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Amazon Customer (Aberdeen, Scotland)
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QuickBooks Online Plus, 12-Month Subscription (Mac/PC)
QuickBooks Online Plus, 12-Month Subscription (Mac/PC)
Price: £53.43

5.0 out of 5 stars Great for sole traders and small businesses, 16 Oct 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Time is money. The last thing most sole traders and small business owners want to be doing is faffing around with disorganised paperwork and accounting when they could actually be getting on with work or actually relaxing. I've found Quickbooks Online to be easy to use, well supported in terms of online help and documentation, and extremely handy with its cloud and mobile functionality. It has a huge amount of functionality that should cover most small business types - if you have employees there's support for timesheet input, payroll, VAT compliance, and plenty of other features that I don't expect to use, but are nice to have.

Overall this is a well designed piece of software to keep your business in order. There's also a 60 day money back guarantee if you don't get on with it.


Philips A5PRO/00 DJ Headphones (3500mW RMS, Sensitivity: 105dB, Cable up to 4.7m, Gold-Plated) Including Replaceable Ear Cushions and Innovative Folding Mechanism Black
Philips A5PRO/00 DJ Headphones (3500mW RMS, Sensitivity: 105dB, Cable up to 4.7m, Gold-Plated) Including Replaceable Ear Cushions and Innovative Folding Mechanism Black

2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bombproof, 10 Oct 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
+:
The build quality of these headphones is exceptional. The aluminium imparts a feeling of quality and robustness that most headphones don't have while still being fairly light. Picking them up and feeling the cool metal doesn't really get old. Little details like the embroidered Philips logo, hashed R and L on each earpiece, and the stitching on the headband add to the impression that these aren't run of the mill headphones. I generally prefer less ostentatious decoration on my electronics, but I think it works here.

+:
The earpieces and cable are replaceable, which could extend the life of these headphones massively, particularly if you use them for gigging. These components are always the ones that end up breaking first, so it's reassuring to know that I won't have to bin the whole set if my cats decide to tear the padding apart.

+:
The sound is strong, clear, and neutral enough for mixing (in my opinion). There are probably headphone monitors that have a flatter response - these seem to emphasise bass ever so slightly, yet I've found that to be the case with most closed cup/noise isolating headphones. My Sennheiser HD280s are considered to be reference headphones and they sound similar to these, but with less clarity. Noise cancellation for the listener is good, although there is some sound leakage at high volume. Not a problem at a club, of course, but something to be aware of in a quiet office or studio.

+:
You don't need an expensive amp to drive these. The 16ohm rating means that you'll be able to listen on your tablet, smartphone, 90s Walkman, whatever, and get a strong sound. Of course, you'll get a better experience if you plug it into an M-Audio interface or something, but it's good enough in my view.

+:
They come with a nice protective bag for transport and fold up nicely.

+:
The included curly cable snaps onto either earpiece and seems to be well made.

-/+:
I find grip a bit too tight and fatiguing. Then again, it makes absolute sense for closed cup DJ headphones to have a strong grip on one's head. Maybe the A5Pros need to break in a bit to achieve a balance of security and comfort. The pads themselves are nice and soft, but the headband is a bit too rigid.


Lumie Zest Combination Light Therapy - Portable SAD Lamp and Wake-up Light to Improve Energy and Mood
Lumie Zest Combination Light Therapy - Portable SAD Lamp and Wake-up Light to Improve Energy and Mood
Price: £125.10

4.0 out of 5 stars Portable...if you have somewhere to plug it in, 1 Oct 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I've used multiple SAD lamps and wake up lights, but never a combination of the two. The wake up lights I owned previously weren't quite as bright as this, and the dedicated SAD lamps lacked the alarm functionality. So it's nice to have a device that combines both.

The benefits of SAD lamps won't necessarily be felt by everyone, but it's definitely improved my winters up here in the North East of Scotland. It's tough waking up in darkness and walking back from work in darkness.

Good:
=====
Small and portable. The lamp won't take up much space on your bedside table or your luggage if you decide to travel with it.
Bright - if you're able to place it close enough, it should seem just about as bright as its larger siblings.

Mediocre:
=========
A battery for true portability would be excellent. I expect it would drain power very quickly, given its brightness, but the lamp isn't truly portable if it still needs to be plugged in at the wall.

