Reviews

By February 15, 2017 Read More →

Gear4 Buckingham case for iPad review

I have been rather impressed with Gear4 products. I have been lucky enough to check out a few of their iPhone cases and have always found that they manage a nice balance between being very rugged, but not massively overbuilt. So when I got the opportunity to get my hands on the new Gear4 Buckingham iPad case for my Air 2, expectations were high.

The Buckingham features the same DSO “smart material” that Gear4 uses in their phone cases and purports to meet military standards at keeping your tech safe from being dropped. This wallet style case is almost identical to the Oxford model that my phone is currently encased within and I have been very happy with that.

As soon as I received the package from Tech Addicts HQ, I noticed something was up. It felt much heavier than I was expecting. It’s not uncommon for us to receive several products for review at the same time and, although I wasn’t expecting anything else,  I thought this was maybe the case. Nope. Just the Buckingham. Now, Gear4 do package their products very robustly, so maybe it’s the packaging. After opening it, it still felt rather heavy so out came the scales. The case weighed in at a rather chunky 427g. That may not seem like much, but to put it into context, the iPad air 2 weighs around 440, so the case weighs almost the same as the device!

 

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In fairness, it does feel like a very sturdy case and I would certainly have faith in its ability to keep my iPad secure. The iPad sits snugly inside the holder and the wrap around cover stays closed thanks to a magnetic tab and offers the very handy sleep/wake function. It’s a great looking case, nicely styled without going over the top and does not add significant bulk to the ipad. I did like the flat black with blue accents on the front and the card/note holders inside the cover. I wasn’t sure at first about the tab, it seemed to get in the way, but after a short while, I kinda got used to it. The cover also acts as a stand for the iPad, although I found that the material on the inside cover was too soft and not grippy enough to stop the screen from slipping flat. Perhaps this is something that would improve with time as the case wears in. Another little niggle that is common to most of these style cases is the access to the buttons

Another little niggle that is common to most of these style cases is the access to the buttons along the edge of the iPad. The thick DSO material actually works against the Buckingham in this respect. The controls themselves are covered, but there are raised “virtual buttons” on the cover directly over them with the idea being that you press on the case and it, in turn, presses on the actual button. This works in theory, but in practice, I have always found that you have to press a few times and generally rather firmly before anything happens. Truth be told, I have become so frustrated with them in the past that I have taken a craft knife and removed them, leaving recessed access to the controls. Elegant? No, but it does work.

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Overall I liked the Buckingham, I liked it a lot in fact, but the burning question is did I keep it on my iPad or did I revert back to the relatively simple Targus cover that I had been using?

As much as I like the Buckingham, and as fond as I am of super protective cases, I personally did not like the extra weight it added. It is a lot more protective than most cases, including the one I am currently using, but it is also double the weight. This makes it a judgement call. If weight isn’t a factor for you, or you need that extra protection, then I say go for it, you won’t be disappointed with it. However, if your daily carry bag is already feeling a bit on the hefty side, you may want to look at other options.

Posted in: Accessories, Reviews, Tablets
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By January 8, 2017 Read More →

Benq GW2270H monitor review

p1030421What can £80 get you when shopping for a screen. When you are looking at the Benq GW2270H, it would appear, quite a bit!

Right out of the box you will notice there is a 100 x 100mm VESA mount for attaching to various fixings. This opens many possibilities, for a cheap second screen, a reading panel, security fixing or just a small office PC that needs a no frills screen setup.

The mount included does allow for a little adjustment, a little tilt back and forth, however. you cannot pivot the display into a portrait orientation or to the left or right.

The screen doesn’t have a high-end finish, everything is plastic. However, it does seem to be hard wearing and fairly tough.

Around the back are two HMDI ports and a VGA port. Unfortunately, there are no DisplayPorts or DVI posts.

The sound has also been omitted, GW2270H does not come with a speaker nor is there a headphone jack. This is entirely forgivable as I have yet to see any circumstances that require the monitor to emit sound.

