Having appeared as a book, film and television series, this classic fairy tale of love conquering adversity reaches the gaming platform.
Although the titles might be the same, the actual content is decidedly different. I am referring to Jeanne-Marie Le Prince de Beaumont’s original novel and PlayPond’s take on the tale of Beauty and the Beast as the developers have turned it into a Hidden Object Adventure game. Described as “a dark twist on a classic tale”, this game is available from Focus Multimedia in Collector’s Edition format.
One of the discoveries I made at the Gadget Show is a company with a range of speakers otoneaudio.co.uk I have started by looking at their two smallest offerings the Aporto and the Avcento, both give good quality output.
This is the smaller of the two and has a solid battery that enables you to play output from any device that has a 3.5mm socket. It is 17.5x6x4.5cm and weights xxxgrams. The 17.5cm length will increase by 5cm when you have 3.5mm jack in the left of the unit and USB cable in the right of the unit. Both are supplied but the USB cable is only required whilst charging the battery. From complete discharge this takes around 90 minutes when it is not in use.
While databases are not everybodys cup of tea or coffee for that matter, they can fulfil a useful task in keeping your data organised.
FileMaker Pro has a long and slightly unusual pedigree. It is not often that you get a product developed by an Apple company (Claris) for the Windows platform (QuickTime being one exception). I can still remember my initial introduction to the first version of this database software. However it was not until version 3 of the product that I started using FileMaker Pro as my database software. In those days the product was supplied on three HD 3.5-inch floppy disks.
With so many people turning to iPods or MP3 those like me who have large CD collections need a way to condense the output and this offering allows an easy way to transpose to WAV, MP3, Flac or Ogg Vorbis with little effort from you.
This comes with a rather good database that identifies most published recordings and fills in all the information for you while it is ripping your CD’s. Then with your library stored you can create playlists of simple select by Album or Artist what to play by just using the remote and the units display, just attach headphones or speakers.
The Doro wired Comfort 3005 phone, with built-in answering machine, is easy to use and has the features needed by the mature people who form a large portion of the Doro target market. It has an extra-loud facility, is hearing aid-compatible and is a hands-free speakerphone as well as having an easy to read high-contrast display.
It is an attractive desk feature phone and does not advertise the fact that it aimed at meeting the needs of those whose hearing and sight are not quite as good as the rest of us. It has a footprint of roughly 190 x 170 mm, it is matt black in colour with numbers and symbols in white that stand out clearly. There is a vertical green line on the body of the instrument which is a Doro style feature.
I have come across some non descriptive names before but the one above tells me only one thing, its from Bosch. It is a tool for tacking things to things most normally a fabric, plastic or paper to a solid surface such as wood.
My mind immediately thinks of things of a temporary nature such as for an amateur play or for Christmas or such other event lasting for a few days. However I have used this around my home and garage and shed and everything I have tacked has stayed tacked and I suspect that the fabric, plastic or paper will decay before the tacking. In effect this is a stapler with ‘guts’. It is 15cm tall and 15cm deep while it is 4cm wide; it is an overall ‘n’ shape.
When I think of Sony, my thoughts gravitate towards hardware such as BRAVIA televisions, PlayStation consoles, VAIO laptops and a range of mobile phones. However, as the subject of this review goes to prove, Sony does have a software department that is responsible for the Windows-based Imagination Studio. Now up to version 3, this package brings together tools for video, photo and audio tasks plus DVD authoring.
When installing this product you are offered a range of options. For a start there is the main Imagination Studio software. This consists of ACID Music Studio 8.0, DVD Architect Studio 5.0, Sound Forge Audio Studio 10.0 and Vegas Movie Studio HD Platinum 11.0. In each case you will need to activate these applications by entering their specific serial number and provide registration details.
The latest do everything phone from Sony - the Xperia S. In a form factor little bigger than just a mobile phone you can surf the Internet, get your emails, make and receive phone calls and use third party Android software to keep in touch.
Being Sony of course they also have their own ‘Apps’ so not only do you have the complete range of Android offerings but Sony’s own as well as those which may be offered by the Network supplier in this case it is Three. The Sony Xperia S measures 17x6.5x1cm, in the case of the last figure the width it is a maximum of 1cm and the edges are only .5cm thick. However despite its lack of thickness this is still a very strong feeling unit and it weighs a substantial 145grams.
I suppose you could call this next product, a multi-function device as it will wake you up and charge up to two other devices.
My first memories of TDK revolve around the company’s magnetic tape products. This tape would have been used on my Grundig reel-to-reel tape recorder used to capture the latest hit records (45s) broadcasted on the radio and picked up by the tape recorder’s small microphone along with any other background sounds over which I had no control. You have to remember this was at a time when no direction connection was possible for home equipment such as I had access to.
Following their work with Murders in the Rue Morgue and The Black Cat, ERS Game Studios has turned its attention to a third Edgar Allan Poe story
The Premature Burial is available in Collectors’ Edition format from Focus Multimedia. Making up this Collector’s Edition is the main Hidden Object Adventure game, bonus chapter, Strategy Guide, wallpaper, screensaver, concept art, music plus a printable version of Poe’s original story. While you will have access to the Strategy Guide right from the start, the other bonus items only become available once you have completed the game and the bonus chapter.
