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OMG! It's got a plug! "OMG! It's got a plug!" (UK)

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Gigaset G-tag Personal Bluetooth Tracking Device - White
Gigaset G-tag Personal Bluetooth Tracking Device - White
Price: £17.24

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Potential but you need to drain your smartphone's battery to use to it effectively, 17 Sept. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a 21st century update of the whistle-and-find key ring attachment from the Eighties. Lightweight and measuring 4cm x 4cm x 0.7cm, it's primarily suited for attaching to your key ring or bag. It's fitted with a Bluetooth receiver but not a tracking device and therefore its usefulness is limited.

When attached to something, download the app and keep your smartphone's GPS, Bluetooth and, although not strictly necessary (the app nags you to activate it when it's turned off), Wi-Fi permanently turned on. Doing this will allow you to find the G-tag's general location (the app monitors and updates your device's location when it's paired with the G-tag via Bluetooth) and when you're within a 30m range you can, through a combination of the app's graphics and beeping sounds, pin-point the G-tag's exact location.

With a large degree of patience during the final pin-pointing process, it does work. However, the fact that you have to have your smartphone’s GPS, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi permanently switched on for it to work effectively makes it a non-starter. Having the three of them switched just sucks the life out of the smartphone's battery very quickly and I don’t think it’s a worthwhile trade-off. Basically, if you switch off your smartphone's Bluetooth and, particularly, its GPS when you're out and about, you're stuffed!

It’s worth noting that the battery, despite what the product states blurb, is NOT easy to change. Apart from drilling the three security pins out (and therefore destroying the G-tag), I can see no other way of replacing the battery. Also, on my Android phone I had to turn off alerts from the app because they were endless. Switch your GPS, Bluetooth or Wi-Fi on or off and it will alert you with a beep and screen pop-up and likewise if the G-tag is outside of your device’s Bluetooth range.

This has potential but until smartphones have much longer lasting batteries and the app is refined it is, unfortunately, a non-starter.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 25, 2016 11:18 AM BST

Sony SRSX55 Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speaker - White
Sony SRSX55 Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speaker - White
Offered by TODO! TODO!

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent sound, volume and Bluetooth connection with a couple of minor limitations, 17 Sept. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Weighing just over 1Kg and with dimensions of Width: 22cm; Height: 11.5cm; Depth: 5cm this is, size and weight wise, towards the upper-end of the portable Bluetooth speaker range. Design wise it’s bland but smart with a high end finish and the control buttons are conventionally situated on top of the speaker. It paired seamlessly with my iPad and Android phone and the range is outstanding – I can go anywhere in the house without it dropping out and haven’t once had even the slightest of blips.

Powered by 2 channel speakers and a sub woofer, the sound delivered is MASSIVE and the volume goes exceptionally LOUD and the quality of the sound is excellent, even at the highest of levels. It's rich and detailed and, most importantly the bass is near perfect - it doesn't get lost in the mix and it doesn't have an unnatural forced sound either. There is a 'Sound' button that according to the manual is supposed to switch on "surround effects". The manual further states that "Depending on the music, the surround effects may not be so noticeable". I've played all different types of music and haven't once noticed any difference with it switched on. Nonetheless, the sound is near perfect and it really does fill every corner of the room. Is it as good as the Bose SoundLink Mini? No. It doesn't quite have that depth that makes the SoundLink so unique in the portable Bluetooth speaker market, although you can turn the volume up louder with this.

Although heavier and bigger than most portable speakers in this price range it is, portability wise, perfect for the home and garden but given the high end finish, I wouldn't recommend it for camping or going down to the beach.

A full charge takes about two hours and with the volume around medium, I've been getting 8-9 hours of playback. It’s has a USB input so that you can draw power from it for USB enabled device.

It’s Near Field Communication (NFC) compatible. Download the Sony NFC app for Android devices if you don’t have NFC built in and, by touching the speaker with your device, it connects the two. It's also possible to connect devices using a 3.5mm jack lead (not included). The speakerphone works fine – tap the phone button to answer a call and tap it again to end the call and it will continue playing from where you left off. Once again, I've had no drop-outs when using it.

