- Premium reviews
- Express reviews
- Reviews rated
- Ratings received
I had some of this delivered yesterday along with Andy Roddick's Eau de Toilette - both are just under a tenner for 100ml and of course bargains! In terms of smell FCUK connect is a little on the generic side - that usual fresh citrus smell that most perfumes have, though compared to what else I have, it smells a little like liquorice.
Whilst it makes for a perfectly pleasant smell, the staying power is a bit on the weak side in that the intensity of the scent faded over ten minutes. Initially one might be a little disappointed with this, though I began to think: maybe a subtle skin-close scent isn't a bad thing? Further, it's perhaps better than people occasionally catching a whiff of perfume.
I got Andy Roddick's own EDT to compare this to, out of the two it's the stronger one - the same citrus fresh smell, though instead with a hint of cherry (don't worry, they're both perfectly masculine!). Out of the two, I have to say this a better choice if you want something with a little more scent, it's also a little cheaper at £6.52. Both are however excellent.
It's worth noting that if you're buying 100ml you're saving money but this bottle isn't exactly compact - rather a large metallic style... thing. The height is akin to a deodorant bottle but a little wider.
Smaller sizes like 25ml are travel friendly but not as pocket friendly - a refillable travel perfume atomizer can solve this problem mind you; they allow you to collect the spray into a small capsule and cost about £6 on Amazon.
Pretty skeptical about most herbal remedies since they have a tendency to be pish-posh, though I thought these were worth a punt for £3.
I had to be up at 7AM, which frankly is a time I'm capable of falling asleep at current. Took two of these (as per instructed) at 10PM, then about an hour later started to feel a little lethargic followed by *zonk* once I put my head down. Impressive.
Not a flawless night's sleep - I did wake up once or twice but both times feeling incredibly drowsy mind you, so it certainly wasn't an issue getting back to sleep. Drowsiness wore off quickly once I was up and about and had something to eat. Up at 7AM with no issues whatsoever.
I will say these do taste horrible - though unlike another reviewer I didn't get any nasty morning taste or breath from them. So all in all, fairly happy - and - since they're herbal I'm guessing they're a little safer than anything prescription or over-the-counter, therefore probably safer to use in the long-run.
We've had this TV replace a low-end Sharp LCD TV and I have to say the two are pretty much incomparable; the Sony having really vivid and rich images over the washed 'backlit' images of our previous TV. It's not absolutely perfect though it's pretty close.
Firstly, blacks are really, really inky and saturated provided they're adjusted in consideration of lighting. I've been really impressed by how good blacks are on this panel and they're best I've seen on any of the TVs or monitors in our house by a long-shot. In the extremes you can see some very minor blueish 'clouding' with the backlight on max with dark pictures in dark conditions. Further, blacks do get less saturated off-axis. Both these things aren't anything you'll be able to avoid on any other LED-LCD really, the latter being a side effect of the IPS panel used.
With this said, the deep blacks make for some really nice contrast - pictures can be really colourful - and in general the picture on this TV is very pleasing to watch.
Secondly, motion clarity is good, but not great. The sweet-spot is the 'clear plus' setting; fake 200Hz achieved through motion smoothing and backlight blinking. It's not important you know what this is, just that the latter method massively reduces picture brightness. There's other settings which don't reduce brightness but on the contrary smooth less and seem to bring out the 'soap opera effect' more; meaning some sources, mainly films, look a bit 'sped-up'.
Whilst the TV's motion clarity isn't perfect it's a darn site better than our older Sharp LCD TV.
Outside picture quality, this TV remains pretty strong. The features on this TV are brilliant, the most used being the BBC iPlayer and YouTube apps. They're not perfect and do experience the occasional hiccup but otherwise we've been pretty impressed.
One thing I will say is that Sony should have perhaps put a stronger processor in this TV; menus do exhibit some minor jitter with their fancy side-to-side transitions. Considering it hasn't already been fixed by a software update probably means it can't be improved upon.
Audio quality is good when you consider how thin this TV is - the chassis is one third of the thickness of our previous TV at 4cm, it looks really sleek and modern - though does however flimsily wobble a bit if you knock into it. If you're not happy with the audio quality then I'd suggest a Sony 2.1 or 5.1 kit because of the Bravia Sync feature; ours switches on with the TV give or take 5 or so seconds.
