TECKIN Uplighting Floor Lamp FL33
More Info and Purchase: https://tinyurl.com/yyxcvdvo
This attractive and well designed modernistic uplighting floor lamp from TECKIN, a company better known for their range of Smart Bulbs, is robust, stylish, and very functional but at £54.99 is not inexpensive.
In the surprisingly small box is the disassembled lamp and a short User Guide. Build quality seems fine with the heavy lamp base and stand all made from metal with ABS used for the light and fixtures. The kit consists of the base unit, bottom pole with pre-connected cable, two midsections with cable pre-connected, top section and lamp unit with cable, power supply with cable.
Assembling the lamp is easy enough with no need to consult the user guide. Screw the bottom pole to the base and connect the pole cable to the Power Supply, connect the cable from the top of the lower pole to the connector inside the lower midsection pole and do the same for the upper midsection pole and the lamp mount cable I was surprised that the power cable did not enter underneath the base rather than on the side. Although the cable joints all used proper easy to connect plugs which had to be then fed inside the metal pole, this was a bit fiddly at times.
Once assembled the lamp is stable enough due to the heavy base but wobbles a bit at the top, as would be expected from any lamp of this type. The angle and direction of the flat light panel can be adjusted to suit and locked in place.
The lamp has a single-touch control. Short press for On/Off, long press to dim, with four light levels available. The 3000k light is on the warm side of mid-range and should be suitable for most domestic locations.
This is an upmarket, well-made lamp, with discreet good looks and stylish design that should fit into any modern home.
Music: YouTube Audio Library: Causmic: The High Line
DUTISON 9" Bread Proofing Basket
More Info and Purchase : https://tinyurl.com/y3rom2p9
This is a nice enough product but rather overpriced I feel at £15.99.
It arrived devoid of all branded packaging or other materials with just the basket, cloth and dough cutter in a plain plastic bag. Build quality seems fine although it lacks a premium feel and the lack of attractive presentation certainly does not help here. It is a pity too that an information sheet could not have been included as a guide to bakers and telling something of the history of rattan baskets in the kitchen.
The rattan basket, made from the same material used for some garden furniture, is designed to be a place to put your dough as it proofs and rises. Unlike wood, rattan is splinter-free and better suited for kitchen use. The elasticated linen cloth can be used to either cover the dough or when the cloth is used to rest the dough on to make it easier to get it out of the basket. The spiral curves of the basket will give an attractive pattern to your dough if it goes straight into the oven. The plastic cutter is plain and unattractive but gets the job done.
This is a useful addition to any baker's kitchen but there are plenty of less expensive and better-presented rivals out there.
Music: YouTube Audio Library: The Mini Vandals: Under the Wire
Victure PC660 Outdoor 1080P Security Camera
The PC660 outdoor camera from Victure is robust, attractively designed, easy to configure over Wifi or Ethernet and offers very decent video quality along with smart motion tracking a well designed and simple to use Android and iOS app.
In the box are the camera itself, screw-in antenna, wall/ceiling mount with screws and plugs, screwdriver, and a nicely printed and well-written User Guide. Although lightweight, build quality seems fine and the camera has an attractive and modern design. It has a silk white plastic finish but the build quality seems good. On the front is PTZ the lens with Night Vision LEDs, a status LED to show Wifi and power status and the microphone opening. Above the lens and hidden when the lens is not pointing down, are the SD card slot and reset button. On the rear are the speaker, ethernet input port, USB power connector cable and optional wifi antenna. Unlike most cameras of this type no external power supply is needed as the device is entirely USB powered. The camera is rated IP66 weatherproof which means it should be fine with anything short of water immersion.
Although it has a budget price, compact design and simple design I was pleased to see that unlike many rivals this camera has an ethernet interface as well as wifi. It is always better to go with an ethernet cable connected to the router as this gives a faster and more stable signal as well as making for an easier initial setup. The optional wifi antenna can be left off for a neater look when ethernet is used. The excellent Android and ioS app from Victure offers a simple walkthrough connection of both wifi and ethernet connections.
The first thing to do is to download and install the Digit Cam app, I tested using the Android app with a wifi connection. You have to register the app before use but doing so is free and you can use a disposable email address to do so. Take note to ensure the phone used to configure the camera is connected to a 2.4Ghz network, not 5Ghz, which this camera does not support. After installing and registering the app and plugging in the camera follow the in-app instructions to add a new camera. After inputting your home wifi details the app automatically and very quickly sends this to the camera which then connects automatically to the wifi network with on-screen and voice confirmations throughout.
This model has a clean 1080P image quality which is clearly not the upscaled 720p of some lesser rivals. Video quality from the 360° horizontal and 110° vertical rotating wide-angle 3.6mm lens is one of the best I found for this price bracket although the slow 12fps frame rate is disappointing. Unlike with older budget security cameras, this one boasts an i/r cut filter which when not needed removes the night time infrared filter to ensure good colour fidelity daytime images. It supports two-way audio which means it serves well as a general-purpose communications Monitor.
