Profile for Pete M. > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by Pete M.
Top Reviewer Ranking: 552,681
Helpful Votes: 98

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
Pete M.

Show:  
Page: 1
pixel
TP-LINK TL-WR842ND 300 Mbps Multi-Function Wireless N CABLE Router
TP-LINK TL-WR842ND 300 Mbps Multi-Function Wireless N CABLE Router
Offered by elevenfirst
Price: £26.87

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great value/performance router made even better by USB functionality, 21 Feb. 2013
Anyone reading the mixed reviews for this device here should probably read the many 5* reviews for it's little brother the WR841N as the 842ND is essentially the same bit of kit with detachable aerials and the addition of a USB port.

The TL;DR version.

4 Stars - would have been 5 except for issues getting USB sharing to work.

Great little router made even better with the addition of a USB port/server functionality. Fast, stable, reliable wireless connectivity easy to set up if you've done this sort of thing before - easy to set up if you haven't there's an easy setup tab for the job. Honestly compared to my first router (type 192.168.1.1 to get to the GUI, that's ALL the help you got) there's so much info/help (130pp PDF manual for starters) that it's a different world.

It should be remembered that these aren't magic boxes, a lot of issues are often down to the limitations of the wireless clients not the router. Always start on basic/low capability settings whilst directly connected through a LAN port to maintain connectivity, then tweak to get best performance without breaking the connectivity.

I bought this router to replace an ancient Linksys WRT54G which couldn't manage the throughput to support the advertised cable speed I receive and this model specifically because the USB port enables wireless printing to non-wireless printers.

For set-up I didn't bother with the CD I just plugged it directly into my laptop through the LAN ports and opened a browser pointed at 192.168.0.1 (Not connected to the modem at this point which is not the normal way of doing things) Nb. If you use Firefox with the noscript addon you have to allow the routers Web GUI to run scripts else it won't work.

I configured the router manually for basic newtork/wireless I selected Channel and Channel width to "Auto" to minimise compatibility issues. The web GUI will warn you that you have to reboot the router after making certain changes and provide a link to the reboot function but it wasn't always visible on the screen without scrolling down first - curse you 1366*768 resolution screens!

After connecting the modem I was initially getting network problems with "limited connectivity" as one reviewer states you do sometimes need to reboot. I also found that once plugged in to the modem I had to reboot the modem to get connectivity presumably to get the DHCP processes squared away. Normally you would do the setup with the modem attached and use the "Detect" button on the Network tab to get started. The wireless connects flawlessly - I went to a speed testing site and confirmed the wireless throughput matched my advertised speed (33% higher than the old one managed!).

One problem I had was that initially I couldn't get DNS changes to stick - I wanted to use openDNS servers, I would start typing the address into the box on the Network tab page and the address would "auto delete" (whilst typing!) to be replaced by my ISP's DNS server(s). I managed to overcome this odd behaviour by hitting the DHCP lease "Release" button, changing the server addresses and then hitting the "Renew" button, after which the changes were permanent even after rebooting.

I did a backup my configuration and checked the website for firmware updates - the latest was only a few weeks old, one of the updates mentioned "DNS changes" so maybe that's been fixed. There was mention of dropped connections being fixed (I hadn't experienced any in the short time I'd had it running, nor since after nearly a week on the latest (Jan 2013) firmware).

I've fiddled with some other settings including turning the power down to low with no ill effects on connection speed/reliability.

The wireless printing worked flawlessly. To work the Print server functionality has to be turned on in the USB Settings tab but I think it's enabled by default. Install the printer utility on the client, connect the printer to the router and the client finds the connection. Click "Request to connect" and a "Installing driver dialogue" is initiated - despite the printer already being installed on the client - this means that 2 instances of the printer were available in printing dialogues - not a problem but you have to select the one just installed which will have "..Copy 1" or similar in the name in such cases.
After that it's as if the printer is connected locally in terms of functionality, the only difference I noticed was that the initial print dialogue (Epson DX6000) had the ink levels greyed out but as soon as you go to print the ink level pop-up displays as normal. To use the printers scanning facility you have to click "Connect as scanner" in the utility, after that it's as transparent as printing.

