There used to be a popular saying, in fact it could still be in use but I have not heard it recently, which implies the older you get, the younger policemen appear! I could also add from my own experiences that the older you get, the steeper hills appear or the older you get, the longer it takes you to remove a product from its packaging. This last statement sprang to mind as I struggled to extract the Withings Activité Pop offering from its protective casing. Admittedly I was trying to avoid destroying the box holding the product but the task took well over 15 minutes before I was able to hold this activity tracker device in my hands. Some damage was caused to the packaging as a result of my efforts.
The Activité Pop takes the form of an analogue wristwatch. The watch has a certain retro look to it with its round face and plastic strap. Instead of numbers the watch face is divided into sections, each covering a five minute period. Anybody who has a wrist thicker than mine might well struggle a little to attach this watch to their wrist due to the length of the strap.
Yes its big, you could display a lot of spreadsheet or several web pages on its possible 3440x1440 display. You could use it in either portrait or landscape mode as it swivels easily on its stand, you could even treat yourself to cinema videos without large borders top and bottom.
This AOC 34inch Panel measures 82.5x37x2cm; its stand is rectangular 30x22cm and raises the panel between 6 and 27cm in landscape mode. This is certainly the largest - in screen size – panel that I have reviewed but even with its fairly weighty base it weights a fraction of what my first 17inch monitor weighed, that you always had a space to put it down before you picked it up, this unit is still quite easy to move around.
When a Brother product arrives for review, usually its main function is that of a printer whether of the monochrome or colour variety. However printers are not the only type of device that is associated with Brother. The company also manufactures scanners either as a standalone unit or combines with a printer to make a multifunction device. In the former category is the Brother ADS-2100e which has been developed for use in a medium sized office environment. This scanner requires a USB connection to the computer system.
Predominately black in colour, the ADS-2100e is a wedged-shape unit. In its closed state it has dimensions of 299 x 220 x 179mm (W x D x H) and weighs 3.3kg. Raising the top cover of the unit increases the scanner’s height measurement to 305mm and reveals the paper feeding mechanism and the basic control options available with the AD-2100e.
It is time to put your detection skills to good use once again as you visit an island-based hospital where everything is not as it might seem.
As the second instalment in the 9 Clues series, The Ward takes you on a journey to investigate a psychiatric hospital. In this Hidden Object Adventure game, now part of Avanquest’s GSP game catalogue, you take on the role of a female detective who is accompanied by a partner who is appropriately named Owen Duffer. I say “appropriately” as you are required to do most of the work while Duffer just stands around looking important until called upon for the rough stuff.
If you pay more than £100 for a set of earbuds then to me they must be special. So does the fact these are made from Carbon Fibre and Machined Brass mean they are automatically worth the money I was unsure so I used them for several weeks.
When I think of brass I assume something will weigh a lot, the total weight of these earbuds is 18grams. They are 1.23metres from the gold plated ‘L’ shaped connection to the silicon earbuds. The last 33cm are two leads the rest of the lead is one. The left lead has the tie-shirt-or whatever crocodile clip and above this the normal phone answer and music track control.
Bluetooth speakers continue to be a popular item. The latest such device to reach me includes speakerphone and battery charging functionality.
Adding to its range of wireless speakers, Braven has developed its 805 model. As is becoming increasingly popular with such devices, the Braven 805 can act as a Bluetooth speaker, speakerphone and a power bank for changing a variety of mobile devices when a mains power source in not immediately available.
This is not Samsungs latest and greatest high end model but it is being sold by AO at a very competitive price so much so that they class it as a best seller, so what exactly do you get for your money and is it a good value purchase.
The screen is 90x52.5x3.5cm, the stand is rectangular at 50x19cm and this raises the screen by 6cm from whatever you place it on. The viewable diagonal screen measurement is 40inches.
A set of headphones designed for kids of an age when the parents/guardians still decide what they listen with so the headphones are volume limited as the early years of a childs life is the time when their hearing can be most easily damaged.
They are however still wearable by an adult and I spent many hours listening to their output, which is perfectly adequate to listen to either a mobile phone or even an MP3 player, I even tested them with my audio system and the sound was clear and crisp. Now onto the claim of ‘volume limited’ well the packaging states 85DB which to me anyway is more than loud enough.
A recent visit to a trade show introduced me to a company developing products for the kitchen that were controlled by remote.
