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Having had my previous TV for quite a few years, and with it practically falling apart, I decided it was time to upgrade. I have always stuck with LG and Samsung when it comes to buying TVs, mostly due to their lower prices. However, my old LG TV was very disappointing in regards to the fact that it only lasted roughly 3 years before it started to become faulty. I therefore decided to look into other brands, such as Panasonic, and I am very glad I did.
I bought the television from John Lewis, which I would recommend if you are considering this TV, as they sell for the same price as competitor stores, but they also give you a 5 year guarantee (which would usually cost hundreds of pounds on top of this). All in all, the TV came to about £850, which does seem very expensive when you compare it to similar TVs, although I was happy enough to pay this with the knowledge that Panasonic is a reliable brand.
The first thing I was shocked about when I unboxed the TV was just how light it was. With my old 50" plasma weighing at least 65kg, I was amazed at how light the Panasonic is (around 15kg). This is definitely a selling point in my opinion, especially if you're looking at mounting it to a wall.
Secondly, I thought my old plasma LG was thin, but honestly, I don't think I've ever seen a TV as thin as this Panasonic! It really is unbelievably thin, especially compared to the new LGs, Sonys and Samsungs I saw when looking around for TVs. Similarly to the weight, this is definitely an advantage if you wish to wall mount it, since it means you can have it practically flat against the wall!
This model is the 50" version, although Panasonic do make them in other sizes. Fifty inches is definitely sufficient for me, although that does bring me onto a note I have about the TV that can be seen as negative or positive, depending on which way you look at it. As with all newer LED TVs, the bezel around the outside is very, very thin. This means that the main part of the TV is the screen, and there's practically nothing around the outside. This does make it look all very modern, but I can't help but think it makes the TV look much smaller. Having had it for around a year now, I have gotten used to it, but I do remember just how small it looked when I replaced my old TV with this one, despite their screen sizes being the same.
--Potential Design Flaws--
Although I can find very little to fault about this television, there are a few tiny things that could be irritating or inconvenient. As I said, the size and weight of the TV make it perfect for mounting it to a wall. However, all of the ports plug into the back of the TV, which means that if it were hung onto a wall, you have to account for all the wires that will stick out of the back, unlike other TVs where they have ports on the side.
Another thing that I find slightly irritating is the positioning of the buttons. They are all located at the back, so if you are trying to turn it on (if you're the kind of person who always takes it off of standby, like me) then it is very difficult to find the right button, since you cannot see which one is which. Furthermore, if I'm being very picky, there is almost no response from the button, so it's difficult to tell whether you pressed it properly, and the TV makes no noise when it turns on, it simply has the tiniest little light that flashes on the front, which you cannot see at all when your head is stuck round the back whilst you're trying to turn it on.
Once you've dislodged your head from the rear of the TV, you can finally sit back and use it, which is where this TV comes into its own. The picture quality is astounding. It's an LED backlit TV, so you can expect the quality to be good, but it does not compare to anything else I have seen. The picture is crystal clear, and even right up to the edges you can still see the perfect, very bright picture. This TV also seems to suffer from glare a lot less than my previous TV, so even if you're in a bright, sunny room, viewing it is no problem at all! One thing that would be nice is if it were 3D, especially considering the price, but that's not really necessary today anyway, so it doesn't bother me too much that this TV is not 3D.
When reviewing a TV, I always find it difficult to comment on the sound. I personally think the sound from the TV is very good, although I can never notice much of a difference from one TV to another. Having briefly looked through other comments though, I have found that this television has been slightly criticised for its sound quality, but if you just want a TV for everyday use, there is certainly no problem with its sound, so I would advise you not to let this deter you from purchasing the TV.
One of the selling points for me was the fact that this is a smart TV. I have never had one before, so I cannot compare it to anything else. However, I must admit that once the novelty of owning a smart TV wore off, I never find myself using any of the features. It does have some nice features though, and I was especially looking forward to using Skype on it, which it has built in. However, you cannot do this unless you buy a webcam. And it can't just be any webcam, it has to be one that Panasonic sell, which can be in excess of £100. I therefore have elected to stick with using my laptop to use Skype, so I am a bit disappointed. Therefore, if this was something you intended to do, bear in mind that you'll have to fork out another £100 for a webcam.
There are some features that I have made use of though, such as BBC iPlayer. It's a pretty smooth, well designed app on this TV, although it is a little slow. In fact, the whole smart system on this TV is a bit slow, which is a little agitating in this day and age, where everything else we use is designed to be fast. That said, it is very simple to use, and the layout is very user friendly. The Panasonic smart system also has some nice little features such as being able to set up your own "Home" page, where you can select widgets such as the weather, the news, a calendar, notes, and several other things, which you can access quickly in one nicely laid out page.
One of the problems I had with my old TV was the ridiculous about of power it used. It was rated at using in excess of 1000W! But, with this LED Panasonic, it only uses 50W to power, and is rated at an A+ efficiency rating! This is one of the most efficient TVs I have seen of its screen size, which does make up for the fact that it cost a lot initially. If you live in the kind of household where the TV is on almost all day, then paying out a little extra for an eco TV like this will definitely save you a lot of money.
As I've said, I have been reassured that Panasonic is a very reliable brand, a lot more so than brands such as LG and Samsung. I've had the TV for over a year now, and I've had nothing wrong with it at all so far. I also have a free 5 year guarantee from John Lewis, which I would recommend if you are considering buying this, just in case. I therefore believe that this is a very reliable TV. On top of that, with its very up to date looks, performance and quality, you can be assured that you will not have to upgrade in a few years to keep up with the times!
Overall, I would definitely recommend this TV. It is from a very good brand, the picture is fantastic, the sound is very good, it is very lightweight, thin, and has a very modern design. It is also a smart TV, and incorporates very convenient apps, and for all of this, it is very, very cheap to run. If you want something that you won't need to replace for many years to come, then look no further!
Having had my iPhone 4 for the best part of two years, I was eager to get my hands on the new iPhone 5. For months, I had been scanning the internet to find rumours and leaked images of the iPhone 5 prior to its release. Finally, the day had come where I could order my new phone. I have been a fan of Apple for the last 4 or 5 years, and I have always loved their products. I have to say, they have not let me down yet!
