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*** Introduction ***
With the fast growth in the combination of mobile phones and built in camera's, you may need to consider a printing solution. You can usually transfer your pictures from your phone or other mobile device onto your PC and then use your printer to reproduce your images or you might want to consider a standalone option that will work much quicker and may suit people that want instant professional results without having to contend with the computer element.
*** The Epson Photo-Mate ***
This product is an ultra small desktop printer that is portable and will work independently of your PC it will allow you to print from not only you mobile phone but any device(via USB or Bluetooth) and also read from memory cards as well. The printer will only produce prints at 6 x 4 sizes (15 cm x 10cm) but its speed and ease of use make this an ideal choice for people who want a fast solution to reproducing prints from their mobile device.
*** The specifications ***
Inkjet Printer- This product uses Epson's patented Micro PiezoTM
Droplet technology to give excellent 6 color photo realistic prints at 6 x 4 print size (you will find that 6 x 4 tends to be the most popular size format for photographs)
Display- The unit has a 2.4 inch color LCD display for giving you access to the menu's and printing options and has a resolution of 320 x 240 pixels(I have found the display shows the images very well and the menu's are very easy to use and navigate)
Print quality- Up to 5760 x 1440dpi on suitable media (this is ample quality for this size of print and the detail is excellent even to the most critical eye)
Memory card integrated slots-Compact Flash (I&II), xD-Picture Card, SmartMedia, SD Memory Card, MultiMediaCard, Magic Gate Memory Stick, Memory Stick, Memory Stick PRO, IBM Microdrive, Memory Stick Duo, Memory Stick Pro Duo and MagicGate Memory Stick Duo (this will allow you to print direct from the above media cards, you can also use mini SD but you will need to use the adapter supplied with this card)
Bluetooth adapter-The mobile phone version comes supplied with a Bluetooth adapter (or dongle as some people call them) which plugs into the USB 2.0 slot on the front right-hand side of the device. This adapter will allow you to transfer images from any Bluetooth enabled device and is very easy to set up and use once you have detected and paired each of the devices which takes less than a minute to do.
PC connection-the device has a USB 2.0 interface that will allow you to connect the device to your pc should you wish to print your images from you hard-drive (I find using the printer in standalone mode without connecting to my PC much more convenient especially when printing direct from my mobile phone)
Direct printing-this device will allow you to print from any device via USB and will also work with any devices that are Pict-Bridge compatible (these will have a logo if they are Pict-Bridge compatible)
Consumables-The Picture-mate uses a Epson Picture Pack (T5570, includes Epson Picture Mate Photo Cartridge and Epson Picture Mate Photo Paper)these retail from around 16 pounds and contain enough ink and paper to produce about 100 prints(if you shop around you can get yourself big savings on these picture packs)
Power-Epson Picture Mate Lithium Ion Rechargeable Battery
This is what makes this device a great compliment to your mobile phone because it is also portable so you can take it anywhere. The battery only takes a few hours to charge and I have never reached a point yet when I have totally exhausted the battery.
Size-this product is truly small and compact and very light indeed even when the rechargeable battery pack is fitted, with dimensions of only 256(W) x 305(D) x 167(H) mm when operational and weighing just under 3kg you will have no problem finding a place to store this.
*** Ease of use ***
I found this product extremely easy to use and didn't even need to use the instructions at any point. The feature I have used the most is the Bluetooth adapter and I found this very simple to setup with my mobile phone and transferring images is also quick and simple. The instructions if you do need to use them are simple and easy to follow and give you all the information you will need to setup and use the device
*** The Prints ***
The prints are of high quality rivaling those that you would get from any high street retailer. It takes just over a minute to produce a single 6 x 4 print and the device is good at reproducing prints from your mobile phone (please note that print quality from your mobile phone will depend greatly on how good your camera feature is).The device will also allow you to do some basic editing of your prints like zoom and crop and converting to black and white or sepia (this is the old fashioned style of prints)
*** Running costs ***
The only disadvantage to this device is that you have to use the Epson photo-mate printer packs which contain both the ink and enough paper to produce 100 prints. These can be purchased from between 14- 20 pounds so it pays to look around for the best deals.
*** Summary ***
A very easy to use solution to printing from your mobile device or digital media, quick hassle free use and a very compact size make this an excellent choice as a second printer or where space is a premium. The Bluetooth adapter and being able to use this unit cordless make this a very flexible choice. Most importantly the print quality is excellent and Epson state that the prints should last over 100 years
*** Resources on the Net ***
With technology moving at a staggering rate making an informed decision on what is the best product is becoming more and more difficult with so many different products to choose from.The mobile phone market is no exception with an amazing choice of products to suit just about every type of consumer,with large choice it can sometimes be difficult to choose the right products which will have the most useful feature to suit.Hopefully my review will help you to make the correct decision for this type of product.
The imate kjam-
The imate falls into the category of pda with mobile phone function and is based around the windows mobile operating system.It is a similar sized to a PDA and slightly larger than a standard mobile phone so you will need to take this into account when considering this product.The main feature of the imate is the qwerty keyboard that is included tucked away neatly under a sliding mechanism that helps to make this product as compact as possible but at the same time making it versatile and easy to use.
