While I have been concentrating on children others need gifts and those who have a hobby in this case photography can be an older child, a parent or grandparent, so here are a couple of suggestions from Manfrotto.
Even those with a minimal knowledge will have heard of a tripod that is designed to hold a camera steady for a tricky shot either for the distance, the zoom or just for lack of light, sometimes however there is no room for a tripod. That is where a monopod can help, in its basic form it is a stick with a screw at one end to attach your camera to. This offering from Manfrotto in its fully collapsed form is 38cm long.
Continuing its policy of developing mobile phones for a certain age group, this new Doro handset now has a camera feature.
Adding to its range of mobile handsets, Doro has released its PhoneEasy 615 model. Following the company’s normal practice, this 3G clamshell handset is designed for the older user who will appreciate its large buttons and easy to read text and display. Unlike the other models in Doro’s PhoneEasy range that I have looked at, the 615 has a built-in camera and flash for the easy capture of treasured memories.
While regular readers will not be surprised that the latter does something else almost everything from Brando does, they might be more surprised that the former is far more than a standard mouse but you will need to have Windows 7.
It is 12x6x3cm and weights 130grams with the supplied two ‘AA’ batteries inserted. The base has an on/off switch to save power when not in use. It can also hold the wireless transmitter when not inserted in a USB port of your PC.
I am fairly certain that when I started talking about Christmas items six weeks ago most thought I must have lost my marbles, here in the sixth of my series I tell you about a new game from Ravensburger and perhaps the best known board game of all Monopoly.
‘Reveal the secrets of the speaking animals and find the thief!’ is the tag line on the front of the box. It is a game for two to four players and the stated age is from ‘7 up’. You need to find a missing ring as it protects the Kingdom from the evil wizard who is on his way. Who has stolen the ring find that and you have solved the simple version.
If you are looking for a mobile phone that puts the emphasis on ease-of-use with large keys then Doro could provide the solution.
A slightly different DAB/FM radio from Roberts. Smaller than most but still capable of giving a large sound from the built in speaker. The big difference is that you do not need to be tethered to a mains lead as it can work from batteries.
The Roberts' Unologic DAB/FM radio measures 19.5x12x7.5cm. These measurements are maximum to encompass the tuning knob on the front and the volume control on the right side, the width and thickness are around 1cm less for both everywhere else on the unit. It weights a tad under 700grams with 4x‘AA’ batteries inserted, yes it runs on ‘AA’ batteries not ‘C’ cells as with most.
In the past I have looked at several products that have been based around DAB radio technology. All these units had been designed for playing on a desk, table, shelf or similar platform as they deliver their audio output through built-in speakers. The Pure Move 2500 is a DAB radio but it does not follow this pattern. Rather it is a portable DAB/FM radio for taking on your travels and requires you to wear a set of headphones to listen to its output.
Making up this Pure product are the actual Move 2500 unit plus a ChargePAK M1 1000mAh battery pack, noise isolating headphones with a choice of small, medium and large ear-buds, a power adapter plus the small A6 size Owner’s Manual. In appearance the Move 2500 unit looks like a smaller version of my iPod Classic.
Tact, charm and political correctness are just three of the attributes that you would never associate with the main character of this next title. This can only mean that the third episode of Telltale Games / Staandlooper Animations Badge of Carnage is upon us as Detective Inspector Hector continues in his own inimitable way to save the citizens of Clapper Wreake from an unmentionable fate. Those of a delicate nature should stop reading now.
First we were introduced to the beer swilling, curry devouring and rudeness personified Hector with his way of working and interacting with others in an episode entitled We Negotiate with Terrorists. Next came the rather more lengthy offering of Senseless Acts of Justice that had an option to switch characters as you take on the mantle of Lambert who is the antithesis of everything Hector believes in apart from upholding the rule of law.
This is a multi function unit as not only does it print, scan and copy it can also be used to send and receive faxes. What I would like to know is does anyone still send and receive faxes, surely everything is email today.
It is 44x40x20cm to the top of the ADF but you will need another 17cm to the last figure the height to insert a stack of A4 in the rear vertical tray, that should also allow you to place anything on the flatbed of the scanner. There are a total of 31 well marked buttons on the front edge of the unit to control it along with a 6cm long two line display.
While laptops come with a built-in microphone, this is really only suitable for minor tasks. For professional recording tasks, you need a microphone built to professional standards.
While many will regard the Yeti as being kin to Big Foot and the Abominable Snowman as a member of the legendary ape-like family, the people at Blue Microphones are of a different opinion. They know that the Yeti is the brand name given to a microphone developed by the company.
PC World and Currys have several brand names exclusive to them and one of these is Sandstrom. Here I am looking at a DAB and FM radio that also accepts MP3 input as well as having an iPod dock built into the unit.
