Ever searched for reviews and recommendations for products and services and just been overwhelmed by the ton of information or confused by the contrary views? Have you not trusted a recommendation because you’ve suspected a vested interest? Or even looked and not found anything at all?
Well all those things frequently happened to me when I was looking for something to buy or do. Here at the Recommended Directory we sum up recommendations from a wide range of sources on any particular product or service to arrive at a consensus on which one is best. So, for example, we’ll see what Techradar, Amazon reviews, Which?, Cnet, and maybe T3 says about a particular mobile phone. If this is not possible, we point you to the right source where you can get the information you want. Sometimes we come across an interesting article recommending things which you just can’t buy, but rather experience, and we chuck it in (see, for example, “Recommended Places To See Before You Die”").
Why not get us to do the work for you? If you’re looking for a product, say a camera, we’ll research the market and find the one with the most recommendations so that you can buy the best.
You’ll find that we offer links to original articles and to places where you can buy the things which are recommended. We believe these offer the best value, but if you think differently, let us know!
The Jet Airliner Crash Data Evaluation Centre analysed all serious incidents suffered by airlines since 1983 in its study, as well as the number of miles flown by each carrier, to produce its annual Safety Index.
The world’s safest airlines
1. Finnair 2. Air New Zealand 3. Cathay Pacific 4. Emirates 5. Etihad 6. EVA Air 7. TAP Portugal 8. Hainan Airlines 9. Virgin Australia 10. British Airways
More information at: http://www.jacdec.de/jacdec_safety_ranking_2012.htm
We needed to get 2 new tyres for the family car the other day, and rather than phone around for the cheapest premium brand, we decided to have a look to see if there were any sources which made recommendations, and user testimonials. We came across a site called Tyre Reviews here, and another one, Tyres-Pneu-Online, here, which are easy to navigate and provide a good feel for the advantages and disadvantages of different makes of tyre.
Phoning around the local tyre depots, it became apparent that they all have limited ranges of tyres, and on checking their offerings against the reviews, we were far from impressed. We were drawn to independent tyre tests, particularly the Auto Bild All Season Tyre Test, and combining this with the reviews, we settled on a Goodyear all seasons tyre.
Next, we phoned around a number of local tyre fitters to see if they had them in stock. Not one dealer had them, nor could offer to order them in. Beginning to wonder if this had been a wise choice, we turned back to the internet. Here the choice was much wider; two sites, Black Circles.com, and Tyre Shopper stood out, with Tyre Shopper offering the best deal, with an inclusive offer to have the tyres fitted locally. After checking the Tyre Shopper site with the consumer review site, Trust Pilot , where it has received 9.5 out of 10 from consumers, we went ahead and placed an order online.
They have partnered with National Tyre Fitters to provide local fitting, and it was a smooth process from ordering online, choosing our local National outlet to getting them fitted.
Mobile phone reviews have looked at the current glut of big screen mobile phones running on the Android operating system – phones which have screens bigger than the 3.5 in (8.9 cm) screen of the iPhone 4S. Of course, Apple have tried to meet this head on with the iPhone 5, but the respective specifications, the problems with the map software and a recent report indicating that the iPhone5 screen is inferior to that of the Galaxy S3, means the choice is far from simple.
Until the appearance of the Galaxy S3 earlier this year, the big screen android which reviewers recommended was the Samsung Galaxy S2. This, whilst an outstanding phone, uses the older version of the Android system, 2.3, but the appearance of the the newer operating system, Ice Cream Sandwich together with the superior spec, has put the Samsung Galaxy S3 firmly on top . This is a faster running system with new features including face recognition technology, improved voice recognition, and “Beam” which lets you tap two phones together to transfer information.
