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My partner successfully secured a job interview in London's, Kings Cross. Coming from sleepy Somerset we knew a bit of forward planning would be required to ensure we'd successfully land at our destination with as little hiccups as possible. In light of the fact we didn't want anything going wrong, we decided to travel up the night before.
The hotel search began... Trawling websites and finally using my iPad application 'Booking.com'. We came across only two hotels which fell into our budget (under £100). We knew it wouldn't be perfect but agreed it was just a place to lay our heads for the night.
Elmwood Hotel didn't have five out of five stars scoring only an average of 6.4 and having two stars it was only inevitable we would find negative reviews. These reviews mentioned issues such as it was noisy, small rooms and how unhelpful the staff were.
--- Our experience ---
When we eventually found our hotel, after a long tiring journey (finishing work and travelling to London). We arrived at the hotel about 9:30pm we walked in and the receptionist asked us what we wanted. We explained we'd booked a room, he asked the name we told him. Then he grunted looked at the computer printed off a form for us to fill in and asked to pay for the room. For some reason I did stupidly think we had done that as I had already given my card details online!
So you've guessed it the receptionist was rather rude and unhelpful. We had to find our own way to our room which ended up being down a very narrow stair case and corridor. It was quite a rabbits warren to be honest.
The room was 'small' we expected it to be so and therefore wasn't too disappointed. It had a double bed. Units either side of the bed. A wardrobe and there was also a unit where the TV sat. The furniture as warned by my boyfriend who had a near accident was not bolted down and even the lightest of touches caused what felt like the units to topple. So I kept clear of everything and left my clothes in my bag as we were only staying the night it wasn't too much of a problem.
The room looked clean but the bedding didn't smell it. A snob I maybe and perhaps my preconceptions got the better of me but I decided to sleep on top of the blanket provided. However to be honest I don't know if it was because we'd had a long day but I slept better in that bed than I had at home for weeks. I could not quite believe it!
We didn't have the breakfast as the presentation for the interview took priority... but from what I recall they served between 7:30 and 9:30.
--- Overall ---
In respect to location Elmwood Hotel is literally located across the road from Kings Cross and Euston Road. For one night and after a very long day it was worth the £70.00 we paid for the one room with an en suite shower and toilet. It was unnerving looking for the hotel as there seemed to be a lot of people just hanging about, sitting on steps; it made us feel very uneasy and vulnerable. Even in our hotel room we could hear a lot of noise going on but I guess that's just being in London and to be expected.
The receptionist when we booked in was rather unhelpful however the receptionist when we signed out was very polite and thanked us as we left. So at the end of day it really depends on who serves you to what service you receive although there should be in my opinion a certain standard set.
I asked my partner if he would stay again and he instantly said no. I however probably would if it meant saving money and for only one night. It wasn't 'awful' but where we're from we get a lot more for our money and so perhaps our expectations are slightly higher than they should be.
The location of the room would have been no good to any one with mobility problems and the stair cases and corridors were rather narrow so I would imagine wheelchair users would struggle too oh and with the fact there is no lift either.
I wouldn't say never stay there but if I were you I'd see what else in the area is around for a similar price and if you're only staying the night I'm sure you'll survive just like we did
It was all worth it in the end as my partner got the job - so it looks like London will be seeing a lot more of him if he likes it or not!!
Let me introduce you to the Kindle. The Kindle is an Electronic Book Reader released by Amazon book store (Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk). I've had my Kindle for just over a year now and although it is not used as much as it should. I wouldn't be without it. I paid £150.00 for mine but I understand there is now a cheaper version available for £89.00
::: Operating the Kindle :::
The kindle has a slide switch for power and buttons either side of the 6" display. The buttons help you to navigate pages (back and forward).
The version of Kindle I have includes a keyboard with very small buttons and not really that great for adults with large fingers to use! The Kindle allows you to apparently surf the web and search for books in the Amazon store it does have a purpose for being there and who really wants to carry a large keyboard around with them?
