When I hear the name of Garmin, my thoughts are generally directed towards satellite navigation and Global Positioning Systems (GPS). However this is not the companys only sphere of interest. Garmin also has its sights set on our personal health with products such as the recently launched vivofit fitness band.
Sometimes referred to as an activity tracker, the vivofit is a device designed to keep a close watch on your personal fitness regime. This kit consists of the small vivofit unit which comes inserted in a rubberised wrist band. A spare wrist band was included with my product. There is also a small open-style USB nano device which is referred to as an ANT stick. This element is used when linking the vivofit to a computer.
Described as a dark and mysterious Hidden Object Adventure game, Small Town Terrors: Pilgrims Hook sets you the task of saving your twin brother from the evil presence that has invaded the community of Pilgrims Hook.
Recently added to the Avanquest GSP catalogue, the game of Small Town Terrors: Pilgrim’s Hook is available in Collector’s Edition format. This title offers a variety of bonus items, some of which are available immediately while others require the main game to be partially or fully completed before you gain access. You can immediately view concept art and wallpaper plus the integrated Strategy Guide.
For a gamer hearing a sound a fraction of a second earlier can be a matter of life and death. So the quality of the headset is almost as important as the speed of the processor and the graphics card that show what they are doing on the screen.
Hyperx is part of Kingston a company best known for PC memory and SSD drives so having fast reliable memory is next door to having a fast headset. The headset is an over ear offering after all when gaming you need 100% concentration so no external noise needs to penetrate your concentration. They need to be comfortable as gamers often play for many hours without a break. They need to be light and sturdy so they are made out of Aluminium.
Samsung continues to develop products that have a tendency to put a strain on my back. Continuing this trend is a colour laser printer.
The Samsung Xpress C1810W is a laser printer. I presume the “C” part of its title indicates this is a colour model while the “W” provides the clue that the product has wireless capabilities. Rather sturdy in its physical presence, as the state of my back testifies to, the Xpress C1810W has dimensions of 420 x 426 x 264mm (W x D x H). Its weight of 16.62kg means you are not going to want to reposition this printer on a regular basis.
The Braun WF2S Blue WaterFlex is both a wet and dry razor, it is equally useable in the bath, shower or at a basin using foam, gel or just soap. However it can also give a dry shave just as easily. So the above are the claims does my extensive testing agree?
This wet/dry shaver measures 15.5x3.5x4cm and weights 192grams. The shaver head can move around 30degrees forward to suit all shaving positions. My unit was an aquamarine blue and black which may be a little garish for some after a heavy night. The unit is rather like an angry wasp in sound but it gets the job done efficiently so if you head is spinning the pain of wasp noise soon goes.
This is a tiny portable Bluetooth speaker. Like an egg without the ends, however twist the centre and then the egg shape expands. So can this be an answer to sharing music in a small space without having to have large speakers?
The X-mini measures 4.5cm high and 6cm across when collapsed, twist it and it expands by 3cm, it weights 129grams which includes a short 10cm long 3.5mm lead for those times when you need to connect by lead or when no Bluetooth device is available. So let’s first deal with cable connection the 10cm lead always seems a little less than a comfortable amount, it does however mean that speaker and playing device remain close together.
Using an assortment of bits and pieces, you are challenged to create some weird and wonderful machines with this next title.
Developed by FAKT Software GmbH, a German company, the Crazy Machines series of puzzle games offers more than a passing acknowledgement of Heath Robinson and Rueben Garret Lucius Goldberg style of constructions. Using the available tools (not always the most obvious in their selection or actual use), the game of Crazy Machines challenges you to think outside the box as you solve problems that have an underlying element of physics as part of their solution.
Here it is the long awaited coffee machine and what a machine it is. While I have reviewed numerous machines before this is the first that uses fresh roasted beans, not ground coffee, unground beans freshly ground in the machine for each cup.
A new experience for me and by some way the largest machine I have used, still it’s a lot smaller than that found in a decent coffee shop. It is 26.5x39x35cm and you will need access to the left side to remove the compacted used coffee grounds every so often, maybe every two days or so dependent on use.
No doubt you are familiar with Singing in the Rain whether in its original Gene Kelly version of the Morecambe & Wise comedy routine. Now it could be said that we have Reading in the Rain with a new product from Kobo.
Described by Kobo as the world’s first premium waterproof E Ink eReader, the Aura H20 is available in a one-colour-suits-all black. With regards to its waterproofing capability, the Aura H20 is IP67 certified which means it can be immersed in 1 metre of water for up to 30 minutes as well as being able to ignore water splashes. Approximately 18% thinner than the original Aura HD, this model has dimensions of 129 x 179 x 9.
It is time to pack your bags and take a trip to Portsmouth where the Mayor has an abandoned ship cluttering up the place.
When a ship turns up in the harbour, you would expect it to be manned by a crew and, possibly, have some cargo on board. Well that is what the Mayor of Portsmouth and his harbourmaster expected when a sailing ship, which had mysteriously disappeared at sea, suddenly reappeared. But that was not the case as both the crew and cargo where nowhere to be found.
