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Cleaning though the cupboards recently I found an old iPod Nano, the short, stubby one which plays video. I thought it would be ideal to take on holiday for my 2 year old to watch her favourite movies and Peppa Pig on, in the hotel room whilst we get ready / rest. I didn't want her using earphones at such a young age so I had a look for a nice, portable speaker suitable for a little girl and found the KitSound Mini Buddy Owl Speaker. My girl loves owls, and pink (and hearts) so being a pink owl with heart decoration, well, it's right up her street (the KitSound Mini Buddy Owl Speaker also comes in a sky blue colour). I think it's pretty competitively priced at £9.99 from Amazon, given that kids' headphones and lego type speakers are £10 - £15 and I certainly wouldn't want to pay any more given that she has taken to playing with it like a toy at times. It does seem very durable and is made of a hard plastic. The cable which comes out of the back is a standard speaker cable and it plugs into the earphone socket for any audio device, portable DVD player, TV, tablet, you name it. The KitSound Mini Buddy Owl Speaker is therefore plug-and-play (batteries are preinstalled) and very very easy to use. It gives a great sound for a little speaker - not too much bass but certainly not tinny at the top end, and a clear, rich sound for dialogue, perfect for kids' movies and speaking books, though music sounds good on it too. For us it's been a godsend as when in Spain recently (and with no English TV channels) she could sit with the ipod and the KitSound Mini Buddy Owl Speaker and watch Alvin and the Chipmunks.. bliss! For the sweet design, ease of use and low price point I would highly recommend the KitSound Mini Buddy Owl Speaker to any little music fan, it's a fab bit of kit which is a firm favourite with our toddler. I do think it will be suitable for her for many years to come and thanks to the durable build, it should last her. Five stars out of five for me, it's a simple, effective speaker which won't break the bank.
The Casio Classic A168WA-1YES **Why Did I buy?** I bought the Casio Classic A168WA-1YES specifically for it's retro looks. If anyone remembers the 80s film 'Planes, Trains and Automobiles' (great film!) there's a scene in which Del tries to get a room in a motel by 'paying' with his Casio, seductively draping it over his arm and stating 'it's a Casio!' (needless to say, he ends up sleeping in his car..). The Casio therefore is a bit of a cult classic, a tragic-chic retro throwback to yuppies, digital mania and everything 80s. When my husband said he wanted a fun new watch, I thought I'd get it for him not just as a nod to our favourite film and for it's retro cool looks, but because behind it all, Casio make pretty good watches! **Price and Availability** I managed to pick up the Casio Classic A168WA-1YES online (eBay) for £30, new and boxed, and that seems to be the going price for them now, which I don't think is too bad at all as similar models were a lot more expensive 10+ years ago. You can also pick them up used for around £15-£20 if you want a bit of wear on it. **What you get** You get - The Casio Classic A168WA-1YES 2 x Batties (1 installed, and 1 spare) Instructional mini manual Warranty information card The watch comes in a cardboard box and would be suitable to wrap as a gift without a gift box being needed. **Looks** The Casio is totally classic looking - a stainless steel stretch bracelet wristwatch with digital face, and all the buttons, bells and whistles you would expect. It's the 80s in a watch! One point to note is that it's advertised as a unisex watch and I would say that without a doubt this is a masculine watch, in both looks and size (the stretch bracelet is too big for my wrists for example, though you can take it to a jeweller and have a link removed). **Features** The Casio Classic A168WA-1YES offers the following features: - Digital chronograph watch - Alarm function - Calendar - Electro luminescence - Day and date display - Stopwatch feature - Water Resistant **In Use** My husband loves his watch not just for it's retro looks (which draw a lot of comment, mostly positive!) but for the fact that it's actually very very handy. He uses the alarm function often, finds the electro luminenscence feature very handy in poor light conditions and despite being dropped in the bath by our three year old, works perfectly and looks good as new with every day wear. It's certainly a durable watch and very very well made. The initial set up is easy, but the instructions are very helpful too if you need them. The alarm is easy to set and all of the buttons are easy to press and feel sturdy. Overall my husband is very very happy with the Casio Classic A168WA-1YES and is likely to replace it with another Casio in the future should he ever need to do so. I would also, based on his use of this watch, buy other Casio watches as gifts as I am very impressed with the functions, features and sturdiness / longevity of the watch. **Any Downsides** The only small downsides I can think of are that this wouldn't fit a woman (or, most women, as I am 6 foot tall and still have wrists too dainty for this watch) right out of the box, and unlike some classic Casio watches it doesn't feature the unneccesary but still totally cool calculator, TV channel change or dialler features (which from memory were from more expensive models). In use the only little niggle is that you need both hands to see the time in the dark - as you need the other hand to press the light button. This can be awkward if you have a toddler in one hand (or even a drink), as clock face watches have luminescent hands which obviously don't require a press of a button. But it's only a small niggle. **Overall** I can see this watch suiting many people. My hubby is early 30s and loves this watch for it's retro appeal and 80s charm. A younger person might find it 'ironic', and an older person may like the familiarity of a nice looking, easy to use watch from a trusted watchmaker. I do recommend the Casio Classic A168WA-1YES as it's well priced and offers a lot. I can see this lasting a long time and therefore it is well worth the money and even came with a spare battery! 4 out of 5 from me for a nice watch and a well recieved gift.
