This next product is available from the Gizoo.co.uk web site.
The “thumbsUp!” Retro Touch Speaker is described on the packaging as being a wireless one touch, bedside smartphone speaker that can double as a USB phone charger. I have to state right from the start that the appearance of the product in question, does not live up to this multi-tasking description.
Rather than the usual PC platform, this next game is available for Android devices.
Several months ago I reviewed a Big Fish game entitled Fairway Solitaire that was available as part of the Focus Multimedia catalogue. Now it is time for a follow-up offering that has the title of Fairway Solitaire Blast. Unlike the original title, which was for the Windows platform, this follow-up Big Fish offering is an Android game available free-of-charge from the Play Store.
A tool to do a single job, link to various web sites such as YouTube and relay whatever you have on your phone or Tablet and via some electronics in the supplied HDMI dongle and show it on your TV with sound, so any non Connected TV is updated.
It is 7x3.5x1cm, the middle figure the width is at the fatter back just behind the connection it is only 2cm so should not block any nearby HDMI ports. However if this is a problem on your TV an HDMI extender cable is supplied. It is also supplied with a 1.5metre lead which fits into the end of the Chromecast and is a USB lead who’s other end is either a standard USB plug or fits into the supplied 13AMP plug, this is required to provide power to the Chromecast.
A regular source of products that I feature in reviews is the Denmark based Sandberg company. The latest offering to arrive from Sandberg is the Bluetooth Stereo Headset Pro product priced at £53.99.
The Bluetooth Stereo Headset Pro is an over-the-ear type of listening device. It is predominately black in colour apart from the brushed metallic face plates decorating each ear piece and a logo-bearing strip attached to the top of the headband. When not in use, this headset can be folded into a smaller shape making it easier to be packed away when in transit.
Often new phones are available from the large providers before the actual company who manufacture them. This is a case in point this unit was supplied by O2. It is the most recent Samsung SmartPhone to become available in the UK.
The Samsung Galaxy S5 measures 14x7x.5cm and weights 145grams. The viewable screen is 11.2x6.4cm which gives the notional diagonal imperial screen measurement of 5.1inches. While I have used other Android 4.4 this unit (Android 4.4.2) has a lot of features I have not seen or used before and the short one week review time did not give me the chance to try more than a few. However those small things I tried I liked. One I did try was the excellent camera for both still and movie capture.
This is another version of the recently reviewed item from thumbs UP that got the highly desirable and very rarely awarded 5x5 award. It has the same great volume increase ability to turn a low volume from and speaker into something desirable.
It is somewhat larger and also has a separate volume knob, it can show video on the screen if placed correctly and lets the sound come out of the speakers, yes I said speakers so there is stereo and while it can be run on batteries it is also possible to run on mains power. It is also possible to charge your playing device via USB while in situ. On the basis of what I have said above this surely is worth another 5x5 award.
The title of this next game available on Avanquests GSP label, 1000 LYA, gives very little away with regards to what is in store for the player. In fact this is a Match-3 game that is based on the theft and recovery of a time machine. The enigmatic title stands for 1000 Light-Years Away.
When playing 1000 LYA, individual players can set up their profile by adjusting volume levels for music and sound effects plus opting to play in full screen mode using a custom cursor. The game opens with a comic book style sequence with printed text. This interlude covers the theft of the time machine by the interstellar villain named Origon. It is up to Togard, the Guardian of the time machine to recover this valuable piece of equipment by tracking down Origon.
Yes I am aware Backing Up is boring but if it is fully automated and at times you are not doing anything with your PC then it can be just another task that takes place. Then of course when the worst does happen you are prepared.
I first downloaded this and tried it on a Windows 8 machine, ad is a small 50MB ZIP file and there is no longer any support for Windows XP why not try it here for a slow machine with not a lot of memory but having files you still might want. Once downloaded the file decompresses and takes around 300MB of hard disc space. I decided that I would not allow any Internet access (it wants to check for updated files etc) so just gave it a blanket job to back up the ‘C’ drive.
