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IVSO® Bluetooth Keyboard + 4000mA Battery Clamshell Laptop Case Gamma for iPad 2 / Silver - Your iPad become Tablet
IVSO® Bluetooth Keyboard + 4000mA Battery Clamshell Laptop Case Gamma for iPad 2 / Silver - Your iPad become Tablet
Offered by Gambolex
Price: £49.95

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Works great, not perfect, 7 May 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I received mine about a week ago, and I've given it some casual use since. The unit approximately doubles the weight of the iPad which is good and bad. Bad because of the obvious heft when it's in a bag but good because it balances the iPad well when the case is open. Holding the case open in your hands, you're very aware of the amount of weight the iPad puts in the lid, but on a flat surface there's not much chance of it tipping backwards.

The case is made of an aluminium-effect plastic, which I think looks pretty good although it's already picked up a couple of small marks. The iPad clips in well and it wouldn't fall out accidentally. It's not very easy to take out again, but you get the knack after a few tattempts. The hinge is stiff enough to stay in a number of positions. Again, there's a lot of weight in the lid with the iPad in place, which could make the hinge a weak spot over time so I'm curious to see if it loosens. Mostly, the unit feels robust but some areas feel a little flimsy. There's a little bit of flex in the keyboard housing, and you can feel it move if you press between the keys. This isn't extreme, but it's noticeable at first. When closed, the iPad's screen is protected from the keyboard by four small rubber strips. These work well. Unfortunately, when the case closed lower than 45 degrees it has a tendency to fall shut with the weight of the iPad - slightly worrying even though it doesn't seem enough to damage the device. The other downside is that the case has no clasp, so it doesn't stay completely shut. A neoprene netbook case might be the best option if you wanted to carry this around in a bag. By the way, the iPad does indeed lock itself when the case is closed, and wake up when it's opened.

Now to the keyboard - it's very good for the price. The layout is almost identical to my MacBook except with smaller keys. The flexing of the case can be noticeable while typing, but it's not a big problem once you get used to it. The keys are fairly quiet, and although the action of the keys feels a bit slacker than a real Apple keyboard, typing is still comfortable. I adapted quickly to the more compact layout and it doesn't feel too cramped. Don't worry about the lack of a "£" key - on UK settings, you can just use shift and 3, and the "#" symbol becomes accessible by pressing alt and 3. The hot keys work fine, and the keyboard paired easily. I've not had chance to test the long-life battery to it's full extent, but hooking up a standard iPad charge cable from the case's USB port to the iPad's dock works well as a back-up charger. It also charges other USB devices, such as iPhones.

I bought the case because I wanted a clamshell keyboard case for writing on the move. Although there are better keyboards and folios, you really need a desk or a table to use them properly. I toyed with getting a netbook, but I'd rather have my iPad with me. This gives me the best of both worlds. With the slightly flimsy feel to the keyboard housing, the hinge's habit of letting the iPad drop and the lack of a proper clasp, I'd still give it 4/5 as I think the quality easily meets the price I paid. The keyboard layout is great. Time will tell how long the product lasts, but with very few clamshell cases available in the UK, my initial impressions are that this is a good accessory at much less than the alternatives.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 14, 2012 9:49 PM BST

Guitar Hero III: Legends Of Rock - Guitar Bundle (Wii)
Guitar Hero III: Legends Of Rock - Guitar Bundle (Wii)
Offered by SelectGames
Price: £54.95

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rocks your socks off, 13 Dec 2007
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
Guitar Hero is a simple concept... you get a guitar-shaped controller and press buttons when instructed to "play along" with famous songs. That's the most of it really. And it's great.

Guitar Hero 3: Legends of Rock is the first game in the franchise to make it to a Nintendo console. Offering 71 songs from the likes of Metallica, Guns and Roses, Kaiser Chiefs, the Killers, Cream, Alice Cooper, Rolling Stones, Muse and Rage Against The Machine on four difficulty levels, the game will take a while to master. Luckily, there's a practice mode on offer to help you nail even the fastest solos. Playing through the 42 tracks in career mode earns you virtual money to spend in the virtual shop, where you can buy bonus tracks, videos, characters and new guitars.

