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Revo9

Revo9
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Member since: 16.07.2011

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    • Integral i-Pen 8 GB / Flash Drive / 59 Readings / 56 Ratings
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      01.10.2011 14:57
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      A satisfactory flash memory stick

      ****Integral I-pen 8GB Flash memory stick****

      The Integral Ipen is an 8GB capacity flash memory stick for storing files, documents and computer media. I was reasonably pleased with my Integral I-pen as the 8GB of storage at the time was good and it was simple to use, but due to some of the plastic casing breaking and the fact it is overpriced and hard to find in the UK now, I no longer use the device.

      Appearance
      The I-pen is small and compact in my opinion and has quite an unusual and stylish design. The product was advertised on the back of the packaging as weighing just 9grams which is pretty light. The product is completely white in colour and has an outer casing made from plastic. There are some contoured edges to the side of the memory stick and the removable lid is shaped somewhat like the edge of an egg. In the centre of the product is a company logo reading "Integral" in bold print. Near the top of the product is a LED light which flashes when you open, load or save files to your computer. The product comes with a thin metal key chain, which consists of a clip which fastens onto the top of the memory stick, 5 small rings and finally a larger ring which functions as a key chain and allowed it to attach to my keys.

      Features
      The I-pen I bought was 8GB in size, but the entire range has sizes ranging from 512MB to 8GB in size so you can pick whichever one suits your needs but I find today, most people should aim for 4GB+ as the rest are a bit too small. The product was relatively fast to copy and save things onto as it featured a high speed 2 USB data connection which is a lot faster than the older USB speed 1 memory sticks. My laptop is a windows Vista and the product worked fine here without needing any software or additional driver updates. The instruction manual that came with the memory stick said it can support Apple 8.6 or later, can support Notebooks and can support Windows computers from 98SE and onwards. There is also some small print about how you might need to install a driver on the 98SE platform.

      Ease of Use
      The I-pen was very simple to use, you just basically plug the USB end of the product into a USB slot on your computer, wait a few seconds, and the product loads up with a menu of different things you can do. I just used to simply drag files into the memory stick shortcut accessed via "my computer" or in the case of saving documents, I would just click "Save as" and save the said file onto my I-pen. Again, very simple to use and a memory stick which gave me no problems in needing to install additional software and so forth.

      Pricing
      The 8GB I-pen was hard to buy in the UK and was not available on Amazon or play when I bought mine about a year or two ago. I paid £9.99 for the product with a £1.99 delivery charge on Ebay UK. You can buy cheaper memory sticks with much better storage capacity as a quick return of the Amazon UK search bar would show you. I have used many memory sticks over the past few years and I bought a more durable Kingston Generation 3 USB memory stick at 16GB for only £11.14 on Amazon so the I-pen is overpriced in my opinion and I wouldn't pay that much again.

      Durability
      In terms of software durability, provided you safe the file correctly, I never experienced any corruption of files in the time I used my I-pen. I used to play it safe and wait for the flashing LED to stop and remove the memory stick safely with the settings from "my computer". The physical durability of the product however was a little suspect. I used the device for around 7 months and the keychain broke, the casing to the main body came a little loose and the egg shaped lid does not fit as securely now as when I first bought it.

      Drawbacks
      There are a few drawbacks to my I-pen 8GB. The first was that there was no password protection feature to stop unwanted access to your files. The second would be the price and limited availability of the product at £9.99 for 8GB of storage capacity. Finally, I wasn't best pleased with the low quality plastic casing and metal keychain to the back, I think it was cheaply made and definitely not durable in the long run as I found out with most things breaking off and coming away over the space of 7 months.

      Conclusion
      My Integral I-pen 8GB was a reasonable investment at the time as I liked the 8GB of storage, the easy user interface and the wide range of platforms and versions the product can be used on. The white design was quite nice and the device compact and light at just 9 grams. I was never too keen on the egg shaped lid however and the plastic casing was of a poor quality. I would probably not recommend the I-pen as there are cheaper and more durable memory sticks on the market such as my 16GB Kingston generation 3 memory stick which I recommend highly. Thanks for reading my review.

      © Revo9 (2011)
      *Note, I am both a member of Ciao and Dooyoo.co.uk under the same username of Revo9*

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      27.09.2011 18:34
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      Superb footwear for boxing!

      ***Adidas Boxing Hog Boots***
      The adidas boxing hog boots are an upper mid range sports shoe for boxing. They offer good ventilation, are light weight, look good and offer good protection and support for your ankle. I bought them online for £40 which is around double the price of the Lonsdale cyclone boxing boot (Priced around £21 online) but they are in most areas significantly better.

      Appearance
      The appearance of the boot is in my opinion simple but classy. Each boot features the 3 stripe logo to either side, an Adidas with pyramid stripe logo to the upper tongue of the boot and finally the same logo again but placed to the outer heel area. The font is white in colour and easy to see. The main body of the shoe is made from a ventilated mesh material which is black in colour and looks very professional. The sole of the shoe is rubberised with grooves for grip and is a sandy cream colour. The shoe is low top, only about half the length of the Lonsdale Cyclone boxing boot. The laces are black and a good length for tying each boot quickly and securely.

      Comfort and Protection
      The shoe is secure in all the right places and very comfortable to wear. The product has ventilated mesh all along the main body of the boot and this allows your feet to breath with great ventilation. This significantly improves the comfort of boot and makes your feet cooler compared to full leather boots such as the Title boxing boot which makes my feet feel too hot in my opinion. The boot is relatively low top and not that high in length compared to others, but the shoe still provides brilliant protection to the ankle and stops me going over and spraining my ankle when I'm training. The boots are incredibly light in weight, lighter than the Lonsdale cyclone boots, and this allows me to move around the ring more quickly and almost feels like your wearing a sock, they are that light.

      Durability
      The boots are well made and put together. They have a quality rubber sole that has not really worn away at all even though I've used these boots countless times. The mesh work on the boot is extremely strong and firm also, I was initially scared the mesh might rip and create bigger holes in the boot but this is not the case. The mesh is extremely strong and robust and would last year's even with heavy usage indoors. That said, as with all boxing boots, they are designed for indoor use, so I would not go running outside or skipping. I think if you did the longevity of the product would quickly decrease, but as stated indoors, these boots will last years!

      Pricing
      The boots are priced at £40-£50 or above depending on where you shop in the UK. This is a very reasonable price in my opinion for the brilliant quality you get. Overall I prefer the look and feel of the original Adidas Tygun boxing boots to these, but the original Tygun boots are more expensive and not manufactured by Adidas anymore. The Hog boots are twice the price of Lonsdale Cyclone (£21-£30 online) but probably twice as better in every regard. They are more comfortable, look more attractive, probably more durable and still provide some great protection. Overall, a well priced middle of the range boxing boot.

      Drawbacks
      There are no real drawbacks worth mentioning except maybe a lack of variation. These boots are only available in black, I would like to see a white coloured variation of the boot and maybe a red or blue variation also. I think Adidas could make a fair bit of money by just making the Hog boxing boots available in a few more colour schemes. Secondly, this is not so much a drawback so much as a personal preference in that I prefer mid to high top boxing boots, in that I like them to be longer in length than the hog boots. I think if a boxing boot is longer like the Lonsdale cyclone or Adidas Tygun, it just offers a little bit more protection, but I suppose the longer the boot you pay for in that it can take longer to tie up all of the laces.

      Overall
      Overall these are a brilliant middle of the range boxing boot, Adidas generally make very high quality products and the Adidas Hog boxing boot is no exception to this. The mesh is breathable and hard wearing, the sole of the shoe is durable and light, the laces are of good quality and easy to tie and the appearance of the shoe is simple yet classy and attractive. I would like to see these boots in a few more colour schemes and maybe a mid to high top version with increased length, but apart from that these boots are reasonably priced (£40) and will last for years to come. I highly recommend buying this product if you have the cash to spend! Awesome boxing boots.

      © Revo9 (2011)
      *Note, I am both a member of Ciao and Dooyoo.co.uk under the same username of Revo9*

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      19.09.2011 16:54
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      A great training tool!

