Currently a hot topic, drawing attention from various quarters, is that of the damage that can occur from the uncontrolled disposal of goods made from plastic. As this damage will be to the environment, the results will affect us all.
According to the font of wisdom we know as Wikipedia, plastic is a material that can consist of a wide range of synthetic or semi-synthetic organic compounds that are malleable. These compounds can then be moulded into a variety of solid objects that can either be for single or multi-use tasks. However, in both cases, there could be a problem when the time comes for the decision to be made that the plastic object is no longer needed.
My two favourite things are ‘food and drink’ and ‘music’ both recorded and even better when live. Here I get a chance to try good quality coffee in my home and even listen to my music while relaxing with a great cup of coffee.
This is the largest coffee machine that has crossed my kitchen but possibly also the best and certainly the nearest to a coffee shop offering. The Melitta Barista Smart measures 37x47x25cm and weighs over 10kilos. Dependant on the type of coffee you want – there are two bean containers – it grinds just the right amount for one cup and then makes it, this can take less than a minute, longer if you are having a fresh milk element in your drink.
This is a small removable lens camera from Olympus that goes under the ‘Pen’ name that Olympus first created several years ago with a single offering that has now grown into a brand all of their own for small easy to use quality cameras.
The Olympus Pen E-PL8 measures 12x6.5x6cm and weighs only 528grams with neck strap and flash unit attached, the latter increases the last figure the height by 2cm. Going around the camera, the left side has only the neck strap anchor point; the right side has its pair as well as mini USB and HDMI sockets behind a flip door. The base has the solid battery behind a door that is also where you insert any SD Card you use, further along the base is a tripod anchor point.
The Brother DCP-J774DW is a versatile A4 3-in-1 inkjet printer targeted at the low-volume SoHo user who wants versatility in a package that doesn’t take up too much space.
The unit is light grey in colour and rectangular in shape with a full size lift-up cover over the glass scan/copy platen. It is 40cm wide x 34cm. This increases to about 38cm when the control panel, with its 6.8 cm diagonal touch-sensitive colour LCD display, is swivelled outwards to a more convenient viewing angle and about 46cm when the paper catcher is extended to the front and still further on those occasions that the rear single sheet feeder is deployed.
Honor have the same parent company as Huawei in fact their UK PR is in the same building in London. So a lot of the latest technology can be found in both these brands. Here I am looking at the Honor View 10 one of their recent releases.
The Honor View 10 measures 15.5x7.3x.8cm and it weighs 171grams, mine had a smoky blue back and sides that was matt in finish, the screen can be shiny in direct sunlight but still does not seem to show finger marks. The viewable screen is 13.5x6.5cm which gives the notional diagonal imperial screen measurement of 5.98inches; the default screen resolution is 1080x2160 and 18x9 aspect ratio LCD panel, which is full HD plus a bit.
All the pieces in this game are the same length the same thickness and the same width and you have to make increasingly difficult models using them, no glue no nails no screws just friction to hold them together it is not easy, in fact for some of the models it’s very difficult, or for me anyway close to impossible.
My annual visit to the 2018 Toy Fair had me stop in my tracks at this stand to take a second – and third look – at a far more impressive model created by the lady on the stand of a very large balloon (also made of these pieces of pine) which she assembled in 90 minutes, my thought was wow. Which is possibly what she intended she had me hooked. I left with this small set called Kapla Challenge and for me anyway it certainly was. The box is 12.5x12.5x3.
Where Wi-Fi cannot reach there is an alternative to a very long Ethernet lead and that is using power sockets to transfer the signals. Providing the router and the external point are on the same ring main you can get a strong signal it could be your basement, loft or garage.
I was sent a single box that contains two Powerline Adapters it is called a starter kit and this contains all you need to get that out of Wi-Fi spot back into use. The kit has two adapters the one to connect to your router is slightly larger at 14x7x6cm and this has three Ethernet Gigabit ports on the top, the other smaller unit is 13x6.5x5cm and has one Ethernet port on the top.
Here a set of Bluetooth earbuds that arrived at the time I was reviewing two recent phones neither of which comes with a 3.5mm sockets so Bluetooth is not a luxury but an essential. These are both small and light and as required for ‘exercise’ stay put once inserted.
The cord connecting the buds is 60cm long and somewhat surprisingly for me anyway the control box is on the right side and only 6cm from the bud. The box describes them as Wireless Stereo earphones with a less than catchy name of VAVA MOOV 28 model VA-BH009. The buds are 3.5cm from front to back and .5cm across the magnetised back. Apart from the buds – three sizes included – there are also ‘hooks’ which go into the outer ear to help hold the bud in place during exercise.
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.
When I inquired about one of their Dehumidifiers it was suggested that Gadgetspeak readers might also be interested in this small personal heater that is ideal for just heating a small space, it also has an added plus but you will need to read on to ascertain what that is.