This is another small digital camera from a name more associated with lenses rather than cameras. But they do make rather good cameras as well. This offering has a feature that I have never seen before on any camera I have reviewed.
The Pentax Optio VS20 compact digital camera measures 11x6x3.5cm the last figure increases by between 3 and 5.5cm dependant on the amount of zoom. It weights 234grams. The left side has a tripod screw fitment as indeed does the base which also has a door covering the solid battery and any SD card you might use. The right side has two strap connection points as well as a rubber bung to cover the AV connection socket.
When compared to the other Samsung mono laser printers I have reviewed, the SCX-3405W model is substantially larger. The reason for this increase in size, and weight, as my back can confirm, is down to the fact that this particular offering from Samsung is a multifunction device as it combines a mono laser printer with an A4 flatbed scanner.
Box-shaped and available in a choice of white or grey, the SCX3405W has dimensions of 389 x 274 x 249 (W x D x H) and tips the scales at 6.7kg. Adopting the standard arrangement of the flatbed scanner mounted on top of the printer, this unit makes no attempt to disguise its functionality but you do get rounded corners and ribbed side panels. Both the paper input (150-sheet capacity) and output trays are located on the front of the unit.
Blu-ray movies always seem to carry a premium over the normal DVD version, so making the leap means first a new player and then to get the best from it, buying Blu-ray movies, Sony here offer a starter pack of a Blu-ray unit with eight Blu-ray movies.
Not content with offering a neat - small - unit Sony get it to perform a range of extras with the BDP S185 such as playing music and viewing Internet via Ethernet, this latter option also gets more features for some movies, however it stubbornly refuses to make the tea, do the hovering, or, even the ironing. It is 29x18.5x3cm however you will need around another 3.5cm to the middle figure the depth if placing on a shelf to allow for cable connections.
This small keyboard allows you with the aid of a free download from the Apple store to create small musical masterpieces on your iPod Touch or your iPhone and even for a novice the results can be rather good.
The Gear 4 "PocketLoops" measures 35x13.5x1.5cm and weights 330grams without the iPod inserted. It consists of a two octave keyboard with a dock at the left end for the iPod. The keyboard itself is totally dumb and also completely soundless, it is just of inputting notes into the iPod it has no power of its own any everything is drawn from what it outputs to the iPod.
While I often complain about finger smears defacing modern appliances, an equally annoyance occurs when switching on a device to discover its battery has run down. Here is a possible solution for the latter but not the former.
Many mobile devices, including handsets, music players and tablets, arrive with their own rechargeable Li-ion battery pack for providing power. However this is not always the case especially with legacy devices and other household products. A quick check of my own home reveals several such products that regularly require a fresh set of AA or AAA batteries.
A slightly chunky offering from GE, but the G100 has a decent CMOS sensor and it has the ability to shoot 10FPS at full resolution. It is 15x optical and takes a 14.4MP image which of course means it can also capture Full HD video.
The GE G100 measures 10.5x7x3cm and weights 220grams. While it is available in black it is also sold in a flame red and as I reviewed it in white. This has a black back, top and black rubberised grip on the front as well as a silvered lens surround. Looking at the unit from the rear the left side has strap anchor point, as does the right side as well as a rubberised bung to cover HDMI and USB ports.
WOWee no I have not been partaking of certain substances nor have I accidentally impaled part of my anatomy on something sharp.
WOWee is the name of a product that offers to enhance the audio experience when listening to various devices such as your mobile phone or MP3 player. Although specifically designed for use with the ever-growing ifamily (Phone, Pad and Pod), the WOWee will work with any device with a standard 3.5mm jack headphone socket. Recently I have had the opportunity to check out the WOWee One Classic.
Yet another title makes the transition from a television series to the computer gaming environment. This time you take on the role of Melinda Gordon.
If you have not already encountered Melinda Gordon then I should explain that she is the Ghost Whisperer, the lead character of the television series of the same name. A Ghost Whisperer is somebody who has the ability to communicate with ghosts and, in Melinda’s case, help solve the mystery as to why they are still earthbound. She also helps the spirits to become at peace.
Often trade shows promise much but often the vendors are more interested in direct sales rather than those generated by reviews. One exception to this is the iPod Dock Radio system reviewed here from Sonoro it has an all wood case so immediately you sense quality.
Two groups of people tend to wear white gloves, snooker referees and people handling very precious antiques that might be affected by the oils on your hands. I have found a third group where white gloves are supplied iElements owners.
Capturing a photo from behind you is just one of the features with this Samsung digital camera.
Available in a choice of black, red or white, the Samsung MV800 is a compact camera that combines 16.1MP capability with a flip-out screen to help capture shots at unusual angles or self portraits. This flip-out feature does add a little to the depth of the camera but this is not too excessive at an extra 5mm. The MV800 has dimensions of 55 x 92 x 22mm (H x W x D) and weighs 143g including the BP70A 3.
