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Rob's Gadget Reviews

I've been gadget-mad for as long as I can remember...

Last updated : 28/02/2014


 

Netgear N600 Router (WNDR3700v2)
5 out of 5

Bought 2nd hand on eBay, this is connected to my BT Plusnet "Up to 80 mb" service, and gives me very nearly that speed. 

It successfully competes with umpteem other wireless networks in close proximity, and is wired up, via a switch, to my xbox, my youview box, my PC, printer and NAS.  The Android Apps for the router are excellent too.

XBox 360 (both of them...)

My first white 20GB Xbox lasted a couple of years before dying with the dreaded 'Red Ring of Death' but I'd been enjoying it so it was replaced in 2012 with a 120GB model - the newer black, quieter model. 
Used initially mainly as a Windows Media Center extender, but also for Netflix, catch up TV, the odd game, and the brilliant on-demand Xbox Movie rental.
At the time of writing (March 2014) I have no desire for an Xbox One, because I'm not sure what it can offer me that the 360 doesn't already do...

Creative Gigaworks T40 Series II Speakers
5 out of 5

When you open the box and feel the weight of these, you know they'll be good, and they are!  Perfect for the living room of my flat.  16W RMS per channel, impressive given their size.  You can plug a source in at the back, and at the front.

Humax DTR-T1010 YouView Smart 1TB Freeview+ HD Digital TV Recorder
5 marks out of 5

I got this after deciding to give up on my beloved long-lived Windows Media Center setup, which Microsoft is not supporting after Windows 7.

The box works well, smooth HD playback, even while simultaneously recording 2 HD programmes.  The app on my Android phone is excellent, and the on-demand internet services are good, if a bit more sluggish than when using the Xbox.

Some reviews have been less than glowing, but that's because its not aimed at gadget fans, its aimed at people that want a simple solution and for this it delivers very well indeed.

LG Google Nexus 5 Smartphone
4 marks out of 5

Having been so delighted with the Nexus 4, I ordered a Nexus 5 from the Google Play store on the day it was launched.  Its a massively powerful phone, and at 340 for the 32GB model, competes head-on with the Apple iPhone 5S which is nearly double the price (630) and exceeds it in most respects.

After the Nexus 4, the big bright screen was a dramatic improvement, and it certainly felt quicker, but it also feels cheaper after the lovely glass body of the 4, and I certainly wouldn't want a phone any bigger than this. 

The official LG Quickcover transformed the phone.  If you get one of these, you can change the screen timeout to 2 minutes or more, because when you flip it shut/open it controls the screen, which is very handy indeed.

 

Sony NEX-3 camera
5 marks out of 5

I bought this in a rush, to take with me to Dubai to photograph QE2. I bought it because it has a large DSLR-sized sensor, making it perform very well in low light.  I've mostly been very happy with it, but it is quite heavy, so I tend to not take it out with me much!  Also I only have the standard 18-55 lens, which is only about a 3x optical zoom, which is a bit disappointing.  It also takes excellent videos in HD with stereo sound, including with the external microphone that I purchased for it.

 

LG Google Nexus 4 Smartphone
5 marks out of 5

After having problems with the Samsung Galaxy S3, I decided I'd had enough messing around with it, and opted for the Nexus 4 'Pure Google' experience, and I didn't regret it! 

The Nexus range of phones is to Google, what the iPhone is to Apple.

The phone 'just worked'.  It doesn't have all the Samsung clutter, or all the Vodafone clutter, its just the way Google intended it to be.  Its fast, beautifully made, nice to hold and just a real quality item through and through.

The only downside is the relatively poor battery life, and the overly quiet speaker, but that doesn't stop me giving it top marks.

Samsung Galaxy S3
0 out of 5

When I got this phone, I initially liked it very much.  It was fast and exciting, with lots of new features.  I particularly liked the camera, and the music player that you could tell what mood you were in.

