When a game plan proves popular, it makes sense to return to fertile ground (especially when the subject matter involves farming) by creating further titles for the enjoyment of users. The result of this type of approach can be seen with Farm Frenzy 3 from the Alawar Entertainment and Melestra stable.
Having just reviewed a rather nice Vista PC with a 1.4GHz Intel processor the next unit in has exactly the same processor and memory configuration, this unit also has a very thin screen and is also quite nice and light.
The MSI X-Slim X-340 measures 33x22.5x1.5cm and weights less than 1.3kilos. It is black, matt on the base and keyboard surround, but rather strangely fingermark showing shiny black for the screen surround and lid. It has an 87key keyboard with all but the top (function keys) full size. The only things behind the keyboard are the hinges with the power on button on the top right edge. The trackpad is in front of the keyboard 10.
First a tiny speaker shaped to look like a Pandas head, and second, a four port card reader that is stated to support no less than eighty one (yes 81) card types. Remember whatever the size of your order you only pay $3 (US) p&p.
This is tiny and will easily fit in your pocket or purse. It is of course black and white in colour and near round. 4.5cm tall and 5cm wide and deep. There is a micro USB lead in the bottom to charge its internal solid battery. The top between its ears is a 3.5mm socket to connect your iPod or MP3 player to. Finally a slider switch to turn it on/off on the left side and a red LED on the right side when it is switched on with power. The box contains a 12cm 3.5 to 3.
Kodaks pocket sized HD camcorder has been my recent companion when on my travels.
Like many of my generation, my first camera was a Box Brownie. Since those early days, cameras have changed out of all recognition with regards to their shape, size and functionality with the latter showing the greatest change as digital dominates the scene. The latest such device to come under my gaze is, in fact, not a camera but a camcorder from that doyen of all things photographic, Kodak. This is the Kodak Fx1 which is a HD pocket camcorder model.
Recharging an array of gadgets while on your travels has always been a problem - Duracell have a solution thanks to USB
Until very recently of your gadgets will have required their own personal charger, complete with proprietary connector. Travelling with your mobile phone, camera and MP3 player could easily mean three separate mains chargers eating up your luggage space. USB (Universal Serial Bus) was developed as an inexpensive common interconnect system for computers allowing devices as disparate as keyboards, DVD drives and GPS navigation systems to share an interface a connector.
While a lot of digital cameras have special features some much better than others a DSLR camera can normally take a better image, yes they are bulkier and even if you settle just for a single 18-55mm lens you will not regret it.
It is 12x13x9cm and weights a tad under 800grams. The figure I gave was with an 18-55mm lens fitted and in its most compressed setting. For anyone coming from a standard digital camera there is of course a learning curve. Attach the lens, attach the neck strap, insert memory card and make sure the solid battery is charged. Move the dial to auto and switch on.
Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) was an American writer, poet and editor who is best known for his tales of mystery and the macabre such as The Raven. Now he has become the focal point for a new game from MumboJumbo.
Those creative people at GameHouse have been at it again. This time you are abandoned with amnesia.
I have been lucky enough to be using the shipping version of Windows 7 since the end of August so if there were any real problems there is a good chance I will have found them. Not only on a 4GB powerful notebook but also on a 1GB Netbook.
Only very recently have I reviewed any Vista systems they really seemed to work well with the operating system. Here however I expect Windows 7 to settle down very quickly. No manufacturer has so far offered me a Windows 7 system to look at even under a non disclosure agreement. So my tests have been with my own notebooks.
As a personal mobile device, it makes sense to use your iPod for your in-car music entertainment when making a road trip.
Although not exclusively so, the vast majority of products available from Griffin Technology have been designed with the Apple Mac and iPod in mind. One such product is the RoadTrip. As you might suppose from its title, the RoadTrip is an in-car device that could help when you need to make long distant journeys. The RoadTrip designated task is to send music from your iPod or iPhone to your car’s stereo FM radio kit.
Just as Vistas troubled life comes towards its end comes a notebook that runs well with it, also a notebook that gives a full eight hours of use. Put the two together and you have the Packard Bell Butterfly.
The new Packard Bell Butterfly measures 32x22x3cm and weights 1.8kilos. It is shiny black and grey (don’t know any Butterflies of that colouration), open the lid and the grey is the keyboard surround while the screen surround is the shiny black. It has an 87key keyboard with all but the function keys full size. Strangely the trackpad is mounted in the centre of the area in front of the keyboard most seem to favour an area slightly left of centre.
Here a home phone from Panasonic that is tough and stylish and it is even capable of working after being encased in ice. I know they do tough notebooks (Toughbooks) but surely encasing a phone in ice makes that tough as well.
