Whereas speakers have traditionally been box-shaped in appearance, todays users tend to look for a more stylish appearance especially with regards to shape.
While speakers are meant to be listened to, there are times when you might like to consider their appearance as well as audio quality. At least one manufacturer takes this viewpoint and attempts to add some style to its products. That manufacturer is the Canadian-based Edifier Enterprises.
Not a writing instrument as you may think from the title, but a DSLR camera, this designed to look like an SLR of a long time ago. It takes brilliant images in daylight; alas I cannot tell you about night time shots as no flash was supplied.
The Olympus Pen E-P1 measures 12x7x11cm with the supplied 14-42mm lens fully extended. It weights 550grams including the supplied neck strap. It is supplied as standard without a flash, a hot-shoe socket is on the top and almost any flash can be fitted. A small rectangular module is mentioned but at the time of my review one was not available to be sent to me so all my tests were in daylight.
Two USB devices that can help keep you warm during chilly weather, neither is an item of clothing. First a cup warmer and second a lunch box warmer, both from those clever people in Hong Kong who do all things USB. Finally a device that works out how much power your PC can save without shutting it down.
This is something I have seen before but not in the format supplied here. It is 16cm wide 14cm deep and 3cm high apart from the front that has the display screen and here it is 7cm high. The rear of the unit has a one metre long hard wired USB lead; to the right of this is a push button to control the warming plate that is most of the top of the unit. Along side of this are two USB ports, another two USB ports are the other side of the hard wired USB lead.
Rather than add a caption or speech bubble to get your message across, why not consider putting words into the mouths of your creations.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words but just imagine how that number would rise if that picture could talk. By that I do not mean capturing a real person talking on video but rather an inanimate object, image, cartoon or an avatar created for a website. Offering to provide the tools for creating this type of functionality is CrazyTalk 6 from Reallusion.
Unlike most PC reviews that have to rushed through in only a week or so I have been allowed to keep this unit for an extended period that has allowed me to not only review it but a number of software products with it as the medium.
The Asus F70SL laptop must be considered a desktop replacement as it has a 17.3inch screen, measures 42x29x4cm and weights close to four kilos. Certainly if you carried this on public transport all day everyday then you would be a pretty fit person. The face of the lid and the area around the keyboard are a pinstripe pattern the rest is the more normal black colour.
While Adobe controls the PDF standard, other companies have not been slow in developing solutions to take advantage of this technology.
In 1993 Adobe released the first incarnation of its PDF (Portable Document Format) software onto an unsuspecting world. This innovative technology allowed for the easy distribution of electronic documents that could be viewed exactly as the original author intended no matter what software and fonts were available on the host system. All you needed was the free reader utility. Since that date, 16 years ago, PDF has become the dominant force in the world of electronic documents.
A Search for Lost Treasure
Joining the Avanquest Click & Play catalogue of games is Adventure Chronicles: The Search for Lost Treasure. This game features Susan Anderson who some might remember was the central character of Escape the Museum. Now sufficiently recovered from the ordeal of escaping from the wreckage of the museum with her daughter, Susan is back at work when she takes delivery of a journal from an unknown source. This journal is the work of T. R.
While most recent camcorders can take still images and almost all digital cameras have a movie mode this offering from Sanyo really does combine the two items in one casing, so is the camcorder/camera the way to go.
The Sanyo Xacti is designed to be gripped in the fingers with the thumb pressing the shutter and joy of joys – for the left handed – it can be used in either hand. It is 12x7x4cm and weights 187grams. When shooting with the side mounted wide screen display fully open this adds 9cm to the 4cm width. The base has a joint USB&A/V socket as well as the tripod screw. All other controls are on the back of the unit near the top and able to be reached by either thumb.
After my recent visit to Buck House (excuse the familiarity especially as there was a distinct lack of tea and biscuits on offer for visitors) in the Hidden Mysteries escape, my next trip took me across the pond. This time the designated target for exploration was Americas most famous residence and home to the countrys Head of State, namely The White House maybe coffee and donuts would be served.
Hidden Mysteries: The White House forms part of Avanquest’s Click & Play range. It brings together the familiar mix of hidden object game play with a scattering of puzzle-based mini games This game places you in the role of Miranda Hunt, a college student.
I have owned a first generation Apple iPod Nano for a while; just recently it started to become unresponsive and then early on Sunday stayed switched on with no button working. So as I was working with a product that needed an iPod what do I do?
