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SanDisk SDMX18-008G-E46K Sansa Clip+ MP3 Player - 8 GB, Black
SanDisk SDMX18-008G-E46K Sansa Clip+ MP3 Player - 8 GB, Black
Offered by AOT (UK VAT registered)
Price: £78.95

4.0 out of 5 stars For the price it cannot be beaten, 6 Dec. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Build quality & Design 3.5/5
The player itself is tiny; smaller than I'd imagined and only a little bigger than an Ipod Shuffle. One of the first things you notice is how light the player is, almost too light. The player has almost no weight to it due to being largely plastic and this does give the player a cheaper feel. The buttons again feel plastic-y and produce quite a loud click when pressed (this can get annoying). However, all despite this the player is reasonably sturdy - I have dropped the player a few times without damage and am yet to see any scratches on it.

The screen is bright and clear even on the lowest setting, with vivid turquoise and orange characters. The only criticism is that it could be slightly bigger (particularly in width) as often songs titles do not fit on the screen and need to be allowed to scroll to see them.

I do not really use the clip as I find it only really works when clipping vertically (e.g. onto jean pockets). It just doesn't have enough grip to clip onto sleeves, scarves, lapels etc which is a shame. Because of this, and the fact you can always buy holders I would have preferred the Sansa Clip+ to actually lose the Clip.

Packaging 2/5
At first glance I was impressed at how little packaging there was. Just a tiny cardboard box - "How environmentally friendly!" I thought...then I tried opening it. The player is entombed in a coffin of thick plastic with seemingly no way of getting in. I actually had to watch a video of an unboxing to work out how to achieve this feat! In summary it involves puncturing the plastic with a sharp object very closely to the player (there is a real risk of damaging it here) and cutting it out with scissors.

Volume 5/5
The volume on the European factory settings is simply too quiet. On previous players I would have the volume at 30-40%, but even 80-100% was too quiet. HOWEVER, by changing the player to the American settings (very easy to do) makes the volume perfectly ample and I can now listen at 25-30% indoors or 40-50% on noisy public transport.

Battery life 5/5
Battery life is incredible for such a small thing. Even with myself listening to music in small sessions and continuously turning it on and off I reckon I still easily get 10 hours out of the player. If you just kept the player running with the backlight off it would definitely meet the promised battery life.

Sound quality 5/5
Fantastic. Clearer than my previous player which is twice the size and cost twice as much to purchase. With a good set of headphones the quality is crystal clear. Perhaps an audiophile might complain of a slight lack of bass but the sound is definitely not tinny or muffled. If anything I would say it beats the IPod.

Firmware 4/5
On the PC I just drag and drop files onto the player although you have to make sure MSC mode is selected before doing this. I have heard putting playlists on the player is a little awkward this way but I have not yet tried this. There is of course the option to sync the player to your usual software (e.g. Itunes).

Ease of use 3.5/5
Actually using the player is a bit fiddly and it takes a while to get used to the controls. I don't think navigation is that easy and I occasionally press the wrong buttons sending me back to the menu or to the start of a song instead of going to the track list. Compared to previous players this just isn't as intuitive however I think with practice it will be fine (operator error perhaps!). Locking or turning the device on and off is perfectly easy with the dedicated buttons.

Overall 4/5
For the incredible price this player is the perfect choice for anyone really - whether used for sports, on a commute or just for listening to music round the home. Perhaps audiophiles may fancy something pricier like a Cowon, and the image-conscious may prefer the looks of the Apple players, but for people just wanting a good, economical, solid (well as solid as plastic can be!) MP3 player look no further!

Pros: Low price, great sound, long battery, perfectly portable, large storage (and expandable), decent volume (on US mode)
(Minor) Cons: Fiddly navigation, plastic casing could feel tougher, gripless clip, the packaging
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 12, 2014 9:26 PM GMT

HDEA Mini 3.5mm Flexible Microphone for PC
HDEA Mini 3.5mm Flexible Microphone for PC
Offered by DP Bazaar
Price: £4.55

1.0 out of 5 stars Worked for a month..., 5 July 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Worked very well for the first month. Like most reviewers have mentioned the sound is reversed (left ear headphone output will become right), I've heard there is a way to fix this but I have not bothered.

Unfortunately after one month's use the product is malfunctioning. The sound card is causing my laptop to go in and out of mute frequently, I've noticed the lightest of taps to the sound card's mute button causes this to happen (you don't even have to press the button, just a stroke or knock will turn the laptop to mute). Pressing the button fully causes a red light to appear on the soundcard (to indicate the computer being muted), whereas touching lightly does not, so this is clearly not part of the design. I suspect the wiring was faulty. The device does feel quite flimsy and is not very sturdy in the USB slot.

For the low price you cannot complain too much (you do get what you pay for), but it is obviously disappointing. Unfortunately I cannot recommend this product.

