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Logitech Vantage USB Headset for PS3
I've tried a couple of bluetooth headsets (not the new official Sony one I might add), and also used the microphone on the Playstation Eye, and to be honest I haven't been satisfied with either so I thought I'd try this wired headset instead. The sound quality is so much better with this it's like night and day. It does feel a bit tight on my head but it should get better after use (may have something to do with the size of my head, who knows). The cable is nice and long, so as long as you're sat within 10 feet you shouldn't have any issues with that, and the battery won't go flat like a bluetooth headset will as there aren't any in it :-) Yes wireless is better because you don't have to worry about people kicking the cable etc. But for the clarity this headset provides I'm prepared to go old school.
Reservoir Dogs: Collector's Edition - Limited Petrol Can Packaging
As seems to be a common theme after reading a few of the previous reviews I have to say that I'm very disappointed that the information given was incorrect. This only has the single disc, you don't get get another disc with extras or a CD with the soundtrack, all you get is a couple of cards with lines from the film printed on them! And as with with fellow purchasers the tin it came in was as bent as a banana. I'm hoping I can get something to fit inside the tin to straighten it out a bit or I might need to find the nearest panel beaters. Overall I'm very disappointed with this as the original contents that were displayed on here were far greater in number. A bent tin and four bits of card isn't very special is it? Very good film though, and it does say on the front of the (bent) tin that the soundtrack is in DTSHD Master Audio for those that can experience full HD audio too.
Linx 2.4 Metre Luxury 24k Gold Plated HDMI Cable
I bought this cable for my PS3 (before they started including one with the machine so now I have a spare!). I'd been looking at other cables and most were 2 to 3 times (sometimes more) the price of this so I thought it was a very good price. Don't be fooled by the price, this is no bargain bin product. The cable feels very well constructed (if a little stiff) and when in use playing a PS3 game, watching an upscaled DVD or a Blu-Ray movie the picture quality is excellent and cannot be faulted. I'm really glad I didn't just rush out and buy a cable for £50 thinking I needed to just to get the full benefit of high-def. I cannot see how the picture could be improved as it is pin sharp on my Samsung 32inch TV (though obviously it may not be as effective on other brands so I can only judge from my own personal experience). This cable proves that cheap doesn't have to mean rubbish.
Xbox 360 Premium Console & 3 Games (Gears Of War / Crackdown / Forza Motorsport 2)
The red lights of death appeared on my 360 on 07/07/2007. I've had the console since launch in 2005 and never had a problem. The day before I didn't even know about the red ring of death, then I read an article about Microsoft extending the warranty to 3 years because of this problem and rather suspiciously my 360 was struck down right in the middle of a game of Forza the day after!
It's good news that the warranty has been increased and that I will get my 360 fixed for free, I'm just waiting to see how quickly Microsoft fix it and return it to me. UPS picked my 360 up on 16/07/2007 and as of today (06/08/2007) I still haven't heard a peep from Microsoft, but luckily I've got my PS3 to keep me occupied until I get it back.
Even with the problems this is still a very good machine and an excellent bundle of games. Both Gears of War and Forza 2 are brilliant (though Forza 2 isn't as good as I was hoping as there is a lot less content in it than there was in the original Forza on the Xbox). Gears is so good that I played it through on every difficulty level, no other game has ever made me want to do that. As for Crackdown I couldn't really comment as I've never played it, though I know people that have and they say it's very good.
The main selling point though for the 360 is with online playing. This is still streets ahead of what the PS3 is currently capable of, though it is getting better as Sony try to catch up a little with Microsoft. So if online gaming is your thing the 360 would still be the console to get, plus if you have no interest in watching Hi-Def films this is also cheaper and at the moment there is a much wider choice of games on the 360 (but that won't last forever once games start to be released more for the PS3). Another plus for the 360 is with xbox live arcade, which gives you access to a lot of reasonably priced games, some new games and some revamped classics all in nice sparkly hi-def and there's a wide variety to suit all tastes. The one I'm waiting for is Speedball 2.
Having said what I have, even though I think the 360 is a very capable machine the advice I would give to anybody thinking of buying a 360 is to maybe wait a while until Microsoft confirm that any new 360's they make have had the faulty components replaced because apparently the hardware failure that causes the ring of death I mentioned at the top is very common (hence the extension of the warrantys) and can happen to 30%-50% of all the machines made. Having the extended warranty is good but having a console that has a better lifespan and therefore doesn't need the extended warranty is better. Plus the black Elite version is coming out later in the year and that should be more robust and has a bigger hard drive plus HDMI output, so if you've waited this long to get one maybe it's worth waiting a little longer for an improved higher spec version (though that one is more expensive obviously so it could depend on your budget). Also there's a possibility that the Elite version will have the new chips which run a lot cooler and therefore won't need a cooling fan that sounds like it's about to take off! I even had an extra cooling gadget attached to the back of mine so you can Imagine how loud it got!!
Maxell Blank DVD+R 16X 50pk Spindle
I have used 100's of these Maxell discs (both the '+' and '-' vaieties) and have never had a dud one. Well apart from the time my PC decided to shut itself off in the middle of writing, but that's hardly the discs fault!! That one became a nice shiny coaster for my beer. Meaning that it was recycled and therefore environmentally friendly too. So, good value, reliable and nice to trees. What more could you ask for in a blank DVD disc!!!
