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Chris Hoare "Chris" (UK)

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Accmart(TM) Stainless Steel Wire Cable Key chain Ring(Pack of 5)
Accmart(TM) Stainless Steel Wire Cable Key chain Ring(Pack of 5)

5.0 out of 5 stars Ideal Luggage Tag loop, 17 May 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
After a mishap with my luggage at the end of last year; I bought a microchipped tracking tag for my new suitcase earlier; rather than using a plastic strap this used a steel loop cable to attach to my bag. Having see how resilient it is I ordered this set to allow me to attach other tags to my bags and be more confident of them being there at the end of the flight - regardless of where my bag ends up. The steel cable loops and screws into a thread to form an oblate loop - you can pass a credit card through the loop. They are a great size then to fit around the straps and handles of my bags with a tag attached to them. They are long enough but not so long everything dangles around.

Very utilitarian in what they do; but they provide a secure anchor for things you need to tag together. I can't personally see using them for a key ring but they would do the job. Excellent value for money; though the shipping is from China so if you are in a rush you may want to find something similar locally.

Lava Brightsounds Bluetooth Speaker with Lamp for Smartphone - Teal/Grey
Lava Brightsounds Bluetooth Speaker with Lamp for Smartphone - Teal/Grey
Price: £36.99

4.0 out of 5 stars ... been using this for the last few weeks I like to think that the components that make for bluetooth ..., 17 May 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Having been using this for the last few weeks I like to think that the components that make for bluetooth speakers have fallen to the price that manufacturers can experiment with niches. The Lava Brightsounds that led to this speculation is an interesting combination of camping lamp and bluetooth speaker.

You can stream music to the bright sounds from your phone over bluetooth or the included stereo lead. The Brightsounds charges using the included USB micro cable; but you will need a USB charger as that isn't included. Connecting from my phone it appeared as a device called BT-Lamp; there is no code you just power it on and connect to it from your devices bluetooth connection. I had no problem connecting to it from a Windows Phone Lumia, Apple iPhone or Android Running Samsung Galaxy. The sound quality isn't bad; being so small the sound is all midrange - treble but its 5w does a pretty good job filling a small room and even at full volume there isnt any distortion. The battery life is pretty good; as a speaker it lasted a full work day on a moderate volume, after a nights charging albeit without the lamp on. The bluetooth feature also includes a handsfree speaker mode; which pauses the music off if you are using bluetooth. The speaker is great but the microphone echoes back to the caller and you need to speak up so its probably better to use something else if you need a speaker phone.

For the price the build quality is ok; the gasket that covers the charging points was well made and contributes to the devices water resistance - but the plastic blister buttons on the top are built to the price - they let you operate the speaker, answer calls, change the volume and light brightness but use combination presses to achieve it - there is a lot of space on the top of the speaker they could have had dedicated buttons. The color contrast between the teal speaker and the white plastic of the lamp section make for a nice contrast.

The lamp has a dimmer; and is OK at lighting a small area so you can at least see what is around you. Its nothing like as bright as a standard torch or lightbulb but provides a reasonable amount of light in a small area. It is light and charges from USB so if you have a solar panel with you it will charge up during the day and give you light at night which will extend the battery life. The lamp doesn't have a sleep function so you have to remember to turn it off otherwise the battery will be drained when you come back o it

The Lava Brightsounds is an interesting combination; overall it feels a little too big. Mentally putting it into my bag and travelling with it feels like it could be a waste of space as there are bluetooth speakers that sound as good and are considerably smaller. That said I am not a camper if you are the water resistance, long battery life and reasonable volume and light might make it destined for your backpack.

Nikon COOLPIX S9900 Compact Digital Camera - Silver (16.0 MP, CMOS Sensor, 30x Zoom) 3.0 -Inch LCD
Nikon COOLPIX S9900 Compact Digital Camera - Silver (16.0 MP, CMOS Sensor, 30x Zoom) 3.0 -Inch LCD
Offered by Gadget247
Price: £223.81

110 of 111 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great camera for your pocket, 29 April 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I have been blessed to get two of this year's superzoom camera's and as a camera for taking on holiday and travelling around with. The camera in my phone is great; but sometimes i can't walk closer to what I want to photograph so having a small camera that gives a reasonable photo but lets me zoom in and an optical zoom always wins out over a digital zoom. As an annual treat I have been buying and replacing the superzoom in my bag each year for the last 5 years; as the quality between years is generally dramatically improved. Since its release in February I have been using the Canon sx710; which is Canon's much improved superzoom for 2015.

