Do you remember your first one? I am, of course, referring to your first portable media device such as an MP3 player.
I have just had a flashback – fortunately it was not painful but it did remind me of my first MP3 player. This was a device, whose antecedents I have forgotten, that I won as a prize in a charity raffle. Actually it was not the prize attached in my winning ticket – that was a signed Chelsea football shirt from the period when Dennis Wise played for the club and they had just won the FA Cup.
For those who print a little, scan a little and copy not a lot may well fancy a small in size unit that does all those things. Those who have a small place to print from this is certainly a unit that can tick all the requirements.
The Epson "Expression"e; XP-102 All In One is 38x30x14cm but add another 20cm to the last figure to put a stack of A4 sheets in the sit up sheet feed in the rear. 10cm on the 14cm height should be plenty if you are scanning something and wish to locate the unit on a shelf. USB enters back left while the power enters back centre. There are four touch buttons on the front face of the unit just above where the finished page exits face up. The buttons are on/off, mono copy, colour copy and problem.
Christmas is now well on the map, here are two things that are a little different, first a 3D construction toy from Triqo and second a model of a giraffe from Revell that includes where all the vital organs are to be found.
In my youth Meccano was king, for the last few decades it has been Lego. Now a new kid has arrived called Triqo - yes the forth letter is a Q so if it gets into the dictionary scrabble fans will love it. This is a different type of construction as the pieces are triangles and circles, all are disc shaped and they clip together. Strangely enough they are made in Holland like another construction toy. The pack I was sent has 50 pieces in the two styles.
If you like Hidden Object Adventure games then this next offering from Focus Multimedia could well be placed at the top of your must-but list.
Oddly enough this next product from Focus Multimedia consists of not one, nor two but three games that are entirely independent of each other. The only two things they have in common are that they all belong to the Hidden Object Adventure genre and were originally published by Alawar Games.
This is a PowerShot but looking at it quickly you may consider it is DSLR unit as it is larger than the recent PowerShot offerings not in the battery area as it has a solid battery but all round as it is a chunky looking item.
The Canon PowerShot G1X weights 540grams quite a lot for a digital unit and it comes with a neck strap. It is 11.5x8x7cm but add between 3 to 5cm when switched on as the lens moves out by that much as soon as power is applied. If you use the TFT to frame images then you can double the width to 16cm as it flips opens like that of a camcorder. The left side has one anchor point for the neck strap; the right side has the other as well as a door hiding the HDMI and A/V out sockets.
A visit to one of the increasingly popular Christmas in July events brought a Bluetooth speaker unit to my attention.
For a long time if you had wanted to add external speaker capability to a mobile device, you would have needed to make the necessary connection using an appropriate audio lead, unless, of course, your mobile device belonged to the Apple family of mobile devices. In such instances you could mount your iPod, iPhone or iPad on to a docking station that would both charge the unit and give you access to the audio content.
Alawar offers to take you on a journey of adventure as you attempt to colonise the Spring of Eternal Happiness.
Looking for a fresh start and being of the adventurous type, you decide to set off for pastures anew. Finding a willing captain, complete with a ship and crew, who was prepared to set sail for faraway lands, you embark on your journey. Not every thing runs as smoothly as you, and no doubt the rest of the crew, would have wished.
Hoover is a brand name from Wales as well as being a generic name for a vacuum cleaner. Here is their latest offering called The Globe which has striking resemblance to a recent upright cleaner offering from Dyson.
There are three parts to assemble when the unit is unpacked, the body, the shoe (or foot) and the handle. The only slightly tricky bit is connecting the two pin power connector between the base and the body which is a swivel motion. During my couple of weeks testing it my own vacuum was put aside and this got a good workout. As with most modern uprights you can remove the hose from the body and attach various supplied fittings to do stairs and curtains etc.
Sometimes review products are available immediately but there are occasions when a great deal of patience is required before you get your hands on a product. This is a case of the latter.
The Pentax K-01 belongs to the mirrorless compact system breed of camera. It is the type of device that you are going to want to hand around your neck or dangle from your shoulder rather than stick it in a pocket until required. This camera has been designed from the ground up by Marc Newson who, I must admit, I had never heard of prior to the launch of this product.
If like me you find bathroom scales hard to read then either of these offerings from Salter may well have the answer. The first has a magnified display that stays on for a while once you step off. The second is all glass with large digits.
Unpack, attach the supplied 3x‘AAA’ batteries, attach the rubber foot covers place on the floor, the unit shows 0.0 it will then switch off. Step on it and it will show your weight in the default measure of kilograms. Step off and it will still show the weight for another four seconds giving you ample time to bend down to read the display should it be necessary. It is approximately 28x28x2cm but as the corners are chamfered it could be slightly different to the size stated.
With the Olympics now a distant memory thoughts must turn to Christmas. Here a couple of suggestions, first a UFO toy that can have a message of your choice, second a jigsaw but this one is not flat but built up in 3D.