      The York fitness 1 inch barbell pad, is a protective pad which can fit standard 1 inch barbells. Usage of the pad is designed to soften the weight of a heavy barbell resting on your neck/trapezius muscles from heavy squats. I bought the product from fitness-superstore.co.uk for a price tag of £8.50

      Appearance
      The product was red, with the words "York fitness" in white capital font in the centre of the velcro fastener. The red velcro fastener is made from PVC and is apparently washable. It has a velcro closure system at the end which locks quite securely.The red cover looks classy and attractive rather than just a plain foam product you can buy cheaply off of eBay. The actual pad of the product is made from black foam, has a 1 inch diameter and is made so that the red velcro cover fits over the top of it. The product is available in a slightly different form, with a different style logo and a white coloured foam pad depending on where you buy the product from.

      Durability
      I've had the product for a few years now and It has lasted very well. I was initially scared the foam would get damaged and chunks of foam may fall out. This has not been the case and with sensible care of the foam and Velcro closure from the PVC outer sleeve, I can see this product lasting many years. The red PVC sleeve is tough, strong and made from good quality materials, the logo and paintwork has held well on it and has not flaked away. The Velcro has not frayed and worn away and is still working well and securely. For just £8.50 you get great durability, but from commercial usage in a gym, I could see the product having lower durability simply from heavy usage. For a personal gym, this product is well made and will last years.

      Usability/Protection
      The product is great for dampening the force exerted from a heavy barbell on your traps, neck and deltoids. You certainly feel less pain, and it offers much better comfort than just a solid steel bar. The PVC is a tough material and sticks well to me, it does not slide and fall off under heavy weights and overall has made Squatting a more comfortable experience for me. The padded black foam is quite thick and not too thin that you can feel the bar sharply down on you. The diameter of the foam is only one inch, so it will only be compatible with standard barbells. If you have an Olympic barbell then the diameter will be two inches, meaning the product will not fit upon it, so don't bother buying it if you have Olympic sized equipment. I've successfully used the product for barbell heel raises, good mornings and barbell squats brilliantly and I've also used it to train my grip. The product adds extra diameter to the standard barbell which when you just hold the barbell with the York pad attached statically for as long as you can, I developed better grip strength.

      Pricing
      The product was very well priced for just £8.50 on fitness-superstore.co.uk, it can also be bought on Amazon and other sports stores as well easily for a similar price. For the good quality, good sleeve artwork and design and good comfort and protection the product offers, £8.50 is very good value for money. I've saw barbell pads just made from low quality foam on eBay for £5 without any PVC sleeve, but the quality of these products was much lower than the York barbell pad. So overall the product by York offers fantastic value for money.

      Drawbacks
      I've not encountered any real problems with the York barbell pad, except maybe York could offer a choice of different colours for the PVC sleeve or maybe give you a choice of two foam pads, one for 1 inch barbells and the other for Olympic sized 2 inch barbells so it was applicable to everyone. Maybe if they done all this for £10 or £11 then it would be still good value for money but would offer increased versatility and maybe sell better in the UK.

      Overall
      To conclude, this product looks great with the PVC sleeve, is made from quality componenet, is very comfortable and makes squatting more pleasant, can be used for other barbell exercises and can be used to train grip strength on static holds and retails for a fantastic price of just £8.50 in the UK. The product is durable and will last years from personal usage, but commercial usage may result in the product wearing away or breaking from overuse. I use the York barbell pad whenever I perform the said exercises in my workout and it was a brilliant investment, I highly recommend the product if you have a standard 1 inch diameter barbell!

      © Revo9 (2011)
      *Note, I am both a member of Ciao and Dooyoo.co.uk under the same username of Revo9*

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        17.09.2011 14:33
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        Good Boxing Vest

        ****Adidas Clubline Vest****
        The Adidas clubline vest is a sports vest designed to be worn as part of a kit for amateur and professional boxing. In this way, each fighter is colour coded according to amateur boxing rules which and can be scored on a points winning system. The main colours in amateur boxing are red and blue which are the corner colours, I also have a black version of the vest which I use for sparring and general training purposes.

        Appearance
        The appearance of the vest is top quality in my opinion. The product features the white adidas stripes down the middle of the top, which stop just below the chest. There is an Adidas logo to the top right of the vest and there is a further 3 Adidas stripes to the back of the vest. There are three available colours, red, blue and black. I own both the red and black versions in a size medium and large. The product looks classy yet simple and I regularly get compliments in the gym as to how good they look. The product is made from a form of polyester, which is more moisture wicking than cotton and has a shinier appearance. It looks like the material is made from tiny squares which I presume help with ventilation.

        Durability
        The durability of the product is quite good although probably not as strong as cotton. I think my red vest caught on the washing machine and some of the polyester frayed out but apart from this, after about 2 years of owning the product it remains in good condition. The vest has also stayed true to size and has not shrunk after multiple washings which a cotton one may have done. In essence the durability is good, although it has and probably will fray even more which will eventually ruin the vest.

        Features
        The first feature is that the vest is available in boxing corner colours, blue and red. These are the requirements and rules for amateur boxing and the vest is designed to be worn as a kit, with the Adidas clubline boxing shorts. I own a black vest too, which I believe may be illegal to wear in a boxing match since it is not a corner colour set by the ABA. So I just use my black vest for weight training and general sparring. The second feature would be that the vest is made from Airtex polyester, which is a moisture wicking and breathable fabric designed for sports use. I have noticed a difference between this and other normal polyester tops in that there is improved ventilation with the Adidas clubline vest. This improves the comfort of wearing the product and cools you down more so than a cotton vest.

        Pricing
        The price of each of my two vests was not cheap; £20 each. I bought my vest from BoxfitUK which was delivered quickly . You can find cheaper vests, such as the Everlast boxing vest on Sportsdirect for £8. But you couldn't actually wear it legally in a boxing match if you had to wear corner colours and the material of that vest is cotton and less breathable. The price was quite expensive just for a vest, as to wear it in competition you also need to purchase the Adidas clubline boxing shorts separately which are not included.

        Conclusion
        Overall, I think the Adidas clubline vest is an attractive, breathable and true to size boxing vest. It comes in a range of colours (red, blue, black) and comes in lots of sizes from extra small to XX large. The product is freely available on the internet from BoxfitUK, Amazon, eBay and Sugarays and is priced around £20 on each. On a downside, whilst the durability is ok, I've noticed that my red vet has frayed from going in the washing machine and this is unrepairable now. I still wear the vest often but it is a noticeable area of damage. The second downside is that the product costs £20 excluding delivery online, which is quite pricey for just a vest. In my opinion I think it is really a good looking and comfortable vest for the serious amateur or pro boxer, but I do think it's probably too expensive if you just plan to wear it casually. If you have the money and don't so much care for polyester durability then buy it, if price is an issue then look on Sportsdirect for cheaper options. Thanks for reading my review.

        © Revo9 (2011)
        *Note, I am both a member of Ciao and Dooyoo.co.uk under the same username of Revo9*

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          14.09.2011 16:14
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          Very good quality product but at a price!

          The Bodymax Zenith workout tower is a bodyweight training product designed for commercial usage. I've used the product at my boxing gym for training numerous different exercises. I consider the exercises it allows you to perform very important and the device itself is very hard wearing and well built.

          Appearance
          The workout tower weighs 84kg which is quite heavy when fully assembled. It stands about 230cm at its peak around the chinup bar and is about 105-110 cm in length. The product features a strong painted metal construction which is a silvery/grey colour. There is also leather and rubber on the product which are solid black in colour. At the top of the product is a black chinup bar which is bent and curved so you can use a variety of grips. There is a leather back rest and black leather handles for abdominal Roman chair exercises, rubber end handles for dips and very small handles on the bottom of the product which can be used for leg raises and pressups. There are also rubberised black sections on the bottom of the product to stop it slipping around on the floor. There are some foot plates which are metal construction and allow you to get into position for dips and chinups. I would say even with the heavy weight and height of the product, it is fairly compact and we keep it in the corner of the gym without much of a problem.

          Durability
          The product is first and foremost designed for commercial heavy usage, which is the reason we got it for the boxing gym. I can certainly vouch for that, as in the years we've had it, the product is still in perfect condition. The metal work whilst not completely solid in places is very strong and resists bending. The leather is of good quality and the rubberised areas have not chipped or split in any way. The welding on the product is also strong and has been done to a great finish. Overall I would say the product is extremely durable and I expect it to last in working condition for the club for decades.

          Useability
          The product is a staple in our gym, loads of boxers of varying sizes have used the product in training. The chinup bar at the top is strong and is bent in different shapes so you can utilise different grips fro chinups and pullups. The back rest is comfortable when you do roman chair work for the abdominals. You can also do dips to target the chest muscles because there are small handles on the end of the bars in the middle. The foot plates are a great touch as the chinup bar is about 230cm in the air so would make it hard for people to get into position. It's hard to see on the current picture, but the product also features small handles which are rubberised at the end which allow you to hold onto when doing leg raises which target the abdominals or for doing pressups too. Overall the product is a staple in our gym and can be used for a lot of different worthwhile exercises.

