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Dr. Paul Ell (NI, UK)

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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: £134.05

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: £11.06

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

9 of 9 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 EX6200-100UKS AC1200 802.11ac Dual Band Gigabit Wi-Fi Range Extender
NETGEAR EX6200-100UKS AC1200 802.11ac Dual Band Gigabit Wi-Fi Range Extender
Price: £91.42

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.

Generic T5 3x8W Aquarium Fish Tank Lighting Overtank Ligth Aluminum Lamp 42CM 16" 3 Working Modes
Generic T5 3x8W Aquarium Fish Tank Lighting Overtank Ligth Aluminum Lamp 42CM 16" 3 Working Modes
Offered by BELLESSON
Price: £22.99

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inexpensive and well made, 11 May 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I purchased this to replace an existing T5 aquarium lighting system that had failed. Bearing in mind the cost of T5 fluorescent tubes the quality of this item for the price is very good. Made from aluminium and with one blue and two white tubes supplied, the white on one switch and the blue on a second, I can't fault this unit. It's certainly better quality than the original light which came with the aquarium.

[Apple MFi Certified] Syncwire Lightning to USB Cable - Lifetime Guarantee Series - 3.3 ft / 1m for iPhone 6 Plus 5S 5C 5, iPad Air 2, Mini 3, iPod 5th generation, and iPod nano 7th generation - White
[Apple MFi Certified] Syncwire Lightning to USB Cable - Lifetime Guarantee Series - 3.3 ft / 1m for iPhone 6 Plus 5S 5C 5, iPad Air 2, Mini 3, iPod 5th generation, and iPod nano 7th generation - White
Offered by Syncwire
Price: £29.99

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Apple quality at a discount, 4 May 2014
This lightening cable works exactly as the original Apple version, except the cable very usefully is about double the length! On extensive testing whilst away on a week's business trip to Europe it was the only cable I had with me and worked well charging an iPad Air, an original iPad Mini and an iPhone 5c. Connecting to a MacBook Air also was problem free. Strongly recommended.

This product was supplied by Syncwire for independent review.

Sony KDL60W855BBU 60-inch Wedge Design Widescreen 1080p Full HD Smart LED 3D TV with Freeview HD
Sony KDL60W855BBU 60-inch Wedge Design Widescreen 1080p Full HD Smart LED 3D TV with Freeview HD
Offered by Discount-Select
Price: £1,079.00

4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Large Sony Smart TV, 3 May 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a review for Sony's 60 inch wedge design TV - the KDL-60W855. Most of the reviews posted here by Amazon relate to other Sony models. Only the 60 inch model has this design which is quite different from the other models.

On receipt of the TV my first reaction was how large it is. I already have a 55 inch Sony TV so had some sort of idea of the size of this set but and extra 5 inches measured diagonally across the screen actually results in a significantly larger screen area. In terms of dimensions the TV is 54 inches wide and 32 inches high - so a big set. It's also a fairly heavy set. This is due to the wedge design. Positively the TV certainly seems more robust than my 55" model which flexes easily.

Set up is easy and can be done by one person. The stand - consisting of two legs - needed to be fitted (assuming you are no mounting the TV on a wall). Each leg is held in place by two screws and the useful assembly instructions detail how to unpack the large box the TV comes in and attach the legs. The TV is held in place by packing materials whilst the legs are attached which makes the process even easier. One the legs are on it's simply a case of attaching linked devices and that's it. In my case this involved attaching a SkyHD+ box using a HDMI cable. An amplifier/blue-ray player and Apple TV box both link through the Sky box. Whilst heavy the TV is not so heavy that it can't be lifted into place by one person.

Whilst the TV wedge shaped (to increase speaker size and hence improve sound quality) it is possible to mount it on a wall. The TV is heavier than most similar-sized models abut at around 34Kg should not cause problems for wall-mounting systems for this size of TV. It has a standard VESA fitting so if you want to put it on a wall, no problem. You will probably need more than two people to do this though.

In fact after a bit of consideration I decided to wall-mount the set. As I've noted the TV has a standard VESA fitting. Four spacers come with the TV to assist in mounting the set. Attach these to the four mounting screws and the TV is ready to fit to the bracket. The key is choosing a strong wall mount.

