Gadgets

Gadget related reviews

****Please check out the end of this review where there is a link to a giveaway, giving you the chance to win one of these!

Having access to your photos on mobile devices and laptops, etc, can often be the preferred method of viewing nowadays.  But what if you actually wanted to have select images available on display in and around your home?  Or what if you have a relative that isn’t over tech savvy?  The Kitvision 7″ Digital Photo Frame could be the solution for you!

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The photo frame itself comes packaged in an eye catching box packaging that contains a wealth of specifications, ranging from the slide show display mode, to the 7″ TFT Panel.  Inside the box you get the photo frame (the one I have for review is pink), the stand for the frame, UK 3-pin wall adapter and a user manual.

The frame feels very well made, as well as very sturdy.  Included is 8mb of internal storage – not enough to store all of your images, but plenty to store a few treasured images that you would like to keep to hand all of the time.  The frame boasts a bracket that you can rotate if you would like to, meaning that you can view your images in both landscape and portrait mode – you aren’t limited to having it set just one way or the other.  The spaces to attach the bracket can be found on the back of the frame.  The top of the frame houses the buttons used to control the functions of the frame.  These buttons are Play/Pause, Left, Right, Exit, and Setup.  The buttons are used to navigate the menus on the photo frame, which are straightforward to use.  Located down the right hand side of the frame is the USB Flash Drive port, the multicard reader, and the port to connect up the AC adapter.  The screen resolution is 480 x 234 pixels.  The supported image file format for the frame is JPEG – which is handy as this is what most images come as.

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Getting to grips with the frame is very straightforward.  To get the frame to display the images you want, simply insert a memory card that has your images on (either direct from a digital camera or smartphone or transfer the pictures to the card from a PC/laptop), or hook up a USB drive into the port on the side.  The built-in card reader enables you to simply plug in your card or USB stick and using the buttons on the top of the frame, navigate through the menus.  It is recommended that you store images in folders that contain up to 100 photos each.

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Once you have your memory card or USB drive inserted, ensure that you have plugged in the supplied plug adapter (5v), power on the frame, and you photos will start displaying to you as a slideshow.  The buttons on the back of the frame give you the options to pause the slideshow in order to make changes to the display, or even to keep that one particular image on display.  Also, the built-in menu is easy and straightforward to use, making the operation of the frame possible for anyone, no matter your technical knowledge.  From within the menu, you can also choose if you would like your images displayed as the original image, cropped, or stretched.

Another feature that I really like is the fact that you have a few transition effects to choose from, meaning that you can make changing from one image to the next, less plain and boring.  If you would rather not set it to one particular effect, you can set it to random so that it changes from image to image.  Another feature that I like is that you can change the speed of the slideshow – you can have the images change at a slow, medium or fast pace.  Again, something for everyone.

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Overall, I love this digital photo frame.  Kitvision have made it possible to have something to suit everyone, no matter of their age or preference.  If the 7″ frame is not for you, there is a large range of digital frames available in a variety of sizes and designs, so there should be something for everyone.  The price of the 7″ pink frame that I have here is £29.99 on Amazon UK (at time of posting) and would make an ideal gift, especially with Mother’s Day coming up *hint hint*.

Twitter: @KitvisionUK
Facebook: www.facebook.com/KitvisionUK
Instagram: www.instagram.com/kitvisionuk
Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/kitvision
YouTube: www.youtube.com/user/KitvisionUK

The guys over at Kitvision also launched this giveaway on their Twitter yesterday! https://twitter.com/KitvisionUK/status/442962839662125056

**A massive thank you to Sean who kindly agreed to do a guest review.  Please remember to take a look at the links included at the bottom of this review.

The TeckNet Redragon Centrophorus mouse packaging blends so very nicely with the style and look of the mouse.  The front of the box contains an image of the mouse, and well branded with the name of the mouse.  The back of the box lists some information relating to the mouse. Both sides of the box also has some information about the features of the mouse having 6 buttons, a gold plated USB 2.0 connector, weights and braided USB Cord. Opening the box reveals the mouse covered in a protective clear plastic shell.

