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

 
The invitation from Alawar welcomes you to the club as you join in the hunt for the mythical Snark in the company’s latest game.
Hard drives no bigger than a floppy drive (3.5inch version) are now the norm. What to a man of mature years still takes some getting used to is their capacity is hundreds of time the size and the stack of floppy disk would be huge.
It weights 150grams and will easily fit into a shirt pocket. I was less happy about the colour I was sent as it is close to err pink but I suppose it’s also close to a milky red. It has two white stripes (the GT bit) along the length. It is 11.8x7.5x1.5cm the only connection is a mini USB port towards the front of the left side of the unit. The base and sides are silver grey and each corner of the base has a small rubber foot for stability when on your desk.
Adding to its range of backup products, Acronis has developed solutions that now include aspects of Internet security into the mix. One of these solutions is Acronis Backup and Security 2010 which brings together its True Image Home backup software with Internet security protection on a one-year subscription basis for up to three computers.
Installing this software will require at least one reboot.  In my case two reboots were required before I could move on to the next stage which involves activating the software.  Even though I was working from a boxed copy of the product, I needed to go online in order to supply name, email address and password along with the product’s 16-character activation code so that an account could be created.
It is deerstalker, pipe and violin time as you use your magnifying glass to search for clues to help solve a number of cases.
If you can be ill or well we accept illness so why not wellness? Here two items from Oregon Scientific a Wake-up Clock and an Ultrasonic Aroma Diffuser both from their new Wellness range of products recently launched.
Having reviewed two versions of a similar device from Philips I thought I knew what I needed to know to get this up and running, up to a point I did but the six pages of the manual that are in English and the Quick Start Guide are both helpful. It is 25x18x10cm. The first 8.5cm is where all the controls are and the last 16.5cm is the shade for the 60watt screw in bulb made interestingly by Philips.
While some like the reassurance of flashing lights to indicate activity, Belkin has opted for a single steady light to show power/connection with its new range of network routers.
A few months ago Belkin announced a new approach to home networking with the arrival of its range of Surf, Share and Play routers.  Belkin claims that these new products have been designed to make it easier for consumers to get online and connect all the various computing and entertainment gadgets into a home network environment.  Recently I have been putting the company’s top-of-the-range Play Max Wireless Router with a built-in modem through its paces.
Yes the manufacturers inform me the Modu is the world’s smallest phone. As such it has no keypad all the controls are via the screen. Should you want a keypad or a camera then a sleeve can be purchased. However then its not the worlds smallest phone.
So how small is the Modu? It is 7.2x3.6x.6cm and weights a mere 42grams. It works as I have made several calls from it but making them when you have to input the number is a slow task as you need to highlight each number on the 2x2.5cm screen and then press a key to accept then highlight the next number and press a key to accept. Of course if you are dialling someone in your address book it’s a lot quicker and very little different from a conventional sized phone.
620106 veho muvi miniture video camer

Veho Muvi and Pebble

Two different products from Veho although the second can be used as a powering agent for the first. A tiny movie camera probably its best use is for security and a charging unit for all those occasions when portable power runs out.
This is a tiny video camera measuring only 5.5x2x3cm and it weighing a mere 45grams. From the rear there is a strong clip to allow it to be fitted anywhere with something of around 1cm or less for grip. The jaws actually open to 1.5cm. The left side has Micro SD card slot and sound on/off slider. The top has a capture button. The right side has power on/off button. Finally the base has a mini USB slot to charge the internal battery.
618713 canon pixma mx340 all in one print scan cop

Canon PIXMA MX340

Joining the merry-go-round of various printers and all-in-ones that have been incorporated into my computer set up if one of Canon’s new models.
620105 lg optimus gt540 android smart phon

LG Optimus GT540

To me this looks a very stylish piece of kit. A brushed metal silver grey item with a large touch screen surely a must have for anyone who wants to look the part. However being down to earth my question is does it do the job?
The LG Optimus GT540 measures 10.5x5x1cm and weights 115grams. The viewable screen is 6.5x4.3cm. Below the screen is a single slightly raised sculpted bar that is call, menu and end call dependant on where it is touched. Two soft buttons are above this but still below the screen. The right side has a door behind which is the micro USB connector. Below this the search button and finally the camera button. The left side has volume rocker button.
A visit to one of London’s tall buildings introduced me to a company that was expanding its technology originally developed for the automobile trade into the consumer sector.
A visit to a hotel is meant to be a restful experience but sometimes other matters can take over and make you work throughout your stay.
620104 Grundig GUD300HD DVB T2 Digital Set Top Box Freevie

