Its been a while since I have been sent a camera that stretches me a little. Providing the amount of stretching is a little I like it as it stops you getting into a rut that allows the camera to make all the choices without you having to think.
The Pentax K-S2 DSLR measures 12x11x9cm and it weights 848grams (without neck strap attached). The second figure the width is achieved by the lens being locked in closed position which makes the 18 to 55mm lens smaller than it would otherwise appear, as unlocked (ready to shoot) it is at least 3cm bigger. My unit was predominately white with grey covering the entry points and buttons and viewfinder being the normal black.
With the perfusion of cookery programs on TV the things that comes through is accuracy, both in weight and timing/temperature so these two items can help with those things. First an accurate kitchen scale and second an oven temperature gauge.
This scale can weigh up to 5kilos. They are rectangular at 25x18x2cm as a maximum as they are slightly less at the back. They run on two ‘AAA’ provided. There are just two buttons one each side of the 5.5x2.2cm oval display, this display is black on grey. The right touch button zeros the display when whatever you are using to measure your items in is placed on the scale, if you continue to press this button it turns the scale off.
Standing for Paris New York, PNY is a company that designs and manufactures products to make some aspects of modern living easier.
Summer comes and summer goes. However due to the vagaries of the British weather sometimes you could miss the season if you happened to blink. Yet there are still organisations that have targeted this particular season as the ideal time to launch some mew offerings. Recently at a meeting with PNY, I was informed that the company had just released a number of products in its summer line up.
This is a DAB/FM/Internet radio that works via Wi-Fi and can be used as an input or output as well as having Spotify built in. It can be run off batteries which can be rechargeable and even off a battery pack for when mains power is not available.
The Roberts Radio Stream 207 radio measures 29x13.5x6cm; this figure is without the seven piece rod aerial extended which can add 66cm to the middle figure. The case is made of black plastic which does show fingermarks and rubber buttons that do not. The front has a 7cm circular speaker on each side the 8.
Did you know that 84% of smartphone users feel they cannot go a single day without using their device; 60% of users admit they sleep with their phone; while 17% claim to have showered with their handset?
2013 marked what some regard as a sea-change with regards to the choice options open to users looking to purchase a new smartphone. Previously the accepted options were either expensive or old technology. However in 2013 Motorola released its ground breaking Moto G handset which offered reasonable up-to-date technology at a price point within the reach of many.
Taking the old favourite of Match-3 game play and placing it within an ancient Egyptian environment with a touch of high culture is a Legend of Mystery or so the title says.
Developed by Magnussoft, a German based company, The Legend of Mystery: High Culture is a Match-3 game. This title, available as a download from Avanquest GSP website priced at £10.20, is spread over more than 100 levels. Set in an ancient Egyptian environment, the game requires you to unlock a series of treasures that become available throughout the course of the game. Profiles can be created for individual players with a choice of three levels of difficulty.
This small touch notebook is ideal for anyone needing to travel with a Windows PC. With most standard notebooks having the connections on the sides this goes about things differently, having almost everything at the rear.
The Acer Aspire V3 touch screen laptop measures 28.5x21x1.5cm and weights 1308grams. The stated battery life is seven hours so a day’s work on the road away from power is just about possible. The left side has a 3.5mm headphone socket on the left side as well as an SD card slot. The rear has an HDMI slot, USB3 port, USB2 port, Ethernet port and power input. Unlike a lot of small notebooks that use special leads all these sockets are full-size.
As part of its Wireless Smart Home portfolio, Smanos has developed its IP6 HD WiFi camera product. Offering 720HD video of a targeted location, this camera unit can either be used as a free-standing or wall-mounted device. Live video content can be viewed with a free iOS or Android app as you check what is going on in your home when you are away.
This Smanos product consists of the camera unit attached to a circular stand; a packet containing screws. Rawl plugs and a reset pin; a power lead with a 3-pin plug; and a Quick Guide booklet covering the English, German, French and Dutch languages. The supplied power plug has a diamond shape which does require slightly more room that a standard unit. The camera stand has a mounting template which can be removed for attaching the camera to a wall if that is the way you decide to go.
