Snow falls and the UK comes to an almost halt as we do not seem able to cope. Yet a recent visit to Munich, where there was several inches of snow all around, showed that it was possible to cope. But why was I in Munich?
With Munich as its chosen destination, Panasonic revealed a raft of new products to the European Press Corp. I was one of those fortunate enough to attend this event that had several new products and technologies fighting for our attention. The event was held in the snow covered Olympic Park Centre. Luckily no snow fell during the event as there was already more than enough to make us glad we were safely ensconced inside the event centre.
This is version two of the Wake Up Light. I reviewed the first one nearly two years ago (26-3-08) and this one is smaller and does extra things so it is certainly not only a lovely peaceful way to be roused from your slumbers.
The most important part is the light. I have tested Philips Wakeup Light extensively through the darkest days of the years. You can set the maximum intensity of the light but whatever power you set it at 30 minutes before the set alarm time it starts glowing at a very low level slowly building up (like a very fine light dimmer switch) to the maximum level you have set that coincides with whatever alarm you have set.
Rather than identify its new All-in-One purely by a model number, Lexmark has taken the decision to bestow on each model a specific name. As part of this policy, the models making up the companys 2009 Home Office series have been named Interact, Intuition, Interpret and Impact.
Forming the basis for this review is the Interpret which is a wireless 4-in-1 device designed for office productivity. Predominately black in colour with a computer grey top, the Interpret combines print, scan, copy and fax functionality within a box measuring 288.4 x 338 x 477mm. Connectivity issues are taken care of with a choice of wireless or USB.
Joining the list of titles now available from Focus Multimedia is Assassins Creed, a game in which you test your expertise at killing.
In Assassin’s Creed you take on the role of a character living in the present day or maybe a few years in the future. Your character is an ancestor of an assassin, named Altair, who operated his deadly trade during the period of the Third Crusade. The reason for mentioning this genetic connection between your character and Altair is that you will need to relive your ancestor’s memories as if you were actual carrying out the various tasks yourself.
I have had a satellite disk for years so long in fact it predates Sky however the box with it has long been faulty. Humax now have a service that installs a dish and your unit, when the installer arrived my original disk position was unsuitable because of trees in neighbouring gardens.
So he found a new position on the side of the property, fitted a new dish (with dual LMB’s) nearly fitted the cables and drilled through into my lounge. The Humax Foxsat-HD unit came out of its box and was switched on. It then tuned to the satellite (far faster than Freeview tuning) and that was it, less than one hours work and I was up and running.
Everybodys telephonic needs are different. For those looking for a phone with a range of features at a sub £100 price point might like to consider the Sony Ericsson W205.
In the past all the different Sony Ericsson handsets that I have looked at have been available in a choice of colours with rather descriptive names. However there has to be an exception and that is the Sony Ericsson W205. With this model the company has mimicked the Henry Ford Mantra. You can have any colour you like as long as it is black – in this case Ambient Black thus retaining the descriptive policy. The W205 is a slider handset measuring 92 x 47 x 16.
Not just another DAB radio for many reasons firstly it also has Internet Radio as well as DAB and FM but perhaps most interesting is the fact that ten buttons on top most controls are by touch on the front of the Pure Siesta Flow.
This is a mains only unit and probably it will sit by your bed a la the powerful clock radio as it has alarm and sleep functions. It is 18x15x6cm maximum, the sides move inwards and the 18cm front width is only 8cm by the back.
While the desktop PC often has up to six USB ports, a Notebook or Netbook rarely has more than three. So with more and more devices connecting via USB we all from time to time will need a hub to provide extra ports.
Since this arrived my desk has had this sitting on (or should I say clipping on) the edge of my desk. It takes 4cm of vertical height and 5cm of horizontal space. The total weight of the hub is just under 40grams. There are two well spaced ports on the top and one on each side. The rear has the entry point for the supplied USB lead and that’s it. The actual dimensions are 6x5.5x4.5cm mine was white but I see they also do it in black.
Completing my round-up of the latest security offerings from BitDefender is the companys Total Security 2010 title.
BitDefender Total Security 2010 sits at the top of the company’s current range of security protection titles. This product combines the features found in the BitDefender Antivirus and Internet Security offering with the addition of Tune-Up and Backup facilities. A couple of the elements in the product’s installation routine produced the standard dialogue box stating that they had not passed the Windows Logo certification process for Windows XP.
If you have seen other PVRs and press ahead without fully reading the manual then I suspect like me you will be rather disappointed with this unit, however after reading the manual you will find it does everything but some things are done differently.
