Children tend to imitate their parents or other adults not just in their behaviour but also with the type of gadgets they feel they can not live without. Television, mobile phone and computer are just some of the items that feature in Can I have? demanding requests. To that list you could easily add the current best-selling gadget, namely a tablet. Binatone has recently developed such a device aimed specifically at the pre-teen generation.
The Binatone KidzStar tablet, with its 7-inch capacitive touch colour screen is protected from being dropped accidentally. Binatone has encased the unit in a removable, sturdy, rubber, protective bumper. This bumper is a bright orange colour and certainly marks this product as a child-centric offering. Blue and pink replacement bumpers are available as part of an optional accessory pack that also contains headphones and an in-car charger.
Usually when you die in a game, you restart from your current location but not in this case as you are transported from one planet to another.
Let me introduce you to Amrite Stone, an archaeologist and leader of a team that has set to explore the depths of the Atlantic Ocean in order to solve the ancient mystery of Atlantis. This is the character you will play in the Alawar Entertainment Hidden Object Adventure game of Eternal Journey: New Atlantis released in Collector’s Edition format.
A powerful notebook with lots of memory and joy of joys no shiny black in sight anywhere as the whole thing is silver grey. The screen is of course reflective but not nearly as much as a lot of other offerings I have used.
This is an Intel Core i5 unit with a 500GB hard disc and a small SSD that helps make things quite a bit quicker in starting. It is 36x25x2cm and it weights 2.175kilos. The unit feels really sturdy probably because the screen back is aluminium. You will note from the dimensions that there is no increase in size towards the back – normally caused by an oversize battery.
It started out as an evening to check out a Canon camcorder but events turned out differently to what I expected.
Recently I was a murder victim. I kid you not. There I was busily typing away on a Mac Book when I was repeatedly brutally stabbed several times by a masked maniac. This horrendous crime was committed at The Hospital but this location seemed bereft of doctors, nurses or even medical equipment. Fortunately my murder was part of an unscripted short film being captured on a Canon handheld camcorder.
While we all know that it is essential to back up our data, all too often we dont do it routinely. As Verbatims new StorenGo USB3.0 portable hard drive is small and comes with back-up software so making it just that bit more convenient to use. Hence, it is just the device to make it more likely for us to get into the habit which will reduce the risk of coming to grief.
This new Ultra Slim 500GB USB 3.0 hard drive, is 80 x 160 x 10 mm thick and is of a size that will easily fit into the corner of a drawer when at home or in the office. Equally well, as it only weighs about 150g complete with the 60cm USB 3.0 cable it can be carried in a pocket or handbag. After all, one doesn’t want to keep it in one’s laptop bag as this would risk both the machine and backup being lost or stolen at the same time.
This is a 27inch flat panel that has a smooth edge at the top and sides. It has the ability to show multiple screens on one screen and perhaps the newest feature via a micro USB to USB lead the screen from recent mobile devices.
It is 62.5x38x2cm around three sides, 2.5cm at the base of the screen but 9cm where it links to the stand and where cables attach. The stand is 29x13cm with 5cm being in front of the display. This lifts the screen by 6cm from your desk. There are five touch buttons at the right of the bottom of the screen with a single blue/orange LED to denote power is on. There is a 1cm border on the top and sides but the viewable screen butts directly to it so no inset as with most screens.
The Sonoro goLondon is a DAB/FM radio although without the rod aerial raised it might not be immediately obvious. The shape is vertical and the actual controls are underneath, it does take a while to get used to this units rather unusual format.
It is 18.5cm high at the back without the aerial and 16.5cm at the front, the rest of the shape is square at 8.5cm. The six piece rod aerial is 38cm when fully extended. The sloped top is the speaker and the only control is the twist on/off/volume control. At the back towards the bottom is a gap in the rubberised sleeve where there is a slider DAB/FM, DC input and Auxiliary input. On either side there is an 8x2cm depression which facilitate holding the unit when moving around with the radio.
When developing a follow-up title to a popular game you could opt for a sequel or, as in this case, a prequel.
It all began with Shadow Town which was closely followed by Insomniac. I am, of course, referring to the Twisted Lands series of Hidden Object Adventure games developed by Stargaze Studio and published by Alawar Entertainment. Now, arriving in the guise of a prequel, we have the third chapter in this series. Based on the nightmarish environment of Twisted Lands is Origin. Maybe there is a clue in its title but then maybe not.
The Nikon D3200 is the DSLR has the ability to capture the largest images, at 24mega pixel, the highest definition I have ever reviewed. Just think for a moment one tenth of the image size should be enough to print an A4 image if you use it all.
The Nikon D3200 I am looking at comes with an 18-55mm lens and, , this does come with built in flash. Quite unusually I have been able to use this for a longer than normal test period, sometimes this is because the company need it back to go to another journalist or other companies have sent me cameras and either way on this occasion I was able to test and retest under a range of conditions.
Designed specifically for people who like to listen to music when out and about, but feel cut-off when wearing headphones, comes a product from San Francisco.
