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Good cameras and accessories can seem expensive for a novice photographer; I like to be confident that I will get my moneys worth out of new lenses or accessories. At my level, I naturally aimed to buy a tripod that would simply allow me to get me started. That is, one that does the job, doesn't have any fancy features, and wouldn't burn any holes in my pocket. At less than £9 the Hama Star 75 certainly seemed to tick all of these boxes.
I was a little worried after seeing comments that this tripod was flimsy. As you would expect, the legs of the tripod are comprised of tubes of metal, that slide inside of each other. When the legs are extended to maximum length, the grip holding the two tubes together is minimal. This means that there can be a bit of wobble in the joint. I found that this still provides enough stability to do the job - it really just gives you a bit of paranoia about the stability of your equipment and quality of your shot.
I found that this was resolved easily by extending each leg-segment to about 2cm below the maximum. This eliminated any looseness in the joints and made the legs very sturdy. It isn't important to get this perfect as the head allows you to adjust all angles of the camera. The built-in spirit level is very handy at getting level shots, although in most cases I found myself just shooting anyway.
I liked the fact that the tripod legs are very easy to adjust using plastic clips, rather than screws, making any adjustment quick and easy. The central column however still uses a screw for height adjustment. I would have liked the legs to have spikes rather than rubber feet, as this will help when using the tripod on a soft surface.
The tripod can easily support my camera and a standard lens, the head and screws hold it in place securely. However, the plastic used in the head and clips seem a bit cheap, and I can see the tripod experiencing wear over time. I would like to see extra security / stability if I was using longer / heavier lenses; but I'm happy to upgrade when my skills and usage improve to the extent that I am ready to invest in better accessories. The tripod greatly reduces in size, and is only 620g, making it very easy to transport and carry.
Overall, the tripod does exactly the job I needed it to. It is a fully functional product at a giveaway price. I feel that I have got much more value out of this item than what I paid for it. It isn't something that is going to last a lifetime, and I may want to trade up at some point, but this is a perfect starter / travel tripod.
Lola is packaged in a tall, purple-tinted bottle. A distinctive large blue/purple/red 'flower' adorns the top of the bottle. The bottle is bold and sexy compared to others, and correctly suggests that this is a mature and seductive fragrance.
Lola is intended to be a bolder version of the previously released 'Daisy'. Whereas Daisy was mostly floral with a hint of fruit and musk, in Lola the fruit and musk scents are more prominent, making the fragrance bold and warm.
I found the boldness of this fragrance to be most prominent upon first sprinkle. The over-riding fruity scent of pink pepper and grapefruit is sweet and attention grabbing, leaving an underlying floral scent. I don't know my flowers well enough to pick out specific names, but it is advertised as 'luxuriant Fuschia Peony'. The base of this fragrance is musky, warm, and sweet.
Unfortunately as time passes, I found that the boldness and fruitiness of the fragrance starts to weaken and the remaining scent isn't too dissimilar to Daisy; floral, but warm.
I really do like this fragrance; it has a unique, complex mix of sweet scents and it has the flirty boldness which makes it great for nights out! I would recommend everyone to check it out the next time they find themselves in a department store. However, note that it is a bit pricey, as indicated below.
The fragrance is available in 30ml spray for the handbag (around £25), 50ml (around £35-45), and 100ml bottles (around £50-60). It is also available in gift sets, which typically include Body Lotion and Shower Gel.
The Breville Solo is a small kettle (1 litre capacity) making it ideal for a single person (hence the name solo), but also a couple or small family. I wouldn't recommend it if there is more than two brew drinkers in the household.
The kettle has a 1.8kw element. This is less powerful than other kettles on the market (which go up to 3kw), but the limited capacity does mean that this additional boiling power isn't really needed. It does take a little longer to boil than other kettles, but not greatly so.
