/ Community

The Welcome Lounge: introduce yourself 👋

Hello and welcome to Which? Conversation’s Welcome Lounge. Introduce yourself to our friendly community and let us know what brought you here.

This is our space to welcome newbies into our communtiy, help them discover Which? Conversation (and all of Which?’s online advice) and get to know each other a little better before jumping into our discussions.

Whether you’ve been a member of our community for a long time, or this is your very first time posting here, we want you to share what’s brought you to Which?. Plus, we’d love to hear about a consumer issue that you keep questioning.

This is also an area for Which? staff to say who they are and what they do.

Introduce yourself

You don’t have to be a Which? member to join in on Which? Conversation – everyone is welcome. Here are a few ideas for things you could tell us:

– the name you’d like to be known as here (often your username!)

– your hobbies and interests

– the consumer issue you keep questioning; what would you like to see change for the better?

The Which? Conversation team will be on hand to greet you, as well as our brilliant regular contributors, who are always happy to help provide answers to your consumer queries and point you at some of the discussions we’ve had here in the past.

I’ll go first!

I’m George, and I joined Which? back in 2015. I’ve got a background in content creation/writing and social media – most members will be aware of Which?’s Weekly Scoop Email – that was one of my responsbilities until I joined Patrick’s team in 2018 to work here on Which? Conversation.

When I’m not at Which? I can often be found on a football pitch (I’m from Croydon, so I’m a Crystal Palace fan!) and I also play a lot of tennis, table tennis and badminton.

The consumer issue I keep questioning is also one of the Which? campaigns I feel most strongly about; our railways are plagued by delays, cancellations and constant overcrowding. When will passengers get the service they deserve?

I’m proud that we’re keeping up the pressure to bring about change in the rail industry, but there’s a lot of work still to be done.

The spirit of our community

As always, have a read of our Community Guidelines if you haven’t already. Just like any other conversation, we want this area to be a healthy and friendly place for new community members to get involved with us.

Please do join us in making everyone feel welcome!


As a contributor to other sites I had just begun to accept the idea of putting a head above the parapet. My early experiences were not always pleasant and views often provoked personal attacks from others. I had been subscribing to Which for many years and immediately Which Conversation came into being, I put in a tentative contribution and found that the response was positive and friendly. I soon realised that there were many here who were well educated and worldly wise and I tried, and continue to try, to present an honest contribution, knowing that my limited knowledge and lesser status is not mocked and I can learn from those who really know what they are talking about, while, at the same time, posing an innocent question or two to dig a little further. I like to see things as they really are in a pragmatic way rather than take sides here. Thus I do hide some thoughts and leanings by discussing topics from a neutral view point, especially on political issues. I am still cautious about personal details though I dare say much of what I have written can identify me by compilation and analysis if anyone thought it worth their while. I hope I don’t rate that highly in any nefarious hierarchy to warrant the effort.
The Conversation site is well regulated – annoyingly buggy at times (I lost a contribution this afternoon and had to re-type it) and the members who contribute are – by and large – well mannered, polite and understanding. Differences are discussed and not fought over. The management steps in occasionally when someone mutters “you don’t know what you are talking about” Or are you accusing me of lying?”, and the protagonists agree to differ and move on. I have never found myself so confronted and hope I never will.
Some time ago, a kind contributor opened up a poetry conversation and I have taken advantage of that to indulge in verse when the muse hits. Since this is a hobby, I enjoy inflicting these offerings on others, but don’t expect anything in return. To an extent this is not strictly Which Conversation territory and by hijacking this space, I am misusing the Conversation site. No one has yet been worried enough to send a reprimand, and a few kind folk have encouraged further contributions. This is typical of the kindness and comradeship I value here; a site I find cathartic and therapeutic.
I enjoy composing, playing and singing classical music, and since retiring have been a governor of the special school that I once helped to lead. Now that caring duties are over I also have a modest boat that I use as a mobile water caravan when it is moored. Hence the odd verse about ducks! I enjoy walking and am a member of the National Trust. I have one -unpublished – novel and a shed full of short stories which languish in files. A dozen of these I submitted for an independent analysis, and was told that they were unique and enjoyable but I should continue writing for pleasure rather than look to being published. I do and have several projects on the go.
If you are tempted to join us here, then I believe you will receive the same welcome I did, and perhaps a fresh face or two might jog the rest of us out of our comfortable armchairs and smoking jackets.

