It is welcome back to an old friend as the latest version of one of my favourite products arrives in its version 20 guise.
WinZip is a product that has been around for a good number of years as its latest version number of 20 will testify. It is a product that has rarely been absence from my work system. While I can not guarantee that I have used every single version, no doubt a few managed to escape my attention, but I have been a solid supporter of this software from its early days as a shareware product right up to its current position as a respected member of the Corel family.
This inkjet unit can print, scan, copy and fax. It is suitable for the home or SOHO user. Unusually it has three paper inputs within its normal sized form. So what exactly can this latest offering from Brother bring to the market.
Being designed to be left on – to send and or receive faxes – the Brother MFC-J680DW has an extra press of a button on the TFT screen which adds a couple of seconds to boot time. Shutdown also has another press to remind you that you are turning the fax off. The machine is 40x38x17cm the last figure will need to increase by a few centimetres if placed on a shelf to allow you to put sheets on the flatbed scanner.
Corel has a number of products for the creation and editing of graphics including one that is perhaps not as high-profile as some others
In the early nineties, Roxio was a leading force in the field of developing burning software. Many a time I have sat back to watch the company going head-to-head with Nero in a battle for the hearts and minds of users by adding extra features as they expanded into the area of video creation software and other aspects of multimedia. Roxio then underwent a series of changes of ownership before becoming part of the Corel family.
Noted for its expertise in the development of educational devices for young children, LeapFrog has come up with the LeapFrog Epic. This product is an Android-based tablet aimed at children in the three to nine year old age group.
Encased with a LeapFrog green bumper, the hardware element of this product is a tablet with a 7-inch capacitive touch-screen. The screen has a resolution of 1024 x 600. While this resolution should be fine for the targeted audience, it was noticeable that viewing angles were fairly restrictive. This would certainly cut down on the opportunity for groups of children to gather round this device as a child shares the LeapFrog experience with friends.
There are several programs about that allow you to control one PC from another remotely very useful for teaching purposes. Here however a program that allows you to run Windows PC programs on an Android Tablet.
As an example I have a database program that lists my CD collection but it is a Windows only program and when out and about it would be useful to know if I had a certain CD or the tracks that make it up – record companies do sometimes reissue under another name – to stop me buying something I already have. Best of all you can try it free for seven days to see if it does what you want/need before you need to purchase. Download an App from the Android or ‘i’ Store.
Adding to its range of NAS boxes, Buffalo has released the LinkStation 520D. This is a two-bay unit that is available fully populated with a choice of 2, 4, 6 or 8TB of capacity and a choice of RAID settings. My review unit is the 2TB model.
Apart from the model label and a thin red strip over the top of the front cover, the LinkStation 520D NAS box is totally matte black in colour. Housed inside this black box (dimensions of 87 x 126 x 205mm) are two 3.5-inch SATA hard drives. By removing the front cover you can gain access to these drives if the need arises for either or both drives to be replaced for any reason. Power and function LEDs are positioned alongside the front cover.
In view of the spate of deliberate car collisions perpetrated by insurance fraudsters upon unlucky and unsuspecting motorists a forward facing video recorder in one's car is a very useful defensive tool. As well as meeting this need, the Transcend Drive Pro 220 car video recorder (aka dashcam) also incorporates a number of other useful features.
At a recent press event showing new products one item got me excited although there were other interesting items that item were these brand new adjustable lens glasses that enable each eye to be suited and for good measure they cut out 80% of harmful blue light.
First what is an advanced night light which could work at both ends of the spectrum for the young or the old. Second a word that only recently found its way into the dictionary yes its a Selfie stick this one even has Bluetooth.
A visit to a recent event held by a large distributor saw me leave with information from a number of companies I do not normally hear from. One such company was Integral who I think of only for memory but here something rather different. A very simple looking device at 7.5x11.5x2.5cm these figures are maximum when plugged into a 13amp socket. The light is 7.5x7.5x.
As its first foray into the field of Freeview Play, Humax has launched its FVP-4000T set-top box. This product has been developed to combine catch-up TV, on-demand services and live television in high definition resolution with a hard drive of either 500GB or 1TB capacities. This review is based on the 500GB version of the Humax FVR-4000T unit.
Adopting a plinth-like shape with curved slick lines, the Humax FVR-4000T is very similar in appearance to the Humax HDR-1100S reviewed recently. The set-top box has dimensions of 280 x 48 x 200 mm (W x H x D). One major difference is the top of the box with Humax having gone with a faux leather look. In the case of my review sample, this was coloured Mocha to blend in with the silver trim and black base. There is also a white unit with gold trim and a cappuccino topping.
A Tablet computer running Android intended for use by the young. It looks like a rugged device used on say a building site with lots of protection around the sides of the unit and of course the average pre school child is just as tough on toys if not tougher.
