As another year passes by, so the latest version of a popular backup package makes an appearance.
Often regarded as an optional task until problems arise, having a backup schedule can be extremely useful and a great time saver when circumstances occur. Offering to provide a comprehensive range of backup/restore facilities is the latest version of Acronis True Image. This product allows you to create backups of your entire computer system, user-specified folders or particular types of files with the data being stored locally or in a Cloud Storage allocation.
Chromecast has been around for a while, there is a new version just out which I shall tell you about another time. This however is a totally new product that allows you to cast your music to speakers anywhere without draining your devices battery.
Yes even those speakers that do not have Bluetooth can now play your music not only from your SmartPhone but also from other devices like your PC providing you have a Chrome browser. The unit is supplied with a 3.5mm to 3.5mm cable but providing you have the correct lead you can even connect to speakers with Phono Sockets and hence to units that even say have a sub-woofer so your music can now have much more grunt. The unit consists of a small circular disc 5cm across and only 1cm thick.
Originally developed as a kitchen-table product by a jet plane enthusiast, this next title is a popular member of the Corel family and a long term favourite of mine.
Regularly featuring as part of my various computers, dating back as far as Windows 3.1, is Paint Shop Pro. Over the years this software has expanded its range of functionality from basic file conversion capability and now can be considered as a tool for photo editing and basic graphics design work. The latest version of this software, available in 32 and 64-bit flavours, is now up to X8 with Standard and Ultimate editions.
Bringing together two classic murder mysteries in a single offering, Avanquest has published, as part of its GSP catalogue, an Agatha Christie double pack. The two games are of the Hidden Object genre and feature Hercule Poirot and Miss Jane Marple as the leading characters. Hercule Poirot is the detective in charge of solving the mystery of Dead Mans Folly while Miss Marple steps in to take charge in the 4:50 from Paddington. In both cases you take on the role of the detectives assistant in order to help solve these murder mysteries in chapter based titles.
Both of the titles in this pack are installed from a single installation procedure that creates a single desktop icon. This icon gives you access to a front-end menu that allows you to select from the two games. Profiles can be set up for individual players with each of the games. You can set the volume level for music, ambient sound and general sound effects.
As you get older you do not function properly in the morning without your first fix of coffee. If it requires little or no effort to make it so much the better. Here a small device that youre only real input is to switch it on and insert a pod.
The smell as it mixes with the water in the cup – you did put the cup under the output – is enough to start your senses maybe even open your eyes and see that it’s not raining so maybe today will not be that bad after all. It is 30cm deep, 14cm wide and 25cm tall, these figures are with power lead inserted and water in the rear tank so these are figures ready for you to stagger in and push the power button.
Used correctly, a SatNav device can provide navigational instructions and other related information regarding selected routes.
The nṻvi 65 LM is a Garmin SatNav device. This product comes with free UK and Ireland maps that will be updated for the lifetime of the device via a physical link to a computer. Included in the box with the SatNav device are a vehicle suction cup mount, vehicle power cable for attaching to the cigarette lighter socket, standard to mini USB lead for use with a computer or mains power and a Quick Start manual.
Certainly the smallest PowerShot I have ever seen or used. Its small size means that certain features are in different places. It uses a micro SD card and the TFT display takes all of the rear of the unit, yes it is small, small pocket small.
So while the PowerShot range is still considered to be more advanced than the IXUS this is as small in volume as most IXUS offerings. However even someone using a lot of cameras will need to think here as while finding the on/off is easy as is selecting either still or video mode both are on the side of the unit as are Wi-Fi connection and review on the TFT screen. How do you take a still image, for video you use the TFT to start and stop very easy but for still images this does not work.
Most people will have heard of Spotify, the majority of them will have tried Spotify, the reason I am looking at the Premium version of Spotify is because I have recently reviewed another streaming product and its been a while since I last tested what Spotify has to offer.
After downloading the interface around 140MB I hardy recognised what I saw no difficulty in finding what you want and on not the most recent PC the search was fast. Vodafone is one of the Spotify content partners and you will find Spotify pre-installed on all their 4G offerings. Being able to play things offline on a PC may be less important when most now have broadband but could be useful when broadband is down.
Following on from its Selfie stock product, PNY has developed a lens kit that can be used with various smartphone models.
According to a recent study, 92% of smartphone users take photos with their device Frankly I would have expected the percentage to have been even higher what with the ever increasing popularity of vanity selfies and the improvements that have been made to the photographic capabilities of today's smartphones Even budget handsets now come with a camera capable of 13MP or better images But even with the increase in the photographic capability of smartphones, users are still demanding greater functi
While most vacuums have the floor mastered, most people need to get them upstairs and of course also to vacuum the stairs themselves. The problems of the lead are often solved by an extension but the hose still needs a connection.
