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db5vry
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Member since: 30.06.2010

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      06.01.2011 17:39
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      Good game, if you don't have it then it's worth getting!

      Many people recognise the Need for Speed series as souping up a convertible and driving through city streets, or being chased by the cops through the countryside (or even for some, being the cops). Shift is, for lack of a better term, a shift in the type of game that the franchise is offering - it's more of a racing simulation. The emphasis has been taken from quick thrills to precision racing, and provides a completely different experience as a result. It's one that's not unworthy of the NFS brand title, but not one that many people immediately associate with it.

      Here you are able to race on not just the circuits imagined by game developers, but also real life locations such as Silverstone, Laguna Seca and interestingly Spa-Francorchamps - the Belgian Formula 1 venue. Cars are separated into tiers, where the more you progress through the game the higher the tier you will perform at, eventually culminating in being able to use some of the fastest dream cars on the planet.

      The game physics are decent and outdo rivals such as Race Driver: Grid, but are nowhere near the standards of the Forza or Gran Turismo series which is understandable, as those games have always had the determining focus on providing a simulation while EA are only starting to dip their toes into the water - with that in mind, what they've achieved is rather impressive. The damage modelling is light-years ahead of what you may have previously seen in racing games - when you crash, you literally feel like you're crashing rather than bouncing off the tyre barriers, walls or whatever scenery is in your way.

      Beyond the sometimes jumpy and unpredictable handing of some cars is revealed a deep and rewarding career mode with many different challenges. Winning 'stars' is the main object of it all, and the more you achieve through good driving and fast racing, the further you will go in this game. It includes simple races, drift-themed events, time attacks, driver duels and eliminator/last man standing events. The variety is greater than your average simulation and the game deserves acclaim for it.

      The game is not as graphically or sonically impressive as leading titles, although it's still very impressive. The cars are as noisy as you would expect them to be in real life, and the game features intricately designed interiors for each of its cars which will please those who pay attention and soak up every last detail.

      Shift isn't going to offer quite the realism that you would be accustomed to in GT or Forza, but what you are getting here is an immersive, entertaining and unique driving experience. With the background of the series you'd expect there to be a strong element of fun and it has certainly retained that, and this is where the game triumphs - the fun quotient is arguably much higher than in its higher-class rivals, despite lacking in other areas. It is a game to be appreciated for what it does, because it does it so well! If you're bored of any other racing games you are or are a NFS enthusiast, you shouldn't be missing out on this title!

      If you enjoy this game, then a sequel NFS Shift 2 Unleashed is on the horizons - judging by early impressions, it's going to be a superb game that will prove that the NFS series is maturing and focused on what it's doing, proving that this game is not an anomaly in their developments and deserves to be taken seriously. Buy it and you shouldn't regret it!

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    • Samsung GT C3300 / Mobile Phone / 13 Readings / 10 Ratings
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      06.01.2011 17:35
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      Great phone for the cost and great for young people to use or as a backup

      I have owned this phone for a while before my iPhone and it served me very well. It was more than worth the £100 I paid for it at the time. It does the job without any problems at all.

      It only weighs 90 grams, which is nice and light. It's comfortable to hold in your hand and has a touch sensitive screen which, as long as you keep it clean enough, won't be a problem to you. It supports micro SD cards up to 8 gigabytes, so there's no problem fitting on music, videos or any random data that you need to carry around with you. It also features FM radio, a solid internet browser and mobile email as well as easy social networking capabilities. The camera is only 1.3 megapixels though, so that won't be setting the world on fire in this day and age.

      I recommend it to anyone under 18 - it's not too expensive, it is very easy to use and looks fashionable. However, those looking for something that is cutting edge may want to look at something different because this isn't going to break any records. It's a good, solid phone but after using an iPhone it's really no contest. Saying that, I find it a great phone to keep in reserve if I ever have any problem with my iPhone and it's great to know that I can rely on it.

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      • Philips DVP5990 / DVD Player / 3 Readings / 2 Ratings
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        06.01.2011 17:33

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        Great DVD Player for the price I paid

        I picked this up for a bargain £48 off eBay after tiring of all of the extremely cheap players that my parents have owned in my house since forever! Movies and CDs would jump often and what you could do with them was limited. This has proved to me and them how not all DVD players are unreliable and poor in quality, I never thought I would see the day when I didn't have to worry about it breaking down or the quality being poor.

        Not only does it support normal DVDs but also your copied discs and most importantly the use of USB pen sticks. The inclusion of the DivX codec means that you can copy your .avi or .mpeg files easily and efficiently and watch them in comfort in front of a TV rather than in front of a laptop or computer screen! I'd never heard of DVD players being able to do this and it's made my life so much more easier now that I own one of them which is capable of it.

