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boatgirl

boatgirl
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Member since: 03.02.2012

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    • Sony BDP-S360 / Blu-Ray Player / 33 Readings / 33 Ratings
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      14.02.2012 19:38
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      Very good Blu Ray player for those on a budget. You get a nice, branded machine which is functional.

      I purchased this Blu Ray player in June 2010 from Play.com. At the time it was the most competitively priced branded player I could find.


      Appearance, design and build quality.

      Overall I have been very impressed with it, the high gloss black finish goes well with my TV and stand. It has a good solid feel, typical of other Sony products I have owned. The Disc drawer slides out slickly from behind a drop down flap which makes up the whole front of the player. This is a nice design touch as it means there is no open slot for children to push things into.

      Remote control and accessories


      The remote control is nice and compact with all the required functions neatly laid out. The only button which it lacks is an eject button but to be fair, you need to go to the player to insert and remove discs anyway so I cannot really complain. There are other buttons on the remote for which I have no use, as it seems you can control home theatre and TV but as my TV is Hitachi this has no relevance for me. As far as other items in the box are concerned, I was very disappointed to find there was no HDMI lead included. I had to make a special trip out again to purchase one.


      Operation and ease of use

      The first thing which struck me on switching on the player was that it told me to wait by means of the digital display on the front. This 'please wait' message flashes for a good 10 to 15 seconds every time you switch on the player and has proven to be a small, yet surprisingly annoying attribute. Once 'booted up..??' the player displays a menu on your TV whereby you can select various options ie data disc, dvd etc. I think this means that you can view picture files on CDR but I have as yet not had any luck getting them to work and end up using my DVD player which I have had to leave connected along side the Blu Ray. Overal the on screen menus are fairly simple to use.

      Picture Quality and playback


      For viewing DVD's I have found that the picture quality seems to be worse than on my DVD player. This is why I have left the DVD player insitu. For Blu Ray discs I can find no fault. Picture quality through my HD ready TV is exceptional.

      Conclusion

      A very good Blu Ray player for those on a budget. You get a nice, branded machine which is functional and simple to use. There are no fancy extras but you get what you pay for. Just remember, switch it on, then go make the tea, otherwise you'll be waiting ages to watch your new film after dinner.

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    • Samsung GT B2100 / Mobile Phone / 32 Readings / 31 Ratings
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      13.02.2012 14:50
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      Robust, outdoor phone, awkward to use

      I have had this phone as a work phone for about 18 months, It replaced a Nokia 5140 which I'd had for ages with no problems.


      Build quality and practicality

      On the face of it, this phone is ideal if you work outdoors or like to indulge in outdoor activities. It is shock resistant and splash proof and has a good, robust feel to it. The body is rubberised which stops it sliding off your car dashboard and it has a handy hoop at the top, to which you can attach a strap to avoid dropping it. If you do drop it, it will just bounce. The battery and cover will stay in place and unless it lands with excessive force, there will be no damage sustained. The phone is fitted with a bright LED torch which is easy to switch on by means of a dedicated switch on the side, and, I have to say, this is by far the best feature.

      Features


      The headline features of this phone, aside from the durability and torch (mentioned above) are the bluetooth connectivity, 1.3 mega pixel camera and high volume loudspeaker for use in noisy environments. The phone also has an FM radio application and some basic games. These are not as good as they sound. The camera is extremely poor quality and difficult to access in a hurry, the 'high volume' speaker so you can hear it ringing is no louder than my other phone (HTC Tattoo see review) The supposed speaker phone application is such a hassle to switch on that I have given up trying and the radio will only work with the supplied headphones which have long since broken which means I can't use it. I have not used the bluetooth so I cannot comment on that. It also has an alarm clock which I sometimes use, this is functional but nothing special.


      Operation

      This is my main area of complaint. A number of the headline features would be great if the operating system were more user friendly. The menu system is just not logical like the old Nokia or a more modern android or iphone. To give an example, if you want to send a simple text message, here is the procedure: 1,unlock keypad, 2,press menu, 3,scroll to message symbol, 4, press select, 5,select create new message, 6,select message(or email), 7,press options, 8, select add recipient, 9,select phonebook/recent recipients etc, 10, tick box to select recipient 11,select options, 12,click add, 13, type message (the predictive text is appalling) 14,click options, 15,press send. It really shouldn't be necessary to have to go through 15 steps to send a text. This clunky, step by step procedure is reflected in all the applications and just drives me mad.


      Charger and earphones


      There is one single socket on the side of the phone which serves either the charger or the supplied earphones. This is a unique, samsung design of socket and therefore means that it is not USB or 3.5mm jack compatible. All very well but if you lose, forget or break the charger you've had it. Why they didn't fit it with a mini USB and 3.5mm jack socket I'll never know. It also means that you'd need to buy a special lead to transfer any of the poor quality photos you've taken to your PC.

