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

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Google Chromecast HDMI Streaming Media Player
Google Chromecast HDMI Streaming Media Player
Price: £29.98

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Makes a dumb TV smart, 18 Aug 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I have a basic TV that has a HDMI input but is not in the slightest bit smart. For £30 this is a superb little gadget that adds a lot of extra functionality to it. It's simple to setup - plug the Chromecast into your TV's HDMI socket and it's USB power cable into a wall socket, install the app on your Android or iOS device and follow the on-screen instructions on your device to get it connected to your Wi-Fi. When setup, supported apps will then give you the option to 'cast' the content from your device to your TV and allow you to carry on using your device as normal i.e. if you choose to cast a programme from the BBC iPlayer app on an iPad, you can close the app and continue using your iPad as normal and the programme will continue playing on your TV, independent of your device. You can also mirror websites from the Chrome browser on a laptop or PC to your TV as well as what you can see on the screen of most Android devices.

Some of the supported apps that make this worthwhile for me include:

BT Sport
BBC iPlayer

For a full list of supported apps follow the link in the comment below.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 18, 2014 1:08 AM BST

Samsung 1.5TB Wireless Mobile Media Streaming Device for Android - up to 750 Movies
Samsung 1.5TB Wireless Mobile Media Streaming Device for Android - up to 750 Movies
Price: £116.98

11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good device let down by a poor app and slow indexing, 17 Aug 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Slighty bigger and chunkier than a stand alone hard drive, getting media onto this streaming device is straight-forward. Connect it to your PC and drag and drop your files onto it. As well as a media streaming device you can also use it as a normal hard drive. I loaded it with approximately 1,800 CDs ripped to MP3 and 120 films ripped to MP4.

Setting it up with my Samsung Galaxy Tab was also really straight-forward. It creates it's own Wi-Fi hotspot that was recognised by the Samsung Wireless app I'd already installed. You can use it with an iPad using the web browser (there is no iOS app) but it was just far too buggy and unresponsive to make it worthwhile.

I must admit that I'm not that impressed with the app in both the way it's laid out and how it performs. It's absolutely fine with my MP4 videos. Because they're not in folders and sub folders, all 120 films showed up almost immediately and were ready to play but it's taking an age to index all of my MP3s that are in Artist/Album sub folders. After over 75 hours of use it's still indexing them and until they've all been indexed I can't see and therefore access all of my MP3s. Also, when playing back an album you have to select all of the tracks to playback the whole album instead of just hitting one 'play' tab. Additionally, the album artwork appears in the 'Photos' folder in the app mixed up with your own photos! It's all a bit clumsy.

Playback of MP4 films is superb - I've had three devices simultaneously streaming different films with no playback problems whatsoever. The battery is OK but nothing special - when playing back a film on one device it lasts for about 4 hours so if your using this with multiple devices in a car you might want to invest in a car USB charger. When playing back MP3 files encoded at 320kbps on one device, the battery lasts for approximately 6 hours.

Overall this is a good device that allows you to carry a massive amount of media around with you and play it back on your Android device. However, it's let down by a poor app, a limited battery and slow indexing. If Samsung can sort out these issues (particularly the app) and also make it run more smoothly on the iOS browser (or go one better and produce an iOS app) then this is a 4 Star bit of kit pushing 5 Stars. Until then it only rates 3 Stars.

Oral-B Pro 5000 Electric Rechargeable Toothbrush Powered by Braun
Oral-B Pro 5000 Electric Rechargeable Toothbrush Powered by Braun
Price: £69.99

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Impressive toothbrush and features, 17 Aug 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I've been using Oral-B toothbrushes for years and the oscillating action is really smooth and comfortable. It reaches all your teeth with ease and leaves your mouth and gnashers refreshed and clean. This model is no different in that respect.

It comes boxed with three different brush heads, charger, travel case, Smart Guide (clock) and a toothbrush head holder that integrates with the base of the charger. The handle is slim and ergonomically sound and you'll need to leave it charging overnight to get a full charge - it takes 12-15 hours. With a full charge I've been getting SIX days use when using it TWICE daily for 2 minutes. The motor is powerful and doesn't get much slower as the battery runs down, it just stops. The instructions do recommend storing the handle on the charging unit to maintain full power and that "overcharging is impossible".

