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This is essentially a home IP security camera in a small format body. It has most of the functions of a regular camera - 1080p video, wifi, motion detection with zones, in-app alerts, video files saved to a choice of locations. In fact it can be used as a normal home security camera when powered by USB as it comes with Nightvision infrared LEDs and has Motion Detection good for up to around 6m. It is has a built-in battery good for about 90 minutes of use and comes with a magnetic ball joint mount. It is even small and light enough at 26g for use as a drone camera. The camera will operate at a range of resolutions maxing out at 1920 x [email protected] saved using the H.264 codec. It has a 150 ° wide-angle field of view and can operate with as little as 1 LUX of available light.

The kit arrived nicely packaged and presented and as well as the camera included in the box was a charging cable, semi-rigid short cable/mount, ball socket magnetic mount and a well written and easy to read colour User Guide. Build quality seems fine and the device does have something of a premium feel to it. An interesting addition to the kit is a short semi-rigid flexible charging cable that doubles as a stand for the camera. The camera body is magnetic and so can be mounted easily to any metal object

The camera has just two physical buttons, one for Power Off/On the other to reset the device, with all the other parameters being controlled through the excellent HIDVCAM app which is one of the best designed and easy to use camera apps I have tried. This is just as well as with the app the camera cannot be set up or effectively used. Using the app you can configure the motion detection zone area and set the camera to work automatically by schedule as well as a good range of other options and preferences. Video can be streamed and recorded live or saved to the app, the camera's TF card or to the subscription based cloud service. The camera will work with any suitable micro-SD card between 8 and 128gb and can be set to loop recordings when the card is full. Annoyingly, no card is included with the kit.

Setting up the camera using a camera hotspot worked well and once done the camera automatically attached to the home wifi after each reboot. Once connected all configuration is done through the HIDVCAM app, which works well and is simple and intuitive to use. Video and image files can be saved to the app, the camera SD card (not included) or the cloud, for which a subscription is needed. Once set up you could manage without the app by ensuring the camera has motion detection or schedule in place and physically removing the SD card to check for alert recordings but it is much easier to use the app for this.

Using the camera is easy enough with photos and images saved to the camera, cloud or the app either automatically or by pressing a button with the app. Recorded video is good for the price, sharp, bright and clear, and can be viewed or deleted through the app or with most video playing software. Recording to the cloud needs a subscription and indeed it is necessary to register an account before the app can be used but non-cloud use is entirely free.

This is a nicely made camera capable of decent results with a quality feel to it and small and discreet enough to use for covert security purposes. For the current price of £36.99, it is a very decent buy.

Music: YouTube Audio Library: Silent Partner: 7th Floor Tango

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This new Alcohol Breathalyzer Tester from AnvFlik is simple and straightforward to use and contains all you need to keep you safe on the road after a trip to the bar or restaurant - except willpower. I have tried one or two of these before but often they are overly complex, fiddly to use and designed as scientific instruments rather than a quick and easy tool and so this user-friendly version comes as a breath of fresh air (!).

In the box are the device itself, five reusable mouthpieces and a well written and easy to read user guide. No battery or case is included. The User Guide is detailed but easy to follow and so I include it appended to my unboxing video.

Using the Breathalyzer could not be simpler and the device has a bright and clear LED display showing the current status and test results. .Switch it on and wait for it to warm up with an on-screen countdown from 19, it will make an audible alert to show it is ready to be used. Now blow into the unit for around three seconds, with an audio tone and progress bar on the LED display to alert you when to quit. Your result will now be shown on the screen. You can select the units the results are displayed in as an option but for most people, the easy to understand BACS system is best. It comes with five push to fit mouthpieces which can easily be cleaned and reused as needed. This is a change from some rivals which come with one-time use mouthpieces which are expensive to buy and hard to find.

This is an excellent piece of kit which is easy to use and simple to maintain, the only mild criticism is the lack of a storage case. Priced at just £15.29 this would be an excellent device for any bar, pub or restaurant owner to have on hand to ensure customers are safe to drive home.

Music: YouTube Audio Library: South London HiFi: Let It Happen

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This truly pocket-sized little flashlight has a robust aluminium body, needs just one AA battery, offers three operating modes, full zooming, is shock and water-resistant and is perhaps the brightest torch I have seen of this size.

In the box is just the torch itself, no battery, case, or product details are included. Nothing more is actually needed but some product specifications would have been nice.

The manufacturer does not tell us just how shock or water-resistant or even how bright the torch actually is, but I can say that it seems exceptionally robust and well made and is certainly powerful with one of the widest zooms I have yet tried. It would have been better to know just how water resistant the torch is and the actual lumens rating. Of course, the torch is just as good and just as powerful with or without the tech specs.

The push-pull zoom is a bit stiff to operate but stays in position once set and the padded tail button is easy to operate and scrolls through the three modes available: full power, half power, and strobe. The light output seems pretty steady and the torch does not warm up in use.

At just 4" in length and with a clip for that purpose, the torch can easily be kept in a pocket or car glove compartment for use when needed. This is the sort of item you can just tuck away somewhere and when the power goes off hunt it out. The AA battery that it needs are easily and widely available so finding one for it should not be an issue.

At the silly price of just £6.99, there is no reason not to recommend it.

