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dmg73
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Member since: 12.10.2010

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      28.10.2010 22:13
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      As far as cold remedies go, these probably work as well as the rest.

      First off, I want to say that Tesco Max Strength Cold & Flu Day & Night capsules left me feeling cheated. But not for the obvious reasons you may expect. Indeed, they are an own brand cheaper variety of cold medication, and yes, they may not miraculously vanquish a troublesome case of influenza - but that is not the explanation for my disdain. My annoyance stems from the fact that they cost more than the regular Tesco Max Strength Cold & Flu capsules, even though you get fewer ingredients for your money.


      ~~~The Curious Case of the Missing Caffeine~~~

      The packet contains 16 capsules. You take 2 tablets per dose, so that is 8 doses in total. But the Day & Night variety differs by including 4 capsules specifically designed for night time use. Do they include sleep-inducing agents? No. Are they slow-release so to have a prolonged effect throughout the average persons 6-8 hours sleep period? No again. The only difference between the night and day capsules is that the night variety are missing the caffeine ingredient that their day time associates possess.

      If there is a clear ingredient exclusion and no medicinal extras, why do the Day & Night capsules cost more that the standard product? Obviously, it is not wise to have an intake of caffeine before bedtime. I accept that and see the logic in excluding caffeine and having a separate night time dose. What I don't accept is that Tesco charge more for less. Maybe the extra 15p is to cover the cost of printing 'day & night' on the packaging?


      ~~~Is a Cold Really All In the Head?~~~

      Tesco makes a huge fuss over price comparisons with competitors. But does their own brand cold remedy stand up to the more commonly associated brands of cold cures. The problem here is that it is scientifically assured that there is no actual cure for the common cold. So the real question is: Do these tablets make you feel any better when you are suffering from a case of the sniffles?

      In my experience, the answer is a hesitant yes. Personally, I have noticed a slight improvement in my man-flu condition when I take the Tesco tablets. But then I have also noticed a difference when I take other brand cold remedies. I think this form of medication is best used to suffocate a cold before it takes hold, but can also be used to alleviate more severe symptoms....albeit ever so slightly.

      I think cold remedies rely on a certain psychosomatic element for success. People may trust certain brands and therefore feel better when they take the specific products they associate with possessing a beneficial medicinal property (my dad insisted Beachams Powders worked miracles but I am yet to be blessed by their divine power). The problem with the Tesco capsules is that they are seen as cheap knock-offs and suffer from a lack of belief in their cold-stomping powers.

      They say the power of belief can provide a person with all they need to heal themselves. So, if someone emphatically insists that a certain brand holds the key to slaying a cold, 9 times out of 10 they will undoubtedly begin to feel better once they take their favoured cold remedy. But does this mean that the Tesco Day & Night capsules are any less beneficial than the leading competitors? Let's take a look.


      ~~~The Amazing Power of Facts and Figures~~~

      It seems fair to start with Tesco Day & Night capsules. The ingredients of each capsule are:

      Paracetamol: 500g
      Phenylephrine Hydrochloride: 6.1 mg
      Caffiene: 25 mg (the 'night' capsules contain no caffeine)

      In a nutshell, paracetamol is a mild painkiller and helps to combat fever and chills by affecting the hypothalamic heat-regulating area of the brain. So basically, it is supposed to help keep your temperature normalised. Phenylephrine is a decongestant that works by reducing blood flow to the linings of nasal passages, helping you to feel less congested and also allows you to produce mucus (not sure why this is so good!) Caffiene is there to give you a kick, feel more alert, and fight of fatigue associated with the cold virus.

      So do the cheaper Tesco capsules skimp on ingredients? Here are a few reputable brands and their ingredients to help shed some light:


      1. Beachams Flu Plus
      Paracetamol: 500mg, Phenylephrine: 5mg, and Caffeine: 25mg. Even less decongestant.

      2. Benylin Cold and Flu Max Strength
      Paracetamol: 500mg, Phenylephrine: 6.1mg, and Caffeine: 25mg. Zero difference.

      3. Lemsip Max Cold and Flu capsules
      Paracetamol: 500mg, Phenylephrine: 6.1mg, and Caffeine: 25mg. Yep, same again.

      4. Lemsip Max Cold and Flu Powder (per sachet = 2 standard capsules)
      Paracetamol : 1000mg, Phenylephrine hydrochloride 12.2mg, Ascorbic acid (vitamin C), Sucrose, and Aspartame. No caffeine but does include some nice Vitamin C. Also contains plenty of sugar and nasty sweeteners, one of which, Aspartame (used to make NutraSweet), is controversially linked to a wide range of supposed health risks.

