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Peter (United Kingdom)

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PaperPro 2 Hole Punch - Black/Silver
PaperPro 2 Hole Punch - Black/Silver
Price: £7.84

4.0 out of 5 stars Good leverage makes it easy to operate, 27 Aug. 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This 2-hole punch is one step up from the basic punches I've used previously. It has a larger handle that gives much better leverage, and the two pins that cut through the paper have a deep groove cut out to let them slice through the paper easily. I've used this punch to cut through cardboard, which it does easily (the circles of card from the holes come out Pringle-shaped). There's a plastic guide that's good for sizes A6 up to A4. I don't find the guide particularly easy to adjust for different paper sizes: it's a bit stiff, and it has a tendency to come right out when I'm trying to adjust it.

There's a metal locking pin to keep the handle down for storage in a drawer - this is useful, as the punch wouldn't otherwise fit in my quite small Ikea stationery drawer. It is possible for the locking pin to slip in to the lock position when you're using the punch, which can be a little annoying.

To empty the "holes" from the punch there's a bit of the base at the back that unclips and flexes down just a little. This solution seems a bit odd, but it actually works well - just tip it out over a wastepaper basket.

This isn't a revolutionary hole punch. Its chief selling point has to be the ease at which it can punch through several sheets of paper. The limit on the number of bits of paper it can punch in one go is the size of the slot - its still easy to operate on the maximum of 20 sheets.

NETGEAR EX6100-100UKS AC750 Wi-Fi Range Extender (Wi-Fi Booster)
NETGEAR EX6100-100UKS AC750 Wi-Fi Range Extender (Wi-Fi Booster)
Price: £49.99

96 of 97 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A compact WiFI Extender that's easy to set up using WPS, 24 Aug. 2014
Its nice to have a piece of network kit that is easy to set up and just works. This is one such item. Netgear has clearly put a lot of effort into simplifying initial setup, to the point that if you have a WPS (Wireless Protected Setup) button on your existing router, you only need to press a couple of buttons to get it working.

So, what does it do? Actually, it can perform two different tasks, acting as either a Wireless Access Point or as a Wireless Extender. Both of these tasks give you WiFi connectivity where you haven't previously had it, but the method is slightly different.

Most routers nowadays have WiFi built in, but if you need WiFi coverage away from your main router (if the signal gets too weak to use in the remoter parts of your house or garden) you need another WiFi device. You can connect it to your router using ethernet cable, which gives faster results but involves cabling. This is "Access Point" mode. Or you can position the extender inside the coverage of your existing WiFi router so that it will relay the WiFI signal to devices that are further away. This doesn't involve any cabling, but it means two wireles "hops", from your computer to the extender and then from the extender to your internet router. This is Extender mode. I suspect mode people will want to use Extender mode because it is so much easier to install.

Setting the Extender up in Extender mode is really straightforward if your router has a WPS button. You need to connect it wirelessly to your existing router, which you do by plugging it in near your router pressing the on/off button, and when it has started up (it takes about 60 seconds) pressing the WPS buttons on both your Extender and your existing router. After about 30 seconds the "Router Link" LED on your Extender turns green, and its connected. You can then connect your computer to the WiFi signal of the extender (the name will be the same as your existing WiFi with a "_2GEXT" suffix) - you can press the WPS button on the Extender again or type in the network password, whichever is easier for you. The "Client Link" light on the Extender should also now light up.

Incidentally, I set up my Extender using the above method in less than five minutes and without looking at the manual. If you use this method it really is very simple indeed.

So now you have it set up, you need to move it to a place that will give you WiFi coverage where you need it. Typically this will be about half-way between the router and the comfy chair where you want to sit with your laptop, tablet or whatever. etgear makes placing the Extender easy. There are two little arrow lights that can light up. If the link to the router is not very good, the arrow pointing to the router will light up: this means "move the Extender closer to the router". If the link to your laptop is poor, the other arrow lights up, which means "move the Extender closer to your comfy chair". If they both light up, you might have trouble finding an ideal place for the Extender, or you might need to move your comfy chair a bit closer to your router. Similarly, if the Router Link or Client Link lights go orange or red, you're not getting the fastest possible connection.

