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Living in an extremely draughty house I have been left with little recourse but the purchase a multitude of halogen heaters, and this one is by far the best in my, shall we say, collection.
Infinitely more economical than fan heaters, halogen heaters are definitely the way to go in the current economic climate. At 1200 watts, this uses surprisingly little electricity and offers a great deal of warmth. Utilizing up to three four hundred watt heat bulbs at any given time, this is ideal, even at just one bar, for warming my cockles whilst sat at my computer. On three bars it is also very efficient at warming much larger rooms, almost to excess, in the space of around thirty minutes.
It's well-packaged and easy to get out of the box, the latter point is probably only relevant if you're the anal retentive sort, because although the heater may collect dust, the manual assures the user that this does not effect its functionality, nor is it hazardous.
Needless to say, it is not suitable for camping or outdoor use, owing to its open-grate design and lack of waterproof covering, but for holidays in potentially colder areas such as cottages or static caravans, this may in some cases, actually be worth taking with you, owing to it's lightweight nature and easy handling.
Power, 400w, 800w, 1200w, turn are the only options required here. It is extremely simple to use and there is no fiddling with switches to be done. It heats up more-or-less instantaneously and is very reliable. In fact, In all the time I've had this, no bulb has ever failed me, it still works like new and for around £30, it really can't be beat in terms of price.
The osccilation moves at a satisfying rate, and although the thing is arguably a tad ugly, there's little alternative when using some a well priced and functional item. This thing is an absolute lifesaver in the winter, not just for your health but your wallet too, I would definitely recommend this highly efficient, cheap, lightweight heater.
I have read some reviews of this product where the users have claimed that they find the light intensity of the heater to be a problem whilst sleeping, however, since the heater has no timer to be set to turn it off, this is definitely not its intended use, particularly in the bedroom, as soft fabrics in the proximity of the bulbs are a rather serious fire hazard.
Although not a relatively established or particularly reputable brand, Konig is known for providing very basic electronic hardware of robust design and high reliability. The Konig 2.0 Speaker Set is an extremely basic pair of speakers ideal for a desktop computer or MP3 player.
Relatively vanilla in design, these plastic speakers are very cheap at around just eight pounds a pair, which is the ideal amount that someone who isn't a DJ, music aficianado, avid film buff or sound engineer should be paying for a pair of speakers. They have a sturdy, though easily removable base which means they are difficult to knock over by accident but also fairly portable, a design plus, fortified by their notably sleek aesthetic and light weight. Despite the latter feature, they also have the capacity to provide fairly powerful volume and deliver surprisingly good bass response.
Power, volume, on and off. This is very much the bare bones of the speaker system world. No need for manuals, driver CDs, installation menus or an adaptor, these are straightforward, plug and play speakers ideal for the average joe to enjoy through a standard audio jack. The port of which is particularly sturdy, and I've never had the slightest problem with the cable coming coming loose.
Probably needless to say, there is no battery back available, so you can't really take these things out in the woods with you, unless you have a 3-pin power source, other than that, the Konig 2.0s make an ideal set of computer speakers, provided you don't wish to space them out too far, as the unchangeable speaker-power lead doesn't stretch particularly far.
The speakers are aesthetically pleasing and will match most decor. If you're fussy though, they are available in both black\silver or black\white themes, and for the same price, you'll be relieved to hear.
As far as basic cheap stereo systems for desktop PC, these have got to be your best bet if you're going for substance over style, and trying to save your pennies. A good, strong pair of speakers that are great for the money. Very much recommended.
Though now a little dated, the SanDisk Sansa Clip+ 4 GB with Radio is certainly one of Sandisk's better digital media products, renowned as they are for building largely robust, reliable and functional items. The 4GB title put me off at first, until I realized the memory could be extended via SD card, which of course is a massive boon, especially when you consider the very reasonable price. However, there is no plastic cover for the memory card, so much so that if you drop it, or give it a good shake, there's a chance of losing the SD.
