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841426 Huawei P8 android smart phon

A New Smartphone : Huawei P8

Typed the characters “P8” into your favourite search engine and you are likely to get hits that refer to aircrafts, pistols and even electrical engineering software. You should also get links to a new smartphone from Huawei. This is the company’s latest addition to its P series of handsets, namely the P8 which was presented to the world at large at London’s Old Billingsgate event centre.
The Huawei P8 will be available in either standard or premium versions in colour schemes based on silver, gold, black and grey.  My review model, on which this report is based, is the standard Champagne Gold offering which was supplied without any printed documentation.  Fortunately this lack of documentation was not too great a handicap in my testing of the product. The P8 handset has dimensions of 144.9 x 72.1 x 6.4mm (H x W x D) with a weight of 144g.
841545 Bass Connect Bluetooth Speake

Bass Connect

Previous items I have reviewed from Thumbs Up have taken the sound from the SmartPhones speaker and given you a better result. This unit uses the same idea common to most in that the signal is sent via Bluetooth to give an excellent sound.
The Bass Connect bluetooth speaker measures 7x7x3cm and weights 192grams. The sound from it is amazing, remember the only input is via Bluetooth so what it is receiving is most like to be MP3 files.
841542 Veho VEP 005 ZS2 360 Water Resistant Sports Earphone

Veho Earbuds

A name that I reviewed several items for some years ago, now perhaps more famous for it being on the shirts of Southampton Football Club in the Premier League. So what have these earbuds to make them stand out from the crowd?
To start with the colour a flat cord – always a good idea to stop knotting when in the pocket or bag – it’s yellow on one side and black on the other. The next thing is the fitment it’s the type that goes over the ear so less stress on the ear itself. The cord itself is 1.2metres long, the first 40cm from the ears are two cords and then they become one for the final 80cm to the gold plated 3.5mm plug.
The Zagg Pocket Keyboard connects via Bluetooth and offers a quick and convenient method of typing notes or even larger amounts of text onto one’s iOS or Android tablet.
At first glance the Zagg Pocket Keyboard just looks like a solid lump of black anodised aluminium that is roughly 225 x 55mm x 15mm thick and weighing 200g. When not in use it can slip easily into a jacket pocket or a handbag. It is only when unfolded that it becomes a keyboard that is large enough for touch-typing combined with a stand for one’s tablet, phablet or smartphone.
841492 cyberlink powerdvd 15 video editing softwar

PowerDVD 15 : CyberLink PowerDVD 15

Ever since it was founded in 1996, CyberLink Corp has built up a reputation as a world leading consumer multimedia software company. A recent release from the company is its PowerDVD product which is now at version 15.
Describing itself as the “World’s No 1 Movie and Media Player” and able to call on over 100 patented technologies, PowerDVD 15 offers to act as your all-purpose entertainment deliverer whether the content is stored on a local computer, network system, mobile device, social media or the Cloud with CyberLink offering up to 20GB of Cloud storage space depending upon which version of the product you have. PowerDVD is available in a choice of four versions.
841543 Misfit Beddit Sleep Monito

Beddit Sleep Monitor

When bleary eyed I viewed the first night sleep statistics on my Android phone I almost let out a cheer as at last a sleep monitor gives a real figure so you no longer feel you are going crazy with what other devices claim for sleep periods.
In the past I have tried skull caps, arm bands and various other devices they all claim I sleep well even when ‘not in bed’. A 3cm wide and 64cm long strip of a thin plastic type material goes under your bottom sheet in a position around the buttock to chest area. This strip ends in what looks like an early iPod – but with no screen – and hard wired out of the base of this is a 1.
It does not seem all that long ago that I was first introduced to the Piper product. Actually it was around two months ago that I came across this home security device which streams live images to your smartphone and sends out warnings regarding events that are taking place within the area it is protecting. Now the next version of the product, originally created by Russell Ure in 2012 and powered by IControl Networks, is available. This latest version goes by the name of Piper nv. I will leave you to work out what “nv” stands. I was 100% wrong with my guess of new or next version.
Like the original version of the product, Piper nv is available in a choice of black or white.  The product has grow slightly in size and now has measurements of 164 x 87 x 65mm (H x W x D).  This increase in size has possibly allowed some new features to have been introduced to those already present in the original version of the product.  This latest version of the Piper gives you night vision, a 3.4MP camera and a faster ARM processor.
While Frankenstein is often regarded as the villain, this is not the case in this Hidden Object Adventure game.
It is time for some Gothic horror with a game that was developed by the combined talents of Fineway Studios and Jet Dog Studios.  The game, which forms the basis of this next review, is entitled Frankenstein Master of Death.  This title belongs to the Hidden Object Adventure genre. From the game’s main title screen you can create named profiles for individual players.
841547 Amazon Fire TV Stic

