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John Ryan "One man and his Kat" (London, UK)
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BlastX Premium Portable Mini Wireless BlueTooth 4.0 Speaker (Fully Backwards Compatible), 8 Hours Playtime/Talktime (Rechargeable Battery), Clear Sound, Powerful Enhanced Bass, Compatible With iPhones, Ipads, PCs, Macs, MP3s, PSPs, etc. - Black
BlastX Premium Portable Mini Wireless BlueTooth 4.0 Speaker (Fully Backwards Compatible), 8 Hours Playtime/Talktime (Rechargeable Battery), Clear Sound, Powerful Enhanced Bass, Compatible With iPhones, Ipads, PCs, Macs, MP3s, PSPs, etc. - Black
Offered by Webstome
Price: £49.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely little speaker!, 1 Aug 2014
This is a nicely designed (and for the price quite impressive sounding) bluetooth speaker with the addition of being able to answer the phone!  

Absolutely terrific stuff, here's why....

What is it?
--------------
The Blast X is a tiny little Bluetooth wireless speaker. 

In summary, if you've got a smartphone (ie. Android or iPhone) or tablet (eg. iPad, Nexus or Kindle Fire) or even a relatively modern laptop you can wirelessly stream (play) music from your device.  No wires, no fuss just great sound.

Let's face it. Increasingly, we listen to music on our smartphone or tablet - not from a CD player. These little speakers use a "Bluetooth connection" (a bit like WIFI - but it's limited to connect two devices together – in this case your Smartphone and the speaker).

The really nice feature of this device is you can also use it as a “hands free” speakerphone for your mobile.  This means you could (for example) have a “conference call” with the entire family.

What's it like?
----------------
It’s a lovely (tiny) little device.

It’s a diminutive little round shaped speaker at around 2.5 inches by 2 inches, and although light, feels a pretty solid build.

While the sound quality is not quite HI FI (as you’d expect at this price point),  I was pleasantly surprised by the full sound this device produced.  There's a little distortion at maximum volume, but nothing too bad, and given the size and price point, it's produces a surprisingly clear sound.

In terms of build quality, it does feel pretty good with a top quality materials and a speaker itself (3  watts of power) protected by a metal grille.   

On the base it has a switch which I thought was a little confusing at first.  It can be used to increase and reduce volume, play a track or skip to the next and previous track.  In addition there's a switch to power down, or put it in MP3 mode.

Surprising, for a device at this price point and size, you can even fit a Micro SD card, which means you can load it with a huge selection of music, and not need to keep your smartphone or tablet near the device. You can also connect it to your headphone socket of a smartphone or tablet too.

Finally, there's also a light near the bottom that even more confusingly has a range of functions including:-

* Flashing alternate Red/Blue to indicate in "pairing" mode.  (Means you can pair your smartphone or tablet to the speaker.
* Blue - once it's actually paired/connected to the smartphone
* Green - when you're using the MicroSD card or Aux connection
* Red when you're charging the device

Does it work?
--------------
I'm glad to say, after checking on the instructions, and working out what all the switches and lights mean, I was able to get it connected OK.  I then tested it without any problems on:-

* Google Nexus 5 Smartphone
* iPad Air
* iPhone 4GS
* Mac Book Pro

Connection (pairing) was almost immediate, and sound quality clear, but not quite HI FI quality (you can pay up to £250+ for a top-end device).

Who should buy it?
---------------------------
Well, at this price almost anyone, but I'd guess it'd be brilliant for....

* For a child or young teenager to stream music from a PC, Mac or Tablet computer
* To watch films on an iPad or Android tablet - to boost the sound quality
* To take on a picnic or holiday. It's small, well built and weighs almost nothing
* To improve the sound quality from built in speakers on a laptop

What's Good about it?
-----------------------
* Sound quality is surprisingly good for the size 
* Voice quality (for example listening to the radio) is very clear.
* Built in ability to answer calls, and use it as a speakerphone
* The addition of being able to plug in a Micro SD card is a bonus (means you don't need to stay within 30 feet of the speaker).
* Incredibly small and light

What's not so good?
——————————————
When I first open these devices I do the “bloke test”, and ignore the instructions and just try to set it up.  As I say, I did find it a little confusing at first, but once I'd got the hang of it it worked fine.

The only other (minor) gripe I had, was the connection was a "mini-USB" which is fairly rare these days. (Every other device I have has a tiny "micro-USB" socket. Having said that, a cable is included, it just means you've got to keep yet another cable around the place. A minor gripe, but worth noting.

Conclusion
-------------
A great little device which would look and work great in a lounge or bedroom.

Disclosure: I was kindly sent this by the manufacturer to give an independent unbiased review.

Highly Recommended. 


Poweradd™ 10400mAh Dual USB External Battery Pack with Multi-Angle Portable Stand for iPhone 5S 5C 5 4S(Apple Adapters Not Included), iPad Air Mini Retina, Samsung Galaxy S5 S4 S3, Note 3 2, HTC One, LG G2 G3, other Android Phones and Tablets
Poweradd™ 10400mAh Dual USB External Battery Pack with Multi-Angle Portable Stand for iPhone 5S 5C 5 4S(Apple Adapters Not Included), iPad Air Mini Retina, Samsung Galaxy S5 S4 S3, Note 3 2, HTC One, LG G2 G3, other Android Phones and Tablets
Offered by Poweradd
Price: £69.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Solid build quality, a lovely desktop smartphone charger, 31 July 2014
I must admit, I was intrigued by this little desktop charger when it arrived.  Now I’m really pleased as punch. 

Here’s why…

What is it?

—————

A combined Smartphone stand and battery charger.  Effectively it’s a desk-top stand for your mobile smartphone or tablet computer, with the added bonus of a whopping 10,400 mAh battery built in which means you also use it as an emergency power boost to recharge your smartphone or tablet several times.

What’s it like?

——————-

Well, the first thing that stuck me when I opened the Amazon packaging, is the care, attention and build quality of this thing.   It comes in a well built thick cream box complete with Apple style top quality packaging.

Inside it has the cleverly folded up charger, a 12 inch short USB to micro-USB cable, plus instructions.  For those of us with an iPhone or iPad with the old 30 pin charger, it also handily comes with a Micro-USB to 30 pin converter.  Nice touch!

The device itself in smart silver, is exactly as the photos suggest, very smart with good build quality.  It has two adjustable arms, which mean you can set the stand to almost any position, and then tighten the hand-screws to keep it in place.

I’ve tried it with my Google Nexus 5 Smartphone, a Apple iPhone 4S and they all worked beautifully well.  I also tried it with my daughter’s iPad mini in both horizontal and vertical mode, and it sits beautifully.  It’d be great to watch a film on.

Finally, I tried in on my iPad Air and my wife’s iPad 3rd generation, and all sat nicely.

I particularly like the fact the arms and back-rest include well placed rubber feet to prevent the iPad from being scratched. 

What will it charge?
—————————
Well, just about anything with a micro-USB connector, an iPhone 30 pin connector or (using your own lightning cable) and iPhone 5. 

A little research shows it's good for:-

* Apple iPhone 5, 5s and 5c. (Using your own USB-Lightening connector)
* Apple iPhone 3, 3G, 3Gs, 4, 4Gs. (Using the supplied USB-30 pin converter)
* Samsung Galaxy Note 3 S4 S3 S2 Note 2
* Blackberry, HTC, LG, Motorola, Sony android Smart Phones and Tablets.
* Google Nexus 4 and 5 smartphones and Nexus 7 and 10 tablet computers
* Kindle Paperwhite Fire HD, GPS and just about anything else with a USB connector.

Does it work?
——————-
I’m pleased to report yes it does.  It charged my Google Nexus 5 from under 50% charge to 100% within an hour.  Given the huge 7,500 mAh battery capacity, I’d expect it’ll recharge most Smartphones several times.

For example, here's the battery capacity (mAh) of some popular smartphones:-

* Google Nexus 5 - 2,300
* Samsung Galaxy S3 - 2,100
* Samsung Galaxy S4 - 2,600
* Apple iPhone 4S, 5  and 5S - 1,400, 1,432 and 1,570

Conclusion
—————
I have to say I really like this desktop stand.  The fact it also doubles up as a battery back-up for a smartphone or tablet, and works well to watch a film on a tablet computer is a bonus.

Highly Recommended.

Disclosure: I was kindly sent this by the manufacturer to give an independent unbiased review.   I do hope you found this review useful.  I certainly enjoyed reviewing this.


BTR Handlebar Stem Storage Bike Bag With Removable Shoulder Strap
BTR Handlebar Stem Storage Bike Bag With Removable Shoulder Strap
Offered by BTR Direct Ltd
Price: £8.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nicely designed, although small handle-bar fitted cycling bag., 31 July 2014
If you're a keen cyclist like me you'll almost certainly carry a back-pack to carry all the essentials, like car keys, a puncture repair kit, loose change or one of those nifty tools for getting boy scouts out of horses hooves.