PS. As Which well knows my pet consumer gripe is the rip off on spectacles and on ink cartridges. This gripe extends to the fact that Which refuses to address this issue directly and simply sidesteps it in reference to how expensive a printer is to run. I don’t remember seeing anything with regard to the profits made on optical products.

I would also like to know Which’s view on connected appliances in the home -risks -infiltrations by outsiders – reliability – whether these are actually being bought and used – and how good the actual internet based parts of these things are when connected by voice, phone or tablet to the house router. Automated ordering is also something that I would like to have your opinion on.

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Thankyou George. Overview is not the problem. Do Which know the difference between manufacture and marketing costs and the price we actually pay? Naturally a profit is expected but does this profit exist because the industry have decided they can pretty much charge what they wish and we, the consumer, can do very little about it, hence their anger at third parties offering cheaper ink? Spectacles seem to be unchallenged and one pays up or does without.

Your internet link suggests that most households have ten or so products linked to the internet. That is a staggering statistic since I don’t own any and have seen very few for sale anywhere, except the Amazon Alexa variety. Perhaps this needs to continue elsewhere, as it is drifting off topic here.

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Regarding the cost of spectacle frames 2 points. When I lived in Egypt in the 1980s I could buy high quality frames for a 1/3 of the price of UK products. Now domiciled in the UK I have my frames reglazed as my prescription changes. Note that not all frames are suitable for this but, if they are, why throw good frames away?

Thanks Duncan. Yes, lots of graphs and the desktop users are still alive and surfing – at work??

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I’m sure “desktops” means all PC’s (i.e. including Macs) here – and thus includes laptops but not tablets or phones.

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I didn’t doubt that Duncan, but I’ve noticed some of our fruity fans here use “PC’s” to mean “Windows PC’s”, so I thought I’d clarify my use of PC’s to cover all home computers that aren’t non-Windows tablets or phones (i.e. “mobiles” in the context of all those cited data).

Devices like my Linx 12×64 W10 tablet PC could arguably count either as a tablet or as a laptop, but, given that it can access most (or all) internet services via a web browser, it (and other W10 tablets) probably qualify as “desktops” for the purposes of the presentations here.

Great idea setting up this page, George. I’ve had interactions with many of you regulars over the past 8 months or so, but never properly said hello and introduced myself: so, hello!

I actually originally came to W? to cover after Lauren Deitz left, but have since remained helping George and Patrick with the Convo site – I’ve been here for about 8 months, and hope to stay even longer!

My background is mostly in freelance news journalism; both writing and photos. I’ve worked on various different stories, and for various different places, but, for example: in 2015 to 2017, I was working in Greece, Turkey and various Balkans countries (after driving there in my car), covering Europe’s refugee crisis mostly for The Telegraph. Since then, I’ve worked for the BBC’s Evan Davis as his researcher and assistant. I’ve also done quite a lot of writing on housing, politics and protests. And occasionally work as a wedding photographer!

In my free time, I’m a keen cook and can sometimes be found swimming in the Hampstead ponds (it’s a balmy 5°C at the moment!).

I’m DerekP and I’ve been a regular contributor to Which? Conversation for the last few years. I was also a Which? subscriber from about 1985 until 2018, but I’m not currently subscribed.

I do still regularly read Which? though, because my local library provides it within their collection of newspapers and magazines.

My hobbies and interests include travel (including railways and heritage railways, walking and motorcycling), history (especially military history and firearms technology), industrial archeology, films (not least good science fiction), books, maps, the shooting sports and, of course, home computing.

Apart from posting on here, I also now help out in my local library as a “computer buddy”, where my job is to help folk get stuff done on the internet via either their own devices or via the libraries shared PC’s. I also do a lot of software and hardware maintenance on PC’s and enjoy upgrading old machines so they can carry on doing useful work.

As a now (mostly) retired engineer, work has also been a hobby for me, and I now have a “zero hours” contract with one of my former employers, so I can sometimes even get paid for doing that hobby too. A lot of my recent focus has been on safety principles and practices in high hazard industries and within that, on the training and mentoring of recent recruits to engineering roles.

