A recent visit to the iconic BT Tower in London saw BT launce their latest Smart Hub which is said to be faster than the competition such as Sky and Talk Talk and easier to setup and use, it also has a more stable form factor than most others.
The BT SmartBub measures 16x22x6.5cm the last figure is with the flip out feet engaged without them it is only 2.5cm thick. All the user connections are in a single line at the back, first the Broadband input, then a USB port, next four bright yellow Gigabit Ethernet ports then the DC power input and finally an on/off button.
One way to increase storage capacity and access functionality is to add a NAS to your computer system.
Available either as a populated or diskless product, the LS520 is a NAS device which forms part of the Buffalo LinkStation™ series. This review is based on the populated version of this two-bay unit featuring a pair of 1TB drives to provide storage capacity. Following the pattern that seems to be have been established by competitive products, the LS520 adopts a fairly standard box shape.
This next title gives you the opportunity to step back in time and play a game in the style of yesteryear.
Let me introduce you to Digital Bounce House. This is a small game development studio with tales to tell based on how we used to play games. One such tale is that of Tick’s Tales with its subtitle of Up All Knight as it places you in the environment of an 8-bit sword and sorcery adventure with all that that entitles.
This is the latest watch from iHealth but do not think of it as a tool to tell the time, it will do that but this is a fitness tool aimed predominately at those who swim for fitness it will also tell you how well you sleep and if you wish will even wake you up.
Its name is iHealth Wave and it is a Wireless Activity, Swim and Sleep Tracker. In the box is a watch with a 4cm stainless steel circular dial and attached black rubber strap. There is also another blue strap in the box for those who are colour conscious. There is a proprietary 20cm long charging cable that attaches to the back of the watch the other end goes to any USB port to charge. A small multi-language booklet is included with the first ten pages in English.
As its title should indicate, the Work Force Pro WF5690 DWF has been designed to act as a fairly heavy duty device.
Decked out in computer grey, this multi-function, multi-layered device from Epson has dimensions of 461 x 442 x 342 mm (W x D x H) and weighs a fairly substantial 14.3 kg. Due to its size and weight, this is a product that is best suited to having a permanent home rather being moved around to suit various circumstances in an office environment.
The Netgear ReadyNAS212 is a two-bay high-end network attached storage unit designed for those who, in addition to basic backups, want a high level of data protection as well as other features such as being able to do full HD 1080 to 480p transcoding on the fly.
When out an about people often stop for a coffee, nowadays which coffee chain they stop at may depend of which of the two wireless charging devices that chain supports. Yes sadly there are two standards I am sure most remember the VHS and Betamax battle.
The lines are drawn with one contender being Qi and the other PMA both charge suitable devices via wireless the difference is that they use different parts of the spectrum. There are big names on both sides so what is this to do with coffee simply Starbucks fall into one group and McDonalds the other, so if your device needs a charge it could mean that if your device has a back that needs one then that probably decides which outlet you go to.
REV stands for Robotic Enhanced Vehicles and while in this context they are toys – clever toys – we see more and more robotic items in today’s world an early example is the robotic vacuum cleaner that has been around for a while, turning to cars there are currently many worldwide tests of driverless cars.
Toys through the ages were made to mimic the real world, has the wheel turned 180 degrees so that the real world mimic’s toys? Here you have a pair of low slung sports cars that are quite detailed and substantial they weigh 387grams with the required 4x‘AA’ batteries (not supplied) inserted. They can be used individually or they can race against each other. The extra games in the App allow the child to invent as well as enjoy. They are 17x10x4.
Adding to its range of storage devices, Toshiba has produced the Canvio Premium portable hard drives.
Highlighted by diamond-cut edges with sleek and stylish high quality aluminium casing, there are Canvio Premium models for PC and Mac users. Units are available in capacities of 1, 2 and 3TB. My review is based on the Canvio Premium PC unit with a capacity of 3TB. With dimensions of 109 x 78 x 18.5 mm (D x W x H) and weighing 243g, this appealing looking, pocket-sized device comes with a soft carry pouch for protecting the unit during transport.
A PAYG offering from Vodafone, this 5inch screen offering seems almost small by some recent items that have passed over my desk but it means it fits easily in a pocket and can be held easily in the palm of your hand for ease of use.
It is 14x7x.7cm and weights 135grams. The viewable screen is 11x6.5cm which gives the notional imperial diagonal measurement of 5inches. Going round the outside has a volume rocker on the right with the on/off button below it. The base has a tiny slit speaker as well as a micro USB socket for charging. The left side is clear and the top has a 3.5mm socket for headphones/earbuds and beside it a pin hole microphone.
For a change this next product from Sennheiser is not a set of headphones.
Usually when a product arrives from Sennheiser it is a set of headphones but this time there was a difference. Even so, being Sennheiser, the product was concerned with the delivery of audio but instead of a wearable set of headphones, the new product is meant to be positioned on a desk or table with the audio being delivered to those within the immediate vicinity of the device. This is the Sennheiser SP20 speakerphone.
