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Nick Finch

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Gigaset E490
Gigaset E490

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A rugged phone with a maximum 300m range base station, 23 July 2010
This review is from: Gigaset E490 (Electronics)
A pretty good phone that's dustproof and splashproof and which has quite a tough platic shell. The two most vulnerable features are the belt clip attachment, which can snap off, leaving a hole in the back of the phone and also the rubber surround, which can disintegrate in frequent contact with oil. For most people, that shouldn't pose a problem. It comes with an alternative to the belt clip which cannot snap off.

You can use the phone in conjunction with a PABX system in an office environment and also set the phone to dial a pre-selected number for an outside line. I like the intercom feature and the answering machine built in to the base station. Other really useful features include call transfer, keypad lock, hands-free speaker and a room monitor.

I would prefer it if the handset was a bit smaller, but overall, it's a nice phone that copes with harsh conditions and being dropped.


Sennheiser PC350 G4ME Corded Gaming Noise Cancelling Stereo Headset - Black/Silver
Sennheiser PC350 G4ME Corded Gaming Noise Cancelling Stereo Headset - Black/Silver

4.0 out of 5 stars Really comfortable, 5 Feb 2009
Although the sound from these is a bit disappointing, I like them a lot because they are so comfortable, except on a hot day, when they trap too much heat. They are a bit on the expensive side too.

*** Update *** After nearly five years, the surface of the ear cups and the headband has started to disintegrate. It's a kind of rubbery film on top of a cloth base that can be peeled away in bits. Although there's nothing wrong with the cloth underneath and the headphones are no less comfortable, it makes them look shabby. Replacement pads cost about £20.00 GBP.


Creative GigaWorks T20
Creative GigaWorks T20
Offered by IvoryEgg
Price: £66.50

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Solid build quality and good sound, 31 Dec 2008
This pair of desktop speakers has excellent build quality, good looks and great sound, with bass and treble adjustment and an on/off switch. While compact and space saving, they have a larger footprint than some other desktop speakers which makes them far less prone to toppling over.


Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 (PC DVD)
Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 (PC DVD)

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the best C&C ever, 28 Dec 2008
= Fun:3.0 out of 5 stars 
Red Alert 3 is good, but it doesn't really improve on Command & Conquer Red Alert 2 and graphically it is pretty similar. The playability is spoiled by being too easy at times (even on the hardest setting). Every solo mission is played along with a computer controlled ally whether you like it or not. The cut-scenes are as good as ever, bar one performance which is delivered straight from the script. The game is quite lame in some places, but in others it is nicely balanced and challenging.

I have always loved the C&C series. I think it's got more going for it than Starcraft and Warhammer 40000. C&C is certainly more humorous. In general, I think this sort of game has had it's day, but it's still a lot of fun anyway.


Western Digital My Passport Essential 320GB USB Portable External Hard Drive
Western Digital My Passport Essential 320GB USB Portable External Hard Drive

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars You won't really appreciate it until it saves you, 6 Dec 2008
I strongly recommend this external USB hard drive as a backup device for storing a complete image of your computer's own hard drive. Having to repair or reinstall a corrupted operating system is a daunting prospect. Sometimes you need a dependable means of recovery and a disk image is the last-resort option that gets around problems like the failure of normal restore points.

The My Passport has non-slip rubber feet and is whisper quiet in operation. I should mention that the exterior is a sleek, shiny plastic affair which looks quite nice. You will probably scratch the outside a bit if you carry it around in your pocket with your keys like I did.

The backup software you use makes a big difference to the overall experience. Windows Vista Business gives you the ability to back-up an image of an internal hard disk, but other operating systems like Windows Vista Home Premium do not, and you will be forced to use third party (non OS) software such as Acronis True Image Home 2009 or Norton Ghost 14.0 (PC).


Creative  Aurvana In-Ear Earphones
Creative Aurvana In-Ear Earphones
Price: £43.46

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful level of detail, but too loud, 22 Nov 2008
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
There is certainly an extra layer of detail to the sound of the Aurvana ear buds that you don't get with a cheaper set. The sound insulation is also good. The problem is that if you connect to some devices, the volume is completely unrestrained and could even permanently damage your hearing.


