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

Another couple of items shown at the Marks and Spencer Christmas In July event. First a somewhat strange combination an FM radio and a flask. Second a game that has been around for years Cludeo, this time in a new format.
What took my eye was the radio and only when I tried to find out the price did I find it was paired with a flask. It is 20cm tall and 6cm across the capacity is stated at .35 litres. It has a removable leather style cover and best of all the dimensions are the same throughout for ease of cleaning. Apart from a small cap/drinking cup there are two inner lids meaning that items stay hot or cold longer.
The Dyson Baby DC22 Allergy is a cylinder vacuum cleaner designed to tuck away into the smallest of storage spaces whils still giving a performance clean.
As it's name suggests this is Dyson's baby of the family.  This cleaner is ideal for you if space is at a premium but you still want a high performance cleaner.  The DC22 Allergy is a  compact vacuum cleaner that still manages to incorporate the Dyson Cyclone technology.  It's designed for homes with very little storage space and not too much vaccuming!  The Dyson Baby DC 22  is simple to assemble.
Whatever your current storage capacity, you can usually benefit from an increase especially when at an attractive price.
How much capacity was available on your first hard disk?  If you have been around personal computers as long as I have then I’m guessing it will be a low number.  There is a distinct correlation between available capacity and the length of time involved with computers.  Those who have been around the longest will respond with a low figure while more recent members of the computing community will quote a much higher capacity.
If your kids love building things then Magnext is a deceptively simple construction toy that you should definately put in their Santa's Sack this year.
Recently we were sent the - I was really impressed - as you'll see in my of the iCoaster. When researching the background we saw that the iCoaster had won the in the "SMart Play" category. On that list we also noticed the it's parent product the MagNext (winning "SMart Build" category) - so we had to give MagNext a go! MagNext is a deceptively simple construction toy with lots of play value.
This product almost has the voice recording market to itself, the method buy the opposition, worked a while ago. Don’t get me wrong it is a very good package and could well put a lot of typists out of work. It is also happy to work unsocial hours for no pay.
  The product comes on a DVD and took around 15 minutes to install on a reasonably fast XP system. Add another 10 minutes for the basic training and microphone testing and you are ready to go. Give it some documents and emails to analyze (this can take a few minutes) and it will already have a good idea of your style, this will help. My initial few test sentences had only one error that to me is near perfection.
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Rowenta Ultrasteam

The Rowenta Ultrasteam is a hand-held steamer that will quickly remove the worst creases and wrinkles from clothes.
All too often when getting clothes out of the wardrobe we find that they have developed a crease or two but, unfortunately, there is not really time to get the ironing board out and run the iron over the garment. The Ultrasteam makes it a relatively easy task to remove the worst of these creases. It is about the size of a hairdryer, with a water reservoir in the handle.
Like socks, USB caps take on a life of their own and are expert at hiding themselves.
Verbatim has recently introduced a new range of Store'n'Go USB drives.  Decked out in the company's familiar blue livery, these drives will be available in capacities of 1, 2, 4 and 8GB.  I have been looking at the 4GB model which has been priced at £19.99. This new USB drive immediately solves one problem that many users of this type of device will be familiar with on a regular basis.
When last we went to battle against each other, America gave Britain a bloody nose. Maybe this time you can engineer a result that will be different.
Birth of America II: Wars in America 1750-1815 is not only a lengthy title for a game but also a follow up to Birth of America from the AGEOD and Ascaron Entertainment partnership.  This is a turn-based strategy game that sets the player the challenge of taking part in various battles based on historic events with authentic characters and fighting units of the period.
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Sony Handycam HDR-TG3E

Having recently reviewed a couple of quite weighty still units this Camcorder and still camera comes as quite a change. Given that it takes good still and superb movie images it could well give you the best of both worlds in your pocket.
The HDR-TG3 is 11.5x6x3cm and weights less than 300grams. This is another of a range of products recently received without instructions. Let me clarify my French is poor and the only other language I speak apart from English is double dutch. There were four manuals in the box, each had three languages but none were English.
If you love the type of games and brain teasers you get in newspapers, but can't be bothered with all the high- tech fast paced video games, then this could be the games console for you.
The Brain Partnering Collection from Franklin is a hand held games unit. Very portable and easy to use. If you love the type of games and brain teasers that you get in the newspapers then this game console could be the one for you. It's obviously not aimed at the teenage market for high visual, mega exciting and interactive games.
Like another graphics company who shall remain nameless, the latest offerings from Magix does seem to come with various items of extra software.
In the case of Magix Movie Edit Pro 14 Plus, you not only get several additional items as standard but also a bundled copy of CrazyTalk 4 Media Studio from Reallusion.  As a result of this extra software (excluding CrazyTalk 4 for the moment), the installation of Movie Edit Pro 14 Plus does eat up a fair amount of time even when you reject some of the additional items - with some items you are not even given the choice of accepting or rejecting their installation.
I've reviewed a good number of Bluetooth headset here at Gadgetspeak. Each had strengths and weaknesses, but one thing they have all shared is an irresistible urge to show off colourful LED light displays.
Many would be quite at home on a Christmas tree. I'm very pleased now to review the 'boring' BT4010 from Jabra. Why boring? Well it's resisted the urge of it's erstwhile counterparts to show-off to the world it's ability to dazzle in the visual spectrum and instead limited itself to a small, lower power monochrome LCD display with various symbols to show status.
551652 orbitsound T3 ipod mp3 speake

