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Andy_atGC (London UK)

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LINDY Mains Clover Leaf Power Lead UK 3 Pin Plug 2m
LINDY Mains Clover Leaf Power Lead UK 3 Pin Plug 2m
Offered by Renshaw House
Price: £5.99

2.0 out of 5 stars Very poor fit, 27 Feb. 2015
Lindy is the brand that is returned to time after time as their products are always reliable - but not this time!

Bought to replace a Euro Schuko cable, the socket end of this cable does not grip the connector in my computer reripheral but falls out under its own weight.

Quite useless for my needs and it is to be returned.

Philips 288P6LJEB/00 28 inch LED Monitor (3840x2160, HDMI, DVI)
Philips 288P6LJEB/00 28 inch LED Monitor (3840x2160, HDMI, DVI)
Price: £380.60

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent 4K monitor able to display bright and accurate colours; its software is not as good, 26 Feb. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The Philips 288P6LJEB/00 is a 4K monitor with a display resolution of 3840 x 2160, exactly 4 times that of full HD. Not only do you benefit from many more additional pixels but it allows more than 1 billion colours which provides a far finer colour graduation in images and movies than the 'mere' million or so provided by full HD. It achieves this by using a 10-digit binary encoding rather than the nominal 8-bit of full HD. It also happens to be the second such monitor possessed, although the first is used in another location, but this is far the more fully-featured and the better performer.

Currently, at February 2015, there are probably no more than six or seven 4k monitors available and all but one use the exact same screen module as does this, a TN type from an almost unknown manufacturer which, although using the best of current TN-related technology cannot equal an IPS-based alternative yet alone those featuring some of the more advanced new technologies now available. IPS screens size-for-size are generally up to 30% more expensive to the manufacturers and the recent technologies are considerably more expensive, a cost which is invariably passed to the buyer. All the current TN-based 4K monitors retail from about twice the price of a comparable HD monitor. The only 4k monitor not using a TN module costs about four times the price of this and few can honestly justify that level of expenditure! As the same screen module is being used across several models, image characteristics are going to be quite similar although the various manufacturers differently tweak performance.

Correctly viewed, the images from this monitor are very bright and close to colour correct. Lower your eye level to that of the bottom edge of the monitor and you will begin to see the apparent dimming of the image and some colour changes. Drop the eye level any further and the dimming and colour changes will be quite severe; a bright yellow will become a rich chocolate brown with the low viewing angle, for example. These changes will also apply when viewing to the sides and from above. Philips go one step further than many other manufacturers and provided a calibration test with a print-out for each individual unit. This ensures best possible settings and saves the user a possibly difficult task.

Philips monitors and TVs are generally known for their bright and lively images and that applies to this. Independent tests claim colour accuracy to be very good and so close to perfect as to make little real difference - the green performance is slightly the weakest but blue and red are almost spot-on, and that will be true of this module whatever the retail branding of the finished product. There is a slight wobble in grey-scaling in this with the darkest greys tending towards black and the lightest to white; slight tweaks to gamma, brightness and contrast could correct much of the problem. Other brands' examples may offer slightly better grey-scaling but their colours are mostly far less accurate and the gamma set far too low.

Overall, this is a very well-featured model. Not only does it allow a generous back tilt (25 deg), there is a smaller 10 deg forward tilt to the screen but there is height adjustment, too, which isn't very common. It is normally used horizontally but you can also rotate the screen to vertical, although it is not auto-switching but a software solutioon is included within the software support package. You will need to tilt the screen temporarily backwards to gain clearance from the base even with the monitor raised as far as possible. Inputs include HDMI, DVI with MHL, VGA and DisplayPort and all the relevant cables are included. Also included is a CD with its documentation and Philips own SmartControl utility which apparently offers similar controls to NVidia's Control Panel, for example, or the equivalent utility for your brand of graphics card to tweak the monitor's settings and performance. However, after installation, its immediate effect was to change the factory settings for a far dimmer and less contrasty display and not one that was found pleasing. Any adjustment within SmartControl was impossible as all were greyed out and could not be made active; you may therefore prefer to ignore it or not to install it until it can be fixed.

