I first came across Tune-Up Utilities several years ago as a Shareware product that you could try before you buy.
Over the years I have used various versions of this TuneUp Utilities suite of tools developed to help improve the performers of computers running on the Windows operating platform. During this period this software has undergone a number of changes including the one of ownership as Tune-Up Utilities now forms part of the AVG family of offerings.
When a job offering arrives, with financial rewards that are too good to be true, then you should regard it with suspicion. Albert didn’t!
Cursed is a Hidden Object Adventure game which casts in the role of a young woman who is in the process of preparing for her forthcoming wedding to her fiancé Albert. The preparations however were interrupted when Albert receives a letter offering him a job with financial rewards that would pay for the wedding, a home for the young couple and set them up for life. Not surprisingly Albert takes up the job but then goes missing after arriving at his new workplace.
Walking around a recent show in London found several interesting stands, one of the most interesting was one from a firm based in Birmingham that had a range of interesting electrical items, here is the first of three that I selected from their wide range.
A lot of modern homes do not have a conventional oven, so this small unit could enable things to be made that otherwise would only be childhood memories. It can also be used instead of a conventional oven when cooking for one at a far lesser cost. For those of us old enough the remember the Breville Sandwich Toaster this is a slightly larger unit and you just plug it in and cook. The maximum dimensions are 29x27x17cm and it weighs 2.64 kilos.
Mobile device battery chargers continue to be a popular accessory. This next product is from Moshi.
Designed by Moshi, a company founded in 2005 to create simple, sophisticated accessories for users of mobile devices, the IonSlim 5K is a portable power bank product. Extremely simple in appearance, with a touch of style, the IonSlim 5K is an ultra slim slab encased within an anodized aluminium body that can be used to extend the life of a mobile phone when you are out and about with no access to a convenient mains power source. The unit has dimensions of 130 x 70 x 8.
I think of Bosch for power tools but they also do a whole other range, shortly I have been promised an external camera a small circular chain saw and an electric drill, but they are in a lot of other sectors both in the home (consumer) and business fields.
Here a small battery powered screwdriver for those jobs around the home and it even has a light for those occasions when you need three hands. With ‘My Bosch’ once your product is registered you get a three year warranty. It is 15cm from back to front, 12cm bottom to top and a maximum of 4.5cm wide, it weighs 318grams. I see from the Bosch website that this is the fifth incarnation of the small pistol grip screwdriver but it is the first I have seen.
A recent visit to a show in London found me with time on my hands before an arranged meeting and wandering round the other stands found several interesting products not least the AnySharp stand who have scizzors that can cut bone and a sharpener that can give anything metal an edge.
These curved sizzors (their spelling) can open bottles, crush garlic, crack nuts and best of all cut through most materials including bone. They are ‘dishwasher safe’ usable in both hands so ideal for those of us who are left handed. They are 23cm long 8.5cm wide at the handle and around 1.5cm wide. The curved blade is 9.5cm from the pivot. I tested the bone claim on chicken and it worked correctly, do not however expect them to cut through a leg of lamb.
Recently available from Vodafone is a small Bluetooth speaker.
This is a very small A3 All In One unit. For my review time it sat on top of my own A4 All In One and only overlapped by a small degree. So it can of course still print A4 as well as the larger A3, it is a six ink offering and for good measure will print on CD’s and DVD’s.
It is 46x36x14cm when closed, A4 paper is stored internally near the base, A3 paper will need the sit up poke up from the back tray so more height will be required for that and unless you are adept at poking a sheet of paper into the lift up scanner bed then a little extra for that especially if you are scanning from a book.
A few year ago, perhaps thinking about it, more like a couple of decades ago, DAB (Digital Audio Broadcast) was expected by many to be the next “big thing” in the area of radio broadcasting.
The switch over from analogue to digital failed to totally capture public endorsement although the manufacturers were still keen on the new technology. We are still in a state of flux as FM and DAB continue to fight for the dominate position in the field of audio broadcasting for a UK audience.
If your child likes Disney characters, and who doesn’t, then this next product might appeal.
As part of its child-centric Imaginative Lighting category of products, Philips has developed its 2-in-1 Projector and Flashlight offering. This product, which has been designed for used as a Christmas stocking filler or other type of impulse purchase type of product, does what its title implies.
Having recently told you about a Dell small Tower system with Windows 10 v1703 the next item to cross my desk again from Dell is a notebook in the same Vostro series that also comes with the latest incarnation of Windows 10 v1703.