This arrived just as I injured my ankle so it was not taken from its box for over a month. To say this is a pedometer is a disservice to this multi-use product, however that is the starting point, link it to free Withings Apps and go from there.
It is 4x2x.8cm and can be worn either on a belt clamp or a watch strap, both are provided. This device shows nothing unless you press the one button which is either bottom right or top left dependant on how you wear it on your wrist. It only fits into the strap housing in one way. The only other item on this matt black product is a micro USB socket used for charging only. This device requires that you have an iOS or Android device and Bluetooth 4 to upload its stored information.
As I get older, time seems to pass by at a quicker rate. This thought occurred to me with the arrival of Paint Shop Pro X7. It hardly seemed like a year had passed since I had unwrapped and reviewed Paint Shop Pro X6 and now the all new version of the Corel package was occupying space on my desktop. Actually when I took the trouble to check on the dates, rather than rely on my flaky memory, this revealed that the gap between the two products was less than 11 months so maybe my view on time passing quicker was somewhat distorted.
Now firmly entrenched as part of the Corel family of product since 2004, this latest version of Paint Shop Pro is available in Standard and Ultimate versions. My review is based on the Ultimate offering which comes bundled with Perfectly Clear by Athentech Imaging, Reallusion’s FaceFilter 3 and a Creative Collection of extra images, brushes and textures. When installing this software, a 31-character serial number will need to be entered.
The Freecom Mini Solid State Drive, mSSD, is a small and physically robust portable USB 3.0 device that will meet the needs of the road warrior who needs to have a safe, fast and convenient lightweight backup drive with him at all times.
Available in two capacities, 128 and 256MB the mSSD is 80 x 35 x9mm in size and complete with its 25cm USB 3.0 cable weighs just 42g (1.5oz.). Being solid state with a hard aluminium shell it is robust and so will withstand the shocks and knocks that could well damage a hard drive. It has a brushed metallic finish and the activity LED is on one end adjacent to the USB 3.0 connector. As it draws its power from the connected USB port it does not require any external power source.
Here is one of my occasional forays into large kitchen items. This time an offering from Dixons a Grundig Fridge Freezer. This is quite large so should certainly suit a family as far as the fridge is concerned; its what is called 60/40.
First the all-important dimensions, its 1.85metres tall, 66cm deep and 59cm wide, you should allow at least another 4cm clear behind to allow free air flow. I will deal with the ‘40’ first the freezer. Whenever I review a fridge freezer I take the opportunity to defrost my own freezer, this has 6½ drawers but they are not that deep. This unit from Grundig has 3 drawers but they are large.
A product I have reviewed a couple of times in the past. The 15 in this case refers to 2015 and not to the version number. So for anyone owning an earlier version what does this version have to offer that earlier versions did not?
For those new to Painter it is probably the best way to paint with a PC, in previous versions you had the ability to have Water Colour and Oil paints and even had the ability to see it dry – now you can say that watching paint dry is not interesting – and it can be fun to get effects that otherwise would need a canvas and paint to achieve. In this version there are Particle Brushes, these allow you to draw wisps and swirls and even add colour to shades.
As one of its smallest models, the Samsung 32-inch television is the subject of this next review.
Smaller than the previous models I have checked out, the Samsung Series 6 SMART TV LED TV 32 is, as its model number clearly indicates, a 32-inch unit. As with the previous 40-inch model reviewed earlier, this 32-inch SMART TV needs to be mounted on an elongated “X” shaped silver base. Attaching this base involves the use of seven screws that are included in the package. I found that these screws needed more force than I had expected.
I have reviewed quite a lot of Android Tablets this looks similar but is a Windows Tablet. This means that all your Windows programs will be able to run. It has an SSD and will accept OTG or USB sticks up to 64GB as well.
The supplied short micro USB to USB lead enables standard USB sticks to be read. It also accepts up to 64GB OTG natively without the lead and you also have a micro SD slot so plenty of storage available apart from the supplied 58GB SSD unit. Around 6GB of this is taken by a recovery partition and once the unit has Office and other offers installed you have around 35GB free. Yes I just mentioned Microsoft Office you get 12 months Microsoft Office for up to six people.
A visit to a location known as The Ice Tank introduced me to a product designs to reduce aches and pains.
Over the years, the one area of my body that has caused me the most problems and discomfort has been my legs and feet. It all started with a case of crossed toes which needed to be broken and then straightened. Later an in-growing toe nail, which needed to be removed five times including the trimming of the fleshy part of my toe on the last occasion, caused me problems. Several years later a varicose vein needed to be removed from my left leg.
It should not come as a surprise to hear that the latest offering in the Witch Hunters series of titles has a strong element of witches running through the action.
Witch Hunters: Full Moon Ceremony is a Hidden Object Adventure game from the Big Fish catalogue of titles. This particular offering is available in Standard and Collector’s Edition format with this review being based on the latter version of a game that deals with an attempt by a gang of evil witches intent on taking control of the world.
A lightweight upright cleaner with a narrow cleaning head ideal to get into small spaces. Add to this that it runs on an internal battery and you may just have discovered the ultimate floor and carpet cleaner. So is the Hoover Unplugged nirvana?
