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Themistocles
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Salter Stainless Steel Curve Scale
Salter Stainless Steel Curve Scale
Price: £20.12

5.0 out of 5 stars This scale is probably the best I've owned in terms of usability and looks, 28 July 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I bake a lot, and frequently use precise measurements in my cooking. I remember using springloaded analogue scales back in the day. How far we've come. This scale is probably the best I've owned in terms of usability and looks.

Appearance and build:
The Curve is a slim slab in fairly standard black and brushed steel. The steel portion looks great and is easy to clean. The product image shows flour being heaped atop it directly, with the curve acting as a slide from platform to bowl. I haven't trusted its cleanability that much yet...

I'm a fan of asymmetry in my gadgets, so I like the look of the Curve. Another bonus is that the LED lights up. Not usually necessary, but it does help boost the visibility of the display when there's a large container on the scale that would normally overshadow the digits.

Controls and functionality:
The scale functions in an identical way to cheaper examples of the range: switch it on, place a container on it and press the on button again to set the tare weight (resetting the display to zero, minus the weight of the container), and press the unit button to cycle through a range of common imperial, metric, solid and fluid measurements. Based on testing with a pyrex water jug, the fluid accuracy is solid.

Overall, it's a reliable, accurate, and attractive scale that justifies its slightly higher pricepoint.


Waterpik WF-03 Cordless Freedom
Waterpik WF-03 Cordless Freedom
Price: £49.99

4.0 out of 5 stars It has replaced tape flossing for me, 25 July 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I don't like flossing using tape for a couple of reasons: 1: The time it takes means it's the first part of my routine that I drop if I'm in a rush, and when I stop, getting back into the habit can be difficult. 2: I don't like the waste it generates.

So I was interested in the Waterpik, though I was wary that it would end up a little-used gadget. Thus far, that hasn't turned out to be true.

The waterpik has a simple objective: to pulse water in jets fine enough to blast away the plaque and other gunk between your teeth. It succeeds.

I was curious about how it would feel, and a little apprehensive about using it. I tested it out on a tissue and watched as the jets punched right through it. Overcoming my fears, I tried it at the lower setting and it wasn't as intense as I expected. It takes a little practice to use - if you miss your teeth/gums and hit your tongue it can sting. It's a pleasant sensation, and my teeth feel as clean as they do after a tape floss, maybe cleaner.
The lower pressure setting is fine for me, but I welcome the higher intensity setting for its utility in special circumstances, like having to remove a chunk of gammon.

It's a funny shaped thing, bottom-heavy and rendered in silver and white plastic, like a vase from 2200. This is to accommodate the reservoir, which holds enough water for about 45 seconds of spurting (subjective testing - other units may differ), which is long enough for a once-over. The reservoir is simple to refill: just open the tab and pour. The shape makes it slightly awkward to hold, but it's light enough for use without fatigue. I think the controls could perhaps be better placed as they can be hard to manipulate at the back when you've got jets of water blasting out of the nozzle at the speed of light - I've splashed the mirror a few times trying to turn it off. Familiarity has ironed out problems with the controls.

The use of 3 AA batteries is a bonus in terms of replace-ability. I haven't owned the device long enough to establish how often they need to changed, but I'm hoping I can use my rechargeable batteries in it.

Overall, I think the Waterpik succeeds in presenting an alternative to tape flossing: it's convenient, effective, and I enjoy it more, so I'll be more likely to keep it as part of my routine.

PS: The power of the water jet presents alternate uses. It'd make a vicious little automatic waterpistol (though I'd caution blasting anyone's face with it!).


Harbinger Men's Pro Wrist Wrap Weightlifting Gloves - Black, Large
Harbinger Men's Pro Wrist Wrap Weightlifting Gloves - Black, Large
Price: £22.52

4.0 out of 5 stars the palm is grippy and textured like rough suede, 19 July 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Having suffered wrist injuries during lifting in the past, I been on the lookout for proper wrist wrap gloves. Technique is probably my biggest problem, but the gloves have helped massively in reducing wrist pain.

The Harbingers feel well made, with materials that make sense: the top is breathable,the palm is grippy and textured like rough suede, is wrap is made of a strong synthetic, and the velcro patches are generously sized and reliable. The gloves look brand new after a couple of weeks, and I expect them to wear well and last a decent length of time, as they should for the price.

The wrap is quick to put on and it's supportive without being uncomfortable. In fact, they were comfortable enough for cycling when I misplaced my other gloves.