While it is described as a ‘business’ unit I see no reason while it should not also be a ‘home’ unit. It is 33x23.5x2cm and weighs 1605grams. Apart from the hinge and the rubber strips that form the feet – which are black – it is totally grey, silver grey for the top and bottom and dark grey for the screen surround and keyboard area. This means finger marks tend not to show.
As part of its new version of protective software, AVG has introduced an Unlimited version. This next product belongs to this category.
Who has heard of EU GDPR (EU General Data Protection Regulation), you may say with Brexit this does not apply to the UK, rightly or wrongly they do as they came into force in 2016 and complete implementation comes into force in 2018. This replaces a 1995 (yes the date is correct) directive.
‘In case of a data breach businesses will face fines of up to 4% of their annual global revenue or 20 million euros (whichever is greater) and must inform their national supervisory authority’. So for any business that should cure any personal constipation. Last year Kingston Technology purchased Ironkey who market encrypted USB drives and they are now fully part of Kingston Technology.
This is the latest item from Gillette which can make shaving, beard trimming and sideburn tidying up simple and because it’s all battery driven the shaving head or the blades do the work you just point it in the direction required to do the work.
First my moan – it’s my job to moan – while the packaging makes it look great on the retailers shelf and you can see everything you get there is a lot of plastic items that are never going to used once the items are extracted the possible exception is the power unit holder which has space in the rear for trim heads or spare blades, the rest sadly will all need recycling. The total package weighs 282 grams, the contents are less than half that.
Small and lightweight, this next product provides a battery back up facility for your mobile device.
I recently joined the “dead smartphone” club. This is the unofficial loose organisation of users that found that their mobile phone device’s battery had run out of juice when they needed to use the phone to make an important call. This was the situation that faced me. It was a situation that could be laid firmly on my shoulders.
Tablets are great when you are out and about but when you put it down on a table or desk you start to want to view it at a different angle, one solution is to find something to prop it against but this is not always a viable option so try this offering from Filofax.
The product has the name of eniTAB360º Tablet Holder and I was sent the small <8.4" to be used with own 7" screen tablet It consists of a single piece of plastic – grey in colour – hinged and with a turntable at the top end of the hinged area. The base is 16cm long and 7cm wide, then the hinge and the top part is 12cm high and the same 7cm wide till the 7.
Keeping your computer system safe from virus threats is the task on offer from this next product.
As regular as clockwork, or perhaps as over-aggressively as clockwork, your computer will download the latest updates and reminders from your antivirus protection company to renew your subscription. That is, of course, if you have this important form of protection which I am sure most of you do have. However for the few that have not taken out this type of insurance protection, then this next product could well be of interest.
Not to be confused with Vesuvius, which proved quite capable of being destructive in its own way, Vesuvia is a Match-3 game with some minor elements of an adventure that will keep you occupied for many hours.
This game allows you to make a number of certain adjustments to its playing environment and type of game play. Profiles can be set up for individual players. These profiles will contain the volume levels for sound, music and voice-overs plus whether the game is played in full screen mode with or without a custom cursor.
I think we all know Samsung took a big hit with last year’s offering The S7 although when I got to see one when all the initial problems were sorted it seemed a nice phone. Here is this year’s offering that you will have to have been away from all advertising to have missed news of it so what does it do and perhaps most of all is it worth all the hype?
It is 15x6.5x.7cm, the viewable screen is 5½ inches, the screen resolution is 1080x2200 so better than the average PC but still sharp, should you wish you can set lower resolution at 720x1480 or a higher resolution at 1440x2960 but not all Apps may like the change the default is clear and above all easy to read.
With some headphones costing hundreds of pounds, this next set of headphones is more of a bargain product.
Manufactured by Fresh ‘N Rebel, the CAPS headphones product belongs to the on-the-ear type of private listening device. If, like me, Fresh ‘N Rebel may not be all that familiar to you, I should explain that the company has designed a number of audio devices from its design centre based in the heart of Rotterdam.
Verbatim have recently launched some larger capacity drives, while it was not possible to get these newest items in for review their PR person assured me the smaller capacity ones sent to me were identical in all but capacity.
So the two drives getting a look at are both external drives the ‘Store ‘n’ Go and the Store ‘n’ Save. I was sent a 500GB portable drive, the first problem is extracting it from the shelf pack and once your scissors have cut your way in there is still another layer of protection to remove. Having plugged the supplied USB3 lead into the drive you find four files on the drive – two each for MAC and PC.
Qobuz is both a streaming and download service dependant on your subscription. I first heard about it two years ago in 2015, then in 2016 they gave users with Android a chance to sample their offerings, so now what is new in 2017.
