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Cowon Z2

August 6, 2012 by  
Filed under Reviews

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Cowon puts its audio prowess into an iPod touch rival.

Gordon Kelly

Price as reviewed £219.00

Overall 7/10

Key Features

  • 3.7in AMOLED Display
  • 1080p video playback
  • JetEffect 5 Sound Enhancement Technology
  • Android 2.3.5 Gingerbread
  • Mini HDMI output
  • microSD slot
Audiophiles love Cowon. The South Korean multinational has developed an unrivalled reputation for the sound quality of its portable devices, but it has gained an equal number of detractors for their cost and utilitarian design. The Z2 is the product Cowon hopes can finally please everyone…


Design

Out the box this perception isn’t immediately challenged. The angular Cowon Z2 is far from the most beautiful PMP we’ve seen and at 116.5 x 62.8 x 11.8mm and 116g it isn’t the most compact either. In hand things get a little better. The rubberised, lightly textured back provides just enough grip to stop it slipping from hand and feels durable enough to withstand bumps and scuffs. The front is less impressive with a fascia that is a fingerprint magnet and touch sensitive menu, home and back buttons which are not backlit making control in low light more difficult than it should be.

Cowon does rather better with the rest of the Z2. On the right side volume controls are supported by dedicated play/pause and skip/search buttons which give the first hint of the Cowon Z2’s multimedia-centric nature. On top is a power/standby button and at the bottom is a 3.5mm headphone jack with microUSB, (64GB compatible) microSD and mini HDMI ports hidden under a flap. A nice touch is this seemingly extraneous flap doubles up as a kickstand, which holds the Z2 in place when watching video.

To load content onto the Z2 simply switch it into ‘USB mass storage’ mode, connect it to a PC and drag and drop content. As the Z2 is natively formatted in NTFS Mac users will have a harder time, but conversion software such as Paragon NTFS for Mac provides a simple workaround.

Features
Under the hood things begin to look more phone than PMP…

This is a sample, read the full review at TrustedReviews.

Copyright for all reviews, editorials and features on this site belong to their respective publishers. All samples published on this website are via prior agreement with those publishers and serve to act as a portfolio and centralised location for all my work. Contact me at gordon@gordonkelly.com should you wish to commission me or supply review samples, press releases or arrange meetings. 

iRobot Scooba 230

August 6, 2012 by  
Filed under Reviews

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This tiny robot vacuum wants to wash our floors, I let it…

Price as reviewed £249.99

Overall 8/10

Key Features

  • iAdapt navigation system
  • Advanced Water Management System
  • Compatible with all hard floor types
  • 16.5cm diametre, 9.2cm tall
  • Cliff detect
  • Soft touch bumpers
 “How busy are you, really?” It was a question I asked when reviewing the iRobot Roomba 780 and it is one that should be considered even more seriously before buying the company’s latest invention: the Scooba 230. The 230 has just been released in the UK and, unlike the Roomba series, it washes hard floors – an activity which takes us even less time than vacuuming. And yet this guilty pleasure is good…


Design
The first thing you will notice about the Scooba 230 is its size. With a diameter of just 16.5cm and measuring 9.2cm high it is 50 per cent smaller than the Roomba 780 and weighs just 1.92Kg. In fact it looks like someone hit it with a shrink ray. Despite this iRobot has still packed a lot of familiar technology inside such as its iAdapt Responsive Cleaning system which covers areas multiple times, Cliff Detection sensors to avoid stairs and other drop-offs and Virtual Wall technology which allows the Scooba to be confined to specific areas or rooms with the supplied Virtual Wall accessory.

So why so small? Primarily it is because the 230 is designed to clean smaller rooms (think hard floor kitchens and bathrooms, rather than an entire house) and get into hard to reach areas. Furthermore battery life remains pretty good with the 230 covering 41.8 square metres on a single charge. Where the size limitations do start to press is water capacity with cleaning limited to 13.9 square metres (typically two to three rooms) before the dirty water needs to be emptied and fresh water added.

Functionality
So how does it work? The setup is simple: pour clean water and the cleaning solution (more of later) in one end, empty dirty water out the other, shut their respective watertight caps, switch it on and press the big ‘clean’ button on top. What happens under the bonnet, however, is a little more complex. Using the imaginatively named ‘Advanced Water Management System’ the 230 is fitted with an active-reservoir which keeps clean and dirty water apart.

This is a sample, read the full review at Trustedreviews

Copyright for all reviews, editorials and features on this site belong to their respective publishers. All samples published on this website are via prior agreement with those publishers and serve to act as a portfolio and centralised location for all my work. Contact me at gordon@gordonkelly.com should you wish to commission me or supply review samples, press releases or arrange meetings. 