All in all we're pretty happy with this TV. What I will say is that I haven't review the 3D feature simply because of the cost of 3D glasses which is close to £50. Manufacturers seem to be making a big deal over 3D technology whilst killing it off at the same time in this regard. Further, with all the crosstalk and issues I've heard about, I'd rather avoid it anyway ;).
Last week I jumped on a hefty discount from my carrier for the HTC One X, despite already having a high-end smartphone (soft-spot for gadgets!). I can't say I regret the purchase either - it's a nice step up from my previous Sony Xperia Play in terms of coolness.
The phone leaves a good first impression: it's gorgeously thin and the display is big and beautiful - it has this flawless appearance of a shop-dummy which made my friends exclaim "wow, that's... a pretty good screen" and it also appears to be the best I've used when it comes to outdoor use, remaining impressively readable in the car on a blazing day.
Before I move on, it's worth mentioning that you can spot some 'stagelight-style' backlight leak on extreme angles with whites and bright colours but it's nothing that can be seen in normal use (and it affected both handsets I tried out - so it's probably in them all).
Anyway, you'll probably already know that this phone has a quad-core processor - if you didn't then all you need to know is that this equates to a snappy and fluid interface for the most part: you can move around Android very quickly and I've yet to see an app 'chug' as such. The phone does however clock down to save battery; this can most often be seen when you unlock the handset as well as here and there every now and then as a minor stutter.
Whilst this could be the processor I do have a suspicion that 1GB of RAM isn't quite enough for this phone as there's usually about 230MB of it free; this much RAM usage suggests that Sense is, disappointingly, rather bloated still. This is after HTC's efforts to aid memory usage - that is, they've implemented a strict task killing policy which you'll notice if you switch between applications a lot; you'll often see them quickly 're-initiate' via the window manager.
This is forgivable considering how pleasant the phone is to use. From the unlock screen you're greeted with weather animations, a clever drag-and-drop circle to quickly access key applications and ICS' new face unlock which eventually works flawlessly providing you use the 'improve wizard' enough.
From there on out applications launch instantaneously, everything scrolls smoothly and the phone handles nearly everything effortlessly, bar the odd minor stutter as aforementioned.
Whilst this phone is indeed a joy to use, one thing that does peeve me is to do with HTC's customization choices with ICS - a legacy 'three-dot' bar which wastes screen space on those apps that have yet to be updated for 4.x. This is despite absolutely nothing being mapped for any of the hard-keys when it comes to long-presses. Such a workaround is possible for those who do not mind rooting, but for those who don't, the long-press option is still a few weeks off in HTC's next software update according to a beta-tester for 4.04 (if news sites are correct).
Moving on, the camera on this phone is pretty impressive and I can't really fault it aside from it physically protruding out the back of the phone, so it's very unlikely it will stay scratch-free. In terms of image quality this generation of phones has come closer to what you'd expect of point-and-shoot cameras - so if you're looking for something compact to replace having two devices you shouldn't be too disappointed. On that note, pictures are also taken in a flash (no pun intended) thus greatly reducing the likelihood of a smeary shot typical to that of a phone.
Perhaps the only component that doesn't seem high-end on this handset is the built-in speaker, which ironically carries Dr. Dre's 'Beats audio' branding. Part of me wonders if my expectations have been set high by the previous Xperia Play I owned since it rocks stereo sound - and I guess this is expected of a handheld-console-style phone. With the One X it's a step down and a small feature I would've expected from a ultra-high-end phone; the audio isn't shockingly bad as such, but behind that elongated grill is a single, watch-battery-sized speaker. Oh well.
There's no problems through the 3.5mm jack; the auto-on 'Beats audio' EQ/enhancement is a mixed bag in that it adds both nice detail and artificial 'clompy bass' to my high-end Philips O'Neill cans. I prefer it on rather than off since it saves my own faffing with Android's DSP manager and works across any Android media application.
Audio quality in itself is perfectly acceptable by phone standards though it's nothing spectacular. Plugging between this and my MP3 player and there's a noticeable difference; things are more confined, muddy if you will. Just don't go buying this for it's music functionality, Beats means nothing.
Lastly, battery is a bit iffy on the One X - it can make it through the day with sensible use - and further, it can manage some good standby times thanks to the 'deep sleep' CPU feature - but if you do a lot of media-happy fiddling out of boredom the device will quite happily chomp a good portion of battery.
All-in-all, this phone comes highly recommended despite my tendency to highlight it's weak-points, none of which are a dealbreaker for me really - I expect most people will be similarly satisfied with this handset.
