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I try to stick towards the more durable, waterproof phones, my last one being the Motorola Defy which I was extremely happy with however I wanted something with a slightly bigger screen.
The Sony Xperia Z1 sounded like it met most of my requirements; fast; large screen; Android; waterproof; good camera; etc..
Waterproof - haven't tested but I assume it can stand what it says.
Large screen - almost like a tablet!
Latest version of Android - hopefully they'll make future versions available for download.
Compatible with Bluetooth watches etc..
High resolution camera - plus the extras such as AR and timeburst are great!
General use is easy and does everything you could ever want.
Battery lasts a long time considering... sometimes it lasts me a few days without charging it and that's with WiFi and GPS constantly on.
I don't like to be negative but there are quite a few...
External buttons quite close together - if you like you adjust the volume of your music while it's in your pocket then good luck!
Lots of rubbish / spam notifications - every app seems to give notifications about rubbish, including advertisements.
The phone is spammed with apps when you first get it, many of which you can't uninstall - Sony and Google seem to have their own version of different apps thus there are many apps that do the same thing, as well as all the social media apps installed.
It is very big - I do like having a screen this big, but when it doesn't fit into your jeans back pocket without it sticking out it does make it hard to carry around without fear of it falling out or someone stealing it.
Sound - it can't play music as loud as I'd like, nor is it as clear as many other phones which is a bit disappointing.
The screen - a bit of a strange one this, bit the screen isn't very good with barcode scanners, i.e. if you have your subcard on your phone in which they have to scan the barcode on screen, it takes a while for it to work...
Despite the many negatives, I do like the phone and will keep it for many years to come (I hope). I have a rubber case that basically just covers the edges as it does seem a bit fragile, however so far it's held up well and has no scratches or marks. Sony do need to make a lot of improvements for it to be perfect, yet it is still by far one of the best phones available overall.
I've needed some in-ear headphones for a while now, I've been using the ones which came with my old mobile phones for the last year and they are really not made for comfort nor sound so I thought it was about time I treated myself. I saw these on Amazon reduced to under £10 and they sounded decent so I thought I'd give them a go.
----------- Sound Quality ------------------
I normally buy quite cheap headphones and didn't really think there would be a noticeable difference in sound, after all they are just tiny speakers made to go in your ear, what more can there be to it? ...To say the least I was very impressed, the sound was by far better than any other headphones I have ever used, the bass is clear and every note can be heard perfectly.
When I bought them the description said about them being noise cancelling, I didn't really know what to expect but it turns out that IF they have a snug fit then they do work really well, better than ear plugs in my opinion! However like I said, that is if they have a snug fit...
----------- Comfort -----------------------
Leading on from above, a snug fit... most in-ear headphones achieve this quite well in my opinion but not these, I don't know why but they just don't seem to want to stay in! They come with 3 different size attachments for the ear piece bit, but none seem to fit well, the middle size being best for me as far as noise cancelling goes but they just always fall out especially if I'm walking or cycling.
Getting to the point, comfort, yes they are quite comfortable when they are in your ears, but having to push them back into your ears every few minutes makes is very annoying.
----------- Cord --------------------------
Compared to most headphones I've had the cord is quite solid, more like a wired coat hanger it seems to stay in the position to put it in. Well not quite as bad as a coat hanger but if you like to wrap it round your hand to neatly fold it before putting it in your pocket when not using it (like I do) then you'll have to get used to the lead being permanently zigzagged when using it, which doesn't exactly look great and is really quite awkward.
On the plus side though, it does help stop them from getting tangled!
I'm hoping this 'resistance to change' in the wire will eventually fade as it gets played about with more, but until then it will be rather annoying.
----------- Hands-Free Control ------------
There are buttons on the lead, not sure what they're called but I'll call them hands free control as I think that's what they are there for. As far as I'm aware they are aimed at Apples products, I use them with a Motorola phone so the buttons don't do a lot, although I think it depends on what media player you have installed on your phone, installing the right media player will make these buttons work.
----------- Overall -----------------------
Sound - 10/10
Comfort - 3/10
Cord - 3/10
For the sound quality I do really like these headphones and I will use them for a while yet, although the fact they keep falling out is a massive drawback and the lead is also really annoying. So if you only care about the sound quality then definitely worth the money, but if you want a general pair of headphones then probably best to look somewhere else.
Washing powder always seems to be so expensive for something so simple, why can't we go back to the days when people washed their clothes in urine... I guess I'll just have to settle for Sainsbury's Basic.
-------- Packaging ---------
Very simple packaging; a cardboard box in the usual white and orange colouring with easy to read instructions / advice. One thing I didn't realise the first time is there is a way to open it from the side to make it easier to pour into the machine, very useful and a lot less messy!
-------- Use ---------------
It gets used like any other washing powder, pour the desired amount into the machine and then operate the machine as normal; it doesn't come with a measuring scoop but I don't tend to use one anyway, just pour in a rough estimate as it's not going to make much difference so long as you get some in there. If you did want to be precise however you can get the measuring scoops from the pound shop or pretty much any general shop, or sometimes you can request free ones from certain websites (search the internet!).
