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Having owned a HD TV for some time I decided to update a now out of date standard DVD player for a new blue ray player. Having looked around the Sony blue ray players get good reviews. I did have a Sony DVD recorder some time a go and had nothing but issues when playing less than perfect discs, it would hang and then jump several minutes ahead and didn't play other formats, so I was a little usure to go back to Sony it seemed to tick all the boxes.
Sony has updated the well reviewed S370 with the S380, some minor cosmetic changes to the front but nothing major. The S380 is a good priced player, retailing around £90-100 it has been as low as £60-70 in some sales which is a cracking price for what is a very decent blue ray player. The machine itself is an odd shape from the front it looks standard width of around 43cm and around 3.5-4cm high, the depth however is around half of older style DVD players at just 18.5cm. For those that stack something else on top of a DVD player such as games console or Sky box you shouldn't be too concerned as the Sky box sits happily on top of it. I guess they have save a lot of plastic by not giving them the full depth. Buttons are small and feel slightly cheap they also dont illuminate and with it being all black in a dimmed room you find yourself running your finger over to find the button. Whilst the buttons are plastic and small this does not impact on the function of them and they are responsive enough, but other than turning the player on and inserting a disc its highly likely the remote will get used more.
It seems the big topic for blue ray players is start up time, some people don't have 5-10 seconds spare to wait these days. I cannot see the point of complaining over the start up time its not like it's in the minutes. The S380 when first connected and within the settings gives the option either eco mode with longer start up or quicker start up but the player uses more power in fast start up mode and only shaves a few seconds from the time. I opted for the eco mode and it takes all of 15 seconds when first turned on to be ready to load a disc.
The player itself is quite simple only four buttons on the front power, eject, stop and play. The remaining functions being on the remote which is a compact size. The player has a USB socket on the front and will play XVid content from a USB stick. At the rear of the machine Audio line out sockets, HDMI, LAN, Coaxial socket, Componet video and a second USB socket.
Its worth noting at this point that the S380 doesn't come with a HDMI in the box (not sure if this is common with most players). So worth remembering to buy one. And don't be conned into paying £10+ or in some instances over £40 for a HDMI lead they have been tested and no difference in quality compared with a cheap £3 one.
*Whats it like?*
In short great, the difference in both detail of picture and sound is amazing, the first Blue ray I tried was the new Transformers film and it was definitely better viewing on Blue ray, the sound was crisp and clearer, the picture contained a huge amount more detail with sharper deeper colours and contrast. The player itself was very quiet whilst in use and no issues seen over disc jumping or pixel block issues - I guess this will only be tested when trying scratched and imperfect discs. Whilst the picture is more detailed the player keeps the cinema feel of the picture so it doesn't like a home movie, various settings for picture and sound through the player's menu system which is simple enough to navigate can accommodate personal prefernce. It will upscale standard DVD's and so no need to throw away old DVD's.
The player can be connected to the internet, it's not a wireless machine and whilst they state you can buy a wireless dongle for it, they are never any good. The best way is to connect direct to the router via a LAN cable. Once connected you can access a much wider variety of content such as video on demand, streaming films from Lovefilm, BBC iplayer, 5 on demand and several others. Again once you're used to the menu system of Sony devices its straightforward to use, its always going to be a little fiddly as you have to use the remote to enter details. It's a great function to have, and you ca then access HD content such as BBC HD if you don't have sky HD or similar already. As a general rule you need a broadband speed of around 3mbs or more, I only get 3.8mbs and have no issues whatsoever connecting to BBC iplayer and watching HD content or streaming a film from Lovefilm.
Whilst you can buy cheaper non branded players for the money the S380 is a very good blue ray player especially if purchased at sale prices. The picture quality is superb and I've had no issues with the quality of the playback or the player itself. It does lack some functions over some players such as no DNLA - the ability to stream from a PC, and other devices but then my TV has this and have no requirement to stream from the player to another TV but if you do need this then its worth looking for an alternative. But if all you need is great picture quality you would be mad not to buy a blue ray player such as this and if still on standard DVD with a full HD TV you really are missing out.
Its getting closer to that time of year when Turkeys are on the menu, and its makes the meal a whole lot better when the meat is juicy and cooked to perfection. I don't have one of those do everything ovens which steam cooks as well, and my over is never accurate on cooking times so its often difficult to know when meat is cooked or not, and I have a tendency of giving it a few minutes more to be safe. This can occasionally mean it's overcooked. This is more of an issue with poultry which needs to be cooked properly.
I've used analogue/non-digital thermometers before and often found them slow to give a reading so figured a digital version would give a quicker reading. I bought the Heston Blumenthal branded Salter meat thermometer for around £10. It looked ok and was cheap enough and Ive never had an issue with the Salter brand before so assumed even though cheap they would do the job well.
The thermometer is very compact at only 15cm in length, the majority of which is the stainless steel probe, a silicone grip on the sides of the display for holding, the display itself is encased in stainless steel with a black plastic base and silicone base to this which the probe connect to. Separating the plastic and stainless steel body gives access to the battery compartment, it's not a simple task to get to the battery which is a CR2032 battery (included) and ideally this could have been simplified. I've had mine for almost a year and no signs of needing a new battery - more than likely due to its only turned on for a few minutes at a time.
The Thermometer comes with a probe cover, a thick black plastic cover which fits neatly over and has a pen style clip for clipping onto clothing if required. The Probe itself is 12cm so easily enough to get internal temperature of large joints of meat or big turkey breasts, and is easily cleaned afterwards.
The Thermometer is simple to use with just 3 buttons, On/Off, Temp F/C and Hold. Simply press the on button and scrolling text shows its turned on and then instantly shows whatever temperature the probe is at, so an accurate room temperature is given, simply select temperature reading, Celsius or Fahrenheit and stick the probe in the meat. The reading then starts to climb until the temperature is reached.
It takes on average 15 seconds to hit a temperature, which whilst not super quick it is a little quicker than an analogue style thermometer. I would have preferred it to be under say 5 seconds. Although with meat the temperature holds for some time if removed from an oven so its not been an issue
On the side one of the silicone grips doubles as a hold button pressing this holds the reading; this is good as previously the non digital one I used would start to fall in temperature. I should also point out this isn't one of those leave in thermometers so it shouldn't be left in the oven with the meat. Quite a few of the more expensive ovens do come with internal thermometer probes and these would be preferred but a new oven is more than a tenner!
On the plus side its accurate, reasonably quick, simple to use and does the job well. It does prevent over cooking meet. Its also accurate for anything else and whilst its branded as a meat thermometer, it also works on reading any over temperatures, liquids and for Jams.