I think this model looks great, with brushed stainless steel and a decent quality matt black plastic lid and base. It also has a orange power LED. My only complaint with the exterior is that the brushed metal is difficult to clean; I can never seem to get it perfect again as wipe marks etc. always show up after cleaning.
It is also easy to use; the kettle is cordless, which I find very handy. The base allows the power cable to be tidied. It is easy to flip up the lid to fill, and the water level is clearly visible. The kettle sits easily and securely on the base. There is no visible element inside, other than the metal plate, which means you get a great result from de-scaling. Top marks for usability here.
The kettle is very reliable; it has lasted me almost 3 years so far, and is still going strong. I have also had a Breville toaster for a couple of years before that gave up; overall I think that Breville is a fairly reliable brand name.
Overall, this is a reliable, easy to use, and good looking kettle, and I am pleased with my purchase. However, it is only really suitable for two persons max.
Daisy by Marc Jacobs is packaged in a low, clear, curved-rectangular bottle with distinctive white 'daisies' attached to the lid. The bottle is 'cute' compared to others and correctly suggests that this is a 'lighter' perfume than that later-released 'Lola'. It is more suited to everyday use, whether in the office or going for lunch in town.
The upper notes of the scent is floral with a hint of grapefruit. The floral theme continues heavily into mid-range. I don't know my flowers well enough to pick out anything specific, but it is advertised as Violet, Jasmine, and Gardenia. The base of the scent is musky with a suggestion of vanilla, and I think that this provides an excellent balance to the sweetness of the floral scent.
Overall the scent of daisy is floral, balanced, and accessible. It isn't overly sweet or musky. It is feminine but isn't bold enough to stand out. I think that the fragrance does a good job of portraying what the bottle suggests; easy-going, breezy, and happy. I feel that both younger and older generations will enjoy this fragrance, and it makes an idea 'safe' gift.
One complaint about the fragrance is that is isn't original enough. Being surrounded by floral scents from other cosmetics meant that I did not find this fragrance exciting, and became bored of it over time.
Despite this, I do recommend it as a staple of any cabinet, and as alternative to body spray for everyday use. However, the fragrance is a tad expensive, as the prices below show.
The fragrance is available in 20ml spray for the handbag (around £25), 50ml (around £35-40), and 100ml bottles (around £45-55). It is also available in gift sets, which typically include Body Lotion and Shower Gel.
The Morphy Richards "Accent" toaster (model 44068) presents itself as being a stylish, chrome two-slot toaster. In comparison with other chrome / metal toasters, this model fits in at the lower end of the price spectrum.
The toaster actually isn't completely stainless steel; the front and back of the toaster is a reflective chrome plastic. However, the difference isn't really noticeable at a distance. The walls do get very hot with this toaster, so I would not recommend it to those that have children.
Unfortunately despite the premise of chrome and curves, I thought this particular toaster looks somewhat cheap. It definitely looks better in images than it does in real life. The outer body of the toaster appears to be excessively large; the walls of the toaster are over an inch away from the slots. The buttons too, together with their associated logos and text look too big. The slide-down eject button is a good half a centimetre away from the body, and the printed logos have worn away fairly quickly. The good thing about chrome however, is that it tends to suit kitchen of most decor fairly well.
I was happy to see that the slots are fairly large, letting you toast bagels, thick-cut fresh bread, and the like. If you use 'toastie' bags (which let you toast made sandwiches), this toaster easily accommodates these; in other words, each slot can accommodate anything up to a thickness of two slices of bread.
The toaster does do its main purpose very well; it warms up fairly quickly and heats bread evenly and thoroughly. The variable power dial works well. The numbers do a great job of representing progressively higher heating power, with 4 or 5 accurately representing a well browned piece of toast as you would expect. The toaster is also very quiet too, with only a distant buzz whilst toasting.
The toaster claims to have a 'hi-lift' facility, but I still have trouble getting things like crumpets out of the toaster - don't expect this feature to make it any easier.
