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

 
When problems occur with your computer, the excuse of out-of-date drivers is often put forward as the reason for any conflicts. Perhaps you should consider some form of driver management.
Your computer system relies a great deal on drivers to carry out many of its functions.  Like other forms of software, drivers are constantly being upgraded with new features and bug fixes.  While these drivers are freely available to those who need them, the task of searching for them, before downloading and installing them, can be time consuming.
What would you do if you received a letter dated ten years earlier? Edwina Margrave decided to set out in order to find the sender.
When looking for hidden objects what better place to start than in a house especially if it is an old dwelling with plenty of rooms plus various nooks and crannies that can provide a multitude of locations in which to conceal items.  Throwing in a missing relative plus a 10-year gap to add a touch of mystery with a possibility of foul deeds and you have the basis for a Click & Play game entitled The Secret of Margrave Manor available on the GSP label.
This device can check what, how and when causes the astronomical electricity bill. Every modern device tells you somewhere how much power it uses, unfortunately normally few people tend to initially take much notice.
The Owl CM119  consists of two parts, the first magnetically wraps round a wire from your meter this ends in a wireless sender (powered by 3x‘AA’ batteries supplied). The wireless signal is sent the second unit that displays a range of information this can be up to 30metres (ideal conditions) away and this is also powered by 3x‘AA’ batteries (also supplied).
While the paperless office continues to be a myth, software does exist to keep electronic documents under some sort of control.
A rather different PC in that all you get is a small box not a lot bigger than a video cassette and a wireless keyboard and mouse. This can even be mounted on the back of a panel or a TV so maybe ideal for the occasional user.
The computer is 20x19x3.5cm, it has shiny black sides with the edges being off white, it will just about stand unsupported but a stand is provided (clips into the base or it can be fitted so that it fits parallel to the back of a TV. The whole unit is slightly tilted back, on the top is a USB port, the back has a multi card port, two 3.5mm jack ports for earphones (or external speakers) and microphone and an eSATA socket.
Not everyone wants - or can afford - an iPod. Here a fairly basic offering that looks rather like a USB stick and second a player for those who can’t bear to be parted from your music even when swimming or taking a bath!
Normally items from Brando come with a manual in Chinese and English. Here only the former, I do not read Chinese. However there is enough information on the website (in good English) for anyone to use this item. It is 7.2x1.6x.6cm the top pulls off and it can be inserted into any USB port, behind the connector is a port for you to insert and micro SD or SD(HC) card and on this you can copy any MP3 music of your choice to play.
Yet another new title emerges from that treasure chest known as Alawar. This time it involves a young boy helping his mother and father escape from danger.
Not to be confused with a singer/songwriter who had several hit records many years ago (Google his name for more details), Anka is a point and click adventure that revolves around the activities of a young boy named Anka.  The game’s opening sequence introduces you to Anka and his mother who, I must state, looks more like an older sister.
This is the third – and dare I say – the most futuristic Dolce Gusto coffee machine I have reviewed. Firstly I must thank espresso club who pointed the existence of this machine to me long before it was made available for sale in the UK.
Leaving the totally different design for the moment the main difference is that a higher pressure is used to brew the coffee. The machine is shaped like a rather squashed ‘0’ with the actual cup placed in the centre of the ‘0’. The dimensions are 32cm tall, 30cm wide and 18cm deep. The back is made of a plastic material which forms the water tank. The unit is silver grey and somewhat as a surprise to me anyway I cannot see the name anywhere on the box or the unit.
Not only does Duracell make exceedingly good batteries but it provides the means to drain them of power.
When the subject of batteries comes up, my first thoughts tend to gravitate towards Duracell - a name originally devised as a shortened form of 'durable cell'. I expect that the same thought process applies to many of you.
Have you been sleeping well? The reason I ask is the arrival of a new game from those inventive people at GameHouse.
The Dream Voyagers is a game that casts you in the role of a Sandman – yes that character you thought was a figment of your parent’s imagination.  Sandmen, according to GameHouse, do exist and one of their main tasks is to remove those nasty nightmares that can spoil our slumbers and leave us feeling less than restful when we awake in the morning.
It has been a while since I had the chance to look at an Epson unit. In fact I first saw this last summer and it has taken till well into the New Year – and a lot of nagging – for it to get to me. So a simple question was it worth the wait?
The Epson Stylus PX710W is very compact for an A4 All In One unit at only 43x45x14cm with cables inserted. The only extra space you will need is around 15cm in front when it is printing. It is totally black so it might not meet with approval from the lounge police. Not only is it a standard All In One unit but it can do all sorts of fancy things to images that standard units cannot. There are a total of 20 buttons on a lift up portion of the front 25x6.
With a garden that consists of an expanse of concrete and an unruly hedge that divides my property from that of next door, I was perhaps not the ideal choice for checking out WORX and the company’s range of garden tools. But at least I was available to attend the demonstration being carried out on the second floor of a central London office building.
The first tool that I was introduced to was possibly the only one that I could make use of on a regular basis.  This was a hedge trimmer.  In fact WORX has two hedge trimmers on display.  Both are cordless 18V models.  First up was the WG250E version which features a quick release handle, dual action blades and an aluminium rack cover.  With a maximum cutting length of 51cm, this hedge trimmer has an 18V Ni-Cadmium battery pack that takes around an hour to recharge.
604846 mands elonex msnb 2009 netboo

