marcoscu

marcoscu

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As computers and smartphones continue the move from USB to USB-C we will find adapters such as this increasingly useful. As they gain in popularity the prices for these all in one device continues to fall and at the current Amazon price of £36.99, this is one of the least expensive 8 in 1 devices on the market.

Packaged in a low key and rather a downmarket box the adapter was bundled supplied with a small but useful User Guide which I reproduce in my unboxing video. The User Guide deals mainly with using the adapter with particular specialised devices.

The 5?x2?x 0.5? device is made of matt brushed metal with a short USB-C cable on one end and a Gigabit Ethernet and USB-C 87W Power ports on the other. On one side are two USB 3.0 ports together with SD and TF card reader slots, and a full-size HDMI and an AV ports. The HDMI port supports video resolution up to (4Kx2K) at [email protected] Note that the TF and SD slots cannot be used simultaneously. Also, if you connect a high power device such as a DVD player then you will need to connect the USB-C port to a power source. Build quality seems good although not premium but fine for the budget price.

The USB, TF and SD cards function as they would with any other card reader. The HDMI port allows you to play video directly from your current generation MacBook or MacBook Pro as well as many high-end smartphones and devices. The USB-C port can be used to charge smartphones and other selected devices. Many of the functions can also work with selected USB-C smartphones but this varies from model to model. The unit also supports Samsung DeX mode for the Samsung Galaxy S9/S9+ and S8/S8+, Note 9/8 and Huawei Mate 10/pro. I do not own any of those devices and so have not tested that capability but have no reason to doubt it working.

I was perfectly happy with the operation of this little device, I tried it with a small format desktop PC, MacBook Pro and with my Android phone and both worked well although not all features are supported on my phone, a limitation of the phone rather than this device.

For the relatively low price, this is a worthwhile addition to the kitbag of any Mac or USB-C device owner.

The Good
Great price
Works well
USB-C Power port

The Bad
Not all USB-C smartphones support all features
Budget packaging
No drivers needed

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I am not entirely sure why a USB charger would be Christmas themed and surprised indeed that one would be sent to me for review after the festive season. In fact, it does not matter as this is an excellent USB charger, well made, robust and powerful.

We all probably now have plenty of similar wall chargers at home supplied with phones and other appliances but this new charger from Gvoo has more to offer than the basic rivals despite the budget price of £9.99.

Discarding the Christmas sleeve, in the rather plain inner product box was just the charger itself and a simple one-page User Guide, which has some useful information for those that need it. I enclose a scan of it at the end of my unboxing video.

This a four-port USB charger, what a pity there is no USB-C port, and according to the User Guide can output at up to 24W across three ports at 5V/2.4A per port maximum and to a combined maximum of 8. This exceeds the power output of most basic rivals and allows four phones to be charged together at full power. It will work with mains power of between 100 and 240V and will work with any UK socket. It has CE Certified Multi-protection and built-in overvoltage and overcharging protection. Build quality seems fine and nothing appears likely to break or fall off any time soon.

It should work with almost any Android or iOS device or USB powered electronic device. It should charge an iPad mini in about three hours and most larger capacity modern smartphones in two hours or less. It is small enough to fit into a pocket or travel bag and robust enough to survive life on the road.

If you need an inexpensive portable charger that will speedily charge a range of devices then this would be an excellent choice.

The Good
Great Price
Good Build Quality
High Power Output
UK/USA voltage compatible

The Bad
No USB-C
No Status LED

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You get a good deal for your money with this new budget headset from WXY currently priced at £27.99. This has the upmarket looks and sound quality of a rather more costly device.

Inside the Amazon box was just the headset itself, a hard carry Case, USB Charging Cable, audio cable, carabiner clip and User Guide. The User Guide is well written but small and rather hard to read. I attach a scan of it to my unboxing video. Strangely, there was no product box for the headset, it arrived just as shown in the video. This is a real pity as it devalues the look of the item and makes it far less appealing as a gift.

The headphones feel lightweight and a bit plasticky but well made and are of the on-ear rather than over-ear type. The headset looks good with an attractive rose gold metallic finish to the body and what looks like white PU leather for the headband and earcups. The padding on the earcups and headband is good but by no means luxurious. The build quality seems fine to me with no sign of the padding on the band working loose, poor stitching, visible wires or weak joints – all elements that have failed on similar headsets I have owned in the past. There is nothing to make me suppose that the headset is not well made. Time will tell and if something fails in the future I will update the review accordingly.

As with most Bluetooth headphones of this type they can also be used as a normal headset and an audio cable is provided for this purpose. The simple control buttons are on one ear cup only and are easy to find and identify by touch and by sight. There are the usual track/volume and multifunction buttons to control audio and phone operations. The buttons are large, not recessed and this makes them easy to use by feel and for me, this is a big plus. Also, I was very pleased to see a separate On/Off turret switch, a feature too many budget headsets lack.

Bluetooth 4.2 Pairing is simple enough and achieved in the usual way by depressing the Multi-function/Power button for several seconds. Pairing is indicated by the blue flashing LED, select 'Headphones 990' on your phone to pair and the blue LED will stop flashing. Once paired I found the connection to be stable and strong.

Battery life seems fine to me and I have no reason to doubt the claimed twenty-five hours music time from a ninety-minute charge for the 430mAh. A red LED shows when the device is charging and turns blue when fully charged.

This headset is lacking a few features often found even on cheaper units these days. The is no FM radio, SD card slot, NFC pairing or Bluetooth 5. However, they have concentrated on the key features needed by a headset at passed over the often unused extras.

Considering that this is not an expensive headset I was more than satisfied with the audio quality. The bass is good, clear, smooth and undistorted. Mid tones are clear and detailed and very easy to listen to. The sound quality of this headset has to be one of the main selling points.

I like this headset. It is well made, comfortable, lightweight and easy to wear even for extended listening sessions and with decent sound quality too. It is a pity there was no SD card slot or radio but I wonder how many people would actually use them? Nevertheless, the excellent audio reproduction and good build quality make this a great buy for the relatively low price.