It was time to sit back and enjoy a cuppa with probably a biscuit or two. Now where did I put my smartphone? At this point in time I should stop indulging in flights of fancy and explain that I am not going to call up some home delivery service with an order for refreshments but show further evidence that the Internet of Things is taking over different aspects of modern day living. Let me tell you about the iKettle which is a kettle with its own built in Wi-Fi functionality.
This is the latest fitness device to come my way, as I am now using Android 5 it should link without problem, it is stated to work with later versions of Android 4 with low power Bluetooth 4 and that is what you should check before purchase.
Fully stretched the strap containing the Fuse reaches to 25.5cm; it is black rubber on the face and red rubber on the back. Download the App from the link given in the Quick Start Guide. Charge the Fuse from either a plug front or any PC USB port and you are ready to sweat. While the Fuse displays a range of things on the solid central area of the strap you set it up with what to display and when to vibrate – if required – within the App.
While Bluetooth allows you to stream music to speakers supporting the technology, this next product offers to bring non-Bluetooth speakers into the mix.
As part of the mydlink Home series of offerings, D-Link has released its DCH-M225 product. This particular device combines Wi-Fi extender capabilities with Music Everywhere technology whereby you can stream music from a smartphone, tablet or computer to various speakers via a connection to an AUX socket. There is support for Windows and Mac computers plus Android and iOS mobile devices.
When a bear gate-crashes your wedding and abducts you, you better hope your twin can come to the rescue and sort out things before matters get any worse.
As part of the Grim Legends series of titles, The Forsaken Bride is a Hidden Object Adventure game set in a world of legends, mystery and magic. This game is available in Collector’s Edition format from Avanquest’s GSP catalogue of titles. Along with the main game, this Collector’s Edition offering comes with various bonus items. You can access features such as wallpaper, soundtracks, concept art and, rather surprisingly, Hidden Object puzzles immediately.
First an item I have reviewed before that anyone with high blood pressure needs, here though not the arm cuff but a wrist one. Second an item that anyone with Diabetes needs a testing device that automatically stores your daily readings for you.
Unlike most blood pressure monitors that require you to roll sleeves high up your arm this device works at the wrist. Having reviewed other such devices and I do own one myself this gives readings that are just as accurate and less involved. This has been waiting to be reviewed for some months, the reason I could not review it is that it did not work with the original app on my SmartPhone.
Over the last twenty years or so, since its inception in 1996, Edifier has built up a reputation for producing speaker systems whose appearance tended to set them apart from the pack while delivering reasonable audio quality. As well as these various innovative designs combining satellite speakers and a subwoofer, the company has also developed a number of portable speakers including this latest offering, the MP211, which is the subject matter of this next review.
Available in a choice of blue, red, white, black and yellow, with my review sample being of the latter hue, the MP211 has a lozenge appearance with rounded ends adding a touch of style. With dimensions of 15 x 6 x 3cm (W x H x D) and weighing 180g, the MP211 is eminently portable and it should slip into a pocket or bag without causing too much inconvenience when on your travels. A wrist lanyard, 3.
I saw this unit at the BETT (Education Show) at the end of January and the quality of its output was the reason I requested it. I knew it would be big and expected the normal review place in my cramped office not to be enough, I was wrong.
The Epson Sure Colour SC600 measires 60x28x22cm when shut. Add 15cm to the last figure the height to put a stack of A4 in the sit up and beg back tray. Add 21cm to the depth to cover the paper output tray, so 60x49x37cm is the total space needed to have an A3+ unit in your office. If you use A3 paper in the tray make the last figure (height) 49.5inches.
Viewsonics full HD webcam LED monitor VG2437SMC has built in microphone, webcam and speakers. This obviates the need for separate camera and speakers and so provides a professional approach to videoconferencing in the office or even in the home.
This 24 inch widescreen monitor is 22 inches wide so doesn’t take up too much desk space. It can be tilted through a range of -5 to +20 degrees and has approximately 5 inch of height adjustment. In addition, it can be rotated from the normal landscape orientation to portrait. This is also very useful for providing access to all the connections which are on the underside of the monitor. There are also the standard 10 x 10cm VESA mounting holes.
Designed like some other units to give you more volume from your mobile phone. This also allows you to plug in an MP3 player or other such device to receive the Thumbs Up treatment to increase the volume level via its speaker.
The TouchMini Boombox measures 6.5x7x5.5cm and weighs 123grams. This is the smallest such unit and using the notch in the top or side it can be a little unstable if you insert a large SmartPhone. The front facing speaker on the unit is 4cm across, when you use the notch be sure to place the speaker on your phone towards the front of the unit.
