When stage magicians meet in competition you can expect magic to be in the air along with some trickery.
Hoyle Illusions is a Hidden Object Adventure game set in the early 1900s. The game takes place in New York City as the top two magicians of the period, Johannes the Great and Merlin the Amazing, plan to face each other in a contest to decide once and for all who is the top illusionist. But this is just the subplot as you take on the dual roles of Peter and Sophie who work as assistants to Johanne the Great.
Here is the latest and greatest Moto G from Motorola who smashed through the glass ceiling of SmartPhone pricing, with their first Moto G, then more recently a 4G offering also bearing Moto G name and now the latest Moto G.
While Adobe is intent on herding its business and professional clientele towards the Cloud with its Creative Cloud offering and various CS services, the more budget conscious consumer customer can opt for a product such as the companys popular Photoshop Elements
Now up to version 13, Photoshop Elements is currently available from the company’s website as an upgrade priced at £66.43. You could also opt for purchasing an upgrade for the combined bundle of Photoshop Elements and Premiere Elements 13 for £100.61. This review is based entirely on a copy of Photoshop Elements 13.
The TREK A26 wireless portable speaker is a robust unit having Bluetooth and NFC connectivity that has been designed to withstand the elements and so should be able to survive the weather at a music festival.
The A26 forms part of the TDK Life on Record brand. It is 7 x 3 x 1 inch and weighs 12oz. finished in black with the exception of the central silver disc carrying the TDK logo. The built-in tilt stand folds flush with the back of the unit when not in use so is unlikely to get damaged in normal usage or even when carried around in a rucksack. With the exception of the on/off switch, 3.5mm Aux.
A decent sized clock powered by micro USB lead, it has other features that anyone familiar with Oregon Scientific will know, it tells you the temperature both inside and out and just for good measure a display projection feature.
The The Oregon Scientific Prysma projection alarm clock measures 20x8x2cm which includes the 4cm wide part at the end that swivels to project onto a wall or ceiling, more about this feature further down. I had just plugged the unit into the power socket and was about to look at the instructions as to how to set the correct time when the phone rang, a short call that involved me saying ‘no’. I then looked at the display to see that the time was now correct.
Sennheiser is one of the few affordable brands sold in top end shops whose diet normally consists of brands costing a great deal more. However do not think of Sennheiser as a cheap brand as they are not and the quality is good.
For those looking for a good quality set of headphones at a price that is not ‘cheap’ but still affordable then Sennheiser is a brand to check out. These are over ear offerings – however Sennheiser also do on ear – and there is 3cm of movement in each ear, not as with some a flimsy band but a solid internal movement backed up with a solid rubberised band.
Dark Mysteries is another offering from Avanquests GSP 4-Play series. The four titles making up this collection are The Beast of Lycan Isle, The Soul Keeper, The Sleeping Palace and Ghost Painting. All four titles belong to the Hidden Object Adventure genre. As usual with the various 4-Play collections, each of the titles has to be installed separately from the same front end menu of offerings.
The Beast of Lycan Isle can be played in either Casual or Expert mode. The game casts you in the role of Luna who responds to a call for help from her friend Tara who has been investigating the cult of Madra Alta or Wolf Man. Spread over five chapters, the game has an inventive opening that involves blurred scenes until you manage to locate your glasses. As usual your inventory runs across the bottom of the scene when in Adventure mode.
This is a Windows 8.1 notebook but it has an ability that most notebooks do not have, the screen can flip through 360degrees so not only is it a notebook but also a Tablet and because its a Tablet then it also has touchscreen ability.
The ASUS TP300LA "Flip" measures 32x23x1.5cm and weights a tad under 1.8kilos. The left side has a Kensington Lock port, USB2 socket, SD Card port, volume rocker and on/off button. The front has three well marked LED’s. The right side has a 3.5mm headphone socket, two USB3 ports an HDMI port and DC input. The back is of course clear as the screen can flip totally over it. The viewable screen is 29.5x16.5cm which gives the notional imperial diagonal size of 13.3inches.
Battery power from the pocket is the aim of this next product from PNY.
Like a virus attack or attempted phishing expedition, the situation of encountering a smartphone with a drained battery when you really need to make a vital phone call (for some every phone call is considered vital) could happen at any time. Perhaps you think it will never happen to you but just you wait.
Continuing the MiniDrones are coming theme, this next product has more of a tank feel as it travels around and over obstacles.
Whenever the subject of Sumo comes up, my thoughts immediately go towards the full-contact wrestling sport so popular in Japan. Two very large and over-weight men try to push each other off a combat mat. Just looking at these man-mountain combatants gives you the impression that they could well be lacking in one particular skill level – that of jumping. However there is one Sumo that does have this skill and that is the appropriately named Jumping Sumo.
Perhaps a strange time of year to be sent a DSLR unit with a 55-250mm lens as this requires either very large rooms or outside use to get the best from it, however so far the weather has been kind and my short time with it was productive.
The body is 10.5x9x7cm, I am mentioning things this way as not everyone will use 55mm to 250mm lens with it. Add the lens and the last figure becomes between 18cm and 22cm. The total weight is 804grams (without neck strap). As always I start with it in the easiest mode ‘Auto’ and assume that I know nothing.