The Good
Great price
Attractive upmarket looks
Excellent sound quality
Easy touch controls
Good build quality
Comfortable to wear
Microphone
Bluetooth 4
Hard Carry Case

The Bad
Lightweight Feel
No NFC
No SD card
No Radio

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This deceptively simple budget priced Stud Finder from Ansbell arrived simply packed in a branded cardboard box. Inside was the Stud Finder itself and a single large format User Guide which append to my unboxing video. No battery is included but this is a standard 9v model of a type widely available.

The Stud Finder has a large monochrome LCD panel on the front with the Power/Mode button at thumb level below. On one side is the scanning button and on the rear the battery holder. On top as you face it is the indicator at which you can mark the centre point of the located stud. Build quality seems fine and the device is clearly robust enough for on-site use, although it is a pity no protective case was included.

The device has four operating modes, all selected using the main front panel button. The modes are Stud Mode (19mm maximum depth), Stud Deep Mode (38mm maximum depth), Metal Scan Mode ( up to 60mm deep), AC scan (unshielded wires up to 51mm deep).

Using the device is easy enough. After inserting the battery turn the unit on and select the desired operating mode using the front panel button. Hold the device against the wall to be scanned and press and hold the scanning button on the side of the unit to calibrate the unit. The Bars on the LCD display will diminish and the beeper will sound once indicate calibration is complete. Press and hold the scanning button again and gently move the unit flat against the wall. When a signal is found it will beep and a signal strength bar display shows together with an arrow indicating which way to push the unit, a verticle line will indicate the target edge and CENTER will display at the midpoint of the stud. You can then mark the wall at this point. The principle is the same for Metal and AC Wire modes.

In my limited test the device worked perfectly but with all such units, you need a basic level of common sense when using it. The studs which I knew to be in the wall were all located with a minimum number of false positives. For the very reasonable price of £16.99, this seems a worthwhile investment.

The Good
Works Well
Good Price
Good Build Quality
Bright LCD Screen
Audible Alert

The Bad
No Carry Case
No Battery Included

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There are many very similar countertop dental flossers available but this one is perhaps the most nicely presented I have seen and is certainly one of the most inexpensive.

In the attractive mid-market product box was the flosser itself, aUK Power Supply Unit, a set of three colour coded standard heads, Tongue Scraper, Orthodontic Tip, Pocket Tip, Bush Head tip, and a User Guide. The User Guide is large, well printed and easy to read and I enclose a scan of it in my unboxing video.

Build quality seems fine for the price and this is one of the nicest and most comprehensive countertop flossers I have tested. Take note that this device is not designed for UK bathroom use as it does not come with the two pin plug needed for UK use. It can be used in the kitchen, bedroom or other rooms without issue.

The main unit consists of a 600ml water tank with water level indicators on the front and which is replenished by filling through the removable lid. On the front is the large three position rotary control dial with above the storage location for the handheld nozzle unit with feed tube from the integral pump situated in the lower part of the device. The handheld nozzle has two controls, one where the head is inserted to select water pressure and the large Pause switch on the handle itself to turn the water flow off and on. On the base is the socket for the power supply input and a water tank valve.

Using the device is easy enough. After filling the tank with water, connecting the power supply lock the head unit of choice in place by inserting firmly to the nozzle handing whilst pressing the securing ring. Press the button in the centre of the control dial to turn the device on and select the mode required by rotating the dial. Push the switch on the nozzle handle to select the water pressure and then press the pause switch on the nozzle handle to start the water flow. There are three modes available selected using the rotary dial on the main unit of the device: Clean (thirty-second jet followed by a short pause for up to three minutes), Massage (pulsing water flow), and Fresh (for use with a 5% saline solution only). The device will shut down after three minutes or by pressing the rotary dial button. Use of the specialised heads is explained in full in the excellent User Guide.

As a long-term user of these devices I was pleased with the power of the device, often flossers can only manage a rather feeble flow, not so here. I usually use it in Clean mode and switch to Massage modes for the gums. The 600ml water tank is more than enough for a cleaning session and can be quickly refilled from the tap.

This is an excellent device, works well, and compares well to similar units from high-end rivals. The current price of just £23.90 on Amazon makes it an attractive buy even with the bathroom use limitations.

The Good
Great price
Effective Cleaning
Quiet in use
Three cleaning modes
Multiple Heads Included
Excellent User Guide

The Bad
Not for UK bathroom use

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This attractive little rucksack from SAMSHOWME arrived simply packaged in a plastic bag with tissue but with no tags or paperwork.

The 13.78"(H) x 12.6"(L) x 5.9"(W) dual-purpose bag is made from light-weight grey Oxford cloth with Stylish beige coloured PU leather inserts. The zips and buckles are all of stainless steel. Inside the lined single double zipped pocket are two small pouches with two additional ticket pouches on the outside and a zipped pocket on the inside of the flap. There is a padded grab handle on the top of the bag. Build quality seems fine for the budget price, the bag itself seems strong and robust although I might worry a little about the longevity of zipper although it is made of metal rather than the cheaper nylon.

The bag can be used as a fashionable rucksack or using the supplied detachable strap can be used as a shoulder bag. Inside the bag was a small clip on furry accessory which serves no purpose other than adding a quirky bit of fun to the setup. The bag is surprisingly capacious can hold an iPad, purse, phone and the other essentials needed when on the move with ease. The bag I received is grey/beige but various other colours and design variants are available.

If you need a budget price but stylish bag for general use then this £13.99 offering from SAMSHOWME might be just what you need.

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I was pleased to receive these new design gym sweatpants from BROKIG as they are not just the usual jogging/sweatpants you see everywhere else. They are better made, more stylishly designed and feel more upmarket than the ones you get on the high street.

The pants arrived simply packaged in a branded ziplock bag containing just the pants themselves together with sizing and care labels. Manufacturing quality looks and feels excellent and this garment does have an upmarket appearance that you do not find on cheaply made rivals.