Apart from the trauma of actually buying the phone last year, just after its release, I have been very please with this phone. It has been a terrific upgrade from my outdated iPhone 4, and I definitely won't be getting rid of it any time soon. It has a bigger screen, better camera, it looks better... not to mention the fact that it has Siri; something I had missed out on with my old iPhone.
The iPhone 5 looks reasonable similar to the iPhone 4/4s. It has the same rectangular shape with rounded edges, and metal trim round the outside. However, on the back is where you will see the biggest difference. First of all, Apple have scrapped the idea of all-glass casing. Instead, they have replaced it with metal as it is much more durable, and gives it a sleek, modern design. On the front of the phone, the screen has been lengthened, and thus reducing the size of the trim around the screen. At first, I thought this looked really bizarre, but now I am used to it, older iPhone models look really strange to me! Around the side, the headphone port has been moved to the bottom, and the old charger port has been replaced with a new, much smaller one. Actually, one of the things I love about the new charger is that it can be put in the phone either way round! The speaker and microphone are also noticeable bigger, and have had a slight update as well, but their positioning on the base of the phone remain. The front camera has been moved above the speaker (the one used for phone calls) and the 'ear-sensing' bar has been downsized considerably and moved next to the speaker.
Overall, I was very impressed with its looks, but what about how it performs?
As soon as I turned the phone on, I felt very 'at home' with it. All of my contacts had been moved onto it via iCloud, as well as my songs and apps. As I still had my iPhone 4 at the time, I decided to compare how fast my iPhone 5 was. I was very impressed at how speedy it was, such as how fast it opened apps and started up the camera (something that used to be quite slow on my old phone). But with its new processor and upgraded RAM, this didn't surprise me. It still maintains the same menu layout and icons as the original iPhone did 6 years ago. Whilst I have heard people moaning about this, I disagree. Why change something that works perfectly fine? It makes me feel very comfortable using it, and any first time iPhone user would agree that they are very simple, easy to understand phones.
The iPhone 5 has an 8MP, which is much better than the 5MP on my iPhone 4. It focuses quickly, takes amazing quality photos and videos, and even allows you to take photos whilst you're filming something. Another feature it has is 'Panorama' mode, where you can take extended pictures that you otherwise wouldn't be able to. On the adverts, it looks really cool, but when I tried it myself, I struggled keeping my phone level all the time, so all of the pictures came out terribly. I don't know why they needed this feature, but maybe someone might find it useful. As well as the rear camera, there is also a 1.2MP front camera, used for video calling (FaceTime) or just taking photos in general. The quality of the front camera is not particularly good, but was very noticeably better than the front camera on my old phone.
One of the things that I need to consider when buying a phone is its call quality. I don't get much signal at my house, and therefore struggle hearing people at the best of times. My iPhone, however, has amazing call quality - no change there then. The microphone is very clear to others, as well as the speaker being clear to myself. In fact, they even have a second microphone on the back which picks up background noise and reduces it so that the person on the other end can hear you more clearly. I have no idea if this works, as I don't generally spend a long time calling myself, would you believe? But it seems like a great idea.
Many people welcomed the new 4 inch screen of the iPhone 5, except the odd few who made jokes about the iPhone 76 being a few inches wide and a mile long! Many companies who make apps have altered them to make the most of the longer screen, but there are still apps out there that have not been updated, and therefore leave black gaps at the top and bottom of the screen. This doesn't bother me at all, but I know that others have been disappointed by this. I am very glad that Apple didn't fall into the trap of making a phone that is more like a tablet, like Samsung. If you want a tablet, buy a tablet! Why do phones need to have enormous screens anyway? In fact, I have a pair of new jeans with pockets so small that half of my phone sticks out of them even when it's in as far as possible. I can't imagine what it would be like with a Galaxy S3, or worse, a Note 2!
Like most smartphones, the battery life to this phone is not great. It will last a good 2-3 days if you don't use it much, but even with reasonable light usage, I seem to have to charge it every day. Whenever I spend a while on the internet over 3G, or play large apps, I seem to have to charge it every 5 minutes! Mind you, it doesn't take long to charge, but it can be inconvenient if you need it for something important whilst out, and you forgot to charge it the night before.
Having missed out on Siri with my iPhone 4, it was one of the first things I tried once I had purchased this phone. I have never once used it for something important. All I have ever used it for is asking it to marry me, or asking it to sing a song. I don't think Siri is a vital part of this phone, but it is a great time passer and you can have a lot of fun asking it ridiculous things. I was quite impressed with how well it understood my voice, and it only occasionally messes up what I say. But like I said, it's more for fun as oppose to being something you may generally use.
Lots of people never liked Apple earphones. They said that they were bad quality and never fitted in their ears. I never had a problem with them. They have always been very reliable for me and never fell out of my ears. In fairness, I don't listen to music often, but I liked them overall. However, their new earphones (called Earpods) seem to have impressed even more avid music listeners. They have been designed to fit perfectly in your ear, not like the circle ones that weren't 'ear-shaped.' They look very modern and have been very cleverly designed. They do not fall out of your ears easily and they seem to be of great quality. However, I don't want to say too much on this, as I rarely listen to music, and wouldn't be able to tell the worst earphones from the best.
~Problems (You Knew It Had To Be Coming)~
For the first few months of using my iPhone 5, I never had any problems with it, and I was so happy to have it. However, a couple of months ago, my phone developed a fault which seems to be common with the iPhone 5; the lock button doesn't work. At first, it seemed to be very occasional, and only when I clicked it on the far right. But during the last couple of months, it has slowly got worse. I am now at the point where I have to click it on the extreme left quite a few times before it finally locks. It gets me really annoyed that I spend such a long time just trying to lock my phone. I am planning to take it to Apple when I can, and hopefully they can fix it. But for the time being, I have decided that are daren't use it anywhere near an open window, or I may find myself throwing my phone out of it. I know it may seem like a small issue, but when you consider that I use my lock button after every time I use my phone, you can see why it is driving me insane. Don't let this put you off of the phone though. I know many people with iPhone 5s who have never experienced this issue.
