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Sony Xperia U Sim Free Smartphone - Black
Sony Xperia U Sim Free Smartphone - Black
Offered by Fonestar
Price: 129.99

163 of 164 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good all round smartphone that looks elegant, performs very well and good value for money., 12 Aug 2012
I owned a Galaxy S which was amazing for two years. It could not cope well with multi tasking or more demanding apps. I got fed up it with it and was looking for a change. I preferred a mobile phone that could perform well but at a decent price. I did quite a bit of research because I am a bit funny about technology which I am not going to rant about.

1) Cost
The two options I were weighting up was the Xperia U (125 approx as an upgrade from Phones4u on PAYG at the time this was written) or the Star N8000 (125 approx sold on Amazon).

2) Performance:
The spec seemed better with the Star as it has 1GB of RAM. The Sony has 512K. I assumed Star would outperform. According to various U tube Antutu benchmarking videos however I noted the following scores (the higher the score the better):

Samsung Galaxy S: Score 3007
Star N8000: Score 3200
Sony Xperia U: Score 5333

You can imagine if I got the Star I might have been a bit cross.

3) Looks:
- The Sony is small, like a mobile phone should be and not look like a tablet. It fits in the hand well and the pocket.
- It has square corners not round corners. I dont understand why a lot of phones have the round corners, probably health and safety or something. Its my personal preference by the way. Maybe I am sick of rounded corners now. Square cars is still a NO for now.
- The light strip is a cool touch. The phone feels like it comes to life when you use it and is customisable.
- It says SONY above the touch screen. I feel proud to be the owner of this device. I remember the days when you see 'Sony' it meant expensive but quality.

4) Software
- Running gingerbread 2.3. Apparently will be upgraded to Ice cream sandwich 4.0 in September. Im happy with the software as it is.
- Due to the small screen it maybe difficult for some people to type on this device. The spell check built in is pretty efficient. If you make a mistake, the software will rectify it when you type the next word.
- Not as clever as the Galaxy S software. For example, on the Galaxy S you can swipe the text message to call someone. That was useful. Swiping from top of the screen to activate bluetooth, wifi etc was also very useful.

5) Storage capacity
- limited. 2gb dedicated to apps. 4gb for all others. This is fine for me. Other people may wish to carry more things.
- No expansion. Good. From previous experience, expansions slow the phone down.

6) Battery life:
OK. Lasted two days tops whilst playing games now and again. The battery can be changed. I intend to buy a replacement battery with higher capacity and use the one provided as a backup.

7) Recent Issues with the phone:
This phone worked like a dream on wifi for 15 mins. Then it started connecting to the router with 'limited connection' ie no internet. Apparently this is a common problem with these phones. I was determined to resolve this because I truely believe this phone is fantastic for the price, performs like a dream and looks great.

I updated the Belkin router with the latest firmware release. It did the trick for me. If you come across this problem I hope the suggestion will resolve the problem.

UPDATE: EARLY DEC 2012
8) A software update has been made available in Nov 2012 in the UK. It gives the Xperia U an update to Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS).
It seems faster and has a more intelligent and user friendly interface. The internet connects faster and the range of the wireless has been increased. The highlight of this update is the option to 'swipe' words as seen on the Samsung phones and an improvement to the voice recognition which makes it easier to ask questions or Google something.

Please be aware Sony stated on their website that once the update has been made you will not be able to revert back to an older version of Android. So before you update please check the 3rd party apps you are most reliant on are compatible with the new version of ICS.

Im aware that those who enjoy Rage of Bahamut for example, it currently has problems loading animations.

Thanks for reading.
Comment Comments (7) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 21, 2013 12:19 AM BST


Street Fighter IV (PC)
Street Fighter IV (PC)
Offered by Gameseek
Price: 10.65

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 2D or not 2D, 13 Dec 2009
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
I was suprised to see limited reviews on this game and was desperate to contribute because it is a good game and deserves more recognition. It seems like to should be forgotten since the arrival of the Tekken and soul calibur series. 3D and mashing was the way forward and never look back.

I welcome the timely return of the SF series to find:

1)) It has not gone 3D and stays strictly as a 2d fighting game.

2) All the classic characters that made street fighter the game it was return. Guile is an annoying character to play against like usual. sonic bung-sonic bung-leg sweep- fish kick!

3) Introduces a trial mode to help develop your understanding of the characters style of play and to unlock bonus material. This also includes crazy but addictive combo trials which can lead to aching thumbs.

4) Online gameplay. Very addictive. The majority of players seem better mannered when they have lost or won a fight unlike if you are playing the ps3 version. OR unless you are called LORBUC....no doesn't matter.

5) It requires some technique, the more technical the better, likelier and more satisfying the win. Difficult to mash your buttons in the hope of a win.

Please note:

Requires a bit of clever play and technique when playing difficult and "difficult" online opponents.

