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.
Now that SSDs are becoming more affordable it is a now a good time to enhance the performance of ones PC. The SSDNow 300 upgrade kit from Kingston Technology provides the parts together with the necessary instructions to upgrade either a laptop or desktop.
Solid-state drives are more robust than hard drives as well as being faster, quieter and consume less power. While these are all key factors for the laptop user, speed is the major benefit in a desktop. While these SSDs are claimed to be 10 times faster than a hard drive, one never achieves this ideal as there are many factors involved. As there are great similarities in upgrading both types of machines, each Kingston kit contain the parts required to upgrade both types of machines.
Have you ever wanted to use one mobile device to charge another? Have you wanted to transfer data by cable from a PC to a mobile device, in fact why not you use the same cable to charge and transfer data. Finally a clock in a Spray Paint can that shows on any surface.
Anything that has a micro USB charge socket this cable can work with. Its total length is 25cm including what look like two identical micro USB plugs, however one is marked with the standard USB symbol and the other with a lightning bolt. So plug the latter into your tablet or other such device that has power and plug the USB symbol end into your phone and you will have power to make that call.
When was the last time you made a backup of your valuable computer data? Hopefully it was within a period that could be called recent. I know it can be a bind to fit such activities into busy modern day living but back-up software, such as Acronis True Image, can be set to schedule this type of operation and automate the process for you so you do not have to bother.
Available in a variety of editions, Acronis True Image 2015 comes with the claim of being “the most complete, easy, and safe full system backup solution for personal use” while offering both dual protection (local and Cloud based) plus multi-platform (Windows and Mac) environments. When installing Acronis True Image, the software conducts a search of your computer system for a previous version of the product.
This looks like a conventional DAB/FM radio and indeed it has both those functions, it is also able to be an Auxiliary output, play anything from a Media server and is also the best and easiest to use Internet Radio I have seen.
The Roberts Stream93i measures 24x17x19cm, the last figure is the height to the top of the built in carry handle, the middle figure assumes you have the mains lead plugged into the back. It has a 45cm five piece rod aerial for reception of DAB/FM radio. My unit had shiny black sides, top and bottom, the front and back are matt black. It has a 6x4.5cm colour display in the centre of the front in the top half of the unit, level with this are two large knobs on the left volume and the right tuning.
With a new line up of inkjet printers, Hewlett Packard is not offering a new ink replacement service.
You might have seen the latest television advert from Hewlett-Packard. This is the one regarding the company’s Instant Ink scheme which has just appeared as I write these words. For those who have not seen the advert or are unsure as to what it may entail, the Instant Ink scheme offers to save the user up to 70% of the cost of ink when using an eligible printer.
As you would expect from a 4 Play title, this next offering considers of four games that have a treasure hunting theme.
Treasure Hunters is part of Avanquest’s 4 Play Collection series on its GSP label. This title is made up of Time Chronicles The Missing Mona Lisa, Legacy of the Incas, Mystery of the Missing Brigantine and Treasure Hunters. A front-end menu allows you to install each game individually. You will need to restart this front-end after each of the installations has run its course which some might find a little annoying.
This is marketed as a quick and easy way to transfer data via your own secure Wi-Fi network. If your first use is via an Android (or I assume an i device) this may be so but it may be far harder if you start from a PC with only the supplied five point guide.
This is a USB3 device but I found it difficult to get it accepted on my PC, however once you have then all the information you require and more is available in files on the 1TB hard drive and this includes easy to follow videos no problem. Finding all this information elsewhere is less easy so let’s hope it’s just my PC that it was fussy with. It is 12.5x8.5x2cm and weights 279grams. The top has two LEDs, green and blue.
While an inch might be considered a small amount, it can make a difference with a portable device.
While the name of Gigaset might not be familiar to you, the company, in one format or another, has been in existence for 160 years in the telecommunications industry. Previously known as Gigaset Siemens, the company has recently announced its first excursion into the area of tablets with its initial offerings consisting of two models namely the 8-inch QV830 and the 10.1-inch QV1030. I have had the opportunity to try out the QV830.
Nothing beats the smell of freshly baked bread. The Russell Hobbs 18036 Breadmaker offers a straightforward way of making bread in your kitchen as and when you want it.
This is certainly the thinnest soundbar I have seen. It does however have a separate rather meaty sub woofer. So any thought you may have of a thin or sub standard sound reproduction should immediately be banished from your mind.
The sound bar is one metre long, 5cm tall and 2cm deep. The small plastic stand that it rests in is 40cm long, 5cm deep and 3cm tall. The sub woofer is 19x26x27cm. As with all sound bars the main use will be with your TV and an optical cable. In my past tests with such items I have had mixed results. Here however anything that would normally throw volume from the TV speakers worked, that is of course what you want but with some devices not what you get.