You can configure your Extender further if you so wish by logging in to it. You don't have to; everything should be set up and working by now. But if you want to tweak things,iIts easy to log in to the Extender to from a device that is connected to it (not to your existing router). Just start a browser and type in (this is NOT an internet address: it connects you to your Extender, not to anything on the internet), and you should get a login page. Type in "admin" and "password", and you're in. You should incidentally change the administrator password: its under Profile => Maintenance => Set Password.

If you want the fastest possible connection, you can also make two changes. First you can configure the Extender to talk to your existing router on one WiFi band, and to client devices on the other. For example, you can have the link to the router using the 5GHz band and your devices connected on the 2.4GHz band. To configure this, go to Profile => Advanced => Operating Mode and choose the "Fastlane Technology" mode.

Second, you can choose the WiFi speed. Go to Profile => Setup => Wireless Setup, and choose the Wireless Mode and Security Options. Note that you will get the fastest speeds if you choose a mode of "Up to 300Mbps" *and* a Security mode of "WPA2-PSK [AES]" - this will configure the Extender to use two WiFi channels, and deselecting anything with "TKIP" in the Security part will disable some compatibility options that allows the WiFi to run faster. Remember that every time you reconfigure your WiFi you'll need to reconnect, so it can get a bit laborious.

Also, don't forget that you have an ethernet port on the Extender, so you can plug a device, such as a network disk drive, straight in to it. If you have the Extender in Access Point mode the ethernet port is used for the cable back to your router.

If you don't have WPS on your existing router, its still fairly easy to connect everything up - there are instructions in the manual that comes with the router. At the end of the connection wizard you get a "congratulations, you are now connected to the internet" page wich is a real internet page, so if you want to make further changes to your Extender configuration you need to type in again, which is a bit frustrating.

Physically the Extender plugs straight into a standard 13 Amp power socket. It is a bit wide for a power strip (plugs may not fit into adjacent sockets), but it is a reasonably compact unit, and its not at all ugly. There are lots of little triangle cutouts round the edges, and a plain white front, with a couple of adjustable "bunny ears" antennae. I have mine in the kitchen to provide coverage to my patio (which is at the side of my house) and it looks perfectly OK there. It does not have the longest range I've seen on WiFi device, but if that comfy chair is no more than 20m away from the edge of the nearest WiFi signal this should do the job.

Netgear kindly sent me an Extender for me to write the above review. I am not connected with Netgear in any way. If you have a question about this WiFi Extender, there's an "Ask a Question" box somewhere on this page. I and my fellow reviewers will do the best we can to help you out.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 21, 2015 10:05 PM BST

Revell Mini Quadcopter Nano Quad Pro with Looping Function
Revell Mini Quadcopter Nano Quad Pro with Looping Function
Offered by Buy-For-Less-Online
Price: £30.84

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Takes a bit of practice...., 21 Aug. 2014
= Durability:3.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:3.0 out of 5 stars 
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This tiny little four-engined helicopter looks fragile, but it seems to be pretty robust. I've crashed it a *lot* and its still in one piece. A couple of the rotor blades came off, but they're easy to refit.

The Quadcopter is advertised as suitable for beginners. Well, perhaps it is, but it still takes some practice to keep it in the air and away from obstacles. Its a matter of juggling height (controlled with the left joystick) and position (controlled by the right joystick). There are two trim controls, and once you have set these up correctly its relatively easy to keep the Quadcopter in more-or-less the same place. You can hover it slightly above a flat surface while you get the hang of the controls. I was really pleased with myself when I managed to fly the 'copter from dining room table to the breakfast bar in the kitchen without any mishaps and with a relatively soft landing.

The rechargeable battery in the 'copter is charged using a USB cable, which takes about 45 minutes. You then get five minutes of intensive flying time, and you're then supposed to leave the battery to cool for ten minutes before you start charging it again, so you really only get to fly for five minutes in every hour. There are red and blue navigation lights; if you position the 'copter with the red lights facing towards you then the directions align with the joystick directions, which is much easier. When the lights start flashing fast, you need to land the 'copter quickly, because the battery is running low.