There is an easy-to-use on-screen display, with quick access to brightness, switching input sources, low blue light modes. The main menus have plenty of options, however, there are no professional colour settings, it’s down to the user to tinker with colour balances and gamma, contrast, brightness controls.

The brightness on the GW2270 only manages around 244 nits, this isn’t entirely a deal breaker however it is a little concession that might both some. The 22-inch AMVA panel has a dynamic contrast ratio of 20,000,000:1. The response time is  5ms and its maximum resolution of 1920 x 1080 rounds up the more important specifications.

These are not spectacular features yet they are impressive for the price tag. Adding the VA panel makes for terrific viewing angles. There is noticeably good colour accuracy and range too. Whilst serviceable with an improved native contrast ratio we wouldn’t suggest blasting through the latest games expecting a world for realistic colours. The GW2270H performs adequately.

The BenQ GW2270H is impressive value for money. This is an office screen, over a gaming screen offering flicker free viewing over colour representation. A bargain price secures this is a highly recommend screen for sensible computing

You can pick the BenQ GW2270H up from Amazon for aroun £80.

By January 5, 2017 Read More →

Universe2go Review

slider1_neu-1180x1180Stars, Constellations, Mythological Characters, Planets and Galaxies are all waiting to be explored within the Universe2go star viewer.  This could be the perfect gift for a budding astronomy lover or for a young mind who wants to begin to learn about the stars above.

Out of the box the star viewer has a hard plastic casing and feels like a solid premium product. Available from Amazon for £85 this product promises to transport you to another world.

The top of the star viewer can be lifted and this is where you put your phone when running the app Universe2go. The star viewer is different to other VR headsets by using a design similar to the telescope the image from your screen is mirrored.

 

With a removable front of the star viewer you can see the world around you with the screen of the stars still being projected allowing you to align what you are seeing on-screen to the actual stars above.

The app itself is free to download on the play store and with a unique code in the box allowing you to access exclusive content. As you scan the skies you can see where stars and planets are situated with interesting facts being displayed. I was impressed by the depth of knowledge made available. I gave the star viewer to my kids aged 6 and 8 they thought it was cool it soon lost interest after they got to see Saturn and a few different constellations. This gift would have to be for a budding astronomer as it only has the singular use as a star viewer.

This is what makes this product unique, although the design is not entirely user-friendly. Being visually impaired and wearing glasses I found myself in a struggle with the viewer I could use it without my glasses although the writings on the screen required me to get my glasses on to read it. At 99 euros this product is perhaps overpriced bit if you are buying it for someone who has a telescope and a real hunger for the heavens above us then it is a good purchase.

Purchase from Amazon.

By January 3, 2017 Read More →

Venturer EliteWin S Notebook Review

image25Venturer has very kindly sent over a 2 in 1 Mini Windows Notebook for our appraisal. This low-cost tablet and laptop combination ticks a lot of boxes for the cost conscious whilst packing a smooth experience inside the interesting external design.

  • HDMI, USB, Bluetooth and wifi
  • 11.6” 1366 X 768 Display
  • 2GB/4GB DDR3 SDRAM
  • 32GB Internal Memory 64GB Micro SD
  • CorIntel Atom Processor @ 1.83 GHz
  • 8 Hrs Battery 
  • Smart Keyboard with Trackpad
  • Foldable

Grab one from Amazon for around £249.99.

By December 30, 2016 Read More →

Xiaomi Mi band 2 Review

img_iv2za6With the season of gluttony upon us, it will only be a matter of time before you may start thinking about getting a new pair of trainers and heading off to your local gym in a desperate attempt to look amazing for the Summer of 2017.  Should you get a personal trainer or should you use a wearable tracker to monitor your progress?

My trainers have been dusted off since September and in October I purchased the Xiaomi Mi Band 2 to monitor my progress, I was curious to see if a fitness tracker is a must have accessory or is it just a gadget that will be used and discarded within a few weeks of wear?

May it be a gift to yourself for Christmas or a stocking filler for that person who has everything, the Xiaomi Mi Band 2 is available online from amazon from £33.00. The unboxing of the Mi Band can be found below.

