Firebox writer of the year competition winners
In August, Pocket-lint and Firebox ran a competition to see whether the Firebox readers had what it takes to be published on Pocket-lint.
The entries flooded in and now we can announce the winners.
All the entrants had to do was email the gadget and gizmo site a 250 word review of a Firebox product of their choice.
The winner, and one runner-up, receive a pair of "golden tickets" to the quirky gift store's annual Christmas press event, held on Wednesday 15 September in central London. It gives them a chance to play with the hottest toys and gadgets this side of 2011.
First, though, here's some entries that came very close to winning. Although they don't get a prize, both Pocket-lint and Firebox think they deserve a big "distinction" tag:
Review of Beer Soap
by Gary Murphy
The two words beer and soap are rarely seen together. Both real ale and fizzy boy lager slurpers would rather their beer hand was used for alcohol or other nefarious purposes than cleanliness.
But now you can get that authentic eau de brewery sensation while wasting morning time under the shower. People at work will assume you're burning the candle at both ends, but oh no, your Stella flavoured slab will make you feel like you're in the boozer every single day.
So don't waste your dwindling coffers on shower gel, be a real man and get hairs stuck in your beer soap. Feel the solidity of a soap bar and smell the authenticity of your preferred tipple, instead of your girlfriends herbal essences.
And while you're at it why not try out the Guinness, Toon Broon Ale or Kronenbourg? The aromas will make you feel drunk happy without drinking gallons of brown liquid.
So don't delay, you can even throw a bar into your gym bag, or use it as a paperweight for your FHM collection. Indeed, who could miss out on a chance of owning something functional, beautiful and yet nice tasting (a bit like the missus)?
MyTunes MP3 Amp
by Amy Durrant
In today’s tech enriched society, it is safe to say that MP3 players have transformed our world into a hub of tunes and Apps. Thankfully, the population can blast their music heavenward with the MyTunes MP3 Amp.
This 5W monster of a speaker offers incredible sound quality with no distortion. The Amp easily fulfills the wildest fantasies of rock and rollers across the country with its classically rugged design. Not to mention, it easily satisfies the budget of any money conscious student.
Now, I imagine you must be thinking, ‘But I don’t have an iPod?” No problem for the MyTunes Amp. This nifty speaker offers the ability to play your mixes and mash-ups from any MP3 player with a 3.5mm jack.
Entirely portable and light enough to hold in the palm of one hand, the Amp runs on 3x AA batteries; providing enough juice for even the most constant raver. Should you need an extra power boost, there is the option to plug the speaker into your computer through USB and save the batteries for a more suitable outing.
The real quality that sets this little speaker apart from the larger and more expensive competitors, is its’ ability to effortlessly combine portability and volume with the classic rock design.
Having trawled the net to no avail for a speaker that comes close to matching this piece of musical engineering, it seems that the old adage ‘Size doesn’t matter’ really does come into its’ own with Firebox’s MyTunes MP3 Amp.
by Dave Matthews
Here’s the predicament. You love your modern gadgets to communicate, entertain, educate or just be silly with, but these gnaw at your tree-hugging greenie core. No one wants to feel responsible for making Pingu homeless do they?
Enter the Freeloader. Less the random party namesake, more a one-stop sunshine power shop for all manner of electrickery.
The Freeloader is simplicity itself to use, and basically a battery charged using a mini-usb cable, or if exploring deepest Peru or even Wolverhampton, the power of the sun. There are two solar panels that clip into either end of the main body for charging, or that fit together and clip in the bottom for travel, protecting the light harnessing cells.
Power is then transferred to your device using the supplied cable with a range of adaptors covering most applications, or a USB slot to suit proprietary connectors. This also means the end to multiple charges and adaptors taking up half your Peruvian baggage allowance.
Despite having a metal casing, it is a little flimsy, and the unit is rather plasticky. However, my unit has lasted multiple jaunts unscathed and feels just as robustly plasticky as it ever did.
It’s easy to use and carry, but does it work? Admirably so, even on cloudy days, just don’t expect it to be instant. But that’s fine; sit back, relax, and enjoy a nice cup of herbal tea feeling very pleased with your new eco friendly ways while it does its thing.
Except, perhaps, in Wolverhampton.
Now the main event:
Frosty Beer Glasses
by Paul Keating
"When I saw the competition to review any Firebox product, I knew it could only be one, the Frosty Beer Glasses. Although not bursting with microchips, harddrives or HD recording capabilities (in fact none of these), these fantastic frozen beer steins should be as an integral part of any man’s gadget collection. Each half-liter vessel offers constant cool refreshment on those long and thirsty summer BBQ days (remember those?).
These acrylic beer jugs contain a special non-toxic liquid that flows around inside walls of the cups and once popped in the freeze this liquid quickly freezes solid, thus creating a virtual goblet of ice from which to sip your amber nectar. A word of warning though, as the mugs are supplied in a twin pack, I was under the impression that I would be able to share a cold frothy bevy with my Father, for whom I had bought this wonderful gift.
He however ingeniously unitized the one-in-one-out system, where by he replenished his beer whilst at the same time swapping the glasses over in the freezer. This was a brilliant idea and kept his beer at optimum temperature throughout the day. I on the other hand was left ruing the day I didn't buy myself a pair."
Thinking putty review
by Joel Levene
Bend me, tear me; make funny shapes. Make a new kind of robot, or a family of apes.
Use it to help you; when you’re full of stress. Bring it to work: then suddenly there’s less.
You’re popularity will go sky high; go pick up some putty: please don’t be shy.
Inspiring creativity like you’ve never seen before. Once you’ve got the hang of it; you’ll soon be after more!
This unique product’ comes in all different shapes and sizes; but just like a chameleon: some even have disguises!
Some change color; in front of your very eyes. Some are even metallic: This may come as a surprise.
Some are glow in the dark, lighting up a small dark space. Some can be an illusion; when you hold it to your face.
One is magnetic; sticking to things like paper clips.Thinking putty is amazing; just watch it as it rips.
A tin for under a tenner; it’s a bargain I must say. It’s a toy for all the family; so everyone can play.
I got some quite a while ago; it was a real treat. I played with it for hours; my christmas was complete.
Thinking putty will drive you nutty!
3,2,1 it’s so much fun!
So next time You’re on line, looking for something new. If you’ve read this review and you think thinking putty is for you. Then you know exactly what to do.
Buy it now at firebox.com; and it will arrive: before too long...
At internetmatters.org parents can find all the advice they will need to keep their children safe online. Designed specifically for parents, the site offers a wealth of up-to-date, unbiased information and advice about how to deal with online safety. Parents can learn about the latest issues and technologies, get great tips on how to talk about online safety with their children and get the best advice on dealing with issues and taking action. Created with experts, Internet Matters provides detailed information, but also signposts to best-in-class resources from individual expert organisations. Our goal is to ensure parents can always access the information that they need, in a format that is clear and concise.