Profile for Mendo Shutaro > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by Mendo Shutaro
Top Reviewer Ranking: 2,223
Helpful Votes: 1039

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
Mendo Shutaro (Leamington)
(VINE VOICE)   

Show:  
Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-16
pixel
Griffin Window Mount Car Cradle with Mic for Mobile Phones
Griffin Window Mount Car Cradle with Mic for Mobile Phones
Price: £11.52

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Nice design, but very flimsy, 14 Jun 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
On first inspection this looks like a good little design, as it's minimalistic, lacks the usual huge suction cup typical of GPS mounts, and it will work on a windscreen or dashboard. At first, all was well, it held my iPhone 4 securely and Waze guided me to work.

After only a few weeks though, the height adjustable top grip started to wobble, then after another week it started to slip down to it's lowest height, then after another week lost any ability to retain it's height at all and so became useless. All in all, it lasted a month before breaking, and that was with completely normal use.

Griffin, try harder.


The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes
The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes
by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Edition: Audio CD

5.0 out of 5 stars Superb, as expected, 9 Jun 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Little needs to be said about the stories here, other than to say this is the final collection of Conan Doyle short stories about his famous detective creation. The emphasis is on the word 'short', but that's not to say they're not well written and thoroughly entertaining.

As this is an audio book, the most important factor is the reader, and as with the other Holmes collections we have Derek Jacobi behind the microphone. I've listened to a lot of audio books over the years, with readers ranging from fantastic (Stephen Fry) to utterly terrible (Allison Hiroto), and Derek Jacobi is right up there near the top. He's superb, a true master, and is the perfect choice for these stories.

Needless to say this is an easy recommendation. If you like Sherlock Holmes stories, or just great audio books, then this is a great buy.


Roku 2 XS 1080p Streaming Player
Roku 2 XS 1080p Streaming Player

58 of 70 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A dead platform, 9 Jun 2012
The idea of a cable cutting all in one media streaming box is a nice one, but Apple have so far bungled their offering leaving the market wide open to competitors. Roku has had some success in the US, and their latest little box looks great on paper, as it has an open app/channel store and is physically tiny.

These boxes live or die by their content line-up, and Roku's is unfortunately very poor and shows little signs of improving:

BBC iPlayer - Yes (720p)
4OD - No
Demand 5 - No
ITV Player - No
LoveFilm - No
YouTube - No
Sky Go - No
Netflix - Yes (1080p)
Now TV - Yes (720p and SD)
Blinkbox - No
Curzon on Demand - No
MUBI - No
Spotify - No
Last FM - No
Crunchy Roll - Yes (SD)
Crackle - Yes (SD)

At their UK launch Roku said they would have LoveFilm and all UK catch-up services on their platform soon, but a year on, few have arrived. In fact since launch there have only been two big channel launches in the UK - BBC iPlayer and Now TV.

That's not to say there haven't been new apps/channels added beyond those two, in fact new channels release every week. The trouble is they're all ultra niche, and most are alarmingly extremist religious channels from America. Does anyone in the UK watch that kind of stuff? Presumably it takes just a button press for these bargain bin providers to publish worldwide, but the lack of curation on the UK channel store makes it a chore to browse and to be frank, makes it next to useless.

It's not all bad though, as Roku has a Plex app available (and it's free, if very bare bones). Once you have the Plex server installed on your PC or Mac it will allow you to stream videos, photos, and music to the Roku. It will automatically transcode any video format the Roku can't natively understand (which is pretty much everything except standard MP4s), but the loss of quality transcoding creates is significant, even on the highest quality setting. Plex also has an app/channel store of it's own, but while I was able to install these I couldn't actually persuade any of them to work reliably. This is a shame, as some of the Plex channels could fill gaps in the Roku's own line-up, as they include Blink Box and 4OD.