The pants are made from a soft 65%Cotton/35% Polyester mix and can be machine washed at around 86F. They have two side pockets, one is normal with the other extra deep with a second inner pocket, a single wallet pocket is on the rear. The pants are slim fit to the leg with hidden ankle zips. The double seamed waist is elasticated with addition drawstrings for security.

The pants are designed to be slim fit and so if you prefer a looser feel then select a size up from your usual fitting.

I use them for general leisure wear although I have been running in them and found them perfect for winter and autumn runs although perhaps a little too warm for summer use.

Currently priced on Amazon at £19.99 I have to say that like other garments from BROKIG they are well made with a quality feel to them not reflected in the budget price. The slim-fit design may not be for everyone but selecting a size up will make them a better fit for those of us not so well proportioned as we would like.

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When my last pair of Hi-Tec Silver Shadow running shoes finally gave up the ghost I looked around for a replacement for these rather large and old fashioned shoes which gave me the support and comfort I needed for middle distance road runs. The Get Fit Air Bubble Trainer looked OK and had decent reviews and for the budget price of £13.99, I thought I would give them a try.

The shoes arrived nicely packaged and presented at a level above their budget price. Just the shoes were in the box with no paperwork or information about them. Build quality looked fine, the shoes certainly appeared well made and fit for purpose.

I had read from other reviews that these shoes are something of a snug fit and that is certainly the case. I got them on OK after a brief struggle and they seemed comfortable enough and so lightweight I hardly knew I had them on. I took them for a 10K road run and throughout they felt OK although on one foot they did pinch a bit. When I got back I discovered one shoe was soaked in blood caused by the pinching effect. As with many similar running injuries the actual wound was very small and looked far worse due to the blood seeping across the front of the shoe. One trouble with running I have found is that I tend to ignore and just run through what feels like a minor discomfort only to pay the price upon my return.

I should have paid more attention to the other reviews and just sent the shoes back rather than assuming I could just break them in. I am going to hang on to the shoes and will use them for lightweight exercise at home. I still feel the shoes are fundamentally a good buy but I would advise getting a pair at least one size larger than normal and ensuring there is plenty of wiggle room within them before taking them on a run.

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I was not too sure what to expect when I ordered this product. I found the rather macho cover photo a bit off-putting but in fact the garment when it arrived proved to be a perfectly decent quality sports hoodie. To get the macho shaped look you have to order a size smaller than you would for the looser fit I prefer.

The item is made from 100% cotton with a full-length central zip and zipped pockets on either side. The material feels soft and giving and is thicker than I expected it to be. I wanted a jacket for casual wear and for running in during the winter. So far this seems to answer my needs. The jacket is well made and has a quality feel to it that you do not get with budget-priced market stall rivals.

As regards sizing this garment is tailored for a muscled tight waisted, broad-shouldered look which few of us actually have. For those of us with normal physiques, I would suggest buying a size larger than the sizing guide suggests. I am 5'11 slightly fatter than I ought to be and I found that a size XL worked for me and that a size XXL might have been even better.

If you want a slim fitting muscle style gym jacket then this might be for you. If you want a more conventional hoodie sweatshirt then it still may well be but at a size larger. For the current Amazon price of £23.99, it is worth taking a chance on.

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Who doesn't like pies?

Priced at just £24.60 this new gadget can bring the power of the pie to your kitchen.

It arrived nicely presented in an attractive mi market box inside of which was the pie maker itself, a two-sided pastry cutter and a large and well-printed User guide.

The pie maker seems robust and well made and strong enough to survive the rigours of extended kitchen life. On the top, there are two large status LED's, when the heating LED turns off the device is at the correct cooking temperature. Like many countertop devices the power cable is short but this one really is short and I found it a pain to get the pie maker positioned correctly because of it. The pastry cutter is as simple and easy to use as it seems, use the larger ring for the base and the other for the top. The here is a locking clasp to hold the two parts of the pie maker together which shuts firmly enough to ensure the pastry is sealed and crimped.

Using it could not be simpler. The pie maker cooks crimps and seals the pastry but does not cook the filling and so this has to be done separately for fruit and meat although cheese melts thoroughly. Use the pastry cutter to cut the base and lids, when at cooking temperature gently press the pastry base in place, insert the filling (somewhere between a desert and tablespoon), and carefully place the lid on top. Close and lock the lid. It will take between eight and ten minutes to cook but the lid can be lifted briefly to monitor the process without harming the pies. You may need to trim any excess pastry from around the crimped edge for best appearance.

I also found to my surprise that the best-looking pies come when puff pastry is used rather than shortcrust. Of course, the puff pastry cannot expand but it gives a harder and stronger pastry and cooks with a more even colour on top. I have only made savoury pies so far but I have no reason to doubt that sweet pies would be just as successful and easy to make.

It device really does work well and is easy to use. The only drawback is that it only makes two pies at a time but since the cooking process is quick you can easily prepare a batch of pies in an hour or so.

For the price, this is a fantastic buy and makes it even easier to devote my life to the consumption of pies without having to make tedious trips to Gregg's.

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As a runner injuries are common particularly as you get older and so I was pleased to receive this set of knee pad therapy pads from Dreamstone. At the moment my knees are Ok but I will put the kit aside for future use as I have had knee injuries in the past.

The knee pad sett arrived nicely presented in a quality presentation box robust enough for long-term storage of the product. Inside were the set of two knee pads together with a large and easy to read if poorly translated User guide. I append a scan of the User Guide to my unboxing video.

The two 15" x 5" kneepads are identical and can be used together or separately. Each kneepad is made from a mixture of Neoprene on an Oxford cloth backing and carbon fibre and has an internal mesh pocket with fours small heating elements behind it. On the front is the single Off/On control button together hardwired short cable with a standard USB plug designed to link to a 2" power bank housed in the pocket on the front of the unit. No Power Bank is supplied with the product but they are widely available. The pad is wrapped around the knee using the two velcro straps which attach directly anywhere on the neoprene skin. Build quality of everything seems fine and the neoprene finish gives the item an upmarket feel to it.

