Samsung Ue46f6400 Best Price Download

Copy and paste this link to your website, so they can see this document directly without any plugins.


Keywords

that, , with, this, will, have, they, your, e-cigarettes, their, Samsung, which, from, also, Choice, , more, when, into, tobacco, other, www.thecai.ie, consumers, backlight, nicotine, these, very, Ireland, LCD,, should

Transcript

www.thecai.ie
The Magazine of the Consumers’ Association of Ireland
MONEY FOOD & HEALTH PRODUCT TESTS
. Latest News
. Maternity Care Options
. Origin Labelling . Electric Shavers
M
A
Y
20
14
. Televisions
Electronic Cigarettes –
A burning question for regulators
. Electronic Cigarettes
www.thecai.ie May 20141
Member Invitation: Annual General Meeting
Monday 23rd June 2014 at 12.30pm sharp
Embassy Room
Ambassador Hotel
Military Hill
St. Luke’s
Co. Cork
Agenda
· Welcome
· Minutes of meeting of 29th March 2013
· Hon Treasurer’s Report
· Appointment of Auditors
· Chairperson’s Address
·AOB: Q&A
Postal invitations will issue directly to members.
www.thecai.ie
Our Reports
Reports in Consumer Choice are based on
market research, laboratory tests or user
surveys, all of which are independently and
scientifically conducted. Free goods are
never accepted for testing – all samples
are purchased. Occasionally items may be
borrowed for review purposes only.
The reports are produced in the main
by our own Editorial staff. Some material
is occasionally drawn from other foreign
independent consumer magazines.
Because Consumer Choice carries no
commercial advertising it is not swayed by
bias or influence and can point out advantages
and flaws in goods and services that other
magazines may not be able to do.
Reports on any article relate only to the
articles or goods mentioned, and not to any
other article of the same or similar description.
We do not necessarily price or report on all
brands or models within the class, and the
exclusion of any brand or model should not be
taken as a reflection on it.
The
Consumers'
Association of
Ireland
The Council is the
policy-making body
of CAI. Members are
elected from within
the CAI's membership
at the Annual General
Meeting.
Council
Members
Chairperson
Raymond O'Rourke
Vice-Chairperson
Michael Kilcoyne
Hon Secretary
James Wims
Hon Treasurer
Richard Donohue
Council Members
Elaine Bolger
Frank Dawe
Timothy Murphy
Steen Bruun-Nielsen
Consumer Choice
Consumer Choice is published by
the Consumers' Association of Ireland
(CAI) Limited, a wholly independent, nongovernment, non-profit making body. CAI
was founded in 1966 to protect and promote
the interests of the consumers of goods and
services, and to enhance the quality of life for
consumers. CAI is registered with charitable
status: CHY 8559.
Advertising is not accepted for publication.
Consumer Choice is available on a subscription
basis only. To facilitate banking requirements
all cancellations must be advised, by letter or
email only, a full 30 days in advance. Where a
bank applies a €24 chargeback fee for a Member/
customer advised cancellation we will deduct
same from any refund requests. To subscribe
please write to:
Consumer Choice,
26 Upper Pembroke Street,
Dublin 2.
Tel (01) 637 3961
Email cai@thecai.ie
www.thecai.ie
Published Material
No part of this publication may be reproduced,
stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any
form without obtaining prior permission from the
Council by contacting the Consumer Choice office.
It may not be used for any form of advertising, sales
promotion or publicity.
May 2014
Staff
Policy and Council Advisor
Dermott Jewell
Administration & Marketing
Caroline Lafferty
Design/Typset
Denzil Lacey (Zava Media)
Researchers
Clodagh O'Donoghue
Roisin Moloney
May Celliff
Dermott Jewell
www.thecai.ie May 20142
www.facebook.com/
ConsumersAssociationIreland
www.twitter.com/The_CAI
Maternity Care Options
A look at what prospective
parents can expect when they
choose to go public or private for
their maternity care.
PRODUCT TESTS
Electric Shavers
In search of the perfect shave?
Consumer Choice has six Choice
Buy men’s electric shavers that
come close.
17
11
Contents
7 19
11
13
Money News
The latest news and advice on
money matters.
7 3 Origin Labelling
The need for mandatory
origin labelling of meat
products.
FOOD & HEALTH
3
Televisions
Consumer Choice takes a look
at what the future holds for TV
addicts and highlights some very
smart Choice Buys.
20
17
20
MONEY
13 Electronic Cigarettes – A
burning question for
regulators
Hailed as a healthier alternative
to toxin-laden tobacco cigarettes,
many questions still surround
e-cigarettes. Consumer Choice
considers the pros and cons of this
fast-growing product category.
www.thecai.ie May 2014
In the wake of the horsemeat scandal,
many consumer lawyers like myself, the
CAI and our sister EU-organisation BEUC
argued that the scandal could have been
averted if producers and manufacturers
had to mandatorily label the origin of
meats used as an ingredient in processed
foods such as meat pies, lasagne etc.
Compulsory origin labelling
would not be a complete panacea, but
it certainly would have made it more
difficult for meat traders to pass off
horsemeat as beef.
1. Origin Labelling for Pork,
Poultry, Sheep & Goats
On 13th December 2013, the Commission
published a Report on Origin Labelling
for pork, poultry, sheep and goats.
In conjunction with this Report they
published Commission Implementing
Regulation (EU) No 1337/2013 laying
down rules for the application of
Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 of the
European Parliament and of the Council
as regards the indication of the country
of origin or place of provenance for
fresh, chilled and frozen meat of swine,
sheep, goats and poultry.
The European Parliament in
debating this proposal passed by a
majority a Resolution on 6th February
2014 stating that the Implementing
Regulation exceeds the powers conferred
on the Commission under EU Regulation
1169/2011 on Food Information. The
Parliament requested that the Regulation
be withdrawn and that the place of birth
should be included as a mandatory
requirement for such labelling combined
with place of rearing and place of
slaughter [as per the existing origin
labelling rules for Beef]. The CAI lobbied
Food & Health/Council
the Irish MEPs to support this resolution
as part of a lobbying campaign instigated
by BEUC. The Commission has not
responded to the Parliament’s Resolution
and nothing will happen on this matter till
after the European Parliament elections in
May 2014.
2. Origin Labelling for Meat
used as an Ingredient in
Processed Foods
On 17th December 2013, the Commission
published a report for the European
Parliament and the Council regarding
the mandatory indication of the
country of origin or place of provenance
for meat used as an ingredient. The
Commission report was accompanied by
a Commission Staff Working Document
– ‘Origin Labelling for Meat used as
an Ingredient: consumers’ attitude,
feasibility of possible scenarios and
impacts’, which provided detailed
information underpinning the findings
of the Commission report. There was no
Implementing Regulation produced by
the Commission for this type of labelling,
rather the view of the Commission was
that there wasn’t sufficient evidence that
consumers sought such information and
in addition, it was likely to be very costly
for industry.
The French Government sought a debate
on the two Reports at the Agriculture
Council on 24th March 2014. The CAI
lobbied the Minister of Agriculture, Mr.
Simon Coveney T.D., calling for him
to support such labelling. Views were
divided and three groups of Member
States emerged: those supporting
mandatory origin labelling for meat used
as an ingredient in processed foods;
those Member States [including
the U.K.] not supporting it over
fears it would put extra burdens on
industry and lead to increased prices
for consumers; and those Member
States undecided and asking for
more refined cost estimates from the
Commission. The CAI were happy
that Ireland, from generally taking
the same position as the U.K. against
such labelling in the months before
the Agriculture Council, changed its
position and asked the Commission
to complete further research on the
issue and noted that consumers have
highlighted the importance of such
information.
The Commission is therefore
set to look further at the costs of
mandatory origin labelling for meat
used as an ingredient in processed
foods and will provide refined
estimates for different scenarios
(e.g. minimum amount of meat in
a product, origin labelling to be
compulsory, beginning initially with
beef, etc.).
In both cases, the CAI will
continue its lobbying campaign
of Irish MEPs and the Minister of
Agriculture in order to ensure that
consumers are provided with full
origin labelling which has been a
long running position of the CAI and
which I highlighted in an editorial in
Consumer Choice (March 2013).
Raymond O’Rourke
Chairperson
Origin Labelling
3
www.thecai.ie May 2014
www.thecai.ie
Nano technology has far-reaching possibilities in a very wide
variety of lifestyle professions and practices but a particularly
interesting one that caught my eye was that used in preparation for the latest edition of the Guinness Book of World
Records. By means of drawing consumer attention to the practical
possibilities it was decided to produce a miniscule but to scale
copy of the magazine. By way of example and preparation, IBM
designed a magazine cover 2,000 times smaller than a grain of
salt. The team at Silicon Republic reported how IBM ‘created the
minuscule publication by inventing a tiny 3D printing ‘chisel’
with a heatable silicon tip 100,000 times smaller than a sharpened pencil point’. This chisel allowed the scientists to etch the
magazine cover (using the National Geographic Kids magazine
as a template) on to a polymer, the same substance from which
plastics are made. The research here will, it is hoped, concentrate how the prototyping of new faster and more energy efficient transistor devices and support structures will be realised.
Personally, I can’t see it.
NEWS BRIEFS
Best to Use By or
Before the Sell By
Date or ASAP
Believe me – It Is In There!
News Briefs by Dermott Jewell
4May 2014
As we head toward European Parliament elections and concerns regarding
continuity it was interesting to note how
two current MEPs, Paolo de Castro and
Matthias Groote, have committed to
make the issue of food waste a priority
of the next Parliament. These two would
be the current chairs of the Agriculture (AGRI) and Environment (ENVI)
Committees, respectively. This could be
viewed as grandstanding in pre-election
mode but, in fairness, they have been advocates of the issue for change for many
years now. Their statement comes at a
time when the European Commission’s
position document on sustainability is in
progress and the MEPs argue that they
see no good reason to have to wait for
that. The Commission’s communication
will focus on consumer behavior and e.g.
especially how we understand the differences between ‘use by’ and ‘best before’
dates. This communication is expected
to highlight the need to change the
labelling requirements to require a ‘best
before’ date instead of a ‘use by’ date.
Are you sufficiently confused yet?
It has long been an acknowledged reality that placing sweets, chocolates
and confectionery products at supermarket checkout points and aisles
does nothing to promote a healthy dietary environment or lifestyle but
much for the bottom line of the establishment. This was why, in the UK, the
government attempted to introduce the voluntary ‘Responsibility Deal’ to
try and ban the promotion of products high in sugar, fat and salt as well
as sugary drinks and snacks in high profile positions at the checkouts. Retailers, stating that this was impossible owing to the matter being ‘commercially sensitive’, have refused and so the plan has been abandoned.
Unsurprisingly this has raised questions over the influence that supermarkets can exert on government policy. With continued daily examples of
problems to health and wellbeing through poor dietary habits as well as
childhood and teen obesity issues, it is long past time when voluntary initiatives were recognized for their limited value and now, with this scenario,
we definitively understand why.
AISLE BE SELLING YOU, IN ALL THE OLD FAMILIAR PLACES
www.thecai.ie May 2014
Under the Banner of Progress and the Wire of Reason
The US app ‘Secret’, that facilitates anonymous social
networking, has received a lot of attention. It is about
to receive a lot more as it is being released for use in
Ireland and Britain as well as Australia and New Zealand.
This is a continuation of the testing stage initiated by the
development team and before what will be worldwide
release. There are plusses and minuses with this app.
Firstly because it is different in that it actually promotes
anonymity as a way of protecting what is suggested to
be an open forum for saying it as it is without the fear of
