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This product is the predecessor to the highly successful Juice Pack made for the previous generation iPhone.
The Juice Pack is a hard plastic case which features an inbuilt 1500 mAh capacity battery to provide supplemental charge to your iPhone when desired.
The presentation of the product in the box as well as the cover art gives the impression that this is a premium product, of the same level of design as the iPhone itself.
On the first look the visual appearance of the case isn't too bad. With a single colour back and it's silver band around the perimeter of the case ostensibly tries to recreate the look of the iPhone. While the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S is made of glass and metal, the Juice Pack is entirely plastic which may come as a surprise to some.
Inspecting the case further there is a switch at the bottom left corner on the side of the case as you're looking at it, which toggles the internal battery to discharge into the phone. Giving users the control of when to begin charging. At the base of the case there is a button alongside for LEDs which displays the charge level of the case. 4 lights obviously being fully charged and one being virtually empty. Moving further round on the opposite side to the switch is the micro USB port used to charge the battery. One point in this case is favour is that you can actually charge the case and the phone at the same time as well as sync your phone through iTunes without having to take it out of the case. Finally on the visual inspection, at the bottom of the case there are two holes facing the front which are in fact channels leading from the phones microphone and speaker. This not only allows you to use the speaker and microphone during used it in fact amplifies their functions.
Getting your phone into the cases are relatively simple affair. The top breaks away and the phone slides in aided by these smooths in our surface. A little manipulation is needed to get the dock connector on the case to engage with the phone but once in it does feel secure. The cutaway for all your buttons and ports may feel a little bulky and especially for the sleep/wake button at the top, it can be a little tricky to get access to. On mine at least I also did notice a couple of millimetres gap between the top of the phone and the case which also made it slightly difficult to access the sleep/wake button.
With these minor problems aside I'm overall very pleased with the Juice Pack Air form Mophie. According to the manufacturer the case can extend your tall time by up to 6 hours on 3G and 12 hours on 2G. As another example is also claims to add an extra 36 hours of audio playback and nine hours of video playback. So if your going away for a conference or on an extended trip and are the sort of person to extensively use your phone then this will be a great solution to your low battery problems. There may be more premium options available but with this case retailing on Amazon for around the £30 mark it's possible to pick one up at a good price.
Dorset cereals has long been associated with the very high end of breakfast. Boasting across its range and a variety of different grain and berries. It's the sort of cereal that you feel guilty for using when you visit a friend's house because of the perceived cost, but is it any good?
The 'Berries & Cherries' is completely removed from most people's view of a muesli based cereal. According to the packaging it contains 50% fruit and having eaten it I can well believe it. It contains large chunks of eight different types of berries (including Rasberrys, blackcurrants and Chilean flame raisins which I have never knowingly had before). While some of the berries are freeze-dried the majority are large succulent chunks and in such quantity as to ensure that every mouthful contains a gorgeous fruity hit.
The packaging is just as luxurious with a rustic, unbleached cardboard feel (not the glossy style you see in conventional cereals) with the 'Dorset cereals' logo in depressed, reflective silver type. Every inch of it reminds you that you are buying a premium product.
Even people who say they don't like muesli should at least give this cereal a try as it's really unlike anything else on the shelves. It is also versatile enough to be eaten with natural yoghurt or soymilk if you are a vegan.
Unfortunately the price does exclude it from being a every day choice and I have to make do with having it has the occasional treat. There are 85 grand boxes available which I have found great for stocking fillers.
Resident Evil 5 is in fact the seventh game in the series where you take control of Chris Redfield, a special agent, who is sent to a fictional African state to apprehend a terrorist. However, the situation soon gets out of hand with you fighting an array of biologically altered enemies. You control the game (either with the mouse and keyboard or using a game pad) from the perspective of the third person.
I have personally always found it quite difficult to follow the story and the many weaving arcs that it casts along the Resident Evil series. But from an objective point of view I can say that in this game it is perfectly paced with an emphasis on action and many old favourites of the series return to answer some of the many questions left in the previous games.
Resident Evil used to be the pinnacle of atmospheric and tension driven horror. However that accolade is passed on to games like Silent Hill with Resident Evil opting for the more action approach with huge monster battles.
I'll start by saying a quick word on the visual appearance of the game before commenting on such aspects as controls and gameplay.
