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Amazon Customer (Aberdeen, Scotland)
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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: £129.15

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: £71.99

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
Offered by Wiziwoo Limited
Price: £389.99

29 of 30 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 (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 29, 2014 8:51 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
Offered by Open Always
Price: £325.98

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
Offered by Toys Direct Ltd
Price: £37.99

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 Express Computer Bits
Price: £62.99

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 SC2006/11 Lumea Precision Plus IPL Hair Removal System for Face and Body
Philips SC2006/11 Lumea Precision Plus IPL Hair Removal System for Face and Body
Price: £450.00

7 of 11 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.


Bitmore Juucee 2600mAh Ultra Compact Portable Battery Backup Charger with LED Torch
Bitmore Juucee 2600mAh Ultra Compact Portable Battery Backup Charger with LED Torch
Price: £12.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Good: Small enough to be pocketable and not too ..., 23 Aug 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Good:
Small enough to be pocketable and not too heavy.
Solidly constructed with squared off corners so it doesn't roll around if you put it on a table.
Powerful enough to keep a phone going in a pinch.
The wee flashlight is a nice addition. Still useful even if it isn't super bright.

Mediocre:
It charges the phone quite slowly.
The capacity is not huge, but it should be enough to top up most phones from the brink.
Covers over the USB ports would be nice to stop dust and dirt from getting in, especially since I envisage this sitting at the bottom of bags and handbags.

Bad:
Nothing really.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 25, 2014 2:48 PM BST


Logitech P710e Mobile Speaker
Logitech P710e Mobile Speaker
Price: £85.30

5.0 out of 5 stars Smartphones nowadays are certainly smart, but the latter part of the neologism has ..., 22 Aug 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Smartphones nowadays are certainly smart, but the latter part of the neologism has been neglected. Almost every smartphone I've used has a suboptimal speaker/mic, especially for when I want to talk to someone without holding a hot phone to my ear.

The P710e goes a long way to solving some of the problems I have with call quality on my phone, and it's also useful for Skype. Pairing it was easy with my N4 and the clarity of its speaker vastly exceeded that of the phone. Apparently my voice came through clearer than with the regular mic, too, even though I was quite a bit further away from the device. The speaker also worked without hassle with Skype on my PC and it was nice not to have to wear a headset while talking. Speech comes through clearly and the controls on the front are easy to use.

The speaker itself is typical modern Logitech - decent quality black plastic in an understated design. It won't blow you away but it looks businesslike and should fit perfectly in most offices. The speaker includes a slot so you can set your phone in the centre for handsfree talking/video calls.

I'd recommend the P710e to anyone makes a lot of calls but is dissatisfied with the quality on their mobile or headset. I'd also recommend it to businesses with a new for portable conferencing.


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