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techpuppy "in cyberspace no-one can hear you woof" (UK)
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Foxnovo® F-08 8-Slots Li-ion Ni-MH Ni-CD Universal Intelligent Battery Charger with LED Indicators 5V USB Output UK-plug Power Adapter for Li-ion 26650, 22650, 18650, 18500, 18490, 17670, 17650, 17500, 16340, 14500, 10440, Ni-MH and Ni-CD A, AA, AAA, C, SC Rechargeable Batteries (Black)
Foxnovo® F-08 8-Slots Li-ion Ni-MH Ni-CD Universal Intelligent Battery Charger with LED Indicators 5V USB Output UK-plug Power Adapter for Li-ion 26650, 22650, 18650, 18500, 18490, 17670, 17650, 17500, 16340, 14500, 10440, Ni-MH and Ni-CD A, AA, AAA, C, SC Rechargeable Batteries (Black)
Offered by FoxnovoStore
Price: £59.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The filling station..., 19 Mar. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The Foxnovo F-08 Battery Charger is a real workhorse of a charger, it would be perfect for a workplace situation where a ready flow of fully-charged batteries was necessary. Each of the battery compartments operates independently of the others, so you can actively charge a wide variety of battery types in the charger at any one time and remove and replace individual batteries as they become fully-charged without having to disturb or interrupt any of the others. It can cope with a wide variety of cells too, everything from AAA to D style cells including Ni-MH, Ni-CD or Li-ion and it auto-detects what style of cell you inserted and charges it accordingly. Each compartment has its own flashing 3-stage LED indicator too so you can see which batteries are ready and which aren't and when individual cells are fully-charged the charger automatically stops charging, as you'd expect.

It's quite toughly made and should stand up to a decent amount of use. The spring-loaded clips which hold the batteries in place are fairly tight and have to be slid back firmly to insert your battery, however the smaller batteries don't sit totally securely in place and do have a bit of movement within the compartments, even though they always remain properly connected to the electrical contacts. There's also a USB port on the side so you can charge up your smartphone too - so about the only thing you can't use it to recharge would be 9-volt PP3 batteries. The mains cable has an inline transformer but it's quite small and doesn't get that warm even with a full load of charging batteries. The mains plug itself is an odd design with a sort of cut-out shape that looks a bit dangerous at first, although I think you'd be hard-pushed to actually do yourself any harm with it - you'd have to push your fingers quite hard around the plug while plugging it in and I doubt that's something most sensible people would do, however it's worth being aware of, especially for kids using the charger. Apart from that slight question mark it's a really useful, hard-working and practical charger that would make a great 'recharge-station' for your home or workplace. (Disclosure: item was received for independent review)


4 x Foxnovo ICR18650 2600mAh 3.7v 9.6Wh High Drain IC Protected 18650 Rechargeable Li-ion Batteries
4 x Foxnovo ICR18650 2600mAh 3.7v 9.6Wh High Drain IC Protected 18650 Rechargeable Li-ion Batteries
Offered by FoxnovoStore
Price: £39.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Safety first..., 19 Mar. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I've heard the scare stories about dodgy 18650 batteries going bang when they're recharged, presumably because they don't have the necessary protection circuits in them, and so I've been very wary of going for the cheapest no-brand imports just to save a few pennies. However, these Foxnovo ICR-18650 batteries seem to be absolutely fine, they claim to have the necessary protection onboard and have been good so far. They recharged relatively quickly (in a Foxnovo charger) and although they got slightly warm during the recharge it was never worryingly so. It's recommended that you fully charge them before their first use but thereafter they can be charged as and when it's convenient because they're a Lithium-Ion cell and so shouldn't suffer from any 'memory' effect.

