I have a long memory - its just yesterday thats a problem sometimes and I remember a shareware product that easily fitted on a floppy disc. That was long before JASC was purchased by Corel the current version fills a CD-ROM.
While I have reviewed most versions in between this one was stated to be compatible with Windows 8 so I waited until I had a stable Windows 8 system to review it. As with the few other Windows 8 items I have looked at you need the Desktop to install from and those who have tried Windows 8 know its one level down from the shiny icons. The install itself works just the same, you need to enter a 31 character key before it happens and then you are encouraged to register.
Those pesky aliens are causing more trouble. This time Fort Nightingale is the centre of their activities in a new game from Alawar Entertainment.
Forbidden Secrets Alien Town is a new Hidden Object Adventure game from those inventive people at Alawar. The game, which is in Collector’s Edition format, is set in Fort Nightingale, a city that has never featured on a map. Little is known about the place apart from it has a research institute about which even less is known.
Having reviewed TV recording devices from early VHS tape devices through most other methods including those using external memory sticks and hard drives this still came as a shock because of the units sheer lack of size.
This is a Freeview + HD box with a 500GB recording unit inside and the quality to include Dolby Digital Plus sound. It is 27x20x1cm, yes the thickness is just one centimetre. With cables inserted in the rear the depth becomes 25cm. You are totally reliant on the remote control as the unit itself has a single on/standby button with an LED beside it. The rear is where the connections are, Aerial Out, Aerial In, HDMI out, Ethernet, two USB and finally the DC input.
The name of Tunbow Electrical may not be all that familiar to you. This company is a Hong Kong based Chinese technology manufacturer with over 3,500 employees and 140,000,000 products that are sold in 30 countries around the world. Recently Tunbow Electrical set up Aves Digital as its first subsidiary brand operating from a UK base in Milton Keyes. I came across Aves Digital at the London version of The Gadget Show. Included in the Aves Digital portfolio of products is one known as the Diamond which is the subject of this review.
Looking for bargains and then selling them for a profit is the work undertaken by the American Pickers
According to information gleaned from a quick Internet search, American Pickers is an American (not surprisingly) reality show that appears on the History Channel. Travelling around American are Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz who search through cast-off items that they can purchase and then sold on at a profit. Managing the Home Office is Danielle Colby-Cushman whose role is to line up locations for the two boys to put their pack rat skills to the test.
It could be the baby, an elderly relative or even just your home when you are away. There are devices that can tell you what is happening no matter if you are in the kitchen or maybe in New York, they are security cameras.
This is not a ‘cheap webcam’ it can work in darkness and a webcam certainly cannot do that. It is designed to fit on a ceiling or beam to see all from above. Look in any large store or supermarket and you will see similar items. So while this can be used in the home it is far more on the security end of the spectrum than the item I am looking at further down this article. The kit supplied consists of the 360 degree camera, an Ethernet cable and a DC adapter.
It wasnt so long ago that the mention of a tablet would refer to a medication. Now entertainment and browsing are more likely to be related topics.
Where ever you seem to look these days, 7-inch tablets is a popular choice with consumers looking for an easy portable device that can provide entertainment, news and email capabilities. Joining this ever-increasing group of devices, with its banner firmly attached to the Android flagpole, is the Vodafone Smart Tab II.
Since reviewing The NEX5 a couple of varietys have emerged, however new cameras from Sony are not frequent so when I saw a prototype some months ago I immediately requested to review the new NEX6 when it was available.
Small enough to be a digital camera but it’s not. Small enough to fit in a pocket but it has a neck strap. It can have different lenses and mine came with a 16-50mm lens, this can also zoom to 2.8 times. Another reason why this is a DSLR – although Sony just call it an interchangeable lens camera - is that it has something most digital units do no longer have, a viewfinder.
Either of these would be welcomed by anyone who loves their music. First from Sol Republic a rather nice set that you build. Second from TDK a set that would not disgrace a recording studio, I would be happy with either.
