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I've always favoured iTunes over Windows media player and other third party applications, and since buying a MacBook Pro recently I was excited that iTunes was per-installed and I didn't have to deal with any horribly annoying other media players.
On to iTunes itself - I'll break the review up into different subcategories for easy reading.
The design of iTunes is flawless. It's easy to find what you want in the iTunes store and organising your music and video files is a breeze. There are even different layout options so that you can choose what suits you best. I can't fault the design - it's what Apple do best!
Speed is where iTunes can fall down. It's now slow, but can be irritating sometimes. On my mac it's fine and quick to open and use, but on other Windows computers I've owned before it is not. This is my experience with iTunes on Windows - It takes a minute to actually open, usually taking so long that I click it again, wondering if I'd actually clicked it the first time, resulting it 2 iTunes windows opening or the whole computer freezing up. Once in, there could be occasional lag - especially on the iTunes store - but otherwise it was fine.
Media Variety + Quality
Not only does the iTunes store sell music and music, but it also sells Movies (to rent or buy), TV Shows, digital books, apps for other Apple devices, Podcasts and University lectures (uploaded by the university). The variety of music is fantastic. I've never had an issue with finding the music I want, and it's always released on time and you can even pre-order music. The music is of the highest quality - it blows most other YouTube music videos out of the water. The same quality standard goes for movies and TV shows etc. The variety of TV shows is also fantastic, and the same goes for movies - however there have been times when they haven't got the movie I want. If this happens though, you can fill in a recommendation form for them.
The pricing on iTunes ranges from fair to outrageous, which can be a let down.
Music - Songs are usually priced at either 59p, 79p or 99p. Every song that you can find on iTunes is usually (but not always) 10p cheaper on Amazon music. Having said this, I have never used Amazon music so I can't compare sound quality or how easy it is to get the song onto an iPhone or other device.
Movies - The price of movies is okay. It's usually not too much, but not cheap either. If you can, I'd rent it from Blockbuster or LoveFilm etc. but if you can't, you shouldn't be spending too much more on iTunes. The bonus of buying from iTunes though, is that you can play the movie on your Laptop or iPhone etc. or your TV if you have the right cables or an Apple TV. With DVDs you can't watch them on your iPhone or iPad etc.
TV Shows - These are usually VERY overpriced. To give you an example, each season of Friends on iTunes is currently £14.99. Therefore, to buy all 10 seasons of Friends on iTunes would cost you just under £150. On Amazon, you can get all 10 seasons on DVD for £54.54 - enough said.
iTunes has never crashed on me, so I give it 5/5 for reliability. It has also never lost any files I've downloaded before - but even if it had, I can download them again free of charge from the iTunes store.
If you download a song from iTunes on your computer, it will automatically and wirelessly download to your iPhone, iPad, iPod or Apple TV within minutes using iCloud. If you want to do the same for movies, simply connect your iDevice to your laptop with a USB and it will do it all for you. Therefore I also give compatibility a 5/5. And, if you prefer to have your music on CDs but also want a back up on iTunes, just put your CD into the computer and tell iTunes to import tracks.
Over all, iTunes is amazingly simple to use, while it can be slow it's definitely not too slow, and having tried other media managers iTunes is by far my favourite.
Yesterday I made my way to London to visit M&M's world, excited that it was not only the biggest one in the world, but the biggest candy store in the world also. My first impressions from the outside were good, it looked HUGE and full of colour inside. Upon entering, I was greeted by very friendly staff and M&M mascots posing for pictures with people. The first thing you see when you walk in is a giant red old-school London bus with the hop-on hop-off platform on the back. It is by far the most colourful, bright shop I've ever been in and I'm amazed how they managed to make it so big.
The masses and masses of merchandise and M&Ms are spread over 4 floors, with something exciting on each. On the ground floor, there's big window that lets you see into a futuristic room where packs of m&ms are being made. You can even place an order on the nearby touch screen computer and watch it be made.
On another floor is a computer which 'scans' you and determines your mood and which colour m&m you are.
On the top floor are some of the most overpriced things I've seen in my entire life - if they ever sell these, it'll be to a crazy person. There were small m&m glass sculptures for £300, and even an M&M leather jacket decorated with sequins in to look like m&ms for £3,000! It's all very interesting though.