Well, now you can leave it at home. Here's why.... 

What is it?
--------------
It's a small  12 x 10 x 7 cm little cycle bag that's designed to be strapped to your handle-bars.  This means you can keep your loose change and stuff without carrying a back-pack.

Of course "small" is relative, and it's difficult to estimate size, so to put it in context, the main zipped pocket is just about big enough to fit my fist in.  This means you could fit a very small camera or some loose change, but not a modern smartphone.

What's it like?
----------------
Small but well made, with lots of zipped pockets.   This includes:-

* A tiny (2 inches x 2 inches) outer zipped pocket - suitable for loose change
* A main zipped pocket (just big enough for a fist).
* Under a velcro flap, an additional zipped pocket (3 inches x 3 inches). 
* A shoulder strap (so you can use it off the bike), and two plastic loops
* Three loops to attach the bag to your handlebars - with a quick release loop as well.

It's made of tough water-resistant polyester material (so should keep your stuff dry), and as an additional bonus, it comes with two quick release plastic buckles for the shoulder strap,

As described, you attach it to your handle bars so the bag is facing you using the velcro straps  I certainly found it a doddle to fit and remove.

It also has a little mesh pocket which would be great to hold a micro sized puncture repair kit.

I tested it on both a Specialized Comp XC mountain bike, and a Trek 1.2 lightweight road racer, and it fitted perfectly to both.  Despite a short off-road, but bone-rattling ride (on the MTB), it didn’t budge an inch.  Perfect!

What's Good about it?
----------------------
* Water-resistant fabric which should keep your valuables safe and dry
* The straps held the bag firmly in place 
* Has lots of pockets alll with zips
* Well designed and excellent build quality

What's not so good?
----------------------------
Not a lot really.  I'd prefer the option of a slightly larger bag, but that's because I normally carry the kitchen sink when I'm out - just in case.  

Conclusion
------------
This is a well designed (but small) bike case at an incredible price which uses what is otherwise dead space.

Highly Recommended.

Disclosure: I was kindly sent this by the manufacturer to give an independent unbiased review.  Having said that, it's a pleasure to test products so well made.


SANNCE 8-Channel CIF/D1 Security Surveillance DVR with 1TB Hard Drive System and 4 800TVL Weatherproof Color Cameras Built-in IR-Cut, Mobile Phone and PC Remote Access Viewing ( Black )
SANNCE 8-Channel CIF/D1 Security Surveillance DVR with 1TB Hard Drive System and 4 800TVL Weatherproof Color Cameras Built-in IR-Cut, Mobile Phone and PC Remote Access Viewing ( Black )
Offered by sannce
Price: £189.94

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top Quality home security system. I love it!, 31 July 2014
This is an incredibly impressive video camera system. Here's why....

Disclosure: This review is for the SANNCE Home & Business 4Ch Full 960H DVR and 4 x 800 TVL CCTV 42 IR Cut Leds Night Vision 110FT Indoor Outdoor Cameras System Complete Kit ( NO HDD)which was provided by the manufacturer for an independent and unbiased review. This is the same product, but this one includes a massive 1Tb hard drive as standard.

What is it and what does it do
----------------------------------------
Effectively it's a video surveillance kit which could be used to protect a home or small business. It comes with:-

* A "control box" - 10" x 9" by 2" - (about the size of a small DVD player) which is "the brains" of the operation
* 4 top quality video cameras. Solidly built with a metal shell - they feel built to last
* 4 sets of cable (each 60 feet long) to connect each camera to the Control Box
* A USB mouse (to configure the device)
* A remote control to control basic operations (eg. play back)
* Screws and plugs to install the cameras either indoors or outdoors as required
* HDMI cable (so you can plug the Control Box into a TV or computer monitor)
* Three user guides: A quick installation guide, Camera User Guide and Video Recorder operating instruction
* Built in 1Tb hard drive to record from the cameras

Out of the box, you can set up between 1 and 4 cameras, and then configure it to alert you when motion is detected.

What's it like to use?
---------------------------
I must admit, I was hugely impressed by this device. At this price point, I expected something fairly unsophisticated. However, having played around with it, it's remarkably configurable.

For example, you can change the Hue, Brightness, Contrast and Colour Saturation for each camera independently. Once you've tuned one camera to your liking, you can copy the settings to others, and you can even set the language, which has a huge range of options including English (default), Chinese, Russian, Portuguese, Spanish, Turkish, Italian, Iranian, Hebrew, French, Polish, German and Korean.

You can also configure the cameras to detect movement (identifying particular zones and adjusting sensitivity - so the cat doesn't set it off), and contact you on your mobile to warn you.

In terms of build quality, it's remarkably well built, and instructions are fairly clear. In particular, the cameras are particularly well built - which is reassuring as they'll proably be exposed to the elements.

Finally, the visual quality of recordings was good to excellent. I did a test video indoors looking out into the garden (so it was particularly difficult lighting conditions). However, although the colour had a slight green cast, it was still clear. I also found in better lighting conditions, colour rendering worked much better, and it'd be fine for normal security use.

Conclusion
---------------
Despite the low price, this really is a top quality video surveillance kit with the added benefit of a built in 1Tb hard disk (enough recording time for about a month or so). Of course it appears the same manufacturer does an entire range of options including without a hard drive, and even better quality camera, so you've always got the option of saving mone, and installling your own disk.

A great little package and highly recommended.


Aukey Windshield Car Mount Holder Cradle for iPhone 5S 5C 5 4S 4 / Samsung Galaxy S5 S4 S3, Note 3 2 / Google Nexus / HTC One, One 2 (M8) / Amazon Fire Phone / Motorola MOTO X, G / Nokia 5020 1020 520 / LG G3, Optimus; Compact Size GPS; iPod Touch; MP3 Player and other smartphones (AK-3D)
Aukey Windshield Car Mount Holder Cradle for iPhone 5S 5C 5 4S 4 / Samsung Galaxy S5 S4 S3, Note 3 2 / Google Nexus / HTC One, One 2 (M8) / Amazon Fire Phone / Motorola MOTO X, G / Nokia 5020 1020 520 / LG G3, Optimus; Compact Size GPS; iPod Touch; MP3 Player and other smartphones (AK-3D)
Offered by AukeyDirect
Price: £29.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely top quality and nicely designed. I love it!!, 31 July 2014
I've tried a huge number of mounts, and this is one of the best smartphone car mounts I've used.

Here's why....

What is it?
--------------
It's a smartphone holder suitable for a range of phones including:-

* iPhone 4 and 4S
* iPhone 5 and 5S
* HTC One 
* HTC One M8
* Google Nexus 5
* Entire Samsung Galaxy range

I tested it with an iPhone 4GS, an iPhone 5S and a Google Nexus 5.  All worked without any problems at all.

What's it like?
----------------
In a word, excelllent.   It's lightweight but appears strong, sturdy and well built, with foam protection so you super-expensive phone is well protected, while also being firmly held in place.  

It's very easy to fit to either the windscreen or the dashboard (although you'll need an 80mm plastic disk - not supplied - to attach it to the dash).  It has a large suction cup which holds it in place, and your phone can be rotated 360 degrees, so your phone can be placed in portrait or landscape mode.  It also has a tilt facility so you can tilt the phone to a comfortable angle.

I had absolutely no problems with the suction cup attaching the device to the windscreen, but I'd advise if you're replacing an old suction cup based device that you clean and dry the area first. 

Finally, once put in place, I found the phone was held firmly (but gently) in place, and the one hand release mechanism was a pleasure to use.  I've used several of these smartphone holders before, and this is one of the few which can be operated with one hand.

As an added bonus, the instructions were good - which I find quite unusual - many devices I've reviewed have awful instructions written in broken English.

What's Good about it?
---------------------------
* Well built using excellent quality materials - excellent moulding with no defects at all
* Designed to fit any phone (great for when I switch phones)
* Single handed quick release mechanism - a pleasure to use
* Grips which hold your phone are nicely padded to protect it from scratches
* Nicely packaged - very "Apple like" packaging design
* Clear instructions

What's not so good?
----------------------------
Not a lot really.  The tilt feels a tiny bit limiting at about 45 degrees up, and 45 down, but I had no problems fixing it using the ball and screw mechanism to a clear viewing angle.

Conclusion
------------
A top quality smartphone holder suitable for almost any phone (including the huge size Galaxy note 2 and 3).   Built from well moulded tough plastic, it fitted well, and with the added bonus of a single handed quick release.

Overall - highly recommended.

Disclosure:  I was kindly provided this item for an independent review.  However, with devices are this good it's a pleasure anyway.