-------- Effectiveness -------
I can't tell any difference between this washing powder and many of the other leading brands, it has never let me down and I usually use a lot less of the powder than you're meant to. It doesn't exactly have any extras like softness or a strong scent, however if you add a fabric conditioner then this will do a good job and still works out cheaper than an expensive washing powder.
-------- Overall -------------
After the first time buying it a few years ago I have never looked back, it is the best value for money by far, decent packaging and a good size, as well as working just as well as any other brand. 100% recommend!
After starting university I realised I needed a few essential first aid items, so I went off to Poundland to see what I could find. I saw this thermometer and thought it may come in useful to check my temperature when I'm feeling ill, to make sure that I'm actually ill rather than tricking myself into an excuse not to go in at 9AM!
--------- Packaging -------------
The one that I bought was in blue packaging, exactly the same as the picture shown here but blue. Once you take the outer cardboard packaging off the actual thermometer is protected with a hard plastic case that slides into 2 parts to take the thermometer out, and can be put back together to store the thermometer when not using, this way it keeps it clean and germ free.
-------- Ease of Use ------------
There are 2 main places that you can use the thermometer, under your tongue or under your armpit; I always put it under my tongue as that's what my parents always told me to do, I think it's slightly more accurate under your tongue plus it saves having to take your jumper off, especially annoying when it's cold in the winter!
Once you've put the metal bit in the location of your choice, press the button to turn it on and simply wait... it takes under a minute usually and when it's done it beeps. Take the thermometer out of where it was and read the display; the display is easy to read, my eyesight is quite poor yet I can read it with ease, it shows the temperature in degrees centigrade to 1 decimal place which is accurate enough to tell if you're well or not.
You can leave the thermometer alone / wipe it over and put it back in its plastic case, it turns itself off so you don't need to do anything more.
--------- Temperature readings --------
Your temperature should display close to 36.8 if you take it under your tongue, under your arms usually gives a reading around 0.5 less. Although this is only an estimate, everyone's temperature is slightly different and changes with age, time of day, weather, and other factors so so long as you're close to the 36.8 degrees then you're fine. :)
-------- Overall -------------------
I've found it a really useful tool to have and haven't had any problems with it at all. I've used it on many occasions over the last 3 years and the battery is still going strong and it is working fine. Why spend lots of money on expensive medical supplies when you can get them for £1 each and work just as well!
My family have had this TV in their living room for the last 2 years and has been used as our main TV connected to a Sky box.
----------------- Specifications -------------------
Recently I tried looking for the specifications for the TV but actually had a hard time finding them, so to save everyone else the time, here they are as listed on Ebay;
--- Key Features ---
Display Technology: LCD
Screen Size: 40"
Screen Format: 14:9 Enhanced, 16:9, 16:9 Enhanced
Resolution: 720p (HD)
Display Resolution: 1366 x 768 pixels
3D Technology: 3D Not Supported
Smart TV Features: Not Supported
--- Technical Features ---
Response Time: 8 ms
Contrast Ratio: 10000:1
Viewing Angle: 178°
Built-in Tuner: DVB
Supported Resolutions: 1080p (HDTV), 720p (HDTV)
Brightness: 450 cd/m²
HDCP Support: With HDCP Support
Supported File Formats: MPEG1
--- Connectivity ---
Front Input Connectors: Composite x 1, S-Video x 1
Rear Input Connectors: 1 x D-Sub (RGB PC), 1 x RS-232C, 21-pin SCART x 1, Component x 1, Component x 3, Optical, RF x 1
Rear Output Connectors: Audio (RCA) x 1, Optical Digital, RS-232C x 1
Connectors: Component, Composite, D-Sub (RGB PC), Headphone Jack, RF, RS-232C, S-Video
--- Audio Features ---
Number Of Speakers: 2
Speaker Power: 2 x 10 Watt
Audio Type: Virtual Surround
Audio Leveler: With Audio Leveler
MTS Stereo: SAP / MTS Stereo
--- Dimensions ---
Height: 63.58 cm
Width: 98.98 cm
Depth: 9.7 cm
Weight: 17.38 Kg
--- Miscellaneous ---
Channel Labels: With Channel Labels
Parental Control: With Parental Control
Sleep Timer: With Sleep Timer
Room Type: Commercial Space, Large Hall, Living Room
Remote Control Type (originally supplied by manufacturer): Standard
Energy Star Compliant: Non-Energy Star Compliant
Features: Virtual Surrond
--------------------- Interface / Ease of Use --------------------------------
Most of the Samsung TVs I have used before seem to have the same user interface, when you click the menu button on the remote the menu screen appears, where you can easily navigate to Picture, Sound, Settings etc.. It is very simple and quite self explanatory. At first you might want to check the menu so you know how to select each setting however for me trial and error worked well and I'd figured the buttons on the remote out within a few minutes.