It is 24x13x9cm but you will need to add another 2cm to the second figure the depth for the D/C lead to be inserted. This includes the eight piece rod aerial that expands to 70cm when fully extended for optimum sound. My unit was shiny black except for the front that was matt black, surely the whole thing in matt black would look better as the matt black does not show finger marks to the same extent so it will look cleaner to the casual glance.
Octobers here and the prime buying time to avoid disappointment from the younger ones is well under way. Here two more items that could be of interest to the younger ones, these just maybe, for the slightly older and just for a change both only require a single child to play them.
Apart from being marked as for ‘8+’ this is also small so could well be useful for travel that might lessen the ‘are we there yet’. 10,000+ Brain Busting Puzzles is what the front of the product claims and, joy of joys the batteries are included.
The Desire S is a recent addition to the range of Android phones from HTC and, as a result, has benefitted from the companys experience. It is of a nice size and feels right in the hand and, having a fast enough processor and 1G of memory will meet the needs of the great majority of smart phone users. With built-in GPS, FM radio and torch it is also aimed at being the Swiss Army knife of smart phones.
As one would expect of a smartphone, with full connectivity, including WiFi and Bluetooth, and running Android 2.3 it is extremely versatile. The wide range of features and apps already incorporated are conveniently accessed via the seven home pages so that one can go from, for example, listening to an MP3, to checking appointments in Google calendar and then sending an email -- and there is also a vast range of other Android apps available.
A trip to a Central London hotel, which used to be a multi-storey car park, introduced me to a new product from Hitachi and gave me the opportunity to see the ET movie.
While some companies identify their hardware products with a combination of letters and numbers (for example the PX-2611U reviewed recently), others bestow a name upon the product. Sometimes the name is appropriate and gives you a clear idea as to the use to which the item can be put but this is not always the case. Take for example the Touro Mobile Pro from Hitachi which gives little away regarding the product other than it is portable.
The Sony CMT-MX550i is a elongated rather nice audio unit, it has DAB and FM radio, tray CD player, external audio in as well as the ability to play iPod and iPhone and to cap it off it can also play input from a USB stick drive for good measure.
With leads inserted in the rear it measures 31x28x12cm, the last figure the height might increase according to the size of your iPod. The iPod dock is a drop down open unit on the front and is 9.5cm from the top of the unit. It is supplied with two 1.5metre long wide aerials that push onto the DAB and FM aerial sockets at the rear of the unit, it looks crude but they work surprisingly well giving me excellent reception in my area by just extending the wire to around 80degrees.
The arrival of a new product from Edifier always gets my imagination going as I wonder what geometrical shape will have been used for the speakers that make up the new system.
For those who have not come across a speaker system from Edifier before, the company has a habit of designing speaker systems whose appearance has an eye-catching effect. In the past I have taken a look at Edifier systems of different colours and those featuring cylindrical, spherical and decapitated pyramid units. Now it is the turn of the Prime USB model which belongs to the Edifier IT Lifestyle range of products.
As the Shaman of the tribe, it is your duty to protect it from the evil forces that are threatening to destroy the village in a couple of titles from the Mystery Age series.
As part of its Hidden Mystery Collections, Focus Multimedia has brought together a couple of titles from the Mystery Age series. These two titles are The Imperial Staff and The Dark Priests. Both offerings fall into the Hidden Object Adventure genre and were originally released by Big Fish Games. Each title needs to be installed separately and it will place an appropriate icon on your desktop for easy access.
This is probably the most powerful notebook that I have ever used. A look at the Windows Experience index will show that. If you are looking for a powerful notebook then this should certainly be on a very short list of items.
The Acer Aspire 5750G measures 38x24.5x3cm the last figure the width is at the back with the front being only 2cm. For those - like me – who hate the finger marks left on shiny black plastic there is very little of it. The top is metal mine was ice blue and this was repeated around the keyboard, the base is matt black while only the screen surround is shiny black. The screen is 34.5x19.5cm giving the notional diagonal imperial measurement of 15.
After a gap of several years, I was re-introduced to Binatone and its range of telephonic and IT devices which include the subject of this next review.
The L1i Twin is part of Binatone’s iDECT range of phones for those who prefer a landline connection with a degree of mobility. As the “Twin” part of its title indicates, this product consists of a pair of handsets allowing you to set up a handset in two different rooms. There is a choice of colour schemes available as you select from black, silver or black & silver. The review model was of the latter colour scheme.
I have reviewed a number of these small (they still print A4) printers, however the last was a while ago and this has just been launched by HP. So if you work away from power will it do what you need to do or is portable not on?
The HP OfficeJet 100 measures 33.5x19x8cm either with leads plugged in or with the supplied battery pack plugged in, in the latter configuration it weights 2.585kilos. It comes with decent sized ink cartridges – something other mobile units have not seemed to have – it is also stated to have battery power to print ‘up to 500 pages’ between needing power.