When removing from the box I liked what I saw just two main items the cleaner itself and the handle (wand) that just clips onto it, no tools are required to assemble. My next joy was the mains lead its long at 10 metres so even if sockets are a distance apart no extension lead should be required. It is 114cm tall, 30cm wide at the foot and 25cm deep also at the foot. In this format it is a conventional powerful upright vacuum cleaner.
Home security continues to be a popular area for manufacturers with this latest offering arriving from Samsung Techwin.
The last Samsung Techwin security device that I looked at involved multiple cameras (four units), physical cable linking and PVD storage making the product far more suitable for a small business environment. Now it is the turn of a more home environmental based product in the form of the Samsung Techwin SmartCam HD. This is a single camera kit that offers 1080p live streaming and WiFi connectivity as it links to a home network.
With its different types of Hidden Object game play, this next title sets you the task of defeating Eternal Darkness.
7 Roses: A Darkness Rises is a Hidden Object Adventure game developed by Dragonseye Studios and TAG Publishing. This game is now available as part of Avanquest GSP catalogue and evolves solving the riddle of eternal darkness. From the game’s main title screen you can create profiles for individual players. Profiles can contain adjustable levels for the volume levels for music, ambient and SFX audio.
Everyone needs backups, no ifs no buts no maybes, backups are essential. If you have gone through life without needing one so far you are lucky, very lucky. In fact maybe you would like to go halves on a lottery ticket, but one day you will need a backup.
Most people do backups without thinking and that is perhaps almost as bad as not doing a backup. For instance some do a backup say once a month and then do incremental backups for the other weeks in the month. Sods law says the day you will need the backup is the day before you do the full backup.
The Filofax Metropol iPad Air case is a well-made zipped case in black faux leather. It has been designed to accommodate both the iPad and an A5 sized notepad and should suit the person on the move.
It is well-padded case and is supplied with a replaceable (portrait orientation) A5 pad with ruled micro-perf pages. It has a zip closure running around three sides and is220 x 265mm overall. When opened, there is the rotatable table t holder one side and a number of internal pockets on the other. A pen holder is located in the centre.
No sooner do I finish checking out the Vodafone Smart Prime 6 handset than the company releases the follow up product. This is the Vodafone Smart Ultra 6 smartphone which is available as a pay-as-you-go basis priced at £125 or on a monthly Vodafone contrast priced at £17.
The Smart Ultra 6 is a 5.5-inch 4G handset with dimensions of 154 x 77 x 8.4mm (H x W x D) and a weight of 144g. As you might expect with a budget priced offering, this handset has a plastic casing available in a choice of black or grey with minimalistic side bezels. There is an the fairly standard arrangement of a top-mounted 3.
I have reviewed several Chromebooks before, they are small laptops running the Chrome operating system. This however was the first Chromebox I have reviewed it is a full featured PC all you need to add is a panel via HDMI or DisplayPort.
While most items to charge your mobile devices on the go are small this offering from MIPOW is not. While most items to charge your mobile devices on the go are light this offering from MIPOW is not. So the question is if its not small and not light then what does it have in its favour?
It comes in a box like a quality book with a slip case. The unit itself is 9x9x1.5cm and weights 250grams. It has four tiny rubber feet on the base that makes it very stable on whatever you place it on and with so much weight it makes a very good paperweight. Mind you the aluminium case seems very strong.
The Rewind is a small portable Bluetooth speaker. This product forms part of the Jam family of offerings that are distributed by HoMedics.
In a previous life this was one of the first really useful products. Corel came out with their excellent CorelDRAW product and made the purchase of PaintShop Pro an early capture and now this is a very mature product at version 18 (X8).
CorelDRAW started the ‘bonus’ software by offering lots of Clip Art and extra fonts. So when you buy anything Corel you expect ‘more’ and you get more with the Ultimate version of PaintShop Pro you get Perfect Effects 9.5, After Shot 2 and Perfectly Clear 2 SE as well as the main PaintShop Pro package all for no extra cost. If you have a qualifying earlier version you qualify for a 25% discount when purchase is made by download from the Corel website.
Offering to help reduce the bottleneck that can occur for those who are involved with streaming videos and on-line gaming activities is a modem router from NETGEAR.
Sometimes the arrival of a new product for review brings back memories of an earlier period of my involvement in the world of computing. Such was the case with the NETGEAR Nighthawk AC1900 WiFi VDSL/ADSL Modem Router product.
In this game your on-screen persona makes a mistake that releases an evil demon. Will you be able to correct this mistake and recapture the demon?
