The MiniDrones are coming. Leading the aerial force is the subject of this next review.
Like many others, I am not the biggest fan of spiders but in this case I am willing to make an exception. The arachnid in question is of the mechanical type and belongs to the Parrot family of MiniDrones which could well be invading our homes over the coming months. This particular model is the Rolling Spider which combines the ability to travel over various surfaces, including walls and ceilings, plus take to the air in a kind of futuristic helicopter mode.
Wrist bands seem very popular here is one that has many functions, it can be a watch, an exercise monitor, a pedometer, it has a sleep tracker and with the aid of either an iOS or Android App this information can all be stored.
The band can expand to 22cm or contract to 19cm; it is a maximum of 1.5cm wide at the face and a maximum of .7cm thick. There is an App for either your iOS or Android device that in theory should make the setup easy. Downloading the App is easy as is entering your personal information and even the linking of your device to the fitness band. You now know there is a but - to my mind a big but - if all that information can be transferred why oh why cannot the time be updated in the same way.
Almost exactly 3 years ago one of the most exciting pieces of kit I had seen for some time crossed my desk. It was the ViewSonic PLEDW500, a tiny but surprisingly bright projector that used cool-running LEDs for illumination instead of a hot lamp. Designed primarily for business presentations, its XVGA resolution and extended color gamut made it perfectly suitable for movies.
Unfortunately, it soon disappeared from the market. But the good news is that it's back again, reborn as the PLED-W800. And it's better and brighter than ever.
The Achilles heel of any projector is the lamp. To burn bright it needs to burn hot, using a lot of juice and requiring a cooling fan. The fan uses yet more juice, as well as tending to add bulk to the assembly, and of course noise. The other catch is that most of the projectors on the home market use a single DLP chip - the electronic device that turns electrical signals into pictures.
Like other important events such as Christmas, birthdays and the like, new versions of anti-virus and Internet security products appear, like clockwork, on an annual basis.
It is that time of year yet again as the latest version of Bitdefender Total Security, identified by its 2015 designation, makes an appearance. For the purpose of this review the product was installed on a Windows 8.1 system with a 2.5GHz processor with 8GB of RAM. In company with other brands of protective software, Bitdefender is not happy to co-exist with competitive products.
Doro phones have always been easy to use and had features designed to help those with limited sight and or hearing. Now here a unit that looks more like those available to those people without such disabilities to worry about.
Early phones from Doro were a lifeline for those with severe disabilities, now Doro are trying to offer more and make the units look more trendy so they do not stand out in a crowd to embarrass the ‘normal’ looking user who had a disability. For a while now Doro units have had a camera this is no exception. What is very new is there remote manager which allows a friend or family member to manage the unit and help make their life easier and still to remain independent.
As the year draws to close many software companies make sure that 2015 versions of their software are on the dealers shelves. Internet Security is one such product, with virus writers now getting more destructive so must our guardians be more vigilant.
One of the companies vying for our business is Kaspersky Lab. You can purchase the products online and download or from a dealer or company supplying online who deliver a CD or DVD with the software on it. Either way the software will need continuous updating and what you are actually buying is a 12 month licence to keep your computer or computers safe.
As the window on to your computer inspired world, the monitor has an important role to fulfil as you word, play and carry out any tasks.
As part of its recent refresh of its monitor line up, ViewSonic has released its VG2438SM model. This is a 24-inch display with a 16:10 aspect ratio, a resolution of up to 1920 x 1200 pixels and a viewing angle of 178 degrees/178 degrees. The VG2438SM has two integrated 2W stereo speakers. A fairly solid oval shaped stand needs to be connected is the display when the unit is to be positioned on a desktop rather than going for the optional wall-mounted feature.
Not just a large screen panel but a very high resolution one. In fact the only way you will get to use it at the highest resolution is if you connect it via Display Port, but I am told that the next version of HDMI should support it.
The BenQ 27inch BL2710 measures 63x38x3cm. The stand is 37x26cm but only the back middle is as much as 26cm where the circular hydraulic arm is, the rest is only 19cm deep. In its lowest position the arm raises the screen by only 1cm from the desk but it can raise it by as much as 14cm. All these figures are in Landscape mode but it can be used in Portrait mode by a simple 90degree turn and when used via Display Port it changes the orientation of the screen automatically.
It is your responsibility to keep your computer safe from those who are intent on gaining unauthorised access.
An anti-virus product, at its basic level, is like an insurance policy. It appears on an annual basis with an offering of protection, from the machinations of the less desirable elements of society, for the next twelve months. Norton has been a leading name in the field of security. The latest offering from the company is entitled Norton Security which offers protection for a PC, Mac, iOS and Android device.
This is one of those occasions when I missed out on the original title of a game. In this case the game was called Runaway. The follow up offering, from the same development team, is entitled Hidden Runaway. Featuring the same two main characters of Brian and Gina, Hidden Runaway belongs to the Hidden Object Adventure genre.
Unlike other games of this genre, Hidden Object offers little in the way of customising the game such as difficulty settings and volume levels. You can, however, play this game in different languages. This feature is achieved by selecting from flags representing the languages. Up to four game profiles can be created with each one represented by a picture of a chicken – actually the pictures are of a hen or cockerel.