Network -GSM 850 / GSM 900 / GSM 1800 / GSM 1900
Size - 108mm x 58 mm x 24 mm
Weight -160 g
Display -TFT touchscreen, 65K colors
interface-Built-in full QWERTY keyboard
Ringtones-Polyphonic , MP3
Card slot -miniSD
memory - 64MB SDRAM
128 MB ROM
processor- Texas Instruments OMAP 850, 200 Mhz processor
Data -GPRS 32 - 48 kbps
WLAN Wi-Fi 802.11b/g
USB , miniUSB
OS- Microsoft Windows Mobile 5.0 PocketPC
Messaging- SMS, MMS, Email, Instant Messaging
Camera 1.3 MP, 1280x960 pixels, video, flash
Java MIDP 2.0
- Video/audio album
Battery -Standard battery, Li-Po 1250 mAh
Stand-by Up to 200 h
Talk time Up to 5 h
You can use the imate both via the touch screen using the provided plastic pointing device that fits neatly into the side of the product or by my preferred method using the qwerty keyboard which makes the imate so much easier and convenient to use especially for messaging and browsing the internet.the keys are well designed and spaced to allow easy operation even for the most chubby of fingers,when pressed they give a nice little click.The keyboard is what makes the best selling point of this product and i hardly ever use the the touch screen as this can make using the imate a bit slow and cumbersome. 10/10
The windows mobile operating syatem is well laid out and easy to use and navigate and is very similar to the system used on full size pc's and laptops.it is also very stable and i have yet to have any problems with it freezing or crashing basic programmes are include like internet browser and windows media player along with pocket word and power point and you can download thousands of other items of software for the pocket pc which help make the imate highly customisable. 9/10
With all the standard features like bluetooth,infared and wi-fi you will have no problem connecting and transferring information to and from the imate all of the above features are very easy to set up and use but it is worth noting that they are all a drain on battery power so dont forget to turn off when not in use.You also have the ability to connect to your pc with the supplied usb cable and can synchronise your contacts and email very easily using microsoft activesync a very nifty little feature and one that i use alot when i am out and about.The wi-fi feature is also very easy to use both at home and at many of the wi'fi hotspots that are available making checking of email and browsing the internet a fast and useful feature if you need mobility in your life. 9/10
Once again a very easy feature to use with the ability to store virtually an unlimited amount of contacts to your phone book,call quality is excellent and the built in speakerphone works quite well but it should be noted that you will pick up alot of background sound when used in noisy environments and once again prolonged use can be a drain on battery power.I find it easy to use the touch screen when dialing numbers but better to use the keyboard when sending text messages.Overall a great experience when using the phone features and texting. 9/10
This is an adequate feature but will not give the highest quality pictures that you will find from a stand-alone camera.with the large TFT screen using this feature is easy and you can vary light setting to help get the best results,but you will be able to tell these are pictures from a phone but still a nice feature to have. 7/10
THe imate takes the mini sd card format and you can use cards which can have up to 4gb of memory which will allow you to save a massive amount of pictures and music to your device.The imate doesnt come with a memory card so you will definently need to purchase one to maximise the features of this product. 9/10
Considering the number of features that this product has battery performance is excellent as long as you remember to turn them off when not in use.you can charge the imate both from the supplied adapter and from the usb cable which is also used to connect to your pc. 9/10
You can also use the imate as a MP3 player and with the right memory card you can store a large amount of music to your device.the imate comes supplied with headphones which will also allow to take calls whilst listenoing to your music collection.Also with the flexibily of being able to ad other software i have tomtom gps running on my imate but i have had to purchase a stand-alone gps reciever as this model does not include a built in gps reciever.This is however a handy extra and makes this a very versatile product.It should also be noted that when you purchase the imate it will work with any mobile network as the product is not sim locked so you will have no problem switching between the different mobile providers.
This is probably the only let down of the imate in that the built quality feels poor and very cheap especially when compared to the orange spv range,but this product is lower in price so you will have to decide what is most important. 6/10
This is a fantastic versatile product that is easy to use and customise has plenty of features and performs very well both as a pda and a mobile phone.build quality is not fantastic but the performance more than makes up for its only weak area.On the whole a great product and worth considering. 8/10
i hope this review has been of help if you need more help you can visit www.imate.com for more information.
also listed on cia under the same user-name.
~~~ Introduction ~~~
Just like the digital camera market,the choice in the camcorder market can be just as bewildering.A large percentage of consumers will buy a product based on price(the lower the better)and on first apperance without actually thinking about what features they may need,which in the end will result in the product hardly being used and ending up gathering dust in the bottom of a wardrobe.
The JVC DX 307 is a mid ranged feature packed product which offers ease of use and a handy compact size that will deliver very professonal looking movies that you will treasure for years.The unit works well in allowing you to transfer your movies from camcorder to PC and comes with a good range of accessories.I will list the camcorders main features and how i found them when i used them and at the end of each section will give a score out of 10 to give you some guidance.
~~~ Features ~~~
1/4-inch 1.33 Megapixel CCD
This camera is a single CCD model which is what you would usually find at the mid priced range.Without getting to technical the CCD(Charged coupled device )is what allows all digital products to convert visual images into digital information.More expensive models will have maybe two CCD's which will give better image reproduction.I have found that the 307 handles and reproduces images and colours to a very high standard,it's biggest let down is that sometimes the colours on a bright sunny day look a little to good with greens and blues looking very bright and a bit false.This minor let down can be compensated for by changing and playing around with the camera's many features so it pays to learn the 307's advanced features.
F1.8 Aspherical Super Bright lens
The lens is of a high quality and works really well with the CCD in capturing great looking video.The unit is really fantastic at capturing footage in low light conditions and works well in most conditions you would encounter.
10x Optical Zoom
This is about standard for a mid range camcorder and is easy to control and use,The unit has two sets of buttons for controlling the zoom one situated above the viewfinder if you are not using the LCD display and a set on the control panel if you are using the LCD display.The zoom is smooth in action and performs well,i would however advise use of a tripod when using the higher settings 8x and above as camera shake can become an issue if you don't have a steady hand.
500x Digital Zoom
I don't find digital zoom very useful as the footage quality is quite poor,this is more of a feature used to sell the camera to consumers who don't fully understand the difference between digital and optical (as a tip ignore digital zoom figures and concentrate on the power of optical zoom)
3.0" High Resolution LCD Monitor
The LCD monitor is excellent when in use and displays very well even in very bright sunshine,due to it's light reflective quality.The size is just right in making the monitor an effective tool in capturing professonal looking footage.It is also very easy to clean and very resiliant when in use.
3-D Noise Reduction
This is not to be confused with an audio feature this is a feature which eliminates up to 30% of noise in low light situations.This automatic feature which allows the unit to produce great footage even in low light conditions
This is a built-in auto light using LED's that have a lower power consumptions than traditional bulbs.Once again this feature is excellent for use indoors and in low light conditions
MMC/ SD Card Slot (8M SD card provided)
Having a built in card slot allows you to capture footage to the DV tape or memory card allowing easy transfer of footage from camcorder to PC,With SD card prices very low it makes this a really handy feature.
Digital Stills capture with 4 selectable Image Size Settings (1600x1200/1280x960/1024x768/640x480 pixel)
This feature allows you to use the camcorder as a backup digital stills camera the image quality is ok but is not intended to replace dedicated digital camera.I found the image quality good when reproducing images at 6x4 size.