The app is worth a mention as it offers a range of features including panorama mode in which the camera patrols around and then stitches together a complete image of all it can see. One annoying thing with the app is the constant nagging to sign up for their cloud service, although this is optional only and the camera works perfectly well without it and saves images and video to the SD card and within the phone.
Like most rivals, this camera has motion detection but unlike most in this range also offers object tracking. The lack of audio in/out ports means external hardware cannot be used to improve the rather feeble audio quality. It offers full integration with the Amazon Alexa and Google home ecosystems which allow for voice control of the camera to view camera streams on selected video devices.
The camera has the option to save video and audio within the app as well as to the SD card or to an optional cloud connection. If you use an SD card (none is provided) make sure you use a Class 10 or better card – the card must be able to cope with the high-speed data stream from the camera otherwise the results will be jittery and poor. A card of up to 64GB can be used.
This is a high-quality security camera capable of excellent results. The £36.99 price is brilliant for the features on offer and allows me to overlook the lack of web-based User Interface and the lack of access to SD card files.
Smart Motion Detection
In-app real-time push alerts
SD card slot
Good Video Quality
No Direct Access To SD card Video
Slow Frame Rate
No 5Ghz wifi support
No audio output port
No audio in port
No Web Interface
Music: YouTube Audio Library: Doug Maxwell: C
Jesew Rechargeable Hair Clipper Set
More Info and Purchase: https://tinyurl.com/y4urtuea
This neat little hair clipper set from Jesew has all you need to keep your hair in check for the budget price of just £19.99.
In the rather attractive product box are the clippers themselves, two clip-on comb cutting guides, a cleaning brush, lubricating oil, USB power cable and a well written and easy to read User Guide. Annoyingly, no carry case is included.
The clippers are rather lightweight, but none the worse for that and still feel well made and robust. The main feature is a large dial on the front that in conjunction with the comb guides limits the blade depth of the clipper. This is simple and intuitive to use.
The clippers are powered by either the built-in Lithium battery or directly by the USB charging cable. I was pleased to see this is a standard USB to Micro-USB cable with no proprietory socket used. In operation, the clippers are genuinely low noise and vibration free and despite this manage to cut neatly and well. The two cutting guide combs clip on and off quickly and easily and make it far easier to get a neat cut.
For the low price, this is an excellent buy and perhaps an essential one at the present time when trips to the barber are limited.
Music: YouTube Audio Library: Chris Haugen : Casablanca Caravan
Yingdelai Biodegradable Dog Poo Bags
More Info and Purchase: https://tinyurl.com/y2e8zx24
We have two dogs, Poppy and Blenheim, both hardcore pooing machines when out on their walk. They think nothing of going half a dozen times each when out and about. So it is that our household goes through vast quantities of poo bags and so it is that sourcing decent quality bags at a reasonable price is a not unimportant.
What do we want from our poo bags? Strength: the horrors of a burst or split poo bag are best left to the imagination. Capacious: Blenheim is a big boy with a hearty appetite, need I say more? Scented: no need to expand more on that topic. Tie Handles: crucial to keep the contents in place and to keep the fingers as far away from that which lies within as possible. Price: with two dogs in tow that have devoted their lives to both eating and pooing the less expensive the bags the better.
These bags from Yingdelai are well priced at £15.99for 450. There are cheaper rivals available, but they lack the robust feel and design of these ones. These come folded rather than on rolls, which is a good or bad thing according to your preference. They are a thick enough and a decent size at 34.5 x 18 cm with large and easy to tie handles and smaller grap loops.. They are also eco-friendly, we are told, and so will dissolve into the earth in about eighteen months. They are scented, which can only be a good thing.
If you are in the market for poo bags, and how many dog owners are not, then these are a rather good buy.
Music: YouTube Audio Library: Houses of Heaven: Scanner
ANSGEC Acrylic Paint Pen Set
More Info and Purchase: https://tinyurl.com/y6rscyfn
This attractive pen set from ANSGEC consists of 12 large and 12 small pens, each with a reversible nib and in a range of 12 colours.
The paints are acrylic, water-based and non-toxic. The pens can write on most surfaces, paper, plastic, ceramics, and are quick but not instant drying. Being paint based for permanent fixture in areas of abrasion it is best to coat the writing surface after use, but this is not needed in most instances. The colours are bright and non-fading and the pens themselves do not dry out over time, as do many lesser rivals.
As with most pens of this type, first press the nib down, hold and then gently pump it up and down paint flows into the transparent area around the nib. The nib just pulls out and can easily be reversed to select a change of nib size ( 0.7-5mm) or from round to chisel shape.
If you need good al purpose marker pens either for art or for general use around the house you will do well to find a better set for the £11.96 asked here.
Music: YouTube Audio Library: Quincas Moreira: Blue Macaw
Rybozen WiFi Range Extender Repeater
More Info and Purchase: https://amzn.to/32a2Ius
This entry-level repeater and range extender from Rybozen is a budget way of extending your home wifi network reception to any dead spots you have.
