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Before I start I think I should make clear that there is a difference between the 2009 and 2010 models of this laptop, so you need to be careful when buying that you get what you expect.
This Dooyoo page is for the upgraded model, so make sure you get this one or else you end up with a lower end GPU, and you won't have support for audio via the mini display port. Certainly I made sure I was getting the later version because the upgraded GPU really makes a difference. The CPU has been upgraded a little but nothing to get overly excited about.
What remains the same is the Polycarbonate uni-body, the 1280 x 800 resolution LED back-lit screen, iSight camera, 2 GB Ram, 250GD HD and the 8x slot-loading Super Drive DVD.
Those specs are fine but remember that 2GB of RAM is pretty low these days, so upgrade it if you get the opportunity.
I'm used to windows so I was more than a little pleased to see the laptop boot up in well under 30 seconds.
In use I found the touchpad was great for Internet. It's not like any other touchpad I have used, it just works great! But then that is Apples thing isn't it, stuff just works great.
The battery seems okay for my light usage, I keep it charging when not in use and am generally not away from a power point for long periods. The longest I have used it away from home is about 5 hours and it was still going strong.
The LED screen is really awesome, I love it. It's nice and bright and the contrast and colours are just amazing.
I had no problems with the keyboard, the keys are nicely spaced and give good feedback.
Build quality is as you would expect tremendous, I just love using it. I cannot see anyone being disappointed with this laptop, other than having to stick some extra RAM in it in case you need some extra beef for video editing etc.
It's fair to say the D88 plus is a budget inkjet printer, but it is from Epson, a major printer manufacturer so the build quality is not in question.
It's only fair to admit I did not buy this printer for photo's even though it does print full glossys. I prefer to send my photo's away for professional printing, however in the end I did relent and print some photo's, more on that later.
This is a USB inkjet so set up was a piece of cake, plug it in, install the software and away you go.
My intended use was for documents printing for me and basic homework for the kids. I've had the printer for a while now and it does all of this perfectly.
The ink is expensive if you go for original but for the first time I decided with this printer I was going to use 3rd party ink for an online store. You can get 4 full sets of ink for the price of one original epson set. I was always wary of not using Epson ink but I can tell you I have not had a single issue with the compatible ink so have saved a small fortune!
As I said at the start I have actually printed photo's on epson glossy paper and they come out really good. I would recommend epson ink for photo use though, stick with documents for compatible.
In use the printer is quiet, loading paper is easy.
Maintenance is easy too, when it runs low on ink it shows you which one needs replaced by sliding the cartridge to a arrow mark, so no fussing around to find the manual and figure out how to change ink. The printer actually shows you, after than you just swap out the cartridge and press the flashing ink button, easy.
In summary, nice and quiet, quality prints, and cheap to run!
Although I'm not beyond buying a cheap set of speakers for a budget set-up, for my own gaming PC used occasionally to watch movies on, I needed something with a bit more ooommph! The Creative Inspire T5400 gets good feedback from customers and is a good seller so in the end I went for these and did not regret it. Considering that I got these ages ago and they are still going strong they have been a great set. If you get the chance to buy these I would not hesitate.
I've tried a few different systems in the shops so I had an idea of what kind of sound I could expect at this price point, but really these speakers were far better than anything else I listened to at this price.
Once I got it home I was really pleased after I got it up and running. Setting it up is very easy and although wall mounting looked easy enough I never got around to that and just have the speakers spread around my desktop area.
Personally I am a bit wary of sub woofers that churn out too much foundation shattering bass. Because I live in a terraced row of houses I am aware that too much base carries very easily to the neighbours and annoys them. So with the Creative Inspire's I tend to turn the bass right down. It still adds body to the sound this way, without booming the whole neighbourhood.
I'd say my room is probably larger than an average set up, and these speakers fill it with sound very easily. I have not had the guts to put the volume up past about 70% anyway, that's how loud they are. Even at 70% the sound is crisp and clear, no sign of any issues at all.
I've tried them with music, games, and movies, and I'd say music is probably my favourite to listen to on these speakers but gaming is my passion and I really enjoy the full sound offered by these speakers when playing shooters. You really feel like you are in a battlezone!
