With the Olympics now a distant memory thoughts must turn to Christmas. Here a couple of suggestions, first a UFO toy that can have a message of your choice, second a jigsaw but this one is not flat but built up in 3D.
The box suggests 8+, while I have no doubt children of this age will have the required piloting skills; I have my doubts about their ability to insert the required six ‘AAA’ batteries into the remote controller / charging box. As with a lot of toys they look great in the packaging but removing them from it is a work or art with numerous pieces of tape and in the case of the remote even a Philips screw through the cardboard to be removed.
It has been a while since I last took a look at a Canon printer. Checking my records revealed that this period covered at least 15 months. Now the arrival of the Canon PIXMA MX-435 Office All-in-One model that period has been brought to a close. This unit brings together scan, print, copy and fax capability plus ADF (Automatic Document Feeder) and wireless connectivity all at a price well under £100.
The MX-435 adopts a stylish box-like appearance with rounded corners and a top that slops upwards and inwards so as to create the platform which houses the ADF module. Like many other manufacturers, Canon has gone with a lacquered black colour scheme. Unlike many products from other manufacturers, I am pleased to report that the Canon All-in-One finish proves to be highly resistant to my attempts to leave my finger smears over its surface.
Listening pleasure for a group with the Bluetooth Speaker Stand allowing you to view as well as listen to stored content. The second is something called Fit Active earbuds that stay in place even when you engage in activity.
While the name of Huawei might not be one of the first names that trips off your tongue when the subject of manufacturers of Android devices is taking place, the company is determined to change that perception with some new products. Recently I took a look at the Huawei MediaPlay tablet and now it is the turn of the Huawei Honor U8860 smartphone.
This is the standard candy mode style of unit. It is decked out in black and comes with the Android 2.3 operating system. With dimensions of 122 x 61.5 x 10.9mm (H x W x D) and a weight of 135g, the Honor has a nice comfortable and solid feel to it when in the hand with the two external controls within easy reach. On the top of the handset is the power button while a volume rocker is located towards the top of the left side.
When entering the world of Age of Enigma you are not involved in code breaking but have the opportunity to chat with and help a series of ghosts
Age of Enigma: The Secret of the Sixth Ghost combines elements of puzzle solving, mini-game play and object location with point & click action. Set in an alternate universe (in the year of 1947) when paranormal activity is considered the norm, you are cast in the role of Ashley Reeves, a respected medium in Age of Enigma. Following a series of visions and worrying dreams of a young girl trapped in an old house, you set out to visit Amityville, New England to investigate further.
Since this was first announced I have been trying to get one to test as this is probably the most talked about recent offering from anyone. A friend of mine claims it is the only product he needs to run his whole work life.
For a phone it is slightly large but for web browsing it is perhaps the ideal size able to be read in the palm of your hand. For composition of emails or writing longer items it also works with ‘SWYPE’ technology built in. It is 13.5x7x.5cm and weights 132grams. The exact model number is GT-19300 although everyone seems to call it Galaxy SIII. It runs Android version 4.0.4 The viewable screen is 6x10.7 with notional imperial measurement of 4.8inches.
Giving my tried and trusted mono laser printer a rest, it was time to check out a new addition to the Brother mono laser printer family.
Aimed at the home office user, Brother has launched its HL-2135W model. This is a mono laser printer offering USB and wireless connectivity with a price point that comes in at under £100. According to Brother this printer delivers a print speed of 20ppm with the first page arriving in less than ten seconds but more on this a little later.
To me this is my discovery of the year. One of the items I saw during the Xmas In July round of events and if anyone is interested its top of my wish list for Christmas this year. It gave me lots of good workouts during its testing.
A simple seat and back arrangement it will fit on almost any chair. I remember seeing a similar thing at the Harrods Technology Department launch, that however was built into a dedicated armchair and it cost a lot of money. To have a Shiatsu massage to your back and at the same time Thai compression on your lower back and or upper thighs is amazing. Should you want you can also incorporate heat treatment. The massage and compressions both have three levels of intensity.
iLuv have a range of earbuds and now it includes headsets. Here I am looking at myMusic a flat wire (no tangle) earbud with hands free microphone and second Sweet Cotton a 2 in 1 with Speak EZ Remote over ear headphones.
The silicon earbuds are nice and soft meaning they should mould into most ear canals. As seems the norm they come in three sizes. The cord length is 1.3metres. 20cm from the earbuds to the phone control switch and a further 20cm till the separate cords join. Perhaps the biggest single advantage is as the cord is flat it is far less likely to tangle.
It was not so long ago that smartphones were classified as high-end devices with prices to match; now we are seeing budget offerings entering the market.
Generally when a handset arrives from Vodafone to be reviewed, it is a model from one of the major manufacturers of telephonic devices such as RIM, Samsung or HTC. However, in the case of the Smart II, this handset proudly bore the Vodafone name and logo on the front of the unit. Closer inspection of the product box revealed a reference to the Alcatel V860 but Vodafone Smart II has a better sound to it so we will stick with that title for the purpose of this review.