Music: YouTube Audio Library: Houses of Heaven: Escape

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I have tried several earlier generation moon lights, similar to this one in that they are 3D printed and are supposedly correctly mapped from a real image of the moon but this new 15cm diameter 3D printed Moonlight from toyuugo offers several handy features the others lack.

The lamp arrived nicely presented in an attractive box with all the information you need to know to operate the moon printed on it. Inside is the moon lamp itself, a short USB to the micro-USB charging cable, the wooden stand in two parts, and a credit card sized remote control.

The first thing to do is to assemble the stand and although you only need to push two pegs into two holes this can be rather tricky first time. Once assembled the moon just sits on top and is securely held in place. On the underside of the moon is a small off/on switch and a micro-USB charging port - a nice advance from the non-standard plugs used on the older models. Switch the moon off and plug it in to charge and when ready the moon will change in colour from a dim red to green.

To operate it you can use the 24 button soft key remote which allows a range of colours, fade modes and five dimming levels to be selected. Alternatively, you can just lightly pat the moon itself to scroll through the principle colours. Many of the older rivals are battery only and have to be switched off and plugged in to charge during which time the lamp will not work. This one you can leave plugged in all the time.

The light looks great both at night as a light and during the day as a room feature and can be left plugged in continuously. The light is bright but dimmable and offers 16 colours in various combinations and fading patterns.

For the £21.99 price, this is an advance on the old-style rivals and well worth the slightly extra cost.

Music: YouTube Audio Library: Wayne Jones: Spookster

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As lighting technology progresses not only are old-style bulbs being replaced but first-generation LED bulbs are now being superseded by new style bulbs such as this new set from Unisun, which are smaller, brighter and less expensive than the before.

Each of these LED bulbs is equivalent to an old-style 40w bulb but is just 50 x 96 mm in size and weighing in at just 30g, smaller, lighter and more robust than the earlier models and also offering not just a full range of controllable colours but also a warm white preset, dimmable white light, timer and daily auto-off preset. They look small, neat and discreet and will not dominate any table lamp or housing into which they are fitted.

The credit card sized remotes - there are two, one for each bulb - allow a full range of control for the light output and colour but also allow each bulb to be set to turn off or on at a set time each day and to turn off after a set period. The remotes take one CR2 battery each which are preinstalled and easily be replaced.

The bulbs are compact, eat and seem well made and robust. They are come pre locked to each bulb and are simple and intuitive to use, although a large and well written User Guide is included.
They are designed for use as desk or table lamps and at 6w each is perfectly bright enough for this but for general room lighting look elsewhere.

For the £10.49 for the pair, this is a very decent buy.

Music: YouTube Audio Library: Geographer: Airline

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This new budget-priced alternative to the Big Name video doorbells offers all the features you need: good quality 1080p video, live streaming, two-way audio, motion detection etc. It serves perfectly well as a video intercom and home security camera.

Included in the low key but attractive box are a wall mounting kit, 16gb micro-SD card, USB charger, an external USB powered chimer and a well written and easy to read User Guide. Build quality seems fine and the unit is rated as IP65 waterproof, which means it should be fine in all UK weather. All you need to set it up is here in the box and you should be able to get it up and working in just a few minutes.

Setting it up is easy enough using either of the two methods offered by the CloudEdge app which has to be registered with an email address before use. When configuring it make sure your phone is connected to a 2.4ghz network and is using the Doorbell hotspot method make sure that your phone has not defaulted back to the home network. Also, during my tests with this method I found that the doorbell had already connected in the background to my home wife before the connection wizard had completed, so check for this if you have a problem. When connected correctly you will get a steady blue light on the doorbell status LED ring.

Once connected the doorbell can be powered either by the two supplied 18650 rechargeable batteries or using a mains adapter kit, sold separately. I would advise using the adapter kit if possible as heavy use of the device will wear the batteries down although they can be charged through USB without needing to remove them from the case.

Video and audio quality are excellent and the delay between ringing the doorbell and the chime ringing is low with an alert message popping up on your phone screen almost as fast. The app records all events and will record pictures and images both to the app itself and the supplied 16gb micro-SD card inside the unit. You can also have a two-way conversation with no need to press a Talk button. The only real criticism I have is the lack of integration with Alexa, Google Home and IFTTT.

For the £84.99 price, this is a very decent alternative to the more costly Big Name market leaders.

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This scuttle and shovel set is a good buy for just £18.99 including delivery from Amazon. It seems well made and is attractively designed.

We have a solid fuel Rayburn stove that does the hot water, central heating and much of the cooking for the house but it needs regular fueling with compressed pellets of smokeless fuel stored in a bunker outside. For years we just used a bucket to bring the fuel in but when it finally failed it was decided to replace it with something a bit less ugly.

The set arrived in a cardboard box, badly punctured and dented but the contents, well protected in layers of bubble wrap were fine. No instructions, care advice, or paperwork was included but then operating a scuttle and shovel is hardly rocket science.

The Amazon listing at one point claims it is made from cast iron and then that it is made from Galvanised Steel. It is far too light and the metal too thin to be cast iron but Galvanised Steel is probably right. The handles on the scuttle have a chrome effect but also seem to be steel. Build quality seems fine although the metal is rather thin. So far after a few weeks of use, it is showing minimal signs of wear but I wonder in what shape it will be a year from now.