Once turned on the TV goes though a set up procedure which involves linking the TV to the Internet (with using a WiFi connection or cabled one), a software download and options to scan for terrestrial analogue channels (in the UK there aren't any anymore!), terrestrial digital channels, and satellite channels (the TV has a satellite decoder built in). In my case none of this was necessary as all TV comes via the Sky box. And that's it. Overall probably a maximum of 30 minutes to set up.

Out of the box the TV picture is very good - bearing in mind that this is a standard HD set, and not one of Sony's ever-expanding range of 4k Ultra HD models, this is pretty remarkable in itself. The TV has the same resolution as my Sony Z3 mobile phone screen. The fact that the picture looks good when increased so dramatically in size is excellent. A HD signal - from Sky HD channels in my case - results in a crisp, rich picture. On a standard definition signal you can definitely see the different.The picture is unavoidably fuzzier. It's not bad, just not as good, and I suspect unavoidable.

So to features of the TV. I guess the most significant issue is sound quality. The wedge shape of the TV is specifically aimed at improving sound quality. Put simply, with most modern flat-screen TVs there is simply insufficient room to have large speakers. The wedge design results in more space for two larger speakers, and it does make a difference. The speakers have more more bass than my 55" model, the volume can be higher without distortion, and the virtual surround sound works better - possibly because the set is so large the speakers are a fair distance apart.

In terms of accessories, as seems to be the case these days, the TV comes with almost no documentation. There's a Quick Start document which is useful and a 'Reference Manual'. This is a weighty manual but only because it contains information in about 15 different languages. Only 15 of those are on English and I fear the term 'reference' must have been lost in translation. You have to rely on the Sony online manual accessed via the TV itself. I don't find this very user friendly and with so many options to tweak the picture and sound a proper reference manual really is needed. In terms of other accessories, again as is often the case, there are no cables at all so if you need an extra HDMI cable you'll need to buy it separately. The TV comes with a standard remote. Disappointingly the Sony RMF-ED004 Touchpad Remote Control isn't bundled with the TV. This offers an alternative, in some ways simpler way of accessing common commands, plus has Near Field Communication functionality which means you can use it to quickly pair a phone or tablet to the TV to display video or photos. I already have the Touchpad Remote and find it useful. You do get two pair of active 3D glasses with the set though.

This is a smart TV so is linked to the Internet. I've seen some surveys that suggest that people tend not to connect their TVs to the web. It really is worth connecting this set to the Internet. First, it's easy to do. You have a choice of a wireless connection or a cabled Ethernet link. I use wireless which works fine. A clear advantage of having the TV connected is that as Sony introduce software updates for the TV they'll be installed automatically (if you select the relevant option). These updates come quite frequently - every couple of months or so - so it makes sense not to miss out on potential improvements.

Smart TVs of course come with Apps. By far the most useful on this TV is the BBC iPlayer. You also get Demand 5 (for Channel 5), Netflix, Amazon Instant Video and Sony's Video Unlimited, Music Unlimited and PlayMemories. Plus SkyPe's available, a web browser, and a range of more minor apps to provide you with weather forecasts, games, or video of mountain scenery and more. With a fast internet connection, and the iPlayer High Definition option selected, you can watch past BBC programmes in very high quality - as good as watching live via Freeview or SkyHD. No Sony TV's include ITV or Channel 4 on demand services due to an exclusive deal they've done with Samsung to only supply content to them. Irritating but that's the situation. I'd be far more bothered if the BBC programmes weren't available. Netflix and Amazon video services are also pretty good and, even on this large-screened TV, image quality is good. I personally wouldn't be without a smart TV.

