It is time to meet Ricky, a member of Hasbro’s RealFur family of child-appealing pets.
In the past I have given home room to a parrot and a cat from Hasbro and have to admit they got on reasonable well together. Now it is the turn of a trick-loving puppy to take centre stage as it entertains a young owner who is lucky enough to find this pet among their Christmas presents.. Not being an expert on the subject of dog breeds, I will limit my description of Ricky to his colour scheme of grey with white feature, paws and tail. Unpacking Ricky is an adventure in itself.
A recent distributor event in London saw me get access to several brands new to me one of these was a firm with a range called Kitsound and I left with a pair of Active Noise Cancelling headphones that can be wired or Wireless.
In the box are the on/over ear headphones, a 1metre 3.5mm to 3.5mm lead, a 75cm USB ‘C’ to USB lead for charging, an airplane style connector plug and a drawstring bag to keep everything in when travelling. There was also an eight sided User Manual which at 21x14.5cm was printed single language in a font at a readable size even for those of us with less than perfect sight, others should follow suit.
As well as offering its customers a full range of popular handsets for their communication needs, Vodafone has also developed its own range of handsets.
The latest such device to arrive, forming part of the Vodafone Smart range, is the company’s N9 handset. Adopting the standard Candy bar style of appearance, my review sample of this Smartphone combines an aluminium silver back plate with an Apple White bezel surrounding the handset’s screen. There is also a model with a black Titanium back plate. Supplied with the Vodafone N9 are a USB lead and a 2-pin charging plug plus a set of earphones for private listening sessions.
I am a projector virgin or rather I was until this solid battery offering arrived a few weeks ago. It came with no instructions, it had a power adapter and an HDMI lead so I plugged it into my PC and pressed the power button and after a few seconds I was looking at my Windows desktop. To be fair I had seen lots of other projectors but only as a recipient of another person’s presentation.
This Optoma LV130 LED Projector measures 12.5x10.5x3.5cm and weighs 393grams. It can be placed anywhere standing on its four tiny rubber feet or mounted on a tripod using the tripod screw in the centre of the base. The rear has a line of connections, 3.5mm socket for headphones, HDMI socket (this can also be an MHL socket) USB which can charge at 1A and DC connection. Finally an on/off button with red and green LED’s above it.
Even if like me your daily shave is with an electric or battery razor there is nothing like a wet shave and even though a lot of recent electronic offerings are ‘wet or dry’ the scrape – for want of a better word – of a wet razor is a pleasure. My razor of choice for such a task uses the five blades on offer from Gillette here an offering that will make a perfect gift at a low price.
The Fusion offerings have five blades inline, and for those places like just under your nose another single blade on the other side of the shaving head. To give this gift pack its full name it’s Gillette (Limited Edition) Fusion 5 ProGlide. In the box is the razor 15cm long from base to tip and a stand. 5.5cm down from the head is a rubberised area of just less than 4cm for your thumb with the 6cm below that in chrome.
Robots are not just work horses but can provide fun and entertainment for the youngest members of the family.
With a title that gives a clear indication as to the product’s general appearance, the Boxer (no relation to a hit Paul Simon song) is an interactive box-shaped AI robotic toy. As one of the top twelve entries in the latest DreamToys listing, the Boxer has been developed by Spin Master Toys and is being aimed at the 6+ age group or anybody who is young at heart and enjoys technology.
A lot of devices say ‘fast charge’ however fast charge will never be achieved by plugging the device into a USB port on a PC or even a wall socket unless you have a special plug capable of getting more power to your device which means higher power.
A lot of the figures given with this device are for iOS offerings but more Android devices are now allowing power to be transferred faster and even if your current device does not yet offer it with this plug and lead as supplied by Cygnett you are future proofing. I recently attended a mobile phone launch where the presenter talks about wireless charging and then without pausing mentioned that X% of charge was achievable in Y minutes.
We love our food but does it love us as the issue of body weight needs to be considered.
Obesity is currently a hot topic. You have only to look at your local High Street were you live and consider the meals with which you partake to see how this problem could affect you. Fast food outfits form a major part of our high streets and their offerings make up a significant part of out diets, and I have to include myself as being as guilty as the next person with regards to my selection of meals.
This is a flagship camera for Olympus and is often sold body only. I was sent the unit with a 12-40mm lens. It arrived at a time when I had several events at iconic place, the OXO tower, the Shard and perhaps the most poignant the 100 years from the end of the First World War at the Imperial War Museum which is currently the home of the Ceramic poppies.