Having said that, it's not just the top floor that's overpriced. You'll be paying £1.99 per 100g of pic 'n' mix m&ms from the impressive dispensers or a minimum of £5.95 for a small bag of m&ms. What's more is they only have chocolate, peanut and crispy m&ms - not any of the american flavours like peanut butter, pretzel, coconut etc. which is where I really think they're missing a trick.
However, there is so much else to buy in the shop - although it's all overpriced, it's a great experience and the staff are possibly the friendliest I've ever met in any shop. They really complete the m&m experience!
Over all, I give M&M's World London 4/5 stars because it really is huge, the staff are friendly, they just have so much on sale - but the prices and lack of American flavours do let them down.
I'd wanted to buy an iPad for a long time, and when the Black Friday sale came around I had the excuse of a discount to get one. The box is Compact and inside you get the iPad, a charger and sync cable and a booklet containing a getting started guide and 2 Apple stickers. It's so easy to get started and came preloaded with iOS 5 so that I didn't need to connect it to a computer to start, I could just switch on and go.
For me, the screen is a perfect size. It's not small enough to fit in your pocket of course but small enough to easily fit in your bag so that you can carry it wherever you go. I am extremely impressed with the battery life, which lives up to the 10hr claim so I only have to charge it every 2 days or so, with a lot of usage which consists of mainly watching movies and YouTube, browsing the Internet and playing games.
The iPad is meant for simplicity - everything is easy to figure out and I didn't need to even open the instruction manual. Browsing the Internet is fast (faster than my old Dell Inspiron laptop in fact), especially because there's no flash content for it to load which speeds everything up - although flash is possible with apps available in the app store.
One of the main reasons to get an Apple product is the iTunes store and the App Store - the widest range of music, movies, TV Shows, podcasts etc. all in one place. Downloading movies is a breeze - once you're set up with an Apple ID that's connected to a bank account or gift card you're ready to go. And as soon as it starts downloading, you can start watching - there's no need to wait until it's finished downloading.
The app store is also full of things that make the iPad worth the money you pay. From full in-depth PS2 games like Grand Theft Auto 3 to light-hearted casual games like doodle jump, there's something for everyone and it's never too expensive - and a lot of the time, free. Gaming on the large 10 inch screen is a whole new experience, although maybe a little annoying for some as there are no physical controls or buttons.
You can also download apps like Amazon and Lovefilm that just make everything faster than going into Safari and typing in a web address.
As per the title, I hardly ever use my laptop any more - moth things I need to do I can do on the iPad - including work, which I often do in the Pages app which is an extra £6.99 but just like Microsoft Word but more suited to the iPad. I can also print without a special AirPrint printer - I have a Canon printer and using the Canon app in the app store, I can print everything I need to.
Multitasking is also made easy on the iPad - double press the home button or swipe 4 fingers up the screen to reveal the multitasking bar, where you can click on any other open app to go to it, or swipe across the screen with 4 fingers to open the app you last has open.
Lastly, I want to talk about the music app - any music you download is available immediately in the app to play through the surprisingly loud and high quality speaker built into the iPad. It's similar to iTunes in style and you can create and edit playlists right on the device, and let music play in the background with whatever else you want to do on the device.
Overall, while the iPad 2 can't replace a computer, it very nearly can and is a lot simpler to use. And, of course, there are no viruses that can get into the iPad 2 so you know you're always safe online.
I bought my iPad 2 and Smart Cover to match in the Apple Black Friday sale in November. Having owned and broken an iPod touch screen in the past, I needed to get a cover with the iPad, so I settled upon this because of the way it was created alongside the iPad to work well with it. I was attracted to the sleek design and usefulness of it, but not so much the £35 price tag - which is why I got it in the sale, for £24.
While delivering all it promises, it could be improved. It cleans the screen while the iPad is not in use but because of the way it has to fold up into a stand, leaves three noticeable lines going down the screen. While this is better than having a completely greasy screen, some people tend to think it actually leaves marks there (when in actual fact it just hasn't been able to clean there).
The main reason I bought the cover is to make use of the stand it folds up into. I'm typing this review on my iPad right now, using the cover to prop it up to an angle that's perfect for typing. It's sturdy and the magnet is strong enough to make me feel like the iPad is in no danger of falling off and getting damaged. I'm also impressed with the 'movie-watching' stand (as I call it). It lets the iPad sit up on a desk and you can watch your movie comfortably, without having to hold the iPad up.