It’s not perfect. The volume buttons do not double as track backwards and forward buttons, a function that a lot of £30 (or less) Bluetooth speakers now have as standard. The power lead is not USB but I suppose the lead it comes with means that it charges faster than it would with a USB lead. Surprisingly there is a slight ½-1 second sync lag when streaming videos (YouTube, Netflix, BBC news clips, etc), something I've not experienced with any other Bluetooth speaker.

Overall this is, sound, volume and Bluetooth connection wise, an excellent speaker. However, due to the reasons outlined in the above paragraph, I think four stars represents a fair score.

Galactic Nightmare [VINYL]
Galactic Nightmare [VINYL]
Price: £40.96

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Alan Jefferson's Galactic DIY Nightmare, 29 Aug. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Galactic Nightmare [VINYL] (Vinyl)
As is often the case with Trunk releases, the back story to this, their first double album release, is almost as interesting as the music itself. After hearing War of the Worlds, Alan Jefferson, an amateur musician and home recording enthusiast from Hull, decided to create his own electronic "science fantasy musical". Recorded between 1979 and 1985, Jefferson wrote, produced, engineered, narrated, sang, played all the instruments and created the artwork for his own 90 minute space odyssey. The finished album was made available on cassette for £7.99 and featured a full storyboard and artwork alongside a poster and was advertised in the ad section of computer and music magazines during the late 1980s.

Recorded using a mini moog synthesiser, hammond C3 organ, guitars and a whole host of special effects pedals and equipment, it's an unforgettable lo-fi electronic soundtrack and unmistakeably eighties sounding. The story is based upon the galactic nightmares of the crew of an extra terrestrial Starliner jet that crashes into the jungles of their planet, Zeon. Jefferson narrates and sings in his soft East Yorkshire accent the story that unfolds as the survivors confront giant jungle creatures and prematurely aged old men, are drugged by The Immortals ("Do you wanna live forever?"), destroy a cell processing plant on planet Fowgal, etc. It's crazy and some of the vocal tracks are addictive, particularly "Live Forever?" and "So Tired" on Side 3, my favourite side. It could have been a cult classic for both right and wrong reasons!

The attention to detail, special effects, Jefferson's limited vocal skills (his Yorkshire accent during the narrations adds an extra surreal layer!), improvisation and perhaps even the naivety of it all given his limited resources make this a very special record indeed. Alan attempted to create something epic and succeeded and it's good to see it being made available to a wider audience.

Housed in a gatefold sleeve, in the liner notes Jefferson details "for the technically minded" how the music was recorded, the instruments and recording equipment he used and lists the endless equipment faults and failures he endured along the way. The inner sleeves feature the original storyboards and there's also a collage made up of some of the original artwork. In the unlikely event that you own one of the original cassettes, its value has probably increased ten fold following this release. Only 500 copies of this album have been pressed.

Romantic Times
Romantic Times
Price: £5.60

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "Come on Lewis, let's get you home", 24 Aug. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Romantic Times (Audio CD)
Conspiracies abound about Lewis but one thing that cannot be doubted are his perplexing pub singer vocals. When listening to this I imagine Randall Aldon Wulff (for that is, allegedly, his real name) performing it live to a backing tape at the end of a pier in mid winter in front of a crowd of none before his manager appears and puts a caring arm around him and quietly whispers in his ear "Come on Lewis, let's get you home" as he leads him off stage. Anyway, Light in the Attic have found Lewis alive and well and living in Canada and this is the follow up to his debut album which they also resurrected last year.

Recorded in 1985 this is an altogether downbeat affair and Lewis does not sound like he's in a good place. Synth soaked ambient pop, there are, if separated from the vocals, a few decent maudlin and meandering tunes here. It's outsider music, it's offbeat, it's not very romantic and he does sound under the influence but I suppose that's half the attraction of records like this. Lewis handles most of the instrumentation himself but the sax playing duties are delegated to a chap named Neil Armstrong. You couldn't make it up, could you? Repeated listens are rewarded but it's 3 stars all the way for Lewis.

