16 April 2017

Alcatel Pop 4 Android Phone Review




So Alcatel are what i would class as the budget end of the mobile market. Not a phone brand you tend to hear about alot, however that may all change with their latest budget model the Pop 4. 

The Pop 4 is part of a range of stylish budget smartphones which are said to combine design and performance at a very affordable price.

General Phone Stats
The phone boasts the following:

  • A large 6-inch IPS LCD 1080 x 1920 resolution screen
  • Sleek and slim curved design with metallic finish 
  • An Octa-core MediaTek P10 processor
  • 2 GB of RAM with 16 GB of internal storage (maximum user storage 11GB)
  • A 13-megapixel main camera along with a 5-megapixel front facing selfie camera
  • Fingerprint sensor
  • Micro SD storage expansion slot
  • 4G Connection
  • A powerful battery life offering over 15 hrs of talktime


Design
Now considering this is a budget phone the actual design is pretty good, nice brushed metallic finish, sleek curved design and nice overall screen ratio. Also considering the size of phone, which is rather large - it also feels nice and light. The main thing is it doesn't look like a budget phone.



Screen Quality
The screen quality is excellent even though it has mid range resolution with a 367ppi screen (medium pixel density). Colours are vivid and clear and the screen expands right to the edge giving you ample screen space for taking photos, gaming and surfing the net.





Processor Power and Storage
The phone has a Octa-core, 1800 MHz, ARM Cortex-A53, 64-bit processor and it comes with a pretty standard 2gb of RAM. The general function of the phone is quick and responsive with email, internet and general apps all running and performing easily with no lag. With regards to gaming and streaming music i found no real issues at all - you can comfortably play without any drag and music streaming was great.

The phone has 16GB of internal storage which is pretty standard, but you can expand this up to an extra 32GB with the Micro SD capability. 

Battery Power
This is a huge plus point with this phone - battery life was excellent. My current phone is a Samsung and pretty much most evenings after a standard days use of email, text messages, browsing, using social apps etc - I'm getting the battery low warning every evening - this just wasn't the case with the Pop 4 and most evenings it would be at about 25/30% so big gold star for that!! Another plus is the quick charge feature which allows you to charge your phone up to a max of 50% within 30 minutes.

Camera
The phone has a 13MP camera as well as a 5MP front facing selfie camera. The large screen is a huge advantage however the overall quality of the photos taken isn't the sharpest I have seen, but for general every day usage its great. Simple to use with 6 different modes:

  • Auto mode: just aim and shoot, it also auto focuses for you. Also if you hold down the shoot button it goes into burst mode and takes a series of shots whilst you hold the button down. These are then displayed in order and you have the option to then save them as individual images.
  • HDR: High Dynamic range - basically balances the shadows and highlights of a photo
  • Panoramic mode: which has a cool onscreen features which shows you the image being built as you pan across
  • Manual mode: where you have control and can take the photo your way
  • Scanner function mode
  • Face Beauty mode: Applies a soft focus to the photo when taking selfies

The video camera option has zoom capability whilst recording which is really handy and there is an option to trim the video once taken. 

Set up and Applications
Set up is pretty straight forward and pretty standard for an android phone - just follow the on screen instructions, link your google account etc. etc. and you are up and running in no time. The phone comes with your standard set of factory fitted apps and you can download new from the Google App Store. Standard apps include:

  • Calendar
  • Contacts
  • Camera
  • Email/Gmail
  • One Drive
  • Maps
  • Messaging
  • Google Play Store
  • Weather
  • File Transfer
  • Gallery
  • User care: basically an online warrenty and hardware testing app
  • And comes with some standard social apps including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
Messaging/Keyboard function
The benefit of the large screen is that the keyboard function on this phone is alot larger - its not only large but it has a multitude of features:

  • Don't like a large keyboard - there are 5 different sizes to choose from as well as 3 different keyboard layouts. 
  • You can unlock the keyboard from the bottom of the screen and move it to where you want it
  • You can add, change, activate different key functions
  • You can even change the theme of the keyboard

There are a load of other functions also - maybe a bit OTT for a keyboard function, however if you spend alot of time flexing those thumbs this vast functionality allows you to set your phone just how you like it. 




Value for money
So this phone retails anywhere between £89 - £120, prices vary dependent on retailer and deal offered. Considering this is a budget phone you don't feel compromised on quality and it holds its own against the more pricier options on the market. For a simple to use, everyday day phone you can't go wrong.

Overall Conclusion
As far as budget phones go I have to say I'm quite impressed. Sleek robust design and large vibrant screen makes it look like a much pricier model. Major pros are the excellent battery life and a easy functioning camera. The cons to this phone i would say are the storage - internal storage isn't massive but the 32GB expansion option is a blessing ( just remember to format SD as internal). Alcatel have packed alot into this budget version and it offers excellent functionality and value for money. 

Thank you to Alter Agency for allowing me to review the Pop 4 Phone.



