Towards the end of last year I attended the launch of a new product and then had to wait patiently for over six months before the promised review unit arrived.
While some companies (no names, no pack drill but they know and you know who they are) concentrate on a larger size with their tablet products, others, such as Huawei, have gone for a more pocket sized offering.
Alongside its normal catalogue of games, Focus Multimedia has introduced its BlackLime budget line of titles. This next game is one such offering
It seems a long time since I have been able to enjoy the extras of a DSLR camera. So the arrival of this Pentax offering that I first saw at a London launch last autumn was an eagerly and long awaited event to savour.
The Pentax K-01 compact system camera weights 765grams and is 12x8x14cm the last figure varies according to how much the lens is extended. I was sent the 18-55 option. As this unit does not have a mirror what the TFT sees is what you capture via the lens. Without the lens being considered it is a very ‘boxy’ unit. I remember at the initial launch taking images and then thinking where does the SD card go as it’s not in the battery bay.
Originally developed for the business community the BlackBerry mobile device has now gained popularity with many young users who appreciate its messaging capability.
The BlackBerry Curve 9320 is a smartphone that RIM has positioned at the budget end of its product range. As you would expect from the product’s title, the 9320 has curved corners for its rather squat looking body. The unit has measurements of 109 x 60 x 12.7mm (H x W x D) and weighs in at 103g so should fit comfortably in a pocket without over-burdening the user too much.
Beyond Point-and-Shoot which is subtitled Learning to use a digital SLR or interchangeable-lens camera is a very useful book that provides a large amount of useful photographic information without assuming that the reader has any previous knowledge. In addition to its target audience, who will find it invaluable, it provides many of the answers to questions that one has not dared ask and so will be of value to anyone who wishes to have a better understanding of photographic principles.
Written by Darrell Young and published by rockynook it addresses topics concerned with the camera itself ranging from pixels and the size of the sensor through to how to choose what lenses will suit your needs as well as explaining the underlying technologies and showing how they can be used so as to achieve the desired results. Although Young admits to being a committed Nikon fan, and Nikon figures heavily in this book he stresses that, honestly, brand doesn’t matter.
For some, the Windows interface is not easy to understand. So Simplicity together with a mature persons icon Valerie Singleton have made an interface with just the options you need, email, photos, documents and Skype.
The notebook I used to try their software was circa 2004. I found a printer of around 2006 and I printed something with it from the software. So it seems you do not need up to date hardware to work with this software.
First from Revell a very light remote control radio car that can even do tricks in the hands of a skilled child. Second something that may encourage a child to use their imagination rather than require something to imagine for them.
A company best known for kits, this is a remote control model car –very light- and easy to control, best of all it can work inside or outside. The car itself weights 41grams, it is 10.5x7x5cm, the last figure at the rear the front is only 3cm the size of the wheels. Both the front and rear has suspension so you can -with practice- get it to perform tricks, while these can be done indoors they are best performed outside as the car can often go off in unexpected directions.
A products installation routine not only sets up the software for your use but also provides you with your initial introduction to the particular title. Generally installation routines fall into the category of joy-to-use or bring the user face-to-face with various problems. Sad to say the installation for this next product under review was more inclined towards the latter type. The product in question is PDF Converter Professional 8 from Nuance.
As with most recent small mobile phones it is touch, the only exception is the volume up and down controls and the on/off button. Just two visible connections the 3.5mm jack for earbuds and the micro USB to recharge it.
The LG Optimus 3.0 measures 10x6x1cm and it weights 108grams. However it does have a smaller visible screen than most as it is 6.5x5cm. This smaller sizing means that the unit fits better in the palm of all but those with the smallest hands. It feels nice and comfortable in the hand, strong with the metal casing and smooth with the slightly ridged skin type back. The screen surround delightfully is not the very shiny black and while the finger marks are there they do not show.
Despite the popularity of touch screens and virtual keyboards, many users still prefer a physical keyboard for inputting text to a tablet or mobile devic
I have noticed recently that there has been an increase in the number of emails that I have received that have included the words “Sent from my (device name) mobile, please excuse my brevity”. Obviously I am not alone in finding that typing using a mobile device’s keyboard, whether physical or on-screen variety is not as convenient as when using a proper keyboard.
As its title suggests, 4 Elements II is the follow-up to 4 Elements. Developed by Playrix and available from Avanquest, this game belongs to the match-3 genre but is unlike any other that I have played in the past.
Set in a magic kingdom, you are called upon to help put right the misfortune that had befallen this land lead by the friendly wizard and his four fairy helpers who represent Air, Fire, Water and Earth as you tackle the challenge of 4 Elements II. Following a charming introduction, which does seem to be aimed more at the younger members of the family, you set out to release the first fairy from its captive state.
