1. Omega J8005 Reviews

    If juicing slowly to preserve enzymes matters to you, reviewers indicate the auger-drive, masticating Omega J8005 juicer is your best juicer. It’s not so great with soft fruits and vegetables, but it’s slow and powerful enough to work through any harder produce, and it can even make nut butter.

    The bottom line

    There’s no consensus regarding whether juicing more slowly really preserves the enzymes in the juice or not. For those who believe that it does, the Omega J8005 is an obvious favorite because it will juice almost anything, and do it very slowly. Note that the Omega J8003 (*Est. $220) is the same machine, only with some cosmetic differences. For those who don’t want to spend half an hour making a cup or two of juice, a versatile, powerful centrifugal juicer like the well-rated Breville Ikon BJE510XL (*Est. $200) makes more sense.

    Performance

    Versatile, but slow. Reviewers say the Omega J8005 delivers on its promises of handling even tough tasks, like mincing vegetables and making nut butter. One review we spotted even talks about experimenting with making protein bars. Others talk about making things like pasta, rice flour, peanut and almond butter and more. However, the J8005 sometimes struggles with softer produce. “With cucumber, pineapple and tomato … the yield is somewhat poor,” says an Amazon.com reviewer.

    Jim Rubel, an enthusiastic juicer who’s made a hobby of creating video reviews of various juicers, uses a sound meter to measure the J8005’s noise levels at about 80 or 81 decibels, so it’s relatively quiet compared to other juicers. One thing the J8005 isn’t, however, is fast; one owner, writing on Viewpoints.com, estimates the time for juicing one or two glasses and cleaning everything up at 25 to 30 minutes, and others agree that using the J8005 takes a bit of time and effort.

    Ease of use

    Super-fast cleaning and assembly times. We saw comments that the J8005 juicer’s intake tube is on the slender side. Most seem to accept the smaller tube philosophically, but still wish they didn’t have to spend time chopping produce before juicing it. On the plus side the Omega J8005 doesn’t require much counter space, and a flip-up handle makes it easy to tote around.

    While the task of juicing isn’t quick, setup and takedown are reasonably easy. A video review at BestJuiceExtractorReviews.com shows the owner assembling it in about 20 seconds. It’s attractive enough to keep on a counter between uses, says one Amazon.com reviewer, who adds that cleanup is fairly easy. Cleanup is also quick, with another Amazon.com user estimating it at “maybe two minutes tops.”

    Durability

    Some questions arise, though most seem pleased. Most have no complaints with the Omega J8005 when it comes to durability. As an example, an Amazon.com reviewer who has used the juicer for several months reports, “It is a solid, well-built machine.”

    That said, we found a smattering of complaints that the juicer broke after a few months of use, and multiple complaints that the juicing screen cracked in short order when used for wheatgrass (several reviewers say the replacement screen broke, too). So while the majority of buyers are very happy with the Omega J8005’s long-term performance, there are enough dissenters to raise some concerns.

  2. Samsung Galaxy S4 software Reviews

    If the S4’s familiar design doesn’t tempt you to open your wallet, Samsung has bundled in a bunch of extra software nuggets to help shake the cash loose. WatchOn connects your S4 to your TV service provider, showing you programme listings and allowing you to easily flick to a particular channel by controlling your TV via the infrared port.

    I gave WatchOn a try on the Note 8 and was disappointed that it didn’t seem to work. Testing it with the S4, I was much more successful, managing to pull up listings for Virgin Media. You can see a full channel list, or a curated selection of TV shows and movies. Theoretically, you’re then able to control your set-top box with the phone and put on whatever show piqued your interest.

    Samsung Galaxy S4
    It’s handy to see a TV guide on your phone, but it wouldn’t connect to my Virgin Media box, making it redundant.

