Profile for techpuppy > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by techpuppy
Top Reviewer Ranking: 70
Helpful Votes: 4195

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
techpuppy "in cyberspace no-one can hear you woof" (UK)
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   

Show:  
Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20
pixel
[120°Angle Adjustable] LEPOWER® Solar LED Lawn Lamp / Waterproof Heatproof and Durable Outdoor Spotlight / Rechargeable Landscape Light / Spot Light Fixture Lamp for Garden Yard Courtyard Landscape Porch / Auto-on At Night / Auto-off At Sunrise
[120°Angle Adjustable] LEPOWER® Solar LED Lawn Lamp / Waterproof Heatproof and Durable Outdoor Spotlight / Rechargeable Landscape Light / Spot Light Fixture Lamp for Garden Yard Courtyard Landscape Porch / Auto-on At Night / Auto-off At Sunrise
Offered by Prodigy3
Price: £25.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Spotlighting the issue..., 14 July 2015
The LEPOWER Solar Lawn Light isn't the prettiest solar light you ever saw but it's one of the most useful and effective. With a extra large photo-voltaic panel attached it can really soak up some rays and it's going to need them because the spotlight effect it creates is really quite bright and it's charging up a high-capacity 18650 Li-ion cell inside. Unusually for a solar light this LEPOWER version creates a focussed beam, not just a general glow, of pure-white light that you can control and direct towards a particular plant or architectural feature you want to highlight. The light comes on at dusk and goes off at dawn and you can't really override this but there is a rubber-sealed button on the back of the solar panel which cycles through OFF/LOW/HIGH. Although there are two brightness settings the instructions recommend using the LOW setting, presumably to keep the light lit for as long as possible, but if you only needed the light to stay on till late evening and not all through the night the HIGH setting could be practical too. We've had ours a couple of weeks and the large solar panel really seems to work and even on dull days it's managed to charge up a decent amount - although admittedly I didn't stay up all night to count how many hours it lasted. It's also survived the ravages of a Scottish Summer - including thunderstorms, hailstones and downpours - and an accidental encounter with the power-washer with no obvious leaks or problems.

You get both a ground spike and a wall bracket in the pack so you can put it almost anywhere, preferably with the solar panel facing south so it gets the maximum charge. With no wiring to worry about it can also be concealed amongst your plants (providing it's not shaded by anything) and provide a dramatic uplight when night falls. The LOW setting gives a glowing pool of light, the HIGH setting is more like a conventional spotlight - actually I've cycled around with bicycle lights that weren't as bright as this thing on HIGH, so it's pretty good for a solar light. One negative point is that both the solar panel and the lamp itself can only be adjusted in one plane, they simply tilt up and down (independently) and can't swivel sideways. This means that, although you can have the PV panel and the lamp pointing in opposite directions, you can't set them at right angles to each other and that does slightly limit the useful positions you can place the light in. However it works well for wall-mounting as you can easily direct the PV panel up and the light itself down and this light could be a great way to increase the security around your property, even during a power outage.

The good news is that inside the PV panel section is a replaceable 18650 Rechargeable Li-ion Battery, which although it's a quality capacious battery that could last several years, will probably still wear out years before the PV panel or LED's do - but because it's easily replaceable this light could have a much longer potential lifespan. It couldn't be much easier to add a bit of dramatic lighting to your garden or outdoor area, no wiring to worry about and no electricity bill to pay either - and given how expensive 18650 batteries alone can be this light seems an especially good deal. (Disclosure: item was received for independent review)


