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Profile for L. W. Bowler > Reviews

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Content by L. W. Bowler
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Reviews Written by
L. W. Bowler "Lee" (UK)

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Sony Xperia X UK SIM-Free Smartphone - Black
Sony Xperia X UK SIM-Free Smartphone - Black
Price: £430.79

5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Stylish, great specs and cameras - maybe too expensive?, 9 Jun. 2016
A great phone but too highly priced. Some have called this model a mid range phone, complaining about the CPU, the screen and the lack of it being water proof! These facts are actually mis-leading and this is why.

The phone is slim, light and ergonomic. It supports a 5" 1080p HD screen with a 400+ ppi, more than enough to look sharp and clear. It has great outdoor visibility, accurate colours and great contrast - all of which can be adapted to your preference.

The cameras (rear 23mp and front 8mp) are top quality - The cameras have plenty of manual settings but I prefer to use auto and my photos are turning out beautiful. There is lag when the phone 'processes' the final image, to make it look it's best and while I can appreciate what the O/S is trying to do it does at times become slightly annoying.

The design is lovely, front is covered in 2.5d glass, full metal back and a plastic (metal looking) rim - it's comfortable to hold, with plenty of grip and it feels solid but light. My version is the Rose Gold - the colour is great, a very 'warm' gold and nothing garish. Maybe at times a slight pink tinge but this does vary depending on how the light catches the phone.

Other great features - dual front stereo speakers, a camera button, side fingerprint scanner, Micro SD card, by the way, the sim tray is the easiest I have used - very easy to remove and insert without a sim ejector tool.

To summarise: stylish, quality build, fantastic cameras, great HD screen and the processing power is buttery smooth - nothing lags or hesitates (apart from the photo processing).

I will echo what I said earlier though, I feel the phone is too expensive to buy outright - maybe Sony feel it's price point is justified because of their brand name?

1byone Belt Driven Bluetooth Turntable with Built-in Stereo Speaker, Vintage Style Record Player, Vinyl-To-MP3 Recording, Natural Wood
1byone Belt Driven Bluetooth Turntable with Built-in Stereo Speaker, Vintage Style Record Player, Vinyl-To-MP3 Recording, Natural Wood
Offered by 1Byone Products Inc.
Price: £109.99

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good start for re-discovering your vinyl, 17 April 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
After a false start by purchasing the Philips OTT2000 (and subsequently returned), I took the plunge and ordered this turntable.

The internal sound/speakers on this turntable creates some warmth and balance, not perfect by any means but if you require some extra omphhhh, you can at least add additional speakers to the unit. I remember having huge Hi-Fi systems in the past, the sound of which were stunning, but this time around, I didn't want that. I wanted an all-in-one single unit, not taking up much space. If like me you have a attic full of vinyl but nothing to play it on, this turntable is a good start. I've re-discovered my joy/love of vinyl! In the future I may invest in a turntable that is of audiophile status, but for now this little piece of kit will do nicely.

The bluetooth pairs instantly, so you have the best of both worlds - digital and vinyl. You have an additional USB port that gives you the ability to record your LPs if that's what you want to do. There is also an Aux in, so you could add a CD player.

The turnable feels solid and of decent quality - the colour of my unit is slightly darker than what is pictured and that suits me fine.

Philips OTT2000 Turntable LP Vinyl Record CD Player Bluetooth Micro Sound System
Philips OTT2000 Turntable LP Vinyl Record CD Player Bluetooth Micro Sound System
Offered by Luzern
Price: £124.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't re-discover your love of vinyl with this, 17 April 2016
My sole purpose of listening to music is to stir emotion and most cases, joy and happiness. This turntable strips away all of that.

Yes it it has all the bells and whistles (obviously a turntable, CD player, bluetooth and USB connection, even an FM radio) but ....... wow, it seriously lacks in depth, warmth and pleasure. It's ultimate failing - the sound, it's so cold. With zero option to add any warmth with additional speakers etc. There is no atmosphere or balance - just a tinny tiny speaker that brings nothing to life. The 'ice blue' colour of the unit truly represents its sound. The build feels cheap and plastic, the lid is especially horrid. The needle/arm simply didn't sit right on the vinyl either and couldn't cope is there was any slight warps. The front looks like it could be metallic/chrome but it's not - I don't know what it is but it's cheap.

To say I was disappointed is an understatement - on paper, I loved it, pushed aside the negative reviews as these things are subjective and thought I would take it as I find it. If like me, you are re-discovering your love of vinyl, please don't taint your fond memories of it with this. After giving this a try I really didn't want to purchase another turntable but I persevered and being on a budget, wanted something half decent around the £100 mark (yes yes I know some audiophiles will snigger at this statement).

I took the plunge again and discovered the 1byone wooden turntable, ok there is no CD player or radio, but you still get bluetooth, USB connection, the option to add external speakers but most important - you get a balanced sound from the internal speakers, not perfect by any means but it's got some warmth and it looks gorgeous!

