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Corsair Gaming CH-9000091-EU SCIMITAR Multi-Colour RGB Backlit Performance 12000 DPI Laser MMO/MOBA Gaming Mouse, Black/Yellow
Corsair Gaming CH-9000091-EU SCIMITAR Multi-Colour RGB Backlit Performance 12000 DPI Laser MMO/MOBA Gaming Mouse, Black/Yellow
Price: £74.27

5.0 out of 5 stars Comfortable, accurate and highly customizable - with some functional lighting, 2 Feb. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The Scimitar is an MMO mouse with 12 mechanical side buttons and two more buttons on the top, in addition to the standard left, right and middle buttons (and wheel). It features customizable RGB lighting and has a solid braided cable for plugging it in. The 12 mechanical side buttons are adjustable in their position by using a hex key (included). This mouse works best with a palm grip and is for right-handed users.

This mouse is the successor to the M95. I have been using the M95 for a while now and have very much enjoyed using it. As the Scimitar is designed to completely replace the M95, a comparison is quite fitting. I’ll start with the hardware, then move onto the software.

The first thing I noticed upon receiving my Scimitar was that the build is not as good as the M95. The M95 is an extremely solid mouse – it feels fantastic, and has a thick plate of aluminium running along the bottom. I feel like you could use the M95 as an effective weapon in a zombie apocalypse. The Scimitar, in comparison, feels much weaker. It’s important to note that compared to any other mouse, I don’t think the Scimitar is weaker, or built badly – but it does take a step back compared to Corsair’s previous offering, which went beyond the mark.

Something else that doesn’t feel as good is the left and right click, at least to my preference. The M95 used a very light click, requiring very little movement for actuation. The Scimitar, in comparison, requires more movement to actuate. This was an issue at first. I adapted to it after a few hours, but if I try rapid-clicking, I can click the M95 faster than the Scimitar.

The side buttons on the Scimitar are overall better for me. The buttons are much more densely packed, and my initial concern was that I would have trouble with the accuracy of my button presses, however this has not been an issue for me, partly due to the nice texturing of the different columns. The sliding keypad is a genuinely good feature, so at least Corsair have redeemed themselves a little with this. I have it positioned all the way to the front of the mouse – depending on your grip or hand size, you may wish to position it elsewhere.

On the topic of positives, I find this mouse to be very comfortable, even more-so than the M95. This will depend on the user, but I love the new grip on the right side. The mouse has also been upgraded to use a very good zero-acceleration sensor, so that’s always nice. I do feel like I’ve been aiming better with this mouse.

Hardware wise, things probably are looking like a mixed bag right now. I think if you compare this mouse to any other plastic mouse, you probably won’t see why I’m complaining about the build. I’m being more critical here because Corsair have stepped back a little with their build quality. This is not what made me love Corsair as a company – I have been a good customer for Corsair largely due to premium build quality, and I would hate to see that fade away.

Onto the software – all of Corsair’s newer products are configured using the Corsair Utility Engine software, or CUE for short. CUE is extremely functional – it seems like you can make your Corsair products fly themselves to the moon with this software. It’s impossible for me to cover everything – for that, you’ll have to refer to Corsair’s 153-page manual.

RGB lighting is cool, but I’ve always viewed it as a gimmick. The mouse has several lighting zones, with a huge amount of customization. The effects are cool, but they aren’t really functional. There is an exception however – there is a lighting zone next to the keypad, on the left side of the mouse, toward the front. This zone faces you and changes colour depending on your DPI. If you like to switch DPI in-game, e.g. with a sniper mode for more controllable aiming, you can set this light to change colour to tell you that you are in sniper mode, or that you have increased DPI to the next level. It’s nice to see functional lighting.

What do you bind to 12 side-buttons? Pretty much anything you want. You can bind any keyboard or mouse key, and you can even create and bind complex macros – macros can even record mouse position, mouse clicks and the scroll wheel.

Although this is advertised as an MMO mouse, I use it for all my games, even fast-paced first person shooters – I very much enjoy Dirty Bomb for example, using this mouse. I think you should be able to hit several of the 12 side buttons quickly, in a ‘twitch’ or fast response situation. Using Dirty Bomb as an example, I bind a sniper button, my two special abilities and crouch. That’s only four out of 12 buttons – that’s fairly typical for most of my games. The idea is that in MOBAS, you will need all 12 buttons – however I don’t play these types of games.

In summary, it’s a good mouse. It’s just disappointing to see Corsair take a step back in some aspects of build quality when compared with the M95, however it still gets the job done. So where does this put the Scimitar? Overall – I would say it is an improvement, just not in all regards. The more plastic-y build isn’t a detriment to my gaming, and I do prefer the feel of the new adjustable side buttons. In terms of solid facts, the sensor is better – you should expect the mouse to respond 1:1 when you move it. The mouse is overall more comfortable, and as I use a palm grip, I appreciate the ergonomics.

I would recommend this mouse to any gamer and I do think it’s worth buying.

Samsung Gear VR (SM-R322NZWABTU) - Frosted White
Samsung Gear VR (SM-R322NZWABTU) - Frosted White
Price: £84.23

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great technology, though not great at everything., 24 Jan. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I had been eagerly awaiting the UK release of the Gear VR Consumer Version since it was first announced for the US market. A few months ago I started playing around with Google Cardboard and the Oculus` Rift DK2 for a project at uni, and found VR to be a very interesting realm. Rift DK2 was great fun, and though it had great sensors for accurate positional and rotational head tracking, it lacked in clarity with the low pixel density. Google Cardboard with my S6 Edge+ was a mediocre experience, however it gave me hope for what Gear VR could enable.

Google Cardboard is a cheap VR option, and will give you a glimpse of what is possible. Cardboard viewers use cheap lenses in front of most smartphones to make the app look like you’re looking through a window into another world, to an extent. The experience you get with Cardboard depends majorly on the phone you use, and personally I think most phones produce a very poor experience with Cardboard. Considering the S6 Edge+, the phone is powerful enough and has a good enough display to produce decent results with Cardboard, but Cardboard isn’t comfortable, it doesn’t block out light very well, and it relies on the phones’ sensors for head tracking. The sensor issue is a big one, as even in the most expensive smartphones, the sensors are not good enough to facilitate accurate and responsive head tracking, which is extremely important to your comfort in VR, and to not getting VR sickness.