        The output is HDMI, which means that with a HD compatible TV you can enjoy all of your media in great quality. Everything looks better this way rather than the aforementioned cheap and nasty players, so it's well worth investing in if you don't have a quality product in this area.

        The setup was fairly easy and straightforward - if you're not experienced in the technical side of things, there's a manual that explains it all that comes with the product in question that will help you overcome any difficulties.

        I've had this for 4 months with no difficulties so I am confident that if you pick it up, the reliability factor will rub off on you as well. Great value for money and it goes without saying something I don't regret buying!

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        06.01.2011 17:31
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        It's awesome!!

        £250 for an mp3 player? Is it really worth it?

        I'd owned mp3 players before I owned this, but I never owned anything that was of this calibre. This is now the fourth generation of iPods and as far as I can see, technology has come as far as to blur the line between what is an iPod Touch and an iPhone.

        So, what can it actually do? The question you should be asking is what it can't do. It can't vacuum your house for you or cook you dinner, but other than that the possibilities are endless due to the infinite amount of apps that are available for it. There is one thing that works as a special alarm clock which monitors your sleep cycle and wakes you up when it determines that you are in a good enough state. If you work a 9-5 job, this can be more than just handy - this is something that can help a lifestyle. It's just one of many examples of how this small little box can become a dependable companion to you. I would go into other apps, particularly the endless streams of games that can be found, but it's brilliant discovering them all on your own and is one of the prime reasons why I have enjoyed using this as much as I have.

        32 gigabytes of memory is more than enough to store a good deal of music if you're a casual user, but won't fit a total addict's entire library on there. Nevertheless, it's so easy to switch everything around and add to it so it's no problem at all.

        Internet usage is definitely a popular reason for buying this model. There are some issues on the overall quality and flash devices, but it's a good substitute for those who don't have a functioning computer in sight and/or are on their travels far away. I use a safari browser where you can tap the screen and it will zoom into what you need to see rather helpfully. If you are anything like me you will spend half of your time and money in the app store which is like the best of the internet rolled into one place!

        Finally, you can't forget the most important component of the system: no one buys an mp3 player just to browse the internet, so why this model in particular?
        The quality of playing music is what you would expect from the price - the earphones provided with mine are as always, very comfortable and there's nothing that's going to blight your experience here.
        In terms of the video, the resolution is fantastic. Make sure you have software to upscale your videos to get the best out of them, I recommend 720x480 or something similar - maybe even a bit higher. Also, there is an app (Sling player) that enables you to watch live television! Not much is needed to buffer the iPod so it's actually a very pleasant experience.

        Other impressive qualities are the ease of social networking, the brilliant camera (great in environments that are not well lit in my case) and the ability to read eBooks. The battery power is strong (improving on past models I have read), a built in microphone is featured, and there are strong wireless capabilities and Apple even feature their own game centre.

        And it's really, really thin and light. That doesn't really matter if what's inside it isn't spectacular, but the exterior is a reflection on the content after all. It's a part of many lives and can be a part of yours. It can be as significant as you want it to be and if the appearance doesn't catch you, then its versatility certainly will.

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        06.01.2011 17:29

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        One of the best racng games ever made (so far)

        For anyone with even a limited experience of gaming, the Gran Turismo series needs no introduction. 5 years in the making and constantly delayed, the fifth instalment has definitely proved worth waiting for.

        The game features over 70 track locations and an astounding number of cars that extends past a thousand. Every location is picturesque and every car has its own strengths and limits just like in real life. It isn't referred to as the real driving simulator for nothing.

        The game features A-spec and B-spec modes - A-spec is where you drive yourself in a car of your choosing in various competitions, while in B-spec mode you train your own driver to do the same races. In other words, you are now the artificial intelligence and are able to control whether they should overtake, slow down or speed up. It's an extension of the mode that was in Gran Turismo 4, only as a separate entity. It won't be the main reason why people buy the game but can be worthwhile if you're looking for a challenge you don't usually get in other racing titles.

        Special events are also included in the game; they range from challenging to unique to just downright bizarre. If you don't feel like doing a lap of the famous Nurgburgring in a car with terrible handling IN THE RAIN, then you can race a VW camper van around the Top Gear Test Track. A bit out of nowhere, but it is an example of how this series has kept things fresh over the years.

        One thing that has remained constant throughout most of the series is the license tests. They are easy enough for newbies to grab bronze, but veteran racers have to use every last drip of intuition to get a gold medal - as well as a fair few hours with no food or sleep. The challenges range from laps of overtaking and cone slaloms to rally driving and some of the most difficult corners on the game.

