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Amazon Fire TV
Amazon Fire TV
Price: £79.00

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best TV Box I've Ever Used, 13 Jan. 2015
This review is from: Amazon Fire TV (Electronics)
I have to say that I am very impressed with this box. I remember when I first heard about the Amazon Fire TV box, I scoffed at the notion that it would be a highly-customised, and therefore restricted, device. I have to say that what I thought was a disadvantage is a BIG advantage.

I recently purchased a Kindle Fire HDX tablet, the first tablet I can say wowed me. I've owned all kinds of tablet before, all of which ended up being sold within months of use. The HDX, however, surprised me with features such as the ability to provide the names of a particcular actor/actress at any point in the movie. This is what led me to explore the Fire TV.

I've owned an Apple TV for just under a year, which I bought so I could stream movies from my Mac or iPad (now replaced by the HDX) via AirPlay. To be honest, not even the Apple/Mac/iPad integration is as simple, fool-proof or painless as the integration of the Fire TV with my Kindle HDX.

From the point of set up, the experience is painless. Setting up the device takes minutes and there is no fiddling as one would experience with most Android TV boxes.

The integration with existing Amazon content, such as Prime Instant Videos and my Amazon Music Library is amazing. I was watching a movie within minutes. Then, when I glanced at my Kindle Fire HDX tablet, I could see the locked screen allowed me to fast forward or rewind the video, all without me first having the tell it that I was watching a movie on the Fire TV or even had it on my network, for that matter.

I was also able to sideload Kodi so I could watch my home movies and the other movies in my personal media library. This process was relatively straightforward once I had the prerequisite software on my PC.

The same day I bought the Fire TV, I'd ordered a Tronsmart Orion R28 Android TV box, which arrived the next day. The experience, just getting the device out of the box was a pain. The setup was also not stress-free as it was with the Fire TV. Needless to say, the Tronsmart box went back the day after it arrived. The Fire TV, however, will probably be part of my home entertainment system for a long time.

If you are a regular Amazon customer and have loads of Amazon content or if you want a TV box that is a pleasure to use, the Fire TV and Amazon ecosystem is hard to beat, provided you're not the kind of person that needs to install every Android app under the sun.

Tronsmart Orion R28 Pro RK3288 Quad Core 1.8GHz Android 4.4 Mini TV Box 2G/8G Wifi Bluetooth Support 4K OTA OTG (2G/8G)
Tronsmart Orion R28 Pro RK3288 Quad Core 1.8GHz Android 4.4 Mini TV Box 2G/8G Wifi Bluetooth Support 4K OTA OTG (2G/8G)
Offered by In4dealz
Price: £75.95

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars It's the little things that matter., 13 Jan. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought a Kindle Fire TV over the weekend since I wanted a device that would allow me to watch both my Amazon Prime Videos content as well as my own home movies/media via Kodi (XBMC). While I found the Fire TV to be an excellent device, the OS is closed so it has its limitations. I decided to take the plunge and buy a regular Android TV box since they're not restrictive like the Fire TV and could run other Android apps from the Google Play Store whereas on the Fire TV, I would have to sideload apps. I settled on this one after reviewing the specifications and a few reviews online.

I received the Tronsmart box yesterday and eagerly took the box out of the Amazon packaging. From that point, this device started losing stars in my opinion. Just opening the box took quite a bit of effort. The inner part of the box is such a tight fit that I needed to pry each side away, a few millimetres at a time. So, that's one star lost for time wasted trying to open the box.

Once I'd finally gotten the box opened, it was quick work hooking up the device. I connected a cable to the Ethernet port since that's my preferred connectivity method and turned on the device. It booted pretty quickly and presented the home screen to me.

Upon entering the Google Play Store, I was prompted for my Google credentials; this is where it lost another star. It presented me for wireless details, even though I had the Ethernet cable connected. I tried entering my wireless key using a USB keyboard I'd attached but the box didn't recognise to every key press. I had to press some keys a second time, which would then result in that character repeating numerous times. Backspace wasn't always reliable either and neither was using the mouse to click the virtual keyboard. I confirmed the keyboard was working fine and that it wasn't a problem with the batteries. It's quite possible interference between the Wi-Fi and the keyboard, since they're both on the 2.4GHz frequency.

