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Modern Warfare 3 was a game I was very much looking forwards to; being a staunch fan of Modern Warfare 2. However, I was already left with a bitter taste thanks to Black Ops and I don't think I recovered. Here I was thinking Modern Warfare 3 would bring forth the evolution of the series, but sadly, this wasn't the case. I cannot tell you how good or bad the storyline mode is, because that is what I skip, but I can tell you how poor the multiplayer is. I must however say how thankful I am that unlike Black Ops, you can actually go into a game with your friend and still be on the same team. There are a couple of new guns but nothing that feels like it being the best to use. Killstreaks aren't ver imaginative and I would rather prefer Black Ops ones believe it or not. The maps are very open; you can get taken down from anywhere as often enemies will end up spawning behind you. I find this utterly ridiculous especially when you are playing Domination mode. Getting flanked is all too common and even more common is the non stop grenades that get thrown. The maps are a bit larger than Black Ops but not as big as MW2 and as a result the grenade fest is just a game breaker for me. Grenade Launching however has been toned down as Scavanger does not give you additional launchers. Nor does it give you additional claymores/grenades tec. Thankful for that, otherwise the constant grenading would be worsened tenfold. Some of the old perks are removed and some renamed; some new ones are introduced which make zero sense. In all seriousness, if you already have the game you probably binned it, otherwise if you are contemplating on buying, just don't.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab is a tablet computer running off Android and features a wide variety of technologies that sets it apart from the IPAD. Firstly, the tablet is very light due to the plastic frame it is made with. Unfortunately, this also makes it feel rather cheap but there is absolutely no problem with the build quality. It comes with a 16GB built in memory and also supports up to 32GB microSD flash memory. If you buy the 32GB version, this gives you a total 64GB. However, 48GB combined is a decent amount of memory for a wide ranged of usage needs. The best features of this tab is Bluetooth and Wi-Fi which allows you to roam around the house or in wi-fi hotspots and use the net for browsing, streaming and whatever else you may do. The Galaxy tab also comes with other highspeed mobile technologies like HSDPA but I don't use those as much due to the fact that its mostly used at home or office. Samsung Galaxy tab comes with a 7inch screen that features a 1024x600 resolution which is very good; the colours are sharp and clear and the icons are of decent size. Android OS virtually the phone version with minor changes which includes Samsungs own apps. Applications are easily available to download or buy due to the growing android app market. Many free apps are absolutely brilliant. In fact, the hit game Angry Birds can be played for free when you install Chrome on the tab. Obviously the apps aren't as robust or refined as the Apple iPad but there is always something that you are looking for. Using the tab to browse, email and carry out tasks like word proccessing is easy due to the touch screen being sensitive. However, it isn't as fine tuned as the iPad; sometimes you have to carry out more than one touch to carry out a task. On the whole though it is responsive enough to get things done. The OS is very user friendly and has menus clearly sorted out to cater for various aspects of using the 48GB is a lot of space and you can store photos, documents videos and a good amount of them. Which reminds me, video playback is very decent and watching movies on the tab isn't a problem. Android 2.2 is the standard OS it ships with, you can upgrade it by flashing the ROM (I've updated the review). Essential apps are Chrome (or you could run Firefox) for browsing, Thunderbird for emails, I also run BBC News app - these are all available for free. The best free app is Kindle. Not only does this allow you to buy books from Amazon, but you can also write and preview it if you wish to self publish on Amazon. There are default social media apps for Facebook, Twitter and also apps for gmail. Also included is a media player, although I ended up installing VLC media player. Thats the great thing about the android platform is that there are so many good quality apps available for free. As per the camera, its decent; nothing spectacular but it can record videos at 720p. I am not a fan of the cam but if you want to snap pictures on the go, it will take good pictures but don't expect amazing results. Battery life is pretty average lasting a day or two between charges depending on how you use it. I do a lot of reading on the go and the tab has native support for PDF. Reading is easy on the eye due to the text being sharp and clear with the good amount of resolution. Very pleased with the product, but the iPad is still king.
