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Seeing as all of Apple's products are stunningly build, it is always in your interests to protect them from any scratches. There are a wide range of products out there which will do just that, particularly the Apple Smart Cover.
I was initially interesting in something which would protect both the back and front of my iPad so I bought a Goji Portfolio Case which has served my iPad well. However, I wanted something more stylish, something which would make my iPad look even better. Therefore I got myself the Green Smart Cover.
The Apple Smart Cover is an ergonomic dream for any iPad owner. It is designed to both protect and clean the screen whilst doubling up as a typing or viewing stand. The biggest problem with the Smart Covers is that it doesn't protect the back of your iPad but if you purchase a compatible back cover, this will bot be a problem.
Most impressively, the Smart Cover is also designed to interact with your iPad, having the ability to turn it off once it covers the screen. This will save you wear and tear on continuously pushing the on/off button.
The smart cover is pretty expensive for what is, around £35 for the Polyurethane version and around £60 for the leather version. There are cheaper alternatives available but there might not necessary be of the same quality and design.
The magnets which attach the Smart Cover to the iPad can be pretty forceful and almost throw themselves at your iPad so be careful when attaching as there could be the potential for scratches if you continuously take it on and off.
I would recommend the Smart Covers as they are stylish and they make your iPad look even better than it already is. Ok, it is pricey for what it is and there are alternatives out there but I reckon this is a great accessory (in conjunction with a back cover) and you have a choice of different colours to choose from.
The iPad 2.
Why did I want one?
Well, Apple's intent on global domination certainly took a huge leap forward with this beast of a gadget.
I really wanted an iPad 2 but I was initially put off with the fact that you couldn't rip all your favourite CDs to stick on your iPod as it features no CD drive. However, all of the positives far outweigh this one negative.
Upon opening the simplistic and beautiful box, I was presented with my iPad. I must say I love Apples packaging. No, polystyrene rubbish here, just simply the iPad, a charger and a small set up guide.
It was perfectly packaged and protected with a plastic screen cover. Once I fired the iPad up I was taken threw a simple set up process of syncing your email accounts and setting up an iCloud account all served on the backdrop of a wonderful and vibrant screen.
The iPad itself works brilliantly. It is very responsive and uber quick featuring a A5 Dual Core processer hell bent on delivering you the goods as soon as you want them. It has a beautiful 9.7 inch screen which has a display resolution of 1024x768. I opted for the 64 GB to ensure I had plenty of room for all of my music and films. The iPad is very light and delicate so I would recommend getting yourself a smart cover and some screen protectors. I protect mine using the Apple Smart Cover, Kolay Screen Protectors and a Kensington back cover.
The battery on the iPad is great. I can easily get 10 hours out of my iPad using the WiFi. I regulary charge my iPad so it is always ready for action.
The camera on the iPad isn't great; in fact it's pretty average. However, I have no intention of standing around taking pictures with this. I can take pictures using my DSLR and put them on my iPad using an Apple iPad Camera Connection Kit, a must have accessory for any iPad. If you do like editing your pictures, I recommend iPhoto from the app store which allows you to edit your photos. It's an amazing little app and certainly worth the £2.99.
The App Store is full of incredible apps which will only enhance the brilliance of your iPad. I would recommend Pages which is like Microsoft Word and will allows you to covert your Pages documents to Word and PDF documents. Netflix is also a great app. For only £5.99 you can watch all your favourite TV shows and many films.
All in all, I would say the iPad 2 is an amazing product and I can't recommend it highly enough.
For my 21st birthday I really wanted a proper watch. One made by a Swiss company who deliver quality items on a regular basis. I also wanted a watch which looked great and would catch people's attention.
That is where I decided on the Raymond Weil Tango. This beautiful watch has an aura about it and is certainly an attention grabber. It was pretty pricey when it was purchased, around £650. You might think that is expensive, but not for a watch which is going to last forever.
The gorgeous stainless steel case frames the beautiful black dial and the roman numbers looks amazing. In your hand it feels quality made. It is scratch resistant and the leather strap feels solid on your wrist.
It features hours, minutes, seconds and a calendar. It is a chronograph watch and uses quartz movement. It is also water resistant to 30 meters although I never use it in water.
The only issue I have had is because it is a leather strap, if you wear it constantly the strap will begin to wear out and you will need to get another. They can cost around £200 for an official Raymond Weil watch. Therefore I try to avoid wearing this watch all the time which due to its qualities can be frustrating.