Xiaomi is a multi-billion dollar company which was founded in 2010. The company are among the world’s largest mobile manufacturers competing with Apple, Samsung, Lenovo and LG.

Their phones are beginning to make an appearance in the UK market with the Mi Mix, Mi Note2 recently being announced with specs to impress, Xiaomi will hopefully become a main contender in the UK market soon.  The Xiaomi Mi Band 2 was released on the 2nd June 2016 and is an updated version of the popular Mi Band and Mi Band 1s.  The Mi Band 2 differs from the previous models as it now features a 0.4inch OLED screen and a capacitive button.  The display really helps make the device more appealing than a fitness tracker with no display.  I have met people who have been using other fitness trackers and they are frustrated that they have to look elsewhere to get the time for example.

Out of the box, you have the Mi band 2 capsule, the black wrist strap, and the charging dock.

The black wrist strap is made from silicone and has hypoallergenic properties making it ‘smooth to touch and comfortable even for people with sensitive skin’

Growing up I have never been a fan of wearing a watch if it had a metal strap with links the hairs on my arm were plucked daily if the strap was leather I would eventually break out in a rash so up until now I have avoided any smart wearable device. I was worried that my skin would react to the silicone strap but surprisingly after extensive wear, I can say there have been no issues.  The Mi Band 2 is lightweight and was almost unnoticeable when wearing.

The mi band app is available on both the android play store and the apple store. It is easy to follow installation and the on-screen setup helps you link your band to your phone via Bluetooth. The Bluetooth connection does not have to be continually on as the mi band records the information gathered throughout the day then uploads it all when connected to the device.  

There are a number of customizable options with the Mi Band 2 via the app, these includes what is displayed when you push the capacitive button.

You can simply have the time, or time and date – always handy when shopping and you can not remember the date. The pedometer counter that displays a number of steps walked that day. This sometimes is not 100% accurate as a waving hand motion can add a number of steps on to your daily total.  Distance walked in meters, calories burned, heart Rate monitor – when pressed the Mi band will track your heart rate and display it with a vibration within 15 secs. Battery Display – The battery life is fantastic I have only needed to charge the device once every 29 days.

There is also the sleep monitor which tracks your sleeping pattern breaking your nights dreaming into a light and deep sleep.  With a baby in our household, this has been a great feature to prove to the other half what time I was up at during the night as it will also track periods awake.

I found that having the mi band connected to your phone via Bluetooth you will receive notifications such as incoming calls and texts which over the past few weeks is a feature I do not think I could do without now.

Via the app you can also set your pedometer goals. The NHS had introduced the 10,000 steps a day challenge stating the average person walks 3,000 to 4,000 steps a day. I set my goal at 10,000 which if reached you received a buzz notification on your mi band 2 display of a shield. I thought that I would have been able to achieve this goal daily, but I was only averaging about 7,500 steps daily.  I activated the idle alert on the Mi Band2 that would notify me to get up and move about the office if i was sitting more than an hour at my desk. This notification really worked and now that I have added extra steps to my routine I now can reach my goal daily.

“With a built-in motion sensor, Mi Band 2 knows exactly when you begin your workout. You don’t have to switch modes or tell it before you start. Measure your heart rate to adjust the length and intensity of workouts. Keep calm and work toward your fitness goals”

The only workout the Mi Band 2 can monitor is walking and running. It cannot tell you a number of calories burned weightlifting or spinning. This can be disappointing but if you connect to google fit the mi band 2 can sync steps and sleep data and then you can input your workout on your timeline.

The Mi band 2, is a fantastic value for money multi-function fitness tracker for anyone wanting to venture into the realm of wearable technology.  This is my first time trying a smart wearable and I have to say I have been more than impressed with the Mi band 2 and what it has to offer.  I have realised that I need to walk more and through tracking my sleep have made changes to my lifestyle resulting in a current weight loss of 24 lbs.  I have managed to create substantial wear and tear on the strap and have ordered two replacements. For anyone wanting to achieve their fitness goals for 2017, I would thoroughly recommend starting your quest with the added help of this fitness tracker.  