The scuttle does the job although getting the fuel into the Rayburn can be tricky as you have to swing the scuttle back and let gravity and momentum transfer the pellets to the fire. This is an issue with the Rayburn rather than the scuttle and those with open fires should have no problems, although a strong arm is needed to lift and upend the scuttle.

It is better looking than most of the rivals I have seen and appears no less robust. If you use a coal scuttle you will also be using a shovel and so the addition of the shovel is a nice touch and at 5" it is exactly the right size to feed the scuttle with.

For the budget price, this fireside set seems a pretty good buy.

Music: YouTube Audio Library: The Mini Vandals: You're There

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Coloured lights are no longer just for Christmas and this kit from TECKIN can be used in a variety of ways around the home. It contains all you need to get going and allows for room for expansion later. This latest generation kit is a marked step upwards from the older ones.

In the attractive but low product box was a single 5M 150 LED light strip complete with plugs either end, UK power supply, 24 key infrared remote control, two female to female 4-pin adapters and a small but informative User Guide. The User Guide is indicative just how far these kits have developed as it is well written, nicely printed and easy to read. I include a scan of it in my unboxing video.

All you need is included here. There is no need to buy anything more unless you plan to expand the unit with more LED strips which can be daisy-chained onto this one and powered from the same PSU. Older kits had large external junction box controller but this new era kit incorporates this into the strip itself whilst the connectors are larger, easier to fit and less fiddly.

To use the kit with the single strip included then simply plug the output from the mains power adapter directly into the end of the light strip. You can cut the LED strip to length being careful to cut with scissors along the indicated points found every 100mm on the strip. You can cut the strip into smaller sections and join it together using the supplied connectors, again a great advance on old-style units and making it far easier to run the strip around corners or stair treads. The strip is sticky-backed and can easily be mounted in place. Remove the battery protector plastic strip from the remote control and connect the mains plug. Listed at being IP44 water-resistant it should be OK for use in sheltered areas of the garden or patio.

The fitted LED strips if discreetly mounted can be left in place for future festive occasions, otherwise, they can be carefully removed and returned to the box ready for future use. As with all LED strips over time the sticky surface will come loose and so for long time use a more permanent clip mounting method should be found.

Everything you need from a simple lighting kit is included here and at a very attractive price too at £15.99. All it lacks is direct Alexa/Google Home integration but suitable power sockets are available which allow voice control to turn the strip off an on and incorporate it into smart home routines. It is attractively presented and would make a great buy for the connected home.

Music: YouTube Audio Library: Geographer: Airline

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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 1byone , particularly so with the current Amazon price of just £29.99, a bargain compared to rival units from Polar, Fitbit etc.

The scales arrived attractively packaged in an attractive and rather stylish box free from the gaudy packaging and plastics often associated with high imported tech goods. Inside the box were the bathroom scales, two sets of three AAA batteries, a tape measure, and two well written and easy to read User Guides in good English. I include a scan of the concise User Guide on 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 can almost be done single-handed.

Once the device is unpacked and the batteries inserted the first thing to do is to download and install the iOS or Android app “1byone Health” to your phone. 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 Apple Health, Google Fit, and Fitbit.

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 three times as it confirms the measurement. It can now be entered using Bluetooth into the 1byone app. The with four onboard sensors, accurate to 0.1kg/0.2lb you can track weights up to 400 lb /180 kg. It is an easy matter to auto recalibrate the scales by simply stepping off and on them. The scale works fine and I have no reason to doubt the accuracy of the readings which mirror those on my old unit. The data will also be passed on seamlessly to any other connected apps you may use.

This is an attractively designed, entry-level bathroom scale, that works well and is simple to use and gives you access to a multiple online app-based health monitoring systems.

Music: YouTube Audio Library: Silent Partner: Don't Look

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This excellent 720p security camera from Littlelf is easy to configure and simple to use and has some features seldom found for the low to mid-range price. The all-purpose security camera is typical of the new generation of home security devices. It is budget-priced but high spec with better than average 720p resolution, cloud storage, SD card storage, in-app alerts, two-way audio, motion tracking. It is simple to configure, easy to operate, and works well.

The camera arrived in an attractive and well designed branded product box. Inside was the camera itself, a wall/ceiling bracket, UK plug power supply, wall mounting kit, USB to micro-USB cable, cleaning cloth and a well-written User Guide. The build quality seems good throughout and although the camera is quite large it is well made and looks impressive and rather upscale.

On the front of the camera are the camera lens and an infrared 11 Piece LED setup, call button and a microphone. Easily overlooked are the Reset Button and SD card slot on the rear of the camera along with the micro-USB power input port and Ethernet socket. On the underside of the base, there is the interface for the supplied mounting bracket or a standard tripod. There is no interface for an external alarm system. The camera is powered by a USB adaptor and so can work with any standard phone charger if the one supplied is unavailable. I was pleased to see that unlike with some rivals, a standard USB to micro-USB cable is used.

Setting the camera can be done either wirelessly or using an Ethernet cable (not supplied). I failed to connect using wifi due, I suspect, to my phone being on a dual 5/2.4g network but connecting over Ethernet was almost instantaneous. The only downside was having to register the LittleElf app before setup. Once connected the camera was fast and responsive with a range of options available through the extensive settings. There is no need for a wifi hotspot network generated by the camera, a hit or miss method still used by many older devices.

