A while ago someone who knows more about audio than most, told me that the CD would become niche like vinyl I was unaware such a revolution was taking place, but it does mean that higher quality audio is now downloadable.
I selected four albums from the Linn and Universal offerings that have been remastered. I am told there are over 400 currently on offer. While my passion is Jazz there are some popular and a lot of classical with a few other genres available. With MP3 downloads you may get a picture of the sleeve so your player can display it, with these you get the sleeve (printable format) and in some cases the booklet as well. I have an original recording of this so was able to compare the two.
Recently the Sony team was out in force at a Central London location to demonstrate some of the companys new products that could end up on your wish list for the Christmas season.
Wishing attendees a “Very Sony Christmas”, the company had various products on display. These products were categorised as Home Entertainment, Imaging, Computing, On the Go and At Home. While the constriction of available space means I can not cover all the various products, I will include at least a couple of offerings from each category. Lets begin with Home Entertainment and, in particular, televisions.
A multi function unit as it has Fax, when I speak with manufacturers they still claim there is demand, my findings are somewhat different, this is rather like the PX730 recently reviewed but this is black rather than cream.
The Epson PX830 MFU measures 44x50x20cm the rather large depth figure is solely because of the built in Duplex that adds to the depth, the colour may put some off but if it resides in a cupboard then it need not be seen. The wireless option works very well. The whole control panel 30x8cm flips from vertical to horizontal hinging on the top so is viewable from any angle. With the exception of the on/off button which is to the left of the huge 21x6cm screen everything is controlled by touch.
Those innovative people at Kingston have come up with a possible solution to increasing the storage capacity available to your mobile device.
While you nice, new, shiny smartphone or tablet will come with a certain amount of available storage space, there will come a time when you will struggle to find the space to store items you would not want to be without. This occasion is bound to happen sooner or later depending upon factors such as the manufacturer and the percentage of your disposal income you were prepared to part with when making the purchase.
Friendly ghosts, shimmering portals and dual locations meet up with an evil spirit in a Hidden Object Adventure game available from Avanquest
It all began with an unexpected phone call from a lawyer. This phone call informed you that you had inherited a house in its own grounds but, apart from it location, the lawyer could supply no further details. I should explain that you are cast in the role of the beneficiary; a young woman named Sara Haverston who immediately sets out to check this dilapidated dwelling that is meant to be empty but is home to several restless spirits.
A while ago I reviewed another high quality device from Audyssey. Here a Wireless device that can also be attached via 3.5mm cable. However this is mainly Wireless and I mean Wireless not Bluetooth and can be used in several ways.
It is 21x12x20cm and each side has cloth covering where the speakers sound emerges. At the base of the back is the power input, a 3.5mm Auxiliary input and the ‘Pair’ button. The top has a large circular volume button and behind this two small LED’s. The front has a 3.5mm socket for headphones or earbuds when the speaker may be inappropriate. While not as heavy as the last Audyssey I reviewed it still weights over two and a quarter kilos.
If you are looking for a budget priced All-in-One inkjet product then maybe this next offering might suit.
Adding to its range of all-in-one inkjet products, Brother has released the DCP-J140W model. This is the company’s lowest priced wireless inkjet product. It has been designed for SOHO users who need to print from a range of devices whether a computer, smartphone or tablet requiring a free download of iPrint&Scan as well as scan and copy documents. This DCP-J140W all-in-one supports both USB and wireless connectivity.
Not everyone has a workbench -- and even those who do, will often find that having a portable one is a great convenience. The Bosch PWB600 portable work bench is a solidly build unit that is both easy to erect and to fold up again for easy transport and storage.
Mainly constructed from aluminium box section extrusions and with a 15mm bamboo block board top it gives the impression that it has been designed for solid everyday usage rather than for just being used once or twice and then being relegated to a forgotten corner the garage. This view is underlined by the fact that, even though there is a warning not to stand on it, the marked load bearing capacity is 200kg i.e. 440lbs.
Just that little bit smaller than most current Android Tablets. This has the advantage of the latest version of Android (Ice Cream Sandwich) 4. Being that bit smaller can increase battery life and is that bit easier to handle.
The Gemini JoyTAB measures 15.5x21x1cm and weights 500grams. My unit had 8GB of memory (but according to documentation) 4GB and 16GB are also available. Apart from in bright sunlight it is easy to read, great in poor light but the screen is reflective. The viewable screen is 16x12cm. I shall mention where thing are assuming you are using it in portrait mode.
Having recently discovered the Bayan 3 I am looking at its bigger sibling the Bayan 7. This is the biggest and they also do a Grand however it is still designed as an iPod player but you would definitely not move it too often.