      5. Nurofen Cold and Flu
      Ibuprofen: 200 mg, Pseudoephedrine hydrochloride: 30 mg. This is one of the only competitors offering different ingredients. However, Ibuprofen is a painkiller that is effective at targeting actual pain but is not associated with possessing any temperature-regulating properties. Pseudoephedrine is from the same family as Phenylephrine and is a decongestant. Interestingly, it is also often used in the illegal production of methamphetamine narcotics and is therefore strictly regulated. Not really that relevant but I thought it was sort of a fun fact!


      ~~~How Cheap is Cheaper?~~~

      A standard pack of Tesco Max Strength Cold & Flu Relief capsules are around £1.43 for 16. The special-edition 'no caffeine in 4' day & night alternatives will set you back about £1.59. Benylin can often be found on offer and is a bargain at around the £1.00 mark, but is just over £2.00 at normal price - which is not that good when you consider it has less decongestant than its rivals. Lemsip capsules are £2.93 for 16, and the old family favourite sweetener-laden powdered Lemsip sachets are £1.94 for 10. Nurofen bursts the bank at £2.76 for just 12 tablets.

      The Tesco cold remedies do compare well price-wise and on paper contain practically the same ingredients as other leading brands. But colds can be very personal, and like a nice warm comfort blanket, each sufferer will always opt for the medication they think offers the most sympathy and improves their likelihood of surviving the dastardly plague they now suffer.


      ~~~Is There Really a Conclusion?~~~

      I would like to think so. Tesco Day & Night possesses the exact same ingredients and doses as many leading (and more expensive) competitor brands. Personally, I have not noticed any realistic difference between the Tesco product and any other branded cold remedy. But as I stated earlier, certain people prefer specific medications and if it works for them then good. I on the other hand am quite cheap and will stick with my relatively inexpensive Tesco version...though I will not be forking out an extra 15p for the fanciful day & night variety from now on. I don't need the caffeine omission to help me sleep through a cold - I want some medicinal assistance. Thank god for Night Nurse!

      Alternatively, you could always opt for a cheap pack of paracetamol, some Vick Sinex, a carton of fresh orange juice, and a few cups of coffee and see how you get on. I would advise staying clear of my mum's cold cure-all: Sticking your head under a towel that covers a bowl full of hot water and Vicks VaporRub. For all intents and purposes it is the legal equivalent of CS Gas and is not pleasant.

      Hope this helped and if not I hope you at least learnt some uninteresting facts to help you sleep...

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      • Russell Hobbs 14993 Xpress / Iron / 98 Readings / 94 Ratings
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        19.10.2010 18:49
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        Brilliant product that gives you great results with minimal effort

        I bought this iron about 2 months ago and have been more than pleased with its performance. It is better than a more-expensive Kenwood iron I used used to own and a considerable improvement on the Tesco horror that I have suffered with for 3 terribly creased months (though in fairness breathing hot air onto clothes and smoothing them with my hand would have also been an improvement!).


        -------------------Looks------------------

        The 14993 Xpress is not the prettiest iron. But it is not hideous either. Personally, I go for performance over aesthetics though I did refuse to go for a similar product in pink. The iron has a white body with a purple water container and purple stand. The handle, buttons, area above the base, and water cap are black. I am not convinced that this colour system is complementary and some may find this product a bit of an eyesore. The colour scheme seems a bit disjointed and I don't think the designers put too much effort into elegance, but then an iron is unlikely to feature as a decorative ornament, so it's not a huge issue. Moving on to more important factors...


        ------------------Ergonomics----------------

        The iron states it has a 'soft grip rubber handle'. This is not strictly true. The top of the handle is rubber and is slightly soft to the touch, but the underneath section, where you grip, is hard plastic. Still, the iron is very comfortable to hold and use. Weight-wise, the iron is quite light. The base plate provides the substance of weight, as you would expect, and this lends to a balanced final product. There are two buttons at the front of the handle for a boost of steam or jet of water and these are easy to reach with the thumb while you are using the iron. The temperature is controlled by a dial at the front of the iron and there are dots to indicate heat levels and little graphical images depicting steam pressure. The water filling area is nice and wide, allowing the iron to be easily filled without spillage.