Apple iPad Air MF502LL/A (16GB, Wi-Fi + T-Mobile, White with Silver) NEWEST VERSION ItemShape: Wi-Fi + T-Mobile Color: White Size: 16 GB Portable Consumer Electronic Gadget Shop
Apple iPad Air MF502LL/A (16GB, Wi-Fi + T-Mobile, White with Silver) NEWEST VERSION ItemShape: Wi-Fi + T-Mobile Color: White Size: 16 GB Portable Consumer Electronic Gadget Shop

5.0 out of 5 stars Incredibly thin, fast and light, but which model should you buy?, 31 July 2014
The new iPad Air is Apple's latest, slimmest, lightest release of their hand-held computer. Oddly enough, it's so beautifully easy to use (my one year old granddaughter loves playing with it), it's almost doesn't feel like a computer at all.

A word of warning - this review is written for people who've never owned an iPad before - and are wondering what all the fuss is about. If you're thinking of upgrading skip down to the "What's great about the Air" section below, or just buy it - it's amazing.

Just what's all the fuss about?
--------------------------------------
I used to own a laptop for work, and (very occasionally), it'd sit on my lap on the sofa, and I'd use it for pleasure (eMail, watching films or playing the odd game). Then I bought my first iPad, and the laptop became redundant, a boring "work device". Hard to explain, but the fact the iPad is so small and light, and you navigate around with your finger by pointing and gently swiping the screen makes the whole experience a lot easier - a lot more fun.

Even my most "luddite" of friends have been won over.

It's incredibly simple and easy to use (it only has one main button), and everyone from my one year old granddaughter to my 85 year old dad have taken to without problems. It's size and shape also support using it like a book (literally to read a book or web page), but you can also watch TV and films.

Personally I'm also paranoid about my password getting "hacked", and someone running up a huge Amazon bill or buying stuff with my credit card on eBay. Well one of the benefits of the iPad (and iPhone) is it's "almost impossible" to get a virus - one of the most common ways to get hacked. This doesn't mean you shouldn't use strong passwords, (both Sony and Adobe got hacked), but it's reassuring to leave the Windows world behind.

Finally, I love the way these devices (iPad, iPhone, Apple TV, Apple Mac), increasingly work together. The fact you can start a Pages document on your Mac and edit it on your iPad, or take photos on the iPhone, and in seconds see them on the iPad or Mac and display them on the Apple TV.

Equally, you don't "need" to buy into the Apple dream. I also run a Google Nexus 5 (Android) phone, and a PC. Lots of programs (see below) can be used on the iPhone, iPad, Android and PC.

The thing about the iPad is, "it just works".

How about Apps?
--------------------------
Firstly, an App, is a small "application" (a program) that runs on your iPad, and there's literally thousands available from the "App Store", with the most important ones (web browser, mail, music player, word processor, spreadsheet etc) are pre-installed or free to download.

Many apps cost $1 - or 69p in real money, and loads are free (frequently advertising funded with the option to "add on" stuff - but beware you can run up a huge bill).

Here's my favourites:-

* Mailbox. Incredibly slick mail app (or use the built in Apple App) (Free)
* Photo & iPhoto. Built in apps to take/view/edit photos (Free)
* Skype. Chat to the family for free using a video call (Free)
* BBC iPlayer. Great way to catch up on BBC TV. (Free).
* tv24.co.uk. TV Listings. See what you're missing on TV (Free)
* TVCatchup. Watch real time TV (the Freeview stations anyway). (Free)
* Netflix. For £5 a month watch a huge collection of films online. (Free)
* Evernote. Write and organise notes. Edit them on your Android, iPhone, iPad, PC or Mac (Free)
* DropBox. Access your files, documents and photos on Android, iPhone, iPad, PC or Mac. (Free)
* Tune In Radio. Listen to 1,000s of radio stations world-wide - or listen to Radio 4 like I do (£2.40)
* Spotify. Stream music for £5 a month (or free with ads). Brilliant! (Free)
* eBay. Buy and sell your stuff online. (Free)
* Garage Sale. Fantastic way to produce professional looking sales on eBay. (£2.99)
* Rightmove. Search for your next Flat or House or just gape at daft prices (Free)
* Zite. Online web magazine that learns what you like. Terrific! (Free)
* Movies by Flixter. Read reviews of films on cinema and DVD. (Free)
* Kindle. Read your books from Amazon Kindle bookstore. (Free)
* QuickOffice. Edit Word, Excel and Powerpoint documents (Free)
* Pages, Numbers and Keynote. Apple's version of MS Office. Edit/save documents in Word, Excel andPowerpoint format. (Free)
* MS Office. £80 a year subscription for 3-4 PCs, Macs or an iPad or "read only" for free. (Free)

Of course you could also use it to read web pages (my wife loves the Daily Mail Online), or playing amazing games like "Football Manager" (£2.99) or "Cut the Rope" (69p). It's a wonderful surprise having come from a PC background to find the most expensive game in the top 100 cost £6.99 and most cost £2.99 or less.

Personally, I tend to use it for Mail, watching TV (BBC iPlayer, Netflix), or shopping using the built in browser - Safari. Having said that, I'm writing this review (using an external keyboard) on Pages - so it can (with a stretch) do "most" of what you can do on a PC or Mac.

Which model should I buy?
----------------------------------
I can't comment about Android tablets (apart from the Google Nexus 7 which is well regarded), but in terms of the Apple tablet line-up in order of cost:-

1. Avoid the Apple iPad 2, it's a relatively old model, under-powered and with a lower resolution screen.
2. iPad 3rd or 4th Generation. Not quite as light, fast or thin, but if you're on a budget (and who isn't), a great alternative.
2. iPad mini is a lovely tablet. A 7.9 inch screen and astonishingly light and remarkably thin - it feels like a light-weight book.
3. iPad mini with retina screen. Again 7.9 inch screen, but with the blazingly fast A7 chip, and a "retina" (high definition) screen. Worth the upgrade from the "mini".
4. iPad Air. Much larger screen size (9.7 inches - doesn't sound much but it makes a huge difference). Same fast (A7) chip as the Mini with Retina - the latest and fastest full size iPad available.

If you want a small tablet (eg. to read one handed on the train), I'd go for the iPad Mini Retina or (at a push), the original mini.

In terms of a full size tablet, the Air is the fastest, lightest and thinnest, followed by the 3rd or 4th Generation iPad - and all are available on Amazon. It depends upon your budget.

What are the Optional add-ons?
-----------------------------------------
Well, assuming you've dropped by the Apple Store or John Lewis (which I would HIGHLY recommend), and handled the iPad Mini, and iPad Air then your options are around memory size and cellular option.

Memory: Important! Once bought, you can't add memory (space for apps, films, books etc). However, the basic price goes up so you need to compare prices. 

Personally, having owned a 16g and 32g iPad - I can safely recommend the 16g unless you want to store a huge amount of videos and downloads. Only you can decide, and if you need the space, then buy the bigger model. Otherwise, 16g should be fine for most people - especially if you store photos and documents online (eg. Dropbox or Google).

However, if you need the extra space you have the following options:-

* 16g - Great provided you don't want to store lots of photos or video
* 32g - Double the space
* 64g - Massive.  You'll store a lot of songs or video
* 128g - Absolutely top end - but with a matching price tag.

Cellular: Allows you to connect to the internet while you're out and about. This will add an additional £100 to the price and means you can slip in a mobile phone SIM card. This means (£7-15 a month on contract), you can access the internet on the move. Alternatively, you can opt for the WIFI option, and use it at home or at at "hot spot" (eg. Starbucks, most rail stations and hotels etc).

Personally I'd buy (and indeed did), the 16Gb iPad Air WIFI, but these are key decisions.

Do I need anything else?
-------------------------------
Most people (me included) buy a cover. Apple (and now hundreds of others) make a "smart-cover" which automatically shuts down the iPad when you close it, and switches it on when you open it. There's versions which cover the back, or just the screen. Apple charge from £35 to £65 for their (admittedly) high quality fabric or leather covers, but there's many available from £10. Be aware, you do get what you pay for, but "Swees Ultraslim" (about £10), has excellent reviews on Amazon.

Personally,I think it's a pity to cover the beautiful aluminium industrial design of the iPad with a cover - but if you've spent literally hundreds of pounds, you'll want to protect it from scrapes and bangs.

I also invested in a keyboard (£25-80), as I tend to write a lot of mails and documents (remember it comes with a word processor). I'd recommend the Logitech Ultra Thin iPad Air Case with Keyboard - Space Grey. Be aware, a keyboard is strictly optional unless you want to use your iPad as a proper laptop.

