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Dr. Paul Ell (NI, UK)

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Super Legend E27 Edison Screw 7 Watt LED Super Smart App Controlled Bluetooth Light Bulb, Warm White
Super Legend E27 Edison Screw 7 Watt LED Super Smart App Controlled Bluetooth Light Bulb, Warm White
Price: £24.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Significant problems initially getting it to work, but good performance afterwards, 15 July 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
In essence this is a much cheaper version of the Philips hue Personal Wireless Lighting Starter Kit (3 x A19 E27 LED Light Bulbs, 1 Bridge). The bulb is operated using either an iOS or Android App which is suitable for either a tablet or smartphone. This is linked to the bulb using a Bluetooth connection. The app has good functionality - you can set the bulb to a very wide variety of colours, adjust those colours, and set the bulb to turn on and off at set times. As mentioned it's also a fraction of the Hue cost.

So why only three stars? Well I experienced very significant problems in getting the bulb to work with the Apps - and I used both iOS and Android versions. Whilst the app would detect the bulb it would not form a Bluetooth link with it. And consequently the apps would not control the bulb.. The manufacturer advises turn the bulb off for five minutes and go through the set up procedure again. This I did to no effect. Eventually, and I'm not quite sure how, I got an Android phone with the app to work. I have not played around with other devices since then! Had this not been a Vine review I'd probably have given up and sent the item back as faulty.

In operation, assuming the app is set up and working, as I've noted it has good functionality. Note though that as this is a Bluetooth system you need to be in range to use it - perhaps up to four metres. Nor can the bulb can be controlled away from your house as with the Hue system as it's not WiFi based. As more minor issue is that it uses a European screw fitting so you'll need a compatible lights fitting or adapter.

Update September 2014: Well I've now been using the bulb for a couple of months as a porch light which is set to come on at 8pm and go off at 11. This has worked very well even when, on a couple of occasions the light switch has been turned off and I've had to reset the programming using the App. I'm currently using white light settings but might use a festive green at Christmas! To reflect the good performance to date I'm adding an extra star to my review. The set up issues seem a distance memory now so 4 stars.

Edwin Jagger DE89 Chrome Plated Double Edge Safety Razor
Edwin Jagger DE89 Chrome Plated Double Edge Safety Razor
Price: £21.28

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the best Edwin Jagger razor, 13 July 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I've owned a couple of Edwin Jagger razors in the past both have which have used proprietary triple plus blades. The admittedly much cheaper safety blades this razor takes makes me a little more nervous in use and I've had one or two cuts. That's all down to practice though. What I like less about the razor is its rather stubby form - the handle is very short. It also lacks grip and overall the razor is a bit lighter than I'd like.

Jagger make excellent razors. I'd be tempted to go for one with a mock ivory handle (they are far better than the sound!) with a built in stand. Then the razor can neatly be put on display as well. This one with no stand simply has to sit in a pool of water in a bathroom cabinet after use.

So good, yes, but Jagger do much much better.

Bose ® SoundLink ® Mini Bluetooth Speaker - SIlver
Bose ® SoundLink ® Mini Bluetooth Speaker - SIlver
Price: £169.95

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compact unit, big sound, 16 Jun 2014
For an ultra portable and compact speaker the sound quality is excellent. Add to that bluetooth that works both with Android and Apple systems and a good battery life and this is an outstanding piece of kit. Highly recommended, 5 stars.

No Title Available

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Set up problems, 7 Jun 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
An alternative to a 2.1 Sound Bar with separate sub-woofer from Sony in the form of a 'Sound Base' - a rectangular black box which your TV sits on. Built in to the Sound Base is a sub-woofer and dual speakers in a single unit.

Sony argue that the Sound Base offers a neater solution to improving TV sound compared to a Sound Bar with no need for a sub-woofer. This is certainly the case if you have space under your TV and don't mind the additional height placing it on the Sound Base results in. However, I was surprised at the overall size (and particularly the length) of the Sound Base at 72cm long, 31cm deep and, having less impact, just over 7cm high. It looks OK with a 42" TV but might look a little strange with a smaller set. I guess if you're buying a compact 2.1 system you need to chose where a sub-woofer is best-placed for you - in a unit under the TV or as a separate box.

