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Nuance Dragon NaturallySpeaking Premium 12

Dragon Naturally Speaking Premium 12 voice recognition software review

Speech recognition has been a technology coming of age for an age. It got a shot in the arm recently with the launch of the iPhone 4S, where the S stands for Siri, the speech recognition company Apple bought. Siri may be trendy, but the most mature technology is on the PC and comes from the company Nuance bought. Nuance Dragon …
Simon Williams, 10 Sep 2012
Ten all-in-one inkjet photo printers

Ten... all-in-one inkjet photo printers

Most inkjet all-in-ones are capable of printing passable photos, but some are geared up specifically with this in mind and feature memory card slots, high resolution printheads and wireless connectivity for printing from mobile devices. Some even have direct-print to DVDs and CDs as well as scanning from slides and negatives …
Simon Williams, 25 Aug 2012
Brother MFC-J430W budget all-in-one inkjet printer

Ten budget inkjet printers

As money continues to be tight, buying a new all-in-one often takes a back seat. However, if an old machine has died, or a son or daughter needs something to print coursework, you may be forced to flex a card. On the up side, you could be surprised at some of the bargains which are available in the inkjet market. You can pick …
Simon Williams, 07 Jul 2012
Smarter Memory

Buy Smarter: what you need to know about... SSDs

The solid state drive (SSD) is like a fast hard disk drive (HDD) with no moving parts. Many SSDs can be used as direct replacements for mechanical hard drives, although usually with a capacity restriction. They are better suited to notebooks, netbooks and Ultrabooks because capacities in these tend to be lower than in desktop …
Simon Williams, 05 Jul 2012
Smarter Memory

Buy Smarter: what you need to know about... optical disc drives

Optical drive is the collective term for CD, DVD and Blu-ray readers, recorders and rewriters, the mainstay of swap-in-swap-out storage in notebook and desktop computers. At its simplest, an optical disc can load applications or play music or films, and at its most complex, in the form of a dual-layer, Blu-ray BD-RE disc, it …
Simon Williams, 02 Jul 2012
Smarter Memory

Buy Smarter: what you need to know about... HDDs

Despite advances in other kinds of storage, hard drives are the backbone of the vast majority of desktops and notebooks. And they are still the most cost-effective way of adding extra storage capacity to an older machine. They are cheap to buy, easy to use and remarkably robust in service. Typical warranties run from three to …
Simon Williams, 18 Jun 2012
Smarter Memory

Buy Smarter: what you need to know about... Memory Cards

Until the day when broadband is much faster, all devices have wireless internet access and sync'n'store services such as Dropbox or Google Drive are ubiquitous, memory cards will remain the most convenient general-purpose, pocketable storage. They help everyone to move documents, photos, music and videos around safely and simply …
Simon Williams, 12 Jun 2012
Kyocera Mita FS-1035MFP

Ten... mono laser all-in-one printers

The mono laser all-in-one has taken the place of the friendly photocopier in many an offices, at home or at work. In some cases, it has incorporated the fax machine, too. Although in essence it’s a laser printer with a scanner stuck on top, it’s more than the sum of its parts. Most folk use laser all-in-ones as much, if not …
Simon Williams, 05 May 2012
Ten ADF printers

Ten... ADF-based inkjet all-in-one printers

Inkjet all-in-one printers have two different focuses: photos and documents. Those aimed at document handling often forsake things like card readers and twin paper trays, in favour of fax and Automatic Document Feeders (ADFs). With an ADF you can scan or copy multi-page documents unattended, giving you extra time to drink hot …
Simon Williams, 04 Apr 2012
Samsung ML-2165W mono laser printer

Ten... sub-£100 mono laser printers

Mono laser printers still produce better black text than any inkjet. If you want clean, pin-sharp characters on the page and don’t print colour, buy a laser. If you have a limited budget, look for one at under £100. Here are 10 you should consider, which can print fast, don’t take up much room on the desk and are very easy to …
Simon Williams, 22 Feb 2012
Ten... A3 printers

Ten... A3 inkjet printers

The most probable reasons for printing A3 documents are 1) posters or folded A4 newsletters, and 2) large photos. The types of printer needed for these two requirements are different. For posters and newsletters you want a machine intended primarily for plain paper print and it will save time if it can print duplex. For photos, …
Simon Williams, 31 Jan 2012
Epson Stylus Photo PX720WD

Ten... inkjet photo printers

There’s only really one choice of technology for printing photos well and economically. Inkjet printers produce better quality photos than traditional silver halide, one of the reasons digital photography has superseded it. Most of the major printer manufacturers produce inkjet printers and even the most basic of these can print …
Simon Williams, 17 Dec 2011
Ten... Colour laser printers

