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Profile for Glenn Richards > Reviews

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Reviews Written by
Glenn Richards (Glos, UK)

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1.0 out of 5 stars Completely useless, 1 Jun. 2016
The problems with this phone are numerous. Firstly it doesn't support multiple numbers per contact (home, work, mobile etc), something that even the Nokia 113 (equally basic) did.

More seriously, the phone is advertised as having Bluetooth. Yet when I tried to connect it to the hands-free kit in my car it kept indicating "connection failed" on the car radio display. It turns out this phone does NOT support hands-free or headset profiles. This is blatant false advertising as the Bluetooth logo is clearly displayed on the packaging, and it would be reasonable to expect a Bluetooth phone to be able to connect to a hands-free kit.

Fortunately after threatening the (unnamed!) mobile phone retail outlet with Trading Standards they exchanged it for a different model which did have proper Bluetooth support. I'm a long-time Nokia user but this phone is completely useless and should be avoided at all costs.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 [Blu-ray] [2015]
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 [Blu-ray] [2015]
Dvd ~ Jennifer Lawrence
Offered by The Happy Zombie
Price: £4.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Dark unwatchable picture, 22 May 2016
There's only one way to describe this film. Very dark. And I don't mean the story.

The picture is so dark that had I not seen it at the cinema I would have assumed the disc was faulty (or at least badly mastered). Over half the film consists of dark brown shapes moving around on a black screen, completely unable to make anything out. I had to turn the brightness on my (calibrated) TV up to nearly full before I could see anything.

Even the outdoor scenes were dark and underexposed.

This is a problem that affects many modern films. This is just one of the worst examples. The first and second parts of this series didn't have the darkness issue.

Unfortunatlely it made the film pretty much unwatchable. A shame, because it's a decent story, and the sound (particularly on Blu-Ray) is excellent. It redeems one star for this. But read the book first.

High Grade - Phono Cable for Apple iPhone 3G / 3Gs / 4 / 4S - For All Apple iPod Touch / Nano / Classic / Mini Models - For All Apple iPad Models - Dock connector / Line Out to 2 RCA - 12 Month Warranty
High Grade - Phono Cable for Apple iPhone 3G / 3Gs / 4 / 4S - For All Apple iPod Touch / Nano / Classic / Mini Models - For All Apple iPad Models - Dock connector / Line Out to 2 RCA - 12 Month Warranty
Price: £4.99

1.0 out of 5 stars Incorrectly wired - needed a soldering iron to get it working properly., 10 July 2014
The cable as supplied was faulty; the output was in mono. I traced this down to a wiring problem and had to break apart the "splitter" section on the cable and re-solder the connections correctly.

A shame, as the plugs and cable are of reasonable quality. Once correctly rewired the cable works just fine, but anyone who isn't handy with a soldering iron should avoid this product.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 11, 2014 12:15 PM BST

Heart And Soul
Heart And Soul

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Appalling sound quality, 20 Feb. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Heart And Soul (Audio CD)
This album sounds like it's been recorded from a well-worn vinyl record on a poorly-aligned turntable, complete with scratches and distortion. Give it a VERY wide berth. A real shame, because the music is superb. This is a 1985 album, so surely the master tape exists somewhere in a high quality format?

Price: £7.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Retro gem!, 17 Oct. 2013
This review is from: Aneka (MP3 Download)
I had this album on cassette when I was a kid and had been trying to track it down on CD for ages. No luck, but it did appear on iTunes a while back so I ended up buying it from there.

Believe it or not, this album spawned a number 1 hit (Japanese Boy) which I still have on 7" vinyl! The follow-up single "Little Lady" didn't do too well but was catchy nonetheless. But the two real hidden gems on this album are "Come Back To Me" and "Put Out The Light".

