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tsmith109

tsmith109
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Member since: 23.05.2011

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      26.05.2011 15:30

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      A great budget smartphone without a contract

      The Orange San Francisco is the ideal handset for those looking for a good value smartphone. With a sim only contract for £10 a month or less, you can unlock a wealth of services at a fraction of the cost of 'premium' smartphones. The handset itself is well designed with a rubber coating on the grey model which grips well on surfaces and in the hand. The OLED screen on my San Fran produces inky blacks and great contrast. The camera is not as bad as many make out, and with an app like Retro Camera (free) you can take some fabulous shots.

      The software bundled with the phone by Orange is usable but hampers the phone's true performance. Downloading a customised operating system is quick and easy as long as you follow the instructions provided on the web. This will give you a smoother operation whilst removing unnecessary apps which come with the phone. The great thing about Android is the ability to redesign the look of your homescreen to your heart's content. Widgets, apps, backgrounds, screensavers are all customisable to the extent where you will find yourself endlessly playing with the way your phone looks and works

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      26.05.2011 15:28

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      A great addition to the wii, can become boring after a while, not a replacement for proper fitness.

      I purchased the wii fit almost on release. I was realistic with my expectations that this would not be a fantastic fitness tool but wanted it for the enjoyment and the games that came with it. For a while its great fun, fantastic innovative technology that you might expect from Nintendo and some good, addictive games to come with it.

      However, after using it for a few months, it became quite boring. I think this is partly due to the fact that the Wii is a "party" console. Its great to have a group of friends around and play some 2-4 player games. With the wii fit its one at a time. It can be fun, but quite boring for large groups. The Wii fit itself has some good fitness programs and progress tracker. Although the more "physical" games are quite boring and I tend to use my whole time playing the balance games as they are more fun!

      One great purchase along with the wii fit was a snowboarding game, it really put the wii fit board to good use.

      However, I think Microsoft may have leapt ahead with the Kinect technology, although the wii will still remain an original family favourite. Kinect allows more people to be involved unlike the Wii board.

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    • Microsoft Xbox 360 / Games Console / 4 Readings / 4 Ratings
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      26.05.2011 12:49

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      Great console, one of the best!

      I've had my xbox 360 now for over 5 years and its one of the few consoles that I can remember where I am not constantly looking forward to the next system. Microsoft continue to keep me interested by bringing out new and better games, addons and of course the kinect system.

      I still have my original xbox 360, the first generation, and its still going strong! I havent had a problem with it so far and I have had it for a long time. It has brought us tons of classic games such as COD, Halo series, Dead Space, Fall out, guitar hero... I can see in quite a few years time it having the iconic status that the N64 and megadrive has with games coming out called "XBOX 360 Classics" for the Xbox 8!

      I used live a lot to keep in touch with my friends back home, its a great way to chat as well as having a distraction and competition of online gaming. It must be one of the longest lasting consoles around without having a complete refurb to the next generation of consoles. There are still constant improvements being made to it, making it one of the best technological investments I've ever made!

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    • Argos / Highstreet Shopping / 1 Reading / 0 Ratings
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      26.05.2011 12:33

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      Very bad experiences, but still a low cost home option.

      I often find myself looking to Argos for furniture due to ease of use and low prices. However, I think I have now well and truly learn't my lesson. Do not buy from these guys!

      About 6 months ago I brought a bed from Argos, obviously came flat packed. I started to put it together and found that several holes were too small or not drilled enough to fit the required screw into. Because it was half built I just went to my local DIY store and brought my own fittings just to get it up. The bed itself was awful, it was mainly metal poles which rattled every time you moved.

      I should of decided then not to buy their stuff. Yesterday however, I brought a book case and have similar issues. On first opening the quality of the bookcase was poor, although it was only £25 so can't complain on that front. But again, the terrible effort that has gone into it and the lack of testing was apparent. The screws did not push in fully because the holes are not big enough, I tried to force them down but only succeeded in getting a blister on my hand for my troubles! In one case there wasn't even a hole drilled to fit anything into it. Again I'll probably just bodge it together as I can't be bothered to return it or pack it all back up...

      These guys are great for low prices, ease of access and collection, but their flat packed products in my experience are always rubbish. I think I'll look elsewhere and spend a little more next time.

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    • Blackberry Bold 9780 / Smartphone / 4 Readings / 3 Ratings
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      25.05.2011 17:27

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      The only choice when it comes to company phones.

      I think Blackberrys are currently the only solution for businesses when it comes to company phones and roaming email access. They offer a secure way to access company data out of the office, security which can be handled in house by the companies IT using Blackberry Enterprise Server.

      This phone offers all the features of a standard smart phone in terms of connectivity and internet access. I personally would still prefer to use a Blackberry keyboard over my personal touch screen phone. The RIM operating system that is now also available with this phone also offers more usability although still falls short of the flexibility and customisation of Googles android operating system. The camera on this phone is average compared to what is currently out there, but you have to remember this is designed for business and in my opinion thats where it should stay. I would not recommend this phone for personal use, I just don't see the point, you lose out on features that you may want with a personal phone, there are better phones for this purpose in the same price range elsewhere.

