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thereviewman

thereviewman
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Member since: 17.06.2010

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    • Pulsar Kinetic PAR105X1 / Watch / 11 Readings / 8 Ratings
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      24.06.2010 13:47
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      Seiko quaility at a fraction of the cost

      I bought this watch after seeing a program about how the Seiko kinetic movement is manufactured, which I thought was extremely impressive, combining the precision engineering and self winding capacity with the accuracy and long run time of battery operated quartz watches. I have a love for clockwork but I find 36 hour springs frustrating so naturally I decided I wanted one.

      The problem; I can't even begin to afford a Seiko.
      Solution: Pulsar; these use the same movements as Seiko and are built to the same quality but at a fraction of the cost.

      I purchased my watch online, which is a big gamble on a watch, but I was very impressed by it. It has a very good feel of quality and has a nice weight to it. The face is easy to read and the catch is very good, although initially it was overly stiff.

      As of yet I have not left the watch unworn for more than a day so I cannot comment on the claimed 6 month charge stored in the capacitor but I have no reason to doubt this.

      Overall I am very pleased with the watch, it is certainly a vast improvement anything I have owned before and it feels like it is going to last. At £125 this is not cheap for a watch, but when compared to Seiko watches with the same YT57 movement it starts to make sense. It makes even more sense if, like me, you can get a brand new one complete with warrantee but with a small scratch on the face for £37 that can be repaired for £5 at a local jewellers!

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    • Olympus E-510 / Digital Camera / 16 Readings / 11 Ratings
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      20.06.2010 20:05
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      A simple to use, well made and designed, high quality camera

      I bought this camera a few years ago with two lenses and I have been very impressed by it. I am by no means a professional photographer so a lot of the technology is wasted on me but the automatic functions are very simple, allowing for point and shoot photography without any thought, which is very useful when that's all that's needed but with the potential to build on that with the multiple modes and seemingly endless adjustability.

      The camera comes with an auto mode which is what I tend to use most of the time with a Sport function that allows for rapid shooting. This is one of the most impressive functions on the camera providing very high quality photographs with almost zero delay. The macro is also very good.

      The camera comes with a built in flash with anti red eye preflash which is also very effective and well designed, and has the optional fitting for a larger flash to be added.

      It is a very good size and weight, and has a good feel of quality to it, with nicely fitting catches, sturdy buttons and a good, logical layout. The screen is large and clear, but does suffer in strong sunlight. The battery has to be removed to be charged but has a very long life of several hundred shots (dependant on how much flash is used etc)

      The camera is very easy to use even as a complete beginner and will take fantastic shots straight out of the box with massive potential in improve as your skill improves. It has all the advantages of having all the SLR features but with the usability of a much smaller camera. It is the easiest SLR I have come across to use and is more logical than a lot of compacts.

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    • Rover 45 2.0 turbo-diesel iE 5dr / Car / 8 Readings / 7 Ratings
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      20.06.2010 19:37
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      If you are doing high mileages and insurance is no longer an issue then this is a fantastic choice.

      Purchased in January with 120 000 miles for £1000 it hasn't been a bad car, but there are a number of things I would now know to look out for.

      The Peugeot 2.0 TDi engine is a very good, strong unit but can be hard on clutches. When the clutch starts to go the first you will notice is a difficulty getting into gear. If you have to push the clutch right to the floor, or it is sometime hard to engage gears, 1st and reverse in particular, the clutch is on the way out, which will cost several hundred pounds.

      Another thing that is far harder to notice, at least until it goes wrong completely, is the MAF sensor. This tells the engine how much air is going in and helps control fuel. These were not correct in the factory and become less effective with time. Eventually the engine will fail to start easily, if at all, as I found. To see if this is the MAF sensor you simply need to disconnect it and the chances are the engine will run better than ever, up to 4000 rpm anyway. To get around this it is necessary to purchase a MAFAM which will get the car running properly again with greatly improved fuel economy and performance. The chances are it would benefit from one anyway.

