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OMG! It's got a plug! (Winchester)
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Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium, Upgrade Edition for XP or Vista users (PC DVD), 1 User
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium, Upgrade Edition for XP or Vista users (PC DVD), 1 User
Offered by Kryonet
Price: £179.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Windows Simplified, 15 Jan 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I installed this on a laptop running Vista to give it a new lease of life. I was tempted to do a clean install but decided on the upgrade option instead. If you're upgrading from XP you'll have to perform a clean install. For safety purposes (you can never be too sure with Microsoft!) I removed all my files to an external hard drive prior to the upgrade. The upgrade was very straight forward and it took about 4 hours (with a few re-starts in-between) to complete.

I did initially have a problem after I'd installed it - I kept getting a Windows Update prompt to install the same five security updates for Microsoft .NET Framework 4 every time I switched on my laptop. Eventually I un-installed Microsoft .NET Framework 4, re-installed it and everything has been OK since.

My laptop isn't running that much faster but Windows 7 is so much easier to navigate and work with and all of my software - Firefox, MediaMonkey, MS Office 2007, VLC, etc. works just fine with it. You should consider defragmenting you drive after installation - mine was a complete mess.

This is, by some distance, the best version of Windows that I've used and I wholeheartedly recommend it to users of XP or Vista.

System Requirements (as stated on the box):

1 GHz or faster 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor.
1 GB RAM (32-bit) / 2 GB RAM (64-bit).
16 GB available disk space (32-bit) / 20 GB (64-bit).
DirectX 9 graphics processor with WDDM 1.0 or higher driver.

Before installation commences, an automated scan of your PC is conducted to check that it meets the requirements.


Samsung Galaxy S 8GB Wi-Fi MP3 Player with 4.2 inch Display - White
Samsung Galaxy S 8GB Wi-Fi MP3 Player with 4.2 inch Display - White

13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent multi-functional bargain, 27 Dec 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
For the price this device is being offered for at the time of writing this review, it represents excellent value. Although advertised as 8GB it's comes fitted with an 8GB micro SD card (therefore, 16GB capacity on board) and apart from telephone facilities, it more or less provides all the features offered by a Samsung smartphone - MP3 player, Internet, Android Apps, camera, GPS, voice recorder, FM Radio, etc.

It's fairly intuitive to use, connected with no problems to my wireless network and works with my Bluetooth headphones and speaker. The screen is big enough to watch BBC iPlayer videos and the built-in speaker is OK, but you really do need to hook it up to a speaker or headphones to experience decent sound quality (the headphones that it comes with are not that bad). Files can be transferred using Samsung's Kies software or alternatively you can just drag and drop files in Windows. I found Kies to be very buggy and find it far easier to drag and drop files - when you connect it to your PC both the device and memory card are displayed in Windows. I've fitted a 32GB micro SD card (£15 from Amazon) and extended it's capacity to an impressive 40GB.

On the downside, it's running a 2 year old version of Android and it comes with some useless pre-installed games and other apps that can only be uninstalled by rooting the device. Another negative is that you need to have your headphones plugged-in to listen to the FM Radio. Nonetheless, if you want an all singing and dancing pocket-sized device minus the telephone features, look no further - this is an excellent multi-functional gadget and a bargain too.

Battery life:

Playing MP3 files ripped at 320kbps, using wired headphones with the screen display turned off I'm getting a very impressive 19-20 hours with the volume at level 23 (it goes up to 30). When playing MP3 files and using apps and the internet etc. the battery life lasts for 5-6 hours.

***Update: I've been using this device for over a month now and it's quite noticeable that its Internet speed is slower than that of my iPad and Windows laptop when connected to the same BT Infinity Wi-fi network***
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 2, 2013 12:39 PM GMT


Braven 650  Aluminium Wireless Portable Speaker for Smart phones, Tablets, Silver
Braven 650 Aluminium Wireless Portable Speaker for Smart phones, Tablets, Silver

10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding sound and more than just a speaker, 21 Dec 2012
They say that the best things come in small packages and it most definitely applies to the Braven 650. Measuring 15.9cm x 6.4cm x 4.5cm and weighing 370g it's not only a wireless speaker, it's also a phone charger and can be used for hands-free voice and video calls.

