First an apology these arrived sometime ago and a friend said great could he borrow them for a couple of days as he was compiling a quiz. I forgot and he forgot and it is months later when I got them back so this is a very late review.
For those times when mains powered speakers or even large headphones are not acceptable then maybe a thumb sized speaker that enhances sound through what it rests on or maybe a set of decent earbuds may answer your needs.
This is shaped like a barrel being 3.5cm wide at the top and bottom and 4.5cm at the widest part in the centre it is also 4.5cm tall. The central 3.5cm strip is rubberised as is its lid. It weights a tiny 47grams and this includes the metal clip that allows you to fit a strap and it also holds the lid when flipped open. There are just two connections a micro USB (for charging) and a 3.5mm socket should you want to output music from any device that does not have Bluetooth.
The Canon PIXMA MX535 is a multifunction device that offers print, scan, copy and Fax capabilities. Other features include an ADF (Automatic Document Feed) and automatic Duplex printed to help save on paper. There is support for both wired and wireless connectivity when adding this device to your computer set-up.
Predominately black in colour with white labels, the PIXMA MX535 has dimensions of 458 x 385 x 200mm (W x D x H) and weighs in at 8.5kg. Rounded corners and a tapered top help give the unit an element of style but, even so, this product would be more at home in an office environment or, at a pinch, a study room for the home worker. Built into the scanner lid, sitting on top of the unit, is the AFD module.
A lot of my time recently has involved showing screens of one device on another device (Mirroring) this is a young task and the solutions sometimes do and sometimes dont work. This tiny device from Kingston is rather better at transferring data between two incompatible devices.
A few Android devices had a simple cable that connected a micro USB port to one that allowed you to insert a standard memory stick into it as if it was a standard USB port; this was a great feature that for some reason did not work with all devices. If you can persuade your Android device to show USB storage then this will normally work. To do this I found that a free App from the Play Store ES File Explorer is the most likely to give you this functionality.
With the adverse weather conditions we have had to endure of late in the UK, we should not be surprised at the arrival of waterproof devices such as this next product.
“Splish, Splash, I was taking a bath” is the first line of a pop song of the last century. It was a hit for both Bobby Darin (better known for his Beyond the Sea and Mac the Knife hit records – check Google for some of his performances) and Charlie Drake (a comic 5 foot 1 inch bundle of energy with red hair). Obviously I am showing my age with these memories as both performers have been dead for a number of years now.
Atlantis has long been a popular source of inspiration for those creating different types of entertainment including computer-based games. One such offering is Legends of Atlantis Exodus. Developed by Boonty Nexway Games, this title, belonging to the Time Management genre, is now available from Avanquests GSP catalogue of titles.
According to legend, the island state of Atlantis was a centre of civilisation and a haven of culture far beyond that which had been obtainable by the rest of the known world. However disaster struck and this idyllic paradise was swallowed up by the surrounding water. This game concerns the events that led up to this destruction.
My first task here is to find a category to place this in. It could be computers, PDAs, Phones or the one I choose Cameras. The reason is it has a proper lens and 10x optical zoom but it is also an Android device doing all that does as well.
It is 12.5x6.5x2.5cm and weights 210grams. The width is when the unit is off or not being used in camera mode, with the full 10x zoom in use this figure increases by 4cm. You can use it to capture selfies in 1.9MP, 1.3MP, 1MP or VGA. Using the standard lens to capture images there are ten different resolutions available. 16MP, 14MP, 12MP, 10MP, 10MP, 9.2MP, 5MP, 3MP, 2MP and 1MP these are in a range of sizes 4:3, 16:9 and 3:2.
Many of the scanners that come by way, for testing, form part of an All-in-One or multifunction devices. However there are exceptions and this is one of those occasions.
The Brother ADS-1100W is a compact personal page scanner which means it is restricted to scanning single pages rather than a book or magazine. As the “W” part of its model number might indicate, this scanner can connect to a computer system, whether of the Windows or Mac family, via wireless. There is also an option for a wired USB connection when setting up this device which has the capability to scan both sides of each page simultaneously.
This is a simple box to do a simple job. However probably through no fault of the box it has been a VERY FRUSTRATING and time consuming review which involved three separate phone calls with Netgears technical support, one lasting well over an hour.
The aim of the box is via an HDMI cable to display the contents of your mobile phone or tablet on your TV screen. It is called Mirror Casting. The box is 10.2x5x1cm. It has two connections on the back one for HDMI (not supplied) and the other for a mini USB lead that goes into a mains plug. A single button lies flush on the right side. As sometimes happens this arrived without instructions and I was sent a PDF version which I knew the salient parts of by the time I started to get results.
This is a three in one cable, you can charge your device, you can mirror your device on your PC and even use your computer keyboard and mouse to move around your Android devices screens and even type on it should you need. Finally you can transfer data between the two.
It has been quite a while since I last had the opportunity to check out an Archos device. This lengthy period was brought to an end with the arrival of a product with a slightly unusual title.