As with the Moto G, reviewed earlier, the Moto X is now available as a second generation product. Motorola has taken this opportunity to make a number of changes to enhance the appeal of the companys top of the range product.
Placed side-by-side with its earlier creation, the second generation Moto X is clearly larger than its sibling. The device’s width has been increased to 72.4mm while its height has grown by over 11mm to 140.8mm. However Motorola has trimmed a few millimetres from the curved depth of this handset which now varies between 3.8mm and 9.9mm at its thickest point. The increase in size has allowed Motorola to slot in a 5.2-inch AMOLED screen protected by Corning Gorilla Glass.
I admit that the main reason I accepted this evening invitation was to see the view from the top of The Shard, sadly the 34th floor was the highest we got but this amazing portable scanner made up for the disappointment initially felt.
A scanner to turn documents the right way up automatically – however you feed them - certainly got this journalists attention. Being cordless is another box ticked, having the ability to transmit data to mobile devices is another and being small enough to fit in any bag cannot be a minus. Setup took around 10 minutes while 2.4GB of data was transferred from the supplied DVD to my PC via USB.
Here I am looking at two items that all arrived rather late from various sources, so in order to get them to your attention in time for Christmas I cover them together in one review. They are a Wireless Speaker in the shape of a mug and a Gentlemans Shaving Set, neither is expensive.
It is 9.5cm tall, 4cm square at the base, 7cm across at the top, it weights 240grams. It can be used upright or resting on its handle that protrudes from one side by 2cm making the sound go slightly upwards. All the controls and connections are on the base, when standing it does look exactly like a square cup if you cannot see the green speaker grill on the top. The cup itself is plastic but looks like china apart from the silvered handle.
Take a journey into space in one of two roles as you tackle Match-3 levels.
Galaxy Quest is a match-3 game that has more than a passing resemblance to a previous title, that of 1000LYA, from the same source. You get the same mixture of numerous match-3 type grids interspersed with a story line that has an intergalactic theme with immobile characters who deliver their dialogue in printed text format. When setting up this game, which does have a visually impressive opening sequence, you can adjust various options.
Happily you not need to be an Athlete to use this rather nice cordless vacuum otherwise that would certainly have ruled me out. In fact from setting it up to first use was less than a couple of minutes, no screws it just clips together.
To use it on the floor or carpet it is just a matter of clicking together the foot and handle to the body. However for those harder to get at places like stairs there is a long hose and a harness/strap so you can wear the unit and no danger of pulling the unit onto yourself. It is 114cm tall, 13cm across at the middle and 28cm across at the foot. I make the weight 3.2kilos.
While the majority of printers, whether of the laser 0r inkjet persuasion, can produce a range of documents, there is one particular skill at which they do not excel. The skill in question involves the creation of stick-on labels. Based on the concept of horses for courses, the solution would be to use a device that was specifically designed for the creation of labels that can easily be attached to where ever they would be most beneficial. One such product is the P750W designed by Brother.
Described as a “Professional Wireless PC Labelling Machine”, the P750W is a black box with dimensions of 78 x 152 x 143mm (W x D x H) and weighs 884g. While a little too bulky and heavy for slipping in a pocket, this device is portable enough to be moved between various locations. This printer makes use of thermal technology to create its labels on various widths of tape supplied in cassette form.
The MiniDrones are coming. Leading the aerial force is the subject of this next review.
Like many others, I am not the biggest fan of spiders but in this case I am willing to make an exception. The arachnid in question is of the mechanical type and belongs to the Parrot family of MiniDrones which could well be invading our homes over the coming months. This particular model is the Rolling Spider which combines the ability to travel over various surfaces, including walls and ceilings, plus take to the air in a kind of futuristic helicopter mode.
Wrist bands seem very popular here is one that has many functions, it can be a watch, an exercise monitor, a pedometer, it has a sleep tracker and with the aid of either an iOS or Android App this information can all be stored.
The band can expand to 22cm or contract to 19cm; it is a maximum of 1.5cm wide at the face and a maximum of .7cm thick. There is an App for either your iOS or Android device that in theory should make the setup easy. Downloading the App is easy as is entering your personal information and even the linking of your device to the fitness band. You now know there is a but - to my mind a big but - if all that information can be transferred why oh why cannot the time be updated in the same way.
Almost exactly 3 years ago one of the most exciting pieces of kit I had seen for some time crossed my desk. It was the ViewSonic PLEDW500, a tiny but surprisingly bright projector that used cool-running LEDs for illumination instead of a hot lamp. Designed primarily for business presentations, its XVGA resolution and extended color gamut made it perfectly suitable for movies.
Unfortunately, it soon disappeared from the market. But the good news is that it's back again, reborn as the PLED-W800. And it's better and brighter than ever.
The Achilles heel of any projector is the lamp. To burn bright it needs to burn hot, using a lot of juice and requiring a cooling fan. The fan uses yet more juice, as well as tending to add bulk to the assembly, and of course noise. The other catch is that most of the projectors on the home market use a single DLP chip - the electronic device that turns electrical signals into pictures.