Overall, I would definitely recommend this phone to anyone who wants/needs a smartphone. It is fast, easy to use, it looks good, it has a decent size screen, the call quality is great, the camera is excellent, and of course, it has Siri. As long as battery life is not too much of an issue, I can't think of a reason not to buy this phone... as long as the lock button works!
I recently bought Euro Truck Simulator as I was getting bored with my usual car driving games. However, I did have an issue at the beginning. My laptop didn't have a good enough graphics card to support the game. So, I had to dig out my old gaming laptop just to play the game. Now, every time I want to play it, I have to spend about 5 minutes just waiting for the laptop to start up!
With my current laptop, I've never had a problem with loading up a game because it has relatively good specs. However, as I just mentioned, it wasn't capable of loading ETS. The ETS website says that these are the minimum requirements your PC needs to run ETS:
Operating system: Windows XP or Windows Vista
Processor 2.4 GHz Intel Pentium 4 or equivalent
512 MB RAM (1 GB on Windows Vista)
128 MB video card:
GeForce 4 (not MX!) or better,
ATI Radeon 8500 or better
DirectX 9 compatible sound card
600 MB of free hard drive space
Operating system: Windows XP or Windows Vista
Processor 2.4 GHz Intel Pentium 4 or equivalent
512 MB RAM (1 GB on Windows Vista)
128 MB video card:
GeForce 4 (not MX!) or better,
ATI Radeon 8500 or better
DirectX 9 compatible sound card
600 MB of free hard drive space
The laptop that I am playing the game on only has a 2.0 GHz processor, though. So I don't think that it is necessary to have 2.4 GHz, but the bigger it is, the faster it runs.
~The Game Itself~
The aim of the game is quite simply to drive about in trucks delivering trailers full of cargo. You start off by choosing which country you start off in. You get the choice of plenty of EU countries, such as England, Spain, France, Portugal, Italy, etc. You then go straight to a truck dealership where you get Euro100,000 to buy any truck out of the 16 or so that there are. It sounds like plenty of money to start off with, but realistically, you only can afford the bottom range trucks. The top of the range trucks can cost up to around Euro180,000.
Once you have bought a truck, you can get straight to work by heading to one of the companies on the map and picking up a trailer. There are hundreds, if not thousands of deliveries for you to do throughout the game. When you start off, you will not get paid as much for deliveries as you only have access to your own country, so you will not be travelling as far. Once you start earning more money, you can buy access to other EU countries. They usually cost around Euro30,000 to Euro40,000.
When you do deliveries to other countries, you get paid more as you have to travel further. However, you will be using more petrol, but make sure you fill up regularly enough, because otherwise you will have to make an expensive phone call to the SOS services.
As well as normal cargo you can deliver, such as furniture, toys, electronics, even tomatoes, you can also transport petrol, diesel, acids and other things of that nature. However, before you do this, you need to pay to have you truck inspected to make sure it is safe. This costs around Euro15,000, and that is just for the first inspection which allows you to deliver petrol and diesel. If you wanted to deliver something as corrosive as acid, you will have to pay for another inspection of a higher level.
The graphics and sounds on the game are relatively realistic; however, they could be better. I was a bit disappointed about the lack of roads in the game. For example, the only roads in England are the M20, M25, M1, M6 and M62. However, the only major roads are the M1 and M6. When I got the game, I was hoping that there would be hundreds and hundreds of different roads per country to make the game more realistic, but I have got over that after playing it for a while.
The trucks themselves are very detailed. The dash board has a rev counter, speedometer, fuel gauge, etc. As well as this, you also can use the horn, turn the windscreen wipers on and off, use the headlights and use the wing mirrors.
Another thing that makes the game more realistic is that you can get fined for doing anything illegal. Such as crashing into other motorists, speeding, driving whilst very tired, passing a red light and not using your headlights at night. Any of these can leave you with a fine of anything between Euro50 to around Euro500.
Like most driving games, you can change the settings to have a manual or automatic truck, and you can also set up a steering wheel with pedals to use instead of the arrow keys on the keyboard.
Overall, I would definitely recommend this game. It wasn't quite what I expected, but I enjoy it none the less. However, it is only fun if you have an interest in driving trucks, otherwise you may find it quite boring. In fact, I find it boring once I have been playing it for a while, but usually, I go straight back to playing it the next day.
When I moved into my new house, the kitchen was fitted with all kinds of new Neff appliances. I had a Neff oven at my old house, and I don't think I could ever live without one, so it was lucky that this oven was already in my new house. In my opinion, and many, many others, Neff is the king of kitchen appliances. They are fantastic quality and are very reliable, and this oven definitely lives up to the standard you would expect from them.
I suppose it will be wise to start with it's looks and external features, so, I will. As with pretty much all Neff appliances, this oven is a luxurious, shiny silver with black tints around the edges of the glass panels. At the top, there is a black strip across the width of the oven which displays the time, and a few other lights such as the one which tells you if the oven has reached the desired temperature. Underneath this, there are three twisty knobs and 2 buttons. These are for setting oven and grill temperature as well as standard grill options which allows you to choose which grill parts are on, or you can use it as a second oven. The buttons are used to set times and alarms, one to choose what you want, and the other is twist-able to set times.
Now, on to what I think is the best part about the oven - All of the knobs and buttons can be pushed in so that you are left with a flat surface, making it easier to clean, and just a bit neater. You then just push them again, and they come back out. I always keep them in, and only pop them out when I am using them. Whenever I have people round, I just have to show them this, I know, sad, right?
On my old oven, it used to take quite a while to heat up, it wasn't slow, but it definitely wasn't quick. However, with this oven, I turned it on to 190 degrees Celsius, and it was there in 10 minutes. I was absolutely amazed as I didn't expect it to be that quick. Also, since it is a fan assisted oven, it cooks food very quickly by spreading the heat round. For example, something that used to take 45 minutes to cook in my old oven, only took 30 minutes in this one. But I think that's weird bearing in mind that my old oven was also fan assisted.
