Profile for Peter > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by Peter
Top Reviewer Ranking: 133
Helpful Votes: 3691

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
Peter (United Kingdom)
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   

Show:  
Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20
pixel
Mr Muscle Oxy Stain Remover Fresh Scent
Mr Muscle Oxy Stain Remover Fresh Scent
Price: £7.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Much better than a general-purpose surface cleaner, 15 July 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Prior to trying this odour removing spray I've always used general-purpose surface cleaners (the sort that kill 99% of all known germs). The trouble with that is that when one of my dogs marks I don't just want to kill germs. I also want to get rid of the smell so the other dogs don't all join in and make it even worse.

The spray comes out quite fast, so its easy to saturate the affected area quickly. You then need to let is soak in for a few minutes before you blot off any excess, and then you just need to wait for the liquid to dry off. It has a pleasantly fresh but at the same time fairly nondescript scent, so its not at all intrusive. I've used it mainly on curtains and a hard floor (its really intended for fabrics and carpets), and it is really effective at eliminating scent. I can't vouch for the stain-removing properties: I haven't had any stains to deal with, but it is very good indeed at removing unpleasant dog-related smells.

I'm not quite sure what the "Oxy Action" flash cross the pack means. The ingredients are water, a hydrotrope (to allow insoluble stuff to be dissolved in water), sodium bicarbonate (the old ways are the best!), Acticide MBS, which is a strong microbiocide - so it will prevent bacteria from colonising the soiled area - and an "odour-neutralising" fragrance. Whatever it consists of though, it seems to work pretty well for its very specific purpose.

I won't ever again use Dettol Surface Cleaner for cleaning up after my dogs - this stuff is much better than a general-purpose cleaner.


Pegasus Health Salmon Oil for dogs 1 Litre
Pegasus Health Salmon Oil for dogs 1 Litre
Price: £18.95

4.0 out of 5 stars Virtually pure fish oil, 15 July 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
If you use a decent quality all-in-one dog food there's no need for supplements. However, dog love fats and oils, and its easy to see that it does them good.

This salmon oil from Pegasus Health is about as pure as you could get: its 99.5% pure salmon oil, with the remaining 0.5% made up of antioxidants. It smells lovely (if you like the smell of fresh salmon) - almost good enough to eat yourself. Because its fresh you need to keep it refrigerated. There's a measuring gadget on the top of the bottle; the suggestion is to only use a little oil each day, ranging from 5ml for small dogs to 15ml for the largest dogs. Assuming your dog comes somewhere in between, one bottle will last more than three months.

A word of caution: my labradors had no trouble at all with their 10ml doses on their food - and it means they spend a lot longer licking the bowl, so mealtimes last a bit longer - but one of my cavalier King Charles spaniels had a lot of trouble adjusting to the rich oil, and it gave him an upset stomach - and it didn't get any better until I stopped giving him the oil. So its not for every dog, although I'm sure you'd be hard-pressed to find a dog that doesn't like it.


* New arrived!* - New Version MSI Magic Wand WIFI Portable Handheld Colour Scanner 900 DPI With OCR Software (not for MAC)
* New arrived!* - New Version MSI Magic Wand WIFI Portable Handheld Colour Scanner 900 DPI With OCR Software (not for MAC)
Offered by Sunvalleytek-UK
Price: £99.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A tiny scanner you can carry around with you, 29 Jun 2014
If you don't have a flatbed scanner or a multi-function printer, you probably still need to occasionally scan in a document. This compact little "wand" scanner may be what you'looking for.

It stands about an inch high, is an inch top to bottom, and is just a bit wider than the short dimension of a sheet of A4 paper. There's a little roller-bar along to bottom to help it glide easily over the paper, and once you've got the hang of selecting colour or monochrome and JPEG or PDF with one button, and resolution (300, 600 or 900 dpi) with another before you begin scanning its quite easy to use. First you turn the scanner on (press the on/off/scan button for 2 seconds, then you select colour, output format and resolution, then you press the on/off/scan button again briefly. A green light lights up, and you move the scanner smoothly, and not too fast, down the page towards you (if you push it away from you the image is captured upside-down). Press the on/off/scan button again to finish scanning, and you're done. Note that the scanner is really designed for right-handed use: the display is on the left, and you can't see it properly if you're using your left hand.