          Pricing
          The product is not cheap at £499.99 and can only be bought online from powerhouse-fitness in the UK. Fortunately our club had enough funds to purchase the product and has been a worthwhile investment. For the strong durability of the product and craftmanship in welding and manufacturing the product, it was a good price as we expect it to last years and years of heavy use. However, if your not wanting a product for commercial usage then there are cheaper York workout towers which retail for about £120 to £130 online which are essentially identical to the Bodymax tower but have a less durable construction.

          Assembly
          The product is large and heavy (84kg) once fully assembled and takes a bit of time to do. It took 3 of us about 35 minutes to assemble the product and I think it would be a good idea to have a friend or someone else to help you assemble it if your just on your own. The main problem was keeping things in position whilst your trying to screw and attach the different components and was much easier when someone is holding parts for you to screw. Overall the instructions were good but I would say it's definitely not the easiest product to built but doable if you take your time.

          Drawbacks
          There are no real drawbacks with the product but the only thing I would say is that you can occasionally knock into parts of it when doing chinups. The product is compact and everything is fitted neatly onto the product, which is space saving and useful, but do take note that occasionally my legs have collided with the Roman chair back rest.

          Conclusion
          Overall I'm very happy with the product. It allows you to perform a good range of exercises, is quite compact enough to fit in a corner out of the way and features solid durability and craftsmanship. I expect the product to last decades of commercial use and will continue to be a well used and appreciated product in our gym. The price is high at a penny under £500 but free delivery was supplied by Powerhouse-fitness which was a bonus considering the weight of the product. You can buy cheaper non commercial private use products like the York workout tower (£120-£130 in UK) but they won't be to the same build quality of the Bodymax tower. It's also worth noting that the product is compact so you can occasionally bang your legs off the product when doing chinup/pullup work. Overall a great product that is both useful and very well made! I recommend it. Thanks for reading my review.

          © Revo9 (2011)
          *Note, I am both a member of Ciao and Dooyoo.co.uk under the same username of Revo9*

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            11.09.2011 12:02
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            Probably a gadget to avoid buying

            ***Hostess SW12 Electric Plate Warmer***

            This was somewhat of a spontaneous purchase by me and one that in hindsight, I maybe should not have done. The device can warm up to 12 plates of a good range of sizes (although not every shape is possible), the product also came with claims it could warm up food, although I never tried putting food on it. The product was of a modern and compact fold up design and cost me £27.99 on Amazon UK a few months ago.

            Appearance
            The product looks modern and attractive out of the box. The product is available in chrome which is the one I own and features black supports to either side which slightly raise it from the gorund. There is a black box area to the front of the product which features an LED light and an On/Off switch. The top of the product is a lid, which has grooves in it so it is easily open. Once open, there is a foil component which can take up to 12 plates. The plates slot in fairly easily and are secured at the plates bottom rim. The folding nature of the product make it compact, and the product itself is only 9cm in height, has a width of about 30cm and a diameter of 25cm. Overall, I was very pleased with the modern appearance and design quality.

            Ease of use
            The product was ok to use I found, although a motorised plate rotation system would be better. You simply flick the switch so the product is on, wait for the LED light to come on and wait maybe 30-45 minutes so it is well heated. You then, making sure the lid is open, slot a plate in at the rim in a foil covered chrome slot. To ensure that your plates are warmed consistently and not just in one particular area, you have to manually move them around every so often. My plates did become warm and the product did work, but it should be noted manual work is needed to achieve this.

            Durability
            We've had the product a good few months now and used it a fair bit in that time. The chrome design is well made and sturdy, the lid lifts up frictionless and the product still offers good warming potential to plates. The LED at the front still works and I've noticed no problems of overheating or physical damage. Overall I found the Hostess plate warmer well made and durable.

            Pricing
            The product was not cheap and was somewhat of a spontaneous buy by me. I bought the product on Amazon UK for £27.99 which included free super saver delivery. I would not have paid that amount of money for the product again as I believe It needs to be redesigned and further improved since it has its share of problems. If certain problems were addressed then I think that would be a fair price of the plate warmer, as it is a good idea in theory as some people (myself included) do not like eating from cold plates.

            Problems
            I noticed a fair amount of problems with the product and these are a costly mistake for Hostess in my opinion. The first problem is that plates of an unconventional size or shape I found did not slot very securely into the foil slots, if you have a standard plate then its fine. I think Hostess need to try design a slot which can take a wide variety of size plates and hold them securely. Another problem was that the device took about 30 to 45 minutes to warm up before you could actually place plates into the slots. I would not mind waiting 10 to 20 minutes, but 30 to 45 minutes was a little ridiculous and maybe Hostess could make the product more powerful so it warms up quicker. The final problem was that you slot each plate in at the rim, in a chrome slot, so obviously only that side will warm quickly. You then have to manually move the plate around every so often to ensure the entire plate is of a consistent temperature. I would like to see a motorised system where the plates are rotated around as the current manual process of doing it all by hand is tiresome considering the £27.99 price tag.

            Conclusion
            I think the idea of a plate warmer is a good one in theory, I've not saw a plate warmer like this before with its modern, folding, compact design. My plates were warm after a bit so the product did work but as the product was only 300 watt in power, I think this was too weak as it took often over 30 minutes to warm up before you can actually put plates on it. The requirement for manually rotating and moving the plates around to ensure consistent heating was annoying and the slots were not accommodating for every plate I owned - since they often varied in size and shape. I would not pay the £27.99 price tag again unless further improvements are made to the product, which are very much needed in my opinion. Overall, a good idea in theory but needs further refinement and development. Thanks for reading my review.

            © Revo9 (2011)
            *Note, I am both a member of Ciao and Dooyoo.co.uk under the same username of Revo9*

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              08.09.2011 13:36
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              A good camera for the price!

              The Powershot A480 is a budget digital camera made by Canon. The A480 is compact and takes good pictures for the price. Unfortunately it does have its problems including occasionaly blurry and grainy images and a poor battery life. I paid £50 for it from Argos, which was a reasonable price for the overall quality product.

              Appearance
              The digital camera is quite compact in my opinion, the dimensions being 92x52x31mm. The product is rectangular in shape and comes in a variety of different colours. My A480 is predominantly black, but with some silver plastic trim around the lens, to the right of the product, the capture button and some other function buttons. Apart from the lens and flash, the A480 is entirely made from plastic. On the top of the A480 is a small black on/off button with the text "Powershot A480" in silver font. On the right of the camera is a small flap which functions as both a DC in and USB port. On the back of the camera is a 2.5" LCD screen and to the right of this, numerous silver plastic buttons including zoom, picture viewer, menu, flash, delete, macro, night mode and video recording settings. On the base of the camera is a hole which can allow a tripod to screw in and a plastic catch which opens to allow you to put 2 AA batteries into the product and a small horizontal slot for an SD memory card. On the front of the camera, is a silver grip component made from plastic which reads "10.0 Megapixels" which the font indented into the plastic. There is a lens which can open out depending on the zoom setting and a flash screen on the top right. Overall, the camera looks small and compact with a good sized LCD screen on the back and a sturdy design, although it is one constructed from plastic.

              Features
              The product features a 3.3X optical zoom which even on the maximum zoom still features good clarity. The camera has face detection in that when taking a picture, a green square appears which locks onto the person's face which is supposed to help with clarity. The image quality is 10 megapixels which is good for the relatively low price tag, and is higher than your average mobile phone camera. Included in the box was a carry case and a battery charger when I bought it for Argos, but from other suppliers this may vary. The A480 has red eye reduction settings, the ability to turn the flash on and off, indoor settings, portrait settings, macro/super macro settings, long shutter settings and a night mode feature. You can also create folders for pictures and set the digital camera to work as a video recorder. To me, this is every setting I could ever hope to have or ever use, I am not a professional photographer so my needs were basic in that I needed it for days out and nights out on the town. I feel for the average consumer, the A480 has a fantastic range of settings for everyday needs.