The overall size of the heater is 16cm tall at the rear, 13.5cm at the front; it is 10cm wide and 12cm deep. There is a hard wired mains lead that is 150cm long that emerges from the base of the back. The sloping top has a 340 degree rotation on/off switch that controls the heat level. The possible power is 250watts a thermostat cuts it in or out at a set level. It sits on my desk 15cm to the left of my keyboard and depending on how cold my hands are affects the amount I twist the heat control.
Over time descriptive terms can come to have different meanings. I am thinking in particular of “smart home”. While my parents would have taken “smart home” to mean a place that was neat and tidy without needing any decorating, you and I, as member of the current generation, would use the term when describing the plethora of interlinked devices within the modern home.
In some cases a modern “smart home” could be regarded as a one-stop shop with all the various elements belonging to a single brand but this is not always possible. For a variety of reasons, some users opt to mix devices from different brands which can cause communication problems. Offering to help ease any communication issues between devices of different pedigrees is the UK developed nCube product.
Another in the range of reviews of the latest mobile phones courtesy of Vodafone whose network coverage is -in my tests anyway - superior to that offered by other mobile phone companies. Huawei are the new kids on the block making others sit up and work harder to catch up.
The major step they made last year was the vastly improved camera using Leica dual lens technology to give you stunning images. It is 15.5x7.5x.7cm and weighs 180grams. Thin, smart, tough and well built, it even comes with silicon back and side cover to protect from the odd drop. Silver grey front and sides and a ‘mocha’ brown back go to make up the smart look. It is as thin as any phone I have seen, it feels solid and there is certainly no flexibility and is nice to hold and use.
Next under the spotlight is another speaker system from a popular audio supplier.
With a model number of R2000DB, the Edifier speaker system under review is a bookshelf style unit. Having looked at several Edifier products in the past I was expecting this particular speaker system to consist of a sub-woofer and satellite speakers that were of an innovative design appearance but neither expectations proved to be correct once I examined the contents of the package.
Finding love in the middle of a battle is just the start of this next Hidden Object Adventure.
Developed by Mad Hat Games, Nevertales: Legends is a Hidden Object Adventure game. I have been looking at the Collector’s Edition of the title. This version includes a number of extra items including a bonus game which becomes accessible once the main game has been completed.
I have an older property and one side of my building especially prone to damp in fact I have had a Dehumidifier in use in one room for 35 years. However recently things have got worse and a second more transportable unit allows it to be moved about between the other two affected rooms the bathroom and kitchen and it can even be used to help dry clothes.
It is 53x18x30cm and weights close to 13Kilos. Dimplex do three models in this range each with a slightly different water storage capacity, I was sent the middle offering the 16litre, the figure relates to the amount of moisture it can extract in 24 hours. For really bad areas of damp the unit can be connected to drain automatically but I very pleased to say my case is not that bad so the internal tank can be emptied as required. The tank capacity is 2.3litres.
Adding to its range of carry cases, STM has released its Saga model.
As our reliance on portable electronic devices grows, so does the need for a means of storing such items when on our travels. Offering to provide carrying option for various items is the Saga 15-inch laptop backpack from the STM family. This nag has been designed to be carried on the back or in the fashion of an attaché case.
This is part of a range of gaming notebooks from Acer. While I openly admit that I am no gamer other reviews will tell you what this and other units in the Predator range can accomplish in the gaming area I concentrate on its other features.
The Acer Predator is a 17.3 inch high performance gaming laptop measuring 42x28x2.5cm and weights just short of 3kilos at 2.94kilos. This is a powerful beast that has the whole rear to dissipate the heat a heady gaming session is likely to create. The left side has a Kensington lock socket, Ethernet port, USB ‘C’ port, HDMI out, USB3 port and an SD Card slot.
Larger memory sticks are always useful if you need to transfer large files such as videos to various destinations, if these devices have the ability to work on what are otherwise conflicting operating systems then so much the better.
It is only slightly longer than a standard USB stick at 6.5x2.3x1cm and both the end pieces are covered. It weighs only 16grams. Assuming you only lift one cover the other is held in place as the rubberised cover has two strips down the back which if required can be integrated into a belt so you never lose the stick unless that is you lose your trousers. The Lightning connector is one end and a standard USB3 (actually USB3.1) connector the other.
Following up The Mad Scientist, Old Enemies Return in the Greed Series.
As one of the Seven Deadly Sins, Greed is also the title of this next Hidden Object adventure game. Developed by Urchin Games with the sub-title of Old Enemies Return, the game opens as two characters provide introductory dialogue through quivering lips as a large safe slams shut. Fortunately the game’s developers seem to have had second thoughts and have dispensed with the quivering lips approach which, quite frankly, looked ridiculous.
While the sound quality of the two previous Cello units have been good there is little any normal TV speaker can do about the terrible sound quality on recent films even those made by people like the BBC are now falling into the choice of hearing speech and being deafened by the music or hearing music at the normal level and lip reading speech, however help is available with a quality sound bar.
