Offering to be your personal private shopper, your Big Apple Buddy claims to get the tech items you want.
A recent spell of convalescing in hospital, as I recovered from a brain bleed, coincided with a number of UK launches I had planned to attend but circumstances decreed otherwise. Also happening during the same period were a number of announcements regarding certain US products that might be of interest to the likes of you and I. Fortunately I had been provided with details of these announcements, sight unseen, for the benefit of Gadgetspeak readers.
Sound Bars have been around for a while, they started life as a means of improving the quality and range of the poor quality TV sound, they had one drawback the need for space in front of the TV which could be a problem, enter the Sounddeck and the TV sits on the deck.
This is a quality item and as we all know quality is not cheap. A while ago I visited the then new Harrods Technology Department and today you should be able to see most of the Raumfeld range there. It is 73x39x9cm and it has a chunky rubber foot at each corner to sit it on and to allow sound to percolate from under the unit, these feet raise it another 10cm from whatever you sit the Sounddeck on. Both sides and the front are covered in black fabric and behind it are the speakers.
You have probably heard, on more than one occasion, the popular sayings of “As pretty as a picture” or “The camera never lies”. These two saying were far more appropriate yesterday than in today’s more computer dominated society. We now have access to a number of software applications that do their best to improve on the former saying and misrepresent what is delivered by the latter. One such product is Portrait Professional from Anthropics.
It has been around three years since I last took a look at the Portrait Professional software. In the intervening interval, the software has moved from version 11 to the current offering of version 15 which is available in Standard, Studio and Studio Max flavours. I have been using the 64-bit Studio Max product as the basis of this review.
With its title of Haunted Legends: The Undertaker, you should have a pretty good idea that this next game will involve zombies at some point and you would be correct.
Developed by ERS Game Studio and available in a choice of Standard or Collector’s Edition format, Haunted Legends: The Undertaker is a Hidden Object Adventure game. My review is based on the Collector’s Edition product which comes with a number of Extra items. Some of the addition items, such as Strategy Guide, Music and Concept Art, can be accessed immediately.
An All In One unit which means it prints, scans and copies. The HP Envy 4520 can do the last two actions without the PC needing to be turned on. In fact with printing being possible from phones and other non PC devices you might even buy one without owning a PC.
The printer measures 43x35x12cm when closed. You will need more space above the 12cm height to place things on the flatbed and more on the 35cm depth to allow for paper to emerge in front of the inbuilt paper tray the flip out support opens automatically when printing starts by 13cm in front to hold onto the output. This is a four ink two cartridge offering which can produce rather nice looking images but do remember the cost of ink as the cartridges are only small.
If there is such a thing as a universal modem router, the Archer VR900 from TP-Link is it. It has 2.4/5GHz wireless connectivity and is compatible with ADSL and VDSL standards as well fibre, cable and 3G/4G USB dongles.
I attended the launch in a packed venue that if you were at the back or standing you needed binoculars to see the stage. It lasted close to two hours and the first 45 minutes was solely on the phones cameras ability it is produced in conjunction with Leica.
In this review I will talk about the phone and in a few weeks after longer use I will focus on its cameras. Of course a lot of comparisons were made to Samsung and Apple and of course this is larger/smaller faster better but once beyond all that what have you got a very thin phone, the cameras do not go outside the case so no rubbing in your pocket. It has what is called a 5.2inch 1080p screen. On the right side is the on/off button together with the volume rocker. The connection is USB 3.
Admittedly the box it came in was for two of them but even the plastic bag that this single backpack was packed was large, my first job was to put it on my kitchen scales, empty it weighs 2.81kilos. Next let’s see what items it can hold.
First it’s dimensions, 30cm across, 25cm deep and 50cm tall. Part of the reason for the weight is that it is so solid. The top for instance is solid enough to write letters on, the sides have little give and the front could probably support a child sitting on it. The only part that has giver is the back that fits snugly into your back but still gives to contours they call it a ‘Balanced Comfort System’.
A small A5 page printer for photographs which can be printed direct from either an SD or Micro SD Card the latter via an adapter but also direct from your SmartPhone via an App as this unit has its own Wi-Fi you can link into.
The Canon Selphy CP1200 photo printer measures 17.5x30x5.5cm but you will also need clear space behind the unit as the postcard sized sheets are passed from front to back of the unit. The front is initially from a cassette but after moving through the first time it then comes through above the cassette and does the task four times, first for yellow, then for pink, then blue and finally the protective coating.
Freecom’s Tablet Mini SSD offers 128 or 256GB of external storage that can supplement the capacity of an OTG-enabled tablet or smartphone or back it up.
This item could have an identity crisis. By default it is a Tablet but instead of running Android it runs Windows 10. It can also be used as a Notebook it comes with a Bluetooth keyboard. So here I get to use Windows 10 as it was intended with touch and even a pen stylus.