It comes with a paper instruction leaflet which in small text gives the various cooking temperatures for different meats and even gives temperatures for rare, medium, well done etc. This is useful if you don't remember what they all should be but being a small paper leaflet is less than ideal. Whilst you could obtain temperatures online they missed a great opportunity to improve the product at little cost. They could easily have added the details in a scrollable form or written around the probe cover.
Whilst I feel having a digital reading (advertised as accurate within 0.1 degree) is easier to read than the non digital type the time taken to provide a reading is not a huge amount quicker. I would expect you could buy a similar device which includes preset temp readings in the display so you don't have to look them up or remember them for around the same price or just a few quid more. Its for these reasons Ive given 3 stars.
Everyone seems to have an iphone these days I wanted to be a little different and avoid being tied to the enterprise that is Apple. Having looked around and done some research I opted for the HTC Desire S on contract with O2, got it for free on £16 per month but its around £300 sim free. This is the first smart phone I've owned and whilst I mainly use a phone to make calls or send texts I know on occasion it would be quite useful to have internet access, access to emails and some form of mapping/navigation.
The look of the phone was what caught my interest to begin with, it's sleek all over one piece aluminium case, curved edges, and 3.7" touch screen. It measures in at - 115mm x 59.8mm x 11.63mm, with a weight of 130g with the battery (It feels solid, not something you want to drop!)
The phone has a front facing camera so you can make video calling such as skype and also for use with other applications. Four touch screen icons/buttons on the bottom relate to home, settings, return or back and search. Volume control is on the left via a long chrome button, and also on the left a micro-USB for charging and connecting other equipment such as PC, in car charger. On the top of the phone a power button and to the left of this a 3.5mm jack for earphones. Finally on the back of the phone is the auto focus camera (5 mega pixel), speaker and LED flash.
As mentioned it's encased in a one piece aluminium shell this gives it a very expensive feel, far better than some of the plastic phones you see. Its curved base sits nicely in the hand. Only the battery compartment and camera lens surround have a rubberised plastic case, this helps grip the phone a little better.
First thing to highlight is the phone uses Gorilla Glass, for those who don't know Gorilla glass is extra strong glass as used on the iphone 4 I believe. Its meant to be very good at withstanding scratch's, cracks and an improvement in general over other displays.
Well I can safely say it can't be that strong! - I have a habit of damaging phones within the first week of owning them, usually by dropping them. So when I got this Desire phone I also got a not so attractive looking leather fold case so the screen was 100% protected, so I thought. Within a week of owning I noticed an 1cm scratch on the glass in the middle. I have no idea how this has happened, the phone has never been dropped, I can only assume when wiping the fingerprints from the display Ive scratched it. So be warned whilst it's advertised as super strong it's easily scratched with grit/sand particles. Using your t-shirt to clean the screen may not be a good move! Yes I should have used a screen protector, hindsight is a wonderful thing - On the same note the glass is also easily marked with fingerprints and grease and you find you're always cleaning the screen - but Ive heard screen protectors help reduce this as well!
The display itself is very bright, it's an S-LCD not AMOLED display, which performs very well even in bright lit conditions, again being glass it's very reflective and a screen protector would no doubt reduce this glare. In comparison to the higher end screens its evident the picture sharpness isn't as good, but maybe the next version will have a higher end screen in it. Zooming in on websites still gives clear text which is easily readable so no real issues.
It's a very responsive touch screen, you can pinch to zoom out, twist, zoom in and tap the screen for different viewing options. I've only briefly used a new iphone and haven't noticed any difference in performance over the iphone.
I remember when I could go close to a week before charging my phone. The Desire suffers in the same way as many smart phones in battery performance. I don't use it much certainly not on it for hours and at a push can get 3 days from the battery, but more often than not its 2 days. Its difficult to know what you will get as it depends on use, if for example your using the GPS then it will drain a lot quicker as would playing videos. The advertised battery length is:
Lithium-ion battery, capacity 1450 mAh
Talk time: Up to 590 minutes (just under 10hrs) for GSM
Standby time: Up to 430 hours (about 18 days) for GSM
Whilst initially it's a shock how quick the battery dies, you get used to having to charge it more frequently than a non smart phone. I haven't done extensive research but don't think the HTC has one of those battery come case options like the iphone does - this could be due to the location of the charging point being on the side rather than the base. I find my battery lasts longer now due to the novelty wearing off of playing on it to test everything out, now I know what it can do I tend to just use it when I need. I was charging it daily for the first few days of ownership.
With 1.1GB internal memory and a microSD memory card slot you shouldn't run out of memory easily. The phone came with an 8GB memory card and due to the preloaded content on the phone the internal memory was less than the stated 1.1GB. Many of the applications allow you to transfer the data over to the microSD card, these can be purchased from most shops. Apps in general tend to be only around 2-6mb, so unless you're storing films or have taken lots of video then you shouldn't fill the card too quickly, and you can always download to the PC via connection or Bluetooth.
Access to the memory card is the same as access to the battery and sim card, the bottom small plastic panel slides off - and not very easily which is not a bad thing. Once the cover is removed a small fold down clip holds the battery in place and you can access the Sim and SD with the battery in the phone, obviously its advisable to remove these when the power is off to avoid damaging the data.
The phone comes with a 5 megapixel auto focus camera, with power LED flash and it allows 720p HD recording. As with many phone camera's and small cameras they suffer when it comes to internal low light conditions of grainy pictures, and the Desire is no different, whilst the flash is good at helping brighten the shot its never a perfect sharp shot. Outside the camera is good, shutter time is very quick and HD recording is good and a real bonus on the phone, as with the camera it does suffer in low light conditions and so this is an area for improvment. The camera comes with the usual phone style features, digital zoom, crop and editing features. Additionally a number of android applications (apps) are available to give extra photo editing features and these can be downloaded for free.
The phone supports DLNA so if you have a TV hooked up to a broadband connection you can wirelessly play content from your phone onto your TV - a handy feature if you want to share photos and video with family and friends, saves passing the phone round.
This quad band phone comes with a number of sensors, G-Senser, Digital compass, proximity sensor, ambient light sensor. They add additional features to the phone such as when the phone is in your pocket or covered it will ring louder and vibrate; once the phone is picked up the call ring will reduce in volume. Another good feature when the phone is ringing by turning it upside down it goes silent, and when talking on the phone, turn it over and it activates the loudspeaker.
For those concerned about pressing the touch screen accidentally with your face when taking a call, the proximity sensor shuts off the touch screen when its pressed near your ear, move it away about 5cm or more and you can now use the touch screen, this is a great function, especially if you call any of those numbers which require you to enter number to get though to different departments.
