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!

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.
871733 canon G3X compact camer

Canon PowerShot G3X

Published in Cameras by paul_smart on 8 Feb 2017
Canon do three ranges of cameras the IXUS the smallest, next is the PowerShot and finally their DSLR range. However the area between the last two is somewhat grey, this PowerShot is considerably larger in size than a small DSLR.
The Canon PowerShot G3X measures 12cm wide, 8cm deep and 11cm from the screen to the front of the lens when closed however when fully zoomed this last figure increases to 17cm. So with that amount of optical zoom (25x) you will not be surprised that it weighs a good bit more than most PowerShot offerings at 738grams. Of course all recent cameras have to have the ability to take selfies so the TFT can flip through 180 degrees to show above the camera.
871692 bitdefender total security 201

Total Security 2017

Published in Software by mfereday on 26 Jan 2017
As one of the leading players in the arena of computer protection, Bitdefender has a range of software offerings to suit the different needs of users. You can select from products such as the 2017 versions of Antivirus Plus, Internet Security, Family Pack, Antivirus for Mac or Total Security which is the subject matter of this next review.
Available in a choice of boxed product or download, Bitdefender Total Security 2017 is the company’s current flagship offering.  If you opt for the latter method of receiving the product, as I did, then I would advise that you also download the User Manual.
870802 huawei mate 9 android smartphon

Meet Mate 9

Published in Phones by mfereday on 1 Dec 2016
Adding to its range of smartphone handsets, Huawei has released the Mate 9.
Featuring a 5.9-inch full high density touch screen, this Mate 9 has a high-precision unibody, aluminium metal frame that has been finished with a soft sandblasted texture.  With dimensions of 156.9 x 78.9 x 7.9mm (H x W x D) and weighing 196g (including the non-replaceable 4,000 mAh battery), the Mate 9 is available in a choice of colours including Space Grey, Moonlight Silver, Mocha Brown and Black plus the Champagne Gold of my review model.
870800 Fire Kids Edition Tablet 7 inch 16 G

Amazon Kid’s Tablet

Published in Mobile Tech by mfereday on 29 Nov 2016
Do children spend too much time using a mobile device? Amazon believes it has a solution for this problem with a tablet and software managed by parents.
In an apparent effort to integrate, and influence, every aspect of home life, Amazon has developed a version of its Fire tablet specifically for the younger members of the family.  This Amazon offering combines a standard 7-inch Fire tablet with a removable child-proof bumper frame in either blue or pink plus a one-year subscription to appropriate content that has been graded for specific age groups.  This product goes by the title of Fire Kids Edition.
870540 corel winzip 21 pr

File Management Assistance

Published in Software by mfereday on 12 Nov 2016
It is time for an old favourite to make its annual upgrade appearance.
Over the years WinZip has developed from a basic compression / decompression utility, which was my first introduction to the product, into a file management / sharing / encryption application while retaining its original functionality.  The latest edition of this software is now up to version 21 with Standard, Pro and Enterprise packages being available.  This review is based on my experiences with the Pro version of the product which has been launched with a price point of £42.
870099 magix photostory 2017 delux

Photostory 2017

Published in Software by mfereday on 20 Oct 2016
Turning your digital images into a slideshow has never been easier with this next product from MAGIX.
Our love affair with all things digital has resulted in many terabytes of storage space, whether of the local variety or that situated in the virtual expanse referred to as the Cloud, being taken up by our personal collections of digital photographs.  While readily available via various approaches, it does seem rather wasteful if these representatives of our personal memories are left to gather a form of digital dust, caused by faded memories, through the lack of use.
869851 Epson Expression Photo XP 960 A3 All in One Printe

Epson A3 AIO XP-960

Published in Printers/Scanners by paul_smart on 12 Oct 2016
Just 12cm wider than an A4 unit this six ink inkjet offering might solve problems for those who need the ability to print A3 as well as A4. It can also print direct from a range of cards and memory sticks, connection can be via Wi-Fi, Ethernet or USB.
The Epson XP-960 measures 45x37x15cm however if you place this on a shelf you would need a few centimetres more on the last figure the height to add or remove items from the flatbed. You will also require around another 13cm in front for the paper output tray and TFT screen to open so 45x50x28cm should be the overall space requirements.
869735 Kaspersky Total Security 201

Family Total Security Protection

Published in Software by mfereday on 29 Sep 2016
It is up to you to ensure your computer and mobile devices are protected from malicious threats.
Described as “Our best protection for your family on PC, Mac, Android™, iPhone & iPad”, Kaspersky Total Security software comes as either a download or retail purchase package.  Actually that is not strictly true as the retail package does not contain a physical copy of the Kaspersky software.
A gift that anyone wanting to get into baking will appreciate, a flat surface 5kilo kitchen scale, an instant read thermometer and a timer. Best of all they all match so even the kitchen that has them in will look smart before cooking starts.
Salter are the name in small scales this 5kilo offering allows you to place a dish or bowl on the scale and reset it to zero so that adding a certain amount of a substance does not require any maths, you can then add the next ingredient or should you wish zero again and carry on until you have all the ingredients. The scale is 22x19.
868474 Huawei P9 32GB Smartphon

Huawei P9 Dual Camera Phone

Published in Cameras by paul_smart on 6 June 2016
I have already outlined the ‘phone’ part of this latest offering from Huawei on the 18th April. At the time I said I would tell you about the cameras when I had more time to study them. So here goes the camera are very good as they are made by Leica.
Perhaps if you think of this as a camera first and everything a phone does for you second then that gives you an idea of what it can do. Very early on I took a picture of the local lake and right at the top of the image was a branch of a tree that spread almost by mistake into the picture, every nodule of the bark of the branch showed up and although the lake a fountain and the wildlife on the lake were clear and sharp I still remember that branch.
A few weeks ago I had a gas problem, when I realised it was going to take a while to fix I started to look around for other ways to keep warm in the mornings, at this time of year the afternoons are not a problem and nor are the evenings.
I have one halogen heater and while it could be moved around it’s a pain to keep plugging and unplugging, so that sits in my office, so I needed something very portable. I took a walk around my local town and could not find anything suitable so while I was waiting for my bus home I popped into the local Wilko store as much to keep warm and out of the rain as anything and there at the end of an isle was this little Beldray Fan Heater.
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