A few days before the 29th July I was send a USB with a late build of Windows 10. As with all major alterations I approached this with more than a little trepidation, below is the story of what happened on Monday 27th July 2015.
A visit to a central London hotel introduced me to a new product that promised to keep a watch on my home when I was away.
Better known for its home networking, storage and media products, NETGEAR has now entered the arena of home security with the release of the Arlo™ Smart Home Security Camera kit. This product sets out to provide video evidence of what is occurring in targeted rooms within your home when you are not there.
A four in one unit as it has fax as well as printing, scanning and copying ability. This is quite a sleek unit but as its black it is unlikely to pass the lounge police so having Wi-Fi as well as USB could be a benefit as it could sit behind the sofa.
The Canon Pixma MX535 measures 43x44x18cm with paper in the drop down input tray. For those wanting to print the odd page you have to remember to open the paper output tray at print time or you get an annoying message to remind you to do so. This would be no problem for most but when you see a lot of different unit some open automatically and some you need to do so manually.
Two items that each have several uses. First a Smart Clock that can be used to sync a smartphone and also double up as an alarm. Second something that fits in your wallet and that has so many tools that all have their separate uses.
It is small at 6x6x2.5cm and weights 70grams with its supplied two ‘AAA’ batteries inserted. I am sure all of us – of a certain age – had a small battery operated travel clock, in fact I still do and on my occasional journeys away it accompanies me on a belt and braces and safety pin basic as I hate to be late. This clock however is digital – no hands – and it takes its setting from your phone either Android or Apple.
As part of its new range of inkjet printer models, Brother has released the DCP-J4120DW. This particular model is an All-in-One device that includes A3 print capability and automatic 2-sided printing along with its basic print, scan and copy functionality.
With a black layer mounted on top of a computer grey base, the J4120 has dimensions of 480 x 290 x 163mm (W x D x H) and weighs 8.1 Kg. Setting up this scanner and printer combo is relatively quick and straightforward. That is once you have got your head around the concept of paper being inserted into the 150-sheet capacity input tray in landscape orientation for documents printed in portrait mode. Once power is fed to the J4120, instructions will be displayed on the unit’s 6.
While i devices battle it out for supremacy with Android there is another player in the field and that is Microsoft with Nokia to mention but one. This the a rather nice Windows phone here sent courtesy of Vodafone in the UK.
The Nokia Lumia 930 Windows based smart phone measues 13.5x7x.8cm and weights 165grams.My unit looks normal from the front with a not that reflective screen and matt silver looking edges, my back however was a very vibrant green but I am sure there are more sober colours available such as white or black or even orange. Switch on was a very respectable 22 seconds and switch off only three seconds. The viewable screen is 11x6.3cm which gives the notional diagonal imperial measurement of 5inches.
Making a change from the numerous Bluetooth speakers that have come my way recently is an offering from Edifier that can be purchased as part of your weekly Tesco shopping expedition.
The Edifier M1380 is a 2:1 audio system. Opening the box reveals a subwoofer and two free-standing satellite speakers plus a wired volume controller. There is also meant to be a User Manual but this had gone missing as the review unit travelled between various journalists for testing purposes. The subwoofer, with dimensions of 158 x 225 x 252mm (W x H x D), has a fairly solid appearance.
Get your snorkel and flippers ready as you set out to help Clowny and Sharky find out who has illegally parked a ship on the seabed.
While the card game of Solitaire has numerous formats with different styles of playing, the one that developers tend to opt for when building a game around Solitaire is the one referred to as Golf. For those who are unfamiliar with this particular form of Solitaire, I should explain that this is a game where you need to remove all the cards from the playing area in a sequence that can run in either direction by using a stock pile of cards.
Over the years satellite navigation has improved greatly, you can now find satellites when indoors, the information you get is really up to date and best of all even mobile speed and traffic light camera information is included.
This is the top of the range model of four recent ‘nuvi’ offerings launched by Garmin. While not as large as some ‘built in’ units I have travelled with for an add in unit it is large at 13.5x7.2cm viewable screen this gives the notional diagonal imperial measurement of 6inches. The actual unit size is 16.5x9.2x1.4cm and weights – without the attachments – 246grams.
While Android and iOS are the dominant force with regards to smartphones, they are not the only choice. Windows Phone 8.1, with a promised upgrade to Windows Phone 10, is a viable alternative.
Continuing to play “Catch-up” and join the major players of Android and Apple in the mobile phone arena, Microsoft has released the Lumia 640 as it first offering to appear without any reference to the Nokia name that was previously associated with the Lumia brand. With its 5-inch touch screen delivering 1280 x 720 pixels at 294ppi, this Windows 8.1 Handset is available in a choice of blue, orange, white and black.
There are a lot of different brands of security cameras about, some very high end, others aimed at the home user. They all have one thing in common wires. Here a truly wireless solution that means not only no drilling through doors but also the ability to move them about at will.