The Olympus E-M1 Mark II weighs 1026 grams with the provided substantial neck strap attached. The camera is 13x8.5cm without any flash attached to the shoe. The depth with the provided lens attached is between 15 and 18cm. An A5 book is over 200 pages but sadly this is a ‘basic’ manual so only nine of its pages are in English the rest are in 27 other languages. Let’s start with the 6.4x4.2cm TFT screen on the back it can be rotated through 180 degrees to protect it.
Offering private listening is a device with Porsche flair.
Like many, I suspect, my thoughts automatically turn towards expensive, high speed automobiles (well beyond my pocket) when encountering the Porsche brand name. However the area of automobiles is not the only place you will come across the Porsche name. There is also Porsche Design.
While vegetarianism and veganism and both becoming more popular I am of an age when a Sunday Roast is still my meal of choice. However everyone is more safety conscious and while eating pork pink is acceptable meat does need proper cooking and the larger the joint the more important it is that it is properly heated through hence a meat thermometer is required, even in the home, especially if the meat has previously been frozen.
While I have used several other meat thermometers this is the neatest rather like a small good quality biro in size. It is 13cm long and only .5cm around, it weighs only 10 grams. The difference between this probe and all others I have used is that it stays in the meat during cooking which means you never need to open the oven to check the meats temperature. It sends signals via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth to an Android or iOS App.
The Ring Stick Up Cam Wired is the latest addition to Ring’s portfolio. It is a security camera, with two-way talk, that can be viewed remotely and is suitable for both indoor and outdoor applications
In addition to the camera which enables the user to remotely check up security of there property, Ring also offers an associated service where videos, which could be used for evidence of nefarious activity, are stored for periods of up to 60 days. While the cams are also available in black, the one used for this review was white except for the roughly 40 x 70mm window over the camera lens, microphone, speaker and the infra-red LED for night-time viewing.
Did you know that 59% of UK toys bought for Christmas were chosen by the giver rather than selected from a child’s wish list?
While December brings us Christmas, the month of November reveals the choice of the top twelve toys that are expected to be the most sought after by parents for their children. This list of toys is referred to as DreamToys and it has been put together by a representative panel of retailers and industry experts.
A rechargeable battery operated toothbrush designed to allow the child to ‘enjoy’ the time spent brushing his/her teeth, while it is a fairly normal looking brush the difference is that it connects via Bluetooth in an App on a mobile phone. While a young child under full supervision will soon get the idea that different brushing techniques help, my worry is for the mobile phone getting dropped into a basin or worse.
The brush is 22cm long with the round base being 3cm across, the brush itself is the final 7cm with the bristles the final 2cm the head is 1cm across, the unit weighs 114grams. For a small child this may be quite heavy. Although my childhood is long gone – some may say I am now in my second childhood – I used this without problem apart from remembering to have the SmartPhone on and nearby.
Unlike many Bluetooth speakers, this next product adds a lightshow to its feature set.
Developed by Anker, the Soundcore Flame + is a portable 360 degree Bluetooth Speaker. Currently my review sample of this product is delivering a selection of my favourite music that is stored on a smartphone as I gather my thoughts regarding this piece of equipment.
While a NAS has long been something for larger organisations and even smaller companies it now has a place for the SOHO or even the Home user as Synology have recently launched a single bay NAS and also Seagate have launched a drive designed for NAS use so a recent visit to London had me finding my way around the chaos at Euston caused by Crossrail for the construction of the Elizabeth line.
While the 22x7x15cm box has the Synology name, they are the people who produce the operating system that it runs on and the drive it has inside is made by Seagate, in fact the drive in the unit I have is made by Seagate especially for NAS use. Also in the box with the NAS are getting started instructions, an Ethernet lead and a mains lead.
Music on the move is the aim of a product from JARRE Technologies.
Developed by JARRE Technologies and available in a choice of glossy red, glossy white and matte black (my review sample), the Aero Bull Nano is a portable Bluetooth speaker. To emphasise the portability aspect of this device, a carabineer ring is included in the package. This allows you to attach the speaker to an article of clothing when you are on your travels and require music on the go. The speaker’s title gives an indication as to its size and shape.
Certainly the biggest TV to have invaded my lounge, unlike most others that allow me to slide my own TV back on the unit this needs to be towards the back of the unit because of the width of the screen and the size of the stand.
The Cello QLED 55inch 4K TV measures 124x70.5x.6cm and the stand it sits on is 76cm wide at the front and 24cm from back to front, it is the shape of a ‘C’ this raises the unit by 7cm from what it sits on. It can of course be wall mounted. However as the fitment is the only place I can put any TV the width of the ‘C’ is vital for me.
While one hand operation for a water bottle may not be essential – for most – it is nice and once used you realise what a faff it is to have to use two hands just to get a slurp of water, so this becomes a rather neat implementation of it.
