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First of all I should say that I'm a very light photographer - and I mean light, mainly I use the camera for learning about the basics of photography, and for taking quick snaps here and there.
I think therefore I'm able to give a review of the camera from a laymans perspective - how easy it is to use, what the pictures look like to a layman, value for money etc.
On those grounds I can say the camera is great on all fronts - it has a metallic feels that prevents it from feeling plasticy and cheap, the LCD display on the back is nice a colorful - with lots of detail being shown.
In standard camera style all the different shooting options are laid on a dial at the top of the camera, along with the zoom functionality, all seem easy to use and handily the camera gives a quick explanation of the optimal uses on the lcd screen itself - so it makes it easier to pick the option for the shot.
Battery life is fine, the camera lasts a days to a week of moderate use, before giving up and fortunately it comes with a charger and rechargeable battery - so no need to buy costly AA batterys.
All in all the camera is great for the layman, I can't vouch for the professional or avid photographer, but then I don't think this camera is for them.
For everyone else though it's great.
Just bought my GTX 580, thought I would write a short review about it.
This thing is amazing, I upgraded from a GTX 460, and I'm amazed by how good it is, I play on a 23 inch 1080p screen and this thing can handle pretty much ANY game thrown at it.
We're talking 60 fps on Battlefield 3 on ultra settings, amazing, I coupled this with 8 Gigs of G.skill Ram and an i5 2500k processor - altogether I expect this thing to last me for many years to come, giving me great framerates and details all the way.
Obviously for the less techy members buying a graphics card can be a daunting task - so many variations on just one card, I settled for this one because it came at a good price - is a recognised brand, and had a good amount of VRAM, I believe this card also comes in a 3 Gig variety - however the performance gain from having that extra 1.5 gig of ram is negligeble.
All in all, a great card for anyone from the biggest gamers to those media center type pc's.
Every family has a name for one.
The box. The doofer. The Buttons, and heaven forbid ... the remote control?
Everyone will be familiar with this little piece of kit too - the sky+ remote, which also doubles as a remote control for your T.V
You see, it won't render your T.V remote redundant - and that's it's biggest problem. It doesn't switch between A.V settings. Now I can understand a universal remote not being able to get into the intricate setting of a T.V - but when it can't do a basic function that a lot of T.V's need before they can be put onto the sky+ service, it's not really saving you any time or energy is it.
Which is annoying, countless times I'v had something come on that I want to watch, so I plump myself down pick up the sky+ remote and then search frantically for my lost T.V remote to switch over to the correct input.
Luckily that's all that's wrong with the Sky+ remote, sure it's a little heavy, but it's comfortable and responsive and most importantly it's batteries that come supplied with it last an age.
If you have Sky+ you'll need it, if you don't then don't buy it as a universal control.
My old microwave met a rather unfortunate end last week, so we decided to go buy this one and didn't want to spend to much money.
Looking at my other reviews you wouldn't be wrong in saying I'm somewhat of a techhead - but microwaves never really tickled my fancy so I wasn't itching for the latest and greatest model. This Sanyo fits the bill quite nicely, it's really really simple - just two dials for power and time.
What more could be easier? For the life of my I can't figure out the more expensive microwaves with there myriad of useless settings - I don't want to defrost 58 grams of the finest russian caviar thanks.
The microwave cooking itself is, for my money at least, indistinguishable from the bigger more expensive models, baked potatoes are nice and fluffy - if slightly leathery on the outside. Reheated food is piping hot within a few moments.
What more did you expect?
What more did you want?
Back in the day, you where Mortal Kombat guy, or a Street Fighter 2 guy. Mortal Kombat was rough and ready, blood gore and sweat it brought out the carnal instincts in us - and appealed to the less intelligent less discerning player.
I was a Mortal Kombat guy back then.
I'm a Mortal Kombat guy now.
Oh yes, it's back, and back with style - this has to be the most fully featured fighting game to come out in ten years. I was partially afraid of cracking open the game case and booting this up, I didn't want my childhood memories to be wrecked by a poor cash in decades later.
