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We all have a DVD player of some kind, either built in to the television itself or plugged up to a television via what is called a SCART socket. And there are many many of these DVD players out there, some that cost more than factory workers weekly wage, with others being more affordable.
And this one is in the cheaper range of player. This one is about the same size as other players, being about 230mmm wide, 210mm deep and no more than 50mmm deep, weighing in at just over a kilo.
On the front there is the DVD slot, which the tray comes out of, this is on the left as you look at it. On the right there's three buttons, open, play/pause and power, with a small screen above it.
It has one single SCART socket on the rear.
It supports most DVDs, such as DVD-R/RW+ and -, CD, CD-R/RW, JPEG, MPEG4 and even Xvid.
There are more downsides than upsides. With the main downside being that this is one loud machine, meaning that you have to turn up the volume in order to listen to the hear what's being said. Although if Janet Street Porters on then this groaning sound as the disc turns sounds better then her....
Another of the downsides is that, after a few months of using this, it seemed to grow a mind of its own, turning itself off during a DVD, which spoils the viewing. Then there's the fact that this would somehow jump through sections of a DVD, both backwards and forwards, which is another way that spoils viewing.
As I said, this is in the cheaper bin of players and has nothing special in it, so there's no built in freeview or ability to play your blu-ray DVDs in it expecting the same quality.
Although it does come with a remote control that is like any other controls, the usual button and is easy to understand. This remote runs off 2AAA batteries and once in, they last almost a lifetime.
The price of this player is about ten quid... I told you it is in the cheaper pile.
To be blunt I found this player to be too noisy and disrupt my DVD viewing pleasures, and with that it was way over priced...
It's about 200mm long, 180mm wide and no more than 65mm wide, at its widest point, weighing in at no more than 1.5kg.
There's the handle which has the trigger on the underside, this trigger has a small dial on it that selects the speed of the motor, turning right for fast and left for slow. This really comes in handy when it comes to starting more delicate jobs and even for those that are less confident with this sort of tool.
Above the trigger there is a locking button that, when pressed whilst the trigger is pulled, keep the motor running even when you let go of the trigger. To disable this lock system you just pull the trigger once more.
On the bottom there is the metal footplate that is curved around the edges so that it glides easier over the material you're cutting.
There's the blade clamp itself, which is loosened and tighten with a small hex-key, this key being held in the little whole near the rear of the base section, just below the 'large' hole, this hole being for a vacuum hose to suck all the dust away from your work while you're cutting.
In front of the blade there is a clear piece of rounded plastic that is there for safety as it helps keep your fingers away from the blade as it goes up and down faster than the eye can see.
This is not the best in the jigsaw world, not really having the stamina to use on longer jobs without the motor feeling that hot that I feared for the safety of the 420 watt motor housing, expecting the plastic casing to go into melt down.
This is what ended the life of this saw for me as the motor burnt out after a bit of work, smelling like a dogs trump in a small car. So this one went straight into the old bin. It wasn't even worth trying to repair or even trying to get my money back.
I'm glad this saw only cost £15 as I did not feel as though i'd lost that much money. But if you're looking at jigsaws then i'd advise that you look straight passed this one as, for me, it was more trouble than it was worth.
This is another one of drill/driver that I have owned and used over the years, with this one being a driver rather than a drill. The reason? It has a single hex fitting rather than a chuck, although this can be used as a drill but you will have to use special hex shank drill bits.
Anyway, this driver is the 18 volt version and uses a cracking, if slightly large and heavier, Lithium Ion 4.0Ah rechargeable battery that not only charges quickly and give you the power that a good driver needs, it also manages to keep the charge when the driver is put in the cupboard for a few weeks, or months.
The entire unit is about 200mm high, 135mm long and about 70mm wide and weighs about 1 ½ kg.
The chuck is at the front and is a fixed ¼ inch hex type so make sure you buy the right size bits. But as they are quite common in the shops they should be as cheap as chips....
the trigger is at the top end of the handle, just below the motor housing, and the is a red directional button that slides from one side to the other, giving you the forward and reverse option, which means screwing and unscrewing.
On the side, where the battery meets the unit, there is a little clip. This is the hang the drill upside down on your belt, or what ever holds your trousers up. This clip is wide enough to hang this unit onto something like a gutting or the like.