This oven isn't the newest of Neff ovens, so it doesn't have all of the fancy features and settings that you get on the top of the range, brand new ones. All it is is an oven and a grill. But like pretty much all recent ovens, the grill can also be used as a second oven, however it is not fan assisted.
For a family, even a large one, the oven provides plenty of space for what you need to put in it. It has lots of slots for racks and can easily fit three, maybe even four in at once. However, if you were having guests over, and were cooking for far more people, you may find that you need to use the grill, as the oven is not terribly wide, and actually isn't as wide as my previous oven. But like I said, it has ample space for cooking for a large family and wouldn't cause you any hassle on a day to day basis.
After reading a review of the previous model, it was pointed out that the exterior got quite hot and was potentially unsafe. However, I feel that with the new model, this issue has been addressed, and the outside stays relatively cool. I will have to admit that the top of the oven door does get a bit on the hot side when it is turned on, but this is mostly covered by the handle (which by the way stays very cool.)
Cleaning the outside is pretty much a piece of cake. It hardly gets dirty in the first place, but all it needs is a quick wipe down every now and again and it's fine.
Cleaning on the inside however, like all ovens, is a bit of a task. I have noticed that it seems to get unusually dirty, so I wipe it down every week or fortnight before it gets too difficult to tackle. Unfortunately, I learnt this the hard way, because after having my previous oven for seven or eight years, it was never properly cleaned inside at all. So one day, I thought that it was just getting ridiculous, and I attempted to clean it. A few days of constant scrubbing later, I managed to turn my black, crispy, disgusting oven into a shiny, clean and new looking one. I wish I could say the same about my finger nails though, because I spent hours cleaning them after most of the dirt was moved from the oven to my hands, even though I was wearing gloves! Sorry about putting that horrible thought into your head!
The oven and grill comes with interior lights which turn on when you are cooking, so that you can see inside through the glass panels. But I seem to be very unlucky when it comes to these, because I can't remember the last time I've had an oven with both lights working. This oven is no exception, because the grill light needs replacing. I can't blame myself though, because it hasn't worked since I moved in.
Since I did not buy the oven, I cannot tell you it's price, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was extremely expensive with the rest of its Neff brothers and sisters.
Overall though, I would definitely recommend this oven as it is very fast at heating up, very luxurious and very attractive in any kitchen. If you can look past the price, then there are pretty much no flaws to this oven.
Around four to five years ago, I quite liked the idea of having a television in my bedroom. However, because I was thinking in advance, I decided to opt in to buying a small TV as I knew I wasn't going to use it too often. After searching around for some time, I came across this one. It seemed to have a decent specification, and it was made by Samsung, a very reliable company in my opinion. I paid around £180, which even now, five years on, is quite good value for money.
To be honest, there is nothing too special about the exterior design of this TV. It is plain black with Samsung written at the bottom in silver. It has touch sensitive buttons (a nice extra, I think) up the side to turn it on/off, change the channel/volume, get the menu up, and change the input. These buttons did come in handy occasionally, because in my house, I never really have any batteries stocked up. Therefore, when the remote runs out of battery, I don't need to rush around trying to get some batteries, I can just use the buttons on the TV. Then again, I have never come across a TV that doesn't have buttons on. Maybe I should actually review the TV instead of talking about buttons!
The only part of the design that I don't like is the small transparent piece of plastic going across the bottom of the TV. I don't believe it has any purpose, except to add to the design, however, that does make the bottom of the TV a pain to clean unless you have cocktail sticks for fingers!
As soon as you turn the TV on, it greets you with this short, pleasant tone that really makes you realise how much thought has gone in to making the TV. I've just looked back and seen how many times I've used the word... well letters 'TV'. I apologise if that is getting annoying! Anyway... Alongside the tone, a blue light comes on slowly underneath the Samsung sign.
The TV comes with free-view built in, and that is all I need for a television that gets used for a couple of hours a week in my bedroom. It is HD ready, and I have always been under the impression that it is 1080i, however, the dooyoo specification says that it is 720p, so I am currently not sure which one it is. But none the less, it is HD ready.
I find the TV a pleasure to use, however, sometimes it is a bit slow when changing channels and opening the guide. It doesn't really bother me too much, though, and I have got used to it now.
~On The Back~
On the back, you get all of the sockets which I will list below:
Scart Socket Input
I don't know if this means much to you, but I only ever use the aerial input and HDMI input for when I play the PlayStation. Also, for obvious reasons, the power input. There are also a couple of smaller inputs which I don't know what are for...sorry. As you can see, it does lack sockets, as I only had one HDMI and one Scart socket. However, for a small bedroom TV, I suppose more sockets are not really that necessary.
Because it is HD ready, the quality isn't as good as full HD. However, the picture is pretty decent, and I couldn't really complain bearing in mind it is around 5 years old. The sound quality is quite good, but I do have to turn the volume up more than my main TV, but that isn't really a problem.
The build quality is what you would expect from Samsung. It is very well made and doesn't feel cheap. It is mountable on the wall, which I have done, and it feels very stable. Put it this way, it hasn't fallen down yet. Maybe that is due to be expertise in being a TV wall putterer onner... he said sarcastically.
The only other thing I have to comment on is the remote control. It seems to work well from a distance, and is very easy to use. There is a button that glows in the dark, and when you press that, the main buttons light up so you can see if it is dark. When I say main buttons, I mean the ones that are used most often - volume, channel change, power, etc.
Overall, I would definitely recommend this TV for a bedroom or kitchen. It is cheap and reliable, and has a decent spec. It obviously isn't made to be a main television as it is only 19 inches. But like I said, it is perfect for a bedroom.
Being as I have a mild allergy to milk, I can't have much dairy before I start suffering from migraines. That is a bit of a shame as I do quite like milk. Then again, I do still drink it every now and again. Since I was young, I've had Alpro soya milk every so often so I still drank milk once in a while. Only recently, I developed a desire for chocolate milkshakes, but of course, I could only drink small quantities to prevent me from getting migraines. A few weeks ago, whilst I was shopping, I came across this Alpro soya chocolate milk. So I decided to give it ago and see what i was like. I don't know why I didn't come across this before as I do buy Alpro products quite often.