One of the selling points of this product is its versatility. The two pads can be used separately and singly on the knee, elbow or anywhere it can be attached to. Each pad can be powered from a Powerbank of any size, when not moving around you are not tied to a pouch sized Power Bank, and can even be powered from any standard USB charging port using a suitable cable (not supplied). The mesh pouch on the inside face of the pad can be used to hold a cold gel pack or herbal compress.

Currently priced at £42.00 this a little on the expensive side but no doubt the price will soon be discounted. I would also like to see a deluxe version that includes power banks.

This is an excellent product, robust and well made and should be a boon to runners, athletes or all those with knee or elbow joint problems.

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This is not the first speaker from Jonter I have reviewed. Like the rather more expensive M90, this new speaker places audio fidelity and build quality above fancy design and gimmicky features.

Inside the attractive mid-market product box which was the speaker itself, a short USB to the micro-USB charging cable, 3.5mm Jack to 3.5mm Jack audio cable and a well written and easy to read User Guide although printed like so many guides these days in grey ink. I enclose a scan of the surprisingly lengthy User Guide at the end of my unboxing video.

The speaker is chunky in design and reassuringly weighty giving the feel of a quality well-made product. On one side is the large and simple control panel, which features the usual volume and track controls with a button layout easy to see and simple to operate with wet hands, in the dark or when on the move. The Bluetooth status LED is situated here too. On the rear is a grommet protected port bay featuring an Aux audio input, micro-USB charging port, and LED charging Status indicator. There is no SD card slot, which is a pity. On the front are the two 12W 3" speakers behind a hefty plastic grill. On top is a strong rubber handle and strap which recesses into the body when not in use.

The speaker uses Bluetooth 4.2 which made pairing to my phone was easy enough and I had no problems connecting to other devices later. There is no NFC option nor can the device connect to two Bluetooth devices at once. When rebooting the speaker connected automatically and speedily to my phone.

The sound quality is first rate for the small size with plenty of volume and plenty of good powerful bass. For the size, the sound is loud, clear and resonant enough to be heard when on the beach or outside in noisy situations. This speaker is designed for outdoor use and is IPX5 rated, which means it should be fine in the rain and is protected against prolonged water splashes but not immersion in water.

The device is charged via a micro-USB port in the access panel. The two internal rechargeable Lithium-ion batteries seem powerful enough but it is a pity there is no power out port to allow the device to charge or power external devices. Also, it is advised not to attempt to play music when charging, which is another bummer. This is a shame as many similar devices offer this as they do a built-in FM radio which again is missing here. However, the claims for eight-hour usage per charge from my experience seem pretty realistic.

Compared to many rivals this device is short on features lacking as it does FM radio, SD Card, NFC, AptX, and Bluetooth 5 compatibility which can be found in many less expensive devices. In the end, Jonter decided to put the emphasis on sound quality and quality construction. For me, this is more important for what I want from a Bluetooth speaker and makes the device a great buy for outdoor and indoor use.

The Good
Good sound
Unique design
Robust build quality
Audio in port
Easy to use controls
Non-slip finish
Excellent User Guide
IPX5 Waterproof

The Bad
No FM Radio
No NFC
No SD Slot
No Aptx
No Power Out feature
No Bluetooth 5

Full Review Below

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As a runner, I often experience sports and impact related injuries. I am undergoing one right now with hip pain caused by too many long runs. As a supplement to io iPrufofen and a TENS machine, this heat belt from Dreamstone is forming a useful part of my recovery regime.

The back warmer arrived nicely presented in a rather posh looking box inside of which was the belt itself, a velcro belt extension pad and a single sheet photocopy quality sheet User Guide. No battery is included as this device needs an external USB Powerbank to operate which is not included.

The 49inX5.1" belt seems nicely made from thick good quality Oxford material secured around the waist with velcro. The extension pad if for those of more generous proportions or perhaps those needing to use the belt with other equipment. The belt has a single large combined control button and status LED on the front with a short cable with an angled USB plug attached to it. When not in use this can slip into the small battery pocket located next to it. The pocket is rather small and you may have to hunt around to find a suitably sized Powerbank to fit into it.

Using the belt is simple enough and for me at least it is comfortable and easy to fit. After fitting the belt, just connect the USB cable to the power bank, if it fits the power bank can be housed in the pocket when in use, the press and hold the control button until it lights up and turns red after a few minutes as the temperature rises the LED will change colour to blue, and then to green.

The effect is pleasant and soothing and I would say that for me at least it has proved beneficial. There are a few common sense exclusions made in the user Guide, mainly to discourage those with open wounds from using it, Also, take note that there is no auto-off timer, so be careful not to fall asleep wearing it.

The current Amazon price of is not cheap even for a well-made product such as this but I would expect the price to be discounted soon to better compete with the many rivals available. If you need a well made and durable heating belt to help with sports or other injuries this would not be a bad buy indeed.

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This is not a normal water bottle. This is not the sort of bottle you carry with you to swig from during a normal day, that is not what it was designed for. This is a camping or travel bottle that can be rolled up for storage when empty and can even be used as an ice pack or cold/warm compress and is made from 100% BPA-free Silica Gel.

The bottle arrived nicely presented in amid market windowed display box with useful product information printed on the box. Inside was the bottle, rolled and secured for storage, and a colour user Guide which has some useful tips on how to prepare the bottle for first use.

Looking at the bottle from the top there is a clear plastic hinged lid with a metal ring to lock it shut. On the outside of the lid is a plastic carrying hook and thumb operated release button. The lid screws in place to the silicone body with a sealing ring within. Inside the lid is a drinking spout and a one-way air spring loaded valve to allow the air to be expelled from the bottle for storage and to allow liquids to exit through the spout. Press the valve button when you wish to drink or pour from the bottle and when rolling the bottle up for storage. There is a thin silicone band that is looped over the bottle to secure it in compressed form for storage and travel.

After the initial sterilising rinse with boiling water the bottle does has a faint aroma common to most Silica items and the instructions list five ways to deal with this which basically are to fill the bottle with water containing a saline solution or milk, orange peel, tea or toothpaste. After an hour or so rinse it out and the smell will be gone. Saltwater seemed to work for me.