They weren't, this is a fantastic game - worth of the name, and surprisingly one that pushes the boundary of what a fighting game should be, gone are the stifled "arcade mode" which was just a boring way to practice your skills before you went onto a slightly laggy multiplayer ( I'm looking at you SF4). The single player mode in Mortal Kombat is actually a 12 hour campaign mode, taking you through a faintly ridiculous but entertaining story where you play as most of the characters in your fight against the menace of Shao Kahn!
Also making a return is the challenge mode, 300 challenges each and spins on the core fighting mechanic - fight without arm's, fight upside down and many many more. Yeah, it's definetly goofy, but it's a lot of fun and it gives you a lot of practice before you go into the multiplayer suite.
Speaking of multiplayer.
It's dissapointing, the core of a really good game is there, but the somewhat poor netcode takes away from the fun of it - and truth be told I never really got into the multiplayer.
Still though, the game is great and you should definetly pick it up - it's only around £20 on amazon, and definetly definetly get a new version - as this is an online pass game.
My iPod, my first, nearly my last.
Not quite but for the time this thing was the best.
A thousand songs in my pocket? Unheard of, for an affordable price? From apple? What on earth ...
But thats what was being offered here, this was the same iPod as the higher end versions, just slightly cut down and with a very cool - in my opinion - silver shell.
4 Gig of storage nowadays sounds pretty terrible for a stand alone player but back then, man it was great - I could fit a good portion of my music collection on it and the stuff that I couldn't get on there, I could just cycle on later on with the fantastic I tunes integration. It really was a marvel back then.
However, is it worth it today ? Well if you can get one that still works - and a battery that isn't totally dead hell yes it is, it's somewhat coming back into fashion, it's a little bit different than the other iPods all taking on the iPhone 4 look. In my opinion- they just don't look as good.
The only thing that's holding you back is the slightly tinny sound, which can easily be remedied with a decent set of headphones.
So go on, pick it up for a tenner on ebay - it's much cheaper than todays players, and it's stylings are just old enough to be retro.
Sandy bridge came, sandy bridge saw and sandy bridge conquered.
You have no idea what I'm talking about do you?
It's the new (or somewhat new) Intel i5 2500k Quad Core, 3.3 GHz processor of course.
Lost? Don't worry, all you need to know is that if you're looking for a computer, for gaming office use or basically anything under the sun then this thing is your man.
It's your go to guy. If you see a premade pc your thinking of getting and you aren't sure whether or not this will be suitable for you - in 99% of cases it will be, and if it isn't you probably know what your looking for precisely.
I have the processor hooked up to a Z68 motherboard, working in tandem with a GTX 560 Ti, and I can play ALL the latest games on there highest settings at a high resolution fluently. It's just that good - infact for all current generation games this processor will do fine, an upgrade for gaming shouldn't be needed for a few years at least - and maybe not for longer, depending on how powerful the next Xbox and Playstation are ( Game designers normally design for the lowest common denominator.)
It's a little more expensive than the older AMD Phenom chips but the extra power you get more than makes up for it - if you do go for it then make sure you shop around, sales can go on quite frequently and make sure you get the K version which has an unlocked multiplier making overclocking that much easier. This chip can go up to 5GHz with special cooling systems, and the stock cooling can get it to around 4Ghz stably.
Man, this review is hard to write.
iPad 2, where to start, it does so much right.
It looks great, there's no denying it - Apple have a damned good eye for design, nice sharp lines, a great screen that looks just a tiny bit worse than the iPhone but still looks great.
Amazing integration with the app store, and well ... it just seems to work.
However, the price tag, and what a tag it is - with this model running in at £559 without 3G, moving to £659 with 3G support - and that's BEFORE you pay your carrier the costs if you choose the 3G model.
Apple products have always been ... overpriced? Surviving almost solely on their sense of style but the iPad 2 just takes it a little too far.
Lets look at what you get for over half a grand.
You get an admittedly fast dual core processor, and you get a paltry 64 GB of storage, a rather poor battery life and you get straight-jacketed to what can only be described as the draconian policies of the app store.
The price of tablets such as the iPad needs to come down in price before it deserves the kind of mass market penetration that it must be hoping for, anyone looking at getting a tablet would be well served by searching out for the myriad of other android tablets that are out there. Yeah, they are still expensive but around £300 pounds of hard cash could bag you a Galaxy tab, which more than trades punches with the iPad and comes with the added bonus of not being straight-jacketed to the appstore.