I received the RF511 this morning and I have to say that Amazon's service has been brilliant in that they dispatched this via next day after my initial RF511 order went walkies in the West Midlands, courtesy of CityLink.
First impressions on this laptop are mixed. To start with the good: the i5/8GB/1TB spec is reasonably fast, it's handled everything I've thrown at it without a hiccup thus far. This includes 1080p HD, processing RAW files in LightRoom and, even though I didn't buy this for gaming, The Sims 3 - which the HD3000 integrated graphics did a decent job with on high settings.
On that note however, the fan does like to spin-up a bit in LightRoom and when I took The Sims 3 for a spin, things got hot, 80*C hot. Otherwise, the RF511 does stay quiet and cool. I've generally noticed it hovering around 30-40*C in SpeedFan on general internet/music/Microsoft Word use.
What I will say is that Samsung's "superior LCD screen" is anything but. It has a washed out appearance and oddly the image deteriorates left-to-right, top-to-bottom whilst sitting straight on, despite good viewing angles. The slightest shift will make one part of the picture hazy under the backlight whilst giving deeper colours to another part. Very odd.
Coupled with this, the RF511 sucumbs to the stereotype of lapptops having poor speakers whilst my previous Lenovo E520 packed speakers which sounded 'full-bodied'. Why can't a £600 Samsung laptop do the same?
With the aforementioned in mind, the RF511 is a bit so-so for those situations where you end up watching a movie with your mates around a laptop. In terms of the screen, I have found Intel's gamma adjustment slider goes a short way to fixing things; I suggest putting it down to 0.9 to make things a little less washed. The speakers however will always sound naff.
In terms of pre-installed software the RF511 comes with a lot of it, so much so that you can get a decent amount of scroll on the add/remove programs. Thankfully most of it is either Samsung/third-party drivers or Samsung software, but there are a few things like "WildTangent Games", "WordCapture X Pro", "Norton Online Backup" and a suite of CyberLink software which you might want to remove. Norton's security software is especially annoying (I'd suggest Microsoft's Security Essentials, it's free).
The build quality feels decent enough, however the lid does flex if you lift it from a corner however - and whilst the typing experience is good, the noise of the keys varies around the large ENTER key. But things feel pretty solid otherwise and I haven't heard any creeks from the chasis yet (that being said I haven't exactly stress tested it, nor do I want to :P).
Lastly, in terms of design I have read criticism which I think is down to the colour scheme - I'll admit the oddly grey/silver scheme keyboard is at odds with the black super-gloss lid (note: fingerprint and scratch magnet) - and - further, the chrome hinges look kinda tacky, but the RF511 is nothing bad to look at in my opinion.
On the whole, the RF511 is good, but it's not anything I'd recommend when priced too far over the £500 price mark, which it is. Less than this and coupled with Samsung's VAT back, it makes for a great deal, but otherwise I'd recommend a Samsung series 6, 7 or 9, or perhaps the Dell Inspiron or XPS 14z.
Review also posted on Amazon.
I feared the worst When I saw the box that arrived from Amazon; struggling to imagine 5.1 kit could possibly fit in such a small space. Then I saw the subwoofer; smaller than my old T6100 subwoofer. The satellites didn't look particularly impressive either.
After turning the system on I was a little less worried; oddly the down-firing subwoofer manages to pump out much better bass than the subwoofer it's replacing (or at least as far as I can tell, it's 'fluffing point' seems fairly high) and I can't hear any difference when running the same satellites from the T6100 alongside the Z506's. All is good.
It is worth noting however that this is supposedly an 'upgrade' to the Logitech X540 - a system which has two drivers per satellite - and by the looks of things these drivers are identical. You're getting one instead of two on four of the speakers. Also, the black glossy thing that looks like a tweeter on each Z506 satellites; it's just plastic I'm afraid.
Furthermore, the Z506s have shoddy fabric grills as opposed to X540's metal meshes, no separate wired remote control and no way of wall-mounting. I would definitely not say this is an upgrade from Logitech's previous model; rather a bit of corner-cutting. Bad Logitech!
The Z506s do sound good however. This at least with the subwoofer on. The reality behind the Z506s and pretty much any other 5.1 kit is, that whilst the kit seems like a steal, turn off the bass and you can hear just how cheap the satellites are: tinny with no 'body'.
