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I bought a pair of Converse All Star Hi Top trainers about a year ago and have worn them on and off in that period. On the whole they are fairly comfortable to wear although it took a few uses to wear them in as I got blisters on the backs of my feet as the backing of the hi top trainers are pulled tightly together.
I don't wear them that often because the soles don't have much in the way of material. All that is seperating my feet from the ground is a very thin rubber sole and polyester / cotton insert. Also the insert starts to wear after a dozen or so uses and I had to purchase another one for a few quid which shouldn't have to be done for a good quality pair of well known branded trainers.
The laces are very good quality. I've worn them untied several times because I was late and tied them up when I got to my destination and they haven't frayed or splitted on me yet. Grip wise, the soles have rubber square blotches in that aid in gripping in some respect although after some uses this starts to fade over and you are left with a smooth rubber surface that I have slipped on a few times before.
The overall aesthetics are very pleasing. They are good looking trainers and I have had several people comment on how good they look. Most people that have had a conversation with me about my converses seem to know the brand name quite well.
After being a converse owner for just a tad over a year I can say they have lived up to expectations, although lately I have worn my nikeys more than my converses as they are slightly above par on the comfortablity front.
The Samsung U600 is one of the slimmest and lightest mobile phones I have owned. The U600 is a very pretty aesthetically futuristic looking phone. The slider is easy enough to open using your thumb which displays the keypad. The keypads buttons aren't very deep rooted so sometimes you can end up double dialling a digit or pressing another digital by mistake as they are so close together.
The four touch pad buttons are the ones when the phone is closed can be difficult to get a response out of. I am quite heavy handed by nature so when a button doesn't respond by pressing it, I press it harder and it still doesn't work. What I found is the lighter you press it the better response you get. When pressing down on any of the buttons it can make a cracking sound where the phone is so slim and plastically or the screen isn't on properly I always try to be extra careful when using it.
I don't know the full extent on how durable it is yet as I haven't dropped it or put it in the washing machine (time will tell I know) but on the whole for such a slim and light phone it is pretty robust and sturdy. One complaint is the screen has gotten light scratches from fairly constant use. I don't know if this is where the phone slides open and gets caught or having it in my pocket has caused it.
From little to average use the battery lasts for about 2-4 days. If you put it on power saving mode so it goes dim after five seconds and black screen after ten and turn the sound off and don't use any juicy features like playing java script games then you could squeeze a week out of the battery life.
For a phone the music player speaker is absolutely fantastic. The sound is clear, full of clarity and has a crisp edge to it. The music player and FM radio works so well with headphones or by itself using the speaker that I normally choose my phone for musical choice than my iPod.
Navigations around the menu are self explanatory and straight forward. Pressing the left touch screen button displays all options available. Each application displays a picture of what the application is representing. For instance, messaging has a big envelope above its name so you know to click here to message e-letters.
I haven't used the bluetooth yet so can't comment on how well that fairs. The camera has 3.2 megapixels although this can get very jumpy when taking video and lags behind so it's like your taking pictures with blocks of images. Picture quality is average for a phone. Some pictures I've taken have problems such as red eye, blurred images or too light / dark where the auto focus forgets to do it's job properly. The camera is also slow taking 15-20 seconds to load up compared with other applications that come on straight away.
After having a gas cooker for years that was on it's last legs and in hind sight I should have gotten rid of even years before I did because it was a bit of a death trap as the kitchen always smelt of gas even with it off I thought I'd play it safe this time and opt for a Belling electric cooker.
The Belling FSE60DOP took a while to adjust to from going from a gas oven which takes a second to switch on the flames as when you switch on the electric oven say hobs for instance they take around a minute until a bright hot red ring is on high enough to actually cook something.
The ceramic flat glassed topped hob is incredibly easy to clean. As it's a wipe able surface anything that is spilled or ingrained onto the surface can be cleaned by using a piece of kitchen towel with hob brite. This makes the surface look good as new and I would definitely recommend hob brite to do this but that is to say for another review.
