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

Better known for its mobile phones, DECT handsets and walkie talkies, Doro has developed an alarm clock with a choice of wake-up methods
While you might think I had a chip on my shoulder, it is more likely to be a chimp.
622985 buffalo DriveStation AV External Multimedia Hard Driv

Buffalo Drive Station AV

While there are many tiny (non powered) 500GB hard drives around this 1GB unit is not one of them, its large and needs its own power but has a range on interesting LEDs and a whole raft of software provided on a CD-ROM.
It is 18x17x4.5cm, the first figure the depth is when cables are plugged in. The unit weights 1135grams and it is shiny black in colour. Why do not manufacturers make such unit a non shiny colour so that fingermarks are not a problem? The front has a small square on/off button and when off it appears to have three small graphics to its right to show full, half full or empty. In fact when on there are a line of blue square LEDs that show the amount of free space on the drive.
Think protection and one of the first names that springs to mind is Norton with a range of offerings being available.
Two items from Oregon Scientific one firmly in their Wellness range and other for relaxation so this loosely fits in. First a Heart Rate monitor that does far more than just check the rate. Second a Soothing Sounds clock that can also be used to play from an MP3 of iPod.
Oregon make several different Heart Rate Monitor, unlike a blood pressure monitor that has a single job of measuring your blood pressure the various heart rate monitors can check your rate before, during and after exertion. The other difference is that a blood pressure monitor is attached and used while the heart rate monitor is worn all the time. So a fast walk or run should produce a vastly different reading to a slow walk or sitting reading a book or doing the vacuuming.
622982 paper jamz drum ki

Paper Jamz Drums

First let me admit I am a frustrated drummer, second as regular readers will know I am a big jazz fan. However life does not always/sometimes/hardy ever give you what you want, here however for £25 I can enjoy myself.
While the keyboard and mouse provide the main means of communicating with your computer, it is the screen that tends to let the computer communicate with you. As you tend to view the screen constantly, it does help if it can perform to your satisfaction and not be distracting. Read on…..
Following the announcement regarding the emphasis being placed on features such as picture quality, energy saving credentials and LED technology to replace the older CCFL displays, ViewSonic has launched a number of new models.  These new products include the VA2231w-LED unit which is the focus of this review.
622980 canon pixma mx340 all in one printe

Canon MX340

This is a multi function unit (it has fax). It is almost all cream in colour apart from a black band and black vertical paper tray. As an All In One it would cost less, if anyone out there still uses fax either at home or in a small business write a comment.
The Canon Pixma MX340 is 44x41x32cm with paper loaded in the rear vertical tray. There are a total of 27 buttons on the front edge (12 are redundant if you don’t use fax) either side of the two line black on grey display. Let’s start with copying; this can be done from within Windows or direct from the unit that does not even require the PC to be connected. A one off black A4 page took 10 seconds while in colour the time taken was 25 seconds.
Although there have been bearded times in my life, like many men shaving is an integral part of my daily routine so I'm always keen to try the latest technology in this area!
The Braun Series 7, 790cc is the latest in their Series 7 range and is of the foil style. To do justice to any shaver review one has to use the product for more than the occasional shave - each shaver is unique and you have to adapt to it's particular style. For the purposes of this review I've been using the 790cc for just over two weeks.
A new Doro handset has been keeping me company recently as I check out its performance.
The various Doro mobile handsets that I have looked at in the past could all be considered rather chunky in appearance.  These handsets were designed for those looking for a device that had large, easy-to-identify buttons and a basic range of features.  While still retaining some of the features of early models, Doro’s latest mobile handset, the PhoneEasy 332gsm, is certainly different in at least one aspect – that of size.
One thing that I can say for certain is that those creative people at Playrix obviously do not suffer from ichthyophobia. The reason I say this is that if they did then they would not have developed so many titles based on aquatic themes and the building up of aquariums. The latest title to fall into this category is Fishdom 2 Premium Edition.
Get used to it as it will not go away Christmas is coming and this rather special DAB radio would make an ideal gift based on the Evoke 1S it has a rather high quality finish and look. This is certainly a gift that will be in constant use.
It is 21x8x15cm and weights 1524 grams. The top has a nice solid grab handle but unless you purchase the optional ‘charge pack’ that allows it to be run on batteries I doubt it will move around much. The top also has 65cm seven piece rod aerial gold in colour. Overall the unit is covered in black leather with the corners having black plastic padding for extra protection. Both sides are clear as is the base apart from four chunky feet.
621233 corel paintshop photo pro x