You can also buy a rechargeable wireless bluetooth speaker. It's a fantastic way to boost the sound quality and volume from an tablet, phone or PC. I'd recommend the JBL Flip (from £49), the Bose Soundlink Mini (£169) or the top end Bose Soundlink III (£259). Personally, I listen to music (Spotify or iTunes) or the radio on my wireless speakers every day. It's just brilliant.

Finally, if you have another Apple device (eg. an iPhone, Apple TV or Mac) you'll find these work together beautifully. For example, you can create a reminder on your iPad and it appears on your iPhone. Equally, photos taken on your iPhone appear on your iPad, and you can send music or videos from iPad, iPhone or Mac to an Apple TV.

Some people think this "locks you in" - but it's your choice.

What's great about the Air?
-----------------------------------
* Lighter (30%) and thinner than the previous version (469g from 650g)
* Even faster A7 chip. Blazingly fast!
* Improved sound (compared to the iPad 4)
* Software including
+ iMovie - edit and publish home made movies
+ Numbers - Fully functional Excel for the iPad
+ Pages - Word processor
+ GarageBand - Play a piano or a drum kit
+ iPhoto - Edit and organise your photos

What's not so great?
--------------------------
* The change in physical size means you'll need a new keyboard or replacement cover if you're upgrading from a previous model
* Pity Apple didn't include the "touch ID" to secure your passwords

Overall Opinion
---------------------
It's hard to believe the iPad version 1 was released just four years ago, and there's a huge raft of "me too" tablet computers to choose from, but the Apple iPad Air is still the one to beat. As "Which?" magazine put it - "...the best tablet we've ever tested. Apple packs a beautiful screen and lightning fast processor into a slimmer-than-ever shell, and battery life is very impressive".

Yes, there are cheaper Android based alternatives, but the quality, design and beauty of this tablet just sets it apart. If it were a car it'd be a top of the range Mercedes or a BMW 5i.

Highly Recommended.  Buy it.


Apple iPad Air MF020LL/A (16GB, Wi-Fi + Sprint, Black with Space Gray) NEWEST VERSION ItemShape: Wi-Fi + Sprint Color: Black Size: 16 GB Portable Consumer Electronic Gadget Shop
Apple iPad Air MF020LL/A (16GB, Wi-Fi + Sprint, Black with Space Gray) NEWEST VERSION ItemShape: Wi-Fi + Sprint Color: Black Size: 16 GB Portable Consumer Electronic Gadget Shop

5.0 out of 5 stars Incredibly thin, fast and light, but which one to buy?, 31 July 2014
The new iPad Air is Apple's latest, slimmest, lightest release of their hand-held computer. Oddly enough, it's so beautifully easy to use (my one year old granddaughter loves playing with it), it's almost doesn't feel like a computer at all.

A word of warning - this review is written for people who've never owned an iPad before - and are wondering what all the fuss is about. If you're thinking of upgrading skip down to the "What's great about the Air" section below, or just buy it - it's amazing.

Just what's all the fuss about?
--------------------------------------
I used to own a laptop for work, and (very occasionally), it'd sit on my lap on the sofa, and I'd use it for pleasure (eMail, watching films or playing the odd game). Then I bought my first iPad, and the laptop became redundant, a boring "work device". Hard to explain, but the fact the iPad is so small and light, and you navigate around with your finger by pointing and gently swiping the screen makes the whole experience a lot easier - a lot more fun.

Even my most "luddite" of friends have been won over.

It's incredibly simple and easy to use (it only has one main button), and everyone from my one year old granddaughter to my 85 year old dad have taken to without problems. It's size and shape also support using it like a book (literally to read a book or web page), but you can also watch TV and films.

Personally I'm also paranoid about my password getting "hacked", and someone running up a huge Amazon bill or buying stuff with my credit card on eBay. Well one of the benefits of the iPad (and iPhone) is it's "almost impossible" to get a virus - one of the most common ways to get hacked. This doesn't mean you shouldn't use strong passwords, (both Sony and Adobe got hacked), but it's reassuring to leave the Windows world behind.

Finally, I love the way these devices (iPad, iPhone, Apple TV, Apple Mac), increasingly work together. The fact you can start a Pages document on your Mac and edit it on your iPad, or take photos on the iPhone, and in seconds see them on the iPad or Mac and display them on the Apple TV.

Equally, you don't "need" to buy into the Apple dream. I also run a Google Nexus 5 (Android) phone, and a PC. Lots of programs (see below) can be used on the iPhone, iPad, Android and PC.

The thing about the iPad is, "it just works".

How about Apps?
--------------------------
Firstly, an App, is a small "application" (a program) that runs on your iPad, and there's literally thousands available from the "App Store", with the most important ones (web browser, mail, music player, word processor, spreadsheet etc) are pre-installed or free to download.

Many apps cost $1 - or 69p in real money, and loads are free (frequently advertising funded with the option to "add on" stuff - but beware you can run up a huge bill).

Here's my favourites:-

* Mailbox. Incredibly slick mail app (or use the built in Apple App) (Free)
* Photo & iPhoto. Built in apps to take/view/edit photos (Free)
* Skype. Chat to the family for free using a video call (Free)
* BBC iPlayer. Great way to catch up on BBC TV. (Free).
* tv24.co.uk. TV Listings. See what you're missing on TV (Free)
* TVCatchup. Watch real time TV (the Freeview stations anyway). (Free)
* Netflix. For £5 a month watch a huge collection of films online. (Free)
* Evernote. Write and organise notes. Edit them on your Android, iPhone, iPad, PC or Mac (Free)
* DropBox. Access your files, documents and photos on Android, iPhone, iPad, PC or Mac. (Free)
* Tune In Radio. Listen to 1,000s of radio stations world-wide - or listen to Radio 4 like I do (£2.40)
* Spotify. Stream music for £5 a month (or free with ads). Brilliant! (Free)
* eBay. Buy and sell your stuff online. (Free)
* Garage Sale. Fantastic way to produce professional looking sales on eBay. (£2.99)
* Rightmove. Search for your next Flat or House or just gape at daft prices (Free)
* Zite. Online web magazine that learns what you like. Terrific! (Free)
* Movies by Flixter. Read reviews of films on cinema and DVD. (Free)
* Kindle. Read your books from Amazon Kindle bookstore. (Free)
* QuickOffice. Edit Word, Excel and Powerpoint documents (Free)
* Pages, Numbers and Keynote. Apple's version of MS Office. Edit/save documents in Word, Excel andPowerpoint format. (Free)
* MS Office. £80 a year subscription for 3-4 PCs, Macs or an iPad or "read only" for free. (Free)

Of course you could also use it to read web pages (my wife loves the Daily Mail Online), or playing amazing games like "Football Manager" (£2.99) or "Cut the Rope" (69p). It's a wonderful surprise having come from a PC background to find the most expensive game in the top 100 cost £6.99 and most cost £2.99 or less.

Personally, I tend to use it for Mail, watching TV (BBC iPlayer, Netflix), or shopping using the built in browser - Safari. Having said that, I'm writing this review (using an external keyboard) on Pages - so it can (with a stretch) do "most" of what you can do on a PC or Mac.

Which model should I buy?
----------------------------------
I can't comment about Android tablets (apart from the Google Nexus 7 which is well regarded), but in terms of the Apple tablet line-up in order of cost:-

1. Avoid the Apple iPad 2, it's a relatively old model, under-powered and with a lower resolution screen.
2. iPad 3rd or 4th Generation. Not quite as light, fast or thin, but if you're on a budget (and who isn't), a great alternative.
2. iPad mini is a lovely tablet. A 7.9 inch screen and astonishingly light and remarkably thin - it feels like a light-weight book.
3. iPad mini with retina screen. Again 7.9 inch screen, but with the blazingly fast A7 chip, and a "retina" (high definition) screen. Worth the upgrade from the "mini".
4. iPad Air. Much larger screen size (9.7 inches - doesn't sound much but it makes a huge difference). Same fast (A7) chip as the Mini with Retina - the latest and fastest full size iPad available.

If you want a small tablet (eg. to read one handed on the train), I'd go for the iPad Mini Retina or (at a push), the original mini.

In terms of a full size tablet, the Air is the fastest, lightest and thinnest, followed by the 3rd or 4th Generation iPad - and all are available on Amazon. It depends upon your budget.

What are the Optional add-ons?
-----------------------------------------
Well, assuming you've dropped by the Apple Store or John Lewis (which I would HIGHLY recommend), and handled the iPad Mini, and iPad Air then your options are around memory size and cellular option.

Memory: Important! Once bought, you can't add memory (space for apps, films, books etc). However, the basic price goes up so you need to compare prices. 

Personally, having owned a 16g and 32g iPad - I can safely recommend the 16g unless you want to store a huge amount of videos and downloads. Only you can decide, and if you need the space, then buy the bigger model. Otherwise, 16g should be fine for most people - especially if you store photos and documents online (eg. Dropbox or Google).