In the mid-market box was the repeater itself, a short Ethernet cable, User Guide, Quick Start Guide. Build quality seems fine with nothing looking likely to break, fall off or pack in anytime soon. The two guides are well written and comprehensive but poorly printed and hard to read.,
The point of the device is to extend an existing wifi network and to do this you need to first connect it to your network. You can do this either by pressing the WPS buttons on your router and the repeater and allow them to link automatically. The more certain way is to connect your PC to the repeater with the Ethernet cable, use your web browser to go the default address for the repeater - 192.168.1.10 - login with the name and password 'admin' (no quotes) and then configure it manually.
The web interface is well designed and easy to use, but it bit slow to open. You can then connect it to your existing wifi network.This done, you need to position the repeater midway between the router and dead spot to boost the dead spot coverage. Take note this repeater only works with the older 2.4Ghz band and not the additional 5Ghz also used by high-end routers. Almost all routers use still 2.4Ghz, so the repeater will work, but you will miss out on the higher 5Ghz speed.
For the budget £20.99 price, this is a nice little repeater that works well, is easy to use but there are now many more up to date and better-specified rivals.
Music: YouTube Audio Library: Dan Lebowitz : Last Train to Mars
TOSING 008 Bluetooth Karaoke Microphone
This newly updated Karaoke microphone from Tosing is a better made and more versatile product than I was expecting for the £29.99 Amazon price.
With this microphone, you can sing over an existing recording with the sound coming from the built-in twin speakers or outputted to an external device through the headphone port or Bluetooth. The music source can be live audio, TF card, Bluetooth, or wired. with controls for audio volume, Mode, track advance/return and Track voice mute.
Using the device is easy enough. I tested it with both Bluetooth and a wired connection to my Android phone and both worked the first time. It will operate with most types of Karaoke app and there is a button.to mute the original vocal so you just have the backing track to sing over. The microphone has built-in echo which cannot be disabled, which is a nuisance but otherwise, the sound quality is excellent. If the echo could be disabled, the mic could serve perfectly well for general use as a budget location or stage microphone.
Sound quality is far better than I expected, as was the Bluetooth link which for me was instantaneous, and free of dropouts or latency. The device is easy to configure and simple to use. Above all, it is great enjoyable and for the singer at least entertaining. As with any mic, keep the microphone output level setting as low as possible and the mic as far from the mouth as possible, to avoid overloading or distortion.
This is a fun device, that is a cut above the throwaway low-end rivals and would make a great gift for any singers in your family.
Music: YouTube Audio Library: Freedom Trail Studio: We Could Reach
VMEI i9 7 in 1 Wireless Charging Station
Blog: I:\New Downloads\Charging Station\upload\blog.jpg
This stylish and upmarket Charging Station from VMEI incorporates the latest tech and supports the latest standards to charge pretty much any device you have.
In the box is the charging station, UK power supply, wireless charging pad, and a well written and nicely printed User Guide. Build quality has a premium and high end feel and nothing looks likely to fail anytime soon. No charging cables are included.
Although working well with Android the charger seems particularly Apple friendly and supports not only iPhones and iPads but also the Apple Watch. You need to use the charging cable and adapter supplied with your Apple Watch the and charging station offers physical and power integration with it.
On the top face is the Apple Watch and wireless phone charging interfaces (the twin coils charging pad can be removed when not in use), and on the rear is the Input: 36W DC port in port, the USB-C, and USB 3 QC output ports together with the Off/On switch for the integrated night light which offers three brightness levels and selectable colours. It is a pity the wireless charging plate can be removed and used separately to allow use by other smartwatches or wirelessly charged devices.
The charging station looks great, with a classy upmarket feel, and works well, and for the £32.99 Amazon price is an excellent buy.
VMEI i9 7 in 1 Wireless Charging Station
Music: YouTube Audio Library: The Mini Vandals: Who's Using Who?
Fantaseal Phone Hand Grip Holder Set
More Info and Purchase: https://amzn.to/3eErcyD
This simple but versatile phone grip set from Fantaseal can be used either with your smartphone or camera to give a more stable and comfortable way of holding the device.
In the box are the handgrip, lanyard, cleaning cloth and drawstring carry bag. The handgrip and phone clamp are made from robust plastic with metal used for the screw mounts and locking mechanism. All seems well made and tough enough to stand regular use.
The two parts of the phone mount are held together with large easy turn knobs and when assembled can quickly be rotated from verticle to horizontal format. On the top of the mount above the phone is a cold shoe mount to allow a microphone or light to be fitted. The camera screw mount on the handgrip can also be used with a DSLR or camcorder for more stable handling.
Using it with a phone or camera makes the device far easier and more intuitive to manipulate without adding greatly to the weight.
Priced at £14.99 this is a good buy for anyone that wants to improve their camerawork without paying too much money.
Music: YouTube Audio Library: Chris Haugen: Casablanca Caravan
YOUNGDO Rechargeable Bluetooth Weighing Scales
More Info and Purchase: https://tinyurl.com/y4woq3cb
Traditionally bathroom scales were big and heavy, even the high tech digital ones, and so I was very interested to try this new lightweight model from YOUNGDO , particularly so at the current Amazon price of just £25.99, a bargain compared to rival units from Polar, Fitbit, etc. I was pleased to find it is accurate, simple to set up, and does a lot more than just tell you your weight.
