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

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Pantone Universe iPhone 5/5s IMD Cover - Deep Lavender
Pantone Universe iPhone 5/5s IMD Cover - Deep Lavender

4.0 out of 5 stars 18-3633 or Purple to its friends., 6 Aug. 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
In the Pantone Universe - 18-3633 is called Deep Lavender; in my universe its Purple. Case Scenarios Pantone case is a very rigid plastic; that holds your iPhone 5 or 5s phone snugly - you can remove it by pressing it out through the cut out for your camera. The back is a nicely polished material; and the sides have cut shapes to create texture (and allow them to write Case Scenario on their product.)

For science and not at all because I'm clumsy I have dropped my phone a few times and neither the case nor the phone looks any the worse for wear. For finding your phone on a table of the exact same black cases this stands out.

Why only 4*'s well its not the cheapest case and it is just plastic but it is very purple and i like standing out amongst the clone. My last case had a fleck lining for the phone; and a card slot for a swipe card both of which are a preference thing; but they weren't purple and that is why this is the case on my phone.


Manfrotto Advanced Active Camera Bag Backpack I
Manfrotto Advanced Active Camera Bag Backpack I
Price: £55.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Comfy Commuter And Day Bag, 6 Aug. 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The Manfrotto Advanced Backpack I the smallest camera backpack I have tried; its a great design for carrying just a little bit of camera and manfrotto say unto a 15" laptop. My macbook pro 15" just fit; and its a fairly slim design. The active Backpack is very well made; with nice materials and easy to use zippers - even with gloves they are nice and long. The bag is very black so where something reflecting in winter. Manfrotto have avoided the boxy shape of a lot of bags apart from one side a design feature I haven't come across before - flat bottom so the bag stands up when you put it down. There is a tripod holder on the side; though its best used with small tripod. Up top there is a larger pocket and then two smaller document / pen pockets - one of which I put the included rain cover into.

Having walked about 30 miles with it over the last few weeks; the bag is very comfortable with nice padding on your shoulders and back; for comuting though I prefer the design of the Lowepro Photohatchback (I tested this last year; its a bigger bag than this.) The In the Lowepro design the camera section opens on your back so light fingers can't try and open it whilst you are out and about - though the computer pocket is much more exposed on the Lowepro so its a bit of give and take. Of the two the Manfrotto is the more comfortable bag; the Lowepro slightly larger and both your camera and back lose some padding compared to the manfrotto. Lowepro's ace in the hole is they have also included mesh pockets on the side for water bottles; which is something you can't easily carry with the Manfrotto - and my biggest issue with it.

I aspire to minimalism; with the Backback I Manfrotto encourages you to travel super light and for that its a great day bag as its comfortable, small and protects your gear. There is room for an SLR with a short lens attached and a spare lens and thats it. It is a comfortable bag for commuting; and on the plane it slipped under the seat in front of me with not problem. The compromise of the size stops you packing frivolous things like lunch or water; and in that respect the Lowepro photo backpacks stretch side pockets give it the advantage for me. I wavered between 3 and 4* because carrying a drink matters to me; taking my lowepro to work for the day and settled on 4* as its much nicer to carry around


No Title Available

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars USB Charging at home or on the road, 26 July 2014
Over the last dozen or so years USB power has become the de facto way to charge most devices we carry along with us every day - in the last year even my toothbrush has moved to USB charging. Unfortunately along the way it became multi voltage and we now face the need to charge several devices at home or on the road a lot of them every day. If you travel like me the number of those little chargers that make the trip with you grows – and the wretched things look alike but don't work alike - apple their low and high voltage chargers look identical which meant on at least one trip I didn’t had the right charger for my tablet.

My Volutz 6 port USB charger arrived in a nice box; and inside was a lightweight; gloss white plastic box. On its first outing it survived the rigors of airport baggage handling. On packing my bag; the benefit was immediately apparent –I took 3 USB chargers out of my travel bag and replaced them with one.

It should work pretty much wherever you go thanks to a universal DC converter for 90-240v. When you do plug in the figure 8-power cable (no power brick here) an LED lights up showing it has power and is ready to go. Once powered up use the USB cables that came with your device and plug them into the appropriate port on the front of the device; there are higher voltage ports for tablets and standard for everything else. Volutz have labeled the sockets common devices of their type so there are iPhone, iPad, Samsung sockets – the tablet sockets both charged my iPad and the rest all charged phones and camera’s without warnings on the devices. There is a decent amount of space between the sockets so its easy to add or remove them from the device.