**What is it?** The Palm Tungsten W is an older smartphone, probably one of the first, released in 2002. I got mine in 2003 when I went to university, as not only does it combine the PDA features Palm is so well known for, it also operates as a mobile phone. At the time, that was revolutionary! **Price and Availability** Nowadays you can only buy the Palm Tungsten W second hand at places like eBay and you can pick it up for less than £10. However, when I purchased mine, it cost the lofty sum of £350! **What's in the Box** In the box (which I still have!) you get: The Palm Tungsten W unit, with rechargeable battery Battery charger / ac adapter with travel plug adapters Stylus Case Screen Wipe Instructional Manual Data cable (serial interface!) Warranty card **Looks** The Palm Tungsten W sizes up at 4.80 x 3.07 x 0.67 inches, pretty chunky by today's standards. It weighs in at 184g which again is rather hefty, but you must consider it's age. It's styled in smooth slightly shiny silver plastic and it has a 3 inch colour screen. It has a full mini querty keyboard, four function keys and a small, stubby dark grey aerial. Overall at the time I remember it looking extremely advanced, modern and hi-tech but obviously in the intervening 11 years it has aged pretty poorly. **Features** The Palm Tungsten W offers the following features: Display Features: Resolution: 320 x 320 pixels Screen Type: TFT Colours: 65k Hardware Processor: Single core, 33 MHz, Dragonball VZ Storage expansion: SD, MMC Battery Talk time: 10 hours Stand-by time: 10 days Technology GSM: 900, 1800, 1900 MhZ (this phone is not 3 or 4G) Connectivity Serial link Infrared **What it doesn't offer** Due to it's age, the Palm doesn't offer many features which come now as standard on even budget smartphones - it doesn't have a proper web browser (just a cut down mobile interface), email client, wi-fi, bluetooth, sat nav or mp3 / video player. Back in 2002 these things were unheard of, so you certainly didn't feel like you were missing out. It does mean that really, it is more or less unusable today for anything other than calling and texting. **In Use** The Palm Tungsten W feels quite chunky and substantial in your hand, and it can feel a bit heavy after a while on the phone. Oddly it doesn't have an option to use a hands free with it - it doesn't have bluetooth but it also doesn't have a jack port for a 3rd party hands free kit or earphone use. The web browser is so slow it's laughably unusable - even back in the day it was barely functional and quite useless. The infrared, too, is almost impossible to use in practice - I remember sitting my phone and facing it's infra red port to my (now husbands) phone and they couldn't communicate - I was only trying to send a phone number! The screen is OK for the age but is quite dull and the pixels very chunky and obvious - a bit like a colour game boy, really. The Palm OS itself is Ok, quite simple like an early Nokia interface and it is very user friendly in it's simplicity, if a bit laggy. You can expand the memory but I never needed to, there is no real option to store anything substantial like music, video or pictures on it. **Overall** Overall I think I bought the Palm Tungsten W as a bit of a gimmick, I thought it would revolutionise my life and it just didn't. The few handy features it had like the diary alarms and a fairly big for the time screen just didn't warrant the high price tag looking back, and I certainly didn't use it as much as I should have considering how much it cost. I ended up replacing it with a motorola razr, and stayed away from smart phones until I got an Apple iPhone in 2012. I do think that the Palm Tungsten W was ahead of it's time in many ways as it promised a lot more than it could really deliver. I am glad I tried it but it did scare me off smartphones in many ways until the technology was perfected. I will give the Palm Tungsten W 3 stars out of 5, it was an OK phone, not perfect, and did offer PDA functionality, but it wasn't a smartphone in the true sense of the word.
**What is it?** The JBL SoundFly Air Plug-In Speaker is a speaker for use with iOS (Apple) air play enabled devices. It's made by a third party, JBL, rather than by Apple directly. **Price and Availability** You can pick up the The JBL SoundFly Air Plug-In Speaker for around £150 which is quite fair considering it's Apple compatible (and how much a more well known brand such as Bose costs). It's available on Amazon and eBay, I have never seen it for sale on the high street so if you wish to buy one I would recommend buying online and comparing prices to get the best deal. **What's in the Box** In the (small!) box you get: The The JBL SoundFly Air Plug-In Speaker main unit Operating instructions Warranty information The unit is well packaged in cardboard / polystyrene and arrives sealed. **Looks** The The JBL SoundFly Air Plug-In Speaker is best described as a white plastic taco shell with a black grille over the top, and the JBL logo to the top. It has no power adapter or lead - it's design is made so it plugs directly into your power socket. I don't think it looks all that amazing - my husband purchased it, and if it were down to me I'd have probably discounted it based on the looks alone. The mix of stark white and black looks striking in a bad way, it looks very out of place in anything but the most stark and minimal of rooms. It's very obvious that it's an Apple compatible device and not actually by Apple. **Features** The The JBL SoundFly Air Plug-In Speaker offers the following features: Integrated AirPlay (for use with Apple iOS devices - MacBook, PowerPC, iPhone, iPad and iPod) No shelf space or hanging wires with the plug in design Rich low distortion sound thanks to DSP (Digital Signal Processing) Voice feedback for easy set up Free iOS app - control your music right from your device **In Use** The The JBL SoundFly Air Plug-In Speaker is extremely easy to set up and I was impressed with this, however the first flaw for me is that when you are using it with a double plug, it covers the second plug socket, making it unusable. The speaker comes in AirPlay or Bluetooth, which means if you opt for the AirPlay version you can't use it as a Bluetooth speaker also - so now my husband has moved from an iPhone to a Samsung SIII he cannot use the speaker at all! So it was left to me and my iPhone 4S. Annoyingly the app doesn't work on the 4s (doesn't appear in the app store at all), probably because I didn't upgrade my software (I can't, it's a work phone and our work software isn't compatible with the new iOS yet). But I can still use the speaker. The sound is powerful and the bass excellent but for me the top end is still a little bit distorted no matter how high a quality of song you're playing. Also, as you're playing it from a source close to the ground (ie, a plug socket), you are rarely on a level with the source and you are somehow really aware of it being shoved in a plug socket and low down. To combat that I did consider buying a second The JBL SoundFly Air Plug-In Speaker, to put at the other end of my long lounge to get a fuller experience but in my research into purchasing a second one, I found that the speakers can't be synced, so they won't both play the same source, which is really really disappointing. **Overall** Overall I am pretty disappointed with the The JBL SoundFly Air Plug-In Speaker. It doesn't look particularly attractive, the price is middle of the road which is Ok, but I believe you can get better (wired) speakers for less money, and the fact the speakers can't sync is a real deal breaker for me. The other little niggles (the covering of the other plug socket and the lack of app support for older iOS models) I could have forgiven but overall when everything is added together the The JBL SoundFly Air Plug-In Speaker is just too much hassle for me and I suspect most people. We have since moved on to an admittedly more expensive power wired, wifi Bose speaker and we're much happier with it. I think if you are going to spend around or over £150 on a speaker you should really do your homework and I wish we had with the The JBL SoundFly Air Plug-In Speaker as we wouldn't have bought it had we known some of it's more major flaws. It's now sitting shoved in a plug socket in the spare room, where I use it intermittently when cleaning or doing DIY upstairs but for all intents and purposes I have relegated it and really for the money and the promises it made we should be using it every day, but we just aren't. I can't recommend the The JBL SoundFly Air Plug-In Speaker at all, and will give it 2 stars out of 5, one star for it's (admittedly flawed) innovation of being a plug in speaker and one star for the rich bass you get, but one star off for it's rubbish app support, one star off for the top end distortion and one for the fact the speakers don't sync! In four words: don't buy this speaker.
