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Chris Hoare "Chris" (UK)
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   

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Sony KD-49X8305C Smart 4K UHD 49 Inch TV (2015 Model)
Sony KD-49X8305C Smart 4K UHD 49 Inch TV (2015 Model)
Price: £889.00

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice TV; nasty Android TV, 29 Aug. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
So Sony TVs still come with impenetrable naming conventions; KD49X8305CBU. In the range its towards the bottom of the 4k line; but the price reductions have mostly come by not supplying extras like the one flick voice control remote control and 3d glasses; both of which you can buy separately. The Remote is quite expensive; but you can use a sony app - TV Sideview on your phone that seems to do most of its features.

Taking it from the box is likely a two person job the KD49X8305CBU isn’t heavy; coming in around 10kg but it is BIG. In the box is a ribbon shaped stand; which is easy to attach; and as you would expect the back of the TV has VESA mounting sockets so you can mount the tv to the wall.

Also on the back are frankly the largest amount of connectors on a TV i have ever seen; 4 HDMI 2 Composite, an RF for over the air, 2 satellite screw in sockets, ethernet (there is also wifi 2.2 and 5ghz), optical out for audio, 3 usb socket, and unbelievably in 2015 a scart socket. The HDMI sockets are all side facing which lets you mount things closer to the wall. The ethernet and audio sockets are straight in though.

I would set it up before mounting it to a wall so you can get the cabling right. Once you turn it on you are walked through a setup wizard that works out how you are getting your over the air or satellite channels as well as linking to your google account so you can use the android tv interface.

You can tell the screen is high resolution even when its not on; as the tiny pixels cause a rainbow like you see on a dvd on the screen when its no powered on. One it is powered on the picture quality was a pleasant surprise; my Panasonic LCD tv was outstanding 3 years ago when i bought it, but is surpassed by the Sony. Blacks are very much darker; though this TV doesn’t have the local dimming so they can be a bit uneven. The color is great and the brightness works well to combat the reflectivity of the screen; though faced with light there are definitely reflections visible in the picture.

Used to making excuses for the sound from flatscreen TV’s for general TV watching the sound is excellent; the gravelly voice of DR House sounds just fine. If you want to get your netflix in surround sound the digital out will connect to an AV amp or sound bar to make it better - but its likely a tv you won’t need to use one with - i haven’t gone above volume 25 which is more than loud enough.

Fed a BluRay be it “mastered for 4k” or not the KD49X8305CBU does a great job upscaling it to 4k with the picture looking solid all the time. Using a reasonable media source like Netflix super hd or saved hd movies on apple tv the quality is also very good. Even Amazon TV’s streaming looks more than acceptable. As soon as you fall past an HD quality source the KD49X8305CBU struggles to upscale lower definition pictures - there likely isn’t enough detail and you get a bit of blockiness and a lot of false film grain.

There is no high bit rate media based 4k video at the moment; so its not really possible to push the TV to its limits yet. Streaming from youtube, amazon tv and Netflix. The picture quality from the streaming 4k range from as good as bluray for the amazon service to great on Netflix and bizarrely to awesome on some youtube videos.

The Smart TV features are supplied by android tv 5; and as I write the interview that is its achilles heal. I have spent a month struggling with an interface that stutters and bafflingly for me puts apps below randomly recommended content ( you can choose the apps but it doesn’t work with netflix or amazon tv so I get a random selection of content from youtube - rather than my subscriptions or recommendations.) Considering its from Google Android TV 5 has an atrocious youtube app it works but doesn’t update content in a timely manner. The TV had bbc, netflix and amazon tv installed when it arrived but you can download apps from the android app store - this includes games which you can play by linking a playstation controlled to the tv. . It’s easier to control via the Sideview App; which is free on phone / tablet app stores which allows you to use voice search - but the interface is no way near as good as the fire tv. Having been down on it there are some great features like photo share plus that let a group of people upload photos for viewing; and download ones they want to their own phones.

