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

 
Some of us reside in an environment that could be best referred to as one that is based on the Internet of Things (IoT) with interactive devices everywhere.
As more IoT devices arrive and are added to the equation, we are being encouraged to hand over control of our living environment to objects whose prime concern seems to be their ability to interact and communicate with each other.
A Match 3 journey is complicated by the appearance of various creatures and disadvantaged inhabitants.
Alchemist’s Apprentice 2 – Strength of Stones is a Match 3 game developed by Quick Click Games that take you on a journey to find a missing uncle.  As the “2” part of the product’s title might suggest, this is a follow-up offering.  Unfortunately as I missed the original title, I do not know how closely this title follows the pattern set by the first game.
883969 Tony Tony Chopper Power Ban

Tony Chopper Power Bank from Brando

This is a more unusual power bank in that it has two outlet ports that charge at different rates. It is also more like a character rather than just a device to let you slurp power when away from mains power for whatever USB device.
883813 Netgear TP Link AC750 Dual Band Wi Fi Travel Route

A TP-Link Router : TP-Link AC750

With 5 antennas and a slot for SIM card entry, this router caught my attention.
As a global provider of networking solutions and appropriate accessories, TP-Link has a large catalogue of offerings. I recently have had the opportunity to try out one of the company’s product. This offering is the AC750 Archer MR200. This product is a Wireless Dual Band 4G LTE Router and it is the subject matter of this review for Gadgetspeak.com.
Not to be confused with the I-Robot book of Isaac Asimov short stories or the I-Robot film staring Will Smith, the iRobot (note the slight difference in the spelling) Roomba is a vacuuming robot. I have been looking at the 980 model of this product which has been cleaning my maisonette.
Forming the central unit of this product is the Roomba 980 robot.  Circular in shape, just like every vacuuming robot I have seen, the Roomba robot has a diameter of 355mm and a height of 110mm including the heavy-tyred pair of wheels.  Decked out predominately in a combination of lacquered and matte black, the Roomba has the appearance of a weighing machine that it might be wise to avoid if you felt a collision might occur between your feet and the device.
True wire free connection as this kit is Wi-Fi and uses rechargeable batteries that should last months between charges. This means you just need to find somewhere to fix an external camera, this kit also includes a second camera and a motion detector even for total darkness so while other kits say they are wireless often you still need something going through an external wall.
The kit is controlled by the siren which can be set to on or off, this connects to your router via a supplied Ethernet lead and this also needs mains power once this is connected you download an App to your phone from either the Android or iOS store. Once you have created an account just follow the prompts and in around two minutes you should be setup. You now have two cameras each around 8x5x7.5cm although they are more oval than rectangular.
F-Secure, as you might presume from the company’s title, offers users a range of hardware, software, apps and Cloud protection solutions.
For those looking for an all-round protection software solution, F-Secure offers its Total product which consists of three main elements.  There is another fourth element but I am reserving that element for another review.  The three main elements are SAFE, FREEDOME VPN and KEY.  As well as being available on a subscription basis, there is also a 30-day trial version for checking out the product.
883787 Brando Bluetooth v5.0 USB Adapte

Audio Receiver/Transmitter

Are their occasions when your audio system is on but for whatever reason you are in another room, unless you have a system from a recent vintage it will not have Bluetooth so their choice is either turn it up very loud – and annoy the neighbours – or do without. Now there is a choice with this little dongle from Brando that allows you to transmit to Bluetooth headphones.
It can also work in the reverse direction so a Bluetooth enabled device can stream to your quality speakers in your audio system, truly a two in one device and unusually for Brando the Kings of everything USB no USB charging is involved, however there is a USB on one end of the dongle. So to keep things simple I shall call receiving mode ‘RX’ and transmitting mode ‘TX’.
883772 ECOVACS Robotics DEEBOT N79S Robot Vacuu

Help with Cleaning : Ecovacs Deebot

Left to its own devices, this next product can provide cleaning assistance.
Developed by ECOVACS Robotics, the Deebot N79s is an automatic floor cleaning device – in other words it is a vacuum cleaner that can operate without human physical guidance.  Rather than take the Isaac Asimov approach of creating robots in human form, Ecovacs has designed their robot, with its low profile, to suit its home / office type environment and its floor cleaning functionality.
Instead of providing food and transport assistance, this llama has a charging facility.
The llama is a domesticated South American camelid that is widely used as a meat and pack animal by Andean culture since the Pre-Columbian era.  In their natural habitat, these creatures can grow to a height of 1.8m and weigh between 130 and 200kg during their lifespan of up to 20 years.
883785 Toshiba Canvio Premium 400