In order to eliminate spin, the rotors are pitched in opposite directions, so if a blade gets damaged you need to replace it with the corresponding blade from the pack of spares. The blades have a tiny letter on them so you can tell which is which. Because the blades are so tiny, they don't hurt very much if you accidentally touch them while they're spinning. I wouldn't recommend touching them if you can avoid it, though.

I wouldn't exactly say I can now fly the Quadcopter without crashing it every time, but it is fun trying. And unlike all other miniature helicopters I've tried in the past, this one is still in one piece and working properly, which is some kind of victory. My son is quite a lot better at flying it than I am, though, so perhaps I need to keep practicing....

Vax P86-P1-C Pressure Washer
Vax P86-P1-C Pressure Washer
Price: £93.65

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Plasticky, but does the job, 21 Aug. 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
First impressions weren't good. I opened the box and found a big chunk had broken off one of the large plastic wheels. And this pressure washer is quite plasticky. However, it does the job.

The washer consists of the body (containing the pump, with a 3-pin plug on about ten feet of cable), a rigid hose (it uncoils, but is rigid in cross-section), a "gun" with trigger that fits on the end of the hose, a wand (sorry, "lance") that fits on the gun and three ends: the excitingly-named "jet nozzle", "turbo nozzle" and "car brush". There's also a detergent application bottle that fits on the end of the jet nozzle if you want a side-order of bubbles. There is also a nozzle-cleaning tool, which is the equivalent of an uncoiled paperclip.

At the base of the main body of the washer there's a water inlet, fitted with a Hozelock-compatible connector. My old Karcher pressure washer didn't have that, so there's one big plus. So you can have the washer on the end of a long hose if you wish. The problem is then that you need a power extension cable, and you need to make sure the plug doesn't get wet. An RCD device of some sort is an absolute must.

The instructions say you must turn on the water and let some flow through before turning on the power. I didn't, but the pump doesn't seem to have suffered as a result. When you turn on the power (using the chunky two-way switch) the motor runs until pressure is reached and then cuts out until needed again.

There's a mixture of screw-fits (hose to base unit), bayonet clips (lance to gun) and clip-in fittings with a "push to release" button (nozzles). It all works quite well, but the bayonet fitting for the lance requires a bit of muscle to release. Fitting the nozzles into the lance also took some patience the first time, although they became easier after that.

I cleaned my car using the jet nozzle and the car brush. I would have used the turbo nozzle, but it has a big yellow sticker saying you mustn't use it on cars. The detergent attachment is quite enthusiastic, and my car was soon nicely soapy. I then brushed it down using the car brush, which trickles water through. I tried with the pump turned off and the water was only a little slower. Finally I switches back to the jet nozzle to rinse the car off. This all worked well. But I wanted to try the turbo nozzle.

The turbo nozzle puts out quite a bit of pressure. Its a tiny jet of water, but the pressure is quite something. I tried washing the mud out of the tarmac on my driveway, and got mud splattered everywhere. The bit I'd washed was nice and clean, though. I then tried cleaning the metal garage door. The turbo nozzle stripped the top layer of paint off. I think the paint must have been a bit loose.

Its not a particularly lovely-looking washer: it is practical rather than aesthetically pleasing. It gives off a hot oily smell when running. Some of the plastic parts (especially the wheels) are a bit fragile. The pump is allegedly aluminium and so resistant to frost damage, but the instructions nonetheless warn you to make sure the pump is emptied of water when you're finished.

Whether it will last is another matter. But at present this washer seems to be doing its job quite nicely.

Waterman Blue Obsession Expert Ballpoint Pen - Gift Boxed
Waterman Blue Obsession Expert Ballpoint Pen - Gift Boxed
Price: £64.06

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tapering elegance, 21 Aug. 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Pens are so individual. Ideally you want to try before you buy, but that isn't always possible, so I'll do my best to explain what this pen feels like.

I must admit that I normally use fountain pens (I have two, one by Parker and the other by Waterman). However, its quite rare to find a form that says "please complete in blue or black fountain pen", so a ballpoint is a necessity. Its also handy when you're flying, unless you like having splodges of fountain pen ink all over your jacket pocket. And it you're going to have a ballpoint, you might as well get one that will last for years and become your trusty companion rather than compromise with quality. If you look after it, the better pen will probably work out cheaper in the end, and you'll have much more pleasure using it in the mean time.

