It has been a while since I last took a look at a Wacom device but a visit to a distributors trade show brought that period to an end.
While the keyboard and mouse combination can fulfil the needs for desktop system users for the vast majority of tasks, artistic creation is one area in which you could struggle. In my case the lack of any talent in this field would play a major part but that’s another matter. Offering to provide assistance in this respect is the Wacom Bamboo Pad. This product is a wireless Touchpad device with digital stylus.
These are marketed as the loudest wireless headphones. This is a bold statement but while I cannot confirm or deny it, they are loud and not only that they have a very good range from the base station, and, for good measure they are comfortable.
I am not wild about over ear headphones as they normally make my ears sweat but these were not too bad. As regular readers will know I am bald, not the modern bald from choice, but simply through old age. I can wear these fully contracted as they fit well over the ears and the large amount of padding on the centre of the headband holds nicely on my head. For those who have a lot of hair or just have larger heads each arm has 3cm of expansion.
Once again my trusted LG flat panel monitor is put into cold storage as I check out a new release from AOC.
As part of its latest batch of products, AOC has released its i2473Pwy model. This is a 23.8-inch IPS monitor that comes mounted on its own rather bulky black stand. Included in the box with the monitor are various leads for power connection, D-SUB 15-pin analogue cable and an HDMI lead plus a CD containing a PDF version of the User Guide and the usual collection of AOC utilities for use with this monitor.
This is four items in one, it prints, scans, copies and for those who still use it Faxes. It is not that large but still has an ADF (Auto Document Feeder) as well as a flatbed. Everything on the unit is driven by buttons and the small display.
The Canon Inkjet Multi Function MX395 measures 43x43x23cm this is with both input and output trays lowered and paper in the 100 sheet input tray. It seems the fashion now to have to manually lower the output tray which if you want to print or copy a quick single page can be a pain to remember as after a few seconds you get a reminder on the screen to lower the output tray.
There are some jobs that never seem to come to an end. No sooner think the task is finished when new problems appear. Take, for instance, the task of painting the Forth Bridge. By the time the painters reach the end of the bridge than the other end is in need of a fresh coat of paint and so the process starts again. You could say that this particular task could be a job for life. Another example of this type of never-ending task would be the maintenance of the Great Wall of China which is the focus of this next title from Avanquest.
They say Every Cloud has a silver lining but perhaps that lining should be chrome.
While laptops and notebooks continue to be a popular choice for many users, there have been a number of attempts to adapt this format with various offerings. Netbooks have come and gone, only to be replaced by the Intel-driven Ultrabook and the browser-based Chromebook. Recently I have had the opportunity to check out one of the latter category. This is the HP Chromebook 14.
Sennheiser make quality headphones, in fact in my recent visit to a high end audio establishment they were the only brand they stocked and sold that I recognised that was on sale in more normal high street outlets as well as online.
These are a set of on-ear offerings that are designed for Apple devices but I can assure you they work perfectly well for those of us not able to afford the Apple brand. They are lightweight at only 165grams. The maximum dimension from base of earpieces to the top centre of the headband is 20cm. There is just over 5cm of adjustment on each earpiece. The leather headband is sueded and split into two linked arms there is just enough padding for those you are follicley challenged.
Another of my rare forays into my passion Jazz before some think of various less pristine pastimes. I have known Nigel for many years and watched his undoubted talent grow and indeed I did feature some of his work in an earlier article.
Here there are two new albums which show his versatility as he is first shown as the powerhouse behind one of the UKs leading vocalists. Second in the format I first knew him in the Organ Trio with the excellent Pete Whittaker. However he has many other sides and I recently saw him light up a seven piece band and he also plays many other styles so ‘jazz guitarist’ must be the only way to describe the man who is at home with all styles of jazz.
Described as an ultra rugged device, the Braven BRV-X is a portable multifunction product. The Braven BRV-X combines Bluetooth speaker functionality with battery charging features. It can also act as a speaker phone unit. While more suited to the outdoors, this device can also prove useful when operating indoors.
Available in a choice of black or grey, with my review sample being of the latter type, the Braven BRV-X is perhaps not the most stylish piece of kit in the market. The product consists of elements that remind me of a wide-angle camera with removable cap, tank treads and a black mess grill covering the front of the unit. This Braven device is encased within a protective compressed rubber skin that is water resistant.
The PowerShot SX600 is a powerful pocket camera from Canon. This offering is small in size, runs on a solid rechargeable battery and has a huge 18x optical zoom, 16MP image capture as well as being able to take full HD movies at the touch of a button.
The Canon PowerShot SX600 measures 10.5x6x2.5cm and it weights 186grams. The last figure can increase by as much at 4.5cm when fully zoomed. The right side has a wrist strap anchor point and a door that hides AV and HDMI out ports. The base has the tripod anchor point and a door behind which is the solid battery and any SD card you use. On the left side is a flip switch to manually raise the pop up flash. The flash pops up on the top and is never nearer than 4cm to the 4.
As a leading force in the field of electrical appliances and digital devices, Currys and PC World plans to offer customers a look into the future.
