Broki Mens Gym Zip Hoodie Sweatshirt

I was not too sure what to expect when I ordered this product. I found the rather macho cover photo a bit off-putting but in fact the garment when it arrived proved to be a perfectly decent quality sports hoodie. To get the macho shaped look you have to order a size smaller than you would for the looser fit I prefer.

The item is made from 100% cotton with a full-length central zip and zipped pockets on either side. The material feels soft and giving and is thicker than I expected it to be. I wanted a jacket for casual wear and for running in during the winter. So far this seems to answer my needs. The jacket is well made and has a quality feel to it that you do not get with budget-priced market stall rivals.

As regards sizing this garment is tailored for a muscled tight waisted, broad-shouldered look which few of us actually have. For those of us with normal physiques, I would suggest buying a size larger than the sizing guide suggests. I am 5’11 slightly fatter than I ought to be and I found that a size XL worked for me and that a size XXL might have been even better.

If you want a slim fitting muscle style gym jacket then this might be for you. If you want a more conventional hoodie sweatshirt then it still may well be but at a size larger. For the current Amazon price of £23.99, it is worth taking a chance on.

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Quest 35970 Benross Twin Pie Maker

Who doesn’t like pies?

Priced at just £24.60 this new gadget can bring the power of the pie to your kitchen.

It arrived nicely presented in an attractive mi market box inside of which was the pie maker itself, a two-sided pastry cutter and a large and well-printed User guide.

The pie maker seems robust and well made and strong enough to survive the rigours of extended kitchen life. On the top, there are two large status LED’s, when the heating LED turns off the device is at the correct cooking temperature. Like many countertop devices, the power cable is short but this one really is short and I found it a pain to get the pie maker positioned correctly because of it. The pastry cutter is as simple and easy to use as it seems, use the larger ring for the base and the other for the top. The here is a locking clasp to hold the two parts of the pie maker together which shuts firmly enough to ensure the pastry is sealed and crimped.

Using it could not be simpler. The pie maker cooks crimps and seals the pastry but does not cook the filling and so this has to be done separately for fruit and meat although cheese melts thoroughly. Use the pastry cutter to cut the base and lids, when at cooking temperature gently press the pastry base in place, insert the filling (somewhere between a desert and tablespoon), and carefully place the lid on top. Close and lock the lid. It will take between eight and ten minutes to cook but the lid can be lifted briefly to monitor the process without harming the pies. You may need to trim any excess pastry from around the crimped edge for best appearance.

 I also found to my surprise that the best-looking pies come when puff pastry is used rather than shortcrust. Of course, the puff pastry cannot expand but it gives a harder and stronger pastry and cooks with a more even colour on top. I have only made savoury pies so far but I have no reason to doubt that sweet pies would be just as successful and easy to make.

It device really does work well and is easy to use. The only drawback is that it only makes two pies at a time but since the cooking process is quick you can easily prepare a batch of pies in an hour or so.

For the price, this is a fantastic buy and makes it even easier to devote my life to the consumption of pies without having to make tedious trips to Gregg’s.

Dreamstone Heated Knee Pads

As a runner injuries are common particularly as you get older and so I was pleased to receive this set of knee pad therapy pads from Dreamstone. At the moment my knees are Ok but I will put the kit aside for future use as I have had knee injuries in the past.

The knee pad sett arrived nicely presented in a quality presentation box robust enough for long-term storage of the product.  Inside were the set of two knee pads together with a large and easy to read if poorly translated User guide. I append a scan of the User Guide to my unboxing video.

The two 15″ x 5″ kneepads are identical and can be used together or separately. Each kneepad is made from a mixture of Neoprene on an Oxford cloth backing and carbon fibre and has an internal mesh pocket with fours small heating elements behind it. On the front is the single Off/On control button together hardwired short cable with a standard USB plug designed to link to a 2″ power bank housed in the pocket on the front of the unit. No Power Bank is supplied with the product but they are widely available. The pad is wrapped around the knee using the two velcro straps which attach directly anywhere on the neoprene skin. Build quality of everything seems fine and the neoprene finish gives the item an upmarket feel to it.

One of the selling points of this product is its versatility. The two pads can be used separately and singly on the knee, elbow or anywhere it can be attached to. Each pad can be powered from a Powerbank of any size, when not moving around you are not tied to a pouch sized Power Bank, and can even be powered from any standard USB charging port using a suitable cable (not supplied). The mesh pouch on the inside face of the pad can be used to hold a cold gel pack or herbal compress.

Currently priced at £42.00 this a little on the expensive side but no doubt the price will soon be discounted. I would also like to see a deluxe version that includes power banks.

This is an excellent product, robust and well made and should be a boon to runners, athletes or all those with knee or elbow joint problems.