The game is only as good as the joypad/joystick. Moves can be executed well with a ps pad. You can buy a pad/usb converter from amazon. The xbox pad is great for other games but sadly will not work well in this one. You will know when you sho-ryu-ken FADC only to find you have jumped...into another fish kick.

The graphics are great, much better than the PS3 version and will run smoothly as long as you have a reasonable spec. I run the game on XP/AMD X2 2.8ghz/ATI 4670/4GB Ram.

Only con is that the game is slightly slower than the PS3 version. So don't jump into an online match on your little bro's ps3 version until you adapt to the tempo.


Mount & Blade (PC CD)
Mount & Blade (PC CD)
Offered by GeeksWholesaler
Price: 5.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars M&B is Sophisticated, Unique, and Unknown!?, 25 Oct 2009
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Mount & Blade (PC CD) (DVD-ROM)
Imagine you are in the film Braveheart and you are William Wallace. You command a number of archers, cavalry and infantry hired and trained by you. The battlefield is a bumpy open green landscape, in the distance obscured by a few trees and rocks you see your enemy. Their infantry advance towards you slowly and you need to tactically decide what is best and quickly. You give your orders, your archers retain the front line until you command the first volley of arrows and you mount your horse leading the cavalry out of enemy sight outflanking them when the time is right.......if you like these scenarios in a medieval setting, like to fight hand to hand combat on horse or on foot, develop an army mixed with a bit of reasonable RPG then M&B is for you.

Hmm, the game is a bit old and the graphics don't look that good I hear you ponder. I suppose the game has its limits too once you have explored and traded goods from town to town, bought all the best armor and hired and experimented with the variety of troops that are available from the different clans. If you end up in that position like I did after playing it for a few months then look out for the amazing mods created by some very talented and imaginative individuals. They have helped extend the longevity of this game by ten fold. Check out it out on youtube.

I want to say more but hopefully it is enough to convince you to cough up 8 quid to buy it.

Tip: don't lay siege to a town until you have amassed a large army of Nord Hurscals. When you capture a town, garrison all your soldiers there and run around the map recruiting like crazy and garrison more in the captured town otherwise you could lose it easily :)


Final Fantasy XII (PS2)
Final Fantasy XII (PS2)
Offered by Planet Games And Gadgets
Price: 24.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Late Review. Sorry, 30 Oct 2008
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
Final Fantasy XII is something I have been working through recently due to the current economic crisis. I heard some major changes were made to this game and so differs a lot to its predecessors.

Anticipating the horror of a new combat system in the manual, I actually was amazed at how efficient and engaging it is. The gambit system is a useful tool for those who are too lazy to issue your other characters an attack or defensive strategy. It makes the game very efficient during battles but I should point out the game still revolves loosely round a turn based system.

The GF's, those who can turn the tide of battle with a single summoning returns. They are known as Espers in this game and they are very hard to get hold of. They now roam around with their summoner fighting enemies like one of the characters and usually execute their finishing moves in a cut scene, classic Final Fantasy style.

There is little variation in the game, not many sub plots and sub games which is disappointing. It is needed because the structure of the main plot is very repetitive. One gets something to do, one travels through the desert and fights baddies, one goes through a ruin/dungeon to retrieve something fighting baddies along the way and the cycle goes on. What ever happened to those addictive sub games? The card game in FFVIII was classic.

So was the world roaming in the spaceship, the Ragnarok. Is there really no freedom? Actually there is in the towns. Good graphics help make these beautifully articulated places that are very memorable and you can almost believe in them. Sometimes it feels like you are on vacation. Very exotic places and an enjoyable experience roaming round the towns. When you are outside the towns its just desert or glacier, no suburbia or farmland! How do the people survive and where do they live? :D

I do agree with some others who reviewed this game stating that the characters were not very interesting. I think that would partially have to do with the English voice overs. They don't appear enthusiastic or emotional enough for instance when you expect them to be in order to help you engage with the plot. The plot is very political, subliminally sending out messages to those young gamers and well timed considering the political situation between the West and the Middle East. Although I am not sure that was intended :D

Good job for changing the combat system. If it was the same as all the other FF games I would not have continued playing. An addictive chill-out sub game would have been nice though.


Pro Evolution Soccer 6 (PS2)
Pro Evolution Soccer 6 (PS2)
Offered by Click4entertainment Limited
Price: 9.95

6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Love Hate, 22 April 2007
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
This is a game I couldn't wait to play. Having already owned a copy of PES 5, I was practicing it more than revising for my exams whilst eagerly awaiting the arrival of.....yes you guessed it, PES6.

PES is a game I have a love hate relationship with and the hate part got a lot worse since this thing landed on my doorstep. The beautiful game gets a lot more realistic apparently, but behaves more unrealistic than ever before. Maybe it is just me but here are a few things fellow PES players may have encountered especially against the AI:

- Being offside by one millimetre after you split open the defence with an amazing through ball that even Carrick or Fabergas would be proud of. Surely the referees are not that accurate? They should be more inconsistent to reflect real-life.