Up until very recently I was totally unaware of a company with the rather striking name of Boombotix. Suspecting that many of you might not have heard of this San Francisco Company, let me provide you with some background information. As you might guess from its title, Boombotix area of expertise is with delivering audio content.
Following the discovery that the Mona Lisa has been removed from the Louvre, you are called into action to recover this priceless work of art.
Time Chronicles: The Missing Mona Lisa is a Hidden Object game pure and simple. It offers no pretensions as to any adventure influences as you attempt to track down the Time Chameleon. This task is carried out by completing a series of hidden object scenes set in various locations in time and around the world.
When CDs first came out the need to copy or backup started and there were two major players in the market. Nero was one of those but now it is so much more than CD backup software, one of the few things it refuses to do is make the tea.
There are two version of Nero 12, here I am looking at the Platinum version which has the addition of hundreds of extra video effects including retro movie effects, the ability to stabilise shaky videos (very impressive), rip Blu-ray to almost any other video format as well as watch Blu-ray movies on your Windows PC. If you decide to buy the standard Nero 12 offering you will not have the above but will have everything else it has to offer.
Living, as I do, on a one-way street, I often notice cars proceeding along my road travelling in the wrong direction. Perhaps such drivers would benefit from using a product such as the Binatone R430.
With the strap line of “Drive like a local”, Binatone has released its R430 SatNav device. As the number forming part of it title might indicate, this unit features a 4.3-inch colour touch screen (perhaps “tap” would be more appropriate) within a reasonably wide black bezel. The overall dimensions of the unit are 78 x 122mm (W x H) with a depth of 13mm.
As laptops are increasingly becoming the computers of choice, users want speakers which do not take up a lot of space and yet deliver the required performance. The SoundBlasterAxx SBX8 is the smallest in the series from Creative Technologies which, in addition to providing improved audio, incorporates a microphone so is also ideal for Skype and other VoIP services.
The SBX8 is a 57mm hexagon in cross-section and about165mm tall. Five faces are covered with black cloth and the remaining one to the rear, where the connections and the “port” to improve acoustic properties are located, has a matt black finish. In addition to the micro-USB, there are two 3.5mm sockets -- one for headphones and the other for aux/mic. in. The touch controls are on the top, slightly angled, surface which has a polished black surface.
Both these devices are small, one from a source that you expect to produce scales for various purposes, the other from a company that produces all sorts of speakers for i devices as well as for other products One Bluetooth the other wired.
A somewhat strange name from a company that produces scales and back massagers but this Bluetooth speaker does give a rather good sound from a very small body. I assume the Jampot comes from the container it arrives in, it does get good protection especially useful if you purchase it by mail order rather than retail. It is circular at 7cm and is 6.5cm tall. A ring around the base and top are black while the rest is a metallic blue.
While this is aimed at 4+ it could at a pinch be used by the childs parents as in parental mode you have access to the Internet and therefore could use it for browsing as a standard Android device. It comes with versions of lots of games for various ages.
Out of its bright orange case, as I suspect any adult user would choose, the KidzStar Tablet from Binatone measures 19.5x11.5x1cm. It is not designed as an adult tablet but should your own PC or Tablet be unavailable then this can contact the outside world. This is primary a tablet for the young, exactly how young will depend on your common sense, there are games to appeal to pre school children but for various legal reasons the box states ‘4+’ as the age group.
Recently my car driving experience has been enhanced by a new product that provides in-car music and hands-free telephony features.
Like many others, I prefer listening to my favourite music while I am driving. I also know, as I am sure you do, that using a mobile phone while driving should only be considered when it is a hands-free device. Offering to provide both hands-free telephonic operations and music playing features from various sources is the iO Play 2 kit. iO is a brand name of Armour Automotive Ltd.
While most new PCs come with Anti Virus software it is normally only a trial lasting for 90 or 60 days. Most of these are from Norton or McAfee and while they work and these days do not slow the PC down that much there are options.
Most people want protection while on the Internet and when running programs and files downloaded from it. These days a growing number of products and updated choices are primary supplied as downloads, this means reinstalling is often tricky or not possible. A few minutes or less unprotected on the Internet is all you need to get a virus or other malware, the first you may know about is a huge credit card bill as someone has captured your personal details and at best it’s a nasty mess.
Recently I have been spending time picking up printed documents from the floor. To find out more about the device forcing me to carry out this task, read on.
With its lacquered black casing, the Canon PIXMA MX515 is an All-in-One device that offers print, scan, fax and copy facilities with an ADF feature that has a 30-page capacity. There is a choice of standalone USB or either wired or wireless network connectivity. With rounded corners and a sloping plinth top, the unit has dimensions of 458 x 385 x 200mm. The top-mounted plinth is actually the scanner lid and combines the ADF feature with the unit’s control panel.
Fancy being the editor of a city newspaper? This is the role you play in a game entitled The Mystery Novel.
