Breaking free from vacuum filters: the Dyson Cinetic Big Ball

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It’s certainly got an attention-grabbing name – The Dyson Cinetic Big Ball. But does Dyson’s latest vacuuming construction live up to its warrior-esque title?

Any newly-released vacuum by Dyson has to be worth taking note, especially when it claims to process dirt and dust into microscopic pieces without any clogging and by doing so eliminating the need for a filter.

So let’s have a look at what the tech press big guns have got to say about the new Dyson Cinetic Big Ball that has been dubbed as pushing vacuum technology forward.

GizMag got the chance to conduct an early review of the Dyson Cinetic Big Ball. Asides its annoying upright canister and base latch, which, if you don’t get right, causes the handle to keep falling back towards you, GizMag was impressed with quiet motor and “phenomenal” suction.

As well as sucking up “enough dog hair to make a third dog”, the Cinetic obliterated party mess with equal grit, as the bristle brushes swept up party streamers with ease.

In cleaning mode, the Cinetic proved its worth to the GizMag reviewer once more, getting rid of stains when spot cleaning was applied.

It’s maintenance-free

One of the Dyson Cinetic Big Ball’s biggest pros, writes Tech Crunch, is the fact it is essentially maintenance free. You can kiss goodbye to the days of arduously removing, rinsing and then drying filters. This is thanks to the fact the vacuum relies on smaller cyclones working together which create an intense centrifugal force. This force is capable of separating even the tiniest pieces of dirt and dust –hence no removable debris builds up.

That said, Dyson Cinetic Big Ball users will still have to empty the dust and dirt chamber. As Tech Crunch rightly points out, if they managed to overcome this requisite of modern vacuuming, they would “probably break the laws of physics.”

Another major plus point of the new Dyson, according to Tech Crunch, is all the accessories that most household vacuumer’s will need.

In terms of performance, the Tech Crunch reviewer believed the Cinetic “consistently outperformed” their own Dyson DC25 upright.

Old frustrations

In a slightly less praising review of the Dyson Cinetic Big Ball series, CNet claims Dyson’s latest vacuuming wares is stifled by old Dyson frustrations, namely that it’s a tad on the flimsy side.

Whilst, thanks to the ball it rests on, the Cinetic is pretty manoeuvrable, it feels flimsy and falls over, exclaim CNet.

Despite niggling concerns about robustness, what’s remarkable about Dyson’s Cinetic is that it’s filter-free. But does this really make a difference in terms of functionality?

Reviews.com seems to thinks so, claiming the Dyson Cinetic Big Ball is 54% better than the other vacuums they tested and giving it a score of 9.2.

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So how much is the new wholly machine filtration vacuum? £459.99 – not cheap, but then what do you expect for a vacuum without filters.

The Dyson Big Ball Cinetic is available now. Visit Dyson to find out more.

Dyson Hard – a treat for hard surfaces?

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Having previously developed a range of attachments and accessories to tackle the unique cleaning challenges posed by hard surfaces, vacuum specialist Dyson has today launched a new product specifically designed to help people with hard floors in their homes. Rather suggestively titled the Dyson Hard (DC56), this is the latest addition to the Wiltshire company’s ever-expanding product range, and it shares plenty of DNA with its siblings.

The Hard’s signature feature is an integrated wet wipe, which performs the duties of a traditional mop, while a double-edged cleaner head simultaneously vacuums away dirt and debris. A detachable crevice and combination tool facilitates access to awkward corners, and the Hard’s tall, cordless design nods to established Dyson devices such as the well-received DC35 and DC44 ranges. Although Dyson will market their own wet wipes, rival household products can also be used, avoiding expensive proprietary ‘lock-in’ accessories – something owners of computer printers will be particularly relieved about.

The net result of the Hard’s combined functionality is the abolition of a two-stage cleaning process, where vacuuming traditionally precedes the laborious task of going over tiles or wooden floors with a mop and bucket to remove more stubborn or ingrained stains. Conventional hoovers, mops and even steam cleaners all perform a solitary role, whereas the Hard aims to avoid duplication of housework, as well as the relatively inefficient task of wiping floors with a mop that becomes increasingly soiled by the very dirt it is supposed to be removing. Furthermore, the instant-on nature of the cordless Hard makes it suitable for tackling spills or marks as soon as they occur.

Powered by a compact motor that spins at over 100,000rpm, the Hard is capable of operating for 15 minutes on a single charge of its lithium-ion battery, while a high-intensity boost setting provides six minutes of extreme stain removal. That isn’t sufficient to clean a whole house, but it’s certainly enough to shift muddy paw prints from the hallway. The Hard’s family-proof credentials are bolstered by being manufactured from the same rugged ABS polycarbonate used to make riot shields, while test models justified their proposed title by being subjected to almost six thousand different impact tests during a two-year development programme.

