Along with available storage space, one aspect of my computer system that has grown in size is the monitor with 24-inch being a popular choice.
Adding to its range of Style-line display units, AOC has introduced its I2481FXH model. Arriving as a one-piece unit, this LCD monitor comes mounted on an asymmetric, matte silver metal stand. The combination of display panel and stand has dimensions of 541 x 403 x 150mm (W x H x D) as it sits on the workspace. Immediately drawing your eyes to this panel is the presence of, one could state the almost lack of, the unit’s black bezel.
This is a large unit so my advice is make sure its place is clear before you unpack it. It can be Wi-Fi or USB. I assume TNTs couriers are a lot stronger than me as it journey to its review position once delivered was by pushing its box along my hall.
The Brother DCP-9015CDW colour, multi-function printer measures 40x45x37cm and weights over 23kilos and around four kilos more in its box. The off white colour means it might just get by the lounge police; it has clean lines and could even pass as a coffee table when not in use. There are just two connections at the rear USB back left and power back right. There is no sheet feed so the rear 30cm is perfectly flat and it just rises to place a sheet of paper on the scanner.
It is up to you to make sure your computer is protected from malicious threats with appropriate software.
It is that particular time of year in the Fereday household when messages start to appear on my various computers advising me that my anti-virus and Internet protection software was approaching or had already reached the end of its subscription period. This memory prompt allows me to either renew my existing subscription or opt to try another product.
The Moochies Phone Watch has been designed to provide children with certain mobile phone features while, at the same time, giving parents a degree of control over the telephonic activity of their children.
Available in a choice of Black, Orange, Blue and Pink colours, the Moochies Phone Watch combines mobile phone, watch and GPS tracking elements within a single unit. Bright, some might go as far as saying gaudily, coloured with a child friendly image alongside the watch face, compressed non-toxic silicone rubberised casing, and capable of encircling a wrist with a circumference of between 12.5 and 16cm, this device could not be mistaken for anything else other than a child centric product.
The Asus ZenPad 8 Android Tablet is shaped more like a mobile phone than a tablet as it is taller than you think and also less wide than the normal. This shape means it is easier to hold in a hand than a lot of other similar devices, so possibly less easy to drop.
The ZenPad measures 20.5x12.2x.7cm and weighs just 348grams, the diagonal imperial screen measurement is 8 inches it is of course 16:9 ratio and this is great if you want to view UK TV which I was able to do as I was reviewing a Humax PVR during the review period that review should have been published around a week ago. The screen resolution is 1280x800. Going round the unit the right side has volume up and down rocker and the on/off button. The base and left side are clear and the top has a 3.
While not as high profile as some of the other products from the Corel stable, Pinnacle Studio is well established and comes with numerous bonus offerings.
Now up to version 19, the Pinnacle Studio package has been around for quite a few years. I first came across this software offering when it formed part of the AVID family of graphics based software and hardware. However, more recently, Pinnacle Studio has become part of the Corel family. With version 19 of the product you get a choice of Standard, Plus or Ultimate editions.
The latest PVR from Humax now comes with catch up TV for the times you forgot to set your PVR. It also has the ability to allow up to three channels to be recorded simultaneously. Read on for more details of this coffee themed recorder.
Most recent Freeview boxes have two tuners which mean you can record at least two channels at the same time. This unit has three tuners so you can record at least three channels simultaneously. However if the channels are on the same multiplex this number could even reach six simultaneous recordings. It is 28x19x5cm, the middle figure the depth can increase by a couple of centimetres dependant on the cables inserted.
As Apple in the UK tend to be very tight with review items until now my only foray into their world is via an ancient iPod that is too old to be updated to anything like recent firmware. So this courtesy of Vodafone is my first use of an iPad the Mini 3.
My first thoughts were not printable as I needed to enter username and password so many times then confirm all the same information numerous times as well as when I used any App it wanted the same £$%-&*” information however after that few details seemed to be needed.