The toaster features a slide out crumb tray, which is easy to use, but doesn't seem wide enough to collect everything. I found myself shaking the toaster in all directions anyway to clear it of crumbs.
Overall, the toaster does what it is designed to do, but I think it fails in its attempt to be a stylish chrome kitchen appliance.
I have owned my Hiper 1K18A keyboard for a couple of years now. I consider my Hiper keyboard to be the best one I've purchased.
Hiper is a small, UK based company founded in 2001. Hiper's ethos is in creating products that can challenge the higher-end of the PC component market, whilst making them affordable. Other than keyboards, they create power supplies, pc cases, and smaller components (such as fans/cables). I believe the company does live up to their values.
=== Ease of Use ===
This model keyboard 'compact' like a laptop. This means that all of the keys are together like a laptop (although note that there is a separate number pad). There are no gaps between the arrow keys and main key set, and only a slight gap between the main keyset and number pad. This can take some getting used to, but it does become second nature after a while.
The problem I have here is when playing online games; it can be difficult to 'feel' for the correct keys. If this is a concern for you, they do have other 'compact' models that have some gaps (e.g. model HCK-1G12A).
They keyboard is quiet to use; I find this especially important as I'm often up late studying or gaming when others have turned in for the night.
The keyboard has eight function keys at the top. I've seldom used these in the past, and so I was pleased to see that they have been kept minimal and neat. These do work from plugging the keyboard in; the www button launches your default web browser, the volume works, etc. As time goes on, I have found myself really making used of these 'surplus' keys on this particular keyboard; I think the minimalistic nature of the buttons and ease of binding them to do what I want really helps here.
I think the appearance of the keyboard is superb. The simple rectangular shape and 'compact' keys make it look very neat, and there is no excessive distance between the keys and edge of the keyboard. The brushed aluminium looks very swarve, and the unique, very bright purple LED's really 'set it off'. A big plus from me here.
The keyboard is also available in silver. I purchased the silver version for my parents to match their silver pc case, but in comparison I think the black version looks much better.
=== Build Quality/Materials ===
I'm really pleased with the build quality of the keyboard. I think that the quality of materials used, as well as the way Hiper uses them, sets them apart from the competition.
The keyboard face is made from sturdy black brushed aluminium which is about 2mm thick, and the back is made from a good quality matt black plastic. I was pleased to see no plastic stretch marks or slanted/bobbled stickers.
The plastic clips (used to raise the keyboard) are strong and sturdy. These are stiff and creak a little bit, but do not snap back down easily (good). The keys on the front don't feel as 'loose' as other keyboards I've owned, and the letters on the keys have not faded at all. My only disappointment is that the purple LED lights (used for num-lock, caps-lock, etc) have faded over time.
Overall, I highly recommended this keyboard. I love it so much, that I'll be purchased another if it ever breaks - and it's not often I return to same brand in the world of PC-components!
Walkers baked markets themselves as being a healthier alternative to their standard crisps range. They are oven baked, instead of fried, and boast 70% less far than their standard range.
The crisps themselves are shallow-crinkled, and are often present in various sizes due to breakage. The baked range has a good potatoey flavour and each crisp is satisfyingly thick and crispy.
On opening the bag, there is a strong smell of cheese and onion; much stronger than the standard crisp range. This is a little off-putting, but this does mean that there is a generous level of flavouring on the crisps themselves. I found the onion factor in this flavour was too strong, as it had a tendency to overpower the cheese Dried onion is the largest ingredient in the seasoning list.
The packs I purchased often seemed half empty; perhaps the baked crisps are heavier than their standard range, as it seemed that I got less crisps compared to their standard range. I found that there is never enough crisps in a pack, leaving me wanting more.
Overall, Walkers baked isn't a bad range. I enjoy the new type of crisp, but I think there needs to be more crisps in each bag, and the flavours could be improved.