The Mystery Novel is a game that is described as a Hidden Object Adventure offering with a supernatural twist. You are cast in the role of the new Crime Editor of the City Times paper. Your predessor at the paper had been investigating a mystery surrounding the assassination of Mayor Lambert as he opened a brand new prison for the community. The assassin was quickly identified, captured and executed.
While all of the UK has now gone Digital there are a significant number managing on a simple device to import and view the signal, a lot are discovering that their video recorder now just does not function anymore.
So here is a small box that not only imports the signals it allows you to record two at once and even has a working pass though that can watch any digital TV using the same single aerial signal and if that is not enough it has an Ethernet connection so that lots of things like iPlayer and other such things are all available on your TV. The box is 31x28x5cm the middle figure the depth is with all relevant leads plugged into the rear of the View 21.
Rather than retyping your handwritten notes to your computer, you could use this next product from IRIS to do the hard work for you.
The IRISNotes Executive 2 is a product that comes with the strap line of “You write, it types”. By this it means that it has the capability to capture your handwritten notes as they are being created and then convert them into a digital format that is editable for transfer to a computer whether it is a Windows or Mac based unit.
Having spent good money on a new laptop, it is only sensible to look after it. One of the first things to do is to choose a suitable laptop bag that will protect it from knocks and other damage as well as ensuring that the necessary cables and power brick are all in one place. STM and Techair are two of the manufacturers producing ranges of bags to fit the different machine sizes and to meet a wide variety of needs. The shoulder (messenger) bags that Ive looked at from each vendor address a different need.
The actual ones I have reviewed are the for 15inch MacBook and the for 15.4inch PC laptops. The former is 43 x 34 x 14 cm and the latter 42 x 29 x 5cm. Hence, as well as being slightly smaller it is much thinner. They both have convenient carrying handles but, in the case of the latter, the shoulder strap can be removed and it also has a trolley strap and an external rear open pocket for a newspaper etc. Both bags have a padded compartment to provide physical protection for the laptop.
This is a single powerful speaker sold by a company who make musical instruments and amplifiers to professional standards. So while you could say this is just an iPod Dock you know to expect that it could give more.
Certainly this is not designed to blend in with the lounge furniture with its black colour unusual shape and heavy chrome handle and fittings all set off with the large holed metal grill all of course give it the effect desired. It is 20cm across around 30cm tall with iPod in place and around 25cm deep with cables protruding from the rear.
Here a dock that can ramp up the volume even without mains power, in fact it can work even if the i device is not even docked in the unit. Yes in this form it is Bluetooth enabled even though it mentions Wireless, so connected or not.
The HouseParty Portable is 34x14x7cm and weights 1221grams with your ‘i’ device which can if required be docked. While most iPods can be docked using the standard connector later iPod Touch and the Phone and iPad can all also connect Wirelessly. Let me state here that ‘Wirelessly’ means without visible connection as it uses Bluetooth.
In this next game you get the choice of switching between three different characters as you attempt to rescue a fourth character and discover a hidden treasure.
A large panel that is not limited to 1920x1080 resolution. In fact in can display up to 2560x1440 which is a good step up from 1920x1080, this of course can be used to show more detail or just to display more than a single window.
The screen surround is 62x37cm and the ‘y’ shaped stand lifts it a basic 8cm from your desk but there are other choices. The basic front to back of the stand is 32cm and side to side at the front of the ‘y’ is 52cm giving stability. The viewable screen area is 66x34cm which gives the notional diagonal imperial measure of a tad under 27inches.
Despite the Solo connotation of its title, this product is available in single, twin, triple or quad offerings depending upon your telephonic needs.
Binatone has added to its range of iDECT phones with the release of its Solo product. There is a choice of glossy red, white or black units that combine docking stations and handsets. This review is based on the twin version of the product. As you would expect there are two handsets, each with a curved shape and a detachable back which gives access to a compartment to hold a pair a pair of AAA rechargeable batteries that are supplied.
Released in a Deluxe Edition version as part of the Hidden Mysteries series, Notre Dame Secrets of Paris is a Hidden Object Adventure game. The reason for the Deluxe Edition classification is that Focus Multimedia has chosen to bundle the bonus offering of Lost Secrets Bermuda Triangle which also belongs to the Hidden Object genre.
Notre Dame Secrets of Paris allows you to adjust the volume levels for background music and sound effects plus whether to opt for a full screen view and a custom cursor but there is no choice of playing difficulty level for any of the five profiles that you can create.
This is possibly the best Android Tablet that I have used so far. I will qualify that statement by saying it is most like a standard PC notebook and therefore easiest to use by anyone coming from a PC background to use an Android device.
The Archos G10 XS Android powered tablet measures 26.5x17x.5cm but it is supplied with a keyboard that allows the screen to sit at around 100 degrees from flat and allow near normal typing. The keyboard is 16.5cm deep and it matches the width of the unit. If taken out with the unit it forms a magnetic sandwich and this of course protects the screen so it is even more like a notebook.