              Durability
              The durability of the product is quite good, It is very sturdy to hold despite the plastic construction of the camera. I have experienced no glitches or freezing when taking photos and the durability on the whole is pretty good for the price. I have actually dropped my A480 from a medium sized cupboard onto carpet, the camera initially would not turn on. When it eventually did, it quickly turned itself back off again. I tried once more and the lens did not come out fully but was jammed. I forcefully pushed the lens back in so it was fully retracted and after repeating this a few times, my A480 was back in top working order again. Whilst it is now in perfect order again, I can't help but think the plastic construction is a bit of a downfall and was probably implemented by canon to cut costs.

              Picture Quality
              The picture quality of the A480 is really good for the price you pay, the images are clear and whilst they can appear grainy on the LCD screen, once fully sized on a PC they come out very fine and detailed. The video quality is also good and could rival that of more expensive digital camera/recorders although I mainly use my A480 just for taking pictures. However, every so often, a couple of pictures will start to appear blurry even though the lens is clear and dirt free. If you knock the camera off then put it back on again, it is back to taking high quality pictures again, so it is definitely worth bearing this problem in mind although it may just be my camera that is at fault and not a general complaint.

              Pricing
              The A480 is very well priced, I paid £50 for my A480 from Argos when it was in a sale. I believe it came with a small warranty as well which I have not had to use even though I've had the camera well over a year now. For £50 the A480 is a somewhat budget low cost camera but for the picture quality (most of the time) and the range of features and ease of use, i find £50 very reasonable bearing in mind it is a Canon product. Currently, Argos sell the A480 for £54.99 which is just under £5 more than I paid a year ago which will probably be down to inflation/VAT increases. The Amazon marketplace sells A480s for around £50-£60 and they are readily available on eBay UK too. They're some online electrical retailers selling the camera for £80+ so even now, I would still recommend Argos if you want to buy the camera cheap.

              Battery Life
              The camera takes 2xAA batteries and you can use rechargeable ones too. I personally use normal batteries but as the battery life on the A480 is a bit poor in my opinion, I've now recently started using rechargeable ones to save money. I can take around 40-50 pictures and slightly less if I use the flash before I start getting red battery warning messages, before the batteries completely drain. For standard AA batteries I would like to see 100+ pictures before I have to start worrying about the batteries so Canon could certainly improve on this in the future. My advice would be to carry some spare AA batteries whether normal or rechargeable if you plan on using the camera a lot each day.

              Conclusion
              The A480 is a good overall budget camera for the consumer. I think Canon have done a good job on the product considering you can pick one up for £50-£60 and the picture quality is nearly always brilliant. The range of features are easy to access, the LCD screen at 2.5" is a good size and the zoom is handy too. Unfortunately, the plastic construction of the product is a downfall in my opinion and a recent fall onto carpet from a cupboard nearly permanently damaged my A480 for good. Occasionally I've noticed some of my pictures come out blurry for no reason at all since the lens is clean which shortly after comes back to producing good clarity pictures. This can be annoying and I'm not sure if It is just my A480 or is a common complaint for all A480s. Another problem is the poor battery life which only seems to last around 40-50 pictures before needing either recharged or replaced with new AA batteries. That said for £50 the A480 is a handy, compact and all round good little digital camera. It can fit into my pocket easy and can be quickly brought out to take some good photos which are easily uploaded via a supplied USB lead onto a PC. I don't doubt the A480 has a few annoying problems or that there are better more expensive digital cameras out there, but for the price I would highly recommend the Canon A480 to those on a budget. Thanks for reading my review.

              © Revo9 (2011)
              *Note, I am both a member of Ciao and Dooyoo.co.uk under the same username of Revo9*

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              • More +
                03.09.2011 15:23
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                • Reliability

                Disadvantages

                Superb coffee machine!

                Delonghi Perfecta 5400 coffee maker

                The Perfecta 5400 is a coffee making machine from the well established Italian manufacturer Delonghi. The product has a range of settings to make different styles of coffee and can accommodate a wide range of cup sizes. The processing power of the product was quick and can take both ground coffee and coffee beans. The appearance of the product is stylish in my opinion and the product had very few problems. I bought my machine from Comet UK to the price of £399.99.

                Appearance
                In my opinion the 5400 Perfecta was very attractive and modern. The product had a weight of about 10kg which was sturdy but not too heavy to carry around for most people. The dimensions are 35x57x49 cm mean it is compact for most work surfaces. The product has a predominantly plastic construction but with some metal components too which achieve a nice balance. Colour wise, the product is a shiny smooth black, with a silver chrome type colour which look modern and clean. At the base of the product there is a flat surface to which you put your cups on, it can hold two cups at any one time. There is a chrome funnel which actually dispenses the milk to your cup and an LED display panel above this to the centre top. There are two chrome coloured pipes which dispense the coffee in liquid form just to the left of the milk dispenser. There are easy to press grey coloured touch buttons to the side of the screen. Towards the back of the product there is a power cord with a plug but before I purchased the product I read some people had a European plug which needed an adaptor, mine was a standard UK plug however and no adaptor was needed.

                Features
                The product is able to take both ground coffee beans and the full ungrounded beans, I personally prefer the taste of the full beans but that is my personal preference. Towards the front the dispenser can move in that it will accommodate different sized mugs and cups which is always useful. The LED screen to the front is easy to read and illuminates when you set different settings up and looks very modern and clean. There are numerous buttons positioned around the screen that are easy to press and built into the display panel itself; they are not raised. There is no timer that comes with the product but there is a temperature controller, a dripping tray and a cup warmer. There are 7 different settings for the grinder component which is set by using the menu on the display screen. This adds lots of variety to what you can make and I've successfully made Cappuccino and Mocchiato coffees and the product was advertised at making other styles too. If you need to use already grounded coffee beans then you need to access a different menu of settings from the screen and it still works well although I mainly stick to using full beans. The product can dispense at a pressure of 15 bars which is very good in my opinion and I have had no problems with processing speed.

                Durability
                I've had the product for a good 15 months and the product still works very well. I read reports that Delonghi as a company are not very reliable with their customer service, however I bought my product from Comet UK and it came with a complementary warranty which I've not had to use yet. Although there are quite a few plastic components to the product, they are well made, tough and durable. The pipes and valves that dispense either the coffee or milk have not been blocked or corroded. The machine does not overheat and I've noticed no defects with the processing power decreasing over time. The LCD screen has not faded or fell victim to condensation and still provides a clear image. The touch buttons are responsive and this has not decreased over time. Overall I think the product is a stylish and very durable coffee maker, however due to the £400 price tag in the UK it would be sensible to get it covered by some sort of warranty.

                Ease of Use
                The product is easy to use in my opinion but it does take a little bit of time in applying the right settings to your personal tastes and the different styles of coffee. I find cappuccino very easy to make and can now set the machine up one in seconds. The buttons are easy to press and the product comes with a manual which has information on how to set it. Even though Delonghi is an Italian company there are well translated English sections in the manual which are easy to understand. Overall it may be a bit daunting choosing the right settings for the first time, but overtime it becomes second nature to use it.

                Pricing
                The machine was not cheap, it cost me £399.99 from Comet UK but I think it has been a worthy coffee machine for the time it has lasted problem free. The product used to be sold on Amazon UK however it is not now and they are hard to come by even on eBay. With the few places that sell them I found comet at just under £400 the cheapest, numerous electrical stores sell the product for £500-£600 which is probably too much in my opinion unless maybe you have a restaurant or some catering business. Overall, not the cheapest but you do get what you pay for; a well made and high quality coffee maker.

                Drawbacks
                Besides the high price of the product in the UK there are not many drawbacks to mention. I do think the water container inside the machine could be bigger, when you fill it I find it slightly small if you're making a large quantity of coffees. This was especially noticeable when I had a large group of friends over who were interested in trying the coffee. Another problem could be that I've read that Delonghi have poor customer service so it would be best to maybe get a warranty from a trusted UK retailer which would probably have repairs/parts delivered quicker. The settings do get easy after a while but I could understand if a person is having difficulty when they first get it. There are a wealth of settings such as temperature, grinder settings, dispensing settings which are daunting at first but will become easier the more you use it. As the manufacturer is Italian some of the coffee machines come with European plugs which need an adaptor to work in the UK, mine however came with a standard UK plug so I did not experience any problems.

