In the first of our ‘pocket money purchases’ we look at the Skullcandy Jib in ear headphones. at just under £10 they can definitely be considered a pocket money purchase, but do they represent good value for money, or would you be better off investing a bit more to get a better value set of headphones?
Solar Lights That Actually Work Really Well.
I will be honest I have been looking for some solar lights that actually work even when it hasn’t been that sunny and was very pleased when I was offered a sample to try from Red Robin Solar
The lights I was sent were aptly called Bling String Solar Fairy Lights
So straight from the box its very obvious what you need to do, place the solar panel which attaches to a spike into the ground and either attach the lights to a fence or in this case wrap them around a tree. I was sent the Blingstring Fairy lights which contains 100 LED bulbs so wrapped very nicely around my weeping willow tree.
From Dusk Till Dawn
The lights start to come on as dusk draws in which is lovely on these warm nights when you are still sat outside about 10pm. The lights give a bright glow to the garden which is really lovely and a nice touch is that they come on a little earlier than most which means you don’t have to wait until really dark to admire them as you can see in the picture below.
I did try to take a picture at night but they were shining so brightly my phone could not cope with the focus but as pictures go its definitely one for ‘guess what this is’
The Blingstring Fairly lights available from www.redrobinsolar.co.uk are definitively the best solar lights I have had, they are very easy to install and the solar panel is big enough to power the lights through the night but also as you can see from the picture earlier conspicuous enough to sort of blend in.
All I need now is another set for my other weeping willow tree and my garden will look very attractive on these late summer nights! (hint hint !!)
Epson Eco Tank ET-4550 Multifunction Printer with Refillable Ink Tanks
Ok so the first question you will be asking yourself is why I should buy this printer when there are cheaper alternatives out there. Well I can only talk about my thoughts on the Espon Eco Tank ET-4550 and have two reasons
- I have always had Epson printers and therefore have been very happy with the quality of the print and loved the interface, ease of printing and wireless capabilities which once you have used is invaluable.
- I wanted a printer that would last a reasonably long time without needing to replace the ink. I know you should always keep spare ink cartridges in but they are not the cheapest thing to buy and there is nothing worse than running out of ink halfway through a job and having to run to the shops for replacements.
The Epson brings a new concept to the ink issue and that is rather than using small ink cartridges which never seem to last that long you have a bottle of ink and fill a tank with ink, hence the name tank printer.
So if you look at my pictures you will see how the ink comes in bottles and to fill the tank you just squeeze the ink out of the bootle into the appropriate coloured hole.
Epson advertise this as being able to print 11000 pages which I haven’t tested but I am sure is correct.
Find more details at Epson Eco Tank ET 4550
So this is a great small business or office printer with the usual fax, scan, copy and of course print and print wirelessly capabilities.
Ok so when I was sent these wireless speaker bulbs to test I must say I was very excited, the thought of solving a the old problem of keeping your room clutter free but also enjoy listening to music was right in front of me.
What’s in the box
So when you open the box the first thing that strikes you is how clean and minimalist everything looks, Sengled have gone to a lot of effort to make the packaging and the product match the expectations of the buyer, who lets be honest is going to be someone who lives this clean smart lifestyle.
What to do first.
To be honest this is very intuitive as when you take the bulb speakers out of the box they are basically a bulb with a screw thread so you just do what you would do with a bulb and screw it into the bulb holder in your lamp.
Ok so when you look at the bulb in the holder it does look a little strange especially being red perhaps the white casing would look better, however turn on the lamp and once the light is on you can’t tell it isn’t just a conventional bulb in the lamp.
So we have light what about the sound?
So this is where the Sengled Pulse comes into its own so let’s recap you have a LED bulb which uses a lot less power to a conventional bulb only 8Watts and an LED bulb will last for 25000 hours that’s a lot of time for a light to be on so you never have to worry about replacing this bulb.
