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Dr. Paul Ell (NI, UK)
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AmazonBasics DVI to HDMI Adapter Cable - 15 Feet (Latest Standard)
AmazonBasics DVI to HDMI Adapter Cable - 15 Feet (Latest Standard)

2.0 out of 5 stars Very bulky which limits its use, 12 Dec. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a solidly constructed DVI/HDMI 2.0 cable which is good value for money bearing in mind its length. However, I'm not entirely sure that it would suit many users. I wanted a cable I could carry to conferences to link my laptop to data projectors. I thought the length of the cable would cope with any circumstances. But, I'm afraid, that cable is far too bulky to carry around. The cable is around 10mm thick and inflexible. It's also really too think to be perminantly installed across a room - this is not a cable that you can hide! So for temporary use it doesn't work, nor for perminant use unless you're going to imbed it in a wall. So two stars I'm afraid. It's probably because of the length, and the consequent degradation of the digital signal, that the cable is so thick, but as noted, it doesn't really work.


PayPal Here Contactless and Chip&pin Card Reader
PayPal Here Contactless and Chip&pin Card Reader
Price: £79.95

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent solution for individuals wishing to take credit card payments, 8 Dec. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This product will be very useful for individuals who want to credit their PayPal account with credit card payments. So if you're selling products online or even want to take payments from friends, this card reader will do the job for you. I tested the associated app with an Apple Tablet and it works fine. The only thing to consider is that there is a 2.75% transaction charge of, like me, you're unlikely to use this means of payment frequently. But as a way to take credit card payments it's pretty impressive.

If you need to take small numbers of credit card payments, this is for you, 5 stars.


V-MODA ZN In-Ear Modern Audiophile Headphones with 3 Button Remote and Microphone
V-MODA ZN In-Ear Modern Audiophile Headphones with 3 Button Remote and Microphone
Price: £149.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Far better than the standard Apple earphones that come with their products, 3 Dec. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I'm not a particular audiophile but have a new iPhone 6S and iPad Pro and was keen to test out some lightweight earphones rather than dragging around my Bose over ear set.

The first thing that strikes you when you receive these earphones is the Quality of the packaging. It really is absolutely wonderful! In addition to the fine packing, you get headphones, A small carry bag, various silicon fittings to fit your ear, sport ear hooks and a shirt clip.

The manufacturer claims the headphones are specifically designed for Apple products. I'm not quite sure what this results in but they seem to work well with my phone and tablet. The sound is noticeably richer than you get as a result of using the standard Apple earphones.

Overall they work well and are extremely compact and unobtrusive. Exactly what I was looking for. The only downside is the relatively high price.


Logitech Harmony Elite
Logitech Harmony Elite
Price: £279.95

4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 29 Nov. 2015
This review is from: Logitech Harmony Elite (Accessory)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is, as of November 2015, the top of the range logitech remote control handset. It supersedes the Logitech Harmony Ultimate Remote Control.

What you get with this remote is a wifi base station, the handset, a dock for the handset that also charges it, and a couple of infrared extension cables which can be placed in AV cabinets so that the signal reaches equipment there. To set the system up you will need a computer or a tablet or smart phone. The tablet/phone app works with both Android and iOS effectively turning a phone into an additional remote control.

With all these remotes, set up is a bit of a pain. Logitech make is as straight-forward as possible by including a vast library of pre-coded devices, some 27,000 devices from 6,000 manufacturers. You will be very unlucky indeed if your audio-video equipment is not included! If, by some chance, you have a device that is not in that database, you can train the handset to recognise it by using the device remote to teach the new handset. But nonetheless be prepared to spend a few hours setting the system up, and further time fine-tuning it. This Elite handset will replace 15 remote controls so there's potential to add many functions. I have mine controlling a robotic vacuum cleaner, a Dyson fan, and several Bose radios. Whilst setting up individual devices is OK more problematic is getting, what would have been different remotes, to work in harmony. Logitech call these 'activities' so, for example, 'Watch a Film' turning on a blu-ray player, a TV, a surround sound system and dim Hue lights. All doable to it takes time to programme all this.