In the box is the scale itself, together with a USB charging cable and a well written and easy to read User Guide. As you would expect with a device like this it is robust, well made and there seems very little that can go wrong with it. The device is attractive deigned with the four silver sensors marked from the black striped surface of the scale which also sports the flush-mounted red LED display. . I include a scan of the excellent concise User Guide at the end of my unboxing video.
Build quality seems fine and although it still strikes me as odd to have bathroom scales made from plastic I must say that this model seems robust and well made enough to withstand the knocks and bangs of daily life. In the past I have struggled to get inside the battery compartment on some scales I have used but not so here as it is powered by a built-in rechargeable battery, it takes up to four hours to charge from any USB port using the standard USB 2.0 cable provided
Before using the scale you have to first download and register the SCALE UP app, which is easy enough to do using a disposable email address if you wish. Once you have done that and set up the app with your height, age, etc you are ready to take a reading. The scale will then automatically push each new measurement to the app which will then track your weight, BMI, Body Fat, Muscle Mass, Visceral Fat, Body Water, Bone Mass and BMR and can interface seamlessly with Google Fit, Fitbit and even a range of social media apps.
To use the scales, which should be positioned on a hard and flat surface, just step on them and wait for the large LED display to blink as it confirms the measurement. The four onboard sensors, accurate to 0.1kg/0.2lb can track weights up to 400 lb /180 kg. Unlike with other older rivals, there is no need to pair the scale with your phone, for me at least, it just worked straight from the box. The scale shows you your weight on the display as well as (optionally) speaking it aloud and displaying and recording it on the app. It supports up to 99 separate user accounts with all measurements recorded and available on demand.
This is an attractively designed, entry-level bathroom scale, that works well and is simple to use and gives you access to multiple online app-based health monitoring systems at about 25% of the price of the Big Name rivals.
Music: YouTube Audio Library: John Deley and the 41 Players: Hear the Noise
Zonee Reusable Food Storage Bags - 8 Pack
More Info and Purchase: https://tinyurl.com/yxh2jnkv
This set of reusable snack and storage bags from Zonee arrived in minimal but adequate packaging in accordance with the environmentally friendly claims of the product. No paperwork or other items were included and none needed.
The bags, six 259 x 198 mm flat bags, and two 198 x 150 mm balloon base bags are made from extra thick FDA-grade Eco-friendly PEVA materials – a type of biodegradable silicone – and feel soft and flexible to the touch but almost impossible to tear or puncture in normal use. Both sizes of bag have a double 2.5 cm ziplock seal and are very secure when closed. The material above the ziplock is larger than on most rivals to allow for a better grip. In my tests, after careful sealing, the bags could be upended safely when full of water, but I do not advise storing fluids in them.
The silicon-based material from which they are made is flexible, foldable, and very strong and should last for years with careful use. Unlike most lesser rivals these have a double ziplock seal which makes them less likely to pop open in transit and better able to keep the contents both fresh and protected.
The bags are fine for use in the freezer but are not suitable for microwaving. For food and lunch storage these bags are safer and more eco-friendly than cling film or most throwaway bags and with care should last for years. Although they are listed as being safe up to 80℃ it is advised not to store hot food in them and to handwash only.
For the current Amazon price of £13.99 (promotions may be available at the checkout), given the good quality and potential long life of the bags, this is not a bad price indeed.
Music: YouTube Audio Library: Geographer: Airline
Oladwolf Electric Plasma Arc Lighter
More Info and Purchase: https://tinyurl.com/y6ew8by8
Throw your matches away! This little USB powered device will light your fire or your fag even in the strongest wind.
I have used an electric arc lighter before and I have to say I always get a childish delight from using them. This new one from Oladwolf is just as much fun to use as the others!
The lighter arrived well packaged in a stylish presentation box belying the £10.99 price and making it doubly attractive as a gift. Inside the box was the lighter itself together with a short but good quality USB to micro-USB charging cable. Don’t worry about losing the cable as any standard micro-USB cable will work just as well. Simple instructions are included repeated in small and hard to read type on the box.
Build quality is excellent with the device body made from high-grade matt finish plastic with the gooseneck itself from metal. The device has a quality look and feel to it that belies the current Amazon price of £10.99. On the side is a locking on/off switch, important to prevent the device from being switched on accidentally from the ignition button next to it. The USB 2 charging port is at the end of the unit.
Using the device is perfectly simple. First, fully charge the Lithium-ion battery until all the blue status LEDs are lit. We are warned not to overcharge to protect the battery. . The description says that up to 500 ignitions can be obtained from one charge, which is quite a bit better than the rival devices I have tried. Slide the power switch to On and press the adjacent button to obtain a spark, which in fact is not actually a spark but a tiny electrical discharge between the two terminals on the end of the gooseneck. The gooseneck can be rotated and bent to shape as required for use in awkward locations. I was unsure how well it would work but in fact as my video shows it instantly lit my test candle.
