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mattyh79

mattyh79
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Member since: 04.02.2010

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      12.02.2010 14:07
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      One of the best views in New York

      My wife and I stayed at the Novotel, Times Square on our Honeymoon about four years ago. We had a room on the 32nd floor over looking Times Square and from the moment we walked into the room our jaws just droped. What a view! I suspect there aren't many better ones in New York. If you look on any photo of the hotel, we had the room that was two to the left of the V.

      I had sent an email ahead to the hotel to tell them that we were on our Honeymoon and they kindly upgraded us to the Times Square view and left a bottle of champagne and a congratulations card in our room. The room was spacious however the carpet wasn't the cleanest. The bathroom was nice though.

      The hotel which is on Broadway is conveniently located for Times Square (unsuprisingly) and central park. There is an underground station practically on the doorstep of the hotel which will take you anywhere in the city. The hotel lobby is situated on about the 7th Floor as there is office/restaurants occupying the floors below meaning that you had to get a lift to it which was unusual. The lobby itself was as you would expect from a Novotel, was clad with marble and the concierge was very helpful. There were several lifts to take guests to their floors so we didn't spend any time hanging about.

      They have a restaurant that overlooks Times Square but it was a little pricey so we didn't use it. Why would you want to when you have all the fantastic dellies on your doorstep?

      The room from what I recall were a little cheaper than others in the area and you can probably still hunt down a decent deal online.

      If the view from the room was amazing in the day it just was spectacular in the evening. With all the neon and screens of Times Square you could sit and look at it for ages. My wife and I were simply speechless. We were looking DOWN on ten story buildings lit up like Christmas trees for god sake!!

      This hotel, although not the most luxurious has a view to die for and I would recommend it to anyone wanting to go to New York. It is well placed for everything and you really will be amazed by that view!

      Did I mention that it had a good view!!!!!

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      • Scrubs / TV Programme / 8 Readings / 7 Ratings
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        12.02.2010 10:25
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        A show for everyone with timeless appeal

        In a nutshell Scrubs is a hospital(Sacred Heart) comedy about, and narrated by J.D. (Zach Braff) and his relationships with the other main characters of Doctor Cox (his mentor), Turk (his long time best friend), Elliot (his on/off girlfirend) and Carla (the nurse and Turks girlfriend/wife).

        J.D. is constantly disappearing 'into his head' where he takes a current situation and has a fantasy whilst day dreaming. The strong cast is integral to the plot and often episodes have sub-plots involving the so called second cast: The Janitor, a man who is consistently out to torment J.D., Bob Kelso (the hospitals Chief of Medicine), The Todd (another matcho but possibly gay surgeon) and Jordan Sullivan (Dr.Cox's disturbed wife).

        Scrubs is a timeless comedy as endless repeats on E4 suggest. Personally after season nine, I think that the show should be wound up and not be flogged to it's death. Scrubs has been so successful due to it's storylines and surely there is only so many stories you can tell before the characters start to become caricatures of themselves just as those in Friends did.

        However, it has got to be said that this show is brilliant. If you've never watched it please go out and get the DVD's. You wont be disappointed!

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          12.02.2010 09:55
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          A must for any pro tools editor.

          This keyboard is a necessity for any pro tools user. Forget the overlays or stickers for standard keyboards and use a dedicated colour coded Pro Tools keyboard.

          The colour coded keys come with a picture on the top of the key which relates to the function on screen and copy precisely the button that you would click with the mouse. On the underside of each key is a description of what the key does i.e. zoom toggle, zoom out, nudge frame forward and back etc. Finally the usual qwerty keyboard layout is written on the key to make standard typing possible.

          All usual keyboard function are present and the colour coding/ labelling does not in any way distract from the function of the keys. Pro tools editors should be familiar with all the functions and it takes very little time to establish what short cuts do what. There are several hidden key strokes that can be accessed by using the command button and these can be found in pro-tools itself.

          Design wise, the keyboard is a little ugly but I suspect future incarnations will improve upon this. This is a must buy for any pro tools editor as it makes using the program so much easier and quicker.

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          09.02.2010 13:48
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          A nice hotel with room for improvement

          A party of nine of us returned from the Rose Hall Resort two on the 16th after two weeks here.

          On reaching the hotel we stood inline for an hour waiting to be checked in. The major problem is that the check in process is long and drawn out. The room keys all had to be assigned and it seemed like they had absolutely none of your details. Be aware that they ask you for a deposit of $100 to cover any 'expenses' We objected to this heavily as you don't want to be handing over $100 of your holiday money. Fortunately, I had a credit card with me and was forced to put each room on my card.