We use ours primarily in a CREE LED head-light and they've been fine, lasting a decent time and performing well outdoors even in cold weathers. There's a reassuring weight to each battery, like there is actually something inside, and the time they last before needing recharged seems to bear that out too. They're not the cheapest 18650's but they seem to be among the best and I'd rather pay a little more to get something safe and reliable. (Disclosure: item was received for independent review).
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 27, 2015 8:46 PM GMT


Powerfly Unisex Abdominal Muscle Toning Belt
Powerfly Unisex Abdominal Muscle Toning Belt
Offered by Smart Parts UK, Digital Lifestyle Retailer
Price: £51.90

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The crunch point..., 16 Mar. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The Powerfly Ab' Toning Belt is very well-priced, compared to big-brand alternatives, seems reasonably well-made and comes with a handy carry-bag and (just) one set of conductive gel pads. You have to prepare the belt for use by applying the conductive gel stickers onto the belt itself, there's a clear diagram in the instructions showing the positions, but you need to do this carefully and ensure the pads are symmetrical, otherwise you might not stimulate both sides of your abdominals equally. You have to cover the pads up again with their plastic backing sheets between sessions so they don't dry out too quickly. These Powerfly Replacement Muscle Toning Belt Pads are good for about 30 sessions and then have to be replaced, so if you used the belt every day you'd be replacing them monthly - so the belt may not be quite the bargain it seems at first.

Placement of the belt onto your stomach is fairly critical, especially to properly engage the obliques, and you might want to experiment a bit before trying a full session as there can a big difference in the effect just by moving it a centimetre or two up or down. I found it really only works effectively on the upper ab's and if you try it further down it misses the obliques and starts sending electrical impulses down the nerves in your hips - not the nicest sensation. When you switch it on it begins at the lowest power setting and you raise this in small increments until reaching a level where it's really working your ab's without being uncomfortable - note that sometimes the low settings are slightly painful, like little needles, until you crank it up a bit and the muscles really engage and then it's fine. There's a timer, which defaults to the maximum recommended 10 minute session, and 6 different pulse modes and when first switched on the belt goes straight into a sequence where it switches automatically between these modes. Conveniently, you can switch modes manually at any point and it doesn't affect the overall timer, which will continue counting down your 10 minute session. Some modes seem a lot more effective than others, these vary from short rapid pulses to longer 'gripping' motions, but leaving it to run through the mixed sequence seems an effective way to use it. The power control, which sets how strong the electrical stimulation effect is, can be varied through 30 different levels and this means you don't get any nasty surprises and are always in control.

So does it work? I can't help thinking that as an aid to weight-loss it's probably near useless as it's just not generating enough aerobic activity to have much impact and you'll probably have to lose the weight the old-fashioned way - on the floor doing some core exercises and 5 minutes of those would certainly burn off more weight than 10 minutes in this belt. However, if you've already done the floor-work and are looking for a way to get some extra definition and tone then I think it might be a real benefit. Over the past year I've managed to get my stomach flat (no, I couldn't believe it either!) and wanted to try this as a way to achieve some definition, which I don't really have, and it's working. I've used the belt for 10 minutes a day for a week and I can see a real difference already - so maybe it'll help me go the last mile to a six-pack or something close to it. I'll report back later after using it for a month or so...

One month later: I've been using the belt regularly and it's helped to further tighten my ab's and add a bit more definition. It hasn't transformed them into a bulging six-pack, but then I wasn't expecting it to, but they're being kept toned and tight which is great. The conductive pads are now in need of replacement as they become less effective as their moisture evaporates and reduces the overall conductivity. You can refresh them a bit by rubbing in a few drops of water but this probably won't work more than once or twice and there must be some hygiene issues with extended usage. Still, for anyone trying to further refine and tone their (ideally already flat) ab's this belt definitely helps and is worth a go. (Disclosure: item was received for independent review)


Scholl Active Work Gel Insoles for Men
Scholl Active Work Gel Insoles for Men
Price: £14.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The bounce in your step..., 16 Mar. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
These Gel-Activ insoles seem to take their cue from the specially moulded and shaped insoles you find in the best sports footwear, rather than the old-style flat foam insoles you might put into work shoes. The base section is made from squidgy silicon and while it's very pliable it feels like it will hold its shape a lot better than normal foam insoles, which tend to get flattened quite quickly. For that reason, as well as your own comfort, you'll have to be sure that your shoes or boots have enough 'headroom' to accommodate these insoles because they are quite thick, especially at the heel. The insole cups the heel nicely and has a ribbed structure to absorb the pressure and impact as you stand and walk on them. When you trim the insoles to fit your shoes you have therefore to trim from the front section only and leave this heel structure intact.

