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

 
With a touch of New Orleans, this next title asks you to solve various crimes
It is time to step back to the year 1844 and enter the world that encompasses the environment of Lamplight City as developed by Francisco Gonzalez.  This is the same person who was also responsible for “A Golden Wake” and “Shardlight”.  Set in an alternate steam punk-like Victorian past, the game of Lamplight City is described as a detective adventure played out over various borough areas of this city with its mixed population.
880433 Philips HF3420 03 Intense Blue Energy SAD Ligh

Philips EnergyUp Light

While we have had a wonderful summer this year in the amount of sunlight this is like to cause a greater problem this autumn and winter for those who suffer from problems caused by lack of sunlight or bright light, these is of course a solution.
If you're not careful, a lack of sunlight can actually lead to a form of clinical depression. The less sunlight we see in the winter months, the more likely we are to develop Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Symptoms of SAD can be extreme: mood swings, anxiety, sleep problems, or even suicidal thoughts.
Prepare yourself for a game of arrows – not the throwing kind but more the pull back the draw string and take-out-the-enemy type of weapon.
With this product Thumbs Up! has combined old and modern technology into a product that has been released under its Orb Gaming trademark.  The product is entitled the Virtual Archer. Forming the main part of the Virtual Archer product is the collapsible classic bow unit.
The first monitor that I have seen that takes both its power and video signal from a USB ‘C’ port. In fact it has just one connection the USB cable – the other end goes to a USB ‘C’ port on your Notebook or Tablet and an on/off button.
The AOC I1601FWUX portable full HD monitor measures 37x23.5x.7cm and weights 1053grams with prop and USB ‘C’ cable attached so small enough to travel with you. The viewable screen is 34.5x19.5cm which gives the notional diagonal imperial measurement of 15.6inches. While the claimed 1920x1080 is of course available the notebook/tablet I did most of my tests with showed 2160x1440 and this reproduced that either landscape or portrait where of course the display was 1440x2160.
Recently, on a visit to Vodafone’s Newbury base I was introduced to a new initiative from the company.
Featured as part of its 2018 Future Ready Event at its Newbury HQ, Vodafone announced a new approach to the way the company planned to sell a range of smartphones.  With its distinctive capitalised four letter title of VOXI, this Vodafone inspired service has been designed to be a youth’s mobile brand that is initially being targeted at the under 30 years age group who have specific needs for their mobile world experience.
880434 Doro 8035 UK SIM Free Smartphon

DORO 8035 SmartPhone

Doro have been selling their phones in the UK for many years, not only do they do home phones but they also are the premier manufacturer for those with disabilities be that sight or hearing, now they have moved into SmartPhones that look normal but can still offer help but you no longer have a phone that looks like it’s for someone who has a disability.
The Doro 8035 smart phone measures 14.5x7x1cm and weighs 171 grams. The viewable screen is 11x6.4cm which gives the notional diagonal imperial measurement of 5inches. The screen and surround is black while the sides and back are blue grey. Above the screen is the selfie camera. The normal show all, home and back controls are below the screen and do require a press to activate which will take time to adjust to for those coming from a standard SmartPhone.
880340 Stainless Steel Colour Terraillon My Cook 15Kg Scal

15kilo Kitchen Scale

Having recently told you about a kitchen scale that is treble the normal maximum of 5kilos, another arrives shortly afterwards. This one is from Terraillon and is called The Chef Kitchen Scale and it has an amazing 15 year guarantee.
It is 25.5cm wide, 21cm deep and 2.5cm thick. One reason for the extra thickness is that it uses ‘AA’ batteries rather than ‘AAA’. The actual weighing surface is 22.5x14cm with the central part of the area in the front of this taken by the 9x3cm display. Touch the area to the left side of the display to change the weighing units or to pause the function of the scale.
While oil and water are incompatible, the two major players in the arena of operating systems can co-exist on a single computer as Parallels has proven with its Desktop software.
Firmly established as the top-selling software for running Windows applications on a Mac system, Parallels Desktop is now available in its version 14 offering for the Mac with its 2018 release.  As with the previous version of Parallels Desktop, the software does require a MacOS base in order to operate.
880339 deezer music stream service u

Deezer Hi-Fi

One of life’s less arduous tasks is listening to music and streaming music from a site that has a great deal of music in my genre of choice is even better. I have told you about Deezer's normal offering recently. Here is a quality more suited to listening in the home through good quality speakers, this is Deezer Hi-Fi.
Anyone can view the content on Deezer and indeed stream the content in low fi but you will have to put up with adverts after around a couple of tracks and indeed some tracks and even some whole CD’s will be unable to be played.
Following a brief spell in hospital, I decided to embark on a Challenging Journey.
880341 Terraillon Homni Smart Lam

