Jabra Halo Review

I bought these due to our open plan offices at work and the fact that my computer makes some noise contantly with twitter and emails etc coming in. While no one complained I felt it was best to mute the sound to the world except me! I can’t stand in ear headphones so looked for a decent set of over the ears that were a bit different. Wireless is always good for me so I happened upon the Jabra Halos. I found them much much cheaper than the £60 they want for them in the UK by importing them form the states via eBay for £19! They really are very well made and simply look stunning. Folded up they are compact and tucked nicely out of the way.

After charging them up my problems started, after a while it dawned on me that my laptop (although its a brand new near top of the line Sony) does not have an AD2P profile and so the only sound I could get thrrough them was horrible tinny hiss. I checked this by pairing them with my HTC Desire phone and they played amazingly well, the phone call quality and microphone were also excellent.

Anyway they’re going to have to go back on eBay as while they are great I dont really use my phone for a lot of music!

 

Cut the wires and make your favorite music sound even better with the Jabra HALO wireless headset. It connects easily to your mobile phone through stereo Bluetooth and enables you to stream music wirelessly. You can even make and take calls wirelessly.
Use the corded option if your player of choice doesn’t support Bluetooth Stereo/A2DP. With Jabra HALO you can leave your phone in the pocket or in the bag and control your music directly from the headset. The design is as strikingly clear as your voice will be with the Noise Blackout™ which eliminates unwanted background noise to make your voice stand out during calls.

The Jabra HALO makes it easy to join the wireless revolution and enables you to turn your mobile phone into your primary mobile multimedia center – with less wire and more music.

  • Enjoy wireless music and answer phone calls in crystal clear stereo sound
  • Corded option for MP3 players etc
  • Extra audio enhancement with Zirene® Power bass
  • Remote control your music via touch sensors
  • Convenient carrying style – Folded in a soft protective pouch
  • Noise Blackout™ technology with dual microphones – For clear communication
  • Multiuse™ – connect to 2 devices at the same time

 

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Logitech Cordless Desktop MX 5500 Revolution Review

My trusty Logitech Wave keyboard started to give up the ghost not so ong ago so before I was left sending emails with a host of typing errors due to missing keys I decided it was time to buy a new one. Havving a DiNovo Edge and being totally used to Logitech I decided not to look at anything else and the current package that seemed to offer the best mouse and keyboard combo was the MX 5500 Revolution.

I picked it up from eBuyer for around £109 which was the best price by £20 at the time. Installation of Setpoint was already done but required a simple upgrade as the new mouse and keyboard are Bluetooth not 2.4ghx. After a couple of weeks I’m totally chuffed with this combo:

Keyboard:

  • Silent keys
  • Great display
  • Calculator useful
  • Layout excellent
  • Multiple options for customising its keys

Mouse:

  • totally totally precise, amazingly so
  • clutch scroll wheel amaxing
  • Many buttons to customise
  • great feeling and support for the hand.

 

Negatives:

  • Keyboard has orange highlights that you’d assume light up like the DiNovo Edge except they dont!
  • Wrist support could be wider like the Wave
  • Flaky bluetooth with Sony laptop internal bluetooth card, seems fine using logitech dongle
  • mouse takes some getting used to
  • couldn’t use the mouse if you were left handed!

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XBox 360 Wireless Headset

So I picked one of these up last week when Amazon put it on the bargain sale price of  £18 delivered, these prices shoot up and down and two days later it was back up to £24, the price it normally sells for.

It dint have too many great reviews to be honest but I’d already had enough of the cheap wired version my XBox slim came with so it was worth a shot for the price. Unfortunately the first one I received broke within two minutes, the ear loop connector was faulty and kept popping off. Amazon replaced it promptly and the second one was fine. Sound quality is surprisingly good although there is still a feeling of a badly fitted ear loop, its not overly comfortable for long periods.

Apart from the funny ear loops the other thing I’m not impressed with is the charger, its an OEM connector when it could so easily have been a ubiquitous mini or micro USB which means there’s another cable hanging around the house now.

 

Experience enhanced voice chat with the Xbox 360 Wireless Headset. Designed specifically to work seamlessly on your Xbox 360, this hands-free, wire-free headset employs the same technology as the award-winning Xbox 360 Wireless Controller. Pair up both accessories for superior performance, freedom, and comfort. Use up to four Wireless Controllers and Wireless Headsetssimultaneously on one Xbox 360 for the most intense multiplayer gaming sessions ever.

