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Lurch 1-Piece Potato Masher Stainless Steel
Lurch 1-Piece Potato Masher Stainless Steel
Price: £15.37

5.0 out of 5 stars Stop searching and buy this., 10 Mar. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
In an age of disposable, hard to repair goods, this thing is a wonder. No rivets, no weak points, just a single sturdy piece of metal for bashing your potatoes. It's a doddle to clean and gives you smooth mash without much effort.

I'll admit, that because it's so easy to clean and use, I've even used this on bananas too and made a banana milkshake. Naughty, I know.

All in all, the best masher in the business!

Microsoft Wedge Mobile Keyboard - UK Layout
Microsoft Wedge Mobile Keyboard - UK Layout
Price: £44.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The perfect match with a Windows 8 tablet, 15 Dec. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
After searching for many, many hours for a wireless keyboard, I settled on this one and it has not disappointed.

There's not too much to say about keyboards. The layout is the UK layout and slightly smaller full-size, but that's perfect for occasional use, especially with a tablet where size will matter. It's a good balance between portability and usability.

The attention to detail is great, down to the battery area providing a nice natural tilt, and the polished metal area on the border. I've yet to have a dropped connection and on an online test I managed 60 WPM with 97% accuracy, which is good enough for me!

The stand accessory is great for pretty much all tablets but it does add a fair bit of weight to the package. All in all, it's a great, well-made product. It also works with my HTC One, which is a bonus.

P.S. This was written on the Wedge keyboard on a Windows 8 tablet. Who'd have thought?

Toshiba Encore 8-inch Tablet (Intel Atom Quad Core Processor 1.8 GHz, 2 GB RAM, 64 GB SSD, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 2 x Cameras, Windows 8.1) - Silver
Toshiba Encore 8-inch Tablet (Intel Atom Quad Core Processor 1.8 GHz, 2 GB RAM, 64 GB SSD, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 2 x Cameras, Windows 8.1) - Silver
Offered by CSC Distribution
Price: £275.00

33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Affordable? Check. Fast? Check. Windows 8? Check., 15 Dec. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
It's taken a while, but tablets are now powerful enough to be taken seriously. As counter-intuitive as it seems, this 8-inch tablet (along with the Dell Venue 8 Pro and Lenovo Miix2) doesn't miss a beat despite running full Windows 8.

Compared to the competition, the Toshiba is the heaviest (by about a packet of crisps in weight), but is feature-rich with stereo speakers and microphones, sharper cameras and micro-HDMI. Build quality is far better than the pictures would lead you to believe. Being under 450g with an 8-inch form factor means you can hold this comfortably in one hand without getting cramps.

The screen is superb with great viewing angles, vivid colours and clean whites. Minor criticisms can be poked at the slightly lacking black levels and the resolution being quite mediocre. However, this is extreme nitpicking. 720p video looks gorgeous on this machine and as long as you don't ram the screen onto your eyeballs, the pixel density is good enough that it doesn't detract from the experience.

In terms of power, the flash memory and quad-core processors combine nicely together to keep things rolling, enough for some light gaming. I'm yet to see this thing stutter despite some pretty intense computing.

Battery life is excellent. With WiFi on, a paired Bluetooth keyboard and brightness around 60%, this thing managed 2 hours of gaming (Hearthstone to be precise), an hour of 720p video, a 30 GB transfer from a USB hard drive, some Office use and some other faffing. In total, it lasted 6 hours, despite the hardcore usage. Another run with more normal (but still heavy) usage gave me 8 hours.

Storage-wise, I got the 64 GB model. Out the box, there's around 50 GBs free. After installing the included Office (yes, it's free and yes, it's very good) and a few other apps, I was left with 36 GBs.

My load-out for this tablet include a MediaDevil Magicwand, a Microsoft Wedge Keyboard (which includes a tablet stand), a Micro USB to USB for plugging in USB devices such as hard drives and phones, a 32 GB microSD plucked from an old Android phone of mine and 7 GBs free SkyDrive storage. In total, it's a £357 spend for a ~100 GB tablet with accessories. Way less than even a 32 GB iPad mini without accessories and no Microsoft Office.

