Once again Bosch choose December and the location known as Home Sweet Home to demonstrate some of its latest and best selling products. One slight difference with this years event was the lack of snow which I certainly appreciated as I made my way to the centralLondonlocation
While my first port of call was the same room as last year, this time it was not set up as a bedroom but as a more general work area Taking the lead position for this product roundup is a piece of kit that is not due to be launched until May. This is the new and improved Bosch IXO IV unit that features 30% more power than the previous version of the world's best selling power-tool. Weighing just 300g, this small device can handle all kinds of screw-driving projects using a range of bits.
This seems to be the season for people to launch and renew their earphone offerings. Today I am looking at two such items from a new name to me iGo. There are four in the range and here I am looking at the Miami and the City.
These are over ear headphones, not large but they do have a good amount of adjustment 5cm on each side. My head is largish but there is still another 1.5cm of adjustment available for those with an even larger head area. Described on the box as white and red they are white everywhere but the 3.5mm lead and the stitching around the headband. The lead 1.4metres long and the plug is gold plated the inline microphone is red matching the lead. In the box is 3.5mm to phono lead 20cm long.
Generally Smartphones tend to come with a price tag that makes you think twice. Alcatel has bucked the trend with its One Touch series of handsets.
The Alcatel One Touch 665 is a clamshell handset that is available on contract or as a pay as you go product. This handset has been developed for those on a limited budget with simple and uncomplicated needs.
PCTV are part of Hauppauge who have been making TV cards to fit into PCs for many years. Of course with notebooks the solution had to be USB, here something that works on PC, Android (2.2 or later) and iPhone and iPad as well as the iPod Touch.
Why would you walk round your house watching TV on an ‘i’ anything, of course you probably would not, but from a Wi-Fi hotspot this could be very acceptable and not only does it work in the UK but anywhere in the world via your own router and the Internet. So the PCTV is far more than just a simple wireless enabled TV box. It is 12x14.5x4cm, which has two aerials that can add another 11cm to the last figure the height of the PCTV unit.
Following on from titles that include Survivor, Farmer, Marina and Sushi Chef, Youdagames has gone all at sea with its latest offering which is entitled Youda Fisherman. This is a time management game that puts you in charge of a fleet of ships and all the relevant issues and activities that come with this particular role in life.
Developed by I Sioux Game Production BV, a company that is based inHilversumin theNetherlands, Youda Fisherman’s opening screen gives you the opportunity to enter your profile name and adjust various settings. You can select from various languages with each one represented by a national flag plus adjust the volume level for sound effects and background music.
Available in a choice of lime green, champagne silver or black (as in the case of the review model), the Ricoh PX is a waterproof, shockproof and dust-resistant digital camera. Perhaps I should have included the word compact into that description as the camera certainly qualifies in this respect. The cameras dimensions are 100 x 55 x 21.3cm in whatever mode or zoom level is currently being used.
This 16 megapixel camera features a 2.7-inch transmissive LCD rear-mounted screen displaying 230,000 dots. The screen has a protective coating and is your only means of lining up a scene for capture. The protective coating was not very effective as there was a small scratch on the screen by the time the review model made its way into my hands – the coating also did not help with keeping finger smears to a minimum.
Abbyy Finereader Professional 11 is the latest incarnation of a very effective OCR (optical character recognition) package. It is easy to use in its basic form as it comes out of the box and is readily configurable to meet particular needs.
Finereader, as well as being available ‘shrink-wrapped’, can be downloaded from the Abbyy site and installs easily in just a few minutes. It is equally useful for dealing with odd sections of text or in reconstructing the native formatting of multi-page documents as well creating electronic books. Although it will work in a vast number of languages, understandably, I selected English. However, that is not set in stone; this can be changed at will.
The arrival of a battered box is not always bad news, the arrival of a box with space in it probably is. This unit had been doing the rounds and when it got to me all I got was the system box, not even a power lead or any instructions.