        ------------------------------Performance-----------------

        This is where the 14993 Xpress comes into its own. The base plate is ceramic and this means the iron glides over clothes with ease. There is no need to place hardly any pressure on the iron to achieve a great performance. The balance is superb and there are plenty of steam holes, so you don't have to continuosly iron the same section of clothing. The iron regulates steam pressure and provides the optimal steam output required for the clothing you are ironing, regulated by the setting you select. The power is very good and I have found that I am spending less time ironing due to the high-performance of the iron (2000W). The instructions claim that the iron has a 'vertical steam' function. This means that you can hold the iron at 45 degrees, press the steam boost button, and it will shoot out jets of steam. I am not sure what purpose this serves. There was a picture of someone firing steam at a curtain, but I cannot see how that would be beneficial. It seems like a gimmick, but if you can think of a use for it then the iron can do this!

        One feature that really impressed me was how quick the iron heats up. The majority of the time I have it on the maximum setting and once I turn it on it is ready to go in under 30 seconds. This is a life-saver when I am late up in the morning and discover I have not ironed a shirt for work (this happens a lot!).


        ------------------Additional Features--------------------------

        The iron is anti-scale and anti-drip. Good for hard water areas (like where I live) and I have yet to get a single drip of water leak from the iron when I use it. This is very novel after my Tesco nemesis which leaked like a sieve.

        The iron also has a self-cleaning function which is great, as I would not have a clue how to clean an iron!

        The power cord is 3 metres which is very long in my experience. This is very useful and means you don't have to hug the wall near your power socket to iron.


        ------------------My Only Negative------------

        This is me being very picky and is not really an issue. The water tank is perfectly acceptable and probably standard for an iron this size. I would have preferred a larger tank but only because I detest ironing and leave it to the last possible moment (when I have nothing uncreased to wear). This leaves me with a huge pile of ironing that takes a while to finish. I probably have to fill the tank once every 15 mins - but then I am a abysmally slow ironer. I would approximate that a profficient ironer could get 10 shirts finished on the highest steam setting before having to replenish the water supply. Really I am making a mountain out of a molehill and its my bad for being lazy.

        One more issue with the tank is that due to the dark purple colour it is sometimes difficult to see the water level. Probably my fault for trying to fill the iron in minimal light and with eyes still half-shut!


        ------------------------Final Thought-------------------

        The Russell Hobbs 14993 Xpress iron is a fantastic product. Yes, it may not be the most beautiful creature ever, but performance-wise it is exceptional. It combines a comfortable, lightweight design with a powerful performance that results in crisply ironed clothes with minimal effort. I would highly recommend this iron to anyone.

        I purchase the iron form Tesco and they had £10 off the RRP. It cost me £24.99. I noticed a month ago that Sainsburys had a similar offer on.

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        • More +
          17.10.2010 20:41
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          Fantastic bargain for a top-class product. Highly recommended.

          I have been using my Trust MI-2500X Optical mouse for over a year now and it still performs as well as the day I bought it. Trust do produce budget products and I have some issues with their wireless computer products before but this mouse has been excellent (probably because it is wired!).

          ~~~~Ergonomics~~~~
          The Trust mouse is incredibly comfortable. It simply slots right into your hand. The design is both funtional and stylish. The front of the mouse is rounded so appears less slab-like than other alternatives and there is a small lip on the bottom right-hand side that allows you to rest your thumb.

          The front two buttons are hidden and at first glance you could be forgiven for thinking that Trust had forgotten these two important front buttons. They simply work by depressing the front of the mouse. It simply works on pressure but looks like magic! The third button is the actual mouse wheel which acts as a button when depressed. The wheel has a rubberised effect, lending both comfort and practicality. The fouth and fifth buttons are located on the right-hand side of the mouse, just above the thumb rest for easy access. One button works to go forward one browser page and the other returns you to the previous page you were viewing.

          This is a wired mouse so has the disadvantage of a protruding wire at the front. This may not look as pretty as wireless alternatives but when you don't have to change batteries, or constantly perform a reset, this is a small price to pay for uninterrupted performance. The Trust MI-2500X has a flawless design that feels like it has been made by people who have to spend a long time using a mouse and appreciate comfort and userbility.

          ~~~~Appearance~~~~
          The Trust is quite elegant by design. The model I possess is black and silver and the curved-appearance gives it a touch of class. The mouse really does appear more expensive than it actually is and enhances my desk.

          The black rubber mouse wheel is encased by a silver eliptical surrounding. The main body of the mouse is black with a thick silver stripe running around the front of the device and then curving upwards around the main body until it descends down the back. The two side pieces underneath the silver stripe are glossy black, lending a welcome contrast to the non-glossy upper piece. The two side buttons are also silver - though these are a lighter colour than the stripe. Even the red glow from the optical sensor underneath the mouse adds a warm welcoming glow. This really is a superbly designed product.

          ~~~~Functionality~~~~~
          The Trust mouse works like a charm. It is not only extremely comfortable to use, it is also very practical. All the buttons are within easy reach and you only ever have to move your digits ever so slightly to access the buttons and mouse wheel.