When I got home, I placed the milk in the fridge to let it cool down, as I thought that it would taste nicer and more refreshing if it was chilled. After a couple of hours, I took it out of the fridge and it was nice and cold. It says to shake before use, so I did so and poured myself a glass. I wasn't expecting it to taste anywhere near as good as normal chocolate milk, but I had my first sip. It was amazing. It tasted very chocolaty and rich, and in my opinion, nicer than other chocolate milk. I think the taste doesn't suit everyone, as you can still taste that it is soya milk. But I love soya milk anyway, which makes this drink even more delicious.
~Price & Availability~
As far as I am aware, this product is widely available in most, if not all supermarkets. At Tesco, it is currently selling for £1.39. It isn't what you would call a bargain, because that makes this more expensive than diesel. (If you haven't already gathered, I am trying to imply that they come in a one litre carton.) I would still happily buy this product though, but the only downside is that I seem to finish a carton easily within two days, but having looked at the nutritional information, I think I should limit how much of this I drink, but I'll get onto that later.
The carton is rectangular in shape, with a sloped top with an easy pour spout thingy (to use its technical name.) It has the Alpro logo at the top, as well as having the nutritional information and other legal requirement on it. The top of it is pale blue, whilst the rest is dark brown, and looks like chocolate milk being poured, obviously representing the chocolate milk inside.
Here is all the nutritional values of 100ml of this drink:
9.1g of which sugars
Clearly, this drink isn't good for you. It has quite a high sugar content per glass which is bad for your teeth, let alone a relatively hefty amount of calories. On the other hand, at least it contains calcium, which is necessary to be healthy. It is especially good if you have fussy children who don't like drinking plain milk.
Overall, I would definitely recommend this, but only if you like soya milk, otherwise you may not appreciate the taste.
I bought this Panasonic camera from Comet for just under £90 a couple of weeks ago. My old camera was getting a bit slow and it was about time for me to upgrade. I noticed this because it was a 16MP camera, and for £90, what could go wrong?
As with a lot of cameras these days, this camera does look quite plain and boring; it is black with bits of silver. On the other hand, it does look quite modern and looks like a really good quality, well built camera. On the top and back, you get various buttons which I will explain later, as well as a 2.7 inch screen. When you switch the camera on, the lens comes out, which is silver, and the small shutter opens. The screen turns on and within seconds, you are ready to take a picture.
Like I said, this camera has 16MP, so you wouldn't be surprised when I say that the picture quality is fantastic. Any colours in the photo are very strong when you look back at it either on the screen, or if you download it onto your computer. You can really get a feel for the scenery and atmosphere at the time when the picture was taken.
The video quality is very good, as well as the audio. However, the camera has not been designed for recording professional videos, so it isn't for you if that is what you plan to do. However, in a situation where I think a video is necessary, whether it be to make short movies with my friends (we're a strange bunch) or just to capture memories, I wouldn't hesitate to pull out this little camera and record it.
On the top of the camera, there is a small slider to turn it on. Next to that, you get the button to take a picture or to start/stop a recording. Around this button, there is a thin, circular slider to zoom in and out. There is also another small button where it zooms into 10x automatically, instead of you having to hold down the slider to zoom all that way. If you press it again, it zooms to its maximum 22.5x zoom.
On the back, next to the screen, there are an assortment of other buttons. There is a very small lever to change from the camera function to the playback menu where you can view photos and videos you have taken. Next to this lever, there is a button to change modes. You can either set it to intelligent auto, where it chooses what mode it thinks is best for the scene, normal picture mode, video mode, or you can choose from a lot of different modes manually, such as portrait, soft skin, transform, self portrait, etc. In the middle of the side of the back (Try and stay with me!) There is a button with four buttons around it in a circle. The button in the centre is to go to the menu, or to select an option, and the other four buttons are to go up, down, and side to side. As well as this, these four buttons give you shortcuts to change the exposure, flash, timer and scene.
Last two buttons now... At the bottom, there is a button to edit the display on the screen, so you can either show all of the info on the screen such as battery life, scene mode, etc, or you can get rid of that and just focus on the picture you are taking, or you can put up a grid on the screen so you can perfect your photo. Lastly, there is the delete button to delete any of your photos or videos, which also doubles as a back button.
The battery life on this camera is very good, I haven't charged it since the first time I did after I bought it. Then again, I haven't used it too much yet, but there is still 2 out of 3 bars left. The camera is very light for what it looks like. I don't know it's exact weight, but it is lighter than my previous camera and it is very comfortable to hold. It is the same size as any other digital camera, in fact, it may be a little smaller. I find it very nice to use, and for £90, I would definitely recommend this to anyone keen to upgrade their camera as the quality is excellent and there are lots of different scenes and modes to choose from.
I always used to drink the strawberry flavoured Volvic water, but recently, my friend introduced me to the lemon and lime flavoured one. I gave it ago and I loved it.
A lot of the time, you find that flavoured water doesn't taste anything like the flavour it is supposed to. However, I can definitely taste the flavour of lemon and lime together in this lovely drink. The flavour is very strong, and to me, this is a slight disadvantage as I quite like the taste to be subtle but noticeable, otherwise it spoils the drink for me. Therefore, I still prefer the strawberry flavoured drink as it isn't as strong and as a result to that, it is more enjoyable. On the other hand, I still find it very nice, but it is something I would have occasionally as oppose to every day as I have the strawberry Volvic.
The packaging is exactly the same as all Volvic bottles nowadays. The lid is yellow as well as the label. This is to represent the lemon flavour, and all Volvic bottles are colour coded like this. The label consists of all of the standard things you would find such as the nutritional information, flavour, best before date, etc.
At Tesco, this drink costs 99p for a 1.5 litre bottle, which is, I believe, the same price as all the other flavoured water from Volvic.
Per 100ml of Volvic water, there is:
5.5g of Carbohydrates
5.5g of which sugars
Traces of Sodium
I have been informed that this particular flavour has the most calories and sugar than all the other flavoured Volvic drinks. It isn't by much, but I think this shows by the strength of the flavour.