One consumer issue that concerns me is the vulnerability of many consumers to “great deals” on the internet. Even where those are not illegal scams, I think quite often folk fall prey to the thrill of the chase and sign up for “amazing bargains” that then turn out to be anything but that. As the rise of internet shopping is reducing customer choice for those of us who prefer to shop in physical shops, it would be good to see our taxation system not giving undue advantages to any multinational corporations who are able to operate largely outside the UK, i.e. instead of providing jobs within the UK, and who also declare their profits outside the UK, so as to avoid paying UK taxes on them.

Brilliant post, VynorHill, I can’t hope to top that.

I’m known here as Sophie, or Sophie G. I have contributed to Which? Conversation for a few years now, since just about the beginning? I tend to participate less nowadays because topics return and I don’t always feel I have something new to add to what I have said before. The reasons I return to Which? Convo again is because it is generally interesting, polite, and very friendly.

I like to visit different places, they don’t have to necessarily be far flung. I have had lovely city breaks in Britain and cracking weeks away in the Highlands as well as glorious weekends in Paris and wonderful holidays in Greece. Culture, art, nature, geography, languages, all interest me.

I’m interested in politics and I can’t abide greed, selfishness and injustice, because they harm everything and everyone. I mention this because they affect us all as consumers. We can see for example how profit is put before service with trains and utilities, or profit before the environment and health, with what is basically tap water being sold in plastic bottles, and excessive sugar and salt being added to foods.

One of the consumer issues that drive me nuts is packaging. I mean, come on, “bottle – widely recycled, *sleeve – not yet recycled*”. What?????

Welcome to Which? Conversation! This is one of the places where all ye who enter here are given hope that things can get done, even if it can be d***ed difficult.


I can think about it, but you’re the experts. 🙂

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Thanks Duncan. I’ve noticed you’ve been really great at responding to new posters on countless convos recently eg. the one on mobile signal — offering invaluable consumer advice and knowledge on a range of topics. Thanks for putting so much into welcoming new people into the community!

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Hello everyone, I’m Patrick! It’s great to be able to introduce myself in our brand new Welcome Lounge!

I joined Which? in 2010 and got busy working on the first version of Which? Conversation. We launched after about 8 weeks, and many of our most loyal community members who joined us back then are still active here today.

I used to work in the video game and technology journalism, building up communities around those fields. What interested me about Which? and growing a community around it was the variety of topics, meaning I could move away from the specialism I was in. Since I joined, I’ve written 423 conversations here, with my first being about misleading broadband speed advertising, which we’ve now won with new advertising rules announced by the regulator.

When I joined I wrote in my profile that I ‘believed in the power of the debate’ and I absolutely still do. In fact, it was discussing consumer problems here on Which? Convo that got me interested in campaigning and I soon started to work on digital campaigns related to the issues that came up here – misleading broadband ads, nuisance calls, mobile phone price rises, expensive customer service phone lines. You could say that this community has turned me into a digital campaigner, and it’s been great to develop in my career here with the support of our community.

I’m now lucky to head up a team of community, social media and digital campaigning experts – and I’m very excited about what the future holds with this team.

An amusing highlight for me is when my iPad painting of a cat in a post about iPad art was mistaken for a David Hockney original: http://mistertristan.blogspot.com/2015/04/cats-in-art-patrick-steens-cat-on.html Here’s the review… “Although my reading tells me that British artist Hockney was much more of a dog person, he really captures the essence of a blissful cat sleeping. Perched up off the floor, totally relaxed, paw dangling, warmed from below (cats are true connoisseurs of heat), what strikes me most is the kitty’s facial expression. The cat just looks happy, and Hockney nails it so well.”

Enough about my professional career – what am I interested in outside of work? I still like to play video games when I find the time, I love to travel, and I also like to take photographs of my escapades. I’m a big fan of music, and sing in the Which? choir – I used to play piano well but don’t currently have a piano in London where I live. Perhaps that’s a new years resolution for me…

As for something I keep questioning – I am always questioning letting agent fees. I think they are unfairly high, and most of the time completely unneeded. It does not cost £100 to renew a contract that is word for word the same, and so I always resist these fees and have rarely paid them.

Anyway, if you’re new to our Which? community – I’d love you to introduce yourself and we’ll give you a warm welcome!

