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techpuppy "aka stylepuppy" (UK)
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Cateck® Premium 4 Port Aluminum USB Hub with 11 inch Shielded Cable for iMac, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, MacBook, Mac Mini, PCs and Laptops [Time-limited Discount !]
Cateck® Premium 4 Port Aluminum USB Hub with 11 inch Shielded Cable for iMac, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, MacBook, Mac Mini, PCs and Laptops [Time-limited Discount !]
Offered by Cateck Online
Price: £24.99

4.0 out of 5 stars USB 2 times 4..., 1 Sep 2014
The Cateck 4-Port USB-2 hub certainly looks the part sat next to an Apple iMac or MacBook. The top plate is metal and a reasonable match for the aluminium used in Apple products, it's actually a bit too 'sparkly' to be an exact match but it's close enough. In use it couldn't be simpler, just plug and play and all your USB devices connect to your Mac as you'd expect them to. The build quality is fine, it's nicely finished and the cable is just long enough to connect to the rear ports of an iMac and allow the hub to be placed on the left side of the computer.

It's quite lightweight so if you connect long heavy USB cables it does tend to get tipped over by the weight, but for USB sticks or dongles it's the perfect dock. Speeds seem fine for a USB-2 device and I've had no problems with the range of devices I've tried it with. If you're lucky enough to have an iMac or MacBook it's the perfect little companion for it, the only thing missing of course is the option to use faster USB-3 devices at their full speeds. (Disclosure: item was received for independent unbiased review).


Satechi RideMate Bike Mount for iPhone 5S, 5C, 5, 4S, 4, 3GS, 3G, BlackBerry Torch, HTC EVO, HTC Inspire 4G, HTC Sensation, Droid X, Droid Incredible, Droid 2, Droid 3, Samsung EPIC, Galaxy S2, S3, S4, S5 (WaterProof Black)
Satechi RideMate Bike Mount for iPhone 5S, 5C, 5, 4S, 4, 3GS, 3G, BlackBerry Torch, HTC EVO, HTC Inspire 4G, HTC Sensation, Droid X, Droid Incredible, Droid 2, Droid 3, Samsung EPIC, Galaxy S2, S3, S4, S5 (WaterProof Black)
Offered by SATECHI
Price: £30.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A smarter bike..., 1 Sep 2014
Although I always liked the idea of fixing my smartphone to my bike, the reality of doing it is a bit scary - the last thing I'd want to see is my iPhone leaping to its untimely death from my handlebars. The RideMate Waterproof Bike Mount seems better than most mounts, it's made from thick but pliable plastic with wide welded seams around the edge that don't look like they'd be liable to split, unlike many others. With your smartphone inside the pouch is sealed with a push-lock seal, like a very heavy-duty freezer bag, and then the flap folds over and is secured with a velcro strip. I filled mine with tissues and tested it out at the the kitchen sink and it didn't leak a single drop, so I might just trust it with a smartphone. The version I got, which I think is the latest shipping version, is slightly different (better!) than the version in some photo's on the Amazon listing. Mine has the flap at the 'bottom' of the pouch, so it would be closest to you on the handlebars, and there's now a mini 'rear window' clear panel in the pouch so the camera and LED flash can see out too. Inside the pouch has a flock lining which protects the back of your device from the four rivets holding the pouch to the click-on bracket underneath. While attached to the bike the pouch can also be rotated from portrait to landscape positions very easily, the bracket simply 'clicks' around without the need to loosen anything. You can still use the touchscreen through the clear front panel but using any controls on the edges of your device becomes very awkward. There is no way to run a cable for earphones or a remote out of the pouch without compromising the waterproof seal, so Bluetooth is probably your better option. The pouch can hold an average smartphone, but it's not over-sized - for example my iPhone 4 fits nicely inside while still wearing its case but for larger devices you might have to remove cases first.

The fixing bracket for your handlebars attaches in a few seconds, there's a PU strip included which you wrap around the bars first to give a non-slip fix and a bit of shock absorption when out and about. The bracket can accommodate a reasonable range of bar diameters (from 20mm to 34mm) but the bolt running through the middle does protrude a bit when it's fixed - but you can't see this with the smartphone pouch in place. With the mounting bracket attached to the handlebars the pouch just slides onto the mount and clicks into place and then an optional sliding safety latch locks the main latch into position - I'd suggest this isn't optional but absolutely essential to ensure your precious smartphone stays with you for the whole journey. It's probably unlikely the pouch would work itself free on its own but don't take the chance - and check your insurance covers such eventualities before you leave home!

