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Gareth Jones (Manchester, UK)

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Nintendo Handheld Console 3DS XL - Silver/Black (Nintendo 3DS)
Nintendo Handheld Console 3DS XL - Silver/Black (Nintendo 3DS)
Offered by CSC Distribution
Price: 192.95

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A huge improvement over the original, 13 Jan 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The 3DS is a great console but for me there were a number of problems with the physical hardware:

* The upper half of the console is slightly wider than the bottom half, leading to a mushroom-looking profile when looked at from the front when the device is closed.
* The metallic finish looks great, but the shine that is applied to it is a fingerprint magnet.
* The volume button looks like a cheap Chinese implementation.
* The 3D slider is too easily adjusted by accident and the glowing 3D light serves as a distraction when playing in darker conditions.

The 3DS XL fixes each of these problems and then some:

* Both halves are now the same size and profile, leading to a more elegant profile when closed.
* The textured finish does not attract fingerprints.
* The volume button is a proper button.
* The 3D slider clicks into place when turning 3D off, and feels more firm when in 3D mode and is less likely to be moved accidentally. The glowing 3D light has gone.

In all the original console feels like it was rushed without much thought and the XL feels like someone sat down, looked over the original and made a list of its problems before putting them right. Even the weight distribution of the machine is better.

The bigger screen makes a huge difference and the original feels tiny when you go back to it. Basically, once you try XL you won't go back!

The only two gripes are:

1) no charger included by default which is just Nintendo being tight.
2) no 2nd analogue stick built in so again you have to use that ridiculous add-on, but that's a problem with the 3DS concept rather than with the XL hardware. With control so beautifully realised on the Sony Vita, hopefully the 3DS' successor will actually have 2 analogue sticks built-in. For now though the 3DS XL is a fantastic machine and a great buy!

AmazonBasics Carrying Case for Nintendo 3DS DS Lite DSi and DSi XL Black Officially Licenced by Nintendo
AmazonBasics Carrying Case for Nintendo 3DS DS Lite DSi and DSi XL Black Officially Licenced by Nintendo
Price: 6.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Does the job, 13 Jan 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The case itself is sturdy and I'm confident that it offers sufficient protection to the console inside. There's room for 3 games which are held in place securely enough. There's no mesh though which I normally use to place the cloth to wipe the screen every now and again, so I've placed this underneath the console instead.

So it's just a basic case and it doesn't have any bells and whistles, but what it does have is competent enough.

Java 7 for Absolute Beginners
Java 7 for Absolute Beginners
Price: 17.51

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Good for Java basics, but full of errors, 10 Aug 2013
Although I have over 10 years of experience developing in other languages, I was completely new to Java so a book for "absolute beginners" seemed like a good start.

The book does a decent enough job of introducing you to Java, the Java VM and the Java IDE, Eclipse. It will teach you the structure of Java classes, the syntax, some of Java's built-in utilities and more general OOP concepts like inheritance and polymorphism. A lot of this was just treading old ground for me, but I enjoyed the Java aspects of it that were new.

However, the book was clearly written by someone who is more of a hobbyist than a professional. Indeed, he openly admits at the beginning that he was an English teacher who was introduced to programming by a colleague and he took it up as a hobby which then turned into a job. This shows in the quality of his code I'm afraid, and it really isn't something that should be used as an example for learners.

The fact that he used to be an English teacher also surprised me because the book is full of spelling and grammatical mistakes. There's also a serious over-use of brackets which demonstrate a poor grasp of punctuation and actually makes reading the book an exercise in irritation.

Unfortunately the mistakes aren't limited to language either, as even the example code features errors which in a book about programming is most unforgivable. Both the editor and the technical editor were clearly asleep at the wheel when they reviewed the book and shouldn't be allowed to do so again.

Would I recommend the book? I'm afraid not. An abundance of linguistic and technical errors make it a frustrating read, and the bits that are useful are covered much better elsewhere. This book is one to avoid.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 12, 2013 6:52 PM BST

iGadgitz Black EVA Hard Case Skin Cover for Sony PSP Go!
iGadgitz Black EVA Hard Case Skin Cover for Sony PSP Go!

5.0 out of 5 stars A great little case, 29 Feb 2012
This case is great.

The inside is soft enough to offer your Go a comfortable home and the outside is tough enough to withstand considerable force. The case is also small enough to fit inside your pocket too, fitting quite snugly around the console which makes it practical on all fronts. The only downside to that really is that there isn't enough room to keep a USB cable but since the slim profile means I can slip this case into my coat pocket most comfortably, I'm not complaining.

There is a little mesh pocket inside the lid though, which is where I keep a soft cloth with which to give the screen a wipe every now and again.

Playstation Vita Officially Licensed Deluxe Travel Case - Black (PlayStation Vita)
Playstation Vita Officially Licensed Deluxe Travel Case - Black (PlayStation Vita)
Offered by RAREWAVES
Price: 12.08

10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Impractical in every way, 29 Feb 2012
= Fun:1.0 out of 5 stars 
As has already been noted on the review for the blue version, this case is a waste of space - literally.

It's much larger than the standard one (Officially Licensed 4Gamers Travel Case - Black (PlayStation Vita)), yet somehow seems to lack any dedicated space for the Vita itself! There's a small zipped compartment which is where I'm guessing the console is supposed to go, but it's much too small for the Vita and the zip is likely to scratch the console if you try to force it in there. Apart from that compartment there isn't anywhere for the console to fit.

If you don't mind the fact that the case can't adequately carry the console itself, there are two pouches, 12 game slots and some elastic for you to slide a USB cable underneath. There's nowhere to fit a UK mains adaptor though so in reality the only thing this case has to offer over the standard one is 8 extra game slots - but the standard one will actually hold your Vita properly which makes it a much better case!

