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Having now officially hit winter, if you want to play golf right through, then you will need a decent waterproof suit. Now the Stuburt may not be a top of the range suit but it still performs remarkably well for a so called, "budget suit" SO HOW MUCH IS IT THEN? Believe it or not, you can pick up this Stuburt suit for as little as £59.99 online at "The Sports HQ" and with free delivery as well! FEATURES Stuburt's own "Driback" system Zip up legs with velcro straps High rise storm collar Storm flap pockets with hand warmer fleece lining Lightweight mesh-lined trousers Lightweight full zip mesh-lined jacket with integrated fabric panels WHAT'S IT LIKE TO WEAR? The suit, like most modern suits is very light and comfortable and you can swing away without being conscious that you are wearing a jacket and it doesn't "rustle" unlike some others! Stuburts own "Driback" waterproof membrane system is yet another version of good old goretex and in this case it does a good job of keeping you dry. I have to admit that I have had several soakings this year but my clothes underneath have remained bone dry and the suit has performed just as well as some of the more expensive suits I have had in the past. The trousers aren't too baggy and the velcro straps are a nice touch and I find that they keep a lot of the water out and stop it going over the top of your shoes in the worst of the weather and with a 1 year 100% waterproof guarantee, you can't go wrong.. VERDICT All in all, a surprisingly good suit for half the price you would normally pay for a top of the range one.
Now there is no doubting the fact that the Nike Golf Border Coolmax sweater is a quality sweater, it's just, well.... what were they thinking about when they put that pattern on it! This is one sweater that I didn't pay for as I received it for my birthday from a relative and although my initial dislike of the pattern (the black and grey one) put me off, I have since warmed (literally) to the sweater as it does perform pretty well. Seriously though, did someone start to design a jigsaw on the sweater then changed his mind halfway through! All joking aside, if you can get by the, let's say, "quirky" looks then this is a seriously good sweater (or good old, "jumper" in Scotland) which keeps you warm and dry. HOW MUCH DOES IT COST? You can get the sweater for £54.99 on Amazon but you may be able to get down to between about £40-£50 if you shop around online. FEATURES Coolmax fabric 55% Coolmax Dupont Polyester & 45% Merino wool Lightweight V-neck collar Rib-knit collar,cuffs and hem WHAT'S IT LIKE TO WEAR? The coolmax sweater is extremely comfortable, mainly due to the Merino wool and will keep you warm and sweat free, due to Coolmax's moisture wicking properties. However I have been caught out before in the cold and when the temperature really drops it is advisable to wear a waterproof jacket on top of this sweater. Like all wool sweaters, this one will keep you dry up to a certain point but of course to avoid a soaking you will need waterproofs. Where the Coolmax comes into it's own is when you have it on in the rain under a jacket and it rapidly draws moisture away from your body and I can testify to this after playing in the rain only last week, only for the temperature to rise later on in the round. As my playing partners complained of being,"all sweaty", I remained cool and able to focus on my golf. VERDICT Another superb clothing product from Nike and well worth the money although I would recommend a re-design on the styling front!
With winter now upon us, if you are one of those rare breeds who play golf right through the winter, then you are going to need a selection of clothing to cover the many varieties of weather we get in this country. The Mizuno Golf Windlite Zip Fleece is ideal when it is maybe between about 4-10 degrees C and you are not expecting any major downpours as although the fleece is water repellent, it is not 100% waterproof. FEATURES Breathable Flexible 100% windproof Soft material for added comfort HOW MUCH DOES IT COST? The fleece can be bought at most online golf shops and the big retail stores like American Golf. The cheapest I have seen online is £29.99 offered by a couple of shops but as ever if you shop around you may get lucky and catch a special offer for less somewhere. WHAT'S IT LIKE TO WEAR? This fleece with its Mizuno Windlite flex technology is breathable but despite its lightness is amazingly warm. I have played recently where it was only 4 deg C with just a t-shirt and the Mizuno fleece on and it did a brilliant job of shutting out the wind and the cold. The material is waterproof to an extent and will keep you dry in a light shower but don't expect to stay dry if you get caught in a good old fashioned Scottish downpour! The flexible, breathable windproof membrane does a good job of wicking away any moisture or sweat which may build up if the temperature rises and the lightness of the fabric doesn't interfere with your swing. All in all, an excellent purchase and exceptional value for money.
