Saturday, 28 August 2010

STM Scout 13” Laptop Bag Review

Rating: 10/10

Best Price: £32.95 here

What it’s up against: Crumpler Silver-Digg, Belkin Messenger


Very well made

First Impressions:

A well designed product which looks casual and stylish, which is unusual for a laptop bag! The bag opens with a main flap and has a buckle to secure it. Once opened there is the main padded laptop compartment with another protective flap. Furthermore there is a big pocket for your documents, a Velcro pocket on the outside at the back, a smaller zipped pocket and two pouches at the front, one with pen holders and the other with a key fob. Good quality fabric and secure straps add a luxurious yet secure feel to the Scout. A bag which looks good enough to use as  your main day to day shoulder bag, with plenty of space for lecture notes, charger, pens and a book or two.

Tech Specs:

-         High density padding surrounds laptop
-         Secure buckle closure for main bag
-         Velcro closure over laptop section 
-         Cushioned felt laptop lining 
-         Utility pockets for accessories
-         Full sized document pocket
-         New STM design shoulder pad for carrying comfort
-         Holds most 13" laptops
-         Main fabric: 14oz water resistant canvas
-         Lining: 210D water resistant nylon
-         Weight: 1.2 lbs 0.5 kg


      A great bag for daily use around campus. A little more expensive than your basic laptop carry cases, but as it works just as well as a day to day shoulder bag due to it not looking like an unattractive laptop bag, so it is well worth the money. 
      Feel free to comment and ask a question. Don't forget to subscribe by email.

STM 15” MacBook Neoprene “Glove” Review

Rating: 10/10

Best Price: £13.95 here

+ Low price for a good product

+ High quality 

First Impressions:

The case is your classic neoprene one, with high quality stitching and an internal zipper guard to keep your laptop from being scratched. Thin enough to fit in a bag nicely without being bulky. The waterproofing is an added bonus and weight off your mind.

Tech Specs:

Main fabric: neoprene
Laptop space: 25 x 36.5 x 2.8cm
Capacity: litre
Weight: 0.24 kg
-         3mm neoprene surrounds your laptop
-         Durable YKK zippers for long lasting protection
-         Internal zipper guards protects the laptop against abrasion
-         Designed to specifically to fit Apple's MacBook Pro 15"

Glove Components:

Self-repairing, durable YKK zippers, load bearing stitching 


A great little case at a good price, with a good amount of thought going into the design.

Feel free to comment or ask me a question.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Powermat Wireless Charging System for the iPhone Review

Rating: 8/10

Best Price: £39.99 at the Carphone Warehouse

What it’s up against:

PowerSurface Wireless Charger £39.95
WildCharge Universal Wireless Charger £49.97
Good price for a case and charging dock together
Limited number of compatible products
One less wire on your desk

What it is:

The Powermat 1X wirelessly charges your iPod, iPhone, or Blackberry by placing the device with a Powermat receiver onto the mat.

First Impressions

The Powermat is easy to use. Simply take it out of the box, and plug it in. Then you take the receiver and attach it to your device. Then place the receiver on the mat.
When you put the receiver on the charging spot, there is a magnetic pull to the right position, a light turns on and a sound effect plays letting you know it’s charging. The dock is small and compact with a groove in which the case sits. Once your iPhone is fully charged the Powermat then turns itself off so not to damage the battery.
The case has a nice matt finish on tough black plastic, it is well designed with a small outc

rop on the back where the receiver is but it still easily fits in the front pocket of your jeans.

What’s in the box?

Receiver Case for iPhone 3G/3GS
Powermat 1XA Charging Mat
Micro USB to USB data cable
Universal, international power supply with built-in cord management
A clever piece of tech, perfect for your desk at work so you don’t have to carry your charger with you. Also any way to cut down on clutter on the desk is a plus in my book. A good quality product at a good price for what you are getting.

Just Mobile Xtand for iPod Touch Review

Rating: 7/10

Best Price: £19.00 on Amazon

Excellent build quality
Bulky as a portable device
Slick and simple design
iPod does not fit with a protective case on

What it does

The Xtand is a desktop stand for your iPod Touch allows you to switch between landscape and portrait.

What it’s up against

The PED3 stand, a very similar product to the Xtand, but uglier and less sleek.

  • Solid aluminium construction
  • 360-degree rotation
  • Adjustable viewing angle
  • Cable management
  • Non-slip rubber pads
What’s in the Box?

· The Stand
· Fittings for the first generation iPod touch
· Instruction Manual

First Impressions
Very easy to put together with a smooth and simple design, very reminiscent of Apple brand products.
The Base is sufficiently wide and sturdy with rubber feet to protect your desk and stop it from moving around. Four rubber pads on the end of each tip keep the stand’s solid-metal pieces from scratching your iPod and also help keep it in place.
The iPod slots in with ease, but it’s held in place firmly, requiring a firm hand on the base of the stand to help it out again. No marks or scratches are left on the iPod once you have removed it, and there’s plenty of open space to easily insert the charger and earphones.
The Xtand provides convenience by tilting the iPod towards your head in contrast to having it lay flat on your desk.
Whilst travelling on a train or plane the Xtand would be much better way to watch a film than my usual balancing act using a bottle and my wallet. However it is a fairly bulky object to carry around.

A very well made product at a good price, a little chunky as a portable device, but on the whole a nice piece of kit.

