Some years ago Microsoft vastly reduced offering the chance to own certain software notably their flagship Office product in favour of a subscription model where you continue to pay every year/month to continue using the product.
You may have heard of the golden age of gaming. Now you can experience it for yourself or pay a return visit.
A few months ago I took a look at several gaming units which were based on those machines that ate up our pocket money and loose change as we spent time in various establishments such as cafes and social areas. These gaming devices, offering opportunities to play classic titles that included the Pac-Man™, Dig-Dug™ and Galaja™ blasts from the past, were table-top units with dimensions of 115 x 175 x 105 mm (W x H x D).
A cylindrical speaker with speakers on the side and top, it should withstand some water as getting in to charge it or insert a 3.5mm lead (if not using Bluetooth) is far from easy, to say the base is a tight fit is quite an understatement.
It is 14cm tall and circular at 7cm. At the top of the back of my blue unit is an orange loop so you could walk along with it over a finger – it weighs 477 grams – below this in orange is a large ‘O’ then a raised rib and below this a large ‘X’. I have just described all the controls and as it can do all the normal things like answer phone calls move forward or back a track etc. certain combinations need to be followed.
The Philips 27 inch monitor 273V7Q is a no frills basic 1920 x 1080 unit offering reasonable performance and so will meet the needs of many users who want to keep their eyes on their budget.
The monitor, which has a 16 x 9 aspect ratio IPS panel with WLED backlight, is approximately 24inches wide and, like many more expensive products, has a frameless black bezel on three sides and just 1 inch wide on the lower edge. Near its right hand end of the lower edge is the power indicator LED and, printed in white, are the labels of the controls which are located conveniently on the underside of the bezel.
This next title comes from that hot bed of creative gaming talent known as FIVE-BN Games.
Forming part of the Lost Lands series of game episodes, this offering is sub-titled Mistakes of the Past and deals with a dark sorceress who was buried centuries ago but now walks among the inhabitants of the Lost Lands. Your role in this game is to put right this mistake of the past and restore harmony to the Lost Lands. The game, which belongs to the Hidden Object Adventure genre, is available in Collector’s Edition format featuring a number of bonus items.
A powerful Windows 10 notebook for those who still need all the connections yes it even has Ethernet. So suitable for both work and dare I say the word PLAY. This is a solidly constructed offering that may even reduce the need for so many visits to the gym.
The Acer Nitro 5 measures 39x26x2.4cm and weighs 2.454 kilos. Going around the outside finds Kensington Lock Port, Ethernet, USB ‘C’, HDMI out, USB 3.1 and SD Card socket all on the left side. The front is clear apart from speakers at each of the chamfered corners. The right side has headphones out, two USB2 ports, two LEDs and finally DC input. The back like the front is clear apart from large heat outputs. The base has four structured rubber feet to also allow expulsion of heat.
One way to stop or reduce customer churn is to offer a reward that will help ensure their loyalty.
A large curved panel is often the solution that may just get a panel to fit a smaller space as the curve allows slightly more to be shown in a smaller desk area. First however your eyes need to discount the fact that the curve is there.
It is 71x42x1.5cm, the inverted ‘V’ shaped stand has arms of 38cm and the open area at the front is 44cm across, the stand raises the panel 11cm from your desk. The weight including stand is just over 7kilos. The amount the centre of the screen differs from the edges is 3.5cm. The viewable screen when using the diagonal imperial measurement is 31.5inches in 16:9 ratio.
Recorded messages are increasingly being used as a scammer's opening gambit to deprive you of money.
Scams come in a variety of forms whether delivered via email, phone (either mobile or landline) plus any other method of communication that you might receive. You need to be aware that these types of attacks, for that is what they are, on your personal details and financial information are combated and blocked by whatever means possible that are available to you. Let me tell you a true story.
Certainly not ‘just another new phone’ this offering is an ‘Adventure’ offering badged Land Rover. While you could use this on your daily commute it would not be getting anywhere near what this off road offering has to offer you.
To call this an off road phone is probably the simplest thing to call it, it is packed with extra features for those who go orienteering, are geocaches and as it has GPS those who go to remote places. It is 15x7.2x1.2cm without the extra pack that magnetically attached to the back, that pack only increases the last figure the width. The front has a huge 4.8x.7cm speaker near the base that packs a good punch of volume. The viewable screen is 12x6.
Just over a year ago I took a look at Secret Investigations: Nemesis. Now it is the turn of a follow-up offering in the series. This is Secret Investigations: Revelations.
