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I notice that this printer is still available so it is worthy of a review. I have had mine for over two years now, I can't comment on the original price as it was given as a Christmas present, but I think that the £69 on Amazon at the moment is a bit pricey. If it can be found at around the £30 mark it's a good deal.
What it is
The printer comes with a booklet and the driver software (not a furry steering wheel cover) but does not include the printer cable, these can be bought separately, and mine cost a couple of quid from eBay. Its functions include copy, photo capture, scanning and printing. I will admit now that I have not used the photo capture function but I assume that it is for taking data directly from a digital device, camera, etc. On top of the box are the necessary buttons for each function, start and stop buttons, options for colour and non colour, copy options, enlargement options, ink management, scanner, photo and the on off button. The main menu button leads you into contrast and brightness settings and paper size settings. There is an open lid on top that lets you scan and copy items; this has rulers on it to show you the position of the document on the paper and its size. Below is a front pull out paper draw also with paper size measurements. There is a small one character high screen that shows you what you are accessing in the menus and also warns you of any problems such as no paper and low ink levels (hate that).
How it works
The printer has had a fair bit of usage during my college course and I have managed to use all of its functions without the instructions, however I would not say it has been easy to work my way around the menus. I would like to think I am quite competent with figuring out electrical items but if you are not the instruction booklet will probably be vital. Copy and scanning is pretty simple you just pop the thing you want copying in and press the relevant button. It linked up with my laptop easily and I haven't had any communication problems between the two; there may be a need to resend files after replacing ink or paper if it has run out during a print though.
What it makes things look like
I quite like the printing quality for word processing; it lays the ink on quite thick on the standard settings which gives my work a substantial look to it, the drawback of this is that it uses ink a bit quicker. I think there is an option somewhere on the printer menu to reduce the ink density (I should probably look into that). Colour printing works fine as long as the pictures you are printing have a decent resolution in the first place. The ink has been replaced many times over the year; this is done by a little loading draw at the front which has a very easy operation. The copying function also re-produces things well and there is also the option to add colour or not.
What I think about it all
I wouldn't say that this printer was the best ever, not by a long shot, but at the right price it will do a half decent job of what it's supposed to. Overall I am quite happy with it, even more so when I found some decent ink prices on eBay, around £7 for 12 cartridges. It is still going strong after a year of intense printing and I hope it will do during my three year degree, if not I will update this with a more huffy review.
I have been best pals with my Sony Hi-Fi over the years, and many of their other products. I currently have a very old and dated looking Sony micro system in my bedroom that still produces a great sound and works as it did when it was made during the last ice age. This is why the more up to date model caught my eye when looking to replace the £35 local supermarket CD player that has sat in our living room making funny noises for the last few years.
I was looking for a small stylish system that could play CD's and would also be mp3 device friendly. Digital radio was a must, as was an iPod dock and finally it all had to sound good, knowing Sony's track record I didn't think this last part would be a problem.
I notice now that this has been on offer at £99.99 in the Amazon sale, and if you manage to pick it up for that price you should be very pleased with yourself. At the moment it is priced on Amazon at £113 new which is still a reduction on the £135 I got it for, however I am still more than happy with the price I paid.
Out of the box
The system its self was neatly packed up in its box meaning there were no issues with damage during transit. After taking it out you were confronted by three main sections and the wires to link them all together. This proved to be very easy with the usual little red and black clippy peg thingumies (official technological terminology). In the box there is also the main power cord, Digital, FM and AM aerial and a remote with batteries. There is a black square shaped aerial for FM radio and two white wires with socket attachments for the AM and Digital radio. These Aerials fit into the corresponding holes, however it is worth mentioning that the positioning of these, up the walls, around the room, strapped to the cat etc will have an influence on which stations you can actually receive. After a bit of trigonometry I managed to get these all in the correct position, later deciding that all I really use is the digital radio channels.