Samsung Gear S2 Smartwatch - Classic
Samsung Gear S2 Smartwatch - Classic
Offered by Shelfone™
Price: £272.99

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Watch i've been waiting for ....., 21 Feb. 2016
At last, a watch I actually enjoy and love wearing. I found the Android Wear experience very restricted and had the same old pros and cons, regardless of which watch you purchased This watch runs Tizen, Samsung's own O/S that can be used with any Android phone (OS has to be 4.4 or higher and more than 1.5 ram).

The whole OS experience with this watch runs beautifully - it's simple and uncomplicated. You have varying options on how you wish to interact with the watch i.e. via S Voice, touch, rotating digital crown etc - but they all compliment each other and adaptable for any situations you are in. There are two physical buttons - the top button acts as a 'go back a step' and bottom button takes you directly back to the watch face/home.

The watch looks like a watch (if that makes sense) - not a piece of tech trying to pass as a watch. It looks (as the title suggests) classic. It is smaller than any other smartwatch I have seen/used - it does not dominate your wrist. You can feel smug that your piece of tech genius will pass as a pretty/stylish watch. No bezels to speak of, just a beautifully sharp/bright fully-rounded Amoled screen with deep blacks and realistic colours.

Any downsides? Well, it could have more apps, dedicated web browser and this model really should have a speaker. None of these are deal breaker for me. The first two will be resolved as the tizen app market grows/develops, the speaker is addressed with the 4G model.

Honor 7 4G UK Dual SIM-Free Smartphone - Silver
Honor 7 4G UK Dual SIM-Free Smartphone - Silver
Offered by A Metzia
Price: £246.07

9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mid range price, high end specs and features, 11 Dec. 2015
For around £250, you get an awful lot of smartphone. The specs speak for themselves: 20MP rear camera, 8MP front facing camera (both with flash), 3GB, ram, 32GB memory, all the connectivity you could hope for, finger print sensor (also used for flicking between apps, taking photos etc and probably the most responsive one i've used), 1080p 5.2" screen (442ppi) etc. The build is very nice but the phone is on the heavy side and quite wide (not the slimmest of bezels) and a little 'chunky' - 8.5mm thick, but none of these are a deal breaker

What I like the most about this phone is the tricks hidden inside the software - at first, I wasn't too keen on the look of the skinned android O/S (currently 5.0.2) but after a few days of playing around with its features, the phone has all the bells and whistles you could hope for. The UI is very user friendly and extremely customisable. Within the settings, you will discover that the phone can be woken with a double tap, the motion sensors are extremely versatile - it does all the things that the top range phones offer. The photo editor and camera itself has so many features, such as beauty modes, HDR, HD video, Slo mo video. It's all there - I haven't found one missing feature that i've liked from previous phones I've had.

The single speaker sounds great - probably matching the output and fullness of an iPhone 6s but not comparable to the boom sound speakers on the HTC One line. Having 3GB of ram - everything runs smoothly and without lag.

Treat yourself! It may not be a name that you are fully aware of yet (hauwei) - but give them 12 months and they will be dominating the UK market like they do in the China and other Asian countries.

Bose ® SoundDock XT Speaker - White/Dark Grey
Bose ® SoundDock XT Speaker - White/Dark Grey
Price: £94.97

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully crafted and stunning sound, 28 Nov. 2015
I've wanted a Bose Dock for a while now and always been tempted but the £130 price tag was just a little too steep. In November 2015, it became half price and I immediately purchased it the Dock.

It is truly stunning - from something so compact (and stylish) comes this big wall of sound - it beautifully handles all genres of music, from vocal lead tracks, to orchestral, to thumping dance tracks - it leaves you with the WOW factor. I personally love bass heavy music and this is perfectly suited for that. It has zero controls, simply touch enabled + and - volume buttons and thats it, dock your iPhone and away you go. Perfect for bedside tables (it also charges your iPhone), to kitchens and even a lounge - it fills any room with full with sound. From what I can see/hear, the dock has two main speakers and a bass reflex vent (on the back of the dock). Even a low volumes, the sound is full and doesn't lose any of its depth.

Take the plunge and treat yourself, you won't be disappointed. With hindsight, even if I had bought the dock at full price, I would have been more than pleased

Alcatel ONETOUCH IDOL 3 (5.5) SIM-Free Smartphone - Dark Grey
Alcatel ONETOUCH IDOL 3 (5.5) SIM-Free Smartphone - Dark Grey
Price: £184.95

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Alcatel - really? Trust me - treat yourself, you will not be disappointed, 8 Aug. 2015
For £200, you cannot buy a better 'budget' smartphone! Beautiful HD 5.5" Screen (401ppi), octa-core, 2GB Ram, micro SD card slot, 13MP rear camera with flash, 8MP front camera, Stereo front facing speakers, 4G etc.

The screen reversal is genius, so which ever way you take it out of your pocket etc, its always the right way up! Why haven't other manufacturers thought of this? Dual speakers and dual microphones ensure you can make/receive calls with the phone 'upside down'!