The remote that comes with the TV is pretty standard; all the buttons are clear and quite big with spaces in between each, making it easy to use for old people or the visually impaired. At the bottom of the remote there are buttons for record, fast forward, rewind etc. but I've never needed them for anything, I'm guessing you can tune your remote in to a DVD player or similar to control it however remote's such as Sky combine everything much simpler now so personally I'd use one of their remote's, depending on which TV service you get that is.
------------------- Speed / Response --------------------------------------
This isn't something I usually think about when buying a TV but actually I think it is very important. Firstly I should add that there is no on / off switch on the TV, you can only put it to standby or switch it off at the wall; from standby, it takes about 5 seconds to come on, though this doesn't sound like much, when you're missing your favourite programme it feels like forever!
Navigation using the TV menu is quite slow with a short pause between selecting each option, however not really a big problem as once you've set it up once you won't really need to go to the menu again.
Switching from channel to channel isn't the fastest thing either, but if you have a Sky box (or alternative) connected then it's down to the speed of that, so with our Sky box it's fine. We never seemed to be able to get signal with Freeview through the TV (despite an external Freeview box working) which I'm kind of glad for as the Freeview settings built in took ages to load and go through.
------------------- Stand ------------------------------------
The TV is mounted to a stand that can turn a few degrees either way, It can't turn very far but it's enough to be of use. Apparently the TV can also be wall mounted so I'm assuming the stand can be taken off, but I haven't checked to see how easy this is.
-------------------- Look --------------------------
The material is glossy plastic, it looks really nice but it shows the dust really easily and gets covered with fingerprints! There are no buttons or markings on the front other than 'SAMSUNG', so it looks reasonably neat and free from clutter. The edges are quite wide compared to newer TVs coming out, as in the display stops over an inch before the edge of the TV, but it sort of adds depth to it I feel and I prefer this over the TVs in shops now which are basically just one big screen.
------------------- Size -------------------------
The display is 40 inch but it looks slightly bigger than this due to the extra 'space' at each end. 40 inch is big enough for most people, just right for a living room, maybe slightly big for a bedroom, but just about fits in most places. Anything over 40 inch and you'd need a very large room otherwise it'd look out of place. Although it is quite narrow (flat panel) you will need extra space behind it if you want to turn it on its stand, so if you want it flat against a wall then you'd have to leave a gap behind or cope with it always facing straight forward.
------------------ Sound ---------------------------
As with most TVs nowadays, they are built for picture, not sound. The sound is acceptable but if you want to watch the football with friends or listen to music through it then you'd need to get some speakers for it.
----------------------------- Overall ------------------------------
The TV coped well with our constant use from the whole family, however after about 1 and a half years the left side of the screen started going funny; after searching online it appears that this happens to many Samsung TVs and there is no easy fix, resulting in us having to get rid of ours. Although this was an okay TV and we didn't have any major problems with it, under 2 years is not an acceptable lifetime and I would be very hesitant to getting another Samsung TV.
'Giant Microbes' is a brand that make cuddly toys in the shape of microbes.
E. Coli is one that they make and I received this one as a birthday present from a mate last year.
--- Look ---
One thing to note is that the 'hairs' or whatever you call them are much shorter on the one I've got, I'm not sure if they make them look longer for the picture or whether it's just mine that is shorter. Although what I'm about to say may sound a little weird as this is a microbe we're talking about but I think he looks cute... yes, 'he', I'm making mine a guy; of course I have named him E. Coli and that sounds more like a guys name to me.
He always looks like he's smiling no matter what way you hold him. The hairs are meant to go at the bottom I think but I thought it was his well normal hair to start with and had him the wrong way up, but either way he looks cute and happy. :)
--- Soft ---
Really soft to the touch, not too squishy that you can screw him up into a ball - he is still rather firm but feels soft. The eyes are hard plastic but don't stick out so you can still cuddle him without feeling the hardness of the eyes. The hairs are like rope but they don't feel too rough.
--- Size ---
He is a good size, big enough to cuddle but small enough to sit on my shelf. He is oval shape... what's the 3D equivalent of an oval??? But anyway he's roughly 45cm long with a diameter of 20cm.
--- Age range ---
I'm 21... I'm not the sort of guy that has teddies or other toys but I do like E. Coli as he is more interesting. Would be suitable for any age, there are no small / loose parts so would be ok for young children (although if yours comes with the long hairs it may be best to cut them down slightly to avoid strangling etc.) and even people like me with no interest at all for soft toys will still enjoy this toy.
--- Overall ---
Despite my previous views on cuddly toys, I was quite surprised when I unwrapped this as a present and have been happy to keep him close to me ever since. Would definitely recommend buying for anyone and I will hopefully add more of the Microbes family to my collection one day.
I'm quite a handyman and enjoy DIY, so when I see new tools and accessories out I always want to add them to my collection. 'Hard As Nails' is basically a glue... it sticks 2 things together and claims to be an alternative to nails.