Grundig GUD300HD Set Top Box

As more areas prepare to turn their Analogue TV signals off more companies are bringing out HD TV digital boxes, here an offering from Grundig that in my area anyway gives stunning pictures from the three HD channels.
The Grundig GUD300HD Set Top Box is 26x15x4cm and shiny black but as it need not be touched once in position then this does not matter. You will need another 4cm to the second figure the depth to insert cables in the rear of the unit so actual space required is 26x19x4cm. The leads supplied are a fly lead for those who need one or who still want to use Analogue while available and an HDMI lead. You should also be able to connect via SCART but no SCART cable is provided in the box.
Not everybody needs the power and functionality offered by today’s notebooks. For some the lower specifications of a netbook will suffice.
As manufacturers add extra functionality to their notebooks, the various models increase in size and, if a recent example is anything to go by, also with weight.  The result is that these machines are more suitable for the role of desktop replacements than as a travelling companion.  Offering to fulfil this latter role is the classification of product known as netbooks such as the Acer Aspire One 533.
The Doro RingPlus ringer amplifier has an extra loud ring and a strobe flash both of which are designed to catch your attention when the phone rings. While actually designed for the hard of hearing, who will often use a hearing aid compatible telephone, a bit of lateral thinking makes one realise that it has a wider range of uses in residential and business scenarios.
The RingPlus is simple to install and setup without needing any direct connection to the telephone system. It is a 115 x 185 x 35mm thick rectangular white box with two keyhole slots on its rear face for ease of mounting. It only has two switches: power and the three-position sound/strobe/sound & strobe and one adjustable tone control. The mains power module has a two metre cable and, although the microphone sensor only has a 15ft cable, a 3.
620101 sony bloggie camcorde

Sony Bloggie

This is Sony’s entry into the Small and light Camcorder market. I have reviewed a number of units in this and so far my choice has been the offerings from Flip. Here Sony adds a couple of extras still images and 360 degree images or videos.
The Sony Bloggie camcorder measures 10.5x5x1.5cm and weights 125grams. It comes with a 4GB MemoryStick (the Sony variant) but it will accept the cheaper SD cards. The lens rotates up to 270° meaning that you can see over tall people or even take images to include yourself. There is an on/off button on the top part of the right side but you do not really need it as rotating the lens from its off (covered) position will turn the unit on.
The first from Jabra ‘music and talk meet the streets’. The second from Creative who at one time were the only name that mattered in sound cards, the Aurvana In-Ear2 earbuds which promise up to 95% noise suppression.
This medallion is 5x3.5x1cm and comes on a chain to go round your neck. The earbuds provided give a decent sound but you can equally use others or even a headset via the 3.5mm jack, best of all the wireless quality is excellent. Should you not want to wear it round your neck there is a clip on the back of the unit that allows it to fit onto edges of clothing like a jacket lapel or even a sleeve.
Stepping back in time to a period when Egypt and Rome were the dominant forces in the known world is a game now available in Avanquest’s Click & Play catalogue.
With various additional historical features from the National Geographic, Mystery of Cleopatra, developed by Merscom Games, is a hidden object, adventure-style game.  This title is based around the mistrust that existed between Rome and Egypt at that time due in part to Marc Antony’s declaration that Cleopatra was the “Queen of Kings” and that she should rule alongside Octavian, the Roman Emperor.  As a result we end up with secret agents, treachery and murder.
These full HD (1080P) in 32inch TV’s are still rare but to get two in a row to review is unprecedented. The size and shape and even some of the menus are very similar. This one however – even though it has the same rear speakers – has acceptable sound.
This Hannspree 32" TV measures 78x51x8cm and sits on a stand 47x25cm that raises the set 4cm above whatever it is sitting on. The 8cm width is maximum. The nine language Quick Start Guide will probably be all that most will need. This is broken into four areas each well illustrated. It does not however cover the first part of unpacking and the attachment of the four screws to attach the stand to the TV.
While networks are extremely useful, there are some tasks dealing with data transfer or peripheral sharing can be carried out with a USB linking solution.
Following the successful introduction of the Margrave family, and knowing MumboJumbo’s love of sequels, it was not surprising to discover a second title in what could become a long series.
Edwina Margrave does seem to attract strange letters bringing news of possessions that are rightfully hers.  First it was the arrival of a letter dated ten years previously that informed her that she was the owner of her grandfather’s residence, the distinctively named Margrave Manor ( ).
620100 GE X5 digital camer

