GadgetSpeak Articles

GadgetSpeak has close to 5,000 product reviews and other articles. You can use this page to find others opinions on anything from mobile phones to computers to the latest kitchen appliance

630232 tvonics DTR HD500 video recorder HD freevie

TVonics DTR-500HD

Having looked at an earlier model (not HD) this was an eagerly awaited arrival. Very different in size and shape. My first check was the pass-through and that performed correctly, is this to be the unit I have been looking for?
The TVonics DTR-500HD measures 37x20x9cm but the last figure the height is only 3cm at the front. For me anyway that creates a possible problem. Tuning takes around three minutes mine found 72 TV 23 Radio and 11 Data channels. As with most such units almost everything is controlled from the remote control. Here a 52 key model that of course contains the ubiquitous five position joystick. As always various major buttons are in differing places but once used to the layout it’s easy enough.
Not everybody can afford the prices being asked for the market-leading graphics products available from Adobe and Corel. Serif offers an alternative with its DrawPlus product.
Since it was founded in 1987, Serif has continued to challenge the conception that full-featured graphics applications should automatically qualify for a high price tag.  Starting with desktop publishing software, entitled PagePlus, before expanding into other areas, Serif has developed and published a series of applications under its Plus brand name covering all aspects of graphics.  Each title was released at a price point considerably lower than other titles in that arena.
630233 altec lansing Octive 202 iPod iPhone Dual Doc

Altec Lansing Octiv 202

The days of a household having a single iPod are no more so not only do you need the ability to charge more than one the ability to play the sounds from more than one through speakers is here with this double dock offering from Altec Lansing.
In simple terms the Altec Lansing Octiv 202 is two docks mounted side by side on top of a pair of speakers. However the ability merge playlists is something new and with a downloadable utility you can select what comes from which of the units. The shape is like a quarter of a round cake. It is 27cm across at the front and 3cm at the back. It is 8.5cm tall without whatever iPods inserted in their docks on the top. From front to back it is 14cm.
630234 withings body scales internet connecte

WiFi Bathroom Scales

While these scales do tell your weight they also tell you your fat mass and even your body mass index. Unlike the only other device I have seen that did all this that cost into four figures this one only just creeps into three.
The scale itself is glass and either black or white. It is 32x32x2.5cm with a 6.5x4.5cm display window at the centre top. While the top is glass there is a circular disc in the centre and the back and sides are plastic. There are four plastic feet. The base has a 24x8.
Fans of Nancy Drew will be pleased to hear that the young detective returns for yet another mystery solving escapade, this time in a snow-bound holiday resort.
With the HL-2250DN Brother has produced an entry level mono laser printer to meet the needs of a growing number of homes and small businesses who have a limited budget but need a networked printer to be shared between two or more computers.
It is ideal for those migrating to a laser printer for the first time as it is low cost, only occupies a small amount of desk space and is easy to set up and use. Furthermore, it has an attractive matt black finish so would not look out of place in the living room if it has to be moved to there from the office. Start-up instructions are provided on a double-sided A2 (luckily folded) sheet and there are two CDs -- one with drivers and utilities and the other with documentation.
630235 Logitech SqueezeboX Internet Radio WiFi wireless MP3 streamin

Logitech Squeezebox Radio

Amongst other things the Logitech Squeezebox Radio is a rather good Internet Radio with the quickest connection (almost no buffering delays) whether you connect using Ethernet or Wireless. Plug In, turn on, select Internet Radio, choose you station and listen.
It is quite small at 21x10x13cm. Mine was black, unfortunately that shiny black that shows every finger mark. The right side has a headphone socket. The rear in an indent the power lead input, Auxiliary input and Ethernet port but even with items plugged in nothing protrudes over the stated 10cm total depth of the Squeezebox. The left side, base and the top are clear leaving only the front of the unit to describe.
Keeping your computer running at its optimum capacity is a never-ending task. Why not take the approach of letting software do the job for you.
With a choice of first or third-person action, Sherlock Holmes joins the Focus Multimedia catalogue of games.
Two solutions for those who do not have a Blu-ray player and those who do not have USB3 ports that are required to run the first solution. Buffalo provide the USB3 Blu-ray drive and Lindy provides the solution for those needing US3 ports.
We tend to forget that a radio is a wireless device. As such it could access the Internet and your computer’s digital content.
Bringing together FM, DAB and Internet radio with the ability to access a cloud-based music service is the EVOKE Flow from PURE.  In the past I have looked at a number of FM/DAB radio offerings from various manufacturers (including PURE) but this is the first time that I have come across this particular combination of features and services.
The Netgear RangeMax Dual Band Wireless-N Modem Router DGND3300 offers both versatility and high performance and, despite lacking Gigabit Ethernet, should meet the needs of the majority of users. In addition to its connectivity, security and other features its USB port allows external storage to be shared by attached PCs.
The first thing that one notices is the absence of wireless antennas. In fact, Netgear explains that the unit has eight internal antennas and that, for optimal wireless network performance, the unit should stand vertically using the provided clip-on stand. The Smart Wizard on the “start here” CD has illustrations which provide guidance and simplify the basic task of connecting the router prior to configuring the internet connection and then configuring the wireless network.
This seems to be the main push in the UK for Packard Bell at the moment given the amount of advertising I am seeing in newspapers and magazine. So is it all hype or is the Easy Note a Notebook to go on a very short list.
It is 37x25x3cm, mine was red with creamy whiter surrounding the screen, wonderful as this does not show fingermarks. The viewable screen is 34x19.5cm giving the diagonal measurement of 15.6inches; the default display is 1366x768. The left side has power brick lead input, VGA outlet, Ethernet port, HDMI outlet, USB port and the two audio sockets for microphone and headphones. The front has a multi card port.
628297 doro wt87 walkie talkie

