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OMG! It's got a plug! (Winchester)

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HERE - Offline navigation, maps, traffic, public transport
HERE - Offline navigation, maps, traffic, public transport
Price: £0.00

5.0 out of 5 stars 100% accurate, works offline and easy to use, 20 May 2015
This is a superb free app from Nokia. Having seen it mentioned a few times, I installed the app and the UK map on my Android phone and it's been faultless. The best thing is that it works without an Internet connection; it uses your phone's GPS. It's exceptionally accurate and never misses a turn.

It works just like a satnav should and because of the voice guided navigation I never need to look at the live display on my phone screen. When I need to use it I just connect my smartphone to my car stereo via its 3.5" jack lead input, enter the location I'm headed for in the app, select a playlist from my phones's mp3 library and hit the road. When the voice guidance kicks in, my music is momentarily paused and I hear the voice guidance loud and clear over my car speakers.

When running it offline you don't receive traffic updates but you do get alerts for the majority of (but by no means all) speed cameras. It's intuitive to use and you can save routes, change the voice delivering the commands, etc. If you're planning on travelling further afield, it has maps for Europe, Africa, Asia, North & South America and Oceania. It also has specific city maps for most major cities.

All in all, it's a faultless app and best of all, it's free!

Silicon Power 1TB 2.5 inch USB 3.0/2.0 Rugged Armor A80 Military Grade Portable External Hard Drive - Blue
Silicon Power 1TB 2.5 inch USB 3.0/2.0 Rugged Armor A80 Military Grade Portable External Hard Drive - Blue
Price: £61.87

5.0 out of 5 stars Fast transfer rates and silent & cool in operation, 20 May 2015
With a sturdy aluminium case with a metallic blue finish, this is a stylish looking drive from Silicon Power. It draws its power via the USB-USB (i.e. not USB-Micro USB) therefore there's no need for an extra power lead. Two thick, high quality USB cables are included - a very short one (ideal for use with a laptop) that can be stored in an ingress built into the side of the drive and another that's 30" long

The link to the warranty is on the drive and there's also a link to some rudimentary back up software should you need it. It comes formatted to FAT32 but before using it I reformatted it to NTFS (a quick 10 second Windows process).

Copying 300GB of data to it took around 95 minutes with a very impressive average transfer rate of 60MB/s. I use a USB 3.0 ExpressCard adapter so you should get even faster speeds with dedicated USB 3.0 ports. It's backwards compatible with USB 2.0 with average write speeds of 22MB/s.

I've had this drive connected to my router for the past three months and have it mapped onto a Windows Vista PC and a Windows 7 laptop. I also use it with my iPad for streaming music (using the useful free iOS app 'FileExplorer'). It copes with ease when being used on multiple devices, is silent in operation and always remains cool. I've literally forgotten about and just expect it to work effortlessly, which it does.

In summary, this is a high quality 1TB portable hard drive that's well worth the money and I definitely recommend it. It has a 3 year warranty. I received this for free from the manufacturer in return for this honest review. Finally, if you want a truly portable 1TB USB 3.0 drive that can withstand knocks and bumps, I recommend the Silicon Power Rugged Armor A30 - it runs ever so slightly warmer than this one but feels like its bullet proof.

Seagate Personal Cloud 4TB 2-bay (2x 2TB) Home Media Storage - NAS
Seagate Personal Cloud 4TB 2-bay (2x 2TB) Home Media Storage - NAS
Price: £210.58

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Potential but let down by very poor app, 16 May 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
There's no manual with this NAS, just a quick set up guide. See comment below for a link to the pdf user manual.

Setup via my PC running Windows 7 was straightforward. Plug it in to your router, wait about 5-10 minutes and it will show up in Windows Computer:


Click on the 'Personal Cloud' Internet shortcut in the Public folder and this will open up the control panel in your browser.

I've got the 2 bay storage and it's defaulted to RAID (all your files are stored on one disk and automatically mirrored (backed up) on the second disk) but you can change it maximum capacity if you want to use both drives independently. Once you've selected which option you want, you can then setup your owner account and add accounts for other users.

All files you store in the aforementioned 'Public folder' can be accessed remotely by account holders and it also creates a Personal folder for account holders to store their private data that only they can access. Accessing the Public folder and Private folders on a PC is flawless and straightforward and you can play your music files (in the correct order) and videos in your media player of choice (I use MediaMonkey and VLC respectively). To access your files on a mobile device you need to install the SeagateMedia app. I've installed it on my iPad and Android phone and it's a flawed app because you can only access the Public folder, not your Personal folder.