Uses standard micro-USB charging
No storage bag
Music: YouTube Audio Library: Silent Partner : Blue Break
EasySMX Optical Gaming Mouse
More Info and Purchase: https://amzn.to/3h5RGKW
This attractive, entry-level mouse from renown gaming supplies manufacturer EasySMX, is well priced at just £10.99 for which you get an excellent quality lightweight gaming mouse.
In the box is just the mouse and an annoyingly hard to read specification sheet in a host of languages. Build quality seems fine and although purposefully lightweight this mouse seems well made and pretty robust. It has a 1.8m woven cable which is pleasingly tangle-free.
The honeycomb shell mouse has eight buttons in total including underside buttons to control the USB refresh rate and LED status light. On top is the usual thumbwheel and DPI rate control which offers six rates between 400 and 6400 DPI with a bright colour coded internal LED status light.
The mouse is one of the lightest I have ever used at just 68g and glides smoothly over the desk, the buttons feel responsive and positive and are easy to use. There is no driver CD included and the buttons are not customisable unless a third-party utility is employed but that means that the device will work straight from the box.
This is an excellent quality lightweight gaming mouse available at a price that will certainly not break the bank.
Good Attractive design
1.8M heavy duty cable
Six step DPI range
Adjustable USB Rate
No Driver Software
No Weight adjustment
Not Customisable From The Box
Music: YouTube Audio Library: Houses of Heaven: Escape
HETP S8 Wireless Earbuds
More Info and Purchase: https://amzn.to/2WxJDib
I have said previously that it is time to raise the bar and in judging this new True Wireless Earbud set from HETP I will attempt to be so. However, let me say first that this £24.95 is at least as good as a set costing five times this price of 18 months ago.
In the attractive mid-market box are the usual contents: buds, charging case, power cable, three gel pairs (one fitted) and an excellent User Guide in good English. Build quality is excellent although not quite to Premium quality, but nothing to complain about.
So what is so good about this headset.
1. Sound Quality. After selecting the correct size gel set (very important) the sound is one of the best I have ever heard from a TW headset. Clean, undistorted if understated bass, clear and well-defined mid-tones, and a high end, detailed and with only a trace of harshness.
2. Bluetooth 5 connection quality. Easy pairing and then auto on and off when the buds are taken from and returned to the case. Great Bluetooth range, only a few dropouts after several weeks of use. The green pulse light on the buds goes out when a connected, a handy feature.
3. Good touch controls; tap either once for play/pause/ answer call, tap twice to reject a call, tap Right bud twice to advance a track, tap Left twice to go back a track. Tap three times to access your Apple or Google Personal Assistant. There is no way to adjust audio volume from the buds, a great pity. The buds will work separately from each other and stand-alone.
4. Long Battery Life. So far I have not had a battery warning from them after extended use. The five-hour playtime claim is no exaggeration. The charging case LED indicates the charging status of the Case and Buds.
5. USB-C Power input. It is good to see the new standard being adopted here. The supplied USB to USB-C cable is an added and welcome bonus.
The main selling points for me are, the compact size of both the case and buds, the use USB-C for the charging port and the easy to see bud connection status LED.
So is there anything to criticise? The sound quality is good, but even more bass would be better for me, as would bud control of audio volume and the smooth casing of the earbuds means that retrieving them quickly from the magnetic charging case can be tricky sometimes. I struggle to open the case too as the smooth surface and small opening notch makes this difficult.
All in all, this is a fantastic earbud set and due to the short and spasmodic Amazon shelf life of such devices, I have bought two more pairs to keep hold of, just in case.
Compact Size Buds
Compact Size Case
Bud ConnectionStatus LED
Good Build Quality
Hard To Open Case
Hard To Remove Buds
No Volume Control
More Bass Needed
Music: YouTube Audio Library: Craig MacArthur: Potato Deal
Aschef 11 in 1 Silicone Baking Spatula Utensils Set
More Info and Purchase: https://amzn.to/32aPttq
Priced at £14.99 this silicone spatula and measuring spoon would be perfect for a new home or a student house with all the basic cooking utensils here.
The spatula set consists of 27cm Large Spatula, 27cm Spoon Spatula, 24cm Jar Spatula, 21 cm Pot Brush, 20.5cm Brownie Spatula, 20.5cm Small Spatula. The kit also includes a five-piece plastic measuring spoon set sized from 1ml to 15ml (tablespoon). The only thing missing, I suppose, is a wall bracket or storage box.
Build quality seems fine. Each spatula has a stainless steel core and is flexible but not overly so, which is a good or bad thing according to your preference but seem robust and long-lasting. They are non staining, easy to wash. dishwasher, microwave and oven safe (up to 450 F). The various shapes and sizes should cover most cooking and baking needs. The lightweight plastic measuring set has markings but they are very hard to read although the set is colour coded which means there use will soon become intuitive.