          The rooms themselves were clean and well appointed after a substantial recent makeover. Our room which had a balcony and patio doors was fantastic and the view over looking the pool and the sea was stunning

          As for the resort itself the grounds were immaculately kept and the pool complex is good fun. The lazy river and the slides are good but that is all there is. It's not Wet 'N Wild. All the kids loved it though. The staff were on the whole very friendly but it was so slow to get drinks from any of the bars or even get coffee at breakfast. The Luna da Mere was the exception though. The waiting on staff were amazing, especially Captain Mark who had a laugh exactly like Eddie Murphy! They made you feel welcome and the food in there was good.

          The food at the buffet was one of the highlights of the holiday as there were so many different things to try and the deserts were to dye for. I'm glad we were all inclusive as the evening buffet averaged around $25 per head.

          The resort itself is on a long section of coast line occupied solely by hotels and golf courses. It is however, only about 30 minutes from Montego Bay and the Airport. We only saw one plane going over the whole time we were there.

          We decided to go on the Dunn's River Falls/Ocho Rios Botannical Gardens and Bamboo Rafting trip. This is a must do visit. We did not manage many other trips due to the sheer expense of them. They really do you for every penny. Also the roads in Jamaica are not good at all and traveling any kind of distance can make you feel quite ill. Don't be under any illusions, Jamaica is a third world company and the gap between the rich and the poor is huge. This can be quite overwhelming so get ready to be pestered for money on trips out.

          The beach at the hotel was fantastic and the waters are a gorgeous bluey-green colour. The free watersports(non motorised) were great and the various bands that played around the resort were superb. The views from the hotel are spectacular. If you are looking for the best view, try to get a room overlooking the golf course and sea in the West block.

          I would recommend this hotel for families with children because I feel that they would enjoy the resort more.

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          09.02.2010 13:07
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          A superb hotel for a trip to the NEC

          As I cannot find a review for premier inn at the NEC and as I booked through their website I thought I would post my review here. If any moderators have the ability to set up a review area for the NEC Premier Inn I am quite happy for them to move this review.

          My wife and I have just returned from a stay at the Premier Inn, NEC. We were down for the Baby Show and we decided to have one night over in a hotel.

          The hotel is about a 5 minute drive from the NEC but not walking distance. When we arrived, check in was quick and efficient and we were in our third floor room in minutes. And what a room it was! This type of room should be the standard that all 3 star hotels are achieving.

          The bedroom was large with a huge bed that sported a purple runner in line with the purple theme of the hotel. This was a nice touch and immediately took the eye. The room had a large wooden desk with a flat screen tv, fan, hairdryer and ample wardrobe space. There was a single arm chair in addition to the wooden chair in front of the desk.

          The bathroom was very clean and a large mirror and marble sink gave it a luxurious quality. The power shower was exactly that. I have to admit it give me a bit of a shock when I turned it on the following morning!

          As for the rest of the hotel. It seemed very clean and staff were always eager to help. We asked for two extra pillows and they arrived within minutes.

          We decided to eat in the hotel restaurant for our evening meal. The food was ok but not great. You're paying about £7 for a main course and £4 for a starter. The service was a little slow as well. But I really am nit picking.

          After an excellent night's sleep we headed down for our full English Breakfast. I have to say we were a little disappointed by the breakfast buffet but I think we just arrived between fresh lots of bacon, sausges etc. Even so, the extra £7.50 each for the breakfast seemed a little steep.

          All in all, this was a fantastic hotel and I would highly recommend anyone who's going to an event or a concert at the NEC to stay here.

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            09.02.2010 12:59
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            Hotel to go back to time and time again

            My wife and I have just returned from the Clontarf castle and all I can say is superb!! The reception staff and concierge were all very polite and helpful. The room was spotlessly clean and very well appointed.

            The room had a huge bed with a backlit panel which gave a soft red glow to the room. The blackout Velux remote controlled blinds were a nice touch too! Although the room was possibly smaller than some of the other rooms in the hotel (due to it having a sloping roof at one side) it was absolutely perfect. On the last night we upgraded to a Junior Suite with a four poster which equally as nice but maybe not worth the extra 110 euros that we spent.

