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Nintendo 3DS Circle Pad Pro (Nintendo 3DS)
Nintendo 3DS Circle Pad Pro (Nintendo 3DS)
Offered by 6 Hungry Weasels
Price: £8.40

34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Looks botched together but works well., 29 Jan. 2012
The Circle Pad Pro isn't too pretty to look at with its irregular shape, this being due to the designers having to work around access to the volume slider and earphone and charging sockets. To the rear of the controller there is an infra red transceiver which covers slightly less than half the controller's length and which blocks access to the stylus and cartridge slot. Overall the appearance is of something that has been botched together to fit around a device which wasn't initially intended to have such an attachment made for it. The asymmetry between the screens and circle pads doesn't look too nice though I find it doesn't affect game control.

The Control Pad Pro's battery compartment is fairly easy to open, it has a big wide screw head which can be undone with a coin so there is no need to hunt for one of those little Phillips screwdrivers that fall out of crackers.

It is much lighter than the 3DS though it does add weight as well as bulk and has been ergonomically designed with contours which I find comfortable to hold, it feels a little like holding an Xbox 360 controller, though without the handles resting in the palms.

There are three shoulder buttons on the controller, a R button above the right circle pad which functions the same as the one on the 3DS, this has been included to prevent an uncomfortable stretch to the 3DS's R button. In addition there are two extra shoulder buttons, ZL and ZR, and they are more comfortable to reach and use with the two circle pads than with the L and R buttons. The right circle pad feels to be the same quality as the 3DS's left pad and moves equally as smooth.

There is no on/off switch, the unit switches itself off after 5 minutes of inactivity.

So far Resident Evil: Revelations is the only game that supports the Circle Pad Pro. The game plays great without the Circle Pad Pro but I prefer to play with it attached. To move while aiming with the default 3DS button configuration you have to press the left and right buttons together with the left circle pad but with the Pro you only need to press the ZL button with the left circle pad. To aim you press ZL and ZR to shoot, I find this preferable to pressing the R button and Y to shoot. I don't think there is much you can do with the Pro in this game that you can't do with the 3DS buttons though with the Pro you can move forwards, backwards, left, and right with the left circle pad while at the same time adjusting view and turning with the right circle pad. After playing with and without it I prefer to play Resident Evil with the Circle Pad Pro because it feels more intuitive and just adds that little extra dimension to the gameplay.

Sony NWZE454B E Series 8GB Walkman MP3/Video with Clear Audio - Black
Sony NWZE454B E Series 8GB Walkman MP3/Video with Clear Audio - Black

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great sound quality, 29 Jun. 2011
I bought NWZ-E454B to replace my excellent Sony NWZ-A728 player which I accidentally broke.

The first thing that struck me was it is made from plastic, I was expecting it to be made from metal like my last Sony player, though it does look nice and still has a quality build feel about it.
The screen scratches easily.
The ear phones the old fashioned cheaper solid plastic type, like the ones you get with iPods, I find they keep dropping out of my ears. My last Sony came with some really great rubber cupped earphones that fitted snugly in the ears and had much better sound quality.
The maximum volume was too low for comfort though there is a solution to overcome the volume cap which can be found by searching the internet.

Thankfully the sound quality is just as good and still comes with different options to adjust the music. The graphic equaliser has four decent presets: Heavy; Pop; Jazz; Unique; as well as a None option and two custom slots to save your own settings, the GE also has a Clear Bass option which can be used to boost the bass.

There are also VPT (Surround) settings; None; Studio; Live; Club; Arena; Matrix. I don't use these much.

Also there are DSEE (Sound Enhance) and Clear Stereo options which both just have on off settings.
The DSEE option makes the playback quality a little less dull, acoustic guitar strumming seems to ring out a little clearer.
The clear stereo option just widens the stereo effect a little, personally I prefer it off when using ear phones, I haven't tried it through a dock yet though.

The player also has a Dynamic Normaliser option which makes each track playback at a similar level, setting this on also boosts the maximum volume a little.

There is a Karaoke option too but I haven't used this feature so can't say anything about it.

One fun feature I like is the DPC (Speed Control) feature that allows you to slow down or speed up the playback speed without getting a slow deep voice or the chipmunk effect. The slow speeds are x0.5; x0.75; x0.9 and the fast speeds are x1.1; x1.25; x1.5; x1.75; x2. The slow x0.75 and x0.9 speeds are great for playing along to if you are learning the guitar.

The player also has setting options for video, podcasts; photos; FM Radio; Recording; Common; Language. I just use this as a music player so don't have much to say about the other settings since I haven't used them, though it is nice to have an FM Radio and Voice Recorder since they may be useful in the future.

The screen is basic but sharp and clear, navigation will be familiar if you have owned a Sony player before, if not you navigate from left and right in alphabetical order then when you reach the appropriate letter you navigate up and down where all the content beginning with the selected letter is listed in alphabetical order.