You can use the app to configure the camera in detail including alert triggers, SD card formatting and motion detection. Captured video and stills can be downloaded to both the phone and the camera micro-SD card.

The most notable features of this device are the ability to call the phone app from the camera using the front panel button, and the Alexa/Google Home voice control. It is a pity however than an external speaker and microphone cannot be connected and neither can third party alarm systems. There is support for Amazon Alexa using the PuwellCloud Skill and Google Home allowing for voice control and display on a connected TV or other screens.

Picture and audio quality is excellent and the live streaming fast and responsive. I have to say that it looks better on camera screen than it does from the app captured file. The camera offers full Pan, Zoom and Tilt control through the app. As my video shows there was very little latency between the phone and camera Pan and Tilt movements. This was better than I have found using some cameras costing several times the price.

If you want a good quality and easy to use security camera or baby monitor and at a very reasonable price and with a well above average feature list then this would be an excellent buy.

The Good
Great price
iOs and Android apps
Alexa/Google Home Skill
Two-way audio
Calls From Camera
Good build quality
Pan and tilt control in-app
Night Vision
Motion detection
In-app alerts
SD Card Slot

The Bad
No Audio out socket
No Audio In socket
No 5Ghz network support
The app needs to be registered

Music: YouTube Audio Library: The Mini Vandals: You're There

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This is one of the most useful and interesting audio devices I have ever tried. It will take almost any audio source and convert it quickly and easily to playable mp3 files. It also doubles as an all-purpose audio player with monitor speakers and the capability to link to external audio systems. However, it is important to remember what this device is and not to expect more from it than it is designed to do.

What it is not is a high end, upmarket stand-alone music player and nor does it pretend to be. For me the purpose of this unit to make the irksome task of digitising my old record and cassette collection faster, easier, and more fun. This is not an item to display proudly next to your Bang and Olufsen or Bose home audio system, but rather one to keep in your home office to playback your old records, CD's and cassettes and convert them ready to upload to your home or online music library.

The DIGITNOW! M503-2 arrived very well protected in a robust cardboard shipping box with the branded but rather downmarket product box within. In the box was the main unit itself, a medium length 3.5mm audio cable, a credit card sized remote control, a 45 rpm single record adapter and a well written and easy to read User Guide. The unit comes with a fused UK three pin plug and hard-wired cable. Build quality could be better and the unit feels a bit cheap and cheerful but this is a functional device designed to perform a task rather than a prestige item to impress visitors with.

So what does it actually do?
This unit will playback from records, cassette tapes, built-in FM/AM radio, CD USB, SD, Bluetooth and an auxiliary 3.5mm jack. It will convert audio sources to MP3 using the remote control or front panel buttons with no external wiring or connections needed and save them to USB or SD cards. To record from a record, for example, first, insert the SD card USB drive you wish to record onto, then start the record playing and press the record button on the handset or front of the device and the Record icon starts flashing on the LCD screen, press Play to start recording and Stop to end recording. It will save the recorded audio as a 192kbps MP3 file. The procedure is the same to record from CD, Bluetooth, cassette, radio or auxiliary but with some minor changes to the screen display. The unit will, of course, function perfectly well just as a player but the audio quality although fine when used for monitoring purposes cannot really be considered good enough for serious listening. The unit does have an audio out socket to allow connection to external music systems. In fact DIGITNOW! themselves make an identical version of this device with external stereo speakers.

There are a few other compromises which have been made to keep the cost down to a remarkable £89.99. There are no tape transport controls on the remote. The cassette - which has to be inserted at a non-intuitive upwards angle - will start playing automatically when inserted with the end of the cassette protruding at all times, Pressing the adjacent mechanical button will fast forward the tape when half depressed and eject when pressed home. There are no rewind or pause options. Neither is are there any tone controls available on the remote or device itself. The record player works well enough but again feels rather lightweight but does have a damped raise/lower lever, three-speed settings and an auto stop on/off selector. The remote control is credit-card sized with soft-touch buttons and small enough to be easily mislaid, so take care.

The controls available on the main unit front panel are Play/Pause, CD Open/Close, Stop, Previous, Next, Mode, New Folder, Delete, Radio Tuning, Volume/Off/On. Also on the main unit are Aux in 3.5mm socket, Headphone 3.5mm socket, Infrared receiver, mono LCD display, CD slot, SD slot, USB port, stereo speakers. The remote has buttons for Power, Aux, Phono, Tape, Radio, USB/SD, Vol Up. Vol down, Program, Repeat, CD Open plus track controls for the CD player.

If you need a device to record and copy legacy media then I doubt you will find one as easy to use and as capable as this one. If you want a hifi music centre for your living room then this is probably not for you. For £89, it is a great buy. If they bring out a high-end premium feel model with a larger handset, Bluetooth Out, and remote cassette controls then I would happily pay twice the price for it.

Music: YouTube Audio Library: Silent Partner: Blue Break

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Road glare and haze on sunny days and nighttime glare from streetlights and oncoming headlights are a problem that these new driving glasses from Occffy are designed to combat. They do help to reduce the problem at least as well if not better than others I have tried.

The glasses weigh in at just 20g, have good-sized polarised resin lenses and stretchable frames that should fit all users. They are designed to to fit any width of head with a temple distance of 145mm+/- 5mm. The polarised yellow resin lenses are or 65 x 52mm with the frames 145 in width by the same distance from the lens to tip. Included in the branded mid-market box are a soft carry bag and cleaning cloth.

