Designed like some other units to give you more volume from your mobile phone. This also allows you to plug in an MP3 player or other such device to receive the Thumbs Up treatment to increase the volume level via its speaker.
The TouchMini Boombox measures 6.5x7x5.5cm and weighs 123grams. This is the smallest such unit and using the notch in the top or side it can be a little unstable if you insert a large SmartPhone. The front facing speaker on the unit is 4cm across, when you use the notch be sure to place the speaker on your phone towards the front of the unit.
The Sony Xperia Z3 is a waterproof smartphone. This particular model is available in a choice of white, green, copper or black with my review sample being of the latter colour. I have to thank Vodafone for kindly provided the unit that is the basis of this review.
When taking the handset out of the box, it was immediately obvious that the Xperia Z3 completely dwarfed by current smartphone. I could immediately tell that there would definitely be a problem if I tried to insert this beast into the pocket I usually use for my mobile device. Presumably Sony did not take into consideration the storage of such a device when not in use. With dimensions of 146 x 72 x 7.
Small is perhaps an inadequate word in this case. I have reviewed mini PCs before but never something smaller than even a small mobile phone and this PC runs Windows 8.1 so can something that slips into a pocket deliver?
It is 10x4x1cm with connections once plugged into an HDMI port on the back or side of your TV. It could also connect into a standalone panel. It weighs only 45grams.
Adding to its range of PowerBank devices, Sandberg has released a model that keeps you informed as to its current available power level.
One consistent bugbear, with regards to the various mobile devices that have been our constant companions for many years, has been the poor return on the power available from the built-in battery feature. The more you use your mobile device(s), the greater the risk you run of encountering a situation where the smartphone or tablet fails to respond when you really need it due to a power deficiency.
A magical kingdom with talkative strange creatures is the setting for this next Hidden Object Adventure game.
Nearwood takes you on a journey to a magical land inhabited by strange creatures that need assistance with the problems they face in their day-to-day lives. Available in Collector’s Edition format from Avanquest’s GSP game catalogue, Nearwood is a Hidden Object Adventure game. As usual with Collector Edition titles, Nearwood comes with a number of bonus items to add to the basic main game.
This is a very nice 27inch flat panel designed to show 2560x1440 resolution using Display Port, it also has Digital, D-Sub and HDMI connections that will show at 1920x1080, but assuming your graphics chip has HDMI 1.4a this unit has a big plus.
The AOC q2778vqe measures 62.5x38x1.5cm, its stand is circular and 22cm across this raises the unit by 8cm from your desk. The viewable screen is 60x34cm which gives the notional imperial (diagonal) measurement of 27inches. Via VGA (D-Sub) or Digital you will get only the standard 1920x1080 resolution, with Display Port its 2560x1440 automatically and if you have a recent notebook you can certainly have it as a second display showing 2560x1440 via HDMI.
As part of its mydlink Home family of products, D-Link has developed a Wi-Fi Motion Sensor. This product has been designed to alert the user to any motion that is detected in the home when they are absent for any reason. When such instances occur they will be notified through standard Push technology.
The Motion Sensor device resembles a slightly larger than normal 3-pin power plug. Sitting on the top of this white unit is a cloudy circular bubble while a pair of LED lights is positioned either side of a WPS button. A mydlink Home logo desecrates the front of this plug-shaped device. Included in the box along with the Motion Sensor are various items of documentation.
The Freecom Mini Tough Drive SSD meets the need for a portable drive that has adequate capacity for most normal needs and is robust enough to withstand any hard knocks of everyday use by those who spend an amount of their time on the move.
The Freecom Mini Tough Drive SSD meets the need for a portable drive that has adequate capacity for most normal needs and is robust enough to withstand any hard knocks of everyday use by those who spend an amount of their time on the move. This USB 3.0 drive is available in two capacities: 128 and 256GB. It is 87 x 53 x 17mm in size and so will fit comfortably into the palm of one’s hand or in one’s pocket or computer bag and, weighing just 70g (2.5oz.), one hardly notices it.
This is a value phone that looks like it should cost more. It has bright easy to read screen apart from when you are in strong sunlight and then those who hanker for a mirror should be accommodated by the ultra-reflective screen.