On Hue lights, this is one of the enhancements featured in the latest handset. More home automation devices can be programmed using the remote and there now decimated buttons for the Philips Hue White and Colour Ambience Wireless Lighting LED Starter Kit, Includes 3 x 9 W E27 Edison Screw Bulbs, 1 x Hue Bridge 2.0, 1 x Power Adapter (Apple HomeKit Enabled) for example. Other improvements include a much better, and I guess higher resolution LCD screen, and rechargeable batteries which can be replace. For the last generation of top handsets batteries were not removable to a dead battery meant a dead remote. You can now also turn your TV off an on anywhere in the world thanks to the app. I'm not sure why you'd want to turn a TV on from thousands of miles away but perhaps as a security measure to make the house look occupied. Adding more complexity the system will work as part of the 'internet of things' where large numbers of electronic and electric products will be contact - an oven, a heating system etc - which would allow you to turn the TV on if poor weather was forecast for instance so you can watch a weather report. This is where some programming skills comes in useful.

So all good, but I'm holding back on five stars. For the price I don't think this remote is a significant upgrade from the Ultimate model. If you have an Ultimate I would not replace it with the new handset. If you don't though, you won't find a more powerful system to integrate multiple remotes.


Neato Robotics Botvac Wi-Fi Enabled Robot Vacuum Cleaner, 0.7 Litre, 43 W, Black/Silver
Neato Robotics Botvac Wi-Fi Enabled Robot Vacuum Cleaner, 0.7 Litre, 43 W, Black/Silver
Price: £549.99

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good but prefers square uncluttered rooms, 29 Nov. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I'm something of a fan of robotic vacuum cleaners following my purchase of a iRobot Roomba vacuum cleaner about 10 years ago when they were only available in the US and the robot filled my suitcase on my way back from Chicago. Early Roomba's tended to be a little unreliable and I think I personally imported two or three versions from the US. Now Roomba's are available in the UK and I've stuck with them including iRobot ROOMBA880 Vacuum Cleaning Robot which is the latest UK model. So as a Roomba fan I was keen to try the Neato robot.

There are some significant differences between the Roomba and Neato robots. Roomba's are round not D shaped and they follow a fairly random cleaning pattern in a room being cleaned covering the same area multiple times. Cleaning a room can take half an hour - not a problem as it's a robot. The Neato uses different technology. It uses laser scanning technology to map out the room dimensions and then follows a regular cleaning pattern to vacuum the room - it's moves a bit like someone mowing a lawn who wants classic stripes in the grass.

There are several advantages to this approach. Because the Neato covers the floor only once it is far faster than a Roomba. This latest model has very powerful suction which means a single pass is sufficient for picking up most dirt. The latest Which? review of robotic vacuums suggests that the Neato picks up dirt better, but only just, compared to a Roomba. Also Neato should cover all areas of the room in theory.

In practice though I found that a Roomba, following it's random vacuum pattern, in which it tries to work out room dimensions by following walls, and senses objects in its way, covers all parts of a cluttered room. The Neato tends to give up if you're cleaning a dining room for example, in areas where chair and table legs get in the way. It avoids these areas, a Roomba battles on. I also found the interface with the Neato troublesome. There is a fairly small LCD display on the robot with selector buttons and text options. It is very fiddly and difficult to read. Compared to that Roomba only has two or three buttons so you don't have to grovel on the floor choosing cleaning options. The Neato is also a lot noisier but I supposed that this is mitigated the fact that it is faster.

There are a number of good points for Neato though. Most markedly, this new high-end Neato connects to a home wifi system and has an Android and iOS app. Now the app is currently a bit limited - it shows you the robot's battery charge levels, allows you to start and pause cleaning, will tell you if the robot is stuck, and will tell you when it's finished - via a text message. It won't allow you to stop cleaning and get the vacuum to return to base though, or if it encounters a problem what that problem is. Nonetheless the app is easy to use and there is a certain delight in lying in bed in the morning and telling the vacuum to start no matter where it is in the house. In fact you can tell the vacuum to begin cleaning from anywhere in the world! So Neato allows you to vacuum from Sydney! Top end Roomba's come with a basic infrared remote control but they are pretty useless. With the small display on the Neato I found that using the app to control the robot was by far the best way to use it. In addition Neato was a little reluctant to return accurately to its charging base - it finds it my laser mapping whereas a Roomba uses an infrared guide signal to help with docking. The Neato was also, very frustratingly, difficult to persuade to charge on the dock.