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Over the years I have become used to using the Microsoft Wireless mouse range, but immediately the styling of the ReDragonLite mouse struck me. Once plugged in the mouse lights up with a red LED which is visible from the sides and the Dragon Logo on the back of the mouse. I have to admit that this mouse is by far one of the most visually impressive mice I have used, and I have used a few over the years. Despite its use of weights in the base of the mouse, I found it to be very light and similar to a laptop style mouse when in use. It is comfortable as the grooves on the side of the mouse help a light grip and it moves smoothly on any surface from mouse-pad to desk top.

The position of the six buttons are naturally placed easy to manage with just the simplest of hand movements, you instinctively find them without making a conscious effort to feel them out with fingers or thumb. The Scroll wheel has a rubber grip with treads that give you the sense of full control when it use. The DPI button is placed just far enough from the scroll wheel so its easily accessible with a press to activate and another to turn off and not so close that you will at any time accidentally turn it on during normal mouse use. It felt very natural to use as a mouse for use at work or at its designed use as a gaming mouse. As a gaming mouse it performed really well, responding to rapid movements with no issues when playing FPS games or MMO in Guild Wars 2 with the programmable buttons easy to configure for your needs.

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The moment I took a picture of the Redragon mouse and put in on social media and when I took it into the office for work to try out, once plugged in and lit up I know at least ten people who saw it and instantly placed an order for one on Amazon. Priced there for just £14.99 it is amazing value for that price both as mouse for work or gaming but also as a visual delight. Aesthetically pleasing as it is is effective as a mouse, the Redragon Centrophorus six button gaming mouse delivers on all levels for me and for the price is just amazing value.

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Review by Sean T. McCarthy. Please check out his blog and social media on the links below.
Blog: http://wasahiro.wordpress.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/CockneyCharmer
YouTube: http://bit.ly/1fYxozV

Today I have the Perixx MX-800 Laser Gaming Mouse and the DX-2000M Gaming Control Mousepad for review.  This will be a joint review because both items work so well together.  I’ll start off with the mouse and then cover the mousepad.

The MX-800 mouse packaging is very simplistic.  The front of the box contains an image of the mouse, as well as the Perixx logo and the name of the mouse.  The back of the box lists some information relating to the mouse, and also provides the same information in several languages.  Both sides of the box also has some information, including the fact that the mouse has 5 buttons, and a gold plated USB 2.0 connector.  The flap on the front of the box is held closed magnetically and when you open it up, you get a view of the top of the mouse.  In my case, the image on the front of the box showed a red mouse, yet when the flap was opened, both the image and the mouse were actually black.

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Included in the box is the mouse, a user manual, and some replacement feet for the base of the mouse.  I was surprised to see no bundled software for programming the mouse buttons, DPI, etc – however, you can download the required software and drivers from the Perixx website.

The mouse itself has a nice feel to it once you get it in your hands.  The shape of it seems to be better fitted to people with smaller hands, if I am honest.  I can imagine it could end up being uncomfortable to use if your hands are on the larger side.  The mouse fits nicely in my hand  and the placement of the buttons ensure that there is no need to adjust the hands position in order to use them.  When using the mouse, I didn’t encounter any hand fatigue, even after sitting at the PC for around 5 hours, which is always a good thing.  The mouse has a pulsating blue light effect that is visible through the transparent Perixx logo on the mouse, as well as on both sides of the mouse.  The DPI button is conveniently placed just behind the scroll wheel, which makes it easy to reach and use.

The software that you use with the mouse (download HERE) allows you to program the buttons to suit you, as well as setting the DPI (from 250 to 2500) and also change the light effects on the mouse.   It is very straightforward to use the software, meaning that pretty much anybody can set this mouse up to suit their needs.

Now we move on to the mousepad.  I don’t tend to use a mousepad very often, mainly due to lack of desk space, but nevertheless, I was looking forward to giving the DX-2000 a try.  It arrived in a thin cardboard box which boasts an image of the mousepad, as well as the Perixx logo and the name of the mousepad.  As with the mouse, the back of the box lists a bit of information about the mousepad, including the dimensions of the pad, all available in several languages.

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The mousepad was able to keep its shape in the box thanks to a firm cardboard insert accompanying it in the box.  Both easily removed by opening the flap on the back box.  First impressions of the pad were that it seemed to be high quality.  the stitching around the edge was neatly done and the bottom of the pad had a decent amount of rubber grip.  The grip actually kept the pad in place very well – no matter how much force I put behind it, there was very little movement.  Also present on the pad is the Perixx logo, as well as the DX-2000M branding.