This is as much a bladder as it is a bottle and when full although it will stand upright unsupported it is not particularly stable and so care needs to be taken. It is best transported using the carry handle rather than just stuffed into a bag. I have had no problems with the bottle leaking but I would be concerned about it getting squashed when in an overfull bag.

Priced at £19.99 this is not the cheapest I have seen but keep in mind that this is more than just a plastic bottle and could prove very useful for campers, backpackers or anyone on the move.

Review Below

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What we have here, in essence, is a pricey but good quality small footprint entry-level inkjet colour printer which needs a phone app to get the full range of features and offers a novel and expensive optional subscription ink service.

The printer arrived very attractively packaged in a large and colourful box with a mass of largely useless paperwork. No proper manual is included but if you can wade through the bumpf you will find a hard to read and annoying pictogram-based Start-Up Guide. What is included is the printer itself, UK and EU power leads, a print tray/stand, sample black and colour ink cartridges, and a sample pack of 4x6" colour glossy paper. The combined stand and print tray works but is annoying to use and not really needed.

The first thing to do is to install the HP Smart app, then follow the printed instructions you get your printer attached to your home wifi network. Everything else can then be done using the app although to get all the features configured can and will take some time. You may find it easier to use the PC to make the more detailed account settings. There is no Ethernet option, this device is Wifi only. To get the best, or indeed anything, from this printer you will need to open an HP account and register the app. You will need to do the same on your PC, Mac or any other devices you wish to print from.

Once set up and running I have to say that print quality for both photos and normal documents is excellent and the equal of any other inkjet printer I have used although by no means the fastest. So I will say no more about the print quality but devote some space to the novel aspects of this printer.

Almost everything is done through the app. You can connect to and configure the printer and all the various features of the HP account using it. It can also be used as a surprisingly effective scanner allowing documents and photo's to be scanned using the app and printed, emailed or saved in various formats. The scan quality is far better than I expected and for small amounts of scanning, it really does a very decent job. Prints made through the app can be edited and tweaked as well in an equally simple and easy to use manner. That said, I would still prefer a built-in hardware scanner but that would not be practical in a device of this size.
The remote features are good and I enjoyed being able to take some pictures, quickly set them to print over the air and have them waiting for me when I got home.

The other novel feature of this device is the 'HP Instant Ink' service which although not mandatory is certainly the way HP wish you to go. The idea is that you subscribe to this service which gives you a certain number of prints per month - £1.99 for 50 is the starting point with 300 monthly for £7.99 at the top - and when you exceed this number you are charged a fee, unused prints are added to the next month's quota. Yes, HP are monitoring your printer and know how many prints and of what size and type they are. When the ink runs low you will receive replacement cartridges through the post as part of your plan along with a prepaid return envelope for the used cartridges. At the time of writing, all photo's and documents printed using the app are 'free' and do not count towards the plan quota. It should be said that this subscription service is optional and does not need to be signed up for. Cartridges - one for colour and another for black inks - can be bought online in the usual way are freely available at standard prices.

Some people may like the print plan and for small volume users, it is not a bad idea if you are not too bothered about HP delving into your PC and printer's innards. As I said before, this is a good quality little printer capable of decent results. If you are not interested in the app features, don't want the print subscription plan or prefer an ethernet connection then you may find the current £129.00 to be on the high side.

The Good
Good quality prints
Easy to Setup
Powerful App
App scanning feature
Ink Subscription scheme
Wifi printing
'Free' photo prints from phone

The Bad
Expensive
No built-in scanner
Subscription printing expensive
Privacy Issues
No Ethernet
Poor Documentation
Separate print tray

Full Review Below

More info and Purchase: https://amzn.to/2LDRFj0

Blog: http://bit.ly/2Spdy8b

Having recently taken up running again I needed to add a few safety items to my running kit to allow me to undertake some early morning runs in the dark. Part of my daily 10K run is on an unlit main road and so I need to be able to see the pavement in front of me as well as be seen by oncoming traffic. This £7.99 beanie hat from Uknight seemed to answer the bill.

The hat arrived simply packed in a plastic display bag containing just the beanie hat and brand card, no instructions were included or required.

Build quality seems fine. The beanie hat is medium weight - not a thick and warm ski style hat but more than just a simple thin skull cap. The hat is unlined but is thick enough for winter runs and indeed for me, I would find it uncomfortable to run in anything thicker. It has a fold-up brim which has a reinforced opening for the LED light to be slotted. Once in the place, the light can be easily popped out but is well seated enough not to run the risk of falling out when running. The light unit is quite large with a single rather stiff button on the front which cycles through the three light levels available. The highest level is good for about an hour and a half of continuous use, three hours for level two and four for the lowest level. I found that the mid-level is fine for normal use with the top level needed only when there is no ambient light to illuminate the pavement. There is a pull off cover for the USB plug built into the light and this can be used in any USB port and takes about an hours and a half to fully charge with the LED changing from red to green to show charging is complete.

In use, I found it works very well and is brighter than I expected. Operating it when on the move can be a bit tricky as the button needs a good positive click which can be difficult if the hat is too high on the head, pull it down so the light is against the forehead to use the switch more easily. I use it now as my regular running hat for daytime use as I find it comfortable to wear and can be pulled down over my ears to help keep my earbuds in place. For daytime runs, I usually remove the LED light before heading out as the hat looks fine without it and there is no point carrying extra weight.

If you need a headlight for running, fishing or other nocturnal activities then this is an excellent choice. It works well, is well made and comfortable and will not break the bank to buy it.

Full Review below

More Info and Purchase: https://amzn.to/2ESrzaq

Blog: http://bit.ly/2LH73v6

Work and other commitments do not always allow me time to run during the limited hours of winter daylight and so of late I have been making my morning runs in the dark. Living in a rural area there are no street lights for much of my standard 10K route and so I decided to invest in a selection of night running accessories including this armband set from ACTINETICS. There are a vast amount of budget armbands, much cheaper than the £12.99 asking price here. However, I wanted a decent quality set with good reviews and available with next day UK shipping. This set seemed to fit the bill.