I opened the box to be greeted by the two earpieces and nothing to connect them. I have had headphones with separate cables before but a set without any apparent headband. It’s in the box as a single length with adequate padding for the centre 11cm. As this band pushes through the outside of each earpiece it will fit any head however large or small. There are two 2.
Imagine, if you will, a section of interior tubing that has been designed to bend (I was tempted to say it like Beckham but resisted) around an obstruction and you will have some idea as to the general shape of the Samsung DA-E550 product. This piece of kit is a Bluetooth, one-piece, audio speaker system with a docking facility.
Decked out in a high-gloss white coating, the DA-E550 unit has dimensions of 462.7 x 122.3 x 151.8mm (W x H x D) and weighs 1.6kg which does take it out of the range of a portable device. Situated at each end of this curved cylindrical tube are the speaker’s cones which display fixed and flexible silver meshes with a silver phase plug protruding from the centre. Arranged near the right speaker is an array of touch sensitive controls for Bass, volume and play/pause.
Both these items are portable speakers, both and single pieces. The first from Edifer Image charges from USB but can be used away from power. The second from a new name to me i-Box Twist is a portable Bluetooth speaker.
It is triangular like a wedge 26cm long 5.5cm deep and 4cm tall. It weights 321grams. On the left edge is where you connect the supplied .8metre 3.5mm lead. Just below this is where the supplied micro USB to USB lead for charging the unit is attached, this is .75metre. You will probably need to study the getting started leaflet to work out how to switch it on. There is a circular button at either end which reduce or increase the volume. You need to press them both at the same time to switch on.
If, like me, you paid a visit to the Gadget Show held recently at the London Excel Exhibition Centre then you probably noticed the AVES stand with its collection of DAB/DAB+ radios and iPod docking units. You may even have gone on to the stand to check out the various products and, perhaps, wondered about the companys name.
While the name of AVES might bring forth images of birds as this is the scientific name of the animal category that communicates by visual and audible signals, I am reliable informed that the name AVES is an acronym of the company’s four core values. Thus the joining together of Audio, Vibrant & Vitality, Enjoyment & Entertainment with Social & Sensory produces the British brand name of AVES.
Cast in the role of a princess, your task in this next game is to rescue your parents and other inhabitants from the spell of an evil witch.
The Kingdom had always been a happy place under the benign rule of the King and Queen. Everybody rejoiced when a royal birth brought the King and Queen a daughter. However the arrival of the Dark Queen changed everything as she cast her evil spells on the royal couple and others in the Kingdom. Fortunately the young baby’s nanny was able to spirit her charge away and then raised her away from the gaze of the evil queen.
While my own TV is a unit capable of displaying HD it cannot show 3D, at 32inches by todays idea of size it is small. So I cleared a larger space in my lounge and here look at a Smart TV from LG that does it all that includes Wireless.
I am no superman but moving it around is not difficult as TV’s are so much lighter than early LCD unit used to be. As always I start with the dimensions. The screen is 95x56x2cm, it can of course –using a kit- be attached to a wall. However a stand is provided and this is a maximum of 52x25cm and it raises the TV by 7cm.
As many move from the desktop to a touch-enabled tablet, ViewSonic takes us in the opposite direction with a large screen AIO touch screen device.
As part of its latest batch of new products, ViewSonic has released its VSD220 offering. This is a touch screen Android AIO Smart Display. However unlike the numerous pocket and bag sized tablets that are currently fighting for market share, this AIO (All-in-One) product has been designed purely for desktop use where it can be placed in an upright orientation supported by a flip-out stand. With dimensions of 513 x 350 x 122mm (with the support stand extended) and a weight of 4.
At a recent TDK event I was shown four new small sets of speakers, all were in a single case. I was subsequently sent one to review, it can run on mains or internal battery and be a wired or Bluetooth connection.
