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This is a review for the Ford Fiesta mk5 Zetec-S. I had this car back in 2006. I owned it for a year until i had to part with it as i was a student and the cost of being a student and running a car was too much. I'm reviewing this car now for those who want a blast from the past, or those looking into buying a cheap but entertaining run around especially in today's economy. This was my favourite most memorable fiesta (i've had 5 fiestas in total from mk3 through to mk6).
))--Vehicle engine spec (brief)--((
- 1.6 16valve zetec engine
- 101bhp, 145Nm torque
- quoted at 38mpg, I averaged 35mpg which wasn't bad
- top speed 114mph
- insurance group 7 (at the time) 17/50 now
- 170g/km CO2 emissions
- 5 speed
-9.9seconds 0-60 time (most are modified now and touching the 9.2- 9.6 mark) very respectable
))--Vehicle features (above lower models)--((
- Sport styling bumpers and side skirts, with round fog lights to the front
- Chrome mesh front grille
- 15inch multispoke alloy wheels
- blue/black sport interior or red/black
- Lower ride height and sports suspension
- Traction control and ABS
- Optional AC and multichanger
Performance wise...An absolute joy to drive, especially in the corners most other competitors (in the same price bracket and spec) at the time kept up on the straights but not in the corners. A good mid range torque and a nice cruise range on the motorway running 3400rpm at 70mph gives a fairly quiet note. A little under steer in the wet but nothing to complain about for the price and age. With a full load the car still pulls well but watch the rear load over the wheels as the Zetec-S sits quite low and you may have clearance issues over speed bumps. Nothing to worry about with 4 or less people though.
))--Appeal and Owners Clubs--((
I've got to say there was and still is a lot of following within the owers clubs for this car. ZSOC is an excellent owners club where you'll find all your answers to questions on anything to do with this car including any of the later mk6, mk7 models of Zetec-S. There is a lot of modifications available for this car and most i'd say have had a little done here and there. But due to it's age this is common. Just watch out for the overly modified, some will require a lot of attention and spare parts.
I had a few changes to mine while i owned it of which were tasteful and didn't doubt the look of the Zetec-S shape. The mild steel exhaust had to go for a full stainless oval and along with a new manifold and a few breathing aids for the engine. Most you see these days will have these same modifications. Nothing to worry about though it goes to show the owner has noticed Ford's cheap exhausts (that rust quickly) and need this change over time.
))--Wear and tare--((
The typical signs of age do show unfortunately on this model and a lot of other Fords of the time. The following are a few things to look for on this model in particular. There are obviously other issues but will be cover the entire range.
- Arch rust, which starts typically under the rear arches and spreads to the suspension and axel if ignored.
- Back box and centre section exhaust rust, if the original exhaust is still on I'd keep clear or expect to replace it .
- Inner door sills tend to rust towards the B pillar.
- Power steering takes a little more hammer with it being a sport model along with the shock absorbers so you may find leaks from these areas.
- noisy tappets typical of all Fords around 2000 and earlier but the Zetec S was rev happy so you noticed the tappets became nosey after a year or two if driven hard.
I paid £4000 for mine back in 2006 and after a year i only lost £700 but obviously i maintained it too. In 2011 you'll find most have all rusted away and not worth buying. But you will find some well looked after ones around. These will probably be fetching around £2500 so a bargin if you can find one. It was actually quicker than the newer mk6 of the same spec and so worth buying the older model rather than the newer mk6. Doesn't compare to the latest mk7 spec wise but you pay 5x as much.
There are many positives and negatives of all cars so i won't list these but i will say that if you are buying a mk5 Zetec S be careful when picking chose one that has been looked after. Don't be afraid of a few modified versions either. Most on the owners club were very tastefully changed and benefited the cars looks, performance and lasting durability.
))--Reason for purchase--((
I have a laptop sat under my TV which i use as a media center. Basically i have my HD TV plugged into the HDMI socket on my laptop and use my TV as a giant monitor and what movies and stream TV over the internet. I needed an all in one wireless keyboard and mouse so i could communicate with the laptop from my sofa. The Keysonic was an excellent purchase at a very affordable price.