Patrick, thanks very much for that post.

I agree that letting fees are horrible.

I hated them so badly that I became a home owner, but I still feel for all those who have to suffer them.

Hi everyone, I’m Abby and I’m your new Community Engagement Officer.

It’s my first week and I’m busy getting up to speed on everything here – I did not appreciate quite how much goes on here!

A bit about me – I have been in community engagement for many years in a wonderful variety of sectors from higher education to wildlife conservation via social housing. I’m the person in the office who will know the most random things. I’ll mostly be working on the Convo site – I am looking forward to getting to know you all!

My biggest professional (and personal) achievement to date has been reintroducing unicorns to the UK last year. On April 1st: https://twitter.com/ptes/status/980323947018358784

The consumer question that I keep going back to is the expected life span of a product. I am fan of buying once, buying well. I have recently had to replace my hair dryer that I got for a birthday present in 1996 – here’s hoping the next one lasts as long!

Outside of work I love sewing, crochet, cheesy Sci-fi and getting out for fresh country air. I am also a big fan of cake.

Welcome Abby 🙂 . I, too, am keen to promote the durability and economic repairability of products, particularly household appliances. I hope one day to see Which? assess durability, dismantle products to look at the component and build quality, and give consumers better information on which they can make a considered buying decision. Cost per year of useful life is not a bad comparator, among others. Not an easy task but the sooner data is accumulated and the job is tackled seriously, the better. I would have thought a collaborative venture with our European consumer associations would be sensible.

Abby: welcome to the den of chaos and charisma. We have a few SciFi enthusiasts on here – not too sure what your definition of ‘cheesy’ encompasses, but you’ll at least be among like minds.

On product lifespan it’s been proposed by some in here that the W? Connect survey members could be an excellent resource for longevity results. And competitively simple to do, too.

I agree. What goes on inside and the care with which it has been assembled are both good indicators of how long it will last.

Thanks for all the lovely welcomes!

It’s good to hear people share my interest in durability of products – I look forward to helping develop the debate around all those issues with you all.

Chaos and charisma – I like the description!

Cheesy really means I love a bit of humor in my SciFi.

I’m looking forward to all the conversations about this. It sounds like many of you have some great ideas to share!

Abby: greetings and welcome 😀

And it’s great to see all those Unicorns.

Hi Derek – I’m very proud of those unicorns!

Hi Abby,
Welcome to the convos.

I am also into wildlife and have quite a selection visit although no unicorns yet. Until recently, we fed badgers every night and they would come and look through the back door if their food wasn’t out. One would even follow my husband across the garden to the storage shed. We didn’t know where their sets were, but thought they probably lived on rarely disturbed private land. Property developers have taken it over, raised everything to the ground and our badgers have gone. There really ought to be some serious fines as deterrents.

I have taught a female pheasant to knock on the door for her breakfast and more unusual visitors at the moment are a pair of moorhens and pure white doves that have escaped their lives at being chucked in the air at weddings. They started off as a pair and quickly started reproducing. They are the garden bullies and a darned nuisance, we didn’t feed them to encourage them but they do find food dropped from the feeders.

I also believe in durability of products and hopefully buying them to last.

Hi Alfa,

That is such a pity about your local badgers. They are such charismatic animals. I’ve only ever seen one in the ‘wild’. Running up my street about mile away from the nearest place they could possibly have a set!

Good to meet you Abby. Your background might become very useful when “we” make statements that might need a reference or two. “Community Engagement.” Now that covers a multitude of concepts. I look forward to being engaged.
I enjoyed your contribution, too, Patrick, and see these qualities shining through in your work here.

Good to meet you – I look forward to getting to know you all – it seems like a great community to get to engage!

Hey everyone, my name is Jon. I’m the newest member of the Which? Convo team. It’s great to be here!

Some background on me – my background is very broadly on digital communications and community engagement, with a random bit of radio and television thrown in. I enjoy helping people to create meaning and live better by making the most of the technology they have in front of them. That’s led me on a fair few adventures, from teaching interviewing and sound recording on a media production BTEC course based in a South London prison, to working with communities of volunteers who teach others to (safely) repair their own electronic gadgets in London and around the world.