Overall, I would recommend this drink to anyone who is a fan of lemon and lime. I will warn you that it is quite strong so it isn't for you if you only like subtle flavours. I wouldn't recommend that you have this a lot as the flavour is strong, but for every now and again, I would say it is definitely worth it.
I bought this laptop about a year ago now. I needed something with a decent hard drive and memory. I was looking at all different kinds of laptops, but I chose this as I have had various HP computers and devices and I find the company makes computers to a high standard (though I did have problems with my previous HP laptop.)
The design throughout the laptop very attractive, and there is a repeat pattern of very close together, very small triangles all over the lid and the inside. When you open up the lid, the design very much resembles that of a MacBook. I have a silver version of this laptop, as oppose to the black version that is in DooYoo's photo. The lid is silver and so are all of the parts around the keyboard, however, the keyboard is black, and so is the glossy finish around the edge of the screen. It definitely looks, and feels like a quality laptop, whereas most laptops these days feel like they've been knocked together with a few pieces of cheap plastic. That does annoy me as my previous laptop cost me around the £500 mark, and it seemed like it was going to fall apart any minute.
To sum up, the design passes my test, as it is very good looking, and does genuinely feel like a well made, quality product.
~The Technical Stuff~
Right... time to get technical. This laptop has 3GB of RAM built in (2.74 of which is usable). It comes with a 64-bit version of Windows 7 and has a 500GB hard-drive. I don't understand why it has 3GB of memory, as it seems to be a random number, but then again, I find 3GB is enough for me. Unlike my sister who had almost 50GB of stuff on her 4GB PC! It has a 2.2GHz AMD Athlon II P340 Dual-Core Processor which is decent - not as much as some other laptops in its price range (about £450) but still pretty good.
Around the side of the laptop, there are 3 USB ports, an HDMi output socket, a headphone and microphone jack, a slot to put in an SD card, a socket to plug in a wired internet connection, and a socket to plug in an external screen (sorry, the name for this escapes me.) And, of course, the disc drive.
The computer was quite fast at turning on when new, however, as you fill it up with more and more data and documents, it seems to slow down a bit, but is still bearable. It is fast when roaming the internet and the graphics are very good quality - much better than my previous laptops graphics. The sound quality is clear and the speakers can get quite loud. It has a built in webcam which is not of the greatest quality, but is liveable with.
The laptop is quite quiet and the fan doesn't make much noise at all. I use it on a table, and it doesn't get hot at all - in fact, it hardly even gets warm!
My only complaint with this laptop is that the keyboard is awful to type with. It isn't laid out as a standard keyboard, especially to the left. This makes it very hard to use the shift key, caps lock, tab,and the other keys to this side when you are trying to type quickly. I can't begin to explain why it is like this, but all I can say is that if your are considering buying this laptop, then check out the keyboard first, because it is a bit different to all other keyboards that I have been using for years. It isn't too difficult to get used to, however, if you have been typing for a very long time before on a standard keyboard, then I feel that this may cause you some trouble
I would definitely recommend this laptop as it has a good spec, attractive design, has great graphics and is great for roaming the internet. However, like I said, be aware that the keyboard is laid out differently to the left, and it may take you a while to get used to it. Alternatively, you could buy a separate keyboard to plug into it, however I don't think it is so different that that may be required. Apart from this, I have found no other problems with this laptop, so I would say it was very reliable.
I've been with 3 for a couple of years now. My main reason for this was because they have very cheap contracts that are excellent value for money. My current contract is £13 per month, and I get 300 minutes, 3000 texts, and 'all-you-can-eat' data. I really don't understand why there are so many negative reviews about 3, because with my experience with 3, I plan to stay with them for a long time.
I used to be with 3 a about 4 years ago, but I was forever changing phones so I tried different networks all the time. I went back with them over a year ago now, and compared to what the coverage was before, it is so much better now. The claim to have coverage across 97% of the country, and I can believe that. I have never had a problem with signal. I even get signal out in the countryside where most of my friends/family don't get any signal at all with T-Mobile and Vodafone. I really don't get how people can say that 3 doesn't have good coverage, because, like I said, I've never had a problem with it.
When I went on holiday to France once, I needed to set my sim up to work abroad. So, I phoned 3 from my mobile, and was told I would be put on hold. I was expecting to wait for a while like I did once with O2 (well over 20 minutes). But no, less than 10 seconds later, I was on the phone to someone at customer services who was very polite and was easy to understand. Within 45 seconds after that, my request went through and my sim was ready to be used abroad.
3 have very modern, light comfortable stores where I have encountered lots of nice staff who have helped me with some queries and concerns. The stores display dummy phones as well as phones and tablets that you can actually use. I like that because sometimes it is nice to use a phone/tablet before you buy it. It doesn't take long to make a purchase or set up a contract compared to some companies. They even give you a choice of about 20 numbers to choose from, and I have found some really great and quite funny numbers before. One of the numbers have about 6 or 7 '1s' in it!
I probably use Internet more than anything on my phone, and that is why it is handy to have completely unlimited Internet. Lots of companies say they have unlimited Internet, texts or calls, but actually, they have fair usage policies where you aren't allowed to go over a certain amount. Also, since the whole point of 3 is to have 3G connectivity, the Internet is quite fast, and if you have a very strong signal, it is often faster than my Wi-Fi at home.
If you want to view your account online, you can log into it using your phone number and password. This is called My 3. On there, you can view your remaining monthly allowance, upgrade your contract, and view your past bills and receipts. I find this very handy as it is an easy way to check my allowance and see how much my bills have been. Not like I ever really go over my allowance.
Reading my review back, it looks like I'm being very biased towards them, but I really can't think of a single complaint. I get great signal, fast internet and cheap deals!
I've been buying Dr. Pepper for as long as I can remember. I think it tastes great! Maybe not quite as good as Coco-Cola, but it is a close second. It has a very distinctive taste which is very different to other fizzy drinks, so I would say that it won't be to everyone's liking, but like I said, I love it.