However, if you need the extra space you have the following options:-

* 16g - Great provided you don't want to store lots of photos or video
* 32g - Double the space
* 64g - Massive.  You'll store a lot of songs or video
* 128g - Absolutely top end - but with a matching price tag.

Cellular: Allows you to connect to the internet while you're out and about. This will add an additional £100 to the price and means you can slip in a mobile phone SIM card. This means (£7-15 a month on contract), you can access the internet on the move. Alternatively, you can opt for the WIFI option, and use it at home or at at "hot spot" (eg. Starbucks, most rail stations and hotels etc).

Personally I'd buy (and indeed did), the 16Gb iPad Air WIFI, but these are key decisions.

Do I need anything else?
-------------------------------
Most people (me included) buy a cover. Apple (and now hundreds of others) make a "smart-cover" which automatically shuts down the iPad when you close it, and switches it on when you open it. There's versions which cover the back, or just the screen. Apple charge from £35 to £65 for their (admittedly) high quality fabric or leather covers, but there's many available from £10. Be aware, you do get what you pay for, but "Swees Ultraslim" (about £10), has excellent reviews on Amazon.

Personally,I think it's a pity to cover the beautiful aluminium industrial design of the iPad with a cover - but if you've spent literally hundreds of pounds, you'll want to protect it from scrapes and bangs.

I also invested in a keyboard (£25-80), as I tend to write a lot of mails and documents (remember it comes with a word processor). I'd recommend the Logitech Ultra Thin iPad Air Case with Keyboard - Space Grey. Be aware, a keyboard is strictly optional unless you want to use your iPad as a proper laptop.

You can also buy a rechargeable wireless bluetooth speaker. It's a fantastic way to boost the sound quality and volume from an tablet, phone or PC. I'd recommend the JBL Flip (from £49), the Bose Soundlink Mini (£169) or the top end Bose Soundlink III (£259). Personally, I listen to music (Spotify or iTunes) or the radio on my wireless speakers every day. It's just brilliant.

Finally, if you have another Apple device (eg. an iPhone, Apple TV or Mac) you'll find these work together beautifully. For example, you can create a reminder on your iPad and it appears on your iPhone. Equally, photos taken on your iPhone appear on your iPad, and you can send music or videos from iPad, iPhone or Mac to an Apple TV.

Some people think this "locks you in" - but it's your choice.

What's great about the Air?
-----------------------------------
* Lighter (30%) and thinner than the previous version (469g from 650g)
* Even faster A7 chip. Blazingly fast!
* Improved sound (compared to the iPad 4)
* Software including
+ iMovie - edit and publish home made movies
+ Numbers - Fully functional Excel for the iPad
+ Pages - Word processor
+ GarageBand - Play a piano or a drum kit
+ iPhoto - Edit and organise your photos

What's not so great?
--------------------------
* The change in physical size means you'll need a new keyboard or replacement cover if you're upgrading from a previous model
* Pity Apple didn't include the "touch ID" to secure your passwords

Overall Opinion
---------------------
It's hard to believe the iPad version 1 was released just four years ago, and there's a huge raft of "me too" tablet computers to choose from, but the Apple iPad Air is still the one to beat. As "Which?" magazine put it - "...the best tablet we've ever tested. Apple packs a beautiful screen and lightning fast processor into a slimmer-than-ever shell, and battery life is very impressive".

Yes, there are cheaper Android based alternatives, but the quality, design and beauty of this tablet just sets it apart. If it were a car it'd be a top of the range Mercedes or a BMW 5i.

Highly Recommended.  Buy it.


Apple iPad Air MF015LL/A (128GB, Wi-Fi + AT&T, Black with Space Gray) NEWEST VERSION ItemShape: Wi-Fi + AT&T Color: Black Size: 128 GB Portable Consumer Electronic Gadget Shop
Apple iPad Air MF015LL/A (128GB, Wi-Fi + AT&T, Black with Space Gray) NEWEST VERSION ItemShape: Wi-Fi + AT&T Color: Black Size: 128 GB Portable Consumer Electronic Gadget Shop

5.0 out of 5 stars Incredibly thin, fast and light, but is this the one for you?, 31 July 2014
The new iPad Air is Apple's latest, slimmest, lightest release of their hand-held computer. Oddly enough, it's so beautifully easy to use (my one year old granddaughter loves playing with it), it's almost doesn't feel like a computer at all.

A word of warning - this review is written for people who've never owned an iPad before - and are wondering what all the fuss is about. If you're thinking of upgrading skip down to the "What's great about the Air" section below, or just buy it - it's amazing.

Just what's all the fuss about?
--------------------------------------
I used to own a laptop for work, and (very occasionally), it'd sit on my lap on the sofa, and I'd use it for pleasure (eMail, watching films or playing the odd game). Then I bought my first iPad, and the laptop became redundant, a boring "work device". Hard to explain, but the fact the iPad is so small and light, and you navigate around with your finger by pointing and gently swiping the screen makes the whole experience a lot easier - a lot more fun.

Even my most "luddite" of friends have been won over.

It's incredibly simple and easy to use (it only has one main button), and everyone from my one year old granddaughter to my 85 year old dad have taken to without problems. It's size and shape also support using it like a book (literally to read a book or web page), but you can also watch TV and films.

Personally I'm also paranoid about my password getting "hacked", and someone running up a huge Amazon bill or buying stuff with my credit card on eBay. Well one of the benefits of the iPad (and iPhone) is it's "almost impossible" to get a virus - one of the most common ways to get hacked. This doesn't mean you shouldn't use strong passwords, (both Sony and Adobe got hacked), but it's reassuring to leave the Windows world behind.

Finally, I love the way these devices (iPad, iPhone, Apple TV, Apple Mac), increasingly work together. The fact you can start a Pages document on your Mac and edit it on your iPad, or take photos on the iPhone, and in seconds see them on the iPad or Mac and display them on the Apple TV.

Equally, you don't "need" to buy into the Apple dream. I also run a Google Nexus 5 (Android) phone, and a PC. Lots of programs (see below) can be used on the iPhone, iPad, Android and PC.

The thing about the iPad is, "it just works".

How about Apps?
--------------------------
Firstly, an App, is a small "application" (a program) that runs on your iPad, and there's literally thousands available from the "App Store", with the most important ones (web browser, mail, music player, word processor, spreadsheet etc) are pre-installed or free to download.

Many apps cost $1 - or 69p in real money, and loads are free (frequently advertising funded with the option to "add on" stuff - but beware you can run up a huge bill).

Here's my favourites:-

* Mailbox. Incredibly slick mail app (or use the built in Apple App) (Free)
* Photo & iPhoto. Built in apps to take/view/edit photos (Free)
* Skype. Chat to the family for free using a video call (Free)
* BBC iPlayer. Great way to catch up on BBC TV. (Free).
* tv24.co.uk. TV Listings. See what you're missing on TV (Free)
* TVCatchup. Watch real time TV (the Freeview stations anyway). (Free)
* Netflix. For £5 a month watch a huge collection of films online. (Free)
* Evernote. Write and organise notes. Edit them on your Android, iPhone, iPad, PC or Mac (Free)
* DropBox. Access your files, documents and photos on Android, iPhone, iPad, PC or Mac. (Free)
* Tune In Radio. Listen to 1,000s of radio stations world-wide - or listen to Radio 4 like I do (£2.40)
* Spotify. Stream music for £5 a month (or free with ads). Brilliant! (Free)
* eBay. Buy and sell your stuff online. (Free)
* Garage Sale. Fantastic way to produce professional looking sales on eBay. (£2.99)
* Rightmove. Search for your next Flat or House or just gape at daft prices (Free)
* Zite. Online web magazine that learns what you like. Terrific! (Free)
* Movies by Flixter. Read reviews of films on cinema and DVD. (Free)
* Kindle. Read your books from Amazon Kindle bookstore. (Free)
* QuickOffice. Edit Word, Excel and Powerpoint documents (Free)
* Pages, Numbers and Keynote. Apple's version of MS Office. Edit/save documents in Word, Excel andPowerpoint format. (Free)
* MS Office. £80 a year subscription for 3-4 PCs, Macs or an iPad or "read only" for free. (Free)

Of course you could also use it to read web pages (my wife loves the Daily Mail Online), or playing amazing games like "Football Manager" (£2.99) or "Cut the Rope" (69p). It's a wonderful surprise having come from a PC background to find the most expensive game in the top 100 cost £6.99 and most cost £2.99 or less.

Personally, I tend to use it for Mail, watching TV (BBC iPlayer, Netflix), or shopping using the built in browser - Safari. Having said that, I'm writing this review (using an external keyboard) on Pages - so it can (with a stretch) do "most" of what you can do on a PC or Mac.