I have had 3 previous smart tv’s, one each from LG and Panasonic and now the KD49X8305CBU. None of these tv’s were ever updated so the interface was stuck and I ended up happily using a Fire and Apple TV. Sadly neither of those are 4k capable so Im hoping that running Android TV means it will get updated and developers will add apps to the store. Till media catches up with 4k you are left with streaming to get the most out of this TV; which requires; for the UK at least, a great internet connection needing at least 20mb/s for netflix 4k which most adsl won’t achieve. Till then you are left watching upscaled HD content which looks excellent on the screen.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 31, 2015 9:39 PM BST


Philips M2BTBK Fidelio Wireless Bluetooth Headphone - Black
Philips M2BTBK Fidelio Wireless Bluetooth Headphone - Black
Price: £169.91

4.0 out of 5 stars Who needs wires, 16 Aug. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Philips have upped their game with the Fidelio M2. Opening the box its clear they have invested money in their packaging which looks excellent, and something they should do for their personal products too. In the box they supply a small quick start manual, a micro usb cable (marked charge only), an emergency 3.5mm cable should the built in battery run out and a carrying pouch. Charging the headphones seems to be done in about an hour; and once charged I have been regularly achieved 8 to 10 hours of music and phone calls with it. The iPhone also showed the battery life of headphones on the screen when connected which I hadn't seen before and is a great feature for staying on top of the battery life of the headphones.

Connecting the headphones to my iPhone was a question of powering them on; by pressing and holding the big button on the back of the right ear. Then in the phone choosing bluetooth and pairing them. After that powering the headphones on they mostly always auto-paired back to my phone. Once it was connected to my phone; there was an obvious test to make and sadly phone calls don't work especially well. Everyone I spoke to on the headphones agreed that the built in mics on the iPhone 6 was better - and in a city centre I was deemed too quiet. Using the headphones with my iPhone 6 revealed one significant issue with my iPhone - i listen to music to drown out the sounds of the office whilst working - but regularly need to walk away from my desk leaving my headphones behind - often going far less than the 15m of so that philips say is the range. Coming back I would regularly start music for it to come out of the speaker on my phone. One day apple will support nfc and reconnecting will stop being power down headphones; power up headphones which feels silly.

My personal preference in sound quality is neutral and letting the sound that was recorded shine through. I have been alternating between B&W P5's and these headphones corded brother the Fidelio X2. I rate both of these highly and love their flat sound; though the X2's feel more energetic and engaged when listening.

Queing up the M2 bluetooth I was able to stream aac files from my iPhone (and laptop.) If you have an allergy to apple and access to a device that is compatible the M2's can play the high quality aptx and lesser sbc. On my first listen I was happy to find philips have resisted temptation to dial the bass up to 11; you can do that with the EQ in your phone if you must. I love the ethereal sounds of airs Alone in Kyoto which builds up layers as it goes; and where having a flat response really helps. On the M2's the detail is still there; even with the jump to wireless; the easy blending on mid to high tones is also excellent. The soundstage feels wide and in a quiet place they are a great listen. Plugging the cable in does make them sound even better though; so maybe its not just for emergencies. One thing that did frustrate me was that these headphones were a little too loud and didn't allow for a fine control over the volume that I have been used to with cabled headphones; sometimes I just need a little music to act as a barrier and that wasn't possible.

The build quality is excellent as you should expect from headphones at this price; the headphone cups are soft and with the band resist squeezing your head. They have a closed back design so not much sound leaks out; and having used them in the office for weeks to much gets in either. The headphones have a rocket switch that changes the volume; and pressing it using combinations changes track. The remains of the back of the right cup is a start / pause play tap button or hold it to power the headphones on and off - something because of the connection issues I had to do far more than I liked. These headphones are also quietly conservative; mat black rather than gloss plastic. It is a shame that the headphone pouch offers nothing more than scratch protection to the headphones though.

