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

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Lexar Professional Workflow SR1 USB 3.0 SD Card Reader - Black
Lexar Professional Workflow SR1 USB 3.0 SD Card Reader - Black
Price: £17.54

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Super fast well built SD Card Reader, 3 Sep 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The Lexar Professional USB3 SD Card reader will do nothing more than save you time. Compared to importing photos from the card reader built into my laptop the import times are consistently reduced to about a third.

Lexar designed it to work with their card reader dock; but works fine as a stand alone SD Card reader;all my current cameras use SD cards but you can get it with Compact flash or XWD if that is what you need. Lexar have included a USB3 cable to get you going. It isn't the smallest reader so performance comes at the cost of a small amount of convenience but comfortably fits into a pocket on my camera bag so i can take it around with me and quickly import my photos into lightroom.

Its read every card I have plugged into it without issue; its much quicker than a USB2 or my built in card reader and saves precious time each time I use it which makes it easily worth the asking price.


Withings Wireless Blood Pressure Monitor (Apple and Android compliant)
Withings Wireless Blood Pressure Monitor (Apple and Android compliant)
Price: £109.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Cut the cord., 3 Sep 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
When I upgraded my iPhone I had a problem in that the dock connector on my original blood pressure monitor didn't fit my new phone; though it worked fine with a dock adaptor. That said the wire was always a pain; and my wish was granted with the release of the bluetooth version. The meter looks identical to the original WIthings' blood pressure monitor; just without the wires.

Withing's box opening experience is always excellent; opening the Blood Pressure Monitor box you get the cuff (batteries included) along with a manual explaining how to hook it up to your phone to take readings; already having the app installed it was a question of connecting the bluetooth together and I was away. If you don't its a question of getting it from your app store (Amazon, apple, google play.)

Taking a blood pressure reading once enabled is as simple as powering on the cuff so it can connect to your phone; loading the app and pressing go when it tells you to. The app even shows you how to use the cuff to help you get it right. Once its taken your blood pressure it stores your data and presents it back to you; if you have other WIthings' devices you slowly build up a portrait of your live and for me that is the benefit of this system. Taking a blood pressure reading once or twice a week gives me a history on my phone; so the one time a year a health professional takes it I can show them better data.

The original was good - and the cuff works with large (and small) arms which some other devices wouldn't work with; cutting the cord makes it proofed against future phone upgrades for the foreseeable future. Its not the cheapest cuff; but the app and cuff is very easy to use and allows you to share data with medical professionals.


Wenger Passport Wallets WE6193GY Grey
Wenger Passport Wallets WE6193GY Grey
Offered by Bargain-Zone 4u
Price: £9.59

4.0 out of 5 stars Simplify Travel, 3 Sep 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The Wenger Document case is an ideal store for passports and travel money/ cards. As a very frequent traveller its always the last thing I put in my bag so i know i have it; and I leave it stocked with currency; passports and hotel / airline frequent guest cards. Travelling for work its not really a sensible size for printing and storing complex itineraries; but a typical holiday will happily fit printed on A4; folded up on one side. Once you have pared your car; there is even a clip for your car keys so you know where they are when you get back...


TP-Link TL-PB10400 10400 mAh Portable Power Bank External Battery Charger (2 USB ports for iPhone, iPad, Samsung Galaxy, Android Smartphones and Tablets)
TP-Link TL-PB10400 10400 mAh Portable Power Bank External Battery Charger (2 USB ports for iPhone, iPad, Samsung Galaxy, Android Smartphones and Tablets)
Price: £25.00

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Power to the people, 3 Sep 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The TP-Link PB10400 power bank is well presented; it comes in a nice box and it looks better than its competitors and feels pleasant to hold in your hand - and at about 250g its not going to weigh your bag down for carrying it around. In the box you also get a carrying pouch (handy to protect the sockets - put the socket end in the bag first), micro usb cable that you need to charge it back up; it doesn't include a power adaptor to charge it up from.

