Prestige 1.7 L Eco Kettle.


Save Energy, Save Time, Save Money, Save Water. Performance mixed with high quality design and environmental focus rocketed the Prestige 1.7 litre Eco kettle to the Which? best buy, June 2012.

The Prestige is a kettle full of style, elegance, power and efficiency. It highlights the exact volume you require, so you never have to heat that extra unused cup of water again.


Using a powerful 300W heating element, water contained in the large 1.7 litre core is rapidly heated up giving you boiling water in under a minute. Using a state of the art temperature measurement system, the prestige switches off just at the point of boiling, ensuring that no pointless electricity is expended. The kettle also sits upon a base that allows full 360-degree rotation, making it the perfect kitchen appliance for the left or right-hander


I can’t live without my cup of coffee in the morning; this means that my kettle gets quite a lot of use. I began to get concerned when I started noticing and taking into account the amount of excess water I seemed to be boiling each time I flicked the kettle on. Therefore I decided to purchase a kettle that told me exactly, to the cup, how much water I required.

This is where the Prestige came in with its environmental focus. However, I was pleasantly surprised when I found the kettle had more in its ‘Eco locker’ than just an illuminating volume measurer. With its devilishly modern good looks, rapid boiling time and instant switch off as soon as the water boils, there was no looking back and it soon took pride of place in my kitchen (next to my Prestige toaster). On top of the Eco features there is also the added safety of a boil-dry safety cut out as well as it being lightweight and sturdy, winner winner chicken dinner.

Therefore gone are the days of endless, gormless stares at old kettles chugging their way to 100oc, to then find you only use half the water anyway, now with a flick of a switch I barely have time to get my mug out before it completes its task.

    USB Cell Rechargeable Batteries

The claim

Standard batteries are not energy efficient, while most rechargeable ones are expensive and a pain to charge. This product is, obviously, the same size as standard AA batteries and can be charged by flicking open the top to reveal the USB port connector. In as little as 5 hours these batteries charge to 90%, compared with other rechargeable batteries having to be on charge overnight.

How does it work?

Most rechargeable batteries have to be plugged into a mains socket for over 8 hours in order to gain maximum charge. However, these clever batteries have inbuilt USB port connectors that allow you charge them through laptops and other devices with a USB port. When the battery runs out, all that is required is to flip open the top revealing the USB port connector and plug it in.

How did it work for me?

As a self confessed hater of batteries, as mentioned in my review of the Eton Soulra XL iPhone/iPod Solar Charged Speaker, I love seeing anything that doesn’t require the constant and environmentally harmful, replacing of dead batteries. Therefore when I came across the USB Cell Rechargeable Batteries I was shocked that this idea had not been in fruition earlier. The idea is simple yet effective. While it does the same job as standard rechargeable batteries, it does not require extra parts essential for charging. All that you need to do to charge up the batteries is to flip open the lid to reveal the USB connector port and plug it into any electrical item. I tend to plug it into my laptop and find it charges 100% in a little over 7 hours, but 90% in 5.


    Eton Soulra XL iPhone/iPod Solar Charged Speaker

The claim

The Eton Soulra XL is a speaker system that uses an inbuilt solar panel to prolong the battery life while in use and also recharge the internal battery when not connected to the mains. The battery takes around 5 hours to charge through the solar panel compared with 2 via the mains charger. However when in use, exposing the solar panel to the sun will give the speakers an extra 3 hours play time, taking it from 5 to 8, of use and makes it idea for any prolonged outdoor activity or camping expedition.

How does it work?

Once fully charged via the mains, the 72 square inch solar panel helps boost the potential battery life of the speakers and allows extensive use away from power sources. While the battery life lasts up to 5 hours without the solar panel it lasts 8 with it, making it feasible to take with you on your outdoor travels. The solar panel can also be used to trickle charge the inbuilt rechargeable battery, however this takes significantly longer than the mains charger. The speakers also have a protective shield that covers the iPhone or iPod from splashes or sprays that occur during everyday standard use.

