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Reviews Written by
David Precious (Stevenage, Herts, UK)
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   

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AVANTEK Bluetooth 4.0 Stereo Headphones Wireless Headset [30m / 100ft Wireless Range, 24-Hour Playtime & Built-In Mic for Hands-Free Calling]
AVANTEK Bluetooth 4.0 Stereo Headphones Wireless Headset [30m / 100ft Wireless Range, 24-Hour Playtime & Built-In Mic for Hands-Free Calling]

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Decent sounding, comfortable Bluetooth headphones with good battery life!, 21 Dec. 2014
These are a nice pair of Bluetooth headphones.

These were very easy to start using - I didn't need to refer to the instructions at all. The voice prompts are very slick and helpful, letting you know exactly what the device is doing - "Power on", "Power off", "Connected", "Ready to pair, PIN is 0000" etc. Pairing with a device consists of, from a powered-off state, holding the power button in for several seconds - the unit will first announce "power on", then announce that it's ready to pair, and the default PIN is 0000 - exactly what I expected would work, and it did, so full marks for intuitiveness.

I've tested these with my Samsung S4 phone, my Lenovo Yoga tablet, and my Linux-powered laptop via a cheap USB Bluetooth adaptor. Paired easily with all three, and worked great with the phone and tablet; on the laptop I had some issues where sometimes I could only get them to use a HSP/HFP profile (the low-quality "headset protocol"), which, as expected, sounds awful (no fault of the device, it's a limitation of that profile), and couldn't always get them to use the more modern A2DP profile which offers proper sound quality. This, though, I think is an issue with the Pulseaudio sound system on my laptop, as opposed to with the headset. Connecting to my phone and tablet Just Worked as you'd expect it to, and sound quality was good - bass was perfectly adequate for the variety of music styles I tried, without being either too weak or too overwhelming.

When turned back on, the headset automatically reconnected to the previously-used Bluetooth device with no intervention required. I was able to reconnect them to another previously paired device by disconnecting them from the device they auto-connected to (or just turning off Bluetooth on it), then going to the devices list on the other (previously-paired) device, and selecting "connect" for the headset - at which point the connection was re-established without the need to put the headphones back into pairing mode.

The control buttons are on the bottom of each ear cup - power on and vol up/down on the left, and skip prev, play/pause and skip next, on the right. The rear of the left cup also sports a 3.5mm audio input for use with the supplied cable, to connect to devices that don't support Bluetooth; this works passively with the headset turned off.

The back of the right cup sports a Micro USB charging socket, which is good - most small devices are standardising on this, so I always want new devices to use it rather than having a myriad of incompatible proprietary chargers.

The microphone is on the front of the left cup - as it's not a boom the sound quality won't be fantastic, but having used it on hands-free calls, the other party said the sound was clear enough. One slight omission is a mute button - on my Logitech G930 headset I find it very handy having a large, easy-to-to-find mute button on the side of the cup to mute/unmute the mic as desired. However, the intended usage of this headset is more listening to music and normal phone calls, rather than gaming and conference calls as I use my G930 for, so it's unlikely to cause many problems.

I find the headset *slightly* small, but I have a big head with quite large ears, and it's still comfortable - just not quite as comfortable as my Logitech G930 headset, or my Sennheiser RS140 wireless headphones - but both of those are larger in themselves and less portable, so it's a fair tradeoff!

Note: I was supplied the product in order for a fair and honest review.


Kerbl Cat House Toskana, 58 x 58 x 76 cm
Kerbl Cat House Toskana, 58 x 58 x 76 cm
Price: £84.35

5.0 out of 5 stars Easy assembly, well built, but damn cat ignores it, 13 Dec. 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
All the parts go together fairly easily, the instructions are clear, and the majority of it was easy to put together - hampered only slightly by my desire to just throw it together without following the instructions properly, much to the chagrin of my wife, who had that smug look when I'd missed a step and had to undo part of the assembly I'd done to complete the missed part. Most parts go together in an obvious way, with guide pieces where required to make sure parts line up.

The roof was a bit trickier, getting the panels to line up with each other and the centre part properly was reasonably tricky. Also, the roof is covered in a gritted bitumen - and the grit comes off easily, so I recommend assembling outdoors, or having a hoover at the ready! Also, don't over-tighten the centre bolt through the middle of the roof - it's easy to rip out the "socket" that the bolt goes into from the (soft) wood - so don't be heavy-handed.

All assembled, it's sturdy and looks like it should last.

Unfortunately, the cat has ignored it and resisted various bribes to make use of it - but the fault there lies with my cat, not the product, so I find it hard to deduct any stars for that.


Vktech 5pcs DS18b20 Waterproof Temperature Sensors Temperature Transducer
Vktech 5pcs DS18b20 Waterproof Temperature Sensors Temperature Transducer
Offered by vktech-HK
Price: £6.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Easy, pre-wired and weatherproof, 9 Dec. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Effective, pre-wired sensors. Sure, you could buy some DS18B20's, some wire and some heat-shrink tubing and make your own fairly easily, but these are well made and ready to use.

I've got a couple outside in my garden (in all weathers) hooked up to a Raspberry Pi in the shed, and they've been operating flawlessly so far.