It's got the look
The sleek looking unit comes with some very nice matching black speakers that will give and air of minimal sophistication (my quote not Sony's, maybe I should go for a PR job?) to your chosen room without dominating an area. There is a large display on the front which is easy to see from a distance (tested on my short sighted mother), and below this is a well designed silver bar that houses the power and eject buttons. Further down and unnoticed is the CD draw which moves in a satisfyingly smooth action. Lower down there is the headphone and audio input sockets.
The top of the main unit contains the iPod dock and the operation buttons. Although the buttons look good they are a bit clunky and did not give a great feedback to your fingers (a minor quibble). They consist on the usual function, tuner, tuner play mode, repeat, scan, CD and iPod controls. The remote can be used for all these functions as well as a few more such as bass and treble, sleep modes and display options. The iPod dock works very well allowing scrolling through the menus with the unit, remote and iPod buttons, although using the iPod buttons may put stress on its attachment to the main unit. A further option is available for other digital audio devices via the audio input socket; this means you can attach devices that have an audio output that can be routed through a 3.5mm jack. I have been using a 3.5 to 3.5mm jack from my HTC phone with no problems. The difference between this and the iPod dock is that it does not charge through this socket and you can only access the menus though the external device.
The sound quality is clear and crisp through all functions depending on where you have those aerials. It does not distort even at higher levels which can get higher than is needed for an average living room with average neighbours. There are no over the top sound adjustment options, it can be altered slightly through the simple operation of bass and treble but is not really needed due to the great basic setting. The menus and remote do take a bit of getting used to but this is to be expected with any new technology, it is a fast learning process and quite simple once you have used it a few times. It is small and will fit into any corner and does not look like the big ugly tower block stereos of old, small is the new big.
I bought this hard drive as a back up storage device so that I could put my computer back to factory settings to get rid of a few bugs. I found it in a sale at Argos for £35 which I thought was a great deal, it also came with a handy protective case. The box is quite small, about the size of a large men's wallet. It has a little light that shows it is on and also runs very quietly.
The drive was very easy to use, I just plugged it was instantly found as a storage device on my computer. I collected all my files and just dragged and dropped them into the Seagate file box. The files took a little while to transfer over; this was to be expected when moving the 250 GB of data that was on my internal laptop hard drive. Even after the transfer there was still another 250 GB of storage space left which meant that I could leave the data on the drive as a backup having restored it onto my laptop after the reset. I still have plenty of space for music other files; my friend is even using me and my spare drive as a backup for his honeymoon pictures.
One added advantage that I didn't expect is that not only is it compatible with my laptop and other household computers; it has also made friends with my Xbox 360. This means that I can easily transfer data from my computers with out saving it in two places at once (laptop hard drive and Xbox hard drive). I can now watch saved films and play saved music through my television via my Xbox which is very handy. In fact the hard drive spends much of it's time plugged into my Xbox.
I am very happy with this device; it has done exactly what I have asked of it with a few extra bonuses. It looks very well made, although I'm not intending on being rough with it, but I should think it will last a very long time. If it can be found at the right price it is a brilliant option if you would like a little extra storage. For storage purposes my Cd's take up about 60-80 MB of space and films can take from 650 MB to 2.5 GB depending on the length of the film. This means that the 500 GB drive will store around 200 films, 500 GB = 512000 MB so that is over 6000 audio CD's worth of storage.
I heard about Whatsapp from a friend and was intrigued to find out what it was all about. It was easy to find and download from the android market and surprisingly it was free, not an option from the iPhone app store which charges 59p. The actual app has been around for quite a while but it has taken this time for people to recognise the advantages and download it; you can only talk to others who have installed Whatsapp. The phone I am using is a HTC Desire but I would expect little difference in the menu functions between most phones using the android system.
Whatsapp is similar to your standard messaging service already installed on your smart phone; instead of using the phone network it uses the 3g/internet network to send information. The main advantage of this is that it is a free service. Other advantages are that it will work in areas where there is internet access but no network coverage and it is also very fast.
