Author Archive: Emma Samuel

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By May 9, 2010 Read More →

Nokia N86 Review

n86 Nokia’s handsets have always been popular and as Matt mentioned, this isn’t exactly new, it’s one of those handsets that kinda passed us by originally but is definitely one worth reviewing as the N86 seems to have remained as a quite a popular handset.

Apologies for the length of time it’s taken me to get this review out to you all!

 

Read on for my take on the Nokia N86 and how it still holds up today.

Posted in: Reviews
By March 15, 2010 Read More →

Nokia N97 Mini Review

Nokia-N97-mini James reviewed the original N97 back in July last year (you can view the review here). It seemed in general to be quite a nice phone, Nokia’s best so far. I read a few other reviews of the N97 and I was surprised to see that the opinions were very mixed.

It has been pretty difficult to get our hands on this little(ish) handset. Over the past few months there have been many rumours about its withdrawal from sale by some carriers (Orange?) which has, perhaps, only fuelled many peoples desire to own one.

So at last I’ve been given the Nokia N97 Mini to review. It will be interesting to see if this scaled down version has any improvements over its bigger brother and if any of the early reports of stability and performance issues have been ironed out.

Let’s find out…

 

Posted in: Reviews
By March 2, 2010 Read More →

Warning – Sony PlayStation 3 Bug

sony_playstation_3 I know we don’t normally discuss game consoles by I thought that this may be important for some of you.

Sony PlayStation have issued a detailed statement warning PlayStation 3 users not to turn on their consoles. This is due to a bug and is affecting people using the older versions of the PlayStation 3, called the "Fat" model. It seems the PS3 ‘Slims’ are fine.

 

Posted in: News
By February 22, 2010 Read More →

LG BL20 Review

BL20-angled-open The LG BL20 is the "New Chocolate". It has a very similar look to the BL40 (which was reviewed by us last year). It has a glossy black finish to it and has the stylish red metallic trim – but this time it’s a slider-style handset. It’s a lower end model too in the sense that it’s a bit more basic compared to its fancy touch screen predecessor.

 

What’s in the box?

  • BL20 handset
  • Battery (900mAh)
  • Mains charger (microUSB connection to the phone)
  • USB cable (again, a microUSB connection)
  • Stereo earphones/handsfree (connects via microUSB)
  • Userguide and mini CD
  • Phone recycling bag from O2

 

Overall the BL40 was a hit with us so please read on to see how this LG BL20 shapes up…

 

Posted in: Reviews
By February 11, 2010 Read More →

Warner Music To Pull Out Of Free Music Streaming

music_2 Do you use Spotify, We7 or Last FM? Well you may see a drop in the number of available tunes to listen to as Warner Music Group have said they will stop licensing its songs to free music streaming services.

Warner Music Group are one of the 4 major music labels and its artists include the likes of Staind, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Hard Fi, Michael Buble, The Enemy, REM, and Wilco – to name just a few.

 

Posted in: News
By February 9, 2010 Read More →

The New S5200 3D Ready Video-projector From Acer

Remember the 3D glasses you used to get free with your cereal? Well, three dimensional viewing has come a long way since then! In fact, you’ve probably been hearing more and more about it these days on TV. We’ve even been mentioning it here on tracyandmatt.co.uk with items such as Rugby in 3D, or even the Minoru 3D webcam.

 

old3d

 

Acer has just announced their new S5200 3D Ready Video-projector. It’s been marketed for the education side of the market stating that,

The new DLP 3D Ready Acer S5200 video-projector display spectacular 3D videos and images for stunning 3D lessons that will bewitch the students.

How cool would that be! I may have learned something at school if I was made to watch 3D videos!

Acer_logo

Anyway, here is more from Acer:

The three-dimensional experience is made possible by DLP 3D Ready technology that, using high (120 Hz) refresh rates, can transform the flat surface of the room wall into a 3D screen thanks to a combination of a PC with a compatible graphic card and special 3D glasses. The possibilities unlocked by this simple solution are limited only by our imagination: exploring the incredible human anatomy or the universe in 3D detail; touring famous archaeological sites just like being there…

How does it work? To interpret a 2D image as 3D, the human brain must be tricked: each eye must see a slightly different image that the visual cortex interprets as one. DLP technology is so fast it can actually produce two images on the screen at the same time. Then 3D glasses combine the two images to create a spectacular 3D effect.

With Ultra-Short Throw capability, this projector can display clear images even if it is placed very close to the screen. At a distance of just 1 meter sharp and accurate images can be displayed with a diagonal of up to 205 cm (81″). Thanks to this feature presenters can avoid projector beams in the eyes and don’t cast shadows on the screen during their presentations. As a result the S5200 offers greater flexibility and maximum viewing comfort, making it ideal for education and professional projection scenarios.