          Because the mouse is optical it glides along any smooth surface with ease. The optical sensor is fantastically accurate and never misses a beat. There is no delay, no issue of 'disappearing cursor', or the dreaded 'stuck cursor' here. I have used the Trust on a multitude of differing surfaces and it has always been up to the task. The manufacturers specifications list the optical sensor as been 'high-precision 800 DPI'...whatever that means. All I can say is that it works very well!

          The Trust mouse is fully USB and PS/2 compatible and comes with a free PS/2 converter.

          ~~~~~Price~~~~~
          For some strange reason Amazon is listing this product at £97.25! I got mine over a year ago at Comet and it cost me about £15. I have checked a few online shops and the mouse can easily be found for under £10. Not sure what Amazon are playing at.

          ~~~~Overview~~~~
          The Trust MI-2500X Optical Mouse is a cracking product. Elegant appearance combined with user-friendly practicality and sublime comfort. Throw in the fact it can now be purchased for under £10 and you have yourself a top-class bargain. If you are not fussed about a wire and want reliability, accuracy, and style....go get yourself a Trust MI-2500X.

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          • Sennheiser HD 457 / Headphones / 43 Readings / 43 Ratings
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            17.10.2010 14:46
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            Nice set of headphones that combine comfort with low-cost

            I bought my Sennheiser HD-457 headphones about 2 years ago and they have served me very well since then. I went for a manufacturer that produces quality audio equipment and have not been disappointed.

            The headphones are at the lower end of the Sennheiser headphone range. There are cheaper models but they are mostly either in-ear, or of the more compact variety. The HD-457's are large and cover the whole ear.

            I was a bit let down by the plastic body of the headphones. They do look a bit cheap. But appearance is not everything and I only intended them for personal indoor use so this was not too much of an issue. I would never be seen wearing a large set of headphones outdoors anyway....it just look wrong!

            Another immediate issue was that the headphones have a foam inner that does not cup over the entire ear. This concern disappeared when I tried the headphones on. The plastic exterior makes the HD-457's very light and the foam inner was very comfortable. The ear pieces are adjustable and swivel to accomodate all ear shapes with ease.

            I find the sound reproduction very good. The headphones are on the bassy side but this does not overwhelm the higher-range audio. They are perfectly capable of coping with any style of music and listening to movies is no problem at all.

            The cable is immense. Not sure of the length exactly but I can easily plug the headphones into my TV and sit on the sofa (about 10 ft away) with out having to worry about the headphones shooting off my head if I decide to have a little lay down. There is also a handy cable tidy included that lets you neatly wrap the cable up when not in use. No more tripping over loosly coiled up wires!

            The HD-457's may not be spectacular but for the price they are very good. If you are looking for a above-average set of headphones from a top manufacturer that possess a rich bass and don't cost more than your stereo then the HD-457's would be a good choice.

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          • The Human Centipede (DVD) / DVD / 37 Readings / 37 Ratings
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            17.10.2010 13:56
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            Love it or hate it, you will always remember The Human Centipede!

            I want to start off by stating that I loved this film. Maybe that makes me slightly weird, or a little bit sick, but the fact remains that I really, really enjoyed The Human Centipede.

            I was told about the film by friends (who also raved about it). I don't think they liked it because it was a piece of cinematic genius though. I am pretty sure they just loved it becuse it was weird, a bit ghastly, and unlike anything they had seen before. Or maybe they just wanted to impress me with the fact they had watched a film like this all the way through?! I won't give away the storyline but I will discuss what I loved about the film.

            The Human Centipede certainly has the 'shock factor'. The very storyline screams perverse and grotesque. Personally, I struggle to classify it as a horror. I didn't find it the slightest bit scary and there was few moments of gore - plus it never made me jump out of my seat.

            If anything, the film is black humour. It is horror in the way that Teeth or Bad Taste could be termed 'horror'. The film maintains a thick streak of tongue-in-cheek (though maybe that should tongue-in-bottom?!!) throughout. The very precept of the film is ridiculous but marvellous at the same time. Very few films have any imagination these days and even if you end up hating the film you could never accuse it of having a dull, generic storyline.

            There are some glaring discrepencies in the film...it is not perfect by any means. But I didn't care. The film was obviously created to be so spectacularly insane that a few minor moments of bad storyline never spoiled my enjoyment. The film is a real stretch on reality so who cares if something happened that defied possibility. For god's sake, three people have been sown together, is it such a big deal how the doctor managed to.....no wait that may spoil the film!