Using the mousepad surprisingly made the mouse easier to use.  When used together, the mouse glided seamlessly over the pad and not once did I end up coming to the edge of the pad.

Overall, both products work very well together.  Perixx seem to have nailed it on the head, yet again, with this combination.  The mouse is easy to set up and use, and the pad adds to the experience.  I think I am definitely going to make a point of making a permanent space on my desk for a mousepad!

I’ve definitely got used to high quality products from the guys over at Razer, and their Kraken 7.1 Virtual Surround Sound Gaming Headset was something I was looking forward to getting my hands on. Is it going to be something that continues the long running, high quality success that gamers have come to know and love?

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The packaging for the Kraken 7.1 headset is keeping up appearances, literally.  With its eye catching black and green colour scheme, it definitely catches the eye.  Being a fan of everything green any way, this is a great start as far as keeping me interested.  The box itself shows you what to expect design wise by sporting a nice image of one of the earcups, complete with the mesh finish and the illuminated green Razer logo on the earcup.  Also included on the box is some headset related information, including the fact that it is a 7.1 virtual surround sound headset, and that it has an enhanced digital microphone.  The back of the box lists product details and specifications, as well as a detailed image of the headset.

As with all Razer packaging, getting into the box is almost as good as looking over the outer box.  The box opens from the right to left and you are instantly greeted with a full on view of the headset.  The inside of the opened flap contains a long paragraph relating to the headset.  The headset is covered by an easily removable plastic covering that slides off of the box.  Removing the headset is relatively straightforward enough – unfasten the ties that are holding it in place and take it out of the box.  The braided USB cable is neatly tucked away behind the cardboard sleeve insert beneath the headset and the Razer user manual  and stickers are located above the headset between the insert and the top of the box.

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First impressions of the headset – it feels very sturdy, well made, and comfortable.  The not overly padded, fully adjustable Razer branded headband ensures that the headset does not cause any discomfort during prolonged use, as do the extremely padded and comfortable, foldable ear cups.  The ear cups themselves have a closed cup design to help maxmise the sound.  The Razer logo can be found on the outside of both, as well as the solid, mesh type design.  On the left ear cup, you will find the retractable, enhanced digital microphone, and also the 2 meter braided gold plated USB cable.  It all fits together extremely well and is very, very easy on the eye.

Setting the headset up to get the most out of its features, requires you to download Synapse 2.0 from the Razer website as there is no software CD included.  Once installed, you are required to calibrate the virtual surround sound – this is very straightforward and only takes a few minutes.  Once you have completed the calibration process, you will notice that you have more menu tabs to choose from, including audio, mic, mixer, eq, and lighting.  Each of these menus give you the option to make additional changes to features such as bass boost, sound normalization, and voice clarity, and mic sensitivity/volume.  The EQ menu allows you to choose from a list of presets, and also gives you the option to create a custom preset.  Lastly, if you decide that the lights on the headset (Razer logos on the ear cups and the small light at the end of the mic) are too much for you, you can disable them from within the lighting menu.

While using the Kraken headset, I mostly played World of Tanks, Far Cry 3, and some Battlefield 3, while using Mumble for chatting.  I could not fault this headset at all if I am honest.  Voice chat came through crystal clear, and I was informed that my voice was also coming through clear – clearer than it did while using my previous headset.  I think that the inclusion of a digital microphone rather than a standard mic was definitely a smart move.  Also, if you don’t fancy chatting ALL the time, there is a mute switch located towards the end of the microphone itself – if you do mute it, you will be able to tell because the green light goes off when the mic is off, and on when the mic is on!  The game sounds were, in all honesty, amazing!  Being able to hear sounds coming from all around you definitely helped in identifying what directions the enemy were coming from, as well as being able to hear simple sounds that were not picked up previously.  Put all of this together and you have the perfect package!

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I didn’t only use the Kraken for playing games, though.  I also watched a few films and TV shows while using them, as well as using them for listening to music.  Being able to experience watching TV/films using the 7.1 virtual surround sound  was simply awesome!  It added so much to the overall film and actually made you feel a part of it.  Music wise, there was a lot of bass even with the bass boost turned off, and this kind of overpowered the music itself.  I think it all depends on your music taste when it comes to using this headset for music – if you like music with a lot of bass, then I doubt this will be an issue for you.