There are monthly and annual subscriptions, these vary according to the quality. The Qobuz difference is the quality, most other companies’ services offer you MP3 and if you are lucky the quality is roughly one tenth of what you get from a CD. Their Premium service – this is their entry level – costs £9.99 a month and you can test this with a 15 day trial. Next up is their Hi-Fi offering at £19.
Named after a planet, Venturer’s tablet comes with a sub-£50 price.
The Mercury 7L is a tablet running the Android operating system. As part of the RCA brand of products, this tablet has been brought to the UK by Venturer, one of the largest manufacturers of audio and video products. This product will be available priced at £49.99 from Asda.com. With dimensions of 185 x 115 x 11mm (H x W x D), this tablet weighs 276g.
This is a flat panel to fit easily on your desk; it protects your eyes for those of us who need to look at a flat panel for hours each day. This latest offering from Philips is a full HD offering at 1920x1080 and the actual viewable screen is 23.8inches.
The screen is 53.5x31.5x1cm and the screen is raised 8.5cm by the 20x20cm stand which clips into a link which has a thumbscrew connection so less than a minute to assemble. As with most recent panels Windows finds a perfectly acceptable driver and really your only choice is whether to connect by VGA or HDMI. It is called an edge to edge display, the top and sides have a very small border with the bottom one being around 1.5cm.
Offering to keep your data secure from unauthorised access is a portable hard drive from iStorage,
Adding to its range of encrypted portable drives, iStorage has released the company’s diskAshur PRO product. Promising to provide the capability of an ultra-secure hardware encrypted portable hard drive, the diskAshur PRO is available with capacities of 500GB, 1TB or 2TB options. I have been checking out the 1TB model. Rectangular in shape with rounded corners, the diskAshur PRO has a weight of 237g and dimensions of 124 x 84 x 20 mm (H x W x D).
As its title suggests Nightfall Mysteries Double Pack consists of two games. Bundles together by GameHouse, a popular gaming site, the two games are Curse of the Opera and Asylum Conspiracy. My review is written in the order I played the games rather than the order in which they were meant to be played.
Developed by Vast Studios, Curse of the Opera is a Hidden Object Adventure game that is based around a group of travelling entertainers who put on operatic performances. Your role is that of a dogs-body or stagehand who seems to do the bidding of everybody else. Prior to starting the game, you can adjust the volume levels for music and sound plus opt for full screen game play and voice-over dialogue.
Recently I told you about the first system that I have seen with Windows 10 v1703 installed when it arrived from Dell, I was not aware that v1703 could be publicly downloaded, with my delving and an extra week of review time from Dell’s PR agency and my own Tablet/Notebook with its small hard drive and limited 2GB of RAM I tell you of my own experiences.
First you will need a fully updated Windows v1607 system and then follow the link and possibly clear out some space you will need at least 8GB of free space to do the upgrade. My Tablet/Notebook was running build 14393 and to get windows v1607 upgraded to Windows 1703 the version you get build 15063. Three things are checked CPU, Memory and Disc Space. In my case I needed to manually delete v1511 (6.55GB). This left 10.6 GB of free disc, space I started at 12.
Adding to its range of products available in the UK, Venturer has released the Saturn 10 Pro.
This product combines the functionality of a mini-laptop with a touch screen and a 10-inch tablet. Both elements run the Android operating system. Priced at £129.99, the Saturn 10 Pro will be available from Asda.com. When operating as a mini-laptop, the Saturn 10 Pro has dimensions of 260 x 175 x 28 mm (W x H x D), when in its closed state, and weighs 980g.
This is the latest electric shaver from Braun. As with most of their recent offering it can be used as a standard dry electric shaver or when the skin is wet as you would with a traditional blade based razor giving you the best of both worlds.
It has an internal NiMH battery that should give enough power for up to 45 minutes of continuous shaving. It is 15.5cm from base to top of the shaving head, 5.5wide just below the head and a maximum of 4cm wide at the trimmer blade 2.5cm below the shaving head. It weighs 204grams. The head has two cutting bars each 4cm long and around .
These look in dimension terms identical, the coffee in them is manufactured in the UK so they should taste almost the same. The difference is that both the base of the container and the lid are compostable and therefore unlike the pods made by Nespresso especially their foil lids are not recyclable.
While I do possess a Nespresso machine and as regular readers will know my day runs on the amount of coffee I consume I have not used it for a while whilst I have tried the delights of Tassimo pods and Krups offerings. I dusted it off – not literally as it resides in its box but once fired up and ready that’s the way it stayed.