For those golfers out there who want a bit more precision on the course then a GPS unit is an essential tool. It is not the case that only low handicappers or professionals need to know exactly how far it is to the green, or hazards on the course but this unit will benefit everyone who plays golf and give them a better indication of how far they can actually hit the ball. So to the Sky Caddie SG5. The unit itself is very compact and comes with its own belt clip but the majority of people will fit it to their caddy car as it will more often than not get in the way on your belt! WHAT'S IN THE BOX? Sky caddie SG5 Wall charger Quick start guide Belt clip Quick set-up overview User guide Installation CD (note that mac users will need to download the software via the sky caddie website as the included CD is not mac compatible) FEATURES Shot tracking which measures the distance of your shots Scores and statistics which has newly been added with the latest software release. This feature not only tracks your score but can record putts, fairways hit, although I would have expected a bit more here like greens in regulation, sand saves etc. Caddie sync and club SG is available but this is very much a work in progress where up to 10 rounds can be saved and synced to a website. I have to admit that I was not impressed with this feature as I had numerous problems uploading score and there were several error messages and To be blunt this feature should have been omitted until it was perfected. Auto advance which means the device automatically advances to the next hole when you get there. Preferences: The sky caddie has a whole host of settings which can be adjusted depending on personal preference like using the centre or the front of the green as a reference, what distance to switch to green view and whether a detailed green view is required. IS IT EASY TO SET UP? It is extremely easy to set up the device, given the detailed instructions provided although you still need access to a computer to create an account. Firstly, once you have set up your account, you will need to purchase a membership plan, the cheapest being £29.95pa right up to £79.95 every 3 years. Once this is done you can install the course management software (caddie sync) on your computer which will then let you search for and select your courses (up to a maximum of 15 courses, 10 standard and 5 mapped by yourself). Once this is done then you connect the usb to the device and sync your courses. Sky caddie claims 100% coverage of courses in the UK but it is closer to 98% as a few courses are actually user mapped. ON THE COURSE Well I hear you say, what's the sky caddie actually like to use on the course? Well let's get one thing straight for starters as you will need to be aware that the device is water resistant but NOT waterproof so the first thing you might want to do is ensure you have some sort of transparent waterproof holder like the aquapac case which can be bought at www.aquapac.net. The device is rather chunky and although I started off with it in my pocket I soon transferred it to a waterproof case attached to my bag. The screen is a decent size and very clear to read but you might want to spend some time acquainting yourself with the user manual before you take it out on the course as there are 7 separate buttons as well as a scroll pad. You have a centre scroll pad, left and right soft keys, an information button, a menu button, a hole button and finally a mark bal button. Having said that the layout is very intuitive and it's easy to pick out reference points at a glance like front, middle and back of the green or how far to a hazard. As regards to accuracy I have had no issues here and standing beside set markers on the course, the sky caddie is spot on and I have found it to be accurate to up to about +/- 4 yards. HOW MUCH DOES IT COST? The cheapest I have seen the skycaddie sg5 sell for is about £180 if you can get it in stock but it is usually around the £200 mark. VERDICT While the SG5 is a good range finder I can't help but feel a tad disappointed at having to pay extra for the courses, the glitches in the software and the lack of extra features for such a high price.