Amid the connection issues there was one big win - walking to work with corded headphones there were times I pulled the cord from my phone; or catch the cord on something - both of which were likely doing damage to the headphones or the phone itself. Cordless is definitely better in that respect; and the sound quality wasn't as diminished as i feared - and there was no hiss that i have heard on other BT headphones. I adopted a workflow to use the headphones which alleviated the connection issues - and hopefully apple will add nfc support and they will go away completely. ; That the sound quality lives up to the Fidelio brand save it back to 4*s.


iGADGET® Top rated #1 Heavy Duty Reuseable Hook and Loop Velcro Strap, Hooks and Loops Velcro Tape, Velcro Cable Ties with ideal length to use as Double sided Electrical tape for wire cable tidy 20mm x 180mm - 10 Pack Black
iGADGET® Top rated #1 Heavy Duty Reuseable Hook and Loop Velcro Strap, Hooks and Loops Velcro Tape, Velcro Cable Ties with ideal length to use as Double sided Electrical tape for wire cable tidy 20mm x 180mm - 10 Pack Black
Offered by iGADGET
Price: £6.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Its so bad i tend to use a small bag to keep ..., 13 Aug. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I travel a fair bit for work and my bag has more than the usual jumble of cables in it. Its so bad i tend to use a small bag to keep them in. I have been wrapping them up in themselves for a while which works well. The iGadget cable ties are quicker to use than tying a cable to itself; they are also really useful if you need to use the cable but don't need all its length ( this is especially handy in a hotel room and on a plane.)

The cable ties are made from what seems to be super tough velcro. They are about 2cm wide which is plenty; The length is a good compromise; its either too long for smaller cables or not quite long enough to wrap around things like a power brick. For the short cables it just means you need to wrap it more - and being velcro I just used two ties for my power bricks.

Use once plastic cable ties are great for semi to fully permanent cabling; these velcro ties are great for things you use more often. There are 10 in the pack; even my overloaded bag only needed me to use 6 of them which left a handful of spares for. They are good value even if only to keep your phone cable untangled in your bag.


DSLRKIT Pro Lens Vise Tool Repair Filter Ring Ajustment Steel 27mm to 130mm
DSLRKIT Pro Lens Vise Tool Repair Filter Ring Ajustment Steel 27mm to 130mm
Offered by DSLRKIT
Price: £21.90

5.0 out of 5 stars DIY Thread repair, 13 Aug. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I dropped my Canon 24-70 f2.8L; onto lovely soft concrete and despite the lens being built like a tank it dented the metal filter thread. I could just get a lens cap on it; but filters were out of the question. After getting an interesting quote from Canon to repair the lens i did some research on alternative ways to fix it. That led me to this lens rise; it took about 10 days to arrive; but once I had it it took about 6 minutes to fix my lens back to the point I could spin a filter into it. the vise made from steel; the handle and thread are solid and you have good control over the expansion. The vise has two thread grips that protrude out; a smaller one on the inside tract and a wider one on the otherside. A 180 degree turn of the handle opens the vice about 1mm.

Using the vice; I cut a piece of cardboard to protect the lens itself; and then opened the vice to the width of my lens. Span the handle down to grip the lens; and then carefully span the handle to open the vise. You have to open and close the vise and spin it around the dented area. The filter doesn't screw on as filter as before but I have erred on the side of caution for now.

The cost of the vise was less than 10% of the repair cost I was quoted so it more than paid for itself. 5*


Philips S9041/12 9000 Series Wet and Dry Shaver with SmartClick Precision Trimmer
Philips S9041/12 9000 Series Wet and Dry Shaver with SmartClick Precision Trimmer
Price: £240.57

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good electric razor, 5 Aug. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
As you take the S9041 from the box there are 3 parts for the razor itself; the handle, the shaving head and a beard trimmer. You also get a manual; a charging cable. The handle feels exceptionally well made and fits the hand beautifully; it powers different heads using the philips click system. The shaving head itself snaps off and that lets you attach the included beard trimmer or you can get the (at extra cost) face brush (which is really great at cleaning your face.)

