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Helpless "Helpless" (UK)
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   

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AmazonBasics Waterproof Floating Hand Grip for GoPro Cameras
AmazonBasics Waterproof Floating Hand Grip for GoPro Cameras

4.0 out of 5 stars REASONABLY EFFICIENT WATERPROOF FLOATING HANDEL FOR A GO PRO WITH SOME MINOR SHORT COMINGS, 22 May 2017
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The Amazon Basics Waterproof Floating Hand Grip for GoPro Cameras comes disassembled. The metal ring needs to be screwed in to the base, the lanyard can be attached either to the small carabiner or to the ring at the base of the handle.

Thats pretty much it.

The plastic handle seems fairly robust, I have twisted and pulled and squeezed it and it seems solid. The black rubber handle is grippy so even if wet you're not likely to lose your grip on it.
I’m not sure if it would stand up to a drop onto a concrete floor, which it is not designed for, but it should survive a fall into the sea.

The lanyard with adjustable wrist strap is comfortable around the wrist.

There are a couple of slight downsides. Firstly you will need to screw the base ring in as tightly as possible, it doesn't take much come loose and it could, if not careful unscrew. Best advice I can give is use some glue as you tighten the bolt into the body of the handle. That way it is less likely to come undone.

Secondly, the carabiner has no lock screw so it could be accidentally opened if it is pressed up against something.

Thirdly, the lanyard nylon attachment cord is very thin, I have had experience with these on mobile phones, GPS and cameras. Eventually it will wear and fail. Keep an eye on it.

Finally, there is very little ‘yellow’ on the handle so it might not be as easy to see as you expect, especially weighted down by a GoPro. I think it would have been better if the rubber grip handle was also yellow or orange, both colours stand out in a sea or river environment.

In conclusion, for occasional use I think it would be perfectly acceptable and should stand up to a certain amount of abuse and mishandling. I would advise that you attach the lanyard onto the ring through the wrist strap rather than the thin nylon attachment cord. Get a decent lockable carabiner, they are relatively cheap and finally make sure you glue the base ring bolt into the body of the handle to prevent it unscrewing.


CyberLink PowerDVD 17 Ultra (PC)
CyberLink PowerDVD 17 Ultra (PC)
Price: £61.09

4.0 out of 5 stars FEATURE RICH AND ENOUGH FOR THE DISCERNING MEDIA CONSUMER AND SOCIAL MEDIA USER, COULD DO WITH MORE VIDEO FORMAT SUPPORT, 20 May 2017
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Another year another incarnation of Power DVD, this time it’s the update for 2017.

Power DVD comes in many guises, from the stand alone “Standard” version to the top of the range “Ultra” and there is even a subscription based model.

This version is the Ultra and it comes with enough features to fill a book.

Just a sample of the goods on offer. Optimised for 4K media streaming and playback on Chromecast, Apple TV, Rokuy and it also runs on your Microsoft laptop. Supports (VR) Oculus headsets and controllers, 3D and 360 video and photo replay, has a wide variety of video format support (but with some exceptions and not as comprehensive as VLC player) and a long list of audio formats. There is even the facility to lift a song out of a video. There is also a remote app for your smart phone.

Maybe it has a little too much in its feature set, though if you are a big social media user its Flickr and Facebook sharing options and You Tube playback and download will appeal to you Vimeo is also supported.

Personally I’m not too fussed that it can organise my photo’s and I do think that there is a little feature overload for what I use it for, namely True Theatre.

True Theatre upscales the image quality and optimises the colour and sound quality for the bigger screen, wasted on a basic laptop but a great experience on a widescreen TV. Even older DVD’s come out looking like they are as close to Blu-ray as Blue-ray is. That’s where this product really comes into its own. The quality of the picture is excellent and I’d buy it just for that.

In conclusion, it is a feature rich product, more than enough for the discerning media user. Just be aware that it can keep reminding you to buy additional add-ons and that when installing take care that it doesn't install any bloatware, search bars or browsers. There are also some limitations to the video formats it supports. I remember on one of their products a few years ago they advertised that it supported all formats, they don't make that claim now.

Pay particular attention to the system requirements, it won’t work on anything below Win 8.1 and requires at least a 7th generation CPU for Ultra HD playback. The small print recommends Intel Kaby Lake with Intel SGX support for Ultra HD Blu-ray playback.

For a little over £60 on Amazon I think this is pretty good value considering the RRP on the Cyberlink website was over twice that amount before the discounts kicked in and I’d certainly avoid it at ‘full price’.