This water bottle from Sigg measures 26cm tall and round at 7cm and weighs 336 grams when empty. The unit as supplied to me is both a Hot and Cold unit and indeed even has a strainer for those who put things in it that need straining, this part can be removed if required. The stated times of the bottles insulation properties are 20 hours cold and 12 hours hot.
Perhaps it was a mistake to start checking on this next title on Halloween as it might encourage a deluge of late night callers. Actually I got off light in this respect as just a pair of “trick and treaters” arrived on my doorstep to interrupt my playing of the game of Sinister City.
Stated to be capable of copying 8K video as captured according to the box. I can certainly confirm capture of 4K video without any problem on two separate devices. It is an SDHC UHS-II Card, mine was 32GB but they do other capacities.
Looking at the face of the card it is no different in size (dimensions) to any other SD card. Turn it over and you see a difference, the same row of contacts at the inward edge of the card but below that an additional row of contacts. It is stated to have read speeds of up to 270MB/s*² and write speeds of up to 260MB/s*². However due to the high quality for one year there is data recovery software available for free. The card itself is warrantied for five years.
Adding to its range of speaker devices, Edifier has released the MP200
In the past I have looked at a number of speaker systems from Edifier. Several of these products have featured innovations shapes to add visual appeal to their audio quality. However this next offering from Edifier is more conservative with regards to its shape although it does have other aspects which have benefitted from the company’s way of looking at products.
Having used numerous types of glues that include the notorious Super Glue here something rather different a mouldable glue marketed under the name of Sugru. I was sent a pack in what they call earth colours of Red, Green, Brown and White.
Providing battery power from your pocket is a device from Anker.
As our mobile devices have developed over the years with changes to their size, weight and functionality, one particular aspect has, perhaps, lagged behind with regards to customer appeal. We mostly love the increase in screen size with higher quality images and maybe a gram or two shaved off the weight.
No fancy packaging in fact they look ‘cheap’ – however do not stop reading – as looks can be deceptive and for the price these are available at rather good. So two in ear gels that for those that like to share their buds can even be used by two but of course that would lose stereo but provided the two of you remain close together you can both hear your sounds from a single SmartPhone.
Unlike other wireless buds these work rather differently in that both buds have batteries and both need to be charged but a splitter USB lead is supplied. So you link each earbud to the pair by pressing the K on the back of one it flashes red and blue and then repeat the process on the other bud and only then do you link to your SmartPhone by Bluetooth. So there is no problem of only one bud being linked as they are linked to each other before the SmartPhone.
The Wahl Aqua Blade is the latest addition to the company’s product range. It can be used wet or dry to trim or edge one’s beard as well as shave one’s head
Become a New York Police Detective to solve the mystery of a French hotel.
With multiple floors, rooms, corridors and facilities, a hotel is often used as an ideal location for an adventure game. In the case of the obviously named “Hotel” title, the location is the Bellevue Hotel built on the same site as a medieval castle long ago. Throw into the mix a New York Police Detective, named Bridget Brightstone, some historical characters and you have a game to challenge the player.
The next of the 2019 versions to cross my desk and again a product that gets used all year and not just while being reviewed. However I tend to use one feature the CD/DVD burning software at least once a week all year other features less frequently.
Nero is such a broad ranging product that few will ever be expect in all the modules and that is why Nero KnowHow Plus is so useful once it is turned it helps you to do what you want even if you are not really sure how to accomplish what you want to do. It sits on the right side of your Desktop and gives help and advice. Nero is a suite of products in one there are six main products as well as extra ‘Apps’.
When it comes to Huawei handsets, you can never really complain that you are spoilt for choice.
Huawei offers a regular flow of new models, whether part of its flagship Mate or Honor brands, to suit a variety of taste and pockets of potential customers. The latest Huawei model to come under my gaze is the company’s Mate 20 lite offering. With dimensions of 75.3 x 158.3 x 7.6 mm (W x H x D) and weighing approximately172 g, my review sample was decked out in black with highly polished and reflective front and rear panels.
This is a large curved computer panel which can show up to 2160x1440. So if your room can support such a large screen then you will get reasonable sound, great images and once you get used to the curve a more than satisfactory viewing experience.
This Benq monitor measures 71x42x2cm and it has a ‘V’ shaped stand 48x24cm which raises the screen by a minimum of 6cm. As the support arm is movable it can raise the unit by up to 12cm. The viewable screen is 70x40cm which gives the notional diagonal imperial measurement of 31.5 inches. The screen has 15 degrees of back tilt and 5 degrees of forward tilt. There is no side to side movement but with a screen of this size you will not be sitting that close to it. There is 3.