Which brings me finally to the S9900; this is a direct competitor to the SX710. Putting the two side by side; the canon is about 1/2 cm thinner than the Nikon; the scales reveal it is slightly lighter too. The extra width is there to deliver the first excellent feature; the screen pivots and rotates out from the camera. You can use it to take photos from high or low whilst using the screen to frame the shot better. For those who need it you can flip it around for selfies. The pivoting and rotating also allows you to close it with the screen facing the camera giving it some extra protection.

The lenses on the higher end superzoom moved to 30x last year; and that is what we find on the S9900; and both the SX710 and the S9900 have the same zoom range a 25-750mm (35mm equivalent.) I have attached a couple of photos from St Pancras showing the range of the zoom, as well as a picture of a pheasant from about 400m away in the peak district. Both of the images were handheld but were taken with what you can see is a lot of daylight. Zooming handheld to these lengths is made possible by vibration reduction in the Nikon. If the light isn't so great putting it on a sturdy surface or on its (off centre) tripod mount allows the final picture to be improved. The vibration reduction also helps take photos in lower light; and the camera warns you if you need to flip the switch to activate the manual flash.

Still Photos
The camera takes reasonable photos using the full auto mode; if you look at the wide photo of st pancras you can see it has made a good job exposing the bright dome and darker shop area. There is a dedicated mode slot to help you take nice portrait photos; and a scene option mostly these are fairly basic; there is a sweep panorama mode - something canon hasn’t delivered all these years after Sony introduced it. There is also a time-lapse mode; which takes photos over a predetermined time span (15 mins say) and stitches them into a 1080p timelapse video in camera (this is a feature I absolutely adore. The camera has the ability to take burst photos at 7fps - at full resolution though you are limited to 5 frames. These are displayed back in the camera grouped together so you can select the shot you like and delete the others - or keep all of them (When you transfer them to your pc it shows as separate photos.) As you get more used to using the camera and use the more manual the S9900 unlike a lot of compact has an extra mode dial you can use in the manual modes which makes it easier to dial up shutter speeds or change the aperture.

When i reviewed the canon I was happier with the image quality compared to the previous years model; despite the Canon moving up to 20megapixels; the S9900 Nikon is 16 megapixels. Regardless of the mode one thing that surprised me when pixel peeping is the noticeable difference in the amount of noise in the detail of the photo. The Nikon sensor and image processing result in less noisier photos. With super zoom lenses you get distortion at high zoom which is a sacrifice you make for having such a long zoom in your pocket - if you take pictures of straight lines its more noticeable (the zoomed in clock you can see it on the straight lines)- the software to correct this is becoming more accessible so the issue is becoming less of an issue.

For the videographers the S9900 delivers 1080p video from limited to 25/30fps at 1080p. You can over crank it to 60fps at price of introducing interlacing. This gives you the choice of smoother video showing the 60fps at full speed; or you can drop the speed down to 30fps to get a slow motion effect (if your video editing software allows it.) If you drop the resolution to vga you can get 120fps to get slow motion. The built in microphone is at best adequate; it is helped in public by a software noise reduction - it gets some sound but large changes in the volume as you record make a big difference. I am not a videographer- the quality of the video is comparable to the Canon. The flip out screen makes a big difference for recording video; but the off centre tripod mount will make it harder to stabilise if that is your thing. The video on the canon is slightly better than the nikon; and it offers 1080p at 60fps which can be useful at delivering a more pleasant looking video.