"For a laugh", I decided to have a play with the USB Sharing functionality as I was contemplating buying a NAS box for media storage. I plugged a pen-drive in and went to the USB sharing tab, the drive had already been detected so I hit the "Open the disk" link.....and nothing happened, not even a hint of activity/processing, the link was dead although the "address" would pop-up when the link was hovered over. I tried adding the drive manually using "Map network drive" but I kept getting an unable to connect error. Thinking it might be a browser issue I tried IE(9) with the same result. Eventually I contacted tp-link technical support by email and got a very rapid response along the lines that FF and IE9 are not yet supported and to try IE6, 7 or 8(!). I had a netbook with IE8 so tried that with the same result. As the NAS purchase decision rests on this functionality I persevered and did a search for basic browsers and found, oddly enough, "BasicBrowser" on CNET. This is based on IE of unknown version (the CNET file was added in 2007 so I'm guessing it's IE7 or earlier). I installed the browser navigated to the router page clicked on the USB settings tab, got a javascript error dialogue (groan) clicked "Yes" to carry on running scripts and tried again and the page opened this time. I opened the USB sharing tab clicked the "Open the disk" link and success! A normal explorer window opened with the drives contents freely accessible. I was now able to select the share under Network in the left pane of the explorer window, right-click and select map network drive and it's now available permanently under "My computer".

Weirdly, I can delete the mapped drive and add it back manually at any time using the same address which didn't work the first time around. I have no idea if that's expected behaviour or not (I'm a Networking neophyte and I might have typed it wrong before).

I haven't tried the ftp server functionality, but the media server works fine. It presents as a windows media device and thus uses wmp by default for playing streamed content - I don't know if you can change this I suspect it's more involved than just changing file type associations.

I tested having the printer and pen-drive connected simultaneously through a USB hub and this works fine too so NAS purchase is now definitely on the horizon.


SONY ERICSSON XPERIA MINI PRO SILICONE SKIN CASE / COVER / SHELL - BLACK PART OF THE QUBITS ACCESSORIES RANGE
SONY ERICSSON XPERIA MINI PRO SILICONE SKIN CASE / COVER / SHELL - BLACK PART OF THE QUBITS ACCESSORIES RANGE

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Has minor drawbacks but does the job, 18 Dec. 2011
As long as you've got a screen protector this skin case does the job of protecting the rest of the 'phone from knocks and scratches whilst avoiding the tedious necessity of taking it out of a slip-case to use it.

The skin is easy to fit - it comes in two halves the top part of which has two plastic rails that slot into tracks on the lower half to enable the keyboard to slide out whilst the cover is on, this involves some manipulation to get it on initially but isn't too tricky.

The case is a reasonable fit - the back feels snug, the top case less so mostly due the long thin sides which can be pushed away from the phone edge very easily - however a tighter fit may make getting the top case on a lot harder as you have to stretch it over the top with the rails engaged in the tracks.

There are slots and holes for the sockets, soft-keys, camera lens etc and raised button shapes for the on/off, volume and shutter buttons. These worked fine except for the on/off button which sits directly below one of the slider tracks which being quite deep hinder depressing the button such that a very heavy press with a finger nail was required. I bodged a fix by gluing a plastic wedge on the inside of the lower case under the button impression and the on/off works perfectly without too much pressing now.

However, the same slider track also partially covers the micro-usb flap making the latter a bit of a faff to remove and once out the thickness of the case makes moving it out of the way so it doesn't interfere with inserting the usb plug a bit awkward and the track can still hinder inserting the plug anyway. Maybe I'll get better with practice but for me this is the biggest bug-bear with the case.

In use I found I had to adjust my swiping technique slightly as I would snag the long edge of the case with my finger - particularly the right hand side (I'm right handed)- so I've had to learn to be less "sweepy" with my swiping! Also I've found that the long edges can interfere with selecting screen elements that are close to the edge - but nothing major.

For those that like using the keyboard the slide mechanism works perfectly and the case doesn't affect useability.

There are couple of other minor downsides - the matt finish of the case which is great for tactile feel/grip is a bit of a fluff magnet and seems to pick up fibres very easily. Finally the case doesn't do anything for the look of the phone - hiding it's curves and shiny bits and making it a bit of a matt black slab - but you can't have everything can you?

Overal I'm happy with it - I don't have to worry about putting it in a pocket with keys/coins etc and the phone hasn't lost any real utility and for the price, you can't complain.