- QWERTY keyboard layout
- Numerical number lock
- laptop style touchpad with 2 clickable buttons and a scroll area
- Foldable keyboard angle feet
- Takes 4 x AAA batteries
- Wireless USB receiver (about the size of a flash drive)
- Its cheap cost me £30
- Very durable, i've dropped it a few times and it has survived.
- The keys are similar to that of a laptop so it is very slim and compact
- Can fit neatly in a laptop bag along with a laptop.
- Plug and play, no drivers needed
- By default the number lock is on, so if you have a password login to your computer you may have to remember to turn this off each time.
- No additional shortcut keys for media control which can be a little annoying if you are using it to control a media centre.
- Buy some rechargeable batteries as it does use up power after a few weeks. This is not a flaw but just keep in mind that it's a two in one (keyboard and mouse) so the 4 AAA batteries aren't going to last long.
- no zoom control on the touchpad which is a setback if your used to this. Most modern day laptops are starting to come standard with this feature.
All in all though i am very pleased with this and i use it for other stuff now such as presentations at work. Very handy! Does the job well and a very nice piece of kit.
))--Why i chose--((
I bought this keyboard based on a few factors. The illumination, the looks and the basic shortcut keys. I had this as Christmas present one year (sad I know) but all in all its something I use every day so it was useful and a lot better looking than my previous boring Microsoft Keyboard, so a pretty good present in the end.
It comes with a wrest and the usual angle adjustment. The wrest clips on fairly easily but personally it looks better without it. It's not a particularly comfy wrest either so I don't really use it. It could have done with a softer padded material really. The keys are soft touch but not silent, they have a slight lightness to them, but I'm used to the more solid laptop keyboards.
- Gaming look two tone Black and Silver design
- 3 colour illuminated backlit keys and gaps between keys
- Brightness control
- Attachable wrest
- Additional media buttons
- USB plug and play installation
The layout is good, nothing special in terms of addition keys apart from the basic Media Player shortcuts which is nicely located above the numeracy pad. In the centre of which is a dial that changes the brightness of the backlight. There is also a button that cycles through the backlight colour options as well as an option to turn it off. The Letter font is really crisp and clear, slightly bigger sized than normal too.
- A little expensive at £35-£40
- This keyboard will not work for bios navigation or any pre-boot options, a little annoying as you have to keep a spare keyboard if your system crashes and you need to boot in safe mode
- The keys could be a made softer to touch.
- The wrest isn't good
A lightweight, affordable 'easy to use' mover from Bosch. Good for small to medium gardens. An excellent choice for those just wanting a reliable product that does its job. If you're looking for clever innovation, extra features and a quality cut...look for an alternative or up you budget.
Check the spec description at the top, but basically it's a small mower with a small detachable collection box. Adjustable cut height through 3 options and central cutting blade. 1000w power rating with a clear, visible red power cable. Includes a safety power lever (which cuts the power when released) It easily folds and is lightweight with a handy carry handle.
--This mower is easy to use and can easily be pushed around the garden
--It's simple and cheap, it cost me £45
--With it being lightweight it can easily be turned around. Also it can be hung in the garage without needing re-enforced brackets.
--Good fold away handle bar with 2 nice big butterfly bolt heads which unlock the bar to fold away. They have two thread areas meaning there is no nut.
-- Because it is lightweight once the glass collection box becomes near full the mower tends to topple backwards so you end up making sure all wheels are on the ground as well as keeping your stripes straight.
--A little cheap looking and flimsy
--Not for a big garden, I have a small garden 10meters by 6.5meters which requires the box to be emptied 6-8 times from a 6 inch overgrow.
--Poor front end design as the wheels stick out at the front too much from the cutting blade area meaning you leave about 8 inch worth of grass uncut when mowing up to a wall
--Cutting against a wall isn't too good either, it leaves 1-2 inch uncut.