This an attractive, well priced, simple set of basic cooking implements, well made and robust they should find a home in your kitchen for many years to come.
Music: YouTube Audio Library: The Mini Vandals: Alyssa
Youmeet 18MP Compact Camera
More Info and Purchase: https://amzn.to/39whTzR
I had my doubts about this little camera when it first came my way but, in fact for the £29.99 price, it is not a bad buy.
In the branded box is the camera, battery (installed), charging cable with UK adapter, software CD, lanyard and a well written if rather small and hard to read User Guide.
The camera is better made and more robust than I was expecting. It has a rechargeable battery which can be replaced if needed, and a large, bright if rather low resolution 2.7" LCD screen on the rear. It has a macro mode switch and grommet protected USB port on one side and battery/Card bay on the other. On the rear are two multi-purpose buttons and a small and rather difficult to use menu navigation ring. On the front is the lens, flash, timer LED and a tiny selfie mirror. On top is the microphone along with shutter and power buttons.
For a budget camera, there is a surprisingly wide range of configurable options - ISO, EV, timer, frequency, white balance, date, as well as on-screen image editing. I get the feeling that this may have been a much more expensive camera in another life a few years ago, now rebranded, repackaging and reduced in price.
The camera takes still pictures and a range of sizes up to 18M and video up to 720p. The image quality is again better than I feared and although there is a tendency for highlights to blow out, with care it is possible to get perfectly good pictures. Video also works and is sharper and clear than I expected but let down somewhat by a slow shutter speed and the same blown highlights the still images are prone to.
With a little effort, perfectly good results can be got from it, this together with decent build quality and a wide range of image options makes this a camera worth considering if your budget is tight.
Good Build Quality
Decent Image Quality
Slow Video Frame Rate
Hard To Use Controls
Music: YouTube Audio Library: Freedom Trail Studio: Amazement
More Info and Purchase: https://amzn.to/304nKrQ
Now reduced in price to £39.88 for a set of four, this newly updated set from Nooie is one of the easiest to configure smart plugs I have yet tried, and I have tried plenty.
I currently use rather outdated LightwaveRF plugs with my Amazon Echo and Google Home devices and this works well but needs a hub to be connected to the router. The latest generation of IOT products, like these from Nooie requires no hub, connects directly to the router, is assigned its’ own IP number and is easy to identify online. It is recognised by the Amazon Echo and Google Home and seamlessly blends in their home automation ecosystems.
In the simple but attractive box were the four plugs along with a well written but rather small setup guide Guide. The Guide assists in setting up the Nooie Home app and for linking the device to Amazon Alexa and Google Home but in fact the app walks you through the whole process.
The plugs are well made, nicely designed and feels robust enough for long-term everyday use. They are smaller in size than many older rivals and less obtrusive in use. I was pleased to see that they are not too wide and should fit fine into a multi-socket wall fixture. They each have a power status LED on the side and a large and clicky off/On button.
Setting it up was easy enough and can all be done by following the in-app instructions. Open the app and begin the procedure to add a new device. Plug the socket in and as the LED starts flashing, select the device type from the list in the app, input your wifi password, let the app then detect the device on the network. My unboxing video also walks through the initial configuration. Once the device is set up and online simply switch to the Alexa app, enable the Nooie Skill and follow the steps to recognise the plugs.
Using the Nooie app or Alexa/Google apps you can set up and configure all sorts of timers, schedules, or chained events for the plugs or in conjunction with other smart devices. For example, I have my living room lights turn on automatically at dusk each day and announcing ‘Bedtime’ will cause Alexa to turn off all TV-related devices plus the lights in the living room and conservatory.
This is an excellent product in its own right but when integrated with Alexa or Google really can start to transform your home. There are now many rivals available but this one has to be one of the most compact, easiest to use, and best made yet.
Works with Alexa
Works with Google Home
No hub needed
Part of a family of devices
Music: YouTube Audio Library: John Deley and the 41 Players: Hear The Noise
Gvoo 10” LED Ring Light with Tripod Stand
More Info and Purchase: https://amzn.to/38H06Wi
Well priced at just £20.60 this kit consists of a 10" ring light, selfie stick with phone mount, mini tripod, Bluetooth remote control, ball and socket mount, phone mount, and lanyard strap. The build quality, although lightweight, seems fine for the price.
The selfie stick has metal extension tubes to give a full reach of about 65cm with a rotatable phone clamp on the end. The stick has a fold-out base so it can double as a tripod. The separate mini tripod although made of plastic is robust and stable and the small gooseneck Phone mount is made of metal and has a fully rotatable ball and socket setting. The separate tripod ball and socket mount is again made of metal and is robust and strong. The ring light and phone can be interchanged between selfie stick and tripod mounts.
The USB powered 10" ring light although constructed of lightweight plastic, seems well made and works well with in-line controls for 10 stage dimming, and the three preset colour temperatures. The power button is backlit and can easily found in the dark, a thoughtful touch.
The Bluetooth remote can be mounted on the selfie stick for easy access or removed for longer range use and again works reliably and well for me. There are two buttons on the remote but I found both triggered my Android phone.