Lying on its side in my hotel room I charged my tablet, two phones and camera all from the single socket the hotel felt was enough for the deka. All were fully charged in the morning. I really like that you don't to think about the chargers your need; and always have one with the right power output rating for the device you are using - and its a very reasonable price for the convenience. I have struggled to find a downside to this device; its compact and easy to use and really does solve a (albeit small) problem in my life. All considered the convenience you get from not using all those individual chargers at home or on the road is a pleasure. 5*s

Disclosure: I was provided a sample of this device for the purposes of writing a review and providing feedback to the reseller.


Panasonic ES-LV95 5-Blade Electric Shaver Wet/Dry for Men, Stainless
Panasonic ES-LV95 5-Blade Electric Shaver Wet/Dry for Men, Stainless

5.0 out of 5 stars Now my Favourite Razor - in a month, 24 July 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
With this 5 blade wet / dry electric shaver Panasonic have come from nowhere in my life to favourite razor in a month. Previously I have been a fan of the 3 blade design and using a Philips 9000 series shaver for a year; and alternating it with a Gillette Fusion to deal with the neck (and under the nose) hairs.

The shaving head rocks and pivots helping get closer as you move it around your face; though without some kind of lubrication on your face in the summer heat it had friction problems; so after the early set back I have used the razor with a gel. Used without gel the Panasonic was the first electric shaver I have managed to cut myself whilst using it. On my face the 5 blade shaver suffers as all electric razors have with neck hairs growing along the neck which has keeps me needing to use a fusion occasionally. It gets close under the nose which has been an issue before; and the built in trimmer works OK on sideburns. The motor is very good; forgetting to shave for 3 days the panasonic powered through it without pulling or scratching. With gel it shaves smoothly and closely; and panasonic have put an ultrasonic cleaning mode into it to help you clean it with water. The cleaning / charging dock can then be used for deep cleans and re-lubricating the head.

The battery life is outstanding; the razor lasted comfortably into two weeks before i charged it at 30% of life; I had to charge it to take it away on a business trip - there is a leatherette pouch to protect it in your bag and the charging cable works without the dock.

In the last few years I have tried the Philips 9000, Braun Cooltec and now this Panasonic. Until now none of the electric shavers have come anywhere near the Gilette Fusion; the Panasonic comes very close - and it does it with less cuts to my face.

Panasonic really have knocked it out of the park with the 5 blade- it shaves close and smooth (with a gel) thanks to its powerful motor and blades -working with batteries that keep on going. If the price doesn't put you off panasonic's shavers seem superior to their european rivals.


For Apple MacBook Pro A1278 / A1286 / A1297 Replacement 4 Pack Rubber Feet / Foott Kit 13" / 15" / 17" - Brand New
For Apple MacBook Pro A1278 / A1286 / A1297 Replacement 4 Pack Rubber Feet / Foott Kit 13" / 15" / 17" - Brand New
Offered by Mac-Parts4u
Price: £4.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Comes unstuck, 14 July 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
These rubber feet fit my Macbook Pro (2011) perfectly. Luckily there were 4 in the pack as the first one lasted about 4 hours; the adhesive on them didn't keep them attached to my laptop. A drip of superglue in the channel and it has happily attached and you can't tell from the finish that it wasn't there from the start


Oral-B Pro 4000 CrossAction Electric Rechargeable Toothbrush Powered by Braun
Oral-B Pro 4000 CrossAction Electric Rechargeable Toothbrush Powered by Braun
Price: £49.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good brush; not the best overall experience, 14 July 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The braun Oral-B 4000 Pro was my first return to the brand after several years using Philips toothbrushes. Before the switch to Philips I had used Braun's electric brushes for at least a decade - but I switched as I found the overall experience of use as well as the brushing superior to Braun's.

The 4000 PRO came with 3 heads in the box; one of which is supposed to make your teeth whiter. The heads are the bit you replace with an electric brush - and the Braun refill's are cheaper than the Philips ones. They are also messier - the Philip's heads are solid on the outside whilst there is a hole in the Braun brush head that collects toothpaste and makes the brush harder to clean.

