It almost crossed my mind that I had been forgotten by Acer with regards to review products when an offer arrived to check out an Aspire model. I was reasonably impressed.
In the past I have had the opportunity to look at a number of Acer computers. These models have been exclusively laptop units belonging to either the Aspire or TravelMate family. Now it is the turn of another Aspire model to supply my computing needs but this time it is a desktop system. The Acer unit in question is the Aspire XC600_W.
It is time to embark on a treasure hunt that will require a logical approach in order to succeed. Are you up to the task?
Available from Avanquest on its GSP game label, Arizona Rose and the Pirate’s Riddle is classified as a picture puzzle game. In this mixture of picture puzzles, hidden object searching and mini games, you take on the role of Arizona Rose, who is a collector of antiques, as you search for the treasure that Blackbeard looted from different vessels and attacks on other locations during his infamous life as a pirate.
Though it may not be clear from the title this is a vacuum. In fact when I first used it the lack of noise even on maximum suction made me think I had not assembled it correctly, so Power Silence does seem to be a good name.
The Bosch GS-50 Power Silence vacuum is a pull along unit measuring 43x29x28cm without the hose; it comes with a 7metre flex which means I can just do my whole property from a single centrally located plug when I attach the hose. The cleaning foot and arm is 75cm long and the tube that fits into the rear of the unit another 2metres so a near 10metre stretch from a power socket. The foot has a flip switch for solid floors or carpets.
Always willing to help when I am on the look-out for a product to review, Vodafones PR agency sent me a couple of handsets on which one is the subject of this next review.
My first car, purchased a little over 20 years ago, cost £600 second hand. Nowadays this is the price being asked by some companies for one of their smartphone devices that could quickly build up additional costs at a rate that can make your eyes water. Fortunately there are some handsets that are more economically priced.
Earlier this year I had a look at a Chromebook from Samsung, here what at first glance looks a fairly similar offering from HP. Could a Chromebook be a real alternative to using a notebook with the Microsoft Windows operating system?
The HP Pavilion 14 Chromebook measures 34x23.5x2cm and weights 1716 grams, sadly it is shiny black so shows all your finger marks on the screen edge and lid. The left side has a Kensington Lock Port, one USB port and a headset port. The front is clear, the right side has SD Card port, two USB ports, an HDMI out port and an Ethernet port, finally the DC charging point. The back is also clear as the lid goes partially over it to open to around 140degrees.
This is a high quality digital camera that records with a 14MP sensor, it is intended for use for people who do things of a daredevil nature in the open air, as such it can be strapped to a helmet while these deeds are being performed.
The camera itself is circular at 2.5cm and 10cm long and in this format it weights 150grams. It comes with a whole range of accessories and attachments. The Quick Start Guide has 14 pages in English and this at least explains what the various extra parts are and what they might be used for.
Are you up to the challenge of defeating the Puppet Thief who steals the souls of children? If so then enter a fairy tale world of mystery.
Once upon a time, or so the story goes, a man travelled from town to town entertaining the population with his songs and poetry. While this might sound innocent enough to the casual observer, there was a more sinister, evil ulterior motive behind the actions of this man as he was busily capturing the souls of children. This character was known as the Puppet Thief. But that was in the past until children began disappearing from the town of Arbourshire.
This is the latest in a line of Mobile Phones from Doro suitable for those with a hearing or seeing disability. It even now comes in a box little bigger than the phone itself, even the box is easy to get into for those with less dexterity.
The Doro Phone Easy 506 measures 12x5.5x.9cm and weights 80grams. My unit was black with bold white lettering on the keys and clear illustrations around the connections. There are only two sockets on the unit both towards the top right side the micro USB charger which is hard wired to a good long lead ending in a conventional three pin plug. Below this a 3.5mm socket for the supplied earbuds.
Adding to the functionality of your smartphone and tablet, as if these devices did not have enough control over our every day lives, is a product developed by the US company Orbotix. This product, appropriate named Sphero, is a ball which can be controlled and also act, in certain circumstances, as a controller itself. In order to make full use of Sphero, Orbotix has developed a number of free apps for both the iOS and Android platforms that allow your smartphone and/or tablet to communicate with this magic ball.
Constructed of a tough polycarbonate material, the Sphero has a diameter of 74mm and is opaque enough so that a multitude of colours and special effects can add to the visual appeal of the device. Within the ball’s shell, Orbotix has packed an accelerometer, multi-axis gyroscope, LED lights, compass, various motors, lithium polymer battery, and support for Bluetooth – I wish I could pack a suitcase as efficiently.
It is time to pack your bags and take a trip. This journey involves a geographical location and a specific time period.