Looking at the various DSG websites it seems there should have been also a wired keyboard and a mouse apart from a ‘Welcome Pack’ and of course the power lead. First switch on was not an improvement as I had to do ‘Windows Repair’ as it would not boot. However this story of doom and gloom does start to become a happier tale. A lot of people would have just boxed it up and said take it back.
My first thought was good breathe but then everyone would think about the mouth and teeth and keeping them clean. These two products help you to breathe better first one for Asthma and second one to benefit others.
While I mentioned Asthma above it is stated to help with Hay Fever, Allergy, Pollen Allergies, Sinus Problems, Bronchitis, Breathing Difficulties and Respiratory problems caused by smoking as well as Asthma. While I am Asthmatic and that was the reason I asked to review it I do also have Sinus problems so can it help with both? The pipe is 12x4x4cm and weights 85grams. When you move the pipe it rattles as it is has what is claimed to be five years worth of salt crystals in it.
While out-and-about listening to your favourite music, your enjoyment can be reduced by outside noise elements. Noise cancelling headsets offer to reduce this problem.
While Paul Simon wrote and sang about the Sound of Silence, Wolfson Microelectronics was more interested in Digital Silence. With its headquarters located inEdinburgh, Wolfson Microelectronics is an audio and noise cancelling specialist supplying high performance mixed-signal semi-conductor solutions to the consumer electronics market worldwide. Digital Silence™ is the retail brand of active ambient noise-cancelling stereo headphones and headsets.
Whatever device you want to transmit the signal from it can be transmitted by around 15-20metres to an output device providing both devices have an HDMI port; my home has a lot of solid walls and it works end to end.
I tried this with a Blu-ray player, a video recorder, a Freeview recorder and two different PC one with only a Display Port the latter using a plug adapter also from Lindy part number 41018 that converts DisplayPort to HDMI. The kit consists of a transmitter, a receiver, two DC power bricks, one HDMI cable and an IR extender as well as a user manual.
A new DAB radio from Pure offers a Listen Later and rewind feature.
The Pure ONE Classic is a DAB/FM radio that has a rather plain appearance. Predominately matte black in colour, apart from the silver controls decorating the front of the unit and an extendable aerial, this radio has dimensions of 210 x 145 x 72mm (W x H x D). Most of the control buttons are arranged in a smiling mouth or horseshoe arrangement around a central dial knob which allows you to scroll through and select the chosen option.
When it comes to fashion, I could best be described as a stranger. Maybe this next title will help ease me into this area of expressive living.
Juliette’s Fashion Empire is a time management game set in the world of fashion from Alawar. As the game’s title suggests, in this game you take on the role of Juliette as she attempts to build up a fashion empire based in the cities ofNew York,Milan,Tokyo,ParisandLondonby competing with long-established fashion designers in each of the different locations. Options are available for different people to play the game using their profile name.
A small digital camera from Kodak, this however is part of their idea to make sharing easier and the camera itself has a 16MP image size and comes with 5x optical zoom so can it offer nirvana of everything to everyone?
The Kodak EasyShare Touch M5370 measures 10x5.5x2cm the last figure the width expands by another 2.5cm when fully zoomed. It weights 137grams. Mine was a metallic red and silvered face with the rest in black. The screen however is rather reflective in strong sunlight. The face has the lens towards the right side with the bar flash mounted above and to the left it can never be nearer than 3cm to the lens.
Many more years ago than I care to admit or can even remember some of them, I came across a piece of software that had been released as unprotected Shareware. The software had been developed by somebody whose main interests were jet planes and developing software which explains why he named his company JASC that software was Paint Shop Pro.
Since those early days, Paint Shop Pro has developed into a well-respected commercial product which now forms part of the Corel family. It has also been a permanent fixture, through numerous versions, on my various systems. As I write this introduction, the current version of this photo and image editing package is installing itself on my work system.