Special K cereal bars are marketed at those dieting or simply looking for a healthy alternative. The peach and apricot variety boasts 88 calories in a 23g bar. The bar consists of mixed cereals and fruit, with a drizzle of yoghurt on top.
I found the texture of the bar to be refreshingly moist and chewable. There was a decent amount of fruit in the bar (12% of the ingredients), but the drizzle of yoghurt seemed really minimal, more of a decoration.
The bar is 'infused' with the scent and taste of Peach and Apricot. This means that you don't just get a fruity taste from the fruit, but also throughout the bar itself - this is consistent with the other flavours in the Special K range. Unfortunately I didn't enjoy this aspect; I felt that the scent of the flavour was overpowering, and the taste unpleasantly artificial. I could barely taste the yoghurt, which wasn't surprising due to the minimal coverage. However, it does add a hint of sweetness to the tangy taste of the bar.
There is something about the ingredients that Kellogg's uses in their cereal bars that I dislike. It's hard to explain, but it's a sharp taste which sticks in the back of my throat, which is most prominent within their Nutri-Grain bars. I was disappointed that this 'feature' has been carried over to their Special K range, and it makes it quite difficult for me to finish the bar.
I found the size of the bar to be inadequate - not quite enough to satisfy and therefore not a replacement for a bowl of cereal. I could easily finish two of these in a sitting, if it wasn't for the aforementioned taste.
In comparison to the other Special K flavours I have tried, Peach and Apricot ranks as the worst, and the box I purchased promptly found its way to the bin. I would probably steer others away from the Special K range. For those interested in purchasing, I would recommend others try the original cranberry flavour Special K over other flavours.
I have been looking to purchase a netbook for a while. So why did I purchase the Asus EEE 1005P in particular? Well, despite not being as well known as other brands such as Dell, HP, etc. Asus have a great reputation amongst computer enthusiasts for good value and quality components (PC bits to the rest of us). The 1005P model in particular offers up to 11 hours battery life, which is fabulous compared to other similarly priced netbooks (such as the Samsung NC10, which offers just 4 hours). I imagine even these numbers are exaggerated. I couldn't bear having to recharge a netbook every 3-4 hours; it just defeats the object of portability.
I loved the appearance of the Asus 1005P. It's compact, and fitted both inside out (but not underneath) and a with high gloss 'piano' black plastic. It loves finger marks! But this is a trivial issue for me. The logos on the back, as well as power and mouse buttons are chrome, and there is some lovely little blue LED status lights. The Asus EEE is built like a 'clam-shell', meaning that it's generally curvy around the corners and thinner towards the front.
As far as features go, the netbook comes with two operating systems (bootable by pressing alternate power buttons). It features Windows 7 starter, which I think is a much better choice over XP. However, a serious bugbear with the starter edition is that you cannot change the desktop background or colours of the windows. Cheers Micro$oft! The second operating system is the Asus 'Express Gate'. This provides you with access to a web browser, mini-games, Skype, and photos within just a couple of seconds of hitting the power button - I love it!
I was disappointed to see a few pre-loaded programs, such as a Asus desktop toolbar and Trend internet security trial. It took me a good bit of time to uninstall these annoying, unwanted programs.
The netbook achieves its 11 hour battery life using a feature called the 'Super Hybrid Engine'. When the netbook isn't plugged in, it automatically adjusts the speed of the computer based on the demands placed on it to conserve energy (you can turn it off or manually override it). I found this to work very well; it has never slowed my activities down.
Performance wise, the netbook seems to handle what I throw at it. To give an example, whilst studying it can run Windows 7, Word 2007, Winamp, Adobe Acrobat, Web browser, and instant messenger with ease. As you can tell, I'm very happy with the performance.
The netbook features a webcam, wireless networking, and the usual slots and sockets. I was happy to find a VGA socket for connecting to a monitor - although I like to connect it to my TV! The keyboard for this netbook is fairly large; it has full size keys which I find useful with big hands. As with other netbooks, there is no number pad. The box content is very basic; containing only a power lead, restore CD, and battery.
