GadgetSpeak Articles

GadgetSpeak has close to 5,000 product reviews and other articles. You can use this page to find others opinions on anything from mobile phones to computers to the latest kitchen appliance

 
As its full title indicates, Lonely Dream is the third offering in the Specialbit Studio’s Haunted Hotel series. I missed out on the first two episodes and so came to Lonely Dream without any preconceptions as to what to expect from this Hidden Object Adventure game originally published by Big Fish Games and now part of the Focus Multimedia catalogue.
Like most games, Lonely Dreams has various options, including the volume level for background music and sound effects plus screen brightness, which can be adjusted to suit your taste.  There is also an option to play in either Casual or Advanced mode.  In the former you get a quicker refresh of the Hint feature plus the opportunity to skip some of the puzzles with less of a delay.
654524 roberts recordR DAB FM radio recorde

Roberts RecordR

Very few DAB radios have the ability to record (in MP2) to SD card, the original Bug by another manufacturer was one and here from Roberts their RecordR offers this extremely useful feature both for timed and instant recording.
While this is a perfectly acceptable DAB and FM radio the main selling point is its ability to save (pause) or save for replay later anything broadcast on any DAB or FM radio station so if you are a fan of a regular program that you always seem to arrive home just as its ending never fear you can set it to record it and then listen whenever suits you.
Helping bring together your collection of digital photos, music tracks and album plus videos so that they can be directed towards an appropriate output medium, such as a television, is the role ideally suited for a multimedia player. These types of devices tend to come in a range of shapes and sizes with some variety in their feature set. The latest such device to make its presence felt on my desktop is the ACME Portable Media Centre (MPO1).
With its dimensions of 142.5 x 85 x 23mm (L x W x H), the ACME Portable Media Centre (MPO1) could easily be mistaken for a small portable hard drive.  This mistaken is easy to understand when you realise that it is possible to insert a 2.5-inch SATA drive, of up to 1TB capacity, into the body of this brushed metallic silver multimedia player.  However this particular feature does not form part of this review which will concentrate on other aspects of this product.
654523 Samsung Netbook NS31

Samsung Netbook NS310

Netbooks continue to be a useful solution; however this one nearly did not get reviewed. It was slow to boot almost as slow to shut down and as for opening any applications, luckily I am known for my determination so read on.
As always these come in preconfigured to a point, in theory all you need to do is enter your passcode for your wireless router activate the Norton trial and off you go. One thing I do first is to switch off and then time the boot. At this point I knew things were not right. The boot took 90seconds and shutdown from desktop took 45seconds. During the next three days I did just short of 100 updates as soon as I thought I had done them all more arrived.
654522 paintshop pro x4 ultimate graphics packag

PaintShopPro X4 Ultimate

Another product that is certainly mature once they got beyond 12 they started using roman numerals, most people thought that was to avoid 13 but a year so later X4 comes so what does a mature product have to offer that is new?
Paintshop Pro X4 comes on two discs, the first will install various updated Microsoft bits like Direct X etc and then the program this took 12 minutes on a reasonably fast Windows 7 PC and took 381MB of hard disc. Disc two is a range of bonus features (something Corel have always given even when the product was on floppy discs) and this took another 3 minutes and a further 310MB of hard disc space, so 691MB and 15 minutes to do the install.
As one of the major anti-virus companies, Kaspersky has created a product that enables the user to protect different devices.
Rather than stick with a single device, we are becoming users who regularly call upon a number of devices to satisfy our computing and communication needs.  In some cases we might rely on a Windows computer, smartphone and an Android Tablet without giving it a moment’s thought.  As each of these devices is capable of communicating with the Internet, some form of security should be in place to ensure you are protected from malware and other anti-social attacks.
With all the coverage given today to inkjet solutions it is often forgotten what a good job a laser can do. Until quite recently a colour laser was very expensive, very large and very heavy, none of those things apply to this unit.
It is 39x40x22 with the detachable A4 input tray in place. Paper is laid face up in the input tray at the base of the unit and delivered face down onto the top of it. The on/off button is near the base of the front to the right of the input tray and the other button and five well marked LED’s on the right of the output tray on the top. The power lead and USB lead are both on the back of the unit near the left side. This completes all the units’ controls.
654558 adobe photoshop elements 1