The Leapfrog Epic tablet measues 22.5x15.5x2.5cm and weights a touch under 600 grams. The initial setup should be done by an adult – even if it’s for an older child – to set up age group and all Internet use should be set by site which requires the parent’s password. I always have my doubt about such devices once a child reaches school age as they seem to want the ‘real thing’ rather than something designed for them.
Along with the recently purchased PC Tuneup software, AVG has added software for the Mac and Android devices to offer an all-round performance boost.
AVG Performance is a collection of software titles designed to tune up various devices. Making up this package are PC TuneUp for Windows, Cleaner for Android and Cleaner for Mac. The product, consisting of a CD and Installation Guide booklet with an activation code printed on the front cover, comes with a one-year licence for use on unlimited devices that are for your person and home family use.
This is one of those occasions when I get the opportunity to check out the debut title of a software development team. In this case the title in question is Runes of Camelot from Fingerpunch Games. This game is available as a download from the Avanquest GSP gaming arm.
Runes of Camelot is a game that belongs to the Match-3 genre. It is set, as its title indicates, in the land of Camelot. In this game you have the choice of taking on the role of Arthur or Merlin’s apprentice Amelia. This is one of the two choices you get when playing this game. The other choice involves whether you opt to play the game with the sometimes rather loud audio turned on or off.
Reviewing an item like this attached to my TV requires many hours of work just to see if the dire sound quality associated with many American movies can be improved once that hurdle is overcome then you check to see what else it can do.
This is described as a 4.1channel system with 200watt output Sound Bar with Bluetooth. It is 93cm long, 8.5cm tall and 6cm deep. The sub-woofer is a 25cm cube. Assuming you are using it with your TV you can connect by RCA leads or Optical cable both are supplied, I used the latter. Plug the Optical into your TV and the other end into the end of the Sound Bar. Position the Sound Bar and then connect the supplied lead to run from the Sound Bar to the Sub-Woofer and place that.
Modern technology consumers, of which you and I are committed members, are always demanding and constantly on the look out for more power, increased functionality and a wider range of connectivity. NETGEAR believes it has a product that could help satisfy our needs.
Adding to its Nighthawk series of products, NETGEAR has developed the X4S model. This product is an AC2600 WiFi Modem Router that offers both ADSL and VDSL functionality across the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bandwidths. The unit’s built-in VDSL / ADSL modem facility comes with the claim of working with DSL ISPs such as BT, Talk Talk, BT Infinity and Talk Talk Fibre.
A chance email had me journeying to Bethnal Green to look at some audio products produced by a German company whom I had not heard of previously. After listening to several I asked to review two of their offerings, this is the first probably their entry level offering but do not let that make you think it is either poor quality or cheap.
The Raumdeld One 'S' measures 17.5x10x13cm and it weighs 1400 grams. The back has a large rubber bung to cover the inputs. While you need Ethernet to set it up once successful you can take that out and work on Wi-Fi. The well-marked connections are for Ethernet, USB, Reset, Setup and Power input. The front has two white LEDs and a small on/off button. The 24 page Setup Guide is clear and easy to read.
Earlier this year Gillette launched their Fusion ProGlide and I have been using the two razors provided ever since, while their five blades in the shaver are very good I do not have a wet shave more than about twice a week.
One thing I mentioned in my review in March was that I would update how long the blades lasted well I am still using them. In the manual unit it is beginning to pull a bit but I have used it 51 times.
As users now own different devices capable of Internet access with its associated dangers, companies are now offering protection covering a range of devices.
Unlike the product box for Kaspersky Internet Security, which contained a Quick Start Guide pamphlet and nothing else, the DVD case for Kaspersky Total Security Multi-Device 2016 hold a DVD along with the Quick Start Guide. As its title implies, this product can be installed on multiple devices depending upon the package that is actually purchased. This review is based on the three device version that is supplied with a one year licence.
Today there is a wide choice of radios that also have Internet options. Here from Roberts they openly admit this to be there entry level option, so is there anything missing that could be found in a unit costing more money or is it super value.
The Radio Stream 104 measures 21x12x5.5cm with an additional 2cm on the left side for the power lead, as it can be run from batteries I did not include this in the main measurements. So lets go round the unit on the back is a slide open bay to take 6x‘AA’ batteries rechargeable ones work fine and at the top the dock for the six piece rod aerial that extends to 72cm. The right side is clear while the left side has three near identical sockets the bottom one is for the power lead -1.
In the past I have checked out various products designed to allow the streaming of media content to various smartphone and tablet devices. One feature that these products, from companies such as Kingston, Verbatim and PNY, had in common was that the user needed to provide the storage for the media being streamed. However this next media streaming product comes with its own storage. This is the Buffalo MiniStation Air or is it version 2?
Let me explain why there was some initial confusion regarding this particular product. While I had requested to review the new version of the product, entitled MiniStation Air 2, the package that arrived from Buffalo indicated that I had been sent the version of the product launched last year. Yet opening the box revealed a sheet of illustrated instructions referring to the MiniStation Air 2 and the unit’s appearance was that of the version 2 of the product.