        Formula one enthusiasts will be pleased to note the inclusion of Monza and the Nurgburgring F1 circuit, as well as two Ferrari F1 models which are worth slaving through the game to drive. NASCAR racing is also introduced, as the game demonstrates that going round and round on an oval track isn't as straightforward as it looks. Nevertheless, the highlight of the game is not just with these, but experiencing the vast range of cars that can be driven and finding your favourite.

        I've spoken to many people who criticise racing games for being boring and repetitive. I never found that with past GT games and neither do I here. There can be found no end of enjoyment to beating your best lap time in a race or winning by under 0.1 seconds. Sometimes it can be easy to be sidetracked into a daydream by the wonderful background visuals, which are even better if experienced in 3D - this game is capable and I would argue that buying a 3D television is worth it just for this game, because in my opinion no other game can beat it graphics-wise! Saying that, the physics are also impressive and the depth of the game is such that you're not just going to beat it in a week. The replay value is also highly appealing and I can't see why anyone would trade in such an accomplished game.

        Finally, the game introduces online racing. This can be fun as it's a change from the AI of the game (which brings me to my only criticism: other cars can be a little predictable) and makes the game a socially interactive experience, but may also attract people who are very keen on using the pit manoeuvre on their opponents. If you don't know what that entails, you may soon find out. However, the online capabilities definitely add to GT5, as more races, events and cars are available to stretch the boundaries of what this game can give to you.

        So overall, the developers deserve applause for making GT5 even better than past titles and making a game that's welcoming to newcomers without taking away the challenges it has always given to the better drivers. It's a game that can appeal to anyone as a result and even if you're not a racing fanatic, it should be in your collection. I've really said all I can, but you need to play the game in order to see what isn't possible to put into words. It's the best game of its genre ever made (it does beat Xbox 360's Forza 3) and will remain so until Gran Turismo 6. Drive safely!

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      • Panasonic TX-L37G20B / LCD TV / 20 Readings / 12 Ratings
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        05.01.2011 06:10
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        Best TV I have ever owned!

        I own an Acoustic Solutions 720p HDTV and use it in a bedroom while downstairs there was only a 30 inch 'brick TV' from the dark ages that had trouble with the sound. I always wondered how much better 1080p and 100hz would be and it was a pleasure to find out with this Panasonic model.

        The TX-L37G20B is a 37 inch model in a dashing colour black that will sit wonderfully on any TV stand in any room of your house, and will be great if mounted upon a wall. We use a TV stand in the corner of the room where it has complimented the rest of our media related devices perfectly.

        The built in Freeview HD that comes with it is nice, but is seldom used as we have a Sky Plus box. Also, the Freeview channels you can receive depends on the area in which you live, and we are not so fortunate as we don't get a great deal of choice if it wasn't for Sky.

        The menus are intuitive and easy to navigate, and the initial setup was a without trouble. Most people follow the given instructions and they are fine, and there are some provided to help make sure that the inauguration of your new TV doesn't end up in flames. You also get a remote control which is of a satisfactory quality.

        That said, the quality is so much better with this TV than anything else I've ever experienced. The picture doesn't blur, the action moves flawlessly and the colour is vibrant as if you are actually in the location - watching a football match is as if you have a seat in the director's box. It makes me struggle to imagine on how it can be improved on, although I realise that 3D is achieving that as I type this! For those who can't quite afford 3D just yet and looking for something in this bracket, you really can't go wrong with this. This set us back £550 which is a hefty amount, but worth it in the long run seeing as we won't be investing in 3D for years yet (unless there is a win on the National Lottery, of course) . The only complaint I have is that the sound could be a bit louder - you have to turn it up quite a bit to reach a volume that can be considered standard. Other than that, a great purchase and one that's going to last a long time it's hoped! I really couldn't speak of it highly enough and can't find any major cons, so hope that if you are looking for a new TV and read this then you enjoy using this as much as I have.

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          05.01.2011 06:08
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          Brilliant game, if you don't have it you know what to do!

          The Guitar Hero series is the most popular and well known rhythm-based game on the market, and provides hours of fun for rock music enthusiasts. It's a game for those who wish they could be able to play guitar and make that possible for them!

          It may be possible to play this game with a dual shock controller, but you're not getting half of the enjoyment if you don't buy the guitar controller that comes with the game. It also comes with a packet of stickers you can use to customise your model to give it that little bit more edge.

