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

To paraphrase a popular performer of an earlier generation, “I wanna tell you a secret”.
click to enlarge Come wind, come rain, come shine (maybe there is a pointer there), whatever the vagaries of the weather in April, we try to bring you the latest news as it happens.  In this case it was the launch of LG's next generation Black Label phone.  First we had the Chocolate phone (including a white version) with its innovative touch panel.
cherry evolution marlin wireless keyboard mous

Cherry Marlin

No I am not going to tell you about my girlfriend. The Cherry Marlin is wireless cordless desktop (keyboard and mouse) set, that I can honestly say took less than two minutes to setup.
Open box, remove items from plastic bags. Plug the charger into the mouse and a USB port, plug the receiver into a USB port and that's it. No linking required, most keyboard mouse sets need you to get the devices to pair but none of that here. There is a CD (to get the most from them) but as they come out of the box the mouse works (until charged, via the USB lead) and so does the keyboard. So as far as ease of use goes that could not be easier.
Up until recently I had not heard of the Sandberg Company. One of its first products to reach me is the Panther Sound System.
Hands up all those who remember the beeps and squeaks that were the audio output limitations of the games that were designed for the early computers.  Early music renditions from computers were of a similar elementary level.  Fortunately it didn't take too long for developers to come to the aid of our auditory senses as sound cards became a must have addition to those early systems.
It is not only cartoons that can feature talking feet; you can perform the same trick yourself with a little help from BamZ.
With different types of footwear gaining fashion icon status, you may perhaps wonder what the next stage (or should that be step) will be in the development of this particular item of clothing.  While logos are already an established part of what we wear (especially the fashion conscious who dress to be noticed rather than for comfort), maybe the possibility of some personalised advertising in the form of a message might appeal.
This is certainly not just another MP3 player. It is small enough to fit in even a child’s palm, it has a good four line display as well as for good measure an FM radio and a voice recorder.
The Sansa Clip music player is 5.5x3.5x1.5cm and weighs only 27grams. Mine was black with the sliders on each side in a silver/grey colour. The rear of the unit has a good strong clip built in and once clipped to a pocket or belt it will stay there even for those active types who jog or run. Just above this almost invisible on the top edge is the pin hole microphone. The front has the small display 2.3x1.
Health checks, while not compulsory, can solve and prolong active life. Does your computer need such a check up?
Computers, like users (at least this one), tend to slow down with age.  This is as a result of the demands placed on computer resources by various peripherals and software.  As a result it could be to your advantage, and certainly benefit your computer's performance, to carry out various health checks and house-keeping tasks.  TuneUp Utilities 2008 is a product that offers to help in this respect.
canon pixma mp610 multi function printe

Canon Pixma MP610

This is a rather squashed looking grey unit, but it does have some surprises, it is an All In One unit, it can print direct onto CD’s and DVD’s and while on printing, in custom mode you get close to 30PPM.
The Canon MP610 is 44x40x18cm the last figure the height increases by around 20cm when paper is waiting to be printed in the vertical rear tray. Although it has the squashed look it is remarkably clean as all the controls are under a lid that also has the 5x4cm TFT display inset into the rear of the cover.
Here I am looking at two mice that do their normal jobs but also perform a second task. The first helps those making presentations while the second is a boon for those with sweaty palms.
Kensington Slim Blade Presenter Mouse As the box says the mouse presents well and travels even better. It is very slim you could say it looks somewhat squashed but for it's second job this is an advantage. It is 9x6x1.5cm. It has no wires as it is wireless and the receiver stores inside when not in use. This action also saves the batteries as they are cut off when the receiver is in the mouse.
Completing our look at BitDefender’s three-pronged protection approach brings us to a total security solution.
Rather than take the pick-and-mix route when deciding on how best to protect your computer from outside influences, you could opt for an all-in-one approach as adopted by BitDefender Total Security 2008.  Arriving with the promise of providing comprehensive proactive protection, this product is aimed at digital families and those looking for a total solution for their peace of mind needs.
tefal toast n eg

