It is time for a breakfast break as I indulge in a heavy session of consuming toast and coffee.
Up until recently I had no idea that Panasonic has a division that dealt with home appliances. I had always regarded Panasonic as a company that concentrated its energies on the development and manufacture of televisions, cameras and similar products such as the DECT phone currently sitting on my right hand side waiting to choose the opportune moment to interrupt my chain of thought with an incoming telephone call.
The first could be used in the car or for accessing those hard to get to corners it comes with a rechargeable battery. The second to spice up your house lighting, these LED bulbs produce any colour you want from an App.
I have been using this far more than I thought the odd spill (dry) or crumbs neither or which merit getting out the large vacuum. Of course the car is what you think of with a handheld unit but it does have many other uses not least somewhere where a full sized unit will not go, that odd corner where the cobwebs grow but its only inches wide so you would need to more the bookcase. Also those places on a shelf or a ledge, when you have it you find the uses. It is 45x10x10cm and weights 705grams.
Small, medium, large plus IOS, Android, Windows operating system are just some of the options to be taken into consideration when selecting a smartphone. Check out this model from Samsung.
Following the successful release of its Galaxy Note device (around 10 million units already sold), Samsung has now developed the follow up offering. This product is appropriately entitled Galaxy Note II and it could easily be described as a smartphone on steroids with its dimensions of 151.1 x 80.5 x 9.4mm (H x W x D) and a weight of 183g.
Its green, it flies and it goes to prove that a popular expression could be proved correct.
You have probably heard, or might even have uttered the words yourself, the expression that “And pigs can fly” in response to some outrageous claim spoken in your presence. I have, on more than one occasion, walked to a window to gaze out while stating that there were no pigs flying overhead as far as I could ascertain nor did I expect to see any in the immediate future.
Unlike other such devices that are designed to sit in front of the TV this is made so that your TV and stand sit on it. This means that exterior sound really surrounds and engulfs the TV so you realise how bad your own TV sound is.
There are two ways to use this if your TV has a headphone out socket and one way if like mine it does not have this. However using the RCA jacks means that the sound from the TV speaker can be muted separately to the SoundBar which gives a different dimension to available sound both with and without the TV sound being included. It is 71x36x3cm. The last figure is at the edges but it does rise slightly more than that once more than a centimetre of so in.
What started as a Pulse became an Echo and has now entered the Sky as the latest Livescribe smart pen makes an appearance.
When watching television, I tend to find that the greater part of my viewing experience is carried out using my Sky set-top box. Now with the latest version of the Livescribe smart pen, I am also able to make us of Sky to organise my note taking. I have to point out that these are two different Sky environments. While one Sky requires a satellite disk and television, the other Sky makes do with a combination of WiFi, the Cloud and the Evernote service.
Here a set of headphones from a new name to me Fanny Wang. Mind you I have not heard of Musical Fidelity who makes the ear buds either. I know I am getting old but two totally new names to me - in the crowded audio field.
I have been to a couple of events recently that I would certainly have appreciated these headphones just to drown out the exterior noise. I was very much taken by the ‘Noise Level’ chart in the back of the Manual for them. Remembering the noise where even shouting into the ear of the person next to you produced no sensible result told me the decibel level was somewhere well over the 100dB so the 95% reduction promised by these would be great.
Twin or Combo both names to denote two and both supplied by Binatone. The first called the Twin Solo Plus which also has an answering machine. The second the Carrera Combo a cordless and a corded phone using one phone line.
The iDect Solo L1i twin measutes 19x5x2cm and slightly curved so that it fits between ear and mouth – unlike most DECT phones that tend to be straight. The technology is a revamp of DECT that Binatone have called iDECT. It is stated to work up to 50 metres indoors and up to 300 metres outside. They certainly worked from one side of my property to the other. Outside I was able to go to the bottom of my garden and down the road by around 60metres before the signal broke up. It has a 3.2x2.
Available from Vodafone as a less-expensive smartphone is the Huawei Ascend as a PAYG product.
While Huawei gives its various handsets a model number, which is not always easy to remember, the company also provides each of its devices with a more memorable name for marketing purposes. So, for example, the Huawei model U8815, which is the subject of my next review, is also known as the Ascend G300. I have to thank Vodafone for kindly supplying the review unit of the Huawei Ascend G300 which has recently had a system upgrade to Android Ice Cream Sandwich.
