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Profile for Dr. Paul Ell > Reviews

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Reviews Written by
Dr. Paul Ell (NI, UK)
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BT Video Baby Monitor 7000
BT Video Baby Monitor 7000
Price: £114.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Advanced video baby monitor, 14 Feb. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Baby monitors have come a long way since the one-way sound monitoring systems! I guess the standout feature of this device is that you can see as well as hear a baby via a 3.5 inch screen. And it's not just a screen but a touch screen allowing the selection of various features on the monitor. It's all battery operated (though rechargeable batteries) so can be carried around, or indeed left permanently plugged in in a fixed location. The camera itself has to be plugged in all the time. The screen has a zoom and pan facility allowing you to zoom onto a baby with up to three times magnification and when magnified pan around. It should be noted however that the camera itself does not move, the zoom is achieved by magnifying the screen image. Quality deteriorates but is still good.

A whole load of other features come with the monitor. These include an ability to play lullabies and relaxing sounds, and an in-built night light controllable from the camera and monitor, a two way microphone so you your baby can hear your voice, and a room temperature monitor built-in to the camera.

Overall it's pretty good. However, if paying this sort of price I think I'd go for the top of the range BT Video Baby Monitor 7500 Lightshow. This has a camera which actually pans remotely, a charging stand to place the monitor on (better than messing around with plugging in a mico-USB charger every time with the BT 7000), and has a built in light show on the camera.

Overall both products are very good and I'd recommend them


Vileda WindoMatic Window Vacuum Cleaner (UK version)
Vileda WindoMatic Window Vacuum Cleaner (UK version)
Price: £29.99

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Better than the competition but needs some accessories, 14 Feb. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Vileda are a new entrant into the window vacuum-cleaner market. All work on the same principal - you clean the window and then suck off residue water using the vacuum cleaner. The major problem I have with this approach is that you still have to clean the window. The vacuum is not a window cleaner, it avoids the need for you to buff the window after you've cleaned it.

Accepting this the Vileda vacuum works very well. It its lightweight, has a battery life which will outlast any urge you might have to clean windows, and the water reservoir is plenty large enough to suck up all the dirty water on your windows. It terms of the competition, what's unique about the Vileda is its flexible head. This means it is difficult to provide too much pressure when vacuuming the window. I've used a Karcher window vacuum in the past and the squeegee head was always detaching due to too much pressure trying to maintain a sealed contact with the window. In addition the flexible head makes it easier to maintain contact at the bottom of a window close to a windowsill. In use, overall the Vileda removes water without streaks.

So why only four stars. Well first, that as I've noted with all of these vacuums you still have to clean the window. As such it's not a major time saver. It should be noted that if you just want to remove condensation from windows though this is an excellent product. Second, the Kärcher WV60 Window Vac - Window Cleaning Vacuum Kit comes with useful accessories. First a squeegee to actually clean the windows, and second, another size of vacuum head which makes it easier to clean small windows. Videda need to produce these accessories. With these additional products I'd favour the Vileda.


FRiEQ® 2-in-1 Universal Stylus and Ballpoint Pens - Multi-function accessories for Tablet/Cell Phone Touch Screen including iPad Air, iPhone 4/5/6, Samsung Galaxy Tab, and Other Electronic Devices
FRiEQ® 2-in-1 Universal Stylus and Ballpoint Pens - Multi-function accessories for Tablet/Cell Phone Touch Screen including iPad Air, iPhone 4/5/6, Samsung Galaxy Tab, and Other Electronic Devices
Offered by T.M. Enterprise
Price: £24.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars How to avoid touch screen fingermarks, 8 Feb. 2015
This is a very useful combination pen and screen stylus for use with smartphones or tablets. It has a high build quality and works as expected. This is a good alternative using fingers to operate a smart device allowing for more precise selection of items on the screen and, critically, the avoidance of finger marks.

Overall recommended.

The manufacturer provided this item in return for an independent review.