On installing the app you will see a list of friends that are also using Whatsapp, you can write a little tag line to greet your friends with which they will see this on their contact list. To send a message you simply click on a friends name and start typing. When returning or pressing the back button you will return to a chat page which acts as the main app menu, it will show you the people you have been chatting to and the date this was. The pencil button is used to get back from this into the contact menu, you can also search down the chat list with the magnifying glass symbol. The menu button on this page also has these functions as well as a myriad of other settings, and a very handy option for a group chat. This is a great idea and is very good for organising events and get togethers, although it can be confusing at times.
Once you have clicked on a friend and started a private conversation the top of the page will show you a picture (if you have the persons picture linked on your phone), and a time when this person was last seen. The usual paperclip sign for attachments such as maps, videos and sound, is also here. There is also a smiley face that leads to a menu that allows you to add lots of different clip art images such as footballs and flowers to your text messages, very good fun!
Each conversation bubble has a little tick marker next to it, this will show one tick mark for a sent message and two tick for a message that has been read by the receiver. You can also see when a friend is typing at the bottom of the page helping you know when to anticipate a return message. The phones menu button in private chat allows you to either call or view the contact; you can also email, block or delete the conversation. There is the option to change the background wallpaper for the conversation and set a shortcut for it to the home menu of your phone. I found this extremely handy for some of my best buds.
All in all I have found Whatsapp extremely useful especially for chatting to one of my friends that often works in an area of bad reception. It has a lot of options for customisation and can perform many more functions than the standard messaging available on most phones. It is free, fast and fun so there's no reason not to give it a try. There is only one or two drawback's, firstly if you have little storage left on your phone you may have to delete a less worthy app because it will take up a medium 7.08 MB of phone memory, not massive but substantial, especially as my android 2.2 won't let me save it to my SD card. The biggest draw back is that not everyone has it, this stops you from getting in touch with them; this can always be fixed by word of mouth. I would also like to see a widget for my phones menu screen and perhaps a link for Firefox or other personal computer web browsers.
I bought this air bed for camping; it was a good deal at £37 in the summer sale on Amazon. Outwell make a lot of camping equipment and have been doing so for a while so I knew that I would be buying a well made piece of kit. It is made out tough PVC and has a soft velvety (velour) top for extra comfort which also stops you from slipping of should you be sleeping on a sloping surface as I was last weekend, it is also very stable to sleep on.
It is easy to pack and store, folding down into the size of two large shoe boxes and weighs about 2 kg. It has a double seal valve which allows for a quick inflation and stops air from getting out. I used a small foot pump which will inflate it in about 10 minutes, this did take a bit of effort though so an electric car pump may be a better idea. To start with I think I may have pumped it up to hard and had to let some air out for a little more squidge. If you get a puncture there is also a little repair pack in the box.
The bed is well made and I had no problems with it; I have heard of problems with it deflating so I will update if there are any other developments to report. It will fit into the same space as perhaps three men in sleeping bags so make sure you have room and follow the guidelines for your tent. Alternatively it could also be used for a comfortable nights sleep for guests at your house or in other spare bed situations. I am very happy with this buy as it has done exactly what was expected.
Halo Reach is the game we were all waiting for. Buying it, running home and struggling with the plastic wrapper reminded me of my first Halo experience back in the days of the Xbox's flag ship game. A little older I still felt like a child when hit by the new heavenly soundtrack from Martin O'Donnel, a key factor in the feeling and much of the success of the Halo franchise (goose bumps a plenty).
The game menu is what we've come to expect from Bungie simple and well made so that it is easy to navigate. It comes with all the added extras, Forge, Theatre, Multiplayer and the Campaign. The main campaign is a triumph, it retains all of what made Halo great, massive maps, beautiful vistas, armies of baddies to take on each with a decent amount of intelligence so as not to become boring or repetitive. The game play is varied involving warthogs, tanks and spaceships, what more could you need from a fantasy sci fi game? Oh yeah, jetpacks!!! The usual weapons have been changed a little some good some not so, I kind of missed my old three shot Br which has been exchanged for a one shot with similar power. Aiming via a reticule that spreads and gets less accurate as you fire means a bit more skill is needed to time shots in order to take baddies out.