It is 21.7x12.5x.7cm and weighs 365grams. The supplied keyboard for use in notebook mode is 26x17cm. The viewable screen is 10.7x17.4cm which gives the notional diagonal imperial measurement of 8inches. The screen display is 1920x1200 and in a 16:10 aspect ratio. One word of caution if you shut down in notebook mode you can have difficulty in getting the onscreen keyboard to show up if you next boot in Tablet mode.
The One holding the Spear of Destiny will rule the World. Can you stop it happening?
According to ancient legend, the Spear of Destiny is the most powerful artefact in the world. Who ever has possession of this artefact can rule the world. So powerful was this artefact that, when the last person to control the force died, a council of wise men decided that its power should be weaken by the removal of the various gems built into the artefact. These gems were then handed over to an ancient Colossus who was charged with guarding them.
Ricoh and Pentax are both names in quality DSLR and even some smaller but high quality cameras often cruelly called point and shoot. This offering is somewhat different as you only know what you have when you have it stored.
However this is a two fish eye lens offering that captures both still and movie images in 360 degrees so ideal for those sightseeing adventures. A have read that a couple of other companies have launched such devices at the recent MWC (Mobile World Congress) so it looks as if the upgraded THETA S has stolen a match on both of them. While you can control the unit via iOS or Android Apps you can also capture and store the images or video and then transfer them via a USB lead.
A lightweight pair of on-ear headphones which most will use with their SmartPhones as it does have the controls needed to answer a phone call and the built in microphone is perfectly adequate for any passer-by to think you are talking to yourself.
As a paranormal investigator you should be prepared for the unusual as you try to solve the mystery surrounding the Big Pine Lodge.
“Mysteries of the Past – Shadow of the Daemon” is a title that belongs to the popular Hidden Object Adventure game genre. In this game you take on the role of a Paranormal Investigative Detective who goes by the name of Jane.
This is a small DAB/FM unit sold by the Dixons and Currys Group. It has a wooden case where most units in the same price band have a plastic one. Wood often gives a better sound. So what else has this LOGIC unit got to offer.
The Logic L55DAB15 DAB+/FM radio measures 24x9x12.5cm and weights 900grams (without batteries). The base, sides and top are a light wood. A lift handle fills 19cm of the top, the base has four stuck on rubberised feet. Both sides are clear. The back is plastic it has a 60cm six piece rod aerial, below this the battery bay for four ‘AA’ batteries. At the bottom right of the back a 3.5mm headphone socket and the DC power input, a 1.
The LG G4 is a smartphone that comes in a variety of skins. There are models with grey, white, gold and coloured leather back covers. My review unit, supplied by Vodafone, came with a metallic grey back cover.
While an initial glance of this handset might give the impression that LG has gone with the usual standard layout of the external functions used by all the other smartphones that I have checked out, this LG unit might have a few surprises especially for those moving from another brand of mobile. With dimensions of 148.9 x 76.1 x 9.8mm (H x W x D), the G4’s front face is dominated by a 5.5-inch screen.
Having launched various cordless cameras Netgear now go the other way and attach a cord but instead of this being an Ethernet one it is a generous length USB one meaning it takes power from the cable – no batteries – and sends the signal it receives to your account.
My review has taken longer than normal simply because this relies on a SmartPhone to function, either an iOS one or an Android one. Just before this unit arrived I was reviewing a Windows Phone and this was followed by another such device and the statement on the box ‘One App for all Arlo Cameras’ has a flaw, no support currently for Windows Phones as far as I could find. It is rectangular with all the edges set at 45 degrees so it looks more diamond shape. The camera is 11x6.5x3.
Describing itself as a health-tech company that focuses on providing real-time affordable and clinical accurate vital monitoring products, Azoi Inc is based in Sunnyvale California. I recently came across Azoi at the Wearable Technology Show 2016 held at London’s Excel Exhibition Centre. The company was there to promote its Kito+ product.
The Kito+ is a health tracking device that offers to measure heart rate, ECG, blood oxygen levels, skin temperature and respiration rate. These measurements need to be made while the user is in a relaxed position, maintaining a straight posture in order to get an accurate reading. While Azoi claim that these readings are accurate and reliable, the Kito+ is meant to be a personal health tracker rather than a diagnostic tool – such matters should be left to a qualified doctor.
I do not get to see many quality backpacks and here is the second this year. This one is perhaps a little more normal than the recently reviewed item that for me would be the sort of item that might be used by the James Bond character.
The Streetline BP250 backpack from Lowepro measures 51cm tall, 33cm wide and 12cm deep it weighs 1.2kilos when empty. It is charcoal grey with black zips and straps. To be honest it is not a name I have heard of but the agency that handles another brand asked me to look at it and the Lowepro site seems to be popular with quality photographers requirements where what they are carrying needs careful handling and support.