However, I then started to get more and more problems with it, mainly around excessive battery consumption for no apparent reason.  After realising that My Galaxy S phones were becoming projects in their own right, I gave up on them altogether, and went to the "back to basics" Google Nexus range of Smart phones which take a different approach.

My feeling now is that Samsung pack too much into their phones, and that they're a rather cheap and tacky brand.

Dell U2412M Monitor
5 out of 5

This is an awesome monitor.  1920 x 1200 resolution (unlike cheap monitors), with a height and swivel adjustable screen, and a 4-port USB hub built in.  What more could you want!?  Maybe a 2nd one to put alongside it...

 

HP LA2006x Monitor
5 out of 5

I got given one of these at work, and it was so good, I got one at home too!  Its beautifully clear, is height and tilt adjustable, extremely well built, has a USB hub, swivels (although at 900 pixels its not much use in portrait really...) but all in all, extremely impressive indeed.  Its used as a partner to my even more lovely Dell monitor (above).

Far, far better quality than anything that was available at PC World!  I think the lesson is to shop for business monitors.

Samsung Galaxy S2
4 out of 5

This replaced a Galaxy S, and was a revelation.  I had no problems with it, and went on to buy a Samsung Galaxy S3. 

Marked down only for poor battery life.

Nexus 7 (original 2012 model)
3 marks out of 5

I got this when it came out, as I wanted to find out what all the fuss was with regards to tablets.  2 years on, I'm still wondering. 

I prefer my laptop, which does everything a tablet does, better.  Its also never been terribly quick, and if you pick it up after not using it for a few days, its extremely slow for a number of minutes.  It won't be replaced.

Samsung Q210 12" Laptop
4 marks out of 5

I bought this in 2009 for 440, from John Lewis.  I struggled to get one the right size - I like small laptops - but this one fitted the bill nicely.  Its got red colouring, which is quite nice.

Apart from dropping it twice, and breaking the screen twice, its been a good wee laptop.  It started with Vista, then I upgraded it to Windows 7, 8 and 8.1 and its still going in 2014!  Bargain!  Slightly fragile though, there's a crack on the back of the screen again.  Probably won't replace it with another Samsung.  I've also now gone off Samsung as a brand.

Epson SX535WD Printer
5 marks out of 5

This has been a really superb printer.  It takes XL ink cartridges, prints double-sided, works with Google Cloud Print, can be connected over wifi, USB or as I do, via a wired Ethernet connection to the router, and has a nifty colour screen on a hinged panel on the front.  It gets 5 out of 5 for "just working".

Sony SmartWatch (generation 2, 2012)
4 marks out of 5

I bought this on a whim, and boy did it get attention at work!  I really like it, I use it for email alerts, text alerts, incoming call notifications and calendar reminders.  My phone can stay in my pocket, which saves battery life on the phone, which is why I got it.

It gets marked down slightly for being too bulky, the poor battery life, and the fiddly charging cable - all addressed with its successor the Smartwatch 2 I believe.

Samsung Galaxy S
(3 out of 5)

Addendum!  I feel I must point out that after the update to version 2.3.3 of the software, this handset was totally transfomed and I am now a big fan.  However the fact remains that as originally supplied, with version 2.1 of Android, is was stuffed full of bugs and unusable.  I also have now fitted a 3000mah batter which I got cheaply on ebay which makes it far more useful a tool.  If you have one of these handsets, ensure you have 2.3.3 installed (via the standard Samsung Kies software)

My second foray into the world of the Google Android phone and again one BIG problem - absolutely terrible, terrible battery life.  If you actually use it - you will not make it through a day (e.g. 8am until 6pm) without needing to find a charging point.  Why oh WHY can't they just make it a bit bigger and heavier, and give it a BETTER BATTERY!!  There are 2 solutions to this though - the official additional battery pack/case which works well once you've figured it out, and also there are 3000mah batteries available on ebay which make a big difference, but make the phone uglier.

