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

My first hard disk had a capacity of 20MB which pales into insignificance when compared to the 750GB now sitting alongside my system.
Unlike my waist measurement, which does have a tendency to fluctuate, the hard disks in my computers do not have the same ability to adjust their capacity to suit storage requirements.  While I have no concerns with regards to the lack of shrink capability, problems can arise when I need to store more data than there is space available.  Fortunately additional storage space is readable available in products such as product.
hp officejet 561

HP Officejet 5610 MFU

As a MFU it not only prints, scans, copies but also for those who still require it can send and receive faxes. The latter is the difference between an MFU and a All In One.
It is 44x42x24cm and weights only around 6kilos. The name sort of gives it away as an office product but that normally means expensive but you should be able to find it for less than three figures as the HP guide is £99 including VAT. It has both flatbed and sheet feeder so the scanning/copying can be either page or items from books or magazines.
corel painter

Corel Painter X

This product has been a niche offering for quite a while, however the new version could well make it a mainstream product that gives people like me with no artistic talent a chance, of course should you have talent you will already know that.
I was recently at the NEC in Birmingham for a camera show, however Corel invited me to a presentation on Painter X, it was a demonstration done by a US portrait painter who uses Painter and also teaches it. As with all demos you need to take them with more than a pinch of salt.
While Adobe PhotoShop is the market leading product, not everybody can afford its premium price. There is an alternative.
Adobe PhotoShop is an excellent product with a range of features and a high performance level.  However this quality does come with a premium price tag that puts the software out of the range of many users.  This is not only my opinion but that of Adobe as well.  The result of this is that Adobe has developed PhotoShop Elements.
kodak v70

Kodak EasyShare V705

This is a dual lens camera but unlike the previous unit of this type I reviewed the two lens on this unit do two totally different jobs.
It is 10x5x2cm and weights only around 150grams. It is matt black and silver. The display is 5x3.8cm giving the diagonal 2.5inch size. It is a 7.1MP offering that according to the Kodak site is able to produce a 30x20inch print. It has 5x optical zoom and when you first turn it on it is using the first of the lens the wide angle, and touch of the zoom rocker will switch to the other lens.
Michael Fereday takes a television capture device on his travels but finds home is best.
It must be admitted that the title "Cinergy DT USB XS Diversity" hardly flows off the tongue.  However it is by the performance and ease of use that this Terratec piece of kit should be judged in its designated operational area of providing television facilities on the move rather than its mouthful of a title.
A grey and shiny black box that prints, scans and copies, it’s an All In One that Epson calls an entry level model.
It is 43x35x17cm when the rear paper input is closed with paper inserted this increases the 17cm height to 32cm and the 35cm depth to 45cm. The weight is 5.7kilos. It is a four ink four cartridge offering meaning if you use a lot of one particular colour then you only need to replace that cartridge. As with all Epson units the first set of cartridges last less time than any replacement as initial charging uses a proportion of the ink.
Living in a hard-water area and being a tea drinker has not always been a good combination, unless you like a filmy layer on top of your cupper! Filtering your water is of course the solution, and here we review a new quick filter system in a Russell Hobbs kettle.
Of course lime-scale isn't the only impurity in your average tap-water, and in fact is probably one of the least unpleasant substances you'll find there. Other contaminants can include pesticides, chlorine and heavy metals like lead and aluminium. You can see the lime scale when you boil the water, the others - well, they are invisible.
Taking on the big boys is a task always relished by Serif. We check out the company’s photo editing offering.
Think graphic and you think of Adobe and Corel with products such as PhotoShop and CorelDRAW.  But there are alternatives especially for those operating on a tight budget.  Since its initial appearance with a DTP (Desktop Publishing) package that help kick start the acceptance of budget software, Serif has continued to produce graphics software for the price sensitive market.
The first from Jabra a very light Bluetooth one mainly for those who spend their life on a mobile. The second from Logitech for those who are shackled to a notebook.
Jabra BT125 Bluetooth Headset This is a Bluetooth headset that - as far as I can see - links with any Bluetooth phone and is so light that you really will not know you are wearing it. It fits into the ear but not deeply and with the swivel fitting that goes over the ear it can fit in either ear. There is just one control on the unit a switch on the outer side to start and finish a call to do this press it briefly.