The scanner can be used in three different ways, which makes it seem a bit complicated, but really you just need to choose which mode best suits your needs:

- You can scan direct to your computer (using a mini-USB cable, which is supplied, and the rather ugly widget-style software).
- You can scan to an Apple iPhone or iPad over Wi-Fi (not strictly wireless LAN, it uses peer-to-peer networking) using an app you can download from the iTunes Store.
- You can install a micro-SD memory card - an 8GB card was supplied with the unit I was sent although the manual says it is not supplied - and use the scanner standalone, and upload the pictures to your computer later, as you would with a digital camera.

If you're using Wi-Fi or if you're using the scanner stand-alone, you need to insert batteries (not supplied), specifically 4 x AAA 1.5V cells. If you connect it to the computer using the USB cable you need neither batteries nor the micro-SD memory card. I find it easiest to use the scanner standalone and then upload the images later. I don't much like the little PC widget-app, which works in an unusual way (it allows you to paste images directly from the scanner into a document such as a Word document). The OCR half of the application can load files from disk as well as directly from the scanner, but it won't work unless the scanner is connected. The OCR is very good, and it preserves images in the correct place within the text; if it wasn't for the OCR part I'd have uninstalled the app: the scanner works fine without it.

Scan quality is also pretty good. If you move the scanner too quickly during scanning you get a "squashed" image (and a red LED lights up to warn you).

Other than the scanner, the micro-SD card, the USB cable and *no* batteries, you also get a not-very-good instruction leaflet with tiny letters and a photocopied feel to it, a little cloth to keep the glass on the scanner clean and a little nylon carry-bag with a drawstring. The carry-bag has a very strong "industrial chemical" smell - I had to peg mine out on the washing-line for a couple of hours until the smell dispersed.

A "wand"-type scanner is never going to give as good results as a flatbed scanner, but on the other hand it is tiny to store, so if you're short of space and you only need a scanner for occasional use it makes a lot of sense.

My rating is for the scanner alone (it is rather better than the software and the accessories). I was supplied the scanner by the distributor for me to review; I have been using it for about a month now, and I'm finding it surprisingly useful. I carry it in my laptop bag, so I have it whenever I need it. You couldn't do that with a flatbed scanner!


Braun Oral-B PRO 5000 CrossAction 5-Mode Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush with Wireless Smart Guide
Braun Oral-B PRO 5000 CrossAction 5-Mode Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush with Wireless Smart Guide
Price: £85.00

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The "Smart Guide" wireless display encourages children to brush properly, 22 Jun 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is pretty much the same toothbrush as the Oral-B 4000 Braun PRO CrossAction 4-Mode Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush. However, there are a couple of extras that you get with this Oral-B 5000 Pro that you don't get with the 4000 Pro, both of which can be very useful if (a) you travel at all, or (b) you have children.

The toothbrush offers four "modes", the same as the 4000 Pro. "Mode" really means how fast the motor is running and whether it is pulsating. The modes are:

- "daily clean", which is the normal setting;
- "sensitive", which runs the motor more slowly; there is also a different brush head supplied that is softer;
- "whitening", which helps you polish your teeth; again, there is a special brush head supplied to go with this mode; and
- "gum care", which is a gum-massaging mode, with the motor running at different speeds.

In addition to the two special brushes, the normal brush is the "cross-action" head. this has bristles at different angles, to get down into the crevices between your teeth. Oral-B also does a floss-action head, but it is not included in this pack. All of this is the same as the 4000 Pro. So what else do you get that makes this brush so much better?

The first "extra" is a clear plastic travel case that holds the handle plus two brush heads - great if you're going away for a few days (you shouldn't need to take the charger unless you'll be away for longer than a week, or if there are lots of you using the same brush handle). It is just a plastic case, but it makes a big difference.

The second "extra" is a little LCD display that's described as a "Smart Guide". It is particularly useful if you have children and you want to encourage them to brush properly. It gives visual feedback about what mode you have selected, shows you which quadrant of your mouth you should be cleaning (different quarters of a circle are displayed as your brushing progresses), tells you if you're pressing too hard (unhappy face) and when you have finished your recommended two minutes of brushing (happy face). You also get awarded up to four stars depending on how long you've been brushing, which acts as an incentive for children to brush properly. My son has been both captivated by the technology and motivated to brush properly; I wouldn't normally have considered getting a toothbrush with a "gimmick" like this, but I'm glad I did.

The Smart Guide can be wall-mounted using the sticky pad and plastic mount provided. If you have a large family, you can connect up to two brush handles to the same Smart Guide, but they must be wireless-enabled, which means a 5000 Pro or a 6000 Pro, not any of the handles from the rest of the range.


