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TheProf (UK)
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5v POWER SUPPLY For Neet® Active repeater /booster - Neet® Lifetime warranty
5v POWER SUPPLY For Neet® Active repeater /booster - Neet® Lifetime warranty
Offered by Neet Cables
Price: £6.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Good value and it got my Neet HDMI switch working with Sky, 3 April 2014
I lost my original Neet power block for my Neet HDMI switch box. Without power, the HDMI switch wouldn't work at all with my new Sky HD box. But now I have got this replacement power block and connected it up to the Neet HDMI switch, Sky HD works perfectly with the switch box. This is a good value item that does what it says on the tin, and it was despatched very fast direct from Neet.


Pinnacle Studio 17 Ultimate (PC)
Pinnacle Studio 17 Ultimate (PC)
Price: £80.38

2.0 out of 5 stars Oh dear - unstable and not as good as previous versions, 31 Mar 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
On paper Pinnacle Studio has always seemed to offer a lot of bang for buck, with lots of features, plugins, extras, and the ability to work with all kinds of SD and HD footage. I have used three older versions of this software as well as Sony Vegas Movie Studio, Avid Studio and Adobe Premiere Pro. This version of Pinnacle Studio shares with its predecessor a user-friendly interface that is easy to get to grips with, especailly for those unfamiliar with video editing software. However, on my Win 7 64-bit machine it is unstable - I have experienced random crashes requiring alt-delete closing of the application, and similar problems to what others have reported regarding audio drop-outs on HD output. In its current state, I can't recommend this product, unless you want to wait for a number of patches to be released in the hope that it gets made more stable and the audio and other bugs get ironed out. Unfortunately Pinnacle do have a bit of a history of releasing new versions of Studio before they have been properly tested. In contrast, I have found Sony Vegas Movie Studio to work right out of the box and to be far more stable and free of bugs.


Norton Internet Security 21.0 - 3 Computer, 1 Year Subscription [Download]
Norton Internet Security 21.0 - 3 Computer, 1 Year Subscription [Download]
Price: £22.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very easy if you already have Norton and a good product, 14 Mar 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I know folks moan about Norton products, calling them bloatware, etc., but I have found NIS to be a pretty stable and reliable product on my Win XP and Win 7 machines - configured correctly it doesn't slow down games or complex apps like video editing suites and it seems to do a decent job at protecting my machines. It's not foolproof, but is any antivirus and firewall 100% foolproof? Combined with occasional use of freeware malwarebytes, NIS has kept my netbook and PCs safe for the last 5 years, although I do backup to be on the safe side. You can use the software in full auto mode or delve into the advanced options and settings if you want to tune it - this can be useful if you run very hardware-intensive games or applications.

Norton's own renewals are rather costly, so I always renew by buying a licence from Amazon. I used to order a boxed product but this is now easier than ever with this download product - Amazon send you a new licence code in the purchase confirmation email. So if you already have NIS installed you can just update the licence from within NIS with the new code and there is no need to download anything from Amazon. In fact, even if you don't already have NIS on your machine, you don't have to download it from Amazon's download link - you can just download from Symantec's NIS web site and then enter the licence key that Amazon sent you. So all in all it took about 5 minutes to renew my licence using this download product - just had to wait for the email from Amazon.

So, to recap - I have found NIS works well on Win XP and Win 7, it can be tailored to suit different users (left on full auto or tweaked), and used within a strategy of occasionally running other scanners like Malwarebytes, it seems to do a good job at keeping a PC safe.