NB-1LH NB-1L 3.7V 1000mAh High capacity replacement Li ion Battery for Canon digital camera models Canon Digital IXUS Series 200a 300 300a Digital IXUS 320 330 400 430 500 VII V V2 V3 Canon PowerShot S Series S100 S110 S200 S230 S300 S330 S400 S410 S500 Canon IXY Digital Series 200 200a 300
NB-1LH NB-1L 3.7V 1000mAh High capacity replacement Li ion Battery for Canon digital camera models Canon Digital IXUS Series 200a 300 300a Digital IXUS 320 330 400 430 500 VII V V2 V3 Canon PowerShot S Series S100 S110 S200 S230 S300 S330 S400 S410 S500 Canon IXY Digital Series 200 200a 300
Offered by EKOW LTD
Price: £4.97

4.0 out of 5 stars No better than standard battery - but a lot cheaper!, 20 July 2011
Like a lot of people I bought this battery in lieu of the comically priced Canon replacement. The battery arrived in a couple of days so no problems there.

I was sceptical of the 1000mAh claim when I ordered it. Thus I was amazed when the battery indicated it was 1500mAh with the box exclaiming 100% more power!

The reality is somewhat more prosaic and I can't really tell the difference between this and the seven year old Canon original to be honest - although my camera - an IXUS430 has always been a power-hog.

But it was only a few quid and can't be 13x worse (in value terms) than the Canon branded replacement. So 4 stars it is - I would have given it 5 had it lasted noticeably longer than the original (and 10 if it had lasted twice as long as claimed!).


Lavender Pure Essential Oil 30ml - Aromatherapy Oil - Lavandula angustifolia 30ml
Lavender Pure Essential Oil 30ml - Aromatherapy Oil - Lavandula angustifolia 30ml
Offered by Essential Oils Direct (Retail)
Price: £7.80

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great value topical treatment for a wide range of skin problems, 12 Jun. 2011
I initially bought this product to treat athletes foot after I had read a number of articles regarding the anti-fungal properties of Lavender oil. At the time I was using a branded spray which was effective in the short-term but quite expensive and requires continued use to keep the troublesome itching at bay.

The product was delivered extremely quickly and despite some sceptism on my part it has proven wonderfully effective. I was concerned that the odour would be over-powering and noticeable in public(!) but that hasn't proven the case. Yes, there is clearly the distinctive Lavender odour but it's relatively light and muted, not an over-powering flowery presence.

After several months usage and still with some of the contents left I can say it's at least as effective as the commercial products, possibly better as I've noticed that the re-infection rate seems noticeably lower and of course this one 30ml bottle has lasted longer than several cans of the spray I was using.

I've also found it effective for soothing small scrapes and those strange itchy skin irritations that appear out of nowhere.

Another point to note that Lavender oil is generally safe to use neat topically, unlike some oils which definitely aren't.

Anyway I've just ordered the 100ml as a replacement.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 5, 2013 4:18 PM BST


No Title Available

3.0 out of 5 stars OK, but not perfect - still looking for gloves that really work., 11 Dec. 2010
I'd been looking for a new pair of cold weather cycling gloves for a while and was leaning towards buying a neoprene pair as my experience with this material has been very good in other applications. However I saw the positive reviews for these gloves and decided to give them a go.

The gloves felt very stiff when new and the size medium were a very snug fit for my hands whereas mediums normally fit just-right for me. Although the cuff has a Velcro fastening there isn't that much difference to the slack as the body of the glove is the most restrictive part. The gloves certainly seem well made but I was sceptical that the grip tape material on the palms and fingers would last, but in use it seems to be hard wearing - it's certainly effective but does give an odd sticky feeling to everything you touch.

Now the acid test, do these gloves keep your hands warm? My verdict is yes and no. I ride my bike for fitness and ride fairly hard for about 90 minutes at a time. In freezing conditions my old gloves would leave my fingers painfully cold initially but would warm up after a prolonged bout of hard riding and would always be sweating at the end. In our recent freezing weather these gloves behave similarly although I'm convinced they warmed up faster and the pain wasn't so severe initially. As others have noted the interior of the gloves do get wet with sweat. If I wasn't riding so hard I'm not convinced these gloves would work for me (in freezing weather at any rate).

I did try these out passively whilst out walking at night in the recent freezing conditions and these gloves struggled very quickly - I had to put my hands in my coat pockets to dull the pain - to be fair I do have poor circulation in my hands so that will always be a contributing factor. I did notice that you can feel hot breath through the fabric if you blow on them so this may explain why they're not as effective under these conditions. I haven't used them in the wet so can't comment in that regard.

Overall these are probably the best cold weather gloves I've owned but still aren't perfect and I now have a neoprene pair on order.