Great to use if you need to conserve battery power as it allows you to turn off the LCD display,the viewfinder is well positioned and comfortable to use
Full Function Remote Control
Handy for activating the unit if positioned on a tripod and for use at home when viewing back footage.Also comes supplied with a battery.
Digital Image Stabilizer
This feature is for reducing camera shake and works automatically allowing you to capture very steady looking footage.Very effective when you are zooming in close to subjects and virtually eliminating the need for a tripod(great for those of us who don't have a very steady hand
USB PC Link for Video CD Creation, Email Video Clips (MPEG-4 Streaming and MPEG-1 Video Capture)
Making transfering of footage to your PC very easy,will also allow you to use the unit as a webcam and email short clips to your friends and family.
PCM Digital Stereo Audio
The sound quality is very crisp and the built in mic is very good a capturing sound even at greater distances
Advanced features and effects
Manual focus, Exposure, and White Balance modes,Wide Mode
Digital Wipes and Black Fader.These are effects that can be used to make gaps between footage look more proffesional.They are easy to setup and use,the white balance modes work well when left on the automatic setting.
700 mAh Lithium-ion high capacity rechargeable battery with
built-in AC power adapter/charger
The rechargeable battery is very light and offers long usage times dependant on features and setting in use,it also takes less than an hour to fully charge.
S-Video Output and i.Link Digital Input/Output (IEEE 1394 compliant)also known as firewire DV in/out
These allow for easy connection to PC and TV for fast high quality transfer and viewing of footage and all leads are supplied with the exception of the firewire connection
The unit comes with av and audio connection leads,full instructions and driver CD which also includes easy to use software for footage transfer and editing.
Weight 1.0 LBS.
3.7 INCHES by 3.7 INCHES by 2.1INCHES
~~~ Summary ~~~
Ths is a feature packed easy to use product that works well on automatic mode but works best when time is taken to learn the more advanced features.Not the smallest of camcorders but just the right size for comfortable use and control and very light.Footage reproduction is excellent quality and ease of viewing and footage transfer make this a highly reccomended product.
overall score 9/10
Home haircutting what a good idea (and a hell of a way to shave some money sorry that should be save some money).With the price of getting a haircut climbing i mean getting charged £12 a go and having to get it done every month, it's an expense that i could do without.
I don't have the most complicated of styles as you can see from my profile picture, it's a sort of modern day short back and sides with some spiky bits on top. I also am not that concerned about getting it cut and styled at a designer outlet like Toni and guy and then paying four times the amount for the pleasure like I'm some kind of rich drooling moron(sorry if you like Toni and guy no offense intended)
So i decided because I'm so tight it would be a good idea to invest in a set of hair clippers and get the job done on the cheap (typical me).So off i went to my local boots store to see what they had on offer and boy i was quite surprised at the choice that was on offer and i was quite impressed at how low the price was on some of the models available.
Choosing the right product.
It would seem that the main difference between the different models was how they were powered; you had the choice of mains or mains and rechargeable and also whether you wanted a unit that was water washable. I opted for the mains rechargeable model and because i have scrooge tendencies decided not to get a water washable one as this feature didn't seem too important for a product i would only use once every four to six weeks.
Again as with all electric product the variety and choice was very good with makes like Philips, Remington and Wahl (i see these in the hairdressers all the time) available in several different models. After having a nosey inside the boxes i decided to go with the Phillips model as it was lighter than the Wahl and looked better made than the remington.it also has a unique 180 degree pivoting head that means it is designed to make self haircutting so easy and i also have a Philips shaver so i know they make reliable products that are made to last( a bit of brand loyalty creeping in there).So off i went to the till and paid the lovely assistant my £24(absolute bargain for a scrooge like me)
1-180 degree swivel head making it easy to cut your own hair and reach those awkward areas at the back
2-Comes with 2 combs. The small comb cuts hairs from 3-11 mm and the big comb from 13-21 mm.
3-Equipped with extra strong motor to give a better cut and longer life of the product
4-Self-sharpening stainless steel blades, meaning you will never need to oil them as they are self lubricating (isn't technology so great)
5-Each of the two combs have five adjustable length settings giving you a hair length setting of 0-21mm.This gives full control over what length you want and the selected length setting is displayed on the clipper
6-The rechargeable battery takes about 1-2 hours to fully charge and will hold a full charge for about 60 mins.Making this product ideal for use away from the plug socket (i cut mine in the bathroom so much easier to clean up afterwards)
7-A modern look and comfortable grip design make this product a must have if you are considering the home haircutting solution.
Setting up and use
As with all rechargeable products you will have to charge the unit before first use but because this is mains and rechargeable you can use it straight out of the box with it connected to the plug socket with the included mains adapter. On first operating i was quite surprised at how quiet this was and a bit worried that it didn't sound powerful enough to cut my thick hair(thats thick hair and not thick head).But after trying the front part of my head it had no problem in removing the excess hair length. After going over my head several times and slowly reducing the length settings i looked in the mirror to see the end results.
I was impressed with what i saw as it had cut my hair to an even length all over (apart from a few bits i missed but soon corrected) and it looked pretty good for something i had done myself. The shaping and trimming at the back was more difficult to do but with the use of two mirrors i got there in the end and with a pretty good end result. So job done in less than 40 mins and 10 minutes cleaning up time, i cleaned the blades with the supplied cleaning brush and packed my clippers back into the box ready for my next cut.
Overall an impressive product that performs well and is very simple to use. I would like to point out that cutting your own hair is quite difficult and even though this product makes it easier it is still a tricky task and i would recommend getting someone to do if for you (if they are brave enough).The rechargeable feature is excellent at giving you the flexibility to use the product anywhere and the attaching and adjusting of the combs is so easy with a simple clip and your off. I may choose the water washable feature on my next model as it would make cleaning the unit much quicker and easier but i can live without that for the moment.Thankyou for taking the time to read my review please leave feedback and any comments if you wish. Paul
Gordon Ramsey is well known for his no nonsense approach to cooking his sharp tongue and fiery attitude are reflected in his cooking and i have always wanted to try some of his recipes for a long time.This christmas i got my chance when i was presented with his book Gordon Ramsays sunday lunch and other recipes from the F-word and the free complimentary dvd.Please note i am a capable cook and am willing to try anything but my knowledge is limited and i dont always get things right first time xso please bear with me.