So these are wireless bluetooth speakers so yes you have guessed it you need a smartphone or tablet to make these speakers work. So you need to download the app on either android though Google Play or Itunes on your Apple device.
So once you have put the other speaker into your second lamp (and you can have up to 8 in total) on the other side of your room and turned this on you have now created the ability to listen to stereo sound.
So open the App, now the app will sync with the speaker and once are connected you are good to go and begin steaming your music through your new bulb speakers.
I was using Spotify and I must say it was amazing!! it was so weird hearing music playing and not seeing any speakers anywhere.
The app lets you alter the volume, graphic equalizer setting and even dim the bulbs (both control at the same time) for that more moody lighting to match your choice of music.
Ok the sound is excellent but of course its never going to match a full hifi system but I don’t believe this is what it was intended for. This is a smart way to light your room and listen to music all controlled through your phone or tablet without the unsightly stereo, speakers and cables etc.
- Model number: C01-BR30EUE27 / B22
- LED power: 8 watts
- Luminous fl ux: 600 lumen Beam angle: 105 degrees Colour temperature: 2700 kelvin – warm white
- Colour-rendering index: 80 Dimmable: yes, using an app, not through external dimmers
- Energy supply: 120 VAC, 60 Hz, 170 mA or 230 VAC, 50 Hz, 120 mA
- Energy consumption: 13 watts (average) 30 watts (maximum, LED light + loudspeaker)
- Loudspeaker: 13 watts with surround sound e ect
- Frequency response: 100 Hz – 20 kHz
- Housing colour: pearl white, tin or red
- Dimensions: height 140 mm, diameter 98 mm
- Weight: approximately 420 g
- Bluetooth standard: v2.1 + EDR (Class 2)
- Bluetooth Profi le: A2DP, AVRCP, SPP and others
So to sum up this is a great way to make your speakers totally blend into your room and become invisible with the added advantage of being a bulb for your lamps, ingenious!! and the best bit is when you have your friends over what a gadget to show off ! you will find them all looking around to try and work out where the sound is coming from.
As a gadget lover and geek I totally love this, it solves a problem of space, sounds great, has dual uses and let be honest is one totally awesome gadget.
To find out more go to https://www.sengled.com/product/pulse
Q4 White Nano Quadcopter
This is the quad copter which has been very kindly supplied to me to try from Red5 Ultimate Gadget Shop.
The first thing that strikes you is how very small this quadcopter is but good things do come in small packages: The Q4 nano as the name suggests is a mini quadcopter but don’t let that fool you this quadcopter flies extremely well and is very fast which does take some getting used to at first. Red5 sell this at £29.95 and at just 5cm in length and width this cheap drone is very much up there with the big boys in terms of flying and tricks you can do.
Looks and features
The first impressions are that although it’s small it does feel well made and with the red and blue LED lights and coloured blades it really does look the business. One great feature that this nano quadcopter has is the ability to always correct itself so its always the right way up this is certainly something I am thankful for especially with my flying, the name given to this technology is ‘position recovery’ sounds a bit like something you would hear in an hospitals A&E department.
This quad runs off a 100mAh lithium polymer battery, charging is done through a USB cable which like your phone can be done through your computer or a plug socket, charging to full takes about 20 mins from a plug which isn’t too inconvenient although the technical specs says 40 mins which is more likely to be through a computer and with 5 mins flying time which I never checked myself as I was always having too much fun to clock watch!
- 100 mAh 3.7 Li-Po battery
- Charge time approx. 40 minutes
- Flight time approx. 5 minutes
Why is this the perfect Christmas gadget gift
The Q4 nano quadcoter is really fun to use and is great value at £29.95 it is also claimed to be one of the worlds smallest and can be flow in the dark thanks to its bright red and blue LED’s. This drone type copter is just simple, loads of fun and the only problem you will have is waiting for your turn. If you want to find out more and read some very positive 5 star reviews about this nano quadcopter head over to Red5 Ultimate Gadget Shop.