I thought that, because most of the structure is a non-absobent silicon gel, that they might get very clammy in use but they've actually been fine, although it might depend a lot on which shoes you use them in. There's a flock lining on top of the insole and perforations and channels formed in the gel which presumably are there to let some air circulate and these seem to work pretty well for me. They do relieve a lot of the pressure from your feet too, especially the heel, and make otherwise uncomfortable hard-soled shoes much more bearable for long periods, but they might be best suited to deeper shoe or boot styles, rather than slim-fitting formal shoes which I doubt would have the room to accommodate them. They are quite pricey but the resilient silicon gel should give them a longer life than many and they're certainly worth considering if you're on your feet for most of the day.


Kenley Heat Powered Stove Fan with 2-Blades
Kenley Heat Powered Stove Fan with 2-Blades
Offered by Smart Parts UK, Digital Lifestyle Retailer
Price: £69.90

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An eco-irony..., 14 Mar. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Where we live we can look out of the window and see wind turbines spinning on a nearby hill, generating electricity so people can heat their homes - and now we can look at the top of of our stove and see the heat of our home generating electricity to turn a fan and create wind. It's a sort of eco-irony.

The Kenley Stove Fan, we got the two-blade version, is modest in size and seems well-enough made and should sit comfortably on most medium-large stovetops. It's not exactly pretty but then it doesn't have to be to do its job, but it's quite eye-catching and hypnotic once it gets going - rather too fascinating for small children who won't realise how hot it gets in use so extra care is needed of course. It gets going surprisingly quickly, takes about 10 minutes after we light our stove, although it turns more slowly until the stove really gets up to heat. Even at full tilt you're not going to feel a real breeze or draught from it and I think that's probably intentional. There's a bimetallic strip on the underside of the foot which seems to be designed to lift the edge off the stovetop as it reaches high heats, I'm assuming this is a temperature regulation function.

The real benefit of the stove fan seems to be in keeping a bit of lateral air movement going and so gently pushing more of the heat out into the room instead of it all rising up to the ceiling and staying there. This is a particular issue for our main stove which is in a large double-height room and it can take a while for the heat to fill the roof space and then work its way back down to frozen-tootsie level. I think the Kenley Stove Fan has helped that process a bit and you do feel more heat at floor level more quickly than without it - it's not a dramatic difference but there is an improvement. If you were using it in a normal single-storey room I think you'd probably feel an even more noticeable difference and it might be especially helpful if your stove is recessed into an old fireplace or similar - although you'd have to check there's enough headroom for the fan to fit on top of the stove.

There's a little wire handle on top to pick it up when it's hot - and be warned it does get very hot in use - but generally it's a device you just put into position and forget. There are no batteries to buy or major maintenance to perform and it should just start up and stop with your stove. It also comes simply, but nicely packaged in a printed box so could make a thoughtful gift for any stove-burning friends or family. It also seems decent value, I've seen fans of similar quality at much higher prices, and little enough to pay if it makes your home cosier and gets more out of the logs or fuel you're burning. (Disclosure: item was received for independent review).