I have my doubts about my abilities to be hard enough to review this ‘Shock & Splash’ resistant handset. At the launch it was encased in a large ice sculpture. Is that what they call ‘splash’? I am really worried as to what they call ‘Shock’ as I have visions of a sequence in an old ‘Gadget Show’ where they got a tank to go over ‘tough’ phones. This Panasonic DECT Phone (KX-TG6481ET) measures 16x5x3cm and weights 160grams.
It seems like only yesterday that I took a look at Magix Movie Edit Pro 14 (actually it was around six months ago but who is counting) yet here I am sat watching version 15 install itself on my system.
Installation is not the quickest operation but at least it gives me the opportunity, as I wait for the procedure to complete, to tell you that currently this latest version of the product comes bundled with a copy of Photo & Videoshow Soundproof 6. This is on top of the various items, such as Photo Manager 8, Mufin Music Finder, Xtreme Photo Designer, Vasco da Gama 3Magix Edition and iClone 3 SE, that are supplied on the DVD media found in the Movie Edit Pro 15 Plus box.
Here I am looking at two different yet similar USB hard drives. Not in either case from mainstream manufacturers of this sort of item. The first from Buffalo and the second from Dane-Elec. Both these 2.5 inch drives are 250GB.
It is 13x8x1.5cm with just over 2cm being added to the first figure by the USB lead. It weights 186grams with the 35cm long USB cable inserted. My unit shiny black ‘crystal black’ on the face and matt black everywhere else. I find there is little to say about hard discs of any size, most come with some ‘extra value’ software to enable you to keep your date safe. Here it is something called ‘SecureLockMobile’.
The hidden object genre of game play continues to be popular as yet another example finds from Popcap its way on to my hard disk and keeps me entertained and occupied for many hours.
As a Private Detective (PI) you are used to being offered all manner of cases but this is the first time that you have been hired to track down a missing will. This will belonged to a fun-loving New York billionaire and has been hidden somewhere in New York City. Speed is of the essence as you have to complete the task within 17 hours otherwise the billionaire’s fortune will go to the Cat & Dogs’ Home.
My lack of horticultural skills is such that my only chance of success is with virtual gardens such as those found in a new title from Playrix Entertainment.
While there are numerous examples of the Hidden Object genre currently available, it is unusual to come across one that has fully integrated the hidden object element into the actual storyline. Usually you just need to identify a list of objects in order to move on to the next scene or maybe receive an inventory item as a reward. One exception to this is a new title from Playtrix Entertainment entitled Gardenscapes which involves you in the restoration of a garden.
Did the idea for this unit come from a number of recent films; it certainly looks like something from several popular films. So you have in effect a webcam that can roam around to give you content from different places.
The website describes this as a toy, well no doubt most children of a certain age would love one but I suspect the price will mean that it will be an ‘executive’ toy. This is a very clever piece of kit. What has 33 wheels? Yes you know the answer before you even try to count them.
Taking on the role of the companys first WiFi enabled Walkman handset is the Sony Ericsson W705 product.
The Sony Ericsson W705 is a slider phone that weighs 98g. In its closed state the handset measures 95 x 48 x 14mm (H x W x D) with the height increasing to 128mm when slid open by a smooth movement under the control of your thumb. The review unit has a brushed metallic silver fascia with gold trimmings and a black back. A red version is available. As you would expect, the front of the closed handset is dominated by a 2.5-inch screen.
Things have changed hugely since I last looked at a baby monitor. Wired has long gone and now wireless with its limited channels has now been replaced with DECT technology, this unit however goes much further.
The baby monitor is 11x8x7.5cm while the parent unit is 11x5x3cm. A well written 40 page manual is well worth a thorough read just to see exactly what this multi functional unit can do. If you are just expecting a baby monitor then you are in for a big surprise. As an example the baby unit has no less than 50 lullabies built in to lull your baby to sleep, with technology ruling every other part of our life why not the baby monitor as well.
First a wireless notebook laser mouse from Kensington with the catchy Ci10 Fit name. Second a keyboard from Brando with Smart Touchpad for those who spend their days typing in figures or using their fingers in controls.
This is just slightly smaller than a standard mouse at 10.5x6x3.5cm. The 4.5x1.5x.5cm receiver fits into the base of the mouse when not in use and this saves the possibility of the mouse and receiver ending up in different places. The mouse is black and grey with rubberised sides to aid grip for those who perspire. As seems the norm these days there are no specific places to click with the area either side of the scroll wheel being the target areas.
First it was the Ultra then the Mino came along. Now we have an enhanced version of the Mino that promises improved image quality.
