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

 
840417 Huawei B1 TalkBand Bluetooth Headset Activit

Huawei TalkBand B1

The Talkband is a hybrid device incorporating a bluetooth headset and a basic activity monitor. So how good is at these two distinct functions?
This is my first real experience with and so I was quite curious to see what benefits this new category could provide. First of all let me descirbe the device to you. From the image you can see a reasonably marrow strap, one side of which is quite chunky. The chunky side shows a glossy black display which when switched on shows a blue-tinted OLED display.
840193 qvc ntune on ear headphone

Monster N-Tune Headphones

A pair of small on ear headphones from a quality name Monster, these were sent to me to review from the QVC TV channel. So what have these headphones to offer well first of all the price is somewhat less than you might expect.
They are overall quite small headphones, similar to others that seem to be glued to the heads of lots of younger people in trains, tubes and even walking along the street. It seems that earbuds are now out of favour for those wanting better sounds. These are also very flexible or perhaps bendable and twistable are better words. Measuring when the headset is vertical produces 18cm from the base of the earpad to the top of the headband. There is 3cm of expansion/contraction on each side.
The development team of Michal Rawdanowicz, Adrian Kaiser and Erkan Karagocz at rokapublish want to send you on a quest. With this particular outing, you are to embark on the Alchemy Quest which is a game belonging to the popular Match-3 genre.
In this game you take on the role of an alchemist named Calen.  Always willing to experiment, Calen attempts to create a special magic potion just for the heck of it.  Unfortunately matters do not turn out as expected.  There is a loud exploration which manages to cause a great deal of damage to Calen’s home and laboratory.
840243 the internet of thing

An Internet of Things Tutorial

While printed documentation seems to be a thin of the past with today's hardware and software, there are still numerous books relating to computers including this McGraw Hill Education title.
A current hot buzz phrase is that of “The Internet of Things”.  While it might seem like a recent additional to computer vocabulary, this phrase is from the last century.  It was first uttered by Kevin Ashton in 1999 (alright only just in the last century) while he was working for MIT’s Media Centre.
840192 hp envy x360 touch screen noteboo

HP Envy Notebook X360

This is both a notebook and a tablet. It has touch screen ability as well as the latest HP touchpad technology. So is there anything in this unit that is not to like, well it is Windows 8.1 and there are cheaper units out there but nothing really.
The HP Envy Notebook X360 measures 38x25x2.3cm and weights 2.4kg. There is nothing on the back as the screen goes through 180 degrees. The right side has an SD card socket, two USB ports, HDMI port, Ethernet socket, DC input point and a Kensington lock port. The front goes down to only .7cm thick so has nothing, the left side has a +/- rocker for volume, beside this is a 3.5mm headphone socket and another USB port, finally an on/off flush button.
Like my waist band, the amount of storage space I require continues to grow which encouraged me to check out a Buffalo NAS device.
Just how much disk storage space do you actually need?  One possible answer, perhaps with more than a touch of tongue in cheek, might well be the retort of “the same again that I already have please”.  Or to put in another way – we will never have enough storage space to satisfy the needs of our constantly growing amount of personal data.
The AOC M2870VQ is a 28 inch 1920 x 1080 full HD wide screen monitor with the performance and connectivity to meet most office and home needs and, being a “value line” product, it is not priced out of the reach of those who want a very large screen.
It employs an MVA panel, a LED backlight and has brightness and contrast ratio claimed to be 300 cd/m and 3000:1 respectively, a viewing angle of 178 degrees and a 5mS response time. While we can read these figures in the specification all too often they don’t mean much to us as, after all, we are only really concerned with whether it will do what we want. In practice, I found that the image quality of M2870VQ is more than adequate and found no blurring when watching action movies.
840191 roberts stream 107 DAB FM radi