Made from aircraft grade aluminium with a silver/grey finish, it's stylish, unobtrusive and very portable. But the real attraction of the Braven 650 is the quality of the sound it delivers. In a word, it's OUTSTANDING. The sound created is huge for such a small speaker and it really does fill the room. It's well-balanced, clear & spacious and best of all, the bass is rich and detailed (which is not always the case with portable speakers). Turn the volume right up and it copes with ease. Granted it's expensive, but hearing is believing and it's easy to see (hear) why it attracts a premium price tag. It's the next best thing to hooking up to an amplifier and speakers set-up.

It simple to setup - both my iPad and laptop found it immediately and paired within seconds. If your device isn't Bluetooth compatible, you can still connect using the included 3.5mm audio cable. I have no use for the hands-free mobile phone and video calls function, but you can set it up so that when receiving an incoming call you can switch to hands-free by simply pressing the phone button. You can also charge your mobile phone from it using the USB socket, although it's not powerful enough to charge my iPad.

The Bluetooth range appears to be very good - it worked upstairs and in the garden and you can easily carry it between rooms. It has two buttons to turn the volume up or down and press them for three seconds and you can skip forwards or backwards between tracks. The literature states that the battery life lasts an impressive 20 hours, but I suppose it depends on the volume you have it at - I normally get about 15-16 hours on a full charge. You can tell when the battery is on the way - it starts beeping a warning sound every few minutes until eventually the reception starts dropping out.

There is the option to daisy-chain it with more Braven speakers but a single speaker is more than enough given the quality of the sound. It doesn't come with an instruction manual, but the quickstart instructions direct customers to the Braven site where a full instruction manual can be downloaded if needed.

Overall, this is a very high quality speaker in every respect. It looks the part, it delivers outstanding sound and it's also more than just a speaker.

Box contents:

* Braven 650 Bluetooth speaker.
* 1 metre USB to micro USB cable.
* USB wall plug (with UK, US and continental adapter heads).
* 60cm 3.5mm audio cable.
* Carry bag.
* Quickstart instructions.

Technical overview:

* 2 x custom HD audio drivers providing stereo audio amplified by left and right channel passive sub woofers.
* 6w total output (3w per channel).
* 10 metre Bluetooth range.
* 20 hour battery life.
* Approximately 3 hours to charge.


Sennheiser MM450-X Travel Wireless Bluetooth On-Ear Headphones with Kindle Compatibility
Sennheiser MM450-X Travel Wireless Bluetooth On-Ear Headphones with Kindle Compatibility
Price: £199.97

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It's not all bad news but..., 19 Dec 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The overall sound quality of these headphones is good with space and clarity between instruments but the bass just gets completely lost in the background. I suppose it's better than having a forced and fake sounding bass boost but it is a major disappointment for a pair of 'phones with this price tag. The manual does bang on about apt-X audio coding and if your device has this feature then "you can be assured of crisp, pure and full stereo" which makes you wonder just how good these are if you don't have it...

Sitting on the ears, they fit snugly, maybe a bit too snugly - after about 30 minutes I have to give my ears a five minute break. They're not quite skull crushers but they're nowhere near as comfortable as my Nokia BH-905i headphones. A further disappointment is the amount of hiss when using the lead. I've tried it on both my laptop and iPad and the lead doesn't appear to be damaged but the amount of background hiss really is unacceptable. Additionally, the cover for the charging point does not fit properly.

It's not all bad news. The Bluetooth connection is excellent. It never, ever drops out and the range around the house and whilst on the move is very good. The buttons on the right hand earcup are easy to distinguish between and you can adjust the volume, skip back and forth between tracks and pause the music. A full charge takes about 2 hours and at 75% volume I'm getting about 7-8 hours of Bluetooth playback. You'll also need to have them charged when using them wired. The 'NoiseGard' function is more than adequate and although it doesn't kill all background noise it does block most of it out. However, expect a very low hissing noise (almost indistinguishable to my ears) when it's activated.

The battery is replaceable and they fold up compactly. A travel case and USB wall plug charger with a whole host of interchangeable plugs heads are included. Overall these are adequate headphones; nothing more and I'm just NOT getting a RRP of £300 vibe from them.


Philips DVT 1500 Digital Recorder with Nuance DNS
Philips DVT 1500 Digital Recorder with Nuance DNS

2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Good Digital Recorder; Useless Software, 5 Dec 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
With a 2GB capacity, this digital recorder is about the same size as a pre-smart phone Nokia mobile. Powered by 2 AAA batteries, it's made of plastic and it's very light. It has the following recording capabilities and capacities:

MP3: 8kbps (562 hours) / 64kbps (70 hours) / 96kbps (46 hours) / 192kps (23 hours)
WAV: 1411kbps (3 hours)

On the lowest setting - 8kbps - the sound quality of recordings is (unexpectedly) atrocious but it gets clearer as the quality is increased. Playback on the recorder is OK but recordings sound much better when played back via a PC.