I think that anybody who picks up a Razer Kraken 7.1 Virtual Surround Headset will definitely not be disappointed.  With the eye catching colour scheme and the overall comfort factor, this headset would make a lot of people happy.  The crystal clear voice chat and game sounds only adds to the whole gaming experience, and it also adds a bit of a WOW factor to watching TV & films.  Being able to customise the headset to suit you using the Synapse 2.0 software is a nice touch, especially with the list of presets that you have to choose from.  If that wasn’t enough to sway you, maybe the price will?  At time of posting, you can pick this headset up for around £89.00 from Amazon UK

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Tech Specs

  • Advanced 7.1 virtual surround sound engine
  • Enhanced digital microphone
  • Designed for extended gaming comfort
  • Razer Synapse 2.0 enabled
  • Powerful drivers for highest-quality gaming audio
  • Closed ear cup design for optimal sound isolation
  • Foldable ear cups for maximum portability

Headphones

  • Drivers: 40mm neodymium magnets
  • Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20kHz
  • Impedance: 32 Ω
  • Sensitivity @ 1kHz: 112dB
  • Output Power: 30mW
  • Connector: Gold plated USB
  • Cable Length: 2m / 6.56 ft braided USB cable
  • Approximate Weight: 340g

Microphone

  • Frequency response: 100Hz –12kHz
  • Sensitivity @ 1kHz: -40dB ± 4dB
  • Signal-to-noise ratio: 63 dB
  • Pick-up pattern: Omnidirectional

System Requirements

  • PC / Mac with USB port
  • Windows® 8 / Windows® 7 / Windows Vista® / Mac OS X (10.6-10.9)
  • Internet connection (for driver installation)
  • At least 100MB of free hard disk space

I was recently sent the PocketBoom Rechargeable Bluetooth Portable Speaker for review from the guys over at KitSound.  This is one product I was looking forward to getting to grips with.  Check out the unboxing video below.

Setting the speaker up for use was an easy task.  simply power on the PocketBoom speaker and put your phone/device into visible mode.  Your device should pick up the speaker after a few seconds – once it has, choose the speaker from the list of available devices and it should pair up.  If you run into any issues when it comes to pairing the devices, check out the included user manual and you should be sorted in no time.

The sound that the PocketBoom pushes out is surprisingly awesome!  For such a small device, I was not expecting what I heard.  The speaker pushes out a decent amount of bass as well, but depending on what device you are using it with, you may want to adjust the levels on the device itself beforehand to get the best sound out of things – even if you download an equalizer app or something to help with this, it is definitely worth it.

Because the speaker also doubles up as a hands-free device, I was itching to try out both the incoming, and outgoing sound quality.  When a call comes through, simply press the little button on the top of the speaker (the one with the phone icon) and you will be connected.  Incoming call quality through the speaker was great quality and did not come through distorted at all – again, very surprised at the quality.  Outgoing voice was a little on the quiet side when listening through the phone, but I could still hear what was going on.  This was easily rectified by rotating the speaker a little so that the small microphone port was facing the person talking rather than facing the opposite way.

The small rubber section on the bass of the speaker provided a decent amount of grip when the speaker was placed on a surface.  Pressing the buttons, etc, did not cause the speaker to move about unnecessarily, something else that I really liked.  The overall design of the speaker is very easy on the eye and definitely something that you would not be embarrassed to be seen with.

Having the option to connect up a 3.5 to 3.5mm cable is handy, especially if you have been using the PocketBoom for a prolonged period of time via bluetooth and the battery is starting to get low – you can still use the speaker if you are not ready to power down just yet.  When it comes to recharging the speaker, simply connect up the Micro USB cable and plug in the other end of the cable to a PC or laptop, or even a USB mains adapter.  I have used the speaker and managed to get around 3 hours of continuous play from it before having to charge again.

This tiny speaker really does pack a punch when it comes to playing music.  No matter what style of music you choose to play, it comes through nice and clear, and with a decent amount of bass.  The hands-free feature just adds to this little box of awesome and makes using it an absolute pleasure.  You can pick up the PocketBoom Rechargeable Bluetooth Speaker in a wide range of colours and for the price of around £30.00 GBP.  An excellent product at an affordable price.