As you reach a certain age what was an easy task with a pair of shears becomes a three cup of coffee job and a long soak in the bath afterwards. So why not let a budget priced electric hedge trimmer make it as easy as it never was?
I do not need reminders that I am getting old, the last few times I hacked away at my hedge and a couple of bushes left my body complaining for days – it used to be hours – so a hedge trimmer was the answer as this year even the thought of me picking up the shears had my body protesting. With the cost of this unit being so reasonable even getting my shears sharpened seemed daft so I gave in.
I once worked as a beach photographer snapping holiday makers in the hope they would purchase these items as a memento. Maybe I could be considered an early form of this next product.
There is one aspect of a smartphone’s use that I am sure never considered during the early development stages of this particular type of mobile device.
With digital cameras being able to capture video its been a while since I have cast my eye over a Camcorder. This was quite a revelation, it should not have been as digital cameras have evolved so have Camcorders and this one can even capture PIP.
The Panasonic HC-W570 camcorder measures 12.5x5.5x6cm and weights 306grams. It is called a twin camera and that is what it is. The normal lens at the front and a further lens at the far-left-edge of the TFT screen. It seems strange and it can be used or not according to the situation.
With its expertise in producing stylish and quality headsets, Sennheiser does not disappoint with its Urbanite XL Wireless model.
While there is a tethered Urbanite XL headset, I have recently being trying out the wireless version of this stylish Sennheiser product. Included in the box with this collapsible headset is a standard-to-micro USB lead for charging the headset’s internal Lithium battery, an audio lead with built-in remote and mic, a draw-string soft cloth carry pouch and a folded sheet of Quick Start instructions in various languages.
Considering you have been sent to look into the disappearance of a young boy called Simon, the name of the location where this event happened does seem rather inappropriate as you travel to Joyville. But then you have entered the virtual reality that is known as the world of Puppet Show.
Belonging to the Hidden Object Adventure genre, Puppet Show: The Mystery of Joyville casts you in the role of a detective sent to investigate the disappearance of a young child. As usual with titles on this genre, you can make some adjustments to the game’s environment. These adjustments relate to the volume levels for background music and sound effects plus whether to opt for a full screen approach with the use of a custom cursor.
A single cylinder shaped unit that has reasonable battery life, it supports Bluetooth, NFC and even connection via 3.5mm lead. Perhaps the most important factor is sound quality and here I was certainly perfectly satisfied with it.
It is 19.5x7.5x6.5cm and weights 567grams. It is almost a cylinder with two opposite edges slightly flattened. It can be used either horizontally or vertically, assuming the former the back has a large rubber bung behind which are connections for Micro USB, 3.5mm lead (not supplied) and an on/off slider. A 25cm micro USB to USB lead is supplied to charge the unit.
While the Cloud is available to store data accessible in different locations, some still prefer having personal control provided by a portable hard drive.
Adding to its family of MiniStation™ products, Buffalo Technology, a global manufacturer of innovative storage, multimedia and wireless network products for the home and business users, has released its MiniStation Extreme model. This particular product is a portable storage hard drive that is available in either 1TB or 2TB capacities. My review unit is the 1TB version of the MiniStation Extreme.
I confess the Canon i-Sensys MF4730 left me scratching my head for some time. It is a small mono laser All In One unit capable of connection by USB or Network. The reason for my head scratching is that it seems to only work on 32bit systems.
The printer is a near cube at 36x36x34cm and as the last figure the height you need as least a couple of extra centimetres to place anything on the flatbed then it’s even nearer a cube. It weighs just under 12kilos. The software refuses to install on 64bit systems and although I looked on the Canon site and there were a couple of drivers that claimed to be for 64bit Windows they refused to install for me, so I installed it on a 32bit system and it installed without problem.
First a portable very portable rechargeable reading light and from a company that does reading lights, this is tiny. Second a candle made of wax that has a light but no flame and as there is no flame then importantly no danger of fire.
A 25cm long rubber coated strip that can be bent to any angle. One end has two LEDs in the underside, the other end has a crocodile type clip and just behind this an on/off button. The first 18cm are 1cm wide and the last 7cm are 2.5cm wide. Attach to any book and you have nice even light that is sharp and crisp and yet not hard on the eyes. The crocodile clip can extend to 2cm. The on/off switch has on, lower intensity on and off so from on its two pushes to get to off.
Continuing my look at mobile devices available from Vodafone, it is the turn of the Sony Xperia M2 Aqua offering.
The Xperia M2 Aqua is a member of the Sony family of smartphones. This handset is available in a choice of purple, white or black with the latter being the colour of my review sample kindly provided by Vodafone. The Xperia M2 Aqua has dimensions of 139.7 x 71.1 x 8.6mm (H x W x D) and weighs in at 148g as Sony seem to be positioning this model at a middle of the road market sector.
A modem router is not something you change that often, unless of course you get a fault. For most people it either does the job or it does not, the one real exception is the Wi-Fi if you have a property where it only just covers then you may change.