Linksys RE4100W Universal Dual Band N600 Pro Wi-Fi Range Extender (Audio Streaming, 2 x Ethernet, Flexible Placement, Easy Set Up, WPS)
Linksys RE4100W Universal Dual Band N600 Pro Wi-Fi Range Extender (Audio Streaming, 2 x Ethernet, Flexible Placement, Easy Set Up, WPS)
Offered by BESTBUYIT
Price: £49.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Linksys N600 Pro Wi-Fi Range Extender, 9 July 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The thing about wi-fi networks is that they usually travel further horizontally then they do vertically - which means if you live in a multi-storey house it's hard to avoid dead-spots when you're on a different floor from your router. There are various solutions but this Linksys N600 Pro Range Extender is one of the easier and is mostly pretty effective. It has WPS onboard (an auto-config option built into many routers) but that just refused to work for me despite the fact I'm using a Linksys router and so I had to grab an ethernet cable and do it the old wired way. That worked first time and a simple quick-config webpage takes you through the setup process. This takes a few minutes but is very straightforward, the extender simply scans for available wi-fi networks and then you confirm which one you want to extend (your own preferably!) and enter the appropriate password(s). With the device configured you then disconnect the ethernet cable and plug the extender into a suitable socket somewhere between your originating router and the dead-spot you're trying to revive. The instructions (and this product listing) mention a 'Spot Finder' app or service that you can use on your smartphone to locate the very best socket to plug the extender into - but I can't see any mention of how to access this service and it seems to be missing-in-action... unless I really missed something?

One of the big advantages of this extender over others is that it's dual-band and so if you're lucky enough to have a dual-band router you can extend both the 2.5GHz and 5GHz networks simultaneously - this is especially helpful with 5GHz networks because they tend to have a smaller footprint. I placed the extender in a room almost immediately below our upstairs router and found an instant improvement in the downstairs coverage, which was quite weak on the fringes before. I suspect there may still be a loss of overall speed using this kind of extender, so I'm not sure how reliable it might be for something demanding like HD video streaming, but for general internet use it's great and really helps. Speaking of media (I was, just then) there's a rather handy little audio jack on this unit that will allow you to connect it to a HiFi or standalone speaker (many speaker-docks have a suitable input) and then stream your own your music to that device via this extender. On Windows this extender automatically pops up as a media device ready for streaming while on iOS and Mac OS X it automatically appears as an AirPlay device - so lots of different app's on lots of different devices could easily and quickly stream music via this extender without any complex configuration.

If you figure out which local IP address the extender is using (Mac users can find it automatically using Bonjour) you can also enter that address in a web browser which gets you access to all the configuration options the extender has to offer - although the basic setup is all most people will ever need to do. If you're trying to extend your existing wi-fi network over a large distance then you might also consider a Powerline extender, which connects to your router using the electrical cables in your house and can optionally create a secondary wi-fi hotspot. However, if you're working within a relatively modest area, like from downstairs to upstairs in the same house, then this extender can work very well, it's easy to setup and has the added bonus of a music streaming option.


LingsFire® Waterproof Wall Mount Super Bright 24 LED Solar Powered PIR Motion Sensor Induction Motion Activated Lamp Light Nightlight With Aluminum Alloy Housing For Outdoor Staircase Porch Garden Patio Yard Drive Way Lighting
LingsFire® Waterproof Wall Mount Super Bright 24 LED Solar Powered PIR Motion Sensor Induction Motion Activated Lamp Light Nightlight With Aluminum Alloy Housing For Outdoor Staircase Porch Garden Patio Yard Drive Way Lighting
Offered by LingsFire
Price: £13.90

5.0 out of 5 stars Slim, simple and efficient..., 9 July 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Most solar-powered outdoor lights are great for creating small pools of light or for marking out pathways but few of them are powerful enough to light an entire area of your garden or driveway - but this one can. It's hard to imagine a simpler or more efficient design with an extra large photo-voltaic panel on the top and a large array of 24 LED's on the underside and the combination really works. The main body is formed by a single piece of curved aluminium with everything else fixed to the underside and it all seems to be watertight and weatherproof. We've only had it a few days but it's already had a thunderstorm, hailstones and hot sun (ah, the British Summertime) and has survived it all without any issue.

There are two rubber-sealed switches on the underside, one to switch the light on and off and the other to toggle between the two lighting modes and both switches need a firm press to activate. You can select either dim/bright or off/bright and in both modes the light charges itself up during sunlight hours and then comes on automatically at dusk, switching itself off again (assuming the battery gets a good charge during the day) at dawn. In dim/bright mode you get a very low-level dim light on all the time and then the light switches to full strength when someone (or something) moves within range. In off/bright mode the light is completely off until someone approaches. On dark nights the dim light is just bright enough for you to see where you're going while the bright light would be enough for you to read a map - it's really bright and would easily rival a traditional light bulb. The bright mode is triggered by an inbuilt PIR sensor, which is looking for moving heat sources, and it only stays bright for 10 seconds before switching back to dim or off. So while it's perfect for making your way to the front door, finding your keys and getting indoors, it's probably not the best outdoor work-light because unless you keep moving it will switch back to dim or go off again.