            People raved on about Naked Lunch and the critics loved it. That was a truly sick film that made no sense. But because it was a David Lynch film it was considered genius and visionary. The Human Centipede does not rely on gore, or some fantasy monster to create its shocks. It entices the viewer to consider the real horror of this actually occuring. It has been a while since a horror film used psychological persuasion to get inside a viewers mind but The Human Centipede really gets under your skin. The ending is especially stunning due to the impact it leaves on the brain once the film has finished.

            The only films I remember that used a viewers own psychology to play havoc with their mind were the classic Japanese horrors (or J-Horrors as they are known). Films like The Ring, My Little Eye, and The Grudge were some of the scariest films ever made. Sadly, Hollywood has no imagination or morals and they have unforgivably remade these classics and completely ripped the heart and soul out of them.

            I applaud Tom Six and his Human Centipede for proving that there are still visionary film-makers out there that can produce original material and truly understand how to mess with the human psyche. You may not like this film, or you may like it but be disgusted by it. One thing is certain...you will remember it. I have, and for all the right reasons.

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            • Samsung GT S8000 Jet / Mobile Phone / 38 Readings / 33 Ratings
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              17.10.2010 00:24
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              Not a user-friendly phone. Far too many design and software errors

              This is a bit of a negative review but I thought it would be helpful to write about some of the issues I have had with my Samsung Jet GT S8000.

              1. Orange filled it with so much of their branded rubbish that the phone had almost no internal memory available. I could not uninstall any of these nor could have I been able to install any new widgets (not that there are many decent ones). I installed a memory card but you need phone memory sapce for the widgets...so this never worked. The phone was advertised in the Orange shop as having all the latest media apps (Twitter, YouTube, Facebook etc) when in fact it had none and I am unable to install any of these due to all the Orange rubbish. Ok this is technically not the phone's fault but still an irritation...so be careful when buying from Orange.

              2. The touchscreen is not very good at all. It is unresponsive and takes a hefty press (often two or three) to respond. Scrolling is difficult and tapping on anything small when browsing the internet (like a username box) is annoyingly difficult.

              3. There are hardly no widgets available in the supposed Widgets Store and those that are available are remarkably poor.

              4. The screen wallpaper cannot be locked. This means that when you try to move a widget or access the sidebar containing widgets you inadvertantly switch the wallpaper. Very annoying.

              5. There appears to be no way to turn off the beeping noise when you press onscreen keys...unless you have the phone in silent mode. Or if there is I have not found it and no-one else I know can work it out either!

              6. There is a distict lack of available support for the phone, either online or in paper format.

              7. The flash on the camera turns people into ghosts when taking a picture indoors. Their faces literally become orbs of light.

              8. Very weak reception. I often cannot get any decent reception when friends (also on Orange so its not the network) have no reception problems. I have been with Orange for my last 2 previous phones and never had any problems in these areas.

              Ok think that is about it for my gripes....well there may be a few more minor ones but hopefully you have realised that I think this is a dreadful phone. The processor may be fairly swift and able to handle multiple apps/windows at once but what is the point when the touchsceen is too poor to allow decent web browsing and there are minimal decent apps for the phone?!

              I would not recommend buying a Samsung Jet, there are a a plenitude of better phones available for the same price.

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              • More +
                16.10.2010 23:44
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                A reasonable product that offers some cure but results are questionable

                I suffer from dark circles under my eyes and wanted to try a treatment to help rid me of these - or at least make them less obvious. I came across this product and decided to give it a go. There were two reasons for this.

                1. L'Oreal is an established brand and I had been told their Men Expert range was very good.

                2. It was on offer and had 50% at Boots!

                I was initally concerned about the size of the tube. At 15ml it is quite small. But I realised that due to the amount you need to use (it is only for the eyes after all) the tube would probably last a while...and it does.

                It is advertised as having a triple action and contains Diakalyte and Guaranine....whatever they are. The cream applies easily and soon soaks into the skin, leaving no greasy after effects. It is quite a pleasant feeling and quite nice and cooling on the skin. I attribute this to the fact that the cream is obviously colder than skin temperature and when you rub it in you are massaging the skin under your eye anyway.

                There is no miraculous instananeous effect. My dark circles didn't magically disappear but I did notice that after a few hours they seemed to become less prominent. This could be due the natural effect of drinking more fluid as the day progressed, or just waking up a little, but it may be the cream.

                After using the cream for a week or so I do think that the skin surrounding my eyes improved a little. It certainly felt a bit healthier. I also noticed that when I applied the cream my eyes tended not to feel so tired throughout the day, as opposed to when I never used the cream.