Bad:
====
I dislike the kickstand. It separates from the body of the lamp and could be lost easily. It also isn't adjustable at al


Hotpoint Multi-Functional Hand Blender Fully Accessorised, 700 Watt, Silver
Hotpoint Multi-Functional Hand Blender Fully Accessorised, 700 Watt, Silver
Price: £59.97

4.0 out of 5 stars Versatile, 29 Sep 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
+:
Tonnes of attachments. If a tool is mentioned in your cookbook, chances are it'll be an attachment for this blender.
The design of the attachments means the whole thing can be stored in a fairly small footprint.
Powerful enough for most kitchen tasks. I've made soup with it a couple of times, whisked, and mixed various ingredients. It's a lot easier to clean than my jug blender and I've come to appreciate its versatility.
-
It obviously doesn't have the power of a dedicated jug blender, so expect to pre-chop food or add some liquid to help things along, especially if you're blending particularly viscous or clumpy ingredients.


Sony Xperia Z3 Compact UK SIM-Free Smartphone - Orange
Sony Xperia Z3 Compact UK SIM-Free Smartphone - Orange
Price: £392.87

53 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Performance and great battery life in a small package, 29 Sep 2014
Note: This phone takes a nano sim, which is even smaller than the micro sim, so make sure to order one from your provider or get an adapter/template cutter if you don't already have one.

I'm coming from a Nexus 4, which isn't cutting edge, but is still a decent phone, so I can't compare the Z3C to its predecessors or new phones of this size like the Galaxy Alpha.

First impressions and build quality:
Firstly, this phone is described as 'orange', and I suppose it is, but it's closer on the spectrum to red than yellow. It could be described as 'cinnabar' perhaps. Either way, it's a striking colour that makes a nice change from the ubiquitous black, silver, and navy.

The frame of the phone feels great in the hand - a bit hefty due to the glass back. The construction is tight and, well, compact. I actually prefer the look and feel of the plastic sides versus the metal sides of the regular Z3. The waterproofing flaps are fairly easy to open, even for someone like me who typically has very short nails.

The power and volume buttons are clicky and within easy reach of your right thumb or left index finger. The dedicated shutter button is correctly positioned for landscape photography.

Screen:
Not full HD, but I don't think it needs to be. The DPI is still high enough to look sharp. I'm happy with the colour, contrast, and viewing angles, too. The display gets bright enough to easily read in sunlight.

Performance:
Seems lightning fast. It doesn't have a cut down processor to match its smaller size - it has the same cpu as the larger Z3. It has 2gb instead of 3gb of RAM, but I think any difference in performance would be offset by the smaller resolution of the screen.

All the apps and games I've tried on it have run smoothly.

Camera:
Seems fast and detailed. I can't compare it to other flagship cameras as I haven't used them. It's miles ahead of the Nexus 4 camera, though. The dedicated camera button can launch the camera app without having to press the power button first, which is a big bonus.

Battery:
I charged it on Friday and it only ran out on Sunday evening. That was with the usual new phone obsessive usage - constantly pawing at the screen, installing apps, updating existing ones. I took about 50 photos, listened to hours of Spotify. The screen-on time was just over 7hrs. Very impressed.

UI/Bloatware:
The Z3C doesn't run stock android, but the Xperia apps aren't too intrusive. Compared to Samsung with Touchwiz it's much lighter in terms of proprietary bloatware. I don't like the look of the Xperia icons, so I took 5 minutes to download Nova launcher and a regular KitKat icon pack. No problem.

Overall:
I'm really happy with the Z3C - I think it'd be tough to find a phone under 5" with the same combination of performance and battery life wrapped up in an attractive chassis.

The only cloud is that it won't immediately get Android L. Sony have a decent track record of updating the Z series (not so much with their other phones), so I'm hopeful I won't have to wait too long to get the update.
Comment Comments (9) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 7, 2014 11:46 PM BST


i-Rocks Rock Series K10 Keyboard
i-Rocks Rock Series K10 Keyboard
Price: £22.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Good value keyboard, 12 Sep 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Good:
The typing action is springy and satisfying. It's been a while since I've used a keyboard with conventional keys, so I've become accustomed to either the scissor switches of laptops or the shallower, chiclet keys on my logitech wireless keyboard. I find I type quickly and with fewer errors on this one.
The aesthetic of the keyboard belies the slightly embarrassing 'gamer' box it comes in. It's a black slab with a line of red running around the edge that isn't even visible from above. There's an imprinted i-Rocks logo on the spacebar, but apart from that there's no branding on the keyboard, which really appeals to me.
It also feels fairly hefty and well made.
The anti-ghosting feature works well and the keyboard feels responsive in FPSes.

