Adding to its portfolio of graphics products, Xara has released its Designer Pro X365 offering. This product brings together elements of vector illustrations, photo editing, page layout and web design within a single WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) package.
To clear up any confusion, I should explain that the “365” part of the product’s title does not imply that Designer Pro X is a subscription type product, although there are certain online services available to which you could subscribe. The “365” is more to do with the Xara Update Services which allows the user to access updates regarding new features and additional content immediately without waiting for the appearance of a new version.
Having recently told you about a rather good Road Cam from another manufacturer I was offered the chance to review this top of the range unit that is both a Sat Nav and Road Cam in the one package, so is the extra expense worth it?
The unit is 14x8.5x5cm which is not that much bigger than most Sat Navs. Unlike most standalone Sat Navs that can be used for a reasonable period out of car this unit is designed for in car use only. It has a very small internal battery and relies instead for power for that provided by the cigar lighter socket of your car. The viewable screen is 11x6.3cm which is touch controlled.
A simple device and when your mouse of a long time starts to move of its own accord you think it must be me, eventually I plugged in a spare – even older – unit and that quickly showed the same symptoms so a visit to my local Wilko had me spending £2.50 on a new one, and this – so far – behaves correctly.
The latest Olympus product allows you to record your audio memories.
Following the release of its LS Linear PCM audio recorders in 2014, Olympus has now developed its LS Pocket Series of Hi-res audio recorders. I have been trying out the pocket sixed LS-P1 unit which is the base model in the series. With dimensions of 108.9 x 39.1 x 14.1mm (H x W x D) and weighing 75g (including the battery) the LS-P1 is eminently portable whether carried in a pocket / bag or held in the hand for capturing sound bytes or whole audio performances when attending a concert.
The Freecom mHDD Slim is a portable hard disc to complement the latest high performance PC or Mac laptops
The P9 is an excellent camera and phone, look back and you will find two reviews of it on this site, however launched at the same time – but not immediately available - is the P9 Plus which was stated to cost £100 more so what exactly does the extra get you.
It is a little larger at 15x7.5cm and weights 20grams more. Neither of which you would probably notice unless you have the two units side by side. What you may notice is that the viewable screen has a notional diagonal imperial measurement of 5.5inches again that bit larger. Strangely there are less colour choices but quite by chance the review unit was the same colour as my own P9 with the exception of the on/off button that has a red hue around it.
When taking a drive you can call on assistance from Garmin with products such as its Drive Assist 50 product.
Garmin has recently introduced its Drive range of portable navigation devices (PNDs). I have had the opportunity to test the Garmin Drive Assist™ 50 product. This particular PND combines the company’s well-established satellite navigation features with a built-in dash cam facility to record action and act as an eyewitness to possible incidents. Encased with a black plastic shell, this PND has dimensions of 160 x 85 x 30 mm (W x H x D) and weighs 214g.
Spread over 100 levels, Fantasy Mosaic 16 is a puzzle type game that sets you the challenge of creating images made up of coloured tiles.
Like other titles in the Griddler genre, this latest offering from Match Gems is based on a series of grids (hence the genre title of Griddlers) and numeric clues that can be used to create the mosaic-like images so beloved by the ancient Romans.
This is a dual Karaoke system not a toy or an add on to something else, a two mike system and decent amplifier that means in your own home – not the pub – you can find out for yourself how good or bad your voice is without witnesses.
It consists of the main box 30x20x17cm that contains the amplifier for the dual microphones. The microphones are 23.5cm long and wireless that link to the amplifier without problem, they weigh 216grams with the two ‘AA’ batteries inserted, the batteries are not supplied. Each microphone has nine buttons on the front so they can be controlled separately. There is a 1.
The handy-sized Verbatim Bluetooth Mobile Speaker, 44404, is a practical means of providing decent sound for the traveller.
This stylish battery-powered speaker has a choice of inputs: Bluetooth or direct via a 3.5mm audio port. It is cylindrical in shape – 7cm in diameter and 5.5cm tall and weighs 257g. The bottom cm or so is black in colour with a red styling line running around it. The remainder, a metallic grey in colour, is covered in etched vertical lines. The base is cloth covered while the top is a robust metallic grill, with the Verbatim logo at its centre, covering the 40mm speaker driver.
Adding a keyboard to a tablet is becoming a popular trend.