Certainly a small unit, it has a changeable lens but is not in my mind a DSLR unit. In fact my first thoughts on taking it out of the box would not have made pleasant reading but after sorting the problems, I grew to like verging on - love the Samsung NX Mini digital camera.
During my test period I was lucky enough to get invited to an event half way up The Shard and this provided some amazing images on an autumn evening. The camera measures 11x6.3x3.3cm and weights 228grams. It is surprising how used you get to letting the camera do the work and not worrying to much about how close you are to the subject. Here with the fixed 9mm lens you need to move around a bit more or rely on the image and photo manipulation software to give you the image you want after capture.
Not everybody wants or needs a smartphone with all its bells and whistles. There are many users, especially those often referred to as silver surfers, who are more than happy to find their mobile communication needs adequately covered by a feature phone such as the latest addition to Doros growing 3G feature handset portfolio. This new addition to the Doro catalogue is the PhoneEasy 624 model.
With dimensions of 102 x 52 x 19mm and weighing 104g (800 mAh Li-ion battery included), the PhoneEasy 624 is a clamshell unit with a metallic red outer casing featuring white trimmings. A charging stand, micro-to-standard USB lead, three-pin power plug, earphones with mute control, lanyard and User Manual are included in the box.
For those looking for a book reader then the Aura H20 from Kobo could well be something to consider. The bright white background makes it seem just like what one used to take off the bookshelf to read, the main advantage is that text size can suit your eyesight.
The Kobo Aura H20 measures 18x12.5.7cm and weights 228grams. It fits nicely in an adult hand and will slip easily into a bag or purse. The screen is 10.3x17.7cm, the screen in imperial measurements is 6.8inches and the screen is 1430x1080, the default text size gives 25 lines of what looks quite small text but even for someone of advanced years and less than perfect eyesight – me – found is very readable at 40cm distance.
The popular Ivy Restaurant was the location where I first cast eyes on the subject of this next review.
The CEOL Carino is a Denon audio system that has been designed to combine USB connectivity to a computer and Bluetooth streaming from a range of mobile devices when delivering its audio content. Decked out in a fairly fingerprint resistant lacquered black (there is a white version), this kit consists of the main Carino box, two satellite speakers and a small remote control unit.
And who, you may ask is Ollie? And what is he about?
Let me introduce you to Ollie. This fun creature is a close cousin of Sphero and Sphero 2. Like his cousins, Ollie was developed in the Orbotix labs under the watchful eye of its co-creator Ian Bernstein who feels that this tubular creation should be regarded as the complete adrenaline junkie that is never happier than when charging about under some sort of control emanating from the user’s mobile device.
While most think of Samsung for mobile phones and their more of less consistent war with Apple they also do a whole raft of other excellent products including Smart TVs so flat panels for computers will be no surprise is another of their group of expertise.
The screen of the Samsung S24D390HL monitor measures 54x31x2cm with the 25x20cm stand raising it 9cm from your desk. The viewable screen is 51x29.5cm which gives the notional diagonal imperial measurement of 23.6inches. The default screen display is 1920x1080. This unit has a lot of back tilt and a small amount forward of vertical. As with all recent panels this has a wide viewing angle and here it is not just from side to side but also above and below, the stated figure is 178degrees.
While colour can add impact, it is not always required by some documents. This next printer gives you speed and good quality for your monochrome documents.
While Brother is currently targeting the expanding Colour Laser market space with its “Now the Gloves are Off” campaign, the company is certainly not neglecting the monochrome market sector as can be seen by its new HL-L2365DW offering. Aimed primarily at the Home and Small Office user, this monochrome laser printer offers a choice of USB, wired network or wireless connectivity with Duplex printing capability as the “DW” part of the product’s title indicates.
This unit arrived shortly after the Humax YouView unit, at the same time as a brilliant Humax Sound Bar (review to follow). Things did not start out well but after a couple of conversations things improved and I now trust it.
Trust might seem a strange word but if you want to watch a program that is broadcast when you are out then you have to trust the machine to record it. Initially I could not but a firmware update brought things into sync until Freeview did a channel reorganization and then I found that my schedule was lost, not disastrous as I found out the next day, but if you had been away for a holiday it could have been. The version of the Firmware that I found worked correctly was 1.
Being a mere man the secrets of a girls handbag normally remain just that. Here however are two products that it is likely a man will want to use, in most cases they will not be the lipstick or compact packaging they come disguised as.
This is a large lipstick of an age passed as most ladies now seem to use a brush to apply such things but when closed this just under 10cm long and near 2.5cm square offering does indeed look like a lipstick. Pull the unit apart and the black and gold lower half is the units battery. The top 4.5cm can house a short 8cm long micro USB to USB lead but when stored in this way the top does not fit back on.
Although better known for its various graphics titles, some created in-house and other bought in, Corel does have another claim to fame. The company was responsible for helping kick-start the take up of the early optical drives as software quickly outgrew the available capacity of the floppy disks previously used for conveying commercial software, As a special promotion, Corel bundled a free CD drive with its CorelDRAW product. This was how I obtained my first CD drive.