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28 March 2017

Tech Review: Lee Stafford 'No Strings Attached' straighteners

Lee Stafford Cordless Straighteners

So cordless is finally a thing now and being a 'corded straightener' aficionado the prospect of having a cordless version was an exciting one........
freedom to finally style where i wanted and Lee Staffords version doesn't disappoint.


Lee Stafford Cordless Straighteners

So firstly packaging - So the box comes in Lee's trademark dark pink and black box which easily stands out on any shelf and looks like a quality product.

The box contains:
Black heating mat
Pink weighted heating base
Carry case
Cable and the straighteners themselves

Lee Stafford Cordless Straighteners

    Headline grabbers for these straighteners are:

  • Soft touch rubberised finish - sleek and striking looking but also make it a whole lot easier to grip when in use
  • Can be used cordless or corded - you have to place these in the base to heat up. (note they DO NOT contain a rechargeable battery so you have to place it back in the base to heat up between styling sections) - having the corded option gives you the flexibility if you are styling for a longer period.
  • Heats up quickly - up to 230 degrees and then stays hot for up to 15 mins (this is dependent on hair type)
  • Long lasting - retains the heat for a good 15 minutes depeneding on hair type
  • Anti Frizz with tourmaline-ceramic coated plate
  • Comes with a nifty carry bag and heat resistant mat.
  • 2 years manufacturers warranty


Lee Stafford Cordless Straighteners



Lee Stafford Cordless Straighteners

So usability - obviously the massive bonus with these straighteners is the fact you are not tied to a plug socket - meaning freedom to style your hair where you like. 

The base charger is compact and sturdy, made in the same pink rubbery finish as the straighteners. Just pop the straighteners in, switch the base on, switch the straighteners on and wait for it to charge (takes a couple of minutes). The soft rubbery grip makes them excellent to handle so perfect when using various hair products. 

So for tackling my hair the tourmaline/ceramic plates  just simply glided through......and my hair is pretty thick. I have to admit i was initially sceptical regarding the performance of a cordless version - would it heat up hot enough?, would it retain the heat?......well yes and yes, it does both.....It retains the heat very well and gave me the ability to complete a few sections before having to return it to the base to reheat up. Styling your hair without a cord is so much easier.....definitely a convert.

Please note - because these are cordless it doesn't mean they are also designed for travel - the base is pretty heavy and cumbersome for packing -  they are purely designed to make styling at home easier. That said you can take these away as a corded option no problem.

Conclusion
All in all if you are looking for a quality set of straighteners that offer you the best of both worlds (corded and cordless) then look no further - the plates produced excellent results and took a lot less effort to get the desired finish.....why didnt they come up with these sooner!!

If you fancy grabbing yourself a pair then hop on over to Amazon as they are currently retailing for £49.99 instead of the usual £69.99.













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22 January 2017

Tech Review: Lee Staffords CoCo LoCo Irons


So these straighteners are part of Lee Staffords Haircare range and the main difference between these any other similar straighteners out in the market is that these ones come with coconut oil infused ceramic plates, which are said to help protect your hair.

Packaging & Aesthetics
The straighteners come in quite basic packaging, which after reviewing Lee Staffords Academy Hairdryer (see my review here) I was pretty disappointed with, but i suppose it goes with the lower end price these irons are being sold at. The straighteners themselves are a pearlised pink colour with dark pink buttons and gold floating plates. The cable is a good length and its a swivel cord meaning you don't get the dreaded cord tangle issue.


Design & Usabiility
The plate end has a nice rounded curve feature and the benefit of this is it gives you the ability to create different styles - so not just pure straightening you can curl and flick also.

The straighteners have variable temperature settings ranging from 120 - 200 and the heat is controlled by 2 buttons on the side to reduce or increase the heat. When switched on there is an LED display on the top panel which displays the current heating setting which is really handy. They heat up fairly quick and i normally go for 200 as i do like really straight hair.


The plates are a really good width and this is where the coconut comes into play - when heated up the plates transfer the coconut onto the hair so when you pull the hair through it slides through easily and leaves your hair with an added shine and smooth finish. I have pretty thick hair and these glided through no problem - i have to admit that the low price of these made me a bit sceptical as to their performance but for a lower end pair of straighteners i was really impressed. 



The rounded curve design of these does help with the curling element should you wish to use these to curl your hair. I do find sometimes curling with straighteners they can stick and jar whilst twisting - these don't which means less risk of hair damage.

The straighteners have 2 safety features which include a shut off function after 45 mins and also a handy lock feature which closes the plates shut. They also come with a 2 year guarantee.

Conclusion
Overall this is a decent set of irons - however i must admit that i still prefer my previous straighteners as they gave me a more sleeker finish, but these do work better for curling than my last ones. The price is an absolute bargain at around £27.50  so if you are looking for a bargain set of irons that do the job then look no further.

Thank you to Review Directory for giving me the opportunity to try these irons.