::: What does the Kindle do exactly? :::
The Kindle allows me to store hundreds of electronic books; correction Amazon say you can carry up to 3,500 books on the device, delving into them whenever I wish. You can imagine carrying 3,500 paperback books?? Books can be purchased via the Kindle store using your wi-fi or 3g connection. You can also drag and drop ebooks from your pc onto the Kindle as you would with other usb devices. This is very easily done as I had to do this quite recently when someone wanted to borrow my Kindle I didn't want to lose any of the books so backed them up on my PC.
The Kindle books are not in colour (yet) but the Kindle does offer contrast options black on white and white on black and font size is adjustable as well as speech to read any books if one so for wishes to. However the later option is down to the publisher as not all books have the audible function enabled which I believe disadvantages individuals with reading difficulties or those who have a visual impairment.
I read mostly at night and do not have a bed side lamp so I needed to solve this problem. I purchased a nice bright green leather Kindle case from Amazon which has an inbuilt light. The light is powered by the Kindle so only works when the Kindle is powered up but it does the trick, very clever!
::: Birth weight and life expectancy :::
The Kindle comes in at 247 grams. The battery life is pretty good considering most other electronically devices with a fully charged Kindle and half an hour of reading a day the Kindle is expected to last for approximately two months.
You do need to make sure you turn the Kindle off after use as it's very easy to switch it on to standby (screensaver mode). My boyfriend has an annoying habit of doing this and then when I go to use it - it's dead!
The Kindle comes with a charger which can be done via the usb port on your computer or you can plug it directly into the mains.
::: Overall :::
I love my Kindle and the fact I can store so much on it. The Kindle store is brilliant because I can download a sample of a book before I decide if I want to go ahead and by it. As soon as I purchased my Amazon Kindle an account was setup so when I purchased any Kindle books it would automatically deduct it from my card details on my Amazon account.
My dad was so impressed with my Kindle we got him one for his birthday. He reads every day and loves it! A lot of people say before they get one that they like to turn pages and couldn't get use to an Ebook and you can't beat a real book but the amount of people now buying Kindles proves a point and people are moving with the times. The more people buying Kindles also means the amount of books available in an electronic format will increase.
I'd highly recommend a Kindle. I can't really compare mine to the latest model as I know very little about it apart from the fact it does not have a keyboard and is £89.00 it also only has wi-fi rather than 3G. Whereas my model has both which means I can download books on the move and I do not need a wi-fi connection - great huh?
So if you're thinking about getting a Kindle I hope you decide to go ahead because it truly is a fantastic device and deserves all the credit I have given it...
Words with friends is a similar to Scrabble and is free to download from the Apple store. You can be play it with Facebook friends, strangers or alone. When playing with strangers I found that some times they'd be large gaps between goes. If this happens and you're playing on an apple device then 'Words with friends' sends an audible signal to alert you that it is your go. You can play more than one game at a time. I wouldn't play too many at once. People will become inpatient. Games can take days if you just pop on every so often when it is your go or if the other person has disppeared out or maybe gone to bed!
::: The game :::
As I said the game is similar to Scrabble and is so is the board. The first player must start at the star. You each get seven letters and the aim is to make words that adjoin the others words already placed on the table, scoring the highest amount possible. Some letters will be worth more on certain squares on the board these are identified by initials such as DL meaning double letter the same goes for a double word DW. You can shuffle your seven letters, sometimes you can make words easier if your brain processes them in a different order. You can also swap letters but that will result in you having to forfeit a go. Different letters are worth different points just like scrabble.
All the letters are on yellow squares with black print the board has pale grey slots to place your tiles on and the bonus letter and words buttons are green, red blue and orange.
The buttons to submit your go, shuffle letters, swap letters and the more options buttons are at the very bottom of the page in blue with white writing (great contrast!).
::: The negatives :::
The most annoying thing about the game is the pop up adverts but I guess that is how they keep the game as freeware. You can select to skip the advert which I do nine times out of ten. They pop up everytime you've taken your go!