It is worth noting that a common complaint about 4K monitors from gamers is that they 'never' support a frame rate higher than 30Hz and that gameplay is affected by the slow screen changes, ghosting and other phenomena. That claim is only true if they are connected by HDMI (which is common to almost all 4K monitors) or DVI (offered on a few) and that may be either because their PC or monitor does not support DisplayPort and they have to use whatever connection is available to both. Connect via DisplayPort when possible, which is becoming increasingly common on the latest PCs and laptops but not yet universal, and the 60Hz frame rate may be possible. However, with this monitor, Philips have chosen to set its refresh rate to a default of 30Hz presumably to ensure widest compatibility across its several connection options. To obtain a 60Hz setting, you will need to change a setting through its On-Screen Display menu.

There is a built-in USB hub providing two USB 2.0 ports and two 3.0 ports, of which one is Sleep and Charge compatible. Audio is also built-in and features twin 3W downward-firing speakers. The sound quality is acceptable for day-to-day computing, but is lacking in any real bass performance and tending always to being a bit too treble-obvious which is to be expected with such a minimal depth available (less than 50mm at the deepest points). Gamers, audiophiles and those wishing for the best experience from the DVDs or Blu-Rays will certainly not use them as their default. Audio performance is no worse than other such audio-fitted monitors but few are intended to replace a good set of PC speakers. Overall dimensions without the stand are 659 x 395 x 49mm and you can add another 180mm (actually slightly less) to the height with the stand in place. The bezel depth is minimal at around 18mm around the top and sides and greater at the bottom to accommodate its controls for audio and video adjustment.

With this monitor, on-screen imagery is excellent, sharp and with very realistic coloration. It is well priced, not much more than the least expensive currently available but exhibits rather more consideration for design, features and usability and much improved performance. It is about 25% less in price than a very popular branded version (possibly the best selling monitor brand overall) and also exceeds that in its performance and connectability. In brief, this is probably the best available current choice without needing a bank-breaking price tag. It would be a ideal choice for gaming, large-scale image editing, CAD, complex spreadsheets and, if used vertically, able to provide an ideal single page-viewer for word-processing or document reading. In horizontal mode, editing two documents or two different pages of a single document would be very easy with both more than A4 as seen on-screen. Equally, there is a sufficiently large screen area to accommodate several program windows without needing always to cascade.

The monitor came supplied with a Euro mains plug only. It also uses a circular 3-pin connector rather than IEC and, although not difficult to obtain, they are far less common than IEC and some appear not to offer a good connection to the monitor. The most practical solution is a Schuko-UK adapter that is fused and preserves the earthing provisions in the mains plug.

The Friendly Swede Bundle of 2 Premium 350 lb Paracord Keychains/Key Rings with Carabiners in Retail Packaging - Lifetime Warranty (Black Yellow Camo + Black)
The Friendly Swede Bundle of 2 Premium 350 lb Paracord Keychains/Key Rings with Carabiners in Retail Packaging - Lifetime Warranty (Black Yellow Camo + Black)
Offered by The Friendly Swede [UK]
Price: £7.27

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Strong, good value and two in the pack, 26 Feb. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Substantially constructed!

The key-ring is of a size able to accept 5 or 6 keys without crowding but you could loop on a far larger split keyring if this one is too small. The caribiner is about 5cm in overall length and should be able to hook onto most trouser belts unless they are unusually wide, any convenient attachment on a rucksuck or backpack or whatever else is available.

As you get two for the price, the value is excellent especially as a higher price was previously paid for a metal chain keyfob which started to lose its glued on decorations within a few weeks or months.