Playing the game is simple. Gibson Les Paul-shaped wireless guitar in hand (the Wii remote fits inside to use it's motion sensing, vibration and the speaker), you'll see notes scroll down the screen. When the note reaches the bottom, you must press a button on the guitar's fret board simultaneously with the "strum bar" to strike the note. You also get a whammy bar to wiggle during long notes. And that's about it, other than the ability to gain audience-pleasing "star power" from playing certain phrases perfectly, and power ups to use against your opponent in battle mode including the occasional guitar-duelling boss battles. The complexity comes in the skill required to perfect the many tracks on offer, and great fun it is.

All tracks are backed by well put together 3D animations of your band as they knock their cover versions out in a variety of arenas. The eagle-eyed will even spot the guitarists fingers hitting what look like the right notes.

There are criticisms. Firstly the graphics are OK, and Wii owners know their little white box can't match the XBox 360 and the PS3 in these stakes, but some of the effects and blurry textures do look like they could have been improved... you'll be too busy keeping your eyes on what to play to notice most of the time though. Also, there is no two player quickplay cooperative mode, with cooperative play only available in career mode. There are a few songs that are also only available for cooperative play which is a shame. Don't expect to recognise all the tracks, with many of the bonus tracks coming from lesser-known and new acts. The big problem is that the game's audio is in mono - and playing through my TV I don't really mind, but some people do. It is worth mentioning however that Activision are reportedly planning to offer replacement discs once the issue is fixed.

So the game isn't entirely perfect, but it's massive, massive fun. As a guitarist, the game is of course different to playing the real thing, but it captures the feeling of playing very well, and online play is pretty good. Getting the best side of all the tracks becomes quite a mission, and you'll keep coming back for more to get the best rating possible for each track. Definitely recommended.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 27, 2007 12:17 PM GMT

Star Wars - Darth Vader Voice Changer Mask
Star Wars - Darth Vader Voice Changer Mask

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Authentic mask, big enough for all ages, 17 Nov 2007
= Durability:4.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:1.0 out of 5 stars 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I purchased one of these for fancy dress, and it's a good mask. It fits an adult fine (and I have a big head) and the quality is very good. The mask likeness is good and is accurate enough for all but the most picky of fans. The one issue that arises often is that the mask's face and helmet section come apart easily. This requires a little fiddling to put it on straight but once on both parts stay together fine, and the helmet has fully adjustable straps to fit to a wide range of head sizes.

The voice changer is also good - the microphone is positioned quite far forward but this is attached using a flexible cable and can be repositioned to get the correct volume. The sound itself comes from the attached, slightly scaled-down replica of Vader's chest box. You also get a breathing noise and a selection of phrases taken from the films, which are all surprisingly loud and clear. The box's neck strap is not adjustable, and hangs at a height designed for smaller wearers.

Loads of fun, and definitely an essential for any Sith apprentice.

Sonic and the Secret Rings (Wii)
Sonic and the Secret Rings (Wii)
Offered by Tracymuk
Price: £12.95

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Tries to do something different, mixed results, 17 Nov 2007
= Fun:3.0 out of 5 stars 
Sonic and the Secret Rings is an interesting mix of platformer and racing game. Tilting the Wii remote to steer Sonic as the hurtles around the levels ("on rails" in the sense that he's automatically kept on route), destroying villains and avoiding obstacles in a race to save the land of Arabian Nights from destruction.

Unfortunately, the jerky use of the Wii remote to dash is awkward when combined with the tilting controls, and you are required to charge each jump, braking Sonic whenever you need to leap an obstacle which is often. Together, this creates a very different experience to other Sonic games which may not suit all, and fails to recapture the sense of freedom and exhilaration that accompanied the fast running, twisting and loop-the-looping in the original Megadrive titles.

The disc also features a mini-game mode, which whilst not the quality of some of the better party-game-type affairs available for the Wii might add value for some, and the main game does have a fair number of challenges and objectives. As a fan of the Mega Drive series and the original 3D incarnation Sonic Adventure on Dreamcast, Sonic and the Secret Rings really doesn't capture the parts of the franchise that drew me into those titles.