Its capacity can be increased by up to 32GB using a Micro SD card. The microphone records in stereo and has a decent range that can be extended by plugging in an external microphone with a 3.5mm jack lead (not supplied). There's also a 3.5mm headphones socket. It can be set up to work via voice activation and also to switch off automatically.

To transfer files from the recorder, just hook it up to a PC using the supplied USB cable (no software required) and it will show as a new drive. It can also be used as a portable drive for storing documents, photos, MP3s, etc although there is no capability to view/play them and they don't register as being on the recorder until it's connected to a PC. It has four pre-configured folders (A, B, C & D) that cannot be deleted, reconfigured or re-named. Files can either be deleted directly via the recorder or when it's connected to a PC and there is an option to split files via the controls on the recorder. Files are saved with a time stamp (YYYY/MM/DD-HH/MM/SS) and there is a prompt to set the date and time when you turn it on for the first time.

The menu is VERY easy to navigate and understand (although the screen display looks ancient!) and it comes pre-loaded with an instruction manual which is a lot harder to navigate - it's a multi-product manual and it gets confusing because some of the instructions are only applicable to other models. In total there is 16MB of pre-loaded data - multiple language instruction manuals and a pointless "Welcome!" audio clip. Save the instruction manual to your PC and delete the rest to maximise its capacity.

The DRAGON Naturally Speaking software is appalling. It's a basic version and it either doesn't like or understand my voice and after a number of failed attempts at recording a voice evaluation (DNS would not accept them), I gave up.

For the price this is, DRAGON Naturally Speaking aside, a very decent and well thought out bit of kit that does what it claims to do and does it well. With iOS and Android voice recorder apps now available for hand held devices, the days of the dedicated digital recorder may be numbered but look no further if you're in the market for one.


Man Chest Hair
Man Chest Hair
Price: £11.71

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hard Rockin' Greater Man-chest-er, 2 Dec 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Man Chest Hair (Audio CD)
Subtitled "18 Outbursts of Unreleased Testosterone from the 1970's Mancunian Rock Underground" this compilation ranks as one of Finders Keepers Records best releases yet. Mostly sourced from unissued studio recorded demos and acetates from DIY bands operating on next to nothing budgets in Greater Manchester in the seventies, nearly all of the tracks are getting released for the first time. And why most of the music here has never surfaced before is a mystery - the overall quality of the songs and the musicianship is more often than not outstanding. Heads down hard banging rockers, heavy beats, guitar riffs - this is a dirty rock, psych, prog, glam and hairy funk riot. Whilst listening to this you can almost taste the stench of stale ale, sweat and cigarette smoke as your feet stick to a beer soaked carpet.

The story of how the idea for this compilation came about is wonderfully told by Andy Votel in his extensive sleeve notes. After coming into possession of a rare 7" release on a German label by J.C Heavy, FKR attempted to track the band down in Germany only to discover that they were from ...Stockport. Finders Keepers have built a reputation for releasing long lost and forgotten global obscurities but this compilation proves that they can replicate that success when crate digging in their own back yard - they really do go that extra mile when researching and sourcing music. Compulsory listening.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 2, 2012 7:35 PM GMT


Secret Enigma 1968-1981
Secret Enigma 1968-1981
Price: £11.45

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cool Seventies Soundtrack Vibes, 30 Nov 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Secret Enigma 1968-1981 (Audio CD)
Consisting of 22 recordings from prolific Polish soundtrack composer Andrzej Korzynski, all of the music on this compilation was recorded between 1968-81 and much of it is getting a mainstream release for the first time. Moreover, some of the tracks are previously unreleased and are taken from Korzynski's private archive. His music covers a whole range of styles, taking in electronic, orchestral, jazz, pop and rock with plenty of funky vibes.