Gaming enthusiasts will be aware how important sound is to games espcially when it comes to first person shooters. Most computers have onboard sound cards but they aren't always good at picking up the little details of many games for example footsteps. There are many expensive sound cards available that gamers will use, but to be honest, a mid ranged sound card can achieve a very good audio experience. Asus aren't well known for making sound cards, but it is a brand that I know and trust, so I went for this mid ranged card as opposed to a Creative Soundblaster. The Xonar D boasts 24bit 192kHZ sound that has a decibel rating of 107. It also features a 7.1 channel surround sound. These are technical jargon that probably wont matter much, especially if like me, you use headsets. So what are the requirements to use this sound card? Your motherboard probably already meets it - you will need a free PCI slot. On my system, in order to use it, I had to disable the onboard sound from the BIOS settings - this may not be required. It really depends on your BIOS so it helps to be aware of this. Once the card is placed and the sound drivers are installed, load up your favourite game and you can immediately hear the difference. Sounds are much clearer, sharper and feel more accurate. Footsteps for example in MW3 feel as though they are actually in the real world and you can sense the direction easily. Not only does this enchance your awareness but it also helps you to be ready for that killshot or that flank. Your tactics can be changed simply with being able to hear out for things which would normally not be heard on an onboard sound device. Many times I was even accused of cheating because I was always able to anticipate enemy movement and ready myself. As surprising as it may be, sound does make you a better gamer, especially with first person shooters. In terms of other playback, well needless to say that everything is a lot clearer. I mean listening to music and comparing it to onboard sound you can pretty much make out the huge improvement in audio quality - especially if the music is high def. Similarly movie playback experience is also boosted. The audio drivers come with a variety of features ranging from sound environment settings, equalizer and a plethora of other settings which is tiresome to write about. Personally speaking, Asus here have a good sound card, although it still probably lacks compared to more expensive Creative cards.
Sapphire are the premeir AMD/ATI manufacturer and once again they haeve made an excellent card here. However this is actually a 6750 if you go by old naming format ATi used. With that said, what can you expect inside the package? Sapphire box the card in a small packaging so I must give them props for using as little cardboard as possible. What you get inside is a smallish sized graphics card in an anti-static bag along with 2 DVI/VGA adapters, driver disc and a Crossfire cable. The card is actually quite beautiful with a simple Sapphire logo in the middle of a large fan that sits atop the alluminium heatsink. It comes with 2 HDMI ports and a onventional DVI port. The dual HDMI ports allow you to use up to two monitors if you like using multi-displays. Typically the card is a dual slot cooling solution so does take up a bit of space but in terms of its length, it is quite small compared to larger and more powerful cards. What sort of system can you expect to use it in? Well that really depends on how much gaming and what sort of media needs you have. In terms of its gaming performance, it will handle Battlefield 3 and MW3, but around the 40fps mark. That isn't so bad however it does mean you really can't crank up the details in terms of anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering. However I daresay that this card will be ideal for the upcoming Valve game Counter Strike Global Offensive - and that is because this card handles Source engine games beautifully. CS GO is a modified Source engine game currently in beta and will be hitting the shelves soon. CS gamers will find that the card can manage around 50 to 60FPS. I've only managed to play against bots in a 5v5 scenario, however the servers will support more than 32 players and I can't tell at this time how that will affect performance. The 512GB of RAM is sufficient to handle hi-res textures and this would also make the card very good for Guild Wars 2 which is also coming soon. In terms of its thermal output - it is very good and sits between 40 to 50 degrees. It is also very good on the ear as it is barely audible. Sapphire always manage to somehow make cards that are quiet. Modern generations f graphics cards render color and graphics similarly so nothing worthy of mention there. So for a sub £90 card, this actually is a very good performer and is ideal for light gamers or if you just need a little more oomph to do a bit of rendering and what not.
