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

 
olympus ds 50 voice recorde

Olympus DS-50 Voice Recorder

Since I last looked at a voice recorder they have come a very long way, no tapes now they have built in memory and the sound quality is light years away from what it was.
There are in fact three different machines the DS-30, DS-40 and the top of the range DS50. They are different colours and the size of the built in memory varies. Whichever one you get they all record in WMA but to avoid death by initials I will just say you can pick recording rates from the worst LP 8kHz (8kbps) up to STXQ 44.1kHz (128kbps).
New from the chocolate fountain people, Giles & Posner. Think Johnny Depp and Juliet Binoche in Chocolat for this one - and hot chocolate has never tasted so good!
In amongst the coffee machines we are reviewing this month, we came across this Giles & Posner Chocolate Cocktail Drinks Maker.  As a dedicated chocoholic, this made me smile. The chocolate drinks maker looks a lot like a liquidiser with a heating element.  And really that is broadly what it is - except it doesn't chop anything, it mixes and heats.  The idea is very, very simple.
Whenever you feel competent with a software application, the developers come up with a new version and the learning process starts again. PC Tutor offers to help.
Once upon a time major applications, and even some minor ones, came with full printed documentation that included training exercises to help get you up to speed.  Nowadays the more popular option, as least with the software developers and marketing departments, is to provide documentation in the form of PDF (Portable Document File) and limit any training to opening tips and pointers towards the Help feature.
nokia n76 mobile phon

Nokia N76 mobile phone

The Apple iPhone has it's official UK launch tomorrow by none other than Steve Jobs. Rather than review an iPhone though, we thought we'd take a look at the latest addition to the Nokia N series, the N76 - an attractive mid-range flip-open device with all the usual features. Available in a either black or red the phone has a good solid quality feel to it.
As with all phones now - this is much more than just a device for ordering a pizza. All the usual culprits are here : MP3 player, camera, FM radio, voice recorder and PIM (Personal Information Manager) functions. Even as a messaging device it isn't limited to voice. You also have video calls across 3G (dedicated camera for this), SMS and MMS. You're almost spoilt for choice when it comes to connecting with other devices.
v7 flat panel 22 inch lcd monito

V7 22inch Panel

A name I only heard about through a third party, they are a company big in Germany and they have distributors in the UK.
This V7 L22WD is a 22 inch panel that has built in speakers. The screen is 50x36x6cm. The last dimension the width is the maximum as at the edges it is only half that. The stand raises it 6cm above the desk and is 19x25cm. It is matt black with a silver/grey band round the edge of the screen that matches the stand. The dimensions around the outside of the viewable area of the screen are 47x29.5cm giving the 22inch diagonal measurement.
This great game by Eidos is fantastic for all the family and brill for cheeky sleepovers with your friends as this wonderful game comes with single AND multi-player!
DVD game (rated 12+) The storyline: This Game is all about a woman named Lara Croft. You may recognise the name as there have been many tomb raider movies as well! Anyway, Lara's close friend Werner Van Croy is tracking down the five lost Obscura paintings for a client called Edgar! Despite leaving Lara alone to die on their last mission Lara knows that she has to help him.
coiledspring rumis wooden gam