Roberts products are always towards the higher quality end and therefore cheaper alternatives are always available. So what exactly does this stereo iPod dock with clock and DAB and FM radio offer that others do not?
It is semi circular in shape with the front being a flat edge. The dimensions are 15cm deep with power lead inserted, 17cm across and 7cm tall. Whatever iPod or iPhone you insert will add to the height as the dock is on the top. The rear has aerial socket, auxiliary input, headphone/earbud socket, USB (for upgrades) and finally the DC input. The power lead is 1.5metres which is okay, the aerial lead is .
Are dedicated Satnav devices are on the decline. Smartphones and other mobile devices seem to be encroaching on their territory with mapping and directional offerings.
If you were a crow then you could fly in a straight line to get to your chosen destination. Unfortunately you do not possess this particular ability to take to the air and will often need to take a roundabout route to reach your destination as you travel from A to B. Luckily modern technology can come to your aid with the combination of digital maps, software and hardware devices.
As part of Focus Multimedias BlackLime catalogue of budget priced titles, A Gypsys Tale: The Tower of Secrets is a Hidden Object game that has more than a touch of Adventure game play to keep you on your toes.
In this game you take on the role of Reylin of Winderalth. This character is a gypsy who has developed a sense for magic whether of the good or wicked variety. You have been hired by a monk to locate a long lost tower using your special skills and then rescue a young girl who has been held prisoner in this tower.
After recently reviewing a couple of light offerings that had SSD to give rapid booting, its back to a larger business notebook but as its high end you lose that horrible shiny black screen surround that shows all the fingermarks.
It is 38x24.5x3cm and weights just over 2.5kilos. It is dark grey apart from the area behind the keyboard that is a mushroom colour. The 106 keyboard has full size keys – apart from the top line function keys – which have a nice feel when pressed. There is a 4.5cm strip behind the keyboard that has five well marked buttons in a line at the right edge. The area in front on the keyboard is a 9.5cm strip with the 10x7.5cm trackpad fitted 8.5cm from the left and 19cm from the right.
Joining texting and Twitter, we not have another method of getting a message across or perhaps up in the air.
Aimed at those who consider themselves “young at heart” and are aged 8 years and upwards, 50Fifty Gifts has come up with a remote controlled helicopter with a difference. This model for would-be ground based aeronautical pilots is the UFO Space Messenger. As its title indicates, this helicopter has the capability to deliver messages during its flight through the air. The UFO Space Messenger kit consists of the helicopter unit and a hand-held remote control device.
Doro have long focused on phones for people with hearing and or sight disabilities. These days most want more than just to make calls; recently they have produced a GSM phone and here a unit that also has a camera.
The clamshell design of the phone means its small in the pocket or bag. It is 9.5x5x2cm when closed, double the first figure when flipped open. The outside of the unit is black and the face is white with the individual push points are black with white numerals 1.2x.7cm. The initial setup allows you to change language, time, date, ring tone, volume, text size and theme. All can be changed later individually should you wish or even rerun the setup from the Settings menu all one finger operations.
The first allows you to connect your device Wirelessly, the second is a speaker dock for your iPod or iPhone that can be powered by AAA barriers or mains. The first in traditional black, while the seconds come in four striking colours.
While I think ‘Street Party’ is a little optimistic for the use of this small unit, it can certainly enhance the sounds from a device connected to it either wirelessly or via a 3.5mm lead. You can even answer phone calls on it. It is 19x10x7cm the last figure the height is at the front the sloping back nature means the rear is only 6cm. If you are taking around and about then weight is important and that is 560grams, a good bit of that is its inbuilt battery.
While touch screen smartphones take all the headlines, there is still a market for handsets with more basic feature sets.
If you are looking for a budget priced handset then Nokia would like you to consider its Asha 201 model. Rather than its new best, platform-providing, buddy, namely Microsoft with its Windows Mobile offering, Nokia has opted to go with its own Symbian series 40 operating system for the Asha 201 to help reduce costs. Available in a choice of black, white or green, the Asha 201 adopts a rather stubby candy bar style of design.
These days people do not want to put their camera away when it rains and here a unit that goes one stage further with special modes for use under water. However it still takes decent images and movies in more normal conditions.
The Pentax Optio WG-2 measures 12.5x6x2.5cm, the last figure the width does not vary and the zoom is internal (periscopic) and the bright red face could help you find a dropped unit underwater. However this should not happen if you use the very strong fabric wrist strap which is the best part of 2cm wide, another useful feature for those underwater users.
I had almost forgotten that I had asked to review this next product when an email arrived announcing a sample was available. But was the wait worth it?
