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Philip (Stafford, United Kingdom)

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Philips Shaver Series 7000, Wet and Dry Shaver with Stubble Styler RQ1195/17
Philips Shaver Series 7000, Wet and Dry Shaver with Stubble Styler RQ1195/17
Price: £126.12

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good shaver, but hugely over priced, 21 July 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Having had Philips' shavers for years, I know what to expect - a nice contoured shape which fits the hand well, and solid reliability. This shaver certainly doesn't disappoint there, but there is one aspect which leaps out - the price. My previous shaver was a Philips SensoTouch RQ1180cc GyroFlex 2D Rotary Rechargeable Shaver with Clean and Charge Stand, which as far as I can tell, performs to exactly the same level as this shaver and is physically near identical. However it's £55 cheaper, and comes with a cleaning unit which works nicely but requires special cleaning fluids. (and as such was never used once the free supplied bottle ran out).

This shaver comes with a beard trimmer admittedly, but it's little more than a small piece of plastic, and certainly not enough to justify the crazy price tag.

As with my other shaver (the RQ1180), this must be docked in the supplied stand to charge, which is a real pain when travelling as it means carrying the charger around too. Would it really have been that difficult for Philips to simply add a power socket somewhere on the body? The charger with this shaver is collapsable at least (although still pretty bulky), which is an improvement over the RQ1180.

Overall then a perfectly solid shaver, but one with a price tag so eye wateringly high that I can only assume Philips' profit margins are absolutely astronomical. As a disclaimer, I received this shaver through the Vine programme on Amazon, and as such, got it for free. Had I been paying for a shaver, I would not have considered this one.

Braun Silk-épil 5 5780 Epilator with five Attachments and Cooling Glove
Braun Silk-épil 5 5780 Epilator with five Attachments and Cooling Glove
Price: £49.95

83 of 87 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The most pain free epilator i have used BUT with some major flaws, 1 Jun 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
A review from the wife.. I was somewhat apprehensive moving from my Philips Satinelle epilator with a clip on ice pack to this new Braun epilator which only came with a separate ice cooler. I imagined that this was going to be a painful slog. Nevertheless, ice pack at the ready and applied to my skin, I used the pivoting massage epilator head on my legs. I can honestly say that this is the most comfortable epilation process I have ever experienced. No pain whatsoever! I thought I'd be even braver and try a patch of skin without using the cooler pack on it, again to be extremely surprised at the lack of pain. There is a faint ticklish, sharp sensation but certainly not pain. I have no idea why it doesn't hurt but I suspect it's something to do with it having 40 tweezers (rather than the 20 something in my old one) and the clearly very effective massage system. The 40 tweezers also make epilation quick - I had done both legs and arms in under 20 minutes.

I used the sensitive area cap for the bikini line and underarm. Now that's slightly more painful as it does not use the massaging head. I'm not sure I will use it again for the bikini line but it certainly has good results underarm. The facial cap is easy to use and slightly uncomfortable but certainly useable.

I found the hair growing back after roughly three weeks. I have used epilators for nearly 15 years and have certainly noticed the rate of hair growth significantly decrease over the years. So perhaps if you are new to epilation, the results may not last quite so long.

Now for the big flaws which have resulted in a three star score... First, the epilator is corded and is not chargeable despite what it says on the product description page and the big sticker on the delivery box warning of a lithium battery inside. It makes it slightly fiddly to epilate while trying to manage the cable. It also comes with a shaver plug rather than a standard plug attachment. Of course this could be easily sorted with a shaver plug adaptor but for the advertised price, I would have hoped a standard plug would have been included. The corded nature and the bathroom plug would be more tolerable if it wasn't for this next big flaw. The two pin connection of the plug to the epilator is extremely loose and falls out repeatedly. I noticed other reviewers suggesting pushing it in till it clicks but there certainly wasn't a 'click' point at least in my epilator. A cable falling out every few seconds is fairly annoying and frustrating, as you can imagine!
Overall, I think in terms of painlessness and longevity of results, I would give this epilator top marks. The flaws are big and would had resulted in a much poorer score if it hadn't been for the balancing positives. If you are considering buying this, I would certainly invest in a shaver cable adaptor and perhaps ask yourself if you can tolerate the frustration of losing the power every minute or so. The end results are certainly very good!
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 5, 2014 7:06 AM BST

The Icecreamists: Boutique ice creams and other guilty pleasures to make and enjoy at home
The Icecreamists: Boutique ice creams and other guilty pleasures to make and enjoy at home
by Matt O'connor
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £11.64

3.0 out of 5 stars Good flavours, poor base selection., 16 May 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This recipe book has a variety of wonderful ice cream flavours, from pistachio, to liquorice, to plain vanilla. It also gives you a wide range of sorbets and combination deserts. Like one previous reviewed mentioned, the base mixture for the ice creams is exactly the same, which gives less variety than I would like, especially if you're trying to cut the calories. Personally I prefer the three base options of the Ben and Jerry's home made Ice cream book.

Overall, a good collection of flavours.