  • Experience enhanced clarity and performance without wires to tie you down
  • Embrace the stylish, ergonomic design that fits comfortably on either ear, with two sizes of removable ear grips for a perfectly snug fit
  • The headset utilises the same 2.4GHz radio technology employed by the award-winning Xbox 360 Wireless Controller for clear communications within a range of up to 30 feet
  • Take command of the situation and communicate with superior audio quality over Xbox LIVE
  • Up to eight hours of battery life per charge, with an AC wall adapter for quick, convenient recharging
  • Outfit your teammates (or rivals) with up to four Wireless Controllers and Wireless Headsets simultaneously per Xbox 360 console
  • Supports Voice Command for select games
  • Conveniently located Power On/Off, Volume, and Mute Controls are right where you need them

 

On the whole I’d definitely recommend it at the £18 price point. The trouble I have is I play COD at night when the rest of the family have gone to bed, with this in one ear and TV turned down it was making it hard to hear anything so after a week of using it I bought some Turtle Beach X41’s instead, still its a handy backup!

Kensington Universal Dock Review (sd400v)

After getting a new laptop at work I had to say goodbye to my trusty Belkin port replicator as the drivers are not available for Windows7. Surpringly when the whole world uses laptops now theres not a lot of choice when it comes to a universal docking station. the obvious choice seemed to be the Kensington Universal Docking Station with Video and Ethernet sd400v. The trouble was every review of I read said it was pretty terrible!

Anyway, I decided to take a punt on for £100 from Dabs with my excellent Sony Vaio laptop, Kensington say:

Turn your notebook into a desktop in one simple step with the Kensington Universal Docking Station with Video and Ethernet sd400v. Simply plug a single USB cable into your notebook and you are instantly comfortable and connected to internet via a wired connection. Share this setup with any user. Auto-install design makes the initial installation a true plug-n-play experience. No CD software required.

  • Universal compatibility with all brands of laptops via USB: Acer®, Asus®, Compaq®, Dell®, Gateway®, HP®, IBM®, Lenovo®, Sony®, Toshiba® and more
  • Auto-Install design makes the initial installation a true “plug-n-play” experience. No CD software required*. Perfect for office space shared with multiple users. * Auto install supported by all PC running Windows® XP and Windows Vista®
  • All the port connectivity you need including 10/100 ethernet to maintain internet connection and avoid wireless hang-ups. “Always-on” USB ports charges your mobile devices even when your laptop is shut down
  • Hot pluggable, so you can connect to the dock and swap devices without shutting down
  • HD screen capable so you can connect to a very large external monitor and drastically increase your visual workspace. Front Dualview button makes dual screen setup easy
  • Mini Tower design reduces desktop footprint, Kensington security slot allows you to secure your dock and its connected peripherals (via security cable and cablesaver)
  • Front Audio ports and back speaker port lets you connect both 2.1 stereo speakers and internet chat headset. Docking station will not provide power to your laptop, but provide connectivity to peripherals and network via a single USB cable.
  • Docking station will not provide power to your laptop, but provide connectivity to peripherals via a single USB cable.

Specifications

  • Operating Systems Compatibility: PC including Windows® 7 (32-bit and 64-bit editions), Windows® Vista® sp1 (32-bit and 64-bit editions), Windows® XP (sp2, sp3, including Tablet PC editions). Auto install supported for all PC running Windows® 7, Windows® Vista®, and Windows® XP. NOT compatible with Mac computers (please purchase K33930 for Mac computers)
  • Feature difference from K33930: auto-install (no CD required for initial installation) network port will not work with MAC computers
  • Peripheral connectivity: Audio: Front Audio ports (Audio in/out), Back Speaker port (Audio out) USB ports: 5 USB 2.0 & “always-on” Network: 10/100 ethernet External monitor: DVI or VGA (with included DVI to VGA adapter). Optionally HDMI by purchasing a DVI to HDMI adapter (not included). Works with widescreen and standard computer monitor, projector, HDTV up to a 2048 X 1152 pixel resolution or 1080p
  • Security cable slot on side panel: add a Kensington security cable (sold separately) and combine it with a cable saver to secure both the docking station and its connected peripherals Front LED indicator: Green indicates docking station is working and connected to computer
  • Package content: USB docking station sd400v, USB cable, 2.5Amp wall power adapter, DVI to VGA adapter, quick start guide

 

I’m relived to say they are totally right, it works like a charm, the only exception being the Ethernet which will only connect if plugged directly into the laptop. I’m 99% sure though this is something to do with a new passive security system just installed at work as the Belkin had also stopped working when that was introduced.