For me, when I used this I was well impressed with the power it offered, managing screwing and unscrewing with ease, even when the battery lost half its power.
It is bottom heavy, which all good drill/drivers of this type should be. This helps when it comes to resting the unit on the floor during a job, with the battery being the heaviest area on the underside of the unit, the unit should sit happily on that, with no rocking or falling over.
I have to say that the reason I no longer use this, having used it viciously for god knows how long, is that the battery decided to not want to be charged, which, as we all now, is not good when it comes to a rechargeable battery.... I did get my monies worth out of this driver before it gave up the ghost, there was not worries there.
Speaking of monies. This one sells for about £110, give or take. Which is good value for this cracking tool.
I was given a gift recently, or was it more a bribe? It's hard to tell as I get lots of little 'gifts' during my day to day working life.
This gift is on the 'nicely received' category as it not only looks nice, like a gift, it's also one of those that is very useful indeed.
It came in a rather loud orange case with the famous logo on. When unfolded revealed the earphones and an even more attractive little box, plus, there was also a spare set of ear buds, being a large size that the ones on the earphones themselves.
The black case, with the little Ferrari logo on, zips up ¾ of the way around, encasing the earphones inside to protect them.
The earphones themselves look the part, donning the horse logo on what can only be described as a upside down posh wine bottle shape. On the other side of the logo we have the black buds themselves which can be swapped easily with the other buds that came in the case. Although you can actually swap the buds with most other buds on the market as they are all the same fitting.
The cable looks more like string, but this is just the covering of the wire inside. This is designed to help stop tangling of the wires, which it does a good job at doing really.
Go up the wire and there's a small control unit, which starts and stops the tracks.
The 3.5mm Jack is a gold colour but it's not gold so don't be thinking of sending it off in one of those envelopes.??? you'll get nothing back on it.
The all important performance and sound quality is pretty good really. It is remarkably loud and manages to retain clarity without hissing. (although this is down to quality of the music tracks themselves). The one thing that I have to say is that if a track has a heavy beat, (bass) then it will sound even louder through these, which can spoil the listening quality in some tracks. The sound quality is helped by all the bits that these earphones have, such as Thin ||Film Acoustic technology and passive dynamic sound, (all written on the box).
In all, these are comfortable to wear, give out a good to great sound quality and have the famous black horse logo all over them.
A perfect gift for a man in a mid life crises...
The price of these earphones is a medium priced £40.
They have 15tpi, which basically means that there are 15 little teeth in every inch, so, adding the length divided by the teeth, multiply by pi which gives you roughly 135 teeth in all. Being cut into a single piece of flexible strong metal.
The blades are quite flexible, but they can only take so much bending before snapping like a man on his first anger management lesson.
On each end there are two tiny little 'hooks', which are designed to grip onto the grooves on either end of the coping saw that these fit too.
To fit these on your coping saw, what I do is place the end of the saw against the floor, or a none-movable object, something like the catch on my father-in-laws wallet. Then I gently press down on the handle. This closes the gap between the metal arc of the saw. I then slot the ends of the blades into the grooves on the frame and once in there I release the slight pressure. I then tighten the handle on the screw thread until I can tighten it no more. And we're done.
When it comes to loosening it I unscrew the handle a bit, turn the blade at both ends until it's at the place I want it, then re-tighten the handle.
The blade can go into the saw either way, although as it only cuts properly in one direction because of the way the teeth are set, you're better to check the direction of the cut before tightening to handle. The simple thing is to look at the teeth and put the tiny straight edge nearer to you. This will cut the wood on the pulling stroke rather that the pushing stroke.
In a nut shell, or more in a coping saw, these blades are as good as any. They are strong enough to cope with corners without snapping at the first slight bend. They are easy to fit into most saw frames, of his size and cut well through the wood itself.
What more do you need...??
The price of these blades, all ten of them in one packet, is an amazing £3.00 or so, (About 30pence each), which, if you are planing on cutting a lot of corners, is cracking value for money
It's about 230mm long, bending in the middle at about 150mm. It is about 40mm wide and 30mm thick. On the handle, or where the hand holds onto, has a black soft grip, with a few grooves around it so that it fits better in your hand. The front part, that bends up and down, there are two buttons, a forward and a backward, using simple arrows on each button so you know which is which.
