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!

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 June 6, 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.
867005 nest indoor web camer

The Nest Cam

Published in Homes and Gardens by paul_smart on Mar 11, 2016
Protect your home while you are away is something that many companies seem to be producing items for, some insurance companies even offer a reduction in your premium if the item selected meets their criteria. Here is a solution from Nest.
I thought the setup for Nest Protect was easy, this is even easier, select a site for the camera attach it to the magnetic dock provided, plug in the camera to the 3metre micro USB to USB lead a 13amp USB plug front is supplied and start watching what the camera shows on your phone or Tablet.
866374 WD My Passport Ultra Portable External USB 3 Hard Driv

WD 3TB USB3 Drive

Published in Laptops/PCs/Apple by paul_smart on Feb 12, 2016
In September I told you about 1TB and 2TB WD portable drives and now I can tell you about the 3GB version that the press release said was released in July sadly it only arrived on my desk at the end of the year, still better late than never.
Most laptop and notebook computers still only have 500GB (½TB) hard discs. My desktop has 1TB and if you have 2TB you probably paid a large premium. So 3TB for a USB powered external drive is still a very large in capacity unit. My first surprise is that it is exactly the same size and weight as the 2TB unit, so unless I have gone further round the twist than normal it means that 1TB or additional memory is stored in more larger carrier but weights exactly nothing.
The Philips Brilliance P-line model 241P6EPJEB is a 24 inch LED professional monitor which has the facilities and ergonomics to meet the needs of those who sits in front of their computers all day long.
This 16:9 aspect ratio monitor has a native resolution of 1920 x 1080. As well as providing a good quality image, it employs the new SoftBlue LED technology which we are assured is less harmful to the eyes. This is because studies have shown that just as UV can cause eye damage, blue light rays from LED displays can result in eye damage and affect vision over time. This technology reduces the harmful blue light waves without affecting the colour or image of the display.
If it sounds too good to be true I thought so to, so I tried it and I can confirm they are offering a range of services and the lowest level of data 200MB a month is FREE and you get both 200 minutes and 200 texts with it as well.
A few modern SIMs are full size, most are micro and a few are nano. Specify which you need at the time of registering. After a few days your SIM arrives and it is already activated ready for you to insert into your phone. You an unlocked phone and at the time of writing you have to accept one of the phone number choices offered, for some this would be a problem but they say that changing your current number will not be essential shortly.
866240 Epson Eco Tank ET 2550 Multifunction Printe

Bottles not Cartridges

Published in Printers/Scanners by mfereday on Jan 26, 2016
It was just over twelve months ago that Epson turned its approach to the printer inkjet market on its head. This change was brought about by the company’s EcoTank technology.
For those not familiar with Eco Tank, this technology uses bottles rather than cartridges to store the ink used by the printer.  Whereas a standard cartridge will hold approximately 3 or 5ml of ink with a price point of £5.99 for the 3ml of colour ink or £7.19 for 5ml of black ink, an EcoTank bottle has a capacity of 70ml of ink priced at £7.99 for both black and the various colours.
866143 iHealth Edge AM3S Activity Sleep Tracke

iHealth Edge

Published in Health and Beauty by paul_smart on Jan 18, 2016
This is an improved and updated version of something that I had for a while before I could use it as it had a problem with syncing for those of us who use Android. I am pleased to say this rather smart unit does not have those problems.
The iHealth Edge is circular, a tad under 4cm and around 1cm thick. It comes fitted with a grey – near black – rubber strap with eight holes for the simple popper to nestle into so it should fit even the largest wrist. The upper part of the casing is matt silver with the bottom part matt black. When you look at the near flat face you see nothing in fact one person I showed it to thought it was a mirror but in reality it’s not that reflective.
865529 EnVivo Bluetooth Soundstag