Corel PaintShop Photo Pro X3

As a long time user of the various versions of Paint Shop Pro, I always look forward to seeing what the latest software can deliver. This time I encountered some good points and one element that failed to work.
With a pedigree that stretches back 18 years, PaintShop Pro has gradually developed from a graphic file conversion tool into a fully fledged application capable of handling the organisation, editing and enhancing of your digital images.  The latest version of this software, now firmly entrenched as a Corel product, is PaintShop Photo Pro X3 (a less superstitious way of indicating it is version 13).
According to the Worx literature, the Sonicrafter is “probably the most useful invention since the Swiss Army knife”. While I think that is rather an exaggeration it is, nevertheless, an extremely useful and versatile power tool that is able to tackle a range of jobs that more conventional power tools cannot deal with. Consequently, it could well enable one to deal with a difficult task and thus be a useful addition to one’s tool kit.
The Sonicrafter is not intended to replace your existing power tools but to complement them because it can deal with many of those jobs which are beyond their scope. It could well be worth having because it will plug a gap in the tasks that can be handled effectively with the tools at your disposal. This tool operates in an entirely different manner from your other power tools.
621165 Tefal Wikook Fast Pressure Cooke

Tefal Stovetop Items

Frying Pan, Saucepan and Pressure Cooker all from Tefal. The first one of the range bearing Jamie Oliver’s name. All were replacing antiquated items and as with most decent new products you wonder why you waited to renew.
This was actually a gift but as I used two previously it replaced one that was bowed by heat so it gave a poor contact and the other was less than perfect in the non stick department. So two pans recycled and a bit more kitchen space. This is either 23 or 26cm depending on if you measure the base or the rim of the pan. It weights 890grams. A very heavy grade so it would stand a gas ring.
621164 paper jamz guitar

Paper Jamz Guitar

With Christmas want lists abounding one item high on a lot of them will be an electric guitar. Will this be something that is a fad or just possibly is your child a real musician? For £25 the Paper Jamz Guitar may just tell you if you should make the next step.
Unlike a lot of toys this unit has musical ability the fret board covers more than an octave and while initially the child can strum mindlessly to one of three built in tunes there is an in between mode that means they need to time their input correctly. However the real test is when they go ‘freeform’ and then all the work is their own. The maximum dimensions of the unit I had were 80cm long, 35cm wide and 2cm thick. The total weight was around 450grams.
Designed more for the painter rather than the graphics developer, ArtRage is a New Zealand product that has built up an impressive fan base.
ArtRage is a graphics product designed to appeal to users looking for a computer-based painting set of tools at an economic price point.  Starting life back in 2004, when it first emerged as a free product, ArtRage quickly racked up sales well over the two million mark on the Windows and Mac platforms.
621161 dane elec ditto raid external hdd server NA

Access My Ditto anywhere

This is a media storage box, but not a normal one that will only work within the local network. You can access data providing you’re my Ditto box is connected to your router from anywhere in the world securely using a USB key.
My unit is a dual disc box it is 19x16.5x8cm and weights around 2.6kilos with two discs inserted. Inserting and removing a disc is just a matter of opening a catch and then removing a tray. My unit came with a single 1TB drive. While the power lead was of a good length the Ethernet cable supplied was extremely short. Having two drives would enable you to set up a Raid arrangement.
Available for both Windows and the Mac platform, FileMaker Pro is a database product with a loyal following of users that includes myself.
Recently, during one of my infrequent tidying up sessions, I came across an old copy of FileMaker Pro software.  This was version 3.0 of the product (it came on floppy disks rather than optical media) and it was my introduction to the database functionality offered by FileMaker.
Just because you are paranoid, it does not mean that nobody is watching you and recording your every action. Somebody could well be carrying out a surveillance operation right now with you as the subject.
Slyly take a look around now and see if you can spot anybody that might be wearing a wristwatch that looks like it has been fed a diet of steroids.  If you notice such a person then that could well be me as I check out a couple of products from the Spy Net™ range developed by Jakks Pacific. I should point out that the various Spy Net™ products are hardly likely to feature on “Q” list of tools available to the likes of James Bond but you never know.
At a recent event from PC World to showcase Xmas items (sorry yes Christmas is coming) this 22inch TV was the main item that took my eye, quite small in size, light to move yet it still has a 22inch screen and has a DVD built in.
The Logik L22DVDB10 measures 52x32.5x7cm and on an oval stand maximum 30x20cm that raises it 4cm above whatever you stand it onto. The viewable screen is 48x27cm which gives a diagonal viewable size of 21.6inches. It comes with a large five point Quick Start Guide which is well illustrated and should certainly be enough to get anyone up and running.
Adding video capturing and communication facilities to your computer is the task of a webcam such as a high definition device from Microsoft.
The presence of a built-in webcam is becoming a fairly standard feature with a number of laptop manufacturers.  However there is still a need for a standalone webcam that can provide better quality images and be mounted in various convenient locations such as a monitor or worktop.  One such device is the Microsoft LifeCam HD-5000.
621158 samsung NX10 DSLR Digital System Camer