So what if you could take some more accurate sensors to make the headset track smoothly like the Rift, take some higher quality lenses to improve clarity, and make the device comfortable to use? The result is Gear VR.

Gear VR is a well-built product. It has comfortable foam padding and high quality lenses which are adjustable to get the right focus. It comes with two straps - one around the head and one over the top, and has a trackpad on the right side for input, along with a back button and volume controls. The trackpad is the main input for the Gear VR, and many apps and games make use of it. Gear VR also features an accurate gyroscope and accelerometer, which is what enables the butter-smooth head tracking, and resulting immersive experience when using Gear VR that minimizes VR sickness.

Whereas Google Cardboard is not at all immersive and makes me feel sick after 5 to 10 minutes of light usage, Gear VR is very comfortable to use and in many situations I can use the device without feeling sick at all, and this is mostly due to the butter-smooth head tracking. Feeling sick with Google Cardboard is your body’s way of rejecting the poor head tracking from the sensors inside any mobile phone, which give very poor accuracy and responsiveness. Gear VR ensures that when you move your head, the virtual world moves with you, exactly the right amount, without drifting, and in a smooth motion. This is what allows you to accept the virtual world and become immersed inside it, and to not feel sick.

In my experience, it’s mainly the head tracking that makes for an immersive experience, then I rate the lenses second. However, when immersed in the VR experience, you will still be able to see pixels on the display. This may seem strange to some people, and will make certain things challenging, such as focussing on objects at a distance. It is a limitation of current technology which would be improved if the phone used a higher resolution display, however it will require more GPU power from the phone to run games at that new resolution.

To share more about sickness, as it’s a very important topic, there are situations where I have felt sick using the Gear VR – these are situations that do not agree with what your body is doing in real life, e.g. spinning upside down in the virtual world when you are sat in a stationary chair in the real world – it’s the disconnect that makes you feel sick and it’s unavoidable, so I don’t go for those types of VR apps and experiences. To give an example, I played a demo called Dreadhalls recently. It’s a first person horror game which requires a gamepad, and the gamepad is used for turning. Any game that requires a gamepad for turning makes me feel sick – not literally, and I don’t think I would actually be sick, but it makes me feel very uneasy. At least for me, VR isn’t going to work with first person shooters, as my body doesn’t accept what the headset is telling me.

On the topic of apps and games, there are plenty of good ones I’ve discovered from my short time using it so far. Naming one – there is a game called Smash Hit, which has you flying on-the-rails in a straight line, in smooth motion (99% of the time). You have to throw metal balls at glass planes to shatter it/make holes to pass through, which you do by tapping the trackpad. Words can’t do this game justice, but it really amazed me that this experience was possible on a smartphone. When the glass shatters, it doesn’t simply disappear – you can watch the shards as they bounce into other objects, and watch your metal balls perhaps collide with another plane of glass and break that one too – the level of physics in this game is highly impressive, and amazing considering that my phone is powering it. This is a free game and I highly recommend it to any Gear VR owner, along with an amazing puzzle game called Esper.

The Oculus Store, where you get Gear VR apps, appears to have a decent number of apps in it. You can browse the store on your phone normally, or in the Gear VR in virtual reality, which is a great experience. The Oculus software is very good, and has a very useful feature that allows you to re-center the Gear to your new position. For example, if you start using the Gear facing one way, but you would like to re-center the world so that the front is over to your left, you can look over to your left, hold the back button, and you have access to a menu with this option on it – very useful feature. This menu also has a camera pass-through, where you can look through your phone’s rear camera to check on the real world you just left behind, and a do not disturb button to block notifications.

Games are great fun, and right now I think games are where it’s at with Gear VR, but people like to talk about 360-degree videos and watching movies in the Oculus Cinema. The Oculus Cinema is fantastic – very vivid. When a movie is playing, you can even see the light reflecting off the seats in the cinema. Movies was my main motivation to purchase the Gear VR, however I would not recommend watching movies on it. As I said, the cinema is very good – the issue is that the movies you play in the cinema will be quite pixelated, and as I said earlier, it doesn’t help that you can see each pixel on your phone’s display. This is quite true for many things, and doesn’t apply only to movies, however I found my eyes strained when I attempted to watch Spectre in the Oculus Cinema and the experience is better outside of VR for the time being, and the virtual cinema screen doesn’t have enough pixels to properly display the content. If the Galaxy S7 and its variants come out with 4k displays, then that might do the trick for movies, as the clarity of the movie will increase significantly due to the higher pixel density.

So Gear VR costs £80 – is it worth it?

For someone owning a compatible phone – which includes the S6, S6 Edge, S6 Edge+ and Note 5 – who is also interested in VR, then yes, it’s worth it. It has provided me with some great experiences, however be prepared that some things may make you feel nauseous, so I recommend testing it out first if you can. Should you buy a compatible phone just for the Gear VR? For a general consumer, I’d say probably not – Gear VR is mainly for those who already use Samsung phones. It’s a great technology that has come further than I had expected at this stage, however some dreams of mine, such as watching movies in a virtual cinema, are not yet ready to my liking in VR. I hold out hope that the S7 and its variants will bring 4K displays for better movie viewing, but for right now, there are some great games to get your money’s worth.

Microsoft Surface Pro 4 12.3-Inch Tablet with Keyboard (Black) and Pen (Silver) - (Intel Core i5-6300U 2.4 GHz, 8 GB RAM, 256 GB SSD, Integrated Graphics, Windows 10 Professional)
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 12.3-Inch Tablet with Keyboard (Black) and Pen (Silver) - (Intel Core i5-6300U 2.4 GHz, 8 GB RAM, 256 GB SSD, Integrated Graphics, Windows 10 Professional)

49 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Four generations in, Surface Pro is still leading its class., 19 Nov. 2015
Surface Pro 4 is the first Surface to release under Windows 10, and at a year and a half after Surface Pro 3, the Surface Pro line was due for an upgrade. Whereas Surface Pro 3 sported very similar internals to Surface Pro 2, but presented an incredible redesign of the exterior, Surface Pro 4 this time keeps the exterior almost identical to Pro 3, but has some nice upgrades internally, as well as with the accessories.