Right at the front there is the torque, which, on driver is quite a nice thing to have as it stops the driving when the correct pressure is found. This means less splitting through wood. These torques go up to 21, with even a drill logo passed the number 21 which means that, technically, this can be used as a drill.
The chuck is the ¼ inch hex type and the bits simply slot into the hex shape at the end. Plus there is a little light on the front which illuminates the area the chuck is pointing at.
To change the pencil drive into a gun shape drive, you simple push the little black button on the top, move the top to which ever angle you want and then let the little lever click back into place.
The battery is small and long, and slides up the handle section so that there is no bulkyness anywhere on the driver. This battery is a 1.2 Ah lithium-Ion 7.2 volt one and is why I don't really use this for drilling. The battery takes about 30 minutes to fully charge, giving you a good hour or so of constant work.
This has its advantages, such as the way it can bend in the middle so you can get into the smaller areas for screwing and it has enough power to get those flat packs together and the way the torque setting kick in. Then there's the disadvantages such as the fact that it is pretty bad as a drilling, even though it's got a drill logo on it.
If you're after a decent driver and have a bit of cash on you, then this is well worth looking at. It has the power for small jobs and gets into more places than you think.
It's in the more expensive side in the driver world, being over the £100 mark, more at the £150 or so. But for this you actually get two batteries in this kit which means that you can have one battery charging in the quick charge charger, whilst using the other. And you also get a lovely black blow moulded case to keep all the bits in.
I have been using the S2 version, as I find that it does everything I want it to whilst keeping things simple.... but, due to work, I was handed the newest Galaxy range, the S5, which makes my old faithful S2 look like a Nokia 6220 in the hands of a giant.
This S5 is quite big, having a 5.1 inch crystal clear screen
The battery last longer than any other I have come across, which is a miracle with mobiles these days.
The heart rate monitor is ok I guess but I'm old school and prefer to use my finger on pulse method to know my heart's about to explode. So the monitor is not something I use.
I do however use the access security, which comes in the form of a finger print. You set it up using your chosen finger and every time you want access to your phone you use that fingerprint to do so. This stops me having to hide my screen from others when I am inputting the password. All phones should follow suit with this as it is a brilliant idea.
It also boasts that it is water resistant, not waterproof, so don't take it deep-sea-diving with you. What it means is that, once all the flaps are closed properly, the phone will be protected from spilt drink on it. Which is another great idea for mobile phones.
So, after using this for a few months, getting to grips with the built in apps, some of which are as useful as a chocolate teapot, which is annoying as you can't uninstall them. Not with a root anyway, which invalidates the warranty. But most are good apps, plus, I have added many of my own. So now the phone is how I want it.
It is simple to use, especially if you're used to smart phones to start with. It's fast, with the apps opening almost instantly, zipping from one to another in the blink of an eye, almost. The internet, both wi-fi and 3/4G, open up with the speed of a thousand gazelles, although running through he internet does depend on your browser/position/provider, but it all goes well, you'll be eating through your data allowance before you realise.
The screen is the best i've seen, which means watching a video or looking at pictures is a pleasure, with no need to squint. The camera is quick, clicking almost as soon as you press the 'take' button.
The only downside of this phone is the fact that it cost a small fortune to have this in your hands, we're talking about £300 - £400. and even on contract you're talking about £100+ upfront with a good £30 - £40 per month.
It is 380mm long, 250mm wide and 30mm thick, with the base keyboard thickness being 25mm, so you can work out how thick the screen is. The entire laptop weighs a mere 2.3kg.
The lid of the laptop when closed, is a bit of a dull black colouring, with a slight rough feel to it, although not 'ugly' rough, more a gentle rough, if you rub your fingers across it.
You open the lid by pulling it up, there's no catches. Once open you see the qwerty keyboard with the number pad to the right, with the power button above the number keys. This power button glows blue when machine is on. Above the keyboard there are two speakers.
The screen is 15.6inch and takes up most of the top section, giving a crystal clear picture.