The Acer S5200 is totally compliant with the Crestron Network System, a solution offering complete control of the projector via LAN, including monitoring, remote power on/off (may be scheduled), remote projection management, including source selection and multiple-projector control.

The quality of images is warranted by top-class technologies designed to enhance colour accuracy and sharpness. The S5200 reproduces images with more natural and balanced shades, achieving truly lifelike tones, thanks to Acer ColorBoost II+ featuring an optimised 6-segment colour wheel design, a powerful image processor and an advanced lamp waveform to improve colour performance. Colour brightness is enhanced and automatically adapted to the displayed content with the aid of Acer eView Management.

Over time, projectors can be affected by colour decay that adds a yellowish or greenish shade to the images on screen. Now Acer’s projectors take advantage of ColorSafe and DLP® technology to ensure picture integrity even with prolonged use, making them virtually immune to colour decay.

An HDMIT port provides seamless connection to the latest digital sources ensuring exceptional high-definition viewing. The advanced lamp technology with illumination of up to 3000 ANSI lumens a 2500:1 contrast ratio and native XGA resolution help bringing a new level of brightness, colour and clarity to the images.

Beguiling visuals are complemented by superior installation versatility. Thanks to the innovative Blackboard mode, that allows clear projection even on coloured surfaces, the S5200 does not need to set up a screen. The 40° Vertical Keystone Correction fixes vertical distortions so that the audience can always see a perfectly rectangular image no matter where the projector is placed and lastly, users can easily change the lamp module even when the projector is ceiling-mounted thanks to the Acer Top-loading Lamp design.

Up to 4000 hours of lamp life save lamp replacement costs ensuring long-term dependable projector use. The extended lifespan and consistent image quality lower the total cost of ownership and translate to big savings. Further savings are ensured by the innovative DLP chip, enabling a filter-free design for lower maintenance and operating costs
What’s more, the S5200 comes with Acer EcoProjection, an environment friendly management solution that reduces standby power consumption by up to 80%. The projector automatically enters ECO mode if there isn’t any input signal for 5 minutes, with up to 20% additional power savings and automatically performs a safety shutdown if it does not receive input for a certain time. Also included in the Acer EcoProjection suite is Acer ePower Management, a tool that lets you create customised power-saving configurations.

To improve ease-of-use, Acer projectors are equipped with Empowering Technology, a suite of tools designed to simplify access to simple setup, viewing and timer utilities, making you more productive and helping get the right message across first time.

Acer S5200 video-projector comes with 5 years warranty on the DLP chip and 1 year warranty on the lamp without hour limit.

 

Posted by: Emma

Posted in: News
By February 9, 2010 Read More →

Open Source Symbian Phone Operating System

The Symbian OS used on many mobile phones from manufacturers such as Nokia (N97, 5800 XpressMusic, N86 8MP), Sony Ericsson (Satio, G900, W960), and Samsung (i8910 HD, i8510) to name just a few.

The group behind this OS has been giving away "billions of dollars" worth of code for free.

symbian-os-n95

Here’s what the BBC News said on the matter:

The Symbian Foundation’s announced that it would make its code open source in 2008 and has now completed the move.

It means that any organisation or individual can now use and modify the platform’s underlying source code "for any purpose".

Symbian has shipped in more than 330m mobile phones, the foundation says.

It believes the move will attract new developers to work on the system and help speed up the pace of improvements.

"This is the largest open source migration effort ever," Lee Williams of the Symbian Foundation told BBC News.

"It will increase rate of evolution and increase the rate of innovation of the platform."

Ian Fogg, principal analyst at Forrester research, said the move was about Symbian "transitioning from one business model to another" as well as trying to gain "momentum and mindshare" for software that had been overshadowed by the release of Apple’s iPhone and Google Android operating system.

Evolutionary barrier

Finnish mobile phone giant Nokia bought the software in 2008 and helped establish the non-profit Symbian Foundation to oversee its development and transition to open source.

The foundation includes Nokia, AT&T, LG, Motorola, NTT Docomo, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, STMicroelectronics, Texas Instruments and Vodafone.

The group has now released what it calls the Symbian platform as open source code. This platform unites different elements of the Symbian operating system as well as components – in particular, user interfaces – developed by individual members.

Until now, Symbian’s source code was only open to members of the organisation.

It can be downloaded from the foundation’s website from 1400 GMT.

Mr Williams said that one of the motivations for the move was to speed up the rate at which the 10-year-old platform evolved.

‘Mind share’

Symbian development is currently dominated by Nokia, but the foundation hoped to reduce the firm’s input to "no more than 50%" by the middle of 2011, said Mr Williams.

