894874 external usb 20 slim cd rw dvd rom cd rewriter dvd drivExternal Optical Drive

Published in Laptops/PCs/Apple by paul_smart on Dec 27, 2021
Few PC’s or Notebooks now come with an Optical drive. Most things can now be downloaded direct to the PC. However what about the times you need to reinstall something that came on an Optical drive. Also how about files that you have previously stored on CD’s or DVD’s. So an external Optical drive still has a place in most of our lives. Here something I purchased for less than £10 including delivery.

894867 Acer Aspire 1 A114 3Acer Aspire 1

Published in Laptops/PCs/Apple by paul_smart on Dec 20, 2021
This Acer Aspire 1 is the first unit I have seen that offered me the chance to upgrade to Windows 11; you can read my thoughts in an item published last week. So now having done the upgrade I move on to the review of this rather nice if somewhat lower power and capacity unit. It is however all wrapped up nicely with a 14 inch full HD screen, and it’s very well priced.

Windows 11

Published in Laptops/PCs/Apple by paul_smart on Dec 8, 2021
Neither my desktop or my notebook are deemed worthy of getting Windows 11 so while we are told it is ‘about’ I have yet to see it. That is until today when a notebook from Acer arrived and doing the ever longer setup I got to a screen where I could either stay with Windows 10 or upgrade to Windows 11. So now I can tell you my initial thoughts about it.
Most items I get to review have Intel chips in and while specifications say something like Intel i5 or equivalent until I have tested an equivalent I am reluctant to say something will work. A while ago Parallels brought out a product that would allow Chromebooks to run Windows, most recent Chromebooks can run Android Apps but Windows was something new.

894801 Poly Studio P21 Personal Meeting DisplaP21 Poly Studio

Published in Laptops/PCs/Apple by paul_smart on Nov 17, 2021
Recently I have told you about a small USB camera and a Bluetooth headset with far better than normal range. Here is a flat panel that has both built in and for good measure it has lights built in both sides to improve the view people get of you as it frames you better, this is certainly an all in one device for those Zoom calls. This is a real personal meeting display for those occasions when you cannot meet personally.

894816 Acer Chromebook 71Acer Chromebook 714

Published in Laptops/PCs/Apple by paul_smart on Nov 15, 2021
If your company or education establishment wants to save on the cost of Windows notebooks this Chromebook may help as it has the basic power and memory to run Parallels for Windows allowing you to run Windows in a ‘sandbox’ while still running Chrome on the machine your company will however still need Windows licenses for every Chromebook running it though, currently they are Windows 10.

894795 D Link R15 EAGLE PRO AI AX1500 Smart RouteD-Link Smart Router R15

Published in Laptops/PCs/Apple by paul_smart on Nov 10, 2021
A router is not something we tend to change that often unless there is a reason. These days the coverage a router gives is either enough for your needs or it isn’t and then you get an extender of some sort. However I found out recently that there is a new updated version of Wi-Fi as those of you who read my recent Motorola SmartPhone review will perhaps give you a reason to upgrade.

892176 Acer Chromebook Spin 13 CP713 2Acer 8GB Chromebook

Published in Laptops/PCs/Apple by paul_smart on Oct 4, 2021
Here is a recent Chromebook from Acer, this is a powerful unit more than capable of running Chrome Apps and that also means Android Apps – although some may look a little strange with the swap from portrait to landscape – so things that you use every day on your phone can now be viewed that little larger in your living room as well as on the road.
OWC are a company that produce internal and external solid state drives, enclosures and cables for both PC and MAC users. The unit I am looking at is a 1TB external SSD drive usable on PC or MAC. They also do a similar model – Envoy Pro SX - that is Thunderbolt only so as far as I know that makes it almost a MAC only unit as currently although a USB ‘C’ cable will fit it the power is not there to format it.

892136 LG XBOOM 360 SpeakeAn LG Speaker

Published in Laptops/PCs/Apple by mfereday on Sep 16, 2021
Following the end of Lockdown, LG offers a speaker to entertain those you invite to celebrate the freedom.
During Lockdown and afterwards I spent a lot of time online with Webinars and various Zoom and various other online meetings both work and friend related, far too often people were moaning about the times they could not get into group simply because Windows was spending ages upgrading, other were getting problems with bandwidth for various unconnected reasons. The polite version from many was I am going to get a Chromebook as they do what you want.
A lot of rather nice Tablets and Laptops come with only a 256GB SSD drive and once a few larger programs and Apps are loaded you start to see a smaller than 50% of free space load a few videos and things start to become critical. So this offering of an external SSD unit of 512GB – or even 1TB – is a very nice option to have.
Available in two colours, when I delved into what colour I was sent I find it was listed as Pink but to me it’s more like a light violet. This is a rather nice and quiet powerful Laptop from a company known for producing top quality items.
While there are a good number of units that are stated to withstand both heat and cold as well as dust and wet there are a lesser number designed to work for longer periods in places where there is zero or very limited mains power available so this triple battery model might be the answer.