Overall Asus have really bowled me over with the 1005P netbook, and I would recommend to anyone looking for a stylish, good value, and good performing netbook.
I've wanted to go on a safari for a long time, but I've never really had the funds to do it. I recently saw the new limited edition 'African Sanctuary' Radox and thought that it could be the next best thing. Just sit back in the bath, close my eyes, get my partner to make a few roars outside the bathroom door, and I'm there!
Most people are familiar with Radox by now; they come in a variety of mixtures (or scents) in distinctive 500ml bottles. They generally retail for as little as £1 in supermarkets.
The African Sanctuary bottle aims to soothe and calm with 'African Rooibos' and 'Red Thyme'. It is a distinctive orangey-brown colour. I generally find that all Radox scents have an underlying soapy smell, but this one smelt somewhat spicy, and fits the African theme.
Does it relax? Using a reasonable amount (about 1/10th of the bottle), I definitely smelt the mixture, but I didn't tend to feel any different than when bathing without Radox. However, I have on occasion used up to 1/3rd of a bottle, and when using this sizable amount I definitely felt more sedate. Perhaps I was simply getting high from the chemicals within.
Radox does excel in the amount of bubbles it produces. My bath is often overflowing with froth if I put Radox in at the start, so I therefore have to pour it in a little later.
One other concern is that I tend to have very sensitive skin, but fortunately I have not had any issues using Radox. It boasts a 'perfect' pH balance and approval from skin experts.
Overall, it's a decent cheap bubble bath that has a pleasant scent. An enjoyable safari, that doesn't quite relax as much as it markets.
The Oral-B ProfessionalCare 7000 toothrush is one of their higher-end models and typically retails for around £30. The 7000 model offers a few benefits on its predecessors, namely;
- Dual speeds; a lower speed is intended to be useful for sensitive areas.
- A professional timer; the brush 'signals' every 30 seconds to help you brush each quadrant of your mouth equally.
- A 'full charge' indicator (I can't believe lower models don't have this!).
The toothbrush simply comes packaged with one brushhead and a charging stand.
I was disappointed to see that the charger comes with a two-prong plug, which meant I had to purchase a two-to-thee prong converter as I don't have the relevant socket in my bathroom.
Charging the toothbrush is fairly easy; you simply rest it on the stand, and it charges by magic! There is no visible connection; I'm really not sure how it transfers electricity through two layers on plastic, but it does. It took take a while to charge though.
The charge is meant to last up to two weeks; but in my experience this was more like one week. I guess it depends on how often you brush and how long for. I felt that I had to recharge the brush a little too often, which was an annoyance.
The brushhead provided is compact and round; the idea is that surrounds each tooth to clean completely. I found the brushhead suitably sized and soft enough for regular use. They also come with a small plastic band in blue or pink, which is a nice touch as it prevents you from getting your toothbrush mixed up if your partner uses one too! Note that replacement brushheads can be pricey; typically selling at £8.50 for a pack of two.
Oral-B tend to market their '3D patented technology' which sounds futuristic, but in fact it basically means that the brushhead pulsates as well as spins. The 7000 model claims 40.000 pulsations and 8.800 oscillations. The box doesn't say what time-interval this refers to and the figures could be either 40 or 40,000 judging by the full-stop uses. It's all nonsense marketing; all you really know is that it spins pretty fast and cleans very well. It's a little noisy, which actually puts me off using it a bit as I like to be discreet in the bathroom.
I'm confident that an electric toothbrush cleans better than manual brushing, but I'm not convinced that sticking with a manual brush is a detriment to the overall health of your teeth.