Outdoortips 10 x Microfiber Cleaning Cloths - Ideal for Cleaning Camera Lens Glasses Cloths
Outdoortips 10 x Microfiber Cleaning Cloths - Ideal for Cleaning Camera Lens Glasses Cloths
Offered by Tinxs
Price: £2.29

5.0 out of 5 stars Cheap, thin but effective., 9 Dec. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Cheap but effective - they're only thin, but clean my glasses much better than the freebie one Specsavers gave me with them, and also great on camera lenses.

At this price they're pretty much disposable, but you can run them through the washing machine instead if you prefer (although perhaps better to wash without fabric conditioner).


Scotch C10 Desk Tape Dispenser -  Black - 25 mm to 75 mm Tape Core Up to 25 mm Wide
Scotch C10 Desk Tape Dispenser - Black - 25 mm to 75 mm Tape Core Up to 25 mm Wide
Price: £11.34

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Make your present-wrapping easy!, 9 Dec. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Solid, perfectly-weighted to stay in place, and a super-sharp blade which cuts through the tape effortlessly, making dispensing the required amount of tape one-handed whilst holding wrapping paper in place with the other hand trivial.


Seagate ST4000VN000 4TB NAS HDD SATA III 3.5 inch Internal Hard Disk Drive for 1- to 8-Bay NAS Systems
Seagate ST4000VN000 4TB NAS HDD SATA III 3.5 inch Internal Hard Disk Drive for 1- to 8-Bay NAS Systems
Price: £119.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Oodles of space, should last well (but still back up!), 9 Dec. 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
As this is a NAS-designated drive, it has been designed for 24x7 operation in NAS (network-attached storage) and server environments, rather than typical (cheaper) desktop-class drives which are not designed to be left running 24x7. As a drive designed for longevity, the 3 year warranty is welcome.

However, obviously you still need to back up your data!

Despite the NAS-class designation, it is of course a standard SATA interface, so it'll work just fine in a normal PC too, it's not compatible only with NAS devices.

I've used plenty of Seagate drives in the past, and tend to get good reliability from them.

Be aware that, as it's > 2TB, you'll need to partition using GPT (GUID Partition Table) rather then the older and more common MBR, otherwise you won't be able to use all the space. I've found this somewhat tricky converting an old 1TB software RAID-1 array in Linux.

I haven't yet performed any disk performance benchmarks with this drive (will try to do so and update this review with my findings) - but I don't consider that particularly important as, in their intended area of operation, the network connection will be the bottleneck long before the drive's performance will, so super-fast performance is far less important than long-term reliability.


Braun Thermoscan IRT 3020 Compact Ear Thermometer
Braun Thermoscan IRT 3020 Compact Ear Thermometer
Price: £22.27

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A quick, easy way to get an accurate reading, 9 Dec. 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Works effectively. The temperature reading is obtained very quickly. I find this type of thermometer a godsend for my little boy - so much easier than traditional thermometers to quickly get a reading, even if he's fussing and won't stay still. Like the other one I was using previously, a Tommee Tippee one, it says it will sound an audible alert if the temperature is within fever range - luckily I haven't had the ability to test that, though!

Taking repeated readings one after another shows the readings tend to be identical or close to each other, which is reassuring.

One thing to be aware of: the unit will not even work without one of the disposable protective "lens filters" (plastic disposable "caps" which fit over the end of the device for hygiene) fitted - so make sure you put one on. Braun say you should use a new one for every reading, but as I see it, if you're using the device for one person only (e.g. your only child), then it doesn't hurt to leave one cap on for a while and use it for multiple readings - unless of course you suspect an ear infection).


Clippasafe Bath Toy Bag - White
Clippasafe Bath Toy Bag - White
Price: £4.49

4.0 out of 5 stars Good netting bag, but replace the suction cups, 4 Nov. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
It's a netting bag that sticks to the wall and holds bath toys - not a whole lot to say really :) The bag itself is decent and has survived so far with no fraying or anything, but the provided suction cups don't stick very well at all - replace them with a couple of the lever- type ones that do stick and it stays up no trouble, even with lots of toys in.


Hedstrom 2-in-1 Swing with 5 Point Harness
Hedstrom 2-in-1 Swing with 5 Point Harness
Price: £33.95

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Easy to assemble, solid so far, years of fun, 4 Nov. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Good swing, easily put together, and my son loves it. Looks like it should last him for a few years of fun, being converted to a normal swing when he outgrows the baby seat.

It's sat outside in the British weather for nearly 6 months now, and it's still in perfect condition, no evidence of rust - the only visible weathering at all is the fairly bright orange paint of the top crossbar being bleached a bit by the sun.

Good purchase, I'm happy.


Kingavon BB-DC103 Security Keypad Alarm System
Kingavon BB-DC103 Security Keypad Alarm System
Price: £4.29

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Arrived defective, returned for refund, 4 Nov. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Arrived with wire to sensor unit not even connected - didn't even need to open the packaging to see that, it was clear from the outside. Returned for a full refund.

As I didn't get as far as opening the box, I can't comment on the operation of the unit, but I'm guessing the level of quality control that lets an item go out without the wiring connected probably doesn't lead to anything spectacular - but it was cheap, so if you get a non-defective one, it may be worth a punt! (I could probably have repaired the wiring easily enough, but I shouldn't need to be making repairs on a brand-new unopened product, I'd rather just send it back.


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