This unit has a more powerful Wi-Fi than most units so this may be a solution struggling with Wi-Fi reception. It is a near round unit at 10.5x8.5cm and is 22cm tall there are no external aerials, so just add a few centimetres for any connections to the 10.5cm depth and that’s it. The connections on the rear from bottom to top are DC input, power on/off button, flush Wi-Fi on/off button, four Ethernet ports, a USB2 port, a USB3 port and finally DSL input port.
Recently my late evening television viewing habits have changed. The reason for this has been the arrival of the Amazon Fire TV Stick product. This piece of kit consists of the Fire TV Stick device, USB lead and power adapter, remote control with AAA batteries and a HDMI extender cable.
The Fire TV Stick, with dimensions of 75 x 25 x 10mm (H x W x D), has the appearance of a flash drive on steroids. Driving this device is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8064 quad-core processor that is rated at 1.7GHz and backed up by an Adreno 320GPU delivering 1080p output at up 60fps. There is 1GB of memory and 8GB of flash storage. Dual band Wi-Fi is built in along with Bluetooth 4 and support for Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 surround sound.
It is brother against brother in a Match-3 adventure game with a magic element.
When an area is called Fogmere, you would expect the local inhabitants to be use to limited visibility in their neighbourhood but not the kind of darkness cast by the Dark Magic of an evil sorcerer. The Fogmere Archipelago has been affected by a reign of darkness causing distress to the people as they suffer from this manifestation of evil intent. Fortunately help is at hand.
Think of it as a vacuum cleaner that washes and dries and you are on the right track. If you have empty rooms its brilliant as you work in straight lines, it washes and dries as at goes along so clear everything away for those new looking carpets.
It is 111cm tall, 33cm wide and 35cm deep and the total weight is 9.5kilos. It comes more of less assembled in a 67x47x40cm box and it evens contains two bottles of carpet cleaner fluid in the box. Assembly is straightforward just add the handle to the base and clip in see through containers to the front of the unit. Joy of joys it comes with a good length of cable at 8metres.
Typed the characters P8 into your favourite search engine and you are likely to get hits that refer to aircrafts, pistols and even electrical engineering software. You should also get links to a new smartphone from Huawei. This is the companys latest addition to its P series of handsets, namely the P8 which was presented to the world at large at Londons Old Billingsgate event centre.
The Huawei P8 will be available in either standard or premium versions in colour schemes based on silver, gold, black and grey. My review model, on which this report is based, is the standard Champagne Gold offering which was supplied without any printed documentation. Fortunately this lack of documentation was not too great a handicap in my testing of the product. The P8 handset has dimensions of 144.9 x 72.1 x 6.4mm (H x W x D) with a weight of 144g.
Previous items I have reviewed from Thumbs Up have taken the sound from the SmartPhones speaker and given you a better result. This unit uses the same idea common to most in that the signal is sent via Bluetooth to give an excellent sound.
The Bass Connect bluetooth speaker measures 7x7x3cm and weights 192grams. The sound from it is amazing, remember the only input is via Bluetooth so what it is receiving is most like to be MP3 files.
A name that I reviewed several items for some years ago, now perhaps more famous for it being on the shirts of Southampton Football Club in the Premier League. So what have these earbuds to make them stand out from the crowd?
To start with the colour a flat cord – always a good idea to stop knotting when in the pocket or bag – it’s yellow on one side and black on the other. The next thing is the fitment it’s the type that goes over the ear so less stress on the ear itself. The cord itself is 1.2metres long, the first 40cm from the ears are two cords and then they become one for the final 80cm to the gold plated 3.5mm plug.
The Zagg Pocket Keyboard connects via Bluetooth and offers a quick and convenient method of typing notes or even larger amounts of text onto ones iOS or Android tablet.
At first glance the Zagg Pocket Keyboard just looks like a solid lump of black anodised aluminium that is roughly 225 x 55mm x 15mm thick and weighing 200g. When not in use it can slip easily into a jacket pocket or a handbag. It is only when unfolded that it becomes a keyboard that is large enough for touch-typing combined with a stand for one’s tablet, phablet or smartphone.
Ever since it was founded in 1996, CyberLink Corp has built up a reputation as a world leading consumer multimedia software company. A recent release from the company is its PowerDVD product which is now at version 15.
Describing itself as the “World’s No 1 Movie and Media Player” and able to call on over 100 patented technologies, PowerDVD 15 offers to act as your all-purpose entertainment deliverer whether the content is stored on a local computer, network system, mobile device, social media or the Cloud with CyberLink offering up to 20GB of Cloud storage space depending upon which version of the product you have. PowerDVD is available in a choice of four versions.
When bleary eyed I viewed the first night sleep statistics on my Android phone I almost let out a cheer as at last a sleep monitor gives a real figure so you no longer feel you are going crazy with what other devices claim for sleep periods.
In the past I have tried skull caps, arm bands and various other devices they all claim I sleep well even when ‘not in bed’. A 3cm wide and 64cm long strip of a thin plastic type material goes under your bottom sheet in a position around the buttock to chest area. This strip ends in what looks like an early iPod – but with no screen – and hard wired out of the base of this is a 1.