retribution, ridicule and, more to the point, identification of
the individual saying it. The concerns on this score is that
social media is already jammed with incorrect, abusive and
bitter outpourings from nameless and strangely named
individuals who are, apparently, answerable to no one. So
what about the monitors, you ask……………….? However, the
developers advise that they have added a feature which
will detect and alert when someone is making defamatory
comments and transfer the app’s posts – on to traditional
social networks. But again, what about the responsibility
of the monitors to act? Good question.
www.thecai.ie 5May 2014
I read the results of an interesting
survey carried out by our sister
organisation in New Zealand
and outlined in the April issue of
their magazine ‘Consumer’. The
survey asked regarding washing
machines, dryers, dishwashers,
microwave ovens, TVs and
vacuum cleaners purchased
new in January 2009. What was
needed was the brand, date of
purchase and what, if anything,
had gone wrong with it since it
was purchased. The results were
interesting in terms of brand
reliability and stability but would
be too much for detailing here.
However, I thought it would
be interesting for you to know
the level of reliability that was
determined.
Washing Machines – 87%
had never needed repair; Dryers
– 92% had never needed repair;
Dishwashers – 86% had never
needed repair; Vacuum Cleaners
– 89% had never needed repair;
Microwave Ovens – 93% had
never needed repair. Overall, this
is a positive set of results and one
the CAI would hope to compare
in the future through surveying
Irish consumers. However, a point
worth noting is that of the rankings
of Above Average, Average and
Below Average it was worrying to
see the number of highly respected
brand leader names that made
the Below Average listing in terms
of performance and reliability.
Not surprising really when a
4-year product cycle returns a
breakdown rate of 11% to 14% in
Washing Machines, Dishwashers
and Vacuum Cleaners.
Refund, Replace, Repair?
MORE YEARS THAN I THOUGHT TO REMEMBER
The National Library of Ireland (NLI) has just
launched a new catalogue of 10,500 historic images
in continuity of its digital cataloguing programme.
The NLI’s online images archive now holds an
impressive total of 63,000 freely available items.
VuFind Discovery Interface is the open source
viewing technology behind the archive. What is
not perhaps known is that this technology has
been developed by the NLI and, as a result of its
very impressive success, is being extended to
hundreds of other similar libraries across the globe
as well as national, public and academic libraries
in 26 countries. We are very fortunate to have such
capable and dedicated professionals protecting
Ireland’s historical photographic heritage but also,
finding the means of making it live, freely available
and creating a positive relevance to us all.
www.thecai.ie May 2014
FOOD & HEALTH / News
by Clodagh O’Donoghue
Food &
Health
On April 9th, the Food Safety Authority
of Ireland (FSAI) launched an online
calorie calculator tool aimed at making
it easier for the 22,000 food businesses
across the country to determine
the number of calories contained in
the food they sell and serve to their
customers. Dubbed MenuCal, the freeof-charge tool has been developed to
help chefs and cooks identify calorie
values, taking into account the types
and quantities of ingredients used, how
the food is prepared and portion size.
MenuCal was developed in response
to the food industry’s concerns about
the lack of available expertise and
resources to accurately determine
calorie content and the costs involved.
According to Dr. Mary Flynn, Chief
Specialist Public Health Nutrition at the
FSAI, this online solution addresses the
technical challenges facing Irish food
businesses in terms of putting calorie
values on menus. The MenuCal tool
seeks to give foodservice businesses
the ability to determine calorie
content for themselves and to do so
accurately so that they can then pass
this information on to customers.
Dr Flynn notes that FSAI research
has found that 96% of consumers
favour the inclusion of calorie values
on menus and that nine out of ten
consumers want calorie information
displayed next to the price of food
and beverages offered on the menu.
Displaying calorie information on
menus will take the guesswork out
of ordering food for consumers,
empowering them to make more
informed and better choices about
what they eat. A recent FSAI survey
of 1,000 foodservice businesses
indicated that 60% of those polled
were in favour of putting calorie
content on menus, given the demand
from consumers, and the introduction
of the new online tool should mean that
more foodservice businesses across
the country will be in a position to offer
this information to their customers.
Calorie calculator for restaurants aims to better inform consumers
6
Food marketers use a range of marketing
terms to increase the appeal of their
products to consumers who continue
to value and seek out high-quality
food offerings despite the recessionary
challenges they face. But what exactly
is meant by the term “artisan”? Are
“farmhouse” foods really made on a
farm? Just how old does a process or
a recipe have to be to be “traditional”?
And what food products can be called
“natural”? Seeking to answer these
types of questions, the Food Safety
Authority of Ireland (FSAI) is currently
holding a public consultation on
certain marketing terms that are used
to describe food for sale on the Irish
market. The Consumers’ Association
of Ireland was involved in drawing up
the Draft Code of Practice that forms
the basis for the consultation, working
with the FSAI, the Food and Drinks
Federation of Ireland, and the Artisan
Forum. The aim of the consultation
process is to safeguard the integrity of
such food marketing terms as “artisan,”
“natural,” “farmhouse” and “traditional”,
thereby protecting consumers and
the small food industry. Although the
rules will not be legally binding, the
FSAI expects that food businesses will
adhere to them, having been involved
in their development. The Code of
Practice, once agreed upon, will set
down guidelines that will help to ensure
that consumers are not misled by the
incorrect use of marketing terms on
food products. In addition, according
to Dr. Wayne Anderson of the FSAI,
the Code of Practice will help address
the concerns of small businesses
that rely on these marketing terms to
communicate the genuine differences
between the foods they offer and
mainstream commercial foodstuffs.
Dr. Anderson notes that it is important
that consumers can be confident that
the foods they buy are accurately and
truthfully described and that “food
businesses should also be confident
that genuine descriptions of their food
are not diluted in the marketplace by the
spurious use of undefined marketing
terms by other food businesses.” The
consultation runs until May 14th, 2014,
and consumers and other interested
parties are urged to visit http://www.
fsai.ie/consultations to get involved in
the discussion and communicate their
views.
FSAI consultation on food marketing terms
www.thecai.ie May 2014 7
MONEY NEWS
Money News
Holidays
on the
rise
“Reports of increased multi-travel
insurance policies being taken out is
considered a strong indication that
consumers are back taking more than
one break a year. ”
After widespread decline in the number
of holidays taken by Irish consumers
since the recession began, the tide
is finally beginning to turn. Reports
of increased multi-travel insurance
policies being taken out is considered
a strong indication that consumers
are back taking more than one break
a year. Getcover.ie reports a rise in the
number of multi-trip travel insurance as
opposed to those insuring a single trip,
with an increase in popularity of 8% in
the last six months, indicating a lift in
economic activity.
Given this upturn in travel,
we take a look at some of the main
pitfalls consumers experience when
booking holidays. ECC Ireland reports
consumers having difficulties when
booking holidays through third party
sites. Although these sites allow
consumers to compare different rates
and deals on hotels, airlines and other
services before booking, they can
also, however, cause much confusion
for consumers when and if something
goes wrong. Consumers are very often
unsure as to who their contract is
with, whether it is with the third party
site or with the service provider. In
most cases, third party booking sites
facilitate the online processing of
reservations for accommodation and
travel services. They provide a space
on which the services of airlines, hotels,
and other suppliers are displayed and
facilitate the booking with the provider.
This means that when a consumer
makes a booking, his/her contract will
usually be directly with the service
provider and not with the booking
website. Consumers are advised to
closely read the terms and conditions
attached to the booking website. These
should clearly set out the exact nature
of the contractual relationship and
any additional information such as
modification/cancellation procedures.
However, consumers should also
ensure that they read the terms
of the service provider, as these
may place additional requirements
on the booking – for example, an
airline may demand certain specific
documentation from passengers but
the booking site may not necessarily
inform them about this.
It is also important to note
that booking through a third party
website does not necessarily invoke
the protection of the Package Travel
Directive. Certain booking websites
do offer consumers the option of
booking a package, but this is subject
to a strict definition and does not apply
to separate travel or accommodation
arrangements made for an individual
consumer’s requirements, even if all
such arrangements are processed
through a single booking with the
intermediary. In order to qualify
as a package holiday, the booking
must consist of at least two of the
following three elements – transport,
accommodation, and additional tourist
services (e.g. guided tours), provided
that the package is pre-arranged and
sold at an inclusive price and lasts
for at least 24 hours or includes an
overnight stay. Where a third party
booking site offers package holidays,
this should be clearly indicated in the
terms and conditions and consumers
should verify whether or not it applies
to their booking. Package travel
legislation is currently under review
so that all those buying customised
holidays are suitably protected, either
when booking packages or new forms
of “linked” travel arrangements.
However, this legislation has yet to
be passed, and for this reason ECC
Ireland urges consumers to continue
being cautious when booking a holiday
through third party websites.
Should you run into difficulties
while on holiday you should firstly
report the problem immediately to
the local representative and give
them the opportunity to remedy the
problem at no extra cost to you. If the
problem is not resolved, then collect
as much relevant information as
possible, including taking photographs
where necessary. Make a written
complaint to the organiser within 28
days of returning home. This should
be followed up by a second letter if
you do not receive a response within
a reasonable time. If the company
refuses to offer any compensation, you
can then pursue the matter through
the small claims court or through
arbitration. It is also important to
check the terms and conditions of your
contract and follow the procedure for
dealing with complaints.
Money News by Roisin Moloney
www.thecai.ie May 2014
. . 8
The government has announced 19th September, 2014, to be
e-Day. This is the day that the central government, local authorities
and state agencies will stop issuing and accepting cheques to and
from businesses. Although this does not directly affect consumers,
it is a sign of things to come. E-Day is part of the National Payments
Plan, which is a government initiative that intends reducing the use
of cash and cheques in Ireland to the EU average and also aims to
double the volume of electronic payments. Dealing with cheques
is extremely time consuming and with swifter, less expensive and
more secure methods available, cheques will certainly come to
an end. The future is certainly moving towards e-payments with
ever-improving technologies in the payments industry. Once the
transition is made, it is likely cheques will not be missed given the
need to attend your bank branch to lodge cheques and also the
expense of using cheques.
E-Day Rebuild Costs Down
The Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland (SCSI) has
published the results of its latest survey which shows that the
price of replacing a home is around one fifth less than what
it was in 2008. The SCSI has warned homeowners to make
sure they are not overpaying their home insurance given that
rebuild costs are down 21% in the past six years. The result