Love Over Gold
Love Over Gold
Price: £5.13

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sublime and shouldn't be overshadowed by Brothers In Arms, 5 Feb 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Love Over Gold (Audio CD)
For me, this album is essential for any Dire Straits fan, or for any fan of good guitar playing. For that matter, I think it should have a place in the CD collection of any discerning rock music fan. Many DS fans rightly consider it the band's finest album. The star attraction here is Telegraph Road, a 14 minute masterpiece with emotive lyrics and fantastic playing that still sounds as epic and emotional today as it did back when it was released. The album is worth the price for that sublime cut alone. Private Investigations and Love Over Gold are powerful tracks, masterfully played. I can't quite give it 5 stars as I just can't, no matter how hard I try, get into "Industrial Disease", even though I symapthise with the theme of the lyrics - it just seems, to me, totally over-shadowed by the other compositions, which seem far better. Listening to this CD still gets the hairs on the back of my neck and still makes me jealous of Mr Knopfler's talent as a finger-style guitar player. I used to use this as a test vinyl for hi-fi equipment because the original vinyl was such a wonderful quality recording. This CD doesn't disappoint the sonic stakes either - if they have re-mastered it (some dispute this) they seem to have done it with some thought, rather than just brickwalled it to make it sound as loud as possible - the dynamics still seem present in the recording, so well done Vertigo.


Philips PerfectCare Pure GC7619/20 Steam Generator Iron - One Perfect Temperature - 200g Pressurised Steam Boost
Philips PerfectCare Pure GC7619/20 Steam Generator Iron - One Perfect Temperature - 200g Pressurised Steam Boost
Price: £160.00

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Rolls Royce among irons?, 21 Dec 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is clearly a quality and technologically advanced iron, with a 5 year guarantee to instil confidence. It makes ironing fast and as effortless as it could be and is certainly the best iron I have ever used. Results speak for themselves and my ironing takes less time than before and the results are better than ever. There are a couple of downsides to consider - the base unit + iron take up more room than a conventional iron to store and the iron uses de-scaling filters/cartridges that appear to be quite pricey - it's a little odd to have to keep buying cartridges for an iron - I've never had to do that before. Still, if you can get over these issues you'd be hard pressed to find a better iron in terms of ease of use and end results.


Sigma 60mm F2.8 DN Lens for Micro Four Thirds - Black
Sigma 60mm F2.8 DN Lens for Micro Four Thirds - Black
Price: £189.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing value and superb performer, 14 Dec 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
My copy of this lens is stunningly sharp, even wide open at f2.8 on my OMD EM-5. Of course, if you use it with an Olympus body, or a Panasonic GX7, you will get sensor-based stabilisation, which can be handy when using a lens with a 35mm focal length equivalent on m 4/3 of 120mm, which is short to mid telephoto. I'm not really sure how Sigma have made this lens for the price - it almost makes you wonder if it is a loss leader to garner interest in their higher end new lenses. Anyway, it feels well made, and like all Sigmas is made in Japan (this may or may not matter to you). It is supplied with a lens case and lens hood, which is a nice touch on a lens at this price point. I rather like the minimalist aesthetic of the look of this lens, which is under-stated but classy. The barrel is rather shiny, and I think it maybe looks better in black - some say the silver looks like a drinks can! But it's not the looks that are really the issue here. How does it perform? I can compare the lens to primes I am used to using on my Sony DSLR as well as my Olympus 45mm f1.8 lens for m 4/3. Resolution is stunning - very sharp wide open, as reviews and MTF charts have proven - it hardly gets any sharper if stopped down. It is as sharp as my copy of the Olympus 45mm lens and the bokeh is pleasant with this Sigma. AF is a little slower than it is on the Olympus 45 1.8 but it is still what I would describe as fast. I shot a play in a dark theatre with this lens and my EM5 recently and the lens gave me 90% keepers - only on a few occasions did the AF hunt. I was very impressed indeed. Of course, the degree of depth of field is a bit greater than you might expect - there is a larger zone of focus than you would find with a 120mm 2.8 lens on APS-C - it's more like maybe an f5.6 120mm lens in that respect, when it comes to depth of field, though in terms of exposure, it is, of course, a fast 2.8 lens. Don't be alarmed by the noise it makes when the camera is turned off - the focus system Sigma uses in the lens leaves one lens element floating free and you can hear it move when you tilt the lens. This stops when the camera is turned on and not in sleep mode.

