Following my positive experience with the SoundPEATS Q16 Truely Wireless Stereo Bluetooth 4.2 Headphones with Mic I decided to try out a couple more products from the company.

I’m of the optinion that you can never have too many pairs of earphones. I’ve been through a lot in my time, some expensive, and some cheap and cheerful and so feel that I now have a good idea of what I’m looking for in terms of price point, longevity and sound quality.

Both of these pairs fall at what I would class as a great value pricepoint, coming in at under £13 each, both sport a stylish modern look and reviews-wise they are frequently praised by buyers. The B30 costs marginally more and in my view is still a good option on account that in addition to top quality sound it also features a microphone, which is great for use with skype and the like. In addition they have an in-line control and are a good fit too – very comfortable to wear.

The B50 has aspects that may make it your choice to though, so it’s not easy to choose between the two. In my view, the design of the B50 is appealing and the sound quality top notch, from deep bass and clear, crisp tones. The earphones comes with replacable earbuds ensuring that they’re the perfect fit. These work great with my mp3 player and are just what I was looking for.

So in summary, these are both good quality pairs of earphones at an inviting pricepoint. They come with a 12-month warranty too so that box is ticked too! Recommended!

Amazon links –  B30  –  B50

Packing for my travels is something I certainly don’t look forward to. I often find that it’s hard to create any meaningful level of organisation no matter how I fold or position my clothing. I frequently end up needing to ‘re-organise’ because sometimes as soon as open my case, it’s back to square one with a huge mess to deal with.

These compression packing cubes have helped make a big difference during my latest adventure abroad. Primarily I found that they’re useful in that I can seperate different clothes into each cube (in one I placed underwear and ts-hirts, in other trousers and tops). Another big advantage in that the compression technology acts as a real space saver. This is perfect for when there you’re short on space – as I often am when travelling as I try to go with just a carry on bag where possible. This can be especially important due to airport bag size restrictions.

The cubes (1 large, 2 small + shoe bag) have a classy look to them and are very well made indeed. The cubes have a breathable mesh cover, reinforced handle and more. This is a great lightweight item. The life time guarentee shows the company have faith in their product too, and so this provides me with peace of mind!

Buy on Amazon

This is a rather unique addition to my existing headphone collection. Like many I used to have numerous pairs of wired headphones, each somehow becoming more tangled than the next! From there, I gradually became more geared towards bluetooth headsets and technology. Now I find myself with these SoundPEATS Q16 headphones with microphone and I’ve found that these have the convenience factor and resulted in me being less restricted while listening to music, whether working, or going for a run.

This pair by SoundPEATS really do take things a level further on account that these are two individual earphones, not connected together like most existing bluetooth sets on the market. This totally cable free experience works really well. I found that they’re great for effortlessly sharing a movie or music with a friend, though of course as an individual it’s a great set to use too in both mono and stereo modes. The inbuilt microphone makes this perfect for use with Skype and similar chat apps.

These headphones have a classy, premium look to them and fall at a pricepoint that feels about right (and is preference to going the ‘cheap and cheerful’ alternative route). The product reviews for this speak volumes and echo my experience that this head of headphones offer a superior audio experience, and the earphones have a nice feel and fit to them too. They are easy to pair with just about every device under the sun (mobiles, tablets, laptop etc) via bluetooth 4.2 technology and come with a generous 12 month warranty, offering peace of mind in the purchase! Recommended!

Available on Amazon .

If there’s one thing I’m remarkably good at it’s misplacing cables. I’m not  sure how it happens really, as I genuinely do try to leave things in logical places but happen it does! It’s an annoyance that’s for sure, because in day to day life, for work and socially I simply can’t do without my phone, and if I can’t charge it, I can’t use it!

I’m soon going to be heading on my travels, so I figured I could use a new cable to be on the safe side. This one from Anker had good reviews and so I went with it.

The PowerLine+ 6ft Lightning cable is the right size for my needs as I can use the phone while charging it (which is tricky with small cables). The cable is made of durable nylon and certainly looks built to last. That was a big selling point for me, since I’d experienced fraying cables in the past and so want to side step the possibility of that happening again.

On top of this, the cable is fast charging and so even when my battery is low, I’m good to go again before long. It’s so easy to use and an over all good value option from a well respected brand. It ticks all of the right boxes and I’m really happy with it!

It seems like only a stone’s throw back when powerbanks were viewed as entirely optional and often even a bit of a novelty – their uses were pretty limited. How times have changed though. Nowadays, over half of the electronic devices I own are USB chargeable, a night and day shift from the past. From the obvious (mp3 players, mobile phones and tablets) to the less common but still often essential (USB torches, fans, lamps, alarm clocks… the list goes on), powerbanks have become something of a ‘must have’.