Furthermore (and this is a shocker given that it's a media app) it does not playback tracks from ripped CDs in the correct order! You can sort tracks alphabetically, by date and size or type but even if you have the track number in file name and ID3 tag it does not have the option to play album tracks numerically and therefore in the correct order. It ludicrous and here's what Seagate posted about this issue on 15 May 2015:

"There will be an update to the Seagate Media App soon that will address this issue. We do not have an estimated date of release as of right now, but it will be released soon and then you will have the ability to sort by track instead of alphabetically".

In the meantime, I'm using the free version of the FileExplorer app on my iPad which plays back albums with the songs in their correct order

The app interface looks and feels clumsy and when using an iPad the app defaults to a landscape screen even if you have your screen locked to portrait mode. Very annoying.

Using the app with Google Chromecast is a breeze. Click on the Chromecast icon in the app and it casts to your TV. I've uploaded my ripped DVDs to the Public folder and it's great to be able view them on my TV. If you cast when playing music it displays the album art (provided you have it embedded in the MP3 file) and you can set up slideshows for photos.

You can set it up to backup selected data to an external drive and upload files to Google Drive or Drop Box (but not the other way around). As I have it setup to RAID I won't be backing up to an external drive. Although I have no need for it, I tested Google Drive and successfully backed up the selected files to my account.

There about 400MB of pre-installed data on it - mostly nature films and photos and some classic music MP3s. Why?!

Overall this is an OK home server but there are a number of flaws, primarily with the SeagateMedia app. The inability to play album tracks in the correct sequence in a media player app is the main offender. Until that issue is sorted along with inability to access to your Personal folder in the app, I rate this 3 stars. Finally, pay attention to the manual if you're inexperienced when it comes to home media storage and you want to use it to its full potential. However, some of it is technically challenging.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 16, 2015 3:30 PM BST

Blaxploitation: Six Classic Funk Soundtracks
Blaxploitation: Six Classic Funk Soundtracks
Price: £20.75

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Six Cool Blaxploitation Soundtracks, 14 May 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Comprising of six Blaxploitation soundtracks, this box set features 75 tracks with an overall playing time of just over 4 hours. The soundtracks featured are:

Up Tight (1969) - Booker T. & the M.G.'s (36:02)
Shaft (1971) - Isaac Hayes (69:33)
Trouble Man (1972) - Marvin Gaye (38:26)
Black Caesar (1973) - James Brown (36:42)
Coffy (1973) - Roy Ayers (36:49)
Shaft in Africa (1973) - Johnny Pate featuring The Four Tops (26:42)

Whilst some of the films associated with these soundtracks are long forgotten, the music continues to endure. Marvin Gaye's 'Trouble Man' is without doubt one of the best soundtracks of the genre and it features some killer moody jazz cuts and some of the best music Gaye ever recorded. 'Black Caesar' remains one of James Brown's finest studio albums with plenty of (unexpected!) funky grooves and he delivers some his most impassioned vocals on the album opener 'Down and Out in New York City' and 'Mama's Dead'.

The Four Tops lend support on Johnny Pate's 'Shaft in Africa' with the twice reprised 'Are You Man Enough?' and Roy Ayers' 'Coffy' soundtrack features a selection of vocal and instrumental cuts. It's all funky and soulful sounding. 'Shaft' is the best known album here and the title track is probably the most famous Blaxploitation song. It's the longest playing album here and it does occasionally meander. Booker T. & The M.G.'s 'Up Tight' is the least Blaxploitation sounding album here but it's a solid collection of slow-tempo burners and up-beat jams.

The CDs are in individual (near) replica gatefold mini LP sleeves and they're housed in a sturdy cardboard box. Spectrum have used the best masters currently available and the sound quality is perfect. Apart from CD track lists, there are no sleeves notes. Overall this is a cool box set and it makes a change from the myriad of cherry picking Blaxploitation compilations out there.

Naked Plus
Naked Plus
Price: £31.17

5.0 out of 5 stars Dutch Maestro: Original Soundtracks 1967-1973, 14 May 2015
This review is from: Naked Plus (Audio CD)
After checking out the samples on the label's website I took a punt on this and I'm so glad I did. Featuring soundtrack music recorded for film, TV and theatre by Dutch jazz musician and composer Ruud Bos between 1967 and 1973, the quality of the music on this two disc set is at times staggering.