Mediocre:
Despite the good action on the keys, they do feel a little wobbly at times. I can put my finger on one and wiggle it from side to side. This isn't really noticeable when I'm actually typing, though, and it probably only bothers me because I've become so used to scissor switch keys.
I'm not a big fan of the 'Klingon' style font of the keys, but if you're a touch typist you won't be looking at them often anyway.

Bad:
The LEDs for numlock, capslock, and scroll lock are much, much too bright!


LG Nexus 4 Android Smartphone 16GB Sim-Free
LG Nexus 4 Android Smartphone 16GB Sim-Free

5.0 out of 5 stars Review after almost two years, 4 Sep 2014
This is probably the best phone I've owned since my last Nokia dumbphone. Unlike many 2yr old smartphones, it's still going strong, with hardly an UI lag. All but the most demanding games still work on it perfectly, and unlike the phablet-like flagships of today, you can put it in your pocket without having to wear cargo shorts.

Edit:
Not long after I wrote this review the power button stopped working...
I stand by my opinion of the phone, but be wary of second hand N4s because their power buttons and usb ports can be quite fragile.


BOOMco Rapid Madness Blaster
BOOMco Rapid Madness Blaster
Price: £32.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Great blaster, but a bit tricky to charge up, 3 Sep 2014
This review is from: BOOMco Rapid Madness Blaster (Toy)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Good:
No batteries!
There's a really satisfying clacky ratcheting sound as you fire and the ammo clip feeds the darts down the barrel.
The gun is properly automatic: hold the trigger down and the air in front of you will fill with sticky projectiles.
The darts stick to the target well when they actually hit it.

Mediocre:
The design is a bit too bulky and unwieldy for my liking. I get there's meant to be a kind of plasma gun aesthetic going on here, but the superfluous bulk makes it difficult for smaller hands to wield and for adults to store easily.

Bad:
It seems fairly finicky to use and I'm beginning to wonder if the model I received is somewhat defective. Getting it to fire usually involves pumping it, then sliding the magazine in, trying to fire, taking the magazine out, and putting it back in, at which point it fires for some reason. I'm guessing there's some problem with the outlet for pressurised air. Suffice to say that I usually had to reload the gun for my nephews each time they fired it, which seems a bit counter productive.

Judging by the other reviews it seems like finicky pumping/reloading is a bit of a problem with some of the guns that were sent out. For price I'd hope for better QA from Mattel. It's a shame, as my nephews loved the actual firing mechanism.


Seagate Barracuda 3.5 inch 2TB 7200 RPM 64MB 6GB/S Internal SATA Drive
Seagate Barracuda 3.5 inch 2TB 7200 RPM 64MB 6GB/S Internal SATA Drive
Offered by In2digital
Price: £60.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect partner to a SSD, 2 Sep 2014
I bought this to replace an ancient (in relative terms - 6yr old) Western Digital Green. The green served me well as a data storage drive for the entirety of that time, but it was full, slow, and noisy. This Barracuda is, by contrast, capacious, fast, and quiet. It's the perfect partner to a solid state drive like the Samsung 840 Evo.


Philips Lumea Precision Plus SC2006/11 IPL Hair Removal System for Face and Body
Philips Lumea Precision Plus SC2006/11 IPL Hair Removal System for Face and Body
Price: £349.99

8 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Review after 6 weeks - too soon to say, 2 Sep 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Since treatments are meant to be spaced 2 weeks apart and I've only had the Lumea for 6 weeks, it's difficult to comment on its efficacy after three treatments. The marketing blurb states that there's a 75% hair reduction after 4 treatments, so I'll update this review after that. At the moment there could be a slight reduction in growth, though I'm suspicious that this is wishful thinking. Before you read further, you should have a look at the skin/hair colour chart above to make sure you fall within the range.

The device itself is typical modern high-end Philips: an almost 60s futurism makes it look like a ray gun, which I guess it is, in a sense. Blasting away at hair follicles with pulsed light is a scary concept, so I was reassured by the precise instructions.

The thing takes about 2 minutes to 'charge up' before use and a light turns on when it's ready. It comes with a precision UV filter, which I found useful for smaller areas. Treatments can take a while if you're conscientious about getting good coverage, but the potential time saved on shaving could be worth it. Like I said, it's too soon to know for sure. The light pulses don't cause any discomfort during or after, despite my skin normally being quite sensitive.


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