Visually the game is rather stunning with environments and enemies rendered beautifully. Similarly, the animation is flawless. Even facial animation which can be the stumbling block of many games is presented so convincingly that you find yourself very engaged with the story and the characters in. There are only minor complaints, for example, the game has employed a competent physics system which you are never likely to see at every enemy just bubbles away into nothingness. I understand why this is the case as it might be a bit too taxing for the game.
The controls are mostly standard with some deviation which may put off some veterans of the third person shooter. Don't expect to be able to run and shoot; you have to be content with doing one or the other. The player is constrained to a limited number of actions. You can only jump, vault or press against walls at specific points. There is a slightly clunky menu system for switching out items in your inventory which can get a bit frenzied in the heat of battle. The actual menu system on the game is also a little unintuitive. It literally takes about 5 to 7 clicks to exit the game. I feel that this could have been streamlined. Overall the controls may be a little off-putting to begin with but after an hour or so they will become more intuitive.
Possibly the biggest question mark for the gameplay is the AI. The enemies are intelligent enough and will run at you and will use various weapons to try and defeat you. The problem occurs with your ever present partner. With a game that is so dependent on her survival it can be frustrating to constantly tell her to use a certain weapon or two use a medkit at a certain point. It is certainly not the worst AI have seen but there are certain times when it frustrates you.
Even on a machine a few years out of date, the game performs very well. It also feels very stable as I have frequently 'Alt-tabbed' my way in and out of the game without ever seeing it crash. Having had a lot of problems with other games recently this certainly stands in its favour.
Despite all the negative things I have said I actually really like this game. There are genuinely scary moments but perhaps not as many as you would like if you are a fan of the series horror elements. The action set pieces are all well thought out and while I don't particularly enjoy the massive monster battles they certainly do keep you on your toes.
The story is engaging enough to keep you interested and with an average game length of about 12 hours it doesn't feel overly drawn out. The graphics are highly impressive for the time and the in game cut scenes are just as impressive. This is only letdown on the rare occasion when in game animations seem a little clunky.
If you are a fan of the series and want to know how the story continues then this will definitely satisfy you. If you are a newcomer then some elements may be a little over your head but there's certainly enough here to keep you interested and excited.
Resident Evil 5 is currently on sale at £6.99 until 2 January at the Steam Store (normal price £13.99)
VNV Nation are arguably at the forefront of the Electronic Body Music (EBM) scene, and despite having every output since their 1995 debut 'Advance and Follow' and having seen them live a number of times, it is a shame that I am only able to review this one out currently on DooYoo.
While a quick Internet search will try and give you a definition of their musical styles I have found the following to be useful. The two men group comprising of Irish born singer Ronan Harris and Englishman Mark Jackson utilises dance beats and melodies and fuses them with darkly poetic lyrics.
In honesty I think the best way to review any album is to break it down track by track and then give my overall impressions at that the end so with that in mind I shall begin.
*Intro - 1:27*
It is fairly standard for VNV Nation albums to start with an instrumental or ambient tract to set the mood of the album and in the case of 'Matter + Form' we have dark and brooding chords highlighted with electronic noises to start with.
*Chrome - 4:40*
One of the highlights from the album, 'Chrome' starts was a jarring chord before progressing into a steady, heavy beat. The whining and screeching melody subsides to allow Ronan's distinctive vocals to start.
I've often said that there are three types of VNV Nation track. The instrumental, which can either be a pumping dance track or a classical piece with a choir accompaniment. The dance track, ranging from the pounding beat to the energetic lyrics. The dark poem, songs where the mythology and allegory takes centre stage.
This track is firmly in the dance category with the lyrics speaking of transcendence and being set free. This fist pumping track is one of my highlights of the album and fills the listener with a sense of optimism.
*Arena - 5:44*
A deep synth melody starts this track before the lyrics engage. As it progresses to get even more ominous you would be forgiven for thinking that this would be a track that descends into melancholy. However at about 40 seconds in it changes pace and a bright almost Euro-trance melody breaks through. It builds you up before the chorus kicks in.
"... brighter than all the stars combined"
I love this track in all its beauty. It may be slightly cheesy and would probably turn off some of the fans of the darker side of VNV Nation but I can't help singing along whenever it is played.
