Tag Archives: phone

Avantree Cell Phone Clip Stand review

When I received this stand I immediately started seeing the potential of this simple but unique device. As someone who used their phone all the time for taking photos, video and video calls the clip stand has so many uses. The only limitation is your imagination. Its very handy for night time use to hold your phone while you sleep, which is one of the many uses I found for it. Its not just limited to phones that it can hold obviously. Like I say, use your imagination. For television addicts, it could even hold your T.V remote so that you don’t lose it and have it close by.

Using it frees up your hands and desk space and helps reduce neck strain. 360 degree rotating, and flexible arms makes it easy to position the phone at the ideal distance and angle for convenient viewing.
The clip stand is made of white and blue sturdy material. The large clip base for stable mounting without vibrations; strong and bendy arms secure your smartphone to prevent falling or moving around.
It’s perfect for any location you can clamp it on to. Perfect for watching movies & enjoying music in the bedroom, kitchen, gym and office.
Adjustable clip height. The height of the fixed section can be adjusted from 0 to 2.75″. It is compatible with most tables and desks of different thicknesses.
Perfect compatibility. Compatible with cell phones from 3.5 to 6.3 inches.
I am really please to own a phone clip, and given the quality of the build, I can see me using it for a long time.

Pop over to http://www.avantree.com/ and check out the phone clip and the rest of their great products.

She’s away out drinking (Vlog #355)

Watch “Raining at the beach” on YouTube

Avantree Joytune Bluetooth Handsfree Car Kit with FM Transmitter review

This is an honest review of my experience with the Joytune. I have not been paid for this review.


Avantree logo

Avantree Joytune Bluetooth Handsfree Car Kit with FM Transmitter


This week I received my Avantree Joytune Bluetooth Handsfree Car Kit with FM Transmitter to review.




It comes complete with the Joytune unit itself, a car adapter, a charge cable to charge from your pc / laptop, and the sun visor clip for the back of the Joytune, along with a 12 month warranty card, quick starter guide, a user manual, and a card from Avantree advertising other products.

After fully charging and powering up the Joytune for the first time I put it into pairing mode by holding down the main button on the device, I was greeted by a rather stern emotionless female voice ( like some sort of dominatrix ) giving me instructions on how to perform the task. Once this is done, it then gives the option on your phones screen to give access to your phone book so that it can identify who’s calling when a call comes in and I assume for voice dialling. Once that was done, off to the car we went to test it on the road.

In the car I clipped the Joytune to my sun visor. I was surprised at how flat it sits given that the clip on the read seemed to stick out quite a bit. I was expecting the visor to be pushed out a bit when in the folded back position.


As normal when I get a new device I can use to interact with people, I called my best friend to check the call quality. Firstly I tried a call with the sound coming directly through the Joytune. Unlike other car kits I have tested, this pushed the voice through immediately rather than having a 30 second period at the beginning of the call where the other person could not hear anything. Immediately my friend heard me. The call quality was good, even when going along a noisy, bumpy road. The call did not fade out or break up at all. The call was ended easily just by pressing the main button on the unit.

After parking the car up, I paired the Joytune with my car stereo. This is where you may have to have a bit of patience. Not because of anything to do with the Joytune itself but find a channel with the least amount of background hiss or crackle. To connect to your car stereo, just make sure the stereo is on ( obviously ) and press and hold the ‘FM’ button on the side of the Joytune until it gives you the sexy, stern voice telling you its connecting to the FM radio. It tells you what FM channel to tune to. This is where you may need to press the ‘FM’ button a few or several times to retune to different channels until you find one you are happy with. Unfortunately, you are in the hand of the gods ( or rather the dominatrix woman inside the Joytune ) for the channels. If you decide the previous one was better, as far as I am aware you cannot go back to it. Its just whatever random channel the Joytune tells you to pick.