Surface Pro 4 has the same magnesium housing as Surface Pro 3, keeping the 3:2 aspect ratio and amazing friction kickstand with unlimited positions, which now feels even better to use. It has all the same ports as Surface Pro 3, and it’s even the same size, though this year’s model is 0.7mm thinner, now coming in at 8.4mm. So what’s new?

Though the device is the same size aside from being thinner, it features a slightly larger screen as the bezels have been reduced, moving from 12” up to 12.3” with a 3:2 aspect ratio and 2736x1824 resolution – that’s 267 PPI, up from 216 with the Pro 3 – in case you’re curious, that’s a slightly higher pixel density than the iPad Pro, and the Surface Pro 4 displays are calibrated out of the box for 100% sRGB, meaning they have great colour reproduction.

Pro 4 is slightly lighter, coming in at 786g for the i5/i7 or 766g for the m3 model, compared to 800g for Pro 3. This difference between i5/i7 and m3 is because the m3 model is fanless, so the removal of the fan saves you 20g in weight. Speaking of fans, Pro 4 has a majorly upgraded cooling system, and the fan now provides secondary cooling. The primary cooling system is now a copper plate next to the battery, which is beneath the kickstand. The copper plate is so effective that it can dissipate 60% of the heat produced by the SP4, leaving the fan to dissipate the other 40% only in intensive situations. The main benefits of this are that you will hear the fan even less, as for most tasks the fan will not be spinning at all, and now the heat is spread out across the device instead of having one hot corner behind the CPU, and the other half being cold to the touch.

They have also upgraded the storage to PCI-E SSDs now, meaning they are faster, and I have noticed an improvement in response time. They actually source their SSDs from two companies – Toshiba and Samsung. Microsoft, for whatever reason, has chosen to use a high-grade Toshiba, and a lower-grade Samsung, and which you get is luck of the draw unfortunately. This wouldn’t be an issue if performance were comparable, but the Toshiba drive actually has twice the write performance of the Samsung. In general usage, this is apparently negligible, but it’s worth noting and I’m not happy with Microsoft’s decision here.

That’s enough of general specs, what I want to talk about now are the main attractions of this device, at least for me personally. The IR camera, the pen, and the keyboard.

As I said earlier, this is the first Surface device to release under Windows 10, and as such, it supports Windows Hello facial recognition, a biometric authentication technology allowing you to log into your Surface with your face. Facial recognition with any old camera has been done before – you can fool it with photographs, so it’s not very secure. This implementation is different, and requires an IR camera. The IR camera checks that you are a living person, and so it cannot be fooled with a photograph – it can’t even be fooled by an identical twin. Recognising someone with an IR camera and checking that they are real sounds like a complicated job, and you might assume it will be slow – however, the most surprising thing about this technology is how fast it is. The camera recognises you very quickly, almost instantly – then you have to wait a second or two for Windows to log you in. It is a very cool technology and I very much enjoy using it instead of a pin or password, and as it uses IR, it even works in pitch black environments.

Onto the pen, it’s really fantastic. Great mostly-magnesium build like before, now with a few new features. The new pen has 1024 pressure levels, up from 256, for a smoother and more natural inking experience. It has replaceable tips, with 4 different tips available, called 2H, H, HB and B – the default tip that comes with the pen is the HB tip. The HB tip isn’t exactly like a pencil, but provides a very satisfying feel to inking, and I love it. The B tip has slightly more grip, and the others have less - the H is very much like the previous pen tip for Pro 3. These additional tips are not included with SP4. If you want these, you need to purchase the Pen Tip Kit separately, however I would only recommend this to artists as I think the standard tip is great for writing and general use.

The pen has one side button now, used for right clicking or lassoing in OneNote, and the eraser is back where it was originally – at the top of the pen, and it actually feels like an eraser, which like the new pen tip, is absolutely fantastic. The eraser has more functionality still – you can click it to open a new page in OneNote, double click it to capture and annotate a screenshot, and hold it down to activate Cortana in listen mode, all very convenient features. The pen also has a flat edge now where it can magnetically attach to the Surface Pro 4, on either the left or right side, and to some parts of the bottom, though it attaches much stronger to the left side – so strong that even under rigorous shaking, the pen will not fall off. This is very convenient for storage, and I love this feature.

Type Cover 4 Is another strong upgrade over the previous keyboard. The keys feel much better now – smooth, more rigid, and the overall keyboard is larger. I find the keyboard much more pleasing to type on, as it has a good amount of key travel and provides satisfying feedback. The trackpad has also been upgraded, now 40% larger and much smoother, it’s far nicer to use. The keyboard is still backlit, now with 5 levels of white lighting, including off. The function key is a toggle now, with a light on it to tell you whether the toggle is on or off, like the Caps Lock key. The one complaint I have with the keyboard is that the windows key is not in its usual place. On most English UK keyboards, the Windows key is the second key in on the left – on SP4, it is the third, and this caused me to hit the wrong key on a regular basis at first, however I’ve adjusted to it after a week, and am now using my desktop keyboard and Type Cover 4 without confusion.

The final thing I want to touch on is Intel Speed Shift technology. This is not Surface Pro exclusive – it’s a feature of Skylake processors, and as Surface Pro 4 is one of the first devices to use Skylake ultrabook processors, it benefits from this technology. So what is it? Speed Shift, in short, allows the device to respond much faster to tasks, lowering latency on first interaction. Most of the time when not being used, the CPU will idle at low frequency, but when you interact with the device it needs to ramp up the clock speed to max as fast as possible for responsiveness, and this is what Speed Shift does. Speed Shift makes a real-word improvement to responsiveness for most interactions, including touch responsiveness, and it was enabled in the Windows 10 update on 12th November, codenamed Threshold 2.

