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Mark F (Worcs, UK)

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Samsung Gear S2 Smartwatch - Dark Gray
Samsung Gear S2 Smartwatch - Dark Gray
Price: £204.05

50 of 55 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but not as good as the Gear S it supposedly supersedes, 25 Nov. 2015
Didn't buy this from Amazon, but got it from a local store. I've had a Gear S for some time now, and I bought this hoping to get a slightly less bulky version of that watch. But that's not what you get - they're different watches and the functionality of the S2 is considerably more limited than that of the S.

On the plus side, the rotating bezel works really well, and it's nice to be able to just swipe away notifications, whereas on the Gear S you need to tap on screen icons to do that. Unlike the Gear S, the Gear S2 also has NFC, which will be useful when Samsung Pay eventually arrives here in the UK. Also, the S2, being a smaller watch, fits under my shirt cuffs much more easily than the Gear S.

But for me, the Gear S is better in pretty much all other respects. The S2's Settings options are more limited - you can't change the display timeout, you can't set wallpaper. Also the apps for the S2 are not the same as for the S. For example, there's no Opera Mini Browser (though it probably wouldn't be much use on a screen so small anyway), there's no magnetic sensor so no compass, no Bullet News. And although the S2's screen is (I think) higher resolution, the screen on the S is, for me, much better, simply because it's a) larger and b) rectangular rather than round. The Gear S is still, imo, the smart watch display to beat - it displays text much better than anything else I've seen, you can set your own wallpaper etc. and the resolution is more than adequate.

As you'll have gathered, I shan't be selling my Gear S. I'll keep both watches, and use the Gear S2 when I need something smaller that will hide under my shirtsleeves. If you're thinking of buying this watch, I strongly recommend that you try both it and the Gear S, and have a good play with both of them to see which one suits you better.

Samsung Gear S Smart Watch - Black
Samsung Gear S Smart Watch - Black

24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally, a smartwatch that does something worthwhile, 7 May 2015
Bought this a few days ago (not from Amazon). Up to now I've thought that smartwatches weren't really worth bothering with - I didn't think they did much that was worthwhile.

But this is very different. It will make and receive phone calls, texts and emails, and you can receive calls 'hands free', which is very useful when driving - you just have to say "Answer" and it picks up and you talk away. There's a full QWERTY keyboard, though the keys are very small - a small stylus, say an inch or so long and stored in a small pocket on the strap, would be very useful. But you do get swipe typing and predictive text.

Provided your phone switched on, you can use this as a standalone device. Because the watch has it own SIM card, it doesn't matter how far apart the watch and the phone are - the phone doesn't have to be within Bluetooth (BT) distance - it will forward calls, texts and emails via a SIM connection if there's no BT connection, and you can reply to them without the BT connection. You also get all the notifications you'd normally see on your phone. I'm finding I'm often leaving my Note 4 at home when I go out, and I still see everything. Saves putting a rather large phone in my pocket wherever I go.

This watch is Tizen, not Android Wear, and the apps store is not as extensive as Android. Also, a higher percentage of the apps need to be paid for, compared with Google Play Store. That said, I've found I can get what I need free of charge.

Finally, the display is excellent and very easy to read.

Jolla Sim Free Smartphone 16GB
Jolla Sim Free Smartphone 16GB

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars There's a way to go yet, but a very promising start., 23 Dec. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
After using this phone as my daily driver for a few days now, I thought I'd share my impressions. I started off running Sailfish on my Nexus 5 under MultiRom Manager, but it was an alpha port and there was quite a bit that didn't work, so I took the plunge and got a Jolla Phone to try it out properly.

Overall I'd say that Sailfish shows great promise; the navigation and presentation are well worked out, and Android feels a bit clumsy in comparison. Once you've got used to it, the o/s is very easy to use and the aesthetics are pleasing. The pulley menus are great and work really well, so much so that I'm surprised nobody's thought of them before. Battery life seems very good – much better than the Nexus 5. The specs of the phone say it will support up to 32GB SDHC micro SD, but I took a 64GB SDXC straight out of an Android phone and put it into the Jolla, and it works fine. Double tap to wake is very useful. Music player will play lossless formats (flac in my case) and the sound quality through phones is fine. Speaker sound is a bit feeble though. Software updates are frequent – approx once a month.