Tefal Toast N’ Egg

It looks like an almost conventional toaster but there is this Perspex area at one end. Yes while you cook your toast you can also poach your egg, it really does work, but please do not try this in your standard toaster.
It is 35x16x19cm. All the controls are on the front these consist of the normal vertical push arm to insert the toast and a horizontal slider to decide how dark you want your toast. To the right in a compass like arrangement are four push buttons. South is cancel, west is toast, north is toast and egg and east is egg. The power lead comes from under the unit it is a tab under one metre long and maybe it could be just that bit longer.
My first computer had a 20MB hard drive. How times have changed with the demands of modern software and more economic prices for storage.
The gigabyte is the modern day currency when considering storage capacity and even then three figures is often the norm rather than the exception.  Take, for instance, the latest mini offering to join the Maxtor brand stable.  This is the Maxtor OneTouch 4 Mini that is available in 80GB, 120GB or 160GB versions with the latter being the subject of this review.
Forget modern weapons, especially of the mass destruction type, and don your armour as you prepare for battle in a land of fantasy.
Set in the , Fantasy Wars is a turn-based strategy game developed by Ino'Co/1C and published by Nobilis.  It brings together humans, orcs, elves and dwarfs in a battle for supremacy.  You are given the choice of taking part in a campaign, single mission or multiplayer game as you select from an opening menu that also includes a tutorial option.
I usually find that Ministry Of Sound systems have the odd extra sometimes quite unexpected, this does not disappoint. It’s a CD, FM/MW radio, iPOD, SD Card and USB stick system.
This unit is black as are the speakers who as is the style are open displaying the cones. The main unit is 22x31x10.5cm, the speakers are each 15x15x21.5cm. The connecting leads are the bare wire type and are around 1.15metres in length. The case of the main unit is metal and the cases for the speakers are wood and have 10watts total power each speaker.
Is it a notebook docking station? Or is it a keyboard? In this case it is the Logitech Alto Cordless product which combines both features.
I have a theory that somewhere in the world, residing in a darken room, is somebody who has been set the task of dreaming up names for new products within the sphere of computing.  One of the latest offering to emerge from this room is that of Alto Cordless which brings together a notebook docking station and a wireless keyboard. Developed by Logitech, the Alto Cordless adopts a predominately black covering for both of its main elements.
yamaha tenori high tech musical instrumen

Tenori-On by Yamaha

Is this a musical instrument or a tool to be used by a DJ, in the right hands it is either or both. One thing is certain it is like nothing else I know.
click to enlarge It is 20x20x2.5cm and weights (without optional batteries) 680 grams. The case is brushed aluminium and there are two small speakers inset into the top rim of the unit. Inside the rim there are 16 rows and 16 columns of .7cm round push buttons that can light up. Round the rim apart from the two speakers there are 13 buttons, a spin wheel and 5x1.5cm LCD display to the wheels right.
Items tend to dribble through from the Toy Fair, it is held in January for the trade and items shown are often really aimed at the Christmas sales market which starts in the autumn. This was the only product that came home with me from the Toy Fair. It soon had favour amongst the young and even the not so young. The main difference between this and numerous other mini helicopters is that is easier to fly.
It is described as for '8 & up' but at least one six year old can fly it successfully. As with all these type of products the heaviest thing by far is the controller unit. From the tip of the rotor blade to the back of the unit is 29cm and it is 18cm across the blade, it stands 12cm tall. Mine was black with a clear Perspex cover for the cockpit. No polystyrene is sight unlike most of the lightweight offerings around.
Continuing my look at the new BitDefender range of products, it is the Turn of BitDefender Internet Security 2008.
As part of its stated policy to protect users' computers from various malicious threats, Softwin has released the latest versions of its BitDefender range of products.  Aimed at providing protection for all your Internet-connected needs for the family or small business user is BitDefender Internet Security 2008.  This product takes over the role filled previously by BitDefender Antivirus Plus v10 and BitDefender Professional Plus v9.
samsung nv8 digital compact camer

Samsung NV8 Digital Camera

This is the second offering I have seen in the Samsung NV range, the first the NV11 was wonderful but had one problem. Will this equally excellent picture and video taker have the same problem?
It is 9.5x6x2.5cm the last figure the width can increase by 2cm the Schneider 3x optical zoom is fully deployed. This is a touch screen camera and unlike the last NV this still came to me with the protective skin still in place over the TFT, this does not effect composition of the image and not a lot on the viewing so I left it in situ as otherwise the unit will suffer greatly from fingerprints on the TFT as all adjustments are made on it.
saitek photo optical mous