Despite having one of the latests Sony TVs which should work with the Sound Base allowing both to be turned on and off using a single remote control and the Sound Base to work seamlessly with the TV BRAVIA Sync resolutely refused to work which means the separate Sound Base remote control has to be used which is a little inconvenient. Unfortunately, so far phone calls and e-mails to Sony Support have failed to resolve the issue.

Another option is to use your phone or tablet to control the Sound Base and, if you wish, output music on the phone to the Sound Base. I have a Sony Xperia Z1 phone and a Z2 Tablet. Both paired with the Sound Bar easily - helped by the NFC option built into the Sound Base which means you don't have to fiddle with the connection settings of your phone/tablet if that also has a Near Field Communication chip built-in - Sony like NFC technology at the moment. The phone-based remote is rather better than the block-like remote that comes with the Sound Base. Using the supplied remote to select sound options - such as night-playing which reduces base, or settings fro playing a film - can be slightly tedious using the Sony remote. Less so with the phone.

In terms of sound quality, well I think it's pretty good. If anything there's too much bass perhaps indicating that the sub-woofer in the Base is working very well indeed. Music sounds especially good and there are pre-set options for this as well as sport, movies, the nighttime setting mentioned above, clear audio to make voices easier to pick out and more. The settings are also adjustable. So the sound goes about as far as the constraints of the number of speakers allow.

Overall the Sound Base is an interesting and relatively new concept. The Bose ® Solo TV Sound System comes closest to offering the same functionality as Sony's offering. I'd certainly looks at this as well. I think the overall message is that you need a sub-wooffer somewhere in your sound system to get decent TV sound - it's really a question of where suits you best.

I would have given the system four stars (one dropped because to get surround sound you really need a 5.1 system, good as the sound is). However, the unit has more impact under the TV than I anticipated, and the lack of BRAVIA Sync is an annoyance, and a matter Sony should be able to resolve.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 4, 2014 12:56 AM BST

Bright LED BLUE - Light Ribbon Strip with Complete ready to use Kit - Quick and Easy installation - Includes 3A Transformer (adapter) , 1 Jumper (2 pin 15cm), and Dimmer. 16.4 Ft (5 Meter) Spool, 300 LEDs, SMD 3528, Flexible, Self-Adhesive Tape
Bright LED BLUE - Light Ribbon Strip with Complete ready to use Kit - Quick and Easy installation - Includes 3A Transformer (adapter) , 1 Jumper (2 pin 15cm), and Dimmer. 16.4 Ft (5 Meter) Spool, 300 LEDs, SMD 3528, Flexible, Self-Adhesive Tape
Offered by glow lighting

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inexpensive and effective, 25 May 2014
This kit includes a 5 metre flexible plastic strip with 600 blue LED lights embedded into it, a dimmer combined with on/off switch and a transformer with UK plug.

The LED strip is designed, in general, to be fitted under furniture, under kitchen wall units, perhaps in a dark alcove etc. Personally I've tried them under a 4 metre length of kitchen units to provide an interesting additional light feature. As the strip has self-adhesive tape on the reverse it's exceptionally easy to fix. Really no DIY skills are required. To make fitting still easier the strip can be cut to length without the lights all going out! Roughly every three LEDs along the strip there's a scissor symbol indicating where the strip can be cut. You end up with a light strip to suit exactly the length you need.

Once fitted the strip is connected to the dimmer switch and then to the rather large 3A transformer which is then plugged to the mains via another cable.

Overall, the lights on full are very bright, fully dimmable, and the impact marked.

Interms of downsides, the transformer really needs to be kept out of view, but no transformer is particularly attractive. Other than that I think you'll struggle to find lighting which is likely to have such an impact and flexibility at this sort of price. So strongly recommended.