The razor head is the same as last years model; and that is a good thing - and the current head is far better than those of the past few years. The 3 blades can now each move independently in 3 axis to fit to cup and track the contours of your face. To help lift hairs there are ribbings on the silver part on the outer edge of each blade. In the mornings of a warm August the razor worked best when using it with a shaving gel you can use it in the shower (I never have as I always wondered where the hair would go when you do that.) The S9041 shaves close enough that you can't see any beard after shaving; but its not as close as a Fusion - in that you can still feel your hair. The downside for philips is that on my face the Panasonic ES-LV95-S 5 blade razors leave my face looking clean shaven but feeling smoother too.

Using the 9041 daily for a little over the last two weeks the battery held up - the handle shows you the battery life clearly via a battery display. I am happy to say it lasts more than two weeks as it had two bars still at that point (i had to charge it as i was travelling for business on the third week so couldn't do a full drain test before I had to complete the review.) When going away Philips include a great hard case which protects the razor well when travelling.

The 9041 is a great razor it feels nice in your hand and tracks nicely on your face. Its far less messy; and over time cheaper, than using a disposable razor system; it just have quite the same clean shaved feel. Its not going to get 5* because the I still feel the Panasonic gave a better shave.


Cetaphil 295 ml Restoraderm Skin Restoring Body Wash
Cetaphil 295 ml Restoraderm Skin Restoring Body Wash
Price: £12.92

5.0 out of 5 stars my dry scratchy eczema skin feels better all day after taking a morning shower with Cetaphil Restoraderm, 5 Aug. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Pouring it from the bottle the first time it looked like they had put a moisturising lotion into the bottle but it foamed up nicely and in hot summer months left my skin feeling clean straight from the shower. I didn't have any reactions even on areas of active eczema; and dry patches looked well moisturised after the shower.

There is no better summary I can give than say my dry scratchy eczema skin feels better all day after taking a morning shower with Cetaphil Restoraderm body wash.


Philips HX8372/51 Sonicare Air Floss Pro Rechargeable Power Flosser with 250 ml Listerine
Philips HX8372/51 Sonicare Air Floss Pro Rechargeable Power Flosser with 250 ml Listerine
Price: £75.00

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great on gums, 29 July 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I am just back from the dentist a happy man; my gum check passed with flying colors. Its a bit post hoc ergo propter hoc but the only change in my dental regime was I received a Sonicare Air Floss pro about 3 weeks ago. I have always found flossing a chore; even using interdental floss things seems fussy. Charging up the Sonicare was done overnight; (In the box you get the air floss handle; two tips, a charger base and a small bottle of listerine.) The next night before going to bed before brushing I filled the; tiny, reservoir with the supplier Listerine and chose to go with the 3 pulse per tooth setting and held the button down. I tried one of last years models; and one big change is the tiny end of the tip is now soft and makes a better seal in the gaps between your teeth. Using it for the first time the odd gum made a protest at the intrusion - it didn't hurt but I could feel something going on. Over a few days that feeling went away; and my gums haven't felt better.

Using it day to day in the 3 pulse setting the reservoir is noticeably small; though when you go away on trips its nice not to have to pour away the contents. It does mean a daily refill though. The reservoir is so small that the supplied 250ml bottle of listening is still about half full. The battery has held up the entire time without being recharged so if you are travelling it feels like it will last with you.

I can't rate it better than saying my dentist just said my gums were great; despite our regular discussion about my aversion to flossing.


