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Burt's Bees Naturally Nourished Collection, Gift Set
Burt's Bees Naturally Nourished Collection, Gift Set
Price: 9.99

5.0 out of 5 stars my lips get chapped easily. I usually have a Chapstick bought from a ..., 7 Oct. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
From around this time of year all the way to late March (often late April if the Aberdonian Winter decides to eat into 'Spring'), my lips get chapped easily. I usually have a Chapstick bought from a Co-Op counter in my pocket, but occasionally I'll allow the luxury of a Burt's Bees lip balm and there's definitely a difference. These balms and lotion smell great, feel nourishing and protective, and have the feel-good factor of natural ingredients (thought I imagine they're made with industrial processes similar to Chapstick).

The weather hasn't become cold enough for me to test if the lotion will stop the skin between my fingers from cracking, but it feels like it will.

The gift set comes in a smart little seasonally decorated box, so it should be a nice stocking filler/small present.

Lenovo A10 Tab 2 10.1-inch Tablet (MTK 8165 Quad Core 1.5 GHz Processor, 1920 x 1200 IPS Screen, 16 GB Internal Memory up to 64 GB SD Card, 2 GB RAM, 8 MP Rear Camera, 5 MP Front Facing, Android 4.4) - Blue
Lenovo A10 Tab 2 10.1-inch Tablet (MTK 8165 Quad Core 1.5 GHz Processor, 1920 x 1200 IPS Screen, 16 GB Internal Memory up to 64 GB SD Card, 2 GB RAM, 8 MP Rear Camera, 5 MP Front Facing, Android 4.4) - Blue
Offered by Executivez
Price: 188.00

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Solid Budget Tablet, 5 Oct. 2015
Note: this tablet has now been updated to Android 5.0.1, despite what the spec sheet above says.

My Nook HD+ finally died after years of faithful service. I needed a new 10" tablet with a good screen and a low price. The A10 Tab 2 seemed to fit the bill.

Physical design and build quality:
The A10 is a fairly typical filleted rectangle. The one I bought comes with an indigo plastic back with only the Lenovo logo and speaker perforations for adornment. The texture is neither slippery nor grippy. The bezels around the screen are a bit wider than more expensive tablets, but I'm OK with that, since it gives me a place to hold the tablet without activating the screen.

The tablet flexes a little when twisted. Aside from that, it seems structurally sound. The slightly flimsy feeling plastic makes for a low weight, which is essential in tablets of this size.

An annoyance is that the camera module is situated halfway up the side of the tablet, exactly in the place where my hand grips the back. This makes it easy to put my fingers on the lens by mistake, so smudging is inevitable.

Another problem is that the power and volume buttons are pretty small and undifferentiated. From a usability perspective I'd like them to be both more prominent as well as differently shaped or textured. Fortunately, the tablet comes with a double-tap-to-wake function, so I don't often use the power button.

Operating system and performance:
Upon powering the tablet on for the first time, I was prompted with a system update. This was a pleasant surprise since the Amazon listing still shows Android 4.4 as the OS. It seems Lenovo have updated the A10 in the intervening period. The update process was simple, although it took a while to download each package and run it.

The interface is almost stock android, with very little in the way of Lenovo embellishment. Some of the icons seem to be different, and there are some pre-installed apps. Otherwise, the tablet takes a pleasingly minimal approach to Android customisation.

Performance seems solid. I've been using it to read interactive .epubs from my Open University module and I haven't noticed any slowdown. It's also played nicely with Netflix, Youtube, and other streaming services. I haven't played any demanding games on it, but I think it should handle most apps comfortably with its 1.7ghz quad core processor.

Inputs and Outputs:
The full HD screen is good at this price point, with deep colours and a high contrast ratio. My only quibble is that there's a slight yellow cast to the whites at times, but the image is good enough that I don't really mind at this price point. The aspect ratio is good for most media and documents.

The cameras are both usable, though mediocre. The selfie camera works fine for video calls, and if you're desperate you could use the rear facing camera, although don't expect great results.

The touchscreen is about as responsive as other tablets I've used and I haven't had any erroneous inputs.

The speakers are advertised as using Dolby technology, and they are a bit more full-bodied than those of other tablets I've owned. Definitely good enough for listening to music in the kitchen, or watching a film in bed. The equaliser app is easy to use and provides good control over how the speakers handle bass, midrange, and treble frequencies.