I’ve owned a few of these handy units over recent years, some with a higher capacity or more reliability than others, so have a reasonably good idea of what I’m looking for where powerbanks are concerned. After getting my hands on the Anker PowerCore 10000 Portable Charger I had high hopes from the outset. Anker is fast becoming one of the ‘go to’ brands for this kind of item and so I expected in advance that I’d be getting more than my money’s worth here.

This Anker PowerCore charger has a 10000 mah capacity, which in my experience is something of a sweet spot, for when I’m away from home and need a charger that’s useful (providing a few charges for my mobile phone for instance) but not overly weighty. Speaking of which, it has to be said that this power bank is unusually lightweight and compact for its capacity. That’s ideal for me as it means that storing or transporting the charger is straight forward.

More on the capacity, the powerbank is stated to charge an iPhone 6s three and a half times and a Samsung Galaxy S6 three times. As an S6 owner this mirrrors my direct experience of the product. The Voltage Boost and PowerIQ features ensure that devices are charged fast too. Arriving with a handy travel pouch, USB cable and generous 18 month warranty, this item certainly gets a thumbs up from me.

 

 

Amazon.co.ukIt used to be a fairly simple process (well once you found the right page) on Amazon UK to find your Amazon digital credit. While there was no super easy was to see it before placing an order, it was featured on the ‘How To Check Your Account for Digital Music Credit‘ page. Now though, the click-through balance link on that page is gone and you’re instead presented with instructions on how to check for the balance while looking for music. Of course though, you may want to buy Kindle books with your digital credits and in those situations there seems to be no easy ‘one click’ link now, and instead you have to go through to pages of items you have no intention of purchasing. Rather annoying!

I did spot that you can check your digital balance on Amazon Video pages though (much in the ssame way you can do with music), so maybe this will eventually be extended to Kindle book purchases too. To find your digital balance on Amazon Video pages, click on a video you want to rent or purchase and then ‘More Purchase Options’, then ‘Redeem a gift card or promotion credit’ and your balance is then presented to you. Why they don’t put it in a more straightforward location I’ll never know!

Many people build up decent numbers of ‘No Rush Delivery’ credits as a result of having Amazon Prime and it’s a pity that it’s sometimes diffficult to know if you’ve actually spent money when making a digital purchase, on account that it’s tricky to find out the value of the credits you actually have. Add into the mix the various expiry dates of the credits (not displayed anywhere!) and the fact that sometimes credits attained through purchasing DVDs can only be used to purchase Digital Video products, and it’s all a bit of a mess!

 

I made  post in April concerning what I described as the ‘Amazon £2.99 Pantry Credit Error‘. In short it meant that when the Amazon No Rush Delivery option (for Amazon Prime Members) had switched from the £1 kindle / video credit to £2.99 towards Amazon Pantry goods, you could stack these pantry credits. The credits were available on orders of the value of £3 or more I believe, so you could make several £3 or other low value orders while this offer was on and get heavily rewarded for your efforts. I was somewhat ensure of whether this was actually intentional or not, as I got very mixed messages from Amazon support on it (some said the credit was solely for the £2.99 delivery cost of pantry boxes, but this was clearly not the case). On this years Amazon Prime Day we were presented with a similar situation once again.

In hope of a 2016 repeat of last year’s pantry freebies, I individually bought a good number of low value items that I would’ve needed to order at some point anyway. Unfortunately, this time around once I received the credit benefits for my orders, I realised that they didn’t stack this time around. This was of course somewhat disappointing, however I needn’t have feared as a couple of days later I received the following email direct from Amaon.co.uk  :

stacking amazon credits

It took a while after sending the email to go live, but I can confirm that it now works and so if you have a good number of Amazon pantry credits, you can stack them to your heart’s content! Amazon Pantry has a tonne of products on offer from food, drink, toiletries and household products too, so it’s a nice bonus when making Amazon purchases and a great deal that most people still don’t even seem to be aware of. Shhhhhhhhh!

 

honest review

An actual honest review :-D. Actually, just a funny amazon review I spotted on Reddit that got me thinking back to my own review trials and tribulations.

I chanced upon the Amazon Review Trader (amzreviewtrader.com) website half way through last year. Basically it works like this, Amazon sellers offer products they are interested in promoting and you can apply for more and more of these once you get the ball rolling by reviewing the items. If you’re accepted to review a product you then receive an Amazon promotional code, which is typically but not always around 90% or even 100% off the cost of the product. Once you review the product you’ve basically completed your part of the agreement and get to keep the product (the value of which I found usually fell within the £7 – £20 range in actual value, when you factor in that some of the prices stated seem kind of inflated). I’m UK based, but most reviewers are based in the US I believe.

