Back to Hong Kong for two further USB items, the first a Skype (or other VOIP handset) that is shaped just like an old BT handset. The second a USB stick that is made from a set of three dice, either would make ideal presents.
You only find out how good a supplier is when things go wrong and have to be put right. The service that Ive had from Brother to deal with problems caused by a faulty laser printer toner cartridge was exemplary but what are the underlying issues.
In the middle of printing a number of copies of a 24 page document, the printer flagged that it was out of toner. It was a straightforward task to replace the toner cartridge and continue printing. Unfortunately, after just a few pages, the paper jammed and, when I cleared the jam, there seemed to be a large amount of toner around. After several unsuccessful attempts to resolve the problem, I phoned Brother Service. (My only complaint that it was an 0844 number and not a geographic one.
Many of our often-used gadgets and tools have shrunk in size over the years. In line with this concept Worx has developed a range of tools for the handyman.
The last time I met up with Worx, the company was demonstrating its gardening tools. However gardening is not the only category of tools available from the company. Worx also develops a range of power tools for the D.I.Y. and home improvement enthusiast. The latest range of handyman power tools to emerge from Worx form the company’s Icon Series which is currently available as a B & Q exclusive.
For some years there has been a growing market for replacement
remote controls for audio-visual products - usually cramming the functions of many
separate devices into one easy to use replacement. The Xsight Touch Remote Control
from "One-for-All" is the ultimate example of this genre.
The unit has a very good, quality feel to it with a good weight. The lower two-thirds resemble a standard remote controlwith function and navigation buttons. The top third contains a touch-sensitive LCD touch screen. While most remotes will happily work for months or even several years on a couple of AAA cells a device with touch screen is going to need more umpth. Recognising this the Xsigh Touch comes with a long-life Li-Ion battery.
Blu-ray players used to be rather expensive. Now a unit costs less than its predecessor and has more functions. So smaller neater cheaper and more functionality seems to be the way to go with the latest model from Sony.
Sony Blu-ray BDP-S370 is 43x23x3cm and weights only 1850grams with the hard wired 1.5metre long mains lead included in the weight. The rear of the unit has mains lead entry point, Ethernet port, Audio and Video out, Component out, HDMI, Coaxial, Optical and USB. The sides top and base are free of sockets while the front has another USB socket on a 1cm shelf protruding just four buttons, on the left on/off, in the centre open, play and stop. Not quite enough to control the unit.
While faster Broadband speeds have reduced the need to compress files prior to transfer, archiving software does have more to offer.
A long-time resident on my various systems, running under different flavours of Windows, has been WinZip. This compression software, which has served me well, has been part of the Corel family for a number of years and is now up to version 14.5. As is standard with WinZip software, the product is available in Pro and Standard editions with this review being based on the former version.
As computers have become faster and capable of displaying realistic graphics so our virtual heroes have developed muscles and gymnastic moves we can only dream about. Yes the Prince is back.
This is I believe the first such product from a known name yes the Powermat was earlier at 10-1-10 but for me anyway Powermat was not a known name whereas Duracell are known for their various types of batteries.
The mat is 20x16cm and apart from the left edge is only .2cm thick. It consists of twelve mirrored 1cm wide strips with .2cm gaps between them. The power adapter fits in the top end of the wider/thicker left strip and protrudes by 3cm at the top of the mat. The lead is 1.5metre in length and ends in a slightly larger than normal 13amp plug that holds the power adapter. There are five very thin 2cm round rubber feet under it just to lift it off the desk/table or whatever you sit the mat on.
While perhaps not the first item you would think you might find in a handyman's tool kit, a DECT phone could prove to be a useful addition.
Rather than aim for the fashion conscious market or pile feature upon feature as some manufacturers can plead guilt to, Doro prefers to develop more utilitarian products with a strong ease-of-use feel for specific user groups. Large buttons, clear uncluttered displays and easily accessed emergency calling options are just some features of previous Doro handsets that immediately spring to mind.
I always wanted to own a Mini and now I do! Well I wasn't expecting it to be small and to drive my computer, I was rather hoping to be able to get in it and go shopping! But this little Motormouse can at least help me do my shopping on-line!
You might be familiar with the Motormouse from Dragon's Den. The company was founded by Patti and David Bailey and drove to success when theyattracted investment from James Caan in the 2009 Dragon's Den. The Motormouse is a wireless mouse which looks to all intents and purposes like the die-cast toys by brother played with. I was plesantly surprised by the weight and substance of these little mice. Whilst made of modern materials, they still have that diecast feel.