According to the sleeve notes the tapes containing much of this music "turned up after a long search in a concrete storage bunker" with most of the outtakes coming from Bos' personal archive. Restored (where necessary) and digitally mastered from the original master or working tapes, the sound quality is excellent. Most of it is previously unreleased except for the 'Naakt Over de Schutting' soundtrack. Originally released on vinyl by Phonogram, this collection features the original mono mix as it sounds in the film, not the stereo mix produced especially for the LP release.

Featuring 81 tracks and outtakes, the music is primarily jazz with plenty of funk. A whole range of styles are covered including up-tempo grooves, tense and trippy vibes, lounge, freakbeat, avant-garde, easy listening and orchestral. Heavy bass (there's some really cool bass breaks for bass heads!), flute loops, alto sax, Fender Rhodes piano, rhythm guitar, brass, chorale vocals... it all sounds amazing with hints of Lalo Schifrin, Quincy Jones and European library music & Italian soundtracks from the same period.

Housed in a neat double gatefold digipak with comprehensive liner notes, the combined playing times of both discs is 2 hours & 37 minutes. There's 3 minutes of silence on the closing track on Disc 1 before a 10 second brass outro. I don't know if it's intentional because it's credited in the sleeve notes as being 1:06 minutes long but lasts for 4:37 minutes. Produced with the cooperation of Bos, this is, from the music to the packaging and sleeve notes, a first class release from 678 Records. If you have an interest in Sixties and Seventies soundtracks, this is a must buy.

Philips GC1020/70 EasySpeed Steam Iron with 70 g Steam Boost, 0.2 Litre, 1800 W, Green
Philips GC1020/70 EasySpeed Steam Iron with 70 g Steam Boost, 0.2 Litre, 1800 W, Green
Price: £19.00

5.0 out of 5 stars The iron to get if you don't do too much of it, 11 May 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
If you iron less than a handful or two of clothes each week, this is the iron to get. Non-stick with a pointed tip, the best thing about it is that it delivers constant steam and, should you need it, there's an effective steam boost too. The opening for the water tank is big enough to fill it direct from the tap and with the constant steam on, one tank lasts enough to iron 4-5 shirts. It's got a built in de-calc - great if you live in a hard water area - and it's also got an economy mode (where it delivers less steam) which is OK but a bit of a waste of time unless you intend to do loads of ironing. You can spray water from the tank onto your clothes but with the constant steam and boost I've never had the need to use it. When you have the constant steam activated it stops when the iron is stood upright. It's a decent weight - not too light or heavy - and the soleplate is not massive but more than adequate. Overall this iron represents amazing value for money and I wholeheartedly recommend it.

Price: £12.81

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mwng Deluxe Edition, 7 May 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Mwng (Audio CD)
15 years after it's initial release, Mwng still sounds as good as it ever did. It's more lo-fi sounding but no less eclectic, inventive or adventurous than anything SFA had done before or since. There's an uncredited 38 minute continuous playing demo of the album (less 'Nythod Cacwn') at the end of the first CD. It's more or less the same as what the finished album sounds like but with enough noticeable differences here and there to make it worthwhile if not essential.

The second disc features 'Mwng Bach' (a collection of earlier Welsh language B-Sides) that was initially available as a bonus CD on the US release of the album. The stand out is the gorgeous '(Nid) Hon Yw'r Gān Sy'n Mynd I Achub Yr Iaith' which doesn't sound a million miles away from 'Juxtaposed With U'. Four intimate tracks from a John Peel session and a well received 38 minute live set from an All Tomorrow's Parties gig make up the rest of the disc. During the ATP gig Gruff Rhys translates some of the song titles during his shambolic song introductions in what is an (unexpectedly) solid set. The live version of 'Gwreiddiau Dwfn / Mawrth Oer Ar Y Blaned Neifio' is epic.

Housed in a gatefold cardboard sleeve alongside a booklet containing the lyrics, the combined playing time of both discs is 2 hours and 36 minutes. Well worth getting if you missed the album first time around and enough here to make it a worthwhile investment for those who loved it the first time around.