"Come Back To Me" may be cheesy cliched 80s pop, but it just summed up everything that was great about that decade. So what if the bassline is ripped off from ABBA's "Does Your Mother Know"? It sounds good. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

And "Put Out The Light", in which Aneka (aka Mary Sandeman) sings in her normal voice, is a gem. Look past the LM-1 drum machine and the veil of twinkly synths (remember this album pre-dates the DX7), and there's a beautiful ballad trying to get out. If only someone like Ashley Monroe or Amber Digby would cover that song, it would be a sure-fire hit.

In short, if 80s cheese is your thing, buy this now.

Star Wars: The Original Trilogy (Episodes IV-VI) [Blu-ray] [1977] [Region Free]
Star Wars: The Original Trilogy (Episodes IV-VI) [Blu-ray] [1977] [Region Free]
Dvd ~ Mark Hamill
Offered by Direct Entertainment Supplies
Price: £26.76

34 of 41 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Sorry George, Han shot first, 26 May 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Clearly the old adage "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" means nothing to Lucas. Despite the sales figures of the 2006 DVDs (which included the theatrical versions) apparently surpassing the 2004 box sets, including many people buying them again just to get the originals on DVD, again he insists on messing around with a classic.

Yet more changes over the 2004 DVDs (although the colour timing errors seem to be fixed, Darth Vader really didn't look good with a pink lightsabre!). Greedo still shoots first (boo!), Jabba still appears in Ep IV (boo!), and now the Ewoks blink (like, whatever?) and Darth Vader shouts "noooooo!" at the end of Ep VI. A line of dialogue that was lifted from Ep III.

So sorry George, but until you release the original 1977/80/83 versions on Blu-Ray my money will be staying firmly in my pocket and I shall continue to watch my self-restored versions I created from the 2006 theatrical discs.

(As an added note, one wonders if now that Disney have bought the rights to Star Wars whether they'll release the originals?)
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 13, 2014 10:51 PM BST

Complete Matrix Trilogy [Blu-ray] [1999] [Region Free]
Complete Matrix Trilogy [Blu-ray] [1999] [Region Free]
Dvd ~ Keanu Reeves
Price: £9.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent apart from one major useability issue, 5 May 2013
Firstly ignore all the comments about "upscaled DVDs" - this isn't the case. I had these films on DVD, replacing them with Blu-Rays as the DVDs were Region 4 (uncut versions) and my BD player isn't multi-region. Cost me a tenner for the set at HMV in the sale.

Most of the points I was intending to make have already been made, however the one issue I have is that the audio defaults to AC3 (Dolby Digital) rather than lossless TrueHD, meaning that you have to change the soundtrack manually every time you play the disc. (This does however nicely demonstrate the improvement going from AC3 to TrueHD audio.)

Aside from having to press the Audio Track button on the BD remote every time you insert the disc, this is an excellent transfer and great demo material for HD. In particular, the Lobby scene in the first film; one of the classic cinematic scenes.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 12, 2013 8:43 PM BST

Life on Earth [Blu-ray]
Life on Earth [Blu-ray]
Dvd ~ Sir David Attenborough
Price: £12.00

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Archival quality edition, 1 Feb. 2013
This review is from: Life on Earth [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Firstly, reading all the previous reviews, bear in mind that this series was filmed in the mid-1970s and shot on 16mm film. For this reason film grain is far more obvious on the Blu-Ray version than on the DVDs I had previously. I bought this to replace the DVDs which were part of a faulty batch of BBC releases, the two layers separated rendering the discs unplayable. I'd already made copies of them before they deteriorated beyond recovery, but this looked interesting so I picked it up.

The discs appear to be fresh telecine transfers from the original 16mm films. They are presented in the original 4:3 aspect, as although 16mm film can give a 16:9 aspect it requires some vertical cropping and the shots would have been framed for 4:3 safe aspect. It therefore made sense to crop the transfer horizontally to 4:3, as anything in the edges of the frame would have been irrelevant anyway.

