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since 10/12/2003


Apple iPod touch MB376ZG/A 32 GB First Generation 14/07/2008

Itouch - Ipod Heaven

Apple iPod touch MB376ZG/A 32 GB First Generation Well, after my old 40GB Ipod Classic met a tragic end, I decided to buy 2 new Ipods as its replacement - an Ipod mini for the gym, and the 32GB Ipod Touch for listing all of my music on. I could have bought another classic Ipod, but wanted something that could do more than the usual Ipod items of music and videos. I could have bought a different MP3 player that wasn't an Ipod at all - but (a) that was the brand I was used to and (b) I already had an Itunes library set up (so it was convenient for me to buy from the same manufacturer). I could have bought the 8GB or the 16GB version of the Touch, but as my music collection is 20GB, I wanted the 32GB. Anything less would have meant that my entire collection wouldn't be on it - which kind of defeated the object of buying a new large hard drive Ipod. So, as I definitely wanted an Ipod with something a bit 'extra', but one that had the hard drive capacity needed for my large music collection, I bought a 32GB Ipod Touch off Ebay for £230 (a complete buy it now bargain) and have had it for about a month. So, was it a waste of my money? Is it an overhyped piece of rubbish? The answer has to be an absolutely resounding NO!! It's simply fantastic! It is exactly what I wanted and more. Lets start off with the well known design - everyone who knows about Itouches probably knows that what makes their design so special is that there are no buttons - you just use your finger to slide into different areas. What I didn't know until ...

HP Color LaserJet CP4005dn 25/04/2008

HP Color LaserJet CP4005dn Printer

HP Color LaserJet CP4005dn In March, my office finally bit the bullet and bought its first networkable printer (to be used by 3 people). Up to that point, we had 3 different printers - 1 on each desk - which all went through a full colour cartridge every fortnight and a black cartridge cost every week. Given the extortionate cost of printer cartridges (even recycled ones), my boss decided that now was the right time to buy a new 'central' networked printer, and wanted people to come up with ideas as to what we wanted. We eventually decided that we wanted a printer that could be networked wirelessly, had a high print cartridge capacity, could work with Vista had a fast printing turnaround, had a household name so that cartridges wouldn't be a problem and one that had a duplexing facility as we print a lot of double-sided pages as part of our order forms/timesheets. After much debate, my boss went out on a whim - without our IT honcho - and bought the CP4005dn - which, as it had toners instead of cartridge - he rationalised that it couldn't possibly go through the ink as fast and, according to him, was pretty darned fast and was obviously highly sought after as it had sold out in the shop, but they would deliver one to him. This was a bad idea since my boss knew as much about printers as I do about his collection of Johnny Hallyday CDs (in other words, you know what its function is, but other than that not very much). Still, misgivings aside, we awaited its arrival with baited breath. On Monday, a ...

Plustek OpticSlim M12 24/04/2008

Portable Laptop Scanner - Plustek M12

Plustek OpticSlim M12 This scanner's intended purpose was to provide a portable scanner for my laptop - something that I could carry around without lugging a box that was bigger than my actual laptop! It had to meet 3 requirements: be portable, scan quickly and scan in detail - as I wanted to be able to scan in business cards for work and the occasional article. Anything else was a bonus. So, what did I actually make of the M12 scanner. Well after having this scanner for 6 months I can confirm that it certainly does have some bells and whistles. I was surprised when I opened the box as to just how small and light it was. It's about the size and weight of a toblerone bar, so if you are looking for a lightweight scanner, this one is great. It also proved to be highly portable - after you've downloaded the driver onto your laptop, you just plug it into a USB port and it is ready to scan. That's it - no power cords, no batteries that need re-charging, etc., all you need is an empty USB slot. So it was light and portable - and definitely fit my first pre-requisite. I can carry it with my laptop and not notice the extra weight, so great. So okay, it had a compact design, but what's the good of that if it couldn't scan properly? Surely something so lightweight couldn't possibly scan correctly? Oh yes it could - it's scanned in my documents quickly, and with highly legible quality. It was also incredibly easy to use (once all the drivers, etc are on - which was also easy to do thanks to the step by ...

Apple iPod mini M9435B/A 4 GB 22/04/2008

Mini By Name & Likeability

Apple iPod mini M9435B/A 4 GB After the death of my old 40GB Ipod Classic I bought a 32GB Ipod Touch and a 4GB Ipod Mini for the gym as its replacements (I absolutely love my Touch - it should come with a heart between the I and the touch). Yet what do I make of the mini? It's functional - it was the right price range on Ebay and did what I wanted it to do - play music long enough for me to have a variety at the gym. Yet something about the mini just doesn't feel right and it's hard to explain. It's better than a Classic at the gym as the size is a lot smaller. I can hold the essential tracks on it - enough for a good few hours workout - but not my entire collection (but as my music collection is 20GB size that is hardly surprising)! However, it's not as good as an Ipod nano - which would hold the same number of tracks, but the nano is smaller. The battery life also sucks (my Classic lasted three times as long, but that was twice the size so doesn't really count as it's not a like for like comparison). It runs out sometimes in under an hour - even on a full charge. I've even changed its battery only for the new one to last just as long as the old one. Is this common to all Ipod Minis? Compared to my better half's Nano, this Mini just doesn't hack it battery wise. However, I do love the Ipod look and its functions - so would choose a Mini over a non-Ipod. Yet if you want something that can only hold a lot of music I'd go for a classic ipod (or better yet an Itouch if you want true ...