In the box there was also recharging base and a brush holder. Charging the 4000 pro for the first time took several hours; a green battery light flashing as it goes telling you the state of charge. There are various brushing modes accessed by pressing the power button until you get the one you desire - though there is no visual queue as to whats going on. The brushing heads all feel the same in use to me; they are long and thing which makes them great for getting to the back of your mouth and they pulse as well as rotate. The heads though are very small compared to traditional (or philip's) toothbrushes so make sure you move the brush around. One nice feature is whilst you are moving the brush around it lights up in a bright red to warn you if you are brushing too hard - even early in the morning if you have your eyes closed you still see the red and know to lighten up.

Cleaning teeth is a fairly subjective thing; my teeth felt as clean with the Braun as they do with the Philips brushes; so the distinctions for me come down to the overall experience; and there my Philips has the edge. The battery was the most disappointing experience; lasting about a week after a full charge both the first and second times. Secondly as someone who travels extensively the lack of travel pouch or travel charger is a disappointment; my Philips charges over USB in its travel case which is one less thing to carry.

As a toothbrush the 4000 is as good as the competition; as an overall package there may be a better option for you.


Screws set for MacBook + MacBook Pro Unibody bottom cover 13", 15", 17"
Screws set for MacBook + MacBook Pro Unibody bottom cover 13", 15", 17"
Offered by ibestsky
Price: £3.63

5.0 out of 5 stars Just what the macbook ordered, 9 July 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
These screws were just what the doctor ordered for my 3 year old macbook pro. Over the years some of the screws have worked lose (I have opened the case a few times so its probably my fault.) This set includes the longer hinge end screws as well as shorter screws for the remains of the case. All are philips head and when in my laptop you can't tell from the outside they aren't the originals.

The screws set comes with about 10 screws; i used 4 and so have some to keep me going. They aren't cheap but the Apple store wanted more and replacing the missing screws protects my laptop going forward.


Huawei E5330 Unlocked 21 Mbps 3G Mobile WiFi (Black)
Huawei E5330 Unlocked 21 Mbps 3G Mobile WiFi (Black)
Price: £41.58

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Easy to set up; battery keeps in going, 9 July 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The Huawei mi-fi was a doodle to setup and for use with with my Car and when i am out of the office with my laptop so i can avoid draining my phone battery.

When I bought the Mifi I bought a seperate pay as you go 3g chip; topped it up and put it into the Mifi. Powering it on the small instruction book covered getting into the device and once there it was easy to select the right network settings from my sim. If you don't understand those settings most phone companies can talk you through it; or their website has the information for the settings you need. Once I select the PAYG network settings the MIFI just worked; and has done everywhere I have taken it (including keeping a Signal down the A9 in Scotland.)

The Huawei is reasonably priced; and its a setup once and keep going device that lets you get data onto a device wherever you are - even if it is to avoid a hotels overpriced wifi...


Withings Pulse Ox Activity, Sleep, Heart Rate and SPO2 Tracker for iOS and Android - Black
Withings Pulse Ox Activity, Sleep, Heart Rate and SPO2 Tracker for iOS and Android - Black
Price: £64.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Long Life, 9 July 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The Withings Pulse O2 is part of a renewed push from Withings on their health devices. The Pulse is an activity tracker that monitors your steps, sleep and as a differentiator from most of the competition Pulse and new for the O2 model it measures Blood Oxygen levels.

The pulse is small and reasonably thing at about 4cm x 2cm x 1cm; in the box you get a USB charging cable as well as a rubber wrist strap and a rubber belt / pocket clip. The wrist strap is new for this year; the older models had a felt wrist strap for using whilst you sleep. Last years pocket clip had a habit of losing the device when you got home; so I have avoided using this years just in case. The wrist strap is very good; though a colleague with the same model things his Pulse is a bit lose in in. After last years clip worries i just drop it in my trouser pockets at the start of the day; and put it into last years sleep case when i go to bed. I did this as the rubber / metal clips caused an allergy on my wrist after a few days of use. Despite its diminutive size the battery lasts over a week; and recharges very quickly.

The biggest disadvantage for me of the pulse remains its inability to buzz to encourage movement / getting out of bed like the Jawbone UP's can do along with the lack of water proofing.

The biggest advantage though is the app is fantastic - especially if you plan to get the wifi scales or the new bluetooth blood pressure monitor; the pulse syncs to my phone over bluetooth during the day and whenever you look there is a reasonably up-to-date information; if you ever want up-to the minute information you press the button and hold it and in a few seconds it syncs back up. In the latest update you can measure your pulse using an iPhone camera.) As the week progresses you can see how you are progressing and at the end of each week you get a summary that you can build on week to week.