Presentation of the book
I was given the hard back version and on first opening you are presented with a clear and concise contents list dtailing all the different sub sections of the book like mediterranean flavours,winter casserole,roast lamb,quick and easy and summer entertaining but to name a few.For the purpose i will be reviewing in more detail the section i tried which is honey mustard pork chops from the keep it simple section,this seemed the most logical section to start from to allow me time to improve my cooking skills.
It is worth noting that on the page next to the contents page there is a section headed notes that gives important guidance on spoon measures which is priceless in helping you to maintain the right amounts of ingredients but i found that it is sometimes better to vary amounts to individual taste.Other guidance also includes egg sizes which unless stated are large and gordon also recommends the use of free range eggs which i fully agree with.Most importantly is the statement that all oven timings are for fan assisted ovens so if you dont use fan assisted dont forget to adjust your cooking times this can be critical in the end result and can easily ruin any dish if you dont know the temperature inside.I followed gordons advice and purchased an oven thermometre which i found to be an essential piece of kit..
Pictures and layout.
I found the layout of each of the recipes to be clear concise and very easy to follow,i particuly found it very useful to have guidance on number of serving you will get and in some of the more complicated recipes guidance on when to prepare different parts of the recipes sometimes a day or a few hours in advance and even minutes before you are ready to serve the food.Use of pictorial examples of the different recipes is excellent with the pictures being well detailed and giving you a guide as to what you are working to achieve and even helped me to know how to bestg present the food on the plate believe me i need all the help i can get.The book also contains pictures of gordon at work in the kitchen and i found these to be a nice little touch to the overall presentation without being overboard and ego satisfying.
The recipe i tried
As detailed above i tried the recipe for honey mustard pork chops which is for a main course only and would allow for 6-8 servings and was served with new potatoe salad.I started preparation the day before so i could buy the chops which consisted of 6 chops about 200g each in weight i mixed the honey mustard marinade added the pork chops and turned each chop to ensure the marinade covered them fully in a shallow bowl.C overed with cling film and left to marinade over night in the fridge this was a simple step which took me cbout 25-30 mins to complete and i had no problem obtaining all the ingredients from my local supermarket.The next day i decided to do the potatoe salad first and then cook the chops after as i didnt want to have to many things to do all at once,i used 1kg of baby new potatoes a large shallot and made the honey mustard dressingas detailed in the recipe once again a simple list of instructions to follow and a process that only took once again about 30 mins on completion of this stage i started to cook the chops in a griddle pan ensuring each side was fully cooked and turning regular whilst basting eash side with the marinade.On completion of this which took asbout 20mins i served the chops and potatoe salad with some fresh green beans which i lightly boiled for approximately 2 mins whilst cooking the chops.
The presentation of the food was excellent and made the food look very appetising and the smell was amazing.Everyone who ate the food fully finished everything and all comments were positive with the honey and mustard marinade taste just right to compliment the chops and potatoe salad.
The recipe was so easy to follow all the measurements were accurate and helped to enhance each dish and gave a proffesional looking meal that tasted fantastic.The recipes are well laid out and very easy to follow with plenty of gordons little hints and tips included to help you out.An excellent recipe book with lots of different dishes to choose from and easy for people of all cooking abilities to use.I cant wait to try something more challenging and i am completely hooked on working my way through all the included dishes.
I did quickly watch this but was more comfortable following the book as the dvd seemed a bit to quick for me,maybe when i have more experience i will give it a go.
I hope this is of help to you all and is my first book review(i usually review technology products)i would be grateful of comments both positive and negative as to how you found my review many thanks for reading Paul
Available from www.amazon.com for £6.80 not including delivery cost
This review is also listed on ciao under the same username.
Vtech are well known for their fantastic range of educational electronic games and i have been considering for sometime to get one of the games consoles for my son.Vsmile is the name of the range that they do and they have produces three main models which consist of the standard vsmile console which plugs into your standard TV,vsmile pro which is a more powerful version of the standard console aimed at older kids 8+ and finally the Vsmile pocket which is a handheld version sort of like a psp for toddlers.
Well after a bit of careful thought i opted for the vsmile pocket purely because if i got the standard console it would soon just begin to gather dust in the bedroom and the pocket version is mobile so can be taken to places where you would need to occupy the little darlings so that was the model for me(or should i say my son
A bit of product info!!
The Vsmile pocket as i stated before is a handheld gaming system that utilise the same game cartridges as the vsmile standard console it is a lot larger than a psp but this makes it easy to handle and the weight is not to heavy for my four year old son.I opted for the boys model that came with the scooby doo game free,but there is an impressive range of games available like cars,spongebob and many other popular kids characters.games are seperated into age ranges like 3-5 , 5-7 and 7+ and are all themed around educational tasks like spelling,maths,singing and general problem solving all mixed with a fun experience of course.Prices for cartridges range from £11.99 upwards and they are widely available from all main toy retailers like argos,toysrus and tesco.
The handset is well designed in orange and silver and is very robust which will make it well resistant to the bangs and knocks of general usage.It has a control pad format similar to a xbox controller and the controls are reversable for both left and right handed children.The screen is bright and clear and the sound is excellent with both sound and brightness controls,you are also supplied with a audio/video lead which allows you to plug it into your TV set(in essence making this the same as the standard console wow two products in one).It is powered by 4 x AA batteries,i opted to purchase rechargeable ones to cut the costs and my son gets many hours of play from a single charge.You can also purchase a carry case to hold both the vsmile pocket and some games.
An excellent product with a massive range of fantastic games that are both fun and very educationational.Great design make for easy use and an excellent display makes this a must have product.In the words of my son this is COOL !!
Available from www.argos.co.uk and many other retailers from around £40
Further information from www.vtech.com
Happy reading and thankyou for your time i hope this review is of use.
Single use camera's in the digital age you'd expect this product range to have died out by now,well you would be wrong it seems that this product range is as popular if not more popular than it has ever been.
Why a single use camera?
Well a single use camera is exactly what it's name suggest's.It's a camera that you buy,use to take pictures,get the photo's developed and at the end the camera and film are disposed.The main advantage of a single use camera is that beacause it is a disposable product if you did lose or damage it you would not be to upset at your loss(you'd probably be more upset for the loss of the pictures).So the camera is ideal for taking into enviroments where you wouldn't want to take your expensive digital camera ie A drunken night out with your mates,or maybe give one to the kid's when they go on a school trip(you wouldn't really want the little darlings taking your 300 pound digital model only to lose or damage it).It is also becoming very popular for use at weddings where you buy some of these camera's and put one on each of the tables and allow your guest's to take photographs of the big day(you never know how many budding David Baileys are out there).