Roberts Stream 107

This is a small unit which Roberts describe as portable and indeed it works in all modes via six ‘AA’ batteries but even when used in DAB or FM mode time between charges is not great, when used in Internet or UPnP mode even less.
The main body is 21x11.5x4cm this does not include the six piece rod aerial that would add 64cm to the middle figure the height when fully deployed but this is not required for Wi-Fi and UPnP use. As a portable the weight is important it is 781grams with the six ‘AA’ batteries inserted in its back (166grams). As a mains unit the story is good the single speaker is the left third of the front.
While a hairdryer is not the most important piece of electrical equipment to me I do not have hair down to my waist and anyone with long hair will certainly place such a thing higher on their must have list than the one compiled by myself.
This Braun hair dryer measures 21cm long by 20cm tall and 8cm wide at the back as little as 4.5cm wide at the front without the supplied diffuser fitted. It weights 780grams. All the controls are on the inside of the handle and are rubberised, nearest the base is the speed control, off, one and two. Either of the speeds are likely to disturb any false hair or wigs. Next a minus button and above that a plus button these are for heat.
Are you worried about what might be going on in your home when you are not there? The Piper can offer to help.
The Piper is a small device designed to provide you with a degree of control over what might be happening within the confines of your home even when you are not there.  Originally developed by Blacksumac Inc but now forming part of the Control Networks portfolio of connected home technology devices, the Piper becomes your eyes and ears during your absences.  Using set rules, the Piper can keep you informed as to event soon after they happen.
840190 Epson Runsense SF 810V GPS Sport

Epson Runsense SF-810

Having looked at and used Epson’s first foray into health via watch that lets you log your pulse as well as much more I am here looking at another device, this one aimed at those whose aim is to get fit as well as those who just try to survive.
This is somewhat larger at 4.5x5x1.5cm and it weights 51grams. The dial is round and has four buttons on the sides in the 2, 4, 8 and 10 o clock positions, the watch display is digital and will not be correct until it gets a satellite fix. The initial setup on the watch consists of language, units, height, weight, DOB, gender, year, month and day. Finally something that has yet to reach its sibling the Pulsense date format.
EnerPlex is a company that specialises in the manufacture of rugged solar charging and portable power products for those requiring a convenient power source when on the move. One solution developed by EnerPlex is the Jumpr product for directly charging smartphones, digital cameras and the like. I have been checking out the Jumpr Stack 3 member of the product line-up.
The Jumpr Stack 3 is a pocket sized device that can provide charging facilities to a range of digital units whether they belong to the Android, iOS or other fraternity.  Decked out in a combination of black, grey and orange, the Jumpr Stack 3 has dimensions of 105 x 68 x 14mm (H x W x D) and weighs 120g and so should not over-burden the user too much. At its heart is a Li-Polymer 3.7V 3200mAh battery which has a rated recharging cycle of 600 cycles.
With this new Match-3 game from rokapublish you have the choice of game play as you rescue trapped fairies from an evil sorcerer.
A faraway land of magical beings, where fairies live in peace and harmony with all the other creatures, is the setting for Fantasy Quest, a new title from rokapublish.  Unfortunately the appearance of an evil sorcerer upsets the balance of nature as he released a yellow smog which starts to suck up the magic out of everything thrust disrupting the smooth running of the world.  If this state of affairs is allowed to continue then the world will be destroyed.
Marketed as DJ headphones these are rather fine on-ear offerings that have both 3.5mm and 6.3mm plugs. So what do you get for your money from the Pioneer HDJ-C70? As stated the sound quality is superb from the 40mm driver, the whole finish is quality.
It is up to 30cm from the base of the headphone pads to the centre of the padded headband, the headphone pads happily spread to 20cm. Each arm can flip through over 180 degrees to accommodate any style of wear I can think of – and others I cannot – and all in the weight is only 216grams. Having mentioned the maximum size there can be as much as 6.5cm contraction on the distance from headphone pad to padded headband so even say a child’s head could be accommodated.
On the one hand there is continued talk regarding the possible myth of the paperless office while developers continue to come up with technology to increase the use of printers and I am not just referring to recent initiatives regarding ink use.
Lantronix, a company well versed as a global provider of smart networking and communications solutions, has come up with its xPrintServer Cloud Print solution.  This product has been developed to enable data to be sent from Chromebook and Android devices to a range of network based printers.
The IRIScan Book is a portable, cordless, battery-powered scanner. Hence, it is easy to take it to the material to be scanned rather than vice versa and so one can capture material wherever you are.
Black in colour, 220mm long, and with a 25 x 30mm rectangular cross section it weighs roughly 220g including four AAA batteries and is such a size and weight that it will easily slip in one’s laptop bag. It is supplied with ordinary alkaline batteries and, although it can be used with NiMH rechargeables, IRIS does not recommend it. This is because the latter operate at 1.2V per cell rather than 1.5V and so will provide a shorter usage life.
This DSLR is only a little larger than their most powerful PowerShot unit. It is a full featured DSLR capable of capturing very good images and for those that require it also capable of capturing very good video images as well.
The Canon EOS 1200D Digital SLR Camera measures 12.5x9.5x14cm and weights 684grams without the neck strap. While you would probably attach the neck strap for those occasions when you are wandering around for hours taking images I preferred it without it when I was removing it from my bag to take images and then moving on. The hand grip on the right side is comfortable and although the scales do not lie it feels comfortable when being held.