As it title of Latitude 12 Series 7000 2-in-1 might indicate, this Dell product is one of the new breed of hybrid portable offerings which goes by the model number of Latitude 7275. This product has been designed to attempt to give the user the best of both worlds when it comes to working with a tablet and a laptop within a single product. Central to this product is the Tablet with dimensions of 290 x 195 x 9mm (W x H x D) and weighing 638g. This 12.
This is an LED backlight monitor that is kind to the eyes and also is part of their value series. So what does this have to offer that will tempt you away from whatever you are currently using.
Normally whatever panel I am reviewing gets attached to my review system that gets all the new software and hardware. Currently my main system is at the local repair shop so whatever day to day files I need have been installed on this unit from my last backup – yes they do have a use – and this panel will get an even more rigorous test as it now is attached to my machine for emails etc. as well as testing so in use all day every day. It is 22x56x2.5cm, the viewable screen is 29.5x52.
This is one of six of a recently launched range of earbuds three of which are wireless and the other three including this set are corded offerings. So what have they to offer that is not already on the market in other earbuds?
The cable is 1.2 metres from the buds to the gold plated 3.5mm plug. The first 35cm from the earbuds are in two cables with the left lead having a circular connector 15cm from the ear for all the normal controls that stop you removing your SmartPhone from your pocket to answer calls or change music tracks etc. The cable itself has a slightly tacky feel and has a red pattern on the black cable.
Offering to provide untethered access to your favourite music is a headset from SkullCandy.
While I am not a great believer in co-incidents, they do happen. As an example I was in hospital having treatment for a skull problem when SkullCandy released its new headset in the UK. As its title might indicate, the SkullCandy Grind Wireless is an untethered device or, as the product’s packaging proclaims with “No Strings Attached”. The SkullCandy Grind Wireless is a Bluetooth headset of the on-the-ear variety.
The unit I was sent is a 2TB USB3 drive and the ‘Alu’ stands for aluminium which makes the case very sturdy. This is part of Toshiba’s mid-range statuary for USB3 external drives it comes with built in back up software from NTI.
This Toshiba external hard disk measures 11.3x7.4x1.9cm and weights 213grams with the supplied USB3 attached. While this is not a ‘rugged’ unit unless a drop happened while data was being read or written I cannot see any harm coming to it or your data. Some transfer times are given on the back of the box a three hour HD movie should transfer in 5 minutes and 16 seconds on USB3 or 16 minutes and 26 seconds on USB2, 350 photos in 15.2seconds on USB3 and 36.
Adding to the range of portable battery chargers currently available is this product from Sandberg
According to the accompanying press release, the PowerBank 3000 product from Sandberg is for people with style. This is a designation that I would seldom used to describe myself in normal circumstances. But for the benefit of this review, plus I do have a need for a portable device to provide backup power to the collection of handheld devices that are my usual constant companions, I will regard the designation of style as being purely life-style rather than any other connotations.
Can you help Katherine find true love and a home she can call her own.
Set in America of the last century, Love Story: The Way Home is a Hidden Object Adventure game. This particular title is based around the story of Katherine as she grows up as an orphan and later relates the highlights of her life over the five chapters making up this game. As usual with games of this genre, you can create profiles for individual players so that their progress is recorded.
This is not a Sat Nav – but it always knows exactly where you are – it comes with a lifetimes updates for safety cameras – which sounds better than speed cameras – and gives an exact view of what happened should you ever have a crash it even captures audio.
There are three parts, the camera unit, the windscreen sucker which forms the rear of the unit and a cable to go to your cars cigar lighter and this should fit into the back of the unit near the sucker. On the face of it attach the cable through the windscreen sucker part and click into the camera.
Adding to its range of Smart Managed Switches, NETGEAR has released this next product.
While mere mortals generally find the four Ethernet ports making up standard routers or router/modems to be adequate for their local area network needs, those involved in running small to medium business environments need more powerful devices with a greater range of available Ethernet connections. One such product offering to deliver the additional power and more Ethernet connection is the NETGEAR ProSAFE XS708T.
How do you pack a sub-woofer and a sound bar together in one box, with difficulty is my answer, perhaps they are put together to make sure they stay together, both need mains power but there is no physical link between the two items.
The sound bar is triangular in shape with the front edge sloping backwards it is one metre long and each side is 8cm. The sub-woofer is 28.5x24.5x33cm and it can be placed anywhere within reason, in my tests with TV sound most will be surprised how much base is in music that is not normally heard from things like theme tunes and incidental music, certainly they sound so much different than they do without external an sound bar and sub-woofer.
Five a day is the mantra for ‘fruit and veg’ but then all the things you like do not count so not your potatoes even when they are steamed. However if you make your items up into a smoothie or drink they do count and this makes it easy.