I also had lots of problems with it UNTIL the firmware upgrade to Android 2.3.3 (Gingerbread).

It does have LOTS AND LOTS of powerful, excellent features but the battery issue over-rides them ALL.  "My phone could do that too, if it wasn't flat" is a line I am used to saying...

Motorola Droid
0 out of 5

This gets zero because I sent it back because it was unfit for purpose.  The battery life was utterly hopeless, and the physical keyboard was far worse to use than the on-screen one.  If they'd used the space that the keyboard takes up with a better, bigger battery - it would have been great but with the rubbish battery, and the rubbish keyboard, it was just hopeless.

NOT RECOMMENDED.

Belkin N1 vision Router ADSL
1 out of 5

Disappointing.  Crashes frequently, no firmware update available and the gigabit network ports seem slow.  Screen a useless novelty.

I sold it on eBay, and reverted to a trusty Netgear DG834v5

NOT RECOMMENDED.

D-LINK DNS-323
(3 out of 5)

Not really impressed.  Its noisy and slow with tricky software.  Looking forward to replacing it.

However, it does the job and hasn't let me down in 2 years.

 

Canon Canoscan 4400F
(2 out of 5)

Pretty much unusable and hopeless due to horrible, horribly buggy inflexible 1990s software.  BAD.  Am going to sell it on eBay!  Its amazing how bad software can let down good hardware.

 

Sony Walkman NWZ-S639F
(5 out of 5!)

BESTEST GADGET EVER!  Fell in love with this immediately, and its only continued to impress, surprise and delight ever since.  "I love my Walkman" - and the last time I said that was in about 1987!  Its small, fast, sleek, quite sexy, really nicelymade, easy, sounds fantastic, is stuffed full of great features like the 'SensMe' thing which is superb.  And it was also cheap!  It also comes with surprisingly great headphones.

Absolutely the only criticism I can level at it is that it wasn't available in a 32gb or bigger version. 

I simply can't recommend it highly enough.

Sansa View 32gb MP3 Player
(2 out of 5)

For my uses, this was completely useless, and I have sent it back!  I was looking for a replacement for my ageing and damaged Creative Zen Vision:M but I didn't find it in this. 

Its interface is very slow and unwieldy when the unit is filled up with music, in fact it made me appreciate the design of my Zen much more than I had done.  The sound also seemed a bit flat.
On the plus side, its small, thin, light and sturdily made - its a nice unit to hold in your hand... its just not for me.

Toshiba NB100-12A Netbook
(5 out of 5!)

I've ALWAYS wanted a really small PC, but previously they were very very expensive.  This is instantly one of my favourite gadgets EVER!  Its a full-featured Windows XP machine, with a gigabyte of ram, 120gb hard disk, 3xUSB2 ports etc, all in a really tiny package.

Its OK to type on, as long as the light is good enough for you to see the keys!  The touchpad is fine, the screen is small, but perfectly usable - its advisable to set the taskbar to not 'stay on top' and just let the browser take over the screen.  It is the ultimate little portable BBC iPlayer.  I particularly liked the fact that it feels VERY sturdy indeed.

Downsides?  Biggest one is the dark text on the keyboard - impossible to see sometimes. 
The initial software setup, out of the box, was not great... and would make an Apple fan laugh.  I know what I'm doing, but still struggled for a while.  Software was installed that was of no use, or trial software.  You should uninstall the trial bluetooth software (it doesnt even come with bluetooth) and also MS Office's trial - if you do this, it wont have to do hundreds of extra updates for Office the moment you connect it to the internet!

Microsoft Wireless Laser Mouse 5000
(4 out of 5)

My top tips for a pleasurable PC environment?  Nice big monitor, top of the range mouse, big empty desk and big comfy chair!  In recent years I've had bog-standard cheap PCs and not minded as long as the other essentials are right.

This mouse ticks all the boxes.  Nice scroll wheel (horizontal plus vertical), side buttons for back & forward.  The only thing that could be better is if it was a little bit bigger.