Which model should I buy?
----------------------------------
I can't comment about Android tablets (apart from the Google Nexus 7 which is well regarded), but in terms of the Apple tablet line-up in order of cost:-

1. Avoid the Apple iPad 2, it's a relatively old model, under-powered and with a lower resolution screen.
2. iPad 3rd or 4th Generation. Not quite as light, fast or thin, but if you're on a budget (and who isn't), a great alternative.
2. iPad mini is a lovely tablet. A 7.9 inch screen and astonishingly light and remarkably thin - it feels like a light-weight book.
3. iPad mini with retina screen. Again 7.9 inch screen, but with the blazingly fast A7 chip, and a "retina" (high definition) screen. Worth the upgrade from the "mini".
4. iPad Air. Much larger screen size (9.7 inches - doesn't sound much but it makes a huge difference). Same fast (A7) chip as the Mini with Retina - the latest and fastest full size iPad available.

If you want a small tablet (eg. to read one handed on the train), I'd go for the iPad Mini Retina or (at a push), the original mini.

In terms of a full size tablet, the Air is the fastest, lightest and thinnest, followed by the 3rd or 4th Generation iPad - and all are available on Amazon. It depends upon your budget.

What are the Optional add-ons?
-----------------------------------------
Well, assuming you've dropped by the Apple Store or John Lewis (which I would HIGHLY recommend), and handled the iPad Mini, and iPad Air then your options are around memory size and cellular option.

Memory: Important! Once bought, you can't add memory (space for apps, films, books etc). However, the basic price goes up so you need to compare prices. 

Personally, having owned a 16g and 32g iPad - I can safely recommend the 16g unless you want to store a huge amount of videos and downloads. Only you can decide, and if you need the space, then buy the bigger model. Otherwise, 16g should be fine for most people - especially if you store photos and documents online (eg. Dropbox or Google).

However, if you need the extra space you have the following options:-

* 16g - Great provided you don't want to store lots of photos or video
* 32g - Double the space
* 64g - Massive.  You'll store a lot of songs or video
* 128g - Absolutely top end - but with a matching price tag.

Cellular: Allows you to connect to the internet while you're out and about. This will add an additional £100 to the price and means you can slip in a mobile phone SIM card. This means (£7-15 a month on contract), you can access the internet on the move. Alternatively, you can opt for the WIFI option, and use it at home or at at "hot spot" (eg. Starbucks, most rail stations and hotels etc).

Personally I'd buy (and indeed did), the 16Gb iPad Air WIFI, but these are key decisions.

Do I need anything else?
-------------------------------
Most people (me included) buy a cover. Apple (and now hundreds of others) make a "smart-cover" which automatically shuts down the iPad when you close it, and switches it on when you open it. There's versions which cover the back, or just the screen. Apple charge from £35 to £65 for their (admittedly) high quality fabric or leather covers, but there's many available from £10. Be aware, you do get what you pay for, but "Swees Ultraslim" (about £10), has excellent reviews on Amazon.

Personally,I think it's a pity to cover the beautiful aluminium industrial design of the iPad with a cover - but if you've spent literally hundreds of pounds, you'll want to protect it from scrapes and bangs.

I also invested in a keyboard (£25-80), as I tend to write a lot of mails and documents (remember it comes with a word processor). I'd recommend the Logitech Ultra Thin iPad Air Case with Keyboard - Space Grey. Be aware, a keyboard is strictly optional unless you want to use your iPad as a proper laptop.

You can also buy a rechargeable wireless bluetooth speaker. It's a fantastic way to boost the sound quality and volume from an tablet, phone or PC. I'd recommend the JBL Flip (from £49), the Bose Soundlink Mini (£169) or the top end Bose Soundlink III (£259). Personally, I listen to music (Spotify or iTunes) or the radio on my wireless speakers every day. It's just brilliant.

Finally, if you have another Apple device (eg. an iPhone, Apple TV or Mac) you'll find these work together beautifully. For example, you can create a reminder on your iPad and it appears on your iPhone. Equally, photos taken on your iPhone appear on your iPad, and you can send music or videos from iPad, iPhone or Mac to an Apple TV.

Some people think this "locks you in" - but it's your choice.

What's great about the Air?
-----------------------------------
* Lighter (30%) and thinner than the previous version (469g from 650g)
* Even faster A7 chip. Blazingly fast!
* Improved sound (compared to the iPad 4)
* Software including
+ iMovie - edit and publish home made movies
+ Numbers - Fully functional Excel for the iPad
+ Pages - Word processor
+ GarageBand - Play a piano or a drum kit
+ iPhoto - Edit and organise your photos

What's not so great?
--------------------------
* The change in physical size means you'll need a new keyboard or replacement cover if you're upgrading from a previous model
* Pity Apple didn't include the "touch ID" to secure your passwords

Overall Opinion
---------------------
It's hard to believe the iPad version 1 was released just four years ago, and there's a huge raft of "me too" tablet computers to choose from, but the Apple iPad Air is still the one to beat. As "Which?" magazine put it - "...the best tablet we've ever tested. Apple packs a beautiful screen and lightning fast processor into a slimmer-than-ever shell, and battery life is very impressive".

Yes, there are cheaper Android based alternatives, but the quality, design and beauty of this tablet just sets it apart. If it were a car it'd be a top of the range Mercedes or a BMW 5i.

Highly Recommended.  Buy it.


Apple iPad Air ME997LL/A (16GB, Wi-Fi + AT&T, White with Silver) NEWEST VERSION ItemShape: Wi-Fi + AT&T Color: White Size: 16 GB Portable Consumer Electronic Gadget Shop
Apple iPad Air ME997LL/A (16GB, Wi-Fi + AT&T, White with Silver) NEWEST VERSION ItemShape: Wi-Fi + AT&T Color: White Size: 16 GB Portable Consumer Electronic Gadget Shop

5.0 out of 5 stars Incredibly thin, light and fast, but is this the one for you?, 31 July 2014
The new iPad Air is Apple's latest, slimmest, lightest release of their hand-held computer. Oddly enough, it's so beautifully easy to use (my one year old granddaughter loves playing with it), it's almost doesn't feel like a computer at all.

A word of warning - this review is written for people who've never owned an iPad before - and are wondering what all the fuss is about. If you're thinking of upgrading skip down to the "What's great about the Air" section below, or just buy it - it's amazing.

Just what's all the fuss about?
--------------------------------------
I used to own a laptop for work, and (very occasionally), it'd sit on my lap on the sofa, and I'd use it for pleasure (eMail, watching films or playing the odd game). Then I bought my first iPad, and the laptop became redundant, a boring "work device". Hard to explain, but the fact the iPad is so small and light, and you navigate around with your finger by pointing and gently swiping the screen makes the whole experience a lot easier - a lot more fun.

Even my most "luddite" of friends have been won over.

It's incredibly simple and easy to use (it only has one main button), and everyone from my one year old granddaughter to my 85 year old dad have taken to without problems. It's size and shape also support using it like a book (literally to read a book or web page), but you can also watch TV and films.

Personally I'm also paranoid about my password getting "hacked", and someone running up a huge Amazon bill or buying stuff with my credit card on eBay. Well one of the benefits of the iPad (and iPhone) is it's "almost impossible" to get a virus - one of the most common ways to get hacked. This doesn't mean you shouldn't use strong passwords, (both Sony and Adobe got hacked), but it's reassuring to leave the Windows world behind.

Finally, I love the way these devices (iPad, iPhone, Apple TV, Apple Mac), increasingly work together. The fact you can start a Pages document on your Mac and edit it on your iPad, or take photos on the iPhone, and in seconds see them on the iPad or Mac and display them on the Apple TV.

Equally, you don't "need" to buy into the Apple dream. I also run a Google Nexus 5 (Android) phone, and a PC. Lots of programs (see below) can be used on the iPhone, iPad, Android and PC.

The thing about the iPad is, "it just works".

How about Apps?
--------------------------
Firstly, an App, is a small "application" (a program) that runs on your iPad, and there's literally thousands available from the "App Store", with the most important ones (web browser, mail, music player, word processor, spreadsheet etc) are pre-installed or free to download.

Many apps cost $1 - or 69p in real money, and loads are free (frequently advertising funded with the option to "add on" stuff - but beware you can run up a huge bill).