The consumer issue I tend to question the most is the reliability and sustainability of products (and repairability, unsurprisingly). I want to get the most out of what I buy, or at the very least not have a tablet that’s still current in its tech specs rendered obsolete after a year due to a lack of security and OS updates.

In my spare time I enjoy cooking and baking, though my ability to maintain the structural integrity of a cake when removing from the tin continues to elude me.

I’m looking forward to getting to know you and what you’re interested in. There’s a lot to learn in one’s first week and a lot of conversations to catch up on, so please bear with me as I get up to speed. In the meantime though, do feel free to say hi!

Welcome Jon. Glad to see someone with an interest in product reliability, durability and repairability. It would be good to see Which? focus on investigating and testing these aspects of products and working with other European consumer organisations to get more sustainable (and thus better real value) products. I recognise that many people say they want cheap products but for many I’d suggest they’d like to know just how long a products is likely to last, can it be economically repaired, is it well built with decent components. Then they are better placed to judge real value for money. But it involves some extensive work by consumer groups.

Welcome Jon – I saw you had logged in earlier and wondered when you would make an appearance. 🙂

Quite a number of us are interested in reliability and sustainability of products, so perhaps you could do a Convo on this once you have settled in your new role. If I could change one thing about the magazine and website it would be to encourage readers to look at alternatives to buying new products – something that could be mentioned in every review.

It’s completely unacceptable, in my view, that smart TVs can lose functionality after a year or two when we can easily update computers to extend their useful working lives. I recently replaced the battery in my five year old iPhone 5s because it is still a supported model. This was made far harder than it needs to be because very powerful adhesive was used to hold the battery in place.

If you leave your cake to cool a bit before removing it from the tin it should maintain its integrity, but failing that a tin with a removable base will help.

Thanks Malcolm! Certainly hear you on the false economy of buying cheap, only to then consume more (having to buy the same item again) and dispose of more (when the cheap items wear out). This is certainly something that is on our radar.

Thanks wavechange, both for the welcome and the suggestions. I’ve made a note of both, so watch this space!

I’d forgotten how obsolete the software is in my smart TV actually! Weirdly enough, I’ve been using a 12 year old desktop to use the smart features that no longer work.

Great work on the battery swap by the way! I’ve managed to get past the glue before using some very carefully applied heat and a bit of leverage.

With the cake, it’s definitely user error (mainly impatience). Still delicious, just doesn’t present well to others. Thinking about it now, that’s not necessarily a bad thing (for me at least)

Hi Jon / All,

I’m another one who is interested in keeping products going for as long as possible.

My two longest serving and regularly used appliances are a microwave from about 1984 and a washing machine from about 1987.

I also enjoy maintaining old computers (including the 11 year old desktop I’m using for this post). With that in mind, I’ve recently watched this YouTube video:


which looks like a potential good way of upgrading old Macs to keep them going nicely. It might just work with my 2008 MacBook. Then perhaps it might even become capable of archiving photos off those new fangled iPhone 6 devices…

Morning all – I moved this conversation over to the lobby. (Should have warned Jon not to get everyone started on reliability and sustainability! 😉 )

Welcome to the team Jon!

Great to have you, @abbysempleskipper and @gmartin working together here on Which? Convo 😀

Welcome Jon, I am in the middle of a repair/replacement parts/new situation with a manufacturer at the moment. I have been offered a new appliance with a discount of more than the cost of the spare parts, when I am after reduced cost replacement spare parts. I see it as very wasteful to replace an otherwise good product in perfect working condition.

We turned our 10 year old dumb TV into a smart TV by buying a new DVD recorder. We needed a new DVD player and then discovering we now had a smart TV was a bonus.

I have your cake trouble with bread as I have been trying to make wheat-free, the fox doesn’t seem to mind bricks though.

Alfa, it is a nonsense when a perfectly good product cannot be put back in working order for want of a sensibly-priced spare part. There are some “generic” parts available for domestic appliances, for example, but many are only available from the manufacturer. Keeping a stock of all spares for many years just in case they may be used is not cheap, of course. Perhaps we need more standardisation on parts, their fixings/fit/connections for example, so that “pattern” parts become more widely used. Competition might then control prices. It seems to work in the car industry.