Braun Oral-B PRO 4000 CrossAction 4-Mode Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush
Braun Oral-B PRO 4000 CrossAction 4-Mode Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush
Price: £55.00

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A quality electric toothbrush, good for people with sensitive teeth, 22 Jun 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
There's little doubt that a proper oscillating electric toothbrush like this does a much better job of cleaning your teeth than a manual toothbrush. The downside is the initial cost, but if cared for properly an electric toothbrush should last many years, with the cost of replacement brush heads roughly comparable with the cost of a new manual toothbrush every three months.

The question is then: how many features do you need or want on your toothbrush? Well, assuming you have reasonably healthy teeth and gums, the basic Oral-B Pro 600 has all the essential features: it comes with the best (cross-action) brush head, it has a pressure sensor to let you know when you're pressing the brush too hard against your teeth, and the motor "stutters" every 30 seconds to tell you when its time to move on to the next quadrant of your teeth. At the other end of the range, the Oral-B 6000 has a variety of modes for gum care, teeth-whitening and sensitive teeth as well as a "deep-clean" mode and four different brush heads. It also links up with an app you can download to your smartphone to keep track of your oral hygiene regime.

The Oral-B 4000 Pro is in the middle of the range. It is the cheapest toothbrush in the range that offers both a sensitive mode and brush head, so if you find brushing uncomfortable or painful it may be worth considering. It also has a whitening mode and brush head as well as the gum-care mode that is also featured on the Oral-B 3000 Pro and Oral-B 2000 Pro. The only oscillating brush head you don't get is the plaque-removing one (it has four little plastic paddles round the edge). According to the manual the cross-action brush head that does come in the box is also good at removing plaque.

I'm not altogether convinced by the different modes. It makes sense that the sensitive mode runs more slowly than the standard mode. The whitening mode cycles from slow to medium to fast, and gum-massaging mode gently moves between a slow and faster speeds. The reason for the different brush heads is more apparent. The standard cross-action one is good at giving your teeth an overall clean, including getting down into the crevices between teeth. The sensitive brush head is very soft. I don't have sensitive teeth, so I can't say how much benefit it gives, but it still seems to clean my teeth well. The whitening brush head has a little rubbery cup in the middle of the head that polishes your teeth, although I'm afraid my teeth are beyond whitening.

You are supposed to charge the handle for 22 hours before first use, after which it should work for a week (brushing twice per day for two minutes) before it needs charging again, although its easiest to leave it sitting on the charging stand all the time. There's a little tray with a lid for keeping up to four brush heads in. All of the heads supplied in the pack come with blue identification rings (the refill packs however come with four colours that, so you know which brush head belongs to which family member).

The thing I found a bit awkward at first was working out which brushing mode the toothbrush was set to. It always starts up in normal ("daily clean") mode, and then you press the button again to cycle between modes. Choosing the right mode was only a problem until I'd got used to the sounds the different modes make. To turn the brush off you hold the button down for a bit longer.

There's a red light to tell you when you're pushing the brush too hard against your teeth. I didn't think I'd be able to see it, but in fact it is very clear. I was brushing too hard; getting the immediate feedback is very helpful.

Given that it ought to last for around five years (until the rechargeable battery gives out), the additional features, including the brush head storage box, that come with the 4000 Pro are worth considering over the more basic models, especially if you have sensitive teeth.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 22, 2014 10:27 PM BST


Take Back the Skies
Take Back the Skies
by Lucy Saxon
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £9.09

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Uneven pacing, but it gets much better as you read on, 15 Jun 2014
This review is from: Take Back the Skies (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I enjoyed this novel much more than I was expecting. Its a debut novel by a sixteen year-old, and at the beginning it seemed a bit like Treasure Planet fan fiction, set in a steampunk universe with steam-powered ships with masts and rigging, and with extending canvas wings to fly through the air. There's lots of brass and cogwheels, and at the heart of every engine are drive chains and the mysterious telium that powers everything. And a clockwork robot servant, of course.

The book begins with Cat (again, I wondered whether the name might be a bit derivative) escaping from her privileged Anglyan family life to stow away on a skyship. This first part of the book races past so quickly that I didn't get a good sense of Cat's reasons for wanting to run away. The description of the shipyard could have been fleshed out a bit more too: there's loads of scope for imagination, but I'd have liked to be guided a bit more to think what this wondrous sight would be like. There's a pickpocket scene a bit later where the heart of this new adventure for Cat is missing: she sets off to pick some pockets, and then she has suddenly been very successful and has a stash of purses and wallets. Its a bit like seeing the cut-scenes from a game, but not experiencing the action.