Often, and for the obvious reason, a product’s title can give you a very good indication as to the purpose a particular piece of hardware or software is meant to be used for. However that is not always the case. Take for instance the Urbanista®- Los Angeles. Now you might think that with such a title, I was about to begin writing an article of a little-known airport that provided one-way flights to a certain American city but nothing could be further from the truth.
While some series offer a variety of game styles, Popcap's Amazing Adventure series is firmly entrenched in the Hidden Object genre.
If you have played any of the various titles in Popcap’s Amazing Adventures series then you should have a good idea of what to expect with this latest addition to the Hidden Object genre. Amazing Adventures Riddle of the Two Knights casts you in the role of an adventure seeker who explores the world in search of lost treasures.
Fancy viewing UK TV anywhere in the world? Fancy viewing live TV anywhere in your home even when the aerial is nowhere near -? Want to record but not use the PVR in or near your TV? All these things are more are possible with the PCTV Broadway 2T.
On opening the package I find the Broadway box, its power adapter, an Ethernet cable, a tiny portable aerial and a couple of bits of paper to cover wall mounting – should you wish – the Broadway box and the usual health and safety stuff, no instructions, no CD. So then its look more closely at the outside of the box to find three things to do. Unbelievably they work and I can watch TV remotely using my Wireless router to output the signal.
Our friends at Doro have been particularly busy of late with several new models aimed at different market sectors appearing at regular intervals.
The latest Doro handset to reach me is the PhoneEasy 612. This is a clamshell handset that features a 2MP camera for quickly capturing those images that appeal. The review unit combines a black outer casing with cream coloured inner faces for the display and keypad elements. There is also a black version of this handset. In its closed state, the PhoneEasy 612 handset has dimensions of 101 x 52 x 20mm.
Its not often the weight on something is the first thing I mention, this notebook is 1155grams and is also extremely thin. But it still has a 13.3inch screen and good connectivity. The only thing missing is an optical drive.
It is 31x21.5x1cm and that last figure the thickness is at the back, at the front it is only just more than half that. Because of the extreme thinness some connections such as VGA, HDMI and Ethernet are made with the help of adapter cables (all provided). The left side has DC input, USB3 port as well as mini HDMI and Ethernet ports.
Dragon NaturallySpeaking version 12 is the latest incarnation of a long established speech recognition program. In step with increases in PC power, its speed and accuracy has been steadily improving. In fact, it can be argued that the performance is now such that even touch typists could find it worthwhile.
Despite the increase of texting, there continues to be a massive growth in the size and number of documents generated and stored on computer. While a proportion of those involved can type effectively, even more would benefit from the use of modern speech recognition technology which, for a great many people, will be faster and more accurate than what they would otherwise be able to achieve.
This is both a DAB and FM radio but it has an extra twist. This is not the slightly unusual shape, however the upright form factor may give a clue as this could be most often found in the family room or perhaps even the kitchen.
The Roberts MessageR measures 20x12x14cm the last figure with leads inserted in the back. It can be run of 4x‘C’ cell batteries but most will use mains power. The rear has connections for headphones/earbuds, DC input, Auxiliary in and the aerial. The DC lead is adequate at 1.4metres to the power brick that is in the plug. However the .65metre length of the aerial lead is short and most will tie something to the end to allow a decent signal. There is a 7.5x2.
There are numerous products offering to protect your computer from malware. One such offering is ESET Smart Security.
There is an old expression that begins “There is more than one way to skin a ****” – I leave you to replace the asterisks with your choice of object whether living or not. A similar kind of sentiment could be applied to your computer as there is more than one way to protect your computer from the masses of nasties that are trying to do their best to invade your personal data.
TVs are getting larger and are no longer just a device to take external connections, hence the word Smart as now they do not even have to have an Ethernet connection as a reasonably good wireless link will do it all for you.
My own LCD TV was one of the early ones after the tube was superseded and is now showing its age. So I was glad to have this offering from Samsung during part of the Olympics. Not just for having HD built in but also the BBC app that allows even more streams than the six available with a standard recent TV, so almost anything that is live is viewable. The screen dimensions are 91x52x2cm the only place that is thicker is where the stand connects to the rear of the unit.
When I think of Brother my thoughts go towards inkjet and laser printers but the company does have another printer string to its bow with a thermal Label Printer.
While most printers are generally regarded as multi-purpose devices carrying out a range of printing tasks as they churn out documents of different types with the occasional photo tossed in for good measure, there are one or two types of printers designed for a specific purpose. One such one-trick pony printer device is that developed purely for producing labels that can be attached to all-manner of objects and even people.
Are you ready for a journey that will take you to five different locations? If so then maybe it is time to join the Unsolved Mystery Club.
Unsolved Mystery Club: Ancient Astronauts is a Hidden Object Adventure game based on an organisation that sends out explorers to unlock the ancient secrets of the past. According to the game’s opening sequence the game is a fictional dramatisation based on a true story and real events.