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Profile for Chris Hoare > Reviews

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Content by Chris Hoare
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Reviews Written by
Chris Hoare "Chris" (UK)
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   

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Wrigley Airwaves Cherry Menthol Flavour Sugarfree Chewing Gum 15 g (Pack of 30)
Wrigley Airwaves Cherry Menthol Flavour Sugarfree Chewing Gum 15 g (Pack of 30)
Offered by Value Deal~
Price: £15.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Beware now comes with sorbitol, 23 April 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I used to love Wrigley gum and enjoyed it at work to help me keep calm. Generally their gum seems excellent with good and long lasting flavour and a nice texture. Unfortunately over the past year or so they have switched to using Sorbitol as the sweetener; for me this has led to my divorce from the gum. Sorbitol can have a horrible laxative effect even after chewing a single pack of gum.

Till they relent I'm unfortunately using a lesser gum with xylitol that doesn't have the same effect for me. If sorbitol doesn't affect you the texture is good; and getting a long supply in one is a great way to get your gum.


BISSELL Multi-Reach 2-in-1 Light Weight Cordless Vacuum with 18 V Lithium-Ion 90 W - Orange
BISSELL Multi-Reach 2-in-1 Light Weight Cordless Vacuum with 18 V Lithium-Ion 90 W - Orange
Price: £219.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Great design, 23 April 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I have tested an AEG Rapido electric carpet sweeper a few years ago and Looking back on those reviews I was harsh on the VAX as it was as large as a hoover but only as effective as the AEG. I have been using the AEG since I was sent it for review as it was effective and compact (especially compared to the relatively large vax.)

The Bissel multireach has one outstanding feature as it ships in the box; the handle folds over for more compact storage when its not in use. This means it easily fits into a cupboard half way up my stairs complete with its recharging stand so when its not in use you can more easily put it out of the way that other carpet sweepers. The collapsing handle is also really handy at getting the vacuum head under things - i have floating sideboards and this design makes it easier to hoover under them than the straight stick design of the AEG and other devices

The battery life is quoted at 30 minutes; this holds up pretty well for my use over the last few weeks; it doesn't sound a lot but its comparable to the dyson battery powered vacuums and the AEG carpet sweeper similar to this. The trick in both the AEG and bissel devices is the vacuum element is a detachable dustbuster type device; assisted by spinning brushes in the main unit. The spinning brushes save what in the bissell's case is a poor vacuum; allowing it to lift felt and fluff I dropped onto my stairs carpet. In the box there is a brush attachment which lets you work the dust buster device into the corners; though the main brush head also has an edge mode I didn't find this as effective as scrubbing action directly. The spinner head does have small brushes that stick out sideways though; and these were great at pulling fluff out of edges and really tight corners.

Compared the the AEG Ergo Rapido the results are better - the edge mode and the little brushes make a noticeable difference. The bissell multreach is unlikely to replace a main vacuum; but for touching up or collecting a mess its excellent. Compared to similar machines I have tested the collapsing handle really improves your storage and makes the stick easier to use. I liked the AEG as an assistant to my iRobot robot vacuums that can't do the stairs; the Bissel does the job more efficiently and when I'm done it is easier to put out of sight. 4*'s because the suction could and should be better; but most of the time it gets the job done.


Tingkam® Waterproof 5M 5050RGB Led Strips Lighting Full Kit With 44Key IR Remote For Home lighting and Kitchen
Tingkam® Waterproof 5M 5050RGB Led Strips Lighting Full Kit With 44Key IR Remote For Home lighting and Kitchen
Offered by Kingsdom
Price: £31.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars not sticky enough, 12 April 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The real test of a lot of 5050 rgb led lights is the quality of the white light. I have bought a number of these kits and some give a cool blue uv tinged white rather than a warmer white. Having used and replaced a number of these strips; I attached the Tingkam strip to a dry, alcohol cleaned aluminium strip (to give them a degree of heatsink.) They were easy to put up, the strip is easy to cut cleanly (you can do it at the clear marked points on the strip which is roughly every 3 led's. The remote was quite large; but had a programmable color section if you want to dial in your own mood lighting.

The adhesive lasted about 8 weeks before the strip fell off and was found on the floor. I put the strip back up using screw into the wall clips which are less likely to fail than glue; but less attractive to look at.

This is the first strip i have had (from a number of manufacturers) where the adhesive has failed; as for me its one of the reason to use a strip of LED lights i have knocked it down to 3*s. The light and color are good; but the adhesive is letting things down.