      However, taking it for what it is, these phones have worked fine in our company. They are small and lightweight compared to most smartphones at the moment, the new OS is hard to get used to but it does make navigation quicker, allowing you to put frequently used icons on your homepage...

      And the best thing about Blackberrys - it has brickbreaker!

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      25.05.2011 11:34
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      Mixed bag, but still my preferred method of transport around UK.

      I often use FGW to visit home from London to Oxford, if you prebook then you get pretty decent return deals, I've got a return to Oxford for £10 before without any rail card discounts or anything. Buying tickets on the day however can be expensive. Also pre booked fares mean you have to get a certain train, and if you happen to get a slightly earlier one, even if its empty, you will get charged a new fare on board.

      My first problem with FGW is that you are paying a lot of money for public transport, but you don't get the service. Sometimes I think the staff fail to realise that you are a paying customer, in particular the on board ticket inspectors, where you can get some with bad attitudes where you are almost treated like a criminal if you have the wrong ticket or time. I think some of them must of tried and failed to get into the police or something!?

      A recent personal complaint I had towards FGW was that I booked a return to Oxford for the Sat/Sun and due to an emergency I went home on the Friday. I went to the ticket office to try and move my ticket but they said I would have to buy a new one, my fault for changing my mind but how hard would it of been to just move my journey? The train was half empty anyway!?

      A noticeable drawback of FGW is the state of the trains, compared to other networks such as Virgin, the trains are dated and dirty, often with rubbish over the seats even when the train is about to begin a new journey from a departing station.

      However, I could be one of the lucky ones here, I have rarely seen delays on any of my journeys going out of London or within London, so I guess this is the most important factor when using such transport.

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      • easyJet / Airline / 9 Readings / 8 Ratings
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        24.05.2011 15:01

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        Great airline for the price, my favourite amongst the low cost lines.

        I have flown easyjet a lot recently. To Spain a few times to visit parents and also a longer flight to Jordan. There is a lot to shout about at easyjet, not great planes, costs for using card, cost for taking a bag, cost for being first one the plane etc etc.

        However, if you have the bare minimum, take some baggage in the cabin, they are perfect. They are a low cost airline and therefore they reduce the cost as much as possible to the customer, including removing costs for people who might not want to take baggage on board.

        The planes aren't the most comfortable places to spend a few hours, but the staff have always been polite, service has always been great and I've never landed late and I must of been on over 20 flights with these. Maybe I am just one of the lucky ones? The longest flight was to there new destination in Amman, Jordan, where the planes are the same they use across Europe, so sitting on one of those for over 5 hours wasn't my idea of luxury, but I chose this airline for the price. I would of sat on the floor if it meant the cost of my ticket was cheaper! You fly a budget airline to save money, therefore you can't expect anything more than the minimum. To land on time is the most to ask for and that has happened every time so far...

        I've flown other budget airlines across the world, and easyjet are among the best. Ryanair quality is a lot worse, again this could be down to luck, but I've found easyjet to always be more friendly, more on time and the quality of the cabin and food to be greater.

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        24.05.2011 12:52
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        No improvements, just backward steps. Poor year for PES.

        My first year at uni was my first experience with evo! It was pro evo 4, the game which finally rivalled the Fifa revolution. It was the first time I'd played a football game that wasn't by EA because others around me were loyal PES fans. After a few games I was hooked at haven't looked back.. untill PES 2011!

        Each year they made slight improvements but there was always a bug or two in the new game to get annoyed about, but its arcade style platform and unpredictability still made it my choice of football game. This year they completely reinvented the gaming platform to try and close the gap on Fifa which has been widening over the last couple of years. And in my opinion they have it all wrong. Yes it might be more realistic, but evo was all about arcade excitement. Frantic 4-4 draws, 90th minute goal(s). Now its 2-0, 1-0, 0-0 tactical bore fests.

        They have put in features that just didn't need improvement such as auto kick off?? Team menus are more difficult to manage and stats have been simplified, something that evo used to beat Fifa in, tiny changes in detailed player attributes that made each player different rather than generic good, ok and poor!

        I just think they need to talk to the people who play it and ask them what they want. They got it so right with PES4, 2011 is so wrong. I've moved to Fifa this year, its no classic PES, but its the best around... lets hope for better things in 2012.

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      • tfl.gov.uk / Internet Site / 5 Readings / 4 Ratings
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        24.05.2011 12:02

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        Good at doing a very difficult job, but lets get rid of the union!

        As most Londoners, my life depends heavily on TfL. It is the best transport system in the UK with regular service every few minutes and 24 hours a day. As with any transport system it has to cope with its problems; people under a train, broken down trains, signal failures etc. And unlike most places, it has thousands of people to disperse when problems occur and find alternative solutions before overcrowding and congestion come into play.