                Was this a coincedence? Who knows. The cream may not completely cure dark eyes, and its benefits may be more placebo-based than a medicinal marvel, but the fact remains my eyes seem better in my opinion...and that counts as a win. Not sure I would pay full price for the cream though!

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                • More +
                  16.10.2010 22:18
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                  Excellent product that offers premium benefits at a reasonable cost

                  Moisterising may not be a popular topic among men but I suffer from dry skin and occasional bouts of eczema on my elbows and chin (after shaving). I have tried various creams and the occasional topical steroid treatment but each had its downsides.

                  I have used Simple products before and found them very beneficial and non-irratating. I decided to try their Derma Intensive Relief Cream and have been very happy with the results.

                  The cream is thick but applies very easily and soon soaks into skin without leaving any residue on the surface. There is no greasy after-effect and skin is leaf feeling smooth and hydrated. The main ingredients are concentrated Canola Oil and Aquaxyl.

                  One thing I especially enjoy is that Simple Derma does not use ingredients that are perfumed. These often cause skin irratation. There is also no horrid medical smell that is often present with other medicinal creams (like E45).

                  I have noticed significant results after using Simple Derma Cream and my skin condition has returned to normal after 2-3 applications. Many men may frown on moisturising but personally I prefer a bit of cream to sore skin that looks like rough-grained sandpaper! Simple Derma cream is an excellent choice for anyone looking for a fragrance-free solution that quickly eliminates harsh skin problems.

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                  • Ford Fiesta Style 1.25 / Car / 25 Readings / 17 Ratings
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                    16.10.2010 18:44
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                    If you are looking for a economical car that has plenty of oomph in reserve - this is it!

                    I had the pleasure of driving the Fiesta Style 1.25 for a 10 day period after some kind person decided to drive into my car when it was parked in a side road a few weeks back. The garage provided the Fiesta as a curtesy car and though I was initally apprehensive, given that a 1.25 supermini was considerably smaller in both size and power to my own existing badly crumpled motor, I had become very attached to the little Fiesta at the end of my 10-day stint.

                    Firstly, I wan to talk about size. The Fiesta may not be anything close to an MPV or 4x4 Chelsea Tractor (or Mommy Wagon if you prefer), but it is quite deceptive. Superminis have become increasing larger over the years and the new Fiesta is bigger than its predecessors but it is still a small nimble motor. Surprisingly spacy inside, the Fiesta may not be suitable for a large family or for transporting 5 burly rugby players but it can easily support 5 average-sized adults with no discomfort and without front passengers suffering from 'knee-in-the-back' syndrome. Leg space is plentiful and unlike some rival superminis, there is no game of sardines in sight when 3 passengers are in the rear.

                    Secondly, I was worried about the 1.25 engine capacity. This appeared miniscule to me but I was wrong. Size really doesn't matter in some cases! The Fiesta had plenty of power, both in lower and higher gears, and the 1.25 engine easily coped with steep inclines with 5 passengers aboard. As a bonus it even had a nice burble from the exhaust at idle, suggesting hidden power, but maybe this is just the repressed 'boy racer' in me that liked this bonus feature!

                    Looks-wise, the Fiesta is a great-looking car that has steered towards the appearance of its bigger brother...the Focus. The ride is exceptionally good with no adverse spine-crushing bumps, even on rough terrain. Handling is superb, as you would expect from a small Ford, and the Fiesta can be thrown in to a corner without worry. The steering is light and responsive without being too twitchy.

                    There is plenty of boot space (easily fitted in two sets of golf clubs) and the car comes with the usual industry standard features plus a few extras. There is ABS, electric windows and even a jack for an iPod. The Style does not come with alloys wheels like the Zetec but it has all the remaining features and works out £600 cheaper. I only know this because I have been doing some further research into the Fiesta when I recommended it to a friend following my short but enjoyable experience with the car.

                    In summary, this is an exceptional small car that possesses great looks and a surprising amount of hidden power. The engine is probably unrivalled for its size and the drive, comfort and features are wonderful. Ford have excelled this time and have finally stopped using so much plastic for the interior. If I was on the look-out for a smaller motor that is economical, surprisingly nippy, and oozes character, I would not hesitate to purchase the Fiesta 1.25.

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                    • Sony CDX GT20 / Car Audio / 19 Readings / 15 Ratings
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                      15.10.2010 23:35
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                      Good sound reproduction, very reliable, reasonably priced

                      I had the Sony CDX GT20 installed in a recent car I sold. The unit looks quite basic from a design viewpoint but it has plent of quality features and the sound reproduction was excellent. A few people commented on the silver face and thought it makes the Sony unit appear cheap but I disagree. The Sony stands out amidst the numerous plain units that are all black and covered in flashing lights. Personally, I thought it looked quite stylish.

