David Artiss

Author: David (page 63 of 240)

Sainsbury's doesn't want my money

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Sainburys RubbishAfter signing up with BT I was sent £50 worth of Sainsbury’s vouchers. We rarely shop at them and to be honest I wanted to use them as a treat for myself, rather than simply buying toilet rolls and Fruit and Fibre.

Looking on their website, they sell Google Nexus 7 tablets – something I’ve had my eye on for a while. With £50 off it’s an even better bargain than it was already. Sadly, and like many other “bricks and mortar” retailers, you can’t use their gift cards online. But, they do have a “click and collect” service. Brilliant – I can order it online, have it sent to a shop and part buy it with my cards. Erm, no. They expect you to pay on the site.

So, last week, I set about visiting my 4 biggest local Sainsbury’s. They sold flat screen TVs, radios, iPods and mobile phones. But no tablets. Running out of ideas, I contacted Sainsbury’s customer services asking them if there was a solution to my predicament  After a number of days waiting I got a response…

Thanks for your email.  I’m sorry you’re unable to use your gift cards online to purchase the Google Nexus 7 tablet.  I understand this would be frustrating as you’ve been unable to find one at four different stores.

We want customers shopping experience with us to be as convenient as possible.  We do this by offering a wide selection of products both in store and online.  At the moment you cannot currently spend our gift cards online and that’s something we are looking to change soon.

Having checked all stores in the Nottingham area there is unfortunately none that currently have the Google Nexus 7 tablet.  The stores may get more stock in but we have no information about this.  I’m afraid on this occasion there aren’t any other options for using the gift cards towards to tablet until they come back in to store.

I’m sorry I’ve not been able to help you on this occasion but if you have any further questions please don’t hesitate to contact us back.

Whoa. This hasn’t helped me at all (other than confirming that local stores don’t stock it). Do they actually sell these in-store? If so, which one is likely to stock it (to save my searching around them all)? Any chance they can give me an idea when it will be in stock? Personally, I suspect they only sell these via the website – in which case asking me to keep an eye out for them in store is a fruitless exercise.

Ironically, when you send them an email you get an automatically generated response, which includes this line…

We want to ensure you receive great service, so we need to investigate your query a little further.  We’ll be back in touch as soon as possible.

Such a shame that they didn’t bother investigating my query. Anyway, I responded, putting the previous points to them. Their reply basically went over exactly what they stated before… they couldn’t guarantee stock, they’re always changing inventory, yadda, yadda, yadda. At the end was this gem…

I’ve checked our stock list which shows Mansfield store, Nottingham Road, NG18 1BW, currently have two in stock

That would be a 40 minute journey (on a good day) each way. No. At least this confirms that they do stock it in stores (answered in a very roundabout way) but they still haven’t answered whether any of my local stores will stock it at any point (i.e. is it me worth keeping an eye out for it). I put this to them, again.

I can appreciate you’re unable to make an 80 mile round trip to buy the Google Nexus 7 tablet from our Mansfield store.  I’ve noted this product is only available in a limited number of stores, and the only other one showing on our stock systems in our Fosse Park store, Grove farm Triangle, Enderby, Leicester LE19 1WT.  This is showing one available in store.

Fosse Park. 35 minutes each way. Really, Sainsburys?

So, my original mail asked 2 questions…

  1. Do you stock Nexus 7 tablet in your stores or is it a web-only product?
  2. Which of my local stores if most likely to sell it – i.e. which one should I keep an eye on?

During the entire exchange they answered the first one indirectly and never answered the second. But they did twice tell me about stores at least a 70 minute round-trip away which had stock.

It just so happened that sometime after this “chat” I visited one of my local Sainsbury’s stores to find the Nexus 7 available – well, lots of empty boxes with no indication of how I get the contents. I took it to customer services and waited at least 10 minutes while “someone from the office” got one. I was told it was the last one (I pointed out how many empty boxes they had on display and suggested they might think of now removing them. They seemed uninterested).

And that was that. I had a Nexus 7, despite Sainsbury’s best efforts for me not to.

The Nexus 4 – are Google messing up an excellent opportunity?

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Nexus 4The Nexus 4 smartphone, released only last month, is a triumph for Google. The fourth Google smartphone to use the Nexus 4 this one is made by LG.

Sporting the latest version of Android, an excellent screen and camera, they’ve done what they did with the Nexus 7 tablet – bought it in at an excellent price. The 8GB Nexus 4 is just £239 contract-free. The 16GB version is just £40 more. A 16GB iPhone 5, in comparison, would cost around £575.

So, it’s onto a winner. Except, it’s been bungled. Google (or rather, LG) are unable to manufacturer enough – as soon as stock becomes available it immediately disappears again. To say it’s been a success would be an understatement, but they simply can’t match demand.