891774 Philips 243B9 24 Inch FHD MonitoPhilips 243B9

Published in Laptops/PCs/Apple by paul_smart on Jul 2, 2021
This is a rather nice 24inch flat panel from Philips. It takes up only a limited amount of desk space and has a good amount of height adjustment, all the normal connection types are supported and it can also be used portrait as well as landscape and just for good measure it has three USB ports - one always on – built into the unit.
Tablets are great when out and about, however when back in the office be it at home or at work it is nice to have a larger screen to view the output but a lot of Tablets have few connections on the unit to save space, some in fact have just a single USB ‘C’ port used for charging and connecting external devices so this USB ‘C’ to HDMI lead can solve the problem.
This is a very powerful and also rather expensive offering but when you get a boot at six seconds and shutdown at two seconds this immediately tells you it will not be ‘cheap’ so what exactly does this latest offering from Porsche and marketed by Acer offer.

891461 Acer Swift 5 SF514 54T 14 inch LaptoAcer Swift 5

Published in Laptops/PCs/Apple by paul_smart on May 16, 2021
This latest version of the Swift 5 is small and powerful and while it is intended for use when out and about, as it has a full size HDMI port there is no reason while it should not be used at home or even in the office if it is the latter then make good use of the Kensington Lock socket or someone else will be using it.

891445 Creative Sound Blaster PLAY 4 Hi res External USB C DASoundBlaster Play 4

Published in Laptops/PCs/Apple by paul_smart on May 12, 2021
The SoundBlaster Play 4 is a DAC, a plug in device to USB or USB ‘C’ that improves the sound quality of music and indeed of the spoken voice be in from a phone call or any other source. As a plus it can also improve your voice be it a phone call or any other connection with other people. In the simplest of terms a DAC is a Digital (to) Analogue Converter.

891375 Acer Chromebook Spin 511 R752TN C32Acer Chromebook Spin 511

Published in Laptops/PCs/Apple by paul_smart on Apr 14, 2021
This is one of the new breed of Chromebooks that give you much more functionality and even allows access to the Google Play Store and that also allows you to link to your Android phone. In fact it bears little resemblance to an early Chromebook that did not even have the ability to store things offline. This should really be considered a totally new category of product.

891300 Philips 242B1G 24 Inch FHD MonitoPhilips 24 inch 242B1G

Published in Laptops/PCs/Apple by paul_smart on Mar 29, 2021
This is both a landscape and a portrait panel that has plenty of back tilt and some forward tilt as well as side to side movement available. It is close to 24 inches in corner to corner display size and has built in speakers as well as a USB3 hub; so far however it has stubbornly refused to make my morning coffee, oh well I suppose you can’t have everything.

891211 Acer N50 610 i5 8GB 1TB SSD GTX1660 Super Gaming PAcer Nitro 50

Published in Laptops/PCs/Apple by paul_smart on Mar 8, 2021
This Desktop offering is very different to the small and compact offering that I had previously reviewed on 10th February this year. While that could sit quietly and just do its job this is big and not only has a large illuminated ‘V’ on its front the left side has lots of holes that show the inside and also omit a good amount of light to its surroundings.

891225 espresson display lightweight portable monitoA Portable Monitor

Published in Laptops/PCs/Apple by mfereday on Mar 2, 2021
Sitting between a desktop and laptop viewing area, this next product reminds me of a cup of coffee.
Unlike other ‘rugged’ notebooks I have reviewed this one is a Tablet as it has no cover, and no keyboard other than an onscreen offering. It is not light as it weighs 2619 grams and the screen is 14 inches, totally touch operated either with finger, glove or the provided stylus. It has eight touch controls below the landscape screen.

891059 Acer TC 885 Windows 10 DesktoAcer Desktop XC-885

Published in Laptops/PCs/Apple by paul_smart on Feb 10, 2021
This is now becoming a rare beast a Desktop PC rather that a Notebook. Sadly it has one thing missing – from my point of view – an optical drive. However during my testing period it has performed well in all departments that will satisfy most people.
This is a 27inch flat panel 1920x1080 that shows everything just that little bit larger, it also has something that most other flat panels do not have a decent set of speakers so external speakers should not be required, so what else does this recent offering from Philips have to tempt you.
Straight from the box this screen shows 3440x1440 which has the ability to show three screens of information at near to full HD IE 1920x1080 side by side with no real overlap and after a small amount of pruning this means no switching of screens just move your mouse to the bit you want and work away.

890719 Acer TravelMate PAcer Travel Mate P6

Published in Laptops/PCs/Apple by paul_smart on Dec 7, 2020
Certainly not a cheap notebook, however it is a very powerful offering that is capable of doing everything you ask and it does it all within a small footprint so easy to use at home, in the office, or on your travels. So the name is right this is a Travel Mate.

890619 Elite Pro Dual USB C and 3 Port Hub EnclosurExternal Storage

Published in Laptops/PCs/Apple by mfereday on Nov 12, 2020
Combining extra functionality connections and plenty of storage capacity is a device from OWC.
Think of this large Tablet that can be used in the home, the office, and anywhere in between as it has a Sim and can therefore keep you in contact anywhere. It has rather good speakers however few will want to hold it to their ears because of size, so Bluetooth for a headset and some form or privacy for your phone calls.