                Conclusion
                To conclude I think the Delonghi 5400 Perfecta was a good investment. I prefer the handmade cappuccinos from the product as opposed to buying readymade coffee and would not go back in my opinion. You can make a near limitless variety of coffees with me myself, greatly preferring Cappuccinos and Mocchiatos. The processing speed of the product is fast and easy to use once you gain a bit of experience and confidence using the different settings. The LED screen is easy to use and you can give your coffee a frothy milk effect from the milk dispenser funnel to the right of the coffee dispensing components. The product can take a wide variety of coffee sizes and the drip tray prevents mess and liquid getting everywhere. The cup warmer feature is very useful as I prefer heated cups to cold non warmed ones. The product only had minor problems such as the water container inside the product being a bit on the small side and perhaps daunting settings for the first time user. The 15 bar pressure of the pressure makes coffee very quickly and efficiently and is just the right amount of pressure. Overall the 5400 perfecta makes superb cups of coffee and is great fun to use, couple this with a compact and stylish modern design and excellent durability and the 5400 is a top product from Delonghi. Thanks for reading my review.

                Revo9 (2011)
                *Note, I am both a member of Ciao and Dooyoo.co.uk under the same username of Revo9*

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                • Bosch WTE8630S / Tumble Dryer / 42 Readings / 40 Ratings
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                  30.08.2011 13:20
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                  A very robust and high performing tumble dryer!

                  Bosch WTE8630

                  The Bosch WTE 8630 is a freestanding tumble dryer machine operating via a condenser system. There are numerous drying options for a range of different fabric types and the product comes with a 2 year guarantee. I paid £379.99 for the tumble dryer from the Co-op which was a tad expensive but cheaper than other retailers as I've seen the product advertised for £480 online.

                  Appearance
                  My WTE8630 was black in colour but I have saw silver and white coloured ones which are available too. The dimensions of the product are 84.2x59.8x62.5 and the product has a 7kg load capacity for the drum inside. The drum is silver in colour with a built in sensor, the door is quite large and opens from the side and allows good clear observation of the clothes inside the drum. On the sides of the machine are vertical lines running down it which looks very modern and stylish, there is a vent positioned on the bottom left as well. Overall I was very happy with the design of the product, the black looks very modern with silver trim and an orange LED light.

                  Features
                  The product as mentioned is freestanding, of a metal/plastic construction and operates with an electrical system during operation which I believe can go up to a 1400rpm of power. The product features a condenser system which is located at the top of the product, water needed for operation is drained away automatically. There is an orange LED light to the top front panel which can give you warnings in regard to the filter and can function as a timer, the LED display is bright and easy to read. Along this front panel are also buttons for low heat and reduced ironing settings. There is a black easy to turn dial towards the top left of the product which has a large range of settings such as easy care settings, synthetics, delicates, woollens, freshen up, cupboard dry and a short programme should you be short on time. I've found the diagrams and text around the buttons/dials very helpful in that they are easy to understand and allow some scope as for the drying options of the various clothes I own. The start/stop button is towards the far left of this top panel and is silver in colour and of a circular shape. The product operates via a condenser system and has a sensor built into the drum which tells the dryer how dry your clothes are, which is smart technology in my opinion. I've found using the dryer on the settings suitable for your clothes i.e. cotton or synthetics for my t-shirts is brilliant in terms of the drying quality. My clothes come out very dry but not creased or shrivelled up.

                  Energy Efficiency
                  The energy efficiency of the product could be slightly better to be honest. The WTE8640 is of class B quality which is certainly better than older tumble dryers but still, this tumble dryer uses more energy than my washing machine which is a Hoover OPH-616.

                  Durability
                  The durability of the product has been superb in the time that I've had it which is a few years now. The product did come with a 2 year guarantee should anything break down when I purchased it from the co-op which I thought was handy and a good complementary incentive to buy the tumble dryer. All of the buttons work fine but are occasionally unresponsive if you do not press firmly enough, the LED timer has not faded overtime and I've experienced no leakages or overheating. My clothes still come out dry to the same quality as when I used the machine for the first time, so I believe the durability of the WTE8630 is top quality.

                  Pricing
                  I paid £379.99 for the tumble dryer a few years ago from the Co-op which I believe is still around the same price now. I think £379.99 was an expensive but fair value for the product because of the top workmanship, design and performance by Bosch. I wouldn't pay anymore for the tumble dryer than £379.99 and it is best to shop around for prices, as I've seen these machines advertised at ~£480 online which is way overpriced. You can't readily buy new WTE8630s which is a bit of a shame because they are a top quality machine. I have done a quick search for any interested consumers and found the cheapest online prices in the UK are:
                  > Co-operative still sell it for the same price I paid - £379.99
                  > Electrical 123 sell it for £379.99
                  > Electric shop sell it for £399.95
                  > Redhill appliances sell the product for £439

                  Drawbacks
                  There aren't many problems I've experienced with the WTE8630 as it has been a very sturdy machine of top performance to me. However, the product is quite noisy despite the advertiser's claim of it being "very quiet". As mentioned the B class energy efficiency could be improved on to maybe an A which would save you some money on electricity bills although the consumption I've used over the years on the machine is not too bad at all. The buttons on the front panel need a firm push sometimes to activate them and they've sometimes been a little unresponsive in my opinion. Maybe it would be nice to see some modern touch screen buttons implanted in the future although I'm sure touch screen styled buttons would probably be less durable over time.

                  Conclusion
                  To conclude, the Bosch WTE8630 is a top quality machine with only a few minor problems. The performance of the product is brilliant with my clothes coming out dry and crease free. There are lots of different settings you can choose which reflect what the composition of your load is, the door is large and easy to open and the drum is of a good size taking loads of up to 7kg in weight. I love the black design of the product with the orange LED light and silver trim, it looks very stylish and modern in my opinion. The metal and plastic construction is very durable and I've experienced no problems in the years I've owned the machine but the Co-op do offer a 2 year guarantee should anything go wrong. The product has been out for a few years now and as such is becoming harder to buy in the UK. The £379.99 price tag I paid was quite high for a tumble dryer but was one that reflected the superb performance and durability of the product. Overall I would highly recommend the Bosch WTE8630 if you can pick one up for around the price I paid, so in summary, an outstanding appliance from Bosch. Thanks for reading my review.

                  © Revo9 (2011)
                  *Note, I am both a member of Ciao and Dooyoo.co.uk under the same username of Revo9*

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                  • Hotpoint RLS175P / Fridge / 51 Readings / 49 Ratings
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                    28.08.2011 14:31
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                    You certainly get what you pay for!

                    Hotpoint RLS175P

                    The RLS175P is a spacious fridge, providing good value for money, quiet operation and a good A rated efficiency score. The RLS175P was a fair investment but I did notice a couple of design faults and felt the overall build quality of the product was a little low considering it was manufactured by Hotpoint.

                    Appearance/Features
                    In terms of dimensions, the product is (W)60x(H)175x(D)65.5 cm and has a capacity of 348 litres. The height of the product is superb and it is assorted with plastic shelves throughout meaning you can store a large amount of food easily. There are also two salad drawers, an egg rack, a wine bottle holder rack, milk holder and some other racks for storing an assortment of products. Some shelves are also made from glass and are advertised as "safety glass" and feel slightly sturdier than the plastic ones. The product is of a solid white colour and whilst it may appear basic, it is of a clean and humble finish. There is an interior light inside the fridge which comes on when you open the door. The door is quite large and heavy and does need some effort in order to close it. Once closed it makes a slight locking noise which is when you know the door is full closed and not open ajar slightly. The handle is one which sticks out and is not engineered into the panel itself. This serves a purpose, in that the handle is reversible and can be positioned so the door can open both possible ways. There is also a temperature control unit inside the fridge which acts a little bit like a thermostat you would have on a boiler or heater.

                    Durability
                    I've had the product for 5 months now and I've not really experienced any major/serious problems in that time it must be said, but certainly a number of smaller ones do exist. Firstly, it should be noted that the quality is a little tacky and weak in my opinion. For a Hotpoint product I would expect a near invulnerable build quality which with the predominantly plastic shelf/rack construction and temperature fluctuations I really don't feel you get. Even with a value for money product, I would expect a fridge to last a good many years but with the RLS175P I fear may not. Only time will tell if the product stands the test of time but given the fact Hotpoint only give you a 1 year guarantee furthermore makes me question the design quality of the product.

                    Pricing
                    I purchased the Fridge from Comet for the price of £243. This made the product a lower end valued white goods appliance but for the sheer size of the fridge, one I thought was very good. £243 is a fantastic price for the fridge but with the poor build quality and a few design flaws, I'm starting to design it was put together haphazardly. I have saw online, the product going from £300-£330 which is far too much in my opinion, £243 from comet is much more reasonable.