As with the original title, Revelations belongs to the Hidden Object genre. I will not bore you too much with the story line behind this game but it starts with a Wedding scene and involves a number of locations initially represented by decorated furniture shields or they might be free-standing paintings.
littleBits link with other littleBits to become bigger bits and for anyone ‘8 Years Plus’ a simple solution to make answers to other problems, ‘start out with a voice activated robotic hand and after that the only limit is your imagination’.
On opening the box you see a total of fourteen pieces as well as various cardboard pieces that can be connected together to form various items in the base Inventors Kit. Also in the box is a small ‘Base Inventors Kit’ Instructions Start Here booklet that tells you how to create a a basic circuit to create a buzzer to get the basic inventor going. After this you download the Littlebits App from either the Android or Apple store to your Smartphone and after that the sky is the limit.
Listening to your favourite music can be a personal experience aided by the appropriate equipment.
Brainwavz (no that is not one of my typing mistakes but the way that the company spells its name) is a Hong Kong based multinational company. As fans of the company will attest, Brainwavz has built up an impressive reputation for the development and manufacture of high-end earphones designed to deliver a high quality audio output at affordable price points.
When walking through Waterloo station I noticed lots of adverts for a new razor that I have heard nothing about, there was even a pop up barbers salon where willing victims were receiving a shave, so I contacted their PR company and I received a razor and a canister of their new shaving foam so that I could try it myself and then tell you all about it.
My regular wet shave is the five blades Fusion offering from Gillette. This offering has two blades. Whereas the Fusion has a head of five closely spaced blades this head takes as much space over two blades, before and after contact with each blade your face is lubricated. The whole unit is 14cm long, 4cm wide at the head which is 1.7cm and my own Fusion head is only 1.5cm.
Announcements regarding new products can often result in follow-up news concerning additional offerings from third parties.
Chain reactions are phenomena that can be the result of many different actions or just a single instance. In this case the chain reaction, to which I refer, was brought about by an announcement from Samsung regarding the expected arrival of a new release. As one of the leading developers and manufacturer of high-end (an often used euphemism for expensive) mobile devices, Samsung announced the forthcoming Galaxy S series family of handsets, namely the S10, S10+ and S10e models.
This is a compact panel that will turn your PC into a touch PC. Windows 10 was always marketed with the strap line of ‘made for touch’ and while a good number of notebooks have touch built in a far smaller number of Desktop offerings have that ability supplied as standard.
It is 54x31.5x2cm and has three sides of a rectangle metal stand that is 35cm wide at the base and the arms are 20cm long and fit into the rear of the panel so within reason you can decide the amount of back tilt for the panel. The external connections are all in one line that resides on an overhang around 7cm up from the base. 3.5mm in and 3.5mm out, HDMI, DisplayPort and HDMI as well as DC input. To make this a touch panel needs USB and there is an upstream port as well as two USB3 ports.
Classified as a Hidden Object Mystery game, Dead Link – Pages Torn, has been developed by Phime. The game opens with a disturbing scene as a young woman is captured when taking a late night run through the countryside. Fortunately this video sequence can be skipped in order to move on to the main title screen.
Before embarking on Dead Link – Pages Torn you can create profiles for different players and adjust some of the gaming environment settings. Adjustments can be made to the volume levels for music, sound, ambience and voice delivery for the game’s dialogue. You can opt to play in full screen mode with a custom cursor that changes shape when different actions are possible. The game has four levels of difficulty that range between Easy and Expert plus a Custom level.
Having recently told you about another SmartPhone from this company, here – their latest – has landed on my desk. Anything designed by Phillipe Starck is always eye catching; an early DAB radio was his work and still sits on my bedside table in daily use.
It is 15.5x7.5x.7cm and weighs 219grams. The viewable screen is 14.7x6.8cm which gives the notional diagonal imperial screen measurement of 6.39inches. When you switch on you immediately notice the lack of a notch at the top of the screen as the front facing camera is behind the screen. Going around the outside has the volume rocker and on/off button on the right side. The base has USB ‘C’ connection. The left side has a dedicated Google button and insertion point for your Nano SIMs.
Continuing my look at various handsets, it is the turn of a Huawei offering.
Opening the latest smartphone offering from Vodafone was a little confusing. I was expecting the product to be a Huawei P smart 2019 handset which Huawei was targeted at users who were looking for a reasonably price handset, with a price tag of sub-£200, but the box containing the handset was embellished with the letters “VX” along with the Huawei logo and the year 2019.
