As regular as clockwork, Serif brings out upgraded versions of its graphics software aimed at the budget conscious user.
I must admit to having a somewhat soft spot for Serif and the company’s software. This feeling dates back to when Serif first appeared on the scene with graphics products that were developed as budget-priced alternatives for the then market-leading offerings that came with wallet-squeezing price tag.
Legend has it that once upon a time, Gods walked upon the earth as they dwelled with ordinary mortals. When the time came for these beings to return to the sky, they left behind nine mysterious jewel boards through which they were able to communicate with those they left behind.
Over time the many wars fought resulted in all but one of these jewel boards being destroyed. The location of the one remaining board, known as the Oracle of Ur, was lost until a clue was discovered by a determined archaeologist. This clue was hoped to reveal the location of the last board and uncover the truth behind this 4,000 year old story. This is the background to iWin’s fourth instalment of the award winning Jewel Quest Mysteries series.
For those wanting to print a bit, scan a little a copy occasionally this could be the answer. This small unit is easily able to sit on a shelf or under a desk without causing any problems. Press the on/off and print, scan or copy.
The Canon AIO Pixma MP230 all-in-one printer measures 44x32x12cm when shut. Place A4 paper in the rear sit up tray and the 12cm height becomes 32cm and the 32cm depth becomes 38cm. This unit has no paper output door to open and output is delivered face up from the front base of the unit.
Although predominately a developer of products designed specifically to enhance the functionality of various Apple offerings, iLuv does occasionally produce kit that supports other brands.
One product that encompasses both the Apple and non-Apple offerings is the iLuv ReF™ range of on-ear headphones. The ReF™ is the first range of products to be created as part of the company’s Fashionology® collection. Fashionology® is an attempt to bring together a meld of fashion and technology so that appearance matches performance.
As the front of the Instruction Manual calls it, CD / USB / SD / DAB / FM Digital Sound System with dock for iPod and iPhone. As I would say a proper audio system to suit everyone apart from those who still play LPs.
The main unit is 17x14x24cm with cables inserted in the rear. The first figure the height would need to be increased by the height of your ‘i’ device as this sits above the height mentioned and a couple of centimetres to allow insertion of CDs. The pair of provided speakers are 17x12.5x7cm each. They are hard wired with a 2metre long lead to a double plug arrangement that fits into the back of the main unit, so the maximum spread of the speakers is 4metres.
This is another of the recent releases that I waited for a working copy of Windows 8 to review. If you are serious about editing your videos then this software can do it, transform, add, delete, modify and more then this can do it.
Like a lot of other packages doing simple things is easy, doing more complex things will require practice to achieve. If however you are willing to learn Cyberlink users online are often willing to share their hints and tips. As with other recent items the install needs to take place from the Desktop and not the glossy home screen that so far I can find no real use for. However that may change if and when one of the many touch unit’s lands on my desk.
As part of its male grooming product line up, Philips, with its mantra of bringing simplicity to peoples lives, has released its most advanced premium electric shaver to date. This is the SensoTouch 3D model which offers the male community the choice of dry or wet shaving from a single unit.
Launched with the claim of producing the ultimate shaving experience, the SensoTouch 3D comes with GyroFlex 3D technology. This technology uses a distinctive three-dimensional component set up that allows the shaver heads to follow the contours of your face. This feat is achieved through three floating heads that are raised above the body of the shaver and automatically adjust as the SensoTouch is moved around the jaw line, checks and mouth.
This is the first dual SIM phone to cross my desk. Surprisingly to me anyway it is running quite an old version of Android at 2.35. Having two SIMs may avoid the huge number of people I see using two different phones.
The Prestigio Multiphone measures 11.5x6x1cm and weights 124grams. As with most modern phones almost all the controls are via touch screen. The external connections are on/off on the right side, headphone (3.5mm socket) on the top, volume + or – on the left side and micro USB connector on the base of the unit. That is all of the units external controls.
Not one but two opportunities to explore the Dark Dimensions where evil forces have taken control of the local population.
As part of the Hidden Mystery Collectives, Focus Multimedia has released a Dark Dimensions double bill. Making up this two-game pack are Dark Dimensions City of Fog and Dark Dimensions Wax Beauty. Separate installations will need to be carried out for each title with individual profiles being set up for those playing the games. These profiles include the volume level for background and sound effects plus whether to opt for the special or standard cursor.
The Scuderia FS1 is a wireless Bluetooth speaker dock. The product forms part of the Ferrari by Logic3 collection of audio offerings. As you might suppose from the Ferrari influence the Scuderia has more than a touch of Italian style in its general appearance.
Opening the rather sturdy box (little chance of this product being damaged in transit) revealed that the Scuderia FS1 was packed so securely that it took a little time and plenty of effort to remove the foam rubber casing that totally encased the speaker unit. Included in a separate box were power leads for use in the UK, Europe and America plus an audio lead with 3.5mm jack plugs at either end.
This is a camera that a proportion of the users will love as it uses AA batteries. It looks almost basic in its design however it offers a decent zoom and a large image size yet it is small enough to fit inside the majority of pockets.