Homni and Dot/Reston

For those like me who find sleeping difficult – even in normal conditions – these two devices can possibly help, Dot or Reston registers your movements and give other statistics while Homni tells you about the room environment and can help with the aid or red light take you to sleep and, in the morning, via white light and alarm to wake you up again, quite a partnership.
The Homni is circular 15cm tall and 10cm across, the bottom 6cm is solid and the top 9cm is open with the light source in it. The top part is opaque and the light source shines through it. There is a digital clock on the front near the top of the base. Power goes into the back and at that point there are two USB ports to allow you to charge devices.
Join the Empire with your camera snapping key-ring.
Like many, no doubt, I can still remember my first encounter with the world of Star Wars, Hans Solo, Princess Leia, Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader and the other iconic characters who existed “A long time ago in a Galaxy far away”.  It was a cold Sunday evening as I joined the queue of eager cinema goers to see what the future held for us according to the imagination of George Lucas.
880343 parallels toolbo

Parallels Toolbox for Windows

While most will use Parallels on their MAC to give you a virtual Windows Box there are advantages for running a different version of Parallels software on your Windows machine and it can even do things in Windows that cannot otherwise be done natively.
Certain things in Windows are possible but not easy, other things are easy – if you know how – but some things are not possible. Of course if you are a Windows user only you know this and do not even try. Currently it works on Windows 7, 8 and 10 and there are twenty little separate programs.
880346 Alcatel 5086Y 2BALGB7 series 5 android phon

Mid-range Alcatel 5

The Alcatel 5 is a mid-range smartphone with a 5.7 inch 18:9 display that has a reasonable range of features and ticks most of the boxes and so will be an attractive proposition for those on a budget.
The phone which is roughly 150 x 70 x 9mm and weighs 145g has a 5.7 inch edge-to-edge 18:9 screen with 1440 x 720 resolution. Described as Metallic Black its matt black cover with horizontally etched lines provides a firm and comfortable grip while, at the same time, not showing finger marks. The top and bottom strips have a polished chrome effect. On the right hand side is the power button and the volume rocker while, on the other side is the dual SIM carrier.
As a nation of pet lovers, this next game features a case of bird-napping.
Sometimes an outside influence can direct me towards a specific game’s title.  In this case it was an article in a daily newspaper reporting on the escapades of a macaw named Jessie.  It seems Jessie decided to take a break from her comfy perch and took up residence on a neighbour’s rooftop in Cuckoo Hall Lane – where else would you expect a female bird to decide where to squat even if laying eggs was not on the agenda.
880253 VARIDESK Pro Plus 36 Height Adjustable Standing Des

VariDesk ProPlus 36

While whatever space you have on your desk will always diminish to the point that things have to be placed elsewhere is a rule, there is a possible solution in the shape of the VariDesk which in effect allows your desk to grow.
While this can even be a solution for those with back problems I would suggest that you get someone to help you put it in place as it is not light in weight and if standing it on your current desk make sure that is able to cope with the extra weight. This is a standing desk which surveys say is a more productive way of working, unlike other such desks this is variable height so tallish or short it should suit you. It arrives in a box that is 1.02 metres x 83 centimetres and 14cm wide.
When taking to the movie director’s chair, MAGIX can provide the tools.
MAGIX has taken a three-pronged approach with the 2019 version of its Movie Edit Pro software package.  Users are given the option of purchasing the Classic, Plus or Premium product depending upon their needs and financial situation. I have been looking at the Plus version of this video editing software for the basis of this review.
Earlier this year One Plus launched their new phone at the Copper Box Arena in Queen Elizabeth Park and they also showed these unique – as far as I know – wireless earbuds that when placed back to back stop the playback from your device. This is certainly a novel idea and that I why I requested to try a pair.
So in the box you get the neck band with gels attached (medium) two other pairs of gels together with smaller and larger sizes of fins. Also in the box are a rubber push open pouch that contains a 25cm long distinctive USB charging cable and a small six language User Guide. The total length of the behind the neck cable is 84 cm, the centre 38cm is stiffened in a semi-circle to fit around the neck with 23cm either side in a normal thin cable ending at the buds.
As part of its family of graphics products, Corel has just released the latest version of its Pinnacle Studio 22 software. Versions of this software are available in Ultimate, Plus and Standard editions.
When I checked out the previous version of Pinnacle Studio, I noted that the installation routine was not the quickest operation when completing this task.  The same can be said of this latest version.  Running the software’s installer module took 67 minutes to set up the Pinnacle Studio 22 Ultimate on my work system.
While the main purpose of this is to improve the air quality for those who unable to cope with less than perfect quality, I found quite by chance another feature of the product that might improve the chance of success with a partner.
Not the first one of these devices to get tested by myself. This unit arrives ready assembled but not ready to use as the filters although in place are sealed and need their plastic wrapping to be removed and discarded. So follow the instructions to open the unit remove the wrapping around the filters and replace in position.
The Homedics MyChill Personal Space Cooler operates on the evaporative cooling principle and can sit on the corner of one’s desk to provide a localised stream of cooled air.
Roughly 20 x 17cm and 20cm high, it is light grey and white in colour and has adjustable louvres at the front to direct the air flow which the makers claim is effective up to a range of about 4ft. On top of the machine there is the power on/off and the fan button which steps between the two speeds at each press of the button. Dependent on the speed, either one or two LEDs is lit.
Did you know that penguins like garden furniture? Me neither till I played this next game.
A Nanogram is a puzzle game based on the creation of mosaic type images laid out on a grid.  Originally featuring monochrome images, more recent versions of this type of game play have introduced the use of colour to add to the use of logic to solve these puzzles.  A recent example of this popular genre is Fantasy Mosaic 28 – Treasure Map. In this 28 edition of the Fantasy Mosaic franchise, you are involved in helping a family of penguins.
This is a 24inch curved gaming monitor from AOC as the title might tell you. While I have other curved monitors including the first TV that was widely available in the UK they have all been substantially larger than the 24inches of this offering.
It is 53.5x32x1cm and the curve difference between the edge and the centre is 2cm. The stand is V shaped and is 43cm across at the front and 10cm across at the back it raises the panel by 6cm. There is a lot of back tilt (more than 20 degrees) and a little forward tilt. The panel can also move up to a maximum of 19cm above your desk. It weighs less than 4.5 kilos.
Making tasks easier is the role undertaken by Parallels collection of tools.
When the subject of the Parallels company is raised, my thoughts tend to concentrate on the company’s solution for running a copy of Windows on a Mac-based system.  However this is not the only product available from Parallels.  The company has also developed a Toolbox product which is available for either the Windows or Mac platform depending upon the user’s needs.  This collection of utility style tools is supposed to consist of 30+ items.
880184 Olympus PEN E PL9 16 MP Compact System Camer