It comes with 3G for data downloads, 14.4Mbs download speed and 5.76Mbs upload. GPRS 114kbs, Edge 560Kbs, and 802b/g/n wifi. I don't come across 3G that much, the data is usually connected via Edge or GPRS which effectively means a slower connection - this is down to location and provider and I know O2 haven't got the best 3G coverage.
The wi-fi is very quick to set up and activate keeping a strong signal, it remembers the settings so if I pop round the parents or my sisters I can quickly hook up to the wi-fi without re-entering details its all automatic. One point to make here is the antenna for the phone is attached to the back of the battery cover and so you wont receive a signal without the battery cover in place, also if you hold the phone tight in your hand (covering the battery compartment) the signal can drop. I haven't had any issue with this or with it being in a case, but I imagine if your in a weak signal area then covering the bottom of the phone with your hand will effect the signal. It also has Bluetooth which is standard on most phones now.
The phone comes with GPS which is great with the in-built navigator app, this can be used like any other satellite navigation, and it provides directions with moving maps and voice directions. I tested this out the other day, it took some time for the GPS to locate any satellites to get my position, I was inside the car at the time and believe it took a good 5mins to pick up a signal, but once connected it held the signal well and on the dashboard of the car did not encounter any signal drop issues. You do need to turn data on to use the navigation feature - this is to get the directions but once the directions have been loaded you can turn the data off and just use GPS (useful if you have a small data allowance). I haven't had the opportunity to test the GPS again so not sure if it was just a bad day or general delay with the phone connecting. I know from having a Tom Tom device on occasion that can take a few minutes to pick up a signal, so I'm not too concerned over this.
Call volume and clarity is fine no issues and with decent volume and no reports from the other caller of not hearing me or any echo effect. You can access the usual call features seen on most phones, call display, call details, call holding/waiting etc - all via the touch screen. When the phone is on an additional menu bar at the bottom gives the options to make a call, go to all applications and personalise the phone. Simply tapping the Phone icon brings up the usual number keypad to make a call together with a scrollable contact list. You also have a people app which holds all this data. Numbers can be linked to the person and if on Facebook it will marry up photos and contact info, and put birthdays into your calendar automatically.
I could write pages on all the different functions of the phone but will touch on the key benefits.
The phone is Android with HTC sense; using Android 2.3.3 you have access to thousands of apps on the app market, many of which are free. Unlike the iphone your not tied to the apples itunes site to get content, but care should be taken as last thing you want is to download a virus on the phone (yes you can get antivirus apps). An app on the phone gets you directly to the site to view all the apps, and to download just tap install on the chosen app and within no time its on your phone, its just as easy to uninstall from the phone if needed. Its wise to download apps via wi-fi than using data as unless you have a strong 3G signal it can both take time to download and uses up data (not a worry if your on an unlimited data package)
To activate the phone you have to press the power button on the top, and then slide your finger down the screen. Annoyingly every time the phone screen goes off the power button has to be pressed, to me this is a real poor point for the phone, generally most people have the screen go off after a few seconds of non use to save battery (this sleep time can be changed but the battery will suffer as a result). It would have been far better to wake the phone by tapping thee screen than pressing the power button. It is simply just a press; you will not turn the phone off accidentally by pressing the button, as to do this you have to press and hold the power button.
A top menu bar slides down, when you touch the HTC logo and drag your finger down and gives you a menu with recent apps, notifications and your connection settings so it's very easy to turn on and off all settings such as Wifi, data, Bluetooth.
The phone comes with 7 home screens to scroll across, enough space to add all your favourite apps, these screens can also be switched around and apps moved from different pages or removed altogether. The standard image of the Desire shows the large digital clock and weather - this can be removed or changed - so very easy to personalise the phone the way you want.
The phone has voice recognition, you have to be connected via data or wi-fi but rather than typing in google for searches you can say what you want to look for and this feature works very well, on occasion the odd word comes out wrong but google manages to still bring up relevant searches, this is great when on the move as it can be difficult to type and walk. You can also use this for writing text messages, and again it works well with no wrong words the majority of the time. You don't even need to go through any voice recognition testing to set it up. Copy and paste feature works well, holding your finger down on text brings a pop up box zoomed in on the text and sliding your finger moves the curser to the location you want, a second marker is then shown and you can drag this to highlight a word or whole text, you can copy text on web pages and paste on an email or search for that word in google.
When on the internet multiple pages can be opened and viewed and pinching the screen allows you to slide and view the open pages and close them if you want. With Android phones applications don't automatically close when you back out of them, this doesn't slow the phone as the Android system automatically closes what's needed to keep the phone running smoothly. I didn't know this to start with and kept thinking I haven't been given the option to close that and when reopening the app find its as I left it, I was going to download an "app killer" to manually shut applications not in use until I read that Android is best left, as it automatically closes what's not used or needed.
Like the iphone turning the phone sideways changes the setting so you can have a larger keypad or full screen images etc. The keypad itself can be changed from a QWERTY keypad to the traditional phone style keypad. Holding your finger on a letter gives you access to all the additional characters. I find the keypad responsive and word correction very good, sometimes I miss every letter I intended, and the spellchecker still finds the correct word to choose. You can also download slide keypad apps which mean rather than tapping the letters on the display you slide your finger from one to the other and it recognises the letters you stop on.
The phone supports a number of formats and supports Flash which is useful as many websites use flash. It plays 3gp, mp4, wmv, avi, xvid, mid, wav, mp3, mp4. So very good on the ability to play various formats. You can also download e-books and read them on the phone, it comes with some pre-installed ones, but no doubt you would get eye strain from viewing the small screen, the zoom function automatically make the text fit the screen so you don't have to keep moving the screen to view the text it just increases the number of pages.
Overall I am very impressed with the phone, a little annoyed by myself for scratching the screen so soon but it isn't the end of the word. It's a feature packed phone with all that you would need from a phone and more. Some minor phone issues such as using the power button to wake the screen and of course battery life but this seems a common fault on most smart phones and its certainly no worse than the iphone.
It shows just how good the iphone is rated when every other smart phone is compared to it, almost like the iphone sets the benchmark of what a phone should be. The HTC Desire S does not fall short and is an extremely good competitor, and in my opinion a better phone.
If you're bored of the iphone and looking for something that can do the same with greater freedom then you can't go wrong with the Desire s, an extremely well built, nice looking and technically competent phone.
Its a long review so thanks for taking the time to read it!