While this was designed as a Bluetooth unit it of course has the ability to accept ‘Aux’ input from any 3.5mm device. Most will use an ‘i’ device or MP3 player but as I recently found the lack of volume in some DVD and Blu-ray films mean volume levels from your TV often go only so far and to hear quiet dialog needs more. It is 24x9.5x5cm and weights 1160grams.
While almost everyone has heard the name Kindle there are other people who make book readers and one such name is Kobo. In fact they do a whole range of devices here I am looking at two the KoboGlo and the KoboMini.
Either of these would qualify as the smallest dedicated book reader that I have seen so let's start with the larger. The Kobo Glo measures 15.5x11.5x1cm and weighs 183grams. Mine was white with a pinkie red back. It has two buttons on the top a micro USB connection on the base and a micro USB slot near the base of the left side, that is all the connections. The viewable screen is 12.2x9cm.
Marriage and death at Rainheart castle seem to go hand-in-hand. Are you brave and savvy enough to solve a mystery that if Gravely Silent.
The opening introduction sequence lays the groundwork for the story as you awake from a nightmare that features your sister Jennie. You then hear from your brother-in-law, Richard Rainheart, that your sister has died and her body already laid to rest in a private funeral where he was the only mourner. With no more information coming from your brother-in-law, you set out to visit his castle and discover how your sister died.
This is the second such device I have seen that comes with a separate keyboard; the other was the excellent offering from Archos whose only real problem was the price. This seems to be more reasonable in the price department.
The Gemini JoyTAB GEM10312BK measures 24.5x18.5x1.5cm with lid/keyboard on, it weights 1026g, without the external keyboard it weights 726. All the controls and connections are down the right edge, on/off, volume up, volume down, DC input, micro USB, mini HDMI out, headphones, micro SD slot and finally internal microphone. There is a built in camera on the centre top of the screen for Skype etc. The better resolution camera is on the back together with the pair of speakers.
The Canon PIXMA MG5450 is a Photo All-in-One product offering print, scan and copy functionality with a choice of USB or WiFi connectivity. You also get a built-in facility that allows you to print labels directly on to appropriate optical media as part of a second paper input tray.
With a plinth-like top, which houses the A4 flatbed scanner module, mounted on top of the box-shaped ink-jet printer unit, this product has dimensions of 455 x 369 x 148mm (W x D x H). The MG5450’s outer coating of lacquered black seems to want to tempt you to reach out to touch and feel its smooth lines – especially if you share my hang-up about finger smears that tend to congregate on this type of surface.
You should let sleeping Pharaohs remain undisturbed otherwise a whole heap of trouble could be the result as seen in this next budget title from Focus Multimedia.
Regular readers will know that Focus Multimedia has a portfolio of standard game titles and a budget line-up of offerings for the game player. This next game belongs to the BlackLime budget catalogue of titles. Curse of Pharaoh: Tears of Sekhmet is a Hidden Object game with a slight Adventure influence. Your task in this game is to help discover the seven Tears of Sekhmet which have been scattered around the globe.
Yes finally a HP unit I know its taken 18 months since their last offering but at last they have reverted to their original PR agency and so review items have started to become available to be tested, here a rather nice Ultrabook.
tHE HP Spectre XT Ultrabook 13-2100ea measures 31x22x1cm. The last measurement is the thickness at the front and it increases to 1.5cm at the rear. The unit weights 1410grams. It is silver grey in colour apart from the screen surround which is black but rubberised so no fingermarks show. The viewable screen is 29.5x16.5 with a notional diagonal imperial measurement of 13.3inches. The screen resolution is 1366x768. The 1cm empty space above the screen has a webcam mounted in the centre.
Put together Logic3 with Ferrari and you get a collection of electronic audio products with Italian style. Included in this collection is a set of headphones.
To many the mere mention of the company Ferrari brings up visions of high speed cars with the iconic red colour and a prancing horse. However the company has other strings to its bow. It is heavily involved in other areas especially those that deal with the design concept of bringing Italian flare to a range of products in partnerships with other companies such as Logic3.