Entering a kingdom based on magic can be a dangerous occupation especially when a wicked witch is involved. Are you up to the task?
Echoes of the Past: The Kingdom of Despair is a Hidden Object Adventure game that sets you the task of freeing a variety of characters from a witch’s curse while searching for a path home. This review is based on the Collector’s Edition which comes with a number of bonus items. Most of these bonus items require progress to be made in the game before they become active. There is a bonus chapter, concept art, replayable mini games and a book of spells.
Three years ago Olympus launched their LM-12 and LM-14 high quality voice and music recorders, the LM-14 was unique in having three microphones. Now they have launched the LS-P1 (4GB internal memory) and LS-P2 (8GB internal memory) the latter also has three microphones but is a lot smaller.
The Olympus LS-P2 audio recorder weighs only 75grams and is 11x4x1.5cm so will fit easily in the palm of your hand. Having used the LM-14 for a lot of music recording I know how helpful the ‘third microphone’ is for capturing base notes. So the LS-P2 with the third mic was the obvious choice for me. Going around the outside has a 3.5mm headphone/earbud socket and then an external microphone 3.5mm socket and if you are testing in a low light setting this could lead to problems.
The Latitude 3470 is a Dell laptop forming part of the 3000 series. This model has been designed for those users looking for a work machine that is reasonable priced.
This Dell 14-inch laptop has an understated appearance. Black in colour, the only real embellished seen on the unit’s casing is the appearance of a Dell logo on the top cover of the unit. Supplied with a two-piece power cord and battery pack, my review sample comes with an Intel Core i3 6100u CPU processor working in conjunction with an Intel HD Graphics 520 GPU. There is 4GB of DDR3 RAM.
Perhaps one of the most unsecure methods of transporting data around – apart from a paper copy - is a memory stick so file encryption can help here however another method that allows internal file encryption and also encryption on the device before you can even see the files.
This unit is made of aluminium and with its sleeve quite watertight but the secret is once you have removed the sleeve. A USB3 plug on one end a keyring connector on the other and in between a numeric keypad and until you enter the correct key your device cannot be recognised by a USB port. If you enter the wrong key ten times in a row then all the information on the stick is wiped. The stick itself is the same dimensions as a normal USB stick but it is slightly longer. The dimensions are 8x1.
If this dancing toy with unruly hair does not persuade your child to get a decent hair style I am not sure what will do so. This however should keep the youngster amused for a while and any busy parent knows that this is gold.
A worrying trend is that there are six slightly different versions all do something slightly different in the way the ‘hair moves’ so at the age range aimed at, the possibility is that pester power is large on the scene.
Adding to its range of budget smartphone offerings, Vodafone has released its Smart Ultra 7 model.
Adding to its range of Smart Ultra handsets, Vodafone has released its Smart Ultra 7 model with the promise of bringing speed, power and performance to the user. With dimensions of 152.2 x 78.12 x 8.68 mm and a weight of 150g, this handset has a 5.5-inch full HD IPS (Plane to Line Switching) screen surrounded by a black bezel that is considerably wider at the top and bottom than the sides.
An 8inch Tablet that runs Android 5.1.1 not quite the latest version but still recent. My test unit came direct from Alcatel in the UK but was a model sold by O2 in the UK, unlike a lot of Tablets it has a micro SIM slot so can be used online while out and about.
It is an 8inch Tablet the outside dimensions are 21x12.5x.8cm and it weighs 335grams. Going around the outside it has two bar buttons on the right side on/off and volume up and down. The base and left side are clear with the top having 3.5mm socket for headphones or earbuds and a micro USB port for charging – no support for OTG devices - and a pin hole microphone. The rear has a 5MP camera that sits slightly proud of the body and there is not an LED flash.
Does your home love Wi-Fi? If not then maybe a Repeater would help.
Better known for its work in and support for Powerline technology whereby your current (no pun intended) electrical cabling system is used as the conduit to deliver a home network, Devolo has other strings to its bow including home security and wireless networking. In the case of the latter area, Devolo has just released a device to boost the range of an established home Wi-Fi network.
So what did Goldilocks do after eating the porridge and taking an unauthorised nap? You might be surprised.
Living Legends: Wrath of the Beast is a Hidden Object Adventure game. I have been looking at the Collector’s Edition of this game which is available from various gaming sites including Big Fish Games and GameHouse.com. Spread over six chapters, with the option of a bonus chapter once the main game has been completed, this game is based loosely on the story of Goldilocks and her ursine experiences.
Having recently told you about beards, head hair and other hair on other parts of the body from separate devices it seems only right to end this round up of recent Braun devices with what they call the Multi Groomer designed to shave, style and trim.