Overall, Sigma have released a 'must have' lens for micro 4/3 here, especially for those on a budget. It is as sharp as my Oly 45mm 1.8 and I have heard some others say it is as sharp as their Olympus 75mm 1.8 - the latter is a stunning lens and about 5-6 times the price of this Sigma. Impressive stuff ! Now I've added this lens to my list I have stopped lusting after the Oly 75. This is a GREAT lens for portrait work - great sharpness, good bokeh, fast AF. Taking into consideration the price point, I can't think of a reason to deduct any stars at all.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 13, 2014 3:54 PM GMT


Marantz PM6005 Integrated Amplifier with Digital Input - Black
Marantz PM6005 Integrated Amplifier with Digital Input - Black
Offered by home AV direct
Price: £266.00

16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great value and a superb sound, 7 Nov 2013
The previous two models to this Marantz were award winning products and I imagine it is only a matter of time before this model wins a stack of awards. This is a cracking amp for the money. It puts out a detailed, crisp sound with that characteristic Marantz warmth and rich bass that I have come to love over the years. Separation and clarity are excellent and reminiscent of an amp much more expensive than this. It partners exceptionally well with Marantz's own CD players. The onboard DAC is very nice indeed and will breath new life into an old CD transport, a DVD player, etc. The amp is well put together with a stylish finish though the smaller knobs could do with a bit of a more solid feel. The amp is a good all-rounder, seeming to suit a range of different music - I use it with classical, rock (including metal), jazz and electronic music and it copes well with all of these. You don't seem to need to be too careful about what you pair it with. Although the power rating isn't that high it seems to power big floorstanders with ease. All in all, another cracking high-value, high-performing amp from Marantz that contiinues the trend set by the previous two excellent PM amps.


Sony SLTA77V.CEH Translucent Mirror Interchangeable Lens Camera (24.3MP) 3.0 inch LCD
Sony SLTA77V.CEH Translucent Mirror Interchangeable Lens Camera (24.3MP) 3.0 inch LCD
Offered by Digital Depot
Price: £670.00

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A superb fully featured SLT, 5 Nov 2013
First of all, check which supplier your camera will be coming from, as some may not be supplying UK stock. This may affect your ability to get Sony UK to undertake a warranty repair, so be vcareful.

Now, as for the camera: This is an immensely rewarding SLT camera to use - I have now owned the camera 9 months, and have previously used the Sony SLT-a57 and Sony's older a700 DSLR. This is a semi-pro model built to a high standard, which feels solid in the hand. Ergonomics are first rate with dials and buttons falling easily to hand, a good, solid grip, fabulous EVF, and plenty of physical controls, including both front and rear control dials, something you do not get with the cheaper a65 model which shares the same 24MP sensor.

Sony really did put a lot of great features into this camera. It has a blisteringly fast FPS burst rate, slightly limited by its buffer size, admittedly, but still very, very fast. That would be no good if it didn't have an excellent AF module to go with this, but it has the best AF module of any Sony SLT bar the pro-level slt-a99 full frame camera. The AF is fast, accurate and flexible in both single shot and continuous modes. Furthermore, micro focus adjust is available so you can tune the AF system to specific lenses (works best with primes but can be of value with zooms too). There are many menu options and settings to get to grips with, but I am a fan of Sony's no-nonsense straightforward interface, which I find quite intuitive. Help is at hand from Gary Friedman's excellent e-book - available here on Amazon or on his own web site - a real bible for a77 owners and well worth the price for a detailed description of all the many features. GPS is a nice feature - it's effective and doesn't drain the battery too quickly (it can of course be turned off). The a77 has the usual array of a range of focus and metering modes - I have found the metering to be pretty good much of the time though I often dial in a little positive compensation (more on this later). The battery is a relatively powerful one (same across my a57, a700 and a77) and good for around 400-500 shots typically. An excellent battery grip is also available for those doing extended shoots or studio work where vertical orientation may be used a lot (no tethering though, sadly).

