technology

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Let’s face it – walking around with a charging cable for your devices in your pocket is not ideal, and I doubt many people do it.  Having the option to carry something lightweight, small, and fully portable, however, is great and is now possible thanks to the affordable NOMAD ChargeKey.  NOMAD were kind enough to send me out one of their Micro USB to USB ChargeKey units that should work with all Micro USB devices.  Also available is a Lightning connector for use with the new iDevice models.

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The ChargeKey arrived in a very simple cardboard envelope packaging.  Simply open up the front and you are greeted with the Key itself.  That’s it!  Remove the Key from the sticky adhesive that holds it in place and you are good to go.  Size wise, the Key is no bigger than a standard house key, which makes it the ideal size to attach to your keys and carry it about with you.

The Key itself is made from a hard plastic at the two ends, one end with the Micro USB connector and the other with the main USB connector, and also has a rubber material in the middle that allows it some room to move about.  This could prove handy for a few reasons – less chance of it poking you while in your pocket, less chance of it being damaged and snapping while in your pocket, and lastly, it allows a bit of movement when hooking up your device.

When it came to using my phone with the Key, I had it connected to my laptop.  I didn’t want to risk using it with a wall adapter as it would mean leaving my phone hanging and to be honest, that would kind of defeat the object of the Key as if you are at home, you would use your wall adapter any way.  Having it hooked up to the laptop though, charging started as you would expect and I was also able to sync my phones photos and emails as well.  I also gave it a try using one of the PowerBanks that I have and am happy to say that that worked as it should.

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Overall, the NOMAD ChargeKey does what it says.  It is small, lightweight, portable, and comes in handy when you least expect it.  Always having it to hand is a major plus thanks to being able to have it attached to my keys and knowing that I don’t have to walk about with a charging cable in my pocket or bag is handy.  You never know when you’re going to be caught without power!  Priced at an affordable £20 over on Amazon UK, I think it is a must have addition, especially for those of you who like to be able to stay connected all of the time!

Having previously reviewed a couple of Razer Naga Hex mice, I was definitely intrigued to see what the Naga Expert MMO Gaming Mouse could offer that the others didn’t.

As always, the Razer packaging is high eye catching, with its green and black colour scheme.  A view of the mouse on the front, gives you an idea of what you are getting.  Also included is a few pieces of information relating to the mouse.  The sides of the box provide more information, in slightly more detail, while the back of the box gives you a full overview of the mouse and its features.  The front of the box has a flap that opens to show you a proper view of the mouse, while the inside of the flap you have information about the mouse and its basic/advanced button configuration.

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Usually, you tend to get the device itself in the box, along with the user manuals and Razer branded stickers.  This time though, there is something extra.  You get two additional side pieces for the mouse that you can change out depending on your hand size and the way you grip the mouse.  These extra pieces are packed nicely in a foam insert, inside of an extra box which is located beneath the mouse in the main packaging.  It is relatively easy to change the side piece to one that suits you better – simply unclip the one that is attached by pulling down on the back of it (this was how I did it).  Because the pieces stay in place thanks to several magnets underneath, there is no chance of snapping any important fasteners, etc.  Adding your preferred side panel is just as easy – just push it into position and let the magnets do their job!

As with other Razer products, the download and install of their Synapse 2.0 software is required in order for you to program your mouse to suit you.  Synapse is very straightforward and easy to use with clear, on-screen instructions for you to follow.  You can use the software to create macros for in-game use.  So say for example there is a command that uses multiple key presses, you can record the key press sequence and assign it to a key, resulting in one key press instead of many.  The good thing about Synapse, it allows you to store your gaming profiles for your mouse in the cloud, meaning that you can access your settings from any computer that you plug your mouse into, as long as said machine has Synapse installed.  No endless faffing about setting up settings and buttons when you change and move around.

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The Razer Naga Expert MMO mouse has a total of 17 buttons, including 12 side buttons that are all fully programmable.  These buttons, when compared to previous Naga Hex mice that I have used, are thankfully harder to press – resulting in less random button presses.  The mouse wheel does what you would expect it to, and the green colour scheme is always a favourite of mine.  Lastly, the braided USB cable gives the mouse the finish that it deserves.

The base of the mouse has a switch that enables you to switch between the basic and advanced  configuration.  The basic layout represents the numbered keys along the top of your keyboard, while the advanced layout does the same for the number pad on the side of your keyboard.  Depending on the configuration that you prefer, you put the switch to the one to suit your use.  To finish off the bottom of the mouse, we have the ultraslick mouse feet – five in total – to help the mouse glide over your surface with ease.

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The Naga itself is VERY comfortable to use, and in the time that I have used it, I have encountered no hand fatigue at all.  After finding a position to hold my hand so that I can reach the side buttons, and with the comfort added by changing the side panel, it’s almost as if this mouse was made for my hand!  Thankfully, after using previously Naga models, I did not have too much of an issue getting accustomed to the button layout again and was up and running fully in no time.

