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

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Huawe E5330 21 Mbps 3G Mobile WiFi (black)
Huawe E5330 21 Mbps 3G Mobile WiFi (black)
Price: £39.34

4 of 4 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: £91.86

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: £236.54

8 of 8 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*.


5 Star Air Duster Can HFC Free Compressed Gas Flammable 400ml
5 Star Air Duster Can HFC Free Compressed Gas Flammable 400ml
Price: £5.77

5.0 out of 5 stars Dry Air, 13 Jun 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I Bought a can of air with amazon prime delivery; it arrived the next day having been shipped by amazon direct. I wanted a can of air to help me clean my laptop as i upgraded the ram and memory. Before using it on my computer i tested it on number of finishes to make sure i didn't inadvertently destroy anything thanks to a wet can. The can didn't show any moisture but the longer you use it the cooler the air becomes; which can cause localised cooling (seen as a frost) -so use it in several short bursts and you should be fine with your electronics.


Contigo 16-Ounce Double Wall Stainless Steel Vacuum Insulated Tumbler, Black
Contigo 16-Ounce Double Wall Stainless Steel Vacuum Insulated Tumbler, Black
Offered by CostMad-UK
Price: £25.99

2.0 out of 5 stars Get a stainless steel no paint model, 13 Jun 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
One nice thing about my Contigo cup having been using it for a few months is it looks like I have taken it through a war. I managed to scratch the paint the very first time i put coffee in it; and since then its felt like the pain comes as soon as I look at it. The paint finish gets the cup 2 stars; which is a shame because aesthetics aside the cup is a nice size; the sealing mechanism is very good - no spills from this cup unless you press the button. Its also great at keeping my morning coffee warm for a reasonably long time - though to be fair in my hands there is rarely a full cup of coffee.


Belkin Aluminium Desktop Loft Stand for Macbook and Laptop
Belkin Aluminium Desktop Loft Stand for Macbook and Laptop
Offered by Banrifish2
Price: £52.47

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Looking Stand, 13 Jun 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The Belkin Aluminium Loft stand is marketed for Apple MacBooks but works fine with any laptop. Out of the box it is in 3 pieces that easily connect together. The solid Side sits on your desk; the donut site is where your laptop rests. Lifting the laptop up makes it more ergonomic to use as your head can be kept upright rather than looking down and stressing your neck.

You rest your laptop on a soft rubber grip on the ring; the rubber provides some grip but you can move it around easily - it won't stop a child pulling it off. Lifted off the desk and supported by the donut there is a lot of space for your laptop to radiate heat away helps it stay cooler which can't be a bad thing. The stand is a U shape and the base of the stand is also a handy shelf to put your keyboard when you need a bit more space to not work with your computer. The stand is reasonably sturdy; it bounces if you type on it; but you are going to want to use an external keyboard and mouse with this otherwise the ergonomics are likely not quite right.

So its good for keeping your laptop cool; and improves the way you work; its slightly expensive but otherwise very good.


Belkin 1m Thunderbolt Data Transfer Cable - Black
Belkin 1m Thunderbolt Data Transfer Cable - Black
Price: £24.65

5.0 out of 5 stars Slightly Cheaper just as quick as an Apple Cable, 13 Jun 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The Belkin 1M Thunderbolt cable is a new and slightly cheaper option for thunderbolt users. Hopefully it is the start of a trend of thunderbolt device prices dropping; which in turn will hopefully bring Thunderbolt to the masses as the performance benefits it offers are staggering over USB3 and Firewire 800. At the moment a lot of thunderbolt accessories are priced for professional rather than home use.

Out of the box the first thing you notice is connector has Belkin written on it in bold White which you may or may not like but that aside it feels as well made as the Apple cables do. The wire has a decent wrapping and the connectors feel solid and solidly anchored to the cable.

Using it with my Belkin Laptop Dock the cable performed flawlessly; using it with an external SSD drive it performed as splendidly as Thunderbolt ever does. Watching a 200Gb copy in 20 minutes always brings a smile to my face. Using the connectors for this big file copy; they do get hot; as all thunderbolt cables connectors do - this doesn't seem to be something to worry about.

The Belkin Thunderbolt data transfer cable gives you all the benefits of Thunderbolt for slightly less money.


Sony DSCHX60 Compact Digital Camera with Wi-Fi and NFC - Black ( 20.4MP, 30x Optical Zoom)
Sony DSCHX60 Compact Digital Camera with Wi-Fi and NFC - Black ( 20.4MP, 30x Optical Zoom)
Price: £259.95

67 of 75 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A zoom to far, 12 May 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I wrote this review having spent time with Canon’s SX700 and a Sony HX60; both are 2014 model travel super zooms. Both are broadly the same size and weight; when it comes to taking images both have 30x optical zoom lenses - though the Canon’s is 25-750mm and the sony going from a slightly wider 24 - 720mm. I have used the two cameras around the UK and on a short trip to Germany.