--- Instructions ---
First off I'll write the instructions, just so the rest of this review makes more sense and for those that would rather know how to use it now rather than struggling to read them looking like a fool standing in the isle of the shop before you buy!
1) Ensure surfaces are dry and free from dust.
2) Apply one or two continuous beads to the back on the item and immediately press in place. For larger/heavier items apply around the perimeter.
3) For heavy items keep supported until glue is dry.
4) Adhesive dries in 24 to 48 hours.
5) NOTE: The product is water resistant to some degree, but not suitable where it will get constantly wet.
6) NOTE: Do not use where both surfaces are non-porous, ie. Metal to metal, plastic to plastic.
7) NOTE: Do not use for fixing mirrors.
--- Packaging ---
When I bought this I noticed 2 types of packaging available, 1 in a squirty tube (like a larger version of toothpaste), and another in the round like tube that you need the thingy with the handle you squeeze to get it out... sorry for my vocabulary but I can't remember what they're called but I'm sure some people will know what I mean. Either way I went for the first option as it has a resealable lid which I find essential for glue! (Despite the other option being slightly bigger / contains more 'glue')
Even when glue has resealable lids I usually find that it still finds a way of drying up when not in use, but this isn't the case with this, I first opened it over a year ago and am still using the same tube to this day! (Yes, it does last a long time even when you use a lot of it like me).
--- Ease of use ---
It's quite thick like a paste so when the tube is past half empty it can get a bit tough to get it out; I find that I need both hands to squeeze it with now to get some out which can be a problem if you need to hold what you're glueing but I still manage fine.
It doesn't feel sticky and doesn't get messy like other glues do, if you get some on your hands you can just rub them together and it comes off without a mess, or rinse under water. If you get too much on what you want to stick then just wipe away with ease.
--- Hard as nails? ---
I've used it for many things and it is more usable than nails, but not harder than nails. Also to remember than the glue is only as strong as what it is attached to... I made the mistake of putting a shelf up with it, although the glue didn't cope too well, it was the wall that failed - nails/screws go through many layers of the wall so no matter how strong the glue you use is you must make sure that what you are attaching it to is as strong, things aren't always as sturdy as you think they are.
Another time I've used it for something small, a hook to put on my bedroom wall for the purpose of hanging my work shirt on; the back of the hook had a surface of around 2cm squared, which isn't much but for something so light I didn't think there would be a problem. I was wrong, within 2 days the hook fell down from the weight of a shirt, it had come off from the plastic backing of the hook, so although the glue may be strong in some cases it does really depend on the surface you attach it to, regardless of how light it may be.
Saying the above, I have used it many other times for quite heavy fixtures and have had no problem at all, when in doubt, use as much as possible, after all it is so cheap!
--- Water resistant ---
Despite the packaging saying it's not suitable for environments where it will be in constant contact with water, I have used it in my bathroom to fix things like toilet roll hanger and hooks to the walls and door and have had no problem. I know that doesn't really test it against water proofing but the room does get very misty every day from the shower so it is under a very high humidity and has lasted fine.
--- Price ---
The most important part, well for me at least. A 180ml squirty tube of this can be bought for... £1!!!! Where? The pound shop of course, or many places online. As mentioned above, you can also buy the other type that I don't know what to call also for a £1 and that contains 310ml!
--- Conclusion ---
Maybe it is as hard as nails, but certainly not a substitute. It is great for sticking together most things and as it is so thick it is good with uneven/rough surfaces. When used in many cases it will work perfectly, yet there will always be exceptions. For it's price it is certainly worth having and will last a long time - mine is past it's sell by date now by 6 months but still hasn't dried up and it still sticks just as good.
Since becoming a student I have had to cut back the costs of everything, even simple things like pasta. When I first considered getting the cheapest pasta that I could find I didn't really have much to think about, pasta is pasta, how is this going to taste any different to the premium brands...?
-------------- Instructions -----------------------
On the packet it says to boil in 10 - 12 minutes... so exactly the same as many other brands of pasta! One thing to note is that you should always boil the water before putting the pasta in, which is especially true with this one; if you put the pasta into the water before it's boiling then the pasta becomes soft, as if it's cooked, yet it won't be as the water is not hot enough!
-------------- Quantity --------------------------
They come in packs of 500 grams. For an average person this would be plenty to last a while, but I ignore where it says on the back 'average serving size of 50g' as that would never ever fill me up... having portion sizes of around 200 grams (when I'm not having it with anything else) this bag barely lasts a day!
--------------- Packaging -----------------------
The pasta comes in just well a bag I guess, containing the instructions and nutritional values. It doesn't have any kind of resealable mechanism on it, not even a sticker type thing that the others have. Not really a problem though, just use an elastic band or pour it into a resealable tub.