Another aspect you need to consider is that games such as this are open to cheats people can use software that will create words for them. I personally don't see the point. If you can't win fairly why play at all? I wonder if a time limit would help eliminate this...
::: Overall :::
If you like freebies, have patience and love word games. I'd highly recommend 'Words with friends'. It does have bad points as discussed above but its free so its not like it's a waste of money just maybe a waste of time for some!
Give it a go and you never know you might like it too and I might end up playing against you!
I cannot believe the obsession my family have with Bejeweled 2. My boyfriend and my mum are both totally addicted to this game and as a result became very anti-social over the Christmas period!
So what is Bejeweled 2 and where can you get it from?
The game was developed by the company Popcap. It is available to play as four variantions:
Classic, Endless, Action and on Facebook. The game is available from the Apple Application store and via facebook. The iPad version is 69p from the Apple Store. The Popcap.com website have a PC version available for download for £6.95
We, or should I say my partner and mum play the Classic version of the game. The objective is to swap adjacent gems to make sets of three. If you clear multiple sets you gain extra points. If you manage to make a set of four gems you will create a power gem (more points) whereas five gems will create a hypercube, a what? I can only describe the hypercube as an opportunity to pick the colour of your choice to create your next set of gems.
::: My opinion :::
Initially I too found the game very addictive and so easy to play on the iPad rather than clicking away on the PC with a mouse. It can becomes very frustrating when you reach a certain level and then suddenly the game echoes 'no more moves' which equates to GAME OVER. It wouldn't be a game if it was easy though would it?
One evening when I was home alone I had what I thought would be a quick go on the Classic version and it turned out to be the longest game I've ever had on any computer! Although it was so satisfying to beat my boyfriend's high score that'd been boasting about for weeks. I got to a stage where I was tired and bored and in the meantime my partner came home and encouraged me to continue so he had a target to beat. I really had lost interest but for his sake I continued and rather tiredly heard the 'no more moves' words at level 20 with a score of about 252,000 (apparently my brother accidently deleted the high score table!)...
Overall for 69p you cannot go wrong. All variations of the game are included in the price. We Brits experience lots of rainy days and so I'd suggest this for one of the many! I have to admit since that high score I have lost total interest and have not played since but maybe that's just me. My mum and boyfriend continue to battle it out for the next high score!
I've been a member of Amazon for more years than I can honestly remember. Amazon was launched in 1994 by Jeff Bezos. It's a website which primarily focused on offering an online bookstore. It has since had huge success and today sells far more than books...
Amazon offers a extensive amount of products from Dvds to toys and games, to kitchen and bathroom items. No longer does the site only sell goods from Amazon but it has what is called 'Amazon Marketplace' which means for a fee you or I could sell our items online and indeed many people/businesses do.
::: Navigating :::
Amazon's website is very well laid out and is available to access on a number of formats; iPods, iPads, PC, Mac and on their ebook reader the 'Kindle'. You can browse through categories or use their very effective search engine.
When you've looked at several items and have placed orders the website starts to learn what your interests are and the homepage will make recommendations which they believe will suit your interests. Big Brothers watching you!
::: Ordering :::
Ordering is simple by using the 'add to cart' facility which puts all the items you'd like to purchase into a basket and then asks you to press continue when you'd like to checkout. Amazon accepts all major cards and also has a gift card option available (paper or virtual).
::: Postage and Packaging :::
There are several options available and the cost of these depend on how eager you are for your items to arrive. I usually go for the free super saver delivery which usually means my item will arrive between 3 - 5 days.
Sometimes I'm a little surprised by the size of the box Amazon send their items out in as they are much larger than the products themselves. DVDs can easily fit through a door if put in sensible packaging. Are we not suppose to be a little more economical these days??