Much has been written about the output from the 24MP BIONZ sensor in the camera (also shared in the Sony a65 and most likely in at least one Nikon and Pentax DSLR). At low ISO and when matched with a good lens, the IQ can rival that of medium format, at least in terms of resolution (not in gradations or dynamic range). It really can be breathtaking what can be achieved when you learn to get the most out of this camera and sensor. Don't think you have to use the most expensive Carl Zeiss branded or Sony G lenses either - old Minolta lenses can work very well with the a77 as can highly rated but affordable ones like Sigma's 10-20 and Tamron's 17-50, both of which I have found to perform extremely well with the a77 (watch out for compatability with some older Sigma lenses though - consult the web site Dyxum for further info). I have found the sensor to produce sharp images with wonderful color. I shoot in raw and process in either Adobe Lightroom/ACR or else in DXO Optics Pro version 9. The JPEG engine is only OK, being a bit heavy handed at times with high ISO images - it's hit and miss, sometmies being highly satisfactory, other times being not so good and smudging detail. Raw is the way to go if you have the time and the software to do it (avoid the bundled Sony raw converter as it is hideously slow to use).

The debate about this camera centres on whether or not the 24MP APS-C sensor at its heart is too noisy - it is true that this sensor will leap up and bite you if you under-expose your images - even at base ISO (200) you could get shadow noise in an under-exposed image, and more so than you might expect from other cameras. At high ISO owners have poured over 100% views of raws and complained about more noise than that generated by 16MP sensors. BUT, there are three points to note here: (1) learn to understand the metering on the camera and try not to under-expose unless doing it for artistic reasons; (2) learn not to obsess about 100% pixel peeping view with a 24MP sensor - high ISO images can look a bit worse for wear viewed at 100% magnification on a big monitor but this would equate to a massive poster or billboard size print - it has been demonstrated that when you downsize a77 images to 16MP equivalent they often look as good or better than 16MPimages at high ISO; and (3) shoot raw and use a decent noise cancelling strategy - DXO has automated noise reduction for example, that works very well with the a77 raws - LR is also good, or use NR plugins in Photoshop like Noiseware (very good with a77). I have no worries using ISO 3200 and ISO 6400 raws shot in low light for pro purposes as long as though they have been noise reduced in either DXO or in post processing plugins - if you need ISOs abobe 6400, sure, go for a Canon or Nikon full frame maybe (or tne latest Sony a7r camera). So, in sum, I think the bashing of the 24MP sensor has been over-played especially as almost everyone does some noise reduction in post processing or at raw conversion. I've become a fan of the sensor - shot with care and with a good (not neccessarily expensive) lens, it produces stunning colour and resolution very suitable for pro work.

So, I'm a fan of this camera. Is it perfect? No - it has quirks, such as no auto ISO in M mode, and I find the flash exposure with external flash units can be hit and miss at times (users report the most success with Metz units and the least with Sony units, though some have found firmware updates have solved this (didn't work for me). But it is a joyous camera to use - the immediate feedback you get from the classy EVF is fantastic - it is truly what you see is what you get territory. The EVF is big and clear with plenty of eye relief and is comfortable for wearers of spectacles. At the time it was the best available and is only now being trumped by Olympus in there wonderful micro four thirds cameras. Video is very nice (though capped at a lower max ISO than the 16MP Sony SLTs are) and the AF system excellent for sports, kids running around (much better than my a57 and a700 here) and wildlife. Handling is a dream - making using the camera a pleasure. At times my PC groans when handling the raws and TIFFs from the 24MP sensor so bear in mind your computing and hard disc space requirements! Alos note there is an excellent lens selection available for the Sony alpha mount including superb third party lenses by Tamron, sigma and Tokina, as well as full backwards compatability with the used range of Minolta AF lenses (extensive). Tilt and shift and exotic tele lenses are where there are some gaps in the lens line-up, but these gaps are being filled by third party manufacturers (e.g. Samyang/Rokinon and Sigma).

Writing this in November 2013 this camera is at the end of its life cycle most likely, with a rumoured replacement to be announced around Feb 2014. Current UK prices are around £740 for a genuine UK sourced model, body only. Cheaper prices are available via ebay and Hong Kong if you are brave enough to order from such suppliers. There are some good deals as well with the Sony 16-50 2.8 lens - a very, very nice lens by the way and well worth buying with an a77 if you get a good bundle deal. I recommend wholeheartedly the Sigma 10-20 (the earlier variable aperture version), or the Tokina 11-16, for wide angle needs, and check out the excellent low cost Sony 35 1.8 SAM and 85 2.8 SAM lenses. If money is no object then go for the Sony G pro lenses and Sony Carl Zeiss lenses - superb !