A Perfect Spy (BBC Audio)
A Perfect Spy (BBC Audio)
by John Le Carre
Edition: Audio CD

2.0 out of 5 stars A rather slow and gentle little spy story, 11 May 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I listen to a lot of audiobooks, but rarely these full cast radio play type books, as I find them rather artificial and forced. I came into this then not expecting a lot, and initially I did find the radio acting quite off putting. After a few chapters though, the story started to pick up and the acting became less distracting.

Sadly the story never really built much beyond those first few chapters, and it's gentle and slow nature doesn't make for the most riveting listen. When the conclusion came I can't say I found it terribly satisfying, and the characters, with a few exceptions, have already faded from memory.

Not terrible then, but barely average at best.

Crysis 3 (PS3)
Crysis 3 (PS3)
Offered by Shop4World
Price: £11.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very solid shooter, but it belongs on a PC, 11 May 2013
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Crysis 3 (PS3) (Video Game)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Crytek have long had a reputation for pushing visuals hard, so much so that the original Crysis remained a PC exclusive for years, and brought even high end systems to their knees as they attempted to run it. Crysis 2 saw the developer head into console territory, with visuals which were rather less ambitious.

Crysis 3 represents a balance of those two approaches, and appropriately enough also mixes the locations of the first two games. So we get the jungle of Crysis 1, mixed with the much less interesting buildings from Crysis 2. The result is an interesting ruined city, full of foliage and rubble. Gameplay also returns a little to the more open nature of Crysis 1, losing some of the corridor feel of Crysis 2. Sadly the rather obnoxious cast returns too, with the annoying cockney sidekick still hanging around.

However there is a problem with this release - it doesn't run well on the PS3. Crytek have clearly let themselves go a little and ventured back into the soothing waters of PC development, leaving the console versions of Crysis 3 rather limping along in the background. The frame rate here is often poor, and the game never feels like it's running well. Even in closed of little rooms it still limps along. Admittedly this is a problem other developers have too, and despite the technical problems it's still a very impressive visual achievement on such ancient hardware.

An good effort then overall, but if you have a PC up to the job, then you can safely leave the console ports on the shelf.

David Attenborough in His Own Words
David Attenborough in His Own Words
by Sir David Attenborough
Edition: Audio CD
Price: £5.16

3.0 out of 5 stars A somewhat thrown together collection of interviews, 18 April 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This CD, and there's only one here, includes several interviews with Attenborough done at various points during his incredible career. There are interviews with Parkinson of course, as well some less effective ones on Desert Island Discs. (minus the music) Some of the anecdotes I had heard before, but Attenborough tells them so well I could listen to them all multiple times. He must surely be the best interviewee of all time.

This CD however, feels cheap. Three of the five interviews are from Desert Island Discs, which seems very lazy, and the short running time seems very odd given that there must be dozens of hours of interviews in the archives to draw upon. Even the cover art feels like it's been thrown together in 2 minutes.

Definitely one for the hardcore Attenborough completists only.

Please Look After Mother
Please Look After Mother
by Kyung-Sook Shin
Edition: Hardcover

4.0 out of 5 stars Lovely story with a slightly confusing narrative, 27 Mar 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The book begins with a group of siblings and their father searching for their mother who is lost during a visit to Seoul. The story cleverly lays out the dysfunctional relationships between the different family members while highlighting the social norms and expectations of rural Korea. I love the format of this book which opens up the life of the mother like a puzzle, giving greater intricacies of the housewife's life through each chapter. Each chapter narrates the memory of the mother from a different family member's perspective. All chapters are written in the first person narrative which made it slightly confusing till you worked out who was actually giving their version of the story. Nevertheless, this is a lovely, touching, family story which brings to life the saying 'You don't know how good you've got it till it's gone". It does not stray into the soppy, tear jerking territory but rather spins a delicate and touching tale. I certainly enjoyed reading this book and would recommend it.

TP-Link TL-WDR4900 N900 Wireless Dual Band Gigabit Cable Router(2.4GHz 450Mbps, 5GHz 450Mbps, 2 USB Ports for Storage Sharing, Printer Sharing, FTP Server and Media Server)
TP-Link TL-WDR4900 N900 Wireless Dual Band Gigabit Cable Router(2.4GHz 450Mbps, 5GHz 450Mbps, 2 USB Ports for Storage Sharing, Printer Sharing, FTP Server and Media Server)

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Mediocre performance and ugly industrial design, 27 Feb 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I've tried quite a few routers over the past year or so, and have found that performance varies considerably. I initially had an Apple Airport Extreme, which provided fairly poor performance, no media server functionality, and was incredibly unreliable. I then tried a NETGEAR R6300 WiFi Router, a router which was supposed to be a top end product. Performance and reliability were utterly miserable. My wifi devices downstairs (PS3 Slim, Xbox S, iPad 3, iPhone 5) would struggle to get more than 1-2 mbit.

I then moved to an ASUS RT-N66U - 900Mbps Dual Band Wireless N Router, Gigabit LAN/WAN, 2x USB, Print FTP UPnP VPN Server, IPv6, 8x SSID, Wireless 3D HD content streaming, 3 Year Warranty , which performed far better than any other router I had tried. The only downside was it didn't seem to play well with my Xbox, and the media server stuff was very flaky and unreliable.