It seems strange to talk about scales that use batteries but of course unless they are the old type that use weights all modern scales need a display and that normally needs at least a small battery. This is the exception it uses no battery.
The overall size is 30x30x1.5cm and they weigh 1845grams. The plate you stand on is glass and it is split into three vertical areas. Either side is a white smoked glass for your feet and the central strip is divided into three an 8x3.5cm display area to show the weight, the central part is clear glass and the lower largest part is made up of light receptors to such in the light to keep the unit charged. The A5 instruction manual covers sixteen languages.
This is a Bluetooth only set of headphones; it is small enough to take up little more space than a set of earbuds simply because of the design which is to fit around the back of the neck rather than the normal one of over the head.
If this sort of headset is new to you then it will seem like a puzzle as you try to straighten out the earpieces. They naturally pair to each other and become almost fixed into a pair that is only 4cm thick and the sprung part is only 7cm wide so how does this untangle to fit around the back of your neck.
JAM Wireless Audio, the company responsible for the number one Bluetooth speaker in the UK according to GFK (March 2015), has increased its range of offerings with five new Bluetooth models with prices that range from £49.99 to £19.99. The first of this new batch of Bluetooth speakers to come under my gaze is one of those at the top end of the price range. This product is the JAM Thrill Wireless Stereo Speaker.
Adopting a slight squashed cylinder shape, the Thrill is available in a choice of red, blue, black (my review unit) or grey. The Thrill has dimensions of 174 x 65 x 68mm (W x H x D) and weighs 390g. This means you are unlikely to want to slip in a pocket but it could fit snugly in a bag when you need to have some extra boost to your music while enjoying the outdoors.
This Android phone is smart and looks that little bit different from the majority, maybe its the copper colour of the back and sides and maybe its the shape with edges that do not shave away, whatever it is its just that little bit different.
The Sony Xperia Z3 measures 14.5x7x.8cm and weights 155grams. At the top towards the left edge is a 3.5mm socket for headphones, on the left side is a fingernail opening to reveal the micro USB socket for charging, further down two contacts for a dock. The right side has another fingernail opening for Nano SIM slot which also has a micro USB card slot, lower is a silvered on/off button then the volume rocker and finally a camera button.
This next review brings together a couple of Belkin products that offer to provide some assistance in protecting your home.
The Belkin Netcam, as its title might imply, allows you to keep a check on what is occurring within an area of your home when you are absent. With my review unit being supplied by QVC, the kit consists of a Wi-Fi camera with night vision, power lead, screws and rawl plugs for wall mounting, plus a Quick Install Guide. You will also need an Android or iOS smartphone along with a Wi-Fi router for Internet connection.
With a title that might discourage you from installing the product, Infected: The Twin Vaccine is described on the packaging as a spine-tingling Hidden-Object thriller. Developed by GoGii and available from Avanquests GSP game catalogue in Collectors Edition format, this game sets you the task of searching the town of Oxford for a missing girl who holds the key to preventing a global epidemic.
As usual with game of this type, you can set up a profile for individually named players. There is a choice of windowed, full screen or wide screen action with a custom of system cursor. Using slider bars you can adjust image quality and the volume levels for music, sound effects and voice dialogue. You can also opt to play in Casual mode which offers a tutorial, help text and quick recharging rates for the hints and skipping mini-games plus the appearance of glints.
This is a piece of software that in its basic form anyone can download for FREE. I tend to be rather suspicious of any software that claims to speed up your PC, in fact hardly a month goes by without me being offered such items, normally from an unknown source.
Here however I know the company as I have used their software for many years in the CD and DVD arena. Here – still with my normal caution – I heaved out a notebook that hardly ever gets to see daylight as it is so slow. I downloaded the software and put it through the ‘free’ tests it found a number of problems, a lot of unnecessary files and offered to uninstall several programs that were redundant.
