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

 
No matter how careful you are, or think you are, your Windows-based system will tend to slow down as it struggles to cope with the demands you place upon it.
Another item that I discovered at a recent Panasonic white goods event that I my ignorance did not know they produced. However as they have been big – mainly in Asia – for around 50 years it is certainly worth a look.
I first saw it at a recent presentation by Panasonic; it looked interesting and powerful so I requested to look at it. In fact since then I have seen it advertised on TV so they are pushing the items now in the UK so look for offers. Described on the box as black and silver this does not include the head brush head that is white a strange mix I assume it was boxed up at that event and went back into storage before it came to me a bit later as it arrived without instructions.
By putting together features that include photo, video and music plus burning and sharing software, you end up with a product entitled Digital Studio 2010. This is Corel’s attempt to tackle the photo and video market for those with limited experience in this particular area.
Time to dust off your business management skills as you buy and sell plots of land, construct hotels and make money for your recently divorced boss.
I have to admit that this is the first game that I have come across that features a pre-nuptial agreement.  As a result of this agreement Lynette finds that she has been cheated out of her family hotel business following a marriage that collapsed after just a few months.  Determined to regain control of this family business and its sentimental attachments, Lynette plans to set up a rival chain of hotels with the eventual aim of being able to buy back her original property.
610654 canon pixma ip 2702 colour printe

Canon iP 2702 Printer

It's been a while since I have looked at a printer (as opposed to an All In One or MFU) and even longer since I have looked at a basic entry level offering. Both those criteria are fulfilled by this small unit the Canon iP 2702.
The Canon iP 2702 printer measures 44x25x11cm with the lid closed. The lid forms the paper tray at the rear (insert sheets face forward) this adds 13cm to the 11cm height. However you need another 8cm of clearance to place any A4 sheets in the tray. So should you be thinking of placing this on a shelf you need 44x22x32cm overall space. It weighs 3.4 kilos.
As part of its expansion into areas other than purely media storage, Verbatim has released a new product designed to deal with your media management.
Bringing together the functionality to record, store and play all your multimedia content with wireless LAN capabilities is the designated aim of Verbatim’s MediaStation HD DVR product.  This kit consists of a black box, various leads, remote control, and a CD containing Nero Move It Essentials, transcoding software plus the User Manual in PDF format.  You also get and some Getting Started documentation but this is minimal rather than comprehensive.
609437 samsung galaxy gt 15700 android mobile phon

Samsung GT-15700 Android Phone

When does a phone become a computer? Perhaps not quite yet but as this Samsung phone can do a lot of things that a computer can its getting there. The screen flips easily between landscape and portrait for ease of viewing.
It is 11x5.5x1.5cm and weights 125grams. Heavier than a lot of other units but most is the larger battery to give more time between charges. The viewable screen is 4.5x6.8cm. There are lots of apps that can be purchased for all the modern phones, here apart from the built in bits you get seven icons on the desktop apart from a rather nice analogue clock as well as the digital one on the top bar. This bar also shows what sort of phone and Internet reception and the state of the battery.
First a rather nice small but powerful laptop speaker from Altec Lansing called the Orbit USB. Second another offering from Brando in Hong Kong, this time a clip on USB fan or course there is also an extra, quite small but it still very efficient.
While this is described as a notebook speaker I see no reason why it should not be used with a desktop system – in fact I did with one of my tests – as the sound is a lot better than say cheap small speakers often found in a panel. It uses USB sound, so even if your sound card or chip is knackered there is no reason why you should not enjoy wonderful sounds from your PC or Notebook. Indeed some of the recent Netbooks have really nasty sound.
Lets start with a warning – you should not reconstruct the opening of this next game at home. Instead consider playing this game.
Available on the Avanquest GSP Click & Play label, Trapped: The Abduction is a GoGii developed game.  Described as a “dark and mysteries hidden object adventure game”, Trapped: The Abduction places you in the role of a young woman named Helene.  The dark and mysteries side of the game is obvious right from the start as your character discovers herself trapped inside the trunk of an old car.
609433 corel painship pro photo x