- You tackle the ball cleanly in the hope of getting the ball off your opponent and guess what? The ball falls to the feet of another opposition player and they passes it back to the player you executed a carefully timed tackle on. Great.

- Okay I am 1-0 up against a low ranking team, I can perfectly understand the sense of urgency and determination to try and pull one back, but I cannot understand why they become impossible to tackle when they have possession of the ball. The opposition pre empt most of your moves regardless of what you do. Even the left back can run pass all your defenders from his side of the pitch and make an attempt on your goal if you are lucky. It's amazing!

There is nothing fresh about the game, it's a slight update but I find myself returning to PES 5 as I yearn for the opportunity to pass the ball fluidly in the hope of chaining a beautiful move. The scoring doesn't matter, it's the act of making the chances that makes PES exciting even on the highest difficulty settings. PES 6 takes that all away. On a high difficulty you are unable to pass beyond the half way line without the ball being intercepted or wrestled off the ball and by the way you will have difficulty doing it back to them, the AI defending and attacking is amazingly efficient and precise than ever before. Best thing is the almighty master league returns with 5 new extra players! Great!

Last but not least, why on earth did Konami tweak the shoot button back to the twitchy one like they did for PES3! Why did you do that? Now I cant shoot or lob properly! What was wrong with the one in PES 5? Cheers.


Guild Wars Factions
Guild Wars Factions

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Before you play, please remember to phone in sick for work or uni the next day., 26 Aug 2006
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Guild Wars Factions (Video Game)
The first guild wars (prophecies) was too addictive nearly costing me a year at my university and almost ruining my relationship with my friends. I was attracted to the game because it required no monthly fees to play and the theme of the game was to my taste - swords, magic, monsters all wonderful. Give the game a chance and before you realise you are keenly awaiting the next addition to this MMORPG 8 months later, Guild Wars Factions whilst still playing the first one.

This game Factions is a welcome addition to the Guild Wars Prophecies campaign yet has diluted some aspects that made the first game that made it so addictive in the first place.

The two new characters gave this game a new buzz for a short while, oriental setting, new appearances for existing characters, weapons and armour but all this is expected. The selection of rare green weapons have been extended and there is a new palette of skills to experiment with, all very welcoming.

They have introduced "titles" to be earned and this simple idea strengthened my addiction to the game and alliance battles that is an exceptionally fun and addictive alternative to pvp has now ruined my life.

One of the greatest aspects of the game is the two teams of 8 co-op in missions since there were so many enemies. The battles in these missions were fantastic and just pure utter chaos, the most enjoyable part of Guild Wars for me.

The levelling up of characters in factions however is irritatingly quick and makes one think about how painfully long but proud you felt of taking your character to lvl 20 in the first campaign, it just goes down the drain. This has slightly put me off working on a new character from lvl 1.

Rumours of an auction house that would have made trading less vulnerable to scammers has not materialised. Rumours of slow changes of appearance ie the growth of hair, changes of skin colour in relation to the climate where the character has been the most ie desert = tanned, snowy terrain = paler skin has not materialised either. Neither has extended material storage capacity until recently ^_^ about time (thanks to ncsofts frequent game updates).

Nc soft are slowly refining the game so I'm confident they will improve on these such details. They have slot in some new great features to guild wars so far and I'm sure there is the best yet to come with the next game Nightfall.


Football Manager 2006 (Mac/PC CD)
Football Manager 2006 (Mac/PC CD)

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ahh......hey not bad at all, 29 Jun 2006
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
Was a bit sceptical about purchasing this game for some time killing instead of championship manager 4. Im glad I have made the right decision J.

CM4 was on my to shop list after giving my first copy away to a friend having played it non-stop during the summer, it was for the better considering I had university year to start again. Initially I favoured CM4 instead of football 2005 and 2006 because it had a user-friendly interface and easy was to get my head around things. Having given the 2006 edition a chance on my computer must admit I am pretty happy with what it has to offer.

It is more or less the same as football 2005 ^_^ but there have been many noticeable tweaks and changes to the 2006 edition which is very welcoming and makes the game more enjoyable. The simplification of the training schedule is a relief, they have reverted back to the simple CM3 style training program no-nonsense approach. The coaches and assignments of coaches to particular schedules makes a noticeable impact on the players very early on in the game as supposed to this long - term development nonsense which normally went undetected because I wouldn't pay that much attention on the player for two seasons to see whether he has gotten better or worse.

The split screen approach in the match mode is the best thing since sliced bread. Why didn't they think of this earlier? It is now possible to keep an eye on the match and the opponent's tactics at the same time so that you can react the opposition's tactics quicker.

Although there is significant improvements made to the match mode and outside match game mode I am beginning to find the new team talk thing slightly irritating. Im tempted to say to all of them they were terrible even if they win the game by 3 goals but I never will because of the fear of making their morale drop even if they did play like drunks and lose 2-0.

The only other thing is the layout of the screen. The key links ie tactics/finance/fixings/training it is not obvious where they are sometimes and I hope they have a think about this. But besides that, good job.


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