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Steven Crook (Devon, UK)

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Bosch WTE84106GB 7kg Condenser Dryer
Bosch WTE84106GB 7kg Condenser Dryer
Offered by Idealkit
Price: £318.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Too many flaws, 3 Dec 2014
Bosch is often top of my list when looking for quality tools and appliances. This item is built to their usual high standards but, unfortunately, it has some significant issues.

1) The door handle snapping off is a regular event. Fortunately an ebay shop provides easily sourced replacements and my frequent visits have earned them a bookmark in my browser.
2) Tight tight tangles! The tumble doesn't have a reverse operation so quilt covers often knot themselves into a ball that's incredibly difficult to unravel. Frustration at this point inevitably results in ripped bedding.
3) Condenser sensor malfunctions. This might be down to the volume of dog hair that goes through our wash cycle but every couple of months I have to take the side off the machine in order to clean the sensors. Unless this is done routinely, the tumble constantly cuts out due to a full condenser tank (even when the tank is empty). H&S compels me to suggest you get a qualified tumble-drier repair person to do this.
4) Drying time. Despite seeming to reach volcanic temperatures (sufficient to melt USB sticks left in pockets) the drying cycle is very long. Only the highest setting (Extra Dry) comes close to wearable dryness and several hours are required to reach that point.

I'm sorry to say that despite the obvious quality of Bosch products, this one has too many flaws to warrant a recommendation from me.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 20, 2014 11:08 PM GMT

Pimoroni Ninja PiBow Layer Case for Raspberry Pi
Pimoroni Ninja PiBow Layer Case for Raspberry Pi

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent case and just a bit different, 8 July 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Seeing the Raspberry Pi was never constructed to fit in a case, the PiBow does an excellent job. All sockets on the board are accessible and perfectly aligned with the case. Rather than putting the Pi into the case, the Pibow is constructed around it. The first three layers of the case are joined, then the Pi is sat on them and the remaining five layers added on top. Finally, the plastic bolts are slotted into place and done up to pinch the layers tightly together. My review is for the Ninja model but all the Pibows are identical in construction and quality. I have three Pi's now, each in a Pibow and wouldn't consider any other case for my next one.

Finn Universal silicon smartphone mount for bikes
Finn Universal silicon smartphone mount for bikes
Offered by inandout-distribution
Price: £9.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Simple and effective, 8 July 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
It's hard to score the Finn lower than 4 stars because it does its job very well, all be it in a very simple manner. Unpacking it gave me a sense of, "Is that it?" and it took some effort to work up the enthusiasm to try it. The instructions are really basic and not even in English but it's easy enough to follow the pictures. Initially I couldn't believe it would stretch far enough to hold my phone (a Nexus 5) and indeed, it took quite some effort. I gingerly let the Finn take up the strain, worried that it was tight enough to bend my phone but all was well and it holds the phone firmly in place with no possibility of it getting loose.

There are a couple of issues:
1) The straps of the FInn that pass around the corners tend to press the side buttons on my phone. One of these is the Off button which can be quite annoying. With care during fitting, this can be avoided.
2) Without the phone, the Finn doesn't stay in place. This means that every time you undock the phone from the bars, the Finn comes with it. Putting the phone back in place means refitting the Finn from scratch (while taking care to avoid switching it off).
3) It may just be my perception but having the phone so tightly attached to the bars does worry me that it's absorbing all the vibration from the road. Only time will tell if this has a detrimental effect on my phone.

Despite these issues, the Finn fulfils its job very well and I'm happy with my purchase. For the first time, I have a satisfactory means to mate a large Android phone to my bike.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 24, 2014 9:20 AM BST

Logitech T650 Wireless Rechargeable Touchpad
Logitech T650 Wireless Rechargeable Touchpad
Price: £34.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Some issues but, in general, very happy, 23 Jun 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I've never been a fan of touchpads on laptops. I find them a bit fiddly and inclined to misinterpret my touch as a double-click; sometimes with frustrating consequences. I also suffer from sore forearms and wrists when using a mouse. My job and my principle hobby both involve keyboard/mouse work so this can be a serious factor in my productivity. Consequently, when my mouse recently failed, I was keen to investigate some alternatives. After reading some favourable reviews, I ordered the Logitech T650.

Set up was simple enough, even downloading and installing a firmware update. It should be noted though that these tasks necessitated having a mouse; something to bear in mind if you’re switching from a broken one to the T650. No fault of Logitech, it’s very hard to do anything in Windows without a pointing device. With the drivers installed, the T650 worked straight away and the temporary mouse was disconnected.

I’d expected to find it difficult to get used to the gestures required on a touchpad like the T650. It quickly made me appreciate tasks I took for granted on a standard mouse, such as dragging/dropping and scrolling. Each of these now involves a sequence of tapping and sliding with various numbers of fingers to achieve the desired result. Surprisingly though I picked it up very quickly and it felt quite natural after a few hours use. There are some issues though, mostly relating to applications that require frequent and precise movements. For example, plotting a track on Google Earth is all but impossible due to the high volume of clicks and drags required. I also get frustrated when trying to double-click a button, only to find I've slid the pointer slightly in the process and clicked something else instead. My last issue concerns the smooth surface of the T650. It’s really nice to use when you have completely dry fingers but hot weather and humidity can make it feel sticky and less frictionless.

Despite these issues, I'm enjoying the T650 experience and accepted it as my principle device for day to day use. Logitech’s Unified receiver system makes it very easy to use this in combination with a compatible mouse so I’m going to order one for the applications that are more suited to a traditional pointing device. They will be the exception though as the T650 has greatly reduced my RSI pains and I’ll happy accept it’s minor shortcomings in return for that.

