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

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Netgear GS208-100UKS 8 Port Gigabit Ethernet 10/100/1000 Mbps Switch
Netgear GS208-100UKS 8 Port Gigabit Ethernet 10/100/1000 Mbps Switch
Price: 17.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Reliable home network switch, 27 Mar 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Having had the Netgear GS208-100UKS 8 port switch connected to my home network for about a month there are only really two important things to note about it;
1) Netgear make outstandingly reliable and quick network switches;
2) they really ought to work on the product names.

On the strangely negative is a power switch on the wire from transformer to the switch. I dont like the switch and i dont like the transformer - why can't the transformer be inside the switch rather than a bulky mains transformer?

Considering its function Its a dumb switch without any programming options so setting it up is a question of plugging it into a network that has a device issuing IP addresses out (most likely your firewall or internet router.) The switch quickly relays traffic around your network at unto gigabit speeds which is far more than even full HD streaming needs at the moment. The GS208-100UKS is a small size thanks to having 8 rather than 16 ports - there are lots of switches up to 48 ports - for home use 8 is likely more than enough even with connected TV's and surround sound systems dotted around. The design of the switch is a strangely slippery plastic rather than being rubberised to stop it moving around; i'm not sure if the cost was cut on rubber feet or fully rubberised base but i wouldn't tug on any of the cables coming from the back just to be safe either way it smacks of cutting the cost.

The GS208-100UKS is a small quick switch that quietly and reliably gets on with the Job 5*s


Philips LivingColors Bloom Colour Changing Mood Light Black (Integrated 1 x 8 Watts LED Bulb, Remote Control)
Philips LivingColors Bloom Colour Changing Mood Light Black (Integrated 1 x 8 Watts LED Bulb, Remote Control)
Price: 53.49

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Small and delivers a lot of light, 27 Mar 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I have had the original philips LivingColor LED's for a number of years; and gave them a terrific review. The biggest issue with them was the stand was fine so long as nothing ever when near the lamp; otherwise they would be falling all over. This was made worse because they were quite large; enter the Bloom which in the fashion of Minime delivers almost all the light of the original but at 1/8th the size. Thinking about my dented and cracked originals the Bloom has the (now) metal stand attached - which is less flexible in terms of arrangement but considerably more stable. After having them for a few years; one noticable effect was how younger kids that visited would sit and just play with the remote controls changing the colours of the room; it kept them surprisingly ammused for a long time.

Getting the bloom out of the box and setting it up is very simple. Its is a question of plugging in the mains adaptor to a socket and the lamp; putting some batteries in the remote and choosing a spot to put it on and using the remote to turn it on. The instructions to do this are a pictorial walk through but it really is simple to set a single lamp up. What isn't really explained is the Remote can be used to control multiple lights if they support the Smartlink feature. This includes bulbs for sockets as well as other lights in the living colour series.

The remote itself is the simplest design you could wish for when using multicoloured lighting - turn a click wheel dial and the lamp cycles through the rainbow and stop when you find the colour you are looking for. If you want to you can then adjust brightness / saturation to suit your mood once you have a setting you like you can program 3 preset colour settings to quickly set it up for watching a film or listening to music.

I was so sold on the original livingcolor lights I bought that i invested in LED tape lights for my living room which are very discrete and deliver a similar effect (just without the excellent Philips remote.) As a simple step to getting colour changing lights the Bloom is currently great value and paints a wall in colour effectively.


Wilkinson Sword Hydro 5 Power Select Razor
Wilkinson Sword Hydro 5 Power Select Razor
Offered by Your247Chemist
Price: 8.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Prefer the Fusion; refills are great value though, 28 Feb 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Once you have defeated the packaging there are two parts the Hydro 5; the disposable razor head and the battery handle. The handle has 3 power settings; the first does nothing noticeable and the next two will meet your preference. If you haven't used a powered wet shaver you should; it makes a real difference - especially if you have missed a day with less pulling or skin irritation.
The import bit though is the Razor head from bottom to top has rubber fins to lift hairs and clear shaving foam; 5 clear in the open blades that have held up to a weeks use so far without feeling dull. After the blades have past a lubricated strip (Gillette's are the same and I don't know why.) The lubricating strip can pull back for closer in shaving (under the nose or sideburns say.)

In your hand it feels pretty nice and the handle has a nice weight to it. The most important part of shaving is closeness; and frankly Gillette have them beat on my face using a Fusion; and I also think that the extra blade from trimming is a better solution that the movable lubrication strip. Its close but by midday after using the hydro5 i can feel more stubble that from a Fusion or from my Philips electric shaver.

It does however have one important benefit; the refills of the blades are currently 2/3 the price of the Gillette refills which is a handy saving at the moment. If money isnt an object try the Fusion; otherwise these are very nearly as good for considerably less outlay.


