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TechNow - Technology Opinions and Reviews

STM Blazer XS 11″ sleeve

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IMG_3950 copyThere’s only one thing that is as abundant as the constantly changing and evolving selection of notebook PCs on the market, and that’s the range of protective clothing that’s available for them.  I’ve looked at STM’s array of notebook and tablet bags and their quality is second to none.  The latest in their range is the Blazer series and I’ve been looking at the XS variant suitable for Macbook Air, ultrabooks, netbooks and anything else of around 11″ screen size. Carry on reading to see what I made of it…


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Kingston MobileLite Wireless

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IMG_3927 copyYou might not have a portable charger or a wireless card reader yet, but with increasing abundance of electrically dependent tech in your bag there’s reasons you may need both.  Battery tech still holds back a full day of heavy use on a smartphone and many new phones are coming without any form of expandable storage.  The Kingston MobileLite Wireless tackles both these problems in one portable device.  Do you need one? Read on to find out.


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Vodafone Smart III

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IMG_3886 copyDespite offering the latest smartphones from the various brands, Vodafone has been topping-up the budget end of the market in recent years with their range of ‘Smart’ handsets.  The latest, the Smart 3 is an Alcatel-built, Jellybean-powered phone with a respectable spec list considering it will only set you back £90.  It begs the question – why spend £500+ on another Android handset? Let’s take a look and find out!


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Wearable tech – Which will you be wearing?

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wearable-technologyUnless you’ve somehow created a technological void or have stumbled upon this site through some kind of clicking frenzy, You’ll know it’s been a fascinating few years for portable technology.  There’s an extremely high likelihood you could be reading this on a smartphone or tablet right now and as these all-in-one devices fulfil the gadget gaps in our day to day lives considerably well you’d never have thought there would be a need to be any more personally connected than you already are.


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Win a copy of Cyberlink’s PowerDVD Pro V13 [CLOSED]

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cyberlinkpowerdvdIf you know anything about PC media playback it’s likely you’ll have heard of Cyberlink.  These folks have been around since DVD was in its infancy, and their latest version of Power DVD is more powerful than ever & plays Bluray too!


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Rezzed: The PC & Indie Games Show 2013

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rezzedIn its second year, the Rezzed game show is still somewhat of a ‘cosy’ gathering.  Covering half of one of the Birmingham NEC show halls, it’s not on the scale of the show organised by the same folk at EuroGamer Expo. Rezzed caters for the PC game sector showcasing some of the latest titles about to hit our shelves as well as Indie games from smaller studios.  There was a great showing from UK-based developers so read on for some of the games we got hands-on with!

Posted in: Events, Gaming
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The Sony Xperia Z

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IMG_3733 copyThe Xperia T was the last top-end phone we tested from Sony and although it was great in many respects, it was an absolute dust magnet. With their newest handset the Xperia Z, they’ve made it comply with IP57 certification, making it water and dust-resistant meaning even if it does get dusty or mucky you can just wash it off under a tap. Though this feature is a great idea, how does the rest of the phone hold up? Let’s find out.


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Nokia 620 + JBL Powerup wireless speaker review

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IMG_3830 copyHaving already looked at the larger Lumia 820, we decided to bundle the 620 review together with the nicely matched JBL Powerup wireless speaker, as in many ways they belong together. Not like their eyes met across the room at your friends party, they’re literally built to work together, apart from the wireless charging not being compatible with the phone, but we’ll get back to that later.


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Win Headphones from Audio Technica

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AUDIOTECCOMP


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The Pioneer X-SMC00bt micro hi-fi system

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IMG_3816 copyWe’ve reviewed quite a bit of audio equipment recently, and guess what? I have another slice of audio decadence for you right here. This time it is an offering from Pioneer, the Japanese technology pioneers who invented such awesome things as the Laser-Disc! The X-SMC00BT micro hi-fi system wants a place in your living room. It offers all the connections you could ever want in a neat package; let’s check it out.

Posted in: Audio, Gadgets, Reviews
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The Samsung Galaxy S4

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IMG_3620 copyWatching Samsung unveil their latest flagship smartphone – the Galaxy S4 to the eager crowd at Radio City Hall in New York gained Samsung a lot of attention, but not necessarily for the right reasons.  As I watched the live stream on a late night here in the UK, it took me a few attempts to remind myself I wasn’t inebriated in any way.  What I was watching was one of the most bizarre launches I’ve seen yet.  Lots of glitz, glamour, glee and the occasional sexist poke.  It felt like Samsung had taken a surreal step backward in launching what is clearly a feature packed phone in such a completely out of touch fashion.  I’m not here to talk your ear off about that atrocity, and instead am taking a look at the phone itself, and whether it lives up to the huge amount of hype that proceeded it.


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SwannSmart ADS-450 network camera

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IMG_3605 copyThe last time I looked at a Swann product it was the well made Outback cam – something that has become a device of great interest to me since my involvement in providing them for use in the Big Cat Study in the UK.  The SwannSmart I.P. camera is something slightly different, but more useful as a home security and monitoring device.  You might use it (like I did), to monitor pets or people when you’re away from home, or simply to provide an alternative to a fully blown CCTV system – but is it any good? Let’s take a look.


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2013 In-Ear Headphone Group Test

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boxesIf you’ve read my other articles, you are no doubt aware that I enjoy music, usually through earphones. Recently we gathered earphones from a range of brands at various prices and now have a total of no less than 10 to get through. I shall list what I feel are the important bits and leave a lot of the tech-specs out. I’ll refer to things like the ‘sound stage’ and ‘depth’ of the sound, but don’t fret, I’ll explain what I am talking about as I go. If you’re looking for a set of in-ear phones for the gym, or IEMs to best appreciate your music then look no further.


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The Astell & Kern AK100

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IMG_3538 copyWhat are attentive ears without the accompaniment of beautiful music? I enjoy a rich variety of music and crave a high quality experience when listening. A good pair of earphones or speakers set you on the right track, and HD music compliments them well, but what are you going to store and play these tunes through? Many portable devices don’t have enough grunt to output loud enough and others can’t handle higher bit rates. You can of course get your hands on a nice player, a portable amp and a portable DAC which plays nicely with your chosen kit. This however may be a touch cumbersome and unfriendly on your pocket. So what is the remedy to this issue? Yep, you guessed it folks. The AK100 could be the one stop shop for your perfect pocket jukebox. Let’s get hands on and find out if it is!

Posted in: Gadgets, Reviews

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The HTC 8S

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IMG_3506 copyIn my review of the 8X I found it to be a real success of a Windows powered device in many regards – as long as you aren’t put off by the lacking selection of apps.  The phone to the left is not this, but its smaller brother the 8S, which is very similar in many regards but lacks the HD screen and is a less powerful device.  After being absolutely spoiled by devices bristling with features and juicy specs, the middle-range 8S would be an alternative to something like the similarly sized Nokia Lumia 720 or iPhone 4 but can be had for less than a couple of hundred pounds if you shop around. Let’s see how it does.


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