Purchase the Mi Band 2: Amazon – Gearbest

 

By December 22, 2016 Read More →

Wraps Core headphones review

img_5494The nice folks at Wraps recently sent us some if their funky headphones to check out. The range starts out around the £15 mark for the bright and colourful entry level models, right up to the model I’ve been playing with, the £50 “Core” version. This differs from its cheaper stablemates due to its braided faux leather cable and improved speakers which are made from titanium no less.

Right out of the box, they are a good-looking set of headphones. I’m not a fan of bling, so the nicely subdued colour scheme of “space grey” buds on black faux leather was right up my street. The unique selling point (gimmick) of the wraps headphones is that they are designed in such a way that they can be worn around the wrist when you aren’t using them. This is a bit fiddly at first, but after a few goes, you get the hang of it. The mechanism for securing the headphones is simple but effective, the 3.5mm jack is the peg and there is a hole for it either in the ear bud separator or in a small piece that slides freely along the length of the cable, so you can achieve a good fit. This works really well and I can definitely see people using it as an alternative to having the big over ear headphones hanging around your neck all day.

Personally I tried it out for the sake of the review, but to be honest, I preferred to store the headphones in a small pouch in my bag. I always have headphones with me, but I don’t always need them (literally) right at hand all the time. Your mileage may vary. As for sound quality, I was initially somewhat disappointed. Gimmicks aside, for £50, I expect a set of

As for sound quality, I was initially somewhat disappointed. Gimmicks aside, for £50, I expect a set of headphones to sound good. The Cores sounded a bit subdued, almost to the point of sounding muffled. I tried the various sizes of silicone buds provided in the package, but even with a good fit, the sound wasn’t great.

Now, I know that the sound can change once headphones “burn in”, but I have never experienced such a noticeable difference in any other set. After a few days, the sound transformed. The fuzzy, dampened sound cleared up and the details started to come through. Maybe it is because of the use of titanium speakers, but an extended burn-in time certainly made a massive difference. The overall sound is not what I would call outstanding, at this price point there are competitors that will give a much richer sound quality, but I would say that it is still very good and more than up to the task. You get a nice amount of detail and it has a bass that is nicely rounded but can deliver a bit of a thump when asked. Sometimes with braided cables, you get a lot of noise coming through when they rub against clothing etc, thankfully I didn’t find this was the case with the wraps.

If I was to level a criticism against the headphones, one tiny niggle is the size of the ear buds themselves. They are rather small. This is a good thing when they are stored on your wrist, but I found that when I was wearing them whilst out for a walk, I kept having to push them into my ear regularly. I have pretty small ears, so if you have Dumbo lugs, this might be an issue for you.

Overall I really like these headphones. The styling is really nice and the sound quality is totally decent. Yeah, they are maybe a bit pricey compared to others on the market, but the addition of the wearable feature is pretty handy and does set it apart. There is obviously an element of personal taste with non-conventional designs, but if these appeal to you, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

Available in Gold, Space Grey, Silver and Rose Gold from www.mywraps.com  for £49.99

Posted in: Headphones, Reviews
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By December 2, 2016 Read More →

Choetech Wireless Headphones review

choetechStuck for ideas for a Christmas present for that someone special or just looking a cheap but fulfilling stocking filler? You can never go wrong with a pair of headphones and with a price tag of around £23 from Amazon these Choetech wireless headphones could be the answer you are looking for.

Once you go wireless it is frustrating to go back to wired headphones. I have been using various wireless headphones for the past few months and have found them to be most advantageous.

Listening to music gives me the get-up-and-go to get the house cleaned or tackle the garden shed when needing a clear out. Using wireless headphones gives you the freedom to get more done, quicker and without the struggle a wired connection can bring. Check out the unboxing of the Choetech Wireless headphones here with Gareth.

Out of the box, the headphones feel premium, notably, the ear pieces are smaller than other wireless headphones as there are added in-line controls to the lower of the right earpiece.