Nine Minutes on Monday: The Quick and Easy Way to Go From Manager to Leader
Nine Minutes on Monday: The Quick and Easy Way to Go From Manager to Leader
by James Robbins
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 12.37

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Motivate your team, 28 Feb 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Like many people I was thrust into management without any training. Like many others I was trapped and focus on goals and targets that my team needed to meet to achieve release dates. Over time I honed a pattern that delivered results year on year; but was always ready to learn more.

The biggest thing I took away from Nine Minutes is management is about relationships with your team and new ways to motivate them. Over the book Nine minutes lays out an easy to follow framework that can help you further motivate your team to exceed those targets.


David Mitchell: Back Story
David Mitchell: Back Story
by David Mitchell
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 6.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Suprise, 28 Feb 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
David Mitchell's persona portrays a modern erudite English male. Back story pretty much affirms that is who he is. Its well written with enough self deprecating humor to take you to the end. David's character doesnt feel like its growing with events as the book goes on; and he has played it safe. For me the quintessential biography of a comedian remains Clive James' Unreliable Memoirs.


AEG  Ergorapido Rechargeable 2-in-1 Handheld with Brushroll Clean, Satin Black
AEG Ergorapido Rechargeable 2-in-1 Handheld with Brushroll Clean, Satin Black

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Second Vacuum, 28 Feb 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The AEG Ergorapido is a 2-in-1 "stick" vacuum with rotating brushes with a handheld vacuum that pops out. If you like vacuuming in the dark AEG have included LED lights on the front of the brush box so you can tick that important box.

I live in a duplex flat; and use iRobot Roomba 555 Vacuum Cleaning Robot to maintain the ground floor; sadly the iRobot suffers from the same design flaw as the daleks and won't do stairs so for me this ticks a vital box that I have been using a large mains Dyson as my second vacuume for some time. Using the Ergorapido in Stick Mode is outstanding for cleaning stairs; its light and easy to manoeuvre up and down the stairs and the rotating brushes are great and getting fluff out of carpet.

Taking the dust-buster out of the stick you can use the brush attachments for smaller areas or on furniture. The dust buster works almost as well as a Dyson handheld; the suction isn't as good but AEG provide a fairly hard brush attachment if you need a scrubbing action.

The batteries and charging on the Ergorapido seemed utterly baffling and I do think AEG have made a poor choice with regard to recharge time; a Toyota Prius can drive up-to 15 miles after charging it from a mains socket for 2 hours;. The Ergorapido needs 16 hours to last 20 minutes: of vacuuming. AEG have provided two options for charging it; a wall mounted and a floor mounted base; using either of these uses a lot of space though as it doesn't collapse. The charging mount holds the two included brush accessories for the dust-buster. Luckily I have a cupboard that it fits in when charged so it doesn't stand out all the time.

The ErgoRapido is a bit of a mixed bag; the long recharge time seemed bad till I actually time my Dyson Slim to recharge; Dyson manage 15 minutes of Vacuum action; though the Dyson is charged in around 5 hours.

The AEG is half the price of a Dyson Slim; and despite the slower vacuum time its dual design works really well as a second vacuum.


Skyfall (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy)
Skyfall (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy)
Dvd ~ Daniel Craig
Price: 14.61

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent BluRay, 20 Feb 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Skyfall feels like a film not of its time. When you see the current trailers for Die Hard (something) on the television and all the guns and explosions; Bond feels much more restrained. There are explosions and chases; but its closer to a Bourne film where intelligence is the name of the game rather than running in guns blazing. Until the ending; which is simply ludicrous and I refuse to believe it is how things would be done; trying to avoid spoiling it.

In the Blu-ray transfer we have something of a treat; it feels first rate on both the audio and visual fronts. The audio seems very well mapped to the 7 channels of my sound system with effects moving around the room and taking advantage of the extra effects speakers at the back of my room; but dialog always clear and rarely overwhelmed by music or action. The picture is first rate; there is a long night sequence in the film; and there are none of the dreaded compression artefacts in the night sky; and when the pace picks up and an explosion kicks in the fire looks like it should be making the room feel warmer.

Lastly Sony have included a proper downloadable digital copy that you can download into iTunes or your Android system rather than an ultraviolet copy - a system that I have had mixed experiences with even if it theoretically lets you lend people films.

If you can suspend your belief its an enjoyable film; the BluRay presents it in its best light. 4*s


Philips Instyle Nathalie Wall Light Black (Includes 1 x 80 Watts R7S Bulb)
Philips Instyle Nathalie Wall Light Black (Includes 1 x 80 Watts R7S Bulb)
Offered by Handyserie
Price: 50.13

5.0 out of 5 stars Mellow Light, 3 Feb 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
When I moved into my new flat the wall light in the living room was round like a ships porthole and used a CFL bulb that took a while to warm up. It was the first thing I wanted to change in my flat; and i looked around at lots of bulbs. Being in the Vine program I have had lots of philips products to test and have been consistently impressed with the quality of them. So i decided to get one of the beautifully designed philips lights. The unimaginatively named Philips 33213 is one of the Philips Instyle lighting range; and its a nice compact down and uplighter for your wall. The light shines around the golden ring on hte inside and the light it gives off a nice warm light up and down the wall rather than the cold light of the cathode i had before.