Smallish issues for Neato with additional positives including a large waste collection hopper, the replacement of brushes with rubberised brushes which are meant to reduce tangles with cables etc, and the D shape which does allow the Neato to reach into corners. The laser mapping and wifi features are the future for robotic vacuum cleaners. The 900 series Roomba's, not yet available in the UK, feature both.

I think everyone should invest in a robotic vacuum cleaner. They do a good job and you'll need to use a standard vacuum cleaner very rarely indeed. The ability to clean under furniture means they clean more areas than possible with an upright vacuum cleaner. And you'll find you use a robot vacuum almost daily to stay on top of dirty floors.

Which is better, Roomba or Neato. Well the wifi and laser mapping features are great with Neato and the Neato is my preference for regular rooms without clutter or too much furniture. For other situations I'll stick with Roomba. So I now have two robots, one on the ground floor and one on the first.

Some general riders with any robotic vacuum cleaner - they don't do stairs! But do have sensors to stop them falling down the stairs; they require regular cleaning to make sure the sensors are not covered by dust; they have smallish waste collection bins so need emptying frequently; they all return to their charging base so can recharge between, and even during, cleaning; almost all will clean to a schedule you can set; and you can expect to have to replace the battery eventually (although the Neato uses a lithium ion battery which should last for a long time).


Logitech Harmony Companion
Logitech Harmony Companion
Price: £119.95

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A LCD screen is really needed to make this package work, 28 Nov. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The latest iteration of the Logitech Harmony remote control handset range. Logitech really does dominate the market of multi-function remotes that allow individual remotes to be replaced with a single one. This is the latest version in the sense that it now controls a greater range of home automation devices - such as Philips Hue White and Colour Ambience Wireless Lighting LED Starter Kit, Includes 3 x 9 W E27 Edison Screw Bulbs, 1 x Hue Bridge 2.0, 1 x Power Adapter (Apple HomeKit Enabled) and has additional functionality that the lights can be controlled by voice commands.

What you get with this remote is a wifi base station and the handset. To set the system up you will need a computer or a tablet or smart phone. I'd suggest that this remote package is only worth going for if you have a suitable smartphone or tablet to use as the packaged handset is relatively basic - most notably lacking an LCD screen that other models have.

With all these remotes, set up is a bit of a pain. Logitech make is as straight-forward as possible by including a vast library of pre-coded devices, some 27,000 devices from 6,000 manufacturers. You will be very unlucky indeed if your audio-video equipment is not included! If, by some remote chance, you have a device that is not in that database, you can train the handset to recognise it by using the device remote to teach the new handset. But nonetheless be prepared to spend a few hours setting the system up, and further time fine-tuning it. This is especially the case when setting out activities - for example 'Watch a Film' turning on a blu-ray player, a TV, a surround sound system and dim Hue lights. All doable to it takes time to programme all this.

The big problem with the handset is that it does not have an LCD screen which most other high-end Logitech remotes do have. The advantage of an LCD screen is that, as with a phone display, the screen and functionality can change depending on the device you're using. You also know if you press a button which device you'll be controlling. All this is lost with a remote without the screen.

I think for this specific package, it's a real problem. I like Logitech remotes, and have used a Logitech Harmony Ultimate Remote Control replacing all my other remotes. But that has a colour screen. The fact that this version lacks that is a show stopper. So only 3 stars I'm afraid.