At £60, these aren't bad, but I'd be hard-pushed to say they're amazing when I got my acoustically-similar T6100s for £40 about 5 years ago.
I got one of these alongside my smartphone and it's been fairly handy; allowing me to store most of my iTunes purchases, photos, games for Xperia Play plus the occasional DVD for train journeys.
The only issue I have is transfer times, which are a pain; I wouldn't recommend trying to transfer anything more than an album or two onto this before you go out as transfer speeds rarely top 4MB/s. The card also becomes unusable during these transfers. Though the good thing is that things copy off pretty fast off otherwise.
The remarkable size of these memory cards mean it's possible to store one in the back of my phone - if you can do this you can save yourself some money over paying the premium for a 32GB version and just have two of these.
Lastly, the included microSD adapter is a handy extra though it doesn't feel particularly durable and flexes rather easily. I went for a USB microSD reader to replace it.
I've had this camera for about a year now and I'm fairly happy with it. You can get some absolutely brilliant shots provided you know what you're doing with it - though a quick and easy mode dial is conveniently located up top - so pretty much anyone can use this even if it does look a bit scary.
The provided kit lens is very versatile and enables you to compose landscape shots or take cool macro shots - and autofocus will ensure you get really nice 'bokeh' (blurred backgrounds) - that or you can switch it off at the lens using the convenient AF button and go manual with the focus ring.
Photos from the camera are pretty amazing. Up close images can appear a little soft; the first camera-enthusiast forum I went to I was told that Nikons shoot softer by default instead of sharpening like other cameras. You can change this in the settings though or process them later.
Not every exposure will be perfect and whilst it's a brilliant camera - it does, in certain conditions, overblow bright areas if you are shooting on automatic. Enabling RAW NEF is handy if you need to sort anything like this out; you can import your photos to LightRoom and/or PhotoShop without any JPG compression quality loss.
HD video recording possibly the only area that I can fault on this camera. Whilst it can take great-looking 1080p video, the microphone picks up noise from the AutoFocus mechanism motors and there's only a monophonic microphone.
Construction quality is top-notch - my D3100 has survived a few nasty drops and still looks new. Couldn't be happier with this camera.
Having bought a motherboard with no wireless functionality I ended up having to get one of these. For the most part it's worked really well.
Transfer speeds are very much dependent on signal; Windows let's you know if the signal is poor - I found using a USB extension cable and placing it elsewhere improved things (being on the other side of the house to the router). We get a 15Mbit connection, which is about 1.5MB/s throughput, which I've been able to pull pretty easily.
The dongle has worked flawlessly on 32-bit Windows 7 for ages - however, I recently upgraded to 64-bit Windows 7 and for some reason I've been having to remove and reinsert the dongle after boot in order to make it work... I only have to do this once mind you.
Other than that it works fine. It's a plug and play - so no drivers are needed. The aerial also rotates from straight out to a 90 degree angle and comes with a stiff-plastic USB extension.
I bought one of these before TV prices shot up. It's a brilliant set, with one exception - panel lottery - some sets have high quality IPS panels, others are inferior - so this review doesn't isn't a guarantee that you'll get the same quality panel I got in my TV.
With this out the way, this is an excellent TV. Viewing angles are superb on the IPS version - colours are brilliant, blacks are rich - in fact - the only thing you can fault with the picture is the 50Hz response rate - which results in some occasional jittery images - especially if they're detailed. If you have a tendency to be bothered by things like this you might be better with a 'MotionFlow' set over this; the picture is still excellent however.
The backlight on our model is very consistent with the exception of an almost un-noticeable strip of bleed - it was very almost uniform. Sound is pretty damn good for a TV also; nothing you get with newer LED models.
Lastly, menus are well laid out with a nice transparency effect. The TV has lots of nice small features - like turning on when your PS3 turns on, or being able to play music and whatnot off my external hard drive - it even recognizes NTFS - it does however sometimes have A/V sync issues with some HD files.
All in all, I'd thoroughly recommend this set if you can get it for the usual retail price of £260.
Having had this for about a year I'd say it's probably one of the best vacuum cleaners we've had; much prefer it to our old Dyson; and funnily enough it actually has better suction - which is good enough to see a double A battery disappear in a flash; it'll quite happily gobble stuff up. The good news is that it lands in the easy to empty compartment which is button released. Just don't pick it up this way...
What's quite cool is the wattage slider control - this allows you to control how much the vacuum... sucks. Even the lower settings can be sufficient and it makes the vacuum less noisy to use.