The Alcatel Pop D5 measures 13x6.5x1cm and weights 150grams. The viewable screen is 9.7x5.6 which gives the notional diagonal imperial measurement of 4½ inches. That is 480x854pixels. The back is a tasteful matt black so why can’t the screen surround be the same at least then it would not show fingermarks. I know non reflective screens cost more so that’s why this has not got one.
A tiny camera in a large box but it is not all packaging as it has numerous ways of connecting it to your body so whatever you do and wherever you go the Actioncam 400 can come to and as there is a wrist (watch type) connection you do not even need to touch the camera to activate it.
The Rollei Actioncam 400 5x5x3.5cm and weighs only 78grams. I will not even attempt to give the weight or dimensions with ‘x’, ‘y’ or ‘z’ attached. The camera itself has three buttons on/off and shoot on the top and Wi-Fi connection on the face.
Of late I do seem to have been on some sort of security based agenda. First it was the Piper which, true to its name, could emit an almost ear-shattering warning. Next in line came the Swann Pan & Tilt camera which offers a range of remote adjustment features but initially seemed reluctant to download a firmware upgrade. Now it is the turn of D-Links HD Wi-Fi camera which forms part of the mydlink Home initiative.
Rather simplistic in appearance, this a Wi-Fi camera device for keeping a watch over what is happening in a specific area of your home while you are away, adopts a fairly neutral while colour scheme. The unit’s consists of a small stand on to which you clip the camera module. Overall the appearance is a bit like a temporary miniature roadside traffic signal with dimensions of 120 x 85 x 60mm (H x D x W).
A quality microwave that is available from AO.COM at an amazing price. This is not the latest and greatest that seems to be able to everything but the washing up. However it is a very competent offering at a price only normally found with the entry level models.
In a previous life I was a chef so I know my way round a kitchen and to be honest my own microwave is at least 35years old and normally gets used for defrosting and reheating, it does not even have a revolving turntable. So for three weeks I decided to forsake my over and hob and live using the microwave.
NAS (Network Attached Storage) devices come in populated or unpopulated format. In the case of the former, the NAS manufacturer gets to select the make and type of drive to be used by the product. With an unpopulated NAS, the purchaser can use drives which are already in their possession or buy new units from their favourite drive manufacturer. The ZyXEL NAS box, which is the subject of this next review, is a new 4-Bay Personal Cloud Storage product that falls into the unpopulated category.
Rather undistinguished in appearance, this NAS device is a black box with dimensions of 190 x 225 x 160mm (W x D x H) with a weight of 2000g. This NAS device is powered by FreeScale FS1024 Dual Core 1.2GHz processor with 1GB of DDR2 memory. A removable face plate (it is not hinged so I can hardly call it a door) reveals the four bays which are, not surprisingly, unpopulated at the initial stage. This situation will change as you add drives to the box.
Time to do battle as you take on the challenge of Match-3 fighting game play that pits you against computer controlled opponents.
The Quest of the Sorceress is a Match-3 game with a difference from the usual diet offered by this particular genre. While you need to create groups of three or more tiles of a similar nature, you are not attempting to clear specific areas of the playing grid. Instead you are involved in a fight to the death against a computer controlled opponent.
This nice looking notebook is also powerful and has an Full HD 1080P screen although it is only 15.6inches. The surprising thing is that it looks the right size even though the majority of 15.6inch offering give a much lower resolution.
It is 38.5x26x2 and weights 2.2kilos. Most of the connections are on the right side so if you wanted this could be close to a wall or partition on your left if you wanted. The exception is the Kensington Lock port on the back left and an SD Card port on the front. So you have 3.5mm socket for headphones, three USB3 ports an HDMI port and an Ethernet port finally the DC power input. Often with notebooks speakers are an afterthought not so here as the sound is excellent from its four speakers.
When the cat is away, so the mice will play goes the old saying. Although in some instances it might be more appropriate for a slight change so when you are away, so the cat (or maybe a dog) will play.
