As one of the main means of communicating with the computer, the keyboard offers manufacturers the opportunity to devise various combinations of features.
Joining the numerous keyboards that have spent time on my desktop and being unjustly blamed for my poor typing skills is the Wireless Touchpad Keyboard from Sandberg. This is a USB device that combines standard keyboard facilities with multimedia and application short-cut keys plus the touchpad feature that is standard on notebook / laptop units.
This is a tiny MP3 player that also can make voice recordings. Although it is tiny the screen is still very readable and with battery life of close to twenty hours between recharge it certainly has things in its favour.
Firstly it is small enough to fit in the palm of the smallest hand. It is 4cm wide and tall and only a smidgen over 1cm thick, the weight (before you attach the earbuds) is just 27grams. The top has on/off and back buttons as well as the 3.5mm jack socket. The right side has the volume up and down buttons and the rather good pin hole microphone. The bottom has the hold slider switch and another pin hole marked reset.
Two more items from those clever people in Hong Kong. First a 3D optical mouse with a built in card reader and second a USB set of traffic lights, exactly what the latter does you will have to read on to find out.
This looks like a standard two button mouse (black) with a grey scroll wheel in between. It has a 1.5metre lead so plenty of lead for the average user. The secret is the hole in the rear that accepts SD cards, it also accepts Mini SD and Micro SD (the sort found in the majority of mobile phones) by using one of the two adapters provided with the product. It is 10.5x5.5x3cm, the top is black, the base is black and where the two meet is clear to give a sort of view into the innards.
Now at the ripe old age of 17 years, Adobe Acrobat and its PDF (Portable Document Format) technology is the established lingua franca of the world of electronic documents.
During the past 17 years, the Adobe Acrobat software has undergone various changes and make-overs as user demands and competition from third-parties has increased. The latest version of this software, Adobe Acrobat 9, is no exception. In fact it could be said that this version is the result of a major overhaul with regards to new features and improved performance. As is standard with Adobe Acrobat, users have a choice of products depending upon their individual needs.
This is an iPod dock with speakers behind. It is of course also able to play MP3 files from an MP3 player and it also has an FM radio. So far it has refused to do the washing up, the vacuuming or even the dusting.
It is 27x13x13cm however the last figure the width can be as little as 4.5cm at the top. There is a small section towards the top of the black fabric that allows a red LED screen to show through this says which mode you are in. Aux, FM or iPod. If you insert an iPod into the dock it automatically charges it and if you were listening to the radio it changes to the iPod. You then have to press a button to return to the radio.
Lexmark has added wireless connectivity to the normal print, scan and copy aspects of a multi-function device.
The Lexmark X4875 is a box-shaped multi-function device that describes itself as a Wireless 3-in-1 unit. Combining various shades of grey with a reflective cream topping, the X4875’s measurement are 178 x 454 x 351mm (H x W x D) and the unit weighs in at 7.1kg. As is the standard arrangement, the flatbed scanner unit is mounted on top of the printer. Paper is loaded at the rear, with the paper slot capable of holding up to 100 sheets, and ejected from the front of the unit.
An opera singer, chatty bat, numerous rats and gargoyles all feature in an adventure that harks back to the style introduced by LucasArts
This is a tiny PC (size wise) of course if you have not got all the bits that connect then the price it costs will increase a good deal. All you get is the PC and a digital to analogue converter, so you need to find keyboard, mouse monitor/panel, CD/DVD drive and speakers.
The Asus Eee Box B202 measures 22x18x2.7cm and weights 1180 grams. Mine was black and as it is designed to work vertically looks a little like a book. All the connections are on the back and the front with the sides bare and the top and bottom having only ventilation holes. The rear has (from the top) wireless aerial, DC input, digital monitor/panel connection (as stated above digital to analogue connector is supplied), two USB ports, Ethernet port and Line In.
Not everybody wants a mobile phone with all the bells & whistles sometimes basic simplicity is all you need.
The T303 is a Sony Ericsson slider phone. This particular model is available in either Shadow Black or, as in the case of the review sample, Shimmering Silver. The phone’s dimensions are 83 x 47 x 15mm (L x W x D) when closed while its weight is 93g. In its closed state, the phone’s appearance is dominated by its 128 x 160 pixel screen capable of displaying 65,536 colours.
If you use the Web, and even if you are not particularly interested in digital photography (but vital if you are), it is important that you calibrate your monitor to ensure that it displays colours correctly. You can do this painlessly with the DataColor Spyder 3 Pro.