Multiplayer has always been where Halo has its longevity, my old Halo 3 had been in my Xbox for years and years, it was the best investment ever for the amount of fun I got out of it. This is my comparison, and this is the problem. Perhaps it is because of COD or other shooters coming into the market and maybe my lack of dedication to Reach but I still prefer Halo 3's multiplayer. Reach is still spectacular and immense fun, the multiplayer is very similar to Halo 3 with a few tweaks and new map/game variants. It is smoother but there are a few things I can't get used to. The jetpacks are brilliant and so are the other loadouts but I still liked the old way of running around until you found loadouts instead of choosing them while respawning. The melee attack now involves an action moment which although looks cool leaves you open to attack and can become annoying because its hard to not do. Another thing is the health packs and shield bar which I now think over complicate things.
All in all I am still glad I have this game and it has been worth the £25 I paid for it. Even though I still play on Halo 3 and there is stiff competition from other shooters such as COD, Halo Reach still has a place in my game rack. I wish they had kept Masterchief in the picture as he was a cool dude and I think he deserved it, but obviously this isn't possible with a prequel. The thing that is exciting me now is that it is not the end......Halo 4!!! Oh yeah!
I have had this toaster for over ten years now and it was a sound investment. I originally purchased it after looking at reviews and deciding that I would like a toaster that would not be thrown away at the end of its life. Dualit toasters may be expensive but with that price you get a stylish and extremely well designed appliance. The original price paid was around £135 but I see that the newer model which as far as I can tell is still exactly the same design, now sells for around the £150 mark but ive seen them for alot cheaper if you hunt around. This is understandable with the rise in cost of many items over the last ten years and I would still say it is worth the investment.
It is very simple, a dial which you twist to an estimated toast time, around 2 minutes for normal white bread. There is a double switch with two lines or one line, indicating which slots are turned on, the double toaster or the sandwich slot, all very good for saving electricity. Waste crumbs are collected in the bottom catching tray which is easily pulled out and cleaned. You also get a little handle that pops the toast up to retrieve it and a very handy sandwich cage that can be used in all sorts of interesting ways. Defrosting Naan bread and toasting large things like buns, this is possible because of the oversized sandwich slot at the end. I admire its simple design because that means there are less working pieces to go wrong. It does what it's supposed to do with out any fuss, no extra buttons or over complications as is found with other toasters in this price bracket, just toast!
In the ten years of usage the toaster has had its fair share of wear; as a result two of the elements have needed replacing. Replacement parts were cheap and easy to find on eBay and easily fitted with a few simple tools. In this case I changed the two heating elements using a small 8mm spanner and a Philips head screwdriver. This can also be done by your local toaster mechanic but I found it very easy even with my limited toaster knowledge. It is perhaps not advisable if you are not all that confident in your abilities because, as with all electrical appliances, it may create health and safety issues.
All in all I would recommend this toaster for a quality for price option, they are not cheap but they pay for it in the long run. They are easy to clean and look very good in anyone's kitchen; you will also notice that they are used in more industrial settings such as cafes and greasy spoons proving that they are also the choice of the professionals. I think if I was to replace this toaster I would probably opt for a few more toast slots for mass toast making.
Problems first started to emerge with this car when filling the car up with camping kit, the rear seats could have done with a split in the middle where the arm rest was so that we could put the longer items through it (windbreaks). The boot its self is also very shallow and quite high off the ground meaning it was harder to get heavy items in and didn't actually hold much of our equipment. Having moved our gear from an old ford focus 3 door we found that the Quashqai didn't have any more room despite looking like a bigger car. Boot space is further limited by the sloping design of the rear window and boot door, giving a nice look to the rear of the car but reducing practicality.
