Highly commended

Highly Commended

Some products just miss out on our coveted 5x5 smiley award - a product has to be just about perfect in every way to receive that award! That doesn't mean there aren't a lot of very good other gadgets out there!

To recognise those products that missed out on a 5x5 award by just a whisker, we've introduced the 'Highly Commended' status. Products still have to be pretty good to get one of these and out of almost 5,000 reviews on GadgetSpeak (as of February 2016) only around 280 have gained the required marks to be Highly Commended!

Tell me more about the GadgetSpeak Awards!

880182 HP ENVY 13 ad015na 1

HP Envy Laptop

Published in Laptops/PCs/Apple by paul_smart on 10 Sep 2018
It’s taken a while, 18 months in fact from change of agency to the first arrival of an HP notebook. Its thin its light and it has connectivity so what is not to like about this 13inch offering called very appropriately by the name of ENVY.
The HP Envy 13-ad015 laptop measures 30.5x21x1.5cm and weighs 1359 grams. It is matt silver grey in colour with four silver lines of two lengths that form a very clever HP logo. The left side has a USB port, 3.5mm headphone socket, USB ‘C’ port and micro SD card port. The front is clear the right side has USB ‘C’ port, USB port and charging port. Open the lid and the screen can go back to 135 degrees.
880146 magix photostory delux 201

Creating Photo Stories

Published in Software by mfereday on 4 Sep 2018
Putting your digital photos to work can be achieved with this next product from MAGIX
As a result of the digital age take-over, the collection of captured image owned by users has grown substantially.  Taking up space on hard disk storage devices, these images are just crying out to be put to some useful service on our behalf  Offering to be helpful in this respect is MAGIX’s Photostory Deluxe software with the release of the product’s latest 2019 version of this slideshow creating product.
Most wireless earbuds still have a cord of some sort even if it’s just enough to link the two buds behind your neck. Here nothing more than the buds that fit in your ear. So the total weight is just an amazingly small 13 grams the pair. So as they say on the box ‘no strings attached’.
The no strings goes as far as charging as instead of attaching a cable to the buds they come with their special case and the USB lead attaches to the back of that so they are charged in a fitted case ideal for transporting them when not in your ears. As regular readers know I have a somewhat problematical existence with earbuds in that my ears swell and after less than an hour they start to become uncomfortable.
880144 braun activscan 9 BUA7200 blood pressure monito

Blood Pressure Device

Published in Health and Beauty by mfereday on 30 Aug 2018
Offering to provide self-help with blood pressure monitoring is a device from Braun.
According to research conducted on behalf of the National Health Service (NHS), around 25% of the UK adult population suffer from high blood pressure often without them realising that they have the condition.  High blood pressure can occur as the result of smoking, poor diet and the lack of regular exercise.  I plead guilty to two of these.  The condition of high blood pressure has been known to increase the risk of heart attacks, strokes, kidney disease and dementia.
879866 Image1

Zero Water

Published in Homes and Gardens by paul_smart on 3 Aug 2018
Filtered water is often the best option simply because unfiltered water can have a taste and as this could even be kept in the fridge it is also chilled. So it is opportune for those who drink bottled could switch to something like Zero Water. One large supermarket chain has recently increased a two litre bottle of own brand water by 25% that is when they have stock.
You get a large jug you pour the water from your tap into the top of the unit it then passes through the patented filter unit and emerges into the jug ready to be drunk. You can then pour water into a glass or using a button on the bass to allow water to flow into a glass placed under the edge of the unit. The Jug is 28cm from the top back of the handle to the front of the spout, 28cm tall and 14.5cm at its widest.
878628 Mens Non Elastic Loose Top Diabetic Cotton Blend Ribbed Sock

Amazon Diabetic Socks

Published in Health and Beauty by paul_smart on 7 May 2018
I have a Prime account and this enables me to get quicker delivery and also avoid delivery charges on most items under £20 even when the items are from some of the Amazon affiliates, the socks in this review are a case in point.
Do read the small print as another – non Prime – seller had them 5p cheaper but for the same delivery option that I had you would pay a mouth-watering £13.98 delivery charge but in fairness if you were willing to wait six days they would deliver for free. I have been Diabetic for 25 years but it’s only in the last two of three years that I had noticed how much the tops of my socks bit into my legs.