Being Windows 8, this tablet can run the gazillion apps already made for Windows and Windows Store apps which is a mind-boggling amount of choice. You might have heard a lot of complaining about Windows 8, but people don't like change. If you embrace the changes instead of fighting it, not only will you enjoy using it, but you can be more productive than with Windows 7. It's also fresh and exciting, compared to the grey-dullfest of Mac OS, which has been seriously lacking in innovation for a while now. Good news for me as this is taking over from my MacBook Pro.

If I have to complain (and I have to really scrape the bottom of the barrel here), I would say that if a Windows tablet doesn't have a full-size USB slot, they should include a USB adapter in the box. Also, in landscape the speakers are on the same side, which doesn't really make sense for videos. Then again, would you rather listen through tablet speakers or headphones/ proper speakers?

Overall, I'm very happy. Any problems I have with it are minor and far from deal-breakers. I'm very much looking forward to next couple of years in terms of tablets. Stay tuned folks, because things are getting interesting.
Comment Comments (9) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 24, 2013 7:57 AM GMT

Need For Speed Rivals  (Xbox One)
Need For Speed Rivals (Xbox One)
Offered by 666 Media
Price: £18.95

14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Flashes of brilliance, but sloppy execution holds it back., 24 Nov. 2013
= Fun:2.0 out of 5 stars 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I imagine that a lot of people looking at this game are Burnout/ Criterion fans. I know I am and unfortunately this isn't anywhere near Criterion standards.

Let's start off positive. It's always fun to shunt other people off the road, so that's nice. The idea of losing all your points if you get busted by the cops also adds a lot of tension to find the nearest Hideout and bank your points. Kinect commands are surprisingly good and saying "GPS Hideout" or "GPS Repair Shop" saves a lot of hassle fiddling around with the D-pad. The graphics are great on the Xbox One and now I've run out of kind things to say.

On crashes, the only deformation to your car is that your engine bonnet will pop up and you'll have a few scratches and dings. Burnout Revenge on the original Xbox was better than this. Also, the physics are comical. It's not uncommon to see your car flying stupidly high after a crash. The lack of weight (and destruction) makes it seem like you're racing with a kid's toy car. On top of this, crash resets are frustratingly unpredictable. Several times I've been reset exactly where my car was after the crash, so I'll be facing a wall and get immediately T-Boned by a cop before I can react to the respawn.

Moving on, the AI is ruddy awful. If you're behind someone, they'll drive so slowly that it makes grass growing seem fast. It almost doesn't matter how badly you mess up, you can always blast past them back into 1st place. However, once you pass an AI racer, you better not blink because then they start driving like they've got infinite turbo. It almost doesn't matter how well you're doing, the AI will often happily breeze by you in the last 5 or 6 seconds of a race. That's not challenge, that's just cheap. You also start from a standstill while everyone else gets a rolling start. That's fair right?

"Pursuit Tech" is unnecessarily convoluted. You have to buy your tech for each car, so get used to unlocking a new car, starting an event then screaming in frustration about how you've forgotten to re-buy your stuff. Why do they not carry over?!

The soundtrack is very narrow, almost entirely urban, rap and remixed tracks. That's fine if you're into that, but if you like to race to indie/ rock, you've been forgotten. The intense orchestral music of Hot Pursuit's chases has been replaced with what can only be described as some slightly rhythmic noise that adds nothing to the tension.

Finally, the game starts off slow, and I mean really really slow. After playing for 4 or 5 hours, you're still restricted to about a third of the map for events. Needless to say, you'll be racing up and down the same stretches of road over and over again before you get any sort of freedom.

I could rant a bit more but this is getting way too long. In summary, it had potential, but the execution from Ghost Games is poor.

No Title Available

4.0 out of 5 stars Not perfect, but good if you like using your phone without added bulk., 7 April 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I've been using this with my HTC One for a couple of weeks now. The fit is snug and you get good all-round protection from the nice soft neoprene. The strap is really useful for getting the phone out.

Two main complaints though:
- If the case gets wet, the dye bleeds. If you've got a light coloured plastic phone, it could cause staining.
- The interior lining could do with being a bit softer, but it's not going to cause scuffs either way.

Apart from those two complaints, it's held up really well and at this price, you can't really go wrong. After trying cases with phones, I definitely prefer this slip style where you get to use your phone "naked". After all, the designers didn't spend months working on your phone for you to cover it up.

