Google bought Motorola Mobility $12.5 billion in 2012 and has now sold it on to Lenovo for a mere $2.91 billion, retaining, however, a raft of valuable patents. The Moto X is the culmination of Google's breath of life into the previously moribund mobile phone pioneer. Chris Bidmead assess this final fruit of the transitory relationship.
Why do we still call these things phones? If my own usage is anything to go by, traditional point-to-point voice communication is no more than 7 per cent of the work we put them to. Tweeting, email, online shopping, Web browsing, photography, photo-copying, ebook reading - these all take up far more of my head-down hand-held screen focus time. My phone's a pocket tablet. I'm using it, for example, to write this blog.
From its Belgium base, as part of its Document to Knowledge mantra, IRIS has released the latest version of its IRISPen product. This is the IRISPen Executive 7 offering which boasts You scan, it types as it performs its designed role of a hand-held scanner.
While the product’s title refers to the scanner element of this package as a “pen”, it is more like a black magic marker or highlighter in appearance right down to the removable cap at one end. It is this end that contains the scanner element which is protected by the cap when not being used. This “pen” unit has dimensions of 15 x 140 x 25mm (H x L x W) with a mini USB port at the opposite end to the cap.
Set in southern Indian, this next game challenges you to complete Match-3 grids to make progress in a treasure hunt.
The Ricoh HZ15 is a small digital camera from a brand that is both Pentax and Ricoh as they are now one company. A lot of people think of Ricoh for printers but cameras are also their thing both digital and DSLR. Here one to fit into a small pocket or purse.
The Ricoh HZ15 digital camera measures 10.5x5.5cm these figures are width and height, the depth is interesting when off and the lens is retracted a single figure would normally suffice here at the right end its 3cm and at the left end little more than 2cm. With the lens fully zoomed it is 8cm. This is a 16MP and 15x optical zoom offering. RICOH produce their own lenses and this offering is24-360mm.
Vendors Verbatim and Kingston Technology are both using the USB OTG (On-The-Go) technology to enable users to overcome the lack of a micro-SD slot in some Android tablets or smartphones which prevents additional memory being added. This technology provides the means of expanding the storage of compatible devises to as much as 64GB.
OTG is an enhancement to the USB specification. It allows a compatible tablet or smartphone to act as a host to which flash drives and other USB devices can be attached. This is a very useful facility as it can be used to provide a device with additional memory as well as enabling files to be backed up without the need of a PC connection. Then, in due course, as the flash memory stick has a standard USB connector, it is also a simple task to subsequently transfer files to/from a PC.
Joining the like of Apple and Samsung in offering users both smartphone handsets and tablets, Sony latest release in the latter category is the Xperia Tablet Z. This is a 10-inch tablet running the Android operating system.
Predominately black in colour apart from the silver Sony logo on the front and the Xperia name on the rear, the Xperia Tablet Z has dimensions of 266 x 172 x 6.9mm (W x H x D) with a weight of 465. Looking almost as if it has been on a diet, this tablet should have no problems with regards mobility.
Marketed as a way of saving the overweight placed on a number of childrens backs with all the text books they have to carry to a from schools a 8 inch Android tablet and a Bluetooth Pen could be the future to save later life back problems.
It is 20x15x1cm and weights 426grams. The viewable screen is 16x12cm giving the notional diagonal imperial measurement of 8 inches. The tablet itself worked fine it comes up with the logo nextbook during boot up. The boot takes around 20 seconds with shutdown being less than two seconds. Battery life was rather good and no doubt it will be left in standby most of the time. It is Android 4.1.1 which today seems rather old but it is stable. The Wi-Fi on it works well but there is no .
This is nothing to do with NFC as the word Touch might cause you to think. It is a mobile speaker that allows you to place any Smartphone or i device on top of it and the internal speaker output is greatly increased and I mean greatly.
It is 12.5cm deep and 10x10cm at the front and 7x10cm at the back. It weighs only 218 grams. No other connection is required it has an internal solid battery that you can recharge by the micro USB to USB cable provided. So when you want to share your music simply place your device on top of the Boombox switch it on and whatever is coming from your unit’s internal speaker is greatly increased without distortion.
suppose it had to happen sooner rather than later. With mobile devices, namely smartphones and tablets, being our constant companions giving us access to data and then storing what is important to us, you would expect companies to develop printers capable of supporting mobile printing. Well actually they have been around for a while but they are rarely promoted as such. That is until now as I have been sent a printer product that promotes itself as a Smartphone and tablet printer. The product in question is the HP ENVY 4500.
Let me clarify one important point first of all. The HP ENVY 4500 is a fairly standard All-in-One (AiO) device pure and simple. It combines print, scan and copy facilities along with a choice of USB or Wireless connectivity. In common with numerous other products from different manufacturers, it can accept content from and deliver it to various sources as long as they belong to the same network.
This is a DAB, FM and Internet radio; however it is also a music player and has a full Last FM trial. Roberts are one of the main names in these devices so how does this mid sized unit shape up overall for both quality and value.
The Roberts Stream 205 measures 28x22x9cm which include the handle but not the five piece rod aerial that will add 60cm if used vertically. It can be used on mains or on batteries but the latter requires six ‘D’ cells. The control panel is on the sloping top of the unit there are 15 well marked buttons of different size and shape spread along the top and a large silvered knob to change station. There is a large clear display 6.5x3.4cm which shows relevant information.
One of these days Edifier is going to produce a speaker system with a more traditional design concept for one of its speaker unit. But this is definitely not one of those days with the arrival of this next Edifier speaker system.
