Due to a rearrangement in the way Acer contact their press relations it has meant an extended period with no new products being available for review. Here the first to emerge an Intel i5 2450m bearing the Acer Aspire V3 571 name.
It is 37x25x3.5cm. The viewable screen is 35x19.5giving a 15.6inch diagonal imperial measurement and the screen display is 1366x768. The weight of this full featured unit is just under 2.6kilos. It is –sad to say– shiny black. The left side has DC input, Ethernet port, VGA out, HDMI out, USB3 port and external headphone and microphone connections. The front edge has SD card port and a line of four pin hole LED’s.
Fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) and cable now offer faster broadband speeds even though they are still lower than can be achieved over the LAN. Despite this users are demanding higher wired and wireless LAN data rates. TRENDnets TEW-692GR 802.11n router has Gigabit wired ports as well as 450Mbps concurrent dual band wireless and so is targeted at those who want the highest possible level of performance for gaming and video streaming around the house.
TEW-692GR is black in colour, roughly 6 inches square with the three external antennas permanently attached but because they can be swivelled the unit can be used horizontally or, using the provided clip-on stand, mounted vertically. In this case the total height is about 11 inches. On the rear of the unit there are five Ethernet ports: four Gigabit LAN ports and a separate one, coloured differently.
First a rucksack that charges items while on the move, second a four gang surge strip that also allows you to charge USB devices. The first uses light to charge the second normal mains power but protects your items from surges.
Keep all your electrical devices powered and charged even when you are miles from a mains supply. This rucksack has power tips to fit most devices and can store quite a lot of items, sadly the solar power only relates to charging and not to carrying the rucksack, which you still need to do yourself. It is a very solid rucksack which weights close to two kilos before you place your laptop and change of socks in it. The straps are wide and comfortable and the adjustment is good.
Continuing my look at product line-ups available for the festive season, Gear4 takes central stage.
While Christmas comes but once a year, the month of July often see a proliferation of events that are labelled as Christmas in July by various companies. The reason for the temporary time-shifting of the festive season is so that interested parties get the chance to view the goods that manufacturers expect to feature, and hopefully be placed at the top, on the must-have lists of consumers.
The Doro PhoneEasy 614 is the first 3G phone from Doro. While it may seem rather late in the 3G lifespan it does mean a Doro phone user can benefit from what Doro is good at, loud ring tones, bright and large displays and now the things other phones have.
While an FM Radio is included a camera is not so while you can email and send and receive messages not photos. Booting time is only 12 seconds and shutdown less than 3 seconds. It is 10x5x2cm when it is closed; flip it open the first figure becomes 18.5cm. The weight of the unit is 116grams.
Combining a patriotic look with a portable DAB radio, View Quest has gone for a slang name for England when naming its product.
As well as being the slang name that was often used especially in years gone by to refer to England, Blighty is also the name that View Quest, a British company, has bestowed on its Union Jack personal DAB/FM pocket radio. There is no doubting this radio’s patriotic allegiance and the reason for the inclusion of “Union Jack” in this product’s description as the UK flag is prominently displayed on the rear of the device even spreading out over to the sides.
You could find yourself burning the midnight oil as you try to complete just one more puzzle board in the latest Jewel Quest title.
And still the Jewel Quest saga continues. This is not meant as a criticism, more a statement of fact brought about by the arrival of Jewel Quest 5: The Sapphire Dragon. The developers of this popular game series have come up with yet another combination of jewel board puzzles and storyline. For those unfamiliar with Jewel Boards, I should explain that these boards need to be turned gold by creating match-3 groups of jewels by swapping two adjacent jewels.
Not entirely new as I am told this first launched more than eighteen months ago. However at an event specifically to showoff its larger sibling I left with one of these smaller units to review. The brand new larger unit will follow later.
It is 15x4x5.5cm and weights 340grams. Mine was orange top and bottom and black metallic grill over the four sides. Very like an ice cream brick - not that I think you can still get them – they do a range of other colours. The centre of the top has three buttons – also in orange – ‘O’ ‘-’ ‘+’. The last two control the volume wired and wireless.
Tt can be worrying (well only slightly) if you are put in the situation where you come across a product with the word "Retro" in the title and you realise that you can remember this particular look from your youth or even later. Surely Retro has to mean before "my time" but sadly that seems to be no longer the case. In my defence I will state that with this next item, the Retro designation did refer to the appearance of the product rather than its in-built functionality which did feature an impressive array of some of today's modern technology.
As part of its retro series, View Quest has released its Wi-Fi Radio model. This product is available in a choice of black or white face with the rest of the unit coloured matte black. Box-shaped, this radio with a useful carry handle, has dimensions of 284 x 94 x 170 mm (W x D x H).
Many older people do not want or need lots of texts and mobile use as well as mountains of calls a month. So a service that offers some of everything at little or no cost seems nirvana. I have been testing one such service from Ovivo.
Many years ago a single PAYG call cost 49p a minute but in the early days your credit was still there if not used straightaway. I remember one such service that charged 15p a minute for the first five minutes in a day and then 5p a minute after that. Nowadays the main problem – for a lot of people – is using their allowance before the month comes to an end.