The yellow filter reduces headlight glare and reduces road reflection at night and general haze when used during the day. In both cases, the effect is present and effective but not overwhelming. The effect is more noticeable when worn than on camera. The glasses are very comfortable to wear and so lightweight you soon forget you have them on. They are offset from the face enough to even fit a pair of smaller glasses underneath!

These are a decent quality general purpose set of driving glasses suitable for day or night use and a good buy for the £14.99 price.

Music: YouTube Audio Library: Topher Mohr and Alex Elena: Rubber Necking

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As a collector and user of classic film cameras and with a collection of negatives and transparencies going back many years a good quality lightbox is essential to my work and this new A3 sized model from MACTING will come in very handy. This lightbox comes with much pretty all you would need to get the best from it including a felt padded case, angled metal work stand, and clips to secure workprints to the display.

It is USB powered and comes with a medium-length cable and external 4 AA battery pack for use when no mains supply is available. I would have rather had a longer cable to make it easier to use the device in my studio, but no matter. The external batteries should last for between 15 and 20 hours although I doubt if I will be using the box outside of my studio. The accessories will be useful too. The soft felt case is amply sized and has two large removable external pockets secured by velcro. The multi-position angled stand is well made and robust and supports the box very securely although at 4mm thick and weighing in at just 925g this unit could easily be wall-mounted, perhaps for hospital use.

The lightbox has a uniform and flicker-free cool white output with three brightness levels controlled by the single soft-touch power button although there is no way to adjust the colour temperature. At maximum brightness, the display is perfectly bright enough to allow tracing even with standard office paper. Unlike rivals I have used this box does not have a high gloss slippery surface and so items are far less likely to move around when they ought not to.

The main appeal to me aside from the flat and stable light output is the remarkable thinness of the unit at just 3mm - the price for which is the lack of an internal battery - the quality of the accessories included, and of course the remarkable price of just £49.99.

If you are an artist or a classic camera user like me then you will appreciate just what this excellent device has to offer.

Music: YouTube Audio Library: Gunnar Olsen: Get Me On The Floor

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I have tried a great many garden lights in the past and as technology develops they just keep getting better. This new £12.99 solar light from UNISUN exemplifies this. It as a smaller solar panel but lights longer and more brightly than earlier generation rivals.

The 17 x 7 x 10 cm 200gm light arrived packaged in a plain unbranded box along with a mounting kit (screws and wall plugs) and a small but well-printed User Guide. I include a scan of the User Guide at the end of my unboxing video.

This light is very bright indeed and offers a 270-degree light spread arc due to the use of 98 LEDs in two angled banks. On top is a small PET laminated silicon solar panel offering an impressive 20.5% conversion efficiency. This should be enough to run continuously throughout a summer night and in motion detection mode during the UK winter using the internal 2200mAh battery. Incidentally, the battery is a standard 18650 type which could easily be replaced if needed. The small control button is housed on the front beneath the domed motion detection sensor. The ABS plastic unit is IP65 waterproof which means it should be fine in the worst UK rainstorm but my advice would be to keep it away from overflows and downpipes, just to be sure.

Configuring the device is easy enough. Long press the control button for Motion Detection mode – the light turns on for fifteen seconds when motion is detected. Press again for Motion/Dim mode in which the light is dimly lit at night and turns to full power when motion is detected. Press again for Dim Mode in which the light remains continuously on in Dim mode at night. After each button press, the LEDs flash in confirmation.

This new generation light is very bright indeed for the compact size and is easy enough to mount on any flat surface. Of course, care needs to be taken to mount the device in an area with the maximum amount of sunlight for best results. For the price, this is an excellent buy.

Music: YouTube Audio Library: Geographer: Airline

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This new unit from YUKOIE is pretty much a standard medium-sized Power Bank but does bring a couple of interesting features to the table unusual for a device in this price range.

The power bank arrived nicely packaged in an eco-friendly cardboard box robust enough to store the unit in if needed. Supplied with the power bank was a short USB to micro-USB charging cable and a small but well written and easy to read User Guide, not that you are likely to need it. I enclose a scan of it at the end of my unboxing video just in case you do.

Although smaller than I expected the power bank is still quite chunky. It seems very robust and well made and capable of surviving a knock or two. It has the look and feel of a high-end device with an attractive silk black skin, front panel LCD display and unusual twin LED flashlight.

All the ports are on one end and consist of the micro-USB and USB-C inputs (which both input power at the same rate 5v/2.A), and three standard USB power out ports for power out, which again both output at 5v/2A each. A recessed power/display switch is on one side and the small LED power screen is within the black front panel.

I tested it with my OnePlus 5T phone and my Tablet and found the charging times to be fast with no sign of overheating either from the power bank or connected device. The device is equipped with the appropriate circuit to protect against overheating and overcharging.

It is a pity that there is no USB-C power outport as most high-end modern smartphones now feature this interface. It lacks some of the other whistles and bells that some other chargers have but the lack of them does not bother me as I am looking for a Powerbank, not a device to get stones out of horses hooves. It does have a dual-lens flashlight, I am not sure what advantages this brings but it does show that some thought has gone into the design process. It is certainly a powerful charger capable of charging an iPhone 8 at least 7 times, the Galaxy S8 6 times, the iPad Air 2 times and most android devices several times over.