To put all this in context, we had a look at mobile phone reviews to see what other big screen phones are around and which are being recommended. Here is the line up, based on a wide range of mobile reviews (click on picture for latest lowest price and reviews):
4.3in (480 x 800) Display
Android 2.3 (Gingerbread)
Sunday Times: 3/5 stars “A bit overwhelmed in this company, but fine value”
Daily Telegraph: 3.5/5 stars “Make no mistake, this is not a great phone. It reacts slowly, it feels insubstantial and poorly put together and occasionally becomes uncomfortably hot when running heavy tasks such as full-screen video. The advantages do make themselves apparent, though, when you look at your bank balance”
Cnet:3.5/5 stars “The ZTE Skate offers pure Android 2.3 on a massive 4.3-inch screen for a very reasonable SIM-free price. An underpowered CPU and dodgy build quality are negatives, but the Skate’s good qualities far outweigh its bad ones”
Amazon reviews: 3.5/5stars
Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc S
8.1mp camera with Exmor R technology
4.2′ Reality display with Bravia Mobile Engine
HD Video capture with HDMI cable in box
Android 2.3 Operating System
Sunday Times: 4/5 stars “Well styled, with social networking extras”
Techradar: 4.5/5 stars “It’s a lovely phone, but if the launch of the Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc S means the original Xperia Arc starts selling for a big discount, you’d be just as well of picking that one up instead. Both are excellent mobile phones”
Expert Reviews: 5/5 stars “The Arc S has a faster processor and better battery life than the original Arc, and even costs slightly less SIM-free, but the 3D and USB features aren’t compelling reasons to upgrade”
8 megapixel camera with F2.2 lens, dual LED flash, and BSI sensor (for better low-light captures)
HD video recording
Sunday Times: 4/5 stars ”A great phone for music, but its sheer size may not be to everyone’s taste”
Techradar: 3.5/5 stars ”The price is the biggest stumbling block for Sensation XL as it stands. As a mid-range, big-screen handset, HTC would be onto a genuine winner here. But the price puts it in the firing line of the Sensation XE, the Samsung Galaxy S2 and the iPhone 4S. And, frankly, it comes out at the bottom of that list”
PC Pro: 5/6 stars “Chunkier than the best top-end handsets, but the camera is reasonable, battery life is good, the headphones are great and the screen is glorious”
CNet: 3.5/5 stars “The HTC Sensation XL is a classy music phone but it struggles to stand out from the increasingly competitive Android pack, despite its huge screen. There’s nothing horrible about it, but several areas have room for improvement”
Techradar; 4/5 stars “Motorola needed a phone like the Razr in its arsenal, and now it has one to be proud of. It’s got all the dual-core power of the Atrix, plus a superior screen; more importantly, it’s jumped from a squat chassis to a sumptuous slimline affair that glides into the pocket. However, we’re not sure about the way the screen is swamped in the frame of the phone, nor about the certain elements Moto has locked down – plus the battery life remains an issue. Looks- and functionality-wise, there are many comparisons to be made with the Samsung Galaxy S2 – and we can’t help but recommend that latter over this phone, with a superior range of customisation on offer and a snappier UI to boot.
Cnet: 4/5 stars “ The Motorola Razr is an Android phone that offers speed, an 8-megapixel camera and a super-slim design, but it isn’t running the latest version of Android and, for many, won’t offer enough of a draw next to the Samsung Galaxy S2″
Samsung Galaxy Nexus
Sunday Times: BEST BUY 5/5 stars “Fast, attractive, with Ice Cream Sandwich the, er, icing on the cake”
Techradar: 4/5 stars “…if you were to take away Ice Cream Sandwich, hardware-wise, you’d not have much to write home about compared to what else is out there beyond the beautiful screen…The fact of the matter is that we think it still lags behind the Samsung Galaxy S2 – albeit not by a massive margin.
Cnet: 4.5/5 stars “While it lacks the refined aesthetics of the iPhone 4S, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus impresses with a 4.65-inch HD screen and the slick new Android 4.0 operating system”
Samsung Galaxy S2
4.3” Super AMOLED Plus Display
1.2GHz Dual Core Application Processor
Android 2.3 Operating System
8 Megapixel Camera with Flash
Techradar: 5/5 stars “…if you’re after a one-word summary of the Samsung Galaxy S2: awesome. We’ve been waiting for a phone to set a benchmark among the dual-core breed, and we’ve found it in the Samsung Galaxy S2″ Techradar continue to recommend this phone.