Why a Kodak single use camera
As is usually the case in the photographic market the branded products tend to give better results than some of the unbranded or lesser known brands of single use camera.You also find that some of the really cheap single use camera's are actually recycled case's that may have been used at least once and have just been resealed and loaded with sub-standard film that gives really poor results.The build quality is also alot better on the kodak model and of course the film loaded into the product is kodak branded film which to be fair is one of the best performers on the market.
Ease of use-
The kodak is very easy to use with full instructions printed on the back of the unit just in case you forget at some point.You have a shutter button on top of the camera which you just press to take the picture(this is positioned more or less in the same place on most camera's both digital and throw-away),a fash button on the front of the camera which you press to charge the flash up from the internal batteries,a red indicator button located near the view-finder which lights up letting you know that the flash is charged and ready to use(please note that if you take a picture before the light is illuminated the flash will not activate,this is the most common reason for poor photo's from single use camera's),a manual winder located on the back of the camera this allows you to wind the fim on after you have taken a photo(at one point this was how all camera's worked before the advent of auto film advance).You also have a film counter on the top of the camera that tells how many pictures you have taken(most single use camera's have 27 exposures that will allow you to take around 27 pictures),and finally you have the lens at the front of the camera(of course)
This is usually the main reason why photographs from a single use camera are never as good as the photo's from standard camera's,because the lens is merely a piece of plastic and is not as good at capturing as much photographic infromation as that of a glass lens as found on most good quality camera's.
The film is very good quality and is the same film that you would buy for your 35mm camera(for those of you that have still got one.
The results are surprisingly good with vibrant colours and good focus when taken outside in bright light conditions,photographs taken inside or in low light conditions are not quite as vibrant but as long as the subject is between 1m-3m from the camera the results are of acceptable quality,unfortunately there is no zoom on this camera.I do find that it is worth going to a photographic retailer who has a digital processing lab because the results are better when processed on a digital machine.
There is a big difference in the price that retailers charge for this camera ranging from 3.99 to 6.99 and it is also worth looking for offers ie 3 for 2 or buy one get one free.
Stick with a branded camera because you will get better overall results,the build qualiy is better and you are less likely to be disappointed with the end result.Also choose or use a trusted photo retailer to proccess your photo's for you.
Listed on ciao under the same username.
Freeview is a free digital tv service that you recieve through your aerial which is decoded by a freeview box once you have purchased the box the service is free hence the name Freeview.
With freeview becoming more and more popular you should have no problem picking up a box for under thirty pounds.An important point to note is that you will need to check that you are in an area that can recieve digital tv broadcasts you can do this by visiting
www.freeview.co.uk (if you enter your postcode they will tell you if you can recieve digital tv broadcasts)
You will also need to check that your tv aerial is able to pickup digital tv transmissions(some older aerials are not suitable for recieving these transmissions).
sagem are a company who specialise in budget electronic systems and are becoming more popular all the time especially with both freeview boxes and mobile phones.
The product is one of the budget boxes and by shopping around you shouldn't find it to difficult to find one for under forty pounds.Remember once you have purchased the box you have no subscription fees,it is a free service.
Video connection RF x 1 , SCART x 2
Audio connectivity SPDIF x 1
Supported aspect ratio 4:3 , 16:9 , Letterbox , Full screen
Audio type Mono , Stereo
Electronic programme guide
Video format MPEG-2
Channel search/tuning Automatic search
Processor speed 252MHz
Maximum channels 999 channels
Parental control With child lock
Power consumption 11watts
Width 24.7cm Depth 23.6cm
Height 8cm Weight 0.4kg
The main selling feature i liked about this box was that it had two scart connectors one for connection to the TV and another one which you can use to connect to a VCR or dvd recorder(please note that you will have to watch the same channel that you are recording because the digi-box only has one inbuilt tuner.You also have an RF connector this is what you connect your aerial lead to and you can also use this to connect to your TV if you don't want to use a scart lead(i personally use the scart lead because this gives better picture and sound performance)
This is where the instructions are a little bit vague and the main thing that lets the package down.The box is auto tuning so all you have to do is select menu,then select box settings and
auto-tune and it only takes the box to automatically tune and save all available channels(another handy feature of this box is that if it detects any new channels it will ask if you want to update your programme list). 8/10(poor instructions lowers this score)
Ease of use-
The box is very easy to use with the remote control set out very similar to a tv remote.You can change channels,control the volume access digital text,select audio options,programme information and access the EPG(electronic programme guide).You also are able to save custom settings allowing you to save favourite channels in any order you want allowing you to quickly access them when you want.When you select a channel a small information menu pops up at the bottom of the screen telling you the current programme information and what programme is on next(you do have the option of turning this feature off should you wish) 9/10
Unfortunately i found that the remote was not as responsive as i would have liked and there was sometimes a small delay between pressing a button and the box actually responding to the instruction(i have since changed to using my universal remote and have had no problems using it with the box) 6/10
The build quality-
The build quality is very good for a budget model and the case design is quite stylish,the box looks quite good next to my expensive widescreen Tv,the connectors on the back of the unit are well made and the scart and aerial lead fit well with them. 9/10
A great budget box which is only slightly let down by poor instructions and a remote control with a few glitches.I have had three months of trouble free use and other than the two issues above would heartly recommend as a first digi-box purchase.
also on ciao under the user name phensh.
****** Introduction ******
Welcome to my second review based around GPS receivers even though this is my second review this product was actually the first GPS receiver I purchased. I won't go into too much detail into the workings of GPS as I covered this in detail in my earlier review of the internet Bluetooth GPS receiver( Why not take a look at this review go on you know you want to).GPS basically uses a series of satellites that orbit the planet to triangulate your position on the planet. A gps receiver reads the signal and with the use of navigation software (for example TomTom) and allows you to plan routes based on your current position and your destination.