--Requires the use of a strimmer after a cut
--Grass collection tunnel can get blocked from time to time and not fill the box
If you have a garden similar to me, 2 square small to medium sized patches to cut then it's defiantly adequate but becomes excellent value for money in my opinion. For what I paid its great and as you expect with Bosch it's a good solid build. Would defiantly recommend even though the negatives outweigh the positives in my review its still a great buy and top in its price range.
Ok the ABiT AB9, I got this board as a replacement to my previous motherboard which overhead and blew up and burn out my CPU along with it. Before I start my review I just want to say that this will be basic and not too technical, I won't cover every aspect but just a general review of the performance and capabilities of this motherboard.
Right like I said this was a replacement board not an upgrade so I didn't pick this board because of its reviews or whether it was a new release at the time. The motherboard basically had to support what surviving hardware I had from my PC which burn out. I chose the AB9 for its backward and forward compatibility as I did a bit of searching beforehand and found that there were many bios updates allowing the motherboard to support further newer technology so I knew it would be good as the attention towards updating was really good (although you do get this from most ABiT hardware anyway - I later found out)
))--Quad core support too?-- ((
I won't list all the spec as you can find the technical info on the tab above or on the manufacturer's website. However what i will cover here is what i have found in the updates since the shipped bios version
Originally it was shipped supporting 1066FSB updating the bios allows 1333FSB i have run a duo core 2 at this speed and has worked fine with excellent results and no issues. It also allows for a Quad core 64bit CPU which really pulls this motherboard up to date. After finding this out I quickly went out and purchased an Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 2.4 GHz CPU (an excellent CPU which so far has lasted 3 years) Also the update allows for more adjustments to over clocking of the Ram and CPU bus speeds. But i wouldn't touch the Ram OC unless your memory can handle it as the increments are quite big jumps and you cannot set it manually (as far as i can see) my corsair PC6400 didn't take kindly to it.
There are a few more tweaks and interesting features here and there but i won't drag out this review i just wanted to point out that this board does actually support Quad core 64bit and runs it well!
--Quad core support
--4 ram slots
--Good fan assist setting in bios
--The µGuru settings are excellent and there is good documentation included to explain the features.
--Over clocking is available and provides good cooling management but I'd defiantly advise updating the bios to get the latest settings if you are thinking of over clocking.
--Only one PCI express 16 which i think was a big downer as my previous motherboard had two and i was running 2x Geforce 7950GTS
--Annoying bright LCD display in bottom corner of the board, my case has a transparent side and this display is really bright at night
--No PCI Express 2 support? I couldn't get a Geforce 9800GTX to work which i bought as an upgrade since i could no longer run two 7950s
--Quite a large board to say it doesn't have many PCI slots, another could have been squeezed on
All in all a good motherboard, not the best in the world by far, it's a little out of date now and you can probably pick it up for £35, but with the latest bios you can run some fairly recent components. By no means does it compare to the latest boards supporting the i-intel range but for its genre it's pretty good. Very reliable - have run it for nearly 3 years.
This is really cheap and easy to install but that is about if for the good points. I have had this PCI wireless adapter for 2 years now and I hate it, you ask "why haven't I replaced it...?" well I was so sick of trying different adapters that I just decided to buy a longer Ethernet cable, of which this suited me fine for the following 2 years. Recently I have moved house and having to relocate the router further away from my PC has reminded how awful the adapter is.
I have a laptop located in the same room connected to the same router and the connection is much more stable.
--It drops the connection probably 2-3 times an hour
--I have tried many different drivers, genuine windows and Linksys's own , all of which affect the device in different ways, some make the connection worse others make the device suffer at high bandwidth usage.
--The device is fine for occasional usage but after a few weeks you will see the connection drop now and again.
--Bad compatibility with Vista but not as bad with 7
--The antenna is about 15cm and sits out about 1cm so it gets tangled in all the cables behind your PC which can't be good for the signal.