Ten... colour laser printers

There are two main technologies that can put colour text and graphics on paper; inkjet and laser. Though inkjet makers like Epson and HP have tried to push inkjets into the lower end of the office market, it’s still dominated by colour lasers, due to their speed and the high permanence of solid toner over liquid ink. Colour …
Simon Williams, 26 Nov 2011
Ten... Mono Laser Printers

Ten... mono laser printers

Mono laser printers have been available for 30 years and remain the bedrock of most business. From small printers in home offices to large ones in corporate departments, they print most of the commercial correspondence in the country, yet their technical specs have changed little. They are now faster, have higher resolution and …
Simon Williams, 29 Oct 2011
Epson Stylus Office BX925FWD

Ten... all-in-one inkjet printers

There are two types of inkjet all-in-one printer: one intended for photo enthusiasts and the other for people running offices. It's the latter lot I'm attending to here, with a selection of printers designed for those who value plain paper output as much as - if not more than - snaps. The price ranges large, with the cheapest …
Simon Williams, 24 Sep 2011
Acer Revo RL100

Acer Revo RL100 media centre

It’s been a long time since PC makers started trying to get PCs into people’s living rooms. Originally it was all about games, but consoles soon became a cheaper and better-supported option. Now, it’s about TV and disc playing, in particular 3D, HD viewing and Blu-ray too. Acer seems keen to revive the lounge PC and with the …
Simon Williams, 03 Feb 2011
Synology USB Station 2

Synology USB Station 2

Network storage is a ‘good thing’ in the same way as a Big Top; great as long as you don’t have to set it up. Selling Nas boxes to consumers needs the hassle taken out of the installation – and what if you already have a drive you’re not using? Synology’s USB 2 Station aims to ease both problems. Synology USB Station 2 Making …
Simon Williams, 14 Jan 2011
Scosche solBAT2

Scosche Solbat2 solar charger

Even though the phrase ‘There’s no such thing as a free lunch’ remains a truism, however cynical, it doesn’t seem to stop Scosche from using the promise of ‘something for nothing’ to tempt you to buy its Solbat2 solar-powered backup battery. Scosche solBAT2 Scosche's Solbat2: Simple, idiot-proof design for charging and …
Simon Williams, 12 Oct 2010
Epson Aculaser M1200

Epson Aculaser M1200

Epson’s baby laser printer looks something like Canon’s with its bread loaf shape, though here the case is all black and the printer’s bigger in all dimensions, noticeably in height. Epson Aculaser M1200 Super-breadloaf design would benefit from a paper tray cover It opens up for printing in much the same way, too, with the …
Simon Williams, 04 Oct 2010
Group Test Budget Mono Laser Printers

Best Buys: Budget Mono Laser Printers

All six of these printers do a more than passable job of printing a page of text and in most cases you won't notice the difference between these machines and mono lasers costing three times the price. They are also pretty similar on speed, offering between 12 and 16ppm. Samsung ML-1665 The factors that split them are running …
Simon Williams, 04 Oct 2010
Group Test Budget Mono Laser Printers

Budget Mono Laser Printers

A trip round PC World or Staples could easily convince you the only printers available for personal use, in home or small office, are inkjets. That ain’t so, with a good range of mono lasers still around from impressively low prices of well under £100. Samsung ML-1665 Now, you may not need the squeezy wonders of coloured inks …
Simon Williams, 04 Oct 2010
Samsung ML-1665

Samsung ML-1665

Samsung’s entry-level mono laser, the ML-1665, is small and inexpensive. The black-cased machine has a bulge at the back, but still uses a fold-down front panel as its paper input tray and a fold-over top cover to take the output. This gives it quite a large footprint overall, when printing. Samsung ML-1665 Small when closed, …
Simon Williams, 04 Oct 2010
Canon-i-SENSYS LBP3010

Canon i-Sensys LBP3010

Canon i-Sensys LBP3010 | If you like white, you’ll love the look of Canon’s entry-level laser, about the size and shape of a large tin loaf. The top panel flips open to become the output tray and the front panel does likewise to become a 150-sheet feed tray. A very nifty little tray cover folds down from inside the front panel, …
Simon Williams, 04 Oct 2010
Brother HL-2035

Brother HL-2035

This squat, square printer has a surprisingly good specification and can be found for a very reasonable asking price. The slide-out paper tray at the bottom of the front panel holds a full 250-sheets and is fully covered when closed, so you don’t need to remove paper to avoid spills when not printing. There’s a single-sheet feed …
Simon Williams, 04 Oct 2010
Dell 1130

Dell 1130

Dell’s diversification into printers has proved very successful for the company and though what’s on offer are all variants of printers from other manufacturers, there’s sufficient difference in features and costs to rack them up against the competition. Dell 1130 Looks like a Samsung, but with low Dell cartridge prices The …
Simon Williams, 04 Oct 2010
Group Test Budget Mono Laser Printers