This Expert ballpoint has an all-metal body, with a dark blue lacquer finish on the barrel and a silvery light nickel-palladium alloy twist-cap. The barrel (made of yellow brass-like alloy under the lacquer) is quite broad, but tapers elegantly towards the point, giving a surprisingly good grip on the smooth surface. Its not a heavy pen, but neither is it overly-light, and the balance suits my hand well. The detailing on the cap is quite tactile; it does pick up fingermarks a bit. The cap twists about 160 degrees to expose the ball-point, and is lightly sprung to make sure the nib retracts fully when you are finished. The cap unscrews the other way to access the refill; I was going to buy a spare, but I've heard that one refill should last a year or more. We'll see.

This is a decent practical pen. If you prefer a thinner barrel, then the Waterman Blue Obsession Hemisphere Ballpoint Pen might be an alternative. The barrel of this pen is a much darker blue than the picture indicates (somewhere around Pantone 2767); I prefer the darker colour, but again that's a matter of taste.

HP Pavilion x360 11-n001na 11.6-inch Touchscreen Convertible Notebook PC - (Intel Celeron 2.41GHz, 4GB RAM, 500GB storage, Wi-Fi, Windows 8.1)
HP Pavilion x360 11-n001na 11.6-inch Touchscreen Convertible Notebook PC - (Intel Celeron 2.41GHz, 4GB RAM, 500GB storage, Wi-Fi, Windows 8.1)
Offered by Student Discounts UK
Price: £326.00

32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Flexible and fun notebook-cum-tablet, 21 Aug. 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Many years ago when my three-year-old daughter was learning to use a computer she picked up the mouse and put it on the screen where she wanted the pointer to go. I wish that instead of teaching her to use a mouse mat I had taken the hint and invented the touch screen.

In any case, the technological mainstream has now caught up with my daughter's intuition, and touch-screens will soon be universal. Windows 8 is designed to work best with a touchscreen, using either a conventional laptop or a tablet. In many ways that makes this device the perfect Windows 8 platform, as it can work as a laptop or a tablet depending on your inclination and needs. The keyboard folds back to make a stand for the screen, or further back to make a tent-like (inverted-V) support, or further back again to lie flat against the back of the screen. Having a keyboard behind the tablet screen makes it bulky, of course, but buying two separate devices (a laptop and a Windows tablet) would cost an awful lot more. Also, its nice when you're reading your emails using the tablet configuration to be able to fold the device over and have a full laptop keyboard when you want to write a reply.

This little device has a matt red outer shell that feels robust, and doesn't mark easily. Inside, the keyboard is very nearly full-size (there's no numeric keypad) and there's a large trackpad. The touch-sensitive screen is glossy, so you need to watch out for refections. There's a double-hinge at the back, which is what allows the screen to be folded right over. The ports are all on the sides, and there are quite a lot for such a small device, comprising 3 x USB ports, for an external monitor, 100Mbps wired ethernet, an SD memory card port, a 3.5mm headphone jack with a volume rocker switch, and a small and rather fiddly power button. There's also a Kensington lock point, the power socket and a large vent for the fan, which only comes on if you're doing a lot of work and is fairly quiet. The power and HDD activity lights are on the right edge.

The processor is a Celeron N2830 "system on a chip" with two cores. There's 4GB of DDR3 RAM and a conventional 500GB HDD (mine has a Seagate ST500LT012, but the drive used may vary). The relatively light processing power of the 2014-released processor means that it can struggle a bit if its trying to do two things at once. All of these devices have low power consumption, which is appropriate for a portable device. The WiFi is 2.4GHz only.

The screen resolution is 1366 x 768, which is a tiny bit more pixels than a "720" HD television screen and half the number of pixels on a 1920 x 1080 monitor or "Full HD" television screen. I was a bit disappointed reading this until I realised that my other laptop has exactly the same resolution, and I hadn't noticed. Given the fairly small screen size, you don't need so many pixels to give a sharp image, and fewer pixels means longer battery life. There's a built-in webcam and microphone, so you can Skype without a headset.

