As Nero fiddled, it is claimed, while Rome burned, so the software of the same name will burn your multimedia content and other data to optical media. This feature, however, has been just one element of the Nero software for a while now as other features have been added to create a multimedia suite offering. Rather than stick with the numbering system that was used with earlier versions of this software, Nero has opted to switch to a date designation with the latest version. So instead of version 13 (maybe superstition had a role to play) we have Nero 2014.
As with recent versions of this software, Nero 2014 is available as Standard or Platinum offerings. The latter version does provide the user with built-in support for Blu-ray. This review is based on the Platinum version of the product. As part of the product’s installation procedure, you will need to enter the supplied, lengthy serial number in order to activate the product.
There is always a first time for everything. In this case it is a game that opens with a proposal of marriage by the character whose role you adopt. As things turn out, the proposal is not immediately accepted and thus we have the Hidden Object Adventure game entitled The Lake House Children of Silence. This Alawar game is now available from Focus Multimedia in Collectors Edition format.
As usual with Collector’s Edition games you get some additional items that include bonus chapters, wallpaper, home movies from the game and concept art but you do need to have completed the main game before being granted access to the bonus area. There is also an integrated Strategy Guide which is available immediately.
A silvery bronze colour is a good start as it looks far better than a shiny black offering. This notebook is rapid in response and if you do want Windows 8 then it must surely be with Touch so this could be exactly what is required.
The Samsung Series 5 laptop 31x21.5x1cm, the last figure is the width at the front while it grows to 1.5cm at the back, it weights 1680grams. Open the lid and you find the screen is quite reflective and sadly the screen surround is shiny black. The viewable screen is 29.5x16.7cm giving the notional diagonal imperial measurement of 13.3inches the default screen display is 1366x768. A 1.3MP webcam is mounted in the centre of the top border of the screen.
This is one of those occasions when the review product was used to produce the text review of which it is the subject matter.
While some companies, no names – no pack drill, seem to be hell-bent on driving computer users towards a predominately touch screen environment, there are other firms who realise that there are a number of tasks, including the writing of this review, that require tools more suited to general work tasks. I am, of course, referring to the familiar element of a keyboard and mouse which is commonly referred to as a desktop set.
If one is upgrading from an older 4 x 3 monitor, or even a smaller wide screen display, it pays to consider the current generation of LED backlit larger screen units which will provide an improved user experience. With its 1920 x 1080 (HD) resolution the 23 inch AOC i2360 fits the bill both in size and performance.
This wide screen monitor has been designed with the user in mind. It provides a bright high contrast image which can be viewed comfortably under most lighting conditions. Its fast response, claimed to be 5mS, ensures fast moving images are not blurred. In practice, I found that it gave sharp, crisp images, especially at full resolution, with a good colour rendition together with a wide range of setup adjustments. Hence, it is a quality monitor that is suitable for both business and pleasure.
Here I am looking at two different Doro phones. Doro are a company that started in land line phones and soon found their niche in supplying mobile phones for the hard or hearing and or those with limited sight at a reasonable price.
This is a small flip open phone and simple to use. It is 10x5x2cm when closed, flip it open to show the keypad and screen and the length becomes 19cm, it weights less than 100grams. Once you have inserted your SIM and the battery run the Setup Wizard and the seven things include setting time and date, ringtone, volume level and text size, total time less than three minutes.
The first does sound like a toilet cleaner but is a brand sold by a supermarket chain of bargain price small electrical products, here an electronic toothbrush. Second a name known by all for ball point pens but here there is a twist.
In October 2008 I told you about a sonic Toothbrush by Philips and I have been using it ever since. I have one problem the replacement brushes are very expensive. Here a LIDL own brand offering that is the same price for three brush heads and the toothbrush as a couple of brushes for the Philips. In the UK while the names on every high street are Asda, Tesco, Sainsbury and Morrison look a little further and you may find a LIDL or ALDI.
I am old enough to remember sitting with the rest of the family around a small box in the corner of the room and watching a potters wheel in operation. I may have forgotten many of the light entertainment programs being broadcast by the BBCs sole channel during that period but that potters wheel is firmly entrenched in my memory of early television. Nowadays the screen of that box in the corner has expanded in size while the boxs depth has reduced considerably as it grants the viewer access to numerous channels that attempt to cover a wide range of subject matter. One such modern style television, or should that be media display centre, is Samsungs SMART TV UE40F6400AK offering.
This is the third model that I have checked out from the Samsung SMART range of flat-screen TVs. As its title might indicate, this unit has a 40-inch display which is mounted on a silver base in the shape of an elongated “x”. Eight screws are provided to ensure the base is firmly attached to the display panel. This operation, including removing the parts from the packaging, is best carried out by two people although it is possible for one person to perform the task.