At the moment they have an offer to buy two for £50 this will definitely cut down on those arguments on who’s go is it now.
Anyway until then I think its my turn again !!
Solid-state drives and hard disk drives perform the same basic tasks in laptop computers. They write, store and retrieve information. The difference is that HDDs contain mechanical parts, such as a motor and a spinning platter. On the other hand, SSDs use flash memory chips. These devices work the same way as thumb drives, but they operate more reliably and quickly.
A major advantage of using a solid-state drive is that it will make a notebook PC run faster. For example, a computer with an SSD can boot about three times more quickly than an equivalent PC that has an HDD. Data fragmentation doesn’t affect performance; users never have to wait for a read head to change position.
Solid-state drives also enable laptop computers to open files, run programs and save data very rapidly. The fastest SSDs can transfer information up to 12 times more quickly than the best compact HDDs. However, most SSDs have top speeds that range from about 250 to 550 megabytes per second. Some 2.5-inch HDDs reach speeds as high as 150 MB/s.
An example of a very fast SSD is the 500 MB/s Samsung 840 Pro. The MacBook Pro contains a solid-state drive that transfers more than a gigabyte in one second. With the right controller, a few expensive units can read and write up to 1,800 MB/s. One of the fastest notebook HDDs is the Toshiba MK2035GSS. It holds 200 gigabytes and transfers as many as 150 megabytes per second.
Rapid speeds can’t boost performance if data becomes corrupted or the drive fails. Both HDDs and SSDs have components that eventually wear out. Seagate claims that failure rates remain almost identical. On the other hand, ComputerWorld reports that mechanical disks fail 3.5 percent more often.
Laptop PCs frequently face harsher temperatures and rougher treatment than their desktop counterparts. Although SSDs and HDDs may be equally reliable under ideal conditions, solid-state drives offer greater durability. Seagate and PC Magazine agree that the lack of moving parts makes an SSD more rugged. It may continue to perform well after someone drops a notebook computer.
To sum it up, most solid-state units run about two to seven times faster than their mechanical counterparts. They may last longer than HDDs in portable computers. Laptop owners also benefit from their minimal weight, low energy consumption and reduced heat output. Mwave has a fine selection of SSDs available on their website to choose from to enhance laptop performance. The only major downside is that SSDs cost approximately twice as much as comparable HDDs.
Ok so I knew I wanted to do some talk through guides and eventually start my own podcast, so I listen to some experts including Pat Flynn from Smart Passive Income about which microphone to buy and he recommended the Yeti Blue USB Microphone.
Before I continue with my thought I conducted a little test so you could listen for yourself.
This is the first test using just the built in microphone supplied with my ASUS laptop.
View in a full window (this link will open the video in the same tab so remember to click back when you have finished watching)
Now listen to the Blue yeti mic
View in a full window (this link will open the video in the same tab so remember to click back when you have finished watching)
So to give you more of a demo of this mic I have recorded a little bit more:
So I think everyone can agree the difference is night and day between your laptop mic and a professional mic especially if you are thinking of using it to communicate with your audience.
Let me know your thoughts or what microphones you use, I would love to hear your comments.
Thanks for listening
I have kindly been sent a pair of the brand new Musical Fidelity Headphones MF-100 for review.
Just to say this is my personal review and I am not being biased in anyway, and because of that I have kept away from any other review on these headphones because I want this to be my personal experience and not influenced by anyone elses thoughts.
The box the headphones arrived in looks everybit the £119 price tag and what you would expect for this money. Inside the box they looked even better very well packaged with additional ear pieces a 3.5mm gold adapter for bigger devices and nice little black bag for when you are not using the headphones.
No instructions so I guess the red colour is for my right ear and blue for left !!
All my music is being streamed through spotify
To start with I thought I would use my mobile to play the music.
First track – M people Search for a hero
One of the great features of the MF-100’s is the fact you have a little switch on the lead -One press pauses the music and two presses changes to the next track.The only draw back is you can’t adjust the volume however I suppose with most phones having the volume as separate buttons on the device its not such a hardship.
