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Paul B "-pb-" (UK)

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FIFA 13 (Xbox 360)
FIFA 13 (Xbox 360)
Offered by Talbot Media
Price: £10.20

4.0 out of 5 stars It's football, init?, 27 Mar 2013
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: FIFA 13 (Xbox 360) (Video Game)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
FIFA 13 continues the long standing partnership between EA and the FIFA name. You could also argue that it continues the rather annoying relationship between games and yearly updates that are only just justified.

Not being a huge football fan, I'm often surprised at how much I actually like football games on consoles and always end up playing FIFA at some point or another, whether it's this year's one or a previous one To me the teams and shirts matter far less than improvements to the game engine. FIFA 13, luckily, does make improvements, though many are difficult to spot.

The focus of the game is now online, made clear by the ability to help your chosen team rank higher by playing matches. It also follows the fixtures of the season in game by providing a mode to replay actual games and even the commentary is geared towards these live updates with scores from other teams as you play. It's actually quite impressive. assuming that it works correctly.

Graphically, I can't see that much difference since the last FIFA. I'm still waiting for closeups to look more human, at the moment I'd be scared bumping in to any of these players, but further away the game looks fluid and impressive. The controls are, from what I can work out, the same as well with only subtle improvements that help with one-touch skills.

So, should you buy this if you already have FIFA 12 or FIFA 11? Certainly if you have 11, but if you have FIFA 12 and are not bothered about the yearly team update there's only the online games and features here to tempt you in, good though they are.

No Title Available

5.0 out of 5 stars Does the job, 27 Mar 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The TP-Link TD W8970 is a fully featured Modem and Router that can be used in place of most other ADSL modems from your ISP (phone line connected Boradband, not cable or Fibre).

The device is rather on the large side, though the black shiny looks do make it nicer to look at than many other routers out there, and it has three large screw-in antennas at the back that are supposed to provide stronger coverage on the Wireless N signal.

Setup was pretty quick. After reading the basic setup instructions I plugged in and had the whole thing working on my O2 Broadband in about 5 minutes. The software has an automated setup routine that has a list of many different ISPs and sets the device up accordingly. After this I upgraded the firmware, but it took away the options for the automated setup, so beware of this. It' pretty easy to do a google search for the settings required, though.

Since updating the firmware and leaving the device plugged in and being used for over two weeks I've had no drops and I've noticed that the wireless is stronger throughout the house, though it doesn't seem to cover a greater area than my last router. As my O2 box 5 tended to be terrible with wireless signals being lost quite often, it's a big improvement for a small price.

With several USB ports in the back (though expect hard drive access through these on the network to be slow) and a good set of icons which light up green on the front to show the status of the device, this TP_link router is a good replacement for your standard ISP's router.

Tested on Windows 7 and Mac OS.

Nintendo Wii U Pro Controller - Black (Nintendo Wii U)
Nintendo Wii U Pro Controller - Black (Nintendo Wii U)
Price: £34.00

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mind controller, 23 Mar 2013
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
Technically, Nintendo didn't invent the gamepad, but they certainly invented some of the ideas that have been introduced in nearly all modern pads since, such as trigger buttons and the standard D-pad (though other designs had come before).

So it seems fitting that they've looked at other sources to pick the best from current generation gamepads for their pro controller.

Designed to be an alternative to the big gamepad that comes with the Wii U, the Pro controller is more comfortable for longer play and gives a second player almost the same level of control (bar the touchscreen). It's also very comfortable and has a good set of analog sticks that feel very responsive.

The device is wireless and comes with a USB lead for recharging. The battery level displays on the screen in the same way as Wii Remotes and the Gamepad.

Games such as Need For Speed Most Wanted have made good use of the pad, allowing you to either use it as the main controller with the touchscreen pad as a seperate map or giving a co-driver the second pad to control elements of the gameplay in real time.