The area covered by the PIR sensor seems to be about right and extends a few metres in all directions, it's reasonably sensitive too and sees you (or the neighbour's cat) coming and reacts quickly - because the lights are LED they immediately switch on to full brightness with no warm-up period. I'm not sure if the battery would be replaceable, I haven't tried opening the casing yet, but according to the instruction sheet it's a Li-ion cell (3.7V and 1500mAh) so should last a couple of years anyway. The instructions also mention the light has an ultrasonic mosquito-repeller circuit but I'm not sure how seriously to take that - but if you see swarms of midges fleeing in terror then you'll know why. Altogether, it seems like just about the perfect light for an entranceway -- above a front/back door or the garage for example -- it looks very neat once it's in place, with everything integrated into a single slim unit and it just takes two screws and no wiring to install. Of course like any solar-powered light it needs to be installed in a position where it gets a decent amount of sunlight but that consideration aside it's just simple, affordable and really effective. (Disclosure: item was received for independent review)


LingsFire® Outdoor Waterproof Solar Powered Deck Decking Light Stainless Steel Solar Ground Light for Garden Landscape Lighting, Pathway, Stairway (3 LED)
LingsFire® Outdoor Waterproof Solar Powered Deck Decking Light Stainless Steel Solar Ground Light for Garden Landscape Lighting, Pathway, Stairway (3 LED)
Offered by LingsFire
Price: £16.90

5.0 out of 5 stars Step lightly..., 9 July 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The LingsFire 3-LED Outdoor Solar-powered Uplighter is a good value and stylish way to add illumination to a path or walkway. The outer construction is all metal and glass with a cast metal base, a brushed steel fascia ring and toughened glass covering the LEDs and solar cell. The line of three LEDs is concealed and diffused by an etched stripe across the underside of the glass and on either side of the LEDs are little photo-voltaic panels to charge up the battery during sunlight hours. The light just switches on automatically at dusk and off at dawn but you can manually override this with a rubber-sealed ON/OFF switch in the base - you will have to pull the whole light out of its mounting hole to get access to this though. There's a flange that runs around the top edge of the base of the light that you might want to accommodate when preparing the mounting hole, so that any weight on the light is borne by the base section and not by the decorative steel ring, but the lamp does feel tough enough to withstand being stood on. The glass is quite thick and sits slightly proud of the outer brushed steel plate, but it's mounted in a rubber ring which seals the whole unit and should give a bit of flex if stood on. Note, there's no obvious way to permanently fix the lights into their mount, no screw holes are provided, you just drop them into their hole and you're done.

The three LEDs give a nice cool white glow when illuminated and they're probably as bright as you'd want a decking light to be -- if they were much brighter you'd be slightly blinded by them and wouldn't see where you were going -- so they create soft pools of light that would be great for defining a walkway but aren't really bright enough to spotlight an architectural feature or plant. The etched stripe on the glass of my light was slightly out of line with the row of LEDs but this was easily fixed by loosening the 4 screws in the steel plate and realigning it. This also revealed that there's a single rechargeable AAA cell inside that should be quite easy to replace when necessary, which is great because the solar cell and LEDs should last for years but the battery is likely to need replaced long before they do.