The Netgear Powerline PLP1200 is the latest and fastest kit to provide network connectivity via the household wiring.
Each plug, which is Homeplug AV compatible, is 120 x 55 x 50mm deep, white in colour, with the mains plug and its associated power feed-through socket at the lower end. (There is also the PL1200 without the power feed-through.) It is narrower than many of the previous generation products so that it is easy to reach the switch on the wall socket.
Aldous Huxley may have foreseen the Big Brother scenario but he does seem to have ignored the possibility of Little Brother. I am referring to the current trend of installing security devices within our homes to provide notifications of any unauthorised activity when you are away for any reason. One such device is Canary No this is not the yellow caged bird found in some households although both the company and its flagship product is named after the bird used by miners to warn them of the presence of deadly gases found underground
Canary is yet another entry into the home security camera sector. Basically tubular in shape, the Canary is available in a choice of white, black or silver with my white review model reminding me of an inside-out liquorice all-sorts sweet. The Canary device has rear-mounted connection sockets for power, security audio and Ethernet. Supplied with this main unit are a 3-pin mains plug with USB connection; black micro-to-standard USB lead; yellow lead with 3.
This is described as a wide format panel from Philips, however to my old eyes it looks the same proportions as most panels, it displays 1920x1080 when you plug in a VGA lead, yes the display is sharp and clear so what is its secret.
The Philips 227E6EDSD measures 50.5x30.5x2cm and its 20cm circular stand raises it 9cm from your desk. It weighs 2.65 kilos with stand and that means the lack of side to side movement is not vital together with the viewing angle is stated to 178 degrees meaning you could sit almost level with and beside the display and read it clearly. There is a small amount of forward from vertical tilt and around 20% of backward tilt.
Continuing my look at various Brother devices, it is the turn of a colour laser All-in-One model.
Forming part of Brother’s latest line up of All-in-One or multifunction devices is the company’s DCP-9015CDN model. This combination of colour laser printer and A4 flatbed scanner delivering print, scan and copy features. The DCP-9015CDN also provides the user with Duplex printing and a choice of connectivity options made up of USB, wired or wireless linking. There is also support for remote print features through the use of AirPrint and Google Cloud Print.
Who would have thought it! Dracula teams up with Van Helsing to thwart an attack on humanity in this next title.
Developed by the Waterlily Development Game Studio, Dracula: Love Kills is a Hidden Object Adventure game. This game, as you have probably surmised, deals with the activities of the blood sucking Count so beloved by horror writers. However it is not Count Dracula (that’s your role) who is the villain of the story for that role falls to the Queen of the Vampires who is intent on destroying the human world.
One problem with a sound bar is that to get a good improvement on the naff sound coming from your TV is that you really need both the soundbar and a sub-woofer, probably expensive and for a lot of people it needs more space, here a different solution a Soundstage.
So there are a few around and they are not cheap but this offering that goes on sale - as with all ALDI specials - when they are gone they are gone and at the price they are selling it at they will not be available for long. In essence it’s a black box measuring 54x31x8cm and it will fit under your TV providing the TV stands legs are not wider than 54cm. It is stated to stand up to 30KG placed on it, few recent TVs weigh anywhere near that.
The Workzone Titanium+ drill & driver kit forms part of Aldis premium range of tools and accessories. It consists of the two most useful battery-powered power tools -- a hammer drill and an impact driver -- packed into a robust storage case so that everything is together when you want to use it.
Both tools have enough power to more than meet most needs, sit nicely in one’s hand, and are comfortable to use. They are also of a practical design so that, for example, they both have belt clips which can be fitted on either side to suit the LH or RH user. The forward/reverse switches on both drill and driver are transverse sliders across the body. They both have a central safety lock position which, while preventing the device operating, still allows the LED work light to light.
Joining the Vodafone series of handsets is a 4G budget offering.