**What is it?** The Indesit IWDC6125UK Washer Dryer is a combined washing machine and vented tumble dryer. This model is available in white and graphite (a sparkly silver). I am reviewing the white version, though other than the colour, the features and price is identical. **Price and Availability** The Indesit IWDC6125UK Washer Dryer is available on the high street from Currys PC World and Argos, and via independent retailers. You can purchase it online in many places, most predominantly Amazon where it is currently on sale for £451 including free UK delivery. I paid around £480 over 12 months ago so the price has come down slightly. **Why did I buy?** At the time I purchased this washer dryer I was living in a second floor flat and I was fed up of struggling to dry towels and bedding in particular in a flat which only had storage heaters and heated towel rails. I didn't have the room for a seperate dryer so when my washer died I decided to replace it with a washer dryer. I went for this model as I have an Indesit fridge which is of a very high quality so I decided to stick with the brand. **Looks** The unit looks like a standard washing machine really, with far more controls. It's not unattractive, it looks functional and it's a bright shiny white with hard wearing black controls and the Indesit logo to the white plastic trim on the glass door. I must say it would look absolutely fine in any kitchen however I did purchase mine to go in a small utility room so it wouldn't be on show and therefore the looks were secondary to me. **Features** The main features of the Indesit IWDC6125UK Washer Dryer are: A 6 kg load washer dryer (a standard size so not a compact) Delay start function - very very handy for me as you can set it for when you'd like your washing to be completed, either washed or washed and dried. 1200 rpm maximum spin speed - this is very good also as my old washer was only 1000rpm AB rated - energy efficient Variable washing temperatures and spin speed - useful depending on what you are washing. **In Use** The Indesit IWDC6125UK Washer Dryer is so simple to use - simply set your wash temperature and spin speed and whether you want it to dry and for how long for and away you go. You can set it to start immidiately or to finish for when you get home from work, etc, so you can fold the warm dried clothes so they don't crease in the dryer, or you can set it to wash and dry whilst you are out so you don't have to hear it spinning if you live in a little flat like I did! **Results - Ie, the Downsides** If the ease of use of the Indesit IWDC6125UK Washer Dryer was the end of the story then I'd be giving it a 5 out of 5 star rating because as long as the clothes are clean and dry then that's it, really for me. I'm not in posession of Egyptian cotton bedding and I'm sensible enough to know I can't dry anything that would be ruined, like baby bibs and t-shirts with plastic printed logos on them etc, but I just didn't feel that the results I got from the Indesit IWDC6125UK Washer Dryer were satisfactory. Firstly the washing aspect - I generally wash at 30 degrees using a non bio washing liquid. I've never had a problem keeping clothes clean this way, yet in this washer dryer I found that even light stains were not being shifted on this cycle. So I switched to a 60 degree wash and 90 degrees for bedding and towels, and even then I wasn't getting white whites and stain removal I get with other washing machines or even hand washing. I can't use bio washing powder as I'm allergic to it and I have a toddler with sensitive skin, but even so it was getting to the point that I had to wash certain things by hand as the washer just couldn't clean them properly whichever program I selected. At the end of the day if it gets clean with simple hand washing a machine should be able to clean it. I have even removed larger items like double duvet covers (when I have had a duvet cover and two pillowcases only in the washer) and there have been palm sized areas which haven't been wetted at all! I don't think the washer uses enough water in the drum somehow. Secondly the drying aspect, I found that the dryer was far less effective than a stand alone dryer (which I have since purchased now I have the room in my new house) meaning that whilst it will get bedding and towels dry it will take about 1 hr 30 whereas in my stand alone dryer it takes about 60 mins. When it comes to heavier items like jumpers and jeans - just don't bother! After two hours they're still damp to the touch, I shudder to think of the electricity cost should you attempt to get them bone dry! **Overall** Ovearll when you have spent over £450 on a washer dryer, only to have to hand wash certain items, and then dry them on the heated towel dryer, because your machine is both inefficient at washing AND drying, then you know you have made a mistake in buying it! I can't recommend it at all, which is a shame because I bought it based on the Indesit name and my good experiences with their fridge range. When I moved house I moved to a Bosch washer and a Hotpoint condenser dryer and both are absolutely amazing, thoroughly trustworthy and a joy to use. OK, you have to physically take the wet clothes out of the washer and put them in the dryer but I don't mind that one bit as the drying takes so far less time, and of course once the washer is empty and the dryer is on I can put another wash on so it's a lot more efficient for me as I get a lot more done. Overall, I just can't recommend the Indesit IWDC6125UK Washer Dryer and it's put me off washer dryers in full, I was so dissappointed with this model. It's just a totally ineffective washer, which can't cope with the most simple of stains or even everyday dirt, and the dryer is just woeful. I think the problem with the Indesit IWDC6125UK Washer Dryer is that it tries to offer so much and it ends up failing on all counts. Two stars out of five, one for it's looks and one for it's drying effectiveness, though it's not a patch on a standalone dryer. No stars for it's poor washing quality, or it's price given it's poor quality overall. The last star is removed because I found it so frustrating when I had to take damp clothes out of it, see they were not clean and put them right back in again! Not eco friendly! In short: if you want a washer dryer, be prepared to skimp on the drying time (it will be longer in my experience). Spend a little more and get a better make as the Indesit IWDC6125UK Washer Dryer is just not up to the job. I was flipping glad to get rid of it and I only had it two years!
**What is it?** The Doro PhoneEasy 100w Duo is not what I'd call an assistive phone (that is, made primarily for the disability market) but it is a phone designed to be very clear to see and easy to use with no gimmicks, bells and whistles. For that reason the phone appeals to the less techno savvy and the shorter of sight, in my case, my Mum. This review is for the duo set (two phones). **Why Buy?** My Mum is hard of hearing, though she is resisting having a hearing aid, and she has poor sight like most over 65s (I don't think she wants me to put her actual age on the internet ;) ). She uses 'regular' products but opts for large print wherever she can and the Doro PhoneEasy 100w Duo with it's large keys and screen seemed ideal for her, as she isn't the most technical person about. **Price and Availability** The Doro PhoneEasy 100w Duo isn't too hard to find on the high street (I bought the set in Curry's PC World) and I've never seen it over £50, I paid £48. For a set of cordless phones I think this is good, especially from a known brand - over the last few years Doro has been making it's name in easy to use landline phones and mobile phones designed with the older user in mind. **What's in the Box** In the box (which is smaller than you'd expect!) you get: The Doro PhoneEasy 100w Duo, comprising two base stations, two cordless handsets and two power adaptors; The large print (good thinking there Doro!) instructional manual Warranty information A small booklet on other products in the Doro range. **Looks** The Doro PhoneEasy 100w Duo comes in white or black, we have the white set. The phones sit nicely in their docks and are styled like basic mobile phones really, with a large two line height LCD screen which is backlit in orange. The keys are in black and about three times the size of a standard cordless handset keys, barring the program keys which are just over 1.5 times the size. The black keys have white numbers and symbols apart from the green 'call' button and red 'hang up' button. This contrast makes the phone very easy to see and use. Overall the phones look quite nice and are a good balance between an ordinary cordless set and an assistive phone set, meaning they can be used by all members of the family with ease. **Features, and Opinions In-Use** The main features of the phones are: Main Features- - Pre dialling (so you can see the number you dial before pressing call, handy for someone like my Mum who can check she is ringing the right number first!) - Speakerphone - this is nice and loud and useful for calls where you need your hands to, say, work the computer. Or in my Mum's case, make a cup of tea. - Keylock (to stop my Mum's grandchildren pressing the keys and making random calls) - Call timer (so you can see how long you've been on the phone, handy for call plans which only offer 60 mins of free time per call) - Menu navigation - this is very easy to use and clear because the text is about 1.5cm in height. - Range indoor - 50 meters - more than enough for a standard size home. - Key tone - a sound which plays when you press a button, this can be switched off. - Backlit display - very useful for use at night especially with the second handset which is in the bedroom. Memory- 50 space Redial memory 2 one touch memories - this is pretty low but OK for emergency numbers 9 two touch memories - good for the most dialled numbers 20 Phonebook Positions - quite low really but good for the most dialled numbers. 