If you own an iPod Touch, iPhone or iPad then this app together with the headband and software can tell you how well you are sleeping. I am perhaps not the best to review this as my sleep patterns are to say the least erratic.
If you do not own one of the devices above I see Zeo also do a bedside unit that I understand works more of less the same way but this is currently unavailable to review, as soon as it becomes so I will arrange to trial it. I was leant an iPod Touch and several of my initial problems were caused by not knowing the interface of this iPod. There is a six step instruction card that should really get you ready to use the product for the first time.
Here something brand new and LED light that can also be a flash that has just been released. The second item also from Manfrotto is something all serious amateur photographers need is a bag to keep all their items in.
This is the largest of three arrays recently launched but this is the only one that can also be used as a conventional flash. It is 13x7.5x3.5cm and with the required 4x‘AAA’ batteries inserted weights 168grams, this in the overall size. It can be fitted either vertically or horizontally as there are two shoe fitments. There are four rows of nine LED’s and intensity can be adjusted by on/off twist wheel, there is a separate flash button on the back.
Put the words Samsung and Galaxy together in the same sentence and you could start thinking that the subject matter was going to be a tablet device. However by inserting the word Mini into the sentence, the device under consideration would metamorphosis into a smartphone.
The Galaxy Mini is Samsung’s latest attempt to be the model of choice for those looking for a budget price handset. With dimensions of 110 x 64 x 12mm and weighing 107g, this handset is fairly unremarkable with regards to its general appearance. The off-white plastic casing might not suffer from a finger print affliction but the 3.1-inch capacitive touch screen more than makes up for this as it collects smears at a rate.
The latest range of Kodak All In One devices, USB and Wireless and software that can do more than the average software package. Here I am looking at the basic All In One offering units cost less than they did and ink is cheaper as tanks are larger.
The Kodak Hero 7.1 All-In-One printer measures 45x41x19cm, all black and rather boxy, certainly not something to please the lounge police but it can be USB or Wireless and of course the latter means it can live out of sight in a cupboard or maybe behind a settee.
According to the Concise Oxford Dictionary a tab is a small flap, strip, tag or tongue; an account, tally; and keep an account of. However in more recent parlance, a tab is also the abbreviated form used to describe the latest hot topics with regards to computer hardware. In this particular case it is the Liberty Tab from Packard Bell.
The Liberty Tab is a Tablet PC built around a 10.1-inch touch screen that delivers a resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels. The actual unit’s dimensions are 260 x 179 x 14mm (H x W x D) which does mean you will not be able to slip this device in a pocket when not required. The weight is 766g allowing you to balance the tablet on one hand while working away with the other.
It is time to take charge of your miniature work force (that physical size and not quantity) as you set about rebuilding some of the mythical wonders of the world by embarking on a Magical Mystery Tour.
Adding to a series that includes the original title plus 7 Wonders of the Ancient World and Treasures of Seven, Mumbo Jumbo has released 7 Wonders Magic Mystery Tour. As with the other titles in the series, this is a match-3 game that involves earning resources for creating Wonders such as Bimini, El Dorado, Atlantis, City of the Caesars, Camelot, Valhalla and Shangri-La. Four levels of game play are available.
Its been a while since I have reviewed anything from Philips; I think the last thing was their Sonicare Electric Toothbrush. Here I am looking at their latest battery operated shaver although it is far more than a simple shaver.
I was attending an event at a posh London hotel and as I left I happened to see that Philips had the adjoining room, I spoke to the PR lady on the door and asked to be sent information and as a result I got a chance to review this. A mixture of chrome, rubber and plastic it is 17x6x7cm and weights a comfortable 178grams in the hand, either hand. It stands vertical in the charger unit and there is also a range of other bits and pieces to allow the man to claim some of the bathroom clutter.
Touch is the current hot topic when features are mentioned. Now Microsofts latest mouse joins the party.