It does not seem all that long ago that I was first introduced to the Piper product. Actually it was around two months ago that I came across this home security device which streams live images to your smartphone and sends out warnings regarding events that are taking place within the area it is protecting. Now the next version of the product, originally created by Russell Ure in 2012 and powered by IControl Networks, is available. This latest version goes by the name of Piper nv. I will leave you to work out what nv stands. I was 100% wrong with my guess of new or next version.
Like the original version of the product, Piper nv is available in a choice of black or white. The product has grow slightly in size and now has measurements of 164 x 87 x 65mm (H x W x D). This increase in size has possibly allowed some new features to have been introduced to those already present in the original version of the product. This latest version of the Piper gives you night vision, a 3.4MP camera and a faster ARM processor.
While Frankenstein is often regarded as the villain, this is not the case in this Hidden Object Adventure game.
It is time for some Gothic horror with a game that was developed by the combined talents of Fineway Studios and Jet Dog Studios. The game, which forms the basis of this next review, is entitled Frankenstein Master of Death. This title belongs to the Hidden Object Adventure genre. From the game’s main title screen you can create named profiles for individual players.
This is very like the Roku Stick, somewhat like Chromecast, but as it is far cheaper than either it would be better, however it also has a lot more features and has another huge plus it is from Amazon so how can it be anything but a big hit.
Of course Amazon are not a benevolent organization and once you have the fireTV Stick the front screen will offer you the chance to download lots of videos and even some ‘Amazon Only’ series, a lot of which are free if you take out a Prime Video subscription, they even offer you a free month to check it out. The stick is 8.5cm long with the last centimetre being the HDMI connection so will not be visible when connected. It is 2.5cm wide and 1cm thick.
Rather than a range of print facilities, this next product concentrates its functionality on the production of labels.
The Leitz Icon is a label printer that certainly did not get off to the best of starts when I began to review the product. Unpacking the kit revealed the printer unit, decked out in white and dark grey, a two-piece power lead and adapter, a micro-to-standard USB lead, label cartridge, a Quick Start Guide plus a Warranty and Disposal document. The printer unit was of a rather unusual shape.
Sold as a Clinical D Image panel it is capable of 2560x1440 display. The clinical bit of the last sentence means the display needs to be ultra-sharp and clear as when a surgeon is looking at say an X-Ray image he/she needs clarity.
This 27 inch Philips LCD monitor measures 63.5x39.5cm and it is 2cm thick at the edges. This is a 27ince panel. The near round support base is 30cm across, the arm coming from it can raise the panel between 1 and 16cm from whatever you stand it on. These figures assume you use it in portrait mode but it rotates easily to be used in landscape. Connections at the rear are from left to right audio input, HDMI1, HDMI2, Digital and Display Port at the other side of the support arm DC input.
A Bluetooth speaker with good battery life excellent sound and it can not only get wet like in the bathroom but get involved with you while for instance riding a bike or perhaps even more extreme tasks beyond my current imagination.
The FUGOO Sport Bluetooth Active measures 18x5.5x7cm; the 5.5cm is at the bass and its only 4cm wide at the top. Mine was black with turquoise blue rubber trim but I know there are different jackets available. Let’s first mention the accessories that come in the box. Mains charger that goes to a USB lead also in the same turquoise colour, next a 3.5mm extension lead yes you have guessed it in turquoise blue and finally a fabric slip case.
While not the same as eyes in the back of your head, this next product can provide feedback as to what is happening in your home when you are out and about.
As the leader in the area of connected health solutions, Withings has developed its Home product. Behind its rather straightforward and plain name, the Home product combines a high quality security camera featuring built-in noise and movement detection features with air quality sensors that can alert users to possible air pollution issues. There is also an option to save up to 30 days of continuous recordings in the Cloud for later viewing.
This is quite a small and lightweight offering from Pentax. However this does not mean that the images its takes are anything but excellent in both JPG and RAW. The only unusual thing to me is that both the body and lens are white.
The Pentax K-S1 Digital SLR camera measures 11x9x15cm and weighs 771grams without the neck strap. The right side has a rubber bung behind which are HDMI and USB outlets, there is also a neck strap anchor point. The left side has the anchor point pair. The face is whatever lens you attach I was sent an 18-55mm offering As well as AF/MF twist control. The top has the manual rise built in flash with button on the left at the very top is an external flash shoe and below this the viewfinder.
A visit to a riverside iconic London event centre introduced me to a stylish activity tracker that doubles as a hands-free earpiece.
Wearable products, especially those that cover aspects of healthy living, continue to be a popular item for many. The latest such device to attach itself to my wrist is the TalkBand B2 from Huawei. As you might suppose from the “B2” reference, this product is the follow-up and replacement for Huawei’s initial foray into this particular market sector.
The saga of Weird Park began with the game of Broken Time before moving on to the second episode entitled Scary Tales. Now the curtain is about to fall with the third and final chapter of this Hidden Object Adventure series. This game is appropriately entitled Weird Park: The Final Show. As it is entirely self-contained, missing out on the first two chapters should not impinge on your enjoyment of this title.