I've had this E7 for quite a while but I recently sold it off. The phone resembles the first generation of Xperia by Sony. When I first used the phone the spring mechanism to pull out the touch screen and reveal the keypad it felt really solidly made. However over time the spring mechanism doesn't really feel like it did the first time. Over time it has developed a score/scratch where the spring load mechanism meets the back panel of the screen. E7 is quite a bulky phone and is one of the things to be disliked about the phone since the depth is quite substantial making the phone really thick compared to many other smartphones around at the time. Anyways the E7 uses Symbian OS and its practically teh same as the other and older phones by Nokia which is always good. The learning curve of using the phone isn't so big so you are instantly familiar with user menus, settings and various phone items. The screen is quite good and is responsive but I felt that at times that it wasn't registering my touch very well. It is quite large but the viewing angle isn't that good especially in direct sunlight. For a small resolution the colours are pretty good and vibrant. There are the usual applications that come with Symbian phones as well as some new Nokia apps like Nokias navigation app but the main problem with the phone is the lack of apps compared to an Android phone. However if you use the phone for calling and doing a little browsing, emailing etc then this is perfectly a fine phone. Sound quality is very good for on both fronts. And the 8mpx camera along with its LED flash light performs well; although the pictures aren't that great but its not what I used the phone for. One of the unique features about the phone is the HDMI port which I don't know why Nokia bothered with. Till date I haven't bothered using this and I can't figure out why I would. The other ports however are very handy such as the standard full size audio jack. The power button is large for thumb or finger and acts as a unlock button when the screen is locked. Pressing it long enough of course brings the phone to shut down or to switch on. For me the outstanding quality of the phone is the candybar look with a solid sense of build quality behind it. However I when it comes to slider phones, I still prefer the Xperia.
I drove this car when I was getting my license and I will always remember it as a good car. The thing about the Rover 600 is that the bodywork and chassis is a Honda and the engine is Rover. It was actually built in the UK Honda plant. This may be a reason as to why it felt good. I mean the interior has a bit of wood and is a bit class in that regards. There are electric windows with auto toggles and locks next to the gear box. The being a 2 litre engine felt good to drive as the pick up was a satisfactory one. Gear changes were equally pleasing and the gearstick was also very decent especially compared to the Rover 400. Rear leg room isn't particularly pleasing as it does feel a little cramped for space but the boot size sufficiently large for those trips to the airport. Overall the car was very god as it drove well on normal roads and the highway but unfortunately the car failed on the head gasket. The Rover 600 was known for faulty head gaskets and we were affected by this too. Finding a replacement was nigh on impossible so a trade in was the best thing to do. If it wasn't for the head gasket, I wouldn't mind still driving this car.
Solid State Disk drives are becoming very common as an internal component to laptops, however you may feel the need to have a small backup device that you can carry in your pocket. This indeed is an extraln solid sate drive and is also small, but to be honest, it isn't worth it. First of all let me tell you that this is essentially eight 16GB USB pen drives. If you calculate the cost, it is roughly around £160 for eight of them. The Iomega SSD retails at around £300 and you can immediately guess where I am going with this. 128GB isn't a huge amount of disk space and especially for a product that is geared towards the backup market. However what it does support is USB 3 and should your motherboard also suppoer USB 3 then you will get a very decent read/write exprience. As I've said my main concern is the hard drive space and the price. For comparisons sake, you can easily buy a 128GB SSD from makes such as PNY, Corsair or OCZ (very well established SSD brands) for around £120. Some of these SSDS are also equipped with portable kits thus allowing you to use them as external devices. With that said, Iomega have made a very robust SSD here. It feels really well built with the metal casing. As there are no moving parts involved, you shouldn't have many problems if you manage to have an accident or two - dropping it for example. In summary, this SSD as a storage solution does not really compare well with external protable hard disks. There simply isn't enough space but moreso there really isn't a great speed advantage compared to conventional 5900RPM external hard disk drives. Give this a miss if you need a portable storage solution.
