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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Technology should serve the user, not the other way around., 16 Feb. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)

If you want accuracy with this device, you may have to adapt when you wear it.

For example, wearing it on my right wrist, it registers having taken steps when brushing my teeth, shampooing my hair in the shower, washing my hands after the toilet, occasionally when preparing and cooking food, etc. So, I swapped it to my left wrist which was uncomfortable (and looked slightly daft) having it alongside my watch simultaneously, which resulted in steps being recorded when I changed gear when driving the car.

Considering the negligible distance you'll record when walking around the house, it probably isn't worth wearing around the home. It claims to monitor your sleep patterns but too early to say how accurate this is, will update after I've been using it for a while longer. It does have a vibrating alarm clock though which is a nice touch.

As such, I can only recommend it when away from the house and you're clocking genuine steps.

Depending on your job, it may possibly record different actions as steps; however, the good news is that if you have a desk job it didn't record any steps when using a mouse or keyboard.

Accuracy will always be an issue with a 15 quid fitness tracker, but vibrations for phone notifications adds value to the product. Just a shame that the LEDs only illuminate in white, not any other colours.

Hopefully firmware updates from Xiaomi will improve accuracy.

Fire HD 8 Tablet, 8'' HD Display, Wi-Fi, 8 GB (Black) - Includes Special Offers
Fire HD 8 Tablet, 8'' HD Display, Wi-Fi, 8 GB (Black) - Includes Special Offers

353 of 365 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Probably the best value all round entertainment device available, 5 Nov. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Let me start off by saying this tablet is much more like a conventional Android device than the Kindle Fire range of old. First thing you notice on the home screen is the ‘Back’, ‘Home’ and ‘App switch’ buttons at the bottom, just like you'd find on an Android phone. Gone is the old carousel at the top, but it still effectively exists by touching the square ‘App switch’ button, whereby you’re presented with a Rolodex style vertical carousel (which you can also swipe sideways to close apps down) From the left of the home screen you also have a ‘Recent’ tab which shows recent activity in a vertical scrolling style with bigger than normal icons.

One of the common complaints about Amazon tablets is the lack of the Google Play Store, this is no exception, you’re still reliant on Amazon’s curated offering. That said, it contains most of the popular apps out there, but not all of them. If however, you still pine for a particular app that’s not available on Amazon, you can simply sideload it (which is much easier than you think, just do a search on YouTube for a video tutorial)

Speaking of YouTube, there is still no built-in app offered by Amazon. As with previous Kindle Fire tablets, you'll either have to use the Silk Browser to visit the website version or use one of the third party apps in Amazon’s AppStore (very much a case of trial and error, some are better than others)

The official Google Maps app isn’t available in the Amazon AppStore, but it’s good to see Amazon have baked a Maps app of their own into the device which works just fine. A built-in weather app is also provided, but I personally prefer to use BBC Weather – when I went into app settings, it wasn’t possible to completely uninstall it or disable it. Thankfully, Amazon haven't preloaded tons of unwanted apps onto the device, but it'd still be nice to have the choice of uninstalling or disabling something you don't want or need.

If you are a previous owner of Amazon tablets, you will notice that the only option for lock screen security is still a PIN number, sadly no pattern unlock option is available. However, it’s now possible to change the wallpaper of your lock/home screen (how 2009 is that?!), although I've not tested it with live wallpapers. You can re-position icons on the home screen AND group them into folders by dragging icons on top of one another to keep everything neat, tidy and organised, additionally you can give the folder a name (eg. News apps)

The user interface is slick and aesthetically pleasing, the display is bright and vivid (8" screen is the perfect size in my opinion), and sound is surprisingly loud and clear given the small loudspeakers. Special mention needs to be made here about the volume buttons as they have a feature I've never seen on any other phone/tablet before - with the tablet standing in portrait, the volume buttons are located on the top edge (left hand side) with volume down to the left, volume up to the right. Now, picture if you will, rotating the tablet clockwise through 90 degrees so it's now in landscape - the volume buttons are now on the right edge of the tablet (near the top right corner); however, the button functions have magically reversed - the button at the top (which previously was volume down) is now volume up, and the button next to it below is now volume down (when previously volume up). Fantastic engineering to link the volume buttons to the accelerometer. Unfortunately though, music sounded slightly muddy when listening via my good quality Sony headphones - thankfully there's 'an app for that' in the shape of a graphic equaliser in the AppStore.