Adobe Photoshop Elements 10

It is that time of the year when Adobe reveals the latest version of its graphics package for those on a limited budget.
While Adobe Photoshop is the market leading graphics package, its price point puts it out of the reach of many users. For those that fall into this category, Adobe offers its Photoshop Elements product with the latest version being number 10.  The product is available for either the Windows or Mac platform and comes as a standalone product or as part of a bundle with Adobe Premiere Elements.  This review is based on the Windows standalone version.
More Adventure than Hidden Object style of play, a new game from Alawar takes you to an abandoned amusement part to solve a mystery.
What is it with journalists?  Some of them seem incapable of researching a good story without getting into a whole heap of trouble.  For instance take the case of John Flatter who set out to investigate an abandoned amusement park that has a pretty gory history with disappearances and deaths.  Before you know it, Flatter has disappeared, adding to the mystery of the place.
654520 pure one flow DAB radi

Pure One Flow

This is a DAB, FM and Internet radio; however believe it or not that is just part of what this can do. Pure have their ‘Lounge’ and with this service now improved and enhanced it enables your radio to do much more.
The Pure One Flow DAB radio measures 20.5x14.5x7cm this excludes the 77cm added to the middle figure the height by the eight piece rod aerial. It weights 730grams without batteries. Mine was black and covered in a sort of rubberised material that might give some protection if it were to be dropped. The back behind a flip down door is where batteries (or a charge PAK) are inserted it is also where the DC is inserted.
When buying any computer kit one wants to plan ahead to give oneself a degree of future-proofing without going to the too expensive extreme. The Netgear N600 wireless dual-band gigabit ADSL2+ modem router model DGND3700 will provide more than adequate performance today while, at the same time, has enough facilities and performance to meet needs for the next year or two which is, after all, as far as it is reasonable to plan -- even if one switches from ADSL to cable or fibre.
Before anyone gets the wrong idea, this ADSL modem router does not directly support cable or fibre; it has a WAN (wide area network) gigabit Ethernet port to connect to a cable or fibre modem. Thus, a user can make the transition without having to disturb any of their LAN connections or having to make any additional purchases. The DGND3700 is a vertically mounted unit which is roughly 23 x 16 x 7.5cm overall including the stand even though the body of the unit itself is only 3.5cm wide.
654557 Epson Stylus Sx535WD All In One Printe

Epson Stylus SX535WD

As I say goodbye to one Epson multifunction device, so another model takes its place. This time it is the Epson Stylus SX535WD.
Following the pattern established by the previous Epson Stylus multifunction units I have looked, the Epson Stylus SX535WD is a box shaped unit with rounded corners to give it just a touch of style.  Predominately black in colour, combining matte and areas of reflective black that tend not to show up finger smears (do I hear a shout of “hurray”), this model has dimensions of 445 x 367 x 169mm making it slightly smaller than the BX635FWD that I looked at recently.
If you are in the market for a large flat panel then certainly this offering from Samsung should be on a very short list. It is described as a 27inch monitor but for something so big it is not heavy or in any way really bulky.
The screen is 64.5x39x2.5cm. The base it stands on is oval at 28.5x23cm and it raises the screen by 9cm from your desk. The screen has a few degrees of forward movement and around 15degrees of backward tilt, there is no side to side movement. The viewable area of the screen is 60x33cm giving the diagonal imperial measurement of 27inches. I used this attached to several PC’s of varying vintages running XP, Vista and Windows 7 at up to 1920x1080 and all worked correctly.
Few if any of us can afford a Ferrari so this red and black offering with the Ferrari logo might be the closest we come. Second Go Mini – not a car reference – refers to a small corded mouse for those who cannot get on with trackpads.
Many – in fact probably most – or us would love to own a Ferrari, most of us could not even afford the insurance, here however is something with the Ferrari log we can afford their wireless laser mouse, it is of course predominately red. It is 10.5x6x3cm, the edges are black as is the scroll wheel and button areas back to the prancing horse logo under your palm. Described as high precision it can be up to 2000dpi.
Adding to its range of handsets, Samsung has released its Galaxy S II handset to tempt you to part with your hard earned cash.
Have you ever wondered what happens to all those mobile handsets that are now considered to be no longer the favour of the moment?  Judging by the rate at which new models are appearing, there must be a vast army of handsets, sitting on retailers’ shelves or clogging up various warehouses, which have been replaced by the must-have model.
654517 blackberry playbook tablet compute

