Nothing beats the smell of freshly baked bread. The Russell Hobbs 18036 Breadmaker offers a straightforward way of making bread in your kitchen as and when you want it.
This is certainly the thinnest soundbar I have seen. It does however have a separate rather meaty sub woofer. So any thought you may have of a thin or sub standard sound reproduction should immediately be banished from your mind.
The sound bar is one metre long, 5cm tall and 2cm deep. The small plastic stand that it rests in is 40cm long, 5cm deep and 3cm tall. The sub woofer is 19x26x27cm. As with all sound bars the main use will be with your TV and an optical cable. In my past tests with such items I have had mixed results. Here however anything that would normally throw volume from the TV speakers worked, that is of course what you want but with some devices not what you get.
Certainly a small unit, it has a changeable lens but is not in my mind a DSLR unit. In fact my first thoughts on taking it out of the box would not have made pleasant reading but after sorting the problems, I grew to like verging on - love the Samsung NX Mini digital camera.
During my test period I was lucky enough to get invited to an event half way up The Shard and this provided some amazing images on an autumn evening. The camera measures 11x6.3x3.3cm and weights 228grams. It is surprising how used you get to letting the camera do the work and not worrying to much about how close you are to the subject. Here with the fixed 9mm lens you need to move around a bit more or rely on the image and photo manipulation software to give you the image you want after capture.
Not everybody wants or needs a smartphone with all its bells and whistles. There are many users, especially those often referred to as silver surfers, who are more than happy to find their mobile communication needs adequately covered by a feature phone such as the latest addition to Doros growing 3G feature handset portfolio. This new addition to the Doro catalogue is the PhoneEasy 624 model.
With dimensions of 102 x 52 x 19mm and weighing 104g (800 mAh Li-ion battery included), the PhoneEasy 624 is a clamshell unit with a metallic red outer casing featuring white trimmings. A charging stand, micro-to-standard USB lead, three-pin power plug, earphones with mute control, lanyard and User Manual are included in the box.
For those looking for a book reader then the Aura H20 from Kobo could well be something to consider. The bright white background makes it seem just like what one used to take off the bookshelf to read, the main advantage is that text size can suit your eyesight.
The Kobo Aura H20 measures 18x12.5.7cm and weights 228grams. It fits nicely in an adult hand and will slip easily into a bag or purse. The screen is 10.3x17.7cm, the screen in imperial measurements is 6.8inches and the screen is 1430x1080, the default text size gives 25 lines of what looks quite small text but even for someone of advanced years and less than perfect eyesight – me – found is very readable at 40cm distance.
The popular Ivy Restaurant was the location where I first cast eyes on the subject of this next review.
The CEOL Carino is a Denon audio system that has been designed to combine USB connectivity to a computer and Bluetooth streaming from a range of mobile devices when delivering its audio content. Decked out in a fairly fingerprint resistant lacquered black (there is a white version), this kit consists of the main Carino box, two satellite speakers and a small remote control unit.
And who, you may ask is Ollie? And what is he about?
Let me introduce you to Ollie. This fun creature is a close cousin of Sphero and Sphero 2. Like his cousins, Ollie was developed in the Orbotix labs under the watchful eye of its co-creator Ian Bernstein who feels that this tubular creation should be regarded as the complete adrenaline junkie that is never happier than when charging about under some sort of control emanating from the user’s mobile device.
While most think of Samsung for mobile phones and their more of less consistent war with Apple they also do a whole raft of other excellent products including Smart TVs so flat panels for computers will be no surprise is another of their group of expertise.
The screen of the Samsung S24D390HL monitor measures 54x31x2cm with the 25x20cm stand raising it 9cm from your desk. The viewable screen is 51x29.5cm which gives the notional diagonal imperial measurement of 23.6inches. The default screen display is 1920x1080. This unit has a lot of back tilt and a small amount forward of vertical. As with all recent panels this has a wide viewing angle and here it is not just from side to side but also above and below, the stated figure is 178degrees.
While colour can add impact, it is not always required by some documents. This next printer gives you speed and good quality for your monochrome documents.
While Brother is currently targeting the expanding Colour Laser market space with its “Now the Gloves are Off” campaign, the company is certainly not neglecting the monochrome market sector as can be seen by its new HL-L2365DW offering. Aimed primarily at the Home and Small Office user, this monochrome laser printer offers a choice of USB, wired network or wireless connectivity with Duplex printing capability as the “DW” part of the product’s title indicates.
This unit arrived shortly after the Humax YouView unit, at the same time as a brilliant Humax Sound Bar (review to follow). Things did not start out well but after a couple of conversations things improved and I now trust it.