The product was supplied for review purposes by the manufacturer.

Philips Hue Personal Wireless Lighting Single LED Light Bulb (1 x A19 E17)
Philips Hue Personal Wireless Lighting Single LED Light Bulb (1 x A19 E17)
Price: £49.95

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Innovative and flexible LED lighting, 25 May 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I already own a Philips Hue system to replace halogen-style GU10 bulbs. To this system I've added a few E27 bulbs. The advantage of adding bulbs is that the original system comes with a hub which is necessary to link the bulbs to your home wifi network and control them via an iOS or Android App either at home or away from home. My more comprehensive review of the GU10 system is under the Philips hue Personal Wireless Lighting Single Bulb (1 x GU10 LED Light Bulb).

The Hue E27 bulbs have the advantage that they are standard screw fitting light bulbs (although bayonet-mount fittings tend to be more common in the UK compared to the screw-standard in mainland Europe). Their light output is also significantly greater than the GU10 bulbs. The E27 bulbs will comfortably integrate into light fittings in your living room and elsewhere around your house.

The big, and with current technologies, remarkable features of the bulbs are that you can choose from millions colours for each bulb from a bright white light too a calming green or blue. The lights can automatically be set to turn on and off. They can be set to come on randomly. They can be controlled when away from home, for example when you're on holiday as a security measure. And when linked to a phone or tablet with a GPS chip, they can be set to turn the lights on when you get near to home, and can equally be turned off when you leave in the morning. All nirvana for a gadget fan and probably the future of light bulb functionality.

Highly recommended if you want to experience the latest lighting, although costly!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 11, 2014 10:52 PM BST

Tefal ZC500H40 Infiny Press Revolution Juicer with Two Filters for Juice/ Coulis, 300 Watt
Tefal ZC500H40 Infiny Press Revolution Juicer with Two Filters for Juice/ Coulis, 300 Watt
Price: £144.28

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Modern Press Juicer, 25 May 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This juicer stands out from most of the competition in that it is a fruit/vegetable Press rather than the more normal rotating-disk Pulper. There are a number of advantages to this. First, constant heavy pressure on the fruit releases more juice than pulping. Second, it results in dryer residue material which is easier and cleaner to dispose of (and as it's dryer direct evidence that more juice has been extracted). Third, the press technology does away with the spinning disk which creates much of the noise associated with juicing so the machine in much quieter to use. Forth, the manufacturer claims that more vitamins and minerals are retained through pressing - your choice on whether this seems reasonable.

In design terms this machine is tall so may not fit under your kitchen work surface, and it's certainly unlikely you'll be able to use it from under a cupboard. However, as there is not a permanently attached waste collector it takes up less space on a work surface. The design is space-age and attractive in an industrial sense so won't look bad if left out. There's a nice small design feature in that the juice spout can be turned upwards to stop drips once you've moved the juice jug. A little thought has been applied here. On the other hand the loading shoot for fruit and vegetables is relatively narrow so whole fruit such as apples and oranges will have to be cut up, and most fruit will have to be peeled as ever.

Cleaning is always the bane of juicers and all manufacturers seem to claim how much easier their juicer is to clean. Well all removable elements of the juicer are dishwasher proof. In effect what this means is that the dishwasher is instantly full with bits of juicing machine! The press as opposed to pulp approach does make the waste easier to deal with - it's dryer and is not projected at high speed in all directions. Moreover, there's no sharp disk to risk cutting your fingers on when washing. Also the use of separate waste and juice jugs which are both external means that cleaning is easier. All internal parts will need cleaning but it is a bit quicker than most other machines.

Negatives, well most obviously the cost, and perhaps not all will like the chrome, black, orange and clear plastic industrial design. Pre-cutting the fruit is also a small issue.

Overall I suspect that pressing is a better technology for creating juice than pulping and assuming this machine lasts I'd strongly recommend it. Five stars therefore, but if the motor fails or there's some other problem I'll update the review.