Olympus LS-5 Recorder Review

Rating: 9/10

Best Price: £169.00 here

+ High quality recordings
- Small fonts on screen
+ Easy to use
+ Sleek and good quality finish

The LS-5 is very much the same as the LS-10 I previously reviewed so for a full review see the previous article. The main difference between the LS-5 and 10 is the editing software which comes in the box. As opposed to the LS-10, the LS-5 comes with Olympus’ own software ‘Sonority’, which in my opinion is a much better piece of kit against the Cubase software with the LS-10.


The fonts are a little on the small side and an internal rechargeable battery would be nice, but on the whole it is a great device The Olympus LS-10 is sleek, well made and easy to use, which produces high quality recordings, perfect for bands recording on a budget to students recording their lectures.

Olympus LS-10 Recorder Review

Rating: 9/10

Best Price: £199.00 here

+ High quality recordings
- No internal battery
+ Easy to use
+ Sleek and good quality finish

First Impressions

When you first pick up the Olympus you are struck by the smooth and solid feel, due to the aluminium case. At 165g it is nice and sturdy so you don’t feel you could break it easily.
At roughly 13cm by 5cm by 2cm the LS 10 can easily fit in a jacket pocket.
The screen is crisp and clear with a good back light; however most of the fonts are on the small side.
The buttons are logically laid out, crisp and responsive. When you get your hands on the LS-10 it is a very intuitive device.

Ease of Use

The ‘quick start up guide’ gives succinct and easy to follow instructions.
To make a recording is simple, press the REC button and it goes into ‘REC PAUSE’ mode, where you adjust the mic sensitivity via adjusting the ‘MIC SENSE’ switch and adjust the recording level dial accordingly.
Press the REC button again and it records. From then it’s very intuitive; STOP button to stop, PLAY button to play what you recorded. Simple.
The menu tree consists of 6 folders which allows for easy arrangement of several recordings in one day. It appears a little sophisticated, but if you are comfortable with using file-menus on a computer you will figure it out quickly.
The Cubase software which comes with the LS-10 is a useful tool; and makes it easy to edit your recordings.

Storage and Connectivity

The LS-10 has an internal memory of 2GB and accepts SD cards up to 8GB thus having a potential of 10GB storage capacity.
You can record in WAV, WMA and MP3 file formats, meaning you can download your recordings onto iTunes and Media Player. Furthermore you can take music from iTunes and listen to it on the device.

Stereo Speaker

The quality of sound of the speakers is surprisingly clear for their size. They are not powerful but loud enough for playback in a quiet area. This is very useful for checking recordings without having to use another bit of equipment.

Remote Control

The remote and receiver is a very useful accessory. Especially for use in a lecture or meeting to be able to start and stop recording form your seat. However due to the thin plug you would have to be careful as it looks and feels quite fragile.

Sound Quality

Playback through headphones or speakers is very good. There is a richness to the audio which you would expect from much larger recording equipment. The bass was especially deep.

In the Box:
  • 2 x AA alkaline batteries
  • a usb cable
  • an 1/8" audio cable
  • a zippered carrying case
  • a strap
  • 2 windscreens
  • a Quick Start Guide
  • a DVD-ROM of Cubase LE4 music production software and an Instruction Manual in 3 languages (English, French & Spanish).
This is a very good selection of included accessories, but an AC adapter would be nice, so not to have to buy new AA batteries, however the long battery life almost makes up for it.

Tech Specs

2 high quality microphones
WAV/WMA/MP3 recording formats
2GB internal memory
SD card slot
Built-in stereo speaker
Optional Infrared remote control
Complete specs can be found on the Olympus LS-10 web page.


The fonts are a little on the small side and an internal rechargeable battery would be nice, but on the whole it is a great device The Olympus LS-10 is sleek, well made and easy to use, which produces high quality recordings, perfect for bands recording on a budget to students recording their lectures.

Devotec Industries Solar Sound 2 Bluetooth Speaker Review

Rating: 8/10

Best Price: £69.99 here

+ Wirelessly play music via Bluetooth
- Not great quality bass
+ Potentially infinite playback, weather permitting.
- Very long charge time from empty on solar power
+ Doubles up as a hands free speaker phone
- The case is very snug, not allowing the cables to fit in the side pouch
+ Touch screen controls

What it does

An innovative speaker system with a green conscience to it.
It’s a portable speaker with wireless technology and a solar panel, so no more mountains of dead batteries filling landfills.
Gloriously simple piece of kit. Simply plug in and play whether via Bluetooth or 3.5mm jack.
Sleek black design with responsive touch screen controls and a solid build quality.
Good sound quality for a portable device, but a weak bass sound, which is very common for these types of small speakers.
To listen to the audio quality follow these links:

What it’s up against

Nothing quite frankly. There is not one other product in the market which has a solar panel, playing music wirelessly, with an integrated microphone and a touch panel.


16.5 x 5.5 x 5.5 cm
2 x 2W RMS power
Bluetooth range of 10 meters
Playback time: On Bluetooth 5-10 hours. On analogue 5-20 hours. Longer playback possible using the solar power.
Charging time (from empty): Mains power 5 hours, Solar power 12-24 hours (full overhead sunshine)
Capacitive 3 button touch panel
Integrated microphone

In the box

AC Plug
Charging Cable
3.5mm retractable cable


At £69.99 it is a little pricy, but I would not be put off, build quality, the quality of sound and the wireless and solar technology are worth the money.
A flexible and high quality unique product, great for use on a beach, a camping trip or at a barbeque. Wonderfully simple to use and set up, with surprisingly good quality sound for its size. A slight lack of bass at higher volumes, however a great piece of innovative green thinking, perfect for use outside.