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Samuel "Samuel"
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   

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Philips HR1857/71 Viva Collection Quick Clean Juicer, 2 Litre, 700 Watt - Black
Philips HR1857/71 Viva Collection Quick Clean Juicer, 2 Litre, 700 Watt - Black
Price: £100.00

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A juicer that really cleans up, 24 April 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I've recently started having juice for some meals instead of solid foods, and so was looking forward to trying the Philips Viva juicer.

From opening the box, it's obvious that this is a well-made piece of kitchen equipment. The shell of the juicer itself is made of very sturdy plastic, and the parts in the juicer are all made of sturdy stainless steel (with smooth surfaces to aid cleaning, if you read the bumpf). What I hadn't been prepared for was the size of the juicer; it's almost eighteen inches high, and quite wide, so needs a bit of storage space.

Juicing is easy. There is a feed tube at the top that is 7.5cm wide, so wide enough to take whole oranges and apples. Simply feed the fruit in, turn the juicer on, and it does its stuff. It's quite noisy, but I guess that is to be expected. The juice itself is decanted off into a jug; and this juicer can make a LOT of juice - up to two litres. The juice itself from what we've tried so far (apples and oranges) is quite smooth - and obviously it's healthy!

Where this juicer is meant to come into its own is being easy to clean. The box quotes a time of one minute to clean the juicer - I wouldn't say it's that fast, but it's certainly easier to clean than our old juicer. The pith is all collected at the bottom, and there's not much left in the juicing mechanism itself, we've found. You can just run water through the juicer, and this flushes through most residual sediment; it's then a case of taking the juicer apart and wiping clean the inside. It's a bit fiddly to deassemble/reassemble, but I guess that will get faster as we get used to it.

I have to say that we are really impressed with this juicer - it's a real step up from what we are used to. The juice is easy to make, there's not much mess to clear up, and it all seems well-built so as if it will last a long time. I'm hoping this will handle all our juicing needs for years to come. Recommended.


Apexel 180 Degree Fish Eye Lens + Wide Angle Lens + Micro Lens Kit for iPhone 4 4S 4G 5 5G 5S 5C 6 Plus Samsung Galaxy S2 I9100 S3 I9300 S4 I9500 S5 S6 Note I9220 Note2 N7100 Note3 Note 4 mini i8190 S7562 HTC LG Black (No Dark Circle by the Fisheye Lens)
Apexel 180 Degree Fish Eye Lens + Wide Angle Lens + Micro Lens Kit for iPhone 4 4S 4G 5 5G 5S 5C 6 Plus Samsung Galaxy S2 I9100 S3 I9300 S4 I9500 S5 S6 Note I9220 Note2 N7100 Note3 Note 4 mini i8190 S7562 HTC LG Black (No Dark Circle by the Fisheye Lens)
Offered by Tech Leader
Price: £8.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nothing fishy about this lens set, 23 April 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I wasn't sure what to expect from the Apexel lens set, which I got for use with my iPhone 6. The quality of phone cameras has increased massively recently which means that one almost doesn't need to carry any other camera around a lot of the time, so I was looking forward to seeing how these lenses might add to what can be achieved from my iPhone.

The set is very well packaged in a really nice little box, and comes with a cleaning cloth for the lenses, a zip case in which to keep them, and a clip for attaching the lenses to the phone. Each lens comes with a small cap, which was unexpected - this is something that you'd normally expect from something far more expensive.

There aren't actually three lenses - there are two, one of which comes in two parts. The single lens is a macro lens; the two-part lens is used as a fisheye lens; if you remove the top part, this turns it into a more standard wide angle lens.

Attaching the lenses to the phone is a bit fiddly, but that was always going to be the case with something so small. People with smaller fingers than me will no doubt find it easier! Once attached, they seem well-attached and don't move around or look in danger of falling off.

In terms of picture results... well, they're actually pretty good. I'm not sure how much the straight wide-angle lens really adds, but the macro lens is excellent, allowing you to get really, really close to something and still producing a good photograph; the fisheye is equally good, and can give some amusing results - there are now some rather unusual photos of our cats going round the family!