This is one of those occasions when I found it easier to source a product from a retailer rather than the manufacturer. Thanks to Gizoo for supplying this Oregon Scientific speaker.
Mobile devices (smartphones, tablets and the like) are generally considered to be for personal use. However there are times when you may wish to share their features with others. A prime example of this type of interaction is the sharing of music with a group of friends. While the mobile device’s built-in speakers may be fine for a single user, with or without a headset, they could struggle when delivering output to a larger audience.
It was meant to be the holiday of your dreams. But events did not turn out as expected. The result of this misadventure is Mountain Trap: The Manor of Memories. This is a Hidden Object Adventure game developed by Color Brush Studios and originally published by Alawar Games. This title is now available as part of Avanquests GSP extensive catalogue of titles.
It all started when you and your friend Amy decided to take a skiing holiday at a little known resort as you tackled the Ardennes Peak. One of the attractions of this location, apart from the skiing facilities, was the Manor of Ardennes. This rather old building had a long history that is based around the story of two young lovers who were torn apart by a magic spell.
A 24inch panel from Viewsonic. While they used to be thought of as screens for viewing computer information more and more these days they come into their own as devices to watch videos and even live TV delivered over the WWW.
My test period included the World Snooker Championship and as the BBC has only one ‘Red Button’ channel these days there was often good stuff not available live so the glib presenter just says available online or via your connected TV. I do not have the latter so this panel connected to a PC and from there via Wi-Fi to my router gave excellent full screen coverage even when live ‘aerial’ coverage was not available through your TV.
See if you can spot where I made a type that changed faxes into taxes in this review. There is more than one possible location but which was the most appropriate.
The Samsung C460FW is a multifunction device. It is based on a colour laser and has an ADF (Automatic Document Feeder) module mounted on top of this combination of printer and flatbed scanner. This Samsung product provides the user with print, scan, copy and fax functionality plus a choice of USB, Ethernet or wireless connectivity.
A snug fitting shoe, a little bright by my standards but given that anything goes today the word is comfort and while these are extremely comfortable I am not one for vigorous exercise which I understand is their main purpose.
These weight 280grams per shoe (mine are size 10, 44EU) and so comfortable with or without socks. Which as a very mature person also seems wrong to me, but I did wear them barefoot as they are designed to be worn - most of the time. These are marketed as ‘off road ready’ which means rough terrain my extent of rough terrain is walking round the local car boot fair in a nearby field. The moulded soles are predominately yellow with one red area.
A new name to me that I found by chance while checking the Apps pre-installed on an Android Smartphone. Health items are of particular interest to me as I have several health problems myself so these items are always useful.
The company is based in the USA and has a base also in Europe. I liked the look of the App and that I why I ventured to their website and then to ask for review items. I was sent three items a Blood Pressure Cuff, Wireless Activity and Sleep Tracker and a Pulse Oximeter. I have looked at other Blood Pressure readers mostly the arm type but there is another cuff type in a recent review.
My collection of favourite music has its origins in the vinyl era of recordings. I mention this merely as a lead in to a recent visit I paid to a location known as the Vinyl Factory in the Soho area of central London.
Hosting this particular event was Naim, a company founded in 1973 by Julian Vereker MBE. As the winner of the prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise on three occasions, including the award it received for its ground-breaking design of digital music systems in 2014, Naim has built up an impressive reputation with its work in the field of audio system.
Looking at this panel alongside others of a like size makes it look tiny. It isnt but the borders around the screen are so despite it being a 22inch panel that offers full 1920x1080 display it still looks a lot smaller and takes up less space.
The BenQ GW2265M measures 50x29x2cm, the viewable screen is 48x26.5cm which gives the notional imperial measurement of 21.5 inches. The weight including the stand is tad under 3.25kilos. the stand is a clip on oval 21x18cm. While the screen surround is shiny black the screen itself is less reflective so gives a good clear image even in strong daylight but of course try to avoid direct sunlight onto the screen.