The sound was good very clear and good upper and lower range but I just felt I wanted it a bit louder and my phone was on max and no other way to turn the headphones louder.
I decided to switch my ipad mini to see if thing would improve.
Things didn’t just improve they went atmospheric, it was like putting Formula 1 fuel into a road car wow, wow and wow sorry SONY but the difference is so great I cant believe it, so I think I need to start this review again.
What I like about Leona Lewis and testing headphones is she mostly starts quiet und builds to the end of the track. The sound is really strange its so good you can hear sounds I have never heard on the tracks before the sounds are so clear and bass is superb without taking over the track and just becoming all base, then when she sings the higher notes the sound is so gorgeous its hard to put into words. here is one ’emotianal’.
Iron Maiden – Live After Death or maybe not
Any it was time to put Leona to bed so to speak! and bring out the big guns Iron Maiden with their live album – Live after death to see how the headphones coped with something a little more raw. This is the digitally remastered version so a fair test. mmm a bit dissapointing I thought these headphones would make me feel I was at the concert but the track feels a little 2 dimensional not what I was expecting, to give them a fair chance I swithched to Coldplay Live 2012 and the track Fix You that’s better now I am there, close my eyes and OMG I get all goose pimples the sound is amazing these are the dogs b*llocks in headphone, apart from the smell of beer and sweat I could already be there. What the neighbours must have thought as I was singing at the top of my voice with my arms in the air ‘I will try to fix you’ its a good job they are so good you cant hear outside sounds like my voice. The sound of Chris’s voice and the band are wonderful and my head is banging away now to Yellow, better get on.
Le Onde – Ludovico Einaudi
Time to calm down with some piano, this is a lovely track and it is the piano in its modern raw state, I love the fact you can hear the notes so clearly every little expression like when the keys are hit harder such a contrast to coldplay and so beautiful, you can hear when the pedals are pressed so stunning.
Michael Buble – Home
I love the way they bring the base into the track in a really warm way without it taking over the track but also adding so much to the sound, something I have not experienced before this is a real new eperience for me and sounds very unual in a good way it just takes a bit of getting used to, how do they make a track feel so warm with the base very clever.
In conclusion the headphone are really comfortable to wear you don’t even feel like they are on, they are not heavy and they are fully adjustable the earpieces swival to fit your head and adjusts to bigger heads than mine, there are so many other albums and artist I now need to listen to with these headphones that I dont think I will be doing much writing for a while.
The Musical Fidelity MF 100 must be shipped with Coldplay Live 2012 this is not a request but an essential !! and now back to my concert just missing my plastic beer glass to throw in the air. God help my neighbours.
Many thanks to Ken Embechebe, owner of UK based gadgets site Universal Gadgets, for this insightful article on Apps for Children.
Nowadays, many children grow up in a world where access to touch-screen internet connected devices is common-place. Millions of people use smartphones, tablets and computers every day.
Whereas the previous generation had Nintendo Gameboys, and handheld consoles, this generation have powerful tablet computers. As many adults will know, giving a child unmonitored access to the internet can lead to potentially dangerous situations. This is where apps come in handy. Utilising apps allow your children to enjoy their tablet experience whilst you can rest easy knowing exactly what it is they’re doing.
Understanding how to best engage, entertain and educate our children through the use of these applications is vital. The below collection of tablet apps manage to be fun and educational; a mix that’s quite often incredibly hard to master.
The ICDL app puts an entire library of children’s books onto your tablet, including tales from the early 1800s right through to modern stories. This fantastic (and completely free) app gives users the ability to search, access and read thousands of child-friendly books in various different languages. Perfect for all ages, this app means you’ll never be stuck for ideas when it comes to story-time.
What do you get when you add mathematics to an addictive running game? Hours of educational fun, that’s what. Meerkat Math will have your kids teaching themselves by answering various maths equations in order to try and catch up with that pesky meerkat.
