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Samsung 16GB Essential Micro SD Memory Card / Class 6
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I tested the card's performance and saw 20 MB/s read and 12 MB/s write; not far off what Samsung are advertising. This is roughly the same as I get from the full-size 2 GB SanDisk Extreme III (also class 6) SD card I am using in my digital camera. I expect I will need that performance when recording 1080p video with my Galaxy S2.
For comparison, the same test with an 8 GB SanDisk (class 2) micro SD card yielded just 7 MB/s write performance, although the reads were the same (may be a limitation of the card reader in my PC).
The card also comes with a micro SD to full-size SD card adaptor, which I wasn't expecting. Not at all bad value for money. Highly recommended.
SanDisk 16GB SDHC SD Memory Card
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A quality branded SD card for little over one pound per GB. Technology never ceases to amaze me, but this is a 16 GB card for mere pocket money. I put the card in my Creative Zen MP3 player and it works a treat (use Microsoft SyncToy to sync the card with iTunes).
Sounds Of The Universe (CD & DVD)
Depeche Mode - CD
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I did not expect too much from this album. Bearing in mind how good Playing the Angel was, I figured they might not be able to maintain such a high standard. There is a lot of quality synthpop around at the moment with the likes of Royksopp, Client, the Pet Shop Boys are back on form and even Lily Allen is getting in on the act. However, the old masters Depeche Mode have left them all for dead again.The single "Wrong" was promising but Sounds of the Universe has turned out to be 13 tracks of sheer joy. Shameless use of nasty analogue synth sounds (even for more so than previous albums) throughout, in some cases reminiscent of Switched On Bach and even the good old Commodore 64. Equally shameless vintage beatbox rhythms keep the album chugging along; more upbeat than Playing the Angel but no less soulful.Some reviews stated that the second half is weak - don't believe it. "Perfect" is one of the best songs I've heard in years and the eery, haunting "Jezebel" is stuck in my head and I can't get it out (incredible vocal from Martin Gore there).Despite being almost 30 years into their career Depeche Mode have developed an new sound for themselves, even more electronic than before (if that were possible). For me, this is an instant classic. Depeche Mode are gods.
Terminator 2: Judgement Day
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Strange that they release T2 on Blu-ray before the first film. Be that as it may, this is a great no-nonsense presentation of what most people would call the best of the Terminator series. No special features to speak of, no overly complicated menu system, just the full director's cut in all its 1080p glory - the picture quality is fantastic.
The scenes deleted from the theatrical release (including the one with Michael Biehn) are all there. As for the film itself, the special effects hold up well by today's standards and it is great to watch in high-definition. Best thirteen quid I have spent this month.
Royksopp - CD
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Röyksopp is one of those bands that epitomise my taste in music, for some reason I never bought this CD until this week. Having listened to it, I can scarcely believe my own stupidity.
Instantly a chill-out classic, very reminiscent of Mike Oldfield's Incantations in parts. Can't wait for the next album, due out later this year apparently. I'll have that on pre-order!
Hostel 2: Unseen Edition
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I got this in a bundle with my Blu-ray player, I wouldn't have chosen it as I wouldn't say I'm a fan of over-the-top pretend violence. It seems strange to include this in such an offer, hardly fun for all the family. Not having seen the first film, I was obliged to buy that on Blu-ray as well.
The film itself is worth watching, but it's not one I have been back to. The plot and acting are fairly solid, more importantly there is sufficient variation from the first film. It could have been better, but as modern-day slasher movies go it has its place.
The Young Ones: 25th Anniversary Complete Series 1 and 2 (3 Discs)
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Some of the other reviews state that these are the full, unedited episodes. I'm sorry to say this isn't quite true. Several scenes were cut from the previous DVD releases, many of which (including the incidental Beatles music) have been reinstated. Ken Bishop's Nice Twelve are all present and correct, but a scene from "Nasty" (the one with the two teddy bears on Rick's bed) is cut. Other than that the DVD set isn't bad at all, the episodes are a bit clearer and the menus are a lot prettier than the previous release. The documentaries on the third disc are a little uninspiring but worth watching once. Obsessive compulsives like myself will still be disappointed, but considerably less so than the last time we bought the Young Ones on DVD.
Sony BDP-S300 Blu-ray Disc Player
Just to echo Silver4life's comment about the free discs from Sony, when I registered mine it said the offer included not only the Spider Man Trilogy but the Pirates of the Caribbean Trilogy as well. With the bundled discs from Play, that's 11 free films on Blu-ray which if bought separately would cost £180!I needed a new DVD player and thought I might as well upgrade to Blu-ray, considering the demise of HD-DVD it didn't seem such an extravagance. I initially wondered if it would be worth it, but five minutes into Casino Royale I had a massive grin on my face.The player itself is reassuringly high-quality and I'm finally getting my money's worth out of my Bravia TV as well. Cracking...
Tubular Bells 2003 (With Bonus DVD)
Mike Oldfield - CD
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It wasn't until reading the Wikipedia article on the original Tubular Bells that I found out this re-recording existed. It is extraordinarily faithful to the original, but at the same time enhances its overall sound to great effect.
The differences are subtle but wonderful. Mike has obviously made use of the techniques he has developed over the years, as heard on his (relatively) more recent albums.