My only quibble is that the sizing seems small. I'm not a large guy (5'9", 160lb) and I usually take a medium or sometimes even a small. These 'Large' gloves feel snug on me. The snugness is probably related to the provision of support, but I'd definitely find them uncomfortable if I had slightly larger hands. There's a handy sizing chart in the product description that I urge you to follow if you're considering these gloves.


Medisana NM 870 Neck Massager
Medisana NM 870 Neck Massager
Price: £17.87

2.0 out of 5 stars Nice Neck Pillow, Not a Great Massager, 9 July 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
First impressions were very good: the pillow balances softness with support, the surface is luxurious without being too plush, and it doesn't smell - strange observation, but many memory foam products I've tried smell pretty chemical. It's a good pillow, definitely one of the better ones I've owned: I've never spent this much on one though!

Unfortunately, the massage function is more like if you put a couple of playstation controllers or phones in a pillow and set them to vibrate. I usually have neck pain and tight shoulders and I don't feel the pillow does much to alleviate the symptoms. It does, however, attract curious cats with the vibration noise - maybe it sounds like mechanical purring? The feeling of the massager is more irritating than relaxing.


Russell Hobbs 21840 Purify Multi-Health Fryer, 3 L - White
Russell Hobbs 21840 Purify Multi-Health Fryer, 3 L - White
Price: £100.35

3.0 out of 5 stars A decent gadget with a specific use-case, 6 July 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
As other reviews have stated: 'Fryer' is something of a misnomer. There's no submersion of food in delicious fat, nor is there a shallow frying mechanism. It's a mini fan oven that can indeed bake, roast, toast and grill, though it only excels at the first two activities. Whether you're interested in buying this is almost entirely dependent on whether you have an oven and hob already - if you do: this probably isn't for you. If you don't, then it's an interesting gadget that could potentially save you a bit of money and space.

Physical attributes:
==============
It's a funny shaped thing, like a malformed egg from a giant mechanical bird. It doesn't really fit with my other countertop appliances, but it doesn't look too bad either. It's fairly hefty - not much of a problem if you don't intend to move it around much, but if you have limited space like me, having to shift it frequently might become tiresome.
The surface is a familiar combination of smooth chrome and plastic - easily wipe-downable, though you may need to take more care with the vents on the sides.

The included containers are solid and non-stick - I don't have a dishwasher so I can't attest to their dishwasher-readiness, but they're easy enough to clean in the sink. My concern is that they may be difficult to replace should you accidentally scratch the non-stick surface or use them as makeshift armour. Manufacturers typically offer replacements, but I'm always a little wary of anything requiring proprietary fittings or dimensions.

Controls and instructions:
==================
I like the simplicity of the controls: two knobs - one for temperature, one for time. They're satisfying to use and their state is highly visible.
I've been using it for a few weeks and, generally, it has yet to display any unique selling points versus my fan oven. There are some helpful decals showing times and temperature instructions for common items. I followed these for chips and chicken legs, and found I had to add an extra 5 minutes for both dishes in order to achieve satisfactory crispiness and browning. This was a recurring theme.

The instruction booklet is a bit of a letdown. The user guide consists of a long list of bulleted, fairly small text. The recipes are fairly standard oven fare, which is disappointing as they fail to highlight any unique advantage that the fryer brings to your kitchen. Each one I tried typically required a little longer than stated in the recipe - whether my scales or broken or oven isn't reaching the right temperature, I'm not sure. It's not a big problem, and probably explainable in terms of normal manufacturing tolerances.

Now, I haven't found the Purify particularly useful, but there have been times in my life when I would have adored it. Anywhere without room for an oven (hello London real estate!) could use one of these. Combine it with something like a Crock Pot and you'd have a lot of your cooking needs covered for relatively little money. Sure, you wouldn't be able to feed many people, but I don't expect many people will be fitting in your flat anyway.


ROCCAT - Kiro Modular Ambidextrous Gaming Mouse (4000 DPI, Left/Right-Hand, Expandable Design) black
ROCCAT - Kiro Modular Ambidextrous Gaming Mouse (4000 DPI, Left/Right-Hand, Expandable Design) black
Price: £34.99

5.0 out of 5 stars a good value ambidextrous mouse with some interesting unique features., 5 July 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I'm a right-hander, but I really like ambidextrous mice for two reasons: 1 - I spend so much time working on a computer that sometimes I switch mouse hand to get a break - can't do that as easily with mice designed for right handers. 2 - I like having extra buttons on both sides of the mouse rather than just the 'thumb' side.