::: In my opinion :::
I love Amazon although I should probably hate it for the amount of money I've spent on the website! The website is simple, easy to use and clearly laid out. Nine times out of ten I will find the product I am looking for and the prices are very competitive in comparison to other websites. I was absolutely amazed to learn they even sell Weight Watcher jam!
Martin Lewis's Money Saving Website has a Amazon Bargin Finder search engine which lets you search Amazon for items at our chosen percentage discounts; even items reduced by 70%!
As soon as you're registered you can order items instantly by saving your card details and desired addresses onto the site. At Christmas I ordered my presents to come to work and asked Amazon to ship the items in as less packages as possible (this is another option they give you). I then several days later received all the items I ordered in one big box. Only today I ordered a storage bag, I was at work so I wanted to place the order quickly and it probably took me two minutes to find the item, select the card and address and hey presto it's on its way to me! (they will send you an email to confirm any orders you make and to let you know when your items have been dispatched, I also receive questionnaire emails several days after receiving my goods).
There are many other things you can do on Amazon. I am aware of an Amazon Credit Card which gives you advantages if you order items through Amazon on it. There is also something called Amazon Prime which you will incur a charge of £49.00 a year which isn't that bad as it does let you have free next day delivery and even the same for £7.48 if you live in London or Birmingham there are other privileges too. Amazon Prime offer a 30 day trial of Amazon Prime which I'd recommend if you are or might become a heavy Amazon user...
If you're not already using Amazon then I would suggest you do. Don't forget Dooyoo Miles can be exchanged for Amazon vouchers. Something I am very much looking forward to getting with my first Dooyoo pay packet!
Thanks for reading - happy new year!
I am typing this review on my new Logitech Tablet Keyboard which is also the produc I am reviewing and the first do so on Dooyoo by the looks of it!
My brother kindly purchased the keyboard for me as my birthday present and it's only now due to writing this reveiw that I have found out the price (which I feel slightly guilty about). The price varies from £40 to £90. I am still getting to grips with the keyboard and am unsure if the Keyboard can be use entirely independtly. Presently I am having to type and edit by touching the iPad display.
This bluetooth keyboard is compatiable with the iPad and iPad 2 Apple Tablets.
::: setting up :::
Setting up was relatively easy. I entered into the general settings on my iPad 2 and then clicked on the bluetooth option. Because I'd removed the battery tabs on the keyboard and switched the top right button on for power beforehand. The iPad was able to pick up the keyboard. I tapped 'Logitech Keyboard' on the iPad display and it asked me to type a four digit code and press the enter key. (which I did)
The iPad and keyboard are now paired. Which means everytime I switch the keyboard on it will work with the iPad automatically. I'm sure I read somewhere it would work with the iPod Touch too!
::: powered by :::
The Logitech iPad Keyboard includes 4 AAA batteries which have activation tabs when you first use the device. These tabs will need to be pulled in the direction of the arrows to activate the batteries.
::: Operation :::
At the moment I don't know how to select menu items and have only worked out where the home key is and the search button both of which are quite self explanotory (a picture of a magnifier to search). The instructions are poor well beyond poor. There really aren't any... It comes with a booklet which is very small print and in about 16 different lanagues which talks about the three year manufacturer's guarantee and the full product support which seems to be available at www.logitech.com/support
::: Case / Stand :::
The keyboard does come with a nice case for the keyboard which can be assembled easily as a stand for the iPad. Although becareful as the first time I placed my iPad on the stand it fell forward and on to the floor. So ensure the iPad is positioned on to the stand correctly and if you are concerned prepare the iPad for a soft landing....
::: Overall :::
The keyboard will be used for some note taking and to be fair the keyboard is layed out very well with good spaced buttons and markers to identify the home keys for touch typist. Howver it seems a little pointless at the moment having to touch the screen to select programs and their options and only using the keyboard when I'm in said programs. However with time and research I might be able to use the keyboard independtly and update this reivew with the futher information.