Having purchased a number of things from Amazon and have a Prime account meaning I get guaranteed next day delivery free. This however only works on items ordered on Monday to Thursday. Recently I have seen same day delivery offered so I paid my £7.38 and had a brand new iPod sitting on my desk seven hours later and my review was able to be completed.
First perhaps the smallest one I have seen from Jabra, you just need to use it in your right ear. Second a more conventional (still small) offering from Plantronics, this you can use in either ear. Both have noise reducing abilities.
When I sat tiny the maximum size is 4x4x2cm, this is the bit that goes into the ear apart from that the thickness is .5cm or less. The weight is a minuscule 5grams. The actual ‘stone’ that provides extra charging while on the move is another 32grams. So even when the earpiece is in the stone the total weight in your pocket is 32grams.
Better known for its LCD screens and projectors, ViewSonic has recently expanded its field of operation by entering the notebook market. One of the new models bearing the ViewSonic brand is the ViewBook Pro. Now why, I wonder, does that name have a familiar ring to it?
I remember reviewing the original chocolate phone in 2008 and this is longer and thinner. In fact it really is nothing like the original. Of course phones continue to evolve so what has the new Chocolate BL40 got to offer.
The old chocolate was a slider phone, 9.5cm closed and 13cm open, the width was 3.7cm and the thickness 1.4cm. The new chocolate is totally touchscreen 13x5x1cm. It weights 130grams against the old chocolate 86grams. Mine was black back and front with a silver band along both sides and bizarrely the top and bottom are both red.
How many functions does your mobile phone offer you? Perhaps a more relevant question should be How many of these functions do you actually make use of on a regular basis? The difference between these two answers illustrates the gap between a manufacturers view and the end-users actual needs with regards to a mobile phone.
It is time to enter a world of mystery and fantasy as you take on the role of a young woman in search of her father.
Some would say that Point n’ Click Adventures have had their day in the limelight yet still new titles appear that have the ability to draw the unsuspecting gamer into various weird environments. Falling into this category is The Legend of Crystal Valley. Developed by Cateia Games and published by MumboJumbo, this game combines 2D backgrounds, 3D characters and interactive objects woven together into a story that is seeped in mystery and fantasy.
A device to allow you to view your, movies, photos and music on your TV. Hands up those who thought I was going to say PC rather than TV. You connect a device (hard disc or memory stick) to this and then view / listen on your TV.
It is 19x19x3cm without cables that all fit into the back of the unit. Also in the box are a remote control and a composite cable as well as a power lead and instruction booklet. The front of the unit has two LED’s a small one to let you know power is received and a second larger one when the unit is switched on. The on/off button is on top of the unit near the appropriate LED. The right side and base are clear of controls.
On the surface, digital picture frames can look the same but beneath the hood lurks several differences.
In the past I have looked at several digital picture frames from various manufacturers. In every case these models all had one particular feature in common. These digital picture frames would only work when physically connected to a mains power outlet. Now that trend has been broken with the arrival of the latest digital picture frame from Kodak. This is the EasyShare S730 which features a built-in rechargeable battery and Quick Touch Borders.
This is rather good music software. However in the form I got it the cost to anyone is FREE, providing of course you were to buy one of their keyboard, microphone or external sound card all of which connect to PC via USB.
First the parent company is called Avid and there are various subsidiaries, I have a couple of times delved into the music students software of choice Sibelius that I understand Avid have recently purchased from the original owners. Pro Tools is music manipulation software hence the way it is delivered as software with a piece of hardware; however this is perhaps intended more for home use. As with almost all things USB you first install the software. Currently it is only Windows XP and Vista.
Tripods are normally considered something to attach your camera to that allows you to get a steady shot either with a very slow shutter speed or when you are using a large optical zoom. Here two rather different takes on a tripod.
This is a conventional offering called the Traveller Compact. Collapsed it is only 22cm tall and only 5cm around. Erected it is 43cm tall and the normal triangle shape requires 30cm between the legs. It weights only 270grams. Two extensions come out of the original legs and the central piece requires a twist to lock it in position. If you have only a light camera it will probably stay in place without locking but a heavier unit such as a DSLR will certainly need locking to prevent in collapsing.
The gestation period for the latest version of Nuances OmniPage OCR (Optical Character Recognition) software has been slightly longer than I would have expected Checking my records reveals that it was just over 15 months ago that I looked at the previous version of this market-leading software application.
Now up to version 17, OmniPage Professional comes with the claim of boosting accuracy by 40%; delivery enhanced integration with Microsoft Office; and including Smartphone features whereby you can download images of photographed documents. As with version 16, this latest incarnation of OmniPage requires online product activation, to be carried out within five uses, in order to continue using the full features of the software.