If you feel that being able to see the inner workings, with the solar cells and LEDs always visible, spoils the appearance of the uplighter then it's worth noting that LingsFire also make another style that cleverly conceals those components with a perforated diffuser. However, this 3-LED version is slightly brighter, seems to be well made and sturdy enough to cope with British weather and offers pretty good value. (Disclosure: item was received for independent review)


Keedox® HDMI To Composite & S-video Converter Scaler 1080P With UK Plug
Keedox® HDMI To Composite & S-video Converter Scaler 1080P With UK Plug
Offered by Donner-UK
Price: £28.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Bridging the age gap..., 9 July 2015
This Keedox HDMI-to-AV converter is quite an effective little bridge between your most up-to-date tech, which may only have HDMI outputs, and your ageing tech, like old CRT TV sets, which can only accept analogue inputs. You simply connect a single HDMI device to this gizmo and it will convert that input signal into analogue video and audio so you can connect to older TV's - the most obvious use for that would be to add some smart-TV features to an old CRT TV you're not quite ready to get rid of yet and for that purpose it works quite well.

My specific purpose for the converter was to use with a couple of Android Smart-TV devices that I wanted to use with an old TV we have in a bedroom, mainly to add catchup TV services like BBC iPlayer and to run Plex so I can watch content from my NAS server on that TV. I tried it with two different Android TV devices - one that has an inbuilt analogue AV output and one which doesn't. The device which has an AV output (MX Android STB) is only really practical for watching video content, like iPlayer, because the low-resolution CRT screen cannot properly display the high-resolution image coming from the Android box and that means much of the onscreen text is illegible - it's fine for watching video content but trying to read menus and other user-interface elements is near impossible. I was hoping this converter might provide a better HDMI-AV conversion and render text better and it does make a significant improvement. Text is much sharper and although still blurry compared to an HD screen it is now legible in most places which makes using the Android system a lot easier - I don't have to rely so much on memory, I can actually read what it says now! This means that other app's suddenly become more worthwhile, things like email and basic web-browsing become more practical and, although it's nothing like as clear as it would be on a proper HD screen, they are now usable.

The other device I tried is an RK3188T Android TV Dongle which has no AV output of its own and so would be completely unusable with older CRT TV's - and this worked too. I simply had to connect it to the converter's HDMI port and switch on, it seemed to be able to draw the power it needed directly from the HDMI port and so the dongle's optional USB mains-adaptor wasn't needed. Again the image quality is just sharp enough to read user-interface text and so Android is mostly usable. If you stick with app's meant for TV display (like iPlayer, PLEX or KODI) then it's fine and you get a much smarter TV without the cost of having to replace your old CRT.

And now the less-good news: the image quality is certainly sharper than I was seeing before but it's also darker, with a reduced contrast ratio and thick, over-saturated colours. I think this might be a sign that the output video levels are very low or that my old TV is expecting something different, either way it's a bit disappointing although it's still reasonably watchable. You can recover some of the image quality by adjusting your TV settings but you shouldn't really have to do that, something's a bit wrong somewhere. I tried both the S-Video and Composite video outputs and they're both pretty good, although I didn't see as much difference between them as you might expect. Two other issues with the converter is that there's no ON/OFF switch, you just have to unplug it, and it can also lose track of connected HDMI devices. Most obviously if you switch off the HDMI device and then switch it back on again the converter doesn't automatically 'see' the video signal again and it just displays a colour-bar testcard with a "No Signal" message. You have to power off and on the converter to get it to see your device again which is a bit sub-optimal and it would be good if the converter was more sensitive to inputs and maybe even switched itself on and off in sync with the connected HDMI device. Maybe in version 2.0?

Displaying a high-resolution video image on lower resolution devices is never going to be crystal clear, it's just not technically possible, but this converter does a better-than-average job of it and does make smaller onscreen elements, most obviously text, look quite a bit clearer. I'm a bit disappointed colour rendition is so affected but that might be a specific incompatibility with my particular TV. As these things go it's a decent little gizmo and might just be what you need to bridge the age-gap between your devices. (Disclosure: item was received for independent review)


Plain PKT Red
Plain PKT Red
by Monsieur Notebook
Edition: Leather Bound
Price: £11.38