I think Logitech need to remember that not everyone is technically minded and to honest compared to some of my family I fairly good when it comes to technology and settings things up. Just a very straight forward step by step manual would have come in very useful. It looks like their making the assumption everyone has access to the internet and can find out what they need from there... disappointing!
As I searched Ebay for new Helly Kitty items for my step daughter I subconsciously browsed with the mind-set of reviewing the site later...
I wasn't surprised to find I'd be the 791st person to review Ebay on Dooyoo. It seems to be one of the most popular websites in cyberspace.
Ebay is a world renowned auction website. It's such a huge success that there are even songs about it such as the famously known Weird Al's parody which is annoyingly catchy and funny. But anyway let's not digress...
Ebay can be accessed via your pc or mac and is also available as an Application on smartphones and tablets alike.
::: Navigating the Ebay.co.uk :::
You can simply type in 'Hello Kitty' for example and you'll see results that have searched all categories. Alternatively you can search categories which are listed on the left hand side of the Ebay home page. Categories range from Antiques, Art, Clothes, Event tickets and even Cars!
It's very easy to navigate yourself around the Ebay website, the links are clear and as long as the seller has placed their items for sale in the correct category it is easy for you to browse through the items for sale.
If you like a particular seller and are curious about what other items they have for sale then you also have the option to 'view sellers other items'.
::: Ebay Membership :::
Signing up is free and relatively easy. If you want to sell items card information and/or a paypal account would be necessary. The two most common payment methods (if you win an auction) is cheque or paypal. On some listings you will notice sellers will want payment by a certain time after the auction (some straight away).
::: Bidding :::
If you see an item you'd like to buy winning it is dependent on the way the seller has set the auction up. For instance if some items are buy it now so the price you see is the price you pay. Others are how most would imagine whereby you enter a price you are happy to pay but you may be outbid by other interested parties, you can of course bid again if you are still interested in paying higher than your initial bid.
::: Postage :::
Always check the cost of postage some sellers are very crafty whereby the item may only cost you £1.00 but some people will charge £29.99 postage and you need to make sure you're sure this item is worth the hefty postage cost.
Postage and packaging costs will depend on the seller. I believe Ebay have put their foot down and tried to stop sellers over charging. It's also worth finding out the delivery time as if you want to buy a gift for someone you need to ensure it will arrive in time. Not all sellers on the UK Ebay Site live in the UK. Some items are dispatched from China for example.
::: Internationally :::
I have occasionally purchased items from the American Ebay site (Ebay.com). I have found not only the variety of goods much better but also the prices. As long as I take into account international shipping I find the site is comparatively better than the UK version. Please ensure if you look on ebay.com that the seller does ship to the UK as not all will!
::: Selling :::
Selling your items on line with Ebay is quite straight forward. Although my mum still asks me to list her items for her but to be honest she hasn't even attempted to list any items.
You can take and upload one free picture and any others incur a cost. There is a cost for listing items so even if the items you list do not receive any bids you still have to pay the outlaying cost. If you sell an item Ebay may want a small cut of that too!
Look out for free listing days and then you'll have less to lose if it is your first time auctioning items. The process is very straight forward and explained very well with examples. However if you do have any problems Ebay does have community forums whereby you can ask any questions.
Make sure your description is accurate and that postage costs are fair as the feedback system is there for a reason and people will be very wary if you are a new seller.
::: Overall :::
I've been a member of Ebay since February 2000 and I've used it consistently since then. When I collected Beanie Babies it was the site I went too. When I want some scrapbooking supplies it's where I go.
If you're not an Ebay Member I'd suggest having a look and no matter your interests are there really is something for everybody on this auction website.
If you're in need of some extra cash why not try the selling facility it's straight forward and I've sold most items I've advertised.
A great site but watch out you'll soon get addicted!
I believe the iPhone 3GS was released in 2009 by Apple. The iPhone 3GS is a touch screen mobile phone which lets you do a lot more than just make phone calls!