-------------- Taste / Texture -------------------
At the end of the day, it tastes like pasta, I can't really deny that. I do see some difference with the texture compared to other brands, this is a lot chewier - where other branded pasta seem to expand when cooked and go really tender, the basics' don't expand as much, and instead become chewy.
When I say chewy I don't mean like 'get the steak knife out' or the awkwardness when you're trying to have a conversation and the food in your mouth just doesn't seem to be swallow-able, but it just doesn't melt away in your mouth like other pasta does. I must make clear though that it still tastes perfectly fine and many people probably won't even notice a difference with the texture / chewiness.
-------------- Price ------------------------------
At the moment a 500g bag costs 39p... they used to be even cheaper but unfortunately all of Sainsburys own brand seems to have gone up in price. 39p is good value for money though, at 78p per kg, that's less than half the price of the next cheapest pasta!
--------------- Summary -----------------------
Depending on the individual, some people would be happy with this where as other would not. I am currently still buying basics pasta, yet when I get a bit extra money this will certainly be something I will upgrade on, most probably to the 3Kg bag Sainsburys offer, that way I won't have to go to the shop 3 times a week to stock up!
It may be basic, no seal to seal the packet, a bit chewy etc but once it's in a meal it is not noticeable and your guests would never know the difference. Sometimes I even eat it plain, a bit of salt and still tastes good enough to eat like any other brand.
When I knew I was going to be attending Brighton university, I applied for Phoenix Halls as it was close to the town (less of a walk home when drunk!) and they had en-suits in all the rooms, which was a major factor for me as I was self concious about sharing a bathroom... unfortunately I didn't get accepted and instead got my second choice which was Moulsecoomb.
Moulsecoomb Halls is more of a neighbourhood than the other Halls; it is a set of houses (rather than massive flats like the other Halls) with around 8 people in each, 1 kitchen, 1 shower and 1 bath/shower. Having seen the other Halls I am so glad I ended up in Moulsecoomb, without flooding you with all my stories I will just say that it's much more fun and more of a community - when it snows each house teams up against each other with a heavy snowball fight! Likewise in the summer everyone bought a water pistol and had one massive drenching!
The houses can be a little less social than the other Halls, in the sense that everyone is split over a number of floors, but again that has its benefits, we had a war between each of the 3 floors - everyone bought BB guns and were at constant war the whole year round! Yes it was painful, but so worth it!! The staff did no to some extent what was happening but we made sure the house was still in good condition when we left so they didn't mind too much... well, if you do go into 14 Tillstone Close, you may notice hundreds of round dents in the wall, now you know why!
Moulsecoomb Halls are catered, I was a bit worried at first as I'm picky with my food but it turned out okay, there were a choice of 2 meals each night, but you could say just a part of a meal if you wanted, like many nights I simply had chips on there own as I didn't like the other things. Occasional they didn't have anything that I liked so I just had deserts and then cooked some pasta when I got home. Breakfast was okay, the 'hard' boiled eggs were never hard, crack them open and they're always still liquid inside... other than that everything was okay, sausages, baked beans and a hash brown every morning, but also on offer were cereal and toast and fruit etc.
The Halls were right next to the train station and bus stop, as well as the university offering a free bus service to the other campus's making it very easy to get around. It is walking distance to the town and to pretty much everywhere, I never had to get the bus or a taxi when I lived there (apart from when I got drunk...).
Overall, living in Moulsecoomb Halls was the best year of my life! I still talk to all the people I lived with, everyone was friendly. The room was good and the shower wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. Nothing I can complain about at all, it lived up to the student experience!! :)
(Please note, this review may also be posted on Ciao under the same username)
I have this printer on the main family computer in our house, and have been using it for many years now. It is an ink-jet printer; it takes 2 ink cartridges which you will need to buy (unless it comes with them) before you can use, black and colour, you can search for these online and can pick them up quite easily from many places.
--- Installation ---
When I first attached the printer to the computer (with the standard Printer to USB cable provided) the computer detected the printer and begun installation. I downloaded the software from the HP website, which when prompted to by the computer I told it where I had saved the software I had just downloaded. The computer carried on the installation without me having to do anything else, and once it had finished it popped up from the bottom of my window that the new hardware was now ready to use.
Although the above was how I installed the printer, there are many other ways; You could download the software from the website and install manually, or insert the disk (if it comes with one... depends if you buy it from new or not) and install by following the instructions, or even with most newer computers nowadays you can just plug in the printer and your computer will install it automatically and download the software from online without you having to search for it.
I didn't have any problems at all installing it, even though the way I did it was a bit more complicated than needed. Hopefully as said above you will have a newish computer which will install the software required automatically without you having to do anything, making it extremely simple!
--- Ease of Use ---
It's just like any printer really, once it's installed all you need to do it click on print on the document or whatever you are trying to print, and hey presto!
One thing I like about it is that it turns itself on if you try and print, meaning you don't have to get up and make sure it's turned on first. A down side to this though is that you need to go and turn it off afterwards as it doesn't do this automatically, making it easy to leave it on by mistake not really a problem though unless you are concerned with saving power.