Surface Pro 4 is a quality of life upgrade, but doesn’t really bring any essential functionality that Pro 3 didn’t already have, and there’s nothing wrong with that. At this point, Microsoft has pretty much perfected the form factor – there isn’t another manufacturer who has come close to Microsoft in making a laptop replacement like this, yet more and more are now attempting it.

As I said earlier, I feel that the main attractions of this device are the IR camera, keyboard and pen. You may already know that the keyboard and pen are both backwards compatible with Surface Pro 3, meaning most of what I like about Surface Pro 4 is the accessories, and that is indeed the case. Though Surface Pro 4 is an incremental upgrade, offering a more responsive, more satisfying experience, I do feel that the best parts of this device are in the accessories. The new keyboard is fully functional with Pro 3, and the pen is too, aside from it only using 256 pressure levels with Pro 3. Still, if you can buy a new keyboard and a pen for your Pro 3 and get a large chunk of the new experience, why get a Pro 4?

If you’re new to Surface Pro, Surface Pro 4 is a fantastic option. It’s a bit thinner and lighter than the last model, with a newer, faster processor and a generally more responsive experience, with a slightly larger, though considerably more pixel-dense display, and much better cooling. This is a great device to get if you can afford it. If you already have a Surface Pro 3, but can’t afford the Pro 4 upgrade, then if you just purchase the new keyboard and pen, I think you will be pretty happy with your mini-upgrade.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 26, 2015 6:36 PM GMT

Samsung S6 Edge Plus 32GB Black UK Sim-Free Smartphone
Samsung S6 Edge Plus 32GB Black UK Sim-Free Smartphone
Price: £549.95

17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Marvel of technology, 7 Nov. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The Edge Plus wasn’t my first choice of phone. Coming from the Note 3, I was a fan of the pen though I rarely used it. I use a digital pen all the time with my Surface Pro 3, however I found the Note screen to just be too small to use meaningfully with a pen – but still, I wanted a Note 5. The reason I didn’t get a Note 5 is because it’s not currently available in the UK – I considered importing one, but after my previous experiences with American phones and updates, I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone, even if the phone is network unlocked.

Since I couldn’t get a Note 5, I looked at other phones. Some of them had the fingerprint sensor in a weird location, and a lot of them packed smaller screens than the Note 3 – I really liked the 5.7” display, and had no interest in a smaller screen. Eventually I came onto the S6 Edge Plus.

When I first read about the Edge phones, I wasn’t very interested in them as the Edge display seemed gimmicky and unnecessary. Based on what was important to me, and the fact that this phone was fulfilled by Amazon, I decided to buy it and try it out, since I had nothing to lose.

When I got the phone and started using it, I realized that my initial impression of the edge display was quite uninformed. I think its practical use is limited, but the aesthetic benefit is brilliant. My favourite thing about it is how text flows onto and off of the screen when you are scrolling sideways. This effect is very, very nice, and has made me a fan of the new Edge design. It’s hard to put into words, so I highly recommend trying it out in a shop, but it adds an eye-catching and highly unique effect to the display.

Though the practical use of the Edge display is limited, it does have some practical use. You can swipe in from the edge to bring up some shortcuts – you can select five contacts, and five apps. These can be accessed at almost any time, and are quite convenient. The contacts are very interesting, because your five selected contacts will get a tab on the edge display when there is something new from them – messages, calls – it stands out so that you see it, and you can swipe in on that tab to interact with these notifications.

Something that I’ve seen people complain about with the new closed-design of Samsung phones is that you can’t replace the battery and that you can’t expand the storage. The new design is much nicer than the old phones – the glass back is beautiful, and it’s nice to have an aluminium frame rather than a plastic one, however I feel that removing expandable storage is a detriment and I think if you’re not having a removable back, the phone should be waterproof – especially when it costs £600. Perhaps this is uninformed though – the S6 Edge Plus is, in spite of its large display, a compact and light phone, coming in notably smaller and lighter than an iPhone 6s Plus (even though the Edge Plus has a larger display), perhaps waterproofing would add to the weight, or make the phone larger. However, with the battery, I’ve no complaints – it’s lasting me longer than any phone I’ve had, by a significant margin.

I am a student, and I have an ID given to me by my university, which is scanned for attendance and access to some buildings, and this works with a barcode. After I got this phone, I was saying to one of my friends how it would be cool if I could take a photo of my card and scan that photo in class and when passing checkpoints in buildings, and he said he had tried it and that it didn’t work.

Something I didn’t find out about this phone until a couple of weeks in was that it could emit barcodes that can be read with a barcode reader, and this is done by one of the lights on the bezel above the screen using an app called Beep’nGo. What’s crazy about this is that all premium Samsung phones since the Note 3 and S4 have had this unique feature, and I’ve just upgraded from the Note 3, which I had for two years – and this amazing feature was completely unknown to me.

This phone fully supports Samsung Pay. Samsung Pay improved on an issue with other mobile payment solutions – with other solutions, you have to check if the card reader is NFC enabled, and if it’s not, you need to use your plastic card. There are still many shops which do not have NFC-enabled card readers, even in the UK, and Samsung Pay uses a technology called MST alongside NFC to make Samsung Pay compatible with 80% of card readers. Samsung Pay enables much greater compatibility than Apple Pay or Android Pay, and this is due to MST. MST makes the card reader think that you have swiped your card, meaning that even if NFC isn’t supported, you can most likely use MST, something you cannot do with Apple Pay or Android Pay, as MST requires specialized hardware inside the phone and is a technology owned by Samsung. Currently, Samsung Pay hasn’t launched outside of the US and South Korea, but Samsung says the UK will be getting it “soon”.

On to the rear camera, it’s a significant upgrade from the Note 3. It can be launched very quickly by double-tapping the home button, even when the screen is off. The camera focuses very fast and takes great photos – I find it very useful for scanning documents with Office Lens, and capturing photos of the blackboard in class, as it allows me to capture all the fine details of the math work that my lecturers tend to cover the boards in.