Walk into any Currys or PC World store and you will faced by a vast plethora of tempting goods covering all manner of electrical appliances and digital devices. Recently five of the company’s biggest stores have had a make-over with the introduction of new SMART Tech Zones. In the words of Katie Bickerstaffe, Dixons Retail UK & Ireland CEO; “The future is here, right now, and its connected.
As I have mentioned before, games have an ability to be dusted down, repackaged and presented to the marketplace in a slightly different format. In the case of Avanquests GSP Play Collection, four titles, previously released as single offerings, have been bundled together as a single entity.
Making up the Ghostly Adventures 4 Play Collection are Haunted Past Realm of Ghosts, Devil on the Mississippi, Jack the Ripper and Mysterious City Cairo. Apart from belonging to the Hidden Object genre and, in some cases, a ghostly influence, the four titles have little in common and have been developed by different teams. Each of the titles needs to be installed separately from a front-end menu which does require reloading after each installation.
This is a multi function unit. It prints, scans, copies and faxes. It is a mono laser it has two paper trays and as it can be connected by USB, Wi-Fi or Ethernet if you are using it in the home the other half can be placated by putting it out of sight.
It iSamsung M2885FW mono laser printer measuresa 37x40x35cm, the top part is black and the bottom portion is cream. Unusual in that it is slighty wider than deeper and the main paper tray does protrude (included in stated measurement) by around 4cm from the main body. The total weight of the unit is under 11.5kilos.
Recently I reviewed the SanDisk Wireless Flash Drive. Now it is the turn of the companys Ultra Dual USB Drive.
The Ultra Dual USB Drive is a small device that has been designed to simplify the transfer of content between smartphones, tablets and computers. When I say “small”, I mean a device small enough to hide itself in a pocket or bag as you struggle to find it among all the usual items that tend to congregate in such locations. The Ultra Dual USB Drive has dimensions of 36.58 x 19.81 x 10.92mm (L x W x H) which means it is about the size of the top knuckle of your thumb.
So the World Cup set you thinking of buying a new TV set. Here's a better idea spend the same amount of money on a projector, and get a screen at least twice the size. You can pick up Epson's stylish 3D-capable EH-TW7200 for around £1900 (or currently £1700 on Amazon) and regale the family with a 120 inch or more display on your living room wall (only die-hard home cinema aficionados insist on a dedicated screen). And when you switch it off, you're not left with a huge blank frame dominating the room.
To be fair the TW7200 itself is something of an imposing presence. This curvy, white machine with styling reminiscent of Flash Gordon, weighs in at 8.4Kg and is a chunky 466 x 140 x 395 mm (width x depth x height). If your living room has a vacant chimney-breast (as does mine) this would be just the place to house it.
A not so small Android Tablet that is advertised as useable in one hand. Certainly for those with smaller hands this maybe a slight problem. It is however a near 8inch screen and means normal web pages display without any problems.
It is 20x14x1cm and weights 372grams. The screen surrounds are creamy grey and the back is silver. The viewable screen is 16x12cm which gives the notional diagonal imperial measurement of 7.8inches. Unfortunately the screen itself is rather reflective, still on a budget priced unit you rarely get non reflective screens. It comes with Android 4.2.2. Boot up is 22seconds and shutdown 4seconds. In the centre of the area above the screen is a 2MP web cam, a 5MP camera is mounted back left.
When putting good money on the line for a PC that will meet the demands of high-end games or other applications such as intensive photo-editing it makes sense to get an equivalent high-end monitor. The 27 inch q2770Pqu from AOCs professional line, having a native resolution of 2,560 x1,440 WQHD, good colour rendition and a wide range of connectivity options will meet these demands as well as being a possible option for those planning upgrades.
This monitor is mounted on a turntable base and, in its normal landscape mode is 25.25 inches wide and so, as one can appreciate, takes up a fair amount of real estate on the desk but never seems overpowering. Its slim black bezel is less than an inch on three sides while the lower edge, with the concealed controls on the underside, is just 1.25 inch.
For the last few weeks I have neglected my phone as I have been using other review units, for my trip out my phone needed to function. I switch it on for it to beep and show 0%. Luckily this PNY device had just arrived fully charged.
It is 10.5x4x2cm and weights 156grams. The front end of the unit has two USB ports and abov3e these centrally placed a micro USB port. It comes with a 50cm long USB to micro USB cable. The unit is brushed metal with a shiny chromium band at the front end. There is an on/off button next to a 1x.7cm % display. I connected the lead to one of the USB ports and the other end to my dead phone. It immediately sprung into life.
Keeping your work and social life separate can result in having a separate mobile phone for each type of activity. There is another solution.
While probably not the first name to trip off your tongue when considering a new smartphone, Prestigio does have a range of handsets that can offer a number of interesting possibilities. Take for example, the Prestigio Multiphone 5500DUO which is currently in my possession for review purposes.
This is a large screen All In One device not a print/scan/copy but an Android device built into the screen of this 24inch offering so you have touch. If you wish you can connect any other PC or notebook to the screen using HDMI to get a large display.