Adding to its family of pocket sized camcorders, Flip Video has produced the latest version of its Flip Mino product. This is the Flip Mino HD. As its title implies, this product adds high definition capabilities to the video capture and display features found in the original Flip Mino device.
Not as you may think a printer/scanner/copier but a PC that is built into a flat panel. It comes complete with corded keyboard and mouse. Viewsonic are best known for monitors/flat panels and of course the latter is heart of this unit.
The screen is 44x37x4cm it is raised 5cm off whatever you stand it on by the base that is 22x17cm. The whole PC is located inside the 19inch screen. The only extras are the keyboard and mouse both are black to match the screen. The screen weights a little under 5.4kilos. It uses the same processor as the range of Netbooks but the screen resolution is better at 1366x768. So its Windows XP Home and 1GB of Ram and a 2.5inch hard drive stated to be 160GB and this is normal Netbook fair.
If you were to line up all the different mobile phones end to end, I wonder how long the line would stretch. Sony Ericsson has added to this length with a new Cybershot model.
A recent addition to the Sony Ericsson product portfolio is the C510 mobile phone. This is a candy bar style handset belong to the Cybershot range. Predominately black in colour with a silver band running around the edges, the review unit measures 107 x 46 x 13mm (H x W x D) and weighs in at around 98g. A silver version of this phone is available. Dominating the front of the handset is the 2.
As its title indicates, Silent Hunter 4 follows on from three earlier offerings. I have to admit that all of the previous titles managed to escape my attention. As a result I came to this submarine simulation, subtitled Wolves of the Pacific, without any preconceptions regarding the game play, graphics, storyline or audio aspects.
As a mere man I know its impossible for a woman to walk past a shoe shop without at least a good look, here might be a way to avoid it, online shoe shops and best of all this site has no less than 40 different brands on show.
The link as always is at the end. The selection as you might expect is somewhat less for men as most men I know do not have double figure pairs of shoes and I doubt that many women have less than ten pairs with most far in excess of that figure. I checked my wardrobe, two black, one brown, Wellington boots, motor cycle boots, two pairs or trainers and one pair of slippers so I have eight pairs. Mind you the motor cycle boots are at least thirty five years old.
Sometimes a products title can cause some initial confusion as happened with kit developed by Bluelounge
Space Station! You have to be kidding! Why would you expect anyone with a fear of heights to tackle this particular subject? While experiencing zero gravity might do wonders for my troublesome back; the training involved would be extremely strenuous. These were just some of the thoughts that flashed through my mind when I glanced at the review schedule and saw that I had been pencilled in to review a Space Station.
A useful hobby and enthusiast tool that counts amongst it's abilities carving, engraving, sharpening, cleaning, cutting and sanding.
The Dremel Series 300 Multitool is very much like a small hand-held mains powered drill (in fact one of the jobs it can do is drill). The core unit takes a wide range of different tools, attachments and accessories. The review unit is packaged for Dremel's "Hobby" line and comes complete with twenty five different tools for a number of tasks.
First a quality Bluetooth headset from Plantronics and second, also from Plantronics, a set of stereo headphones - also using Bluetooth connectivity. Two items with different backgrounds the first to give you clear voice communication and the second for clear audio.
First something that's so small and light you could forget you are wearing it. In its most compact form it is 8x4x3cm and it weights just 17grams. It works via Bluetooth and like the unit below can be charged by a supplied USB to micro USB cable however this unit is also supplied with a mains charger and an assortment of plug ends for most countries as well as a cigar lighter charger for use in the car.
This audio unit allows the serious Hi-Fi user to have his CD player, Radio, Internet Radio, NAS and even iPod all in one unit together with the all important amplifier. Just add speakers of your choice for a high quality unit.
The NaimUniti all-in-one system measures 43x37x9cm and it's heavy so if you are planning to put it on a shelf make sure it is strong. We all know cheap hi-fis are plastic better quality could well be wood, well this Naim unit is made of – wait for it – cast iron. The front has the swing (from left to right) CD door and it requires a magnetic puck (supplied) to sit on top of any inserted CD. Below this are two 3.
As a regular user of an Acer TravelMate laptop, I was pleased to receive one of the companys 8000 Timeline series for review. This was the slim-line TravelMate 8371 which is aimed at the business users and currently comes with Windows Vista Business.
Decked out in a matt black case (not everybody needs or wants a reflective sheen) with dimensions of 323.6 x 228 x 26mm (W x D x H) in its closed state, this laptop is not going to show you up when you bring it out in company whether in the home, office or local coffee shop. I was a little concerned at the lack of a holding switch to keep the lid down in its closed position.