Next to the rear camera, there is a flash. Next to the flash, there is a heart rate sensor that is capable of measuring SpO2, which is the concentration of oxygen in your blood, and also reckons it can measure stress, so it’s quite sophisticated. This can all be tracked using Samsung’s ‘S Health’ app, and this sensor also has other features, like placing your finger on it to take a photo with the front-facing camera, or using it to dismiss a call. On the topic of cool ‘little things’ like this, you can also capture screenshots by swiping your hand across the screen, and the Edge display can light up according to who is calling you when you lay the phone screen-down, and more. There are big ones like incredibly fast charging and wireless charging too. Samsung is great with these features.

One of the main reasons I wanted to upgrade my phone was for biometrics – I really wanted some sort of biometric authentication to use in place of a pin or password. I noticed the IR facial recognition on the Lumia 950 and 950XL, which looks awesome – I would have gone for the XL if it had a pen, however I’m happy I stayed with Samsung. The fingerprint sensor is fast and works well, but at first I found myself almost hovering my fingers over the sensor, so as not to touch the capacitive buttons next to the home button. This is not necessary, and since I’ve started just laying my fingers on the sensor, it has unlocked reliably and quickly.

The Edge Plus is a great phone with a very attractive and unique design – supported with some nice Samsung exclusive features. It’s fast, with a beautiful display, a plethora of sensors and a great camera. It doesn’t have the pen that I wanted, but I haven’t been missing it, and since I upgraded, I’ve had a much greater interest in using my phone. This isn’t just because it’s a new phone, it’s different – it’s because it’s so fast and responsive, and because it’s such a unique device. If you’re looking for a new phone, go for the Edge Plus - you won’t regret using this marvel of technology.

Motorola Moto 360 Stainless Steel Smartwatch and Heart Rate/Activity Tracker with Bluetooth Connectivity Compatible with Android 4.3+ Smartphones -Grey Leather
Motorola Moto 360 Stainless Steel Smartwatch and Heart Rate/Activity Tracker with Bluetooth Connectivity Compatible with Android 4.3+ Smartphones -Grey Leather
Offered by MACnificent
Price: £159.99

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Attractive, but functionally lacking, 25 Dec. 2014
I'm sure you've heard of this watch in some form or another, made famous for being the first decent-looking smartwatch with a circular face. I bought this on impulse - believe it or not, I didn't hear about it until a day or two after release, and decided to give it a try.

I ordered directly from Motorola, which you should avoid doing at all costs. Motorola support is absolutely horrendous. Three times I've tried to contact them, three times I've been placed in a queue, three times I've waited for 15 minutes only to be told that there is nobody available to help me, and immediately cut off only to start again. If you order from Amazon, you will never have to deal with the atrocious services of Motorola. Now, onto the product.

I think it's a nice watch. I like circular watches, and I like metal bands. Unfortunately, the metal band was not available when I purchased it and being impulsive I went for the stone leather version. The leather is nice - it's soft, it's comfortable, and I do like it, but I feel as if I would prefer the metal band when it finally releases in the UK. It's very much down to how you feel about watches. If you like leather, metal, or even silicon - there is a band for you, or there soon will be.

By default, the display is off unless in use. To activate the display, either press the button on the crown, tap the screen or raise the watch to your face. It's not about twisting the watch to look at your face, you have to actually raise your arm for the display to turn on.

Battery life is good. Back on release, people complained about having a half-day battery life, and that's not the case anymore. After the updates, this watch easily outlasts my Note 3. As a guess, I would say the Moto 360 can last two full days, a complete 48 hours before requiring a charge, which it will do wirelessly on the dock. The dock is very handy, all you have to do is sit the watch on it and it will enter a charging mode where it basically looks like a bed-side clock. This is a nice feature for checking the time in bed, however my eyesight is poor so unfortunately I cannot make use of it.

In the past, I have slept whilst wearing my watches. Although I feel two days of charge is adequate, it has still forced me to change the way I use my watch. Instead of keeping it on my wrist through the night, it now sits on the dock nightly (thought it doesn't require nightly charging) and I wear one of my other watches whilst sleeping. If you like to sleep with your watch, you may feel a little disappointed.

In terms of functionality, it does a few things but nothing essential that your phone won't do. You can use most of the Google Now functionality, such as navigation, appointment making, reminders, notes and notifications.

I purchased it mainly for the notifications. I use a watch face called `Classic' that has bars around the edges of the display to indicate an appointment and its duration. If you have an appointment from 2 to 3pm, there will be a bar from 2 to 3 on your watch face. This is great for me and my lecture schedules, as I can see at a glance when I have to be somewhere. If I then swipe up, I can see my cards which will tell me the location of these appointments.

Notifications are displayed on cards. You get cards just like Google gives them on your phone, only now they are circular. You will get all of your notifications to your watch by default, and this can be changed to block notifications for selected apps. To take actions on cards, you swipe them to the left, and the actions available depend on the app that's notifying you.

Back on release, and for some time after, when cards were dismissed you could not get them back. Thankfully, with a very recent firmware update you can now undo your actions when you dismiss cards. This is very handy for if you accidentally dismiss a card, such as your calendar, which in my case is a card I always want available.

You can use your watch to reply to messages, depending on the app that's being used. Skype, for example, does not allow you to reply from your watch, or even to read the entire message - it merely gives you a snippet of the message, which you must read in full on your phone, or whatever other device you use Skype on. However, using Google Hangouts, you can scroll through the entire message, and swipe left to view the entire thread of previous messages in the conversation. You can swipe left again to send a reply, which must be spoken and translated to text. Hangouts handles this very well, which is not surprising, however I hope that other messaging services will catch up and make appropriate adjustments for Android Wear.