                      The Sony has a 4x45 watt output and this is more than loud enough to have a private party in your car. The sound reproduction at high volumes is good, with little or no distortion, and at lower volumes the sound is clear and suffers no problem with bass dropout. The bass is solid (Sony's Xplod bass technology is one of the finest available) and the mid and high range possess great clarity.

                      The Sony has 3 equaliser settings which is a bit limited and may annoy some people who really want to produce their perfect sound reproduction, but for a unit of in this price range it is acceptable. Besides, the basic sound quality of the Sony is good enough that it does not really need major alteration.

                      This particular unit does have the capability to play mp3 tracks off a CD, so you can record many albums onto one CD to save constant disk changes. The front of the unit is removable to discourage theft. The CD player is incredibly reliable and hardly ever misses a beat even when travelling over rough terrain.

                      In my opinion, this is a nice looking unit that produces excellent sound reproduction for a very reasonable price. It served me well for nearly a year and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a mid-range car stereo that offers above average sound.

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                        14.10.2010 15:29
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                        Beautiful stereo that scream elegance. Some annoying flaws.

                        I bought the Panasonic SC-HC30DBEBS as a recent birthday present for my sister after weeks of research. She was more interested in a hi-fi system that was small, pretty, and allowed her to plug in her iPod. She has been very pleased with the gift and after installing it and playing with it I have to say that I made a good choice.

                        The Panasonic is one of the best looking micro systems around and really adds a touch of class to a room. It is both aesthetically pleasing and functional. The system has an ingenious sliding door at the front that hides both the CD tray and an iPod (if you have one attached).

                        The sound reproduction from the Panasonic is above average for a unit of this price and the volume level is more than adequate for a medium-sized room. The system has 5 preset graphic equalizers so you have the ability to choose your favourite sound. Personally, I found this a bit restrictive and would have liked to have seen a wider range of equalizer presets.

                        Another minor gripe is the radio. While being DAB the aerial strength appears to be quite weak and the unit's radio reception at my sister's home was unsatisfactory. This may be due top a weak DAB reception in the area but her last stereo encountered no issues with signal, so it may be down to the Panasonic. I read a few reviews where people have had no problems so it may be wise to check the strength of DAB signals in your area before buying this product (if radio is important to you).

                        The radio staions are also stored in alphabetical order which is a bit annoying. I (and my sister!) would have preferred the option to assign favourite radio stations to the initial settings. Having to flick through numerous stations to locate Radio 1 is a minor pain.

                        Radio aside, the Panasonic SC-HC30DBEBS is a great product. The iPod docking function is excellent (it actually charges your iPod when docked) and the remote control is able to control the majority of important features. Oh, one other point to be aware of...the controls on the actual system are located on the top of the machine so if you think you will need to access these remember not to place the Panasonic above eye level!

                        To summarise: This is a great looking product that is well-built and has plenty of useful features. The sound reproduction is very good and it would make a wonderful accessory to any music-lovers household.

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                        • LG GM360 / Mobile Phone / 24 Readings / 16 Ratings
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                          13.10.2010 21:38
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                          Nice looking phone that is let down by a poor touchscreen and cramped keypad

                          I owned this phone a while back and while it was a nice looking phone with some useful features overall I found it a bit disappointing. It is not a bad phone...its just not a great phone.

                          One of my main gripes was the touchscreen. I found this a bit unresponsive and inaccurate. It was far too easy to accidentally open an app when all I was trying to do was scroll down the screen. The sensitivity was a bit sluggish and it sometimes took 2 or 3 taps before responding. LG needs swome lessons from Apple in this depeartment.

                          Then there is the on-screen keypad. The spacing is tight to say the least. I found texting or writing an email could be problematic. The GM360 really could benefit from having a stylus...which it doesn't possess. People with dainty fingers may not find this problem but anyone with larger fingers may find the cramped keypad a real annoyance.

                          On a plus not the phone has some useful social networking apps as standard and the rest of the apps and functions are really easy to use. The GM360 is very user friendly and with its slim, lighweight design it is a good looking phone that is comfortable to use and carry around.

                          Another point to note is that if you want to store plenty of musinc and photos on the phone you will have to invest in a decent sized memory card.

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                          • Samsung ST60 / Digital Camera / 49 Readings / 38 Ratings
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                            13.10.2010 16:05
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                            A above-average compact that looks and feels more expensive than it is

                            I have always opted for Sony or Nikon cameras but having heard good things about recent Samsung products I decided to give the ST60 a try when I was in need of a compact digital camera at a decent price.