Buyer's Guide: Budget Mono Laser Printers

If you can have a printer which can print black text on plain paper, as well as full colour on plain and glossy photo paper, why would you want to buy one which can only print black and only on photocopy paper? What does a laser printer offer over an inkjet? Group Test Budget Mono Laser Printers The first feature is speed. …
Simon Williams, 04 Oct 2010
HP LaserJet P1102w

HP LaserJet P1102w

HP’s entry-level laser is available with and without a wireless connection. The LaserJet P1102w has one and the asking price reflects this. This is another extended bread loaf-shaped printer, with the main feed tray folding down from the front panel. The output support is a clip-in fixture at the front, though, which is less …
Simon Williams, 04 Oct 2010
Packard Bell Easynote Butterfly XS

Packard Bell Butterfly XS 11.6in notebook

Where does the dividing line between netbooks and notebooks lie? Is an 11.6in screen small enough to dismiss any ideas of true notebook status? Conversely, does having a DVD rewriter lift a portable forever out of netbookdom? Packard Bell Easynote Butterfly XS Packard Bell's Easynote Butterfly XS: flighty? For those who want …
Simon Williams, 15 Jul 2010
All-in-one Inkjet Printers

All-in-One Inkjet Printers: Best Buys

Before I announce which printers have won Reg Hardware awards, let's first see how they measure up against each other. Print-speed Tests Multi-page Printing £150 Inkjet group test Output in pages per minute (PPM) Longer bars are better Photo Printing £150 Inkjet group test Time to print 15 x 10cm photo in Seconds (s) …
Simon Williams, 15 Jul 2010
Kodak ESP 7

Kodak ESP 7

Although a late arrival at the inkjet printer ball, Kodak’s wealth of photographic and imaging knowledge has helped carve it a clever niche in the market. Its current advertising run, stressing the low cost of running its machines, shows where it’s aiming. Kodak ESP 7 All the machines in the ESP range use the same print …
Simon Williams, 15 Jul 2010
Epson Stylus SX610FW

Epson Stylus SX610FW

On the ‘looks the business’ scales, this machine will take quite a counterweight. Big and glossy black, it has a wavy top concealing its 30-sheet ADF. Open the input tray and the output tray drops away – very neat. The front control panel, which can be swung out to several different angles, holds a bright, 63mm LCD and large, …
Simon Williams, 15 Jul 2010
Lexmark Intuition S505

Lexmark Intuition S505

Lexmark’s Home Office range of all-in-ones, like Kodak’s, share the same print engine and are distinguished, one from another, by their feature sets and price. Although it has an SRP of £150, the S505 is closer to the bottom than the top of the range and you can find it heavily discounted. The printer has a conventional design, …
Simon Williams, 15 Jul 2010
Canon PIXMA MX350

Canon Pixma MX350

This machine follows the same style lines as other all-in-ones in Canon’s range, with a large case in black and silver. The ADF for the scanner is integrated into an angled surround which holds the control panel, and includes a feed tray which folds shut to clean up the look of the machine when it’s not scanning. Canon PIXMA …
Simon Williams, 15 Jul 2010
HP Officejet 6500

HP Officejet 6500

Looking like somebody’s given a pair of compasses to a penguin and told it to design an all-in-one, the Officejet 6500’s black and white body is all wide-radius curves. From the cheeky quiff at the end of its 35-sheet ADF feed tray to its double-size, 250-sheet paper tray, it’s unexpected in looks and function. This is the …
Simon Williams, 15 Jul 2010
All-in-one Inkjet Printers

Buyer's Guide: all-in-one inkjet printers

In the home, where print volumes are typically low, inkjet printers rule. You simply won't find colour lasers or laser-based all-in-ones at the £150 price point around which all the printers in this Group Test are offered. Inkjets also have the versatility to be able to print quality photos as well as strong colours and …
Simon Williams, 15 Jul 2010
All-in-one Inkjet Printers

All-in-One Inkjet Printers

Much like the trend for mobile phones to have cameras, inkjet printers with scanners seems to be the norm these days. With all the models on test producing photo quality prints yet costing less than £150, you might think you’re getting something for nothing. Of course, along with the scanner doubling as a colour photocopier – …
Simon Williams, 15 Jul 2010
Brother MFC-490CW

Brother MFC-490CW

Brother has a wealth of all-in-ones looking much like the MFC-490CW. The gently curved upper surface makes it look slightly old, though this is mitigated by the widescreen LCD, which allows for a photo thumbnail and a menu to be displayed side by side. The controls are well laid out, and the front lip of the machine contains two …
Simon Williams, 15 Jul 2010
Gateway DS50