--- Ease of Refill ---
Once an ink cartridge is running low it will prompt you to replace during a printing session (in other words, if you try and print something when the ink is low it will tell you you are running low, but will still let you print). Sometimes you will notice it is running low by what it prints out before the printer tells you that it's low, as in if the print out is patchy or faint, in which case you should replace the cartridge(s) anyway.
There is an option, once prompted for you to replace the cartridge, for it to run you through step-by-step how to replace the required ink cartridge. This is very easy to follow and doesn't require any previous knowledge. Alternatively if you have changed the cartridge before you can simply do it at any time, simply open the top (it justs lifts up without having to undo any screws etc) at which point the two cartridges will slide across into view as it assumes you are going to change them, then unclip the one you are going to change, and put a knew one in, close the lid, and finished... simple!
--- Quality of Print Outs ---
The quality is good, not great but good. I have printed onto many types of paper / card / glossy, and all have equal quality. I have printed many photos out using this printer and haven't had any problems in lack of quality, all have been acceptable and are framed in my house. It can print close to the edges of the paper (sorry I can't remember exactly how close), as well as take custom size paper with the paper tray having an adjustable edge to fit different widths such that the printer feeds in in well without jamming.
--- Cost ---
I got this printer really cheap second hand, can't remember how much, but the real question is, how much does it cost to refill, as this is the factor that is most relevant to most people.
Generally, I have been buying the cartridges for around £10 for a set of both colour and black, however you can get them for cheaper if you look around for places that have offers on. The refills last for quite a while and don't dry out easily - both of mine have just ran out and have been in the printer for over a year! The fact that they don't dry out too quickly means it is good for the occasional user, but at the same time we have used ours many times throughout the year and they have lasted so good also for users that do more printing too.
--- Overall ---
As a family computer it is perfect, cheapish to run and ready waiting for whenever we need it. Although not the quickest printer in the world, it can easily get through a document if you leave it alone.
I also have a laser printer but the disadvantage of most laser printers is their inability to print onto card and thicker materials, which is why I still have a need for ink-jet printers like this one.
Would recommend to those that want a trouble free, simple printer that can do the majority of tasks, without the need for any maintenance.
(Please note, this review may also published on Ciao under the same username).
I should start off my saying that I am visually impaired; I have a condition that effects both eyes making my sight extremely poor (especially distance) which glasses do not correct. I have always been in and out of hospital being given lots of different magnifying glasses and computer software and the lot to help me live a normal life. The Optelec FarView was one of the more recent things I have been given and it was to assist me at university, and I have to tell you it is one of the most advanced site aids I have ever used and has helped me in so many ways!
--- What is it? ---
Taken from the Optelec website: "Designed for the benefit of active visually impaired people, the FarView is an intelligent video magnifier offering close-up and distance viewing capabilities, in a stylish and ultra-compact design."
In other words, it is basically an electronic version of the traditional magnifying gadgets that the elderly and the visually impaired use. Not only does it work for close up material such as reading books, but it can also be used for distance, such as seeing a whiteboard from the back of a lecture theatre. Another benefit compared to traditional magnifiers is it's ability to take pictures so you don't have to hold the gadget in place the whole time, nor have to worry about a shakey hand as you can then use the buttons to scroll rather than manually moving the gadget or object you're looking at.
--- Features ---
The FarView can do so much and unlike most products where features are usually gimmicky, I have personally used all of the features and can say that everything is helpful and so much thought and technology has been put into it.
Some of the things it can do I have listed below:
- Enlarge close ups such as a book.
- View distances such as flight times in an airport or whiteboards in a lecture.
- Large screen (Not touchscreen) to display whatever it's looking at or saved images.
- Change the contrast / background colour - change colour of what you are trying to see to make certain things stand out easier.
- Take pictures / store pictures for later use.
- Digital zoom of stored pictures, so you can zoom in even after you have left the object you were looking at.
- Bright LEDs to make close up viewing easier.
- Connects to the computer if you want to further zoom in on a picture you have taken.
- Can connect to an external display (VGA) if the screen isn't large enough for you.
- Extremely easy / simple to use with large buttons.
--- Specifications ---
Taken from the Optelec website:
-- Continuous zoom magnification:
Live View: up to 24 times
Playback View: enlarge captured images up to 14 times
-- 4.3-inch full colour TFT widescreen display
-- Multiple viewing options:
Black text on a white background (positive)
White text on a black background (negative)
Blue text on a yellow background
Yellow text on a black background
Yellow text on a blue background
Blue text on a yellow background
-- Anti-reflective reading mode
-- Use for reading and writing
-- Camera is centrally positioned for intuitive reading
-- Document and distance view capture - store, enlarge and review images
-- Integrated memory for storing up to 100 images
-- Rechargeable battery offering:
Live View: up to 2.5 hours of continuous use
Playback View: up to 4 hours of continuous use
-- USB & VGA connections
-- Weighs only 0.64 pounds.