*Colours of Rain - 4:06*
The opening of this track echoes the introduction to the album, if only briefly. This is the first fully fledged instrumental track on the album and is dominated by a highly echoed piano with brilliant production values that persist throughout the entire 11 tracks.
The track doesn't really progress except with the introduction of some strings about halfway through. It's one of the things that I really admire VNV Nation for, after the floor filling 'Chrome' and the uplifting singalong of 'Arena' and then they go on to an ethereal instrumental track makes it a rather brave decision. Some it may break up the flow but the major satisfies another facet of emotions.
*Strata - 4:00*
Another instrumental but the polar opposite of the last. A short energetic build into a slightly dub inspired beat with an ever present drone in the background. It's one of those tracks that you just find yourself nodding your head to. Halfway through it builds further with more discordant electronic elements but has no melody to speak of. Quite a fun track but certainly not one of my favourites
*Interceptor - 3:25*
An instrumental dance track in its purest form. A simple repetitive beat with many of the elements from 'Strata' continued and built upon. If I had a criticism it would be that it's slightly formulaic and is in my opinion the weakest track on the album.
*Entropy - 5:17*
A return to the brooding and creeping synth melody with Ronan returning with the dark poetry.
"In the face of great defeat I heard cries for mercy"
It continues in this vein, shunting forward towards a more traditional dance beat but it never loses that murky undercurrent, reinforced by the lyrics.
"When does enough become enough? When does 'no' have meaning?"
*Endless skies - 5:55*
In amongst all the angst and dull, throbbing bass this track stands apart. It starts with a simple melody; a high note melody until the lyrics begin. It is a song about reflection and ultimately about moving on.
"No need to fear, no need to worry"
The first half of the track is the simple lyrics with the ostensibly simple melody. This rises to a zenith and tries to elicit from its listeners sincere emotion. As with 'Colours of Rain', this might turn off some of the listeners looking for the dark dance but this track does have a place and the album would certainly be less than it is if it were absent.
*Homeward - 5:34*
A moody start before a bass kicks in with a high-pitched synth melody. The chorus sings of strength and belief accompanied by a piano (certainly not a real one).
I can't find myself saying much about this track because in my opinion it is an little bit VNV Nation by the numbers. I would certainly rated above many of the other tracks that you're likely to hear around but given the expansive catalogue, it wouldn't be in my top 10.
*Lightwave - 7:00*
This is the closest you are more likely to get to a traditional techno track with its clean and progressive beats, robotic melody and bouncy breaks. The track certainly takes you on a journey as it adds element upon element until you're left with quite a competent and enjoyable track.
*Perpetual - 7:51*
I would wager that you would be unlikely to find a finer example of a track that exemplifies the genre or the spirit of VNV Nation than 'Perpetual'. The track starts by lifting you up with an ethereal cord before the simple notes start. This is a staple of the live shows and it usually comes on right at the very end, just after the encore. There are so many opportunities for the audience to sing along and the glory of the track is only enhanced when experienced life.
Mark's superb percussion drives the track forward and upwards. The lyrics are some of the most optimistic on the album and the sense of euphoria that is built up the end is palpable.
At the track fades out with the repeating lyrics "let there be, that there always be, never-ending light" to angelic chords to rival that of John Foxx you wish there was more to come. Indeed, when the live shows finish the repeated chance from the audience led by both Mark and Ronan can sustain it for quite some time.
Overall this album is a fantastic piece and one of the jewels in an illustrious back catalogue. If you are new to the band or genre then this is certainly a good place to start. It is obviously very difficult to describe music, try describing the smell of a flower or the colour of sky. Since the album was released in 2005 there have been numerous YouTube videos of both the album tracks and live renditions so I highly recommend you check them out.
My store of choice for alternative music in general is musicnonstop.co.uk where you can currently pick up this album for £12. I hope you have found this review useful and I thank you for reading.
When it comes to butter I have always been a bit of a purist, only settling for the real stuff. However when my local supermarket started selling Clover cheaper than its normal butter I decided to make the switch. I wasn't swayed by any of the health claims, which implicitly state that only has half the saturated fat butter.
The price at the moment is quite competitive with a 1 kg cover costing around £3.70. Its appearance, as you would expect is that slightly suspicious bright yellow and we have come to expect from these spreads and when you dig your knife thing you get no resistance even straight out of the fridge.