Ridge Racer (PS Vita)
Ridge Racer (PS Vita)

25 of 29 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 24 Feb 2012
= Fun:1.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Ridge Racer (PS Vita) (Video Game)
Firstly, Ridge Racer on the original PSP was a great showcase of the machine's power: lush visuals and fluid game-play seemed to be realised by Sony's handheld with relative ease and left Nintendo's DS games looking primitive in comparison.

This game for the PSP Vita on the other hand was nothing but a major disappointment, and I sent it back to Amazon in disgust the day after I received it. It stinks of a game that was rushed to the shelves in time for the console's launch, irrespective of the quality - or lack thereof.

The graphics look respectable in screen-shots (though lack the same wow factor as the original PSP's game did back in 2005) but on the console itself leave a lot to be desired. The frame rate is poor at best, falling to what must be low 20s on the corners on even the first track with performance only degrading on the others. If there's one thing you need in a racing game it's a high and stable frame-rate because without that it's difficult to gauge steering with any degree of precision.

The handling of the cars in the Ridge Racer games has always been controversial, often feeling like the cars are on rails and will go around a corner no matter which way the car is actually facing. It only really occurred in the later stages of the original PSP game, but here it's abundant from the very first corner. This leads to a real feeling of dislocation from the game as it feels as though all you need to do is press the throttle and the invisible rails that the car is on will guide it around the track by itself.

There are only a handful of cars and 3 courses to choose from too, which makes the game more of a tech-demo than a game - and a poor one at that.

Anyone looking for a showcase for their new Vita should stay well clear of this game as it offers nothing but disappointment on all levels. Stick with the original PSP version or get Wipeout instead which is amazing!
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 4, 2012 1:04 PM BST

Eye Protection Goggles Green Laser Safety Glasses
Eye Protection Goggles Green Laser Safety Glasses
Offered by TB3C(shipping 15-23 days)
Price: 2.44

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very pleased!, 2 Dec 2010
The glasses come in a hard protective case with a zip. When you open the case and take out the glasses, you find that the arms (for want of a better word!) are resizeable to take into account heads of different shapes and sizes. I bought these glasses with a <200mw green laser pen, and when I use it with these on the green glow of the pen is VASTLY reduced and I no longer feel afraid to look at where the laser is focused. Excellent buy.

Wireless IR Infrared Remote Control for Sony Alpha A230,A290,A330,A380,A390,A450,A550,A580,A700,A850,A900,A33,A55,A57,A65,A77,A99,NEX-5 NEX-5n,NEX-6,NEX-7,Milnolta DSLR as IRMT-DSLR1
Wireless IR Infrared Remote Control for Sony Alpha A230,A290,A330,A380,A390,A450,A550,A580,A700,A850,A900,A33,A55,A57,A65,A77,A99,NEX-5 NEX-5n,NEX-6,NEX-7,Milnolta DSLR as IRMT-DSLR1
Offered by Emgreat (Shipping time 7-15 days)
Price: 3.59

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Functional, but typically Chinese., 2 Dec 2010
I opened the box and pulled out the remote. The face of the remote has a thin plastic sheet that covers the buttons and entire face, and this was loose in the top right corner. I only had to push it down with my finger to stick it back into place, but it didn't create a good first impression. I suppose this is what you get from Chinese accessories.

The remote itself works as expected, so other than that there's not much else to say as it's such a simple device.

The Engrish in the instruction manual made me laugh - "30 degrees from left to right and from top to bosom" when describing the line of sight for the remote to work. Classic.

No Title Available

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Awesome laser, gimmicky LEDs, 26 Nov 2010
The laser arrived today in a black canvass case. The LED "torch" is a waste of time as the LEDs don't just shine white as is implied by the photograph, but they cycle between blue, red and green and don't give off much light. You wouldn't use it as a torch and these could easily be removed from the package without detracting from it.

As for the laser though, it's incredibly bright and very impressive. It easily shone against the walls of houses down the street at 1.30 in the afternoon, so I can't wait to see what it's like tonight.

Citizen Eco-drive Gents Watch
Citizen Eco-drive Gents Watch

6 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 30 Jan 2008
I opened the box and was initially delighted by how nice this watch looked. Having owned many watches over the years I immediately tried to set the time. First mistake. None of the push-buttons did anything. I pulled out the crown assuming that it would somehow change the mode to adjusting the time automatically - nope. How do you change the mode I thought. It turns out after reading the instruction booklet (which for the first 15 pages or so just goes on and on about how important it is to keep the watch fully charged which hints at battery life not being what you'd hope), I discovered that navigating the watch's modes is done by *turning* the crown. The crown is a tiny little button which in its home position doesn't give much to grab onto. Add the fact that my fingers are man-sized and not child-sized, and changing the modes is actually quite tricky. Add again the fact that sometimes you turn it (and you hear the click to confirm what your eyes can see) and the watch doesn't respond.

Having finally got the watch into a mode that would allow me to adjust the time, again to my horror I discovered that the values are all changed by turning the crown while the two - MUCH more user-friendly - buttons just sit there doing nothing. Adjusting the date is painful as the little clock on the right has to turn 4 times before the date increments, which is again hit-and-miss with turning a crown that sometimes doesn't register the movement.

My old Accurist watch allows me to do everything with push-buttons. This is a much better idea and seeing how this watch is 10 years old it appears watch design is going backwards. It also allows me to increment the date by 1 with every single click - I don't have to turn a crown multiple times hoping that it will register the movement and then wait for the little clock on the right to go round 4 times before the date even thinks about changing.

I've put my old watch back on and have packaged this one back up to be returned ASAP. Very disappointing.

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