5.0 out of 5 stars Jot it all down..., 6 July 2015
This review is from: Plain PKT Red (Leather Bound)
It's worth noting that when Monsieur say their notebooks are leather-bound they really mean it, the cover is a thick piece of firm leather and not just a piece of cardboard wrapped in a thin leather veneer. This gives their notebooks a handmade and slightly artisanal feel, which is nice in an age of digital everything, and makes you glad we haven't completely given up on paper. The Monsieur branding is subtle and minimal with just a smallish logo embossed into the back of the leather cover and a logo and web address printed on the inner flyleaf and apart from those the notebook's all yours to make whatever marks you want. The leather covers come in a small range of muted, grown-up colours and have a 'real' look and feel to them - the odd wrinkle and blemish might still be visible in the leather but I thought that just added to the character. They have what Terence Conran's Habitat catalogues in the 70's used to call a "pleasing irregularity" and they should go on to age gracefully, like a pair of favoured shoes, as you use them. Note that they don't have a strong leather smell, even up-close and personal the scent is quite subtle.

There are a range of paper stocks available and they all seem good quality, mostly with a soft off-white colour rather than the over-bleached ultra-white shade most modern printer papers seem to come in. The Fountain paper option seems to be an exception as it comes with a pleasing cool blue-white colour of paper stock. The Sketch notepads contain a nice quality of thick Cartridge paper, perfect for pencil or pen drawing but of course you get fewer sheets inside because of the heavier weight of paper. The Ruled option has a retro look of old school jotters and workbooks. My instant favourite was the Dotgrid option, which features a regular grid of faint dots all across the page, because it's so helpful for so many things - you can use them for lines of text in either portrait or landscape format or for sketching quick diagrams or plans where they help you keep your lines straight and your corners neat. The Dotgrid pattern also gives a sort-of 'tech' feel to a traditional looking notebook, which is a nice juxtaposition. This Plain paper option comes in a handy size, just about right for the back pocket of your jeans, and contains enough pages of decent quality plain paper to collect your every passing thought...

Although I spend most of the day on most days in front of a computer there is something very pleasing about a paper notebook. It does make you pause before committing thoughts or ideas to paper, unlike the instant-and-always-on digital culture, and maybe that's no bad thing. These Monsieur notebooks are well-made, I haven't had any pages drop out yet, and have a nice authentic feel to them. Assuming you can think enough big thoughts and have enough clever ideas to fill them up, they're a pleasure to work with. (Disclosure: item was received for independent review)


Plain PKT Brown
Plain PKT Brown
by Monsieur Notebook
Edition: Leather Bound
Price: £11.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Taking note..., 6 July 2015
This review is from: Plain PKT Brown (Leather Bound)
It's worth noting that when Monsieur say their notebooks are leather-bound they really mean it, the cover is a thick piece of firm leather and not just a piece of cardboard wrapped in a thin leather veneer. This gives their notebooks a handmade and slightly artisanal feel, which is nice in an age of digital everything, and makes you glad we haven't completely given up on paper. The Monsieur branding is subtle and minimal with just a smallish logo embossed into the back of the leather cover and a logo and web address printed on the inner flyleaf and apart from those the notebook's all yours to make whatever marks you want. The leather covers come in a small range of muted, grown-up colours and have a 'real' look and feel to them - the odd wrinkle and blemish might still be visible in the leather but I thought that just added to the character. They have what Terence Conran's Habitat catalogues in the 70's used to call a "pleasing irregularity" and they should go on to age gracefully, like a pair of favoured shoes, as you use them. Note that they don't have a strong leather smell, even up-close and personal the scent is quite subtle.

There are a range of paper stocks available and they all seem good quality, mostly with a soft off-white colour rather than the over-bleached ultra-white shade most modern printer papers seem to come in. The Fountain paper option seems to be an exception as it comes with a pleasing cool blue-white colour of paper stock. The Sketch notepads contain a nice quality of thick Cartridge paper, perfect for pencil or pen drawing but of course you get fewer sheets inside because of the heavier weight of paper. The Ruled option has a retro look of old school jotters and workbooks. My instant favourite was the Dotgrid option, which features a regular grid of faint dots all across the page, because it's so helpful for so many things - you can use them for lines of text in either portrait or landscape format or for sketching quick diagrams or plans where they help you keep your lines straight and your corners neat. The Dotgrid pattern also gives a sort-of 'tech' feel to a traditional looking notebook, which is a nice juxtaposition. This Plain paper option comes in a handy size, just about right for the back pocket of your jeans, and contains enough pages of decent quality plain paper to collect your every passing thought...