However the most important aspect is the taste which manages to cut through all of my preconceptions. Having used this for a month or two I can honestly say that I don't really miss butter at all. He genuinely does have a very authentic butter taste, not quite indistinguishable but still as close as you're likely to get at the moment. It certainly isn't as versatile as butter and I wouldn't want to try and cook with it but from anything from sandwiches to crackers it's fantastic.
So in conclusion, if the price is competitive enough and the health benefits are really important to you then this is a product that will be perfect for you. However if you are looking for a perfect reproduction of the buttery taste then despite this being the closest you're likely to get, you may still be disappointed.
In the world populated by an ever-increasing amount of razors with blades and functions galore it seems surprising that Gillette has managed to maintain this rather modest offering.
We all know that a manual wet razor is still the most effective shave that you can have and when I was looking for one to replace a cheap disposable I wasn't loured by the five blades or by battery-powered razors out there so I opted for the moderately priced fairly standard Gillette Mach3.
This razor came with 2 replacement blades and the product itself has a rubber grip around its metal frame. The head contains three blades but there is an addition of a moisturising strip at the top and some rubber fins at the bottom. The moisturising strip is meant to hydrate your skin after shaving whereas the rubber strips are meant to lift the hairs closer to the blades to make the shaving closer. I don't think these are much more than a gimmick as I have saved enough with the bog standard single blade razor to know that a good moisturising afterwards is all you need.
One the positive side, the razor feels sturdy and well-built and its pivoting head is more than capable of reaching all the contours. It has given me the closest and most effective shave without going overboard on extra bells and whistles.
On the negative side, the cost of the replacement heads can be extortionate and in many cases I have found that it is cheaper just to replace the whole razor. As a committed environmentalist this really seems crazy.
Overall I would urge people not to be tempted by the more fancier brands at around their. You don't need a battery in your razor and you don't need any more than three blades and I would even argue that you don't need a moisturising strip or rubber fins. Just get yourself a good shaving brush 10 min with this razor and a good aftershave balm and you'll be looking at your best guaranteed.
Due to a mixture of uncontrollable factors and laziness I have quite sensitive skin after shaving so I am constantly on the lookout for a reliable balm to use instead of painful aftershave.
This aftershave balm by Nivea is to be applied directly after shaving to soothe the skin. The actual product comes in a white opaque bottle with the balm of the viscosity of moderately thick custard but is pure white in colour.
Instantly when you use it you feel relieved and soothed. Not a lot of the product is needed for the desired effect and this ensures that a small bottle can last. There is no distinct fragrance other than the generic type that you find in most brands of moisturiser.
I personally love this brand and I've had no negative experiences with it but if I was to draw up one potential point of criticism it would be that the weight of the bottle itself means that you're not quite sure just how much of the product is left until you get rather low. As I said, a real minor gripe to what is an essential part of the male grooming routine.
This fragrance is arguably one of the most distinctive I own and I'll have nothing but positive feedback from those who question what it is I'm wearing.
I'll start with a description of the bottle itself. It is made entirely from frosted glass with the lid a metallicly plastic. The spray is simple and generic and really appeals to my love of simple design with nothing wasted. It is wider at the bottom and tapers into a point at the top.
However, the most important thing is how it smiles. While I have felt confident in describing fragrances in the past this stumps me somewhat. It is certainly obvious that it is not a product of the European giants fragrance. It is floral without being feminine. It is subtle without being lost or overpowered. It is certainly distinctive and had to explain which is probably why I get asked about a fair bit. It is warm and inviting and clearly advertises itself as a premium product.
I wouldn't wear it all the time because I want to maintain its special status. My best advice would be to try and find a sample in one of the many department stores that it but I would take the plunge and make the investment.
I have to say that I'm quite particular when I choose my fragrance are going out and generally only stick to a select few. So what I noticed a rather distinctive smelling Dr I had to ask what he was wearing. So it was I came to discover 'Ultraviolet Man' by Paco Rabanne.
I'll start by describing the product visually. It comes in a heavy glass container with nearly half of its size taken up by a silver and purple pump. In order to get the spray to work you have to squeeze the purple applicator, personally I'm not a huge fan of anything that is overly desiged or overly packaged which I feel this is. I understand that image is an important part of the fragrance marketing but I tend to prefer a more utilitarian approach.