--Installation is quick
--It's cheap I bought this for £16, I suppose I can't complain too much as some are £40+
Only buy if you want a temporary cheap fix. Try getting the later versions I had version 5, there are better versions now according to the reviews on the Linksys website. Check the forums to see which drivers people have found the most effective before getting really annoyed with it and sourcing out another device. I defiantly advise looking at alternatives. This may be more suited if you have a Linksys router. I have tried a netgear router and o2 wireless hub 2 and both have the same issue with this adapter.
Ok, that time of year again, for most it's a happy time of long days of sunshine and warm evenings. For others its sneezing, itchy eyes, runny noses and an absolute inconvenience as the hayfever season takes control of some unfortunate peoples' lives.
Ok I'll try not to bore you with the usual symptoms and solutions I'll try and make this short and cover the remedies and preventions which I have found that work for me. I'm a massive sufferer to the extent that my doctor has diagnosed me with asthmatic tendencies led on by really bad hayfever during the high pollen season.
))Things that I have tried that WORK((
--Tablets - they do work, but do not clear up all symptoms on their own. In the past I think at times they're rubbish and don't take them for a few days, i then regret it and realise that they did help a little. So in turn would work well for the lighter sufferers.
--Fill your sink with cold (not freezing) water and put your head under, hold your breath beforehand and try to blow out lightly under the water, sometimes this is impossible with a blocked nose but squeezing your nose under water helps to clear the pollen from the nose passages.
--Eat oranges, lots of oranges, i prefer the jumbo ones, this is an excellent solution as its good for your health, digestive system and immune system. Don't be ridiculous with this otherwise you'll spend most of your time on the loo.
--Sinus sprays kind of work to the same extent that the tablets do, but hit the target of the nose more. I find that Vix sinus spray is brilliant at night over all sprays even though its not aimed towards hayfever. It unblocks your nose and numbs the tingling itchy feeling. However you still have itchy eyes and your nose still runs.
--Ok lastly, I have saved this one until last as it's my PRIME PREVENTION METHOD as a sufferer. It's a netti pot (sometimes called neti or netty) this is a form of yoga as it does make you feel more relieved afterwards as well as dealing with the problem. I would defiantly advise google'ing and finding out how to use this netti pot correctly as incorrect use will cause you other problems. This one is defiantly for adults and I wouldn't advise any child to use this method. Don't let this put you off though as the key is just to have a bit of patience and be calm when doing it. E.g. do it in the bathroom on your own where you aren't distracted or talking to anyone.
Basically what it is, is a teapot shaped cup with a long narrow spout. You fill this with tepid water and dissolve natural salt or fine rock salt into it. You then look down while leaning over a sink or bath and tilt your head to the side and pour the salt water through one nostril, you must do this while only breathing through your mouth. After a few seconds the water will pass through your sinuses and out of your other nostril. Do half the water through each nostril. This is essentially completely clearing out your sinuses of as much pollen as possible and as you know salt tends to wounds too, so any swelling is relieved by the salt water. This can be unpleasant at first and may take some getting used to but is brilliant and is swear by it. After the water empties you stand up straight and breathe any excess water by gently breathing in through the mouth and out of the nose.
You'll be surprised how much rubbish comes out sometimes while pouring. Occasionally if your hayfever is really bad it can take time to push through so just have patience, sometimes I'm kneeling over the bath for a good 10minutes before it gets a good flow. Try it and see if it works for you! It's good for headaches too caused by swelling sinuses as it can relieve pressure from the forehead and bridge of the nose.
There are many other techniques and solutions that will help, but most of the other reviews cover these. In summary to my hayfever treatment method a good combination of tablets and/or nasal sprays can help. Oranges are defiantly good for prevention, Vix sinus spray at night and buy a Netti Pot, they are like £15 for a stainless steel one and salt is a few pounds for 100 sachets - defiantly worth a go!
Bunkspeed Hypershot is a piece of software I stumbled across back in 2009 while struggling to get quick but nice looking renders knocked up of mesh models I had created in 3DS Max 2009 and AliasStudio2009.
