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Ben88

Ben88
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Member since: 28.09.2010

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    • More +
      01.10.2010 15:52
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      Great piece of kit when it works, Sony a let down when it doesn't!

      I'm aware that due to the low rating I have given the Playstation 3 there will be those who will be accusuing me of being an Xbox 360 "fanboy," which if you are unaware, is a term used to describe somebody who believes that PS3 pales in comparison to the Xbox 360, in what I believe to be a childish feud between consoles owners which has been going on for far too long!

      I however am not an Xbox 360 "fanboy," I do own one, but I also own a Playstation 3, and my complaints do not neccesarily lie with the PS3 itself, more with the way that Sony deal with their customers once a problem arises with the console.

      Since I was 10, the Playstation has had a stable existence within my world, and when the PS3 was released, my very generous girlfriend decided to buy me one for my birthday. I was overjoyed, as I always believed this was the better console. The blu-ray disc drive would be useful for watching films in HD, and I was blown away by the visual output to my HD TV.

      The Playstation network, which I connected through a wireless connection was ok, if not a little bit unstable at times, especially when in online lobbys within particular games, but there can be no complaints as the network is provided for free. (A similar service which has an annual subscription of approximatley £40 on the Xbox 360).

      For about 18 months I enjoyed my PS3, and could see no reason for owning any other console, this was until the I woke up one Saturday morning, turned on the console and the game would not load up. No worries I thought, probably just an issue with the disc, I'll insert a differnet game, still no joy. After exhausting half my game collection it became clear that the PS3 was clearly at fault, so I turned to my laptop to see if anyone else had this issue. Sure enough there were plenty of other users who were experiencing the same problem, I tried to fix the problem by formatting the software etc. but it soon became apparent that me blu ray drive had failed.

      Not the end of the world I thought, its a relatively common fault within the PS3 (based upon the amounts of people complaining about the problem). Time to ring Sony...

      After some considerable time on the phone, Sony would take no responisbilty for the breakdown, despite the fact plenty of others suffer from the same problem, pointing to an inherent floor within the product. Had I really expected a company the size of Sony to hold it's hands up to its problems really though?

      I was informed that Sony would collect my console at no cost to me, however I would have to pay £140 for a refurbishment model of my Playstation. Having been burnt by refurbished models of products before, I decided this would not be a suitable option. The problem stems from the fact that you are not aware how long the parts within the refurb are likely to last, especially if one of the parts came from a console which was played non stop all day every day from the time it was purchased. Call me cautious but I was not willing to accept this lying down. Alongside the refurb they offered a 3 month warranty, which didn't exactly fill me with confidence, what if the parts fail after 4 months, I would have to fork out for another refurb, this did not sit well with me.

      I asked to speak to a manager about extending the warranty, and was told one would contact me within 24 hours. 30 hours later, still no phone call, right time to call again.

      Explained the problem to the new service agent, and she checked to find I had never been put on the manager call back list. She did however confirm that an extended warranty wouldn't be possible, even though she could understand my frustration regarding a refurb model. I decided to try a new tactic....what about if I pay slightly more but receive a brand new console, that would fill me with far more confidence. What I was told after that shocked me more than anything else.....

      "Sorry we do not have any new Playstation 3's," responded the agent.

      "But you're Sony," I replied, "surely you can get hold of them easily enough."

      "Sorry we do not stock any new Playstation 3's," she retorted.

      This was the point where the frustration took hold and I decided that I would no longer be using my PS3. It's not that I had expected Sony to sort a replacement or even fix mine for free, however I didn't think they would be so difficult to deal with and unable to be slightly more flexible on their refurbishment policy, which I would suggest is not going to appeal to many people. Just a 12 month guarantee on a refurb model would have been enough for me to fork out for the extra £140, which I don't see as being unreasonable if they believe the console should last longer than that.

      The majority of this review does paint the PS3 in a wholly negative light, this is not the case, the machine is powerful, and even as an entertainment center it performs fantastically. My main gripe is with Sony as I feel their customer service leaves a lot to be desired, and their lack of flexibility has cost them a once loyal customer.

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        30.09.2010 12:13
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        Fantastic tasty bar for people on the run

        I was passing down the cereal isle at my local supermarket, trying to decide which mundane cereal I would like to purchase, knowing full well that even though I had decided to turn over a new leaf and eat breakfast everyday from now on, it would only take two days until I was slipping into the same routine of pressing snooze on my alarm one too many times, leaving only enough time to jump in the shower, get dressed, do my teeth and run out the door for work.

        Whilst reaching for my usual Weatabix Minis I noticed the cereal bar section out the corner of my eye and decided to take a look. After some deliberation I decided to plonk for a couple of Alpen Light Chocolate and Fudge boxes. The box was aesthetically appealing and the bar looked tasty, granted, the surrounding fudge and chocolate images probably helped!