That is until I tried the kindle.
I bought it on a whim a few months ago and whilst I was a little perturbed to see the new Kindle 4 come out that looks a little nicer than this one and is half the price I was glad to see that this one is actually a little better in many ways - and therefore is more than worth a purchase if the money isn't a big deal with you.
Lets start of with that screen, man is it nice. It's so easy to read on and looks a lot more like paper than you would actually think. I thought before I used it that it might be like staring into a monitor to read my books - and anyone who works with a computer knows that's not a good thing. But it's not, theres no eye strain at all, just magnificent e-paper technology.
About the only bad thing I can say about the screen is that it has no back-lighting so you can't read it in the dark without a separate light.
However, this would probably get rid of the incredible 2 month battery, that's right TWO WHOLE MONTHS the kindle will go without needing a charge. Amazing.
An important thing to keep in mind when thinking about e readers in general is to understand that they augment your current book collection. They keep it lightweight, portable and accessible. You can still read books in the home if you want to, getting rid of this either/or mentality is what really opens you up to appreciating the E reader.
The Kindle comes with a great collection of free to access books. Those which are outside copywrite law are placed on Amazon's marketplace as free to read, you could buy this and then literally spend the rest of your life just reading the free to download books.
Finally, this version comes with both Wifi and 3G access, so you can download books anywhere. On the move or not.
In summary then, what's not to like? The price-tag might seem a little high, but your getting a whole lot of bang for your buck here.
Sigh. A cheap LCD tv that I bought back in 2007 without researching for too much money.
What more did I expect?
It wasn't all bad - it still works at least, read more below.
First off this tv is not full HD, it's highest resolution is 720p or 1080i. Note there is a MASSIVE difference between 1080i and 1080p I won't bore you with all the statistics but safe to say if your look for a tv, make sure you go for one that has a 1080p screen luckily, being 32 inches your not likely to be sitting close enough to notice the difference.
Secondly the tv's colours are terrible, horrible and washed out - and not vibrant in the slightest, even for a tv from 2007 it's not acceptable. I use the TV mainly for playing PS3 and Xbox on and it looks pretty bad, details are hard to pick out and it's just generally not as pleasant an experience as it should be.
On the other hand the sound is fine for a tv of it's price, there isn't much bass but the mids and treble are catered for here, it sounds ... quite nice actually. It also comes with a headphones port - which might seem like a small touch, but a lot of very expensive tv's just don't have it and for online console gamers like myself it makes life so much easier just to plug in a set of headphones and get going.
The Tv doesn't handle SD content very well, it's very blocky and shows all the signs of an older generation LCD panel. Not nice.
If you can get it for cheap - and I mean cheap £50 at a cash and carry, this might be worth it for a spare room or a kids tv.
The Google Nexus One. Manufactured by HTC but sold as a Google branded phone, it has a big brother now the Nexus S which is an entirely different beast but lets have a look at this old workhorse for the time being.
The first thing you'll notice about the Nexus One is it's heavy, and solid. This isn't a bad thing being light enough to carry around everywhere and you'll get used to it - infact I quite like it, owning the Samsung Galaxy S 2 now it's hard not to miss that dependable metal feeling. Knowing that the Nexus One can stand up to considerable damage is a high point.
The second thing you'll notice about the Nexus One is that it's fast, sure it's no dual core beast but its 1Ghz processor can still handle the majority of android apps and tasks without too much of a sweat, and it still receives the new android updates before many other phones, making it a must if you love the having the up to date OS.
Unfortunately it comes with a view downsides, the screen whilst nice to look at is a little small by today's standards, and while it is normally quite sensitive it can occasionally freak out - making it very difficult to do normal tasks such as text messaging. This however is rare and can be sorted easily by rebooting the phone. But you really shouldn't have to should you?
The battery life again is a downside, but it's not that much worse than other smartphones. Just be prepared to charge it every night - though there are aftermarket batteries out there. Check out Ebay for them, just be sure to buy a HTC branded battery and not a cheapy. That's never a good idea.