Once tuned in, I decided to try out the music playing side of this product. I sat and selected random songs from my collection. ( all 80’s music as I am a complete 80’s nut ). Every single song I picked came through like cd quality. The only downside was even with my phones volume turned up full, I still had to crank up the car stereos volume quite a bit to get decent volume. I didn’t adjust the Joytune volume as that would make any call coming though too loud, so I just left it. But sound quality itself was spot on. I tried making a call while playing a song and it cut the music off while the call was in progress then resumed again after the call ended.

One thing I forgot about with the Joytune and made me laugh is when I had left the car to got to a shop, came back, and the moment I got in my dominatrix friend shouted at me that I was once again connected to her. This happens automatically. It detects when you get in the car as long as your bluetooth is activated on your phone. How much drain on the Joytune’s battery this has I have yet to discover, but its a good feature. On other car kits I have used in the past I have had to manually connect to it, or double check its connected, which all takes time when all you want to do is get going. The Joytune does that for you and notifies you. Less hassle has got to be a good thing.

For those people who are curious or just a bit geeky in general about these things, here are the specs for the Joytune.

Screen Shot 2015-03-19 at 09.14.15

Up till now, I have had no problems at all with the Joytune and already I think this is the best car kit I have ever used. Believe me, when it comes to gadgets, it takes a lot for me to say that. I am very picky about some stuff.


1: No cables across my dashboard. Thats one thing that after a while irritated me about another car kit transmitter I had, was that to play through the car stereo I had to plug it directly into the AUX socket. I have enough cables already due to sat nav’s and mobile phone charge cables etc. I don’t need any more.

2: It sits nice and flat on my sun visor and also allows the visor to still open up properly. A cheaper car kit I had prevented the visor from opening up fully due to its size so when it was sunny I couldn’t really use the visor, or I had to relocate the car kit and risk poor sound quality on calls.

3: Good sturdy build. This product is well made and feels like it will last a good long time.



None at all apart from the suggestions below.

A couple of things I would like to see incorporated into the Joytune for future versions is a solar panal ( such as what is on the Avantree Sunday car kit ) so it can be getting charged whenever it is daylight and you have no worries about the battery running out and also the option to change voices for the prompts and not just the language.

Avantree Force review

Avantree logo




The Avantree Force arrived to me with three quarters of a charge already in it, so I charged everything I could until the unit was completely drained. I then placed the Force on charge and waited to see how long it would take to recharge. My other battery pack, which is a Kondor Powerbank takes at least 24 full hours to recharge fully. The Avantree force was still charging this morning after about 10 hours but was a third full. I went out with the family for a few hours and come back to find it was fully charged. So fully charging takes roughly 10-14 hours all out.


I tested the Force on my Samsung Galaxy Note 3 to see how long it takes to charge. And it was fully charged in a couple of hours. The same time as if I had plugged my Note into the wall charger.

The Avantree Force comes with one built in charge cable with micro USB cable, which folds away conveniently along the length of the device to where the plug itself plugs into a micro USB parking port for storage. Note: this port is just a dummy port meant for the storage of the built in cable and plug.

Avantree Force diagram

You can easily see how much charge is available by the 4 little green lights near the charge ports ranging from 4 lights showing it its fully charged to on light with only 25% left on the Force’s battery. You can check the battery level at any time by touching the touch switch which located on the top edge, for 3 seconds. Its a hidden button but there is a label to show you where it is.

It is Universally compatible with iPad, iPhone, Android, Blackberry, Nook, Kindle etc etc. Basically anything that Can be charged by micro USB or even standard old school fully size USB can be charged by the Avantree Force. Even stuff like bluetooth headsets or Playstation 3 controllers and some Ecigarettes and cameras can be charged by this.

Avantree Force charge image

I have charged a Galaxy s4 2.5 times and my Galaxy Note 3 once and its still got half the battery left. This power pack is out performing the normal Kondor power pack I use, and I though that was a great product.