Described as the Future of Prehistoric, the MiPosaur Robot has been developed by WowWee. As the prehistoric reference might provide a clue, the MiPosaur is a mechanical dinosaur designed in the style of a miniature T-Rex with its default stance being that of a begging position. This powered and controllable dinosaur is aimed as being suitable for those aged eight years and older.
Releasing the MiPosaur Robot from the packaging, a task that can be a little time consuming due to the presence of a fair amount of sticky tape, reveals a kit consisting of the MiPosaur robot, with a height of 24cm and measuring 38cm from the nose to the tip of its tail, and a Trackball with a diameter of 8cm. A Quick Start Guide and User Manuals in English, French and Spanish are included.
This version of Sphero goes far beyond what the previous version could do and that was be controlled by an App to move around, if you were good then you could just about control it, if not it controlled you. Here you teach it.
The Sphero supplied here is transparent so you can see its inner workings. Anyone from 5 upwards can learn as well as teach Sphero. But just like the majority of teachers they also learn from their students so it’s a two way street. Understand Sphero and in a weird way Sphero will understand you. So what does SPRK stand for, Schools, Parents, Robots, Kids so in one way or another I think that covers most of us. The box contains what it modestly calls a ‘Genius Kit’.
The TP-Link Touch P5 AC1900 Wi-Fi router is a stylish versatile gigabit unit that has a touchscreen and so will appeal to a number of users even though the usual browser-based access to its control panel is still important.
The body of the router is 280 x 155mm and has a slightly concave surface with a 95 x 55mm touch screen at its centre. The black top surface has a terrazzo effect which, when one looks at it carefully, can be seen to have a large number of ventilation holes. The undersides of the router are similarly well ventilated. With the exception of the USB 3.0 port accessible from the front all connections and switches are on the rear surface.
Just in case you need a last minute present for the man in your life then Gillette has a suggestion that could help smooth relations.
According to received information, SPECTRE, the 24 James Bond adventure, brought in $300 million worldwide within the first two weeks of its release. $73 million of this poured in during the initial weekend period of the film’s launch in America while the UK added $21.3 million to this cash cow. I am sure that Albert R. Broccoli’s EON Productions. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios and Sony Pictures Entertainment must be rubbing their financial hands in glee.
First an OTG device designed for the newest type C USB 3.1 ports. Second a more conventional micro SD card but for i devices to once again facilitate transfer of data between the PC or MAC to the portable device and back again.
OTG (On The Go) devices have been around for quite a while and for the devices that support them they make an easy way to transfer larger files quickly. Here is the first USB Type C OTG I have seen, type C means it fits either way round. In itself a great idea and with a cable – rather than a device – it means you do not need to ferret around trying to get it to fit into the port. However with a device you need USB 3.
When I think of Focal I think of quality and these earbuds are rather good. However unlike a lot of items in their catalogue the price they are sold at does not make your eyes water. So these mid-priced earbuds got tested over several weeks.
Ensuring your computer is protected from outside attacks is your responsibility. This next product provides one way of adding this protection.
Maybe I am being a touch old fashioned but when I receive a DVD case clearly labelled with the name of a particular piece of software, I do expect the DVD case to contain a disk. However in the case of Kaspersky Internet Security this was not to be. Instead of media stored on a silver coloured disk, I found a folded sheet of paper entitled Quick Start Guide. This document featured a 20-character activation code on the front of the paper.
When I think of Canary I think of a bird known for its singing and in a way no doubt this is how the name of this product was arrived at. It is a security alarm product that sees the intruder and then no matter what he/she does they are on camera.
To say the setup was not easy is perhaps the understatement of the year – no make that decade – as even though I live in the UK – and it agrees with that – it insists I enter a ‘state’ this however can be anything a blank space or a non-existent one it just needs an entry.
While not the only brand on the market, when it comes to referring to an ebook reader many people tend to think of a Kindle device a bit like calling a vacuum cleaner a Hoover.
Amazon has released a number of Kindle ebook reader devices. The latest offering of this product to come my way is the new Kindle Paperwhite model. I mention “new” because this 2015 version of the product is an upgrade of the original version that was launched in 2012, some five years after the original Kindle device was released to the public. My review sample of the Kindle Paperwhite 2015 is the 3G WiFi model that has 4GB of RAM.
Walking through an underground car park, following a shopping trip, you are mysteriously transported to another world under attack from the Four Horsemen.
Some of the bonus items, such as wallpapers, music and concept art, are available immediately. Others require a certain amount of progress to be made before they become accessible. In one case, that of a bonus chapter, you will need to complete the main game first. You do, however, have immediate access to a Strategy Guide that provides appropriate screen grabs and step-by-step instructions. In this game the kingdom of the Lost Lands is under threat from an evil force.