SSD drives are slowly getting bigger, more quickly they are becoming lower priced. So is now the time to get one? Certainly the PC/notebook units I have reviewed that have at least a small SSD drive show a huge increase in booting speed.
This item from Kingston is a 120GB unit. This is the same size as in the HP Spectre XP Ultrabook to be published very soon, that unit was manufactured by Samsung but in essence it’s the same size in dimensions and capacity. The Kingston Technology SSDNow V300 measures 10x7x.5cm and weights only 90g. First the claims on the box 10x faster than a 7200RPM standard hard disc. Then the 450MB/s read and write speed this can do.
Now that Windows 8 is here we will have to get to grips with it. Even if we havent bought a new machine with it installed, all too often, friends and relatives assume we know it all -- even if we havent even used it. Windows 8 for Dummies follows on in the wake of previous Windows books in the series and is suitable for both the beginner who is new to computers and the more experienced user who is also faced with something new.
The author, Andy Rathbone, points out that Windows 8 works best with touchscreens and that there is generally no need to migrate to Windows 8 and that most people stick with the Windows version that came installed on their computers. However, “if you manage to figure out Windows 8 once, you’ll know how to run it on all your Windows devices…” This book is not a manual; it is a problem solver that you turn to in time of need.
The One For All Indoor Aerial worked with a TV and TV/Panel the latter reviewed two days ago. The second landed on my desk just before Christmas and for such a small ball it gives a good sound so two amplifying items, both are currently around £15 each.
I reviewed this in two places, the first with reasonable reception where certain groups of channels were received even with amplification. The second where most aerials struggle and with amplification I got acceptable reception on all channels. These two places are either end of my not huge property, so it certainly works. It consists of two parts a single rod aerial and a eight bar offering (highly directional elements) within a sleeve still visible but protected from knocks.
Available from the Avanquest GSP catalogue of games titles is Jewel Legends which is described as 3 gem-matching adventures in 1 great pack. This triple play collection bundles together The Legend of Atlantis, The Legend of Egypt and The Legend of Rome. Obviously this package is aimed at those who can not get enough of match-3 action.
A single installation routine, covering all three titles, is provided. While I sometimes feel that the Avanquest installation procedure is not the quickest around, and this title is no exception in that respect, I have always found that I was able to access the accompanying program without any problems. This Jewel Legends bundle definitely bucked the trend by refusing to load any of the three separate titles.
This is a Blu-ray player and a sound system, Pioneer call it the BCS-SB626. The Blu-ray has some extra features including 3D. The 2.1 system includes a meaty sub woofer and a sound bar to sit in front of your TV.
While I suspect that you could put a sound bar and a Blu-ray combination together for a smaller part of the price I doubt that the sound quality would be as good. Often people rave about large cinema systems and if you have the room and can hide the multitude of cables then you can have a similar experience to that of a cinema. While TV has improved out of all proportion to even say ten years ago a sound bar offers much more, link it with a sub woofer and you are getting something even more.
One day last summer, I know it was summer because it rained on that day as I attended an event that included an introduction to a product known as View21. As can sometimes happen with an introduction look at a product, several months were to fade into distant memory before I was able to get my hands on a product to check it out.
View21 is a twin Freeview HD television tuner/recorder. Included in the box with the View21 box are the two-piece power lead, HDMI cable, aerial linking lead plus a remote control unit with the accompanying two AAA batteries. Although not included in the box, you could find an Ethernet cable, SCART lead and a modem/router would prove useful in some situations especially when giving you access to content that might be available from the Internet.
I have always imagined that time travel would be an invention of the future but this next game has the development of time travel in the past.
Do you fancy being a hero? The opportunity could present itself with a new game from Alawar Entertainment. The game in question is the Age of Adventure: Playing the Hero. In this new time management title you take on the role of an actor who finds himself cast in a part that is perhaps too near real life for his particular comfort and ease of mind especially as death could prove fatal.