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As I sit writing this review I am eating a pack of these. Upon recently shopping in my local Sainsbury's I saw these on offer at 2 x 6 Packs for £2 (usually £1.70 for a 6 pack) and thought that I would give them a go. Made by KP (Discos, Skips and Nik Naks) they seem to have been making these crisps for years, as I can recall having a pack from a swimming pools vending machine back in the 90's. Packaging The packet I bought contained 6 packs of Smokey bacon crisps each weighing 25g. The packaging has now changed from the above image, but not so much that you would not recognise it. The new packaging boasts "NEW Longer Product and Bigger Taste", but to be honest with not buying them for a while I could not verify these claims. As with all crisps there is a lot of waste in the packaging, the packets feel quite empty. On the front is the usual guidelines for what the packet contains compared to your daily intakes. These are:- Calories 124 (6%) Sugars 0.8g (1%) Fat 6.2g (9%) Saturates 0.6g (3%) Salt 0.5g (8%) Taste Each crisp is 5 or 6 cm long, in a circular tube shape, with a slightly orange colour to them. The crisps do indeed taste very Smokey Bacony, although I find that you can also taste the oil that was made to use them. Also you can strongly taste the salt, but as they are bacon flavour this isn't much of a surprise. When eating I find that they leave a oily feel on your lips and the crisps are quite hard so make sure that you have no tooth problems before devouring a pack. Ingredients I will only quickly list these as I don't want to bore anybody. Wheat Cruchies contain no MSG, are made with 100% sunflower oil and have no artificial colours or flavours. Ingredients are :- Wheat Flower, Sunflower Oil (24%), Maize Flower, Crispy Bacon Flavouring, (Yeast extract, Dextrose, Wheat Flour, Salt, Sugar, Natural Flavouring, Spices, Citric Acid. Colour Paprika extract, Vegetable Oil), Potassium Chloride, Salt. There is also a warning that the product may contain Wheat, Barley, Gluten, Milk, Egg Soya, Mustard. Overall These are nice crisps to eat, but with the packets being a bit small and the oil issue I will not be rushing out to get them again especially at the price of £1.70. A good sized bag though to perhaps include in a lunch box maybe.
I bought this printer just over a year ago from Argos on an offer for £39.99, my old printer had finally given up the ghost and needed to print out some photographs. I always loath buying low budget printers as there is a trend of offering the printers at a low cost and then stinging you when you come to refill the ink, but for the amount printing that we do I just could not justify paying £100's. HP market this model as an All In One Wireless printer, which is an affordable solution to your printer needs. Hmmm ! Build Quality The HP 3050A is not a bulky piece of kit at only 42cm wide and 30cm deep it fits nicely on to my computer desk, although once the paper loading tray at the top and the bottom printed pages tray's are open it can be make the printer a lot bigger in size. The top of the printer is finished in a glossy black colour whilst the main bulk of the printer in a dull grey. The top lid can be lifted up to allow you access to the scanner / photocopier, whilst to to left of this lid is a small fold up display which give access to the settings, internal features of the printer. This is a handy little feature as it from this display that you can check that your printer is connected to your WiFi to allow wireless printing. The casing for the printer is made from plastic resin so I'm not sure it would survive any accidental falls, but what you expect for the price. Features One of the main selling points of this printer is the wireless connectivity, which in reality means that you can connect to the printer from anywhere as long as the printer is connected to the internet. This comes in extremly handy when you are using a device such as an iPad, all you have to do if download the AirPrint software from the app store, enter you HP email address (Which you set up on the printer) and print away. The Wireless connectivity also can come in handy when you are in another room on a laptop and you either can't be bothered or don't have to time to connect the printer via the supplied lead to your device. This feature works very well although a few times it has stopped mid-print, but I put this down to my internet connection and not