of this decrease means that thousands of homes may be
paying too much for home insurance. The SCSI has advised
homeowners to check that they have not over insured or
under insured their homes. Homeowners can download the
2014 House Rebuilding Cost Guide at www.scsi.ie where they
can also use an online rebuilding cost calculator.
Key information to be given to small investors
In April, the European Parliament
approved new EU rules on the
information that small investors
must be given before they sign a
contract. Small, non-professional
investors should receive a Key
Information Document (KID) no
more than three pages long to help
them understand the investment
product, estimate the total cost of
their investment and make them
aware of the risks involved.
These documents
should be plainly worded, and,
so investors can more easily
compare investment products,
every KID will follow the same
structure, answering a standard
set of questions about the features
of the investment, how risky the
investment is, and what are the
associated costs. The aim of a KID
is to help retail investors reach an
investment decision, so it is vital
that they receive it while they are
still considering their investment
options, before the decision is
made.
The new rules apply to
packaged retail and insurancebased investment products (PRIIPs)
intended for small investors and
are typically products that a bank
might offer to retail investors
looking to make an investment - for
example, to save for a target sum
of money, such as buying a house.
Broadly speaking, PRIIPs can be
categorised into four groups:
investment funds, insurancebased investment products,
retail structured securities and
structured term deposits.
The retail investment market is
difficult for consumers to navigate,
with a gulf in understanding
between providers on one hand
and retail investors on the other.
Consumers are not always fully
aware of the scale or nature of the
risks they are taking on or they may
end up purchasing investments
that are not well-suited to their
needs.
Such problems can lead
to financial losses for the investor
and a wider loss of confidence in
retail investment markets. The
new rules seek to address these
issues, empowering consumers
by providing them with clear
and transparent information in a
standardised format that lets them
readily compare products for more
informed investment decisions.
Member states will need to
officially endorse the rules, which
would then take effect within two
years.
www.thecai.ie May 20149
PRODUCT/TECHNOLOGY NEWS
Lighting the way ahead
It seems just about every device is getting
smarter all the time and even the humble
light bulb is a lot cleverer than it used to be.
Philips led the push into smart light bulbs,
introducing its Hue collection in 2012, and
now other manufacturers like LG and Samsung
are entering the arena with offerings of their
own. Sold at Apple stores and online, Philips’
Hue pack costs €199 for a set of three 8.5-watt
smart bulbs and a bridge that connects to
your wi-fi router. Once you have screwed the
bulbs into your light fixtures, you download
the Hue app to your smartphone or tablet
and connect the whole system to the bridge
via the app. Through the app, you can control
the colour and brightness of the bulbs, select
ambient light settings and set timers to turn
on and off the lights. Recent updates to the
Hue offering means that the bulbs can
change colour when it is raining and
blink when you have a notification on
your smartphone. The time setting now
also lets users programme the lights to
follow your daily routine, randomly turning
on and off to throw potential burglars off
the scent when you are away. Last month,
Philips also launched a kinetic-powered, wallmounted switch that you can use to control the
bulbs when you can’t find your smartphone or
when your device is out of reach.
Throwing its hat in the ring, LG recently
launched its Smart Bulb, which offers a number
of similar features including a “security mode”
to flick lights on and off when the house is
vacant and an added “party mode” that will
pulse lights in time with music played on your
smartphone. The 10-watt Smart Lamp will also
act as a gentle alarm clock, waking you up by
slowly turning on the light. The LG offering
has the benefit of not needing a bridge like the
Hue system but it is currently only available in
the manufacturer’s home country of Korea.
Samsung has yet to debut its smart light bulb
but indications are that it won’t have as many
fun features as the LG and Philips models but
will focus on doing the basics well.
Product News by Clodagh O'Donoghue
The products featured on these pages have
not been tested by the Consumers’ Association
of Ireland and their inclusion here is not, in any
way, an endorsement of them.
The European Satellite Navigation Competition
(ESNC) is currently inviting submissions from budding
entrepreneurs across Europe for ideas for new services,
products and business innovations that integrate
satellite navigation technology into everyday life, such
as mobility, health or safety. The sat nav market is
growing fast and is expected to be worth €240 billion
by 2020.
The competition, also known as the Galileo Masters,
is now in its eleventh year and is supported by the
European Commission and the European Space
Agency, with the Irish region sponsored by the
National Space Centre Ltd., located in Cork. The
regional Irish winner will receive an award valued at
€20,000, which includes incubation space, business
coaching, technical support and marketing expertise
as well as automatic entry to the Galileo Masters
in October, where participants compete for the
€1 million prize fund.
In the 2013 competition, the winning entry from
Ireland was CarSafari, the brainchild of Kerry-based
husband-and-wife team James Mannix and Paula
Kelleher. The CarSafari concept is being developed
as a way for car passengers, both young and old, to
interact with the locality and environment they are
driving through, helping children learn and have
fun as they travel around the country and enhancing
the driving experience for visitors to Ireland. Through
CarSafari, car passengers will receive a great deal of
local information not currently available on in-car
satellite technology and will be made more aware of
their surroundings using interactive location-based
trivia and games. The creators of the concept are
planning to launch a demo later in 2014.
For entrepreneurs with a great idea for new
opportunities in the satellite services market, the
closing date for submissions to the 2014 competition
is June 30th and more information can be obtained at
the ESNC website at www.galileo-masters.eu.
Product/Tech News
Philips’ Hue pack
Sat Nav competition inviting
submissions
www.thecai.ie May 201410
If you like the idea of growing fresh herbs
in your kitchen to be able to add to your
meals as you cook but inevitably seem to
kill any poor plant you bring home within
a matter of days, technology is on hand
to help. In fact, the makers of Smart Herb
Garden claim that they use NASA-inspired
technology to take all the work out of
growing herbs and other plants. Available
on the Click and Grow website, www.
clickandgrow.com, the Smart Herb Garden
is a device that plugs into the wall and uses
pre-seeded cartridges with the company’s
own “smart soil” designed to deliver the
correct amount of nutrients, oxygen and
water to the plants. The device, which features an
LED light to ensure the plants have sufficient light to
thrive, monitors the plants’ progress using sensors and
software, adjusting the growing conditions as required.
All the user has to do is add water when the indicator
light tells them to do so.
A starter kit that allows you to grow three
different types of herbs and vegetables at once is priced
at $99.95 (€72 approx.) with refill cartridges available
from $6.95 (€5 approx.). The current range of plants on
offer includes basil, thyme, lemon balm, salad rocket, mini
tomato and chili pepper, with plans to add peppermint,
rosemary and strawberry to the selection. The company
guarantees hassle-free delivery to anywhere in the U.S.
or European Union – though of course if you have been
blessed with green fingers, you won’t need the help of
technology to deliver year-round fresh herbs.
A university romance was the
starting point for a new app that
makes communication for speakers
of different languages easier than
ever. The Globr Instant Messenger
app for smartphones adds real-time
translation to instant messaging,
automatically translating text from
the sender’s language into the chosen
language of the message recipient. It
seems that Globr was created when
the company founder, Jimi Ayoku,
was dating a young Russian woman
and found that the language barrier
was getting in the way. To solve the
problem, Ayoku began working on
a method of seamless translation
for instant messaging to let users
carry on conversations unhindered
by language differences. Initially
aimed at students and travellers,
Globr is set to launch this month
with support for seven languages
– English, Dutch, French, German,
Polish, Russian, and Spanish – and
will be made available on Apple
and Android devices. Beyond social
uses for the concept, the company is
also planning to develop a desktop
business application that will enable
employees within an organisation
that has staff spread across the globe
to overcome language barriers and
better communicate with each other.
Translating texts in real-time Growing herbs the smart way
WEEE Ireland recently announced that
a record 25 million waste batteries
were recycled across the country in
2013 with the help of a fund-raising
campaign for a children’s charity.
As a way of encouraging people to
recycle their waste batteries instead
of throwing them in the bin, WEEE
Ireland embarked on the Spread a
Little Sunshine campaign in 2013,
undertaking to make a donation to the
LauraLynn Children’s Hospice based
on the recycling effort. With the help of
Bosco, the red-haired puppet familiar
to children and adults all over the
country, the campaign was successful
in raising awareness and encouraging
the recycling of 532 tonnes of waste
batteries, increasing Ireland’s portable
battery take-back rate to 35%, up from
30% in 2012. As a result, €90,000 has
been donated by WEEE Ireland to the
LauraLynn Hospice, which cares for
children living with life-limiting or lifethreatening conditions.
WEEE Ireland has said that it will
continue its partnership with
LauraLynn for another two years
as it seeks to further increase the
percentage of batteries recycled in the
country. Under EU regulations, 45% of
batteries bought need to be recycled
by the end of 2015, which, as Elizabeth
O’Reilly of WEEE Ireland points out,
means that every second person has
to recycle all of their batteries if this
target is to be reached.
Millions of batteries are used in
households across Ireland each year
to power a huge range of appliances,
from TV remote controls to toys and
digital cameras. Because they are
so small, it is tempting to toss waste
batteries into the bin, but this means
that the harmful substances they
contain could end up posing a threat
to human health and the environment.
In addition, some metals contained in
batteries can be reused in industry,
including in battery manufacturing,
so recycling them helps to conserve
natural resources. Recycling is easy, as
under 2008 EU rules all retailers that
sell batteries must take back waste
batteries for free, whether or not you
are purchasing anything in their shop.
Simply pop your waste batteries in
one of the blue boxes provided at
your local supermarket, newsagent
or discount store to do your bit for the
environment and help raise money
for the exceptionally worthwhile
LauraLynn charity.
Battery recycling doing good all round
www.thecai.ie May 201411
MONEY/Maternity Care Options
Consumer Choice investigates expectant
parents’ options for their maternity care.
REPORT by Roisin Moloney
At a glance
• Going Public
• Going Private
• Insurance Cover
on the morning of the clinic that you will be
guaranteed to get out earlier. It is very likely
that you will not see the same obstetrician
on each visit and it is usually the case that
you will get assigned to one consultant and
see a member of this consultant’s team at
these antenatal appointments. At the birth,
a midwife will attend you and should a
doctor be required, the doctor on duty will
attend. Your newborn’s accommodation in
the hospital is also covered and should you
or your baby require any extra or special care
and should either of you need to remain in
hospital for an extended period, these costs
are covered by the public health system. The
accommodation under the public system
consists of a shared ward. This usually means
a minimum of four mothers. For some
patients, sharing is not a problem but others
find sharing and the associated visitors
intrusive and is enough to spark expectant