Ive owned this toaster now for what must be over five years if not longer, its used pretty much daily and can honestly say does exactly the same job I did when I first got it, in fact I've had it that long I wouldnt mind if it packed up so I could get a new one. Its a matt black toaster with chrome side panels and toast surround, measuring in at 26cm deep, 28cm wide and 21cm high. I believe I paid about £40 for it, but it was that long a go I cant be sure if that was the retail price or a sale price
This Tefal 4 slice toaster has extra wide slots, so can accommodate half a bagel, or hot cross bun, but wont take anything thicker. Whilst its a 4 slice toaster it has the convenience of separating into two and each 2 slice section has its own temperature control (which is more a timer than a temperature setting). This allows you to set each side to a different setting so if one person likes near black toast and one likes light browning then this can do it (obviously only two slices each). Each side also has its own cancel button so you can check part way through toasting.
The toaster has a defrost button and warming button, they work ok but rarely use these, I find defrosting frozen bread to use as bread results in it being very dry and if toasting from frozen just turn the dial up a notch. The dials both go up to number 6, I have never had the dial up further than 3 and that's for frozen bread, so it seems all the fine control is between 1-3, would have been better if it was spread across the settings more, the dial also just turns so it doesn't click onto each numbered setting. It seems somewhat pointless having a setting up to 6 if its never used. Ive even made a toasted sandwich using those bags and due to the thickness of putting two slices of bread in one slot find it browns the bread on a setting under 3.
A slide out tray under the toaster is easy enough to empty but very shallow, it slides out from the back of the toaster, and I find when I slide it out the resulting movement releases more crumbs from inside the toaster over the worktop. I find it easier to just take the toaster to the sink and tip it upside down give it a few knocks to empty it out.
Power cable length is good at around 110cm, with some cable storage area under the toaster if you dont need it all. Pressing the toast down results in two cages pressing in and holding the toast in place then the heated strips do the toasting. This is generally even not only on both sides but also all slots, some slight bias towards the left slots, but I imagine this is toaster specific to a degree. I dont find myself turning the toast around so its only a minor difference. Its spring loaded and pressing the cancel button pops up the toast quickly, two additional levers (one for each two slice side) allow you to raise the toast further from the machine to make it easier to get smaller items such as crumpets.
It doesn't have one side toasting like some of the other toasters, this feature allows you to toast one side and warm the other.
The additional pop up levers could do with giving just a bit more movement - whilst it helps I still find I have to get my fingers into the machine to reach crumpets and anything similar in size.
Being polished chrome does tend to attract finger prints and marks and so not so maintenance free if you want it to look clean all the time.
Ideally it could do with a little more height on the toasting elements, occasionally for large loafs of bread (like the farmhouse style bread) the top of the bread can protrude out of the machine and so when using certain brands of bread I find I have to turn the bread over, and extra 1-2cm of height on the heating element would fix this.
More variation on the heating control, ideally it would toast from frozen on say 5 rather than 2.5 which it does currently, so I find small movements in the dial can mean the difference between pale and black toast.
Given these negative points the toaster has had a lot of abuse and use for over five years and it still toasts well, so it seems its built to last, and somewhat a bargain for £40 given how well its lasted, it shows no signs of giving in.
The heavily branded Nespresso with its exclusive membership and sleek looking machines appear to have cornered the market, but is this just clever marketing or a genuinely good product? Having owned one for a few months I can say Nespresso coffee is good and myself and many others agree its actually better than a coffee from Starbucks, if its good enough for Heston Blumenthal then the coffee must be good as he's a real perfectionist.
This review is on the Krups Nespresso Pixie but many of the details will be common on the Magimix and other Nespresso machines. Nespresso Pixie espresso machines are either by Magimix or Krups, in essence the machines are identical with just some minor cosmetic differences which set them apart. The machines make coffee using a pod based system, giving the attraction of fresh coffee with minimal mess and cleaning.
The Pixie is the newest and most compact expresso machine they currently do, measuring in at H23cm, W11cm and L32cm (with tray down), it easily fits on the kitchen worktop taking up very little space. The machine looks good as well, I went for the Krups one with the ribbed industrial look, the Magimix ones have flat side panels. They come in several colours so variety to suit everyone.
The machine itself is very well built and of really good quality, no cheap flimsy plastic. A water container sits on the back and on the Pixie model holds around 800ml of water, the lid to the container can be lifted and topped up or the container can be lifted away from the machine to top up or clean. A push pressure valve at the bottom of the container means no leaks when it lifted off. The top of the machine has 3 buttons Power, Espresso and Lungo (larger quantity. Towards the front of the machine is a chrome curved handle, and the drip tray and capsule holder. The drip tray folds up for larger sized cups and the entire tray and holder slide out to allow the drip tray to be emptied, and the capsules to be emptied. It will hold around 10 capsules and the ribbed Perspex front allows you to see how full it is. Lights either side in a line on the capsule holder warn you in red when the water container is empty and light up when the machine is making the coffee.
The Pixie is more energy efficient due to it powering off after 9 mins on standby, but I just press the power button to turn it off once used. And as it only heats the water it needs its more energy efficient than a kettle.
The machine comes with a 2 year warranty and should it require repair, the machine is collected by courier and a loan machine given to you whilst any work on your is done - all very efficient and professional.
16 pods are available, made up of decaffeinated, espresso and lungo of various strengths and flavours. Occasionally special one off pods are released. The pods themselves are hermetically-sealed aluminium capsules which provides optimum conditions to preserve and prevent oxidation of the coffee, this means when you have the coffee it is super fresh and full of aroma. The pods can be purchased online at the Nespresso site or via some special boutique shops. Ordering online is simple but a delivery charge applies of around £4 if you order less than 200 pods - 200! I hear you say - the pods stay fresh guaranteed for 9 months due to the way they are sealed, so its not as though you have to drink all 200 that month. You do have to order in minimum 50 pods and so either 50, 100, 150 200 etc.
All the tasting notes and details are on the Nespresso site and becoming a member gives you access to coffee specialists and other member benefits - all I an attempt to give an exclusive appeal and make you feel like an important customer - which is not a bad thing!
The coffee itself is very good, and having compared espresso with Starbucks I much prefer the Nespresso one as it was no way as bitter and had a much better crema on the top. I tend to make some hot milk and add a strong espresso to make a latte or make cappuccino; whilst it is an espresso machine you can make other types of coffee with it. You can buy a standalone milk aeroccino to heat and make frothy milk, or use a microwave and those battery powered whisks.