As it says on the tin, the location is Paris and the year is 1925. Your role in this Iroz game, available on Avanquest’s GSP label is that of Edgar Lance, a young journalist working on the Paris Matin newspaper where he covered local events. One of these events takes you to an art gallery where the dead body of an artist is discovered. Your journalistic temperament takes over and you set about trying to solve the crime and the mystery surrounding it.
Although I own a Bosch fridge/freezer I tend to think of Bosch as a power tool company. So when I was invited to a recent event that featured vacuums, food processors, coffee machines and kettle and toaster combos it was a little bit of a surprise.
While these items can be purchased separately as they are either the cream colour I was sent or black they tend to be purchased as a pair. This is a round unit that takes its power from a flat stand that it sits on. The stand is round at 15cm and the power lead can be stored under it when not in use. It is .7metre long and is hard wired into the base, this means the kettle can be removed without having to unplug or remove any leads.
Many years ago my first scanner was a handheld device, shaped a bit like a paintbrush, with a scanning width of about 4-inches. A more modern version increases the scanning width and adds Wi-Fi capability.
When checking on a new piece of hardware, one of the first things I do is to peruse the Quick Start Guide. Unfortunately this was not immediately possible with the IRIScan Book Executive 3 product. While there was documentation regarding other IRIS products, registration and a slip of paper that explained, in several languages, that the Quick Start Guide was on the supplied CD in PDF format.
Having recently looked at a couple of items from D-link it seems a natural extension to look at one of their recent Routers. This would give a no installation setup to their security camera as well as many other items to desire.
The D-Link Wireless AC1750 measures 21x10.5x9.5cm and shiny black as most routers just sit there are perform their job there is a good chance that it will stay shiny black. The rear has a line of connections, USB3 port, WPS activation button, four LAN ports, Internet connection to your modem, power button and DC power connection. The front has two buttons Power and WWW. The full name of this unit is Wireless AC1750 Dual Band Gigabit Cloud Router DIR-868L.
The UCAM247 model NC328W-IR-720P is a fixed-focus high resolution Internet camera designed for outdoor use. Described as a plug & view unit, one of its most useful features is the ease with which it can set up so as to be accessed from a smartphone either locally or remotely.
White in colour, its cylindrical metallic body is 55mm in diameter and 110mm long and, overall, gives the impression of being very robust. The provided Wifi antenna screws into the rear of the body while the cowl to keep rain off the lens and the IR LEDs that provide night-time illumination projects up to about 35mm beyond the lens. The mounting bracket, with its ball & socket mount, screws into a hole in the underside of the camera.
A very interesting and rather different product. Massage is something that most people appreciate for one of more ailments; while various medical experts can help, often, other devices can improve the symptoms at a lesser cost.
While I have reviewed specialist devices that fit to a chair this one is somewhat different as on first glance it looks like a toy car the wheels are somewhat unusual and it runs on 3x‘AA’ (not supplied) but it will work with rechargeable ones. The unit has three modes and these are controlled by the two buttons on top. Each cycle of massage will last for 15 minutes after which the unit will switch off. It will also switch off should it fall over so careful placement is important.
With the demands we put on our mobile devices, it is not surprising that their batteries struggle to cope.
During a recent tidying up session, it does happen occasionally in my household, I came across one of my earliest mobile phone. Unlike some other units which wee passed on to various charity organisations, this particular unit still held fond memories for me and had provided excellent service for a few years. What was special and unusual about this Samsung clamshell handset was its ability to open and close at the touch of a button.
A company I think of for notebook bags have produced a three in one device, a pen, a stylus and screwdriver. Second another multi use item this time aimed at keeping you fit and apart from counting steps it also takes your pulse among other features.
This is 12.5cm long and circular at .7cm, 2.5cm from the top is a standard clip to allow it to sit in top or inside pocket. The total weight is 26grams; this had me weighting the more normal plastic offering which came in at just under half that weight. The Tracer deluxe is far more rugged being made of aluminium.
It is Big Red Bus time yet again as two similarly specified devices arrive from different companies.
Every so often a Big Red Bus moment occurs and this is one of those situations. Recently two products arrived within a week or so of each other with similar functionality. No sooner had I completed my look at the Kingston MobileLite Wireless product than the Verbatim MediaShare Wireless offering arrived for review.
As part of its Hidden Mystery Collectives series, Focus Multimedia has bundled together a couple of Echoes of the Past titles. Belonging to the Hidden Object Adventure genre, these titles are entitled The Citadels of Time and The Revenge of the Witch.
In fairly standard fashion, The Citadels of Time allows you to adjust the volume levels of both the background music and sound effects which does include the spoken dialogue that occurs during the various cut-scenes linking together the various parts of the story line. There are also options to play the game in full screen, wide screen and using a custom cursor. Two modes of game play are available.
Here I am looking at two ways of extending the reach of your Network, until now most solutions have required two plugs to get one extra connection, here I am looking at one that gives three and the other two both at up to 500mbps.