Masterplug Indoor Power SHADC-MP Shaver Adaptor Fused (White)
Masterplug Indoor Power SHADC-MP Shaver Adaptor Fused (White)
Price: £1.49

4.0 out of 5 stars Often needed and used; very inexpensive, 25 Feb. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Bought to replace another of identical appearance where the fuse had blown - not a major issue and it appeares to use the 20mm fast blow type. In that instance, the 20mm replacement fuse simply would not fit and the cartridge was found to measure closer to 18mm than 20!

The fuse in this was removed and measured and found to be close to 20mm so it may be worth a try if this fuse did blow.

They are very inexpensive and if the fuse is non-standard, I would just replace the whole thing.

WMA 20 X Small Lobster Detachable Swivel Clasps For Key Split Ring Blanks
WMA 20 X Small Lobster Detachable Swivel Clasps For Key Split Ring Blanks
Offered by weeton-de
Price: £2.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Good quality and value, 25 Feb. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Good quality product and the keyring is a useful 24-25mm external diameter.

Unfortuately, as they were shipped from the Far East (a fact not appreciated when ordering) they arrived too late for an immediate need which was solved in another way. However, although I shall probably not need all of the 20 in the pack, some will undoubetdly prove useful at a later date.

Linksys EA6350 Dual Band Smart Wi-Fi Gigabit Router
Linksys EA6350 Dual Band Smart Wi-Fi Gigabit Router
Price: £85.60

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good candidate to replace an older or less capable model, 24 Feb. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The Linksys EA6350 is an 802.11ac router that will be equally ideal for use in the home or in a small business. It is also ideal to accompany a fibre broadband adapter or cable broadband and could therfore replace another ac ISP-provided router which may be of indifferent performance, have a lower speed, fewer features or be restricting to its users. It does not support wired broadband. Unusually, it has two fixed external antennas (for 2.4GHz transmissions only) plus a further three internal antennas dedicated to 5GHz. The overall appearance is rather plain and mostly black plastic other than the front to rear grey bar inset into the top into which is set a single bar-type LED indicating power, status etc. This avoids the 6-12 individual LEDs sometimes seen on other routers. There are moulded-in labels on the base with the product's serial number and MAC code on one and its ID and WiFi pasword on the other; these should be better surviving than the paper labels sometimes seen. A brief Getting Started Guide is included but the included CD provides detailed documentation.

There is a rather tiny rocker switch for power at the rear plus the usual reset button and a tiny WPS button that can be used when connecting other equipment via WiFi. A UK plug-type power adapter is included. The router is physically quite large and needs to be used in a hoizontal position; with dimensions of about 22.5cm wide and 18cm deep it will need a sizeable surface on which to sit; it is only about 2.5cm high discounting its antennas, but about 12.5cm tall if they are completely vertical. BT's Home Hub 4, for comparison and as an example, is about as wide but about 5cm shallower although designed to stand vertically and it has no external antennas. Three sides of the Linksys are vented and the base is moulded in a patern that appears to be further venting. Its feet are the same hard plastic used for the casing and not non-slip; a little BlueTack (or a pierced rubber matting) should stop any unwanted sliding around.

An ac-capable router is ideal for streaming of movies, online gaming and any other potentially high-traffic needs whether this is occasional, or for short or extended periods where their higher data transfer speeds will be much appreciated. All such routers are quoted as providing a total declared throughput, 1200 in this instance, which is split 300 Mbps at 2.4GHz and 900 Mbps (more accurately 867) at 5GHz. These are fairly typical values although higher individual or overall speeds are available on other models or brands.

Connection provisions are fairly standard with a total of 5 Ethernet ports (one WAN plus 4 LAN) and a single USB port which could be used for a NAS device, hard drive or printer. Security provisions go beyond the usual norms and add WEP (not usually seen on ac routers) and three strengths each of personal and enterprise levels of WPA and WPA2 including combined WPA/WPA2 options.