Despite the "Beats Audio" branding, the sound is nothing special. Its a lot better than my Kindle Fire HD though. The speakers are positioned to provide good sound no matter what configuration the device is in.

The notebook, backflip and tent configurations all work well. The tablet configuration gives you quite a large heavy device to hold, so its best if you rest one edge on something. The keyboard becomes inactive when you fold the screen back, and the keys are recessed so you can lay the device flat, but the keyboard sticks out a bit behind the screen in tablet mode (they line up perfectly when you close the lid in laptop mode). I found tablet mode very good indeed for watching YouTube videos in bed, and for reading emails and Kindle books. You can use it landscape or portrait: the screen automatically reorientates.

Battery life is OK but nothing special. You can rely on getting four hours of use between charges, possibly up to five hours if you're not doing anything too demanding. Thankfully the charging time is quite short.

The installed Windows 8.1 on my device was not even close to being up-to-date. There were a load of Windows 8.1 patches, then the "Windows 8.1 Update" minor release, which puts back the Start button and makes some other usability improvements, and then there were another set of updates after that. I reckon there was about 1.5 GB of downloads and two hours of updating to get all the latest patches installed. And I have BT Infinity - it would take longer over ADSL.

There's not too much bundled software, which in my eyes is good, because I'd prefer to decide what software to install. There's a like to Microsoft Office, but you need to buy it if you want to use it. An Office 365 subscription is looking increasingly attractive - I may well switch over to it at some point. And there's McAfee anti-virus software - I have no idea why this is needed on a Windows 8.1 machine, which already has antivirua and firewall software built in. The McAfee license is for 30 days, after which you may choose, like me, to uninstall it.

I have always liked Windows 8. With a touchscreen device, its even better. It does take a little while to get used to how the "gestures" work, but once you know it gets very easy to use indeed. Its actually quite fun, and an awful lot more intuitive than trying to move the mouse pointer to the button you want to click.

One slight annoyance with this notebook is that after resuming from sleep I find that the Wi-Fi takes a few seconds to reconnect to the router. It can take up to 30 seconds before I'm able to browse webpages after waking the notebook up.

This is a budget device, offering loads of flexibility and the full Windows 8 experience. Its great for watching films, writing essays (once you've installed suitable software), chatting to friends on Skype, catching up with news and social updates. I suspect that its flexibility means that it will replace my (rather more expensive) laptop when I'm travelling.

Note: If you want to create a recovery disk (as you should, in case your system needs to be reinstalled), you need a 32 GB USB stick (buy the cheapest you can find). You can then run the "HP Recovery Manager" and click the "Recovery Media Creation" button, and follow instructions.

The Testament of Marcellus
The Testament of Marcellus
by Marius Gabriel
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Historical events brought enjoyably to life, 19 Aug. 2014
Marius Gabriel wrote to me several months ago suggesting I might like to read his book. I finally had time to read it over the summer, and I'm pleased to say I really enjoyed it.

There's a fair bit in common between The Testament of Marcellus and the real letters between Pliny the Younger and the Emperor Trajan. Pliny, as Governor of a large part of what is now Turkey, was troubled by accusations against Christians. He asked Trajan for advice. They seem harmless enough, he said, but they won't worship the Emperor. If they wouldn't recant their superstitions, he was reluctantly having them put to death. To a Roman such as Pliny, Christianity was hard to understand - it didn't seem quite like a religion, but it involved worship of (to him) a false god, and although he didn't want to persecute them, when brought to his attention he couldn't really ignore such disloyalty to the Emperor.

Marcellus is an Etruscan lawyer, practicing in Rome, who is sent to the province of Judea to investigate Governor Pilate. His visit coincides with the trial and execution of Jesus, and the first half of the book is an outsider's view of the events of those weeks. Marcellus meets many of the historical figures first-hand. Not just Pilate and Herod (king of the adjoining self-governing region of Gallilee), but both Marys, Joseph of Arimathea and a fair smattering of disciples too. There's a huge amount of historical detail about Jerusalem and Judea, about the Roman occupation and about the different, frequently squabbling, Jewish factions. We get to meet Jesus before he is arrested, at his trial and crucifixion, and we get to visit the Garden of Gethsemane where Marcellus is surprised by meeting James, Jesus' brother, who looks surprisingly like him in the dark.