It pauses very briefly every 30 seconds, reminding you to change quadrant and continues running after the recommended two minute brushing cycle. Switching it off is clumsy - it goes into another mode and it almost feels like you're having to forcefully turn it off and the pressure sensor is pointless - you have to be brushing so hard that you're slowing down the motor for it to light up.

The best thing about this brush is the Smart Guide. You need to pair it with the brush handle once and every time thereafter it will commence timing the amount of time you spend brushing (it's a bit like a stop watch - switch the brush on and it starts counting the time). I personally find this really useful as it ensures that my teeth get at least two minutes of cleaning time without having to count the number of 30 second pauses. It displays the time when you're not brushing your teeth so it's also a useful bathroom clock.

Beyond the default 'Daily Clean' mode, it has three extra ones - 'Gum Care', 'Sensitive' and 'Whitening' but, apart from the Sensitive mode (which is the standard mode slowed down), the Daily Clean mode should cover most people's requirements.

Finally make sure you get it at the right price. The R.R.P. is way over the top for what this is and the asking price on Amazon goes up and down like a yo-yo. Anywhere around the £60-£70 or less is a reasonable price to pay.

Still Dreamin' Wild: The Lost Recordings 1979 - 81
Still Dreamin' Wild: The Lost Recordings 1979 - 81
Price: £12.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Dream Worth Dreamin', 29 July 2014
Over 30 years after the release of their one and only album, Donnie & Joe Emerson finally tasted success when Light in the Attic re-issued it a couple of years ago. This new collection from LITA features a further 12 songs they recorded in their $100,000 studio that their father financed by mortgaging most of his farm land. Initially I didn't have much interest in this album - lost songs are normally lost for a reason i.e. they're not very good - but when I saw it on the shelves in HMV I was reminded just how much I enjoyed Dreamin' Wild and took a punt. And I'm glad I did. Much like Dreamin' Wild, this is more or less a Donnie Emerson solo affair (Joe co-wrote one song and plays drums on a couple of others) and once again it highlights what a talented musician and songwriter he was.

Missing much of the naive charm found on Dreamin' Wild, Donnie's sound has evolved and these teenage symphonies are a lot more confident and assured. Admittedly the production and instrumentation, particularly the drum machines and synths, sounds very much of its time (very early 1980's sounding!) but nearly all of these songs are immediate, catchy and well crafted pop songs. The overall sound isn't too far removed from that of Hall & Oates from the same period and you can also hear the influence of the music Donnie was probably listening to at the time, including The Cars, Rick Springfield and Tom Petty. Strong melodies, addictive choruses and even some political commentary ('Big Money'), this is every bit as good as Dreamin' Wild. Housed in a gatefold cardboard sleeve, it clocks in at just over 40 minutes and once again features excellent liner notes.

Aerobie AeroPress Coffee Maker
Aerobie AeroPress Coffee Maker
Price: £26.52

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So simple & effective - coffee never tasted so good, 27 July 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This will be the best £25 I'll spend all year and I wish I'd taken the 'plunge' earlier. Simply put, this is the quickest, cleanest, easiest and best way to make coffee. There is no residue in your cup like you get with a cafetiere, just the smooth taste of coffee. It's such a simple but clever way of getting the full flavour from your coffee. It's also a very clean method - just eject the spent coffee and filter straight into the bin, give it a quick rinse and you're done.

I've found that I achieve the best tasting coffee using the "inverted" method (check out the videos on YouTube to see how it works). Don't be put off by the size - it compacts to about the same size as single cup cafetiere (and I've binned the funnel because you don't really need it if you have a steady hand).

Breett 8000mah Power Bank, Slim Dual Ports Li-polymer External Battery Pack USB Charger for iPhone, Samsung, Cellphone, Tablets
Breett 8000mah Power Bank, Slim Dual Ports Li-polymer External Battery Pack USB Charger for iPhone, Samsung, Cellphone, Tablets

5.0 out of 5 stars Light and inexpensive with a decent capacity, 24 July 2014
Lightweight (190g) and not much bigger than a smart phone, this power bank takes approximately 8 hours to charge from empty using a USB-Micro USB lead (included) and has enough power to charge an iPad to 70% from empty or an iPhone twice over. It has two output USB sockets - 1Amp (for smart phones) and 2.1Amp (for tablets and smart phones) and it charged both my iPad and iPhone simultaneously.