Here's my favourites:-

* Mailbox. Incredibly slick mail app (or use the built in Apple App) (Free)
* Photo & iPhoto. Built in apps to take/view/edit photos (Free)
* Skype. Chat to the family for free using a video call (Free)
* BBC iPlayer. Great way to catch up on BBC TV. (Free).
* tv24.co.uk. TV Listings. See what you're missing on TV (Free)
* TVCatchup. Watch real time TV (the Freeview stations anyway). (Free)
* Netflix. For £5 a month watch a huge collection of films online. (Free)
* Evernote. Write and organise notes. Edit them on your Android, iPhone, iPad, PC or Mac (Free)
* DropBox. Access your files, documents and photos on Android, iPhone, iPad, PC or Mac. (Free)
* Tune In Radio. Listen to 1,000s of radio stations world-wide - or listen to Radio 4 like I do (£2.40)
* Spotify. Stream music for £5 a month (or free with ads). Brilliant! (Free)
* eBay. Buy and sell your stuff online. (Free)
* Garage Sale. Fantastic way to produce professional looking sales on eBay. (£2.99)
* Rightmove. Search for your next Flat or House or just gape at daft prices (Free)
* Zite. Online web magazine that learns what you like. Terrific! (Free)
* Movies by Flixter. Read reviews of films on cinema and DVD. (Free)
* Kindle. Read your books from Amazon Kindle bookstore. (Free)
* QuickOffice. Edit Word, Excel and Powerpoint documents (Free)
* Pages, Numbers and Keynote. Apple's version of MS Office. Edit/save documents in Word, Excel andPowerpoint format. (Free)
* MS Office. £80 a year subscription for 3-4 PCs, Macs or an iPad or "read only" for free. (Free)

Of course you could also use it to read web pages (my wife loves the Daily Mail Online), or playing amazing games like "Football Manager" (£2.99) or "Cut the Rope" (69p). It's a wonderful surprise having come from a PC background to find the most expensive game in the top 100 cost £6.99 and most cost £2.99 or less.

Personally, I tend to use it for Mail, watching TV (BBC iPlayer, Netflix), or shopping using the built in browser - Safari. Having said that, I'm writing this review (using an external keyboard) on Pages - so it can (with a stretch) do "most" of what you can do on a PC or Mac.

Which model should I buy?
----------------------------------
I can't comment about Android tablets (apart from the Google Nexus 7 which is well regarded), but in terms of the Apple tablet line-up in order of cost:-

1. Avoid the Apple iPad 2, it's a relatively old model, under-powered and with a lower resolution screen.
2. iPad 3rd or 4th Generation. Not quite as light, fast or thin, but if you're on a budget (and who isn't), a great alternative.
2. iPad mini is a lovely tablet. A 7.9 inch screen and astonishingly light and remarkably thin - it feels like a light-weight book.
3. iPad mini with retina screen. Again 7.9 inch screen, but with the blazingly fast A7 chip, and a "retina" (high definition) screen. Worth the upgrade from the "mini".
4. iPad Air. Much larger screen size (9.7 inches - doesn't sound much but it makes a huge difference). Same fast (A7) chip as the Mini with Retina - the latest and fastest full size iPad available.

If you want a small tablet (eg. to read one handed on the train), I'd go for the iPad Mini Retina or (at a push), the original mini.

In terms of a full size tablet, the Air is the fastest, lightest and thinnest, followed by the 3rd or 4th Generation iPad - and all are available on Amazon. It depends upon your budget.

What are the Optional add-ons?
-----------------------------------------
Well, assuming you've dropped by the Apple Store or John Lewis (which I would HIGHLY recommend), and handled the iPad Mini, and iPad Air then your options are around memory size and cellular option.

Memory: Important! Once bought, you can't add memory (space for apps, films, books etc). However, the basic price goes up so you need to compare prices. 

Personally, having owned a 16g and 32g iPad - I can safely recommend the 16g unless you want to store a huge amount of videos and downloads. Only you can decide, and if you need the space, then buy the bigger model. Otherwise, 16g should be fine for most people - especially if you store photos and documents online (eg. Dropbox or Google).

However, if you need the extra space you have the following options:-

* 16g - Great provided you don't want to store lots of photos or video
* 32g - Double the space
* 64g - Massive.  You'll store a lot of songs or video
* 128g - Absolutely top end - but with a matching price tag.

Cellular: Allows you to connect to the internet while you're out and about. This will add an additional £100 to the price and means you can slip in a mobile phone SIM card. This means (£7-15 a month on contract), you can access the internet on the move. Alternatively, you can opt for the WIFI option, and use it at home or at at "hot spot" (eg. Starbucks, most rail stations and hotels etc).

Personally I'd buy (and indeed did), the 16Gb iPad Air WIFI, but these are key decisions.

Do I need anything else?
-------------------------------
Most people (me included) buy a cover. Apple (and now hundreds of others) make a "smart-cover" which automatically shuts down the iPad when you close it, and switches it on when you open it. There's versions which cover the back, or just the screen. Apple charge from £35 to £65 for their (admittedly) high quality fabric or leather covers, but there's many available from £10. Be aware, you do get what you pay for, but "Swees Ultraslim" (about £10), has excellent reviews on Amazon.

Personally,I think it's a pity to cover the beautiful aluminium industrial design of the iPad with a cover - but if you've spent literally hundreds of pounds, you'll want to protect it from scrapes and bangs.

I also invested in a keyboard (£25-80), as I tend to write a lot of mails and documents (remember it comes with a word processor). I'd recommend the Logitech Ultra Thin iPad Air Case with Keyboard - Space Grey. Be aware, a keyboard is strictly optional unless you want to use your iPad as a proper laptop.

You can also buy a rechargeable wireless bluetooth speaker. It's a fantastic way to boost the sound quality and volume from an tablet, phone or PC. I'd recommend the JBL Flip (from £49), the Bose Soundlink Mini (£169) or the top end Bose Soundlink III (£259). Personally, I listen to music (Spotify or iTunes) or the radio on my wireless speakers every day. It's just brilliant.

Finally, if you have another Apple device (eg. an iPhone, Apple TV or Mac) you'll find these work together beautifully. For example, you can create a reminder on your iPad and it appears on your iPhone. Equally, photos taken on your iPhone appear on your iPad, and you can send music or videos from iPad, iPhone or Mac to an Apple TV.

Some people think this "locks you in" - but it's your choice.

What's great about the Air?
-----------------------------------
* Lighter (30%) and thinner than the previous version (469g from 650g)
* Even faster A7 chip. Blazingly fast!
* Improved sound (compared to the iPad 4)
* Software including
+ iMovie - edit and publish home made movies
+ Numbers - Fully functional Excel for the iPad
+ Pages - Word processor
+ GarageBand - Play a piano or a drum kit
+ iPhoto - Edit and organise your photos

What's not so great?
--------------------------
* The change in physical size means you'll need a new keyboard or replacement cover if you're upgrading from a previous model
* Pity Apple didn't include the "touch ID" to secure your passwords

Overall Opinion
---------------------
It's hard to believe the iPad version 1 was released just four years ago, and there's a huge raft of "me too" tablet computers to choose from, but the Apple iPad Air is still the one to beat. As "Which?" magazine put it - "...the best tablet we've ever tested. Apple packs a beautiful screen and lightning fast processor into a slimmer-than-ever shell, and battery life is very impressive".

Yes, there are cheaper Android based alternatives, but the quality, design and beauty of this tablet just sets it apart. If it were a car it'd be a top of the range Mercedes or a BMW 5i.

Highly Recommended.  Buy it.


Apple iPad Air MD786LL/A (32GB, Wi-Fi, Black with Space Gray) NEWEST VERSION ItemShape: Wi-Fi Color: Black Size: 32 GB Portable Consumer Electronic Gadget Shop
Apple iPad Air MD786LL/A (32GB, Wi-Fi, Black with Space Gray) NEWEST VERSION ItemShape: Wi-Fi Color: Black Size: 32 GB Portable Consumer Electronic Gadget Shop

5.0 out of 5 stars Incredibly thin, fast and light. But is this the one for you?, 31 July 2014
The new iPad Air is Apple's latest, slimmest, lightest release of their hand-held computer. Oddly enough, it's so beautifully easy to use (my one year old granddaughter loves playing with it), it's almost doesn't feel like a computer at all.

A word of warning - this review is written for people who've never owned an iPad before - and are wondering what all the fuss is about. If you're thinking of upgrading skip down to the "What's great about the Air" section below, or just buy it - it's amazing.

Just what's all the fuss about?
--------------------------------------
I used to own a laptop for work, and (very occasionally), it'd sit on my lap on the sofa, and I'd use it for pleasure (eMail, watching films or playing the odd game). Then I bought my first iPad, and the laptop became redundant, a boring "work device". Hard to explain, but the fact the iPad is so small and light, and you navigate around with your finger by pointing and gently swiping the screen makes the whole experience a lot easier - a lot more fun.

Even my most "luddite" of friends have been won over.

It's incredibly simple and easy to use (it only has one main button), and everyone from my one year old granddaughter to my 85 year old dad have taken to without problems. It's size and shape also support using it like a book (literally to read a book or web page), but you can also watch TV and films.