AUKEY Dash Cam Full HD 1080P, 170° Wide Angle Lens, Night Vision, Motion Detection, G-Sensor, WDR and Loop Recording, Mini DVR Camera Dashboard
AUKEY Dash Cam Full HD 1080P, 170° Wide Angle Lens, Night Vision, Motion Detection, G-Sensor, WDR and Loop Recording, Mini DVR Camera Dashboard
Offered by yueying
Price: £69.99

4.0 out of 5 stars GOOD PICTURE QUALITY, EXCELLENT FIELD OF VIEW BUDGET DASH CAM, 14 May 2017
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The Aukey Dashboard Camera (Dash Cam) is a simple and straight forward device. the instruction manual is less than 6 pages long and there is not a lot to read.

Operation of the device is relatively intuitive, there are no touch screens only four buttons and one of them is the on/off switch.

In the box you will find a power lead which is a micro usb cable and dual port charger, sticker mount and two spare 3M stickers, a suction mount and some cable clips. There is also a user manual and of course the dash cam.

Some top end dash cams have a lot less in the box.

The booklet states there should be a 16GB micro SD card in the box but there is not. It appears it can take cards up to 128GB so long as they are class 10. That’s much bigger storage than even Nextbase who recommend 32GB cards. 32GB or 64 GB are generally sufficient.

My preference for installing a dash cam is to use the stick on mounts rather than the suction cup. The 3M sticky pads are excellent and will do the job and stay in place in all weathers. It also prevents camera shake which you sometimes get with suction cup mounts. The device has the universal dash cam mount slot.

Picture quality is good, both day and night and the wide angle lens covers 170 degrees. This is as close to having eyes on both sides of your head, like a fish. The 170 degree camera view is even better than some very expensive dash cams and by a long way. It should cover the entire view out of the windscreen including the door pillars and possibly the wing mirrors, even on a van.
The field of view is significantly better than the Nextbase I have installed in my van.

The flashing green light lets you know it is recording.

However, this device has no GPS or any of those bells and whistles you get with the more expensive makes. You won’t be able to track your speed or acceleration, or watch your journey overlaid on a moving map.

It is designed to be simple and the cost reflects this, but you do get a decent picture and an excellent field of view. It is also small in comparison with other makes, this makes it less visible which is a good thing. All in all it is a very competent device. If you want more features then you will have to pay quite a bit more, but are the extra feature really that necessary?

I would also recommend getting a micro usb cable that has a piggyback fuse connector. You can wire it directly into one of your fuses inside the car fuse box and hide all the wires around the edge of the windscreen. If you connect it correctly to a fuse that is only live when you start your car the Aukey dash cam will automatically come on when you start the engine and there will be no need to fiddle around with the power charger. It also makes the unit more invisible.

It is a very easy job to install a micro usb cable with a piggyback fuse connector and they are cheap to buy. Just remember to install the piggy back fuse connector the correct way round for the current flow. I’ve made that mistake before.
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OSRAM NIGHT BREAKER LASER H7 Halogen, Headlight Lamp, 64210NBL-HCB, 12V, Duo Box, Pack of 2
OSRAM NIGHT BREAKER LASER H7 Halogen, Headlight Lamp, 64210NBL-HCB, 12V, Duo Box, Pack of 2
Offered by AAAz Ltd
Price: £17.50

4.0 out of 5 stars GOOD LIGHTING BUT A REDUCED LIFE EXPECTANCY OVER STANDARD BULBS, THIS IS ALSO STATED ON THE PACKAGING, 9 May 2017
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
On the plus side these laser bulbs do provide a brighter cleaner light.

They bulbs have a well defined beam and the brightness is sharp. Beam shape will of course vary due to the shape and quality of the reflective material in the headlamp.

I’m not sure that there is an ‘up to’ 130% improvement in brightness. Yes there is an improvement over some other bulbs but I can’t say they are over twice as bright.

The downside is that they do not last as long as a standard bulb. Osram are quite open about this, on the side of the packaging it states that they will last only half as long as a standard bulb.

I drive with my headlamps on day and night, whereas standard bulbs sometimes last me a year these bulbs last around 3 months of use. A reduced life expectancy is common for this type of bulb because they burn hotter.

These are good bulbs and I use them over the darker winter months, but for summer driving I tend to opt for Osram Ultra Life bulbs simply because I find it annoying that I have to remove the entire headlamp to change a bulb. They last much longer and also incidentally give good performance too.


Bosch - Season 3
Bosch - Season 3
Dvd

5.0 out of 5 stars EXCELLENT AGAIN, 30 April 2017
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Bosch - Season 3 (Amazon Video)
Bosch is back and not before time.

Look closely in the first episode of season 3 as Grace Billets leave his house, you will see a poster on the wall 'The Black Echo' the first book in the Bosch series. A little bit of fun from the production team no doubt as the book is part of this series.