In the Hand

Out of the box the Sony looks and feels that little bit boxy and maybe a bit more nerdy; Sony have managed to put the mode dial on the top of the camera; and next to it there is an exposure compensation dial. The button layout has allowed a cleaner back to the camera and the Sony feels far nicer in my hands. Sony has a flash hotshoe that can take a range of sony accessories; including microphones and viewfinders - though most of them cost almost as much as the camera. The zoom of the Canon is noticeably quicker in stills mode than the Sony; and the canon has a useful framing button that quickly zooms out showing you a box where the zoom will return to. In video mode both the sony and canon have smooth zoom that won’t make your audience feel too queasy.

Stills

Inexplicably Sony’s mode dial has two different Intelligent auto modes; as well as scene and varying degrees of manual control. The software in Sony’s cameras continues to push them above their Canon competition for taking photos - the HX60 is able to take a single burst of 10 shots in a second; has a superior low light multi shot mode but for me the Sweep panorama mode is the stand out feature. If the HX60 is a camera to take on holiday being able to take impressive panoramic shots in a single pass should be a must have.

Out of the Camera I think the Canon SX700 delivers slightly more realistic colour. Sony has a better range in its photos though and is more able to extract detail in its shots in a wide range of light conditions. Sony also has built in HDR modes that take multiple shots and combine them to make a more human-eye like light and color range.

Looking at the actual images; if you don’t push the zoom range or you are in bright light I think the Sony has a superior image quality. There is more detail in the Sony photos compared to the Canon ones; and less noise in daylight situations. As the light dims; if you don’t resort to software trickery, Canon edges the sony out with less noise in the photos The noise from the Sony sensor starts visibly degrading things at about ISO 400; as the 30x lens is also slow you need to reach into those higher ISO numbers quickly at longer zoom ranges.

As both canon and Sony have included low light photo effects you should use the software trickery to get around the limitations of the sensor and lens; of the two Sony’s twilight mode which takes multiple shots and combines them into a single image is the better of the two.

Video

Like Canon, Sony has a dedicated video recording button; as with other buttons on the Sony its location makes it less likely you press it by accident (something i repeatedly did on the Canon); it isn’t out of the way though; being adjacent to the thumb rest so you can easily find it without having to look.

When you actually record video Sony uses the AVCHD format; recording full 1080p HD at upto 50 frames a second. Canon use MP4 which supported by more devices; and records at up to 60p. 60p makes fast moving scenes look slightly smoother than the 50p the Sony is capable of. Both allow you to slightly slow the video down without losing quality if you want slomo effect. If you want super slow motion, only the Canon can help with up to 240 fps albeit it at 320p.

Battery Life
A win for Sony. Both will let you take far more photos in a day than you are likely to need; so testing with video the Sony took almost 25 minutes more video than the Canon.

Overall

For stills the combination of the battery life, more usable controls but more importantly the combination of the Sony sensor,lens and software edge it out over the Canon. There is more detail in daylight and the software saves it in lower light. The Sony interface is marginally easier to use than the canon’s For video shooting the Canon has better image quality and the zoom panning is smoother.

I like to take photos as I travel far more so than videos; so of the two the Sony is the one I have in my laptop bag at the moment. 4*


Finish Power and Pure All-in-One (Pack of One, Total 50 Tablets)
Finish Power and Pure All-in-One (Pack of One, Total 50 Tablets)
Price: £7.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Compressed does the job, 2 May 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Finish Quantum tablets barely fit in my dishwasher drawer. The Finish power and pure tablets are about 70% of the volume of their bigger brothers. With my normal dishwashing tasks I didn't notice any difference between the more expensive quantum and cheaper power and pure.


Bosch PDO 6 Detector
Bosch PDO 6 Detector
Price: £36.95

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Power lines seem to cause issues, 13 April 2014
This review is from: Bosch PDO 6 Detector (DIY & Tools)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Despite following the instructions the Bosch PDO6 kept crying wolf in my apartment. Its easy to use; put on the wall press the single power button to turn it on wait for the auto calibration to say its ready.

Using the PDO6 on a partition wall with wooden studs moving slowly the PDO6 was able to detect studs reasonably accurately - reasaonly in that in each direction with a centimetre of disagreement. Where i knew there was a partition from previous work it agreed with my knowledge. Moving Along walls with metal supports it was far better and detecting the hidden content getting it bang on in each direction (again now power.) Moving onto a wall power cables in it the PDO6 beeped consistently at any height warning me about power lines - in doing so it failed to tell me about studs as it was too busy crying wolf about power cables meters away from where i was measuring.

Given my issues with checking walls with power cables (And that 80% of my walls have power cables in them) I really can't recommend the PDO6.


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