Cnet: 4.5/5 stars “The Samsung Galaxy S2 crams a gorgeous display, lightning-fast processor and powerful camera into one of the slimmest, lightest smart phones we’ve ever had the pleasure to hold. The Android operating system could be more user-friendly, but it’s never felt faster”
T3: 5/5 stars “Combining top-notch connectivity with one of the best screens available on a smartphone, backed by a powerful dual-core and good camera, the Samsung Galaxy S2 is quite simply a fantastic phone, we just wish the Korean giant had produced a handset with build closer to the feel of a top-end HTC or Apple handset”
HTC One X
4.” Super AMOLED
1.5 GHz Quad Core Processor
Android Jelly Bean Operating System
8 Megapixel Camera with Flash
(click on picture for full specification)
Techradar: 4.5/5 stars “Let’s not beat around the bush here: we love the HTC One X. You can see how we feel about the battery life, but it’s not an insurmountable problem… it’s just frustrating that you’ll have to be frugal at times with your smartphone usage to get through the day. But beyond that the HTC One X is a beautiful piece of kit. It’s stylishly designed, light, has a cracking screen and comes with enough future-proofing to make us believe our grandchildren may still have one.”
Cnet: 4/5 stars “The One X is a phone for a specialist group of gadget fiends with big wallets and high power requirements. Unfortunately for them, the price of all that power-draining tech appears to be less than stellar battery life.”
T3: 5/5 stars “The HTC One X is a handsome, speedy handset with power and versatility. You can see that a lot of thought has been applied to key features – the OS, the camera, the Beats Audio – but also to details such as the carefully milled holes that form the earpiece and rear speakers. If you can live with the size, this is currently the best Android smartphone around.(review July).”
Samsung Galaxy S3
4.7” Super AMOLED Plus Display
1.4 GHz Quad Core Application Processor
Android 4 Ice cream Sandwich Operating System
8 Megapixel Camera with Flash, 1080 video
(click on picture for full specification)
Techradar: 4.5/5 stars “this is one of the most advanced smartphones in the world ever”.
Cnet: 4.5/5 stars “With the Galaxy S3, Samsung hasn’t messed with its formula much, recognising slick design and a gorgeous screen were the secret to the Galaxy S2′s success…The browser zips along at twice the speed of the S2…On the down side, the TouchWiz interface is occasionally frustrating, and Samsung’s app offerings aren’t always as intuitive as they could be. These minor software concerns aside, the S3 is already one of the year’s most important gadgets. There are very few phones that come close to matching Apple’s premium, luxurious feel, but with the S3, Samsung has got closer than anyone.”
T3: 5/5 stars “The S3 is a mighty big phone that’s powerful, feature-packed and exceptionally desirable.”
The body of opinion appears to recommend the Samsung Galaxy S3. It’s the one to buy.
Please support The Recommended Directory by considering buying the Samsung Galaxy S3HERE (You’ll find it hard to beat the price and service, and you can read more about the phone as well as users’ reviews).
Warranty Direct (They offer extended warranties on most makes of car under 10 years old and under 100,000 miles) produces the “Reliability Index” for used cars. This combines several elements – cost, inconvenience, and rate of failure – making it a real world picture of car ownership.
Do you want to grow your following on Twitter significantly and quickly, either for business or pleasure (maybe want to challenge Ashton Kutcher’s 8 million followers?)? Are you looking for something which will leverage the incredible market power of Twitter to make money 24 hours a day?Well, you’ll need an automated follower bot – one which makes it much easier to find and follow people with similar interests or locations as you (and thereby encourage people to follow you back, and click on your product affiliate links).
Probably the two market leading products are Tweetspinner and Tweetadder. Aaron Clancy, the SEO and Internet Marketing guru of Superior Online Marketing has done an in-depth comparison of these clever tools, and it seems Tweetadder wins hands down on a number of fronts, including cost, clarity in use and the quality of the free trial, which can be obtained by clicking here and clicking on the download button on the Tweetadder site. (if you decide to buy, include coupon RON20 for a 20% discount).
We tried it and were amazed by how easy it was to set up for key tweet search words, and by the results – over 50 new quality followers in one day, with 20 new website hits! – and all that was while we were trying the free demo programme (which has full functionality up to 250 followers).
Despite the almost immediate success, we were very sceptical, so we set up a new Twitter id (very easy to do) specifically to promote Tweetadder through their affiliate programme (takes minutes) and began getting hits on the link within 15 mins – all for free!
Take a look at this video on how one affiliate made it work so easily:
It is NOT a scam; we rarely give our own views and recommendations, but we were so impressed with the potential of the Tweetadder tool to generate interest/income that we purchased a one off licence (no ongoing cost) for a very modest sum, and we are now using it to grow The Recommended Directory following as well as testing it on a longer term basis for affiliate income return!