    In my own use however, I wasn’t able to connect my Virgin Media box (made by Samsung) to the phone. I was able to control my TV — an improvement on the Note 8 then — but I couldn’t properly take advantage of the service. I wasn’t able to spend a lot of time fiddling around to make it work, so I’ll come back to this again when I take a deeper look. Even so, it’s disheartening that it didn’t work properly first time.

    Another feature borrowed from Samsung’s Note range is the ability to show two apps on screen at once. Press and hold the back button to bring up a panel, showing compatible apps. You can then select two to display at once. It’s too fiddly to make it truly useful in a rush, but it’s very handy for typing an address on a website into Google Maps, without needing to switch between two apps.

    Samsung Galaxy S4
    The S4 lets you view two apps at once. It’s handy for checking information in a Web page while you write it down elsewhere.

    With Optical Reader, you can use the augmented reality display to translate words using the camera — handy if you’re staring, confused at a French road sign. Take photos of business cards and — assuming they’re legible enough — it can recognise the words, the telephone number and email address and automatically save the details to a contact. It worked perfectly in my test and can be genuinely useful — especially if you ever return from a conference with 100 or more business cards.

    Samsung Galaxy S4
    It easily recognised the details on my business card, allowing me to save them to a new contact.

    There’s also a translation tool, which lets you either speak your own language to have it translated (and spoken aloud) into a different language, or have someone else speak into it to translate it into words you understand. It was able to recognise my own speech well, and translated it quickly into French. Whether or not you can use it to have a full conversation is debatable.

    Samsung Galaxy S4
    With S Translate, you can say a sentence and have the phone read it aloud in another language — perfect if you’re caught short in France.

    Samsung’s also taking its own steps into the health and exercise world with S Health. Pop in your gender, height, weight and a few other bits of far too personal information, and it’ll track your calorie intake and exercise routine to help shift those troublesome pounds. Samsung has a sports band — similar to the Jawbone Up or Nike FuelBand — that’s designed to sync with the phone to track your exercise. I wasn’t able to test it out, so I’ll have to leave my verdict on that for another day.

    Samsung Galaxy S4
    You can track your activity and food intake with S Health. Whether you want to be shamed about how much cake you’re eating is another matter entirely.

  3. How to Choose Between Cloth and Disposable Diapers

    When choosing between a cloth diaper or a disposable diaper, there are many considerations that may affect your choice. Let us discuss the main considerations when deciding to use disposable diapers or cloth diapers.

    Cost of use

    A disposable diaper is made up of a combination of plastics and paper using a complicated manufacturing process. A diaper costs around the range of $0.20 to $0.40 depending of the size and brand, and is applicable for 1 time use. Even if the baby did not wee wee or poo poo, there is no way to re-use the diaper once it is taken off as it uses a stick on tape like material fastener. Considering a newborn uses approximately 10 to 12 diapers daily, and this number gradually decreases as your baby grows, the number of diapers your child could use in the first 3 years is horrifying. Multiply that by a average cost per piece and just imagine how much is spent just on proper managing of your baby’s waste material.

    Cloth diapers, on the other hand cost much more initially but since they are washable and re-usable, is more cost effective in the long run. There are a few types of cloth diapers, namely pre-fold diapers, AIO diapers, pocket diapers and fitted diapers. The popular types of cloth diaper are fitted diapers and pocket diapers. You will need about 30 cloth diapers during your initial buy, which makes up 3 day’s supply of diapers for you to use, rotate and wash. Absorbency of the cloth diaper can be adjusted with adding additional of inserts which can be purchased separately at a lower cost.

    Environment friendly

    Most disposable diapers are non bio-degradable and this means that disposal of it is by means of landfill. Imagine thousands of used diapers being bagged up and disposed daily, all of it goes to a garbage dump somewhere unpopulated and buried. As these diapers are part plastic, part paper with chemicals, no one has any idea how these acts will affect the environment in the long run.

