As a breed apart, dedicated hardcore gamers demand the ultimate performance from their computer equipment set up. Issues, such as motion blur, flicker-free, refresh rate and response time, are considered to be paramount in the gaming world. This is the arena where milliseconds can mean the difference between success and failure. Naturally the monitor, providing the window into the world for ultimate achievers, has an important role to play.
Recently I have been checking out the BenQ XL2720Z ultimate gaming monitor. This kit consists of a 27-inch LCD monitor, two-piece stand, a selection of leads for power, D-sub, DVI-D dual link and USB connections. There is also an S Switch device which acts as a remote control for switching between display settings that can be designated for gaming, work and entertainment.
While you may not be able to see round corners or over high walls, a smartphone with a Selfie Stick could.
While the concept behind Selfie Sticks might seem like a fairly modern phenomena in the world of photography, evidence does exists that this is not the case. According to Wikipedia, the concept originated in 1983 with the “Minolta Disk-7” product. This was a camera with a convex mirror on the front to allow the composition of self-portraits. The product’s packaging showed the camera mounted on a stick.
A 360degree speaker that comes with a woollen cover so for those who need everything to match you can purchase another coloured cover, in fact there is a voucher in the box to get one free when you register your product.
What was not in the box were any instructions but these days you just go to the website to get access to not only a user manual but video setup instructions and as it can be setup in several ways according to your device they may be required. I have no doubt there were instruction initially but this product was not new when it arrived with me. If you have an ‘i’ or MAC device there is a fool proof way of setup.
The use of security cameras, of various types, shapes and sizes, is a current hot topic of late. I have checked out a number of these devices for use in either the home or in-car. Generally these devices require little disruption to the location where they will be positioned and can be set up within around five to ten minutes. However this next offering is a different proposition to say the least.
The product in question is the HD Video Security System which has been developed by Samsung Techwin. This company forms part of the Samsung Group and was set up in 1977 to cover aspects of consumer, professional and industrial security. This particular product comes with the promise of providing a 4-camera All-in-One security solution. Both in the size of the product box and the array of content it contains clearly mark this product down as one that expects to be taken seriously.
The IXUS range are the nearest thing to a point and shoot camera from Canon who are best known for their high end DSLR cameras used by the majority of professional photographers. This is small fits easily in a pocket and is very easy to use.
The Canon Ixus 170 compact digital camera measures 9.8x5.5x2cm when closed; the last figure can increase by up to 4cm when the lens is fully extended. It weights 138grams. My unit was metallic blue but they do other colours. Just because it is small does not mean it lacks quality in fact it can capture images up to 20MP and they are excellent. You have only to choose the resolution L, M1, M2, S or W.
A speaker and an amplifier in what looks like a very retro case. The modern touch is that apart from having two wired inputs it can also be used as a Bluetooth speaker. So what may initially look like a 40s or 50s radio is not that at all.
The GPO Westwood speaker measures 26x16.5x10cm, weighs 1832grams and comes with a 1.7metre mains lead ending with a small power brick. Mine was covered in a brown material with metal corners coated with varnish that make it look aged there is also a leather handle on top that also has metal connections again coated with varnish making the old look realistic. Both the front and back have a realistic cloth grill coating in a similar colour.
With capacities from 30 to 240GB the datAshur SSD USB 3.0 flash drives provide the security-conscious data-hungry user with a satisfactory means of storing and transporting files. These drives are robust pocketable units that offer military grade protection from unauthorised access.
The level of protection and the cost of these drives is above and beyond the needs of a great many users. However, for those for whom data security is of prime importance who have files or data which must be protected and yet must be moved around could well consider that these drives provide the ideal solution. The drives are relatively large being 95 x 25 x 13mm including the protective sleeve and weigh about 50g. They feel very solid and have been designed to be crush resistant.
A visit to a Bluetooth event held recently in London introduced me to a rechargeable battery product designed specifically for Apple devices.
As its title indicates, the Power Tube 3000 is a battery charger that has a capacity rated at 3000mAh. Developed by MiPOW, this is a portable device designed specifically for use with the iPod and iPhone family of products. This Power Tube can not be used with Android devices due to the restrictions of its built-in lead capability. Available in a choice of black, red or blue, this battery charger is eminently portable with dimensions of 105 x 25 x 25mm (H x W x D) and weighing 85g.
This panel will give almost all users a little bit more automatically and assuming you have a suitable graphics card/chip a great deal more. Out of the box using an HDMI cable I got 2048x1152 and once things are adjusted 3840x2160 is available.
It is 63x37x2.5cm the last figure at the edges. The viewable screen is 59.5x34cm which gives the notional diagonal imperial measurement of 27inches. The telescopic arm can raise the landscape screen by 15cm from its lowest to its highest position, minimum 9cm from your desk and maximum 24cm above your desk. The display can be pivoted to be used in portrait mode.