Offered by Cuesports & Leisure Products
Price: £4.75

2.0 out of 5 stars Received item does not match picture, 1 Feb 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
As a regular member of a pool team, I was looking for a triangle that fits loosely over the balls. Many of them fit so tightly that it's all but impossible to remove without disturbing the pack of balls. The picture shows a triangle with a wide part on the mid-point of each side; a design I've known to work well. The received triangle is the basic thin sided model, identical to the one we already have. Disappointing.

Cateye CC-MC200W Micro Wireless Bike Computer
Cateye CC-MC200W Micro Wireless Bike Computer
Price: £23.99 - £98.54

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Has issues but great value, 27 Jun 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought the CC-MC200W Micro Computer on 7th Feb 2013 and, as always with Amazon, delivery was excellent. Initial build of the device, such as inserting batteries and attaching it to the cycle proved very straightforward and there were no issues with the quality of the components. Configuration is a different matter however: As others have stated in their reviews, the process is complicated and very linear; make a mistake and you must start again. Despite the complexity, the downloadable PDF instructions do describe the process accurately and by following them, the basic configuration is soon accomplished. I didn't bother with the more complex configurations, such as assigning specific data items (such as speed, distance, time) to areas of the display. This wasn't a lack of will to to do them, I just felt the default layout was exactly what I wanted.

Daily operation of the device is quite simple. There are, after all, only two buttons to choose from! I perform a reset at the start of each cycle and this zeros the Trip One distance, the Average Speed and the Journey Duration. (There is a Trip Two that needs to be reset separately if required). The reset is performed by pressing the two buttons together and holding them until the display zeros. The two buttons are probably the most frustrating aspect of the device. One of the buttons is depressed by pushing down on the entire computer. This causes a button on the back to push against the computer cradle. This actually works very well but means there has to be some looseness in the cradle which can make the computer rattle on less than smooth road surfaces. The second button is a tiny rubber one on the front of the unit. This is only ever used to change the operation of the other button, (it's main button on its own, or both together). It's very easy to not depress the second button when trying for both together and that results in a different operation being performed. This is instantly annoying! This really is a once per journey issue though so I can live with it. Once it's reset, the device takes care of itself and accurately records the journey. The display is clear and concise.

Other than the dual button press issue described above, I only have one other issue with the CC-MC200W and that's changing the unit battery (not the sensor battery). It's impossible to do this without resetting all the data on the device, such as the initial configuration and the odometer. As a result, the total distance displayed is, in reality, the distance travelled between battery changes! Over the life of the battery, the initial configuration procedure will inevitably have been forgotten so it's time to consult the manual once again. Don't forget to record the tyre circumference as that also needs re-entry.

Despite the issues, this device is great value for money and the benefits far outweigh the issues. I'd happily recommend it to other potential buyers.

Cycling in South West England
Cycling in South West England
by AA Publishing
Edition: Paperback

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A nice guide for family cycling, 27 Jun 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This book describes 28 nice cycling routes in South-West England, ranging from 10 to 20 miles in length. For families planning a holiday in this region, it makes an ideal reference for selecting a route compatible with their location and ability. Each route includes a page-sized OS type map and, where relevant, a street level map of towns and cities. If this meets your requirements then look no further; this book is ideal.

For those planning a long-distance ride across the West Country, perhaps following the Cornish Way or NCN Route 3, this book isn't ideal. Although the routes are listed roughly West-East, there is no continuity from one to the next. Also, the stated surface conditions for each route fail to identify what's compatible with a road/touring bike and loaded panniers. This book isn't intended for this type of cyclist but it's good to know that before buying it.

World of Flavours Italian Deluxe Double Cutter Pasta Machine
World of Flavours Italian Deluxe Double Cutter Pasta Machine
Price: £19.08

1.0 out of 5 stars Broke on first use, 4 Sep 2011
I bought this machine in Lawsons in Sept2011. The box was reassuringly heavy and on unpacking it, the components appeared solid. On my first attempt at making pasta, things started well with the machine on it's widest setting. To narrow the gap between rollers, the adjusting dial needs to be pulled out against a spring and turned until it clicks back into place at the next setting. The first couple of times this worked fine, then the dial just dropped off in my hand. With the dial off it's easy to see a design flaw that allows this this to happen. Unfortunately the nut is now floating around inside the detached dial and there's no way to get into it without performing mechanical surgery.

Also worth noting is that the handle on this machine doesn't latch into place. Every time I let go of it, it fell on the floor. Shame that a nice looking, sturdy piece of kit is ruined by such ridiculous design flaws, rendering it a complete waste of money. I'll be returning it tomorrow for a refund. No point getting a replacement as the faults are in the design, not the construction.

No Title Available

30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Signal blues, 24 May 2006
Like all wireless devices, the SLV3220 performance is hugely impacted by walls. The distance between my receiver and transmitter is only 5 metres but two walls between them is sufficient to weaken the signal to the point that it becomes intermittent. Other electrical devices such as Microwave ovens also have a big impact on the signal. My receiver is in the kitchen and switching on the microwave instantly results in a blank TV screen.

In addition to the SLV3220 I found I had to purchase new SCART cables. The limitation here is a physical one; my old SCART cables entered the plug at 45 degrees and this didn't work when the SLV3220 connector was inserted. I had to buy cables where the plug was attached directly to the end of the cable at 180degrees.

For some reason I have been unable to get my Satellite remote control to work through the SLV3220. I've found no documentation stating it doesn't work but my efforts were fruitless This means having to go from one room to the other each time I want to switch channel.

I've made the product sound bad in this review and from my personal point of view it is. It's a lot of money to spend on a device that is so constrained by distance and walls. This isn't so much a failing of the SLV3220 as a failing of all devices that claim to connect televisions over a wireless link. My advise is to use a cable if at all possible.

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