Although I spend most of the day on most days in front of a computer there is something very pleasing about a paper notebook. It does make you pause before committing thoughts or ideas to paper, unlike the instant-and-always-on digital culture, and maybe that's no bad thing. These Monsieur notebooks are well-made, I haven't had any pages drop out yet, and have a nice authentic feel to them. Assuming you can think enough big thoughts and have enough clever ideas to fill them up, they're a pleasure to work with. (Disclosure: item was received for independent review)


Plain PKT Green
Plain PKT Green
by Monsieur Notebook
Edition: Leather Bound
Price: £11.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Taking note..., 6 July 2015
This review is from: Plain PKT Green (Leather Bound)
It's worth noting that when Monsieur say their notebooks are leather-bound they really mean it, the cover is a thick piece of firm leather and not just a piece of cardboard wrapped in a thin leather veneer. This gives their notebooks a handmade and slightly artisanal feel, which is nice in an age of digital everything, and makes you glad we haven't completely given up on paper. The Monsieur branding is subtle and minimal with just a smallish logo embossed into the back of the leather cover and a logo and web address printed on the inner flyleaf and apart from those the notebook's all yours to make whatever marks you want. The leather covers come in a small range of muted, grown-up colours and have a 'real' look and feel to them - the odd wrinkle and blemish might still be visible in the leather but I thought that just added to the character. They have what Terence Conran's Habitat catalogues in the 70's used to call a "pleasing irregularity" and they should go on to age gracefully, like a pair of favoured shoes, as you use them. Note that they don't have a strong leather smell, even up-close and personal the scent is quite subtle.

There are a range of paper stocks available and they all seem good quality, mostly with a soft off-white colour rather than the over-bleached ultra-white shade most modern printer papers seem to come in. The Fountain paper option seems to be an exception as it comes with a pleasing cool blue-white colour of paper stock. The Sketch notepads contain a nice quality of thick Cartridge paper, perfect for pencil or pen drawing but of course you get fewer sheets inside because of the heavier weight of paper. The Ruled option has a retro look of old school jotters and workbooks. My instant favourite was the Dotgrid option, which features a regular grid of faint dots all across the page, because it's so helpful for so many things - you can use them for lines of text in either portrait or landscape format or for sketching quick diagrams or plans where they help you keep your lines straight and your corners neat. The Dotgrid pattern also gives a sort-of 'tech' feel to a traditional looking notebook, which is a nice juxtaposition. This Plain paper option comes in a handy size, just about right for the back pocket of your jeans, and contains enough pages of decent quality plain paper to collect your every passing thought...

Although I spend most of the day on most days in front of a computer there is something very pleasing about a paper notebook. It does make you pause before committing thoughts or ideas to paper, unlike the instant-and-always-on digital culture, and maybe that's no bad thing. These Monsieur notebooks are well-made, I haven't had any pages drop out yet, and have a nice authentic feel to them. Assuming you can think enough big thoughts and have enough clever ideas to fill them up, they're a pleasure to work with. (Disclosure: item was received for independent review)


Plain PKT Pink
Plain PKT Pink
by Monsieur Notebook
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £11.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Jot it all down..., 6 July 2015
This review is from: Plain PKT Pink (Hardcover)
It's worth noting that when Monsieur say their notebooks are leather-bound they really mean it, the cover is a thick piece of firm leather and not just a piece of cardboard wrapped in a thin leather veneer. This gives their notebooks a handmade and slightly artisanal feel, which is nice in an age of digital everything, and makes you glad we haven't completely given up on paper. The Monsieur branding is subtle and minimal with just a smallish logo embossed into the back of the leather cover and a logo and web address printed on the inner flyleaf and apart from those the notebook's all yours to make whatever marks you want. The leather covers come in a small range of muted, grown-up colours and have a 'real' look and feel to them - the odd wrinkle and blemish might still be visible in the leather but I thought that just added to the character. They have what Terence Conran's Habitat catalogues in the 70's used to call a "pleasing irregularity" and they should go on to age gracefully, like a pair of favoured shoes, as you use them. Note that they don't have a strong leather smell, even up-close and personal the scent is quite subtle.