the printer. Another handy feature of the printer is the one touch copying feature. If you are in need of a copy of a document of photo, all you have to do is life the top cover of the printer, put the document on the scanning pad and then press the copy option on the previously mentioned lift up display. And Voila you have a copy printed out in about 30 seconds. The printer comes with a CD disk which once installed gives you access to HP's photoshop software, although fairly basic it can come in handy when you need to adjust the colour, contrast or size of the image you are printing. Performance HP Claim that the 3050A has print speeds of 4 pages per minute on colour, and 5.5 pages per minute on black and white, but in reality you are looking at 30 seconds on a colour page and 7 second on black and white. The black speed is acceptable but on colour it feels like an eternity to print out a number of colour pages, this can be even slower when printing wirelessly (sometimes over a minute for a colour page). The main problem with this printer is the ink though, to refill both the cartridges with genuine HP ink you are looking at a total cost of around £35. Which when consider the initial cost of the device it seems a remarkably high cost, although cheaper alternatives can be found on the internet. Bewarned though this printer drinks ink, recently I changed a cartridge (Using a genuine cartridge) and with 25 colour pages the printer was stating that the ink was running low again, for a £20 cartridge I was surprised as I would have expected a lot more. The charger for the printer is quite a large unit, but the lead is long so you should easily be able to hide it under your desk or compute unit. Overall A quiet, small printer that for the money this is a great device, print quality is sharp and the initial cost is low. It is only when the ink runs out that the printer can become expensive to refill, so don't buy the genuine cartridges shop around and you will save a lot of money in the long run. The Wireless connectativity is very useful especially is you have an Apple product that you sometimes need to print from. The pop up display makes installing and using the printer quicker and easier, and is a very useful addition to previous models. For a cheap budget printer you will not go far wrong.
If 10 years ago somebody had told me that I would be paying around £1.50 for a golf ball, I would have thought you were bonkers. But fast forward and this very erratic 18 handicapper would not play with anything else. Titleist have long prided themselves on producing some of the best equipment in the industry but nothing that they have produced before has revolutionised the golf industry like these balls. First released in 2003 the V1X has become the most used ball on the European and PGA tour boasting to be longer, straighter and more controllable on greens, but what does that mean to us hackers who spend most of time arguing with trees and playing hide and seek in knee high grass looking for that stupid ball. Initially out of the box you wonder what all the fuss was about, they look and feel the same as other balls but once you had teed one up and had your first hit you realise that they are something special. They ping off the clubface making a crisp noise and they propel themselves (hopefully) down the fairway. If caught right these balls will add another 10-15 yards to your distance, but be aware you need to have a fairly high clubhead speed to achieve these gains. But it is around the greens that they come into their own, in the past I have always struggled to stop balls on the green. With these badboys though you will be seeing you ball bouncing twice, checking and then slowly releasing another yard or two. On irons off the tee you might even be treated to your ball spinning back towards you like it's on a string. They are also quite durable, if you manage to keep one for a few rounds (something I very very rarely do) the ball will still look fresh and new with no scuff marks on it. These only downside is obviously the price, they can be found online for £35 for 24 balls, but this can be easily negated by buying X-outs, Used or lake balls. The best thing about these balls though is when you are searching in the rough and you happen across one, its like finding your very own gold nugget. So give them a go, Golf is hard enough at the best of times so any help if greatly appreciated and by Goodness these balls can certainly help.