I really find having the data to see what i have or haven't done each day a great way to motivate me. With the pulse in my pocket its out of sight collecting information each day. There is no benefit for me in having the blood oxygen monitor as Im not training for a marathon and have good lung function. I still wish it had a way to tell you during the day to get up and do something as at work i often zone out for hours; but the long battery life and ease of use make this a great activity tracker.


Olympus SP100EE Digital Compact Camera (16MP, 50x Super Wide Zoom, Built-in Dot Sight) 3.0 inch LCD
Olympus SP100EE Digital Compact Camera (16MP, 50x Super Wide Zoom, Built-in Dot Sight) 3.0 inch LCD
Price: £279.15

14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars On Target, 15 Jun. 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
2014 is the year of the superzoom camera; with all the manufacturers pushing their lenses further and further.

The Olympus SP-100ee comes with a 50x zoom running from a reasonably wide angle 24mm to 1200mm. The camera itself is midway from a compact camera to an SLR; so its not pocketable but its far from bulky.

The sensor is tiny and 16 megapixels which is improved by the lens allowing more light through than some of its competitors. The 100ee’s big selling point is the Olympus solution to using that large zoom and finding your target. Most camera’s have a rear screen to help you focus; Olympus have that covered. Some Camera’s have an electronic viewfinder (EVF) ; and Olympus have you covered there (though the EVF is very laggy and the image is quite small.) The difficulty with either of these is tracking subjects at high zooms; to move that forward Olympus have used a Reflex Holographic sight (A red dot sight as you might find on a rifle.) You access it via a button on the side of the flash; the sight pops up and you get a red dot to aim at your subject. There is a calibration wheel to help you dial it in for your eyes; and once you have the red dot sight is great for taking stills and even better for tracking video.

Unfortunately the reflex sight doesn’t give you any information about the zoom you have selected; it would be excellent if the site could indicate the frame you have (a bit like canon’s zoom preview system.) The red dot sight is where a flash hotshoe might have been so you are limited to the onboard flash.

The Camera is pleasant to use; its powers up and is ready to shoot quickly. The zoom is pretty quick in and out (and there are two sets of buttons to do it - one by the shutter release and the other on the camera barrel. The zoom on the barrel is a little slower than the main zoom which helps you dial it in. There is also a button to control the focus limits which is useful if you are in a busy location and want to control the focus rules. Most importantly shutter responds quickly when you click. There is a thumb dial on the top of the camera which allows you to easily change the camera settings in the more advanced modes; if you are using the EVF you can control the camera.

The most important bit photographic quality is reasonably good at shorter zooms and good light; unto 20x the image stabilisation keeps things in check handheld and you get nice colours. If you zoom in the JPG compression on the pictures is reasonable; but solid colours come with barrels of noise when you zoom in; so don’t print the images too large. In lower light restraining from using the zoom and you can get reasonable images; with the inbuilt flash helping out too. The Olympus is also able to focus down to 1Cm which lets you take Macro images with the camera; so for developing your stills photographic skills without

The art scenes give you some interesting creative options; my tip being take a picture without the scene mode before one with so you don’t regret your image having warped colours - and be aware that the scene modes seem to eat the battery life. As you zoom further out camera shake takes it toll; and frankly above 40x you need something to hold the camera still. The panorama mode is accessible on the dial and is outstanding; you can sweep quickly and the resulting images are good.

Using the HDMI out to watch Video on my TV and the quality looks good; the image stabilisation doing an excellent job of suppressing movement; the compression is good (you get about 25 seconds in 100mb.) The zoom motor is faintly audible if you use the side switch; using the shutter switch its more noticeable. Sound is pretty well controlled with the built in microphones on top top plate of the camera; there isn’t a plug in microphone socket. Don’t pan the camera at high zooms though as the movement effect on a big screen is unpleasant.

Overall the camera was better than I expected; through 30x it is similar to the Sony HX60 or Canon SX700 pocket super zooms. The last 20x is very difficult to use without the external stabilisation of a tripod. The camera interface makes the most of the larger volume of the camera. In good light the pictures are impressive; and as the light drops it is reasonable - though you need to reach for the flash quickly as the sun drops. I haven’t tried its direct competitors; but if you are happier carrying the larger camera the SP100ee gives marginally better results than its compact super zoom cousins as as such it might be a better choice for you. 4*.


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