EnVivo Bluetooth Soundstage

Published in Entertainment by paul_smart on Nov 25, 2015
One problem with a sound bar is that to get a good improvement on the ‘naff’ sound coming from your TV is that you really need both the soundbar and a sub-woofer, probably expensive and for a lot of people it needs more space, here a different solution a Soundstage.
So there are a few around and they are not cheap but this offering that goes on sale - as with all ALDI specials - when they are gone they are gone and at the price they are selling it at they will not be available for long. In essence it’s a black box measuring 54x31x8cm and it will fit under your TV providing the TV stands legs are not wider than 54cm. It is stated to stand up to 30KG placed on it, few recent TVs weigh anywhere near that.
864852 nuance dragon professional speech recognitio

A New Version of Dragon

Published in Software by mfereday on Oct 27, 2015
While computers have recently been given the ability to talk to use through the use of applications such as Siri and Cortana, we have been able to talk to our computers for a number of years and have our spoken words transformed into editable text using specialist software. A leading product in this particular area is Dragon Naturally Speaking with the latest version of this speech recognition software package being available in Professional Individual and Professional Group editions. This review is based on my experiences with Dragon Professional Individual product.
When Dragon Professional Individual is first fired up, it will be in trial mode allowing the user up to five launches to check out the software.  You will need to enter the supplied serial number in order to activate the software and remove the launch restriction.  If the software detects a previous version of the product, it will offer to upgrade your user profile using the data gathered by the earlier version.
864545 acronis true image 2016 backup softwar

Acronis True Image 2016

Published in Software by mfereday on Oct 17, 2015
As another year passes by, so the latest version of a popular backup package makes an appearance.
Often regarded as an optional task until problems arise, having a backup schedule can be extremely useful and a great time saver when circumstances occur. Offering to provide a comprehensive range of backup/restore facilities is the latest version of Acronis True Image. This product allows you to create backups of your entire computer system, user-specified folders or particular types of files with the data being stored locally or in a Cloud Storage allocation.
864551 hp officejet 7510 all in on

HP OfficeJet 7510

Published in Printers/Scanners by paul_smart on Sep 23, 2015
This is a multi-function unit which means, print, copy, scan and for those who still want/need it fax. However this unit has something extra the ability to print up to A3 and while it is a good deal wider than most A4 units it is not that much deeper or taller.
The HP OfficeJet 7510 all-in-one printer measures 45cm deep including the paper tray, 48cm wide and 28cm tall to the top of the sheet feed. It weights 13kilos. The unit has a single substantial paper tray at the base which has a good weight of lid which is the output tray. The tray will take 250 sheets of standard weight paper and according to the specifications up to 60 sheets of photo paper (15x10cm size).
864275 Roberts Radio Stream207 DAB WiFi Internet Radi

Roberts Stream 207

Published in Wireless by paul_smart on Sep 18, 2015
This is a DAB/FM/Internet radio that works via Wi-Fi and can be used as an input or output as well as having Spotify built in. It can be run off batteries which can be rechargeable and even off a battery pack for when mains power is not available.
The Roberts Radio Stream 207 radio measures 29x13.5x6cm; this figure is without the seven piece rod aerial extended which can add 66cm to the middle figure. The case is made of black plastic which does show fingermarks and rubber buttons that do not. The front has a 7cm circular speaker on each side the 8.
The Heston Blumenthal Dual Platform precision kitchen scales from Salter greatly improve the accuracy in weighing of ingredients and so will find favour with anyone who takes their cooking seriously.
They cover a wider weight range than the majority of scales and also enable one to weigh out small quantities accurately -- something that is beyond the ability of the majority of kitchen scales. The scales, which come supplied in a storage case, are solidly built with the metal body matt black and roughly 260 x 165mm in size overall while the two stainless steel platforms, each of which has a red styling line around its edge, are respectively 165 x 145 and 80 x 70mm in size.
842190 kobo glow ebook reade

