To dust off my ironing board twice in a year is unusual and certain things like trousers and my non drip dry shirts think it’s their birthday as they get sharp creases – that’s the trousers – and no visible creases – that’s the shirts and for good measure other items see an iron for the first time in a while.
As with so many recent items your first task is to absorb the images that form the first twelve pages of the instruction booklet and then the eight pages of close typed text. This is a steam iron designed to work with ordinary water and like the few irons that pass through my grasp it comes with a stand meaning that you no longer need an ironing board as the stand remains cool so it can sit on a table.
Developed by BLAM! Games, Dangerous Game: Illusionist belongs to the Hidden Object Adventure genre. This game is available in Standard and Collector’s Edition versions. My review is based on the latter version which has a number of bonus items.
Dangerous Game: Illusionist’s title screen gives you the option to create profiles for those planning to play the game in your household. A profile can contain a player’s individual progress plus the volume levels for sound effects, music and voice dialogue. You can also decide whether to play in full screen mode with or without a custom cursor which changes shape to indicate when different actions are possible. Four levels of difficulty are available.
This is not a unique device but it is the first I have seen from a quality headphone manufacturer. It allows any corded headphones you may have to become wireless headphones which gives you the ability to move far further away than any normal cord will allow.
Unless you are prepared to spend an arm and a leg – make that two legs – TV’s do not normally have good sound as that requires larger speakers which would of course spoil the line of the TV. If you have perfect hearing then the mumbling in most modern films will not bother you however the majority of us have some form of impairment often meaning that the higher register of sound becomes unclear.
It has been a while since I last took a look at an Acer device. This drought was ended with the arrival of the Acer Spin 5.
Stepping back in time, you can visit 19th century Eastern Europe as you attempt to defeat the plans of an evil being called Mephisto.
While classified as a Hidden Object game, Exorcist does have its fair share of Adventure and Puzzle elements. Developed by Intenium and Deep Shadow, this game casts you in the role of Garret Ghostfighter who lives up to his name by taking on the task of tackling and defeating ghosts in 19 century Eastern Europe. In the case of this game, Garret’s main adversary is called Mephisto who appears to control several ghosts and has some hold over out hero.
Having told you about a Panasonic ToughPad now onto the really ‘tough boy’ of the group the ToughBook. This is built to withstand environments that you really should not expect a computer to function in, it has even been launched outside a weather balloon and still worked when it came back to earth.
The Panasonic ToughBook CF-20 measures 27x23x3.5cm and weighs 1750grams. The viewable screen is 21.6x13.6cm 2which gives the notional diagonal imperial display of 10.1inches which means you can use the Mobile versions of Word/Excel/Power Point for free. However the screen resolution is higher than the PC norm of 1920x1080 you have 1920x1200 which is WUXGA.
Adding to its range of ink cartridge multifunction devices, Epson has developed its WF-3720DWF model.
As its title might indicate, the Epson WorkForce Pro has been designed for use in a small busy office environment rather than a more subdued home location. I have been looking at the WF-3720DWF model which combines print, scan, copy and fax facilities within a single unit. Also included with its four-in-one functionality are features such as WiFi/Ethernet/USB connectivity, ADF (Automatic Document Feed), a Duplex facility plus remote printing.
Two products for jobs around the home from JML who seem to have a lot of such items. In the past I have reviewed several useful cooking devices. Here a portable light source and something to stop those annoying drips or more.
Almost all local councils now turn street lights off during the ‘small hours’, mine turn them off between Midnight and 5AM. If you arrive home after midnight then finding your way up your garden path can be improved by something that senses movement. This solution needs no wiring as it runs on four ‘AA’ batteries – rechargeable ones work fine – and it can even be fixed in different places by screws or doublesided tape.
A new name to me so I asked to see a couple of their products to tell you about, first a rather nice extra-large sweater that looks expensive a has a ‘plus’, second a pair of warm socks that double as a pair of slippers for indoor wear.
This is not like any vest I have worn in the last 70 odd years. I would call it a sweater and on the colder string days that is how I have worn it. Dependant on size I vary between a large and XX-large and so I plumped for the latter, it is a little large as a ‘vest’ but again if we use the US version of the word it is not underwear but a shirt of sorts. It had a seamless ribbed construction made basically of cotton with a TOG rating of .45.
With a choice of playing methods, this next game presents you with numerous Match-3 grids that need to be completed.
It is time to step into Wizard Land. Developed by Rumbic Studio, this game belongs to the Match-3 genre with one or two extra items thrown in for good measure as you attempt to restore the status quo in Wizard Land. At one time this enchanted land, home to Wizards, Witches, Fairies and all manner of strange creatures was a happy place where magic rules and the mood of the inhabitants matched that of the gorgeous storybook style scenery.