      To drive the car is very good, with nice a good comfortable driving position and well laid out dashboard. The engine is very torque-y and motorway driving is effortless, which is why many of these cars were used by reps, accounting for the high mileages seen on many examples. Don't be put off by this too much though, motorway miles are far better for cars and stops and starts, and the Peugeot diesels go on for ever. The car is fitted with ABS and the brakes are very powerful and well weighted. The steering is direct with a lot of grip front and rear, but it can be a bit vague when pushed with a fair amount of body roll.

      Interiors seem to wear well, especially those with cloth seats and have good leg room both front and back, combined with a very spacious boot.

      If you are doing high mileages and insurance is no longer an issue then this is a fantastic choice, providing a good, well rounded package.

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        17.06.2010 21:13
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        A great piece of kit!

        After a lot of research I settled on purchasing the Eee PC 1005HA by ASUS with Windows XP last November because it seemed to offer good performance and a low price and claimed to have the longest battery life of any of its rivals. After six months of use I am pretty sure I made the right decision.

        The computer I bought was the top spec version with the 1.66Ghz N280 processor and the largest battery and it has more than lived up to expectations. Out of the box it was ready to run, it even had some charge. The keyboard took a little adjusting too because of it's size (90% normal scale, but is extremely high quality, much better than other laptops/netbooks I have tried. Sadly it does not come equipped with office or word as standard which is a bit of a pain seeing as it doesn't have a CD drive but I was able to quickly connect to the internet and download Open Office.

        The machine is extremely lightweight and easily slips in a bag, making it perfect for use out and about; I use it daily at school. It is about the same size as an A4 folder so it easily fits into most bags.

        Off mains it can be a little sluggish when trying to do several tasks or play games but this can be helped either by turning up the variable clock speed using the onboard software and keyboard shortcuts (this is what gives the Eee Pc its long battery life) or plugging into the mains. Initially I was going to upgrade to 2GB of RAM but soon realised this wasn't necessary.

        This netbook has a very good feel of quality about it, the hinges are very strong and firm with no screen wobble when walking around or using it in a moving car. The keyboard also has a very good, firm feel to it, as do the buttons for the touch pad, which is also very good and easy to use. The dotted texture is unlike any other touch pad I have used and in my opinion is a real improvement.

        When I purchased the Eee PC I was intending to use it purely for note taking and word processing at school but I have found it to be far better than I expected so now rarely use the desktop. It is able to run games very well with good quality graphics and is also able to operate my CAD software with a USB mouse which I was hugely impressed by.

        In conclusion I can thoroughly recommend this netbook, actually, with the exception of the fingerprint magnet case, I can't fault it. I admit that I have not tried other netbooks outside the store but I cannot see how they could improve on this one. I will strongly recommend buying the higher spec version with the N280 processor because in my research I have read this makes a huge difference to the machine.

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      • Nokia 3100 / Mobile Phone / 14 Readings / 12 Ratings
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        17.06.2010 20:11
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        Great basic phone

        I bought this phone when it came out many moons ago in 2004 I think, for the massive sum of £70. At the time it wasn't a bad phone and it has served me well to this day, so I think I've got my moneys worth.

        If you are looking for a phone that is just a phone with good signal, long battery and decent memory then it still cuts it and is well worth the £16.99 Amazon.co.uk are selling them for. It's well put together, easy to use, lightweight and robust.

        It comes with all the features you'd expect, a few good games, calendar, reminders etc. Most of the features are pretty pointless but the games aren't bad if you are stuck on a train and need something to do.

        The loudspeaker could be louder and the quality isn't amazing but it gets the job done and the glow in the dark case is a nice feature that is actually useful, it is much easier to find in the dark if you drop it in the car or something.

        If you want a basic, useable phone then I would recommend it any day, it isn't going to fall apart, the battery isn't going to start going wrong after a year or two and if you manage lose it, it didn't cost the earth. If mine ever does give up I will be replacing it like for like.

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        • Triumph Dolomite / Car / 6 Readings / 6 Ratings
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          17.06.2010 19:35
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          A fabulous classic British car

          I purchased my 1980 Triumph Dolomite 1850 HL for the tiny sum of £800 with a years tax and MOT and I loved it. It was used as a daily car for six months and only let me down once. With only 36 000 miles on the clock it was like new inside and extremely good outside.