The A10 Tab 2 is a good option at this price point. It has Lollipop, a full HD screen, a practical aspect ratio, and decent speakers. It won't win any beauty pageants or design awards, but it's good for my media consumption and studying needs.

Alcatel ONETOUCH IDOL 3 (4.7) SIM-Free Smartphone - Dark Grey
Alcatel ONETOUCH IDOL 3 (4.7) SIM-Free Smartphone - Dark Grey
Price: 149.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Budget Smartphones are Getting Better and Better, 25 Sept. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Like most people, I've never owned an Alcatel smartphone before, but I have owned many Android devices from the low end (Moto G 2015) and the high end (Xperia Z3 Compact), and the Onetouch Idol 3 is certainly competitive at its price point.

Build quality and feel:
The Idol 3 has a fairly sedate appearance despite its moniker, with the only embellishment being a silver logo on the back. Otherwise, its a standard looking smartphone in 2015 - matte black plastic back, shiny chromed sides, filleted rectangular shape. It looks nice without being a statement.
The slight curve on the back of the phone combined with its lightness (due to the lack of expensive metal and glass) makes the phone pleasant to use and hold. It's a slim phone and its 4.7" screen is - in my opinion - the ideal size for most users to use in one hand.

Input and output:
The 720p screen is crisp and clear, with good contrast, brightness, and colour depth. The black levels won't compete with flagship phones, but it's a good looking display. Touch input is responsive.

More notable is the presence of two front facing speakers which are surprisingly loud. I've use the phone as a mini music system when I'm working out and don't want to wear headphones. I was pleased to see a nice, bright status LED for notifications in the corner - something I haven't seen on many budget phones.

The included JBL headphones are a step above most bundled headphones, with full bass and little distortion at high volume.

Operating system and user experience:
If you've used an Android smartphone before, the Alcatel flavour of Google's operating system will be very familiar. Little has been changed from stock, which is a good thing in my opinion. There are some superficial changes, such as a different set of icons, including an animated clock icon, which I haven't seen before. There are some Alcatel apps, such as a marketplace and a music player, that come preloaded. They're actually quite well-made and are viable alternatives to the default Google stuff. No funny stuff like side-loading the Play store is required.

Performance seems solid. I only noticed slight hiccups when I was moving between demanding apps such as games or sites full of gifs. I haven't played many cutting edge games on it, but it handled older 3D stuff like The Room competently.

The Idol also has a double-tap-to-wake feature that is absolutely essential for me after using the Xperia. Perfect for leaving it on your desk and just tapping the screen to wake it up. Beware that the wake feature can be triggered if you put the phone in your pocket with the screen facing inward. I've only noticed this happening when I'm wearing a specific pair of shorts with thinner pockets, but it's something to watch out for, since the last thing you want is to run down the battery when you're walking somewhere, possibly thigh-dialling someone in the process.

The Idol 3 comes with a 13MP Sony sensor main camera, as well as a lower resolution selfie camera. Both are adequate, although in comparison to my Z3C, the gulf in quality is quite marked. The main camera focuses quite slowly and suffers in poor lighting. I could say the same about all phone cameras in this price range, though. Compared to last year's Moto G, I'd say the Alcatel camera is definitely better. Just don't expect high quality pictures in all conditions.

Battery Life:
My subjective experience is that it's better than most phones - I was able to get about two days between charges when using the phone normally, which is about the same as my Z3C (lauded for its battery life). The lower resolution screen (who needs more than 720p at this size?) and lower power processor probably help extend the battery life by quite a bit. Battery life is a difficult thing to gauge since it will vary between users.

Call quality:
I was intrigued by the reversible nature of the Idol, but I don't really see it as a killer feature. It works well, I suppose, though the lack of the feature on other phones never bothered me unduly. Despite the good front facing speakers, the call audio quality isn't so hot. It's still usable, just not as crisp as I'd like.

This is a good budget option with a couple of unusual features at this price point (reversibility, double tap to wake) as well as high quality speakers and a nice, understated appearance. There are a few niggles, like the average camera quality and call fidelity. If I could give a 4.5, I would.