It's available in black or white although the 8GB version is only available in black. It's provided with a whole host of features including a camera, compass, calculator, games and much more. This review will give you an indication into some of what I believe to be the important factors to consider before purchasing the iPhone.
::: Battery :::
I'm not overly impressed with the battery life and I have to without fail charge my phone at least once every day sometimes twice and if you bear in mind I work fulltime so only use my phone occasionally by the time it's evening my battery indicator (which shows a percentage) is showing 20% and in red meaning I need to charge my phone. According to Apple I should be able to watch ten hours of video and listen to this '300 hours on standby' which in my opinion is ridiculous when I only send a few text messages and maybe check email once and my battery drains. I know I am not alone as many other people have complained of similar issues.
Charging the phone is very straight forward you can either charge using a mains socket or usb via your pc or wii device. I charge my phone for approximately two hours!
::: Memory :::
I have 16GB of Memory but I believe an 8GB and 32GB are available on the 3GS. All data is stored on flash memory not on the sim card itself, apparently! (I'm not very technical). Like most things the price will depend on the factors such as how much memory you have so for example a 32GB version would cost slightly more than the 16GB.
::: Camera :::
The iPhone's camera is manufactured by OmmiVison and is only 3 megapixel. I find this rather disappointing considering the Nokia (N95) I used previously had a 5 megapixel camera which may not sound that much better but I certainly can tell the difference.
However on the bright side I can take photographs on the iPhone and upload them or email them instantly to whomever, whenever I like (internet connection permitting!).
You can also record videos by sliding a small switch on the display - I personally do not like this feature and wish the video recorder was a separate app from the camera as sometimes I think I'm taking a picture and I've just recorded a whole unnecessary conversation!
::: What I love about the iPhone 3GS :::
Up until now I've probably come across quite negative bu t there are many factors that override the bad things...
Unlike mobile phones from 10/15 years ago the iPhone is much more than just a phone. You don't just make phone calls on them these days in fact I very rarely make phone calls. Instead I send text messages or instant message using the Facebook application or Skype.
The iPhone is intuitive and so it doesn't take much to learn how to use it. You simply press the icon you want to access and it brings up the necessary. Most applications will have instructions so if you are unsure you can use that. I love the fact that's so dam useful; if I want train times or sports scores I can access the web easyily or once again use an app.
I can setup as many email accounts as I need via the 'mail and contacts tab' in the general settings area of the iPhone. If you have a Microsoft Exchange, Gmail, yahoo, AOL or Hotmail account it's very easy to have your account setup on the iPhone for instant access. I'm not sure how many accounts you can have but I currently have seven!
Shopping on the iPhone is also very easy to do especially if the retailer has their own Apps such as; Argos and Amazon who have both created very user friendly, simple to navigate applications.
::: Applications :::
Some applications come free on the phone such as the calculator and compass. Others are easily reachable by having an iTunes account which you should be asked to sign up for when you initially plug your iPhone into your computer. When you access the iTunes store you'll see the hundreds of choices you have in a number of genres. Some of the applications are free and others cost a small fortune. I always feel slightly strange about paying for virtual things - not sure why!
::: Music and Podcasts :::
I transfer cds via the itunes software I very rarely buy music through the store but I do download podcasts. Podcasts are like micro versions of radio shows. For example we download the Chris Moyles podcast every Friday as we are not able to listen throughout the week we can listen to the best bits in an hour's show compiled by the BBC. Because we do this every week the phone remembers and has a link saying 'download more episodes' so each week that's all we have to tap.
::: Accessibility :::
The iPhone has the facility to Zoom Text or Voice Over. So for someone with a visual impairment you have the choice whether to have magnified text or a voice reading out everything on the screen to you (you cannot have both on at the same time). This is not an application but comes freely available on the iPhone just like most versions of Microsoft Windows now have Accessibility options.
It works in such a way that you press the icon once and it will read it to you and you press it again to confirm that is the option you'd like.