Keeping a check on what is happening in your home while you are absent is becoming a popular topic as can be seen by the appearance of various products designed to provide home security features giving remote viewing capabilities of what is occurring at home. One such offering is the Pan & Tilt camera from Swann which can provide the visual information of what is occurring in its vicinity.
Those of us that have seen the size and weight of a hard disc fall while its capacity has increased have seen the capacity of memory sticks increase in the same way. An 8GB memory stick is almost entry level and larger ones have more capacity than a lot of older even quite recent hard drives.
Time was when to install an operating system on a new hard disc meant having a CD or DVD and doing the installation from that. More recently computer BIOS settings allow you to install from USB stick. The basic installation files of Windows 7 fit easily onto an 8GB memory stick so providing a memory stick is reliable then that’s fine.
At this year's Wearable Technology Show in East London's ExCel Exhibition Centre one ubiquitous topic of conversation was the staying power of today's batteries. Smartphones, ever hungrier for power while dieting down to wafer thinness, exemplify the problem. My own solution is to stick with phones like Samsung's Galaxy Note series that have easily replaceable batteries, but these are becoming rarer as designers seek to outdo each other in the race towards edge-on invisibility.
I wouldn't want to advocate the revival of the Motorola Brick (although I still have fond memories of that first fat phone of mine - a favorite, legend has it, of club bouncers who could use it in an emergency as a weapon, swinging it by its "rubber duck" aerial against the head of any intransigent would-be gatecrasher). But anorexic devices with entombed inaccessible batteries have become a universal challenge. And Apple's iPhones have been long-term offenders in this respect.
This is the latest version of a product from Cyberlink it is called Power2Go and it burns and backs up, yes I know the latter is a bore but if you have not got a current working backup and the worst happens then your digital life ends.
The install takes around five minutes on a reasonably fast machine and you use 1005MB of hard disc space. Three icons are created on your Desktop Power2Go 10, LabelPrint 2.5 and WaveEditor 2. Open Power2Go 10 and you have a front end that is simple and clear. It is split horizontally with tasks in the top half and that tasks options in the lower half. The eight choices are Data Disc, Video Disc, Music Disc, Photo Gallery Disc, Online Media Backup, Copy Disc, Media Converter and Utilities.
As with some of the companys other products, such as Moto G and Moto X, Lenovo has released the second generation of its Moto E smartphone offering. Aimed specifically at the budget market sector, this latest version of the Moto E is now available in 3G and 4G LTE varieties depending upon the needs of the user.
With the second generation Moto E you have a choice of a black or white model. While this might seems a little limiting, you can personalise the handset as you brighten up the appearance of your handset with interchangeable Motorola Bands of various hues and Grip Shells. Among the available Motorola Bands will be turquoise or raspberry offerings. Size-wise this new version of the Moto E is slightly larger and 3g heavier than the original offering.
Its been a while since I have cast my eye over a standalone Sat Nav for a car, after all most SmartPhones can give you directions so why should you buy a device designed for a single job that does have just a single purpose to get you from A to B.
It is designed for landscape use and is 14x8.5cm when being used out of car the weight becomes important and without any fittings attached that is 177grams. The viewable screen is 11x6.3cm and is rather reflective so in out of car use needs to be shielded on a sunny day. While this is intended for in car use I always do some of my tests walking, on buses and even on trains. The reason for the last two is that you can concentrate on the screen something you should never do when driving.
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? In fact it is neither of these two. This particular Nighthawk is a router from NETGEAR. Described as a Smart Wi-Fi Router, the Nighthawk X4 offers to bring quad-stream X4 architecture with advanced gaming and streaming benefits plus other advantages to the users home network.
Arriving impressively packaged and weighty enough to certainly pique my interest, the Nighthawk X4 kit comprises of a number of items. Central to the product is the Nighthawk X4 AC2350 Smart Wi-Fi router. This is a black plinth-shaped box that has dimensions of 285 x 185 x 54mm (W x D x H). If your current available work space might struggle to accommodate the unit’s footprint then there is an option to wall-mount the router with you supplying the necessary fittings.
While the television Poirot series has run its course, apart from repeats, you can help Poirot solve a couple of mysteries based on the Nile or country house.