The Roccat Kiro accommodates this symmetry well, and it also allows customisation in the form of its innovative swappable side panels. If, unlike me, you prefer not to have buttons on both sides of the mouse, then you can place a panel without buttons on the side you want plain. It's a clever idea and the mechanism for removing and placing the panels is satisfying and sturdy.

The mouse itself is fairly small. I have small-medium sized hands and it feels a lot smaller than my Steelseries Sensei. It feels good to use though, with the soft touch coating on the middle and textured plastic on the sides. The glowing Roccat logo isn't too offensive and its colours, pulse, and brightness can be customised in Roccat's Swarm software.

The software offers fairly standard button assignment and it was easy to install and set up. Profiles can be set up for different software and games, which is useful for me as I use different macros in AutoCAD and Illustrator. The physical DPI switcher increments can also be customised.

Overall, this is a good value ambidextrous mouse with some interesting unique features.


Uni Kuru Toga Roulette Model Auto Lead Rotation Mechanical Pencil - Gun Metallic Body - 0.5 mm
Uni Kuru Toga Roulette Model Auto Lead Rotation Mechanical Pencil - Gun Metallic Body - 0.5 mm
Offered by TOY SHOP JAPAN HOBBYONE.
Price: £8.95

5.0 out of 5 stars The best, 2 July 2016
I've been using Kuru Toga pencils for years. They handle well, the sharpening engine does exactly what it should, and they look great. I bought the cheaper version of this about 8 years ago and it's still reliable - pretty amazing for a fairly cheap commodity product in this world of designed obsolescence. I've used it for product design, sketching, writing notes. Does it all. This fancier version comes with a solid-feeling, non-slip metal grip. It's a joy, and a steal at the current price.

My appreciation of the Kuru Toga range was sharpened when I tried using a 'luxury' Parker mechanical pencil recently - it just didn't compare. I hope Uni keep making these things forever: they're a design triumph.


Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 12.5-inch Touchscreen Notebook (Intel Core i5-4300U 1.9GHz, 8GB RAM, 500GB HDD, WLAN, BT, Webcam, Integrated Graphics, Windows 7 Professional)
Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 12.5-inch Touchscreen Notebook (Intel Core i5-4300U 1.9GHz, 8GB RAM, 500GB HDD, WLAN, BT, Webcam, Integrated Graphics, Windows 7 Professional)
Offered by Box Limited
Price: £599.97

4.0 out of 5 stars The retracting keyboard is excellent and has surprising tactility despite having a slightly shallower ..., 1 July 2016
This is still a decent laptop convertible, though it's size and weight makes using the tablet mode more appropriate on a desk rather than in the hand. It isn't as durable as my old X220 (which still functions perfectly) and I've had a few problems with the hard drive that came with it. The retracting keyboard is excellent and has surprising tactility despite having a slightly shallower depth than the old Thinkpads. I like the chiclet style, although I'll always miss the island of keys (such as delete) in the top right on my X220.

The stylus is a little weedy, though the recognition is accurate and I like that it can be stored inside the laptop - no awkward clip-on.

Performance-wise, it's handled web and word processing with aplomb, along with some basic 3D modelling.


Russell Hobbs 21401 Mode Kettle, Red
Russell Hobbs 21401 Mode Kettle, Red
Offered by into Sales
Price: £28.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Attractive and easy to handle, 30 Jun. 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I like colourful appliances, so I was pleased with the shiny red of the Mode kettle. The black handle, chrome skirt, and frosted plastic spout are nicely detailed too. It looks good on the counter and matches with the red Russell Hobbs toaster.

I know a lot of people just pour water down the spout, but I always open the lid, and I'm pleased with the lid mechanism on the Mode - it's easy to operate and doesn't feel flimsy.

The power switch is also highly visible, with a blue light when in operation. The generous handle makes manoeuvring the the kettle under the tap when the sink is full simple - not a desirable situation, but a common one in my flat. The largely plastic body makes for a light weight.

My only gripe is a lack of temperature controls, though that may be asking too much at this price.


Official Unemployed Philosophers Guild Banned Books Coffee Mug - Boxed
Official Unemployed Philosophers Guild Banned Books Coffee Mug - Boxed
Offered by Retro Styler
Price: £11.95

3.0 out of 5 stars A very well printed and cool looking mug, 19 Jun. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
A very well printed and cool looking mug. Unfortunately, my one came with a slight abrasion of the surface of the rim, which I expect will further degrade following the application of hot tea. It's also quite a bit smaller than my other Unemployed Philosopher's Guild mug (Shakespearean insults), but I could've gathered that if I'd been more attentive to the description.

Otherwise, it's a good mug with a nice embossed BANNED that adds a little texture and interest to the print.


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