10 space Caller ID memory - again I would have liked to see more, but it's OK for the top 10. Sounds- 5 Monophonic ring tones (standard 'ring ring' type ring tones) 5 Polyphonic ring tones (more melodic tones like an early mobile phone, though these are harder to hear in my Mum's opinion) 5 Ringer volume settings - on standard mono ring tones this goes very loud Ringer off setting Alarm feature Acoustic Features- 30 DBA Receiveing maximum level Hearing aid compatible Microphone Mute (also known as privacy or cough button) Volume boost button - +10dB - very very useful for poor quality calls Overall the phone performs really well and my Mum in particular benefits from the good quality sound and the easy to use functions. No more 'oh is that you? I meant to call your sister' and 'can you speak up? It sounds like you're whispering!' **Overall - Would I Recommend?** Overall, yes I would highly recommend the Doro PhoneEasy 100w Duo, I don't think it's overly expensive, it's a nice high street simple phone rather than being an assistive phone, so it's suitable for use by all without being an obviously 'hard of sight or hearing' phone, it's nice to look at and the sound quality is second to none. I would have liked to see a little bit more memory in the phone however for my Mum's uses it is spot on, and we are glad we bought it. The fact that it comes in a duo is great as you can use it in a second room, be it the kitchen, bedroom or spare room. I will give the Doro PhoneEasy 100w Duo a solid 4 stars out of 5 rating, and recommend it to anyone looking for an amplified and clear to see phone without needing to go the whole hog and go for an assistive phone, which can be a lot more expensive. Very happy with our purchase and Doro is certainly a brand we'd buy from again. If you have an older member of the family who you think might benefit from the Doro phone, this would make a great Christmas present, too.
**What is it?** The Geemarc Photo Phone is a phone designed not only for the hard of hearing but for those who aren't as techno savvy or may have difficulty remembering numbers. The phone is designed to be very easy to use and without any complicated menus and instructions to follow, it's biggest draw being the photo-dial buttons. **Why Buy?** We bought this for my Dad for use in the bedroom as he already has an assistive phone in the lounge. My Dad is disabled following a stroke, so has some difficulty in remembering long numbers like my mobile number, and at 71 he also struggles a little with hearing and viewing small numbers / words. **Price and Availability** I purchased the Geemarc Photo Phone from a specialist independent disability support shop for £50, which seems to be the average price when looking on the internet. I would advise to shop around but you are likely to need a specialist store for an assistive phone like this one. **What's in the Box** You get Geemarc Photo Phone (with wired handset) A sheet of pre printed photos to personalise the photo buttons with (such as hospital / doctors, you can also add your own) Instructional manual Warranty card Information on other Geemarc assistive products **Looks** The Geemarc Photo Phone is very nice looking - it comes in a dark graphite grey or a white, we have the white, it has nine photo dialling buttons and a standard keypad (large size). The phone overall looks very nice and not too obviously like an assistive phone. It's very basic and in a good way as that makes it easy to use. **Features** Up to 30db Amplification T-Coil compatible (hearing aid) 9 photo dialling keys Adjustable ringing volume Speakerphone **In Use** The Geemarc Photo Phone is very easy to set up and very easy to use. The instruction manual is printed in large text, which is a nice touch, though I would think most people who need a phone like this would have a third party set it up for them. We have set the doctors, bank, my mobile and home and my husband's mobile, my dad's two sisters and my Dad's own mobile in there (so he can ring it if he can't find it!) Each button is big enough to allow for a reasonable sized photo he can easily see and identify. The adjustable ring tone volume is excellent and is loud and clear meaning he can hear it over the television which he needs to have loud itself. The handset volume and the speakerphone are both loud and clear, no distortion or crackling or compression, and the mic is excellent too as I can hear him clearly when he calls me. He doesn't have a hearing aid yet but it is good to know it's future proof if ever he needs one. **Overall** Overall I am very impressed with the Geemarc Photo Phone. I hadn't heard of Geemarc but when I saw the phone in the shop I knew it would be very useful to my Dad and it really has been. I hadn't read any reviews on it before I read it so it could have been a bit of a gamble, but I am genuinely very pleased that I bought the Geemarc Photo Phone for my Dad. I will give the Geemarc Photo Phone 5 stars out of 5 as an easy to operate, visually pleasing and fairly inexpensive assistive phone which is ideal for anyone hard of hearing, sight or memory. I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a phone which supports all of these challenges and allows someone like my Dad to use a phone without worry and for that it's worth every penny.
**What is it?** The Ice Appliance Big Chill Drinks Fridge is a unique fridge made especially for cold drinks, specifically wines and beers. It's suitable for use in the home or small business. **Do I need a drinks fridge?** I never thought I'd need one, but as you get a bit older people tend to give you bottles of wine and champagne as gifts, and my husband started to drink a bit more bottled lager at home rather than going out (as we've had a baby). The fridge had a row of beer and wine and two bottles of champagne in the door.. it was getting a bit cramped in there with all the milk my little girl drinks too, so we thought we'd go for a drinks fridge meaning we can stock up when there are special offers on and we can save the drinks for social occasions like birthdays and Christmas. You certainly don't need to drink a lot to need a drinks fridge, we've found. **Price and Availability** We purchased our Ice Appliance Big Chill Drinks Fridge from Argos, it was on offer at £95 which we thought was fair and we reserved and collected it within the hour (it easily fit in the boot, even boxed). You can also buy it online but it seems to be more expensive which is odd as things are usually cheaper online. So I recommend Argos (you can also pay a little extra for home delivery if you don't have a car). **What you Get** In the box you get: The Ice Appliance Big Chill Drinks Fridge, which comes with a reasonable length power cable and fused plug Instruction Manual Warranty Card **Looks** I think the fridge looks great, especially for the money, I never thought a reasonably budget wine cooler and drinks fridge could look so modern, it certainly would look in place in a trendy wine bar. Size wise it stacks up at 43.5 x 47.5 x 50.0 cm meaning you can use it on your counter top or underneath, we have integrated it into our Ikea kitchen. The fridge is styled in stainless steel with a glass door, oddly the hinge is on the left and the handle on the right which is the only door in my entire kitchen to do so but it does look nice. **Specs and Use** The Ice Appliance Big Chill Drinks Fridge has a generous 50 litre capacity meaning it's far more practical than those little £25 fridges you used to be able to get which could hold about four cans of coke. The specs say you can hold 36 cans of beer or 16 bottles of wine but like most people we have a mix, four bottles of white wine, two bottles of champagne and about ten bottles of beer, we also keep cans in there and glass bottles of drink like Appletise and Orangina. In use it works very well, the drinks stay nice and cold, don't get icy (despite the name of the product) and the door doesn't mist up when you open it. Some reviewers have commented that it can be a bit noisy, I haven't found that, it has a low hum but in my kitchen which has a fridge, freezer, washer which is permanently on, dryer and dishwasher (which also seems to be permanently on) it's either drowned under the noises of everything else or it's genuinely quiet. At night when I go into the kitchen I don't notice it when everything else (bar the fridge and freezer of course) is off. **Recommend?** I never thought I'd end up owning a drinks fridge but now I do I really do recommend it. It frees up the fridge for..well, food, and it's brilliant to have that extra room at Christmas especially when you need more fridge space (and more drinks!!) It looks good and it's a good asset to our kitchen which doesn't take up too much room. For under £100 I do think it is a good price, it's well made and it comes with a 2 years manufacturer's guarantee as standard. I highly recommend it and will award the Ice Appliance Big Chill Drinks Fridge five stars out of five. A good buy which I am pleased I made.