"We will see a dramatic shift in terms of who is contributing to the platform."

However, said Mr Williams, the foundation would monitor phones using the platform to ensure that they met with minimum standards.

Despite being the world’s most popular smart phone operating system, Symbian has been losing the publicity battle, with Google’s Android operating system and Apple’s iPhone dominating recent headlines.

"Symbian desperately needs to regain mindshare at the moment," said Mr Fogg.

"It’s useful for them to say Symbian is now open – Google has done very well out of that."

He also said that the software "may not be as open and free as an outsider might think".

"Almost all of the open source operating systems on mobile phones – Nokia’s Maemo, Google’s Android – typically have proprietary software in them."

For example, Android incorporates Google’s e-mail system Gmail.

But Mr Williams denied the move to open source was a marketing move.

"The ideas we are executing ideas came 12-18 months before Android and before the launch of the original iPhone," Mr Williams told BBC News.

 

I guess we’ll just have to watch this space!

 

Posted by: Emma

Posted in: News
By February 8, 2010 Read More →

Sony VAIO E Series with “no-boot” Quick Web Access

On the 2nd of February, Sony announced their new VAIO E Series which will be available from the end of the month. It’s being marketed as compact and easy to use, with ‘no-boot’ Quick Web Access.

EB_S01_BJ_Back The Sony VAIO E Series

 

It sports a high-contrast 39.4cm (15.5″) VAIO display and full keyboard including full size numeric keypad. It’s extra compact yet manages to fit many connections such as HDMI out and up to 4xUSB, including eSATA/USB port for high speed transfers. Above the keyboard Sony have placed ASSIST and VAIO buttons as well.

EB_C04_MW_Tenkey The Sony VAIO E Series keyboard

 

 

Sony VAIO E Series Specifications:

Model

VAIO VPCEB1S1E

Processor Intel® CoreT  i5-430M 2.26GHz with Intel® Turbo Boost Technology (max. 2.53 GHz)
OS Genuine Windows® 7 Home Premium (64-bit)
Memory 4GB DDR3 SDRAM (1066 MHz)
HDD 500GB (5400 rpm)
Screen 39.4cm (15.5″) 16:9 VAIO Display (1366×768)
Graphics ATI Mobility RadeonT HD 5650 with 1GB VRAM
Optical drive DVD+-RW/+-R DL/RAM
Weight & size

2.7kg (with supplied battery);

248.2 x 31.1 x 369.8 mm (D x H x W)

Others WLAN 802.11b/g/n; Bluetooth 2.1+EDR; MOTION EYE® camera; stereo audio with Dolby Home Theater v3; HDMI out; 3xUSB + eSATA/USB; WEB/ASSIST/VAIO buttons; matt white/matte black colour finish options

 

Here’s what Sony had to say about the VAIO Eseries:

Power, looks and multimedia performance – they’re in perfect harmony with the easy-to-use new VAIO E Series of multimedia notebook computers from Sony.

Compact and easy to carry, stylish new VAIO E Series boast many features that you’d expect to find on bigger, bulkier notebooks. Beautifully designed to look great in your home or on the move, VAIO E Series makes mainstream computing brilliantly affordable. Delivering all the processing power, graphics muscle and easy-to-use productivity features you need, it’s a great value way to enhance your digital life.

Brand-new VAIO E Series is packed with luxurious design touches that add to its premium feel. The high-contrast VAIO Display is bordered by an extra-narrow bezel, boosting available screen size while adding to the new PC’s desirable looks.

Despite its compact chassis size, the new E Series features a responsive, full size keyboard with isolated keys for comfortable, positive typing. For the first time in a VAIO notebook computer with such space-saving dimensions, the keyboard is enhanced further by a full-sized numeric keypad. Ergonomically laid out with evenly-pitched columns, it’s a pleasure to use – whether you’re gaming or entering long lists of data at speed.

Inside every VAIO E Series you’ll find the all-new 2010 Intel® CoreT processor family, partnered with up to 4GB of high-speed DDR3 memory to make light of everyday computing tasks. And with up to 500GB of hard disc capacity on board, there’s plenty of space to store your personal media collection. Complemented by up to 1GB of video RAM, all-new ATI Mobility RadeonT 5000 series graphics handle image editing, HD movie playback and media-rich web sites with ease.

Whether you’re editing photos or just browsing the web, you’ll enjoy a high-contrast, detail-packed picture on the generously-sized 39.4cm (15.5″) VAIO Display. Selected models feature VAIO Display Plus with 1920×1080 resolution for a breathtaking view of Full HD video clips or images from your DSLR camera.

A thrilling home cinema experience is enhanced further by latest Dolby® Home Theater v3 for a powerful, immersive soundtrack with music, games and movies.

