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Steven Unwin "Steve Unwin" (Preston, UK)

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TP-LINK TL-SF1005D 5-Port 10/100Mbps Unmanaged Desktop Switch
TP-LINK TL-SF1005D 5-Port 10/100Mbps Unmanaged Desktop Switch
Price: £5.78

5.0 out of 5 stars Simple to set-up. Brilliant in use., 24 Feb. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Review of YL-SF1005D 5-port switch.
My router is located in an upstairs office and I wanted to connect it to a wired Youview box located downstairs I initially tried linking them via a wireless link which I attempted with several different types of repeaters, I then tried making the link using Powerline adapters but none gave me a reliable connection and throughput. In the end I did what I’d been trying to avoid and ran a Cat 5e cable from the upstairs room downstairs and connected to it this 4 port switch.

I plugged the cable from the router into one of the ports and the Youview box into another and was up and running in a moment. The thought of the hassle of running a cable had made me look for other options, but the crazy thing is it actually took far less time running a cable than I’d wasted trying to get the more technically elegant solutions to work. It was far cheaper and works like a dream plus I have the bonus of being able to use the other ports to connect three more devices..

There really is no setting up with this switch. Just plug in the power supply, the cable from the router and the cables from your devices and you’re up and running.

OBDII Car HUD Universal Car Interface HUD Fuel icon Head Up Display LCD
OBDII Car HUD Universal Car Interface HUD Fuel icon Head Up Display LCD
Offered by HappyGo
Price: £46.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Handy piece of Tech that works well., 23 Feb. 2015
This is a neat device that's very easy to install, simple to use and potentially very useful.

As this is the first review for this device I've tried to make it as comprehensive as possible.

If you've equipped your car with SatNav and are looking for the next techie step forward, this Head Up Display (HUD) might just be it, as it displays a host of driving information directly on your windscreen.

How it Works:
If you have a car less than around 10 years old you'll be aware that when you take it to a garage with a fault the first thing they'll do is plug the car into their test equipment to diagnose the problem. They use the car's OBD (On Board Diagnostics) connector to read information about how the car is performing. The great thing here is this HUD unit uses exactly the same connector to display relevant information to you as you're driving - so you simply plug-in the supplied cable and you're pretty much up and running. Whilst the garage is interested in fault codes, this device concentrates on the driving information, speed, rpm, fuel consumption, engine temperature etc.
(I suggest that you check that your car is OBD II (OBD 2) compliant before ordering.)

In the box you'll find:-
* The HUD Display Unit
* OBD Cable to connect your car's OBD socket to the HUD.
* Non-slip dashboard mat
* Instruction guide
* Reflective panel

Once you've found your car's OBD connector, installation is easy. Simply insert the connector on the supplied cable and connect to the HUD. The only slightly tricky bit is routing the cable from the socket to the upper surface of the dashboard. I installed it on an MG ZT and it was easy to route the cable around the side of the dashboard tucked-in near the door rubbers and upwards.

Place the supplied non-slip mat on the dashboard and pop the HUD on top. Start the engine and adjust the position of the HUD so the reflected image in the windscreen suits your driving position. That's the installation in a nutshell. I had it up and running within 5 minutes.

The device defaults to metric measurements so if you prefer imperial measures you'll need to alter the settings. Here the device has a neat trick. When displaying the HUD information the image is reversed, since you'll be viewing it in a mirror (reflected in the windscreen). However when you press to alter the settings the display is right-way-round, so you can hold the device in your hand to reset it. This is also a safety feature which discourages the driver from messing with settings whilst driving, instead of concentrating on the road.

The instruction leaflet, as is often the case, is not particularly well written English, but the menu, mode and set buttons all have a familiar operation and you might find you work it out faster without the instructions than with them. It is worth taking a few moments to look through the instructions however just to make sure you haven't missed out on any of the main features.

In the main once the HUD has been set up and positioned, you'll not need to touch it, the only exception being the mode button which can switch the information being displayed between several alternatives. In general you'll probably settle on the display you find most useful and only occasionally press to see alternate information.