Gateway DS50 Core i3 desktop PC

The main reason for wanting a compact PC is lack of room on or under a desk. The Gateway DS50 is not SFF in the Asus EeePC terms, but in the sense of something roughly half the volume of a midi-tower. It still has room for a full-height DVD rewriter, a 3.5in hard drive inside the case, an internal power supply and a 95mm cooler …
Simon Williams, 29 Jun 2010
MSI Wind U160

MSI Wind U160

MSI was one of the first companies to see the importance of the Eee PC as a new category of portable. The Wind U160 is its latest response to a growing range of netbooks based on Intel’s low-power Atom chips. Yet can it break the ‘me-too’ mould and offer something extra? MSI Wind U160 A mighty wind? MSI's U160 MSI’s original …
Simon Williams, 01 Jun 2010
Solar Freeloader Pico

Solar Freeloader Pico solar-charged back-up power supply

Running out of battery power can clobber your day and leave you incommunicado when you least want to be. There are various secondary power supplies on the market, but few of them can recharge themselves entirely from daylight. The Freeloader Pico claims to be one that can. Solar Freeloader Pico Solar's Freeloader Pico: free …
Simon Williams, 05 May 2010
Colour Laser Printers

Buyer's Guide: Colour Laser Printers

On price alone, you might think there’d be no contest between inkjets and colour laser printers, but the strength of the latter lies in areas other than the monetary bottom line. The key advantages are all results of the technology itself: cleaner quality print, more robust documents and higher print speed. In an inkjet printer …
Simon Williams, 26 Mar 2010
Canon iSensys LBP5050

Canon i-Sensys LBP5050

This is a squat machine, cased all in white, with a simple, LED-filled status panel. It has a single paper tray, holding just 150 sheets, which isn’t a lot if you print frequently. There’s a multi-feed slot for envelopes and other media. The machine uses a print engine integrated into the toner cartridge, with cartridges good …
Simon Williams, 26 Mar 2010
Dell 1320C

Dell 1320c

Tall and black, this big, square Dell cube makes its presence felt on the desk. Paper feeds from a decent-capacity, 250-sheet paper tray and there’s a single-sheet multipurpose feed, too. The control panel is simple, but includes warning LEDs built into a useful schematic of the printer. What this Dell machine saves in desktop …
Simon Williams, 26 Mar 2010
HP Color LaserJet CP1215

HP Color LaserJet CP1215

This printer and the Canon i-Sensys LBP5050 use the same colour laser engine, designed by Canon. HP puts it in a case of its own design, but there are still many similarities between the two machines. Set into the heavily curved front edge on the right is a simple control panel with a series of eight indicators and two control …
Simon Williams, 26 Mar 2010
Lexmark C540N

Lexmark C540N

This is a comparatively big machine, in a case full of bumps and bulges, and has a similar arrangement of drums and toner cartridges to the Dell 1320C. It’s control panel is better than most, with a backlit two-line by 16-character LCD display and an array of six buttons to control functions. The 250-sheet paper tray at the …
Simon Williams, 26 Mar 2010
OKI C3450N

OKI C3450N

Alone among the printers in this group test, the OKI machine uses strips of high-intensity LEDs to illuminate its photoconductor drums, rather than laser beams. This makes for a simpler design, though in this case the machine is deeper from front to back than most. The controls are very simple, with just two buttons for on/ …
Simon Williams, 26 Mar 2010
Xerox Phaser 6125

Xerox Phaser 6125

This printer has the lowest official retail price in the group by a good way and this feeds through to typical internet prices, where it can be had for around £139. You might expect Xerox to have cut some corners to get to this price, but not a bit of it. Xerox Phaser 6125 The tall white machine with dark blue highlights has …
Simon Williams, 26 Mar 2010
Colour Laser Printers

Desktop Colour Laser Printers: Best Buys

While any of these six printers can turn out a decent business page, with sharp black text and vibrant colour graphics, some definitely have more to offer than others and two stand out. The Reviews... Canon i-Sensys LBP5050 Dell 1320c HP Color LaserJet CP1215 Lexmark C540N OKI C3450N Xerox Phaser 6125 Colour Laser Printers …
Simon Williams, 26 Mar 2010
Packard Bell oneTwo M

Packard Bell oneTwo M

As the world swings inexorably away from desktop PCs towards notebooks, netbooks and PMPs, the PC has to adapt or die. One way to go, as Packard Bell would have it, is the touchscreen media PC. It follows the iMac paradigm that the whole thing should be built into the back of a large-format LCD screen. Packard Bell oneTwo M A …
Simon Williams, 07 Jan 2010
Mintpass Mintpad

Mintpass Mintpad

Do you really need an electronic notepad and portable media player, but have tiny pockets in all your clothes? If so, the Mintpad could be the answer. This compact device majors on its touchscreen notepad, but also has multimedia features and Wi-Fi Internet connectivity, in a player less than 80 x 65mm. Mintpass Mintpad Small …
Simon Williams, 05 Jan 2010