To prove how successful this watch has become, its price is now £950. You can also pay extra to get the metal strap.
All in all, this is a fine watch and I can't recommend it highly enough.
The iPod Classic 120GB. The workhorse. Ever reliable had fallen victim to a water based assassination. I was gutted and was in need of a new iPod.
For Christmas, a new iPod found its way to me. The iPod Touch 8GB. Yes, I know it doesn't have the same storage capacity as my old one but I decided that I only listened to 20% of what was on the classic.
The iPod Touch comes packaged in a very neat and stylish box which you will feel guilty removing the iPod from. Once removed you are presented with a beautiful piece of modern day technology.
Upon starting the iPod you will be guided through a very straight forward set up process which will link your iPod to all your email accounts, iCloud and other useful features. It's not until you reach your home screen are you witness to its retina display. This is where the iPod Touch is untouchable. The colours it displays are wonderful and you will have to get a scratch proof protective cover to avoid any scratches.
Putting music on your iPod as is straight forward as ever; simply syncing your iTunes account will allow you to listen to all your favourite music whenever you want. I love the delete feature on your iPod meaning you don't have to wait until you connect to a computer to delete a song or album or whatever you want to delete.
The functionality is fantastic. It's very responsive and you can navigate around the iPod very easily. The battery life is pretty good depending whether you use the internet but it should only need to be charged every few days.
I only really use the iPod for music and have undoubtedly not unlocked the wide range of apps and features available. I do have iCloud so anything I download on my iPad is quickly moved onto my iPod. This is very useful.
Ok the camera isn't great but I don't really use the camera so its not an issue. The earphones also are not the best and I would recommend getting yourself a pair of decent ones to truly experience the iPod true qualities. The biggest problem with this iPod is the fact that the back will scratch unless you get yourself a iPod case.
All in all, this iPod is amazing and will give you exactly what you need. You could say its music to your ears.
I decided against the iPhone as I didn't want to pay the ridiculous monthly prices I was being quoted on top of having to pay around £200 for the phone. So I decided to get a HTC Desire HD. Am I pleased?
The phone itself comes packaged in a very small box which is great for storage but once again the lack of instructions causes issues when trying to sort the phone out.
It has a large screen which is fantastic for streaming video and the button functionality is very responsive. The screen is not as good as the high res retina displays you find on an iPhone but it certainly does a great job at showing your video content in high res. The back of the phone is awful if I am honest. I had to take the phone back once as the compartment where the battery goes was not completely flush and it looked as though it would break.
The camera and video quality is very poor for a 8MP. It doesn't shoot very clearly and I never really use it.
The android market boats many apps which are great for the HTC Desire but since owning an iPad, I have seen that Android simply doesn't really have the same quality of apps available. Most of the apps I do own I would own on an iPhone so nothing special here.
Voice quality is fine but the volume buttons have started to play up meaning I can barely hear the person I am talking to and if I do manage to increase the volume it becomes too loud.
I have never had an issue with the battery. I understand that if you own a smartphone you are more than likely going to have to charge it once a day and that is what I do.
It's a decent phone but I will probably be joining the iPhone club fairly soon.
To go along with my new iPod and new iPad I really wanted a pair of top quality Headphones. I was originally interested in the Beats by Dre brand but I was put off by their ridiculous price for what was essentially a well packaged pair of average headphones.
I done my research and came across the Audio Technica AD700. The general consensus was that they were the best value for money headphones around. With this in mind I had a punt without trying them first and got a pair based on internet reviews alone.
Firstly, they are very well packaged and come with a great carry pouch which will keep your headphones protected when they are not being used. They fit nicely in the pouch utilising the deliciously designed collapsible feature. They are bigger than the Beats but these are supposed to be for professional studio use and are not really the sort of headphones you would use casually outside.
They are very comfortable and I have worn them for hours and never had any issues with them being irritable. I decided to get the coiled cable version as they do come in a straight cable also but the cable is massive and would not be ideal when using them on your iPad or iPod. I would say they are more suited for studio work.
As for the sound, well this is where thy come into their own. They are amazing. The bass is not overly bassy and is well mixed with the mids. If you compare this to the Beats where the bass is way too much you will see the difference in quality. You can listen to any type of music which picks up sounds you didn't know existed in that song or you could listen to sport and it feels like your there.
I would highly recommend anyone to give these a go before giving into this Beats by Dre craze. Yes they might not be as stylish but the sound quality is amazing.
I have been playing the guitar for nearly four years now and have wanted to upgrade to something truly special, something which would enhance my playing and something which I could use when possibly recording.