The headphones come with various ear tips and hooks, so if you have petite or giants ears like me these will ensure maximum comfort.

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The in-line controls allow you to adjust volume, skip tracks and between the volume rocker, there is a multi-function button which acts as the power button, answer call button, and tap for Google search. There is also a microUSB connection is for charging the headphones.

There is a voice built into the headphones to tell you what action is being performed, when you turn on the headset you are alerted of “power on,” then if you have paired it already with your phone it will connect to “Mobile Device One.”

When there is an incoming call the headphones vocalise the number to inform you who is calling, which is a nice feature. One push of the multi-function button allows you to answer the call, a long press on the multi-function button will cancel the call. These features help minimise the interruption during exercise and are extremely useful to have.

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When the battery is running low, after you hear the first warning, there is approximately ten minutes of usage left before you will have to recharge. The box recommends a charge time of two hours, however, I found that I got a full charge in an hour.

The audio quality with these headphones is great, audio is clear and crisp with the only distortion happening when you move around 10 metres away from the device you are connected to.  I recently used these headphones whilst training for an 8 hour Spin-a-thon and had no issues with them.

The Choetech Wireless Headphones have really impressed me and I would definitely recommend them to anyone for their own use or if you are feeling generous a Christmas present that someone will actually like.

Posted in: Headphones, Reviews
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By November 30, 2016 Read More →

Toshiba Exceria Pro UHS-II U3 SDHC review

p1030325The Toshiba Exceria Pro UHS-II SDHC card comes with the latest of USB Bus Speed technologies built in. Notable by a new pin layout, the first-row pins are used for the normal transfer, at regular speeds alongside higher speeds and UHS-I bus interface signals,  a second row of pins are used for the UHS-II signals. Their combined efforts can produce record breaking speed and earn them the title of the World’s Fastest SD Cards.

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The Exceria Pro UHS-II has been available in 16 and 32GB capacities for some time, now Toshiba have expanded their catalogue with both 64 and 128GB options.

Toshiba claims the card can provide up to 260 MB/s read and 240 MB/s write. In addition, the card also manages 95 MB/s read and 90 MB/s write speed in UHS-I mode. By comparison, standard SD speeds are expected to be around 23 MB/s reading and writing.

Perhaps it’s Windows 10, however using newer Sandisk USB 3.0 Card reader, optimised to read UHS-II speeds I struggled to get anywhere near the speeds quoted on the packaging.

Whilst photographers rejoice in these speeds for photo and video capture, alongside a speedy transfer off the card, there are other utilities for an SD card of this nature. SD Cards are going in size and becoming massive portable storage options. Using this card in a portable Network Attached Storage (NAS) sees smooth streaming of a 1080p video to a smartphone or tablet when travelling.

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The Toshiba Exceria Pro comes with a 5 year warranty and is X-ray proof ISO7816-1 compatible. And whilst the pricing isn’t the cheapest, 16GB – £38.32, 32GB – £73.58, 64 GB – £121.43, 128 GB – £241.62, Toshiba is still undercutting some of the competition from Sandisk and Lexar. Don’t forget to pick up a UHS-II SD Reader/Writer to get the most out of this, if you can.

By November 28, 2016 Read More →

Magic Cable Lightning/Micro Connector Review

magic-cable-goldGadJet has sent over a fantastic solution for the people who have to carry a lightning cable and a micro USB cable. Perhaps you may have an iPad and an Android phone, or the other way around and you don’t fancy to carrying two different cables to be able to charge both devices.

The concept cable of the magic cable has taken it to the extreme and build something that is not only convenient but appears to be highly durable.

Measuring in at 1.2 metres the cable is long enough for most needs. The cable is built last with the fishnet design, an almost rope feel that is both hard wearing and quite rigid. Whilst I have already mentioned this is durable, it’s also anti-tangle, so rolling it up on your knuckles and throwing it in the bag will see you not having to spend precious moments untangling it when needed.

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In addition, the ends of the cable are solidly put together with a winning combination of plastic and aluminium to provide a robust connection that’s not going to fray for a long time.