Avantree Force dimensions

Here are the specs for the Avantree Force

Screen Shot 2015-03-25 at 05.04.09



A really stylish eye catching power pack that is small enough to stick in you bag when you are out and about and you don’t need to worry about cables as is has the micro USB already built in ready and waiting for you. Imagine sitting it Starbucks making use of their free wifi and then notice your battery is nearly depleted. No worries if you have the Force. Especially if your name is Luke. ( “Use the Force Luke” as Obi Wan Kenobi said in the Star Wars film )


A couple of things that I think could be changed are that thing I think they should include is some form of carry case or pouch for this as the glossy white plastic could get damaged or scuffed on your bag over time plus the harsh corners could damage your pockets over time if carrying in you jacket.

Even though I love the look of this power pack with its bright green and contrasting Avantree colours and the number 13000 in digital style numbering raised up on the top surface,  I do think that it could be a bit nicer Cosmetically. In its current format looks a bit like an over sized lego brick. I really think they could round the  edges off a bit to make it a bit less harsh looking and a bit more aesthetically pleasing.
Also I would to see a few more USB ports added. Theres enough space on the side to incorporate this, although I do realise this would also mean more drainage on the battery life. But people are now carrying more and more chargeable devices with them more of the time.

I will admit that this battery pack is a bit on the heavy side, especially compared to my Kondor pack but it does have a more powerful battery inside it.


I really nice well made, solid product as I would expect from Avantree that will stop you from worrying if you will run out of battery power. I can see me using the Force for many years to come as long as I don’t need to charge more than 2 devices at the same time with it, which admittedly would be rarely.

If I had to give it makes out of 10, I would give it an 8

For more information on The Force, it can be found here


God, give me strength

This is what happens when a cordless phone gets jammed in the mechanism of an electric reclining chair. Dee was wondering why the chair was making a god awful cracking and creaking noise.





Taken to hospital

Today has started a bit different to normal, and not in a good way. I woke up at 4am clutching my chest. The pain was awful. On a scale of 1 to 10 it was up there at about an 8. It was unlike any chest pain I had had in the past. This time I had the chest pain the was fro. I the centre of the chest and radiated out over both sides of the chest. At the same time I had a really bad pain in and behind left shoulder blade and was panting for air. I tried to calm myself down and eventually fell back asleep. The next morning ( today ) I woke up and didn’t feel myself. I had a numb feeling that intermittently went in waves, like a mild feeling. Also I still felt a little out of breath and still breathing heavier than I normally would. I got up, and straight away, cranked up the Mac and rang Marc, who is a very good friend of mine and fellow blogger ( www.marccorn.co.uk ). I told him what had happened last night and told him that I was a bit concerned about what happened and how I was still feeling and was not sure what to do. Should I ring NHS Direct or shouldn’t I. Marc told me that his Dad had had a couple of heart attacks in the past, and that he thinks I should ring NHS Direct and see what they say. Marc was a great help and his advice was very much appreciated. So after I spoke to him, I had a quick shower then rang NHS Direct. I answered all the questions the best I could that the man on the phone asked me, he then put me on hold then came back and said that an ambulance will be at my house within a couple of minutes. Once the ambulance car turned up, the medic ran ECG tests which came back fine, but also decided to take me to hospital for extra tests. In hospital, I had blood tests done and chest X-rays, more ECG’s, and blood pressure tests. After what seemed an age, My lovely D found me. She had managed to get away from her work. It was lovely to see her. I was so grateful that she came to make sure I was ok. After sitting for ages more, the doctor came back and told me the test results show that I had had no heart attack. In a way I was surprised that it wasn’t even a minor attack, because it certainly felt like it, but at the same time, relieved nothing was found.
Denise drove me home, where I rang my Dad to give him the good news. He was obviously pleased and told me to look after myself, this was nice considering he doesn’t normally say that sort of thing, but it shows how much closer we are becoming since my Mam passed away and the amount of time we spend together now, but also considering he is very ill himself with cancer. Then G came home from school and came straight up to me and gave me a big hug and asked how I was. To keep G happy I let her have the pleasure of ripping off the sticky pads that the ECG machine gets attached to. She laughed out loud whenever she ripped one off, especially the one on my chest closest to my nipple. That one stung like a b***h.
Tonight I had a great hangout with Marc and Carl ( www.lifeofcarl.co.uk ). It was nice chatting and having a laugh with them both after the day I’ve had.
I’m off to bed now, so hopefully I will have a better nights sleep, but I’m sure it will be in the back of my mind, being worried that I could be woken up by severe chest pains. I do hope not.