I can't really fault anything about this; it moves around pretty well so I don't mind it over an upright. The hoover unit itself does churn out a lot of heat - so this can be a little annoying if you're hoovering for a while - and at 2000W, expect to use a fair amount of electricity.
I do the occasional bit of out-and-about photography when I can - and with only the kit 18-55mm I thought it was about time to get something else and went for this 55-200mm zoom lens.
It certainly does what it says on the tin - the zoom range is excellent and comes in really handy for shooting stuff like planes, the moon and distant buildings on the horizon.
I have no complaints about the optics other than that things have a tendency to blur more over the kit lens - probably my unsteady hands combined with a 200mm focal length. Image stabilization does pretty well otherwise.
Build quality is okay, but the zoom barrel does feel quite loose - you can easily slam it from 55mm to 200mm with quite a clunk - which is always un-nerving to accidentally do.
Autofocus works well; the only issues I've had have been in extreme low light situations where I've had trouble seeing to focus myself.
If you're looking for a 55-200mm and don't want to spend too much, this is a good choice, but if you don't mind spending a bit more it might be worth dropping another £100 for Nikon's 55-300mm zoom lens :P.
Lenovo pride themselves on manufacturing ThinkPad laptops that are "military-grade" in terms of durability, so I was little surprised when mine arrived faulty. Whilst waiting for a replacement the E520 left a good impression despite this, at least over the half a week that I had it.
Firstly, it feels very solid and doesn't creak when held at the edges. The plastic also feels very thick and sturdy. The LED screen and speakers are also excellent - which is a nice change from what I see with most laptops. This makes the E520 particularly good laptop for watching films - especially if you're watching with other people - the speakers are loud, clear and have a good soundstage.
I went a bit ape when customizing mine - so I got to try out the little extras. The fingerprint login could do with some polishing - it takes a little while for the fingerprint recognition service to load up properly after resuming or booting up. Then, depending on the finger you use it can be a bit temperamental. I recommend using your 'ring finger' since it seems to get more 'first swipe' log-ins.
The webcam, which is supposedly HD, isn't so great, but it's by no means bad.
I had no complaints with the performance of my spec, which was an i5, 4GB and integrated graphics. Seem to handle everything I threw at it - including 1080p video.
The only negative point I have with the E520 is probably the keyboard - it's not the quietest - nor the nicest to type on.
Other than this, I'd recommend a Lenovo if you can get one cheap like I did. One thing I will say is that Lenovo's customer care isn't particularly great - if anything does go wrong they will leave you waiting around - for a long time.
One thing I can say about this printer is that it's never failed on me in the two years of university that I've had it; it's always printed off assignments and I've never had a 'printer from hell' experience with it.
This being said it's not perfect. For one thing I wouldn't call this a photo printer - I have never ever had a good photo print from it - for some reason they always come out dark and foggy. Either I didn't set it up right or there's something wrong with mine - but it only does this with photos.
Secondly, Canon printer ink is expensive - and chipped to prevent you from doing cheap refills. Not only is this an expensive printer to run, buying a new cartridge each time is worse for the environment than just refilling it. The truth is that each cartridge stores 8ML of ink, which should almost be illegal in my opinion.
Other than that the printer works well. Printing speed is acceptable and A4 prints are good. There's one or two annoying features like the "you didn't switch me off properly last time, click OK to continue" feature - which sometimes leaves you wondering why something hasn't printed yet.
Apart from the niggles, I'd say the printer is good - but given the ink situation which Canon - which is very much evil and corporate - I'd say steer clear.
We've had one of these a few days and so far no complaints; bass from the subwoofer is brilliant and really sounds quite cinematic. The satellites aren't quite as strong and sound a little 'hollow' but they're not bad.
What is really nice about this home theatre system is the USB function - which let's you plug in an external USB stick or hard drive (even NTFS) and play stuff straight off - it seems to play nearly everything thrown at it - and smoothly too (90% of the time at least). The one downside is that if you're handling a folder with lots of files the XMB interface becomes sluggish as it tries to update directories. It especially slows down on folders with thousands of photos.
Even outside this the XMB interface isn't quite as smooth-looking as it is on the Playstation 3, but it works fine.
Blu-Rays look great as they should, but the DVD upscaling on this thing is worth mentioning - it really makes DVDs look good. The remote control is also nicely laid out. All in all, not a bad system.