Picture a Mouse : Saitek Photo Mouse

Tail-less, cordless, ball-less, optical and laser-enhanced, mouse development continues with the arrival of a device that can act as a picture frame.
They say that owners grow to look like their pets or should that be the other way round with pets growing to look like their owners.  Whichever way it is, maybe there is a link to the concept behind the development of a new mouse from Saitek.  This is the appropriately named Photo Mouse which allows you to customise the device by adding a favourite photo whether this is a loved one, pet, special occasion, favourite location or celebrating an achievement.
Technology is becoming increasingly involved in the health and condition of your teeth. A recent example is the new Philips Sonicare Flexcare.
While Philips "Sense & Simplicity" event held towards the end of last year was more concerned with technology aimed at the future, there was a sprinkling of current products on show.  One of them was the latest in Philips range of Sonicare rechargeable toothbrushes.  This was the Sonicare FlexCare, the third Sonicare generation toothbrush, which combines teeth and brush head cleaning features.
The first is a lightweight shoulder bag that has lots of pockets, ideal for losing things in. The second is a rotating USB hub called a Flex Hub enabling you to place a hub where a hub would not normally fit.
Belkin Sling Bag Not being up in the latest wording I would call this a backpack or a rucksack but it only has a single strap and sits on your left shoulder. The wording on the bags label says 'slim and lightweight carry your laptop and gear in comfort'. Well it seems quite light - when empty - and it is stated to accept a 15.4inch notebook - it does - and it has a range of other pockets to accommodate all those extras.
As vinyl and tape recordings fade into obscuring, I decided to look for a method of safeguarding my out-dated music collection using modern technology.
My music collection spreads over vinyl, tapes, compact disks and MP3 tracks with the latter consisting of duplicates from the compact disks.  Recently I have been looking at a way of converting the first two categories into MP3 tracks that can then be burned on to optical media.  The product under test is SnapMusic Studio 715 from KWORLD.
In the past extending your computers storage meant choosing internal disks and getting performance, or external and getting ease of use and flexibility.
This is the first chance I've had to take a look at a new external hard disk sporting the high performance 'eSATA' - or 'external SATA' interface as an alternative to the otherwise ubiquitous USB connection. This drive is from the Hypertec FireStorm range and comes with capacities from 80G byte to 1T byte. Here I'm reviewing the 80G byte model.
This is purely a photo printer and one that’s maximum paper size is 15x10cm. However it is extremely easy to use it does one job, it does it well and it does it quickly.
While this can of course be connected to a PC it is not essential. It can just work anywhere there is a 13amp power plug. It is 21x16x14cm when closed. In use the first figure the width does not change. The last figure the height increases by 13cm when the lid is opened to form a backplane for the stored paper waiting to be printed, and this together with the front dropping down to reveal the card slots and tray for the images adds 11+12cm.
Here I am looking at four rather unusual accessories, the first called a BoomBox Bag and the others a range of USB flash drives with unusual designs, same use they just look more interesting.
Not a BoomBox but a BoomBag A simple device that is not that expensive. Simply connect your iPod or MP3 player to the 3.5mm plug inside the bag and hey presto the sound issues from the speakers. It is a fabric bag looking rather like a sponge bag with handles. The inside is plastic lined. It is 32x10x15cm, the pair of fabric handles add 20cm to the last figure the height.
OmniPage is not the only OCR package available. ABBYY has its own product ready to challenge for the role of optical character recognition solution.
When taking delivery of a new scanner or multi-function device you will often find that some bonus software will be provided and this will include OCR (Optical Character Recognition) functionality.  In many cases the OCR capability will be provided by a copy of FineReader Sprint.  This is a basic edition of ABBYY's flagship FineReader product which currently stands at version 9 in its Professional guise.
If you add Podcasts and FM radio then the title above just about covers the abilities of this, the first of – that I know – a new breed of dual radio that can cover such a wide band of features, this is the Revo Blik.
It is a maximum of 25x12x6cm, mine was white, but they also do black. The rear has a six section 55cm rod aerial, jack sockets for output to stereo speakers. A 3.5mm earbud socket and input for the power socket, the only other socket is on the right side 'Mport' that allows inputs from other sources such as an MP3 player. The centre of the front has a 6.5x2cm three line display, white on black. When in standby this will show time and date.
Catpod is a outdoor cat shelter made from a Contico Monster Fun Storage Trunk and a Ferplast Swing 1 cat flap.
Catpod is a simple product idea I came up with to provide shelter for our cats. It's basically a 189 litre Contico Monster Fun Storage Trunk with a Ferplast Swing 1 lockable cat flap at one end. Dimensions: External: L 1100 x W 510 x H 480mm Internal: L 910 x W 360 x H 420mm Capacity: 189 Litre Weight: approx. 5 kg Benefits: Easy to make. Total construction time was about 25 minutes.
When an old friend is also a utility that you find extremely useful to help the smooth running of your computer, you tend to look forward to the arrival of the latest version.
In this case the old friend is a software package entitled Diskeeper.  I have been using this software product over a number of years to ensure that the files on my hard disk are stored contiguously rather than being scattered in bits and pieces in the various locations that were available during the initial writing of the data.
Happy with your local environment? Maybe you could try out some improvements by designing and managing your own virtual community.
Let me take you back nearly 20 years.  It was in 1989 that Will Wright developed a title that helped introduce Maxis to the computer gaming community.  This title was , the forerunner of numerous other Sim offerings that took over numerous hours of game playing sessions for many.  Following in the footsteps of this seminal game is City Life with the latest version being the 2008 edition.
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