The Sony Xperia Z3 is a waterproof smartphone. This particular model is available in a choice of white, green, copper or black with my review sample being of the latter colour. I have to thank Vodafone for kindly provided the unit that is the basis of this review.
When taking the handset out of the box, it was immediately obvious that the Xperia Z3 completely dwarfed by current smartphone. I could immediately tell that there would definitely be a problem if I tried to insert this beast into the pocket I usually use for my mobile device. Presumably Sony did not take into consideration the storage of such a device when not in use. With dimensions of 146 x 72 x 7.
Small is perhaps an inadequate word in this case. I have reviewed mini PCs before but never something smaller than even a small mobile phone and this PC runs Windows 8.1 so can something that slips into a pocket deliver?
It is 10x4x1cm with connections once plugged into an HDMI port on the back or side of your TV. It could also connect into a standalone panel. It weighs only 45grams.
Adding to its range of PowerBank devices, Sandberg has released a model that keeps you informed as to its current available power level.
One consistent bugbear, with regards to the various mobile devices that have been our constant companions for many years, has been the poor return on the power available from the built-in battery feature. The more you use your mobile device(s), the greater the risk you run of encountering a situation where the smartphone or tablet fails to respond when you really need it due to a power deficiency.
A magical kingdom with talkative strange creatures is the setting for this next Hidden Object Adventure game.
Nearwood takes you on a journey to a magical land inhabited by strange creatures that need assistance with the problems they face in their day-to-day lives. Available in Collector’s Edition format from Avanquest’s GSP game catalogue, Nearwood is a Hidden Object Adventure game. As usual with Collector Edition titles, Nearwood comes with a number of bonus items to add to the basic main game.
This is a very nice 27inch flat panel designed to show 2560x1440 resolution using Display Port, it also has Digital, D-Sub and HDMI connections that will show at 1920x1080, but assuming your graphics chip has HDMI 1.4a this unit has a big plus.
The AOC q2778vqe measures 62.5x38x1.5cm, its stand is circular and 22cm across this raises the unit by 8cm from your desk. The viewable screen is 60x34cm which gives the notional imperial (diagonal) measurement of 27inches. Via VGA (D-Sub) or Digital you will get only the standard 1920x1080 resolution, with Display Port its 2560x1440 automatically and if you have a recent notebook you can certainly have it as a second display showing 2560x1440 via HDMI.
As part of its mydlink Home family of products, D-Link has developed a Wi-Fi Motion Sensor. This product has been designed to alert the user to any motion that is detected in the home when they are absent for any reason. When such instances occur they will be notified through standard Push technology.
The Motion Sensor device resembles a slightly larger than normal 3-pin power plug. Sitting on the top of this white unit is a cloudy circular bubble while a pair of LED lights is positioned either side of a WPS button. A mydlink Home logo desecrates the front of this plug-shaped device. Included in the box along with the Motion Sensor are various items of documentation.
The Freecom Mini Tough Drive SSD meets the need for a portable drive that has adequate capacity for most normal needs and is robust enough to withstand any hard knocks of everyday use by those who spend an amount of their time on the move.
The Freecom Mini Tough Drive SSD meets the need for a portable drive that has adequate capacity for most normal needs and is robust enough to withstand any hard knocks of everyday use by those who spend an amount of their time on the move. This USB 3.0 drive is available in two capacities: 128 and 256GB. It is 87 x 53 x 17mm in size and so will fit comfortably into the palm of one’s hand or in one’s pocket or computer bag and, weighing just 70g (2.5oz.), one hardly notices it.
This is a value phone that looks like it should cost more. It has bright easy to read screen apart from when you are in strong sunlight and then those who hanker for a mirror should be accommodated by the ultra-reflective screen.
The Alcatel Pop D5 measures 13x6.5x1cm and weights 150grams. The viewable screen is 9.7x5.6 which gives the notional diagonal imperial measurement of 4½ inches. That is 480x854pixels. The back is a tasteful matt black so why can’t the screen surround be the same at least then it would not show fingermarks. I know non reflective screens cost more so that’s why this has not got one.
A tiny camera in a large box but it is not all packaging as it has numerous ways of connecting it to your body so whatever you do and wherever you go the Actioncam 400 can come to and as there is a wrist (watch type) connection you do not even need to touch the camera to activate it.
The Rollei Actioncam 400 5x5x3.5cm and weighs only 78grams. I will not even attempt to give the weight or dimensions with ‘x’, ‘y’ or ‘z’ attached. The camera itself has three buttons on/off and shoot on the top and Wi-Fi connection on the face.
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.