For a long time now Mobile phones have seemed to be getting bigger, pricier and more complicated. Gone are the days of having a pocket sized mobile that is primarily made for making calls and sending text messages. So it was with a welcome surprise that I came across the Nokia 100. Targeted at the low budget end of the market the Nokia 100 is very light on the wallet at around £15 it is a more than adequate device which will make you realise that sometimes you do not need all the extra that top mobile mobiles come laden with. Available in Legion Blue, Festival Pink, Ocean Blue Phantom Black and Coral Red there is a colour to suit all tastes. Build quality Weighing just 70g with the battery installed, it is light enough to just put in your pocket and forget about. The outer casing is made out of plastic, but don't be fooled into thinking that it will be prone to damage. Infact the 100 is one of the most durable phones I have owned, you can drop and bash it and the phone will keep coming back for more (Sometimes the battery cover will pop off when dropped but its a two second job to re-attach). The Buttons are slightly raised and are quite big meaning that navigating the keypad is a hassle free job, and the navigation keys are very responsive thus meaning that you actually select the option that you need and do not waste time scrolling through menu's unnecessarily. All the buttons on the phone are also backlit so you can easily choose the correct button in low light. The screen is relatively small in size compared to other phones but the large font/icons and vibrant colours make it easy the read. The phone even comes with a flashlight at the top of the phone which is a very useful addition. The only criticism would be that their is no data-cable port on the phone to allow easy transfer of contacts and media files from a PC. Internal The phone runs on Nokia's tried and tested symbian system so you can reassured that you are not going to be running into bug and glitches which can hamper other phones. The internal memory will allow for 500 contacts, but with the market in mind that targeted the handset at its feels more than enough. The phone comes with a FM built-in radio player which whilst functional does not give the best musical experience, the phone can sound tinny and reception can be a problem at times. The ringtones on the phone can be set to a very high volume level thus meaning that you would really struggle not to hear this phone ringing even when in a pocket or bag, and the addition of a built-in vibrate means that you can put the phone on silent and still know when it rings. When texting their is a built in predictive text function which can be handy when you are typing in a rush, but this can be easily turned of by holding down the * button. Included is also Snake Xenia, a simple game where you guide a snake around the screen to pick up small dots, this is a throwback to the Snake game that was included on the 5110/6110 phones from the mid 90's. A calculator, converter, expense, countdown timer, stop watch and calender is also included under the extras menu. Performance With the phone being as basic as possible it means that the battery is simply magnificent, you can leave the phone on standby for easily a week at a time between charges. Which compared to higher end phones is a complete godsend. Going away for the weekend? Simple just take the phone, no need to take a charger as this will easily last you. Reception wise the phone is excellent due to the emission of 3G the phone permanently works on the 2G network, thus meaning that dropped calls are not existent and signal outages only occur rarely. As the phone is stripped to the minimum it also means that the software runs at a lighting speed and switching between menus is effortlessly and almost instantaneous. In the Box The Nokia 100 comes in small fold top box, once opened you are present with the phone. Underneath the lip which holds the phone is 4 dioramas which show how to take the back of the phone and insert the SIM card and battery. Once this lip has been lifted you are presented with the accessories which the phone comes packaged with. Obviously the first one of note is the Li-ion BL-5CB battery, this battery is the main battery that Nokia are now using for their lower end phones so if you do experience battery issues you can easily track down a replacement at a minimal cost. The charger included is Nokia's AC-11X, this charger has a retractable vertical pin which means that the charger is smaller than other manufacturers, and is small and lightweight enough to fit in a pocket/bag. A manual is also included which offer concise instructions on how to operate the phone. Lastly their is a set of headphones included. These have a better build quality than you would expect for a phone at this price. They are well made in glossy black with a in built mute button and microphone. The headphones also double up as the antenna for the FM radio, so be careful not to lose them. Unfortunately their are no buds included but the earphones tend to sit well in the ear so it is not a major issue. Overall Overall this is a brilliant phone for the money, you are not going to turn heads with it but as a reliable work tool there are few better out there. Durable and reliable to the extreme. The inclusion of a data cable port would have been nice but for this price you really can't complain. If you want spare phone for the times when you don't want to take you smartphone out, or are looking for a basic phone to just making calls on you really can't beat the Nokia 100.
Recently I had the pleasure of playing golf at Carden Park on the Nicklaus course. As you meander up the drive leading to the Course you know that you are in for something special. The road dissects the course and on both side you can see the beautifully manicured greens and fairways. At the top of the drive you eventually come to the recently built clubhouse, or should I say club mansion. The building itself has been beautifully designed to fit in with the surrounds whilst still having a contemporary feel, spread over two floors their is a well stocked pro-shop and changing facilities on the bottom floor, whilst the second floor houses the bar and restaurant. Included in our package was a 2 course meal that cooked to the highest standard and supplied us with the substance we needed to tackle the course. For the first course we were present with water melon and various berries with a blackberry jus. The second course was locally sourced Gammon Steak, hand cut chips, egg, pineapple and garden peas (A true british classic). the handcut chips were to die for crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside, my mouth is watering now just thinking about them. The first tee is a short walk from the clubhouse down a tree lined cart path. We were greeted by a starter who advised us where the best place to hit the initial tee shots would be (unfortunately I decided that the trees were the best place for my ball to call its new home). The course itself is beautifully present with the 6th and 17th particularly memorable holes. You can tell that this is a Nicklaus course as it has a distinctive American feel about it, lots of water, doglegs and fast greens. Make sure that you take lots of balls though as the rough can be quite unforgiving in places. The only criticism I would have would be about the bunkers, even though the weather had been nice they were still hard and compacted and in need of turning over. That said I would not hesitate to go back or recommend the course to anybody looking for a special day out. The hotel itself is beautiful, it is a modern building that has been designed in a Georgian style. As you walk into the mains reception you can tell tell that the staff pride themselves on first appearances, everything is perfect, from the layout of the papers on the sitting table to the extravagant flower displays that adorned the reception desk. Check-in was very straight forward and within minutes we were in our allotted rooms. The rooms are as you would expect from a major hotel chain. The laundry was clean and sharply ironed, the room itself was spotless and the small touches that let you know you are somewhere special were all in place (ie Complimentary wine, biscuits, vistor guide etc).
