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SanDisk Sansa Clip Zip / 8GB/ MP3 Player / Grey
The device itself is very good but there are two things you must do before you start using it in anger: (a) Throw away the bundled earphones as they are next to useless (very uncomfortable to wear/jam into your ear and they have virtually no treble response at all), and (b) reset the device's location to be "Rest Of The World" (as opposed to "Europe") otherwise you'll hardly hear a thing as the device is automatically limited to a paltry 85dB in Europe. With these mods in place, you're good to go. The device has had some minor updates from the early one I bought a few years ago including a very useful microSD card slot, some repositioning of the controls and some new functions. With decent earphones, I'd give it 5*.
Western Digital Elements Desktop 2TB / 3.5 inch USB External Hard Drive / Black
Product worked pretty well for three months with no issues, then last week it delivered the unwelcome "click of death" on power-up. Everything on the disk was therefore lost. I use a mirrored back-up system, so even though all the data on the disk was gone, a copy was preserved on my mirror drive.
On the positive side, Play agreed to replace the fault item pretty quickly and paid back the return postage also.
Over the last 12 months, this is the second Western Digital Element drive of mine that has gone bad; even though their street-cred is usually pretty good, I am going to avoid them from now on in.
James Cameron's Avatar: The Game
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The hype as always is good but this game does not do much justice to its bigger brother. Gameplay is almost wireframe, the graphics are very basic and it soon becomes a tedium to continue playing. Character movement is jerky and the range of movement is not that great. Even the hissing ambient soundtrack soon gets annoying. Basic idea is to complete various missions by running through the jungle and man-made compounds killing off the Company reps as you proceed and gathering life-energy points en route (which can be exchanged for various minor upgrades). It gets a 12 rating for violence and language.
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Mucho hype and that's about all.
Before a Director can do any justice to a planned "action-move based sci-fi" project, he/she must have some decent material to work with in the form of an engaging storyline, fast-paced action sequences, special effects, characters the audience will bond with and care about and more of the things that made the original great. Hmmmm... what went wrong? What little action there is is delivered at a snail's pace and providing the Predators with company in the form of testosterone enriched porcupines was not going to solve the core problem of a weak storyline... really disappointed!
Monster Hunter Freedom: Unite
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Been looking forwards for this "update" for a long time and it doesn't disappoint with scores of new quests, several new monsters, weapons and armours. The gameplay has been improved and some previously gold-dust rarity items (like Hvy Armour Spheres and Dobiscus) are now pretty readily available. So if you couldn't quite get your weapons and armour up to spec with MHF2 then this release will certainly help you complete much of what you started out to achieve. The new gathering Hall monster worthy of getting your clan together to unite in battle, is the Akanlos - an icy wastelands cousin of the MHF2 Akantor. But to unlock that fearsome beast you'll need to get acquainted with a few new other ones, like the Naracuga! To take these creatures on, you'll certainly need to sharpen those new weapons and max-up your armour. For the Village Elder quests, you can now be joined by a travelling companion (a Felyne) to help keep those monsters at bay. I really hope that someone like Peter Jackson gets to hear about Monster Hunter, as I'm sure he could make a briliant movie about what goes on in the world of Minegarde!!
Black Clouds & Silver Linings (3CD Limited Edition)
Dream Theater - CD
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This album is for people who previously might have loved the likes of satriani, malmsteen, metallica, mastermind, iron maiden, rush, queen, deep purple, elp to name but a few of the many influences, because the raw dna of all of those great bands has been synthesised into something pretty wonderful by dream theater! The sound quality and production values are excellent with many tracks destined to become classics. Great effort...
Terminator: Salvation (Terminator 4)
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So disappointing - when the loading times and cut scenes seem to amount to more than the actual game-play itself you know things will not turn out good! The main problem is the game-play though - its just a repetitive chore of blasting wasps and spiders in most areas. Graphics are not brilliant and the soundtrack is laboured. The ending is so underwhelming, it really makes you think they put the demo version on the real game disc! You will probably complete the whole game in under 90m. One to rent or avoid I'm afraid.
SanDisk Sansa 8GB Clip MP3 Player (Silver)
This is one of my favourite "little" toys; I take it everywhere - I usually clip it onto my watch strap and just use it whenever! The battery lasts for a long time - I flew out to Orlando recently (9 hour flight), used it for a few hours before take off and for most of the flight and there was still 50% charge left - they estimate around 15 hours and I think they are right. One of the reviewers had a problem with a car stereo detecting the device - I can't be sure but this may be down to some piece of DRM jiggery-pockery that Microsoft insist get put onto these types of devices. This DRM stuff is not a big deal in general and you can just drag and drop music files onto the Music folder as you please. There is a setting that the unhappy reviewer can play with to see if their car stereo will pick the Sansa up- basically if you click on "Home - Settings - USB Mode" there are three options: AUTO, MTP and MSC, As I use mine pretty exclusively on PCs, I just keep it on "AUTO" - in your car maybe set it to MTP or MSC - that might just fix your issue?
In summary, you can play audio files, audio books, use it as a voice recorder (built in mike) or just as some nice USB memory (the display is also useful). We've got through probably around 4 iPod Shuffles over the last few years (they seem to last around 12 months) but Ive had my Sansa for over two years with no issues.
The Jimi Hendrix Experience: Live At Monterey
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What would you expect on a HD video transfer from film stock over 40 years old? Well probably something a little better than this! If this was your first ever dabble into the murky world of HD DVD then you might be disappointed with your investment. In summary, the video needs to be improved: it generally lacks detail (its often quite blurry/soft & dark), its quite grainy throughout and it needs more cleaning to remove various elements of video noise. All of my "Universal" HD DVDs carry the branding "The Look And Sound Of Perfect" - oddly, this one didn't...
On the positive side the remastered audio is clean and crisp (but lacking bass I felt) and there are at least some extras.
Terminator 2: Judgement Day
Like some other reviewers here, I found the transfer rather disappointing and not to my liking; its far from "perfect" (e.g. they could have scrubbed the image a lot cleaner to remove specs of black/white noise, there's a far amount of grain throughout and night time detail could be better). Having said all that its image quality is still a lot better than my original SD but way short of where this HD needs to be to attract repeat consumers. I wasn't able to hear the "HD DTS" soundtrack as my amp only recognised it as (or downgraded it to) Dolby 5.1. The soundtrack is offered in French HD DTS also.