PaintShop Photo Pro X3

Yes this is what used to be called PaintShop Pro, but that was in the days before it became a Corel product and also – as with most software – a product to do one job at a time, now it does most things and is more complex.
Anyone who has used Corel products knows that added value is their byword. So not only does the DVD have the main PaintShop Photo Pro X3 on but also in a separate installation PaintShop Photo Project Creator and a cut down version of Painter (Essentials 4). I installed all three and my hard was 4.145GB down on hard disc space afterwards. The install times 8 minutes for PaintShop Photo Pro X3, 15 minutes for PaintShop Photo Project Creator and 4 minutes for Painter Essentials 4.
While software arrives on optical media, sometimes the destination device lacks the appropriate means to access the software. This next product could help solve this dilemma.
Old memories came flashing back as I took on the challenge of a platform style game that certainly had me scratching my head.
One of the earliest examples of popular computer gaming genre was that of platform games.  I can remember spending many enjoyable hours playing games such as Commander Keen and Duke Nukem (this was before the character was turned into a first person shooter) with plenty of running, jumping and avoiding the various nasties to keep me occupied.
609432 Panasonic SC HC20DBEB DAB music syste

Panasonic SC-HC20DBEBK

Not exactly a catchy name for what could be a rather nice DAB/FM/CD/iPod unit. Its small sleek and dare I say – as a fashion dunce – rather fashionable, however with a note of caution not everything is absolutely perfect.
It is 38x22x9cm, I give the width figure as 9cm as that is the maximum but at the top it is only half that as a maximum. There are 11 buttons on the top that can do most things. The remote control is 18x5x2cm the size of remote normally given to TV’s and other such devices, it can control everything except opening and closing the CD door.
According to information prominently displayed on the packaging of an Aliph’s product, “4 out of 5 users prefer talking on a Jawbone vs. a cell phone alone”. I should point out that the Jawbone is Aliph’s hands-free headset that comes in a variety of flavours. The latest such headset is entitled Jawbone ICON.
Things do not always arrive that quickly, this is a case in point I saw this unit last summer before Windows 7 was even launched. Finally after much nagging it arrives to be tested after summer time had started in 2010.
The Sony Vaio L12S1E is a Touch Screen unit complete with Wireless Keyboard and Mouse. It also comes with a remote control so it can be a Media Centre PC as well if you should desire. The screen has everything built into and around it. It is 57x41x20cm on the pull out stand. The viewable screen area is 53.5x30.5 giving the notional diagonal 24inch measurement. The left side has three 3.
Okay so I cannot really see a link between a book ‘62 Projects to make with a dead computer’ and a rather neat small hub/card reader. The first from Workman Publishing and the second from Conceptronic, both however are worth a look.
I found this 260 page book easy to read. There are nine choices of things to make/convert on the front cover and only three of them seemed logical to me before I read the book. There are lots of cartoon type illustrations often several to a page. The two column format over the 18cm page width make things a lot easier to read. It starts by explaining the innards of a computer and the bits that need care – or even leaving alone – within it.
Retyping your hand written notes on your computer is a task that a product from IRIS offers to take care of for you.
Combining its expertise gained in the areas of scanners and OCR (Optical Character Recognition) software, IRIS has come up with a solution to transfer and convert handwritten notes into ext that is editable.  The procedure takes the content from an ordinary piece of paper to a computer system.  This solution is IRIS Notes 1.
609424 casio exilim EX Z550 Digital Camer

Casio Exlim EX-Z550

As a mere man this camera has a distinct disadvantage, so much so that the PR lady who sent it to me apologised you see its p i n k, quite a nice subtle shade but its still pink. However if you are a man I am assured they do other colours.
The Casio Exilim EX-Z550 compact digital camera measures 10.5x5.5x2cm, with the lens fully zoomed it adds another 2cm to the 2cm width. The unit weights 130grams. The camera is fitted with a 14.1mega pixel sensor, with 4x optical zoom and 26mm wide angle lens that takes rather nice images. The face has the lens with the flash above and to its right at least 2cm away.
With a tag line of "Create it. Play it. Organise it. Share it", a new product from CyberLink sets out to provide support for the upsurge in digital lifestyles.
As its title indicates, CyberLink Media Suite 8 Ultra brings together a number of tools designed to work with your digital content.  Entering the same territory covered by products such as Nero Reloaded and Roxio Creator 10, this CyberLink software opens with an interface that categorises its functionality into the areas of Music, Movie Player, Data Photo, Video, Copy & Backup plus a number of utilities represented by icons running across the bottom of the screen.
Settlement development, hidden object game play and puzzle solving come together in a new title from the Alawar casual gaming site. The game casts you in the role of a 300 year old Emperor.
In the game of Settlement: Colossus you take on the role of a 300 year old emperor who was once honoured by the Gods and who ruled his people wisely.  However events turned against him and he lost his true love as his kingdom was laid to ruin by his enemies.  He was forced to lead his loyal band of followers in a search for a new homeland.  After many years of fruitless searching, a ripe, uninhabited location was discovered.
First a rather fine set of upside down torch like speakers together with a beefy sub woofer from Altec Lansing. Second a rather beautiful set of Digitally Enhanced Audio Headphones from Plantronics.
These consist of a sub woofer and a pair of speakers that look like quite large torches, the difference is that the larger ends go down and get added resonance out of whatever surface you place them of, a wonderful design. The speakers are 27cm tall and 11cm across at the base but little more than 4cm at the top, the sound comes not only from underneath but also all along the front of the units. There is a single lead from the left speaker going into the sub woofer.
In this final part of the look into the iPhone economy I take a softer approach - looking at what you can load onto your iPhone from Apples appStore
Human beings are endlessly inventive. A quick trip to the iTunes App Store will confirm that. I don't even know how to describe the breadth and depth of what is out there, but here a are few apps that I just love. Do you remember things in the middle of the night, when you are out and about? This app works just like a pad of post its. You can either use your finger to scrawl a quick note to yourself or the keyboard if you need more detail.
608001 sanyo xacti hd VPC CA9 digital dual camera waterproo