    Cloth diapers, on the other hand, are mainly made up of fabric. Only the fasteners like the snap on buttons, or Velcro or pins may be made of other materials. Some cloth diapers require plastic covers to waterproof the diaper, and since that too, is re-useable, the carbon footprint left on the environment is considerably smaller. During washing of the cloth diaper, waste material flows through the water pipes and is treated at your local waste treatment plant.

    Comfort

    To keep the cost of the diaper as affordable as possible, manufacturers sacrifice on the comfort. Disposable diapers usually don’t allow much breathing and the baby will feel very uncomfortable. Mothers will know, because it is the same as wearing menstrual pads during that time of the month. It is very uncomfortable. On the worse part, some disposable diapers cause skin irritations and allergies to your baby, so do check in on your baby often if you are using a new brand of disposable diapers.

    Cloth diapers, on the other hand, are made of thick cotton material where the surface touches the baby’s skin. It allows more comfort for the baby just like any of the clothes will.

  4. Amazon Kindle Fire HD 8.9 review

    The Kindle Fire HD 8.9 swells Amazon’s UK tablet offering to three devices, with the 8.9 sitting at the top of the pile, at least, in terms of size.

    It matches the design of the 7-inch Kindle Fire HD, and in many cases offers the same specs and functionality, with both devices surpassing the original Kindle Fire, which still exists as the cheapest member of the family.

    It’s designed as an entertainment tablet, taking some of the established experience from Amazon’s Kindle eBook readers and pushing it into an LCD device with wider content choices.

    It’s an Android-based tablet, but it’s the Amazon angle that’s important, as Amazon’s services are deeply integrated into the experience. But does that mean you miss out on the excitement of a more flexible Android tablet, or will the Kindle Fire HD 8.9 meet all your needs?

    Design

    There’s only so much you can do with tablet design and not much of that brings differentiation, not while you keep a conventional approach to things - unlike the Sony Xperia Tablet S for example.

    The Kindle Fire HD 8.9 shares the same design as the smaller Fire HD: both are well made with a solid construction, so feel like good-quality devices, even at their competitive prices.

    Finished with a tactile back cover, the Kindle Fire HD is a nice tablet to hold, with soft curves and enough bezel to ensure your fingers aren’t obscuring the display. Around the back it’s just black with a metal dividing back that carries the Kindle name and stereo speaker grills.

    Kindle Fire HD 8.9

    It measures 240 x 164 x 8.8mm and weighs 567g. It feels pretty weighty in the hand, a touch lighter than both the Nexus 10 and the iPad with Retina display, although both those devices have slightly larger displays. You’ll feel that weight if you’re holding the tablet watching a video in bed, for example, which is where the smaller 7-inch, at 395g, has the advantage.

    The physical controls and connections are set into the band around the edge. There’s the 3.5mm headphone socket, as well as Micro-USB and micro HDMI for connecting to a bigger screen, for example watching those Lovefilm movies.

    There’s also a volume rocker and standby button which both sit flush with the edge. If you’re planning to rest your tablet on one end while you’re reading a book or magazine, then the “other” end is clear of all buttons and connections, so you won’t turn it off as soon as you plonk it on the table.

    Display

    One of the highlights of the Kindle Fire HD 8.9 is the display. It has a 1920 x 1200 pixel resolution, which gives you 254ppi. That’s lower than the likes of the Nexus 10, but sits pretty close to the iPad with Retina display. Visually, it’s a lovely sharp display to look at and HD content looks stunning on it, be that from games, or streamed content from somewhere like Netflix or Lovefilm.

    It’s an IPS display too with great viewing angles and plenty of punch to colour. It has been designed to reduce glare, using the common lamination technique of reducing the gap between the actual display surface and the touch surface.

    Kindle Fire HD (front), Nexus 10 (rear). Note the rear display isn’t in focus, hence the softness.

    The approach works, and setting the Kindle Fire HD next to the Nexus 10, we found the reflections were reduced. However, in the same comparison, it’s obvious that the Kindle Fire HD 8.9 doesn’t produce the brightest whites, with a slightly yellow hue. In isolation, you might not notice it, but alongside a better display, you will.