This is a four in one unit as it has the ability to send and receive faxes. So not only a rather nice printer and a good unit for the occasional copy but also useful for scanning both to a PC and it also has the ability to scan to a card or USB stick.
Thed HP Envy 7640 measures 44x45x20cm and weighs less than 8Kg, the second figure, the depth, includes the power lead which protrudes beyond the official measurements. Even in its small height there are two inbuilt paper trays an A4 one at the base which should hold around 100 sheets and a photo paper one above it that supports both 15x10cm and 18x13cm sheets. On preparing to print an extension to the output shelf extends and this stops output spilling onto the desk/floor.
Following on from the NBS8, recently reviewed on Gadgetspeak.com, Nakamichi has launched the next product in its range of portable Bluetooth speakers. Not surprisingly this next model has been named the NBS9.
According to the design department at Nakamichi, or maybe it was the marketing department, the shape of the NBS9 takes its inspiration from the traditional phone shape. While I am not going to argue with this point of view, I prefer to look on the NBS9 more as a hump-backed bridge, a bit like the one I drive over most weekends.
Most cameras that I review are still units that have the ability to take movies. This is almost the reverse being a unit most likely to be used to take video but it can also take still shots however this is fixed to one of two fixed distance focuses.
The Canon Legria mini XI measures 10.5x7.5x3cm and weighs 240grams. The front of the unit has the lens with twin microphones either side of it. When off the lens is covered. The back has a single LED labelled Access and a flip door behind which sits the solid battery and any SD card you use. There is flip stand that pulls out and is strong enough to stay where you put it so the unit could be placed on a shelf or table pointing at the object to be videoed.
Now that SSDs are becoming more affordable it is a now a good time to enhance the performance of ones PC. The SSDNow 300 upgrade kit from Kingston Technology provides the parts together with the necessary instructions to upgrade either a laptop or desktop.
Solid-state drives are more robust than hard drives as well as being faster, quieter and consume less power. While these are all key factors for the laptop user, speed is the major benefit in a desktop. While these SSDs are claimed to be 10 times faster than a hard drive, one never achieves this ideal as there are many factors involved. As there are great similarities in upgrading both types of machines, each Kingston kit contain the parts required to upgrade both types of machines.
Have you ever wanted to use one mobile device to charge another? Have you wanted to transfer data by cable from a PC to a mobile device, in fact why not you use the same cable to charge and transfer data. Finally a clock in a Spray Paint can that shows on any surface.
Anything that has a micro USB charge socket this cable can work with. Its total length is 25cm including what look like two identical micro USB plugs, however one is marked with the standard USB symbol and the other with a lightning bolt. So plug the latter into your tablet or other such device that has power and plug the USB symbol end into your phone and you will have power to make that call.
When was the last time you made a backup of your valuable computer data? Hopefully it was within a period that could be called recent. I know it can be a bind to fit such activities into busy modern day living but back-up software, such as Acronis True Image, can be set to schedule this type of operation and automate the process for you so you do not have to bother.
Available in a variety of editions, Acronis True Image 2015 comes with the claim of being “the most complete, easy, and safe full system backup solution for personal use” while offering both dual protection (local and Cloud based) plus multi-platform (Windows and Mac) environments. When installing Acronis True Image, the software conducts a search of your computer system for a previous version of the product.
This looks like a conventional DAB/FM radio and indeed it has both those functions, it is also able to be an Auxiliary output, play anything from a Media server and is also the best and easiest to use Internet Radio I have seen.
The Roberts Stream93i measures 24x17x19cm, the last figure is the height to the top of the built in carry handle, the middle figure assumes you have the mains lead plugged into the back. It has a 45cm five piece rod aerial for reception of DAB/FM radio. My unit had shiny black sides, top and bottom, the front and back are matt black. It has a 6x4.5cm colour display in the centre of the front in the top half of the unit, level with this are two large knobs on the left volume and the right tuning.
With a new line up of inkjet printers, Hewlett Packard is not offering a new ink replacement service.
You might have seen the latest television advert from Hewlett-Packard. This is the one regarding the company’s Instant Ink scheme which has just appeared as I write these words. For those who have not seen the advert or are unsure as to what it may entail, the Instant Ink scheme offers to save the user up to 70% of the cost of ink when using an eligible printer.
As you would expect from a 4 Play title, this next offering considers of four games that have a treasure hunting theme.
Treasure Hunters is part of Avanquest’s 4 Play Collection series on its GSP label. This title is made up of Time Chronicles The Missing Mona Lisa, Legacy of the Incas, Mystery of the Missing Brigantine and Treasure Hunters. A front-end menu allows you to install each game individually. You will need to restart this front-end after each of the installations has run its course which some might find a little annoying.
This is marketed as a quick and easy way to transfer data via your own secure Wi-Fi network. If your first use is via an Android (or I assume an i device) this may be so but it may be far harder if you start from a PC with only the supplied five point guide.