With Christmas fast approaching I thought it was high time I reviewed some of the classic remote control toys on the market. In this case I am reviewing the Syma S107G helicopter which will give young and old alike hours of fun. HOW MUCH DOES IT COST? Recently I have seen the Syma for just under £15 on good old Amazon and if you can beat this price you are doing well but you better be quick as these always sell like hot cakes before Christmas! WHAT'S IN THE BOX? Helicopter Remote control unit Instruction manual Charging cable Extra tail blades WHAT COLOUR DOES IT COME IN? The Syma RC helicopter comes in Yellow or Red FEATURES 3 Channel remote control Advanced stability technology for easy control and manoeuvrability LED Strobe light Already assembled and ready to fly Infra-red control system TECHNICAL DETAILS Main blades: Plastic Body: Alloy Metal Power Source: 3.7V Li-Poly battery Main rotor diameter (upper): 190mm Main rotor diameter (lower): 190mm Tail rotor diameter: 30mm Fuselage length: 220mm Fuselage width: 38mm Fuselage height: 98mm On/off switch: Yes Charging time: 40-50 minutes Power system: 180 motor * 2 Flight duration: 5-6 minutes Operating temperature: 10-45 deg C TRANSMITTER/CONTROLLER Power source: 6 * 1.5V AA Alkaline batteries (not included) Range: Up to 10m Flight control: Up/down, Forward/Backward, Left/Right, Trim Tab WHAT'S IT LIKE TO FLY? We now finally get to the question on everyone's lips, "What's it like to fly?" Well the helicopter is meant for 10 year olds and above but it is so stable that, given a bit of practice (and space) a younger child could fly it and my 8 year old daughter managed to master it in a relatively short space of time! After it has charged up for the first time with the usb charger (approx 45mins), simply set the helicopter on the ground, switch on and making sure you have plenty of space in all directions, gradually increase the speed of the rotors with the remote control until the blades start to spin. Within seconds the Syma will be up in the air and ready to fly. A reasonably steady hand is required at first until you gauge how to keep the copter at a steady height and once you have achieved that then use the joystick to manoeuvre it forwards, backwards, left, right, up, down. The auto stability feature makes it a dawdle to fly and you will find yourself hovering the little Syma inches in front of people's faces, the strobe light flashing in their eyes just for fun! Now I am sure a few of you are wandering how tough it is because inevitably you will crash it at some point! Well despite having whacked it off ceilings, lights and walls, mine is still in one piece and astonishingly survived an outing in the washing machine (please do not even think about asking me how that happened!). I simply fitted a new tail rotor (supplied) and it flew first time, amazing! Parts are readily available online and cheaply too so if you seriously break it then chances are it can be repaired rather than replaced. What I would maybe suggest is that you buy two of these if you are going to be doing a lot of flying as the flight time is rather short (about 5 or 6 minutes) and if you have one already charged then you will always have one ready to fly. VERDICT All in all, this is a superb remote control toy which will inevitably find itself into Dad's hands even if it was meant for his son or daughter!
If there is one thing that you are guaranteed to need in the UK, it's an umbrella, but like it says in a famous advert, "this is no ordinary umbrella!" WHERE CAN I GET ONE? This umbrella is available in loads of online stores with probably the cheapest being golf buy it online.com which offers it for the amazing price of £15.19 with free delivery in the UK! I got mine at American golf for £24.99 so as is often the case, shop around! IS IT ONLY AVAILABLE IN BLACK? No, this umbrella is available in black, white, grey, red and even pink and I am sure if you look hard enough you might find one or two other colours out there. FEATURES Patented "Wind-Release SystemTM" prevents inverting in gusty conditions Re-inforced fibreglass shaft for lightness and strength Push button auto open allows easy and effortless opening Two colour 100% rubber handle with dual density grip DOES IT ACTUALLY WORK? I predominantly use the Nike umbrella when I am playing golf and its massive 62" size certainly keeps the worst of the weather of you in even the heaviest of downpours and true to the manufacturer's claim, it hasn't blown inside out yet despite some very blustery conditions. It is very light to carry and the grip is comfortable but because of its size I would be wary about taking this umbrella into town when it is busy as you are likely to take someone's eye out! VERDICT The Nike Golf 62" Windproof Umbrella is a quality product and if you shop around you should be able to get it at a half decent price rather than the £30 being proffered in some of the mainstream shops! Seriously consider this if you play a lot of golf as when was the last time you played in the dry this year?
