By the Ghetto Blaster standards when they were popular this is small, but it is powerful and not only has it an FM radio but also Bluetooth, ability to play SD Cards and USB sticks and has impressive sounds and speakers built in.
The actual name on the box is ‘groov-e wireless portable soundblaster’. It is 38x15x12cm. There are two forward facing 3inch speakers at either end and two 2½ passive radiators on each end. The central ara between the speakers has all the controls and most of the connections. The exceptions are the mini USB power input, headphone out, auxiliary in and USB for charging other devices that are in a line along the back all inset below an overhang.
Millenial discs (M-Discs) are claimed to have a life of 1,000 years. While we cannot actually put this to the test, these discs from Verbatim provide a reliable means of storing all those irreplaceable photos and documents as well as a vast music collection.
These noise cancelling earbuds from Creative start with a puzzle, how do you get them out of the very solid packaging, the answer lies in a small sheet that lives inside the packaging. Having spent a while solving the puzzle the result was worth the wait.
They are of the ear stuff type which as they are noise reducing they have to be, they come with three sizes of silicon plugs that should fit anyone from an older child upwards. A small 13 language manual should get most up and running as the most important facts are in diagram form, luckily for me the first language was English.
While most wearable technological devices are meant for every day use, this next product is not the type you would wear when out and about.
One thing you can say about 3D, without fear of any major contradiction, is that this is a technology that refuses to admit defeat with regards its general acceptance by the public. There have been at least two major attempts to bring the technology to the big cinematic screen as the next big thing to make a lasting impression.
A 4inch screen phone may seem small today it certainly did to me as I put my own phone away for the duration of this test but as I got used to it I found it did everything I needed so this is not only about the phone but also the service.
To test the service I deliberately went to several places that I know are ‘dead spots’ where my own phone struggles, one such place gave a good service, another that is notorious dead spot on the line from Waterloo to Wimbledon where you so frequently here peoples conversations come to stop with ‘Hello, Hello’ again still in service. It is 12x6.5x1cm and weights 111grams. The right side has on/off button and below this the volume rocker.
Unlike the major players of Apple, Samsung, LG and HTC who prefer the top end of the market, ZTE positions its smartphone products in the budget arena.
According to ZTE, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of telecommunications equipment and mobile phones, most young people (into which category I left behind long ago) like smartphones with large screens. However, in ZTE’s opinion, devices with 5.5-inch and larger screens present a problem as to where they are stored as they do not easily fit into a jeans or jacket pocket.
The de facto standard for electronic documents is PDF. Software for the creation and working with such files can cost from £400 downwards. This review is based on a product costing under £60.
There was a time when, in order to read a document, it would be necessary to have the particular software that created it on your system plus any special attributes used in the original created. For example you would need to have the fonts, as part of your system, which were used in the document. Now matters are totally different. One reason for this has been the rise in popularity of the Adobe created PDF (Portable Document Format) software.
A small PowerShot digital camera, for those who do not know a PowerShot can be little larger than an IXUS the smallest of Canons cameras or as large as the small end of Canons DSLR range, so here it is at the IXUS end of the range.
The Canon SX610 HS measures 10x6x2cm and weights 190grams. The right side has a tight fitting door behind which are AV and HDMI out sockets, above this is a wrist strpap anchor point. The left side has a manual flash deployment button. The base has the solid battery bay which is where you insert any SD card you use, there is also a tripod screw which if you are going to use a lot of zoom is very important.
Computer databases have come a long way since those of early days of the D-Base products developed by Aston Tate with libraries of instructional books written on the subject. While the ability to store and correlate different types of data might not be the sexiest task, it still serves an important role for both the home and office user.
One company that has established an impressive pedigree in the particular field of databases is FileMaker. Starting life as an Apple company, FileMaker was, for a period of time, totally independent before being drawn back into the Apple fold. Sharing its name with that of its product, FileMaker is software that I have been using for a number of years for managing specific data.
The name makes it sound like a device of torture but Gadgetspeak is not that sort of site so you and your family will be safe to read about a new headset that has several things that may make it something to consider in a crowded market.
It is rare I start with the price £39.99 but while this is a simple looking set of headphones the simplicity of design makes them useable and of course with any set of headphones for me there are two things that matter, sound quality and comfort.
If you have yet to take a Selfie then you are in the minority, while the original idea was to snap yourself with a star be it sport, fashion or movie it has now become a thing even for a night out with your friends but how do you get everyone in?
Rollei have brought out a range of four to let you telescope your arm and they sent me two of them to be given the once over. This does far more than extend the length of your arm. In sheer distance this gives you up to 90cm beyond your own arm stretch and as it connects by Bluetooth – for either iOS or Android – this means you should be able to see over the largest person in front of you to capture still or even video. There are five extensions on the basic 20cm length.