The series is as good as the others, if you've not read the books, read them, if you've not seen the series watch them.

The only slight disappointment I have with each series is that they are an amalgamation of several books rather than just one.

However, it doesn't detract from the quality of the episodes unless of course like me you have read all the books but I suppose one book wouldn't be enough to fill an entire series.


MP Michael Phelps Focus Swim Snorkel - Blue
MP Michael Phelps Focus Swim Snorkel - Blue
Offered by The Simply Group
Price: £24.16

4.0 out of 5 stars IF MICHAEL PHELPS USES THIS, IT MUST HAVE SOME SERIOUS BENEFITS, 28 April 2017
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
An intriguing swim training device under the Michael Phelps brand.

I took it straight down to the pool as soon as it arrived. It had a few mixed reviews and raised eyebrows from other swimmers and my son thought it interesting if a little strange.

I understand the principle involved, it is a device that can help give you better positioning and technique while negating the need to turn your head to breath. However, breathing technique is also part of swimming and that has to be combined with positioning. One cannot exist without the other.

Wearing the Michael Phelps swim snorkel is straight forward, there is a adjustable strap that goes around your head, the snorkel is centred to your face, adjust for height and then hold in place with your teeth. It fits quite happily while wearing goggles.

The triangular cross section of the snorkel is designed to reduce resistance against the water.

It is easy to put on and quite comfortable, but having something directly in front of and between your eyes takes a bit of getting used to especially as the stem of the snorkel is quite thick. Typing this review while wearing it is quite awkward.

I found the mouthpiece a little too large and several times it set off a gag reflex so that I had to spit it out. It certainly takes a little getting used to.

In practice it works well, you can swim lengths without having to turn your head and breath. Unlike a normal snorkel set and mask, your nose is not covered so that you can breath in and then expel air through your nose in the usual way. Just don't forget, breathing in through your nose while in the water is most uncomfortable. A nose clip may help.

It is an interesting device, but as I have said before positioning, breathing and technique go together and I have difficulty separating three. Having said that, I can see it could have benefits. If MIchael Phelps uses it there must be some serious benefits.


Osram 64193NB-HCB Night Breaker H4 Halogen, Headlight Bulb, 12V, Duo Box (2 Bulbs)
Osram 64193NB-HCB Night Breaker H4 Halogen, Headlight Bulb, 12V, Duo Box (2 Bulbs)
Price: £14.54

4.0 out of 5 stars GOOD QUALITY BULB BUT DON'T EXPECT THEM TO LAST AS LONG AS A STANDARD FITTING, 27 April 2017
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
On the plus side these bulbs do seem to provide a brighter cleaner light.

These bulbs have a reasonably well defined beam and the brightness is sharp. Beam shape will of course vary due to the shape and quality of the reflective material in the headlamp.

I’m not sure that there is an ‘up to’ 120% improvement in brightness. Yes there is an improvement over some other bulbs but definitely not twice as bright.

The downside is that they do not last as long as a standard bulb. I drive with my headlamps on day and night, these bulbs barely made it to two months of use. A reduced life expectancy is common for this type of bulb because they burn hotter. In my experience they are also more susceptible to shock when hitting deep potholes.

I decided to forgo these bulbs and opt for Osram Ultra Life bulbs simply because I find it annoying that I have to remove the entire headlamp to change a bulb. They last much longer and also incidentally give good performance too.

If you are happy to change the bulbs more frequently then they might be for you.


Osram 64210NB-HCB Night Breaker H7 Halogen, Headlight Bulb, 12V, Duo Box (2 Bulbs)
Osram 64210NB-HCB Night Breaker H7 Halogen, Headlight Bulb, 12V, Duo Box (2 Bulbs)
Price: £18.13

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars GOOD BULBS BUT HAVE A REDUCED LIFESPAN COMPARED TO STANDARD ONES WHICH OSRAM ADMIT TO ON THE PACKAGING, 27 April 2017
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
It is not the first time I have bought these Osram Night Breaker bulbs.

On the plus side these bulbs do seem to provide a brighter cleaner light but it is difficult to ascertain the actual wattage of the bulb.

These bulbs have a reasonably well defined beam and the brightness is sharp. Beam shape will vary due to the shape and quality of the reflective material in the headlamp.

I would debate the advertising that claims ‘up to’ 120% improvement in brightness. There is an improvement over some other bulbs but this varies somewhat.

The downside is that they do not last as long as a standard bulb. I drive with my headlamps on day and night, these bulbs barely made it to two months of use. A reduced life expectancy is common for this type of bulb because they burn hotter. They are also more susceptible to shock when hitting a reasonably deep pothole.

