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

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.
Unlike the unit recently reviewed from Tefal this does not require a stove just a 13amp socket to plug it into. These items used to be called pressure cookers as they cook quickly, now the name is a Multi Cooker as it is versatile.
The Tefal Multi Cooker is circular 29cm across where there are no handles and 34cm across where the handles protrude and close to 30cm tall. Plug the supplied mains lead into the rear of the unit read the instructions are you are ready to prepare a one pot meal. As with anything bearing the Jamie Oliver name there is a receipt book here it is a full colour 160 page offering. There is an instruction booklet with the first eleven pages in English.
Last time I met up with Nero, the company promised support for Blu-ray. With this latest version of its software, Nero has made good its promise.
626769 kodak zx3 playsport camcorde

Kodak ZX3 Pocket Camcorder

Around 18 months ago I told you about the Kodak ZX1 their first foray in the very popular pocket (mobile phone size) camcorder arena. Here is - I think - their next offering the ZX3 which gives you the ability to capture movies underwater to 3metres depth.
The Kodak ZX3 measures 11x6x2cm and it weights 140grams. Mine had a cream front dark grey back and sides and it was black around the top. There is a substantial hole near the bottom for a wrist strap – very important if you swim – above this on the front four buttons in a semi circle and the ubiquitous five position joystick centered in the lower part of the front.
625550 adobe photoshop elements

Adobe Photoshop Elements 9

While Adobe Photoshop rules the roost as far as high-end, professional graphics is concerned, the company also has a more budget-orientated package with Photoshop Elements. The latest version of this graphics product is Photoshop Elements 9.
When firing up Photoshop Elements 9 you are presented with an option to view an introduction designed either for those coming new to Photoshop Elements or those who have used previous versions of the software.  In both cases you are shown some of the program’s features.  You could, of course, ignore both these options and head straight to the Organise or Edit features that form the main focus of this product.
It is time to visit the Whitechapel area of London in the late 1880’s as you attempt to solve the murders that continue to confound the experts.
If asked what I would consider to be the greatest unsolved crime then I would probably opt for those perpetrated by Jack the Ripper (I’m sure I would not be alone in this) closely followed by “Who took the last chocolate biscuit?” (I have my suspicions regarding the latter but the editor continues to protest his innocence).  But, like with many others, the Jack the Ripper crimes have a certain morbid fascination.
627847 smartbox 8320hd freeview hd tuner HDD video recorde

SmartBox 8320HD

It's a while since I've looked at a hard-disk video recorder so I was eager to see what innovations the SmartBox 8320HD could bring to our family entertainment.
First of all the basics. The product name, "SmartBox 8320 ", should be the first clue that this is one of the recent FreeView HD receivers. It includes two independent tuners allowing various combinations or watching and recording different channels.
626768 lenovo IdeaCenter A700 touch screen all in one compute

Lenovo Touchscreen PC

I requested to see this in the early summer, now shortly before Christmas after many delays it has arrived. I can see why a touchscreen notebook would be possible but unless short sighted I think reaching out to touch this screen puts it a little near.
The IdeaCentre B Series touch screen computer measures 56x42x8cm. The viewable screen is 50x28.5cm giving the notional diagonal imperial measurement of 23 inches. Behind the screen – in and around the support – are power input, two HDMI ports, Ethernet, SPDIF, A/V in, two lines of two USB ports and Co-Axiel socket. The rest of the connections are found on the sides of the screen.
Calling all budding pop stars!! If you love Simon Cowell's flagship TV pop phenomena then this a fun item built just for you.
The X-Factor Lucky Voice Karaoke Party Box from Gear 4 is a straightforward kit comprising a microphone, a mixer and all connecting leads necessary to connect up to your laptop or PC. The mic and mixer are both well-built and very much up to the job. The little mixer features a great 'echo' effect to add a bit of production spice to the voice. You can connect up to your usual PC speakers with ease.
Those kind people at Laptops Direct were responsible for supplying this next product from the Acer stable of netbook/notebook catalogue.
When you add the suffix “Happy” to the title of a product, as has happened with Acer and the latest version of its Aspire One, you could be accused of tempting fate.  After all while users might be happy when everything works as it is meant to; any mishap or connection issue could bring about a complete change of emotion even if the problem was the result of elements outside the direct control of Acer.
This gadget is highly recommended as a great value item - you could invest in several job-specific power tools and find that each one in itself was not as accomplished in its job as the Bosch PMF. This is a genuine all-rounder and it is hard to find fault with its design, ability and versatility
Teutonically solid and rugged in your hand, the Bosch PMF 10.8 Li power tool can tackle a multitude of jobs around the home and is also built well enough for professional use.  Being a  sawing, cutting, scraping and sanding tool, with just this and a power drill you could take on most of the DIY tasks you might need to tend to around your property.
A neat cube shaped coffee machine, with Douwe Egberts coffe pods, certainly packs a punch.
Since the Senseo Quadrante coffee machine from Phillips/Douwe Egberts arrived for review around two weeks ago I would say that I have become a little hooked. I've only drunk one cup of my usual Instant in that time. This little beastie makes tasty, strong coffee with the greatest of ease. Fill the large eight-cup water tank in seconds and then simply pop a Douwe Egberts coffee pod into the tray.
626767 epson 310N business inkjet printe

