They are cute, adorable and child friendly. I am referring to a series of toys in the form of pets that respond to their owner.
We have long been accused of being a nation of pet lovers. Or perhaps, in the case of my cat who allows me to satisfy his needs, pet dominated would be a better description. This close affinity with the domesticated animal kingdom can be seen with many of the toys we purchase for our children (well that’s the excuse we tell ourselves although some toys are bought for our own pleasure) that are in the form of animals.
Maybe its the wooden case but as soon as you take this from the box you feel quality. It is not just a DAB and FM radio it also supports iPod and iPhone as well as Auxiliary input and for dinosaurs like me it also has a CD player.
It is 32x21x10cm, the middle figure the depth is taken at the point where the mains lead enters as this is the deepest point. You can control it either from the buttons on top of the unit or from the provided landscape shaped remote control. There are four lines of three well marked buttons on the top centre of the unit, the ‘i’ dock is behind this. The central area of the face has the 6.8x2.5cm white on blue display, either side of this are the stereo speakers of the unit.
Many more years ago than I care to remember, I installed a Shareware product on my Windows 3.1 system - I told you it was many years ago. This product was the JASC developed Paint Shop Pro. Designed to convert images between different file formats and capture screen grabs, the software could easily fit on a floppy disk of the 360K variety. There was still room left over for other files of that period. I was reminded of this compact piece of coding when I opened the box containing the latest version of Paint Shop Pro.
Now up to version Paint Shop Pro X5 Ultimate, the box contained two optical disks. Admittedly one of the disks held extra software that was the reason for the Ultimate part of the product’s title. However the other the disk was required to store this 2013 version of photo editing and management software. It just shows how much the product has grown over the year before and after it became part of the Corel family of software titles.
The buzzword around today is Ultrabook not simply because they are small and light but they also boot exceedingly fast. So what exactly does this Acer unit have to offer that will make you reach into your wallet to buy.
The Acer Aspire S3 ultrabook measures 32x22x1.5cm at the back and less than 1cm thick at the front, it weights 1330grams. With care it should power your needs for a full day. With such thin sides the only place most connections can be is at the back. The right side has only an SD card slot. The front has nothing not even LEDs. The left side has an earbud jack. Both the earbud and SD card port are close to the back.
Here I am looking at various styles of SmartPhone cases, from iLuv, Gear4 and Brando. The first for Apple iPod Touch, the next a kids design Angry Birds for iPhone and lastly for those on Android a wooden case for Samsung III.
My iPod Touch has been naked for months and of course the reflective back gets covered with fingermarks so this offering from iLuv came just as the weather got colder which spared its modesty when out and about with me. It is described as a Silicone Case with 3D Patterns, when fitted it increases the overall dimensions by a tad to 11.5x6x1cm. It is made in black or white, mine was white. It feels nice in the hand and should you sweat it will increase stickability.
It was Peter Norton who first revealed that deleted files were not actually deleted. Instead their disk presence in the FAT (File Allocation File) was marked as being available for use by other data. This meant it was possible, with the appropriate tools, to resurrect a file if it had not been over-written by subsequent data.
While best known for its Diskeeper product, Condusiv Technologies (the new name for the company we previously knew as Diskeeper) does have other strings to its bow. Making use of its expertise in the field of handling and management of files, Condusiv Technologies has developed its Undelete product.
This is an i dock but it can and does do far more. It has a built in FM Radio and clock with alarm it also has a sleep countdown timer so although it does support most i devices everything mentioned in this sentence is built in.
The Gear4 AlarmDock Halo2 measures 15cm wide, 14cm deep and 18cm tall. The depth is only for the first 2cm – base – the top with the display is only 3cm in fact it is an ‘L’ shape with the front being the lower corner and you are looking above any ‘i’ device at the back. It is even more intelligent should you have more than one iPod Touch or iPhone using a free app available from App store.
A Central London hotel known by a single letter was the location for the launch of a new series of Creative standalone single speaker units.
Although I could run the risk of being accused of repeating myself, I have to observe yet again that speaker units can come in all shapes and sizes. An example of this can be seen with the latest product arriving to take care of my various audio needs. This is the SBX 20 model which is the top-of-the-range offering in Creative Sound BlasterAxx™ series.
An unexpected death, ghosts and a novelist looking for inspiration are just some of the features found in the next game from Focus Multimedia.
With hardly the shortest title in the world, Death at Fairing Point: A Dana Knightstone Novel is a Hidden Object Adventure game. Originally developed by Boomzap and published by Big Fish, this game is now available in Collector’s Edition format from Focus Multimedia. As usual with Collector’s Edition products you get some bonus items to sit alongside the main game.
With notebooks and tablets being the in thing from pre teenage years younger siblings will want their own and something like this is ideal even from pre school time. So what exactly does the LeapPad2 have to offer your child?
It is 17x13x2cm and weights 412grams. The screen is 11x6cm while the layout appears portrait as soon as you switch on its landscape. There are four buttons on the face as well as the ubiquitous five position joystick. The right side has a stylus tethered on a 30cm piece of cord which may keep it with the unit for a few days, maybe. The top has a 3.5mm jack for earphones, a cartridge slot (for some extra items not included) and a mini USB port.