I've been very pleasantly surprised by the RideMate Waterproof Mount, it's better made than I'd expected and certainly more confidence-inspiring than most others I've looked at. The seams and seals don't look like they'll peel apart anytime soon and, as far as I can tell, the brackets and fixings are secure enough. I'll admit I'm still a bit squeamish about having my iPhone on my handlebars but if I'm going to trust my device to any handlebar mount then it's going to be this one. (Disclosure: item was received for independent unbiased review)


Brabantia 30 Litre Laundry Bin with White Body/ Plastic Lid and Removable Black/ Grey Laundry Bag
Brabantia 30 Litre Laundry Bin with White Body/ Plastic Lid and Removable Black/ Grey Laundry Bag
Price: £51.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Extra points for a swish-shot..., 31 Aug 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
In the past, if I was choosing a Brabantia Laundry Bin from pictures on a website I'd probably have chosen one of the stainless steel versions, but now I've got the white version I think I prefer it. The steel ones are more of a statement in a room, but who wants to turn a laundry bin into a feature? This white version seems to step into the background more (this will depend on your decor of course) and yet still look neat and expensive. The construction and finish is good, with quite a heavy weight of metal and solid-feeling plastic lid and base. I'm not sure if the ventilation holes round the bottom would do very much but they look good. The liner bag is well-made with a clever rubberised and stiffened collar which sits around the outside rim of the bin, stopping the bag slipping inside, and also gives the bin a neat 'tailored' look. The hole in the top is the perfect size for playing Sock Basketball and there's a certain satisfaction in seeing your smalls slide down into the bin's depths from the far side of the room. You'll probably need to lift the lid off to deposit larger items, which is less satisfying but easier to achieve.

The 30 litre size means that it can hold just over a full machine-load of clothes so you know when it's time to put a load on. The small footprint, just 30cm across, means it's easy to find a corner to place the bin, it would even sit inside most fitted wardrobes without much problem. At first I thought it should be a bit taller but then realised it's just the right height to slip under most tables and desks, so someone has obviously thought about such things. Although it's pricey, the Brabantia Laundry Bin certainly feels and looks like a quality product and it turns something messy into something neat and tidy, so maybe it earns its money after all?


Philips SC2004/11 Lumea IPL Hair Removal System for body with Slide and Flash Mode
Philips SC2004/11 Lumea IPL Hair Removal System for body with Slide and Flash Mode
Price: £324.60

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Super smooth..., 31 Aug 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Hopefully anyone reading reviews for Philips Lumea will have already checked out their personal suitability and potential contraindications for IPL treatment (and if you haven't then you really should!) so I won't waste time explaining the theory, suffice to say it works amazingly well if you do it right. About three and a bit years ago we got the first Philips Lumea IPL unit and it's been in regular use ever since, so it was interesting to get one of the latest models for comparison. The main surprise is how little has changed, from the outside only the colours and the controls for the light intensity appear to have altered. The original buttons were too easily pressed by mistake while using the unit and you could find you'd increased or decreased the light intensity without meaning to - the buttons are now slightly recessed to make this less likely. On the inside there are more significant changes, you can now apply the treatment with a slide-flash feature which keeps the unit flashing continuously (with a couple of seconds delay between flashes) while you slide it across your skin. In the original Lumea the battery life wasn't great (about 150 flashes per charge) and you'd invariably find it ran out half way through a treatment and you'd have to wait about 90 minutes for it to recharge because you can't use any Lumea while connected to the mains charger. This model holds about 350 flashes on a single charge, so more than double the original. Also the flash unit in this model can deliver about 100,000 flashes before failing while the original Lumea was good for 50,000, so this model will last much longer too, especially good if you have to share the Lumea with others - and you will when they find out you've got one...