Made from a rubber/plastic hybrid material it's great for carrying around in the event that your device's power starts running low. It's has four lights on the front (25%, 50%, 75% & 100%) that indicate how much power it has and these are very useful when both charging and discharging.

There are higher capacity models available but if you're just after something very light and portable to top up your device at the end of the day then this is the one to get and at the asking price of £12.99 (at the time of writing), it's a bargain. I received this gratis from the manufacturer in return for this honest review.

Bluetooth FM Transmitter, Breett Multifunction Fm Radio Stereo Transmitter Car Mp3 with Bluetooth 4.0 Handsfree Calling and Standard USB Charging Port (Black)
Bluetooth FM Transmitter, Breett Multifunction Fm Radio Stereo Transmitter Car Mp3 with Bluetooth 4.0 Handsfree Calling and Standard USB Charging Port (Black)

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb Bluetooth FM transmitter that enhances car audio capability, 23 July 2014
I drive a 2010 Vauxhall Astra SRi and whilst the speakers are good, it has limited functionality with just a CD drive that plays MP3 CDs and a radio. It has no USB connection or 3.5mm jack lead connection points and it's built into the dashboard as part of the design so it would be expensive to change it for something else. And that's where this magical Bluetooth FM transmitter comes in handy.

With this transmitter I can play music directly from any Bluetooth enabled tablet or phone over the car speakers, charge a USB device and receive hands free telephone calls. It's all very, very clever.

Set-up is simple. Plug it into your cigarette lighter socket and switch it on and pair it with your device - both my iPhone and iPad recognised it immediately and the Bluetooth paired seamlessly. Next, using the frequency control knob on control hub, select a free FM frequency (it has an FM frequency display LCD) and then tune your car radio to the exact same frequency. Finally, select some music to play on your device and you'll hear the music playing over your car speakers. And that's it! When switched on thereafter the Bluetooth reconnects flawlessly with my iPhone / iPad and the FM frequency remains the same.

The hands free phone call facility is faultless. Leave your phone in your pocket playing your tunes and if it rings, you'll hear the ringing over your car speakers instead of the music. Hit the unmissable multi-function button and you'll hear the person calling you over your car speakers and they'll be able to hear you. At the end of the call hit the multi-function button again and your music will carry on playing.

The USB charging port is a really handy feature allowing you to keep your device charged up and not drained from playing music. I can put my iPad in my glove compartment and have it charging whilst listening to the music on it.

The sound quality is excellent. Occasionally you have some very light static but it's negligible because it's drowned out when driving and the Bluetooth connection has never dropped out. There are buttons for skipping backwards and forwards between tracks and a rotating volume control button and the multi-function button pauses the music.

It is quite a big device and it's worth bearing in mind that you're looking at a 95mm (including the head of a USB cable) over-hang of the main body when it's plugged into the cigarette lighter socket. The goose neck is adjustable and the control hub, which connects magnetically (and securely) to the goose neck, is fitted with a battery and when fully charged, via the cigarette lighter socket, you can disconnect it and play your music back for a couple of hours without having anything plugged into the cigarette lighter socket. So effectively, if you've got a a charging socket in your car boot, you could charge it in there and then use it in the front of the car.

In summary, I love this Bluetooth FM transmitter. It's given my car extra audio capabilities and it's easy to set up and use, with excellent audio quality too. I was given this device by the manufacturer in return for an honest review but I honestly cannot find fault with it and with an asking price of £23.99 (at the time of writing), it's a bargain.