I was initially very interested in all things Gibson. The J200 is the king of all flat tops and comes highly recommended. However, at nearly £3k, is way outside my price bracket. The Gibson Hummingbird, albeit a beautifully constructed guitar was also considered but just didn't do it for me.
Another brand of guitars which I have always been interested in are Martin. I have always been under the impression they make the best acoustics but I was too focused on aesthetics and you are looking at paying over £4k for a Martin with great detail. However, I went to a local store and the bloke in the shop handed me a Martin D15. Well, it completely and utterly blew me away.
I was awestruck by the awesome tone I was getting from this guitar. I had never played a mahogany guitar before and the deep bassy sound which was resonating was stunning. I was instantly hooked. I was sure this guitar would be around £2k due it to being a Martin. Nope, I was shocked to see it was around £1k. Amazing value.
Before I purchased this guitar I wanted to make sure this was the best I could get. I also tried some Taylor guitars which are beautiful but too rich sounding for my liking. I tried the smaller bodied Martin 000-15M which was incredible but I had my eyes on a dreadnaught. With this in mind I purchased the Martin D15M.
With the guitar comes a beautiful Martin case which will protect your instrument. You also get provided with plenty of useful instructions on how to care and maintain your guitar. I must say Martin have fantastic customer support. I can not recommend highly enough.
The guitar itself is just beautiful. The understated appearance of dark mahogany is wonderful. The playability is exceptional with no fret buzz and my guitar has never gone out of tune. The bass is boomy and never tinny. You can play this guitar with delicate fingerpicking or you can simply smash the strings to pieces and this guitar just sounds brilliant.
If I were to buy another guitar I would always look at a Martin first as their craftsmanship and desire to make the instrument as playable as possible is second to none.
I would recommend you buy this guitar if you're looking for a guitar which looks and plays much more than it is worth.
Having never really been a great advocate of the Foo's work, I was somewhat sceptical at listening to their new album, especially as it was based on a recommendation from local body popper/sweat enthusiast Paul Trowbridge.
I am glad I listened to him. Wow, what an album. Recorded on analogue tape in Dave Grohl's garage, the band have produced undoubtedly their best body of work since The Colour and the Shape, possibly ever.
The album opens with a typical Grohl growl, 'These are my famous last words,' in the fantastically catchy Bridge Burning. This song is one of the strongest album openers I have heard in a long time. It's brilliantly constructed. After that we have 4 songs which each on their own could be deemed the album's standout. Lead single Rope, Dear Rosemary, White Limo and Arlandria sound so raw, it is like listening to an early Foo's record.
These Days slows the pace down, showing off the bands softer side. The next three tracks, Back & Forth, A Matter of Time and Miss The Misery are not typical Foo's songs. They could all be mistaken for an 80's Bon Jovi. The last song, Walk, is a great way to close the album.
Hahahahahahahaha what a funny film. You must see it.
All these people criticising it for following a similar pattern to the first one are stupid. So what? Why change a winning formula?
The story once again finds Phil, Alan and Stu hungover after a mental night out but this time they are in Bangkok. Oh and they have lost Stu's new bride's brother.
I don't want to spoil this for anyone else so I won't discuss the funniest moments in detail but you have to look out for two of Alan's speeches, the strip club scene and anything the monkey does.
The idea for this film is basically the same as the first and I am hoping that a third film is made with the same actors. It is great and will definitely be one you would enjoy watching more than once. It is soooo funny.
I believe this is better than the first one. It has more outrageous moments and is more laugh a minute.
The Arctic Monkeys have now taken over from Oasis as Britain's best loved Indie-Pop band but not everyone was happy with their previous effort, Humbug. Why? I thought it was a fantastic step in a new direction, exploring a darker shade of music borne from their desire to work with QOTSA frontman Josh Homme. All these stupid people who continuously ask why they don't make another album like the first are annoying. THEY ARE NOT 18 YEAR OLDS ANYMORE. GET IT!!!
For me, Alex Turner is the greatest lyricist of his generation and in new album Suck It and See, he pins you down in a world of wordplay that appears beyond his years. Anyway, how do I rate their new album? Well it could be their best. Turner has a knack for turning simple chord progressions into beautiful imagery set in the backdrop of modern day life and subsequently, producing great pop songs. His girlfriend has recently said that rather than read a book he would sit and read a dictionary. The guy is a genius.