There are two small sized and two larger surface area sized hobs. When the hobs are switched on they make a slight hum although unless you look to hear it goes unnoticeable. There is a little red safely light that comes on when you are using the hobs and I found this to work for the most part but sometimes when you turn off the hobs the red light goes and a hob could still be hot enough to burn you so take extra caution even if the red light goes out don't take it's word for it.
I haven't used the programmable timer yet as I normally cook food by checking the time and just adding the minutes to it. (E.g. if it's 8pm and a pizza takes 20 minutes, I know the pizza will be cooked by 8.20pm so no hassle of messing with a timer). The default digital screen displays a bright clear digital clock which I've checked and it's reliable never losing it's time.
The top oven with grill is great for grilling or cooking small items or for keeping things warm while you are waiting for longer duration items to cook. I found you can have the main oven on and if you open up the top oven the heat from the main oven makes its way up to the top oven so you can put things in there to keep them warm without switching anything else on. Again I must stress the top oven is only meant for small items, you can't exactly put a big chicken in it.
The large bottom main oven is fairly big. It is fan assisted which I find is very noisy. It sounds like an airplanes engine on low speed. A month of so ago the element in the back of the main oven stopped working so I had to buy another one from the manufacturer so ended up having to cook using only the top oven which was a pain, but I guess better than the whole oven not working.
The large glass doors help to see how the food is getting on, although I find they are slightly tinted or something as you really have to open up the door to see if a pizza is starting to burn as the tint makes it look like it isn't burnt but when you open the door it is starting to burn, which is so bad on the visibility front.
Bought this webcam from Currys as it was on offer for just under £20. What stood out about this webcam is that it fits right on top of my laptop and is less bulky and more slimline compared with others on sale at the time. Included in the box is a universal clip that fits most laptops, LCD or CRT monitors. Took no time to install and might require just a quick nudge to get it in place. If you don't want it on your laptop there is a 1.5m cable to move it about.
Logitech have been in the webcam making business for a few years now and it comes with a two year guarantee and full product support for ease of mind. The C270 features Logitech RightLight and RightSound as stanard which auto focuses so if you are in a dim room makes it lighter or have lots of background noise helps it define your voice and cancel out the unwanted noise. This works fairly well, although the RightLight can sometimes over work and you end up looking like a ghost!
The webcam is HD. Not full high definition though at 720p. Although even at 720p the image is always fluid, sharp and crisp. The HD video calling and video capture can all been seen at an amazing 1280 x 720 pixels. The webcam also acts as a camera taking shots up to 3 megapixels.
I've had the C270 for a few weeks now and it has worked everytime I've switched it on. I was surprised with how sturdy the little device is. When fitting it onto my laptop I accidently dropped it and it's so durable it's like a mini plastic rock!
When I recently purchased a new laptop I wanted a wireless router that would still give me good range even when I'm outside or upstairs. The DG834N is a funny little design. When I had friends round they thought it was a Nintendo Wii because it looks so much like one and they wouldn't believe me that it was a router.
The quality of the router itself is really top notch. It feels very sturdy and the white gloss finish is smooth to touch although it does attract dust and finger prints easy. When it's on it makes no sound at all, unless you are downloading something of importance or several laptops are connected at once then you can get several of the lights flickering at once which makes a buzzing sound, like you've got a bee in the house.
If you are on the internet a lot I have found after a few hours use the router can get very hot to touch and a few times has shown what is like a red button of death when the power on button turns red and all the other lights go out making it unusable. If you ever get this just unplug the router from the mains for a few minutes then re plug it back in and it should go back to normal although a problem nonetheless and other than this is has been an reliable router so far.
It is incredibly easy to use router. I just plugged it in and ran the initial setup and got a connection nearly straight away. The router is controlled from your laptop by going onto a net gear website that you can control the router from there. This is laid out and easy to understand and I have used it several times to change my settings or run any updates that need running.