Bucking the trend somewhat with regards to smartphones, and it must be said that tablets follow this same pattern, a new Vodafone offering takes the opposite direction with regards to screen size. While smartphone manufacturers are busy offering users handsets with screens that grow larger in size and features more pixels with each new release, the Vodafone Smart Speed 6 4G comes with a 4.5-inch touch screen. This product is available in a choice of Anthracite grey or silver.
Without doubt this is a semi-professional unit and it takes images of very high quality. What is perhaps a little more surprising is that in my own bumbling way I enjoyed using it and I certainly enjoyed the results that it gave me.
The Pentax K-3 II DSLR measures 13x9.5x14cm and weights a tad over 1kilo. It was supplied with an 18-55mm lens and this fully extended added around 1.5cm to the width. This was one of the few DSLR units that I fitted with the neck strap as carrying a kilo in your hand for a long period can be somewhat tiring however when shooting at a gig where it sits on a table between shots I still prefer not to have the strap getting in the way.
Any device with an unprotected screen whatever it is made of needs covering or it will at the very least get scratched or worse it will get damaged beyond repair even if kept in a bag, other items rubbing against it like keys can damage it.
The model I had was designed for the iPad Mini 3 and came in at the same time as the iPad, review very soon. Initially I was not that keen as I was still getting used to the iPad and trying to use it as a small mobile device that most would slip in a pocket or side of a bag and even though the screen is less than 8 inches when you have this zip up case and bits around it the overall size is 23x17.5x3cm and its weight with iPad and paper pad is 690grams.
A trip down Londons Brick Lane introduced me to a new smartphone from Huaweis Honor range.
Following the release of its top-of-the-range P8 smartphone, Huawei has now refreshed its Honor range which is aimed more at the budget section of the market. The Honor 7 is a 5.2-inch smartphone that comes with the tag line of “For The Brave”. In appearance, this smartphone certainly fits the bill with its fully metallic body that has been air-brushed with a ceramic coating.
The StorenGo super speed USB 3.0 500GB portable hard drive is one of a new series from Verbatim that provide a convenient way to back up the files on ones laptop.
In addition to this 500GB drive the others in the series have capacities of 1 and 2TB. They each incorporate a 5400rpm, 2.5inch drive in a unit which is 119 x 81 x 14.5mm in size and weighs 150g so that it is easily carried around in a pocket or rucksack. They are available in a choice of colours -- black, silver, blue, red and white -- with a diamond check pattern embossed front surface together with the Verbatim name and logo. They are supplied with a 21cm USB 3.0 cable.
This is a multi-function device which means it not only prints, scans and copies but for those who still use or need it the unit also has fax. It is quite small and light and runs with two cartridges, it is black but here thats OK as this is an office product.
The HP OfficeJet 3830 measures 43x48x30cm the figures I have given are with the paper output shelf extended and paper in the rear upright paper tray. At the back left of the unit is where Ethernet or USB leads are inserted and the centre of the back is where the mains lead connects. A sloping front edge has the on/off button on the left and the 5x2.
If available space on your desktop is at a premium then this next monitor might be able to squeeze into a small gap.
While hardly the most descriptive of titles, the 227E6E model number is the one given to a Philips SoftBlue 22-inch monitor. Actually if I was being really picky then it should be made clear that the panel size for this monitor is 21.5-inches or 54.6cm. However to the naked eye (or even wearing glasses as I do) I would not be able to notice the 0.5-inch difference in size. Having cleared up the slight size issue, I should explain about the SoftBlue aspect of this product.
While I have heard them referred to as vanity sticks, especially in the hands of certain individuals, manufacturers and many users prefer the term Selfie for this type of device which allows users to grab a self portrait of themselves in various locations. The latest product of this type to arrive for testing is the Selfie Pole from Kaiser Baas.