The album is very different to anything else they have done before; it is the most melodic and grown up album they have produced. I strongly recommend anyone listen to it, especially if you are a lover of the English language. Along with Helplessness Blues, Circuital and Wasting Light, it is one of the albums of the year.
Standout track - Piledriver Waltz
I have been ever so excited to see Drive. A film with a premise which could have easily been turned into a blockbuster has simply seen Nicolas Refn, the films director, sit back and say no to Hollywood. Here is an independent film of class and panache. It stars the magnificent Ryan Gosling as the unnamed stunt driver moonlighting as a getaway driver who finds himself getting too close to his low-rent neighbour Irene, played by the excellent Carey Mulligan. By helping out her recently released from prison husband complete a dangerous job, he finds himself embroiled in a game of cat and mouse with two influential gangsters, played by Albert Brooks and Ron Perlman.
Gosling has always been on the cusp of greatness in Hollywood. In The Notebook he was fantastic as the love stuck soldier trying to win the affections of Rachel McAdams. Here he doesn't exactly do much to be honest. And that is what makes it so great. His brooding persona makes up for any lack of dialogue and his relationship with Mulligan is as spirited as anything you will see in films. Can you believe some stupid person in America has tried to sue the makers of the film as they expected more driving?
Some of the scenes in the film are utterly gripping. The opening of the film shows the unnamed driver helping a couple of criminals escape their crime. Another scene which is amazing is the one set in a hotel room.
This film is one of my favourites already and is a big up yours to all those Hollywood producers who believe big effects equal big bucks. Besides, this film hasn't done too badly and it's riduclous that it was not nominated for an Oscar for Best Film. I would definitely recommend you to see it but be open minded and don't expect tons of car chases and lots of action. Appreciate the film for what it is.
Since 1994's What's The Story Morning Glory, Oasis have been on a downhill slope, giving us mediocre (Heathen Chemistry), to downright poor (Standing on the Shoulders of Giants) albums. The only exception, probably being Don't Believe The Truth. I would probably not be wrong in saying that 90% of this was to do with the fact that Noel split up the song writing duties and began stockpiling his own work. Well, 17 years later and Noel no longer has anyone to answer for. All I can say is the Chief is back.
Opener Everybody's on the Run is an epic, Ennio Morriconne inspired, string laden love song which could easily have been the last track on the album. 'Hang in there love, you gotta hold on', is probably my favourite lyric on the album. It's a beautiful song.
The first 6 songs of the album are breathlessly good. Dream On is a jumbled up, crowd pleasing, sing-a-long in which Noel sings about 'running out of batteries' and 'hanging from a ladder.' Its absolute nonsense but its amazing.
A dodgy, phone recorded version of I Had a Gun has been on the internet for a while but it doesn't quite prepare you for the epic nature of what could easily be Noel's greatest ode to love. 'Let me fly you to the moon' Noel exhorts in what is an undoubted stand out moment on the album.
The Chief wanted to come back with a whisper with first single The Death of You and Me, which has elements of The Importance of Being Idle, but what he does is transport us to New Orleans for Mardi gras. It's pure magic. (I Wanna Live in a Dream In My) Record Machine is the next song, one which has been bandied about for a few years. There have been demo versions of this floating around YouTube for a while so expectations were high. No disappointment here. The song has a fantastic guitar solo which is very reminiscent of early Oasis. The biggest shock on the album is AKA...What A Life. It is underpinned by a massive drum beat and fierce piano riff which gives us Noel's first dance song. 'I'm gonna take that tiger outside for a riddddddddde'. Noel is certainly on top form and this tiger better be strong as we are all on this ride.
The next chapter is this incredible album is Soldier Boys and Jesus Freaks which could easily be influenced by The Kinks. 'All the people on the village green are gathered round their TV screens'. Great stuff. AKA...Broken Arrow is probably my favourite track on the album as I type. This could be Wonderwall II. No one does acoustic better than Noel and I fucking love it. (Stranded on) The Wrong Beach could be the catchiest song on the album. 'Oh me oh my' Noel blares as he takes us on his journey.
The last song on the album is Stop The Clocks. Noel apparently wrote this song in 2001, declaring it as probably the best song he has ever written. He has never quite got it to fit on an Oasis album but here it is a perfect ending to a perfect album. It is finished with an erratic guitar solo which leaves us breathless for more.
Reading this review I am sure you don't need me tor recommend this anymore than I already have. It's an incredible collection of songs written by the finest songwriter of our generation. Buy it now.
Download AKA...Broken Arrow, Everybody's on the Run and If I Had A Gun