Oral B Vitality Plus Trizone Electric Rechargeable Toothbrush
Oral B Vitality Plus Trizone Electric Rechargeable Toothbrush
Price: £39.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Give us our daily brush..., 14 Mar. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The Oral-B Vitality Plus is a good affordable electric toothbrush, it doesn't have all the features of the more expensive models but the important stuff is here. The brushes move at a good speed, not as fast as the top-end Oral-B toothbrushes but faster than similar budget models I've had in the past, and so it leaves your teeth feeling properly clean and polished. There's enough power behind it to keep running at speed even when you apply a bit of pressure but there's no pressure-indicator, as there is on the more expensive brushes, to let you know when you apply too much. It's also relatively quiet, compared to some I've used in the past. The main body of the brush looks a bit awkward and clunky in photo's but it works well in use - the thicker top section means it sits comfortably in your hands and feels secure while you're using it. The sole on/off button is sealed behind a rubber seal but you can also feel a space above and below it under the seal, perhaps space for other buttons you only get with the more expensive models?

It ships with two of the Tri-Zone brush-heads and they're great, with a positive and effective action that more closely mimics the action of a manual toothbrush - so they're great if this is your first electric toothbrush, you'll get a familiar feel but a much more effective clean. Oral-B claim the battery is good for several days use without being recharged and although that's theoretically possible it's generally best just to store the brush on its charger base all the time. If you let the battery deplete there's a drop-off in speed and power that happens quite quickly, so to keep the maximum effectiveness you'll want to keep it fully charged. There are cheaper Oral-B's which look pretty similar to this model so I might have liked a carry-case to be included for this current price, but it's a good basic electric toothbrush from a reliable brand.


Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 On Ear Headphone - Ivory
Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 On Ear Headphone - Ivory
Price: £126.89

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gathering momentum..., 13 Mar. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Sennheiser and I go back a long way, it's actually nearly 40 years (OMG!) since I first put my head inside a pair and I've spent many happy hours in there. I've owned various pairs across a wide price range and have used most of them to destruction, so I admit I'm probably quite attuned to the Sennheiser sound. These Momentum 2.0's are something a bit special though. They certainly look the part, with their retro-styling and they're very nicely presented with both a custom dust-bag and a zip-up case to carry them around in. They deliver on the sound quality too, they're not just a pretty face.

The headband and ear-pads are upholstered in suede-like Alcantara fabric, famously the material used to upholster Formula One and Italian sports-car seats, and with the visible stitching and brushed metal they do somehow have a look of vintage motorcycle gear, at least that's what they remind me of. I find them very comfortable to wear, although adjusting the earpieces to the right position on the thin metal headband is slightly awkward, as they sit firmly but not tightly against (but not around) the ears. Unusually, the cord emerges from the right earpiece and not the left and I assume that's because most people are right-handed and there's an inline remote and microphone for use with your smartphone. Note that Sennheiser seem to offer different versions of these headphones with remotes configured for different devices and since the cable is not removable it would be wise to choose the right version for your device or you lose some functionality. For example, I got the Samsung Galaxy version of the headphones but I use them with an iPhone so while the Play/Pause button and microphone work, the volume controls don't.

Of course the sound is equally good on any device and they deliver a solid, dense sound with lots of bass. Unusually for Sennheisers (in my experience) they're aren't over-bright sounding but there's still good detail and precision. For closed-back headphones they have a nice wide and open sound too, there's no feeling of claustrophobia you can get with some over-ear headphones, so they're very listenable and would be a delight to use for long journeys or daily commuting. They don't seem as efficient as some headphones, especially those intended for portable devices, and I found I cranked the volume up a bit higher compared to other headphones, that might have some impact on the battery life of your portable device. Overall I can't really complain about the sound these produce, they certainly sound like high-end headphones especially in the low-end response, but a little more brightness wouldn't go amiss.

They are beautifully presented and made and you are obviously paying a premium for that, however they do deliver an impressive, if not totally outstanding, sound quality too. If you want headphones with a lot of style and a look and feel that's certainly out of the ordinary then you could do a lot worse, however if you're only really concerned about the sound then you could probably do better for the same price.