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Jonter Soundplus IPX5 Waterproof Portable Bluetooth Speaker

This is not the first speaker from Jonter I have reviewed. Like the rather more expensive M90, this new speaker places audio fidelity and build quality above fancy design and gimmicky features.

Inside the attractive mid-market product box which was the speaker itself, a short USB to the micro-USB charging cable, 3.5mm Jack to 3.5mm Jack audio cable and a well written and easy to read User Guide although printed like so many guides these days in grey ink. I enclose a scan of the surprisingly lengthy User Guide at the end of my unboxing video.

The speaker is chunky in design and reassuringly weighty giving the feel of a quality well-made product. On one side is the large and simple control panel, which features the usual volume and track controls with a button layout easy to see and simple to operate with wet hands, in the dark or when on the move. The Bluetooth status LED is situated here too.  On the rear is a grommet protected port bay featuring an Aux audio input, micro-USB charging port, and LED charging Status indicator. There is no SD card slot, which is a pity. On the front are the two 12W 3″ speakers behind a hefty plastic grill. On top is a strong rubber handle and strap which recesses into the body when not in use.

The speaker uses Bluetooth 4.2 which made pairing to my phone was easy enough and I had no problems connecting to other devices later. There is no NFC option nor can the device connect to two Bluetooth devices at once. When rebooting the speaker connected automatically and speedily to my phone.

The sound quality is first rate for the small size with plenty of volume and plenty of good powerful bass. For the size, the sound is loud, clear and resonant enough to be heard when on the beach or outside in noisy situations. This speaker is designed for outdoor use and is IPX5 rated, which means it should be fine in the rain and is protected against prolonged water splashes but not immersion in water.

The device is charged via a micro-USB port in the access panel. The two internal rechargeable Lithium-ion batteries seem powerful enough but it is a pity there is no power out port to allow the device to charge or power external devices. Also, it is advised not to attempt to play music when charging, which is another bummer.  This is a shame as many similar devices offer this as they do a built-in FM radio which again is missing here. However, the claims for eight-hour usage per charge from my experience seem pretty realistic.

Compared to many rivals this device is short on features lacking as it does FM radio, SD Card, NFC, AptX, and Bluetooth 5 compatibility which can be found in many less expensive devices. In the end, Jonter decided to put the emphasis on sound quality and quality construction. For me, this is more important for what I want from a Bluetooth speaker and makes the device a great buy for outdoor and indoor use.

The Good
Good sound
Unique design
Robust build quality
Audio in port
Easy to use controls
Non-slip finish
Excellent User Guide
IPX5 Waterproof

The Bad
No FM Radio
No NFC
No SD Slot
No Aptx
No Power Out feature
No Bluetooth 5

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Dreamstone Far Infrared Therapy Heated Waist Belt

As a runner, I often experience sports and impact related injuries. I am undergoing one right now with hip pain caused by too many long runs. As a supplement to io iPrufofen and a TENS machine, this heat belt from Dreamstone is forming a useful part of my recovery regime.

The back warmer arrived nicely presented in a rather posh looking box inside of which was the belt itself, a velcro belt extension pad and a single sheet photocopy quality sheet User Guide. No battery is included as this device needs an external USB Powerbank to operate which is not included.

The 49inX5.1″ belt seems nicely made from thick good quality Oxford material secured around the waist with velcro. The extension pad if for those of more generous proportions or perhaps those needing to use the belt with other equipment. The belt has a single large combined control button and status LED on the front with a short cable with an angled USB plug attached to it. When not in use this can slip into the small battery pocket located next to it. The pocket is rather small and you may have to hunt around to find a suitably sized Powerbank to fit into it.

Using the belt is simple enough and for me at least it is comfortable and easy to fit. After fitting the belt, just connect the USB cable to the power bank, if it fits the power bank can be housed in the pocket when in use, the press and hold the control button until it lights up and turns red after a few minutes as the temperature rises the LED will change colour to blue, and then to green.

The effect is pleasant and soothing and I would say that for me at least it has proved beneficial. There are a few common sense exclusions made in the user Guide, mainly to discourage those with open wounds from using it, Also, take note that there is no auto-off timer, so be careful not to fall asleep wearing it.

The current Amazon price of is not cheap even for a well-made product such as this but I would expect the price to be discounted soon to better compete with the many rivals available. If you need a well made and durable heating belt to help with sports or other injuries this would not be a bad buy indeed.

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ROTTAY 1Ltr SILICA GEL Sports Water Bottle

 

This is not a normal water bottle. This is not the sort of bottle you carry with you to swig from during a normal day, that is not what it was designed for. This is a camping or travel bottle that can be rolled up for storage when empty and can even be used as an ice pack or cold/warm compress and is made from 100% BPA-free Silica Gel.