        The website is fairly useful, the journey planner is not amazing when searching postcode to postcode, it tends to offer the most lazy solution where an extra few minutes walk could save a lot of journey time, but station to station it is usually pretty accurate and up to date with any current problems on the tube.

        As the whole country moves through the recession, people lose they're jobs, cut backs are being forced and made in every sector of the economy. Unfortunately TfL are in a position of union and power to be able to cause disruption if they feel they are being treated unfairly, in some cases they are but in my opinion they have to get on with it like the rest of us!

        Also the woman that speaks on the tannoy system at Angel is awesome!

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      • HP Workstation Z400 / Desktop PC / 5 Readings / 3 Ratings
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        24.05.2011 11:19
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        Good solid performer over price, ideal corporate design desktop.

        Although the Z400 on paper might not be as powerful as the Z800, the performance will not be disappointing especially for those looking to run Adobe creative suites. We brought these models in to do exactly that and they have no trouble in running these programs and after effects.

        The Z400 comes in a mid aluminium tower with a host of front panel ports including DVD Multi-recordable LightSCribe drive, two USB 2.0 slots, headphone and microphone port, and a 3.5-inch media card slot with an third USB 2.0 slot, as well as support for Micro SD, Compact Flash I and II, xD card, SD/MMC/miniSD, and Memory Stick Pro/Memory Stick Pro Duo. The machine itself it large and heavy, but its a desktop and therefore isn't going to be moved around a lot.

        The price difference between this and its higher end Z800 is quite significant and after reading other online reviews there isn't much difference in day to day performance of the two machines.

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        • HP LP2275w / LCD Monitor / 6 Readings / 5 Ratings
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          24.05.2011 10:44

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          Good monitor but far better options available for the price.

          Working in an IT department we brought a variety of these montiors in to aid designers we have in the office. With a display of 1440 x 900 the image quality is sharp and bright, but nothing more or nothing less than you would expect when paying for a monitor of this price.

          For a home monitor I believe there are far better models on the market in a similar price range. Aesthetically the monitor is large, thick screen and a wide clumpy base which looks very cheap. One drawback is it can be temperamental when using dual monitors on both xp and win7. It needs to be on before you turn the PC on otherwise it is not picked up and has to be unplugged. We've had several issues with no real work around.

          One thing that sets this monitor apart from the rest is the features. With multiple functionality on the display settings to the various input ports surrounding the monitor, this is a good addition to a working environment but maybe a poor choice for a home monitor? Mainly due to the recent fall in prices of visual displays it seems there are better options available.

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          23.05.2011 18:21
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          For the price, this camera won't be beaten. Great pictures, ideal for casual users

          I was looking for a new digital camera for holiday after previously owning both a lumix and a cannon. After looking around for cameras near my budget it was between the lumix tz8 and the canon sx260. After reading reviews and having a demo of each in the shop I went with the lumix, even though on paper the canon was more powerful.

          I am certainly not disappointed. The TZ8 is a great little camera, although larger than most compacts on the market, on holiday you just want to turn it on and snap, and the camera allows you to do that with great ease, its intelligent auto mode is fantastic for recognising the situation you are in and adjusting settings for the best picture. Cannot fault the lens and image stabiliser either. Lumix's lecia lens reputation is superb which edged me towards this camera in the first place. I was in the back seat of a car doing 50mph and I snapped a phone box as a test, and it came out perfectly! I wasn't tempted by the extra £30 for the TZ10, which from what I can see, has the same build with the added extra of GPS tracking for your pictures.

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          • HTC Desire HD / Smartphone / 8 Readings / 5 Ratings
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            23.05.2011 17:57

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            Great smart phone with excellent flexibility for personalisation, an impressive piece of kit

            I decided to go for the HTC desire HD after being a fan of my girlfriends HTC Desire. The phone is obviously larger to accommodate the improved screen size of its original. However, being a man and keeping everything in my pocket, I didn't really have a problem with its size. While on the subject of its physical attributes, I have dropped the phone several times, had it in my pocket with keys and never had a protective case. And there currently isn't a scratch on it. Ideal if you like to show of your new phone without having to hide it in a case for the first year of its life. The touch screen works fantastically, better than other touch phones in my opinion such as the Samsungs, the HTC is ultra sensitive.

            The software is as expected and the reason I chose the phone, Google's android OS performing fast with great functional abilities and app store. The draw back of the software is that you are unable to delete pre installed apps, meaning unwanted programs will continue to use up precious space and also run in the background (there is an app to stop apps running on auto). Also some apps will only let you install on the phones very limited memory and you can't chose to move it to the memory card, meaning space can become an issue fast if you have too many apps installed.

            I have installed different interface from HTCs pre installed GUI, app to terminate other apps as well as a reboot each week keeps this phone running at a great speed no matter how many programs I have open and running. Easily the most impressive phone I've had or used. Go into a shop and have a demo, you won't be disappointed. I would go for this over an Iphone every day of the week, for half the cost as well.

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