Another thing I use it for is setting alarms and reminders, mostly when cooking. I like to leave the oven unattended, and don't always remember to check it. Now, I pull up my watch and tell Google to "remind me to check the oven in half an hour", and my Moto 360 will vibrate my wrist in half an hour with a note reminding me to check the oven. You can also set an alarm for a similar purpose, but alarms are better used for something where a note is not needed, such as waking up. In fact, the watch buzzes so violently for alarms that it wakes me up even sitting on my desk, and will buzz itself off of its dock. Remember that by default, the watch sets alarms using its own, built-in app. This app cannot be accessed through your phone, and sometimes decides to set an alarm for every day of the week instead of the one-off you intended it to be. It took me some time to figure out, but to disable alarms set through the default app, you must tell the watch to "show alarms", and from there they can be disabled.

One other thing I will touch on is the `health' side of this smartwatch, where it counts your steps and monitors your heart rate. If you're looking for this sort of functionality, I think the Moto 360 will disappoint you. It claims to count steps, however it will count several hundred when I've not moved. Whilst it can monitor your heart rate when asked, sometimes it will work, and most times it will not. It does have sensors to detect things such as turning your wrist, however these sensors are so poor that the Bing Torque app by Microsoft, designed to activate Bing at the flick of your wrist, even specifically notes issues with the Moto 360 not working with this app due to its poor sensors.

I can't recommend this watch to everyone. I feel that it looks nice, has a sizable screen, however it falls very short in terms of its sensors. It doesn't do anything spectacular and won't change your life, but considering the little things it does, it does them well. I bought this watch because it looks nice and I wanted notifications on my wrist, and I'm happy with what it provides. If you went with an LG G Watch R, or even a Microsoft Band, you would get a more functional device. However, a functional but unattractive device on my wrist isn't something I desire.

So, who is the Moto 360 for?

I feel that the Moto 360 is for people who won't miss the £200 from their pocket. Honestly, If I said this was a wise investment I would be lying through my teeth, but I do not regret the purchase. If you need a new phone, spend on the phone instead. If you want a new watch, £200 isn't a massive sum to spend for a nice one, and if you value the way your watch looks, you should be happy with this.
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Corsair CA-9011125-EU Vengeance 2100 USB Wireless Dolby 7.1 Comfortable Gaming Headset - Gunmetal Grey
Corsair CA-9011125-EU Vengeance 2100 USB Wireless Dolby 7.1 Comfortable Gaming Headset - Gunmetal Grey

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars My favourite headset so far, however it's not perfect, 18 Dec. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I've been into gaming headsets for a few years now, and the headset is a peripheral you don't want to get wrong. Having had some bad luck with my previous set, the Turtle Beach Z300, I decided to turn to a brand that I trust - Corsair. I already own several Corsair products and am very happy with them, so I decided to give one of their headsets a try.

The Vengeance 2100 is a wireless headset using Dolby 7.1 virtual surround sound, and there are quite a few headsets that do this nowadays, though the quality can vary. It has a strong battery life at 10 hours, large 50mm drivers, and a good control panel. The headset itself has one button for turning the device on and off, and a fantastic knurled scroll wheel for adjusting the master volume.

Straight out of the box, you can tell this device is built to a high standard. The logo placement looks very professional, something Corsair have unfortunately ruined with their latest line of 'Corsair Gaming' devices. The headband has markings for adjustments and the headset as a whole appears quite rigid.

I'm no expert on sound quality, however the sound produced by this headset is the best of any I've owned. At the time of reviewing this, I got to compare it with the Logitech G930, and can say that the Vengeance headset produces far superior sounds which is likely due to the large 50mm drivers this headset uses.

The wireless connectivity is extremely convenient - especially if you like to use it with other computers. I actually use this with my Surface Pro 3 when I'm working out so that I can stream music in my workout room, which was known as the living room before I took it over. When using it with my gaming rig, I use the USB extension that Corsair provided with the device to plug the wireless adapter into. This is the first wireless headset I've had which provided an extension like this, and it's very nice to have. By using this extension, you can get a direct line of sight to the adapter and as a result you get zero interference as opposed to plugging the adapter directly into the back of the PC, where it can cut out every now and then due to obstructions.

The control panel is packed with features, including the ability to turn the surround sound on and off, which is very much necessary as music mostly sounds better without the surround sound. You can change the relative intensities of the frequencies in your audio by yourself, or select from a handy list of pre-sets that Corsair have provided. The control panel also allows you to enable microphone playback, so that you can hear yourself when speaking. Some people like this, and some don't, but it's great to see so many customization options.

The microphone is unidirectional and noise-cancelling, and sounds pretty good. Simply flip it down to start using it, and flip it back up to mute the mic at any time. The mic has a lot of adjustment vertically but not much horizontally - however, horizontal movement shouldn't be required. There is an issue with the mic, which is related to charging. The charging port is on the left cup with the mic, as opposed to charging on the right like most other headsets. It appears that due to close proximity, charging causes interference with the microphone and my friends can hear intermittent buzzing through my mic. If you need to charge when talking, it appears that fiddling with the mic a bit can often make the buzzing go away, but this is definitely an issue that you should consider as talking whilst charging is not practical. The mic is perfectly fine when not charging - the buzzing is only an issue when charging.

When charging the headset, the charging port pulses orange. Corsair were very clever and made the end of their charging cable transparent, so the light propagates through the clear plastic and allows you to see this orange pulsing from any angle. It's a great example of attention to the small details, and you can see the images I've taken for an example of this.

In my experience, the main issue with headsets has been comfort. Comfort is very important - and I've had two headsets that caused me considerable discomfort during use, and this hasn't always been obvious from the beginning. I can't tell you which headset will be most comfortable for you, as it's largely dependent on the shape of your head. If you can, then try them on - look for ear cups that sit over your ears and are deep enough to not put pressure on your ears, as this can cause discomfort after a while. You should also make sure that the cups close properly around your ears, which is a big deal for sound quality and will also affect your ability to use the surround sound to its full potential. What I can tell you is that the ear pads on this headset are soft - they're memory foam, which is always nice and I would say the headband is soft, although seems to be padded with something other than memory foam. I've found this headset to be a tight enough fit for me to lift weights with and have it mostly stay on my head, but also have sufficient padding to not cause any discomfort.