The player comes with the software loaded in the memory which also creates a backup on your computer so that you can format the player's memory and free up the space the software occupied. The software includes Content Transfer which is an app that allows you to transfer music, or you can simply drag and drop content into the relevant folders in the player if you prefer. The software also includes a more in depth manual, the printed manual included is only a quick start guide. Unfortunately the software is not Mac compatible but you can still drag and drop with a Mac and the player still charges when connected.

The sound quality and up to 50 hour battery life make this player a winner for me, and the array of music settings allow you to tweak the playback to how you like it. Unfortunately, for me, the supplied earphones are a let down, especially after Sony used to spoil us with excellent earphones previously, but I already owned some decent ones which I use so maybe you might feel let down too if you are fussy about earphones.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 9, 2011 3:41 PM BST

Encyclopaedia Britannica 2009 Ultimate Edition (Mac/PC)
Encyclopaedia Britannica 2009 Ultimate Edition (Mac/PC)
Offered by Your IT Delivered
Price: £11.00

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great content, easy to navigate, but aimed at the USA :o(, 3 Feb. 2009
This computer Encyclopaedia is very good and contains all 74 volumes of the print edition according to the packaging.

The user interface is very tidy, the information is presented in a tabbed browser for easy movement between different pages, and the text is written in a font which is pleasant on the eye and not a strain to read.

Navigation is very easy with image links to all the main features, there is a searchable/scrollable A to Z menu of all the articles, and there is also a general search function too.
The BrainStormer function lets you easily browse related content by subject area. Although the way information is presented can look a little messy and confusing at times it is still a very useful tool for generally browsing your way around all the articles related to a specific subject area.

This product is really good but I still wish I had done some research before purchasing it because I didn't realise it was aimed at the US American market. All the spellings in the interface are US English, the dictionary is US English, and there is an English to Spanish dictionary too but no other language.
I know to some this may be a minor niggle but I do find it annoying. I really wish that the company behind this product had taken the time to localise it for other English speaking regions other than the USA.

One other annoying thing is that if you want to take advantage of the free 1 year Britannica Online subscription trial you have to register your credit/debit card details.

Apple iPod Touch 32GB 2nd Generation
Apple iPod Touch 32GB 2nd Generation

48 of 51 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It's good but..., 11 Nov. 2008
Let me get the negative out of the way first. Prior to buying the new 2nd generation iPod Touch I owned a 5th generation 80GB iPod Video. The first thing that struck me about the iPod Touch was the inferior sound quality compared to that of my video iPod despite using the same high quality Sony headphones.
I did a google search and apparently Apple now use a digital to analogue convertor (DAC) chip from a different manufacturer in 6th generation iPods than those used in the 5th generation iPods. You can found out more about this on Apple's support forums.
Despite this though, the playback quality is still on the right side of good enough.

Everything else about this gadget is just brilliant.

I had no problems connecting it to my wifi, and the safari browser is really quick compared to other mobile browsers I have used in the past.

The screen is bright and beautiful, music videos, YouTube videos and the BBC iPlayer look really fantastic, like having a miniature HD television in your hands. It's brilliant for catching up with television or watching YouTube while laying in bed.

The iPod Touch/iPhone versions of the App Store and iTunes are really easy to navigate and like the browser load very quick. With iTunes you can listen to a 30 second preview just like on the PC version and any music you download direct to the Touch downloads as quickly as it does on the PC (depending on ISP your connection speed obviously).
The App store is full of great applications, all sorts of stuff from games to music creation, even ebooks and comics. There are some really great free apps on there too like Google Earth, or Mini Piano for the times when you have the odd few minutes to spare.
Some of the Apps are a little rough around the edges but many are quiet cheap, starting at 59p, plus you can download any upgrades for free once you have made a purchase. I downloaded the Crash Bandicoot Kart Racing game and I am very impressed with it, you turn corners by tilting the iPod Touch and fire missiles or jump by touching the screen, and it all moves along with a decent smooth frame rate, all for £3.49.

I was surprised at how small the packaging was that it came in. It is a small high quality plastic case with all the ingredients tucked away neatly inside, very smart.

The iPod Touch is very light and slim, it does feel delicate so you might want to buy a case for it, if you are one who likes to keep their gadgets in pristine condition you will probably handle it with kid gloves until you get it into a case. I bought a Griffin iClear case for mine which fits snugly so now I feel more secure taking it out and about.
Also you can get a firmer grip on the ipod because without a case the iPod Touch is very slim and feels like it could easily slip out of your hand, especially if you have larger hands.

One thing I do miss from the video iPod is the clickwheel, you could just put your hand in your pocket and move on to the next track but with the touch you need to look at the screen to see what you are doing.