Even if you are able to get hold of one the matching accessories, which are a great way for companies to make up for lost margins on the phone, are equally MIA.

The “bumper” case has been unavailable on their site for weeks, for example, and when, in the past, it has appeared it’s been snapped up en-masse by people re-selling them on eBay at big mark-ups. No-one at Google has thought to limit them.

One of the other selling points of the Nexus 4 is the wireless charging. Google, back in October, showed off a wireless charger/stand for the phone, called the Nexus Orb. Sadly, it’s not been seen since.

It’s a huge shame, as the Nexus 4 is genuinely a fantastic phone (particularly for the money) and could really elevate Android even further in the eyes of the public. It hasn’t put me off, though – I ordered a Nexus 4 a couple of weeks ago. It has a wait time of 6-7 weeks, which I can cope with. I just wish I had a bumper and Orb to go with it 😉

My Passport Edge for Mac

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Produced by Western Digital, My Passport Edge for Mac is a 500GB, slimline, USB3 external hard drive. It measures just 112 x 83mm and is 11mm tall.

Designed to match the metal unibody design of the MacBook, the sides and underside are of a similar metal material. The top is a textured black plastic. On one edge is a a connection port and a white activity indicator (also designed to match the design of the MacBook). No additional power is required – all power is taken via the USB port.

Read and write speeds were both just a touch above 100Mb/s (102Mb/s write, 109Mb/s read), which is excellent.

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CD Slot Mount

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CD Slot MountWith a plethora of electronic gadgets now regularly in use in the car – a smartphone for taking calls, an iPod for playing music and a SatNav for getting about – where to put them can be a tough question. Vents aren’t very strong and aren’t always in the best position. Windscreens shouldn’t be used and the government is getting tougher on those who obscure their view with SatNav mounts, etc.

Well, a rather enterprising company have come up with the CD Slot Mount. It slots into the mouth of your CD player – the CD inside will still happily play – and provides a sticky, grippy surface for placing your items on. The whole thing is made of a tough, dark grey plastic and is about 12cm wide and 11cm deep. In the middle if a 7cm diameter foam circles. Peel off the plastic from the top of this and you find it’s quite tacky – when it loses its grip you simply wet it to re-activate the surface again.

The product recently won Invention of the Year by the British Inventors Society and is available from the CD Slot Mount website for just £9.95 (inc. P&P). If you find it un-suitable they will happily refund you too.

Why un-suitable? It’s nothing to do with the CD player but more to do with what the mount may obscure. My car, a Ford C-Max, has its (only) screen for the CD player directly underneath the slot so using this completely obscures it.

In use, though, I only experienced one issue – after removing it I found that the fabric “flap” directly behind the CD slot had not closed properly in one corner and, as a consequence, internal light was bleeding from the area (see photos below). This, though, is probably just a rare issue and, besides, it’s not a problem for me.

[review]A genuinely ingenious idea – it’s cheap to buy and easy to use. Highly recommended.[/review]

Apple iPad Mini vs Google Nexus 7

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I own neither and own both Apple and Android products, so I think it’s time for a side-by-side factual comparison of these recently launched tablets…

In a nutshell, the facts show the following “pros”…

Apple iPad Mini

  • Larger display dimensions
  • Smaller overall dimensions
  • Less weight
  • Rear camera
  • Dual band WiFi

 Google Nexus 7

  • Higher screen resolution (and, as a result, PPI)
  • NFC
  • GPS
  • Magnetometer
  • Built-in microphone
  • Price

This excludes what facts don’t show. Everyone, without exception, will talk about the quality of the iPad Mini. The Nexus 7 isn’t bad, but just not to the same level as the Apple (as is usually the case with their products).

I also note that the smaller size of the iPad means a small bezel. This isn’t necessarily a good thing as tablets are held by hand, not by fingertip was with a phone. A small bezel may mean often launching apps or flipping through a page of a book by mistake 1.

The iPad Mini lacking a retina screen is odd, but probably just a marketing ploy to get you to buy the “New iPad Mini” next year. However, it is difficult to avoid those prices. Yes, you pay for the quality of the product. But you also need to take into account what you don’t get too – a high resolution screen and GPS for a start.

Yes, the Nexus 7 lacks a rear camera but, personally, people taking pictures with tablets really do look stupid. Stick to your phone. Or a camera. It’s a little heavier, but not by a great deal.

If I had the money now to buy either, it would be the Nexus 7.

Update 1

Although published mid-December the above was actually written a month previous. I have now purchased a Nexus 7 – I guess I found the benefits too beneficial 😉

  1. Apple say they’ve accomdated this with software that will take this into account – none-the-less I’ve ready many reports of people having such a problem anyway[]
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