Toshiba 4TB USB Drive

External hard drives used to be large and also require external power now not only are they powered by the USB lead they are also very capacious and often far larger than the hard disc of the PC that they are often connected to.
The drive is 11x7.7x1.7cm and weights 216grams with the supplied 40cm long USB3 attached. This will add another 2cm to the 11cm length of the unit. If you do not have full size USB ports and only USB ‘C’ you have not been forgotten as a USB ‘C’ to USB adapter has been supplied. This fits into your USB ‘C’ port and sticks out 3.2cm to give you a USB3 port. The total measurements of the adapter are 4x2.2x1.1cm.
With its Zink technology, this next printer is small enough to fit in a pocket.
Usually when I review a printer, it is a desktop inkjet model with the ink being delivered from cartridges or, more recently, tanks.  The printed documents, produced by this type of printer, would be supplied on copy or photographic paper of varying sizes up to and including A3.  However, in this case, the next printer under review is a different animal altogether.
883817 cygnett 10K Wireless QI Portable Power Ban

Cygnett Wireless ChargeUp Swift 10K

Cygnett are an Australian company – now with a base in the UK - and they have been around for a number of years, they tend to concentrate on things that allow other devices to work more efficiently and this device is one of those to let you charge your phone more quickly, while some phone companies produce their own devices to do this, those tend to be device specific.
It is 14x6.5x2cm and weighs 246 grams. The total capacity is 10,000mAh. This device has the advantage of being able to charge both wirelessly - for those items that accept wireless charge – and via the USB ports on the unit. There is yet another plus for this unit over others that give only vague indications of the amount of charge by LED lights this has a two figure number IE 84 to state the current percentage of power showing on the top front edge of the unit.
When assigning blame after a traffic accident, an independent witness could prove useful
Accidents can happen and often do whether you are in attendance or not.  Follow-up issues, when they do occur, tend to cause the most problems as the blame for the accident is allocated between those involved.  Evidence and statements can be collected from participants and available witnesses.  One witness that could prove invaluable, especially for the innocent party, could be a Dashcam device such as the NextBase 412GW Professional.
Out of the neck of a unicorn music was meant to flow, or so it was claimed.
The unicorn is a legendary creature with a single large, pointed, spiralling horn protruding from the beast’s forehead.  According to ancient legend the unicorn’s horn had the power to cleanse poisonous water and make it fit to drink merely by being placed in it.  Further beliefs attached to the unicorn’s horn include the ability to heal wounds.  It was also believed that the unicorn could only be captured and tamed by a virgin.
883594 AOC G2868PQU LCS 4K Ultra HD LE

AOC 4K G2868PQU

Having the ability to display four screens at once is possible for all users of this panel and while technically you could do the same manually with a 1920x1080 display I am not sure how long most people’s eyes would last and indeed how much you could see with it. Here however once used to the AOC software moving things is a breeze.
This AOC LED monitor has a screen that measures 66x40x1.5cm. This gives the notional diagonal imperial measurement of 28inches. It has a ‘V’ shaped stand 43cm wide at the front and 9cm wide at the back, the stand raises the screen between 3 and 16cm from your desk. Looking at the rear of the panel has a thicker area in a smaller rectangle with a four port USB3 hub on the right side and all the connections on the underside which makes then easier to access.
Whether Brexit goes through or not, a passport will be required.
As part of its “My Passport” family, Western Digital (WD) has released a wireless SSD (Solid State Drive) product.  This particular offering is a SSD giving the user wireless connectivity to a variety of devices,  Along with the My Passport SSD unit, this kit consists of a protective bumper or rubberised jacket, USB power adaptor with a choice of 3 or 2-pin plug, and an adaptor to switch from standard-to-Type C port use.
883591 samsung galaxy note S