If you play golf at all then you will have heard of Footjoy. The brand is synonymous with quality footwear and the Aqualite or AQL as it has now been re-branded is no exception. HOW MUCH DOES IT COST? The rrp for Aqualites these days is £72.50 but if you shop around you should be able to get them online or in a discount sports shop for around £40. DO THEY LOOK GOOD? In my opinion, most of the Footjoy range are very stylish shoes and I am probably on about my 6th or 7th pair of Aqualites! They come in several different colour options, black, white, white/black, white/red, white/brown so you should easily find something to suit your taste. WHAT ARE THEY LIKE TO WEAR? One advantage with these shoes is that they are indeed very light and they are comfortable right from the off with hardly any time at all needed to break in the full grain leather uppers as they are very soft and supple. They are completely waterproof due to the ProofguardTM Waterproof membrane and this year with the copious amounts of rain we have had I have hardly had them off all year. If they do get soaked as a result of you stepping in a ditch or burn then simply stuff paper in them and they will be dry in the morning, ready to go again. FEATURES Full grain leather uppers ProofguardTM Waterproof Membrane 1 year warranty In-Shoe-Super Soft PU Linings EVA Fit-Bed® EVA Outsole PulsarTM Cleats by Softspikes® and Fast Twist SystemTM VERDICT A very light, stylish and comfortable shoe from Footjoy, guaranteed 100% waterproof which is an absolute necessity in the UK!
Like I have mentioned before, "I love my Under Armour clothing!" This time I am reviewing probably one of the lesser known products made by them. Yes indeed, Under Armour make golf trousers! I didn't know this until a particularly cold October day at my local golf course where I noticed the distinctive logo on my playing partner's trousers. I asked him if they were any good and the big grin on his face answered my question. After having quizzed him for several minutes I splashed out and got a pair. WHAT DO THEY COST? Now you have to realise that these trousers are not cheap and you will struggle to find them much cheaper than £59.99 at the likes of American Golf or your local pro shop but like all gear from Under Armour, you pay for quality. WHAT ARE THEY LIKE TO WEAR? Now we get to the serious bit. If you pay nearly £60 for a pair of trousers then they sure as hell better be worth it. In this case you need not worry. The trousers are very light and extremely comfortable and look the part as well. The (DWR) Durable water repellent finish and wind resistant materials in the trousers mean you do not need over trousers as they are warm and waterproof as well. I was a bit dubious about the waterproofing properties claimed but I have worn these trousers in some pretty nasty weather and they have taken everything the weather could throw at them and kept me dry every time. WHAT ARE THEY MADE OF? The trousers are 9.4 oz 91% polyester and 9% Elastane. FEATURES Under Armour ColdGear Technology keeps you warm and comfortable while keeping away sweat. Understretch technology is used in the lightweight fabrics built within a 4 way stitch construction for ultimate comfort. Updated cut so you look your best on the course. Under Armour logo etched on the back belt loop for added style. VERDICT Like all Under Armour clothing it is expensive but this is more than made up for with the quality you get for the price.
I love my under armour tops. I have a selection for all sorts of uses, some of which you may read in my other reviews in the future. Under armour tops are especially good for the winter time for all sorts of sports so if you are the type who likes their outdoor sport all year round then make sure you have at least a couple of under armour tops. HOW MUCH DOES IT COST? The long sleeve compression style top which I am reviewing here retails for about £39 but it's worth keeping your eye open for bargains at the discounted sports retailers and online. I got mine for £29.99 in a local golf shop on offer but it's money well spent. WHAT'S IT LIKE TO WEAR? When you first put on the compression top you might be forgiven for thinking, "have I bought too small a size?" However after a few minutes you forget you have it on as it moulds itself to your body. I wear mine in the winter when playing golf and I have played in minus temperatures with just the top, a jumper and a light golf jacket and I was not cold at all. I have also worn it under my football strip when playing outdoors in the depths of winter and found myself actually being a bit too warm! WHAT'S IT MADE OF? The under armour top is made of a special moisture-wicking material made up of tiny micro fibres and a lightly brushed inner lining for comfort. This lining is the main thing which keeps you warm but at the same time sweat free. VERDICT Under Armour gear is worn throughout the world by top athletes in all sports as well as the ordinary man in the street but no matter who you are it performs just as well.