The kit as a whole is pretty much all you need to improve your selfie shots at home and outside and is suitable too to help with a first step ino the world of YouTube and video making.
Easy To use
Metal Gooseneck and Ball Mounts
Lightweight Build Quality
No Storage Case
Music: YouTube Audio Library: Silent Partner: Succotash
Sofirn SP40 200 Lumen Headlamp
More Info and Purchase: https://amzn.to/3fegyjl
This £35.99 headlamp set from Sofirn is not the cheapest around but it has a premium feel and build quality that the low-end rivals lack and if you need a professional level product then it is worth paying a little more for it.
In the small and distinctly downmarket box was the headband, flashlight, 18650 battery, charging cable, two O rings, 18350 battery tube adapter, and a small but worthwhile User Guide. Build quality seems first-rate with both the aluminum alloy torch and nylon headband having a robust and built to last feel to them. It is a pity that no storage case was included.
The L shaped torch slips easily but securely into the two fastening rings on the front of the headband and with easy access to the single large control button on the torch top. Short press the button to turn on and off, long press to cycle through the three light output levels, double click to activate turbo mode.
The 1200 Lumen flashlight is good and bright, and distinctly more powerful than would be expected from such a compact unit. The torch comes with a widely used 18650 Li-ion rechargeable battery but included in the kit is a replacement body tube to allow the use of the smaller but almost as powerful 18350 battery (not included).
This is a high quality, rugged and robust professional-level piece of kit well suited to outdoor sports, caving, biking, and other high impact activities as well as for fishing, cycling and other less intense pursuits.
Easy To Use
High Build Quality
Battery Choice Option
No Storage Case
Cheaper Rivals Available
Music: YouTube Audio Library: Freedom Trail Studio: We Could Reach
VMEI X9 Adjustable Laptop Stand
More Info and Purchase: https://amzn.to/38LoA0B
This stylish and rather upmarket laptop stand from VMEI is certainly built to last. Made from a heavy-gauge Aluminium alloy it should give stylish support to any laptop between 10-18", especially Macs, with which the silver brushed metal finish coordinates.
In the upmarket box was the stand itself, together with a single page user Guide and a large Allen key, used to tighten the hinges when they inevitably slacken over time. Straight from the box the hinges are stiff and need effort to adjust them, which reassures me that my laptop will be safe up there. The Z shaped stand has a padded shelve with lip to position the laptop on and soft anti-slip pads on the base. The base is well weighted and even when the laptop is at full elevation it feels stable and secure.
Priced at £37.99, this is not a cheap item, but it has a build quality and premier feel that the cheaper rivals certainly lack. I would have liked to have received a soft carry bag with to protect other items when carried together, but that is no deal-breaker. You get what you pay for here.
Robust Build Quality
Stable at Full Extention
No Carry Bag
Music: YouTube Audio Library: Endless Love: Old Vienna
HYLOGY Blood Pressure Monitor
More Info and Purchase: https://amzn.to/3gCZ4gN
At first, I had a cheap wrist position BP monitor but I was not confident in the accuracy of the results which seem to vary depending on how I positioned my wrist. My GP loaned me an upper arm cuff monitor which seemed so much easier to use and more consistently accurate I was impressed by the accuracy and ease of use and so looked around for one myself. Although one of the junior members of the well respected HYLOGY range of Blood Pressure monitors this device offers almost all the functionality of the more expensive models albeit with a slightly less upmarket finish.
In the box are the monitor itself, pressure cuff and a well written and easy to read User Guide. Build quality is up to the usual HYLOGY high standard with nothing looking likely to break, pack in or fall off anytime soon.
Powered either by 4 AA batteries or an external power unit (neither supplied) using the device could not be simpler and it really is Plug 'n Play. Insert the tube end into the aperture on the side, fit it to the upper arm as shown in the User Guide, keeping the arm at heart level. Press the large Start/Stop button and wait for the cuff to constrict and the on-screen countdown to finish, which takes around 35 seconds. You can then read the blood pressure and pulse readings from the screen. The device supports two users with the last 90 readings remembered for each. The device can also detect and alert to irregular heartbeats and to measurement errors in real-time.
Comparing it to the similarly priced unit supplied to me by the NHS I have to say that the results are broadly comparable and well within the normal variance expected between readings. The display here is far easier to read with better contrast. The other has no memory function but then this is a feature I do not use as I log all my readings manually to my computer as I take them. The build quality is far better and the well-written manual is more informative and far easier to read and make sense of.
This is a well made and reliable device from a market leader in health-related products and for the £24.99 price is a good and reliable buy.
Good Build Quality
Easy to use
Two User Option
Arrhythmic Irregularity Alert
No Data Export
No Carry Case
No External Power Supply
Music: YouTube Audio Library: Doug Maxwell: Corporate Mellow Groove
More Info and Purchase: https://amzn.to/2Z4zCL2
Priced at £34.99 this new webcam from P&U has a couple of features I have not seen elsewhere in this for this price. The main features of note are a detachable USB cable and the use of the latest USB-C interface.