Rapesco Stapler, Stapling Plier for rapid stapling
Rapesco Stapler, Stapling Plier for rapid stapling
Price: £14.18

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unusual design but very effective, 25 May 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
In the past I've used the 'standard' desk-style stapler which is fine for attaching two or three pages together. Inevitably though i want to staple larger number of pages into short reports or assignments and standard staplers failed be be capable of this. Well this plier-like stapler seem to be the solution. It's design allows more controlled pressure to be used when stapling which means that even normal 24/6mm staples work well. Heavier-duty 24/8mm (slightly deeper) staples also the stapler as do 26/8 (both wider and deeper). Both will be still more effective.

Apparently this plier design has been around for decades and tends to be used for non-desk use stapling packages, closed for example. However, it works well for usual use although may not suit sitting on a desk quite so well. However, in chrome it looks rather smart.

If you want a quality, dependable, stapler that can cope with light duty work and well as the capacity to staple, according to the manufacturer, up to 40 pages together, this is for you. It's also a great deal smaller and less expensive than some of the powered staplers you can get.

Excellent 5 stars.

Philips hue Personal Wireless Lighting Starter Pack (3 x GU10 LED Light Bulbs, 1 Bridge)
Philips hue Personal Wireless Lighting Starter Pack (3 x GU10 LED Light Bulbs, 1 Bridge)
Price: £179.95

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Innovative lighting system, 23 May 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Philips take their innovative LED lighting range to a new level with a range of bulbs that are controlled by your home wifi system. This review related to the Philips Hue Personal Wireless Starter pack which contains a base station and three GU10 (in hold money replacements for halogen 50 watt light bulbs) bulbs.

The system is easy to set up as long as you have an intuitive sense for electronics as there are no instructions until you access the online instructions reading a barcode on your tablet or phone or type it in to your computer! Connect the hub to your router, and note that this needs to be a physically wired connection using an ethernet cable (supplied). A wireless connection to the Hue hub is not possible. The hub also needs to be powered using the supplied mains adapter. The hub should then light up in blue indicating it is connected to your network. Not surprisingly the bulbs should be installed in a GU10 compatible light fittings. The light switch(es) should then be turned on, and for the system to work left permanently on. You then need to download an app to control the bulbs. Android and iOS apps are available from Philips free and are suitable for both tablets and phones. Once the app is downloaded, and active you then need to pair the app with the hub by pressing the single button on the centre of the hub. Note that you need to be connected to the same wifi network using your phone or tablet when pairing. Then you can control the lights. The apps come with instructions to guide you through these latter steps.

The system allows you to:

1. Turn bulbs on or off individually using an Android or iOS app, or using a Philips website once you've registered.
2. By registering on the Philips website you can turn lights on or off using either the app or the website from away from home.
3. The Hue system is similar in functionality to the LivingColors Philips lights in that you can set each bulb colour to millions of different colours.
4. Bulbs can be grouped together to change colours simultaneously or set to a colour of your choice individually. The hub will control up to 50 bulbs and these can be set into separate groups based, for example, on the rooms they're situated in.
5. Using the remote settings you can set the lights to come on at specific times, and where the app is GPS enabled, the lights can be set to turn on when you get near to your home.
6. The apps come with a range of colour pallets which allow you to set a 'scene' using your bulbs - 'Greece', 'Sunset' and 'Ski' are some of several options. You can also download other colour scenes from the web created by others.
7. Value added independent apps are available which allow you to do more with the bulbs. You can get them to flash on or off, do more complex time settings and more. It's possible to link the bulbs to particular events. An urgent diary appointment can mean the bulbs turn themselves on in the morning in deep red for instances.

So all this is very clever. To achieve some of the more complex uses of the bulbs you're going to have to be prepared to fiddle at length but it will pass the time f you like this sort of thing.

In terms of major advantages, as the bulbs are LED are can replace existing halogen bulbs they save a lot of energy. There are clear home security benefits, and the colour choices and mood lighting options are endless.

Major downsides are:

The price of additional bulbs, currently around £50, so significantly more than normal LED bulbs.