A few other negatives worth mentioning - I found the Roku's wi-fi to be extremely prone to inference. There's no 5ghz option, it's 2.4ghz only unfortunately (802.11n/g), and bizarrely I found even just sitting the Roku on anything metal would pretty much kill it's wi-fi completely. The Roku interface is also unflashy and rather bare bones. If you're used to, for example, the flashy (if not actually that usable) Metro dashboard on the Xbox 360, the Roku feels crude by comparison.

Nearly one year since launch I think I can safely declare Roku to be a dead platform, despite the recent arrival of Now TV. It's just too little, too late. LoveFilm has blossomed into being the best streaming service in the UK, and it's nowhere to be seen on Roku. Promises to bring 4OD and the other catch up services to the platform were also broken. Perhaps it's poor distribution, non existent marketing, or just Roku's own incompetence or laziness, but I can safely say that if you're interested in streaming video, don't buy a Roku. Instead buy one of these - Xbox 360 4GB Console
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 4, 2013 8:56 AM GMT


Here Comes Trouble: Stories From My Life
Here Comes Trouble: Stories From My Life
by Michael Moore
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, entertaining read, 19 April 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
In our daily lives, I am sure we have all come across injustices and outrages that we often wish we could so something about but usually feel either quite helpless to change or decide to look the other way leaving it for someone else to deal with. Michael Moore appears to be one of those people who just cannot seem to keep away from trouble. This book looks at various events over Michael Moore' life where he has put his life on stake to question injustices in the fields of religion, politics, racism, healthcare, and education. He has an easy conversational style to his writing which makes very enjoyable reading. He has you laughing out loud on one page, only to be shocked and despaired at the next story. Given the kind of people that he appears to have annoyed (usually extremely right wing, influential figures) though his prodding and questioning, it feels quite a feat that he is still alive and kicking! This book is a fantastic, inspirational read and I couldn't recommend it enough!


The World's Best Street Food: Where to Find it & How to Make it (General Pictorial)
The World's Best Street Food: Where to Find it & How to Make it (General Pictorial)
by Lonely Planet
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.29

5.0 out of 5 stars Yum yum!!, 19 April 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This book had me at its name and did not dampen my excitement when I looked at the recipes on offer inside. The idea of street food has always been exciting for me and the thought of producing those delicacies at home made my mouth water in anticipation. This book is presented wonderfully. In addition to the usual ingredient list and 'how to make' instructions, each recipe has a description about its origin, the different variants in its country of origin, where you can buy it if you were travelling there and how much it costs. A travel guide and recipe book in one! The recipes vary in complexity and length of time to prepare and cook and I am steadily working my way through them. I'm thoroughly enjoying the book and would wholeheartedly recommend if you are excited by exotic foods from around the globe. I'd particularly recommend the Bamboo Rice from Taiwan and Bhelpuri from Mumbai, India!


ghd Iconic Eras Glamour Limited Edition Gold Series Classic Styler Hair Straightener Gift Set
ghd Iconic Eras Glamour Limited Edition Gold Series Classic Styler Hair Straightener Gift Set

4.0 out of 5 stars Makes easy work of straightening, 19 April 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
A review from the wife... These ghds are great. The slim design makes hem extremely easy and flexible to use. They heat up in a matter of seconds which is very handy in the morning work rush. With the ceramic plates and high heat, straightening is very quick indeed. I have very long, thick hair and I can have it all beautifully straight in less than 15 minutes. People find it quite hard to believe that it takes so little time when they see the results!!

I have tried to use the ghds for curling my hair as well. They work relatively well for curling but I do miss the ease of my standalone curlers for this. I would say the if you didn't want to mess around with a number of hair gadgets and wanted just one device, then the ghds will be more than satisfactory.

This special edition comes in a black and golden decorative box (as the name implies!). It is quite a glitzy affair so while some might find it makes the perfect special gift, others may find it a bit too garish. It also comes with a little booklet with a couple of 'classic' hairstyles that you can sculpt with the ghds. I found them quite labour intensive hairstyles but it did look lovely in the end and again would probably be worth it for a special occasion.