          The core of the game is obviously its songs, and this game has what is possibly the most well-known and enjoyable setlist of the series according to many (although this is dependent on your musical tastes of course!) including songs such as Pat Benetar's 'Hit me with Your Best Shot,' Guns N' Roses' 'Welcome to the Jungle' as well as tracks from Alice Cooper, Slayer and the Dead Kennedys. One cool thing about this game apart from actually playing it is if you're not too knowledgeable on rock music, this game can expand your musical horizons. If this is a major part of why you are looking for such a game, then the other instalments of the GH series are worth picking up - especially the later titles which include an astounding amount of material.

          Playing the game itself is a special experience that can be compared to riding a bike. It's almost impossible at first, yet when you master the game you're never going to forget how to play it. Saying that, it's one of the hardest games in the world to master and not a great percentage of players across the world can manage to play Guitar Hero on the highest difficulty. True to the laws of sound, the more notes a song includes the more you are expected to play. That's why Metallica and Iron Maiden will be considerably more challenging than Weezer or Poison.

          The idea of the game is as the song plays and you hear the guitar in the song, you have to strum in time when you see them coming at you on your television screen. There are five different notes - green, red, yellow, blue and orange. You only use the first three for easy, and then blue is added for medium, then the dreaded orange note for hard and expert modes. Video websites can offer you a demonstration of how to play; if you don't see any of these then the game offers a tutorial mode to help introduce you softly into the game.

          There is a great deal to entice you to come back again to play, whether its to improve on your high scores, challenge a friend or attempt a new difficulty mode. It's a game you can pick back up at any time and like I said earlier, it's something you won't forget how to play! Maybe it can't compare with being able to play a real guitar (which I certainly can't do after numerous attempts to learn!) but it's such a good game that you can't really describe it as a substitute. Indeed, Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine attempted to play his own song on guitar hero and couldn't even hit the notes on easy! The game and real life are very different, but everyone can be challenged regardless of who they are. It's worth buying a game of this type because if you like it, then like me, you won't look back.

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        • BT Freestyle 710 / Telephone / 20 Readings / 18 Ratings
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          05.07.2010 13:29
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          A standard phone with many flaws - good if you can put up with them, otherwise you can buy better!

          For me and my parents, operating our last home phone was a bit of a nightmare. Towards the end of our ownership, it was easy to tell that the line was almost dying. It was difficult to have an easy conversation with anyone such that the quality of the call was so bad. We bought a BT Freestyle 710 in the hope of changing this.

          A few features are as follows:

          50-strong name and number directory
          Call light indicator
          Backlit LCD
          100 hour standby
          50 metre indoor range

          It's a great phone for anyone who needs a bright display to see what they're doing without straining to read the screen, and is very simplistic to navigate. There's no over abundances of needless functions, it's a good old solid phone that does its job. You can change the volume settings if you find it too loud or too quiet, and this also stretches to while you're talking on the phone - so if you get someone calling from an office who don't have the loudest of voices, turn it up and you'll have an easier task hearing them.

          Sadly, our time with this phone wasn't without its drawbacks and we have since returned it because of growing impatient with one or two things. The most annoying part of owning this phone is the menu navigations, in particular the missed calls section. I found that due to the large text, not much seemed to fit on the screen so when finding some information regarding a missed call, you need to individually select the number that's in your directory, go into its details and then finally find the date and time of the call. It's very weary if you spend a lot of time out and miss a lot of telephone calls to your house, and owning this phone wore us out because of this. I don't understand why BT had made it the way it is; missed calls are frequent for many and owners of this phone will suffer from this flaw.

          This phone is strong if you ignore the last paragraph of information, although at £30 this is probably a little too much to pay. If you're interested and would like a phone with clarity (and are unlikely to be affected or care about the missed calls) then you could do a lot worse than buy this phone. If you can't get to the phone in time and/or you've got a larger family, then it's possible to buy a twin set of these phones for around £45 on Amazon. If not, then definitely look elsewhere - we currently own two Panasonic KX-TG6422ES phones which we paid £60 for, and are very satisfied.

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        • Sony MDR XD200 / Headphones / 17 Readings / 16 Ratings
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          03.07.2010 20:06
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          Fantastic headphones. If you need some then don't look anywhere else!

          After my previous set of headphones broke, I looked in the Argos catalogue and saw these for around £20. When I reserved them online, I saw they'd been reduced to £15 - for quality headphones, these are very cheap and I looked forward to using them.