If you are considering a 2.1 system and have looked at 5.1 and maybe think it is out of your pocket, I would seriously rethink your budget as 5.1 is so much better than 2.1, definitely worth the extra money. You probably will not have to pay much more than a 2.1 setup for these speakers now anyway, so go get them!
I was needing a really cheap pair of speakers to add to my kids PC that I built myself. I didn't really need to think about quality speakers, the driving factor here was really price, and these speakers are about as cheap as it gets, but they are also top sellers so I thought I'd give them a go.
Although speakers as cheap as this might normally be best avoided, these are made by Logitech so there is some reassurance to be taken from that.
Set up is easy, they are not USB so you just plug them into the wall socket and connect up the green cable and you are good to go.
The specification says the are up to 3w, but if you are using them in a room and not a concert hall, then 3w is plenty.
Obviously the sound quality is not exactly stunning. They are a little tinny and lacking in bass. I would still say they are better than some other budget speakers I've used in the past though.
So while serious gamers or music lovers will pass up on these, for basic Internet music or flash games these are the business. As I said, these were for my kid and it's highly unlikely a kid is going to complain about a lacking mid range!
There's not much in the way of settings obviously, just a volume dial.
In closing I would say that the sound really is not as bad as you might think, music is really okay for occasional use and for general PC and Internet stuff you can't really complain at this price.
I am rating this product based on the price point.
I bought the Belkin Ultra Hi-speed Gaming Nostromo Speedpad looking to gain an edge when playing shooters on the PC. I am a big fan of keyboard and mouse rather than a controller (e.g. console) for shooters, and this device looked like it offered the flexibility of a keyboard with the neat form factor of a console controller.
Before we get down to how it is in use and whether it did actually help my gaming and might help yours we need to get through the whole setup thing. There is no getting around it, you will need to spend sometime getting this thing configured to work to your preferences for your games, each individual game.
Now, the software, the support and the profiles are all there to help with this set up phase, but it can still be a bit of a pain. The good news is, it is worth the time!
I found that once I had it set up and had spent a few hours gaming and getting used to it, it was definitely an improvement over a keyboard. After 3 weeks of use I would not go back to just the keyboard, this pad offers so much more.
A few notes :
I am using it on Windows 7 with no problems at all.
I found the scroll button especially useful.
The backlight can be switched off (but why would you!)
I am using it for FPS games, but it will help with all types of genre really.
I think the price is surprising value for money.
In summary, YES you will play your games better and YES it takes a little bit of setting up.
External Harddrives are a quick, easy and now very cheap way to add additional storage capacity to your PC. There are many reason for adding one to your system. For me, I like to use them as backup for digital photographs and movies so if my main PC every suffers a total failure, my family photos going back 6 years and more are safe.
This drive is attached to my Windows 7 PC, but I know it does work fine with Macs too. 1TB is massive and will keep all my photo's and movies safe for a long long time.
As can be seen this particular dive lies flat, not upright, has a textured top and glossy sides and rubber feet. You need to think about whether a flat or upright unit is ideal for your own particular set up.
The power and usb connectors are at the back, to be expected. However the activity light is also at the back, when usually you might expect, and want, to see it at the front, or even the side.
In use the unit is almost completely silent due to having no fan and runs nice and cool.
Transfer speeds might be important to some people, but to me not so important as I am only using it for backups. If you are going to be using this drive in anger though, you can be reassured by the claimed USB speed of 480Mb/s.
In summary then, nice and quiet, excellent price, huge storage and backed by the big big name in storage.
Looking for a new webcam I was drawn to this webcam because it's produced by Logitech who are well known for quality computer accessories including a huge webcam range. This particular webcam caught my eye because it is a top seller and also because it has HD - and we all want HD these days!
As you can see from the design the Logitech HD Webcam C270 is a little different from the usual globe type webcam, and different is better right? It's not as big as the photo might lead you to think, it actually is quite small and looks great when clipped on to the monitor.
Of course the build quality is great, as mentioned already Logitech are webcam experts.
In use the image and sound are great, I had no issues at all. The high resolution offered by the HD camera is great and the built in microphone is nice and clear, even from a distance away.