SSD drives are more expensive than standard hard drives but they are faster. Here I am looking at an internal unit from Kingston and also the first USB3 external unit I have seen, this from OCT technology it is called ENYO.
This is described as a performance upgrade kit and everything that you will need is in the box, apart from the screwdriver. Included are the 240GB drive, all the brackets, screws and cables and even a caddy to place your old hard drive in so it can finish its life as a USB drive the cable is supplied. Finally a CD-ROM with rather good disc cloning software.
You could almost imagine a tiny voice whispering Take me and hold me as you open the box containing the Samsung Galaxy S III. Perhaps thats a slight exaggeration but the Galaxy does have a certain appeal that makes you want to explore its functionality when you first lay eyes on it.
Available in a choice of Pebble Blue or Marble White (the review unit), the Galaxy S III has dimensions of 70.6 x 136.6 x 8.6mm (W x H x D) and weighs 133g. As you would expect with a Samsung product, some thought has gone into this smartphones visual style appeal. The unit’s curved corners, silver metallic trim running around the body of the device and the reflective white surrounds combine to make the S III’s 4.8-inch touch-screen really stands out.
It matters not if your device charges from mini or micro USB or uses the iPod 30pin connector. Here are two separate devices the first for your USB items both those of micro and mini type; the second for almost all i type items. The third a device for those you manage to drop their phones.
Almost every ‘i’ device comes with a white lead one end is the 30pin connector that charges your ‘i’ device the other goes into a USB socket to charge and or transfer data to the device, however they also seem to be very adept at escapology. I have two iPods (one no longer works) and an iPod Touch so in theory I have three leads.
Sometimes unusual locations can be used for companies to make announcements regarding new technology. Cisco, for example, choose a museum.
While you might consider that the British Museum is the ideal place to concentrate on the past, it does have the capability to be forward looking as well. An excellent example of this was demonstrated recently by Cisco using this location to announce new products and services. These announcements were made to European journalists gathered in the Museum’s Stevenson Lecture Theatre.
Here two items that relay sound, first from Sennheiser the Travel MM 550-X with rather good noise cancelizing. Second a pair that has a secondary function as ear warmers, they also carry out their main role well.
These can be used as standard earphones by just plugging the 3.5mm jack into your music and the other end the 2.5mm jack into the right earphone. Even without the noise cancelling effect you still get an air of peace around you. There is an amazing 4.5cm of expansion on each arm. The padded headpiece is comfortable even for those like me who have a lack of hair. The earpieces likewise are also extremely well padded, all totally black in colour.
Serifs PagePlus has been around for a number of years and has established itself as a useful and versatile DTP package that is relatively easy to use. This latest version, PagePlus X6 adds a number of additional features which increases its scope so that, if anything, it has become more versatile and easier to use.
To a large extent PagePlus is targeted at people such as club secretaries and busy professionals for whom DTP is not their sole occupation but still need to produce good quality documents. It incorporates useful context sensitive help files to make it easier to come to grips with features that one only uses occasionally.
At the time of writing this review, a major topic of conversations was a hose-pipe ban being implemented in the midst of heavy downpours and flooding.
A popular topic of conversation, especially when in the mood for complaining, is the weather. It is either too hot or too cold; there is not enough rain for the farmers or too much rain despite a hosepipe ban being enforced in certain areas; and do not mention the wind which is so changeable that you do not know whether it is coming or going. If you feel that you are forever at the mercy of these natural phenomena then this next title could help you turn the table on nature.
I am not talking a printer, scanner, copier here, but a screen that has a computer and all the connections built into it, the screen is controlled either from the supplied Bluetooth keyboard and mouse or touch should you wish.
While Desktop PC’s seem to have lost out to Notebooks or even smaller offerings the Touch panel is still emerging. This is all things to all. With the Bluetooth keyboard and mouse provided you can use it hands off but it is still perfectly useable hands on as the screen supports multi touch. For good measure its also a Media Centre. The overall size is 51x40x19cm on its easel type base. The viewable screen is 47x27cm which equates to 21.5inches diagonal.
Although a fully paid up member of the MAGIX family, Xara continues to release its graphics products under its own brand name. The latest title is Designer Pro X.
Ever since Xara first introduced its graphics software to the world, the company has had a deserved reputation for developing software capable of fast performance for the user on a variety of Windows-based systems. The same is true today with the release of its dual offerings of Photo & Graphics Designer MX and Designer Pro X. This review is based on the latter title which is Xara’s flagship product.