Orbitsound T3

Around five weeks ago (05-09-08) I told you about the Orbitsound T12, here it is its baby sibling designed for portable use and it is not much larger than a good sized iPod or MP3 player itself.
The is 10x6x2cm black in colour with silvered sides is weights around 115grams. 8 watts may not sound a huge amount of power but it is designed for personal or small group use. It works just as well with an MP3 player as it does with an iPod. Going round the controls and connections, the face has the main speaker with small ones on either side. The top has anchor point for neck/wrist strap. The base has a 3.5mm jack plug for connection of MP3 or iPod.
This is the first of a series of reviews on what Marks & Spencer have to offer in the gift line up for the coming season. Here I am looking at two well known packages, first Chess and Draughts and second an anniversary edition of Scrabble, both come with impressive wooden containers, pieces and boards.
This is in fact both a chess and draughts set as both sets of pieces are supplied in the drawer under the board. The board is 37x37x6cm and would make a wonderful gift for anyone keen on chess of for the younger members of the family with draughts. The pieces are not as you might think black and white but cream and brown that match the squares on the board. The king is 3.2 inches tall while the pawns are exactly half that at 1.6inches.
Memories need to be retained and not cast away as technology advances at a pace while sometimes ignoring legacy content.
Although we appear to be rushing headlong into a digital take-over of the entertainment world, there still remains a vast store of analogue media that many would be reluctant to discard.  One example of this can be seen as VHS players, and their tape content, are superseded by the new hard disk based PVRs (Personal Video Recorders).
This lovely looking kettle from Kenwood has been designed to give up to 35% energy savings over standard design kettles.
The Kenwood Energy Sense kettle has a clear body and comes with either a polished metal or white base, handle and lid. It looks stylish and is lightweight. The Eco friendly design incorporates an improved element technology designed to improve the energy rating. I trialled this up against our regular kettle and found that it used around 10% less energy as measured by and boiled around 9 seconds quicker.
A laser AIO has a huge advantage for those needing to print a lot of documents, it always prints at the stated speed. It can copy without the PC being connected and of course the scanner does its work in colour.
The Canon i-Sensys MF4010 is 42x38x30cm and it weights only 12.7kilos. Of course it is creamy grey so may or may not pass the lounge police. Installation is from two different CD’s the driver files etc are on one and these took 50MB of hard disc space. Omni Page (for OCR) and Presto Page Manager together take around 300MB but the whole install is less than five minutes. The print speed is 20PPM and it does this for as long as there is paper in the open tray at the base of the unit.
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Skypephone S2 from 3-mobile