With its UK launch taking place on Halloween, critics have yet to experience the treat of a two-in-one cleaner and suction device. However, the Dyson Hard’s best trick may be convincing people that one floor-cleaning product is better than two.

Price: £249.99. Available exclusively at Tesco from October 31st.

Dyson announce Airblade dB hand dryer, now 50% quieter

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Who doesn’t like dry hands? Dyson have been at the forefront of bathroom technology since the introduction of their iconic (and polarising) Airblade machines. Personally I’ve been waiting for James and co to unleash their version of Demolition Man’s “Three Seashells” but until that day (and it is coming), I’ve been making do with Dyson Airblade dB – which is now 50% quieter.

Noise has never been a real issue for me – I try to keep conversation in the toilet to a minimum and gushing blasts of hot air are a great way from keeping conversations about “the match” or “the trains’ from reaching my ears. I will also happily listen to Merzbow and Boredoms records. However, I don’t have small children with delicate ears – nor do I work in trade locations where noise is a real issue.

The engineers have redesigned the blades on the original Dyson Airblade hand dryer and altered the angle at which the air travels. Each machine already packs a Helmholtz silencer inside but this has been tweaked in order to reduce irritating frequencies – those resonating at 1500htz.

“But surely this will have an effect on quality?” No of course not – especially if you know Bettridge’s law of headlines. According to the man himself James Dyson said: “Powerful machines create noise. Others might decelerate their motor; reducing airflow – and therefore performance – to make machines they claim to be ‘quiet’. But by focusing on acoustic engineering, Dyson engineers ensured that Airblade is still the fastest hand dryer, but with reduced volume”.

Two sheets of high velocity unheated air travel through 0.4mm scallop-shaped (so close to three seashells!) apertures acting like virtual windscreen wipers, scraping hands dry. The scallop resemblance isn’t just a quirky design feature, but instead intended to increase the distance the two sheets of air travel. They’ve also tweaked the angle of the air exciting the machine so the colliding sheets make even less sound – finally dry hands and nuanced bathroom conversation are no longer mutually exclusive.

Check out more from their video here:

While the initial outlay is far from cheap, the running costs are much lower – the Dyson Airblade dB hand dryer is able to dry 18 pairs of hands for the price of a single paper towel (which struggled to dry a single pair).

The Dyson Airblade dB is out now with a recommended retail price of £699.99

Dyson AirBlade Tap Hand Dryer: Throwing in the towel

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Dyson invited us out to South Kensington yesterday to show off the latest results of their mad tinkering. In an era of increasingly homogenised technology it’s always comforting to be in the presence of some old fashioned engineering geniuses who make things that look how gadgets are supposed to look. The star of the show was the Dyson Airblade Tap hand dryer but there were also tweaks to the existing Airblade models that you know and have complicated relationship with.

The Dyson Airblade Tap hand dryer washes and dries hands with no need to leave the sink so no more hands dripping water across floor. Or queues to use the dryer. The sleek design looks like something robots would use to hose down and is made from 304 stainless steel – an anti-corrosion steel used for the construction of boats. It’s not just shiny, but pretty tough too and can withstand pressure that would make a conventional tap explode.

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As with all modern taps and dryers, infrared sensors are used to pinpoint hand positions and release water from the tap stem. Once hands are wet and drying is requested, integrated circuitry computes the information and activates two high velocity sheets of air on the tap’s branches. Unheated clean air is released to scrape water off hands in a process Dyson claims only takes 12 seconds. Having used the regular Airblade I’m a little sceptical although I do on balance find them faster than regular dryers.

Speaking of which the Dyson Airblade V hand dryer is now 60% smaller yet just as fast. Two sheets of high velocity air angled at 115 degrees span the width of each hand, and scrape off water in just 10 seconds. I don’t see this unit installed as much as the Dyson Airblade which is now a little lighter having lost 1.1kg of materials. It is also now HACCP approved for hygiene, so it is safe for use in the food and beverage industry.

Dyson Airblade Tap hand dryer: £999.99 All models
Dyson Airblade V hand dryer: £499.99 PC white/£519.99 Nickel
Dyson Airblade mk2 hand dryer: £649.99 PC ABS/ £799.99 Aluminium
Wiping on the back of your jeans: £000.00 Levis/Wranglers

Baby it’s cold outside: Winter warmer gadgets

I don’t know about down South but in Manchester it’s wet, freezing and miserable. What happened to autumn this year? With the onset of the cold weather and the gloomy prospect of it only getting colder and colder, who can blame us for turning to mulled wine and chocolates for comfort? There are however other, albeit unlikely, products we can turn to in order to ease the winter chill – gadgets.