A Dual Camera : Sanyo HD VPC-CA9

Once regarded as a luxury item, camcorders are now often looked on as a must-have companion for even the occasional traveller.
With the appearance and popularity of various basic camcorders, such as the and , manufacturers of more mainstream kit have needed to look to their laurels especially with regards to any additional features offered by their products.  One interesting approach, adopted by Sanyo, can be seen with the company’s camcorder. This is sometimes referred to as a dual camera because of its capability to capture both movie clips and still images in a single session.
Until last month I was unaware that Panasonic did either headphones or earbuds, mind you they have also been around in the white goods sector (mainly in Asia) for 50 years but more about that on another occasion.
First the only set not truly new the these qualify as there is a new colour a vibrant red. They are a full headphone looking like the offerings of a decade or so ago but with of course a 3.5mm gold plated jack plug rather than the larger size plug that dominated the market in the period I am thinking of when big was the way to go. They come with a 1.2metre lead to allow your MP3 player or iPod to reside even in the lowest of the low jean pocket.
607940 doro 750X Outdoor DECT cordless phon

Doro 750x Outdoor Dect Phone

Doro are well known for their mobile phones for the elderly and those with limited sight and very good they are. However they also do phones for landlines and here is one ideal for those who work in the garden its rugged.
The phone is 14.5x5x2.5cm and coated in a rubberised material meaning it should withstand the odd drop or three. It weights 130grams. The charging base also has the ability to page the phone ideal if you have put it down somewhere and can’t remember where. The base is 11x8x4cm at the top and slightly more at the base. A red charging light on the right and the paging button on the left. As with most Doro home phones you can have more than one handsets for those who have large properties.
While not in the same league in terms of a long running series as “Last of the Summer Wine”, Murder She Wrote has an impressive pedigree with its number of episodes and has now made the transition to a computer screen.
The second part of my round up of some of the many accessories available for your Apple iPhone - starting with headphones!
I took a look at powering your sleek and trendy iPhone along with suitable cases to protect your little wonder of touch-screen technology. Today I'm looking at just a few of the many available headsets and related accessories. The final part will delve into Apple's appStore to see how your iPhone can help you when you're not making a call! Having an iPhone means I can leave my iPod at home.
607939 light sleeper Sunrise Natural Alarm Clock Sleeping Ai

Light Sleeper

For many a good night’s sleep is rare, others need help in the way of sleeping pills, alcohol or maybe just a milky drink. Here is another way, no pills, no hangover in fact it is just following a light played onto the ceiling above your bed.
I have had the LightSleeper for sometime and while I have found it helpful, for me anyway it is not a total solution. That is why I have persevered and I also wanted the chance to try its effectiveness during the longer summer days where it still seems to do what is expected provided the room is still somewhat dim, it does not need total darkness. It is 11cm across the circular base which is rather like a saucer. The height is 11.5cm; the circular top is a maximum of 7cm across.
Part one of my round up of some of the many accessories and applications available for your Apple iPhone!
Having been completely underwhelmed by the recent fanfare launch of the new iPad from Apple I decided to ditch the Blackberry and succumb to the sexiness of the iPhone. There is something wonderfully intuitive about sliding things around on a screen but once you have played with all the preloaded applications, what next? There are so many accessories and applications you can buy for your iPhone that bewildering scarcely covers it.
607102 jabra stone

The Jabra Stone : Jabra Jabra Stone

Hands-free mobile devices come in a variety of shapes, sizes and appearances including those that are found in nature. So what would you think the Jabra Stone looks like?
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