Output ports are compatible, as they should always be with most sound systems, it has a standard audio jack so you won't need an adapter as you do with certain Apple products. Sadly, the battery life is quite poor, and there's no power-saving mode, which is disappointing.
The controls are easy to use, based on a very generic and straightforward design and are not overly sensitive. It is easily lockable so the thing jumping around as you walk isn't ever a problem. Especially if you clip it onto your pocket, using the wholly sturdy clip attachment. This may be aimed more at avid sports players, since it fits into most pockets adequately. The sound quality is consistently good though through headphones, the volume is a little lacking. Headphone ports to do not easily decay either.
The radio is very clear and although I have not fully explored all its features, it seems to all be perfectly functional. The manual emphasizes its quality, and I've never had any complaints to the contrary.
The limited, albeit easily customizable display is very intuitive and clear to see, operating on principles very similar to that of the early iPod. This is an absolute, no-frills MP3 player with radio. No media applications, net access, games or touch pad. It should be obvious from the thumbnail that it is not capable of supporting any kind of media other than audio, but this thing knows what it is, and you should know what you're paying for. If you're an app enthusiast, this is not for you. Otherwise, for the none too tech savvy music aficianados who don't have an enormous library of songs, or have no desire to invest in a larger memory card, this is a purchase worth seriously considering.
Fujifilm Card Reader is a relatively aesthetically pleasing card reader with a USB connection.
Entirely compatible with PCs and Macs alike, it is a very portable device in that it is rather compact, although this does naturally increase the risk of losing it. Its pleasant, lightweight design however, does make it perfectly acceptable to leave in one's PC's USB port permanantly, without looking unsightly or having its wires dangle precariously.
Available for around four pounds (approx.) on Amazon, it is frankly a little overpriced. This is due in no small part that it only reads one kind of SD card, and only one card can be inserted at any given time. When most pound shops in this country offer larger, albeit uglier, but equally reliable card readers that support a multitude of cards, for just £1, (Poundland, Poundworld for example) the price can't really, in my opinion be justified.
Not having to connect your camera directly to your PC does however, save on battery consumption so a card reader is worth having if only for that reason. Also, the card's transfer rate is consistently adequate and the self contained drivers install automatically and instantaneously, and are also available online should they become somehow lost. The device is relatively sturdy and can be dropped from a good height without being damaged, although no anti-shock casing exists for it to my knowledge
Nonetheless, it is still relatively cheap for a card reader and Fujifilm are a reputable brand, but since the device does not come with a guarantee itself, this doesn't really mean much. The card does however, come 'free' with a variety of Fujifilm cameras, along with an optional extension lead if you can't reach your USB port, which is arguably handy, and a specific detail difficult to come by in most peripherals of this sort.
So while this is fine for an item which comes free with a more expensive one, I would not recommend buying it separately, as there are cheaper, equally efficient models already readily available on the market, specifically in the myriad pound shops dotted around the UK.
The Nokia 1208 is a chunky little spark plug of a phone which boasts superb battery life, simple, generic design and intuitive menus. Surprisingly enough, the phone was actually designed quite recently with older generations in mind, specifically folks who prefer basic functionality over fancy bells and whistles.
Given its basic nature and design, one would expect the phone to be more durable than it is. In fact, when dropped from pocket height onto a concrete floor, it's liable to shatter into its component parts. The screen also is easily scratched, and the sim card is held in place by the battery in a way that could potentially damage it after extended use. The sound quality also isn't too clever and the speaker is awkward to hold to the ear.
It efficiently sends texts, though they frequently fail to send when the inbox is full, and when this happens, no error report message is given, so you can often end up losing entire texts, having not been given the option to save them to drafts. This is incredibly frustrating. Also, the battery wears down after time, and for some reason, my 'end call' key was mapped to switch the phone off after pressing it once. I had two of these phones and this happened to both after around 6 months, a blatant design flaw.
This is a phone which makes calls and sends texts and does pretty much nothing else. It doesn't come with any games, apps, WAP or browser access. It's very much bare bones. One thing I feel this product could've done with was a flashlight, like many earlier Nokia models, so that's a shame.