Super Mario Galaxy (Wii)
Super Mario Galaxy (Wii)
Offered by zoverstocks
Price: £17.73

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun, good lookin, and totally different, 17 Nov 2007
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
Playing Super Mario Galaxy for the first time is a little disorientating. Each level in Galaxy takes place on planets and other assorted structures free floating in space, with Mario sticking to the surfaces as he jumps between them. Often able to run all the way around objects in three dimensions the perspective is continually changing, often finding the user controlling a character running upside down or sideways. Sounds confusing? It is - but only at first. Amazingly, knowing your ups from your downs is quite natural with the camera very, very rarely making it hard to see where you're going. The controls are very easy to get to grips with the various gameplay features eased in and explained using advice from incidental characters.

The plot follows Mario on an intergalactic mission to rescue Princess Peach from the evil Bowser. Each level is accessed from a central observatory and stars collected from completing each unlock more levels. This does not require you to collect every star to finish the game, however each level or challenge is so unique and fun that you'll be inclined to complete most or all of them. Old levels can be revisited, and comets that visit the old levels add new objectives and challenges further adding to replay value. Like any Mario gamer, there are loads of secrets and you'll also get many hours play searching for these.

Super Mario Galaxy is an amazing achievement. Unlike many Wii titles, the innovation is in the game design rather than the motion sensitive controls which play a lesser role in this case. It sometimes feels a world away from the vintage Mario games (especially the 2D titles) but sometimes you'll be playing a level, some classic Mario music will start up and you'll feel just like you're playing Super Mario Bros 3 in full, magical 3D.

The game is large, and completing every part of the game (rather than the minimum required to get to the end) presents a fair challenge. One of the best looking titles on the Wii, with an excellent orchestral score and a two player cooperative mode, this is an essential addition to anyone's collection.

Cannibal! The Musical [DVD] [1993]
Cannibal! The Musical [DVD] [1993]
Dvd ~ Trey Parker

5.0 out of 5 stars "Full as a baked potato?", 8 Oct 2007
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
When Trey Parker made Cannibal the Musical, he was still a student. However, the film has developed a loyal and vocal fan-base who see past it's flaws and self-indulgence whilst other people just seem puzzled by the whole thing. The subject matter, a musical based around the real life cannibalism trial of 19th century US prospector Alferd Packer, doesn't really help there.

Trey Parker, along with college buddy Matt Stone who is also present here, went on to become the creators of South Park and movies such as Orgazmo and Team America. The film's popularity grew with the pair's profile which is partly why it enjoys the cult status it does today. The actual quality of the product is good for the youth and inexperience of its creators, and creatively there's a consistency here and the uniqueness of the product makes it rather special. The music is very well written and the tunes surprisingly catchy, and the general air of silliness is endearing rather than annoying thanks. There's a lot of glimpses of the partnership that would spawn one of the longest-running animated sitcoms of all time, and there's loads to enjoy in this film. There are those who cannot see past its flaws, but if you're a fan of the humour (and music!) of Parker and Stone, you'll love this film. For others, if you're not attracted by the absurdity of the concept, it's probably not for you!

Severance [DVD] [2006]
Severance [DVD] [2006]
Dvd ~ Danny Dyer
Price: £2.75

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit funny, a bit scary, a bit good, 8 Oct 2007
This review is from: Severance [DVD] [2006] (DVD)
Following a bus full of employees sent on a team building trip to europe by their weapon manufacturing company, Severance finds the group stuck in a forest playing a game of cat and mouse with a mysterious assailant. A pretty basic horror premise in the slasher style, the film pulls no punches there, instead trying to inject some freshness through the comedy elements and the characters.

Unfortunately, Severance ends up not really funny enough to be a great comedy and not scary enough to be a great horror. Yes, it's gruesome, but the humour between and the lack of tension in some of the direction leave many parts of the film lacking.

Some of the separate ingredients of Severance are good, and although many of the characters feel a little exaggerated, this does help establish them quickly. More The Descent or Dog Soldiers in tone than Shaun of the Dead. The shocks aren't quite as shocking, and the brutality never seems quite as brutal, even when the events take a turn for the very grisly. When the film breaks the mould a bit though, there's something genuinely good here, but the use of many tried-and-tested horror devices unfortunately makes Severance lack any real progression over other recent British horrors. This isn't necessarily a negative thing in the horror genre where standard devices and recurring themes are often enjoyed and celebrated, however with a predictable plot and a lack of real shocks, you end up wishing they'd gone all out on the comedy as this is the film's main redeeming feature. It's worth a watch for the one-liners, to wince at some of the gore and for the odd flash of inventiveness.

