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Crazy Seahorse "Crazy Seahorse" (Cambridge)
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Beurer Activity Tracker with Bluetooth Smart
Beurer Activity Tracker with Bluetooth Smart
Offered by StressNoMore
Price: £59.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Would have made more sense as a product if it was waterproof., 29 July 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a nicely designed wristband that is narrow and sleek. It tracks activity by measuring your steps, and tracks your sleep by you telling it that you are going to sleep and monitoring how much you move and deducing if you are awake, in deep sleep or in light sleep. When you wake up you have to take it out of sleep mode. It syncs the information to a smart phone via the software Beurer provide for free. So all in all the wrist band doesn't do very much, it does tell the time, and gives you a running total of the calories you have burned. I think this running total is a combination of weight height and time spent active, as it counts your steps and does a calculation of how far you have gone. Distance for each stride can be entered in the settings for your software.

I have found that the device is comfortable to wear and appears to work fairly well. I am not sure if it is accurate as I don't have another device to compare it to. It gave me roughly 3000 steps for my cycle to work, and I also accumulated about the same amount on a 30 minute walk which is about the same duration as my cycle commute. The numbers for calorie burn seem plausible. For me the value of the device is that I can look at it and decide whether I have been a bit to sedentary in a day, if so I get up and do some walking. This has already happened twice in the four or so days I have been testing it, so in a real sense absolute accuracy is not required as long as it is mostly right, which I suspect it is. I've found it works better if it attached tightly to my wrist.

The software is a general app for all of Beurer's products. It is a bit clunky on my iPhone as on most days I have to tell it to forget my device and then add it again. Upon doing so it manages to sync properly, I haven't had the same issues on my iPad. The software gives you some nice graphs of sleep duration and activity and appears to send the data to healthkit properly, which doesn't happen for many products in my experience.

The device has an OLED display and is a bit dim in normal sunlight, although fine in doors, presumably this is to save of batteries. It is charged by clipping a lead onto the device, which avoids a connector I guess but it is not water proof so why not put on standard usb and not go to the length of making blue tooth. It would have made more sense if it was a bit more waterproof in this regard.

So is this good value for money? Well I think it depends on your personality a bit. If you are motivated by numbers and graphs then this will help you be a bit more active. If you aren't then it isn't going to stay on your wrist for long. I wouldn't want it as my main watch, I have a nice watch I want for that and I am wearing it as a sort of cheesy tech bracelet on the other wrist.


Seven Brief Lessons on Physics
Seven Brief Lessons on Physics
by Carlo Rovelli
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £7.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Short but a good read, 29 July 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This book is called seven brief lessons on physics and it is not joking it is brief. However it is very well written and an enjoyable read. It is aimed at the non-physicist and attempts to get over some of the sense of wonder at the ingenuity and genius of the pioneers of relativity, quantum theory and the like in the early part of the last century. I think it succeeds in doing this, but I am not the best judge as I am a physicist and I am already familiar with the concepts being described.

It is not a book that attempts to teach anyone any physics at a serious level but instead tries to open a window so that others can look at the world like a physicist does. On top of this it does it with some beautiful prose I've given it four stars because I liked reading the book, but it is short. Many people bought a brief history of time because they wanted it on the coffee table, This is nowhere the depth of that book, but I suspect would get read by many more of the same people who bought that earlier tome.


MaxiNutrition Cyclone Strength and Power Protein Shake Powder 1.26 kg - Strawberry
MaxiNutrition Cyclone Strength and Power Protein Shake Powder 1.26 kg - Strawberry
Price: £33.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Taste is alright, but needs to be drunk on its own., 27 July 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Protein shakes are often the preserve of body builders. I am not a body builder but a keen amateur cyclist who uses weight training to improve my strength and to help keep my own weight down, as a mature man I am aware that I will start to loose muscle mass and tone unless I do something to fight against the progress of the years. Protein shakes are for me a useful tool, in that they help feed your muscles without having to eat tiresome quantities of protein rich foods (e.g. chicken) and boost the amount of protein consumed without taking on the fat that eating all that meat often entails. Protein shakes do work in my experience, but need to be used with care as part of a planned diet and exercise programme, if you do this you will build muscle and not gain fat, if you just take the shakes without putting in the work, you will not build muscle and will gain fat, So as an example the last time I followed such a programme I reduced by body fat % by around 4% in about 4 weeks.

So having said all of this how do I rate cyclone? Well it has a good dose of protein per serving (30g) and the benefit of added creatine, which the sports scientists say helps to maintain your muscle once you have built it. I also look for how much sugar is in it and what it tastes like. Many protein shakes taste a bit foul and have lots of sugar in to disguise it. This does not have much sugar and tastes OK, I normally go for Vanilla not strawberry as it makes it a bit more neutral when mixing it with oats, but this one is OK and quite easy to get down. I am not sure you could mix it with anything though.