Inateck® Ultra Mini Portable Rechargeable Wireless Bluetooth Speaker with 3.5mm AUX-in - Black
Inateck® Ultra Mini Portable Rechargeable Wireless Bluetooth Speaker with 3.5mm AUX-in - Black
Offered by Inateck
Price: £39.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent sound and amazing Bluetooth range, 22 July 2014
Weighing just 150g and able to sit comfortably in the palm of my hand, this tiny speaker gives out a lot of sound and it has features you wouldn't expect for such a small speaker. Whilst you're not going to get the same quality of sound that you get from a £200 Bose speaker, the sound is comparable to other Bluetooth speakers in the £50 price range that I've used. It handles the bass well and the overall sound is clear and balanced and it doesn't distort too much even when you have both the speaker volume and your device volume at their highest. It's not quite large enough to fill every corner of a room but it's not too far off.

It paired seamlessly with my iPad, Samsung Galaxy Tab and laptop (running Ubuntu) and connects every time with no problems. The Bluetooth range is superb - I can carry this speaker upstairs and around the house and to the far end of the garden and the connection never, ever drops out. I've not known a Bluetooth speaker to have such a good range and couple this with its size and it's perfect for carrying from room to room and into the garden. If your device is not Bluetooth compatible it can be connected using the included 3.5mm audio cable. It's charged using a USB cable, also included.

It also has a built in microphone and works perfectly as a speaker phone and you can also pause music and turn the volume up or down using a scroll button on the rear of the speaker. With a full charge I'm getting around 5 hours of playback.

In summary, this speaker is a steal at the selling price of £15.99 (at the time of writing). When taking the three main considerations when buying a Bluetooth speaker into account - cost, sound and Bluetooth range - it succeeds on every level. I was given this speaker by the manufacturer in return for a review but I honestly cannot find fault with it. Finally, if you're thinking of gifting this, it comes in a classy looking box.

Country Funk Volume - 2 1967 -1974
Country Funk Volume - 2 1967 -1974
Price: £11.01

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More Country Funk and Blue-eyed Southern Soul Goodness, 15 July 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
With lesser known acts rubbing shoulders with household names, this is another fine compilation from Light in the Attic. There are soulful country vibes aplenty but it's not as funky as the first volume. Nonetheless there's still an impressive and diverse array of songs on offer and much to enjoy.

Billy Swan opens the album with a dramatically re-worked cover of Elvis' 'Don't Be Cruel' where he slows thing right down - it works perfectly and it very soulful (but not funky!). Bobby Darin's 'Me and Mr Hohner' is underpinned by a heavy bass line and takes in a cool organ break and Jackie Deshannon's turns in a powerful cover of 'The Weight'. Lady of the moment Dolly Parton gets happy on the up-tempo 'Getting Happy' (check out the sample friendly percussion and bass break on the intro) and 'Rising Sign' by Jim Ford sounds like deep southern fried Sly and The Family Stone and it's the best song here.

Clocking in a couple of minutes shy of the hour mark, special mention must be made of the sound quality - it's superb. Where other labels fail with the mastering, LITA releases always sound amazing. Housed in a sturdy gatefold cardboard sleeve alongside a booklet with original release details and images of record sleeves, there's little in the way of liner notes but I suppose the music speaks for itself. Put on your headphones, turn up the volume, kick back and enjoy!

Motown Northern Soul
Motown Northern Soul
Price: £5.67

21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 25 Motown Northern Soul Floorshakers, 14 July 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Motown Northern Soul (Audio CD)
Billed as the follow up to 2012's Motown Floorshakers, this is another impressive budget release. There are dozens of Northern Soul compilations of variable quality released every year but anything bearing the Motown logo never fails to satisfy. Clocking in at 68:52 and featuring 25 tracks, this is no exception.

Tammi Terrell sings the superb mid-tempo 'Tears at the End of a Love Affair' perfectly with some beautifully arranged backing vocals drifting in and out of the mix. As acknowledged in the sleeve notes, Brenda Holloway at last sings about a misery free love affair on 'Keep on Rolling' and The Monitor's 'Crying in the Night' is a joyous dance floor filler (despite the lyrics!). Motown in-house band Earl Van Dyke & The Soul Brothers provide an instrumental take of 'I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)' (commonly known as The Funk Brothers, they were credited as The Soul Brothers on this 1965 single release) and Diana Ross & The Supremes close the album with the cool and elegant 'Stormy'.

There are some overlaps, but if you enjoy this then the Cellarful of Motown and Tamla Motown Connoisseurs budget compilations also are well worth checking out too.

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