   

Denon AH-C551 Headphones
(5 out of 5)

Superb.  These have transformed my listening pleasure!  It took me a day to realise how to get the best from them (set all tone controls to neutral) and then I realised what superb little performers they are.  Lovely bass, lovely high treble, and suddenly I was wanting to re-rip my music collection at the highest bit-rate.  Highly recommended.

   

Sony Ericsson K850i Mobile Phone
(4 out of 5)

Good points:  Full email client, fast internet, 5 megapixel camera, great media player, RDS FM Radio, 3 touch-sensitive buttons at bottom of screen work well, screen brightness adjusts for ambient light, 

Bad Points:  Plasticky, tricky to use, small fiddly buttons, smudgy case (unless you wear velvet gloves the whole time!), looks less professional than its excellent predecessors (The K750i and K800i).  I can't wait to get rid of the awful Vodafone branding - DaVinci Team here I come...  Would Apple let them change all the icons and menus and even what some buttons do?  I don't think so!  Come on Sony Ericsson - don't let them mess with your carefully designed interface designs any more!

   

Sony CDX-A360 car stereo
(5 out of 5)

I bought this for my Ford Puma mostly because it was silver to match the dash, but also because it had a nice interface that wasn't all tiny wee buttons.  Car stereos should ALWAYS be simple to use - by touch where possible - but so many nowadays are just smothered with gimmicky stuff to appeal to teenage boys for some reason.

Good Points: Great sound quality, relatively easy to use for an aftermarket tuner, looks good.  Buttons can be green or red.

Bad Points: Difficult to turn on!, RDS tuner and channel surfing has a mind of its own sometimes.  Screen too bright, even when dimmed.

 

REVO DAB in-Car unit
(3 out of 5)

I couldn't find an integrated DAB CD-tuner that I liked, so I ended up buying this.  I got it for 70, I believe a few years ago that it was 300.  Its designed and engineered in Britain and is fitted 'permanently' to your car, but can be removed again in 30 minutes or so.

It has a stick-on internal antenna, that works surprisingly well.  It can either connect to rear inputs on your stereo, or it has an in-line FM modulator that fits between the aerial socket of your stereo, and the aerial plug of your car's FM antenna.  This works VERY well.  It cuts off the antenna altogether when you're using the REVO, and gives crystal clear digital-quality sound quality - no hiss at all.  It actually sounds BETTER than listening to an Audio CD, which is impressive!  You need to splice its power wires into your car's stereo's harness (I did this without damaging the car's own harness, by fitting it onto the stereo's harness).  You then simply mount the unit on the dashboard, and run the DAB antenna wire to its mounting base.

Reception - If FM reception is fair to good, it will work well.  If FM reception is patchy, it won't work at all.

Good points: Excellent sound quality, very well made, works well when reception is available.

Bad points:  Not enough presets.  Buttons on the unit itself need pushed too hard, quite large - where do you put it!?  Mounting remains on view.  Too difficult & slow to rapidly channel surf.

   

TomTom GO 700 GPS Navigation Unit
(5 out of 5)

I never wanted a SatNav unit.  I never really thought I'd need it much.  Then my boss at work was selling his old one, and lent me his overnight.  It took me about an hour, but I was hooked.  Simple things like being able to see what way the road was about to turn, what thee names of side-streets I was passing were called etc. - was all utterly amazing.

I bought it, too it home, ran all the updates on it, subscribed to Traffic and speed camera updates and bought the latest maps for UK and France.

Times when it has proved most useful have been when finding parcel depots in the middle of nowhere, friends houses that I'd not been to before and finding a fast way home from somewhere new.  The main benefit is that it makes driving much safer when you're somewhere unfamiliar.  You can give your full attention to the traffic/driving, even if you take a wrong turn it leads you back.