Vax VS-190R Swift Reach Bagless Upright Vacuum Cleaner
Vax VS-190R Swift Reach Bagless Upright Vacuum Cleaner

3.0 out of 5 stars Great carpet cleaner but too many niggling flaws, 10 Dec. 2010
When my old bag consuming Hoover upright went bang as I was determined to go bagless. I really wanted a Dyson but balked at the cost for "just a vacuum cleaner" and went further down the price point chain than I originally intended when I bought this cleaner on offer.

Initial impressions (after the shock at just how small the box was - explained by the near flat-pack levels of assembly required) was the feeling of cheapness of construction, the odd layout and the lack of height adjustment.

However any doubts were quickly dispelled as a quick clean of the living room carpet showed just how effective this cleaner was, I was particularly impressed with the way it picked up the almost magnetically adhered specs of lint especially in heavy use areas which my old Hoover failed to touch. The automatic height adjustment (or single height - I'm not sure which) seems to work on any carpet and also lifts the pile much more effectively than my old Hoover. I was slightly alarmed at how quickly fluff filled the reservoir out of all proportion to the apparent levels of dust on the surface, although as the fluff always seems to follow the carpet colour I'm guessing it's carpet fibres rather than dust/dirt - you can end up with multicoloured layers like those ornaments filled with sand at the seaside.

There are a number of weaknesses though. Although great for carpets it's useless on hard surfaces the bits just seem to get blown around the floor - this isn't helped by the air exhaust which blows horizontally from a very low level.

The cleaning head isn't very deep and with the front dust canister and the awkward vacuum tube you can only go under things a short way before something obstructs. A particular weakness is that the vacuum tube is exposed and very fragile - although it looks robust the tube rubs against items you might be trying to clean under and breaks form in the ridges of the tube very quickly - only a minor scuff is required to break the surface - so you lose suction. A replacement is only a few quid but unless you're extremely careful the same will happen again.

Switching to tool use requires disconnecting the short vacuum tube from the base and connecting to the accessory hose. The fittings are a push to fit and twist to lock on short plastic lugs which are fragile and break off easily. It's inconvenient and a bit of a faff to be honest.

The tools are bit naff, the brush head is Ok but the brush part is detachable (not sure why) by sliding left or right, so if you're using it along carpet edges or stair steps for example the brush can come off if being vigorous. The shaped crevice tool is pointless, it's narrow but too deep and long so you can't get it under much and if it's not horizontal you lose suction but it's too long to keep horizontal in many hard to reach places - like crevices for example. The velcro-like brush strips on the edge of this tool came off very quickly also.

There's a mini brush-bar tool that uses suction to spin the brush but it's purely a gimmick as soon as the brush hit's a surface with any drag it pretty much slows to a stop meaning it has to held only lightly against any surface and is thus useless.

I agree with the other reviews which say the flex is too short (and there's always a loose dangling end when wrapped around the cable tidy) and that it's no star on the stairs either (neither better or worse than other hoovers I've had in this regard).

Whilst the filtration system seems to work a treat I agree with the reviewer regarding the nightmare of emptying the reservoir which is always a messy and fraught affair. This is mainly due to the need to manually clean the main filter which is a large conical device with a concertina like filter which sits directly inside the dust canister and becomes royally clogged with fluff and dust. You can empty the canister easily but the filter needs manual cleaning and it's a dust-bath whichever way you look at it.

Whilst spares (like the vacuum tube) are cheap the OEM filter is a joke at over £20 although much cheaper pattern filter sets are available.

In summary, it's the best carpet cleaner I've ever had but it's bad points really let it down.


Verbatim 44032 32GB HD Video SDHC Class 6 Card
Verbatim 44032 32GB HD Video SDHC Class 6 Card

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly recommended high performing card., 24 Mar. 2010
The best part of £70 is a lot to spend on 32GB of storage, however I wanted the performance (as supplementary storage on an SSD based netbook) and this card delivers. Before purchase I visited Verbatims website which listed two 32Gb Class 6 SD cards, the review item code 44032 and another "non-video" card code 44023. However the write speeds were up to 9Mb/s for the Video card and 6MB/s for the non-video card. The video card was slightly cheaper for some reason and so I went for it more in hope than expectation. The card should be reformatted before use to get the best performance (I don't know why this should be but I've found it with most cards) - use the quick option unless you're "very" patient. I used a freely available piece of software to test the card and was pleasantly surprised to see the write speed climb to just over 9.3MB/s. This is best-case testing so expect real world to be less although I have seen these speeds in everyday use too so two thumbs up! A flash card that delivers.