The interior of the car is nice with and stylish even if it is a bit plastic mad around the radio and dash. The inbuilt navigation and radio were functional and easy to use as were the other controls apart from the key that needed a push button as well as a normal 'take the key out' system which is was over complicated and annoying! It also seemed to like beeping a lot and even though this was a relatively new car the boot latch has already broken meaning you had to poke the greasy bit with clean fingers. Another strange thing was the lack of inside for outside; it looked like a big car but inside much of it seemed to be padding. The driver seat wasn't any good for anyone over six feet tall and didn't allow for much adjustment, even at 5 ft 6 I felt cramped in the cockpit.
Over all I was not impressed with this car, on arriving at the campsite we discovered that it wasn't really all that good at driving across a slightly wet and bumpy camping field either, in fact we had a Kia Picanto that could handle the terrain better. So to sum it up it's a small 4 by 4 that can't go off road very well and can't carry you camping gear. It does drive on the road alright and if that's what you want just get a normal car, for the money I would prefer an estate of some description because it would carry the kit, drive well and fill in the gaps in between. Sorry Nissan you only get one chance at making a first impression and this is not a good one.
Having had a Honda Jazz in the family since 2005 there was only one option when it came to getting a new car. The upgraded version is still the same great quality offered by Honda and a dare say it will run well for many years as our old Jazz did, reliability has never been a problem for Honda. It is now a bit sleeker looking brining it up to date and making it very much cooler. All of the dials and gadgets are where they should be, easy to reach and not overly complicated, it also has a very good stereo and cd player.
One of the selling points of the Jazz is its large interior space in a small car, I have used it to move house and often put my mountain bike in the back with its wheels still on, a feat that can not be accomplished by many other similar sized cars. This is thanks to the clever way its seat fold away into the rear foot well leaving a flat open space.
I am very pleased with the Honda Jazz and this newer version has only improved on an already successful design. It is still as economic as ever and the engine produces ample amounts of power, it also has a very good saftey rating. The only problem I have now is the dog getting the boot all dirty and having to clean it afterwards.
I was looking for a good replacement for my sky+ box and after a lot of research and price matching I decided on the Humax 9150t. It has ample storage for all of your favourite soaps and comes at a decent price. The menus are as easy to navigate as my sky box was and offer similar functions such as series linking and recording timer. It also has buffer settings to give your self extra time at the start and end of each recording just in case shows are not running quite to schedule.
The quality of the picture is good through the built in freeview and the remote control has all the buttons you need. Live pause-fast forward and rewind function as it should and there is a handy little bar at the bottom which represents the point in the programme you are viewing. The TV guide allows you to scroll through and find the shows you want recording and as it's a duel channel you can record two programmes at once.
If you're looking for a digital TV recorder I would recommend any of the Humax range they have been proven time and again and are a good choice over some of the higher priced recorders that do the same thing.
This is now my third Sony camera and they have not let me down yet, years ago I even had a Sony phone with a 5 mega pixel camera that took better photos than a lot of my friends and family's digital cameras. When it comes to recording memories Sony have got it made.
The W510 is the best I have had so far; the 12.1 mega pixels make everything look great producing stunning SLR worthy photos. As usual the ease and navigation through the menu is easy and intuitive, especially if you have already used a cybershot, however, you may never need any of the myriad of extras it has to offer. The best thing about it is anyone can produce a good photo as long as they are pointing at the desired subject matter and know where the button is.
Transferring photos is easy, just a drag and a drop, shimples! Face detection and steady shot sort out wobbly hands and where to aim; it basically does everything for you, it's a very clever little box. It feels well built and portable as you would expect, and the battery lasts for a decent amount of time. The large screen is good for previewing and editing if needed.
My mum is a bit shaky and does not enjoy interacting with gadgets and technology but I am so confident in this cameras ability that I will be getting her one for her 60th. I'm sure her blurred and funny shaded black blobbed photos will be a thing of the past and I will have a very happy mum!
Yes I am hairy and yes sometimes I have hair in places I do not want it. Although waxing is and option and does produce better results it is sometimes costly if you go to a waxing person (beautician) didn't want to use that phrase, not very manly. It is also painful and if it's your back you want waxing, which mine is, you may have to rely on a loved one (not your mum) to do it for you.