          After I first took them out of the box, I instantly noticed how comfortable they were. They fit perfectly over my ears and are light enough to not weigh you down. If you've got long hair it may initially feel a bit awkward (this affects me sometimes) but you get used to it. It's a problem that you would have with any headphones after all. The padding is very nice, it may attract a lot of hair if it's long and you put these on after you've washed it - but they're not too bad to clean. They were far better than my old headphones, (also made by Sony but around 5 years old) which had to be secured using duct tape - they'd been dropped onto the floor a lot and broke often, but I finally gave in to struggling with them and I'm glad I did, because this model is so much better! The cable is also longer and can extend across a living room, providing you don't get it tangled up which is sadly an easy thing to do.

          I'd bought my previous pair for £15 as well, and found that they were a bit quiet. I like my music at maximum volume (bit of a music junkie here) and it just didn't do it for me - these have far more potential, and the volume range is more expansive - I don't need it at maximum any more. Further to the sound quality, it sounds richer and more textured. I started being able to hear things in some of my favourite records that I hadn't heard before, or not heard as well as with these and it goes to prove the great advantages of owning a decent pair.

          If you're looking for a way to further your listening experiences, I suggest downloading a program named Realtek Audio HD Manager if you haven't already got it. It has a range of ways to configure the sound of what you're listening to, and I've found that these earphones compliment the program very well. I could probably predict that it would be even better suited to more top of the range headphones, although I rate these highly enough regardless of this.

          I honestly believe for £15, you can't get any better than these. As long as you take good care of them, they're very reliable and work as well as you would expect of Sony manufactured headphones. If you enjoy listening to music or just want to watch the TV without any background interference, these will suit you perfectly. If you're a musician or studio DJ, you'll obviously want something more powerful so I wouldn't recommend them as headphones you would use day in day out - but they'd be very good as a substitute pair.

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            03.07.2010 18:01
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            If you ever need a keyboard, you're best off avoiding this. Seriously.

            We needed a new keyboard for out home PC after too many of the keys broke on our older one, which we'd owned for years. We were a little broke for cash at the time, so we looked for something cheap - we actually attempted to find the cheapest possible keyboard, and this is what we eventually bought.

            It's been one year now and we still have it, but it's far from what I would describe as quality! It doesn't have any features that make it stand out from the competition, and despite the fact we were not anticipating great things from a keyboard it still didn't meet out expectations. The main two issues that we have had with it are as follows:

            1] It's loud to type! The keys aren't that comfortably shaped and if you're a fast typer, it's likely that anyone else in the room with you will tell you to quieten it down a little such is the cacophony it creates. If you're not as heavy-handed, then it still isn't comfortable or quiet to use - the clicking does really grate on your nerves after a while.

            2] It becomes very, very dirty in a short space of time. If you eat food while surfing the internet and drop crumbs in between the spaces, it's as difficult as anything to clean. It attracts a great deal of dust which contributes to its already lackluster appearance - it's too old fashioned to look suitable next to a good PC.

            The only capacity in which I would recommend this keyboard is if you're looking for a backup - in the meantime, you should store it away where it can't be seen! It's not too good for regular use, we've had issues with the space bar in that it becomes unstable and wobbly after a while. I would recommend something with a bit more style and substance, such as a Logitech Cordless Desktop EX 100. Unlike this Saitek keyboard, it's wireless, comes with an optical mouse and a CD with its own help centre. It's a bit more costly at around £24, but will provide a more comfortable all round experience. In the meantime, steer well clear of this one!

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            03.07.2010 15:37
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            A great inexpensive device that is more than worth getting.

            Upon purchase, I found that this Logitech microphone was one of the most popular products of its type. It had a solid reputation compared to other products, and seemed very good value for money. I was only looking for a decent microphone in order to speak online over Skype or MSN Messenger, but was pleasantly surprised of how good it turned out to work for me.

            I like the appearance - it's very sleek, and will be well suited alongside any desktop PC or on a desk next to a laptop. Logitech's microphones are of neat builds and this is no exception. There's a nice on/off switch if you need a bit of a break or want to save power.

            I found it very easy to install on a Windows Vista PC - as soon as it's put in, the system automatically detects its presence and installs it for you. It doesn't require any prompting and you can use it straight away, so if you need to take it to a different PC to communicate from there, then it's always a quick and simple process.

            Many conversations over the internet (Skype in particular) can be victim to rather agressive distortion of voices if the quality of the microphone is poor. One of my friends used a popstar-style microphone that he got out of a "create your own pop hit" set, and needless to say it was very difficult to listen to. The contrast between that and a Logitech microphone is as clear as day - it doesn't quite match up to talking face-to-face, (but what can?) but I'd say it's definitely the best option if you don't have that choice. If you want to record your conversations, then your voice can be heard clearly as if you're speaking over a phone leaving a message. It even picks up your voice if you're standing some distance away from your desk, which is really saying something. The best way to measure the quality of a microphone in my experience is to test how well it records your voice, as this is to some the trickiest part - it works well, and by that judgement I can happily say I'm satisfied.