It is time to visit an island that has been used for scientific research that appears not to be all that successful.
The game entitled The Missing is described as “a search and rescue mystery”. Actually the game could just as easily be classified as a Hidden Object Adventure. Developed by Sulus Games, The Missing now forms part of Focus Multimedia catalogue of Casual games and is available in Collector’s Edition format.
First a drive to let you easily stream files to an i device and it has USB so getting them from the PC to wi-fi drive is easy too. Second a new generation of internal SSD drive small in size and above all very fast transfer rate.
Transfer files between a PC and an ‘i’ device wirelessly. If your PC does not have wireless then transfer the files photos, videos etc by the supplied USB cable. In both cases download the App from the Apple store. However should you own an Android phone do not worry as there is an Android App for you as well. This 32GB capacity device looks like a small external hard drive which of course it is but it is also a wi-fi device. It is 12x6x.5cm and weights 84grams.
Whether the subject is an Album, Draw, Movie, Page, Photo or Web with a Plus attachment then you can be pretty certain that it is a Serif product that is under discussion. In this case the product is Serifs latest WebPlus title which is now up to version X6. This title comes with the tag line of Professional Quality Websites made Easy.
Following its normal practice, Serif delivers WebPlus X6 without any printed documentation to cut down on costs. A User Guide is supplied in PDF format on the product CD. The product’s installation will hardly win any races for speed but it is straightforward and requires little user input apart from entering the product’s 25-character serial number which is located on the cardboard packaging.
Without the subtitle Real Science, Great Nutrition, and Good Health to Bruce W Perrys book Fitness for Geeks I would not have even bothered to look at this most interesting book. It is not just for the fitness fanatic, it is also worth reading by anyone -- even a couch potato -- who is interested in getting or keeping healthy.
Although the style may be disconcerting at first, and the fact that the book is in general targeted at the “Geeks” who are obsessive about their health, the rest of us can dip into it on any particular aspect that interests us. However, it does point out that: “A geek is someone who spends a huge amount of time analyzing the fine points of what interests her, ad infinitum, to a level that no one around her can possibly understand.
First a set of 2.1 speakers shaped like a helmeted head single unit and no doubt will be sold on the Angry Birds name. Second a set of high specification 7.1 headphones designed predominately for those who are into gaming.
When does a toy or game become a serious product? Here we have a rather nice iPod dock with speaker but I suspect the initial sales potential will be round the ‘Angry Birds’ name and with pester power being what it is… It is 13cm wide and 16cm deep with DC lead inserted, 15cm tall before your iPod or iPhone is inserted my iPod Touch adds 10cm. This is a 2.
The first from USB Kings Brando in Hong Kong and yes you can also charge it from USB as well as from Solar power. The second is something we all need to protect the most delicate part of your phone the tender screen.
It is 19.5cm tall, 6.5cm across at the base and 5cm at the top where the solar receptor sits. It comes with a rather garish shade (mine was red) but without it you have a small but stylish uplighter to give you enough light to see by in a power cut or to make a decent night light for a child. There are six LEDs and these shine down from below the solar panel through a frosted inner shade so no eye damage even from prolonged gazing at the light.
Placing your valuable data on a small portable device can be risky unless the device comes with plenty of protection.
Portable hard drives offer you an easy way to increase the storage capacity of your computer system. You simply need to connect one of these devices to a free USB port. Often you will not even need a separate connection to provide power as the USB port will handle this along with the transfer of data. As well as providing data storage, an external drive can offer portability by allowing you to take your data with you and use it on computers in different locations.
Hands up those of a certain age such as me who used WordPerfect as a Dos product and then as an early Windows offering before Microsoft Word seemed to rule the world, but still in the legal and medical world WordPerfect rules.
Looking good is often a prime consideration especially when distributing images to others. Airbrushing out imperfections is possible with this next product.
The camera never lies or so we are led to believe – or does it? Perhaps we ought to focus (no pun intended) on the photographic evidence produced by the device rather than the camera itself. What with make-up experts and the numerous software tools readily available, what you see is not necessarily the scene or person as originally captured.
With a yet-to-be princess and two of the leading popular singers of that period, High Society was a musical remake of the Philadelphia Story. Now High Society is a Hidden Object Adventure game.
The Snark is back. For those who missed the first two titles in this series (Welcome to the Club and Revved Up!) published by Alawar Entertainment, I should explain that the Snark is a mythical creature that can move so fast you could often fail to spot it. The Snark possesses the useful ability (especially when it comes to avoiding capture) of popping in and out of mirrors in order to travel between different dimensions in time and space.