Charging the Powerbank it up takes quite a while; I have always charged it overnight so its not something I ever waited for- the battery is likely 3-5x the capacity of the one in your phone so it needs the time to get charged up. The PB10400 charges quickly but as the power in the vault runs down so does the speed of recharging your device. The PB10400 happily charged both my phones at the same time via its twin USB sockets. The two sockets clear labels for the different currents available - 1 or 2 Amp. The 2Amp socket is for charging tablets (though it will happily charge a phone (or any other device that charges over usb too) whilst the 1A is for everything else. If you aren't sure how much charge is left in the device then you can press the status button and between 1 and 4 small green indicator lights will show how much charge is left.

TP Link have produced a power bank that feels more complete that its competitors; the simple touch of adding the torch let me remove the torch I carry in my overnight bag (when the power fails in a hotel room you are always glad you have it.) The built in torch not the light of the heavens but it will help you get around a room in the dark. That thoughtfulness of design is differentiator for me of the TP-Link Power Bank over competitors is they have made something that feels more like a consumer device whilst other power banks have felt more industrial. 5*


Philips GC8638/20 PerfectCare Aqua Iron Steam Generator with One Perfect Temperature and 280 g Steam Boost, 2500 ml, 2400 Watt, 5.3 Bar, Navy
Philips GC8638/20 PerfectCare Aqua Iron Steam Generator with One Perfect Temperature and 280 g Steam Boost, 2500 ml, 2400 Watt, 5.3 Bar, Navy
Price: £161.56

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Complexity Be Gone, 27 Aug 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I have reviewed a few irons on Amazon over the years; and Philips GC8638/20 PerfectCare Aqua Iron Steam Generator not only has the longest name it is also by far the largest. Over the reviews one thing became more and more clear; Irons have use ever more energy with the benefit of this is Ironing time has reduced year on year. All these irons have also become more and more complex; one Iron I have had to test had over 80 temperature settings to choose from - far too complex for a man doing his own ironing.

Then into my life steps the Aqua Iron Steam Generator no more complexity; fill it up with a LOT of water (there is a drain if you need to empty it for storage after ironing - a full tank of water happily did more than 15 shirts) and press a single button. There are no heat settings just a More steam trigger on the iron; using the Generator I found i could go from cotton shirts to a silk tie without any settings changes which further speeds up ironing. After pressing the single power button; the iron itself pulses a blue light. When the colour becomes solid blue its ready for use and you are away; the only thing you see whilst ironing is the sound of the pump injecting water to the steam generator.

The iron has a good friction free base plate and it glides whilst Ironing trousers and on shirts the pointed tip easily reaching between buttons on the board. The separate iron and steam generator makes for a light iron; and despite the light weight the copious steam it generates removes the creases. The connecting cord is long - long enough I could leave the iron on the Kitchen counter and iron on the board without the generator on it. The iron itself works horizontally on the board so you can iron jackets (or Curtains) whilst they are hung up.

Out of use the cord stores under the water tank; and is easy to reinsert; all you need to then is find the space in your cupboard to store it. Having been using it for the last month that is really my only real complaint with the iron; the steam generator iron is about 4 times the size of my old Azure iron. That said I have cleared the space in my cupboard to save some more time in my ironing.


eSynic 3.5" USB External Floppy Disk Drive Diskette 1.44MB FDD for Laptop PC - Compatible with Windows 98/SE/2000/ME/XP/VISTA/Windows 7
eSynic 3.5" USB External Floppy Disk Drive Diskette 1.44MB FDD for Laptop PC - Compatible with Windows 98/SE/2000/ME/XP/VISTA/Windows 7
Offered by eSynic
Price: £10.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Plug and play and read disks like its the 90s all over again, 21 Aug 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
We found we had no floppy drives left in the office; and suddenly needed to read a decades old floppy disk. After a huge debate about finding an old drive a quick search on amazon found this very reasonably priced drive. Fulfilled from an Amazon warehouse it arrived next day and plugged into a Windows 8 PC it read the disk without drivers or fuss. The unit feels robust and takes all its power from the USB cable so no need for a power brick.

The eSynic is very reasonably priced - I like that mine was also shipped from Amazon so qualified for prime - if you find yourself in the need to read an old disk this should be fine.


