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I don't know about you, but in my house there are regular viewing clashes on TV. My girlfriend wants to watch a programme about baking cakes or a trashy film, while I want to watch football or the UFC...you can clearly see how this might lead to conflict. TV nowadays rarely transcends gender like it used too, the days of sitting down and watching TV as a family seem to be dwindling as programmes are geared more and more to a specific target audience, rather than involving everybody.
Then came internet TV, on-demand services that helped alleviate this problem...but what happens when we both want to watch something at the same time, in the same room? Well that's why I bought these headphones.
I mainly use mine while streaming sports on my laptop, or watching a film featuring some brutish actor with limited vocabulary using guns and martial arts to outwit the 'bad guy'...don't judge me lol. In addition to this though I do occasionally use them to listen to music, so I feel I am able to offer a balanced opinion on the sound quality.
You'll notice when using these that the sound quality is crisp and clear, with good levels of bass and treble. They provide a balanced sound even when turned up loud. To say I have an eclectic taste in music would be an understatement, but these headphones provide a great experience, listening to all genres, something that can't be said of many headphones in this price bracket! They are equally adept at providing the required audio atmosphere when watching films, be it action, horror...or whatever else may take your fancy.
In terms of build quality they are pretty decent. I paid £12.99 for mine about 10 months ago and you'd think there has to be a trade-off somewhere, but if there is, it's not glaringly obvious. The only real downside in terms of design is that there is no padding on the 'headband' and as they are made of plastic, this can become quite uncomfortable after prolonged use. In terms of how they feel on the ears, the padding is sufficient and I find them to be comfortable with continued use of 2 to 3 hours. I've read reports of other people breaking these on first use, but my experience is that they are durable, just don't sit/stand on them and you should be ok.
You'll have realised from what I've written so far that I use these indoor, this is primarily as I prefer in-ear earphones if I'm on the move. However, even if I did want to use these outdoors I probably wouldn't as the cable length is 2 metres and it's like a twin wire (I don't know the correct term so apologies). As a result I wouldn't recommend them for use on the go, but I guess that part is down to personal preference really.
One of the features of these headphones is the reversible housing, supposedly for DJ monitoring. For those that don't know, this basically means the ear-cups can swivel so you can lay one ear-cup flat against your ear listening to the music, whilst also listening to what's going on around you. Now, I'm no DJ so I'm probably not best placed to comment, but my personal opinion would be that these are a little flimsy for that purpose and I suspect regular use like this would lead to the ear-cup breaking off.
Packaging wise they came in the standard plastic blister packaging, but the Sony branding did make them stand out on the shelf. Included in the packaging is a 6.3 mm (1/4") stereo adapter. My TV has a 6.3mm jack whereas my laptop has a 3.5mm jack...therefore I think this is a very welcome addition as it meant I didn't have to buy one separately.
I'm torn in my rating of these as I can't give half stars. Sure they're not perfect, but I think when reviewing something you need to take everything into account and, given the current economic climate, price is probably a big part of that. On that basis I think these are worthy of a 5 star rating...but I'd have given them 4.5 if I could as a bit of padding on the headband would have been most welcome!
These can be bought for less than £10 online now. I'm not sure if I'm allowed to say where but you'll find them easily enough if you have a PLAY around in the AMAZON style jungle that is the internet.
Thanks for reading.
Let me start this review by saying that I use my Xbox 360 A LOT...be it playing games, watching videos or keeping in touch with friends. Part of the reason I use it so much though is because I work shifts on a 24/7 rota and therefore I'm up at weird times of the day and off when everyone else is hard at work.
I first decided to buy a gaming headset when I was playing quite late one night and my girlfriend asked me to turn the TV down as it was keeping her awake. Obviously that wasn't fair on her, so I turned it down, but the game I was playing then lost it's atmosphere and I felt detached from the experience.
Queue a quick trip to my local Tesco where I picked up a pair of Turtle Beach Ear Force X11 for the princely sum of £39.99. On the shelf you could see they were decent quality due to the branding and packaging, so I handed over the money and went on my merry way.
Back home I hacked into the plastic blister packaging with the excitement of a 5 year old at Christmas (I was 27 when I bought these! lol)...true to form I managed to slice my finger on the plastic when doing so, which leads nicely onto my first bit of advice, take care when opening the packaging as it's pretty sharp.
With the finger cleaned up I set about getting my new headset connected up.
Immediately alarm bells were ringing in my head when I saw the 16ft length of cable, I have a very bad habit of letting cables get knotted up. My concern was alleviated somewhat when I saw the velcro cable tie as this enabled me to work out how much cable I needed and then neatly and securely keep the other length out of the way.
The headset is powered by USB so make sure you have one free before considering buying this, I suspect most people will have, but it's worthy of note as you'll not be able to use them without it!