Take a look at four great gadgets to bring a tide of warmth in glacial conditions.

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Glider Gloves

Why should we stop feverishly fiddling with our smartphones and tablets just because we’ve got gloves on? This sentiment was the inspiration behind Gilder Gloves, touchscreen compatible gloves for both sexes.

These highly practical gloves are available in two different styles – Winter for when you’re in Arctic conditions such as Manchester throughout the winter, or Urban, meant for less harsher temperatures – Either way texting, emailing, browsing the web or playing Angry Birds now needn’t be impeded just because you’re wearing gloves.

Zippo Hand Warmer

Zippo it seems is branching out from tobacco-related products and into the world of gadgets with the arrival of the Zippo Hand Warmer. Filled with Zippo’s premium lighter fluid, the world-famous lighter brand claims that its hand warmer provides up to 12 hours of heat, ten times longer than its grossly inferior rivals.

Coming in the stylish polished chrome case that makes Zippo products ultra-recognisable, you could easily mistake the Hand Warmer for a lighter. For a mere £12.99 the Zippo Hand Warmer could be a cool alternative to mitts.

Dyson Hot

Okay so Dyson’s are usually associated with vacuuming up and let’s be honest this dreaded chore will always manage notch up a few degrees in the warmth stakes. The Dyson Hot however isn’t meant for beautifying carpets, it’s meant for warming up rooms, evenly and efficiently.

Using a heat-projecting fan, the Dyson Hot projects heat around the room, and without any visible heating elements or fast-spinning blades it’s easy to clean and looks modern, funky and minimalist. As always with Dyson products, the Dyson Hot will cost you – £299.95 to be precise.

Crossbow Snow Launcher

When it comes to snowball fights we all seem to regress back to our childhoods causing our formative years to bounce back with a vengeance! Get the upper-hand in the inevitable annual family snowball fight by exploiting the skills of the Crossbow Snow Launcher.

Simply load snow into the front, pull back the lever and hey presto perfectly formed snow balls come hurtling out causing the enemy to squeamishly scarper.

Dyson Hot fan heater, warm up your room

As I write this, the weather forecast is promising another week of unseasonably warm temperatures. However, when winter finally comes, the experts are warning us that it will bring with it some far-from-average low temperatures, so the latest release from Dyson could well be high on many a winter shopping list.

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The new Dyson Hot fan heater hardly looks like your average fan heater – and Dyson promises that it works very differently as well. Usually, fan heaters only heat up the bit of the room in front of them, and everyone jostles for space to sit in front of it. Not so with Dyson’s latest production.

Instead of fast spinning blades, the device uses Dyson’s Air Multiplier technology, which draws in air at the bottom of the heater using an energy efficient motor, and then this is amplified six times, using processes called inducement and entrainment. Without getting too technical, suffice it to say that is it the same technology used in jet engines and turbochargers (which will hopefully impress your other half if they’re asking why you have spent £269 on a fan heater).

The upshot of all this technological wizardry is that the whole room should be heated evenly, thanks to the smooth oscillation of the machine, and it is easy to achieve a target temperature. Safety wise, there are no visible heating elements or blades and no safety grill to get dusty, so it gets points from me for cutting down on cleaning jobs. It also cuts out automatically if it tips over, which is comforting if you have kids, animals, are buying it for an elderly relative, or are just a bit clumsy.

And should the weather prove too warm, it also offers a cooling fan to offer an uninterrupted stream of smooth air.

A remote control allows you to easily change the temperature, airflow speed and oscillation without moving from your comfy chair.

The Dyson Hot fan heater is available exclusively from John Lewis.

Air Multiplier – Dyson upgrades bladeless fan range

When you are sitting at your desk, how many times have you had to complain to get the air conditioning turned on or off? James Dyson says ‘air conditioning is inefficient and gives little or no ventilation’ and he absolutely correct. Enter the Dyson Air Multiplier.

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Dyson have developed two new Dyson Air Multiplier fans: the AM02 Tower and the AM03 Pedestal. The floor standing fans have no blades and are engineered for larger spaces as it circulates smooth un-buffeted air. The Air Multiplier technology used in the machines is ingenious and innovative. The new fans are more efficient then its predecessor, the AM01 Desk fan, as they generate a greater airflow.

The two options for the new fans offer different benefits. The AM02 Tower is slender and shaped like a running track to take up limited space. Using the Air Multiplier technology, air is amplified 16 times using the AM02 Tower. Moving on to the AM03 Pedestal, it offers the most airflow of all the Dyson Air Multiplier fans as it amplifies air 18 times. It is shaped more conventionally with a loop amplifier. The machine can be tilted to suit the direction you wish and the height adjusted easily.