 

EB_G01_Group01_EUThe Sony VAIO E Series

 

Despite its compact footprint, there’s no shortage of connectivity options. An HDMI output adds an extra dimension to enjoying your HD media collection on a connected BRAVIAT TV. Three side-mounted USB ports are joined by a fourth high-speed eSATA/USB port. Hook up an external SATA hard disk drive to enjoy super-fast file transfers up to 6x faster than via USB2.0. It’s a far more efficient way to back up your media files or edit video on an external drive. Alternatively, use the additional port as fourth USB connection if you don’t need eSATA just yet.

Despite its powerful features, new VAIO E Series delivers a computing experience that’s even more convenient and reassuring. Just press the WEB button and you’ll be surfing within seconds, without even needing to boot up your PC. Saving time and battery power, it’s perfect for casual surfing or checking e-mails while you’re on the move. New Quick Web Access now goes even further with multiple tabbed browsing and a new ‘split window’: click a button to browse two web pages side-by-side on the wide 16:9 display.

Quick Web Access is enhanced further still with the integration of Evernote for VAIO. This easy-to-use ‘web clipping’ tool keeps track of anything that interests you while you’re browsing. Click on text, pictures or whole documents as you surf: Evernote automatically tags, sorts and saves them remotely. Then view your personal collection of indexed ‘clippings’ from any PC or even your mobile: it’s a great way to keep track of all the stuff you find on the web.

A dedicated ASSIST button gives one-touch access to VAIO Care, helping maintain, diagnose and troubleshoot your VAIO with just a few clicks. Even when Windows won’t boot properly, just press the ASSIST button and VAIO guides you through diagnostics and fuss-free resolution of problems.

Unique to VAIO, there’s also a choice of applications by Sony to help you enjoy your personal media collection. Launched with a touch of the front panel-mounted VAIO button, Media Gallery makes it beautifully easy to explore your music, photo and video collection. It even offers helpful choices based on your personal browsing history and preferences. New PMB (Picture Motion Browser) VAIO Edition lets you manage, edit and share video clips and photos. Every new VAIO E Series comes shipped with Genuine Windows® 7 Home Premium Edition for an intuitive, streamlined computing experience.

 

Posted by: Emma

Posted in: News
By February 7, 2010 Read More →

Emma’s doing the Race For Life for Cancer Research!

Hi everyone! I’m just going to take a small detour away from reviews for a moment to ask you all for you help!

I took part in Cancer Research’s Race For Life through in Edinburgh last year after finding out that my Auntie was diagnosed with lung cancer. The brilliant news is that she pretty much has been given the all clear! But by taking part in this event made me realise how important it is to continue supporting Cancer Research

The Race for Life was great fun to take part in and an absolutely inspiring event that I was proud to be a part of. So my friends (who took part in this with me last year) and I are going to do it again this year in Glasgow on the 6th June.

 

So, please dig deep and help us raise as much as we can by clicking on the link below and sponsoring what you can!

 

 

Thanks everyone

Emma x

Posted in: Editorial
By February 3, 2010 Read More →

Nokia X6 Review

Nokia released the X6 in November last year. It comes equipped with quick access to social networking apps and unlimited downloads from the Nokia music store. To top this off, this X6 comes with a generous 32GB of storage built into the handset.

It looks quite similar to the 5800, but I hope that Nokia have made a few improvements.

X6-angled-right The Nokia X6

 

 

What’s in the box?

  • Nokia X6
  • Nokia Battery (BL-5J) 1320mAh
  • Mains Charger (AC-8)
  • Nokia USB Cable (CA-101)
  • Nokia Stereo Headset/handsfree (WH-701)
  • Spare earphone pieces (various sizes)
  • User Guide
  • Mini DVD
  • 12 month ‘Comes With Music. licence

For more information you can check out Matt’s Nokia X6 Unboxing Video

 

Nokia X6 Specification:

  • Symbian OS v9.4, series 60
  • Arm 11 434MHz CPU
  • 128MB RAM
  • 32GB storage
  • 3.2" capacitive touch screen, 360×640 pixels
  • GSM Quad-Band
  • 3G/HSDPA Tri-Band
  • FM radio with RDS
  • Built in A-GPS and Nokia Maps
  • WiFi 802.11b/g
  • Bluetooth 2.0 with A2DP
  • 5MP autofocus camera with dual LED flash/video light
  • 3.5mm headphone/av connector
  • Dimensions: 111 x 51 x 13.8mm
  • Weight: 122 grams
  • Stand-by: Up to 401 h (2G) / 420 h (3G)
  • Talk time: Up to 8 h 30 min (2G) / 6 h (3G)
  • Music play: Up to 35 h

 

Posted in: Reviews