Almost all PowerShots used to run on ‘AA’ batteries, then in recent times they had solid batteries but still kept the very nice hand grip shape on the right side to allow a firm grip. This unit however runs on two not four ‘AA’ batteries and so the ‘bulge’ has gone. It is 11x7x4cm when off the thickness increases as soon as you switch on as the lens emerges by 2.5cm and this can increase by another 2.5cm when you are fully zoomed.
While you may not always be looking your best when a photo is taken, this next product could help smarten your appearance.
While there are numerous photo-editing packages of various complexities and different price points, those that concentrate their expertise purely on the face are few and far between in number. One such product is Portrait Professional from Anthropics. This digital facial make-over tool is now up to version 11 and is available in a choice of Standard, Studio and Studio-64 versions with different price points to reflect the functionality of each product.
A 2.1 speaker set that can be used with a PC or notebook to give it extra fizz in the sound department or a set of speakers to let you hear the true sound when attached to an MP3 player or any other device with a 3.5mm jack.
The two satellites are each 10x9x5.5mm. The Sub woofer is 21x17x16cm with cables inserted in the rear for power and MP3. The bass of the sub woofers chassis is 27cm from front to back and it is as wide as the sub woofer. The shape of the units is unusual, some may call them stylish, perhaps most importantly they give a good sound. Both the speakers have silvered frames that lift the speakers by a couple of centimetres at the front.
I have a long memory - its just yesterday thats a problem sometimes and I remember a shareware product that easily fitted on a floppy disc. That was long before JASC was purchased by Corel the current version fills a CD-ROM.
While I have reviewed most versions in between this one was stated to be compatible with Windows 8 so I waited until I had a stable Windows 8 system to review it. As with the few other Windows 8 items I have looked at you need the Desktop to install from and those who have tried Windows 8 know its one level down from the shiny icons. The install itself works just the same, you need to enter a 31 character key before it happens and then you are encouraged to register.
Those pesky aliens are causing more trouble. This time Fort Nightingale is the centre of their activities in a new game from Alawar Entertainment.
Forbidden Secrets Alien Town is a new Hidden Object Adventure game from those inventive people at Alawar. The game, which is in Collector’s Edition format, is set in Fort Nightingale, a city that has never featured on a map. Little is known about the place apart from it has a research institute about which even less is known.
Having reviewed TV recording devices from early VHS tape devices through most other methods including those using external memory sticks and hard drives this still came as a shock because of the units sheer lack of size.
This is a Freeview + HD box with a 500GB recording unit inside and the quality to include Dolby Digital Plus sound. It is 27x20x1cm, yes the thickness is just one centimetre. With cables inserted in the rear the depth becomes 25cm. You are totally reliant on the remote control as the unit itself has a single on/standby button with an LED beside it. The rear is where the connections are, Aerial Out, Aerial In, HDMI out, Ethernet, two USB and finally the DC input.
The name of Tunbow Electrical may not be all that familiar to you. This company is a Hong Kong based Chinese technology manufacturer with over 3,500 employees and 140,000,000 products that are sold in 30 countries around the world. Recently Tunbow Electrical set up Aves Digital as its first subsidiary brand operating from a UK base in Milton Keyes. I came across Aves Digital at the London version of The Gadget Show. Included in the Aves Digital portfolio of products is one known as the Diamond which is the subject of this review.
Looking for bargains and then selling them for a profit is the work undertaken by the American Pickers
According to information gleaned from a quick Internet search, American Pickers is an American (not surprisingly) reality show that appears on the History Channel. Travelling around American are Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz who search through cast-off items that they can purchase and then sold on at a profit. Managing the Home Office is Danielle Colby-Cushman whose role is to line up locations for the two boys to put their pack rat skills to the test.
It could be the baby, an elderly relative or even just your home when you are away. There are devices that can tell you what is happening no matter if you are in the kitchen or maybe in New York, they are security cameras.
This is not a ‘cheap webcam’ it can work in darkness and a webcam certainly cannot do that. It is designed to fit on a ceiling or beam to see all from above. Look in any large store or supermarket and you will see similar items. So while this can be used in the home it is far more on the security end of the spectrum than the item I am looking at further down this article. The kit supplied consists of the 360 degree camera, an Ethernet cable and a DC adapter.
It wasnt so long ago that the mention of a tablet would refer to a medication. Now entertainment and browsing are more likely to be related topics.
Where ever you seem to look these days, 7-inch tablets is a popular choice with consumers looking for an easy portable device that can provide entertainment, news and email capabilities. Joining this ever-increasing group of devices, with its banner firmly attached to the Android flagpole, is the Vodafone Smart Tab II.
Since reviewing The NEX5 a couple of varietys have emerged, however new cameras from Sony are not frequent so when I saw a prototype some months ago I immediately requested to review the new NEX6 when it was available.
