Now part of the MAGIX family, Xara has released the latest version of its flagship graphics product.
Another year and another version of a product, which has been around for a good number of years, makes its appearance. In this case the product is Designer Pro X from Xara. I should clarify that the “X” is part of the product’s actual title and does not have anything to do with the version number as happens with the version numbering adopted by some other companies.
And now for something completely different as the saying goes. I can promise you that this next title is certainly not the usual fare.
A game is a game is a puzzle. This rather confusing thought impinged itself on my consciousness when I first took a look at the game of 7 Grand Steps. Just what was going on and what was the point of this game that was confusing me to such a degree that I wondered whether I had stepped inside an Alice in Wonderland type environment. I must admit that at this point in time I had not bothered to RTFM.
Asus are a company that I think of for computers and motherboards. So when the opportunity to look at a mobile phone from them it seems an interesting option. The name puzzled me for a moment until I related the Pad part to a tablet.
I think of Asus as a computer company but then a modern Android phone is more of a computer than just a phone. It is 13.5x6.5x.8cm and weights 135grams. It is shaped like a wedge and I have quoted the maximum thickness at the base it is less than .5cm.
A high altitude location was the site for the launch of a new headset with a touch of colour for the fashion conscious.
When the topic turns to headsets or headphones, one of the first names that springs to my mind is that of Sennheiser. With its headquarters in Germany and subsidiaries in various locations including Great Britain, America, Canada, China, Japan, Russia, France and Belgium, the company has built up an extensive range of headsets and headphones. The latest addition to this product portfolio is the company’s new Momentum On-Ear Headphones.
A four in one device is normally called multi-function, while a three in one device is often called an All In One, this is from the former category as not only does it scan, copy and print it also has a fax ability for those who still use it.
The Canon Pixma MX455 measures 46x37x21cm so it is a chunky unit and that is without the page feed being extended on the scanner. You also need to add another 13cm to the middle figure the depth to have the drop down output tray and the paper input trays extended. Power and USB inputs are back left of the unit. You can probably do without the USB lead assuming you have a Wi-Fi connection but for some you may need a USB to complete the setup as sometimes it fails to find the Wi-Fi without one.
The Prestigio Multiphone 5430 is a competitively priced Android smartphone. It is being launched into the UK market to capitalise on the recognition achieved by the brand with its range of tablets over the past year or so. It has a 4.3inch display and 8MP pixel camera and is targeted at those users who want the flexibility that an unlocked phone brings in the increasingly competitive tariff jungle.
Prestigio is a brand of the eastern European ASBIS group which launched the 5430 in its home markets in June and so there has been the opportunity to get over teething troubles (if any). There are not likely to be many in view of the fact that the phones are manufactured in China by the BYD Precision Manufacture Company which is no stranger to the mobile phone business.
A set of earbuds from a comparative newcomer to the audio market and I think their first buds as opposed to headphones. Second something that any keen photographer needs a quality tripod suitable for a good sized DSLR unit.
The headphones I reviewed earlier this year were certainly a set worth considering. Here a set of earbuds that seems to have a lot going for them. The first thing you notice once you have extracted them from their box is that the cord is white and flat. Why flat well simply because it is less likely to knot up when the lead is twirled round your fingers and placed into a pocket or bag.
Unlike the dance of the same name, the Charleston Curse involves witches, ghosts and some suspicious deaths.
The Collector’s Edition of Witches’ Legacy The Charleston Curse, available from Focus Multimedia, is classified as a Hidden Object Adventure game. As is usual with Collector’s Edition games, you get some bonus items that include an extra game chapter plus music soundtrack, wallpaper, screensavers and concept art but these items only become accessible once the main game has been completed successfully.
Having reviewed scales, various other fitness and health products from Withings it seems logical to cover a blood pressure monitor linked like so many products they do to an App so you do not even need to note down the units readings.
If you already have other items from Withings then the same App will work it may require a small update. The advantage of this is that you already know the layout. The App if you have not got it already with other Withings devices in Free and quick to download. It is designed to work with any ‘i’ device, that is iPhone, iPad or as I have an iPod touch. It consists of a cylinder 15cm long and 3.
While there are a number of gaming headsets currently available, the subject of this next review comes from a surprising source.
Up until very recently I had always considered Kingston Technology to be purely a company that concentrated its energies and expertise on the development and manufacture of memory solutions that were put to good use in a vast sway of devices ranging from desktops, printers, flash drives, mobile phones and digital cameras. However more recent arrivals from Kingston Technology have widened the company’s field of expertise.
As the last surviving member of a secret society, you are cast in the role of tackling an evil force intent on preying on the city of Prague.
Here I am looking at a wireless speaker unit that can connect via Bluetooth, Near Field and even by 3.5mm lead. Second a pair of earbuds described as Noise Isolation In Ear Earphones, so two ways to enjoy your sounds without power.