The game itself is built by a company run by teachers, and is a perfect example of how education can be fun. It’s even got a multiplayer mode (made safe by prohibiting communication between players) where your children can show off their maths skills by competing against others.
Recently voted one of the top ten best apps by Apple, this immersive tablet app is perfect for budding explorers. Let your children embark on an adventure with the Barefoot World Atlas. Journey across the sprawling 3D interactive globe and discover a world of information; from facts about the great oceans to bios of exotic animals and plants. This is the ideal digital atlas for the digital age.
Kids will love this magical musical app. With new songs released for free every day, there’s plenty to play around with. Kids can tap along to the bars of light or get competitive and play the built in-game mode to level up and earn songs.
Whilst it certainly won’t teach your children how to play piano anytime soon, it’s great to see them play along to recognisable tunes and develop a sense of rhythm.
Social camera apps are all the rage at the moment. Whilst they do allow children to express their creativity and document important moments, they also have the potential to expose children to dangerous situations. If you’re interested in introducing your kids to photography, but don’t want them to access apps like Snapchat and Instagram, then Kidomatic Camera is the picture-perfect solution.
With over 120 icons, frames and brush types to enjoy, kids will love having the ability to snap and edit every moment.
A perfect combination of digital technology working seamlessly with the real world, the Lego® Movie Maker app gives children the chance to bring their Lego® sets to life. With loads of different editing tools and soundtracks to add to your homemade films, this app helps add a whole new dimension to playtime.
Android users needn’t feel left out either, as Lego® have a wide range of fun applications available on the Google Play Store as well.
Introduce your children to the joy of animation with this fantastically creative app. Doodlecast for Kids records your child’s drawings and captures audio at the same time, allowing children to create their own animated videos that are up to three minutes long.
It’s not just fun, it’s also great as a teaching aid, letting you and your children communicate in an incredibly creative and relatable way.
This family-friendly app puts a festive birthday twist on the usual talking animal app. Invite your kids to Ginger the super-cute cat’s fun-filled birthday party, where they’ll have the chance to feed Ginger snacks, help blow out candles and play a whole range of party games.
What will adults love about this app? The parental filters, meaning that whilst in-app purchases can be made to get more items and snacks, parents can preserve their wallet’s safety and disable this feature if needs be.
Fill your child’s thirst for adventure in this adventurous race across the seven seas. Join a merry mix of characters, including Finn the Shark and Emma the Pirate, in this swashbuckling digital board game.
From battling sea monsters to uncovering chests full of pirate treasure, there’s plenty here to keep kids entertained. With up to four players being able to join in at one time, the whole family can get involved, and with no in-app purchases, there’s no need to worry about your wallet.
The article was written by Ken Embechebe, owner of UK based gadgets site Universal Gadgets, which specialises in supplying accessories for all your favourite devices.
Samsung announces its Galaxy Gear Smart Watch.
This wearable device (wrist-watch) that features a 1.63-inch, 320 x 320 Super AMOLED touchscreen and a flexible band. Samsung’s uses its Smart Relay feature which allows you to receive messages, while voice control lets you make and receive calls.
It is very easy to answer a call, all you have to do is hold your watch to your ear. The speakers and microphone have been positioned strategically in the band for talking.
You’ll also be able to take pictures with the 1.9-megapixel autofocus camera, which has a macro mode and Full HD video recording.
There are also dual microphones with noise cancellation and a speaker embedded into the adjustable wristband. Besides its built-in software,
The watch will run and include apps like MyFitnessPal, RunKeeper and Path which I think are really useful as you can buy these fitness watches already which are bulky but don’t have half the features of the Gear Smart Watch.
Samsung believe this will become the new fashion icon around the world !! – we will have to wait and see.
Geeks Have Landed told you about a concept Samsung were working on back in May 2012 Proxima Watch By Samsung