The events of the Passion are of course extremely well known, and Gabriel doesn't tread far from what is documented in historical and religious sources. Marcellus is (unusually for a Roman citizen) an atheist - he doesn't even pretend to worship the Etruscan or Roman gods. His slightly dry narration of political events is offset nicely by events in his personal life and in the Pilate household: he is somewhat tempted by Pilate's wife, and he is also poisoned.

The second half of the book takes us away from Judea, although we get to catch up with events there again later. Because this part of the book is not following historical events so closely, Gabriel has more room to create an exciting story. We get to meet the new Roman Emperor and visit a provincial town in Gaul. But the main interest at first is Marcellus, the stuffy lawyer, getting romantically involved with a slave-girl who writes epigrams.

The novel ends on a downbeat note. Marcellus is writing his story at a time after the Jewish Revolt of 66AD, and many of those in his story are dead, Jerusalem destroyed.

The events described in this book have a fascination for many, including me. For those with that fascination, the liveliness and the verisimilitude of Gabriel's writing about the events makes this an easy and enjoyable book to read.

Aukey 8000mAh Amzdeal Portable Power Bank Charger External Battery Pack (Li-Polymer 2.1A Output) for Apple iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 5S, 5C, 5, 4S; iPad Air, mini; Samsung Galaxy S6, S6 Edge, S5, S4, S3, Note 3, Note 2, Galaxy Tab 3, 2 ; Google Nexus 4, 5, 7, 10; LG G3, HTC One, One 2 (M8); Motorola MOTO X, G; Nokia Lumia 925 1020; other Smartphones & Tablets, Google Glass, Bluetooth Speaker, PS Vita, GoPro, Smart Watch and USB Charged Device - White
Aukey 8000mAh Amzdeal Portable Power Bank Charger External Battery Pack (Li-Polymer 2.1A Output) for Apple iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 5S, 5C, 5, 4S; iPad Air, mini; Samsung Galaxy S6, S6 Edge, S5, S4, S3, Note 3, Note 2, Galaxy Tab 3, 2 ; Google Nexus 4, 5, 7, 10; LG G3, HTC One, One 2 (M8); Motorola MOTO X, G; Nokia Lumia 925 1020; other Smartphones & Tablets, Google Glass, Bluetooth Speaker, PS Vita, GoPro, Smart Watch and USB Charged Device - White
Offered by duola beauty
Price: £39.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A simple, easy-to-use portable power pack, 17 Aug. 2014
Unlike many other rechargeable power-packs, this one doesn't have a selection of USB charging ports for different device types (iPad, Samsung Tab, etc). It has one USB port only, so you don't need to worry about which one to use. This also means that not all devices will charge as fast as they possibly could, but they will charge fast enough to keep going.

The power-pack comes with a short, flat, rubbery micro-USB charging cable. You can plug this into a wall-charger (not supplied) or a computer USB port to charge the battery in the power-pack (it takes a good few hours to charge it fully) and then either use the same cable or the one that came with your phone/tablet to keep your device topped up while you're out and about.

Other than the USB in and USB out ports, there's one discreet button that you use to turn on the power to start supplying power and four discreet blue LEDs on one end to show how charged the battery pack is. Unlike most other battery packs, these LEDs are not super-bright, so they won't dazzle you in a dark room.

One of the nicest features of this portable charger is the grey felt case that comes with it. It even has a pouch to keep the USB cable in. The simplicity of the design of the power bank itself is also pleasing: it is a plain white (off-white on one side) rectangle, the same width and thickness as my Google Nexus 4, and about half-an-inch taller. Being so thin makes it very portable - it fits into your pocket without any trouble. I recently travelled from Edinburgh to Cheltenham by train with the GPS on my phone enabled, using this charger to keep the battery topped up. The phone was still at 100% at the end of the journey, and the battery pack was only half-used. By my reckoning you can draw 0.5 Amps (the USB 2.0 standard current) from this power pack for 12 hours before it runs out.

So this is not the most flexible of this sort of power bank, but with its modest dimensions and its carry-case it is one of the most portable, and also one of the most pleasing to look at.

Note: I was sent one of these chargers by the distributor for me to review. The opinions and comments in the review are entirely my own.