While a proportion of the latest SmartPhones have USB ‘C’ connections there are still a good number of new phones arriving with Micro USB connectors so this latest device to cross my desk from SanDisk still has a place for lots of people.
It is a 16GB USB memory stick and at the other end the same memory shared for a Micro USB port found on SmartPhones. It fits easily on any key ring so data can come with you. It is only 3cm long and 1.5cm wide and .7.5cm thick with a weight of less than 6 grams. The middle has a metal clip that is 3mm wider than the casing which allows it to be added to a keyring.
The arrival of 5G technology is underway as testing begins in earnest and Manchester by Vodafone.
A 34inch curved panel is large and probably larger than most TV’s of a couple of years ago. However the 3440x1440 display makes it a joy to look at. It supports two screens in side by side display using PeP or the second screen top right with PiP.
It is 81x37cm, its ‘V’ shaped stand is 50x30cm and the minimum raise from the desk is 10cm with the maximum being 26cm. The amount of curve means that the centre is 4cm behind the outsides. Looking at it in full screen mode is actually 21:9 ratio which seems to match a lot of recent cinema creations. So even normal 4K on a single screen has borders either side. I connected both my own PC and the recently reviewed Acer 5000 Predator and used PeP to give crystal clear output from both.
With a school time half term coming up, this might offer advice where to pass the time.
If you happen to be in London, especially in the vicinity of the thoroughfare known as Regent Street, during the Spring half term period, then a visit to Hamleys’ flagship store could well be of interest and worth the effort. A recent communication has informed me, that during the period from 16 February to the 3 March, Hamleys will be offering seven floors of live entertainment, fun workshops, new toys and exclusive prizes to attack the attention of all and sundry.
It is not often that I review the same phone twice; however a lot has changed in this offering since my initial review last May. So it’s probably best to call this a new phone that just happens to have the same name as an earlier version.
It is 15.5x7.5x.8cm and weighs 159grams. The viewable screen has the notional diagonal imperial screen measurement of 6.21 inches. The screen display is 2340x1080 which is better than a standard PC screen. The screen is 19.5:9 and the phone is available in Black or two shades of Blue called Sapphire and Aurora, mine was the last mentioned. It comes with the latest version of Android which is 9 and has an overlay EMUI which is also version 9.
Computers are meant to help us but often they help others to help themselves.
While it is not the first toothbrush that uses the airwaves to store brushing results that has resided in my bathroom it is the first such device intended for adults. It comes from a company whose main lines are in the connected home.
Setup should be just turning Bluetooth in your phone on after installing the App from either the iOS or Android store. Once you have created an account it scans for devices and once ‘bound’ your cleaning regime should be just a matter of checking that you are brushing correctly and while the length of time you brush is important the firmness - or lack of – is also stored. There are three modes (speeds) of brush action.
As technology spreads from the Office to the Home, what can we expect?
Tea used to be a very expensive substance, and a couple of centuries ago was always kept under lock and key and mixed at the table by the lady of the house, normally a mixture of green and black teas. Then half way through the last century the tea bag was invented. Even today there are still a minority who prefer leaf tea and here a device that allows leaf tea mixed in the cup with the convenience of a tea bag.
Imagine a take away coffee cup with lid and then shrink it down. The lid is rubber helping it to float and the sides and base are metal with thousands of tiny holes – like pine holes – and you have the Magisso Lippa floating tea infuser. It is 6cm tall, circular 3cm across at the base and 4.5cm across at the top. Unlike a tea bag this will stay upright with the silicon rubber top remaining on the top.
This A4 colour desktop LED printer is a versatile workhorse that will meet the needs of the small office or, for example, the busy student who needs to print out essays or lab reports.
Light grey in colour with a black top the printer is 439 mm wide x 461 deep and 252 mm high. It then needs about a further 5cm to the rear for access to the USB, Ethernet and power connections. In view of the fact that, being a colour printer, it has to incorporate colour toner cartridges in addition to the normal black one this is not an unreasonable size and, as it weighs 18.3kg, it has a robust feel about it.
This is an Android phone produced by Google. It is not a cheap phone as the Google Pixel brand only seems to do quality offerings and it is also no surprise to me that is was one of the first to get Android 9 as its operating system.
The Pixel 3 XL from Google measures 15.6x7.6x.7cm and weighs 137grams, although it is shiny black apart from the majority of the back – a light grey – it seems to repel finger marks quite well. I note that a while colour is also available. The left side has the on/off button and then the volume rocker. The base has USB ‘C’ connection for charging and connection of an OTG device or the headphones via the USB ‘C’.