How do you know whether your monitor is displaying colours correctly? In general you don’t. However, as the colours of images on my two LCD panels were noticeably different, I knew that one (or even both) was wrong. This was reinforced by the fact that some Web downloads that could be read clearly on one screen were virtually unreadable on the other with text just merging into the background. Correct colours are important.
I find it surprising that it is 11 months since I have reviewed an ink jet printer, by that I mean a printer as opposed to an all in one or a multi function unit. Unlike most inkjets it has two proper trays so you have far more control from the computer.
The Canon Pixma iP3600 inkjet printer measures 41x33x15cm with the rear upright tray closed, open the tray and add A4 paper and you add 22cm to the last figure the height. Sad to say it is black apart from a silver stripe so it is unlikely to pass the lounge police. The power lead on the left back and the USB recessed on the right back edge do not protrude so no extra space is required behind the unit.
These are slightly different, they are 100% waterproof, no not just for the British weather but for those who go out on the water and therefore run the risk of going Overboard here a carbon backpack and a waist pack.
This is really very different from the standard rucksack/backpack reviewed yesterday. It is stated to be a 25litre pack. It looks like a large sack with straps on the back. The material is obviously waterproof and feels like a cross between rubber and plastic. When open it is 68cm tall and 43cm wide. The stated sealed size is 49.5x34x16.5cm.
Mobile phones, MP3 players (including the iPod) and other devices all need recharging from time to time an easy task at home but not so easy when on your travels.
As our personal complement of mobile devices continue to grow at a pace, the problem can arise as to which leads we take with us in order to recharge the various pieces of kit when on our travels. The problem can be further exacerbated when these travels take in other countries.
This is as you might imagine not a whisper quiet unit, however it is powerful in fact dare I say it, it almost has the suction power of a D*s*n and that was the only cleaner to actually lift a section of a fitted carpet from the floor.
Hands-free mobile phone use comes in a range of styles including designer headsets.
The Discovery 925 is a Bluetooth earpiece from Plantronics “signature” range of designer headsets. The kit consists of the earpiece unit with a medium ear tip already to place. You also get a small and large ear tip enabling you to match the earpiece with your particular ear size; a leather-clad case for charging and protecting the earpiece when not in use; leads for charging the earpiece via USB or mains; and a small User Manual.
Alright I plead guilty. As regards to fashion I am a walking disaster but at least I feel comfortable in my own appearance
It has been said that my sense of style could be described as a crime of fashion. In my defence I would plead guilty with extenuating circumstances and change the subject to Masters of Mystery. So what, you may ask, links Masters of Mystery with a crime of fashion? The answer is a new title from Big Blue Bubble Inc. As a leading Canadian video game developer, Big Blue Bubble has built up a portfolio of over 30 games for the console and Windows platforms.
When I first opened this box I thought another DAB radio from Pure, after a few minutes use I knew this was something that takes things to the next level. This is not simply a good DAB radio it is much much much more.
The Pure Evoke Flow DAB radio measures 21x14x9cm. The rear has six connections. USB, auxiliary speaker, headphones, stereo out, auxiliary in and DC power input. Towards the top of the back a 70cm seven piece rod aerial starts. There is also a door on the back that can take a proprietary charge pak to allow it to be used on batteries. Neither of the sides or the base has anything. So this leaves the front, the single speaker is on the left on the right is the six line 6.5x3.
Put together Bluetooth, a headset and a mobile phone and the result is hands-free communication.
Made almost entirely from aluminium, a new headset has been launched by Bluetrek, a part of the ModeLabs Groups which specialises in mobile phones using new generation technology. This product is the Metal and it arrives with the claim of being the world’s thinnest and lightest Bluetooth headset. When you consider that this headset weighs just 5.5 grams with a thickness of 4.2mm, it would be difficult to doubt this claim.
This is a DECT phone (well three DECT phones actually) and the base station unit is also an answering machine. As I have found with all the Doro units I have looked at there are lots of bits individually wrapped in a single box.
Setting up the base station means finding a power adapter (it always seems to be the one with the smallest end. The base station itself is easier as that is the biggest one and the handset. This is hardest as all three are the same wrapped side by side in tissue paper and only by unwrapping and installing the two ‘AAA’ rechargeable batteries and fitting the cover will you see the number you want DORO 1. Each handset is 15.5x4.5x2cm and weigh 115grams.
While I am new to the world of the DS Lite, I am not discussing the unit but a couple of game inserts that are made strictly for relaxation. While both in their early stages are certainly that as you get into higher levels they become challenging.