Step in Veet, I have used this product many times now and it does the job. It only takes a few minutes and you can DIY, although as it's my back I have to employ a wooden spoon and a mirror. The cream goes on very easily and doesn't really need rubbing in just spreading over the hair. Even though I have left it on a little longer than is suggested it still hasn't harmed me although it's probably not advisable if you do have sensitive skin. It takes the hair off at the base which gives a good result but unlike waxing does not take out the root; this means the hair will grow back quicker.
All in all a great product that works better than many cheaper own brand hair removal creams. I will be using it until I can get a willing participant to wax my back; I am aware that this day may never come and perhaps I will grow out of my vanity before then. Veet is the next best option; I have also used it on other areas with good results, although it can be a bit smelly so make sure you wash it off properly.
This was my first foray into the world of the smart phone, or in this case super smart phone. I had decided to go with the Desire after reading about it and researching the android system verses the apple operating system, I also spoke to friends that owned the apple phone. I found that there had been a few problems with the compatibility and apple system as well as a few hardware failures of the phones. I decided to bite the bullet opting for a more open system on a strange phone maker that I hadn't really heard of.
After getting it out of the box and charging it I was completely flummoxed it didn't operate in a way that I had seen before. I started to get the hang of it and realised that this was a more intuitive way of using a smart device; it was nothing like the old phones of my teenage years (although aerials that flashed were kinda cool). The main functions of the phone work brilliantly, texts are easy to compose with the querty keyboard and the touch sensitivty is very good, I am even able to operate the phone with my cycling gloves on. There are apps to download which can give you different text settings and looks. Calls are easy to make and the missed call settings, dialer and loudspeaker are also easy to use. Sound quality on the call is brilliant, the phone semi locks when you are on a call so you don't press a button with your ear but when you move the phone again the screen lights back up, magic.
A year later this phone and the android system have become my bed time read, my link to the world, my answer to every interesting question, my friendly tool kit and my guide through life, extreme I know, but without it I would be less happy. The phone has never broken despite being dropped a lot and used to break my fall. The only issue has sometimes been with rogue android apps that have not been updated properly, an easy fix with an app watcher such as watchdog. This is the only problem with android, its apps are largely free and its openness makes it easier for the developers to make new and interesting apps but sometimes this leads to a drop in quality.
The HTC sense overlay that works in conjunction with android is fantastic when compared to other phones. It means that you are in complete control of all the settings on the phone; it is also smooth and pleasing in the way it looks and moves. Battery life is not fantastic and means that you have to spend your time conserving and finding new ways to increase battery life but this is the same with most smart phones and a small price to pay for being able to find great pubs in strange places.
The fact that this phone comes in at a lower price than the iPhone is also a plus, free on an 18 month contract for £25 per month when compared to £35 for an iPhone 4 with similar minutes, texts and interweb. Another great thing is the ease of which it connects and lets me transfer from my computer, no faffing about with itunes, just drag and drop. This is a great bit of kit at a great price on all networks and HTC will only get better in the future.
Having had an Inspiron for a few years I decided that I would like an upgrade. After thorough rummage through the endless offers and reviews for the lower priced laptops I settled on the Inspiron 15 due to the competitive deals and consistently good reviews.
Out of the box I was impressed by its sleek looks and small size, much smaller than my old 1520 (also a very good bit of kit). I went for the basic option as it suited all of my needs, web browsing, a bit of word processing (Office starter 2010) and a decent amount of storage.
No problems were encountered on starting it up, pretty fool proof really, it tells me what to do and I do it. It linked up easily with all of my networks and techno gubbins, including my Xbox, printer and phone, which have sometimes caused problems in the past.
All in all Dell have improved on my old laptop, they may not be as cool as other companies but when it comes to quality, price, not to mention good backup support, Dell are hard to beat. We have an array of laptops in the family home and if anything needs to be done my Inspiron is always chosen for its speed and ease of use.