Pros:  Works well.
Cons:  Screen not terribly big or bright.  Fairly big heavy unit (sorted on newer versions).  if you unplug the car-charger, it powers off which is annoying, since it has a 4 hour battery.

   

Tefal Quickcup (4 out of 5)

Bought August 2007

This radical gadget has replaced my electric kettle - an item found in every home in Britain.  People are commenting that the water isn't close to boiling but I think if you give it a chance to 'get going' it gets hotter.  I've had no complaints making tea, coffee and cup-soups.  Overall its wonderful and is saving me time and money every day and partly responsible for me getting to work on time recently!

Pros:  Instant hot water (not boiling).  Time and money saving.  Filtered.

Cons:  Very noisy indeed.  Water could be slightly hotter.  Buttons are a bit uncomfortable to use needing a very firm push.

   

Sony Ericsson CLA-60 Mobile Phone Car Charger (0 out of 5)

Bought March 2007, Failed August 2007

Brief review - this is not a quality item.  It fell apart.  Neat design with its little map light and clips, but i wouldn't recommend it at all.

   

Top Up TV Anytime hard disk recorder - Thomson DTI 6300-16 (2 out of 5)

Bought May 2007 - Could be good if they made it work.

I love this - IF IT KEPT WORKING!  Series link scheduled recording is brilliant - I now have things to watch when i sit down on my sofa!  I like the very fast forward (64x) and I like being able to pause live TV.

I wish the USB socket did something, and allowed you to move recorded .mpg files to a PC for burning to a DVD - that would be superb.

Bad points : guzzles power, all the time... it can't be switched off or it would not be able to download the TopUp channels overnight.  It has crashed completely at least 15 times and has frequent corruptions and other glitches.  Buggy as anything.   It has no indicators or display, except to show you if its on or off, and if its recording something.

Overall - It would be brilliant, IF IT WORKED.

   

Creative Zen Vision:M 30gb (3.5 out of 5)

Bought April 2007.  A superb little player, let down by the rubbish supporting software.

UPDATE AFTER 18 months - left out in a puddle in the rain for a day (by mistake!), drop-kicked across the pavement (with no case) and yes it still works!  A tough little player this one.
UPDATE AFTER 7 YEARS - Still going strong in my car!!!

Top Tip : DO Not use Creative's awful software - just use Windows Media Player 11 and you'll be fine.  Forget about video and podcasts, just use it for music.

Absolutely fabulous little iPod Clone which, by all accounts was superior to the equivalent iPod when launched (2006?) - better battery life, better screen, better sound quality and a wider variety of supported formats.

Had to set the touchpad to the lowest sensitive, but it still takes quite some getting used to.  Tap & Stroke is the best way to describe it.  The firmware update added some crucial functionality to the DJ option.  Headphones are OK but aren't great.

Good points:  It just works!, looks great.

Bad points: Supplied software makes things confusing and is utterly unncessary for music library/transfer.  It would be better for everyone if they just didn't put any disks in the box.

Netgear SC101 - Network Storage device~ (1 out of 5)

I thought this was the answer to my prayers, but it wasn't, and i took it back to the shop, very disappointed.

What I was expecting was a standard network device, with its own ip address and web configuration etc.

What I got was a proprietary file system, software that has to be installed on each client PC and SCSI drivers.  It "tricks" Windows into thinking its a normal physical drive.  Why???

It comes with no disks in it, you add 1 or 2 bog standard IDE disks yourself, and just slide them in - no screws or setup required.  If you add 2 160gb disks, for instance, you can either have 320gb of total storage, or 160gb of mirrored storage (keeping your data safe if one disk fails).

But in the end, how safe is it?  if the SC101 develops a fault, you have your data locked in its own file format that nothing else can read.

A great idea, poorly implemented.