                            The camera itself is nice and compact (this is not always the case with supposedly compact cameras) and very slim. This makes it very easy to fit the ST60 into a pocket without feeling uncomfortable. The camera feels solid and sturdy and I have banged into a few objects with the cam still in my pocket and it has withstood any impact.

                            The picture quality is good for a camera in this price range. The ST60 makes it easy to point and shoot for those just looking to turn on their camera and click away. However, there are enough manual functions that allow picture refinement for anyone looking to take their photography skills to a higher level.

                            The ST60 has the ability to record movies in HD but while this is a useful feature it does not compete with a quality HD video recorder. The HD function is good for short, fun captures but the quality is not brilliant and there is no HDMI output on the Samsung, which kind of defeats the object.

                            The built-in memory is average and you will need to invest in an SD card. I would advise opting for a decent SD card rather than a budget one. I tried a cheap card and found transfers and uploads to be slow and sluggish. Once I upgraded to a better class SD the results were a lot better.

                            The ST60 is a great looking camera that will impress friends and it takes good photos which is what matters. At 12 megapixels any photos you take can easily be blown up to A4 without a noticeable loss in quality if you require larger prints. The camera is a nice handy size, solid enough that you don't have to worry about it getting banged about on a night out, and the display screen has a good resolution. All in all the ST60 is a good camera at a reasonable price and I am more than happy with my purchase.

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                              13.10.2010 14:06
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                              Brilliant device that makes reading a joy

                              I had resisted making the switch from paper books to an electronic reader until last week. After much deliberation I finally made the switch and invested in an Amozon Kindle 2 and I have to say I am absolutely delighted with the results.

                              I was worried that the reading enjoyment would be lost with an electronic screen but that has not been the case. The eInk sytem the Kindle uses is amazing and does give the device an eerily real feel when reading. The technology cuts out any sunlight glare issues and I have had no problems using the device outside - even on bright sunny days.

                              The Kindle 2 is ridiculously thin and light and it is actually easier to hold than a paper book. No more hand cramp! Whereas holding a book open involved some hand manipulation, the Kindle allows you to read using only the fingertips...it's a real joy.

                              I purchased the 3G wireless version and the getting new books is a breeze. Using Amazon's Whispenet technology I have been able to download books pretty much anywhere and in no time at all. The best thing is that electronic books are a lot cheaper than their paper counterparts and with the amount of reading I do the Kindle shouldpay for itself in no time at all.

                              I have found the dictionary function invaluable and being able to highlight and save passages is another superb function. I no longer need to carry around a seperate dictionary, highlighter, and writing pad.

                              It may have taken me a while to go electronic but now I regret I did not do so sooner. The Amazoin Kindle 2 is an incredible product and I highly recommend it to anyone considering the change from print to electronic. Believe me, you will not be sorry.

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                              • HP 620 / Laptop / 103 Readings / 82 Ratings
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                                12.10.2010 17:30
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                                The HP 620 offers a decent machine at a decent price.

                                The HP 620 is a budget version of the HP ProBook 4525 and while it has retained some of the positive features of the more expensive model, there have been some alterations that have been for the worst.

                                Due to financial considerations, I opted for the 620. It seemed to offer a sturdy build and had reasonable software and hardware for the price. I have found the 620 to be a decent product but have some issues:

                                1. The keyboard is a little cramped and has a cheap feel about it.
                                2. The 620 does ship with Windows 7 Pro, but it is the 32-bit version
                                3. The graphics driver is Intel and is not the best
                                4. The 620 is quite heavy comapred to similar sized alternatives

                                These are not major issues though. The Intel graphics driver does perform well enough and the keyboard spacing is probably a matter of preference (if you have large fingers it may be a concern). Overall, the 620 is a good machine and even has some enhanced features over its more-expensive ProBook 4525 counterpart:

                                1. The 620 has a 320Gb HDD compared to the 4525's 250Gb
                                2. The 620 has 3Gb of RAM, the 4525 has only 2Gb.

                                The HP 620 also boasts the same matte screen as the 4525 and offers HDMI and HD playback which I though was a great feature for a budget range product. The biggest attraction for me was the excellent battery life of the 620.

                                For the price the 620 is a pretty decent machine. Yes, there are some downsides - the design, keyboard, and Intel drivers may not be perfect - but HP have included enough features in this model to make it worth the price. But with so much competition in the budget laptop market I am not sure they have done enough to make it one of the top choices.

                                I am happy with the 620, but if I had to make the decision to buy a budget laptop again I am not 100% sure I would go with the 620 again.

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