This is a powerful and well-made power bank, free from distracting and unneeded features but focused on charging, which it does exceptionally well. The price, currently at £22.99, is good for the features and capacity as is the robust high-end build quality. This is a good Power Bank and a worthwhile buy.

The Good
Great price
Two 2A Output ports
Robust design
Great Build Quality
Attractive Design
Good User Guide
LCD Display
Dual Power in Ports
Dual Lens Flashlight

The Bad
No USB C output port
No Carry bag

Music: YouTube Audio Library: Au.Ra: Battle Royale

More Info and Purchase: https://tinyurl.com/wqwxzll

Blog: https://tinyurl.com/ykygtjxo

As with all the new generation of smart plugs, these are hub free, small, stylish and easy to configure. At just £39.99 for a set of four, this newly updated set from Nooie is perhaps not the cheapest but it is one of the easiest to set up and use I have encountered so far.

I currently use LightwaveRF switches 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. I attach a scan of the guide to my unboxing video. Switch to full screen and pause as needed to read it.

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.

Features
Works with Alexa
Works with Google Home
Good App
Compact Size
No hub needed
Part of a family of devices
Off/On button
Status LED

Music: YouTube Audio Library: Geographer: Lightning Bugs

More Info and Purchase: https://tinyurl.com/uxkmydx

Blog: https://tinyurl.com/yj75kup3

No, it is not a Bomb!

In fact, it is a DIY gift box made from cardboard which you decorate to your own design using the large accessories kit provided for that purpose. The box opens out like a flower to reveal a gift inside surrounded by photographs, cards, drawings or whatever you wish held in pockets within the box petals. A second smaller inner box is also included.

Assembling the box is fairly quick and easy but preparing the contents is where the real pleasure lies and may take up as much time and effort as you wish to devote to it. For £15.99 you will keep your child occupied for hours and perhaps receive a gift at the end of it. A huge amount of pens, pencils, stencils, stickers, ribbons etc is included enough to allow the box to be reused many times if needed. Assembling the box is fairly quick and easy but preparing the contents is where the real pleasure lies and may take up as much time and effort as you wish to devote to it.

This would make a delightful present for anyone that enjoys craftwork or making personalised gifts. It might appeal particularly to creatively minded children. I have never seen one of these before but there seem to be plenty of them available and I suspect they are particularly popular in China and Japan.

For £15.99 you will keep the user occupied for hours and perhaps receive a gift yourself at the end of it.

Music: YouTube Audio Library: The Mini Vandals: Under the Wire

More Info and Purchase: https://tinyurl.com/tcra4oc

Blog: https://tinyurl.com/ydmzudlo

This attractive new Hoodie from BROKIG maintains their reputation for high-quality sporting garments at a reasonable price. This one is similar to others in the BROKIG range I have tried but has a few new features and is soon to be available in the UK as well as the USA.

I was not too sure what to expect when I ordered this product. I found the rather macho Amazon photos a bit off-putting but 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 medium-weight 65%cotton/35% Polyester blend with elasticated cuffs and waist, a meshed wicking liner, twin handwarmer side pockets and a single zipped breast pocket suitable for a phone or bill roll.. The material feels soft and giving and is thicker than I expected it to be. I like a hoodie 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 or those that prefer a looser fit, I would suggest buying a size larger than the sizing guide suggests.

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 is still good but at a size larger. For the current Amazon price of $29.99, it is worth taking a chance on.

Music: YouTube Audio Library: Silent Partner: Lunar Landing

More Info and Purchase: https://tinyurl.com/yx7dox8y

Blog: https://tinyurl.com/vqjemm8

I needed a wide-angle adapter for my Panasonic HC-VX980EB-K, camcorder but locating a 49mm thread screw-in lens was not so easy as I expected. I finally found this little kit and after almost a full month it finally arrived from China.

You get a decent amount of kit for your money. The kit consists of a macro lens, wide-angle adapter lens, lens cap, lens cover, and carry bag. No User Guide is included and although it is not really needed some technical info would have been nice to have.

The small macro lens just screws on in the usual way to the 49mm thread of the camera. Your experience may vary, but my Camcorder already has very good macro capabilities and using this lens does not improve it. The wide-angle lens needs to be screwed first to the macro lens and then to the camera to use. This lens, however, is excellent and gives a markedly wider field of view with very little rectilinear or other aberrations. Of course, this is not a prime lens and is a cheap import so some image degradation must be expected.

I have no criticism over the quality of the lens kit. For the £11.74 price, it is exceptional although of course not quite up to Nikon or Canon quality. The carry bag seems a bit cheap and nasty and the lack of a User Guide is a pity but there is nothing really to complain about for the price..

I have to say am pleased with this lens kit and am happy to recommend it to other camcorder users.

Music: YouTube Audio Library: Vibe Mountain: Clover 3

More Info and Purchase: https://tinyurl.com/rb2b27q

Blog: https://tinyurl.com/s97e43d

This new power bank from Poweradd has to be one of the most stylish and elegant I have tried of this capacity. At the current Amazon price of £11.55, it is also the most inexpensive, however, it has the style as well as the specs that many of the more costly rivals lack. This budget-priced and compact-sized Power Bank is small enough at 10.9 x 7.3 x 2.5 cm to fit into a trouser pocket and weighing just 267g you would hardly know it was there but packs enough power to charge your phone several times over.

