Real characters, ghostly apparitions and live jigsaw type videos all come together in a Mystery Case File title.
Shadow Lake, part of the Mystery Case Files series, is a Hidden Object Adventure game. Originally published by Big Fish Games, this title is now available from Focus Multimedia in Collector’s Edition format. Usually when a game is released in this type of format, most of the bonus items, apart from the immediately available Strategy Guide, are locked until the main game has been completed. Shadow Lake is, in some ways, an exception to this rule.
The first is a rather nice shower proof Bluetooth speaker set at a not outrageous price. The second is a method of saving your USB device be it phone or tablet from having a flat battery when you are away from power.
Any Bluetooth speaker unit that can play for 18hours and 11minutes between charges is certainly worth a second look. It is small and easy to walk around, it does have the ability to play via a 3.5mm lead, but the main focus of this unit is as a Bluetooth device. It is 17.5x6.5x5cm. My unit was black and as there are no open paws and everything being rubberised their claim of it being splash resistant or even showerproof should be true.
As one of the original market leaders in the mobile phone sector, Nokia is now facing a massive battle from the forces of iOS and Android. As part of the Nokia offensive is a new Lumia model.
Like other models in the Nokia Lumia series, the Lumia 620 smartphone offering is a Windows Phone 8 device. This latest model is being targeted at the more youthful, fun-loving market sector. To this end, the Lumia 620 will be available in a range of colours that could include, depending upon your location, lime green, orange, magenta, yellow, cyan, white and black. My review unit was the white model.
Step by Step and Plain & Simple are two Word 2013 books from the Microsoft Press. As well as teaching the new user how to use the program, they each also cover new features which increase Words versatility especially in the areas of cooperation. They each adopt a different approach and so one can choose the one that best suits ones needs.
As one would expect from its title, the former adopts a structured tutorial approach with the first part covering creating, printing and distributing standard documents. While this part includes columns, tables and simple graphics, one needs to go to the second part for enhancing the document with diagrams, charts and other visual elements as well as well as saving documents in various formats. Part 3 deals with the aspects that will be more important in a business context.
The first is a device that other halfs will love as the cables are kept out of sight. The second is something most people need a device to keep those cords untwisted. The link they both work in the home or office environment.
This is described as a ‘Docking station displays and charges your gadgets’. Rather than having items such as phones and other devices lying around and chargers hanging out of power outlets now you can keep everything in one place. It is cream 30cm long up to 13cm deep at the base and a maximum of 10cm tall this is 10cm from the front. It has a 24cm long rubberised slit 4.5cm from the front, in the centre of this is also rises by 4.
The first item will charge devices that are gasping for power it will also via a Free app allow you to transfer and play items via Wi-Fi. The second item the PocketCell Duo does exactly what it says but will allow simultaneous charging of two devices.
Around a year ago I told you about the Kingston tiny Wi-Drive. This is about the same size but does a range of other things including being a mobile charging point for anything that takes charge by USB however it is far more than that. First job is to charge it up via the supplied micro USB to USB lead, while this is happening go to the Android or iDevice store and select Kingston and then Mobilite and download the App which is free.
Not only does this next product add speaker capability to your smartphone but it can also act as a backup battery.
Before moving on from the summer aspect of this product I have to state that the appearance of my review sample could hardly be considered summery, and I hope it is not an indication of what might be in store for us in the coming season, with its totally black and splash resistant casing.
The number 13 and some peoples idea that it is unlucky means they go from 12 to 14 or as more than one company has done go from 12 to XIII. Whatever you feel a software package that has had that number of incarnations must be mature.
Looking at past notes I see its 13 months since I saw a version of Power DVD from Cyberlink it is far more than just another device to play and convert video. The installation took five minutes after which you have to enter a 30 character serial number before you can run it. Perhaps now is the time to drop ‘DVD’ as most will download it and while I still managed to get a unit on physical media it is becoming more difficult.
Continuing my look at various Canon printers, it is the turn of a model more suited to an office environment.
The PIXMA MX925 product is another model in Canon’s family of All-in-One devices. One look at the overall size of the product should be enough to convince the casual observer that this model is more suited to an office environment rather than for use in the home. It is not that this unit is particular large but it does have a substantial and impressive presence.
When the words Happy and Nightmare occur in the same title, you could be forgiven for wondering just what you were letting yourself in for.