The Sharp Digital TV Recorder TU-TV502H measures 36x28x5cm and the only visible button on the front is on the left edge and this is on/off. There is a door 9cm from the right edge that hides the entry point for (optional) Top Up TV card you might use and a USB port for upgrades. If you look closely there are eight buttons towards the left side of the front but all can be done on the remote control.
Exspect launch their pretty pink accessories to protect your iPhone with just a hint of Bling and give your support to Breast Cancer Campaign.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer for women to experience. Over 1 in 9 women are affected by breast cancer in their lifetime, with nearly 46,000 people being diagnised each year. Luckily research has improved both the awareness of breast cancer and an understanding of effective treatment - so now more and more people who are affected will have a better chance of survival. So it's always nice when we can do our bit to help support this fantastic cause.
Portable external drives come in all colours, shapes and capacities. Recently I have been using an external drive that offers an extra layer of security.
Generally sequels appear fairly quickly following the original offering. But there are exceptions (Zuma immediately springs to mind) with a new title from Alawar being a prime example of a longer period of gestation.
The Treasures of Montezuma 2 has taken over two years to appear following the original title (just subtract the “2”). Possibly one reason for this delay is down to the fact that many users found the difficulty level of The Treasures of Montezuma rose rather rapidly, to such an extent it put them off persevering with the game. I must admit that I fell into this category.
This is the third such device I have seen recently; it is probably good news for both the others that I have seen the Kindle third. However if I had not seen the Kindle third I would never have been able to recommend it for a highly commended award.
This is somewhat different from the other two, yes you can still buy books as you would expect and you can also upload documents and even PDF files to it. Firstly it has a keyboard (45 keys) and second when you purchase items they are sent wirelessly to the Kindle (normally in less than a minute) so you do not even need a computer. By wireless the service is called Wispersync and it uses the mobile phone network, you do not even need to own a mobile phone. It is 20x13.5x.
Available in the choice of Glamour Red, Lacquered Black or Techno White, the C903 belongs to Sony Ericssons family of Cybershot handsets.
Marketed as an entry-level 3G phone, the C903 is a slider phone with support for GSM/GPRS/EDGE-850/900/1800/1900 and UMTS/HSPA-900/2100 so that users can make use of roaming facility. As well as being a slider phone in one direction, it also has sliding capability in another area but more on this particular feature a little later. The C903’s dimensions are 97 x 49 x 16mm with a weight of 96g.
This is perhaps the complete All In One as not only does it scan, copy and print but it can be used via USB or Wi-FI, so should the lounge police object it can be stored away from the PC and live out of view in a cupboard.
The Canon Pixma MP560 measures 43x31x16 the last figure is without A4 stored in the vertical position in the back, but as the only need to have photo paper in that tray the main workhorse can be the underneath tray to print letters and documents from. I had one major complaint with the previous Canon All In One and that was the cartridge size (it was two cartridge) and they were tiny.
While most will buy this latest version of PowerDVD for its ability to play Blu-ray movies (providing of course you have a Blu-ray drive) it can and does support other formats. I am not sure why Windows 7 does not nativity support Blu-ray.
As part of its new season range of printing devices, Canon has released the Pixma MP490 All-in-One unit.
Unpacking a new product can sometimes be like a voyage of discover. In the case of a PIXMA MP490 from Canon, I was convinced that the mains power lead and ink cartridges were missing – that is until I opened the paper output tray and discovered them packed inside. Thinking about it, this was a sensible arrangement as it keeps all the relevant components safely together.
The first question I asked myself is why anyone would buy a stand alone scanner when there are perfectly good general scanners that are included for very little extra when you buy a perfectly decent All In One unit
Another minus is the extra space required, well lets cover that instantly this page scanner is 28x6.5x9cm when closed. In the open position the figure the depth increases by 7cm and the middle figure the height increases by 13cm with the supports raised to allow A4 sheets to be loaded, the sheets themselves are 15cm above the support but still sit perfectly positioned ready for you to press the one and only button on the unit ‘scan’.
Taking the opportunity to give my regular laptop pointing device a break from duty, I took a new mouse from Conceptronic on my travels.
For a while now the design concept behind notebooks, and more recently netbooks, has shown an increasingly interest is the areas of style. Colourful, decorative casings along with features such as bevelled edges and round corners have been used to make these types of devices more appealing to the eye and less likely to look out of place in the modern living room.