Penguins and illness

Monday morning, and I’m awake at 09.30 which means I have had 11 hours of well needed sleep. It was helped by the pain killers etc that I took last night. I was actually falling asleep in front of one of my favourite TV programmes, Person of interest. I got ‘told’ to go to bed by D, as my eyes were rolling, while I was trying not to fall asleep.
Once I had sufficiently woke up this morning, I went down to my Dad’s house and went to the bank to sort out a problem. This was easily done with a phone call from the branch. It was a case of the left hand not knowing what the right hand was doing, and paperwork being sent out for stuff that was sorted weeks ago. I don’t know about anyone else’s experience, but I have found Lloyds TSB very easy and friendly to deal with. So much so that I am actually thinking of moving to them from my money grabbing, robbing bank.
Today, I started filling in a new spreadsheet so that I can keep an watch on my finances. Its frightening to see how much money I don’t actually have, and even more worrying is the fact I have not included petrol and cigarettes in that. I feel the time is getting close to give up and join D, in the wonderful world of E-cigarettes. That would save me a fortune. Well a fortune in my money anyway.
We have been watching the final episode tonight of ‘Penguins – Spy in the huddle’. What a fascinating series this has been. If anyone has not seen it, its about 3 different breeds of penguin, in 3 different parts of the world. One of the magical things about this series, apart from how cute baby penguins are, is the footage captured but the remote controlled, disguised cameras. One is disguised as a rock, another an egg, and a few more disguised as penguins from the breed they are watching. They were able to get right in amongst the colonies. Some penguins took a fancy to the disguised cams, some wanted to challenge one of them and accidentally pulled its head off, a predator bird tried to snatch the egg cam, and one tried to mother one disguised as a baby penguin. One of the things that stood out for me,was some of the actions the penguins took, were the same as what humans would do. For example, there was a colony of penguins ( Yes thats the correct word for a group of penguins.) they all huddled together when a bird was trying to attack them to pinch one of them for food. One of the young chicks actually stood as tell as he could and put his flipper out to the side the protect the others behind him, a bit like a person would do to protect another person.

A snapshot taken on TV screen. Everyone, altogether now say ‘awwwwwwww’
penguins This series should win awards for its footage. Some of the footage shows things never, ever shot by camera before. To me, this series is a absolute masterpiece. Check out the BBC website for this programme at this address. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01460gm

Had some news tonight that a little niece of ours, K, has been taken to and kept in hospital overnight. She is feeling really unwell. She has a rash, bad tummy and being sick. The hospital say it is not Chicken Pox. Now I know, there is Scarlet Fever doing the rounds these days, even though the NHS website say its rare in the UK. I may be wrong but is it just a coincidence that Rickets and Scarlet Fever are coming back, when the UK is now in poverty? Anyway, I hope our little K recovers quickly and comes home soon.
On a similar subject, my Grandson J, who is only 8 months old, is feeling very unwell at the moment as well. He is not able to keep any food down and is being sick as well. The doctor has been out. They said he is not dehydrated but he does have a slight temperature, also theres no rash on J as there is on our niece, so hopefully its not the same thing. His mum is absolutely shattered as she has been up since 3am yesterday. We send our love to both K and J, and wish them both a speedy recovery.