The 79 Platinum is not a precious metal mined in a particular year. Instead it is a member of the Archos family of Tablets. As the “79” part of its title might indicate, this is a Tablet with a 7.9-inch screen. While wishful thinking might hope for casing constructed of Platinum, the reality is that this device, running Android 4.2 (Jelly Bean), has a sleek aluminium casing.
A dual SIM Android phone almost as large as a Tablet could be the solution to solve a multitude of problems to suit a range of users. This offering from Prestigio gives a large clear screen as well as letting you choose how to communicate.
It comes with a fitted flip case that blanks the screen when closed. It weights 260grams (including case) and it is 16.5x10.5x1cm. It has speakers front and back, the front one is at the top above the screen to the left of the front facing ‘selfie’ camera. The rear one is at the base of the back, both have cut outs in the case so they can be clearly heard. The other cut out is for the higher capacity rear facing camera.
Rather than keeping their head in the clouds, users are increasingly using this virtual environment for storing their data which is then accessible from various locations.
When considering Cloud storage, your basic choice is either to make use of storage supplied by somebody else, whether it is a paid for service or one of the free offerings with limited capacity, or manage your own Cloud storage. With this latter choice, you retain full control over the data and avoid any issues that might arise such as the Patriot Act for data stored on servers based in America.
Taking its lead from a popular television series, this next game challenges you to discover who is responsible for murders based on classic novels.
Castle is a Hidden Object Mystery game based on a popular American produced television series. The game, developed by ABS Studios and originally published by GameMill Entertainment, is now available from Avanquest as part of its GSP catalogue of titles.
A rather different Camcorder in that it is very slim and fits easily in the palm of the hand. There are various angles to have the screen so you can capture images from various positions. There are two shooting modes one normal and one almost fish eye like.
The Canon Legria Mini measures 9.5x7.2x2cm when closed; the last figure the thickness can increase to 6cm with the viewing screen raised to 90degrees. It weighs only 174grams. The front has the lens that is covered when off and beside this two rather good stereo microphones. The right side has the on/off slider, then a flip open door that conceals a mini HDMI and DC input, next the on camera playback button and finally a wrist strap anchor point. The back is clear.
While most All-in-One devices are based on an inkjet printer, this next model from Brother features a laser printer.
The Brother MFC-1810 is an All-in-One device. Combining an A4 flatbed scanner with a printer, this product provides the user with print, scan and copy facilities plus Fax capabilities and an ADF (Automatic Document Feed) feature. Rather than the more common inkjet variety, the printer in this model is a mono laser unit making the product more suitable to the small office/home environment. Connectivity is via a standard USB lead which you need to provide.
Having recently told you about a JML Halogen Cooker this is rather different. Most people will know of a Microware and those like me or a certain age know about a Slow Cooker but what does this 8 in 1 have to offer.
Glass, Ceramic and Non Stick all words in today’s vocabulary how to they fit into the GoChef. The GoChef can be used to Boil, Slow Cook, Fry that is Flash Frying Shallow Frying and Pan Frying, Sautéing, Steaming, Roasting, Fondue, Reheat and Defrost. Unlike a Microwave you can use metal utensils and two racks and a frying basket are supplied. The twelve page Instruction and User Guide has five pages of description and useful hints.
While this is a box of magic it is not innocent stuff but often lives up to the box title of Gross Magic. The box states 8+ but perhaps its best for those of even more mature minds as we dont want to give children any ideas.
I find it strange the number of young children who are traumatised by pigeons, certainly if your child is affected by them then the magic in this box will certainly make them puke or worse. Perhaps for a company who makes their name on board games and other such delightful and harmless offering this offering from Hankypanky-toys.com is a step in the wrong direction but you must decide.
If you do not have enough storage space on your Android device for your music and videos then this next product could solve your problem.
Recently I was introduced to OTG (On The Go) technology with the arrival of a small piece of kit. This kit consisted of a lead with a male micro USB plug at one end and a female standard USB plug at the other end. The purpose of this product was to allow the user to add additional storage and content to their Android Smartphone or Tablet. You attach the OTG kit to the mobile device and then plug in a flash stick to the vacant USB plug.
First an item for those who remember or maybe like me those who still have a collection of cassette tapes and a use you maybe put one to. Second a Coffee Mug with attitude that will certainly be a talking point around the office.
For those of you of the younger vintage before the CD were cassette tapes, these contained audio like an LP – hope vinyl is in your memory – however they were the first easy way to copy music so buy a 45 and copy it for your friends. Here is the up to date version for those trying to woo (impress) a friend and perhaps promote more than a friendship so in modern parlance they become an item or partnership through music of whatever style or type happens to be that persons taste.
It was nearly three years ago that I first encountered CrazyTalk Animator at the BETT Computer Show and wrote my review of the product. While many titles tend to be updated on an annual basis, it is not until now that Reallusion, the products developer, has released a version 2 of this particular title.