-- Measures 6.3" x 3.2" x 1.3".'
--- My Use of it ---
I have been using it for 3 years now and I have to say how much it has helped me. From the specifications it doesn't really sound like much, but it is so much more advanced than you'd think! One test I did with it as soon as it arrived was see how good it was at viewing distance as this is something that not many gadgets out there are good at; I stood a book up with a page open against my bedroom wall, walked to the other side of the room (about 6 meters) and took a picture of the book using the FarView. The image was crystal clear, you could zoom in on it and read the entire page with ease, considering I am someone that struggles to read it from 10cm away, reading it from the other side of the room was magnificent!
In the 3 years I have used it a lot at university, sitting at the back of a lecture and having this in my hands showing a live feed of what is happening on the whiteboard at the front, something that even the people I'm sitting next to with good eyesight are struggling to see. And then to top it off the fact that it's also a camera means you don't have to write down as many notes, just take a picture of it and store it for later revision,
The FarView has 2 dials on it to change the brightness and contrast but I haven't really had a need for this, but if you're reading something where the colours are clashing such as black writing on a red background, then it can change it to something clearer such as white on black such that it is more readable even for those without sight problems.
The battery lasts a good amount of time when you are using it regularly; it will easily last me a days use however if I don't use it for a few days then it will lose its charge on its own meaning you'll still need to charge it regularly even when not using it.
The screen is a great size and easy to see under all conditions. I haven't really had a need to connect it to an external display. I have copied the pictures across to my computer a few times; unfortunately it doesn't work the other way around, you can't copy things to it nor can you delete the photos already on it using the computer, you can only manage what you have on it via the menu.
In the 3 years I have used it a lot in all environments, including the science lab where it has helped me see the colours of resistors and electrical component values and it hasn't got any visible marks or scratches. The case protects it well although the corners are still vulnerable plus it isn't waterproof so I'd advice getting extra protection for it.
--- Cost ---
...now this is the part that everyone stops reading; I got this through Student Finance as part of the disabled thing, so luckily I didn't have to pay. If you did want to buy yourself one though, it would set you back... £1500... but honestly, it's worth it! I think you can get it a bit cheaper now, but it's still over £1000.
Saying the price, does that really matter? Can you really put a price on someones ability to see? It has helped me so much at university and everyday life, being able to read the newspaper, seeing the food menus above the counter in Mcdonalds etc etc. Yes it is a lot of money but it is well worth it.
--- Overall ---
I think I've said everything you need to know. It is a great aid for the visually impaired and elderly, along with being a fantastic camera. It is expensive but definitely worth what you pay.
For more information see the Optelec website, which also has videos linked to it showing what it can actually do.
(Please note, I have also published this review on Ciao under the same username).
This review is for a water pistol in the shape of a willy... it came into my hands on a night out and I held onto it just for a laugh, although I was surprised how good it is as a water pistol, as well as being a novelty item.
--- Water Pistol ---
As a water pistol, it is not too bad. The water is stored in the balls, and the water comes out of, well you know. There is a small plastic lever in the usual place (usual place for a water pistol / gun... as far as I know penis' don't usually have a lever coming out of them to control them) which is a bit flimsy but has survived being thrown around so I guess stronger than it looks.
As for capacity, it can hold a fair amount, but depending on how much you use it you'll probably be filling it up every few minutes as it can spray quite a lot in each go. Leading onto the spray, it is quite accurate, can go a considerable distance (around 10 meters) and gave out quite a lot of water in each spray.
--- Shape / Design ---
Well, as the title implies, it is a penis. It is reasonably detailed with all the usual features, much better than the cheap ones you can buy. It's easy to hold... being a guy it feels so wrong saying these things, I think I'm going to cut this short and skip to the conclusion!
--- Overall ---
As a water pistol it is good quality and does what you'd expect for a compact water pistol. One thing to note is that the hole which you fill it up from is quite small (well I guess normal for such a small water pistol) but also the cap which stops the water coming out also got lost quite early on. Although this wasn't really a problem and water didn't really come out as the hole is close to the top anyway, it was still a bit annoying and could do with something to stop you from losing the cap when refilling it.
--- Extra ---
Just as some extra fun, if like many people you don't want to keep it at the end of a night, pour a bit of mayo into it, then spray it slightly and leave it on the table in the club (assuming you have bought it for a night out and not for a kids birthday party!) to give the cleaners something to laugh at!
I had one of these when I was younger. It is one of those toys that is unique, something you don't see much of nowadays so it's well worth having in your children's (or even adults) collection.
--- What is it? ---
In short, it is a plastic tunnel with a handle on it with elastic and a plastic sheet inside it. Doesn't sound like much, but believe it or not that can provide hours of fun!