It looks great on the desk and isn’t very large and gives a good number of additional USB plugs for things that are permanently connected.

 

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Clingo Universal Podium Phone And Media Desk Stand

So after looking for something to hold my phone on my desk at work I settled on the newly released Clingo Phone and Media Stand. I chose this because I wanted something pretty substantial and didnt want to have to fix anything additional to my phone, thereby making it not fit in my Brodit holders in the cars. Not a lot to say about it really other than its a great bit of kit if you use your phone without a case or skin. While the green grippy bit really is very sticky it will only stick to a smooth surface so any skins, etc will not grip to it.

The only downside is that is looses this stickiness after a week or so but its easily returned with a wash under a warm tap and being left to dry naturally. For the £16 I got it for off eBay its a pretty good deal, especially as its not phone specific.

 

The Clingo Universal Podium uses Clingo’s own unique self adhesive technology to securely hold your phone or media device in place on your desk.
Why Buy:
Rotates 360 degrees to view your phone at any angle
Uses Clingo’s own self adhesive technology making it completely universal
Weighted steel base offers unrivalled stability
Easy to use – Just press on and peel off
Doesn’t lose stickiness so you can use it again and again
It’s so strong you can use your phone on it
View It At Any Angle
The Clingo universal podium comes with a stylish ball and socket system so you can rotate the holder to view your phone in virtually any position which you feel comfortable. Making it perfect whether you’re watching a video, playing games, browing the internet or taking a phone call. Using Clingo’s own self adhesive technology the phone is held firmly in place by an adhesive pad so you don’t have to worry about clipping your phone into position. Making it completely universal and simple and easy to use. Simply press your device onto the pad and when you’re finished peel it off. The beauty of it as well is that it wont leave any sticky residue on the back off your phone.

Use It Again And Again
As dust slowly builds up over time the adhesive properties reduce. Simply clean the Clingo pad under water and leave it to dry. Once it has finished drying the magical holding properties will return and your Clingo will be as good as new.

Features:
Designed with a non-slip material
Holds your mobile phone or accessories firmly
Ball and socket joint to rotate 360 degrees
Simple and stylish design won’t look out of place anywhere
Universal design to work with all phones and media accessories
Solid steel frame
Allows access to all the ports and features
Non-slip base
Leaves no residue on your phone

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Livescribe Echo 8GB Review

Well this has to go down as one of my strangest purchases and six months on I still dont know if it was a good one or not! In my job I take copious amounts of notes, and sometimes record meetings as well for future reference. In case you didnt know this pen combines these two functions and perfectly ties them together, for instance you can go back to your notes from however long ago (memory permitting on the pen – not so much on the desktop app) tap on the notes and the audio from that exact time will play through the pens speaker.

The desktop app syns this data from your pen, so in my case I was going paperless alongside the ScanSnap scanner and this seemed the perfect way to be able to throw away all my note books from that point forward. It does do its job very well and it amazes everyone that sees it, I’ve had to explan what it is about 100 times!

Here are my brief pros and cons

Pros:

  • Battery amazing
  • Syncs Perfectly
  • Conversation Starter
  • Always got Dictaphone with you

Cons:

  • Cartridges can get  stuck in the pen pretty easily
  • Although it seems a massive improvement on the Pulse its still quite big and awkward to write with
  • The downloadable apps from Livescribe are an utter waste of money, the ones that aren’t are very expensive
  • I hate writing with a biro and just wish there was a fountain pen option (sure this is a technical limitation of the ink!)
  • Have to use the ‘special’ paper- again another technical limitation which can’t be avoided

 

Overall would I buy it again? Probably not but for now while I still have loads of paper and ink for it I’ll carry on using it.