In use the Lumea's as easy as it ever was, not having an umbilical cord back to a base unit does make it much more convenient to pick it up and start zapping. The shape of the unit with its long neck can make it easier to reach awkward areas too, like the back of your thighs or shoulders, so you're less likely to need another pair of hands to help. Both men and woman can use IPL (men should avoid using it on beard hair though) and the routine is the same - shave first to prepare the area and then zap-hop-zap. The slide-flash function is really helpful on flatter areas like legs or shoulders but on more curvaceous areas it's easier to zap once then take a moment to reposition the Lumea for the next zap. This particular model doesn't include the alternative precision cowl attachment, which snaps onto the front and gives extra UV filtration and a smaller, more precise area for use on the face - I think you can buy this separately but it's pricey and it would probably make more sense to buy the Philips Lumea Precision Plus which includes it.

Quick tip: when you start using IPL and have to shave the area to prepare it first, don't try to get the closest and smoothest shave you ever had, it actually seems to work better if there's a little visible stubble left on the surface of the skin. The pigment in the hair shaft is what transmits the light and heat energy down to the follicle so a little visible hair can maximise your results - so either wait a day or two after shaving or use a body hair trimmer or similar to prepare. Another thing I've noticed is that although the hair will slowly return if you stop using the Lumea it will go away again quicker the second or third time you start with IPL treatment - or so it seems to me. I've been testing this Lumea on an area I have treated before but don't routinely treat and it's gone smooth much quicker than it did before - maybe this most applies to men, I don't know. My female family members who use it say their hair regrows finer and softer than before IPL, so it does seem like there are lasting results even if you stop treatments.

In conclusion the Lumea remains one of the best IPL units available and if Philips have kept the design basically the same for the past few years it only proves that they got it right first time out. Don't tell Philips I said this, but this also means that if you can get an earlier model at a good discount they'd still be a great buy. Our only complaint about the earlier model was the battery life, but Philips seem to have fixed that issue with this model, more than doubling it. It's not cheap but it is very well made and super convenient to use - and (if you fit the user profile) it works really well.


IMEDEEN Tan Optimizer
IMEDEEN Tan Optimizer
Price: £34.60

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Come again another day..., 30 Aug 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
It seemed like a good idea at the time - try using a tan optimiser to squeeze a bit of colour out of the British Summer. Then a few weeks in, the British Summer packed up and went on holiday abroad leaving us the rain and I'm all optimised up with nowhere to glow. On a skin colour chart my normal complexion would be somewhere between 'Driven Snow' and 'Mashed Potato' so any help I can get would be welcome but I'm not sure the Imedeen Tan Optimizer (why the 'z'?) has been very much help - although, to be fair, the lack of sustained sunshine has probably been even less helpful. I still have a couple of weeks left of the course so I'll keep taking them and report any news here later. Ever hopeful.

The nutrition and science behind the product seems sound enough, at least if it's meant to support the well-being of your skin, as it contains a cocktail of vitamins and nutrients know to aid skin renewal and health. There's Vitamin C, Vitamin E (in dry form) and Vitamin A in the form of Beta-Carotene but the dosage of vitamins here is pretty low, any good natural source multi-vitamin would probably give you more. The other active ingredients are also carotenes, which are the naturally-occurring bright red or orange substances which give fruit and vegetables their characteristic colours. There's Lycopene (the red from tomatoes) and Lutein (found in kale and carrots) and I suppose it's implied that they might help tint your skin from the inside? That bit seems unlikely, surely you'd have to consume massive doses to have such an effect? Although apparently Lutein gets added to chicken feed to tint both the yolks of their eggs and their skin a more palatable (to diners) colour, so maybe the idea isn't so crazy?

Back in the day, I remember there used to be a dietary supplement made for competitive bodybuilders which contained mega-doses of a brown food colouring, I forgot its name, which you consumed to dye your skin, from the inside out, that bizarre dark bronzed colour bodybuilders seem to crave. It did work, but there were side-effects if you weren't careful - your eyeballs would turn orange. Never a great look. Thankfully the Imedeen Tan Optimiser has no such side-effects and indeed the active ingredients are all good for you - aside form the vitamins, Lutein is known to aid the health of your eyes and Lycopene has anti-cancer properties. It's just a shame my results (so far) are so inconclusive, I've certainly had no side-effects but I've had no visible benefits either. Blame the British Summer.