The box suggests 8+, while I have no doubt children of this age will have the required piloting skills; I have my doubts about their ability to insert the required six ‘AAA’ batteries into the remote controller / charging box. As with a lot of toys they look great in the packaging but removing them from it is a work or art with numerous pieces of tape and in the case of the remote even a Philips screw through the cardboard to be removed.
It has been a while since I last took a look at a Canon printer. Checking my records revealed that this period covered at least 15 months. Now the arrival of the Canon PIXMA MX-435 Office All-in-One model that period has been brought to a close. This unit brings together scan, print, copy and fax capability plus ADF (Automatic Document Feeder) and wireless connectivity all at a price well under £100.
The MX-435 adopts a stylish box-like appearance with rounded corners and a top that slops upwards and inwards so as to create the platform which houses the ADF module. Like many other manufacturers, Canon has gone with a lacquered black colour scheme. Unlike many products from other manufacturers, I am pleased to report that the Canon All-in-One finish proves to be highly resistant to my attempts to leave my finger smears over its surface.
Listening pleasure for a group with the Bluetooth Speaker Stand allowing you to view as well as listen to stored content. The second is something called Fit Active earbuds that stay in place even when you engage in activity.
While the name of Huawei might not be one of the first names that trips off your tongue when the subject of manufacturers of Android devices is taking place, the company is determined to change that perception with some new products. Recently I took a look at the Huawei MediaPlay tablet and now it is the turn of the Huawei Honor U8860 smartphone.
This is the standard candy mode style of unit. It is decked out in black and comes with the Android 2.3 operating system. With dimensions of 122 x 61.5 x 10.9mm (H x W x D) and a weight of 135g, the Honor has a nice comfortable and solid feel to it when in the hand with the two external controls within easy reach. On the top of the handset is the power button while a volume rocker is located towards the top of the left side.
When entering the world of Age of Enigma you are not involved in code breaking but have the opportunity to chat with and help a series of ghosts
Age of Enigma: The Secret of the Sixth Ghost combines elements of puzzle solving, mini-game play and object location with point & click action. Set in an alternate universe (in the year of 1947) when paranormal activity is considered the norm, you are cast in the role of Ashley Reeves, a respected medium in Age of Enigma. Following a series of visions and worrying dreams of a young girl trapped in an old house, you set out to visit Amityville, New England to investigate further.
Since this was first announced I have been trying to get one to test as this is probably the most talked about recent offering from anyone. A friend of mine claims it is the only product he needs to run his whole work life.
For a phone it is slightly large but for web browsing it is perhaps the ideal size able to be read in the palm of your hand. For composition of emails or writing longer items it also works with ‘SWYPE’ technology built in. It is 13.5x7x.5cm and weights 132grams. The exact model number is GT-19300 although everyone seems to call it Galaxy SIII. It runs Android version 4.0.4 The viewable screen is 6x10.7 with notional imperial measurement of 4.8inches.
Giving my tried and trusted mono laser printer a rest, it was time to check out a new addition to the Brother mono laser printer family.
Aimed at the home office user, Brother has launched its HL-2135W model. This is a mono laser printer offering USB and wireless connectivity with a price point that comes in at under £100. According to Brother this printer delivers a print speed of 20ppm with the first page arriving in less than ten seconds but more on this a little later.
To me this is my discovery of the year. One of the items I saw during the Xmas In July round of events and if anyone is interested its top of my wish list for Christmas this year. It gave me lots of good workouts during its testing.
A simple seat and back arrangement it will fit on almost any chair. I remember seeing a similar thing at the Harrods Technology Department launch, that however was built into a dedicated armchair and it cost a lot of money. To have a Shiatsu massage to your back and at the same time Thai compression on your lower back and or upper thighs is amazing. Should you want you can also incorporate heat treatment. The massage and compressions both have three levels of intensity.
iLuv have a range of earbuds and now it includes headsets. Here I am looking at myMusic a flat wire (no tangle) earbud with hands free microphone and second Sweet Cotton a 2 in 1 with Speak EZ Remote over ear headphones.
The silicon earbuds are nice and soft meaning they should mould into most ear canals. As seems the norm they come in three sizes. The cord length is 1.3metres. 20cm from the earbuds to the phone control switch and a further 20cm till the separate cords join. Perhaps the biggest single advantage is as the cord is flat it is far less likely to tangle.
It was not so long ago that smartphones were classified as high-end devices with prices to match; now we are seeing budget offerings entering the market.
Generally when a handset arrives from Vodafone to be reviewed, it is a model from one of the major manufacturers of telephonic devices such as RIM, Samsung or HTC. However, in the case of the Smart II, this handset proudly bore the Vodafone name and logo on the front of the unit. Closer inspection of the product box revealed a reference to the Alcatel V860 but Vodafone Smart II has a better sound to it so we will stick with that title for the purpose of this review.