ORICO Aluminum hard drive mounting bracket/ adapter fit 5.25" Optical drive bay or hard drive bay for 2.5" & 3.5 inch IDE,SATA SSd / HDD -black
ORICO Aluminum hard drive mounting bracket/ adapter fit 5.25" Optical drive bay or hard drive bay for 2.5" & 3.5 inch IDE,SATA SSd / HDD -black
Offered by ORICO Technologies Co.,Ltd
Price: £16.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very useful bracket for your third hard disk drive, 16 Aug. 2014
My desktop computer has brackets for two 3.5" hard disk drives, but after recent expansion I found myself needing somewhere to fit a third drive. Thankfully, I had a vacant 5.25" CD/DVD/BluRay drive bay, and the addition of this bracket meant I could fit the extra drive properly into that space.

You need to make sure you have spare SATA data and power cables (or a means of adding them), but if your case has two spaces for CD drives, there will probably be suitable cables, or at least a spare data socket (4-pin SATA data cables are cheap if you need one - search for "Serial ATA Cable").

The kit consists of the mounting bracket, four long screws and rubber washers for fitting a 2.5" drive, four hexagon-shaped screws for fitting a 3.5" drive, and eight tiny screws for fitting the bracket into the spare 5.25" drive bay in your computer. Although it looks like you can mount a 2.5" drive on one side of the mount and a 2.5" drive on the other side, unfortunately the mounting holes don't line up in the drive bay, so you can't use the bracket to fit TWO extra drives in your computer. You can however mount either a 2.5" drive or a 3.5" drive quite easily (I tried both before settling for a 2.5" SSD). You just screw the drive to the bracket (some quite straightforward pictorial instructions are provided) and then slide the bracket into the drive bay. Its easiest to slide it in from the front, if you can get the front panel of your computer off. Then all you need to do is connect the two SATA cables (not supplied, but hopefully already in your computer).

A couple of little niggles:
- Fitting a 3.5" drive to the bracket is slightly tricky as the bracket is very slightly wider than a 3.5" disk drive, so you need to squeeze it together slightly to get the drive fitted snugly. The 2.5" mounting is by contrast a perfect fit.
- My drive bay only has two screw holes and a spring opposite to hold the optical drive in place. The spring slightly misses the shape of this bracket, but in combination with the two screws on the other side it provides sufficient support.

I use Windows 8.1, and I've discovered that it is now possible to map the old floppy disk drive letters to hard disks. So I now have A: and B: disks containing my documents and media respectively, and the C: disk for the operating system. Without this bracket, one of those drives would be flopping about dangerously inside my computer.

Note: ORICO kindly supplied me with a review sample of this product.

ORICO Mini 2-Port USB 3.0 bus-powered HUB with a Built-in Extended 3.3ft USB 3.0 Cable for Mac,Linux and Windows desktop- Black
ORICO Mini 2-Port USB 3.0 bus-powered HUB with a Built-in Extended 3.3ft USB 3.0 Cable for Mac,Linux and Windows desktop- Black
Offered by ORICO Technologies Co.,Ltd

5.0 out of 5 stars A compact USB 3.0 mini-hub, 3 Aug. 2014
This is a very little USB 3.0 hub. Its not obtrusive at all. It comes with a good quality metre-long cable permanently fitted into the hub with a USB plug on the other end; you ideally need to plug this into a USB 3.0 port on your computer both to get the benefit of faster data transfer and if you intend to power devices from the hub. If you plug it in to a USB 2.0 hub, you will get USB 2.0 data rates.

The two ports point upwards, and are slightly proud with a sort of trough round them. This looks fine and is practical (its easy to connect and disconnect devices) although there's some risk of the ports getting dusty.

Given that all the USB3.0 ports on my computer are pointing back (they're on an expansion card), its really useful being able to bring two ports round to the front. It saves groping around trying to plug different cables in. It also makes one port into two, of course, which mighjt be handy if you don't have many ports. There's a bright blue light on the front corner.

Its a good quality device; before you buy you may like to consider whether two ports is enough; if it is enough then the advantage of the smaller hub is that it is less obtrusive.

Note: I was sent a sample of this product for review.

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