In conclusion - a superb, high performance SLT offering excellent results, especially when paired with good glass. Still a good performer in late 2013, though it has been bettered by Sony's flagship a99 full frame SLT model and anyone buying should be aware it may well be replaced in mid to late 2014 by a new model.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 8, 2013 8:36 AM GMT


Rosetta Stone Italian Complete Course (PC/Mac)
Rosetta Stone Italian Complete Course (PC/Mac)
Price: £297.51

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but not an alternative to face-to-face lessons, 4 Nov 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The software takes the approach of immersing the learner in the language with no translations and leaving the learner to figure out for him/herself what the Italian words mean. You can practice your pronunciation using the included USB headset and listen back to see how well you can emulate a native speaker. You can also log on and undertake a live online tutorial session after a module - this may be why the licence agreement includes info about minimum age for the product. I imagine the rationale behind this approach to language learning has some basis in academic research in psychology on how second language acquisition occurs, but nevertheless, it can be a frustrating process to go through and at times you are left feeling a little at sea and sometimes questioning the occasional odd choice of phrase and words to learn. You have to weigh up the convenience of learning sitting at your computer versus the valuable interaction opportunities offered by attending face-to-face lessons at something like a night class. I still feel that the latter would be a more rewarding approach, not least because you can share your learning experiences with other learners and get lots of feedback from the tutor. Instead, what we have here is software + USB headset + some online tutor interaction. It's a good package if you really can't get to night classes I guess, but quite expensive. I imagine you could do a 12 week course at a local college for maybe less money than this - I'd much rather do that. As others have mentioned, it is also rather annoying that the manufacturers make you jump through hoops just to ensure they don't use your email for marketing purposes. Perhaps if you combined this approach with another - e.g. classes or a DVD/video based course, this would be good. At this price it is a bit of a shame that a good companion book doesn't accompany the lessons.


Motorola TLKR T6 Walkie Talkie Two Way Licence Free Radios Twin Pack - Black
Motorola TLKR T6 Walkie Talkie Two Way Licence Free Radios Twin Pack - Black
Offered by Discount Stationery Direct
Price: £70.99

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Rugged, good value radios but range exaggerated, 20 Sep 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
These walkie talkies appear to be quite solidly constructed although I note they are sometimes wrongly described as shockproof and waterproof when in fact this model is most definitely not - you need to buy one of the more expensive Motorola models for that. These radios are simple to operate and offer a decent range of options - plenty of channels to choose from, an intuitive menu system, a backlit display, pocketable yet solid construction, an accessory connection for things like headsets/in-ear wires. There is even a decent and undesratandable manual. I also like the fact that it comes with a rechargeable battery set but that you can also use standard batteries in the radios if this rechargeable battery in time becomes dead, as they often do eventually. The range is exaggerated though - 8km is very optimistic - perhaps if you are hiking with nothing blocking line of sight, then this may just be achievable on newly recharged batteries. Used in a built up city or town environment the range is drastically reduced, but of course this happens with ALL of these weak consumer walkie talkies - it's only the more powerful commercial ones that you need a licence for, that have a decent range on them. An example, with my wife holding one unit in the kitchen of our home, in a built-up urban area, and me in my car, the effective range on a full charge was about 0.25 miles at best. Go outdoors and it will be increased of course, but any built up areas will bounce the signal around and lower both receptionj clarity and range drastically. I have read glowing reviews of this model from skiers who take the radios to the piste and have achieved good range there. Paintabllers also rave about these units, as do skirmishers etc. I think this model is overkill as a gift for kids to play with - it's also worth reading the radiation warnings in the manual before you rhink about handing over a PMR walkie talkie to kids as a plaything. When within range these radios are clear and work well, and they also have a monitor feature where you can use them like a baby monitor. Another nice feature is channel scan, where the radio will scan all available channels and lock on to a broadcast if it finds one - at that point you can press the talk button and your handset will immediately switch to that channel for you - neat ! So, decent features, quite well made, but range, well, the stated 8km is in absolute ideal conditions - in the countryside with no built up areas or hills/mountains blocking the signal. If you do use the units for hiking keep them dry because they are not rainproof !


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