Perhaps more importantly the bulbs are no where near as bright as 50w equivalent halogen LED replacements. They are around 35w equivalents so are unlikely to be sufficiently bright enough to replace lights in your kitchen.

The bulbs are also larger in terms of length than halogen bulbs so will stick out of any ceiling mounted flush halogen installations. In fact in my kitchen they are also simply too wide to fit correctly into the ceiling mounts.

Currently you need a phone or tablet to operate the lights, Philips do not yet sell a light switch. This is coming in the summer apparently. The hub itself cannot turn the lights on or off.

The standard light switch for your Philips-fitted bulbs needs to be left on to work. Without being powered the bulbs can't receive a wireless signal telling them to turn colour or turn on or off. This is the equivalent of a standby mode which uses very little power.

The range of bulbs is currently limited to GU10 fittings and 'standard' sized screw fitting light bulbs. Because Philips is based in the Netherlands and all or Europe use screw light fittings apart from Britain and Ireland, bayonet fitting bulbs are not currently available. You'll need an adapter to use bulbs in bayonet mounts which whilst cheap will add bulk to the already bulky lights. I should note though that Philips also sell Philips Friends of hue Personal Wireless Lighting Lightstrips Extension Kit (1 x LED Lightstrip Mood Light) and Philips Friends of hue Personal Wireless Lighting Bloom Extension Kit (1 x Bloom LED Mood Light) offering further light variants.

Finally, Philips really need to include some proper instructions. Although I got the system up and running in about 10 minutes some will be completely stumped. Scanning a bar code to get to a website is going to be a step too far for many. Nice concept though!

Despite the rather long list of downsides I really like these bulbs but they are generally for early adopters with a bit of cash at the moment. To be a real success the bulbs need to be brighter, smaller, cheaper, and available for more types of light fittings. All that said I've ordered some additional bulbs already. No doubt in two or three years they will cost £5. I'm fairly sure that this is the future of smart lighting which will work well for most people once the rough edges are dealt with.

So four stars, and definitely five if you like technology!

Netgear EX6200 AC1200 802.11ac Dual Band Gigabit Wi-Fi Range Extender
Netgear EX6200 AC1200 802.11ac Dual Band Gigabit Wi-Fi Range Extender
Price: £86.95

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent after some installation issues, 11 May 2014
This is a review for the Netgear EX6200 AC1200 802.11ac Dual Band Gigabit Wi-Fi Range Extender. Amazon currently seem to have conflated reviews for a number of Netgear products under the Netgear EX6200 page.

So what's special about another WiFi range extender? First, to be clear what this device does. If you are using WiFi in your house and certain areas have a poor connection a WiFi extender is designed to resolve this. Positioned on the edge of your current WiFi coverage it picks up your existing network and boosts it thereby extending the range into, hopefully, the area where you have a weak signal. What makes this unit special is that it uses the new AC wireless protocol that is both faster than the current N standard and supports 5GHz connections (as well as 2.4GHz) which means it has an extended range. The unit is a perfect companion to the Netgear R7000 Nighthawk AC1900 Smart WiFi Router which is a WiFi router also using the latest technology.

Other features include 5 LAN ports to physically connect devices that require a wired internet connection (such a Sky HD+ boxes until the very latest version), the ability to stand the unit upright horizontally on a stand provided, and a USB 3 port to connect a hard drive to for wireless access to storage.

Personally I'm not too fond of the red and black styling of the Extender, which is not particularly subtle. As the speed of the unit will aid online game playing it no doubt suits a particular demographic profile Netgear are aiming at. The unit is small enough to hide away though!

Why does this excellent product drop a star, well it wasn't as straightforward to set up as I'd have liked. I wanted the Extender to use both 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequencies and at first it refused to use 5GHz. After fiddling around and eventually resetting the unit and starting again, set up went completely to plan. Maybe I had a buggy unit and certainly all works well now. For anyone having a problem just remember the reset button though.

This unit was supplied by Netgear for review purposes.

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