Hi All!
My name is David, username stickus (Stick stickus the sticky one!).
I have been a subscriber to Which magazine for some time now and do find it useful to use as a general reference guide, there is no excuse for not doing your own research whether buying, selling, updating, repairing, advising or problem solving on all manner of things.
I am retired and in my life have always lived by the motto; ” I will treat you as I would wish to be treated”.
During my life, amongst other things, I have served in the RAF, been in the Retail field, a manager and tutor at a Local IT training centre whilst, with my lovely wife brought up 3 children, a cat(Meow(passed over but still with us in spirit form)) and have a current addition to the family, Holly(the mad cat(thinks she’s a dog, loves playing fetch!)). From the early 70’s I have always been interested in IT, I build, repair and problem solve PC’s, Have written software, games and functional programmes.
I look forward to contributing to all manner of conversations and hopefully learn something new!

Hi David, nice to hear from you and welcome to the party/madhouse (delete as applicable).

Welcome @stickus! It’s great to meet you and glad to have you here in the conversation. Always good to meet another computer tinkerer as well – I’m a big fan of keeping older machines running myself, especially for the older games and programmes I grew up with.

Hi DerekP,
Delighted to meet you.

Hi Jon,
Delighted to meet you.

I would like to see Which go into more detail as to how it gets the results of it’s printer ink articles. I was the manager of a local Cartridge World for over 10 years and do not equate the results given with the experiences I was part of during this time.
Some of our customers included professional photographers, local NHS trust, Research Centre(through French embassy), local people and businesses.
One thing that was of great importance to all these was the quality of the ink we used(for which we gave a 100% no quibble guarantee which also included any damage caused to their printer, whether in or out of warranty, not many printer manufacturers give you that!), whether for ink jet or laser printers.
The savings the customers made against the cost of new was also a reason for using us.
I still have framed photos on the wall using the refilled and compatible cartridges supplied by us, good as new after 16 years, no fading at all.
It is well known that some printer manufacturers sell many of their printers at extremely low prices and make their recoup any loss through the sale of their cartridges.
This is why the compatible and refill industry has grown so much world-wide.

Welcome from me too, Stickus. It would be good if more of our contributors would become registered. I suspect that many find a Convo (Conversation) of interest, post and never see replies because as unregistered users they cannot find where they posted.

When I was working we used to use the Cartridge World shop a short distance away and on the rare occasions that there was a problem, the toner cartridge was replaced without question.

We have a couple of Convos discussing the problem that firmware updates can prevent third party ink cartridges from working.

Hi All!

Andy here, Which? Tech Support’s Operational Manager.

We assist members who subscribe to our Which? Computing magazine, either by email or telephone support, as well as help @katebevan with reader feedback for future W? Computing articles.

Originally joined W? back in 2012, working in several teams such as Which? Switch, Member Comms and Which? Convo (in 2015)!

Nice to meet you all 🙂 You’ll most likely see me dropping in and out of Tech articles.


Cheers George, will do! 😀

Just introducing myself … I worked in IT in Govt for a number of decades. I joined today as I’m quite passionate about tackiling online fraud & exploitation (a bugbear of mine from workdays as i never seemed able to raise awarenss of the risks amongst those with authority), and I wanted to respond to an article that seemed to me superficial and I wished Which? had addressed with better insight & analysis.
Anyway, I’m retired now. I’m a football fan. I live in SE London with family who are Chelsea fans, I’m a SAFC fan with a soft spot for local team Crystal Palace. Apart from that, I love gardening & hate the arthritis that’s starting to stop me doing my garden.

Welcome to…whatever this is. New ideas are always welcome and appreciated.

Hello, thanks for joining us on our community. It’s great you’re keen to discuss online fraud – it’s an issue we are going to continue tackling at Which? and we need all the support we can get

Welcome @aretireditprofessional! Glad to see a fellow IT tinkerer and a gardener here as well – anything in particular you’re aiming to grow this year? (I’m venturing into the new world of a vegetable patch myself).

Hi there – Lovely to have you on board, welcome!

I’ll be interested to hear your insights into online fraud. What article were you hoping to respond to?

I’m also from (and living in) Croydon, South London. Glad to see a few CPFC fans on here :), though I’m more of a fair weather fan and prefer Rugby if I’m honest (*awaits backlash*)

I’m an avid bargain hunter and up-cycler, so when I buy NEW things I like to spend wisely. I’m just about to buy my first flat and need to make some pretty big purchases, so to avoid decision paralysis, I’ve joined the conversation mainly for advice/ moral support.