Since those early days when CorelDRAW was the number one choice for both professional and amateur users, the playing field has changed with Adobe dominating the scene and relegating Corel to a more runner up position. It is from the position of catch-up that Corel has released the latest edition of its CorelDRAW suite, namely version X7. The CorelDRAW Suite X7 is available in two versions. There is the full commercial offering with a single installation priced at £479.
This is a 7inch Android Tablet, from the same range as the A1 I reviewed in June. This looks and feels quite different and I have not really worked out why the only thing I noticed remember I am a man is this this was black and the A1 was cream.
The screen is smaller and the back has tiny ridges. The dimensions are 12x20x.8cm; the viewable screen is 9.5x15cm which gives the notional diagonal imperial measurement of 7inches. Screen resolution is 800x1280. The right side has the on/off button towards the top with the volume up/down rocker below it, even lower on the right side is a micro SD card slot. The base and left side are clear while the top has pin hole microphone, micro USB connector and 3.5mm connection for headphones.
Like big red buses that tend to turn up in pairs, no sooner do I complete my review of a wireless extender product than a similar product turns up.
While a Wi-Fi home network can provide you with a range of functions including the ability to stream data between systems, it can suffer from dead spots. These are usually created by the basic infrastructure of the building in which the network is located. Not surprisingly some companies have developed a possible solution to deal with the problem of dead areas.
A trip back in time, both in the style of game play and the period setting, takes you off to America for this next title.
Developed as the result of collaboration between Grundislav Games and Wadjet Eye Games, is A Golden Wake. This is a retro-styled adventure game that is set in America during the period that is known as the Roaring Twenties. However, rather than the more popular locations of New York and Chicago associated with this period, the game takes you off to sunny Florida at an early stage of its development as a residential and tourist attractive.
For those who are serious about security it is not a case of extra cameras you need somewhere special to keep the evidence and here it is a box that can record everything from up to sixteen different cameras and keep it all securely.
This is collaboration between Buffalo the secure storage part and Axis Communications in my case the one camera. The Buffalo box comes with WD Red hard drives that are pre configured for NAS use. So all you need to do is locate the cameras and make the connections. The stated time is less than twenty minutes from opening the shipping box. The longest job is of course installing the camera of cameras to get the best view.
WiFi's become an almost indispensable adjunct to our computing and home entertainment, but it has its quirks. It passes easily through interior stud walls - unless they happen to be foil-insulated - but can grind to a halt when confronted with brick. UK regulations limit transmission power, and hence the range, and dead spots are not uncommon in traditionally-constructed British homes. Sod's law dictates that these will exactly coincide with the location of your Net-connected set-top box, or your favorite place for using your laptop or tablet.
It's a problem that happily has a neat solution. But until the Netgear WN3000RP arrived on my desk I had no idea how simple it could be to set up a Wi-Fi extender.
Ever since the original launch, my smartphone of choice has been the Motorola Moto G device which combines good performance with a reasonable price point. Motorola has recently upgrading this excellent handset with the new second generation version which is available in single or dual SIM flavours with a choice of either 8GB or 16GB. Also included with this second generation of the product is a micro SD card slot enabling the user to increase storage by a further 32GB.
When purchasing this new Moto G handset you have a choice of colours while Motorola has retained the customisation feature of replaceable back and flip type shells. The new version of the Moto G is slightly larger at 70.7 x 141.5mm (W x H) than the original offerings 66 x 130mm (H x W). As a result any peripherals, such as covers, from the original model will not fit with this all-new version. There is also an increase in the weight which rises by 6g up to 149g.
This is a wireless (Bluetooth) Boombox that is able to get reasonably wet and has an uncanny look like a sculptured shape with its fourteen upward facing edges which are there to project the sound, twelve of them have a speaker grill finish.
I remember the Sunday morning when I removed this from the box and bleary eyed thought for a long time – without reading the instructions – the difference between ‘in’ and ‘out’. Then slowly the penny dropped as this is not only Bluetooth speaker but also a battery charger.
The Linksys WRT 8-port Gigabit Ethernet switch model SE4008 provides an easy means of adding additional Ethernet-connected devices to ones home network. It is simple to install and has been styled so that it will not look out of place in a family room.
This is the second portable untethered unit I have looked at this autumn; my home is looking rather clean by my standards anyway. This unit that is not heavy comes in a very large and heavy box as it comes with not one but two batteries and a charger, these are the weighty bits.
When assembled it weighs 3.4kilos, it is 1.1metres tall, 28cm wide at the cleaning head and a maximum of 25cm deep also at the head, the top 40cm is the handle and unlike the Hoover recently reviewed this does obediently stand in the corner when not in use. The reason this stands is that it locks in an ‘L’ shaped position when not in use, unlike some cleaners that are difficult to get ready to work a small pressure on the foot of the unit is all that is required.