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.
Although some power walking might be helpful, it is not really necessary with this next product which can still work when just strolling.
The Packr™ belongs to the EnerPlex family of battery charging products. In the case of the Packr, this product is a rucksack that features a 285 x 135mm solar panel embedded into the back of the rucksack where it is ideally placed where to soak up and convert sunlight into power that can be used by a variety of today’s electronic devices that we would find difficult managing without during our daily lives. The rucksack itself has dimensions of 496.
Using actual locations, this next game delves into the background of Jane Austin.
Jane Austin’s Estate of Affairs is a Hidden Object Adventure game that is currently available from the Avanquest GSP game catalogue. In this game, which opens with a list of credits that include Big Fish, BBC, Legacy Games and dragoneye studios, you take on the role of Christiana, a niece of the famous novelist Jane Austin. Following the usual pattern adopted by games of this genre, you can create profiles for individual players.
Having just looked at a small DSLR unit, this is a bigger one with a large lens, certainly not something to fit in a pocket and definitely something to attach the neck strap to unless of course you are into a tough fitness regime when it may not seem heavy.
The Canon EOS 5D DSLR measures 23x11.5x18.5 when closed, fully extend the 24-105mm lens I was sent and this increases the last figure to 23cm. The weight is just over 1500grams with neck strap attached. While I am always as guilty as most to not reading the %-&*(“! manual not so here as this unit stretches me as I would call it a semi-professional model and that is almost beyond me, but I do enjoy the challenge.
With a choice of connection options and added technology, a new monitor from Philips certainly has eye-appeal.
With the less-than-descriptive model number, the 274E5 is a 27-inch LCD monitor that belongs to the Philips E-Line family of products. Featuring an ultra-narrow black bezel, this monitor gives the user an effective viewing area of 597.89 by 336.31mm with an aspect ratio of 16:9. This monitor has an optimum resolution of 1920 x 1080 @ 60Hz. Unpacking the kit reveals the 27-inch panel, an oval shaped black stand, a two-piece AC/DC power adapter, audio cable with 3.
Getting 50mm driver units into headphones means they are never going to be small. These are just on ear offerings for an adult for a younger person or someone with small ears then they enter the realm of an over ear offering.
The earpads are round and 8cm across; they are heavily padded so have a reasonable external noise deadening effect. There are 4cm worth of extension on each arm and with the earpads extended to 24cm width the distance from the centre of this area to the top of the rubber padded headband is 19cm. Each earpad turns through 90degrees so they can be rotated to sit -either independently- or together on top of the ears if the headband goes to the back of the neck. They come with a 1.2metre 3.5 to 3.
TP-Links Archer C7 AC1750 wireless dual-band gigabit router can be used on DSL, fibre or cable Internet services and is targeted at gamers and other demanding users who need ultrafast data transfer speeds and dont want their router to be a bottleneck.
It has a polished black finish, is roughly 9.5 x 6.5 x 1.2 inches in size, and is designed to be either wall-mounted (keyhole mounting slots provided) or free standing on a desk or shelf. Connections and switches are on the rear edge while the status LEDs are on the bevelled front edge so that they can be easily seen when wall mounted or on a desk even if more difficult when placed on a very high shelf.
I am not a lover of evening presentations, probably because of the various medications I am on I cannot drink so I find the socialising a drag, lets get down to the point of the event the presentation which was interesting and I got the chance to have a 1 to 1 with the scientist behind the event while the majority partied the evening away.
If you are a man then the name of Gillette must probably have formed part of your morning routine. Having decided that the five (make that six) blades in their current cartridge could not be improved they went to work on the shaft that you hold so that the blades grip the many contours of your face to allow their blades to give you a closer and more comfortable shave.
Taking on the role of Microsofts flagship smartphone offering is the task currently assigned to the Lumia 930 as it battles for market share against the dominant forces of the iPhone and numerous Android handsets. The Johnny-come-lately will certainly have a fight on its hands and there well could be tears before bedtime or maybe there is room for three heavyweight contenders within this particular market.
The Lumia 930 is available in a choice of colours, some fairly distinctive such as the bright green coat worn by my sample kindly loaned by Vodafone for the purpose of this review. Other colours, concentrating on the handset’s back cover, include bright orange, gold, black and white. In each case there is a matte silver band adding a trim to the phone’s appearance. The Lumia 930 has dimensions of 137 x 71 x 9.8mm (H x W x D) and weighs 167g.
I have been using this unit for several months. Mainly because of the claim that the ink tanks should last up to two years. A bold claim but when you examine the minute amount of ink normally supplied in cartridges 70ml is a lot.
First some maths, you could buy a bargain ‘All In One’ for well under £100 the Epson 555 ‘Multi Function’ – including Fax is more than three times that. Normal ink cartridges can contain as little as 3 to 4ml of ink the Epson 555 ink bottles contain 70ml. When the time comes to refill the tanks around £30 should have you full of the four inks again. So a rough – very rough – comparison says 140ml of ink and the Epson 555 around £350.
The next product under review allows you to increase the volume level of your mobile devices music collection.
The Bass Connect product is a small Bluetooth 3.0 speaker from thumbsUp! (UK). The speaker has dimensions of 70 x 70 x 30mm (H x W x D) and weighs 191g. With its size and weight, the device is certainly portable but maybe more suited to a bag than a pocket where it might cause an unsightly bulge when on your travels. Along with a brief instructions document in various European languages, the Bass Connect speaker comes with two leads.