fireTV Stick from Amazon

This is very like the Roku Stick, somewhat like Chromecast, but as it is far cheaper than either it would be better, however it also has a lot more features and has another huge plus it is from Amazon so how can it be anything but a big hit.
Of course Amazon are not a benevolent organization and once you have the fireTV Stick the front screen will offer you the chance to download lots of videos and even some ‘Amazon Only’ series, a lot of which are free if you take out a Prime Video subscription, they even offer you a free month to check it out. The stick is 8.5cm long with the last centimetre being the HDMI connection so will not be visible when connected. It is 2.5cm wide and 1cm thick.
Rather than a range of print facilities, this next product concentrates its functionality on the production of labels.
The Leitz Icon is a label printer that certainly did not get off to the best of starts when I began to review the product.  Unpacking the kit revealed the printer unit, decked out in white and dark grey, a two-piece power lead and adapter, a micro-to-standard USB lead, label cartridge, a Quick Start Guide plus a Warranty and Disposal document.  The printer unit was of a rather unusual shape.
Sold as a Clinical D Image panel it is capable of 2560x1440 display. The ‘clinical’ bit of the last sentence means the display needs to be ultra-sharp and clear as when a surgeon is looking at say an X-Ray image he/she needs clarity.
This 27 inch Philips LCD monitor measures 63.5x39.5cm and it is 2cm thick at the edges. This is a 27ince panel. The near round support base is 30cm across, the arm coming from it can raise the panel between 1 and 16cm from whatever you stand it on. These figures assume you use it in portrait mode but it rotates easily to be used in landscape. Connections at the rear are from left to right audio input, HDMI1, HDMI2, Digital and Display Port at the other side of the support arm DC input.
841540 FUGOO Sport Bluetooth Activ

Fugoo Sport

A Bluetooth speaker with good battery life excellent sound and it can not only get wet like in the bathroom but get involved with you while for instance riding a bike or perhaps even more extreme tasks beyond my current imagination.
The FUGOO Sport Bluetooth Active measures 18x5.5x7cm; the 5.5cm is at the bass and its only 4cm wide at the top. Mine was black with turquoise blue rubber trim but I know there are different jackets available. Let’s first mention the accessories that come in the box. Mains charger that goes to a USB lead also in the same turquoise colour, next a 3.5mm extension lead yes you have guessed it in turquoise blue and finally a fabric slip case.
841301 Withings Home   Wi Fi Security Camera with Air Quality Sensor

Remote Home Viewing : Withings Home

While not the same as “eyes in the back of your head”, this next product can provide feedback as to what is happening in your home when you are out and about.
As the leader in the area of connected health solutions, Withings has developed its Home product.  Behind its rather straightforward and plain name, the Home product combines a high quality security camera featuring built-in noise and movement detection features with air quality sensors that can alert users to possible air pollution issues.  There is also an option to save up to 30 days of continuous recordings in the Cloud for later viewing.
841309 pentax ks1 digital SLR camer