The light itself is a beautifully designed and built device. It comes fully assembled; you only need to remove a few screens before you can mount it - which helps when it comes to putting it back together as you can see where they had been. In the instructions are notes for either connecting it to the lighting ring or to a wall socket; though the wires aren't provided for the wall socket option.

At about 10cm high, 25cm wide and 15cm high it doesnt take up a lot of room on the wall. Its made from Aluminium so its nice and light; at about a kilo so should mount onto most walls with the appropriate fittings. Inside the box is a simple diagram for connecting it up; It took less than 10 minutes to wall mount it and connect up the wires using the helpful instructions.

It looks great and I love the light it gives off; 5*s.


LightwaveRF Connected Light Switch, Double Dimmer Wireless - iOS, iPhone and Android Smart Home Automation Control- Stainless Steel
LightwaveRF Connected Light Switch, Double Dimmer Wireless - iOS, iPhone and Android Smart Home Automation Control- Stainless Steel

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Light switches for the 21st century, 3 Feb 2013
The Lightwave RF truly are light switches for the modern era.

They are dimmer switches so your light bulbs need to be able to work with dimmers. The light switches themselves come in a variety of metal finishes; and 1 or two socket designs.

They come in two types; master and slaves to let them work with the lighting ring in your house (if you have connected lighting circuits - like up / down stairs.). Before you start it is worth nothing they need a 35mm deep light socket box so you may want to check before you begin that you wont need to do work on the boxes in the walls. Inside the packs is a good diagram showing you how to wire it up; if you aren't sure what you are looking find an electrician.

Once they are all connected up a feint amber light shows when the light is off and is replaced with a blue light when you turn it on. When you turn the light on the lights slowly fade up and the same when you power them down. Pressing and holding the switch enables the dimmer function to allow you to set the brightness how you want it. If you have a complex lighting circuit or aren't familiar with electrical wiring and lighting circuits or as I found a very complex lighting circuit - I strongly recommend you get an electrician to help you wire it up -better safe than sorry.)

You can pair the light switches with RF remote controls (they work through walls) of a couple of types; or there is a WIFI connection that lets you control your lights from an app on Apple or Android devices. The latter of which (depending on your home network) can let you check the status of your lights at home. Its class as a home automation device and there are thermostats, radiator controls and standard wall plug sockets all of which gain the RF control and app control features - which make it very easy to power things down to save energy.

The light switches look really great on the walls and the color status light helps you find them in the dark; and the ramp up of the lights makes turning them on feel like an event.


LightwaveRF Connected Light Switch, Single Dimmer Wireless - iOS, iPhone and Android Smart Home Automation Control- Black Chrome
LightwaveRF Connected Light Switch, Single Dimmer Wireless - iOS, iPhone and Android Smart Home Automation Control- Black Chrome

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Light switches for the 21st century, 3 Feb 2013
The Lightwave RF truly are light switches for the modern era.

They are dimmer switches so your light bulbs need to be able to work with dimmers. The light switches themselves come in a variety of metal finishes; and 1 or two socket designs.

They come in two types; master and slaves to let them work with the lighting ring in your house (if you have connected lighting circuits - like up / down stairs.). Before you start it is worth nothing they need a 35mm deep light socket box so you may want to check before you begin that you wont need to do work on the boxes in the walls. Inside the packs is a good diagram showing you how to wire it up; if you aren't sure what you are looking find an electrician.

Once they are all connected up a feint amber light shows when the light is off and is replaced with a blue light when you turn it on. When you turn the light on the lights slowly fade up and the same when you power them down. Pressing and holding the switch enables the dimmer function to allow you to set the brightness how you want it. If you have a complex lighting circuit or aren't familiar with electrical wiring and lighting circuits or as I found a very complex lighting circuit - I strongly recommend you get an electrician to help you wire it up -better safe than sorry.)

You can pair the light switches with RF remote controls (they work through walls) of a couple of types; or there is a WIFI connection that lets you control your lights from an app on Apple or Android devices. The latter of which (depending on your home network) can let you check the status of your lights at home. Its class as a home automation device and there are thermostats, radiator controls and standard wall plug sockets all of which gain the RF control and app control features - which make it very easy to power things down to save energy.

The light switches look really great on the walls and the color status light helps you find them in the dark; and the ramp up of the lights makes turning them on feel like an event.


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