Value for money? Yes you can buy cheaper, but really this is not an expensive product and is well worth the few extra pounds over a cheaper model that will be making compromises in the visual and sound department.
In summary, for Skype, gaming, MSN or any other video broadcasting use, this really is a quality piece of kit.
I saw a few negative comments/reviews about this accessory for the PS3 that didn't really match with my own experience, so to redress the balance here is my review of the Sony PS3 Wireless Keypad.
It's worth mentioning of course that this is for the official Sony wireless keypad, there are 3rd party keypads that you could easily buy by mistake if you are not paying attention as they all look very much alike.
The first thing to mention is this is not a cheap item so you must ask yourself do you really need a keypad? For me, I found it frustrating not being able to type a quick message during a game - I needed a way to quickly send a message to another gamer before the next round of the game started. You might have a different need, perhaps you spend a fair amount of time in the PS3 messaging centre.
Once you have justified the purchase though, personally I cannot see much to complain about. Not much, but there are a couple of things!
The main negative point is that it needs charged like any other accessory - i.e. connected via usb. I expected it would take it's charge off the keypad that it was attached to, but no, you must keep its charge topped up by physically connecting it to the PS3 USB port. Although this is an inconvenience, strictly speaking this is no different from any other PS3 accessory.
The build quality is of course top notch, coming from Sony. I was surprised at how well it clips into place considering that there is not anything on the controller that was designed to accept the keypad. A spring loaded grip on the keypad does hold it firmly in place without any movement at all, so full marks there.
Normal gaming use of the keypad is not affected in anyway in my experience. All the buttons are just as accessible, and the weight of the combined items does not affect gaming at all. This was an unexpected bonus as I thought the keypad would make the controller feel bulky or off balance, but it does not.
So, how about actually typing on it? To be honest the keys are very small and there is not much give in them, so you do not get much feedback from your keystroke to reinforce that your typing is going in okay. Not until you look up at the screen might you find a letter is missing. However I found that dropped keystrokes were extremely rare so this is not really a concern. If you have large fingers and perhaps find using mobile phones difficult, then I would suggest you might have similar difficulty with this keypad. Otherwise, the keypad is very easy to use and a massive improvement over the on screen keyboard that would routinely drive me nuts!
So in summary, quite expensive, quality build, does not affect gaming, work well assuming you are good with your fingers!
I bought this for my new Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ10 because I needed a big Gb SD card for recording movies.
The important thing about buying SD cards for new digital cameras is to remember that not all SD cards are born the same! They all have different class ratings. This card is Class Four and that means it can handle 4Mb per second - usually the minimum for digital cameras that have HD movie capability.
Also make sure the card has the SDHC logo, like this one, to be FULLY compatible with modern digital cameras.
The price for large memory cards like this is just ridiculous at them moment, so cheap! To think you can get 8Gb of memory into a camera for so little cash is amazing.
HP are a big big name in the tech world so it is an added bonus that you are getting a card with a known name, rather than some no-name budget card that might give you issues.
Stick with a known brand like this and you can't go wrong!
The Lumix DMC-TZ10 from Panasonic 's features a 12x, 25-300mm lens, AVCHD video with stereo sound and built-in GPS geo-tagging (read more about that later) . It has a massive 14.5 megapixel CCD sensor
I've never had a camera with a built-in GPS before and I have to admit it's a pretty cool idea, The camera tracks where each photo is taken, and automatically embeds the latitude and longitude in the EXIF data. Depending on what software you use, this info can be used to plot a map of all the photos you have taken over the years, which is very cool.
This camera features an Intelligent Resolution function which can also be called Intelligent Zoom on some other cameras. Basically it means you can zoom in past the 12x optical zoom and the picture will not degrade as bad as it used to on older cameras. In practice I found this worked surprisingly well, although 12x zoom is really enough anyway.
720p HD video recording of course is one of the reasons I got this camera, and the movies do look great on a big telly, especially if it is filmed in good light.
For build quality, I'd say I was impressed with the high quality metal body. The large 12x lens on the front and a large 3 inch LCD screen on the back are great. The shiny smooth handgrip on the front and the small textured area on the rear are classy, but I guess that's down to personal taste.
Quality still images.
The iA function really does work and produces great results.