Following my favourite breakfast of bacon baps, I was introduced to a new handset that has become my mobile device of choice.
Combining the talents of Google, Motorola and Intel produces the RAZR i. This Motorola handset is the first smartphone to combine the Android operating system (4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich) with an Intel chipset. Consisting of a sealed unit, therefore no access to the unit’s 2000mAh battery, the handset has dimensions of 61 x 122.5 x 8.3mm (W x H x D) and weighs 126g. The RAZRi is built around an aluminium frame with a decorated Kevlar padded backing.
A large desktop monitor that can should you wish - be split into up to four windows, so four displays on a single screen. While the basic resolution is still 1920x1080 with a decent video card then DVD watching can be a new experience.
However having a panel that is 65x38x2cm may be too big for some without the still very expensive option to have resolution beyond 1920x1080. The stand is oval at 24x19cm and this raises the panel by 5cm from your desk. There is no side to side movement but joy of joys for those who have it mounted above eye level there is a few degrees of forward movement. As most users will have it below eye level the amount of back movement is much more I made it 18degrees.
A DAB/FM Radio is just two of the things that this unit does, the Wireless Internet ability will give much more than Internet Radio, Pure Lounge and Media Player ability, the touchscreen or infra red controls make this more like a computer.
The nearest shape I can call it is an egg, it is 17x28x18cm and weights just less than 2 kilos, it can run on a ChargePak (internal rechargeable battery pack) but I doubt that many will walk around with the Sensia 200D Connect. Unlike most DAB units the visible controls are not obvious and consist only of volume up and down, mute and on/off. Everything else is controlled from the large 11.5x9.5cm touchscreen which is full colour and easy to read.
While you might feel that Adobes market-leading professional graphics product, Photoshop, is priced well beyond your current budget restrictions, there is a possible alternative that has also been developed by Adobe. This is Photoshop Elements which is now up to version 11. This product costs approximately one tenth the price of its much bigger sibling.
Photoshop Elements 11’s new opening flash screen gives you the choice of entering the Organizer or Photo Editor module. Both this areas feature a pale grey interface that is easy on the eye and does not distract you from the main purpose of the software. Arranging your images to suit your own preferences is the task of the Organizer module.
A couple of weeks ago I told you about two sets of Bathroom personal Scales. Here are two sets of Kitchen Scales both from Salter a neat single scale and second bearing the Heston Bloomatile name a jug that converts wet and dry weights.
I am perhaps rather simple to please as this delights from looking at the box through to use. The first joy is that colour is spelt correctly, next the simple easy to use unit. The scale itself is a 14.5cm disc set into 15.5x18x1.5cm rectangle. I know they do a range of colours mine was a lime green but it is crisp and easy to read.
Adding to its range of Bluetooth headsets, Plantronics has developed its M55 model.
With its company name indicating its original roots in the aeronautical electronics field of business, Plantronics has released a new Bluetooth headset featuring DeepSleep technology. This is the M55™ model that has a claimed DeepSleep mode that lets the headset retain a portion of its charge for up to five months. Needless to say I have to confess that I have not tested this facility but I have no reason to doubt Plantronics figures with regards to the DeepSleep capability.
It is almost taking a supermarket approach as this next product offers you two titles for the price of one as you embark on Grim adventures.
Last year I was at the launch of the Nikon 1 camera, and although I asked several times to review it I never got to the top of the list. Now however Nikon have just launched the Nikon 1 v1 which comes with two lenses.
Most ‘kits’ come with something like a 28-55mm lens. With the Nikon 1 V1 kit you get a 10-30mm and a 30-110mm to give a wide range. You could also buy with just 10-30mm lens if you wished. Both are available in black or white. Te Nikon 1 V1 compact system camera measures 11x7.5x8cm and once the smaller lens is released this increases the last figure by 3cm. The unit weights 500grams with the 10-30mm lens attached.
Whats in a name? Do we call this next product the iPad 3 or the New iPad? As long as we regard it as the latest addition to Apples iconic tablet range, I dont think it matters all that much. You can call it what you like (personally I tend to use Oi you or Thingy if I am in a particularly good mood at the time) as long as it does what you want when you want (I will not mention the words I use if this does not happen).
My review sample of Apple’s latest tablet, kindly provided by Vodafone, was the 16GB version of this product. At a quick glance there is little to distinguish this new model from the previous version with regards to overall appearance. With dimensions of 241.2 x 185.7 x 9.4mm (H a W x D) and a weight of 652g, the review model features a black bezel encompassing the embedded Home button and enclosing the 9.
While long-established company Binatone is well known for its phones and related products, not many people are familiar with its designer brand, iDECT. With its recently introduced iDECT Solo Plus the company has taken a fresh look at the way things were done in the past and has produced a versatile and easy to use DECT phone with built-in answering machine.