The kit arrived as quickly as promised and consisted of the two armbands and a standard short USB to micro-USB charging cable. The packaging was basic but attractive enough and did not look low end. No instructions were included and none needed as operating the armbands is not rocket science.

Build quality seems fine. The armbands seem well made and robust with a velcro buckle allowing the bands to be adjusted between 28 and 32cm. The bulk of the armband is taken up by the LED reflective strip with the end taken up by the battery/button compartment and buckle. The micro-USB power port comes with a grommet seal to keep the water out but on my set, the grommets were not secured to the band and could fall off and get lost. The armband is lightweight, even the battery section and stays securely on the arm. The single large button scrolls between fast flash, slow flash, continuous On and Off. This can be easily adjusted when running.

The LED's are very bright and you are unlikely to be missed when wearing the armbands at night. Probably just one armband would be enough to keep you visible. I did find that sometimes an armband would be hidden by the folds of my running jacket but that is not the fault of the armband.

Charging is easily done with an LED to show charging status. It takes a couple of hours to charge and I found this is more than enough for my two-hour runs.

This is a simple but well-made solution to the problem of nighttime visibility and would be a good buy for runners, cyclists or anyone that wants to keep themselves safe in poorly lit areas at night.

Full Review below

Blog: http://bit.ly/2EUbQsD

More Info and Purchase: https://amzn.to/2R9UPQA

I make a fair number of videos and getting the light balanced and matched correctly can often be a problem. This medium-priced compact LED light panel may be just what I need.

Inside the simple but robust box was the light panel itself, a camera Hot shoe mount, and a User Guide. I include a scan of the User Guide in my unboxing video. All the items seem robust and well made and I would not expect anything to break or snap anytime soon. No battery is included, but the Sony NP-F970/770/550 type batteries are widely available at about £10 each. I suppose a battery was not included to cut down cost and on the assumption that most camera owners would already have several of this widely available battery type already. An annoyance for new users, however. Build quality seems excellent, more robust and rugged than some others I have tried although lightweight at just 330g hopefully it should survive the rigours of location shooting.

Using the device is easy enough but first, the battery needs charging which will give several hours of use depending on how the light levels are set. Unlike with some rivals, this light can be powered by an external DC 8.4V 2A power supply, although again this is not included. Note that it is important to remove the battery before mains powered use.

Once the battery is fitted and the device turned on using the rear mounted controls it is simple enough to operate. One rotary dial controls the colour temperature which ranges from a warm 3200K to an almost daylight 5700K, the other rotary control determines the light output from 10% upwards which at full power is very bright indeed for the size of the panel. It offers 360 individually selectable colours which are numbered and displayed on the rear LCD information screen. Rotate the CCT/Hue button to manually scroll through the colours, long Press to auto scroll through the colours, press again to return to White. The colour temperature range of this model is wider than some rivals and that the plain white panel with no LEDs visible which should give a softer light free from catchlights. The onboard memory function means that it will default to the last used lighting setting when switched on. The LED panel is semi-opaque and so when in use the individual LED's cannot be seen, useful to prevent unwanted reflections or highlights when in use.

The supplied mount allows the light to be positioned on the standard Hot Shoe mount found on most professional semi-pro cameras with the option to mount on a standard tripod mount or on a small self-supporting base.

This is an excellent little unit and would be perfect for those making home studio videos or as a fill light when shooting outdoors. The direct light can be a bit harsh and so a reflector or diffuser would be needed for best results. For the current price of £69.99, this is not the cheapest but the above average build quality and widely controllable light output should make it worth the difference. This would be an excellent addition to the kit bag of any photographer or video filmmaker.

The Good
Excellent build quality
Non-proprietory battery
Batteries widely available
Lightweight
Wide colour temperature range
Mains Power Option
No LED highlights

The Bad
No Battery included
No PSU Included
No carry case

Full Review Below:

More Info and Purchase: https://amzn.to/2R5m7Yx

Blog: http://bit.ly/2QOzFZb

Suitable for Christmas, holiday, festive occasions or all year round decoration this extra long set of copper wire LED lights is well priced at £17.99 for the 200 LED 20 Metre set. It is a pity that a more attractive box could not have been used to present the item better and make it more attractive as a gift.

Inside the robust but plain box were the LED string set with hard-wired battery box and a credit card sized remote control. A well printed and easy to read two-page User Guide is included although it is not really needed. No batteries are bundled with the set.

Both remote control and battery box are clearly labelled with the various lighting options. There are eight static and flashing light modes available plus a single six hours on/eighteen hours off timer.

The units are each powered by three AA batteries housed in a tough plastic box with IP65 waterproof seal and quick Release catches. This should be fine for normal outdoor garden use but make sure neither box or lights are immersed in water.

The hardest thing about using the string is actually getting unravelled as it is supplied wound but with the one aim of getting tangled up!. I found it was difficult to avoid tangles and snares when getting it unwound. That task done it was easy enough to position it around a tree in the garden as the wire can be twisted and bent to shape easily. The remote control is well labelled and easy to use with the option to control the lights directly from the battery box if needed.

The lights look equally good when put into a decorative bottle, inside a wood burner and of course on the Christmas tree when that time comes. The lights are warm and bright and lend warmth and ambience to the room or garden.

This would be a fine addition to any household lighting system as well as for holiday or Christmas use.

The Good
Great price
Battery operation
Waterproof
Timer
Good User Guide

The Bad
Batteries not included
Poor presentation

Full Review below

More Info and Purchase: https://amzn.to/2QzQjeW

Blog: http://bit.ly/2T3rRz9

I have reviewed the earlier version of this product but this new model seems to be a significant update on the predecessor being better made and more robust as well as now being £2 cheaper at just £12.99. As regards design and appearance it is very similar to the earlier version.

The organiser arrived very simply but securely packaged in a plastic shipping bag. Whilst this does the job it is a pity more effort could not have been made to present the product better. A well designed colourful package could surely boost sales, look better on the shelves and make the item a more appealing as a gift.