Leiths Techniques Bible
Leiths Techniques Bible
by Susan Spaull
Edition: Paperback

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Very comprehensive, but poorly arranged, 12 April 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought the book as a hobby home cook looking for a comprehensive "course" of the essential cooking techniques. I was looking for the techniques (for example, how to cut certain meats) as opposed to simply recipes. The book itself is probably best described as a textbook or reference book. It is very big at 800 pages, and its size and paperback cover do make it slightly kitchen unfriendly.

I will say that the book is very comprehensive (I am sure most of the techniques used by chefs are listed here). The problem lies with how this information is arranged. Disappointingly, despite the book's title the bulk of the book is made up of recipes, with the actual "techniques" dotted around in between. The techniques themselves are either described by text alone or with small "outline" drawings (about the size of a postage stamp). I believe with a skill as practical as cooking, these basic drawings probably aren't going to be enough to demonstrate the more technical skills (something more dynamic like photographs is needed for these).

The layout as well can be a bit strange as it is arranged alphabetically. This means for example, that you are taken from a section on Meat to a section on Meringue (fillet of Beef with Eton Mess anyone?!). Whilst I appreciate this was probably done for speed of reference, I would have liked the book to have been arranged by themes or dishes (e.g. starters, mains, desserts) .

I would definitely recommend this book for intermediate-professional chefs or advanced-amateur chefs looking for a quick reference or a refresher on techniques. I think the book is probably going to be bit difficult to use (and too vague on the technical side) for novice chefs. It is a book to be dipped into, rather than a "course" in technique. I would recommend beginners look for books like The Cooks' Bible; whilst considerably less comprehensive then the Leiths book (and probably too basic for professional chefs), it has a higher technique to recipe ratio, and the techniques are clearly demonstrated with large colour photographs.

My Grammar and I (Or Should That Be 'Me'?): Old-School Ways to Sharpen Your English
My Grammar and I (Or Should That Be 'Me'?): Old-School Ways to Sharpen Your English
by Caroline Taggart
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £7.49

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A difficult read - not very helpful for beginners., 5 April 2012
I found this book quite impenetrable and as a result my poor grammar is for now untouched. Whilst I have no doubt the rules covered are up to scratch, the way they are presented is lacking. The book lacks any form of structure or clear lesson planning. Particularly with the lack of index (a fatal error for a non-fiction book), your only hope is to read it from start to finish in one go like a fiction book; there is no way of simply dipping into specific areas. The book is also heavily padded out with anecdotes, jokes, quotes and the like, meaning the parts you actually need to learn are spread about all over the place (making the material required for learning appear doubled and intimidating). I would have liked each chapter to open clearly with what will be learned, then outline the rules fully, and then have a practice section. I found there is nothing to really drill the rules into memory, its all instantly forgettable. Also there is a lack of explanation in some areas whereby prior knowledge and understanding is presumed. Overall I'd say this book is definitely not one for beginners (those with no prior grammar education), which judging by the marketing is in part the intended audience.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 5, 2016 2:54 PM GMT

L of a way 2 Pass
L of a way 2 Pass
by Diane Hall
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.95

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not what it is advertised as, very dissapointing., 24 Oct. 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: L of a way 2 Pass (Paperback)
I will start by stating I am in fact a believer and supporter of alternative medicines in the right circumstances. However, I feel it is out of place in this book. I think that customers ought to know exactly what they are paying for. I personally wanted a book to help with my driving and in no way was I expecting chapters on how "toxins are influencing my driving" (unfortunately, I kid you not). These topics cannot feel further removed from learning to drive if they tried. May I offer a suggestion for the next edition, a chapter on "how pasta-shape preference can affect steering control"? (In case you are wondering, I like fusilli).

The book focuses largely on practices with little or no scientific efficacy. Ill supported concepts such as "psychological reversal" and "Individual Energy Toxins" are passed about as scientific fact with no disclaimer explaining that these are very new and disputable ideas. At the core of the book is Thought Field Therapy, an area I have myself researched in the past. Its a very scientifically disputed area and I feel the book misrepresents the therapy as hard science. Again more disclaimers and a better description of the product are needed.

On an individual level I am also disappointed as I paid for this book hoping for tips on driving. Again it seemed that the talk on TFT (thought field therapy) was a larger part of the book than driving itself! Hence I would rather this book be described and marketed as an anti-anxiety book, or a TFT self-help manual.

For me personally the book was of no use but for customers thinking of buying the book it is important that you read other reviews, alongside the books description and my review to see if is something you will think will work for you. I give the book 2 stars because there are snippets of good advice dotted around the book, some good elements of CBT (which certainly has a lot greater research backing) and Diane's writing style is good. I'm sure Mrs Hall is a cracking driving instructor, but the book unfortunately needs some work thats all.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 26, 2011 10:08 PM BST

Cheshire, Fifoot and Furmston's Law of Contract
Cheshire, Fifoot and Furmston's Law of Contract
by M. P. Furmston
Edition: Paperback

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Contains the facts, shame its too hard to read., 8 Nov. 2008
This was the recommended textbook for my contract module, so I expected our lecturer had picked something accessible and concise. Wrong. The author writes in self-indulgent prose, which yes, whilst eloquent and fancy, completely misses the point. Its a textbook, it should be there to get the points across in an easy to understand way.