Quality Wooden Puzzles

These puzzles are not cheap but as with most quality items you do pay a premium for the finish. Certainly these puzzles while playable by children are probably more suitable for adults as the logic required requires study and thought.
Here I am looking at two items sold in the UK by Coiledspring Games and in a few weeks two further offerings from them. Mini Pylos This consists of a 17cm square wooden board with 16 indentations (four x four) in the central portion and a gulley running around the four sides a cloth bag containing fifteen cherry red balls and fifteen creamy/yellow balls, finally two sides of a forty eight page multi language rule book that are in English.
A warm, sunny day (yes there were one or two this year) in Central London provided the opportunity to check out some of Logitech’s new products.
Logitech MX Air mouse Originally referred to as "The Mouse Company", Logitech has developed into a world leader in the development and manufacture of a range of personal computer peripherals that make use of the latest technology.
Think fast and easy food preparation, and then leave the slow cooker to it's own devices for tender and tasty food just when you need it.
I've been extremely lucky in reviewing products I like recently. And with Gadgetspeak concentrating on kitchens this month, it was a pleasure to test the Crock Pot Countdown slow cooker on my unsuspecting family - who were actually hoping I'd get around to the Chocolate Cocktail Maker (more on this later). What a breeze it was to use this slow cooker.
There are lots of VOIP and Skype phones out there and without the supplied software this is just another (albeit stylish) phone. However add the software and the phone is no longer a ‘dummy’.
This Lindy USB Skype handset is a two piece offering black predominately with a red stripe down each side of the top part and a red underneath for the base part. It can be wall mounted or sit on your desk. The base is a maximum of 18x5.5x3.5cm (there is a 1cm difference between the front and the back. The top part is 18x4x1cm and slightly curved so it feels good when up to the ear.
The funkeys live in a world of their own - literally. One created within the confines of your computer in which they roam around and enjoy themselves, while carefully avoiding the tax-man!
Internet based game worlds are fairly popular these days. My daughter is often to be found travelling various make believe worlds on the Internet, her favourite being Habbo World where she wanders round, buying 'furni' and chatting with friends. Funkeys inhabit a slightly different kind of world.
As a regular user of a laptop, I sometimes find its heat generating capability can interfere with my personal comfort.
Even with the advent of Windows Vista, and the expected boost that the new operating system was meant to bring to sales of new powerful computers, currently portable computers are outselling their larger desktop siblings.  Whether you refer to these portable models as notebooks or laptops, they will, at some stage or another, find themselves being used when perched on your lap (hence the laptop designation).
Like many body parts, your brain can benefit from regular exercise. So let technology take the strain and use it to provide a mental gymnasium.
If my daily national newspaper and various television adverts are anything to go by then brain training is a popular occupation we should all indulge in on a regular basis.  Just in case you have been living in a vacuum or are recently returned from a mystical tour of the universe, I should explain that brain training is based on the work of Dr. Ryuta Kawashima.
Certainly this tower case is tiny, however it does not mean that there is a lack of connectivity within.
It is 33x26x10cm however to insert various leads in the back you will need to add another 5cm to the 33cm depth. No monitor or panel is supplied as standard but it is supplied with a DVI to Analog converter should you use an Analog monitor/panel. It has an Intel Viiv Core 2 Duo processor E4300. This seemed to handle everything I asked it to do without problem.
A neat and compact toaster that warms croissants and has single and both side toasting functions.
Here at Gadgetspeak we've kitchen-tested the Kenwood Response toaster - which has worked hard for its money.  It has three functions:  normal toasting, single sided toasting and warming.  The three functions are controlled from buttons on the front of the toaster, with additional buttons for raising and lowering the toasting rack, and buttons for adjusting the toasting time.
Even though your mobile phone can display the time, you might prefer using a wristwatch to provide this function – especially one that can communicate with your phone.
As somebody who does not feel totally dressed unless wearing a wristwatch, I was an obvious candidate to try out an addition to the Sony Ericsson family of products.  This product is the Sony Ericsson MBW-100 wristwatch which can be classified as both a fashion accessory and a mobile phone add-on.  The latter designation is due to the Bluetooth connectivity built into the wristwatch.
The Humax PVR 9200TB is the equivalent of the Sky Plus box for those of us that don't want to be tied to monthly subscriptions, but prefer the flexibility offered by FreeView.
It was with some trepidation that I plugged my very old TV aerial into the back of this Humax FreeView PVR. Having been on cable for the last 5 years with the aerial dangling in the garden I was expecting the worst! Luckily though the box sprang to life and discovered a good range of digital channels. The Humax PVR9200T provides everything you need to receive and record FreeView programmes onto it's internal hard-disk drive (HDD).
With not only the better reception but also certain radio stations only available on DAB now could be a great time to purchase a DAB radio, here one with a retro feel.
On first glance this looks like a Bush radio I owned very many years ago however do not let that turn you away from what it has to offer. To begin with it is stereo where a lot of DAB offerings only have a single internal speaker. It is a mains/battery offering and is 31x10x20cm to the top of the carrying handle. It has a 50cm five piece rod aerial.
wheeler dealer board gam