The HUD device is quite small, not much larger than a pack of cards but does display quite a lot of information

Displayed Information:
The display features both numeric information and analogue scales in the form of curved bars to represent speed and rpm for example which also feature colour changes to indicate warnings or excess speeds. The following can be displayed
* RPM dial and numerical display
* Gear-shift alerts
* Timing information
* Tired Driving Alert (based on driving time)
* Engine temperature and alerts
* Reversing radar
* Battery Voltage
* Speed dial and numerical display

In addition to the visual display the HUD also has voice messages. These can warn you of excess speed or excess rpm and alert you when you reach certain speeds. You can set up the values at which these alarms will be triggered in the device settings. In my experience you'll soon grow tired of being told `speed six-oh', `speed seven-oh', `rpm too high', so thankfully there is a mute button.

The packaging and instructions make the case for the HUD being a safety device. The argument being that you don't have to take your eyes off the road to see the instruments. I'm not sure I can agree with that. In use with the display in direct line of sight, i.e. over the road ahead I found the display a little distracting and so had it a little to the side, so I still needed to move my eyes to view it. In any event you have to switch your focus from the distant view of the road to close up to read the display so personally the safety benefit seems to be small.

However the ability to display information that might otherwise be unavailable might be an attractive selling point to some. On less well equipped cars this little device might give you access to information that isn't displayed at all on your vehicles instruments. Even on a well-equipped car there may be instances where the additional information is of value. For example I discovered that the in-car fuel consumption display averaged out the value over an entire journey, whilst the HUD gave an instantaneous display of fuel consumption as it happened. This is useful to see the immediate effect of putting your foot down on the accelerator or lifting it.

The supplied HUD includes a reflective sheet, though it is not mentioned in the instructions. This is provided for attachment to the windscreen to improve the quality of the HUD image. The sheet is a little like a one-way mirror in that it lets you see the outside world through it whilst limiting light from outside. It does improve the quality of the HUD image, however from outside the car it looks like you've stuck an obstruction straight in your line of sight. To oncoming drives, and the authorities, this would be quite disconcerting. I found the display adequate in most situations without this reflective screen and recommend that if you do use it, you consider placing it out of the direct line of sight - which of course would reduce the claimed safety value.

A couple of final points:-
The HUD sits on the dashboard and looks like an attractive piece of technology so it's probably a good idea to remove it from view each time you leave the car. You can leave the cable and non-slip mat in place which should make repositioning it an easy task.

Secondly I tested the HUD in winter. In summer the dashboard can be a very hot and potentially hostile place for electronics and I've no experience of testing how the device would cope with this.

Overall the HUD is simple to install and easy to operate. It works well and provides a comprehensive suite of information on the car's performance including data that might otherwise be unavailable to the driver. I'm yet to be convinced of the HUD's value purchased purely as a safety device but if you are into your in-car technology, or know someone who is, this is an attractive and well-designed little device that gives you access to valuable performance information.

I was delighted to be invited to test and review this HUD.

DBPOWER® AT21 Ajustable Head-Mounted Head Sports Action Camera DV Cam Camcorder 3 Hours 1.3MP
DBPOWER® AT21 Ajustable Head-Mounted Head Sports Action Camera DV Cam Camcorder 3 Hours 1.3MP
Offered by HappyGo
Price: £49.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Reasonable Camera but not recommended as a Sports Cam, 9 Feb. 2015
I really wanted to like this camera and intended to use it whilst cycling, and as a camera it works quite well. The picture produced is fairly wide angle and of perfectly good quality when filming outdoors. It is fitted with a microphone though the sound quality is nothing to shout about (excuse the pun), but filming action is far more about the action than the sound so the unspectacular sound recording isn’t an issue for me. What is an issue is the cameras questionable suitability as a sports cam.