As the headset is also PC compatible it's worth reading through the instructions supplied when connecting them up as there are a couple of ways of doing so and in true 'man' fashion I ignored the instructions until I made a mistake and then went back and made use of them.
It's worth noting that there is an Xbox 360 HDMI Audio adaptor that is supposedly required in order to use HDMI and a headset like these, but this isn't actually correct. Great news considering the official Xbox one is almost £15! Guides can easily found by searching on Google and YouTube for detailed instruction, but in my case I was able to keep my composite cable in my Xbox and still manage to fit the HDMI lead in...however, this may not be the case for everyone!
So, I'm all set up and on goes the Xbox - BOOM - the sound is incredible! I'm sure serious audiophiles will speculate over the sound quality, but when you've gone from standard TV/PC speakers to this headset you will be pleasantly surprised.
After about 15 minutes use I felt like I'd been missing out for months. Games I'd once played and enjoyed were suddenly enhanced, taken to an amazing new level of realism and you start to appreciate the effort developers put into the audio, effort that a large amount of gamers will never really appreciate unless they buy a headset.
That night I was on my Xbox for a good six hours and can honestly say these are very comfortable to wear. After about four hours they did become a little uncomfortable, but to be fair, playing for four hours solid isn't really wise anyway. Take regular breaks and I don't think there'll be too many people complaining about comfort.
Where this headset really shows it's worth is when playing online. Firstly the in-line amplifier enables you to separately adjust the volume of 'chat' and 'game'. Other headsets without this feature apparently make it difficult to get a good balance of sound, either leading to the in game sound drowning out the 'voice chat' or vice versa, thus compromising the overall experience. Another function on the in-line amplifier is the ability to mute the microphone, imperative if, like me, you occasionally have a coughing fit when playing...not something everyone else wants bellowing in their ear.
I've used the Turtle Beach Ear Force X11 for 9 months now and can happily report that the cables aren't knotted, the sound quality hasn't deteriorated and my friends can still hear me clearly when I'm talking on the microphone.
Although I paid £39.99 for mine, this was a competitive price at the time and I don't regret paying that for them. If you're considering buying these now then shop around as there are some great deals about. I recently saw them online for just £22.99 which is an absolute bargain.
For those of you who are adverse to wires, there are wireless options such as the Turtle Beach Ear Force X31 which retail around £65.
So in summary, a great headset for a reasonable price and one which keeps the peace at home. Value for money, without a doubt!
Open up the true experience of your games by buying this headset...I VERY much doubt you'll regret it.
As a shift worker I find myself with alot of time off when everyone else is busy working...so I do what a large proportion of people do now and stick the Xbox on. Yes it's not particularly productive, but it beats daytime TV and after a night shift I can't be bothered to do much else lol.
So this product was primarily bought for use with my Xbox 360, which is situated on the computer desk in my front room...therefore there was never an intention to use it as the main TV and I'm very glad about that and you'll hear why very shortly.
For now though let's go through my experiences with it.
My first impression...it's gorgeous to look at!!! A strange comment about an electrical item I know, but the design and finish are absolutely fantastic. There are no physical buttons, they are touch sensitive and backlit which is aesthetically pleasing and enhances the feeling of a sleek, quality product. You can also adjust the brightness of the backlit touch sensitive buttons which is a nice touch. Don't worry about the touch sensitive buttons though, if they're not for you then the perfectly laid out remote control allows you to make any changes you need.
Set up was very easy and the menus on screen are laid out very well. By default the installation sets it up as a TV and begins installing channels, which brings me onto the point of 'what is it?'.
I've seen this listed as a TV, a monitor and a TV monitor...it seems as though Samsung and the retailers aren't quite sure themselves. Looking at the three main things that might help us decide, only one really tells me the real answer.
Size: It's a 24" screen which by the standards today would make for a very small TV, but perfectly suitable for a bedroom.
Tuner: The inbuilt freeview tuner suggests it's a TV first, monitor second. I live in Coventry and the freeview signal prior to switchover was very poor, but I managed to get all the channels with good signal on the first automatic installation which was very impressive.
Sound quality: Ok ok, it's definitely a monitor! The sound isn't very good from the inbuilt speakers. Despite trying all the settings I found it still lacked any depth and bass, which was a shame, but for a monitor you'd actually say it's not too bad at all.
I mentioned earlier I bought this primarily for my Xbox and I do not regret it one bit. I do also hook it up to my laptop when watching the football. It's perfect for use as a monitor, particularly a gaming monitor. Once set up properly the picture is perfectly sharp, full HD 1080p, with absolutely no ghosting on fast moving images and the colours are spot on! I've owned many monitors from companies like eMachines, Acer and LG, but I've never seen a monitor that provides such a fantastic picture, with the added bonus of doubling as a TV for occasional use.