Star Wars
Star Wars
Offered by positivenoise
Price: £7.91

11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wilco letting loose, 21 Aug. 2015
This review is from: Star Wars (Audio CD)
Initially released as a free download via their website in July, this is Wilco's most adventurous sounding album since A Ghost is Born. They sound like a band letting loose in the studio with their electric guitars plugged in and, given that they're on their own label, disregarding the EQ levels and doing exactly what they want to do. Despite the occasional experimental "couldn't care less about the production" sound to the music, it's unmistakably the sound of Wilco and almost every song here sounds like it could be lifted and placed on one of their previous albums ('Taste the Ceiling' would fit perfectly on Sky Blue Sky, 'Magnetized' would sit comfortably on Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, 'Pickled Ginger' on A Ghost Is Born, etc.). Given the four year gap between this and their previous album and Jeff Tweedy's album from last year, I did fear, despite the touring, that Wilco might be drifting apart as a studio band but they're back with their most diverse and interesting album in a long time. Kudos to the band for initially putting this out there for free without the benefit of a $100M handshake and backing from the world's biggest company! The CD comes in a gatedold cardboard sleeve with a booklet featuring the lyrics.

Panasonic RPHD10EK Hi - Fi Monitor Headphones - Black
Panasonic RPHD10EK Hi - Fi Monitor Headphones - Black
Price: £139.00

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Comfortable with faultless sound quality, 17 Aug. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
There's a lot to like about these headphones and they really do justify their price tag. They fit comfortably over the ear with soft padding and keep the sound in and block out a lot (but nowhere near all) outside noise. They're not skull crushers but don't slip off if you tilt your head forwards or backwards. The have an innovative design that allows you to position the headband horizontally. To be honest, it's not made much difference for me but some might find it useful.

Sound wise, they're amazing. Plugged into a 20 year old Denon amp and I'm hearing CDs like never before. I won't roll out the usual clichés about mid range, treble, bass, etc. except to say they handle EVERYTHING perfectly. The clarity and depth of sound is truly astonishing.

The 3.5mm lead is detachable and it comes with two (1.2m and 2m) and a 6.35mm adaptor. It's a good idea too - the 'phones won't be a write-off if you damage the lead. There's also a soft faux leather black draw cord carry case. The headphones don't fold-up but they do lie flat.

Overall, these are a seriously impressive set of headphones and for both comfort and sound quality, they score two thumbs up.

CB12 Mint Menthol Mouthwash 1000ml
CB12 Mint Menthol Mouthwash 1000ml
Price: £38.49

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Effective but doesn't last for 12 hours, 7 Aug. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I've been using this on and off for a couple of years and it is effective but it lasts nowhere near the advertised 12 hours. Realistically you're looking at about 7-8 hours but if you're on a night out that involves drinking, smoking and eating then you're looking at about 4-5 hours maximum. It's not like Listerine or similar mouthwashes that leave an over-powering taste in your mouth for about half an hour - it's very mild and works by preventing the formation of volatile sulphur compounds that are the cause of bad breath. It also contains fluoride that helps strengthen tooth enamel and prevent the development of cavities. Recommended - it's good at what it does but don't expect a full 12 hours.

Black Coal, Thin Ice [DVD]
Black Coal, Thin Ice [DVD]
Dvd ~ Fan Liao
Price: £5.99

3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Promising start but overall a lacklustre film, 1 Aug. 2015
This review is from: Black Coal, Thin Ice [DVD] (DVD)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The first 15 minutes of this film are very promising and features one of the most perfectly and realisticly filmed shoot outs I've ever watched. Thereafter the pace and momentum slows right down to a crawl at times and the film never really recovers.

After a series of murders the lead investigating police officer is injured in the aforementioned shootout and the film then fast forwards five years and the officer is now an alcoholic working for a security company. After a chance meeting with a former police colleague staking out a woman connected with the murders five years previously and a couple of recent murders, he assists the police investigating the case.