This is really simple to setup just remember two things both connections must be on the same ring mane and second do not connect one to a surge strip and if you do those two things then it really should be 'plug and play'. While there is a mini CD in the box this only has .PDF files in various languages.
Giving you the freedom to listen, communicate and adjust a variety of settings are features on offer from an over-the-ears style of headset from Creative.
The Evo Zx is a member of Creative’s Sound Blaster range of headset products. As with the other models in this product range of stylish looking headsets, the Evo Zx features a choice of connectivity options. Not only do you have Bluetooth with NFC (Near Field Communications) capability but also wired options either via USB or a standard 3.5mm audio link.
Finally manufacturers seem to be releasing a good range of touch notebooks. As far as my tests are concerned this is the only real reason to upgrade to Windows 8. While I have reviewed large panels with touch why would you sit so close as to be able to use it.
This is probably a desktop replacement as it weighs 2.43kilos. It can work on batteries in my tests I got over four hours with a good amount of Wi-Fi use. It is 38x24.5x2.5cm. The last figure the thickness is at the back this reduces to 1.5cm at the front. The viewable screen is 35x19.5cm which gives the notional diagonal imperial measurement of 15.6inches.
Here something that I have not looked at recently a couple of MP3 players, both from Sony. The first is a water resistant offering mine was white. The second in more normal black a unit that claims a quick charge time of only three minutes.
This is an all in one unit with the earbuds fixed into the player unit. With some earbuds you can choose to hang them directly from the ears of to take them round your neck, here there is no choice as the ‘C’ shaped band will only locate in the ear if you then go behind your neck. The stretched out length of the band connecting the two buds is 33cm but is will always return to two ‘O’ shapes.
When a game has the title of Fairway then there is an excellent chance that golf will be involved in some way. In the case of this next title that involvement is based around the Solitaire card game that is known as Golf.
This is no bigger than a medium sized digital camera; it is however a DSLR offering so that those intent on improving can hone their skills at a reasonable price and the still images they know were captured by their skill level.
This is no bigger than a medium sized digital camera; it is however a DSLR offering so that those intent on improving can hone their skills at a reasonable price and the still images they know were captured by their skill level. It is 12x6.5x3.5cm with a lens attached. The one I was sent was an 18-55mm offering so this adds a minimum of 7.5cm to the last figure the width and another 3cm when fully extended.
As data files become larger we need larger capacity portable devices to store the items we need to take with us between locations.
Along with its JumpDrive S23 flash stick family of products, Lexar has also developed the JumpDrive P10 flash stick range. Whereas the JumpDrive S23 range is being promoted as being one of the smallest USB 3.0 drives currently available, the JumpDrive P10’s claim to fame is with regards to it being one of the fastest USB 3.0 flash drives that you can currently purchase.
Put on your investigative hat and be prepared to enter the world of the supernatural as you take on the challenge of three Big Fish games.
Until now all the personal weather stations I have reviewed display the results. Here you have two cylinders with no apparent displays, press the top of the larger one and a line of colour appears down its side nothing else is shown.
These are designed to display via Wi-Fi to your ‘i’ or Android device, both allow you to download a Free App to show the results. I know that you can also display results on a PC when you link to your free account as all information remains on their servers. What you get in the box are two cylinders, the larger one is 15.5cm tall and 4cm across. This needs mains power which is supplied by a USB lead, it can be from a PC or notebook or via the supplied USB to 13amp plug.
I first came across the Animal during a visit to Berlin last year. This encounter happened while walking around the citys massive IFA exhibition. There it was, this Animal, trying to look inconspicuous among the various displays and visitors. My second encounter was earlier this year in London, close to the spot where G8 protestors were making their feelings felt despite being outnumbered by the presence of the police. On this occasion, the Animal preferred to stay in the corner of the room. This brings us to our third meeting as the Animal arrived for me to check out how well this device would cope with the demands of my household.
The Animal is the title given to a vacuum cleaner developed by Bosch. If you are wondering why this device has the Animal title, it is because this vacuum cleaner has been designed to cope with the demands of those households that have both human and pet occupiers. In my case the pet is a tom cat who can be over-energetic when using his litter tray, an untidy eater and one that enjoys showing me his rodent captures when he is not busy tearing up paper into shreds.
This is a four in one item often called a multi function device. It can print either from a PC or memory stick, it can scan either to a PC or memory stick, send and receive faxes for those who still use this feature and it can also copy.
It is 44x34x20cm. It features the modern idea of a drop down flap at the base that is the multi paper input tray. However a feature I not keen on is that the output tray – by design – only partially drops and more than once when I want to do a quick print or scan I get told that the paper output tray is not open, why can it not fall fully open when you drop the input tray down and load paper, of course if you leave it loaded with paper you will add around 12cm extra to the depth.