a hi-fi kit.
First a three pin plug that folds into something very small and has two 2.1A outputs on its back. Second a set of earbuds but far from being standard the excess cable wraps around the wrist available in a variety of colours and three different styles.
7.3x5.5x1.5cm is the total size of this unit that can easily slip into your pocket so that wherever you go that has mains power you can charge whatever devices you want and because it has 2.1A outputs it can do it very quickly. The first 3cm of each side folds out to form the front edge of a 13amp plug.
The Doro 6520 is the latest clamshell “easy” phone with added features aimed at the needs of the elderly and frail. It offers greater security to them and peace of mind to their relatives.
Having recently told you about a 64GB micro SD card from Toshiba, here a standard SD card and a coloured USB stick get put through their paces in a range of devices and also with computers with different operating systems.
The cards class and speed make all the difference and when shooting video from a camera is a good way to know if your class and speed is adequate. Speed used to be easy to judge with the number shown on the card 2 was around 2MB/s, 4 was around 4MB/s, 6 was around 6MB/s, 8 was around 8MB/s and the best was 10MB/s which was a 10.
Providing comfort prior to sleep and a light show for entertainment is the next product.
Aimed at the younger members of the family, this next product combines a night light with the ability to project images on an available wall or ceiling. Designed by Philips and manufactured in China, the product is aptly named the 2-in-1 Projector and Night Light. Shaped like an upside down ice-cream cone, this night light projector has dimensions of 115 x 115 x 118mm (L x W x H). The night light element forms the base of the unit with the projector positioned on top of the unit.
I am always worried when I see something that has a similar name to an already reviewed product, this I am told is different as you now have Bluetooth but even though my memory is short these still look familiar, why not Further Grind or even Grind 2.
20cm from the bass of the earbuds to the top of the padded headband is the maximum size this includes the 3cm of adjustment possible on each sideband. The earpads are circular at 7.5cm and the weight of the unit is 180grams. When the unit is at maximum size there is a wire that runs down either side just inside the frame but when at minimum size this juts out and could catch. I was happy with them at their smallest size as this leaves a small space at the base of my ear for it to breathe.
Adding to the extensive range of Bluetooth speakers currently available is a product from the French designer brand Lexon.
Supplied by , from its extensive range of products, the Tykho Booster is a rechargeable Bluetooth speaker. This particular product, designed by Marc Berthier, comes from the French design brand Lexon. The Tykho Booster, developed as part of Lexon’s 25 birthday celebrations, is a remastered version of the company’s iconic Tykho radio. I had been sent the lime green version of the product which perhaps will not be to everybody’s taste.