**How it works**
This is the simple part, you switch on the power button, and the lights on the top flash to show its warming up which takes a mere 25 seconds, you lift the chrome handle, pop in your chosen coffee pod, close the handle down and then select either espresso or lungo, and that's it the coffee comes out at a 19 bar pressure. A cup of coffee in under a minute. The water is not boiling point as this would burn the coffee giving it a bitter taste; instead the machine sets the optimum temperature. It has been said the coffee is not hot enough, but it's advised to put a shot of plain hot water (just do the same with no pod in) - this pre-warms the pipe and the hot water pre-warms the cup.
The amount of coffee can be adjusted, so either pressing the button again or if you press and hold one of the buttons (espresso or lungo) and wait till the machine has dispensed the volume you want then let go of the button the machine will automatically dispense this amount every time you use the machine, a reset function can restore the machine back to factory settings.
When finished to make another coffee just lift the handle the used coffee pod from earlier drops down into the container and you place your new pod in - Very simple.
What cleaning! - No coffee mess like a filter machine. It's recommended to de-scale the machine, and ideally you should used filtered water, tap water can really change the taste of the coffee (see my Brita water filter review!) The only items I tend to wash out are the drip tray and capsule holder as and when it's near full of empty pods. Other than that no other cleaning is needed.
This is one of the big things that put people off buying into the Nespresso machine and usually the main topic of conversation on reviews.
Firstly the machine cost, the Nespresso Pixie is priced around £125 as mentioned above Krups and Magimix are usually similar in price dependent on offers. You will find several offers on the machines, I got mine for £112 and generally offers seen on Amazon. Every so often they also have cash back offers of £40 so if you're considering buying one and can wait they are bound to have a £40 cash back offer again - the cash back is paid into your Nespresso account and can be used to buy coffee or branded cups etc.
At £112 this may at first seem expensive but if you compare with other similar machines then it isn't that expensive, with many other machines around the £150 mark and even up to several thousand. Is it worth £125 - yes, it doesn't feel cheap and looks and feels expensive.
Coffee - well this is the key money making machine for Nespresso, currently coffee pods can only be purchased online from Nespresso or in special boutique shops. Ive read that come 2012 other companies can legally make and sell pods for the machine. I've also read that some people buy empty plastic pods or put foil over the top and use them up but why! - what's the point in having the convenience and no mess option if you then create mess and the coffee wont taste as good.
As for the cost of the coffee this is expensive but surprisingly not much more than the alternatives:
* Nespresso - Pods are between 28p and 33p dependent on which one.
(Around 25g is needed for a cup of cafetiere or 10g for single espresso) (Supermarket coffee prices)
Illy Espresso costs £5.89 for 250g = 24p a cup of espresso
Douwe Egberts cafetiere coffee 500g for £5 = 25p a cup
* Tassimo kenco coffee 16 pods for £3.89 = 24p a cup
* Instant coffee Nescafe original £2.68 100g (at 3g a cup) = 8p a cup
* Starbucks/coffee shop - haven't been for a while buts its a few quid!
So comparing to the competitor Tassimo machine the coffee is about 4-9p more a cup but the Tassimo uses standard coffee, and so it's not as nice. Comparing to a standard cafetiere at 25p a cup its not a huge difference and again cafetiere coffee has lost a lot of the aroma and flavour before you buy it and then once opened it only gets worse, whereas the Nespresso pods remain as fresh as the day they had been ground for 9 months so no escaping flavour or aroma.
So to conclude is it over expensive - yes if you have Nespresso as your everyday drink, so drinking say 3-5 cups a day, this would get very expensive. I don't have Nespresso coffee every day, and use the Nespresso as a replacement to the cafetiere so notice little difference in the cost but all the benefit of taste and convenience. And more than likely once competition can enter the market the prices will come down.
For those that are thinking how environmentally unfriendly it is. The pods are made of aluminium which is infinitely recyclable, its easy enough to empty the coffee out of the pods and use as fertiliser and then pop the pods in your recycling or Nespresso can provide a recycle bag which gets collected when you next lot of pods are delivered. So you can make it as environmentally friendly as you want.
As with most things in life you get what you pay for, and so its no surprise the customer service for Nespresso is very good, as good as it gets to be honest, they are quick to answer the phone, very helpful. And yes you are paying for this, but other companies charge high prices and dont understand the concept of customer service.
Overall - I would have given the Nespresso 5 stars but feel the price of the pods a factor for most people and so have marked it down a point but if you would happily pay a few pence more for a cup of coffee then its 5 stars.
I was always very dubious over electric knife sharpeners and used to sharpen my knives with the standard sharpening steel, but after reading some good reviews and seeing the recommendations I took the punt and purchased this Knife Wizard KE198. I wanted a quality machine which could sharpen all types of knives even serrated knives and my more expensive ones, to the 15 degree angle I wanted, and this machine ticked all the boxes.
At around £65 I expected good things from it - I wasn't disappointed. The machine itself is L 21.5cm x W 8.5cm x H 7.5cm and comes with a permanent connected plug, a simple on off rocker switch turns the device on, this activates two spring loaded grinding stones a course and fine grade - perfect for getting that sharp finish. The two grinding stones have slots to each side of them for sharpening each side of the knife - this is important as not all knives are sharpened to the same degree on each side and sometimes only one side, so this allows for that variation.
It feels heavy and not cheap which is reassuring, vents in the top allow for air circulation as the motor can become quite warm especially if you are sharpening several knives.
You simply slide the knife down the groove lifting slightly upwards as you near the tip of the knife to allow for the shape on curved knifes. A few passes through the machine and you will instantly see the difference. The machine is quite loud when you pass the knife through as the wheels quite literally grind the edge of the knife down. The fine grinding wheel gives a smoother finish to the edge. For professional grade knives only the fine grinding side should be used to prevent unnecessary wear on the blade. Once sharpened its just a matter of clearing up, a small slide out tray underneath the machine catches most of the metal filings - evidence it's actually doing something.
As will all good quality and newly sharpened knives you should never put them in the dishwasher or let them sit in the sink as the edge will soon become blunt - as does using them on marble and glass chopping boards - I never understand why these are popular as they damage the knife edge and dangerous to cut on given how easily food slips. Some would say I dont want a razor sharp knife as will cut myself more often - but its actually safer to have really sharp knives as you are less likely to slip on food - obviously its still down to how you handle and yes a super sharp knife is more likely to chop off some pinkies than a blunt one if your careless with your chopping, but the principle is a sharp knife handled correctly will be safer.
After using the machine you get a seriously sharp knife, that can with ease slice through a soft tomato into thin slices and cut through root vegetables. The machine is quick and easy to use, gives a professional sharp 15 degree edge to knives and compact in size enough to store away when not needed. I know you can buy those none electric ones a lot cheaper but they will never compete with this machine and never produce as good a result.
