“Your computer is infected with a virus” or “we can claim on your behalf for that accident you know nothing about” are just a couple of nuisance call topics.
I think of Doro for home phones and basic mobiles for those with hearing and sight problems. While they have released a SmartPhone previously I never got to see it. This was shown at their Xmas In July event but only arrived with me in November.
The Doro 8030 Android SmartPhone measures 14.6x7x.9cm and weighs 141 grams. The viewable screen is 10x5.5cm which gives the notional diagonal imperial screen measurement of 4½ inches. Start-up is 51 seconds and shutdown is 14 seconds. Even though this is chunky in comparison to most standard SmartPhones it does feel solid in the hand. Going around the outside finds the charge point on the right side with a dedicated camera button towards the base of the right side.
Offering to help keep you calm is a product that is shaped and named after a geological sample.
Arriving with the claim of being the first wearable device that tracks both physical movement and state of mind issues, Spire is a small device that has been designed to help reduce stress in the wearer by increasing calm and focus while reducing tension. I have been road-testing, actually more chair-testing as I will explain later, the company’s Spire Stone product as it checks out how I have been spending my time during the day.
As an expert in the control of wild animals, you are called in to round up escapees from various zoos.
Developed by Cervo Media, Crazy Rings is a game that sits firmly in the Match 3 Shooter genre. For reasons not explained, the zoo animals of the world have become involved in a mass breakout. You are called in to take on the role of the person who has to corral the escapees so that they can be returned to the enclosures in their home zoos.
Having told you about McAfee and Kaspersky the latest offering from Panda arrived. Most Notebooks I get to review come with some sort of Anti-Virus or Internet Security trial installed, so when one arrives without such security it’s an ideal testing medium.
A lot of items that I get to see are downloads and often what I test the software on comes without an optical drive, the unit I used to test this had no optical drive in fact it only had a standard USB port on the keyboard section of a Tablet.
Offering to put power in your pocket is a device from PNY that can be used with smartphones, tablets and action camcorders.
When out and about, either when relaxing and enjoying the surroundings or involved in various energetic pursuits, you often need access to a supplementary power source for those mobile devices we seemingly find it impossible to live without. One such supplementary power source is The Action Charger.
While this company seems to have been in the UK since 2012 the first of their products I saw was the excellent P9 Smartphone earlier in 2016, then I get to see their ‘cheaper’ brand the Honor 5C SmartPhone and now this rather smart Windows Notebook/Tablet the MateBook12.
The initial look is ‘wow’ not a word that crosses my lips that often. It is 27.5x19.1x.6cm and weighs 642grams. The viewable screen is 35.5x17cm which gives the notional diagonal imperial screen measurement of 12inches the normal screen resolution is 1920x1080. Switch on is a very impressive 16 seconds, shutdown is 3 seconds.
This is one of three special packs launched by Gillette to coincide with the latest Star Wars film. The razor and gel are branded ‘Mach3 Turbo’ so once through the hype what sort of shave does this unit give or would buying the parts separately be a better buy?
I recently heard in the ‘business news’ that a famous triangular chocolate bar would now have larger gaps between the chocolate triangles but we will have to pay the same price. How does this relate to this shaving set well at a previous Gillette launch the razor came with two spare blades and a normal size container of Gel, here you get the razor and two spare blades but a smaller Gel container.
Adding to its range of ink cartridge devices, Epson has released its XP-442 model.
The Epson Expression Home XP-442 is a member of the company’s range of All-in-One devices. This particular product gives the user a choice of print, copy and scan features either via a USB or WiFi connection with the additional option of sourcing documents and images from SD media.
Bluetooth headphones and Earbuds were given a huge sales boost by Apple removing the 3.5mm socket from their latest offering in the autumn and so here an offering from Optoma nu force the BE Sport3 earbuds for those who exercise.
These definitely click the small and light boxes as they weight only 12.6 grams and their total length is 44cm and this includes any excess that is captured in a loop. They are stated to last up to ten hours between charges and I managed this on one occasion, another was slightly more but a third test was around twenty minutes less so ten hours is a fair average. Total recharge is just over an hour using the supplied micro USB to USB lead and charging from a PC or Notebook port.
The need for storage capacity continues to grow. To help ease this situation, Buffalo has released a new TeraStation series.