The Oreck Magnesium RS is a lightweight 2-speed bagged upright vacuum cleaner for both carpets and hard floors. It is a robust design originally developed for hotel use.
This is a slightly oversized 32GB USB stick large enough to be useful even for the largest videos. This however can also connect to those iOS devices so a good way to transfer files between the two operating systems without much hassle.
For those who have seen the snake after which this named it’s the way it arches it neck before striking that gives it the shape. 9.5cm long 2.1cm wide and .8cm thick at the USB end, go back 3cm and where the Lightning connector is it becomes 2cm thick and 2.4cm thick at the back. When connected to most iOS devices the USB front end disappears under the device so that only the back 5.5cm are visible.
No doubt you have probably heard on good authority that there is no such thing as a free lunch. This is because there will be a time when a payment of sorts will be required. However not everybody would agree with the no free-lunch sentiment. Definitely failing into the category of believing that a free lunch is possible is the team at FreedomPop.
Launched publicly in 2012 FreedomPop describes itself as being a new wave telecom company with a fresh look at how to provide its customers with the type of service they required. The company is headquartered in Los Angeles and includes Niklas Zennstom, the Skype founder, amongst its backers. The support of Zennstom might go some way towards explaining why FreedomPop has adopted its approach to its mobile phone service.
This is a tiny SSD drive in all but capacity which is 128GB. I will give the exact size in the review below. However it is described as a Tablet storage solution and here is the major difference in that it has hard wired leads for both standard and micro USB.
It is 9x6x1cm and it weighs 57grams. Its sides are rubberised with a grey plastic top and bottom which make it seem quite well protected. There is a slight depression in the centre of the front that allows you to pull out the USB3 lead a total of 4cm this has a nice click when it moves back into place. The left side has a similar mechanism for the 5cm that the micro USB lead extends and it again clicks securely back into place.
While many, if not most, computer software applications have been designed for regular if not in daily use, there are a few applications that hopefully will only be called upon in an emergency.
Team Viewer is a software application bringing together remote control and online collaboration features. This software, which is considered a market leader in remote support and online meeting solutions, has been downloaded over 10 million times a month by users residing around the globe. At any given time this software will be responsible for connecting over 20 million devices at any given time.
With plenty of printed dialogue, this next game takes you on a search for a Mayan artefact.
The Hidden Continent: Column of the Maya is a Hidden Object Adventure game from Daedalic Entertainment and Prime Games. This game is now available, under licence, from Avanquest’s GSP game catalogue. While not exactly a blast from the past, The Hidden Continent: Column of the Maya does show its age as it plays like a game that was common several years ago as it lack many of the features we have come to expect as standard.
While everyone talks about phone cases in most occasions these leave the screen vulnerable to damage, so you need protection for both the back and the front of your SmartPhone. I have recently looked at the Nokia Microsoft Lumia 950 and here some protection for it.
This ultra-thin "featherweight" back fits over the phone protecting it from the knocks and drops without adding much to the weight. The actual weight increase is around 30grams. As this case is made specifically for this phone the charge point on the base, the four buttons on the right side, the headphone port on the top and the area around the camera and LED flash on the back are all clear and not in any way obstructed.
As a child I used to play Hide & Seek, now, much older, my various devices play their version of the game.
Do you suffer from Nomophobia or perhaps you could be a victim of Athazogoraphobia? To save you the trouble of reaching for your dictionary (it is highly likely that both this affliction will not be mentioned) or Googling either term, I should explain both terms.
Certainly this takes me back, a cassette player front and centre and one of those new-fangled CD drive thingies as well as an AM/FM radio. Now first thing first lets find one of my stash of cassettes and then lets go back in time.
It is 28.5x20x16cm the four piece rod aerial add 60cm to the last figure the height. It weighs 1.9kilos without batteries inserted. The 12 page Instruction Manual calls it a CD/Cassette/Radio Portable Player. This unit can run on mains or six ‘C’ cell batteries. I will start with the AM/FM Radio trying to remember my days of listening to Radio Luxenberg or Voice of America under the bed clothes I thought tuning was difficult.
Certainly not what you would use for hiking or hill climbing this is a smart part leather unit that you might use to go for your office meeting or round and about in a city environment and not when crossing a muddy field scenario.
First let’s say it now it’s not cheap in fact it’s a well-made offering with bells and whistles so the word I am searching for is quality and that -as most will know - you have to pay for. It is 2.1kilos in weight when empty and the overall dimensions are 50x32x13cm the last figure is without any expansion to the sides, when fully expanded you can add up to another 10cm. I counted ten zips in pairs so that pockets can open the way you want them to.