Arriving in packaging that reminded me of a suitcase, the Edifier Luna Eclipse is a 2.0 speaker system that once again put me under pressure when attempting to describe the shape of the speaker units. Let me deal with simple matters first before getting down to the shape of the speakers. The two speakers making up this system are decked out predominately in a highly polished lacquered black coating.
It is time to venture underwater as you embark on a Match 3 extravaganza with a choice of two difficulty levels.
Hidden Wonders of the Depth 2 is a Match 3 game originally published by Big Fish Games and now available as part of Focus Multimedia budget BlackLime catalogue. Developed by ERS Games this title brings together different types of Match 3 styles of game play with some additional forms of puzzles plus the opportunity to spend the money earned for completing tasks in an aquatic themed shop.
This rather nice unit from Philips turns any PC or Notebook of recent vintage into a touch unit with the aid of any normal connection method and a USB lead, so all your finger messages are transferred from the screen to the PC.
This Philips touch sensitive LCD monitor measures 55x36x3cm not including the flip out stand that extends backwards to allow the screen to sit at an almost infinite range of angles to near flat. So whatever your standing or sitting angle can be accommodated. The viewable screen is 51x28.5cm which gives the notional diagonal imperial measurement of 23inches.
The Achilles heel of home projectors in the past has always been the lamp - short-lived, expensive to replace and generating heat that typically needs a noisy fan to disperse. For the past five years or so a solution has been waiting in the wings. LED as an illumination source is much cooler and longer-lasting. But for any other than small unambitious projectors it's been too dim. Or far too expensive. Until now.
Like the previous two projectors I've reviewed here, the Optoma HD91 could be described as an entry-level offering. But compared to the Epson EH-TW490 and the Viewsonic PJD7820HD it's by no means cheap. This is because it's an entry into a much higher class of projector - the semi-pro home theatre category, where prices can easily run into 5 figures. The Optoma HD91 comes in at a hair under £3,000.
There are headsets and there are headsets. This is also the RIG system.
Newly basking in the lime light following winning a prestigious International Forum Product Design Award 2014 in the Audio / Video category, the RIG system is a Plantronics product. It has been designed to allow users to immerse themselves in an audio environment supplied from various sources.
If you are considering Windows 8.1 for you next PC then it really should have touch and this offering from HP has it. Windows 8 was made for touch so if you can change your working style then this could well be a good way to adapt.
The HP Pavilion TouchSmart measures 38x25.5x2cm, the thickest point is at the back and it is barely 1cm at the front. The left side has DC input, Kensington Lock point, Ethernet, full size HDMI port, two USB2 ports and a Card slot. The front is clear, the right side has a couple of pin hole LEDs a 3.5mm socket for headphones, a USB port and the Optical drive. The back is also clear as the screen goes over it. The viewable screen is 36x19.
Its not often a single word describes a product here is does as its a ZIP with USB on one end and splits for Micro USB and Lightning on the other. The second item is a magnetized three LED Torch capable of being twisted to almost any angle.
This is 37cm long – the maximum distance between the cable plugs is 31cm – but when the zip is fully unzipped there can be 60cm between the Lightning and Micro USB plug ends. My unit was yellow with just the plugs in a more normal black, but I see they also do Black, Blue, Red and White. However if you have the normal mass of various cables dotted around colour is a good item differentiator. The voltage supported is up to 2.4amp with 30/30 AWG Micro USB transmission.
The original Amazon Kindle eBook Reader was quickly followed by the Kindle Touch model. This version, in turn, gave way to the current Kindle offering named the Paperwhite.
My review of the Paperwhite is based on the Wi-Fi model which is the technology used when you need to connect to the Amazon Kindle Store for purchasing your choice of literature. With dimensions of 117 x 169 x 9.1mm (W x H x D) and weighing 213g, this eBook Reader gives you a 6-inch viewable E Ink screen area for your reading material delivered at a native resolution of 1024 x 768 pixels.
This is a speaker with a handle that can be mains or battery powered. Apart from Bluetooth, NFC and the ability to have a hands free conversation with it from a Smartphone it also has a 3.5mm socket so an MP3 player can be connected.
The Sony SRS-BTM8 Portable Speaker measures 19x8.5cm at the base and 25x2cm at the top where the handle has all the controls. The total height is a tad over 16cm. With the optional 4x 'AA' batteries inserted in the base it weights 1060grams. At the base of the back you can insert the provided power adapter it has a 1.5metre lead to a small power brick built into a 13amp plug. The base of the back is also where you will find the 3.5mm socket for Auxiliary input.
To paraphrase a certain cake companys claim, HTC designs some exceedingly nice looking handsets. A prime example of this from the Taiwanese manufacturer is the HTC One offering. This product is a smartphone device which is the subject of this review.
With its all-metal silver casing, bevelled polished edges and glass frontage, the HTC One certainly has a touch of style about it. The Smartphone’s dimensions of 137 x 68 x 9mm (H x W x D) and a weight of 143g means it can fit comfortable in the hand as it attracts admiring glances from others or while tucked away safely in a pocket or bag without causing any inconvenience. Leading the way in gathering these admitting glances is the 4.
To avoid any confusion for older readers, I should point out that the subtitle of this next game, Return of the Duke does not refer or have anything to do with Marion Mitchell Morrison (aka John Wayne) who was the star in numerous action films.
The Scuffs 2: Return of the Duke is a Hidden Object Adventure game that is now available on Avanquest’s GSP label. Spread over 10 chapters, this game sets you the challenge of helping Grandpa Scruffs, the rightful heir, become the next Duke of Scruffold. For some reason, not explained in the game, it has taken Grandpa Scruffs 30 years before stepping forward to claim his rights.
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.