The Prestigo MultiPad is a 9.7inch Android device with things provided as standard that a lot of other manufacturers say are extras. However this is somewhat of a curates egg device as it has faults to go along with the rather nice bits.
Let’s deal with the nice bits, it comes with the micro USB to USB lead that enables you to plug in any USB stick to allow reading of the files from it these can be data, images, music or even video all play without any problem. It has a nice slip case that means you can protect the screen from any scratches that may occur when you are moving around. It also comes with a whole range of books to use with the device as a book reader in multiple languages.
According to the Beatles, All we need is Love and ZTE in partnership with Virgin Media would like to help the world go around with the release of its White Kis offering in time for the forthcoming festive season.
While the name of ZTE does not readily trip lightly off the tongue nor will it feature too prominently on some users recognition scale, this Chinese company is certainly making its presence felt in the marketplace. According to a recent announcement, ZTE has moved into fourth position with regards the smartphone manufacturing side of its business. During the third quarter of 2012, the company has shipped 7.
The Westernised version of the ancient Chinese Mah Jong board game comes to the rescue of a world in a state of imbalance.
As its title indicates, Mah Jong Quest II is the follow up to the popular Mah Jong Quest game. With this particular offering of Mah Jong game play you have a choice of three types of challenges. You can opt for Freeplay, Tournament or Kwazi’s Quest with the latter being the focal point around which this game is based.
Here I have two external USB drives, the first from Freecom is large at 2GB and the second is 500GB but they do make a 1GB version, the first is intended for PC use while the second is made for use in the Apple market.
Often external drives – the standard figure is more than 500GB – need additional power other than that supplied down the USB lead. One solution is to have a ‘y’ connection which means you take two USB ports, another solution is lose some of the portability by having a mains (DC adapter) and lead which ties ones to where there is power. This uses the second solution above party because of the fact it is 2TB in size.
For those looking for a portable speaker for their work area, Yamaha has developed a unit that also provides iPod docking facilities.
If you are going for a distinctive look for your products, why not go all the way and design a unit that could easily be mistaken for something totally different. When it comes to speakers, especially those that might be considered portable, this might cause a difficulty as the market is brimming with speaker units in an assortment array of shapes and colours.
Just over a couple of months ago I told you about the smaller sibling the Sound 100, here the slightly larger offering from the Roberts brand that does almost everything connected with Audio & in this case it includes Recording.
The Roberts Sound 200 measures 35x27x11cm, the last figure increases by 60cm when the six piece rod aerial is fully vertically extended from the back. You can record to SD Card and USB Stick. You can record from DAB, FM and CD as well or of course listen to them. It also has a dock so you can throw your iPod or iPhone into the equation mentioned for recording or listening.
Here are two items the first for children wondering how to best spend their Christmas money a Snow Crossbow that can fire up to 60 feet, second something for the parent who goes outside to supervise the child a pair of touchscreen gloves so they can still use their Smartphone device while they are freezing.
It is 50x32x16cm and is predominately white but with orange and blue so it should still be visible if dropped in the snow. Regular readers will have already seen my look at an Aqua Crossbow from the same company that was well received by younger users on 21 October. I am sure most parents will have reservations about both these objects.
Starting life as a basic compression tool available as Shareware, WinZip has developed over the years to encompass a wider range of functionality as can be seen with version 17.
As a long time user of WinZip, stretching back to the early days when this software was prominent in the Shareware arena, I have always been keen to check out the latest version of this product that can compress your data. Originally the compression was to enable users to save on storage space when floppy disks were popular with their 720K or 1.44MB capacity.
In the past I have reviewed earbuds from Cygnett that were in the value market. Here are two sets of headphones their first - that are something to fill the mid price gap, nice quality at a still quite acceptable price point.
An over ear set of headphones. They are well padded both at the ear and at the head the latter very important for the follicle challenged among up. There is up to 3.5cm of extension on each side of the headband so they should fit most. The colour scheme is black and red. The red is highlight bands on the ear pieces and the underside of the headband as well as the 1.5metre lead from the left ear piece to whatever the 3.5mm jack is connected to.
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.