There are 3 USB ports, one being a faster 3.0. there's also the LAN port, and an RGB port. There's also an SD card slot at the front and a DVD drive tray on the side. Plus the vents on the other side.
This is not the greatest of laptops but for the price it is great value for money. I mean, what other laptop gives you 1024GB of storage, 4GB of Ram, and i3 Intel core CPU with Intel HD graphics video card giving (32bit) true colour, HD audio, 1366x 768 pixel screen resolution, qualcomm Atheros Audio wireless adapter and all for the price of £300 ….? plus, according to a sticker on the left side, this is energy star rated ????
The keyboard is responsive without a doubt, although the feel of the board is a little weird, for me anyway, it took me a few goes to get used to the keys being so close together, plus the fact that the centre of the keyboard seems to bounce slightly when pressing the central keys. It's not something that is a major annoyance, nor does it affect the way the laptop works.
The picture quality is second to none. Talk about HD. I put this next to another laptop just to see what the difference was and I was stunned at the clarity of this one compared to the other. Watching movies on this is a pleasure.
The speakers are brilliant but I have a set of small speakers that do the trick so that I can use this to play music through. The DVD drive handles all types of media with no trouble.
It is a good buy for a nice little lightweight laptop and has the speed and storage to make more people happy. £300 well spent really.
It claimed to be perfectly designed for the SGS5 and, if you've ever used similar cases that mould around the phone then you know the a perfect design is never perfect, maybe the sections that cover the buttons are too hard so you have to whack it with a hammer in order for the button to be pressed. Or maybe the earphone Jack is covered to much, or the charger point doesn't let you push in the plug...???? but what ever the problem the perfect fit is never perfect.
But this one is different, this one is perfect, fitting the S5 without any restrictions at all.
It has a hole on the back for the camera lens and flash, there's also a hole lower down for the speaker. Around the edges there's a hole at the top for the earphone socket and couple more for the mouth piece and microphone. There are buttons on either side, two on one side one on the other, which place exactly over the phone buttons and touch them perfectly well. These are 'real' buttons and not just thinner parts in the moulding so that it's easier to push them.
It may be thicker than many gel cases, in a way, but as the GS5 is a thin phone to start with this thicker, stronger case really does protect the edges of your phone, although it will do nothing to protect the screen if that hits the deck first.
The nice thing about this is that you can actually change the colouring of the case, the main rear section anyway, as this pulls off with a bit of a waggle and a new colour piece slots on with a bit more of a waggle. The one I have is the black one, although it does come in other colours, such as blue, red, gold, yellow and several others, but what ever the colour the cases are all the same design.
The price of this SGS5 phone protector sells for about £14 which is money well spent considering the price of the phone that it protects.
This is a driver not a drill, which is why it has no chuck, giving it a stumpy look, compared to power drills.
It's about 200mm high, 140mm wide and about 80mm wide and weighs in at about a kilo and a bit.
It uses hex fitting bits, meaning that it will only house screw drive bits which have 6 sides. Most, if not all, on the market have six sides so there should be no hassles getting the ones you need.
The battery slots into the bottom, clicking into place, with the trigger being at the top of the handle, just below the stumpy front, which, as I say, is the chuckless hex connection bit.
There is a little light on the lower section of the handle which points up to where the driving point goes in.
The 10.8volt battery charges in less than an hour so, with the spare battery, it's none stop screwing !!!!! plus, with the fact the batteries are Lithium Ion, it means that the batteries last longer both in use and when not in use.
It has 21 torque settings, and has a drill action, although you will need special hex drill bits, which can be bought from shops, but I find that this is best for driving., not really for drilling.
It came in a blow moulded plastic case,. Which also contained the spare battery and a charger. With plenty of room for all sorts of bits and bobs.
It's so easy to use, has the power to screw in deeply whilst also having to delicacy to stop screwing before the screw pierces through that piece of mahogany.
As I said, it is best when using as a driver as the drilling action, when used, really does ware down the battery.
This one, the full set, sells for about £80 - £100, which, for a well known drill with the power and stamina of a the great Cassius Clay, is money well spent.
Sadly, mine spent to long accidentally left outside during the rainy season and we all know that rainwater is not good for electrical equipment.....