The container is 23cm tall with spill prove lid attached and the unit is circular at 7.5cm it is made of clear strong plastic that should even stand a dishwasher. It is stated to hold 600ml of liquid and is marked at 200ml, 400ml and 600ml the last measure 4cm below the top. The lid unscrews and the top has a solid clip that should not unclip in your bag so you can make at home and drink while out on a run or just at the office.
Adding to its own brand range of handsets, Vodafone has released the Smart platinum 7 smartphone.
Ten years ago, in 2006, Vodafone took the decision to develop its own brand of handsets appealing to the more economically priced market sector. The first such device was a 3G clamshell handset christened the Vodafone 710. Since then Vodafone Devices have racked up sales of 85 million units. Aiming to add to this impressive figure is the latest Vodafone Device which is the Smart platinum 7 which Vodafone believes will answer the consumer’s need for a 4G+ smartphone.
A recent visit to the iconic BT Tower in London saw BT launce their latest Smart Hub which is said to be faster than the competition such as Sky and Talk Talk and easier to setup and use, it also has a more stable form factor than most others.
The BT SmartBub measures 16x22x6.5cm the last figure is with the flip out feet engaged without them it is only 2.5cm thick. All the user connections are in a single line at the back, first the Broadband input, then a USB port, next four bright yellow Gigabit Ethernet ports then the DC power input and finally an on/off button.
One way to increase storage capacity and access functionality is to add a NAS to your computer system.
Available either as a populated or diskless product, the LS520 is a NAS device which forms part of the Buffalo LinkStation™ series. This review is based on the populated version of this two-bay unit featuring a pair of 1TB drives to provide storage capacity. Following the pattern that seems to be have been established by competitive products, the LS520 adopts a fairly standard box shape.
This next title gives you the opportunity to step back in time and play a game in the style of yesteryear.
Let me introduce you to Digital Bounce House. This is a small game development studio with tales to tell based on how we used to play games. One such tale is that of Tick’s Tales with its subtitle of Up All Knight as it places you in the environment of an 8-bit sword and sorcery adventure with all that that entitles.
This is the latest watch from iHealth but do not think of it as a tool to tell the time, it will do that but this is a fitness tool aimed predominately at those who swim for fitness it will also tell you how well you sleep and if you wish will even wake you up.
Its name is iHealth Wave and it is a Wireless Activity, Swim and Sleep Tracker. In the box is a watch with a 4cm stainless steel circular dial and attached black rubber strap. There is also another blue strap in the box for those who are colour conscious. There is a proprietary 20cm long charging cable that attaches to the back of the watch the other end goes to any USB port to charge. A small multi-language booklet is included with the first ten pages in English.
As its title should indicate, the Work Force Pro WF5690 DWF has been designed to act as a fairly heavy duty device.
Decked out in computer grey, this multi-function, multi-layered device from Epson has dimensions of 461 x 442 x 342 mm (W x D x H) and weighs a fairly substantial 14.3 kg. Due to its size and weight, this is a product that is best suited to having a permanent home rather being moved around to suit various circumstances in an office environment.
The Netgear ReadyNAS212 is a two-bay high-end network attached storage unit designed for those who, in addition to basic backups, want a high level of data protection as well as other features such as being able to do full HD 1080 to 480p transcoding on the fly.
When out an about people often stop for a coffee, nowadays which coffee chain they stop at may depend of which of the two wireless charging devices that chain supports. Yes sadly there are two standards I am sure most remember the VHS and Betamax battle.
The lines are drawn with one contender being Qi and the other PMA both charge suitable devices via wireless the difference is that they use different parts of the spectrum. There are big names on both sides so what is this to do with coffee simply Starbucks fall into one group and McDonalds the other, so if your device needs a charge it could mean that if your device has a back that needs one then that probably decides which outlet you go to.
REV stands for Robotic Enhanced Vehicles and while in this context they are toys – clever toys – we see more and more robotic items in today’s world an early example is the robotic vacuum cleaner that has been around for a while, turning to cars there are currently many worldwide tests of driverless cars.
Toys through the ages were made to mimic the real world, has the wheel turned 180 degrees so that the real world mimic’s toys? Here you have a pair of low slung sports cars that are quite detailed and substantial they weigh 387grams with the required 4x‘AA’ batteries (not supplied) inserted. They can be used individually or they can race against each other. The extra games in the App allow the child to invent as well as enjoy. They are 17x10x4.