All in all, I'm really impressed with this little kit. Will it please serious camera aficionados who buy lenses costing hundreds of pounds? No, but it's not designed to. It's cheap, cheerful, and a really well-made and well-designed set of lenses that are giving me great fun when I use on my phone. Recommended.


Philips Satinelle Epilator HP6422/02 with Opti-start Cap with Massage Element
Philips Satinelle Epilator HP6422/02 with Opti-start Cap with Massage Element
Price: £27.00

3.0 out of 5 stars Ok, but very much entry level in the Philips range, 15 April 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This was got for my wife, who regularly epilates - at least I think that's what the shouts of pain that echo around the house are from...

The Philips HP6422/02 is very much at the lower end of the market, and seems to be Philips' entry level epilator. This shows itself in the specs for the epilator - there are 20 compared to 32 tweezing points (according to the box), and the epilator is NOT cordless, despite how the pictures might look; it needs to be plugged in to work, which limits where it can be used.

So, is it any good? Well, Mrs Samuel reports that it's... okay. Presumably because of the lower number of tweezing points, it seems that she had to go over each area two or three times to do a good job - which obviously means more pain, and more sensitivity. It's very much for use for the legs only, not for any other part of the body, so if that's what you want, then this epilator will be okay. So, the verdict? Well, it's okay. Just okay. If you want a less painful and faster session of hair removal (and one that can be done with a cordless epilator) then it's worth looking higher up the Philips range to see what they have.


TP-LINK Archer T8E AC1750 Dual Band Wireless PCI Express Adapter with three Antennas
TP-LINK Archer T8E AC1750 Dual Band Wireless PCI Express Adapter with three Antennas
Offered by elevenfirst
Price: £46.98

5.0 out of 5 stars Doubled wireless speed, 15 April 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
We've recently upgraded to superfast broadband, which promised speeds of up to 48mbps, but some devices have struggled to achieve anywhere near this. In particular, our Windows 8 desktop which I built last year has really struggled, getting speeds of only 9-10mbps, well below what we were expecting (and well below the two laptops we have).

I guessed that the weak link was the wireless card, so was happy to give the AC1750 a go. I'm pleased to say it's made an astonishing difference. The speed is now routinely at 20-25mbps, so while still below the quoted maximum, is over double what we were seeing on the desktop previously, and actually now better than our other devices. As this is the only thing that's changed, so it has to have been the card that has improved things so massively. As such, I'm really impressed with this. It's easy to fit, and has doubled the wireless speed on the W8 desktop concerned. Recommended.


Marvel Avengers Age of Ultron Iron Man Arc FX Armour Pretend Play
Marvel Avengers Age of Ultron Iron Man Arc FX Armour Pretend Play
Offered by Duncans Retail
Price: £26.76

4.0 out of 5 stars Having a blast, 15 April 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
We got these for our son who is into all things Avengers, and it's fair to say that he loves these.

The gloves themselves are a kind of foam rubber/plastic material, and are quite large on his hands. I've tried these myself, and it's a bit like wearing boxing gloves, of all things. The left-hand glove is just that - a glove; however, there's more to the right-hand glove. This takes a single AAA battery (included, which is good), and when you make a thrusting motion with the glove whilst wearing it, it flashes, and makes a noise like Iron Man's blasters in the films. It's fair to say that my son loves this bit! He's had great fun shooting at us, the cats - in fact anything that moves. And quite a few things that don't move, to be honest!

The gloves seem quite durable and well-made, so I doubt they will fall apart quickly, like some toys. All in all these have been a big hit, and our son loves them. I'm only giving four stars, however, as it would have been nice if both gloves had the lights and sound-effects; this would have made them just about perfect. Recommended.