Focus A Mind Of Knowledge

This package from Focus come on no less than five CD’s and contains four different but connected products. The connection is knowledge, two from Britannica and one each from Oxford and Penguin Hutchinson.
Encyclopaedia Britannica This is the standard edition published in 2006. Yes there will be a small number of facts that have changed - but not that many - it is one of the two main encyclopaedias published for the UK market and considering this at 2/5 of the price you are paying less than £6 for it. Over 43,000 articles and including a world atlas amongst other modules the answers to your questions will probably be in here.
Simple ideas don’t fade away; they just re-invent themselves to take advantage of modern technology.
A good number of years ago, a device, which I used on a regular basis, was a print switch box.  This allowed two computers to share printers by simply moving a switch to the appropriate position.  It should be pointed out that this was when DOS ruled the desktop and Windows was struggling to make an initial impression with users.  Printers then tended to be parallel devices and home users only dreamed about networking their computers.
lg flatron M203W

LG Flatron M203WA

This is a rather nice 20inch panel from LG. It has both analogue and digital connectors as well as some quite reasonable speakers built in. It also has a TV tuner.
First the dimensions it is 49cm tall on it's base, 45cm wide and around 6cm thick at the thickest point. The base itself is circular at around 25cm. It weights 8.5kilos. The screen itself is 44x27.5 giving the 20inch diagonal measurement. It has a 3cm surround on both sides and the top, the bottom has a 9cm surround with two quite reasonable conical speakers in it.
Having taken the photographs, why wait to see the printed results when portable printers are available.
While a look-alike lunch box might not top your list of preferred equipment when considering your photographic needs - stranger things have happened.  When you realise that this particular lunch box is really a portable printer that provides photo-lab capabilities, you might have a rethink as to its suitability.  This matt silver box, with a useful carry-handle, is the Epson PM240 photo printer.
Poor manuals make reviewing difficult, however when far better manuals – for other products – are on the same CD it makes you fume.
This is a device to play music either though headphones or your hi-fi. It is circular at 6cm and 25cm long. It comes with a small cradle to sit it on. The rear has Line Out, Headphones, DC input and an SD/MMC card slot. The front has a 6x1.5cm two line display and that apart from the remote control is it. It is designed to work as a wireless device (either WEP or no security) via your router. It has two sides showing you how to connect leads.
While ivy has a tendency to grow prodigiously, this Maxfield version failed to grow on me.
Music is mobile.  Well that's the way it appears judging by the number of mobile devices that are appearing with the ability to store and play back our favourite tracks.  One company that has taken on board this particular mantra is Maxfield.  It seems only yesterday that the company launched its MAX SIN-Touch device, now it is the turn of MAX-IVY to take centre stage and provide mobile entertainment capabilities with capacities ranging from 1 to 4GB.

Microsoft AutoRoute 2007

This is not just something to find you a route or show you a map. It’s a very long way from the early Next Base product on a floppy disc, and it now comes on a DVD.
Normally items labelled 2007 would appear early autumn in 2006 but no doubt most people were working on Vista and Office 2007. So as far as I know it first appeared at the very end of January. The installation was quite quick at only 10 minutes, on my machine it consisted of three parts. First an update to Net Framework, then the complete installation of AutoRoute 2007 and finally a text to speech module.
adobe photoelem

Adobe Photoshop Elements 5

Photoshop has long been the image manipulation software of choice for professional and keen amateur photographers. However for those who are ‘hobbyists’ the cost is a problem.
While I do not claim that Photoshop and are in any way the same product the more basic features are there, and if like with a word processor you are one of the 80% who use 20% of the features may fulfil your needs. Photoshop Elements Photoshop Elements As with a lot of recent software not only does it require Windows XP but will only work if you have (SP2) service pack 2 installed. The processor requirement is 1.3GHz or better.
It is small, combines male and female connections and could open up access to a blocked USB port.
Like ideas, some gadgets are simple in concept while others have varying degrees of complexity as they perform their designated tasks.  The subject of this review definitely falls into the first category as it makes life easier for those of us who are addicted to using numerous USB devices especially when one of the devices in question has a connection plug that has over-dosed on steroids.
hp officejet 721

HP Officejet 7210

This is a multi function unit (it has fax) and is a versatile unit. Not tiny but not massive either and it comes with sheet feeder as well as flatbed.
Why change a winning design? HP certainly think like me if something works why change it, the ink may differ but the case looks almost identical to my HP Officejet 6110 of a few years ago. The is 48x25x37cm and weights just over ten kilos. The figures given are maximum as HP store paper in a tray in the base and it is delivered on top of that tray when printed. HP OfficeJet 7210 There are a total of 38 buttons on the front edge of the unit.
It is puzzle solving time again as we check out an ancient tower that hides secrets of the Zodiac.
The city of Atlantis, prehistoric dinosaurs, and an ancient Zodiac tower might seem like an unusual progression but not to Enkord.  First it was Jewel of Atlantis; next came Jurassic Realm (both reviewed earlier on this site); and now it is the turn of Zodiac Tower.  In each case the game is of the puzzle genre and involves the removal of gems, stones or tiles in order to make progress through various screens.
mio h61