How did it work for me?

I get very frustrated when, during the very few hot days we have here in Britain, iI have no way of playing my favourite songs while in garden or during  camping expeditions. In the garden I have, in the past, resorted to miles upon miles of extension cables running through various rooms and out through the garden and into my iPod dock. I also refuse to have a battery powered device due to the fact i end up drowning in batteries, not knowing if they are dead or not. Therefore when i saw this solar panelled speaker system from Eton, I jumped at the chance to give it a go.

Using the AC adaptor the inbuilt rechargeable battery reachers 100% in a couple of hours and then allows me to listen to great quality sound audio for hours after. After flipping the solar panel down and exposing it to the sun, it does indeed give you extra playing time. However I found that the length of time taken to charge the battery purely off the solar panel is quite long and seems to require a cloudless day for maximum efficiency.

However, having said that this is a fantastic product that has given me much enjoyment, both in the garden and camping. The protective shield has also saved me from a broken iPod on a couple of occasions.

    Efergy Footswitch

The Claim?

The footswitch is a really simple device that cuts off electricity to all of your media devices when you hit it with your foot.

How does it work?

The footswitch trailing socket allows you to plug in several appliances to one power outlet, just like any other multi-socket adapter. But with the footswitch, you can turn them all off with one press of the foot on a large heavy-duty switch. This is ideal for those places in the home where the power socket isn’t easily accessible.

How did it work for me?

This is a really simple device that doesn’t really cost much more than a normal 6 way socket adapter. I wanted to try this to compare it to the other Efergy product – the Media Standby Eliminator.

It really is a compact, yet sturdy little device, and it doesn’t really take up much space near your plugs. The only criticism I have is that you really have to turn the tv or your dvd player to standby before you hit the switch, as I don’t really want to cut the power while they are on – maybe this is just my personal reservation. The Eliminator in comparison puts everything off in stages, from on to standby to off, which I feel more comfortable with.

This switch will work equally well on any socket with a number of devices attached however. You could use it on a computer or even on kitchen appliances.

    H2O Powered Shower Radio

The claim

A clever shower radio that, when linked in line with the shower hose, uses the power of the water flow to charge an inbuilt battery and produce high quality sound audio.

How does it work?

The pressure of the water traveling through the shower hose turns an inbuilt micro turbine that charges an on-board battery. This battery then powers the radio to play, renewably sourced but powerfully performing, sound audio.

How did it work for me?

I can think of little else better that singing in the shower, although perhaps I can also think of a few people that live with me that would disagree! Blowing the cobwebs away with a cheeky power ballad gets me in the perfect frame of mind for work in the morning. However, with shower radios that I have used in the past the batteries tend to corrode relatively quickly. Therefore I was obviously excited when I heard about the H2O Powered Shower Radio. Using the power of my shower to blare out the tunes or news in the morning sounds ideal, and with no batteries to corrode this must be a durable product.

For me the radio fitted perfectly, however I advise that you check your shower as some may come across difficulties. When it was installed, it worked perfectly providing a strong and clear sound while not negatively influencing the heat and pressure performance of the shower.

    Goal Zero Nomad 7 Solar Charger

The claim

The Nomad 7 is one of the lightest solar charges around in relation to its output. This product is affordable and self-contained while at the same time does not negatively affect performance.

How does it work?

The sun’s energy is captured by two solar panels, which then charge any device connected via USB. The Nomad 7 also comes with a 12 Volt cigarette adapter that allows you to charge a second electronic gadget. Due to the self-contained nature of this product, there are no loose cables or leads and the pocket allows you to tuck away the device that’s charging, enabling you to easily use the Nomad 7 off the ground.

How did it work for me?

I love the outdoors; there is no better feeling than being away from the concrete jungles and into the wild. However, the obvious stumbling block that makes me come back to civilisation, besides the fact I have to earn money, is that all of my electrical gadgets and gizmos soon run out of charge. Therefore in recent years I have been a keen follower of the acceleration in Solar Chargers. The next one on the list was the Nomad 7.