mothers into considering paying for private
maternity healthcare.
Perhaps you are expecting an addition to
your family in 2014 or hoping 2014 will bring
such news. Faced with pregnancy, particularly
for first-time parents, healthcare options must
be researched and considered. To begin with,
all expectant mothers ordinarily resident in
Ireland are entitled to free maternity care.
This care includes antenatal visits, labour
and delivery costs as well as postnatal care.
Maternity hospitals generally promote
combined care with your GP, meaning
expectant mothers alternate visits between
their GP and the hospital. All mothers-to-be
and their infants to the age of six weeks
are entitled to six free GP visits. In order to
claim these visits, you must complete the
relevant form which your GP can provide
and this must be returned to the Health
Service Executive (HSE). The structure of your
healthcare will depend on whether you opt
for public, private or semi private care.
Going Public
Public patients attend their chosen hospital’s
antenatal clinic or community-based clinic.
When choosing a maternity hospital, your
first considerations will be location and
accessibility. However, if you are within
a reasonable distance from a couple or
a number of hospitals you may wish to
research the relevant statistics, such as the
percentage of patients who have their labour
induced, the number of births by caesarean
section and instrumental births within that
particular hospital. Other statistics, such
as those relating to breastfeeding, can be
found on websites such as www.bump2babe.
ie. Once you have chosen a hospital for the
birth and after discussing this with your GP,
you must notify the hospital in question.
You will then be given an appointment for
attending the public clinic in this hospital
where you will be seen by a doctor. You can
still choose combined care and alternate
visits between the hospital clinic and your
GP. Queue times are inconsistent and you can
usually expect a wait. When you are allocated
an appointment and you are anxious about
the wait, you can always ignore the time
allocated to you and attend the clinic so early
Maternity Care
Options
www.thecai.ie May 201412
Going Private
If you choose to go semi-private, you can
attend a semi-private clinic at the hospital
or you can see an obstetrician. Going private
involves two main considerations – firstly,
your medical care and, secondly, your hospital
accommodation. You are more likely to see the
same obstetrician for all your appointments
- however, should a doctor be required at the
birth, you will be seen by the consultant on
duty that particular day. Caesarean section
will be fully covered but other situations may
not be. Accommodation under semi-private
care consists usually of two to four bed wards
depending on the hospital. For those with
private health insurance, the semi-private route
will cost in the region of €1,200 once you add
in the extras such as blood tests and scans. For
those without private health insurance, the
semi-private bill could run into the region of
€4,000.
If you choose to pay for
private care, you choose your obstetrician
and a hospital which he/she works in. You will
be allocated specific appointment times and
you will see the same doctor at each of these
appointments. Most arrangements include the
presence of your obstetrician at the birth but
should he/she not be available there will be
a consultant obstetrician on duty. Usually, a
hospital stay for a normal delivery is three days
and paying for private care does not guarantee
private accommodation - it cannot be booked
in advance and is normally allocated on a
first-come, first-served basis. Once your baby
has been delivered, you will be put on a waiting
list and when a private room becomes available
you will be moved - a lot will have to do with
how busy the particular maternity hospital is.
The fees charged by consultant obstetricians
vary from doctor to doctor. For example,
private consultancy fees for those with private
health insurance in the Rotunda Hospital in
Dublin can vary from €3,000 to €4,500. Fees
at the National Maternity Hospital and the
Coombe Hospital average at approximately
€4,000. For those without insurance, the cost
can be double this.
Another difference
between public and private care is the number
of scans offered to expectant mothers. These
scans are used to confirm the progress and
well-being of the baby. Public patients can,
however, pay privately for such scans carried
out at private clinics separate to their maternity
hospital. Such scans start in the region of €100
but increase with increased levels of detail
offered.
Insurance Cover
If you are a private patient in a public hospital,
there are extra costs that include ultrasound
scans, epidural, anesthetist and doctor’s
delivery fees, special care nursing, pathology
and paediatrician fees, some of which may
not be covered by your insurer. Your insurer
may, however, contribute to these costs and
it is important that you know what is and is
not covered under your policy. Before you
start attending your maternity hospital for
antenatal care, ring your insurer and hospital
to clarify what exactly you are covered for.
Of course, some plans offer better maternity
cover than others, so if an addition to the
family is within the foreseeable future,
consider your health cover without delay
as you will not normally be able to claim
under the maternity section of your contract
until you have served a waiting period of 52
weeks. This, however, only applies if taking
out health insurance for the first time, if you
are upgrading your policy to a higher level
of cover, or if you have allowed your health
insurance lapse for more than thirteen
weeks.
For a breakdown of the different maternity
benefits offered by each insurer's plans,
visit the consumer information section of
the Health Insurance Authority's website
(www.hia.ie). Be warned that the differences
between plans offered by the same provider
costing similar amounts can be vast, with
some covering the full cost of public hospital
accommodation for three days while the
next policy may cover less than half the cost
of accommodation, leaving you with a hefty
bill. If mothers require a caesarean section
and this is deemed medically necessary,
many insurers will cover the costs in full,
including accommodation and delivery
costs. It is therefore crucial that expectant
parents with private health insurance for
over a year speak with their provider and
establish what is covered under their policy
before deciding whether they wish to have
public, semi-private or private care.
Home Birth
The option of home birth, while not as
popular, may be one you are considering. In
this case, the HSE will contribute a maximum
of approximately €500 towards the cost of
the birth and it will also provide you with a
list of participating doctors and midwives.
Health insurers will also contribute to the
cost of a home birth, again depending on
the policy that you have. Check with your
insurer to ensure that you comply with any
criteria it may have and also the amount it
will contribute.
Considering the options
In summary, when faced with news of
pregnancy and the decision as to what
type of healthcare you are willing to pay
for, consider how you would feel about
sharing a ward but remember that a
private room cannot be guaranteed. Next,
consider continuity of care and how would
you feel about not seeing the same doctor
on each visit, but remember you cannot
be guaranteed that your obstetrician can
attend at the birth. You must consider
your personal finances in full and decide
whether paying for private care is really
within your budget. It is often reported
that new mothers are more likely to feel
the pressure to go private and, in the
case of second and subsequent children,
parents often choose to go public after
paying for private care the first time
around.
Other points to note
include the registration of your new baby,
which should be done as soon as possible,
as children’s allowance is no longer back
dated to the date of birth but rather
to the date of registration. Also, when
considering your budget, remember that
for the duration of your maternity leave
you will be entitled to maternity benefit,
which amounts to €280 per
week, and your employer
is not obliged to make
up the shortfall in your
income. This drop in
income should be
budgeted for as well as
other costs including
cots, cradles, car
seats, buggies,
nappies,
baby bottles,
and clothes
and so on.
www.thecai.ie May 2014
Hailed as a boon for smokers desperate to
quit, many questions still surround electronic cigarettes. Consumer Choice looks at this
new product category and the changes that
are taking place in the e-cigarette market.
Of the almost one in five people in Ireland
who smoke, more than 80% intend to quit,
according to new research by the Irish
Cancer Society, which found that concern
for their future health was the main reason
cited by smokers for wanting to give up. In
recent times, a new product has emerged
that is touted as being able to help smokers
quit – electronic cigarettes or e-cigarettes.
Manufacturers claim that their products
provide a healthier alternative to toxinladen tobacco cigarettes and suggest
that they can help to wean smokers off
the habit. However, many questions
have arisen relating to this new product
category – Are e-cigarettes really an aid
to quitting smoking? Are there any health
concerns involved? And what regulation
are these products subject to? Consumer
Choice separates the facts from the fiction
surrounding e-cigarettes and looks at how
the fast-growing e-cigarette market is set
to develop in the near future.
What are e-cigarettes?
E-cigarettes provide users with a dose of
nicotine without burning tobacco. They
are made up of a rechargeable battery,
an atomiser and a cartridge containing
nicotine suspended in liquid, flavourings
and other additives. Sometimes the
atomiser and cartridge are combined
into a single unit which is known as a
“cartomiser.” These devices are generally
made to look similar to a regular cigarette
and when you take a puff, a sensor activates
the battery which heats the atomiser and
turns the liquid into vapour, delivering
the nicotine into your lungs. The vapour
looks like smoke and an LED lights up at
the end of the device to simulate the burn
of a tobacco cigarette but there is no smell
because nothing is actually burning.
There are currently over 250
brands of e-cigarettes available in a range
of colours and in a wide variety of flavours.
There are also cartridges that contain liquid
without nicotine for those who want the
sensory experience of smoking without its
effect. The process of using e-cigarettes is
known as “vaping” rather than smoking
REPORT by Clodagh O'Donoghue
At a glance
• Touted benefits
• Key concerns
• Developing regulation
Electronic cigarettes –
A burning question for
regulators
FOOD & HEALTH / Electronic Cigarettes
13
www.thecai.ie May 2014
and users are called “vapers”.
What are the touted benefits?
Manufacturers claim that the main benefit
of e-cigarettes is that they remove the
harmful effects of smoking. They tout
e-cigarettes as healthier alternatives to
tobacco cigarettes because these devices
use vapour to deliver nicotine to the
body instead of smoke and do not expose
users to the same toxic chemicals and
cancer-causing ingredients. Many people
looking to quit smoking are embracing
e-cigarettes as a way of giving up or cutting
down on tobacco-cigarette use. Unlike
other nicotine replacement therapies
like patches or gum, e-cigarettes provide
the same physical sensation and actions
of smoking – handling the device and
inhaling and exhaling a cloud of vapour
that looks like smoke. Nicotine cartridges
are even available in tobacco flavour to
more closely mimic the experience of “real”
smoking.
Fans of e-cigarettes say they feel
better, breathe easier and experience less
coughing with e-cigarettes compared with
tobacco cigarettes and they appreciate the
absence of the smoky odours and stained
teeth and fingers.
In addition, because these
devices are reusable, many users feel
they are saving money by switching
to e-cigarettes. An initial starter kit –
containing the device, a battery and
several cartridges - can cost between €20
and €70 and replacement cartridges often
work out at around €1 per cartridge, with
each cartridge roughly equalling one pack
of cigarettes depending on the specific
product and how much a person “vapes”.
An even more cost-effective option is for
users to buy liquid in bulk and refill the
cartridges themselves. With a pack of
20 regular tobacco cigarettes currently
priced at around $9.50, there undoubtedly
would appear to be significant cost savings
associated with e-cigarettes for pack-a-day
smokers funding a habit that costs them
over €3,500 a year.
Do they help smokers quit?
A key benefit claimed for e-cigarettes is that
they help wean smokers off the real thing,