Another thing worth mentioning is that the Jolla community seems very friendly and supportive.

So what are the downsides? Well, the hardware is low-spec by Android standards. The display isn't even 720p, and it shows sometimes. Processing power is not great, and there's noticeable lag particularly in the Sailfish browser – it's no powerhouse and gamers will probably want to consider that in deciding whether to go for this phone.

And then there's the matter of apps. Sailfish is a young o/s and at the moment it suffers from a paucity of native apps – you'll almost certainly want to install Android support so you can download and use Android apps. Yandex and Aptoide are good and seem to stock a wide range. But for UK users, there's one app I couldn't find anywhere other than the Google Play Store, and that's BBC Media Player, without which BBC iPlayer and iPlayer Radio won't work. So I've installed Google Play Store – which is quite easy if you're prepared to get into terminal and run a handful of shell commands. Be aware too that, as far as I can tell, if you have paid apps on Android you'll need to pay for them again if you want them on Sailfish, even if you install Google Play Store. You won't have to do that with Google or Kindle books though – you can still see them.

Also on the software front, be aware that if you have an Android app that uses sound, e.g. Google Maps if you want voice directions, you first have to kill any native Sailfish apps running in the phone. It seems that Sailfish apps and Android apps can't use sound at the same time. Other limitations include the fact that although you can install and run other browsers, you can't change the default browser – if you tap on a hyperlink you'll always get the default Sailfish browser, which is quite basic.

In summary I think that despite all the limitations, this is a very promising start from Jolla. There's obviously a way to go yet, but the basic design of the o/s together with the frequency of updates and the very active support community augur well. Is it a viable daily driver? That depends on how you use your phone. For me it is, and I plan to stick with it. But avid gamers, or anyone to whom high performance and high-res display are paramount, will probably want to look elsewhere for the time being.

Samsung Galaxy Note PRO 12.2-inch Tablet (Black) - (Exynos 5 Octa, 3GB RAM, 32GB Storage, WLAN, BT, 2x Camera, Android 4.4)
Samsung Galaxy Note PRO 12.2-inch Tablet (Black) - (Exynos 5 Octa, 3GB RAM, 32GB Storage, WLAN, BT, 2x Camera, Android 4.4)

11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars So far so good - I much prefer Android as an OS to ..., 3 July 2014
Had this device for a fortnight or so now. I bought it to replace my iPad Air - I discovered that iOS drives me up the wall! So far so good - I much prefer Android as an OS to use. The display is superb - vibrant colours but not over the top and detail is excellent. The large display makes using this machine a joy - I don't carry it around with me so size/weight aren't too much of an issue for me - and it has become my machine of choice around the house.

I bought a Bluetooth keyboard case which works fine, except that when it's connected the Samsung keyboard's predictive text option doesn't seem to work. If you use SwiftKey, the predictive text does still work with the external keyboard, but 1) SK don't seem to have registered the fact that tablets have plenty of room for a separate numbers row on the keyboard (you get that on the default Samsung Keyboard) so if you're using it without the external keyboard then to get numbers you have to either long press or press the 123 key for the symbols keyboard and 2) the SK keyboard loses the S-Pen input for handwriting emails, documents etc.
I also bought a USB Hub ( Hama USB 2.0 Hub 1:4 Black, Bus-powered ) and a USB3 OTG lead ( IVSO Micro USB 3.0 Host OTG Cable for Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 Tablet (Black) ), so I can connect and use a USB mouse and USB drives - this works fine. If you have 4-way scrolling on the mouse, it gives you a very quick way of scrolling between home screens.

Some Android apps are not optimised for tablets and you'll find that functionality may be patchy for some of them. For example, I've found so far that Apex, ADW and Nova launchers work well, but Buzz doesn't - it stays in portrait mode regardless of what you do to the screen. BBC Radio iPlayer also stays in portrait, whatever the orientation of the screen.

BBC TV iPlayer is a disappointment - picture quality is poor (unless you download programmes in high-quality rather than stream them in real time) but that's to do with BBC, not Samsung; other high-definition video players work fine. If you look at the Google Play Store page for BBC Media Player (on which iPlayer now depends) you'll see a whole raft of negative reviews. On some devices it apparently doesn't work at all.

Finally, if you don't like Magazine UX (some people don't) then you can get rid of it by installing a different launcher - as I said, Apex, ADW and Nova work fine.