Under Armour Dynamic Run Compression Men's Capri Tights
Under Armour Dynamic Run Compression Men's Capri Tights
Price: £13.68 - £34.17

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A run in my tights..., 26 Aug 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The sizing of these UA Dynamic Run Compression Tights didn't quite work out for me, I'd probably be right between the Med and Large sizes, so the large size I took has a bit less compression than ideal but still a neat fit. If you want the full compressed effect check the sizing details before you order and consider rounding down not up. They are well-made and good quality and although the fabric is not that thick, these are more Summer weight than Winter, they feel strong enough to last for a decent amount of use. Inevitably they don't hide much, so if you really don't want your man-parts on show you might want to wear something underneath or use them under a pair of looser shorts - although that does rather defeat the purpose of the sweat-wicking fabric. On me they only ride up a little in use, sitting just below the knee, not quite as low as in the photo but still fine.

The contrasting panels seem to be made of pretty much the same weight of fabric as the main parts, they aren't mesh, and the only reflective parts are the Under Armour logo and name. The fabric of the back pocket has a moisture-resistant coating, presumably to stop perspiration getting into your smartphone or wallet, but this also tends to create a sweaty patch at the bottom of your back. The pocket itself is big enough for an iPhone or similar but not much more and there isn't a hole to feed a headphone cable through unfortunately. They're easy to launder and dry very quickly but do heed the warning about fabric conditioner, it breaks down the elasticity of the fabric. So, I now own a pair of capri tights - there's a statement I didn't see coming. :-)


Vibe FLI Over-Ear Headphones with In-Line Microphone - White
Vibe FLI Over-Ear Headphones with In-Line Microphone - White
Offered by Shop Spectrum
Price: £57.98

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Vibes..., 25 Aug 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I must admit I was surprised by these Vibe FLI-Overs Headphones, after reading the marketing about 'Extreme Bass' you'd half-expect them to be a pair of over-loud, bass-drunk DJ-style headphones but they aren't - they're much better than that. The first surprise is how quiet and polite they are, they're not that efficient so you really have to crank the volume up to get them going. The 'Extreme Bass' isn't extremely loud or over-powering but it is extremely substantial and smooth and well-suited to the overall warm sound these headphones have. The closed-back does block out a decent amount of ambient noise but the headphones avoid that 'boxed-in' sound many closed-back headphones have. If I had to match these headphones to a style of music I'd say they were R&B headphones with plenty of smooth, tuneful bass and not the amorphous thumping of some headphones.

As far as big over-head headphones go these are reasonably neat, they fit closely and quite tightly to the head - too tightly if you wear chunky geek spec's (like me) because they get uncomfortably squeezed into your head after a while. On the plus side, they feel quite secure in use and don't slip or slide around as you move your head. The build quality seems good too, chunky and substantial, but of course that adds to the overall weight. They do fold together for travelling but you don't get any kind of carrying bag included. I like the ribbon cable which is less prone to tying itself into knots and sits nicely under clothing. There's a mic and remote control built into the cable - the mic works with iPhones and recent Mac's for phonecalls or FaceTime but not with Windows PC's. Like other Apple inline remotes the button toggles Play/Pause with a single click, skips to the next track with a double click and jumps back to the beginning of the current song with a triple click - there's no volume control included. Note that a couple of the photo's on the Amazon listing show a row of buttons for track control and volume on one of the headphone earpieces - these are NOT on the wired version I received, not sure if the photo is of the Bluetooth version or an earlier prototype.

There's a nice amount of detail in the sound of the FLI-Overs, not as pin-drop precise as some I've heard but with a nice laid-back kind of feel and that's no bad thing. Overall, they are a bit too quiet and meek for me, not as dynamic as I'd like and having to crank the volume up on a portable device might hammer your battery more than you'd like but there's no denying they have a quality sound. One last thing, could someone tell that young woman in the last photo she's wearing the headphones round the wrong way - left is left, right is right. Thnx!


Polar Loop Activity And Sleep Tracker
Polar Loop Activity And Sleep Tracker
Price: £66.28

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mountains and molehills..., 24 Aug 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I've been trying to improve my fitness, with some success, since the beginning of the year and thought the Polar Flow might become part of this new regime and spur me on further - and to some degree it has although I have some reservations about it too. It's important to realise the limitations of the Flow first, it only seems to measure arm movements which (for no good reason) it refers to as 'steps' and there's no onboard heart rate monitor or GPS chip to measure your actual exertion or your distances travelled. It uses the arm-activity data it collects to extrapolate a whole bunch of information about your daily activity levels which are then displayed either in a smartphone app' or on the Polar website, both of which then keep an online journal of your activity.