It was March when I had a chance to wander round the Focus show with a pre production version of this DSLR unit. Now in late autumn I finally get to look at the boxed version and to try all the G2 has to offer for real.
It is 12x8x12.5cm and weights a tad over 600grams. Normally these units are supplied with a 14-55mm lens here it was a 14-42mm one. Deliberately when it first arrived I did not read the manual, I did not investigate the potential, I just turned the wheel to ‘Auto’ and took images, and I then pressed the video button and took videos. Card out and the results were okay. But what a waste, if you have a wonderful unit such as this read the manual and try things out.
Chilli Technologies have produced a head cam ideal for wide angle shots for those times when you do not have an available hand such as cycling. The second is a mouse that does not require desk space to function this from Brando in Hong Kong.
The camera is 9x4x3.5cm and weights 130 grams when mounted on the tiny platform attached to a 3cm wide elastic band to fit round your head. The controls are simple an orange button on the top of the camera turns it on, press that button again and it starts to record, press it again and the recording stops. Press and hold the orange button to turn the unit off. There is a second small orange button under a 1.
A classic toy never goes out of fashion. It's 30 years since I opened BigTrak in the Christmas of 1980, and it's as much fun today as ever. Great toys work through the ages. An excellent present for small kids and to remind big kids of their childhood. A big exciting bit of kid for around £30.
Bigtrak by MB first appeared in UK toy shops in 1979/80. It was a nifty-looking six-wheeled tank with a front-mounted blue photon beam headlamp, and a programming keypad on top.
Robots, a flying house and cartoon graphics all come together in a couple of games developed from two popular films.
One of the first names that tend to pop into my mind when thinking about animated cartoons is that of Disney Pixar. While better known for its cinematic offerings, such as WALL-E and UP, some Disney Pixar’s creations have made the transition from the big screen on to the much smaller computer monitor in the form of games. The previously mentioned Disney Pixar film titles are two examples of this trend. WALL-E and UP are games developed by Asobo Studios.
I remember well the adverts for Sodastream in my childhood, but only now do I have the pleasure of owning this remarkably handy soft drinks machine. It's fast become one of our favourite kitchen gadgets. As it says on the box SodaStream turns tap water into fizzy drinks in seconds.
We love soft drinks in our family, but boy do they take up a load of space in the pantry and in the boot of the car coming home from the supermarket. Then there's always a difference of opinion on what flavours to buy. The Sodastream puts an end to all that heavy lugging and storage problems and it's good for the environment too - saving our landfill from all those nasty plastic bottles. It's a really simple device to use.
Not the absolute latest Camcorder from Sony, but this current version will do everything that most will want. A hard disc to record to, great video in full HD and the ability to take still images at a size that can be reproduced at A4.
The Sony HDR-XR155E measures 11.5x6.5x5.5cm and weights 345grams. With the TFT display open you add 8cm to the width. The TFT can be rotated through 270°. While there are controls on the unit almost everything can be done by touch using the TFT itself and this includes zooming.
The PENTAX Optio RZ10 is the perfect Christmas gift for those wanting a new compact camera. It is a solid little chunk of technology featuring a new-design sensor which reproduces stunningly true-to-life colour and detail.
We haven't been able to experiment with absolutely of the possibilities offered by this excellent and competitive compact camera but as far as taking excellent photos right out of the box - it certainly does! What is clever about the Pentax is the way that the highly intelligent Auto-Picture-Mode works SO well - especially in combination with the rock-steady digital shake reduction - to deliver crystal-clear images with deep colours every time.
A telephone call alerted me to the possibility of being one of the first to check out a new Blu-ray drive from Buffalo.
With more and more companies providing support for Blu-ray technology, it is perhaps time to consider adding a Blu-ray drive to your computer system. You could, of course, opt to just add a drive with read capability but why stop there when there is the greater storage capacity available with Blu-ray burning calling out to you. Maybe a drive with read/write features would be more appropriate. One solution could be the Buffalo Blu-ray product.
While you may have thought that after escaping from Rosecliff Island, you would be able to relax for a period but you would be wrong. Those diabolical and inventive people at Spintop Games have other ideas for your immediate future. Allowing you to believe that you were merely on a peaceful trip through the countryside, the developers came up with the idea of an earthquake which leaves you trapped in an abandoned village. Your only hope for survival is to Escape Whisper Valley.
The vast majority of items I tell you about are sent for review, however just occasionally I purchase something myself as here with this Currys Essential Upright Freezer that replaces a unit that reached end of life.