Septembers nearly over and the prime buying time to avoid disappointment from the younger ones is just starting. This time items made of wood, first a game that has been around since before I was a child Chinese Checkers and second a game new to me Shut The Box.
Things made of wood are so much more permanent than things made of plastic, not just from the strength point of view. So a lovely light wood board, the pieces themselves are also made of wood in six shades, black, blue, green, red violet and yellow. For anyone who does not know the game the object is to get your ten pegs into the area opposite the starting area.
DrawPlus X5 is the latest version of Serifs design and illustration software. As with the other titles in Serifs stable of products, this software is aimed at users who want reasonable levels of functionality but without the price premium demanded by other products such as those available from Adobe and Corel.
Normally small DAB radios require a set of earbuds to be plugged in as they rely on them to provide the aerial, reception is often only so so. Here something different it looks like a small standard radio with a speaker and small rod aerial.
The Roberts Sports DAB radio measures 10x5.5x2cm and weights 127grams. Mine was black front and back with silver grey sides to complete it off. The front has a three line white on grey display showing white on grey display, this is 4.5x2cm display that is easy to read even in sunlight, below this is a 3cm speaker giving acceptable sound while out and about, this is covered by mesh.
It has been a while since I last looked at an Oregon Scientific product. Now I have the opportunity to try a solar weather station.
Whatever the season, you can guarantee that the weather will be changeable as it does its best to thwart your best laid plans for any outdoor activities.
It is time for another mixture of adventure and hidden object game play as you explore a castle in search of a shattered amulet.
Echoes of the Past 2: The Castle of Shadows is a Hidden Object Adventure game that is currently available from Focus Multimedia in Collector’s Edition format. Along with the main game, you get an integrated strategy guide, concept art, wallpapers and a bonus adventure game. Apart from the strategy guide, you will need to complete the main game before you gain access to the other extra items.
Labelling machines, a one use product, can be very useful in the home and in a business could save you falling fowl of the latest government regulations, either way they have come a long way since I last looked at one.
Mind you that was an old Dymo machine where you punched the letters in one at a time and they appeared onto a metallic tape. There are three models in the latest range and this the P-Touch 7600 is the top of the range model that supports different sizes of tape (non metallic) and you can even send data to it from a computer for complex labels. It is 23x13x10cm maximum size for the majority of the unit the middle size the width is only 8cm.
Having recently run the rule over a number of Brother multifunction devices, both of the inkjet and laser variety, I was a little taken aback with the arrival of the DCP-J925DW model. This is a multifunction inkjet unit that is packed into a box half the size of some of the other models yet felt decidedly heavier as I manhandled it out of the box and placed it in position on the workspace.
At 9.3kg, the DCP-J925DW was around 2kg heavier than some of the other multifunction inkjet devices from Brother. Now one reason for this extra weight could be an additional feature that was not present in the other models. The DCP-J925DW allows you to print directly onto appropriate optical media (CD-R/RW, DVD-R/RW and Blu-ray). This process is achieved using a supplied Disk Tray which resides in the scanner lid when not in use.
Since PowerShots went to solid batteries their size can get nearer that of their other range of pocket cameras the Ixus. However they still form a bridge between the tiny Ixus and Canons high end range DSLR offerings.
It is 10x5.5x3cm only slightly more beefy than most portable units however the weight is somewhat more at just over 200grams. But when on full zoom the 3cm width increases to 8cm so the extra weight is needed to stop the unit becoming unbalanced. Also by default the flash raises automatically when you switch the unit on this adds 1cm to the 5.5cm height. So this is a mid size unit hiding in a pocket size skin with lots of features for the intermediate user.
Yes I am well aware that September is still with us, but with the recession now biting hard those presents need even better planning and so the sooner you start
. Here two more items seen from a recent Christmas event.
Having recently told you about items for older children and most recently for Grandad’s here two things for the very young. This is a ride on suitcase that can be pulled along so the child can ride or pull his or her luggage wherever you go. It has a small wheel at each corner and the front has what I suppose can be called two eyes, it has a 2p twist action for the two locks and then a simple flip action to open the case so small amounts of clothing can be accommodated.
The orbit USB stereo speakers are a practical and robust way of improving a laptop or netbooks sound quality. Directly powered from the machines USB port, without the need for external power, model iML247 from Altec Lancing will be a useful and simple extra for the traveller who wants to enhance the audio irrespective of whether it is for playing of CDs or for using Skype.
Each speaker incorporates a 40mm driver which is covered by a metal grid that will prevent damage in the rough and tumble of travel. The orbit is simple to connect and with the volume being adjusted by means of the laptop’s normal audio desktop icon and so gives about 2.5 times the volume of the laptop’s built-in speakers and with better frequency response.