Other innovative features. Well for a TV under development in time for the World Cup there's a "Football' button on the remote control that in theory selects all the screen and sound settings so they are just right to watch football.There's also a 'Social View' setting which allows you to watch tweets about the programme your watching stream across the bottom of the screen. You can tweet as well. If you've fitted the Sony CMU-BR200 Skype Camera with Microphone Unit for Sony Bravia TV (higher spec sets include a camera built-in) you can watch TV whilst broadcasting your picture, and you can watch someone else if they have a camera as well. The problem with tweeting is that entering text via the remote is a bit cumbersome. I have a Sony bluetooth keyboard which I hoped might pair with the TV, but no luck. This would have made tweeting much easier. For Twitter fans it's an interesting extra. Plus, while noting special features, SkyPe is installed. Better if you buy the camera, but it works without it.

Overall, a high-quality, multifaceted TV set. It's also pretty good value. So worth five stars. I would advise other buyers though to look at Sony's Ultra HD models. They are not much more expensive and for this size of screen I think Ultra HD is a better bet. There's a range of Sony models which actually look exactly the same as this model, adopting the wedge design.

Tefal ActiFry 2 in 1 1.5kg Low Fat Fryer - Black,
Tefal ActiFry 2 in 1 1.5kg Low Fat Fryer - Black,
Price: £246.99

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Enhancements over previous models but still of limited value, 3 May 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I've owned one of the original smaller ActiFry which received much use on first purchase but after a couple of months was consigned to the back of a kitchen cupboard and hasn't been used much since. The great test of any kitchen gadget is whether you continue to use it in the long term.

The problem with the original ActiFry is that food tended to break up while cooking being constantly stirred and cooking took longer than conventional models.

Well, the ActiFry2 does partially address these issues. Now it has an upper tray which meat, for example, can be cooked on. So now you can cook two different food products and use the upper tray for food more likely to break up. The lower container is larger but otherwise unchanged. To cook chips it still takes longer than frying them or putting oven chips into the oven and, I'm afraid, I don't think they taste as good. I've tried cooking fillet steak on in combination with chips using the upper tray for the former, and again it takes longer to cook than 5 minutes in a small frying pan (with a small spoon of olive oil) and trying to get a rare steak using the ActiFry seems to be impossible. I expect this is due simply to the indirect heating and the meat not being sealed at a high heat as you would do with a direct heating method such as a grill and frying pan.

Although the manufacturers remain inventive in what you might cook in the ActiFry the majority will use it with chips which I find inferior. For cooking scrabbled eggs for example I really think using a simple saucepan is far simpler - and I do like technology! I'm not sure the cost and specialised used of this device is worthwhile. This is all the more the case reflecting the amount of kitchen cupboard real-estate the fryer takes up. And it's not particularly attractive so it's not something you'll want to leave out. Plus if you use a dishwasher to clean it it will fill the dishwasher in one.

A proper mains-powered timer which actually switches off the fryer is welcome, as is the increased capacity and the design has been streamlined a little to be more positive.

But overall only three stars reflecting all these factors.

Arrow T50X TacMate Heavy Duty Stapler
Arrow T50X TacMate Heavy Duty Stapler
Price: £26.89

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Flexible, well designed stapler, 3 May 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This stapler has some significant advantages over others on the market. I’ve found two significant selling points. First, it will take a variety of sizes of staples, all of which are easily loaded. Second, the long grip handle means that relatively little pressure is needed to use the stapes. Other strong points are its light weight, provision of staples with the gun, easy loading mechanism and clear instruction. This is one of the rare products I fail to find any weaknesses in so highly recommended for DIY jobs and sagging furniture repairs!

Logitech Pro Protective Case for Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro and Note Pro
Logitech Pro Protective Case for Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro and Note Pro
Price: £109.00

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars High quality case with some avoidable significant limitations, 3 May 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a very nice keyboard cases - one of the best I’ve seen - with a really high quality keyboard with good spacing between the keys and a rechargeable battery designed to last for three months before charging.

However, it has two or three significant limitations. First, the viewing angle of tablet to keyboard cannot be adjusted so your desk needs to be at just the right height! Second the keyboard keys are not sufficient recessed to prevent contact between the keys and tablet screen when the case it closed. It’s a near thing but contact is there so I’m concerned about medium-term damage to my Samsung’s screen. As a result I’m reluctant to use it. Finally the product is not cheap and for the price, although of high-qulaity construction, the limitations are not acceptable.

Only two stars I’m afraid as a result.

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