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tallpete33 (London, UK)
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   

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Bosch Rotak 34 R Corded Rotary Lawnmower (34 cm Cutting Width)
Bosch Rotak 34 R Corded Rotary Lawnmower (34 cm Cutting Width)
Price: 99.95

4.0 out of 5 stars Decent value but a bit more basic than previous models, 17 April 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I’ve been a big fan of the Rotaks over the years as they cut very well and are generally pretty reliable. Compared to the older Ergoflex 34 this appears slightly more basic, going back to the bare handle and only giving the option of five cutting heights but this should be me than adequate for most purposes anyway. What is new about this model is the different fitting to the handle which enables you to fold it over twice thus reducing its storage height. It’s a bit fiddly getting this right at set-up but worth doing properly as it does reduce the room taken up in the shed. Clipping the grass box together is not great either and there are slight gaps at the front but as with the other models it does pick up the cuttings well.

One up and running however, it shows its Rotak heritage and deals well with both long and short grass and if your lawn is on good shape will give the desired stripe effect thanks to the rear roller. For around eighty pounds this is decent value although the build quality seems a little flimsier than previous models so I will give it four stars for now and see how things progress.


Garmin nuvi 2518LT-D UK 5 Inch Sat Nav with UK and Ireland Maps, Bluetooth and Lifetime Digital Traffic Alerts
Garmin nuvi 2518LT-D UK 5 Inch Sat Nav with UK and Ireland Maps, Bluetooth and Lifetime Digital Traffic Alerts
Price: 143.42

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars From A to B, 3 April 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I’ve owned three Garmins prior to this one so I guess you could say I’m a fan but with good reason as they are well featured, easy to use and have rarely let me down. Previous to this I owned the excellent 2595LMT which has the additional benefit of European maps but as I don’t drive overseas the switch wasn’t a problem for me.

Out of the box, setup is exceedingly simple. Power it on and select English language and you’re done. Satellites were quickly detected and I was good to go in under a minute. The power cable is a fair bit thinner than the 2595 so takes up less room and although a bit kinked and stiff to start with it is loosening up nicely. The new grey/silver styling is very attractive compared to the chunkier and glossy bezel of old and the newer fixing locks the unit in place very solidly (I prefer to mount it on the dash) but it is a bit fussy and doesn’t really improve much on the older version.

The touchscreen is sharp responsive but still has a slight plasticky feel to it – I can only assume glass is still not in these devices used to save weight and cost. Bluetooth is available and I have tested it fine with my Nokia Windows phone (yes it works with a Windows phone!) but as I use my car audio for calls I have disabled it to save the battery. Talking of battery life – it is very good and a big improvement over its predecessor – it lasts about 50% longer by my rough calculations – up to 3 hours. Lane assist is also very good as you would expect from a “mature” technology now but the traffic system still needs work.

Navigation is clear and cameras are warned of visually and audibly with the speed indicator glowing an angry red if you’re over but if anything this could be a bit more visible IMO. I like the way street names are displayed discreetly at the bottom of the screen and touching the car icon brings up your exact location and local information – handy in a break down etc. The search function is excellent with you now being able to quickly search for named shops etc rather than broad categories. A definite and well received improvement there. It does however appear to be a bit pessimistic as far as ETAs are concerned which may not be a good thing as you may unnecessarily feel the need to speed up to make an appointment in time. There is also a neat history function that enables you to check routes travelled by date. Might be handy to placate a suspicious partner or even convince the rozzers you were nowhere near the scene of a murder on a particular date . . .

Overall though, this is a very good device and a decent evolution (but not a revolution) over its predecessors. What should be mentioned here though is that Garmin have made one backward step with this unit and that there are no free map updates. Currently “lifetime” updates will cost a whopping 74.99 for up to four updates per year and you cannot upgrade to different versions (e,g change from UK to Europe). This brings the price of the unit to well over two hundred pounds so you may be better off looking at older models if the updates are important to you.

PRO s:
Stylish
Well featured
Easy to use
Good battery life
Excellent search function

CONs :
No free map updates
ETA inaccurate
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 13, 2014 10:58 AM BST


Bosch ALS 25 Garden Vacuum
Bosch ALS 25 Garden Vacuum
Offered by Ideabright Ltd
Price: 89.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Poor design, failed after 13 months, 1 April 2014
After two Flymo Scirrocos failed on me in quick succession I went for this Bosch which lasted for all of 13 months irregular use. That said I was not too sad to see the back of it for various reasons. To simplify matters :

Good:
Powerful vacuum action
Efficient shredder

Bad:
Switching between nozzles for blow and suck is a pain
Emptying the back without getting dust everywhere is very difficult
Unreliable
Bit clumsy to manoeuvre
No wheel option
Takes up a lot of space in the shed

Would I recommend this item ? No.