******* Product Overview ********
This unit is a GPS receiver that works by slotting into a compact flash port in my case the one that I have on my IPAQ pda (will also work on the improved compact flash II connection).The design is a bit like a compact flash card with a plastic housing sitting on top and is about twice the size of a standard compact flash card. The plastic housing contains the main workings of the unit like motherboard and inbuilt aerial thus eliminating the need for a separate aerial. The product also has a LED which illuminates when you have plugged the unit into the slot and are receiving power. Combined with suitable software you will be able to map your 3D position and other information like travelling speed and co-ordinates for geocaching (a type of treasure hunting challenge based around GPS technology and the internet).
****** Pro's and Con's ******
So why would you want to choose this unit, well my main reason was that I wanted a device that was very light and one that I could use not only with my PDA but also with my Laptop. I had considered a Bluetooth receiver but at the time they were very expensive and my laptop didn't have Bluetooth which would require me to purchase a Bluetooth dongle (a means to add Bluetooth connectivity via usb style adapter, similar in size to a flash key) meaning more expense. I was also keen on this product because its power usage was very low, meaning I would use less power than having to have my Bluetooth switched on for long periods. Another good reason was that this unit is powered by the the device it is plugged into and does not need to be charged separately so you are less likely to get caught short. The main disadvantage is that it is only usable with devices that have a compact flash connection and this type of connection is dying out as technology advances with faster connections becoming available. Another main worry is the robustness and overall build quality, which I have found to be poor a few too many heavy knocks can result in the unit not connecting correctly into the compact flash slot(I have found that I now have to jiggle the unit around to get a working connection when slotting into my PDA)
Low power usage will only connect via Compact Flash
No need to charge (or forget to) Build quality
Ultra Light Limited Lifetime (not very robust)
Low cost to purchase lacks that wow factor in design
***** Performance and use *****
Performance is the key benefit and selling point for this item and I have never had any problems in receiving a GPS signal both on foot, in the car and at home. ON activating the GPS signal is attained within 30-40 secs and if you ever lose the signal is regained very quickly giving very little interruption to its operation. I have had no problem in setting up both TOMTOM and Navman software with both of them easily recognising the receiver.
The power usage is very low for this product and I have seen less than a 10 % reduction in the running time for my IPAQ PDA when using the receiver which is very impressive. So no problems with performance and use and well worth the low price tag.
***** Summary *****
A fantastic product that performs well and is very user friendly and reliable. These types of units are becoming a bit obsolete now with better performing Bluetooth units but you can get a bargain on these because of that. Take a look on eBay and you will find some amazingly low starting prices at around £15-£20.The main concern is built quality which is a bit poor so don't expect this product to have a very long lifespan, It is prone to damage if you are not careful when using it as it doesn't suffer knocks too well. In summary a great product for the price and as the saying goes you get what you pay for.
Thank you for taking the time to read my review. Paul
This review is also listed on ciao under the user name phensh
With the digital switchover in full swing Personal Video Recorders(PVR) with built in freeview tuners are sure to become a must in most households.The Topview is packaged with two tuners to allow you to record one channel while you watch another.With some nifty little features it is sure to be a viable alternative to Sky+ without the added expense of a monthly subscription(you just have to love the free aspect of Freeview especially in the current economic climate).
As i mentioned above the TF5810 is a Personal Video Recorder or PVR for short which is fitted with dual Freeview tuners allowing you to record video and audio to a hard disk much like a video recorder used to do.With features like an electronic programme guide,HDMI output,digital audio output and a USB port the product is feature rich and user friendly.A solid built quality makes the Topview a very desireable piece of kit which is backed up by impressive performance and ease of use.
HDMI output-This allows you to connect the product to an High Definition TV and the picture quality is fantastic compared to some other brands.The images are crisp and clear and vibrant colours make viewing a pleasure.The audio output is equally as good and you have the option of connecting to a external sound setup to take advantage of the digital audio output.
USB port-With a USB port included on the rear of the unit you have the option of connecting the unit to a pc which will allow you to copy media off the unit and onto a computer for viewing or storage.You do need to download some software off the website first but this is quite easy to do,once done the software is easy to setup and use(i would have preferred a CD with the product)
Hard disk-The unit comes fitted with a 500GB hard disk which should be enough to record about 240 hours of television and the unit is very quiet and smooth in operation.
Recording-The unit comes with an eight day electronic programme guide which can be used to setup a recording schedule just by one click.A second click will allow you to record a whole series(Sky+ users will recognise this feature and i must admit it works perfect and is my favourite feature)
The unit-With a well lit display which is bright and clear and a sleek design the product is very pleasing to the eye.Build quality is excellent and the unit feels solid and gives the feel of high quality throughout.
Extras-The unit is well supported with third party downloads from the internet that allow you to customise the setup and operation of the PVR.I have yet to find the time to do this yet but will update as soon as i have tried it.
Excellent video and audio playback and recording with a fantastic built quality and easy to use setup,makes this a high performing product.With features like USB and third party upgrades this is a product built to perform and last and it has to be a must buy product of 2009..
This review is also listed on ciao under the user name phensh.
The Wildfire is HTC's budget offering in their range of smartphones,classed by many as the smaller brother of the ever popular and performance rich HTC Desire.The Wildfire is a feature packed product that offers an option for those of us who can't or don't want to spend a small fortune on owning the latest smartphone but like the features one of these products can offer for everyday use.
The Wildfire is a very similar size and design to the Desire being slightly smaller and some would say ergonomically better to handle than its bigger brother.This mainly due to the product having a smaller screen at 3.2 inches compared to the Desire which has a 3.7 inch screen.The Wildfire uses a 528mhz CPU compared to the 1Ghz fitted into the Desire and these are the two main reasons for the budget price of the Wildfire compared to the Desire.
In my opinion the features avalilable on the wildfire are exceptional for it's price tag and the Android operating system offers a very user friendly interface that has an impressive range of apps available in the Android marketplace.I found the 5 mega-pixel camera good when in use but the lower resolution screen did present a few problems as the image did look a bit blurry and pixelated.However when viewed on a PC the overall quality was ok in normal conditions.The LED flash fitted on the phone was not that good and did make subjects look a bit white washed if used in close proximity.
The HTC sense interface for managing of widgets and the seven available home screens was very easy to use and setup and i must say is one of the main selling points on the product in my opinion.The ability to access social updates and weather and contact information is effortless and very quick and it is so easy to swap and change the layout and add new widgets for music,news and internet browsing.