There are three key problems when trying to use the camera for sports recording:-

Camera Mounting – this first problem can be identified before even opening the box. The side of the box features pictures of two heads, that of a woman and that of a manikin. Both have the camera neatly mounted to their forehead using the supplied strap. On the opposite side of the box and the rear there are pictures of mountaineers, cyclists and skateboarders, all wearing helmets and not a camera in sight as far as I can see. The reason being the strap is of little use when attaching the camera to a helmet. Even if you do get it to stay in place (I only managed this on my cycle helmet with the help of cable-ties) the camera points in the wrong direction (up at an angle of 45 degrees in my case). I tried removing the camera from its strap and fastening it directly using more cable-ties, placing a wedge behind it to point it in the correct direction. As you might imagine the result was neither elegant nor particularly successful. It had the additional problem of masking the SD card slot which is positioned on the underneath of the camera, so the camera had to be cut free to retrieve the card.

Waterproofing – the second problem for any sportcam in the UK is that whatever your sport, if you do it outside then you’re going to get wet sooner or later. This camera has no obvious waterproofing. The operating switch appears unprotected as are the USB and SD Card openings. It’s not at all easy to see how this lack of waterproofing could be overcome. I noted that the website claims it to be water resistant and I confess that I didn’t dare submerge the camera as the ultimate test of this claim, but with open unprotected slots I can't see how it can be sufficiently waterproof.

No Date-stamp – the third perhaps more minor issue is that there’s no way to date or timestamp the recordings which is a feature I personally regard as essential when reviewing recordings from a sport cam.

So as a sports cam I really can’t recommend it.

If you’re sport doesn’t involve wearing a helmet and takes place indoors out of the rain, then the following may be of use.
As mentioned the picture quality is quite good. Files are recorded in AVI format to a micro-SD card (not supplied). You’ll need 3 x AAA batteries to power the camera, mounted in a small box attached to the camera strap. Multiple beeps at switch on indicate a problem, usually a missing SD card. A constant blue light means ok, whilst the blue light flashes when a recording is being made. Hold the single operating button down for a second or so to begin recording. Press again to stop.

To download the video files to your PC directly from the camera you’ll need to load the 'Image Download Utility' (Supplied on disk). I recommend you don’t use this, as it seemed very slow at downloading. Instead buy a micro-SD card with an adapter and download directly using a card reader. I used a 32 GB micro-SD card (with adapter for PC playback).

One final point. It seems that the USB cable supplied is of a special bespoke type. Certainly amongst my collection of USB cables I couldn’t find another that would fit. If you wish to download directly from the camera take care not to misplace this cable.

If you can avoid the rain and don’t wear a helmet, then this could be a useful cam (4 stars), but if not I can’t recommend this camera (2 stars). I plumped for the average of 3 stars overall.

I was provided with this camera for unbiased review.

White Apple iPad 3 & iPad 4 Premium Folio Leather Case / Cover With MAGNETIC Auto-Sleep Wake & Flip Stand with Free screen protector for ipad 4, ipad 3, ipad 2, ipad case, ipad 4 case, ipad cover
White Apple iPad 3 & iPad 4 Premium Folio Leather Case / Cover With MAGNETIC Auto-Sleep Wake & Flip Stand with Free screen protector for ipad 4, ipad 3, ipad 2, ipad case, ipad 4 case, ipad cover
Offered by razz-
Price: £1.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Nothing fancy - just a great case., 29 Jan. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I’d bought a similar case to this for my Acer Iconia so I knew what to expect. This purchase was for my daughter’s iPad3 which she uses at school. I actually bought the white case and a set of indelible marker pens so she could decorate the case as she wished. She’d decorated her previous polka-dot case but it turns out that she likes the white so much she’s kept it pristine so far.

The case is well made, wraps around the iPad top and bottom giving a reasonable level of protection on all sides, has cut outs in all the right places and an in-built stand that can be used in portrait mode.