Theatre of the Absurd is a Hidden Object Adventure game. Developed by GoGii, this game is now available from Avanquest’s GSP game catalogue. Although the packaging does not actually mention it, this game comes with a number of extra features that usually qualify such titles as being a Collector’s Edition game.
The days of this being just an Anti-Virus product are long gone. In fact the only products that seem to have only Anti-Virus are the free ones and even then when you update them you have to be careful to click the correct box or you get the whole package and then you will start paying.
Panda have four products, AntiVirus Pro, Internet Security, Global Protection and Gold Protection. I am looking at the third of these Global Protection. I installed it on both a Windows 8.1 and a test system with Windows 10. While some products make a great show of saying ‘I am working at protecting you’ this just sits in the background and does the necessary. The install took around five minutes and around 400MB of hard disc space.
While queuing is an established practice, it is not one that is well received when we need to wait in order to charge a mobile device when there is just a single power source available. Sandberg believes it has a solution to this problem.
It was not so long ago that I checked out a product that allowed you to charge up to four separate devices simultaneously. This task was carried out from a single power point socket. While this would be fine for many users, there are those whose needs call for an even more extensive number of access points in order to recharge power hungry devices simultaneously.
Nobody wants their Sunday joint burnt on the outside and raw on the inside. The Heston Blumenthal 5-in-1 digital thermometer from Salter is a useful tool in preventing that and similar problems in the kitchen. But that is not all it can do
As well as for roasting it can also be used for checking the temperature in a deep fat fryer, act as a jam thermometer etc. or, when in the manual mode, provide an audible alert when a predetermined temperature has been reached. Normal oven thermometers measure either the temperature in the oven or that within the item being cooked -- but not both.
A new DAB and FM offering from Roberts that looks more like something from many decades ago. It is however packed with modern technology, so instead of having to continually move around to get a good signal and sound its just there.
It is 17x12cm at the back and 15x12cm at the front and 12cm deep. The front has a grill behind which is the speaker this is 9.5x8.5cm. Both sides are clear with only a connection point for carry handle that is in the same fabric that covers the whole unit, my unit was in a lime green colour. The exceptions are the back that is a gold colour as is the top. The back has a battery bay which optionally takes 4 x ‘AA’ batteries.
The price of this group of in ear headphones seems to vary according to their colour. With Midnight being nearly 50% more expensive than curry, here I am listening to a mid-range unit called Fire at least I think I am as the box has no part number.
The length of the supplied lead is 1.3metres. From the ears it is 30cm to the point where two leads become one. Around 10cm from the left ear is the now near ubiquitous control to stop/play, back and forward control. The lead itself is fabric in spirals with red yellow and green then black and this is repeated for the whole length of the lead. Finally the plug at the player/phone end is the ‘L’ type to sit flush with whatever you connect it to.
This next product from Fujifilm adopts an almost retro style of photography.
I can remember, back in the day, the launch of a camera that could capture and then develop photos giving you almost “instant” hard copies of photos that had just been taken. Named after the company responsible, or was the company named after the camera, the Polaroid was one of those devices that was almost a status symbol or a fashion accessory. I have to admit that I was an early adopter of this camera capable of capturing and delivering monochrome images.
This phone is only available from Vodafone and as such needs a Vodafone SIM. It is part of the Smart 6 series of phones. Android Lollipop 5.02 is the operating system and while some of the installed Apps are Vodafones it is still an Android Phone.
The basic dimensions are 15.5x7.5x.7cm and it weights 153grams. It has a front camera for those Selfies which at 5MP is better than some rear cameras. The excellent 13MP rear camera has an LED flash the auto focus means no more blurry rushed shots. This has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 processor which is stated to be octa-core 64-bit CPU architecture. Not long ago a 2000mAh battery was top end and it was able to last a full days use, this unit has a 3000mAh battery which lasts two days.
While standalone flatbed and All-in-One devices can cope with many scanning tasks, sometimes you need a more specialised piece of equipment to handle this aspect of your document management needs.
The Brother DS-920DW is a device described as an “anywhere, anytime, portable scanner”. As the “DW” part of the product’s model number might indicate, this scanner offers both Duplex or double sided scanning and wireless connectivity.
Ancient Rome is a popular location for game developers. In this case the location shares the stage with the Mahjong board game.
7 Hills of Rome comes from the same team responsible for the recently reviewed Treasures of Rome. While both games are played out against a storyline and backdrop of Ancient Rome, the style of play has switched from Mathc-3 action to that of the Mahjong board game. This latest offering is available as a download purchase from the Avanquest GSP catalogue of titles. Profiles can be set up for individual players.