The Wildfire is also fitted with a GPS sensor and i have used it with google maps and found it to be very effective and great to use.Being an avid music fan i found the Wildfire great to use with my large collection of MP3's and my snazzy Sony earphones which connect to the product via the 3.5mm jack on the top of the unit.Playback of video files is ok on the Wildfire but don't expect fantastic quality due to the quite low resolution 240 x 320 QVGA display.
Connectivity with the Wildfire was very good with me having no problem getting and connecting to my WI-FI signal from all the rooms in my house.Hotspots while out and about was also very easy to do with the only downside being that you would probably only get one days use out of a full charge of the 1300 mAh batter
I found the Wildfire to perform quite well with voice calls although i did think the volume seemed abit on the low side when talking.Messaging was very simple and easy to do and you can easily write a full email on the product.Contacts lists are easy to manage and the interface is easy to navigate with a nice feature that matches your contacts to things like facebook and twitter information.
The biggest selling point for the Wildfire has to be the price of around £210 for a feature rich smartphone that performs well and is very user friendly.The operating system is a pleasure to use and there are plenty of apps to download to enhance the product.
The Lower screen resolution and slower CPU wll limit the Product for power users who want to use the latest software and things like 3D gaming will not be available on the Wildfire and internet browsing is not as sharp and clear as you would get on the more expensive Desire.
If you can live with slower a slower CPU and lower screen resolution then the Wildfire is a fantastic product and offers fantastic value for money.The main downside is the latest and future apps will most likely be unavailable for this unit and it will probably look quite dated very quickly compared to higher spec models.If you can't stretch to a Desire then this is the best compromise you can get so go for it i did.
This review is also listed on ciao under the user name phensh.
Having recently purchased a budget laptop for my daughter i have been looking at purchasing a webcam for her so she could speak to her nan and grandad who have rcently moved away.My first instinct was to purchase a cheaply priced model off ebay,bargain one webcam purchased for £5.It was a shortlived celebration as i discovered that the laptop did not have a built in mic and neither did the webcam (budget laptops can be a pain).So back to ebay and a slightly more expensive webcam with built in mic,hooray i think not it was a brand that was alien to me and i just couldn't figure out how to configure the damn mic to work.
With quite a nice collection of webcams and a smaller bank balance i decided to go against my principles and opt for a Microsoft webcam after all it had to be easy to install and use.
The vx-3000 is a member of the microsoft lifecam range which is touted as being exceptionally good at relaying life like high quality images and excellent quality audio.It also claims to install and function seamlessly and quickly with windows and especially windows live messenger.Bold claims considering my past webcam experience but just what i was looking for (fingers crossed).
I am just going to list the main features here as i could bore you to death with those listed in the manual.
640 x 480 pixel video resolution
Automatic Face-Tracking Software
Optimized for Windows Live Messenger
2X Digital Zoom
Easy to use versatile base
Six foot flexible USB cable
Installation and use,
The installation was a dream and so easy i had the product installed and the software up and running in under 20 mins.The integration of the product with windows live messenger was fast and easy and the handy button on top of the webcam allows quick one touch access to the software via windows.
On running the video and audio setup wizard i was impressed with both the quality and clarity of both audio and video.The video is clear and crisp even in low light conditions and the ability to capture high definition photo's is impressive.The audio is clear and we have experienced no distortion.The face tracking software works well at keeping you in the centre of the frame giving a better view of yourself when in use.
With plenty of software features and the abilty to pan tilt and zoom the image my daughter is having lots of fun when communicating with her nan and grandad (they were so impressed they have purchased the same model).
The webcam is easy to use both when fixed on to the laptop or sat on the computer desk and the one touch activation of windows live messenger makes its use so much easier for my daughter (and me).
This is an excellent product that is very easy to setup and use.It has exceptional performance and the features and software make this a versatile and must have product.Iam not sure on how i should perceive having converted a large portion of my family to the Microsoft brand but this truly is a king of webcams.So this is a recommend from me and i am not ashamed to sing the praises of Microsoft on this occassion. I purchased mine for £17.99 and i must say it was well worth the money and showed fantastic value.
This revie is listed on ciao under the user name phensh
The tassimo is a disc coffee system which makes producing a hot beverage both simple and fast.It utilises a disc system that contains all the ingredients you will need to produce a perfect hot beverage.With a extensive and growing range of disc's available the tassimo range offers something for most peoples varing tastes.
The Braun TA1200 tasimo is very similar in size and appearance to a standard coffee maker but with a few major differences.Unlike a standard coffee maker there is no awkward filter that you have to clean and replace and you no longer have to measure out and adjust the amount of coffee you need to make the perfect hot beverage. With an easy to use interface and a simple to use one button activation system the tassimo is quick and easy to use.A modern and sleek design will make this product a great addition to any kitchen.
The Disc System-
The main advantage of this product is the easy to use tassimo disc system.You simply select your required disc and place it into the disc holder situated on the front of the unit.When you close the disc holder a barcode scanner reads the barcode on the disc and selects the required settings automatically to deliver the perfect beverages in less than 30 seconds.Once completed you simply remove the used disc and dispose of with the minimum of cleaning required and you are ready to repeat the process.
With an extensive range of discs available from Coffee,Cappucino,Tea,Hot Chocolate and the ever popular Starbucks Coffee you will never tire of using this handy piece of technology.With new products being added all the time the tassimo is a versatile product that will last for many years to come.
All you need to do to clean the unit is simply wipe the unit over with a slightly damp cloth and remove the drip tray and adjustable cup holder and wash them in the sink.You are supplied with a special cleaning disc that you will needto use before you use the unit first time then periodically with use.Once again you simply insert and allow the machine a minute to complete the cycle.
The unit will cost about £90 -£100 and the disc's are available from about £3 for a pack of sixteen discs for standard coffee and tea.The latte and hot choclate packs are similar in price but only contain eight discs and eight milk discs that allow for the production of the required beverage.As you use normal tap water the discs and associated energy costs are the only costs you will needto pay for after initial purchase of the unit.
A versatile easy to use system will make this a fun popular product,the beverages that it delivers are of a high quality and with the ability to vary the strength of the drink by the touch of a button will suit the tastes of most users.Not the cheapest product to use but occasional use will allow that first or last drink of the day to taste that bit more special.Tis products gets my seal of approval and the minimal amount of cleaning gets the thumbs up from me.
This review is listed on ciao under the user name phensh
In a world where size or lack of size is important, consumers are always demanding smaller more versatile products. The ipaq is a combination of compact size and powerful computing power allowing you to remain connected to the digital world when you are out and about.