I had bought this digicam back in 2009 and it still works to this day. The Lumix FS7 is an attractive little camera. It will fit in your pocket easily and is moderately thin. It is also packed with a Lecia lens. I don't know much about lenses, but I assume they are the Panasonic equivalent of Carl-Zeiss. What it has is a 10mpx photo chip, 2.7" TFT Screen, 4x optical zoom, 4x digital zoom (total 16.0 x combined with Optical Zoom) and it comes with standard 50mb of memory - not a lot for pictures. However it houses SD, SDHC and MMC cards. I bought a SDHC as it is the faster and smaller format of SD card. Using the camera feels light and very easy to take pictures with. The large display shows a clear picture although when moving the camera too fast, it lags behind. Theres quite a decent viewing angle and the brightness adjustments can help take pictures in various lighting conditions. I found the camera to start up quickly; although not the fastest it was still under 5 seconds. I haven't really noted how quickly it does shot-to-shot but I believe it to be fast enough and probably between 2 to 3 seconds. The Intelligent Auto or iA is a unique feature to the Lumix and can identify the subject in the frame. There are a wide range of iA sets one of which was my favourite; Flower. I photograph quite a lot of flowers and the intelligent autofocus and image stabilisation meant that I could take pictures even in windy conditions. Images are of excellent quality. Really you can't differentiate between this and higher priced digital cameras with the naked eye. Even in poor lighting the camera will repeatedly take beautiful pictures thanks to its LED flash. There are various ISO settings to play with and each setting helps to adjust to various lighting conditions. Lumix FS7 menu is pretty simple to use. The 4 buttons at the back with a central Select allowes for easy navigation and each item is well layed out and clear to understand. In terms of its reliability, this camera has been faultless and I would have expected no less from Panasonic. The materials used feel very solid and there is an air of class around the black matte finish. I can't really say much else but would like to finish with how good the camera looks and feels. For this price you really can't go wrong with the Panasonic Lumix FS7.
Encoding a lot of gameplay videos requires a lot of space and the Western Digital Caviar was a much needed addition to my array. My Samsung F3 1Tb was running low and I was looking to purchase another; except the Thai flood happened. As a result, prices of hard drives rose and the Samsung F3 rocketed to £100+. I've been waiting for the prices to settle down, but yet they haven't. However I was lucky to grab a bargain with the Western Digitial Caviar for £75. The purchase was out of necessity as I said and I had never before used a Western Digital product. I am however happy I have; and for good reason. First of all the huge 64MB cache buffer and the fact that its SATA3. Now if your motherboard doesn't support SATA 3, you can still use it but not at the same speeds. The black editions come with 5 year warranty which is a very rare offering in the hard drive market. As for the drive itself and how it performs; it can be summed in just 1 word - BEAUTIFULLY. Not only is the drive fast but it is superbly silent. Applications load up on par with the Samsung F3 I have and write speeds are equally good. Encoding, saving and compressing files runs smoothly and steadily and I cannot emphasize enough how silent the drive is. Large files are no problem for this disk drive. According to WD the drive: Stores Upto 2460 Action Packed Games Stores Upto 284000 Digital Photo's (6Mpix) Stores Upto 250000 MP3 Songs Stores Upto 24000 CD Audio Songs Stores Upto 76ours of Digital Video (DV) Stores Upto 400 Hours of DVD Quality Video Stores Upto 120 Hours of HD Quality Video However, I was short of nearly 200GB and the drive actually has 879GB. It is a tad disappointing but I cannot complain as it is a solid performer; almost equal in all terms to my beloved Samsung F3. However, the 5 year warranty sets this hard drive apart from the rest of the field. For me this buy was a revelation and I definitely will be buying more Western Digital products in the future. 1TB hard drives sell at around £80+ price region, but if you require disk drive urgently, get this one. Summary: Perfect buy for those who urgently require a new hard drive.
When buying a USB pen drive, the most important thing to consider is what will it be used for and how it will be used. One of the other things to take into consideration is the price per gigabyte; afterall you want the best for your money. I have a variety of USB pen drives ranging from well known flash makers and not so well know generic ones. However, make no mistake Corsair is a well known brand; it is also well worth it. However, when you buy it, prepare to struggle a little with the plastic packaging. I cannot understand why in this day and age we cannot have more paper based packaging in a small box or casing. The plastic package is a nuisance to cut; I ended up cutting my index finger instead. Eventually I did manage to pry open the little memory stick - and after a good little plaster on my finger. That aside, the feel of this little (well perhaps not so little) pen drive is very rugged. The other is a combination of rubber and plastic. It feels solid and durable - I did something I don't conventionally do and that is to step on it. I wouldn't recommend this, however the Corsair Flash Voyager was still in perfect working condition. It is a plug and play device which will work with any operating system that supports plug and play. One of the best things about its 16GB capacity is that you can virtually install another operating system - such as Ubuntu or Fedora and use it anywhere you go. The operating system doesn't take much space so you are left iwth a lot to store documents, mp3s, videos and whatever else you fancy. I run the latest Fedora build and it performs flawlessly. The read speeds are excellent and the write speed is equal to it. It is an ideal travel companion as I have carried it around with me recently on a trip to Spain. What I like about it the most? The ruggedness without a doubt. If you need 16GB flash drive and have around £20 budget - this is definitely one to get.