I’m completely terrified of buying the wrong TV, so many reviews, so many Pros & Cons: How much do I need to worry about picture quality seeing as I’m not a gamer? LG EPG menu – how slow are we talking? Do I really need a sound bar?… etc.
Any help deciding how to best spend my £400(ish) budget on a 48-55″ TV would be greatly appreciated.

Also joining to say hi to @jon-stricklin-coutinho (*madly waving emoji*)

I would advise spending less and getting a smaller telly. Picture and sound quality are now superb on some of the smaller models. A friend just bought a 32″ [approx – I’m guessing] Sony Bravia for her 15′ x 10′ garden room and it’s perfect.

Thanks @johnward This will be my main telly, so I was hoping to treat myself to something big. I’m not in need of super hi spec picture & sound quality as I’m just regular viewer who just watches TV shows and the occasional film of an evening/ weekend, but equally don’t want to waste money…

Welcome LF119. One problem with modern smart TVs is that apps such as iPlayer and YouTube often stop working after two or three years, irrespective of brand. Here is a recent Conversation on the topic: https://conversation.which.co.uk/technology/missing-smart-tv-apps-catch-up-on-demand/ There are ways of getting round this, such as buying and inexpensive box when the problem happens.

Whether you need a soundbar will depend on what sound quality you are happy with and the TV you choose. You might get a better deal if you buy one with the TV. Linking the TV to a micro-HiFi and speakers or your existing setup is less convenient but is likely to give better sound quality.

Welcome LF119.

The best thing to do is try before you buy. Curry’s always have a big display if you want to see what is around but their demos leave a lot to be desired, John Lewis can be helpful, and you have Avensys not too far from you or the big stores in London. They might not have a lot within your budget, but stores like Richer Sounds can be very helpful and give good advice on how to get the most from your budget.

Look at the screens and ask the stores to let you listen to the sound. We have Panasonics all with decent on-board sound with 2 of them linked to a receiver and speakers for when we want that immersive surround-sound experience. One thing to remember is stores play selective video that shows the TV at its best. Asking to see BBC in action will give a truer idea of the TV in action.

Do you have a hi-fi system with speakers you can run the sound through? That would save having to buy a soundbar. When I listened to soundbars a few years ago, I thought they were a rip-off as you had to spend rather a lot of money to get decent sound which not long ago would have been an integrated part of the TV.

48-55″ good size if your room can handle it. We got a 65″ last year and love it.

LF119, Which? April mag “test lab buyer’s guide” focuses on tvs. The only large tv anywhere near £400 is an LG50UK6950PLB at £479. A reasonable 68% score (best buys get 78-80%).Similar scores in the 40-49″ range – a 43″ LG43UK6300PLB at £350. 28 to 32″ are cheaper but seem to lose out on picture and sound quality – not good for a tv!

No Hi-Fi system, but happy to see how I get on with sound and consider extras at a later date (possbily even wait til black Friday!!). Thanks for the tip though, will definitely go and do some testing in store now that I have a few ideas on what to look at.

We discuss Black Friday each year on Which? Convo. There are some bargains and others that are definitely not, and I’ve seen some examples of this. Keep a note of prices in the run-up.

If you are living in a flat it’s worth thinking about whether the sound from your TV might disturb the neighbours.

Welcome to the Conversation @lf119! 👋👋👋 It’s great to see you on here!

We can certainly help on the moral support – by the look of it you’ve had a good bit of advice already on the TV front. I’d very much second Alfa and Wavechange on both trying before you buy and considering the sound quality (and volume). Our current TV was a product of a good afternoon shopping around, poking remotes, and viewing from all angles, and it’s served us well for just short of ten years.

I don’t think liking rugby’s caused any sort of a scrum around these parts…says the guy who’s been glued to the snooker for the better part of the day!

Hi @lf119!

I am one of those who prefers rugby as well!

I would honestly say some of the ultra HD screens are wasted on me. I don’t really need to see every pore on someone’s nose and my eye sight isn’t perfect so if I watch TV without my glasses it will never actually be in HD!