Thos innovative people at Sandberg have come up with a product that I have a tendency to mistakenly refer to as Steamboat which, obviously, it isnt.
The enigmatically named StreamBoard is just that. This product is simply (concealed technology aside) is a board that streams your commands to an attached device via wireless frequency of 2.4GHz. The recipient attached device could be a computer or Smart television with the StreamBoard acting as a remote keyboard device from which to issue your commands.
Having worn glasses for over half my adult life, I found that I needed to remove this aid to my vision when reviewing this next product.
We live in a world that has depth as far as the eye can see in any direction. Several attempts have been made to imitate this situation within other environments namely 3D and virtual reality (VR). Generally the approach to the deliverance of these environments has involved headgear of some sort that helps persuade the eyes to convince the brain that the supplied images are not all that they might seem.
A few days before the 29th July I was send a USB with a late build of Windows 10. As with all major alterations I approached this with more than a little trepidation, below is the story of what happened on Monday 27th July 2015.
A visit to a central London hotel introduced me to a new product that promised to keep a watch on my home when I was away.
Better known for its home networking, storage and media products, NETGEAR has now entered the arena of home security with the release of the Arlo™ Smart Home Security Camera kit. This product sets out to provide video evidence of what is occurring in targeted rooms within your home when you are not there.
A four in one unit as it has fax as well as printing, scanning and copying ability. This is quite a sleek unit but as its black it is unlikely to pass the lounge police so having Wi-Fi as well as USB could be a benefit as it could sit behind the sofa.
The Canon Pixma MX535 measures 43x44x18cm with paper in the drop down input tray. For those wanting to print the odd page you have to remember to open the paper output tray at print time or you get an annoying message to remind you to do so. This would be no problem for most but when you see a lot of different unit some open automatically and some you need to do so manually.
Two items that each have several uses. First a Smart Clock that can be used to sync a smartphone and also double up as an alarm. Second something that fits in your wallet and that has so many tools that all have their separate uses.
It is small at 6x6x2.5cm and weights 70grams with its supplied two ‘AAA’ batteries inserted. I am sure all of us – of a certain age – had a small battery operated travel clock, in fact I still do and on my occasional journeys away it accompanies me on a belt and braces and safety pin basic as I hate to be late. This clock however is digital – no hands – and it takes its setting from your phone either Android or Apple.
As part of its new range of inkjet printer models, Brother has released the DCP-J4120DW. This particular model is an All-in-One device that includes A3 print capability and automatic 2-sided printing along with its basic print, scan and copy functionality.
With a black layer mounted on top of a computer grey base, the J4120 has dimensions of 480 x 290 x 163mm (W x D x H) and weighs 8.1 Kg. Setting up this scanner and printer combo is relatively quick and straightforward. That is once you have got your head around the concept of paper being inserted into the 150-sheet capacity input tray in landscape orientation for documents printed in portrait mode. Once power is fed to the J4120, instructions will be displayed on the unit’s 6.
While i devices battle it out for supremacy with Android there is another player in the field and that is Microsoft with Nokia to mention but one. This the a rather nice Windows phone here sent courtesy of Vodafone in the UK.
The Nokia Lumia 930 Windows based smart phone measues 13.5x7x.8cm and weights 165grams.My unit looks normal from the front with a not that reflective screen and matt silver looking edges, my back however was a very vibrant green but I am sure there are more sober colours available such as white or black or even orange. Switch on was a very respectable 22 seconds and switch off only three seconds. The viewable screen is 11x6.3cm which gives the notional diagonal imperial measurement of 5inches.
Making a change from the numerous Bluetooth speakers that have come my way recently is an offering from Edifier that can be purchased as part of your weekly Tesco shopping expedition.
The Edifier M1380 is a 2:1 audio system. Opening the box reveals a subwoofer and two free-standing satellite speakers plus a wired volume controller. There is also meant to be a User Manual but this had gone missing as the review unit travelled between various journalists for testing purposes. The subwoofer, with dimensions of 158 x 225 x 252mm (W x H x D), has a fairly solid appearance.
Get your snorkel and flippers ready as you set out to help Clowny and Sharky find out who has illegally parked a ship on the seabed.
While the card game of Solitaire has numerous formats with different styles of playing, the one that developers tend to opt for when building a game around Solitaire is the one referred to as Golf. For those who are unfamiliar with this particular form of Solitaire, I should explain that this is a game where you need to remove all the cards from the playing area in a sequence that can run in either direction by using a stock pile of cards.
Over the years satellite navigation has improved greatly, you can now find satellites when indoors, the information you get is really up to date and best of all even mobile speed and traffic light camera information is included.
This is the top of the range model of four recent ‘nuvi’ offerings launched by Garmin. While not as large as some ‘built in’ units I have travelled with for an add in unit it is large at 13.5x7.2cm viewable screen this gives the notional diagonal imperial measurement of 6inches. The actual unit size is 16.5x9.2x1.4cm and weights – without the attachments – 246grams.