While Microsoft would be only too happy to wave a fond farewell to Windows XP, there are many users who are determined to continue using this familiar friend on their computer. As the end of mainstream support for this operating system has failed to encourage these XP fans to switch to Windows 7, maybe Microsoft has decided to offer a different type on inducement with the launch of the Touch Mouse which will only run on Windows 7 and subsequent versions.
While there are hundreds of iPod/iPhone docks around few products are currently coming to market that are in the hi-fi category. This product currently available in Aldi stores has CD and FM radio as well as the iPod iPhone capability.
The main unit is 26x16x24cm the last figure the depth is with mains and speaker cables inserted. The speakers are slightly bigger at 31x18x23cm. Both the main and speaker units have the same matt black colour. The speaker faces have two wire (effect) grills and the rear has a small indent and the speaker wires are hard wired. The only change from the matt black are two small silver grey areas between the speaker grills that match with a circular knob just above the central area of the main unit.
Little did I think three months ago that this feature would run to thirteen parts? First something large not costing a fortune and second something rather small that you will see all over London in 2012 transport with the Olympic logo.
Fancy letting your six year old loose with saws, hammer and nails? No nor would I, but here it is reasonably safe and the wood provided is made of expanded polystyrene (like the packing round almost any product you buy) but brown instead of white and grained so it looks like wood. The saw has plastic teeth and when I ran it over my hand I did not even graze my skin. Perhaps another important fact there is no saw dust when the material is cut.
The iGo Memphis is a solidly made over-ear stylish stereo headset with built-in microphone for those who dont like in-ear headphones. With its nicely padded -- but not too large -- ear cushions and headband it will provide a convenient companion for smartphone users who want something better than the headset normally provided with their phone.
This headset is ideal for regular use when one wants to listen to music or the radio on one’s smartphone and yet be able to be readily accessible on the phone. Calls can be accepted, and then terminated, just via the push-button on the in-line microphone. I have no way of checking on the 20Hz to 20KHz claimed frequency response of the 40mm drivers.
Adding to its already impressive range of laptops is the Aspire Timeline X from Acer.
While first impressions, especially when they are visual ones, are not always totally defining, they can have a positive effect. The Timeline X 5830T model certainly gets off to a good start with its sleek appearance enhanced by a blue, black and silver colour scheme plus a top that has a downward slope at the rear along with circular hinges. In its closed state the Timeline X dimensions are 380 x 245 x 28mm (W x D x H) and weighs around 2.
The Sony NEXC3KB is described as an Interchangeable Lens Digital Camera, what a lot of people would call a DSLR, it is small and easy to use but still has most of the ability you would expect from a DSLR unit, meaning excellent images.
Before I go on to describe this rather neat small unit there is one thing that dissuade some from buying it. While it can capture both RAW and JPG images (at the same time should you wish) it does not have any 4:3 options. Your choices in a range of capture sizes are either 16:9 or 3:2 so should you want to print an A4 image you will need to think before you capture about how you frame your shot.
While not a fan of his music, I was keen to check out a headset bearing Bobs Marleys name especially due to its eco-friendly slant.
Bob Marley, the Jamaican Reggae star who died in 1981, had a vision of One Love, One World. This vision inspired the setting up of The House of Marley to develop a range of eco-conscious, innovative products based on the guiding principles of superior quality, sustainably sourced, cause minded and waste conscious.
A recent arrival from Mumbo Jumbo reminded me of a game I played many years ago on a computer system that was long assigned to the scrapheap of failed brands. While I have forgotten the games title, I do remember that it involved guiding a submarine through a series of underwater caverns avoiding land mines, depth charges and laser beams while destroying enemy vessels.
With the Mumbo Jumbo title of Glowfish, you take control of an aquatic hero as you embark on an underwater adventure. An introductory sequence with colourful graphics and layered scenery leads you through a story of how an underwater paradise was turned into a dangerous environment with enemies lurking in every nook and cranny, behind rocks and plants plus waiting to pounce of our unwary hero as he swims through passageways.