Holding the handle on the outside with one hand, you pull back the plastic sheet (which has a small handle to make it easier) with the other hand. Once you've pulled it back as far as you can, The plastic sheet is attached to the elastic, such that when you let go of the plastic sheet it will spring back, pushing a column of air through the tube, traveling about 10 meters past where you are standing.
--- Why is it fun? ---
It is effectively a gun that shoots air instead of bullets, how is it not fun! You can use it to shock people with; creep up on them and blast them with a shot of air, or even use it to knock over plastic cups or other targets.
--- Is it harmful? ---
Not at all. Getting hit by the air doesn't hurt at all, it's just a bit of air hitting you. There are no moving parts for you to get fingers trapped in - the elastic isn't powerful enough to hurt if you put your fingers in the way. There are no small parts to fall off that could be swallowed (apart from maybe the sight at the top but that shouldn't be a problem).
-- Cheap - under £10 in many places, or second hand can be as low as £1!
-- Fun for many ages.
-- Simple - nothing to go wrong on it / doesn't need batteries.
-- Well made - made of hard plastic so can be thrown around and won't break.
-- Light weight - even a little kid should be able to use it.
-- The elastic has worn on mine and is not very powerful anymore.
-- Not very accurate even with using the sight.
-- Takes up a lot of space / doesn't fold down etc.
--- Overall ---
A toy that I was very happy with as a kid and I used it well into my teens. If the elastic was still as springy today as it used to be then I would probably still be using it! Would make a good gift for most people but especially aimed at aged 8 to 14 I would say.
(Please note, I have also published this review on Ciao under the same username).
I first discovered Vision Express last year; Before I was a customer of theirs I had a pair of glasses that were bent and slightly broken, I had recently moved town (to university) and the new town didn't have the place I used to go to. Knowing that I needed to get my glasses fixed, I decided to take a chance and ask in Vision Express, assuming that they were going to either charge me loads to fix them or say that I need to buy a pair of their glasses, but no, I was wrong! They took my glasses off of me, took them out back, straightened the frame and even added a new part to them, gave them back to me in perfect condition (even cleaned!) and then refused to take any money from me even though I had my wallet out ready. I decided that I would return the favour and have since became a customer of Vision Express.
--- Price ---
Price of service and repairs... read above! Not many places offer such service without asking for money.
Price of glasses... extremely reasonable. Places with such good service usually make up for it by charging more for their products, but this doesn't apply in this case. The glasses I choose were £99 if I remember right, but on top of that I got another pair (doesn't have to be the same make/model) free! So, that's 2 pairs of glasses, an eye test, and the service / fitting all for £99!
--- Quality ---
Quality of service... I think the first paragraph makes that clear: Perfect!
Quality of glasses... Considering I got quite cheap glasses, the quality is good. On one pair the frame does keep going lose and needing to be tightened up, yet not really a problem. The other pair is still going strong after a year of use. I could imagine like anything the more you pay the better the quality will be, but the cheap ones are still well worth what you pay and will last you through whatever you need them for.
--- Overall ---
I am so glad I went there the first day to get my glasses fixed, and them fixing them for free despite me not having purchased them there gained them my loyalty as a customer for life. (So take the tip all you other businesses out there; if you respect your customers, they will respect you in return!)
Quality of services: 10/10
Quality of glasses: 9/10
Would definitely recommend.
(Please note, I have also published this review on Ciao under the same username).
Another occasion where poundland saves the day! I bought this cough medicine in the pound shop (... for £1!) over a year ago when I had a slight cold. I had already taken tablets containing paracetamol however the cough linctus didn't contain any paracetamol meaning I could have it along with the other tablets, which was a big plus.
--- How to Use ---
The bottle contains a liquid.
Shake the bottle well before use. For children, use 5ml (1 tsp), or double the dose for adults (10ml or 2 tsp). All you do is swallow the spoonful(s) of it, pull the awkward 'yuck' face and hey presto!
--- Taste ---
Personally I don't like the taste, however it's not that bad, it's just not something I'd have if I didn't have to. It's sort of like Sambuca, but not, if you know what I mean...? Probably not... But you must have heard 'a spoon full of sugar makes the medicine go down' right? Well this is no exception, just add the cough linctus to a spoon of sugar and it tastes a lot better.
--- Effectiveness ---
It states on the bottle 'For relief of colds, sore throats, irritating and chesty coughs'.
I have had a really bad cough for a few days now and this cures it every time. When I say cures it, I mean it completely takes away the cough for around 3 hours.
I have also tried it when I had a sore throat; It wasn't as effective as it didn't remove the problem, yet it did make me feel slightly better.
--- Advantages vs Disadvantages ---
- The use by date is usually a few years, meaning you can store it in your cupboard until you need it.
- Easy / simple to take.
- Suitable for all ages.
- Contains plenty (200ml).
- The bottle gets really sticky.
- Doesn't taste great (my opinion).
--- Overall ---
Really cheap, lasts a long time and really helps your throat when you have a cough. Something that I will always have in my cupboard.
(Please note, I have also published this review on Ciao under the same username).