Just be careful that you buy the correct format disc. I have a laptop which I bought in 2001 that has a DVD-Rom drive. As this is a read-only drive I didn't think it would matter if the discs were '-R' or '+R' once they had been written/burnt, they would just be read-only and therefore DVD-Rom. Nothing with my laptop said certain disc types wouldn't work so never thought anything of it. I burnt several '+R' discs worth of data which I intended to use on my laptop, but when I inserted them it didn't even recognise that a disc had been inserted so I couldn't use them. However '-R' discs work just fine on my laptop!!! So to cut a long and tedious story short my advice is to make sure you buy the correct discs or you will end up with a lot of shiny beer coasters!!
Maxell Blank DVD-R 16X 50pk Spindle
Sony 2GB Memory Stick Pro Duo Mark 2
When I got my PSP on release date I bought 2 1GB Memory Sticks (1 Sony, 1 SanDisk) and they both cost me around £80 each. Then a couple of months ago Play.com were selling this 2GB version for £27.99, which I bought without hesitation. Now that it's down to £17.99 there is absolutely no excuse not to buy at least one of them. The 32mb stick I got with the PSP is, to be perfectly honest, useless in it's size. Why Sony thought it would be a good idea is beyond me so buying extra memory is pretty much the first thing to do just to make the PSP the multimedia experience it's supposed to be. Now some will argue that you should get 4GB or 8GB because more memory is better and that is true, but for most people the 2GB stick is perfectly adequate. I have around 4 hours of video, 130 mp3's, around 200 photo's, half a dozen demos plus all my game saves and downloaded content and still have 120mb free from the initial 2GB. So for me this size of memory stick is perfect because you can get a fair amount of things on it and it's at a very good price, plus if you need more room just buy another one for the very reasonable price of £17.99 (and will probably be even less in the not too distant future). You can also use these with the PS3 if you use the supplied adapter to view photos and listen to mp3's stored on the memory stick. Though a word of warning about doing this, when I tried it I couldn't get the thing back out of the PS3 as there wasn't enough of the thing poking out for me to grab and I ended up having to use a pair of pliers! But it worked perfectly other than that.
Star Wars: Darth Vader Replica FX Lightsaber Episode IV
Gifts & Gadgets
He he he he he! That's what I thought the first time I turned one of these on, I just couldn't help myself. For someone that was around to watch the original Star Wars at the cinema it's like having the perfect tool to regress back to childhood and I love it. If you're a Star Wars fan (regardless of your age) you've always wanted a 'real' lightsaber, even if you won't admit to it, this is as close as your going to get. The feel, the sound and the glow of the blade all as authentic as could be, with the added bonus of not accidentally hacking your own limbs off following some over-enthusiastic twirling!
I decided to get both the Darth Vader and Obi-Wan Kenobi versions because I didn't want them to be lonely. Plus 2 is always better than 1 and now I can do the whole dual-wielding thing too, which puts an even bigger grin on my face, especially in a pitch black room as these things give off so much light, it's just a dance of red, blue and purple (as the light mixes). The best £110 I've ever spent. I also have to point out here just how speedy the delivery was, the Darth Vader one turned up less than 24 hours after I'd clicked buy with the Obi-Wan Kenobi version following around 24 hours later. So both of them in less than 2 days, now that's what I call service.
Another thing to note here is that each Lightsaber only uses 3 'AA' batteries, so fairly economical to run too. Though you'll probably need to get a few spares because once you've used one of these you can't leave then alone. Whenever you have a couple of spare minutes 'Lightsabers' just pops into your mind. It truly is amazing how much joy a couple of fluorescent tubes can give you.
The only down sides I have are that the hilts are a little big but it does explain in the instructions that this is because of all the electrical gubbins they had to put into them. Also the Darth Vader lightsaber can be a little uncomfortable to hold with the Obi-Wan Kenobi much more hand friendly (especially for smaller hands).
But the biggest downside is that these prove that we could never be real Jedi's because when you're using them you just have the biggest Cheshire cat grin on your face constantly. How are you supposed to have an air of authority if you can't stop giggling every time you turn on your lightsaber?
If you can afford one buy one (and bear in mind that it wasn't so long ago that you would have had to shell out around £250 for one of these), if you can afford more buy more you won't regret it, I certainly haven't. Just deciding whether to get the Darth Maul version now!
Joytech USB Quickcharge Cable Double Pack (PS3)
One of the dumbest decisions Sony made with the PS3 pack was the next to useless 3ft charging cable for the sixaxis. Wireless controllers are great but chances are you're going to need to recharge when you're in the middle of a game so what do you do? You pause the game, plug in the cable and carry on playing. Erm, not with a 3ft cable you don't, unless you want to sit directly in front on the television screen because that's about how far the cable will reach (because most people will have their PS3's sat next to their TV). This isn't so bad if you have 2 (or more) controllers and can alternate between them when the battery gets low, but most people will either only have one controller or if they have more it's because more than one person will be playing, so you'd be stuffed either way.
So it's Joytech to the rescue with this double pack of 10ft charging cables. Personally I would have paid the money for one (that's how frustrated I feel about the mini-cable) but you get two of them for the money, bonus. The cables themselves feel well constructed and have a quick release mechanism which splits the cable in two should someone decide to trip over the cable. Though I'm not sure which would release first, this mechanism, the USB connection on the controller or the USB connection on the PS3, and I'm not going to kick it to find out because I'd rather keep my PS3 where it is and not on the floor in bits (should it not do what it's supposed to).
Also worth noting is that these will work if you want to connect your PSP to your PS3 and can be used for any other USB products that uses the same connection type if you want to connect them to your PC, or PS3 I guess.
So Mr Sony take note, this is what should have been included with the PS3 and may I suggest that in future you include something of this length and not the 3ft one.
Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi FX Lightsaber
If you can afford one buy one (and bear in mind that it wasn't so long ago that you would have had to shell out around £250 for one of these), if you can afford more buy more you won't regret it, I certainly haven't.