This is designed to be used both wet and dry and can even be used in the shower should you wish. It is 13.5cm long, 5.5cm wide and up to 3.5cm deep. It weights 177grams. It is battery operated by two rechargeable batteries that when fully charged can give you 30 minutes of constant power. There is also a five minute quick charge that should give those who always forget to recharge enough power for a single treatment.
The question that needs to be answered first is whether this next review concerns hardware or software. In fact, as will quickly become clear, the review starts off by covering the hardware before moving on to the software element of this NETGEAR offering.
Providing the hardware element in this package is the NETGEAR ReadyNAS 212 box. This is a 2-bay Network Attached Storage device that comes with a three year Diskless warranty. The box, combining a colour scheme of matte and lacquered black, has dimensions of 220 x 101 x 142 mm (D x W x H) and weighs, in its original diskless state, 2.03kg. Powered by a 1.
You don’t see an Analogue watch for ages and like buses three come at almost the same time. This however is a rather nice looking conventional watch that has a stainless steel back and the strap is made of a material that looks like rose gold, very smart.
Its strange twenty years ago the watch you wore was unlikely to raise a comment, now this conventional watch raises more than an eyebrow often with an accompanying comment like ‘nice watch’ or other such things like ‘that’s smart’ or ‘very traditional’ while this is far from a cheap product it may well have the effect that you get a second glance if your aim is to impress. The strap is 23cm long so should fit those with even the largest wrist.
First mobile memory made for ‘i’ devices, now available in sizes up to 256GB. Second a website based in Germany that claims – according to the press release sent to me – to sell products up to 20% cheaper than other websites
This device allows you to transfer data between USB and Lightning devices, so files taken from say a PC can then be put onto an iPhone. They come in various sizes up to 256GB. I was sent the 16GB version and this can store up to 14.9GB of data. It is 6cm long, up to 2cm deep and 1.7cm wide. It comes with a sleeve that covers both the USB and Lightning terminals. When used in a USB port 5cm protrude. When used in a Lighting port the bulk of the device slides under the unit and only 2cm protrudes.
A few years ago DAB radio was promoted as being the next big thing. That has yet to happen although new DAB products continue to appear.
Like Paddington Bear, I enjoy marmalade, the tasty spread that accompanies my morning toast. However the same appreciation does not apply when the marmalade term refers to the patterned colour scheme that is adopted by a DAB radio. Such is the decorative feature of this next product under review. This is the VQ Retro Mini radio.
These are a pair of quality in ear earbuds. The only lead is the small flat one connecting the two buds, a short distance from the left earbud is the in lead box that charges the buds and also moves through your tracks etc. on whatever device you connect them to.
The connection is of course Bluetooth and my recent Android phone found the BE-6i almost instantly and made the required connection.
When is a tablet not a tablet? Or maybe I should rephrase the question and ask when is a laptop not a laptop? After all the two questions have a close connection. In fact the answer to both these versions of the latest conundrum is the same. A tablet is not a tablet and a laptop is not a laptop when it is a hybrid device that brings together a tablet and a laptop into a single package. This situation occurs with the Fujistu Stylistic R726 offering.
Aimed at the mobile business user who is constantly on the move, this Stylistic R726 product consists of the screen element with a kickstand (that’s the tablet element) and a magnetic keyboard. You also get a digitised stylus pen, two-piece power lead and various items of documentation plus a backup CD. Applying the virtual glue to bring these hardware items together is a copy of the latest version of Microsoft’s Windows Pro 10 operating system.
An evil force has started to take over the world. You have the task of defeating this force and restoring peace and harmony.
The game of World Keepers belongs to the popular Hidden Object Adventure genre. Your role in this game is that of Corsair Elizabeth Robinson, a sea captain who embarks on a voyage to help her close friend Ethan Brown. Your task is to help him locate his lost son, Adam, who has somehow become involved with an evil force that leaves behind a trail of destruction and victims reduced to rags and bones.
Having recently told you about the latest Alcatel Smart Watch called the ‘Go Watch’ I now have the chance to see how they arrived there by looking at its predecessor which should still be on sale in some outlets and its look may suit the older user.
It has a chrome finish and a black leather look rubber strap. The dial is round at 4cm but with close to a centimetre closed off at the base. It uses a proprietary charging device that plugs into one end of the strap and runs to a standard USB port. Just like its younger relation it charges quickly around 70 minutes from empty. The clip mechanism that fastens the watch to your wrist can be a little fiddly to adjust to get the size exactly right.
Of all the keys on a computer keyboard, the one that tends to be the most confusing for novice users is the one labelled Print Screen or Prt Scr.
No matter how many times you press this Print Screen or Prt Scr key your printer will not spring into action and automatically duplicate a hard copy of the current screen being displayed. Actually this key does perform its task but rather than dump the screen content to your printer, this content is stored in memory from where it can be accessed by appropriate software. Offering to take over this screen grabbing activity is SnagIt.