Trust might seem a strange word but if you want to watch a program that is broadcast when you are out then you have to trust the machine to record it. Initially I could not but a firmware update brought things into sync until Freeview did a channel reorganization and then I found that my schedule was lost, not disastrous as I found out the next day, but if you had been away for a holiday it could have been. The version of the Firmware that I found worked correctly was 1.
Being a mere man the secrets of a girls handbag normally remain just that. Here however are two products that it is likely a man will want to use, in most cases they will not be the lipstick or compact packaging they come disguised as.
This is a large lipstick of an age passed as most ladies now seem to use a brush to apply such things but when closed this just under 10cm long and near 2.5cm square offering does indeed look like a lipstick. Pull the unit apart and the black and gold lower half is the units battery. The top 4.5cm can house a short 8cm long micro USB to USB lead but when stored in this way the top does not fit back on.
Although better known for its various graphics titles, some created in-house and other bought in, Corel does have another claim to fame. The company was responsible for helping kick-start the take up of the early optical drives as software quickly outgrew the available capacity of the floppy disks previously used for conveying commercial software, As a special promotion, Corel bundled a free CD drive with its CorelDRAW product. This was how I obtained my first CD drive.
Since those early days when CorelDRAW was the number one choice for both professional and amateur users, the playing field has changed with Adobe dominating the scene and relegating Corel to a more runner up position. It is from the position of catch-up that Corel has released the latest edition of its CorelDRAW suite, namely version X7. The CorelDRAW Suite X7 is available in two versions. There is the full commercial offering with a single installation priced at £479.
This is a 7inch Android Tablet, from the same range as the A1 I reviewed in June. This looks and feels quite different and I have not really worked out why the only thing I noticed remember I am a man is this this was black and the A1 was cream.
The screen is smaller and the back has tiny ridges. The dimensions are 12x20x.8cm; the viewable screen is 9.5x15cm which gives the notional diagonal imperial measurement of 7inches. Screen resolution is 800x1280. The right side has the on/off button towards the top with the volume up/down rocker below it, even lower on the right side is a micro SD card slot. The base and left side are clear while the top has pin hole microphone, micro USB connector and 3.5mm connection for headphones.
Like big red buses that tend to turn up in pairs, no sooner do I complete my review of a wireless extender product than a similar product turns up.
While a Wi-Fi home network can provide you with a range of functions including the ability to stream data between systems, it can suffer from dead spots. These are usually created by the basic infrastructure of the building in which the network is located. Not surprisingly some companies have developed a possible solution to deal with the problem of dead areas.
A trip back in time, both in the style of game play and the period setting, takes you off to America for this next title.
Developed as the result of collaboration between Grundislav Games and Wadjet Eye Games, is A Golden Wake. This is a retro-styled adventure game that is set in America during the period that is known as the Roaring Twenties. However, rather than the more popular locations of New York and Chicago associated with this period, the game takes you off to sunny Florida at an early stage of its development as a residential and tourist attractive.
For those who are serious about security it is not a case of extra cameras you need somewhere special to keep the evidence and here it is a box that can record everything from up to sixteen different cameras and keep it all securely.
This is collaboration between Buffalo the secure storage part and Axis Communications in my case the one camera. The Buffalo box comes with WD Red hard drives that are pre configured for NAS use. So all you need to do is locate the cameras and make the connections. The stated time is less than twenty minutes from opening the shipping box. The longest job is of course installing the camera of cameras to get the best view.
WiFi's become an almost indispensable adjunct to our computing and home entertainment, but it has its quirks. It passes easily through interior stud walls - unless they happen to be foil-insulated - but can grind to a halt when confronted with brick. UK regulations limit transmission power, and hence the range, and dead spots are not uncommon in traditionally-constructed British homes. Sod's law dictates that these will exactly coincide with the location of your Net-connected set-top box, or your favorite place for using your laptop or tablet.
It's a problem that happily has a neat solution. But until the Netgear WN3000RP arrived on my desk I had no idea how simple it could be to set up a Wi-Fi extender.
Ever since the original launch, my smartphone of choice has been the Motorola Moto G device which combines good performance with a reasonable price point. Motorola has recently upgrading this excellent handset with the new second generation version which is available in single or dual SIM flavours with a choice of either 8GB or 16GB. Also included with this second generation of the product is a micro SD card slot enabling the user to increase storage by a further 32GB.
When purchasing this new Moto G handset you have a choice of colours while Motorola has retained the customisation feature of replaceable back and flip type shells. The new version of the Moto G is slightly larger at 70.7 x 141.5mm (W x H) than the original offerings 66 x 130mm (H x W). As a result any peripherals, such as covers, from the original model will not fit with this all-new version. There is also an increase in the weight which rises by 6g up to 149g.