Personally I'm also paranoid about my password getting "hacked", and someone running up a huge Amazon bill or buying stuff with my credit card on eBay. Well one of the benefits of the iPad (and iPhone) is it's "almost impossible" to get a virus - one of the most common ways to get hacked. This doesn't mean you shouldn't use strong passwords, (both Sony and Adobe got hacked), but it's reassuring to leave the Windows world behind.

Finally, I love the way these devices (iPad, iPhone, Apple TV, Apple Mac), increasingly work together. The fact you can start a Pages document on your Mac and edit it on your iPad, or take photos on the iPhone, and in seconds see them on the iPad or Mac and display them on the Apple TV.

Equally, you don't "need" to buy into the Apple dream. I also run a Google Nexus 5 (Android) phone, and a PC. Lots of programs (see below) can be used on the iPhone, iPad, Android and PC.

The thing about the iPad is, "it just works".

How about Apps?
--------------------------
Firstly, an App, is a small "application" (a program) that runs on your iPad, and there's literally thousands available from the "App Store", with the most important ones (web browser, mail, music player, word processor, spreadsheet etc) are pre-installed or free to download.

Many apps cost $1 - or 69p in real money, and loads are free (frequently advertising funded with the option to "add on" stuff - but beware you can run up a huge bill).

Here's my favourites:-

* Mailbox. Incredibly slick mail app (or use the built in Apple App) (Free)
* Photo & iPhoto. Built in apps to take/view/edit photos (Free)
* Skype. Chat to the family for free using a video call (Free)
* BBC iPlayer. Great way to catch up on BBC TV. (Free).
* tv24.co.uk. TV Listings. See what you're missing on TV (Free)
* TVCatchup. Watch real time TV (the Freeview stations anyway). (Free)
* Netflix. For £5 a month watch a huge collection of films online. (Free)
* Evernote. Write and organise notes. Edit them on your Android, iPhone, iPad, PC or Mac (Free)
* DropBox. Access your files, documents and photos on Android, iPhone, iPad, PC or Mac. (Free)
* Tune In Radio. Listen to 1,000s of radio stations world-wide - or listen to Radio 4 like I do (£2.40)
* Spotify. Stream music for £5 a month (or free with ads). Brilliant! (Free)
* eBay. Buy and sell your stuff online. (Free)
* Garage Sale. Fantastic way to produce professional looking sales on eBay. (£2.99)
* Rightmove. Search for your next Flat or House or just gape at daft prices (Free)
* Zite. Online web magazine that learns what you like. Terrific! (Free)
* Movies by Flixter. Read reviews of films on cinema and DVD. (Free)
* Kindle. Read your books from Amazon Kindle bookstore. (Free)
* QuickOffice. Edit Word, Excel and Powerpoint documents (Free)
* Pages, Numbers and Keynote. Apple's version of MS Office. Edit/save documents in Word, Excel andPowerpoint format. (Free)
* MS Office. £80 a year subscription for 3-4 PCs, Macs or an iPad or "read only" for free. (Free)

Of course you could also use it to read web pages (my wife loves the Daily Mail Online), or playing amazing games like "Football Manager" (£2.99) or "Cut the Rope" (69p). It's a wonderful surprise having come from a PC background to find the most expensive game in the top 100 cost £6.99 and most cost £2.99 or less.

Personally, I tend to use it for Mail, watching TV (BBC iPlayer, Netflix), or shopping using the built in browser - Safari. Having said that, I'm writing this review (using an external keyboard) on Pages - so it can (with a stretch) do "most" of what you can do on a PC or Mac.

Which model should I buy?
----------------------------------
I can't comment about Android tablets (apart from the Google Nexus 7 which is well regarded), but in terms of the Apple tablet line-up in order of cost:-

1. Avoid the Apple iPad 2, it's a relatively old model, under-powered and with a lower resolution screen.
2. iPad 3rd or 4th Generation. Not quite as light, fast or thin, but if you're on a budget (and who isn't), a great alternative.
2. iPad mini is a lovely tablet. A 7.9 inch screen and astonishingly light and remarkably thin - it feels like a light-weight book.
3. iPad mini with retina screen. Again 7.9 inch screen, but with the blazingly fast A7 chip, and a "retina" (high definition) screen. Worth the upgrade from the "mini".
4. iPad Air. Much larger screen size (9.7 inches - doesn't sound much but it makes a huge difference). Same fast (A7) chip as the Mini with Retina - the latest and fastest full size iPad available.

If you want a small tablet (eg. to read one handed on the train), I'd go for the iPad Mini Retina or (at a push), the original mini.

In terms of a full size tablet, the Air is the fastest, lightest and thinnest, followed by the 3rd or 4th Generation iPad - and all are available on Amazon. It depends upon your budget.

What are the Optional add-ons?
-----------------------------------------
Well, assuming you've dropped by the Apple Store or John Lewis (which I would HIGHLY recommend), and handled the iPad Mini, and iPad Air then your options are around memory size and cellular option.

Memory: Important! Once bought, you can't add memory (space for apps, films, books etc). However, the basic price goes up so you need to compare prices. 

Personally, having owned a 16g and 32g iPad - I can safely recommend the 16g unless you want to store a huge amount of videos and downloads. Only you can decide, and if you need the space, then buy the bigger model. Otherwise, 16g should be fine for most people - especially if you store photos and documents online (eg. Dropbox or Google).

However, if you need the extra space you have the following options:-

* 16g - Great provided you don't want to store lots of photos or video
* 32g - Double the space
* 64g - Massive.  You'll store a lot of songs or video
* 128g - Absolutely top end - but with a matching price tag.

Cellular: Allows you to connect to the internet while you're out and about. This will add an additional £100 to the price and means you can slip in a mobile phone SIM card. This means (£7-15 a month on contract), you can access the internet on the move. Alternatively, you can opt for the WIFI option, and use it at home or at at "hot spot" (eg. Starbucks, most rail stations and hotels etc).

Personally I'd buy (and indeed did), the 16Gb iPad Air WIFI, but these are key decisions.

Do I need anything else?
-------------------------------
Most people (me included) buy a cover. Apple (and now hundreds of others) make a "smart-cover" which automatically shuts down the iPad when you close it, and switches it on when you open it. There's versions which cover the back, or just the screen. Apple charge from £35 to £65 for their (admittedly) high quality fabric or leather covers, but there's many available from £10. Be aware, you do get what you pay for, but "Swees Ultraslim" (about £10), has excellent reviews on Amazon.

Personally,I think it's a pity to cover the beautiful aluminium industrial design of the iPad with a cover - but if you've spent literally hundreds of pounds, you'll want to protect it from scrapes and bangs.

I also invested in a keyboard (£25-80), as I tend to write a lot of mails and documents (remember it comes with a word processor). I'd recommend the Logitech Ultra Thin iPad Air Case with Keyboard - Space Grey. Be aware, a keyboard is strictly optional unless you want to use your iPad as a proper laptop.

You can also buy a rechargeable wireless bluetooth speaker. It's a fantastic way to boost the sound quality and volume from an tablet, phone or PC. I'd recommend the JBL Flip (from £49), the Bose Soundlink Mini (£169) or the top end Bose Soundlink III (£259). Personally, I listen to music (Spotify or iTunes) or the radio on my wireless speakers every day. It's just brilliant.

Finally, if you have another Apple device (eg. an iPhone, Apple TV or Mac) you'll find these work together beautifully. For example, you can create a reminder on your iPad and it appears on your iPhone. Equally, photos taken on your iPhone appear on your iPad, and you can send music or videos from iPad, iPhone or Mac to an Apple TV.

Some people think this "locks you in" - but it's your choice.

What's great about the Air?
-----------------------------------
* Lighter (30%) and thinner than the previous version (469g from 650g)
* Even faster A7 chip. Blazingly fast!
* Improved sound (compared to the iPad 4)
* Software including
+ iMovie - edit and publish home made movies
+ Numbers - Fully functional Excel for the iPad
+ Pages - Word processor
+ GarageBand - Play a piano or a drum kit
+ iPhoto - Edit and organise your photos

What's not so great?
--------------------------
* The change in physical size means you'll need a new keyboard or replacement cover if you're upgrading from a previous model
* Pity Apple didn't include the "touch ID" to secure your passwords

Overall Opinion
---------------------
It's hard to believe the iPad version 1 was released just four years ago, and there's a huge raft of "me too" tablet computers to choose from, but the Apple iPad Air is still the one to beat. As "Which?" magazine put it - "...the best tablet we've ever tested. Apple packs a beautiful screen and lightning fast processor into a slimmer-than-ever shell, and battery life is very impressive".

Yes, there are cheaper Android based alternatives, but the quality, design and beauty of this tablet just sets it apart. If it were a car it'd be a top of the range Mercedes or a BMW 5i.

Highly Recommended.  Buy it.


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