While Android and iOS are the dominant force with regards to smartphones, they are not the only choice. Windows Phone 8.1, with a promised upgrade to Windows Phone 10, is a viable alternative.
Continuing to play “Catch-up” and join the major players of Android and Apple in the mobile phone arena, Microsoft has released the Lumia 640 as it first offering to appear without any reference to the Nokia name that was previously associated with the Lumia brand. With its 5-inch touch screen delivering 1280 x 720 pixels at 294ppi, this Windows 8.1 Handset is available in a choice of blue, orange, white and black.
There are a lot of different brands of security cameras about, some very high end, others aimed at the home user. They all have one thing in common wires. Here a truly wireless solution that means not only no drilling through doors but also the ability to move them about at will.
While I have seen several of these demonstrated most bore a higher price and while I did ask to see one it never materialised, so when this was offered to me I took the change to test it with a couple of recent mobile phones and appropriate content.
For anyone who is not sure VR stands for Virtual Reality and it is branded by Thumbs Up who I have reviewed several very good speakers from. Here this items settles on the video side to give you 3D from your standard phone in a near skull cap. Three 3cm wide elasticated strips are at either side and on top of your head they all join at an 8cm triangular patch at the back of your head which forms the virtual skull cap.
Extra measures are a sensible precaution when storing your data on a portable hard drive. One company which offers to help in this respect is iStorage.
While many manufacturers of external hard drives bundle an appropriate data encryption tool to help safeguard the driver’s content from unauthorised eyes, there is one company who takes the responsibility for data protection one stage further. That company is iStorage Ltd with products such as diskAshur Pro. This product is an external, portable drive that is currently available in capacities of 500, 1000, 1500 and 2000GB.
These earbuds are Quad-Driver earphones with phase-coherent crossover design is what it says on a very large box for a pair of earbuds. When you open the box the array of extras that come with the buds is the reason for the box being so large.
I have seen smaller boxes with headphones than this box to contain a set of high end earbuds, the box is 20x14x8cm. Most decent sets of earbuds have extra pairs of silicon buds, often in three sizes. These have two pairs of extra buds in four sizes. The extra-large size – fitted – was far too big for me and I think anyone who needed that size would have a very large ear canal. I used the supplied tool to swap to medium and then all was fine.
As with the Oxford and Go products, this next DAB/FM radio is part of the Goodmans line up of offerings.
With over 90 years of experience in the development of home entertainment technology, covering areas such as loudspeakers, radios, in-car audio and digital television sets, Goodmans has added to its product portfolio with the release of its Canvas offering. This product is a portable DAB Digital and FM radio that can be powered direct from the mains or by batteries. When purchasing this device you have a choice of going with a Slate, Copper or Apple colour scheme.
No sooner do I finish checking an in-car dash camera than another example of this product genre comes my way.
As a child, living near the northern seaside resort of Morecambe, I was sometimes taken to the fairground where a ride on the Dodgems would be a particular treat. Nowadays though, being involved in an incident of cars colliding is an entirely different matter even if nobody is injured, the possibility of financial penalties can be afflicted on the guilty party.
This is a fast and powerful Gaming Notebook yes the screen is not huge but it does display a huge screen resolution. When I first saw it I could not believe the clarity and sharpness which of course along with sound quality is what gamers demand.
This is the first notebook – of any size that I have seen – that has natively displayed 3200x1800. It is 32.5x23x2cm and the screen is 31x17.5cm. On first startup after entering the normal Windows required information a screen opens on the Desktop with a range of fifteen items that Aorus think you might need to adjust. This is part of SmartManager V3. This is a very powerful machine with an Intel i7 processor running at 2.5GHz.
In the past I have checked out numerous All-in-One, Multifunction and standalone printers, either of the inkjet or laser variety, from various manufacturers. On this occasion, however, the printer under the microscope is the first printer product that I have had the opportunity to check out from Ricoh. The product in question is the Aficio SG2100N model which offers colour print facilities.
With dimensions of 395 x 360 x 215mm (W x D x H), the Aficio has a sturdy and solid box-like appearance. Predominately black in colour, with white front and rear face plates, this printer’s connection options are located on the left side of the unit. Here you will find the mains power socket plus USB and wired Ethernet ports – sadly there is no Wi-Fi connectivity with this model. Both the USB and Ethernet ports are initially concealed within a covered compartment.
On first look, this looks like any number of other recent panels, however looks deceive as it is flicker free after all we all only get one pair of eyes and just for good measure it is QHD which means it can display up to 2560x1440 resolution.
It is 33x57x1.5cm at the edges. It sits on a rectangular stand 21.5x18.5cm which raises it by between 6-15cm from whatever you are sitting it on. The unit can also rotate to be used in portrait mode and this is effortlessly accomplished with the telescopic arm that sits just within the depth of the stand. The viewable screen is 54x31cm which gives the notional diagonal imperial measurement of 25inches.