A meteor, strange experiments, missing children and a collection of flowers all feature in a title developed by Urse Games.
Supplied by Alawar, Questerium Sinister Trinity is a Hidden Object Adventure game developed by Urse Games and available in Collector’s Edition format. As usual with Collector’s Edition titles, this game comes with various bonus items. Some of the additional content, such as Music, Concept Art, Wallpaper and Screensavers, are available immediately while the ability to replay mini games is only allowed when they have been tackled in the main game.
I have looked at several different Kindles, the HDX7 breaks new ground in that apart from it being an excellent book reader the thing Kindle started as it is now almost a full Android tablet so the screen is in colour at 1920x1080.
The Kindle Fire HDX 7" tablet measures 18x12.5x(less than 1cm), weights 304grams and boots in 21 seconds, but of course most never turn it off and just blank the screen. Shutdown is 3 seconds. One word of warning although this can do most things an Android tablet can do you can only access the Kindle (Amazon) store which does not have such a wide range of Apps as the Android Play Store does. The viewable screen is 15x9.
Today's implementations of Bluetooth are a great way to set up wire-free audio connections. But although Bluetooth has become a standard among handheld devices few home hi-fi systems are equipped to receive it. This is where the Kanex AirBlue comes in.
My old Harman-Kardon AVR630 hi-fi system dates from the CD era. But these days all my music is either on my phone, or fed to my phone from servers in the Cloud or up in my office. I haven't listened to a CD through the faithful HK since about 2008. Mainly because there's no elegant way of connecting it to my local area network. Until now, that is. As I write this, John Coltrane's classic "A Love Supreme" is squealing deliciously from my 5.
I seem to have an affinity with speakers that have unusual shapes. This is not another example but this time from a company I had not heard of before.
Developed by Nakamichi, the NBS 10 is a portable Bluetooth Stereo Speaker product. For those not too familiar with Nakamichi, and until recently I would have counted myself among this group, I should explain that this company has been involved in the research and development of electromagnetism, magnetic recording, acoustics and communications since 1948.
Despite smartphone and tablets now having cameras with more and more megapixels, the results cannot match those of a good quality bridge camera and certainly not the performance of a digital SLR both of which have a range of advanced features including optical zoom. Eye-Fi Mobi, provides the best of both worlds as it enables one to use Wi-Fi to transfer camera images directly to ones smartphone or tablet.
The Mobi SDHC Class 10 cards are coloured orange and clearly state “mobi” and also their capacity – 8, 16 or 32GB. They can just replace an existing SD card in a camera and create an 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi hotspot. Having downloaded and installed the app from www.eye.fi/mobi via the Android Play Store or the iOS app store onto the smartphone or tablet and then switched on the camera one will be prompted to key in the mobi activation code to “pair” phone and camera.
These are both mature products and for not a great deal of money give you lots of control over your data. Both packages work with music and give the best output available from the data input. They are Samplitude Music Studio and Music Maker both from Magix and both 2014 versions.
Without spending thousands of pounds you can produce great sounding music. While it will work with Windows XP the other specifications probably mean it will be a Windows 7 or 8 PC as you need 1.5 GHz processor and 1GB of RAM. 4.3GB of hard disc space and at least a 1024x768 display. Finally to load the software you need a DVD Drive. This product has won awards between 2005 and 2013 for its software.
With first living spaces getting smaller one solution is to cut the kitchen. With people of working age and no children eating out for time saving or pleasure is often more important than preparing a meal from scratch so oven.
Here is one solution that takes little room and can be used from a standard 13amp plug. In actual size it is smaller than a microwave. The glass container is round at 30cm it is 30cm tall to the top of the control unit and 36cm either side where the stand and handles jut out. Unlike a microwave that cannot use anything metallic there are no restrictions as to the material you use here. You can even cover the food with metallic foil.
Motorola, Google and Lenovo sounds as if it could be a pop group of the sixties while Moto X might well be the name by which a high profile political figure, of the same period, might be known. However the technology associated with these names is most certainly of the current era.
While the Motorola Moto X smartphone has a similar appearance to the company’s earlier Moto G offering, there is enough difference between the two models to mean that the accessories launched with the Moto G are not compatible with the new Moto X – a mistake in my opinion. As the last smartphone developed under the ownership of Google and now part of the Lenovo family of products, the Moto X will be available in a choice of Woven Black or Woven White.
A pair of speakers and a rather nice sub woofer that might even pass the other halfs scrutiny as it is in fact shiny white and therefore is more likely to go with whatever the lounge police think is acceptable whereas black probably will not.
The subwoofer is diagonal in shape 24.5x10x29.5cm. the pair of speakers are the 9.5x23.5x12cm, the total weight is just over 4kilos. While they are sold as Bluetooth speakers they also work perfectly well as a wired unit using a 3.5mm cable to the Auxiliary Input socket.