With the branding of a trusted and highly respected manufacturer like HP you can be assured that you will get a reliable product packed with features.
The ipaq 2210 belongs to the family of PDA's (Personal Digital Assistants)and will allow you to access email, run office applications, connect to other devices via Bluetooth or infrared and run software designed to be run on the windows mobile platform. This is a must have gadget for all the gadget lovers and professionals and will keep you organised and entertained no matter where you are.
This product uses the Microsoft windows mobile operating system which mirrors the same operating system you will find on your laptop or home PC.This will allow for ease of use as most of us will be familiar with the layout and navigation is simple to master. You are supplied with pocket versions of Microsoft office applications like Pocket Outlook(email management software),Pocket excel(spreadsheet software) and pocket PowerPoint(presentation software).These programmes are very impressive and easy to use and all come bundled with the product so no need to worry about additional costs after you buy the product. They perform very well and are virtually identical to the versions you will find on your PC both in performance and use.
You are also supplied with the ever popular Windows media player for playing back audio and video files and viewing digital images. Once again this is very similar to the version found on PC's so you will have no problems in using it to its full potential.
Apart from the main software you also get a few handy little extras like NEVO remote control software which will allow you to programme the unit to control your entire household via infrared remote. This is a great performing little application and I have mine set-up to control the TV,DVD recorder and sky unit(no more searching for the remote for me).Basic editing software is also supplied allowing you edit your digital images and save them to the memory card. This software performs well but only has basic features so you may want to consider buying a more powerful version.
With an impressive array of bundled software you will have many hours of fun trying all the different applications installed on the unit.
The main selling point of this product is the ability to add extra software to the unit ranging from GPS software to popular games like age of empires. The list of software is virtually unlimited and there is software available for everything you could ever imagine.
The unit is powered by an Intel 312 MHz processor which allows for fast smooth operation of software and multiple applications. The 3.5" TFT touch screen is vibrant and bright and very responsive. You can use the supplied stylus or even your finger to access and navigate the functions via the touch screen technology.
With both a SD card slot and compact flash II you can add extra memory to store data ranging from audio, video and photo's. The only limit is what size memory card you can afford.
Powered by a rechargeable lithium ion battery you will get hours of use when you are mobile and have the option to charge from mains and your car with a suitable adapter. You can purchase more powerful batteries to give even longer usage times (I usually get about 7hours use under normal conditions)
The product is comfortable to use and is small enough to carry in your pocket but not too small to prevent it from being accessible and easy to use.
This product performs well and is supplied with an impressive range of software. It is well designed making it's function easy to use and is packed full of features. With a large range of software and accessories available this product will have a long life and it will be a few years before you need to upgrade. The Bluetooth performs well and is easy to set-up allowing you to connect to the internet via your mobile phone when on the move.HP have made a durable, reliable and feature rich product which gets the thumbs up from me as a must have gadget. With a price tag of £190 it will be money well spent.I hope you have found this review useful please feel free to give feedback and thank you for taking the time to read.
This review is also listed on ciao under the user name phensh.
~~~~ Introduction ~~~~
HTC have been manufacturing PDA style mobile phones for many years. They are popular at being rebranded by most of the major network providers namely orange with their SPV range of products (see my orange spv review).
They produce very reliable products which have an impressive range of features and you may have even been using one of their rebranded products and not even know it.
This type of product is aimed at the type of user that wants features more than the smallest phone as they tend to be on the larger side. They do however offer stylish professional looking products with exceptional performance and features.
~~~~ Product Specifications ~~~~
Operating System - Windows Mobile 6 Pro
Memory -128MB SDRAM
Display- 2.6-inch TFT-LCD, touch-sensitive screen with backlight
Display interface- HTC TouchFLO
Extra input methods-20 key QWERTY keyboard which slides out from the unit
Connectivity - Bluetooth 2.0 Hi speed USB 2.0
Camera- 2 megapixel colour camera and second camera for video calling feature.
Supported Audio and ringtone formats- MP3, AAC, AAC+, WMA, WAV,
Battery- 1120 mAh rechargeable Li-polymer battery
Standby up to 250 hours
Talk time up to 5 hours
Dimensions-107 mm (L) X 55 mm (W) X 15.8 mm (T)
Memory card- microSD memory card
~~~~ Product Overview ~~~~
The HTC touch dual features the new windows mobile 6 professional platform. This version of windows for the mobile market is a pleasure to use and is very stable iv not had a crash or freeze yet (touch wood).
The standard HTC touch has no slide out keyboard so you have to rely purely on the touch screen for inputting. However the touch dual comes with a keyboard that is accessed by sliding the top half of the unit upwards (similar in design to the orange spv m3100).
I have used the keyboard when writing big messages and browsing the internet and the design is excellent allowing for easy use. It is comfortable to use and the buttons feel firm when pressed giving a positive feeling of build quality. I do however use the touch screen for about 80% of the time.
The touch screen is powered by HTC's Touchflo technology (very similar to the technology used on the apple iphone).You simply drag your finger around the screen which will allow you to flip and rotate the items on the screen. The feature is very responsive and you will learn to master it very quickly.
As with all windows products you get an impressive range of products bundled with the software on the phone. Such as software for contacts, emailing, browsing the internet and extra software like weather reports (updateable via the internet connection) and various games.
The phone performance is excellent with good sound clarity in both standard and hands free operation. The screen is sharp and vibrant and well illuminated for use even in the brightest of sunshine.
Email is a pleasure to use and very functional when using the slide out keypad making it simple to send long messages.
The product comes with 128 mb of internal memory which you can expand via a micro SD card (not supplied so shop around for good deals).
With a rubberised coating to give better grip and an ultra slim thickness of only 14mm this product is easy and comfortable to hold and use.
~~~~ Product Summary ~~~~
An excellent PDA/Phone hybrid with a fantastic range of features and software. The touch screen technology performs well and is easy to use and makes the product a pleasure to use day to day. The product does lack Wi-Fi which I found quite disappointing so bear this in mind when comparing against similar products(I can live without this feature).Not quite as stylish as the iphone but has similar high performance giving this a recommended buy from me.
Online resource- www.htc.com
This unit should cost about £300 so shop around for deals or consider a mobile contract you might get the unit free.
This revie is listed on ciao under the user name phensh