but is there any evidence that they actually
work? A first-of-its-kind study published in
The Lancet medical journal in September
2013 examined the effectiveness of
e-cigarettes containing nicotine in helping
smokers to quit compared to nicotine
patches and to e-cigarettes that simply
contained flavourings.
Funded by the Health Research
Council of New Zealand, the study took
place between September 2011 and July
2013 and involved 657 adult smokers
who wanted to kick the habit. Findings
revealed that e-cigarettes, with or
without nicotine, were modestly effective
at helping smokers to quit, achieving
similar levels of abstinence as nicotine
patches after six months’ use.
However, the success rate was very
modest indeed, with verified abstinence
after six months of 7.3% (21 of 289
participants) with nicotine e-cigarettes,
5.8% (17 of 295 participants) with nicotine
patches, and 4.1% (3 of 73 participants)
with placebo e-cigarettes. Researchers
concluded that further study is needed to
clearly establish the overall benefits and
harms of e-cigarettes at both individual
and population levels.
What are the key concerns?
So far, so good. These products seem to
be a less harmful alternative to tobacco
cigarettes and may even have a positive
effect on smoking rates. However,
many health experts and regulatory
agencies are far from convinced that
the introduction of e-cigarettes is a
favourable development. One major
concern with regard to the use of
e-cigarettes for smoking cessation
is the lack of testing and research to
show that the product is effective and
safe. Although e-cigarette users are not
breathing in smoke, they are still inhaling
nicotine, which is an addictive substance.
And e-cigarettes deliver nicotine to the
lungs in liquid form, which a number
of leading organisations, including the
World Health Organisation (WHO), say
has not been adequately tested for safety.
As well as the issues surrounding
nicotine delivery, critics point to the
medical debate on the possible impact of
some other ingredients often contained
in the vapour, such as propylene glycol,
which is known to irritate airways. Health
experts are concerned that people may
be misled into believing they are making
a safe choice, when, in fact, the effects of
e-cigarettes, particularly over the long
term, remain unknown. Some fear that
e-cigarettes may be doing a disservice
to those who want to quit smoking if
smokers choose these untested products
over methods that have proven effective,
such as nicotine gum, patches and nasal
sprays. And others worry that, among
former smokers, the use of e-cigarettes
could trigger the urge to smoke again.
The lack of quality control
and regulation of these relatively new
products also has been a cause for
concern. There has, to date, been little
government oversight into how these
products are made, what chemicals
are used, and how much nicotine a
cartridge contains. An e-cigarette can
contain as much - or more - nicotine as
a regular cigarette and consumers can
buy cartridges in a range of nicotine
strengths.
Manufacturers often claim
that you can “smoke” e-cigarettes
anywhere as they are not subject to the
smoking ban in the same way as tobacco
cigarettes. As a result, these devices
have been appearing in indoor public
places like offices and restaurants,
which some say could lead to the
“renormalising” of smoking. Beyond
this concern are questions relating to
the possible effects on nonusers of
second-hand vapour.
Is second-hand vapour
harmful?
E-cigarettes do not produce secondhand cigarette smoke which is wellknown to be toxic and damaging to
the health of those in the vicinity of
the smoker. However, e-cigarettes do
produce second-hand vapour, and
although manufacturers insist this is
merely water vapour and consequently
harmless, regulatory agencies and
health experts argue that e-cigarette
makers have not conducted the research
needed to prove this.
In a recent study that examines
this area, researchers in New York and
Poland compared vapours generated
by three brands of e-cigarettes with
tobacco smoke from regular cigarettes.
They found that the e-cigarette vapour
contained nicotine but not the toxic
compounds and pollutants found in
tobacco smoke. And the level of
14
www.thecai.ie May 2014
nicotine in the vapour averaged just onetenth of that contained in tobacco smoke,
leading researchers to conclude that using
cigarettes indoors would expose nonusers
to small amounts of nicotine only and that
inhaling vapour from e-cigarettes is likely
safer than inhaling second-hand smoke
from tobacco cigarettes.
However, it may not be 100% risk
free and researchers stressed that further
research was necessary to determine
the possible effects of even low levels of
nicotine exposure to vulnerable groups
including young children and pregnant
women. It should be noted that this
study did not test for other potentially
worrisome elements of e-cigarettes - such
as propylene glycol and formaldehyde that some earlier studies have uncovered.
Some people have reported
that they find second-hand vapour
from e-cigarettes to be irritating to their
eyes, noses and throats. Opponents of
e-cigarettes maintain that people should
not be subjected to second-hand vapour
until it is has been proven to be safe for
everyone.
A possible gateway device?
Some experts warn that rather than
help smokers kick the habit, e-cigarettes
might act as a gateway device, leading
people along the slippery path towards
a full-fledged smoking addiction. There
are particular concerns that vaping is
becoming popular among young people.
Although manufacturers are careful not
to directly target young people with
their marketing, nicotine cartridges for
e-cigarettes come in a wide range of
flavours – including chocolate, caramel,
strawberry and even bubblegum –
many of which are likely to appeal to
the youth demographic. In the U.S.,
for example, regulators have reported
that the number of middle-school and
high-school students using e-cigarettes
doubled from 2011 to 2012 to a total of
1.7 million teenagers. And as e-cigarettes
are sold online, it is easier for adolescents
to procure them without proof of age
than it is for them to buy regular tobacco
cigarettes.
In addition, a recent report
commissioned by Cancer Research UK
found that celebrity endorsements and
social media are attracting young people
to use e-cigarettes in significant numbers.
Indeed, there have been numerous
criticisms recently of e-cigarette
marketing that seeks to glamorise
the activity and to employ the same
exploitative techniques of old-school
tobacco advertising, banned in Ireland
and many other countries for a number of
years.
A growing market
It is not surprising that e-cigarette
advertising is reminiscent of old-style
tobacco cigarette ads, as many large
tobacco companies are embracing the
e-cigarette category. Amid projections
that consumers worldwide will migrate
from tobacco products to e-cigarettes at
an accelerating rate in the coming years,
both Imperial Tobacco and Philip Morris
International have announced plans to
launch an e-cigarette product in 2014
and British American Tobacco introduced
its Vype e-cigarette offering in 2013. The
entry of the tobacco companies into
this market as a way of offsetting falling
tobacco sales is yet another reason the
anti-tobacco lobby views the e-cigarette
category with suspicion.
It is undoubtedly a market that
is booming. According to data for Ireland
published by Nielsen Total Scantrack, the
sale of e-cigarettes soared a whopping
478% in 2013, generating €7.3 million and this does not include online sales
of the product. In contrast, tobacco
cigarette sales fell by almost 4% here and
overall tobacco sales declined by 1.2%
from the previous year – though they
still generated a massive total of almost
€1.2 billion. Of course, the big players
in the e-cigarette market face the same
paradox as all manufacturers of nicotine
replacement products for those who wish
to give up smoking - in theory at least, the
purpose of the product is to do away with
itself and become no longer necessary.
How is regulation developing?
The phenomenon of vaping is still so new
that regulation is evolving to react to the
specific challenges involved. Regulatory
agencies around the world are taking a
close look at these devices and instituting
a range of restrictions on their use.
Because e-cigarettes do not produce
smoke, vapers have often been able to
avoid the smoking ban in public places
and the nicotine-addicted have been
turning to e-cigarettes as a way of getting
their nicotine fix in pubs, restaurants, and
elsewhere. And whereas most airlines
have banned e-cigarette use on flights,
Heathrow Airport in London recently
opened the world’s first “vaping zone.”
However, as we have seen,
there is a lack of adequate research and
testing about the potential effects of
second-hand vapour and in the absence
of hard evidence on its safety, some
authorities are taking action to shore
up the smoking ban loophole. France is
considering a nationwide ban on the use
of e-cigarettes in public places and one
town in Normandy has taken matters
into its own hands, introducing the ban
in all public buildings after several nonsmokers complained about the devices
being used in public libraries.
One of the last actions of
outgoing New York City Mayor Michael
Bloomberg in December 2013 was to sign
a bill that brings e-cigarettes within the
scope of the Smoke Free Air Act so that
the devices are prohibited everywhere
that smoking is banned. And in March
2014, Los Angeles took the decision to ban
vaping from restaurants, bars, nightclubs
and other public spaces. Some countries
– including Brazil, Mexico, Singapore and
Dubai - have gone much
15
www.thecai.ie May 2014
further, prohibiting the importation and
sale of e-cigarettes altogether and the
sale of e-cigarettes containing nicotine is
subject to severe restrictions in countries
like Denmark, Finland and Australia.
Even in countries where e-cigarettes are
considered legal, authorities are in the
process of legislating where and how
people can use them.
What does Europe say?
The question of e-cigarettes and how they
should be regulated has been the subject of
much debate in Europe recently. On 14th
March, 2014, the revised Tobacco Products
Directive was officially adopted by the
European Council of Ministers following
its formal approval by the European
Parliament in February. The directive
includes provisions for tighter regulation
of the booming e-cigarette market and
sets out safety and quality requirements
for this product category. Under the draft
legislation, member states can decide to
regulate e-cigarettes either as medicinal
products, if they are presented as having
curative or preventive properties, or
alternatively as tobacco products.
If sold as tobacco products, the
nicotine concentration should not exceed
20mg/ml and a single cartridge should
contain the equivalent in nicotine of a
pack of cigarettes. Refillable cartridges
are allowed but with the stipulation that, if
three member countries decide to prohibit
them, the European Commission can
introduce a blanket ban across the EU. In
addition, e-cigarettes should be childproof
and carry health warnings and they
would be subject to the same advertising
restrictions that apply to tobacco products.
These measures were agreed in
conjunction with other strategies aimed
at making tobacco products less attractive
to young people, including ensuring that
health warnings cover 65% of the surface
area of a pack of regular tobacco cigarettes.
Once the new legislation enters into force,
member states will have two years to
transpose it into national law.
The size of the smoking problem
Many smokers are turning to e-cigarettes,
aware that although these devices have
not been conclusively proven to be safe,
the dangers of tobacco cigarettes are
well documented and so e-cigarettes
are worth the risk. Smoking remains
the biggest preventable cause of death
in the EU, with around 700,000 people
dying prematurely from related diseases
each year. Over the years, steps taken
to discourage smoking
have helped reduce the
proportion of EU citizens
who smoke from 40% in the
EU15 in 2002 to 28% in the
EU27 in 2012. Nonetheless,
WHO figures indicate
alarming upward trends in
the number of young smokers
in some member states and a 2012
European Commission survey showed
that of the 28% of the EU population
who smoke, 29% are aged between 15
and 24 years. In Ireland, 7,000 people die
from smoking-related causes every year,
according to the Department of Health.
Opinion is sharply divided over whether
e-cigarettes can play a role in helping
people to quit or cut down on their
tobacco use, thereby significantly
reducing the death rate from tobaccorelated causes, or whether these new
devices will in fact add to the problem by
renormalising smoking and introducing
young people and other nonsmokers to
a nicotine habit.
The situation in Ireland