            The reception area and all of the restuarants and bars retained all the original features of the castle whilst the recent addition of a glass entrance to the hotel added a little modern luxury.

            We only ate at the Knights Bar and although maybe a little expensive, the food was very tasty.

            The hotel does have other large venue rooms which hosted weddings on the Friday and Saturday. On the Saturday we heard a little noise from the disco but it was nothing to bother about. I suppose it may depend on where in the hotel you are though.

            If you can manage to get a package with breakfast then do it! On Saturday and Sunday the breakfast was served buffet style with the exception of tea/coffee and toast presumably to accommodate all the wedding guests. On Monday and Tuesday you ordered from the menu. They had just about every type of breaksfast that you could want including continental style. Oh, the scrambled eggs are delicious!

            The hotel is well placed to be close enough to Dublin to just hop on a train and far enough away to explore the coast line going towards Howth. My wife and I hired a car and for the one day we spent in Dublin we drove to Clontarf D.A.R.T station which is about a mile away, parked the car for free and payed 2. 50 each for return to Dublin city centre. If you've not got a car I guess the station may be a little harder to reach and is not really in walking distance.

            To sum up, I could not fault this hotel. It is just as nice if not better looking than the official web photos. The staff are always willing to help, the food is great, the rooms have real character and is a must stay at if you are visiting Dublin!!

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          • HTC Hero / Smartphone / 9 Readings / 7 Ratings
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            08.02.2010 18:47
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            Android phones have only just started

            First things first. Will this phone end the iPhones dominance in the smartphone market - no. Will it be the template for all phones that will beat the iPhone - definitely. Android, the operating system at the heart of the hero is superb. It does everything the iPhone will do, only better. This phone isn't the iPhone killer but when Android is transplanted into the upcoming Sony Xperia X10 and the Google Nexus, the iPhone will have some catching up to do.

            The Hero excels in many areas and fails in quite a few. Before I bang on about the good. let's consider the bad. The camera is absolutely shocking. Allegedly it's five megapixel but I've seen better photo and especially video from a VGA camera. Don't buy this phone for it's camera because you will be disappointed. The colour scheme of the phone is alright if you've got the phone pictured above however, if you happen to get the submarine grey one, once again you will be really disappointed. Saying that, I've seen a lot worse designed phones. The scroll wheel down near the bottom of the handset is a bit cheap and the shape of the phone, although comfortable to make calls on, is difficult to fit into your pocket. This is not down to the size of the phone, only the shape.

            Those aside, now the good! The beautiful touchscreen doesn't mark to easily and responds well to changes in ambient light. The OS allows you to scroll very smoothly between customizable 'home' screens and various widgets allow you to link to certain features or apps. Contacts view allows you scroll up or down just as smoothly as the iPhone and text input comes courteous of a querty or standard mobile input layout.

            With a couple of Android updates, and a phone with a decent camera this could be the revolution that iPhone haters have been waiting for. Myself, I love the iPhone but I think 2010 is going to be major catch up time from all Android based phones.

            The HTC Hero is not the best phone in the world however the OS could be.

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          • Samsung LE-40M87BD / LCD TV / 2 Readings / 1 Rating
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            08.02.2010 13:35

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            A great TV for both SD and HD signals.

            My Samsung LE-40M87BD is about 3 years old now and by today's standard's with only a 15000:1 contrast ratio and dodgy remote is perhaps a little behind feature wise. But, I love it!

            This was my first and so far only Sammy. The design is stunning with a Silver bar across the bottom and a beautiful glossy black surround. The TV simply is a piece of art and Samsung have carried this template through to their most recent television sets.

            Out of the box the settings are a bit dodgy but a bit of research and some minor fiddling sorts that out. Tips: don't even touch the Noise Reduction or the movie plus because it makes the picture look like everything's been filmed on a home camcorder and because we are naturally used to motion blur it just feels wrong.

            The TV will handle 24fps for blu-ray and with a modest refresh rate of 100hz handle Sky standard def well. Blacks are deep and the colour rarely looks 'washed out' The TV however comes into it's own with high def from a blu ray PS3. I was blown away with the clarity and depth of picture when I bought the set and still feel the same today.

            The remote and sound quality are a bit dodgy but most audiophiles listen to their audio for movies through an amp. The set connectivity is good with 3 hdmi's(one on the side for quick camcorder hook ups), 2 scarts and an phono and optical out.

            Freeview which is integrated into the tele is as good quality as standard def sky and the menu system whilst not being as intuitive as sky holds its own and gives you a pic of you current program whilst picking what next to watch.