Gigibyte are best known for making motherboards for both desktop and notebook computers. They also make rather good notebooks as the motherboard is itself perhaps the single most important component in the notebook.
The Gigabyte i7 Notebook U2442F measures 33.5x23x2cm, the last figure is thickness and the figure quoted is at the front add another.5cm at the rear. It weighs 1.6kilos. The screen display is 1600x900. Model numbers for some computers often give no indication as to what is on offer, for instance I recently reviewed a U2442N little thinking that the next offering from them would be a U2442F but there are many differences.
Spending time on a computer can be productive and entertaining but it can also produce some other less appealing side effects which this next monitor offers to alleviate.
Back in the early days of movie making, and I am referring to those first black & white offerings, the audience had to put up with a great deal of on-screen flicker as the images were being constantly updated. This flickering phenomenon was the reason why a visit to the cinema was later often referred to as “going to the flicks” or in some cases “going to the bug hut” but this was for another reason and had nothing to do with flicker.
When the king dies in Wonderland an election is called for. However what happens when the voters are blown away is explained in this next game.
While there are various forms of the basic Solitaire concept of removing cards from the playing field, the game of Wonderland Solitaire concentrates its focus on the particular Solitaire variety known as Golf. With this type of Solitaire you are presented with different layouts of cards that need to be removed from the playing field. Some of the cards will be faced up while the greater number will be positioned face down until any overlaying cards have been removed.
At one of the recent Xmas In July events by HoMedics and Salter. Other items will follow as they arrive. Here some items suitable as gifts without costing a fortune. Spatulas, Measuring Spoons, Adjustable Rolling Pin and an excellent Professional Whisk.
I am sure we all try to use a spoon to get into corners of a round saucepan, maybe even a knife. They do not work a finger may be better but as the contents are often hot that is not a good idea even if you are cooking for yourself. Here a set of two spatulas, the smaller one is red and the larger one is black, they are 23cm and 28cm long one edge is nearly flat the other curved and of course they do what they are meant to do.
Developed as different and competing formats, Blu-ray and DVD discs can now be played on the same device such as this next product which adds some extra features.
Opening the product’s box reveals the main player unit with a permanently attached power lead, remote control, two AAA batteries and various items of documentation including a printed User Manual. Coated with a highly polished lacquered black sheen, the player unit goes for a slim-line look with dimensions of 360 x 40 x 196mm (W x H x D) and a single rounded corner to add a touch of style.
Samsung are perhaps one of the top two manufacturers of affordable lounge sized TVs that do far more than offer Freeview HD. In fact this one complete with its two remote controls could for a lot be everything that they need.
It is 90x52x4cm, this can fit on the ‘x’ shaped chromed stand provided or like most recent TV’s be mounted on the wall. I used the former method, the stand raises the TV from whatever you sit it on by 8cm and the ‘X’ is 55x37cm at the extremes. The last measurement – for now – is the viewable screen size which is 89x50cm which gives the notional imperial diagonal measurement of 40inches.
Irrespective of what Microsoft may claim, Windows 8 is not truly intuitive even on the touch screen of a tablet computer. Consequently, Windows 8 for Tablets in the Plain & Simple series from the Microsoft Press is of great value in getting started with a Windows 8 tablet and then customising it to meet your needs and then being able to get the best out of it.
This book is task-orientated so that one can dip into it as and when required. This will, no doubt, start when one first gets the tablet and needs to get to grips with the start screen and the new vocabulary of tiles and charms as well as learning how to use a touch screen.
I am sometimes asked what is a gadget my answer is anything produced to make a job easier. Both these products fall into that category, first a microphone aimed at a vocalist and second a very flexible five port gang socket.
While the quality of this good it is not aimed at professional musicians for one basic reason it is supplied with a 3.5mm jack suitable for insertion in an ‘i’ or Android device, which would using the free downloadable software be ideal for practice or for getting a rough draft of your song onto media. The microphone itself is of good quality and suitable for vocalists because it only accepts sounds from the front of it, spurious sound from behind or the sides are not carried in.
Taking you back in time, with regards to both period and style of game play, this next game opens with your character being shot at point blank range.
The first is an item I saw at the Wilkinsons Xmas In July event, an ideal stocking filler for those who expect their tea to be stirred for them. The second is another stocking filler this time from Brando in Hong Kong to get your Smartphone at the correct viewing angle.
Both these items are value purchases for the person in your life who has everything – even when they do not – and best of all can say it without costing too much. It is 13cm tall with the removable lid attached. It has a handle made in the same see through plastic material as the mug which will hold just over half a pint of liquid. It is circular 8.5cm across at the top and 6.5cm across at the bottom.