A while ago someone who knows more about audio than most, told me that the CD would become niche like vinyl I was unaware such a revolution was taking place, but it does mean that higher quality audio is now downloadable.
I selected four albums from the Linn and Universal offerings that have been remastered. I am told there are over 400 currently on offer. While my passion is Jazz there are some popular and a lot of classical with a few other genres available. With MP3 downloads you may get a picture of the sleeve so your player can display it, with these you get the sleeve (printable format) and in some cases the booklet as well. I have an original recording of this so was able to compare the two.
Recently the Sony team was out in force at a Central London location to demonstrate some of the companys new products that could end up on your wish list for the Christmas season.
Wishing attendees a “Very Sony Christmas”, the company had various products on display. These products were categorised as Home Entertainment, Imaging, Computing, On the Go and At Home. While the constriction of available space means I can not cover all the various products, I will include at least a couple of offerings from each category. Lets begin with Home Entertainment and, in particular, televisions.
A multi function unit as it has Fax, when I speak with manufacturers they still claim there is demand, my findings are somewhat different, this is rather like the PX730 recently reviewed but this is black rather than cream.
The Epson PX830 MFU measures 44x50x20cm the rather large depth figure is solely because of the built in Duplex that adds to the depth, the colour may put some off but if it resides in a cupboard then it need not be seen. The wireless option works very well. The whole control panel 30x8cm flips from vertical to horizontal hinging on the top so is viewable from any angle. With the exception of the on/off button which is to the left of the huge 21x6cm screen everything is controlled by touch.
Those innovative people at Kingston have come up with a possible solution to increasing the storage capacity available to your mobile device.
While you nice, new, shiny smartphone or tablet will come with a certain amount of available storage space, there will come a time when you will struggle to find the space to store items you would not want to be without. This occasion is bound to happen sooner or later depending upon factors such as the manufacturer and the percentage of your disposal income you were prepared to part with when making the purchase.
Friendly ghosts, shimmering portals and dual locations meet up with an evil spirit in a Hidden Object Adventure game available from Avanquest
It all began with an unexpected phone call from a lawyer. This phone call informed you that you had inherited a house in its own grounds but, apart from it location, the lawyer could supply no further details. I should explain that you are cast in the role of the beneficiary; a young woman named Sara Haverston who immediately sets out to check this dilapidated dwelling that is meant to be empty but is home to several restless spirits.
A while ago I reviewed another high quality device from Audyssey. Here a Wireless device that can also be attached via 3.5mm cable. However this is mainly Wireless and I mean Wireless not Bluetooth and can be used in several ways.
It is 21x12x20cm and each side has cloth covering where the speakers sound emerges. At the base of the back is the power input, a 3.5mm Auxiliary input and the ‘Pair’ button. The top has a large circular volume button and behind this two small LED’s. The front has a 3.5mm socket for headphones or earbuds when the speaker may be inappropriate. While not as heavy as the last Audyssey I reviewed it still weights over two and a quarter kilos.
If you are looking for a budget priced All-in-One inkjet product then maybe this next offering might suit.
Adding to its range of all-in-one inkjet products, Brother has released the DCP-J140W model. This is the company’s lowest priced wireless inkjet product. It has been designed for SOHO users who need to print from a range of devices whether a computer, smartphone or tablet requiring a free download of iPrint&Scan as well as scan and copy documents. This DCP-J140W all-in-one supports both USB and wireless connectivity.
Not everyone has a workbench -- and even those who do, will often find that having a portable one is a great convenience. The Bosch PWB600 portable work bench is a solidly build unit that is both easy to erect and to fold up again for easy transport and storage.
Mainly constructed from aluminium box section extrusions and with a 15mm bamboo block board top it gives the impression that it has been designed for solid everyday usage rather than for just being used once or twice and then being relegated to a forgotten corner the garage. This view is underlined by the fact that, even though there is a warning not to stand on it, the marked load bearing capacity is 200kg i.e. 440lbs.
Just that little bit smaller than most current Android Tablets. This has the advantage of the latest version of Android (Ice Cream Sandwich) 4. Being that bit smaller can increase battery life and is that bit easier to handle.
The Gemini JoyTAB measures 15.5x21x1cm and weights 500grams. My unit had 8GB of memory (but according to documentation) 4GB and 16GB are also available. Apart from in bright sunlight it is easy to read, great in poor light but the screen is reflective. The viewable screen is 16x12cm. I shall mention where thing are assuming you are using it in portrait mode.
Having recently discovered the Bayan 3 I am looking at its bigger sibling the Bayan 7. This is the biggest and they also do a Grand however it is still designed as an iPod player but you would definitely not move it too often.
The wooden body is 26x27x23cm but that only contains the main speaker, two more sets of speakers are in the Perspex surround so the overall width is 44cm and the height is 27cm, the Perspex which contains the speakers is 1cm thick. Need I say it’s not that light, moveable yes but as it is mains powered certainly not portable. While some will say an iPod or anything connected by a 3.5mm jack is not likely to sound great for a small system this is pretty good.