Has The Apple Rumour Mill Gone Too Far?

August 6, 2012 by  
Filed under Features & Editorials

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Anticipation kills sales while a new rival gets the hang of hype.
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One more thing…

Apple is the undisputed king of hype, the ruler of rumour, the sultan of showmanship. Everything Apple does is carefully and painstakingly planned in order to generate the maximum possible brand and product awareness and it reaps the benefits…

This was once again shown in the company’slatest financial results. Officially now the world’s biggest company, Apple once again broke its own records: revenue for the third quarter in its financial year leapt 23 per cent over the same period 12 months ago hitting a whopping $35bn. Net income similarly jumped 21 per cent from a year earlier reaching $8.8bn. Between April and June 2012 Apple shipped 26 million iPhones (up 28 per cent), 17 million iPads (up 84 per cent) and four million Macs (up two per cent).

“We’re thrilled with record sales of 17 million iPads in the June quarter,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook. “We’ve also just updated the entire MacBook line, will release Mountain Lion tomorrow and will be launching iOS 6 this Fall. We are also really looking forward to the amazing new products we’ve got in the pipeline.”

Simultaneously Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer declared the company will embark upon itsthree year $45bn share repurchase scheme – a way to invest some of its near $100bn cash reserves. He then added Apple expected revenue of “about $34 billion” in Q4.

…and it wasn’t good enough. The undisputed king of hype, the ruler of rumour, the sultan of showmanship had talked itself into trouble: the results were incredible, but such is the carefully manufactured expectation around the brand they weren’t incredible enough.

This is a sample, read the full editorial on TrustedReviews

 Copyright for all reviews, editorials and features on this site belong to their respective publishers. All samples published on this website are via prior agreement with those publishers and serve to act as a portfolio and centralised location for all my work. Contact me at gordon@gordonkelly.com should you wish to commission me or supply review samples, press releases or arrange meetings. 

How will mobile networks cope during the Olympics?

August 5, 2012 by  
Filed under Features & Editorials

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With a massive influx of people, all toting mobile phones and tablets, how will the mobile data networks keep pace?

“Be realistic, demand the impossible!” – Che Guevara

After seven years of waiting the London Olympics has finally rolled into town. Opinions have steadily polarised about the event with optimists and pessimists hardening their positions like Republicans and Democrats, Capulets and Montagues… even Apple and Google fanboys. Yet there is one area where both sides are united: demand for fast and reliable mobile networks for the duration of the Games.  Is it realistic?

The Challenge

Look at the Olympics in pure numerical terms and the size of this challenge emerges:

  • The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) expects the capital’s 8.2 million residents to be swollen by an extra four million over the Olympic period.
  • Analysts estimate the Olympic Park alone will need to process 60 gigabits of data every second – equivalent to 3,000 photographs or the capacity of over 6,000 10Mbit home broadband connections.

These are figures far beyond any infrastructural challenge London has faced before and yet they exclude the fact that the UK’s data demands are already pushing networks to breaking point.

The most recent example of this happened just two weeks ago as O2’s data network suffered a 24 hour outage. The integral nature of mobile data in today’s society was highlighted by the fact that the blackout didn’t just affect the man on the street, but several key emergency and transport services. Even London’s Barclays Cycle Hire scheme was not immune as it uses the network to process payments. In June O2 admitted making calls was now only the fifth most frequent use of a smartphone.

It has been coming. Industry regulator Ofcom reports mobile data consumption per person has doubled in the last 12 months. Three backs this up saying the average amount of monthly data used by its contract customers has leapt from 450MB in summer 2011 to 1.1GB. It added that customers with premium smartphones average in excess of 1.5GB per month. “There is no sign of this slowing down,” said Three CEO Dave Dyson with COO Graham Baxter describing the last four years as a “data traffic explosion”.

Furthermore the strain on social networks is already beginning to tell. On Thursday tweets about the Olympics brought down Twitter 24 hours before the opening ceremony. Should a similar fate await any of our major networks during the Games, London legislature states it is only permissible to carry out major construction work on the streets between 00:00 and 06:00.

Given UK roll-out of LTE, 3G’s significantly faster next iteration, has been delayed until late 2013 to the significant detriment of the nation’s economy it feels as if we’re about to reap what we’ve sewn.

The Response

It is said the first step to solving a problem is admitting you have one and thankfully it is a step every major UK provider of wireless communication has taken…

This is a sample, read the full feature on ITProPortal

Copyright for all reviews, editorials and features on this site belong to their respective publishers. All samples published on this website are via prior agreement with those publishers and serve to act as a portfolio and centralised location for all my work. Contact me at gordon@gordonkelly.com should you wish to commission me or supply review samples, press releases or arrange meetings. 

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