While your driving skills might be up to scratch with regards to your own safety and that of other road users, the same might not be true of some others. Accidents can, and do, happen. Sometimes it is hard to establish just where the blame belongs. This next product has been developed to help in such instances.
As part of its range of in-car camera product line-up, NextBase has released its 402G Professional model. This is the company’s top of the range product. Along with the main camera device, NextBase has included a suction mount, car power cable, a standard-to-mini USB lead, HD lead, a mini CD with software for both the Windows and Mac platforms plus instruction manuals for setting up the camera and installing the supplied software on the appropriate platform.
The first a 32GB stick for iPhone, iPad and computers is how this double ended memory stick is described. The second the largest capacity Portable Power Charger I have currently seen at 11000mAh with both 1amp and 2.1 outputs.
It looks like a slightly large USB memory stick and indeed it is but apart from being able to move items from one USB device to another it does something two other things. It is 3.5cm wide around 1cm thick and around 6cm long. Its width will require either a flush fitting USB port or a USB extension lead. When inserted around 4.5cm is exposed from the PC. The first extra thing is the ability to transfer files either to or from Lightning devices.
This next headset is available from the House of Marley, an organisation set up to promote Bob Marleys vision of One Love, One World.
It has been quite a while since I last took a look at a Marley product. If that flaky component I call a memory is anything to go by then it was around four years ago that I reviewed one of the first products to bear the Marley branding. This was the over-the-ear style of headset known as the Exodus. Now it is the turn of the company’s Liberate XLBT product which is also a headset and the company’s top of the range offering.
Not one, two or three games but four games are included in this next offering based on the Match-3 genre.
I do enjoying playing Match-3 type games. I find the genre particularly relaxing and ideally suited for taking a break from other pressing matters. This next offering, available from GameHouse.com, brings together four Match-3 titles from Suricate Software. The titles are Jewel Match, Jewel Match 2, Jewel Match 3 and, surprise surprise, Jewel Match 4.
The Ixus is Canons pocket size camera range, it does however benefit from all the technology that its larger siblings have in terms of technology so do not reject this unit simply because its small enough to fit inside the smallest pocket.
The Canon Ixus 160 Compact Digital Camera measures 9.5x5.5x2cm and weights only 126grams. The right side has a rubberised edge which at the top lifts to reveal A/V out. In the centre is a clip to attach a wrist strap. The base has a tripod screw anchor and beside this the solid battery door and behind this is also where you place any SD Card you use. The left side is clear. The face has the 8x zoom lens and above and to the left of this the bar flash that cannot be nearer than 2CM to the lens.
Well known for its range of radios, Goodmans has come up with a model whose title makes me think of times gone by.
When ever I encounter a product that has “Oxford” in its title, it does tend to engender visions of a by-gone age. I do not know why this happens but I tend to imagine images of a period when life was conducted at a more leisurely pace. This is especially true when the company responsible for the product has gone for a retro look to its design styling. A recent example of this approach is the Goodman Oxford classic radio which has arrived for review.
Like several Cyberlink products this is very mature and so you should not expect mind blowing new features, however you do get increased speed and slicker functionality with tweaks and improvements to what was already a powerful product.
The box has a statement that probably needs explaining ‘More than 300,000,000 copies sold!’ this is because a basic version is supplied on a lot of new PCs from a range of manufacturers. Here however I am looking at PowerDVD 15 Ultra the version with all the bells and whistles. So for those who do not know PowerDVD is a Movie & Media Player.
A vertical cylinder with speakers at all angles behind the grill that coats the sides. This Bluetooth offering gives a good all-round sound. So what has it to offer that other such devices cannot in what is becoming a rather crowded arena?
The Cowin Thunder is cylindrical at 8.5cm and also 8.5cm tall, it weighs 495grams. It has a white top and bass and chrome all around the sides with no visible seam. Being perfectly round and with speakers all around calling anything the back seems strange but at the top of the back is a 3.5mm socket and below this at the base is the micro USB socket. On the left side at the top is an on/off button. The unit stand .
At one time we used to be known as a nation of tea drinkers. Now, however, there has been a sea change and coffee has taken over as the national beverage of choice for those not hooked on something with a stronger effect.
You only have to walk down any High Street to see the evidence as big brand coffee shops are springing up all over the place and plying their wares of various coffee-based drinks that old-timers, such as myself, find confusing despite the attractive aroma wafting from these premises. Even pubs, with their wide range of alcoholic beverages, are now selling coffee to their customers.