This machine works - it can with ease restore knifes, and really shows how difficult and generally impossible it is to put a 15 degree edge on a knife using a steel. It will take several attempts to restore a very old knife back to a razor sharp edge but once the ultimate sharpness is achieved it only takes 2-3 passes through the sharpener to keep them sharp.
I was given this I.O Chen knife as a present, being a dab hand in the kitchen I appreciate a good knife and have used a few over the years. Even after carefully sharpening my existing knifes they don't come close to this I.O Chen one.
Used by many professional chefs the knife is extremely well balanced in the hand and has a good weight to it, making it comfortable to both hold and use. The blade itself is stated to have the ultimate cutting edge, and the handle is not just a fancy scroll effect its integral to the handle to balance the weight of the knife (or so the manufacture states).
The cutting edge is rated using the Rockwell degree scale, I.O Chen knifes use have a rating of 62 degrees which is the highest rating. However at this rating the metal is extremely expensive to manufacture so the knife has two softer grade metals sandwiching it which makes it possible to construct the knife itself. Due to the construction of the knife not only does it provide a superb cutting edge it also retains it sharpness for longer.
Cost -Well its not cheap for the chefs knife your looking at around the £60 mark - but they do bigger knifes even more expensive. Now this is expensive and yes you can buy many a good knife for cheaper and even an entire knife set and storage block, but these knifes dont really compare given the retention of the knifes sharpness. I have a knife block set myself which cost near £100 but the knifes do need sharpening frequently - now whilst sharpening isn't a long and complicated task over time the knifes edge will wear down and become useless.
As with any good quality or for that matter any sharp knife, its how its used and stored. You should be cutting on wood, not a marble or glass board - not only will these quickly blunt or damage the knife you also dont have any control on glass and marble and things slip easily - and trust me one slip on the I.O Chen knife and you could be a finger short! Some would say I dont like sharp knifes as more prone to cutting myself - but though correct use a sharper knife is actually safer as it cuts through items easier doesn't slip off, but yes if careless it will cut through your hand or fingers easier. Also knifes shouldn't be put in the dishwasher, left in the sink etc, after use its best to clean and dry to prevent the edge getting blunt and damaged.
The downside - Due to the strong 62 degree Rockwell blade then whilst it will last a long time it will need sharpening eventually and using a cheap sharpener wont work and will end up just damaging a very expensive knife, they recommend a couple of electric sharpeners but again these are £60+ or alternative a sharpening whet stone block around 1200 grade (around £30) but using a block and not a machine means its down to you to achieve the correct angle of 15 degrees.
It does however glide through tomatoes like a razor blade, allowing extremely thin slicing, and cuts though hard veg - carrots, turnip etc without having to hammer the knife down. I would recommend the knife but only for those who appreciate a good knife and can afford to spend so much on one. The I.O Chen knifes are not by any means the most expensive knifes available, they just look expensive comparing them to the cheap everyday knifes you get in superstores and supermarkets.
The water in Majorca don't taste like what it oughta! - Well it aint just Majorca I can tell you that. Well if your reading this review you pretty much know what this is, lets cut to the chase, its a jug you put water in the top, it filters it and out comes better tasting water.
So why bother buying one I hear you ask? Well if like me you live in a hard water area or just have naff tasting water why wouldn't you? I swear the water hear is that hard it puts Bruce Willis to shame, in fact I reckon if I left my tap dripping I would have stalagmites within a week. And yes it is Stalagmites and not stalactites - Stalactites come down like tights - well in reality tights have to go up to come down but they are better when they come down and its how I remember it. However in theory the tap would produce both stalactites and stalagmites.
Anyway I digress, as mentioned the water is hard and some not so bright spark at the water company thought it clever to compensate by adding more chlorine - at times I think I would be better off popping down the local pool to fill the kettle if it wasnt for all the kids that pi** in it.
Price well they are not cheap compared to not owning one, you can get some deals 50% off on occasion, they come in two sizes I believe the large and slim one (I own the slim model holds 1.25l), but both identical in function and design. They fill in a couple of minutes and the water pours out well - does what its supposed to do.
They have altered the design slightly and now instead of having the battery powered filter level stuck in the lid someone at Brita world has realised it may actually be useful to be able to remove this fo cleaning purposes. Theyve also added two prongs that sit inside the top filling part to monitor how often its filled - before it was just set as 30days, so if you dont use your jug much then in theory it shouldnt flash up as needing replacing as soon.
You have to buy the maxtra filters generally £10 for 3 but again deals around so at £3 ish a month its cheap enough.
Any downsides - well if you've actually read this review then you will have learnt the water here is very hard, even filling up the jug a few times a day over a week the limescale collects around the lid and can cause it to stick on occasion - the solution is to clean the thing every so often (or use a dishwasher)
Why Brita? - why not? they are the market leader and filters can be purchased everywhere.
Having replaced my kitchen worktop I decided it a good time to replace the ugly looking electric hob I had been using for several years, ideally gas would be my preferred choice but the hassle and expense of getting a gas connection in wasn't worth it so after some shopping around picked this Samsung ceramic electric hob.
Its a standard sized hob measuring (H)5.3 x (W)57.5 x (D)50.5 cm. It is a solid flat piece of black glass with 4 zones 2 large and 2 small. The hob is controlled by touch control in the bottom right of the hob - this is easy to do with a simple finger press you turn power on to the hob. A short jingle sound is made -now for some this would be annoying as the hob makes every time anything is activated, but you get used to is and at least you are aware its doing something. Once the power is turned on you can select which ever zone or zones you want the first press gives pre-set heat 5 (goes up to 9) and then either hitting the - or + icon you can increase this, if you press the + when on 9 it goes back to zero and the hob is off.
Heat up time is quick and the hob reaches a good temperature to both fry and simmer food. It never going to be as controllable as gas or as efficient but as electric hobs go it ticks all the boxes. The touch display also has a child lock feature and this is only deactivated by holding your finger on the lock symbol for several seconds. The hob doesn't come with any timer but will automatically cut off after several hours, so if you left it on power 9 it would cut off sooner than it would on power 1 - just a safety feature.
The hob has no lip or bevel around it and slightly annoying is the 1-2mm gap between the hob and worktop as it sits on a felt pad - annoying as bread crumbs etc can get underneath - a quick vacuum soon get this out.
After use an indicator on the control panel alerts you that the hob is still hot - it does stay hot a some time depending on what use its had and its easy to forget and place something down on it and even your hand - I havent had this issue as been using this type of hob for 5+ years but for a newbie its easy to forget.