This Technika 19" TV is a good TV for your bedroom or study and it has the added bonus of having a built in DVD player if you can't find anything to watch on the many freeview channels available. TECHNICAL DETAILS Screen size: 19in Resolution: 1366*768 Contrast ratio: 1000:1 Aspect ratio: 16.9 Type: LCD Flat screen: Yes HD ready: Yes Sound output: Nicam stereo Built in dvd: Yes HDMI connections: 1 Scart sockets: 1 RGB enabled scart sockets: 1 CI slot: Yes Component input: Yes Headphone socket: Yes Memory card slot: No PC input: Dsub (VGA) USB port: Yes Energy efficiency Class: B FEATURES For such a simple and affordable TV, the Technika has various useful features, such as a 7 day electronic programme guide, auto tune, parental lock, sleep timer as well as good old teletext (for now!). It also has the option of being wall mountable. WHAT SIZE IS IT? Height with tabletop stand: 37.2cm Height without tabletop stand: 35.2cm Weight with tabletop stand: 5kg Weight without tabletop stand: 4.9kg Width: 46.3cm Depth: 17.8cm IS IT ANY GOOD? While it's fair to say you won't be expecting stunning performance from the Technika the picture is excellent although it is recommended that you have a half decent aerial, or like me you can get it fitted to an existing sky dish and if you have a viewing card this will let you view a whole host of channels. The built in dvd player is an added bonus and has worked fine for me (apart from once when it jammed) although I have heard some horror stories about the dvd player! A little tip for you here is that if you are unable to retrieve a dvd from the machine then push another one onto the edge of the one in the machine and it will pop out. Not a major problem but if you have the facility, you should be able to use it! The TV is easy to tune with the auto tune mode, simply plug it in and follow the prompts and it will be set up in a few minutes. PRICE The Technika brand is predominantly found in Tesco and you should be able to pick one up for around £100 although if you are lucky it can be cheaper when it is on offer. VERDICT The Technika is a good little telly as an extra and it won't break the bank either although take care when using the DVD.
If you are looking for a simple, no nonsense digital radio in the classical style of a traditional radio then look no further than the Pure Digital Evoke-1 XT. Pure are renowned for their digital radios and this one is no exception. FEATURES Auto tune facility Timer 6 Pre-set station buttons USB connector for software upgrades Stereo out to enable external amplifier to be connected Headphone socket Aux speaker to connect to external speakers Telescopic aerial Digital display Alarm Standby mode DRC (Dynamic Range Control) WHAT DOES IT SOUND LIKE? For such a small and simple radio, the Evoke-1 XT boasts a superb reception and while it is still only a mono radio, the sound is good with plenty of mid-range. One could maybe complain that there is a lack of bass and if you are into classical music then the Evoke may not have the dynamic range to cope with the demands of a complex concerto! However, if you are looking for a quality digital radio with classic looks, durability and a wide range of stations to choose from then the Evoke fits the bill. IS IT EASY TO OPERATE? This radio is simple to set up with its auto tune facility and you can also choose 6 of your favourite radio stations for the pre-set buttons. Once set up, you simply turn the tuning knob to select the desired station or hit one of the 6 pre-sets if you have set them up. The logical menu set up also allows for easy use of the alarm and timer facilities and a quick flick of the info button lets you customise what information is displayed The DRC or Dynamic Range Control makes the quieter sounds in a particular broadcast easier to hear at low volume although only certain stations broadcast with this. There is also a helpful tuning aid which displays how strong the signal is and by adjusting the position of the aerial till you see the strongest signal, this will give you the optimum reception. HOW MUCH DOES IT COST? Although the Evoke has been around for a long time, you can still pick one up online for around £100 and in its day this was one of the best selling digital radios on the market. VERDICT A good little radio with excellent reception and classic good looks although a little pricey.