TaoTronics® Bluetooth 4.0 Wireless Stereo Transmitter (DSP, A2DP, 3.5mm Audio-Out Jack, USB Audio)
TaoTronics® Bluetooth 4.0 Wireless Stereo Transmitter (DSP, A2DP, 3.5mm Audio-Out Jack, USB Audio)
Offered by Sunvalleytek-UK
Price: £42.98

5.0 out of 5 stars Turns non-Bluetooth devices into Bluetooth devices!, 12 April 2015
The TaoTronics Bluetooth transmitter is a fantastic, fantastic little thing.

I've been after something like this for some time, as I own a number of Bluetooth speakers, but do not have a Bluetooth enabled PC or laptop. This means that invariably, to play music on my hard drive on one of my Bluetooth speakers, I end up copying the music onto another device (such as my iPhone) and playing it through the Bluetooth speaker from there. This Bluetooth transmitter changes all this.

Quite literally, I had this working within two minutes of taking it out of the box. The transmitter itself is absolutely tiny - approximately an inch and a half long, an inch wide, and no more than 4mm thick. It comes with a 3.5mm to 3.5mm jack lead (with two in points), and a full-USB to mini-USB cable. I simply plugged the transmitter into the USB socket on my PC; it's a case of holding down the on-button, and it then starts to charge. I turned on my bluetooth speaker, put the speaker into pairing mode; as per the little instruction booklet shipped with the transmitter, I then simply pressed the power button on the transmitter for six seconds; this then went into pairing mode (alternating flashing of a small red and small blue LED), and, after a few seconds, the devices had paired (shown by a constant green light on the transmitter). Then it was simply a case of playing music on my PC... and there you have it, music from my non-Bluetooth enabled laptop playing on my Bluetooth speaker. Magic.

I can't get over how good this is; easy to set up, and it made a nonsense of the painful way in which I had been playing music from non-Bluetooth devices for some time. Maybe I'm hopelessly naive and easily impressed, but to me this is great; I had been actively researching getting a Bluetooth-enabled laptop. This is a really good alternative, and very straightforward to use compared to struggles I've recently had with other digital music equipment. Highly recommended.


Panasonic ALL1 Network Audio Connector
Panasonic ALL1 Network Audio Connector
Price: £199.00

0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Great idea, spoiled by connectivity and app issues, 12 April 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
There are a number of products in the Panasonic ALL range - the ALL1, ALL3 and ALL8. The ALL3 and the ALL8 are actual wireless speakers to which one can stream music. The ALL1, it's important to say, is NOT a speaker; it's simply a wireless bridge which one can use to stream music to other speakers which you already own. So if you want to stream music from say your PC, laptop or smartphone to an existing hi-fi, this is what you need.

Except it isn't really what you need at all. Like other reviewers, it seems, I have had the devil's own job getting this to connect to my home wi-fi. I thought this would be easy as we've very recently been able to upgrade to BT superfast broadband, so have a very up-to-date version of the BT Home Hub. I was badly mistaken. I'm not a stupid man, and am reasonably well-versed in IT, but getting the ALL1 even onto our wi-fi was a nightmare. It would go on, say it was on, then mysteriously drop off for no reason - then it wouldn't go on again for love or money. I even got as far as having it connected, managing to play music from my iPhone through my hi-fi speakers (courtesy of the ridiculously hard to navigate Panasonic app that one needs to install on one's phone to make this work), only for it to drop out; three days later it suddenly started working again for no reason.

Mysteriously, having almost thrown the ALL1 in the bin, about a week ago things just started working, and have been fine since. No settings changed, no reinstall of anything carried out, nothing - just, out of the blue, everything's good. Baffling. But it really shouldn't be like this. I can only think there's something going on with other devices, but I can't prove this.

So, what do I think of it? Well, when it works, it's a good thing, and enables one to easily play music from wireless-enabled devices (or from streaming apps such as Spotify) over your existing hi-fi. This is a very good thing, and what I wanted - I've got a ridiculous amount of music on my NAS and various devices, and playing it on decent speakers has had to rely on Bluetooth, which isn't great - I don't own a Bluetooth enabled laptop or PC, so it invariably involved transferring music onto a small-capacity iPhone every time I wanted to play something on decent speakers. So the ALL1 is a great idea. However, it really shouldn't be this hard to get setup - and using the required Smartphone app is apalling; it's about as user-friendly as about the most unfriendliest thing you can imagine. If you've got used to iTunes, for instance, where it's easy to navigate through your music, you'll be rather frustated.