BlackBerry Playbook

If you say BlackBerry to any one under forty they probably thing smartphone. If over sixty they thing of a berry growing wild picked in late summer. Here for all it’s the BlackBerry offering into the very crowded Tablet market place.
Think Tablet and PC, Android and Apple come to mind, so does another have a chance even one with such a wide user base as BlackBerry. Shortly before I got this Tablet a great number of people in the BlackBerry area were hit by several outages and realised how much they relied on a single small object to control their working lives. It is 19x13x1cm and while it will just about fit in a large pocket it is more a bag sort or tool. It weights a little over 400grams.
Bringing together video, music and pictures is the role of a media player such as the hdMEDIA RT3
Newly arrived from our Dutch friends at Eminent is the EM7280 HD Media Player otherwise known as the hdMEDIA RT .  This black box device is considered to be the successor to the company’s EM7180 HD Media Player that gave you control over the various aspects of your media content stored on various devices. Slab-shaped with dimensions of 222 x 155 x 55mm (W x D x H), this product comes with a collection of leads and a full size remote control unit.
All you can see is not all that is available in a game that has you looking up and down as well as left and right in search of hidden objects.
Separation is the title of Chapter 1 of The Fall Trilogy.  Spread over five chapters, this is an adventure game with more than a sprinkling of Hidden Object searches, puzzle solving and mini-game action to keep you occupied.  You will quickly discover that this game takes a more all-round view of its world as you can direct your viewpoint to the left and right plus up and down as you move around an environment based around a hexagon layout.
This is a slimmer, faster and better specified version of the original Packard Bell oneTwo. It is a full featured Windows PC with Touch Screen working out of the box but it is also a Windows Media Centre unit with remote.
The screen is 51.5x32x5.5cm with only the sprung stand increasing the width to a figure of your choice between 22 and 30cm dependant on the amount of back tilt you require to suit you. The diagonal imperial screen size is 21.5inches. This shows 1920x1080 in a clear crisp sharp screen. The left side has headphone and microphone sockets, two USB3 sockets and a multi card port. The top centre of the screen surround has a web cam and beside it a pinhole microphone.
STM has introduced a vertical laptop shoulder bag in which the computer is stowed vertically rather than the normal horizontal. This turns out to be a remarkably comfortable way to carry a machine together with its basic accessories, possibly an iPad, and some paperwork and so many people may consider it a viable alternative to the conventional ones.
Designed to accommodate the majority of 15inch laptops it weighs just 0.9kg and is constructed, mainly, out of 300D water-resistant micro rip-stop polyester. As well as the padded grab handle there is a removable shoulder strap that can be adjusted over a wide range to suit user needs. My preference was to have a very short strap so that my elbow stopped the bag swinging around. Others may choose to have a far longer strap going diagonally over the shoulder.
Recently I have been able to give my Brother mono laser printer a break from its day-to-day activity as I replaced it with a product from Samsung.
Offering a choice of USB 2.0 or Wi-Fi connectivity, the ML-1865W is a mono laser printer from the Samsung stable.  Combining glossy and matt black with its plastic casing, this box shaped unit with rounded corners has an appealing look and a footprint that is smaller than other inkjet and laser printers I have seen.  With its front and top flaps closed, the ML-1865W has dimensions of 341 x 224 x 184mm (W x D x H).
653905 M Audio Keystation Mini 3