In terms of inputs, it's a fairly decent setup, although I personally feel it could have done with at least one extra HDMI port as it only has one. The inputs are as follows:
Digital Audio Output
HDMI x 1
SCART x 1
There are a few issues I've noticed with this monitor which are the reason I only gave it 4 stars, but don't let these put you off what is otherwise a fantastic monitor / TV erm...monitor, it's definitely a monitor, that let's you watch TV...whatever, the 'cons' are listed below:
Sound quality: Already mentioned but at the end of the day, hook it up to some speakers and you'll be laughing! I actually use a Turtle Beach headset for my Xbox so the sound isn't an issue for me.
Inputs: Again, already mentioned but only having 1 HDMI port isn't really sufficient nowadays, however, you can buy HDMI to DVI converters, so that can act as a fix if you have a second device you want to connect by HDMI. There is a newer version of this TV, the B2430HD and that does have two HDMI ports.
Power cord: There is an issue with the power cord in that it sticks out a couple of inches from the back, as such it drops under the weight of the cable and now sits quite loose, leading to it falling out on a handful of occasions (very frustrating). To get around it I have wedged it in with some folded card and it's been fine since. Not ideals, but it works.
Stand: Unfortunately the stand it comes with seems to have an issue with the tilt feature. It can be tilted, but I personally don't think it's worth the hassle. If you do get one and want to tilt the screen, Samsung suggested people follow these steps:
1-Lay the monitor face down (on a soft platform)
2-Disconnect the base from the monitor (by taking out the screws on the bottom of the base.
3-Slowly try to tilt the monitor/neck vertically in opposite directions.
I did this once thinking it might free it up a bit, but it didn't, meaning to tilt it again you need to repeat this process. It might loosen over time, but as stated before for me personally, it's not worth the messing around.
In a nutshell then, this product is by no means perfect, but if you want a great quality monitor or a decent small TV for a bedroom then this is a good choice. I got mine for under £150. Samsung have since replaced this model with the B2430HD, so there are some excellent deals to be had.
Thanks for reading!
Quite often products nowadays must have very clear definition of what they're trying to be. Failure to emphasize that in the marketing and design phase tends to lead to serious confusion on the part of the consumer, thus leading to tentative sales.
Acer really hit the nail on the head with this Laptop (Notebook?? - we'll get to that in a bit!). It's called the Acer TravelMate Timeline 8371-944G32 N, 'TravelMate' being the key word here.
What Acer have created is a harmonious merging of both portability and features, which from my point of view is most welcome.
First things first, this is really a Notebook, so don't be fooled by the term ultra-portable Laptop coined by many retailers. This doesn't have an optical drive of any kind and has limited graphics capability, therefore confirming it's status as a Notebook. Don't let that put you off though, read on and you'll see that, Laptop or not, this is definitely worthy of consideration.
You'll notice it's not the best looking Laptop / Notebook on the shelf, nor does it have the best screen, the fastest processor or even the cheapest pricetag...but I can assure you, this epitomises the term 'fit for purpose' and that purpose is playing the role of the all-rounder.
At 1.7kg and just over 32cm wide it's light and small enough to carry with you on long journeys / commutes without it becoming cumbersome. Despite it's diminutive stature, it feels very well made and has a decent 13.3" widescreen LED backlit screen with a pixel resolution of 1366 x 768. Other reviews have commented on the screen not being particularly bright, but over the past 10 months of ownership I haven't found this to be an issue. A major plus point of the screen is that it doesn't have that gloss coating that most Laptops seem to have. This means it is actually possible to still see the screen on the TravelMate when it's sunny! Okay those days are few and far between here, but when they do come it's always nice to be able to still see what you're doing, be it in the garden typing up a report / ordering your online shopping or watching streamed TV.
I mentioned the LED backlit screen above, which leads me onto the battery life. Acer quote a figure of 8.5 hours from the 6-cell Lithium Ion battery and surprisingly they're about right...maybe even understating the battery life a little. I've had mine last almost ten hours with reasonable use, internet / video etc. It's all achieved by utilizing low voltage components throughout in order to reduce the overall load and it works a treat.
Onto the processor, an Intel Core 2 Duo SU9400 (1,4 GHz). It's low voltage to keep power down, but provides good performance and combined with the 4GB DDR3 RAM, allows for multi-tasking Office programs, lightning quick web page opening and streaming HD video, although I'm sure it would be found out when trying some video editing though!
This Notebook has a Wireless LAN aerial, supporting 802.11b/g/n and also has a Bluetooth aerial supporting Bluetooth 2.1 EDR. When I'm at home mine is always connected to the Wireless Network and I've experienced no problems with connectivity, even when streaming in HD. I've only tested the Bluetooth on one occasion and it was very quick to establish a connection.