Generally Hidden Object games tend to regard each Hidden Object scene as an individual item. Once completed you just move on to the next part of the game as you continue on your way. However this next offering takes a different approach.
The Asus Notebook X555MA is a 15.6inch screen notebook from Asus that runs Windows 8.1, it has an Intel i5 processor, 4GB of RAM and a 1TB hard disc. The price is quite reasonable so what is not to like about this offering as it even has a DVD drive?
This notebook measures 37x25.5x2cm the last figure is at the back and it slims to only 1cm at the front, it weights 2120grams. The right side has the optical drive, a USB port, 3.5mm headphone socket and an SD card socket. The front is clear as is the back the former as it is so thin the latter as the screen goes back to 135 degrees. The left side has a Kensington Lock port, two USB3 ports, HDMI and VGA sockets, Ethernet port and DC input. The viewable screen is 34x19.
Newly arrived from Brother is the MFC1910W which is a multifunction laser device with options that include ADF and Wi-Fi.
The Brother MFC1910W is a multi-function, mono laser device. Combining the full set of print, copy, scan and fax features with an ADF (Automatic Document Feed) module for good measure, this All-in-One unit offers users a choice of USB or Wi-Fi connectivity when adding this product to a computer and/or local network.
Secondhand bargains apart, there are a couple of kinds of really low cost projectors you can buy: no-name brands of dubious origin, and low resolution business projectors intended mostly to display charts and presentations. For different reasons, none of these will be much fun for home entertainment viewing. Yes, youll get a big screen, and it might even be watchable - for a while. If all youre used to is a 36 inch TV you might even be temporarily impressed. But the odds are that the loss of nuance in the picture details, or problems with focus, or the jerkiness of the motion, or the screaming inaccuracy of the colour will send you back to your TV before the month is out.
However something very interesting has been happening in the home entertainment market over the past few years. Low end projectors capable of showing very decent big screen video have been turning up from brand-name manufacturers at the sort of price you’d expect to pay for a modestly specced 42 inch TV. We’re talking of decent, liveable-with projectors that cost only a couple of hundred quid or so more than those problematic cheapos. That’s the good news.
While I am very happy with my Moto G the Moto E is a cheaper phone and it now comes with, or is upgrades to Android V5 so is this upgrade and other improvements such as 4G and the larger 2390mAh battery worth doing?
It is 13x6.5x1cm and weights 144grams, the screen is 5.5x10cm these figure gives the notional diagonal imperial measurement of 4.5inches. Front VGA camera for those all-important Selfies and for things like Skype. Switch on is 34seconds while shutdown is 3seconds.
They are an on ear offering that is sold to work via Bluetooth which it does, however they can be used as USB headphones whilst charging the units internal battery or at any time without turning the Bluetooth on, so they are dual use.
After recently reviewing two quite heavy on ear and over ear corded headphones these seem extremely light at 81grams in Bluetooth mode. Unlike a lot of headphone sets you are unlikely to wear these on the wrong ears as they are tilted back so if you put them on the wrong way round they just do not fit well. Lack of weight is great for moving around but that of course also means lack of padding and anyone like me who is somewhat hair challenged on top who may find this noticeable.
A small black box from NETGEAR offers to provide a range of additional features based on Wi-Fi networks.
Entitled the NETGEAR Trek, this next product is described as a Travel Router and Range Extender. It sets out to provide the user with a choice of features from within a home network set up and when away from home while on your travels or should that be “trek”. This “on the go” and “in the home” approach is achieved from a single device that features a Wi-Fi antenna which can be swivelled through 270 degrees when searching for the optimum signal.
A new corded vacuum from Vax however its not an upright nor is it a conventional pull along. Have they found a new way to clean your carpets and floors? I saw it at a recent visit to a popular London launch venue now Im trying it out.
The Vax AirRevolve is a cylinder 24cm across -36cm with connection to cleaner head- 40cm long. This might sound confusing as it can be used either on its wheels – the cylinder ends – when it pulls along like a conventional pulled unit or on its end which is ideal for things like cleaning stairs as it can sit on a stair and just be moved as you move up. There is a maximum of two metres between cleaner and head.