Farm Mystery The Happy Orchard Nightmare is a Hidden Object Adventure game that is available from Avanquest’s GSP catalogue of titles. Firing up this game gives you the opportunity to create your game profile. You can adjust the volume level of the background music and sound effects plus select whether to use a custom cursor (its green in colour), play in full screen mode or not and make use of a tutorial.
The Pentax Q10 is probably the smallest removable lens camera I have ever reviewed. It is smaller than most digital cameras but is still a very powerful unit that gives rather good JPG or an option to save your images in RAW format.
The Q10 measures 10x5.5x8.5cm the latter with the lens fully in, fully extended add another 2cm. It weights only 300 grams without attaching the near superfluous neck strap. It is capable of capturing a 12MP image. The lens supplied is a 5-15mm offering and while this may sound ‘tame’ compared to the more standard 18-55mm offerings it takes rather good images.
Now part of the MAGIX family, Xaras flagship graphics photo and designer product has reached version 9.
I first came across Xara when the company so impressed Corel, with the rate at which its software handled tasks that tended to be time consuming when run on CorelDRAW, that the Canadian Graphics company licensed the UK software to release under its own banner. Ever since this event, which took place at an early Windows show, Xara has continued to emphasise the speed aspect of its graphics software over numerous releases.
The most recent notebook I reviewed had Windows 8 sadly without touch it also had a Gigabyte motherboard. This is an All in One PC from HP with Windows 8, touch and it has a Gigabyte motherboard and even a TV tuner.
Windows 8 no longer contains Media Centre, so here the card required for TV is provided by Aver Media and of course the remote control to make channel changing easier. Here ‘All In One’ means that the screen contains the PC as well as being a touch flat panel. The external parts are only the Wireless Keyboard, Mouse and Remote Control. The screen is 57x40cm and the stand is attached to raise this by 7cm above your desk.
A rather large remote controlled car that some children may find difficult to stop their parents using, it is stated at 8+. The Second a reaction testing device designed for children or almost any age and even those of pre-school seem to love trying it.
This is a 1:18 scale car that works by remote control on the 2.4GHz band. It is 29cm from back to front and 14cm wide at the rear wheels, the maximum height is 9cm. It weights 550 grams. Apart from the car you also get a rather large remote, a charger unit for the cars battery and a plastic coin that allows you to turn the screw on the battery bay to remove it for charging.
One-eyed stone heads, a town that is only visible for a short period every 300 years and a missing boyfriend are all present in this next game.
The Cyclops was not, as we have been led to believe, a one-off monstrosity found in Greek mythology. The Cyclops was, in fact, a race of visually restricted beings that were based in a town located not too far from Skye. In case you are wondering why this fact is not common knowledge then I should explain that this Cyclopean town was, and is, in the grip of a magical force which caused the town to be visible only for a short period every 300 years.
First a handheld vacuum to get where the normal cleaner cannot like behind central heating pipes and into those congested corners. Second a very bright LED torch to see into those corners that always manage to hide the dirt from sight.
This is a handheld cordless vacuum, unlike a lot of other units that often get consigned to cleaning out the car this has a place in any home or office. It is 42cm long, at either end it is less than 2cm thick this increases to around 10cm for the central 20cm of the unit and it is 7.5cm in the same central area. The weight is 612grams. It is equally useable by those like me who are left handed as the on/off button is on the top and can be controlled by either thumb.
Monitors are increasingly becoming multifunction devices as can be seen with a Philips model with a built-in USB 3.0 Hub.
If memory serves me correct, which does happen occasionally, my first dedicated monitor had a single connection on the rear. Not only did this single input provide the conduit between the display and computer for the video signal but also the power needed to drive the monitor. Now computer displays have started to spout various physical connections to offer users a choice of facilities.
With different types of tiles, multiple layouts and two styles of game play, this Mahjongg offering might well appeal.
This is a four in one device and somewhat larger than recent items of this sort. Being black it will either need to work in an office, in the home of a Goth or be secreted away behind a sofa or in a cupboard, with Wi-Fi or Network it can be.
It is 48x42x35cm, you will need to add a few centimetres to the last figure if you wish to use the flatbed scanner rather than the page feed. The front is dominated by the pull up 9.5x5.5cm TFT display. Just above this are five LED lights with clear markings. The on/off switch is towards the base under the TFT overhang. A substansial paper input tray is in the central part at the base with the output being delivered on top of this. A USB stick input is to the left of the paper tray.