Kobo Glo HD

Published in Misc by mfereday on Jul 9, 2015
As the main competitor to the Amazon Kindle range of eBook readers, Kobo has released it Kobo Glo HD product. Arriving with the claim of being “the highest quality eReader at the best possible price”, the Kobo Glo HD is, presumably, the company’s direct challenger to the Amazon Kindle Voyage, a device I have yet to check out.
The Kobo Glo HD has a 6-inch Carta E Ink HD touch screen that has a high-resolution of 1448 x 1072 pixels which works out at 300dpi.  This screen is encased within a body that is made up of a black plastic front and a tough black rubber dimpled back plate.  The side bezels are of a size that allows you to get a good grip of the device.  While reading you can rest a finger on the bezel ready to be used to activate a page turn either with a swipe or a tap at the edge of the screen.
842128 Canon PowerShot SX610 HS compact digital camer

Canon SX610 HS

Published in Cameras by paul_smart on June 24, 2015
A small PowerShot digital camera, for those who do not know a PowerShot can be little larger than an IXUS the smallest of Canons cameras or as large as the small end of Canons DSLR range, so here it is at the IXUS end of the range.
The Canon SX610 HS measures 10x6x2cm and weights 190grams. The right side has a tight fitting door behind which are AV and HDMI out sockets, above this is a wrist strpap anchor point. The left side has a manual flash deployment button. The base has the solid battery bay which is where you insert any SD card you use, there is also a tripod screw which if you are going to use a lot of zoom is very important.
841886 wilko hedge trimme

Wilko Hedge Trimmer

Published in Homes and Gardens by paul_smart on June 7, 2015
As you reach a certain age what was an easy task with a pair of shears becomes a three cup of coffee job and a long soak in the bath afterwards. So why not let a budget priced electric hedge trimmer make it as easy as it never was?
I do not need reminders that I am getting old, the last few times I hacked away at my hedge and a couple of bushes left my body complaining for days – it used to be hours – so a hedge trimmer was the answer as this year even the thought of me picking up the shears had my body protesting. With the cost of this unit being so reasonable even getting my shears sharpened seemed daft so I gave in.
841493 Amazon Fire TV Stic

Amazon Fire TV Stick

Published in Homes and Gardens by mfereday on May 28, 2015
Recently my late evening television viewing habits have changed. The reason for this has been the arrival of the Amazon Fire TV Stick product. This piece of kit consists of the Fire TV Stick device, USB lead and power adapter, remote control with AAA batteries and a HDMI extender cable.
The Fire TV Stick, with dimensions of 75 x 25 x 10mm (H x W x D), has the appearance of a flash drive on steroids.  Driving this device is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8064 quad-core processor that is rated at 1.7GHz and backed up by an Adreno 320GPU delivering 1080p output at up 60fps.  There is 1GB of memory and 8GB of flash storage.  Dual band Wi-Fi is built in along with Bluetooth 4 and support for Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 surround sound.
841543 Misfit Beddit Sleep Monito

Beddit Sleep Monitor

Published in Health and Beauty by paul_smart on May 22, 2015
When bleary eyed I viewed the first night sleep statistics on my Android phone I almost let out a cheer as at last a sleep monitor gives a real figure so you no longer feel you are going crazy with what other devices claim for sleep periods.
In the past I have tried skull caps, arm bands and various other devices they all claim I sleep well even when ‘not in bed’. A 3cm wide and 64cm long strip of a thin plastic type material goes under your bottom sheet in a position around the buttock to chest area. This strip ends in what looks like an early iPod – but with no screen – and hard wired out of the base of this is a 1.
840490 philips smartimage 234E5QHAW monito

A Philips Monitor

Published in Homes and Gardens by mfereday on Mar 24, 2015
With a choice of connection options and added technology, a new monitor from Philips certainly has eye-appeal.
With the less-than-descriptive model number, the 274E5 is a 27-inch LCD monitor that belongs to the Philips E-Line family of products.  Featuring an ultra-narrow black bezel, this monitor gives the user an effective viewing area of 597.89 by 336.31mm with an aspect ratio of 16:9.  This monitor has an optimum resolution of 1920 x 1080 @ 60Hz. Unpacking the kit reveals the 27-inch panel, an oval shaped black stand, a two-piece AC/DC power adapter, audio cable with 3.
This DSLR is only a little larger than their most powerful PowerShot unit. It is a full featured DSLR capable of capturing very good images and for those that require it also capable of capturing very good video images as well.
The Canon EOS 1200D Digital SLR Camera measures 12.5x9.5x14cm and weights 684grams without the neck strap. While you would probably attach the neck strap for those occasions when you are wandering around for hours taking images I preferred it without it when I was removing it from my bag to take images and then moving on. The hand grip on the right side is comfortable and although the scales do not lie it feels comfortable when being held.
839513 Olympus PEN E PL7 Interchangeable Lens Camer