**What is it?** The Kenwood FP190 Food Processor is an all in one system which integrates a multi function food processor with a jug blender all in one unit. **Why Buy?** For me, I wanted a Kenwood because we have a Kenwood Chef mixer and it's absolutely amazing. I knew that Kenwood would be a safe bet when it came to a food processor as I trust them for their quality and experience with kitchen hardware. **Price and Availability** We purchased our Kenwood FP190 Food Processor in September 2013 from Sainsbury's, as it was on a half price offer. We paid £47.99 for it which I thought was amazing - off sale, I've seen it between £69.99 and £89.99 depending on where you look. It seems to be cheaper off sale by buying online however keep an eye out for amazing half price offers like we got with Sainsbury's. **What's in the Box** In the box you get: The Kenwood FP190 Food Processor main unit (with black cord and fused plug) The blender jug attachment with lid and built-in blade The food processor jug with clear lid and food spout cover 1 x chopping blade 1 x dough blade 1 x grating / slicing plate attachment 1 x grater plate 1 x slicing plate Instructional manual Warranty information For the money I paid, I think we got lots to play with. **Looks** The Kenwood FP190 Food Processor looks great in shiny chrome with matte black plastic. The accessories are in stainless steel and white plastic. When the jugs aren't attached, they are automatically covered by a hinged piece of black plastic which means it looks good on the kitchen counter top when not in use. The cord storage and comparitively small footprint of the Kenwood FP190 Food Processor (easily within an A4 piece of paper) means it looks good in the kitchen and you can keep it out on your counter. **In Use** Here's my review of the features: Operation - the Kenwood FP190 Food Processor is very safe to use as the jugs lock in before you can switch it on. It has rubberised suction cups to the base so it stands nice and steady when in use. It isn't too noisy and has a range of speeds all selected from the dial on the front of the unit. Chopping (Food processor) - the chopping blade is easy to install and handle and it mixes up ingredients well. It is great for making sauces and marinades, chopping up nuts and so on. Grating - The grater plate clicks into place in the main plate attachment and is easy to operate, a mid speed gives you a longer grate. It works well for cheese, carrots, and any vegetable or fruit, meaning fruit pies, salads and home made coleslaw are a breeze. Chopping Plate - Again the chopping plate is easy to install and as you can fit small onions in whole (larger onions need cutting in half) it will chop 500g small onions without issue into thin slices suitable for salads, soups and so on. Dough mixing - best on a slower speed the dough hooks work dough well and you can fit plenty into the Kenwood's bowl so a loaf of bread is easy to achieve. It's great for pizza dough, too and you can leave it to prove right in the removable bowl before the second knead. Blending - blending soups, smoothies, ice, cream drinks, sauces and so on is a doddle in the Kenwood FP190 Food Processor, all you need to do is add your ingredients, hot or cold, place the lid on and turn the dial.The blender has a pouring spout and can be lifted right off the main unit and soup poured into bowls or drinks into cups. It's a very good, powerful and leak free blender and a great asset to a standard food processor setup. Cleanup - It's so easy to clean the Kenwood FP190 Food Processor, the main unit can be wiped down with a cloth or antibacterial wipe and the blades, bowls and lids can all be washed in the dishwasher or in the sink. It's so easy to clean, no bother at all. Storage - the blades for the Kenwood FP190 Food Processor fit right inside the main bowl for easy storage and retrieval. **Overall** Overall I am so happy with my (slightly impulse) buy of the Kenwood FP190 Food Processor, I purchased it primarily for the name and for the amazing sub £50 price, I'd been looking for a food processor for a while and was holding out for a good name and deal and I am so happy I did because the range of features, looks and quality of the Kenwood FP190 Food Processor speaks for itself. I highly highly recommend you purchase one if you're looking for an inexpensive full on food processor and blender unit which looks good, has the Kenwood name, a range of excellent features and easy operation, storage and cleaning. I cannot fault it whatsoever and it thoroughly deserves the 5 out of 5 star rating I will be awarding it. It's great for £69.99, it's flipping amazing at £47.99. Either way it's worth every penny and I can't recommend it enough.