Satechi® Bluetooth Button Series for iPhone 6 Plus/6/5S/5C, iPod Touch 5G/4G, iPad Air 2/Air/Mini/3/2/1, Samsung Galaxy S5/S4/Note 4/3/2/Edge/Pro/Tab Pro, Google Nexus 9/7/6/5, Moto X/G, LG G3, and more (Media Button)
Satechi® Bluetooth Button Series for iPhone 6 Plus/6/5S/5C, iPod Touch 5G/4G, iPad Air 2/Air/Mini/3/2/1, Samsung Galaxy S5/S4/Note 4/3/2/Edge/Pro/Tab Pro, Google Nexus 9/7/6/5, Moto X/G, LG G3, and more (Media Button)
Offered by SATECHI

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Big Button Theory..., 13 Mar. 2015
In photo's these Satechi Bluetooth Buttons look a bit like Apple spare parts that got lost on their way to an iPhone but in real life they're fun outsized versions you can use in all sorts of scenarios. Each button is nicely crafted from a ring of machined aluminium with a matte black panel top and bottom. They're lightweight but don't feel cheaply or poorly made and each comes with a flexible mount that allows the button to be clipped onto round supports, like your bicycle handlebars or a steering wheel. You also get a two-part cord fastening which you loop through a small hole in the edge of the button to attach it to key-fobs or lanyards and also a double-sided sticky pad for direct mounting to dashboards or other flat surfaces. This all means you can deploy your Bluetooth Button in a huge variety of scenarios so although they're cute and fun they're also genuinely useful and practical. The only minor negative, which doesn't actually spoil the overall functionality, is that there's a little screw that on the underside which secures the battery compartment and it protrudes very slightly from the base of the button which means that the button doesn't sit absolutely level on a flat surface but rocks slightly - it's really only very slightly askew but in a device with otherwise such nice attention to detail it just seems a bit of a misstep. The Bluetooth pairing button is on the underside of the button and you'll need a ballpoint pen or paperclip to hold it down for a couple of seconds to initiate the pairing - the buttons then appear in your list of active BT devices as 'POP Multimedia', 'POP Camera' or 'POP Siri'. You should be able to have more than one button paired at the same time with most devices but I think it depends on the version of Bluetooth you have onboard. If you don't use the buttons for a few minutes they go into sleep mode to conserve power but reconnect again very quickly next time you click on them.

MEDIA: The most capable of the buttons is the Media version which has a multi-function button that can Play/Pause and skip Forward/Back through your media and also adjust the playback volume. On iOS devices it works as you'd expect for both music and video playback - so if you hook up your iPhone or iPad to your TV to watch videos then it becomes a great little remote control. It's equally useful used with your iPhone in the car or with a speaker-dock that doesn't have its own remote. You can attach it to your bike handlebars with the supplied mount but I don't think the buttons are weatherproof so you'd have to remember to rescue it into the safety of a pocket if the heavens open. The top of the Media button is smooth so if you're using it in a pocket you can't easily tell which way up it is or which part of the button you're about to press without taking it out of your pocket and looking.

HOME: The Home button operates exactly like pressing the Home button on your iOS device, so its actually functionality will vary depending on what you're currently doing with your iPhone or iPad. The most obvious use for it is to trigger Siri (or 'Voice Control' on earlier versions of the iPhone) and control your device via voice commands. I had hoped you might be able to pick-up incoming calls using this Home button, like with the centre button on Apple earbuds, but it doesn't work (at least not on my iPhone) although this is a limitation of iOS and not the button's fault - I think used with an Android smartphone this might work but I don't have an Android device to test it out with.

SHUTTER: The Shutter button is a simple shutter release button that takes a picture when pressed, nothing more and nothing less. You have to open the camera app first to make it work - the button doesn't activate the camera itself, it only takes the photo while the camera is active. Used without the camera being active it works as a kind of volume control, though this seems more like another quirk of iOS than an intended feature. It would be fun to setup your own 'PhotoMe' booth using this button and a concealed iPad/iPhone at a family wedding or similar function - so everyone gets to take their own souvenir selfie by entering the booth and just pressing the big camera button. However there are more practical uses for it too, like taking wildlife photographs without scaring the creatures away.