Bad points:-

  • It gets very hot earning it the nickname "the toaster" - it also looks a bit like one.
  • You have to install software on every PC that needs to access it.
  • It uses a proprietary file format, so you can't just remove a disk and shove it in a PC.  Makes things interesting if the SC101 itself fails completely.
  • Its not very fast, especially in mirrored mode.
  • On my media-center PC, the software installation failed due to an incompatibility with a system driver.  I found the answer through googling, but the answer is not logged on Netgear's site, even though its a common problem.

Good points:-

  • Cheap
  • Ability to choose your own hard disks
  • Its quite a sexy little unit - sturdy and well made.

 

Philips X51 "freevents" Notebook PC (4.5 out of 5)

Bought June 2006.  Died December 2008 after constant use during that time.

I'd been looking for a small, light but still fully functional XP PC but all the ones I saw were well over 1000 which was just too much.  Finally, though, I found this neat little notebook in PC World and snapped it right up for 750.

I've not had a notebook for years, and then they were just for work.  This one is a little bit sexy while still being business-like.  It has a modern glossy screen which makes movie-watching from the integrated DVD-RW drive a pleasure.  It has a clasp-less lid which is neat, you just open and close it like a book.  It has none of the old-fashioned ports (PS/2, serial, parallel etc) and has 3 USB2 ports plus firewire.  Battery life seems very good at 3.5 hours plus.  It also stays silent most of the time which is nice.

The wireless connection worked perfectly straight out of the box and maintains a steady strong connection.

Update 2.5 years later - still working perfectly!  The case is battered looking, the minus key sometimes falls off, but it still works - and the battery even still lasts for up to 1.5 hours.   

It refuses to run Vista though... installing Vista just stuffs the boot sector and I have to sort it myself.  (bios firmware update available via TwinHead's German website...)

The only negative thing I can say about it is that there's zero online support from Philips.  If you rummage about on Google for F12DT you discover its a rebadged Twinhead.

  • Intel Pentium M 740 Processor 1.73GHz with 533 MHz FSB and 2 MB Cache
  • 1024 MB RAM and a 60 GB Hard Drive
  • Double Layer DVD RW MultiDrive
  • 12.1" Brite Display
  • Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition
  • 128MB Intel shared graphics

Fujifilm E900 9 mega pixel digital camera (3.5 out of 5)

I bought this in haste after my trusty Kodak broke when i dropped it on holiday. 

First, the bad.  The user-interface is terrible.  Its like an advert for Kodak.  There are numerous features that you'd never figure out without the instruction book, and i still need the instructions with me if i'm trying to do anything remotely clever.

And now the good.  Its fast.  Very fast.  The pictures are great if a little less 'jolly' than the Kodak used to do.  The 9mp photos are wonderful - i can crop a photo to make another photo, still with enough detail to print.
 

Logitech MX 1000 Laser Cordless Mouse (2 out of 5)

I got this simply because it was the only comparable mouse that PC World had to replace my faulty Microsoft one (below).

I *much* prefer the Microsoft Mouse.  It felt more substantial, especially the scrolling wheel and I also prefer to not have a recharging base (yet another power pack under the desk).  The Microsoft one just used two AAs which lasted for a year or something.

The software also doesn't seem to work right... I have to turn the software OFF to make the buttons work properly - and yes I DID uninstall the Microsoft Mouse software first!

 

Microsoft Wireless Laser Mouse 6000 (0 out of 5)

My previous mouse was the first Microsoft optical mouse and it lasted a very long time until I accidentally broke it... I was very happy with it until then.  I particularly liked the back and forward buttons at the thumb.  There's a principal in car design that the contact points are very important (steering wheel, gearknob, door handles etc.) and its the same with computers.  So I got the best mouse in the range.  It should also last a long time...

  • Good points - the scroll wheel is a delight to use.  Very tactile.  It also scrolls horizontally - clever.  The high resolution is impressive - things are easier once you're used to it - especially tricky things like graphics work.  The cordless facility works perfectly and the laser means it needs no mouse mat.
  • Bad points - the click resistance on the scroll wheel is a bit too strong.  Mouse failed after 6 months.  Replaced with a Logitech unit under warranty.