The wooden body is 26x27x23cm but that only contains the main speaker, two more sets of speakers are in the Perspex surround so the overall width is 44cm and the height is 27cm, the Perspex which contains the speakers is 1cm thick. Need I say it’s not that light, moveable yes but as it is mains powered certainly not portable. While some will say an iPod or anything connected by a 3.5mm jack is not likely to sound great for a small system this is pretty good.
A visit to a Central London location introduced me to a range of products designed for relaxation, stress removal, air pollution and weighing functionality.
Apologies for the play on the standard Father Christmas greeting but I was unable to resist the temptation when bring you details of a range of products from HoMedics. In case you are unfamiliar with this company, I should explain that HoMedics was set up in 1987 with the intension of using the latest technology advances to develop innovative personal wellbeing products. If, like me, you suffer from back problems then this first group of products might be of interest.
A fully USB monitor meaning it has a single lead only. So no power lead all the power comes down the USB lead. This does have one drawback it can only be a second monitor or be used as a monitor for your laptop or notebook.
I saw this at an evening event for the press which occurs twice a year (spring and autumn) called Digital Summer and Winter. This brings together around twenty vendors some known in the UK others like AOC are based in Europe so new to me. I am told that AOC is a division of Philips who have long been pioneers as they were the first to give you sound down USB so no internal sound card was required.
While a new version of an OS (Operating System), such as Windows, might take a number of years to make a commercial appearance, utilities designed to keep the OS running smoothly operate on a short gestation period.
New versions of utilities are generally released on an annual basis with the year appendage being used to identify the current version. One such product that falls into this category is TuneUp Utilities 2012. Available with a three user licence this product provides a range of tools covering different aspects relating to the smooth running of your Windows computer system.
Keeping your customers satisfied is the aim of this next game as you run a made-to-order store in fashionable parts of town.
As the developer and publisher of casual games for various platforms, Youdagames has now ventured into the world of glamorous accessories for its next game playing offering. This is Youda Jewel Shop. Available for the Windows platform, Youda Jewel Shop is a time management game that contains over 80 levels of keeping your customers happy by providing the jewellery on their shopping list.
This consists on a pair of glasses with earbuds connected by a short lead to a small box. My thoughts go back to early handheld CD players however here you not only get sound but also vision and the box has an Android system.
The term ‘learning curve’ seems to have fallen out of favour, this revives it. While with help I managed to get it to do all it was supposed to do you get a chance to learn the art of touch as with the glasses on you cannot see the box and you need to control the cursor on the screen you may also need to use a button on two on the box so you do get the chance to see things as a blind of partially sighed person does, an interesting experience.
Aliph has recently introduced a big brother to its original Jambox audio device.
The Big Jambox, as its title indicates, is a much larger and heavier version of the original Jambox providing enhanced audio and speakerphone capability to your mobile devices. Available in a choice of Red, White or Graphic Hex (black to you and me), the brick shaped Big Jambox has dimensions of 256 x 80 x 93mm (L x W x H) and weighs in at 1.2kg.
The Doro Comfort 1015 is an attractive DECT cordless phone that incorporates an answerphone and other features, such as hands-free operation, that a user will find useful. It is convenient to use and is available in a number of variants. As well as the single handset option, there are the two, three and 4-handset packages listed which also provide paging and intercom around the house.
Handsets are 165 x 50 x 25mm approx. and fit comfortably in one’s hand. They are black in colour and the white characters on the keys are easy to read. The matt rear surface of the handset makes them easy to grip. Doro has taken a very practical approach in the design of these phones with the handset using two standard AAA rechargeable batteries rather than specials. The claimed standby and talk times are respectively 100 and 10 hours.
Canon does a lot of professional cameras however they also have two ranges, Ixus and PowerShot, suitable for home and pocket use. Here the latest offering, the Canon PowerShot A4000IS, in what used to be the larger of the two small units - the PowerShot, which has shrunk.
The PowerShot A4000IS measures 9.5x5.8x2cm and weights 150grams. However the width can increase to around 5.5cm what fully zoomed. My unit was silver and grey. The front has the 8x optical zoom lens and the bar flash above and to its left; it is never nearer than 2.5cm to the lens. I found this gave good images although they did initially look a little over exposed on the TFT.
Is your SmartPhone charged by micro USB? If so then this stereo speaker dock can allow you to listen to music while you are charging your phone. So just for a change the iLuv MobiDock is not an iPod dock but one designed for those with SmartPhones.
It measures 24x14x11cm, the middle figure is at the centre of the unit where the SmartPhone dock is at the sides its only 10cm. When you look at it you think you are looking at an iPod in situ as the dock has a back that stretches up by 3cm above the speakers. However investigate more fully and the arms stretch from 5cm when at the bottom to 16cm at their height (horizontal) and the small micro USB charging connector swivels through 180 degrees.
To some Bounty is a tasty treat that combines a chocolate coating with a coconut filling. Others will immediately think of Bounty as being a reward on offer for completing a specific task. Really the concepts are not all that different as a Bounty bar could be your reward for completing a job of work. Bounty is also the title of a match-3 and puzzle solving game developed by Total Eclipse.