            It's useful for those who aren't a fan of typing and like to take advantage of their computer's voice recognition features, and it's good for people who want a microphone that is flexible and won't take up too much room. It would be a superb choice for people who want to use it for over-the-net business conferences or anything of a similar standing.

            Are there any bad points? Not really. If you're a creator of podcasts, I'm not sure that the quality would be amazing and you may want to invest in something a bit more expensive to give you the required quality you need. If you're not going to explore this sort of thing, then it'll suit you just fine - but think twice about buying this if you are.

            If you see a microphone for about £5 and think "that's a fantastic deal!" think twice before taking a look. Some microphones just don't match up to what you expect, even for that price. A little extra cash spent on one of these will set you for a long time. It's well worth it, and you definitely get value for money - some retail stores charge upwards of £20 but I'm sure you can find it for less on the internet, so take a look before buying to find the best deal.

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            • Sony PS3 Bluetooth Headset / Headset / 15 Readings / 14 Ratings
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              03.07.2010 13:18
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              An essential tool for this new generation.

              I've owned a PS3 since it came out, and greatly enjoyed its online capabilities - mostly with games such as Fifa, Call of Duty and Need for Speed. I bought one of these not too long after so I could talk to my friends online and over a game of whatever I was playing (and of course people I've never met before!) and I find that it really enhances your experiences.

              A friend told me to purchase one - after seeing the ease in which it was used I knew I owed it to myself to get my own headset. It cost me around £20 on offer from a local Game shop and I haven't looked back since. It was fantastic value for money.

              The headset is very light, stable and comfortable. The hook is adaptable to suit your needs, which means that this comfort is easy to achieve for anyone who uses one. I wouldn't say it fits over my ear too well, but it's never given me any discomfort - neither has it fallen off if I've suddenly jumped into midair or at anytime during a conversation! Even if you've got long hair, it'll still be fine - and neither will the sound quality be affected in any way. I'd recommend ensuring that you take a break fom using it after around an hour and a half, because by that point, you might experience soreness in your ear. It's always wise to take time out from playing games for a bit too, because if you're feeling uncomfortable with it then it affects the quality of your gaming experience and your communication.

              The main thing that many potential customers will be looking for is the sound quality between communications. I think it's fantastic for this value - I can't imagine how it can be improved upon. People can hear my voice loud and clear over the set, and I'm able to hear them clearly as well - unless they're muttering under their breath, but that's hardly the fault of the headset. However, it's not too good in the manner that it would pick up the sounds of breathing or hissing if it's not very pronounced. Let's be fair, if it did, then people would be massively put off by one of these. There's no need to worry, and there's always a mute switch if you don't want to hear the people you're in a game with.

              While using this headset on the PS3, there's an exclusive "high quality" mode - when using this feature, the sound is even better. It can also be used elsewhere on bluetooth-compatible phones, although without this mode. It still works well, but Sony definitely designed this with the PS3 in mind! You do have the option to adapt it for more general usage if you wish to do so, though.

              The battery life is of a very fair standard too. If you're using the device constantly, then perhaps you might have issues from it being a little exhausted - if you use it infrequently, then I'd say you need to recharge it at about the same rate as you would with a wireless Sony PS3 controller. You're also able to see all of the information on your television screen related to the battery - the visual feedback provides a bar gauging how much power is left, as well as the current volume of the headset. In this respect, it's very functional and you're not left worrying whether it's just suddenly about to run out of power.

              There's also a charging cradle available to your headset where open mic usage is possible. However, you may wish to leave it charged until full power before using for best results. You know when this has happened when the red light stops emitting flashes and turns into a constant light. When a green light is present once you have reconnected, you know that the charging and connecting have been successful. On the first instance of installing my bluetooth device, it did initially fail - what you have to do is access the bluetooth settings menu on your console and attempt to reconnect it - if it's there and doesn't seem to work, then delete the device and attempt to find it again and this should solve your problem. Despite it sounding like a lot, it should only take around a minute to solve this problem.

              On some games, if you don't appreciate any strangers shouting abuse in any particular direction (or if you just find them annoying in general) then it's possible to mute them so they don't ruin your enjoyment of that game. That saves you from any trouble that may be given through your headset and won't cause you to associate these devices with angry and frustrated gamers. You'll find that many people aren't like this online, and talking can actually be hilarious at times - there's nothing like watching someone make a mistake and listening to their comical reactions! That's a main advantage of this headset - it opens up a door of more expansive social possibilities. In an age where technology is becoming increasingly interactive, one of these devices is a must-have for online gamers.