The blades on conventional fans cause unpleasant buffeting as they chop the air. As the Dyson Air Multiplier has no blades it means there is no buffeting and it gives an uninterrupted stream of smooth air. The technology works by drawing air in through the mixed flow impeller at the base and accelerating it through an annular aperture set within the loop amplifier. This will generate a jet of air which passes over an airfoil-shaped ramp. Surrounding air is drawn into the airflow in a process known as inducement and entrainment. What is fascinating is only 7% of the air generated by Dyson Air Multiplier fans actually passes through the impeller, 93 % comes from the surrounding air.

As the new fans have no blades, you can put your hands through it and it completely safe which is great if you have children around. The look is sleek and will suit any large living space or office. You can precisely vary the settings and speed of airflow using the magnetic remote supplied with the fans which sits on top or a dimmer switch on the base. What amazed me is how quiet is. You can barely hear it, unlike conventional fans where you hear a whirring sound constantly and can get really get annoying. They come in various colours to suit your space. Personally, I love the iron/blue to provide a splash of colour.

The AM02 Tower and the AM03 Pedestal will be available through Dyson.co.uk and selected design stores. As it is Dyson and a quality product, it is not going to be cheap. At £299.00, businesses will get this but for the average consumer it is a bit steep. If you have the dosh, now is definitely the time to invest in this with the sizzling heat

Latest Gadgets at the Gadget Show Live 2010 – Part 2

I found being at the Gadget Show a bit like being at Dragon’s Den with various people selling me on their mad ideas. Here are a few more stalls that caught my eye.

My flatmate likes to call Dyson the Apple of household goods, and I have to reluctantly agree with him here. The Dyson Air Multiplier fan in particular caught our eye. A bladeless fan, the Air Multiplier amplifies air 15 times and produces a smooth blast of air. As James Dyson puts it “I’ve always been disappointed by fans. “ And so he created the Air Multiplier – stylish, safe, easy to clean and child friendly. It’s also fun to play with and we think it would look great in the living room. The Dyson Air Multiplier™ fan costs £199 at dyson.co.uk and is available in selected design stores – it will be in most electrical retailers by the end of April.

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CaseMate make funky cases for iPhones and we went and had a play with 3 of them. Hug was a charging pad where you place your mobile phone on the pad, without plugging it in. Fuel Max was a holster/battery extender that allows you to boost your battery at the push of a button. This was my favourite case, especially as extended sessions on games such as Plants Vs Zombies or Minigore have been taking their toll on my 3GS’s battery life. Finally, I Make My Case – allows you to create your own iPhone cover by logging onto www.imakemycase.com and re-mixing the designs of well-known graphic artists including Thomas Hooper, Deanne Cheuk and Shadown Chen.

Pretty much every other stand had a media hard drive playback device that could spit out 1080p resolution from mkv files. Standouts included the Sumvision Cyclone range (covered nobly by Andy here) including the Cyclone HD, which allows you to download, stream and share all from one box. Also impressive was the AC Ryan PlayOn! DVR HD, which had pretty much all the same functionality but with a much nicer media wrapper – a little closer to recreating the dream or a beautiful XBMC/Plex/Boxee style interface. Iomega also had a ScreenPlay device, but it was just lying on a table so we didn’t really get to probe it.

Qurve produce bespoke speaker systems in the shape of a perfect acoustic horn – “life’s natural amplifier”. Eye catching, crisp and very very expensive. FatMan by TLAudio had their Wi-Tube systems on display. High quality yet affordable audio systems that had an amazing Vintage feel to them and allowed Wireless iPod docking. Their systems stand out for the amazing sound quality due to the use of valve based amplification systems. They also had CHARLiE – high end PC speakers to introduce the average mp3 collection to a thing know as “Bass”.

USB Thumb drives are almost disposable these days (I get all my press packs on them) so I almost walked straight passed the YuuWaa stand until I realised what made them special. YuuWaa combines a secure USB stick with online storage capacity meaning you can automatically backup, access and share all your important data, music, videos and photos from multiple locations. As a big fan of the cloud, I liked the simplicity of the device and it would be a easy way to get regular people into backing up things online, as well as simplifying the sharing of large files. And they just release a Mac version, which made me happy (although minus marks for writing MAC in the press release).

3 had a nifty little in car Wi-Fi device that connects over the 3G network to create a personal Wi-Fi hotspot, allowing passengers to connect to the internet on a range of Wi-Fi enabled devices like an iPod Touch, Nintendo DSi XL or Netbook, without the need for wires or a USB connection. The MiFi modem is only £59.99 and includes 1Gb of data (various plans are available).

The name of the Self Cleaning Cat Toilet tells you pretty much all you need to know and it was one of my favourite gadgets – partly because cleaning kitty litter destroys all the cuteness from cat ownership but also because it looked ridiculously futuristic in an old fashioned way.