        The next day, I took both boxes to work and stored them in my desk drawer, meaning that there was no chance of forgetting to grab one in the morning mad rush. After an hour sat at my desk, once the toothpaste taste had started to disappear I decided to open the box and try one.

        The bar has an array of textures, at first its soft and chewy, slowly becoming slightly more crunchy. The bar also provides a taste sensation, it's sweet, but not sickly. The fudge provides the overriding taste, whilst the chocolate is almost unnoticeable, that is until the final bite, where you begin to get a sense of the rich fulfilling flavour provided by the chocolate. The taste of the oat's and wheat's is hardly noticeable, a major plus point as far as I'm concerned.

        Considering the bar contains both chocolate and fudge, the nutritional values are not all that bad. Each one contains 63 calories, 1.3g fat & 4.5g sugar. These statistics are not too bad, provided you can avoid the temptation of eating more than one at a time, which believe me at times can be a struggle!

        From now on I will be keeping a stash of these within my drawer at work, to make sure that no matter how late I wake up, there's always something available to kick start the day. Great if you have a busy life and are always on the run, or even if your like me and just can't get up in the mornings!

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        • Samsung LE-26B450 / LCD TV / 27 Readings / 26 Ratings
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          29.09.2010 17:43
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          Want to sleep easy knowing you've bought a good quality product without the price. This IS for you

          I have owned this TV for some time now and it still looks as new and performs as well as the day it was purchased, but I guess you shouldn't expect anything else from a TV nowadays, should you? So what does, if anything set this TV apart from its competitors?

          The TV is easy to setup once received, you plug in the aerial (if you're using the in built freeview and follow the on screen instructions, letting the TV do the hard work. I only use a small indoor aerial with a booster and I can receive over 80 freeview channels, granted only 20% are ever worth watching.

          The other function I use my TV for is playing consoles, the HDMI ports are easy to locate and the picture quality is fantastic for a 720p TV. Personally I don't see the need to go for a 1080p at this size as the noticeable difference in picture quality is negligible, but that's my opinion.

          The price is sat very middle of the road as it's priced at just over £300. So its not one of the cheapest, but at the same time, its far from being one of the most expensive.

          So in answer to my earlier question what does set this TV set apart from its competitors.....well in all truth, not much. The picture quality is great, though is much the same as any other 26" model, the installation is easy, but thats also not different to most TVs.

          What tipped the balance for me however, was the middle of the road comfort which comes from owning a Samsung TV. The knowledge that you haven't forked out for a top end model, but you've still purchased a reliable, good quality product without that hefty price tag, therefore I would never hesitate to recommend a Samsung TV to anyone.

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          • More +
            29.09.2010 17:06
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            Buy if you require a cheap good quality printer with A3 printing and wireless capabilities

            I received this printer a little over a year ago as I required it for its A3 printing and wireless capabilities. The printer can scan, photocopy, fax and as you would expect print.

            Installation is relatively easy, you place the printer and insert the two paper trays at the front, then install the four print cartirdges. The next step involves installing the disc which comes with the printer onto your PC or laptop and following the instructions. Its a simple as that!

            Both the trays can be adapted to contain either A3 or A4 paper, I have one of each, and prefer that tray 1 is used for A3 as only this tray allows for borderless printing.

            My printer is installed to utilise the wireless function of the printer and works fantastically. There have never been any connection issues and I have only experienced 2 paper jams over the printers life.

            Scanning is just as easy as printing, you just have to select the computer you want to scan to and it does the rest for you. Copying is just as simple, just press the button and it does the rest, but I cannot comment on the fax function as I am yet to need to use this.

            Whilst black and white printing is relatively quick, colour printing can at times be a little sluggish. Not that this is cause for any real concern as the print quality is great.

            All the ink cartridges are pretty small, so you may find yourself installing new ones on a regular basis. To buy a 4 pack of brother branded cartridges with one of each colour, it costs approximately £40, which on face value is not much, however even if you don't print that much, you could still be forking out for them all too often due to the size of the cartridges. With a little bit of research it is possible to pick up large multipack selections of cartridges for much cheaper, however these are not Brother branded and may not provide the same level of print quality.

            The printing properties screen on the computer when printing is easy to navigate and self explanatory, although its important to double check which print tray the machine is printing to, as selecting auto tray can be hit and miss, and you may end up printing on the wrong paper size.

            All in all the Brother DCP 6690CW is great value for money, its reliable and very easy to use with all functions. The one let down is the amount of ink it uses and the cost of replacement, though I don't feel this detracts from the overall quality of the product, especially as cheaper ink brands are obtainable. I would recommend this printer to anyone who requires A3 printing and a wireless connection, however if these are not vital for you, I would suggest there may be cheaper A4 alternatives available.