So to round up is this phone worth it? Sure, it's still got plenty of life left in it for my money, it's not future proofed anymore and will probably show its age a year from now, but if your looking for a solid dependable android then this is your phone.
Upgrading your pc can be a bit of a nightmare. So many parts, and the GPU is one of the most expensive and vital parts of the pc to replace or upgrade.
So you need to ask yourself a question, what are you buying the PC for? Gaming? Office work? Family work?
If you answered gaming then read on ...
The GTX 560 Ti is the upgraded, titanium version of the 560. This version of the card is faster, features more cores and comes outfitted with 1 Gig of Vram. The card is price in the midle of the range - more expensive and more powerful than the venerable GTX 460 but below the GTX580 and the current king of graphics the double GPU monster the GTX 590.
So what do you get with the GTX 560 Ti?
1/ You get a very good looking card, that isn't too long compared to some of the other higher specced offerings, or even some of the lower specced ATI Radeons.
2/ You get a lot of horsepower for your buck, this card is probably in the sweet spot for the power/price ratio right now - It'll handle most games on there highest settings with a high resolution. We're talking serious power here 60 FPS on the latest games at 1080p. For a certain Battlefield 3 this game most likely won't run it at 60 fps on ultra, but it'll come close to it on high, and for several hundred pounds under the GTX 580, what more could you want?
Moving on, you're gonna need a decent PSU for this unit - I would recommend a 600W power supply from a good name brand such as Corsair. Why spend this much money when your not gonna give it the juice?
It does come with a mini HDMI port and not full fledged HDMI - so you might have to buy an adaptor to fit it into your standard sized cable. It does come with two DVI ports though - so for most monitors the HDMI problem shouldn't be an issue.
At the end of the day if you're reading this review your probably in the market for a good GPU to power the latest games, this card will do it and more for the next few years at least.
I've had a lot of phones, and I've used a tonne more.
This phone, the Samsung Galaxy S2 is possibly the best all rounder I've ever had. Lets have a look at some of the good and bad points.
Android phones aren't the geeky pursuit that they once where, the fastest growing Mobile OS is android and with iPhones starting to lose a little bit of their sheen, it's high spec phones like the Galaxy S 2 that are mopping up.
It all starts off with that beautifully fast processor, a dual core processor to be exact - it makes everything so fast and responsive. A flick of a finger on the screen brings a jolt of energy to the Galaxy S 2 as it reacts to your every whim precisely.
And what a screen to flick your finger on, this thing is beautiful, and big - so big infact that this thing could double up as a tv screen for some of those long distance train journeys that we all need to take sometimes.
Thats not to say that it's too big to carry around, this thing is thin and light slipping into the tightet of skinny jeans and the smallest of clutch bags with ease.
Backed up with the growing android marketplace which is starting to rival apples marketplace for breadth - and whilst the quality might not be up to par, their are some diamonds in there and normally they are cheaper or free to use on an android.
The only fault of it is that if your use to the metallic feel of a HTC or an Apple phone, the plastic shell of the Samsung might be a little hard to get used to, but in my opinion at least - it's well worth the trade off.
I found looking for a laptop so hard, loads of different technical specifications. CPU, GPU, RAM, HDD, WLAN and on and on and on.
Finally, I came across this little beauty a year and a half ago, it was a little outside my price range but boy am I glad I went for it.
Let's boil all those horrible acronyms down to what actually matters.
1/ It's fast - super fast, it's got a nice dual core 64 bit processor from Intel, couple with 4 Gig of DDR 3 ram.
What does that mean I hear you ask? It means it'll chew through pretty much any programme you throw at it, it'll let you watch HD movies on youtube or anywhere else on the internet and it'll keep you set for the next few years at least.
2/ It's got a really nice, 15.6 inch HD screen, so everything looks beautiful on it - It's not too big and not too small, make no bones about it I wouldn't enjoy lugging this thing around everywhere, but I have and continue to make the occasional trip out of town with it, and it's not too big and cumbersome that it becomes a problem.
What does this mean for you? Well it means you get a future proofed laptop with a nice big screen that can be used by all the family for the years to come, yeah its slightly more expensive than the average entry level laptop but trust me you won't regret it.