Of all of the Razer mice that I have used, I think I can honestly say that the Naga Expert is the most comfortable by far.  Being able to put on a side plate that suits my hand size plays a huge part in this.  Obviously the mouse is aimed at people who play MMO games, and would definitely suit anybody looking for a gaming mouse.  The lack of hand fatigue is something else that adds to the comfort factor and I would highly recommend this mouse, even if you only use it for day to day activities.

I doubt that there is a single gamer out there that would not like to extend their controller battery life, even slightly.  It’s even worse if you are using a PS3 controller and the only way to rectify the flat battery issue is to have either a spare, charged controller, or sit with the charger cable attached to the console and controller so you can play while charging.  Now though, there is a way around this – the Officially Licensed Venom Power Bank for PS3 controllers.

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The Power Bank comes packaged in a nice blue and white box that shows how the unit looks by itself, as well as when it is hooked on to your controller.  Also included is the “Official Licensed Product logo for PlayStation, and on the back, is some additional information.  Inside the box, you have a User Guide, the Power Bank, and a USB charger cable.

The Power Bank is a small unit that is actually really nice to look at.  It is small, sleek, and is the size you would expect it to be.  The unit is small enough that it attaches to the controller via the USB port on the top.  To hold it in place securely, the Power Bank has a small clip on the bottom that fits snugly around the base of the controller.  You can fully charge the unit between uses by unclipping it from the controller and hook up the USB cable that is provided in the box, and once fully charged, it provides up to an additional 20 hours of controller use time.

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For something so small to be so practical, it is probably a must-have for PS3 users.  You can pick one up for the price of £19.99 from the Venom Play Store, with free delivery.  This is something that is easy to use and that would prove handy for all gamers.

The Orbweaver Elite Mechanical Gaming Keypad from Razer is a mechanical gaming keypad that gives you the functionality of using the left side of yourr keyboard for gaming, in a standalone device.

It’s standard now that the Razer packaging is something that is always high quality.  With its green and black colour scheme, the images and text just pops and works really well.  The front of the box shows a pretty full image of the Orbweaver keypad, and also contains a few key points, including the fact that the keypad has 20 fully programmable buttons.  Both sides of the box also contains a wealth of information, ranging from the mechanical key infrastructure, to the backlit keypad.  The back of the box gives a breakdown of the keypad itself and lets us know what each part is for.  Also included in the box is the standard user guide.

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The Orbweaver Keypad is a beauty, really.  As well as the 20 programmable keys, you also have a left handed, 8 way directional thumbpad, a nicely gripped palm rest, an equally nicely gripped wrist rest, and two buttons that sit nicely either side of the thumbpad (one being the same as the spacebar) and lastly, the USB cable.

Using Razer’s Synapse 2.0, you can set up the buttons on the keypad as you wish.  You can store unlimited game profiles, program the keys, and set the backlight on the device to suit your preference.  The Orbweaver features 8 keymaps that can all be programmed with a different key layout using the 20 programmable keys and the two side buttons.  Although there is no present switch available to quickly swap between the keymaps, using Synapse, you can set one of the keys to do this if you would like to.  Once you have set the keypad up to your liking, all of your settings are saved on the cloud using Synapse so that you can access them from whichever location you take your keypad to.  Please note that while Synapse 2.0 is not required to use the keypad, it is needed if you would like to program the keys rather than using the standard layout.

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The Orbweaver, although a little weird looking, is actually really comfortable to use.  The padded wrist and palm rests and much needed support, while the buttons are placed within a reasonable length for your hand so there is no over stretching to reach them.  Saying this though, I have pretty small hands and had issues reaching the top row of keys – even with the unit sized to the smallest available size, so I think people with medium to large sized hands may have a better time using this.  The thumbpad and two side buttons are also in a decent position and are easily within reach for ease of use.  Having the option to reposition the wrist rest, the side unit that houses the thumbpad/buttons, and also the option to slightly rotate the palm rest is very welcomed.  Being able to resize and reposition those key parts all add to the comfort factor, and also helps to cater for people with larger hands.

Being able to fully customise the key layout using the Orbweaver is also something that I think gamers will love.  Rather than having to reach for certain keys on the keyboard, you can set the keypad up to do the same thing by simply programming the keys to suit you.  Being able to save several game profiles is also handy as you may use different key layouts for different games meaning that all you have to do is switch from one to another.

The keys on the keypad are all backlit (the main keys are, any way) and are full mechanical keys with 50g actuation force, meaning that is doesn’t take a large amount of pressure to  press the keys.  The keys also make a nice ‘clicking’ sound when pressed so you aren’t left thinking “have I actually pressed that key properly”.  Also, just above the thumbpad and two buttons, there are three light bars – these tell you which keymap you currently have equipped.

The Orbweaver Elite Mechanical Gaming Keypad is a great bit of kit.  While it is probably better suited to people with medium to large hands, it is a pleasure to use and provides comfort in all of the right areas.  It would have been nice to see a braided USB cable rather than a rubber coated cable, but it isn’t a game changer of an issue.  It is not a ridiculous size and definitely would not look out of place in any gaming setup, especially if you are someone who enjoys your PC games.  Now all we need is something for us small hand gamers!

****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