The Vengeance 2100 is a great headset. It's comfortable, fits me perfectly, the cups close around my ears, battery life is strong and the sound produced by the 50mm drivers is great. If you're looking for a wireless surround sound gaming headset, you should definitely give this a chance, because even with the charging/mic issue, I couldn't see myself using anything else in this price range right now.

Those of you who have been shopping around may have noticed the newer Corsair Gaming H2100 headset, and may be wondering if it's worth looking at. Personally, as I said above, I'm not a fan of their new branding. Thankfully, the H2100 appears to be a near-identical copy of the Vengeance 2100, simply rebranded. I chose the Vengeance headset - if you prefer the yellow and like the new logo, then by all means get the new Corsair Gaming version.

Note: If you're curious about some of my previous headsets or other Corsair peripherals, you should be able to find my reviews through my Amazon profile.

Aukey Amzdeal Perfect Premium Tempered Glass Screen Protector High 9H Hardness Ultra Slim Thickness (0.26mm) For Samsung Galaxy Note 3
Aukey Amzdeal Perfect Premium Tempered Glass Screen Protector High 9H Hardness Ultra Slim Thickness (0.26mm) For Samsung Galaxy Note 3
Offered by AukeyDirect
Price: £10.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect with the stylus, 2 Dec. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I purchased this being sceptical about how well it would work. I haven't used screen protectors in the past as they interfered with the stylus, however, I'd heard good things about tempered glass.

It comes with a simple and comprehensive set of instructions, a small cloth and a wipe soaked with isopropyl alcohol and a squeegee.

Following the instructions, installation was very easy. You can see the screen protector sticking as you place it onto the screen, and the squeegee was not needed as no bubbles appeared, however I appreciate its inclusion. You can also easily remove this screen protector by sticking the squeegee under one of the corners, although I'm not sure if you can re-use it after.

It sticks well, and installation was much smoother than I had imagined. This screen protector did not seem to effect screen responsiveness in the slightest. The screen protector is very smooth, and the lightest touches with my fingers were still recognised, along with the lightest touches from the stylus, and pressure sensitivity appears intact.

This is much better than the plastic screen protectors which have a lot of friction when you try to swipe on the screen, and also become marked when using the stylus - plastic screen protectors can also wear down soft-tipped pens quite quickly, such as the S-Pen included with the Note 3.

Considering the ease of installation and the fact that the screen responsiveness does not seem to have changed at all, I am very impressed with this tempered glass screen protector, and would highly recommend it to anyone looking to protect their screen whilst maintaining screen sensitivity and clarity.

Booq Viper Hardcase for 13 inch Macbook Air - Graphite
Booq Viper Hardcase for 13 inch Macbook Air - Graphite
Offered by Booq Europe
Price: £30.00

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect fit for Surface Pro 3, 4 Sept. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The Viper Hardcase 13 is a well-designed, functional storage case that I use with my Surface Pro 3. This case isn’t actually as hard as it appeared to me in the images – it’s quite flexible but seems like it will provide decent protection if dropped.

I like the black colour and weaved design on the outside of the case, and the zippers do appear to be of high quality. The inside of the case is nice, soft and black – aside from a yellow compartment. Personally I’m not a huge fan of this colour change but it won’t deduct from my rating.

As I mentioned previously, I’m using this case not with a MacBook, but with my Surface Pro 3. Although it is a 13 inch case and the SP3 is a 12-inch device, due to the 3:2 aspect ratio, it fits very well. There is also a label inside the case which is a perfect place to store your Surface Pen – I’ll add pictures to this listing to demonstrate.

As well as the compartment for your Mac/Surface, there are two smaller compartments, and a larger yellow compartment behind them. I keep my scientific calculator in one of the smaller compartments, and papers that I receive in the yellow one.

Although not advertised for Surface Pro 3, I feel it is actually the best case for this device out of those which I have seen. It’s nice to use, appears as if it will protect it from drops and also has compartments for other, smaller devices and papers – although it doesn’t really fit a charger, nor did I expect it to. It is on the pricier side, but it has the quality to match.
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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An essential for the Surface Pro 3, 4 Sept. 2014
The Surface Pro 3 Type Cover, also referred to as the Type Cover 3 and Type Cover Pro, is the latest cover designed for the new Surface Pro 3. It comes in five colours - Red, purple, blue, black and cyan, and I purchased the black version.

Like the Type Cover 2 before it, this mechanical keyboard offers key travel that will leave you confused. The keys have a satisfying amount of travel, even though the cover is less than 5mm thick. They also have four levels of backlighting (white light) and are made from a nice, premium material, and the keyboard itself is made of a soft felt-like material.

This keyboard is bigger than its predecessor (although the keys are the same size) to cover the new, larger screen on the Pro 3, and has two huge upgrades over the Type Cover 2.

The first is the trackpad, which is now very smooth and significantly larger than before. Microsoft says this smoothness is due to it being constructed with glass beads. The trackpad can also be clicked on both sides at the bottom, for left and right click, however I feel it is mostly easier to tap for left click and two-finger-tap for right click. My only criticism with the Type Cover 2 was that the trackpad was not usable - it was made of felt, which whilst soft was not smooth, and sometimes didn't pick up my gestures. This new trackpad is a pleasure to use, and it always works.

The other upgrade is the magnetic hinge. This keyboard now connects to the bottom of the Surface with the usual magnets, but now also lifts up and magnetically attaches to the bezel at the bottom of the Pro 3. This adds a slant to the cover, like unfolding the tabs beneath a desktop keyboard, improving the typing experience, but more importantly it improves stability - meaning the device as a whole is now much more stable on your lap.

It also comes with a loop which you can optionally stick to the keyboard for pen storage, but I honestly don't think it's a good solution so I don't use it.

This keyboard is very rigid considering how thin and light it is. It has a small amount of flex, but holds very well when I type on it. I'm a touch-typist and am quite picky with my keyboards - I love this one as it allows me to touch-type pretty fast whilst on the move, and it never makes me feel restricted in what I can do.