Nature Valley Crunchy Granola Bars Variety Pack 40 Bars x42gm Big Value pack
Nature Valley Crunchy Granola Bars Variety Pack 40 Bars x42gm Big Value pack
Offered by 118store-com
Price: £14.97

5.0 out of 5 stars Tasty Crunchy x 40, 16 July 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I like the nature valley granola bars; i prefer my cereal bar to be crunch. These tick the crunch box. And with 40 in it this is a big box; they will comfortably last me around 8 weeks of one a day munching in the office

Having so many makes me happy that Nature Valley included some variety in the fox. Of the three flavours in the box almond, ginger and maple there are three nice divisions of flavour that let you mix it up. When they packed the box they are layered in the bar by flavour so you need to dig down to get that variety though.

These bars are a nice size for a breakfast / mid morning snack. The flavours work well with my coffee; and give me the energy to get to lunch. I want to give it 4* as it would be nice to have another flavour choice (4 x 10) but that seems a mean loss of a star so 5 because they are great bars; I just would like a little more variety.


aLLreLi Ultra HD 4Kx2K Mini DisplayPort to HDMI Cable | Mini DP to HDMI | Thunderbolt Compatible | 24K Gold Plated Connectors | Video+Audio | PC and Apple MAC, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air(1.8M/6FT)
aLLreLi Ultra HD 4Kx2K Mini DisplayPort to HDMI Cable | Mini DP to HDMI | Thunderbolt Compatible | 24K Gold Plated Connectors | Video+Audio | PC and Apple MAC, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air(1.8M/6FT)
Offered by ForPower(aLLreli TM)
Price: £15.99

5.0 out of 5 stars The cable is solid; and so is the image and sound it carries., 16 July 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
It was clear the allreli Displayport to HDMI cable punched above its price as soon as i opened the packaging. Having used a fair few of these cables of the last 5 years I have lost a fair few apple original adaptors, and watched cheaper cables fail. What was apparent just from opening the pack was these were clearly a step up from the cheaper cables I have used in the past. The plastic grips around the connectors feels solid; and the connectors are rigid inside the grip - a good start.

The acid test; plugging them into my laptop and my home tv I was able to stream iTunes video at 1080p without getting display authentication warnings which is a good sign; even better was it also carried the sound down the wire into the TV. Having been using it for the last week to watch other films as well as collaborative work in the office I am happy to say the cable gives rock solid video and desktop display at 1080p at 50 and 60hz. This cable is a good length to get away from the screen or projector; there is a longer one also available.

This aLLreLi only does one job; but it does it with no if's or buts. The cable is well made; and so is the image and sound it carries are solid. Given the original part cables are multiples of the price its hard to find any fault and not give 5*.


Cetaphil 236 ml Moisturising Lotion
Cetaphil 236 ml Moisturising Lotion
Price: £7.19

5.0 out of 5 stars effective; no allergy reaction so far., 12 July 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I should start saying that I have terrible eczema and to help alleviate the symptoms I have been alternating between a number of general moisturisers like E45, Neutrogena and Eucerin for years. I try and save the super expensive targeted eczema moisturisers for really bad days. Cetaphil is new to the UK and is targeting people with sensitive skin.

The Cetaphil Moisturising Lotion is much more liquid than other moisturisers I have been using; and it does make it easier to apply. It is also easy to rub into skin; and whilst it can be wet for a while - the instructions recommend you pat your skin dry after use with a tissue, towel or cotton wool - it does dry quickly. Once dried it doesn't leave a greasy and putting a shirt on nothing is bleeding through on the outside of the shirt - at the end of the day there wasn't anything on the inside either.

The immediate look is very good - my skin looks much healthier on application the dry look not being so evident and my skin looks more cohesive. It doesn't have any effect on the itch though; if you need that they do have an eczema targeted lotion too. Over the days using Cetaphil it did a good job and moisturising the really dry patches starting to look less red. As a moisturiser its effective on my skin - and it doesn't seem to trigger off a reaction even on existing eczema patches which is great. The price is competitive good value for a low allergy moisturiser and for me having another option to switch to is good news. 5*


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