While I have seen several of these demonstrated most bore a higher price and while I did ask to see one it never materialised, so when this was offered to me I took the change to test it with a couple of recent mobile phones and appropriate content.
For anyone who is not sure VR stands for Virtual Reality and it is branded by Thumbs Up who I have reviewed several very good speakers from. Here this items settles on the video side to give you 3D from your standard phone in a near skull cap. Three 3cm wide elasticated strips are at either side and on top of your head they all join at an 8cm triangular patch at the back of your head which forms the virtual skull cap.
Extra measures are a sensible precaution when storing your data on a portable hard drive. One company which offers to help in this respect is iStorage.
While many manufacturers of external hard drives bundle an appropriate data encryption tool to help safeguard the driver’s content from unauthorised eyes, there is one company who takes the responsibility for data protection one stage further. That company is iStorage Ltd with products such as diskAshur Pro. This product is an external, portable drive that is currently available in capacities of 500, 1000, 1500 and 2000GB.
These earbuds are Quad-Driver earphones with phase-coherent crossover design is what it says on a very large box for a pair of earbuds. When you open the box the array of extras that come with the buds is the reason for the box being so large.
I have seen smaller boxes with headphones than this box to contain a set of high end earbuds, the box is 20x14x8cm. Most decent sets of earbuds have extra pairs of silicon buds, often in three sizes. These have two pairs of extra buds in four sizes. The extra-large size – fitted – was far too big for me and I think anyone who needed that size would have a very large ear canal. I used the supplied tool to swap to medium and then all was fine.
As with the Oxford and Go products, this next DAB/FM radio is part of the Goodmans line up of offerings.
With over 90 years of experience in the development of home entertainment technology, covering areas such as loudspeakers, radios, in-car audio and digital television sets, Goodmans has added to its product portfolio with the release of its Canvas offering. This product is a portable DAB Digital and FM radio that can be powered direct from the mains or by batteries. When purchasing this device you have a choice of going with a Slate, Copper or Apple colour scheme.
No sooner do I finish checking an in-car dash camera than another example of this product genre comes my way.
As a child, living near the northern seaside resort of Morecambe, I was sometimes taken to the fairground where a ride on the Dodgems would be a particular treat. Nowadays though, being involved in an incident of cars colliding is an entirely different matter even if nobody is injured, the possibility of financial penalties can be afflicted on the guilty party.
This is a fast and powerful Gaming Notebook yes the screen is not huge but it does display a huge screen resolution. When I first saw it I could not believe the clarity and sharpness which of course along with sound quality is what gamers demand.
This is the first notebook – of any size that I have seen – that has natively displayed 3200x1800. It is 32.5x23x2cm and the screen is 31x17.5cm. On first startup after entering the normal Windows required information a screen opens on the Desktop with a range of fifteen items that Aorus think you might need to adjust. This is part of SmartManager V3. This is a very powerful machine with an Intel i7 processor running at 2.5GHz.
In the past I have checked out numerous All-in-One, Multifunction and standalone printers, either of the inkjet or laser variety, from various manufacturers. On this occasion, however, the printer under the microscope is the first printer product that I have had the opportunity to check out from Ricoh. The product in question is the Aficio SG2100N model which offers colour print facilities.
With dimensions of 395 x 360 x 215mm (W x D x H), the Aficio has a sturdy and solid box-like appearance. Predominately black in colour, with white front and rear face plates, this printer’s connection options are located on the left side of the unit. Here you will find the mains power socket plus USB and wired Ethernet ports – sadly there is no Wi-Fi connectivity with this model. Both the USB and Ethernet ports are initially concealed within a covered compartment.
On first look, this looks like any number of other recent panels, however looks deceive as it is flicker free after all we all only get one pair of eyes and just for good measure it is QHD which means it can display up to 2560x1440 resolution.
It is 33x57x1.5cm at the edges. It sits on a rectangular stand 21.5x18.5cm which raises it by between 6-15cm from whatever you are sitting it on. The unit can also rotate to be used in portrait mode and this is effortlessly accomplished with the telescopic arm that sits just within the depth of the stand. The viewable screen is 54x31cm which gives the notional diagonal imperial measurement of 25inches.
A set of earbuds with a twist literally that enable you to increase or decrease the bass heard at a twist of the earbud housing, so could this be a first adjusting the sound frequency level while a song plays and going only to your ears.
The buds are 2cm long and 1cm across, the lead is flat and 1.23metres long it ends in a right angled gold plated 3.5mm plug. The left earbud has 15cm of lead before the inline control and then another 18cm before it joins the right earbud to form a single flat lead to the plug.
Have you considered how boiling a kettle can help keep a watchful eye on the elderly? 3 rings have.
