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Sony Ericsson K770 / K770i Cyber-shot Vodafone Pre-Pay / Pay As You Go Mobile Phone (Pink)
As a Sony fan, I expected this phone to be good but it has surpassed all expectations.
I also own the W200i which is good but I've found myself using the camera more than I ever anticipated so it was time for an upgrade - and I haven't been disappointed. The camera is very good with far more features than I anticipated including auto focus, white balance, a panorama mode (even my still cameras don't offer this!), scene modes (eg landscape, beach/snow, twilight..), 4 photo resolutions, effects (eg sepia), spot metering, and a light with most of these also available in the video mode together with the ability to pause and resume filming a video. Post-production, the phone also offers a basic editing facility via Photo DJ whereby exposure can be corrected and red-eye removed.
The music player is similarly impressive with track recognition, good sound quality, a spatial stereo effect and equaliser - and yes, I really am describing a phone and not an MP3 player! Mobile TV is available and videos can be downloaded for playback. Naturally, there is a radio too and reception, using the antennae incorporated into the headset, is very good.
The phone will support up to 2GB M2 memory stick which will hold a large number of music tracks, photos and videos and a 256mb M2 memory stick is supplied (which also includes bonus ringtones, graphics and animated screensavers).
The organiser mode exceeds all expectations with a calender, no less than 5 alarms, calculator, timer, stopwatch and there's a handy LED light providing a useful torch.
I travel frequently and enjoy browsing maps. To my surprise, Sony have come up trumps once again by including Google Maps and a GPS location facility on the phone so wherever I am I can always access a map of any area and zoom in/out to the level of detail required, together with on-screen directions to another location.
Navigation throughout the mass of quality and useful features is both simple and logical with clear menu screens and a crystal clear display.
With all these features packed in a compact unit, it's almost possible to overlook the fact that the Sony K770i is actually a phone and, once again it excels. Internet browsing, email, predictive text messaging, video calls and even ordinary almost old fashioned voice telephone calls are available. Used as a phone, battery life is good, the sound is clear and bright and the phone simply cannot be faulted.
It's quite incredible that so much can be packed into such a small, neat, well-designed package but this is what Sony do best - and they've excelled themselves once again with the K770i. A highly recommended purchase.
Digital Coin Counting Money Bank
Gifts & Gadgets
1 New from
I had high hopes for this both for use as a 'money box' for saving and for counting loose change for exchange at the bank. However, I found that mine seldom counted correctly - even after resetting the counter to zero by the time I'd screwed the lid back onto the jar, it was registering 10p and then miscounted coins.
I tested the counter with 5 different sets of brand new AA batteries. Maybe I was just unlucky in receiving a faulty product but I was disappointed both by the quality and the erratic, unreliable performance - along with its inability to count - which rather defeats its purpose!
Is it Me or is it Hot in Here?
14 New from
This is the perfect read for women approaching the menopause, particularly those who were not expecting it and therefore haven't been prepared for the wide-ranging symptoms awaiting including the tedious tsunami of hot flushes. The inclusion of the experiences of real women is especially valuable for those of us feeling isolated and suffering in the midst of a still largely-taboo subject.
This book conveniently brings an analysis of treatment approaches together into one easy to read book, yet succeeds in avoiding over-medicalising a perfectly normal life transition.
It's a comprehensive guide, very well written and includes a welcome touch of humour. I'd also recommend it for baffled husbands and partners to warn them what to expect too!
Sanyo Xacti VPC-CG9 Digital Camcorder (Silver)
My first impression of the CG9 was that it looks very plastic - which it is, but it also looks cheap. Certainly, the plastic covers over the SD/SDHC card slot and battery compartment don't imply a high quality product but, having use the camera, I've concluded this, along with the flimsy lens cover, is probably the only negative on this little piece of kit.
Performance-wise, and this is what counts more than cosmetic appearance, it is good. Video quality is good and the 60 fps high resolution mode is very good. I won't say it's the best available but it's probably a lot better than that found on other budget camcorders under £200 - £300. It can be a little slow to focus if you pan too quickly or in dim conditions but this is common to many. However, there is a 'High Sensitivity' mode which works very well (although will inevitably produce noisy images) and it managed to pick up an image when filming in almost total darkness in a disused railway tunnel. The stereo sound is superb and the wind filter worked well when tested on the coast (but perhaps not quite as well as that on the waterproof CA65).
An excellent feature is the 9 megapixel camera which sets this apart from probably all other camcorders - most of which can shoot only at 640 x 480 resolution or perhaps 3 megapixel on the more expensive models. The Sanyo VPC-CG9 will produce superb quality pics at 9 megapixel and below but, thanks to the new CMOS processor, will also shoot a 2 megapixel (1600x1200) image while filming at up to 640x480 30 frames per second without pausing the video. I'm sure this is unmatched by any other camcorder in its class.
The camcorder produces mpeg-4 video files which are smaller and much more manageable than the mpeg-2 still produced by the majority of camcorders, but thankfully this is changing with more manufacturers beginning to switch to this more efficient format. Being smaller, these files are much easier to edit and easier for a PC to handle. Most current video software packages eg Adobe Premiere Elements, Sony Vegas etc provide codecs for editing these - but check the version first if you're about to place an order.
With its 'pistol grip' the camcorder is easy and comfortable to hold; the video, zoom and still picture buttons are in just the right spot - unlike the more awkward positioning on the waterproof versions (CA65 and CA8 models) and being small and lightweight, it's easy to carry everywhere. So, it's a camcorder you will actually use, and enjoy using, rather than one which stays in its box or bag because you can't be bothered to lug it around!
As for the plastic body, I'm now questioning if this is really so bad..? During the current sub-zero temperatures, I've found it actually warm to the touch unlike my cold metal-bodied cameras and as the battery is directly beneath my palm, this is staying warm so probably extending its life. Also, the plastic design and close-seams might have made it rather more splashproof than others so I've actually grown to rather like this feature although it was quite a turn-off when I first opened its box!
Sanyo Xacti VPC-CG9 Digital Camcorder (Black)
Sanyo Xacti VPC-CG9 Digital Camcorder (Pink)
Sony Memory Card Stick Micro M2 2GB
2 New from
The best value I've found and mine even included a card adapter too! Brilliant and excellent value for money!
HeadPhone Jack Splitter Stereo Adapter 3.5mm 2 x 3.5mm
5 New from
Ordered mid-afternoon and received the following day, well-packed and with free delivery. Excellent quality product at a very good price and first-rate service. Couldn't be better!
3.5mm Male Stereo Jack To Jack Audio Cable Gold 3m Lead
2 New from
2 x RCA Phono Female To 1 x 3.5mm Male Jack Audio Adapter