Like other important events such as Christmas, birthdays and the like, new versions of anti-virus and Internet security products appear, like clockwork, on an annual basis.
It is that time of year yet again as the latest version of Bitdefender Total Security, identified by its 2015 designation, makes an appearance. For the purpose of this review the product was installed on a Windows 8.1 system with a 2.5GHz processor with 8GB of RAM. In company with other brands of protective software, Bitdefender is not happy to co-exist with competitive products.
Doro phones have always been easy to use and had features designed to help those with limited sight and or hearing. Now here a unit that looks more like those available to those people without such disabilities to worry about.
Early phones from Doro were a lifeline for those with severe disabilities, now Doro are trying to offer more and make the units look more trendy so they do not stand out in a crowd to embarrass the ‘normal’ looking user who had a disability. For a while now Doro units have had a camera this is no exception. What is very new is there remote manager which allows a friend or family member to manage the unit and help make their life easier and still to remain independent.
As the year draws to close many software companies make sure that 2015 versions of their software are on the dealers shelves. Internet Security is one such product, with virus writers now getting more destructive so must our guardians be more vigilant.
One of the companies vying for our business is Kaspersky Lab. You can purchase the products online and download or from a dealer or company supplying online who deliver a CD or DVD with the software on it. Either way the software will need continuous updating and what you are actually buying is a 12 month licence to keep your computer or computers safe.
As the window on to your computer inspired world, the monitor has an important role to fulfil as you word, play and carry out any tasks.
As part of its recent refresh of its monitor line up, ViewSonic has released its VG2438SM model. This is a 24-inch display with a 16:10 aspect ratio, a resolution of up to 1920 x 1200 pixels and a viewing angle of 178 degrees/178 degrees. The VG2438SM has two integrated 2W stereo speakers. A fairly solid oval shaped stand needs to be connected is the display when the unit is to be positioned on a desktop rather than going for the optional wall-mounted feature.
Not just a large screen panel but a very high resolution one. In fact the only way you will get to use it at the highest resolution is if you connect it via Display Port, but I am told that the next version of HDMI should support it.
The BenQ 27inch BL2710 measures 63x38x3cm. The stand is 37x26cm but only the back middle is as much as 26cm where the circular hydraulic arm is, the rest is only 19cm deep. In its lowest position the arm raises the screen by only 1cm from the desk but it can raise it by as much as 14cm. All these figures are in Landscape mode but it can be used in Portrait mode by a simple 90degree turn and when used via Display Port it changes the orientation of the screen automatically.
It is your responsibility to keep your computer safe from those who are intent on gaining unauthorised access.
An anti-virus product, at its basic level, is like an insurance policy. It appears on an annual basis with an offering of protection, from the machinations of the less desirable elements of society, for the next twelve months. Norton has been a leading name in the field of security. The latest offering from the company is entitled Norton Security which offers protection for a PC, Mac, iOS and Android device.
This is one of those occasions when I missed out on the original title of a game. In this case the game was called Runaway. The follow up offering, from the same development team, is entitled Hidden Runaway. Featuring the same two main characters of Brian and Gina, Hidden Runaway belongs to the Hidden Object Adventure genre.
Unlike other games of this genre, Hidden Object offers little in the way of customising the game such as difficulty settings and volume levels. You can, however, play this game in different languages. This feature is achieved by selecting from flags representing the languages. Up to four game profiles can be created with each one represented by a picture of a chicken – actually the pictures are of a hen or cockerel.
This is a four in one unit as it has the ability to send and receive faxes. So not only a rather nice printer and a good unit for the occasional copy but also useful for scanning both to a PC and it also has the ability to scan to a card or USB stick.
Thed HP Envy 7640 measures 44x45x20cm and weighs less than 8Kg, the second figure, the depth, includes the power lead which protrudes beyond the official measurements. Even in its small height there are two inbuilt paper trays an A4 one at the base which should hold around 100 sheets and a photo paper one above it that supports both 15x10cm and 18x13cm sheets. On preparing to print an extension to the output shelf extends and this stops output spilling onto the desk/floor.
Following on from the NBS8, recently reviewed on Gadgetspeak.com, Nakamichi has launched the next product in its range of portable Bluetooth speakers. Not surprisingly this next model has been named the NBS9.
According to the design department at Nakamichi, or maybe it was the marketing department, the shape of the NBS9 takes its inspiration from the traditional phone shape. While I am not going to argue with this point of view, I prefer to look on the NBS9 more as a hump-backed bridge, a bit like the one I drive over most weekends.
Most cameras that I review are still units that have the ability to take movies. This is almost the reverse being a unit most likely to be used to take video but it can also take still shots however this is fixed to one of two fixed distance focuses.
The Canon Legria mini XI measures 10.5x7.5x3cm and weighs 240grams. The front of the unit has the lens with twin microphones either side of it. When off the lens is covered. The back has a single LED labelled Access and a flip door behind which sits the solid battery and any SD card you use. There is flip stand that pulls out and is strong enough to stay where you put it so the unit could be placed on a shelf or table pointing at the object to be videoed.