The fragrance itself is quite hard to describe but I shall try my best. The first thing you will notice is that it is quite a spicy fragrance. It has a woody element to it as well. After a while you are left with a sweet aroma but not overly sickly.
I have never tried the fragrance all day as I just keep it for evening use but used sparingly it can last a whole night.
In conclusion, I personally love this fragrance and have it as my default evening wear. While I find that it is a little overly packaged I can look beyond that and would encourage you to seek it out along with its accompanying products.
I'm not a big purchase your fragrances and i usually get exposed to new brands when they are brought for me. This is the case with the Diesel Masculine fragrance.
The standard bottle has 75 mL which I have been using sparingly and as such has lasted a long time. The physical feel of the bottle is cold and metallic and is covered in a slightly rubberised coating and the deep red acts to its overall attractive appearance.
The fragrance itself is incredibly distinctive and can be best described as spicy, which invokes cinnamon and cloves. I would even say there was a little bit of a mould wine tint to it. Obviously I'm not insinuating that the product is a Christmas fragrance but it just comes as update imagery for me when I use it.
It is a distinctive fragrance and as such means that you don't need to apply a lot to get an all day effect and while some people are particularly fond of the strong spiced or overly sweet fragrances out there I tend to find myself using this one more than most.
In a games market that seems to be consumed in a never-ending arms race of graphics and realism is very refreshing to find a puzzling platform game which truly offers something unique.
Limbo by the Danish developers 'Playdead' is one such example. You start the game with not a word of dialogue and immediately have two understand your goals and how to interact with the world around you. The premise is that you are on the hunt for your sister who has been kidnapped and in order to rescue her you must enter limbo. However the anyway I found this out was by reading the cover notes because throughout the entirety of the game there is not a single word of dialogue or any exposition whatsoever.
The game itself is presented in what ostensibly looks like a very simple black-and-white left-to-right platforming game. However this does a disservice to what is quite clever under the hood. The deeper you look the more you can see that the rock quite some complicated physics and graphical flourishes. Further example boulders rolled realistically down inclines and when you slide down a building's roof tiles will be dislodged.
The sound and atmosphere created by the discordant music invokes the emotion of some nightmare. This is in keeping with the type of enemies that you will find on your way. There are humanoid enemies, insects and gruesome traps. There is also a particularly scary spider which, when it reveals itself, set the tone of a genuinely frightening and disturbing gaming experience to follow.
The controls are beautifully simple; left, right, jump and interact.
This game is truly remarkable and it manages to achieve a high level of complexity by giving the illusion that it's quite simple. It's not a particularly long game but it does have replay value as you try and hunt for achievements. Hopefully this type of brave gameplay and design choice will be rewarded and I look forward to seeing more games of this calibre. This quirky, disturbing and satisfyingly challenging game comes highly recommended.
This game is also available on the 'Steam Store' for the PC.
I think I have a little bit of a compulsion. I can't do any thing in the morning until I brush my teeth, absolutely nothing. I have this fear that I won't be ready for the day until I have gone through my oral hygiene routine.
So when I saw the viral advert for the 'Orabrush' on the Internet was immediately curious. Never did try to get me to buy some immediately but I resisted until I saw a pop-up at my local Boots store well I decided to get one as an experiment.
As you can see from the picture of the product isn't too dissimilar to the toothbrush with a long rubberised grip handle and a flat head at the top. The head comprises of two parts. A large bed of soft bristles and at the very tip a piece of rubbery material not too dissimilar to the window cleaner. The way you use it is that you spend a minute or so loving all over your tongue with the little bristles doing their job and then at the end scrape down using the top of the brush to remove everything that you have dislodged.
In the past I would have used a toothbrush but after one try of this I was sold. You see, my downfall is that I like a lot of coffee and for regular drinkers you will know that if you're not careful you can get an accumulation of mustard coloured mat on your tongue. This makes me very self-conscious but after one try with the 'Orabrush' and it was all gone.
While wife isn't to impressed with it as there are times when I can be a bit overzealous and stimulate my gag reflex which I have to admit sounds horrible but there is nothing that's going to stop me from having this is part of my daily routine.