Nuco Elite A5 Wiro Journal - Black
Nuco Elite A5 Wiro Journal - Black
Price: 6.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Good quality, good value, 24 Sept. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I've been searching for a good A5 notebook to replace the recycled Muji notebooks I bought in Hong Kong. Unfortunately, those notebooks don't seem to be on sale anymore, so I had to find another brand that meets these criteria:
-Simple appearance
-Elasticated strap
-Quality paper

The Nuco Elite hits all of those requirements with aplomb while representing pretty good value for money compared to a lot of the other notebooks I had a look at on this search. The outer cover has a nice soft-touch finish and should wear pretty well, although I have concerns that it might be a bit too soft. The ring binding is solid. The paper itself is thicker than usually, and you get a generous 200 sheets of it. There's also a Moleskine style compartment for bits and bobs.

Recommend this if you're looking for a quality notebook for your desk or school.

Pro Evolution Soccer 2016 Day 1 Edition (PC DVD)
Pro Evolution Soccer 2016 Day 1 Edition (PC DVD)
Offered by SegaSykes
Price: 15.82

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars PS3-Era Graphics vs Next Gen Gameplay, 18 Sept. 2015
I buy Pro Evolution on PC every year, and every year the initial release is something of a disappointment. There hasn't been a pre-release demo for the last few incarnations, probably because Konami would prefer to keep potential buyers in the dark regarding the comparative gulf in graphics and polish between the PC version and PS4.

The textures are flat, the lightning is bland, and I've yet to see the advertised dynamic weather system occur in a game. The fact that Metal Gear 5, which is based on the same Fox Engine as this, got a solid port for PC makes this all the more frustrating. The user interface of the menus is as bizarre as ever, but you'll find that on all editions of the game.

All that said, this is still the best PES I've played in a long time. Even if the graphics haven't carried over from the PS4 version, the physics have, and that's the most important thing for me. It just feels great: the weight of the ball and player movement is spot-on. The impact of the improved physicality is obvious in how players can tussle for the ball: tackling feels less binary - you can briefly lose the ball and then immediately win it back again if your play is persistent enough.

Master League, my favourite mode, is also improved from the bland effort last year. Player roles such as Leader, Star Player, and Legend provide a bit of extra personality to your team, and the transfer negotiation system seems more realistic.

Perennial niggles remain, such as the outdated transfer roster, but I expect there will be patches to rectify that soon. I've never played PES for the licenses, anyway.

Overall, if you don't have a PS4, I'd still recommend this edition, but if you do have one, the console is the full fat experience.

Linksys EA8500 Max-Stream Dual Band 4 x 4 MU-MIMO AC2600 Smart Wi-Fi Router with USB 3.0, 4 x Gigabit Ethernet Ports, eSata Port and Open VPN
Linksys EA8500 Max-Stream Dual Band 4 x 4 MU-MIMO AC2600 Smart Wi-Fi Router with USB 3.0, 4 x Gigabit Ethernet Ports, eSata Port and Open VPN
Price: 199.99

5.0 out of 5 stars ... to serve high speed wifi to many devices at good range with its four antennae, 13 Sept. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
he Max-Stream is a fairly large unit that purports to serve high speed wifi to many devices at good range with its four antennae. I find its size somewhat reassuring, even if it takes up quite a lot of the limited space on my desk. I've had smaller routers overheat due to poor ventilation, and four antennae is better than one!

Setup was fairly standard: attach the antennae, plug in the connection, connect to the unique wireless AP, and use the web based interface to initialise the settings. The quick start guide does a good job of providing guidance, and a comprehensive manual is available online at the Linksys site. I'm pretty impressed with the quality of documentation.

I don't have the largest home, but I do have many devices and there are often multiple people streaming media at the same time. The standard router I got with my broadband package sometimes struggled to serve everyone at once, especially if we had visitors round. The Max-Stream hasn't had any problems yet, even in the rooms furthest from its location. I've also used the wireless connection at the bottom of the garden, although I think that the range is helped in this case by there only being one intervening wall between the router and the garden.

The Smart-Wifi app lets me change a load of settings for the router and I appreciate its design - much better than the bare-bones stuff I had with my old Thomson. You can set priority for your devices; set up a separate network for guests so they don't have access to what you've got stored on your own network; set up parental controls for specific devices, sites, and times. The router also supports external storage over USB, which I've found great for consolidating media and backups without having to run another server.

Perhaps my place isn't big enough to test the range of the router, as I haven't had any of the connectivity problems described by other reviewers here.

Overall, I feel I can recommend the Max-Stream as a good solution for people with lots of devices. It handles streaming well, and comes with a host of useful features, particularly for large households with lots of devices. I have a feeling it would work well in a small office capacity, too.