A set-up CD is included in the overall package although its use is not essential and may be needed only by the less experienced. Those who know or can obtain the various essential settings used by their existing router may be able to print them out via their router's software package or copy them onto paper to be transferred to the Linksys once the more basic set-up tasks have been completed. It includes a fairly standard web-based control and information front-end comparable to those of just about every router (even the ISP-provided ones that may be superficially closed to user access).

For those who probably would not use them, and many do not, DMZ, port triggering, UPnP and a virtual server are fairly common features that are not supported and may therefore make the router easier to set up and control. For those who would need and use one or more of those features, it may well strike this model from their shortlist. In compensation, it has been made possible to access or control the router, possibly to ascertain performance, change a setting etc, either from a smart phone or tablet. Again, this is a feature that only some will need to use, but may be a definite plus for others.

As with many current products, not just computing-related ones, you are expected to register your purchase with Linksys. It can be skipped or deferred, if you prefer, but you will need to do so eventually as it will also open the gateway to any firmware updates that may currently exist or will later be issued and any on-line product support that may be needed at a future date.

Different routers can perform better in some environments than others and may prove faster or more reliable than another in the same location but may also perform less well. It isn't a fault of the router but reflects how its designers may optimise it and that it may not be a best fit for your location. It did improve bandwidth for me, but not dramatically, when compared with my current ISP-branded ac router - a 2 or 3-year-old model that may not implement the most efficient standards available when it was supplied, or since, and which had been recently updated to a later hardware version. Disconnections, outages and other service interruptions are extremely rare although an occasional router reset can remedy the occasional data log-jam when flow slows to a halt; it is consequently impossible to claim any obvious improvements in those areas. Others may find a far improved performance when compared to their current equipment.

Linksys has a solid reputation built over several years and is associated mostly with home-based products and those for smaller businesses. It is now associated with Cisco, arguably the oldest and most respected of network hardware providers and especially corporate scale network distribution. It has to be assumed that their combined experience in serving customers' interests has been used to get the most from their products. The router appears solidly and reliably built and should last until the next new standard is implemented, and beyond.

Capable and not overly expensive (you could pay considerably more for some models), it will be a good candidate for many. It should also prove easy to set up for most.
Comment Comments (8) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 25, 2015 6:35 PM GMT

Sage Instant Financial Package 2015 (PC)
Sage Instant Financial Package 2015 (PC)
Price: £169.98

3.0 out of 5 stars A market leader but carefully review its terms before acceptance, 24 Feb. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Sage Instant Financial Package is a PC-only package comprising two smaller Sage products, Sage Instant Accounts which is separately sold and recently reviewed and Sage 50 Payroll which covers a staff of up to 15 personnel. Both are the most current versions and apply to the 2014/5 Tax Year soon to close (at Feb 2015); it isn't clear whether Sage will provide a free update for 2015/6 Tax years and whatever changes may be demanded for the two packages in order to meet them.

Instant Accounts is a financial package for the smaller business and the Payroll add-on makes that very clear with its limited number of staff it supports. While 15 staff may define a small business to Sage, many businesses call themselves 'small' but employ larger numbers and for them this package will be unsuited even if there is just one extra employee. It is possible that there may be a freeware alternative that is 100% UK legal, but supporting slightly greater staff numbers and thus slightly larger businesses but without being truly 'large'.

Much of what was written previously about Instant Accounts applies equally to this and need not be repeated, but elements do need to be re-stated. The terms of usage and the rights Sage claim are not shown on the packaging, the product documentation, Sage's product pages or even their advertising material. You could be buying blind and the phrase 'caveat emptor' or 'buyer beware' should be borne in mind.

Other than the obvious differences in their respective tasks, set-up and installation procedures for the two packages are essentially identical. Also identical is the expectation that the purchaser will, during set-up of both, accept Sage's on-screen demands for extensive details of the business's officers, trading address(es), and contact names and numbers. One may question the need for such details until it is realised that Sage demands rights of access to premises, accounts and other trading documents and possibly anything else they deem relevant without needing to explain their reasons or intentions.