Forza Horizon (Xbox 360)
Forza Horizon (Xbox 360)
Offered by bid2win-ltd
Price: £10.16

5.0 out of 5 stars Project Gotham Racing, Burnout and Dirt in a blender..., 28 Oct. 2012
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
Some games try to do too much. They try to be too many things at the same time. This is a game which has tried to do many things, but somehow managed to pull it off. This is a seamless blend of simulation and arcade racing.

The cars have a great feeling of weight and the steering is just as realistic as Forza 4 if you turn the assists off. What struck me the most is the handling variations on the road surfaces. The game feels so tight that you can feel the road surface change even between subtle variations of tarmac, to tiles, to dirt tracks.

The audio department impresses in both music choice and engine sounds, the world feels logically laid out with enough fast travel points and things to do in between events. The graphics are great, although perhaps not quite up to Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit if I'm going to nitpick.

Overall, this is an amazing racing game and with some great fun to be had playing the online Playground games, will be one to keep coming back to.

BenQ GW2750HM 27-inch Full HD LED Monitor
BenQ GW2750HM 27-inch Full HD LED Monitor

37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A VA Panel suitable for games?, 2 Aug. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
So BenQ have been churning out VA monitors for a while. In most respects, VA panels sit happily in between the low-end TN panels and the high-end IPS panels with a few differences here and there. However, there's always been one weak point. Ghosting. VA Panels are notorious for high levels of ghosting, however I'm happy to report that this panel is leaps and bounds over previous VA panels. There is minimal ghosting - you really have to be looking for it to see it.

Fast paced games are handled with ease. Racing games look excellent even at extremely high speeds. Old VA panels had the tendency to make the surroundings look pretty blurred in racers, but here everything is sharp. Shooters too look great. Now while the ghosting may be ever so slightly worse than TN panels, something to consider is that the input lag is one of the best you can find outside of specialist gaming monitors. It's even faster than on most monitors with a 2ms response time! Now I'm not trying to say this is the best gaming monitor out there, but if you do play games, you should definitely consider this monitor at this price bracket.

Contrast is excellent, with blacks being an inky darkness (especially in something like Dead Space 2) and whites looking bright. In fact in terms of contrast, most high-end IPS displays can't beat this monitor. One point to note though is that this monitor is matte. That's good because there's no glare, but it's bad because the colours aren't as vibrant as they should be, which is a slight shame. A semi-glossy display would've been great here. On the plus side though, viewing angles are great.

Now calibration. Your mileage may vary but mine is sitting at:
Contrast - 50
Red - 100, Green - 97, Blue - 98
Gamma - 3
AMA (Reduces Ghosting) - Premium

Brightness will vary depending on whether it's a summer's day or it's the middle of the night. For most of the time, 45 seems like a good place to sit at.

Finally, I'll wrap up by saying this monitor is currently less than £180. This makes it the unofficial 27" monitor bargain of the year!

Halo: Combat Evolved - Anniversary (Xbox 360)
Halo: Combat Evolved - Anniversary (Xbox 360)
Price: £14.72

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 10 years on, still awesome., 15 Nov. 2011
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
If you've played the original when it first came out, you'll know how ground-breaking this game was at the time. No other first-person shooter at the time had Halo's unique blend of action, story and mystery.

For this remake, the game handles exactly the same as it did 10 years ago, but despite this it still feels like a modern game. With skulls to add some unique challenges to the campaign, unlockables and achievements there's plenty of replay value here too. The shiny new graphics are an excellent touch, but oddly enough, I find myself enjoying the new soundtrack and audio effects even more than the graphics.

Once you're done with the campaign, hop online to play some classic Halo maps. Also, the love it or hate it 3-shot kill pistol is back in all its glory.

If you've never played a Halo game before, this is the perfect place to start. If you love Halo, then what are you doing reading this review? Go and play the game... You know how awesome it is already!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 18, 2011 11:31 AM GMT

Alan Wake (Xbox 360)
Alan Wake (Xbox 360)
Offered by Game Trade Online
Price: £18.49

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Doesn't disappoint for fans of both horror and action games., 8 July 2010
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Alan Wake (Xbox 360) (Video Game)
Alan Wake is a cinematic masterpiece and right off the bat you can tell it was made by the geniuses at Remedy. Excellent pacing, decent length and multiple game difficulties as well as lots of collectibles make this a game you'll keep coming back to. Oh, and it has one of the most amazing set-piece moments in video game history, but you'll have to play "Chapter 4" to find out what it is.