Doro MemoryPlus 309dp and WT87

As the whole country’s population continues to age tools like these allow older members of the community to still lead an independent life. First a phone whose one number dialling is dependant on a picture. The second is a walkie talkie set that can work over several miles.
This consists of a slightly slanted panel with two columns of letters A-C and D-F, each has a cover that can be removed to be replaced with a picture and in this form then can be used to allow six numbers to be dialled with a single touch. It is 17x13.5cm with the height varying between 3and5cm (front to back). You can remove a door in the base to program these six numbers and indeed to use as a normal phone should it be required for that purpose at any time.
Combining the ability to take digital notes while recording audio is a product that could be said to have its finger on the pulse.
For those unable to justify the cost of the full Photoshop package then the ‘Elements’ offering has a good percentage of the same content at a small percentage of the price of the full products. If you need both still and movie editing then save again by buying the joint package.
Today the space between Movie and Still editing is shrinking so while these are still two products they are closely linked. However it is still two different DVD’s and also separate installs. Photoshop Elements 9 took ten minutes on a reasonably fast PC and used 2,740MB of hard disc space. Premier Elements also took ten minutes but used only 1,412MB as there is some shared code, officially called ‘shared technologies’.
Currently occupying a portion of my available workspace is the Canon PIXMA MP640. This is an All-in-One device that offers print, scan and copy capabilities while giving you a choice of USB or 802.11bg WLAN connectivity when connecting to your computer system which can be either a Windows or Mac machine. Also included with this product is a duplex feature for those jobs that require printing on both sides of the paper.
Setting up this All-in-One device is straightforward.  Included in the box are multi-lingual guides for Getting Started and Network Setup Troubleshooting.  The PIXMA MP640 uses a five ink cartridge solution to cut down on waste.  You get cyan, yellow, magenta and black dye-based cartridges plus a black pigment cartridge for sharp black text.
Time to put your ghost hunting and puzzle solving skills to the test as you set about helping a wandering spirit in the Midnight Mysteries series.
628294 orbitsound t4 ipod doc

Orbitsound T4

Unlike the T3 and T12 (reviewed in 2008) this is far more than a speaker unit. It does have a speaker as an output but this is an Internet, DAB, FM radio, iPod dock as well as being able to be used as an Auxiliary unit to project sound.
The Orbitsound T4 is also a lot smaller than any such units I have reviewed previously at only 10.5x10.5x14cm, the unit is matt black. The front has a 6x3.5window that shows up to six lines of information, white on grey and it’s very readable even from a distance. Below this is the single speaker but as you would expect from Orbitsound its good quality. The top has the iPod dock and there are fifteen buttons, five along each side and the other five along the front.
Ever fancied a career as a truck driver. Now is your chance to see if you are cut out to be a real road warrior as you take to the Californian highways.
628295 samsung ST5500 Digital Camer

Samsung ST5500

This is a small solid and good quality digital camera that can also take excellent quality video. It has good optical zoom at 7x and can take 14MP still images, perhaps best of all it is almost totally touchscreen for ease of use.
The Samsung ST5500 compact digital camera measures 10.5x5.5x2.5cm the latter figure can increase to 5.5cm when the unit is fully zoomed in. It weights 180grams. The right side has a door with USB and mini HDMI sockets behind it; further down is a wrist strap anchor point. The left side has nothing while the base has a door hiding a solid battery and a micro SD card slot, further along is a tripod screw. The face has the Schneider optical lens with the flash mounted above and to its left.
628293 rubber soled shoe