This is a 23x18" multi-pocket organiser made from Oxford Material that is attached by straps to the rear of a car front seat. It is designed to hold things needed to keep the family amused when on the road. Unlike some lesser rivals, this one does not just hang free but is held tightly to the seat back by no less than three adjustable straps each secured by a large positive acting plastic quick release clips. It can also be attached to the rear of a rucksack to hold items needed on the road without disturbing the rucksack contents.

The organiser has ten pockets of varying sizes, some with zipped or press stud closing lips. There are two elasticated holders for bottles up to 600ml capacity insulated to help keeps drinks cool or warm. One clear pocket is designed to hold iPads or similar devices of up to 10.8 in" with touchscreen use supported. Next to the iPad pocket are pockets suitable to hold a Power Bank to keep the tablet running. It has one internal zipped security pocket for documents and other important items. All the pockets are well sized and easy to access. Should accidents occur then the organiser can be easily wiped down or in the worst cases machine washed. The empty organiser can be easily rolled up or folded flat when not in use.

Fitting the organiser could not be more simple. There are three straps, all adjustable with large finger-friendly clips. The top one loops over the seat headrest, the next is at the halfway point and the final strap is on the bottom. With all three in place, the organiser can help completely flush to the rear of the car set which protects the contents better, saves space, and stops it flapping around.

This is a simple solution to a perennial problem and hopefully can make your next long family car journey more enjoyable and stress-free. There are plenty of rival products available and they are all pretty much the same. This one is well made and gets the job done at a perfectly reasonable price and there is no reason not to recommend it.

The Good
Good Price
Well Made
Multiple pockets
iPad pocket
Bottle holders
Zipped document pocket
Washable

The Bad
Poor presentation
Many similar rivals

Full Review Below

More Info and Purchase: https://amzn.to/2UZV8g1

Blog: http://bit.ly/2V2tRK3

There are plenty of detailed and exhaustive reviews of this sports watch from Polar and so here I will try and explain why I have decided to replace my Polar V800 with this later but no longer new mid-range model.

I have had my Polar V800 for some years now, the last couple of which it has spent unused in a drawer. Having now started running again I have found the V800 to no longer connect as reliably as it used to when syncing via cable or to my Bluetooth Heart Rate Monitor and the watch will not connect at all to my Android Smartwatch. I suspect that when the watch was updated to support Bluetooth notifications something broke. I originally planned to replace the former top of the range watch with the latest model, the POLAR Vantage V Multisport Watch, but I had to return it due to the poor screen and lack of fully developed features which did not justify the £435 price tag. I decided to try the well respected but lower down the range M430 model currently on Amazon at £143.18.

The watch arrived nicely presented with just the watch, short non-standard USB charging cable and a mass of bumpf and paperwork the only useful bit of which was the Getting Started Guide included in my unboxing video.

The watch itself is lightweight in construction and lacks the classy feel and high end looks of the more costly models. It is largely made of plastic but a metal watch back, buckle and watch buttons. The buttons are little less positive when pressed than those of the V800. Once on the wrist you soon forget it is there. The mono screen is smaller than the V800 or Vantage V but is easy to read in daylight and with a good bright backlight. It offers fewer features than the high-end rivals but everything the average or medium level runner, swimmer or biker is here. I prefer the less cluttered range of options and for me, this watch is far easier to use. A larger screen would have been better though.

A key feature across the Polar range is the excellent support website, where all your metrics and other details can be found analysed and stored. On the website, you can even replay your run complete with Streetview photos. For me, this is perhaps the best of the sports Metric websites. The Polar Flow phone app is good too but not so well laid out as some rivals most noticeably that from Fitbit.

The watch has a build in wrist-based Heart Rate Monitor and although I do not trust as much as a traditional ANR+ chest monitor it does seem to work pretty well with no dropouts. Likewise, the GPS tracking is quick to lock on and works well although the GLONASS satellite system is not supported as it is with the high-end rivals.

This is not just a running watch, as a vast range of sports are available and can be added to the watch via the website when syncing. It is also a Fitbit style health tracker and following a Firmware update, nows offer all-day Heart Rate monitoring.

I have taken it on a couple of runs and been very happy with the result. It syncs reliably using both cable and Bluetooth and the connection to my watch seems solid and reliable.

If you need a well specified and easy to use ports watch and are prepared to forgo some more arcane features, as well as the quality, feel and looks of a high-end device then this would be a great Buy. I will not be sending this watch back.

The Good
Good Price
All basic and mid-range features present
GPS
Good Heart Rate Monitor
Waterproof for Swimming use
Good Phone App
Excellent website
Phone Notifications
24/7 Tracking
Sleep Tracking

The Bad
Lightweight Build
Small screen
No GLONASS
Cheap Appearance

Full Review Below

More Info and Purchase:https://amzn.to/2QzisCC

Blog:http://bit.ly/2SbbAbz

I was not sure to expect from this rug gripping kit, I was half expecting just a few strips of velcro but in fact, it was quite a lot more than that.

In the display pack, I received was a simple but well-printed instruction leaflet together with eight thick and well-made cardboard strips. The strips are designed to fit together in pairs like jigsaw pieces. Each stip is clearly marked front and back with 'rug' or 'floor' on a peel-off strip revealing the super sticky contact surface designed to be positioned with the Floor surface down and the Rug facing up to receive the rug. Each eight-piece set is enough to position a medium to large size rug onto a shiny floor surface. be aware that this set is not designed to stick a rug to a carpet or other similar flooring. It is designed for use with wooden, laminate or tiled surfaces. I was impressed by the clever design and presentation used for such a simple product and with the obvious thought that has gone into it.

Do not throw the surface labels away as one selling point of this set is that it can be reused and repositioned. Peel the pad away from the floor and carpet and wipe them carefully with a wet pad to renew the sticky finish. You can then reapply the label to protect them or reuse immediately.