Landscape Editing

Published in Software by mfereday on 5 Apr 2018
Whenever the subject matter of Anthropics Technology arises, my thoughts immediately turn to graphics software for editing specific types of digital images. In this case the designated target is that of landscapes.
878344 Anthropics image editing softwar

A Facial Make-Over

Published in Software by mfereday on 29 Mar 2018
Maybe your face might not launch a thousand ships, as the face of Helen of Troy is claimed to have done, but this next software might help when using your digital image prior to setting sail.
It does seem somewhat incongruous that Anthropics Technology, a company best known for its face enhancement software, should be based in a location known as Ugli Campus in West London but maybe it is a case of opposites attract.  The company has recently released the latest version 17 of its PortraitPro offering which is available in Standard, Studio and Studio Max editions.  I have been looking at the top-of-the-range PortraitPro Studio Max version.
878279 Huawei honor view 10 android smart phon

The Latest Honor Offering

Published in Phones by mfereday on 20 Mar 2018
No sooner had I completed my review of the Honor 7X smartphone than Huawei announced the released of its Honor View 10 model. It was not too long before a unit was winging its way to me for the purpose of reviewing the product.
Available in a choice of colours including Midnight Black, Charm Red,, Beach Gold and the Navy Blue of my review sample, the Honor View 10 certainly has a stylish appearance with its glass front and aluminium body.  The side bezels are so narrow that they are almost non-existence and give on a reflective effect that can give you the impression that the handset is encircled by a metallic band.
877985 Olympus PEN E PL8 Pancake Zoom Ki

Olympus Pen E-PL8

Published in Cameras by paul_smart on 7 Mar 2018
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.
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.
877103 Amplificazione DJ Pioneer speaker

Pioneer DJ Speaker

Published in Entertainment by paul_smart on 3 Jan 2018
At the start of 2017 I told you about a pair of pioneer headphones, here what are described as DJ Active Monitors while they are that they are also a rather good pair of speakers for home use so even MP3 sounds can sound excellent.
They are two way bass reflex speakers with ¾ inch tweeter and a four inch woofer. The speakers are 22.5x14.5x22cm. The total weight is just under 5 kilos. The total power output is around 40watts. There is a power lead that plugs into the left speaker and a connecting lead that runs from the left to right speaker which connects via crocodile clips. Also supplied is a 3.5mm to RCA lead.
876786 CELLO Traveller 22 inch rechargeable LED T

Cello Battery TV

Published in Entertainment by paul_smart on 22 Nov 2017
This is a full size (22inch or 32inch available) TV that can run off an internal battery pack, mains power or even off a car cigar lighter socket. Best of all it comes with everything you need even a Philips screwdriver and an external aerial.
This rechargeable LCD television measures 38x30x8cm, my unit was the 22inch model, the viewable screen was 48x26.5cm this gives the notional diagonal imperial measurement of 22inches. This is a first for me a TV that can run off an internal battery pack, while it is of course ideal for caravans it is also useful for anywhere that suffers regular power cuts and it can even power a couple of low power lights which are supplied with the unit complete with the LED bulbs.
876595 kaspersky security clou

Kaspersky Security Cloud

Published in Software by mfereday on 11 Nov 2017
Adding to its family of industry-leading anti-virus and security protection products, Kaspersky has developed its Security Cloud offering.
With a description of being “the first security-as-a-service with a tailor approach”, Kaspersky Security Cloud (KSG) is available in personal and family editions.  The product combines patented adaptive technology and comprehensive protection against the threat of viruses, Trojans, worms and phishing amongst other attacks by configuring itself to fit comfortably with the user’s behaviour. This review is based on the personal edition of the product.