Bearing the message that its contents was made up of the Worlds Slimmest Soundbar, the subject of this next review arrived in a box that measured 390 x 220 x 1280mm (H x W x L) which did make me wonder about the soundbar that I has just agreed to review. Those measurements and the Worlds Slimmest claim did not seem to match.
The soundbar, which is the subject of this review, is the STA-1200BSW which offers a range of connectivity options including Bluetooth. Opening the outer box revealed a further three boxes and a separate subwoofer unit. The longest of these three boxes, measuring 205 x 100 x 1240mm, was the container for the actual soundbar element, various leads and a button battery remote control unit. The other two boxes (480 x 200 x 200mm) were totally empty.
Clockwork Tales: Of Glass and Ink is a Hidden Object Adventure game from the development team of Artifex Mundi. This game is available in Collectors Edition format from Avanquests GSP label.
As with other Collector’s Edition format, this Clockwork Tales comes with a number of bonus items, many of which are available immediately from the Extra’s option on the title screen. While it is not surprising to note that items such as wallpaper, music and concept art can be accessed straightaway, it might seem surprising to find that Hidden Object scenes and mini-game puzzles are also immediately available.
A Chromebook is an option to a standard Android Tablet. It works in much the same way and the biggest problem it had at first launch of not being able to work offline is now overcome although there are currently less options than with other Android offerings.
This offering from Acer is 28.5x20x2cm the last measurement is at the rear with the thickness at the front only 1cm. It weighs less than 1.2kilos. Startup is less than four seconds and shutdown only two seconds. Close the lid and open it again for immediate response back where you were. Battery life is well over ten hours even with Wi-Fi being used. It is less if Bluetooth is also turned on.
As the household computer system takes over the task of hosting your entertainment content consisting of digital images, music and video/movie collections, so the need increases for software to supply the functionality in order to make best use of this data. Management and playback features plus the ability to reach out for additional information and purchase new content are all issues that need to come under consideration.
TRENDnets AC1900 Dual Band Wireless Router, model TEW-818DRU is a high-performance router that, as well as providing two concurrent wireless networks to virtually eliminate Wi-Fi bottlenecks even for power users, offers both Gigabit and USB 3.0 connectivity in a versatile package that should meet virtually everyones needs.
The router is 38 x 155 x 180mm in size and is designed to be stood upright. It is light grey in colour with “Trendnet” writ large on its two black faces. It has five Gigabit ports – the yellow one for connection to the WAN and the others for the LAN. In addition there is one each USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 ports. All of these are on the rear face of the unit together with the socket for the external power brick, the on/off switch and the WPS sync. pushbutton.
For various reasons I was not able to pursue YouView when it first launched. Here then is my first look at a technology that those with unlimited broadband download allowances can use to catch up with TV programs they missed when they were broadcast.
A very good well illustrated ‘Getting Connected’ booklet takes you through everything required to get up and running. If you have a digital TV then by using the supplied HDMI cable you should be up and ready to watch in around 15minutes.
On the face of it a similar device to the WD My Cloud reviewed a few months ago. Two Terra Bytes of storage available for you to share across your Network. However due to various initial problems a lot of time was spent before all was perfect.
I could write the whole piece and more on the various problems caused by Anti Virus, Firewalls, and Firmware. Let’s just leave it that technical support were very helpful with a long phone calls and this was followed by several emails. Apart from the firmware problem the difficulties were ay my end but once we got past that it seems that the latest version of firmware solved the last problem of not being able to connect wirelessly. So a big thank you to Mary at Buffalo Technical support.