              If you have a family member or friend who's into gaming and doesn't have one of these, then this particular brand of headset will make a superb gift or present - although it may come with the risk of losing them to their new piece of equipment! It's an all-round piece of equipment, and seeing as you don't necessarily need to be a PS3 owner to take advantage of its benefits as a normal bluetooth headset, it's a wise choice for anyone - besides, if the situation ever arose where you didn't own a PS3 and visited someone who did, then you're well equipped to have fun! It's a clever and fun piece of technology: one that nowadays, I wouldn't find myself without.

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              • More +
                03.07.2010 11:36
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                Not my favourite pack, but still quality!

                Many people of all ages are familiar with top trumps. I think I have eight sets of them on the shelves under my staircase, and they're always a good bet for solving boredom and providing a bit of fun.

                If you're unfamiliar with the concept of Top Trumps, the aim of the game, once you've divided all the cards equally between all players, is to win back all of the cards. The one who finishes with the whole pack in their hands is the winner. This is done by declaring a score in a category on your card and if this is higher than the respective score on the opponent's card, then you win that card. If it's lower, then you lose that card and it's the opponent's turn to win back some cards. Anyone can learn the concept of the game within a couple of minutes, and there is no real learning curve to speak of at all.

                With this set, you're presented with the past Bond actors - from Sean Connery all the way up to Daniel Craig, and even including the ill-fated George Lazenby. There's a good range of villains, with a surprising lack of bond girls. They do include the most famous - Goldfinger, Pussy Galore, Jaws and Dr. No for example.

                When a Top Trumps pack is released that might really capture the imagination of a particular audience, I'd imagine they would find it interesting to compare the ratings of their favourite characters. I personally found it interesting to compare the ratings of each of the bond actors, as if implying that they are all their own different entities and not just one character. The ratings themselves are classed in terms of their appearance, style/charm, brutality, twisted mind and seduction abilities. I found them appropriate attributes to assign to characters from the Bond franchise; I think basically every film conforms to these particular points - there are a few films I have yet to see (The Man With The Golden Gun, Quantum of Solace) but I can't imagine why they wouldn't be the same.

                If you've never played a game of Top Trumps in your life, then you've seriously missed out on something. You might want to do your own research as to what category you are most interested in and want to buy first. There are packs based upon Doctor Who, Star Wars, the Harry Potter series, but not limited to TV and film: football, the Marvel Comic series, supercars, warships and pop stars. The only drawback is the amount of cards in some packs - there are around 30 in the James Bond pack which means that some fans may be disappointed to not find some of their favourites in there, but you'll definitely enjoy this game regardless.

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                • Insomniac - Green Day / Music Album / 13 Readings / 11 Ratings
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                  02.07.2010 17:00
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                  Straight-to-the-point music which fans of pop-punk and alternative rock will massively enjoy

                  Many bands have released solid albums that didn't reach up the commercial standards of their better-known material, yet often they are even more deserving of the revered material we may have come to love over the years.

                  Green Day's fourth album 'Insomniac' fits into the above criteria. It's far harder edged than their major-label debut 'Dookie,' and isn't as instantly accessible as what came before it. However, a bit of time with this album may lead many fans to rate it as some of their best work.

                  Fans will be most familiar with the hit single "Brain Stew" which was written by Billie Joe at a time when his kid was keeping him awake all night. The paranoid attempts at personification ("The clock is laughing in my face") convey the persona of an insomniac very well, and the crunching outro is suggestive of the frustrative state of mind and, in a way, rage that has been built up. It's similar in line with the rest of the album in that its delivered in a catchy, yet agressive way. Take the track "Panic Song," which demonstrates exactly how talented a bassist Mike Dirnt actually is. If your knowledge of Green Day is only casual, you may have written them off as a band who can only play music with three chords and predictable time changes (if any at all) yet this may change your opinion - the bass guitar in the first half is the build up to a real venting of madness from Armstrong. This album is probably when he's at his most emotionally effective - there seems to be an edge to his delivery here that you don't hear in the rest of Green Day's discography, let alone their last few albums.

                  The other singles that were released are also strong: "Walking Contradiction" had a hilarious video which backs up the humour of the song ("I have no belief / But I believe I'm a walking contradiction) and is typical of classic Green Day to close the album in such a manner. "Stuck With Me" is more of your typical Green Day track, and it's refreshing with those who feel disillusioned with the likes of "21 Guns" that have engulfed the airwaves recently. There's no political-minded lyrics on this album, it's just raw emotion and at the very top end of the pop-punk spectrum.