The plot heads off in a completely different direction after the first hundred pages, and gets a lot more interesting. There are some intriguing discoveries about what the Anglyan government has been up to and there's a new sense of purpose to the action. And then a hundred pages later there are further discoveries that finally bring out the emotional depth that the novel needed earlier on. There's a fair bit of pathos and some moral ambiguity. The last part of the book reads like a rather good Doctor Who episode, with evil villains, much buckling of swashes and daring rescues.

I rather belatedly (at around page 250) realised that the references to different source material (Treasure Planet, Hunger Games, Doctor Who) were deliberate. Even the author's pen-name is a Doctor Who reference. Her skill is in blending the elements of these different universes to create something new.

There's a strong romantic thread running through the story: the characters frequently pause in their efforts to save the world for all mankind in order to discuss their feelings for each other - even when they are hiding in the villain's lair. I was half-expecting the villians to overhear these hormonal teenage discussions.

The ending is pleasingly ambiguous. Its not that it doesn't reach closure: it does, and there's a feeling that the story has come to an end in a satisfying way, but at the same time it's not a perfect ending - there are some "what-ifs" to deal with, and the book is much stronger for this.

There are some problems with pacing, and some of the characters - especially the evil ones - don't appear for long enough to give a sense of continuity. Some parts of the structure of the book only become apparent very close to the end; if one or two of the characters had been referenced more consistently through the story the story would have been stronger.

Saxon's world of Tellus consists of half a dozen islands. Cat's story is the story of one of these islands, Anglya. I wonder what stories she'll have to tell us about the other five islands in the next books in the series?


#1 Deluxe Non-Kink Garden Hose Pipe Expands from Pocket Size to 50ft - Including Pro 7 Setting Sprayer, Stop Valve and 2 x End Connectors - Ultra Reliable, Second Generation Expandable Hose with Double Latex Inner Hose and Super-Strong Composite Connectors - Attaches to Standard Hozelock Style Fittings - The Wonder Hose Weighs Less than a Bag of Sugar and Never Kinks or Tangles - Don't Settle for Poor Quality Imitations - Protect Your Investment with Our No Quibble Money Back Guarantee!
#1 Deluxe Non-Kink Garden Hose Pipe Expands from Pocket Size to 50ft - Including Pro 7 Setting Sprayer, Stop Valve and 2 x End Connectors - Ultra Reliable, Second Generation Expandable Hose with Double Latex Inner Hose and Super-Strong Composite Connectors - Attaches to Standard Hozelock Style Fittings - The Wonder Hose Weighs Less than a Bag of Sugar and Never Kinks or Tangles - Don't Settle for Poor Quality Imitations - Protect Your Investment with Our No Quibble Money Back Guarantee!
Offered by Pampered Gardens
Price: £49.99

8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Much more convenient than a regular hose, 2 Jun 2014
Length:: 2:10 Mins

This is a remarkably lightweight hose that stretches out under the pressure of water to become much longer when in use, and then shrinks away again when you're finished with it. It is remarkably light when retracted, and remarkably robust in use. It doesn't kink at all, and unless you deliberately tie knots in it you're unlikely to have any problems. The outer green nylon sheath is to protect the expanding hose which is inside.

There's an on/off valve at the end where the sprayer attaches, so you can remove the sprayer without causing the hose to retract. "Out" means closed; "in" means water will pour out and soak you if you're not careful.

The supplied sprayer doesn't have gently spray setting (see the video for the selection of settings it does have), but the connectors are Hozelock compatible, so you can use a different spray head while still retaining the convenience of the retracting hose should you so wish. The tap adaptor includes screw-fittings for two sizes of outdoor tap (imperial 1" and metric 20mm), but again you can use an existing hose adapter if you have one. The hose doesn't have a non-return valve: unlike a conventional hose you need to let the water out when you're finished, so a non-return valve isn't really an option. You are advised to keep the hose away from excessive heat and light when stored.

One of the weird-but-wonderful features of the hose is that you can turn the water off at the tap but still have a good ten second's worth of water left in the hose: the contracting hose keeps the water under pressure.

I had wondered if this hose was perhaps a little gimmicky. In fact, it is really useful, simply because of the lack of effort in using it. I'm going to use the spray nozzle from my old hose, though, to get the best of both worlds.

The video gives a quick impression of the hose in its retracted, light form (see how light it is!) and how it expands when the water is turned on.

