Thursday, 2 September 2010

Magix Digital Dj Review

Rating: 7/10

Best Price: £29.99 here

+ Professional sounding mixes
-      Overwhelming interface to a novice
+ Lots of features

First Impressions:

Ease of use – Quite complicated interface (see pic below), but after a while you get the hang of it.

Once you get past the fairly overwhelming interface you can very quickly start to create your own mixes. As a novice I stuck to the AutoMix to create a playlist, however the more professional of you can create quality remixes with sampling and looping capabilities. Furthermore using the preview function you can cherry pick the perfect tracks for your playlist heard through your headphones whilst your gig is in full flow and the pitch fader allows for seamless links between your tracks. There is even more features to the software such as cue, tempo analysis, auto sync, reverse and precise pitch control.

What’s in the box:
     Cd with software
·         Instruction manual

Tech Specs: Full specs here.


Once you get used to the busy interface, Digital DJ is a excellent piece of tech with the simplicity for amateurs to make a few good mixes, whilst the more professional DJ can create masterpieces with plenty of extras.

Feel free to comment or ask a question.

Here is a screen shot of the main page.

Swann ThumbCam Review

Rating: 8/10

Best Price: £45.91 here

+ Very versatile
-      Hard to tell what’s in frame
+ Wide selection of extras as standard

What it does: A tiny camera to “shoot videos of bike rides, runs, sports, hand gliding, events and more.

First Impressions:

-         Ease of use – Nice and simple interface.

-         Picture quality – See an example video here.

-         Design – Ridiculously small, uncomplicated and sleek.

The front of the camera has nothing but the lens, the back has a loop for your lanyard and the base has a mini USB port for connection to a computer. The right hand side has the Mode button and MicroSd slot, with the power button on the opposite side, with the top button holding the Record/Stop button.

It takes a little time to get the hang of the device, but the manual is well written and easy to follow.

Along with the camera you get a nice selection of peripherals including a protective clear silicon case, belt/pocket clip, wall mount clip, pivot clip, USB cable and a mini-CD with the necessary software on it.

Picture and sound quality are very impressive from such a tiny device.

The drawbacks to the device are that with no screen it is hard to know what’s in frame, and there is also no zoom facility.

What’s in the box:

ThumbCam DVR-415
·        MicroSD Card 2GB
·        Silicon Cover
·        USB Charging Cable
·        Wall, Magnetic, Belt Brackets
·        Software CD
·        Operating Instructions

Tech Specs:

·         Resolution – 720 x 480
·         Frame Rate – 30 FPS
·         Weight – 20g

A very adaptable little camera, with sound activation and mounts allowing it to be used in a variety of situations.

Feel free to leave a comment or ask a question.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Swann ActionCam MDV-450 Review

Rating: 7/10

Best Price: £54.93 here

+ Simple to operate
-      Jerky video quality
+ Lots of peripheral extras
-      Hard to line up the camera when on bike helmet.

What it does: A small and lightweight camcorder designed for video and photo capture during extreme sports.

-         Ease of use – Fairly simple to use with coloured LED’s to indicate what you are doing.     
-         Picture quality – see a sample video here.

-         Design – Sturdy. Well designed for heavy outdoor use.

First Impressions:

The camera is well built and designed for outdoor use with “weather resistant anti-corrosive casing” and a shock resistant design.

There is a panel on the camera half way down, with 4 LED’d and a REC/PAUSE button in the centre. There is also a hole where the microphone is as well.

On the base of the camera, there is a screw top that when removed revels the MicroSD card slot, Mini USB port and the on/off switch.

The camera also comes with several stands and grips to attach the camera to oneself or your bike or car. These include a bicycle helmet attachment, a bicycle frame bracket and a car mount.

Downloading the images is just the same as you would from a normal video camera or digital camera.

Still picture quality is good as is the video quality; however it is a little jerky due to a fairly low frame speed. There is also some wind noise, but nothing to get worked up about

In the box:

·         MDV-450 Camera
·         Micro SD Card 2GB
·         Camera Stand with Suction Grip
·         Bicycle Helmet Attachment
·         Bicycle Frame Bracket
·         Magnifying Sight Scope
·         USB Cable
·         Instruction Manual

Tech Specs:
·         Video Resolution – 640 x 480
·         Photo resolution – 2048 x 1536
·         Framerate 24 fps
·         Storage – 2GB Mirco-SD Card
·         Weight – 60g
·         Full specs here

A neat little camera with plenty of extras at a very good price. Video quality is a little poor but good enough for the armature extreme sports enthusiast.

Feel free to comment or ask a question.

Monday, 30 August 2010

Magix Photo Story 9 Review

Rating: 8/10

Best Price: £26.99 here

Simple and intuitive interface
Video encoding can be fairly slow for longer shows
Great selection of effects

What it does:
Photo and video editing software for creating slideshows specifically for CD or DVD that can be shared with others

In the box:

·         The disc
·         A manual

First Impressions:

·         Ease of use – Simple and intuitive.

The programme interface is intuitive and creating a project is easy. First you choose to create either a CD or DVD based slideshow you drag images or video to include to the timeline.

There are a plethora of transition effects to use from fades to 3d effects.
Text can be added over the top of images or in frames of their own. The programme also includes image editing features to tinker with your photos, its by no means sophisticated, but enough to sharpen up your snaps. You can also add MP3 tracks as background music from iTunes

Once you have created the slideshow, you can create an interactive DVD menu to navigate your creation. You also have the option of uploading your photos and slideshows to Flickr and/or YouTube to share with a wider audience. Here is one I knocked together in about 3 minutes.

Tech Specs:

Runs on Windows XP, Vista and 7
Full specs here


PhotoStory 9 is an intuitive product with loads of customisable options to make your slideshow your own. Remarkable results are accomplished very easily and quickly.

Here is a screen shot of the programme

Feel free to comment and ask a question.

Sunday, 29 August 2010

STM Sonic 15” Laptop Bag Review

Rating: 9/10

Best Price: £34.86 here

+ A whole lot of bag for the money
-      Not much variation on size or colour
+ Nice retro look

First Impressions:

The Sonic is reminiscent of the Pan-Am bags of the 70’s with plenty of storage for a day on campus. There are pockets and compartments everywhere you look. The Sonic is fairly big, however surprisingly light weight. The padded shoulder strap is a nice touch if you are carrying your laptop for any length of time.

The main compartment holds your laptop in a separate padded compartment, and there is another one with plenty of room for books, pads and folders.

There is also a front zippered pocket which swallows up your charger, hard-drive, pens and anything else.

Overall the Sonic proves a stylish yet sturdy choice.

Tech Specs:

Lining: nylon 
Weight: 2.10 lbs 0.94 kg

A brilliant bag at a very reasonable price, with loads of space and a nice finish. 

Feel free to comment and ask me a question.

STM Bags DP-0964-1 Medium Sonic Shoulder Bag, Fits up to 15.5 Inch Screens