 

Wireless Notebook Laser Mouse 6000 (4 out of 5)

This is a neat wee thing.  Wee being the operative word here...  A single AA battery powers it, and the USB transmitter is housed in the bottom of the mouse until needed.  No cables are required.  When the transmitter is stored in the bottom of the mouse, it fully powers off the mouse so that the battery should last a long time.

It also has  neat wee magnify button on the side which works well on my laptop.

Part of the reason I bought this was as a partner to the full size version, so its a shame that it broke!

Recommended!

 

Sony Ericsson K800i Mobile Phone (2 out of 5)

I bought this to replace my K750i  Overall its been a disappointment, although technically superior in every way.  I find it too fiddly, and too bulky.  I do like the camera though.

  • Good Points - 3mp camera, big bright screen.  Robust.
     
  • Bad Points - Annoying small keys which run together, Vodafone customisations which go a long way to ruining the phone, camera cover opens and turns on all the time, random crashes and reboots, smaller memory card available than for the older k750i.

 

Sony Ericcson K750i Mobile Phone (4 out of 5)

This wee phone is great.  It lets me do my email on the move, surf the net (opera mini recommended!), play games, listen to MP3 music and podcasts and take 2mp photos.

  • Good points - lovely screen, great functionality, good battery life (if you stop playing with it!), Memory Sticks up to 8gb, popular so lots of accessories & software etc.  Frequent firmware updates.  Great media player (good for MP3s and podcasts).  Has survived huge amounts of physical abuse.
     
  • Bad points - joystick intermittently plays up, ringer doesn't go quiet enough, photos are disappointing (despite their claims that its as good as a camera).

 

Epson D88+ Durabrite Ultra Inkjet printer

I bought this despite my near identical printer failing due to a simple paper jam.  This was because I'd been happy with every other aspect of the printer.  It seems slower and slightly less good photo quality than the earlier model which is a shame, but still an excellent wee printer.

  • Good points - Excellent resin inks.  Good printing on all paper types.
  • Bad points - slow.  wasted ink due to head cleaning.

 

Epson C84 Durabrite Inkjet Printer (same as C86 model) (4/5)

I knew the pros and cons of this printer when I got it.  Great quality prints in waterproof, fadeproof inks on any paper.  Its also very fast on "normal" mode.  Recommended.

  • Good points - very long life, waterproof ink that prints on any printer.  Fast (once its on).  Easy availablity of high capacity genuine epson ink on eBay!
     
  • Bad points - head cleaning and wasted ink if you don't use it often.  Printer broke following a printer jam caused by forgetting to open the 'front door'

 

Dell 2001FP Flat panel 20" TFT Monitor (5/5)

I absolutely love this!  Its transformed my PC and made everything I do on it easier and more enjoyable.  Highly Recommended!

  • Good Points - EXCELLENT big heavy stand that allows you to move the panel in any direction with no difficulties including to a great height and rotating through 90 degrees.  Beautifully clear display.  Superb 1600x1200 resolution.  4xUSB 2.0 ports which are very useful.
     
  • Bad points - 1 dead pixel (out of 1,920,000!).  Black isn't black on TV/DVD (although I believe this to be a limitation of all TFT panels due to the backlight).

 

Kodak DX7440 4 Megapixel, 4xOptical zoom Digital Camera (4/5)

This fantastic wee camera, got cheaply on Amazon, has given me a new found interest in photography.  It is perfect for someone wanting to learn what all the various settings do.

  • Good Points - Excellent, easy to use full manual controls - great for learning.  Great scene modes.  HUGE LCD display.  Screw on lens availability (e.g. 2xtelefoto making 8xOptical).  Very fast response.
     
  • Bad Points - Original battery was inadequate (replaced cheaply with a better one).  4MP starting to look a bit mean.  Camera broke after being dropped onto a tile floor.

 



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