These phones are available in black, white or red and the curved 19.5cm long handset is of a comfortable size and shape. Whereas most DECT phones are designed so that handsets stand vertically on their docking/charging stations, with the Solo Plus it lies neatly on top of it. Consequently, just like a traditional phone, it is a natural fit in one’s hand when picked up.
Normally to boot a PC you need a DVI or VGA monitor connected. Recently I reviewed a unit that could be a second unit for notebook that had only a USB lead, so this unit was a new thing for me as it has neither DVI nor VGA.
The Samsung C24B750X Smart Station Series 7 monitor has a surround which measures 56x33.5cm and apart from where it joins the stand is only 2cm deep. The screen itself is 53x30cm which gives the notional diagonal imperial measurement of 24inches. The default resolution is 1920x1080. The screen has no side to side or forward movement but can tilt back up to 20degrees. The stand is quite meaty at 16x23cm and raises the screen around 9cm above your desk.
Two more presents for Christmas, first a Crossbow that fires water balloons, it can be messy but not dangerous. Second an anatomical model of a dog from Revell, first for you to put together and then to be displayed.
It is 47x30x12cm. Before you as a responsible parent stop reading the only likely damage to your child or property is they or it might get wet if one of the supplied balloons fired from the crossbow might split and spill some water. A target is supplied and if someone else got hit by one of the balloons it might sting a bit but not much more than that. I suspect some larger water pistols would carry a more destructive load.
With its passion for all things music and strong support for the Apple family of devices, it is not surprising that Gear4 has developed offering that combine these two elements in a single product such as the HouseParty Rise.
This Gear4 product is an app-enhanced alarm clock radio designed specially for use with the iPod and iPhone. It also has Bluetooth wireless connectivity that expands its range of linked devices. The HouseParty Rise has a stylish modern look. Its overall shape has the appearance of an elongated squashed circle.
This is the larger sibling to the offering reviewed on the 13th August, that was 8inches this that bit larger at 9.7inches. So apart from the larger screen what else has this to offer both are running the latest version of Android.
While it has a perfectly good on screen keyboard it comes with a 24.5x18.5x1cm external keyboard that is made especially for the JoyTab. It is Bluetooth but is can support the Tablet so it becomes more like a notebook. Also supplied is a mini USB to USB adapter that allows you to attach a standard USB stick to the unit. This has the advantage of quick transfer to a PC as well as the advantage of large storage ability at a cheaper price. It is 24x18.
While you may not fancy holding a conversation with your computer, it can handle your dictation with the help of appropriate software.
When a God comes calling, you better be prepared to do as you are commanded otherwise you could be in trouble. This next title is one such case.
In the game of the Heroes of Hellas 3 you take on the role of the Great Constructor. You are commanded by Athena, the daughter of Zeus to help rebuild her city of Athens which had been attacked and destroyed by an evil source. As this game is based in Greece, during the rule of the Gods, you have little choice but to obey this command as you play this game of match-3 action.
First from Buffalo a 500GB Thunderbolt drive which should take care of the storage side. Second from Proporta a solution to your mobile device running out of power an external battery that you can keep in your wallet.
Not the smallest 500GB drive around, however it will sit happily on your desk and is still small enough to travel with you in a case or bag. The coverage from me for Apple products is small and rarely goes beyond various ‘i’ items. Here however the white top and white lead make Thunderbolt users right at home but so are USB3 users. The back of the box compares possible speeds USB2 30MB/s, FireWire 800 77MB/s and Thunderbolt 105MB/s. The case is 13x8x2.
Do you remember your first one? I am, of course, referring to your first portable media device such as an MP3 player.
I have just had a flashback – fortunately it was not painful but it did remind me of my first MP3 player. This was a device, whose antecedents I have forgotten, that I won as a prize in a charity raffle. Actually it was not the prize attached in my winning ticket – that was a signed Chelsea football shirt from the period when Dennis Wise played for the club and they had just won the FA Cup.
For those who print a little, scan a little and copy not a lot may well fancy a small in size unit that does all those things. Those who have a small place to print from this is certainly a unit that can tick all the requirements.
The Epson "Expression"e; XP-102 All In One is 38x30x14cm but add another 20cm to the last figure to put a stack of A4 sheets in the sit up sheet feed in the rear. 10cm on the 14cm height should be plenty if you are scanning something and wish to locate the unit on a shelf. USB enters back left while the power enters back centre. There are four touch buttons on the front face of the unit just above where the finished page exits face up. The buttons are on/off, mono copy, colour copy and problem.
Christmas is now well on the map, here are two things that are a little different, first a 3D construction toy from Triqo and second a model of a giraffe from Revell that includes where all the vital organs are to be found.
In my youth Meccano was king, for the last few decades it has been Lego. Now a new kid has arrived called Triqo - yes the forth letter is a Q so if it gets into the dictionary scrabble fans will love it. This is a different type of construction as the pieces are triangles and circles, all are disc shaped and they clip together. Strangely enough they are made in Holland like another construction toy. The pack I was sent has 50 pieces in the two styles.