CD 1:

1. Drygioni
2. Ymaelodi ā'r Ymylon
3. Y Gwyneb Iau
4. Dacw Hi
5. Nythod Cacwn
6. Pan Ddaw'r Wawr
7. Ysbeidiau Heulog
8. Y Teimlad
9. Sarn Helen
10. Gwreiddiau Dwfn / Mawrth Oer ar y Blaned Neifion
11. 38 minute demo of 'Mwng'

CD 2:

Mwng Bach

1. Cryndod Yn Dy Lais
2. Trons Mr. Urdd
3. Calimero
4. Sali Mali
5. (Nid) Hon Yw'r Gān Sy'n Mynd I Achub Yr Iaiath

Peel Session

6. Nythod Cacwn
7. Cryndod Yn Dy Lais
8. Y Gwyneb Iau
9. Gwreiddiau Dwfn / Mawrth Oer Ar Y Blaned Neifion

Live at ATP

10. Drygioni
11. Ysbeidiau Heulog
12. Pan Ddaw'r Wawr
13. Y Gwyneb Iau
14. Ymaelodi Ā'r Ymylon
15. Nythod Cacwn
16. Gwreiddiau Dwfn / Mawrth Oer Ar Y Blaned Neifion

ByteStor Pro 16GB 40Mbps Class 10 High Speed Micro SDHC UHS-1 Card with SDHC Card Adapter
ByteStor Pro 16GB 40Mbps Class 10 High Speed Micro SDHC UHS-1 Card with SDHC Card Adapter
Price: £8.89

4.0 out of 5 stars Comparable to SanDisk and Kingston, 23 April 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
With an actual capacity of 14.9GB and with an adapter included, this is the first MicroSD card that I've owned that's not been manufactured by SanDisk or Kingston. Much like the other cards I've used, I got nowhere near the advertised transfer rates (a little over 6MB/second) but I suppose that might have more to do with my laptop than anything else. Comparable to more established brands, it's worth checking the price of the 32GB card before buying - at the time of writing it's only a couple of quid more.

Binatone M250 Big Button GSM
Binatone M250 Big Button GSM
Price: £19.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Very easy to use but inferior build quality, 23 April 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The features on this mobile are more or less standard mobile phone features circa the late nineties. I bought a TTfone Mercury 2 a few months ago and it had the option to add a MicroSD card and display photos on the screen etc. but it just complicates things. This phone keeps things basic and simple. SIM free (although it doesn't accept '3'), I popped an existing Vodafone SIM in it and the numbers appeared in the address book when I switched it on. It's a perfect size, not too big or too small. The backlit keypad has very big buttons that are easy to press. The screen is perfect with easy to read text.

It's quite straight-forward to set-up - setting the time, adding numbers to the address book, setting the alarm clock, etc - with easy to follow menus. Finding numbers in the address book is literally a couple of clicks. The battery life is very good and it automatically locks and goes into standby mode when not being used and when it does, a single battery charge lasts for days on end..

It's has some useful features - text messaging, alarm clock, calculator, SOS emergency key and an FM radio that has a good reception when using earphones (the lead acts as an ariel). The hands-free works fine for both the caller and the receiver.

On the downside, it's made of cheap plastic that's liable to chip easily (the plastic chrome trim is just waiting to be chipped to expose the white plastic underneath!) or even break if dropped onto a hard floor. It comes with a jack lead charging cable and if a spare one or new one is ever required it would be so much easier to buy a mini USB lead.

Overall, this is a straightforward and easy to use seniors' mobile. Functionality wise it's an easier phone to use than the TTfone but the cheap build prevents it from receiving a perfect score.

Oral B Vitality Plus Floss Action Electric Rechargeable Toothbrush
Oral B Vitality Plus Floss Action Electric Rechargeable Toothbrush
Price: £19.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Decent no-frills Oral-B, 23 April 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a no-frills Oral-B electric toothbrush that has none of the advanced settings that more expensive handles have. Basically, switch it on and it will alert you when two minutes is up. You get no change quadrant alerts and it doesn't have a multi-speed motor for gum massaging and all that over-rated nonsense that more expensive models have.

I've been using Oral-B toothbrushes for years and the oscillating action is really smooth and comfortable. The Floss Action heads that comes with this brush leaves my mouth and teeth feeling more refreshed and clean than any other Oral-B brush heads. However, you can use any other Oral-B brush heads with it. I've been getting four days from the battery when using it twice daily for approximately 2 minutes each time.

Shop around. These models are quite often on sale for half-price either on Amazon or in supermarkets.

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