The overall plot is ambiguous at times and some scenes are drawn out to the point of tedium. The lead character has no charisma whatsoever and the relationship he forms after stalking the equally uncharismatic woman at the centre of the police investigation is totally unbelievable. There a few surreal moments and the cinema photography of a Chinese industrial town is impressive but they can't save what is a lacklustre film. It's watchable but it just doesn't attempt to engage with the viewer and is ultimately a self-indulgent film.

Best of The Smiths
Best of The Smiths
Price: £0.00

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hatful of songs, 28 July 2015
This review is from: Best of The Smiths (MP3 Download)
They were such a consistent band that I think you could include any songs by The Smiths in this playlist (maybe even "Golden Lights"!) and there wouldn't be any duds. However, I do believe that any Smiths playlist should include "Suffer Little Children" and "Reel Around the Fountain" from their debut album and "Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want" should always be the closing song.

Vodafone Smart Prime 6 Pay As You Go Handset Smartphone - Silver
Vodafone Smart Prime 6 Pay As You Go Handset Smartphone - Silver

42 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars High quality smartphone that represents excellent value for money, 10 July 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
If like me you don't use a mobile phone enough to justify a monthly contract but still want a very high quality smartphone that can get you online at the numerous free Wi-Fi hotspots now available and that you can also use as an MP3 player and satnav, the Smart Prime 6 PAYG is the one to get.

I previously owned the Vodafone Smart Mini 4 but this a huge step up in terms of quality. It has a Quad-core 1.2 GHz processor, Android 5.0 (Lollipop), 8GB of storage (although only 5.2 GB is available - 3GB is used up by the Android OS), 1GB RAM and its capacity can be extended with a MicroSD card. It really is a bargain and a fraction of the cost of comparative smartphones.

It uses a micro SIM card but, unusually for a PAYG, it does NOT arrive with one in the box. I just popped into my local Vodafone shop and they transferred the telephone number and data from my existing standard SIM to a micro SIM, free of charge. As a phone it works fine and is straightforward to use. I inserted a 128GB MicroSD card and despite the literature stating that only external storage up to 64GB is accepted, it works to its FULL capacity (although I did have to format it to exFAT before it worked).

It looks smart and the build is solid. It has a 5" HD screen which looks clear and detailed at any viewing angle. It's the perfect size for surfing the web and watching videos on the go and with its curved edges and slim body it can be held easily with one hand. The screen feels high quality and it's very responsive with swipes registering first time. The keyboard is a decent size for texting and messaging.

It's very FAST and effortlessly launches and switches between apps - you can have a lot going on but it copes with ease. All the apps that I've downloaded so far can be moved to the MicroSD card and run from there so, so you can literally install an endless amount of apps. Unfortunately it's no longer possible to save BBC iPlayer downloads to the MicroSD card (not a fault with this phone - it's Google policy nowadays).

Wi-Fi and Bluetooth function as they should and GPS finds my position within a few seconds when I use the Here and MapMyWalk apps. If you intend to use the GPS, install the Nokia Here Maps app and their UK map (they're both free) - it works perfectly WITHOUT having to be connected to the Internet. It's been 100% accurate every time I've used it and is near enough as good as any dedicated satnav.

It has an impressive 8MP camera with an LED flash and photos look just fine. It also has a 2MP front facing camera that's more than adequate for selfies and using Skype.

I can't comment on how good it's 4G capability is. It's way too expensive to use mobile data on a PAYG phone but I suppose it's handy for anyone who later signs up to a Vodafone contract.

As an MP3 player it sounds just fine and the volume goes up nice and loud. It has an FM radio too and the reception is crystal clear and you can pre-set your favourite stations. You need to plug in headphones to use the radio and a (surprisingly comfortable) cheap pair are included.

It has a high capacity 2500 mAh battery and you can get around 8 hours from it whilst constantly surfing the web whilst listening to music via a Bluetooth speaker. In stand-by mode with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS and display switched off it lasts for days instead of hours.

With a USB plug and cable included in the box, this is phone is an absolute bargain. It feels and acts like a much more expensive smartphone and it's more or less a £200 smartphone selling for less than a third of that price. Definitely recommended.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 28, 2015 12:43 PM BST

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