Tablets have been able to offer users the ability to act as an eBook Reader for quite a while now. You just need to download the appropriate free app and your tablet can transform itself into a Kindle, Kobo or Nook in the blink of an eye. Now, with the arrival of products such as the Nook HD+, we are beginning to see a turn of the tide as devices, whose primary function is that of an eBook Reader, appear with tablet-like capabilities to enhance their appeal to the discerning user fraternity.
Recently I visited the London Transport museum, surely one of the cleverer places to launch some Satellite Navigation devices. They launched three and I was allowed to take the top end device and give it a good testing.
At first glance two items with little in common. However all those original recipes mixed with the hand mixer need to be written down somewhere and of course its not only recipes but also designs and patterns that it can hold for posterity.
As it approaches its one hundred year anniversary, John Buchans classic tale of murder and spies makes its appearance on the Windows PC platform.
First published in 1915, John Buchan’s classic adventure spy novel, entitled The 39 Steps, has appeared in a variety of guises including print, of course, cinema, theatre and television. Now a further format is added as this tale of skulduggery and a German invasion plot makes the transition to the PC platform. Classified as a digital adaptation, the PC version of The 39 Steps is available on Avanquest’s GSP label.
Two methods of listening to music, first a rather nice Bluetooth speaker that can also work with a 3.5mm lead. Second a pair of earbuds from Sony that seem to stay in place without swelling the ear canal as so many do for me.
With the functionality now available from various devices such as smartphones and tablets, the manufacturers of SatNav products face an increasing challenge to persuade would-be purchasers to loosen their purse strings. Why should customers spend their hard-earned disposal income on a new SatNav product when they already possess the tools that are capable of providing basic navigational information through the use of GPS and mapping apps? Garmins solution to this conundrum is to bundle free lifetime services with its new SatNav line up of models.
The latest Garmin product line up consists of its nüvi SatNav devices categorised as Essential, Advanced and Premium models. This review is based on the Advanced range of which there are three distinct models. My review sample is the 5-inch version rather than the 4.3-inch or 7-inch units.
Time to enter into the spirit (no pun intended) of the game as you attempt to solve murders committed in two different locations and time periods.
Angelica Weaver is a detective on Chicago’s Special Task Force. This detective has the dual ability of being able to communicate with dead spirits and use super-sensory visions to jump back and forth between crimes committed in a historical London and present-day Chicago. Known as the Psychic Detective, Angelica Weaver sets out to solve the mystery of a murderer who taunts the Special Task Force with the message of “Catch me when you can” in this next game.
Duplicating a drive is something that can normally only be done by specialist software and certainly not from within Windows. Here a piece of hardware that can duplicate two bare drives or a single bare drive and one connected via eSATA or USB2.
It is 14x13x7cm with grey sides and base and black top. The rear has the DC input, USB and eSATA sockets. The other three sides and the base are clear. The top has two flip down lids where you insert either one or two drives and in front of those three touch buttons, power, duplicate and start. All the buttons have LEDs in them and the colour varies according to what is being done.
Normally when I get to see a colour printer, it is an inkjet model but in this case the printer is a laser unit.
Decked out in a rather subdued combination of light and dark grey, the HL-3140CW is a Brother laser printer. Unlike my own Brother HL-2030, which has provided sterling service for several years, this new Brother unit features two major differences which are indicated by the “CW” part of the unit’s model number. The HL-3140CW supports wireless connectivity and is a colour laser printer.
This is a small DSLR unit ideal for the amateur who enjoys their photography or for someone coming on from a Digital Camera wanting to improve. The most different thing for the latter group is that there is a viewfinder available.
It is 12x8.5x12.5cm the last figure with the 18 to 55lens fitted and fully in, fully out it extends another 3cm. It weights 618grams without the supplied neck strap. The right side has a flip door behind which are micro USB and micro HDMI connections. Both sides have anchor points for the supplied neck strap. Moving to the base the flap door has the solid battery and any SD card you might use behind it.
Three different items from Breffo, two that grip, first a Smartphone and second a Tablet. The third device allows your camera to get a hold in places where it normally could not, round a pole on top of something with no flat edge etc.
It has eight legs and these surround the device, either with four extended to make a stand or with two extended to make a slope. This is a simple device that works well to do just a single job. Each leg is around 8cm and each has three joints. My unit was white and the soft touch grippy plastic outer covers a wire inner so it can bend to almost any shape. The box shows it’s obvious use on a desk but also on a bicycle and in a car.