Currently, as well as being available
online, e-cigarettes may be purchased
in a variety of retail outlets in Ireland. In
2011, the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland
advised pharmacists that, in the absence
of regulation, they should not offer
e-cigarettes for sale in their pharmacies.
Similarly, the Irish Cancer Society has said
that it is unable to recommend the use of
e-cigarettes as an alternative to tobacco
until they are regulated in Ireland. In
response to the growing trend of vaping
in public places, some organisations have
moved to ban the use of e-cigarettes, with
the major public transport carriers – Iarnród
Éireann, Bus Éireann, and Dublin Bus –
recently introducing bans on all services
they operate.
The Minister for Health, James
Reilly, has been reported as stating his belief
that e-cigarettes should not be marketed
as a consumer product and although
he recognised the benefits in helping
people to quit smoking, he has pointed
to the fact that nicotine is a dangerous
drug. A Department of Health review has
been ordered by Dr Reilly to determine if
e-cigarettes should be licensed and sold
only in pharmacies and indications are
that there will be a ban on their sale to
the under-18 age group.
The recent decisions taken
at European level will also have a major
impact on how regulation evolves in
Ireland. Thus, the e-cigarette market is
set to see key developments here in the
near future.
Conclusion
There is insufficient evidence as yet on
whether e-cigarettes are completely
safe but, on the other hand, there is
ample evidence that tobacco cigarettes
are extremely harmful to health and
yet they are readily available with
the government raising huge taxes
from them. For existing smokers,
e-cigarettes could be beneficial,
presenting as they do an alternative
to lethal tobacco cigarettes. However,
for nonsmokers, it would be unwise
to start vaping in the belief that this
will have no effect whatever on their
health, given the current lack of serious
study into these products. In general,
regulation of the market and further
research would appear to be the key to
ensuring that e-cigarettes do not cause
more problems than they solve. Given
the recent adoption of the revised EU
Tobacco Products Directive and its
implications for the e-cigarette market
as well as ongoing moves in Ireland
to address the challenges of this new
product category, regulation in this
area is likely to come sooner rather
than later.
16
www.thecai.ie May 201417
Introduced in the 1930s, men’s electric
shavers are certainly a convenient
alternative to blade shaving, which
requires hot water, lather, and a fair bit of
patience. In contrast, if you are stuck for
time and have no access to warm water
or shaving cream, an electric shaver is a
useful, portable option that will leave you
stubble-free in a matter of minutes. And if
you don’t want to be completely stubblefree, many electric shavers have the ability
to control how close a shave you achieve.
Electric shavers with built-in trimmers are
great at administering an even length of
facial hair, letting you sport that stubbly
look.
Waterproofing on electric shavers is
becoming increasingly common, so many
models can now also facilitate wet shaving
using gel or foam and can even be taken
into the shower for a spot of multitasking.
Of course, the initial investment involved in
PRODUCT TESTS / Electric Shavers
For a close,
comfortable,
convenient shave,
these Choice Buy
men’s electric
shavers are smooth
operators.
REPORT by Clodagh O'Donoghue
At a glance
• Advantages of electric shavers
• Shaver types
• Six Choice Buys
Electric Shavers
buying an electric shaver is significantly
higher compared to a hand razor, and the
heads will need replacing approximately
every two years. In addition, many men
believe that a wet razor blade delivers a
closer shave than an electric model can
manage. However, if you are looking for
an electric shaver, here is what you need
to know and we have six Choice Buys for
you to consider.
Shaver Types
When it comes to electric shavers, the
main choice to be made is between a foil
system or a rotary system. Foil shavers
have straight floating heads designed to
glide over facial contours, with oscillating
blades behind a fine perforated foil to
cut hair. In contrast, rotary shavers have
usually three circular floating heads that
again glide over the face’s curves, with
blades that spin behind a fine grid to
www.thecai.ie May 201418
lift and then cut stubble. Each type has
its fans, and the decision here is largely
a matter of preference as they both do a
good job, with examples of each among
our Choice Buys.
In terms of powering electric
shavers, some basic models are corded
and need to be plugged into the mains
in order to work, but more common are
models that give you the option of being
used either cordless or connected to the
mains. This gives you the best of both
worlds, as you have the freedom to be
able to move around as you shave but
you can plug the device in if you have
forgotten to charge it and are in a hurry.
Features to look for
Battery life
Cordless shavers are very popular due to the freedom to move around that they offer but there are
significant differences in the number of shaves a fully charged battery will deliver. For example, among
our Choice Buys, testers found that the Philips Senseo Touch 3D RQ12150/17 was good for nine shaves,
whereas the Braun Series 5 5030 delivered an impressive 26 shaves – this could be the difference
between having to pack your charger when going on a two-week holiday or being able to leave the
charger at home and just popping your fully charged shaver into your luggage.
Battery indicator
Some shavers have a warning light to let you know when the battery is running low so you can take
action and recharge it before you get caught short.
Quick-charge option
If you do find yourself with an uncharged shaver, many models have a quick-charge feature that will
power up the device in three-to-five minutes and provide enough energy for one good shave.
Pop-up trimmer
Some shavers incorporate a pop-up trimmer that is useful for tidying up sideburns and other facial hair.
Because this is integrated into the shaver, you don’t have to keep swapping gadgets as you get ready
in the morning. However, it is useful if the trimmer can lock into position as otherwise it can pop down
again once pressure is applied, making grooming a bit awkward.
Cleaning stations
Like most devices, shavers need a bit of maintenance in order to keep them in tip-top condition, and this
involves regularly cleaning the heads to remove cut hair and skin particles. Some pricier models come
supplied with cleaning stations that users can pop their shaver into after use and a sanitising liquid is
pumped through the cutters. Although undoubtedly a convenient option, cleaning stations push up
the shaver’s purchase price and may require proprietary cleaning solutions and cartridges that will add
further expense. For a cheaper option that requires only a small amount of effort, you can usually clean
the shaver’s head yourself by rinsing it under the tap.
When choosing an electric shaver, here are some features you might like to consider before you buy:
Useful contacts:
Braun
tel 0044 800 783 7010
www.braun.com
Panasonic
tel (01) 289 8333
www.panasonic.com/uk
Philips
tel 0818 210 141
www.philips.ie
Cordless-only models will need to be
charged before you can use them so you
will need to think ahead - though, if you
have run out of charge, many provide a
quick-charge option that will give you
sufficient power for an emergency shave
in just a few minutes. All “Wet and Dry”
models are cordless-only to ensure that
you won’t be tempted to plug them in
while you are in the shower.
According to experts, foil
shavers work best if you use just
straight, back-and-forth strokes,
whereas, with rotary shavers, you can
also use slow, circular movements to
achieve a successful shave
www.thecai.ie May 201419
The Choice Buy Philips Senseo Touch 3D RQ12150/17
is undoubtedly pricey but this rotary shaver will
deliver a very effective shave with a great finish.
Attractively designed, this wet and dry, cordless
model looks and feels high-grade and is gentle on
the skin but will produce a very close shave. When
fully charged, the Senseo Touch is good for nine
shaves and if you are in a hurry, the quick-charge
option only takes five minutes to give you enough
power for one shave. This model incorporates a
small pop-up trimmer, though our testers were
not impressed with its ability to deliver precision
shaving. You can clean the heads on this device
by simply running them under the tap or using a
brush and the Senseo Touch has the added bonus of
being very quiet, with very low vibration, making it
comfortable to use.
1. Philips Senseo Touch 3D
RQ1250/17 €264
The Choice Buy Braun Series 5 5030 is a foil-system
shaver that will produce a great-quality shave. The
nonslip handle makes this shaver comfortable to
hold and the pop-up beard trimmer is useful for
tidying up sideburns and so on without having to
connect other attachments. This device can be used
cordless or connected to the mains, though with a
massive 26 shaves from a fully charged battery, it
shouldn’t run out of charge too often. A full charge
takes about 60 minutes and a quick five-minute
charge will provide enough power for a couple of
shaves. As this is a dry shaver, you won’t be able
to use it in the shower but it is possible to clean the
heads by rinsing them under the tap, making it easy
to keep this device spick and span.
2. Braun Series 5 5030
€225
The Choice Buy Panasonic ES-RF31-S511is a cordless
foil shaver that impressed our testers in terms of its
ability to glide over the skin to produce a generally
close and comfortable shave even with longer
stubble, though our testers found that sometimes
this device left behind a few hairs, especially in
the neck area. You have the option of using this
shaver dry or wet so if you are in a major hurry you
can shave as you shower. With a charging time of
62 minutes, a fully charged battery will deliver a
generous 19 shaves, and a quick five-minute charge
will provide enough power for a single shave. The
useful LED light lets you know when the battery
is running low on charge and the pop-up trimmer
locks into position so it won’t pop back accidentally
as you neaten up your sideburns.
3. Panasonic ES-RF31-S511
€218
The Choice Buy Braun CoolTec CT4-s Wet & Dry
foil shaver has a novel feature that could appeal
particularly to men with fairly sensitive skin. An
electronically cooled metal strip between the
foils produces a chilling effect that struck a chord
with our testers, who gave this device high scores
for comfort and who found that the cooling
technology did indeed reduce redness and
irritation. The Braun CoolTec CT4-s also delivers a
generally close shave, though tests showed it fared
better with short hairs and struggled a little with
three-day beards. As the name implies, this device
can be used either dry or wet, so users can bring it
into the shower with them if they need to. Battery
life was not as impressive as some other Choice
Buys but you will get a reasonable 12 shaves for an
hour-long charge.
4. Braun CoolTec CT4-s Wet &
Dry €256
At around half the price of some of our other
recommended models, the Choice Buy Braun
Series 3 340s-4 Wet & Dry offers great value for
money and still delivers a good-quality shave.
This cordless foil shaver may be used dry or with
gel and you can take it into the shower with you
if time is tight. Our testers found this shaver to be
comfortable on the skin and the anti-slip handle
was useful for getting a firm grip. Tests showed
it takes 62 minutes to fully charge the battery and
this will deliver a decent 13 shaves. If the device
runs out of charge and you are in a hurry, a quick
five-minute charge will provide sufficient charge
for a brief shave. The pop-up trimmer locks into
position and is handy for tidying around the
edges. To clean the head, you simply rinse it under
a running tap.
5. Braun Series 3 340s-4 Wet &
Dry €125
The Choice Buy Philips AquaTouch AT890 is a rotary
shaver that may be used dry or wet and that delivers a
close shave no matter which way it is used. Our testers
found this shaver to be lightweight, comfortable to
hold and pleasant on the skin. They also liked the fact
that this shaver is quite quiet and does not vibrate
too much, adding to the comfort of using it. It comes
with a pop-up trimmer but this does not lock into
position and testers were not overly impressed by
its performance. Cleaning the shaver is easy, either
using the cleaning brush provided or detaching
the head and rinsing it under the tap. When fully
charged, the battery holds enough power for around
19 five-minute shaves and, if you find it has run out
of charge, a three-minute quick-charge option will
facilitate one emergency shave.
6. Philips AquaTouch AT890
€131
Closeness of shave