The ViewSonic VSD241 measures 60.5x41.5x3cm. The viewable screen is 51.5x29.5cm which gives the notional diagonal imperial measurement of 23½ inches. The display is full HD 1920x1080 and I viewed various videos and movies both from the Android and PC interfaces and they both were excellent. I am sure the built in 1.7GHz Quad Core NVidia processor make the movies and indeed all applications used function crisply.
Pop into your local High Street computer retailer and you will probably find a number of different printer units available for sale. In most cases these items will be multifunction or All-in-One devices but there could be an occasional appearance of a unit that just provides a range of basic print tasks. The Samsung Xpress M2022W is one such standalone printer.
Decked out predominately in computer grey, apart from a black top, the Xpress M2022W is a monochrome laser printer. In its closed-up state, this printer box has dimensions of 178 x 215 x 332mm (H x D x W). However, once you open the drop-down front of the unit to act as a paper input tray (150 sheet capacity) and flip out the paper support arm for holding printed documents at the top of the printer then the dimensions increase to 260 x 362 x 332mm (H x D x W).
When your master is kidnapped, what is an apprentice to do? In this next game, the answer is to rescue the old guy.
Available from Alawar, The Beardless Wizard is a time management adventure game. Actual it is more a time management game but it does have a flavour of adventure about it as you set out on a rescue mission. In this game, set in a land of magic and challenges, your role is that of Eugene who is an apprentice to a kind, old wizard named Godgory.
Here a more recent solution a record deck that allows you to play your music and even make a digital copy of it. It also has a radio and a CD player, so a complete audio system, should you want more than just an MP3 copy add one lead and a PC and you can.
While it is sold as ‘Retro’ in many ways it is bang up to date. It is creamy white in colour with a clear Perspex lid, the feet are chrome coloured. While it has a twelve page manual all in English the layout could be better. Diagram with numbers on the right hand page and then the key on the left hand page to follow.
Clearing a suitable space in my living room and, at times, putting a strain on my back, it was time to check out one of the new models in Samsungs television line up.
I can still remember the “box in the corner” scenario when you might be the only family in the street who had a one-channel television. You could invite some neighbours round to share the entertainment being broadcast while occasionally some others could be invited to raise the envy and jealous levels.
Relish is the name for a pilot 4G fixed network initially covering the central London area just launched by UK Broadband. It is being offered as an alternative to fibre.
At present the service covers the core area from Kensington in the west to Canary Wharf in the East and from North to South, Shoreditch to Southwark. Having launched in central London the plan is to roll the service out to Greater London and other UK cities in due course. “We do not have a fixed time line. We would like to roll-out quickly but our focus right now is on providing a great service for central Londoners.
The Duo stands for dual SIM and with various companies offering good deals for one service or another having a dual SIM phone can save a lot of money. As Prestigio phones are sold unlocked you can even use SIMs from two different companies.
I have reviewed a couple of other Dual SIM phones in the past. The last one used a full size SIM and a micro SIM. This uses two full size offerings which piggy back on top of each other but fit in different ways. Also nearby is where any Micro SD card you use fits. All require the back to be removed to insert, but only the SIMs require the battery to be removed.
A simple device to do one job I seem to have written that a lot recently but it is something that most people can use to make things easier. It is a USB hub on a long lead meaning you do not need to be tied that closely to your PC or even a power outlet.
The lead when unfurled is three metres and the power lead that connects to is another one and half metres long so in effect you can charge or power items up to four and a half metres from a power point. Of course this can be even further away if you use another lead extension. So on a nice day you can work away in your garden and still have power. The box contains the Life Hub, the Cradle that holds the wound cable, the mains cord, the power adapter and a small multi language manual.
Like with many boys of my generation years ago, cowboys & Indians was a popular pastime but somehow getting involved in a gold rush never came into it.
The year is 1849 and the location is California. At this time and location you are wondering how best to make your way in a world of opportunity with minimal laws to thwart any plans you may devise when the blood pounding cry of “There’s gold in them thar hills!” begins to be heard. This is the chance you have been looking for. But it is not for you the risky business and hard labour of joining in the gold rush.
An Android Tablet with an added plus it can be used when Wi-Fi is not available so it can be a phone or with the correct service with Mobile Data. So what does this recent offering from French company have to offer the user?
The Archos 79 Xenon Android tablet measures 19.7x13.4x.7cm and weights 315grams. The viewable screen is 12x16cm. The unit is cream in colour with a silver back. At the base of the back is a pair of reasonable speakers. At the top of the back is a 2cm cream strip that is your way to inserting SIM and Micro SD Cards. At the left corner of this strip is the camera. Immediately above it on the top edge is the on/off button.
When I am hungry I can be tempted by a snack (crisps and chocolate tend to head the list) but what do you do if your mobile device is hungry for power?
Mobile devices, as their classification implies, are at their most useful when you are out and about. They can provide you with facilities that you come to rely on where ever you are. However, despite the numerous advantages on offer, mobile devices can prove to be extremely annoying. I am referring to the “lack of power” syndrome as you are faced by a “dead device” when attempting to make a call or download some vital information.