This is a single triangular unit 25cm long, 11cm at the base and 10cm tall. All the controls are in a line on the top, microphone, volume down and volume up on a single rocker button, and a multi-use that is on, pairing for Bluetooth and hold for off. Finally an LED that is white when on, flashing white while pairing and briefly red when you power off. There are two inputs at the base of the back in the centre, Auxiliary input and Micro USB (cable supplied) for charging.
While USB Flash Sticks continue to improve their functionality with regards to speed of reading and writing files, especially those products that now feature USB 3.0 technology, they still lag well behind the various pocket sized external drives with regards to the available capacity. Currently 64GB of capacity seems to be the ceiling for USB Flash Drive and, as a result they can not hope to compete on a level playing field with devices such as the Buffalo MiniStation offering which is the subject of this review.
The Buffalo MiniStation is available in a choice of white or black and comes in 500GB, 1TB or 2TB versions. My review is based on the 1TB version of this product. This USB 3.0 external drive has the appearance of like a slab of white chocolate but I would not recommend trying to eat it unless you want a few cracked teeth for your trouble. The top of the device is patterned in such a way that it reflects light in different patterns.
This is a rather nice book reader however it can be far more as it is Android based, so you can surf the WWW and collect your emails however for some reason not quite all the content of the Android Play Store is currently available.
The Nook HD+ book reader and general Android tablet measures 24x16x1cm and weighs 500grams. The visible screen is 12.7x19.2cm which gives the notional diagonal imperial measurement of 9inches. As a book reader it is backlit so the battery will not last as long as an e-ink offering. The default font size will show 33 lines of text when in portrait mode; in landscape it will show 20 lines in two columns of just over 7cm (3inches).
Verbatims Mobile Power Bank model 97926 is designed to provide backup power for tablets and smart phones for those on the move. Because it has dual outputs, it will prove particularly valuable for those who need to keep two devices working and yet cannot be certain of always being within reach of a convenient power source.
The Power Bank has a capacity of 10,000mAh which should be enough to provide up to 100% of the battery capacity for the majority of tablets as well as keeping one’s phone on the go. It is in a stylish polished black plastic case measuring 170 x 115 x 11mm with rounded corners and edges and weighing 350g, which will slip neatly into the corner of one’s carry-on bag as it is roughly the size of a paper-back book but much thinner.
This is a rather good multi-function device from Bosch, not as multi-function normally means with a printer scanner etc. but a device to chop, mix, blend and most other things you want to do to food in preparation to cook or eat.
This is somewhat larger than the recently reviewed ‘Magic Bullet’ but this unit from Bosch can easily accommodate the needs of a family. Ten with these multi-function devices they require a great deal of room and if you are neat and tidy they prove nearly impossible to store away in the box. Here while the box itself is not small at 39x38x37cm everything fits into it with a minimum of fuss and no degree in puzzles is required.
Here, there and everywhere is not just the title of a Beetles song but it is also the approach that many of us take with regards to the storage of our digital content. You could have stored data on an internal drive, external hard disk, optical media, flash stick, memory card, the Cloud or, if you have been involved with computers for as long as I have, the various types of floppy disks. Offering a central repository for all this data is the stated aim of Seagates appropriately named Central product.
Acting in its role of a NAS device, the Seagate Central product joins your home network via a direct cable link to your router. Depending upon your storage needs, this product is available in capacities of 2, 3 or 4TB models with my review unit being of the latter type. Included with the NAS device is an Ethernet cable, power lead with a selection of adapters and a small Quick Start Guide consisting mainly of illustrations and a URL to an important web site.
This is a large 1920x1080 panel. In fact the 27inch size is larger than most TVs were not that long ago, however the newer LED technology means thats displays stay crisper and blacks stay clearer whatever the display size.
The Samsung SC750 Flat Panel measures 61x37x1.5cm. The screen is raised 14cm from your desk by the 30x20cm stand and then 13cms worth of solid oval arm that is centred just behind the centre of the stand. The viewable screen is 60x33.5cm which gives the notional imperial diagonal measurement of 27inches. The arm is actually 33.
Offering users a one-stop shop for their media needs, CyberLink has released the latest version of its Media Suite product.
With the name of this games location being set in Lycan Isle, you have a clear indication that a wolf will have an important role to play in an offering from Avanquest.
Slightly different to most Power Shot offerings as this is waterproof, it still however has all the normal facilities and enhancements of a standard digital camera but in this case getting it wet will not be a disaster at least in the short term.
The Canon PowerShot D20 measures 9.5x6.5x2cm and weights 228grams. Normally I am a fan of sober colours and the predominate black of this unit pleases my sober personality. However as this may be lost under water the bright yellow buttons and semi-circular yellow swirl on the face make it stand out where other single sober colour units would become lost. The left side has only the wrist strap anchor point.
Joining the Vodafone Smart family of handsets is the Smart Mini. This baby of the family is firmly entrenched in the budget market price category. This model is available for around £50 on a Pay as you Go (PAYG) basic. There is a choice of white, pink or black colour schemes with my review sample, supplied by Vodafone, being of the latter hue.