It's fat and pretty ugly in design. It looks cheap, unreliable and very, very old fashioned, which it undoubtedly is. Still though, it is exceptionally user-friendly, despite its myriad technical faults. Nonetheless, for the price (around £8-12 in most supermarkets) it can't be beat for an emergency or 'between-phones' phone, and is ideal for older users who want a simple phone which they would only use for calls and texts.
A stout barbarian of a phone, the Nokia 3310 is a classic, chunky, reliable phone, presently favoured by retro hipsters and renowned for its supposedly 'indestructible' nature which has over the last few years reached legendarily memetic status.
Though the phone has very good battery life, there are better ones on the market. Most of the cheapest Samsung models on the market at the minute, for example, boast a better battery life and better features, including colour screens, java powered games and even cameras.
The display is nostalgic as well as intuitive, with very basic menus with few features. The 3310 features nostalgic built in game Snake II which has since received cult status among the over 20s, particularly in the UK.
This is arguably an extremely reliable phone which, whilst sticking out in your pocket just a little too much to be trendy, is extremely functional and won't let you down. Calls and texts are sent quickly and easily and network coverage is surprisingly always strong, especially when one considers the phone's age.Picture messaging is limited to very basic pictures, and the picture editor leads very little to be desired, not the mention, the whole format of which is ludcriously outdated.
It is one of many early phones with a simple, easy to use monophonic ringtone composer, which is a good thing for the nerdily musically inclined. Tones can be saved, downloaded and are relatively easily to transpose, including sharp and flat notes. There is also no WAP, apps, browser, or other such contemporary trappings.
The keypad is durable and easy to use, though a little wear and tear is inevitable. The case is relatively scratch resistent and can take a massive amount of pummelling. Even if this wasn't the case though, (no punt intended) the fascias are easily replacable and are still readily available online to this day.
Nonetheless, the Nokia 3310 is now little more than a fashion statement, and is not even vaguely economical to buy, and lacks even the most basic of modern features. No apps, no touchscreen, nothing like that. It's a phone that makes calls and sends texts. Unless you can get your hands on an unlocked Nokia 3310 for less than a fiver, all you're doing is paying over the odds for retro hipster chic.
Facing stiff competition from Apple's myriad hardware, and more recently the Playstation Vita, the 3DS still holds quite a lot of critical sway when it comes to handheld gaming, being the only one on the market capable of showing good quality 3D imaging without the use of peripherals such as glasses or goggles. With its adjustable slider with which you can alter or even disable the 3D effects, it's definitely one of the most visually innovative handhelds on the market.
Suitable for children and adults alike, there is a decent selection of 3DS games available, including several exclusive Mario, Pokemon, Zelda, Resident Evil and Sonic titles, as well as a great many original newcomers, particularly from third parties. It is also entirely back-compatible with the DS and DSi, which is a massive plus.
It's surprisingly robust and difficult to damage, save a few scratches on the outer casing. The touchscreen itself however, (which is adequately sensitive) is well-protected against scratches and scuffs. It's also reasonably priced these days at little over £100, and boasts many impressive features like a 3D camera, browser access and a fairly good microphone.
Nonetheless it is not without its flaws. Firstly, the 3D is extremely dependent upon the position of your head and adjustable as it is, the idea of having such sensitive hardware on a handheld device which gets moved around a lot during gameplay, seems a little redundant. It's also been known to give younger kids chronic headaches.
The battery life, around 5 hours is reasonable, and not much shorter than the Vita, but it still has much less staying power than the old DS, not surprising, since it's more powerful. The screen is also practically impossible to see in bright sunlight. I've found mine next to no use when I've been on trains or buses, and for a handheld console, this is one heck of a flaw.
It's also lacking in memory, less of an issue than the DS, but still really quite behind the times. It's about powerful enough to run Quake 1, if that's any benchmark, but even so, developers have been able to work some reasonably good-looking titles around the issue.
It's not likely to go down in price anytime soon, but it's worth a buy if you're a Nintendo-head with dosh to burn.