))Scenario of Use((
At the time I was a university student studying Transport Design specifically the course followed a product design workflow but within the area of vehicles and transport infrastructure. I had sketched lots of concepts and had chosen 3 to model up quickly in Autodesk AliasStudio2009 (now called AliasAutomotive) those familiar with modelling this piece of software uses Nerbs modelling rather than Mesh modelling. Now traditionally I would import my model into 3DS Max to add materials, textures and lighting to render out some high quality static images. However this was taking quite a long time as each vehicle was completely different and needed a different render environment. Now because I had a deadline to meet and I had high expectations of quality with each vehicle I needed a quicker method.
))Hypershot and how it fits the Scenario((
I stumbled across hypershot as a quick rendering solution. Basically it has a library of lots of excellent pre-loaded materials and HDRI image backgrounds. You can import your Mesh model (Mesh is quicker to render than Nerbs so a quick conversion for me was necessary) as different elements and drag and drop materials onto each part just like 3DS Max.
However now the quick part...as you drag a material onto your model hypershot will render the model in real-time. Now this sounds very performance heavy but it's not as bad as you think. Hypershot's main focus is high quality static rendering as realistic as possible. You can do 'pan' rendering but nothing much more extravagant than that (this was back with hypershot 2 - since then it may have more features). The software can just about handle it real-time if you have a PC with 2gb of ram or more, less than this will take a few seconds to load each pass. As you leave the model the real-time renderer will increase the image detail with more and more passes. If you continue to work on your model rotating/adding materials the renderer pauses at render pass one while you apply changes...leave it again and the renderer commences real-time rending. A Nice touch as many a time you tend to sit back to see if you have chosen the right material to suite the model during this time the program does its stuff rending which overall will speed up you workflow.
--All the lighting is setup ready and you can quickly flick through different setups from studio lighting to lighting you would get from a dull cloudy day or even night time.
--There is a small library of HDRI backgrounds and environments to select from or add to. Of which the ground and floor shadow is automatically calculated and you can raise and lower the ground level to best suit the back drop.
--360 pan rendering
--reflections are calculated extremely accurately and need minimal adjustment.
--adding materials and rendering out a good high resolution image can be much less time consuming than a program that has a much more manual approach.
))Not for everyone!((
This program is excellent if you a creating presentation boards, static advertisements or just high quality rendered screenshots of your 3D model. It's defiantly not used for 3D modelling or animation like for example 3DS max. You need to start from a complete 3D model. It is not a mesh editing program, if there is an issue with a model you will need another program to edit it or move an element.
--Parts that require different materials save them as separate files to import to hypershot. This will make it quicker to apply Materials.
--Make sure your object locations are in the correct co-ordinates before importing.
--import the element closest to the ground first, as hypershot calculates the ground shadow by the first mesh imported
--After the lowest part imported work from the inside out. This is important as you will find it difficult to apply materials to objects inside another object. E.g import the interior of a car before the body and glass as everything imports as a solid colour.
--save regularly as separate files
Get the latest version of the software all the time as the program does have a few bugs especially version 3 introductory editions i found to crash a lot or not importing things correctly. The software doesn't have many other flaws so long as you know exactly what you're getting as it's not a piece of software to do everything in terms of 3D modelling just an excellent easy to use renderer.
I bought this surround sound system and have had it for 6 months now and i can say it was worth every penny! So if you are like me and have already bought a decent blu ray player or lots of other equipment this is defiantly for you!
I am pointing out the cost of this system first over specs and performance as with most medium to high end electrical items it is not always about cost. So i'll get this out of the way now...there are cheaper setups which are still good! I paid £320 for this system which you can probably get it at £275-£300 mark now. For this price you do get just about everything.
There are many features to this surround sound system, i won't list the whole spec just the useful info if i can...Basically this system acts like a central hub to all your electrical equipment. You can connect loads of things through different sockets on the amp unit. You have an inputs section and outputs, the outputs are simply the 5 speakers, 1 subwoofer and a HDMI out to your TV. The HDMI out to your TV is what i mean by being "a central hub" this system means you don't have loads of wiring to your TV, it all goes through the Amp. Except for your games console which for example i have an xbox 360 using component cables this has to go straight to my TV.