So while I was moderately satisfied, I was certainly open to something better. When this new router popped up in my Vine email, I snapped it up and ran some head to heads with the Asus.

My connection is a 100mbit Virgin Media cable connection which runs through a Virgin 'superhub' set to modem mode. In when I tried these tests I was getting 80mbit through Ethernet on my Windows 8 PC - much higher than usual as it was during the afternoon - evening performance is always far lower. The routers were set up upstairs, and my testing was done downstairs through 3 walls and at a distance of about 10m.

iPhone 5 - 802.11n 5ghz - ASUS - 26mbit / TP - 16mbit

Xbox S - 802.11n 2.4ghz - ASUS 2mbit / TP - 0.7mbit

PS3 - 802.11g 2.4ghz - ASUS 17mbit / TP - 7mbit

A clear win for the Asus, and it's interesting to see how the performance is awful for both with the Xbox. I've no idea why Xbox wifi is quite so terrible, but I have found that it only really works well when the Xbox is physically very close to the router.

I also tested the DLNA media sharing on both. The ASUS is easy enough to set up, but in practice often doesn't find new media for hours, days, or even at all. I've talked to ASUS support about this and they're sadly clueless. Setting up DLNA on the TP-Link was also easy, but in my testing simply didn't work. While the Xbox and PS3 could see the server, neither could find any files shared. My iPhone could see the server, but bizarrely the DLNA client app I was using (Simple Player) crashed every time I tried to connect.

Performance really isn't too hot on this then, and I'll also add that as a piece of industrial design, it's a contender for the ugliest product I've seen in years. The only other router I've seen lately which could give it a run for it's money is, sadly, my current ASUS router. For looks if nothing else, I miss my old Apple router.

My hunt for the perfect router goes on then, but for now, I'm sticking with my ASUS.

Seagate STCK1000200 1TB Wireless Plus 2.5 Inch External Hard Drive - Grey
Seagate STCK1000200 1TB Wireless Plus 2.5 Inch External Hard Drive - Grey
Price: £109.99

9 of 23 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Poorly designed and of very limited use, 23 Feb 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Firstly I'll say what this drive is not - it does not allow you to share your media over your home wifi network. Reading the Seagate marketing blurb, you might not realise that is the case, but after a good few hours of playing around with this thing I've unfortunately reached that conclusion. The documentation supplied is virtually non existent too, so it took some rooting around online to figure out how to use this device.

This drive actually works by making it's own network, which wifi devices can then connect to. Of course to do that, you have to disconnect your PC, iPad etc from the internet, then once you're done with the Seagate, disconnect for it, and reconnect to the net. If that sounds cumbersome and clunky, that's because it is. Thinking about it logically there may well be no way for the drive to actually join an existing local network and share content, but I suspect most will not expect that to be the case. As if to reinforce this limitation, the drive actually turns off it's wifi when connected to a PC.

Putting the bizarre wifi stuff aside, as a stand alone hard drive this is a passable effort, with a nice rubberised back and a custom Seagate connector which can take adaptors for USB, Firewire, and Thunderbolt. (USB 3 is supplied, albeit with a laughably short cable) The supplied software is dreadful, and I had to download it from the Seagate website as the version supplied on the drive wouldn't run. I ended up just using the built in backup software that comes with Windows 8 (it's called 'File History'), and have the drive set up purely a backup device.

If you are foolhardy enough to buy into Seagate's bizarre media sharing world, then it supports Airplay as well as DLNA, and there are Android and iOS apps available too.

My advice - buy a cheaper external HD without the pointless wifi stuff.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 23, 2013 10:54 AM BST

Lexar Professional 16GB Class 10 UHS-1 600X 90MB/s High Speed SDHC Memory Card
Lexar Professional 16GB Class 10 UHS-1 600X 90MB/s High Speed SDHC Memory Card
Offered by ezone-uk
Price: £21.49

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Quick, but flimsy, 21 Jan 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
First off, the packaging for this is totally obscene. Not because it features anything rude, but because it's absolutely enormous. As all that's inside is an SD card and a tiny pamphlet, this is some of the most offensive packaging I've seen in years.

That aside, the SD card itself promises '600x' speed. Well I'm not sure what type of SD card is 600x slower than this, but I did a comparison with a bog standard Lexar 4gb SD card I had lying around (a card which makes no great claims about it's speed) and there was a nice difference. The 600x Lexar card was getting around 18.5mb/sec, while the older card was getting a mere 4.5mb/sec.

Another aspect worth noting is that the card is extremely flimsy. My older Lexar card is fairly sturdy and doesn't have much flex in it's plastic shell. That isn't the case with this card, which looks to be encased in exceedingly thin and cheap plastic, and it feels like it would snap with little pressure.

I imagine most people will simply put this card in their camera and forget about it, but if you swap cards out often you might want to look for something a little sturdier.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 10, 2013 6:09 PM BST

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