The Hoover UnPlugged 300R is 122cm tall, the body is a maximum of 13cm wide and deep, the top 55cm is considerably less as is the bottom 20cm. The cleaning head is 23cm wide and from the front to the back of the unit’s two wheels is 17cm. The internal battery has enough charge for 60 minutes of use. This may not seem long but anyone who can hoover for 60 minutes non-stop is doing well.
With Bluetooth speakers now a popular option, some manufacturers are adding extra features to their offerings to make it stand out from the competition.
From its beginnings as a small research institute in 1948, Nakamichi has developed into a company producing design-oriented home cinema audio systems, mini Hi-Fi systems and automotive stereo product plus DVD offerings and the subject of this next review. The product in question is the Nakamichi NBS 8 portable Bluetooth speaker. Arriving attractively packaged, the NBS 8 weighs 400g and has dimensions of 180 x 45 x 55mm (L x W x H).
As we move increasingly towards FTTC (fibre to the cabinet) for higher performance internet, there is an increasing requirement to separate the router from the modem. D-Links DIR-880L Wireless AC1900 Dual Band Gigabit Cloud Router is a high performance unit which ticks all the right boxes for those who are also moving to file sharing and media streaming.
It is roughly 190 x 240 x 45mm in size and can sit flat on a desk or shelf or, alternatively, wall mounted. The keyhole slots in the rear face are double-ended so that the unit, when wall mounted, can be arranged with the antennas above or below the unit. In practice, when wall mounted, it makes sense to have the antennas above and the unit at a height where the WPS button and the USB ports can be easily reached.
On the face of it a slightly oversized screw threaded bulb that can be controlled from an App to increase or decrease the brightness seems a good idea, add the ability to play your Smart Phone music through the bulb seems a great idea, does theory work?
I read the miniscule instruction sheet – with the aid of a magnifying glass – and managed to get my Android phone to control the light with just one permission to turn on Bluetooth. The music played but through the speaker of the Smart Phone. I tried another recent Smart Phone and reached the same point, read the press release again and then tried a third phone all got the bulb working, all failed to play music through the bulb.
First a Smart Phone projector for £15.95, does that sound too good to be true then read on to find out the facts. Second something that requires no assembly a red Chilli Pepper that is a four port USB hub, simple but still useful.
This is a box, a clever box but a box. If you are good at puzzles or assembling flat pack furniture then this is right up your street. There are instructions and plenty of part numbers, but the easiest way is to watch the video guide.
No sooner do I reacquaint myself with the ArtRage graphics software than Ambient Design brings out a new version of this realistic art product for cross platform systems
The latest edition of ArtRage is now up to version 4.5 for Mac and Windows platforms. Just in case you may have missed my review of the earlier ArtRage 4 product, I will recap on some of the salient points of the product before moving on to the new and enhanced features introduced in the latest version 4.5 of the software. ArtRage is a package designed to provide art enthusiasts with the digital means of putting their creative ability to good use.
This is a stereo Bluetooth speaker unit built almost like a triangle without coming to a point meaning that the speakers have a larger surface area to height than would otherwise been possible in a unit of this size and shape.
I saw this at another of the numerous Christmas in July events, strangely although it was connected I could hardly hear anything and it was not that noisy a room. However I was listening to something on my audio unit when I unpacked this and plugged the supplied 3.5mm lead in, I immediately had to turn the sound down 25% on my audio device to avoid being deafened, so nothing wrong with sound output on my unit.
Sad to say the VHS era is now history as digital format takes over with devices such as the product forming the focus of this next review
The Samsung BD-H6500 is a Blu-ray player that has a range of built-in features. With its metal shell encased within a lacquered black casing, this multi-function device will not look out of place in a living room as it acts as the central point of a home entertainment system. This stylish looking box has dimensions of 196 x 360 x 40mm (D x W x H).
With an organisation known as H.E.L.P., you are set the task of solving the case of the Hope Diamond in a Hidden Object Adventure game.
Putting together the combined influence of Big Fish Games and the Smithsonian with the expertise of the development team from EIPIX has resulted in the game entitled Hidden Expedition: Smithsonian Hope Diamond. Available in Collector’s Edition format, this is a Hidden Object Adventure game that takes the legend of the Hope Diamond as its central theme.
The latest entry level phone offering from the company that first brought you a SmartPhone at a price that broke through the glass ceiling. Here is a smart phone that has corners cut to produce something acceptable at a lower price.
12.5x6.5x1cm are its dimensions and it weights 141grams. A well placed fingernail will remove the back to allow you to insert a micro SIM and a micro SD card. However the battery is not user changeable and is a little less powerful than most at 1980mAh. The right side has the on/off button and the volume up/down rocker. The base has a micro USB slot for charging, the right side is clear and the top has a 3.
Our data is often personal and we like to keep it with us when out and about. This next product offers to help in this respect.
While the title of this next product might make you think of a comic book Super Hero character, I was a fan of Captain Marvel in my youth, and some might feel its functionality is such that there is a definite link in there somewhere. And of course there is the design emblem that could re-enforce the Super Hero connection but more on that a little latter.