Friday 29 October 2010

Get the VAT back with Sony

The Sony VAT back Christmas promotion starts today. Sony say it's the biggest promotion they've ever done. Simply buy any of these selected Sony products and download the claim form. You need to send the completed form, including the product serial number along with the European Guarantee and proof of purchase to Sony. If you look at the Ex. VAT prices shown on our site - that's the amount your product will cost. As an example: on a £1000 product you save £148.94.

It's a genuine offer that's being heavily promoted by Sony with TV ads, so we expect stock to sell out fast. We're one of the few online retailers who are authorised Sony partners, not everyone is. If you were thinking about a Sony now's a good time to buy.

Tuesday 26 October 2010

Printers Are Sexy

No I haven't gone completely mad. Printers need to work. Seamlessly. Often they don't or they spew out paper like trees grow really quickly on this little planet of ours. Or they go through ink like an alcoholic with a bottle of whiskey. Or they are noisy and you get that one little line that appears on every page right at the crucial point. Toner is expensive, that's a fact.

When you are on a deadline or getting ready for 'that' presentation or just promised you'd cook tonight and need to print off the recipe or your partner really will leave you this time, printer failure can cause rages in people that is frightening to behold. Forget road rage, printer rage involves an inanimate object often small enough to throw.

Now having some experience of working with Epson and HP I have to admit that I did prefer HP's printer products as a rule. The products were great and I really liked the sales guy, Howard who I worked with in my Nikon days.

I bought a HP printer earlier this year for my office and have tended to stick with HP on printers. Epson I liked the campaign they did on the London Underground a few years ago. It was attention grabbing but it used pixellation which no-one wants to see in their print results.

However I would now like to introduce you to my new favourite. Brother. Here's a little information as to why.

They are the only printer manufacturer that makes a separate toner and drum on their Mono printer, which means you don't have to replace the whole thing every time your printer needs more toner.

They have been awarded eco-accreditations for zero landfill from their factories and because they have reduced the amount of non-recyclable materials in manufacture and increased their use of recycled materials. They were awarded an Energy Star, The German Blue Angel and the Nordic Swan. The Nordic Swan takes a serious three and half years of factory visits and book auditing to attain. Wow, who knew?

Brother materialised over 100 years ago starting, funnily enough, with two Brothers who repaired sewing machines in Ngoya, Japan. These boys then moved onto making them and diversified into typewriters, microwaves and Karaoke machines. They in fact became the biggest supplier of Karaoke networks in Japan.

They've been knocking around Europe for 60 years and on our lovely Island for 50. Brother are the leading supplier into the NHS and with their latest product range it is easy to see why.

The HL-5350DN Mono Laser Function Printer may not be sexy but there are a couple of thoughtful elements that have gone into the product design and aftercare. We tested it with the Lenovo ThinkPads to see how easy installation is. This is often not only a bug bear but a frustrating process for even hardened technogeeks.

So we went to plug in the USB cable from laptop to printer, but a sticker over it on the printer gently reminds you to install your software first. We didn't even need a disc, the Lenovo just found and installed the driver and it was "well quick". On the wireless printers the laptop automatically finds it on a drop-down list, with the plug in printers the install discs were used.

This model is a good basic networking printer for a number of office users. It has actually proven to be cheaper over 3-4 years than its nearest competitor. It prints quickly, quietly and without fuss or fanfare. Which is what you need for your clucking group of admin ladies or busy accounts department.

We then moved onto testing the DCP-375CW which is a wireless printer. I have just told my Mum to buy one. Previously she had bought HP like me and on my recommendation.

It's black and sleek but not in your face. It incorporates Brother capillary action technology which was developed in-house which is a unique way the ink is distributed to save you ink (yes, SAVE you ink) and the USB cable is run internally to reduce cable mess. Even the plug is on the side so it can sit flush to the wall. Simple yet brilliant design.

It prints photos in fantastic quality in just 49 seconds! It's just great design which is the part I find sexy. I don't expect you to agree, most people really don't think printers are sexy but each to their own and I find any company that is genuinely passionate about their products, attractive.

Lastly, we tested the MFC-6890CDW which can print photo quality on A3 sized photo paper in colour at roughly a £1.40 cost. We printed out a picture of penguins and decided it would be good enough to be framed and put on the wall. I'm terribly fussy about these things and I am the first person to point out any pixellation or aberrations in print.

This printer would be great and affordable for a graphic design studio or small creative agency.

What I am impressed about with Brother is the care, attention to detail and ingenuity that goes into each of their products. Most companies spend time trying to figure out how to get you to spend more money on cartridges, toner and other consumables, whereas Brother concentrates on saving you time and money ensuring you keep their products for longer and will therefore always buy Brother again.

Their commitment to the environment is impressive, tackled head on and transparently. I'm not often left with absolutely nothing negative to say about a technology company but I was seriously impressed.

Use their printers combined with this browser tool and you'll never print wasted pages again.


Tuesday 19 October 2010

More survey success - Press Release


More survey success - Sheffield based company shines in national survey of online retailers

Yorkshire based electronics retailer; has once again beaten off stiff competition from 40 renowned national players including Argos, Amazon, Dixons and Play to be awarded Highly Commended in the PC Pro Service and Reliability Survey 2010. was set up by local entrepreneur Chris Wheater, and sells 90,000 electrical products, including cameras, laptops, phones, televisions and computer equipment.

The city firm scored a massive 94% for overall customer satisfaction, 92% for Service and 95% for delivery in the biggest survey in the IT industry. Having topped the survey last year they were narrowly squeezed off out of the top slot by the stalwart of British retail John Lewis.

Chris is proud of the results and comments, "These are great results, we’ve become increasingly known for our outstanding customer service, receiving six out of six stars in the last five years in the PC Pro survey. It’s this consistency that reflects our determination and hard work to please our customers."

The PC Pro Service and Reliability Survey is designed to showcase the best brands and companies in the IT industry with over 12,000 people completing the survey and commenting on their favourite products and retailers across 20 product categories.

The star ratings for all 40 retailers can be found here

Wednesday 6 October 2010

We're celebrating after the PC Pro Awards - again

I need to say a massive thank you to everyone who took part in the PC Pro Service and Reliability Survey for this year. The MoreComputer's results were fantastic again this year and we picked up the Highly Commended Award.

To quote PC Pro "Last year's winner is narrowly squeezed into the runner-up slot, despite a strong showing across the board". John Lewis sneaked in and just swiped the top slot from us, but I can live with that, they are the stalwart of British retail.

More telling is the full list of 40 retailers the survey rated, with some big names showing very poor performance.

This year, over 12,000 readers took part in the survey. They were asked about the customer support they received, the reliability and quality of the products they bought, and whether they'd buy from the company again. The information was then combined to produce a star rating. We maintained our maximum six stars across the board, which is a credit to the team here, who deserve a massive thank you too - it's their award.

For the past five years we've scored six out of six for Customer Service and it's that consistency I'm most proud of. Thanks again for your custom over the years and for helping to spread the word.