Stand & Deliver: The Varidesk ProPlus 36

Shortly before my 77th birthday, I treated the Tested Technology office (and therefore myself) to an electric recliner. But my dream of spending my declining years, er, reclining, was shattered by an email offer from the US company Varidesk Inc of one of their front-line products to install, test out and, if I so chose, retain for permanent use. Varidesk’s timing was uncanny. Within a few days of luxuriating in the pushbutton-controlled comfort of my… Now read on…

Getting Up to Date with QNAP’s QTS part 1

The classic view sees a Network Attached Storage (NAS) device as something that sits quietly in the background delivering files across the network as required. There will be occasional updates to maintain security. That’s not, however, how the Taiwanese manufacturer QNAP views the NAS. As regular readers will know, I’ve been living with the QNAP TS-451 for about three years now. Thanks to the generosity of QNAP and of Western Digital who supplied the four… Now read on…

Excellent Price. But is the Honor 7x for you?

Honor is the mid-range brand for Huawei, the world’s third-ranking smartphone maker. Huawei owns the largest share of its home market, China, which also happens to be the biggest smartphone market in the world. But China is now stuffed to the gunnels with phones. Growth has slumped. So Huawei is making a huge effort to sell into the outside world. And the odds are stacked against it. The United States government, suspicious of Chinese cyber-stealth,… Now read on…

BE Free8s: The Darling Buds of Optoma

On December 13th of 2016 Apple broke new ground in audio with the introduction of its wireless AirPods. A pair of Bluetooth earbuds that, uniquely, were not wired together, communicating wirelessly not only with the music source, but also with each other. A radical new idea? Not quite. It’s something standard NHS hearing aids have been doing for over a decade. And in at least one important respect Apple’s new AirPods were a step back… Now read on…

Exploring the Asus Chromebook Flip C213

Back in the day (was it really a decade ago) I was a loud evangelist for Netbooks. The Netbook, you may remember, was a lightweight, low-powered small laptop device with minimal internal storage. Unlike conventional personal computers that you work on and in, the Netbook was intended to be just a portal that you worked through—out onto the Internet. It was a Cloud machine. There are many reasons why it failed (despite my enthusiastic advocacy!).… Now read on…

Getting Tough with the CF-33 Toughbook part 3

 Part 3 brings us to what the Toughbook is like to work with on a daily basis. There are two snags with my testing I’d better acknowledge up front. Number one, the CF-33 is designed to be used not just in the field, but in the tundra, the desert, and in the icy wastes of the Antarctic. I’ve been testing it mostly in the comfort of my office. Number two, I have thirty years experience… Now read on…

Getting Tough with the CF-33 Toughbook part 4

  If this review has run to many more words than I originally anticipated, it’s because the CF-33 is much more than just another laptop. Even as I approach the finale, I’m left with the feeling that I can never give the device the full treatment that Panasonic’s attention to detail deserves.  There’s much that I haven’t covered here, either because—like the wireless WAN—it’s not fitted on the review model, or because, although present, it’s… Now read on…

Photo Transfer Using Toshiba’s FlashAir pt 2

Back in the day when I was writing television scripts (bear with me, this will turn out to be relevant) I learnt about cliffhangers. At the end of an episode you leave the audience wanting to come back for the next helping. A cliffhanger can’t just be a narrative trick—through some freak our hero escapes and all is well again. The “in one bound he was free” solution leaves the punters feeling cheated. So for… Now read on…

Photo Transfer Using Toshiba’s FlashAir pt 1

The traditional dedicated camera has one huge advantage over the smartphone you’re starting to use to take all your pictures. Its large lens captures a lot more light. But your phone’s always with you. These days that camera you may have paid several hundred pounds for a few years ago is quite likely to be stuck in a drawer somewhere.  The handy, always-with-you aspect of smartphones isn’t their only advantage over traditional cameras. Crucially, your phone… Now read on…

Fidgetting Investigated (Spinwise & Cubewise)

Just when you thought tech was hitting peak techitude, with near-supercomputers modestly called “smartphones” fitting into your shirt pocket, along comes—the fidget spinner! No processor, no RAM, no Bluetooth. We’re back to the basics of ball-bearings, and that’s it. The origin of the fidget spinner is a sweet-sour fairytale (see below). A related device, climbing on the shoulders of the fidget spinner’s success, has a comparable roller-coaster history. This is the Fidget Cube, a device… Now read on…