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.
A four letter acronym often heard with respect to computers is KISS -- Keep It Simple, Stupid. Homekey from Simplicity Computers follows this precept and actually provides a simple and easy-to-learn jargon-free approach to being able to send/receive emails, surf the web and doing other PC-related tasks. Furthermore, it does this without our needing to invest in the latest expensive technology.
In developing this product, Simplicity has concentrated on people’s needs rather than the means. Everything is on its Homekey which is a 16GB memory stick which plugs into a USB port on an existing desktop or laptop PC (not a Mac). It then enables users to lose their fear of PCs and carry out many of those tasks which so many of us just take for granted.
Sometimes the appearance of letters in a certain configuration can lead you off into flights of fancy when really there is a more prosaic reason behind the letters.
When I came across the letters ETS displayed in that order recently at an event, I could not help but imagine that extra-terrestrials were to be the subject under discussion and maybe they were due to arrive in the very near future. Fortunately, some would say unfortunately, in this case those three letters did not refer to intergalactic visitors but the latest series of notebooks from Sony belonging to the E, T and S series.
In comparison to the tiny phones of not that long ago this Android offering is huge. But as a friend of mine said it can do everything I want so I do not need a PC and if you are a light PC user then why not as the screen is huge.
Overall it is 14.5x8x.6cm and the viewable screen is 11.5x7cm, this last dimension means a lot of screens can be viewed with no or very little enlargement even with my old eyes. The weight of this lovely item is only 180grams. The one and only drawback I have found is that you will not get a full day of browsing from a single battery charge. The right side has the on/off button, the base the micro USB connector for charging, the left side volume up and down rocker button and the top 3.
While colour can add to the appeal of a document, it is not an essential requirement for every document. A mono laser printer can give you fast speeds and good quality output.
A few months ago I checked out a mono laser printer that had the smallest footprint I had seen for a device of this type. That printer was the Samsung ML-1865W. Now I have come across another mono laser printer that has an even smaller footprint. Admittedly this reduction is just 6.5% but it could make a difference when available work space is at a premium.
It hardly seems like yesterday, but actually it was a couple of months ago, that I first entered the House of 1000 Doors. On that occasion it was to solve the mystery of Family Secrets. Now Alawar Entertainment has released the follow-up title. This is House of 1000 Doors: The Palm of Zoroaster (surprisingly my spell checker did not object to that word as I had expected it would
For those who have not played the first game in this series, I should explain that the House of 1000 Doors is a magical building that keeps reappearing in different locations before vanishing after a short period.
The sound of almost anything small will be improved by this speaker system from Bayan. Designed for iPod or iPhone it also has an auxiliary input that means with the aid of a 3.5mm to 3.5mm jack lead any MP3 player can benefit.
The Bayan Audio 3 speaker dock measures 29x22x17cm. Tthose are maximum figures as the first 10cm of the unit is the tweeter and below this the dock for your iPod or iPhone and this is only 8cm deep at the top and base with the central portion only 1.5cm thick. The quality of the sound is entirely due to the fact that almost all the unit is made of wood to give its excellent tone.
No matter how many USB ports you have, there could come a time when none are available for a new device especially when support for USB 3.0 is required.
If the various computer systems I have looked at recently are anything to go by then USB 3.0 is gradually overtaking USB 2.0 with regards to the available USB ports built into the box. While there has not been an avalanche of new peripherals supporting this new faster technology (presumably due to cost considerations and the fact that not all types of peripherals would benefit from the faster data rate available with USB 3.0), you could find yourself struggling to find an available USB 3.