The Net gear does have a variety of features and the one that stands out the most is probably that you get a modem, router, firewall, 4-port switch and wireless access point all in the one tiny white box which is great for saving space and peace of mind that you don't need to go buy any extras. I've used it outside in the garden and upstairs even in the loft and I still get a excellent signal. Sometimes I've lost I.P. and it can take a while to get another one, although again I don't know if this is to do with my router or my internet provider, probably the latter so nothing to worry if you are thinking of buying this router.
I paid over £100 when I bought it and I think you can get it for about half that now so it makes it even more worth while investing in this fantastic little router which I've had hardly any complaints with.
Having to keep buying bread because the current loaf has gone stale I thought it might be time to invest in a bread bin. The Brabantia bread bin is not only eye catching to look at but has more than made up in money from me not having to throw / waste any more bread due to it taking longer to go stale.
The bread bin has a flat top that is great for putting tins or anything of use on. The lid rolls open to show an inside capacity of two loaves of bread, although I have managed to squeeze an extra one in but this is not wise as it can swash the bread up.
Not only does it excel in aesthetics but in durability too. The bread bin features corrosion resistant stainless steel that is nice to the touch and doesn't harbour finger prints and stays relatively dust free.
The matt black colour I think wouldn't look out of place and complement any kitchen perfectly. Weight wise, it is easy to pick up and move about. When buying the bread bin it came with a 10 year guarantee which gave me added confidence that this is a quality product.
I've saved myself loads of money on bread by not being so wasteful since buying the bread bin. I find if you store it as soon as you buy it you can get a few days extra use out of the loaf before it starts to go staler.
The only slight niggle that I've had with this bread bin is that sometimes when you roll open the lid it can make a loud sound like two knives being moved together. This only seems to happen when it's full of bread and isn't much of a problem as it doesn't affect the bread bin itself it's just slightly annoying.
With the price of gym memberships getting higher and higher, I decided to try these pro fitness dumb bells that I bought from Argos to see if they're any better than the ones used at the gym.
As well as the dumb bells I got a black plastic carry case that has moulded inserts to place the dumb bells in which makes storing them very easy. I got three different weights of each I got two for each weight.
I found I wasn't using the 0.5kg and the 1kg weights as much as the larger 1.5kg weights. I thought the 0.5kg was a waste of time and meant more for children, not full grown men and women. I could lift the 0.5kg with my pinkie finger they are that useless.
The dumb bells themselves are cast iron which makes them sturdy and robust. Covering the cast iron is silicone which is incredibly easy to hold and even making fast thrust movements you never feel you are going to drop them or lose grip. Also included is an instruction manual with a buff man showing some basic routines you can do with the dumb bells which is a nice touch.
One downside that I found is that the rubber/silicone covering has started to rip / split after a few months usage exposing the cast iron insides and I couldn't get a refund because I'd gone past the refund date so they don't seem to last even if they are great to use.
After having to endure years of drinking water that tastes like you are drinking a glass full of lime scale and having tried several different filters in the past to no avail I decided to go for a Brita.
The 3.5 litre capacity is enough although you may find yourself filling it up several times as it can take a while for the water to drip through the filter, so you may be better off filling it up and leaving it before making use of it.
The filter features an electronic indicator that I found ineffective to say the least. It's supposed to tell you when to change the filters although I found they could go another week or so before needing changing. I ended up setting up a chart for when it needed changing or if that failed just drinking the water and seeing if it tastes vulgar or not.
One of the most annoying things is it isn't a one off buy. Even after buying the Jug there is further expense in the form of filters. If you are a constant user you may find yourself changing the filters around once every 4-6 weeks which can get expensive considering they are around the price of a Jug for four filters.
The lid has a plastic non drip spout that made the jug drip every time you use it as it is so ineffective. After a while it came off and I haven't bothered to get a replacement for it.
After having this Brita for over a year now I have gained an acquired taste to water. Before buying it I couldn't taste the difference between tap water and bottled. Now I never drink tap water because the Brita is so effective at filtering out all the impurities in tap water that it tastes great.
I bought this Ventura saddle basically because my current saddle that came with the bike and is so hard that after an hour or so I get a numb bum from using it. The big bum saddle is soft and spongy to sit on and I can go hours and hours before any effects of sitting on the saddle come on.