Sony DCR-SR32E 22/04/2008

Sony DCR-SR32E

Sony DCR-SR32E This is one fantastic camcorder - and can't be beaten for the price. It's small, powerful, quick to react and I've not had a problem with it yet. The touch screen menus are easy to navigate (once you've read the manual), the picture quality is crystal clear (not HD, but who's complaining at this price) and the sound quality is good - except in high winds, when it picks up more wind noise than people talking. I love the inbuilt features (the shooting modes, etc) and there are tons of accessories. Only downsides are battery life (so I bought I bigger battery - so the life lasts for hours now), basic editing software (ditto) and it is slow to focus zoom in in dark areas. I'd also recommend buying the wide angle lens accessory for group shots (the original lens is a little narrow) and the sportspack if you want extra protection. These are only minor niggles though - nothing major. Compared to my old camcorder, the no changing of DVDs and the big improvement on picture quality is enough for me to fall in love with this camcorder. The true test, I suppose, is would I buy it again? Absolutely yes. Would I buy it for someone I liked as a present - yes. Even my mother (the greatest technophobe alive) likes it - at Easter she was able to press the 'red' record button once to take a video and again to stop it. If I'd received this as a present, I'd be thrilled. ...

Motorola razr V3i Dolce & Gabbana limited edition mobile phone. 22/04/2008

Motorola V3i M? M for 'Mistake' or 'Mediocre'?

Motorola razr V3i Dolce & Gabbana limited edition mobile phone. I have owned an O2 Motorola V3i M for about 6 months now. The phone has its definite plus points - the camera is great quality and the video (which wasn't on my V3) is also pretty good. Its clamshell style is easy to open and the phone is very easy to use. The accompanying 'ringtone editing' software was good to use, but doesn't work on Vista computers (as I found out when I upgraded my laptop). Games, wallpaper, etc., are all easy to use and change. However, as a texter, I found more drawbacks to this mobile than my old Nokia (and I strongly suspect that I may be upgrading again before the year is out). The main downside is that the battery doesn't seem to last very long (I've bought a new one, but the phone still needed charging up every day - and I'm a relatively light user). Other problems I've experienced are - screen freeze, sending a text midway (the send button is too close to the ordinary text), accidentally deleting all of the messages on my phone by pressing cleanup when I only wanted to delete my sent items and you can't delete multiple items! How strange is that? On my old phone I had the option of deleting messages one by one (which you can do on a V3i M), delete the whole lot of them (which you can do on a V3i M), but you could also tick delete multiple messages if you wanted to delete, say, 7 out of your 10 inbox messages but couldn't be bothered going into each one to delete them - which is something the 'more advanced' V3i M can't do! Another ...

HP PhotoSmart R837 22/04/2008

HP Photosmart R837

HP PhotoSmart R837 It's hard to take offence to this fab little camera; the R837 is well constructed, fairly priced, intuitive to use, and delivers images of reasonable quality for what it is - although red eye is a real problem the in-camera editing software fixes this eventually. The technology of removing blemishes from faces and the slimming effect has come in handy (especially for the swimsuit on holiday shots!), but does get a bit boring after a while. The menus are pretty much self-explanatory - e.g. if you choose to turn off the autolight function, it will show you a preview of how this will affect your picture, ditto if you want to crop or add a border to your picture. The internal software also allows you change the brightness, contrast, colour, etc of your photo without uploading your photos whilst still keeping your original image intact - so you can see the before and after effects. If you're after a fully automatic point and shoot to carry around in the daytime or evening when your bulkier DSLR or bridge camera is back at home or the hotel - and you can't afford the premium point-and-shoot likes of a Canon IXUS - then this HP - not usually known as a 'cool' brand in any respect - comes recommended. The family user or the beginner appears to be the one who will get the most out of the HP R837 - it's simple enough for the kids (or my mother!) to operate and fun too. The battery holds the charge okay and the picture quality for 7 x 5 shots is fantastic (haven't tested the A4 size ...

Sony DCR-SR32E 22/04/2008

Sony Handycam DCR SR32E

Sony DCR-SR32E I find this camcorder to be far superior to my old DVD one. The hard drive means that it is much more compact, and reads and writes loads faster too - without the aggravation of DVD insertion and removal. I have also found it to be reliable - it captured some excellent video of my Christmas and New Year's Eve parties, which played back and transferred with perfect picture quality (although not as superior as HD quality of course). I even discovered that it had a nightlight facility (wasn't aware of that before I bought it) - so it could capture videos even in almost complete darkness (very handy for my brother's surprise party)! The touch screen interface was easy to use and overall I found this to be a fab little camcorder - everyone from a novice to an expert would enjoy exploring all the shooting modes, etc. Is there a downside - yes, but only minor niggles from my point of view. Although the image stabiliser was good, it is slow to zoom in in darkish circumstances, the supplied battery life is fairly short (mine lasted for 105 minutes, but this was easily rectifiable with buying a NPFH100 battery) and although the picture quality was good, it wasn't HD quality - but if I'd wanted that, then I'd have bought HD camcorder. The supplied editing software is rather basic too - but as I already had an editing programme, this wasn't too much of an issue for me. Loads of other potential accessories are also available separately - including a tripod, case (which I ...
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