Lavolta RapidPower USB Power Center Multicharger - 2x UK Sockets - 4x USB Ports
Lavolta RapidPower USB Power Center Multicharger - 2x UK Sockets - 4x USB Ports

3.0 out of 5 stars Solidly built and useful combination power centre but let down by safety concerns., 8 Feb. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I received this item free of charge in return for an independent review. The unit is a sensible combination of 4 USB charger ports and two UK plug sockets. As a result of including plus as well as ports it's a bit larger than a stand alone USB charger. In return though there is of course additional functionality. I've used the two plugs to power the computer and printer. This means that one power socket powers your computer, an accessory and the USB charger whereas three might usually be used.

The power centre appears to be well made. It looks like a quality design and while largish is fairly lightweight. In use it does not get excessively hot and has worked without a problem. Usefully the power centre has an on/off switch built in so it's not necessary to turn it off at the wall.

Of course you'll see that other reviewers have pointed out that the power centre lacks safety covers over the live and neutral plug inputs. Uf this hadn't be pointed out I wouldn't have noticed and I would have given the item a five star grading. I have no children who are likely to be at risk due to the lack of covers and will continue to use the device. Unfortunately however, as things stand, this useful combination charger can't be sold in the UK.


Teach Yourself Visually iPad: Covers iOS 8 and All Models of iPad, iPad Air, and iPad Mini (Teach Yourself VISUALLY (Tech))
Teach Yourself Visually iPad: Covers iOS 8 and All Models of iPad, iPad Air, and iPad Mini (Teach Yourself VISUALLY (Tech))
by Guy Hart-Davis
Edition: Paperback
Price: £17.94

4.0 out of 5 stars Accessible extensive guide, 31 Jan. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Most books which aim to teach through illustrations as this book does tend to be introductory texts. Not so this iPad manual. Yes, extensive use is made of illustrations, lmost exclusively screen shots, but the manual is not restricted to basic use of the iPad. Yes, it will be useful as an introduction to using an iPad. It includes a section on the iPad and iPad Mini introducing the controls and features. It features many basic elements of setting up either version of an iPad up. But also more advanced features are included, such as fine tuning different e-mail systems, setting up a VPN system as more.

I may not be the target audience for this book. I'm fairly ICT literate and tend not to read computer manuals even when provided by that manufacturer, I can imagine the bewilderment for some of buying an iPad with Apple's two page instruction book! This manual provides the basic guidance plus advanced features. It's something Ill refer to for particular issues.

A manual like this is intrinsically linked to the iPad operating system iOS 8 so make sure you get the manual which refers to the system you're running. More importably don't buy an older edition of the book. Overall, the manual works well. The text supported by screenshots is accessible, but goes well beyond a basic introduction.


Hornby R1167 Flying Scotsman 00 Gauge Electric Train Set
Hornby R1167 Flying Scotsman 00 Gauge Electric Train Set
Offered by Lextrix
Price: £117.50

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent value famous loco train set from Hornby, 25 Jan. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is an excellent mid to high level starter kit from Hornby. The voice of locomotive - the Flying Scotsman here in LNER leverage - should appeal so someone with only limited interest in model railways. Included with the locomotive and tender are four wagons, a track mart, a basic analogue controller, a loop of track with a few straight pieces and a point and a buffer. All in all everything that's needed to get started with model trains!

The carriages are not overly detailed and to be honest I'm not terribly keen on the LNER teak livery. The engine is of higher quality although it's a Railroad version meaning that it's not as detailed, or as fragile, as higher end locos. The loco is 'digital ready' which means that it can be adapted to work with Hornby's recent digital control system which allows for multiple trains to be running on the same track. I've reviewed that elsewhere on Amazon and found some problems with the system. There is no doubt though that it is the future of model railways and it would not be sensible to buy any locomotives which could not at least be adapted to the new system. In essence there has to be sufficient space in the model to fit a microchip.

Hornby suggest that there trainsets are suitable for children aged three and above. I think that's optimistic or, at the very least, a child will require close supervision. Hornby sell smaller sets that are more robust that I think would serve better. In particular the track takes up a fair bit of space but is also quite difficult to assemble. Ideally it will go onto a baseboard permanently. For a small child I think all this is a bit much. More positively by buying track packs and building packs it's quite easy to get a good small model railway set up.