The Toshiba BDX3200 can be bought at around £120 to £140 price mark. High street prices are much higher so I decided to buy from Amazon. I have to admit though, I am not really a fan of this 3D TV thing. First of all you will need a 3D TV to view 3D movies - so unless you have one, this is really not for you as it is a lot pricier than the normal blue ray players. Anyways, the device is as large as your conventional DVD players and to be honest there really isn't any difference. The player has a piano/glossy black finish and there is a branding on the left that identifies its a Toshiba. A slick small Blueray logo is on the device tray. The BDX3200 comes with a variety of outputs including the conventional audio/video ports, a HDMI out and a USB port. There is also a LAN socket so you can connect it to your home network. The standout feature is the USB port on the front which has a flap cover. The remote control itself is very easy to use as the buttons are well spaced out and is not cluttered at all. A well laid out directional (arrow) button at the centre insures easy navigation and selection (a central ok/select button). As far as media playback support is concerned, the device supports a variety of known formats including MKV, DivX HD, MP3 and JPEG. The BDX3200 has the usual friendly user menu expected of Toshiba devices. Everything is layed out clearly and is easy to access the various features using the remote. There is a Motion Video Processing feature which offers four picture presets and three levels of noise reduction. You can adjust brightness, saturation and hue for each individual colour in the picture. The BDX3200 is actually a budget priced product and substantially cheaper than many of its 3D BD player counterparts. However, I found that it does a very decent job of playing back a variety of formats - MKV being the biggest plus factor for me - especially if you happen to do a lot of encoding yourself. There isn't much of an issue with playback as all the high definition stuff are displayed beautifuly and without stutters or distortions. Overall verdict: A good BD player if you have a 3D TV, otherwise look elsewhere for your blueray needs.
I bought this nifty little card for my younger brother for Christmas and I wish I hadn't. Don't get me wrong, the card itself is a decent performer. This is around two generations (now to be 4 generations) old but it is capable of playing Call of Duty and Battlefield series of titles; albeit not at maximum settings. Don't get confused by the name, this is not a ATi 5750, in fact it is an nVidia GeFroce card. XFX didn't throw in any extras like Sapphire do with their cards; there were no DVI/HDMI adapters. The box came with the card, driver disc and a serial - which you register with XFX to get their support. The card itself is quite small compared to its bigger siblings and is perfect for small-medium sized desktops. It probably will also fit in small home media centres. The heatsink and fan are very small and so produces very little noise. Installation is is the same as any other PCIE card - simply slot it in and install drivers, so no problems there. As card is a single slot solution (it only takes up one slot on your cases rear expansion bay) it draws its power from the motherboard - its quite efficient on that front. So there is no hassle of requiring 4/6pin cable from PSU. Be aware though that you will need atleast a 300W PSU to handle this card otherwise your system may have a lot of stability issues and may crash. As its a DirectX 9 card, don't expect to play the latest DirectX 11 games. However this will handle media playback flawlessly so no issues if you are looking to buy this for media purposes. It can however handle Valve Source engine based games easily - titles such as Team Fortress 2, Counter Strike Source will play beautifully on this. Now, my major disappointment with the card was with the support provided by XFX. As I mentioned there is a serial that comes with the card - you register this with their site so that you can get support at a personal level. Needless to say that the card malfunctioned within a month and I had to chase the vendor for a replacement, however I was told to take the issue with XFX. It was a silly circle of passing the buck where XFX would tell me to take the matter with the vendor and the vendor to XFX. Eventually both parties agreed to do a replacement but this whole process took 3 months. Therefore, even for the price and the size and performance for the needs of your system, I can't recommend this card due to the shoddy support provided by XFX. There are far better alternatives at similar prices which is also capable of DX 11 gaming.