Sony a77 ii APS-C Interchangeable Lens Camera Body (24.3 MP APS-C Exmor CMOS Sensor, BIONZ X Engine) 3-inch LCD - Black
Sony a77 ii APS-C Interchangeable Lens Camera Body (24.3 MP APS-C Exmor CMOS Sensor, BIONZ X Engine) 3-inch LCD - Black
Offered by DB Technology srl
Price: £725.78

5.0 out of 5 stars Significant improvement, 17 Nov. 2015
A very impressive upgrade on my old Sony Alpha camera and I think this model is actually cheaper thanks to Amazon's competitive pricing. Matching camera settings and comparing photos using the old camera with exactly the same lens and the new camera the images seem even crisper and colour capture better. So, to date, I'm very pleased with this model


Sony KD-55X8005C 55 inch 4K UHD Widescreen Smart TV with Freeview - Black
Sony KD-55X8005C 55 inch 4K UHD Widescreen Smart TV with Freeview - Black
Price: £779.00

3 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cost effective 'entry level' UHD TV with a brilliant picture, 17 Nov. 2015
A brilliant TV for the money. The picture is outstanding and linked to my Neflix subscription for UHD content (and thanks to a fast internet connection) the quality is excellent. I much prefer the Android backdrop to the interface rather than Sony's interface in 2014 models. The recent inclusion of Channel 4 and ITV catch up services is an additional bonus although I tend to use the iPlayer most.

The TV is perhaps not quite as elegant as some of the more expensive Sony models, and for UHD I would have preferred a larger screen, but then the cost tends to increase exponentially.

Without doubt a five star product.


Apple Watch For Dummies
Apple Watch For Dummies
by Marc Saltzman
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.60

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Out of date, 13 Nov. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This book really fails to add much beyond Apple's own detailed online manual. A major problem is that the book refers to the original version of the watchOS 1.0 whereas the current version is 2.0.1. Apple manage to more or less keep up with software changes via their online manual. Unfortunately the Dummies book doesn't. I'm more sure it was entirely sensible for Dummies to produce the Apple Watch book when Apple made clear that a new version of the software was on its way.

In other regards you might pick up the odd tip from dipping into the book but if you're an early adopted of new technology, as most Apple Watch buyers are likely to be, you'll find out little new. The book spends too much time on setting the watch up whereas a lot of topics covered are superficial. There's only a few pages on dealing with emails for example, and most of this is incorrect as emails are far more comprehensively handled in the latest watchOS software. And an awful lot of what you can so with the watch is intuitive.

The book might be more valuable if you're a technophobe but if you are you probably haven't purchased an Apple watch, and if you have, you probably don't want to read a book on how to use it. In any event I'd use Apple's online help. So One star.


Apple Watch Band 42mm Sliver, BRG® Magnetic Milanese Loop Stainless Steel Bracelet Strap Replacement Wrist Band for Apple Watch Strap Sport & Edition 42mm Sliver
Apple Watch Band 42mm Sliver, BRG® Magnetic Milanese Loop Stainless Steel Bracelet Strap Replacement Wrist Band for Apple Watch Strap Sport & Edition 42mm Sliver
Offered by BRG Tech UK
Price: £20.50

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding replacement Apple Watch strap, 10 Nov. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought the 42mm Apple Watch (the mid-range model as opposed to the 'cheaper' Watch Sport and the very expensive Watch Edition) in mirror finished stainless steel. To try and keep the cost to something like a reasonable level I purchased the watch with a black plastic (or as Apple call it a fluoroelastomer) strap. This is OK but I wanted to try out different straps with the watch. Apple prices are incredibly expensive - a leather strap is £129 and a Milanese Loop strap costs the same. Arguably the Loop strap is better value but it's still a hefty charge for a watch strap!

I was delighted therefore to be given the opportunity to provide an impartial review of BRG's version of this style of strap. The strap comes well packaged in a card box and an inner plastic sleeve holding the strap in place. I haven't held the Apple strap but comparing photos of it it appears to be exactly the same as the BRG version. The strap comes with the standard Apple watch strap release button so easily slides out of the housing on the watch making it very easy to change straps and secure them in place. The strap itself is more secure than I first anticipated. I thought the strap came in two parts as with a leather strap. In fact it's a single large metal loop which is tightened using the magnetic clasp. As a result the watch is very secure indeed. The magnet for tightening the strap is fully adjustable and very strong. The strap would fit any wrist size.

I've got the silver version of the strap which matches the casing of the Watch. Make sure you select the correct strap for your watch size - either 38mm or 42mm.

A watch screen protector and fixing kit is also included in the pack.

At this price point I can't find anything to fault with the strap, so 5 stars.


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