                    Problems
                    I did notice a few problems with the RLS175P but none which have completely stopped the fridge from working. As mentioned some of the plastic is of a poor quality and I've found the handle starting to become wobbly and loose. If you accidentally leave the fridge door open there are no warning sounds or lights to tell you that the door is ajar, meaning you could risk everything defrosting if left overnight. The door does need some effort to close, so a feeble swing here and there will not be enough. Certainly if your an older person, I would bear this in mind. The egg rack holder component whilst useful I find is awkward for holding different sized eggs efficiently. Finally and probably most importantly, as the fridge is so tall, temperature fluctuations do occur between the top and bottom of the fridge. I have tested this with two thermometers and the difference was fairly noticeable on a few occasions, I am considering this a major design fault although the fluctuation difference I measured did vary and occasionally was only a few degrees out.

                    Conclusion
                    The Hotpoint RLS175P was a fair investment to me and mainly because of the bargain £243 price tag I paid for at Comet. The fridge is very large, with shelves and racks in both the fridge and inside the door. I can't help but think a single large salad rack at the bottom would have been better than two separate drawers, the build quality was slightly weak, temperature fluctuations existed which I blame for the sheer size of the fridge and the handle is slowly coming looser. Although you may consider these minor faults, and my RLS175P fridge has not totally broken down as of yet and remains in decent operation. The A rating for efficiency was very good in that you could expect to save money longterm and the product in operation was fairly quiet and noiseless. Overall I would give the consumer on a budget a cautious recommendation given the size and price of the fridge but do take into consideration there are a number of small problems in my opinion and ones which I would not expect from a Hotpoint appliance which only offer you a 1 year guarantee. I certainly believe there are more durable higher quality fridges out there but ones which will cost a lot more however. Thanks for reading my review.

                    © Revo9 (2011)
                    *Note, I am both a member of Ciao and Dooyoo.co.uk under the same username of Revo9*

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                    • Hoover OPH616 / Washing Machine / 41 Readings / 39 Ratings
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                      25.08.2011 12:30
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                      • "Ease of use"

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                      Great washing machine!

                      Hoover OPH616

                      The Hoover OPH616 is a good value for money, powerful and efficient washing machine. The product is durable, comes with a 5 year guarantee and has a range of easy to use functions. I bought my OPH616 from a local electrical store near to my house for £250 6 months ago and consider it a really good investment.

                      Appearance
                      In terms of dimensions, the washing machine measures 85x60x52cm which is about the average size of a washing machine in the UK. The OPH616 itself is entirely white save for a few grey logos and is made from tough plastic and metal components. The far top right of the product features a grey hoover logo and opens out. This is where you can put your cleaning product in or if you use tablets, you will just throw them in with the clothes. To the far left of the machine are 4 buttons with indentations on them and a large dial. These are indeed power settings, rinse settings and delayed start buttons to name but a few. The centre of the product features a large door leading to a metal foiled drum which has a 6kg capacity for clothes/load. The bottom of the OHP616 has 4 small black feet which raise the machine slightly above the floor.

                      Features
                      The OHP616 is packed with a good range of handy and useful features. The product boasts a powerful 1600 rpm of power which is about 200 rpm more than my older Zanussi washing machine. The product features a child lock which is very useful if you have young kids. There are delayed start functions which I've found great in that you can suit the washing to your lifestyle and time constraints. There is options for a cold wash and you can select the spin speed of the wash your about to put in, as well as drain settings, quick wash and some temperature settings. All of the settings are useful and offer good variety to get the type of wash you intend to. With the 1600 rpm of power, if you select the maximum settings I've found very tough stains come off most clothes efficiently; the OHP616 does have top cleaning power.

                      Efficiency
                      The OPH616 is among the best washing machines currently on the UK market in terms of efficiency. I've found it cheap to run which reflects the A+ efficiency rating the product has. The machine was advertised at consuming about 1.02Kwh per cycle and needing about 45 litres of water, which is much better than my Zanussi washing machine I had prior. Overall, top marks for efficiency.

                      Ease of Use
                      The front door is easy to open yet locks securely and has a child lock for added safety. The cleaning compartment to the top right opens easily, allowing you to pour/sprinkle your cleaning product in. The buttons are all very well labelled in grey font and the dial is easy to twist. The product comes with an instruction manual but I've mainly been able to just follow what each button/dial setting does due to the clearly labelled font/pictures. The operation of the product is fairly quiet as well, you can still hear it washing but this is far from overpowering. Overall a simple and easy to use washing machine that is not too overwhelming or complicated to use.

                      Durability
                      The OPH616 comes with a 5 year guarantee which was a bit of a surprise since I wasn't aware of this. I've never experienced any leakages, software or hardware problems with the product and I've had it for about 6 months now. I've not actually heard any problems with the machine as well and from the solid build quality and construction, I rate the product highly for durability. Should there be any problems then the 5 year guarantee from Hoover is comforting but may come with terms and conditions into how you can use the guarantee.

                      Pricing
                      The Hoover OPH616 was very well priced in my opinion, I paid £250 from a local electrical store and I've seen it advertised on Amazon UK a bit cheaper at about £244. You save money/consumption due to the high efficiency of the product too, which has also saved me some money this past 6 months. The product is easy to use, powerful, functional and safe, so I had no reservations paying £250 for it. The OPH616 is made by top appliance manufacturer Hoover, so baring this in mind also, £244-£250 seems a very competitive price for a quality washing machine.

                      Drawbacks
                      There aren't many problems I've found using the product, just minor ones in my opinion. The first would be that the drum is a little on the small side at 6kg. This is fine for my current situation but if you have a large family, it's worth knowing that the drum is a little small if you plan or big heavy loads. The second thing I've noticed is that a lot the functions whilst useful, are predetermined already by the machine. For example, when in use on a particular spin setting for a certain time period, you are not allowed to change the temperature. I think this is a bit of a design fault and would like to see more flexible settings introduced in the future.

                      Conclusion
                      To conclude, the Hoover OPH616 is a fantastic, powerful, easy to use product in my opinion. Couple this with a very reasonable price tag of £244 to £250 in the UK and I had no hesitations in buying one. Although the drum is a bit small and the settings are too fixed/predetermined in my opinion, I find that these are only minor problems in contrast to the rating of the overall product. I now enjoy nice clean clothes, efficient power consumption and a great range of settings, which is all I really come to expect from a washing machine. Overall the Hoover OPH616 is a top product and one I would highly recommend for the price. Thanks for reading my review.

                      © Revo9 (2011)
                      *Note, I am both a member of Ciao and Dooyoo.co.uk under the same username of Revo9*

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                      • More +
                        23.08.2011 13:07
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                        3 Comments

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                        Not the most durable but can be bought cheaply

                        The Kitchen Craft Cook Blowtorch is a fun cooking appliance used in certain dishes such as crisping up meat and steak and certain desserts. The product was a fair investment that I found fun to use in finishing off certain dishes but it did have limited use. The blowtorch operates via gas ignition and an anti-flare flame. I purchased the item from a local cooking ware shop for £8.50.

                        Appearance
                        The model is quite light but firm to hold. The product features a base at the bottom for it to stand on a horizontal surface, a black rubberised grip section in the centre of the product, a small red button the side and a funnel with a black end which is where the flame comes out from. The product with its chrome coloured metal base construction looks quite modern except I did find it slightly cheap and tacky looking. Although it felt firm to hold in my hand I did think it was a rather weak construction that was maybe thrown haphazardly together by Kitchen Craft.

                        Ease of Use
                        The product is refillable and needs butane gas, not lighter fluid or any other combustible material. Butane gas is readily available and I purchased some from the home/cooking ware shop I bought the blowtorch itself from. The product is bought empty meaning it does not have butane gas in it already. The cylinder can hold 20 cubic centimetres of butane gas which lasts a while but certainly not forever. The red button to the side of the product for ignition is in a somewhat awkward place in my opinion, it was hard to press and I think this was somewhat of a design fault. The product did ignite quickly and featured an anti-flare mechanism whereby you could use the product at awkward positions and not just straight on. The flame is adjustable so it was useful to heat foods to different temperatures rather than the product just having a fixed flame.

                        Durability
                        I don't think the durability of the product was all that good. The product did feel a bit weak and flimsy and did not have the greatest construction in my opinion. I have noticed that after a while, the ignition button is become a bit dodgy and unresponsive. It used to work safely and easily but now I've found it unresponsive which combined with its difficult to press position on the cylinder is a real let down. The product will last a good couple of years of sporadic or light use but I certainly don't see it lasting very long. Overall i would give it a low durability score.