Dyson DC24 DC24i Vacuum Cleanerhead With Motor.
Dyson DC24 DC24i Vacuum Cleanerhead With Motor.
Offered by WowDiscounts
Price: 65.49

5.0 out of 5 stars Fitted in seconds and works brilliantly, 1 April 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
After six years regular use, the brush head on my DC24 became damaged beyond repair unfortunately. Rather than pay out for a whole new vac after a bit of research I brought a new part from amazon and am glad I did. Replacement takes about 1 minute - you literally just need to prise the old head off with a flat-head screwdriver then push the new part in place - job done. Obviously I was disappointed that the old one broke but its a credit to the design of the machine that it was so quick and easy to fix myself. It now picks up like new and is much much quieter too. Happy days.


Logitech Z200 Speaker - Midnight Black
Logitech Z200 Speaker - Midnight Black
Price: 27.00

3.0 out of 5 stars Good, not Great, 23 Mar 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Quite impressed with these. Styling is unremarkable but the sound output is quite warm and impressive and will fill a study or small bedroom. The same money however will get you a decent 2.1 system with sub or a portable Bluetooth speaker. I would only go for these again if I needed a static setup e.g. for a PC and was limited for space (7/10).


Vax Steam Mop - S2S-1 Bare Floor Pro With Detergent
Vax Steam Mop - S2S-1 Bare Floor Pro With Detergent
Price: 49.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Fast and Furious, 20 Mar 2014
I initially bought this to give my kitchen a once a month uber-clean thinking it would be a bit messy and clumsy however I was very soon won over and use it all the time in my kitchen and even the lounge now. Before buying this, I would use a basic Addis mop with floor wipes and Spray and Mop from the supermarket. Whilst this did the job, the rather textured tiles in my kitchen were looking decidedly grubby no matter how hard I tried to clean them this way.

Anyway, within a few minutes of unboxing this item I was up and running. Set up is pretty easy, just top up the respective reservoirs with 50ml detergent and 250ml water using the handy beaker provided. Switch on, attach the cloth (plonk the Vax on it, basically) wait a minute and you are good to go. It really is great to use – it glides smoothly, turns quicker than Lewis Hamilton and produces a satisfying steam with a variable setting depending on your requirements. I put it on highest for the initial kitchen clean and it did a very quick and thorough as proven by the rather dirty (washable) cloth afterwards. Drying time was 5-10 mins and my kitchen tiles really hadn’t looked this good in years! Happy Pete :o)

I now put it on light clean for the kitchen and laminate floors as this easily does the job and the floors dry out much quicker. The lead which stores easily on the hooks is nice and long but it’s a good idea to take the drip tray with you to stand the mop on if you need to move furniture etc. The finish on laminate is slightly matt compared to my old mop so I’d definitely recommend a low setting and not dawdling just to be on the safe side.

Good :

Very fast
Very effective
Stands upright
Good value
Variable settings
Easy to store
More “funner” than normal mop ;o)

Bad:

Filling could be a bit easier
Reliability issue – my neighbour’s Vax broke very soon after purchasing
Finish is quite matte on laminate compared to other mopping


Salamander: The Complete Season One [DVD]
Salamander: The Complete Season One [DVD]
Dvd ~ Filip Peeters
Price: 19.42

4.0 out of 5 stars 66 Boxes, 20 Mar 2014
Hot on the heels of The Bridge series 2 came Salamander to our screens. A Flemish crime drama this time and a very watchable one at that. It began with the very slick robbery of a rather anonymous Brussels private bank in which a select number of safety deposit boxes were raided. However the police were not even called and the damage repaired within hours as the bank fought to cover up any intrusion. It was only a tip-off to Inspector Paul Gerardi that bought it to attention of the police but even then the Jonhkere bank denied anything had ever gone down. However when a number of high ranking politicians and public servants went missing, resigned or committed suicide even, Gerardi was again led back to the secretive Jonhkere bank and it’s corpulent and charismatic owner Raymond Jonhkere.

This was a compelling story of blackmail, revenge and intrigue concerning a secret organisation that pulled the country’s strings and had its roots back in the WWII resistance movement. Gerardi was forced to go into deep cover as Salamander had deep pockets and an even deeper desire to protect it’s secrets at any cost.