This is a USB3 device but I found it difficult to get it accepted on my PC, however once you have then all the information you require and more is available in files on the 1TB hard drive and this includes easy to follow videos no problem. Finding all this information elsewhere is less easy so let’s hope it’s just my PC that it was fussy with. It is 12.5x8.5x2cm and weights 279grams. The top has two LEDs, green and blue.
While an inch might be considered a small amount, it can make a difference with a portable device.
While the name of Gigaset might not be familiar to you, the company, in one format or another, has been in existence for 160 years in the telecommunications industry. Previously known as Gigaset Siemens, the company has recently announced its first excursion into the area of tablets with its initial offerings consisting of two models namely the 8-inch QV830 and the 10.1-inch QV1030. I have had the opportunity to try out the QV830.
Nothing beats the smell of freshly baked bread. The Russell Hobbs 18036 Breadmaker offers a straightforward way of making bread in your kitchen as and when you want it.
This is certainly the thinnest soundbar I have seen. It does however have a separate rather meaty sub woofer. So any thought you may have of a thin or sub standard sound reproduction should immediately be banished from your mind.
The sound bar is one metre long, 5cm tall and 2cm deep. The small plastic stand that it rests in is 40cm long, 5cm deep and 3cm tall. The sub woofer is 19x26x27cm. As with all sound bars the main use will be with your TV and an optical cable. In my past tests with such items I have had mixed results. Here however anything that would normally throw volume from the TV speakers worked, that is of course what you want but with some devices not what you get.
Certainly a small unit, it has a changeable lens but is not in my mind a DSLR unit. In fact my first thoughts on taking it out of the box would not have made pleasant reading but after sorting the problems, I grew to like verging on - love the Samsung NX Mini digital camera.
During my test period I was lucky enough to get invited to an event half way up The Shard and this provided some amazing images on an autumn evening. The camera measures 11x6.3x3.3cm and weights 228grams. It is surprising how used you get to letting the camera do the work and not worrying to much about how close you are to the subject. Here with the fixed 9mm lens you need to move around a bit more or rely on the image and photo manipulation software to give you the image you want after capture.
Not everybody wants or needs a smartphone with all its bells and whistles. There are many users, especially those often referred to as silver surfers, who are more than happy to find their mobile communication needs adequately covered by a feature phone such as the latest addition to Doros growing 3G feature handset portfolio. This new addition to the Doro catalogue is the PhoneEasy 624 model.
With dimensions of 102 x 52 x 19mm and weighing 104g (800 mAh Li-ion battery included), the PhoneEasy 624 is a clamshell unit with a metallic red outer casing featuring white trimmings. A charging stand, micro-to-standard USB lead, three-pin power plug, earphones with mute control, lanyard and User Manual are included in the box.
For those looking for a book reader then the Aura H20 from Kobo could well be something to consider. The bright white background makes it seem just like what one used to take off the bookshelf to read, the main advantage is that text size can suit your eyesight.
The Kobo Aura H20 measures 18x12.5.7cm and weights 228grams. It fits nicely in an adult hand and will slip easily into a bag or purse. The screen is 10.3x17.7cm, the screen in imperial measurements is 6.8inches and the screen is 1430x1080, the default text size gives 25 lines of what looks quite small text but even for someone of advanced years and less than perfect eyesight – me – found is very readable at 40cm distance.
The popular Ivy Restaurant was the location where I first cast eyes on the subject of this next review.
The CEOL Carino is a Denon audio system that has been designed to combine USB connectivity to a computer and Bluetooth streaming from a range of mobile devices when delivering its audio content. Decked out in a fairly fingerprint resistant lacquered black (there is a white version), this kit consists of the main Carino box, two satellite speakers and a small remote control unit.
And who, you may ask is Ollie? And what is he about?
Let me introduce you to Ollie. This fun creature is a close cousin of Sphero and Sphero 2. Like his cousins, Ollie was developed in the Orbotix labs under the watchful eye of its co-creator Ian Bernstein who feels that this tubular creation should be regarded as the complete adrenaline junkie that is never happier than when charging about under some sort of control emanating from the user’s mobile device.
While most think of Samsung for mobile phones and their more of less consistent war with Apple they also do a whole raft of other excellent products including Smart TVs so flat panels for computers will be no surprise is another of their group of expertise.
The screen of the Samsung S24D390HL monitor measures 54x31x2cm with the 25x20cm stand raising it 9cm from your desk. The viewable screen is 51x29.5cm which gives the notional diagonal imperial measurement of 23.6inches. The default screen display is 1920x1080. This unit has a lot of back tilt and a small amount forward of vertical. As with all recent panels this has a wide viewing angle and here it is not just from side to side but also above and below, the stated figure is 178degrees.
While colour can add impact, it is not always required by some documents. This next printer gives you speed and good quality for your monochrome documents.
While Brother is currently targeting the expanding Colour Laser market space with its “Now the Gloves are Off” campaign, the company is certainly not neglecting the monochrome market sector as can be seen by its new HL-L2365DW offering. Aimed primarily at the Home and Small Office user, this monochrome laser printer offers a choice of USB, wired network or wireless connectivity with Duplex printing capability as the “DW” part of the product’s title indicates.