Of the three Bluetooth Buttons the Media button is certainly the most practical and useful, the other two have quite limited functionality, but while they're probably not the most essential gadgets you ever saw they are fun and are really nicely made and presented - they'd make great gifts for gadget-obsessed friends or relatives and can be genuinely useful in certain scenarios. (Disclosure: item was received for independent review)


Hama Diary Case for Apple iPhone 5C - Navy
Hama Diary Case for Apple iPhone 5C - Navy
Price: £10.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Touch and go..., 9 Mar. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
There's a nice look and feel to the faux leather Hama have used on this iPhone 5C case and the finish and the restrained navy colour do make it seem a bit more expensive than it is, although you wouldn't quite mistake it for a luxury high-end case. There's a hard but flexible inner shell into which your iPhone snaps, held by a slight rim around the edge, and it feels quite securely held although it's relatively easy to remove again compared to some cases. The inner hard shell is only part-fixed to the back of the case, meaning it 'hinges' out and away from the case if you want it to - this is presumably to make it easier to hold the phone to your ear when making calls. That's the only annoying thing about the case - it can get in your way while you're taking calls and you have to hold it quite deliberately with the front flap folded around to the rear whilst also making sure the little magnetic tab closure doesn't poke you in the eye. To be honest this case might suit texters more than callers, if you're using the iPhone's touchscreen it's great but for holding it to your ear it gets slightly awkward.

It certainly offers decent protection for your precious iPhone, the back and front panels are both firm and slightly padded and there's a soft lining to protect the screen. The inner lining has a couple of credit card-sized slots but I think it might be slightly clumsy used for actual bank cards - fine for receipts and stamps and the like though. iPhone owners who make a lot of calls but want a wallet-style case might want to consider Hama's Vertical Window Case which gets out of your way more when you're on a call, but otherwise it seems good value, decent quality protection for your iPhone.


Science in Sport REGO 500g Chocolate REGO Rapid Recovery
Science in Sport REGO 500g Chocolate REGO Rapid Recovery
Price: £7.45

4.0 out of 5 stars Bouncing back..., 7 Mar. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I'd recently taken a couple of months break from regular workouts and thought I'd try this Rego Recovery drink as part of my return to regular (meaning almost daily) exercise, as a bit of extra motivation and because I thought it might help me bounce back into my regular regimen - and I think it's worked. Over the past couple of weeks I've switched back to regular HIIT workouts and after my break I'd have expected it to be a bit of a grind and that it might take a week or more to get back to previous fitness levels, but it's been fine and I'd say it took no more than a couple days to feel good again. At my age (don't ask!) I tend to notice aching joints and connective tissue more than sore muscles but I haven't had much of either and I'd say my shoulders (particularly prone to creakiness) have been noticeably better than they'd normally be. Most noticeable is that my energy levels through successive workouts have been much better than expected, it really hasn't been hard to get back on top of things again. The other thing I noticed is that my weight went up slightly without any change to my diet and despite exercising more regularly again, which would usually make it drop. I can see I've lost some body fat over the past couple of weeks and become leaner so it isn't likely to be that - so I have to assume I've gained some muscle too, maybe thanks to the 20g of protein in each serving?

The powder mixes with water reasonably well, especially if you have a shaker or a cappuccino-style milk frother, and makes a quite palatable drink - compared to some I've tried it's perfectly drinkable, like a light milk chocolate shake and gives me no queasy after-effects or stomach upsets. It isn't over-sweetened and it's not particularly high in calories with 180kcal in each serving, which is about the same as four Rich Tea biscuits, and very little fat. It's difficult to be absolutely sure of the benefits of using Rego but I do feel like I've had more stamina, an increase in muscle mass and fewer aches and pains than expected over that past two weeks of trying it. So I'd really like to keep using it and maybe that's the best compliment I can pay it?


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