    We also find it interesting that Amazon is talking about reducing reflection on the Kindle Fire HD, but the user interface predominantly uses a black background, which always emphasise reflections, something that a white or coloured background doesn’t.

    Hardware and performance

    Amazon doesn’t flag up the internals of the Kindle Fire HD 8.9 in the same way that other Android manufacturers do. There’s a 1.5GHz Texas Instruments OMAP4470 dual-core chipset in the 8.9 and although Amazon doesn’t advertise the RAM, it is reported as 770MB from the device.

    In reality, it’s slower to set about tasks than the Nexus 10 we have on the desk. Opening apps takes longer and even things like returning to the home screen takes longer than it needs to. We noticed a similar situation with the smaller device, as though the Kindle Fire has been designed for a slightly slower pace of life.

    Kindle Fire HD 8.9

    But opening up a slow to load app, like Real Racing 3 for example, there’s a noticeable difference of about 15 seconds before you get to do anything compared to the Nexus 10. Once in the game, it plays well enough, however navigation of the graphically rich main menu see a lag between finger movement and response, suggesting there might not be enough power, or it’s not optimised well enough.

    That said, it’s far from a poor experience, it’s not the fastest tablet out there, but then you have to consider affordability and application. When it comes to something like reading your Kindle books it is slick and smooth. Although the web browser is slower to launch than it could be, it’s fast enough to return results.

    That’s really the important point to consider: it might not be the best choice for gaming or power users, but for many other apps and online activities, it may well fit your needs at a price that’s right and at £229 (or £259 for the 32GB model), it’s certainly affordable.

    There is 16GB of internal storage but there’s no expansion slot for your own card. Amazon gives you access to your Amazon Cloud with unlimited online storage, meaning you can backup and restore content from the cloud as you need it, and with the company’s run of Android and iOS apps, that might fit conveniently into your cross-device plans.

    The battery in the Kindle Fire HD 8.9 will give you about 10 hours of entertainment. That’s about typical for this size of tablet and obviously, performance will vary depending on what you do with it. It’s worth noting that in the box you only get a USB cable, so you’ll need a charger: Amazon’s special PowerFast charger will cost you £12.99 and promises faster charging, but you can use any Micro-USB charger.

    The Amazonian ecosystem

    We’ve mentioned a couple of times that this is an Android tablet, but that’s not the end of the story, as it is a skew on Android completely taken over by Amazon’s user interface. That means you get the Amazon way of doing things from the home screen to the settings menu, with barely a hint at Google’s platform.

    That also means that what you get on the Kindle Fire HD is different from your Android phone or tablet. Although you’ll easily find your way around if you’re familiar with Android, and many of the apps are the same, the two things effectively exist in different worlds.

    Amazon Kindle Fire HD

    That means you don’t get Google’s apps: there’s no native Google Maps or Gmail app. Instead you access apps through Amazon’s own curated Amazon Appstore, so it’s different from Google Play you might have on an Android smartphone.

    However, if you’re really keen on getting regular Android apps onto the Kindle Fire HD, you can sideload them and many will run fine. For example, Dropbox isn’t in the Appstore, but head to the Dropbox website and there are detailed instructions about how to get the app running on your Kindle Fire.

    Instead Amazon offers an experience that’s unique to the Kindle Fire. The homepage is a simple timeline of things you’ve been doing, with large thumbnails. That means, rather than shortcuts or widgets, you can pick up your tablet, scroll back and tap that book you were reading or that website you were on.

    Kindle Fire HD

    It’s simple and although it doesn’t provide you with much in the way of personalisation, it does bring current content to the fore. Navigation around the device is governed by shortcuts across the top of the display into major content areas, like books, movies and apps. There’s a right-hand navigation controller that appears when needed offering search, menu and home, as well as other context-sensitive options.