You can also download an application called Dragon Dictate so if you're dyslexic or have difficulty operating the screen with your fingers then this application may help you... I can not give you to much information on this until I have fully investigated it.
::: Conclusion :::
I've had my iPhone for approximately two years which in itself is quite a novelty. I'm usually criticised for wanting the latest bit of technology however in this case my iPhone 3GS is in fact the predecessor to the iPhone 4 and the iPhone 4GS. This alone tells me that I'm quite content with the phone I have although my partner is not and constantly nags me to upgrade so that he can my phone! How selfless...
The iPhone is everything I want from a phone and more. In the beginning I was a little concerned how I'd cope with a touch screen phone when I'd been so use to pressing buttons. I hated the thought that I'd have to look at the screen to type text messages when in fact I soon got use to it and am now less likely to send silly spelling mistakes and to the wrong people!
The only down points I'd say is the initial cost, battery life and the camera. However I am led to believe the newer models have made improvements to the latter two points. I'm not sure if the price will ever improve to be honest.
If you like me want an easy to use Mobile Phone with all the mod cons then look no further than the iPhone 3GS in the long run it will save you money as I've no reason to upgrade as I'm content with what I have and hopefully you will be too!
::: Where to buy an iPhone 3GS :::
You can purchase the phone on contract from all high street Mobile Phone Shops such as T-Mobile, 02, Orange etc... the cost will depend on the contract you take out and how long for.
If you'd rather pay outright then always look on Ebay just make sure the seller has positive feedback and it is not their first item for sale!
Otherwise the cheapest place I'm aware of selling the iPhone 3GS black 8GB outright is the Apple store for £319.00 for more information visit apple.com/uk if it's a Christmas present the Apple Store offer a gift wrap facility too!
The iPad 2 is a 9.7" touch screen tablet computer designed and developed by Apple. It is in my opinion the best tablet computer on the market. To find out why I believe this is case please read my review below:
I ummed and arred for weeks before purchasing the iPad 2. You see, I already own the iPhone and the iPod was it really necessary for me to have the iPad too?
I gave in to temptation and embarked on a quest to find the cheapest option... Websites up and down the globe were visited until I found what I considered to be a good deal. In fact after wasting all that time searching I decided to purchase my iPad 2 from the Apple store website. Not only did £499 seem reasonable but the store itself was easy to navigate and was broken down into step by step sections making it much easier to understand and select the appropriate choices. For example you ticked the colour choice for your Ipad2 (black or white), you ticked the memory option and at each stage of selection you could view your basket to see if this had an impact on the price.
Several days after ordering the iPad 2 it arrived and I couldn't wait to get it set-up and ready to use. As you know with most things these days there are a number of steps you have to take before you can start playing with your new toy!
When I switched the iPad 2 on for the first time I was initially asked to select my language and country choice (these were very long lists and if you are not use to using touch screen devices make sure you take your time as setting up your iPad in a language you don't speak a word of; could have interesting consequences!
The next step asks to enable location services this allows maps and other applications to gather and use data to indicate your approximate location.
My iPad has a wifi facility meaning I can connect to the internet through a wireless network. I am yet to try connecting to the internet using a Micro Sim Card but I was given the option at time of purchase to order a sim which I may use at a later date. This will ultimately depend on cost.
After you go through these initial steps it's time to activate the iPad - I like that sound of that!
::: My first impressions of the iPad 2:::
I was quite surprised how big and heavy the iPad 2 actually was. I never read up on speciation's beforehand (silly me) but after using it a few times I'm quite pleased with the size (not so sure about the weight though).
For sensible people like yourself:
Item Height : 9 millimetres
Item Width: 24.1 centimetres
Screen Size: 24.638 centimetres
The screen is lovely and clear. It has an automatic rotation system whereby if you turn the default portrait screen to landscape the display will automatically display information in landscape mode. At times on the iPod and iPhone this became quite frustrating as it wasn't always my preferred display settings. So when I purchased the iPad I researched on google to see if there was a way to stop the rotation. I was very pleased to find you could lock the rotation to your preferred setting by going into the 'general settings' and using the mute volume switch as a 'locked' screen switch instead...