Pentax K-S1 DSLR Camera

This is quite a small and lightweight offering from Pentax. However this does not mean that the images its takes are anything but excellent in both JPG and RAW. The only unusual thing to me is that both the body and lens are white.
The Pentax K-S1 Digital SLR camera measures 11x9x15cm and weighs 771grams without the neck strap. The right side has a rubber bung behind which are HDMI and USB outlets, there is also a neck strap anchor point. The left side has the anchor point pair. The face is whatever lens you attach I was sent an 18-55mm offering As well as AF/MF twist control. The top has the manual rise built in flash with button on the left at the very top is an external flash shoe and below this the viewfinder.
A visit to a riverside iconic London event centre introduced me to a stylish activity tracker that doubles as a hands-free earpiece.
Wearable products, especially those that cover aspects of healthy living, continue to be a popular item for many.  The latest such device to attach itself to my wrist is the TalkBand B2 from Huawei.  As you might suppose from the “B2” reference, this product is the follow-up and replacement for Huawei’s initial foray into this particular market sector.
The saga of Weird Park began with the game of Broken Time before moving on to the second episode entitled Scary Tales. Now the curtain is about to fall with the third and final chapter of this Hidden Object Adventure series. This game is appropriately entitled Weird Park: The Final Show. As it is entirely self-contained, missing out on the first two chapters should not impinge on your enjoyment of this title.
841307 Withings Activite Pop Smart Watc

Withings Activit Pop

This is the latest in a range of health and fitness items. It has one distinct difference in that it looks like a standard smart analogue watch. It is quite thin, is worn on the wrist, and, to anyone else looks exactly like a wrist watch.
The strap is 25cm long and rubber although the face of it looks like leather. The watch dial is 4.5cm across and the watch is .8cm thick and only .5cm thick at the edges.  It has no winder and it does not require charging it has a large clock type battery in the rear and this is stated to keep it running for ‘eight months plus’.
The Vax PowerPlus Steam VPW2S is a versatile cleaning tool for around the garden and patio. Use the pressure washer to blast away all dirt and grime from outdoor surfaces and then hygienically steam clean critical areas.
Combining a 2kW pressure washer with a steam cleaner into a single unit is a time saving solution. Assemble the pressure hose and lance, connect it up to water and electricity and then the pressure washer is ready for immediate use.
The Mini Wi-Fi Home Hotspot 500 Kit, now there’s a name to get your tongue around, is a product that comes with the claim of allowing the user to “get the best Wi-Fi any where in your home”.
Developed by BT, the Mini Wi-Fi Home Hotspot 500 product makes use of Powerline technology to provide its network functionality.  For the benefit of those not familiar with this technology I should explain that Powerline uses the home’s power lines (hence its name) as the conduit for sending data between locations and devices.
841308 HP MFP M277dw LaserJet Pro Color Printe

HP Colour Laser M277dw

While ink jet printers are still dominant in the colour market lasers can now offer much more and with less of a premium, printing speeds are better and perhaps most important the quality of the printed output is now excellent.
It is 42x42x32cm, if using the flatbed you will probably need another 12cm to the last figure the height to insert a book or magazine. The mains lead enters back right and Ethernet/Fax or USB back left, once attached there is no reason to leave more than ventilation clearance behind as all the controls are on the front. The on/off button is on the front at the top right, just above this on the top edge is NFC and everything else is either controlled from the PC or from the 6x4.
These quality wireless headphones from Sennheiser can take input from RCA jacks or Optical. The latter means that if your TV has optical out those of us with less than 20:20 hearing can now hear that murmured dialogue so favoured in US movies.
They can be as much as 23cm across at the base of the earpads and the same from the base of the earpads to the top of the headband. Each arm has 4.5cm of contraction from this point and the earpads will sit happily at half the mentioned spread. The pads are well padded in a velvet like material and the headband has two leather pads usful for those of us who have no hair. The headphones can be worn either way and there is some side to side movement for those who favour the behind the head style.
841219 Braven BRV Bank 6000mAh Smart Ultra Rugged Backup Batter


Manufacturers are now adding different features to their battery-charging products. A recent example of this trend is seen with t new Braven offering.
In the past I have checked out a number of Power Bank devices that offer a range of battery charging capabilities for mobile devices.  These battery chargers have come with various power storage levels plus features that include the ability to charge two devices simultaneously and provide waterproof protection to combat inclement weather.  There was even a Power Bank recently that featured an LCD window showing the current battery power level available.
841305 canon powershot g7x compact digital camer