I also feel it's thick enough to add protection to the screen while not taking away from the fantastic design of the iPad. Of course, it's not going to protect anything from a very high or rough drop, but the accidental knock onto a carpeted surface means the screen should (hopefully) suffer no damage.
My Only other complaint about the cover is that the magnet appears to be getting weaker after a couple of months of usage, which could cause problems in the future. Also, and this may be a bigger problem to some, is that it has caused a couple of marks to appear on the left side of the iPad where it is attached. It looks a bit like cracked paint, where the shiny silver has been chipped away slightly to reveal a darker silver/grey colour. This is not a problem for me though as I don't see it unless I take the cover off, which is rarely.
This is a decent popcorn maker which makes delicious fresh, unburnt popcorn. It does it fast and the cup that you put on top melts butter and mesures the popcorn well.
It's quite small and well-built, but comes with a french plug and no adapter is supplied (if bought from Amazon). I love to melt butter and put the popcorn, melted butter and some salt into a container and shake, to make lovely buttery and salty popcorn as a treat (it's very unhealthy with butter and salt).
The only problem is, the fan blows out quite a lot of unpopped kernels into the bowl. It's either wasted popcorn or more effort to re-pop the unpopped ones. And just a word of warning, don't put the included butter/measuring cup in the dishwasher, it will break! Overall, this is a good popcorn popper, perfect for quick and healthy snacks, and is a good buy.
This is my second iPod, my other being the Touch. I decided to get this because it's not very convenient taking an iPod Touch to the gym, for obvious reasons. The reason I chose another iPod over an MP3 player is because I could sync this to my iTunes library within seconds, and other MP3 players that don't use iTunes can take hours to get set up.
The actual iPod is just a bit bigger than a £2 coin (and of course square) and in your hands looks and feels amazing - well built, attractive, simple and has a handy clip (which many other MP3s don't offer). The headphone jack doubles up as a sync cable (to charge & connect to iTunes) and there's only one other button (excluding pause, play etc.) and a slider.
The nicely designed buttons on the front are play/pause, volume up, volume down, previous track and next track. The play/pause button is the biggest, making it perfect for quickly and easily stopping the music.
Otherwise it does what you'd expect and does it well, with extra features such as Voiceover, which tells you information about the song you're listening to and allows you to change playlists; and of course the shuffle slider (so you can turn shuffle on or off).
The only disadvantage is that 2GB is the maximum memory it comes in, downgraded from 3/4gb on the last model. It still stores plenty of songs though (a few hundred).
I remember finding out about Orabrush through one of YouTube's featured videos, and because other people seemed to think it was good, I decided to take up their offer of 'Your first Orabrush Free!' (I only had to pay shipping from the states).
What it does is removes bacteria from your tongue, and you can see the difference instantly! If you look in the mirror, you may be able to see some white/yellow furry stuff on your tongue. This is bacteria and the Orabrush, with its super-soft bristles gets rid of most of the bacteria and you're left with a cleaner mouth and better overall hygiene.
There's really not much to it, you just brush your tongue! (sounds strange, doesn't it?) I just got back from the dentist and he said I had the cleanest mouth he'd seen all day, so I have to put some of that down to the Orabrush and I recommend it to anyone! It also freshens your breath, as this is the bacteria that causes 90% of bad breath.
The only disadvantage is that it may be hard to clean all areas, and it doesn't completely get rid of the bacteria (but gets rid of most).
And if you don't want to order online, they sell them at most Boots high street shops.
I bought this because I recently dropped my iPod and the screen cracked in the corner. It wasn't enough to make me want to replace the screen so I got this to try and stop more damage being done. It came in a box on its own, with no screen protector. It's quite thin so doesn't add much more bulk to the iPod but obviously protects it well as when I've dropped it, the screen and rest of the iPod are fine and the case stays scratch-free.
It leaves a big space around the camera and mic so picture quality isn't affected; the power/lock button is easy to push through the case, but the volume buttons are placed so that it makes them a bit harder to push. At the bottom of the case, there's a hole for the headphone jack and a separate one for the charger port & the speaker.