Gerardi is an excellent creation, the curly topped and unkempt cop with the David Ginola accent. Dogged and brave, he goes to the wire to bring the bad guys to book in the face of a shocking personal tragedy. The Jeffrey Archer-esque plot did waver slightly in parts and you didn’t need to be Tin Tin to work out the WWII back story but the acting throughout was good if let down only slightly by the weak action scenes.

Not as good as the Bridge or Arne Dahl but if like me you’re a bit hooked on European crime dramas then this won’t disappoint.
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Grand Theft Auto V Signature Series Strategy Guide
Grand Theft Auto V Signature Series Strategy Guide
by Bradygames
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Good for the 'Hood, 11 Mar 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is a well produced and very extensive guide that serious Los Santos homies will find very useful. All the missions are well detailed including the medal criteria for each but as most of the set-pieces are fairly straight forward you’ll not really need it as a walkthrough, more for information about the side missions and collectables etc. It is definitely a useful book to have by your side for those and a bit more convenient than YouTube.

My only criticism is the trophy guide which is a functional list but hardly helpful as far as hints and tips are concerned. There are better guides online for that and a fold out map would have been a nice bonus but otherwise this is a great book and superb value for money.


Grand Theft Auto V (PS3)
Grand Theft Auto V (PS3)
Offered by Super-bargains
Price: 31.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Living and dying in Los Santos, 11 Mar 2014
Finally succumbing to the hype (and a good price from a disillusioned mate) I thought I'd give the GTA series another go after a brief and unsuccessful foray into Vice City back in the day. This game is certainly big, it is certainly well crafted, brilliantly scripted and a bit of a beast all round. At first I struggled, finding the weapon select clumsy and the aiming difficult with a tiny reticule (a single white dot in the snow ain't easy to see!) but changing the reticule to "complex" and after finally realising that I had auto-aim, things became simpler and I was getting "Wasted" and "Busted" far less. If you're not a GTA vet the game can be a bit difficult to get into at first and going by friends' trophy lists, many fall by the wayside early doors. Sticking with it however brings its own rewards with a mountain of content (and mountains to climb and jump off) to enjoy in and around Los Santos.

The ability to swap characters keeps the game fresh - they are all very different and all have their own "charm". Especially Trevor. PC he ain't and if you're easily offended then this is definitely not the game for you. If you can see past the fruity banter that this game revels in and take it all with a pinch of salt there is a lot of fun to be had just listening to the three amigos hissing and cussing in a fantastic script that is littered with humour, filth and irony (the latter definitely applies to the fantastic radio ads). This game does not do moderation or subtle in any way shape or form - it's rated 18 for a reason.

Apart from the main characters the game's strength is in its size and variety of things to do. Driving around LS at breakneck speed is excellent fun with the computer AI assisting you helpfully with other drivers often getting out of your way and making you seem a better driver than you are. In the right vehicle, you can literally go anywhere including up the mountains, along the beach and find spectacular airborne short cuts. It's an explorer's paradise and I often found myself in remote spots with a battered car just taking in the impressive vistas. The story line is way over the top but quite engaging and entertaining with the threesome heavily involved with the "FIB" and their dodgy dealing or using Italian Job style methods to rob banks and generally wreak havoc.

If I were to criticise GTA I would say character development is a bit weak. You can improve your guy's strength or stamina etc by doing various activities but I felt it was a bit of a red herring and not really that necessary. In the set pieces you do tend to get spoon fed also but this is understandable in such a huge game. The developers obviously want you to finish and completing the story is not so difficult apart from the odd tricky shoot-out. Guns and ammo are cheap and aplenty so you don't need to worry about scavenging for either but don't get me started on the flying...or more precisely landing. Grrrr! Facial definition in not fabulous by modern standards ditto the cars are hardly up to GT standard but the "go-anywhere" scenery more than makes up for that. It is a fabulous time waster and the sandiest of sand boxes for you to amuse yourself in sailing a boat, flying your jet or cycling up the mountains (mind those coyotes). Just make sure you're packing heat....

I've played this game for months (sporadically, not literally) and whilst not flawless for reasons mentioned, it's an impressive, addictive, sometimes frustrating, varied and humorous behemoth of a game - and that's just the offline. Rock on Rock star :o)


Remington R95 Travel Shaver
Remington R95 Travel Shaver
Price: 14.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Does what it says on the Box, 9 Mar 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
No complaints about this item whatsoever. It is compact, functional and exceptional value for money. Out of the box it was already charged and I have had many shaves with it already with no need to plug in yet. The simple head cover is very good – stays on securely and prevents any wash bag mess which is good news for travellers.

Great job Remington.


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