This was launched via a Webinar and while there are new features the main difference was that anyone with a full licenced version (not academic or NFR) can upgrade to this latest version from any earlier versions not as normal the last two or three.
It is now normal for almost every company to bring out an upgrade every year and even to offer a yearly licence for products the most well-known of these is Microsoft with Office 365. I heard that Corel now do such an offer which may suit some. However those who have an earlier version this might even be more than ten years old can now upgrade – with the proviso mentioned – at half price.
Carrying a WiFi hotspot is your pocket is made possible by this next device.
A saying, probably more relevant now that during my youth, stated that you could never find a policeman when you wanted one. Nowadays you could probably say the same thing about Wi-Fi hotspots unless you wanted a cup of coffee. Fortunately, while carrying a police officer in your pocket is not really possible, a mobile hotspot could be a distinct possibility.
This is Canon’s entry level range but do not make the mistake of thinking they are basic units. Canon’s technology filters down and things that would only be in a high end unit a few years ago are now on something that can fit into a small pocket.
As always I start in Auto mode and right from the first image you know that you have hold of a more than decent unit. It is 9.5x5.3x2.2cm the last figure when closed this can increase by another 3cm when the unit is fully zoomed. It weighs 126grams.
Providing features such as air monitoring and pollution charts, this next product offers to act as “your good air guru”.
The arrival of this next product for review immediately brought back memories of a hit song from my youth. The song in question was entitled “The air that I breathe” by the Hollies while the product is the Foobot device from Airboxlab. The Foobot has been designed to alleviate the problem of air pollution.
Almost all SmartPhones and other devices that accept a Micro SD Card will now support up to 64GB. Some will support 128GB or even more but 64GB is now a safe size to purchase and that can hold a lot of video or a mountain of music.
For modern SmartPhones that record high quality video you need a card that can accept a lot of video being transferred to it quickly and to do that you have a higher standard. The last thing you want is lots of dropped frames from a possibly irreplaceable video. So for those who have not seen such a device it is 25cm long without sleeve, 1.3cm wide at the USB type ‘A’ end and less than half that at the USB type ‘C’ end and the width is .5cm.
Two items to make or store your coffee – or other hot or cold drink – for hours. First a device to make the coffee called a CoffeeGator, second something to store the made drink in a rather decent flask called a CorkCicle Canteen to carry on your journey.
Like many good ideas this is very simple, a funnel/sieve with a very clever fine mesh and a jug that you put the funnel in. All you now need is some good ground coffee – maybe less easy to find – and a kettle to heat the water you pour over the coffee. Firstly do not try this with a normal mesh strainer – however fine – as it will not work this is totally different to a tea strainer mentioned for those of us old enough to remember times before tea bags.
Offering to keep your data secure is a hardware device from iStorage.
Described as the “most secure hard disk drives ever made”, iStorage has launched its new ultra-secure diskAshur range of devices. The range consists of diskAshur , diskAshur SSD, diskAshur PRO , diskAshur PRO SSD and diskAshur DT models. This new range features fast USB 3.1 speeds. PIN authenticated hardware encryption incorporating iStorage’s unique Enhanced Dual Generating Encryption (EDGE™) technology.
Because of the relationship Huawei have with Android they always get the newest and latest version of Android, here the current version is 7.1.1 whereas the only other version of ‘Nougat’ I have seen is Version 7 several point releases behind.
The Huawei Nexus 6P measures 16x7.5.8CM and weights 177 grams. The viewable screen is 12.5x7cm which gives the huge notional diagonal imperial measurement of 5.7inches and this has 518 PPI. The processor is an Octa (eight) Core Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 offering. The speakers are front facing so it has good volume levels. This Huawei offering was also the first to offer Android 6 ‘Marshmallow’, here you are also nagged to upgrade to the latest Beta version 7.1.
As part of its family of All-in-One devices, Epson has developed its Expression Premium XP-640 product. Predominately decked out in lacquered black, this All-in-One device combines the functionality of print, scan and copy with features that include automatic Duplex printing, local and remote output plus Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi Direct and USB connectivity.
Reasonably compact with dimensions of 390 x 341 x 138 mm (W x D x H), the Epson Expression Premium XP-640 will not look out of place in an office or home environment. The standard box-shape with rounded corners adopts the usual arrangement of an A4 flatbed scanner mounted on top of an inkjet printer. The top-mounted scanner is of the CIS (Contact Image Sensor) type and has a resolution of 1200 x 2400 dpi (H x V).
After withstanding massive storms, the Elven tribe land on a lost island and start to make their new home.
Developed by FIVE-BN Games, Lost Island – Eternal Storm is a point-and-click adventure title with a strong element of puzzle solving and Hidden Object exploration action. The game opens with a fairly dramatic, story-setting 3D sequence that can be cut short if you are in a hurry to get to the main action which is set in the location of the Lost Island of the product’s title.