Firstly before I plugged anything into it to charge, it has a great array of clips and hoops with which to attach it to anything. I have, in the past experienced solar chargers falling off my bike as I cycled along, however this Nomad 7 was never less than firmly secured. It also has a great pocket with which to put your electrical device while it charges. You may think that this is a trivial attribute, but the amount of times that I have had to perilously balance my iPhone or GPS device on unstable ground next to the Solar Charger certainly makes it worthwhile.

Moving onto the performance, however, shows a slightly different result. While it is lightweight, this does in fact damage the performance levels, and I would advise anyone with an iPhone 4 or 5 to stay away. Anytime that I tried to charge my iPhone 4 it would cut out after a few minutes. After a succession of tries I figured out that this was due to a momentary drop in input caused by a shadow being cast over the Nomad 7. One way around this would be to buy the Guide 10 battery pack and run them in tandem, however with competition so high in the Solar Charger market I advise a th

    Freeloader Classic Solar Charger

The claim

This stylish, portable solar charger gives power to all of the world’s most popular electronic devices. It has the potential to charge an iPhone for 18 hours and a smart phone for 45 hours. Covered in a durable aluminium skin, this freeloader classic solar charge delivers great results while maintaining a pleasing aesthetic feel.

How does it work?

The Freeloader Classic involves three sections, each crucial to its performance. Firstly two solar charging panels are plugged into the central battery system in order to start harnessing the sun’s energy. These panels charge up the battery which is then able to charge electrical appliances through two USB ports. During periods of inactive use, the panels are hooked together, taking the shape of a standard phone, that can be thrown around without any worries due to the aluminium outer coating.

How did it work for me?

Due to my busy lifestyle i frequently find myself in the danger zone of battery power. I hate being out of charge no matter what the gadget is, be it missing a glimpse of a rare whale because my camera is out of battery, failing to catch the last song of my favourite music festival on video, or, much more likely it has to be said, not being able to find my way back to the campsite because my phone is out of juice. Therefore, with each of these solar chargers comes a bubble of excitement felt by all who go long periods without access to a plug socket.

The Freeloader Classic looks fantastic, the smooth aluminium finish didn’t just calm my fears over any potential damage but also gave the product a fantastic finish. The ease in which it is transforms from being a small phone shaped object to charging is great and certain gives this product the edge of it’s competitors. Another brilliant attribute that the Freeloader Classic holds is the small backlight LCD display that shows the current battery level and helps you maintain the most efficient charging methods.

As with all of the Solar Charge gadgets, the efficiency and speed of charge from the sun can be a problem. However the Freeloader Classic is certainly at the top end of the spectrum.

    Solio Bolt Solar Charger

The claim

Using two rotating solar panels and an on board battery, the Solio Bolt Solar Charger keeps your electronic gadgets charged. A fully charged on board battery can typically charge your smartphone close to two times.

How does it work?

While in sunlight, two rotatable solar panels charge up the on board battery. In order for the maximum amount of sunlight to be achieved there is a small hole for a pencil to fit through and turn the device into a tripod allowing it to stand and maintain the most efficient angle with the sun. When the electronic gadget needs to be charged, simply use the USB slot and begin charging.

 How did it work for me?

There is nothing worse than being ‘powerless’ in today’s smartphone society. I have lost count of the amount of times I have found myself out of battery. Too frequently I find myself guessing at directions or having to walk the last few miles home instead of a nice taxi ride, all because my phone has run out of battery. Therefore I was excited to get my hands on the Solio Bolt Solar Charger, which claims to charge your smartphone through the sun. Too good to be true? Well I found that although it is durable, waterproof and looks great, the efficiency of it harnessing the sun’s energy is not as promising as first suggested. While it claims to hold enough power to charge two smart phones, I found that anything beyond 120% (1 full charge and an extra 20%) was a bonus. The charging capabilities while in direct sunlight are good, however it seems to struggle when the clouds come over, something that may worry us all in Great Britain as we seldom witness clear skies.