**What is it?** The Morphy Richards 47041 Coffee Maker is a filter coffee maker from a named brand famous for kitchen electricals at reasonable prices. **Why Buy** I bought the Morphy Richards 47041 Coffee Maker because my husband wanted a coffee maker, he loves coffee but didn't want to spend a fortune on a Tassimo or other 'pod' type coffee maker. We wanted something inexpensive as it's really only for use on Sundays as we're out of the house most other days and we don't drink coffee in the evenings. **Price and Availability** I purchased the Morphy Richards 47041 Coffee Maker from Amazon and I paid £19.99 for it including free next day delivery as a Prime member (this comes at an additional charge, though standard 5 day delivery is also free from Amazon). You can also buy this in many large supermarkets, from Morphy Richards outlets and online, and from Argos. The price I think is extremely good for a coffee maker, and I was happy to find a Morphy Richards under £20 which has all the features we wanted for a budget price. **What's in the Box** You get - The Morphy Richards 47041 Coffee Maker main unit, with power cable and fused plug (black) Conical mesh filter The glass coffee pot Instructional Manual Warranty Card **Looks** Our Morphy Richards 47041 Coffee Maker is in 'graphite' which is a dark grey colour with a silver plastic front panel and power button. The glass coffee pot has a black plastic holder and handle. Overall it looks very nice, especially for the money. **Features** The coffee maker has the following advertised features as listed: 10 cup capacity - note, this is a teacup, so basically you get 5 standard mugs of coffee, usually more as we add milk Fast brew makes coffee in 8 minutes Thermostatic hotplate - keeps the coffee warm but not hot Strength selector - for the strength of the brew Cord storage - winds up behind the unit for neat storage Heat resistant glass jug - keeps the heat in (but is still hot to touch so you must use the handle) Permanent cone shaped mesh filter **In Use** The Morphy Richards 47041 Coffee Maker is so very neat and tidy, I have it out on my limited kitchen worktop all the time, though you could fit it into a cupboard if you did not want to. The cord storage and small footprint means it sits by my kettle and really takes up hardly any room at all. It's contemporary looks mean that it suits my modern kitchen, too. In use the Morphy Richards 47041 Coffee Maker is very easy to operate - set your strength, add your coffee and your water and away you go. It really does make a full pot of coffee in 8 minutes which for a coffee as good as this one, is pretty impressive. One thing I have noticed is that when you remove the glass coffee pot to pour your coffee, no coffee drips from the filter and dirties the warm plate, which is good as I've seen models three times the price with this problem. The coffee which you can get out of a Morphy Richards 47041 Coffee Maker is really impressive, even if you don't use expensive filter coffeee it really brings out the flavour and makes the most of whatever you are using. It really is a budget solution for those who can't justify an expensive coffee pod and are happy to use an electric coffee maker rather than a cafetiere. For me it's paid for itself as we no longer go out and spend £8 on coffees on Sunday mornings. So it really does make sense. Clean up is easy, the filter is washable and the pot can go in the dishwasher, though it's just as easy to swill it out under the tap, really. The unit can be wiped down with a damp cloth or antibac wipe but it never really gets dirty, as it's a very clean machine to use. **Overall** Overall, I'm bowled over by the quality of the Morphy Richards 47041 Coffee Maker not just in build and looks but the coffee it produces. Some reviews on Amazon when I bought it stated that it keeps the coffee warm but not boiling, this is true, but who wants to drink boiling coffee? When you put a splash of milk in, it's perfect, and if you prefer a latte type drink you can always warm up a half cup of milk in the microwave and add the coffee in from the maker if you so wish. For me and for most coffee lovers including my hubby however we like our coffee quite strong just with a splash of milk and sometimes (depending on how tired we are!) a teaspoon of sugar so it's absolutely perfect for us. I will award the Morphy Richards 47041 Coffee Maker a five stars out of five rating - I simply don't tink you can get a better coffee maker for the money and I am so impressed at it for being sub £20 delivered, it's such a great little coffee maker which would make a really good gift for anyone who's yet to try one. I can't live without it!
**Why Bose?** My husband used to work as a sound engineer, so there's no getting past his expertly tuned ears when it comes to a quality speaker. Bose is renowned for being a very high quality brand in speaker technology, and it appealed to my husband to be able to 'try before you buy' in a Bose shop (specifically, Manchester) rather than just ordering online and hoping for the best. **The Bose SoundLink Air Digital Music System - Why Buy?** The Bose SoundLink Air Digital Music System is a wireless speaker, pegged for portability, but we bought it to 'live' in the lounge and be our go-to speaker for wireless streaming. **Price and Availability** As you'd expect, a quality wireless speaker isn't going to be cheap, and the Bose SoundLink Air Digital Music System will set you back £299.99. It's available in Bose shops on the high street, selected department stores with a Bose concession, and online via the Bose website (a postage and packaging fee may apply). **What's in the Box** You get - Bose SoundLink Air Digital Music System Main Unit A mains adaptor Remote Control Batteries Instructional pamphlet Warranty Card **Looks** The speaker is very nice to look at, due to it's simplicity. It's a flat fronted grille styled in piano black plastic with the Bose logo in silver to the middle lower of the unit. The mains adaptor is black also, as is the remote control which is small and black with smooth keys. It has a distinctive look of quality about it, and is very well made. It certainly looks worth the money in style. **Setup** Setup is very easy, you simply download a setup app from the Bose website and link wirelessly to the speaker to set it up, it takes about 15 minutes in total and only needs to be done once (unless you change your router or the setup in some way). **In Use** We set the Bose SoundLink Air Digital Music System on a shelf in the lounge and keep it plugged in. The wire does detract from the overall look of it, I have to say, but it's sensible to keep it plugged in rather than opt to purchase the additional rechargable battery as if it ran out of battery it might lose it's configuration which would be annoying. Still, it would have been nice for the proce for it to come with the speaker so we had the option of using it in the garden on good days. The speaker is very easy to use in terms of streaming music, we've used it with an Apple Macbook, a Lenovo laptop, an iPad, eePad, iPhone and Samsung SIII and each one of these has streamed mp3s, internet radio and audio books no problem. It works well with Spotify content and overall the quality of the sound for the volume we use it at is brilliant. For a big house or a loud party it might not have the power you'd be looking for but our lounge is small and we have a toddler so we're limited in how loud or booming we can have our music anyway - it goes more than loud enough with excellent quality for most music fans to be very happy with. The remote control is very easy to use and very responsive, though being so small it isn't half easy to lose - we tend to put it on the shelf with the unit and control the volume via our streaming device! **Overall** Overall, I'm very happy with the Bose SoundLink Air Digital Music System and so is my husband, it is very user friendly and looks good and it is certainly built to last so it's a long term investment type purchase, making that cost to us justifiable. I think the only downside for me is that for the £300 it cost I would have like to have seen the rechargeable battery bundled with the unit, as it is sold as a portable unit and it does limit it's potential for being used say outside or in the kitchen when it's limited to being disconnected and plugged back in again when you wish to move it around. Overall we are very pleased with our purchase and it is a great speaker but the price might not be justifiable for all and the lack of a rechargable battery means I'll be giving it a four stars out of five rating rather than top marks. My advice; always try before you buy, this speaker suits us great, but I'm not 100% convinced you can't get comparable quality and with a rechargable battery for half the price. It's certainly not an impulse buy!