This is a good idea, good when it works, but spoiled by being an absolute swine to get working (and, not really knowing why it suddenly started working consistently, I'm concerned that it will without warning just stop again). The app is terrible - improving this would add another star to this review. I can't really recommend this, as a result; if they sort out the app and the connectivity problems, this would be a great thing. As it is, it's not.


Bryant & May - The Burning Man (Bryant & May 12)
Bryant & May - The Burning Man (Bryant & May 12)
by Christopher Fowler
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £11.89

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Genius, 12 April 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is the twelfth of Christopher Fowler's books in the Bryant & May series and, as always, features the Peculiar Crimes Unit - a tiny (and normally maligned) division of the Metropolitan Police which specialises in solving, as the name suggests, strange and unusual crimes. Or, to put it another way, to solve the crimes that nobody else wants to.

Heading the bunch of unusual characters who make up the characters are Bryant & May, two (very) elderly detectives; Bryant especially adopts a rather unusual approach to solving crime, consulting with a large number of strange characters - psychics. mediums, batty historians, and so on. May is more conventional, but tolerates Bryant's oddnesses, as more often than not they get results.

The Burning Man finds Bryant in poor health, and chaos on the streets of London as anti-capitalist riots sweep the capital - something which harks back in some ways to the London riots of 2011, and the various protests where buildings such as Conservative Party HQ were occupied in central London. During the riots there is one death, which looks at first like an accident; convinced otherwise, the PCU spring into action - and then more deaths follow, which seem linked to the first by method if not by any obvious motive.

As normal in the B&M books, Bryant ploughs something of a lone furrow in trying to piece things together in his own unique style; however, this time he is more vulnerable due to his initially unspecified illness. As the riots spread, it's a race against time to find out what is going on...

What Fowler does so well is pulling together a mixture of modern crime story, esoteric facts about London, and a wide range of bizarre and unusual characters into something that ends up being a lot more than the sum of the parts. I always think of the B&M books as being a strange combination of Dirk Gently, Inspector Morse and Ben Aaronovitch. Fowler has I think spent most of his life living and working in central London, and the vast knowledge he has of the capital makes for astonishing reading. I'm sure he could write non-fiction works on London and do very well out of them if he so desired.

This book will appeal to anybody who likes off-the-wall crime, or even just crime. Whilst you'll get most out of it if you have read previous entries in the series, it would also be fine to read as a one-off crime novel - although you may lose out on the element of sadness resulting from Bryant's ill health. What is incredible is that these books have never done better; Christopher Fowler is a ruddy genius, and Bryant & May should be household names; it's even more incredible that the characters have never ended up in a TV series. Absolutely brilliant as one would expect from Fowler, and I suspect I won't read a better book all year. If you've not read any entries in the Bryant & May series before, you're in for a treat. If you're already a Bryant & May afficionado, then what are you waiting for? This is undoubtedly one of the best in the series. Books don't get much better than this. I'm off to read the full series again from the start - and here's hoping that, against all the odds, there's life in the old detectives yet.


Soft Toy Dummy Holder by Uggogg & Inny *Charley the Cheetah* - Strong detachable dummy clip - Change dummies to clean. Cute, cuddly, lightweight animal friend for baby boys & girls. Easy for babies, toddlers & infants to hold & find - develop eye & hand skills. Washable. A family of animals to collect. Baby shower gift.
Soft Toy Dummy Holder by Uggogg & Inny *Charley the Cheetah* - Strong detachable dummy clip - Change dummies to clean. Cute, cuddly, lightweight animal friend for baby boys & girls. Easy for babies, toddlers & infants to hold & find - develop eye & hand skills. Washable. A family of animals to collect. Baby shower gift.
Offered by Astoria Products Ltd
Price: £11.99

5.0 out of 5 stars You'd have to be a dummy not to like this!, 12 April 2015
One of the challenges of having a baby who uses a dummy is that when they get lost, all hell breaks loose - and it's normally at the most inconvenient time - ie the middle of the night, when you end up scrabbling around trying to find the lost dummy or a spare. This is the problem that this dummy holder aims to tackle.