Are you fed up hearing about Apple this and Apple that and the latest whizz bang gadget from......oh yes, Apple. It's i this and i that. It seems to be by adding an i onto just about anything it makes it an original idea! Anyway you get the point. For a start I am not here to review ANY Apple products! Today I am going to show you how there are products out there, just as good, if not better than the mighty Apple. What we have here is the Creative Zen Touch 20 GB. This is simply a music player with the added benefit of a radio, no cameras, videos, TV, just good old fashioned music! WHAT'S IN THE BOX? Creative Zen Touch 20GB USB Cable Earbud Headphones Fake Leather Carrying Case User Manual TECHNICAL DETAILS Storage capacity: 20GB Supported Audio Formats: MP3, WAV, WMA Battery Run Time: Up to 24 hours DIMENSIONS Width: 6.85cm Depth: 2.18cm Height: 10.46cm Weight: 199.86gm CONNECTIVITY Outputs: Headphone jack Interfaces: USB 2.0 ADDITIONAL FEATURES FM Radio Auto Sync Linear Touchpad Advanced EQ presets WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE? The Zen (I will call it that for now), is made from a swish looking metallic-alloy and has a glossy white body with the controls laid out very simply and intuitively and the finish is very durable, having barely a scratch on it, despite being in and out of numerous pockets, knocked against keys etc. The big win for the Zen is the linear touchpad which is a stroke of genius and you will have mastered it in no time, allowing you to navigate your music collection (no matter how large) with ease. The 160*104 pixel display is easy to read and displays plenty of information such as artist, track title, album info, EQ setting, play mode and elapsed time bar. WHAT'S IT LIKE TO USE? For starters, whatever your musicical tastes, with the Zen, the brilliant battery life lets you listen to your tunes for up to 24 hours and is one of the best on the market. The Zen feels solid and durable in your hand and as I have alluded to previously the superb linear touchpad enables you to find any track in no time at all simply by sliding your thumb up and down on the touchpad. By hitting the ok button this enables you to select a song or album or alternatively you can set up the touchpad to tap it to select. On either side of the Zen you have back, menu and random (shuffle) buttons on one side and play and back or forward buttons on the right. This is one point where the Zen falls down as unless you have large hands, you will find it hard to operate the buttons one handed. The left edge of the Zen has the volume and power buttons while on the opposite side is the power adapter connector. Finally at the top of the player is the headphone and USB slots and also a hold switch. IS IT EASY TO TRANSFER MY MUSIC? Creative has simplified the transfer of your music with the autosync feature which syncs with Windows media player 10 and it also allows for the transfer of subscription based downloads that time out as well. By the time you read this review Creative should have released a firmware upgrade which will allow the Zen to show up as a seperate drive on your PC, therefore making the transfer of files a whole lot easier and you should simply be able to drag and drop it from one file onto the player itself. DOES IT SOUND ANY GOOD? I was very impressed by the sound quality of the Zen and while the standard earbud headphones are good I have upgraded mine to a decent pair of Sony's but this is entirely personal preference. Part of the reason for the excellent sound is the signal-to-noise ratio of less than 97dB and the Zen can also produce excellent sound by being hooked up to your home stereo system. VERDICT A cracking MP3 player and radio which certainly gives the iPod a run for its money and is able to hold about 10000 songs and play them back in quality sound.