If you have a Surface Pro 3, or are going to get one, make sure this keyboard is a part of your order.
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69 of 72 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars There is no portable computer I would rather own, 2 Sept. 2014
When I got my Surface Pro 3, the very first thing I noticed was how light it is. I already knew that it was the thinnest and lightest Intel Core device on the market, but I didn't understand it until I held it. This device is impossibly light - even when you get it, you will be in disbelief.

Surface Pro 3 features a full-sized USB 3 port, mini display port, microSD slot, charging port and standard headphone jack. It also has volume controls on the side, an incredible kickstand, and is designed for use with Surface Pro Type Cover, which acts as a fantastic keyboard and cover for the screen.

It has connected standby, meaning that for the first four hours of sleep, you will receive notifications. The device wakes up in 2 seconds during this stage of sleep, which is very nice! After 4 hours, I believe the device hibernates.

One of the most interesting features of the SP3, for me, is that you can click the end of the pen to open One Note. It feels really natural. When you want to write, you click your pen, and put pen to paper - only this time you are putting pen to Surface, and it works really well.

Another feature of the pen is that you can double click the top button to take a screenshot, which you can then crop and add to your notes. An excerpt from a digital textbook, a website, it makes note-taking that much simpler. The whole device is a premium build, including the pen, and I think you will be very pleased when you see it.

The pen tracks amazingly well, much better than the Wacom tech used in Surface Pro 2. The pen now tracks perfectly over the entire screen, even the corners. The screen is so thin that when you write, the ink appears exactly where the nib is. Partnered with palm block - allowing you to place your palm and forearm on the screen and write without interference, this allows for a fantastic, natural writing experience.

In terms of places to store the pen, you have a few options. You do get a loop with the Type Cover Pro - which is an amazing keyboard and will get its own review - however I don't feel like the loop is a good solution. Pro 2 had a strong magnet to attach the pen to the device, and the Pro 3 pen does actually stick in a similar way, over the charging port, as long as you stick it upside down. It's alright to keep it there when you're sitting down and using the device, and you can also walk with it there. If you start shaking the device it will fall off, but I think you'll be surprised at how well it sticks. I find that for general storage, it's best to keep the pen in a case, such as the Booq Viper Hardcase 13 which is a perfect fit for this device.

The aspect ratio also adds a lot to the writing experience. Microsoft tried to mimic a pad of paper with the 3:2 display, and it's great - I believe portrait is the better mode for writing notes now. Whilst you could use Surface Pro 2 in portrait mode, it didn't feel right as the screen would be too narrow. SP3 definitely feels good in portrait, but I still find myself using it more in landscape with the kickstand when not writing.

The build of this device is fantastic. The same Magnesium style as the Pro 2, only this time it's silver. It's a strong and sturdy build, but be careful with the screen, like you should with all large tablets. The high-resolution 2160x1440 display is fantastic, and it's quite a large tablet, but I feel like this is the perfect size to provide a high quality laptop and tablet experience at the same time. Comparing it with my Pro 2, the screen is 40% larger but has 50% more pixels, so overall the display is sharper. Personally I like this size for a tablet, I feel like the 7-inch tablets are too small, and this is a nice size to hold and has plenty of screen space.

Another thing worth talking about is the kickstand, which is incredible. The two angles with the Pro 2 were so good, I was amazed when Microsoft announced a full-friction kickstand for Pro 3. You can now choose any angle for the kickstand, from 22-150 degrees, so you can choose virtually any angle you need, greatly improving usability. The Type Cover Pro now also magnetically attaches to the screen, providing lift to the top edge of the keyboard to improve the typing experience, and this also greatly enhances stability on your lap.

Battery life is a bit better than Pro 2, and it does depend on how you use it. Microsoft claims 9 hours of web browsing and it seems appropriate if you use IE. The charger is nice, and the brick is smaller than the one on the Pro 2 charger. You can still charge a device, such as your phone, through the USB port located on the power brick.

The SP3 is quiet most of the time. When I'm browsing, there's no fan activity, and the only time I've heard the fan is when updating Windows. I haven't got around to using it for anything heavier yet, as I'm on my holidays from uni, but I expect the fan to come on with heavy workloads like it would with other devices. However, compared to other devices, this fan isn't very loud.

The Surface Pro 3 comes in five configurations, which differ quite a bit in price. The entry-level model contains an i3, 64GB SSD and 4GB RAM. The main thing to watch out for with this model is storage, as 64GB isn't much, and that's not counting the space Windows takes up. You can use microSD cards to expand storage, but running software from SD cards is not optimal, as the SSD is far, far faster.

The models go all the way up to an i7 with a 512GB SSD and 8GB RAM. Personally I purchased an i5, 256GB SSD with 8GB RAM and I am very happy with it. Microsoft do offer a student discount on this device, which is 10%, and saved me a little over £100.
You will of course see performance differences going from i3 to i7 and they have price differences to reflect this - I feel like an i5 version is a good middle-ground, and I think a 128GB SSD is minimum for a laptop replacement really.

This device is very different to a traditional laptop. Who is it aimed at? As a Physics student, I feel it fits me perfectly. The pen is amazing for doing all my math work in tablet mode, and I can make spreadsheets and use MATLAB with the keyboard on the desktop. For me, this is far easier than carrying notebooks, textbooks AND a laptop - it all adds up in weight and takes a lot of space. Now I just carry this, which weighs nothing and takes up very little space.

So, why should you buy Surface Pro 3 instead of a laptop? There are plenty of laptops that will give you better gaming performance, but they are also bulky, loud and heavy. Surface is intended to encourage productivity. This isn't a gaming device. Sure, you can play some low-end games, but it's not really meant for that. It's supposed to be used to take notes in lectures, capture your thoughts in the night, be there to create word documents, play about in Photoshop, manipulate matrices in MATLAB, browse the web - it's supposed to condense your laptop and tablet into one amazing package, and if that's what you're looking for, there is no better device to take on that role, and there is no portable computer I would rather own.

Update: I've added some of my own images to this Amazon page to show what the device looks like, and to show more clearly how the Type Cover Pro attaches to the screen.
Comment Comments (6) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 31, 2015 1:58 PM GMT

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