Adding to its range of NAS (Network Attached Storage) devices, Buffalo has introduced its TeraStation™ 3010 series. This particular series consists of three main models covering capacities from 2TB up to 16TB with either 2 or 4 bays. I have been looking at the TS3210DN0202-EU model which is a 2-bay unit with a capacity of 2TB of storage. Featuring a pair of 1TB SATA drives, this NAS box is predominately black in colour although there are gun metal grey panels around the front of the unit.
Fifteen years ago the local sheriff was murdered and now you are asked to locate a missing journalist who was investigating the crime.
Developed by Mystery Tag and Arcali Entertainment, The Wisbey Mystery is a Hidden Object Adventure title. As is fairly usual with games of this genre, you can create profiles for individual users. These profiles contain the volume levels for sound effects and background music plus the player’s progress. You can also select to use a custom cursor and place the game in full screen mode. Two levels of difficulty are available with this game.
Over the years I have looked at a good number of phones from the French company Archos. Here I think I have received their first rugged phone. This is still a normal phone in other ways but it is able to stand up the odd drop or three.
The Archos 50 Spahir measures 14.2x7.2x1cm and weighs 219grams. Rather than being the perfect oblong the corners are shaved off at perfect 45 degree angles. This is a dual SIM phone with SIM 1 being capable of 4G, SIM 2 3G but instead of two SIMs you could have a single SIM –SIM 1 - and a micro SD CARD. Going around the outside the right side has a volume rocker and below this the on/off button.
Carrying your personal data in your pocket requires hardware such as the subject of this next review.
As data tends to become more mobile in its use, it is always useful to have a device or even multiple devices that can provide a combination of storage space, mobility and encryption protection. Recently Buffalo send me a device, falling into all these categories, to check out. This is the company’s MiniStation™ SSD-PMU3 product. The Buffalo MiniStation SSD is a portable hard drive.
Teufel are a German manufacturer and as far as I know nothing to do with British Telecom so the BT name here is just a name given by them to a decent set of Bluetooth earbuds. They are mainly known as quality speaker producers.
The box does not need to be destroyed to access the contents, while this may not matter I consider it a plus that allows all the accessories to remain in place for the times they are required. In the box is a solid 11x9.5cm zip up case and inside this a weighted container that has exact positions for each earbud and a waist to wind the connecting cable around, so with luck you will store the buds in the container and the case when out and about.
In the autumn after a round of press/trade shows all the software companies rush to get their 2017 versions of software releases and updates on the market. Here I am looking at two such items from CyberLink who like Nero now reside in Germany.
Unlike a lot of other software companies CyberLink do not try to make all their versions have the same numeral at the end of the product name. So the two getting the once over here are and Anyone into making videos will love the obvious new feature 360 degree video maker. It allows you to make 360 degree videos and even to use 360 degree video footage in standard video output.
It has been a while since I last took a look at a monitor but that period has come to an end with the Philips UltraColor.
Arriving with the claim of combining true-to-life colour on an edge-to-edge screen with built-in full digital sound, the Philips UltraColor is a monitor that is currently available in 24 and 27-inch versions. I have been checking out the 27-inch (276E7QDAB) model which comes with leads for power, VGA, HDMI, DVI and an audio cable plus a software CD that contains a PDF version of the product’s User Guide.
This is the first of my reviews for machines launched at the very end of November by Acer in Glasgow, those who saw my launch report will know it was not cold, wet or snowy; I got the very cold bit almost as soon as I got back to the south of England.
The Acer Swift 3 measures 33.5x23x1cm, the last figure at the back while it is little more than half of that at the front, it weighs 1551 grams. Silver Grey in colour with only the four round rubber feet and the black hinge being different when closed. Open the lid and again the majority is Silver Grey with only the hinge and the keys of the keyboard being black. The viewable screen is 31x17.
I usually tend to think of headphones when the topic of Skullcandy and its product line-up is broached but this is not the only type of audio product produced by the company. Rather than purely personal listening devices, such as the Crusher headphones, Skullcandy also manufactures speakers for a wider audio output distribution. One such product is the Barricade XL which is the subject of this next review.
As part of a series of speaker units, the Barricade XL is a Bluetooth unit. It has dimensions of 101.6 x 172.7 x 86.3mm (W x D x H). While the size of this device, and its weight of 867g, is such that you are hardly going to feel comfortable carrying this speaker around in a jacket pocket, it does feature a stitch decorated strap. This can be used to carry the Barricade XL around if you do not mind it occasionally banging against your leg during your travels.