Beurer HK49 Cosy Back Strap Heating Pad
Beurer HK49 Cosy Back Strap Heating Pad
Offered by easi2shop
Price: 39.15

5.0 out of 5 stars Great for stiff backs, 5 Sept. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I've been having some muscle problems with my back recently: stiffness and pain. Stretching and the usual dose of anti-inflammatories help, but it can still be difficult to get comfortable in the evening. Being plagued with discomfort in the small amount of time I have for relaxing is extremely frustrating, so I'm pleased with this heating pad. It fits snugly after a little adjustment of the elasticated band, and the settings are simple.

The elements are evenly spaced and seem to produce heat equally, so there aren't any overly hot or cold spots.The automatic shutoff after 90 minutes is useful if you think you might nap while having the heat on.

I've found that the heat definitely helps with the pain and stiffness. As the colder weather comes in I'm sure I'll appreciate it even more.

Polti Forzaspira AG130 Window Vacuum Cleaner, 5 W
Polti Forzaspira AG130 Window Vacuum Cleaner, 5 W
Price: 79.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Streaks-be-gone, 27 Aug. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I don't think anyone *enjoys* window cleaning, but it can be quite satisfying to finally dislodge a splatter of seagull graffiti on your bedroom window. What isn't satisfying is trying to avoid leaving smears of dirty or detergent filled water all over the window. This window vacuum is designed to suck up the excess water, leaving a clear, streak-free surface.

The Forzaspira comes in two parts: a window cleaner with a fibre cloth and a reusable spray bottle; and the vacuum itself, which comes with large and small rubber wipers. Putting the vacuum together is fairly simple when following the instruction manual. I was irritated that the picture for assembly was printed on only one page right at the start of the manual, rather than each language section having a diagram. It saves a bit of paper, I suppose, but it felt weird having to flip back to the start whenever I wanted to refer to the diagram.

The vacuum took less than 3hrs to charge fully, and I haven't had to charge it again yet after cleaning four large windows, a large mirror, and a shower divider.

Using it is easy: clean the window as you would normally, then drag the vacuum over the surface, allowing it to inhale the excess water. I was a bit sceptical at first, since I'm so used to just using a cloth or towel to dry the windows, yet the vacuum effectively pulled in the water, meaning that my windows and mirrors have a lot less streaking than usual. It also made the process of cleaning quite a bit quicker, and I expect I'll be able to leave the windows alone for a while longer as dirt won't be able to show up the dried water streaks as quickly.

It's a specialised product and it fulfils its function well.

Kinzd Ultra Thin Aluminum Metal Wallets - RFID Blocking Credit Card Wallet Holder for Men & Women - Best Card Protector with 6 PVC Slots and Durable Stainless Steel Latch
Kinzd Ultra Thin Aluminum Metal Wallets - RFID Blocking Credit Card Wallet Holder for Men & Women - Best Card Protector with 6 PVC Slots and Durable Stainless Steel Latch

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Classy little case, 15 Aug. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Length:: 0:54 Mins

***This is an honest review of a sample I received for free.***

I rarely carry cash nowadays, and I've managed to cut down on the number of cards I use as well. Visa, Amex, driving license, and a couple of store loyalty cards are all I carry nowadays. So I have no need for a big wallet. This card case is made of rigid aluminium with a brushed finish for the faces and a shiny, mirrorlike finish for the sides. Inside there's a plastic holder that fans out to accommodate six cards. I found inserting and taking out of the cards easy, although the plastic feels slightly flimsy in comparison to the strong casing and there was a little excess adhesive on top of it - easy enough to scrape off, though.

There are certain objects that are just fun to play with: Zippo lighters, high end smartphones, good pens. This card case has a similar appeal. The aluminium is machined and pressed with great precision. It looks classy and feels high quality.

My only quibble with the feel of it is that the insides of the lid could have been softened a bit, as they're a little too sharp and it's noticeable when taking out the cards in the end slots of the holder.

Shakespeare Insults Mug
Shakespeare Insults Mug
Offered by The Gift Oasis LTD.
Price: 12.94

5.0 out of 5 stars "Beetle-headed, flap-eared knave!", 12 Aug. 2015
This mug has served me well for years. It's a robustly constructed thing, well printed and durably surfaced. It is a white mug, so it will stain a bit if you drink as much tea as I do, but that befits a dirty mug.

The insults themselves are top class. If calling someone a 'lump of foul deformity' or a 'poisonous bunch-backed toad' doesn't work, then the mug is large and strong enough to act as a clobbering tool.

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