Once I was finally able to get my wireless key in and my Google account set up, after much painful key presses etc, I was able to download apps easily. I eventually also enabled Ethernet in Settings, since it is off by default. I would expect that they would ship the box with that enabled since some people will want to use Ethernet right out of the box, for better network performance.

After all that, one major caveat I encountered is the fact that, with it running Android Tablet edition, certain apps (including the Amazon Instant Video app) won't install on it as they may not support the tablet edition. I didn't take away a star for this as I knew this would likely be the case. Still, I thought I'd mention it for those who may not be aware.

I would have been happy to live without the Amazon Instant Video app but decided in the end that I would rather live with the OS limitations of the Fire TV but with it's superb user experience than live with the flexibility of the Tronsmart or another Android box, with their inherently poor user experience. I don't want the Mrs calling me in the middle of the day asking me how to get the TV box to work so she can watch Drop Dead Diva. ;-)

From a technical standpoint, this device plays back well etc. However, one has to decide whether they want a TV box purely for a fool proof entertainment experience or whether they want a box they'll need to fiddle with. If you prefer the flexibility, this is a great box; if you want to watch Amazon Instant Videos, Netflix and Kodi, etc and want a literal plug and play experience, the Amazon Fire TV box is a hard-to-beat choice, especially if you have a Kindle Fire tablet since the level of integration even surpasses the integration of Apple devices in my opinion.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 21, 2015 3:07 AM GMT

Artpop [Explicit]
Artpop [Explicit]
Price: £4.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece of art; a masterpiece of pop, 23 Aug. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Artpop [Explicit] (MP3 Download)
While I've always listened to Lady Gaga's tunes on the radio, I'd never felt compelled to buy any of her albums... until now.

I first heard Venus whilst listening to a streaming service and heard Applause a few times on the radio so I decided to check out some of the other songs on the album to see if they were any good. I instantly fell in love with Do What You Want, Aura and G.U.Y. The album was recently on special so I bought it. Since then, I've listened to the whole album multiples times, sometimes on repeat and love all, except Jewels N Drugs.

Overall, I can't fault this album. I think it really shows Lady Gaga is not just a musician who can make chart-topping hits but who can create art, whether it charts or not!

How to Live on 24 Hours a Day
How to Live on 24 Hours a Day
Price: £0.00

1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Too Boring for My Tastes, 12 Aug. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
It's a good job it was free when I bought it because, to be frank, it sounds like the author sat by a window and imagined himself sitting at the country club lecturing to his colleagues over a pot of tea.

To me, it sounded more like philosophical ramblings than an intriguing guide on how to manage one's time as most of it (well, the bit I read before deciding not to spend another 5 minutes out of my 24 hours reading it).

It's mostly written in the passive voice, which isn't necessarily a bad thing but it stops short of reading like a King James Version bible or some other old-English text, which may be fine for some but shall I indulge myself in consuming more of its content, I will henceforth necessitate expending precious more valuable hours acquiring and consuming another book in my quest for knowledge -- yes, that's how convoluted the book sounds; I guess that's how books were written in that time.

If you fancy some plain English, I'd advise that you devote your 24 hours to another book.

TomTom Via LIVE 120 4.3" Sat Nav with UK and Ireland Maps
TomTom Via LIVE 120 4.3" Sat Nav with UK and Ireland Maps

3.0 out of 5 stars Does what it says on the tin but a few quirks, 21 April 2013
I've used this for over a year and I must say it works well as a satnav. The Live data has always worked worked really well for me in that almost each time when it indicated there would be traffic ahead, there was.

The only things I don't like about it (besides TomTom's generally painful and often buggy process for updating maps) are:

1. I find the volume to be a bit low at times, especially when driving on the motorway whilst listening to music. My old TomTom One is much louder and I didn't need to lower the volume on my car stereo to hear instructions clearly.

2. Sometimes when you pass speed cameras, the speed you're travelling on the satnav can freeze temporarily, even if you've made a noticeable change in speed.

3. When it prompts you to tell it whether a speed camera is still where it used to be, it makes a very annoying sound every few seconds until you press it and select an answer. Not only is this unsafe, it is downright annoying on the M1 where so many cameras have been moved.