Free Android Business Suite

It is rare that I review something that is ‘Free’ in its early days I reviewed Skype when it was more or less the first of its kind. So why am I reviewing a free Android Business Suite, for one reason only, it claims 100% Microsoft Office compatibility.
Rather than Bluetooth connectivity, this next speaker uses touch as its means of receiving a signal.
With a title like Boombox you might expect the product to be of a reasonable size as it delivers its audio to all and sundry.  However by adding the designated “mini” to the title then the concept of size can change dramatically.  Take, for instance, the TouchMini Boombox which arrives with the claim of being a miniature speaker offering high sound without the need of cables or pairing (so no Bluetooth then).
This is a small A4 printer with a scanner lid on top, so small you think it’s only a printer but it’s a true All In One as it scans in colour and prints and copy in mono. This laser surely has a place in any small office if only for its diminutive size.
The Brother DCP-1610W measures 38x48x25cm with paper and cables attached so that is all the space you need, it’s not that heavy so even a wide shelf should accommodate it. Just allow a few centimetres on top of the 25cm height to allow items to be placed on the scanner flatbed.
839910 Wacom Intuos Pen Graphics Table

Drawing with Wacom : Wacom Pen & Tablet

Whenever the subject of graphics tablets comes up, the first name that springs to my mind is that of Wacom, the company behind products such as the Pen & Touch offering which is the focus of this next review.
Available in either small or medium format, this Intuos Pen & Touch product has been developed to help when drawing, sketching or creating projects on a computer.  It does this by stepping in and taking over from the mouse controlled cursor and providing a drawing pad work area.  The kit consists of the tablet, micro-to-standard USB lead with an “L” shaped plug at the micro end, stylus pen with cloth material holder, Quick Start Guide and a software CD.
With over 100 levels, this next game is aimed at fans of the Match-3 genre.
A shipwreck off the Gulf of Mexico leaves our intrepid explorer without the necessary crew members to continue with his mission to find missing Aztec relics and artefacts that have lain hidden for many centuries.  Fortunately, coming to his rescue is a native guide called Ichtaca.  She is only willing to help as long as the explorer, called John, can deal with the evil spirits protecting the land.  This is the opening sequence of Aztec Venture.
839847 D Link DCH M225 Wi Fi Audio Extende