The taste of Dr Pepper is unusual. Quite different to other fizzy drinks. It was only a few months ago that I found out Dr Pepper was a fruit drink. For all the years I had been drinking this, I never knew it was a fruit drink. In fact, in my opinion, it tastes nothing like fruit. But I have to say, ever since I found this out, it always tastes slightly different to me because in the back of my mind, I know that it is supposed to resemble a fruity taste. I find it very hard to describe the taste because of its unusual flavour, but I will say again that it is not to everyone's liking.
~Price and Packaging~
At the moment, a 2 litre bottle of Dr Pepper is £1.00 from Tesco, but it is on offer. It's usual price is £1.98, which isn't too bad. The label is quite plain. It is just a dark red background with the words 'Dr Pepper' in white in the middle. It also looks like the drink is splashing outwards from these words to try to make it more attractive. But, to be honest, it doesn't stand out much and it is quite boring.
Here is a list of the nutritional information per 100 ml of Dr Pepper:
Calories - 42
Protein - 0g
Carbohydrates - 10.6g
Of Which Sugars - 10.3g
Fat - 0g
Of Which Saturates - 0g
Fibre - 0g
Sodium - Trace
The nutritional value of Dr Pepper is similar to that of Coca Cola, and, well, most fizzy drinks. It is extremely high in sugar for a drink, and has a considerable amount of calories too. Because of this, it isn't a drink that you should have often, for both your health and your teeth!
Dr Pepper contains - Carbonated Water, Sugar, Colour (Caramel E150d), Flavourings (including Caffeine), Phosphoric Acid, Preservative (E211)
Dr Pepper should be stored in a cool dry place, preferably a fridge.
Overall, I would definitely recommend Dr Pepper, but be warned, it isn't to everyones liking. Apart from the fact it has a very high sugar content, I only have one other complaint. As with all fizzy drinks, and especially Dr Pepper, it goes flat very quickly!
I always used to buy Tesco's own brand milk, but since I don't use milk often (only for cereal occasionally and for hot drinks) I end up having to throw some of the milk away because it goes off within a few days. I suppose I could have bought smaller cartons, but I always like to know that it is there if I need it. Plus, I find the smaller bottles too small most of the time.
I was doing my regular shop a few years ago, when I noticed Cravendale milk alongside the Tesco milk. I picked it up and had a look, and one thing that I noticed was that it lasted over 2 weeks before its expiry date. I thought that buying this would be a great idea, and that way, I wouldn't be throwing away any milk that has gone off. I buy the semi skinned milk, so this is what I will base my review on.
To give the milk a try, I poured out a small glass and gave it a go. I was really surprised when I tasted it, because it tasted quite creamy and thicker than Tesco milk. I never really liked the taste of milk much before, but I have definitely been drinking milk more often, bearing in mind that I hardly ever drank it before. I like to have hot chocolate every now and again, and I would always make it with hot water and put in a small amount of milk. But with this milk, I often heat it up in a pan and make the hot chocolate with warm milk. It makes it taste quite creamy and it is really enjoyable!
The only downside to this milk is the price. A 4 pint bottle of Tesco milk is £1.18, whereas a 2 litre bottle of Cravendale milk is £1.88. Also, 4 pints is roughly 2.2 litres, so you get more in the Tesco milk anyway. However, if you are like me, it does pay off because I can use up all of the Cravendale milk before it gets anywhere near its expiration date. But I end up having to chuck away some of the Tesco milk because it has gone off.
The design of the bottle is quite nice and more modern than the Tesco milk bottle design. I find the Tesco one quite ugly, not like it makes much of a difference though when it is in your fridge. The label around the Cravendale bottle has a picture of milk being poured, and the word Cravendale in a blue oval above. It also has a streak of either green, blue or red at the top of the label, depending on what kind of milk you buy. It also gives you the expiration date, nutritional information, and the other standard things you will find on a label.
200ml of Cravendale has:
Calories - 98
Protein - 7.2g
Carbohydrates - 9.7g
of which sugars - 9.7g
Fat - 3.4g
of which saturates - 2.0g
Fibre - nil
Sodium - 0.09g
Salt equivalent - 0.2g
Calcium - 247mg
200ml of Tesco milk has:
Calories - 100
Protein - 7.2g
Carbohydrates - 9.6g
of which sugars - 9.6g
Fat - 3.6g
of which saturates - 2.2g
Fibre - 0g
Sodium - 0.1g
Salt equivalent - 0.2g
Calcium - 248mg
As you can see, the two milks are almost identical in their nutritional information. So, even though the Cravendale milk is much more creamy and thick, there is actually less fat in it then the Tesco milk.
Overall, I would definitely recommend this milk because it tastes much more creamy and lasts a lot longer. It is more expensive, but I think it is worth it.
For years, I have been buying Tesco Slightly Sparkling Flavoured Water. I have tried various different flavours, such as peach, white grape and blackberry, and lemon and elderflower. But my favourite is apple and raspberry, so this is what I will base this review on.
All of the flavoured water is currently priced at 45p, and they are available at Tesco stores as well as online. They come in 1 litre bottles, so I think this is excellent value for money. I didn't really expect much from this when I first bought it years ago, because they are very cheap, and don't look very professional e.g. the packaging looks very basic, but I was wrong. The flavoured water tastes absolutely amazing, and I buy it very often. The flavours are very distinctive, so it is very easy to tell what the flavour is just buy tasting it. As well as this, they are all very low in calories and sugar, although it does vary very little in different flavours.
The Apple and Raspberry flavoured drink contains:
Calories - 5
Carbohydrates - 0.6 grams
Sugar - 0.6 grams
Fat - 0 grams
Saturates - 0 grams
Fibre - 0 grams
Sodium - trace
As an example, the white grape and blackberry flavoured water has 6 calories,and 0.8 grams of sugar. So there really isn't much difference of the nutritional side of the different flavours. I was very impressed with how little calories and sugar this product has, because it tastes sweet and very filling and enjoyable.
The flavoured water is packaged very basically, however, it does look more appealing than some Tesco products packaging. The bottles have a slight blue tint to them, and are shaped quite nicely as the neck starts narrow at the top and the bottle gets wider towards the bottom. The label around the side has a picture of the what the flavour is based on e.g. Apples and Raspberries, as well as having the name of the flavour at the top. The packaging has been slightly modified and modernised from what it shows in the photo above. The label also gives you all of the basic things you find on a label such as the nutritional information, a best before date, storage instructions, and so on.