                        Useability
                        The product was good fun to use on steak and some desserts like crème brulee or rice pudding but apart from that I found the device in general has limited usage. I think it could be used for model aircraft/miniature work or even soldering (if it was on a high temperature setting )but in terms of how often I use the product, it is few and far between. If you're into cooking foods which would require the blowtorch or are a chef then the product would be very useable, but for the average consumer I think the Kitchen Craft blowtorch has limited uses.

                        Pricing
                        I found the product reasonable priced at £8.50 in my local cooking ware shop and the butane gas cylinders only cost me a few pound when it needs filling. You can also buy the product on Amazon UK for £8.47 currently with free delivery if you don't unlike me have a suitable shop nearby. The product has seen limited use and suffers from a bit of a weak construction in my opinion, but for around £8.50 you can't go wrong giving it a try.

                        Conclusion
                        I found the product to be an ok purchase but probably one I could have gone without. The device does have its uses in cooking for steak and desserts but apart from that I found I never really need to use the product. The construction is a bit haphazard, the ignition button has become unresponsive over time and is in an awkward position but apart from this it does everything to an ok standard. The flame is of a good size and can be adjusted which is a bonus, the rubberised grip section in the middle is handy and allows a good grip and the £8.50 price tag was reasonable. The product is a bit of a budget blowtorch which I think reflects the low price tag, but if you would benefit from owning a blowtorch then the Kitchen Craft blowtorch is a reasonable investment but not anything special in my opinion. Thanks for reading my review.

                        © Revo9 (2011)
                        *Note, I am both a member of Ciao and Dooyoo.co.uk under the same username of Revo9*

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                        • Dyson DC25 Animal / Vacuum Cleaner / 38 Readings / 36 Ratings
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                          22.08.2011 14:08
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                          Good product but very expensive!

                          Dyson DC25 Animal

                          The DC25 Animal is a top of the range, powerful, upright vacuum cleaner made by Dyson. The product in particular is targeted for people with pets and a separate DC25 version is available for general carpet cleaning needs. The vacuum cleaner features ball technology for manoeuvrability, HEPA filters and an attractive design. I bought the DC25 Animal as an upgrade for my good all round but slightly run of the mill Bissell 82H5E vacuum cleaner. Although very pricey, the DC25 is a very good vacuum cleaner.

                          Appearance
                          The look of the DC25 Animal is very modern in my opinion. The product features a predominantly plastic design and is mainly dark silver in colour but with some shiny purple components to complement this. The product features an ergonomically designed handle to the top, a silver shaft, leading a purple component which holds the clear 1.38 litre bin collection tray in place. Inside the collection bin is a dark grey motor/suction component which has small holes in it. There is a small release handle above the bin which is also silver in colour and made from plastic. Towards the base of the vacuum in the centre, is a purple ball, which allows the product to pivot and turn whilst in motion. Towards the back of this wheel is a small grey roller wheel with an upright release and power pedal either side and clearly marked. To the front of the purple ball is a flat rectangular section which is a brush bar with small red bristles upon it, intended for deep suction power for pet hairs in carpets. The product weighs 7.4kg and whilst quite thin in terms of width, is rather long and not the smallest product on the market. There is a silver Dyson logo to the far left of the rectangular flat brush bar at the base of the vacuum cleaner.

                          Features
                          The product features a HEPA filter which was advertised as good for allergy sufferers, the HEPA filter is also washable. As mentioned the purple ball to the bottom of the product allows good manoeuvrability and control, and despite its rather long shape, it is quite agile provided you have modest strength. The handle area just to the top of the bin container features a quick release function for easy removal should the bin get full of dust and pet hair. As with most modern vacuum cleaners the product is bag less and just relies on cleaning the bin container for maintenance. The product is very powerful, more so than my Bissell 82H5E, as it features complicated "Root cyclone technology" for very deep cleaning. There is a retractable hose for cleaning stairs and other difficult places which is also very powerful and is 4.8 metres in length. On top of the powerful root cyclone technology, the flat rectangular brush bar just in front of the ball, also penetrates carpets very deeply and has fine red bristles for further cleaning potential. The product was advertised at removing particles from just 0.1 microns in size which is very, very small. Towards the back of the product is a region for storing various assorted bristles and brushes on board the DC25 and two hooked plastic regions which allow you to tie the power cord around when not in use. The power cord is of adequate length, it is 7.5metres in length, and will fit standard UK plugs easily. There is also a mini turbine head cleaner on the product which looks like a small mobile vacuum cleaner which is also intended for small, cramped, confined spaces that the main brush bar is too big for.

                          Durability
                          The product comes with a 5 year guarantee by Dyson which is very handy and comes complementary with also DC25 Animal vacuum cleaners I'm led to believe. The product feels sturdy and tough but it is made from plastic and I have noticed that the durability is let down slightly in places. These include the power/upright release pedals and the quick release bin handle. The product on the whole however, is sturdily made and the plastic of a good quality. Couple this with the 5 year guarantee and fact I've had very, very few problems in regard to the DC25's durability, and you have a very tough vacuum cleaner.

                          Ease of Use/Maintenance
                          In terms of myself personally, the vacuum cleaner is easy to use, but the relatively heavy weight of 7.4kg would certainly be a tall task for elderly or disabled people. It all depends on the person and it would be great if anyone who is interested in purchasing the DC25 animal could pick it up and get a feel for the weight to see if it is suitable for them. The ball technology certainly helps and I greatly prefer it in regard to ease of use compared to fully upright ones which offer limited mobility. I can turn and cut corners fairly easily and the ball does offer great manoeuvrability in my opinion. The suction is very powerful on the product and a lot of animal hair and dust is collected, much more than with my older Bissell 82H5E vacuum cleaner. I find I don't have to keep making return trips to get rid of hair and dust as it usually picks everything up first time with the top suction power. Maintenance is quite frequent with the slightly small bin collection tub but is very easy to click out of place and clean. The HEPA filter is also washable and can be detached should you notice any problems and need to wash the filter.

                          Pricing
                          The price of the DC25 is certainly not cheap, making it an upper market priced product. I bought my DC25 from Amazon UK for the cost of £251.24, which is on the cheap side in the UK. Curry's, Tesco and B&Q actually retail the product in upwards of £350 which is far too much in my opinion for a vacuum cleaner. For the powerful suction power, attractive design, good manoeuvrability and handy attachments (hose cleaner, attachable bristles and mini turbine cleaner) I think £251.24 would be a reasonable but very high price for a DC25 for some people. Anything above this is radically extortionate in my opinion and how certain UK retailers are trying to sell DC25s for £350+ is borderline ridiculous.

                          Drawbacks
                          The product was advertised as light in weight, but at 7.4kg I certainly don't think this holds true for the eldery, disabled or small people. I am a boxer and weight lifter and I can manoeuvre it around fairly efficiently, but certainly people who have less strength than me will struggle. It's not the heaviest vacuum cleaner I've ever owned but I think it being advertised as "lightweight" is very misleading. The bin is also a little on the small side at 1.38 litres in size. The bin needs frequent emptying and cleaning after each vacuum and could be made a little bigger in my opinion. Thirdly, I find the bin handle quick release component and the power/upright release pedals a little bit flimsy and brittle in my opinion. The upright release pedal is coming a little slack although is still very much useable, but for just over £250 you expect very few durability problems. I may have to use the 5 year warranty should it deteriorate but I'll stand optimistic I won't need to.

                          Conclusion
                          The Dyson DC25 Animal vacuum cleaner is a very good product for removing pet hair and dust from carpets and flooring. It is great for pet owners and provided you have reasonable strength, easy to manoeuvre around. The design is modern and attractive, the hose extension, mini turbine cleaner and bristle attachments are useful in those hard to reach places. The 5 year warranty is very kind of Dyson provided the price you pay and the durability on the whole is good. The product is slightly heavy in my opinion, the bin a bit on the small side and the pedals are slightly loose but these are fairly minor problems. I greatly prefer the DC25 to my older Bissell 82H5E vacuum cleaner in terms of performance but the very high price of the product is a real dampener in my opinion. Amazon or eBay are your cheapest bet for a brand new DC25 at just above £250 but other well known UK retailers like Currys/B&Q are selling for £350 upwards which is far too much. A very good product for removing pet hairs and one which I would recommend if this product meets your expectations, but a product I can only score 4 stars due to the very expensive price currently advertised to the UK consumer. Thanks for reading my review.