Physically, the brush is easy to hold with a rubber grip and looks well designed, with quality materials. I specifically enjoyed the timing features of this brush; it signals every 30 seconds to help you brush evenly, and this definitely helped (by signal, it means the brush stops spinning for a split second a couple of times). It also switches itself off after two minutes.
Overall, I feel that the brush is a tad pricey for what it is, and has a few minor disadvantages such as charging time, noise, etc. However, these disadvantages are likely to be shared by other brands too. Despite this, the brush certainly does its job well, gives a great clean feeling, and feels build to last. If you want an electric toothbrush you can't go far wrong with a ProfessionalCare 7000, providing you expect the features mentioned above.
I purchased this Linksys box after having no end of trouble with the box I received from my ISP. I picked it up for £40.00, which seems to be the standard retail price. This box supports ADSL 2, used by some providers such as Be Internet to provide superior connection speeds.
Linksys is owned by Cisco, a large international company that focuses of networking and communications equipment. I like to think of them as the Microsoft of networking. Cisco tend to produce the business grade networking equipment that you see in businesses, therefore I was reassured that I could trust this product.
The appearance of the product was better than I expected. The plastic is matte silver, and not as shiny or cheap looking as images suggest. The box can be lay flat or stood on its side with the stand provided. There is also a 'hook' so you can attach it to a wall - if you wish!
I found the LED status lights to be plentiful, and a useful indication of the status of your connection; turning red when there is a problem or flashing green when attempting connections. They're bright enough to see from across the room. There is a separate light for power, wireless, each network cable DSL, and internet.
The angle and direction of the wireless antennae can be adjusted, but I found the signal to be strong enough whatever the direction.
One thing to note if you do purchase a router, is that it may not be supported by your ISP. They tend to like you to use the box they provide to keep support simple. It can also be a bit tricky to locate your internet settings, and this may require a call to your ISP.
On setting up the box, I found the interface to be very simple - not as graphic heavy as other interfaces. It offered a massive range of settings split into common categories - more than I felt I'd ever use. I liked these features as it made it simple to get the job done, enabling you to configure the produce *exactly* how you want it to behave. I was happy to see in-depth access control / security settings. The interface is consistent across the range of Linksys products, so plenty of help is available via the internet. However, some novice users may still feel a bit intimidated by the weath of settings on offer.
An extremely useful feature of this router is the 'Secure Easy Setup' button. My main source of problems when setting up internet connection has been getting wireless connections working quickly and reliably. The 'Secure Easy Setup' feature allows you to click a button on screen - then press a button on the box - allowing you to sit back and enjoy a cuppa whilst it sets up a secure wireless connection. It works!
The 'Speed Booster' feature attempts to improve the speed of your wireless connection. This does seem to work, but didn't have the dramatic effect I'd hoped for. It helps to provide a more consistent speed, stopping it from fluctuating wildly when you walk past the line-of-sight of the wireless connection. However, a wireless connection is still going to drop the odd packet, noticable when playing online games. I don't think that this feature is as great as the marketing suggests.
Overall I have found the router to be very reliable with all the internet connections I have used it with (three in all), and I have never had any issues with it losing my configuration or behaving oddly. The professionalism of the presentation makes me feel that the box offers excellent longevity over coming years.
Tesco uses LoveFilm to provide an online DVD rental service, and I have used them for around 7 months now. LoveFilm is also used by other companies such as Amazon, CD-WoW, and WHSmith. In fact, it's only real rivals in the UK is Odeon and Blockbuster.
I chose to go through Tesco specifically because they offered 1000 ClubCard points, worth £40 in deals. It's well worth comparing different services as they frequently offer financial incentives to sign-up, whether it be gift vouchers, cashback, or loyalty points. You do earn additional ClubCard points for each subscription payment with Tesco, but these are so minimal they are hardly worth it.
Tesco boasts 67,000 titles to choose from, and is slightly cheaply than rivals. After signing up, a slight annoyance was that I had to add over 10 titles to my list before my account was activated. However, once added, my account automatically kicked in and my first disc was sent shortly after in a smooth process.