Its nice the way the hob sits flush on the worktop and less visable than a gas hob would be and also increases worktop space when its not in use - but care must be taken. - I say this as its easy to scratch the glass and - so pushing a pan or pottery or plates across the surface would lead to possible scratching which would then be a permanent feature - but lets face it, its a hob not a piece of art and life's too shoort to stress over a few marks.
I paid just under £200 for the hob which is a good price when you look at comparable's, it comes with a two year guarantee while many others only have 12 months. For installation they advice this is done by an electrician - to be honest a competent diy'er could do it its only a case of connecting 3 wires and its all clearly marked. Just open up a small hatch on the bottom and locate inside 2 metal connecting pins install, these together with the live, neutral and earth, screw the cable hold down and close the hatch and your done - the wires can be fiddly as they are thicker than your standard power flex - if in doubt get help, you wouldn't want to electrocute yourself or do anything that could invalidate any warranty. You are supposed to keep the space under the hob free, mine however isnt and I have a drawer with utensils under it and it never gets hot - just another safety precaution.
You can buy dual purpose hobs now ones with 2 x induction zones and 2 x ceramic - this would be useful as the benefit of induction is it heats the pan and so its cold to touch meaning if you spill anything simply lift the pan and wipe, whereas on ceramic hobs the glass heats up so spills quickly burn onto the glass. With regards to energy efficiency I believe Gas is still cheapest. With max power ratings on the zones of 1.2KW, 1.8KW, 2.2KW and 2.4KW
Having used pure guesswork to measure out ingredients and getting hit and miss results I decided to buy a kitchen scale. I spotted these due to the fact they are compact in size measuring 18cm x 16cm x 2cm. Meaning they can easily be stored away when not in use in a cupboard or even a drawer. They take a CR2032 battery and so far mine have lasted several months with no sign of needing replacing - the unit itself switches off when not in use so no worry about leaving it on to drain the batteries.
The scales themselves are extremely accurate, having tested against various pre-known weights. Two buttons on the front switch between the units and the zero reset function allowing you to keep the same container on the scales and reset to add to it. The other useful feature is it also allows liquids to be weighed - with the exception of thick liquids of a custard consistency. It allows measurement in lb oz, fl.oz, ml and g. With a maximum 5kg and 5 litre weight.
The scales only cost £10 and so very cheap - but the price isn't a reflection of the quality which is very good. The only downside would be its not very easy to read the display if you have a large container on top being weighed, as this can extend over the display due to the small size of the scales , it would have been better to have the display that could be viewed on the side or one that slides out or even having a feature to hold the weight displayed for a few seconds so you can lift off the item and view it. This can be overcome by placing something under the bowl to raise it from the scales slightly or using a glass bowl something you can view through.
With a matt and bushed silver finish they can be difficult to keep that "new finish" but as they are small enough to store away you wouldn't need them on display on the worktop so this isn't a major issue.
Ive owned this Samsung full HD 1080p 100hz LCD TV for several months now, purchased on the back of reading many a good review, I was a little behind the times still watching a 28" CRT TV, and can honestly say Ive been missing out on picture quality.
The TV has a great build quality it has a glass look perspex framed screen which has a slight rose tint to it and this sits on a sturdy glass stand which allows the TV to swivel left and right. The back of the TV unlike most TV's is metal giving it more of an expensive look. I believe two additional models of the TV come with different tint on the Perspex - but its hardly noticeable unless the wall behind the set is white.
Tv size - This has the 40 inch screen, height with the stand of 66cm, and width of 98cm and a depth of 8cm.
Ports on the set include:
HDMI: x 4 (Side: 1, Back: 3)
USB x 2 (Side)
Component In (Y / Pb / Pr)
Composite In (AV): 1 (side)
Digital Audio Out (Optical)
DVI Audio In (Mini Jack)
CI Slot (side)
Scart x 2
PC Audio In (Mini Jack)
PC In (D-Sub)
The TV has a vast amount of settings more than any other TV Ive seen,this allows you to set the TV up the way you want, but to be honest only a few minor changes are needed from the factory setting s to get a good setup. The TV plays various formats, from a USB stick which is great and certainly not as fussy over formats as other Tv's or DVD players are, so easy enough to watch any downloaded content. Internet TV is also very easy to set up - especially via an Ethernet cable which is probably the best way to connect it up. You can download additional Samsung apps and it comes with BBC iplayer which works without problems and streams BBC iplayer HD on a 3mbs broadband connection fine. Other apps include youtube, facebook and twitter, film apps, games etc, but currently no 4 or 5 on demand which would be a bonus.
Picture quality is superb almost as good as some LED sets, I viewed the TV side by side with a range of other TVs in a popular electrical retailer and it was easily the best image with very strong blacks and colour depth. HD images are very good and so definitely worth using the TV to its full capacity. Sound quality is also great and some preset sound settings give good options, I have the TV set at level 6 which seems to be only 5% of the volume dial that pops up on screen, so no issues with volume. Touch sensitive controls are located on the bottom right of TV the only downside is they don't light up so can be difficult to see what they are. This generally isn't an issue as most people use the remote or an alternative remote like sky to control the set. The TV remote is backlit (the feature can be turned off and on).
I paid £475 for the TV whilst on an offer but the price has risen as less availability, but its easily worth £700. The TV itself never turns off completely and goes into standby with a very low power consumption, if this is a real issue you could always purchase one of those special power sockets that turns the power off completely. The TV does have energy saving features and a light sensor which automatically detects the room brightness and adjusts the TV accordingly.
A few complaints regarding motion lag when playing games, I don't use the set for this but the TV does have a game mode to reduce the lag time, I guess it depends what important in a set. To me picture quality and features are higher on my list of requirements.
It has freeview HD - not a feature I use as I have Sky but important none the less.
The biosnacky jar was given to me as a joke gift and has actually had a lot of use. The jar itself is just a standard glass (kilner type) jar, and it comes with a green plastic screw on lid which doubles up as a stand and sieve to drain the water. The lid locks on tight and both are dishwasher proof.
With the lid on its 14cm high, and has a diameter of around 8cm. This seems small but more than adequate for 1-2 people. Sprouts are best eaten fresh and so you dont really want to be storing them fr more than a day or two once ready. Ideally if you love sprouts then you would have a few jars running a day or so between them so you have a continuous supply.
What to grow - As with any fresh produce you need to be careful on contamination to prevent e-coli, but dont let this put you off. You have to buy special sprouting seeds, you cant just grow any seeds as they typw you grow in the ground tend to be sprayed with chemicals. Its easy enough to buy online or from a health food store some organic sprouting seeds. Seeds such as mungbeans (bean sprouts), radish seeds (if you like a little heat), broccoli seeds (the sprouts of which contain several times more cancer fighting chemicals than standard grown broccoli), lentils etc.