                          © Revo9 (2011)
                          *Note, I am both a member of Ciao and Dooyoo.co.uk under the same username of Revo9*

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                          • Kenwood BL650 / Blender / 37 Readings / 34 Ratings
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                            20.08.2011 19:59
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                            Great blender which is top quality!

                            Kenwood BL650

                            The Kenwood BL650 is an upper quality electronic blender with an assortment of functions and a strong 600W of power. The product is sturdy, easy to clean and comes with a good instruction manual. I paid £52 for the product from a local electrical shop and consider it a top investment.

                            Appearance
                            The product looks very modern and clean in appearance. There is a glass 1.6L capacity container to the top of the product with a grey plastic lid that goes on during operation. The container sits on a silver matt finished base with a small "Kenwood" logo to the bottom in grey font. Above the logo are 8 circular buttons which are touch buttons in a grey plastic finish. They are illuminated with a red light when they are on which loks very stylish. The product is not the smallest blender on the market but this is largely due to the big 1.6L capacity of the container jug and the modern base it sits on. Overall a top quality finish and design by Kenwood in my opinion that looks great in a modern kitchen.

                            Features
                            The 1.6L jug container has measurements calibrated down the side which are imprinted into the glass. There is also a handle to the side which is of good size and easy to grip, again a great functional idea. The base the jug sits on features 3 speed buttons identifiable as vertical lines on each button. Below this are 5 buttons which can also be illuminated by a red light and these buttons are for pulse, programming and power settings. The product features a UK plug which fits into standard UK plugs without need for an adaptor. The product boasts a powerful 600W of power which on the highest speed setting of 3 (shown as "III" on the button on the base) makes quick work of most things in its path.

                            Durability
                            The durability of the blender has been brilliant, I have experienced no overheating, no components breaking off, no power problems and all the buttons still work perfect with the red LED backlight illuminating them. I believe care must be taken when cleaning the blade as that seems to be the most delicate part of the product and the way it must balance on the motor to work efficiently. A superb quality blender made by Kenwood that even comes with a manufacturer's warranty of 12 months which is complementary and always handy.

                            Ease of Use/Cleaning
                            The product is very simple to use, you mainly just set the machine to one of the three speed buttons depending on what you intend to blend. The instruction manual is great and gives you an idea of what foods/fruits need what particular power setting or programming timer. The buttons are very easy to press and with the LED red illuminating light behind them, you can easily see which setting has been selected. Cleaning is also very easy, provided you take care on cleaning and reassembling the blade. All parts come apart and the glass jug container is easy to clean quickly even if it is quite messy. It's always better to clean the product straight away rather than leaving foods to dry and stick to the product which are a tad more difficult to clean.

                            Pricing
                            I paid £52 for the BL650 which I purchased from a local electrical store. I've also seen the product advertised on Very, eBay and Amazon UK marketplace where it sells for between £45 to £55. I think the £52 I paid for my product very well spent, as the product is powerful, easy to clean and use and very durable. You can pick up the Kenwood BL335 blender for around £20 but the jug container is smaller, the machine is less powerful, has less features and has a less attractive design than the BL650. I think you pay for what you get for, the BL650 is a great quality upper price range blender and one which I consider good value considering the top build quality.

                            Drawbacks
                            I never experienced any real problems with the BL650 other than that care had to be taken to clean and re-attach the blade to the motor component. The machine as advised in the instructions manual cannot be run for more than 60 seconds at any one time as it apparently reduces the life of the product. Most foods can be blended quickly within 60 seconds, but for tougher foods you might need multiple cycles to ensure a smooth well blended mixture.

                            Conclusion
                            To conclude, I think my BL650 has been a brilliant investment and try to use it as often as I can. I mainly make smoothies with it but you can blend almost any food if you read the instruction manual for advice. The 600W of power is great for nearly all foods and it is very easy to use with the touch buttons and pulse/pre-programming functions on the base. The jug is made of good quality glass and the handle and calibrated measurement signs are very handy. The product has very few problems which I highlighted in the prior paragraph and is a very solid product from Kenwood. The £52 price tag puts it probably into the upper market range in terms of blenders but the product is among the best in the market in my opinion. Overall, a great product and I would highly recommend the Kenwood BL650 blender. Thanks for reading my review.

                            © Revo9 (2011)
                            *Note, I am both a member of Ciao and Dooyoo.co.uk under the same username of Revo9*

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                            • DeLonghi HCM2030 / Heater / 47 Readings / 45 Ratings
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                              19.08.2011 19:16
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                              Top quality electric heater

                              Delonghi HCM2030

                              The HCM2030 is a compact electric heater made by well established Italian manufacturer, Delonghi. The product boasts a great 2kW of power, has a built in thermostat and operates quietly. I bought my HCM2030 from a local electrical store for £30 but the product is also available online. Overall the HCM2030 was a very good investment and I recommend it highly.

                              Appearance
                              The HCM2030 is of a compact and portable size. The heater is very light at just 2.8kg making it moveable by almost anyone. The product is made from a plastic and metal construction which complements well. At the top of the HCM2030 is a metal grill which is where the heat rises from. At the sides of this grill are two plastic handles which are grey in colour and easy to grip. The main body of the product is white and flat in appearance, constructed of a thin but robust metal. There is a maker's logo to the centre of this main body panel in grey font surrounded by a grey circle. To the right hand side of the heater is a small grill which is also present on the left side as well. This leads down to a plastic grey coloured dial which is the thermostat. There are numbers around the dial such as "1", "2" and "3" which are heating settings. Below this are two switches which correspond to the thermostat settings and when it will cut off with horizontal lines on them. At the bottom of the product are two plastic feet which provide a good stable base but need a screwdriver to be fitted securely. The product has attachments that allow it to be wall mountable should you wish so, however I just use mine free standing with the plastic feet.

                              Durability
                              The durability of the HCM2030 has been of a high quality. The product is made from tough plastic and strong metal throughout and I have experienced no overheating or short circuiting. All of the dials work well and nothing has melted in the inside of the heater. I've been using the product for about 9 months now, mostly in the winter and not encountered any problems so far. To conclude, the product is reliably built by Delonghi to a high standard.

                              Ease of Use
                              The product is very easy to use in my opinion. There is no power switch, you simply plug it into a UK standard plug socket and wait for the machine to heat up. It takes around 10 minutes to heat a smallish room on the first thermostat setting which is reasonable despite its small size. The dial has numerous settings which you just twist to increase the temperature or lower it. The handles are a good size and couple this with a 2.8kg weight, make it very portable around the house. The product operates very quietly which is very desirable in my opinion as a noisy electric heater is a real turn off for most consumers.

                              Pricing
                              I purchased my Delonghi HCM2030 from a local electrical store which gave me a complementary 12 month warrany should anything go wrong. The price I paid was £30 which for the high heat power, portable size and ease of use make it very good value for money. It is also sold on the Amazon marketplace for around £38 and can also be bought from Sainsbury's for around £45. My advice would be to shop around for the cheapest price you can get even though most places sell the HCM2030 for a very reasonable price.

                              Problems
                              There are few problems with the HCM2030 it is an all round good product. However I did find in terms of assembly the feet require a screwdriver to fit onto the bottom of the product. If you don't have a screwdriver then this could be a problem for you. The thermostat is slightly random and not the most precise when it comes to maintaining a particular range of temperatures. It is certainly not the worst but it could be improved in terms of its accuracy in my opinion. For a small sized room it takes about 10 minutes before you notice the heat coming into effect which is reasonable in my opinion but others may think negatively of this delay. There are no On/Off power buttons or LED lights which would show you the product is firstly turned on and secondly working in good safe order. I would like to see an LED power button implemented in the future which would allow you to visually see the product is on as oppose to just waiting to feel the heat.

                              Conclusion
                              In my opinion the HCM2030 was a great investment and one which sees regular use in the winter time. The 2kW power of the heater is powerful and it heats up a small room in about 10 minutes despite its small size. The product is light and the handles are easy to hold meaning older people could carry the heater around the house easily. The thermostat is easy to use if not a little inaccurate at times. Apart from the fact the product has no LED lights or on/off buttons and needs a screwdriver to attach the feet, the product is very well priced in the UK. I found the durability of the product very good indeed and I've had no reason to use my 12 month guarantee from the shop I bought it from. Overall it's a very good affordable electric heater with few problems, a highly recommendable product from Delonghi. Thanks for reading my review.

                              © Revo9 (2011)
                              *Note, I am both a member of Ciao and Dooyoo.co.uk under the same username of Revo9

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