This is a 43inch TV with a couple of plus points, first it has an integrated sound bar which looks little more than an extended area under the screen and second this unit has a full Android computer built in so you can get and send emails and search the WWW in fact anything you can do with an Android Tablet. It comes with a tiny Wi-Fi USB dongle to connect to the supplied TV’s ‘Air Remote Control’. The TV is 96x63x1.
Joining the ranks of new handsets to grab your attention is the latest Honor offering.
As part of the Honor X-series range of handsets, Huawei has released its Honor 7X model. This smartphone comes with a range of new features designed to appeal to those users prepared to pay £269.99 from sources such as store.hihonor.com, Argos and very.co.uk. Available in a choice of colours from black (my review sample), blue, gold or red, the Honor 7X has dimensions of 156.3 x 75.3 x 7.6 mm (H x W x D). Combining a metallic chassis with a 2.
Here are a set of headphones with a difference a big difference. Those without hearing problems might perhaps not find the information below useful but for others it might allow both music and speech to be heard a lot better than it otherwise would.
They are a set of intelligent headphones that understand your hearing – or lack of it - and adjust the output to suit. They also come with buds that sit in the ear but do plug them. Also when worn while moving about either corded or cordless they allow air to circulate so that the ears do not overheat. If you know what I mean about hot or plugged ears then you could certainly think the cost worth wild.
Epson continues to develop and improve its range of Eco Tank devices included its ET-2750 model.
With its “ET” prefix indicating that this next product belongs to the EcoTank family of offerings, Epson has launched the ET-2750. Suitable for Home and Home/Office use, the ET-2750 offers print, copy and scan All-in-One capabilities plus double-sided printing and wireless connectivity for good measure. For the benefit of those not familiar with the Epson EcoTank system, this is a sea-change that Epson introduced with some printers in 2015.
Coffee machines are always a hit especially ones which you can approach and know your coffee is ready to pour. Of course that often means the coffee may not be freshly ground unless of course you live in your local coffee shop.
This is a bean machine and providing it has water and beans it can have your hot coffee waiting when you get into the office even if its 6AM. While this unit works perfectly well with you at its side it can also work by Wi-Fi once you have set it up and as the process takes around eight minutes from start to finish it might be just the thing unless you have a servant to do everything for you.
This is a USB cable that has three possible connections at the other end. So if the options given match the connections needed by your devices then on your travels you only need to take this single ‘tri’ ended cable with you.
If your travels go beyond the UK then you might also need to take the previously reviewed Omnia TA502 which someone who knows a bit of Latin told me means ‘everything’ or something close to that, read the review to see if it suits you needs.
This is a larger Android Tablet that has an ‘approved by Google’ label. I am told not many tablets have. It comes in quite a large box for an Android Tablet. There are three different Android Tablets in the range I was sent the largest the 10inch offering, I hope to get a smaller one soon.
This 10" Android powered tablet from Time2 measures 24.5x17x1cm and weights 513grams. The viewable screen is 21.5x13.5cm which gives the notional diagonal imperial measurement of 10inches. The right side has the volume up and down controls and below that the on/off button. The base and left side are clear, the top has micro USB connection, headphone socket and behind a lift off door are Micro SD Card slot and SIM slots, also in this area is the rear 5MP camera.
At any time of the year it is difficult to get a doctor’s appointment and so many decide to descend upon A&E. If you have done this then you know you will have a long wait and possibly feel there surely must be a better option available.
In the weather that prevailed just before Christmas fixing a new door bell was not the most pressing thing on my mind, or course once fitted the various groups of carol singers that seem to materialise can safely be ignored from your indoor comfort.
It was only when the thermometer rose slightly that I persuaded myself to install it and as it has video I can then safely ignore all those ringing my doorbell trying to sell ‘x’ or ‘y’ the worst I find are those who start off by saying ‘I am not selling anything’. While a video doorbell may for some seem ‘anti-social’ for those with disabilities or those of us who are older they become more important.
Small enough to use on your lap and it comes with ‘ice cool’ technology to keep your palms cool something you will appreciate in the warmer months. The touchpad – a dirty word for some – has intuitive gestures and there is even decent sound from the Sonic Master chip.
This ASUS Notebook measures 33x23x1.5cm and weights 1473grams. The left side has DC input, Ethernet port, USB ‘C’, HDMI out, USB and an SD Card port, The front has three pin hole LEDs. The right side has a Kensington Lock port, a USB port and a 3.5mm headphone socket. The back is clear as the screen goes back over it to 135 degrees. There are four 1.5cm rubber feet on the base as well as the pair of speakers either side near the front.
I did not know what the Omnia meant so I asked Google and now I have at least a dozen choices, none seem relevant to this tool I am looking at from Adam Elements, first it’s a plug for the three main regions of the world which then accepts plugs from all over the world and for good measure has a couple of USB outlets built into its body.