I am sure there are lots of things that you can do with the DS Lite that are far from relaxing but the two games I am looking at are. Zenses Ocean and Zenses Rainforest. Both of the plug in modules have six different games. I do not think the names themselves are that important and the aim of each game is always to improve.
A new wireless desktop set from Sandberg adds a recharging feature to the mix.
Several years ago I came across a wireless mouse that was able to recharge itself by being docked on the receiver unit. If memory serves me correct, this was the Logitech MX700 unit. I was reminded of this piece of kit by the arrival of a wireless keyboard set from Sandberg. Like the earlier Logitech mouse, the Sandberg product featured a rechargeable mouse using a docking station.
I must be showing my age as I remember the days when 20MB was a large hard disc (I actuary remember the days before hard discs) now an MP3 player with 8GB of internal memory in a tiny body and compete with rechargeable battery.
It is 5.5x3x1.5cm and weights only a few grams. The back has a clip taking .5cm of the stated width and this can open to 1.5cm meaning it can be clipped onto almost any item of clothing. This is the second item I have recently reviewed that makes a mockery of the claimed battery life, stated at 15 hours I actually got 19 hours and 30 minutes not once but twice.
Bringing back memories of my first telephone, in looks if not in functionality is a product from Doro.
With the preponderance of mobile phones, DECT devices and even VoIP handsets, it is easy to forget that the standard landline desktop phone can still play a part in modern living. It is not everybody who needs the ability to be in constant communication range with every Tom, Dick or Harry. Some people just need the ability to call a friend or receive a welcoming call from their nearest and dearest in the comfort of their own home.
Adding to its portfolio of game titles, MumboJumbo now offers an adventure style hidden object game entitled Samantha Swift: The Hidden Roses of Athena.
Shape and size wise this is very similar to other offerings from the NV range previously reviewed. However this unit has not one wheel on the top but two enabling far more choices to be made quickly without delving.
The Samsung NV30 compact digital camera measures 9.5x6x2cm and uses the same system of grid buttons around the TFT to get to the various settings, strange initially but in fact far easier when you are used to it. The TFT is 5x3.8cm and to the right of this is the telephoto/wide angle rocker. There are seven push buttons to the right of the TFT and seven buttons below it.
Aimed at the younger generation, the Sony Ericsson W350 handset is positioned at the lower end of the Walkman range of mobile phones.
Predominately black in colour with occasional touches of orange, the W350 is a sort of a cross between a candybar and clamshell model. While the 1.8-inch colour screen remains visible at all times, the main keypad layout is concealed behind a cover which can be flipped out when necessary. This is the first Sony Ericsson handset that I’ve seen with this particular design feature and it certainly appealed.
First an offering from Altec Lansing whose two speakers each have their own sub woofers. Second an offering from Gear 4 intended to pep up the output from your iPod of almost any type.
This is a pair of speakers with what amounts to a sub woofer built into the units. So instead of a pair of speakers that require a separate unit to handle the bass these speakers do it without any extra assistance. These can be used with a PC or any other device needing output but they can also be used as out for an MP3 or iPod device. The two speakers are a similar size but the right one has on/off and volume controls on top and all the inputs. The two units are connected by a quite thick lead.
Yes its those people in Hong Kong again with two more unusual USB items. First a keyboard that is so small it will fit where no other keyboard will. Second an retro wireless microphone it is wireless but charges via a USB port.
This is tiny at 17x6.5x1.5cm you need to add another 2cm to the second figure the width for the mini USB connector. Just plug it in to any USB port and around 30 seconds later you can start typing. It is a 56 key offering the keys that you would otherwise lose are available via the Blue FN key and an additional keypress that’s a total of 23 keys and you even can have numeric keypad via this feature. However I expect most will be two finger typing as the keys are 1.2x1cm.
Current global financial issues aside, and lets not mention some recent football performances and results, Kensington opened the New Year with a showcase featuring some of its new products at Chelsea Football Clubs almost palatial hospitality facilities.
This is a multi function machine (includes fax) that can be connected via USB or wirelessly. My own opinion is that very few still use fax but as these machines (with fax) are still produced I must by wrong.
The Epson SX600FW multi-function unit measures 47x39x22cm the latter figure the height will increase by around another 9cm with A4 paper loaded in the rear vertical position. With the control panel tilted up this adds 4cm to the second figure the depth. It is black so it will pass very few of the lounge police. The top has both a flatbed and a sheet feed and in a very nice touch the sheet feed can be closed to produce a nice flat top when not required.