It looks and feels like a quality product, which is surprising considering the reasonable price it costs to buy. It features a spring coiled underneath the saddle.
The coil spring gives that extra comfort and combined with the suspension on my bike makes riding more comfortable than ever before.
Even though I don't have a big bum I found the length of about 9 inches and width of about 8 about right considering and compared with other saddles if your after to gain less air resistance this product will probably not help you with that as it is heavier and bigger compared with other saddles.
Downsides I found is that the material used can start to rub if you are on it in the summer and the actual fitting took awhile as it didn't fit my bike, I had to manually adjust the bolts to get a tight fit.
Bought this toaster as I first thought it would stop me having to watch my bread under the grill and can pop it in and go do other stuff. The stainless steel has a nice finish although it is very prone to fingerprints and the crumbs from the toast seem to stick to it which isn't really a good thing.
The toaster features a variable browning control that I couldn't get to make the perfect slice of toast. I tried it on all the levels and I either got burnt toast or under cooked toast and it would go uneven every time. Which means once I have pressed the lever down it was like the toaster is deciding my fate whether I'm getting a nice perfect piece of bread or if I'm getting a half burnt half unburnt uneven piece!
On many an occasion I have to watch the toast and use the cancel button to make sure I get that perfect piece of toast. This is something that I wanted to avoid as the whole point I bought a toaster is convenience to avoid having to watch it toast.
It makes very little sound in terms of noise. Just a slight hum while the bread is being toasted and after a while you forget it is even running! It's pretty easy to use overall just press a button wait a few minutes and you have toast made.
At the bottom of the toaster there is a little slit which when pulled out will have crumbs on it if you've previously used it which just needs to be tipped into the bin and placed back in which makes it easy to clean.
I don't know if I've got a faulty toaster and have thought of exchanging it for another one and see if it is any better or maybe I'm just picky when it comes to toasted bread.
As my old one stopped working I bought this kettle as it stated it was energy efficient which is always good if you want to do your bit to reduce your carbon foot print and get a slightly lower electricity bill when it comes through the door.
The overall sturdiness of the kettle is great. The hinged locking lid opens and shuts really easy although after a few uses does start to squeak when opened. The handle is integrated into the kettle making every lift effortless.
The button switches on and off with no effort although sometimes when you press it down it doesn't click and the red light doesn't come on and I have had to unplug the kettle wait a few minutes and re plug it for it to work again. This has happened several times lately and I don't know if this is a faulty mechanism in my kettle or if others have experienced the same thing.
Instatation is easier than ever. Just plug the base into the mains put the kettle onto the base and switch it on. It couldn't be easier and there is even an instruction manual if you get into difficuity which you probably won't need as it's fairly self explainatory. I am extremely impressed with the overall time it takes to boil a full 1.7 litre of cold water. It takes me around 1-2 minutes to boil a whole kettle full of water and compared with my old kettle of 5+ minutes it saves a good amount of time.
A great feature or one of its best is that the actual kettle itself is wireless. Many a time when the boiler packed up I've found myself boiling a full kettle and trailing it up to the bath to get some extra hot water. This is not to be confused with the base, only the kettle is wireless and the base has a wire to be plugged into the mains socket.
The water level indictor which indicates how much water is needed for a cup of boiled water I found is more of a gimmick than an actual feature. I have gone by these guidelines a few times for four cups of tea and ended up with not enough hot water to fill all the cups and had to run another quarter or so of water which defeats its feature of avoiding boiling more water that's needed.
Needed a new case as my current one is battered and bruised from travelling hundreds of miles around the world, I opted for the Cordoba Cabin Suitcase. At just over £100 to purchase it wasn't the cheapest case available, as I saw several other similar look a like cases for around half the price but I went for it because it seems to hold better and looked better compared with the other inferior cases.
When the case is empty it weights in around about 3-3.5kg and with a capacity of around 45-50 litres that isn't too shabby. When travelling I do carry quite a few clothes with me and using this case I've never had to downsize what I've wanted to bring with me. When I bought it the case came with a three digit combination lock to protect it from thieves although it isn't the thickest of padlocks and could probably be broken into using a thin metal pipe.