Having told you about the Swift and the Spin we come to last new model that was launched last November in Glasgow this is the Switch. While I would describe the Spin as a Notebook/Tablet this unit the Switch is a Tablet/Notebook.
The Acer Aspire Switch Alpha 12 measures 29x20xjust over 1cm. and it weights 1275grams with the supplied keyboard attached and 909 grams without it. The attachment is very magnetic and just presents the two parts close together and they click in place. While the keyboard is solid the Tablet part would need to be propped against something without the stand that flips open from the Tablet you then have a very useable Notebook. The keyboard has 81 keys and the alpha keys are full size, there is .
Even though MAGIX has taken on board the latest version of VEGAS Movie Studio, the company has not neglected its own well-established Movie Edit Pro offering.
The latest version of this 64-bit software comes with MAGIX’s Update Service which gives the user a full year of new free features and updates as they become available immediately via the Internet. Movie Edit Pro is available in Classic, Plus and Premium versions with pricing being currently set at between £49.99 and £89.99. I have been looking at the basic Classic version of the software.
If you have a bowling green or a cricket pitch then this is not for you, if you have a couple of acres of grass to mow this is not for you, however if you have an average size lawn that gets hard treatment then this offering from Wilko could fit the bill.
You will need a small screwdriver to screw the two bottom parts of the handle to the body and also to attach the cable tie area higher up. The semi-circular top of the handle attaches via supplied thumb screw fitments either side of the bottom parts of the handle. The self-tightening wheels and covers have three different heights – make sure all the wheels go into the correct holes – and you are ready to mow.
Finding useful small items that will appeal to anyone with a phone or other electrical device at home – even for those who do not own a computer – is difficult, finding something that will get used all the time at only £3.99 is almost unique.
Power leads ending in an adapter are around and are very useful. Until now finding a socket adapter is hard, I know of a couple where you actually remove the front plate of a twin socket and then attach, - this works fine if your sockets are a standard shape - and the cheapest I have seen is around £15.
Forget the popcorn and fun rides, a visit to the Carnival of this next title is more concerned with a missing mother.
When a lengthy opening animated sequence involves a mother, named Susan Jones, taking her young daughter into a carnival’s House of Horrors, you should have a good idea that any subsequent events will involve a force of evil and numerous problems.
This is defiantly a curved panel which may seem a strange comment but a lot of earlier screens could almost look flat from not that far away, here this 27 inch offering could never be mistaken for a flat panel however far away you are.
This Philips Curved LCD monitor (model 278E8QJAB) measures 61x36.5x1cm; the stand is an open half-moon 40cm wide and 19cm deep. The stand raises the unit by 11cm from your desk. There is a good amount of back tilt stated at 20 degrees and a little forward tilt stated at 5 degrees; there is no side to side movement. The centre of the screen is 2.5cm further in than the edges. The viewable screen is 60.5x34.5cm which gives the notional diagonal imperial measurement of 27inches.
Regular Blood Pressure readings can help provide warnings of possible health issues.
Due to the fact that I have a number of medical conditions, including an irregular heartbeat and level 2 diabetes, my regular visits to my GP’s surgery and/or hospital are generally accompanied by at least one blood pressure test on each occasion. Often theses tests are followed by advice to drink more liquid to ensure a more positive reading. I should point out that the liquid to be drunk is that of water and nothing stronger.
While checking your heritage, you discover you are related to Lady Annabel and decide to investigate further.
Ominous Tales: The Forsaken Isle belongs to the popular genre of Hidden Object Adventure games. As usual with games of this type, you can create profiles for those willing to accept the challenge of visiting an island some 30 miles off the coast of England. I should point out that the locals call this location “The Forsaken Isle” and believe it to be the home of wolves, ghosts and other strange creatures.
Sennheiser are a premium brand, this is a wired headset that uses an internal battery to help to reduce external sounds. They collapse so are ideal for those who travel and the battery is stated to last up to 50 hours of use between charges.
They are what I would describe as small over ear headphones. Each earpiece is 5cm from front to back. Spread the headset till the earpieces are parallel and there is 15cm between them and 18cm from the base of the headband to the centre of the area between the earpieces, this is with no side expansion, there is 3.5cm of expansion on each side. On my average sized head I used .5cm of expansion on each side. There is a 1.4metre lead that connects your phone or MP3 player. The straight 2.
While no longer the market leader in the field of computer graphics software, CorelDRAW still has a lot to offer the digital designer.
While some products appear briefly, with their 15 minutes in the limelight, others have a long and distinguished existence with numerous versions showing their popular appeal. The arrival of the latest version of one such product with long lasting appeal, CorelDRAW 2017, got me thinking about when the first version of this graphics product first made an appearance. Believe it or not, CorelDRAW first arrived as a vector-based illustration package in 1989.