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The clever part of the cable is undoubtedly the micro USB connector with the lightning connection added to the top. Whilst it sounds a little cobbled together in words the actual end result is clear and obvious. The connector fits into both devices without a fuss however it does bring back the old fashioned micro USB annoyance of getting it the right way round. A reminder as to why USB-C and lightning cables or so great in the first place. GadJet have handily put their logo on one side of the connector and you can easily navigate in daylight, however, just a small indentation or nub on the connector would have been one of the handiest things when the lights go out.

The magic table comes in two different colours,  red and silver or black and gold.  Both have a premium look and feel.

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In addition to charging, the cable also transfers data for syncing and copying information to and from your device.  The USB connector appears to be USB 2.0, as oppose 3.0, so speed is not the focus of this cable.  I’m pretty sure it’s fair to say that not many people use a cable to sync the device to the computer anymore.

The magic cable is a great addition to anyone’s load out if they travel, have an Apple device and maybe a backup battery that requires microUSB. Two-in-one devices are usually badly made or thrown together to try and make a quick couple of quid, however, the magic cable is at the other end of the spectrum. Certainly, a cost £10 for one cable is quite steep however, this is going to last you a long time and when you factor in the costs of purchasing both a lightning cable and micro USB cable it’s not that much more to pay.

Grab one from Gadjet here.

Posted in: Accessories, Reviews
By November 21, 2016 Read More →

Logitech M330 Silent Plus review

p1030315There is no shortage of good mice on the market at the moment. What we have is a plethora of almost perfectly accurate input devices adding and subtracting features to try to achieve the perfect balance of price, quality and accuracy. One of the most reliable names on the market is Logitech, having produced mice for a great many years, they know what they’re doing.

Enter the Logitech M330 Silent Plus. A budget/travel mouse that promises both high accuracy and the complete lack of “click.” The second of those features will be particularly enticing for anyone who travels or perhaps uses a laptop in bed with a partner sleeping beside them.

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The mouse itself is almost all plastic, making it light and easy to pack. There is a layer of rubber to add durability, comfort and, most importantly, grip. Between the two buttons is a scroll wheel,  with a push button function and sharing in its surrounding buttons ability to be almost silent. Behind this, jsut about the Logitech branding is a little LED indicator.

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On the bottom are two plastic pads, smooth to the touch and designed to glide across any flat surface. The mouse runs off one AA battery. Logitech have informed us this battery should last 18 months. Having had the mouse for one month I cannot comment on what the full range of the battery life is,  however, I have lost one-third of the battery thus far and I’m not using the mouse as my daily driver. Instead, it’s paired with a laptop and only used for a few hours, two to three times a week.

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However, anyone coming to this mouse is not coming for battery life or perhaps comfort, these are secondary bonuses.  Instead they’re coming for the lack of noise.  It’s almost surreal, it feels like there’s something missing when you click a button or roll the scroll wheel. There is the smallest, lightest thump a two bits of rubber inside the mouse collide and the scroll wheel has a tiny, plastic click emitting from it and is virtually silent when used for scrolling. You will not be disturbing anyone with this much, the Silent aspect is beautifully realised.

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As for accuracy, it’s difficult to measure on a common consumer computer, however, I did have a go. Facing off against a Logitech MX master, the M330 came in with a faster lag time, by 10ms. Whilst the M330 is a great deal lighter than the MX Master, it does appear to be highly accurate.

Where the M330 could be improved are the features. With only 3 buttons in operation, I only wish that there was a simple back button above the thumb grip two concrete this is one of the best mice on the market. Some will disagree the back button is not necessary, however,  it would be better to have the option even if there were to add another couple of pounds on the price tag.

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All in, the Logitech M330 Silent Plus is an almost perfect travel match. Robust enough to survive a few days at the bottom of your back. The battery is easily replaceable in the event you do run out of charge. Using it on a plane will not upset the person beside you. It’s comfortable enough that periods of use will not result in a sore wrist. And as the name suggests, Silent.

You can grab the Logitech Silent Plus For £29.99 here.