I am not sure how old my previous offering was, certainly thirty years so when its red warning light started to come on telling me the temperature was too high I knew the time had come to look around. Placing a thermometer inside got a figure of only around minus 13c but at least it kept working although it was running constantly to maintain that. I checked the local independent shops as well as the likes of Comet and Currys.
These earphones are truly impressive. From sharp and clear highs through superbly natural mid-range and right on down to their speciality - a round and resonant bass - the Audeos punch well above their weight in the price/performance stakes.
To save reinventing the wheel, allow me to first quote from the official press release for this genuinely excellent product: "Phonak, the world’s leading manufacturer of hearing instruments, has extended its popular range of earphones with a new model designed for music-fans seeking a dynamic, powerful bass sound.
My early morning slumbers have been interrupted recently as I have been testing a radio alarm clock with iPod and bed shaker features.
This is one of those big red bus occasions when two products with similar functionality turn up in close proximity. The functionality concerns a bed-shaking alarm facility. Following the arrival of Doro’s vibrating amplified alarm clock, it is the turn of the bed shaker alarm clock from iLuv.
D-Links Wireless ADSL router model DSL-2740R is aimed at both new users as well as those who want to upgrade their router so as to get the benefit out of the improved performance of the ADSL2/ADSL2+ now widely offered by ISPs.
It is a small rectangular box roughly 200 x 120 x35mm high with power, the four Ethernet, WLAN, DSL and Internet LEDs on the front. All the connections are on the rear: ADSL phone line; four 10/100 Ethernet ports; power connectors as well as power and reset buttons plus the three wireless LAN antennas which are hinged and stick up vertically. In the box, as well as the router itself, are two ADSL filters, mains power adapter, CD and Quick Installation Guide.
This is a small Camcorder weighing little more than the budget Flip type units. However this unit has all the abilities of a Camcorder but is small and light so easy is easy to slip into a pocket or bag and is easy to use.
When closed The Samsung C20 camcorder measures 10.5x5.5x3.5cm. The left side hinges out by 9.5cm to provide a TFT screen of 6x3.5cm and this can rotate through 270 degrees. The diagonal measurement of the TFT screen is 2.7inches. The top has the wide angle/telephoto rocker and beside this a button to capture still images, the back has one of two start capturing buttons mounted on a door behind which are an AV socket, mini USB and DC power input.
Your PC or Laptop is working fine with one exception you are rapidly running out of hard disc space. Simple answer get a larger hard disc but this means starting again from scratch reinstalling everything again, or does it?
With a desktop PC you probably have another drive bay but try as you might Windows still prefers to install everything on drive ‘C’. With a Laptop or Notebook you probably do not have room to install a second hard disc. The solution could be to Clone your hard disc onto another larger drive. In theory anyway such software products exist and used correctly they do work, or course you would still need that second drive bay to make this work.
While the majority of titles in the Avanquest Click & Play catalogue consist of a single game per product, some more recent additions include a bonus title. In fact the latest Click & Play title I have been looking at has four different games.
This bundled collection of four games is entitled Hidden Mystery Triple Pack. To avoid any confusion over the “Triple” part of the title and the earlier reference to “four”, I should point out that there is a bonus free game (previously available at £9.99) included on the DVD.
Fancy a large monitor? How about 23 inches? This is a Full HD 1920x1080 offering, what I found surprising as I moved my 20inch panel aside to review the Samsung SyncMaster BX2350 is that it weights around half that of my own smaller panel.
The Samsung measures 55.5x33x2cm. The stand is an inverted ‘V’ shape 23.5x35cm and it raises the screen 9cm above whatever you place it on. The actual screen area is 50x28cm giving the diagonal 23inch measurement. It can display full HD 1920x1080. One reason that it weights less is that it does not have internal speakers, the main one however is that technology moves on and my five year old unit has far heavier materials both internally, externally, and, in the stand.
Better known for its mobile phones, DECT handsets and walkie talkies, Doro has developed an alarm clock with a choice of wake-up methods
While you might think I had a chip on my shoulder, it is more likely to be a chimp.
While there are many tiny (non powered) 500GB hard drives around this 1GB unit is not one of them, its large and needs its own power but has a range on interesting LEDs and a whole raft of software provided on a CD-ROM.
It is 18x17x4.5cm, the first figure the depth is when cables are plugged in. The unit weights 1135grams and it is shiny black in colour. Why do not manufacturers make such unit a non shiny colour so that fingermarks are not a problem? The front has a small square on/off button and when off it appears to have three small graphics to its right to show full, half full or empty. In fact when on there are a line of blue square LEDs that show the amount of free space on the drive.