            I feel one of the best feature is the picture-in-picture feature which puts a small picture of an av feed into the bottom corner of your current av. I tend to play on my playstation and have the sky feed on the pic-in-pic and take my sky audio straight into my amp.

            All in all, I love this television and would recommend any Sammy above any other make and model.

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          • Sky Plus (Sky+) / TV Channel / 7 Readings / 7 Ratings
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            07.02.2010 12:49
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            A must have for your front room

            Change the way you watch tv for ever. This is what Sky preach and they really couldn't have hit the nail on the head any better. Without wanting to sound like some kind of sky customer service rep, the sky plus box is revolutionary. It has set the template for all PVR's since it's release serveral years ago.

            Yes, the boxes are a bit ugly and yes they take up quite a bit of space under your telly but consider that it has replaced both the video and dvd recorder. The sky guide or EPG is a page by page guide and if you are used to scrolling up and down any freeview/pvr guide then this will be straight forward. To record a program takes 2 button presses. One to access the TV guide and a press of the record button to set it ready to record. From this point the program is set to record. It is really is that easy. This takes you into your 'planner' which shows all programs you have set to record. From this screen you can select any pre-recorded programs and play them back or series link to record all episodes, great if you have a program like corrie that occurs multiple times a week.

            Live pause let's you do exactly that. You can pause and rewind live tv just in case you need to answer the door or make a brew in the middle of your favourite program. This is possibly the best feature of sky plus amongst many.

            The downside is that you have to take a minimum sky tv subscription but believe me, it's worth it.

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          • graze.com / Internet Site / 10 Readings / 10 Ratings
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            05.02.2010 13:01
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            A great idea and the first pack is free!

            This has to be one of the best ideas of 2009/2010. Graze gives you a selection of nuts/fruits/seeds delivered straight to you work (or desk as they say) for £2.99 a box.

            You order online by registering with the site and if you are lucky enough to know someone who has had a pack from them you can get a discount code which entitles you to one free pack and a half price pack. The only downside is that you have to enter your card details and specify a date each week you want a pack delivered. You can cancel this after you've ordered your free pack though.

            Online you are given a wide selection of the fruit/nuts/seeds and indicate to them whether you dislike, will try, like or love a certain item so that they can tailor a pack to your taste. All you have to do then is specify day or days you want the pack delivered and away you go.

            The packs are posted free of charge and are in recycled cardboard which is a nice touch. The food is separated into three sealed sections and is fresh and tasty. In my free pack I received two large pineapple pieces, some roasted pistachios and some dried morello cheries.

            The fact that they don't use any artificial colours, flavours etc is great and I think this is an absolutely superb idea!

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            • Samsung HT-AS1T / Speaker / 2 Readings / 2 Ratings
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              05.02.2010 12:37
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              Good system for the money but not Samsung's best effort

              I have owned the HT-AS1T for a couple of years now and for a budget system it doesn't do too bad. The speakers are a little plasticy and the sub is quite big but the sound it pumps out is clear with good definition at either end of the range.

              As there is no disc player integrated into the system it relies on a feed straight from your PS3/TV/DVD player. I have found that the optical feed from my PS3 and Sky box is of very high quality when played through the system. However, the system only has one optical in which is a pain for anyone like me who needs multiple optical ins from PS3/Sky/Freeview. The only way round this is too buy a spliter. Go to maplin and buy their £40 powered splitter as you three feeds from one.

              The surround sound is clear and thankfully the system isn't that fussy over room dimensions. All speaker can be calibrated from the remote anyway. As for the remote, it is a bit rubbery but this is a budget system. There is very little read out on the display which is integrated into the amp but it is just enough to tell you what signal it is receiving. Not a bad system for the price.

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              05.02.2010 11:48
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              A much improved service and one of the best around

              I switch to Sky broadband shortly after it was released about 2 years ago and the service was shocking! Speeds were in kbps and wireless connectivity was poor at best. However, within the last 6 month Sky as come on leaps and bounds.

              As long as you are in an area where your exchange is not to far away and is ADSL Max (look on Samknows.com to find out) enabled the service can range from 2-20Mbps. On the free base pack which you get with a basic Sky TV subscription you can get upto 2mb. I pay an extra £5 per month for the upto 10Mbps service of which I get about 8 because of my distance to the exchange. You can pay £10 for the up to 20Mbps pack but I doubt that most people apart from the people that stream a lot of TV will need it.