Give it a try by clicking here (and remember to get 20% off with coupon RON20 if you decide to buy)- and possibly make your first $64 overnight for free too! (no credit card details required):
UPDATE: We made our first affiliate sale of Tweetadder, after one week, and earned the sum of $32! Not enough to retire on, but not bad for very little effort, and a fantastic return on investment, as well as the promise of huge potential! This was achieved through setting up 4 twitter profiles on auto ie no further intervention by us after first set up. We also achieved 953 new followers (with the settings on a very moderate level) and a MASSIVE 540% increase in hits to the website! By our reckoning it works, just as it says on the tin! Needless to say we’ll be continuing to use it, both for traffic generation and earning. Here’s the earnings proof (screenshot of our affiliate report – click to enlarge):
We took a look at flatbed scanners under £200 for our office – nothing fancy, but something which would be reliable, produce reasonable scans of documents and photos, and able to scan books and magazines. This latter requirement rules out the multi-feed scanners and the portable, hand held scanners. What we found was surprising – there were very few top rated flatbed scanners which all the reviewers could agree on. We also found that the better scanners were the ones which had been around for a long time.
The RRP is high but it’s available for less online and scan quality was very impressive Good points Superb scan quality; can scan in batches; easy to operate Bad points Quite bulky; expensive compared to standard scanners
Its compact, low-profile lines don’t hide a cheap and cheerful mechanism and for general purpose use, the combination of easy-use buttons and well designed support software provide a good system for photo print digitising, OCR and document archival.
This is a good general-purpose scanner for home and photo enthusiast use. Scanning quality is marginally better than from some other flatbeds we’ve looked at recently and the inclusion of a transparency adapter improves the versatility of what the machine can do. It comes with a good range of software, but cabling could be a lot tidier.
We decided that the 9000F was too expensive, given we didn’t need anything particularly elaborate, so we looked closer at the sub £100 scanners, and of these we decided on the Canon Lide 210 – it looked like it did all we wanted it for well, and it could be operated vertically – a boon if you’re short of space. Buy it here for the best price and most reliable service.
There is a huge variety of manufacturers producing laptops of all sizes and descriptions – ultrabooks, notebooks, netbooks, tablets etc. All very confusing, but one thing’s for certain, design is becoming more of an issue as manufacturers attempt to add value. The pinnacle of the design stakes is the “Ultrabook” – a term generally used to describe a stylish, high performance, very thin and light laptop, against which other standard laptops look decidedly clunky.
Here we look at the best ultrabooks around at the moment, though, as usual, hang around for a bit and they’ll all have changed – but then you would end up not getting anything!
We looked at what Techradar, Cnet, T3, PC Advisor, Pocket Lint and Expert Reviews, together with Reevoo and Amazon customer feedback, had to say, and the ultrbooks with the most recommendations are below, with the best recommendation.
Asus Zenbook UX31 (Around £970)
For: *Powerful *Long battery life* Fast memory *Good sound
The Asus Zenbook UX31E is impressive. It’s an excellent performer, it’s attractive and light, and it plays back multimedia well. Unfortunately, its screen is off-colour and its touchpad needs more work.
…the Air remains an object of desire, a powerful laptop and a computer that you just want to use constantly. It (the 2012) certainly is the best MacBook Air, and it really has to be a contender for the best laptop of the year too.
The new 13-inch Apple MacBook Air is as thin and stunningly designed as ever, but it’s now packing the latest Intel Ivy Bridge processor, making it more formidable for graphics tasks and bringing those all-important high-speed USB 3.0 ports. It’s still going to cost you a pretty penny though.
We think the MacBook Air is the ultrabook to choose, not only because it is the cheapest, but also because it is the most recommended ultrabook at this moment in time. All reviews identify issues, and it’s not perfect, but it seems to beat the competition. You can buy it at Amazon (affiliate link), which will not only give you a hard to beat price, but also, in our experience, great customer service (Amazon gets nearly 5 out 5 stars from over 3,500 reviews). If you want to see the macbook in action, have a look at this video courtesy of JC Corporation:
Of course, if you prefer a windows based system, this might not suit (though you can get the mac to run windows); in this case the strong recommendation is the Dell. Check it out and buy it here (affiliate link).