While the big boys in the arena of Smartphone manufacturing tend to price their hardware at a level that many of us find incompatible with our financial constraints, other manufacturers of these must-have devices have a more economically viable approach to the pricing of their various models. One such company is ZTE, one of the worlds largest manufacturers of telecommunications equipment and mobile phones, with its Blade range of handsets.
Recently I checked out the company’s Blade L3 product and now it is the turn of the ZTE Blade S6 handset. As with the Blade L3, the Blade S6 features a 5-inch HD colour touch-screen with the product being aimed at the young and those of us who often claim to be young-at-heart. However before getting down to the product itself, I need to point out that my review sample, white in colour, arrived without any documentation whatsoever.
Small portable USB3 drives are not uncommon, WD have just enhanced their range by including a 3TB version. I will not bore you about my first internal hard drive of just a few MB or the early small MB USB sticks, just be content that 3TB can store a lot of movies and so many images and MP3 files that the numbers are huge.
The new drives are available in 1TB, 2TB and newly 3TB versions. They are all the same size and in my tests did not require external power other than that coming down the provided USB3 lead, they also work correctly on USB2 drives but of course the data transfer rate will be slower. The ITB is 11x8x1cm and weigh 155grams without the USB lead. The 2TB is is 11x8x1.7cm and weigh 237grams, the provided lead is 40cm long and should be long enough to allow the drive to sit flat in most circumstances.
The Philips USB Docking Stand provides a quick and easy means of connecting a laptop to a large external monitor, external peripherals and the network. It will be especially useful to those who use their laptop both at the home and in the office and need a wide range of facilities.
Not the first back massage unit I have reviewed, as like a lot of people of my age I have a bad back they are always met with my backs apprehensive approval. This has one advantage over other powered units its small size when rolled up.
While the back is 55x48cm and the connected seat 36x45cm it comfortably rolls up with the power lead and adapter together with the car adapter into a box 45x17x17cm. Previous items I have reviewed have done more than this item, often they have Shiatsu ability built in, however if you just need massage to your back with or without heat then this is priced as a near impulse buy.
Not to be confused with a similarly entitled graphics product from the same company, Xara Photo & Graphics Designer 11 combines elements of creative design and photo editing software within a single package.
With this latest version of the Photo & Graphics Designer, Xara has integrated a number of new and enhanced features, which you might well expect with a new version, but, more surprisingly, has reduced the price being asked for this software by almost 30% and that is for new users. If you are upgrading from the previous version of the product then this software is currently available, as an introductory offer, at less than half price.
When you are out and about with your Tablet or Notebook there are many times when you want Internet access. The vast majority of such devices do not have mobile SIM slots so up until now you have to rely on café and other places open Internet, not any more.
At a recent Christmas In July event by the Dixons Store Group this was the stand out device that I saw on the day and I got the chance to test it. It is an EE device that provides a mobile hot spot for I am told up to ten devices, I tried it with three. The device is 7.5x7.5x1.3cm and weights 92grams with band attached. Three different coloured bands are supplied which could be used to identify the network or just for fashion purposes.
With the tag line of Liberate your Sound, the CHANT is a portable Bluetooth audio speaker developed by the House of Marley. This product is available in Mini and BT versions with this review being based on the larger BT model which shares many of its features with its smaller brethren.
The CHANT BT is available in a choice of Black, Navy or Blue Hemp. Unpacking the product reveals the CHANT unit; a recyclable aluminium carabineer clip for attaching the CHANT to a belt or other accessory; one of the shortest standard-to-micro USB leads, measuring just 20cm, I have seen; and a folded sheet of instructions using a font size that immediately had me reaching for my magnifying glass.
Eastville Chronicles: The Drama Queen Murder describes itself as a whodunit Hidden Object game full of love, passion and intrigue. Developed by Queen Media and published by TAG, this game is now available as part of the Avanquest GSP catalogue.
As usual with games of this genre, you can set up profiles for individual players containing their own range of settings. Adjustments can be made to the volume levels for music and sound effects. As the sound effects just consist of a couple of noises that occur when you locate one of the hidden objects, you may want to reduce this particular volume level.