I have been enjoying the vast range of sounds from this unit for a couple of months. Just about time to buy for Christmas as this item that would make a perfect gift/purchase for anyone who loves their music.
Within this small unit it has the ability to play CD’s, FM and DAB radio, an adapter is supplied to incorporate your iPod or iPhone and of course you have an auxiliary input so anything from your MP3 player can benefit from the speakers provided. It also accepts input from SD card and even has a USB input; alas so far it has steadfastly refused to make the tea or even do the washing up. It is 25x14x16cm with cables fitted.
With the large number of pocket sized hard drives on the market it is difficult for the user to choose which set of features is most suitable for them and is thus, as far as they are concerned, the best buy. The Buffalo MiniStation will probably press the right buttons for many people.
No matter how good the performance, it is convenience and practicality that are key factors in determining whether a device will be used regularly. A good starting point for the MiniStation is that it is USB powered and that the 150mm long flat USB cable, just long enough to connect to your laptop, is permanently attached and so cannot be mislaid. When not in use it neatly docks tidily in the side of the drive. In addition, there is the bundled software.
Joining the ever-expanding family of Walkman phones is a unit that can help track your movements.
Similar in many respects to the W705, the Sony Ericsson W715 is a slider handset that is available in either silver or black. This handset, as its “W” designation indicates, is a member of the Walkman family. I have been looking at a review unit that is of the silver variety with gold trimmings. Weighing just 98g, this handset measures 95 x 48 x 14mm (H x W x D) when closed with the height increasing to 128mm once you have slid it open with a touch of your thumb.
While the main characters name in this game may have a familiar ring to it, the use of a whip has little to do with this archaeological adventure.
There is no prize for guessing the thinking behind the decision to call the main character of this next title, Alabama Smith. After all this character is a professor at a university who has a strong interest in ancient artefacts. Like the other fellow, who shall remain nameless, Alabama Smith is always up for a challenge and laughs at danger. You can join him as he sets out to complete the Alawar developed game entitled The Quest of Fate.
Photo Frames have evolved, now they have multiple image inputs, the ability to play music, screen show formats that do not make you sick and this latest offering from Pandigital even has the ability to match your décor.
The total outside measurement of the frame is 29.5x25.5x3.5cm without rear support. However this maybe somewhat confusing as the image size is 16x12cm (8 inches). You are supplied with various screen surround blanks or you can extract the unit from the outer frame to use as a Perspex unit so as stated you can change it to suit your surroundings.
Have you noticed that the vast majority of products designed as accessories to enhance the capabilities of an iPod are larger than the Apples ubiquitous digital player?
Another in the range from Canon of their superb Ixus Digital Cameras. If anything I think this one is even smaller, but, this does not mean the image quality suffers in any way. This unit is an amazing 12.1MP and gives superb images.
The Canon IXUS 120IS measures 8.5x5.5x1.5cm but it still manages a TFT of 5.5x4cm. It weights 135grams. My unit was two tone gun metal grey. The face has only the lens and the flash, the later cuts into the side of the lens surround but it is never closer than 3cm from the lens when in use. The optical zoom is 4x and it can take images up to 12.1MP. The right side has an almost invisible wrist strap anchor point. The left side has nothing.
Here I am looking at two pairs of noise reducing earbuds, the first from Ultimate Ears and the second from Sennheiser. They have a number of things in common; the main one is that both reduce external noise so great for the train or tube.
Not a name that immediately rolls off the tongue. From the buds back there is 35cm of single cable before it joins with the two sleeved together for the final 80cm to the gold plated 3.5mm plug that not only suits iPods and MP3 players but also the latest Apple offerings as it has three bands rather than the normal two. The multifunction button (allowing you to answer calls etc) is 7cm after the two leads have become one on the cable.
Mix together an old house, abandoned ship and escaped monster might be enough for most developers but not Alawar who go that little bit further by adding a dash of Vampire threats in this next game.
Although using a pen or pencil is much more natural than using a mouse, years of using a computer have conditioned us otherwise. The Trust Slimline Widescreen Tablet from Zoombits.com redresses the balance especially for freehand drawing and similar applications.
The tablet, which is low profile and thus easy to use without hand or wrist strain, occupies 32 x 25 cm of desk space and has an active area of 25 x 15 cm. Although this aspect ratio is more appropriate for use with wide screen displays, it also works well with older 4:3 displays. It comes with a 2-button pen, which can be used equally well in either hand, that operates wirelessly so one’s hand movements are not hampered by a trailing cable.