Epson Inkjet 310N

This is described as a business inkjet. It is reasonably fast but its big selling point is that the cost per page is less than 1ppp when printing in monochrome. Mind you every plus has a minus it is unlikely to ever pass the lounge police.
Someone being less than polite could call it ugly, a more polite statement would call it boxy. The Epson 310N business inkjet printer measures 47x40x30cm with the rear paper tray closed. Mainly cream in colour with a mid grey back panel and various dark grey to black shades at the front. However as no style icon myself I am not really the person to criticise colours. There are two paper trays a built in one at the base that holds 500 sheets and a flip open near vertical one behind.
The Tefal Actifry Family, lets you cook fried-style food with a fraction of the calorie count. Healthy fried food, made easy.
Let's face it - we all like chips - don't we? But these days most of us are a bit concerned about the health consequences of munching on fatty, processed foods. The ActiFry range of food fryers is about as healthy a cooking device as you can get. I was expecting some kind of deep fat fryer to review but this piece of kitchen kit bears only a passing resemblance to one of those greasy old heart attack machines.

Gifts from Clairabella

While this is only a smallish shop they do have a thriving mail order business. I am telling you about just two items from their wide range of gift items that are sourced from places around the globe and I understand the makers are paid a fair wage.
Known for their small precision craft drills Dremel have now introduced the Trio - similar is styling to a small hand-held router or electric jigsaw this versatile tool will cut, rout and sand.
For those familiar with a standard DIY plunge-router the Dremel Trio will look very familiar. Rather than the usual two post sprung pillars Dremel have gone for a single unsprung post. This is intended to be used to set the depth of cut before use. Once the depth is selected a screw holds the post in the desired position. Power is provided by a 200W motor with a variable speed control allowing you to select anything from 10,000 RPM through to 20,000 RPM. The colette accepts 4.
623370 dymo cardscan executiv

Gathering Contact Data : Dymo CardScan

If you have built up a collection of business cards then you will know that the card you want is never the easiest to find. Dymo have a solution to this problem.
Despite the capability of Bluetooth to beam personal information over short distances, the more traditional business card continues to hold sway when it comes to delivering contact details to others.  One example of this situation could be seen at a Bluetooth awareness event when delegates were observed to be busily exchanging business cards rather than use the Bluetooth technology.
626766 Acer S273HLbmii Ultra Thin Monito

Acer S273HL Large Panel

While panels over 20inches are becoming normal, 23inches is no longer regarded as large but this monster from Acer at a true 27inches must still qualify. Remembering the weight of my first 17inch monitor this panel is far less.
At this size I suspect it will be used mainly for those who connect external devices via the two HDMI sockets but as it has a VGA port you can still connect it to a PC, Notebook or Netbook and use the 1920x1080 resolution. The height when vertical is 64.5cm mounted on its base. The width is 47cm while the depth at the base is 20cm before you insert any cables so for those you would need around another 6cm of clearance at the back of it. The screen is 64.5x35.
I'm sitting in my living room listening to 2Day FM - my daughters favourite Austrailian radio station. Welcom to Internet Radio!
Now that's a long way for your average radio signal to reach - unless you're on Long Wave, in which case the audio will be awful. I'm not and it's not. I'm listening to an excellent quality broadcast that could be transmitted from just down the road. I am of course listening across the Internet. While my daughter discovered 2Day FM by listening using her laptop I have the luxury of listening using a 'real radio'. In this case the Roberts Stream 205.
The presence of a pair of cardboard glasses gives you the clue that the latest version of Roxio Creator is venturing into another dimension.
Where as in the past Roxio and Nero have indulged in the game of leapfrog as they set about enhancing their products along similar lines, this year sees a divergence in the paths taken by each company.  Nero has been working hard on developing Blu-ray functionality while Roxio, with Creator 2011, offers users the tempting bait of creating 3D photos and videos.  A pair of cardboard red / cyan glasses is included in the package so that you can view your creations.
Games at ten-a-penny might seem like wishful thinking but that is what you get with an offering in the GSP Click & Play series.
Over the years I have reviewed a large number of games but this is the first time I have been faced with the task of looking at 10,000 games in a single package.  The title in question is the appropriately entitled 10,000 Games which is available on Avanquest’s GSP Click & Play label.
626765 Samsung N210 Plus 10.1 inch netboo

Samsung N210Plus

This is another small Netbook this time from Samsung. Like the Acer one in the previous review it has remarkable battery life in fact I used wireless for a continuous review period of very close to seven hours use.
The Samsung N210 Netbook measures 26x19x3cm. These are the maximum as the last figure, the thickness, is only a tad over 2cm everywhere but at the back where the battery increase to the maximum. It weights 1280grams. It is black but only the face of the lid is shiny. This means that fingermarks only show on the lid, while the area around the keyboard and the screen do not show them. The keyboard has 84 keys with the alpha and numeric keys being fullsize at 1.5x1.5cm and .
It's about a year since I last looked at a digital photo frame. The latest incarnation from Kodak has a number of excellent innovations that make loading your images that much easier and at the same time provide a marked improvement in the screen.
While a year or so ago a 7" screen was often the norm and a premium would get you an extra inch the Kodak Pulse provides a bright clear 10" LED backlit display. The screen is bordered by a modest black surround about an inch deep. The device includes an integral stand holding the display at about 85°. All configuration of the device is accomplished through the touch-sensitive screen - resulting in an almost button free product.
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