Buffalo TeraStation 3200

Japanese-owned Buffalo was an early pioneer of network-attached storage (NAS). You can always tell the pioneers, as the old industry joke has it, by the arrows in their backs—the arrows in this case having been fired by later arrivals to the NAS game, notably Synology and QNAP, two Taiwanese manufacturers that have been eating the Japanese company’s market share. Buffalo has recently been making a push to win back lost ground with updated versions of its … Now read on…

BlitzWolf and the USB Transition

The arrival of the Huawei P9 signalled for me a new USB era. As I reported in my review, the phone uses the upcoming USB C standard. This isn’t just a new physical configuration, allowing the plug to be inserted either way round into the socket. The standard is also able to carry currents as high as 3 amps, nearly twice the 1.8 amps that’s the official maximum for the ten-year-old microUSB standard it replaces. … Now read on…

Optoma GT5000 UST Projector

I’ve shied away from ultra short throw projectors in the past: I’ve found the optics fiddly to set up, unless you’re making a permanent installation, and these devices tend to come at a premium over equivalent standard throw projectors. But there’s another side to this argument. To balance things up I’ve spent the past couple of weeks exploring Optoma’s GT5000. Let’s check out the benefits… THE GT5000 CAN PRODUCE A BRIGHT PICTURE of up to … Now read on…

PNY Technologies Festival Survival Kit

An unusual review, this: a bunch of stuff from PNY Technologies described as a “Festival Survival Kit”, no doubt inspired by the recent mud of Glastonbury. There’s an entry-level sample from PNY’s range of mobile phone battery packs together with a Lightning cable for iPhone users, a 4-in-1 lens kit to supplement your phone’s camera, and an ingenious and very nicely made car mount for your phone that attaches to any front panel air vent. … Now read on…

Huawei P9 Phone, part 3

Printer's Tray

When I started this review I never intended it to run to three parts. But living with the P9 day-to-day has uncovered such a bunch of interesting features I haven’t been able to restrain myself from passing all the news on to you. In part 2 of this review I covered the fascinating rear-facing Leica cameras in some depth, but there remain some other important features of this combo-camera I haven’t covered so far. I … Now read on…

Huawei P9 Phone, Part 2

  Part one of my Huawei P9 review is here, but I’ve postponed my review of the P9’s cameras in order to gain as full an understanding as I can of  the principles behind them. And, of course, to work my way through all their myriad functions. I was intending also to cover here other features I’d omitted from part one. But it turns out there’s so much to be said about the cameras that … Now read on…

Huawei P9 Phone, Part 1

In my review of the Cyanogen-based Wileyfox Storm I welcomed the arrival of the new generation of modestly priced smartphones, functional without being flashy, more “burners” than “bling”. I saw the nearly disposable utility smartphone as a trend worth encouraging. Flagship phones, I argued, have had their day. Hardware is transitory; don’t fall in love with it. Huawei’s latest sleek and slim top-end P9 has gone some way to changing my mind. I’ll try to explain why. … Now read on…

Skullcandy Grind Wireless Headphones

I was somewhat dismissive of headphones in my review of the room-filling Yamaha RX-V679. My point being that rather than using music to open up new worlds to us, we tend these days to pipe music direct into our ears to shut out the world when we travel and when we work. But I do use headphones, particularly at home at night to avoid disturbing the family. Wireless headphones, when they’re good, are my preference. And … Now read on…

Eyejusters Reading Glasses

You can pick up cheap reading glasses everywhere, where “cheap” is a variable anything upward of 99p. My house is full of them, if only because I need different focal lengths for different tasks. I work about a foot and a half away from my phone, and around two feet away from my laptop screen, and I need different strength glasses just for those two tasks. Threading needles (yes, I seem to have been elected … Now read on…

BenQ W2000 Projector

Why has it taken me so long to put together this review of BenQ’s sub-£800 projector?  It’s been on the go here at Bidmead Towers since before Christmas. Could it be that I’ve been enjoying it so much I’m reluctant to return this review sample to the manufacturer? Perhaps. My official reason is that its excellence (for a remarkably low price) is subtle. Not easy to put into words. And I want to do it … Now read on…