Olympus Pen E-PL7

Published in Cameras by paul_smart on Feb 6, 2015
I saw a pre-production model of this unit back in the summer. Now finally as winter grips us all the chance to review it arrives. For me a first, a removable lens camera marketed with the ability to take selfies high on its tick list.
It is 12.5x6.5x8.5cm and weights 453grams without neck strap or flash attached. The lens it came with is a 14-42mm and the action is very smooth. The left side has only the neck strap anchor point while the right side has the matching anchor point as well as a rubber bung behind which are mini HDMI and AV out sockets. The base has a tripod screw and a door behind which is the solid battery and any SD card you insert. The face has just the lens and the light sensor.
837636 avanquest 4 Play Dark Mysterie

A Collection of Dark Mysteries

Published in Entertainment by mfereday on Dec 20, 2014
Dark Mysteries is another offering from Avanquest’s GSP 4-Play series. The four titles making up this collection are The Beast of Lycan Isle, The Soul Keeper, The Sleeping Palace and Ghost Painting. All four titles belong to the Hidden Object Adventure genre. As usual with the various 4-Play collections, each of the titles has to be installed separately from the same front end menu of offerings.
The Beast of Lycan Isle can be played in either Casual or Expert mode.  The game casts you in the role of Luna who responds to a call for help from her friend Tara who has been investigating the cult of Madra Alta or Wolf Man.  Spread over five chapters, the game has an inventive opening that involves blurred scenes until you manage to locate your glasses. As usual your inventory runs across the bottom of the scene when in Adventure mode.
837246 norton security anti virus softwar

Norton Security

Published in Software by mfereday on Dec 4, 2014
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.
837244 acronis true image 201

Acronis True Image 2015

Published in Software by mfereday on Nov 29, 2014
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.
837847 Roberts Stream93i stereo DAB radi

Roberts Stream 93i

Published in Wireless by paul_smart on Nov 28, 2014
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.
836973 motorola moto g second generation smart phon

Second Generation Moto G

Published in Phones by mfereday on Nov 11, 2014
Ever since the original launch, my smartphone of choice has been the Motorola Moto G device which combines good performance with a reasonable price point. Motorola has recently upgrading this excellent handset with the new second generation version which is available in single or dual SIM flavours with a choice of either 8GB or 16GB. Also included with this second generation of the product is a micro SD card slot enabling the user to increase storage by a further 32GB.
When purchasing this new Moto G handset you have a choice of colours while Motorola has retained the customisation feature of replaceable back and flip type shells.  The new version of the Moto G is slightly larger at 70.7 x 141.5mm (W x H) than the original offerings 66 x 130mm (H x W).  As a result any peripherals, such as covers, from the original model will not fit with this all-new version. There is also an increase in the weight which rises by 6g up to 149g.

Dual Pairing Headset

Published in Entertainment by mfereday on Nov 8, 2014
Everybody enjoys their private moments and the next product allows you these moments when listening to your favourite music.
836620 canon pixma mg7550 all in on


Published in Printers/Scanners by mfereday on Oct 25, 2014
Canon has refreshed its inkjet product line up with various models including the subject of this next review.
The PIXMA MG7550 forms part of Canon’s new inkjet printer line up.  This model combines print, scan and copy functionality with a choice of USB, wired or wireless connectivity to your computer system. Removing the various elements of packaging and preparing this multifunction device for use took a little longer than other similar units I have looked at in the past.
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