Wheeler Dealer

This is another board game that will be a big hit at Christmas, I saw it last January at the Toy Fair and now – with our wonderful summer – I have played a number of games of it.
With this product the good news starts -assuming you buy it in a store - before you open the box as all you really need to know is printed on the back of the box. It has 'small pieces' so is unsuitable for the under threes. A game should take around 90 minutes so don't start playing if it is not a suitable timescale.
Shady Beats is a rather novel combination of MP3 speaker, cash carrier and sunglass case.
There are some things I absolutely love about this portable MP3 speaker and some I'm not quite sure about. The number 1 love for me is the sound of the speaker.  When this camoflauge patterned speaker arrived, I have to admit putting it to one corner for a week and resisted reviewing it.  I wasn't sure how something so gimmicky looking would compare.  However, when I plugged my MP3 player in I was more than plesantly surprised by the sound quality.
Whether looking to enhance the in-car or home multimedia experience, Parrot might have products of interest.
Set up in 1994, Parrot was originally involved with the development of voice solutions designed to help the visually impaired. Following this introduction, the company then branched out into the area of wireless mobile telephone accessories as it established itself as a pivotal global player using the expertise it had accumulated in voice recognition and signal processing technologies.
Apple have unveiled a torrent of changes to their iPod range of entertainment devices (they do a lot more than play music now!). Have the change done enough to boost Apples sales for another holiday season?
Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple, was in fine fettle delivering his 90 minute keynote speech to the Apple faithful this week as he rattled through product after product and feature after feature. All members of the range have been revamped, and a brand new product has been added to bring the iPhone interface to the media player family.
Evesham is one of the more popular makes of notebook. Here I am looking at what probably qualifies as a mid range offering but it still manages to support Windows Vista Premium.
First the all important dimensions it is 35x25x4cm and weights around 2.7kilos. It is traditional black apart from the silver-grey lid. It has surprisingly few ports, the rear has 2xUSB2 ports and the power brick input. The right side has 2xUSB2 ports and the DVD multi recorder. The front has microphone, earbud and SPDIF sockets and a card port (SD and MS). The left side has PCMCIA slot, Ethernet and modem ports as well as external monitor port.
It doesn't sing or dance, but here is a bin that opens it's lid as you approach it - I had to give it a whirl.
I'm a great fan of Brabantia waste bins. I already had 3 or them in my home before trialling this one. There is something about them that smacks of quality, and any self-respecting yummy mummy has to have one! I'm not sure why, it's one of those brand things - like assuming all decent MP3 players must be i-PODs! Man handling the lid on your kitchen bin has always been the subject of design changes in the waste disposal line.
Technology can help take some of the strain out of driving by supplying directions through a SatNav device.
Like printers and mobile phones, SatNav devices have started to adopt the mantle of multi-function products.  An example of this trend can be seen with the .  Along with the main SatNav mapping and directional features, the Mio C520t has audio, image and contact list features plus the ability to link with your mobile phone via Bluetooth connectivity.  All this is packed into a device measuring 127 x 81 x 14mm.

Puzzling Tiles : Tantrix

Small, durable and with the ability to challenge your visual-spatial awareness, a set of tiles from New Zealand attempts to dominate the UK puzzle playing fraternity.
Hoping to emulate the success of puzzle games such as the Rubik Cube and Sudoku, challenging puzzles took a firm grip on the public consciousness, is a visual-spatial offering that was created in 1987 by New Zealander Mike McManaway.  Entitled Tantrix, which I am led to believe is a contraction of tangled tracks, this puzzle based game has quickly built up a solid user base involving individual and group players plus online and tournament game play.
I remember seeing a very early Everio it did not have a hard disc but a MicroDrive I believe 4GB was possible. Here it has a full blown hard disc at 30GB that allows up to 37 hours recording.
Of course you would need numerous batteries to fill the disk on the new in one session. However for most I suspect two would be enough. As for the 37 hours I would not be happy with that high a compression for anything important. The best quality -super fine- gives just over 7 hours. I also found the -fine- at 10.5hours quite acceptable for most uses. To say a camcorder can fit into a pocket maybe a slight exaggeration but it is small at 11x6x6.5cm and the weight is only around 350grams.
If you've had enough of the 'retro' look that seems to be mandatory from many DAB radio manufacturers, and want an excellent, full feature DAB radio into the bargain then the Roberts Gemini 55 radio should definitely be on your short list.
The is an all-in-one DAB (Digital Audio Broadcast) radio, available in either glossy black or white depending on your preference. Size is 27cm by 13cm, with a depth of 7cm and weighs in at around 1Kg. The unit comes complete with a mains adaptor. If you prefer to run from battery then you'll need 6x'C' cells, which will add a reasonable amount to the weight.
The age of luggable notebooks has long since passed. Now such devices can be held in one hand while typing with the other.
The arrival of Intel's Santa Rosa Centrino Pro technology has provided manufacturers with the ideal opportunity to refresh their current range of notebooks with some new attractive models.  Not surprisingly, with its position as a leading notebook manufacturer, Acer has taken the lead with some new products that include the .
Gadgetspeak drinks from the cup of the UK's most popular coffee machine. Compact and easy to use, winner of Product of the Year 2007, as voted in a survey of 10,000 households
Now isn't coffee such a personal thing, and choosing the right coffee machine comes down to just how much of an aficionado you are and how much time you have on your hands.  Here at GadgetSpeak we will be testing some of the best selling and newest coffee machines so that you don't have to!  In the first of a series we have road tested the , winner of the Product of the Year 2007 (the UK's largest independent consumer vote on product innovation).
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