 

What Livescribe say:

Product Design Sleek ergonomic design with soft rubber grip
Processor ARM 9
Screen 96×18 OLED Display
Camera High speed infrared camera (over 70 images/sec)
Storage 4GB NAND (over 400 hours recording time)*8GB NAND (over 800 hours recording time)* * Actual available memory will be less. Recording time varies by audio quality setting.
Battery Rechargeable lithium (non-removable)
Audio–Record Smartpen embedded microphone – mono recording**
Audio–Playback Embedded speakerStandard 3.5mm audio jack for use with your favorite earbuds or the Echo 3-D Premium Recording Headset** ** 3-D Premium Recording Headset is required for binaural or stereo recording, and is sold separately.
PC Connectivity Micro USB cable for charging and data transfer
Size & Weight Length: 158 mm (6.22 in.)Width: 19.7 mm (0.78 in.) at top, 11.5 mm (0.45 in.) at tipWeight: 36 grams (1.3 oz.) without cap

 

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I Want !! ~ Microsoft announces multi-touch Touch Mouse

Got to say this looks like its going to be my next purchase for my clean desk at work, looks amazing. Shame its not Bluetooth which means I’ll have to add another transceiver to go alongside the Logitech one that currently does my mouse and keyboard. Unless anyone knows of a nice Microsoft keyboard that would pair this and a MS keyboard to the same transceiver?

Microsoft announces multi-touch Touch Mouse

By TechRadar News January 6, 2011

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Microsoft has debuted a multi-touch mouse, allowing people to use gestures to interact with their PC. With the inevitable Apple Magic Mouse comparisons hovering uncomfortably in the air, the Touch Mouse has a UK release date of June 2011 and a projected price of £69.99.The Touch Mouse comes from Microsoft’s Mouse 2.0 project and enables users to click, flick, and swipe with their fingers on the surface of the device.Interact naturally“The new Touch Mouse is a great way for customers to interact naturally with their Windows 7-based PC,” said Mark Relph, senior director of the Windows Developer and Ecosystem Team at Microsoft.“We worked closely with the Microsoft Hardware team to help develop the multi-touch gestures that make Windows 7 easier, simpler and more fun to use. After just a few minutes with this mouse you’ll see why.”The wireless mouse also uses Microsoft’s impressive Bluetrack technology and comes with a Nano transceiver.

Fring Review

Ever since Skype announced they were dropping support for Windows Mobile I’ve been looking for an alternative. I don’t use Skype heavily on the mobile, just occassional use but it bugged me they were dropping it as a paid up user. In fairness the client was a massive install, it used a tonne of resources and didn’t do anything especiallly well. Their press release says:
“Unfortunately, Skype Lite – a version of Skype for your mobile phone – and Skype for Windows phones are no longer available for download from our site. We’ve chosen to withdraw Skype Lite and Skype for Windows phones because we want to offer our new customers an improved mobile experience – much like the version that has proved so popular on the iPhone, and which is now available on Symbian phones. Our focus is on providing a rich user experience that allows you to enjoy free Skype-to-Skype and low cost calls as easily on the move as you do at your desktop. We felt that Skype Lite and Skype for Windows phones were not offering the best possible Skype experience.”
In the past I had tried Fring. At the time that was also pretty useless, locking up most of the phones I’ve had, but I decided to give it another go. The new version had been through a number of versions since I had used it last but I was pleasantly surprised when I found it still retained my username, so no new account setups required.
For those that don’t know about fring its a multi platform (Symbian S60, iPhone/iPod touch, Android, Windows Mobile, J2ME & Linux devices and operates on any available mobile internet connection (3G, Wi-Fi, GPRS, EDGE &WiMax). (Android released just in time for my pre ordered HTC Desire!!)) VOIP client. It currently supports Skype®, Facebook, MSN® Messenger, ICQ®, Google Talk™, Twitter, AIM® & Yahoo!™. It also has a number of add in’s such as LastFM, WeFi SIP, ICQ, etc, that can be activated to get those feeds and contacts imported as well.
Its feature list includes:
  • fring friends list
  • free calls via VOIP
  • fringAdd-on applications
  • live chat instead of SMS
  • SkypeOut or SIP calls
  • friends’ profiles
  • call history
  • invite friends
  • video calls
  • send & receive files
  • WIFI auto-roaming
  • fring tones
and testing these out they all work very well over both 3G and WiFi. Have a go and try the test call out, you’ll be amazed at the quality, and at the worst it can only reduce your mobile bill if you are using Skype out or making VOIP calls to Skype or MSN!

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