Most of the tracks are relatively short (average playing time is a little over 2 minutes) and this does, unexpectedly for soundtrack compositions, sometimes frustrate given how good much of this music is. Highlights include the killer proto-Blaxploitation of 'La Grabuge' and the beautiful orchestration and bass pairing on 'Losy 2'. 'Saved from Oblivion' has a cool and moody vibe and the jerky 'Third Part of the Night Czolownica' sounds, like much of the music here, as though it's been lifted straight from an early seventies Italian soundtrack. Elsewhere there are plenty of offbeat sounds, spooky electronia, easy flowing orchestrations and even a couple of mildly hip-swivelling groovers.

Enthusiasts of Italian (Ennio Morricone, Piero Piccioni, Stelvio Cipriani, etc) and French (Michel Colombier, Francois de Roubaix, etc) soundtrack composers from the same era will find much to enjoy here. Korzynski's soundtrack to Andrzej Zulawski's 'Possession' (also released on Finders Keepers Records) is worth checking out too. The running time is 48:50 and the very extensive sleeve notes are well researched and written.


NESCAFÉ Dolce Gusto EDG605.B. Circolo Play & Select Coffee and Beverage Machine EDG605.B. by De'Longhi - Black
NESCAFÉ Dolce Gusto EDG605.B. Circolo Play & Select Coffee and Beverage Machine EDG605.B. by De'Longhi - Black
Price: £109.99

7 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An OK appliance but hot water is not that hot..., 23 Nov 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
**This is a review of this appliance and therefore I make no mention of the quality of the multitude of Nescafe Dolce Gusto capsules available to use with it**

Looking more like a grandiose iPod docking speaker than a beverage machine, this is a decent looking appliance. It has a water tank that holds enough water to fill 4½ standard size coffee mugs. After switching it on it's ready to use after 25 seconds. It dispenses both hot or cold water and heats the water as it dispenses it.

To make your drink, insert the capsule for your drink of choice into the pull-out capsule holder, engage the locking handle, place your cup on the stand, select the size of the cup you're using by scrolling the wheel (exactly like one found on a mouse) until the relevant LED is lit on the display panel and press one of the colour coded buttons for either hot or cold water. It takes 40-50 seconds to make your beverage with minimum fuss i.e. there's not too much coughing or spluttering when the water is being heated and filtered.

It can dispense without a capsule inside it and can therefore be used for making hot water drinks instead of boiling the kettle. However, the hot water is nowhere near as hot as what you'd get from a kettle and is best described as very warm. You can stop the flow of water immediately by pressing the hot or cold water button, depending on which is being dispensed. If the water runs out whilst making your drink it will resume where it left off after you've re-filled the water tank.

Fitted with a removable overflow tray, it can be adjusted to one of three different heights depending on the size of the cup being using. It also comes with a bin (that fits into the cup holding area when not in use) for disposing of empty capsules. All the removable parts that require cleaning are easy to do so.

It's worth bearing in mind that this machine does NOT make your drink of choice taste any better. Whether you're making a hot chocolate, latte, cappuccino or any other drink in the Nescafe Dolce Gusto range, all this appliance does, much like smaller ones that cost much less, is puncture the capsule and filter water through it. The only real advantage is that you don't have to refill the water tank as often.

Suitable for the home or office, it's an OK appliance but consider if you need one this big & expensive and bear in mind that the water it dispenses is far from boiling hot.

Top Tip: Given the warm water this dispenses, I give drinks that I make a 20 second blast in the microwave to get them piping hot.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 3, 2013 9:51 AM GMT


North Sea Scrolls
North Sea Scrolls
Price: £11.25

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A conceptual re-imagining of history..., 21 Nov 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: North Sea Scrolls (Audio CD)
Originally premiered at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2011, this is the studio recording of The North Sea Scrolls - a re-imagining of the history of the UK by singer-songwriters Luke Haines & Cathal Coughlan and writer Andrew Mueller. Here's how Haines sums up the concept:

"It's about some hidden information that's become known as the North Sea Scrolls that have come to our notice. This information fundamentally would redefine the way we view our entire history as a nation, and possibly as a planet. It's no small change, this North Sea Scrolls business."

Amongst their re-imaginings, Joe Meek is appointed the Minister of Culture by Lord Protector Oswald Mosley, DJ Chris Evans is burnt at the stake and Enoch Powell, the former "excitable Secretary of State for Death", is now the Poet Laureate. They name check almost everybody from Charles Bronson, Sid James and Gazza to wannabe Princess Anne kidnapper Ian Ball and his namesake (the guitarist from Gomez!) and Tony Allen (a bit-part actor from The Sweeney and Minder).

