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29 December 2015

FEATURE: Top 5 Things of 2015

Five from fifteen.

We've had a great year at The Test Pit, reviewing hundreds of products, gadgets, toys, gifts, and clothing, as well as the obligatory heaps of coffee to keep us all going. But what, we hear you shout, was our favourite from 2015? To answer we've gathered our Top 5 'things', reviewed this year for you to take another look at. The following aren't the reviews that had the most visits, nor are they posts that were shared the most over Twitter; these are just five things that we really enjoyed testing this year.

And so, in no particular order...


1. Damson Headbones

They might have first caught our eye for being a product developed right here in our home city of York (we're all dry, by the way!), but the unique Headbones from Damson truly was something that made an impact with us in 2015.


The special Bluetooth headphones rest on your cheekbone, just in front of your ears, meaning you can still hear the world around you while listening to music. We loved them as they are perfect for cyclists who still need to hear what's happening on the road, and also because they are exceptionally good wireless headphones.


Check out our review here.


2. LEGO Simpsons Kwik-E-Mart

2015 might have been the year we were introduced to the impressive MEGA Bloks Halo range, but when picking just one of the many brick-based building toys we reviewed this year, there was doubt it would be the Kwik-E-Mart. Not only was this giant set the largest we've ever assembled, it was also the most fun and feature packed.


More than 2200 parts went into the construction, but LEGO kept the instructions varied so there was no 'click together 300 yellow bricks in one go' sort of thing. The completed set is packed with in-jokes, great details, and five excellent minifigures. This was also our most photo-heavy review of the year. Makes sense.


Check out our review here.


3. Vorwek Kobold VK 150 Upright Vacuum Cleaner

We reviewed a few awesome vacs this year, from robotic versions to upright cordless suckers, but the one that impressed us the most was this involved (and expensive) effort from Vorwerk. The Kobold VK 150 was unlike any cleaning gadget we've tested previously, and the demonstration we were giving right here in Test Pit Towers knocked our socks off.


Seriously, we were embarrassed by the sheer amount of crap this thing yanked out of our carpets and mattresses, and following the demo we just couldn't look at another vacuum cleaner the same way again.


Check out our review here.


4. Kano

This impressive kit includes everything you need (with the exception of a screen) to get your kids learning code. The Raspberry Pi 2, wireless keyboard, cables and software add up to make one hell of a teaching kit; one that kids can actually assemble themselves - learning yet more about computers.


Even three months down the line we're still fiddling with the coding activities, as well as using the Pi 2 as a stand-alone micro computer for games and media. The included documentation is all your eager coder needs to get started and share their creations with the on-line community.


Check out our review here.


5. E-Bikes GreenEdge CS2 Electric Mountain Bike

By far our favourite 'outside toy' of the year, the GreenEdge CS2 was a real pleasure to test, taking us all over the city and country - without breaking sweat. All e-biking boxes were ticked with this baby; a comfortable ride, a battery to see you pedal-free for a whopping 25 miles, disk brakes, suspension, and six gears.



What makes this really stand out from the crowd is the less-than painful price, being a very good mountain bike that has been converted to an e-bike. And, just like our experiences with the Kobold vacuum cleaner, after this we've been unable to truly enjoy riding normal bikes.



Check out our review here.


Thanks for visiting us this year, reading our reviews, following us on Twitter, and entering our competitions. We have much more planned for 2016, so stick around kiddo...

Happy New Year!

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