It's obvious when opening that this is a well-made item, the photos of which don't really do justice. It comes in a little muslin bag, which is a nice touch; the holder itself is a small plus cheetah, about six inches high and the same wide. It's light and very soft, so an ideal little toy for a baby or small child, let alone anything else. The dummy (included with the toy, although you can obviously use any dummy) hangs from a small loop which is fastened by a stud; just unclip this to release the dummy from the cheetah's grasp.

This is a really well-made little thing, and one that makes it easy to find a dummy when it's fallen out of the baby's mouth or when you need to quickly get a spare. It comes well-presented, and we've now bought a couple more for our baby - and can see it as being a good little present for people who have babies in the future (although not all parents use a dummy, obviously). Oh, and the cheetah has successfully survived a trip through the washing maching (an unintended one!), so it's safe to wash. A really good thing, and recommended. And if you're not a cheetah fan, it looks as if plenty of other animal versions are available. We like cheetahs, though!


simplehuman Semi -Round Pedal Bin, 50 L - Black Plastic
simplehuman Semi -Round Pedal Bin, 50 L - Black Plastic
Price: £49.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Bins don't get better than this, 12 April 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
We had to buy a new bin earlier this year and, seduced by gadgetry, we bought one that has a lid that automatically opens when you place your hand near it. What a mistake that was! Anyway, after this broke having had it for just two months, we were in the market again for a new bin, and decided on the simplehuman 50 litre bin, wanting something that was quite large, and would last a long time.

My wife's initial response was "how much have you spent on the bin?!?" when she found out how much it cost, but she's now changed her tune entirely. The bin itself is made of very sturdy plastic, and has a very wide top, which makes it ideal as it lessens the chances of getting dirt and detritus down the sides of the bin (yes, you wouldn't think it's hard to accurately put stuff into a bin, but my teenage children seem to find it very challenging). The lid itself is opearated by a foot pedal which also seems sturdy; under the foot pedal is a little metal fold-out stand that helps to support the bin and keep it upright. When you take your foot off the pedal when the bin is open, the lid then closes very slowly, which is a very nice touch - it means you can just press the pedal so the bin is open, then take your foot off and still have time to eg scrape food waste in, without having to worry about the lid closing too quickly.

I've seen some reviews moan about the fact that the bin stands some way away from a wall so moves backwards when the lid opens; well, I don't see how this can happen; there's another metal fold-out piece just behind the bin that rests against the wall, and stops this happening. What's also good is that because the bin is wide, it's easy to get binliners out without any problems. They simply unhook from around the sides, then lift out very easily indeed, unlike our previous two bins. The bin comes with a sample pack of SimpleHuman 'P' size binbags, which are meant to be tailored for Simplehuman bins of this size. These fit perfectly, and we've been so impressed with these binbags (a LOT stronger than normal black bin-liners) that we've since bought a couple of boxes of 50 of these binbags, so we have a good stock. Not having a dog, we haven't used the lid-lock function (if you press the handle in, the bin locks), but it did provide five minutes entertainment when we locked it and then watched our teenage daughter trying to work out how to open it. Sometimes I worry about the future of the human race...

I have to say that this bin isn't the cheapest (although it's a LOT cheaper than a more well-known brand I also considered), but it really couldn't be any better. I never thought I'd be sitting here enthusing over a bin, but here I am! My only moan (and this is a very small moan indeed) is that the bin is shipped with the lid not attached; you'll need to be fairly strong to fit it, as you have to press it in so hard that you're a bit worried the hinge catches will break. However in hindsight this is also a good thing, as it means that there's no danger of it ever coming off. This is a superb bin, and I can't recommend it enough.


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