Tomorrow, I have the joy ( sarcasm ), of going to see the physio. Another session resulting in pain. Also, on Wednesday, I have to attend an Occupational Health assessment that was arranged by my work. Thats going to be fun. ( sarcasm yet again ). If its anything like the one I did in the past, then it will involve lifting boxes, pulling stuff, hand eye coordination stuff, and all manor of things like that. I’ll let you know how it goes.

To end on a happier note, here is the joke of the day:

What is blue and goes ‘ding dong’?
An Avon lady at the North Pole.

A long but eventful day

11 / 01 / 2013

Today did not start well. I spent the first hour ( or two ), ringing the home insurance company AND the mortgage company. You see, every year I have to inform the mortgage company that I have valid home insurance, as per the mortgage agreement. Every year, I get my home insurance company to fax the mortgage company direct with the new insurance policy to confirm I’m covered, and if I don’t, then the mortgage company place their own insurance on top of the mortgage. This happened in 2011 – 2012, and it turned out I had been paying insurance premiums to both companies. When this happens, theres an agreement between all insurance companies that they go 50/50 on the refunds due for the over payment. Its called dual cover, or something like that.Last year I got half back, but, down to what I can only describe on my behalf as pure laziness, I never claimed the second half back and ended up losing the forms. This year I decided to get my finger out and claim it back. I received new forms in the post, but to save time I asked the insurance company to fax the mortgage company direct with the forms, which they agreed. This was a week ago, and it still has not been received. That was over a week ago. This may not seem bad but, on top of this is an ongoing problem whereas this year, since the beginning of January, the insurance company has faxed the mortgage company 4 times with the insurance details to show I’m covered. The first one, I accept was the old policy so I can understand why that was not accepted but the 2nd, 3rd and 4th times, they say they never received and keep sending me letters saying that they don’t have records of my cover. But at the same time the insurance company say that they have been faxing them, and confirming the details, and that according to their fax machine, the documents were received by the mortgage companies fax machine. I’m stuck in the middle having to take time to make all these phone calls and getting more and more stressed about it, at a time, I could do without any more stress. I’m at a loss.

After all that fiasco, I went with my Dad to the bank to fill in and sign more paperwork. With that done, thankfully, from what I can tell, thats it for now. Its just a waiting game with the solicitors, with regards to letters of administration. This is like a probate type thing, but when no will is left. This could take2 possibly 3 months, depending how complicated it is. Hopefully not that long though. So for the time being, my Dad can eventually take time out to relax and start sorting the house out, when he feels up to it that is. Theres loads of stuff, as you can imagine for him to clear out. My Mam’s clothes and personal stuff that are no longer needed. I told my Dad, If he wanted me to do her wardrobes, I would. If he found it to hard. All over the house, though, there are things that nned clearing. Either thrown out, given to charity, or packed away in boxes. It is going to have to be done at some point, and I know my Dad. He does not like fuss, so I can well imagine him just not doing it and convincing himself that he is not ready to do it, no matter how long it is, and when the time eventually comes that my Dad ‘goes’, we will have the entire contents of his and my Mam’s to clear, in the two weeks the council give us to empty the house.

Tonight, was a lot less stressful. Grace went ice skating for the first time, at the temporary ice rink at Newcastle’s Centre Of Life. This ice rink comes every year at winter and is there for a couple of months before being packed away again. Now, considering it was her first ever time on ice skates, she looked really confident. She obviously had to hold onto the side most of the time, as she was not used to it, but compared to some of the other kids, she did not look worried or frightened at all. I was really impressed. She only fell over once when she pushed herself away too hard and ended up on her butt with a thud. I think it was more her pride that took a battering then, although she may have a sore butt tomorrow.

This is G, posing for the camera. D and myself we really proud of her.

First time ice skating. Taken at Newcastle's Centre of Life. 11/01/2013
First time ice skating. Taken at Newcastle’s Centre of Life. 11/01/2013