This is not your typical boy meets girl story. In this instance the girl invites the boy back to her place but then matters take a turn for the unexpected. Events do not follow the pattern you might expect. The girl drugs the boy who then wakes up in what turns out to be the basement of an abandoned house. So begins the game of Lost in the City.
Rock notebooks are built to order, so delivery time is normally around a week. Here I am looking at what would definitely be a top of the range unit, very powerful and rather expensive, it is all but £3000 and today that is not cheap.
This is the first Windows 7 manufacturers system I have seen, and a 64bit version at that. However the only other software supplied on my unit was a copy of Cyber Link DVD Suite V8. I was told a trial of BullGuard A/V should have been supplied. I downloaded it (as I do not like going on the Internet without A/V software) firstly on another system and then when that gave an Error 102 – whatever that is – reluctantly downloaded it directly onto the Rock.
A fear of heights and falling means a helicopter trip is unlikely to feature on my schedule. So Ill just have to make do with a Bladez Toyz model.
The latest batch of mini helicopters launched by Bladez Toyz, a company headed by ITV Tycoon winner Iain Morgan and financed by Dragon’s Den business guru Peter Jones, includes the Salvation 3D model which is the subject of this review. The last Bladez Toyz helicopter (the Salvation 1) I looked at came with a fairly standard remote control unit with twin joysticks. This was powered by 8 AA batteries.
This is probably the best mini camcorder I have used, image quality is excellent and the sound is also better than other such devices. It is however not perfect as the camera side could definitely be improved from what is available.
The Veho Kuzo Camcorder measures 2x6x10cm, open the TFT screen and the 2cm width becomes 9cm, the total weight is just less than 100 grams. If this were just a camcorder I would seriously consider recommending it for a 5x5 award, the quality is that good. However as it also has a still camera capability that is less than perfect the total mark will have to be less. The rim of the TFT is 6.5x5.4 with the viewable portion of the screen 5x3.8cm; it can be turned through 270 degrees.
Here I am looking at two more unusual items, first a 7 port USB hub with all ports switchable. Second an LCD water powered clock in what looks exactly like a soft drinks can, the surprise for regular readers is only one is from Brando.
Who would have thought when the first mini low-powered notebook made an appearance that we would soon be faced by an influx of netbooks such as a new offering from Packard Bell (now part of the Acer family).
Recently I told you about the Cool-Er the first such device I had reviewed; here is an even smaller unit from Sony. Sony has the advantage of having produced such devices for a while so this is actually something like generation three.
The pocket edition of Sony's popular 'Reader' measures 10.5x15.5x1cm. The viewable screen is 7.5x10cm. It weights 170grams, and sad to say from a male perspective mine was pink. So just like the Cool-Er I needed to review it in the privacy of my own home. No wonder the PR lady apologised to me before sending it out saying it’s the only unit we currently have available. The top has an on/off slider. Both the left and right side as well as the back are clear of controls.
With colours that include Blush and Dusty in their description, it has to be another Sony Ericsson handset that has been the focus of my attention
Joining the ranks of Sony Ericsson slider phones is the W395 model. Available in a choice of Blush Titanium or Dusky Grey, the handset is constructed of brushed aluminium with a design and feature set aimed at appealing to the youth market (well that leaves me out of the equation). The W395 has dimensions of 96 x 47 x 15mm (H x W x D) when closed with the height expanding to 127mm when open. The handset weight is kept down to a reasonable 96g.
For those who have not had the pleasure previously, let me introduce you to Natalie Brooks. This teenage detective is not only curious and adventurous but also impossibly slim. Having been the heroine of two earlier adventures, Alawar has brought Natalie back to solve the mystery of Hillcrest High.
Following an animated comic book style opening sequence, the Mystery of Hillcrest High opens with Natalie receiving a letter from her old school friend, Chad. It is the contents of the letter which sets Natalie on the trail of this latest adventure that involves the infamous Black Cat Gang and their attempt to commit the crime of the century.
With things like TVs continually getting lighter why is it that laser printers seem to be getting heavier? This is not that large but heavy to the point that even strong couriers struggle to carry it by themselves, or course the box does say two to move it.
It is 48x42x40cm with cables inserted, the light grey colour with black area around the control panel will certainly not ingratiate it to the ‘lounge police’ so the wireless ability of this unit could have it stashed away in a cupboard say under the stairs so as not to offend. The stated weight in box is 29kilos it certainly felt heavier to me. The main difference between a laser and an inkjet (apart from the weight) is that the claimed print speed will be achieved.