Dragon Goes Mobile

Published in Software by mfereday on 2 Nov 2017
Nuance is taking its voice recognition software on the road with Dragon Anywhere.
This is a Bluetooth tube speaker with bright green ends all round speakers and black rubber sides. None of that really matters as turn it on to a music source of your choice and marvel at the sounds coming from the unit then play the same music through your Notebooks speakers, it’s no contest this unit from Braven is a winner.
The Braven Stryde 360 bluetooth speaker measures 16cm tall and 7.5cm from side to side, it weighs 474 grams. Virtually the whole front and rear of this round tube is all speaker with the top and bottom also being speakers as well, for which the technical term is passive radiators. The front has a black rubber strip with five near invisible buttons mounted over its length, I say invisible as they are imprinted black on black.
876080 magix photostory delux 201

An Illustrated Story

Published in Software by mfereday on 14 Oct 2017
MAGIX offers to help put your photos and videos into a format to entertain others.
No doubt, like many others, you have a large, if not vast, collection of photos and videos taking up valuable storage space on your computer.  While these images are a great aid to your memory, they can also be put to more productive use by being amalgamated into a visual and audio experience that could be enjoyed by friends and family.  This task could be carried out with a software product such as PHOTOSTORY Deluxe from MAGIX.

diskAshur DT2 Storage

Published in Misc by mfereday on 3 Oct 2017
Adding to its range of protected hard drives, iStorage has released a new diskAshur DT2 model.
875630 Fridgemaster MTZ55160 Upright Freeze

Fridgemaster Freezer

Published in Homes and Gardens by paul_smart on 2 Oct 2017
While the most popular buy is a fridge/freezer combo, a lot of people still prefer a stand along freezer especially if this is going to live somewhere other than in the kitchen. This offering from Fridgemaster seems to be an excellent buy.
Before I tell you about the freezer let me mention a very important point the service offered by AO.com. You are invoiced by email as soon as the sale is made, the delivery date agreed, and then a four hour time slot is agreed. On the day an automated phone call early in the morning and then an email reminder of the delivery. AO have an iOS and Android App to let you track the driver’s progress and show the number of deliveries before yours.
875455 acronis true image 201

Acronis True Image 2018

Published in Software by mfereday on 16 Sep 2017
Your data is a valuable asset which should be protected by a product such as the latest offering from Acronis.
Keeping ahead of the current times, Acronis has released the 2018 version of its True Image personal back-up software for the home user.  According to Serguel Beloussov, co-founder and CEO of Acronis, this latest version of True Image is “the first and only personal back-up software that uses artificial intelligence to defend consumers against one of the fastest growing threat to their data.
Often things arrive at totally the wrong time of year, sometimes however they arrive exactly when you can get the best from an item, here one of the latter category a column fan during the hottest part of the year and over the next few weeks it got lots of use in both my office, lounge and bedroom, in the case of the last mentioned because it was nearly silent.
This column fan measures just over a metre tall and around a quarter of that size at the base, it weighs just under 5.4 kilos. It can rotate 90 degrees or be used in a static position. It is ribbed all the way up in horizontal increments and starting 27cm from the base there are 59 rows of three spaces where the air is expelled. The area they cover is slightly decreased as they near the top. The top edge is slightly sloped and the manual controls are on this area.
875143 landscape pro

Landscape Editing

Published in Software by mfereday on 22 Aug 2017
Adding to its portfolio of make-over software for either portrait or landscape images, Anthropics Technology has released the follow up title to its LandscapePro offering. Not surprisingly, this software is entitled LandscapePro 2.
Anthropics LandscapePro 2 comes in a choice of three flavours designed to suit the needs of different users.  The product is available in Standard, Studio and Studio Max versions.  This review is based on the new Studio Max product which includes Photoshop plug-in capability, support for RAW files and different colour spaces plus a Histogram pane, batch mode processing and more streamline editing amongst its feature set.
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.
873738 Canon IXUS 185 Compact Digital Camer