MediaDevil Simdevil 3-in-1 SIM Card Adapter Kit (Nano / Micro / Standard)
MediaDevil Simdevil 3-in-1 SIM Card Adapter Kit (Nano / Micro / Standard)
Offered by MediaDevil
Price: £9.97

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Does exactly what it says, 12 May 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Used this to convert a nano-sim to a micro-sim, so I could switch between my iPhone and my Galaxy Note 3. Worked fine and first time. Usual excellent service from Media Devil - I would definitely recommend them.

HP 14-inch Chromebook (Snow White) - (Intel Celeron 2955U 1.4GHz, 4GB RAM, 16GB HDD, Google Chrome)
HP 14-inch Chromebook (Snow White) - (Intel Celeron 2955U 1.4GHz, 4GB RAM, 16GB HDD, Google Chrome)

73 of 76 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good value for money, but display needs to be better, 27 April 2014
I didn't buy this from Amazon, but from another store. First impressions are that one needs to distinguish between Chrome OS as an operating system, and this particular Chromebook as hardware.

Taking the first of those two, Chrome OS is a very good piece of work. It's what Apple's iCloud should have been, but very conspicuously isn't. Most home users can do most of what they need to on the web, and Chrome OS offers a well thought out and intuitive way to do this. The list of apps is already large and growing all the time, and I think that Chrome OS, or something like it, is the future for home computing. All Chromebooks boot within seconds, and you can be online and working almost immediately. The machine is virtually malware-proof, because all the 'business end' is on web servers, not on your Chromebook. Also the OS is automatically updated on a regular basis, so you're always up to date.

Turning now to this particular Chromebook, I have mixed feelings. At under £250, it's very good value for money. SSD, not platter hard drive, so it's very quiet. Two USB3 ports, one USB2, HDMI. Battery life seems very good - I'm getting 8 or 9 hours out of a full charge. Comfortable keyboard and tracker. Nice big screen too.

But it's that display that's the downside as well. The colours look rather washed out and anaemic, and the viewing angles are poor - you need to be at just the right anglde to get a good viewing experience. If you're used to a tablet, you'll be disappointed. This seems to be true of all Chromebooks, with the (afaik) sole exception of the Chromebook Pixel. But then, what do you expect for under £250? And the Pixel, at £1049, doesn't make sense when for only £50 more one can get a 13" MacBook Pro Retina which will not only run Chrome OS but also do a good deal more besides (although unlike the Pixel it doesn't have a touch screen).

I would say that if you already have a laptop, then run Chrome OS on that. It'll run very happily on top of Windows, OS X and Linux, and you'll have a conventional o/s available for the few tasks for which you really need it. A lot of it will also run on iOS. If on the other hand you don't already have a laptop, and can do most of your tasks on the web, and are looking for something at around this price point then this HP Chromebook could make a great deal of sense for you. Fwiw, I also have an iPad and and iMac, but this HP has become my go-to computer around the house. It boots so quickly, and is so comfortable to use. And that should tell you something.

2014-05-07: should have mentioned that you can use a utility called crouton to enable you to switch between Chrome OS and Linux (on which I believe Chrome OS is based). Crouton ships with the Chromebook as standard so it's an 'approved' enhancement and there's no question of invalidating the warranty or anything like that. This isn't a normal dual-boot arrangement, but a facility whereby you can switch between Chrome OS and Linux (seems to be a cut-down version of Ubuntu)and back again almost instantly. This can be useful for tasks that need a conventional o/s BUT you have only the 16GB storage space available - in fact a bit less after the o/s has taken its share. I've done this on my machine and it works pretty well.

Abacus24-7 [PocketBook] Leather Wallet Case & Cover for Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Note III N9000 (Black)
Abacus24-7 [PocketBook] Leather Wallet Case & Cover for Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Note III N9000 (Black)
Offered by Abacus24-7

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars It DOES have a magnetic closure!!, 9 Dec. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought this case specifically because it said that it had no magnetic catch but a snap closure. It arrived this morning and it DOES have a magnetic closure, as I established when I tested it with a few ferrous objects. This should be made clear. Waste of money for me.