The phone, all though big due to the 5.5" screen, has very slim bezels and is very light at 141grams. Performance is super smooth and the Android OS (currently lollipop) is slick and easily adapted to suit your tastes.

I honestly cannot fault this phone, yes you can spend £600 plus for high-end phones with edge screens, all metal bodies and gimmicks galore but in my own opinion, this phone matches up to them. Yes the phone is all plastic, but for that you get a super slim and light phone that is built extremely well and oozes style

The JBL engineered front facing speakers are a joy to listen to, especially if you download a 3rd party music player (i.e. Player pro) - crank up the volume, adjust the equalisers and boom, pure joy! For music fans or aspiring DJs, the Mix app acts as a turntable and you can mix two song together, with pitching, scratching, BPMs and added sound effects - it may be a little gimmicky but fun all the same

I am a self confessed gadget geek and I am overjoyed with this purchase - you won't be disappointed! BTW the JBL earphones that are included in the retail package are great - it has all left me thinking 'how have they made a phone like this for this price point'?

Alcatel ONETOUCH Smartwatch - Black/Red
Alcatel ONETOUCH Smartwatch - Black/Red
Offered by EE Direct
Price: £94.99

23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Smart? just about enough. Looks the part and inexpensive, 26 July 2015
I would consider this watch a perfect starting point if you want to enter the Smartwatch/fitness wearables arena. It looks stylish and is a hybrid of a smart watch (notifications) and fitness band (exercise/walking/running/heart/sleep monitoring). At a price point of around £100, it is at least half the price of most android wear watches and a third of the price of the Apple watch.

It does the basics very well, but if you are looking for an all singing, all dancing smart watch, then this isn't it. It can't make or receive calls, show navigation/maps, reply to emails or text messages etc. I have owned an Apple watch and a Sony Smartwatch 3 and there were comprises with these too.

I would suggest a little research and find out what really matters to you in smartwatch. Personally, I prefer this watch (I didn't use maps or make calls with the other watches mentioned) and basically used them as a quick glance at notifications and calls i.e. an extension of my phone when it wasn't possible to look at it.

So here we have it, 10 good reasons why this stylish budget smart watch deserves 4 Stars: 1) looks great and is water/dust resistant (IP67) 2) charges very easily (it has a built in USB connector in the strap) 3) one charge lasts for 2/3 days 4) a bright and responsive screen 5) An accurate heart rate (BPM) monitor 6) Monitors calories/steps/sleep etc 7) Acts as a remote shutter for your camera 8) Can control the music on your phone 9) Has decent and a varied amount of changeable watch faces 10) It's inexpensive and a good starting point if you are curious about smartwatches/fitness bands. OH AND ONE LAST THING: It works on both Android and iPhones (IOS) - the first smartwatch to do this!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 18, 2016 10:21 PM GMT

Hits, Singles & More
Hits, Singles & More
Price: £4.99

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars There's more to Donna Summer than the 70's and Disco, 25 May 2015
This review is from: Hits, Singles & More (Audio CD)
This is a compilation album that spans Donna's albums from 1980 to 1991, when she was signed to Geffen Records/Warners/Atlantic.

You get a collective mix of early 80's r+b, pure pop (stock aiken and waterman) and 90's jack swing/dance. Stand out tracks are State of independence, Dinner with Gershwin, This time I know it's for real and When love cries. Crimson have done great job in bring together choice edits and remixes from that era but with a few oddities thrown in, such as the Capricorn ISA remix of 'Work that magic'. I find it bizarre that the (weaker) album version of 'Love's about to change my heart' has been used.

For a career spanning listen to Donna's music, I recommend you buy this album in conjunction with I Feel Love: The collection

Motorola Moto G 4G 5-Inch 2nd Generation UK SIM-Free Smartphone - Black
Motorola Moto G 4G 5-Inch 2nd Generation UK SIM-Free Smartphone - Black
Offered by Digital Techno LTD
Price: £99.99

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best budget phone just got a little better, 3 April 2015
Still the best budget smartphone around and now with 4G. For £150 you get amazing specs (i.e. quad core, 8mp camera, 720p (295 ppi) screen, the current/latest android OS (Lollipop), NFC etc.

For a while I did have the Sony Z3 and although there is a £350 price difference, I actually prefer my Moto G and this is due to the ergonomics of the phone. It's rounded edges and curved back really make the phone nice to handle plus due to the phone having a removal back panel, if you find you damage/scratch the back, its replaceable for £10 (and in a variety of colours). Yes the phone build is all plastic, but it's very sturdy and feels like a quality build. The screen is colourful and bright and with just the right amount of clarity (yes there are better screens out there) but for this price range, it's more than acceptable and a joy to look at

I also want to mention the dual stereo speakers on the front of the phone. While they don't match the depth of the HTC Boom sound speakers, the quality of sound it produces is very impressive indeed.

If you can't justify £400 plus for a phone or simply don't have that kind of money, look no further than the Moto G 2nd Gen 4G (yes, I think its a stupid title too) - it will do all you want and more without the need to take out a second mortgage and I think you will actually be very surprised

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