A concept album, the first disc features a couple of narratives and 13 songs - six written and sung by Haines, six written and sung by Coughlan with the final track being a collaborative effort. The second disc consists of 'The Whole Show', where the exact same songs from the first disc are preceded by a narrative written and performed by Mueller where he informs the listener of the contents of The North Sea Scrolls. Each narrative is between 1-2 minutes in length and the subject matter of each one is followed by a reinterpretation in song form by either Haines or Coughlan. It's an absolutely absurd, insane and mad concept and it probably shouldn't work, but it's exceptional!

The music is, for the most part, acoustic and features piano, guitar and cello and it never veers into comedy territory. However, a lot of lyrics and all of the narratives are hilarious and surreal. Haines and Coughlan are on top form here - the songs are immediate and, despite the subject matters, utterly gorgeous at times. Cathal Coughlan, with his rich baritone voice, brings to mind Scott Walker and Nick Cave both vocally and musically. Master wordsmith Luke Haines brings to mind ...Luke Haines, carrying on where he left off on his previous solo album (a superb concept album about the British wrestling scene of the 1970s).

A serious contender for album of the year, I wholeheartedly recommend it. Housed in a gatefold cardboard sleeve, this 2CD set is a good idea by the label - the narratives don't lend themselves well to repeated listens and get in the way of the songs.

The track list:

CD1 (53:15):

1. Preamble (Intro)
2. Broadmoor Blues Delta
3. Mr Cynthia
4. I'm Not The Man You Think I Am Karen, I'm The Actor Tony Allen
5. Witches In The Water
6. I Am Falconetti
7. The Papal Pagan
8. Ayatollah Cornelius
9. The Morris Man Cometh
10. Tim Hardin MP
11. Enoch Powell - Space Poet
12. The Australian IRA Show
13. My Mother My Dead Mother
14. Narration (Outro)
15. Anthem Of The Scrolls

CD2 (76:05):

1. Preamble (Intro)
2. Scroll 1
3. Broadmoor Blues Delta
4. Scroll 2
5. Mr Cynthia
6. Scroll 3
7. I'm Not The Man You Think I Am Karen, I'm The Actor Tony Allen
8. Scroll 4
9. Witches In The Water
10. Scroll 5
11. The Papal Pagan
12. Scroll 6
13. Ayatollah Cornelius
14. Scroll 7
15. I Am Falconetti
16. Scroll 8
17. The Morris Man Cometh
18. Scroll 9
19. Tim Hardin MP
20. Scroll 10
21. Enoch Powell Space Poet
22. Scroll 11
23. The Australian IRA Show
24. Scroll 12
25. My Mother My Dead Mother
26. Narration (Outro)
27. Anthem Of The Scrolls


Hyundai Mr Scan Portable Mobile Scanner (WiFi, A4, microSD-slot, USB 2.0) - Grey
Hyundai Mr Scan Portable Mobile Scanner (WiFi, A4, microSD-slot, USB 2.0) - Grey
Price: £77.00

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good but not perfect, 17 Nov 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Before using this scanner you will need a Micro SD card - it does not have an internal memory and a Micro SD card is NOT included. You'll also need a steady hand as you have to manually slide the scanner across whatever it is you're scanning. Powered by two AA batteries it's advertised as being able to scan up to A4 size and, using the supplied OCR software, you can covert scanned text to an MS Word document and therefore edit it.

There are three resolution settings and you can scan in colour or mono (B&W). Scans can be saved as either .jpg or .pdf. When scanning photos or images the quality is very good (see the image from a CD cover I scanned). Scanned text documents can appear slightly lopsided especially if the page has been folded. I find it's best to save scans, including text documents, to jpg - although this is advertised as being able to scan up to A4, it does scan a slightly wider area. If saved as a jpg you can trim any rough edges off an A4 document scan and then convert to pdf using the supplied software.

It has Wi-Fi capability and when activated you can view scanned images in your browser. This worked on both my MS Vista laptop and iPad but it does drain the scanner's batteries. To transfer images to your PC there is a supplied USB cable and MS Vista automatically installed the drivers.

In summary, this is a very good handheld scanner although given the cost I think Hyundai could have included a basic Micro SD card. Additionally, a couple of very slight guide ridges on its underside the width of an A4 sized piece of paper would be a real asset when scanning A4 documents.

Top Tip: Before scanning a document, secure it to a flat surface using a very small amount of Blu-Tack. It makes the job much easier.


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