Verbatim 44032 32GB HD Video SDHC Class 6 Card
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 1, 2010 1:51 PM GMT


SanDisk SDCZ36-016G-B35 16 GB Cruzer USB 2.0 Flash Drive - Black
SanDisk SDCZ36-016G-B35 16 GB Cruzer USB 2.0 Flash Drive - Black
Price: £14.28

43 of 49 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Poor in every way, 22 Mar. 2010
If you overlook it's cheap looking design and construction this flash drive has only two faults, it's performance and it's bizzaro irritating LED behaviour.

Sandisks spec for this drive is a write speed of 9MB/s - using a freely available testing utility I got a maximum of 4MB/s and this uses a "sequential writes" protocol that yields best case results - ie if you transfer lots of smallish files expect much poorer write speeds. This matters because even at 4MB/s it would take over an hour to fill the drive, real-world transfers would be even slower.

After my first data transfer I noticed the extremely bright LED pulsating as if the device was "panting" after it's exertion, I wondered if it it would stop. It didn't.

I did an internet search and found that Sandisk use three different controllers for their flash drives only one of which shows this "panting" behaviour. This may be significant since after uploading my performance data to the website which provides the testing software I realised that my drive was in the bottom tier for performance as drives with the same PID (USB product ID) were showing write speeds of up to 13MB/s! - In fact my data was amongst the slowest, some showed 6/8/10/12MB/s writes).

From other reviews no-one seems impressed with the "panting" LED - it's extremely distracting and may well be associated with a poor performing controller.

I sent mine back for a refund.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 29, 2012 11:25 PM BST


No Title Available

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Shockingly bad cheap rubbish, 27 Sept. 2008
I've spent nearly 1/3 of the purchase price keeping the thing on the road.

From delivery there were problems. I couldn't tighten the headset bearing more than hand tight without it slipping causing the steering tube to pop out of the head at random moments. This was down to a badly machined thread so shallow it looked like it had been stripped. A new set of forks cured that after haggling with the shop.

My first real ride ended in punctures caused by an amazing quantity of swarf left over from drilling the spoke holes in the rims of both wheels. I also had top dress out sharp edges from these holes with a file as the rim tape was so loose it exposed the tube to these - and so had to be replaced in any case.

The seat looked comfy but wasn't and was soon replaced as I couldn't go more than an hour on it. After about 1,000 miles of riding the bottom bracket bearing was failing badly so I replaced it with a cheap cartridge bearing. My last cheapo bike went 000's of miles without even an adjustment of the bearing.

After 4 months a spoke broke on the rear wheel - it's only been used on-road and I've never broken a spoke before in my life, the replacement spoke was noticeably sturdier.

Recently the rear tyre bulged strangely then split and the front is on the way out too - I've only had the bike 4 months.

The brakes are ropey - the front disc has to be adjusted to within a whisker of being locked on to be effective, but then it's OK when it's like this - except you have to remember to do a hard practice stop when setting off to ensure the disc and pads have bite for when you might really need them as I found out approaching a busy roundabout one morning. The rear brakes were poor in the dry and useless in the wet until I swapped the standard blocks with a half-worn set of my old bike. Now it's powerful but squeals badly.

The handlebar adjustment screw was so tight and the material so soft that I rounded the allen socket hole trying to loosen it.

Now I've replaced the really dodgy bits it's quite pleasant to ride, but I should have spent £200 on a low-spec branded bike.

Not a happy ownership experience overall.


Oregon Scientific HR102 Heart Rate Monitor
Oregon Scientific HR102 Heart Rate Monitor
Offered by Smart Living
Price: £19.99

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good value but basic, 28 Sept. 2007
I bought this HRM as I didn't need auto this/that settings and it was the cheapest! It works perfectly during both road work and cycling. Both units seem well made for the price with the strap transmitter being particularly neat and comfortable in use. A number of minor niggles, the manual's a bit cryptic but there's not enough functionality to get too confused. The handlebar cut-out in the otherwise neat cycle mount is slightly too big necessitating excessive tension on the watch strap to secure it. The transmitter is constantly on whilst the battery is installed (confirmed with Oregon tech) so I'm removing the battery when not in use - would an off switch be too much bother? The receiver can only display one parameter at a time necessitating button pressing to switch between heart-rate and stop-watch for example. This can be a bit annoying on the move. Also you can't stop the stop-watch if isn't being displayed which would be nice. If you're after a basic entry level HRM it's a nice bit of kit and good value - I'd certainly recommend it and would buy this brand again.


Page: 1