You first have to cut the integral wristband to fit your wrist, it needs to be tight enough to just allow a finger to be inserted between the band and your arm, and of course you have to take care to get this right because you can't replace the wristband without buying a whole new Flow. For the same reason you might find it hard to share the device with a partner unless your wrists are the same size. You upload the collected data to the website either by syncing to the FlowSync app (available for both Mac and Windows) using the included USB cable, which attaches to the Flow using a magnetic connector, or you can sync via Bluetooth with the Polar app on your smartphone - both display the same information after syncing, so you can use either as you see fit.

The data is very clearly and attractively displayed with a clock-face of your daily activity broken down into pie-chart chunks of different activities - so you can see the hours you slept, or exercised or were just sitting - and you're given an estimate of the calories you burned and a suggested target amount of daily activity (based on your age and gender) and your progress toward it. All of this would be great except that the basic data the Flow collects is so vague and inaccurate, surely they're making informational mountains out of source-data molehills?

For example I do a HIIT (High Impact Interval Training) workout most days which lasts about 30 minutes and the Flow registers this as around 9 minutes of high activity, despite the fact I'm going flat-out for most of that time and I'm left panting and sweating by the end of it. I later registered the same 9 minutes of high activity after I'd vacuumed the lounge! In aerobic fitness terms the two activities are in different leagues but the Flow can't tell the difference. It also can't tell what you're really doing with the left arm it's tracking - it doesn't know if you just picked up a 15KG dumbbell or a teaspoon to stir your mega-grandé-chocca-mocha-with-cream. To measure real exertion you'll have to buy a Polar Heart Rate Sensor and link that via Bluetooth - which is fine but it could almost double the overall cost. To also get a GPS tracker that tracks your runs you'll have to switch to a Polar V800 GPS Sports Watch or similar and that's an even bigger price hike.

To be fair, keeping a daily log of your overall activity levels for comparison's sake is quite helpful and it does motivate you to keep going - even if the basic information about calorie burn is probably wildly inaccurate. I've been very happy to discover my overall activity levels are pretty much where they should be, according to Polar's suggested targets, but I would really like a bit more detail and a bit more accuracy. If you're at all serious about your sport or fitness I think it's too vague to be really useful without at least adding the associated heart rate sensor, otherwise there's no real way to compare different types of exercise or activity and see what's really working for you. However, if you're someone who isn't particularly sporty but wants to monitor general activity and encourage yourself to keep trim then the Flow might well be helpful for you, it's certainly nicely designed and very well presented.


Ultranatura Palma Series Rattan Wheeled Sun Lounger
Ultranatura Palma Series Rattan Wheeled Sun Lounger
Price: £113.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Spanish sun not included..., 23 Aug 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The Ultranatura Palma Sun Lounger arrives fully assembled apart from the wheels, which have to be bolted on using the allan key supplied. It's surprisingly lightweight and easy to move around on its wheels, so less-able sun-worshippers will be able to track the sun across the garden without too much trouble. The faux-rattan looks and feels substantial enough to last and it has a nice amount of give and spring when you lie on it - so the lounger is more comfortable than it first looks. Although there's a slight curve in the back section it doesn't offer much support for your lower back so a cushion might be useful. You might want another cushion for your head too, but otherwise the lounger is actually quite comfortable just on its own. The finishing seems very good, the aluminium components and the joints are all sturdy and nicely-finished with a dark coating. In use the only part you might want to keep your fingers clear of is the ratchet mechanism under the arms which controls the angle of recline, but even that is safely concealed inside a plastic cover. At full recline the lounger doesn't go completely flat but it sits at a comfortable angle - at what angle does a lounger become a recliner or vice-versa?

Speaking of the wooden armrests, they're made from Eucalyptus which is quite a soft timber, and they're not that well lacquered so they're liable to show wear and tear long before the rest of the chair does. The wooden armrests might also be the reason the lounger should not (according to the instructions) be left out in all weathers. That's been the only small disappointment with it because although I'm sure the occasion Summer shower (or more likely deluge) won't be a big problem, it seems the lounger is designed to live on a covered terrace or indoors for most of the year. Maybe metal or plastic armrests would be a better idea? Overall the quality is very good though it's perhaps a little pricey, it's very solid feeling without being heavy and, with an added cushion or two, would make a very nice place to spend a Summer's afternoon.