                  Few fans from a later generation will have heard tracks such as "Westbound Sign" or "No Pride," which I believe are amongst the best they have ever written. It's a shame that this album is not classed as a classic by many Green Day followers. Maybe it's something to do with the artwork - it's not something that is typical of an album of the genre; it's very retro in a sort of 50's rock n' roll way, and maybe this puts off some people. The music itself couldn't be further away from this. It's very straightworward, and it's very much a 'what-you-see-is-what-you-get" attitute. Very much unlike the artwork - there are many strange subliminal messages in it - take a closer look and you'll definitely be scratching your head in confusion.

                  All in all, one of Green Day's strongest albums. If you're a casual fan and only own one or two of their albums, check this out and see a different perspective of this band. If you enjoy this kind of music in general, I would argue that there isn't much better out there.

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                  • Philips HR1861 / Juicer / 10 Readings / 9 Ratings
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                    02.07.2010 15:12
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                    The benefits of this machine are too much to sit there and not get one!

                    I've found in my time of using juicers that they are often hit or miss products. I bought one for around £20 from Argos as a Christmas present a few years ago, though when we tried it (to make a apple/orange juice combination) it was amongst the most vile liquid I'd certainly tasted in my life.

                    I've had friends who have had juicers that give much cleaner and interesting tastes - the sort that does not make you want to spit what you've just drunk back out! I'd decided to go for something more towards the top of the pile because I'd always wanted something that enabled me to just whip up a delicious tasty glass of random fruit juice at my convenience. I feel that's what I get with the Philips HR1861.

                    Onto the product itself: in real terms, it's around the size of a kettle - possibly a little larger. Considering its size, it doesn't make the loud noises that I became accustomed to (albeit for a very short time) with my older juicer. I would say that it in fact makes around as much noise as my kettle - and that's actually being as harsh as I could possibly be.

                    Do you need to be a mechanical engineer to be able to take this apart to clean? Not in the slightest. I've found it pretty straightforward, the instructions that came with it were helpful if you find yourself struggling. Cleaning it is fine, pretty much on a par with anything else in your washing-up routine like saucepans or baking pans. If you have a dishwasher, then it's compatible and safe to use it with, but if you don't then it's no trouble cleaning it the manual way. There is also a purpose-included brush to help you to clean the metal basket, I think Philips has made it as easy as possible in this respect, which is very convenient.

                    The most important question for people looking for a juicer: "what does the juice taste like?" You'll be pleased to know that it tastes brilliant, and the most obscure combinations (carrot, orange and lemon for example) may sound weird, but taste distinct and enjoyable. Granted, not everyone's going to enjoy what I would (some may even faint at the idea!) but it only goes to convey the endless possibilities available to those using this juicer. One point of note against this is the use of balanas or avocados - I don't believe they work so well, and avoid using them. I feel this may be down to the starchy nature of the fruits. I'm no biologist, but I feel that the juicer may have some form of trouble breaking fruits or vegetables of this composition down. I wouldn't call it a design flaw as such, I'd just think of it as a non-feature of the product. With many of the juicing commercials I've seen (possibily all) I don't see them using any bananas; perhaps this is the case with all products of this type.

                    You'll be pleasantly surprised how much juice it gets out of a single apple - apples are my most used fruit with this juicer, and I find pure apple juice to be as refreshing as any drink I've ever tasted. Use Granny Smith apples for best results - it adds that extra bit of vigour to the taste. The jug that is supplied with the juicer is generously big, so don't be too worried about that aspect. The tube is large enough to allow for many fruits to be juiced in whole, which makes it easier for people who dislike cutting or chopping their fruit in order to fit them inside. Preperation doesn't really have to be taken into account, unless you're using very large items.

                    The only negative things I have to say on the subject of this juicer are that once you've finished, it may still be subject to small drops coming out of the filter which might soak your kitchen surface, or wherever you have placed your juicer over. It's nothing you can't clean up in seconds, but just a minor irritance. The other thing is on the subject of pulp: it's wetter than what you'd expect and it's also very fine, so one thing that you may choose to do is place a small bag in the pulp container in order to avoid any further mess and/or save on cleaning time.

                    This juicer, like any other quality juicer on the market, helps anyone who uses it to lead a healthier lifestyle with a greater deal of ease than they otherwise would have been able to. Some struggle to incorporate five fruit and vegetables a day into their diet, and owning a good juicer takes a great difficulty away from it. It not only helps you feel better about yourself, but it also gives you a considerable boost of energy which can be felt long after you've started using it.

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