I would have given this five stars but because the playback quality isn't as good as the 5th generation iPod I owned I have given it 4, though I would rather give it a 4.5 and only knock half a point off for the reduced sound quality because it is still good enough.

Edit. Some reviews state that the new iPod touch will not charge in docks. I just thought I'd let you know that the Apple USB mains plug which I used for my video iPod still charges the 2G iPod Touch if anybody needs a PC free method of charging.

Xbox 360 Console (60 GB Hard Drive)
Xbox 360 Console (60 GB Hard Drive)

29 of 65 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The fans are noisier, 18 Aug. 2008
When I bought a Xbox 360 at launch I could not live with the horrendous noise made by the DVD drive so I sold it.

Since then though I have regularly checked the internet for news of quieter models and recently I have read that the Xbox 360 now comes with quieter DVD drives and cooler Falcon chipsets so on Saturday August 16th 2008 I purchased the new 60GB model but I was very disappointed with the fan noise it made.

The fans on my launch Xbox 360 were quieter than those on my new 60GB model, about the same as a 60GB PS3 when it had been on a couple of hours, the problem was the drive noise. But the fans on the new 60GB which I purchased on Saturday are terrible, they make this really horrible buzzing noise which can be heard above the television sound at normal volume; definitely worse than the fans on my launch model, I don't know if they are faulty or meant to be like that though.
Obviously this is a subjective judgement on my part, we all have different tolerance to noise levels, one person's noisy is another person's quiet, and then there is the environmental factors to be considered such as time of day, room size, speakers etc.

If you are a person who is bothered about fan and drive noise and have been put off the Xbox 360 in the past for this reason then I would suggest that you try to hear this new 60GB model in operation before deciding if you can live with the noise it makes or not.

For most people the noise made by the Xbox 360 is acceptable and not a problem, according to what I have read on message boards many don't even notice the noise when gaming, but if like me, you find noisy consoles distracting and/or annoying then I would say try before you buy.

I believe that in the near future Xbox 360s will contain the new Jasper chipset so hopefully these models will run a lot quieter. Fingers crossed.
Comment Comments (14) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 3, 2009 10:34 PM GMT

HP W2007V 20.1" Widescreen Flat Panel TFT Monitor, Built in Speakers, Analogue or Digital (HDMI) input 1680x1050 Resolution, 5ms Response Time, 3000:1 Contast Ratio
HP W2007V 20.1" Widescreen Flat Panel TFT Monitor, Built in Speakers, Analogue or Digital (HDMI) input 1680x1050 Resolution, 5ms Response Time, 3000:1 Contast Ratio

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great for PC, Mac Mini, and Playstation 3, 5 Jan. 2008
Firstly let me confess that I am not very knowledgable when it comes to monitors and how they display colours etc, but from an average consumer's point of view I find the screen to be nice and evenly bright with natural looking colours, in the past I have owned laptops from Advent, HP, Acer, and previous to this a desktop monitor from Samsung and this HP w2207h is the best out of all of them, I particularly like the eveness of the backlight. There are four preset modes - Movie, Photo, Gaming, Text, as well as a custom option.
The monitor is on a hinged base so can be easily raised or lowered but the base does have a large foot print though the base does have a keyboard rest if space is limited.
There are also two USB sockets on the left side which are handy but they are not recessed so if you use them then you will have unsightly USB plugs sticking out from the side.
One of the selling points for me is the HDMI input, I have a Mac Mini so I use a DVI to HDMI cable to plug it into the monitor. I also have a Playstation 3 and this works great with the monitor except when the PS3 is set to 1080i, the picture is very flicky, but thankfully the monitor does 1080p excellently. I have read that 1080p doesn't look any better on smaller screens but I have noticed that text is so much sharper at 1080p than it is at 720p, but games still look great at 720p, but games that support 1080p do look sharper. This monitor is not suitable for 1080i but that's a minor point when most games currently run at 720p and you have the ability to display 1080p for games and films that support that resolution.
The inbuilt speakers are only passable, they are ok for YouTube and streaming radio, but for serious listening you will need external speakers. They are just about good enough for PS3 gaming if you don't have your PS3 linked to external speakers.

Sony Playstation 3 Console (40GB Version)
Sony Playstation 3 Console (40GB Version)

120 of 138 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's so much quieter and cooler., 31 Oct. 2007
At first sight the 40GB model doesn't seem good value when you can get the backwards compatability 60GB with two games for an extra £50, but the 40GB model contains the newer 65nm cell chip which uses less power. The best thing about the new 40GB is that it is so very much quieter and throws out a lot less heat, my old 60GB used to get very hot, but worse than that it was way too noisy which could be distracting at times.
If backwards compatability with the Playstation 2 is important to you then the 40GB won't be any use to you. Me personally, I am very happy to sacrifice the BC and extra 20GB for the quieter cooler operation of the 40GB.
Comment Comments (6) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 29, 2008 2:14 AM BST

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