This is a wireless (Bluetooth) Boombox that is able to get reasonably wet and has an uncanny look like a sculptured shape with its fourteen upward facing edges which are there to project the sound, twelve of them have a speaker grill finish.
I remember the Sunday morning when I removed this from the box and bleary eyed thought for a long time – without reading the instructions – the difference between ‘in’ and ‘out’. Then slowly the penny dropped as this is not only Bluetooth speaker but also a battery charger.
The Linksys WRT 8-port Gigabit Ethernet switch model SE4008 provides an easy means of adding additional Ethernet-connected devices to ones home network. It is simple to install and has been styled so that it will not look out of place in a family room.
This is the second portable untethered unit I have looked at this autumn; my home is looking rather clean by my standards anyway. This unit that is not heavy comes in a very large and heavy box as it comes with not one but two batteries and a charger, these are the weighty bits.
When assembled it weighs 3.4kilos, it is 1.1metres tall, 28cm wide at the cleaning head and a maximum of 25cm deep also at the head, the top 40cm is the handle and unlike the Hoover recently reviewed this does obediently stand in the corner when not in use. The reason this stands is that it locks in an ‘L’ shaped position when not in use, unlike some cleaners that are difficult to get ready to work a small pressure on the foot of the unit is all that is required.
Everybody enjoys their private moments and the next product allows you these moments when listening to your favourite music.
This is an inkjet unit and it can also print A3 as well as the normal A4. Two sided printing as standard and as it has four separate cartridges only the required empty ones need changing so you should also save money with this unit.
Available from Samsung, the SD590 takes a different approach to adjusting its settings.
While the model number of this next product, which is SD590, gives little away with regards to the functionality of this item, the tagline of “Minimalist design. Maximum vision” does provide a pointer as to what it might be. This Samsung product is a 24-inch LED monitor offering the user a choice D-SUB or dual HDMI connectivity. My review sample was supplied with a HDMI lead and a two-piece power lead.
In this next game you play not one but two different characters with one investigating the other.
Mystery Agency: Visions of Time is a Hidden Object Adventure game available on Avanquest’s GSP label. Before embarking on this Hidden Object Adventure game, developed by Cranberry Productions, you can make various adjustments that include the volume levels of music and sound effects plus whether to play in full screen mode. This game has two difficulty levels referred to as Beginner and Pro while those with an understanding of German can play the game in that language.
I normally think of Olympus as a manufacturer of removable lens cameras which normally makes then larger than pocket size. Here a unit that will easily fit in a pocket and also one that can survive the odd drop or immersion in water.
The Olympus Tough TG-850 measures 11x6x2.5cm and weights 216grams. Because it is waterproof the zoom is internal so the dimensions given are maximum. There is a printed ‘Basic Manual’ in 29 languages, the full manual together with software is on a supplied CD-ROM. Charging is by USB but lose the supplied lead as the end that fits in the camera is not standard. The face has the lens top right with the flash beside and slightly behind it 1.5cm away.
Adding to its range of multifunction inkjet device, Canon has developed its PIXMA MG6650 model.
The Canon PIXMA MG6650 is a multifunction device offering print, scan and copy capabilities. When connection this device to a computer system you have the choice of USB, wired or wireless connectivity with the access points for the first two being located at the rear of the unit. The rear also houses the mains power connection which is recessed into the body of the device.
I think of Epson as a producer of printers and projectors, their parent company is Seiko so timing systems and quality watches are their bag. Here however a health product that combines a watch with a whole range of other features.
When a company known for something launches a new product in a different field it always takes a while to bed in. This product from Epson is no exception. There are a range of products on the market in fitness and health, none that I know on can do everything that Epson is trying to do in a single product.
Two items that are both connected with telecommunications, the first a rather patriotic telephone that I can see being popular is places like Notting Hill and the Leef Bridge 3.0 a high speed USB 3 flash drive offering a standard USB connector at one end and micro-USB at the other for Android devices.
This is a very conventional well-made push button telephone. Maybe it will find its market in posh stores for its decoration as it is tastefully decorated with the union jack, while the red, white and blue are all correct the finish is matt. It is 23x21x12cm these are maximum dimensions as it is less than 3cm at the front. The shape is one that was favoured by BT in their later years and it bears the GPO label which is not to convey that they are old stock but the current owner of the GPO brand.
This next product could give you the opportunity to improve your street cred as you wear a music output device on your hip.
Unlike the other speaker units in the Jam range from HMDX that I have looked at in the past, this next offering has been designed specifically for use outdoors as you “strut your stuff” when out and about. The product in question is entitled the Jam Street. This is a wireless tubular stereo speaker unit. With dimensions of 2,5 x 1.8 x 6.