Having used CorelDRAW since the very early days of Windows it has become an old friend. It was one of the first applications to move to a CD and now the huge content of extras always a Corel thing demands a DVD.
So what is new is version X6. Well by far the biggest is that it is at last a native 64bit application which means for those with complex items everything about it will be quicker including the redraw that was always a bottleneck with 32bit. Opening a large image when you have multi core processors is faster as indeed is saving.
Strangely enough I saw this at a launch last year, at the same event the large Kitchen Machine was shown and as that became available first it was reviewed first. Here this little device is for anyone who chops and slices.
The first thing for me is the compactness so ideal for those smaller kitchens. 14x14cm is the base area required with whatever you are catching the output in needing space in front. Assembled it is 28cm tall so it should fit easily on a shelf. The overall weight with a cutter in place is just less than 1300 grams, so not that heavy. Everyone should eat their ‘five a day’ and something like this may just encourage those less keen to get their ration via fresh vegetables.
Over the years I have checked out a number of Doro mobile handsets but this latest model does offer some firsts with regards to this handsets feature set.
Unlike the various other members of the Doro mobile handset family, the Doro PhoneEasy 515 is the first Doro unit I have seen to have a built-in camera unit. As a result of the extra memory requirements of this photographic facility, especially with regards to storing the captured images, the PhoneEasy 515 supports the use of a memory card in microSD format. You also get Bluetooth capability.
While a few may still be wowed by huge MegaPixel, most now know its the quality of the CMOS that gives quality of image, here you get a perfectly respectable 12.1MP and an excellent 20x optical zoom in a small form factor.
It is 10.5x6x3.5cm and weights 220grams. When on the lens can extend by up to another 5cm fully zoomed out. Mine was silver grey but it is also available in black or pink. The left side is clear, the right side has anchor point for the supplied wrist strap and a rubber bung behind which are HDMI and USB connections. The base has anchor point for tripod – essential if you use anything like the 20x zoom – and a door behind which is the solid battery and any SD card you may use.
To integrate or not to integrate is the option. Cyberlink has gone for the latter with its collection of graphics applications.
While Cyberlink is probably best known for its PowerDVD and PowerDirector products, the company also has developed a number of other titles covering different aspects of media management which could prove useful. You could, of course, purchase these items on an individual basis or opt for the less expensive route that is available with Cyberlink Media Suite. This product is a collection of various Cyberlink’s products.
Sometimes a games title can be slightly misleading. The latest offering from Alawar Entertainment to come winging its way to my computer could well be regarded in this manner.
Developed by cooperation between 3AGames and James Software, this offering is entitled Pearl Harbor: Fire on the Water. With such a title you could be forgiven for thinking that you would be taken back to that fateful day on the 7 December 1941. That was the date that an attack force made up of 353 Japanese fighter, bomber and torpedo planes attacked the American Fleet while it was at rest in Pearly Harbour. However the game’s developers have other ideas.
A Multi Function product as it has Fax so why is it described as a Home product. Surely virtually no one in the home used Fax. I always struggle to find office users who still use Fax, but I assume Fax is still popular somewhere.
The Kodak Hero 9.1 measures 44x39x21cm and apart from maybe adding a few centimetres to open the flatbed lid that is the full footprint of the unit. The paper input tray fits snug to the front of the unit and the dimensions include the duplex bubble at the rear. You can set it up to run, USB, Ethernet or Wireless. One little niggle for me is that you insert the CD and then it downloads the majority of files from the Internet.
Having looked at Samsung printers, smartphones and tablets, it is time to check out the companys photographic line-up with its WB750 model.
Combining an 18x optical zoom Schneider lens with a 12.5MP RSI CMOS sensor, the Samsung WB750 is a digital camera that offers a wide range of features. Reasonably compact in size with dimensions of 105.3 x 59.4 x 24.9mm (W x H x D), the WB 750 weighs 217g including the SLB-10A battery pack. Small and light enough to be easily managed one-handed, the WB750 predominately black in colour with some white and silver labels that helps give the camera a rather stylish appearance.
Its been a while since I have looked at an MP3 player rather than an iPod. It is also a nice small unit that is smaller than most of course size and weight mean the display is tiny in comparison to some units but this is from Sony.
The Sony Walkman NWZ-B173 measures 8.5x2x1.3cm and it weighs just 27grams. Perhaps the biggest thing in its favour is that you can plug the USB connection (remove the cap of the unit) into a PC it is read as a drive and then you just Drag and Drop items. We all take Drag and Drop for a given today but if you are old enough to remember times before it you still appreciate what it gives not least when certain products do their best with fancy installers to stop you using it.
Two more offerings from the kings of USB Brando in Hong Kong. Both are used for cooling the first also carry a message or messages that show while spinning. The second a little more novel it comes in the shape of a cannon.
This is a maximum of 27cm tall on its base but it is likely to be a great deal less at probably no more than 20cm as the link between the base and the fan is bendable in any direction as much as you like. The base is 9x9cm and triangular giving the fan reasonable stability. The total weight of the unit is less than 90grams overall. The actual head is 8cm across and the blades look floppy one is clear and the other has a brown strip down the centre.