When it comes to certain jobs around the house that need a ladder in order to reach it there's nothing worse than being at the top of the ladder, ready to start the job in hand, only to find that you have no where to put the tools that you don't need straight away, but you know you'll need it very soon. You've have the choice of slotting them in your pockets, or in your belt, or try balancing them in the round rungs of the ladder. But what ever you do you know that the tools are going to end up on the floor many feet below.
Only there's a simple idea that I have been using for a while now that helps me out when it comes to being able to keep the tool, or paint tin, up the ladder with me. That idea being this, the ladder paint tray.
It is simply a tray, albeit yellow, which sits on a rung of your ladder, with a couple of metal wires that are designed to attach to the rung above the tray.
And that's it. That is all it is....
As for the size, it is about 350mm wide, 300mm deep and 35mm thick. The metal rods, that each have a loop on each end, are about 400mm long.
And that's the size....
I just can't get over the simplicity of this. It is one of those ideas that makes you think 'why did I not think of this ….?' It sits nicely on one rung with the two hanging rods fitting snugly over the next rung.
The tray sits straight and is big enough to accommodate quite a bit, like a tin of paint, screws, nails, even tools, and the slight lip that goes around it stops any smaller items rolling off the edge.
The price of this simple but great idea is about £25 - £35.
If you're a painter, or do a bit of painting in and around the house. Or maybe you just like being up a ladder with all your things around you, then this is a cracking thing to have up there with you.
Plus, for easy storage, the two metal rods close into the tray so that this can be stored away on the narrowest of places when you don't need it.
When it comes to do a bit of DIY sometimes you need three hands, or more. What I'm talking about is when you need to hold two pieces of wood together with one hand, whilst steadying a screw in position with the other, which leaves your third hand to control the drill in order to screw the wood together.
Or, if you have to glue a piece of wood to a door frame, for example, but you have not got the time, or patience, to stand holding the piece there until the glue goes off, (This could take 10-24 hours, and standing holding a piece of wood for that long is not something to look forward to.
This is where the good old fashioned clamp comes into it, and it's fortunate that the clamps have evolved from the heavy metal G clamp to a one handle quick clamp. And it is the quick clamp I am talking about here.....
These are a simple design, one section being static whilst the other section can be moved along in order to grip what ever is in between the two grips. Then, to finish the tightening, a simple squeeze of a trigger to bring the grips closer together, clamping tightly on both side. The 'static' piece is a simple 'L' shape, having a few holes in it and some little grooves along the ridge in the centre. The other piece, the moveable one, is a trigger on the lower half and a grip on the top, this grip having a plastic covering which spreads out the 'weight' so the work it grips is left undamaged.
To use it you just place the two pieces over the work you want clamping, then pull the trigger enough times until the work is clamped properly. You can go about what you're doing. To release the clamp you simple press the little yellow button on the other side of the handle and the grip is loosened. And that's them in a nutshell.
These type of clamps are a god send when it comes to ease of use, being able to use them with one hand whilst you hold the work with the other. They save not only time but frustration too.
These clamps are on the market in many guides, with some begin cheap and nasty, which waste not just money but time too. This is why these are on the more expensive range of clamps, selling for about £20 each. Although you can buy sets which may save a few quid the more you buy.
It is shaped like all other drills, gun shaped, with the battery at the bottom of the handle. This battery slots in to place and clip locks there, making is safe and secure.
There's the trigger which is at the top of the handle, with the reverse/forward slider button being just behind it. This button slides from one side to the other.
On the top there is the gear shift slider button for changing the gear pressure, which comes in handy for the hammer function.
On the very front there is the chuck itself, which has the torque setting ring just behind it, with a slight gap between the chuck and the drill itself. This is to allow the hammer action to have somewhere to go.
The chuck is the more modern keyless one, which means that it can be tightened/loosened by hand. Grab the chuck cover and turn, the brake locks in place after a bit of a turn and once it does the sleeve turns around very easily.
The last thing to mention is the little gap just in front of the battery housing, this is to take the free double headed screwdriver bit that comes with this drill. This bit clips in place and stays there until you need it.
This has got the mobility of the cordless drill whilst having the power to stamina of a corded drill, with the batteries managing to last for an extraordinary long time.