A cordless vacuum means no restrictions on distance from the power plug; it also has two LEDs on the shoe so no excuse for not getting into those dark corners in fact with its smaller overall shoe size it gets into places most cannot penetrate.
Certainly not a quiet unit, this hard floor or carpet cleaner is at best loud and with the brushes going it can drown out most other things. It is 112cm tall, 10cm deep at the base and 25cm wide at the brush bar. The only instructions were printed on the box and related to the battery. Assembly consists of joining the lower part of the body to the top of the body/handle, there is a single screw which is attached using something like a two pence piece to tighten.
Making a change from the numerous wireless headsets now appearing from various manufacturers, Pioneer has released a tethered model.
The Pioneer SE-MX9 is a tethered set of dynamic headphones. Described as providing Superior Club Sound, an environment I must admit to have not visited recently, the SE-MX9 (hardly the most memorable product name) is available in a choice of bright silver, indigo black or red and bright copper colour schemes. My review sample is the latter option which does give the headphones a distinctive metallic look. Keeping this headset company in its sturdy box is a couple of leads.
Anybody who has entered one of the previous Wadjet Eye game environments will have some idea of what is waiting for them in Technobabylon. Here you will find retro-styled pixel art, plenty of dialogue professionally delivered by voice actors and paths that can take you in different directions based on your choice of actions.
Starting life as a series of eight planned freeware episodes (actually only three were released) by indie developer James Dearden, Technobabylon came under the strong influence of Wadjet Eye Games. The game takes place in a dystopian cyberpunk future where genetic engineering is the norm. The use of the addictive Trance phenomena, with its virtual reality environment, has reduced the need for human interaction to a bare minimum.
This small smart phone looks slightly retro but as mobile phones devolve so quickly it would have looked very modern not that long ago. So has this latest budget priced offering got something to make you switch for its charms?
The Alcatel Pop2 smart Android phone measures 13x6.5x1cm and weights147grams. The viewable screen is 10x5.7cm which gives the notional diagonal imperial measurement of 4½inches. Like most recent SmartPhones there are few external controls, the micro USB port – for charging etc – is on the base and the 3.5mm socket for headphones is on the top.
As part of its new product line-up, Pioneer has released a new Bluetooth speaker with a title that does not refer to its price.
Aptly named the FREEme product is a Bluetooth speaker unit from Pioneer that has been released under the tag line of “Listen in Style”. Unpacking the product reveals the FREEme unit, 2 and 3-pin power plugs with an AC adapter, standard-to-micro USB lead, 3.
Certainly a large panel if you only want to display HDMI 1920 by 1080 and although it will do this via VGA it can do far more if you use other connections, exactly how much more will depend almost entirely on your graphics chip/card.
It is 65.5x40x2cm the last figure is at the edges but there is a thicker rectangle further in which increases the thickness to 5cm. The stand is a circle with a chunk removed at the front so its 27cm deep and 30cm across. It can raise the panel by as little as 4cm from your desk or as much as 19cm with the hydraulic arm. It can of course be rotated by 90 degrees to be used as a landscape panel. Its weight with the stand attached is a tad over 8kilos.
The datAshur USB flash drive from iStorage, available in capacities from 4 to 32GB has been designed to provide military grade protection for ones data from both unauthorised access -- electronic and physical -- as well as loss due to the drive getting damaged.
The drive is 78 x 18 x 8 mm and has a large key ring attached. It is black in colour with a 1 to 0 keypad and LEDs on one side. Its overall weight, with the supplied extruded aluminium sleeve in place, is about 25g and is fractionally larger at 80 x 20 x 10.5mm.
As you reach a certain age what was an easy task with a pair of shears becomes a three cup of coffee job and a long soak in the bath afterwards. So why not let a budget priced electric hedge trimmer make it as easy as it never was?
I do not need reminders that I am getting old, the last few times I hacked away at my hedge and a couple of bushes left my body complaining for days – it used to be hours – so a hedge trimmer was the answer as this year even the thought of me picking up the shears had my body protesting. With the cost of this unit being so reasonable even getting my shears sharpened seemed daft so I gave in.
I once worked as a beach photographer snapping holiday makers in the hope they would purchase these items as a memento. Maybe I could be considered an early form of this next product.
There is one aspect of a smartphone’s use that I am sure never considered during the early development stages of this particular type of mobile device.
With digital cameras being able to capture video its been a while since I have cast my eye over a Camcorder. This was quite a revelation, it should not have been as digital cameras have evolved so have Camcorders and this one can even capture PIP.
The Panasonic HC-W570 camcorder measures 12.5x5.5x6cm and weights 306grams. It is called a twin camera and that is what it is. The normal lens at the front and a further lens at the far-left-edge of the TFT screen. It seems strange and it can be used or not according to the situation.