In the simple eco-friendly product box was the power bank itself, a short USB to micro-USB charging cable, a soft carry bag and a well designed and nicely printed User Guide albeit rather small in size. I enclose a scan of it at the end of my unboxing video.

The first thing that strikes you about this device is the elegant and upmarket appearance. It has a matt finish to the body with an unusual and rather striking four-stage status display. Coupled with the high build quality this gives the budget device the appearance of a high-end piece of kit.

The device has a single micro-USB power-in port and two smart USB outputs, each rated at up to 2.4A with a four-stage power status/charging display. There is no torch or other unneeded features, this is a power bank, plain and simple.

On the side is the only control, a soft touch multi-function button which powers the device off and on checks the battery status. On the front are the three ports: micro-USB 2A power in and two smart USB 2.4A When both ports are in use the maximum output is 3.1A. The smart ports will automatically deliver the maximum needed by the connected devices. Should there be an overload then the device will safely reset itself. The 15000mAh Lithium-Ion battery cell should be able to give three or more charges for most modern high-end phones.

The main selling points for this device and the reason it is worth paying the extra are the compact size and high-end looks of the unit coupled with versatile high speed charging capabilities.

If style, as well as performance, is important to you then this would make an excellent buy.

The Good
Stylish Design
Compact Size
Great Price
Good Build Quality
Smart Ports
Power/ Battery Status display

The Bad
No USB-C port
No Torch

Music: YouTube Audio Library: Joe Bagale: Until We Meet Again

More Info and Purchase: https://tinyurl.com/vb53nol

Blog: https://tinyurl.com/u259p7x

When I was a boy my mum always told me to stand up straight and to slouch. Now, many years later and as part of a weight loss and health plan, I am going to do something about it.

The posture corrector is available in two sizes of which I bought the largest which proved to be smaller than I expected although it did fit. Either I am fatter even than I feared (very possible) or the posture corrector is smaller than listed. However, it fits, which is the main thing.

The device arrived simply packaged in a reusable ziplock bag with just the posture corrector and a well printed and easy to read User Guide inside. That's all that you need but some nicer presentation would have made the item more appealing as a gift.

This posture corrector fits like a backpack over the shoulders and around the waist to force the back into an upright position with lightweight steel support rods through the back of the device like whalebones through corsets. Each long strap goes under the arm and through the loop on the rear of the brace where they cross before attaching to the wide belt at the front or side. The shoulders and back are nicely padded with the straps and belt adjusted using velcro. This means that the support is perfectly comfortable to wear for protracted periods. It is best won on top of a T-Shirt or vest and when worn with a pullover or jacket on top it is not too noticeable.

As to how well it works, only time will tell, but it already seems to be doing some good even after a few days of wearing it for a couple of hours each day.

Priced at £16.14 for the medium size, it seems worthwhile taking a chance on

Music: YouTube Audio Library: Silent Partner: Don't Look

More Info and Purchase: https://tinyurl.com/t33qsl8

Blog: https://tinyurl.com/tsncvc7

I do not normally like V-Neck shirts, but this one I make an exception for simply due to the comfort and quality of the material used.

The shirt arrived very simply presented in a plain unbranded plastic bag. This is a quality garment and it is a pity it could not be presented as such, which would surely help sales of the item as a gift.

Like many Asian fit garments, you need to order about two sizes larger than normal to get a decent fit. I chose XXXL - usually, I would select XL - and it was not too large. The shirt is made from 100% cotton and feels soft and silky smooth to the touch. Design-wise it is on the short side and features short sleeves, a deep V-Neck, and a fishtail rear. It is very comfortable to wear and feels a cut above the others in my drawer being softer, smoother and less scratchy than the rest.

As regards care, I have only washed it once and at low temperature and it came out fine, other reviewers on Amazon have said that it can be washed at 40C with no problems.

Priced on Amazon at £11.99 it is not the cheapest available but does feel nicer and more upscale than the cheaper rivals.

Music: YouTube Audio Library: Silent Partner : Lunar Landing

More Info and Purchase: https://tinyurl.com/uyzok3m

Blog: https://tinyurl.com/tlfjnzh

Use this code for a 30% discount at the Amazon Checkout: 97UOCPUW

Over the years I have tried several Bluetooth Beanie Hats for use on my walks and runs but apart from this only one other proved to be any good. All of them seemed to have issues with Bluetooth: endless dropouts, pairing problems, and horrible crackly audio devoid of all bass. The move to Bluetooth 5 has changed all that and here is a headset with good audio and excellent reception, and for the very reasonable price of £15.99.

The Hat itself is above average but nothing outstanding: warm, stretchable and unlike many other large enough to fit a European male head snugly and covering the ears. I would expect to pay at least £20 for it over the counter as it is warm, well made with a thick plush lining and covers my ears without having to be stretched down too much. This hat is different to the usual skullcap shape and features an extended crown with an expandable opening in the top for hair to be pulled through for top knots and ponytails.

Thanks to the wonders of Bluetooth 5 as a headset it shines. Sound quality is excellent, better than I need for outdoor use, with good bass and clean sibilance free mid and upper tones. No sign of the dropouts and poor connection of old-style units, it auto connects and stays connected the whole time. Sound quality is not as good as from a good over the ears headset but is superior to almost every earbud-style rival I have tried. Pairing was nice and easy too and made more so by the use of Voice Prompt status alerts. It works well with Siri and Google Assistant too.