The Blackberry Z10 is their new flagship model. The first phone to be running on the new 10 OS you can tell that some serious thought has been put into this phone. Box/Contents The box seems to have been modelled on an iPhone box (Which is not a bad thing), with a slow release lid and minimal graphics, it has a contemporary feel. Once the lid is off you are presented with the sleek Z10 phone on a carton tray, underneath this is the two compartments which house the in-box accessories. The supplied charger is a vast change for the old style large one piece unit, in two parts it has a separate head / cable unit. The cable will also double up as a data cable thus allowing you to easily connect the phone to your computer. The battery is quite large but this is no surprise as once the phone is powered up you will realise why. The included headphones are a serious let down, they look and feel like a very cheap model that you would buy off a Sunday car boot. Handset The Z10 is a completely different design than any of Blackberry's previous handsets with a large 4.2" screen the handset has clearly been designed with the web and social media in mind. The display is very sharp with 16 million colours available and a 335 ppi density you never struggle to view to screen not matter what the light is like. The new BS 10 OS software is a joy to behold, gone are the days of having to scroll through numerous menus just to make a phone call. Now the software is enticing rather than an hindrance, its easy to use, typing is an joy and with the quick links you can taking photo's in one easy swipe. The camera is 8 megapixels with an auto focus and LED flash built in, photos are smooth and sharp, although their is a slightly blurred effect on high speed photos. With 16GB internal memory you can store a LARGE number of Apps, Photo's, Music and Video's on the phone before you even entertain using the memory card slot. The battery life is very good when you havn't got WiFi turned on but as soon as that switch is pressed you will soon find yourself reaching for a charger. Verdict All in all this is a major improvement on the previous tried and tested models, although the software is still a little buggy (this will be sorted out with software updates), this much needed return of form from Blackberry and a serious contender for phone of the year. If you want a touch screen handset which looks classy, has some serious power and will fill you social fix, then this could be the handset for you.
Apples latest incarnation of their hugely popular handset is the iPhone 5. Deviating slightly from their tried an tested model, the iPhone 5 is larger the previous versions with a 4 inch display which allows for a better viewing experience whilst at the same time not being too large and bulky. The new chipset in the phone makes for a noticeably faster user interface whilst maintaining the pick and play accessibility that Apple have built this brand around. The back of the phone is now made out of Aluminium alloy that is lighter and stronger than the 4S glass back, thuis making the handset more hardened to drops and bumps. But, and it is a big but, looking at the specifications of the phone you are lead to believe that Apple had finally addressed most peoples main bugbear about previous iPhones, the battery life. The new iPhones boast an extra 25 hours on standby time or 6 hours on 2G. Lets be honest though who uses 2G nowadays, the battery life on 3G is reportable the same as the 4S. This is very strange, how can a battery be stronger on 2 out of the 3 tested usages. Upon using the iPhone 5 you will quickly learn that the iPhone 5 will not operate for the reported time lengths. It feels as though you are constantly watching the battery percentage tick down to the dreaded 20%, and then frantically routing around for your charger. All things considered, the handset is one of if not the best currently on the market, hampered only by the poor battery life. But lets be honest if you have used an iPhone before you know that this is a necessary evil and you will forgive it like a naughty child.