There is more than one way to skin a the reason for my not completing this saying is that I am currently being stared at by a bundle of fur busily sharpening his claws just waiting to see whether I dare or not. While torn jeans might be fashionable elsewhere, it does not include my current abode and also I am somewhat attached to the unblemished state of my legs to risk coming into contact with those claws. However I still wish to make the point that there is often more than one way to achieve an aim. In this case the aim is a method of allowing a smartphone or tablet to access content stored on an external device.
Previously I have looked at a direct physical connection using OTG (On the Go) USB linking. This method is fine if your mobile device supports the technology but not all such devices do so. SanDisk, with its expertise in the development of memory devices, has produced a solution that takes a different route.
This is a smaller notebook offering from Gigabyte that comes with Windows 8. Whilst I did all the necessary updates this time I resisted the offer to upgrade to Windows 8.1. I instead completed my review with just what was delivered and the updates.
It is 33x23.5x1.8cm and weights 1765grams. It comes with Windows 8 and I decided not to do the optional upgrade to Windows 8.1. Gigabyte offer a range of shortcuts in Windows 8 on the Desktop screen some of which are incorporated in Windows 8.1 and these are lost if you do the upgrade. The left side has the Kensington lock fitment, Ethernet, VGA, two USB3 ports one has the option to stay live even when off for charging other devices and a dual headphone/microphone socket.
When I hear the words Dragon Lily it always seems to evoke memories of tales based on espionage featured in numerous old movies that were popular in days gone by. However Dragon Lily is also the name of a flowering plant and a product from Nakamichi. It should not come as a surprise to discover that it is the technology device rather than the horticultural one that is the subject of this review.
The Nakamichi Dragon Lily is a speaker system although I am a little hesitant as to whether a single device can really qualify for the system designation. Of course it could be argued that the various connectivity options available with this product are the reason why it is deemed a system. Options are available for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, USB and AUX connections.
Described as a third-party point-and-click adventure game, Shadows on the Vatican has been adapted from the David Yallop book In Gods Name. This book, which is featured in the game, was inspired by recent events in Italian history.
Unlike most computer games, which tend to be self-contained units, Shadows on the Vatican was designed, right from the start, to be an adventure that is spread over four acts which will be supplied on an individual basis. This approach is, no doubt, partially influenced by the Marvel/DC Comics connection with Lorenzo Ruggiero who is the game’s Art Director. The first act of this adventure, entitled Greed, is now available as part of Avanquest’s GSP game catalogue.
This is a Touch Screen Unit from AOC, it is also an Android unit in the same case, however it can also be used to connect to a PC/notebook via D-Sub or HDMI and if you add the supplied USB cable this gives you a PC/notebook with full touch screen ability.
The AOC A2472Pw4t measures 60x37x3cm and has a viewable screen area of 51x29cm, which gives the notional diagonal imperial measurement of 23inches. The screen looks bigger as there are two borders, the border to the screen and then the actual units surround. To change from HDMI or D-Sub to Android you use the touch screen controls at the bottom right of the screen. This action can be done before boot or even when the Android system is running and it is possible to switch between the two.
As regular as clockwork, new versions of its software arrive from Serif. The latest such offering targets image management and editing.
Now up to version X7, PhotoPlus is the latest edition of Serif’s photo editing and management software. As is the usual policy with the product line-up from Serif, you will need to enter the relevant serial number as part of the software’s installation procedure. You can also make decisions as to the location for the software and any file associations that are tied to the product before settling down to make use of PhotoPlus X7.
Although applications are increasingly able to save files directly as PDFs, there is much more to PDFs and Nuance's Power PDF in particular. While the Standard version will meet the needs of the home and small business user, Advanced is targeted at corporate users with features such as redaction the ability to black out specific names or other pieces of information.
Power PDF is straightforward to install and there is a helpful reminder that, if you change your computer and will want to use it on the new configuration, make sure that you have an active internet connection as this will de-activate your licence automatically so that one can re-install the software again with the same serial number. Once installed it can be treated as either a standalone program or one that is closely integrated with Microsoft applications.