I have to admit that until the arrival of the Selfie Pole, I had never heard of the company known as Kaiser Baas. Not surprisingly, due to the company’s name, I could be forgiven for thinking that this was a German company but that thought would be well wide of the mark. Kaiser Baas is actually an Australian company that has been involved in the design and development of innovative gadgets since 2006.
This latest offering from Gigabyte will have gamers interested, as most will know the Gigabyte brand is built on fast motherboards and everything else builds on that, a lot of Desktops have Gigabyte motherboards but they brand notebooks themselves.
The Gigabyte P34W measures 33x23.5x2cm and weights 18.17grams. Like a lot of recent full size notebooks size and weight have been saved by the non-inclusion of an optical drive. If one is required you could always attach a USB one. So just what connections do you get. Starting from the back left a Kensington Lock fitment then an Ethernet Port and VGA out, two USB3 ports and finally headphone and microphone 3.5mm socket.
As part of the latest refresh of its Business Printer line up, Brother has released the MFC-L2700DN model. This All-in-One device combines a mono laser printer with copy, scan and Fax capabilities. The letters DN, forming part of the products model number, indicate that Duplex printing and Network connectivity are part of this units feature set.
Befitting its business status, the MFC-L2700DN has a solid appearance with a predominately gun-metal grey colour scheme that would probably not be acceptable in a home environment. The only exception to this mass of grey is the front mounted control of which more a little later. Considering it is meant to be used in an office, this All-in-One is reasonable compact with dimensions of 409 x 398.5 x 316.
I received this unit four months ago only to find nothing I had was compatible. I consulted the list and eventually I got something that worked with it; ironically this was the first iPad to pass over my desk, me being a confirmed Android person.
The TabletTV portable tuner has been designed for use when you are out and about. On first use you have to answer that you are in possession of a UK TV Licence. It consists of a 9x5x1cm box that has a tiny three piece 15cm rod aerial at one end, the other end has a micro USB port to charge the units battery, there is a micro USB to USB cable supplied.
This has been waiting since early 2014 to be reviewed; it came at the same time as the Pulse Oximeter and the Blood Pressure Cuff. The Pulse Oximeter worked immediately, the Blood Pressure Cuff when Android went to V5 but this had to wait for an iPad to arrive.
It is a watch but until it can be linked to something it is just something that flashes a Bluetooth symbol. Once it talks to an operating system it understands then you have a usable watch and it has travelled with me for the last ten days. It comes with two surrounds and bands blue and black. In fact it also comes with a clip if you prefer to fit it to a piece of clothing rather than a wrist.
Since its first appearance, many years ago, as the software of choice for many users when it came to burning content to disc, Nero has developed into a HD Multimedia Software Suite of tools. Nero is now available in its 2016 version with Classic and Platinum flavours depending upon your needs. I have been looking at the Premium product which comes with a Content Pack that is made up of video effects and themes for use to enhance your own projects.
When installing Nero Platinum, there are separate routines covering the main program, requiring the entry of a 39-character serial number, and the bonus Content Pack. In both cases you do have the option to join the Nero Product Improvement Program which collects anonymous data regarding the use of the software. The installation of the product can prove to be rather time consuming, giving you time for a cup of coffee and a chance to raid the biscuit barrel.
While a lot of computer items get smaller, Modem Routers seem to be an exception. Of course a lot of this is down to having the ability to work on more than one bandwidth and also to have far greater Wi-Fi range to mention just two features.
This however is the largest I have seen and will need more desk/table space unless you utilize the two holes in the back and hang it on a wall. It is 28cm wide, 22cm deep and 4.5cm tall all those are without any stand or cables connected. It weights 855grams; if you add the antennas this adds 31cm to the width and around 18cm to the height.
New from MAGIX is the latest version of the companys video editing software. This 2016 version of MAGIX Movie Edit Pro is available in Standard, Plus and Premium editions. My review is based on the basic Standard offering.
When installing Movie Edit Pro 2016 you have a choice of custom or standard procedures with the former allowing you a degree of choice in the modules that will be included in the process.