As i write the review and look at the camera and its accessories and compare to the canon; the nikon ticks more of my boxes. The battery life is on the nikon is better; especially if you record more video than the canon - After 150 photos and a number of videos and time-lapse images in a day the battery is showing as having a third of its life left; I carry a spare for the Canon as taking video definitely dents the battery life. When the battery is down; unlike the canon it charges by USB which for travel means you have one less thing to carry and leave in a hotel room. The big win for me is the camera has built in GPS which manages the clock and tags the photos with where you take them. It also has a database of points of interest; and strangely you can tag the photos with that information as well as the GPS coordinates. You can access the POI database from a dedicated button on the side. Both cameras have wifi and apps that let you quickly share your photos as you take them. There are things I miss from the canon on the nikon - the biggest being the quick zoom out and in button that helps frame moving targets.

The S9900 is the second superzoom camera for 2015 I have tried; the 2014 cameras image stabilisation, sensor and image processing just aren’t up to either the SX710 or the S9900. More importantly at 30x end of the zoom you really need stabilisation or a tripod. As someone that likes to take photos I’m not so concerned with the video features and that weighs my rating. The image quality of Nikon is slightly superior to the image quality of the Canon which is a big factor. The quick zoom feature on the Canon is a big usability feature and I do like the miniature mode photos and stills on the Canon are a lot of fun and are missing from the S9900. For me the Nikon wins though thanks to the better quality stills, having simpler manual photo control, a built in GPS and a longer battery life and USB charging these push the nikon ahead of the canon - despite the marginal increase in size of the camera.
Comment Comments (8) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 4, 2015 1:14 PM BST

Peppersmith 100 Percent Xylitol Peppermint Chewing Gum 15 g (Pack of 12, Total 120 Pellets)
Peppersmith 100 Percent Xylitol Peppermint Chewing Gum 15 g (Pack of 12, Total 120 Pellets)
Price: £14.63

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sorbitol free for those looking away from wrigley, 23 April 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Im a refugee from Wrigley's growing use of Sorbitol in their chewing gum. I bought the peppersmith spearmint gum as it uses xylitol and had mixed but generally favourable reviews. I chew gum to help me concentrate and because i like the minty experience.

Coming to the gum from Wrigley's the first thing you notice is the lack of punch of the flavour; where wrigley hit you with spearmint; this is a more subtle flavour. The texture is nice and the initial crunch doesn't feel like it will slice through my gums. Unfortunately coming from wrigley I'm currently used to their longer lasting stronger flavours . I am far happier with the lack of laxative effects thanks to the xylitol in the gum (others may have a different experience but sorbitol has a far worse reputation) even after using mulitple boxes in a day I'm fine. The boxes thing is a bit strange; I am throwing away a lot of packaging (recycling isn't an option at work) for 10and the packaging coming in plastic wrapped cardboard boxes seems wasteful.

I am going to move around and try a few other options on the market; Peppersmith seems a fair alternative and hopefully i can get used to the lower mint level. If it were twice as strong I wouldn't be looking anywhere else.

Logitech Performance MX Wireless Mouse(UK version)
Logitech Performance MX Wireless Mouse(UK version)
Price: £59.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding office mouse, 23 April 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
A have big hands and am right handed. If you are in a similar boat the Logitech MX is the mouse to get. With a nice ergonomic shape and 6 programmable buttons along with a wheel you can configure it for pretty much all tasks you want. It works brilliantly with on my mac allowing me to have buttons two quickly move between virtual screens as well as zoom in and out of applications.

Older iterations of the mouse charged in docks the MX has a usb socket on the front and a cable in the box; if the battery goes flat you can use the mouse whilst its connected to the cable and charging. As the cable plugs into the front of the mouse this lets you pretend its 1995 all over again.

The MX is a wireless mouse using a logitech compact universal dongle. The dongle is small enough that i leave it attached even whilst the usb dongle is in my bag. It does mean you can only use the mouse with one computer; whilst some of their bluetooth mice and keyboards let you switch between machines without moving the dongle which is a shame.

I absolutely adore the shape; and the convenience of the buttons and usb recharging. A few years ago these mice were considerably more expensive so their current price makes them a bargain.

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)
Price: £12.30

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
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: £199.99

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

2 of 2 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
Price: £129.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
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: £119.95

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.

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