The bottle arrived nicely presented in amid market windowed display box with useful product information printed on the box. Inside was the bottle, rolled and secured for storage, and a colour user Guide which has some useful tips on how to prepare the bottle for first use.

Looking at the bottle from the top there is a clear plastic hinged lid with a metal ring to lock it shut. On the outside of the lid is a plastic carrying hook and thumb operated release button. The lid screws in place to the silicone body with a sealing ring within. Inside the lid is a drinking spout and a one-way air spring loaded valve to allow the air to be expelled from the bottle for storage and to allow liquids to exit through the spout. Press the valve button when you wish to drink or pour from the bottle and when rolling the bottle up for storage. There is a thin silicone band that is looped over the bottle to secure it in compressed form for storage and travel.

After the initial sterilising rinse with boiling water the bottle does has a faint aroma common to most Silica items and the instructions list five ways to deal with this which basically are to fill the bottle with water containing a saline solution or milk, orange peel, tea or toothpaste. After an hour or so rinse it out and the smell will be gone. Saltwater seemed to work for me.

This is as much a bladder as it is a bottle and when full although it will stand upright unsupported it is not particularly stable and so care needs to be taken. It is best transported using the carry handle rather than just stuffed into a bag. I have had no problems with the bottle leaking but I would be concerned about it getting squashed when in an overfull bag.

Priced at £19.99 this is not the cheapest I have seen but keep in mind that this is more than just a plastic bottle and could prove very useful for campers, backpackers or anyone on the move.

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HP Tango 100 Smart Home Printer

 

 

What we have here, in essence, is a pricey but good quality small footprint entry-level inkjet colour printer which needs a phone app to get the full range of features and offers a novel and expensive optional subscription ink service.

The printer arrived very attractively packaged in a large and colourful box with a mass of largely useless paperwork. No proper manual is included but if you can wade through the bumpf you will find a hard to read and annoying pictogram-based Start-Up Guide. What is included is the printer itself, UK and EU power leads, a print tray/stand, sample black and colour ink cartridges, and a sample pack of 4×6″ colour glossy paper. The combined stand and print tray works but is annoying to use and not really needed.

The first thing to do is to install the HP Smart app, then follow the printed instructions you get your printer attached to your home wifi network. Everything else can then be done using the app although to get all the features configured can and will take some time. You may find it easier to use the PC to make the more detailed account settings. There is no Ethernet option, this device is Wifi only. To get the best, or indeed anything, from this printer you will need to open an HP account and register the app. You will need to do the same on your PC, Mac or any other devices you wish to print from.

Once set up and running I have to say that print quality for both photos and normal documents is excellent and the equal of any other inkjet printer I have used although by no means the fastest. So I will say no more about the print quality but devote some space to the novel aspects of this printer.

Almost everything is done through the app. You can connect to and configure the printer and all the various features of the HP  account using it. It can also be used as a surprisingly effective scanner allowing documents and photo’s to be scanned using the app and printed, emailed or saved in various formats. The scan quality is far better than I expected and for small amounts of scanning, it really does a very decent job. Prints made through the app can be edited and tweaked as well in an equally simple and easy to use manner. That said, I would still prefer a built-in hardware scanner but that would not be practical in a device of this size.  The remote features are good and I enjoyed being able to take some pictures, quickly set them to print over the air and have them waiting for me when I got home.

The other novel feature of this device is the ‘HP Instant Ink’ service which although not mandatory is certainly the way HP wish you to go. The idea is that you subscribe to this service which gives you a certain number of prints per month – £1.99 for 50 is the starting point with 300 monthly for £7.99 at the top – and when you exceed this number you are charged a fee, unused prints are added to the next month’s quota. Yes, HP are monitoring your printer and know how many prints and of what size and type they are. When the ink runs low you will receive replacement cartridges through the post as part of your plan along with a prepaid return envelope for the used cartridges. At the time of writing, all photo’s and documents printed using the app are ‘free’ and do not count towards the plan quota. It should be said that this subscription service is optional and does not need to be signed up for. Cartridges – one for colour and another for black inks – can be bought online in the usual way are freely available at standard prices.

Some people may like the print plan and for small volume users, it is not a bad idea if you are not too bothered about HP delving into your PC and printer’s innards. As I said before, this is a good quality little printer capable of decent results. If you are not interested in the app features, don’t want the print subscription plan or prefer an ethernet connection then you may find the current £129.00 to be on the high side.

The Good
Good quality prints
Easy to Setup
Powerful App
App scanning feature
Ink Subscription scheme
Wifi printing

‘Free’ photo prints from phone

The Bad
Expensive
No built-in scanner
Subscription printing expensive
Privacy Issues
No Ethernet
Poor Documentation

Separate print tray

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