The Beanie hat has a cut-down Bluetooth headset contain within it concealed in a sealed flap around the bottom. There are two square tiny speaker boxes connected by a wire and linked to the control panel on the outside. The headset can be removed through a small access port inside the hat and there is another tiny hole on the outside within the control panel to give access to the micro-USB charging port. Lining the port up to the opening and then connecting the charging cable is fiddly and time-consuming but probably will get easier with experience. I find it easier just to move the larger opening on the inside of the hat over the USB port and charge it that way, as my video demonstrates.

This is now my goto headset when I am out on my winter runs and extended walks. (I have a thinner Bluetooth Beanie hat, which I may return to for summer exercise.) I always wear a beanie hat anyway and so I no no longer need to bother with earbuds. I am also far less likely to lose the beanie hat and if I did, then at this price I can easily pick up a replacement. The only problem I can envisage is that the hat may become loose over time allowing the speakers to drift away from the ears with resultant loss of audio quality and volume. So far. let me say, that seems a long way off.

The Good
Warm Thick Lining
Comfortable
Good audio quality
Good Build Quality
Good User Guide
Bluetooth 5
Pony Tail Hair Access Hole
Siri/Google/Alexa Integration

The Bad
No USB-C port
Hard to Access Recharge Port
Buttons Difficult to Manipulate

More Info and Purchase

Music: YouTube Audio Library: John Deley and the 41 Players: Hear the Noise

More Info and Purchase: UK https://tinyurl.com/rd9x3oa
USA https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01IEYFGNO?ref=myi_title_dp

Blog: https://tinyurl.com/rf7hfja

This looks like a normal flashlight until you turn it on when only a dim purple glow can be seen by the naked eye. In fact, this is a powerful infrared torch that can only be detected using suitable night-vision lenses used by security cameras or night vision goggles.

The torch arrived simply packaged in a shipping bag with the contents protected by the plastic case of the kit itself. It is a pity packaging more suited to the high quality of the device could not have been used if only to make it more suitable as a gift.

This torch is designed to be used for nocturnal hunting or military and comes supplied with a gun mount for this purpose, but of course, it functions perfectly well without this. It also comes with a useful external trigger which replaces the normal button with a soft touch switch which turns the torch on only when the trigger is pressed and turns off when released. The kit includes a 18650 rechargeable battery, charger and plastic storage case. No User Guide or instructions are included, which is a pity.

Using the torch could not be simpler. It will work with either the supplied 18650 rechargeable or three AAA batteries using the cage supplied. The torch has a standard clicky off/on button on the end or this can be replaced with the soft-touch trigger release already described. There are no dimming options but the torch can be zoomed using the twist grip at the centre.

Testing it with my security camera at home it worked well and no doubt it works just as well outside. I can believe infrared light can also be used to detect urine and other stains but this I did not test for.

Build quality seems fine with aluminium alloy used for the torch and gun mount and robust plastic for everything else. This has the look and feel of a premium product and is let down only by the presentation.

For the £22.99 price, this seems you get a lot for your money and to me it seems a good buy.

Music: YouTube Audio Library: Quincas Moreira: Level Up

More Info and Purchase: https://tinyurl.com/wccgpab

Blog: https://tinyurl.com/wu5bpv8

All you need is here. This excellent pet grooming set from Sminiker contains everything you require to keep your pet's coat groomed and in good condition. It is listed as being for dogs but in fact, should work with any long or medium-haired pet, you could even use it on yourself if you wanted!

In the simple but attractive product box were the electric clippers themselves, 3mm, 6mm, 9mm, 12mm plastic comb attachments, heavy-duty nail file, nail clippers, steel comb, power supply and cleaning brush and oil for the electric clippers, User Guide. No carry case is included, which is a pity.

Build quality seems excellent with none of the kit appearing particularly lightweight or liable to break anytime soon. The electric clippers have a detachable rechargeable Li-ion battery which should give about an hour of use from a four-hour charge but it can also work using the attached UK plug charging cable. The clipper has a ceramic cutting blade and the blade cutting depth can be fine-tuned using the twist wheel dial around the centre of the device and limited using the clip-on comb attachments. The nail clippers seem suitably tough to deal with even large dog nails. The stainless steel comb seems fine and as good as any other I have seen. The scissors seem OK too although perhaps not the best I have used. The User Guide is far better than I expected and is large, well-illustrated and easy to read. I enclose a scan of it at the end of my unboxing video.

Using it I found it all worked as is should. The electric trimmer is not too loud at no more than 60db and pretty much vibration-free and will not alarm all but the most sensitive animals. The other kit components all functioned as to be expected.

Currently priced on Amazon at £18.99 this is an excellent buy and worth considering by the owner of any long-haired pet. You have to ask, how can they do it for the money?

The Good
Good Build Quality
Great Price
Quiet Operation
Battery/Mains powered

The Bad
No Carry Case
Power Cable too short

Music: YouTube Audio Library: Biz Baz Studio: Soaring High

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Created 2 years, 5 months ago.

746 videos

CategoryScience & Technology

My product reviews Blog (www.marcoscu.com) backed up here plus other stuff.