Skype, originally bound securely to your PC has now flown the nest. With the Skypephone 3-Mobile have given Skype it's wings and let you take it out and about with you
In the highly protective telecoms arena new technology is almost invariably seen as a threat and viewed with a very wary eye by established companies. Thus it was with Skype and the whole "Voice over IP" (VoIP) concept. Mobile ISPs have felt especially threatened and this probably accounts for the usage limits in place for many mobile data tariffs - if you make the data bandwidth expensive people are less likely to squander it on phone calls.
Bringing together touch screen capable and Walkman music playing ability is the role of a new addition to the Sony Ericsson range of mobiles.
The W960i is, as you might guess from the familiar "W" prefix, yet another member of the Walkman family of mobile phones.  With its GSM/GPRS functionality, this phone packs a 2.6-inch touch screen display and a 3.2 megapixel camera into its vinyl black body with a white 5mm band running around the sides of the phone.  The unit measures 109 x 55 x 16mm and weighs 119g.  Turning this phone on/off is carried out by pressing a recessed button on the top left of the handset.
Photos are meant to be seen which probably explains why digital picture frames are among popular purchases.
You can always rely on Sony to put emphasis on style with its products even when that product might be classified as being of the entry-level variety. An example of this tendency can be seen with the Sony DPF-D70. This is Sony’s entry-level 7-inch digital picture frame offering. Surrounded by a reflective black frame, the 7-inch diagonal screen has an aspect ratio of 15:9. It can be positioned in either portrait or landscape orientation.
Regular readers may well feel this is very similar to the cenOmax offering recently reviewed. It is a 7inch photo frame that comes with a cream surround and a clear Perspex outer, it has two additional sleeves for that different effect.
The HP DF750A2 Digital Picture Frame is 22x16.5x3cm; the inner display area is 15x9cm giving the notional diagonal measurement of 7 inches. While a lot of the controls are the same they are found in different places and to me anyway they appear a better layout. It can be used to display either landscape or portrait with the same rotating support arm (this unit does not have the ability to be wall mounted).
If you like Alessi you'll love this iconic statement piece - it'll also make it easy for you to open that bottle!
There are products that are born just to be looked at. Screwpull corkscrews are made to be used, caressed and admired adoringly. Screwpull manages to do for corkscrews what Alessi did for the humble lemon squeezer - it pulls us in with its luscious looks. I remember well the design class in which I first heard about Alessi and saw the truly iconic lemon squeezer.
Headsets come in a variety of styles, shapes and sizes plus the ability to provide acceptable audio quality. Really you get what you pay for!
Having spent between £50 and £100 for your MP3 player or substantially more if you have opted to go down the Apple iPod route, you might expect a reasonable set of headphones. Unfortunately you could be disappointed with the quality of the bundled offering. This aspect of the kit often seems to have been relegated to little more than an after-thought when it comes to comfort and audio output quality.
You've painstakingly loaded all your music onto your iPod and you want to enjoy it wherever you are. Headphones are not always the answer - but do you go for high-quality 'fixed' speakers for home and and to be limited to when out, or do you sacrifice sound quality indoors in exchange for portability?
Well - now the answer is neither. Gear4 have produced the 'Duo' - the idea is that this one product provides you with rich sound when home and still have light-weight slim portable unit for when you're our and about. The solution is a little Russian doll like - heres how it works! In it's home configuration you have a largish unit measuring around 14 x 23 x 15cm (HxWxD) weighing a little under 2Kg. The bulk of this size is a 20W sub-woofer.
Anyone needing to print a little, scan a little and copy a little then this small light All In One unit from Lexmark may be the answer you are looking for and with its predominately white colour it may just sneak past the lounge police.
The Lexmark X2650 is 42x30x15cm, add paper into the tray at the rear and that adds 20cm to the last figure the height. Should you also extend the output tray this adds another 13cm to the second figure the depth. Both the extended paper trays are a mid grey colour and there is a matching band in that colour that forms the left and right sides of the unit.
549904 cenomax F7012A digital picture frame 7 inc

cenOmax 7inch Photo Frame

This is a 7inch offering from the people who I recently told you about a 3.5inch photo frame (21-09-08) this is a unit that offers the ability to play MP3 files while viewing images and even possible to view movies.
While this looks like a fairly conventional photo frame with a cream inner border and a clear Perspex outer one it is also supplied with a couple of sleeves black and orange, these clip over the clear Perspex to give a total of three totally different looks. It is 24x17.5x3.5cm the inner display screen is 15.5x8.5cm giving the notional 7inch diagonal screen measurement. This is actually a wide screen display but of course most people's photos are not.
Having recently joined the Acer family, Packard Bell took the opportunity of Acer’s Global Press Conference 2008 to demonstrate its new product line up. These products included a netbook plus various notebooks and desktop systems with a selection of LCD monitors and storage devices.
Whereas Acer has named its netbook the Aspire One, Packard Bell has opted for the “dot” designation.  Based on the Intel Atom processor with 1GB of RAM, the “dot” has an 8.9-inch display with a resolution of 1024 x 600; 5-in-1 card reader; three USB ports; built-in Wi-Fi (b/g); and a 160GB hard drive.  This netbook comes with Windows XP operating system and has a 6-cell battery as standard.
Love your media player but annoyed about the piece of wire that is forever getting tangled, pulled from it's socket or just isn't long enough to reach the appropriate pocket? You need Bluetooth.
Motorola have joined the small but growing band of manufacturers providing Bluetooth stereo headsets with their Motorokr S9. As well as being a wireless way of listenning to stereo on your favourite Bluetooth enabled media player, it also includes a microphone so should you be using a phone it'll allow you to make calls.
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Disgo Video Plus

For those that remember my review of the ‘Flip Video Ultra’ in June this is a very similar product. However there are ‘swings and roundabouts’ so read on to find out what’s better and what is not.
I would suggest anyone also reads my review of the Flip Video Ultra 30-6-08 as then you will be better able to judge which might suit you best. This is 11x6.5x2cm and weights 150grams; mine was predominately white with a grey rubber material below the small TFT on the back. Let's start with the base, this has a screw for any tripod you might care to use. The right side (from the back) has an A/V socket and a slider high quality to long play that can give twice the length of recording.
Well that's what my 13 year old called it. Perhaps a small exageration, but this is a games console designed to get 8 - 12 year olds moving to it's beat.
Here we have a standalone games console which operates on its own batteries and with no need for a television or hand held controllers. The Swinxs is modelled around good old fashioned party games such as Hide and Seek and Tag. Swinxs has a central console and comes with four wristbands which are worn by the players. The wristbands are individually recognised, so Swinxs knows who is winning at any point in time. Swinxs comes preloaded with seven games.
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