UPDATE: I just noticed my fellow reviewers had some issues with their loungers and the fixing bars that have to click into flexible brackets on the frame when you first unfold the lounger. I haven't had any such problem with mine but I'm not sure if I did anything different or received a different (or non-faulty) version. When I first un-boxed the lounger I did notice that the bars didn't want to go into the brackets very easily but this was before I'd put the wheels on. So I put the lounger onto its side, attached the wheels, righted it again and this time the two bars just snapped into their brackets with hardly any effort from me at all. It's been that way ever since too - these bars disengage from their brackets when you fold up the lounger fully and I've folded and unfolded the lounger several times as we moved it around and it's clicked together again with no problem each time. Bit of a mystery, but mine has been absolutely fine.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 31, 2014 9:29 AM BST


Auraglow 5m 300 LED RGB 5050 Tape Strip Light Complete Kit
Auraglow 5m 300 LED RGB 5050 Tape Strip Light Complete Kit
Offered by Safield Dist. Ltd
Price: £79.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Las Vegas in your kitchen..., 22 Aug 2014
With so many of these LED strips now available, many from no-name companies and of dubious quality, it was good to find this good quality set from Auraglow. I've used a simpler single-colour LED strip (from a different supplier) before which we ran along the top of some kitchen units - that was very successful so I was on the lookout for more. This version is better in a few ways, it's water-resistant with the LED's sealed inside a clear plastic 'bumper', it can produce a range of colours and it comes complete with a remote control and some joiner strips. The quality of each component seems good, better than our previous set, especially the mains transformer which is the part I'd be most concerned about. The LED strip itself is very flexible and backed with a quality 3M peel-and-stick adhesive strip, there are also a few (5) flexible silicon screw-on clips supplied to hold the strip in place where you can't use the adhesive. In use the strip is bright and flicker-free, you probably wouldn't use it as task lighting but as ambient or background lighting it's plenty bright enough. Unlike some multi-colour LED strips which use separate red, green and blue LED's placed in sequence (so a 300 LED strip actually only has 100 of each colour) this strip has 300 composite LED's with a red, green and blue element inside every one - which means when you switch to a single colour it should be much brighter. Note that to create white light all of the red, green and blue elements are lit simultaneously and this gives a blue-white 'daylight' sort of effect, not a warm incandescent effect.

During use the mains charger stays quite cool but the strip itself, at least at full brightness, does warm up a bit - this might be a side-effect of enclosing the LEDs inside the plastic protective bumper. The benefit of enclosing them, apart from the water-resistance, is that they'd be safer in a position where they might get knocked occasionally, like at the edge of a bookshelf. You get 5 joiners included in the pack, so you can join cut lengths together, but they're quite short (about 10cm) and I couldn't help thinking that longer versions would be much more useful. If they were long enough to span each shelf in a bookcase for example, so each shelf could have its own discrete strip of light, that would be good - but it's still great that they're included in the pack so you don't have to search for something compatible yourself.

The remote control is an InfraRed type and lets you set the strip to 15 different preset colours (there's no option to mix your own colours) plus white and a pair of UP/DOWN buttons dim the strip though 9 brightness levels. You can also choose 4 different flash settings but these are misleadingly labelled - the FLASH setting cycles through 7 different colours, the STROBE setting crossfades through the RGB spectrum, the FADE setting also crossfades through the spectrum but then goes to black for a moment and the SMOOTH setting just cycles through pure red, green and blue. In any of the flashing modes the UP/DOWN buttons set the speed of the transitions not the brightness. Our previous LED strip used a radio-operated remote, which was handy but was prone to causing radio interference on other devices. This set has a tiny IR sensor at one end of a cable which you might have to position carefully in view of the remote control - but I've found it's surprisingly sensitive, even without direct line-of-sight.

My only caution would be to be sure that you want or need a multi-colour version because the white light this strip produces is quite clinical and cool, which isn't necessarily a bad thing but might not suit your home. Apart from that it's a great little set, the strip itself is very bright and flexible, the colour options are fun and you get all the compatible components you'll need in the same pack, excellent. (Disclosure: item was received for unbiased review)


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