It’s that time of the month, when the Tech Trends team gathers up all the cool gadgets that come our way, Enjoy!
Bakker Elkhuizen UltraBoard 940 Bluetooth Keyboard
Here we go again! My quest to find a Bluetooth keyboard that will work when I am sitting on my sofa about 10 feet from my Mac Mini, through which I stream TV. The UltraBoard 940 keyboard got off to a bad start as it is deeply unattractive and made of cheap feeling plastic but it came with clear instructions and the required rechargeable batteries, so I plugged it in and charged it up overnight hoping that the next day I would be able to search the web from the comfort of my sofa… Sadly not.My quest for a Bluetooth keyboard that works at a 10 feet range continues Click To Tweet
I must have tried 10+ Bluetooth keyboards but none of them has the range. 10 feet doesn’t seem like a big deal to me when my Skullcandy Crusher Bluetooth wireless headphones can be 20-30 feet from my phone and still work flawlessly. Am I missing something? I was also disappointed with the keys on the UltraBoard 940 which are very cheap plastic and have a flimsy and unpleasant feel to them, in fact, the entire keyboard creaks when picked up and flexes horribly revealing that there are no metal structural components at all. The UltraBoard 940 claims to be ergonomic which in my experience usually means ‘small’ and I can’t speak to this claim as I was not inclined to use it for very long.
The Scentsy Go is a portable, compact, cordless fragrance system that almost silently spreads, admittedly quite girly, scents around the house. It is battery-powered & ready to roam and is USB rechargeable so it goes where the stink is! I could have done with about fifty of these at the multi-day Hackathons I have attended when, by the third day, the air is thick with the rich stench of teenage genius, a smell comparable to sniffing the sticky, decade-old carpet in screen one of your local Odeon.The Scentsy is portable, so can go wherever the stink is Click To Tweet
With a range of small and easy to change Scentsy Pods in your favourite fragrances enhanced by adjustable fragrance strength buttons it also brightens things up with a seven-colour LED display. If your home suffers from teenagers or dogs I can highly recommend these.
DBPower 4K Action Camera
I am always excited to receive new cameras in the post and today DBPower have sent me their latest 12MP 4K Action Camera to test, so I’m a happy bunny. Not that I am planning to jump off some cliffs, soar around like an overactive eagle, or start leaping across random canyons in a high-powered motorcycle at some point… But when you’ve got such a new toy, even popping down to Tesco for your chicken Kievs is an excuse to start capturing moments for posterity. Read the full review here.
Dagoma Neva 3D Printer
I really wanted to like this cool looking budget Neva 3D printer from Dagoma and I also wanted the awesome red and white Tintin rocket ship I was trying to print but it seems the efforts to keep the costs low on this model have undermined its basic function. The guys at Dagoma were really great, and tried their best to help when I had issues but time after time the printer clogged, stopped working randomly, wouldn’t start or the semi printed object came free from the base and span off crazily resulting in a spaghetti of plastic all over the place.I wanted to like this portable 3D printer, but the tech just isn't there yet Click To Tweet
Some of the issues I had might have been software related but to be honest, the Mac-based Cura software was the best part of the process, well laid out and not too confusing to use, but the real problems are with the printer itself. The feed mechanism, where you slide in the plastic medium is really crappy. It is not securely attached to the base of the printer so wobbles and feels very unstable. It jams frequently as it tries to pull medium into it and seems to leave chew marks on the medium that jam the printer head a bit further down the line. Twice the printer head jammed and when I pulled (extreme force required) the medium out of the feed tube it was mangled and the damage looked to have been done by the feed mechanism. The base plate was the most annoying feature though, following the instructions I cleaned it thoroughly with alcohol wipes before each new print but areas of it simply didn’t bind with the print medium so as the print progressed you could see the corners of the printed object peeling away from the base plate which inevitably meant that at some point it would break free and fly around as the printer continued to spit out medium in a useless mess. This happened three times and I simply do not have the time to waste trying to print the same piece over and over again only for it to fail halfway through.
Another compounding frustration is the printed instructions & the website, both of which are not clearly laid out or assume you know something about the 3D printing and the process when you shouldn’t need to. When I gave up part of my weekend last week to give it one more try, I found I needed to re-download the Cura software needed to create the Gcode file to feed into the printer but I literally couldn’t find this integral software anywhere on the website, so I resorted to Google to find it, and there it was, under a different, French Dagoma website with no link from the English homepage or support pages. Simply baffling. The website is a mess, full of empty, dead-end pages and when I couldn’t easily find advice for the third clogged/jammed printer head I resorted to Google again and woohoo, found the right page but then I was hit by another issue, The downloadable head cleaning Gcode file didn’t work when inserted on the SD card as per the instructions. A quick email to my contact at Dagoma came back with the response he had checked the file and it worked for him. Well, it didn’t work for me and with the disorderly website set up, I am not convinced we were even looking at or talking about the same page or Gcode file.I must have put in 20+ hours trying to get this 3D printer to work Click To Tweet
I approached this printer with the best will in the world and must have put 20+ hours into trying to get it to work but I had to just give up after it failed to print even one piece of the model I was trying to build. I really don’t want to be harsh or overly critical of Dagoma but in the age of ‘it just works’, this 3D Printer just doesn’t. However, if you want to spend days of your time tinkering, fixing and retesting a 3D printer you might well enjoy the process and learn a lot about how the 3D printing works, but for anyone who needs it to just do its thing while you go and have a cup of tea, this is not the printer for you. I get this is a product designed by enthusiasts for enthusiasts, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but as a consumer product it falls short.
iStorage diskAshur Pro2
Since I started building computers 15 years ago I have tried every kind of drive – and every type of encryption – out there. And I can tell you, it was never simple. It never “just worked”. Until now. I was very impressed in my quick test of the non Pro, SSD version of this drive but the Pro2 manages to keep the interface just as simple while ramping up both the security and capacity. Read the full review here.
RRP: £269 for 1TB Drive