Canon IXUS 185

Published in Cameras by paul_smart on 31 May 2017
This is Canon’s entry level range but do not make the mistake of thinking they are basic units. Canon’s technology filters down and things that would only be in a high end unit a few years ago are now on something that can fit into a small pocket.
As always I start in Auto mode and right from the first image you know that you have hold of a more than decent unit. It is 9.5x5.3x2.2cm the last figure when closed this can increase by another 3cm when the unit is fully zoomed. It weighs 126grams.
873265 Huawei Nexus 6P android smart phon

Huawei Nexus 6P from Vodafone

Published in Phones by paul_smart on 26 May 2017
Because of the relationship Huawei have with Android they always get the newest and latest version of Android, here the current version is 7.1.1 whereas the only other version of ‘Nougat’ I have seen is Version 7 several point releases behind.
The Huawei Nexus 6P measures 16x7.5.8CM and weights 177 grams. The viewable screen is 12.5x7cm which gives the huge notional diagonal imperial measurement of 5.7inches and this has 518 PPI. The processor is an Octa (eight) Core Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 offering. The speakers are front facing so it has good volume levels. This Huawei offering was also the first to offer Android 6 ‘Marshmallow’, here you are also nagged to upgrade to the latest Beta version 7.1.
873502 coreldraw graphic suite 201

CorelDRAW Suite 2017

Published in Software by mfereday on 16 May 2017
While no longer the market leader in the field of computer graphics software, CorelDRAW still has a lot to offer the digital designer.
While some products appear briefly, with their 15 minutes in the limelight, others have a long and distinguished existence with numerous versions showing their popular appeal.  The arrival of the latest version of one such product with long lasting appeal, CorelDRAW 2017, got me thinking about when the first version of this graphics product first made an appearance.  Believe it or not, CorelDRAW first arrived as a vector-based illustration package in 1989.
873015 Epson Expression Photo XP 960 A3 All in One Printe

Expression Photo XP-960

Published in Printers/Scanners by mfereday on 18 Apr 2017
Unlike the previous Epson All-in-One which I looked at recently, the Epson Expression Photo XP-960 is of the more traditional type that uses ink cartridges rather than the bottles provided Eco Tank models with their ink supply.
Decked out predominately in black, the Epson Expression Photo XP-960 combines print, scan and copy functionality with a choice of WiFi, Ethernet or USB connectivity.  You also get the ability to print images of up to A3 in size.  As a very welcome bonus item, you are provided with a pack of 50 A3 sheets of glossy photo paper in the box.
872529 abbyy Finreader 1

Abbyy Finereader 14

Published in Software by adrianmorant on 20 Mar 2017
Abbyy Finereader 14 is a universal OCR package that works with scanned images, PDF files etc. and, having recognised the text, can convert it to Word, Excel or other formats in addition to offering a range of advanced options.
We have a love/hate relationship with paper. All too often if it is in the computer, we want hard copy. Similarly, if it is on paper, we need to have it stored in an appropriate electronic form for editing or onward transmission to others. Finereader 14 is a versatile tool that should meet virtually everyone’s needs. Having downloaded and installed Finereader, and inserted the 24 character registration key, it found the connected scanner without any difficulty.
872304 Acronis True Image 201

True Image 2017 Next Generation

Published in Software by mfereday on 7 Mar 2017
With a range of new features, Acronis backup software emerges in New Generation mode.
Breaking the pattern, I have come used to over the last few years of releasing, a new single version of True Image each year, Acronis has produced a second version of its 2017 True Image offering.  In order to distinguish this second version from the original product, Acronis has named the latest offering True Image 2017 New Generation.
872170 Edifier S1000DB Audiophile Active Bookshelf Speaker

Bookshelf Speakers

Published in Misc by mfereday on 28 Feb 2017
Seeing the courier struggle up to my front door was enough to give my back a panic attack at the thought of this next review.
As a specialist in the production and manufacture of premium audio solutions with innovative design concepts, Edifier has a portfolio consisting of a wide range of speakers developed to fulfil different user needs and budget constraints.  Currently the company has speakers that could be classified as Bluetooth, Desktop, Cinesound, Wireless, Portable, Bookshelf and Speakerphone.
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