Up to 4 if these pads can be used at once, or 3 and the touchscreen Gamepad, for multiplayer.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 8, 2013 9:38 PM BST

Shrinking Violet
Shrinking Violet
by Lou Kuenzler
Edition: Paperback
Price: £4.79

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Small girl, big laughs, 19 Feb 2013
This review is from: Shrinking Violet (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Violet is annoyed by her lack of height, so it's even more annoying when she finds herself shrinking to the size of a fishfinger for the first time. But this also begins an interesting adventure where she becomes a mini-detective (in more than once sense of the word) and solves the crime blamed on her gran.

The book instantly reminded me of Mrs Pepperpot, which I used to read at school myself, all those years ago. It has the same sort of charm, but at the same time has a modern attitude and Violet is certainly a determined girl and a good role model for girls in general.

My 8 year old lapped this book up. The story is so well written that she couldn't wait to get to the next chapter to find out what would happen. Now we can't wait to try out the other Violet books in the series to see what other adventures await the tiny heroine.

In short(!) this book is highly recommended to children everywhere, especially small ones.

Philips Fidelio DS3880W SoundRing Wireless Speaker with AirPlay
Philips Fidelio DS3880W SoundRing Wireless Speaker with AirPlay

5.0 out of 5 stars (un)Wired for sound, 19 Feb 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The Fidelio DS3880W is Philips attempt at a versatile speaker that acts as an Airplay device for Apple equipment and any other hardware that takes advantage of the Airplay format.

The unit comes in 2 parts; a large ring speaker, allegedly built this way to improve sound quality, and a round metal base. The look is certainly different, coming across as similar to one of those Dyson bladeless fans, but it does make the device striking to look at and the chrome effect is pretty nice.

The reason that the device is built in 2 parts is because the base acts as a recharging unit and mains adaptor. Plug the mains lead into the base (included in the pack) and once the ring is placed on this it will begin to charge, shown by a light on top of the ring unit. Take it off once charged and its ready to go as a portable speaker that can be carried around to any room. The best thing about this is that the speaker doesn't even need to clip on to the base, it just sits there with the weight of the speaker and a small magnet holding it in place.

Couple this with the Airplay feature, which allows you to wirelessly send music and sound to the speaker from an iPod, iPad or iPhone, or even a computer, and you have a truly wireless device.

The sound quality is typical for Philips and I found the bass and treble to be perfectly suitable for general music, even over Airplay. Some may complain that it doesn't match some high end systems, but it's just about right for the price and the sound was perfectly clear.

One issue that many will probably suffer with and that I found while moving this around the house, is that WIFI in general has an issue with walls, floors and pretty much anything that will get in its way, leading to blackspots where the signal falls over. This device, too, has issues with a lack of signal in some parts of the house because the signal is coming from the wifi signal, not direct from the phone, as some might assume. It's certainly something to be aware of before buying, but if you're generally ok with your signal on other wifi devices then this shouldn't be too much of an issue.

Overall, then, I'm very happy with the Fidelio DS3880W as a useful portable device that all of us in the family can use to listen to music around the house.

And, yes, the title is a play on a Cliff Richard song, I can only apologise for that.

The Tobermory Cat
The Tobermory Cat
by Debi Gliori
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £9.18

3.0 out of 5 stars A book about being special, 19 Feb 2013
This review is from: The Tobermory Cat (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The Tobermory Cat is a delightful looking story about a cat who wants to be special and refuses to give up on his quest.

Colourful illustrations feature plenty of detail which often allow children to spot new things every time they read, or are read, the book. Little touches that hint at the end of the story and the tie in with the Cat and the Fiddle rhyme are usually only discovered by the second or third read-through.

But this also leads to an issue; the primary audience is certainly younger children, but the story is far too complex and detailed for them to take most of it in. Even my 8 year-old had issues with the pacing of the story and some of the language. While the illustrations themselves may keep them interested, the story had less of an impact and the moral is lost among everything else on the page.

As a result, the book won't be a regular read at bedtime, but it will still be picked up from time to time.

Travalo Pure Essentials Refill Perfume Atomizer
Travalo Pure Essentials Refill Perfume Atomizer
Price: £7.99

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Useful little device, 19 Feb 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Here's another one of those novel little ideas that just seem to pop up out of nowhere. If you find yourself with a large bottle of your favourite perfume or cologne and then find that you never use it because it's far too big to take anywhere, Travalo has the answer.