To use the case you slide the iPad into position through a slot and a small fold over flap makes sure that it’s secure. Personally I prefer this type of case to those that clip on at the corners. My daughter has worked through a number of clip on cases which all eventually seem to fail. With this case she seems much less inclined to want to remove the iPad from the case, which helps reduce the risk of damage when the iPad is unprotected.

There are more sophisticated cases out there if your aim is to impress, but for the price this is a great case to protect your device and you do have the option with white to make the case your own by drawing your own design with marker pens. I’m sure my daughter will get around to that one day.

On Networks N300 Wi-Fi Router with DSL Modem
On Networks N300 Wi-Fi Router with DSL Modem

2.0 out of 5 stars Works well but don't expect any support., 29 Jan. 2015
I like this router a lot but I’m not sure I can recommend it.

It was easy to set up, works well, has good range and a comprehensive feature set, it even automatically updated itself to the latest firmware revision. If you plug it in and it works fine you’ll probably love it and be happy to give it five stars. My concern is the lack of support if you have a problem.

My set-up went well with one minor issue. The router set itself to the date January 1 1970. (The default date computers tend towards when unable to locate a time server.) Everything worked ok so I was up and running, but I’d read that an incorrect date stamp in a router could create future problems so wanted to fix it, I downloaded the full documentation for the device which is actually very well written and full of lots of useful information. Sadly it couldn’t help with my problem, suggesting only that I leave it until it automatically updated. I’d allowed a week and thought this ample time for anything automatic to happen.

No worry I’d visit the web site. I’d registered my device and had 1 years warrantee, plus 3 months installation telephone support. Here things went rapidly downhill. The website looks great from a distance but if you try to use it you soon find yourself following links that send you round and round in circles including repeatedly asking for login details. The online support button is blanked out, there are no phone numbers anywhere, no email address nor any contact information at all. There is a UK page, but click anything and you're directed back to the US merry-go-round. I thought the knowledgebase would perhaps hold the key, but turns out it’s simply a list of firmware revisions. There’s no user group and a search on the internet turned up precious little information on the device or its use.

In short if it doesn’t work or you need help, the warranty and telephone support are not going to help you.

If you’re happy to plug in and go, with the option of a quick return to Amazon if it doesn’t work, then this router is pretty good. Otherwise my advice would be to visit the web site and take a look around before purchasing. Skip past the photos of smiling computer users and seek out any evidence of how you get support. If you find it, please post a comment so I can find it too.

(Waterproof Mini Outdoor Sport Action Camera)DB POWER@ MINI HD 720P 1.3MP Waterproof Outdoor Sport Action Camera DVR DV with 120 Degree Wide Angle, Supports up to 32G Memory Expansion for Bicycles, Motorcycles, Cars, Helmets variety of Applications (Black and yellow)
(Waterproof Mini Outdoor Sport Action Camera)DB POWER@ MINI HD 720P 1.3MP Waterproof Outdoor Sport Action Camera DVR DV with 120 Degree Wide Angle, Supports up to 32G Memory Expansion for Bicycles, Motorcycles, Cars, Helmets variety of Applications (Black and yellow)
Offered by HappyGo
Price: £27.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Functional No Frills Bike Camera, 27 Jan. 2015
This is a good sports camera kit. Add a micro-SD card and away you go!

In the box you will find
* HD Sports Cam
* Transparent waterproof plastic camera enclosure
* Adjustable Camera Mounting Plate and attachment strap
* Video playback cable
* Handlebar mounting clamp
* USB data lead.
* Instruction Manual

The camera measures approximately 5.5 x 2 x 3 cm whilst the waterproof housing increases this to 6 x 4.5 x 3 cm. As it's the waterproof housing that has the attachment points for the mounting clamps, this larger size represents the camera in use.

At the rear of the camera a rubberised cover protects the USB socket, the video out socket and the Micro-SD card slot. On the top of the camera are two buttons, on/off and shoot. The left hand side of the camera has a single Mode button and a small monochrome display (1.5 x 0.75 cm) to show camera status information. Note this display cannot be used for playback of recordings. The display is very small and there were a number of icons that to be honest with my ageing eyes I could hardly see. However the main part of the screen does display useful information, such as recording time available.