**What is it and why buy?** The Be.ez LArobe Sakura Rose 13" laptop sleeve is a sleeve specifically designed for 13 - 13.3 inch laptops, specifically Apple MacBook and MacBook Pro. I have a MacBook so I purchased one as a simple way to protect it when travelling, I didn't need a large laptop case or bag like I have for my work laptop and I wanted something in pink as my MacBook is white and I didn't want a black case (and I thought white would get filthy!) **Price and Availability** The Be.ez LArobe Sakura Rose 13" laptop sleeve is available online, I purchased mine from Amazon for £15 with free delivery. I have never seen it on the high street so it's probably better to have a look for it online first, and that way you can price compare, too. **Looks** The laptop case is about 13.6 inches in size, it fits a 13.3 MacBook very snugly indeed (though you could get an A4 document in there too, if you needed). It does not allow for the magsafe charger, a mouse or even a pair of earphones, so it really is designed as a laptop sleeve only. As other MacBook owners may know however the MacBook has a very good battery life up to 6 hours so the sleeve is still great for short flights, meetings and so on. The Be.ez LArobe Sakura Rose 13" laptop sleeve has two zips on a reinforced runner and a white Be.ez logo to the bottom right corner. It comes in a variety of colours, the Sakura Rose being a soft blossom pink which is very nice. The laptop sleeve is styled in a soft rubbery neoprene type material (a bit like a wetsuit!) which is padded and gives good protection to the laptop. It is also shower proof for light rain but you can't immerse it in water as the zip is not waterproof. **In Use** It's very easy to use the Be.ez LArobe Sakura Rose 13" laptop sleeve, you just slide your MacBook (or other 13 - 13.3 inch laptop) into the sleeve and zip it up and you're away. It provides good protection on the corners however I still wouldn't recommend dropping it! It means you can slide it into your bag or a suitcase and it has an extra level of protection against bumps, scrapes and spills. Once you've taken your laptop out of the sleeve you can zip it back up and place it under the laptop, as a shock absorber, which is what I do. So it takes up hardly any room at all. It's great if you are limited on room or just don't need a large laptop bag, I only ever use my MacBook at home and occasionally take it out of the house when travelling so I can watch a movie or if I'm staying somewhere overnight and I can Skype my family. **Any Downsides** Not really, though I think a little pocket on the front for a travel mouse or some earphones would have been nice. It's a basic sleeve however, so I did know this wasn't a feature when I ordered it. It's also important to note that as nice as the Be.ez LArobe Sakura Rose 13" laptop sleeve is, laptop sleeves have come down ridiculously in price since I purchased this about 18 months ago. In fact when my husband was looking for a sleeve he bought one in Poundland, it's a 'pillowcase' style rather than zip but it's very very good quality, I was shocked! So if you're only looking for a basic sleeve, I would say you can probably get cheaper now than the £15 - £18 you'll pay for a Be.ez LArobe Sakura Rose 13" laptop sleeve. **Overall** Overall if you like the colour of the Be.ez LArobe Sakura Rose 13" laptop sleeve, then I do recommend it as a basic laptop sleeve. But if you are looking for something black, or you're not bothered about it being a tuck type rather than a zip type, then I'd say save the money and get a cheap one from Poundland or Home Bargains type places. As much as the Be.ez is made well and looks nice I wouldn't say it has any stand out features that warrant paying so much more if you don't really need it, apart from it's appealing colour. I'll give the Be.ez LArobe Sakura Rose 13" laptop sleeve three out of five - it's a nice, basic laptop sleeve best suited for MacBooks but if you're not too worried about the style, you can get much cheaper laptop sleeves made from neoprene on the high street today.
**What is it and Why Buy?** The LG 27EA83-D is a large (27 inch) LED monitor popular with creatives and professionals. I purchased mine as I was working as a graphic designer at the time and needed a large monitor with an excellent display for detailed work. **Price and Availability** The LG 27EA83-D is available online, prices range from £530 - £600 + postage and packing charges. I paid £599.99 for this over a year ago, so prices are slowly dropping. You are better off buying this directly from LG or from a specialist computer supplier as it is hard to find, if at all possible, on the high street. The monitor comes with a 12 months parts and labour warranty which is slightly disappointing as I'd have liked a 2 year warranty as a minimum given the price of the monitor. **Looks** The LG 27EA83-D doesn't stand out particularly, it looks very modern and sleek but it's not a show-off type of monitor. It can be wall mounted though most people use it on the supplied stand. The cosmetic specs are as follows: Screen Size: 27 inches Weight: 12.1 pounds Depth: 1.5 inches Stand / Arm Weight: 4 pounds Stand Tolerance: 20-degrees of tilt, 4.2 inches of height adjustment, 90 degree pivot (great for reading long documents) Overall it looks modern, minimal and up to the job. It is finished off by a fairly discreet LG logo to the bottom centre panel. **Specifications** Resolution: 2560 x 1440 Video Format: 1080p (High Definition) Widescreen: Yes, 16:9 PC Interfaces: Dual-mode (DVI-I), HDMI, DisplayPort Video Inputs: DVI, HDMI Pixel Refresh Rate Speed: 60Hz Pixel Response Time (Black to White): 7 ms Pixel Response Time (Gray to Gray): 5 ms Contrast Ratio: 5000000:1 USB Ports: 4 **In Use** I mainly used mine for detailed graphic work in Adobe Photoshop, photo retouching, digital art and so on. The most important thing to me in a monitor is a bright, clear display with as true to real life colour as possible, a nice crisp display which makes for easy pixel work and, as a bonus, easy and clear document reading. I found that to be the case with the LG 27EA83-D, I had read some reviews on it before I bought it and decided that it would suit me, I've had LG televisions before and been very happy with them, and I couldn't justify the cost of the more expensive Samsung equivalent. The screen size is great for anyone looking for a large size desktop without losing any quality and without it being overwhelmingly large. The LG 27EA83-D has features like split input, useful for working on side by side work but to be honest it's not a feature I needed to use. Overall in terms of working day to day with the LG 27EA83-D I found it to be a very reliable and high quality piece of kit. **Downsides** For me the main downside and I can't believe I never picked up on it prior to ordering (the pitfalls of ordering something from the internet) is that the monitor has no swivel feature at all. This is something I'd love to have seen on the LG 27EA83-D given the type of work it's best suited to - graphic workers, photographers and creatives - and it's something I do miss. **Overall** The LG 27EA83-D is a fantastic monitor in terms of quality and I can't fault it for doing exactly what I wanted it to do. I've since moved away from graphic work and have sold the monitor, it was my choice to do this whilst the value was still there, and it was as-new. I never had any problems with it and the only thing that stops me from giving it a five stars out of five rating is the lack of any swivel on the monitor when on it's base, given that it has 90 degree pivot and 20 degree tilt it seems an odd function to miss out on a monitor where getting 'up close and personal' is a standard thing with the type of user. Other than this niggle I can't fault the LG 27EA83-D and do think that it is worth the £530 you can get it for today. Obviously it's not a standard home monitor and if you're wanting one of those you can spend £99 in Staples and get something perfectly serviceable. But if you're in the creative industry or even if you're a serious photographer this monitor is a real asset.