El Danzon De Moises
El Danzon De Moises
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £11.41

5.0 out of 5 stars Quirky and rhythmically challenging, 7 Nov 2008
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: El Danzon De Moises (Audio CD)
It's an album of Cuban / Jewish instrumental music by Roberto Juan Rodriguez. While more quirky and rhythmically challenging than Baila Gitano Baila, it is definitely worth buying. It would be difficult not to enjoy it and keep coming back to listen again in my opinion.


ANTEC SONATA III 500
ANTEC SONATA III 500
Price: £108.99

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Feature-rich but poor design, 25 Aug 2008
This review is from: ANTEC SONATA III 500 (Electronics)
The Sonata III looks quite refined in piano black but it is really just a gloss-painted steel tower case with a plastic front. It is very cramped inside and large parts of it are rivetted together, making access from the front panel and the second side panel impossible.

The case has been designed from a security point of view rather than a silence point of view, which isn't really what the name 'Sonata' suggests. It would be best suited to a public space like an internet café. Both the quick-release side panel and the front door have locks, albeit fairly insubstantial ones and the power-on and reset buttons are behind the front door, which is a nuisance if you don't care about security because you have to open the door every time you turn the computer on or off. There is, however, nothing stopping unauthorised access of the USB ports unless you physically disconnect them inside the tower's chasis.

The supplied rear fan has its own three speed switch, but it is incompatible with motherboard fan speed controllers and is only accessible by removing the side panel from the tower. It really makes no sense to have a switch you can't operate. The fan is far too loud anyway, even on its quietest setting. One final gripe is that there is nowhere for a front fan, but one can be put behind the drive bays instead. Fitting this extra chasis fan is again an awkward task unless the case is absolutely empty and may require the additional purchase of some M3 x30mm nuts and bolts.

The included power supply and the front e-sata port make the package overall good value for money, but corners have been cut to keep the cost down. If you are looking for a midi tower case and you like a bit of space to work inside, go for something else more expensive.


Sound Blaster X-Fi Xtreme Gamer
Sound Blaster X-Fi Xtreme Gamer

2.0 out of 5 stars Numerous game incompatibilities, 24 Aug 2008
I don't know if I have bought a faulty one, but ever since I installed this sound card, I have had problems running PC games, even when they are supposed to be compatible with it. I cannot add up all of the time I have wasted on fixing these problems, but on two occasions, I have actually had to remove the card altogether and use the motherboard's onboard sound chip to play a game. The sound produced by the card is excellent, but in games, I have found issues such as stuttering, becoming out of sync, and in some cases, no sound at all. Reading game forums indicates that many other people have found the same thing. I could not even get Mass Effect to load with the card installed, and it took six weeks to identify the Creative X-fi Gamer as the source of the problem.


Gottlieb Pinball Classics (PS2)
Gottlieb Pinball Classics (PS2)
Offered by Super-bargains
Price: £7.49

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Real pinball from yesteryear, 30 July 2008
= Fun:3.0 out of 5 stars 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is what real pinball is like. That means it is tricky and the tables are unforgiving. The designers have got the weighting of the steel ball just right and it behaves exactly as you would expect it to on a real pinball table. Unfortunately, for many video gamers, that will make it seem annoying. Younger players in particular may be furious to see the ball disappear down the gutter of the table before they managed to flip it.

There are plenty of tables to choose from in Gottlieb Pinball Classics, but the game designers seem to have gone for variety over playability. Of the tables on offer, none has particularly rewarding gameplay of the kind that gets you hooked. To make matters worse, you have limited ability to play some tables without unlocking them first and the principal game mode is 'Gottlieb Challenge', which means you have to beat a specific score on each table to progress to the next one. There is an 'Arcade' mode, but this involves winning credits and it's annoying to have to earn credits just to play your favourite table.

There is a strong emphasis in Gottlieb Pinball Classics on the historical dimension of pinball, which I guess has been overlooked elsewhere, but this is supposed to be a game, not a museum exhibit.


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