Igenix Liteway LW4260 Small Edison Screw Cap Energy Saving LED Golfball Lamp 5 Watt - Opal
Igenix Liteway LW4260 Small Edison Screw Cap Energy Saving LED Golfball Lamp 5 Watt - Opal
Offered by BestBuyUk
Price: £11.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The future of lighting, 21 July 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I am a big fan of LEDs, I have to admit some bias as I have worked on their design and fabrication early in my career and I they are a very efficient and robust means for generating light. This bulb has the SES fitting, which is a sort of 1cm big screw. The light itself is very white and bright, I am using it as a bedside lamp and it is much better for reading in bed than the 7W halogen it replaced, it is much less yellow and brighter making reading in bed easier. It is not however, so bright as to burn your eyeballs out when they are tired and weary.

LEDs are much more efficient than any other bulb, more long lasting and less prone to the damage other more delicate technologies encounter. A bulb should easily last 15 years as long as it does not get too hot for too long. There really isn't any reason not to like these, apart from the cost, which is falling, which should be balanced against the energy they save. Recommended


10-Minute Tests for 11+ Maths (Ages 10-11)
10-Minute Tests for 11+ Maths (Ages 10-11)
by CGP Books
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.95

5.0 out of 5 stars My daughter found this a fun way to learn., 21 July 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a series of short tests to give children practice for maths papers. My daughter isn't taking an 11+ but she is 10 and will be doing her stats next year. This book provides a large number of short tests with a comprehensive answer book so we can work through some maths problems together in short sharp bursts. There are 30 or so tests and we have done the first one, which she described as fun.

The problems are well thought through and I can see already that they will address the items suggested for extra work in her school report. The fact that she found it fun, and it is in a short burst shows quality and inspiration and that is why it is 5 stars. Recommended.


Cakeology: Over 20 Sensational Step-By-Step Cake Decorating Projects
Cakeology: Over 20 Sensational Step-By-Step Cake Decorating Projects
by Juliet Sear
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £13.60

2.0 out of 5 stars Doesn't work for us., 20 July 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This book doesn't really deliver for us. Styled as step by step cake decorating for novice and expert alike, we think it falls someway short. For sure there are some projects that we think we could muster, but on the whole (and we are quite a crafty family) we don't think we have the collective artistic talent to pull most of these projects off. I can see the cleverness in making a cookie, coating it in icing and painting Elvis' face on it, but I just don't think I can paint that well, still less the beautiful birds on another cake.

Too often we found looking through the instructions that one picture included what we thought looked like a total mess, whereas the next looked like perfection. Not the step by step I was expecting because I don't have a magic wand. The cake recipes inside seem fair enough but are simple and the sort you could find in another popular cookery tomes, the emphasis is on the decorating, and I would rate this as simply too hard with no learning curve and too much of a requirement to be a great artist. If you aren't already very skilled I would suggest that you will find the results disappointing. If you are already skilled you probably don't need this book.


Olympus Tough TG-4 Compact Digital Camera - Black
Olympus Tough TG-4 Compact Digital Camera - Black
Price: £289.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Robust camera, lots of modes, good pictures, 17 July 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a robust camera that is easy to use and takes clear photos. Like many cameras it has a huge amount of shooting modes built in to help you get the most out of your shots. All modes allow you to fiddle around with settings such as aperture size and shutter speed to further tweak things and get a better photograph. However photography is a skill like playing the guitar and takes a lot of effort to master.
This camera has a lot on it, I spent more than an hour with the manual reading through and playing around with all the things that it does and some of them are quite neat. If you have a smart phone you can log on to the camera's wifi, the camera generates the wifi so it is not that you can only use this when you are logged in to a network, it works anywhere. The free app (I used iPhone) allows you to operate the shutter, set up a shot and transfer photos from the camera to the phone. You activate it 'the easy way' by scanning a 2D code with your phone which sets up the wifi. It was a little confusing but worked after a couple of goes. The camera also has a GPS function, which also has a confusing aspect. Olympus like you to calibrate the GPS which you can do by connecting the camera to a phone or your computer. What isn't in the manuals is that you have to download an app to perform the calibration, this is straightforward but not explained.

In terms of modes there are a few worth a mention, it has super slow mo, time lapse and a mode that only activates bright pixels. The latter is for star gazing and allows you to track the movement of stars in a single exposure without over exposing the whole sensor. The macro modes take composite pictures which increases the depth of field.