Samsung Note 9

Samsung is one of the largest brands and certainly one of the companies that bring new things to the market. Here a slim sleek and powerful offering that will do everything you want and never look out of place even in a boardroom.
While I am aware that the Samsung range is rolling out ‘V10’ of some of its offerings a while after the launch is often a good time to invest or buy as any slight problems at the time of launch will have been sorted and indeed the amount needed to purchase could be a little less. It is 16x7.5x.7cm and it weighs 201grams. The screen resolution is 2960x1440. There are four colours available mine was Ocean Blue. The viewable screen is 14.5x7.
How often do you need to change the cartridges in your inkjet printer? Imagine doing it just once a year or even less frequency.
Unlike most inkjet printers, whether of the single or multi-purpose variety, which rely on cartridges for their ink supply, the Epson Ecotank family of devices make use of ink supplied from bottles.  The latest such device to join my computer set-up is the Epson ET-2711 model. This product is classified as a 3-in-1 device which means it offers the user the ability to access print, scan and copy facilities from a single device.
Smile please you are about to be printed could mean Polaroid is out and about.
Over the years life at Polaroid must have seemed like a series of “ups and down” as the company struggled to cope with different marketing conditions.  My first experience of Polaroid was with its rather bulky camera that would automatically deliver an instant black and white print of the captured image you have just taken.  Applying a quick fixative would help ensure the print did not fade later.
Being able to make a coffee shop coffee at home or in the office needs a machine that can grind beans and dispense the coffee and if a Latte is your choice then a device that can froth with steam from fresh milk this offering from Melitta does both.
The Melitta CaffeO measures 47cm deep, 32cm tall and 20cm wide, these are maximum dimensions. Unlike a lot of home coffee machines here there are only a few controls, these are for the number of cups – one or two – the size of the cup 30ml to 220ml, the strength of the brew and addition of milk for a Latte. When you unpack the box you only need to find a place for the machine – as the hard wired power lead is only one metre long – within a metre of a power point.
Transported from the past, your on-screen detective, with paranormal skills, has crimes to solve.
Classified as belonging to the Hidden Object genre, Paranormal Stories has been developed by e-FunSoft Games.  In this game you take on the role of Esther, a private detective who has built up a reputation of being successful at completing her cases.  Her reputation is such that she is often called in to help by the local police.  However we are getting a little ahead of ourselves.
It is small, lightweight and capable of moving files you do not want to loose.
Have you noticed how many brands of smartphones there are?  This number of brands is probably equalled by the different ways these multi-purpose devices are put to use by their owners, especially by those users who feel their lives would be seriously compromised without a fully-functional and working device.  While similar in certain respects, these constant companion devices do tend to vary somewhat with regards to price and street cred.
Last year Dell showed their new rugged range in London and as spring dawns one of their offerings arrives for me to give it the once over. Of course it will be in my office and the around surroundings and not as the early sample was in far flung places with very inhospitable conditions when things like battery life were truly life challenging.
It is 34.5x28x5cm and weighs 2694 grams as supplied to me. Unlike most normal notebooks the figures here need some explanation. The width is to the edge of the padding, the depth is to the extent of the non-retractable handle and the width includes the fairly substantial feet. The viewable screen is 30.5x17.5cm which gives the notional diagonal imperial measurement of 13.8inches. The default screen resolution is 1920x1080 at 150%. It has an Intel Core i5 running at 1.
Mixing a mythical past with modern technology.
As a country we have been referred to, on many occasions, as being a nation of pet lovers whether the creatures be of the domestic or the more exotic variety.  This affection for the companionship of animals does seem to be seeping into areas other than live-in pets and also widening the range of possible creatures, such as those normally regarded as mythical.  Take, for instant, this next product under review. I have recently been sent a Unicorn to check out.
883238 OPPO RX17 Pro Dual SIM 128GB SIM Free Smartphon

OPPO RX17 Mobile Phone

Another new phone company to the UK, freak UK weather and a taxi drivers protest caused gridlock in the part of London where the launch was due to take place so my first contact was when their latest offering the RX17 Pro arrived on my desk. So all I know is what I discovered during my testing as well as what is shown on the OPPO website.
The Oppo RX17 measures 15.5x7.4x.8cm and weighs 183grams. Going around the outside has the on/off button on the right side, the base has USB ‘C’ socket for charging as well as the SIM’s entry point, the USB socket can also be used for the supplied headset to listen to music. Also in this very congested area is a pin hole microphone as well as the speaker. The left side has the volume up and down buttons. The top is clear.

Healthy Choices : Laptops Direct

How healthy are you? And what are your plans to improve matters?
Music plays a big part in my life and while earbuds may help pass the time on a journey a decent set of headphones or as here a 2.1 speaker system in the home gives a far more rounded sound and may even take you to the performance as laid down by the musicians. My favourite Genre is Jazz and then small groups and a live performance.
This is a small 2.1 system as it has a sub-woofer to enhance the base and a pair of speakers for the rest of the sound range. While I have a pair of quality – large – speakers these days you do not need huge units and nor do they need to be expensive these at the time of writing are only 80 Euros (around £70). The sub-woofer is a virtual cube at 26cm. The speakers are 18x11x11cm so easily fit on a shelf or window sill. The two speakers have a single hard wired lead of 1.
With awards aplenty on offer, Huawei led the way at accepting the applause.
883200 DxO Photolab 2 bo

DxO PhotoLab

There has to be a first time for everything and this was that kind of occasion for me when looking at this next product.
Photo editing software comes in a variety of brands and product offerings for different sectors of the market.  I am not just referring to the Windows and Mac platforms here but also the areas at which the product is aimed.  Some of these photo editing products are obviously targeted at the home enthusiast and amateur consumer, while certain products have a more professional feel to their feature sets and overall appeal.
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