With your clear thinking and skill at finding hidden objects you seem to be the perfect candidate to solve the mystery of the Dark Asylum
With its title of Dark Asylum: Mystery Adventure, you should expect that you are about to enter an environment were everything is not quite what you might expect. And this is certainly the case with this Hidden Object game that has a slight adventure influence the main aspect of object searching game play. In common with many games of a similar genre, you can make some adjustments to the game’s playing environment.
This phone has no curves and for some that maybe in vogue, but I am no fashion guru. After Apple and Samsung perhaps the best known brand is Sony and this offering is the latest one from them to come across my desk courtesy of Vodafone.
The Sony Xperia XZ measures 14.5x7.2x.8cm and weighs 159grams. Top right on the rear is the camera and just below this the LED flash. The right side has a large on/off button in silver grey. Below this in the same colour as its surround is the volume rocker and even lower a dedicated camera button. The bottom has a USB 3.1 port for charging. Towards the top of the left side is a covered slot which takes the Nano SIM and any micro SD card you use this is stated to be up to 256GB.
Adding to its range of PowerPacks, PNY has introduced its AD5200 model.
Despite the amount of work that has gone into, and is currently undergoing, the development and performance of battery technology with regards to its use in mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, users still feel somewhat short-changed with the amount of running time they get from their mobile devices. As a result battery chargers continue to be a sort after accessory either for personal use or as a present for others.
Up until the last few years a bathroom scale read out your weight. Now they link to Apps and seem to tell you so much more, this item will even tell you your bone density and before long they will possible even tell you what you had for breakfast.
My last comment was flippant but you never know. The scale is 35x35x3cm it weighs 2.64kilos. Setting up to a recent SmartPhone – either iOS or Android – is straightforward providing you have Bluetooth 4. There is a barcode on the back of the scale and this needs to be scanned using your SmartPhone once the App is downloaded and running. This then links your scale to the App.
I love manuals, and of course with most software been sold as downloads the best you get today is a PDF file which also needs to be downloaded. Serif software have been around for 29 years and they have recently produced Affinity Designer firstly for MAC and now for the PC, this is their workbook a heavy hard backed tome.
The front cover puts it well ‘learn digital design and illustration with Affinity Designer’. The book is 20.5x23.5x2.7cm and it weighs 1.47kilos. Unusual perhaps to give the dimensions and weight of a book but then it does give me a chance to get over this is a textbook written by the team at Serif who will be thirty years young next year.
With in-car phone use being upgraded regarding penalty points, this next product could be worth a purchase.
While some other companies may have a wider choice of models from more companies AO have a big plus in that they offer next day delivery by their own vans, you are rung on the day and yes they deliver when they say they will. Another plus their prices are very keen.
This toaster is called ‘Bit More’ as it allows you to just add a little more colour to your toast without starting the whole process again. Heston Blumenthal is a chef whose restaurant is always full; his name is linked to a lot of unusual dishes cooked in strange ways.
While flash drives are useful for transporting data, they do run the risk of being lost or stolen. So the data they contain should be protected.
Your data, especially of the personal variety, is valuable, not only to you but others who might be prepared to put it to use for their own nefarious practices. As this data is your personal property, it is up to you to make sure it is adequately protected at all times whether it is stored on your main computer or being transported between locations on a flash drive.
An orphan girl finds herself in a magical land that has been taken over by a witch. She needs your help.
Our story begins as a baby is left of the doorstep of the St. Michael’s Shelter, a rather dreary establishment that is the local orphanage. A quick jump forward in time of ten years reveals that the baby has grown into a young girl called Evy whose best, and possible only friend, is her teddy bear. While exploring the orphanage, Evy enters the attic where she finds a wardrobe. This piece of furniture emits a strange glow as its doors swing open.
When I asked to review this I assumed that it would arrive assembled, wrong. They state use by children 14 and above, OK. You need patience to assemble and above all follow the illustrations that form the vast proportion of the instructions.
It was a good job they arrived disassembled as the postman put them through my letterbox on a day I was out and certainly if they had of been assembled it would have meant a journey to sorting office to collect.
Offering a variety of tools to protect your home is Devolo’s Home Security system.
Recently I took a look at Devolo’s Home Security System. The product was the Devolo Starter Pack. As its title indicates, this is an opening gambit to encourage the user to take their first steps on the path to using technology as a protective shield for their home.