Set up by Steve Purdham and fellow tech entrepreneur, Gareth Reakes, 3rings is a start-up company concentrating its expertise on the Internet of Things (IoT) with products such as its initial offering of a 3rings electric plug. The company’s stated aim is to showcase how technology can help in assisting society (that’s you and me) care for the elderly, especially those who are considered at risk and dear to us.
This is quite a small Bluetooth speaker that can also be connected via 3.5mm cable. Being small I initially thought that sound quality would suffer. I was wrong and I was very pleasantly surprised with the sounds in gave out.
Not only can this give good sound both indoors and out but it also has a bicycle mount and a rubber suction cup both which connect to it using a tripod screw set in its base. As I as compiling my figures for charge and discharge times I began to wonder if I had a different model as my figures were vastly different to the claims. As an example the claimed recharge time was 150 minutes from empty my unit took 100 minutes for a full recharge.
As the main competitor to the Amazon Kindle range of eBook readers, Kobo has released it Kobo Glo HD product. Arriving with the claim of being the highest quality eReader at the best possible price, the Kobo Glo HD is, presumably, the companys direct challenger to the Amazon Kindle Voyage, a device I have yet to check out.
The Kobo Glo HD has a 6-inch Carta E Ink HD touch screen that has a high-resolution of 1448 x 1072 pixels which works out at 300dpi. This screen is encased within a body that is made up of a black plastic front and a tough black rubber dimpled back plate. The side bezels are of a size that allows you to get a good grip of the device. While reading you can rest a finger on the bezel ready to be used to activate a page turn either with a swipe or a tap at the edge of the screen.
While designed to accompany one of the many recent technological devices, this next product could bring back memories of your youth as it did with me.
My first experience of a bean bag, like many others I’m sure, was during school days during PE lessons. Small bean bags would be used for various tasks and exercises, some more enjoyable than others. Later the bean bag grew in size as a large bean bag being a fashion item. This bean bag was pear shaped with a strong plastic or leather covering skin. When placed on the floor, this bean bag could magically turn itself into a chair when it was sat upon.
Forget about capturing video in HD how about 4K, yes this tiny unit captures nice quality 4K images on micro SD card and you can then play it back on a TV or panel in 4K and of course it can get absolutely stunning images.
It is 4.5cm tall and 4cm wide and deep, it weights 95grams. However this is without any of the range of fittings that it comes provided with. Before you start thinking that you might shoot an epic production with it the 4K mode it is at almost half the frame rate that you are used to with normal TV so not ideal for fast moving action but for slow panning of a landscape scene excellent. It can of course capture at lower quality, there are two 4K settings 15FPS and 12.5FPS, 2.
When the name of BenQ pops up, my thoughts immediately turn towards the range of display units produced by the company. However BenQ does have other strings to its bow as the arrival of a new product clearly indicates. This product is the treVolo which is claimed to be the worlds first portable electrostatic wireless speaker. Just in case you are not familiar with the term then I should explain that electrostatic drivers emit sound both forwards and backwards with mid and high range frequencies their target area.
When you first remove the treVolo from its packaging, it is a wedged shaped solid device that is encircled by a dark grey metallic collar. In this state, the unit has dimensions of 176.6 x 134.6 x 78.5mm (H x D x W). On either side of the device are panels which, when flipped out, add a bird-swooping like effect while increasing the width to 275.1mm. These wings provide the electrostatic output with audio delivered from the front and back.
I visited the Withings stand at the Wearable Technology Show early in the year. You have already heard about their health watch, here something else that was on display at the show a camera to monitor your home but with an extra feature.
This is a French company that is perhaps best known for computers especially smaller offerings. Here as far as I know their first venture into weather prediction with a very comprehensive range of parts to give you accurate readings.
You get three modules that can connect to a range of devices. They are a ball shaped indoor monitor mounted on a stand, a half ball shape that attached to a wall or shed side and a probe shaped soil monitor. The indoor monitor needs mains power and the required items are supplied. The outdoor monitor runs of batteries as does the soil monitor. All three devices report to an App that you can download to either an Android or iOS device from the appropriate Store.
As part of Goodmans range of radios, this next offering adds a number of extra features.
With the short, snappy title of Go, this next product from Goodmans is a radio that could easily be described as a multifunction device. It does not limit itself to just providing DAB+ and FM radio signals but has a number of other functions to which I will return to a little later. Initially I will concentrate on the appearance and its radio features.
Certainly not the smallest external hard drive but still just about able to fit inside a jacket pocket. It comes with an integral short USB3 cable that is hard wired into the unit, its main selling point will be its rugged design so it will stand the odd knock or three.
It is like a small book even to having rounded corners at the spine side, the dimensions are 14x10x2cm and it weights 276grams which of course includes the ‘Integrated Flex Cable’ that emerges from the top left and is channelled along the top and right side a total of 14cm to the USB3 plug so that is the maximum distance you have between drive and target.