Note: I was sent a Wonderhose by the distributor Pampered Gardens for review in advance of the launch date.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 22, 2014 5:26 PM BST


EC TECHNOLOGY® 8200 DPI Gaming Mouse, Long keystroke And Feel Super comfortable By Using The Omron Micro Switches, Gold-plated Copper Braided Wire Let It Through The Storm-BLACK
EC TECHNOLOGY® 8200 DPI Gaming Mouse, Long keystroke And Feel Super comfortable By Using The Omron Micro Switches, Gold-plated Copper Braided Wire Let It Through The Storm-BLACK
Offered by EC Technology UK Store
Price: £21.97

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chunky but comfortable, with multiple DPI settings, 29 May 2014
Length:: 2:55 Mins

This is quite a large mouse, but it has nicely sculpted grips for finger and thumb to grasp it. It doesn't go overboard on the number of buttons - there are just four additional buttons, two on each side. The scroll wheel doubles as a middle button, but there's no tilt-wheel function.

If you download the driver software (optional) then you can customise various settings, including turning off the "breathing" light if you don't like it, adjusting the DPI settings, recording macros and assigning custom functions to the buttons. When I downloaded it the driver was a compressed RAR archive - I had to hunt around a bit for software to uncompress the file before I could install it.

I've been using the mouse on Windows 8.1, Windows 7 and on a laptop that is still running Windows XP. It works fine on all of these. I've only used the driver software on the Windows 8.1 computer.

I suffer from RSI, but I found this mouse surprisingly comfortable to use, partly because could set it to a high DPI so it doesn't need to move so much, and partly because the side grips are a more natural way to hold a mouse. I've been using it a lot over the past month; it's certainly much better for gaming than my 3M joystick mouse.

EC Technology kindly sent me this mouse for review.


Belkin Felt Wool and Leather Contrast Sleeve with Magnetic Closure for 13 inch Laptop - Grey/Black
Belkin Felt Wool and Leather Contrast Sleeve with Magnetic Closure for 13 inch Laptop - Grey/Black
Offered by B2B TRADING
Price: £15.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Comfortable to carry, and very stylish, 27 May 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I find the idea of magnetic fastenings a bit worrying on a laptop case because of the (actually negligible) chance of damaging your hard disk. But these ones work really well: there's a stud that means the magnetic fastenings (there are two) close precisely, and without any effort at all. The laptop sleeve itself is a slightly odd combination of felt with leather strips top and bottom, double-sewn on three edges so that the pouch is pinched at these edges - which has the effect of keeping your laptop in the middle, and therefore better protected. The leather fold-over top has those magnetic clasps and a rather snazzy black and grey tartan fabric inside. There are gaps at either end of the top, so you'd need to be careful taking a laptop out in the rain if this was the only protection.

I use it with my Acer S3 13" laptop, which is fairly slim, and it fits very well indeed.

This is a sleeve for people who like a bit of style as well as convenience. It is much quicker to get your laptop out of this sleeve than a zippered one, and it just looks and feels so much better than a nylon fabric or neoprene equivalent.


Bose ® FreeStyle Earbuds - Indigo
Bose ® FreeStyle Earbuds - Indigo
Price: £114.95

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely sound, very comfortable, distinctive styling, 18 May 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Bose earphones are rather special, managing to sound great and be comfortable enough to wear for hours. This model also doubles as an iPhone headset and looks a bit different too.

They sound brilliant for such small headphones, even though they don't block your ear canals - so you can still hear what's going on around you. If you want active noise cancellation you can get that - try the Bose ® QuietComfort ® 20i Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones - but I prefer to know when there's a car approaching! The sound is clean and detailed without any unnatural bass emphasis.

Bose earbuds are unlike any others: they have a soft silicone spike that fits in the bowl of your ear, so the earphones aren't being held in place by being wedged into your ear canal: instead, they sit gently in your ears and really can be worn for hours without any discomfort. It takes a couple of tries to get used to these "StayHear" earbuds, but its well worth the effort. There are three sizes to choose from - you will need to experiment to find which fit your ears best.

The controls and microphone are in-line just a few inches below the right earphone. There are volume controls and an answer/hang up button that you can also use to pause/play music - the pause/play works on Android phones too, but the impedance of the microphone is all wrong - for Android phones you should be using Bose ® MIE2 Mobile Headphones instead.

The style of these FreeStyle earphones is still very much in the Bose house style, but instead of the normal black and white the indigo earphones are dark blue and a light chemical green (the cable is spiral striped in these colours) with white detailing and a red clip and cable retraint. They look pretty good.

For a combination of lovely clear sound and comfort you'd be hard pressed to find anything better than Bose earphones. The styling is a matter of personal taste, but I like them.


Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20