Overall, I rate this case 5 Stars because although the volume buttons are a little off, it protects the iPod very well, looks good and provides extra grip.
I'm not a fan of spending loads of cash on earphones, especially when you can get ones like the JVC Marshmallows for less. Before I bought these, I used to buy Skullcandy Ink'd earphones, which always broke on me so I decided to change. These are, in my opinion, far better than the Ink'd earphones. They are more comfortable as they are foamy so they actually fit the shape of your ears and don't fall out, even when running or cycling.
The sound quality is very good, the same if not better than Skullcandy. When you turn the volume up too loud there can be some crackling but you get this on all earphones unless you want to spend hundreds of pounds. They have a nice design and the cord is the perfect length; they block out most background sound too.
Overall these are great earphones for the price and I prefer them to any other earphones I've had before. They're reliable too, and having owned them for about a year they are still working perfectly. They also come with a spare pair of foamy ear pieces so if one pair gets a bit run down you can just switch to the other pair.
I bought the Tocco Lite because it was a popular phone at the time and so I thought it must be a good one. I wasn't disappointed - for the price you wouldn't expect it to be great, but the screen was good and it's customizable with some good widgets and other cool features to it. It's well-built (as you'd expect from Samsung phones) and doesn't feel like it would break easily.
Photo and video quality is quite good, better than you'd get from some phones of a similar price range - however with no 3G you might have a hard time uploading them to Facebook. Internet browsing is generally quite slow but if you have time it's OK. If you're looking for a media-rich phone with fast speeds and lots of apps, this isn't it.
However, it is a good phone for touch-screen beginners and I can see why it's popular, so if you're looking for a simple touch screen phone with a few extra features and occasional internet browsing this is probably what you're looking for.
the iPod Touch has always been one of my favorite devices, and it has too many features to ever possible put into a review, so I'm going to jump in with my favorite features. First off, the 4th Gen iPod Touch has an amazing Retina display - what that means is that it has more pixels put into the screen than the human eye can see, so you end up with amazing picture quality, and it's a huge improvement over previous iPod models and all other phones on the Market (Except the iPhone 4, which also packs a Retina Display). It's fast in every aspect, including video playback on YouTube, BBC iPlayer, 4oD and other video playback sites with HD quality picture on the Retina Display. The rear camera takes amazing pictures in good light, while the front camera is great for FaceTime (Apple's free video calling service) and Skype (also free from the app store). The App Store opens up a whole other world on the iPod Touch, there are apps that can do just about anything - and in July 2011 it hit over 15 Billion downloads, so it's popular. I'd recommend the iPod Touch to just about anyone - I'd also recommend a case because while this thing is durable, you don't want to break it!
The Orange San Francisco seems like a fantastic phone with good features and a low price tag. However, with the low price tag comes low quality performance. I'm going to start with the positives: The screen on this phone is fantastic, good indoors and out with high resolution. It's not too laggy and very customizable. The sound quality is OK and is easy to use for calling and texting. Now for the negatives: The WiFi on this phone is terrible. It can't find my hub unless I'm about 8 feet or less away from it, whereas any other electronic device can find it from the end of my garden. This is a major problem but not the only one: If you have more than one text conversation going, it starts to send texts to the wrong people! This could potentially be not only annoying, but embarrassing too. It's very slow when taking pictures and video quality is also awful. If you're thinking of getting the San Francisco, I'd willingly pay a bit extra for the HTC Wildfire S.
Giffgaff is a different network to the big ones, it has generous tariffs, competitions with big prizes, Payback and a friendly community. I think it has something for everyone with their low standard rates and generous Goodybags with unlimited internet with no FUP. There's no customer service line which keeps costs low and they have the community to help with problems; the community it made up of other giffgaff members who want to help and get paid for doing so (through Payback). If they can't solve your problem, they have several giffgaff staff, called 'Educators' on the forum who are usually online and ready to help. The only hassle you'll have joining giffgaff is unlocking your phone and transferring your number. There seem to be lots of problems when it comes to transferring numbers, but I didn't transfer mine from Orange so I haven't had any problems with giffgaff before. Overall, giffgaff's a great network for anyone who's stuck on pricey PAYG rates and uses O2's signal, so has pretty good coverage.