The handle makes holding it a pleasure, in the drill world, which means that I can use it for a long time without it causing my palms any troubles at all.
The bit changing is so simple to use, even with one hand, as the brakes of the unit lock the back section of the chuck in place when you turn the front ring. The torque settings are great for screwing into material without damaging anything.
The price of this drill is about £150 - £200, which sounds a heck of a lot of money for a drill but this is Dewalt and with that name on it you know it's going to be good, if not great. Which it is.
To be honest, if I had the money I would buy a couple of these as they are not only powerful and mobile their batteries have brilliant life span, which can not be said for other drill batteries.
Sadly though, as these black and yellow workers cost a couple of hundred quid each I can't afford it. But, as I have a rather fine back up drill and driver machine I can hang fire in buying another Dewalt.
It's your standard power drill shape, being like a gun, which is probably why men like to carry them around with them. The battery sits on the bottom, weighing the drill in the right place so that it can sit on the handle without toppling over. Up the handle there is the trigger, with a sliding button on the side of the handle which is the directional control, be it forward or reverse.
Then there's the main body, with the motor at the rear and the chuck at the front. The chuck itself sits in front of the torque settings, 1 -16, and the drill/screw/hammer setting, both these settings are controlled on a ring motion, turn the ring, set the control. The chuck is a 13mm version, so make sure you get the right sized bits.
Finally, on the top of the drill, there is the gear shift, which is a sliding switch and changes the pressure of the brushes when slid along.
It does come with a spare battery, which means 2 NiCD 18 volt rechargeable batteries so when one dies you've got another to crack on with. It houses an electronic brake so the chuck stops straight away.
The battery slots into place using a simple clipping method, detaching by pressing the catches on either side of it.
This is not the best drill I have used, by far, in fact, for power to stamina ratio it falls far short of being in my top twenty. The batteries are quite quick to charge, (3 hours, which is pretty quick in the recharging world), but when you;re using Ni-CD batteries on a hammer drill then you know you're not going to get much time out of them. No wonder you get two with this drill.
The drill itself is a good weight, even with the battery in place. It is nice to hold, with the handle having a bit of a soft feel where its needed most.
The keyless chuck is easy to use and simple to operate, so there's no need to carry any special tools in order to change the bits.
The price I paid for this, including the spare battery, was around £40, and as it comes in a lovely plastic carry case it's not a bad hammer drill for those lower, less stressful jobs. But if you're a bricky, or just want to add a few hanging basket brackets to your outside wall then this is going to cause more frustration after a while.
It's a bit of a beast, with a beasts name, or the Reciproccator, although I've heard it called the crocodile/alligator. It is a good 530mm long, not including the blade, which adds another 150mm on that. It is about 165mm high, at the handle, including the battery, which slots into the handle itself. The entire thing weighs in at nearly 5kg, so it's not for the faint hearted.
The trigger is housed inside the handle, on the rear end, which the guard being the entire handle and front section. As we go along the saw, there's another handle which your other hand holds and not only take the weight of the saw but uses it to control the direction of it too.
The blade slots into the front, locking into place with the twist of your hands, and a bit of pushing and pulling. And there's a little lock switch that you need to press in order to get the trigger working, this is a safety device and works well, meaning you need two hands to start it up.
The battery is aNi-Mh 3.3Ah 24volt one and it does seem to keep a good charge for a longer time than I expected.
It takes about an hour to charge, giving you about 20-30 minutes of mad cutting time, depending on what you're cutting.
It can take different size blades, which the front foot section being able to slide in and out to keep the blade balanced and stop it from being pushed back when cutting.
This is one of those tools that you either need or don't need. It os one of them that you might use once or twice, then stick it in the back of the shed. But if you've got an open fire and a pathway to lots of branches in the woods, then this will chomp them into burnable sizes in no time at all, even on a battery. They do do a mains powered 240vlit version for half the price, which is worth thinking about.
The cost of this massive saw is about £200, although you can get it from other shops for less.
For me, this was great for chopping branches off the tree that were on the verge of causing damage, yet still hanging on in there. And it's great for cutting wood for the fire, but for the price I paid I think I should have left it on the shelf in the shop.
I did end up selling it on ebay and got 75% of my money back, which was nice.