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.
Always willing to help when I am on the look-out for a product to review, Vodafones PR agency sent me a couple of handsets on which one is the subject of this next review.
My first car, purchased a little over 20 years ago, cost £600 second hand. Nowadays this is the price being asked by some companies for one of their smartphone devices that could quickly build up additional costs at a rate that can make your eyes water. Fortunately there are some handsets that are more economically priced.
Earlier this year I had a look at a Chromebook from Samsung, here what at first glance looks a fairly similar offering from HP. Could a Chromebook be a real alternative to using a notebook with the Microsoft Windows operating system?
The HP Pavilion 14 Chromebook measures 34x23.5x2cm and weights 1716 grams, sadly it is shiny black so shows all your finger marks on the screen edge and lid. The left side has a Kensington Lock Port, one USB port and a headset port. The front is clear, the right side has SD Card port, two USB ports, an HDMI out port and an Ethernet port, finally the DC charging point. The back is also clear as the lid goes partially over it to open to around 140degrees.
This is a high quality digital camera that records with a 14MP sensor, it is intended for use for people who do things of a daredevil nature in the open air, as such it can be strapped to a helmet while these deeds are being performed.
The camera itself is circular at 2.5cm and 10cm long and in this format it weights 150grams. It comes with a whole range of accessories and attachments. The Quick Start Guide has 14 pages in English and this at least explains what the various extra parts are and what they might be used for.
Are you up to the challenge of defeating the Puppet Thief who steals the souls of children? If so then enter a fairy tale world of mystery.
Once upon a time, or so the story goes, a man travelled from town to town entertaining the population with his songs and poetry. While this might sound innocent enough to the casual observer, there was a more sinister, evil ulterior motive behind the actions of this man as he was busily capturing the souls of children. This character was known as the Puppet Thief. But that was in the past until children began disappearing from the town of Arbourshire.
This is the latest in a line of Mobile Phones from Doro suitable for those with a hearing or seeing disability. It even now comes in a box little bigger than the phone itself, even the box is easy to get into for those with less dexterity.
The Doro Phone Easy 506 measures 12x5.5x.9cm and weights 80grams. My unit was black with bold white lettering on the keys and clear illustrations around the connections. There are only two sockets on the unit both towards the top right side the micro USB charger which is hard wired to a good long lead ending in a conventional three pin plug. Below this a 3.5mm socket for the supplied earbuds.
Adding to the functionality of your smartphone and tablet, as if these devices did not have enough control over our every day lives, is a product developed by the US company Orbotix. This product, appropriate named Sphero, is a ball which can be controlled and also act, in certain circumstances, as a controller itself. In order to make full use of Sphero, Orbotix has developed a number of free apps for both the iOS and Android platforms that allow your smartphone and/or tablet to communicate with this magic ball.
Constructed of a tough polycarbonate material, the Sphero has a diameter of 74mm and is opaque enough so that a multitude of colours and special effects can add to the visual appeal of the device. Within the ball’s shell, Orbotix has packed an accelerometer, multi-axis gyroscope, LED lights, compass, various motors, lithium polymer battery, and support for Bluetooth – I wish I could pack a suitcase as efficiently.
It is time to pack your bags and take a trip. This journey involves a geographical location and a specific time period.
As it says on the tin, the location is Paris and the year is 1925. Your role in this Iroz game, available on Avanquest’s GSP label is that of Edgar Lance, a young journalist working on the Paris Matin newspaper where he covered local events. One of these events takes you to an art gallery where the dead body of an artist is discovered. Your journalistic temperament takes over and you set about trying to solve the crime and the mystery surrounding it.
Although I own a Bosch fridge/freezer I tend to think of Bosch as a power tool company. So when I was invited to a recent event that featured vacuums, food processors, coffee machines and kettle and toaster combos it was a little bit of a surprise.
While these items can be purchased separately as they are either the cream colour I was sent or black they tend to be purchased as a pair. This is a round unit that takes its power from a flat stand that it sits on. The stand is round at 15cm and the power lead can be stored under it when not in use. It is .7metre long and is hard wired into the base, this means the kettle can be removed without having to unplug or remove any leads.
Many years ago my first scanner was a handheld device, shaped a bit like a paintbrush, with a scanning width of about 4-inches. A more modern version increases the scanning width and adds Wi-Fi capability.
When checking on a new piece of hardware, one of the first things I do is to peruse the Quick Start Guide. Unfortunately this was not immediately possible with the IRIScan Book Executive 3 product. While there was documentation regarding other IRIS products, registration and a slip of paper that explained, in several languages, that the Quick Start Guide was on the supplied CD in PDF format.
Having recently looked at a couple of items from D-link it seems a natural extension to look at one of their recent Routers. This would give a no installation setup to their security camera as well as many other items to desire.
The D-Link Wireless AC1750 measures 21x10.5x9.5cm and shiny black as most routers just sit there are perform their job there is a good chance that it will stay shiny black. The rear has a line of connections, USB3 port, WPS activation button, four LAN ports, Internet connection to your modem, power button and DC power connection. The front has two buttons Power and WWW. The full name of this unit is Wireless AC1750 Dual Band Gigabit Cloud Router DIR-868L.
The UCAM247 model NC328W-IR-720P is a fixed-focus high resolution Internet camera designed for outdoor use. Described as a plug & view unit, one of its most useful features is the ease with which it can set up so as to be accessed from a smartphone either locally or remotely.
White in colour, its cylindrical metallic body is 55mm in diameter and 110mm long and, overall, gives the impression of being very robust. The provided Wifi antenna screws into the rear of the body while the cowl to keep rain off the lens and the IR LEDs that provide night-time illumination projects up to about 35mm beyond the lens. The mounting bracket, with its ball & socket mount, screws into a hole in the underside of the camera.
A very interesting and rather different product. Massage is something that most people appreciate for one of more ailments; while various medical experts can help, often, other devices can improve the symptoms at a lesser cost.
While I have reviewed specialist devices that fit to a chair this one is somewhat different as on first glance it looks like a toy car the wheels are somewhat unusual and it runs on 3x‘AA’ (not supplied) but it will work with rechargeable ones. The unit has three modes and these are controlled by the two buttons on top. Each cycle of massage will last for 15 minutes after which the unit will switch off. It will also switch off should it fall over so careful placement is important.