Olympus Pen 9 : Olympus PEN E-PL9

This is an enthusiasts camera, quality in a small package, but still able to give excellent ‘auto’ images and if you know better then the various special scene and manual mode allow you to get that extra special image to say great.
The Olympus Olympus PEN E-PL9 measures 12x6.5x6cm when off the powered zoom can take the 14-42mm lens out to 9.5cm. It weighs 513grams with the supplied neck strap in situ. People who have fondled it say that’s heavy and my response is that is quality down to the dark blue leather that goes round the front and sides.
880192 PaintShop Pro 2019 ULTIMAT

An Ultimate Suite

From its humble beginnings, this next product is growing into a graphics suite.
Over the years, currently bubbling away at 28 and still counting, Corel’s Paint Shop Pro has undergone a number of make-overs since it was first released by Robert Veil as a file format changing utility available as a Shareware product.  Now firmly established as a member of the Corel family, Paint Shop Pro offers a range of graphics facilities and tools for enhancing images.
880182 HP ENVY 13 ad015na 1

HP Envy Laptop

It’s taken a while, 18 months in fact from change of agency to the first arrival of an HP notebook. Its thin its light and it has connectivity so what is not to like about this 13inch offering called very appropriately by the name of ENVY.
The HP Envy 13-ad015 laptop measures 30.5x21x1.5cm and weighs 1359 grams. It is matt silver grey in colour with four silver lines of two lengths that form a very clever HP logo. The left side has a USB port, 3.5mm headphone socket, USB ‘C’ port and micro SD card port. The front is clear the right side has USB ‘C’ port, USB port and charging port. Open the lid and the screen can go back to 135 degrees.
In a way a throwback to the past a mechanical timer which works solely by counting down from a set figure to zero and then ringing a bell to warn you, a simple process that should still enable you to extract things from the over without them burning.
It is circular at 9.5cm and slopes up from the front where it is 2cm up to 5.5cm at the back. It is made of stainless steel with the twist arm plastic so both are wipe clean. The clock is marked in five minute increments up to an hour with the areas between the numerals clearly shown by dashes so you could set seven minutes or forty eight minutes just as easily as five minutes or twenty five minutes.
Step into the Makoan world and embark on a rite of passage to become a legend.
According to Phoenix Online Publishing, “Every Game was a Story” and, in this case, the story concerned “A Rite from the Stars”.  Based on the concept of a “rite of passage” found within various tribal communities, this point and click adventure game is the debut offering from the Spanish developer Risin’ Goat.  Versions of this game are available for the PC, Mac and Linux platforms.  My review is based on the Windows PC product offering.
880181 Clip On Professional 22x Mobile Phone Zoom Len

Brando 22x Lens for SmartPhones

While modern SmartPhones can take excellent images and videos one thing that a decent DSLR camera often has is a good optical zoom, here is a kit that can give your SmartPhone the ability to get great zoom for your images.
I have tried this unit with success on three different Smart Phones all with single lenses, I do not think it would work on dual lens units. The complete kit comes in a fitted zip up case the 22x zoom lens which on close inspection is F1.8 250mm marked 4K 22x Telephoto Lens. It has adjustment at the camera end as well as at the lens end it weighs 150 grams without the supplied lens cap.
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