The only little thing that I would probably change about these ghds would be the ability to control the temperature. Although they make speedy straightening at the set temperature, I do feel that despite the use of plenty of hair protection serum, they can make my hair feel slightly dry and brittle. It would have been perfect if I could manage the temperature myself to what was sufficient for my hair.

Overall though I think these are fantastic and I would heartily recommend them.


Xbox 360 250GB Console
Xbox 360 250GB Console

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The video on demand perspective, 24 Mar 2012
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
As the Xbox 360 has been around for so many years now (too many I would say, it's time for an upgrade) it's game library is vast and comprehensive. Instead of talking games then, I'll talk about how Microsoft are repositioning the console in it's twilight years as the best video on demand platform around.

Many HDTVs now come with a variety of streaming apps built in, but the selection is rarely complete and the user experience is often quite clunky. The Xbox goes far further than any HDTV, and has a slick looking interface to tie it all together. This interface is called 'Metro', and you'll be seeing much more of it when Windows 8 comes out. It's a rather cut down version on the Xbox, and is littered with obnoxious ads, but it's still a visually nice interface.

As is the norm, video on demand is done on the Xbox through separate apps, which are all free to download. Below I'll list the most common cloud streaming services and whether the Xbox supports them. It's worth noting that Microsoft are still actively developing new apps, so the few remaining holes may well be plugged at some point.

BBC iPlayer - Yes (HD 720p)
4OD - Yes (SD)
ITV Net Player - No
Demand 5 - Yes (SD)
Netflix - Yes (HD 720p)
LoveFilm Instant - Yes (HD 720p)
Now TV - Yes (HD 720p)
Blinkbox - Yes (SD)
Mubi - No
Sky Go - Yes (SD)
Spotify - No
Crunchy Roll - No
Crackle - Yes (SD)
Last FM - Yes
Youtube - Yes (HD 720p)
Vimeo - No
Zune/Xbox Video - Yes (HD 1080p)

An impressive line-up, the best on any platform. The only niggles would be that Netflix and LoveFilm are only 720p (they're 1080p on other platforms), and most of the video apps have a nasty bug which washes out the black levels. MS promise this too will be fixed in time. At present only the Zune, Now TV, Netflix, YouTube, and iPlayer apps have correct black levels. The Xbox also support DLNA streaming, as long as your media is in MP4 format and uses a normal profile. It will stream 1080p video, but downscale it to 720p for a reason Microsoft have never given.

Microsoft have also added the ability to do a unified Bing search, the idea being you can search for anything you like (with your voice even, if you have a Kinect), and it will search every video and game provider and display a unified results page. This isn't flawless - it will miss things from time to time, but it's the best on offer anywhere is is getting better.

Still, for those wanting to lose their expensive monthly subscriptions to cable or satellite the Xbox is quickly becoming a viable option. Make sure you buy the optional remote, but make sure you point it directly at the Xbox - it has the worst line of sight issues I've ever seen in a remote control. Microsoft Media Remote (Xbox 360)


Apple MD199B/A TV (official UK version)
Apple MD199B/A TV (official UK version)
Price: £69.00

86 of 107 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Potential unrealised, 18 Mar 2012
The Apple TV has been around for years, always according to Apple as merely a 'hobby'. The latest iteration does little to change that unfortunately.

The ATV runs iOS, like the iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch, but it has no app store. With no store, instead you must rely on the small selection of apps the device ships with, and it's a disappointing line-up. I'll list a few common services and whether the ATV supports them, or not. (as of July 2012)

BBC iPlayer - No
4OD - No
ITV Net Player - No
Sky Go - No
Now TV - No
Demand 5 - No
LoveFilm Instant - No
Netflix - Yes
Crunchy Roll - No
Blinkbox - No
Crackle - No
YouTube - Yes
Vimeo - Yes
Spotify - No
Last FM - No
Flickr - Yes

You do of course also get access to Apple's iTunes store, which has the best HD (720p and 1080p) streaming movie selection anywhere, although prices are as eye wateringly high as other pay per view services. (£4.50 per rental) Also I personally have always found the ATV interface to be very un-Apple like, in that's it's rather ugly and dated. There's a lot of white text on a plain back background, which was all the rage with 1980s 8-bit computers, but looks rather crude by modern standards.