National Geographic Medium Camera Rucksack
National Geographic Medium Camera Rucksack
Offered by Great Western Cameras
Price: £79.99

3.0 out of 5 stars needs padding, 12 April 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I am blessed to travel quite a lot for work; and have a variety of camera bags I used for different trips. For long trips I have a wheeled manfrotto camera bag that lets me take everything; for shorter trips I have a small backpack that carries my laptop, SLR and a single lens. I then have a variety of bags in-between. I booked a complex holiday in april that involved 6 flights each way. Based on my plans I wanted a couple of lenses at the end of trip; but wanted to travel fairly light. I spent an age looking at various bags and eventually chose this national geographic camera rucksack (partly as its made by manfrotto.) I knew going into it the bag isn't water proof; but that wasn't an issue for me,

It ticked my boxes for; carrying a laptop (in my case a surface pro 3) though my macbook 15" fits too. The camera section can hold a non pro slr and a couple of lenses. There is a big pocket on top of the lenses you can store needed stores in; this has a couple of pen and velcro sockets. Both sides of the bag have flapped pockets which can store water or on one side a tripod. On the front of the bag there are a number of zippered pockets for filters, batteries or other small items.

It was the larger space for personal affects and the color that one it over on other bags. These allow the bag be used to carry things through the airport as well as when walking around on holiday. That was the plan; for my trip I put an SLR and 3 pro lenses into the camera bag section; my laptop and an assortment of other bits and bobs. Ultimately the bag weighed about 13kg. What I found walking around the airport was the bottom back edge of the bag is too hard and lacking in padding. If you don't get the straps tight at any given time it bounces into your spine. That makes it pretty uncomfortable those times you want to walk around on a single strap like all the cool kids (or just kids that want to be able to get into their bag quickly) you have to endure the bounce.

This padding issue is a real shame; as its an ideal sized bag and all those pockets make it simple to pack the accessories you need. I really like the sandy stone color, nice texture and leather touch points make it look and feel great. If you travel kit is lighter this could be a great bag; for me those times fully loaded walking miles through airports cost it two stars. Im going to take it on my next trip; but it will travel in my suitcase and my wheeled bag will get to experience the airport.


Philips GC7635/30 PerfectCare Pure Steam Generator Iron - One Perfect Temperature, 240 g Pressurised Steam Boost
Philips GC7635/30 PerfectCare Pure Steam Generator Iron - One Perfect Temperature, 240 g Pressurised Steam Boost
Price: £128.53

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great for hard water; elsewhere there may be a better option, 12 April 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I was offered the chance to review the Perfectcare 7635 from Philips and decided to try it having tried the more expensive 8638 towards the end of 2014. At the time of writing the review there is about £50 between them in price; with the 8638 remaining the more expensive. There is a difference in the two; there was an extra stage in the setup of the 7635 - you have to put a descaling cartridge in the base unit before you can use the iron; the 8638 doesn't use any consumables.

Both are any material setting free steam irons; this alone is awesome - the last iron i had to test before these had over 80 temperature settings -and I'm sorry who knows which one is best at any moment. Looking at storing the iron the 7635 is about 1/2 the size of the larger water and more powerful 8638 - but both of these are considerably larger than non steam generator irons. Using these irons is as simple as it gets; plug them in; wait for the color LCD's to go a steady color and you are ready to iron. There are minimal controls on the iron; a button on the handle for a steam boost; and the choice of full or eco mode on the base to power it on. Like the 8638 the 7635 has a long steam and power cable - so you can leave the base on a table or kitchen worktop whilst ironing upto 1.8m away. The handle itself doesn't like resting on the wait plate on my ironing board as its much lighter than the cable its attached to.

As I was going on holiday over easter i did a direct comparison between the two. The first noticeable difference is the pump in the 7635 is noisier - and runs more frequently than the one in the 8638 if you iron whilst watching TV this may be worth knowing. For me the important bit was the expensive model ironed my trousers and polo shirts noticably quicker than the 7635. It is simply down to the power and volume of the steam that the more expensive unit can generate. The 7635 generates bursts of steam which power through creases; the 8638 is able to produce constant steam; and on cotton trousers and shirts it makes a time difference getting creases out and putting creases in.

As a man doing his own ironing I have been asked to test a surprising number of irons over the years; the 7635 would have been the best I had tested were it not for the 8638. If your budget won't stretch to an 8638 get a 7635 and be happy that your ironing will be simpler and better than using an all in one iron. As a man I haven't not able to test the voracity of testing on all materials; I have only really tested on wool and cotton horizontally and on hung up suits; but for both materials and orientations it does a good job removing creases. If you live in a high hardness water area the descaling cartridges may benefit your clothes over the easy decal system of the 8638 (which amounts to emptying the water from the boiler) and increase the lifetime of your iron. These cartridges do however add to the cost of running the iron which adds up over time and may make the 8638 better value.

For me the time saving steam power of the 8638 would make it the better choice; as who wants to spend time ironing.


Gillette Fusion ProGlide Power Razor with Flexball Technology Plus 3 Blades
Gillette Fusion ProGlide Power Razor with Flexball Technology Plus 3 Blades
Price: £14.49

5.0 out of 5 stars Incremental Improvement to what was already the best, 10 April 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I have had a fair few razors to test from Amazon through the vine program over the years; and I have always compared them back to the latest from Gillette. The original Fusion Power gave what I felt at the time was the closest shave; the non power version felt like it was pulling hairs more than the power version so i have stuck with the power version over the years. It was replaced with the incremental update of Gillette Fusion Proglide which tweaked the shaving cartridge. Despite improvements from wilkinson et al the Gillette always felt the closest.