Roberts products are always towards the higher quality end and therefore cheaper alternatives are always available. So what exactly does this stereo iPod dock with clock and DAB and FM radio offer that others do not?
It is semi circular in shape with the front being a flat edge. The dimensions are 15cm deep with power lead inserted, 17cm across and 7cm tall. Whatever iPod or iPhone you insert will add to the height as the dock is on the top. The rear has aerial socket, auxiliary input, headphone/earbud socket, USB (for upgrades) and finally the DC input. The power lead is 1.5metres which is okay, the aerial lead is .
Are dedicated Satnav devices are on the decline. Smartphones and other mobile devices seem to be encroaching on their territory with mapping and directional offerings.
If you were a crow then you could fly in a straight line to get to your chosen destination. Unfortunately you do not possess this particular ability to take to the air and will often need to take a roundabout route to reach your destination as you travel from A to B. Luckily modern technology can come to your aid with the combination of digital maps, software and hardware devices.
As part of Focus Multimedias BlackLime catalogue of budget priced titles, A Gypsys Tale: The Tower of Secrets is a Hidden Object game that has more than a touch of Adventure game play to keep you on your toes.
In this game you take on the role of Reylin of Winderalth. This character is a gypsy who has developed a sense for magic whether of the good or wicked variety. You have been hired by a monk to locate a long lost tower using your special skills and then rescue a young girl who has been held prisoner in this tower.
After recently reviewing a couple of light offerings that had SSD to give rapid booting, its back to a larger business notebook but as its high end you lose that horrible shiny black screen surround that shows all the fingermarks.
It is 38x24.5x3cm and weights just over 2.5kilos. It is dark grey apart from the area behind the keyboard that is a mushroom colour. The 106 keyboard has full size keys – apart from the top line function keys – which have a nice feel when pressed. There is a 4.5cm strip behind the keyboard that has five well marked buttons in a line at the right edge. The area in front on the keyboard is a 9.5cm strip with the 10x7.5cm trackpad fitted 8.5cm from the left and 19cm from the right.
Joining texting and Twitter, we not have another method of getting a message across or perhaps up in the air.
Aimed at those who consider themselves “young at heart” and are aged 8 years and upwards, 50Fifty Gifts has come up with a remote controlled helicopter with a difference. This model for would-be ground based aeronautical pilots is the UFO Space Messenger. As its title indicates, this helicopter has the capability to deliver messages during its flight through the air. The UFO Space Messenger kit consists of the helicopter unit and a hand-held remote control device.
Doro have long focused on phones for people with hearing and or sight disabilities. These days most want more than just to make calls; recently they have produced a GSM phone and here a unit that also has a camera.
The clamshell design of the phone means its small in the pocket or bag. It is 9.5x5x2cm when closed, double the first figure when flipped open. The outside of the unit is black and the face is white with the individual push points are black with white numerals 1.2x.7cm. The initial setup allows you to change language, time, date, ring tone, volume, text size and theme. All can be changed later individually should you wish or even rerun the setup from the Settings menu all one finger operations.
The first allows you to connect your device Wirelessly, the second is a speaker dock for your iPod or iPhone that can be powered by AAA barriers or mains. The first in traditional black, while the seconds come in four striking colours.
While I think ‘Street Party’ is a little optimistic for the use of this small unit, it can certainly enhance the sounds from a device connected to it either wirelessly or via a 3.5mm lead. You can even answer phone calls on it. It is 19x10x7cm the last figure the height is at the front the sloping back nature means the rear is only 6cm. If you are taking around and about then weight is important and that is 560grams, a good bit of that is its inbuilt battery.
While touch screen smartphones take all the headlines, there is still a market for handsets with more basic feature sets.
If you are looking for a budget priced handset then Nokia would like you to consider its Asha 201 model. Rather than its new best, platform-providing, buddy, namely Microsoft with its Windows Mobile offering, Nokia has opted to go with its own Symbian series 40 operating system for the Asha 201 to help reduce costs. Available in a choice of black, white or green, the Asha 201 adopts a rather stubby candy bar style of design.
These days people do not want to put their camera away when it rains and here a unit that goes one stage further with special modes for use under water. However it still takes decent images and movies in more normal conditions.
The Pentax Optio WG-2 measures 12.5x6x2.5cm, the last figure the width does not vary and the zoom is internal (periscopic) and the bright red face could help you find a dropped unit underwater. However this should not happen if you use the very strong fabric wrist strap which is the best part of 2cm wide, another useful feature for those underwater users.
I had almost forgotten that I had asked to review this next product when an email arrived announcing a sample was available. But was the wait worth it?
Often, and for the obvious reason, a product’s title can give you a very good indication as to the purpose a particular piece of hardware or software is meant to be used for. However that is not always the case. Take for instance the Urbanista®- Los Angeles. Now you might think that with such a title, I was about to begin writing an article of a little-known airport that provided one-way flights to a certain American city but nothing could be further from the truth.