Its target audience is supposedly students, yet as a student I find it a real struggle to make sense of the book. It uses fancy but completely unnecessary language, and quite alot of Latin. I cannot speak Latin, therefor have to sit with the Oxford Dictionary, a latin dictionary, oh and did I mention the legal terms aren't well explained either so add a legal dictionary too.

Now I will give this book some praise, the points made are good and there is probably all the facts you need, but finding them is just a nightmare, so for that reason I have to give it only 2 stars.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 17, 2009 9:39 AM BST

Eat That Frog!: Get More of the Important Things Done - Today!
Eat That Frog!: Get More of the Important Things Done - Today!
by Brian Tracy
Edition: Paperback

5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars All common sense and repetitive. Very dissapointed., 23 Oct. 2008
As a serial procrastinater I bought this book hoping for some fresh ideas and insight on how to gain motivation. Instead it seems like the author himself has procrastinated, and failed to sit down and write a decent book. The book is very short, some "chapters" are only a couple of pages long. The actual tips are very common sense, certainly not worth buying the book for. Basically consists of telling the reader to make lists and do the most important things first. Thats it, the whole book revolves around those two points, nothing else that is constructive.

I was really hoping on something more indepth. I wouldn't recommend buying this book.

Mirrormask [DVD] [2006]
Mirrormask [DVD] [2006]
Dvd ~ Jason Barry
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £3.44

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Weird but I think I like it, 28 Dec. 2007
This review is from: Mirrormask [DVD] [2006] (DVD)
I have seen a few CGI films such as Spirits Within and Advent Children before, which I assumed this would be simalar to. But, instead this film uses both CGI combined with Live Acting and also pure live acting scenes, making it a quite unique watch. The film is very artistic, with nice use of colours and surrealist landscapes, even if at times they do appear slightly poor in terms of graphics. But still, if you watch it with mind that its meant to look like a drawing/painting rather than a realistic landscape, then it all works. The plot itself is good and the acting is superb, featuring talent such as Rob Brydon, Stephen Fry, Lenny Henry, Gina Mckee aswell as a great lead delivered by Stephanie Leonidas. The music featured is OK but at times it just doesn't work and sounds a little corny, it could've been done better in my opinion. Overall its a really great and unusual film, definately worth a watch.

Visuals: 9/10
Plot: 8/10
Cast/Acting: 9/10
Soundtrack: 7/10

Pan's Labyrinth [DVD] [2006]
Pan's Labyrinth [DVD] [2006]
Dvd ~ Ivana Baquero
Offered by Bridge_Records
Price: £3.77

5.0 out of 5 stars Think "Schindler's List" crossed with "Narnia" and your nearly there., 27 Dec. 2007
This review is from: Pan's Labyrinth [DVD] [2006] (DVD)
This is certainly one of the most unusual films Ive seen in a while. Even with all the media hype behind it, I was still unsure as to what this film was actually about. Is it a fairytale, a war tale, what exactly? Well abit of both really, mixing both real world events during a war with a child's discovery of a fantasyland. The predominant character in the real world is Captain Vidal, who is comparible to Ralph Fiennes' character in Schindler's List; whereby you really dread his entrance onto the set as it almost always signals death and destruction. On the otherhand the young girl maintains a childlike curiosity and bravery in the face of all adversity (as in films such as Narnia). I will say no more about the plot and leave the rest for you to discover, one things for sure, the ending will have you talking and thinking for quite a while.

Any criticisms? Just one, despite being called "Pan's Labyrinth" the character of Pan hardly even features, and only a couple of minutes are spent in the so called "Labyrinth"; not exactly what I was expecting. Anyway, overall its a great film. WATCH IT!

Warning: Despite this being a certificate 15 it is VERY violent and dark, Im guessing it must have been borderline 15/18. There are a few quite graphic scenes which can will make you cringe or turn away in disgust if your slightly sqeumish.

Offered by HANG LOOSE Records
Price: £15.90

4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant album that caters for everyone., 1 Dec. 2007
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Celldweller (Audio CD)
Quick review, really. Picked this up after hearing the album's main song (Switchback) and thus being interested to hear more. From the genre description and the band title it all sounded a bit metal/heavy so I was'nt really not sure what to expect. Anyway, don't let your assumptions put you off, there really is something for every taste on this album. There are 15 full length songs and three "Cells" (basically little intros and interludes). Stand out tracks are definately "Switchback", "Frozen", "I Believe You" and "Stay With Me (Unlikely)" and its semi-acoustic version/remix "(Unlikely) Stay With Me". Look them up online, you won't be dissapointed.

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