Lots of scene modes to help with quick settings. Starry Sky especially is very cool.
Menu navigation is well done and simple to follow.
Good selection of Manual modes inc. Aperture and shutter speed.
Amazing 12x optical zoom, well ahead of the competition.
Solid Build quality.
There's a clicking sound when zooming on video mode, that can be heard in playback. It's not bad, but I did notice it.
GPS is a cool feature but it is a battery KILLER so beware, switch it off unless you really want the GPS features.
There is no optical viewfinder, although, who really needs one?
When looking for a replacement keyboard there really is no reason to go for a wired keyboard anymore, as wireless keyboards such as this Logitech Cordless Desktop EX 100 are really quite affordable now. In fact this one comes complete with a wireless mouse so for the price, it's great value.
It also comes with two quality AAA batteries so you can be up and running without any fuss.
There's one noticeable thing this keyboard does lack, so let's cover that first before we look at the positive points. There is no dedicated volume control. While most keyboards have a couple of buttons or a dial for volume control, the EX100's volume control is a function of the cursor keys, so to adjust your system volume you have to hold down one key while tapping another. Not a big deal, but different from most keyboards so worth mentioning.
Of course the other thing that this keyboard is missing is a wire! Being cordless is great, no more having the keyboards location limited by the length of a cable, or the cable becoming snagged up in other cables or desk parts. There's a USB receiver that simply connects to any USB port on your computer and the receiver part just sits anywhere on your desk near the PC to pick up the keyboard signals.
Of course being cordless the keyboard does need batteries and as I have already mentioned they come supplied. I am a heavy user so I thought they would run out quite quickly, but I have been pleasantly surprised at how much life I got out of them, at over 5 months.
The keyboard copes very well with heavy use. For desktop use such as word processing or even for fast action gaming, there is no issue with this keyboard, it performs very well indeed.
It also looks the part, very slim, sleek and black. It sits comfortably on your lap, or with the aid of two small props on the underside can be placed on a suitable surface.
I researched my mp3 purchase for sometime before settling on the Creative Zen 8Gb model. I went to a retailer that had all the top mp3 players so I could get a hands on them all before I decided that the Zen was the best buy, and here's why!
For me the really cool thing about the whole zen experience is the Zencast Organiser software that is installed on your PC. This allows you to organise all your favourite video podcasts, then when you connect up your Zen to the computer it'll automatically transfer the podcast videos to your zen in the correct format for viewing at your leisure. If you don't use podcasts at the moment this is a great opportunity to get into them, they are available for just about any subject matter, and for free!
This brings me nicely onto the video playback on the Zen. The screen uses OLED technology which is brighter than LCD. It's an expensive technology for large screens, but for MP3 players it is perfect. If you tilt the screen slightly while viewing, do you get a slight variance in brightness, but I would not mark the player down for this because the screen is simply stunning. Before purchase I was a bit concerned about the size of the screen for watching videos, because at the time I used a Sony PSP for portable movies. However the sheer pocketability of the tiny Zen makes up for the small screen size. It is perfectly acceptable to watch movie son, you'll be surprised by the clarity if you have never seen a small screen like this in action before.
You can use the included software to put any kind of video clips you like on the Zen, home movies, movie trailers, full movies and music videos (which look great!)
It's primary function is of course mp3 playback though, and it handles this superbly. The quality of sound is brilliant, and the menu options are really cool. I wanted a player than I could quickly navigate to either a particular song, playlist , genre, album or even artist, and the Zen allows this quickly and simply. There are some cool features than I like to use here too. The DJ option automatically selects tracks according to your preference. You can tell it to play the tracks you play most often, least often,the tracks you have rated highest or even the tracks that have not been rated. These features are superb, very useful and not at all gimmicky.
A note on rating tracks, as this is not made clear and it took me a while to figure it out. While a track is playing, to press the main select button, and a series of 5 empty starts appears, you then push the up key and each time one of the starts will be filled in yellow. In this way you can rate each individual track from 1 to 5!
Those are the Zens primary functions and it does them very very well. In addition though, there is an organiser, a calender, FM radio, and photo storage.
In day to day use the Zen is great, it has long battery life, is extremely small, thin and light and the buttons are instinctive to use. Charging is done with the same USB cable that transfers the files, so no need for a separate charger which is a bonus.