Samsung NX10 DSLR Camera

I always enjoy the occasions I get to look a DSLR unit. This will always be the pinnacle for any amateur photographer. It gives you the chance to capture images of the same quality as those who stand around in freezing, wet or hot conditions to capture images professionally.
The Samsung NX10 has one advantage over most DSLR units in that the TFT can be used to view and capture images. There is a very good adjustable viewfinder but anyone coming from a digital camera is often confused/put off by not being instantly able to capture an image with the TFT. Size is of course another thing to get used to as well as the 650gram weight. The dimensions I am giving assume it has the 18-55mm lens attached.
The connection between these items is of course no cable as they are both wireless. The first to give a non wireless PC that capability, and the second to enable devices such as a PDA or phone without a keyboard simular.
The vast majority of modern laptops have wireless. But there are still many PC’s that don’t. Here a USB adapter that updates them. It is small at 3.3x1.5x.5cm, in fact once inserted in a USB port only 2cm of it sticks out. The makers Conceptronic say ‘it is 3x faster and has 6x better range than an 802.11g device’.
The invitation from Alawar welcomes you to the club as you join in the hunt for the mythical Snark in the company’s latest game.
Hard drives no bigger than a floppy drive (3.5inch version) are now the norm. What to a man of mature years still takes some getting used to is their capacity is hundreds of time the size and the stack of floppy disk would be huge.
It weights 150grams and will easily fit into a shirt pocket. I was less happy about the colour I was sent as it is close to err pink but I suppose it’s also close to a milky red. It has two white stripes (the GT bit) along the length. It is 11.8x7.5x1.5cm the only connection is a mini USB port towards the front of the left side of the unit. The base and sides are silver grey and each corner of the base has a small rubber foot for stability when on your desk.
Adding to its range of backup products, Acronis has developed solutions that now include aspects of Internet security into the mix. One of these solutions is Acronis Backup and Security 2010 which brings together its True Image Home backup software with Internet security protection on a one-year subscription basis for up to three computers.
Installing this software will require at least one reboot.  In my case two reboots were required before I could move on to the next stage which involves activating the software.  Even though I was working from a boxed copy of the product, I needed to go online in order to supply name, email address and password along with the product’s 16-character activation code so that an account could be created.
It is deerstalker, pipe and violin time as you use your magnifying glass to search for clues to help solve a number of cases.
If you can be ill or well we accept illness so why not wellness? Here two items from Oregon Scientific a Wake-up Clock and an Ultrasonic Aroma Diffuser both from their new Wellness range of products recently launched.
Having reviewed two versions of a similar device from Philips I thought I knew what I needed to know to get this up and running, up to a point I did but the six pages of the manual that are in English and the Quick Start Guide are both helpful. It is 25x18x10cm. The first 8.5cm is where all the controls are and the last 16.5cm is the shade for the 60watt screw in bulb made interestingly by Philips.
While some like the reassurance of flashing lights to indicate activity, Belkin has opted for a single steady light to show power/connection with its new range of network routers.
A few months ago Belkin announced a new approach to home networking with the arrival of its range of Surf, Share and Play routers.  Belkin claims that these new products have been designed to make it easier for consumers to get online and connect all the various computing and entertainment gadgets into a home network environment.  Recently I have been putting the company’s top-of-the-range Play Max Wireless Router with a built-in modem through its paces.
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