M-Audio Keystation Mini 32

This is a small 32 key keyboard that connects via USB to your PC. The software is what makes this small keyboard something that really stand out it is Sibelius First a slightly cut down version of the full product that costs several hundred pounds.
The keyboard is 42x10.5x2cm, so the keys themselves are smaller at 7x2cm and the black keys 4.5x1cm in size. You have 19 white keys and 13 black keys however with the aid of the seven buttons on the left side of the keyboard you can raise of lower octaves to get a full keyboard. Here you will also find a volume knob to control sound. The box describes it as ‘32 note ultra-portable keyboard controller’ which although a bit of a mouthful describes it.
Two items that I saw recently at a press event called Digital Winter, other requested items from various other manufacturers have yet to arrive so these two stocking fillers get pride of place as their PR person is on the ball.
These are in ear earbuds, they come with soft silicone buds that enable them to fit to most ears – two other sizes are provided – the sound quality is reasonable with a good base just using it with MP3 or iPods, on a proper audio system they were fine. The lead is white and 1.3metres long so you are dying to know how are they ‘non tangle’.
While you may have built up an impressive collection of digital images, are you forgetting those negatives and slides carefully stored away a few years ago? honestech believes it can help in this matter.
As older technology gives way to more modern approaches so the need arises for a means of transferring the content produced by the old method into a format that is recognised and usable by the latest technology.  One example of this can be seen with the more traditional photography that relied on negatives and slides for storing its content and today’s digital images.
First a mono noise cancelling offering from Jabra. Then what Plantronics call a ‘smart headset for your smartphone. Both these Bluetooth offerings fit into the ear and are secured over the ear to allow all-day comfort.
It is 9x3x2cm and weights only 18grams. So when fitted over your ear the weight is not a factor in wearing it all day. There are three methods of charging the headset, mains power, USB power or car cigar lighter and all the required leads are in the box. Perhaps best of all it supports either ear as the over ear part flips to allow left ear wearing. This feature is vital for anyone who is either hard of hearing in one ear or has a hard or arm problem.
When taking part in strenuous activities you might prefer to have an appropriate communication device with you/
While one of the numerous modern stylish smartphones will be the preferred communication device of many as their day-to-day companion, there are some occasions when such a device is nor the most suitable.  If you are the adventurous, outdoor type then you might prefer to have a more robust handset to hand. One possibility could be the Samsung Solid Immerse which comes with the promise of being built for strength and ready for adventure.
Why stick with one body when reincarnation can switch you between characters in a Collector’s Edition game?
Joining the popular Hidden Object Adventure genre is the Big Fish Reincarnations 2.  Now available in Collector’s Edition format from Focus Multimedia and subtitled Uncover the Past, Reincarnations 2 includes the main game and a Strategy Guide.  You also get a bonus Reincarnations story dealing with the Rainbow Circus, wallpaper, screensavers, concept art and a musical soundtrack but these only become available when the main game has been completed.
653902 canon LEGRIA HF R28 compact camcorde

Canon Legria HF R28 HDMI Camcorder

This tiny handheld unit has probably got more capture power ability than a full size tripod mounted film unit of not that many years ago, so for not that much money you can capture HD movies and sound without any real effort.
Its been a while since I have looked at a Camcorder – as opposed to a ‘Flip’ type unit or the ability of a digital camera – and even though externally it looks similar the guts and how it captures and deals with video has changed. It is 11.5x6x6cm when closed and it weights 305grams. The viewing and capture screen opens on the left side and this can add up to another 9cm to the 6cm width. The screen can rotate up to 270 degrees, 180 degrees away and 90 degrees towards.
A recent visit to a trade show re-introduced me to a company that produced some of the early audio tapes I used for recording my favourite music from the radio. Those were the days. Now I have the opportunity to test another of the company’s products, this time for listening to my current favourite music.
Established over 50 years ago, Maxell original was best known for the different types of recordable media that it produced.  It was this aspect that I had my first dealings with the company.  However a recent search through my collection of audio tapes failed to turn up even one of the Maxell products that I had purchased in my youth.
When you think of label printing you tend to think of Dymo, as I discovered earlier this year Brother makes label printers and now I find so do Epson, here I am looking at their latest offering the Epson LabelWorks LW-400.
Of course early label printers were onto impressed metal and you stamped them out one at a time with a revolving wheel, yes I know even Dymo moved into the 21 century but this unit is more like a tiny computer as you are able to store designs, templates and it can even print barcodes all on adhesive tape strips. It is 17x12x6cm and weights 456grams. Mine was a creamy white with black keyboard and a sort of lime green button on the side.
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