Finally, because the zen is so popular, there is a lot of online support in the forum of official Creative support and also peer to peer support in Zen forums. There are also lots of accessories that are pretty cool. For example, I couldn't decide which protective case to buy and ended up buying three. The one I use though is a clever neoprene type rubbery case that does not add much bulk but does prevent scratches and has a clever design that allows storage of the headphones/cables so you never lose them and they never get tangled - to me, that was almost worth getting the zen for!
The Zen really is a great device, and I cannot fault it at all!
I've been using Palm products for over a decade, and I've had the 680 in daily use for around a year. It's an extremely cool device, but not perfect.
One of the most annoying things about this Tre680 is not something I can really mark it down on, because it's not a fault with the device at all. I'll tell you why, it's because every time I take it out it always get's lots of admiring attention from people, but they always say the same thing "oooh, is that a Blackberry?!". DOH! Everyone has heard of Blackberry, but when you tell them it's a Palm, they've never heard of it!
Anyway, about the device. I'm going to start with the not so good aspects, and finish up on a more positive note, because I do like the Treo680!
First bad thing is the camera - it's only a VGA camera, that means it doesn't even rate on the megapixel scale. So while other phones might be boasting a 5,6 or even greater megapixel count, the 680 is only really good for quick captures. Do not anticipate printing out any great photo's, you'll be disapointed.
Secondly is the battery life. The big screen must take a lot out of the battery because even with only light daily use, you simply must charge this phone every day.
Now the good stuff. This is a Palm and Palm devices are superb PIM (Personal Information Managers). The desktop software that goes on the PC synchronises perfectly with the data on the Palm so all your contact info and calender appointments can be edited on the PC quickly and easily. I use the calender a fair bit and it's great for keeping track of appointments. You can set your own categories and have the coloured up to your own preferences for example.
The phone application is very good too, with the ability to store lots of information about each contact.
It's a rugged wee thing too, I've dropped mine on concrete and it still works perfectly.
The form factor is just superb, the full qwerty keypad is a must for people like me who hate having to type texts on a numeric keypad.
I should mention the vast array of custom software you can download cheaply for this phone, there is custom everything! I'm using a custom phone application right now and it's very cool with custom ringtones and photo's for all my contacts.
One superb feature you can get for this phone actually came free with my purchase, but look around for it as an extra now - Sat Nav. Mine has Tom Tom Sat Nav software which works superbly on the big screen. It communicates to the satellite receiver via a bluetooth connection and works really very well, it has the speech and everything. No need for a separate Tom Tom device!
In summary, if you can stand people calling it a Blackberry, and you want to organise yourself a bit better, get it!
When my Sony MiniDV camcorder suddenly gave up the ghost I needed a replacement quickly. Although I have a personal preference for Sony products, the price of this JVC MiniDV camcorder couldn't be ignored, so I bought it and have been using it quite happily for a few months now.
The surprising thing about this JVC compared to a similar Sony model is that not only is it cheaper, it also boasts better features. Two of the most important features to look for when selecting a camcorder is the optical zoom (not digital because it reduces the quality a lot), and also the quality of the LCD screen.
With the JVC you get a massive 35x zoom - that's going to allow capturing scenes that are quite a distance away, or zooming in very tight to close up scenes. This was more than 3 times the zoom I had with the Sony!
The important thing about a camcorders LCD screen is that it must work well outdoors and still be readbale in bright light. I'm not kidding when I say the screen on this was like night and day compared to the Sony camera that broke. Even in bright outdoor sunlight, this screen is amazingly clear and sharp, I was really impressed with this.
While the LCD is open, you can use a small thumbstick to control playback, it's really instinctive and I didn't even have to read the manual.
The motor on this unit is very quiet too, surprisingly for such a cheap model. Again, the Sony a poor second best in this respect too, as it's motor could be heard in playback, which was shocking really. So the JVC wins on this aspect too.
I really can't fault this camcorder at all. At this price point you might expect some compromises, but I certainly couldn't find any - every aspect was pleasantly functional, and in most cases surprisingly cool!