              The only downside to the broadband service is that the usage is capped. My pack is capped at 10gig per month and they can charge if you go above this amount regularly so just be aware.

              The wireless router was easy to install (attach it to your main telephone socket if possible) and I have connected my PS3, MacBook, N95 and Satio upto the wireless network with no problem.

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            • Genelec 7260A Active DSP / Speaker / 6 Readings / 6 Ratings
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              05.02.2010 11:17

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              A good pro studio speak

              This is essentially a sub-woofer that can be integrated with a 5-7.1 set up. It is of studio grade and because of it's size it is not suitable for home use(unless you have a very large house).

              Connectivity is good with both jack and xlr connections available and sonically it provides a good bass and an adequate LFE track. Integrated into a 5.1 setup it provides good balance but placement within the studio, like all speakers is absolutely crucial. There are many guides online that tell you acoustically where to place the sub but I have found that placing it off to the left of the left speaker seems to produce the best sound.

              Genelec are a trusted maker of pro speakers and if you purchase this, despite the hefty price tag, will integrate perfectly in to a pro studio environment. The speaker is not for home use so look at cheaper products if this is what you require

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              05.02.2010 09:44
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              A good adition to any PES fan's collection

              PES 2010 takes a step forward rather than a leap. The game is more smooth graphically than 2009 and the game play is a bit more tricky which is what you would expect of sequel.

              I personally play the master league as this allows you to start with a good side and if you pick the higher end teams - Man Utd, Chelsea etc you get a sizable transfer budget. I have found, annoyingly, that Master League does not let you purchase any of the top players in your first full season unless you spend ridiculous amounts of money. This has a knock on effect because if you spend too much you wont be able to pay your players and the game effectively is over.

              As for other types of gameplay you can play individual tournaments/cups or play as single player who is working his way up through the leagues. I got really bored easily playing in this mode as unsurprisingly you can only play with one individual in any game and I found myself chasing the ball around the pitch as I tried to get a touch.

              It is also possible to play online and in a coaching capacity but who would want to coach in PES? Just buy a championship management game if you want to do that. As for the online play, I believe that it is a bit quicker than the previous version but I have played it very little so cannot comment further.

              Overall the game is an improvement on the last version and as long as you give the game time in order to step up to the different speed of play and menu layouts it is worth buying.

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              • Sony Ericsson Satio / Smartphone / 8 Readings / 6 Ratings
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                04.02.2010 22:32
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                A great phone with very few issues if you give it time.

                Having got the SE Satio just after Christmas, I've had a couple of weeks to get to grips with the phone features..

                The Satio has a superb 12.1 megapixel camera from which the photos are sharp and colour's vivid. The phone is able to switch between various mega pixel sizes. Inconveniently, you cannot take photos in widescreen using the 12.1mp setting and have to change it to 9mp instead. The phone has a Xenon flash like a standard still digital camera which means night shots are much better quality then usual cameraphones. The video on the camera is 640 x 480 which isn't as good as the HD footage from the Samsung i8910 but is on a par with the Nokia N series.

                Sony have taken the Symbian OS that had been traditionally used on Nokia's and integrated it with a bit of Sony polish. The media section of the phone resembles the XMB of the Playstation 3 making all media easy to navigate.

                The Satio uses Micro SD card not Sony Memory Stick but you wont have to invest in a new card unless the included 8gb card isn't big enough for your media demands.

                Connectivity features the usual Smartphone Bluetooth/Wi-fi/GPS/GPRS/HSDPA. However, for headphones there is no 3.5mm jack and you have to use the sony headphones that come with the phone. I'm sure that you can buy adapters but it would have been nice to not have to. Once again the USB connection requires you to use the special Sony port that SE users have become accustomed to. The good thing is that all cables except car charger come with the phone.

                As for the 3.5 inch touchscreen, it has a few issues. The screen unresponsive to average thumb pressure and you find yourself having to press firmly or multiple times. However, if you use the included stylus it is a lot easier to make selections and navigate around the phone. The only place to really store the stylus is to attach it to the hook on the bottom of the phone. It's not really that convenient but you can cope with it. It would have been much better if the stylus had slid into the phone itself as many other smartphones do.

                As a summary the Satio is a superb camera phone with a great feature spec and although the capacitive touchscreen can be a little unresponsive this is only a tiny fault of an otherwise fantastic phone.

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