I have used a wide variety of mouses and keyboards and done many different things. This Sharkoon/Rush mouse I have used for gaming. This isn't your typical optical type, it is a laser mouse. What that means is that there is a greater amount of precision in your movements and it feels amazingly responsive. First of all you will be taken by the bulky look the mouse, however this can be deceiving as it is actually very comfortable to hold and it is weighted beautifully. Your palm will rest perfectly on the mosues accentuated shape and you will feel as though it is an extension of your hand when you use it for long periods. The wheel acts as a scroller as well as a button allowing you to use it for various game related activities; changing weapons for example. There is an additional button aside from the 2 left and right making a toal of 5. Clicks are sharp, responsive but beautifully designed to make a soft sound; not like many Logitech ones which have a sharp annoying click. What makes this a good gaming mouse is its ability to change the resolution and thus altering how sensitive it is. Along with these, there is the option to have up to 4 speed settings. What this means overall is that you can alter sensitivity with the mouse for various weapons and games - without the need to alter windows or game profiles. There is also an led light that indicates the various speed settings. One of the best features of this mouse is actually the fact that you can use it straight out of the box without needing to install additional drivers - something you need to do with Razer mouses for example. Being wired you also needn't worry about batteries. The cable is long enough though and the package also includes PS/2 USB converter for people who have older machines. However, this isn't the best in the class for the price as it retails around £29.99 - Rush Fireglider which retails at around £22.99 is quite probably better but it isn't as comfortable as this one.
Not a fan of some microsoft products - namely mouses. Anyways about the keyboard - well it is quite a bargain. Retails at Tescos for £9.99. It is curved with a sense of ergonomics behind its design. The keys are well spaced out but does not have an additional set of keys beyond the standard - no programmable keys here. As far as typing goes,the keyboard is on the quiet side but does feel very responsive to keystrokes. The space bar is a tad on the small side - if you like big space bars. It is a wired part that comes with a PS/2 USB adapter so you can use it on older machines. There really isn't one outsanding feature to talk about but it is a budget keyboard and one that functions adequately for the price. Prolonged typing is fine but don't expect it to be great for gaming - although your typical FPS will be fine to play with this. I would probably sum it up as a quiet, comfy and somewhat easy on the hands sort of keyboard. If you need a keyboard and have a low budget you cant go wrong with this.
There are many things good about Acer Aspire ONE 522, one of them being the AMD Fusion cpu. This little dual core part also incorporates a nifty Radeon HD 6250 graphics chip and helps it to be quite a media friendly netbook. One of the things you notice with the Aspire One is the sleek design. It is however sadly glossy and quite prone to smudging and fingerprints. I wished Acer would use matte plastics like Asus. That aside, the netbook is quite a decent size and the ports for USB, HDMI and VGA as well as audio is nicely located on the sides. There is a bit of a problem with the vents where if you use the netbook on for a while, the underside gets quite warm - still its usable on the lap. There is quite a decent (what I would say standard) 250GB hard drive and is capable of storing quite a fair bit - but I suspect you won't be using this for that. If however you do photography on the go and like blogging - the storage on this netbook may be sufficient. The keypad is nice and responsive but I do not like the sound it makes and sometimes its a bit too sticky. On the plus, the trackpad is quite nice and responsive but quite easily smudged. This is one of the few netbooks that probably could run a standard version of Windows 7 instead of Windows 7 starter that it is shipped with. The only thing preventing this is the 1GB standard RAM. Upgrade to 2GB or 4GB and it isn't a problem. I always insist running Linux on netbooks anyways. The biggest plus factor for this netbook I would say is the graphics chip - the Radeon HD 6250 which allows full 1080p playback and that too flawlessly. There is no jump, stutter and the frame rate is very steady. It is also capable of outputing video to a larger display without any issues and is in fact one of the few netbooks able to display full HD video with such ease. It is however still lacking in the gaming side so don't expect to play the latest titles - it can handle some older generation games like Counter Strike. The CPU performance is adequate but it is quite slower in terms of compression and other CPU intensive applicationss compared to an Intel n570 for example. Acer Aspire ONE ships for around £199 price mark and if you wanted a netbook that lets you watch videos on the go at full HD quality then this is an ideal buy.