Although less familiar with other accounting or payroll software at this level than with Sage - although more experienced with products suited to far larger businesses with (tens of) thousands of accounts and hundreds of staff - no other product (current or past) is known to include similar demands for intensive access. One accounting software company stated in response to a question asked during training that they would not contact any client unless in response to a request for assistance.

Personal experience with Sage products (not recently prior to the two packages reviewed) was always sometime after accounts and controls had been implemented, other than needed additions or changes. There is no recollection of being told about anything exceptional that should be known or made aware of any issue that could invoke an enquiry by Sage. It is almost impossible, with hindsight, to believe that any of the businesses then concerned would have concurred with terms such as these without ensuring that those using the software day-to-day understood how their actions may cause such an enquiry that could affect their business had similar terms to those applying here then applied.

Although the software is potentially capable, very popular, and a market leader in the UK and several English-speaking countries, it is not quite so easy to learn or to use as the distibutors claim. It may demand the services of a qualified and Sage-experienced advisor or accountant just to set up its various structures, ensure compliance with Tax and related legislation and any additions that may be slightly unusual or business-specific. Courses at various levels may be a medium- or long-term need. You may also need to consider mistakes that may occur unless staff are correctly trained and their potentially serious consequences for the business. Conversely, a local payroll service may cost a company the equivalent of a few £ per week/month per employee and probably below £100 per month in total, but somewhat more in London; comprehensive accounting services will be more expensive but probably less than the costs of an advisor and any planned training and both should avoid the potential pitfalls.

It is difficult to whole-heartedly recommend the package. If you must use it and can see no viable alternatives, including third-party services as indicated above, then do so fully aware of what may be involved.

Genuine Nissan Juke Tailored Textile Car Mats KE7551K021
Genuine Nissan Juke Tailored Textile Car Mats KE7551K021
Offered by Vospers Motor House Ltd
Price: £27.96

5.0 out of 5 stars Hard-wearing, designed for the vehicle, easy to clean, 24 Feb. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
As we are soon to take delivery of a Juke, this set was purchased in the knowledge of just how well the corresponding set for the Nissan Note had performed over abou 6 1/2 years. The Note set is showing slight signs of wear but looks likely to survive another few years. Other than the obvious differences in shape and size needed to fit different models, the fabric appears to be identical and feels very similar. If you were to buy another Juke in a couple of years, the mats will probably transfer should you wish

The set comprises two mats for the front and a far larger one for the rear. The driver's mat has extra protection and a more non-slip surface to provide additional security when using the pedals. As this area also sees the most foot movement, the extra thickness will better resist long-term wear.

The mats clip into their ideal locations with popper clips, which may be a little stiff to engage at first but a little more pressure usually does the job. They can be easily brushed or vacuumed to remove any road dust or plant material while in situ and need not be removed unless you wish to shampoo them.

A custom fit and very hard wearing, you are unlikely to find better.

Gerber  Diamond Knife Sharpener
Gerber Diamond Knife Sharpener
Offered by Buying & Saving
Price: £10.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Effective tool in a compact size, 24 Feb. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
A sharpening stone in a pen-sized package. Rather than the usual method of sharpening a knife against a stone, with this it is the stone that is applied to the knife. The tool is fitted with a pocket clip which would allow it to be available when out camping, trekking etc and when a sharp knife is needed.

There is a locking grip which, when loosened, allows the stone to be fully extended. It provides a single grade of sharpening - coarse - but with three different sections. The flat surface is used with all ordinary bladed knives or the normal 'straight' section of a mixed blade. The rounded sections are used within the serrations of some knives and then there is the groove which is used for the peaks of the serrations.

There is a YouTube video that may better explain this than a few words, but it is mostly useless padding and only a few seconds that is useful - if you consider showing the action rather than actually sharpening a blade to be useful - but it is better than nothing.