Bearing in mind the age of the material it really does look stunning. Yes, the sound is mono as NICAM hadn't been invented then, but it is presented in a lossless format. Yes, there's a lot of film grain, but this would have been there on the original DVDs, you just couldn't see it.

I've watched this on a 51" full HD plasma TV and it looks stunning. Is it worth replacing perfectly good DVDs with Blu-Rays? Questionable. But given that my DVD set was pretty much unplayable, yes, it was worth it.

Highly recommended if you either don't already have the DVDs, or if your DVD versions have become damaged. Or if, like myself, you've still got the original VHS versions that you recorded off the BBC in the late 1970s!

Sony CMTFX250 Mini Hi-Fi with All in One Audio System
Sony CMTFX250 Mini Hi-Fi with All in One Audio System

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Decent system let down by poor speakers, 15 Jan. 2013
I bought this system whilst working away from home a while back as I needed something small with decent sound quality. At home I have an Arcam receiver with Monitor Audio Silver speakers, and even at the price I paid for this unit (£129, before it went to the current sub-£100 bracket) it cost less than the speaker cables for my home system. This is just to put the price into perspective.

For what I needed at the time it was ideal. It gives a much better sound than most portables and some impression of bass. In absolute terms it's a little lacking in power, 2x5W RMS (my home system is 2x100W, or 7x75W with all channels driven) but for a bedroom or study it's ideal.

There's no iPod dock (a higher model does have this functionality) but it does have an aux input which will connect to an Apple dock or directly to the headphone output. There's also no cassette deck, but does that really matter nowadays? Again you could always plug an old Walkman into the aux input.

Now the most important thing - the sound quality. Through the supplied speakers it's reasonable if a little dull. This is due to Sony's use of a single full-range driver rather than using a separate tweeter or co-axial 2-way driver. I've actually looked into adding a tweeter or replacing the drive unit with a co-axial one but it would cost almost as much as the second-hand value of the system to do this.

Also the speaker cables are captive and are very thin - the type of cable you might use to wire up your doorbell. There's no way of replacing these with something better without resorting to serious woodwork, and again due to the price of this package it wouldn't be worth the effort.

However, on the plus side, the wooden speaker cabinets do damp down unwanted resonances so there's none of that mid-range "honking" that you get with a lot of cheap systems with plastic cased speakers.

Now I'm back from working away I've pressed the system into use on my second PC using the aux input. I've replaced the supplied speakers with a pair of Celestion 1s that I had unused following an upgrade, and I have to say the electronics in this package are excellent.

I take people's points about plasticky build quality, but you have to remember this is a budget product. Yes, a drawer loading CD player might be nice rather than a top-loader, but that would probably push it up into the next price bracket.

I'd originally given 3 stars because of the poor speakers, however given the recent price reduction of this item it gets 4. My verdict - for the money it's excellent for the kids' bedrooms or study, and with a few quid spent on eg eBay for a better pair of speakers it's good enough for non-critical listening. Certainly if you were considering a large "portable" to be left in one place this is a much better bet.

Let Me In [Blu-ray]
Let Me In [Blu-ray]
Dvd ~ Chloe Moretz
Price: £10.02

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Squeal like a pig?, 30 Dec. 2012
This review is from: Let Me In [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
I was a little disappointed by this. I'd seen the Swedish original "Let The Right One In", and read the book in its English translation. The original was set in Scandinavia, and the action doesn't transfer all that well to North America.

Some of the dialogue has also been changed - Oskar's "squeal like a pig" line in the original has been replaced with "hey little girl, are you scared?". This makes the lead character (here called Owen rather than Oskar) sound creepy. Plus there's too much obvious Hollywood CGI effects used on Abi (originally called Eli) which weren't there in the original film.

On the whole it was a watchable film, but not a patch on the Swedish original (assuming the subtitles don't bother you).

The original version is available on Blu-Ray: Let the Right One in [Blu-ray]

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