Starter For 10 [DVD] [2006]
Starter For 10 [DVD] [2006]
Dvd ~ James McAvoy
Price: £3.08

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Amiable time-filler, 8 Oct 2007
This review is from: Starter For 10 [DVD] [2006] (DVD)
Starter for 10 is an odd beast. More than feeling like nostalgia for the 1980s, the film feels like nostalgia for 1980s British Cinema. Reminiscent of Gregory's Girl yet set at the University of Bristol rather than a Scottish secondary school, Brian (James McAvoy) is a bright yet ordinary teenager who swaps his life in a small seaside town for that of an English literature student in pursuit of knowledge. Here he's introduced to all aspects of student life, from parties to auditioning the for University Challenge. It's the pursuit of the latter and of love that's the main focus of the film, with the quiz show aspect giving this a novelty aspect as it's based around a real UK programme, and one with a strong nostalgia factor. However, where the adversity faced in Gregory's Girl by the protagonists seem important due to the age of the teenagers involved, here it all seems rather mundane, especially as most of the actors look quite mature for their intended characters. Potentially more important aspects such as his family situation with his widowed mother (Catherine Tate) feel trivialised by the other events. Many of the characters, including the film's love interests, seem a touch under-developed and the events are rather predictable.

The film is definitely watchable with some nice parts, and might kindle a fondness for those pining for a student life of years gone by. However, Starter For 10 breezes past without doing enough to be more than a fairly amiable time-filler for most.

House - Season 1 (Hugh Laurie) [DVD]
House - Season 1 (Hugh Laurie) [DVD]
Dvd ~ Hugh Laurie
Offered by wmdservices
Price: £8.24

22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not your average medical drama, 8 Oct 2007
Everything about House is a little bit different; the teaching hospital setting, the stylish glass and wood interiors and of course the acerbicly witty Dr Gregory House (Hugh Laurie). However, as with many US series, designed to be drawn out over hundreds of episodes, you won't notice all its facets at first. The show has a very particular formula - a medical whodunnit (or whatisit) where a patient is admitted with mysterious or misdiagnosed symptoms. House and his team of junior doctors spend the episode using differential diagnosis to try and find the cause of the symptoms before it's too late - which occasionally it is. On watching the first few episodes of the first season, you'll mainly find that it's this formula being developed and the writers using the hook of Dr House's dry wit to lure viewers. However investing a little time in the show and you'll start to see the central and supporting characters blossom and develop in different directions, and the inventiveness of the different ailments and approaches to diagnosis stops the format from becoming stale - in fact a format such as this is refreshing compared to the complicated, twisted threads and general chaos that defines dramas like ER.

A different story each episode, twinned with decent development arcs for the characters, gives House the best of both worlds, making it an easy show to pick up but also one that holds your interest. Hugh Laurie in the central role has become a very memorable character, with his comic timing not wasted on House's barbed, irreverent tongue. The writers don't let this overshadow the rest of the excellent cast though, making a very well rounded television series.

The DVD box set doesn't feature any extravagant packaging, however the set does include a few interesting extras which genuinely gives insight into the series. Although the following series are arguably better, if you start from series two or three (as I did), you will find yourself backtracking to pick up on the character development. Definitely recommended.

Digital Art Masters: Volume 2
Digital Art Masters: Volume 2
by 3dtotal.Com
Edition: Paperback
Price: £18.35

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A superb collection of talent, 24 Sep 2007
Digital Art Masters 2 is a superbly printed and bound selection of works by a selection of artists from around the globe. For those whose frequent online art communities, some of the artists or works might be immediately familiar. Each section revolves around a main piece which is shown from concept to completion, giving an insight into how each was made. This is followed by a number of smaller images of further works by the artist.

Giving a fantastic insight into the process behind the works, both 2D and 3D (probably a little more 3D), this volume features a good range of subjects and styles from automobiles to fantasy to children's book-style illustrations.

Highly recommended.

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