If used well, it does precisely what is calimed but, as the grade is rather coarse, you should only need a few strokes to achieve a result. If improperly used, it can blunt a good blade all too easily.

Garmin nuvi 2699LMT-D 6" Sat Nav with UK and Full Europe Maps, Free Lifetime Map Updates, Free Lifetime Digital Traffic Alerts and Bluetooth
Garmin nuvi 2699LMT-D 6" Sat Nav with UK and Full Europe Maps, Free Lifetime Map Updates, Free Lifetime Digital Traffic Alerts and Bluetooth
Price: £179.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A highly featured update on an older 255W, 24 Feb. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The Garmin 2699 is a 6-inch screen satellite navigation system with maps for 45 European countries with lifetime map and traffic updates. Bought to replace a 4-year-old Garmin 255W which has been completely trouble-free other than for its occasional insistance on a U-turn under impossible situations, the on-screen presentation is not only clearer due to its larger size but has been re-worked in part. The 255W was bought at a very similar price despite its far smaller screen, fewer features and paid-for updates; by comparison, this is therefore a huge bargain. The maps will be far clearer and less confusing on this, motorway lanes and slip roads especially.

In the box is the navigator, its windscreen suction mount, the universal adapter that allows mounting on alternate bases, the car power lead with traffic receiver and a very short data transfer lead which you may wish to replace with a longer one if its length fails to meet your needs (a standard mini-USB cable can be purchased for £2-3). A brief Getting Started Guide is included but the manual is online and available also by a download (HTML only).

You will need to download Garmin Express, the main software interface for the SatNav, once your device is auto-registered, and there may be additional software and various updates and it may help if the connect the Garmin to your PC with the transfer lead. There may also be map and traffic updates. A Points of Interest add-on, for which a trial version is available to assess its usefulness, but otherwise requires an annual fee to be paid is also available. As you need not pay for map and traffic updates, if the POI service is needed and it probably will be if you take out the family at weekends and during summer or travel on business etc, it will not be too costly to install or to update.

Although some things about its interface have changed for the better, there is much that is essentially unchanged. Although satellite acquisition times are usually far less with today's SatNavs than those of a few years ago, there was an observed delay with this. After about 5 minutes and out of the car, it had not succeeded in acquiring a minimal mumber of satellites, or possibly any. Although well away from buildings, it was only once again indoors that it indicated satellites had been found, but that lasted for a few seconds - reception is not usually possible within buildings. A second attempt, also out of the car, acquired the satellites after 90-120 seconds, but only when about 75 metres from any tall buildings. Experience with other SatNavs, the 255W included, and in a moving vehicle usually shows satellite acquisition within about 30 seconds.

Once basic set-up is complete and the device is charged - a mains charger is an optional extra but any USB-plug adapter will work with the provided cable - you can then select personal preferences such as avoiding toll roads, motorways etc and choose other preferred settings from within other areas of the menu, not all of which were offered on the 255W, but are very welcome.

A carry case is one of its accessories but it is a pouch and will take just the SatNav. The old problem of what to do with the mount adapter, suction mount and the leads plus any additional accessories that may have been purchased still remains unless you opt for a small gadget bag, accessory pouch or similar; they could be kept in the glove compartment or another storage area but the universal adapter is quite small and could be lost if not enclosed within something. One accessory not offered, but which may prove useful, is a stylus - one of the soft touch types sold for most tablets will prove ideal - as it will make 'typed-in' destination choice far more accurate as fingers can hit multiple on-screen keys. Alternatively, you can use voice commands but they can be unreliable if the radio is playing, passengers are speaking, or if there is excessive outside noise. A stylus may be more positive and accurate.

The 2699 appears to offer much more than the older 255W and should be no less reliable. You may need to exercise due diligence in its placement as it can obscure the view ahead, road signs and traffic lights etc if ill-placed.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 27, 2015 8:37 PM GMT

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