The camera can be fitted with optional lenses that can be purchased elsewhere, a telephoto converter and a fisheye converter (note they are converters and work in conjunction with the permanent lens). The lens fit via a lens ring that can be removed and this would be my only real criticism, there is no lens cap for the permanent lens in the camera, which already has finger prints on it. Would it have been too much to make the lens ring into a lens cap? The camera also comes without a case, but it is a tough item and that kind of goes against the design philosophy a bit. I have carried it around in pockets with keys as a test which is a sure fire way to trash things in my experience and I've had no scratches so far. Lastly you will need an SD card if you want to take more than about 14 photos at a time, and an old SD card only works once you have formatted it, it comfortably ignored mine until I did, again this gem is in the manual.

So this is recommended, it is expensive but it is a good compact camera, that takes pictures well on the way to an SLR and definitely better than a phone, I also recommend you read the manual to get the most out of it.


Panasonic RPHXS200EA On Ear Street Headphones - Blue
Panasonic RPHXS200EA On Ear Street Headphones - Blue
Price: £19.77

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Portable Headphones, 16 July 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
These headphones are attractive and well thought through. What we particularly like is the way the ear cups spin round to allow you to fold these into a really neat and compact package without putting any strain on the parts. The colour is quite vibrant making both my daughters want them and try to trade existing pairs for the new ones. They are also pretty comfortable to wear.

Sound wise I have so far only listened to some piano music on them. I heard a crisp clear sound with good definition, overall my impression was that the reproduction was accurate, but lacking a little bit on bass and lower mids.

In summary these are a good pair of headphones for those wanting to replace the in-ear buds of MP3 players. They fold into a neat package, which makes them portable and they appear well made. They give a clear sound but won't give mega bass if that is what you are looking for.


Philips HC9450/13 Series 9000 Hair Clipper with Motorised Adjustable Comb
Philips HC9450/13 Series 9000 Hair Clipper with Motorised Adjustable Comb
Price: £65.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good clippers but tech for tech's sake, 13 July 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I have used clippers to cut my hair for over 10 years and these do a very good job. The clippers are much better than our old ones, which we had to throw away because they had blunted and kept catching and pulling my hair. In contrast these clippers were a revelation, cutting the hair easily, never pulling, and the convenience of not having a power lead is definitely a big step forwards. The clippers are also much lighter than our old pair, which my wife, who normally clips the Seahorse mane appreciates a great deal. The hair length is achieved via a virtual dial sliding your finger up and down it. Inserting one of the three cutting combs gives access to a different range of lengths and you can get the clippers to remember up to three settings, you can also set the hair length to 1/10 mm accuracy. They are good clippers and that is why they have 4 stars.

It is at this point that I begin to wonder if this has seen the introduction of tech for techs sake, and why I have deducted a point. Philips do another set of clippers at nearly half the price that has a manual thumb dial, and only one comb that allows you to set the full range of cutting lengths. Said cheaper clippers also come with some beard combs and a plastic box to keep everything inside. I'm not sure that a pair of clippers with the ability to remember my hair clipping settings is worth the extra. I think the mechanical thumb screw is perhaps a better solution as there is less tech to go wrong. Maybe a hair dresser can make use of accurately cutting hair length to 1/10 mm, but we can't see the need. The package would also be improved by reinstating the plastic box.

In summary: good clippers but Philips themselves do others which represent better value


Ultrasport Chess and Games Computer - 8 Games
Ultrasport Chess and Games Computer - 8 Games
Price: £48.68

4.0 out of 5 stars A good training aid, 9 July 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a chess computer a little like you used to get when I was a kid. It has a kind of 80s feel to it with small plastic chess pieces with magnetic feet and a simple LED screen that is impossible to read in poor lighting. Switching the game on, it took us some time to work out how to enter the moves, the unit kept beeping at us, until I was forced to read the manual. For the record you push the chess piece you want to move into the board and then push it into the square you want to move it to. This is actually a pretty simple method when all is said and done and stops the laborious entering in of different numbers and letters to represent piece movements, just not obvious if you didn't know.

This is quite a versatile set in that it also allows you to play chess, draughts and a range of variations of the two, including some chess problems and other training modes. THe set can give you hints and contains some modes that are actually beatable for a casual player. My frustration with chess computers is that they never make mistakes, which is far above my level, and most of my friends. It is also big enough to be used as a travel set and play between two people, which is primarily how my daughters have used it so far. The pieces come in a small bag, that is barely big enough to contain them all. A bigger bag or an extra bag would have been useful to keep the draughts and the chess pieces seperate.

In summary I would say this is useful if you want to improve your ability at chess. It gives you a view of the board and pieces that a 2D computer screen just doesn't. Once you get used to the method for moving pieces its quite good to play. Obviously chess is a game that very few of us will ever master.


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