Sellers on the site can see selected stats from buyers/reviewers, such as the number of reviews they’ve completed, their Amazon rank and so on. When I started reviewing I found myself reviewing lots of pairs of headphones (you can never have too many pairs, right?) and other little items that I knew I’d get use out of eventually. It certainly saved me a good amount of money. As my Amazon UK rank rose I started to be accepted for more and more products as sellers saw that my reviews were generally pretty favorable and complete a couple of days after the product arrived. I added an email address to my Amazon profile which increased direct contacts as, funnily enough, did the hacking and leaking of the entire amzreviewtrader email database at one point (I was alerted to this on the reddit product testing subreddit – hi guys!). Thankfully I used a separate email address so it didn’t cause me as many spam problems as some.

Eventually I started to receive products that were a level up from before. Dehumidifiers, Portable Car Jump Starters, Water Flossers, decent Go Pro alternatives, enough random outdoors stuff to become a survivalist .. you name it, it was winging its way to me. Including images or videos in reviews was encouraged, though in my experience if you couldn’t muster the motivation to take pictures, as long as the ‘verified purchase’ review was positive, that was primarily what mattered. Companies such as Etekcity and EasyAcc have relationships with Amazon reviewers, even Anker, though the criteria to review their products is much more stringent and they tend to be on the look out for reviews on other platforms too (blogs, social networks, youtube etc). Companies couldn’t give stuff away fast enough to exchange for a ‘fair and honest’ review. I was on the brink of entering the top 1000 reviewers on Amazon UK. A conveyor belt of goodies surely awaited?

Only, no it didn’t, as my reviewing privileges were suddenly suspended. That’s right, it’s now impossible for me to leave a review on Amazon and my previous reviews have all been removed. I appealed but to no avail and for a couple of days I was really disappointed about it. In a sense it was also a relief though as I was genuinely running out of space to store things! Well that and the postman had started to get a world weary ‘here’s another 7 parcels for you today, sir’ look on his face. I had reviewed over 500 items up to that point at the cost of maybe a hundred pounds in total. There are many theories as to why reviewing privileges are removed, because believe it or not some reviewers are into the thousands of products reviewed and are still going strong. Theories range from forgetting to leave a ‘I received this product in exchange for an honest and unbiased review’ type disclaimer which Amazon rightly insists you leave (I did include this) to having multiple Amazon accounts (I don’t), or more than one person reviewing the same products in the same house / on the same IP and so on (nope!).

amazon-5-star-reviewsIt could be that it’s something of a numbers game. I reviewed many products over a short time period and for each one had to submit a promotional code through the Amazon interface, so it can be no mystery to them that I’m suddenly leaving a large number of product reviews. Moreover, even when you are leaving honest reviews, no matter what people say, it is easy to find yourself somewhat skewing towards the positive (as in more 4 and 5 star reviews) for several reasons: expectations from the seller, the desire to be given more products to review (more likely with a generous/forgiving reviewing attitude), the tendency just to agree with a seller not to review a product should it be so terrible that you want to give it one star out of five. I had also been in touch with Amazon support over an unrelated issue, which I feel may have also alerted them to the fact I’d turned into a non stop product reviewing maniac overnight. So it could’ve been flagged for that reason. If you’re a reviewer on this kind of scale contacting Amazon is a big no no so I should’ve known better.

So all in all my Amazon reviews journey as an interesting one. I’d say that I definitely take some ‘honest reviews’ with a pinch of salt, but then again I take ‘all’ 5 star reviews in that same vein anyway and one star reviews too (as I feel they’re often from competitors). That’s not to say there aren’t 100% ‘honest to a fault’ product reviewers on Amazon, there certainly are, but due to the shear number of these promotional code reviews and review sites now, eventually I feel that ‘something has to give’.  For now though, if you have time on your hands,  grab some freebies while you can!!

 

 

free deliveryYes, yes, I know, everything is called a ‘hack’ nowadays, so I shouldn’t jump on the ‘life hacks’ band wagon and should instead have just called this what it is: a way to get free Amazon delivery if your items fall short of the £20 required total. It’s very common to end up with a basket coming to the value of £19.98 or £19.99 so a good way to bump it up is is to add a 1 pence item to your basket to meet the £20 free delivery threshold.

There are a few items costing a penny on the site and they do change on occasion, but if you know a category of item that typically falls at the 1p price point, it’s hard to go too far wrong. Sim Cards are the prime area for this and 1p Sim Cards are sometimes available on the Amazon UK site. Just remember that the item has to be delivered by Amazon to quality.

If you’re a bit further from the £20 free delivery total, then there are plenty of other cheap products to choose from, like this 10p pill box and £1 household essentials like toothpaste. It’s worth adding products you’ll eventually use anyway, rather than pay extra for delivery when you don’t have to. Pennies make pounds, people!