The W300 has a lot to live up to, it is the first compact digital camera to exceed 13MP, and it's from Sony. I'm not going to spend too long on things like picture quality because you can see comparison photo's elsewhere and at 13.6MP with a quality lens and Sony build, you know you are going to be taking awesome photos anyway.
What I am going to focus on is the day to day use of this mini marvel, the sort of information that you just don't get from camera review sites that spend a day with the camera analysing the smallest details and drawing graphs. It's the day to day detail that should really help prospective buyers with their decision, and there are a couple of real bone crunchers with this camera in my opinion.
Price and Form Factor
The W300 is a top end compact, that means it sits in a dangerous place, a lot more expensive than mid range compacts, and almost at the price point of a low spec full DSLR camera. People get into a right fizz faced with this dilemma, compact or DSLR, but the answer is really quite simple, and it comes down to form factor.
If you are comfortable carrying about a fairly bulky camera in a big case, perhaps with spare lenses then I'd say go for a DSLR, however if like me you like the freedom a pocketable camera offers, go for a high end compact like the W300. You can clip these things onto your belt with a quality case and you don't even know it's there, until you need it. With a DSLR, it's going to be a hastle to carry.
The actual W300 is very cool, it's a dark titanium finish that is extremely robust. I know this because mine got dropped (with the lense open) from the top of my house stairs, bounced all the way to the bottom, bounced into the hardwood floor of the kitchen, and there was not a single mark or malfunction with it - impressive for sure.
The LCD screen on the back is large and bright. I played it safe and bought a screen protector for it off ebay.
Features (AKA Gimmicks)
The Sony W300 does have a bunch of features that will keep what I would call high end hobbyists happy, but there are also a set of quick and easy features that are easily accessible for the point and shoot crowd. For example, oh the fun we had with the setting that automatically adds a smile to a face! Simply browse your photo's in the cameras slideshow setting and select any photo with a face on it, then you have quite a few photoshop type effects you can apply. The one that adds a smile to a blank expression is fun, and actually works incredibly well. Whether or not you would really use it is up to the end user, but the technology is very impressive.
The easy to navigate menu system has many many options and effects like that, some are good for showing off to friends, but perhaps will not get used too much. Others will help you take really stunning photos for sure.
Day to Day Usage
This is where I have to mark the camera, and Sony, down. As usual battery life is a major factor and can indeed be a deciding factor for many people, especially anyone who has been burned by constantly having their camera run out of charge at the wrong moment.
I don't have an issue with the battery life as such, it seems to be about the same as most other camera's that use Lithium Ion batteries. What is really bad though is that in order to charge the battery you have to remove it from the camera and place it in the supplied charging unit. This gets to be a pain. First of all there is always the chance you will misplace the charger, secondly why oh why can't we charge the battery while it is in the camera? In my old Fuji Finepix, when you put it in the docking station to transfer photo's - it would start charging, this is the way it should be! So, big minus point there.
Next, the system for connecting to a PC USB port is very flimsy. The proprietary cable connection on the base of the W300 just does not seem firm or solid, there is far too much movement in the connection to offer any sort of confidence and I find myself treating it with kid gloves always worried that the connection is going to break.
There really should be a charging/docking station for a camera at this price point. And there is! Except it is over £50, yes it has a cool feature that lets you view the photos on your HDTV, but we should not have to spend so much money just to get a decent charging set up.
Photo and Movie Quality
Like I said, there are plenty of sources for checking the picture quality of various cameras. I would summerise by saying that indoors can be a bit iffy, I've had some quite grainy results indoors, but outdoors you can achieve some stunning photos that will quite happily be printed out on large photo paper and still look fantastic.
The movies are pretty good. With compacts it is quite usual to see low frame rates that make the movie replay a little bit juddery or blocky if there is a lot going on, but with the W300 the movies are perfectly acceptable.
To finish on a positive note, the bundled software for transferring your photos is really very good. The photo transfer is fast, and the software is instinctive to use and has some neat options. For example there's a slider that changes the size of the photo thumbnails for easier, or quicker, viewing.
It's true that you should never focus on the megapixel count when choosing a new camera, but with the W300 you get an amazing 13.6 megapixel, a great lens, and superb Sony build. If only they had thought out the battery charging system it would be a no brainer.