This tiny spray bottle has an extra feature built in, a small hole in the bottom that lets you fill the spray bottle up from any standard spray perfume.

The device works just like a refillable lighter, where you press down on the bottle of perfume once you've taken its top off. After this you have to push up and down to keep spraying the perfume in to the small Travalo bottle. Once done, you will have a small, travel sized bottle of spray ready for you to stick in a handbag, pocket or jacket.

The spray has been used for a few weeks now without leaking and is quick and easy to refill, but bear in mind that it will only take spray perfume and even then, only when you can take the top of the spray off.

Emartbuy® Stylus Pack For Asus Google Nexus 7 ( 7 Inch Tablet ) - Blue Stylus + LCD Screen Protector + Wave Pattern Gel Skin Cover Blue
Emartbuy® Stylus Pack For Asus Google Nexus 7 ( 7 Inch Tablet ) - Blue Stylus + LCD Screen Protector + Wave Pattern Gel Skin Cover Blue
Offered by emartbuyuk
Price: £4.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Smart Emart, 26 Jan 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
About the product
For the price I didn't expect too much, but I was surprised by just how good the gel skin looks. It has a wave design with half the cover coloured and half partially clear, allowing for the colour of the device to show through.

It protects the edges of the device nicely, overlapping the edges of the front glass which also protects the screen protector that comes with it.

The screen protector was easy to fit and any air bubbles were easily pushed out from the sides. The one that came with the package was doggy eared at the ends and, because the protector is quite thick, it continued to rise up when on the device, but a replacement had been sent and was fine.

The pen is a standard stylus with a soft squishy end to it. The weight and size feel good, though like most of these stylus pens it isn't overly accurate for art.

About the seller
Emarkbuyuk sent the items in great time, but on receipt I found that the screen protector was folded at the end. After mentioning this they sent a new protector, which only took a day to reach me and was pretty much perfect. Great customer support and I'll be using this company again.

Marware Capacitive Stylus for Touchscreen Devices, Black
Marware Capacitive Stylus for Touchscreen Devices, Black
Price: £7.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fine quality, not so fine nib, 8 Jan 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Surely a stylus is a stylus and there's not much more to say? But in my experience there's a vast gulf between a stylus that can write legibly and one that can only be used for pointing.

The Marware Stylus may be advertised for Kindles, but it works fine on any capacitive screen, including my Galaxy Tab 2 and iPad. I've used it on both and it works perfectly when it comes to choosing apps, making the odd mark and some writing.

It looks pretty nice without standing out too much from the crowd. There's a pen-style clip for attaching to the breast-pocket, a long thin case and a soft capacitive end which is used to touch the screen.

The issues appear when you need to make more subtle strokes, say in an art program or with more accurate writing, as the 'nib' of the pen is a soft, squidgy sponge-style substance which pushes itself out with any sort of pressure, making for a wider area than I would have liked.

It's not a major issue and my 8 year old actually prefers it for drawing on the iPad and has created some pretty good drawings for it, but the wide nib prevents you from seeing the area of the screen you're writing or drawing on, it's more like a crayon than a pen.

So the Marware stylus will really only be suitable if you're using it for simple day-to-day tasks and it's best to look elsewhere for something more accurate.

Wii LAN Wired USB Network Adapter
Wii LAN Wired USB Network Adapter
Offered by Xett Multimedia Ltd
Price: £6.95

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Useful for Wii U, 2 Jan 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
While my Wii was connected wirelessly to the Internet, I didn't really use the feature all that much. Nintendo's Wii U, however, is built with the Internet in mind and therefore requires a good connection, especially as the first few updates to the system are fairly hefty downloads.

My wireless connection isn't the greatest in the lounge, the room where the Wii U is based, so Ethernet is the only really option. Going with a Homeplug system I already had the Ethernet wire available, but the Wii au does not have a port as standard.

This adaptor plugs into one of the USB ports and literally changes it into an Ethernet port, allowing you to use wired Internet. Once installed, simply change the connection in settings from Wireless to wired and bingo, it all works.

After a month's use the wired connection is as good as ever and I can easily recommend this adaptor.

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