There are a range of paper stocks available and they all seem good quality, mostly with a soft off-white colour rather than the over-bleached ultra-white shade most modern printer papers seem to come in. The Fountain paper option seems to be an exception as it comes with a pleasing cool blue-white colour of paper stock. The Sketch notepads contain a nice quality of thick Cartridge paper, perfect for pencil or pen drawing but of course you get fewer sheets inside because of the heavier weight of paper. The Ruled option has a retro look of old school jotters and workbooks. My instant favourite was the Dotgrid option, which features a regular grid of faint dots all across the page, because it's so helpful for so many things - you can use them for lines of text in either portrait or landscape format or for sketching quick diagrams or plans where they help you keep your lines straight and your corners neat. The Dotgrid pattern also gives a sort-of 'tech' feel to a traditional looking notebook, which is a nice juxtaposition. This Plain paper option comes in a handy size, just about right for the back pocket of your jeans, and contains enough pages of decent quality plain paper to collect your every passing thought...

Although I spend most of the day on most days in front of a computer there is something very pleasing about a paper notebook. It does make you pause before committing thoughts or ideas to paper, unlike the instant-and-always-on digital culture, and maybe that's no bad thing. These Monsieur notebooks are well-made, I haven't had any pages drop out yet, and have a nice authentic feel to them. Assuming you can think enough big thoughts and have enough clever ideas to fill them up, they're a pleasure to work with. (Disclosure: item was received for independent review)


Plain PKT Black
Plain PKT Black
by Monsieur Notebook
Edition: Leather Bound
Price: £11.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Jot everything down..., 6 July 2015
This review is from: Plain PKT Black (Leather Bound)
It's worth noting that when Monsieur say their notebooks are leather-bound they really mean it, the cover is a thick piece of firm leather and not just a piece of cardboard wrapped in a thin leather veneer. This gives their notebooks a handmade and slightly artisanal feel, which is nice in an age of digital everything, and makes you glad we haven't completely given up on paper. The Monsieur branding is subtle and minimal with just a smallish logo embossed into the back of the leather cover and a logo and web address printed on the inner flyleaf and apart from those the notebook's all yours to make whatever marks you want. The leather covers come in a small range of muted, grown-up colours and have a 'real' look and feel to them - the odd wrinkle and blemish might still be visible in the leather but I thought that just added to the character. They have what Terence Conran's Habitat catalogues in the 70's used to call a "pleasing irregularity" and they should go on to age gracefully, like a pair of favoured shoes, as you use them. Note that they don't have a strong leather smell, even up-close and personal the scent is quite subtle.

There are a range of paper stocks available and they all seem good quality, mostly with a soft off-white colour rather than the over-bleached ultra-white shade most modern printer papers seem to come in. The Fountain paper option seems to be an exception as it comes with a pleasing cool blue-white colour of paper stock. The Sketch notepads contain a nice quality of thick Cartridge paper, perfect for pencil or pen drawing but of course you get fewer sheets inside because of the heavier weight of paper. The Ruled option has a retro look of old school jotters and workbooks. My instant favourite was the Dotgrid option, which features a regular grid of faint dots all across the page, because it's so helpful for so many things - you can use them for lines of text in either portrait or landscape format or for sketching quick diagrams or plans where they help you keep your lines straight and your corners neat. The Dotgrid pattern also gives a sort-of 'tech' feel to a traditional looking notebook, which is a nice juxtaposition. This Plain paper option comes in a handy size, just about right for the back pocket of your jeans, and contains enough pages of decent quality plain paper to collect your every passing thought...

Although I spend most of the day on most days in front of a computer there is something very pleasing about a paper notebook. It does make you pause before committing thoughts or ideas to paper, unlike the instant-and-always-on digital culture, and maybe that's no bad thing. These Monsieur notebooks are well-made, I haven't had any pages drop out yet, and have a nice authentic feel to them. Assuming you can think enough big thoughts and have enough clever ideas to fill them up, they're a pleasure to work with. (Disclosure: item was received for independent review)


Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20