SanDisk SDCZ80-016G-X46 16GB Extreme USB 3.0 Flash Drive
SanDisk SDCZ80-016G-X46 16GB Extreme USB 3.0 Flash Drive
Offered by PicStop
Price: £14.18

5.0 out of 5 stars Exceeds manufacturer's claims, 31 Dec. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought this drive to use for booting to Hyper-V Server so I wanted something with decent performance. When I first looked at the box, I noticed the rated write speed was 55MB/s, even though the Amazon product details page does not specify the rated write speed for the given capacity. I was a bit dismayed by this but somehow suspected it before I bought it.

When I tested it on my system with a USB 2.0 port using CrystalDiskMark 3.0.2, I got average sequential speeds of 34 and 30 MB/s for reading and writing, respectively, which is good. When I transferred a 1.8GB ISO, it averaged 29MB/s.

When I tested it then on my laptop with USB 3.0, I actually got 186 (read) and 60 (write) using CrystalDiskMark. I tried transferring a 3GB ISO to the flash drive and got an average transfer rate of 57MB/s, so the write speeds actually exceed the manufacturer's quoted write speed, which is always welcome.

Some people complained about build quality. I found the build quality to be acceptable and what I'd expect from any normal non-rugged USB flash drive so I don't know what people expect.

I give this product 5 stars because the price is very competitive and the speeds are a very pleasant surprise.

Samsung Galaxy S3 SPIGEN SGP Ultra Thin Air Series Case BLACK + Steinheil Ultra Nano Clear 1 pc
Samsung Galaxy S3 SPIGEN SGP Ultra Thin Air Series Case BLACK + Steinheil Ultra Nano Clear 1 pc

5.0 out of 5 stars Ultra thin & best screen protector I've ever used, 28 Nov. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
As advertised, this is ultra thin and I don't even notice the difference in bulk, which is exactly what I wanted.

The build quality is also good. The only minor thing is that is feels very slightly loose but not enough that it actually comes off.

The screen protector that comes with it is the best I've ever used (and I've used a lot over the years). It's practically invisible and went on snugly with no bubbles. It also feels strong and very capable of the job, unlike many of the cheap ones.

You get what you pay for with this!

Total Core Deluxe 360 Degree Core Workout (Old Version)
Total Core Deluxe 360 Degree Core Workout (Old Version)

3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars I should have listened to the negative reviews, 26 Nov. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I had high hopes for this despite a few people giving it negative reviews. Mistake!

First of all, the instructions weren't very clear.

Secondly, I found the construction to be somewhat flimsy and there was a crack in one of the joints.

Thirdly, and most importantly, I didn't feel the least bit of resistance when trying it out. My physical condition can in NO WAY be described as fit so it's not like I couldn't feel the resistance because I have a six pack; I have a semi-large one-pack.

For those who gave it great reviews and it's worked for, I'm happy for you. For anyone else considering this piece of equipment, I'd suggest looking at alternatives.

Unapologetic (Deluxe Edition) [Explicit] [+digital booklet]
Unapologetic (Deluxe Edition) [Explicit] [+digital booklet]
Price: £8.49

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It grows on you, 22 Nov. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I must admit I bought this on impulse because Amazon had it at a promotional price. I didn't actually listen to the previews but just clicked "Buy" because I was pleasantly-surprised by her previous album "Talk That Talk" and expected the same exhilaration from this one.

Unfortunately, I've had to listen to this album a few times to start to like it and can say I do like most of the tracks now. IMO though, this album is an acquired taste as the tracks are less racey and cheeky than a lot of her previous work. However, I wouldn't say they're bad; just different.

If "Talk That Talk" was HOT, this is just cool but I guess Rhi Rhi is unapologetic about it. :-)


After having listened to this album over 15 times since I've bought it, I've had to give it one more star... I've gotta say I REALLY LIKE THIS NOW. I get the vibe that some of the songs are personal to Rhi Rhi and show how there's more to her than the image that's generally portrayed.

My favourites are 5, 7, 8 & 10.

Africa: The Best Of Toto
Africa: The Best Of Toto

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Definitely the Best of Toto, 21 Sept. 2012
This has all the great hits I remember from when I was young(er) :-) I'm totally happy with my purchase as I had an album with most of these hits years ago, which I'd lost but it feels great to be hearing them all again. This album takes me back to a time and era when I didn't have a care in the world. :-) They don't make music like this anymore.

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