Sprouting is quick and from start to finish you can have sprouts ready to eat from 4 to 7 days depending what you grow. You dont need any special dark humid room or any sunny position simply place on your kitchen worktop - they require very little effort. The jar can make a couple of handfuls of sprouts - easy enough bean sprouts for a stir-fry for 4 people. Usually a heaped breakfast bowl full again depending on the type of sprout and quantity used.
How to grow - this couldn't be easier, just put a few heaped tablespoons in the jar cover with sufficient cold water and leave to soak for 8-12hrs - or just overnight, once thats done -drain them, pour clean water to rinse and drain again shake gently upside down to get rid of any excess water and then using the special lid stand on the worktop out of direct sun so the jar naturally drains. This rinsing and draining is carried out twice a day and after 4-7 days you will have sprouts ready to use. The sprouts dont need to be sat in water they just need to be rinsed. The special lid allows this rinsing and draining to be done easily. Once done you can tip them out and eat them - best eaten raw or all the nutrients they contain - they are actually really good for you.
The jar should then be properly washed to be used again.
You may be thinking why cant I just use a basic jar and either make holes in the lid or use some cloth like muslin - and you could and get exactly the same results. The biosnacky jar however is cheap enough and should last indefinitely if not dropped, the only downside being the limited size - they don't do bigger ones and if using very small seeds like alfalfa (packed full of most vitamins) then they can get caught in the mesh of the lid - but this is only until they start to grow. The mesh needs to be free and unblocked to allow air to circulate over the sprouts while they grow.
You would look to pay near £2 for a bag of mixed sprouts slightly less for bean sprouts - for the same amount you could grow more like 6 times the amount and know its absolutely fresh. - You just need to plan ahead if you want sprouts for a particular meal such as a stir fry - as in start 5-7 days before you plan to cook the dish.
Having pushed several prams/pushchairs and tested them out for ease of use, I opted for this one due to its solid feel and reliable long standing brand.
The pram itself is of good height and has adjustable handles which give around an additional two inches of height. Pushing the pram is easy enough and the wheels tend to move in the direction its pushed, a press pedal at the back activates the brake and each of the front wheels has a lockout to keep them straight, on flat surfaces the pram is fine, however on bumpy pavements the wheels can wobble and bounce the pram around, the lack of any suspension and smaller wheels are not ideal for some of the pothole style pavements, and forget going off road as it will be a struggle.
Opening and folding is done by pulling the black levers up on the handle and this allows it to fold down, to open a small handle when pulled opens it up, although some manual pressing the frame together is often needed. In its folded down state its pretty bulky, would be too bulky for a small car and it almost filled half a boot in a family hatchback. The wheels don't clip off so you cant make it any smaller.
The material and seat are of good quality and well padded it folds down well, and completely flat, but additional parts need to be added to turn it into a flat cot style pram. Small flaps each side of the seat flip up and the car seat in the range clips in, you then fold the car seat handle down and it locks into place. The pram had most use as a car seat carrier and general pushchair when my son was older.
The main issues with this is size and weight, however similar prams about are just as bulky, we now have a 3 wheel buggy that is a good deal lighter folds very easily and takes up half the space.
This is great for its range of uses and if space isn't an issue or weight then you cant go wrong, you may however find that you end up buying a pushchair later on for the space and weight saving. The only real way to see what's best is to get to the shop and give them a good test to see what suits you.
Being a big fan of the program, enjoying the witty banter and complex cases I was initially excited when I received this game. Well the excitement soon ended!
The game is as stated "The Official Game" and all the names including images of the characters are as per the tv program. You play a doctor who helps the team crack five unique medical cases. The game advertises over 100 mini games, and to test you with numerous challenges.
Other than the repetitive background music the entire game is spent using the stylus. All the dialogue is text, all conversations are text based and run across the bottom screen so you find yourself continually tapping the screen to read through the conversations. This becomes extremely repetitive and dull.
You tend to start by examining the patient you have the patient on the left side of the bottom screen and then various items on the right such as glove thermometer etc. You click on a area of the patient and the image shows for eg of the head with markers showing you the place you need to click the stylus, depending on the location depends what item you pick. This is the same with every patient and the problem is everything is prompted and you cannot do something wrong, if you mess up you either get another go or it gets done for you.
Procedures such as using your stylus to spin the centrifuge, look under the microscope and take blood are again on every case and repetitive. The during the whiteboard stages the top screen shows a few letters "hang man" style and the bottom screen several diagnosis move around you find the one that fits and push it up to the top screen. Then some more text on why its not correct, and you do it again - all very repetitive and if you do it wrong you still progress through the game.
The game involves no skill; you don't get challenged in any way and is just really dull and repetitive, I completed it in a few hours and a good 80-90% of the time was spent tapping the screen continuously to get through all the text. They could have made the game much more interesting and challenging.
Avoid and don't waste your money or time.
The Ikea high chair is very basic but in my opinion it does the job required and at an extremely low price. As with a lot of the Ikea furniture items are individually priced so with this high chair you have to also buy the clip on tray and the padded insert if the baby is still small. The basic high chair is £10.99, the tray to clip on is £4 and if the baby is still small they sell a blow up insert at £4.99 which gives additional support at the back and sides to help keep the baby upright. So the total package comes in at £19.98 or £14.99 if you don't need the insert, which is still extremely cheap.
The chair comes in 3 colours white, blue and red, the chair is made of thick plastic and has a moulded crotch post to stop the baby slipping through, and it's very sturdy and doesn't have any sharp edges which the baby will come into contact with. The 4 legs are made of metal with rubber feet they have a locking spring ball catch to slot them into the high chair. It also allows the legs to be removed for storage or transport. The white tray clips onto the main chair and has a lip all the way round to help keep the food in. It's not as easy to remove, but doesn't really need to be removed unless you want to replace for a new one. And that's part of the benefit at £4 you can just buy a new tray so when its looking yellow and grubby from food stains then it wont break the bank to replace it, after 3 months use it isnt looking grubby yet so I doubt you will need a spare tray. Also the tray can be removed and depending on the height of your dinning table the baby can sit in the chair at the table.
Size of the chair is Width: 58 cm, Depth: 62 cm, Height: 90 cm, Seat height: 55 cm
The chair comes with a waste strap whish also fits through the inflatable insert, the strap is adjustable. I initially wanted a high chair that can be taken away or folded to store; this doesn't fold (although Ikea do sell a foldable one made from fabric). But once the legs are removed it's easy enough to transport, and if the grandparents need one its cheap enough to buy a second to leave with them.