**What is it?** The Dell Color Printer 725 is a standard colour inkjet printer which is now about 6 years old - quite old in technology terms. Inkjet printers are best used as very small office or home printers and are not as fast as large laser printers used in most large office spaces. **Price and Availability** I purchased my Dell Color Printer 725 from the now defunct Comet store in Leeds, priced at £69.99. Nowadays should you wish to buy it (say if you used to own one and have a lot of spare ink!) you can only pick it up second hand and your best place to look is eBay.co.uk where they pop up now and again for less than £10. **What's in the Box** In a new box, I received: The Dell Color Printer 725 Power supply USB cable Instructional and Driver CD Quick start pamphlet Warranty card 1 x Test black cartridge 1 x Test colour cartridge **Looks** The Dell Color Printer 725 is quite dated looking now, I think, it's quite boxy and rather large and styled in an unflattering beige colour (the colour of old computer monitors!) The extendable paper tray and paper feed are in a flimsy black plastic. Back when I first got it, all printers looked like this but it's not aged well and you can pick up printers for £30 these days which look much more modern and take up far less room. **Printing Specifications** The Dell Color Printer 725 lines up printing wise as follows: Print Quality 1200 dpi x 1200 dpi Up to 14 ppm (mono) / up to 14 ppm (colour) Feed capacity: 100 sheets Input - USB Back when I bought it this was quite good, but now it does feel quite slow and laboured (I've since replaced it with a newer Canon Pixma printer, though it was working fine when I retired it). **In Use** I'd say that for when I bought it it was a good printer and I was happy with it. I tended to print most documents in draft format so I would get the upper end of the stated 14ppm when printing this way (I also did it to save ink). Standard colour document printing is a bit slow but the quality is acceptable. Unfortunately in use the Dell Color Printer 725 does let itself down on photo printing - it looks dotted and not anywhere near photo quality even when setting it to extra fine in the drivers and using a good quality photo paper, it also eats ink this way so I very very rarely used it for photo printing and preferred to use online services for this. The bundled software and driver CD did not work for me unfortunately as I've been a Mac user for 10 years so I downloaded a simple driver from the Dell website and that served me for the time I used it and I had no compatibility problems with any programs I printed from such as Word, Excel, Powerpoint etc. Overall in use I never had any problems with it - very rarely did I get any paper jams, blurred or misaligned printing etc, and overall as a very basic printer it served me well. **Downsides** The printer certainly hasn't aged well and it now feels slow. The poor photo printing really shows it's age, and it's lack of any additional features such as a display or USB printing mean that it really needed to be replaced by the time I did so. It's main downside and the downside that has been with it since the day I bought it is that the ink for it is so blooming expensive, it makes you think twice about printing anything! You only get 2 test cartridges with it (which are only 1/4 of the tank size of a regular retail cartridge) and boy do you get a shock when you get your replacements. Initially they were £20 each, so to buy new ink for the printer you were spending £40. For me I tried to print economically so I would only replace them twice a year. But as my job became more dependant on paperwork I new I'd need to get a new printer. In 2012 when I was in my last year of using the Dell Color Printer 725, printer inks had come down to £9 each but still, £18 to replace the inks on a very old printer just wasn't justifiable for me and I chose to replace it with an all in one. **Overall** I think overall the Dell Color Printer 725 was OK for me whilst I was a student but these days printers do so much more and cost so much less. There are so many services to refill your ink cartridges and compatibles available to buy that ink prices aren't so much of an issue. But even though the Dell Color Printer 725 was a very reliable printer during it's lifetime with me I did get put off slightly by Dell's high consumable price and decided to replace it with a Canon Pixma all in one which cost me less new than the Dell Color Printer 725, and is far superior not just in quality and features but has a reasonable consumable price. Overall I can't recommend the Dell Color Printer 725 anyway due to it's age and the fact it has been superceded but I am not all that sure it was a great buy in the first place. My friend bought a HP printer at the same time I bought the Dell and not only is it still going strong it prints quality photo prints and the ink has come down to £5 a go! If I'd bought one of those I might not have chosen to replace mine. Two stars out of 5 for the Dell Color Printer 725 - 1 star knocked off for the poor photo printing, 1 star knocked off for the ridiculous peripheral cost and 1 star knocked off for it not being futureproof or aging well at all.
**What is it?** The Creative Travelsound i85 is a 'nano speaker' in that it's for use with the 4th generation iPod Nano and Nano Video. It's also nano in that it's tiny - for use hand-held and for travel. It's produced under the Creative brand, which is well known for mid range, quality computer and digital audio equipment. **Price and Availability** The Creative Travelsound i85 is available on the high street from John Lewis and many independent computer and audio stores, and online at the same. It's also available on Amazon.co.uk and eBay.co.uk. The Creative Travelsound i85 has an RRP of £39.99 however it can be found online for as little as £32.99 with free delivery so my advice would be to shop around. **What's in the Box** In the box you get the following: - Creative TravelSound i85 speaker - USB cable (for charging the unit, and it also allows you to sync your iPod with iTunes at the same time) - Speaker stand - Quick Start Guide - A Warranty and Technical Support pamphlet **In Use** The Creative TravelSound i85 is very easy to set up - your iPod simply sits in it like a dock and sits around it in a very unobtrusive and pretty good looking way (the unit is white, so it looks great with black and white iPods in particular). You can plug the USB cable into the Travelsound and plug it into your laptop or desktop computer, this allows you to sync your iPod with iTunes and charge the unit at the same time. Alternatively you can plug the USB cable into a USB plug socket and charge it via this method, which is quicker. Once fully charged the Creative TravelSound i85 will provide 15 hours of use, which for a unit this small is impressive. Used as a straight iPod speaker the Creative TravelSound i85 gives excellent quality sound (though this of course depends on the quality of the mp3 you are playing) and can be held in the hand, which it fits in nicely, or it can be stood up on the small plastic stand provided. An added bonus of choosing this speaker is the addition of a built in FM radio receiver which is controlled via the radio functions on the iPod. Providing you have a resonable reception this works well and means you can listen to sporting events and news via your iPod which is great. If you use the Creative TravelSound i85 with an iPod video, you can play the video audio via the speaker and watch videos hands-free and on speaker. Once your iPod Nano is docked into the Creative TravelSound i85, it's a pretty sturdy fit. There is a hanging loop attached to the dock speaker, but I can't say I'd recommend wearing it with an iPod attached on a lanyard around your neck! The whole unit looks sleek and modern, it's very very easy to use and the sound quality is excellent. I would say that the cost is probably more than a child or teenager may wish to spend, though it would make an excellent gift and suit anyone who travels a lot, is looking for a small home speaker for their iPod, or for a student. For the money, I do believe you get a superior quality speaker and I am glad that I got mine a few Christmases ago because it has been used a lot and it has stood up to travel, moving house and being used in the kitchen. **Overall** If you are looking for a decent quality compact speaker for your iPod Nano or Nano Video I highly recommend the Creative TravelSound i85. It is well made and built to last, complements the Nano very well and provides excellent sound quality. With the added feature of a built in FM radio, I believe that it is well worth the money, even though cheaper basic speakers are available. None match the Creative TravelSound i85 for looks, ease of use and quality, however, and for that reason I'll be awarding the Creative TravelSound i85 a 4 star out of 5 rating.