Although you now have the option of using a microSD card for extra storage, not all apps can be installed to it. If you opt for the 8GB model, am not entirely sure exactly how much on-board storage is actually available for you to use though (a certain amount of the 8GB is taken up by the operating system leaving you with the remainder). The product page on Amazon states the remainder as being 4.5GB but when I go into storage settings on the device it states 5.65GB. If you're a gamer into large or complex games you may want to rethink whether the 8GB model offers enough storage for large game files as they might not be installable to the microSD card; as such, the 16GB model might be the better option - for the non-gamer, the 8GB model should comfortably suffice.

If (like me) you’ve read online reviews by gadget websites which flag up issues over speed or lag, the tablet does occasionally stutter or stall but not to the point that it makes the tablet unusable or spoils your entertainment. It generally happens if you're doing multiple things at once (ie. using an app whilst downloading/installing is taking place in the background); when doing one thing at a time it powers along nicely. If it does become a problem, install the excellent CCleaner app to reduce clutter and free up some RAM (which the Fire is slightly lacking in) Granted, the new Fire HD is never going to be as fast or smooth as an iPad mini or similar high end tablet, but its specs are just good enough to keep things ticking along. If in doubt, take one for a test drive down your local PC World and judge for yourself, but hopefully Amazon will release an update to the operating system to smooth out any lag.

Finally, a free top tip from an experienced Android user - don't continually install app updates as they invariably add new features which take up extra storage space which may also need additional system resources in order to run; over the course of time, this can become quite noticeable in the available storage and the strain on the tablet to run smoothly. So only updates apps if it has new features that you really can't live without or if the app no longer runs without the update.

So it’s four stars from me, let down by the lack of a built-in YouTube app, the Amazon AppStore which isn’t as comprehensive as Google Play, the slightly muddy sound over headphones, and the occasional lag. Fortunately, as mentioned above, these are fairly minor negatives and are far from being deal breakers. The tablet will never function in the same all-encompassing way a laptop does, but as a media consumption device (video, music, games, books/magazines, web) it’s probably the best available, especially for the price which is an absolute steal.
Comment Comments (7) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 11, 2016 10:48 AM BST

Babz 9 pce Whisky Stones Set with delicate box+velvet bag - Ideal for Wine, Whiskey, Beer
Babz 9 pce Whisky Stones Set with delicate box+velvet bag - Ideal for Wine, Whiskey, Beer
Offered by First Point Distribution
Price: £3.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars High hopes but very disappointed, 10 Sept. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Sadly these don't live up to expectation. They are undoubtedly icey cold when you take them out of the freezer, but for some inexplicable reason, they fail to make the drink ice cold.

ESYNiC 1080P HDMI Digital Signal to AV Composite 3 RCA CVBS Video Audio Converter for Xbox Xbox360 Blu Ray SKY HD VHS VCR DVD DVR-Black Colour
ESYNiC 1080P HDMI Digital Signal to AV Composite 3 RCA CVBS Video Audio Converter for Xbox Xbox360 Blu Ray SKY HD VHS VCR DVD DVR-Black Colour
Offered by eSynic
Price: £14.95

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Works really really well., 8 April 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Purchased so I could still use my Chromecast after the HDMI board burned out on my LG television. I am now able to watch by connecting the Chromecast into this adaptor and then into my TV using red/yellow/white RCA plugs. A much more cost effective solution than having to pay for the HDMI board to be repaired or a new TV!
Having tried (and returned) a couple of other cheaper adaptors, this most definitely gives a far superior picture quality. However it doesn't give 1080P reproduction, it merely converts it from 1080P to a resolution that the RCA cables/input sockets can handle, as such there is some mild pixelation but is perfectly watchable on my 32" screen. I expect a smaller screen would result in a sharper picture, and a larger screen might be slightly less sharp.
Am not entirely sure why, but I unexpectedly got better picture quality by having it set to NTSC instead of PAL.
A highly recommended purchase if you want to connect a HDMI device.

Jeff Wayne's Musical Version Of The War Of The Worlds - The New Generation
Jeff Wayne's Musical Version Of The War Of The Worlds - The New Generation
Offered by Side Two
Price: £7.99

4.0 out of 5 stars The War of the Worlds, The New Generation [aka The Marmite edition], 4 Dec. 2012
As another reviewer has already stated, it really is a case of you'll like it or hate it. A very divisive album (which is no bad thing) that is clearly reflected in the star ratings that other people have reviewed it as (at the time of writing this review, it has scored 15,17,11,14,12 stars in 5 star to 1 star order).