Small enough to be a digital camera but it’s not. Small enough to fit in a pocket but it has a neck strap. It can have different lenses and mine came with a 16-50mm lens, this can also zoom to 2.8 times. Another reason why this is a DSLR – although Sony just call it an interchangeable lens camera - is that it has something most digital units do no longer have, a viewfinder.
Either of these would be welcomed by anyone who loves their music. First from Sol Republic a rather nice set that you build. Second from TDK a set that would not disgrace a recording studio, I would be happy with either.
I opened the box to be greeted by the two earpieces and nothing to connect them. I have had headphones with separate cables before but a set without any apparent headband. It’s in the box as a single length with adequate padding for the centre 11cm. As this band pushes through the outside of each earpiece it will fit any head however large or small. There are two 2.
Imagine, if you will, a section of interior tubing that has been designed to bend (I was tempted to say it like Beckham but resisted) around an obstruction and you will have some idea as to the general shape of the Samsung DA-E550 product. This piece of kit is a Bluetooth, one-piece, audio speaker system with a docking facility.
Decked out in a high-gloss white coating, the DA-E550 unit has dimensions of 462.7 x 122.3 x 151.8mm (W x H x D) and weighs 1.6kg which does take it out of the range of a portable device. Situated at each end of this curved cylindrical tube are the speaker’s cones which display fixed and flexible silver meshes with a silver phase plug protruding from the centre. Arranged near the right speaker is an array of touch sensitive controls for Bass, volume and play/pause.
Both these items are portable speakers, both and single pieces. The first from Edifer Image charges from USB but can be used away from power. The second from a new name to me i-Box Twist is a portable Bluetooth speaker.
It is triangular like a wedge 26cm long 5.5cm deep and 4cm tall. It weights 321grams. On the left edge is where you connect the supplied .8metre 3.5mm lead. Just below this is where the supplied micro USB to USB lead for charging the unit is attached, this is .75metre. You will probably need to study the getting started leaflet to work out how to switch it on. There is a circular button at either end which reduce or increase the volume. You need to press them both at the same time to switch on.
If, like me, you paid a visit to the Gadget Show held recently at the London Excel Exhibition Centre then you probably noticed the AVES stand with its collection of DAB/DAB+ radios and iPod docking units. You may even have gone on to the stand to check out the various products and, perhaps, wondered about the companys name.
While the name of AVES might bring forth images of birds as this is the scientific name of the animal category that communicates by visual and audible signals, I am reliable informed that the name AVES is an acronym of the company’s four core values. Thus the joining together of Audio, Vibrant & Vitality, Enjoyment & Entertainment with Social & Sensory produces the British brand name of AVES.
Cast in the role of a princess, your task in this next game is to rescue your parents and other inhabitants from the spell of an evil witch.
The Kingdom had always been a happy place under the benign rule of the King and Queen. Everybody rejoiced when a royal birth brought the King and Queen a daughter. However the arrival of the Dark Queen changed everything as she cast her evil spells on the royal couple and others in the Kingdom. Fortunately the young baby’s nanny was able to spirit her charge away and then raised her away from the gaze of the evil queen.
While my own TV is a unit capable of displaying HD it cannot show 3D, at 32inches by todays idea of size it is small. So I cleared a larger space in my lounge and here look at a Smart TV from LG that does it all that includes Wireless.
I am no superman but moving it around is not difficult as TV’s are so much lighter than early LCD unit used to be. As always I start with the dimensions. The screen is 95x56x2cm, it can of course –using a kit- be attached to a wall. However a stand is provided and this is a maximum of 52x25cm and it raises the TV by 7cm.
As many move from the desktop to a touch-enabled tablet, ViewSonic takes us in the opposite direction with a large screen AIO touch screen device.
As part of its latest batch of new products, ViewSonic has released its VSD220 offering. This is a touch screen Android AIO Smart Display. However unlike the numerous pocket and bag sized tablets that are currently fighting for market share, this AIO (All-in-One) product has been designed purely for desktop use where it can be placed in an upright orientation supported by a flip-out stand. With dimensions of 513 x 350 x 122mm (with the support stand extended) and a weight of 4.
At a recent TDK event I was shown four new small sets of speakers, all were in a single case. I was subsequently sent one to review, it can run on mains or internal battery and be a wired or Bluetooth connection.
While this was designed as a Bluetooth unit it of course has the ability to accept ‘Aux’ input from any 3.5mm device. Most will use an ‘i’ device or MP3 player but as I recently found the lack of volume in some DVD and Blu-ray films mean volume levels from your TV often go only so far and to hear quiet dialog needs more. It is 24x9.5x5cm and weights 1160grams.
While almost everyone has heard the name Kindle there are other people who make book readers and one such name is Kobo. In fact they do a whole range of devices here I am looking at two the KoboGlo and the KoboMini.
Either of these would qualify as the smallest dedicated book reader that I have seen so let's start with the larger. The Kobo Glo measures 15.5x11.5x1cm and weighs 183grams. Mine was white with a pinkie red back. It has two buttons on the top a micro USB connection on the base and a micro USB slot near the base of the left side, that is all the connections. The viewable screen is 12.2x9cm.