I was certainly very impressed with how well the pads held my rug to the tiled surface I tested it on. It has only been a couple of days and I cannot comment on the long-term use but so far I have to say I have been very impressed. At £8.99 for a set of eight pads, these are not cheap but considering that they can be reused and more importantly really do seem to work I feel the price is not too bad given the functionality, design and presentation.

Full Review Below

More Info and Purchase: https://amzn.to/2QtWQne

Blog: http://bit.ly/2R6x8c3

As phones have got larger of late it has been increasingly difficult to find running belts capable of holding the current 6"+ phones. This new belt from Gritin will hold a phone of around 6.5" without too much bother.

The 76cm belt is made of an elasticated webbing material with two adjustment buckles and a central quick release locking clasp. The pouch has a central waterproof zip incorporating a reflective strip and an access port for the headphone cable. The interior is rubberised and has a long main pocket for the phone together with three smaller ones for keys, cards etc.

I tested it with my OnePlus 5T phone which is slightly over 6" in length. I found although it fitted inside perfectly well, the rubberised pocket of the rather thin and bendy pouch meant it was quite awkward getting it inside. I found myself accidentally switching the phone screen on as I struggled to get it inside, a problem perhaps with the phone rather than the belt. A slightly more rigid pouch construction would have made life easier. Getting the phone out when running was a little tricky too for the same reason. I like the elasticated belt which is flexible and easy to adjust and the soft slimline pouch does not dig in when running.

For the current Amazon price of just £7.99, this is certainly a good buy and one I will be sticking with. This is not necessarily the best belt available but it suits my needs and at a very decent price.

Full Review Below

More Info and Purchase: https://amzn.to/2PHCNkb

Blog: http://bit.ly/2LoxhlZ

This is not so much a review but rather an explanation of why I sent my watch back.

As long-term runner and user of Polar sports products, I was very much looking forward to getting this watch. I gulped a bit at the £438.91 price but decided it would be worth it for the five years or so I planned to use it. I never expected to have to send it back after only a few days.

Currently, I use a Polar V800 which is a great watch, built like a tank, accurate and easy to use. However, I have had problems for a long time with the charging/sync connector and following recent firmware updates I have been having sustained Bluetooth problems with my Heart Rate Monitor connection and smartwatch failing repeatedly. It seemed a good time to move on to the V800 successor and top of the Polar watch range, the Vantage V.

I had read reviews where people complained about the dim screen but I was amazed at just how feeble the display was when I switched it on. I updated the firmware to the latest version 2.07 - a quick and easy job when syncing the watch - but it made little difference. Turning on the backlight helped a bit but the backlight remained on for just a couple of seconds with no option to extend it and even then it was far dimmer than I would like. In my video and in others the screen looks far brighter and snappier than in reality. I have to say this is one of the dimmest screens I have ever encountered on a smartwatch, worse by far than the V800, my Motorola 360 or even the many low-end watches and trackers sent to me for review.

Also, I have to criticise the ruggedness of the build quality. The watch buttons felt cheap and not firm enough and the strap p- which cannot be changed - felt thin and weedy and in complete contrast to the heavy duty V800.

I was unable to pair my watch to the phone, neither of which could see the other. In fairness perhaps that may be an issue with my watch and could be solved with more work but it certainly did not work straight from the box. Even had I been able to connect it I would not be able to receive notifications from the watch as this is one of many features promised but not yet available.

Setting the watch up and registering it to my Polar account could not have been easier. The initial steps are walked through with large and simple on-screen instructions with the option to complete the process on the watch, on the phone or with a computer.

I took it on a couple of runs and I have no criticisms of the performance, the GPS and Heart Rate Monitor both worked well - although with the usual question mark over the accuracy of arm based HRM readings - but I just found it too hard to read the screen. I want to be able to just glance down and read my current metrics without having to keep pressing the backlight button.

To summarise here are the reasons I decided to send the watch back.

1. Dim screen
2. Lightweight Build Quality
3. Bluetooth Issues
4. Too many features not yet implemented
5. High Price

So, for the time being, I will have to soldier on with my V800 or switch to another brand as I do not think any other Polar watch aside from the Vantage M - a cut-down version of this one - offers all day heart rate tracking.

I was very disappointed with this watch. Had it been substantially cheaper maybe I would have persevered with it as technically it is one of the most advanced sports watches on the market with a host of features needed by runners and athletes far above my level, but for the current price I expected it to work perfectly and answer all my needs from day one.

Full Review Below

More Info and Purchase: https://amzn.to/2GacSln

Blog: http://bit.ly/2PGPcVb

We already have a dog seat cover in our car. It works but is starting to show signs of age, the zipper has failed and it is getting scuffed and scruffy. This new cover from GoPetee seems a worthwhile replacement and at £22.99 is not the cheapest but does seem to be a cut above the rest.

You get more for your money here than with any other seat cover I have tried. As well as the cover itself you also receive a robust and well-made carry bag, three dog seat belts, and a well printed although rather unneeded User Guide.

The cover itself is made from heavy-duty waterproof 600 D oxford fabric with a non-slip surface. It takes the form of a rectangular box without a lid when assembled and with the sides up is 53"x24"x19". The front and rear panels are secured to the headrests with quick release adjustable belts 19" apart. The two end panels can be zipped to the upright position and come with metal loops so they can be suspended from door pillar hooks if available. The front panel at the has a central zipper with locking buckle to allow the dogs access to the front of the vehicle and which also allows one end of the front panel to be folded down to allow a passenger to sit in the rear without needing to remove the seat cover. There is a handy carry pouch incorporated into the front panel for poo bags, clothes or other items needed for the journey. The cover set comes with three car seat belts for the canine passengers which have a standard dog leash clip on one end and a seat belt clip on the other which can be fed through the seat cover to the seat belt points on the back seat. There is also a built-in plastic carry handle for the easy transportation of the cover.

I have to say that a good deal of thought seems to have gone into the design of this unit which is more than just a seat cover but represents all you need to carry your dogs in safety in the car whilst minimising possible;e damage to the vehicle interior. For the price, this seems an excellent buy indeed for dog-owning drivers.

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