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8 January 2017

Zenmeds New Reconstructive Makeup Range



















Zenmed (in case you haven't come across them before) are best know for their reconstructive skincare which targets skin ailments such as rosacea and acne. Their latest offering sees them step into the makeup market with 2 brand new products designed to correct redness and even out skintone.




















Firsty their Complexion Perfecter - which is basically a redness correcting beauty balm. Available in 4 shades fair, light, medium and dark it comes in a sleek black box and dispenses from a squeezable tube.  it contains 3 skin benefits which are:

  • Matrixyl peptide which is anti ageing busting and helps improve the look of fine lines and wrinkles.
  • Olive Extract and Hibiscus Syriacus which help hydrate the skin.
  • A broad spectrum SPF 25 


The cream is very easy to blend and gives quite a sheer coverage yet still somehow manages to tone down any red areas of the skin. Colour match is really good and skin feels soft and natural. Having generally pale skin as well I love the inclusion of the SPF.

So to finish off the look they have also created HiDef CC Powder which is a colour corrector mineral powder which contains ingredients such as  jojoba, licorice root extract, green tea leaf, and aloe vera. The powder is a yellow colour which is designed to target redness but also cover up pores. Its perfect for a range of skin woes such as dark circles, blemishes, uneven skintone, redness and discolouration. 

I would say be light on the coverage to start as the yellow colour can be quite obvious if you put too much on. Use a brush rather than a puff as the coverage is alot more even. The yellow hue to the powder really calms down any angry redness and its gives a great finish to the Complexion Perfecter. 

Overall the two products compliment each other perfectly - great for evening out skintones and hiding flushed cheeks.

The products are both available from the Zenmed website with the BB Cream selling for £26 and the powder £24.

Whilst we are on the topic of Zenmed I also recently tried another of their products which is from their skincare range - Organic Cream Exfoliator.
















This is a scrub designed for very sensitive skin and uses jojoba microspheres to get rid of the nasty dead skin cells. With ingredients such as organic lavender, white tea, calendula and chamomile its gentle enough to use daily.

The scrub on application is very fine and creamy and a little goes a long way.  Massage it onto damp skin for a minute or so then simply rinse off. Skin feels sqeaky clean and soft and provides a perfect base to apply your make up. I did find my skin felt dry quite soon after rinsing however that may be due to my skin type - but a few dabs of serum and my skin felt amazing.

This is a great gentle everyday scrub which cleans skin without the aggrivation. Again its available direct from the website and is £26 a tube however if you hurry over to the website its currently available on the specials page for £21.

Thank you to Zenmed for allowing me to review the products




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7 December 2016

Tech Review: Lee Stafford Academy Hairdryer


Now its not often that i would get excited at a getting new hairdryer, but that was before i got my hands on this rather sleek looking piece of kit!!

The Lee Stafford Academy pro speed hairdryer is at the higher range of the hairdryer market...and rightly so...this has so many good points on every level, so lets list them.


Packaging: When this arrived it was immediately one of those 'ooooh' moments, the box is impressive and well designed in sleek black and electrical pink colours. Its a simple magnetic seal and on opening you are greeted with the hairdryer in all its impressive glory (another 'oooh' moment) - plus a cute little note entitled "for the new you!". The card inside contains tips for the perfect blow-dry but best of all a whopping 5 year guarantee.....very nice indeed! (You do need to register within 30 days of purchase on http://www.leestaffordelectricals.com ).


The Hairdryer:  So to the hairdryer itself...which i have to describe as one of the most aesthetically pleasing hairdryers iv seen in a long time....the main body is coated in a black rubberised coating which gives it a better grip but also makes it look pretty damn cool. It has a extra long 3m un-tangable cord with hanging loop which i was pleased about because short cabled hairdryers are a massive bug bear of mine!! It also comes with a 6mm concentrator attachment. The 2 added bonuses of this hairdryer is that is has a handy removable grille cover for cleaning....(yes you can actually clean it properly), and also it has universal voltage....so travel is a doddle!!

Features and usability: The dryer has 2 speeds and 3 heat settings depending on how you like to style, it also has the cool shot button which gives a blast of cold air when needed, and the blast is pretty instant when the button is pressed. The dryer is a nice weight, not too heavy and the rubber casing means its really easy to hold, doesn't slip in your hand. The overall speed when on the highest setting is pretty good and blasts my medium length hair dry in a matter of minutes. The extra narrow concentrator is also great for targeted blow drying.

Conclusion: One of the best hairdryers Iv come across in a long time, well designed packaging, sleek design, aesthetically stunning and works really well. If you are looking for a 'major brownie points' christmas present this year for your other half then you need to be ordering one of these.....top marks Mr Stafford - great product!!

Pricing: The Academy Hairdryer retails at £69.99 which is at the higher end for hairdryers however the overall design, features and usability I think make it well worth the money...and with a 5 year guarantee to boot, you can't go wrong.

Thank you to Review Directory for giving me the chance to review this hairdryer.


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