As it was with the Proglide; so it is with the Flexball; the flexball is at best a marginal improvement; allowing articulation of the blade cartridge. This means the blades have another range of movement. The original fusion allowed for some articulation in and out of the blades; the cartridge was already able to pivot in the y axis; the new Flexball allows for X axis movement too. The Flexball undoubtedly results in fewer strokes; especially over the chin and neck but the overall effect is not a huge leap from its predecessors. The overall shave is no closer; but less strokes reduces the chance of cutting yourself.

Its a very close and easy way to wet shave; and reducing the number of strokes reduces any skin irritation and chances of getting cut. Combination refill and razor packs like this are usually great value; getting this pack should let you shave well for up-to four months.


Belkin 2-in-1 Micro USB and Lightning Charge and Sync Cable for Apple iPhone 5, 5c, 5s, 6, 6 Plus, iPad Air, 4th Generation and iPad Mini - Black (MFI Approved)
Belkin 2-in-1 Micro USB and Lightning Charge and Sync Cable for Apple iPhone 5, 5c, 5s, 6, 6 Plus, iPad Air, 4th Generation and iPad Mini - Black (MFI Approved)
Price: £19.39

4.0 out of 5 stars Quality comes at a price, 25 Mar. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The belting 2 in 1 Micro cable is a fantastic idea; a single good quality usb cable with a micro usb for charging devices; and then an adaptor dongle that converts it to a Lightning adaptor for charging your iDevices. The cable itself is wrapped in a nice plastic; and the ends are well moulded and feel solid - some cheap cables the ends feel and are shells. So the Belkin 2-in-1 ticks the boxes for quality; for charging it has fast charged iPads and a galaxy tab at 2v as well as charging and transferring data to various phones I use for work.

Its super convenient for your bag as its one cable; and the adaptor is held in place with a silicone holder. The downside is it isn't cheap; if you are travelling light though its an ideal cable for your briefcase.


Asus USB-BT400 3Mbps USB Bluetooth v4.0 Mini Dongle
Asus USB-BT400 3Mbps USB Bluetooth v4.0 Mini Dongle
Price: £9.50

5.0 out of 5 stars Plug and play, 25 Mar. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Plugging the USB-BT400 dongle into my desktop was all it took to set it up. Windows 8 Auto detected its presence and enabled the bluetooth settings; and I was away. The signal from the dongle is good enough to connect to a bluetooth printer a few meters away; it has does a good job streaming music to the speakers on my desk.


No Title Available

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It isn't easy being green, 25 Mar. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The first thing that was clear opening the Sennheiser OCX686G headphones box was the color; these are a bright green headphone. Designed for and I test it with my Samsung Galaxy's the inline microphone and buttons are far too fiddly if you are wearing gloves; and as the cold morning's drag on into April I regularly still am. The buttons themselves are pretty spongy and for the price of the headphones should be of a higher standard. That said they work and allow you to answer calls, move between songs and change the volume without fishing your phone from a pocket. The microphone was rated as OK by people i called; it worked fine for "OK Google" though.

The 686G headphones are in year headphones; with clips to hold them over your ears as you move around. The chord is flat and seems very tangle resistant; even after a few days in the included pouch the headphones weren't a tangled mess. The box comes with three sizes of tips; and its worth trying them out to find the right one for you. The way the headphones sound and the fit depends on how well the buds seal in your ear canals. When you have the right ones inserted; the the sound is pleasantly flat a little base heavy but mostly flat. The range of the sound is pretty good; and they work well with sparkly 60's folk as they do with spotify's Fresh Dance Tracks playlist. The ear tips do a reasonable job at quieting the noise around you too. The headphones hook onto your ears and I found the clips pinched on my ears which became uncomfortable over time. Having tested and bought a fair few headphones over the years I definately prefer the Bowers and Wilkins in ear and Bose in ear clips which press on the inside of your ear and are as rigid. Both do a good job holding headphones in place; the inner ear approach does it without the pinch.

Overall the OCX686G are good sounding headphones and when worn during they activity always stay attached ; the remote does its job - even if the buttons are a little small and feel cheap on what is otherwise a quality headphone.


AIRWAVES Black Mint Menthol Sugar Free Chewing Gum 10 Pellets (Pack of 30)
AIRWAVES Black Mint Menthol Sugar Free Chewing Gum 10 Pellets (Pack of 30)
Price: £12.21

3.0 out of 5 stars Now with Sorbitol, 1 Mar. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Wrigley have signed some kind of deal with Cushelle. For a time there were safe havens away from Sorbitol and over the last few months it now seems most all their gum comes with the same sugar you find in Prunes; Sorbitol.

The gum tastes as good as ever; just take it slow or you might spend the rest of the day in the restroom.


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