There are numerous streaming services available; few however allow you to stream in high quality. Qobuz even have a service that lets you download and keep the music that however is not that cheap. Here is a service that works providing they have the music you want.
Before you commit yourself you can try it out with the normal proviso that you only get 30seconds of a track. The two stream qualities that I had available were MP3 320mbps which is quite good and the excellent FLAC 44.1kbps which is CD quality. However even with the higher quality selected some of the time only the MP3 standard was available, this was often with music that was recorded a number of years ago.
The Ricoh SP 3600DN product is a mono laser printer. This particular unit has been developed to replace the Ricoh SP3500N, SP364510DN and SP4100NL models. As such Ricoh believes this product would be best suited for use in a small office or home office environment where it could service the printing needs of between 2 and 5 users.
Decked out in light and dark shades of computer grey, the SP 3600 has a sturdy appearance which is backed up by the unit’s weight of 14.5kg and dimensions of 370 x 392 x 268mm (W x D x H). The DN part of the product’s model number gives the indication that this device has both Duplex and Network capabilities built into the unit.
The Heston Blumenthal Dual Platform precision kitchen scales from Salter greatly improve the accuracy in weighing of ingredients and so will find favour with anyone who takes their cooking seriously.
They cover a wider weight range than the majority of scales and also enable one to weigh out small quantities accurately -- something that is beyond the ability of the majority of kitchen scales. The scales, which come supplied in a storage case, are solidly built with the metal body matt black and roughly 260 x 165mm in size overall while the two stainless steel platforms, each of which has a red styling line around its edge, are respectively 165 x 145 and 80 x 70mm in size.
Security in one form or another is a big market. Here I am talking about home security in this case an easy to install and setup solution supplied to me with a single camera but the software with it is able to handle many more cameras.
The outside of the box has a simple strap line, “Connect a camera, create an account, see your stuff”. They go on to say “The only cloud camera that stores the last seven days for free, with no subscription’ So lets see how I go in proving the claims made above. The camera itself is 12cm long and with the light shield is round at 7cm. The supplied wall mount fits underneath the rear of the unit and can protrude by up to 5cm.
This item would be for those who go out and about a lot. As soon as a say high quality it also means high price but the two can go together to produce an excellent well-made product so if you walk a lot then you are made for this item.
This back pack is manufactured to take a notebook first and everything else second. It’s weight when empty is 1565grams. It is 46x30x13cm but the last figure the width does stretch. There is a filled 13cm long handle on the top for comfortable carrying when it’s not in residence on your back. The outside back is packed with an airmesh material that lets your back breathe and so lessens sweat. The top collar is 6cm wide leading down to the straps that are 7.
This mono laser can print, scan and copy. It is a quite small unit so would easily fit into a cupboard or even onto a strong shelf, being black or perhaps more accurately very dark grey it is unlikely to pass the tests imposed by the lounge police.
The Brother DCP-L2520DW mono laser printer measures 40x35x30cm and just add enough to insert items onto the flatbed so say make the last figure 35cm and that is all the space it requires as paper is delivered once printed within the units confines. The unit weights 9.7kilos. If you use USB the cable is inserted back left and the power lead back right. You may find that you need a USB lead to make the Wi-Fi linking easier as otherwise you have a harder job to make the initial connection.
The Smart Prime 6 is a new member of the Vodafone family of smartphones. In this particular case, the Smart Prime 6 offering is a Vodafone 4G enabled model that is being targeted at the budget market sector with a price point of £80.00 on a PAYG basis.
While budget smartphones can have a tendency to look the part, this is not true of the Vodafone Smart Print 6 model. While the unit’s casing might be constructed of plastic, its overall appearance gives you the impression that you are handling a device that would be acceptable in more exalted company with its smooth lines and round corners. Available in a choice of silver or gun-metal grey (my review sample from Vodafone), the Vodafone Smart Prime 6 has dimensions of 141.