::: Keyboard :::
I was quite amazed how large the keyboard characters come up. Interesting there are some small marks (like you have on your computer keyboard) to identify where the home keys are for touch typist. This for me just didn't work as they were visible marks not tactile. Wouldn't it be wonderful if one day these keys were tactile? I do believe this will happen one day as the technology already out there on specialist devices for braille users.
With the already said rotating screen the qwerty keyboard rotates with it and is so much easier to use in landscape than portrait as you have more space for your fingers!
::: iTunes :::
If you purchase an Apple Product having an iTunes account is pretty essential if you want to download; music, videos, applications etc... I already had an account set-up so this was easy and straight forward I just needed to enter my user name and password and I could download whatever I wanted to. (this is account is linked to my bank account).
::: iCloud :::
iCloud what is this? That's a good question to be honest I haven't use iCloud but I understand it's a backing up system for your iPad over your wifi connection.
Another feature I haven't played with is 'find your iPad' which is like a gps facility which will show you where about your iPad is; if you happen to lose it or worse still it is stolen!
The following is what your iPad displays on its home screen when you first press that power button on:
Top line: Messages, Calendar, Notes, Reminders
Second Line: Maps, YouTube, Videos, Contacts
Third line: Game Centre, iTunes, App Store, Newstand
Fourth line: Facetime, Camera, Photobooth, Settings
On the shortcut task bar: Safari, Mail, Photos, Music
When you use app store and download your first app instructions pop up on how to manage applications.
Apple have really excelled when it comes to ensuring their products are accessible. There are facilities on the iPad 2 which give you the option to have either the zoomed text feature on or VoiceOver. Unfortunately it does not allow you to have both features at the same time. Is this necessary? Well yes as I familiar with individuals who use such systems some people like to have the option to hear what they are reading as reassurance.
::: VoiceOver :::
If you have the speech facility on, you learn slightly different finger strokes to that of the standard way of operating the iPad. For example rather than tapping on an icon once you tap once to hear what the icon says and then again to confirm you'd like to continue with this option.
The speed of the voice can be adjusted to speak faster or slower.
::: Zoom :::
You can zoom the text on the iPad 2 up to 500% which is great for those with low vision. Although navigating around the screen can be interesting! However at least the facility is available and at no extra cost!
You can also zoom text without switching the accessibility feature on; if you are accessing your mail for example and it's too difficult to read comfortably you can use two fingers; pretend you're pinching salt (on the display) the text will then enlarge. Just keep doing this action until you reach your desired size. To switch back to the original font size just double tap the iPad's screen.
You may not be aware but for some products to be accessible individuals have to purchase 'add ons' such as certain Nokia products which have the operating software to run speech programs but they do not come with the device. Therefore you have to source the screen reader and pay quite a lot for the privilege of seeing/hearing what we take for granted!
Another aspect which the iPad has incorporated is the facility for individuals with hearing impairments to access the 'Facetime' application. The iPad comes with two cameras where hand gestures, visual cues or a dry erase board can be used to enhance communication.
::: Conclusion :::
I am delighted with this purchase and although it costs a small fortune I know it will get a lot of use, I'll get my money's worth! I've even managed to get my mum and dad interested in one because using an iPad is so intuitive it's technology they are not scared of!
Like anything there are down points... buying accessories takes the cost up quite considerably. I knew before buying the iPad 2 sooner or later I'll need a bluetooth keyboard (this has happened sooner). Touch screen typing just doesn't work for me.
A USB port for transferring information would be useful. My partner tried to send me some videos via bluetooth the other day and although he found my iPad the connection kept dropping and it came up on my partner's laptop as a music device so we were unsuccessful!
However the good points far out weigh the bad. If you have a very generous family then I'd highly recommend you being good and asking for an iPad for Christmas 2011!