The camera has three modes, and according to the manual these are low definition video, high-definition video and low-definition still photos. In use the first video mode gave a widescreen image whilst the second recording was a `square' format which actually recorded the right hand half of the field of view, which was a little curious. Since the wide screen option gave the most pleasing results I didn't bother with the second video mode, nor did I bother with the still image mode, other than to try it out. Most of us have phones that can take reasonable photographs, this camera is designed to be strapped to a helmet or cycle handlebars to record video in wet conditions. As widescreen recording is the default at switch on, and given the tiny size of the display screen, the mode selection button became rather redundant.

The camera comes with two mounting options. The first is a base plate that can be secured using the provided strap, the second, and most useful to me is the handlebar mounting. This looks rather agricultural and bulky. It's not elegant but actually works quite well. I liked the quick-release mechanism for attaching and removing the camera. It's less easy to remove the mount as it's attached by two very long bolts, so the mounting bracket stays on the bike. The mount actually holds the waterproof case, not the camera itself, so there's no option for mounting the camera without case. The mount doesn't allow for tilting the camera from side to side, so you'll need a horizontal portion of handlebar to attach it to.

The case has rubberised buttons which work well and the display is visible through the transparent case body. All you have to do is switch on by pressing the power button for 2 seconds then press the shutter button and away you go. The buttons are a little tricky with gloved hands, but otherwise work fine.

Incidentally I couldn't find any way to date stamp the videos or still images.

Overall the proof of the pudding is in the usefulness of the camera. Personally I'd forget the mode button, ignore the display apart from the time remaining information and just clip the camera to your bike, press two keys and go. If you do this is a great little camera that'll survive the rain and bring back some pretty good video of your adventures.

I enjoyed testing this camera that I was given for review.

(1080P Novatek 96650 5.0MP) 2.7 inch HD Car DVR Camera of 140 Degree Wide Angle 4X Digital Zoom Driving Recorder H.264
(1080P Novatek 96650 5.0MP) 2.7 inch HD Car DVR Camera of 140 Degree Wide Angle 4X Digital Zoom Driving Recorder H.264

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Functional In-Car Dash-Cam Video Recorder, 27 Jan. 2015
In the box there are 4 items. The video recorder, a suction-cup windscreen mount, an in-car power cable and a USB lead for transferring data to your PC.

The camera unit itself measures around 11 x 4.5 x 2 cm though the lens protrudes a further 1.2 cm from the front of the unit. It's fitted with a colour screen of approx. 6 x 3.5 cm. The screen is used for colour playback of stored images and video, display of current recording and a variety of status and operating icons and information.

The controls and operation are fairly straightforward and intuitive. On the top right there's a combined on/off and picture-shoot button. On the rear surface to the left are zoom controls that provide a digital zoom range of up to x4 magnification. This is useful to ensure that once fitted in position you can fine tune the field of view of the camera to miss the roof pillars surrounding the windscreen.

To the right of the screen there are the menu and mode buttons. Mode selects between video, still photos, and playback of recordings, whilst the menu button gives access to the camera's settings and options. The options available are typical of those found on devices like this and include setting picture resolution, exposure, recording audio, date stamping of recordings etc.

The left edge of the camera has the micro SD card slot whilst on the right hand side you'll find the HDMI connector. On the top left hand side there is a USB connection and AV out.

The camera has no internal storage so you will need to separately source a microSD card. The camera has an internal battery of very low capacity and in normal use needs to be connected to an external power source using the supplied in-car lead. If removed from external power you have literally around a minute's worth of video recording time, or enough power to take a handful of snapshots of the scene of an incident for example, nothing more.

The camera is typically used to record car journeys where the recording may then be used in the analysis of an incident or accident. It's not something any of us plan to make use of, but it has a number of features that enable its use should the need arise.