Ok now the inputs...It has 3 HDMI sockets labelled up as Sat, BluRay and DVD (you plug whatever you want in though) It has 2 optical in which is excellent if you have both an Xbox and PS3. It also has a Coax for old school equipment, a DM port and 3 sets of L&R phono connections for basic stereo items.
The system is Calibrated automatically, this i think is awesome basically you plug the centre mic in (included) and sit it in the middle of the room or where you might sit. You might want to put a load of books on your sofa so you can get the mic to ear level, then you go out of the room and let it play weird noises through each speaker, its madness you'll probably get some weird comments from your neighbours. Return to your room and its setup ready. You can fine tune too but this is usually good and saves messing.
))OTHER NEAT STUFF((
--Ditch all your other sony remotes as this has theatre setup to contral all Sony items through its own remote. Even the power button transfers! Bravia compatible
--there are like 8 modes of sound setup which you might want to change between depending on your preference or what you are listening to/watching on TV.
--It supports wireless rear speakers (optional extra is needed which may set you back £60-£70)
--The amp is silent, i have had systems in the past that hum on standby
--includes a radio tuner which is a nice extra, could have been DAB but not really what i bought it for.
--speakers and wiring is colour coded wiring sockets which is good when you move house and saves a lot of time tracing wires behind your TV.
--centre speaker is short and narrow and nicely fits on your stack (equipment pile under your TV) or you can perch it in front of your TV as it isn't tall enough to get in the way.
The sound quality is excellent it supports Dolby 5.1, prologic 1 & 2 , prologic MV (good for old DVDs), Prologic MS (good for music only), P audio (really good for music input from an ipod or other mp3 device) and there is (which i use the most) Movie DCS which is good for any DVD/ blu ray released since 2006.
The build quality is excellent each speaker is solid and doesn't feel cheap at all. All speakers have foam feet and have bolt holes on the back. The RMS output is 1000W with 143w per channel on each speaker and 285w on the sub. Which is excellent can't fault it its good at all volumes too.
Aside from all the good points listed above, there a very few bad points.
-Could have had a DAB radio included.
-Could have a power saving mode which a lot of new electrical items have now days. It old has low useage standby which runs at 40w according to my electric meter counter
-Component cable support for Xbox (this is very picky)
-The remote control is a little chunky but i suppose it is because of the many buttons.
Overall an excellent system for those who want quality and reliability at a little extra cost
This adapter was an essential upgrade for me as i was sick of trailing an Ethernet cable all the way upstairs to my router. I have had the initial wireless G (single antenna) adapter and was very disappointed with the results as it dropped connection occasionally. This adapter is great as it supports wireless N and for some reason unbeknown to me the wireless G reception has much improved over the previous model.
+ Better than the previous adapter Microsoft came out with...I have kept both router and xbox in the same position as when i used my old wireless G adapter and my router (wireless G) picked up the signal with 4/5 bars compared to the previous 3/5 signal strength with the old adapter.
+ I then upgraded to a wireless N enabled router and the signal has been 5/5 and no interruptions or loss of connection.
+ Very simple to install to the Xbox a simple step by step guide within your xbox dashboard and this it. All you need is your router encryption password, usually located on a sticker on the underside of your router (unless you have changed the password from the default)
- Looks a bit silly as you see two antennas sticking out of the back of your Xbox
- people who sit their Xbox upright be aware that the antennas stick out of the side, yes they can be made to point upwards but still they don't sit flush with the side of the console.
- the antenna requires the use of the USB port in the back of the console which for me was annoying as i had a flash drive neatly hidden away there.
- Only does the one job, provides a connection. Maybe if it provided additional USB ports it would be more worthwhile seen as though it takes the use of the slot in back.
- Expensive and ridiculous of Microsoft not to have included a wireless connection within the console like the PS3. As laptops have had embedded wireless connections for years
- I was lucky to pick up the adapter for £30 so check around before paying the retail price.