Another excellent feature is the inclusion of a 5-in-1 integrated card reader, supporting SD/MS/MS-Pro/MMC/xD-Picture card which makes transferring media such as photos very easy.
There seem to be varying specs on this same model number. Mine came with a 320 GB 7200 RPM hard drive which is plenty big enough, the other option I'm aware of is a 250 GB hard drive. Another variation is with the graphics controller, as mine came with the ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4330 which seems to work really well.
One question I get asked alot is 'can it play games?'...the answer, yes, but be realistic! You won't be able to play the latest, greatest, graphics intensive first person shooter, but it punches above it's weight and has no problem with Civilization IV and games of that nature.
Another question I'm asked regularly is about over-clocking. I've personally not tried it as I'm happy with the performance, but a quick check found many people showing some excellent gains by over-clocking both the CPU (processor) and the GPU (graphics), so if you're into that then rest assured there is scope there.
My one and only complaint isn't so much with the product, but the operating system. Mine shipped with Windows Vista Business and this seems to be the most common option. It makes sense for what is essentially a business 'Laptop', but my advice would be to wipe it and replace it with Windows 7. Some retailers do offer it with other options, so I'd shop around.
Don't be put of by the Notebook tag, as you can always purchase a slimline USB optical drive, these are now pretty cheap (£15 ish) and still very portable. If you plan on using it for watching films then I'd also recommend a set of USB speakers as the internal speakers are standard Laptop quality...sufficient, but not brilliant.
In conclusion I'd happily recommend this to anyone looking for a reasonably priced (I didn't buy mine personally, but the company it came from are charging approx £300), portable Notebook. It has excellent functionality, a decent screen and handles most tasks with ease.
Thanks for reading!
I've had mobile phones since my 16th birthday, which I must sadly admit was some 12 years ago now. In that time I've only ever had two mobile phones that I haven't wanted to get rid of after the first week, the Siemens C25 (old school!) and the HTC Desire...but now there's a 3rd.
I previously bought Samsung's first iteration of touch-screen phones, the Omnia and vowed never to buy another touch-screen phone regardless of the hype. I then succumbed to the HTC Desire which renewed my faith. When upgrading this time around I made sure to get a hands on of the current crop of phones including the iPhone 4, HTC Sensation and the LG Optimus 2x to name just a few.
I've now owned the Samsung Galaxy S II (I9100) for just over a month and can't see anything bettering this to be honest.
The first thing you notice is the exceptionally vivid 4.27" Super AMOLED Plus screen which totally knocks the socks off anything else I've seen. Add this to the fact it uses 'Gorilla Glass' and you can be sure the screen is as strong as possible. Mine has taken a couple of knocks already and still looks pristine.
The screen size is great as it makes using the touch-screen easier and more precise. Although initially the phone appears to be on the large side due to the size of the screen, it doesn't take long to realise that it looks larger than it feels. It's so light I've actually not realised it's been in my pocket on a number of occasions.
Renowned for making incredible looking technology, Samsung's design team have created something ultra special with this phone, it's sleek, light (just 116 grams) and despite all that it's incredibly durable. Some people have questioned the quality of the back cover and when you remove it for the first time you immediately notice how thin it is, so be careful! I'd advise not removing it unless absolutely necessary as frequent removal may lead to it snapping, but it serves it's purpose and it's the price you pay for having such a light phone.
Multi-tasking isn't a problem for the Galaxy S II as it has an excellent 1.2GHz dual-core processor. This enables the phone to handle applications and web browsing with complete ease, thus making owning it a pleasure...after all, that's the main purpose of owning a smartphone. Speaking of the purpose of owning a smartphone, the Galaxy S II has 16GB internal storage, which is sufficient for most peoples needs, but for those who like to keep vast amounts of videos and other large files on their phone you'll be please to know it also supports a whopping 32GB micro SDHC!
I've only used the camera and video camera a few times, but the photos have all been excellent as I expected with an 8 Megapixel camera. I'm not totally convinced by the quality of the video camera as it appears to have issues with the auto-focus, making it difficult to capture clear video. On the occasions it has worked properly, the 1080p recording at 30fps has been great...but it's no replacement for a dedicated video camera.
Finally the battery...it's been listed as a 'con' in a number of online reviews, but I think people still expect too much. My personal opinion on the battery is that it's no worse than what we have come to expect of other smartphones. I tend to charge mine every night, but with little use I have got through a full weekend without charging. Considering this phone powers such an incredible screen AND a processor more powerful than most netbooks, I think that is perfectly respectable.
In summary, if you're looking for a great phone that does everything you expect of a smartphone, but quicker and with more style...then look no further. There are some great deals to be had on this phone at the moment and I very much doubt anyone who gets one will be disappointed.