The Kindle is one of the most revolutionary gadgets ever invented. Many so called experts insisted that it was a stupid idea and that it would never take off! Well, who is laughing now! The Kindle just keeps getting better and better with each evolutionary step and with the Touch 3G version reviewed here you will see what new features it has. WHAT'S IN THE BOX? We have of course the Kindle itself. One set of headphones USB cable for charging. WHAT'S THE CHARGE LIKE? The Kindle takes approximately 4 hours for a full charge but once charged can last anything from about 6 weeks to 2 or 3 months, depending how regular a user you are. I have found about 6 or 7 weeks use the norm and that is using it most days. TECHNICAL SPECIFICATION For the technically minded among you the Kindle has a 6 in Monochrome E ink display with a resolution of 600 * 800 (167ppi) and 4 bit (16 gray levels) colour depth. Being a Kindle Touch you will not be surprised to learn that it is a touch screen and an extremely good one it is with the lightest of touches needed for a seamless transition from page to page. It weighs only 7.5 ounces, is 6.8 in high, 4.7 in wide and 0.4 in thick. WHAT OTHER FEATURES DOES IT HAVE? The Kindle Touch also has a password lock facility and stereo capabilities as well. There is a flash memory of 4GB although only 3Gb is available to the user and of course it has 3G and wi-fi capability. The Kindle supports various file formats, e.g. HTML, PRC (Mobipocket), PDF, DOC, TXT, AZW & DOCX and when it comes to images you can view PNG, JPEG, BMP or GIF files. As well as images the Kindle has an audio facility which supports mp3 files. WHAT IF IT GOES WRONG? For your peace of mind if your Kindle breaks down there is a warranty of one year. HOW MUCH DOES IT COST? The cheapest I have seen the Kindle Touch 3G sell for is about £155 but normally it's about £169 on Amazon although at this time of year they are selling out quickly. In fact as I write this I am glad I got mine previously as they are out of stock at Amazon! WHAT'S IT LIKE TO USE? If you had a previous Kindle model with a keyboard you will find that the keyboard is now on screen, saving some weight and space. The text is very clear to read and like previous models you can adjust the font size to suit. There will no doubt be plenty of people out there who are worrying that before long your Kindle will be covered in fingerprints but you needn't worry as they are almost invisible on the display and a quick wipe with a clean cloth will see them disappear if you are that concerned. Talking about the touch screen, it is quite sensitive and until you get used to it you may find yourself inadvertently turning a page or two. You can also swipe up and down to skip chapters which is a nice added feature. The Kindle has a new feature called X-Ray which means that you can instantly see more information about certain characters although only certain books make the facility available. WHAT'S NOT SO GOOD? While the Kindle Touch has many good features it has to be said that it does have its faults as well. One of the most irritating things I have found is that you sometimes get what is commonly known as a "ghosting" effect with some of the previous page being visible through the new page. One way to overcome this is to make sure yours is set to refresh on every page turn although this doesn't always solve the problem. Like I have mentioned before the touch screen is good but for those who preferred the old keyboard, the onscreen one may be a source of irritation and it is definitely not as quick as a manual keyboard. In addition you will probably (like me) keep looking for a button to turn the pages and to be honest I would have been happier if they had left the old buttons in. SUMMARY While I do love my Kindle and the hours of reading pleasure it provides, the new Kindle Touch is not necessarily any better than the old one and is a classic case of "less is more".
Are you getting fed up with the ever rising cost of pretty ordinary tasting bread in the shops? Well have you ever tasted homemade bread? Once you have tasted homemade bread you will never want to go back to the supermarket stodge again! In fact that is only part of the experience, once you have savoured the aroma of freshly baked bread you will wonder what you have been missing all these years! When my wife first obtained a bread maker I scoffed at the fact, saying, "It can't be that good" but oh how I was wrong! The model we got was the Panasonic SD-206 and I will attempt to give an unbiased review here, but admittedly this will be difficult, given how damn good the bread tastes! Anyway, here are the facts and figures about the Panasonic. WHAT SIZE IS IT? Coming in at 14 inches by 10 inches and 13 inches high, the bread maker is reasonably large so make sure before you buy it that you have a suitable place to store it! WHAT'S IN THE BOX? Well, you obviously have the bread maker itself which contains a removable bowl that the bread is actually made in. You are also given tablespoon and teaspoon measures, along with a measuring cup but I am sure if they go missing, most folk should be able to cope! Did I mention that you will need to measure out the flour yourself? C'mon, you have to do some of the work yourself, that's half the fun. WHAT CAN IT MAKE? Where do I start, obviously there are all the different loaves, like brown, white, plain, flavoured, then you have pizza's, cakes, the list is endless. I won't go into the details of how to make the bread as that will spoil the fun. What I will say is that it takes only a few minutes to add all the ingredients but about 4 or 5 hours to actually bake the bread! However, once you have tasted it, then you will find that it was well worth the wait! IS IT EASY TO CLEAN? The Panasonic is easy to wipe clean on the outside and once everything is cooled down I would recommend giving the bowl a wipe down as this will save any residue building up and will give you perfect loaves every time. HOW MUCH DOES IT COST? You will find this model pretty hard to come by these days but a similar model can be bought for around £100 with some of the more advanced models costing up to £150. All in all, a great product which produces delicious bread time and time again.