Excite Truck (Wii)
Excite Truck (Wii)
Price: £24.27

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's a... truck?, 1 Feb. 2007
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Excite Truck (Wii) (Video Game)
Excite Truck is the Wii racer that everyone in Europe and Australia has been waiting for as Need For Speed: Carbon for the Wii turned out to be a disappointment. Excite Truck is a nod to the Excitebike series. However, this game features trucks (obviously) which seem to have gained the ability to fly. Yes, it's ridiculously unrealistic to watch a truck leap several hundred feet and then stick to the floor on landing unharmed, but you know what? It doesn't matter because this game is extremely fun to play. The tilt-based controls simply work and while it takes a little bit of practice, it's pretty much pickup-and-play.

Graphically, this game isn't too spectacular - It could almost be a GameCube game. The trucks aren't too detailed, there are some popping issues (whole trees can appear before your eyes) and the game heavily abuses motion blur effects (I guess that's opinion on whether you like that or not). However, it does feature some nice specular lighting (shiny reflective effects) on water surfaces and on the trucks themselves, it runs at a solid framerate, crashes look great and the game's unique feature is the power-up which deforms the land in real time allowing you to perform huge turbo jumps and "throw" opponents. Something that bothers me a little is how cluttered the interface is. While it is tight so you only have to move your eyes a little to check anything, it seems a little claustrophobic and it would've been nice to see the counters pushed up and to the side a little to offer more viewing space. That said, this isn't as big a problem on 16:9 widescreen TVs.

Excite Truck is the first Wii game to sport a custom soundtrack option through SD card. This option is a great plus even though the Xbox has been doing custom soundtracks for a while. As for the original soundtrack, I personally don't mind the guitar-driven music.

Before any racing can take place, you have to take a short tutorial which lasts for about 10 minutes. While some may find this annoying, many will find it beneficial as it helps to ease you into a game which has radically different controls to anything else most people have played.

Anyway, on to the modes. "Excite" mode has you in races in six locales varying from Fiji - a beach based course, to Finland - a snowy course, to Scotland, China, Mexico and Canada on around 20 tracks. You try to earn stars to reach set targets. Stars can be earned by grabbing air, flying through airborne rings, drifting, smashing into other trucks, performing air spins, driving near to trees and jump combos. At the end of the race you are awarded bonus stars depending on your position. So you can complete a race without getting first, but you will get a big star bonus for finishing ahead of the rest of the pack. As well as gaining stars, there are some other nifty tricks. For example, by using your turbo (which you have an enormous supply of) as you leap off a hill, you do a "Turbo Jump" catapulting you hundreds of feet in the air. Also by positioning your truck to land on all 4 wheels from a jump, you get yet another boost. And by getting a "POW" icon you gain invulnerability and blazing speed. Once you've been awarded an "S" rank (top marks) for each track in "Excite" mode (earning new trucks on the way), you'll unlock "Super Excite" mode. The AI is faster and more aggressive in this mode and tracks feel slightly varied. It's in "Super Excite" mode where the big surprise of the game is. I won't spoil too much but it's set on an additional, totally unexpected locale (bringing the total to seven), it's by far the best track of the game, it features an amazing soundtrack and absolutely gorgeous (by Wii standards) particle, lighting and specular effects. And don't think you've finished the game by completing "Super Excite" either. There's still more sets of races to do but I won't reveal any details. The sheer amount of things to do in the single-player campaign means that if you can deal with a bit of repetitive gameplay, this will last you months.

The game also features a "Challenge" mode which includes ring (fly through rings in the air), gate (slalom race) and crush (destroy an enemy truck) challenges. It's fun but feels a little unfinished. Finally, the game has a multiplayer mode, but sadly, it's only 2-player, offline and with no computer trucks. While it is a bit of a disappointment, this game is just as fun to watch as it is to play. You'll definitely enjoy watching your friends crash their way through a single-player race.

Overall, I highly recommend this game for anybody wanting to try out a Wii racer, especially if you're a fan of the Burnout franchise. Yes, there will be better racers for the Wii (and hopefully a sequel), but not for at least another half a year.

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