If you want to stream media from your Mac or PC, you're going to need iTunes, and PC owners know all too well just how horrible iTunes is on that platform. If you're willing to jump through all of iTunes many hoops, then you can import your own blu-ray, DVD, and CD ripps and stream them, but the amount of effort required can be considerable. If the content has been bought from iTunes directly, then you can stream that from iCloud. There's no DLNA support of course, and no access to third party media servers, such as Plex or XBMC. (unless you're willing to hack your ATV)

This then is a little box with much potential, which is almost entirely unrealised as yet. If you want to stream a lot of video, then an Xbox 360 is your best bet right now, or failing that a Roku. Perhaps in time the ATV will improve, but in all the years it's been around Apple have made only minor tweaks and added little. There have been persistent rumours that perhaps, at long last, Apple may open up the ATV to third party apps. If that were to happen, it could really turn this box around, but until then, I'd give this one a miss.
Comment Comments (19) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 30, 2012 1:03 PM BST


Wacom Bamboo Pen and Touch Tablet
Wacom Bamboo Pen and Touch Tablet

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A decent little tablet marred by poor drivers, 12 Mar 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Compared to Wacom's professional tablets, this is surprisingly good on first use. While there's nowhere to rest your wrists, the small form factor makes it far less desk hungry, and the actual pressure sensitive pen input works very well. (remember to configure Photoshop for pressure sensitivity, it will be off by default!) There are four configurable buttons on the side too, which are rather bizarrely jumbo sized, but again on first use look like they'll do the job. That is, until you've set them up for use on one application, then want to set them up for use in another. Keyboard shortcuts obviously differ hugely between applications, but Wacom's drivers only allow for a single configuration. This is very nearly a deal breaker, and is clearly an artificial limitation to push people towards Wacom's vastly more expensive pro tablets. (which do have application specific settings).I ended up just setting the tablet up for one of my usual applications and using the keyboard for everything else. Far from ideal.

I also bought the wireless add-on which is a nice little upgrade, as the standard cable does get in the way a lot and is incredibly short. Also worth mentioning is there's no pen holder supplied. You can feed it through the garishly coloured 'Wacom' cloth tag on the side of the tablet, but the traditinal ink pot style pen holder would have been far better. Speaking of garish colours, quite why Wacom decided to make the underside of this luminous green is beyond me. It's beyond hideous.

Overall then this is a flawed product but still represents a decent and very cheap entry into the world of tablets for those without the budget for Wacom's more capable professional offerings.


Straw Dogs - Ultimate 40th Anniversary Edition [Blu-ray] [1971]
Straw Dogs - Ultimate 40th Anniversary Edition [Blu-ray] [1971]
Dvd ~ Dustin Hoffman
Price: £10.09

2.0 out of 5 stars A passable transfer, but sorely lacking in extras, 27 Feb 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Straw Dogs is for me more interesting for it's controversial history rather the film itself, which is a decent thriller from Peckinpah. I approached this disc then mostly hoping for a plethora of documentaries detailing the film's lengthy battle with the dreaded British censors. The disc certainly presents the history, but in text form only. This is a huge wasted opportunity, as the story here is a fascinating one of how censorship went from fairly mild in the 70s, to absolutely draconian in the 1980s and 1990s.

As for the film itself, this is a re-master and I see from the other reviews here one not everyone is a fan of. It's true that it's contrasty, and it probably goes too far in places, but there is also a lot of detail revealed which wasn't there before. With Peckinpah long since departed we'll never know how he would have approached a re-master, but for me it was acceptable for the most part given the age and rather flat and uninteresting cinematography of the film.

If you've never seem Straw Dogs I'd recommend it, although can't help but feel it's fame is mostly due to it being banned for so many years. If you've seen it before and want to revisit it, this BD is a mixed package which is difficult to get too excited over.


Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-16