I have never had any issues with the service; discs are typically dispatched fairly quickly. Once sent, they are really in RoyalMail's slippery hands to deliver. I can imagine a disc going missing in the post eventually, but I'm confident that Tesco DVD will be understanding of this.
I have never had any issues with scratched / unplayable discs, which is pleasing. Occasionally they do need a bit of a wipe, but this is to be expected.
One problem I have found however is that after adding around 25 titles to my list, six of them (mostly popular films) are unavailable, without logical explanation. Frustratingly, one of my choices is the first part of a series, and although they have the second-to-forth discs available, the first disc isn't! These discs have not become available since, and I'm really disappointed here.
I found the layout of the Tesco DVD website to be fairly easy to follow, but perhaps not quite as clear as LoveFilms. I liked the fact that you can rate and share your opinions of films as this can definitely help you to choose films aligned to your preferences.
Overall, I'm convinced that online DVD rental is the future of rental services offering a quick and convenient service. I'm happy with Tesco DVD rental and will continue to use it in future.
Like most, I end up working through a couple of Lynx shower gels in the months after Christmas. Looking at the florescent orange liquid and reading of the "Brazilian Hot Mud and Red Dragonfruit extracts" it's safe to say I wasn't expecting anything other beyond being blinded by the colour and dazed at the exotic marketing ploys.
I have to say that I was positively surprised after using. The liquid pours easily out of the bottle which I liked, and I was surprised to find that the shower gel consisted of a solution of small beads, meaning that it also exfoliates your skin.
I also loved the scent of this shower gel; the strong sweet smell of oranges really felt refreshing and different - and invigorating! On the downside it smelt a bit artificial and cheap - kind of like when fake orange flavouring is used in confectionary. But, the smell doesn't linger for long after use.
I always find it difficult to judge the cleaning performance of shower gels, however I think the exfoliation alone does a good job of keeping your skin clean. I think the shower gel would be best used with a shower puff or sponge to get the best effect.
Overall I really enjoyed using this product and I'm tempted to pick up some more - and I never thought I'd be doing that after working my way through another gift set. I just wish the scent was a little more manly, as I can only think that this is why girls aren't yet stripping off and swooning towards me as the adverts would suggest. Typically Lynx shower gel retails for around £2.50, however it is normally possible to find it on offer (recently for £1 in some supermarkets).
In an age of Wii consoles, remote controls, wireless mice and radios, it's all too easy to go through tens of batteries every few months. For many, recharables is the next logical step.
However, I found traditional rechargeable batteries annoying; often requiring you to plug in a wait as much as 10 hours+ to fully charge. I didn't like the idea of leaving batteries unattended overnight or whilst out at work, and there are times when I just didn't have my recharger to hand.
I was really pleased to discover USBCell batteries on their release.
These are as simple as they look in the image; simply flip the attached lid and plug-in to charge. I initially purchased them as a novelty, but was really surprised just how much I use them. And they're getting more useful everyday, as USB ports can now be found in abundance on PC's, games consoles, and blu-ray players - even (cheekily) at work!
These batteries are excellent for wireless mice as if they run out it's easy to pop them into your computer. Around 2 minutes of charging can give you a good half hour or so worth of life from your mouse, enabling you to finish what you are doing.
However - you may notice that the actual battery compartment is smaller than usual to make room for the USB connector. Therefore, they don't store as much energy as typical rechargables; wouldn't recommend these for high-power devices such as cd-walkmans or cameras. The batteries take around 5 hours to charge.
A pack of two batteries typically retail at around £7.50. This does seem a bit pricey, but they do pay for themselves.
One last annoyance is that USB sockets tend to be closely spaced together on devices. The size of the battery means that you often cannot plug in two batteries side-by-side.
Overall, I love the convenience that these batteries offer, and prefer them to tranditional recharging methods.