Rubbersole Shoes

Just over a year ago I told you about my foray into buying a pair of boots by mail order. Yes I know it’s a man thing as most women I know delight in trying on every pair in the shop before buying the first they tried on anyway.
Here I purchased two pairs, a pair for best and a pair that will pass when trainers will not probably meet inspection. Like the rest of me, my feet are mature – ok old – so the main proviso as far as I am concerned is comfort. This rather goes against the name of the seller as it has leather soles; rubber heals and leather uppers to complete the shoe. This is perhaps the best shoe I have ever owned.
Having spent a fair amount of money on a new laptop it is important to get a suitable case. The Revolution from STM Bags is a backpack that will be easy to carry around and should provide adequate protection for the laptop even though its internal facilities for accessories could be improved.
There are tradeoffs in the design of any laptop bag as it must be kept as light as possible without compromising robustness and the protection that it needs to provide for the computer. At the same time it must conveniently accommodate all the various items that the road warrior needs. Hence, the design can be considered in two parts: the rucksack itself and then the facilities provided for the protection and storage of the contents.
Over the years, and numerous versions, as it has developed from a single application into a full-blown suite of graphics titles, CorelDRAW has arrived in different types of packaging. The latest version, CorelDRAW Graphics Suite X5, comes in the form of a hardback book with its own rigid slip case. The actual software is on a DVD attached to the inside of the book’s front cover while the book acts as the User Guide.
As you would expect from the Suite designation, this product consists of a number of applications.  The main elements are made up of CorelDRAW X5, Corel PHOTO-Paint X5, Corel PowerTRACE X5, Corel Capture X5 and Corel Connect.  You also get SWiSH miniMAX 2 and PhotoZoom Pro 2 plus sackfuls of images, photos, font, templates and 2 hours of training videos.
Unless you need to print colour pages this is a very efficient way to work, I often need to print single pages this has virtually no warm up time. I scan single pages to print again very quick and finally email the signed page once scanned also very efficient.
It has a small footprint at 36x30x22cm, you will need a little more space above the 22cm height in order to lift the scanner lid. 11cm of the 30cm depth is just at the base for the open input paper tray, face up input face down output. There are a total of nine buttons on the front top edge (in front of the scanner lid) but apart from the on/off button on the left of these you really only need to go near the unit to top up the input tray and collect the output when printing.
When showing off your latest power tools for the home, it makes sense to select an appropriate location. In the case of Bosch, this meant a location known as Home Sweet Home. Despite the recent adverse weather conditions, I was there on behalf of Gadgetspeak.
I must admit it was a little disconcerting to be ushered into a bedroom for my initial introduction to a Bosch product.  However it was probably the right location to display the special limited edition of the company’s IXO cordless screwdriver.  This limited edition was launched to celebrate sales of 10 million IXOs worldwide.
With 50 million units sold over all platforms and a new sale being generated every 4.3 seconds, the original Bejeweled title makes a welcome return with version 2.
This Pace unit (badged Philips) was the first HD unit I saw in a presentation in the spring, here now the production unit. If you need HD recording then this 500GB digital unit may just tick all the boxes on your wish list.
The Philips HDT8520 Dual HD TV Recorder measures 24x20x6cm but you will need at least another 2cm behind the middle figure the depth in order for the cables to be attached. Installation is quite straightforward, the easiest is just to attach the supplied HDMI cable and tune to that channel. The screen should show a Philips Welcome screen. There are a few simple questions to answer before the scan for channels but everything is explained in Quick Start Guide.
625552 brother DCP J125 multi function printer scanne

Brother DCP-J125

Taking over my recent printing tasks has been a new product from Brother. This particular model is the multi-function DCP-J125.
This multi-function device provides scan, copy and print functionality for both photographic and basic document hardcopy production.  The DCP-J125 connects to your computer system via a standard USB 2.0 port.
This type of small camcorder has become very popular. The first I came across was the Flip with several incarnations. Then Kodak produced one and now Panasonic who are better known for high end cameras and camcorders. Panasonic call theirs a mobile camera.
The Panasonic TA1 measures 10.5x5x1.8cm and weights 110grams. Like most of these recent units it supports full HD and can capture still images. Mine was black and chrome, with the back and front black and the rest chrome. The face has the lens with the pin hole microphone just below. The base has a screw for a tripod. The left side has two doors in the chrome for A/V out and the slide out USB plug now favoured by most.
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