      Screen quality

      I have to say, jet another area that underwhelms. Its a pretty small screen and the image quality is poor, the pixels are large enough to notice, it has that look of an old style tv when viewed up close.


      Battery life


      To be fair, the battery life of this phone is good. It will easily last a week on standby and almost as long with light to medium use. I can't complain about this.

      In conclusion

      If you want a phone that won't break when dropped and has a good torch and battery life then this might be for you. If you want it for anything more than this, DON'T BOTHER. It is so awkward to use that you'll just give up. I wonder if whether they made it so robust in order that you can throw it across the room in a frustrated rage and it not break. Seriously, it's rubbish, if it weren't my company work phone, I'd have binned it long ago.

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      • HTC Tattoo / Smartphone / 27 Readings / 27 Ratings
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        12.02.2012 10:38
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        If you are looking for a cheap, reliable basic smartphone, this is fine.

        First Opinions


        I have had this phone since June 2010, I got it on a Vodafone contract and it was my first smartphone. It was rather a good deal, I pay £15 per month and this is for a package that includes 100 anytime, any phone minutes, 500 texts and 500mb data. That is fine for my use. Vodafone were also offering £130 cash back through topcashback if I took it for 2 years. I was very pleased with this and the cashback was paid with no problems. 18 months later, it is still working well and has not let me down. For my first smartphone I found this phone easy to get to grips with. It has the google android operating system which I have found to be very user friendly. The multi page desktop can be fully customised to your own requirements with many widgets pre loaded and many more available for free on the android market. The touch screen is one of the earlier types and is not as responsive as more modern models but it is still far better than some of the Nokia's I've used.

        The Camera

        The camera is not its best asset, It produces good quality pictures but it is slow to boot up and there is an infuriating delay from pressing the shutter to the picture being taken. I'd say almost a second, which for photographing the family dog or any moving object is just a waste of time, by the time the image is captured, the moment has gone and all you get is a blur on the screen. Also this camera is very poor in low light situations and just produces dark orangey images as there is no flash.

        Connectivity

        The phone does have good connectivity. It has WiFi, Bluetooth as well as standard GPRS and 3G. It has a mini USB port in the base which is used for charging and connecting to your PC. The charger has a detachable USB lead so you can use this for connecting. In the top, there is a standard headphone jack so you can connect any headphones or speakers for listening to music.


        Music and Video


        For music and video, the music player is just the same as any standard MP3 player. Video capability is very limited, I have not had any success watching youtube videos or BBC iplayer videos as the phone is not apparently supported when you try to view them. I think this is a symptom of the phone being an early model.


        Normal phone use


        As for general phone calls and messaging, I have found the Tattoo to be perfectly usable. Text messages are easy to type with qwerty keyboard an option and you can easily link to your email account to receive emails as you would texts. The phone book is not very user friendly as you have to scroll down the alphabetical list of contacts to find who you want to call. Also the loud speakerphone works well in itself but is not very quick and easy to find, also, it can only be enabled once the call is in progress. The battery lasts a day, that's it. If you leave the phone on standby, you might get a day and a half, but if you use it a lot, it'll be dead by bedtime.

        In Conclusion

        Overall, if you are looking for a cheap, reliable basic smartphone, this is fine. If you want something flashy, don't bother. (I downloaded google skymap to look at the stars and it is really jumpy and slow.)
        Review summary
        for the review "Basic Smartphone, good for the money but its no iphone.."
        Overall, if you are looking for a cheap, reliable basic smartphone, this is fine. If you want something flashy, don't bother.

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      • More +
        03.02.2012 20:29
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        A great low cost camera, very robust and user friendly. Would recommend to anyone even technophobes

        I bought this in June 2011 and have used it loads ever since. It is such a good little video camera, being small, robust, waterproof and easy to use. We had our friends one (which is identical to ours) in the swimming pool with us, that's right, IN the swimming pool, for underwater larking about, no issues with it afterwards.


        The buttons are self explanatory and the menus are easy to navigate. It has an SD card slot which means you can change and upgrade its capacity quickly and easily. The battery life is very good (one charge can easily last a couple of months when using for short recordings here and there). It comes with all the leads you will need, including USB lead which plugs directly into the charging plug (for mains or laptop charging) and HDMI lead. The HDMI lead enables you to plug the camera directly into your TV and watch back your videos instantly without having to upload and burn the files to DVD. With the ever declining cost of SD cards, it is almost easier to just label and keep them and watch back via the camera whenever you want. If you do want to upload and edit your videos on a PC, the camera comes with an editing program which is fully capable of doing this. One thing to be aware of though is that your PC needs to have enough processing power to deal with the file sizes. (I had to buy a new laptop to do this)

        My only criticisms would be that it does not come with a case and that the supposed HD quality is not as good as I'd expected when shown on a 40" TV. For the price though, I can't really complain. There has been one fault in that after about three months, the battery failed. (I wrote to Kodak and they replaced it free of charge no quibble)

        Overall I cannot fault it for the money and recommend it to anyone.

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