I would go as far to say this film was excellent as i had low expectations. My girlfriend inspired me to watch this after being obessed with the history of Genghis Khan. Its a brillaint picture of his younger life and rise to power. You'll be surprised how good it is, its like less than a fiver now so give it a watch. The dialog is good but not great, it keeps you entertained at slower parts with the humor and cheeky elements of the script.
Visually the fight scenes are a little weak but are realistic. Its a pretty straight forward film really so don't expect and complex plot twists nor and subplots it is what it is.
For the theatre people i watched this in 5.1 dolby surround with an upscaling blu ray player and looks great, the sound however could be better its like it was filmed in the late 90s audio wise it might have well as been stereo 2.1
Previous to buying the type R I had a fiesta ST and was seeking something quicker, sportier but not a car that spent its life in the garage because it costs a fortune to run or it wasn't a practical everyday car.
I finalised my decision down to 3 cars:
---MK5 VW Golf GTI
---MK2 Ford Focus ST
---FN2 Honda Civic Type R GT
There were many reasons I went for the Civic over the others. This was made after weeks of reading reviews, test drives and my previous driving experience. Hopefully i shall cover some of my thought process to help others decide whether the Civic type R suites them...
The looks of the Civic are far more up to date and having studied Transport Design at uni I wanted something very concept car looking with unordinary form that I was pining for at that time. The Focus ST looks like the standard focus but with a cheap body kit glued on so that didn't fit the mould for me. The Golf didn't shine enough to stand out from the lower spec Golfs and still looked too 'boring' to say the least. Performance wise I thought that I had chosen the middle of the range killing the golf in all ways but struggling to match the torque and bhp of the focus. But once you know how to juice that i-vtec system many people have found it quicker on the straights as well as the corners than the ST. The focus struggles a lot from turbo lag in the summer which you won't find in the civic! Though there is a downside to there being no turbo/supercharger for all the people that love to 'mod' unfortunately Honda have really maxed out that engine and without a spare grand or so there isn't much more to be squeezed out unlike the engine in the Focus. That aside the comparison was between the initial factory spec.
Going back to Golf I found that it had a better electrical spec than the focus and held its money much better. But for the inital cost of the Golf compared to the Civic with similar spec i.e. buying the HST, SatNav Type R GT (which I went for) was considerably more I paid 11k for my Civic from Honda in 2010 for a GTI I was lucky to see a similar year with the same spec for under 14k private.
The final thing that did it for me was the Civic can meet its quoted 31mpg fairly easily if you keep out of the i-vtec 'mode' unlike the 30mpg of the Focus which is more like 26mpg if your lucky.
Before looking to purchase a laptop about 2 years ago I decided I would be paying around £500 as I didn't want a bottom of the range nor did I want to pay a fortune as in the PC/laptop industry components get outdated very quickly.
I chose the M1530 XPS series from Dell as I loved the looks and from the reviews it was a good 'allrounder' ...now after 2 years it's still a great laptop and after a ram upgrade and a bigger hard drive it still outperforms the modern i3 laptops(off equivalent price) according to 3dMark10 and cpuZ. I went for the 2.4ghz dual core with the 256mb m8600GT nvidia card. Currently running 4gb of ram and a 500gb HDD it manages to run 3D max 2010 well to say autodesk do not support the graphics card according to their website. I'm a Product designer and so use Autodesk & Adobe software regularly of which it handles all programs well but multitasking can sometimes be an issue. This is with more than 5 programs running (using win7) this is where the 'I' series processors would stand out or a quad core.
Aside from the specs and performance the build quality is excellent which you can vouch for with most Dell laptops at this price range. The screen hinges are very robust and still after 2 years are still stiff. Came with Vista 32bit but runs 7 64bit well!
Some negatives; the touchpad can be inaccurate after returning from sleep mode (not a massive issue), the quick navigation panel (providing media player shortcuts) is difficult to press the buttons. The battery life isn't great with the standard 6 cell battery, defiantly worth a third party upgrade to a 9 cell battery.