AV Link Ground Loop Isolator
AV Link Ground Loop Isolator
Price: £4.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Does the job for a very low price, 27 Sept. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought this product to get rid of annoying hum/whine when I connected my iMac to my digital organ, which I was using as a MIDI controller for virtual pipe organ software on the Mac. I must say I wasn't expecting too much from it, given its very low price, but when I put it in line with audio lead from the Mac to the organ, the noise was completely eliminated. In short, it does the job. I rather think it slightly affects the audio quality, and I may buy a more expensive device of the same type later to get round that, but this device is amazingly effective for its price of £3.50-odd (and free postage as well) and the effect on the audio is nothing I can't live with quite happily for a while.

Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 8-inch Tablet (White) - (ARM Cortex A9 1.6GHz Processor, 2GB RAM, 16GB Storage, Wi-Fi, 2x Camera, Android 4.1.2)
Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 8-inch Tablet (White) - (ARM Cortex A9 1.6GHz Processor, 2GB RAM, 16GB Storage, Wi-Fi, 2x Camera, Android 4.1.2)
Offered by Cheapest Electrical
Price: £149.99

29 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars So what's with dropping the price by £100 from two days ago?, 1 Aug. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I'm more than a little p****d off that the price of this has gone down by £100 to £191, compared with the £291 I paid here on Amazon for it just 3 days ago!!

Anyway, that apart this is a wonderful device. Like another reviewer, I've been waiting for something like this for a while now. I've had an iPad for the last 18 months but it's uncomfortably big to hold and the inflexibility of IOS drives me up the wall. This Samsung knocks the iPad into a cocked hat.

It's just the right size to hold comfortably in the hand while you're using the amazing S Pen. It's a great e-book reader, web browser and email machine. You get Polaris office suite which seems to work fine. Setup, if you have another Android device, is dead easy - you just enter your Google account details and it downloads all the apps you have on that account. So within a few minutes this was pretty much a clone of my existing S3 phone. I've added a SanDisk 64GB SDXC card which seems to load pretty fast - I managed to download my entire music library in an hour or so.

But it's the S-Pen, and the handwriting recognition, that blow me away. You can type emails, Polaris documents and spreadsheets with the S-Pen and it converts it to 'proper' typeface text as you write. The recognition is astonishingly good. Just beware that if you have SwiftKey and make that your default text entry mode, the handwriting thing won't function - the default text entry has to be the Samsung keyboard. You can also write handwritten notes with doodles and save them.

Two minor snags - hence 4 stars rather than 5 - are 1) the colour (I'd have much preferred the blue-grey of my S3) and 2) the fact that out of the box it's compatible only with Samsung printers. I've solved that by downloading Epson iPrint, and I can now print to, and scan from my Epson SX235W.

04/03/2014 Update - one more serious snag - battery life! Battery drains very fast with continuous use, and that's disappointing.
Comment Comments (6) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 30, 2013 11:11 PM BST

Gigaset SL910A 3.2 inch Premium Touchscreen Cordless Telephone with Integrated Answering Machine - Black
Gigaset SL910A 3.2 inch Premium Touchscreen Cordless Telephone with Integrated Answering Machine - Black
Offered by liGo
Price: £118.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Phone, just some minor niggles, 28 Feb. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought an SL910A and a pair of SL910H extra handsets. First impressions are of a very well built piece of kit - it feels reassuringly solid, well engineered and robust and appears to be of very good quality. Setup was very easy and I was up and running in a few minutes. Sound quality appears to be good in calls, but the recorded message on the answer machine, when I listen to it from another phone, is not so hot - sounds a bit muffled and indistinct. I find that the responsiveness of the touch screen is perfectly adequate. The phone also looks very good.

Some minor niggles.
1) When you're making a call and you need to use one those blessed option menus, you need to press an icon on the screen to get back to the numeric keypad - would be nice if the keypad were there by default. That said, once that's done I find the responsiveness of the keypad to be quite good enough.
2) I uploaded my contacts by Bluetooth from my Android mobile. I tried to upload them all in one go, but the 910 didn't interpret the vCard file correctly and most of the contacts were missing - I had to upload the vCards one at a time. It may well have worked from my iMac, I don't know.
3) Wouldn't it be nice if contacts were automatically propagated to all handsets registered to the same base station? You actually have to do it manually, although in this case I was able to do them all in one go.
4) Can't help feeling that an opportunity has been missed to provide more Internet functonality on this phone - email, web browsing etc.

All that said, I'm very pleased with my purchase and would certainly recommend this phone.

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