This game is based on a pirate theme and begins with an opening introductory sequence that places you somewhere in the middle of Nowhere. Actually Nowhere is somewhere and is the name of an island that you would expect pirates to visit. Using a comic book style of story telling, this sequence involves a fight between a group of pirates, who have just finished burying their loot, and the forces of law and order.
For nearly all this programs twenty year life I have used it, right from its first incarnation as a flat file offering, this soon changed to relational and now many businesses are run almost totally from end to end on FileMaker Pro.
If my calculations are correct this is the forth file format. The reason for the first change was at around v2 or so. Then again after v6 then v11 and now v12. I had kept my files in v5 format as I have always used File Maker Mobile which was used by Palm and this was not available after that.
Blocking out unwanted noise while you listen to your favourite music is becoming a must-have feature of many new headsets. As yet I have not come across one that is 100% successful.
I have to admit that when it comes to my choice of headset listening pleasure, an over-the-ear style of unit will come first, second and third in my list of preferences. I find that this type of headset feels far more comfortable while delivering an audio quality that suits my ears. The iGO City product is one such headset.
Forget among a split personality, in this next game you can switch your role backwards and forwards between four characters.
When loading up a Wadjet Eye production, I can be fairly confident that retro style graphics and plenty of dialogue delivered by voice actors will play an important role in the game. Resonance is no exception as you enter a game world set in the city of Aventine. Your task will be to solve the mystery of the unexplained attacks on buildings around the world in this point-and-click adventure.
This LED display is light and easy to move something you could not have said for the CRT displays of much smaller size not that many years ago. It is also brighter has better contrast and all in all a very nice item on the desk.
It is 58x35.5x1.5cm and sits on a ‘Y’ shaped base that raises it 8cm of your desk. The ‘Y’ gives it a very stable base of 22cm in length and 25cm along the open edge of the ‘Y’ but at not much increase to the overall weight that is only 3.5kilos.
Speaker units have been a popular topic of late when I have been reviewing items. One such product is a speaker set from Sandberg.
Described as being designed for use with a PC and MP3 player, the Sandberg Play Speaker Set is a 2:1 unit. It is made up of a subwoofer and a pair of satellite speakers. All three units are predominately black in colour. The speakers have gone with a reflective sheen while the subwoofer has a more subdued matte appearance.
A major challenge faced by all travellers is how to keep all the electronic devices working that are now considered so important. The iGo Green Laptop Travel Charger offers a simple solution to enable the busy traveller to keep his laptop and USB devices charged irrespective of whether it is at the hotel or in a car or, increasingly, in the passenger compartment of a plane.
No matter how vital they are laptops, iPads and smartphones all need to have their batteries charged at regular intervals if they are not to die on us at a most inopportune moment. While we have individual chargers for each device, it is a nuisance to have to carry them all and a tangled mass of cables when travelling. This charger deals with this messy situation. The travel charger is essentially a black, rectangular block 171 x 72 x 17 mm with the “iGo green” logo.
While various versions of the Apple iPad have been around for a while their PR in the UK is less than happy to let journalists review their kit, so it falls upon others to loan out their kit, in this case it was T-Mobile who loaned the unit.
While I have had two iPods and most recently an iPod Touch no iPhone or iPad has come across my desk so whilst I have reviewed numerous Android devices with similar abilities I am a total novice with an iPad, here my thoughts. As you would expect both video and audio were excellent. Sound quality from the internal speaker was also loud enough for a normal room. My first cheer came when I discovered the side lock switch could be used to stop screen rotation. The top edge of the screen has a 3.
Here I am looking at a Bluetooth mouse from a company that makes PCs, Cameras, Phones and Audio Systems Sony. Second a Wireless offering that looks like a UFO and this one from Brando in Hong Kong is Wireless.
This oval shaped offering is 11x5.5x1cm and mine was a purple colour that in dull light can look nearer to dark blue. It runs on two ‘AA’ batteries (supplied) which are stated to last around three months. It is branded with the Vaio name. Looking at the Sony site I see it is available ten colours with the most normal Blue, Black and White. Orange, Pink, Light Blue, Two shades of Green, another shade of Pink and Red complete the range to suit all comers.
With a different company name and a newly designed interface, there is a new look to an old favourite with DIskeeper 2012.
Once upon a time there was a company called Executive Software. In 1981 this company turned its attention to the problem of data being fragmented on hard disks causing deterioration in the overall performance of the host computer. This was, and still is, a big “No, No” for users everywhere. The solution produced by Executive Software was a product entitled Diskeeper.
This unit is small, in fact so small you think it cannot support an A4 page but it does. The black colour may put some off but as it can connect by Wireless as well as USB the former will allow it to sit out of sight in a cupboard.