D-Link Wi-Fi Everywhere

This unit is the size of a 13amp three way adapter. It does have a 13amp plug but few things can be plugged into it. The main task is as a Wi-Fi extender it can also be used to play music via its one connection a 3.5mm socket.
Setting it up to extend your Wi-Fi is simple and if you have an area that is just about covered like maybe an attic room then this will help. It is 4.5x5x6.5cm when plug is inserted. The right side has a button to enter the required modes. The front has an LED to slow what is happening. The third connection is a 3.5mm socket on the underside and this allows you to connect a headset or a set of speakers so you can play music from anywhere else on your network.
Adding to its range of label printers, Brother has released its P-Touch D600VP model.
As with the company’s D450 model, reviewed recently, the Brother P-Touch D600VP is a “Professional PC labelling machine” that comes packaged in its own rigid carry case.  This black case, with built in handle, bears more than a passing resemblance to an old portable typewriter I used many years ago. Opening the moulded plastic case reveals the same arrangement of content as found with the D450 unit.
This is actually a multi-function device as not only does it print, scan, copy but it also has fax. HP call it an All In One so that is why I must also. The OfficeJet series are designed for office use but assuming the slate grey colour passes the lounge police…
The HP 6830 Officejet Pro All-in-One Printer measures 43x41x21cm these figures are with leads inserted in the rear but you will need a little extra space above if you use the flatbed rather than the sheet feed to scan or copy. While you can purchase this for under £100 it has a big selling point for those who need value it is stated to have running costs of 50% of lasers. It can be connected via Wi-Fi or USB. Any leads you use, power, USB, phone/fax are attached back left.
First a device from TP-Link that can charge two items at once and just for good measure is also a torch. Second a device called a Stylus Pen which amazingly has no less than six abilities, yes the size of a pen but with six different uses.
I must admit when I first read the label I missed the last ‘0’ and thought I have seen smaller 1000mAh units. Then the actual size came into perspective when I focused on the huge capacity. As with most such units it comes with a cable the smaller (micro USB end) plugs into the side of the unit and the larger end (standard USB) into a PC or a 13amp plug with a USB socket.
839868 Crosskase Eighty 6 laptop ba

Multiway laptop bag from Crosskase

The Crosskase Eighty 6 laptop bag is suitable for laptops of up to 17.3 inches and should meet the needs of the busy commuter who can use it as a backpack, a messenger bag or a tote bag.
Weighing 1.2kg it is 32 x 46 x 17cm in size it is made from durable grey 600D polyester with the lining in a lighter weight blue material. It has a wide range of pockets and compartments and has been designed to accommodate the laptop and the rest of one’s paraphernalia on the daily trek to and from the office. Comfortably padded handles on both top and one end as well backpack shoulder straps give one a choice of carrying modes.
Welcome to the world according to Kyle Keever and his sidekick Mel. Be prepared for a modern day adventure in New York City.
Taking some inspiration from the numerous talent shows and superhero offerings that are currently dominating television schedules is the Supreme League of Patriots.  This is a task-based point-and-click adventure game, set in New York City, from Phoenix Online Publishing.  Developed by No Bull Intentions, this game comes in three episodes which are available from Steam, GOG.
This is a tiny device that has two jobs, first to amplify the signal from your MP3 or other audio device and second to allow the signal to be shared so no longer will you need to see one earpiece in one ear and the other in another person’s ear.
It is 2.5x2.5x1cm and weights only 15grams. It has an internal solid battery and can be used while being charged as well as when charged. The back has a micro USB socket to charge the unit; a 20cm micro USB to USB cable is supplied. The left side has a 3,5mm input and a 10cm 3.5mm to 3.5mm cable is supplied. The right side has two 3.5mm sockets so either one of two sets of earbuds of headphones can be connected. On a sheer health point not sharing earbuds is surely a plus point.
Edifier has recently added to its range of Bluetooth aware speaker products with another 2:1 system.
As I have mentioned in the past, probably on more than one occasion, I tend to look forward to the arrival of a new piece of Edifier kit.  I am always keen to see what physical shape will have been used for the pieces making up the company’s latest speaker unit.  In the case the Edifier Prisma Encore, a 2:1 speaker system, the company has combined an ancient battle helmet look with that of a triangular pillar that is narrower at the top than the base.
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