Osram are quite open about this, on the side of the packaging it states that they will last only half as long as a standard bulb.

Having to completely remove my headlamps each time to change the bulbs I decided to forgo these bulbs and opt for Osram Ultra Life bulbs. They last much longer and also incidentally give good performance too.


Osram 64193NBL-HCB Night Breaker Laser H4 Halogen Headlight Lamp, 12V, Duo Box, Pack of 2
Osram 64193NBL-HCB Night Breaker Laser H4 Halogen Headlight Lamp, 12V, Duo Box, Pack of 2
Price: £16.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars BRIGHT LIGHT COLOUR BUT AT THE EXPENSE OF THEIR LONGEVITY, 27 April 2017
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I have used these bulbs before in an attempt to get better lighting for my van.
On the plus side, they have a brighter beam and a clearer white light. However the light output is still only 55W or the equivalent lumens.

I don't consider them as higher wattage and output, they just have a brighter spectrum of light.

The downside is that they do not last long. I drive with my headlamps on day and night, these bulbs barely made it to two months of use. A reduced life expectancy is common for this type of bulb.

As the burn hotter I have also found them more susceptible to potholes, a good bump has in the past broken the filament.

So now my preferred bulb is the Osram long life bulbs. They give good lighting, are cheap and last the course.


Dash Robot by Wonder Workshop - Smart Robots for Curious Minds, Girls and Boys  learn how to code while having fun - Free Apps
Dash Robot by Wonder Workshop - Smart Robots for Curious Minds, Girls and Boys learn how to code while having fun - Free Apps
Price: £134.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A CLEVER INVENTIVE AND INTUITIVE MULTI-DIMENSIONAL TOY, SOLID BUILD QUALITY AND A MOTOR THAT IS QUIET., 20 April 2017
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Unboxing took a few moments. Dash feels solid, is made of good quality materials and has a quiet motor.

Set up was extremely easy.

The Dash was already charged, but just in case I used the bright orange USB lead to make sure it was on full charge. You will be please to know that the cable is a standard micro USB and not a proprietary cable. Cheap to replace.

A quick visit to their website, you will need an adults email address and it will take you to the (in my case) Apple App store. Download the App, power Dash up by pressing the white on button and follow the instructions on your device to connect. Connection was instant.

I tried the App on two devices, an iPhone SE and an iPad mini. While the App worked well on both devices, the icons on the smaller screen are so small that they are almost impossible to differentiate. The App is better visually on a larger screen but using the smaller phone makes it feel easier to control and more like using a game controller.

There is a small section of tutorials to get through before you have full control. The tutorials are fairly straight forward but initially they don't really elaborate enough to give a full understanding of what you are doing, especially the programming side of things.

You can program Dash to do various movements, behaviours, change light colours and make different sounds, call out or add your own sound. You can also take over manual control like a radio controlled car. At full speed, which can be adjusted it is like lightening across everything from hardwood floors to carpets. It has a Lego attachment so you can add lego blocks.

It is all picture based coding. the website boasts that ‘kids start with the fundamentals of robotics and coding before they can read’. The toy is for 6+.

Just a point to note. It has a free castoring rear wheel, so you control the front wheels and it steers by differential wheel speed. It also has low ground clearance so it can at times get stuck.

Ease of use is important. I gave Dash to my 7 year old daughter, installed the App on her Tablet and told her to follow the instructions. She was up and running in minutes, had no problem navigating the instructions and in no time at all, had mastered manual control. At full speed it is fast, watch your toes. The electric drive motor is quiet.

Also another point to note was that initially she preferred to use the manual control because she wasn't too sure on the programming. It wasn't as clear as it could have been and there is a lot left out. The quick start guide is useful the user guide not so much.

There is much more useful information on the ‘Makewonder’ website and there is an understocked Kids Portal. A Design Challenge competition has been closed to entries since January 31st and lists the winners. maybe an update is in order?

Note that there is also a link that takes the user outside of the childrens area to where you can buy more accessories. Prices in $ so its probably an American site.

The bottom line is this. My daughter thinks it is a lot of fun, that she can use it to annoy her brother makes it more so. After 3 days we have probably scratched a little more than the surface of some of the possibilities of this toy.

Our present experiment is that we have set it up to give us a live video feed into the TV with a small wifi micro cam that we built into a lego platform on its head. Now she can look round corners without leaving the room, send a note to mum to load the platform with snacks and deliver them to the sofa.

This is a clever and inventive and intuitive multi-dimensional toy and while expensive I’d consider it priced correctly especially with regards to build quality.


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