          The 1850cc slant four engine with twin SU carbs was extremely torque-y (later used in the Saab 99/900 cars) but is quite a weak engine. The gearbox on the Dolomites is quite heavy and ideally needs an overdrive if long distance is intended. Performance was extremely good with fantastic acceleration from 20-60 making overtaking very easy. The cars handling is good but the suspension was never upgraded from the original 1300cc car so it will slide around quite a lot when pushed, although this is very predictable and easy to correct.

          As an every day car I found it was very comfortable and reliable with lots of period charm. However, in the end I was forced to sell it due to the poor fuel consumption. At 27 mpg these are expensive cars to run and parts, while readily available, are not cheap. Body panels can be hard to come by and a new exhaust costs upwards of £200.

          In my experience the worst part of the car was the rubber mounts for the carbs which leak air and cause poor running and a lack in power. If you buy one of these cars I would strongly recommend these are replaced with solid aftermarket parts. All maintenance is simple and can be done at home.

          As an every day car it would not be to everyone's taste and they do need looking after or they will soon deteriorate. However, for a truly practical, inexpensive and fun weekend car these are fantastic. The performance of the 1850 is not far from the Sprint but at less than half the price and is certainly in my opinion a better choice than the 1300 and 1500 cars.

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        • Rover Metro / Archive Motor / 7 Readings / 4 Ratings
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          17.06.2010 19:19
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          A good cheap runaround

          Overall the K-series 1100 Metro/R100 is a good car for the money, but you get what you pay for. They are very lacking in refinement and safety, and have several defects in their design. If possible, try to avoid the 1.4 versions of the car with the 16v head, as these suffer from the dreaded K-series headgasket problems.

          The 1.1 is actually a good unit that is very rev happy and, in my experience, very reliable. The gearbox is Peugeot and extremely smooth and easy. When pumped up the ride quality is very good, thanks to the hydrolastic suspension, but this is prone to leaking which causes the front end to drop causing the suspension to bottom out hitting bumps and generally making the ride uncomfortable. Beware; if you are looking at a car that has just had it's suspension pumped up the chances are it'll be down again within a month. Top ups cost around £40.

          The handling isn't too bad; the car tends to under steer if pushed too hard into a corner although this is easily corrected. If the suspension has leaked the opposite starts to happen, especially in the wet, caused by a lower CofG at the front than the back which means that if pushed the back starts to swing out, again, easily correctable.

          The interior is minimalist but functional and the seats are comfortable. They also tend to wear well; mine having covered 100 000 miles with no real signs of wear. Parts are cheap and readily available and there is good club support. While usable on the motorway wind noise does increase dramatically over 65 so it isn't ideal for long distance touring.

          For a cheap run around or learner car I would recommend one thanks to the good fuel consumption (up to 50 mpg if you are careful) and very low insurance. Try to get the best you can, ideally with a low millage.

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        • Peugeot 306 L 1.9 Diesel 5-dr / Car / 4 Readings / 4 Ratings
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          17.06.2010 19:03
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          Get a good one and you will be rewarded

          I have purchaced a Peugoet 306 XNDT diesel with 160 000 miles on the clock for £600 with one owner and a full service history. It is actually a surprisingly good car.

          Interiors do not tend to wear well but if looked after they are extremely confortable with good supportive seats, well set out dashboard and good driving position.

          The downside is a lack of top end power but I suspect this is a fault of worn parts or leaks reducing boost rather than the design. There is huge amounts of torque making it ideal for towing. The ride is superb, as you would expect from a french car, as is the handling. Combined with a very low fuel consumption of around 45 - 50 mpg I would recomend one of these cars to anyone after a cheap runaround. The low insurance group (5) also helps reduce costs.

          However, I strongly suggest you wait for a good example to come on the market as there are many ropey high millage cars out there which are more trouble than they are worth. Unless cared for inteiors wear badly, electrics are prone to failure and reliablity suffers.

          A good service history is vital; you have to ensure the cam belt has been changed when necessary, the service intervals are around ever 80k. If this hasnt been done and it is coming up for a change you are facing a bill of a few hundred pounds, or a new engine if you don't do it.

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