The only slight complaint I have about this drink is that because it is sparkling flavoured water, you will always face the problem that once you have opened the lid, the fizz will eventually die out. It last only a couple of days, but for 45p, you can't complain too much. However, once it has gone flat, the taste is slightly different. One time, a few months back, the bottle had been open for about 5 or 6 days, and it had gone flatiron, and it tasted absolutely disgusting. However, I can't remember what flavour water that was, and I think the recipe may have been tweaked when they introduced the new packaging, but I can't be sure. Also, as the water only comes in 1 litre bottles, it isn't often that I have not drunk it within 2 or 3 days.
The flavoured water is best kept in the fridge. I find that it tastes best when chilled. However, it tastes almost as good at room temperature as well.
Overall, I would definitely recommend this product to anyone who likes fruit flavoured drinks. It tastes delicious, and at 45p, what could go wrong? <-- Famous last words!
I have always bought plain Volvic water for years because I find that they make the nicest tasting water compared to brands such as Evian and Highland Spring. I love strawberries, but for some reason, I don't like strawberry flavoured things such as ice cream and yoghurt (I know, I'm strange) so, I assumed that I probably wouldn't like this either. A few years ago, I was shopping, and decided to give it a try. I'm not quite sure what urged me to buy it, but I'm glad that I did.
The phrase 'Touch of Strawberry' is an under statement in my opinion. You would expect it to taste like water with just a hint of strawberry, but you can really taste the full strawberry flavour. Like most flavoured products, it doesn't take exactly like strawberry, but it is easy to recognise that it is supposed to be a strawberry flavoured product.
I don't drink a lot of water, possibly a quarter of the recommended amount, but this strawberry flavoured water definitely helps boost my daily water intake. I used to think of drinking water as being kind of like a task! Like I had to drink it, even though I don't really enjoy it. But I can honestly say that I am addicted to this flavoured water, and I could live on it if I wanted to.
~Styling & Price~
1.5 litre bottles cost 99p from Tesco, which I think is a very reasonable price for a big brand like Volvic. The bottles are clear plastic with a red lid to represent strawberry. The plastic label round the middle has the Volvic logo and says 'Touch of Strawberry' with a picture of a few strawberries underneath. It gives you the nutritional information and ingredients as well as an expiry date and the usual description of how Volvic water is filtered and produced.
Each 250ml serving contains:
12 Grams of Sugar
Traces of Salt
This drink isn't particularly bad for you, however, I usually drink around 1 litre a day as I don't drink much other than this, and that's 48 grams of sugar, which isn't going to be good for my teeth! However, for the same price, you can get the sugar free version, which I buy often as well as this, which tastes pretty much exactly the same.
On the label, it recommends that you keep the drink refrigerated and you consume it within 10 days of opening. It is best served cool/cold, but not ice cold in my opinion. I don't always keep the water in the fridge and it tastes just as nice. The way I see it is that you don't often keep plain water in the fridge, mainly because you get it from the tap, so it shouldn't make much of a difference wether you keep it in the fridge or not. But that's just me, I suppose.
I would definitely recommend this drink to people who love strawberries, or who just want a way that they can increase their water intake without having to have the plain taste of water. It is only 99p in Tesco for a 1.5 litre bottle, so you can't go wrong!
I bought this toaster from Argos last week as my old toaster broke. It cost £49.99 which is okay, but I have found that it does take a long time to toast bread and cooks it unevenly, but I'll get into that later.
The toaster looks very basic and average, the same as all other toasters really. The thing I like about this toaster is that it is red at the sides and mainly silver at the front. It looks modern and doesn't look cheap at all. It is a four slice toaster and is quite large, but not too big. On the front, there are the two twister things where you set the heat settings (which go from 1-7) as well as various other buttons for its other features. Sorry if I got too technical with the whole 'twister things' business.
As I said, this toaster has 7 heat settings, which isn't as much as my previous toaster with 9, but is still very good. The toaster has a few other features that are pretty standard, but one I've never heard of before. It has the simple cancel, reheat, and defrost functions, but it also has this setting that cooks bagels so that it toasts one side and warms the other side. I haven't used this feature yet because I don't have bagels often, but it sounds like a handy idea. The other thing it has is the feature that allows you to raise the toast up a bit to make it easier to take out after toasting. However, it only raises it the tiniest little bit and is hardly worth it at all.
The main problem with this toaster is how it toasts. It took three minutes just to cook toast that was hardly brown. I left it in for another 30 seconds so it browned a little bit more, but it was still white on one side. I feel that £50 is a lot of money for a toaster that can't even cook toast evenly, let alone that it takes such a long time in the first place. The thing I liked about my old toaster was that it was designed to cook quickly, and it also cooked toast evenly. It also had the feature to raise up the toast, but it raised it a lot higher so it was easier to take out without any risk of burning yourself on the metal at the top.
Like all toasters, this one is easy to use. You pull down the handle thing (another one of my very technical words) and it begins toasting...very slowly. However, the buttons to activate the reheat, defrost, and cancel settings were not very clear, and it wasn't until I looked in the instruction manual that I found out what the buttons did.
Cleaning the toaster is quite easy, although as I have only had it for a week, I cannot comment on it much. It has two removable trays at the bottom where crumbs fall on, which you can then empty out in the bin. Most toasters have this function nowadays, but it is very handy.
Another problem I have found with this toaster is that it gets very hot when you toasty something. Not just at the top, but round the sides and front as well. It caught me of guard the first time as my old toasters exterior never got hot, and I burnt myself a little bit. Obviously you can understand that the metal top may get quite hot, but not the entire exterior. I find that quite silly and somewhat annoying.
Overall, I probably wouldn't recommend this toaster because I think it is expensive for a toaster that cooks very slowly and unevenly. If you cook bagels though, it might be handy, but I haven't tried this feature so I am unsure how well it works.
I've given the product three stars, but it would probably be closer to 2.5