A visit to a Central London location introduced me to a range of products designed for relaxation, stress removal, air pollution and weighing functionality.
Apologies for the play on the standard Father Christmas greeting but I was unable to resist the temptation when bring you details of a range of products from HoMedics. In case you are unfamiliar with this company, I should explain that HoMedics was set up in 1987 with the intension of using the latest technology advances to develop innovative personal wellbeing products. If, like me, you suffer from back problems then this first group of products might be of interest.
A fully USB monitor meaning it has a single lead only. So no power lead all the power comes down the USB lead. This does have one drawback it can only be a second monitor or be used as a monitor for your laptop or notebook.
I saw this at an evening event for the press which occurs twice a year (spring and autumn) called Digital Summer and Winter. This brings together around twenty vendors some known in the UK others like AOC are based in Europe so new to me. I am told that AOC is a division of Philips who have long been pioneers as they were the first to give you sound down USB so no internal sound card was required.
While a new version of an OS (Operating System), such as Windows, might take a number of years to make a commercial appearance, utilities designed to keep the OS running smoothly operate on a short gestation period.
New versions of utilities are generally released on an annual basis with the year appendage being used to identify the current version. One such product that falls into this category is TuneUp Utilities 2012. Available with a three user licence this product provides a range of tools covering different aspects relating to the smooth running of your Windows computer system.
Keeping your customers satisfied is the aim of this next game as you run a made-to-order store in fashionable parts of town.
As the developer and publisher of casual games for various platforms, Youdagames has now ventured into the world of glamorous accessories for its next game playing offering. This is Youda Jewel Shop. Available for the Windows platform, Youda Jewel Shop is a time management game that contains over 80 levels of keeping your customers happy by providing the jewellery on their shopping list.
This consists on a pair of glasses with earbuds connected by a short lead to a small box. My thoughts go back to early handheld CD players however here you not only get sound but also vision and the box has an Android system.
The term ‘learning curve’ seems to have fallen out of favour, this revives it. While with help I managed to get it to do all it was supposed to do you get a chance to learn the art of touch as with the glasses on you cannot see the box and you need to control the cursor on the screen you may also need to use a button on two on the box so you do get the chance to see things as a blind of partially sighed person does, an interesting experience.
Aliph has recently introduced a big brother to its original Jambox audio device.
The Big Jambox, as its title indicates, is a much larger and heavier version of the original Jambox providing enhanced audio and speakerphone capability to your mobile devices. Available in a choice of Red, White or Graphic Hex (black to you and me), the brick shaped Big Jambox has dimensions of 256 x 80 x 93mm (L x W x H) and weighs in at 1.2kg.
The Doro Comfort 1015 is an attractive DECT cordless phone that incorporates an answerphone and other features, such as hands-free operation, that a user will find useful. It is convenient to use and is available in a number of variants. As well as the single handset option, there are the two, three and 4-handset packages listed which also provide paging and intercom around the house.
Handsets are 165 x 50 x 25mm approx. and fit comfortably in one’s hand. They are black in colour and the white characters on the keys are easy to read. The matt rear surface of the handset makes them easy to grip. Doro has taken a very practical approach in the design of these phones with the handset using two standard AAA rechargeable batteries rather than specials. The claimed standby and talk times are respectively 100 and 10 hours.
Canon does a lot of professional cameras however they also have two ranges, Ixus and PowerShot, suitable for home and pocket use. Here the latest offering, the Canon PowerShot A4000IS, in what used to be the larger of the two small units - the PowerShot, which has shrunk.
The PowerShot A4000IS measures 9.5x5.8x2cm and weights 150grams. However the width can increase to around 5.5cm what fully zoomed. My unit was silver and grey. The front has the 8x optical zoom lens and the bar flash above and to its left; it is never nearer than 2.5cm to the lens. I found this gave good images although they did initially look a little over exposed on the TFT.
Is your SmartPhone charged by micro USB? If so then this stereo speaker dock can allow you to listen to music while you are charging your phone. So just for a change the iLuv MobiDock is not an iPod dock but one designed for those with SmartPhones.
It measures 24x14x11cm, the middle figure is at the centre of the unit where the SmartPhone dock is at the sides its only 10cm. When you look at it you think you are looking at an iPod in situ as the dock has a back that stretches up by 3cm above the speakers. However investigate more fully and the arms stretch from 5cm when at the bottom to 16cm at their height (horizontal) and the small micro USB charging connector swivels through 180 degrees.
To some Bounty is a tasty treat that combines a chocolate coating with a coconut filling. Others will immediately think of Bounty as being a reward on offer for completing a specific task. Really the concepts are not all that different as a Bounty bar could be your reward for completing a job of work. Bounty is also the title of a match-3 and puzzle solving game developed by Total Eclipse.
This game is based on a pirate theme and begins with an opening introductory sequence that places you somewhere in the middle of Nowhere. Actually Nowhere is somewhere and is the name of an island that you would expect pirates to visit. Using a comic book style of story telling, this sequence involves a fight between a group of pirates, who have just finished burying their loot, and the forces of law and order.