Hi, my name is Emma Reid. I am Head of Corporate Governance at Which? and have been here for two years. I am currently answering questions on our Governance Review, so if you have any questions please do ask.

Welcome to the Conversation Emma!

Hi Emma! I promise – you get used to Jon’s jokes. 😉

Good day to all, I am completely new and am not sure this is the place I should start first having registered Which Conversation.
I ‘am SK1466, I am passionate about all things, lately getting ever more concerned on the future of our country and have joined to air my views on the next generation future prospects.
I am a Londoner for more than 30years.
I really would like to get involved with what ever Which is looking into before they publish articles as I feel time is right to share collective insight. I enjoy analysing and looking into details.
The main one I have been focused with as of late is ( having a son who is about to embark a degree at university ) are parents and their children given factual information before embarking at university.? Reason I ask is because I am seeing a lot of graduates who are unemployed, are on minimum wage, zero hour contracts and simply cannot get into graduate entry jobs or entry jobs for that matter?
Universities are a big business now and marketing to students of their success rate in a vague headlines..but cannot find a detailed factual survey of what is the situation now? It is said that graduates do better than non graduates, I do not believe this now and question governments and universities data. I do feel our youth are not being informed correct information.
Having attended careers fairs, graduate fairs, what next exhibitions, there seems to be isolated individuals who are raising alarms for parents and students to wake up and look at the wider picture before following the same path as others uninformed.

Good to meet you, SK1466.

One point about degree courses: there are two main factors that will determine the employability of a graduate today. The first is the type of degree. STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) degrees are the most sought after by employers.

The second point is the institution from which they gain the degree. Graduates from Oxbridge do well, and graduates from the Russell Group are also highly valued.

Hi @sk1466 and welcome to Which? Conversation!

Have you had a look around our Which? University pages for advice? It would be great to know what you think of them.

Welcome to the community SK1466! Interesting username – any significance?

Hi SK1466,

I’m an Oxbridge graduate on a zero hours contract – but in my case it tops up my pensions quite nicely 😉

Here in sunny Gloucester, our visiting summer students are just arriving and starting up their summer projects. Some of these will be just be doing summer placements in the workplace but many of them are here to produce thesis projects as part of masters’ degree courses. As judged by previous years, most of them will be working really hard for the next three months – as we feed them plenty of real world challenges – and building great stepping stones for their future careers.

I agree with what Ian said above. A relevant degree is a great help in gaining a good job post uni, or as a precursor to a higher degree.

But I’d also warn that the job market is very competitive these days, so there is more to it than just getting any old degree. From my experience, I’d say most employers look for well rounded individuals who are strong in their chosen fields of study and also well rounded in other areas of experience, including so-called “life skills”.

Hi SK1466. Welcome to Which? Conversation, where we discuss consumer matters and much more.

I think you are right to be wary of claims made by universities and I strongly suggest looking at independent information. A useful source comes from the anonymous information collected by the annual National Student Survey, and this is used to provide publicly available information: https://unistats.ac.uk Universities receive all the feedback from students and this is one of the ways that departments discover problems that have not been reported at the time. If your son is fortunate enough to know any students on a course (or ones that have graduated recently), that can provide useful information, though bear in mind that existing students are unlikely to know much about similar courses offered by other universities. It is worth studying the contents of degree courses and modules because titles don’t always reflect content and are there to make them look more appealing.

It is worth looking at the costs of living and particularly of accommodation when choosing a university, and you will know that from living in London. Many students end up doing far too much work to make ends meet. At best they will lose out on part of what could be the most rewarding part of their life and at worst they end up with a poor degree that will not enhance their employment prospects. A good job isn’t just about salary but whether it is rewarding.

@sk1466 – Just to let you know – I moved the rest of this conversation into the off topic lobby. Do come and join the chat there! https://conversation.which.co.uk/technology/the-lobby-2/

Abby: there are two comments you’ve moved which are directly germane to the original question posed.


Can you reinstate them, please?

I’m afraid I can’t. They will become floating comments and insist on living at the bottom of all the comments without their parent comment – sorry!

The first of the two is a parent comment. The database should automatically insert them in date / time order so it should work perfectly.

I have been trying to move those two comments back but because there are so many comments in The Lobby now we are getting time outs when trying to move things from it. I’m really sorry about that!