Comfort of shave

Battery life

Ease of cleaning

Closeness of shave

Comfort of shave

Battery life

Ease of cleaning
 
Closeness of shave

Comfort of shave

Battery life

Ease of cleaning
 
Closeness of shave

Comfort of shave

Battery life

Ease of cleaning
 
Closeness of shave

Comfort of shave

Battery life

Ease of cleaning

Closeness of shave

Comfort of shave

Battery life

Ease of cleaning

www.thecai.ie May 201420
Many consumers are thinking big these days
when it comes to TVs. Consumer Choice
takes a look at current TV trends and presents
some very smart Choice Buys.
In recent years, TVs have evolved from
bulky devices taking up far too much space
in the living room to sleek, lean machines
that are often less than two inches thick.
Developments in screen technology mean
that today’s TVs can deliver high-definition
(HD) resolution for stunning picture
quality in a slim-line package. In addition,
manufacturers have introduced various
smart features to help their TVs compete
with the plethora of other entertainment
devices present in most homes today.
TV trends
With narrower surrounds, slimmer bodies
and the ability to be wall mounted, many
consumers are opting to go large when
they purchase a new TV. Although 32-inch
and 40-inch screens are still the most
popular choices, there is a growing trend
toward larger screen sizes, with 47-to55-inch models becoming increasingly
common on shop floors and even larger
TVs available for those who have the
living space to house them. Their new
thinner bodies mean that these TVs are
less intrusive when turned off and their
bigger screen size means they are more
impressive when turned on. And these
larger screens take full advantage of the
higher screen resolution and increasingly
ubiquitous high definition content in a way
that smaller screens cannot. In practice,
for many households today, screen sizes
of between 39 and 43 inches offer a good
compromise between the really huge and
the not quite large enough.
As well as an increase in size,
TVs have added ever-smarter features to
become multitasking devices that let you
surf the internet, post on social media
sites and enjoy catch-up TV and films
PRODUCT TESTS / Televisions
REPORT by Clodagh O'Donoghue
At a glance
• TV trends
• 4K resolution
• OLED technology
• Ten Choice Buys
Televisions
on-demand. The vast majority of models
in our current batch of tests are smart TVs
and either come with built-in wi-fi or with
the option to add wi-fi via a dongle to allow
you to wirelessly connect to various online
services and apps. PVR (programmable
video recorder) functionality means that
you can record and pause live TV when you
add external memory via a USB port. And
with picture-in-picture capabilities, you can
display a small image of another channel
or DVD in the corner of the screen while
you watch the main image or use on-screen
menus.
These devices can be as smart as
they like, but picture quality is ultimately
the most important aspect of any TV and
the models currently on test all deliver
good to very good results in this area.
Sound quality, however, is more variable,
particularly on the smaller screen sizes.
www.thecai.ie May 201421
Sound is an area that manufacturers have
struggled with since they started making
TVs with slimmer bodies that leave less
physical space for a good set of built-in
speakers. However, despite their slim-line
design, many of the high-end models on
test are able to provide decent to very good
audio quality.
The ability to show 3D
content may not be a factor that figures
too highly in most people’s TV buying
decisions, but the models on test that are
3D capable tend to perform very well in
this area. There are two main types of 3D
technologies currently available - active
and passive. Battery-operated active
shutter glasses use electronic shutters to
sync the eyes to two different pictures on
the screen to produce a 3D effect, whereas
passive glasses - familiar to anyone who has
seen a 3D film in the cinema recently – use
polarised lenses to separate the pictures to
direct them to each eye.
4K resolution
Up to recently, high definition was the
ultimate in TV screen resolution but now
manufacturers are pushing towards
introducing ultra-high-definition models for
even greater clarity, even sharper images
and an even more immersive experience.
Manufacturers have started bringing to
market 4K TVs, which have four times more
pixels than full HD - 3,840 x 2,160 pixels in
4K, compared with 1,920 x 1,080 in full HD.
This means four times the amount of detail
and lets you get much closer to the screen
without noticing the dots that make up the
picture.
However, to really benefit from
4K, the screen size probably needs to be
fairly large and there is currently a lack
of 4K content to display. Although these
TVs can convert regular HD content to
4K, it does not really show off what the
device is capable of or justify the very hefty
price tag. Not surprisingly, the 4K TVs
that are currently available are extremely
expensive and are unlikely to offer any
significant advantage in terms of other TV
functionality beyond the higher screen
resolution.
OLED
Most TVs on test are termed LED models,
though this generally means that they are
LCD TVs with LED backlighting – that is, the
handful of backlight lamps that traditionally
illuminated the LCD screen has been
replaced with a larger number of very small
LEDs. This enables LED TVs to be much
thinner than LCD models.
Although plasma screens
are being phased out by some TV
manufacturers, there are still models
available and some owners favour them for
their deeper and more detailed black areas,
greater contrast and virtually unlimited
viewing angles. Again, however, there are
new developments afoot and the future of
TVs may lie in OLED technology.
OLED stands for organic
light-emitting diode and with this new
technology, the TV’s pixels light themselves
rather than being powered by a backlight.
This means that OLED TVs can be even
slimmer than LED models and they can
also be flexible, enabling screens to gently
curve in a bid to provide a more immersive
viewing experience. OLED technology
seeks to combine the image brightness,
ultra-thin design and energy efficiency of
current LED models with the deep blacks,
strong contrast and wide viewing angles
of plasma TVs. A small number of OLED
TVs are available in Ireland with price tags
of around €6000 and higher for 55-inch
models, though prices will inevitably fall as
the technology becomes more mainstream.
Useful contacts
LG
tel 0818 276955
www.lg.com/uk/
Samsung
tel 0818 717100
www.samsung.com/ie
Sony
tel (01) 413 1700
www.sony.ie
The Choice Buy Samsung UE46F7000 is an extremely stylish TV
packed with features that delivers stunning picture quality on its 46inch screen. It is also 3D capable and comes supplied with two pairs of
active glasses that our testers found to be lightweight and comfortable.
This TV is very easy to operate and comes with two remote controls, a
standard remote and a Smart Touch Control model with a touchpad and
voice recognition. Our testers did not find operating the TV by voice
control to be hugely reliable, but they did find that gesture control had
improved over the manufacturer’s 2012 models and that it works fairly
well in bright surroundings, though dim conditions continue to cause
difficulties. The Samsung UE46F7000 offers full internet browsing via
built-in wi-fi and an impressive range of smart TV features supported by
Samsung’s excellent Smart TV Hub. If you are looking for an even-larger
model, there is a 55-inch version, the Samsung UE55F7000, or those
with a smaller living-room might prefer the 40-inch UE40F7000 – both
of which scored extremely well in our tests and are similarly highly
recommended.
1. Samsung UE46F7000 €1,930
The Choice Buy Samsung UE46F6400 is another attractive LED TV from
Samsung offering a full range of high-end features. With a 46-inch screen,
picture quality is excellent with well-balanced colours and contrast and
this TV also delivers great sound quality and does a good job in terms of
its 3D performance, for which two pairs of lightweight active glasses are
supplied. As well as a regular remote, this TV comes supplied with a Smart
Touch control for efficiently navigating various smart features and internet
browsing. You can also use voice control to operate this TV but our testers
found that it was easier and quicker to use the standard remote than
availing of the voice option. Overall, this is a generally easy-to-use device,
and more advanced users can take advantage of Wi-fi Direct technology
to display content from their smartphone on the screen. Other impressive
capabilities include the built-in PVR for recording and pausing live TV, and
energy consumption is satisfactory for such a large screen. Other models
in this Samsung series offer screen sizes of 40, 50 and 55 inches – suiting
a range of living room sizes and all of which scored equally highly in our
tests.
2. Samsung UE46F6400 €1,270
www.thecai.ie May 201422
PRODUCT TESTS /Televisions
Sleek and stylish, the Choice Buy Samsung UE46F6670 is another
feature-laden, 46-inch LED TV that performs superbly in terms of
all-important picture quality. Images are sharp with vivid colours and
this TV delivers generally very satisfactory sound for a great viewing
experience. The Samsung UE46F6670 also scored highly in our tests
for 3D performance and two active 3D glasses come supplied with this
model. Also supplied are two remote controls - a regular remote that is
very easy to use with well-spaced buttons and a Smart Touch remote
that helps with navigating the numerous smart features. There is no
gesture control on this model and our testers found that using the voice
commands was not sufficiently reliable to be preferable to the standard
remote. As well as full internet browsing, you can use the built-in wi-fi
to wirelessly access a wide choice of popular apps, including Facebook
and Twitter, which you can view at the same time as watching TV
content on the screen. We also tested the 40-inch model in this series
– the UE40F6670 – which garnered an equally high score and is priced
at around €830.
3.Samsung UE46F6670 €1,150
Not everyone is interested in accessing smart TV features, and the Choice
Buy Samsung UE46F6100 could be a great option for those looking for
a large-size HD TV that will deliver on the more basic tasks of providing
great picture and sound quality. With similarly high resolution as that
offered by our other large-screen Choice Buys, images are crisp and sharp
with generally natural colours on this Samsung model and our testers
found that it produced rich sound quality that was clear and balanced.
Although lacking in smart TV features, PVR capabilities or the ability to
connect to the internet, this TV is 3D capable and delivers very decent 3D
performance using active 3D technology. However, it is a little short on
connections with only two HDMI sockets and two USB ports. This Samsung
TV is again stylishly designed and, although there are no fancy gesture or
voice control options, it is easy to operate via the one supplied remote
control. Those in the market for a non-smart HD TV could also consider the
Samsung UE40F6100 with the same specifications and positive attributes,
priced at €750.
4.Samsung UE46F6100 €950
The Choice Buy Samsung UE40F8000 comes with a hefty price tag but if you
are looking to splash out, this premium TV was the top-scoring model in our
current batch across all screen sizes. Picture quality is excellent with very sharp
images and natural, balanced colours and sound quality is similarly great on
this TV. It also does an impressive job when showing 3D content for which
two pairs of active 3D glasses are supplied. And along with providing a great
viewing experience, the Samsung UE40F8000 offers all the latest features,
such as PVR capabilities for pausing and recording live TV and built-in wi-fi
that lets you wirelessly access a full web browser, popular online services and
the impressive range of apps in Samsung’s Smart TV hub. The regular remote
control is well laid out for ease of operation and the touchpad on the second
supplied remote control is useful for navigating the TV’s smart features.
Alternatively, voice control may be used and the built-in camera facilitates
gesture control as well as being useful for making Skype calls. The 46- and 55inch versions of this outstanding TV also shone in our tests but will cost a very
substantial €2,400 and €2,950, respectively.
18. Samsung UE40F8000 €1,770
Although not quite as impressive as our previous Samsung model, the Choice
Buy Samsung UE40F6320 costs about half the price yet still offers great
specifications and plenty of smart features. Picture quality is sharp and crisp
and this TV also produces generally clear and fairly balanced sound quality
though our testers found it could be a bit thin at times. Two active 3D glasses
are supplied with this Samsung model, which does a good job of delivering 3D
content with plenty of depth. Our testers found the standard remote control
that comes supplied with this model to be quite large, a little overloaded and
not ideal for navigating through the set’s smart features and there are no voice
or gesture control options on this device. In addition, power consumption is
not particularly impressive on this TV, which could be more energy efficient.
However, it does have PVR functionality for pausing and recording live TV if
you add external memory and it comes with built-in wi-fi for connecting to the
internet and accessing Samsung’s excellent range of apps, the web browser and
other online services. If a 40-inch screen is a little small for your needs, we also
tested a similarly excellent 46-inch version.
19. Samsung UE40F6320 €920
www.thecai.ie May 201423
Samsung has dominated our ratings with its excellent offerings, and