I am normally somebody who just opts for the bog standard store own brand on most products. However, when the Colgate Max White was on special offer at a local store I decided to give it a try.
When using the toothpaste the first thing you will notice are the 'micro crystals'. These are small particles within the pace (they look slightly bigger than a grain of sugar) which apparently dissolved while brushing your teeth. They have no real substance to them so is not as if you are doing anything abrasive. According to the manufacturer are these contain a special ingredient which helps restore your teeth natural whiteness and while I am generally sceptical of the sort of claims I have to say that I have noticed a difference. Not only that but my wife is also said that she thinks her teeth are getting whiter.
Beyond that astonishing claim the quality is what you'd expect from Colgate, it leaves you with a fresh minty taste for hours afterwards but its main selling point is the fact that you can see visible results after only a short period of time without the need to spend pounds and pounds. If you see this around I would certainly give it a go and let me know if you have the same results.
Bioware returns in the second game in the seminal 'Mass Effect' trilogy in which you control Commander Shepherd (either male or female) and once again you have to try and save the universe. This time it's made pending invasion from an unknown alien force.
Set a number of years from the first game, all I will say about the plot is that you are now sensibly working for a shadowy secret military organisation which we were introduced to in the first game. Obviously not everything is as it seems and you have to travel the galaxy recruiting teammates both old and new to help you on your quest.
On the subject of travelling, there have been some changes. There is a micromanaging side of your ships fuel. You can go an infinite distance without having to stop friendly fuel and various stations and spend resources. Resources are another addition, where previously planned entry explanation was conducted using a vehicle driving section this has been completely scrapped in favour of a planet scanning mini game. He you travel to your destination and move your cursor over the planet until you either find the required resource or uncover a new mission. In my opinion is probably the weakest part of the game, however everything else has been dramatically improved.
The character interactions are still the best in the business with hours of well produced and competently acted dialogue. The character models have been updated, the interactions between your crewmates has been expanded. For example you can undertake missions for your crewmates in return for upgrades or developments in their story. You also have the ability to pursue romantic engagements both male or female.
Combat has been made far more exciting than intuitive and is on par with some of the pinnacles of the third person action game is out there. Environments have been further developed, no longer do you get the feeling that you are just fighting in another generic 'cut and paste' corridor or hidden bunker.
The those missing the vehicle driving sections there is downloadable content available which introduces a special hovercraft vehicle and some new missions. The music is as rousing as it has ever been and augments the action perfectly to set the mood.
Finally, the emphasis on consequences has been brought to the fore. You can import your saved games from the previous 'Mass Effect' to continue the story. So actions you took in the first game have consequences in the second. Also within the game there are a number of occasions when the decisions you make Real gravity. I'll give you an example from an incident close to the end without revealing the plot.
I discovered that some of my crew were in danger or another planet and was told to head their as quickly as possible. I was of the arrogant assumption that the story would wake from me and so I decided to gather a bit of resources and a few side quests before heading to the required destination. Obviously when I get there I found that I was too late and some of my crew members had perished. Ordinarily I would have been okay with that and just carried on but because of the emotional attachment that had been built up over the last 70 hours or so I was willing to go back and replay the last six hours to do my mistake.
The ending of the game will leave physically and emotionally drained as it ratchets up the excitement and tension worthy of any Oscar.
With the third game on its way there has never been a better time to jump in to this ever-increasing and vibrant universe.
For regular readers of my review you will note that I'm not forthcoming in my five-star review but considering this game on his own and in conjunction with the first there is no other rating that it can be awarded.
I have to confess that when it comes to body wash I am normally a luddite. I like using a shops own brand shampoo to entirely wash myself. So for a semi-premium body wash to break that habit it has to try hard.
I was first introduced to this product when it was brought for me one Xmas. After using it I fell in love. I love the deep aroma, with slight woody notes. It envokes a sence of warmth and comfort which, for me, will always be associated with the festive time of year.
I regard this product (and the accompanying body spray) as a luxury and not for everyday use. It is good quality for money and can be used all over (the product states it can be used on your hair as well).
The package is attractive and very easy to use with a simple push button raise the dispenser.
If I was to add a point of critism then I would say that it's subtle scent could become lost over the course of the day on those with a strong natural odour.
Take my advice, and make it part of your 'going out' ritual.