Check out my reviews of the Hornby R1138 GWR Passenger Freight Train Set and the Hornby The Majestic With E-Link DCC Train Set to get an idea of strengths of other sets plus the overall excellent quality of Hornby.

Overall all the fun of a train set, and the Flying Scotsman as well - for a fair price. Five stars.

Note: Other reviewers have reported on issues with the connector between the engine and tender. The design is curious but I have not experienced a problem with it. If I do I'll update the review.


Finish All-in-One Max Dishwasher Tablets - Lemon, Pack of 1 (Total 74 Tablets)
Finish All-in-One Max Dishwasher Tablets - Lemon, Pack of 1 (Total 74 Tablets)
Price: £10.00

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finish's best, 25 Jan. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
A large pack of Finish dishwasher tablets which at time of supply from Amazon were very competitively priced. Finish tablets are my dishwasher tablets of choice and I particularly like this version because of the lemon smell and the fact that they are supposed to damage glassware to a lesser extent than others. That's a difficult claim to test as I've only used these tablets for a few washes but I'll try to report back on this. Being lazy I have the habit of putting leaded crystal glasses in the dishwasher and they definitely cloud over time. I will be able to say whether these tablets do better.

In addition to these features the tablets are also wrapper-free. Simply pick one out of the sealed pack with dry hands and place it in the tablet container. Even better for lazy people!

Overall, if available at a good price, these are the tablets I'll buy. Five stars.


Finish Quantum Original 2 x Pack of 30 (60 Dishwasher Tablets)
Finish Quantum Original 2 x Pack of 30 (60 Dishwasher Tablets)
Price: £12.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Fine, if costly, 24 Jan. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
A large pack of Finish dishwasher tablets so there's some saving for buying in bulk but they are still rather costly. I think it might be best to keep an eye out for occasional discounts in supermarkets.

Overall I tend to buy Finish dishwasher tablets despite the premium price. I think I normally buy one of the other iterations of the Quantum brand - the fact that these are described as 'Original' is indicative of how many product variants there are. A distinct advantage of the tablets is that they are not wrapped and so simply need to be placed in the tablet dispenser in the dishwasher. Though as a result of this the tablets need to be sealed in storage and you shouldn't handle them with wet hands.

As to their cleaning quality, well they work fine. I seem to recall though that they did not perform as some other brands in a Which? survey. Worth a try though if you haven't used them before.


McAfee Internet Security 2015 - 1 PC (PC) [Frustration-Free Packaging]-access code
McAfee Internet Security 2015 - 1 PC (PC) [Frustration-Free Packaging]-access code

1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars McAfee for 2015, 30 Dec. 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
It's that time of year again - to update your anti-virus software. The disc installed with no problem - although with the growing number of DVD-less PCs it would have been good to have an option to upload and register the software via download. All the standard features plus with this Internet security version there are additional features such as the ability to restrict by time internet access, cookie controls and remote firewall monitoring.

I regard this sort of software as essential and annual renewal a necessary evil. However I wish I could just buy the software on a perpetual licence rather than having to buy again every year so one star dropped for that.


iShoot PL-MIC02 Professional DSLR DV External Stereo Microphone
iShoot PL-MIC02 Professional DSLR DV External Stereo Microphone
Price: £28.99

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good external microphone for video work, 30 Dec. 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
An inexpensive external microphone designed for digital SLR cameras. I've a Sony DSLR and while the built in microphone is pretty good for use indoors I've found a real problem with wind noise. I'd hoped that this microphone would, as it claims, help to mitigate this issue. Having tried it over Christmas in a range of outdoor environments, some quite windy, it performs very well limiting, and in calmer weather, eliminating the background wind roar.

The microphone is fairly light-weight but seems to have a strong construction. It comes with a bracket to attach to the camera via a flash mount. It's directional and improves the sound from the direction you're directing the camera. Also at this price point it's very good value for money. Note that you'll need a standard 3.5mm microphone input to use the microphone.

Why not five stars instead of four, well a AA battery it needed. It's a shame this isn't included


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