The camera can be set up to continuously re-record short sequences of your journey with loop recordings of 3, 5 or 10 minute duration. In effect the camera records a short video of the selected duration and then begins a new recording. It fills up the memory card with these short videos until the card becomes full at which point it begins overwriting the recordings, beginning with the earliest. (You can disable loop recording if you wish.)

You connect to a PC using the USB cable at which point a menu appears with a single option of choosing Mass Storage, thus allowing you to access the stored image files. I've seen other in-car video recorders that also provide the option of operating the camera whilst connected to the PC as a webcam for example. This camera does not appear to offer this option but for most people this will not matter.

The videos though not spectacular are good and more than adequate for their purpose. The camera has an in-built G-Sensor which is intended to protect the current video recording in the event of an accident, thus making sure that it's not overwritten. Happily I wasn't able to test this feature.

In summary, this isn't the most feature rich in-car video camera but has all the essentials, produces perfectly acceptable results and once clipped to your windscreen will quietly go about its business and hopefully the videos it records will never be used in anger. It feels a bit plastic, but once set up, you don't really need to touch it.

I enjoyed testing this recorder that I was given for review.

IPOW Universal Long Arm/neck 360 Degree Rotation Windshield Car Mount Cradle Holder System for Cell Phones Iphone 6/6 Plus/5s/5c/5/4s/4, Ipod Touch, Samsung Galaxy S5/s4/s3 Car Mount, Samsung Galaxy Note, Nokia, Motorola, Blackberry Bold 9900/q10/z10,htc One,/one X Droid Razr, Car Mount for Most Mobile Cell Phones and GPS , Double Clip
IPOW Universal Long Arm/neck 360 Degree Rotation Windshield Car Mount Cradle Holder System for Cell Phones Iphone 6/6 Plus/5s/5c/5/4s/4, Ipod Touch, Samsung Galaxy S5/s4/s3 Car Mount, Samsung Galaxy Note, Nokia, Motorola, Blackberry Bold 9900/q10/z10,htc One,/one X Droid Razr, Car Mount for Most Mobile Cell Phones and GPS , Double Clip
Offered by soaiy
Price: £9.46

4.0 out of 5 stars Handy windscreen mount, but check your device will fit., 27 Jan. 2015
This is a handy windscreen attachment arm for mobile devices up to about 8 cm in width. It comprises a suction cup, a bendy `goose-neck' of around 12.5 cm in length and a spring loaded `grabber' that can open its jaws to a little over 8 cm. The spring is quite strong and the jaws have padded `teeth' so properly inserted there's little chance of the phone coming adrift.

One possible issue is that if your phone has buttons on the sides you'll have to take care not to grab at these points. For information the grabber has two 'teeth' on each side that are around 18 mm wide and separated by a gap between them of about 36 mm. It's worth checking before purchase that your phone or device has sufficient space to be grabbed without interfering with any buttons. Also check that it's no larger than around 8 cm in width.

The rubber suction cup has a protective plastic film on it. When this is removed the suction cup appears to have a sticky adhesive layer that makes it adhere to the windscreen even before suction is applied using the suction lever. I've not seen this adhesive used before. It makes for a secure attachment which is ideal for a `permanent' fitting, and can be removed when being installed but I'm not sure how easy it would be to relocate the arm after it's been in position for a while. I've not had it long enough to find out.

The goose-neck arm is flexible and the end grabber can be rotated so it's easy to fine tune the position of the suspended device.

Overall then it's a useful mount for in-car mobile devices that does the job well just so long as your device has sufficient button-free area on the grabbed sides and will fit between the jaws.

I was happy to receive the arm to test and review.

ohuhu 3 Pack Outdoor& Indoor LED Remote Control Real Wax Candles with Remote & Timer
ohuhu 3 Pack Outdoor& Indoor LED Remote Control Real Wax Candles with Remote & Timer
Offered by EletronicsFans
Price: £12.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Amusing Novelty Candle Set, 27 Jan. 2015
The set comprises three different sized candles made at least in part from a wax material that very well mimics the look, feel and smell of candles. All three candles are 7 cm in diameter with heights of 10, 12.5 and 14.5 cm. Each has a hollowed out recess, as if the candle has burned down, and a lower section 6 cm in height that houses the electronics and the LED light.