The case features small storage pockets on both the inside and the outside. I found these aren't the greatest for storing large items. They are mainly meant for really small items, like the things you forget till last minute to put into your case. The interior is made of denier polyester which isn't the thickest material and after several uses I can tell it is starting to wear and could split in the near future.
The wheels are large enough to give good balance and coordination while rushing through the airport. There is both a side handle and a top handle depending if you'd rather pull or carry the case. For added durability and protection the case has plastic base protection and ABS side panels. I found these faired well when thrown around and because of the material used it keeps the overall weight of the case light.
Wanting to bulk up I had been using a normal glass and a spoon to mix up my protein shakes. I often found lumps in the liquid after stirring for some time and heard of the maxi muscle shaker and thought I'd give it a go.
The cup itself is made of solid plastic. I have dropped it several times after getting it out of my bag at the gym and it is unharmed. The cup fills 700 ml which is more than enough as I seemed to only fill up just over 400 ml of liquid a time.
The biggest feature to this shaker is the bright red lid. The lid to get on and off is extremely effortless to do. Between the lid and the cup there is an optional grid that you can either have on or off but I found it is better to keep the mesh on as when shaking up drinks it helps to keep the mix from lumping up.
Every time I've used it and when shaken well it creates a perfect smooth drink. No lumps or bits floating in the bottom. The drinking compartment flows well and doesn't come out too fast, just about right. The plastic mouth piece covering the drinking compartment clips on easy although sometimes if you press it on forcefully it takes some force and nail power to get it off again.
Cleaning is very easy to do. I pull the lid and cup off take out the plastic mesh grid and wash by hand although I have put it in the dish washer a few times and it comes out good as new. I think the biggest positive thing the shaker has done is save time due to how easy to use it is. I just put my protein mix in, add water, put the lid on and shake which takes less than a minute compared with stirring which causes all sorts of mess and takes absolutely ages.
Bought this cheap dome tent as I slept outside in the summer and would never do it again without some kind of cover. I thought it would take ages to set up but it is a fairly quick and easy process taking hardly any time. Even though it states for two persons, I think it is more suited to just one person given the actual amount of room inside.
It is one of the cheapest tents that I've purchased at £12.99 I wasn't expecting the white house as in terms of conformability. It does the job to a basic level. I found the polyester thinner than paper in terms of durability and thickness. It is above average at keeping the wet out when I used it when it was drizzling outside the rain runs right off it.
The tent features ventilation at the top with a flysheet. I found this useless and ineffective to be honest. In the summer the heat never dispersed making the tent like the inside of a sauna and in the winter the vent let all the cold air in making it like an igloo.
The dome tent is fairly good at staying upright as long as you don't toss, turn and move around too much. The entrance is designed poorly. I found it is too big for a one or two person sized tent. The zip and zipper is of very bad quality and the material hasn't been aligned properly so when you zip up and down material gets caught in the zipper which is incredibly hard to get out. The last thing you want in the morning is to have 5-10 minutes of tugging at a zip because it got caught in the polyester material. Even at the price it is, it's something that should have been on top priority as it's one of the biggest complaints I have with this tent.
I bought this gym ball has an added part of my exercising regime and trying to get back in fit. I have to say since using on and off for around a month my co-ordination and body muscle has improved and developed further.
It features ridges around the ball which help aid grip when doing exercises. The shiny material is washable and requires no extra maintenance. You can really throw it around and it bounces right back. My own opinion is that this ball isn't to be used as a sole item of exercise but as part of a balance regime.
At around 60-70cm in diameter it is large enough to do strenuous activities although it would be nice if it was slightly bigger as I think it is on the small side.
If used on flooring it is bounce able. For the price the ball is made of thick material. It doesn't feel like it is going to burst or the seams are going to cave in. It feels like a real quality product, very robust and sturdy.
The grey colour really seems to blend in and not be too obtrusive to the eye. I do find the light can shine in your eyes if you look at it for too long.