Tayogo Magic Cube Rechargeable Portable Bluetooth Wireless Speaker with 3.5mm Audio Port for Iphones, Ipads, Android Cell Phones, Touch Screen Tablets, Macbooks, Laptop Computers, Mp3 Players & Portable Cd/dvd Players (gold)
Tayogo Magic Cube Rechargeable Portable Bluetooth Wireless Speaker with 3.5mm Audio Port for Iphones, Ipads, Android Cell Phones, Touch Screen Tablets, Macbooks, Laptop Computers, Mp3 Players & Portable Cd/dvd Players (gold)
Offered by Tayogo_Direct
Price: £19.99

5.0 out of 5 stars No more tinny built in speakers, 21 Aug 2014
My Tayogo magic Cube speaker came (Fulfilled from an Amazon warehouse which is good for Prime customers or anyone in a hurry) in a gold coloured plastic; and it comes in other colours. Its cube shaped and about the size of a kit kat finger in all directions. The speaker itself comes in presentable packaging which is always nice when getting a gift. Inside there is a tiny manual; a 3.5mm to 3.5mm cable for direct connections for devices without bluetooth, a USB charging cable and the speaker.

Connecting the Magic Cube to a phone via bluetooth was easy on both my iPhone and Android running Samsung S4. Go to bluetooth devices on the phone; power up the cube and hold the bluetooth connect button on the top till it beeps; a few seconds later Magic Cube was visible as a connectable device on the phone; selecting it caused them to pair and the cube again beeped to indicate it was done (and a blue light flashes on the side.) After that whatever sounds my phone made came out of the Cube - and on one occasion that was a phone call i received which was well received on the other end - no complaints about the microphone.

That the magic cube charges by USB won it extra plaudits from the get go; I like things that charge by USB as its one less charger to carry around in your bag. Once charged the battery has always lasted far longer than I expected. Carry the Magic Cube I have doneI used it in the office for the magic hour before anyone else arrived; used it around my home and i slipped it into my carry on bag and took it on a short work trip to Belfast. For all the moving around the plastic looks as it did when it arrived; and the excellent non slip bass is still there.

I listen to a lot of music, podcasts and the radio streaming from my Phone whilst I'm working; the magic cube also worked connected to my laptop (replacing the speakers whilst I watched a film.) For the money you are spending the Magic Cube sounds excellent. The sound isn't biased so it sounds flat; I generally favour this you aren't overwhelmed by bass but it isn't to sparkly at the higher end resulting in something pleasant. You aren't hearing everything the producer wanted you to hear Its mono for a start) but as a replacement for the tinny speakers on my phone and laptop be it at home, the office and on the road it improved the experience of everything I was listening to at the expense of a small amount of the bag I was using. It freed me from wearing headphones all the time too - which lets you move around more. The Magic Cube isn't going to fill a room with music in the way a full Hifi can and that makes it ideal for kids where you don't want them turning the neighbours deaf.

I was provided Magic Cube for review and having been using it for a few weeks I am happy to have it around. The magic cube could be a treat or at the price its something in gift buying range and I think the recipient would be more than happy with it. It gets 5* because the combination of price, usb charging and acceptable sound quality.


Pantone Universe iPhone 5/5s IMD Cover - Deep Lavender
Pantone Universe iPhone 5/5s IMD Cover - Deep Lavender
Price: £18.05

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: £58.00

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


Multiple Ports Wall/Desktop USB Charger 33-Watt 5V/6.5A Portable 6-Port Battery Charger | Charge Up To 6 Devices Simultaneously At Full Speed | For iPhone, iPad Mini, Samsung Galaxy S5, S4, S4, Note 3, Sony Xperia, Moto G, PlayStation Controllers, E-readers | 30 Days Money Back Guarantee And 24 Months Warranty - Glossy White
Multiple Ports Wall/Desktop USB Charger 33-Watt 5V/6.5A Portable 6-Port Battery Charger | Charge Up To 6 Devices Simultaneously At Full Speed | For iPhone, iPad Mini, Samsung Galaxy S5, S4, S4, Note 3, Sony Xperia, Moto G, PlayStation Controllers, E-readers | 30 Days Money Back Guarantee And 24 Months Warranty - Glossy White

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.


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