Packaging can play an important role when presenting a product to a customer. Take this next Bluetooth speaker for instance.
When the product has the word “Jam” as part of its title then you should not be too surprised to discover that it arrives in a jam jar. I am referring to the more stubby style of jam jar appearing on retailers’ shelves rather than the slim type that I can remember from my childhood and is still used by some firms.
Now up to version 4, Farm Frenzy is the latest offering from Alawars popular series with titles available on various platforms including iOS and Windows. Along with the main titles, there are six add-on packs. Since its original launch back in 2007, the Farm Frenzy series has been responsible for over three million copies sold worldwide. According to Alawar over 200 million people have played Farm Frenzy, a game that has been localised into 35 languages.
While the previous editions of Farm Frenzy titles that I have look at were developed by Melesta, this latest offering arrives bearing the SPL banner. Perhaps as a result of this change of development team, the role assigned you in this latest version has undergone a change. Rather than play as the green-fingered Scarlett, you take on the role of a grandchild visiting grandparents.
It is rare that a single set of headphones produces a press briefing. Here however it does mean that the focus is on exactly them and not other items brought along to make up the numbers, the only variant the range of colours available.
While these are designed to work with Apple devices they also work perfectly well with Android and for that matter even humble MP3 players. For many reason weight can be important and these are very light at 160grams. First job is to extract from the packaging, not like I so often moan with industrial scissors as this has a sturdy box and then a foam surround followed by a zip up case and then a drawstring bag. You might think you are unpacking a valuable piece of fragile glass.
They say things come in threes well actually some say bad things come in threes but lets stick with my original statement and omit the negative aspect. First it was Kingston who provided a product that made use of external devices to provide content that could be streamed wirelessly to smartphones and tablets. This product was closely followed by a Verbatim offering which added password protection to the streaming capability. Now D-Link has sent me its Pocket Cloud Router which has some similarity to the other two products.
The Pocket Cloud Router kit consists of the actual device, a micro-to-standard USB lead, a 1700 mAh Li-ion rechargeable battery, Quick Install Guide and a CD containing the User Guide in electronic format. About the size of a pack of cards, the Pocket Cloud Router certainly lives up to at least part of its name with dimensions of 105 x 80 x 20mm (W x H x D) and a weight of 127g (battery included).
This is an Android device the screen size you might guess from the title is 9.7 inches. The colour is creamy white rather like those of another manufacturer whose name is taken from a popular fruit.
The Archos 97b Titanium measures 24x19x.8cm and it weights 633grams. It runs Android 4.1. The viewable screen is 19.7x14.7cm. There are three buttons near to the top on the left side, the on/off that you need to press and hold for five seconds to turn it on and volume up and down just below it. The other connections are on the base, headphones, pin hole microphone, DC input, micro USB and micro SD card port. It has forward and backward facing cameras.
While it shaped life a pen it is not one, it is a scanner a rather good one for scanning items into such things as Microsoft Office, it also has another function in that if you right click an image it converts it into a small PDF.
IRISPen Express 7 measures 15.5x2.5x1.5cm, a 1.4metre USB lead is hard wired into the tail of the unit. I used it in a USB2 port but it will work in USB3 but at no faster speed. In fact while the head is 2.5cm wide it will only read a single line at a time. In the initial setup you are asked a very important question ‘are you left or right handed’. It determines what the scanner should expect.
Sticking with the same name followed by a unique number does provide a manufacturer with an easy choice of options when it comes to naming its various products. One company that has taken this approach is Doro with its range of handsets designed with simplicity in mind. The latest of these products to come my way is the PhoneEasy 622 which adopts a clamshell style of appearance.
Available in a choice of burgundy and white or black and grey, the PhoneEasy 622 is certainly not going to be confused with any of the numerous smartphones that are appearing by the bucket load for use by the fashion conscious members of society (and yes I do have a smart phone despite being a total stranger with regards to fashion).
Pure have long been a top name in DAB radios, others have followed and here is an offering from Dixons own label brand Sanstrom as well as the latest offering from Pure. So is the technology any different in the branded product to that on offer from the own label offering?
The Pure Evoke F4 DAB/FM radio measures 21x9.5x16cm excluding the semi circular handle that adds 3.5cm to the last figure the height. Mine was black. The handle acts as a snooze setting. It can be either mains or battery powered, the latter by fitting an F1 ChargePAK. The DC lead is 1.5metres long ending in a mid sized power brick. There are two knobs Volume and Select with seven touch buttons all below the 6.7x3.5cm six line white on black display.
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.