However it is still effective and does provide you with that extra battery life that may be crucial for your camping trip or day out.

    Eco Button USB Power Saving Device

The Claim

Ecobutton is a simple device that puts your computer to sleep when you are away from the desk, helping to save energy and monitoring the energy you are saving. It claims to save as much as £50 a year.

How does it work?

The ‘button’ is attached to a usb adapter, which will plug into your desktop or laptop. When you press the button, it puts your computer into sleep mode, and monitors the savings being made.

How did it work for me?

I am all for helping to save energy, but this has to be one of the most pointless products on the market. Now don’t get me wrong, the button does exactly what is says on the tin – every time you press it, the computer goes into sleep mode. So what is exactly wrong with the Ecobutton?

Firstly, pretty much every computer and laptop will have a standby button on the computer already. Some will be on the keyboard, by use of the ‘fn’ key, others will require the user to change the settings so that the power button will put the computer into standby instead of powering off, something I do already. Indeed, most modern laptops are recommended not to be turned off too often. So do you really need another button to do this? Especially a relatively bulky one like this.

Secondly, does it really save £50 a year? Well this is down to how you use your computer currently. If you leave it on when you leave the room or pop out to the shops, then using this button will save you money. But if you are really that keen to save money, surely you will be turning your computer to standby anyway, so I just don’t believe it will really save that much money. I also question how much energy is used in running the button and recording the energy usage data. If you currently turn your computer to standby anyway, this will actually make your bill increase, albeit only slightly.

In summary, just have a play with your computers settings and ensure you can easily turn to standby in future. It really isn’t that tricky.


The Claim

The clever device monitors water going down the plug hole when you shower.  Memorising your first shower and using it as a benchmark, Waterpebble then indicates, via a series of ‘traffic lights’ flashing gently from green through to red, when to finish showering.  Each time you shower Waterpebble automatically fractionally reduces your shower time helping you to save water without needing to think about it.

Set it and forget it!

How does it work?

The first time you use the Waterpebble you calibrate it using the ‘reset’ button. Once this has been pressed you place it near the plug and shower as normal. The Waterpebble records the time taken for this first shower and then going forward uses this as a benchmark for future showers. The Waterpebble glows green when the water starts, goes orange to show when you should start thinking about getting out of the shower and red when you have gone beyond what is necessary.

How did it work for me?

The first thing to mention is that the Waterpebble looks great – a hell of a lot better than those really cheapy hourglass shower monitors the water companies used to give out. It really is very easy to use to – you literally press the reset button and put it on the floor of the shower so it gets sprayed with water when you turn the shower on. It senses the water and starts flashing green letting you know it is good to go. It is great that it is automatic – it starts as and when you turn on the shower, however herein lies the problem.

My shower takes about 1 minute to run hot, but I know that my girlfriends shower takes about 3 or 4 mins to run hot (she has a combi boiler) although the amount of time changes depending on if the shower has been used relatively recently before. The issue is then that the Waterpebble springs into life the minute you turn on the tap however, I don’t necessarily jump in straight away, so already my shower time is ebbing away.

I know when you calibrate it you can take into account the warming time, but as this varies from day to day you can hopefully see the issue. On the whole though, this is at most going to vary by only 20-30 seconds a day and the point is that over time the Waterpebble reduces the time it takes for the red light to flash slowly weaning you off the longer showers.

As far as water saving bits of kit go, the Waterpebble did work well. The fact it is automated makes it so easy to use and the use of the traffic light system really does cause a feeling of guilt if you shower for too long.

Priced under £10, these are a great idea if you are on metered water and have to pay for the amount of water you are using, but even if not, the less hot water you use in the home, the less gas used thereby saving you money, so in my opinion well worth taking a look!

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