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          • Suzuki Alto (1997 on) in general / Car / 7 Readings / 6 Ratings
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            29.09.2010 12:55
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            No frills motoring at an affordable price

            I have owned the new shape Suzuki Alto for around 18 months now after trading in my previous car whilst the scrappage scheme was ongoing.

            No frills motoring should be expected, especially as the base model costs just shy of £6500 (model name - SZ2), whilst the top model costs just over £7500 (model name- SZ4), with an automatic costing slightly more.

            All the Alto models have 5 doors which seat 4 people, with all offering remote central locking, electric front windows and a wma & mp3 compatible cd player (I thought this meant a port for an mp3 player would be installed, it actually means it will play copied CDs!) as standard.

            I am an owner of the mid range model, the SZ3, which has all the above features but also includes air conditioning. Admittedly this was not one of my musts when purchasing the car, and for over an extra £700 would not necessarily recommend this model. I had very little choice as I was informed if I purchased an SZ2 one would not be available on the scrappage scheme due to their full order books at the time.

            The top model (the SZ4) offers extras such as as a rev counter creatively mounted onto the dashboard, alloy wheels and colour coded handles & wing mirrors, but to mention a few. Its hard to make a judgement on these extras as I have no experience of them, however they were things I didn't think were necessary for what is essentially an affordable run around.

            Metallic paint is also an added extra on all models, I personally opted to save that money, leaving me with a choice of red or white. Not the best colours, however its the inside of the car where you spend the most time, isn't it?

            The interior of the car is not of outstanding quality, there is plenty of plastic, a mixture of silver and black. It looks ok to start off with but does become worn and dated relatively quickly, I would have liked less silver, however this is subjective and just a matter of preference.

            The audio quality can sound a little bit tin can like at times, especially when the volume is increased slightly, however this is not a major gripe. The aspect which most frustrates me are the electric front windows. Its not that they don't work, they do, its something which at first glance shouldn't be an issue but over time becomes slightly more noticeable. On the drivers side there is only a button for the drivers side window, the passenger has the only control for the other window. Not something thats easily apparent, only something which comes to light when you want to open the passenger side window for any reason.

            I guess its easy to get caught up on little problems like that because mechanically there have been no problems with the car so far (touch wood), granted its only 18 months so not much could be expected to go wrong at this stage in its young life. The 1 litre engine not only gives out low CO2 emissions, causing the tax to cost as little as £20 for the year (at the last renewal). You also get a good 300 miles from the 35 litre tank whilst it's surprisingly nippy and fun to drive. It drives very smoothly and provided you use a registered service garage (and not the dealer) the services are reasonably priced.

            I would recommend the Suzuki Alto to a friend, and although I own the SZ3 model, would suggest the SZ2, as I don't feel the extra money spent is justified by only receiving air conditioning. Its cheap to run, insure and tax, and if you're willing to overlook the minor issues with the interior and the audio quality, it offers very good value for money. If you're looking for a reliable and cheap first or second car, or you're just after a nippy city car then the Suzuki Alto may be for you!

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          • HTC Hero / Smartphone / 11 Readings / 7 Ratings
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            28.09.2010 18:41
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            Good phone, however seems to deterioate over time

            I have had a HTC Hero phone for approximately one year now. At first the phone seemed refreshing and entertaining, whilst performing and functioning as you would expect from a phone of this caliber, however, as time went on and as the rose tinted glasses cleared, the problems with the handset were revealed.

            At fist the phone appeared to perform quite well, the large array of applications available on the market place is impressive, and the android seems to have no problem running them. Battery life was surprisingly good, provided the mobile or wi-fi network was not connected all the time, an issue which can be easily overlooked as you can turn the internet connection on or off at any time. The phone also provides the wow factor with the ability to customize the 7 home pages as the user pleases. Its easy to overlook the fact that the messages often wipe themselves as the application has to force close, and that the speed of the phone at times cam be dreadful.

            For 9 months these issues were merely a glitch on what I considered a good phone, however as time went on, the amount of application which the phone force closed increased, and flicking between home screens took longer and longer. Neither of the issues caused me major concern as the apps were still working and the phone still offered me enjoyment, however, the major problem arose relating to text messaging. It became apparent about 3 months ago that a number of text message were not being received by me or others, and no amount of impressive applications can rectify this fundamental issue. It is my understanding after typing this issue into a search engine that it's not a one off problem as others have complained with similar issues.

            The latest system update did little to rectify this issue, however I have had far less problems with applications force closing and the speed around the home pages seems to have increased. Maybe I'm one of an unlucky few, so am still open minded regarding the HTC Hero as a whole, I still like the user interface, and the customisation options, which is why I have offered it a 4 star rating; though I am however, aware that the honey moon period is definitely over!

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