GE X5 Digital Camera

This is called a ‘Bridge’ camera, nothing to do with the card game but it is a bridge between a pocket digital camera and progression to a DSLR camera. The reason is the size and shape is like the latter but controlled like the former.
The GE X5 measures 10x7x6.5cm however the last figure, the width, can expand up to another 6cm when the camera is fully zoomed. The face of the unit has the 15x wide angle optical zoom lens with the pop up flash being immediately above the lens but a minimum of 7cm away. The left side has an anchor point for the provided neck strap and this can also be used to tie the lens cap. The right side has the other neck strap anchor point and A/V socket behind a rubberised bung.
What do you call your first product designed for a new market? In the case of Novero, the answer tells you everything and nothing about the product.
620099 samsung wave s8500 mobile phon

Samsung Wave S8500

This is one of two recently launched phones from Samsung. The other the Galaxy S was launched in a swathe of who's who at a London nightspot. This unit, the Samsung Wave S8500, offers you the chance to do most things from a Smart Phone.
Not long ago you could not do a tiny proportion of what this unit using the BADA operating system can do and as it has wireless you can often do it at no cost as wireless hot spots are widely available to let you browse the Internet or collect your emails, in fact most of what a lot of people today use a full blown computer for.
Here I am looking at two sets of earbuds, the first from a name familiar to all – but not necessarily for earbuds – the second from a company that a lot of people will say just one word WHO? Read on for both sets of details.
The box says ‘superior studio sound’ and once you plug them in you can agree or not. The first impressions are quality, you still need to destroy the box to extract the earbuds but a fitted case is supplied for your buds to travel in style when not in use. You get not only a .9metre long lead but also a .9metre extension lead both of course have gold plated connections. The lead to the earbuds is not of even lengths like most but the right earbud lead is .
Allowing you to play music from a variety of sources is a new product from Yamaha combining a distinctive appearance and ease of use.
In the past I have looked at a number of produces designed to combine FM radio and iPod functionality with an occasional alarm feature thrown in for good measure.  Now I have the opportunity to check out a product that brings together a CD player, FM radio, DAB radio, iPod dock and USB connectivity with a pair of satellite speakers for enhanced output.  This product is the Yamaha MCR-040 which is available in a choice of ten colours.
618303 acer aspire 7745G laptop notebook compute

Acer Aspire 7745G

This is a 17.3inch notebook, in fact quite a nice powerful notebook that verges onto a Desktop replacement. With that size of screen it is only really something to be moved for long distances by private transport unless you go to the gym a lot.
It is 41x26x3.5cm and weights 3250grams. The viewable screen is 38x21.5cm giving the notional 17.3inch diagonal measurement, the resolution is 1600x900. The lid is a pin stripe of grey and black and does not really show fingermarks. Unfortunately the screen and the surround are the normal shiny black reflective that show all the fingermarks. The area either side and behind the keyboard are also that nasty reflective black but the area in front of the keyboard is a far more sensible grey.
617370 Brother MFC 795CW all in one multifunction printe

Brother MFC-795CW

Continuing my examination of various Brother All-in-One devices brings the MFC-795CW into focus.
This All-in-One offers the standard diet of copy, print and scan functionality plus additional features of fax, telephone and answer machine capabilities making this model more suitable for a small office environment rather than a basic home user.  As is Brother’s usual practice, the “CW” part of the product’s designation refers to the unit’s cable and wireless connectivity options.
When there are issues with growing crops and solving problems with sick animals there is only one person you can call upon. That person is none other than Scarlett the green-fingered lead character of Alawar Melesta Farm Frenzy series.
The latest title in the farm management game is Farm Frenzy 3 Madagascar.  Not surprisingly the action in this game takes place in a Madagascan wildlife reservation where the animals have suddenly started to become sick for an unknown reason.  Following an opening comic book sequence as Scarlett learns of the problems facing the reservation and offers to help, you get to start the game which has two modes.  Initially you are restricted to selecting the Career options.
618302 samsung PL150 Compact Digital Camer

Samsung PL150 Digital Camera

This is a small – almost dainty – digital camera that will easily fit in a pocket or purse. It is predominately black with certain silvered buttons and a grey band along the top and one side. I would even consider it stylish.
Samsung PL150 digital camera measures 9.5x5.5x2cm and it weights 150grams. The face has the 4.9-24.5mm Samsung Zoom Lens (5x) and the slit flash mounted above and to its right a minimum of 3cm and a maximum of 4cm behind the nearest part of the lens. The base has a tripod anchor point as well as a door that hides the solid battery as well as any SD card you use. The only thing on the left side is writing to say it’s a 12.4MP unit.
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