Personally I like it, and see no reason why it can't co-exist alongside the original. It doesn't veer away from the original, yet manages to compliment it with a contemporary feel without 'over-egging' it. The new bass line on 'The Eve of the War' is simply sublime. Also, the stereo sound is much wider than the original, particularly when listened to through a good set of cans.

Like many others, I wondered if the lack of Richard Burton's narration would have a negative effect. The good news is that it doesn't. With Liam Neeson, he brings something different but with equal quality. RB's delivery was that of classic thespian, LN sounds more natural and certainly does it justice.

Another difference is the extended narration of the story, which I personally think is good. What you have to remember is that in the days of the double vinyl LP, there was only a finite amount of space available. With the advent of CD and mp3, the whole story can be explored in more detail.

It would have been very easy to simply give this 3 stars. That would be unfair as it deserves better than that. Listen to this album with open eyes and ears, judge it on it own artistic merit as it's own entity. One final observation (albeit only cosmetic), the new album artwork is absolutely fantastic, far superior to the original.

Kindle, 6" E Ink Display, Wi-Fi (Previous Generation - 5th)
Kindle, 6" E Ink Display, Wi-Fi (Previous Generation - 5th)

43 of 50 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Almost perfect..., 24 Sept. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
It was only a few years ago that I stated categorically that I would NEVER own an e-reading device, as it was no substitute for the experience of reading a real book with regard to the look, feel, even the smell. To some extent, I still stand by that; however, I also feel that there is no reason why physical books and the Kindle can't co-exist on my bedside. I use my Kindle purely for fiction, but still read physical books when I want to read something of a factual nature.

The device is beautiful in it's aesthetics (something that would no doubt be raved about had Sir Jonathan Ive designed it), however the black Kindle is a bit of a fingerprint magnet around the button area - my friend has the previous graphite model which is relatively fingerprint free by comparison. The main negative design feature is the D-pad for navigating the on-screen keyboard, which is slow and cumbersome.

The Kindle Touch was considered, but having had a play with one in a shop, I found it to not be as responsive as I'd been expecting. This I think, is due to the responsiveness we have come to expect from our touch screen phones and tablets.

Ultimately though, the decision to buy the buttoned version came down to two things:
1) If any component is likely to go wrong with a touch e-reader, it will be the screen (which is fundamental to the funcionality of the device) - for me, a device with buttons will probably be more robust with greater longevity;
2) Price point - at £69 the device represents superb value for money.

The Kindle also won hands down with regard to personal documents. With other e-readers that I considered buying (Kobo and Nook), you can only sync across devices for books you have purchased from them. For example, I downloaded a free book in .mobi format from Project Gutenburg, emailed it to my Kindle, and it doesn't matter whether I'm reading on my Kindle or my android phone using the kindle app, it still syncs to the latest point I've read up to. And when I've finished reading it, I can store it in the cloud - I can't do either of those things with personal documents on the Kobo or Nook.

Also with personal documents on my Kindle, I can look words up in the dictionary, bookmark, highlight, annotate and share to social networks - something that you can't do with the Kobo or Nook unless you've actually purchased the book from them.

Don't know if Amazon developers ever read these reviews, but for me, the following improvements in future software updates would make the device complete:

1) the homescreen is very 'no frills, no thrills' and it would be nice to have the option of how your books are displayed (ie. list or grid, with or without book artwork), not just limiting the ordering to title, author, most recent, etc.

2) enable downloading of active content (games and applications) as enjoyed by Amazon customers in the US;

3) when launching the keyboard, have the option for QWERTY lay out, not just ABCDE;

4) although I can share passages from books to Facebook, to have the ability to share the actual book I am reading or have just purchased from Amazon;

5) finally, allow the importing of books in .epub format so that books can be borrowed from public libraries in the UK (note to Jeff Bezos - you will more than likely have to adopt epub one day as publishers have recently started removing DRM protection from books in epub format, in the same way as you can now buy music online without DRM protection - and music piracy has always been more rife than book piracy).

Finally, let's not lose sight of one major advantage of ebooks, their environmentally friendly nature. No trees have to be chopped down and no books have to be recycled (remember, there are economic and energy implications of having to recycle, as you have to pulp the paper which uses water, bleach it with chemicals, and actually use energy in order to process it back into useable paper).
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 1, 2013 12:43 PM GMT

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