With dimensions of 115 x 62.3 x 12.2mm (H x W x D), the Vodafone Smart Mini has a solid appearance as its weight of 118g weights helps confirm. Dominating the front of the handset is a 3.5-inch screen that delivers a resolution of 320 x 480 pixels. Alright this is not the high definition that high priced models offer but the screen is easily readable. The familiar Back, Home and Multi-task capacitive buttons are arranged across the bottom of the screen.
This is a thin and light Windows 8 notebook that boots very quickly and for me anyway cures the problem of fingermarks around the screen by making the whole thing in silver grey rather than the standard shiny black finish.
It is 31x21.5x1cm and weights 1110grams. The 1cm thickness is at the back the front is only .7cm. Because of the size there are special leads to connect certain standard things. The left side has the DC input, a USB3 socket, next two of the special connections for HDMI and Ethernet. The front is clear and the right side has an SD card port on a flip open door that is more on the base than the side, pin hole microphone, another special socket for VGA, a standard 3.
Now that virtually all of us have either a smartphone or a tablet computer or possibly both we are increasing finding that our fingers are really too large when it comes to accurately keying in all types of text. The STM Tracer DeLuxe Stylus + Pen, provides a useful all round tool for paper as well as those devices which use capacitive sensor technology for input.
Available in all silver and in black and looking at first glance just like an ordinary ballpoint pen, even though it has a quality “feel”, it is a double-ended tool. At one end is the ballpoint and the other is the soft rubber stylus tip. Rotate the end of the Tracer remote from the stylus in one direction to get the black ballpoint or, in the other direction, red. In the mid position both are retracted so there is no risk of the ink staining one’s pocket.
The new standard in Power Line transmission seems to 500, not so long ago 200 was nirvana. Here a Starter kit that allows you to connect up to three devices from a single plug socket in that area that Wi-Fi just does not reach.
As with all these devices you need two units, the first will connect to a plug somewhere near your router or modem/router. The second can be anywhere on the same ring main and unless your property has been substantially changed most will only have one. The first ‘master’ socket is 12.5x6.5x4.5cm and the only thing to remember is not to plug it into a surge strip or sometimes a gang socket – dependant on what else is plugged into the same gang socket.
To many a mouse is just a mouse. It is a periphery that is used to guide your cursor around a screen and select appropriate options when necessary. However for some, a mouse can be a device that can be used to carry out different actions. Recently I reported on an IRIS mouse that could perform the duties of a scanner along with its more common features. Now it is the turn of Gigabyte to come up with a mouse that can double as a presenters tool. It is the type of device that teachers and those who live and breathe PowerPoint presentations could consider adding to their must-buy list.
Arriving in a box large enough to easily contain a cut-down keyboard, this Gigabyte mouse goes by the rather impressive title of Aivia Neon. Opening this box reveals an almost presentation style of arrangement of a cloth covered insert with three cutaway sections. The wireless mouse sits between a pack containing documentation, cleaning cloth and USB extension lead on one side and a carry pouch on the other. Both the mouse and carry pouch are black in colour.
This is not a GPS unit as some may think but a watch, a rather special watch that not only tells the time but can also give you your pulse rate at any time by the simple press of a button, no chest band just wear the watch on your wrist.
This was one of a few items I was interested in at a recent distributor event held at the London Film Museum that is in County Hall on the side of the river Thames. It was the first item I saw as it was just inside the door and by the time I had been round all the stands it was still the most interesting item to me.
It almost crossed my mind that I had been forgotten by Acer with regards to review products when an offer arrived to check out an Aspire model. I was reasonably impressed.
In the past I have had the opportunity to look at a number of Acer computers. These models have been exclusively laptop units belonging to either the Aspire or TravelMate family. Now it is the turn of another Aspire model to supply my computing needs but this time it is a desktop system. The Acer unit in question is the Aspire XC600_W.
It is time to embark on a treasure hunt that will require a logical approach in order to succeed. Are you up to the task?
Available from Avanquest on its GSP game label, Arizona Rose and the Pirate’s Riddle is classified as a picture puzzle game. In this mixture of picture puzzles, hidden object searching and mini games, you take on the role of Arizona Rose, who is a collector of antiques, as you search for the treasure that Blackbeard looted from different vessels and attacks on other locations during his infamous life as a pirate.
Though it may not be clear from the title this is a vacuum. In fact when I first used it the lack of noise even on maximum suction made me think I had not assembled it correctly, so Power Silence does seem to be a good name.
The Bosch GS-50 Power Silence vacuum is a pull along unit measuring 43x29x28cm without the hose; it comes with a 7metre flex which means I can just do my whole property from a single centrally located plug when I attach the hose. The cleaning foot and arm is 75cm long and the tube that fits into the rear of the unit another 2metres so a near 10metre stretch from a power socket. The foot has a flip switch for solid floors or carpets.