The candles come with a remote control that can be used to operate all 3 candles if they are located together, or individually if you separate them. The remote control allows the selection of 16 different colours and also the mode of operation, The modes available are constant colour, cycling gradually through the available colours and flicker. My daughter already had an LED room light with similar functions and the remote control for that is very similar to this one. My favourite is the mode where the candle gradually changes through the whole range of colours, where you can also stop at any chosen colour.

In use the candles are nicely bright and shine through the translucent wax to create an attractive candle-like effect. Each candle requires three AAA batteries which are not supplied, though the small remote controller has a battery already installed. There's a small switch in the base of each candle to turn it on and the LED lamp has a candle-flame shaped cover to it.

The one disappointment with these candles was the flicker effect which for me didn't really capture the randomness of a real candle.

These are an attractive novelty item that give some of the feel of being candle-lit, but it's a shame the flicker effect isn't really as effective as it could be. My daughter loves them in her bedroom, but with a little more realistic flickering I'd have been happy to have them in the front room for cozy winter evenings.

I was happy to receive the candles to try out and review.

ohuhu 50 ft Expandable Garden hose With Spray Nozzle, Green
ohuhu 50 ft Expandable Garden hose With Spray Nozzle, Green
Offered by EletronicsFans
Price: £22.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Great idea that seems to work very well., 27 Jan. 2015
The thing about Garden Hoses is that they spend most of their time not being used and have a habit of cluttering up the place. In the past I've had the ungainly coil thrown to the back of the shed and eventually replaced it with a hose on a wind-up plastic reel that could be coiled up after use. It took up less room than the loose coil, and avoided the hose becoming kinked but still measured 30 x 35 x 17 cm. (that's 17,850 cm3) was heavy, often jammed and took up a lot of space.

The attraction of this expandable hose is that it weighs only 1kg and comes in a box measuring 24 x 19 x 9 cm, (4,104 cm3) so less than one quarter the volume of the plastic reel and this includes a spray nozzle attachment. What's more it goes back into the same box after use!

Looking rather like I imagine the green tendril from a Triffid might look, the hose comprises a narrow 1 cm wide `rubber' hose hidden within a protective fabric outer sheath. Taken from the box the hose is at its minimum dimensions of around 5m length with the sheath wrinkled up. This wrinkling up is how what will become a 15m hose can fit in such a small box.

The trick comes when the hose is in use as water pressure works to expand the `rubber' inner hose both in diameter and length, taking the original 5m hose up to a length of 15m and expanding to fill the outer sheath.

The hose comes with a standard ¾" tap connector and you need to make sure it's tightened onto your garden tap before starting to maximise the water pressure in the hose. At the minimum length the hose performs perfectly well with more than adequate flow through the narrow inner tube. As you use and extend the hose it begins to `inflate'. This inflation is very much like inflating a sausage shaped balloon. It doesn't happen all at once, instead the hose inflates under water pressure as you stretch it. Apart from taking care not to tug at the tap connection it all happens very easily. Just grasp between two hands and stretch it a little to encourage it to grow as you need it.
The spray nozzle has 8 different spray patterns, that's more than I can think of uses for, but whatever your preferences they're probably catered for in the options of Angle - Shower - Mist - Centre - Flat - Cone - Soaker - Full.

After use the hose quickly returns to its original shape. It's worth hanging it up to drain out, after which it fits snugly back into its cardboard box. I can never get anything I've bought back into its box so this was a first.

So overall I like this hose. It's functional, appears well made with substantial `brass' fittings at each end and a handy hand triggered spray nozzle attachment. I can't yet vouch for the long term durability but first impressions are that it's a very handy replacement for bulky garden hoses, is lightweight and very easy to store.

I was happy to receive the hose to try out and review.

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