In the box there is just the webcam itself and a 150cm USB cable, no instructions or paperwork is included but none is needed as this is a true Plug 'n Play camera. Build quality seems excellent, the camera is well made and robust with nothing looking likely to fail anytime soon.
The camera itself is nicely made with a folding monitor mount which doubles as a desktop stand and features a brass tripod screw, a feature lacking in many budget rivals. It is a pity there is no privacy shutter built in as many rivals now have. On the camera rear is a USB-C port and this is a big plus for the camera as it is one of the first I have seen using the new interface. There are what seem to be two microphone ports on the front so there may well be two mics and certainly, the sound quality is better than on many rival webcams I have tried. The video is bright and contrasty but less sharp than I would like. Weirdly, and I am not sure if this is a deliberate feature or not, the video signal is reversed with left being right and text back to front.
I plugged the camera into my Windows 10 PC and it was instantly recognised with no drivers or software needed. The Windows Camera app allowed me to configure it, with some reduced resolution options available, although the default settings were fine for me. I also tried it on my MacBook pro and again it was almost instantly up and running – although it is possible drivers were silently downloaded in the background, although I did not observe it.
If you want a decent quality no-nonsense webcam for Skype or other streaming purposes then this would be a sound choice for the price. There are many cheaper rivals available but they lack the convenience of true Plug n Play and USB-C.
Windows 10 Friendly
Good Build Quality
Plug and Play
Good Audio Quality
No Hard Wired Cable
No Privacy Shutter
Video Could Be Better
No User Guide
Music: YouTube Audio Library: The Whole Other: Winner Winner Funky Chicken Dinner
More Info and Purchase: https://amzn.to/3gQnhQE
In the early days, only the high-end expensive True Wireless Earbuds were any good but now as the technology has developed and with the introduction of Bluetooth 5, it is hard to find a bad set. This new pair from VANKYO priced at £39.99 typifies that and is better by far than the market leader of two years ago that cost five times the price.
In the attractive mid-market, box are the earbuds, three sets of gels, micro-USB charging cable, USB to Micro-USB adapter, and a very well written, easy to read and comprehensive User Guide. Build quality is first-rate with the metal charging case and buds appearing well made and robust. The buds are rated IPX8 water-resistant, which means you could swim in them (but don't).
So what is so good about this headset.
1. Sound Quality. Sound quality is excellent if not quite the best I have heard, and great for the price. There are detail non-sibilant highs, clear and detailed midrange and good punchy bass, but be sure to select the best fit gels to get the most from them.
2. Bluetooth 5 connection quality. Easy pairing and then auto on and off when the buds are taken from and returned to the case. Great Bluetooth range, with drop-outs and missed connections a thing of the past.
3. Touch controls that actually work:
Press Once (L/R)-Play/Pause
Press Twice (L)- Skip Backwards
Press Twice(R)- Skip Forwards
Press Once (L/R)- Answer/ Hang-up
Long Press (L)- Volume -
Long Press (R)- Volume+
Press Thrice (L/R)- Activate Siri/Google
The buds will work independently of each other as mono stand-alone units.
4. Long Battery Life. So far I have not had a battery warning from them after extended use. The claimed seven-hour playtime claim is probably no exaggeration.
5. External device charging. This works and at decent power output too. I doubt I will use it but it is good to know it could give my phone an emergency boost if needed. The limited size of the Case 3500mAh Lithium PolymerBattery means it will only top up most modern phones rather than fully charging from flat.
So is there anything to criticise? Not much, it is a pity that USC-C was not used rather than the venerable but still popular Micro-USB port. The smooth casing of the earbuds means that retrieving them quickly from the magnetic charging case can be tricky sometimes. Oh yes, more bass too, next time.
This headset is a fine example of the latest generation of True Wireless Earbuds.
Music: YouTube Audio Library: Endless Love: Licorice Song
More Info and Purchase: https://amzn.to/31TPHVF
This charming little set of garden lights from Fohil are described as 'Wind Chimes' but as they are in fact completely silent they might better be described as 'Wind Charms' but are no less attractive for it.
In the plain and unbranded box are the wind chime set and a simple but not really needed User Guide. It is a shame more attractive packaging could not have been used as this little set deserves better and it would make the item more attractive as a gift.
The set comes with a hanging frame and chain which incorporates a solar panel and Lithium Polymer battery. I was very pleased to see that the rechargeable battery can be replaced when necessary, probably about once a year and that this is an easy and quick process. One six to eight-hour charge in direct sunlight should give around the same amount of operating time, so it should work all night in the UK summer, but less during winter. Personally, I bring all my garden solar gadgets indoors over winter, just to be on the safe side. Remember to set the single switch to On before using a and keep mind that it will not charge when set to OFF. One slight niggle is that the waterproof switch lacks a positive feel and a it is hard to be sure which way it is set.
The set looks very attractive and for the £14.99 price will add a charming feature to your garden or patio.
Music: YouTube Audio Library: Silent Partner: Heart Beats