Netbook from M&S

Anyone still keen to purchase a Netbook with Windows XP as the operating system could well find this unit one of their last chances. Later this year M&S will launch a different model with Windows 7 installed so don’t delay.
The M&S Netbook, the MSNB-2009, measures 25x19x4cm the last figure is the maximum at the back it is just over 2.5cm at the front. The weight is 1.35kilos. Mine was electric blue but I know they also do pink that might appeal to the ladies. This is sold exclusively by M&S but it manufactured and supported by Elonex one of the bigger names in the UK education sector. Looking at the connections, the left side has a volume adjustment knob and one of the tiny 2x.5cm speakers.
Although they do other things Ravensburger are best known for jigsaws. Here I am looking at two offerings, the first The Bizarre Bookshop a 1000 piece conundrum and second a 1500 piece map of the World circa 1594.
This premium puzzle has the Ravensburger softclick technology so if the pieces do not seem to fit they certainly are not meant to go with each other. A Landscape offering roughly 70x50cm and its such an intriguing image.
Time to pack your bags and gather together your wits as you are about to embark on a trip to Alexandria in search of mystical sacred spheres.
The Lost Treasure of Alexandria is a match-3 game.  In this game, which forms part of the GSP Click & Play series, you take on the role of Christine who is an archaeologist.  Having discovered an ancient mystical sacred sphere, Christine is convinced that her discovery is part of a set of ten spheres linked to different ancient religious environments from around the world.  Naturally she sets out to discover the location of these spheres.
604844 duracell torche