Mio Digi Walker H610

I saw this unit at the Stuff Live show three months ago, it looked the ideal companion for those who walk around in unfamiliar areas. It can also work efficiently in a car.
It is easily small enough to fit in the hand and I used it regularly for over four hours and even longer with only switching to standby mode on a single charge. It is 8.5x6x2 cm and weights only slightly over 100grams. The base has an earbud socket and mini USB - for charging - as well as a neck/wrist strap anchor point. The left side has 'M' menu button.
Imitating the style of a popular artist is the sole function of a software product from Serif.
Often referred to as "the father of pop art", Andy Warhol was born in 1928 and died in 1987.  His work, whether you are a fan or not, is instantly recognisable.  You only have to mention Campbell Soup and the series of star faces portrayed in repetitive format to know that the subject matter is Andy Warhol.  But what, you may ask, has Andy Warhol to do with this review of a software product.  The answer is Pop Art.
A phone looking like a small PDA including Internet connectivity and Blackberry push email, it also has another feature that can make texting a joy not a chore.
I think I could probably send a text using the Sony Ericsson M600 as quickly as a teenager, the one proviso the teenager should be using a normal phone keyboard. No I have not developed Superman's thumbs it's the keypad on the M600 that makes me faster. There are a total of 18 keys and a QWERTY keypad. Each key has more than one action dependant on where you strike it.
pure chronos cd and dab radi

Pure Chronos CD

This is a DAB/FM radio and CD player it comes in a wedge shaped unit containing everything ideal to sit by the bed as it has sleep timer an alarm among it’s features.
The is a maximum of 19x19 at the front and 10cm tall, at the rear it's only 4cm wide and that is why I found it best to call it a wedge. It is black with grey grills covering the speakers that start at the front and mould around the edges. The buttons are all silver. Pure Chronos-CD The top has the CD under a manual open and close lid and four buttons along the front edge that can control it.

Battery Free Wireless Mouse

Like fish & chips, a mouse and mouse mat go together. So why not increase the functionality by adding power to the equation.
"Batteries not included" is not a message that is usually associated with computer peripherals.  Whatever the device, whether it is a wireless mouse, keyboard, or whatever, you will generally find the required batteries tucked away somewhere in the box.  However, as we all know, batteries tend not to be everlasting.  In fact they do have a propensity to run out of juice at the most inconvenient moment.
For all those that remember IBM’s think pads and other great notebooks they are now in the hands of Lenovo. This offering I should have seen in May still eight months late it’s here.
I am told what I have not been sent is a totally new version. It is 30x22x3.5cm and weights close to 1.9kilos. The screen is 26x16.5cm giving the notional screen size of 12.1 inches. There is an 83key keyboard with all but the function and arrow keys being full size. Behind the keyboard are six buttons for on/off and various sound controls together with a range of LED's.
epson d88

Epson Stylus D88 Plus

With several types of paper and a stopwatch in hand, a new printer is put to the test.
One of the names that immediately springs to mind with regards to printers is that of Epson.  Tucked away in a corner somewhere I still have my original Epson LQ800 model that was popular many years ago before inkjets and lasers took over the market but that is another matter.  So forgive my brief bout of nostalgia and lets get on with today's topic which is the printer.
canon pixma iP6700

Canon Pixma iP6700D

After looking at a range of 15x10cm printers it’s nice to be back to an A4 offering that is quick, produces excellent output and can also print direct onto CD’s, alas it refuses to make the tea.
It is 43x30x18cm and weights close to 7.5kilos. This is a six ink offering and I suspect most would use it for printing photos and this it excels in. However first the details of text pages using my default 200 word document it prints 14PPM in what is termed 'fast' mode. Printing a more normal 1500 word document spread over four pages in the same mode produced 9.5PPM.
Jewels, gold coins and ancient Egyptian symbols are just some of the elements found in a new offering from URSE Games.
Like big red buses, games of the same genre have a habit of making their introduction in close proximity to each other.  An example of this happened quite recently when two similar games, that belonged to the Breakout/Arkanoid family, turned up within days of each other.  One of these titles was reviewed earlier on this site and now it is the turn of Gem Ball from URSE Games.
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