Canon PowerShot G7X

Having recently looked at two DSLR units from Canon it is now time to try something smaller and lighter but the technology is still rife in this latest offering in the Canon PowerShot range, so what wonders does the G7X offer.
The Canon PowerShot G7X measures 10.5x6x3.8cm and weights 300grams, add 4cm to the last figure when the lens is fully zoomed. The right side has a flip door behind which are AV and HDMI connectors, below this is a flush button that will search for a Wi-Fi access point and behind the flip door is a strap anchor point. The left side also has an anchor point as well as the built in flash flip up button.
It is good bye and hello to a software application that has formed a regular part of my computer system for a number of years now.
Completing the saga of the Nightmares from the Deep series is the final chapter entitled Davy Jones. Available in Collector’s Edition format, this Hidden Object Adventure game can be purchased from Avanquest’s GSP game catalogue.
As usual with Collector’s Edition offerings, Nightmares from the Deep: Davy Jones comes with a number of bonus items including the story of Stolen Treasure which becomes available once the main game has been completed.  All the other bonus items of a Strategy Guide, wallpaper, concept art, music, Hidden Object scenes and, rather surprisingly, cut-scenes, can all be accessed immediately from the main title screen.
841304 Mio Alpha 2 Heart Rate Monito

Mio Alpha2 Watch

This arrived shortly after the Mio Fuse, for something that uses the same App it works in quite a different way often to achieve the same goals. However its obvious differences are unlikely to matter to the user just getting the results.
A black rubberised band that has some stretch at 26cm long with a solid watch type device at 4.5x4cm in the centre. It has a bright yellow surround to the watch area that is controlled by two press areas on either side and the initial setup although straightforward will take a while as with one area to change setting such as year time and weight etc. has only the other button to increase the setting such as 3 to 4 etc. and if you require 2 you have to go up to 0 then 1 to find 2.
Adding extra power to your Wi-Fi signal can help remove dead spots and widen your network’s sphere of influence. One such product comes from BT.
Wi-Fi continues to make serious inroads into the home environment.  According to the latest research, carried out by ABI Research (February 2015), more than 90 million Wi-Fi devices were sold in the UK during last year alone.  This was a 17% increase over the previous year as users set out to create a situation enabling the streaming of data between computers, tablets, smartphones and other entertainment devices no matter where they are situated around the home.
A small candle type bulb running on batteries is the first and a standard screw fitting bulb the second. Both can be controlled manually or from a SmartPhone App. The candle can be extinguished by blowing on it or lighted in the same way.
Yes it’s not a misprint once the batteries are inserted the unit can be turned or by simple blowing across the top of it. Now I have seen such a candle light before that can be turned by blowing on it but never one that can be turned on in that way. There is a small on/off slider that stops this happening unintentionally.
First an interesting device from Motorola that is a plug with just a single USB socket on the base. Then an item supplied to me for those who have Lightning and forget their cable, then another device different make same purpose.
While this is stated to be for recent phones I have tested it with and range of phones and Tablets. This can deliver up to 1.6amps from a standard looking 13amp plug back, it seems to check what charging rate your device can take. While faster charging is likely to only avail itself to more recent phones I tested it on a range of phones and tablets. If you tend to charge from a standard USB port you may only get .5amp and indeed my own Tablet takes a good part of a day when charged in that way.
There used to be a popular saying, in fact it could still be in use but I have not heard it recently, which implies “the older you get, the younger policemen appear!” I could also add from my own experiences that “the older you get, the steeper hills appear” or “the older you get, the longer it takes you to remove a product from its packaging.” This last statement sprang to mind as I struggled to extract the Withings Activité Pop offering from its protective casing. Admittedly I was trying to avoid destroying the box holding the product but the task took well over 15 minutes before I was able to hold this activity tracker device in my hands. Some damage was caused to the packaging as a result of my efforts.
The Activité Pop takes the form of an analogue wristwatch.  The watch has a certain retro look to it with its round face and plastic strap.  Instead of numbers the watch face is divided into sections, each covering a five minute period. Anybody who has a wrist thicker than mine might well struggle a little to attach this watch to their wrist due to the length of the strap.
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