The Apple ipod touch reviewed here is the 4th generation 32GB one and although you will be lucky to get much change out of £180, it is well worth the money and as the old adage goes, "you only get what you pay for". WHAT'S IN THE BOX When you open your brand spanking new iPod touch you will find, one ipod touch, iPod touch loop, some Apple EarPods, Lightning to USB cable and of course a quick start guide. Everything in the box is pretty self explanatory but before seeing it, you might ask yourself, "what is an iPod touch loop?" This is Apple's fancy way of telling you it's a lanyard to stop you dropping it if the iPod touch slips out of your hand! The Apple earpods are of course the usual excellent design, fitting snugly into your ears and providing superb sound. WHAT SIZE IS IT? For those of us who like to know exactly what size and weight our new gadget is, here are the dimensions for the iPod touch. Height: 4.86 inches (123.4 mm) Width: 2.31 inches (58.6 mm) Depth: 0.24 inch (6.1 mm) Weight: 3.10 ounces (88 grams) What really stands out here is how exceptionally thin the touch is, but although it is light in weight, it still feels solid in the hand. WHAT CAN IT DO MISTER? So you have just shelled out your hard earned cash for the latest iPod touch. Well then what can it do? Well for a start, everything is displayed on a 4 inch (diagonal) widescreen display which has multi touch technology and a retina display. The display shows a resolution of 1136 by 640 pixels at 326 pixels per inch and has a handy fingerprint resistant coating. (An oleophobic coating no less!) No, I haven't heard of that either but I am sure it does the job! It is wi-fi and Bluetooth(4.0) enabled as well as having a built in maps feature when in an appropriate wi-fi area and has the facility of having Nike + support built in although this requires an optional Nike + iPod sensor which is sold separately. The iPod touch has two cameras, the main one being a 5mp iSight one with autofocus, face detection and HD video recording facility (1080p) with audio recording. The smaller camera which can be used for face time is 1.2mpbut can still record (720p) HD video. The audio facility of the touch will let you play AAC, Protected AAC (from iTunes store), HE-AAC, MP3, MP3 VBR, Audible (formats 2, 3, 4, Audible Enhanced Audio, AAX and AAX), Apple lossless, AIFF and WAV. Are you still awake? A bit technical that bit but it is important that you know what it can play in case you have a library full of files and you discover the iPod touch can't play them! The iPod touch also has the ability to play Apple TV at up to 1080p (3rd generation) and 720p(2nd generation) or video up to 1080p. It supports m4v, mp4 and mov file formats. Finally we have a three axis gyro accelerometer and if you don't know what that is, well, if you look at a picture in portrait and turn the iPod touch sideways it automatically turns itself to landscape. Clever eh? HOW LONG WILL THE BATTERY LAST? It's all very well having all these features but how long can you use them for? Well, you will get about 40 hours music playback and 8 hours video playback from a full charge which takes about 4 hours and I have to say that in my experience, this is not too far off the mark. All in all a comprehensive piece of kit with all the controls easy to hand and very intuitive. Your main frustration will be syncing all your content to it but once this is done, away you go!