    Swiping down from the top of the display gives you access to the notifications area as well as toggles for the hardware controls - Wi-Fi, brightness and so on - as well as the settings. Overall, it’s easy enough to find your way around.

    Do you feel entertained?

    Out of the box, this is an Amazon experience. Rather than signing in to your Google accounts (which you can do later for email, calendars and contacts), you sign into your Amazon account. Just like the Kindle reading devices, this is linked to your account, so anything you buy will be charged via your Amazon payment options. 

    Linking into your Amazon account also means that anything “Amazon” you already have, like Kindle books or AmazonMP3 music, is then available to you. Rather than syncing to the device, those content assets sit in the cloud until you draw them down. In the music section, for example, you have a tab for local and a tab for cloud music. You can stream that music or download it for offline play.

    We said it of smaller Kindle Fire HD, and the same applies here: the speakers are good for a tablet device. They boast Dolby Digital Plus certification and there’s plenty of definition right through the volume range. We’d say they offer the best speaker performance of a tablet and although they are bettered by headphones, the Kindle Fire HD is a great audio performer.

    Kindle Fire HD

    Plugging in headphones gives you a nice balanced delivery for your music, with nice rich bass and plenty of detail (assuming you’re using good-quality headphones). There’s little in the way of sound control however, and you have to return to the settings menu to toggle Dolby on and off.

    With books you get the clever syncing that persists across Amazon devices and apps, meaning you can move between devices and it will sync to the last read point, so long as those devices are connected to the internet.

    The reading experience gets some unique extras that you don’t get on the Kindle for Android app, and that’s the time left to finish the chapter you’re reading, derived from your average reading speed, and X-Ray. X-Ray lets you see more about the characters involved in the part of the book you’re in.

    Kindle Fire HD Kindle Fire HD

    It’s almost useful, not as useful as the equivalent service in videos, that will draw out information from IMDb so you can pull-up details about the actors in the scene.

    Videos come courtesy of Lovefilm. There’s a reasonable range on offer through Lovefilm Instant, although you need a subscription to the service if you plan to use it beyond the 30-day free trial. However, if you decide not to, there’s nothing to can do to change the tab, so you can’t have it link to Netflix, for example.

    You can also sideload your own files, but they don’t get added to the Videos tab. Instead you have to use the “personal videos” app. File format support is limited, but you at least get the option to add your own content from a PC as you wish.

    Finally on video, there’s no offline option from Lovefilm. That means you’ll need a connection to be able to watch the films you’re paying for (the same applies to Netflix), so if you want to watch movies on the plane, you’ll have to buy them elsewhere and load them on yourself.

    Any photos you have in Cloud Drive will also appear on the Kindle Fire HD, ready to view. Using the Cloud Drive app on your smartphone, you can easily have photos you take on your phone appear on your tablet for showing off on the big screen.

    Verdict

    There’s a lot to like about the Kindle Fire HD 8.9. As a tablet it looks good, both in terms of that display and the simple design. The build is good quality too and the speakers offer really impressive performance, as does the dual Wi-Fi antenna.

    As for the experience, it’s also easy enough to use, with content being at the forefront. If you’re a fan of Kindle, or of Amazon, then the Kindle Fire HD 8.9 might be just the tablet for you. It does just about everything you could want and is competitively priced.

    However, if you’re an experienced Android user, then you might find yourself better served by a straight Android tablet. Amazon has done a good job of enabling its ecosystem to support other devices, so much of what you find on the Kindle Fire 8.9 you can get elsewhere: Kindle for Android, Amazon Cloud Drive, Amazon MP3. All these apps bring the Kindle to any Android device.

    That means that the seemingly unique features of the Kindle Fire HD are reduced to a handful: Lovefilm streaming movies and the X-Ray features. Outside of those, you can get the Amazon experience and all the best of Google from any number of tablets.

    We like the Kindle Fire HD, but we still think it sits in the shadow of the better, more flexible tablets out there, but it’s hard to argue with the price.