Duracell Torches

To me I knew the name Duracell for one thing batteries. Here they are launching a range of top quality torches, powered of course by their batteries. However the torches themselves offer something new, not seen before.
Have you noticed that almost all torches bulb or LED have bands of whiteness when shone into a dark area so you either have to move them about or refocus the beam to see what you require, these Duracell offerings give a totally white light, yes I mean white and not a rather washed out nicotine type yellow tinge to the colour. The items I am looking are from the Daylight range and there are a total of nine units of varying size and shape.
This book by William R Stanek and published by O’Reilly contains a massive amount of information in its 960 or so pages. It is not a book to be read but one to be delved into as and when the need arises – and this could well be anytime from the moment you get the computer.
While not aimed at the rank beginner, it provides a broad spectrum of information and so will be of interest to virtually everyone ranging from the serious amateur through to the PC professional. With virtually all PCs now coming with some version Windows 7 installed, we are all faced with a large number of similarities with previous versions as well as the differences -- some of which we will find disconcerting. That applies to both stand-alone and networked configurations.
Capturing video clips can be great fun as you record memories of family occasions and other events. However what you actually do with this content when you have transferred it to your computer’s hard disk is another matter entirely.
Not everybody has the time, inclination or skill to adopt the role of a film director and make productive use of the content.  Yes there are a number of software applications that can turn your work into a format that looks good and has a professional sheen but they do expect the user to have a certain amount of expertise in this field.  Not everybody, even in their wildest dream, would consider themselves to have such skills.
It was a hard climb to ascend Everest and then follow up that escapade by trekking through the Amazon jungle. Now the Bermuda Triangle comes a-calling with the next Hidden Expedition title.
Yes this camera has a TFT at the front and the back. Not as daft as it sounds if you either want to catch a shot with the image taker in or if you are trying to keep the attention of a young child their own image works wonders.
The Samsung ST550 digital camera measures 9.8x6x2cm and weights 135grams. Mine was black with a chrome ring around the lens and a thin purple line along the top and left edge with a larger area on the right edge, sounds weird but to my non stylish eye it looks smart. It is a 12.2MP offering with 4.6x optical zoom and is almost totally touchscreen. Looking at the front of the unit you see the 1.5x.4cm flash unit just to the left of centre at the top and the chrome ring around the varioplan 4.
It is not just call centres that require headsets for communication purposes; ordinary users could find such a device will suit their needs.
No matter how many rings your cooker has there are always times when you are juggling them to get even a fairly basic meal prepared so that everything is ready to eat at the same time. This could be a solution to the problem.
One such solution requires bamboo containers to be stacked on top of a saucepan, this is something totally different. In fact this requires no rings at all as it starts with the base that is the cooking element and above that other containers as required. It claims to be able to produce a three course meal with no mixing of the juices between courses, certainly something that the bamboo containers cannot do as the steam comes through from bottom to top.
Certain things make a claim that can be easily verified, others take longer. Certain claims may be initially true others may take time to prove. Then again some may never be proven/disproven even after a long trial period.
Last year I decided that my mattress was not helping my long term back problem and splashed out on a memory foam one. This I consider was probably my best purchase but even though it gives me hours of comfort I still have my back problem. Here I am looking at a pillow made of a similar material but it has a second purpose to play music to allow you alone to listen, so if you share a bed your partner need not be disturbed when your music lulls you to sleep. The pillow is 48x29cm.
As part of its range of new printing devices, Canon has released the PIXMA MP560. This is an All-in-One model featuring print, scan and copy functions. This PIXMA unit has Wi-Fi and USB connectivity and is being aimed at the small office / home user.
Removing the unit from the packaging reveals a black and silver box with rounded corners measuring 450 x 365 x 160mm (W x D x H).  Power and USB connections are located at the rear of the device, as is a secondary paper input option giving you the opportunity to have two different types of paper loaded ready for printing.  The main paper input is via a tray that slots into the front of the unit.  Both paper inputs are rated as being able to hold 150 sheets of paper.
This is triangular in shape and ideal for beside the bed, not only DAB, FM but also CD and an Auxilery input. It has two small internal speakers so decent stereo (considering its size) can be achieved from this Pure unit.
The Pure Chronos CD II measures 19cm wide at the front, 7cm wide at the back, 19cm deep and 12cm tall. The front of the unit has two columns of four buttons with a wheel set between the columns. Above this is a four line (green on black) display. Below the columns of buttons are two 3.5mm sockets, headset and Auxiliary In. The top of the unit has two buttons on each of the front corners to control any CD you might play.
Acer, which claims to hold the number one position in notebook sales in the UK, has announced its new TimelineX range based on the Intel Core series of processors, high quality displays and versatile connectivity. They will start coming onto the market within the next few weeks. The company is offering a number of different series of machines each of which targets a particular sector within the consumer and SMB marketplace.
Extending from 11.6 to 18.4 inch models, these range from the mobile user needing maximum battery life through to advanced multimedia solutions offered a full HD capability. Although based on the previous generation of machines, Acer has taken a hard look at improving machine efficiency with the aim of increasing battery life from the previous 8 hours to 12 hours. This will support a busy day of work or play without the inconvenience of having to break off to recharge.
603128 Inoitulos IDAPT i3 charging statio

Multiple Recharging : Inoitulos IDAPT

A recent delivery from Spain brought with it the ability to charge various portable devices simultaneously.
How many portable devices do you currently own?  I am willing to bet that the number is gradually increasing and, if my experience is anything to go by, you will probably have forgotten about at least one device when arriving at the final figure.
The normal phrase is “Lights, Camera, Action!” but, as fans of Nancy Drew will appreciate, when a certain young lady detective is involved then matters are rarely considered normal. So in this event it is more a case of “Light, Camera, Curses!” as Nancy tackles a HeR Interactive game that is available from Focus Multimedia.
604839 canon legria hf21 digital camcorde

Canon Legria HF21

This is a small camcorder that has a 64GB of supplied internal memory and 3.3MP stills. 15x optical zoom may not sound huge – by some standards – but try keeping the camcorder still when you have far greater amounts of zoom.
It weights around 330grams, light enough to sit on your fingers for some time without you needing to spend hours in the gym. It is 11.5x6.5x5cm when the TFT is closed add another 8cm to the 6cm width when it is open. The 270 degree of movement now seems to be standard on most camcorders and it can be very useful when taking images in a crowded area. It is easy to take images even when the unit is above your head as the TFT can still picture what you cannot see directly.
Probably better known to the Mac fraternity, Elgato has recently made moves designed to raise its profile in the Windows marketplace with the release of its EyeTV DTT Deluxe product. This is a television tuner that will work on both the Windows and Mac platforms in conjunction with software developed by Terratec.
Having looked at a number of USB television tuners in the past, my initially impression of the Elgato unit was related to its size.  It is definitely the smallest television tuner I have seen and is well qualified for its Micro-Stick designation noted on the product box.  This USN stick measurements are 57 x 17 x 9mm (L x W x D), making it a little larger than nano size but small enough not to cause any problems when positioning the stick on even heavily populated array of ports.
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