the Choice Buy Samsung UE40F6510 is yet another great LED TV from
the manufacturer. Again sporting a sleek design, this TV offers superb
picture quality in full HD, though it scored less well in terms of sound
quality, with testers noting that the bass was a bit weak. This Samsung
is 3D capable and will do a good job of delivering 3D content for which
two pairs of active 3D glasses are supplied. Samsung’s TVs generally
impress in terms of online content thanks to its excellent Smart Hub
range of apps, and the UE40F6510 is no exception, with its built-in wi-fi
also enabling easy access to the full web browser and various popular
online services like Facebook and Twitter. Wi-fi Direct technology lets
you display what is on your smartphone on your TV and the four HDMI
sockets and three USB ports mean you have plenty of options when it
comes to adding a games console, blu-ray player, web cam, or external
memory to enable PVR functionality. If a 40-inch screen would be
a little large for your living room, the 32-inch model in this series, the
UE32F6510, garnered similarly excellent results in our tests.
20. Samsung UE40F6510 €1,170
The first non-Samsung Choice Buy in our current batch, the Sony
42W805A is an attractively designed LED TV featuring full HD and plenty
of high-end capabilities. All-important picture quality is excellent, with
generally sharp images, balanced contrast and natural colours. Sound
quality is decent without overly impressing our testers but this TV
scored top marks in terms of 3D performance, for which four pairs of
passive 3D glasses are supplied. This model also comes with two remote
controls, a regular remote that our testers found to be rather cluttered
and confusing in terms of layout, and a One Touch remote control for
navigating the TV’s smart features. The Sony 42W805A offers built-in wifi and a full internet browser but its range of online features is somewhat
limited compared to what is on offer in Samsung’s Smart Hub. Both
Wi-fi Direct and NFC are available for easy sharing of your smartphone
content with your TV and recording and pausing live TV is also possible.
In our tests, power consumption was found to be very low on this device.
The Sony 47W805A offers all the same great attributes in a larger, 47-inch
screen size.
21. Sony 42W805A €900
The Choice Buy LG 42LA860W delivers excellent picture quality in
full HD on its 42-inch screen and provides sound quality to match for a
great viewing experience. For fans of 3D content, this TV excelled in our
tests for 3D performance and comes supplied with six pairs of the very
lightweight passive 3D glasses familiar to cinema goers. The viewing
angle is also fairly wide so that a number of people can comfortably watch
the screen at once and overall, this TV scored well in terms of ease of use
and energy efficiency. The manufacturer’s new Magic Remote control
that comes with this TV set is not as well-balanced as the older version
but our testers found it to be generally good to use for navigating the
smart TV features. You can use the built-in wi-fi to browse the internet
or access popular online services like Facebook and YouTube and PVR
functionality is possible if you add external storage via one of the USB
ports. Smartphone content can be shared wirelessly with this TV using
Wi-fi Direct or NFC and there is a built-in camera that can be used to make
free Skype calls.
22. LG 42LA860W €1,100
Those in the market for a 32-inch TV but still looking for a full range of highend features might like to consider the Choice Buy Samsung UE32F6800.
Although pricey for a TV of this size, this model may appeal due to its stylish
design and the excellent picture quality delivering sharp, crisp images and
well-balanced colours. For 3D enthusiasts, this TV is capable of showing
3D content using an active 3D system, and its performance in this area
impressed in our tests. One area where this TV scored less highly was in
terms of sound quality, which our testers found to be poor from the builtin speakers. The UE32F6800 is very easy to operate with both a regular
remote control and a Smart Touch control with a responsive touchpad that
facilitates inputting data, internet browsing, and accessing online services
and apps via the built-in wi-fi. It also offers PVR capabilities if you add
external storage and power consumption on this device is quite low. If you
like the sound of this TV but are looking for a larger screen, the 40- and
46-inch versions in the F6800 series also did extremely well in our tests.
28. Samsung UE32F6800 €999
www.thecai.ie May 2014 May 2014 www.thecai.ie24 25
MODEL SPECIFICATION TEST PERFORMANCE SCORE
46-55 inch models
Price
(€)
Screen size
(inches)
Screen
technology 3D
Screen
resolution
(pixels)
Number
of HDMI
connectors
Internet
(full
browser)
Wi-fi
integrated
Wi-fi possible
via dongle
Image
quality
(40%)
Sound
quality
(20%)
Ease of
use (12.5%)
Smart TV (online content)
(7.5%)
Connections and
tuners (5%)
Power consumption
(5%)
Using as a
multimedia
player (5%)
Using as a
recorder
(5%)
3D
perfomance
(0%)
%
1 Samsung UE46F7000 1,930 46 LCD, LED backlight ✓ active 1920 x 1080 4 ✓ ✓          72
2 Samsung UE46F6400 1,270 46 LCD, LED backlight ✓ active 1920 x 1080 4 ✓ ✓✓          70
3 Samsung UE46F6670 1,150 46 LCD, LED backlight ✓ active 1920 x 1080 4 ✓ ✓✓          70
4 Samsung UE46F6100 950 46 LCD, LED backlight ✓ active 1920 x 1080 2    na    na  65
5 Samsung UE46F5500 1,050 46 LCD, LED backlight 1920 x 1080 3 ✓ ✓✓         na 64
6 Sony 46W905 2,100 46 LCD, LED backlight ✓ active 1920 x 1080 4 ✓ ✓✓          64
7 Sony 47W807 1,250 47 LCD, LED backlight ✓ ✓ passive 1920 x 1080 4 ✓ ✓✓          64
8 Sony KDL-50W656A 1,150 50 LCD, LED backlight 1920 x 1080 2 ✓ ✓✓         na 63
9 Samsung UE46F5000 760 46 LCD, LED backlight 1920 x 1080 2    na    na na 62
10 LG 47LA641V 1,190 47 LCD, LED backlight ✓ ✓ passive 1920 x 1080 3 ✓ ✓✓          61
11 LG 47LN575V 920 47 LCD, LED backlight 1920 x 1080 3 ✓ ✓✓         na 61
12 Samsung UE46EH5000 680 46 LCD, LED backlight 1920 x 1080 2    na    na na 58
13 Samsung PS51F4500 600 51 Plasma 1024 x 768 2    na    na na 56
14 LG 50PN450B 700 50 Plasma 1024 x 768 2    na    na na 53
15 LG 50PN650T 700 50 Plasma 1920 x 1080 2 ✓    na    na na 53
16 Panasonic TX-L47ET60E 1,050 47 LCD, LED backlight ✓ passive 1920 x 1080 3 ✓ ✓✓        na  52
17 LG 50PH670V 800 50 Plasma ✓ active 1920 x 1080 3 ✓ ✓✓          50
40-43 inch models
18 Samsung UE40F8000 1,770 40 LCD, LED backlight ✓ ✓ active 1920 x 1080 4 ✓ ✓          75
19 Samsung UE40F6320 920 40 LCD, LED backlight ✓ ✓ active 1920 x 1080 4 ✓ ✓          68
20 Samsung UE40F6510 1,170 40 LCD, LED backlight ✓ ✓ active 1920 x 1080 4 ✓ ✓          67
21 Sony 42W805 900 42 LCD, LED backlight ✓ ✓ passive 1920 x 1080 4 ✓ ✓          65
22 LG 42LA860W 1,100 42 LCD, LED backlight ✓ ✓ passive 1920 x 1080 4 ✓ ✓          65
23 LG 42LN540V 480 42 LCD, LED backlight 1920 x 1080 2 ✓    na    na na 61
24 Sony 42W654A 1,000 42 LCD, LED backlight 1920 x 1080 2 ✓ ✓         na 61
25 Samsung PS43F4900 550 43 Plasma ✓ ✓ active 1024 x 768 2    na    na  57
26 Panasonic TX-L42FT60E 1,300 42 LCD, LED backlight ✓ ✓ passive 1920 x 1080 3 ✓ ✓          57
27 Panasonic TX-P42X60E 450 42 Plasma 1024 x 768 2    na    na na 53
Due to extensive testing by our labs over the last 12 months and the availability of a wide range of television models on the Irish market, we
find ourselves in a position to offer information on an unusually high number of products this month. To give you the most comprehensive
view possible of the current television market, we have extended our product table onto a second double-page spread.
www.thecai.ie May 2014 May 2014 www.thecai.ie26 27
MODEL SPECIFICATION TEST PERFORMANCE SCORE
32 inch models
Price
(€)
Screen size
(inches)
Screen
technology 3D
Screen
resolution
(pixels)
Number
of HDMI
connectors
Internet
(full
browser)
Wi-fi
integrated
Wi-fi possible
via dongle
Image
quality
(40%)
Sound
quality
(20%)
Ease of
use (12.5%)
Smart TV (online content)
(7.5%)
Connections and
tuners (5%)
Power consumption
(5%)
Using as a
multimedia
player (5%)
Using as a
recorder
(5%)
3D
perfomance
(0%)
%
28 Samsung UE32F6800 999 32 LCD, LED backlight ✓ active 1920 x 1080 4 ✓ ✓          65
29 Samsung UE32F5300 500 32 LCD, LED backlight 1920 x 1080 3 ✓ ✓ ✓         na 64
30 LG 32LA620V 580 32 LCD, LED backlight ✓ passive 1920 x 1080 3 ✓ ✓ ✓          62
31 Sony 32R423A 440 32 LCD, LED backlight 1366 x 768 2    na    na na 58
32 LG 32LM3400 480 32 LCD ✓ passive 1366 x 768 2    na    na  58
33 Samsung UE32F4500 400 32 LCD, LED backlight 1366 x 768 3 ✓ ✓ ✓         na 56
34 Panasonic TX-L32E6E 480 32 LCD, LED backlight 1920 x 1080 3 ✓ ✓ ✓        na na 53
35 Panasonic TX-L32B6E 360 32 LCD, LED backlight 1366 x 768 2    na    na na 49
USING THE TABLE
The more stars the better.
SPECIFICATION
Price: Typical retailer’s price if you
shop around.
Screen size: The diagonal of the
television screen measured in inches.
The size of the actual television
frame may be slightly larger. Most
of the models on test are available
in a range of sizes but we have only
included one sample size on our table
to avoid repetition.
3D: With active shutter glasses,
electronic shutters sync the eyes to
two different pictures on the screen
to create a 3D effect, whereas passive
glasses use polarised lenses to
separate the pictures to direct them
to each eye.
HDMI sockets: These are used for
connecting HD equipment, such as
blu-ray players and set-top boxes.
TEST PERFORMANCE
Image quality: The total rating takes into
account technical measurements taken
in the lab (20%), as well as the expert
viewing test (80%).
Sound quality: As with image quality,
the overall rating includes technical
measurements (20%) and the expert
listening test (80%).
Ease of use: Includes ratings for setting
up the television, daily and advanced use,
the remote control and the user manual.
Smart TV (online content): Includes
ratings for the layout, quality and
navigation of TV apps and the speed and
navigation of internet browsing.
Connections and tuners: Includes
ratings for video inputs, audio outputs,
USB sockets, PC connections, digital tuner
and other features, such as built-in wi-fi,
camera and microphone.
Power consumption: Power usage while
turned on, in standby mode and turned
off.
Using as a multimedia player:
Ratings for video and photo playback via
USB, including the image quality of still
photos, and for network navigation.
Using as a recorder:
Ratings for PVR features and the operation
of the pausing live TV and recording
functions.
3D performance:
The overall rating includes the results of
the 3D viewing test (80%), the ease of use
of the 3D function (5%) and the quality
and convenience of the delivered 3D
glasses (15%).
The lengths we go to…
Picture quality, sound quality and ease of use are three major criteria that we look at when testing TVs.
To evaluate picture quality, the TVs on test are set to an optimised level of brightness, contrast and colour
and most viewing tests are performed by five experts under the same controlled conditions. For the visual
tests, two identical scenes are used – one mainly dark scene with some fine details, panning and bright
spots and colours and one brighter, outdoor scene with lots of panning, details and close-ups. The expert
viewers rate the devices’ image quality, including resolution and sharpness, colour reproduction and
stability, shades of black and white and the absence of motion blur.
Three experts with a background in music and audio reproduction perform listening tests
on the TVs to assess sound quality. Three different sequences are played using a high-quality DVD player
connected directly to the TV set. The three sequences seek to cover the entire range of typical TV sound,
with a classical music track, a pop music track and TV drama scene that features male and female voices
and some background music.
A panel of three experts assesses how convenient the devices are to use. The experts
consider the ease-of-use of the menu options and instruction manual and they test the operation of the
delivered remote control, looking at such aspects as the size and layout of the buttons and the amount of
multi-functional buttons. If any extra remote controls are supplied, they rate these separately and they also
assess the effectiveness of other control options like voice and gesture control. These experts also test TVs
in different scenarios that simulate normal operation by an average user, looking at installation, daily use
and operation of any special functions. In addition, all TVs with a network connection must be assessed in
terms of reduced internet browsing - such as special sites, information channels and/or TV apps – and full
internet access, with ratings given for navigation and speed of the browser.
Follow us on Facebook & Twitter
www.facebook.com/ConsumersAssociationIreland
www.twitter.com/The_CAI
Follow us on Facebook & Twitter
Visit our website
www.thecai.ie

Online Document Converter

This website help webmasters to achieve a better user experience. Instead of putting a link to download their prices lists and another type of documents, you can simply send a special link to this service, and we will show your document to your users directly without the need of downloading a special application or installing another browsers plugin. Currently, we can read about hundred the most used database files. Moreover, your users can share this document directly on social networks, giving your document additional page views. By using this service, you can save costs by not overloading your own web server, give your users a better way to read documents online without any problems, and allow them to easily download converted copy for offline reading in a format they like.


Previous 10

Next 10